Biscuits, Triscuits…


Wildcat Apollo- S/T
October 10, 2013, 10:48 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Hey, it’s a new review! New music! FINALLY!

 

Wildcat Apollo

Wildcat Apollo

Release date Oct.30

Sometimes we forget why we love listening to music. With a lot of the new music coming out that seems to rarely ever stretch itself out of the vein of boring mediocrity, it’s hard to get that feeling; the one we forgot about. It’s the feeling of complete unadulterated joy and happiness from sound; listening to something that makes you remember every memory that made you smile as well as all the ones that made your heart break so many times. Wildcat Apollo brings that back with their music.

This Brooklyn/Austin four-piece formed of brothers and best friends in 2012 and is about to release their first full-length. The self-titled debut was recorded this summer in Austin at the Bubble with Frenchie Smith, who produced and mixed records by Built to Spill, Meat Puppets, the Dandy Warhols and many more. 

Each Wildcat Apollo song is wildly unique yet is also intricately threaded through the album to create a cohesive record. There are some songs, such as “Shrug,” that bellow out a 90’s youthfulness with noodling guitar parts, unhindered vocals, and tightly knit drum parts. The male/female vocals blend solidly together as the entire energy expresses the fun clearly being had by all members of the band.

Others like “High and Low,” are more akin to Broken Social Scene in that there is a similar solidarity between the instruments and vocals. There is a partnership in teaming up to lull together, rock together, and dance together throughout the song.

Then there are songs that maintain some of those elements but exhale a dance-rock/post-punk sound with prominent bass lines, and echoed vocals. “Gotham,” for example feels underwater, blurry, and sun-stroked with it’s blistering whirs and echoed but full female vocals.

Some tunes, like “The Colorado,” just sound like the soundtrack to an indie-rock western. It is a variety of styles that Wildcat Apollo infuses into their music but they are doing something right because every song feels like something that has been missing.

I could go on for days detailing each song and why it encompasses the feelings of youth and diving into ones past but it seems better to just tell you to listen to the damn album.

Wildcat Apollo’s ballsy and emotion-filled record leaves a listener drained yet wanting more. Each song seems a lot shorter than it really is because it feels like they should last forever. The album may as well be the soundtrack to the emotions of everyone’s entire life. It’s a roller coaster ride of an album that speeds up, slows down, and makes you feel. It makes you remember why music like this matters, and most of all, it feels real.

Check out their tunes here: http://www.wildcatapollo.com/

by Lauren Piper

 



Birthdays
August 27, 2013, 10:59 am
Filed under: music and musings | Tags: , , , ,

It’s hard to write when personal matters take over. Recently, a friend from the music scene, Samuel Yager of Birthdays, has been in a coma due to a bike accident. It was hard to figure out what to do because I am not his great friend. We are not constantly in contact however the connections we have had have been wonderful times and meant something to me, proving to me that he is a person that I want to know and to help.

Due to the recent incident, instead of posting my sadness about it, I chose to help organize a benefit show in Brooklyn, which is currently in the works. I also want to write about his music here, because it’s truly inspiring and awesome and I’d like to share a bit of that instead of wallowing in helplessness at the situation. So here goes:

Image

Birhtday’s self-titled album, which came out in October of 2012 is one of my favorite collections of songs. There is an electronic dance-rock element as well as a kooky, fun Animal Collective style organic feel that drives the songs home.  The vocals are looped and harmonizing amongst spurts of noises, percussion sounds and melodic guitar parts that are catchy as hell.  “Biggie Shorty,” comes in like a 90’s dance classic with bleating electronics and a clanging beat, then whistling enters. This song could probably get anyone to dance or at least tap their foot. His vocals are low and echo-y overtop all that’s going on. Each song has it’s own strange, unique style going on, but they all give way to a heady, thoughtfulness.

The warm energy that emanates from these songs is contagious and exciting, especially with the thought that he does all of this by himself probably in his bedroom somewhere. “Mating Falls” rises into the speakers with a quick, clacking beat and some flowing synths. The family style vocals sing on top and suddenly the song bursts open into a combination tribal and house drum beat. It sounds like falling out of the air, out of a helicopter into a party or an ocean full of confetti. Each song feels like a party, a party with feeling and love, the kind that you know you’ll meet good people at and be engrossed in conversations.

These songs feel like happiness, dancing, and youth and I never want to lose any of that. They scream out all of Samuel Yager’s personality and entice you to move with it. You can listen to the album and his other tunes here: http://birthdays.bandcamp.com/

If you are in the Brooklyn area, there will be a Benefit show at Silent Barn on September 14. It will be an all day event sponsored by a variety of helmet and bike light companies promoting bike safety. There will be raffles for customized helmets and artistic bike lights. If you want more information about Samuel’s progress or how else to contribute you can check out this blog updated by his mom and close friends: http://sammybabydudeyager.blogspot.com/

Ride safe and rock on.



Aaaaaand we’re back! And we won’t stop.
July 17, 2013, 11:44 am
Filed under: music and musings | Tags: , ,

Hello again. I know this come back is sudden and before I explain exactly why I am reviving this long lost blog can we please talk about Miley Cyrus?? I have for a very long time avoided watching her ‘twerking’ in her internet famous (and probably everywhere famous), “We Can’t Stop,” but by fluke and attempts to hear a Dan Deacon remix of her song I watched it. My eyes burned, but I didn’t hate the music, which felt shameful because I pretty much have come to believe everything Miley Cyrus does at this point is abominable, which it is. However, she clearly has good producers and her voice isn’t terrible.

I think that Dan Deacon and Mabson Enterprises must have realized the promise in this as he and several artists made a 37-track compilation which involves only remixes of this song. From using bleeps and sounds to make the song almost unrecognizable to stripping it down to bare vocals there are clearly a lot, at least 37 ways to listen to this song without feeling ashamed about liking it because you aren’t watching Miley Cyrus wiggling her forever in my mind 13-year-old booty.

My favorites include:

“We can’t stop (Slowed & Chopped)”- Dunce Party

and

“We can’t stop”- WhisperKid

Check out the full streaming compilation here!

And if you’re feeling up to it, avert your eyes, but check out the original. It’s shameful but it won’t kill you.

This being said, while I embarrassingly don’t hate it, it does not mean I approve of her album and what she is going for with her aesthetic, message or style. I just appreciate that Mabson Enterprises also saw more than just terrifying tween turned scary teen star releasing a crappy song to make some waves in the pop world.



Woods- At Echo Lake
August 25, 2010, 1:36 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Woods

At Echo Lake

Woodsist

In May of 2010, Woods released their fifth full-length album and I couldn’t take the time on it to really see it for what it is until now. One might listen to Woods and feel that there’s nowhere to really go from here when the key factor is Jeremy Earl’s vocals, but I found a serenity in this album that was not present in Songs of Shame.

Songs of Shame was at war with itself, struggling with political anthems and daunting, dark solos countered by acoustic guitar and mellow vocals. Woods seem to have come to peace with the struggles and shadows that overwhelmed their first album. At Echo Lake is lighter, more thought out and precise in it’s stylization and methods of instrumentation. Neither is better, both are extremely amazing pieces of work, but the growth that can be seen from one to the other is what makes Woods such great artists.

They say so themselves in the glinting tune, “Suffering Season,” where they sing, “who knows what tomorrow might bring…” as they ooh along.  The song has such depth but also an airiness that allows them to sing such hopeful (or chilling) phrases as this. Each song has a clarity and an uplifting drive; glimpses of maturity and strength, clarity and purpose in their music that has only increased with time.

There is much more of a country-twang present on this record, showing a clear progression in Woods’ style, leading them down the path of country-inspired lo-fi indie rock that’s still infused with their winding jammy guitar style. Take for instance the song, “Just Fine,” which starts with acoustic guitar and rattling snare as Jeremy Earl’s vocals ring in a somewhat Americana style of melody.  “Death Rattles,” feels very much like it could have been on the previous record with low bass and “oooh’s and “woah’s,” but it has more of an angle to it, feels a little cleaner, even in it’s placement and use of guitar solos. Woods still has plenty of major jam sessions, blaring build ups of weird noise and anthemic acoustic songs, but the poignancy and intent is much more noticeable on At Echo Lake.

by Lauren Piper



Broken Social Scene- Forgiveness Rock Record
August 15, 2010, 3:05 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Broken Social Scene

Forgiveness Rock Record

Arts & Crafts

When this album was released, it was pretty hard to know what to expect. It has been years since their self-titled album was released, and they’ve all been doing side projects in the meantime. The question was, “do they still have it?” and also, “do I still want it?”

Broken Social Scene can sometimes be overindulgent, but in the way that they know exactly how to indulge and how to play to human emotions with their music (ie: soft cooing vocals, and just the right amount of jangle-y guitar before a breakdown). It’s hard to not feel tricked sometimes, like they’ve just got it down to a science and aren’t really creating so much as selling something they know we want.

Forgiveness Rock Record proved me wrong, it disproved my cynicism and my fear of being let down by music that’s so consistently good, and gave me a kick in the ass in terms of reading too far into the way music is made sometimes. Their warm guitar tones and lulling vocals, absurdist lyrics and unbelievable build-ups all remain and are as breathtaking as ever. This album is full in so many aspects, reaching all over the spectrum in terms of styles and influences, but it still sounds like them. What is different this time is the energy; there’s a laid back style which allows for elements to slip through that may have been there before but were never noticed.

The first song on the album “World Sick,” reels the listener in with low drums and high pitched guitar gleans that become winding and catchy. The lyrics are remarkable in the concept of “world sick” to the point of awe. So yeah, it’s Broken Social Scene, but it feels new, not overdone, not tired. When the Kevin Drew’s vocals come in on the first song, they sell the entire album. One needs to remind themself that there is more to come can’t be sold too soon, but they just keep them coming, one giant gooey glob of engulfing tune after another.

Forgiveness Rock Record feels like a journey. Maybe because I listened to it on a bus, or maybe because every song is a different piece of time, a different section of the earth, a new element of sound. They explore the shapes of their sound with instruments, transforming glockenspiel into diamonds and wind instruments into circles with their whimsical nature.

Maintaining their use of strange lyrics and funny phrasing, the song “Texaco Bitches,” bleeds like a teenage anthem out of the speakers. There are upbeat casiotone bleeps and jumpy drums keeping a clunky, excited energy about it in a way that it sometimes feels only Canadian bands can do. They do all this but maintain the original form of Broken Social Scene, they don’t lose their style and their ambition but they add bird noises and ambience, heavy electronic synth elements, broken down harmonies and fucked up auto-tune. These aspects aren’t even new, just reborn.

There can’t be any name-dropping because after you listen to it once, any references to other bands fall apart beneath the heavy, influential lull that is this album. It feels narcotic and smooth, organic and distinctive but no bands can be named; they get swallowed up and spit out in an almost unrecognizable form unless you scrutinize to the point of un-enjoyment, and what is the fun in that?

The band works in strings, horns, tribal drums and robot vocals in a way that fits perfectly in their baroque puzzle-piece style. The slippery, electronic induced tune, “All to all” cleverly uses the words “all to all” to sing “all to all ultimatum.” Broken Social seems to test our intelligence with their music, building it up to be larger than life but breaking it down in this album, freeze-framing elements of beauty or strangeness, giving more than they have to in a 14-song album. I do feel like this is a forgiveness rock record, and I hope that every other band forgives them for rocking so damn hard.

-Lauren Piper



snippets
July 28, 2010, 10:14 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Best Coast

“Our Deal”

Best Coast’s Beth Consentino has just released the album Crazy for You and the two songs above are just snippets from what it consists of. It’s sugar-y sweet and adorably catchy, but somehow not enough to piss one of or seem trite. Enjoy the above tunes til I get my act together…



First Off
July 27, 2010, 9:06 pm
Filed under: music and musings

There’s a lot to catch up on, but firstly, The New Bomb Turks @ The Bell House 6/26

The New Bomb Turks are a punk band from the 90’s who was not broken up persay. They formally called it quits in 2002, only to start playing every so often about five years after that. It’s a rare occasion as far as I know though. This year though, the frontman, Eric Davidson,  released the book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 and the band played his book release part at the Bell House on June 26.

The night began with readings by Eric Davidson, some video clips of bands featured in his book, and then the Ex-Whites opened the night followed by LiveFastDie, playing their first show in nearly a year. LiveFastDie were pretty incredible, definitely worth checking out, though several of their albums are out of print.

The reason I haven’t written about it until now was that I wanted to read the book, which I bought that night and write about both at the same time. But sometimes things don’t work out, like the book actually being in my physical possession. So for now, it’s just straight up show review of the most punk rock show I’ve ever been to in my life.

My familiarity with the New Bomb Turks came from dvds and snippets from records and just the knowledge that they were fucking awesome. The thought that I would ever get to see them live was nothing that ever crossed my mind. It was just one of those, “well…missed that boat…” types of things. But sometimes boats make detours, and sometimes they come back, and in this case they reunite for a couple shows just for the fun of it.

Their sound is straight forward punk rock, raw and honest, yet sleazy and and guilty of being sophomoric and ridiculous in an absolutely sardonic way. They do it right though, they didn’t market it like assholes, and they don’t fuck around, it’s fun, it’s dirty, it’s absolutely messy in a wonderfully old school way. With blazing drums, distorted guitar solos, and a bass that booms unabashedly, their sound beats anything tame into absolute oblivion. Davidson’s vocals are crude and slick, yelling and snarling with a slight melody to them. And live, the man seems as thought he is going to eat a person whole.

The energy and pure joy that rolled of the stage that night was invigorating and contagious. Despite that fact that I (the tiniest girl ever) was in fact landed on by Eric Davidson at one point in the night did not stop me from rocking the fuck out during the last 25 minutes of the show, bruises or no bruises. The man seemed as though he was breathing fire and needed to jump, dance, kick, scream, and grab anything in sight in order not to explode. The band itself was right on, banging and blasting the whole way through their encore. Every body in that crowd was screaming at the top of their lungs, being pushed back and forth, knocked down from time to time. It was the rowdiest, most enthused crowd I have ever seen. By the end of the night, the stage was covered in sweat, beer, and god knows what else. The corners of the book I had purchased and hid under the stage had the curled and browned from the heat and sweat, but it couldn’t have been a better souvenir.