Posts Tagged ‘band of the week’

The Horrors

August 23rd, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week went from over-hyped, over-stylicized Britinanicans to a pretty solid, respectable band. The band of the week is…

THE HORRORS!!!

Actually, the truth is I kind of liked The Horrors‘ early stuff. “Sheena Is A Parasite” was kind of cool and it had that The Thing-homaging/ripping off video to boot, which was cool. But they were so overhyped as the next big thing by NME – as they are wont to do – that nobody could possibly take them seriously. So they took their time and eventually released the album Primary Colours, which moved away from the horror/camp vibe they were sporting before, trading it in for something more nuanced, interested in druggy sounds and pop structures. It was basically a good set-up for Skying, which is without a doubt a work of neo-shoegaze, whether the band intended it to be or not. However, from listening to it, I would definitely push towards ‘intended’.

Skying sounds a lot like that moment when shoegaze was starting to fade over to britpop, as Pitchfork accurately pointed out in their review. Basically that means it’s got the beautiful walls of shimmery, churning guitars, but it’s also got those stupid-ass britpop beats. I never like them, but whatever. So no, this isn’t the band’s answer to Loveless (the only thing that every came close to a decent answer was the Lily’s In The Presence Of Nothing) but it is a very well made answer to the best work of Ride and Lush, which learns from many of their mistakes (sounding too cheesy, bad lyrics, forgetting to write melodies). Also, Farris Badwan‘s low, moody, and very British vocals notably hold steady in contrast to the shaky and bad effects-laden vocals of many of the bands from the era of the aforementioned influences

So yeah, like a lot of other neo-shoegazers making stuff better than the original post-Loveless crowd, The Horrors succeed because of strong songwriting. But I already kind of alluded to that. You can check out “You Said” below (complete with seizure-inducing video) if you want to see what I mean. That chorus is a beauty.

Handsome Furs

July 6th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is a minimalist rock duo that works within their limitations, developed their own unique sound, and though it began as a side-project, has gained the respect to stand beside it’s off-shoot band as a near-equal. The band of the week is…

HANDSOME FURS!!!

I was thinking about doing a ‘Have You Heard The New…Handsome Furs Album?’ post a while ago but I heard it when it leaked and didn’t write about it, and then it came out but I’d already been listening to it for months so whatever, this will be the compensation. Because I really liked their new album and really wanted to talk about it and the band as well.

I feel like Handsome Furs began simply as an excuse for Dan Boekner to make music with his wife Alexie Perry. Then it became an excuse for them to take really sexy pictures together. And then go on ‘honeymoon’ by touring around Europe. I don’t know how true all of that is, but I like the idea of it, so I’m going to keep it. Dan Boeckner being Dan Boeckner though, of course, writes amazing songs, and so Handsome Furs became an awesome band somewhere in the process of their making Face Control.

Another thing about Handsome Furs – it’s a band about concepts. While Wolf Parade has to be more of an awesome rock band with a bunch of awesome songs and albums, Handsome Furs gave Boeckner an opportunity to challenge himself free from the context of Wolf Parade, and so he limits the band to guitar, synth and drum machine. The second album was conceptually about Eastern Europe and what the culture and politics there reflects on our world and on the human race, while the third album is supposedly inspired by adventures out even further East in places like Burma. These challenges and concepts that Handsome Furs undertake have so far kept the band inventive, interesting and edgy. And perhaps what I appreciate most is that Handsome Furs seem to focus lyrically on the issues facing the world these days, though they often write songs that could be interpreted as songs about relationships and/or politics, although the lyrics are pretty impressionistic most of the time and contain snatches of both topics. They rarely follow a narrative, though sometimes they do (Boeckner’s song “Yulia” off Wolf Parade‘s Expo 86 does) to greater or lesser extent.

I feel like these days very few indie-rock bands are really writing about the world, or if they do, they try so hard to be ‘profound’. In 2004 when Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade first burst on the scene it was in vogue because everyone was pissed about Bush. We’ve still got the same problems seven years later but the Arcade Fire have lost that international spark they had on the first album (anyone remember “Laika”? Who else googled that?) and now are just really mopey…though they’re still great. But Spencer Krug has totally gone inside himself and his crazy visions for inspiration – no more “I’ll Believe In Anything” anthems. And who else is doing stuff? What other indie-rockers are really writing about the world? For that reason alone, Handsome Furs is amazing, because they’re out there, traveling, seeing, meeting other cultures, other regimes, and writing singing about it.

The Greenhornes

March 26th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is kind of famous by proxy of another band, which itself is also famous really because of another band. However, they’re still a really legits band. The band of the week is…

THE GREENHORNES!!!

You – yes, you reading this – sort of, kind of know The Greenhornes. Maybe your eyes scanned their name quickly once or you overheard something or maybe you caught the song of theirs that was used in Jim Jarmusches‘ film Broken Flowers. The reason you kind of know them is because bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler are the rhythm section in The Raconteurs – their band with Jack White and Brendan Benson. What most people don’t know is that they’re a great garage band in their own right who’ve been slogging it out since 1996.

So, as we all know, about 10 years ago we had the garage rock revival in which The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives and The Vines spearheaded a return to like…good music. That way also included The Greenhornes, who made a kind of lunge for the big time also, most successfully with their 2002 album Dual Mono. In years to come the album may seriously be recognized as a classic (out) of its time. It’s just a solid album with classic retro rockers (“Satisfy My Mind”), dark smoky duets with female singers (“There Is An End”), and pure, shameless power-pop (“Gonna Get Me Someone”).

They made an EP that was released on the once-really-cool V2 label before that fell apart and the rhythm section got recruited by Jack White for not only The Raconteurs, but Lorreta Lynn‘s backing band on the incredible Van Lear Rose album (that White produced). Their latest album – their first since 2002 – is 2010’s ****, or ‘Four Stars‘.

Truth be told, the album sounds very after the fact. The sound of the early 00’sĀ garage rock revival that The Greenhornes continue to sport feels dated, and they’ve lost the momentum that one could feel in the excitement of Dual Mono. The annoying thing is that it’s not like garage rock isn’t still popular, but now what’s in is to sound like lo-fi psych-garage rockers updating the sound of bands like The 13th Floor Elevators (Black Lips, Harlem, Strange Boys). But damnit, they still know how to write some killer songs – namely, “Song 13”. True, it’s not exactly groundbreaking lyrically, but it’s just a phenomenally well-composed piece of rock. The lyrics work beautifully even if they’re not the deepest, and the production and arrangement are just spot on in every way.

The Greenhornes are not a band that deserves to die out, no band that can write songs this stellar should. If they can push themselves to stop writing overly-retro songs like, “Need Your Love”, they’ll be alright. I don’t expect it to happen and it most likely won’t, but whatever, they’ve made some truly great music. Most of us wish we could say the same.

Wye Oak

March 19th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

Oy, I’m totally falling behind on my bands of the week. So yeah, this will be a quick one. The band of the week is…

WYE OAK!

Yeah, these guys are getting some hot press right now for their great new album, Civilian. They’re kind of like this cool, ambient ‘adult’ pop band from Baltimore, maybe with some folk overtones and shoegaze tendencies.

The album is just phenomenally well put together, the songs feel beautifully constructed, full of feeling and incredible, semi-melancholic melodies wrapped together in appropriate, ‘pretty’-leaning production. It’s weird, I was listening to it thinking, “This album is like ten thousand times better than the new Strokes album, but of course ten thousand times more people are going to hear that than this.” Such a shame. Tis the music biz.

And yeah, I’m loving it right now. Really good song: “Two Small Deaths“. That’s about all I got for today.

Anamanaguchi

November 21st, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is possibly the best chiptune band out there. Period. I saw them play last weekend at Korova Milk Bar and they killllleeeeeddd it. Everyone was jumping and dancing and people were crowd surfing and there was strobe light; soooo awesome. Anyways, the band of the week is…

ANAMANAGUCHI!!!

Now famous primarily for soundtracking the Scott Pilgrim vs. The Word: The Game, Anamanaguchi is a New York-based four piece. Their songs are created with a hacked NES and a Gameboy, but live they perform as a rock band with drums, bass, and guitars.

Now, that’s pretty cool in itself, but what really makes this band special isn’t their perfected method of chiptune performance, but their songs. These guys know how to write incredible, instrumental pop songs. The hooks and melodies are astounding. You wouldn’t think that lyricless, video game-esque music could touch your heart – but it can. Just listen to the swooning “Mess” or “Dawn Metropolis”, they don’t need lyrics, your brain can feel in the heartfelt blanks.

Seriously, I was hearing them for the first time when I saw them last week and I was practically wetting my pants out of sheer ecstatic joy. Songs I’d never heard before had me humming along, tears ready to burst out of my eyes. That’s how amazing it was. I think they may be one of my favorite bands right now, and I just saw heard them for the first time last week. For relz.

http://www.myspace.com/ikouja