Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shine A Light

Hello again. After a three year hiatus from LL, I’d like to re-introduce myself via an indispensable track.

As LL’s primary purpose is to promote Goldroom and Flight Facilities, I thought I’d maintain the status quo by promoting the upcoming Flight Facilities album. Doing this without reposting Two Bodies for the millionth time proved to be difficult, however, so I thought I’d delve into one of my personal favorites from Oz, their remix of the C90’s Shine A Light

It’s hard to believe three years have passed since this gem was released. While it was ultimately lost in the buzz surrounding Crave You and Foreign Language, I would argue this as the quintessential FF track. No matter what’s happening in my life, this is one of those tracks that makes my problems melt away. Beautiful lyrics, a catchy chorus, and an introduction that grabs you in with cascading synths and simple, steering piano.

Kudos to Grand Theft Auto V for featuring this song in-game… during a mission where your character takes acid and jumps out of a plane. Well played.



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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Righteous One

We’ve all been there: Girl meets boy. Boy likes band. Girl forces herself to like band. It’s a tale as old as high school. Except sometimes it can happen in your mid-twenties. That’s how I—rather appropriately—discovered The Orwells.

Early this year, a guy I was really into told me I should listen to The Orwells. He sold them as “The new Strokes.” I listened. They weren’t. But I was really really into this guy, so despite their inability to fill the gaping Julian Casablancas-sized void **OMG PUN INTENDED** in my music library, I gave them another chance. And another. And then another. But they didn’t click. Their scuzzy, simplistic garage rock was catchy enough, but it lacked that certain something that I could either relate to or revere. Eventually, the guy and I had a falling out and I no longer had anything to prove, so I gave up on The Orwells. I chalked them up as one of those indie things I would never “get”, like Grimes. Or almond milk.

But then by happenstance, I started following The Orwells on Twitter. And suddenly: I got it.

I don’t often let musicians’ internet personas dictate my opinion of their artistic output, but in this case it made all the difference. I’d read profiles on the band, I knew their general backstory and style, but it wasn’t until I saw them referencing my old stomping grounds that I began to understand their point of view. You see, The Orwells and I have a lot in common. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, not 20 minutes from their hometown of Elmhurst. I too felt completely smothered by the suburban tedium surrounding me, misunderstood and maligned and totally claustrophobic. We both used music as an escape—The Orwells formed a band and toured the world, I shipped myself off to boarding school to study opera. It’s the same thing, really.

Their Twitter’s plucky, cynical commentary on pop culture, the music industry, and this suburban world I know so well resonates: they echo many of the sentiments and frustrations I’d had when I was their age. (Though fortunately, when I was their age we had AIM status updates in lieu of Twitter; I could have gotten into a world of trouble as a teen on Twitter.) And when I began to understand their teenage ethos, and to remember my own, I began to connect to their music. A night of hiding in your car to drink underage, followed by puking on the bathroom floor? Been there. Lamenting a town where everything closes at midnight? Done that. The Orwells are angsty suburban kids, and though I’d like to believe I’ve transcended, inside I’m probably still just an angsty suburban kid.

And so I realized I’d been approaching The Orwells all wrong. The Orwells are not The new Strokes by any stretch. The Strokes weren’t relatable—they were iconic. No one listened to Is This It and thought, “Oh yeah this describes my life.” The Strokes were cool: they lived in the cultural epicenter of America; they went to elite boarding schools in different countries; they had absent parents; they undoubtedly had access to the most incredible drugs. The Orwells, on the other hand, are not cool by cool’s standards: they grew up in the Midwest; they went to public school; their parents probably drove them to soccer practice; and—speaking from experience—the weed out here is shit. The Orwells make garage rock for people who know what it’s like to have an attached garage. The Orwells are one of us. I get it. I totally get it.

It’s fitting that I came upon The Orwells by rather immature means, as they seem to inspire the younger, rawer me. What other band could get me to show up to a 12:45 set at a music festival? Literally, none. I’ve never done that. But I’m so glad I did, or I would have missed the best moment of Chicago's Riot Fest, when frontman Mario Cuomo brazenly proclaimed ”WE’RE FROM THE SUBURBS” before launching the band into a song about the mall. It was punk as fuck. And for a moment, I was a little jealous of the teenage girls in the front row.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Red Eyes

I’m seeing The War On Drugs this weekend.
I needed to get that out first and foremost, because I’m so stupid excited about it. You know who else is excited about it? My dad. Yes, my dad and I are going to see The War On Drugs together this weekend, and that’s amazing.

It should be noted that this isn’t a common occurrence. At least, it hasn’t been for a decade. In the early 2000s my dad came to concerts with me — I needed a ride, and he thought it kept him hip. (He still pats himself on the back when he recognizes an Interpol song.) But I grew up, moved away, and could drive myself, so my dad and I haven’t had reason to see a concert together in ages. But The War On Drugs are special. Really, really special.

You’ve probably heard at least some of Lost In The Dream—the band’s marvelous third album—by now. If we’re friends, you better have. It is the rock album of the year. (And yes, I’ve already listened to the new DFA1979 album.) You’ve heard of a road movie, right? Well, this is a seminal ‘road album’ if I’ve ever heard one. It’s the musical equivalent of Easy Rider for the millennial set, with the heartbreak to match. Adam Granduciel has woven the ultimate soundscape of disappointment and longing, at once expansive and deeply personal.

Granduciel hasn’t set out to reinvent the wheel; he’s polished it. Indeed, this album could have been released any time over the last four decades and would have held up just as well. Granduciel has spent a lot of time absorbing the influences of his idols, from Dylan to Springsteen to Stewart, and it shows. While he pays tribute, he exalts himself to their level by doing it just as well. That’s what makes this album so special, and why it translates across generations. Many artists play homage to their influences; few are able to capture their essence so completely that they could be counted as contemporaries. This is an example of stylistic mastery—take note.

But anyway, dads should love this shit. Mine does, at least. You know who else will love it? You will. I promise. Just listen to the single Red Eyes. Or go a little deeper, and listen to the album's 9 minute-long opening track, Under The Pressure. You'll get it.

The War On Drugs play the AV Festival this Saturday in Chicago (with a slew of other great acts including Valerie June, Empires, and Mac DeMarco). Look for me; I’ll be the adult woman rocking out with her dad.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Not Your Mom's BBQ

This week’s post was supposed to be a little thinkpiece on Chicago’s suburbia / a love letter to The Orwells, but I got really caught up in making a playlist, so you’re getting that instead. Plus, it’s a holiday weekend, and who wants to read anything of substance over a holiday weekend? Not I. We’ll tackle suburbia next week. In the meantime, here’s a playlist meant to soundtrack your long, lazy weekend. Not Your Mom’s BBQ compliments the type of Labor Day that involves a small group of friends, grilled meats, and a lot of weed.

Pay special attention to the Angel Olsen track Forgiven/Forgotten, which I think encapsulates that atmosphere perfectly (and whose lyrics really spoke to me this week). Her latest album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, strikes me as a kind of working girl’s stoner rock: atmospheric but contained, raw yet pointed. With clever, often devastating lyrics, she has just the right amount of girl power without being campy. A better Best Coast, if you will. Check out and download the song, and stream it in the context of the playlist on Spotify, below.

Forgiven/Forgotten


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Till Sunrise

It’s pouring outside, my power is out, and today I saw three cars stuck in a flash flood (which I narrowly escaped). It’s the last weekend of summer and I was ready for some Blue Hawaii vibes, but things are shaping up to be way more Sharknado 2. Thank goodness for Goldroom. His latest track, Till Sunrise, will have you, me, and everyone we know feeling tip top tropical til long after summer ends.

Unfamiliar with Goldroom? Shame on you. Someone once commented to me that LOOSE L!PS' primary purpose seems to be promoting the music of Goldroom and Flight Facilities. That’s not the case, but it's not too far off. Anyway, if you’re going to make reading the hallowed pages of this blog a regular occurrence, you best acquaint yourself with one of our favorite artists, stat.



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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Somewhere Else Tonight

Before I begin, I want to qualify this by saying that it’s been a LONG time since I genuinely enjoyed a new “banger.” I’ve been way too wrapped up in repeat—nonstop—listenings of The Strokes discography. Sure, there are still club hitz I hold dear to my heart (ALL of Tiesto’s Kaleidescope — not ashamed), but that’s more or less because they elicit ecstasy flashbacks, not because they’re what I’m actively pulling up on Spotify. But when Mansions On The Moon sends me a new track, I listen. I listen good.

Ok. So. Somewhere Else Tonight is kind of a banger. One thing is for sure: it isn’t the MOTM I first met. It’s actually a far cry from the type of music that drew me to the band years ago. While they’ve always had electro sensibilities — even their earliest tracks included some heavy synth work — the initial incarnation of the band was markedly more tepid, characterized by a whole lot of falsetto and feelings. Somewhere Else Tonight sees them retain the lilting, melodic vocal lines that initially attracted me to the band, and undercuts it with a bass so booming I can Feel It In My Bones. (Yeah that was another Tiesto reference. Fuck with me.) There’s even a breakdown of sorts. But you know what? It works. It’s great. And after working with the likes of N.E.R.D., Diplo, and Mac Miller, who can blame them for leaning more towards a radio-friendly sound? And after all, there’s a reason the teens are into bangers. Bangers can be glorious.
As for this? This is pretty glorious.

Somewhere Else Tonight will be released on Mansions On The Moon’s debut album, due out in October. You can pre-order it here.

Photo Credit

Monday, July 28, 2014

Circles

Ennui has come a long way. What was once a criminally underappreciated four-piece recently morphed into a criminally underappreciated solo project, and with that lineup change has come a sort of renaissance. A loss in member quantity hasn’t proven detrimental to music quality, and in fact Jim Doutrich’s solo transformation has rendered Ennui’s already shimmering soundscapes grander, the atmospheric loops even dreamier. Ennui may have shrunk in stature, but sonically speaking it is soaring to new heights.

While Doutrich’s wistful, often aching vocal lines continue to serve as the cornerstone of Ennui’s output, you’ll notice a marked difference in accompaniment: The fuzzy guitars and a sparse drum kit present on 2011’s (excellent) Formation Of Tides have been traded in for an endless procession of lush synths. It’s an interesting progression, given that this is Ennui’s third album. Typically, synth-driven projects incorporate more traditional instruments later in their discography, as though making a push towards becoming a *real band* through the introduction of a full-piece live show. Here Doutrich has done the opposite, paring down a tighter, more manageable package. In doing so, the album feels almost like a half-decade throwback—the style harkens to the Hipster Runoff-christened “chillwave” movement. I loathe to categorize it was such, given that Doutrich’s musicality far surpasses any given 19 year old bedroom producer, but if you’re looking for that golden oldie sound of 2009 cultivated by the likes of Washed Out and Toro Y Moi, well, look no further. Anyone in need of a soundtrack to a day at the beach should have Telepathic Beat (due out in September on Mush) at the top of their list.

Ennui’s new work might feel somewhat nostalgic, but Doutrich is clearly looking ahead. On the album’s first single, Circles, he laments “I’m wasting away my years”, before launching into a credo of sorts, ”Turn away don’t give up / All the lines that you’ve crossed…Turn away, drift apart / Don’t go back to the start.” Given the history of the band, and Doutrich now embarking solo, it almost seems as a call to action; a self-motivating rallying cry. Change is hard, but Ennui is doing it for the better. Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.