Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Sampler - Tracks of the Week (Week 7)

Here’s this week’s rundown of songs I can’t stop listening to:

Violent Femmes – Gone Daddy Gone

From their first album, the Violent Femmes combine everything they’re great at into one song. In this song they have their furious high school angst (which, if you’re listening to emo can get incredibly annoying, but the Violent Femmes always keep it raw and actually angry, not whiny), not to mention driving bass/drums, and lo-fi acoustic guitar played punk. They even throw in what sounds like a marimba. I love most Violent Femmes song, but this one sticks out in my mind.

Beirut – Scenic World

From the Lon Gisland EP (not the version off of The Gulag Orkestar), the song opens with a beautiful accordion piece, and soon breaks in with hand drums and strings. Zach Condon’s voice breaks in with its deep swoon, “The lights go on/the lights go off/When things don’t feel right.” The song is absolutely beautiful, and makes me think of walking through falling snow from class to class, a cigarette in my mouth.

Destroyer – The Bad Arts

From the album Streethawk: A Seduction, Destroyer’s The Bad Arts is typical Dan Bejar, which is not to say it is average. Destroyer, with each album I listen to, has the ability to craft some of the most beautiful, clever music I’ve ever listened to. Opening with a solo acoustic piece and the sound of Bejar’s voice, his lyrics are, as always, genius. “God damn your eyes/They just had to be twin prizes waiting for the sun.” After the first bit, though, the song backs into a blues bass line and drums while Bejar sings bitterly. The song builds just little by little until the end when the music breaks, and a small chorus sings, “You’ve got the spirit/Don’t lose the feeling.

And those are this week’s tracks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Pretender

Alright, I’m finally doing it. I’m reviewing the We All Have Hooks for Hands album. It seems a little nerdy, (because so many of them attend the same school as me, and I see them fairly frequently) but I’m doing it anyway.

Their first (and only) album is out on Afternoon Records, and you can usually catch them playing at least once a month in the Sioux Falls area. I first got The Pretender (or at least most of it) last May, and it literally has not left my CD player for more than a day since then. It is an incredibly addicting album. The songs are incredibly catchy, filled with “Oh’s” and “Whoa-oh’s” galore, not to mention witty lyrics and memorable music. There are nine members in the band on this album, including three guitarists, a bass player, two drummers, two keyboard/trumpet players, and a violinist. Most of the songs center around partying in small towns, something which (at least for me) is very relatable.

Standouts of the album are “Oh, I’d Expect” (Well I’m sure you’ll reminisce/about the timing of this/You always thought apologies were for frauds), “On & On” (Mistitled “Ghosts and Strangers) (We go on and on about being alone/We go on and on about being alone), and “The Man Trying to Outfox Us All” (You held your ties with drugs and lies/You missed a note with all your wives/And life’s a joke with no punchline/But you’re alright, yeah you’re alright).

It is a perfect album to turn the volume all the way up in your car and just belt out the lyrics with, and one that I really can’t stop listening to. I give it, yeah, that’s right, a 10.0.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Sampler - Tracks of the Week (Week 6)

First of all, the Mountain Goats concert was amazing. John Darnielle is a brilliant performer, and one can tell how much he enjoys playing for audiences. If you ever get the chance to catch them live, I’d highly recommend it. Now, for the songs I can’t stop listening to.

Maritime – Tearing Up the Oxygen

Maritime is a band formed by remnants of The Promise Ring (Davey von Bohlen) and The Dismemberment Plan (Eric Axelson). Now, God knows I have nothing but good words for The Dismemberment Plan, with their albums Emergency and I and Change being tied for my number two albums of all time (second only to Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea), but I am also an avid fan of The Promise Ring. Now, now, you might say, they’re nothing but a washed-up emo band. Let me be the first to tell you, I hate emo music. Absolutely despise it, but these so-called “inventors of emo” sound nothing of the sort. Anyway, I digress. Tearing Up the Oxygen comes from the band’s sophomore (and superior) album We, the Vehicles. The song retains that old Promise Ring feel, but takes the harmonies further, and creates an addicting post-pop number. For some reason, the song feels perfect in the month of October (although that has passed) reminding me of lying in a giant pile of leaves, but I think that’s just von Bohlen’s voice. I’d recommend the entire album, but at least this song.

Rogue Wave – Love’s Lost Guarantee

I don’t know much about the band Rogue Wave, but I know that this song is immediately likable. I first heard the song on the trailer for the new film Wristcutters: A Love Story (which, I think, looks hilarious, and I can’t wait to see it), and after I did some research to find out what the song was, obtained the album immediately. When the song began, I wasn’t sure if I had done my research correctly, as it sounded like a very sad number, but was presently surprised by the end of it, when it builds into a giant celebration, filled with energy and shouting, and I couldn’t help but sing along with my first listen, without knowing the words.

And those are this week’s tracks, hope you enjoy.