Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coldplay News!


We still don't have a track list or release date, but Rolling Stone has heard the new material, and so we now have the most in-depth hype yet surrounding Coldplay's forth-coming LP. Apparently, the Coldplay white board displays a radically different set of tracks than those floating around a little while back. Also, according to RS, "[the new songs] are refreshingly, bracingly different from Coldplay hits like 'Clocks' and 'Speed of Sound.'" Further, the band "explored a variety of sonic directions, something they attribute to Eno's encouragement." Also, the song "42" is being considered as the album's first single, "an elaborate three-part piece, with swirling pianos, strings and beat loops that build to an uptempo climax" which displays, according to RS, Coldplay's "willing[ness] to stray from their formula." Hmm. Verrrrrrry interesting.


Water Curses EP: Now With Tracklist!


Dorky to get this excited over an EP tracklist? Yes, I concede. But as an AC-oholic, any news is good news, and so I'm stoked for the four track Water Curses EP, due out May 5. Apparently, the material, mostly recorded during the Strawberry Jam sessions and which includes the oft-played-live "Street Flash," finds Animal Collective "exploring strange new waters."

Hip...hip...horray!


Track list:
1. Water Curses
2. Street Flash
3. Cobwebs
4. Seal Eyeing

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Velvet Underground: "I'm Not a Young Man Anymore"


I'm a few days late on the hot VU news regarding the previously unreleased Live at the Gymnasium bootleg, a show that spans five songs, with a completely ballin' rendition of "Sister Ray" (the song's debut, apparently) closing the thing off. The buzz, however, is around the never-before-released "I'm Not a Young Anymore," a raw, bluesy seven-minute jam well worth the time of Velvets' fans casual and devoted. And yeah, the rest of the show is worth hearing to.


Record Review: Beach House: Devotion

The sophomore record from the Baltimore-based dream pop duo tops their already impressive debut in nearly every conceivable way, even if the blueprint remains the same.

Rating: 4.5/5

You know how sometimes you’re having a really great dream and you wake up before the dream draws itself out to a natural conclusion? Or even worse, when you have a really surreal, fascinating dream and you wrack your brain trying to remember what happened and just can’t? Well, I don’ know, I could be crazy, but this seems like the kind of thing that everyone would experience to one extent or another. For me, Devotion, the sophomore album from Baltimore-based dream pop duo Beach House, is the perfect antidote, a near flawless set of dreams made music, ones you actually get to see through to the end, and ones you can (and will want to) return to again and again.

If you’ve heard the duo’s 2006 self-titled debut, Devotion’s sonic approach won’t come as any surprise. Victoria Legrand offers her hushed, velvety smooth, Nico-like vocals over Alex Scally’s warm, spacious soundscapes to create music that really can only be best characterized as dream-like. The two musicians have mastered their gorgeous aesthetic, their brand of lovely, soothing escapism, and they’re sticking to it. For better or for worse, they even opted to continue using a drum machine. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Of course, while the band’s debut didn’t need to be “fixed,” per say, it did need some fine tuning. “Saltwater,” “Apple Orchard,” and “Master of None” showcased BH’s indisputable talent for crafting beautiful dream-ballads, but the album seemed timid at times, fumbling around for the light switch and hoping not to knock the lamp over in the process. Legrand sounded faint and uncertain, which at times worked to her advantage, as it helped to build sadness and vulnerability well-suited for the bleak backdrops. However, too often I felt like she should have taken charge and didn’t.

On Devotion, she sounds astronomically more confident and expressive. From the “Oh, your wish is my command” refrain of “Wedding Bell” to the unsure yet comforting “Will I swim out on your ocean?” ponder of closer “Home Again,” Victoria Legrand brings her A-game. Every melody floats perfectly atop her partner’s intricately-weaved web of slide guitar and keyboards (arrangements augmented effectively by Legrand’s organ), with every heartfelt lyric exhibiting her lively passion, every track gracefully flowing into the next.

One particular reviewer described the tone of Beach House’s debut as “evok[ing] the desolation of [autumn]” rather than celebrating the glories of summer the artist’s name might suggest. This time around, Beach House have created a winter record that can sense the imminent arrival of spring, an album with lovesick balladry (“You Came to Me” being the best of it) setting a dreary, sorrowful mood, but also one with moments of optimism shining through Legrand’s clouds of uncertainty and doubt. BH’s fuller, more assured sound inspires a sense of hope rather than fear, even when the duo try to paint a shadowy picture, with the pristine beauty of songs like standout “Gila” overpowering the material’s despair. Listening to this and looking out my window at the snow-covered ground…like, omg, I am sooo ready for spring!

Yeah, so, unfortunately, I have to wait a little while for that, depending on something to do with a groundhog and his shadow that I can’t remember…anyway, this is the album to be listening to right now. Beach House have progressed to such an extent that even the band’s detractors, those listeners bored by the good but not great debut, should give this one a chance. Artists don’t often make them quite like this, this irresistible and inviting, this singularly gorgeous.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Songs For Snow!

Yeah, it's been snowing like crazy outside. My only class for today got delayed, so I'm feeling really lazy right now. Anyway....

My Bloody Valentine - Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)

Animal Collective - Winter Wonder Land

Pixies - Winterlong

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rolling Stone Talks to TI

Rolling Stone spoke to the under-house-arrest rapper TI recently, and I wouldn't point this out except that at one point they asked him what he thinks about Jay-Z's American Gangster and he responded that he thought it was "one of [Jay-Z's] best albums since The Black Album." Well, including American Gangster, Jay-Z has released a whopping total of 2 records since The Black Album, so that's sort of like saying that dinner I just ate was one of my most fulfilling meals since I had breakfast this morning. RS asks TI about some other stuff, too, including his new album Paper Trail, so check it.

New Releases: Grand Archives, Atlas Sound

No full album review this week (since I had business of massive, earth-shattering proportions to take care of over the last week), but both the debut Grand Archives album and the first proper Atlas Sound record hit stores today.


The Grand Archives (fronted by former Band of Horses/Carissa's Wierd member Mat Brooke) offer up some decent indie-country tunes on their self-titled debut, ones warmer and less sterile than the much of BoH's Cease to Begin. However, the album grows monotonous after a little while, and probably could have used an explosive, dramatic defining moment a la "Is There a Ghost" to break the easy-going feel. Still, a very pleasant, listenable indie pop record, one I would recommend for fans of the demos that surfaced last year.


Grand Archives - Torn Blue Foam Couch

Buy at Amazon Grand Archives MySpace


The Atlas Sound album, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, is the better of the two releases, a touching collection of ghostly, often heartbreaking ambient pieces, though one that may prove as divisive as Deerhunter's 2007 output. This isn't to say the record's is bad (quite the opposite) or to say Bradford Cox's solo effort sounds like Deerhunter (it doesn't, most of the time), just that Let the Blind won't be everyone's cup of tea.


Atlas Sound - River Card

Buy at Amazon Atlas Sound MySpace Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza Blog

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Looking Back On In the Aeroplane Over the Sea


Earlier this week, it came to my attention (through a particular web site) that ten years have passed since Neutral Milk Hotel’s landmark sophomore (and, as of now, final) album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. I usually stick to sounding off on new music, largely because once I look back over the years and try to pick one album to write about I end up wanting to discuss everything. I have to limit myself, so I essentially shoot for one new-music review a week. However, I couldn’t resist honoring Aeroplane on its tenth anniversary.

Honestly, I never much liked the Elephant 6 sound. I mean, I don’t dislike it, but it has never been my cup of tea. I like the start of the one Olivia Tremor Control record, but then I lose interest during the eight billion different “Green Typewriters.” Save for that awesome 11-minute track in the middle of their last album, I have never liked Of Montreal that much, in part because I find artists with a live show as extravagant as theirs to be somewhat gimmicky and indulgent. I like Apples in Stereo a bit more, but nothing life-changing there.

Yet, I can’t resist In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. I don’t think it’s quite the perfect masterwork its devoted followers do, but it’s both incredibly distinct and tremendously moving, packed with songs relatively simple but immensely captivating. On first listen, it’s an album catchy enough to draw you back for a second, third, and fourth listen, but it possesses an emotional underbelly that you’ll wanna come back to time and time after that. In some ways, the record is almost indescribable; I guess I would qualify this music somewhere in between lo-fi indie pop and folk, but listen to it, and there’s so much more.

Of course, this is record is worshipped in the indie community, so you more than likely know it like the back of your hand and don’t need me to tell you why it kicks ass. Unless you really know what you’re talking about (which I, admittedly, do not) it’s hard to shine any new critical light on the oft-written-about Aeroplane. Still, trying to formulate a formal declaration of this record’s greatness isn’t nearly as necessary or interesting as describing how you felt when you first heard it, detailing the way in which “King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1” grabbed you and refused to let you go until Jeff Mangum gently lay his guitar to rest after “Two Headed-Boy Part 2.”

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is actually one of my brother’s favorite records ever, so his playing the title track and “Holland 1945” in the living room familiarized me with the material before I ever heard the album itself. I’m not gonna say I was overwhelmed by what I heard, but I was intrigued, so I borrowed his copy and spend a few days straight spinning it on the iPod. You have to understand, whenever I hear an album that’s considered a “classic” by critics and fans I sort of instinctively and even subconsciously try to find a reason why the album shouldn’t be placed in the same category as my all-time favorites. Usually, I warm up to the “classics” over time, with only the occasional record really baffling me as to the strength of its critical status.

This record was neither a work to which I needed to warm up nor one I discarded and slapped with an “overrated” tag. Aeroplane works immediately, and in every way. Everything carries instant appeal, everything from the melodies to the chord progressions to the gripping lyrics (loosely based around the tragic fate of Anne Frank) to what I call the “Mangum Scream.” The Scream really did it for me, in fact, the way Mangum can, paradoxically, sing wildly and uncontrollably and sing beautifully at once. There’s something really powerful, some great aesthetic value, about making order and music out of chaos, channeling some inner primal fury into a harmonious medium. In short, whenever I hear Mangum holler “I love you Jesus Chri-i-i-i-i-i-i-ist!” or “Choking with her hands across her fa-a-a-ce!” I’m blown away. He’s an uncanny, inspired, unrestrained musician, and few indie singer/songwriters pre- or post-NMH have ever matched his emotional fervor.

It’s fun to discuss who the next “It” band may be, which forthcoming album will stand among the year’s elite. However, it’s nice to look back at the forefathers of modern indie music, and, most of the time, listening to an album like this for the 50th time will beat hearing a whole year’s worth of fresh records anyway. It’s that good, that replayable, that timeless. My musical tastes have diverged greatly over the last year or so, to the point where I listen to more hip-hop, electronic music, and post-rock than I do alternative or indie rock. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of the albums that always draws me back to indie pop, a near-flawless work, and one for which I continue to pray for a much-needed sequel.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pissed-Off Hitler

"I just bought a T.O. jersey last week. Now I have to wait! Until next season! He might not be a Cowboy next season!"

This is great:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vYu68SHWh64

Everyone Should Read This


I understand that many people find Pitchfork's particular tone and style to be arrogant and condescending, and at times I even agree, so I try to tone down the amount of directly Pitchfork-related content. However, P-fork scribe William Bowers (my favorite P-forker, for the record) just wrote a column on going to see the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus movie, which, knowing who may be reading this, you may have already read. The article is a brief but excellent comment on pop music and the sinister world of marketing, one more worth reading than most of the site's reviews, quite frankly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

McCain's Daughter Suring Up The Blogger Vote For Dad

Likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain has a 23-year-old daughter, Meghan, and she is one of several creative forces behind the music blog McCainBlogette.com. What music do she like? Well I'm sure she likes Soulja Boy, Panic! At the Disco, Fergie.... Oh wait, she listens to....

Radiohead, the Velvet Underground, the Shins, TV On the Radio, Bob Dylan, Gang of Four, XTC, Kanye West, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Band, Jay-Z, Peter Bjorn and John, Modest Mouse, Miles Davis, Jesus and Mary Chain, Spoon, The Who.....


The list goes on. This just in: John McCain is now polling at 88 percent among music bloggers, which could get him 12 votes or so. But seriously, one of Barack's daughters needs to release a counter-list of indie faves or I might switch sides. OK, I wouldn't, but still--the Velvets? Dylan? Radiohead? (and we're talking about "Weird Fishes" here, not "Creep" or "High and Dry")

The over/under is one week on John McCain switching his campaign song to "Here Comes Your Man."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kanye West: "Flashing Lights" video

The new video for Graduation's latest single is out now:

http://videos.onsmash.com/v/nHNiVRx819feqU56

It's, uh, weird. It has this really fantastic looking woman who, we find out, has Kanye West locked up in her trunk. Toward the end, she...well, watch it. Just don't expect to understand it.

The End Of The Writer's Strike


Later today the WGA will officialy be announcing an end to the writer's strike as WGAW President Patrick M. Verrone will give us the results of the members vote around 7 pm.


Looks like we have some TV to look forward to now that the NFL season is over and Nova isn't ranked. (Insert referee joke/insult here)

Oh...by the way....it's gonna take about 6 weeks for shows to finalize new episodes so we won't actually see anything for a month or two.

Monday, February 11, 2008

OK Compilation: Radiohead "Best Of" On the Way


EMI is releasing, in April or May, a Radiohead "greatest hits" collection in another greedy attempt to milk the band's catalogue for all it's worth. If you recall, there was also some controversy over that albums disc box, which the band was not happy about, and well, they are not happy in this case, either. My problem with it not only pertains to EMI bullshit, but also to idea of making a Radiohead best-of in the first place. The band's albums thrive on cohesiveness and continuity, and some of the band's best songs aren't of the "greatest hits" mold but fit perfectly within the context of their respective albums. Perhaps more importantly, one can not possibly choose a single set of songs to accurately and fully represent the band's music, nor one that includes every essential cut.

I swear, if either "High and Dry" or "Stop Whispering" gets a slot, someone's going down. In a feeble attempt to limit my favorite Radiohead songs (of the EMI age) to an 80 minute single disc (actually 82, deal with it):

"Fake Plastic Trees"

"Just"

"My Iron Lung"

"Paranoid Android"

"Subterranean Homesick Alien"

"Exit Music (For a Film)"

"Karma Police"

"Climbing Up the Walls"

"Lucky"

"Everything's In Its Right Place"

"True Love Waits"

"Kid A"

"The National Anthem"

"How To Disappear Completely"

"Pyramid Song"

"You and Whose Army?"

"2+2=5"

"Wolf at the Door"

Honorable Mention:
"Airbag"
"Let Down"
"Street Spirit"
"Go to Sleep"
"Packt Like Sardines"
"Idioteque"

Record Review: Re-Up Gang (Clipse): We Got It For Cheap, Volume 3: The Spirit of Competition (We Just Think We Better)


One of hip-hop's best artists returns with their latest mixtape...and, yes, the title is quite long. But, in fairness, we think they better too.

Rating: 4/5

With We Got It For Cheap, Volume 3: The Spirit of Competition (We Just Think We Better), one thing is exceedingly clear: Pusha T, Malice, Ab-Liva, and Sandman spend a vast majority of their time thinking of witty, pop culture-referencing ways to say “We sold crack.” Fortunately for us, they are very, very good at it.

I remember hearing a ton of hype two years ago for the second Clipse full-length (Hell Hath No Fury) and although I hadn’t heard Lord Willin’ in its entirety, I knew the singles, and quite frankly I couldn’t understand the buzz. “Grindin’” and “When the Last Time” showed an exceptional, distinct rap duo, but not an all-time great, and iTunes sampling the rest of the record left me impressed but not blown away. Yeah, the label dispute built up a lot of drama, but the mere publicity of the ordeal was just that, publicity.

Then, of course, I heard Hell Hath, and it didn’t just meet the hype, it exceeded it. Thus, I knew that something musta tipped everybody off. This was a Martha Stewart situation: someone was getting insider information. At this point, I was only vaguely accustomed to the idea of “the mixtape,” and it did not occur to me until I checked Clipse’s Wikipedia page that perhaps they were releasing something on the side.

I downloaded We Got It 4 Cheap, Volume 2: The Black Card Era (the more acclaimed of the two mixtapes, as I learned), and everything came together in my mind. It was vicious, searing, explosive, and tough-as-nails, an undeniable statement that we are that good, and we’re bringing hell’s fury one way or a-fuckin-nother. Tracks like “Zen” and “Play Your Part” were pure dynamite, and the gang of four (Clipse plus Sandman and Ad-Liva) tore up Dr. Dre’s “Hate It or Love It” beat with almost obnoxious ease.

Now, with label disputes settled (they’re on Columbia) and the Hell Hath follow-up hotly anticipated, why put a lot of effort (and an abundance of proper-album-worthy metaphors) into a mixtape? I honestly can’t tell you. The mixtape certainly gives them a chance to rap over whatever they want, but the Gang could have done that for a few tracks, then fill the rest of it with remixes, snippets from the forthcoming album, and some previously unreleased throwaway verses. This time around, they didn’t have anything to prove.

Yet, here we are, We Got It For Cheap, Volume 3. Remember what I just said about what they could have done? Thank heavens they didn’t. This shit is off the hook. It’s not a proper album, but the rhymes here are on par with anything in the Clipse catalogue, save for Hell Hath’s best moments. Lyrically, it’s a bit redundant…okay, it’s a lot redundant. Cocaine, cocaine, some Pusha T “yucks!” then some more cocaine.

How does the Gang make it work? They’re just so good at rhyming about crack it’s almost ridiculous. You would think they would get tired of it after a while, but they keep up the intensity and deliver such a relentless flurry of allusions and punch-lines that I can’t help but bow at their feet. There may be other rappers at Malice’s and Pusha’s level, but nobody better.

I mean, just listen to the two of them go. Listen to Pusha’s menacing, “Don’t make me turn daddy’s little girl to orphan/That would mean I’d have to kill baby like abortion.” Listen to Malice to reference Chariots of Fire, The Wire, The Lion King, and, within the space of four lines, unleash one of the most absurd string of similes I’ve ever heard: “Like Pearl Jam I kill my peers like Jeremy [pronounced Jerm-y]/And here I am with open arms like Journey/Ooh baby I like it raw, ‘Ol Dirty/Shame on a ni**a for even feeling worthy.” You ain’t gonna get that shit from Fitty Cent.

Sonically, We Got It For Cheap, Volume 3 offers up a typical slew of street-savvy, gritty bangers, with the year’s hottest hip-hop beat and a mid-90s Wu mafioso joint thrown in for good measure. Sound familiar? Yeah, the Re-Up Gang approaches their new mixtape much like they approached the last one, except rapping over “ROC Boys” instead of “Hate It or Love It” and Cuban Linx standout “Rainy Dayz” instead of Ironman’s “Daytona 500.” Outside of these two (along with Kanye’s “Good Morning” beat), nothing here compares to any of The Neptunes’ psychotic, ominous Hell Hath production, but nothing here fails either, most of it actually succeeding in reinforcing the Gang’s ferocious rhymes.

Needless to say, as a mixtape, you can throw sequencing out the window, and you are gonna have to tolerate the occasionally weak track (ie. the Sandman and Ab-Liva solo tracks toward the end). However, the Re-Up Gang’s latest lands far more punches than it misses, and, given the flurry of top tier rappers that released records at the end of last year, this could, even as a mixtape, stand among the best rap albums of 2008. Unless of course we get a Curtis follow-up ;)

Download it here. (It's legal! Woo-hoo!)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Looking For a Film With a Focus and a Temper?


Apparently, Sonic Youth's landmark 1988 album Daydream Nation has inspired (in name, if nothing else) a...wait for it...teen comedy! Given, its supposed to be an "intellectual comedy a la 'Juno' and 'Election.'" I mean, you can't really name something after this particular record and not make an intellectual product. If this turns out to be "Bring It On 4" there are gonna be riots in the streets. Or should I say teenag--no I probably shouldn't.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New R.E.M.: Supernatural and superserious?!?


Wow. Super. The lead single off of R.E.M.'s forthcoming Accelerate LP, "Supernatural Superserious," sounds pretty good, if not as mind-blowing as its title would suggest. It certainly packs more punch than their recent output, though that isn't a very hard task. One way or another, for me, it's good enough to generate some excitement for the album.


Stream it here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Songs For Super Tuesday


I was a Kucinich guy, then I was an Edwards guy, and now I suppose I'm an Obama guy, though he is much more middle-of-the-road (and NOT change-oriented) as he would have us believe. Still...the alternative....

Kayne West - Champion (for Barack and McCain, perhaps?)


Monday, February 4, 2008

PETA Surely Loves This One

Apparently, Mr. Michael Vick's 20 million dollars worth of bonuses (earned over 2004-2007) will remain with the incarcerated QB. Rumor has it the money will fund Vick's new endeavor: the prison mate fighting ring, Bad News Convicks

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3229782

The Saga Continues...We Got It 4 Cheap, Volume 3


A few days ago, we got our first peak at the new Cheap with "20k Making Brothers On the Corner," and we now have the full mixtape. The Clipse (and, yeah, Ab-liba and Sandman) have returned. Lyrically...well, no surprises here. Still, its good to hear Pusha and Malice again. And look, they rap over "Rainy Dayz" and "Roc Boys"! And the cover is pretty cool.
Stream it here.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Record Review: Hot Chip: Made In the Dark

Hot Chip follow up their fantastic The Warning with a heavier, more gut-wrenching record, one that often plays more like Justice than the band's previous material. Clearly, someone wasn't kidding when they threatened "to break our legs."

Rating: 3.5/5

Making a DFA record (hell, making a dance rock record in general) became a bit harder after last year. Whether fair or not, we now almost have to measure such albums against LCD Soundsystem’s incredible Sound of Silver, the masterwork that redefined what it means to blend rock and electronic music. Hot Chip’s latest exhibits no such brilliance, but does in fact find the band often shifting their sound to the “faster and rockier” nature proclaimed by the album’s initial press release.

Much of Made In the Dark is more aggressive, intense, and relentlessly guitar-oriented than anything Hot Chip have ever recorded, very much recalling the heavy metal-tinged fury of Justice’s Cross. Certainly, there are softer moments here as well, but as a whole, Made In the Dark showcases the Hot Chip that threatened to “break your legs” coming around to actually do it.

Opener “Out at the Pictures” instantly sets Dark’s more aggressive tone, replacing the lighter-than-air, grandiose synths of The Warning opener “Careful” with rumbling, kick-in-the-balls guitar and a dense pile-on of keyboards, cowbell, and drums. “Shake a Fist” immediately follows suit, volcanically erupting into delirious synths two minutes in, packing jackhammer-like force without seeming too abrupt or throwing the song into chaos. Even a better exercise in Hot Chip’s newfound musical rage is “Bendable Poseable,” matching the force and frenzy of “Pictures” and “Shake” while seamlessly tossing in a slightly malicious, oddball piano line that would have felt at home on Battles’ brilliantly twisted Mirrored. These early successes, balanced out nicely by the new wave anthem “Ready For the Floor” and the Warning-like ballad “We’re Looking For a Lot of Love,” show the band expanding their sonic palette without losing their impeccable pop sensibilities. Hot Chip may have a little Justice-fever, but they certainly know what they’re doing.

However, we’ve still got eight more tracks to go, and things don’t always pan out. While the adrenaline-fueled start of Dark plays well, the flip side of Hot Chip’s musical progression, the replacement of the slick, chill electro ballads of the band’s previous effort with a slew of sparse piano numbers, stands as the album’s glaring weakness. The skeletal backdrops of these songs (namely, the title track, “Whistle for Will,” and “In the Privacy of Our Love”) creates a deeply schizophrenic listen, for one thing, but even so, I could tolerate the record’s sudden turns if the songs were, when isolated, good songs.

Though it may seem a bit paradoxical, the idea of a DFA piano ballad isn’t ridiculous; in fact, certain artists on (or formerly on) the label fleshed the idea out to great ends. Two come to mind immediately: “Open Up Your Mind,” off of The Rapture’s excellent Echoes, and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” the closer to LCD Soundsystem’s aforementioned Sound of Silver. Furthermore, The Warning showcased a knack for balladry superior to that of these two bands, even if “The Warning” and “Look After Me” weren’t of the piano-driven mold of Dark’s quieter moments. Hot Chip proved they could create songs not musically overpowering or densely arranged, but, rather, intricately designed, each element subtly building off the others to create a perfect balance of energy and gentle elegance.

Here, however, where the more maximalist tracks succeed, the bare ballads wander aimlessly, lacking any dynamic whatsoever and carrying little emotional weight, the almost nonexistent musical arrangements drawing attention to Alexis Taylor’s lyrical shortcomings: “Since we fell apart I’ve been nothing but blue/Longing for a night-time to bring back my youth/Every night in motion, together, apart/Apart from the moments so dear to my heart.” Not terrible lyrics by any means, but generic and bland nonetheless, and far from enough to breathe life into the flat backdrop.

Nonetheless, skip the ballads, and you’ll find yourself with a pretty nice remainder of the album. “Touch Too Much” and “Hold On” are solid up-tempo rockers if nothing else, despite the excessive length and lyrical clunkers (“I’m only going to heaven/If it feels like hell/I’m only going to heaven/If it tastes like caramel”) of the latter. Then, of course, we’ve got “One Pure Thought,” an absolutely fantastic slice of synth-pop that easily ranks among the band’s best (and grandest) songs and may rank among my favorite tracks of 2008 come year’s end. Frustrating as parts of Dark may be, highlights like this make this an album worth seeking out. Yeah, it’s not Sound of Silver. Not even close. But Hot Chip are as loveable as ever, and honestly, I can’t emphasize enough how good “One Pure Thought” is:

Hot Chip - One Pure Thought

Buy: Amazon

"Dear Jack"


Later this year a documentary will be released about Andrew McMahon. He is the lead singer and piano player for Something Corporate and Jack's Mannquin and was diagnosed with Leukemia on May 26, 2005. "Dear Jack" is composed of McMahon's self recorded footage from his battle with cancer. The following link is a recently released trailer for the film.

"Dear Jack"
You all care about the Super Bowl too much

It's Time For My Opinions


Hi everyone, welcome to the mind of yours truly, Erik. I am in a bad mood due to a Giants victory in the Super Bowl, and the fact that fellow writer Joe takes the opinion of his to be the opinion of all. One post about the Giants is enough. And if he is going to post a disclaimer on Zack's posts, I see no reason why he shouldn't post one on his.

This is basically my way of telling everyone that I do not agree with what Joey says, and that I hate the Giants, and always will. And I apologize to Joey for this anger, but I can't help that I am actually loyal to a team, and that I don't just hate random groups of people for no real reason.

In other news, can any of you guys believe how quickly Vampire Weekend tickets sold out? Shows at the First Unitarian Church in Philly never, ever sell out. And these sold out right away! I'm very disappointed I won't be able to see them, but at the same time, it's really awesome to witness these guys explode onto another level like this.

PS. I don't hate you Joe, I just can't tolerate your hoarding of the blog like this.

How's the Pie, Eli? Soooooo Good

The Pie congratulates the New York Giants on one of the greatest upsets the world of sport has ever known. Eli, you're the object of every anti-Patriot's worship. Plax, for all your whining and bitching, you were on the receiving end of one of the biggest touchdowns in NFL history, and you're tears of joy moved us all. David Tyree...you get the award for most Madden-esque play I've ever seen in actual game. Tiki, suck my balls. You too, Bill. Brady, this is what you get for your "[Plax] said we're only gonna score 17 points line!?!" line. Yeah, Tom, you got fucked up. Don't feel bad, 18-1 is respectable. NOT!!! Maybe you should have watched some more tape. A few months ago, I would have called anyone crazy for calling this one. Now...well, there is some justice in the world.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Answer My Prayers, Football Gods


America's second biggest annual day arrives this Sunday, and I really cannot express the degree to which I would enjoy a Giants victory. Seriously. Five reasons why:

1. Tiki fuckin Barber

Wonder what Tiki's smug, self-important ass has to say now about the brilliant Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning combo. Not to mention the pretty-damn-good running 1-2 punch of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Stupid piece of shit

2. Evil Bill

Not completely, but to some extent I have come to terms with Tom Brady's greatness, even if he's not my favorite guy in the league. On the other hand, between his historically ruthless treatment of players, his dirty injury report mindgames, his low-road, obnoxious attitude toward Mangini, and, most importantly, Spygate, Bill Belichick is the devil of the National Football League.


3. Eagles Fans

Living less than an hour from Philly, I have to tolerate various levels of absurd Philly sports craziness. Giants victory = ultimate fuck you

4. The Manning dynasty

Number of Brady touchdowns this year? 50. Number of Brady championships? 3. The satisfaction I would get from Brady getting rejected back to back years by two different Mannings? Priceless.

5. Love of the Underdog

I couldn't care less about Vince Young's Texas team a couple years ago, but I was so sick and tired of ESPN talking about USC and the all-time greats that by the time the game kicked off I was heavily rooting for the Longhorns. An 18-1 Pats team would just be kinda cool.

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