Saturday, August 24, 2013

Close Call in The Suburbs

There are lots of popular bands that I've heard a lot about but never made the effort to listen to. One of them is Arcade Fire (who I keep confusing with Arctic Monkeys - shows you how much I don't make an effort to follow this stuff - if you're a fan of either of these bands I'm sure you're laughing at me, go ahead.) Earlier today I listened to the first Arcade Fire song I've ever heard, while ironing. It's their song "The Suburbs" which comes with a very interesting video, which I haven't been able to figure out yet:

I listened to some of the album via Grooveshark (a great site to stream music) and might pick it up someday, I put it on my list.

Another band I've heard a lot about over the years but never paid attention to is Rilo Kiley. I did see them play actually; back when I liked Coldplay, I went to a Coldplay concert many years ago and Rilo were the opening act. I wasn't impressed unfortunately. But things change. A few months ago my coworker was listening to some tunes and I asked what he was listening to. I was surprised he said it was Rilo Kiley, here's a track off the album he was playing:

This album Under the Blacklight is very country-ish (at least to me). I've listened to the album (again, via Grooveshark) a bunch of times now and quite like it and find the country tracks very charming, so this album is also on my list of CDs to get! That's right, CDs! I don't care what year it is.

Have a lot more indie stuff to post about soon.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to

I sometimes get turned off by electronic music when it hits me that the tune I'm listening to could've been banged out in five minutes on a laptop.  There's good and bad electronic music, and it's not always possible to tell what's throwaway and what an artist really put a lot of effort into.  With the massive proliferation of digital tracks I'm sure that some of what we hear online was put together really quickly from some bog-standard samples.  I came across a couple of videos that, in their own way, attest to this.  One is obviously facetious, the other is more telling though.  The latter is of an artist called Huxley who's been challenged by Factmag to put a tune together in ten minutes or less, and he basically manages it.  He's definitely got skill and talent, and I'm by no means arguing that anyone could do what he does.  But there is also, I think, a meaningful difference between being able to put a house track together in a few minutes and really putting together something unique and musical that's worth going out and obtaining.  And not just obtaining, but that's worth spending your time on, and that doesn't have that cheap almost plasticky feel to it. I can't really define what that feeling is, but I think I hear it sometimes and it's definitely a turn-off.

Here's a real Deadboy track and, to me, it sounds like something that a lot of time, thought, and effort has been put into.  I hope I'm right:

Sidenote:  Noticing that a lot of "comedy" videos on youstube are basically repeating the same old traits, including the Deadboy video that starts this post.  It's getting old!  

Monday, August 19, 2013

the Wales, part 5, and more.

After a gap, some more Welsh stuff.  Gulp are musicians from a few different bands, but they stood out to me mostly because the drummer is from the defunct group Race Horses.  There's also a member of the Super Furry Animals involved, which reminded me of this guy, who I posted about back here.  I went to his record label's SoundCloud after remembering him (practically his whole album is up there) but decided I wasn't too impressed.  It's not that I don't like his music, it's just that it sounds just like 'Mother' era John Lennon, and I can never get behind anything that's too obviously indebted to an influence.

Anyway, back to Gulp.  They've got a single out called 'Play' and I rather like it:

On the Welsh tip, I came across this clip today from the film 'Human Traffic', which was about clubbing in Cardiff (something I got to do... almost... once).  Watching this got me nostalgic about record shop culture, and dance music record shops in particular.  A time, not too long ago, where all that was available was what your local shop carried, and you had to think hard before dropping some real money on a real object. Having the right tunes actually mattered!

Ok, heard this on the radio and thought it was pretty smooth.  It's from the forthcoming Elvis Costello and the Roots collaboration, and basically sounds like what I'd want that collaboration to sound like!  Although on second listen it's reminding me a bit of trip-hop...

On a side-note, why do so many promo pics of men involve them adjusting their ties or suit buttons or cuff-links??  It's bloody annoying, and this whole dressing-up thing is getting really old.  I've already made a partial return to jeans and t-shirts; I predict a more relaxed style of dress making a comeback very soon.

Last up, someone I'd never heard of til last week, Frank Turner.  Apparently quite big in the UK, and also apparently has some right-wing/libertarian views, but this isn't a political blog.  I heard this song on the radio and the motif of it stood out to me as something I'm very wary of too -- essentially time going by really quickly, speeding up, and years just passing by whereas days and weeks used to feel like forever before.