Megapuss – Surfing

Rating: ★★★½ ·

It is now apparent that Fab Moretti of The Strokes is intent upon taking over the music scene this week, as this is the second release of the week with the drummer laying down the percussion tracks. This time, however, he has joined up with Devendra Banhart of neo-hippy lore in order to create a jazzed out pop folk album under the name Megapuss.

Unfortunately for us, Devendra Banhart is cool with indecent exposure, thus we get this horrific cover art, but perhaps this is set to draw in the female audience.  Needless to say, one might have gone beyond the standard of taste here. Of course, the inclusion of such a picture furthers the sexual undertones all over the album, not to mention the band’s current moniker.

Expectations were that this would be one of the most creative pop albums of the year, as Banhart is known for his abstract approaches.  This time he takes a more standard approach, including various other musicians such as Moretti and Greg Rosgrove of Priestbird.  Fab’s precision percussion definitely allows a steadying pace to the oddly poppy songs present on the album.

It’s difficult to describe the ebbs and flows of this album, which can be driven by the album’s title, Surfing. Listening to the album takes you up and down, atop the wave and crashing to the ocean floor.  The opener “Crop Circle Jerk 94” is a swinging number, while the albums title track is a more subdued jazzier number. You also have to include Devandra’s dedication to the psychedelic aspect of musical musings, as there is definitely a presence here.

In fact, it would be really easy to classify this entire album under the Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era.  Songs like “Theme from Hollywood” or “Older Lives” have a tendency to live decades in the past, although the lyrical content is definitely less experimental, the music still leans toward an out-of-body listening experience.

One of the huge detractors on this album is the presence of background vocals.  It’s difficult for Banhart to separate himself from the hordes of followers and friends he has, thus he chooses to include them on his album, which doesn’t always play to his benefit here.  If you stripped those elements away you would find that there is a lot of substance.

All in all you find that this is definitely a nice step out of the traditional folk approach for Banhart, and yet another interesting step for Fab Moretti.  Even if it is just for kicks, it’s refreshing to see these fine fellows step outside themselves for just a little while.

ATH Interviews: Calexico

ATH recently had the good fortune of chatting it up with famed songwriter Joey Burns about his Tucson based band Calexico. The interview should give you an adequate preview for the band’s upcoming sure to be sold out show at Antone’s on Friday night. Mr. Burns answers the tough questions and also reflects on his one and done stint as an actor. Follow the jump to read this incredible interview with Calexico’s front man, Joey Burns.

Read more

Get A Job

Sure, there are legal ways to make a living, if you don’t mind working for the man. I’d rather find another way, however, and keep my dignity. You know, the dignity that comes from dealing drugs and gambling.

Little Joy – s/t

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Most will recognize the percussionist of Little Joy, the newest offshoot made up of Strokes drummer Fab Moretti. Toss in Rodrigo Amarante and Binki Shapiro, and you have the line-up for LA based Little Joy.

Those in search of the upbeat pop specialties that Albert Hammond has thrown our way will surely not find what you are looking for in these songs, but instead you will find an entirely different genre, what one will call beach-influences crooner tunes. It would suffice to say that this group has created eleven perfect lounge tracks for your favorite smoky dive bar.

“The Next Time Around” is the album’s opener, which contributes the first of many island infused tracks. Guitars and percussion lie in the back of the song, as Amarante croons, not entirely like Julian Casablancas, but not too far off. It’s easy to see why Fab chose to work with this fellow; in the middle of the track there is an influx of Portuguese lyrics, which add to the Latin appeal of the album.

Listening to this album one should recall quiet moments spent on beaches with their friends, much like the members of Team Zissou. In fact, if you recall the soundtrack to the Wes Anderson movie Life Aquatic, you will find that this album is very reminiscent of the guitar work done by Seu Jorge, although the majority of the music here is in English; none of the songs are Bowie covers either.

“No One’s Better Sake” is the fourth track on the album, and it’s one that has the largest resemblance to The Strokes. The progression sounds strikingly similar to a few of the songs off Room on Fire, but a little organ work gives it an entirely different feel. Once again, Amarante croons in that very familiar tone. Even the progression of the song sounds too familiar to dismiss as mere coincidence.

Be sure to listen to “Don’t Watch Me Dancing.” This song features the female vocals from Binki Shapiro, and it’s one of those perfect little songs that creeps into your head as the day passes into the by and by. It’s a mellow little ditty, but most will appreciate the emotive number, possibly one of the strongest tracks on the album.

One thing missing from this album is a substantial pace. The lack of pace, and the organization of the songs on the album makes it a tad difficult to immerse yourself completely in the album. Even good beach parties have a few rollicking moments that move the crowd; this album seems to lack that pace and emotion entirely aside from one or two brief moments.

At the end of the day, listeners will have a decent debut album from Little Joy to attach themselves to for evening listening. If anything, this album is the perfect conversation starter as your friends try to figure out why the songs sound so familiar, yet so much like their last trip to Cancun. You’ll enjoy the album too; it just won’t make your top albums of the year list.

FT5: Halloween Songs

Conveniently for us, Halloween just happens to fall on a Friday. So we’re jumping on the bandwagon and bringing you our top 5 Halloween songs. But here’s the best part – we are also creating an ATH playlist for your Halloween party. That’s right, we’re including the songs. Just fire up ATH Radio, and you’ve got yourself an instant party. Full list of zombie laden goodness after the jump.

Read more

1 1,173 1,174 1,175 1,176 1,177 1,228