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Posts Tagged ‘Pop’

Little Boots Gives A Hands On Approach

Posted by Scotio on June 10, 2009

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Ever since the Revoluntionary War, there’s been a steady battle between US & Britain. Over time, it has softened dramatically from that bloody war(take that whichever way you want) to Global Capitalizing. Outside of politics, there’s been the steady tit for tat going on in the music scene between the two “World Powers”. Though they don’t necessarily diss each other, they do fight it out like rabid animals at the top of the music charts. When one act on one side of the pond takes off, the other is ready with a bullet of it’s own. Lady Gaga is currently the “it” girl in Pop music. She’s what the US has to offer. Now, meet competitor #1 from the UK. Her name is Little Boots(née Victoria Hesketh), and she has the artillery to sink Gaga’s ship down to the deepest depths of the sea in the form of her debut album Hands.

“New In Town” is the official lead single for the album, as well as the album opener. Is this a new trend? A brilliant strategy or an odd coincidence? I’m asking about having your leading single open up the album. That seems to be the thing for a lot of new pop albums coming out this year. But, I stray. The song, produced and co-written by Greg Kurstin of The Bird And The Bee, is a happy track. The premise behind the song is “You’re new in town, I’m broke, but we’re going to rock it out anyway.” We should all wish to be able to do such a thing when visiting a new location. The music is a departure from anyone strongly familiar with Bird And Bee(think more electro-pop version of their work). This song is a perfect greeter to all those infamiliar with Ms. Boots. It shows that she’s in it for the fun ride. Nothing overly complicated is shown here. Just a pure fun and early 90’s Electronic-based Pop tune. It might not register in your mind 5 years down the road, but it will get a party started… especially if you’re in the valley. Ok, Boots, you seemed to have taken the more danceable route for this first round.

Kurstin is on this album for most of the longhaul. He helps co-write the track “Stuck On Repeat,” which is produced by Hot chip’s Joe Goddard(who also co-writes the track, along with Little Boots). This track feels like a spiritual successor to Hot Chip’s last album. The beat is infectious and Boots’s vocal work is in the right zone for this type of sound. It won’t be hard to picture a bunch of girls in a convertible blasting this song until you bang your head against something hard, or featured on all the mixtapes/playlists of dance-music DJs. It’s that kind of catchy. It’s that strong on the commercial meter. You’d be prone to discard the song as rubbish until you listen to what it is completely composed of. Goddard displays his wizardry within the realm of synth music. It’s a very driven beat, and it drives you to feel like the lyrics of the song: “I can only move to the beat.” Drats, Boots! You’re in a three-way tag team with some actually TALENTED artists. This isn’t looking fair.

The trio team up again for “Meddle”. Meddle was commercially released as a single last August(of 2008), but I’m sure a lot of people still never heard the song. Goddard, with some production assistance from Kurstin, delivers Pop’s version of a Dubstep beat. To deny the influence of Dubstep on this song would be denying the fact that R. Kelly stopped actually SINGING a long time ago. Yeah, it’s that obvious. With what sounds like a combination of handclaps, fingersnaps, and digital claps the song keeps it’s pace and an underlining tempo that propels you to keep moving even when most of the beat disappears. Think of it as a song from a Musical Movie for Teens that is actually GOOD. Go ahead, wrap your head around that one. “Symmetry” featuring Philip Oakley(of The Human League fame) speaks about being the opposite/reflection of the person you’re romantically linked with. Mr. Oakley is obviously no novice when it comes to Synth-Pop. He comes in, with that scary-yet-uber-cool British singing style. You know the kind that dominated airwaves throughout the 80’s. The strangeness of it, is that with Philip’s addition to the track, you can almost envision the god-awful 1980’s video that would have been on repeat for MTV had this song came out 20-some-odd years ago. Oh, Boots, with your tricky Nostalgia Pop trick shot.

There are a few halfsteps featured here, though. Such as the track “Ghosts.” It’s a half-step, not a misstep. It sticks too strongly to that whole cabaret style in a digital format. That would heavily alienate the easy targets that this album is supposed to be aiming at. Though, this is one of the more lyrically appealing songs on the album, you can’t give the sheeple too much material to think with. Still, the pop enjoyers outside of the herd would probably take to this with ease. “Remedy” is another misstep. The song starts off with a dark synth sound that creeps up on it’s listeners. Then, just when the more sinister lovers start to rejoice as they have found a pop song of their own within this release, the chorus comes in. It pops the building bubble with an older Christina Aguilera sound. You can’t have both sides of that pie, darling. That puts you on eye leave with your enemy that you are dancing with(Lady Gaga). “No Brakes” makes up for these missteps as she displays the full force of the sound that Gaga TRIES to emulate. Hersketh’s voice sails like a sheet in the wind while the beat runs like a kid playing the track & field game with the power pad for the old 8-bit Nintendo. What would bring a slight pause for the Yanks would be when Boots stops singing and talks normally. Reminding them that she is, in fact, British.

After this entry into the tournament of Billboard charts, it’s clear to see that this former lead singer of the Dead Disco group known as Little Boots is far more equipped than Gaga was/is. Not to mention that La Roux is set to drop later this month to put the nail in that coffin and have the Brits come out with the win of Female Pop Acts for 2009. With no retaliation geared from the US branch, it sure does seem to be moving in that direction.

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Miike Snow Lights A Frozen Flame

Posted by Scotio on June 10, 2009

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Pop music seems to be making a serious comeback. With MGMT’s mega impact last year, it seems that these Pop Music Makers have been coming out of the woodworks like bugs after someone stomps on a rotting log(don’t act like I was the only one to do that as a child). Bringing their own coolness to the Pop genre with their Self-Titled LP is the trio known as Miike Snow. Yes, that’s a trio with a name that sounds like it belongs to a singular person. And, yes, that’s not a typo. There are 2 I’s in the first name(actually they are sort-of named after the Japanese director Takashi Miike). The trio consists of multi-instrumentalists Andrew Wyatt(of The A.M. & Fires Of Rome fame) and Christian Karlsson & Pontus Winnberg, also known as the Pop Producing duo Bloodshy & Avant. Of course hearing that Bloodshy & Avant are in the group would lead many to believe it’s filled with a bunch of Britney Spears rejected tracks. Oh, that is so not the case here.

Since “Animal” is the main single from the album, let’s start with that track, shall we? Oh, and not only is it their lead single, but also the leading/opening track for their LP. For the track, Wyatt sings like the adopted member of the band Genesis. Housing his vocal harmony somewhere between Phil Collins & Peter Gabriel(some may say a more “mature” Adam Levine sounding voice, to them I say “shut up”). To say the least, it’s eerily hypnotic. But, that’s not all that’s mesmerizing about this song. The trio constructed a back beat that plays like a Dub-influenced version of Dance-Punk(LCD Soundsystem, The Presets, Fujiya & Miyagi… to name a few artists of that genre). It’s hard not to sway your head side-to-side with this track pumping in your ears. Even if the lyrics doesn’t fully make sense(which seems to be a motif with this album) you still find yourself singing, or humming, along with the track. Suffice to say, their history of catchy pop tracks plays to their advantage here.

“In Search Of” is like a track that Nu-Ravers have been waiting all their lives for. Think of something along the lines of Hadouken!, but much better and more mature. There is no attack for people to be thrown around within the song, but there is a strong urgency to take to the dance floor and show off your glowstick movements under the strobe blacklights. This track contains no live instrumentation. Instead, it’s just pulse-setting synth work unleashed in it’s most impeccable form. With something as incredible as this finally revealed, you know that B&A will be getting hounded with questions from their Producees(it’s a word… even if it only exists in my world) asking why the hell have they been holding out on them. But, those bubblegum artists shouldn’t get too uptight. They would have never pulled that track off as sensationally as this trio does.

Oh, and since I did mention video game sounding music(Hadouken!, for those not keeping up), allow me to expand on that with the track “Cult Logic”. This track comes in like a super(pun intended) remix of the Super Mario theme song. If Nintendo is trying to stay in the area of “cool”, they would be wise to throw this track in their next Mario installment. Trust me, Big N, it will definitely pay off for you. To say that Mr. Wyatt hasn’t spent time with some folks of the Caribbean would HAVE to be a lie after listening to his vocal work on this piece. His melody, tone & pitch sounds like something you would expect Maxi Priest to express if he was still relevant today. This track is so well layered that just when you start to dissect the structure, you realize that you’re still only on the crust. They bring in and take out parts so fluidly that, though you notice it, you still perceive it as one cohesive image.

My personal standout track is “Silvia.” It could be how easily I can replace the name Silvia with the name of the one I hold dear, but I don’t think it’s that simple. For the first 1 minute and 10 seconds, you’re treated to a bare beat digital piano and dance synth accompanied by Wyatt’s voice slightly digitally altered(no, not Autotune. This is another type of digital filter applied to his voice). Then, after that time mark hits, in comes the rest of the beat. And, boy, does things shift. It goes from a slow and passionate tune to a pop love anthem, complete with cadence keeping snare hits. No, the track doesn’t stop there. More pieces are added in and built upon as the track continues down it’s 6 minute and 26 second mark(which makes it the longest track on the album). One sexy portion of the track is when the bridge comes in, and they move the music back to how it sounded at the start of the song. Only to, then, bring it in House music fashion so smoothly that it would make Benny Benassi blush with envy. They run Andrew’s voice through digital pitch changes from then to near the end of the track. Changing his voice to the point where it sounds like yet another synth to the music. “San Soleil” is one of the sexiest tracks I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s like a combination of Art Of Noise’s Moments in Love, the piano from Force M.D.’s Tender Love, Wyatt’s digitally filtered voice and an IDM synth. Yeah, it’s not very hard to see that they were inspired by old school R&B pop tunes for this one, here. Like all the other tracks, this one was executed remarkably. This is the track during and after a sensual session with a significant other. Don’t be surprised if some genius(and, I use that term loosely here) uses this track for such a moment in cinema.

It’s hard to deal with perfection. Equally as much when in opposition of and working with. But, there are moments when perfection is, well, perfect. It flows perfectly, it moves perfectly and it delivers perfectly. That’s what this album is. It’s pure Pop Music Perfection. Yeah, you heard that right. I said it, and I stand by it. It would be easy to declare this group this year’s MGMT, but that wouldn’t be fair. These three have had years toiling away at pop creations inside of the industry. They know what works and what doesn’t. With that, they used all of their knowledge and made sure that THIS works in every sense. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to make you dance. Just be ready for the domination of Snow during the summer of 2009. They got the cool, and they aren’t going to make you chill.

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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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Brokencyde Leads An Army Of Damaged Toy Soldiers

Posted by Scotio on May 15, 2008

Ok, I’ll be honest, here. I never really heard of this band until not too long ago. Someone I wasn’t very friendly with decided to bring up the band name, and I checked them out due to curiosity. After my lightning fast fingers clicked away on Google, I found their Myspace(a site I’m not very fond of . . . but has included at the bottom of this post) link where their darling little Emo-Angst Fans praise them like Roman Catholics does the Pope, and took them for a twirl. What I heard was really awkward. It was Screamo/Post-Hardcore(P-HxC, for you emo brats’ delight) screaming, with some “Ok, at best” rhymes and some “Is he singing or just moaning with words?” serenading. Yet, something about these three young men caught my attention, and, oddly, held it. So, of course, I had to chalk up a review for them. The album kicks in with a cut that sounds like Bone Thugs mixed breeds with Esham, A Heartbroken Depressed Teen and The Bled, “Dead B4 I Died.” The beat to the song borders between what I used to call “Evil Midwest Rap” and Down South Have Synth-&-Bass music. The group’s Emcee/Screamer/Mastermind Se7en is clearly the star of the trio. He rides the beat with ease, even though his lyrics aren’t ground-breaking or “Hip-Hop” in anyway. The trio has the keyboard running with a loop that would sound sick if done with a guitar(here’s hoping they do that live) for the song. It’s not hard to get into, at all. On “Schizophrenia!!!,” Se7en comes on sounding like he really is diagnosed with some type of mental instability the way he screams unapologetically into the microphone. Stealing a rhyme from the Freddy Krueger movies, and then flipping them to sound more . . . well, angry-teen style, the song isn’t hard to figure out . . . or nod to(I know, shameful, isn’t it?). “Jealousy!!!” with the beat sounding like the songs before it, has Se7en starting off in the digital background rhyming his pissed off teen problems from his small chest. Then, they change it to lead him come to the forefront without the digital restraints. The second verse of the song houses him screaming with such constant force that you’re forced to check and see if your eyes aren’t squint with him. “Still Waiting 4 U” sounds like a Screamo remix of an old Eminem song. With Eminem-styled string melody, and the eerie digitalized atmospheric sounds. Actually, you feel more like you’re in some revamped Sci-Fi Romance Terror movie when hearing this. The surprise hit kicks in for the song “Taking Lyfe From Me”‘s acoustic version. The intro sounds like someone learning to play chords on a toy guitar. Once the intro is over, you’re treated to some moderate guitar plucking, and, again, whiny boy singing. Still, it’s the concept that seems so strange for this attention seeking threesome. No, this isn’t music that will shake things up. Nor is this music that is of a brand new design/concept. It’s like having a younger lizard-hissing profanity-prone “Look at me! Look at me!” Linkin Park. Yeah, Se7en is Japanese . . . not good for trying to discredit my comparison, is it? And, sadly, as much as I bash them, I like these little idiots. I guess you can call them my guilty pleasure. Go figure. I wouldn’t even look at you funny if you walked towards the exit of the room when their music is played. But, I do know that with a cult-like young fanbase, it’s only a matter of time until their attacking MTV and Radio airwaves until I’m planning their assassination. Not much of a review, you say? Well, these guys aren’t much of an actual BAND. So, we’re even.

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Charlotte Sometimes…

Posted by Scotio on May 10, 2008

Let me start off by saying that I know that I usually have catchy titles for my posts/reviews. The only thing is, I couldn’t come up with something catchy for this album. So, I just let the name say it all. Now, on to the review, shall we? Named after a 1981 song by The Cure, which was in turn named after a Penelope Farmer novel from 1969, Charlotte Sometimes(which I guess could also mean that she goes by her middle name on occasions) releases her debut album via the Geffen record label after much coverage and anticipation thanks to the wonderland we call Myspace. This young 20-something is here to bring her take on pop music. Hoping to showcase that Pop music from America isn’t all about make-up, lollipops, booty gyrations and airheaded ideas, Ms. Poland showcases, to my surprise, much promise on her Waves & The Both Of Us album offering. Possessing a voice clearly ahead of her measured time on Earth, she has very good control over her range and has a good concept of her limitations. That is possibly due to the first 13/14 years of her life being spent in various dancing/vocal classes. “Losing Sleep,” her album opener, has a soft sound that fits between Sarah Bareilles and Vanessa Carlton, but with intelligent implementation of electronics in the song. She speaks for the current generation of listeners who loves pop and doesn’t feel that they’ve been properly satisfied with what’s offered(or their relationships in love/at home) with lyrics such as: “I’m awake/And I’ve been/Losing sleep/I’ve been fighting all my demons/I’ve been/Getting reamed/Cuz I’ve been/Trying/Trying/Trying/To be/Anything other than me.” It’s almost like she’s a Fiona Apple for a newer, less serious audience. The title track of the album is a more romantic song. Here, she talks about her longing for the man that drives her dreams into a moist loving place. Possibly a song written after spending the night with her beau on the beach, it’s going to be heavily used by females under the age of 22 for the rest of the year if this album catches on. On the track “In Your Apartment,” Charlotte dives deeper into her Fiona influence. A slow jazzy track of a love gone sour, possessing some smokey room styled instrumentation and piano lounge-themed singing. It’s a piece that displays confidence and insecurity intermingled beautifully together as a representation of how virtually every woman truly is. Stand out tracks are “How I Could Just Kill A Man,”(no, not a Cypress Hill cover) “Ex-Girlfriend Syndrome,” “Army Men,” and the breathtaking “This Is Only For Now.” The latter track features digital distortion and disruption of an acoustic guitar melody. It starts off with just Charlotte and the robotic guitar, then comes the club dance floor-ready bass drums. This song would tear airwaves apart if her A&R person is genius enough to have them release this as a single. Charlotte sings with passion, sassy, and determination. Even though the lyrics house some uncertainty from the narrator, the way that it’s delivered makes you think that she’s possibly just playing possum with you. It’s not a long track, though. Clocking in at a little over 2 mins and 50 seconds. This debut is one of a young woman with a true passion for pop music, and her determination to not be regarded as merely another piece of eye candy with cookie cutter musical offerings. She’s a bright little star. And, if she continues to develop properly in her future, then she better wear shades.

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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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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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Santo Strikes Gold

Posted by Scotio on April 28, 2008

The UK Pop sensation M.I.A. has her work cut out for her, now. That is because Philadelphia-born New York-based artist Santi White, publicly known as Santogold, has shown how to really do what the Brit was aiming for with her self-titled release. Sounding less goofy pop and more like Robert Smith’s more chipper feminine side, Santo let’s it be known that folks in the States not only know how to have a good time, but make good music to use it as the score for such moments. Santo opens up the album to the sounds of “L.E.S. Artistes,” a wonderful dream pop-ish diddy that embodies the spirit of times that the characters from the film Less Than Zero must have been having. The single “You’ll Find A Way” completes the ensemble of loud colors and small jeans that has, once again, found itself stalking today’s youth. A pure dance track that would have even the most stone faced hardbody at least swaying to the rhythm Ms. Gold provides. On the track “Creator,” Santogold animal calls her way into your ears. With a Caribbean-inspired flow, she rides the bass-heavy electronic onslaught of a beat with more easy than slicing Thanksgiving turkey with an electric knife. The tune “Lights Out” is her most 80’s-revival sounding track on the entire album. With qualities of both The Cure and The Bangles, young listeners are treated to harmonies and melodies that most are too young to remember. The good part about that is it opens the gate for this young generation to go back to a more fun-filled meaningful time in music’s history. “Starstruck” kicks in with some of the most laid-back electronic orchestrations (think R2D2 after he spent a weekend at Cheech & Chong’s) and marching line stomping drum track set up. Without a doubt, this track is the slow grind that every party needs, and it delivers with such tenacity that it should require parental supervision at any Under-18 gathering where this song is played. By the time you get to “Anne,” it’s clear that she has a total and complete grasp on Pop Sensibility like how it should be understood. The last track is a Switch & Sinden remix of “You’ll Find A Way” that blows out of the water anything that Timbaland has been pushing out in the last few years. Santogold is nothing but Pure Gold, all the way through. And is not only a must have, but a NEED to have album for anyone who loves having fun without all the unnecessary dreary parts of life.

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The Trucks Drive On The Left Lane Only

Posted by Scotio on April 27, 2008

The Trucks are a band from Bellingham, Washington in the USA. After that, there is nothing normal about this all girl act. Drenching their music in the Synth-Pop formula and filling in the void with lewd and humorous lyrics, these girls are like the goofy female version of Animal Collective. Experimental is exactly what they are, in the strangest sense of the word. On the track “Titties,” they uncaringly ridicule the man who is trying desperately to score a homer run on these ladies. With a chorus housing the lines “What makes you think we can F*ck just be cause you put your tongue/In my mouth/And you twist-ed/My titties baby,” it’s not hard to tell that you’re in for the ride of your life(or maybe just a really long one for the night). The song “Zombie” has to be one of the best tracks on this album. The drums and bass take the center stage over all the other instruments. That could be due to the fact they use soft synths and mellow guitar riffs to go with the dynamic instrumental duo. “Messages” starts off with what sounds like a phone call being made and a soft guitar riff, followed by vocals that coast over the guitar’s melody. In a humorous way, the girls manage to come across as being very charmingly lovestruck. Then, they flip it for the second rendition of the chorus, being upset that the man muse of theirs just wasn’t expressing himself at the right times. The song is filled up with what sounds like voicemail samples galore. Hopefully, they aren’t real, because if they are, the men who left them will really feel bad if they hear this song. The band gets extremely goof on songs like “Man Voice,” “Old Bikes,” “Big Afros,” and even the album’s introduction . . . titled “Introduction.” For the song “3AM,” the girls bring the American companion to virtually any song by the Brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy (known by the abbreviation CSS). Having the same funky type of synthed bassline, with lyrics as equally tongue-in-cheek. It’s hard to properly pin down these ladies, as they just refuse to play by the rules in any type of situation. This is not music for people who take themselves too seriously. This is music for those who just don’t give a damn. This is music for girls from 7 Eleven, because they stay up all night. So, if you’re a stick in the mud, I beg you to stay away from the band. They’ll either piss you off, or have you not walking around like that same stick that’s in the mud is stuck up your arse.

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