Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eux Autres stage faux Muppet Show for Under Rays video

Who doesn't like puppets?

Eux Autres have a new video for Under Rays, a neat little song made better by a video full of Fraggle Rock-esque muppets. I think you'll dig it.

Eux Autres - "Under Rays" from Nicholas Larimer on Vimeo.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What We're Listening To - Yuck's s/t

There's nothing really overly phenomonal about Yuck's sound. They're playing music that's sweetly derivative of 90s fuzz sound melody masters like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and Buffalo Tom. It's music that for me is evocative of sitting on the couch and watching The Real World: Boston for some odd reason.

What Yuck lacks in lyrical maturity (no I don't find rhyming crucifixion, benediction, addiction and affliction to be all that interesting) they make up for spades in tuneful chops. Georgia rules with its sweet girl-guy harmonies, along with Rubber, Sunday and Suicide Policeman for their gentle melodies. The four-minute Rose Gives a Lily shows a band comfortable enough with their instruments and source material to do eschew lyrics all together.

It's a perfect lazy springtime album, one where melody and youth reign supreme.

Buy Yuck's self titled album at Amazon's mp3 Store

Monday, February 21, 2011

What We're Listening To - Telekinesis' 12 Desperate Straight Lines

On tour , Telekinesis' Michael Benjamin Lerner has taken to covering, of all things, Justin Bieber's Baby.

Ignore that it's Bieber. The lyrics are a simple broken heart love song, and Lerner strips away the production and makes it a wonderful tune.

And this ability to capture, interpret, and express such youthful emotions made the Telekinesis debut an irresitible album I found myself listening to over and over again (it was our Best Album of 2009).

But what the first album captured so perfectly with it's tales of falling in love, 12 Desperate Straight Lines captures succintly the reverse feelings of breaking up and being hurt. Lerner lost a love and got a bad case of vertigo, which would affect anyone. But he adheres musically to the formula that he's perfected: quick power pop songs, with splashes of guitars and effects to break it up a bit.

He goes a little harder with 50 Ways, a nod to the cheesy Paul Simon song ("There truly are 50 ways..."), and even a little Cure-y with Please Ask For Help. He cleaned and sped up his 2010 Record Day and Parallel Seismic Conspiracies EP single Dirty Thing, stripping away the fuzz and distortion and adding a toy piano. It's a different take, but the first iteration is a beautiful kiss off.

But it's still the same Telekinesis, rocking it on Car Crash, having some delirious redemptive fun on Gotta Get It Right Now. The latter is a song my two-year-old loves, singing along to the simple "ba ba ba" chorus. You probably will too.

Stream and buy Telekinesis 12 Desperate Straight Lines at Merge Records.

Buy Telekinesis' 12 Desperate Straight Lines at the Amazon mp3 Store

What We're Listening To: Radiohead

This one certainly snuck up on everyone. Out of nowhere, Radiohead decided to self-release a new album via the Internet, informing the masses through Twitter, Facebook, and their email listserv. I didn't have to think twice about purchasing the album, and after two listens, they didn't dissapoint. In Rainbows could be considered a return to form, after 2003's heavy and angst driven Hail to the Thief. With In Rainbows, Radiohead honed their craft by cutting out all of that Bush induced anger, and focusing on the music. Their new album, The King of Limbs, is heavy on synthesizers and electronic noise (for a lack of a better word), but it doesn't exactly pick up where Kid A left off. Instead, it plots new ground, creating a musical world that is as mysterious as anything they have done before. The songs flow together extremely well, and before you know it, the album has finished as quietly as it began. This is the sound of the twenty first century. Go check it out!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What We're Listening To - U.S. Royalty's Mirrors

The buzz around DC band U.S. Royalty reached me before I had even heard anything. I think a coworker told me to check them out, or I heard them on a podcast, or possibly saw a poster at a club. Who knows.

Mirrors is an effort that barrels out of the gate and mellows quickly, trying to hold in big guitars and meandering lyrics and vocals. After a short instrumental piece, nothing has as much swagger 60s psych rock as second track Hollywood Hollows. And it's probably just as well, because the band shines better when it's not doing that. Monte Carlo, Vacation Vacation, Old Flames are solid pieces of Americana rock (less southern, more hazy... think Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket). Fool to Love You is a good finger drumming jam, probably even more so live.

But there's Allman Brothers/Lynyrd Skynyrd touches there, like Give Up The Ghost, with its Muscle Shoals stomp in the front and Freebird uptick on the backend. Fun all the way around.

This will no doubt be a big year for US Royalty. Catch them live before they get too big.

Stream for free and Buy US Royalty's Mirrors for $7.99 directly from the band at its website.

Or the other usual suspects have it as well (Amazon, iTunes)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Singled Out - Lady Gaga's Born This Way

I don't ever feel really bad about singling out tracks from clearly outsized pop stars. I might not ever write a full review of one of their albums, but the Singled Out kinda says "This is worth a grabbing."

Which is the way to think of Lady Gaga's Born This Way, a fist pumping, synth dance party, 180 beats per minute, Pride parade motivational chant. Like you can seriously feel the disco lights flooding out of your speakers as this rocks. At 4 minutes it doesn't seem quite long enough, like it's begging for one of those crazy 12 minute extended club dance remixes.

This is the closest Gaga has come to Madonna musically, and she is paying serious homage to the Material Girl. Express Yourself, Like A Prayer, even a little rap break down a la Vogue (and just as silly: "Don't be a drag/Just be a queen/Whether you're broke/Or evergreen").

I'm eager to see where this goes in May with her full album. She's an interesting creature and talented musician, though I think most of the time her message (if there is one) gets muddled. Here's hoping for clarity on the full release.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

White Stripes No More

The news that the White Stripes are calling it quits kinda struck me as odd, since I thought they pretty much had arrived there. With Jack White reviving the careers of formerly great country singers, his band the Raconteurs, and Meg White doing God knows what, I can't tell you what the last White Stripes album was (Icky Thump apparently).

I only own one White Stripes album (Elephant), so I'm by no means an authority on their music. But I love Elephant, and the energy and confusion it holds. But as great a showman and guitarist as Jack White is, it's Meg White's drumming that always drove me to lke what they did. She often sounds like she's going to tear a whole in that kit. I love it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stream Telekinesis' 12 Desperate Straight Lines over at NPR

On February 15, Telekinesis will drop its sophomore effort, 12 Desperate Straight Lines.

You can preview these dozen immediately catchy, power popped rock songs at NPR's First Listen, a place quickly becoming the go to site for indies to stream their new releases. While there, check out Bright Eyes new album too.

And when you finish listening to 12 Desperate Straight Lines, go to Merge Records and preorder it (and also pick up the mp3 Car Crash to tide you over for a week). They might still have some Telekinesis pencils left.