Monday, January 22, 2007

The Week That Was #3: The Ties That Bind

I felt the need to expand the above chart to twelve, simply because I wanted to feature the two bottom artists tied for 8th. I'm tricky that way. A couple thoughts on the week: I finally took the initiative and heard The Greatest and The Crane Wife, as well as another go-around of Carnavas. You've inevitably heard enough about that trio here or elsewhere, so I'll leave it at that. The high charting of the Dears and Annuals is definitely a product of that show, and songs abound in that post. I'm starting to suspect that hearing a band live before diving into studio material might be the most effective method, as Gang of Losers has really grown on me. You can also hear an Ivy and Delgados track in previous weeks. For some reason or another, much of the rest of the week's listens seem to gravitate toward pairs, and the first bit of the list will be organized as such. Enjoy!

While I've finally begun exploring Slowdive's full catalogue through Just For A Day, the spectacular Souvlaki remains a fixture in my listening. Someone posed an interesting question on the band's page, whether they're better than My Bloody Valentine. In my own experience, I have found the comparably tranquil Souvlaki to be more accessible, and far less abrasive than the dense Loveless, but I suppose we can just say that both bands are great and leave the rest to personal preference. These tracks come off of the expanded reissue of Souvlaki, and really begin to bridge the gap between shoegazing and electronica, a transition that is fully explored in the next pick. Also, there's a link to the perfect opener, "Alison," which provides a great intro for newcomers to the group.

MP3: Slowdive - In Mind (Bandulu Mix)
MP3: Slowdive - In Mind (Reload Mix)
YouTube: Slowdive - Alison
Buy: Here

Lali Puna contributed this fantastic Slowdive cover to Morr Music's Blue Skied an' Clear tribute album, and it was later included in the I Thought I Was Over That rarity compilation. I couldn't resist the vintage Lali bunny, so I included the latter cover. While the huge guitars have been substituted for something a little glitchier, the essence of this song, namely the lovely, languid vocals, are replicated to incredible effect. Hopefully, we'll hear more from Lali some time this year. You can read a whole lot more about the intersection between Morr and 'gaze here.

MP3: Lali Puna - 40 Days
Buy: Here

While Daylight's For The Birds has some shoegazing influence within their sound as well, this particularly track is foremost an exercise is prettiness. You've probably noticed that I have a weakness for female fronted indie pop, but I've found that there's enough variety in the genre - everything from this sparkling churner to more restrained, lo-fi meanders - that things stay interesting. You can head over to Chromewaves for a few more tracks, and band plays live at Union Hall on Friday.

MP3: Daylight's For The Birds - For Now
Buy: Here

On!Air!Library! is the previous musical endeavor of Daylight's Phillip Wann and Claudia Deheza, along with Claudia's twin sister Alley. As perhaps alluded to in the contrast of album covers, O!A!L! is a bit more more avant garde, but probably just as dreamy. Sam Fogarino of the Coachella-fied Interpol contributes drumming later in the album, but this is the track that really stands out for me. I'm not sure if it's multitracking or both of the girls singing in unison here, but the entwining harmonies of this track represent a high point.

MP3: On!Air!Library! - Bread
Buy: Here

Bitter:Sweet is finally playing a few shows, including an appearance on February 15th at the ever stylish Joe's Pub. I'm curious to see how extensive their live setup is, particularly in light of that KCRW performance. They really seem to be making it these days, with a dizzying number of commercial appearances, which should hopefully lead to more exposure and more touring. Here's the title track from their yummy debut album.

MP3: Bitter:Sweet - The Mating Game
Buy: Here

Supreme Beings of Leisure is B:S production wizard Kiran Shahani's former band, although it's unclear who currently makes up the entity. A lot of the same elements that make the latter so good are on display here, although some of the elements are a bit reminiscent of Herbert, particularly in vocal style. It's also probably a little more lively, and a little more soulful than B:S.

MP3: Supreme Beings of Leisure - Divine
Buy: Here

GWFA pick Johnny Boy really encapsulate city livin' in the frantic cacophony that is this track. In another example of a small, small world, James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers co-produced their self-titled album. Unfortunately, while this song caps up what's a really fun first half, the second half makes for an uneven listen, and prevents the album from achieving the potential that's hinted at here. Nonetheless, valleys and peaks are far more interesting than being "merely okay," and you definitely can't fault their adventurism.

MP3: Johnny Boy - Livin' In The City
Buy: Here

I've admittedly had very little experience with Faith and the Muse, but I guess I'm basically obliged to post this one. To me, this song is all about contrast, between the ethereal vocals and the charging guitar. To put it differently, it sounds like a fantastic jam session between Elizabeth Fraser and TV on the Radio; I, for one, can definitely hear some "Wolf Like Me" in there.

MP3: Faith and the Muse - Scars Flown Proud
Buy: Here

Frengers is Mew-speak for "not quite a friend but not quite a stranger." That's probably how many people relate to the band in the wake of their staggeringly popular And The Glass Handed Kites. While that album seems to categorize them as a proggy, arty sort of rock band, tomorrow's U.S. reissue of Frengers should reveal the sheer hookiness of the band's earlier work. Jonas Bjerre's incredible voice is at the forefront of this track, but it's the gorgeous instrumental that really puts it over the top. This song has personal significance, as it's the first Mew song I heard, and it's remained a favorite. The only thing that really remains now is seeing them live.

MP3: Mew - Am I Wry? No
Buy: Here


Chris Nelson said...

Hey... I like the way this post is written, thank you for the information and for the insights, this blog is one of the coolest.. I’d also like to share my music/lyric site , please let me know what you think.. Thank you.

Peter Nielsen said...

Great to hear. Have seen them several times, and when they use their backdrop with animations made by leadsinger Jonas Bjerre, it just gets you straight into their world (which can be dark and scary at times).

You should go check them out - surely they are going to play more in the US and the UK in the near future.

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