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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time (And Time Again)

LOOSE L!PS' 10 STEPS TO BECOMING A
SUCCESSFUL NEO-FUNK PRODUCTION DUO
AND THE TALK OF THE BLOGOSPHERE


1. Shroud yourselves in “mystery”
2.Release music videos starring other people—namely, black dance crews—causing the media to jump to the conclusion that the stars of the video are in fact you, despite the fact that you have never stated such. Not to mention, loads of music videos star actors or dancers rather than band members.
3. Release single artwork featuring aforementioned dancers that aren’t you.

4. Let the media assume you really know what you’re doing, genre-wise, because you are a POC.
5. Design sweet bomber jackets emblazoned with your super sweet logo; put them up for sale months before your full-length LP is even a whisper.
6. Start playing shows. As yourselves.
7. Have media realize you are actually skinny, pale, white guys.
8. Let them be chuffed about it. Chuckle at all the ‘cultural appropriation’ grumbling
9. Start giving interviews as yourselves. Suffer through a billion “WHY” questions about your identity and initial presentation.
10. Have it all not matter because your music is really, actually, completely awesome.

I present you: Jungle, with the sounds of summer 2014. Stream their debut album.
Or just make one yourself; you now know all it takes.

Wish they would have released this as their first video so the media assumed they were grandpas.

Monday, July 14, 2014

All The Rage Back Home

Interpol have released a new single and it is better than it has any right to be.
No, wait, I'm serious. Hear me out.

Interpol was my favorite band for the better part of a decade, but I was ready to admit that the era of my melancholy magnates was over. First there was the departure of enigmatic bassist Carlos D, the Interpol brand’s masthead and only redeeming element of their live show. Then came that disaster of a self-titled 2010 album—a plodding, uninspired lesson in tedium. The end was spelled: they were out of new tricks and the old formulas had begun to fall flat. So I bought the TOTBL 10th Anniversary deluxe pressing and resigned myself to the reality of a world where the only Interpol we heard from was the one that catches terrorists.

But then Interpol went and released All The Rage Back Home last week. The first single off of September’s El Pintor is alarmingly good, even excellent. It marks a return to form, but a more important return to function. That is, Interpol have stopped trying to sound like Interpol, instead achieving a sort of musical self-actualization. All the pieces of are here—from from interwoven guitars to a ruthless rhythm section, even a respectable bassline now provided by Paul Banks—but the band has managed to capture an intensity and honesty not seen since 2004’s Antics. The lyrics, which in any given Interpol song typically tow the line between completely genius and totally crazy (You’re so cute when you’re frustrated, dear/You’re so cute when you’re sedated, dear.), are inoffensively ear worm-worthy. Interpol have cut through the doom & gloom and done the improbable: they made a damn good rock song, by any measure. In A minor!

All The Rage Back Home - Interpol




Photo Credit

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trainwreck 1979

Hi. This is weird; I thought I was more or less done here. But I’ve been thinking a lot recently, and I might still have it in me. I just needed a motivator. It’s like when Brett Favre retired and then un-retired. Sure, Favre had millions of dollars as his motivator, but the real moral was that he loved the game too much to stay away. There’s some deep metaphor here with me being Brett Favre and football being music, but I’ll spare you that allegorical clusterfuck.

I will tell you about the motivator, though. If there’s one thing I could come out of retirement for, it’s Death From Above 1979. If you don’t know my DFA1979 saga, you can read through these old posts and learn all about it. But if you have a life and value your time, I’ll just sum up: I LOVE THEM MORE THAN MY OWN FAMILY. Soundtrack to my teenage angst, kind of thing. They released their first new track in a decade yesterday (a precursor to their first new album in a decade, out 9/9), and so in a gesture of “if they can do it, so can I,” I present you with Trainwreck 1979. It has the same raw power that made them so appealing 10 years ago, but sees that sound tightened and polished. As Asian Dan remarked, “This is what the Black Keys would sound like if they were good.” Touché.

Have a listen:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Subtle


Big industry awards often frustrate me. Be it the Oscars, the Emmy's, or the Grammy's, the nominees for these types of shows often feel all-too-predictable, seeming more the result of bureaucratic processes than true appreciation. But every once in awhile, a gem of an underdog gets the recognition they deserve in the form of a nomination. This year, we're cheering for Mikky Ekko, the Tennessee songwriter who's duet Stay with Rihanna (perhaps you've heard of her) received a nomination for Best Pop Duo Performance. But while Stay is an undeniable smash, it would have been cool to see his more recent collaboration with Active Child, the incredible Subtle get a nod, too. But hey, baby steps.


Subtle (feat. Mikky Ekko) - Active Child



While I gush away about his collaborative tracks, I have to note that Ekko is a formidable performer in his own right, evidenced by his summer single Kids, which you definitely need to check out.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Hello Again

Hey fellow countrymen, have y'all had enough of the cold weather yet? Me too. But don't worry, I know just what you need: JAMAICA.

Sadly no, I am not running a contest to fly all my readers to paradise, but close. JAMAICA -- the insanely catchy, pop rockin' French duo -- are back after years of doing whatever French musicians do between albums (smoke a lot of cigarettes, look cool, and eat bread probably, idk) with their sophomore release, Ventura. While the album drops in March, its befittingly monikered first single, Hello Again, is here now. It has every bit of the bouncing beats and jangling guitar work we remember from the band, with a markedly tighter, polished finish. This preview has us pretty darn excited for the rest of the album, but as for now -- a snow day never sounded so good.

You can preview the song below, but if you want a download link, you've gotta head over to the band's website.
Go, Go!

Hello Again - JAMAICA