Monthly Archive for July, 2013

Mikal Cronin – Change

Strangely enough, it’s not that often that I leave the Pitchfork Festival with a new act that I really want to explore. It either usually takes a while to go back and check something out (Art Brut and The Thermals are good examples of this), or I’ve done my homework beforehand and I head to the festival with new favorite acts that I really want to see, like Foxygen and Parquet Courts this year. But there wasn’t a whole lot going on Friday, and we stuck around the Blue stage to see Mikal Cronin, and his set was really good.

For some reason I’m turned off by one name acts (as in, just the dude’s name, and not a band name), with some exceptions. It sounds too singer songwriter-y to me, and I have this aversion to singer songwriters (again, with exceptions). This is true even though I know that most “bands” are basically one person and whoever that person can get to tour with them. But whatever category Mikal Cronin falls into, the music is pretty good, and the album is worth checking out.

The The – Uncertain Smile

For the longest time I would get this song in my head and not know who it was that sung it. This may have been in the primitive days of the internet, but I seem to finally remember getting this song in my head at work one day and doing a search on the lyrics and finding out it was a band I already liked. Pretty sure I owned ‘Dusk’ by that point, because I always loved Dogs of Lust, and I was pretty happy when I found out this was a The The song. I think I always thought it was Lloyd Cole for some reason, though in my defense, Matt Johnson’s vocal style isn’t all that different from Lloyd Cole.

Anyway, that day I picked up their singles collection, which is really good and recommended if you want to get into some classic The The. Unfortunately, the version of this song on that collection is not that version, and they have some flute parts in place of the staircase guitars following the chorus, which you’ll hear at about the 1:30 part. I can’t hear this song without hearing that guitar part in my head, and it always vexes me a bit when I hear the other version. A rare somewhat favorite band that I’ve never seen live.

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Crystallized

Melody’s Echo Chamber is the project of Frenchwoman Melody Prochet. She was in a band called My Bee’s Garden, which opened for Tame Impala somewhere along the line. She got together with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, who helped her rework her own sound and produced her first album. The first four tracks on the album are really the winners, and this is my favorite of the bunch.

I hear a lot of different things going on here. Stereolab/Ivy are obvious comps because of her French accent, and of course it’s easy to say that this is Tame Impala with a female singer, but I don’t think that’s all that accurate or fair (admittedly, the bass line here kind of seems lifted from Tame Impala’s Runway Houses City Clouds). There’s a bit of Krauty/Motorik feel in parts of the album, and there’s sort of a 60’s pastiche that’s reminiscent of Broadcast, though I realize it’s not all that surprising that an act that gets compared to Stereolab would also get compared to Broadcast. There’s also a bit a shoegaze feel to much of the album, and quite frankly I don’t know that I’d associate Broadcast with shoegaze, but your mileage may vary. Anyway, I think this was probably one of my favorite songs of 2012.

No Age-C’mon Stimmung

This is a very Zombie Rotten Mac song. Can’t link so I will e-mail him about it. The simple directness of this, along with the driving hookiness, that it isn’t too trebly, that it comes across as an amazing song by some random high school band, or maybe the opening band on a 5 band bill that you have no expectations for are what make me love it the best. Many people do have a lot of expectations for the new No Age, and these guys definitely have it, or at least I think they do, and I am not trying to belittle them with how this post comes across. This is a song that has a lot of stylistic antecedents, but comes across as completely fresh and effectless. Super good.