Dark Electro Pop from Silent Wave

silentwaveLooking over today’s earlier posts, feel like I went heavy on guitar-pop and the like, so I wanted to spend the afternoon with Silent Wave. The band, in my mind, sounds like a more accessible version of the Knife…at least in regards to the tonal touch on the vocals. However, they differ in that they seem to evolve in a manner that allows them to crest at just the right moments to maximize emotional power for the audience. As of now, this is just a stand alone single, but I’ll keep you posted as more info comes our way.

Coachella 2014 Lineup

Coachella 2014I am sure all of you have posted this on Facebook, but I figured we need to add it here just in case someone can’t find the pic later on…

Coachella is again using the two weekend format and will feature Outkast, Muse and Arcade Fire as headliners. I get Outkast and Arcade Fire, but please stop booking Muse at every festival. Please. It has to stop. I walk out when I hear Muse; it is my “you’re drunk, go home” alert. Or maybe that is why they are booked as headliners. “Hope you had fun, this is your queue to leave and rest up for tomorrow.” So many lasers. So many.

The festival is getting spendy, passes are $375 and $435 with daily shuttle service. Yikes. Weekend One only has the passes with shuttle service available. VIP will run you $799 with $150 more for parking.

Notables for me on the lineup, as with most festivals, are further down the list: Flume, Jagwar Ma, Dum Dum Girls, Wye Oak, Holy Ghost!, Blood Orange, Mogwai, Chvrches, STRFKR, Daughter, Poolside, Surfer Blood. Mid-levels I’d be stoked on are Bryan Ferry, The Knife, Pet Shop Boys, Beck, Neutral Milk, Motorhead and Little Dragon. You going to the desert? You wearing flip-flops?

Dark Synth Pop from Nerves

nerves_mailchimpLet’s all enjoy a little bit of throbbing synth pop today, courtesy of Australia’s Nerves.  From the start, the song pulses energetically, with Cat Hughes haunting voice, reminiscent of the Knife, smoothly operating atop the beats.  It’s a tune that allows you to stomp your feet frivolously, yet at the same time still revolves around the sound of the vocals.  I have a feeling that a lot of people are really going to gravitate towards this track, and you can find more such tunes on the group’s new Crooked Bones EP.  Tasty.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Counting.mp3]

Download: Nerves – Counting [MP3]

FT50: Albums of the ’00s

0828top5coverWhat?   You still listen to THAT album?  That record is so 2004!  Well, that’s okay, because we really like that one too, which is why we decided to come up with a list of our favorite albums of the last decade (2000-2009).  Sure, these might not be YOUR favorite records, or the most critically acclaimed, but we sat down and really thought out every record from the past ten years that we keep coming back to in our collections.  You’re likely to disagree with some of these, and we won’t tell you we’re absolutely right we just know that these happen to be OUR favorites.  If you think we totally blew it here, feel free to tell us so, but be nice, as our egos are kind of fragile.  Follow the jump for more.

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YACHT – See Mystery Lights

yacht

Rating: ★★ · · ·

When Jona Bechtolt left B.L.O.W all these years back now, no one knew what direction he would pursue, as his music seemed perfectly fitting for the duo.  He wowed many with his clever YACHT debut, I Believe in You…, but could he proceed in a similar direction while achieving similar success when he added Claire Evans to the mix? See Mystery Lights is the answer to that question, though not necessarily the answer many were seeking.

The predominant factor on this set of ten songs is the usual inclusion of various blips and bleeps fused with clever pop elements throughout, much the same recipe used on the debut.  This round, the beats don’t really sound as progressive and interesting as they once did.  Perhaps this is due to the similarities of recent releases by other electronic based groups such as Animal Collective. Electronic collages are gradually wearing listeners down, and themselves, becoming watered down.

Redundancy seems to be one of the factors that contributes to the decline in creativity on See Mystery Lights. “It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want” carries on for entirely too long, and never really seems to break into any new territory throughout the eight minutes of the song.  “Psychic City” opens with beats that seem reminiscent of The Knife, but then there is an utterly annoying water drop sound that continues to drip for the entirety of the song while Evans imitates early Debbie Harry.

“Summer Song” has easily one of the more enjoyable beats on the album; it’s probably one of the songs you would pick to play at a party, but even still, the promising beats don’t seem to really take off and go anywhere. It’s as if the whole record seems to be treading water, in danger of drowning itself in monotonous beats and repetitive lyrics.  What once garnered interest and enjoyment now seems tired and basic. One can go through the whole album without feeling as if any time has passed at all; musically, the album has stayed in the same place, as have you, the listener.

And in the end, you find two renditions of songs that were already presented on the album, which don’t particularly add anything to the originals, if you are to say that they don’t detract from those songs.  It seems that See Mystery Lights just didn’t quite come together for YACHT, and one might possibly say that the group suffered to come up with new material for an entire album, as clearly they ran out of songs.  It’s not a horrible offering, but it’s one that won’t really add much to your listening experience on this Earth.

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

bitte

Rating: ★★★★½

Dirty Projectors last effort, Rise Above, saw the band reconstructing Black Flag’s Damaged;  then they worked with David Byrne on the Dark Was the Night Compilation. How would their new album, Bitte Orca, transpire?  Let’s just say that the band uses elements of all their past work in the last few years and creates one of the most interesting records that has been released this year, if not THE most interesting.

As the album opens, you can tell that there will be more than enough going on in this album.  “Cannibal Resource” has a song that relies less upon the musical instruments and more upon the diverse collaboration of vocal harmonies of Longstreth, Coffman, and Deradoorian.  Still, a lot goes into this song; it’s the texturizing that makes the listening process so intoxicating. For some, you might find that the meandering seems pointless, as guitars twist and turn, often being dropped momentarily, then picked right back up.  At times it seems as if the songs aren’t going anywhere at all, yet as the move on, you can discern the band’s direction.

“Stillness is the Move” uses a predominantly female vocal, which at times resembles some of the work of The Knife.  Still, the guitar sounds as if it were sampled, and the percussion seems more electronic as well.  All in all, the vocal harmonies give the song a bit of urgency that moves the song along; then it completely changes in the middle of the song, as one of the ladies sings in a more traditional approach.  Once again, the band exhibits their willingness to deconstruct modern songwriting techniques, creating fresh sounds.

“Two Doves” is probably the group’s most straightforward song. Gentle guitar plucking, backed by crafty string arrangements created the perfect mood for which the female vocal has no choice but to soar.  It’s one of the most beautiful songs on the album, which owes more to the care taken to craft the perfect song, as the vocals never seem too forced, and the accompaniment of the music is extremely fitting to the overall tone of the song.

Then you come across the montage that is “Useful Chamber,” which is constructed like a modern symphonic piece.   There are some many different pieces to this song, it’s as if the band compiled several pieces in to one ornate song.  The pacing is irregular at first, and sort of fragmented, which is to be expected from such a song, but it peaks with Longstreth shouting out the album title, before the girls chime in with their high-pitched “oohs” and “aahhs.”  You won’t find a better crafted song this year.

And so the album goes, carefully constructed from the beginning until the end. The infectious melodies drive the album, but beneath it lies the clever craftwork of a band who is at the top of their game.  It seems like Dirty Projectors have climbed atop the world yet again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/05-two-doves.mp3]

Download: Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca [MP3]