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Posts Tagged ‘Indie’

Van She Tries To Tickle Your V-Spot

Posted by Scotio on August 8, 2008

Van She is an Australian band that I’ve been eager to hear an LP from since last year when I came across their self-titled EP debut. Granted, it didn’t come out last year, but that’s when I heard it. And, it was such a great sunny album. It was fully of the right pop influences from the 80’s that blended things together wonderfully. I know, I talk about how great some recent bands are with their imitation of 80’s sound, but this was different. This didn’t “remind” me of something from the 80’s, this FELT like something that was teleported directly from the vault of lost 80’s should-have-been hits. So, with my chance to actually review this album, I began salivating with eagerness.

I’ll state this right off the bat: This album is so not what I was expecting from this band. From the very first song(“Memory Man”), you’re hit with the realization that this band not only grew since their 2005 release, but also had the concept to almost reinvent themselves. I am always a fan of growth . . . if done in a proper and constructive way, of course. With that said, the band went from a sunny vacation spot anthemic band to a more Dance-Punk styled band that seem to add little pieces of Dream Pop to styles created by bands like LCD Soundsystem(Typically with the song “Strangers”), and even go so far as to throw in Shoegazing for the mix(Especially with the track “The Sea”). It just seems like they wanted more out of themselves than just synthesizer manipulations.

On the song “Talkin’,” they combine two things that you wouldn’t have expected, A digitalized Voice-Box & Radio Pop. Though you might think that you heard something like that before, just imagine someone like the iconic group Daft Punk teaming up with a more poppier David Lee Roth(California Girls style). Then, you could get a glimpse of how the song should sound. For a brief moment in the song(after the 2nd chorus), the beat turns completely digital and the vocals are uneffected. But, as I said, the moment is brief, so don’t think that you’ll start to hear what you heard on the EP. It’s over before it even starts.

Before you go and start having a little hissy fit over the change of style, you will find a revamped version of their song “Kelly” on this album. It sounds like the Older Brother of the original. The production is slightly tighter. The instrumentation has new little subtle additions to make it pop out to you more. It’s almost like they did a cover of their own track. The best way to compare it is like the changes that Mgmt. did to their song “Kids” between their Time To Pretend EP and their Oracular Spectacular LP. This track has always been their standout piece for me. It was the song that I based them on. That one track that just shone brighter amongst all the others.

Tracks like “So High”(which just screams to be used if there’s ever a Flashdance remake) and “Virgin Suicide” is where they add in the pieces of their original outting with the style that they’ve picked up for this piece. The latter sounds like it would make a wonderful B-side for “Kelly” or even a good follow-up single, and the former is a display of their synthesizer arsenal attack(Though not as completely electronic as on “Temps Mort”). Then, a track like “A Sharp Knife” or “Cat And The Eye” is similar to that, but shows more comfort with them being in their Van She skin. Both songs seem like they stand firmly between where they wanted to reach for and where they originally started at. Those types of songs on the album shows them at their best and most dynamic.

Is the album brilliant? No. Let’s just be honest here. But, is the album fun, catchy, and wonderful? Hell yes, it is. Should you go out and buy this album immediately? Not without listening to, at least, half of it first. Make sure it’s your type of fun. Make sure it’s not too catchy to where when you play it everyone will want a copy and piss you of when they walk around chanting the lyrics. And, last, make sure that you have enough wonderful moments going on to where the tunes will feel right at home for your personal soundtrack. Standouts are “Kelly,” “Strangers,” “The Sea,” and “A Sharp Knife.”

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Ulterior Has Fiendish Motives

Posted by Scotio on June 9, 2008

I’ve just recently found out about this band Ulterior. I was browsing around and came across their name and a picture of the band(the one listed above). So, I decided to see if I could find anything out about them. Well, the only thing I could find that contained samples of their music was their myspace page. So, I sighed, and clicked away. Usually, when I have to do this, I’m treated to a bunch of rubbish and foolishness that makes me wish I saved the last 1 min and 42 seconds of my life that it took me to visit their page. Surprise Surprise. I was in store for something altogether different than whatever I was expecting. The band is just mind melting. It’s music that’s hard to place inside of one category. They blend electronics, with shoegazing and 70’s styled Punk music. It’s like one big giant WTF. What’s odd is that, the music isn’t really that hard to perform. It’s quite repetitive in it’s nature. Yet, for some strange reason, it’s highly addictive and infectious. For me, out of all the music I listed that it combines, I think the spirit of it is closer to that of 70’s punk. With it’s no holds barred style, coupled with the cocky yet drugged out uncertainty. It’s just so dirty, rugged, and unshaped that it’s almost beautiful. I literally used profanity out loud when I first heard their music. Which was their song “Weapons.” What followed that was their more structured, if you could call it that, song “15.” But, what sealed the deal and made me stare into my monitor as if it was going to nod up and down and say or flash the words “Yes, I know. I feel the same way as you. I’m just as blown away.” was the track titled “Dream Dream.” I mean, I’ve heard a lot of retro music, recently. Most I like, not all, but a good bit. THIS, though, this is something completely and totally different. It’s strange enough for me to request that the water from their well in the UK be checked for some sort of contaminant or something. And, if there is anything found inside of the water, it should be bought and sold to the stupid recording artists hogging the radio and TV airwaves with their slapstick joke-for-talent music. I feel like writing/emailing all the major acts that are going to be touring my area in the next few months and demand that they add these guys as opening acts. Seriously, it’s like their music is some sort of hypnotizing rhythm that should be treated as a possible controlled substance, or even something that could contain subliminal messaging demanding your full attention. I can’t go on about them enough. I’m just really hoping that this British 4-piece band comes together and pushes out an album sometime between the end of this article and 76 mins til my death. Which should be just long enough for me to hear it twice. Then, I can brag about hearing it at whatever is next after this life. Do check them out, and tell them to push out an album IMMEDIATELY if you enjoy it.

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Little Dragon Releases Dazzling Flames

Posted by Scotio on June 4, 2008

I have a thing for foreign music. You can’t call me a traitor to the US scene. I love good music from everywhere, no matter the country of origin. Little Dragon is a band whose music I would declare to be good, in every sense, with their self-titled debut release. Yukimi Nagano is, for the most part, the leader of this four-piece outfit. Her voice is purely enchanting. That is the key tool to unlock and disarm any hesitant feelings that you might have for this gem from Sweden.

Their first single, “Twice”, is also the album opener. Featuring simple synth playing, a piano strumming emotionally repetitive, and Nagano’s voice breaking you down to your core. I was lucky enough to have seen their music video for this song, as my introduction to them. The video, itself, is as warmingly beautiful as the song is. Performed by a team of puppeteers, you’re treated to something so simplistic that it can do nothing but compliment the seductive sounds you’re hearing from this act.

To believe that their entire album sounds like that first song would leave you to be the fool, in the end. They are across the board. Not settling for one sound/style, but rather seeking different structures to demonstrate the jazzy skills that they possess. They never get too heavy, nor do they get boring, either. That’s worthy of praise all its own. A personal favorite of mine is the track “No Love”. The song embodies the finger-snappin’ head-noddin’ moments of the early to mid 90’s sound of R&B(think Mary J. Blige’s My Life album). Nagano has to be some type of medium who is able to reenact, with full precision, singers from a time when music was sung from the soul and not for the currency.

“Constant Surprises” is another one of those Lost Time moments. Having a bassline from Jazz somewhere in the 40’s, with the drumming and slight turntable rewind scratching from Hip-Hop in the early 90’s, and the synth grooviness of Soul from the 70’s, it’s a strange combination that becomes a perfect homogenous mixture. One that sounds like it was destined to be put together. One where you’re left wondering why no one else seems to be pushing this type of sound to the forefront.

“After The Rain” seems more like it would be better suited in a musical than it would on an album that you’ve recently gotten used to at this point. Not saying that the song is bad, just stating that the song would seem to find more love in a Broadway musical where the female lead was having a slight break of the fourth wall and letting it be known that whatever she went through hasn’t pulled her into the depths just yet. Well, maybe not a Broadways musical, but certainly a musical movie. Similar oddity falls on the track that succeeds it, “Place To Belong”. This one isn’t a musical, but it features a good deal of electronic sounds. The style and formula of these songs are, for the most part, a departure in the sound you’ve become somewhat accustomed to by the time you’ve reached these two songs. Again, you’d be a fool to look at these as bad tracks. Could be just bad album placement, if anything? Or maybe not.

You have to take into account the fact that, after those songs, the band seems to have shifted their direction(if that’s understandable for an unpredictable band such as this). The song “Wink”, which is my personal favorite of the bunch, kicks in like a missing Erykah Badu song. The instrumental portion of Little Dragon pushes out a sound that you would have to believe Ms. Badu was aiming for with very limited success of current days. Ms. Nagano does her best interpretation of Badu’s tone and sass. The seductiveness of this track, along with the clapping sound, makes your neck sway and your feet pissed at you if you don’t have them in motion while the song is playing.

This little known band(and I’m only speaking for the American fanbase of them) from Sweden as such a loud and bold sound. They aren’t believers of pigeonholing themselves into just one placement. They are all over the place, but not in any location where they shouldn’t be in. They know their limitations, and they work around them. Little Dragon isn’t just a band, they are an addition in the movement towards more Soulful music. I’m not talking about Soul/R&B music. I’m talking about music from the soul and for the soul. Check them out if you ever get the chance. I know that I’m incredibly grateful that I did.

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Save Your Soul Because She Wants Revenge

Posted by Scotio on May 19, 2008

Clearly, She Wants Revenge is one of my favorite bands. They were heavily criticized about “ripping off” the Interpol sound. I didn’t think so. I thought they leaned more towards the Dark New Wave sound of Post Punk more than Interpol did . . . plus added in more sexiness to the whole thing. Their first two LPs got brutally attacked by Mainstream critics. Totally unjust for a groovy band with truly high octane potential. Finally leaving Geffen behind and pushing out their own music, the Terrific Twosome pushes out their Save Your Soul ep as their first offering. It’s only a 4 song serving, and it leaves you salivating for more. Starting off the EP is the song “Sugar.” The duo pushes an actual drummer on this. Something that they weren’t known to do in their studio recordings. And, it seriously pushes things up a notch. The bassline is pure gyration inspiration. The drum attacks offers up it’s own sense of sex appeal while Justin pulls it all together with his Joy Division‘s Ian Curtis influenced singing style. Justin & Adam must have used all of the money towards their studio. Yes, it pays off. Following up the buttery smooth mood is “Save Your Soul” the title track to the whole shebang. This song, the guitar riffs remind you of the SWR that you’re most familiar with. But, that lasts for only about 15 seconds into the song. Then, they bring out their new guns to the party, and they make those feet dance. The chorus is an easy chanting “Save your soul before it’s too late/Save your soul before it’s too late… `Cuz nothings going to change my mind/Nothings going change the ways.” It’s so infectious that it should require a vaccine to prevent you from being absorbed if you’re not normally into this type of music. Marching behind this song is the tune “Sleep.” Bass heavy as it wants to be, and old school Post-Punk drumming to make all you children of the lost generation feel found once again. It’s the most normalized rock song that you’re going to get from this. You’d be a fool not to feel the UK’s influence lacing everything about this song. The closer track, “A Hundred Kisses,” is the most envelope pushing song of all four. Coming in with a sound resting somewhere between Shoegazing and Ambience, they follow it up with something that they aren’t used to pulling out on their audiences: An Acoustic Guitar. The most mellow of all of the songs, and the most heartwarming of them, as well. It’s a captivating tune, and it demands that you fall into Stockholm Syndrome for it. The band is going in new, more bold directions. I guess with their creative freedom finally being held in their hands brings out the best in them. So, if this is just a 4 track delivery, I can’t wait to see what they are going to do for their next Full-Length that is supposed to reach their fans later this year.

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E For Explosion Finally Detonates

Posted by Scotio on May 18, 2008

I’ll admit something here: I like some Emo. SOME. Not all. Indie/Emo like bands. Those, I like. JamisonParker was one such band I thoroughly enjoyed. I used to champion them to my friends and peers. I converted quite a few folks over to their musical depressive coolness. Then, they did one of the most horrible things. They broke up. So, I was stuck with a bunch of other new fans wondering what the hell happened. Jamison Covington just was through. Dunno why, but he was. After some time, he created a “band” called E For Explosion. I use the quotation marks because in the studio, it was primarily just him creating all the pieces to the puzzle for this new act. I heard their Paper Flowers EP, and thought “Hmm . . . it’s like JP, but with electronic ambience.” And, yeah, it was pretty darn groovy. Well, the “band” has a full-length release titled Reinventing The Heartbeat. That’s quite a bold title for a record. I mean, to say that it is supposed to be music that makes your heart beat like it found new life is a very cocky statement, in my book. So, let’s see if this music lives up to the statement, shall we? The first track on the album, “Sunday” is an ambient heavy starter. It sounds like something that would open up an underwater documentary film. With Jamison’s vocals just as whisper-like and airy, it adds more to the music than it would if he flat out sung. Halfway through the song, though, he brings in shoegazing-styled guitar work. Now, if you’re not a fan of the shoegazing, then this album is going to piss you off. He seemed to have heard My Bloody Valentine, and decided it would work well with his new style. Strangely enough, it does. The title track follows suit from the movement that the first song brought to the table. It’s a blend of Shoegazing and Indie-Emo that is incredibly uplifting and saddeningly depressing(but, in a good way) at the same time. That’s not an easy feat for an act to accomplish. Especially if it’s primarily a solo one. I’m actually glad that he included the song “Echoes” on this album. It was my favorite track from the EP. Romantically beautiful, and hurtfully honest . . . that’s what this song is. This song is like a total and complete depiction of being 100% in love. And, it’s hard not to fall in love with the track. Even moreso if you have ever felt such a way for someone. It isn’t filled with loud abrasive guitar work. Just a simple acoustic melody and soft electronic sounds. No drum track, either. Which is impressive to be so moving without feeling like your feet need to be in motion. The LP also includes the songs “Paper Flowers Never Die,” “I Explode” and “Antarctica” from the EP, as well as the finished version of the song “Behind Every Breathe.” “See You Soon” is very much a “Night at the beach with fire around” type of song. Again, featuring no electric guitars, but rather acoustic ones, and a string section that swoons and sways you over. “Unit 402” pushes more towards a much more sober and personal moment. Jamison switches instruments of attack, moving from the guitar to the piano. Singing more about being tormented over the loving memories of a love-lost, it’s hard not to relate to the lonely soldier. The most upbeat moment(if you choose to call it that) is the song “Saving Lives.” Owing more to a moment from The Breakfast Club and other flicks from the 80’s the promoted the music from bands who later dominated radio airwaves with a similar sound than anything else. The formation and application of the concept of the song is just breathtaking. It swings you when it needs to, calms and leaves you inching closer at the right time, then builds back up with perfect execution. No, this isn’t a page-by-page rewrite of JamisonParker, but rather the reason why Jamison walked off the stage that day. He wanted more emotional music. And, in a very intelligent Coffee Shop Emo kind of way, he’s found just what he was looking for. For him, I’ll applaud and a nod everytime I sip my White Mocha beverage from Starbucks. Now, where the hell is Parker Case’s I And The Universe?

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First Aid Kit Repairs Souls

Posted by Scotio on May 10, 2008

First Aid Kit is probably the best band that you’ve never heard of. Hailing from Spain, this guy-girl duo(Carles Querol & Agnès Aran) conjures up some of the most enchanting music that can ever be heard with ears. Agnès is the lead singer of the band and she sings in English with an easily recognizable accent. The music is just crazy. Combining elements of Shoegazing, Electronics and Post-Rock, they create magic in the form of melody. Sounding like My Bloody Valentine, Explosions In The Sky, and a mother singing a soothing lullaby. They released their first LP titled F1rst in 2006, to virtually no notice over in USA. Which is completely sad. The album housed the mesmerizing songs “Still On Fire,” “Forgotten Sky” and “Greenish.” Actually, each tune on the album featured something that seemed to play at your lost childhood: an age of innocence and wonder. I would dare anyone to listen to them and state their distaste for their music. If such happened, I’d have to call the person a heartless monster. The duo turned around and decided to release a new collection of songs equally as soul lifting in 2008 on the album Plaits. Again, singing in English, the Querol & Aran bring more of the same. And, no, it isn’t something that would make listeners fret for feeling that they’ve already heard the music before. Why? Because it takes you back to the same wonderland that you went to when you heard their first work. Their lead single from this album is “Truth Can Hurt.” The video for the song features three children just being children. Having fun and showing no care for the troubles of the world at large. Wasn’t the world a majestic place when such was the case? The actual first song of this album “Fake/Real” actually has children singing on the song, followed by Carles and Agnès singing together using the same lyrics the children sang before them. It lets you know what you’re in store for the rest of the album. And, frankly, it should never be a problem to enjoy such delightful melodies and the joyous memories/feelings that they bring. If you can find their music, I strongly urgingly demand that you acquire it immediately. Yes, it can change your life . . . yes, it can.

Still On Fire Video:

From The Album:

Truth Can Hurt Video:

From The Album:

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The Bianca Story Is A Tale To Be Told

Posted by Scotio on May 9, 2008

Recently, Pop music . . . or rather Indie Pop has came back in by the flood-folds. Yes, headphones, radio waves and music video stations everywhere have been swamped by the storm of new bands who just seem to want to have a good time tickling away at their guitar strings. Europe being the central point of such an output . . . specifically England. But, you can’t count out the Swiss. They’ve been dumping it out by the truckloads as well. The band The Bianca Story is one such case. A team of 5 musicians who, supposedly most aren’t from Switzerland, came together and decided that they have something more to offer to that field. The outcome of their collaboration is Hi Society!, which was released in the First Quarter of `08. The first single from the album is “Paper Piano.” Featuring Elia Rediger on lead vocals and a sound somewhere between Vampire Weekend & Arctic Monkeys. The song is strangely moving, as the drums sound live and unfiltered, giving a more personal relationship between the band and the listener(s). It’s an alluring teaser for what one feels the rest of the album would sound like. That is until “Lover” kicks in. The lead vocals are handled by Anna Waibel and the whole sound structure of the band switches to something similar to The Duke Spirit. Taking you completely by surprise, you begin to realize that you can’t pigeonhole this band into one spot. With a such dynamic Lo-Fi recording style, it sounds more like a band taking things into their own hands without worry of a label. “I Should Shout” has the band pulling out 80’s drama synthesizers for assistance on the song. The song seems very intimate in its delivery, with both Elia and Anna having singing parts on the track. The Anna, though, comes in like Lisa Hannigan did on Damien Rice songs. Then, she breaks off into the most powerful part of the song featuring soaringly loud background singing while she chants out “La La La . . . La-La” at the end of the best song on the whole album. One of the funniest moments on the album comes in for the groovy track “Waste Of Time.” Elia, sounding like he wasn’t even in the booth yet, walking around with with the microphone making grunts and moans before the listener starts becoming assault with a trembling bassline that would/should shake the close off of any lass standing near you. The last song on the album is “Sweet & Sour.” Elia and the rest of the band must have had a hard hankering to do a U2-styled song. It’s drifting, beautiful, and somehow ripping. With Anna running her fingers over the ivory keys to add more emotion to the song, you can’t fight against the drifting that comes from listening to this track. Again, this band is not one that is easily categoried. Nor is it one that doesn’t deserve proper attention for present releases and future endeavors. They span across the field of Pop Rock in every sense, and, though it does seem schizophrenic in design, maybe it’s just what this schizophrenic world needs.

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Martina Makes God Turn Blue

Posted by Scotio on May 8, 2008

Martina Topley-Bird originally started out as a protégé/singer for the Trip-Hop pioneer mastermind Tricky. She was featured heavily on his album, Maxinquaye, and lightly on albums thereafter. Not to mention she had a child by the man. In 2003, she released her first album Quixotic which was retitled Anything in the US and missing a track or two. In 2008, she pushes out her second solo release titled The Blue God which was produced by the in high demand Danger Mouse(of Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley & The Grey Album fame). This album is more uplifting in sound than her debut . . . not that it’s a good nor a bad thing. Starting things off, she brings out “Phoenix.” It’s a track that blends in the two sounds that her and DM are known for. Featuring his organ work and drum machine orchestration & her silken milky smooth vocals and haunting layers of those vocals, it shows a marriage of sounds that is beautiful in every sense of the word. Following that is her lead single “Carnies.” With it’s retro 60’s pop sound and it’s 80’s digital keyboard input, this song sounds timeless and, somewhat, out of place in today’s market. Fans of Martina would question this song upon first hearing it. Though, once a good two to three times of listening kicks in, you’ll realize she made a great choice in placing this on the album. Giving a more free spirit feeling and less melancholy, even though the wordplay might suggest otherwise(depending on your feelings towards Carnies). “Baby Blue” rides on the wave that “Carnies” creates. Giving a very retro sound to the whole thing, it’s clear that she/they aren’t relying on the 80’s like most others of today. This song and “Shangri-La” sound like they would have been more comfortable in the 50’s than they would on today’s radio scene. Still, it’s very refreshing to have her vocal ability come to the forefront and not fighting it’s way amongst a sea of musical layers. “Yesterday” is the most digital song on the whole release. Featuring sounds that Martina is definitely more noticeable for. With the Caribbean-styled bass and digital glitches abundant, it’s like if Tricky watched too many episodes of Star Trek and had Martina featured on the track. Clearly the gem of the gem of the entire piece is the track “Something To Say.” Starting off with electronic static set to a pattern, and followed by an acoustic guitar, then the rest of the instruments. The song continues without vocals for over a minute into the song. Once the leading lady comes on, the song’s structure begins to change to a more upbeat tempo and mood. Sounding more like a Gorillaz track than one that one would originally associate to Topley-Bird, it’s a brilliant and amazing tune. Fully of hips-sway inducing melodies and an acoustic guitar riff akin to that of the Gorillaz’s “El Mañana” song. This album is gorgeous, but it’s no Quixotic. So, if anyone is expecting that, you’ll be greatly disappointed. But, it is encouraged that you open your mind, your range, and your ears to Martina allowing Martina to have more fun this time around.

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Magnetic Morning Draws In Listeners

Posted by Scotio on May 2, 2008

Adam Franklin (of the bands Swervedriver & Toshack Highway) & Sam Fogarine (of the band Interpol) have teamed up and created The Setting Suns, then renamed it to Magnetic Morning . . . and released a self-titled five (5) song EP. Filled with vibrantly smooth guitar work and purely driven drumtracks, the album stands tall on the path to a very productive side-project for both members. They released the album on Record Store Day to help give a nod to those record stores theat refuse to die easy to the corporate giants. On the first track “Cold War Kids,” you’re greeted with softly alluring guitar plucks and subtle yet sober bassline. When the drums kick in and Franklin starts vocally stirring up the mix, it’s officially too late. They have you stuck to them like a paper clip to a horseshoe magnet. Franklin’s voice is like velvet over top of this retro slow-pop musical masterpiece.  The two-piece follow that delightful tune up with an equally mesmerizing one titled “Yesterday’s Flowers.” Again, following the formula of Pop music’s greatest decade, Forgarine’s drums give way to the two-step & sway motion that was popular during that time. The second track of this EP fits well in the backdrop of a very lonely and saddening moment, and for a the first kiss between a newly formed couple at a school dance. “The Way Love Used To Be” is a song that reminds you of the way movies used to be. Specifically Cameron Crowe ones. They pick up the tempo for this one, but don’t kill you with adrenaline or speed. It’s just soft enough to throw you in the flow of the breeze while you’re enjoying a smooth day skateboarding, surfering, or even cruising around in your convertible that only comes out during the summer months. The music plays the key figure of this tune, even slowing down so you can really take a moment to pay attention to the very delightful details at the end, and Franklin’s voice is just along for the assist. The slowest and most introspective song on here is the strangely titled “DontGoToDreamState.” No, that’s not a typo on my part. That’s the actual song title. It can be compared as the sonic interpretation of the space between being awake and sleeping. The place where everything is hazy, but you can still make out what’s going on if you look closely. Which makes it hard to try to listen to the plea to not enter the dreaming world. The only reason I could see not slipping to sleep would be due to the fact that you’d miss the reprise of the first song called “Cold War Kids (Get Claudius).” Sounding just a big more dynamic and orchestrated than the original. Or, that just could be something my imagination created because Franklin’s vocals are not present for this rendition. But, then again, being that it is longer than the original, I must retreat back to my basic instinct on this song. All in all, this new side project, which is renamed after half of a split EP Franklin’s band Toshack Highway had with Sianspheric, is not only charming, but captivating in a sense of pop music that most only border around and few actually dive in completely.

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Death Cab Reaches For A New Floor With Stairs

Posted by Scotio on May 2, 2008

Death Cab For Cutie. You know them. Everyone who is into Indie Rock music knows them, or has, at least, heard their name. With nearly each member becoming a hallmark in modern Indie Music as well as the band itself being the vocalized expression of the generation that followed after Generation X, they’ve created quite a prolific rap sheet. Now, they have a new album, Narrow Stairs, that they recorded in a new fashion for a new sound. The Quartet from Washington kick things off in this new gear with “Bixby Canyon Bridge.” What begins as a seemingly normal DCFC song, ends up becoming an all out Progressive Post-Rock musical assault. With guitars blazing and Gibbard merely humming along to provide an extra layer of sound, the song is a serious departure from the run-of-the-mill Death Cab sound. Following after that is the lead single, I Will Possess Your Heart. As most of you have already heard, the killer bassline and eerie ambient synth, not to forget the brief piano melody, to this track is what opens it up. Then, comes the enchanting light guitars, which is followed up by the hypnotizing drumtrack. For a moment, you’re not even sure if this is DCFC, anymore. It isn’t until around 4 mins and 42 seconds that Gibbard cuts through the music with his all too familar vocals. Even on “No Sunlight,” the band weaves in and out of familiar territory. The chorus and vocals are ordinary for the crew, but the music has a more . . . how would you say, “grimey” and unpolished feel to it. Sounding more like a veteran band that played together for years upon year, and, then, finally getting the chance to go and record an album. There’s professionalism with the way this is forged, but that’s something they’ve always had. With Narrow, though, they bring out a new hunger. Even when they stray back inside of their more comfortable area, they still sound refreshing, as the songs were recorded with the band together, and not individually recorded pieces put together. For “You Can Do Better Than Me” the crew pushes their music to a more pop sound from the late 60’s/early 70’s. The lyrics, skillful as always, fully pushes out how it feels to truly be in love with someone. To feel like they are grand leaps of levels above you, and you’re not only lucky, but confused at how you’re actually with this person. “Pity And Fear” houses a middle-eastern influence. Which, to say the least, is pretty surprising from the act. “The Ice Is Getting Thinner” would have to be the most easily recognizable amongst the tracks as something you’d expect from this band. With the soft keyboard and guitar/bass going along with it, you’re allowed to feel “at home” again with the band. Though, that might be a good/bad thing, depending on how you take in the rest of the album. Clearly, “Grapevine Fires” is a stand-out track. Having drums calls out to the little soldier inside of every person and a good combination of Indie and Pop sensibilities, this song has to end up one of the singles from the band, and could actually end up being the biggest hit single from this crazy, yet insanely smart collection of songs.

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