Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wavves - Wavvves

The story of Nathan Williams is similar to many others. A bored kid that decides to record music in a 4-track cassette, a home-made demo ("Wavves") that ends up doing the rounds on the internet, an intense hype following, and finally, a first full-length album for a bigger label, and all this in no more than 6 months. The difference this time is that not much has really changed in his music: everything still sounds like it was recorded in a very cheap way (lo-fi? more like no-fi!), and half the charm of Wavves comes from the authenticity that this involves. But that's not all, as there really is something truly genuine in the way he captures our times: a bored kid playing an infectious mix of noise-punk-pop with sunny melodies immersed in distortion. Or, a bored kid doing abrasive and vital music in his bedroom to forget why he's so bored. (8/10)

Wavves - So Bored (unofficial video)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some Songs (to take you there)

These songs, more than any, have the ability to take you higher... one is a remix by sunnier-than-the-sun-swedish-duo Air France for Friendly Fires. And the other one... well, the title of that one says everything.

Friendly Fires - Skeleton Boy (Air France remix) (mp3 via Pitchfork)

"Lose myself in flashing colors"

Evan Voytas - Getting Higher (mp3 via Transparent)

"See you nowhere"

Plugs - All Them Witches (video)

"Like transitory fashions that are going out of style"

New song from London band Plugs, part rock, part electronics (you decide). With lots of Nintendo-esque blips and bleeps and some infectious groovy verses that lead to a catchy pre-chorus that then turns into an equally catchy actual-chorus, this is twisted pop music at its best. There's also an awesome vocoder breakdown near the end of the song.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Passion Pit - Manners

Riding an incredible wave of hype that started after a home-made demo, originally made with the sole purpose of impressing a girl, ended up on the internet, Passion Pit first full-length album shows how much these guys are taking the most of the moment. At one point in second song "Little Secrets", a choir of kids appears chanting "higher and higher and higher" and there's no better definition to describe where they want to take us. For that, they use a no barriers approach to what can be included in their sugar-pop formula, from infectious synth lines to saccharine lyrics and melodies, falsetto voices or the aforementioned kids choir. The end result has a powerful dose of exuberance and vitality which, together with a very in-your-face attitude, totally won me over. Sweet, euphoric and excessive (in the best possible way!). (9/10)

Passion Pit - The Reeling (video)

Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen

It starts with an incredibly visceral song ("In The Now"), which is followed by an affecting melody (the beginning of "From The Hips") that soon turns into a catchy anthem...and so on. The 6th album from this Nebraska band has that rare capacity to join the dots of disparate moods and elements, turning them into a solid and unified piece of work. Bonus to the incredible amount of addictive hooks, the discreet use of a brass section and the intelligent and touching lyrics. (7,5/10)

Cursive - From The Hips (video)

Monday, May 11, 2009

This gave me goosebumps!

A very special moment happened last Friday in a bookstore in New York, where a never-heard-before six-song suite specially composed by Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth for the occasion, was performed by his band together with Björk, in front of 300 lucky people. Apparently the whole thing was professionally recorded (maybe for a future release? please?), but for now youtube will have to do.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Matt & Kim - Grand

They have been trying hard to get rid of the "adorable" tag (see video below), but it's just impossible. Even if "Daylight" (one of my favourite songs of 2008) is the best thing in here, the rest doesn't disappoint. This second album is an absurd dose of sugar rush, to put a smile on the face of even the saddest person on Earth. (7/10)

Matt & Kim - Lessons Learned (video)

The Horrors - Who Can Say (video)

"These words may only serve to twist the knife"

Just because "Primary Colours" is really that good, here's another video from it. And this one has a couple of surprises, mainly: Faris Badwan as a 1950's crooner! And: a white jacket! Amazing.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Horrors - Primary Colours

Back in 2007, The Horrors were victims of their own hype: it had been so intense for so long that, when debut album "Strange House" finally arrived, everybody had already grown tired of them and looked somewhere else. Seen at a distance, that record may have its flaws, but beneath the haircuts, dark clothes and Chris Cunningham videos, there were also some pretty solid songs in it. In the two years that have passed by, we had a couple of guest appearances as DJ's, along with some displays of vocalist Faris Badwan drawings in exhibitions and record covers...but actually nothing they could have done would really prepare us for this amazing follow-up and its intense psychedelic hallucinations. Coming onboard is Geoff Barrows (a.k.a. Mr. Portishead himself), giving a helping hand as producer, and if marrying The Horrors' gothic imagery with Barrows' twisted vision seems like a marriage made in (a very creepy) heaven, that's because it really is. And with that, what we hear finally matches their huge artistic ambitions, in a conceptual piece of work that seems to translate their darkest and most disturbing obsessions and fears. Be afraid. (9/10)

The Horrors - Sea Within A Sea (video)