After years of dreaming about it, two weeks ago, I finally made the move to Brooklyn. Every day I wakeup and walk outside here, and I think, “Yes. I made it.” And I think my living here finally has led me to better understand the music of Brooklyn. So I put together a little mix with just nine of the amazing bands that this borough can proudly claim as its own.
There is kind of an overarching Brooklyn sound. It’s tattooed and bearded. Fearlessly experimental. Almost sunbaked and windswept. And the musicians are incredible, but smart and talented enough not to fall into cliched patterns or sound overly ‘professional’.
So Twin Shadow‘s got a new album out called Confess and it’s really good. But is it better than his last album, Forget?
Honestly, I haven’t decided yet, but I don’t think so. That being said, it’s a very close call. Confess is – in accordance with its title – a more emotional album. It sounds more emotional – less slick. That’s not to say that George Lewis Jr. has lost his mojo – he hasn’t. But he’s definitely letting listeners in on some kind of sadness that exists below that sleek veneer. This means that Confess is actually a deeper, more interesting and rewarding album – but also one that’s a bit less fun than Forget. Cuz it was fun to root for the dude positioning himself as the Rapunzle figure who has girls bringing ladders to his window so he can come down and meet them; the dude who would steal chicks from other dudes who couldn’t dance. Come on, as long as the girl he’s stealing isn’t yours, you love that dude cuz he’s awesome. It’s a bit of a drag sometimes to hear that that dude is actually kind of sad at the end of the day.
But Confess is not a sad album – though it is an album that contains a good deal of sadness. The flip side of that coin is the rush of Twin Shadow‘s music and the lovely, no doubt hugely 80’s indebted sounds, especially those absurdly Prince-like guitars and synths. If the lyrics are lacking much joy, then you can find that joy in the sounds Lewis revels in re-creating. Indeed, Twin Shadow has always been a good source for pretty sounds.
I doubt any fan of Twin Shadow will be disappointed in Confess, and indeed a lot of things could have gone wrong with it. Luckily, they didn’t. Regardless of whether you prefer ladykiller Twin Shadow or sad ladykiller Twin Shadow, you’d be hardpressed not to still like both anyways.
Everything about this new track from Twin Shadow reminds me a lot of Prince – the upcoming album its coming off of, titled Confess; its dirty, choppy guitars; the part when he yelps, “There’s no way! Get it on!” or something. George Lewis Jr. himself (as he’s presented) also has that ambiguous works-for-everyone sexuality that Prince has. So is he ‘the new Prince’? In some sense, yes, because perhaps more than anyone around right now he’s fusing black and white music (at this point nearly archaic concepts, yet still somewhat existent) into a perfectly melded sound, and there’s the sexuality shtick (as just discussed) there in full force too. On the other hand, will he eventually display the ambition and complex, intriguing personality that made Prince such an icon? Can any artist in today’s indie world? Or has the field just changed too much to allow such superstars to exist (the last one possibly being Jack White)? Perhaps we gotta wait and see.
As a song, “Five Seconds” is great and if it forecasts anything about Confess , that should be a worth or more-than-worthy follow up to the awesome Forget. It’s got a killer melody, a great diversity of colourful sounds, and a solid driving beat, though perhaps one a little on the simple side compared to the intricacy of some of the ones on Forget. In terms of comparison to what’s come before, it sounds a little more 80s, a little more playful, but still just really cool.
Chris Taylor (best known as a member of Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear) seems like a pretty cool dude. If not, he at least does a lot of cool stuff. In addition to his day job in Grizzly Bear, the guy runs Terrible Studio in Brooklyn and produced some awesome records by bands like The Morning Benders, Twin Shadow and The Dirty Projectors. He also runs the labelTerrible Records which has put out cool stuff by Class Actress and Acrylics. Now he’s got a solo album coming out under the moniker CANT called Dreams Come True. Should be cool. Below is the latest track, “Believe”.
This year’s NXNE festival was phenomenal. The movies and conferences could’ve maybe been just a little, tiny bit better, but the bands were a knock out of the park. My only complaint would be that there were too many awesome bands. I had to make some tough choices. But that’s what a great festival should be like: an overbundance of awesome. And that’s what this year’s NXNE was. And the amazing weather didn’t hurt either. Here are are writeups for each day of the festival: