I’m always surprised that I’m not bored by The Acorn. At first listen, their songs seem so simple and ‘traditional’. I don’t know what it is exactly that differentiates them from so many other bands that kind of sound like this, but there’s just something spellbinding about their songs to me. Kinda like #Fleet-Foxes — I’m not necessarily into this genre, but these songs just feel really good.
“Windows 95 and MacOS are products, contrived by engineers in the service of specific companies. Unix, by contrast, is not so much a product as it is a painstakingly compiled oral history of the hacker subculture. It is our Gilgamesh epic.”—Neal Stephenson, In the Beginning…Was the Command Line
This is definitely the Cut Copy song I can most get behind. It’s an interesting melding of #Clap-Your-Hands-Say-Yeah and classic #New-Order house. Jangly acoustic guitars float over rich bouncing bass lines. The drums alternate between a disco-y high-hat/snare alternation and a more conventional indie beat. Nasal affected vocals transform into vocoder. It’s an interesting blend of styles and this song shows it at its most effective.
There’s a big contrast between this “new lo-fi” stuff and the original 90s sound it’s aping that I haven’t heard anyone point out yet: digital lo-fi sounds are worlds apart from analog ones. Where cheap tape recordings have a warmth to their distortion, this digital stuff sounds super bright to the point of being grating. In comparison, classic #Bakesale era #Sebadoh feels like a bath of warm butter. Even the famously harsh #New-Day-Rising by #Husker-Du sounds soft and fuzzy. Add the contemporary dynamic-squashing mastering that this stuff undergoes and you start to hear how far apart it stands even from the recordings that most inspired it.
I just watched an MTV News report on the rise of lo-fi music: http://perpetua.tumblr.com/post/34249893 in which #Times-New-Viking featured prominently along with #No-Age. No Age have been highly buzzful lately and I’ve really been trying to get on board, but I haven’t quite managed to succeed. I have to agree with Fluxblog: http://www.fluxblog.org/2008/05/wash-away-what-we-create.html Their songs are just a little too generically “90s teen punk” for me. The 90s retro movement that Fluxblog’s harping on definitely bothers me about it as well. While this song surely falls into that same genre trap, it has a stronger sense of pop drama. The way the high guitar follows the girl’s voice, reinforcing the melody, the more laid back beat, and the slightly darker more complicated harmony all make for a more emotionally evocative effect than any No Age I’ve heard. This is starting to get into old school #Sleater-Kinney territory, which is a rich vein of influence that wasn’t quite as brutally strip-mined as the main artery of the 90s “lo-fi” cliche.
I always used to think that the “Death From Above” in this song’s title was a band name; it was a hipster offer: “let’s have sex and listen to cool music”. But now I’m starting to wonder if “death from above” doesn’t have the more conventional meaning of bombs falling onto your house.
“What is it going to take for you to get the message that customers don’t want the things that architecture astronauts just love to build. The people? They love twitter. And flickr and delicious and picasa and tripit and ebay and a million other fun things, which they do want, and this so called synchronization problem is just not an actual problem, it’s a fun programming exercise that you’re doing because it’s just hard enough to be interesting but not so hard that you can’t figure it out.”—Joel on Software, Architecture astronauts take over
“If you want to see what it looks like when we become our parents, check out the idea that the internet is getting in the way of kids these days having an authentic indie-rock experience. That’s only true if the internet is somehow inauthentic, e.g. not a culture of its own, and I think refusing to acknowledge that is much more evidence of being out-of-touch than not liking emo.”—clapclap.org knows writers who use subtext and they are all cowards: Punk Grammar
This was the first Adem song I ever heard and is still by far my favorite. The melody is choked full of hooks. The sound is warm and intimate. The percussion is playful and pushes things forward. The arrangement is original and satisfying. A lot of the rest of his work falls too far into the boring/generic area just adjacent to this sound that I like to call The Coldplay Zone. It’s not a pretty place. But then again, it’s not an ugly one either…
Really cool #Aphex-Twin cover/mashup here. The incredible musicality of #Richard-D-James era Aphex means that it often strikes softer-timbred (even classically-instrumented) musicians as good fodder. In this case, I thnk #Adem is actually right since the pleasantness of his tones brings out the beauty of a lot of Aphex’s melodies while the complexity of Aphex’s arrangements push this song out of The #Coldplay Zone of comfortable edgelessness into which Adem too often falls. The end result sounds a bit like a missing song by #The-Books — your folks could probably listen to it without complaining but it’s also possible that the experimental music kid in the internet cafe might dig it too.
Woah! Crackly old vinyl sound, squeaky vocals, and beepy lo-fi synths. Very #MIA. Haven’t really heard anyone go this much straight after her style before. Santogold (at least here) isn’t as vocally exciting, but I definitely dig the production. MIA works with the best (esp. #Timbaland) and there’s lots of rich ground to mine there.
This song is timeless: lush, beautiful, catchy, moving, and original. It has a similar quality to #Transatlanticism by #Death-Cab-for-Cutie — even though it’s made of simple parts combined in a minimal way, it’s still extremely expressive; somehow with each repetition it become more compelling, pushes closer to the emotional heart of things. It’s an approach that’s very “post-rock”: you can only make pop like this in a world where #Godspeed and #Tortoise have broken down the barriers that kept patient atmospheric swells and more linear classical structures out of rock.
It’s amazing how the signature #Broken-Social-Scene sound (big, buzzy, and driving) went from sounding so fresh it was almost avant-garde circa #You-Forgot-It-In-People to so stale it’s almost retro with this new series of “Broken Social Scene Presents…” releases. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot that’s good here musically, but it says a lot that what I like most about this song is how it reminds me of the golden moment of hearing #Almost-Crimes for the first time.
Kind of like a more abstract #Dan-Deacon song, here. I like the way each element that comes in alters the feeling of the rhythm without actually breaking the four-on-the-floor pounding. Also, if you’re gonna have a bass drum on each quarter note for the whole song, it damn well better sound as good this one.
Wow. Another great new Portishead track here. This one is very #Silver-Apples — all buzzy analog synths, pounding bass, and huge drums — which is crazy since the one I just heard right before this ( #Deep-Water ) was a nice little ukulele ditty.
Hot damn, this new Portishead record is awesome! There was much chatter about their #Coachella show, but I didn’t expect anything like this. Also after a ten year lapse, this record was talked about as their #Chinese-Democracy so how could it possibly fulfill expectations? But I’m totally into this: it’s like old Portishead plus #Bjork plus the Blade Runner soundtrack! Radical dark haunting spooky synth with crunchy percussion.