Tuesday, May 26, 2009

UPDATE - The Dead Weather//Regina Spektor//YYYs

Jack White's supergroup, The Dead Weather have released another track from their upcoming album, Horehound. On "Treat Me Like Your Mother", Alison Mosshart and White spit brash lyrics and get a little more wild, but this is nothing new. The music of White's bands possess a striking, grooving style, and it is always fantastic, except the sound of each band is similar. Consistently good, but dispiritingly similar. For example, if you omit Mosshart's voice from The Dead Weather, you will basically be hearing The White Stripes. That is just a generalization though. Listen to the track here, or download it and be the judge.

The music video for the new Regina Spektor single, "Laughing With" debuted today. It is not on the web yet, so pick it up on iTunes and pre-order Far while you're at it.

Regina performed a simpler version of the single "Blue Lips" on Jools Holland last week. Backed by a string quartet, she soulfully sang while her fingers dashed across piano keys. I have been watching this video of the performance constantly for the past few days and it has blown my mind.

In their latest music video, Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform their second single, "Heads Will Roll" for an apathetic audience and an uninvited guest. Craving human flesh and YYYs synth-pop single, a wolfman crashes the party and proceeds to dance like Michael Jackson until he decides to go on a bloodthirsty rampage. At least he is dressed for the occasion. It is a party after all. Watch it here.

There Is No Better Title For This Album

As a girl who only listens to The Eminem Show and Encore, it is obvious I was never an enthusiastic Eminem fan. I have not avidly followed the prominent white rapper throughout his music career but I have listened to enough of his music to confidently say that his latest album, Relapse, is the musical relapse and downfall of Marshall Mathers. I can't say I'm surprised and I can't say I'm disappointed, but the Eminem I enjoy can do much better than this. 

I am bold enough to say that every track on the album seems uncoordinated. Eminem raps slowly and awkwardly about the same topics we have been listening to for years, such as his mom, drugs, the media, celebrities, and more. The beats and sound effects that thump behind his words are generic and boring as well. Overall, the music just falls flat. This album was supposedly his comeback after years of fighting his drug addiction, but while he has recovered his music has suffered. Just listen to the obnoxious chorus of the hit single, "We Made You" and the irritating, drawling rap on "Must Be the Ganja." You will see what I mean.

Yet maybe I am being a little harsh. He is better than Asher Roth... But then again, that's a given.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Shins' Return

On Sunday, May 17, the Wellmont Theatre was filled to capacity. The balcony was full, and by the time the opening band stepped onstage, there was barely floor space to stand. Packed like sardines, people young and old anxiously waited for the show to begin. They were there to see The Shins, the band that is sometimes described as the template for indie rock perfection, so it was understandable that the venue was overcrowded. This was also the first time The Shins have been on tour since promoting their third album Wincing the Night Away in 2007, so both fans who had seen The Shins a few years before and those who had never seen them live were excitedly anticipating that night. Once the lights dimmed, the dull murmur of voices exploded into whistles and cheers, generating a clearly joyous atmosphere in the Wellmont Theatre.

Before The Shins took the stage, Delta Spirit entertained the crowd. The soulful indie rock quartet combined their alt-country style with the banging of a trashcan lid and lead singer Matthew Vasquez’s screams to create a distinctive sound. Usually, the opening band barely satisfies the audience, but Delta Spirit succeeded in capturing the crowd's attention. Twenty minutes later, after Delta Spirit ended their set with the wild beating of multiple drums and a bluesy, piano-laced song, The Shins walked onstage. Barely waiting for the crowd to cease their thunderous yells, lead singer James Mercer signaled the band to begin.

Nearly everyone was able to sing along to each song The Shins performed. The second song of the night, “Phantom Limb” was known as the single off of Wincing the Night Away and “Saint Simon” from the band’s mainly acoustic album Chutes Too Narrow was greeted by another explosion from the audience. After every couple of songs, Mercer and the band took the time to talk to the crowd, declaring, “It’s movie night!” after he warned them not to see the movie Anvil unless they wanted to sob uncontrollably. Later, he asked if anyone had seen any good movies recently, while he sipped what looked like champagne from a wine glass. The Shins made sure to chat and interact with their adoring fans, bringing smiles and laughs, and of course fantastic music.

Later, the mood of the venue mellowed, partially because of the flashing, color-changing lights behind the band that changed to calming blues and greens.  It was then that Mercer flashed a grin and chuckled, “Let’s get melancholy,” before beginning the relaxing tune, “Those to Come,” which prompted the crowd to sway and sing along softly. The Shins then faded into “Sleeping Lessons,” a song that slowly builds to a crescendo that led to Mercer shouting and the crowd beginning to dance. The mass of people also cheered on The Shins’ guitarist, Dave Hernandez, during his solos and danced even more during “Australia.”

After The Shins left the stage that night, they returned to perform an encore for screaming fans. The Shins played their hit song, “New Slang” and a few new catchy and upbeat songs that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. During their last song, the guitarist beckoned two girls onstage and gave his guitar to one of the girls, who simply strummed along with Mercer’s voice. Afterward, The Shins thanked the crowd and walked off stage, signaling the end to an incredible night.

Arctic Monkeys Thaw Out

This summer, Arctic Monkeys are returning from their two year hiatus. While lead singer Alex Turner was promoting his side project, The Last Shadow Puppets this past year, he and the rest of the Monkeys were also writing songs and constructing Black Sabbath-influenced riffs for their third album. Supposedly there is going to also be some R&B influence and more psychedelic sounds present on the record, so the Monkeys' should sound interesting this time around. Check back for more updates on the album.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

UPDATE - Bombay Bicycle Club//The Dead Weather

British quartet Bombay Bicycle Club are preparing to release their debut album, I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose later this summer. Scheduled to drop on July 6th, the album includes a handful of very old and brand new songs. Their next single is "Dust on the Ground" and it will be released on June 29th. For now, you can watch the official video of the song here. Tracklist below:

1. Emergency Contraception Blues
2. Lamplight
3. Evening/Morning
4. Dust on the Ground
5. Ghost
6. Always Like This
7. Magnet
8. Cancel On Me
9. Autumn
10. The Hill
11. What If
12. The Giantess

The Dead Weather have chosen a release date for their debut. Horehound will arrive on July 14th and tickets are on sale for the North American tour right now. Alison Mosshart will be snarling through your speakers soon enough.

I've Got A Lot To Say Part II

Kevin Barnes and Co. are not messing around. While on tour to promote their latest album, Skeletal Lamping, the indie art-rock group released new EPs and singles that are leaving me begging for more. As a devoted oM fan, I have been listening to these new tracks religiously. I definitely recommend the Gender Mutiny Tour - Single and the acoustic goodness of the Sony Connect Set - EP. More new music can be found on the Suffer For Fashion - EP, which includes a rollicking live performance of a new tune entitled "Tropical Ice-Land," and the single, "Jimmy." New songs have also been performed while the band has been on tour. Watch of Montreal perform the catchy tracks, "Coquet Coquet" and "Like a Tourist" at the Music Hall of Williamsburg below:



My favorite songstress, Regina Spektor has a new album entitled Far coming out. Set to drop on June 23rd, the album's two singles, "Laughing With" and "Blue Lips" are pretty and  intriguing. Spektor adorably discusses the production process and a few of the tracks here. Tracklist below:

1. The Calculation
2. Eet
3. Blue Lips
4. Folding Chair
5. Machine
6. Laughing With

7. Human of the Year
8. Two Birds
9. Dance Anthem of the 80s
10. Genius Next Door
11. Wallet
12. One More Time With Feeling
13. Man of a Thousand Faces

With a debut album that was pure pop perfection, but triggered insane amounts of hype and backlash, Vampire Weekend are going to have to pull out all the stops to create an equally, or maybe even more catchy sophomore album. Rumored to be released this fall, lead singer, Ezra Koenig says the album will have a recognizable Vampire Weekend sound. Also, some unique instruments will be incorporated and a few of the songs the band has been performing live, such as "White Sky," have secured their spot on the second album. All in all, this band dominated my Summer '08 playlist, altered my opinion on preppy nautical wear, and restored my faith in pop rock, so I have high hopes for Vampire Weekend and their sophomore effort.

I have been to two Vampire Weekend shows, one of them being the Central Park Summerstage performance where a torrential downpour made the experience even more enjoyable, and each time I saw him, I could tell that there was more to the silent head-bobbing keyboardist than meets the eye. Well, I was right, because Rostam Batmanglij, Vampire Weekend's keyboardist and producer, teamed up with Wes Miles of Ra Ra Riot to form Discovery. Since 2007, the pair have been creating fluorescent electro-pop and it was not until this year that they received copious amounts of recognition. Now their debut album entitled LP is being released on July 7th. Containing bright and spacey synth-obsessed tunes brought to life by Miles's soft croons, the album will also feature Dirty Projectors' Angel Deradoorian and Ezra Koenig. For now, listen to two of Discovery's songs here and check out the tracklist below:

1. Orange Shirt
2. Osaka Loop Line
3. Can You Discover?
4. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (ft. Angel Deradoorian)
5. So Insane
6. Swing Tree
7. Carby (ft. Ezra Koenig)
8. I Want You Back
9. It's Not My Fault (It's My Fault)
10. Slang Tang