Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I don’t know what it is, but I just haven’t been able to find much these days that really catches my... um, ear. I’ve been resorting to a lot of stuff in my established collection such as Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Buena Vista Social Club, the Clash, David Bowie, and Hercules and Love Affair.

The ambient, chill-out feel of Seventh Tree is beautiful and hypnotic but I still love the up-tempo Supernature. Favorites have to be Ride on a White Horse and Ooh La La, but I love every song on that album.

Grizzly Bear
I’ve only heard their latest album, Veckatimist, but I like what I hear. They seem more of a traditional setup for a band, not employing so much electronica, which is sometimes refreshing in today’s scene. Two Weeks is my favorite which, of course, has a great harmony hook.

Juana Molina
An Argentenian singer/song-writer that has surprising elements in her songs. Vivé Solo starts off as serene and pastoral, then becomes an interesting beat of scatting, shouting and clapping. Dar is another excellent example of the somewhat sparse sound, layered with her voice and a driving yet subtle beat.

TV on the Radio
I wasn’t too impressed with this band until their recent release, Dear Science. I was able to see them live at Central Park Summer Stage, which is a terrible venue... especially in a down pour. Their latest album is an array of different sounds that really grabbed my attention. Golden Age and Shout Me Out are stand out tracks.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band
I’m still very new to this band, but think that they will be a group that you’ll hear a lot about once their debut album is released. They’ve been getting rave reviews for their energetic live shows and I can easily imagine them from the album. The songs are bursting with enthusiasm. The sound recalls 60’s prog rock and some disco. I want to list sound influences but honestly, each song on the album seems to be rooted in a different band. Sometimes they sound like The Doors, and one song I swear is a long-lost Foghat tune. You have to hear the album for yourself, particularly 15 to 20 (which Ting Tings fans will love).

David Byrne
I was lucky enough to see David Byrne play a free show in Prospect Park and I was reawakened to his genius. The guy puts on a seriously good show; very entertaining and vibrant. Since then I’ve been combing through his collection and needless to say, I’m a fan. I hope I age as well as this guy has.

There’s a place in my heart for these guys, but I can’t deny the decline of their music over the years. Their first two, maybe three albums were incredibly fresh and diverse. But since then, they’ve catered more and more to safe, radio music. Their latest release, A New Tide, is such a disappointment for me that I didn’t even bother importing it into my iTunes. A sad day indeed.

Fiery Furnaces
Another band that I gave a lot of goodwill towards for the sheer genius of prior releases. Blueberry Boat and Gallowsbird’s Bark were works of art. But practically everything since has been an exercise in tolerance. It doesn’t help that they pump out so much music that you lose any excitement over hearing their name. I usually pine for as much music I can get from a band I like, but in this case, there can be too much of a good(?) thing.

1 comment:

Jess said...

There was this great little Radio Lab podcast about Juana Molina. http://blogs.wnyc.org/radiolab/2009/05/04/juana-molina/