Monthly Archive for February, 2008

Sébastien Schuller – Weeping Willow

There is an almost guaranteed way to get my attention with your music. Make it sound just like Grandaddy trying to sound just like Radiohead. It will always work. Promise. Weeping Willow from Sébastien Schuller is unabashedly just like this, and I can’t stop listening to it. I can’t tell you much about Schuller. He’s French. Interesting. Multi-instrumentalist. You know …. I think I’m still on my DeVotchKa high and need a fix to keep the high going. I really like Sébastien’s voice and the accent that is not masked. I can’t comment on his face, because of issues that arise from the video. The best part is the sireny thing going on that sounds a little like a theremin, but is probably not. All the electronicy flourish is really really good and of course the keyboards drive everything. Maybe a little too No Surprises, but is that a bad thing?

UPDATE: You can stream his entire first album, Happiness from his US label, Minty Fresh. All the songs are really good

White Rabbits – While We Go Dancing & Kid On My Shoulders

Both of these songs are from their debut album ‘Fortnightly‘, which I downloaded last month but to which I have finally made time to listen. When I first saw these guys about a month ago, I thought they sounded a bit like a more accessible version of the Walkmen. That was probably because the Walkmen were playing later that night. After a bunch of listens, I’ve backed away from that. They certainly are more accessible than the Walkmen (who are really an acquired taste), but they are far more consistently up-tempo, and much more melodic.

The first song, “While We go Dancing”, is the only song for which it looks like they have an actual video, so I’m guessing it’s their first single, but it’s not the song they played on David Letterman (which is called “The Plot”). Still, it’s one of my two favorite songs so far. It starts as a sort of hard driving but dark piece, and that takes a real U-turn at the hook laden and sweeping chorus.

The second song, “Kid On My Shoulders”, starts with a bit of a samba feel, what with the maracas and piano. It follows your basic path for the first three minutes, then erupts in a multi-voice chorus as they repeat “We held our tongues throughout it, one day we’ll laugh about it” (later reprised on the album).

Annuals – Dry Clothes

If you haven’t heard of Annuals, wait a few months, and look around again. They are going to be popular. Coming off their excellent debut, 2006’s Be He Me, Annuals are the kind of band that will buzz their way into popularity. Their sound is diverse indie pop with all the right influences (ahem, Brian Wilson). But unlike Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene, bands they sometimes resemble, the music always stays under control and doesn’t sprawl into smarminess.

Dry Clothes is a good example of some of the styles of music in any given track, and their ability to surprise. The first half of the song, apparently about the love between a man and a crocodile, sounds like a Beulah track as performed by Animal Collective. Then something dark and probably bloody happens with the transition to Dry Clothes. I’m only sorry that the video truncates the second half, because it is easily the creepiest and most interesting part of the song. But I think you get the idea. They rhythmic shock associated with ‘Clothes’ delights me every single time, and I’ve listened to this dozens of times now. To me, it also evokes aspects of Spoon Fitted Shirt.

Common Ft. Lily Allen – Drivin’ Me Wild

This song is for Pinko Punko, whose insatiable appetite for all things Lily Allen probably needs some sating. Overall, a good song, but not an amazing song. I just can’t get over the relentless high piano chords that accompany Lily Allen’s excellent backing. Common seems pretty harmless – at times almost funny, but at worse just a groaner (I mean she has some D’s on her, but they weren’t fake, though [with accompanying finger wagging]). I do have to say that Lily Allen is well-used in the video: prototypic gowns and even an astronaut getup. Sweet. At any rate, I dare anyone to listen all the way through this and not have those piano chords stuck in their head.