Sunday, October 26, 2008

Matt & Kim - Daylight (video)

"In the daylight anywhere feels like home."

If this isn't one of the best songs of the year, then I don't know what it is. Featuring irresistible keyboards, pulsating synths, monumental drumbeats and an Insanely. Awesome. Chorus, this is one of those pop mammoths that make you want to throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care. And as the video so well documents, you can play it in any situation, as long as you do it with a the end, who knows, you may even enter another dimension.

Official site
MySpace page

Polaroids # 25

3 short days in Hamburg...

(Pictures taken in Hamburg, Germany, between 22nd - 25th October 2008)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Department Of Eagles - In Ear Park

Formed in 2001, Department of Eagles are Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear) and Fred Nicolaus, former roommates at the New York University and authors of a very intimate ache-exorcism sound that combines elements of folk, pop and a very small dose of electronica. Their second album, "In Ear Park", is out now and is one of those good examples where you need a few listens until getting completely captivated by its many hidden charms. With a collection of songs that are amazingly written and always seem on the verge of falling into pieces, there are always a few quiet details around the corner to keep us motivated, while a hidden atmosphere that subtly embraces the absurd and the satirical can be felt in the back. It's actually this same atmosphere that takes "In Ear Park" to a theatrical place that suits it so well, featuring complex structures, instrumentations and elements that never seize to expand in our mind. And then, in the middle of all this controlled chaos, there's an amazing song called "No One Does It Like You"... (7/10)

Department Of Eagles - No One Does It Like You (DUMBO session acoustic version)

Official site
MySpace page

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Grace Jones - Hurricane

Yes, finally! After 20 long years, here it is, the new record by Grace Jones. And it's so good! Not surprising as this project involves such names as Tricky, Brian Eno and Sly & Robbie. Some songs take her into an entirely new direction (Corporate Cannibal, Hurricane, Devil In My Life) and I can totally see her in the future doing a record with Nick Cave (who she praised on a recent interview). On some other tracks it's simply Grace back at her Compass Point days, with that great exotic sophisticated vibe and her menacing spoken vocals. The lyrics are, as usual, brilliant (she's not only a great vocalist but a great writer), personal and entertaining. The album is filled with lush orchestrations, wicked percussion, ambient sounds flavoured with electronica and, on top of it all, her unique voice.This puts recent records I've heard to shame, few other singers have half of the audacity she is showing here, taking risks with her music without compromising her artistic integrity while, at the same time, maintaining her sense of fun. Probably one of the best albums of 2008. Welcome back Grace!

Tracks you must download:
Corporate Cannibal, William's Blood, Hurricane, Devil in My Life.

Two damm-fine videos for two damm-fine songs...

Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream

"Always pushing up the hill searching for the thrill of it."

This song has been the subject of an intense online loving during the last few weeks and it's so easy to understand why. Feel-good vibes, sweet grooves, a breezy chorus, all in all a perfect laid-back pop moment to soundtrack possibily any moment you'd like in your life. The video itself is a beast of its own, half enigmatic visuals, half pure crazy fun, showing how one can fit pretty much everywhere, bringing out the poetry of any moment (err, or something like that). Must see, must hear!

MySpace page

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

"Like stars burning holes right through the dark."

By the end of June, this was already one of my favourite songs of the year so far and that hasn't changed any bit. Basically, "Sleepyhead" is what happens when a group of good people come together with no other purpose in mind than celebrating the moment: euphoria, anthemic shoutings, sweaty grooves, pure ecstasy. A few months later and this brand-new video, all hand-made, emphasizes one of the best aspects of the song: its rough DIY attitude and the wonders you can achieve with simple tools and imagination. Must-see, must hear too!

MySpace page

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Polaroids # 24


(Picture taken on the 14th of October 2008)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Paavoharju - Laulu Laakson Kukista

From time to time, just when you're starting to think you've heard it all, there comes a new project to question and broaden our perception of what is music, creating something completely unique and also out of touch with anything else. Paavoharju are a collective that is part of a mysterious Finnish commune of devout Christians (!) and this, their second album, is one of those rare cases. A strange and fascinating collection of delicate pieces, there are remains of psych folk in here, along with musique concrete, classical orchestrations, impressionist pop, pastel electronics, abstract drones, experimental disco and torch songs but, even so, this is something else. With a sense of constant search for something greater (a consequence of their religious beliefs?), a hugely evocative atmosphere and even innumerous mind-blowing details that feel so strange but never out of place, the music heard in "Laulu Laakson Kukista" still feels much simpler than what you'd expect from the sum of its parts. Like some old and distant AM radio transmission, these are ethereal warm sounds to digest slowly while conforting your soul. (8/10)

Paavoharju - Kirkonväki (video)

Official site
MySpace page

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Iconic Images # 4

Dazed Jones

Grace Jones "graces" the cover of the November issue of Dazed and Confused. I love her. Always did. I was probably 8 when my father had her "Slave To The Rhythm" video recorded on a Kodak video cassette and I got those images stuck in my head. Anyway, here she is again, with a brand new album after 20 years from her latest musical release. The portfolio is done by Chris Cunningham and is titled, 'The Devil Inside'. Jones explains her understanding of the shoot, "It's not fashion, it's an anti-fashion shoot. He's shooting me like art." Dazed and Confused's Creative Director (Nicola Formichetti) goes further in explaining: "It's a collaboration between two of the most progressive and innovative artists of our time, again pushing the boundaries of perception." Bless the guys at Dazed for such a brave choice.

I really can't wait for the record, the tracks I've heard so far are amazing! She did lost a bit of her essence in the mid-80's (let's blame it on her cocaine addiction) but these tracks seem to show her back in shape again, all dark, mysterious and poetic at the same time. "Hurricane" will be available November 3rd (in Europe at least) and features tracks produced by Ivor Guest, Brian Eno and Sly & Robbie. Tracklist is:

1. This Is
2. Williams' Blood
3. Corporate Cannibal
4. I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)
5. Well Well Well
6. Hurricane
7. Love You To Life
8. Sunset Sunrise
9. Devil In My Life

Monday, October 06, 2008

TV On The Radio - Dear Science

Brooklyn has been the center of attention in music for the last few months, with the likes of MGMT, Vampire Weekend or High Places now appearing everywhere, but let's not forget that some other local heroes have been around for longer and didn't benefit from being part of any hype scene, basing their rise to stardom and critical-acclaim purely on their own brilliance. TV On The Radio are one of those cases, already with 3 albums in their catalogue. From 2004, "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes" was an avant-garde and very personal take into the post-punk revival happening during that time, but it was with the post-apocalyptic masterpiece "Return to Cookie Mountain", from 2006, that things really exploded, that record still being considered one of the best rock albums of the decade. And now, with so many people currently looking at their home town Brooklyn to find the latest trends of the moment in music, what next for TVOTR? "Dear Science", their third album, starts in familiar territory, with a powerful epic evoking a post-apocalypse world that couldn't have a more-appropriate title ("Halfway Home"). But two songs in, and things couldn't get more different, and this sentiment actually prevails until the very end. No, they are not returning home, they are instead eager to explore brand-new territories, keeping their curiosity and sense of adventure intact. So this time we're not talking about the end of the world, at least not explicitly. Instead, things are much more slowed-down, the sound is less heavier, as if they had let some bright lights in, influences have broaden (Prince and Fela Kuti now seem to be around some corners) and, most important of all, the atmosphere is generally much more pop-oriented, while multiple layers reveal new details in each track and with each new listen. An example of this new lighter approach comes with "Family Tree", a beautiful piece built around just a voice, keyboards and strings for the most part of it, until the rhythmic section finally erupts, sending goosebumps on its way. And like this, there are much more examples showing how unique everything is in terms of writing, performance, arrangements and production (David Sitek doing miracles in here once again). In the meantime, while each song explores a different and individual universe, everything still sounds very much like TVOTR, proving that their identity is strong enough to use unrelated elements and aggregate them into a cohesive whole, and showing that they're really playing a game of their own. Ultimately, their output has been a constant work-in-progress to find new meanings for the unknown, and "Dear Science" comes as just the latest opus in this brilliant path. (8,5/10).

TV On The Radio - Golden Age (video)

Official site
MySpace page

Friday, October 03, 2008

Polaroids # 23

Smiley food

The result of a nice afternoon meal in Café Vertigo, Lisbon.

(Pictures taken on the 2nd of October 2008 in Lisbon, Portugal)