Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Delorean- "Stay Close" (2010)

I feel like I shouldn't, but I love the new Delorean song. No, not that cool car from Back To The Future. The four piece from Barcelona who had that pretty good song last year called "Seasun." Their new song "Stay Close" from their upcoming debut LP Subiza is a blissful mix of all that synth-pop you love to hate or hate to love. The catchy melodies and chopped up samples are reminiscent of bands like Passion Pit and Discovery, though their well thought out pop based arrangements give them a Phoenix-esque maturity in regards to their songwriting. One more reason to love this song: they use that awesome 'woohoo' loop from the untouchable middle section of "Brother Sport."

Check out "Stay Close" from Delorean's Subiza, it's due out June 8th on True Panther Sounds. Stream the track below.

Delorean- "Stay Close" (via Stereogum)
Link Removed

Tobacco- "Sweatmother" (2010)

The first official track from Tobacco's eagerly anticipated sophomore LP Maniac Meat. Fuzzy grinding synths, demonic croaks, percussion to melt your mind. You know the drill.

By now, you should be as excited about this album as I am.


Tobacco- "Sweatmother" (via Pitchfork)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bob Dylan- Another Side Of Bob Dylan (1964)

Another Side Of Bob Dylan is Dylan’s fourth album, the follow up the monumental The Times They Are a-Changin’. While many of the songs on the album retain the deeply political themes of its predecessor, Another Side Of Bob Dylan, like its title explains, portrays the increasingly poetic and emotional side of the musician, a side that appears in his earlier work but is now more completely realized. Album opener “All I Really Want To Do” showcases Dylan’s mastering of rhyme as well as his deeply emotional yet playful lyrics.
I ain't lookin' to compete with you
Beat or cheat or mistreat you
Simplify you, classify you
Deny, defy or crucify you
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.
The whole album plays like an intimate personal concert rather than a studio recording. All the songs on the album feature only Dylan’s vocals, his acoustic guitar and his harmonica. The fact that the guitar sometimes plays out of time and Dylan giggles his way through the final lines of “All I Really Want To Do” only add the album’s personal and intimate feel. Other fan favorites present are the absolutely heartbreaking “It Ain’t Me Babe” as well the scathing, politically fueled “My Back Pages.”

But equally as fantastic are some of the album’s lesser-known tunes. “Spanish Harlem Incident,” one of my favorite Dylan tunes, has some of the album’s best and most surreal lyrics. “Motorpsycho Nitemare” and “I Shall Be Free No. 10” portray Dylan’s brilliant wit, particularly when it is infused with his fierce political criticism. The former weaves a hilarious story of Dylan’s night spent on a farm, trying to resist the temptation of the farmer’s beautiful daughter. He resolves the situation by shouting “I like Fidel Castro and his beard,” which results in the farmer chasing him out with a shotgun. Dylan closes the song with the brilliant line, “Me, I romp and stomping, thankful as a romp, without freedom of speech, I’d still be in the swamp.” The lyrics of “I Shall Be Free No. 10” brings to mind the stream of consciousness style that contemporary John Lennon popularized later in the decade.
I was shadow-boxing earlier in the day
I figured I was ready for Cassius Clay
I said "Fee, fie, fo, fum, Cassius Clay, here I come
26, 27, 28, 29, I'm gonna make your face look just like mine
Five, four, three, two, one, Cassius Clay you'd better run
99, 100, 101, 102, your ma won't even recognize you
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, gonna knock him clean right out of his spleen."

Now, I'm liberal, but to a degree
I want ev'rybody to be free
But if you think that I'll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I'm crazy!
I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.
Other highlights are the sprawling “Ballad In Plain D” and “Chimes Of Freedom,” as well as the beautiful “To Ramona” and lighthearted “I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met).” The whole album is a stunning portrait of Dylan, as stark and candid as the black and white photo of him on the cover. Without the full band backing of his later albums, Another Side Of Bob Dylan’s minimalist guitar and vocal combinations allow Dylan’s lyrics to be completely at the forefront. The intellectualism of the folk movement is combined with his uniquely witty and raw emotional lyrics. It is one of my favorite Dylan albums, full of hidden gems, and both a good starting place for Dylan newbies and an essential for any fan of his work. Click the album artwork to sample the album.

UPDATE: Sorry dudes, apparently Bob Dylan and Columbia haven't made enough money so I can't let you sample the album.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bill Clinton proves (again) that he is a candid and honest guy

"It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake. I had to live everyday with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did; nobody else."
I generally think that Bill Clinton is a good guy and one of the better presidents (probably from reading Lies And The Lying Liars That Tell Them by Al Franken). He did do some questionable things while in office, ranging from his free trade policies to his personal mistakes, but I think overall he has been given a bit of a bad rap and since his presidency, has been honest about his missteps in not intervening in Rwanda and recently, about how his free trade policies have destroyed Haiti's ability to rely on itself for food. Clinton's free trade policies also undermined food markets in Mexico and the issues of food security and barriers to self sufficiency are ones of great importance, so Clinton acknowledging this, speaking on behalf of the UN envoy to Haiti, is still an important and good thing. Check out the Huffington Post's coverage of the issue, it discusses some of the complex issues with tariffs on food and the U.S.'s rocky past with Haiti.

World Water Day

Check out the Big Picture's fantastic photo series commemorating 2010's World Water Day. It's a moving set that incorporates both beautiful imagery of water around the globe and thought-provoking photos that highlight water-related issues around the world including pollution, drought and climate change. From the Big Picture's post, I learned that National Geographic is giving away a free issue of their April issue entitled Water: Our Thirsty Planet which also highlights various crucial issues pertaining to water. You can download it here, but downloading it requires installing a program called Zinio Reader, which is a program that manages online magazine and print subscriptions. I downloaded it and it seems harmless enough but its up to you if its worth it for a free issue of National Geographic. If you do choose to download it, make sure you do it before April 2nd, which is when the free download expires.

Also coinciding with World Water Day is the release of the Story of Bottled Water, from the makers of the fantastic Story of Stuff. Watch it below:

Bottled water is whack, I've known for a while that Dasani and Aquafina are just glorified, expensive tap water. I do really enjoy Poland Spring but this video is compelling enough to get me to not buy bottled water.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Dinner Was Better Than Yours and other Sunday night musings

Sunday night, home alone, been procrastinating all day, the solution: heady dinner. Above you can see the meal fit for kings that I ate tonight:

- Salad (broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, Drew's Caesar Salad Dressing (no anchovies, essential) and pecorino romano)
- Tater tots
- Boca Spicy Chik'n Patty

That's a pretty fine meal if you ask. I even put just enough ketchup on my plate to last for all of the tater tots. I'm listening to this awesome compilation called Pomegranates: Persian Pop, Funk and Psych of the 60's & 70's, two awesome blogs that I read (and you probably should too), Glowing Raw and Exp Etc., recently did features on the album and I think I might just have to do my own. Cool stuff.

In other news, I'm super amped about the premiere of Life tonight on Discovery. It looks epic as hell, very similar to Planet Earth. Keep up with that.

I'll have some more music coming your way tomorrow, stay tuned.

Kisses- "Bermuda"

Absolutely love this track from LA duo Kisses called "Bermuda." The fact that they are a duo and write sunny, hazy pop will no doubt draw numerous comparisons to Beach House, but they have a unique flavor that has me really excited. Singer Jesse Kivel's voice calls to mind fellow melancholy crooners like Jens Lekman and Belle & Sebastian, while the music itself is more dance-oriented. Its heavy but simple clap rhythms and sunny synths remind me of those found in the music of artists like Discovery, Toro Y Moi, or Bibio.

Check out Kisses' beautiful "Bermuda" and be on the lookout for their debut album The Heart of the Nightlife, due out soon.

Kisses- "Bermuda" from Bermuda (via The Yellow Stereo)

Here We Go Magic- "Tunnelvision" and "Collector"

For some reason, I never bothered checking out Here We Go Magic despite the buzz they got last year. Man, do I regret that. I recently downloaded their new single "Collector" from their forthcoming Pigeons, due out in June on Secretly Canadian, as well as the track "Tunnelvision" from their self-titled album from last year. The tracks are wildly different but both fantastic. "Collector" starts with an urgent bass line and then explodes into a rhythmically driven blend of dancing guitars and frantic vocals. The track lies somewhere between the psychedelia of the band's first album and simple, upbeat indie pop, reminiscent of bands like Eastern Youth, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Deerhoof, Ponytail, or Sunset Rubdown.

Besides the similar psychedelic elements the two tracks may share, "Tunnelvision" is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The track is a haunting mix of repetitive rhythms and chants, droning acoustic guitars, and high pitched croons. The most obvious similarity in sound is to Grizzly Bear's Yellow House, though the track's lo-fi feel and shimmering guitars call to mind Ariel Pink, Grouper and Animal Collective's Sung Tongs. Though both tracks are fantastic in their own way, I must say I prefer "Tunnelvision."

Keep your eyes and ears open for Here We Go Magic's second LP Pigeons and a possible write-up on their first album soon. Until then, enjoy streaming both tracks below.

Here We Go Magic- "Tunnelvision" from Here We Go Magic (via You Ain't No Picasso)
Here We Go Magic- "Collector" from Pigeons (via We All Want Someone To Shout For)
More tunes on Myspace

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bluebrain- Soft Power (2010)

Last night, my friend Connor and I attended the Brightest Young Things sponsored album release party for Bluebrain's new album Soft Power. It was kind of a spontaneous thing, my interest was sparked more by the promise of a DJ set by Molly Siegel (lead singer of Ponytail). The first time I heard Bluebrain was when they started playing at around 10:45.

Quick review of the openers: Molly Siegel was awesome. You could tell she wasn't really used to doing DJ sets but her eclectic samples and heavy beats had me dancing. DJ Empath followed with a set of ridiculously heavy dubstep, which was fucking awesome, not much more to say about that.

Then it was time for Bluebrain, the band I had come to see without ever hearing them. I had a good feeling though, just from the fact that the only things on the stage were two opposing podiums filled with mixers, sampling equipment and keyboards. Each podium had four mics hovering above it running into the mixer; I was excited. My good feeling was validated about three seconds into the first song: Bluebrain is incredible live. In addition to the pummeling beats, blaring synths and echoing vocals that came blasting from the speakers, the brotherly duo had a huge screen behind them displaying some trippy visuals that fit perfectly with their wild music.

I'm stupid and didn't buy their debut LP Soft Power but you can find some of their music online luckily. Their mp3s don't really live up to the brilliance and intensity of their live show, but they still showcase the bands undeniable talent and creativity. Think of a smarter version of MGMT, layered vocals, driving percussion and layered vocals, mixed with with the more chilling, lo-fi weirdness of Nurses. Definitely keep an eye on this band because they are already creating a buzz with the release of Soft Power.

The record release also marked one of the first shows for D.C.'s new U St. Music Hall and it's definitely a cool venue. Intimate with a lot of bar space and room to dance. Up and coming DJ Tittsworth will be there this Saturday, so check that out if you're in the DC area. Check out three tracks from Bluebrain's Soft Power below.

<a href="">Ten By Ten by BLUEBRAIN</a>
<a href="">Caught Up In The Laughter by BLUEBRAIN</a>
<a href="">Royal Blue by BLUEBRAIN</a>

Additionally, you can find two tracks from Bluebrain's EP Cult Following here. Check out the band's website for more music and info on upcoming shows.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tobacco- Fucked Up Friends (2008)

If you dig: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73, Four Tet

I don't understand how anyone could honestly not like Tobacco's Fucked Up Friends. On the album, Black Moth Super Rainbow leader Tom Fec uses the psychedelic palette of bubblegum sounds that his band uses: the warbling flute lines, buzzing synths, spacey percussion, vocoders, etc. But Fucked Up Friends has a unique focus on rhythm, giving it a more hip-hop feel. Though much of Black Moth Super Rainbow's work has always featured impressive rhythmic and percussive background, Tobacco allows Fec the control to construct short variations based on brilliant blends of strange psychedelia and engaging beats. Fec's preference for analog devices gives the songs a mysterious vibe, sounding both futuristic and old and haunted at the same time. Fec described that the album is inspired partly by "fucked up" 80s workout videos and the songs' energy and weird sounds (along with its fantastic cover art, seen above) perfectly convey the "awful yet good and curious" Fec claims he is trying to achieve.

"Truck Sweat," my favorite off the album, starts with a crunchy snare beat and a foreboding ascending loop before exploding into a weaving mix of bouncing synths, flutes and warped vocals. "Berries That Burn" alternates between space age synths and hammering bass and drums. Right in the middle of the album there is an awesome feature by Aesop Rock, though I think Tobacco's stuff is ultimately better sans rapping. To me, the beats are just to compelling and layered to not pay attention to.

Games- "Everything Is Working"

The track "Everything Is Working" by Games caught my attention because apparently one half of Games is Dan Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never. I've been jamming the shit out of Oneohtrix Point Never's Rifts, an overlooked 2009 gem (check out when we were younger & better's feature on Rifts). Games are little more straightforward than the expansive drone and ambient of Oneohtrix Point Never (the other member of Games is Joel Ford of Tiger City), I guess they channel a little bit of the chillwave sound that has been popular recently, though let's just disassociate the two right now because I hate using that word. "Everything Is Working" uses warped vocal samples, dreamy synth loops and a driving beat to create a final product that is both complex and catchy. Check out "Everything Is Working" and be on the lookout for Games' debut EP That We Can Play.

Games- "Everything Is Working"
from That We Can Play (via Chocolate Bobka)

Cults- "Go Outside"

This cool track by mysterious Brooklyn duo Cults is getting some hype and it definitely shows some promise for the band. The sing song melodies and tropical, punchy percussion of "Go Outside" bring to mind acts like The Ruby Suns or The Flaming Lips. The band has made "Go Outside" and two other tracks available for free on bandcamp so check that out or stream the song below.

Cults- "Go Outside" from Cults (via Weekly Tape Deck)