Tame Impala - Lonerism
Australian space-rock Tame Impala’s (Modular Records) latest release Lonerism (October, 2012) delivers a good mix between psychedelic stoner vibe and radio friendly beetlesesque music. If you figured that these two style could never really blend then you’d be correct. The record could be divided into two camps, shit you’d listen to with your unemployed friends and stuff a cellphone company would license to sell more hardware. In spite of this gapping dichotomy the record still plays out pretty well and seems to get away with a lot the more you listen to it. The fact that they are from Perth is nice, the west coast of Oz needs to take the spotlight from Melbourne and Sydney every now and then.
Check out the track Mind Mischief and get psyched.
Two years ago I tried to get to Chicago for the Pitchfork music festival (sadly my press credentials were rejected - surprised?) and have since longed for the day to return to the windy city for an outdoor concert. This year, Lollapalooza is making that partially possible with a live stream of the whole concert. Think about how amazing that is… anyone who can’t afford a ticket can just watch it live online. Genious.
Zach Condon and his low pitch ‘whiney’ harmonies are coming to Montreal on July 17th. The accordion and trumpet quartet known as Beirut have really developed a strong fan base in spite of avoiding the usual markers for pop success. There is a subtle appeal for Condon’s song writing that seems to stem from his years of recording music in his home in New Mexico as a teenager. His travels through Europe seem to come through the music so literally that the comparison to Irish and eastern euro sounds are hard to avoid. “Gypsy styles to the alternately plaintive and whimsical indie folk of the Decemberists,” alleges the bio on allmusic.com. It also can’t hurt that Condon seemed to be around and involved with bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and A Hawk and Hacksaw – bands that gained cult followings before any industry charter was written about them.
If you have to hear one song from Beirut, Santa Fe will have you hooked http://beirutband.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/02-Santa-Fe.mp3
Beirut are currently on tour for their 2011 release The Ripe Tide; check for shows in your hood. http://beirutband.com/shows/
The Shins, new album, Port of Morrow
The best thing to come out of Albuquerque, New Mexico are set to release their fourth full-length in March 2012. James Mercer is the only surviving member since the hiatus he threw down after the completion their last tour in 2009. Unlike the reshuffling of certain bands where removing some key parts did not go over so well (John Frusciante, RHCP), Mercer is the chicken-and-the-mash-potatoes that is The Shins. It still remains to be seen if the fresh insight of his new band mates takes Mercer into a direction his loyal fans will come to actually appreciate, something his Broken Bells side project did not do, receiving only lukewarm reviews. It’s hard not to expect a great record based on Mercer’s sheer song writing talents, but it has been argued that a musician’s creativity starts to run dry after 10 years – The Shins first album Oh, Inverted World, was released in 2001.
Listen to the first single on their website, theshins.com
Short Art Film, Flying Lotus
As far as short art films go you can get some pretty awful stuff, mostly because of the loose interpretation for the meaning of “art” mixed with the sheer simplicity and accessibility of making and uploading a film (which is a good thing but you have to take with the good and the bad). Film maker/Hollywood actor Kahlil Joseph and editor Luke Lynch put together a damn good short film using veteran DJ Flying Lotus’ music as the score. One can get deterred from interpretive-dance videos but this film sows together images and music with perfect stitching. There is nothing typical about it, yet it touches on familiar scenes in a way the news and movies seem to wash over. If this is not the music video for the actual song, somebody at warp records should just pay Joseph and Lynch anyway.
Parlovr - Chicken Soup for the Kook Soul
Two years ago I walked in on a show where a trio of guys in their 20’s were ripping through a noisy set with the symbols blaring and the keyboard being hammered – it looked like fun but judgementally I did not see a long musical carrier for these guys. What happened to the Parlovr I shamefully dismissed? Truth is nothing changed for Alex Cooper (yes, Alex, not Alice…) and his band of mostly art-rock sounds with a touch of pop and ambient noise, one just needed to spend more time with the music to know there is a genius to Parlovr’s songs. Learning they released their latest record Kook Soul on Dine Alone Records, a mix of melodic vocals with non-traditional arrangements, it makes perfect sense sharing a label with Hot Hot Heat, City and Colour, and Tokyo Police Club (among so many others). They are starting to get noticed, the album has made the long-list for the Polaris prize this year, and though there are many great bands worthy of the top 10, Parlovr deserve the nod for the short list in 2 days.
Polaris Prize 2012:
Japandroids Play Two NYC Sold Out Shows
Much like the White Stripes or The Black Keys, the duo that is Japandroids are able to produce so much on stage energy they’re shows are said to personify party-rock if there was such a thing. Rolling Stone reported in late June the Japandroids, touring their follow up to the 2009 Post-Nothing album, ”ripped through every song off Celebration Rock.” Much of the evening was played to the harmonization of the crowd singing along with guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse, to which King noted the crowd at a Japandroids show is a member of the band. “Are you the fucking third member of the band when you see Coldplay?” King boasted. The NY Times said they sounded loose and invigorating hoping the crowd would get in on the party, suggesting they were not polished or over-rehearsed. Yet the Times compare Japandroids to some pretty big acts that wasn’t without merit. “There are bits of the Clash as well as of the Replacements in the energy and directness of this band, but also a touch of Springsteen.”
It’s nice to see a small Canadian band sell out two shows in NYC. In 2008, on their first visit to the big apple, no one came to the show.
The Avalanches – rumour, new album in 2012
It has been more than a decade since the critically acclaimed Australian group The Avalanches put out there seminal 2001 release Since I Left You. This is a group that samples thousands of records to pieces together a surprisingly coherent sound and craft it into a song. Dubbed “plunderphonics” as music style, only because it’s too easy to call it electronic-turntable-mixy-stuff that sounds almost orchestral.
Both Metacritic and LastFM have said there is an album planned for this year but looking at their website and the FB page, there is little mention of another cut coming soon. Unfortunately this ongoing rumour is likely not even news worthy, The Avs have been known to hype a new release, starting as far back as 2005. It just might be the longest lasting ‘string-along’ in music right now, something akin to when Axle Rose promised another G’n’R album. When Chinese Democracy finally did hit, it felt old and one couldn’t help but think that the reason Axle took so long to release it was because it wasn’t worthy. Skepticism aside, Paste Magazine did speak with the band in December, 2011 and said to have dropped some possible album names: On a Saturday, Friday Night Fever, or Hi! However, the article equally mentioned that there is no timeline for the release and, “knowing The Avalanches, it could very well be a while.”
*They do have some free downloads of more recent singles so check out their myspace page. http://www.myspace.com/theavalanches
The chatter is brewing that At The Drive In are getting back together after 11 years. A group that seemed to destroy the idea that hardcore music couldn’t be accessible, was at one moment forcing music lovers to rethink their White Zombie t-shirts, then suddenly closed up shop and moved on to other things (Mars Volta). Spin Magazine reported that a seldom used ATDI twitter account made the announcement January 9th. “ATTENTION ! To whom it may concern: AT THE DRIVE-IN will be breaking their 11 year silence THIS STATION IS …NOW…OPERATIONAL.” The tweet seemed to translate the excitement quite literally.
Watch for more news (and noise!) in 2012