Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Kind of like the eerie digital malfunctioning MarbleHornets series, I've been listening to a lot of minimal elctronic music recently. E.I. James Blake, Flying Lotus,
- The 83rd Academy Awards um, happened? this past Sunday night. But Andy, old chap, how does this pertain to music, I say? Well, good question 1920's Englishmen reader. It almost entirely doesn't. Howevsys, what about those two little score and best song awards. Well, the song went to Randy Newman, who won for the third time after some 23 nominations. Normally, this statistic is more embarrassing than me talking to girls, but when it's for the greatest song in a movie all year long, It's pretty impressive. In more suprising news, former Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor somehow won best score. It's a fantastic score, and I'm really amazed that the Academy was willing to look past how unconventional it was and give it some dang respect.
- My friend's Natalie and Wilson saw Beach House in New York this week. No news, just thought that was cool.
- Dave Pajo left Interpol. I fell like I should find this important, but I've never really been introduced to the band, so oh wellzz.
- A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go to Moogfest over Halloween weekend this year. I had the time of my life, but I chose to not see a (seemingly) one-time Caribou/Four Tet show in a little club in Asheville. I chose instead to see Jonsi, and I still stand firmly behind that decision, as it was the best show I've ever seen. However, I did later play woulda shoulda coulda. However, the two techno stars announces that they will be releasing a limited edition vinyl collaboration in the near future. Buy it all night long.
- Wavves sucks. Not news, again, but it needs to be said.
- This week in Off Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All news, Mellowhype, the rap OFWGKTA duo of rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain
- Festival Smorgasbord
- The Roots annual The Roots Picnic lineup was released this this week, and this year, the Picnic, including shows by The Roots, Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Esperanza Spalding, Yelawolf, and Man Man, will be held June 4th in the Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA.
- The Glastonbury line-up hasn't been released, but U2, Coldplay, and Beyonce have been confirmed as headliners.
- The Solid sound Festival, Wilco's second annual fest in North Adams, Massachusets will take place June 24-26 and will include Wilco (Obviously), The Levon Helm Band, Thurston Moore, Here We Go Magic, Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, and comdey from Eugene Mirman, John Hodgeman, and Wyatt Cenac.
- Pitchfork dates and line-up were released today and am there. I will be there. Trust me. It has an amazing lineup. So far, Animal Collective, James Blake, Curen$y, Das Racist, Fleet Foxes, The Dismemberment Plan, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Woods, Sun Airway, Kylesa, TV On The Radio, Cut Copy, Deerhunter, Destroyer, OFWGKTA, and Yuck are on the bill with more coming later. This seriously looks amazing. Who's going with me?
I could go on and on this week, but everything has spawned from NPR's SXSW playlist. If you like the alternative music SXSW showcases, it's all too easy to get lost in this. Check it out here.
I did find this brilliant video. Be warned it's about a puppet committing suicide. Pear-ental discretion advised.
This is great too.
I've been digging through my dad's record collection some this week and listened to some Weather Report. The 70's jazz band had a huge impact on jazz and their bassist Jaco Pastorius. Give Black Market a listen.
Believe it or not, I never heard Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, in its entirety, until this week. As most people claim, it is really good. I'm not really into the whole deep thought lyrical genius crap though. I mean, it's not bad, but I don't think it's a magical earth shattering black hole of euhporical knowledge. The album stands out to me for its synthesizers. I did not expect the atmospheric lazer-ish soundscapes. And yes, I did watch some of the Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of The Moon in the background.
I pulled Van Halen's 1984 and Springsteen's Tunnel of Love out of the old collection, too.
Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
Raekwan - Shaolin Vs. Wu Tang
R.E.M - Collapse Into Now
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Wye Oak - Civilian
Sunday, February 27, 2011
The Who: 47 Years Of Maximum R&B
Many critics acknowledge “My Generation” as the most important track The Who would ever record. Despite the fact that it had an intensely different feel from nearly everything else The Who ever performed, "My Generation" projected both a sound and an attitude that was blossoming in 1960's London; a sound that would later culminate in iconic punk bands like The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Dead Kennedy. "Why don't you all just f-f-f-f-fade away", rooted the song, anchoring the in-your-face mentality without technically doing anything wrong. "My Generation" also features one of rock music's very few bass solos. Later in his career, bassist John Entwhistle would be famous for hardly moving an inch on stage, amidst the micro-phone slinging, fighting, and explosions occurring all around him. When asked what genre the band performed, the band claimed that they played maximum R&B, which was their take on the African American R&B and soul music growing in popularity in both America and England. The band very famously appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, playing “My Generation” and ending with Townshend breaking two guitars while Moon quite literally blows up his drum set. Legend has it that Moon bribed someone on the crew with a bottle of whiskey, and that the blast was the beginning of Townshend’s long-term hearing loss. 
Keith Moon takes to what he does best, playing drums like a maniac, in the sprawling drum solo "The Ox". Lasting an immense three and half minutes, the song is essentially the musical equivalent of a brawl between Moon, Entwhistle, and Townsend. The three take turns pouring their energy into their instruments as each one battles for the spotlight. The jangling piano running through the background adds to the overall pandemonium the song is concocting. This sound of mayhem was the one that carried through to the punk bands that would emerge in the coming decade. While the song may have been composed of something most punk would never have, solos, its energy was a phenomenon very fresh to the mid 1960's, and one that is still heard in rock bands today.
Cobwebs and Strange
The band's second studio album finds itself in a period of limbo, struggling to really put their foot down on a specific sound. The effect of this is a jumbled set of tracks with traces of rock genius, such as "Boris The Spider", "Happy Jack", and the album's title track, but also including some strange experimental rock that the band would never look back on. Cobwebs and Strange, while not quite as fluid as the previously mentioned tracks, manages to highlight how hard this band is trying to find a sound that is The Who. The song starts as a raucous marching band piece, transforms into another one of Keith Moon's fantastic drum solos, has a few moments of ska rock before spiraling out of everyone's control; except for Keith, that is. The song is one of the most experimental pieces the band would ever play and it left listeners stunned and frankly, worn out.
I Can See For Miles
The Who Sells Out is the point in The Who's existence where they started to sound like a band that cranked out two of the greatest rock operas of all time. "I Can See For Miles" starts with the epic sprawling sound that many of the band's classics build up with. The harmonies were starting to shapeup, and the songs had more structure than some of the confusing pieces from the first two records. The record would prove to foreshadow the concept albums the band is so well known for today. With the cover featuring pictures of lead singer Roger Daltrey in a tub of Heinz baked beans, and lead guitarist Pete Townsend applying Odorono brand deodorant, as well as playing on various jingles throughout the album, the album would ironically do just the opposite of what the title says. Many of the companies used in the jingles and the cover art sued the band for copyright infringement.
1969 marked the release of Tommy, a first of its kind rock album about a deaf dumb and blind boy who plays the best pinball in town. "I'm Free", the climax of the album, is about a very excited Tommy who has recently shaken all of his ailments to see the world for the first time. The song is not bad, but it is a pretty great example of how a lot of Tommy is simply not as solid work as the rest of the bands discography. At this point in time, Pete Townsend seemed more focused on making his ideas work, than using what the band already had work effectively. The world, however, did not share this sentiment, as Tommy would go on to sell 20 million copies and spawn a movie deal, which featured an incredibly high-heeled Elton John playing inside a giant pinball machine.
Won't Get Fooled Again
"Won't Get Fooled Again", despite being overplayed by the commercial industry, remains to stand as one of the best rock songs of all time. The legendary epic, released in 1971 amidst cries of revolution and corruption in the government in England, was The Who's answer to the whole situation: none of it matters. "And the parting on the left/Is now the parting on the right./ And the beards have all grown longer overnight", yells an ambitiously apathetic Roger Daltrey. The hit appeared on the critically acclaimed Who's Next, along with other hits such as "Baba O'Riley", "Behind Blue Eyes" and "The Song Is Over". Who's Next derived from Lifehouse, another Townsend penned rock opera that actually caused Pete to suffer a nervous breakdown. The album would go on to sell millions and certify triple platinum status.
Love Reign O'er Me
Some consider Quadrophenia to be the last great album by The Who. The album was yet another double-sided rock opera, this time about a mentally unstable young man and his bike in the middle of a vicious street war between the punkish "Rockers" and the new uniform "Mods". The album featured some classics such as the title track "Quadrophenia" and "5:15", but the easy standout is the albums closing song "Love Reign O'er Me". The track, starting out with a very cinematic rainfall and a twiddling piano, churns and churns into a cathartic scream for love. The release of Quadrophenia was also one of the most destructive periods for The Who, which is saying a lot for a band that wrecked thousands of dollars in equipment every night. In one especially noted case, Keith Moon passed out twice during a 1973 San Francisco show, the latter instance leaving a fan in the crowd to fill in for the night. 
Imagine A Man
The Who By Numbers is considered my many critics as the beginning of the end for The Who. The album simply doesn’t include the musical gravitas of the music before it. Many of the songs are Townshend experimenting with his songwriting rather than his ability to make music. This resulted in songs like “Imagine A Man” that, while not bad, don’t hold up to the high standards the group had placed with Who’s Next.
Who Are You
When Who Are You was released August 18th, 1978, the album peaked at number two on the U.S. charts and featured the same heavy synth that propelled Who’s Next. This acclamation was, however, silenced, as three weeks after it’s release, drummer Keith Moon passed away in his sleep from an overdose of an alcohol withdrawal suppressant.  The news was devastating to the band as much of their music hinged on his frantic schizophrenic drumming. Saddest of all, Keith’s most destructive days appeared to be behind him as he was trying to sober up. “Who Are You”, a song that encompasses the Maximum R&B label the band had given itself, is one of the last great tracks the band would ever produce with Moon.
You Better You Bet
The band was never the same without Moon. The Who did have some success with new drummer Kenney Jones from The Faces and new keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick. This new feel is especially evident in “You Better You Bet”, a track that sounds as much like Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band as The Who. Shortly into the Quadrophenia tour, a few months before the release of Face Dances, the band played a show in Cincinnati that would go down in history. Due to inadequate security measure, thousands of people pushed a crowd forward to get in the arena before the show started, killing eleven and severely injuring eight others. The band was not told until after the show, for fear of a riot if the show was to be cancelled. The concert deeply affected the crew who talked of canceling the tour. The next night in Buffalo, the band dedicated the performance to those that had been involved, stating, “We lost a lot of family last night. This show’s for them.” 
In 1982, after both Daltrey and Entwhistle attempted solo careers and Townshend had become addicted to cocaine, heroine, alcohol, and tranquilizers, the band got back together to record one last album and go on the supposed last tour. It’s Hard had mixed critical success and sub-par ratings on the charts (for The Who). After the tour, the band released Who’s Last, with live recordings from the last tour. The album received the worst criticism of any Who album ever, peaking at 48th on the US charts worst of all being almost universally acclaimed as “dull”.  “Athena” is one of the better tracks from It’s Hard, but it still isn't on the same level as the pre-Quadrophenia era.
A Man In A Purple Dress
Endless Wire, complete with yet another mini-opera, as well as the same ambitious song writing and arranging that made The Who one of the most loved bands of all time, is the latest record from the band. Entwhistle had died in 2002; just weeks after another reunion tour began. The album is considered by most critics and fans as the best effort since the original line-up released Who Are You, 28 years prior. However, not everyone believed in the return to form, as Keith Phipps of the A.V. club stated, “In 2006, how much could an album of just the increasingly raspy Roger Daltrey singing songs about how difficult it is to be Townshend matter? The answer: More than you might think, but less than you might hope.”  “A Man In A Purple Dress” is not The Who of the 70’s, but how can anyone expect it to be. Townshend focuses on what suits the band best now, songwriting, in this eloquently written ode to the religious hypocrites. As of right now, Endless Wire is the last album from The Who, a band that helped change the face of rock, punk, and even R&B forever.
 David Hajdu. (February 12, 2010). The Who on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour". In tnr.com. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-famous-door/the-who-the-smothers-brothers-comedy-hour.
 Ted Drozdowski. (February 22nd, 2011). The Song isn’t Over: Pete
Townshend’s Who’s Next Tone Still Going Strong After 40 Years. In Gibson. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://gibson.net/en-us/Lifestyle/Features/the-who-0222-2011/.
 Sam Whiting. Quadrophenia U.S. Tour 1973. In Quadrophenia.net. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://www.quadrophenia.net/1973tour/us.html.
 (September 7, 2008). Remembering Keith Moon 30 years after his death.
In therockradio.com. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://www.therockradio.com/2008/09/remembering-keith-moon-30-years-after.html.
 (December 17, 1979). Music: The Stampede to Tragedy. In Time.com. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,920746-1,00.html.
 In chartstats.com. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://www.chartstats.com/artistinfo.php?id=1768.
 Keith Phipps. (November 26, 2006). Music In Brief. In avclub.com. Retrieved February 27th, 2011, from http://www.avclub.com/articles/music-in-brief,22600/.
Friday, February 25, 2011
- Daft punk keeps going farther towards the commercial lime-light and further from making music. The French dance duo have recently commisioned a set of gold and silver Coke bottles for, well, Coke; the cola, that is. I love these guys, so I can't rip them too hard, but man, I could use a new album right about now.
- Um. Kanye and Rhianna did the All-Star Half Time Show? It's been a reallllyyy slow news week.
This Lykke Li is getting a lot of attention from the hipster underground. I like her voice a lot. And how purty she is.
Lykke Li - Love Out Of Lust by LykkeLi
T.V. on the Radio is working on their fifth studio album, and the first single is striking to me, because it doesn't focus on wishywashy vocals and guitars like almost everything "indie" now. It's refreshing.
I got the chance to catch The Civil Wars down at The Disc Exchange this last Tuesday, and I was floored at how great they could harmonize, especially with their very warbling voices. Alas, I showed up to the show at Pilot Light, and there were a hundred people just waiting to get in. Homework got done that night, instead.
The Civil Wars - "20 Years" by A Mindful Earful
Jamie xx from the aptly named xx, has released a remix of Gil Scot Heron's last album, I'm New Here, also aptly named Were New Here. As I said last week, the duo were streaming the album from specifically designated radio towers across this great nation, but now, it's out, and I found this gem on stereogum.
My dad's got a friend. Not a real friend, a radio friend. I assume they would be good friends if they had physically met, but hey have not. Tom, however, has met lots of famous people. His sidekick on his weekly radio show, The Best Show On WFMU, Jon Wurster also has many actual friends at his creative disposal. Hence, when the New Pornographers asked Tom Scharpling to direct the video for their single "Moves", the two got their heads together and made a fake movie trailer for a very faker movie based on the creation, explosion, psychotic meltdowntion, and re-explosion of the New Pornographers career. The whole thing is really funny, and surprisingly well done for a man who has just one other video under his belt (one that made it onto my best of the year list, at that). Gotta love the early 5 second cameo from Paul Rudd and Bill Hader, too.
I can't believe it took me this long, but I finally got a hold of the Fleet Foxes album this week, and I've listened the mandolin out of it. It's absolutely fantastic. The harmonies are some of the best since the Beach Boys. New album comes out sometime this year, and it's one of my most anticipated now.
This whole reddit thing is getting me into bands I know I should have heard but hadn't. This week, that example is the Kinks. This british rock band is what is so amazing about the Rolling Stones, ELO, and especially The Beatles in one little package. Well, it's not that little. They have some 70,000,000 million albums. I hope all of them are as good as Arthur.