Levitation 2018 was not really a festival; it was a series of curated shows that happened to be on the same weekend. The environmental experience of marching across fields and pivoting from stage to stage was removed for ticketed shows at established venues. Hopefully, this will be a one time thing to keep the concept of Levitation alive. There was a time when it was the most unique fest going, whether in a power plant and by the river…
Anyway, when the lineup was announced, I was down for the deconstructed Animal Collective show with Panda Bear and Geologist at Mohawk. My interest increased when Lou Rebecca was added as an opener. It has been some time since our friends move out west to LA and there have been several mini-tours taken. How has the live set progressed and how do the new songs land?
This track is one of those numbers that you keep playing over and over again, just checking to make sure it’s as magical as it was the first time you listened; ten times later, you still love it. Little Red hail from Melbourne, but they’ve signed on with True Panther to release their debut, Midnight Remember, on October 25th. Listening below, it sort of begins with that collage work of say Panda Bear, but then it goes off in a completely different direction, spinning your ears in an entirely different direction. There’s just a hypnotic vibe here that encourages repeated listens, and that’s what makes this a good little listen.
Download: Little Red – Get A Life [MP3]
If you had just entered into the alternative side of the music scene recently, and knew nothing of a little band called Animal Collective, there is still a great chance that Panda Bear would have crossed your path sooner or later. Despite being a rational fan of Animal Collective, I wanted to hate this record so bad. Something about how much it was hyped before its release just sort of irked me. However, despite my preconceived notions that had nothing to do with the actual music, I was able to overcome the intimidating enigma surrounding Tomboy to get to the electro- pop that Noah Lennox has down pat.
The first song “You Can Count On Me,” serves as a transition of worlds for the listener. With its echo-y and distorted vocals, the repetition hazes you to a certain level of detachment, so that you are in the right place mentally to enjoy the album. Thankfully, it doesn’t go on for too long, and soon you are already on “Tomboy,” the title track. Laden with buzz and grimy electronic elements, the repetitive nature of the first song is broken with the natural qualities of the second. Despite that being paradoxical, it still rings true; somehow, the inorganic elements of this sound work together so that the gravelly echoes feel more like tangible back up singers.
It is in this little detail that Panda Bear wins me over. While other kinds of electronic music seem to fall flat in their lack of empathetic qualities, Lennox has managed to fuse the impersonal to deeply reaching, all in one stroke. For instance, “Slow Motion,” feels bitter in its tone, but evolves into pocket of enticing and almost sassy sounding jams. Continuing this chunk of satisfying songs comes “Surfer’s Hymn,” which sounds just like the title describes: tropical. On this number, the background noises transition to sound like the rushing tide pushing back and forth.
The one place where this album falls short is in its overall repetition. While I understand the intentional usage on the first track, it comes up a bit too prevalently throughout Tomboy: at the end of “Slow Motion” and during “Last Night at the Jetty” (which bears similarity to “My Girls”). Too much of the same thing over and over again brings down this effort to the level of mediocrity that other bands of this genre have established. It is a good thing that this only happens a few times.
Overall, it’s about as good as you are going to get for this kind of artificiality. If someone can make emotionally reaching and evoking music from electronic machines, that is a feat in itself and should be appreciated and enjoyed.
It’s interesting being a huge music fan. You come across bands that you absolutely adore, and you rush to make mixes for your friends who ultimately decide that they hate the one song you were most excited for them to fall in love with when you made it. I started thumbing through my catalog and the Internet, diligently searching for the bands in my collection that I love, but I feel people hate; I also looked at bands on the net I know people love, but I hate. Here’s my list of the Top 5.
So while recently looking back on our earliest days here at ATH, I skimmed over on an almost 2 year old post about our least favorite things in the music world. If you don’t care to read that old piece of journalism, it was more a focus on trends in the extremely popular media world. We ranted on myspace, the loudness of some new rock bands, and the decline of albums as an art form. Looking back, I’d say myspace is really on it’s way out, loudness is a declining trend and albums seem to be on the rise. We made a difference! For today, I’d like to focus on 5 things that really erk me about our little niche known as the “indie music world”. Of course with bands like Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, and Spoon topping the charts, these trends are slowly making the move from indie to popular. We must put a stop to them now! Follow the jump for more.