Archive for the 'Pop' Category

CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share

Tonight begins the week+ of shows, where I have a concert to go to pretty much every night but Sunday. So yep, another Coming Attractions post. CHVRCHES will be playing sold out shows at Lincoln Hall on Monday and Tuesday. I’ll be at the Monday show.

CHVRCHES are a synthpop band from Glasgow that apparently generated quite a buzz at SXSW this year (or last year, or whenthehellever it was). Enough that this song was played fairly repeatedly on XMU at roughly the time I was home in California for about two months (where my parents’ cars had satellite radio), which meant I heard this song until it was seared in my brain and I couldn’t get it out. They’ve only got a few singles, b-sides, other releases, etc. (including a live cover of Prince’s I Would Die For You, which they’ll probably play next week). Still, despite not having an album, they’ll be playing in front a lot of sold out crowds in the coming weeks.

I don’t really have much to say about this song other than that I like it a lot, and as the blog proprietor knows, I’m a sucker for bands with cute female lead singers. This isn’t the type of show I would normally go see, but it’s at a great venue, and I get the sense that with this amount of buzz, they won’t be playing venues the size of Lincoln Hall very long. Kind of like when I got dragged to a Mumford and Sons show at LH a few years ago, a couple months before they’d be playing the Riviera, which is 5x the size of LH. So, notch on the belt, I guess.

Randy Newman – I Love L.A.

You will have to forgive me this (probably) one time indulgence. I was born in Southern California. I lived there for 25 years. Despite spending the most recent third of my life in the Midwest, the blood coursing through my veins is that of an Angeleno. Nearly 12 years in Chicago has done nothing to change that. This became all the more relevant on Wednesday night, when the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings, setting up a Western Conference Finals between the local Blackhawks (for whom my feelings vary between loathe and indifferent), and my Los Angeles Kings, a team I have loved since I was old enough to remember going to hockey games. The series begins tomorrow. Gonna be a fun two weeks!

The Kings play a snippet of this song after every goal, which is why I’ve chosen it. I still remember when this song came out. It was in the lead-up to the 1984 Olypmics in Los Angeles, and everyone was convinced that L.A. needed an official song, so Quincy Jones and some other people wrote a song for Frank Sinatra that would sound like New York, New York, or Chicago, My Kind of Town, or whatever. It really fell flat and no one liked it (at least that’s how I choose to remember it). But Randy Newman’s song, warts and all, really captured the L.A. aesthetic at the time, and resonated with the local populace. It was the like the music version of the era’s Showtime Lakers. It’s been a staple (no pun intended) at Kings and Lakers games ever since. It’s cheesy, but somehow this song always makes me feel connected to Los Angeles.

Go Kings!

Out of the Blue-Julian Casablancas

Perfectly baroque new wave guitar pop dominates Julian Casablancas’ semi-ignored debut Phrazes for the Young. The album itself comes across as perfectly harmless and songs are relatively, but effortlessly bouncing in and out of different ideas. This one comes across as a country/New Wave hybrid with some cleanly Strokesy guitar- guitar that was never punk or new wave, but almost pop metal. One of four or five really good songs on the album (River of Brakelights, 11th Dimension, Tourist, Left and Right in the Dark). I’m glad I finally got it.

No One Said That This Would Be Easy – The Postmarks

I heard this song on XM radio when I was on a Jet Blue flight from Long Beach to Chicago, and it made an impression. It sounded like an American version of some stuff I’ve heard from Broadcast. It’s the opening track from their new album Memoirs at the End of the Word. Interestingly, when you rip this CD and import it into iTunes, the genre tag is “Soundtrack”, which is kind of funny since I don’t think any of these songs appear on any soundtracks. But the whole album sounds like it’s full of songs that could be on movie soundtracks, and this song in particular has a real early James Bond feel to it.

I saw these guys in concert last night with Brookville, which is one of the side projects of Andy Chase (Ivy, Paco). Great show. Only about 50 people there, and Tim Yehezkely, the lead singer for the Postmarks (yes, she’s a girl and her name is Tim, and no, that’s not her on the video/album cover actually, I take that back, I think that is her) was kind of dancing by herself through the whole Brookville set. This was going on about five feet in front of me. It was just a cool atmosphere. I feel guilty at those shows, because I kinda like when they aren’t crowded, but at the same time I feel bad for the bands that more people didn’t show up. And if the crowd is like that for a Chicago show, what’s it going to be like when they play Omaha?

Anyway, this whole album is really good, but this is my favorite song from it so far.

This Boat That I Row/Morning Dew-Lulu

I didn’t remember ever hearing “Morning Dew” before I heard it on the radio (DJ actually played the vinyl) the other day. Apparently everyone on Earth has covered this song at some point. Hilariously, Lee Hazelwood and Eisterzende Neubauten are on that list, the only list they likely share among their vast and disparate catalogs. I guess the version most people might know would be the Grateful Dead.

Anyhow, the Lulu version from 1968 (second of two songs here) has awesome marimba, horns and ultra-scuzz 60’s bass, and her voice is quality.

Fleet Foxes – Quiet Houses

A perhaps more obscure track from the Foxes deservedly-accoladed s/t debut. The first 2.5 minutes sound like vintage My Morning Jacket, but maybe more hypnotic. Then the piece shifts into a classic Brian Wilson Smiles-era instrumental. Wonderful composition throughout. Even though Pinko Punko says that he doesn’t like the instrumental stuff, I know he secretly loves this.

That’s Not My Name-The Ting Tings

Never has such a seemingly annoying ditty have so much going on underneath the hood. I started paying attention at about 1:45. After about 2:45 you just have to give in. I’m sorry. Those are the breaks. Anything else would be last wordism.

Don’t You Want Me-The Human League

Beyond the inevitable or faux nostalgia, the first half of this video is several fold more complicated than many bottom of the barrel full length films these days. I realize that statement makes it seem like I listen to Elvis Costello and the Unattractives, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Hang on to Your Ego-The Beach Boys

What can be said, that has been said better somewhere else. Sometimes no matter how great the critical adulation or reevaluation or geekster pop love for the Pet Sounds era Beach Boys, some will always consider them ultradorks and deeply insufferable. They are the ultimate in wonder bread, and some will refuse to appreciate. To them, I say check it before you wreck it. Not all people that don’t like the Beach Boys are crusty bumsicles, but some are, and they are in such a way that you know their taste in things is sad. What can I say? They isolate their heads and stay in their safety zones! What can you say that won’t make them defensive??? They come on like their peaceful but inside they’re so uptight. They trip through the day and waste all their thoughts at night.

To bad Brian Wilson super genius wrote a song to burst their bubbles. This isn’t the usual version of this alternate-lyric-ed original take on “I Know There’s An Answer”, it’s an alternate alternate version.


I lied. Ultra creepy.

Another version, in case the above doesn’t work. They should have used this song in “Zodiac”.

Some Velvet Morning-Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra

Cool and entirely creepy. The Nutter just turned me onto a song that somehow I have missed. If you do not know, Lee Hazlewood passed this year and his voice resides in a smoky velveteen cave, smoother than Neil Diamond, more restrained, similar to latter day Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen). The song is interesting in so many ways. Also note the complete lack of autotune. I would love to hear an Ian McCulloch/Camera Obscura cover of this tune.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Mono)-The Beatles

John Lennon is of course great, but when he doesn’t mutlitrack himself or have some effects, sometimes he can sound a little nasally, or at least nasally in a way I never remembered him to sound on the CD version of “Lucy in the Sky…” from Sgt. Peppers. My memories were from playing my parents’ orginal vinly copy, and the CD sounds different. I never realized this was because the mixes are different- the mono mix on the record is a totally different mix (beyond its monophinic nature). Cue up your CD and listen and then compare with this:

Much better.

Kathleen has a Song of the Day coming up, when I get my act together.

Bonus “She Said She Said”

Someone pointed out the drumming on this track to me as being amazing. Now I am addicted to it.

Baby Hold On-The Grass Roots

Well, You Tube let me down on this bad boy. They didn’t have it. No matter. Consider this the shot that started the next You Tube war. Like the defenestration of Prague, the internet will soon be destroyed in a wave of AWESOME. Oh, “Baby Hold On” sounds just like “Midnight Confessions” with the chorus stolen from the Box Tops “The Letter” and all other Grass Roots tunes.

Midnight Confessions-The Grass Roots

Also, suck it Editors!

LDN-Lily Allen

I don’t care to know anything else about this artist or her background or maybe this song being x-months old. The point is this, the sample kills and the song is pop genius and you need it for your Friday. It’s actually genius, really.