Silversun Pickups – Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)

Silversun Pickups are set to release their new album, Neck of the Woods, on May 8th.  The band’s third full length, I was sure that they would continue down their path of 90s nostalgia/unabashed Smashing Pumpkins loving.  I might be wrong.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I love all their previous efforts; but more importantly, I love that they add just a slightly sharper feel to my beloved shoegaze.

Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) starts off with an electronic and harmonious symphony that builds like a tidal wave… and then dies off.  I was worried.  I was afraid that they’d just spent 1:12 on nothing.  I’d forgot how nutty Brian Aubert can be.  The song keeps you tightly in pocket for the entirety of it’s five minutes and some odd seconds.  The drums are still the way they always are (which is not a bad thing!) and the bass drives as normal; but it’s really Joe Lester (the button pusher) that shines this song all the way til the end.  (Turn up your monitors and key in at 4:40.)  Joe owns this song, which makes me think that SSPU is hopping on the 80s vibe, but this song is too damn spacey to label it like that.  It’s part video games, part chant: but the backbone is still shoegaze.  I’m pretty sure I’ll still be looking at my feet and driving with the windows down to this album.  Can’t wait.

Check out the new track!

Check out the band’s site for pre-order details! (Yellow Wax… Hooray!)

/enjoy

 

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Beach House Blooms

On May 15th, Beach House will release their fourth LP, Bloom.  I was lucky enough to get to listen to the album today, and I just can’t really explain how excited I am to put the needle to the wax on this dream-pop masterpiece.

Myth, the first track, was leaked several weeks ago, and shortly thereafter, became available to purchase/preview on most websites/services.  I was really excited when I first heard this track.  The dreamy vibe of Teen Dream is eroding away in the sands and the nightmare of Bloom is what we are left with.  The lyrics (just on Myth) are more personal feeling, more angst-filled, more prone to seclusion.

“Found yourself in a new direction, aeons far from the sun.”

You can really feel the influence of Brian Wilson as they caress the music into a squall of simplicity.  The music is rich and full but brittle at the same time.  Victoria’s voice burns beautifully, almost Nico-esque, just barely being able to comprehend and decipher what she is even moaning into the microphone…

The rest of the album builds on that frustration.  I think there is a chance that the album will get good reviews, but just as High Violet for The National; I think there is also the chance to see some very mixed reviews of Bloom.  My guess is that it will be received well, but there will be those reviewers that constantly exercise their penchant to cry, “It sounds like the last album!”

Those fuckers apparently didn’t listen all the way to the last note.  The constant craving for the American single is so disgusting to me these days that I can’t really justify buying anything unless it is in album form.  I want the full story.  I don’t want the instant gratification.  I want a complete concept.  Bloom is the best album I have put my ears to yet this year, and it hasn’t even released yet.

The track Lazuli comes pumping in like an 8-bit dream and then proceeds to punch you in your chest with electronic verve as thick as the Great Wall for about four or so more minutes.  The lyrics are horrific: by that I mean, they conjure up some of the most beautifully grotesque images in my head.

Other notable tracks are the jangling On the Sea and the epic (and personal favorite track on the record) Irene.

The only thing I can say about Irene:

“It’s a strange paradise.”

Check out Myth here.

Visit the band’s website here.

/enjoy

The State of Media Affairs. (AKA… we all have bad taste.)

So, Natalie Portman said to Zack Braff in some coming-of-age movie (Garden State), that the Shins would change your life…  I don’t know who wrote that line, because they are most definitely wrong; however, it is hard to deny the power of movie, marketing, television, etc. to sell records (or at least shuttle popularity).  The fact is that media sells music.  It puts an image to a feeling and people get goosebumps and then go out and spend their hard earned dollars on their newest obsession.  For instance, there’s been a rash of people waltzing up to me and asking me if I have heard of a band called the Veils recently.  (I blink strangely because I’m wearing a faded and old Veils shirt…)

“Why, yes… I have heard of the Veils.”

yada yada yada… then some rambling about Jesus for the Jugular being on some television show.

Initially, it generally makes me upset to see bands get their due from a quick snippet on a television show, but I am glad nonetheless…  and here are some instances where I shamelessly hopped on the bandwagon thanks to media.  (Cheers, television!)

1.  Mojave 3 – Running With Your Eyes Close:  The only reason I know this band is because of a Sears commercial that aired sometime in 2007.  The commercial showed some woman in a flowery dress running through a field or something like that.  The music played along perfectly and because of that I searched it out and became a fan.  (I’m feeling so generous I am bringing the music to you this time.)  Key song to check out by Mojave 3 is the nine minute symphony Bluebird of Happiness.

2.  Medicine – Time Baby III:  Sure, the song came out about the same time, but the movie locked this band into my top playlist, permanently.  The Crow soundtrack is probably one of the best soundtracks I have ever purchased.  If you like grunge or shoegaze music, I suggest this OST.  The Medicine track to check out Miss Drugstore.

3.  The Five Stairsteps – Ooh Child:  I’d heard the song plenty of times before, and I have always cared for the song, but it wasn’t until watching a kid’s movie, Bridge to Terabithia, that I really enjoyed the song.  Check out Zooey playing part of the song here.  (You have to fast forward to 10:10.)

4.  The Veils – Vicious Traditions:  Even my beloved Veils were off my radar until 2007, when I saw the movie, Mr. Brooks.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend it.  I don’t own it, but… I kind of wish I did.  Listen to a cool Veils song here.  (As a side note: most lyrics that you will read on the interweb for this particular track are horribly wrong.  BUT, if it makes sense to you, then by all means.  After all, there is a bathroom on the right.)

5.  Nine Inch Nails – Just Like You Imagined:  I’ve always been a fan of NIN, but it was slapping Just Like You Imagined on during the trailer for the movie 300, and I can barely listen to any other record than the Fragile now.  Watch the trailer.  It’s almost better than the movie.

/enjoy

“I Swear the Next Time I’ll be Better!” (AKA… 7 Sophomore Albums)

A lot of the time, bands come out swinging on their first record.  And then, a lot of the time, they shit out.  However, there are those cases when the band decides to do a better job on the second record.  I feel rather basic; so, I am just going to list them off and say,

“They’re good.”

  1. Dirt by Alice in Chains: followed Facelift.
  2. The Flying Cup Club by Beirut: followed Gulag Orkestar.
  3. Swoon by Silversun Pickups: followed Carnavas.
  4. Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins: followed Gish.
  5. Nevermind by Nirvana: followed Bleach.
  6. House With No Home by Horse Feathers: followed Blood on the Snow.
  7. Ænima by Tool: followed Undertow.

/enjoy

Seven Singles You Should Own

The single is so under-appreciated these days.  We all buy (yes, I said BUY!) one song that we hear/heard on the radio on loop seventy-five times a day, one song that was on that trendy movie soundtrack, or the one song that everyone told me to go buy because it’s popular.  But what about those other weird tracks on those singles that never get purchased?  I think they call them B-sides?  And some of them are absolutely genius.  Take a look at some of these singles, as not only the A-side is worth it, the B-side is perhaps even better yet.

1. Mistaken for Strangers – The National, B-side – Blank Slate: I chose this particular single for the simple fact that 8 out of 10 times, I would rather listen to Blank Slate than Mistaken for Strangers.  Not because Mistaken for Strangers is a bad song, but I would rather listen to Blank Slate because it is an oddity for the National – slightly more upbeat, still driving.

2. 5ive – Medicine, B-side – Time Baby II: The B-side to one of the greatest tracks on Shot Forth Self Living is a pretty damn important track.  It turned into a track called Time Baby III that appeared on the OST for The Crow.  The problem?  Time Baby II is even better than its successor; it’s lighter, more punchy, and a touch more poppy than the tar and feathered in shoegaze Time Baby III.

3. Who Feels Love? – Oasis, B-side – One Way Road: The song intros with birds chirping and one of the waviest guitar riffs.  Noel bathes a little in psychedelia on One Way Road.  I’m proud of the senior Gallagher on this track.  Well constructed and produced exquisitely, you’ll forget that there was even an A-side to this single.

4. Good Day – The Dresden Dolls, B-side – A Night at the Roses: I have a secret soft spot for the ‘punk cabaret’ duo.  Maybe it’s because I got a big sweaty kiss from Amanda Palmer, or maybe it’s because I really enjoy that Bukowski way she delivers her lyrics.  The line, “Who says we can’t touch ourselves to keep from getting bored?  Nothing else is touching that’s for sure…” is worth a hell of a lot more than the piles of shit-filled jewel cases and sleeves that get called music these days.

5. Lavinia – The Veils, B-side – Citadel: The A-side to this single could be played on loop until I die, and I probably wouldn’t mind.  It’s sweeping and dramatic.  Maybe over-dramatic.  Listen to Citadel and maybe Lavinia is a shell in comparison.  Finn Andrews is quite possibly the most masterful lyricist of our day, and I greatly anticipate the release of their next album.

6. Sometimes Always – The Jesus and Mary Chain, B-side – The Perfect Crime: “But it was easy, baby…”  That’s probably all I need to say.

7. Paperback Writer – The Beatles, B-side – Rain:You know, I was in a bit of a debate with myself over this, because the problem with a lot of older B-sides is that a good lot of them have songs that are found elsewhere on the LP.  But, you can’t get Rain on an album until you start getting into compilations much later on.  So, I really love the hell out of Rain.  It’s got that dancing bass that Paul is just so damn good at.  And yes, this song is 1000 times better than Paperback Writer… but that’s a fun song, too.

/enjoy

Five Albums You Should Be Ashamed Not To Own

Let me preface this by saying that:

  1. My opinion is shit.
  2. There are many more than five records you should be ashamed not to own.
  3. They are in no particular order and they might not be new or safe or old or whatever…

BUT, let me say that if you aren’t compelled to immediately buy everything on this list, then you are probably not concerned with music and probably only listen to it when it’s:

  1. On in the car.
  2. At your homecoming dance.
  3. At the club, and you were grinding/getting grinded on (ground, maybe).
  4. On at some retail venue/in a movie/ambiance. 

So…

1. Harvest by Neil Young. 

Don’t tell my wife, because I pretend to not like Neil Young here and there, but sometimes when I know I’m ‘all alone at last’ I put this record on and just sit in my chair (that rocks back and forth – it’s from IKEA…) and watch the paint chip.  It’s a brilliant record.

2. Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys

Sure, it’s considered one of the most influential records of all time, but it’s the blend of insanely complex orchestrations (that include everything from voices to peas snapping) and simple, heartfelt lyrics that create the most beautiful songs ever penned.  Key track that had to go through the ringer before Mike Love would let Brian Wilson say what he really wanted to say – Hang On To Your Ego.

3. () by Sigur Rós

This album can best be described as the euphoric adventure of driving your car off a bridge and into a river.  You won’t understand a word Jonsi is saying, but it doesn’t matter.  When people tell me they listen to music for the feeling (mostly people who listen to hip-hop, strangely enough), I wonder if they have ever heard this guy croon…

4. Howl by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

I’m a little confused how B.R.M.C. ended up producing a record that felt a little folksy, but this album has a unique feeling.  It reminds me of listening to V.U., pretending to be cool.  Maybe actually achieving.  I’m pretty sure that just wearing a black jacket will get you labeled a fan of this band. 

5. Alligator by The National

Buy a bottle (better make it a case) of whisky.  Drink.  Listen.  Repeat.  Even if you’re a woman you might come out with a beard when you emerge from your cave.  The bad thing about the National… the cave only gets deeper.

—-Enjoy. More to Follow.