Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ridiculously Long Songs

So it should be known that I am a huge fan of very long songs. I love listening to a song that transitions and really gives itself enough space and time to break out of traditional structure. So I'm going to post a few of them now, and probably a few more every now and then.

Kissing the Beehive by Wolf Parade

This is the concluding track off of Wolf Parade's second album At Mount Zoomer and probably my favorite on the record. I'm obviously a huge fan of Sunset Rubdown, so I like most things that Spencer Krug is attached too, but I've always been a little skeptical about whether or not I like Wolf Parade. Sure I like songs like "I'll Believe in Anything", but those songs are very much Spencer Krug songs and not so much a Wolf Parade song. However, "Kissing the Beehive" has made up my mind for me. I like Wolf Parade. The song starts out like any other with Dan's vocals telling a narrative about sailing down a river, only to be interrupted by Spencer Krug speaking directly to the narrator "As if you didn't know that it would sting". I won't go into every moment of the song, but the sequence building up to the second movement of the song where Krug sings "Jonathan, Jonathan" is just great and the rest of the song has a great beat that you can really groove too.

Check it Out: Kissing the Beehive

Sao Paolo by Guillemots

This is my favorite song off of the Guillemots's first album Through the Window Pane. Yes it's a sad song about a lost love in Brazil, but the intense emotion accented by the roaring movements of the orchestra also make it a very uplifting song. Not a lot of love has been given to this band from across the seas, so I hope everyone gives this song a listen and supports this band, with hopes that they will once again tour in the states.

Check it Out Sao Paolo

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stone's Ode

I'm sort of late to the bandwagon when it comes to Elverum. I know he's been around for a long time, but I knew nothing of the Microphones or Mount Eerie until Lost Wisdom came out last year, but it is currently circling my playlists daily and weekly and it has been for the past year. So I was excited to hear a new Mount Eerie song off of their upcoming album Wind's Poem set to come out later this year. I'll also include a song from their EP White Stag which I also came upon recently. Enjoy!

I've also done tabs for two songs off of Lost Wisdom
Voice in Headphones tab
You Swan Go On tab

Mount Eerie-Stone's Ode
Mount Eerie-Wasted Wealth

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dragonslayer Release Concert

So it's finally happened. Dragonslayer is officially out and, much to my enjoyment, critics are loving it. Metacritic Score= 85!

One of the things that I love about LA is that bands always come on the night of their record release. I don't really know if that makes a difference, but to me it makes the shows feel more exciting. Almost ceremonial. I was fortunate enough to attend Sunset Rubdown's record releasing show last night ( 6/23/09) at the Echoplex.

Sunset Rubdown came themselves to set-up their own instruments after spending the past few hours at the merch table. Once set up they began with an electric version "The Empty Threats of Little Lord", which bled into, what I guess is their first single, "Idiot Heart". The night was mainly about promoting their new album Dragonslayer, which front man Spencer Krug made very obvious, but aside from playing almost the entire new album, Spencer Krug also left space for songs from Shut Up, I'm dreaming and Random Spirit Lover.

Overall I was incredibly pleased by the show. It's been so long since I've been to a show where people crowd surfed and moshed. It seemed sort of out of place at an indie-rock show, but the response almost seems natural listening to Sunset Rubdown play song from Dragonslayer

Here is the set list as best I can remember it. They played all these songs, but the order in the middle of the set list is a little murky in my memory.

1.Empty Threats of Little Lord
2.Idiot Heart
3.Black Swan
4.Taming of the Hands, That Came Back to Life
5.Coming to At Dawn
6.Silver Moons
7.Paper Lace
8.You Go on Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)
9.Mending of the Gown
10.Winged/ Wicked Things
11.Dragon's Lair
12.Us One's In Between
13.Nightingales/December Song

These are some of the videos I recorded. Sure they're not the best videos, but the moshers kept bumping me and digital sound recorders sort of suck with loud music. Nevertheless the moment has been documented for all to see :)

Sunset Rubdown - Coming to At Dawn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sun, Sun, Sun?

It was a sad day last year when Noah and the Whale canceled their Los Angeles performance at the Troubadour with the excuse that they were working hard on their second album The First Day of Spring. Well here it is, the title track, "The First Day of Spring", and if you were expecting a pop-folk track, you will be horribly disappointed. But all is not lost. Although the song lacks that folk-pop-fiddle feel it takes on a whole new realm of music that feels like a step forward for the Euro-band. Think less hand clapping and more orchestral swelling. Personally I love Noah and the Whale, and I'm sure I will support their upcoming album regardless of how it sounds, I'm just that biased. However, I will acknowledge the fact that I may prefer their old sound. Yes I'm glad that the band is maturing, and yes I love the fact that there are more strings, but my favorite part of Noah in the Whale is their mixture of upbeat music with generally depressing subject matter. The First Day of Spring sounds like it is keeping the subject matter and losing the flare.

First Day of Spring is said to have a running narrative discussing the downside of a relationship and is also said to be accompanied by a film sometime after the album is released. "The First Day of Spring" is Noah and the Whale's way of breaking the world into their new sound, but Blue Skies is supposedly their official first single off the album. So we won't be able to fully know if Noah and the Whale's The First Day of Spring has lost all it's "Fun, Fun, Fun" until that track is released.

Noah and the Whale- The First Day of Spring

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Bigger Kind of Kill

So Sunset Rubdown's 4th although I think of it more as their third album (Shut Up I'm Dreaming, Random Spirit Lover, Dragonslayer) leaked almost two weeks ago, and now that I've been listening to it endlessly on my various Apple products I think I can give it my review.

One of my favorite qualities about Sunset Rubdown is their ability to change. From album to album and even from song performance to song performance, the band is never afraid to mix it up. What's great about listening to their older song repertoire is listening to the development of a single song such as "Snakes Got a Leg" or "Stadiums and Shrines". Dragonslayer continues this tradition. For example in the cover of Swan Lake's "Paperlace" we can hear the stronger tone the song has taken on and the more "rock" feel that Spencer Krug seems to be going for with this album. I remember downloading "Idiot Heart" from their Daytrotter sessions almost a year ago, but now that we've all heard the album version I'm sure most would agree that it sounds exactly the same. What you hear on this album is exactly what Sunset Rubdown sounds like. The production level of Dragonslayer falls slightly below that of Random Spirit Lover, but still well above Shut Up I'm Dreaming. That doesn't make the album any less worthy than the other two albums. Like I said. Sunset Rubdown's strength is change and they succeed here on all levels.

The ballad-like opening track, "Silver Moons" begins Spencer Krug's vague story of an aged hero reminiscing on his glory days and prepares us for the rest of the album. Another strength of Krug's is his use of words. Silver Moons will use a lot of odd words and phrases that may make no sense upon the first listen, or ever. There are references to "confetti" the "moon" and the "dawn", which are fine words, but will begin to take on more meaning as the album progresses. Sunset Rubdown is all about themes and these themes seem to have their roots it Sunset Rubdown's earlier albums. In "Idiot Heart" Krugs shouts out "If I was a horse I would throw up the reins if I were you" a direct reference to "The Men Are Called Horsemen There" from Shut Up I'm Dreaming. This is done again in "You Go on Ahead" when Krug says "I'd Like to Throw this Trumpet Down", referencing "Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot, Toot!"

The beauty of Krug's lyrics is that they give you enough direction, but without being concrete that you are free to interpret the songs in any which way you want. I've always interpreted "The Men Are Called Horsemen There" to be about Krug's lack of confidence and ability to live up to masculine ideals. This is a theme that I think pops up a lot in his music, but that may just be my own interpretation. What is Krug's obsession with fires, suns, actors, virgins, horses, etc. I want to know, but at the same time it would probably ruin the songs.

I loved Random Spirit Lover because of its high energy, however I was not drawn to each song. Dragonslayer is different in the fact that it lacks the wound up energy of Random Spirit Lover ,however, overall I feel that each song is more enjoyable, making this Sunset Rubdown's most accessible album. I urge everyone to listen to this album all the way through in order and to devise some sort of meaning from its story. It's definitely worth your time 9.0/10

ps. Rather than post a song from Dragonslayer, which is all over the internet by now. I'll post a less common demo.

Stadiums and Shrines (Demo)