Archive for October, 2008

The Wrens

October 24th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Though this week’s band of the week has been around for nearly 20 years and made two stone-cold classic albums, not too many people know them. Unfortunately, this is often the case in the world of music. This week’s band of the week is:

THE WRENS!!!

The New Jersey alt-rock quartet formed in the late 80’s and released their first album in 1994. However, it was on 1996’s Seacaucus that their greatness became apparent. The album is way too long at 19 tracks but there’s no question as to the consistency of the set. Each song bristles with anger, excitement, exuberance and heartache. Although my age was still in the single-digits in the mid-90s, I’d choose Seacaucus as the defining document of the time over Nevermind anyday.

In 2003 The Wrens released the VERY long awaited follow up, Meadowlands, an album steeped in disappointment, bitterness and despair. Though those elements had been present in The Wrens’ music already, time had only brewed those emotions to a new level of intensity. If there’s one album that makes me scared to enter whatever this thing “adulthood” is, it’s Meadownlands. Songs like “Happy”, “Hopeless” and “Ex-Girl Collection” are incredible and proved that even though The Wrens were older, their explosive sound had only become more volatile with time.

Last night I was telling a writer for the Dal Gazette the problem I had with a lot of today’s bands. I said that a lot of bands are more interested in making interesting sounds playing with drum machines and synthesizers than they are with creating music that actually speaks to people. The Wrens make music that speaks volumes about all the important things in life, not just lyrically but in the emotion conveyed in every note, every chord and every sound. That’s why they’re this week’s BotW.

http://www.myspace.com/wrensthe

The Submarines

October 19th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This new glimmery Death Cab-esque indie pop stuff is growing on me, I’m sorry, I can’t help it. This week’s band of the week also uses synth-pop aesthetics and computerized drum beats over which they dramatically sing in harmony with themselves. But damnit – it’s pretty good. This week’s band of the week is…

THE SUBMARINES!!!

No, not The Subways, another band I at first confused them with. The Submarines make that new oh-so-trendy indie-pop music that all the sensitive kids are gushing over. But…is it a crime to be sensitive? The answer: yes. Just kidding, I’ve also got the entire Morrissey discography (except for the prog albums) on my iPod.

So yes, the composition style of The Submarines is pretty much identical with that of Death Cab so we’re talking lots of pretty melodies, drum machine beats but there’s also the female-male singing thing going on (you don’t see that in too many bands, ahem, Arcade Fire, Besnard Lakes, New Pornographers and basically every band on Arts and Crafts…)…And the obvious use of pro-tools. BUT IT’S REALLY GOOD AND CATCHY!

Look, if you’re all jaded and pretentious and stuff and don’t want your friends seeing this kind of stuff on your iTunes then don’t check them out, don’t buy or dl the album, just ignore them. However, if you don’t care about that and are up for a good band with killer melodies that may be guilty of just a little over-sentimentality, then check out The Submarines. They’re good.

http://www.myspace.com/thesubmarinesmusic

Prince

October 12th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is an artist who’s been creating innovative and exciting music for over 20 years. Sure he’s had his ups and downs, he’s been praised and ridiculed but we still love him because his music kicks ass. This week’s artist of the week is…

PRINCE!!!

Yes, the man who changed his name to a symbol is this week’s band of the week.

Prince is an artist in the truest sense of the word, creating original work using the latest resources available to him, constantly building upon what’s come before him and making it his own. He’s not a big man, but Prince is a musical giant, influencing everyone from Of Montreal to My Morning Jacket.

In the 80’s, his use of synthesizers and drum machines paved the way for a million imitators who sound ridiculous today, while Prince was always so ridiculous that his awesomeness is timeless.

Prince has a couple masterpieces, Purple Rain and Sign of the Times being the most notable of the bunch. He’s written scores of super-classic songs like “1999”, “When Doves Cry”, “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain”. In addition to being a great song and album, Purple Rain is also a half decent movie (mainly because of the killer soundtrack).

The last couple years have seen Prince make one hell of a comeback; he played a great Superbowl show, delivered a stellar performance at the Grammies with Beyonce, and embarked on insanely successful tours.

As the years go by and the 80’s continue to look dumber and dumber, Prince still stands out as a true artist who’s weathered the years well and continues to stand among the most respected of rock’s royalty.

Pacific!

October 5th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week hails from Sweden, a country known for it’s uber-melodic composers ever since ABBA took rainbow-pin-wearing communities by storm back in the day. (Note: even I kind of like ABBA, they wrote some damn good songs) Anyways, this week’s BotW leans more towards ELO than the flamboyant foursome. This week’s band of the week is…

PACIFIC!!!

Indeed, Pacific! are a crew of Swedes who dig highly melodic, highly synthesized music. Everything you’d expect from a big, synthetic pop production is here. They’ve got big, pitch-perfect harmonies, walls of synthesizer, nice little bleeps and bloops, drum machines and just-enough reverb.

For many, the music might sound just too manufactured for enjoyment, but for others the solid construction of the music and the wealth of tight melodies will be more than enough. Songs like “Sunset Blvd” and “Number 1” – off their album Reveries – are absolute classic pop songs that would be instant number 1s had they come out 30 years ago, when good music actually seemed to get heard. The rest of their album is pretty solid also, although the second half could use another big, fast pop song amidst the slower ones. Regardless, it’s thoroughly a good listen.

If you weren’t crazy about the super-experimental bands I’ve been posting about lately, you’ll probably be good with Pacific!. That exclamation mark in their name is well deserved.

http://www.myspace.com/musicpacific

VIVIAN GIRLS! ROCKIN VIDEO! BATS!

October 4th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

So, today Pitchfork (-groan -oh shut up you stupid uber-hipster) gave the Vivian Girls album an 8.5 and named them best new music. Of course, this always sends shockwaves through the hipstersphere/blogosphere and I was obliged to see if this band was a revelation (Besnard Lakes) or another overhype (Frightened Rabbit). Then again, I have to be careful, because I sometimes end up liking bands I at first dismiss (Arcade Fire). I’m not sure if I really like the Vivian Girls yet but I do know that their video is awesome and they’re at least worth hearing if not worth liking.

In the video, the three girls (who look like they just walked out of the Scooby Doo movie) sit in a “car” and “drive” through a “forest”…or something…check it out…

http://pitchfork.tv/videos/vivian-girls-tell-the-world

http://www.myspace.com/viviangirlsnyc