Monday, October 29, 2012

Escape From Chicago
Loose Squares Comp, Vol 1
Loose Squares

This techno comp begins and ends with songs that are mellow and jazz like.  Good to chill to. In-between there are a lot more styles, like DJ Godfather’s “Bring It Back” disco reminiscent of Donna Summer’s “I need Love.” That’s track five.  Then you have track eight, LV and Mumdance’s somewhat prog sounding “Steak Night.” The whole middle of the album is great to move around to, and the comp as a whole is fun to listen to. A good sound track for doing whatever you want or need to do.
Andrea Weiss

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Avan Lava
Somebody to Love Me
Self Released

This cover of the Mark Ronson song is better to dance to than the original as this just hi steps all over the place.  And the singer is better than Boy George, who sang the original version. It also has lyrics you can sink your teeth into, a breakup song with much sexual confusion in it. Perfect modern disco and a really fun track to listen to.  Lava released an EP earlier this year, Flex Fantasy, which is in much the same vein as this track, and also as good.  . Link for the EP . Video for single from EP "It's Never Over."
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Titus Andronicus
Local Business
XL Recordings

This is another concept album from the band from Glen Rock, NJ, that musically stretches garage/punk and Springstein in all directions adds their own off-the-cuff, full bodied roar, with a sound that energizes and invigorates everything around it.   Lyrically the question, at least outwardly, is how to be an individual in a society where everything stands for mass consumption, including their music, and how does one be part of a community while still being an individual. The answer is first is fight like hell for your ideals, yourself, and your art, and  second realize that being accountable, not just to oneself, but to all the people we hold dear, the community, is also how you fight conformity and mass consumption.

On a more nuanced level, this is also a huge dig at hipsters, some of the most conspicuous consumers of all. Indie rock once stood for more than being a lifestyle accessory, another way to have a career.  It was a way to stand outside of the establishment, to fight the establishment, and hopefully win the battle. The key to this is on “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter,” where context and content do battle, and content wins.  Content is meaningful, without any postmodern context so beloved by hipsters.

Marry these two subjects to music that wants to tear your head off, even while at times turning down the volume, like on “(I am the) Electric Man” and you get the best concept album of the year.  It’s a sound that while retro, is also not heard often enough in a musical world where acting cool is all the meaning that one needs.  And too often that’s not enough. True alternative music demands more meaning than that, and this band means it when they say they want to be an alternative. A very cool album, musically and lyrically, too.
Andrea Weiss

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paul Banks

Interpol’s front man steps out for his first true solo album. He felt that he didn’t want anymore shtick, as in calling himself Julian Plenti, so he dropped the nom de plume.

Banks brings much droll humor, warmth and feeling to this album, and it’s refreshing to hear him loosen up and show other sides to him. Musically this is sort of a combination of found sounds, electronica, and adult guitar rock, and it’s a very appealing mix.  As much as I love Interpol, I have to say that in some ways I like this album better, just because he opens up, and wants to have some fun.  For example, on “Another Chance,” he uses the script of Sebastian Ischer’s film Black Out, to mock himself with lines like “there’s something wrong with my brain!” “I have a neurological condition!”  And, “sometimes, I lose control!”

“Paid For That” mentions how much he loved Folk Implosion’s “Natural One” at 17.  It was an influence, and it’s now a tribute to the kid in him, and all the kids around today.  He also references “Natural One” musically.  Banks’ guitar playing is some of the best I’ve heard from him. 

Interpol has not broken up, which Banks’ states in a mini-documentary by Noisey, which is on his site. And the album is a not to be missed if you’re a fan. It’s also a wonderful introduction to his work, both on the Julian Plenti album, and with Interpol.
 Andrea Weiss

Monday, October 15, 2012

Boys Noize
Out of the Black
Self Released

I don’t pretend to be an expert on all the various types of dance music out there. My favorite dance music is 70s disco and funk. But when an album comes along from one of today’s artists that reminds me of 70s disco at it’s best, I will listen, and dance.  That’s Boys Noize.

His melodies are just super. Everything flows, everything hums along. It’s smooth, powerful, slamming, and fun to hear.  It’s impossible not to at least shimmy around the room, it’s that kinetic.  What I love the most about today’s techno and electronica is that it makes you think. This is more than just partying down. A lot more thought and care went into this music. And Boys Noize will make you think while you’re spinning around the room. What a great soundtrack to move your mind to.

This is why I prefer Grizzle to Snoop Dogg among the rappers here. Grizzle is political, and with the election coming on, a song about revolution, when a Republican may win, is needed right now.  And Boys Noize provides the doom, the fall of the empire with his music.

As for Snoop Dogg, yes he is a good rapper, and yes, Boys got the most out of him. This is an excellent collaboration, and I do like the track as a whole. But I also deplore Snoop’s “being a pimp is the greatest thing ever,” stance, when most know it’s anything but.  These lyrics are meant to be taken with a large grain of salt. 

But not Out of the Black as a whole. This music just sizzles and stands out. This is no small thing with so much music out there that comprises techno.  This is all purpose music for any situation, which makes this album wonderful for me. and here for an excelent video of "ICH R U"
Andrea Weiss

Monday, October 8, 2012

A.C. Newman
Shut Down the Streets
Matador Records

One thing Newman has never done in his career solo, and with The New Pornographers is repeat himself.  So while there are flashes of Challengers and The Slow Wonder in this music, if not the lyrics, it is as different from them, too, just for being different types of indie rock. Newman wanted a late 70s sounding psychedelic singer/songwriter album, and he does deliver on that score.

This album could also be a rock/folk album along the lines of what Dar Williams did on her excellent current album In The Time of Gods. Newman accentuates the indie rock/pop of this approach, unlike Dar, but the instruments played here, to give a few examples, Chris Miller’s flute and clarinet, pocket pianos by Newman and Marco Benevenio, Mike Merenda’ banjo -- give it a rock/folk feel. It is wonderful, all the way through. There isn’t a wasted or out –of - place instrument on this album.  And Neko Case’s backing vocals are a joy to hear. She knows when to be soft, or lift her voice for great effect.

Writing clearly about how happiness, as in the birth of his son, and sadness, the death of his mother, can coexist side by side, and how that does happen in life, can be tough to pull off with lyrics this clear and plainspoken.  But he does, like on the beautiful tribute to his mom, the title song, with the line, “they should have shut down the streets.” And the touching, joyous “Hostages” and “Strings,” celebrate the birth of his son.  “We’ve been waiting for you,” the refrain from “Strings” really says it all about the birth of his son, as does the entire lyric of “Hostages.” 

“There’s Money in New Wave” is about how he hopes he can teach his son everything he knows, and his worry that he won’t know what to say to him, could also be a sly comment on the current state of indie rock. What is a comment on how indie rock used to stand for much more than a career in music is on “Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns.”

A.C. Newman, solo and with TNP, has never made a bad album. But his latest is stunning in the way it is clear, clean,  delightfully simple, heartfelt, and buoyant.  It is a thrill to hear, fun to hear, and enthralling.  I love it. 
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Day/Reckoning Song (Wankelmut Remix)

This is a two part video, about a lovers triangle, or lovers parting. It's about two guys and a woman, or two bi guys going out and the woman who loves them both. In the second part two women who love each other might be parting as well. At the end, a woman, on a motorcycle, alone, rides through the streets of a city, perhaps remembering when all of this happened. The story is very impressionistic, so the plot isn't liner, leaving the viewers to make up their own minds about the story. 

The music is folk/electronica, with a vocal that builds in intensity. The song is about growing old and all the stroies that we tell when we're old. The lyrics of this very good song illustrate the polt perfectly. It would be great in a club, or inspiring someone to make up or remember stries of their own. 

Part one:

Part two:

Andrea Weiss

Lost Angles EP
Loose Squares

This EP from the Chicago producer Sinistarr features flowing, fluid, bubbly bass and drums, and zooming, booming synths to accentuate things, especially the synth that sounds like a harpsichord. Very few lyrics, but the one that sticks out is the one about the "chopper," (AK-47.) A lot of fun to listen to, to dance to, and just walk around to. 

Andrea Weiss


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