Archive for the 'Twee' Category

Veronica Falls-If You Still Want Me

Indie of an older school charm in many ways, a girl/guy pairing (think Delgados, earlier Camera Obscura, but give it a more insistent tempo) to tug on your teenage or otherwise thoughts tangling with words that make you wonder if you should feel bad. For some the question might be a luxury “if you could have me, would you still want me” but for others they might accept such a bad bargain. “If You Still Want Me” is from Veronica Falls second full length Waiting for Something to Happen. This is a very Slumberland Records sound, and I am not pigeonholing this sound or this label, but the quality and feel remind me of a number of bands on this label, but the feeling most of all is for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart self-titled album, in that I like almost all the songs, it has a driving, ringing, melodic feel, and is directly emotional in a wistful, youthful way, but that is also musically nostalgic. Definitely recommend the entire album.

The Boy With the Arab Strap

One of my favorite songs ever. This version is exceptionally good. While it is quite similar to the album version, in this case the execution of such a facsimile enhances the feeling of vibrancy and connection. Certain songs can make your spine tingle a bit when you hear a live version that hits the tiny parts that you treasure, and because you are hanging on waiting for those brief moments, when they arrive they are that much more powerful.

Key aspect of this version is the faithful reproduction of the outro, which can be ad-libbed in other renditions. Also the volume gets pretty low on the album fade out so it can be very hard to catch, but here it is right there.

All You Need Is Hate-Delgados

Before the skinheads rock the place, this song is sarcastic. The sorely missed Delgados, from their excellent and completely wonderful Hate. Emma Pollock I believe has a solo album on the way (she sings on many of their other songs). I just can’t believe how amazing they were to see live in front of about 50 people. The show got moved at the last minute and it wasn’t quite clear where it would be moved to, and then it was in the middle of nowhere.

1 2 3 4-Feist

I love this song and the seemingly-single long take video equally. I can’t explain it. It makes me less unhappy to see and hear it. The only annoying thing, the dancers seem costumed in American Apparel 70’s generic cheap-ass chic. Blech.

plover says:

I’m afraid I must retaliate for this post:

Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken-Camera Obscura

These Scottish retro-popsters have been accused of swimming in Belle and Sebastian’s wake, and this tune from their latest Let’s Get Out of This Country, might fit the bill. Where I feel B and S falls short these days is that their songs to me almost seem to follow the incredibly derivative and arch production. It is as if they have stopped working in the retro medium and have gone on to complete caricature. This is not to say that they don’t do it very very well. “Hey Lloyd..” by Camera Obscura has that caricature feel, but most of the rest of the album falls on the good side of the line, point being I still believe in her voice. I feel the emotions are still conveyed, not destroyed by the oh so quaint horns, or jaunty sixties flute. To me, Camera Obscura plays their songs while working in a particular style, rather than only existing for the propagation of that style. My current fave is “Come Back Margaret” on the new album. I predict Shingles will play “Come Back Margaret” at least twice in a row if he were to play it once.

Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken-Camera Obscura

And here is a bonus, from their last Underachievers Please Try Harder

Keep It Clean-Camera Obscura

Heard Somebody Say-Devendra Banhart

I don’t know if we are still doing dedication ‘week’, but I suppose that if this song were to be appropriately dedicated to anybody, it would be to John Lennon, whose anniversary of his death was widely thought of last month. Devendra Banhart has the kind of voice that tends to annoy people that concern themselves with the qualities and affectations of singing. He has a very prominent and high-frequency vibrato that creates both distinctiveness and a kind of aged quality to his folky poppy music.

Cripple Crow is really a Beatles tribute album at its heart. This is obvious from the Sergeant Pepper-esque cover art and the assorted psychedelia associated with the art and music. It is fitting then that many of the songs have a certain Beatles quality associated with them, somewhat of a departure from the more minimalist and quiet but very excellent Rejoicing In The Hands.

Heard Somebody Say is probably not the centrepiece of this broad and vast CD, but it is my favourite track, simply because of its exceptional mimicry of John Lennon’s best song, Across The Universe. The track begins with a simple series of piano chords before being joined by the standard Beatles set of instruments. The lyrics kind of line up like the following:

Across the Universe

Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Heard Somebody Say

I heard somebody say that the war ended today but everybody knows its goin' still om mother lands and mother seas here's what we believe its simple we don't wanna kill
The chorus isn't too different either. Instead of Jai Guru Deva Om there is simply a beautiful hymnal series of ooohhhs and ummms and Nothing's Gonna Change My World is simply replaced by We don't wanna kill. Kind of an appropriate sentiment. There is one more additonal Beatle-y surprise near the end of the song, which is an approximately one minute instrumental that sounds like it was lifted out of parts of Magical Mystery Tour. I'm always going to be a sucker for music that sounds like the Beatles, and this is one of the finest I've heard in a very long time. Not all the songs on Cripple Crow are quite this good, but it easily places among my top 20 CDs for last year.

Architecture in Helsinki-It’5!

Architecture in Helsinki are a strange collective. It’s probably an Australian thing. I think they make up instruments that they want in a song ahead of time and put the song together around that. Which makes for interesting songs, especially when the tuba is involved. Their previous CD, Fingers Crossed, was all about cutesy and ecelctic music. I like it a lot. It kind of falls into the Elephant 6 subgenre of music, of which I’m a big fan. I like poppy and unabashedly 60’s-influenced music.

It’5! is a very different song, from their very different CD In Case We Die. It begins with a chant of the obscure lyric “stranger danger, danger stranger, when you gonna follow through?” And then gets right into a disco beat, which keeps getting interrupted by random things until the song really takes off. Once it does, it resembles a Badly Drawn Boy song more than anything else. Maybe a little Scissors Sister. With the occasional refrain “It’s 5!” or “It is 5!”. The beat is pretty good. I could almost see someone dancing to the music. Maybe myself …..

I’m curious why people keep comparing In Case We Die to the Fiery Furnaces. I just don’t hear it. They happen to be two groups that make diverse sounding music, that sometimes changes abruptly. AiH never sounds proggy while FF is very proggy.

Run-Snow Patrol

Here’s the truth. Snow Patrol is not all that great a band. They are too eager to work in Coldplay sound and sentimentality and the lead singer’s voice doesn’t make it near that orbital. Their big selling album Final Straw is fine. But like a 7/10 fine. Yet somehow, out of that comes this f*cking unbelievable song, Run.

Run sounds like what would happen if Grandaddy did an Elbow cover (interestingly, the song was featured on the Jason Lytle mix CD, Below the Radio. It is broad and sweeping. It leaves you feeling vulnerable, sad, and teary. I think the key is the repetitive nature of the instrumentation and the slow build up to a pretty decent emotional climax. Having heard these guys in concert, this is the song that makes me actually feel the music. I can listen to this song indefinitely and feel that tiny uneasy feeling in my stomach every time.

If You Fall-Azure Ray

I first heard this song on Indie Pop Rocks on SOMA-FM, a fine internet radio station. It was one of those ‘who are these guys and how did they write such an amazing song’ moment. Which, upon getting proper confirmation from Pinko Punko that they were truly awesome, led me to the purchase of their CD Hold On Love. It’s really not the best album overall, but to its credit, it has “If You Fall”. It also has one other very good song, “These White Lights Will Bend to Blue”. Good title.

The song begins with the kind of piano line and melody that lets you know right off the bat that this is going to be a fun poppy song. I don’t mind that it appears to be about the ups and downs of the pursuit of love or what have you – it’s not remotely whiny. The female voices are delightful and wonderfully harmonic. The song has a good beat. It’s like a slow version of a Strokes song. It’s also a perfect example of why any good song can be made better by adding piano. The song ends with a little strings flourish. What can I say, Azure Ray wrote a really damn cute song and I like it!