Monday, September 28, 2009

Oneida - Rated O

Speaking of ambitious projects, how about a triple (!) album of wild experimental music that takes a lot of its goals upon the idea of repetition and the different states it can induce on its listeners? That's exactly what this indie project from Brooklyn has in store with Rated O, which apparently is only the second album in a trilogy named Thank Your Parents. Being veterans as they are, it's audible that Oneida are also becoming more and more experts in the studio, and even when pushing limits to the extreme, you can always feel that these are really-well-crafted jams made by two sound scientists cleverly manipulating the resources on their hands. With an impossible balance between meticulous labor and delirious instincts, they create almost 2 hours of diverse and unclassifiable songs that take influences on psychedelic rock, krautrock or hard rock, only to end up with something genuinely original and truly hypnotic on the way (8/10)

Oneida - What's Up, Jackal? (mp3)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Muse - The Resistance

Ambition is tricky concept: when you don't know how to handle it, that's enough to ruin a good song, but if it works, then it can rock big time. Well, one of the main reasons why The Resistance is so good is actually because it sounds so damm ambitious and grandiose. At least, this time no one can accuse Muse of being bland, right? Because, clearly, someone has pulled all the stops in the recording sessions for this album, and the result is so excessive that it seems like the aural equivalent of a black hole sucking everything around it, and then regurgitating those disparate elements into its unique world, creating a kind of glam-pop-rock modern opera with a singer that sounds like a mixture between Freddie Mercury, Prince and Thom Yorke. It may border ridiculousness more than a few times (and I still haven't mentioned that there's even a symphony in three parts called Exogenesis...), but somehow, it fucking works. Basically, no one sounds like this nowadays and that's really something. (8,5/10)

Muse - Uprising (video)

Monday, September 21, 2009

frYars - Dark Young Hearts

This was something I had been anxiously waiting for at least 2 years and, boy, now that it's here, I can truly say that it has filled all my expectations and then some. First things first, Ben Garret seems to have turned himself intro a true artist: instead of signing with a major label, he has followed the most difficult path and is releasing his debut album all by himself (well, with a little help from Bandstocks, but still...). This has allowed him to take full control of his output, something which is felt all over Dark Young Hearts, and thank God it is like that: everything in here seems too personal and unique to be ruined by external hands, translating in a perfect way how fascinating the private world of frYars is. I've already written about it more than a few times (here, here, here, here and here), so all I can say is that this album seems like a sublimation of what we already knew: Ben has an unique way of presenting his dark and twisted world in the most pleasant way, mixing it with the catchiest electro-pop hooks and melodies. His special voice, a never-ending talent in song-writing and an amazing ear for inserting the most unexpected details in the most unexpected places, all these things do the rest. Ladies and gentlemen, we're in presence of a complete pop monument: strange, intense, slightly obsessed with the macabre, but also fun and touching. And on a side note, if you're not moved by a song like the final track Morning, then you don't have a heart. Fact. (9/10)

frYars - Happy (mp3 via Stereogum)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The xx - xx

All of them barely out of their teen years and already making such timeless music... Looking at xx in a more intelectual approach, you can say that it's an unpretentious node to minimalism in pop music, using small particles of dubstep, electronics, R&B, hip-hop or rock to create a very personal and austere language that sounds as vulnerable as it is also avant-garde. But then, I actually prefer the more emotional approach to describe the debut album by these four young Londoners: the silent beauty of whispering a touching secret in the most intimate settings. (8,5/10)

The xx - Basic Space (video)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not From Egypt, Not Hip-Hop

Egyptian Hip Hop are actually from the UK, and I love the sound of this track, it's very lo-fi / ambient-rock in a way and it has a cool sense of melody. The voice kinda takes me back to The Cure.

Egyptian Hip Hop - Rad Pitt (mp3 via Neon Gold)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lady Gaga's Epic Pop Video

The new Lady Gaga video is one impressive piece of work. Directed by Jonas Akerlund (Madonna's usual partner in crime) this 8 minute epic piece of pop-film is being held as one of the videos of the year so far. The plot line is clever: the story of a young starlet tortured by her lover and the media, who eventually turns things around by murdering her boyfriend for press attention (surely Chicago-inspired). If your thing is Swedish cinematography, voguing in a wheelchair or outstanding corsets, this is for you. Even if this Lady's music is so far nothing more than average, it sure is refreshing to see a young star pulling herself up (by her bra strings) to the top of pop culture and being in total creative control.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Japandroids - Post-Nothing

With so much intensity and enthusiasm felt all over this record, Japandroids risk becoming the band with the most powerful riffs and hooks of the year. But Post-Nothing is really like that: a sincere and heartfelt take into garage rock immersed in reverb and loaded with a breathtaking sense of urgency. So much so that it's really hard not to go along and join in, especially when you feel that these two Canadian guys are having at least as much fun playing as you when hearing them. Of course that having a great ear for tunes and a hand to write lyrics full of clever punchlines doesn't hurt either. Contagious stuff alert. (8/10)

Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire (mp3 via Pitchfork)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Two synth-loaded songs that seem tailor-made to take packed arenas into delirium. Actually, I'm sure the second one is already doing that, but eh...

Visitor - Los Feeling (mp3 via Neon Gold)

"Is the truth too much?"

Missed more songs like Human on Day & Age? Then this one is for you. A massive-synths monster of a track, taking us back into a stadium full of pop-lovin fans, somewhere in the 1980's, where everyone is shouting to bigger-than-life anthems. Yes, it is that good.

The Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling (mp3 via Boom Boom Chik)

"Tonight's the night"

I usually dislike The Black Eyed Peas (especially the kinda-trashy taste of Fergie), but this feel-good song has everything in the right place to cause massive fun wherever it is played. Basically, it always puts me in the right (happy!) mood.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Caspa - Everybody's Talking, Nobody's Listening!

In the last few months dubstep has been, in some ways, too much absorbed in its own sense of self-importance, so this album by London producer Caspa comes at the perfect time, feeling just right to counter-balance that current state of things: nothing but an unpretentious collection of jams that doesn't want anything else but to make you wobble to those mega-blastin' heavy bass lines coming out of the speakers. Shifting from one track to another with no particular care about coherence or conceptual unity, the main goal is none other than to cause a physical reaction, just like there's no tomorrow. And actually, when that is accomplished in the freshest way possible, who can complain? (7/10)

Caspa - Riot Powder (mp3 via Neonized Magazine)

David Bowie - Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

Went to see the new Tarantino movie (Inglourious Basterds - very very good!) and out of nowhere this old Bowie song comes in during a key scene. It's actually the central theme song for this movie. Being a huge Bowie fan as I am, I was quite happy to see this track being revisited. The track was produced with Giorgio Moroder for the soundtrack of an early 80's movie called Cat People and is just this amazing dramatic rock n' roll composition with a huge build-up and guitars everywhere topped by David's haunting low voice register (again - very very good!). This has to be one of my favourite Bowie recordings ever.

But, my friends, don't be fooled: it's easy to mistake this with the version that Bowie re-recorded for the Let's Dance album and which had a live video from his Serious Moonlight Tour (below). If you want the original (and far superior) version you have to get Tarantino's flick soundtrack or, better yet, dig-out the Sound+Vision box set that EMI released a few years ago (an amazing 4 cd collection with rarities from Bowie's vaults). It's well worth it. Since there's no video for the original Moroder-produced version, here's the live video from Bowie's smashing 1982 tour:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Madonna - Celebration (video)

"Come join the party"

Madonna has managed to keep it all in the family on her simple and quite-OK video for Celebration, directed by long time collaborator Jonas Åkerlund and starring, besides her current troupe of dancers, none other than present-boyfriend Jesus Luz and her own daughter Lourdes. Thankfully, the track used is the dirty-electro remix by Benny Benassi and not the poppy (and silly) original, so worth watching and hearing.