Stream More Escher and Random Notes from The Holy

theholyWe’ve dropped a few tunes from the debut for Finland’s the Holy over the last month or so. The most impressive thing about listening to the entirety of More Escher and Random Notes is just how polished the band seem to have grown into during these, the early years. You can hear bits of Arcade Fire and Coldplay, blending orchestration and noise with massive hints of pop sensibility. Soliti Music will be releasing the EP next week, August 10th, worldwide, but you can stream it below just to make sure you loved it as much as we do.

Friday Top 5: Musicians Your Mom Loves

Hey. We need to talk. People are not taking your mom’s musical taste seriously. This is probably because your mom’s taste in music is horrible. But in the interest of science, I have formulated an alternate hypothesis, one that suggests your mom’s musical taste is secretly pretty good and thus worthy of further examination. It’s probably horseshit, but just to be safe you should read the rest of this. Your mom loves all of this crap.

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Friday Top 5: ACL Departure Soundtrack

I have a feeling that like most of you out there, the headliners for ACL aren’t the real reason for going to the festival. At first glance, this year may be a bit weak, but even early walk-ins will find excellent acts like Cults, Telekinesis, The Head and the Heart, The Antlers, An Horse, and so on. The middle of the lineup is great with Cut Copy, Kurt Vile, Smith Westerns, The Moondoggies, TV on the Radio, The Walkmen, Broken Social Scene, Empire of the Sun – I could go on. The headliners are left with the task of clearing the venue, the triggers for the long walk back to the car, the soundtrack for a mosey. Here are my Top 5 (anticipated) songs from this year’s Headliners to make me head out.

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Friday Top 5: Songs I Want Played At My Funeral

This is a subject that I have personally addressed on several occasions, yet when I brought up the concept to others, it seemed quite unpopular, and viewed as unacceptable and slightly morbid. One person went as far as to suggest that I think about songs that I would want played at my dog’s funeral. Let’s think about this. My dog dies, I’m around to feel the sorrow of the loss. I die, and I don’t feel shit. My friends and family, assuming that people would actually care to show up, will have to deal with my death, but it’s out of my hands and my emotions are done. I want my death to be a celebration of my life, not some archaic, depressing, black suit ritual that we have become familiar with for whatever reason. Am I the only one that thinks about this?

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The Return Of Shearwater

After a brief tour with Coldplay, Shearwater will make their triumphant return to Austin this Thursday night at Mohawk (9/4).  Tickets for the show are only $8 with things starting off at 9pm.  Buy your tickets from the Transmission Entertainment website.  Instead of a song to preview the show, how about some live video of the band?  The Interface on Spinner AOL recently featured a short set by Shearwater on their website.  If anyone is interested in covering this show with pictures and/or a review, feel free to contact us (we get busy too).  We’ll hook you up with free stuff!

Coldplay – Viva la Vida

Rating: ★★★ · ·

In 2000, when MTV showed two music videos a day instead of one, I recall watching a video featuring a squirrel-y looking fellow walking along a merky morning beach. I didn’t care much for the redundant slow motion effect or the dusk-to-dawn illusion, but as a teenager, was enthralled in what this hoodie-wearin’ bloke had to say. “Yellow” was my introduction to Coldplay. Since releasing 2000’s Parachutes, the London quartet have sold more than 32 million records worldwide, filled countless arenas and made legions of Dodge Caravan-driving soccer moms in the process. You know a band is doing something right when you make a phone call to your mother and SHE asks you, “Have you heard the new Coldplay record?” No small feat…

Much has changed in Camp Coldplay since then. While 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head proved this band was destined to “rock” stadiums, 2005’s snoozefest X&Y brought us back to Earth proving that re-hashing singles is not always the brightest of ideas. Exhibit A: X&Y’s “Speed of Sound” tried it’s darndest to match the success of “Clocks” by sounding just like “Clocks.” Exhibit B: “Fix You,” a song that I’m pretty sure GOD wrote was X&Y’s answer to “The Scientist.” The boys we’re in dire need of assistance because the formula was already walking on thin tightropes.

On their fourth installment, the Tex-Mex-titled “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends,” that help comes in the form of producer Brian Eno (U2, Talking Heads) to assist in ship-shaping their form. Gone are the power ballads Coldplay are known for and the over-production of their past records. Instead, listeners are treated to a multitude of sonic landscapes, sweeping strings, and a buttload of church organ. Luckily, this change works in Coldplay’s favor showcasing a band that’s capable of writing challenging music rather than worrying about living up to their position as the “Biggest Rock Band in the World.”

I promised myself I wouldn’t mention any other bands in this review, primarily the obvious one that has a letter and a number in it (sigh), but after hearing “Life in Technicolor,” the opening instrumental track off the record, it’s an arduous task not to mention Coldplay’s Dublin doppelgangers. It’s a shimmering two minute piece that opens the album nicely transitioning into “Cemetaries of London,” a drag-of-a-tune that sounds more like Big Country with it’s lagging chants and guitatist Jonny Buckland’s Edge-riffic licks. Now if only these cats can learn some quality jigs for their live show.

As the album progresses, the band explores darker territories. “Lost!” is a well-crafted song mixing powerful organ and drummer Will Champion’s Afro-beats, and “42” is a stunner with it’s unique and daring structure. However, it’s difficult to sympathize with future Sir Chris Martin when he sings “I just got lost…every river that I tried to cross.” Martin has never been known for his profound lyrics and it definitely doesn’t do him or his troupe any favors on Viva la Vida. It hurts the record if anything. “Yes” with it’s “Walk Like an Egyptian” style strings, monitone vocals, and “profound” lyrics could’ve been spared from this record. However, the second half of the song dubbed “Chinese Sleep Chant” is English trance at it’s best. If only I had my glowsticks…

“I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t put an end to all violence and suffering.” Obviously, Martin was joking when he said this about the record in a recent SPIN Magazine interview, but after hearing the mighty one-two punch of Apple iTune’s smash “Viva la Vida” & first single “Violet Hill,” I would not be surprised if this record in fact ended all violence and suffering. Okay, I’m blowing smoke up your ass, but both songs serve as an excellent juxtaposition when describing the album as a whole. Everything from Martin’s fixation between life & death to the album’s awful Revolutionay War cover art that was ripped out of the pages of a 7th grade Social Studies book are embodied nicely during the record’s climax. “Strawberry Swing” is fantastic blending Buckland’s Afro-pop guitar hook and bassist Guy Berryman’s stomping rhythm. However, it’s all brought to a screeching halt when the final track “Death and All His Friends” wraps up the album. Sadly, it’s a trite tune that sounds more X&Y than Viva la Vida. The second half of the song revisits the beginning of the record. “And in the end, we lie awake and we’ll dream of making our escape,” Martin delivers in Abbey Road fashion over Eno’s soundscapes. It’s a comfortable refrain that does not coincide well with the 1st half of the song. And in retrospect, that’s how Coldplay’s Viva la Vida plays out. An easy-flowing record that gets lost periodically in it’s own ambition.

You can hear the title track to the new album below:

Download: Coldplay – Viva La Vida [MP3]