Archive for January, 2008

Grandaddy

January 31st, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Who’s the band of the week? It ain’t your momma (though she tried to convince me to make it her…sexually…). It ain’t your pops. It ain’t even your brother-in-law. This week’s band of the week is…

GRANDADDY!!!

Grandaddy got started in the early 90’s making noisy lo-fi indie recordings which helped them build a bit of a fanbase, but it was in 1997 that the group had a bit of a breakthrough with the album Under The Western Freeway. They continued to release critically acclaimed album but broke up in 2006. Listening to them, one can hear where bands like The Shins, Midlake and Beulah got some of their ideas.

Grandaddy’s sound could probably be described as the missing link between Weezer and Radiohead with bits of the Elephant 6 Collectives soundiology thrown in for good measure. Their melodies are solid pop and often very playful yet they dabble in technological experimentation and at times the space inherent in their sound is reminiscent of Nigel Godrich’s production on albums like OK Computer. Singer Jason Lytle sounds alot like Wayne Coyne.

What’s probably most impressive of the group is how current they sound, despite their most popular albums being released a decade ago. It would be only too obvious to say they were ahead of their time.

So check em out, why not? You might really get into them.

Video for “Nature Anthem”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSer4wdHvm8warning: features LOTS of people dressed as animals…kinda terrifying…

http://www.myspace.com/grandaddy

The Honeydrips

January 16th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Do you like your pop sugary and sweet? Well then you know that all the sugary stuff comes from Sweden now right? Peter, Bjorn and John, The Tough Alliance, Jens Leckman: all Swedes with a sweet tooth who released great albums last year. This week’s band of the week belongs in the same crowd. The band of the week is…

THE HONEYDRIPS!!!

With charming mid-fi production that dabbles in beats, spectre-esque reverb and jangly guitars, this mainly one-swede musical project is an absolute wet shroom dream for anyone who likes sunshine, lollipops and Teenage Fanclub albums.

All I’ve heard are the songs on the myspace (I tried to buy the album, at Soundscapes no less) and I already love this artist. The Honeydrips are romantic, cute as the Twee-est bands but their various influences no doubt range from The Byrds to New Order.

This is music to dance around in your room to with a big smile on your face. If it played in a club (and “Try Something New” easily could) everybody there would start hugging. It’s just so lovable and yet so well made and refined.

Check it out, especially the little Smiths nod “I Wouldn’t Know What to Do”.

http://www.myspace.com/thehoneydrips

Woods

January 10th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

So this week I went music digging because it was a great distraction which prevented me from studying for the math course im (just about) failing, does anyone else hate advance functions with a flaming passion?

I’ve been all about little bedroom masterpeices lately. I just love that lo-fi feel of an artist making beauty out of crap. Music sounds best to me recorded on a four-track with cute little bells and fun experimentation and double-tracked vocals. Some of my most endearing albums are those cheap ones that nobody ever heard like Skip Spence’s “OAR” and Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmo’s”.

This week’s band of the week used this aesthetic to make a fine little album. The band of the week is…

WOODS!!!

Yeah, another unknown, but that’s what music blogs are for right? Anyways, these guys are in some other band but they decided to go to a cabin in the woods (get it!?) with some recording gear and make an album of quiet, homey yet thoughtful indie-pop tinged with a bit of psych.

The songs are tight but far more interesting is the arrangements and production. Cheap (and gorgeous) sounding vocals in front of murky meat n’ potatoes drums. Fuzzy guitars or sometimes acoustic ones give the songs the requisite feeling they require.

People forget that setting has a huge impact on any album’s sound and feel. It’s one of the most essential things actually. Feist recorded her latest in some old manor or something and The Arcade Fire made Neon Bible in the basement of a church. Why? Because the feeling of an album is possibly the most important thing, maybe even moreso than the actual songs. Take Miracle Fortress’ disc. The songs are pretty good but what makes the album is the feel and production, which is absolutely superb in the vein of Brian Wilson. Woods realized this when they went to the woods and the feel they’ve captured on the songs I’ve heard is wonderful.

Make no mistake, this isn’t Iron and Wine. This is an indie-rock band making folk-tinged indie-psych rock. Think something along the lines of 60’s San Fran stuff, maybe Buffalo Springfield or something (although they were actually LA…same state).

Just check it out already:$

http://www.myspace.com/woodsfamilyband

Guide to Shoegazer

January 7th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Well, I’ve found that there might actually be one or two individuals who don’t mind these AND there’s a couple who enjoy one of the greatest and least known genres in music. The majestic shoegazer genre.

WHAT IS SHOEGAZER?

Shoegazer was this amazing style created around the late 80s/early 90s in which bands would use effects pedals to create huge spectre-esque walls of sound/noise and usually bands would sing overreal melodies over these. Often they would have repitive basslines and hypnotic rythms. It was called Shoegazer because the band’s were known to stand stationary onstage, staring at their feet (they had to because they used so many pedals).

THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN

Possibly the first shoegazer and if not, they definitly laid out the groundwork. These scots combined the noisy template of the Velvet Underground with the wall of sound of Phil Spectre and the pop sensibilities of his girl groups to create a unique and strikingly cool sound in the mid-80s. Their song’s alternate between harder rocking songs with spiked guitars and softer, melodic bubble-gum pop songs coated in feedback. Everything is sung in their zombie baritones and you don’t need to see them to know that they never take off their sunglasses.

http://www.myspace.com/thejesusampmarychain

Just Like Honey Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBlKcyfeoU (these guys had the WORST hair stylist on earth)

THE COCTEAU TWINS

This UK act combined surreal soundscapes with indiciferable lyrics and gorgeous melodies. Singer Elizabeth Fraser never sang her lyrics like they sounded and understanding what she’s saying is next to impossible…but it all sounds really cool. Guitarist Robin Guthrie used crazy effects to make everything sound like a dream and Elizabeth Fraser acted as the siren who just floats upon it all. The Cocteau Twins, like TJMC, are debatably shoegazer but moreso they’re pioneers of what was to become shoegazer. Still, their music is gorgeous, if slightly dated.

http://www.myspace.com/cocteautwinsmusic

Stills Video for Pandora: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAckMJd8zlA

MY BLOODY VALENTINE

The definitive shoegazer band. No band better exemplifies what shoegazer is and what could be done with it than Kevin Shield’s legendary crew. In no other genre is their a band or artist that completely defines their genre as definitively(maybe folk-rock and The Byrds, but that’s all I can think of right now). Their two best albums, Isn’t Anything and the classic Loveless, are both brilliant. The first is a little more of it’s time with more of a grungy-90’s alt rock feel while Loveless feels completely unique. Their lavaesque waves of guitar are absolutely stunning and their melodies were miles ahead of everyone elses. They played so loud that their bassist punctured an eardrum onstage. If you check out one shoegazer band ever, check out My Bloody Valentine.

http://www.myspace.com/mybloodyvalentine

Sometimes (fan video w/ lost in translation footage): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNTn-guJ3mw&feature;=related

SLOWDIVE

An incredible shoegazer band but very different from MBV. While most shoegazers followed MBVs template, Slowdive did their own thing and came up with their own fantastic version of shoegazer. Their sound was less noisy and more atmospheric and their pop sensibilities were less ethereal and more spacey. Newer bands like Young Galaxy and The Besnard Lakes owe alot to Slowdive’s heartbreaking sound.

http://www.myspace.com/slowdive2006

Allison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol787NjpBS4

SWERVEDRIVER

Swervedriver were a much harder shoegazer band than any of the aforementioned. Most Shoegazer’s wrote slow, dreamy songs while Swervedrivers were straight ahead rock but tinged with shoegazers psychedelic touch. Their sound hasn’t aged as well as Slowdive and MBV’s have but they still sound great, especially classics like “Never Lose That Feeling”. Their bright noisy guitars are fantastic.

http://www.myspace.com/swervedriver

Never Lose That Feeling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWE71HUXIbY

THE BOO RADLEYS

A band that evolved with the times, though they began as shoegazers. The Boo Radleys never got much attention outside of Britain though they were skilled popsters. They only used a bit of the shoegazer template to give their early sound more character. Even so, if your looking for more shoegazer because (like me) there’s just not enough, check them out.

http://www.myspace.com/78955129

Lazarus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rff9UPbrJk&feature;=related

Other shoegazers include Catherine Wheel, Ride, Loop, The Lilys (very good band), Moose and Lush. Check them out if your interested in hearing more shoegazer.

Anyways everyone, have a happy new year and hopefully 2008 will be a kick ass year. How could it not be? My Bloody Valentine are reuniting for it!