Thursday, March 29, 2012

Concert Review: Housse de Racket

Every time I go to recommend a band to the masses I run into an internal conflict.

Given my future profession, do I simply prescribe it, like Dr. Neumusik? "Take two tracks each morning after breakfast. Call me if experiencing indigestion as a side effect." To the point..but seems a little paternalistic.

And why should you trust me and my taste? (That's rhetorical - it's perfect). But really, how do you know where this new musical delight fits into your palette? And in respect of your palette, palate and puns, perhaps I should give you a recipe:

1 part This Band + 2 parts This Singer + 1 dash 80's Hair

Really, I wish we could all share the experience of discovering a new great act live together. And we should when possible. But often when not, Youtube will have to suffice.

SO.....since I'm indecisive and diplomatic, I'll give you all of the above.

Last night, I was randomly invited by a long-lost friend to a show at The Magic Stick in Detroit. It was completely out of the blue, a "school night" and I had never heard of any of the bands naturally, I went.

I showed up in time for the second opener, Sevens Birds One Stone, who were simply put fun incarnate. Their jazzy-jamming, dual male-female lead vocals, with gang vocals abound had everyone head-bobbing, smiling and doing their best spinning-hippie-dance. I will definitely be checking out these folks live again...and again.......and again.

Now on to the main event.

My friend, who clued me in to this night of shenanigans, happens to be French. And so were the headliners.

The band of the night, Housse de Racket, are a two-man outfit. Now, I like danceable rock and have been known to dabble in the electronic music. These guys served up an invigorating mélange of both.

I know they probably hate comparisons to other bands - and trust me their sonic signature is distinctly awesome and their own - but this may help give you an idea of their sound:

1 part Phoenix + 1 part Two Door Cinema Club + a smidgeon Pink Floyd + your super-cool high school French teacher

Through looping synths, guitars and some backing tracks, these fellas had the whole place shaking and everyone dancing their derrières off.

And I'm talking that totally shameless, uninhibited, one-man rave, dancing in front of the mirror alone type dancing. It was magnifique. closing check out this video clip of their tune, "Roman" off their new album, Alesia. Try to ignore the creepy, maskface, muppet-doll judge.

Apply Housse de Racket to ears and sensitive areas PRN. Take with lots of water.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Who needs a band?

Ok, so to answer the question posed in the title of this post.....I do.

I love to play music, and like many other musicians that music really comes to life and takes form when everyone is a part of the writing process and playing in their contribution. That's the idea of an ensemble. And most people need that to make great music.

Most people.

But not Andrew Bird.

All he needs is several looping pedals, a violin, a guitar and the ability to whistle with such haunting beauty that the Earth slows it rotation momentarily to make sure as many people as possibly catch it.

The following mathematical relationship should clear it up:
Andrew Bird's Whistle > A newborn baby Eskimo-kissing a puppy in a bed of Begonias

As you watch this, do not attempt to adjust your Youtube - he is playing and recording everything you hear. One man. A universe of sound.

So prepare to enter a world of aural bliss for the next 7:22 (times however many times you watch it on repeat).

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Caution: Minds Being Blown (Straight Ahead)

Grizzly Bear is one of those bands....

Well, let me just say that "Two Weeks" is a song that..

Ok, I could say a lot about this band/song.......but I won't.

Today's Assignment:
1) Watch the video below.
2) Pick up the pieces of your blown mind.
3) Go get the album Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear.

That is all. And that's plenty.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Propagandhi -- Because I mentioned it before

Yep, I mentioned the band in my previous post about former Propagandhi bass player John K. Samson.

Just for fun -- Up The Punks!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: John K. Samson

John K. Samson is from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

You may recall him from acts such as Propagandhi and The Weakerthans.

I was unaware that Samson recently had relaunched a solo career with an album this year, until yesterday.

I picked up "Provincial" immediately to find out what the former Propagandhi bassist was up to.
Turns out, it's nothing like Propagandhi.

Among the tracks is one song dedicated to a local minor league hockey player. Typical Canadian songwriting, right?

Well, it's an interesting mix of tunes throughout the "CD" -- remember CDs?

Check it out -- this may be my favorite track so far:

Album review: Dinosaur Jr. 'Beyond'

It's well-known around these parts that I have a special affection for J Mascis and his defining gig, Dinosaur Jr.

This is definitely a bias review, but none of it's truth is lost to that disclaimer.

"Beyond" was released in 2007, 10 years since its predecessor -- "Hand It Over" -- in the band's discography.

What changed in those 10 years? Well, it's pretty well spelled-out in "Beyond": A whole lotta nothing -- just what we wanted.

The band was not about to fade into the indie rock HOF without blowing everyone's ears to pieces at least one or two more times.

No, you don't need to listen to the albums leading up to "Beyond." In fact, the reason I like it so much is because it represents a solid introduction to the band. The album captures the loud guitar riffs and catchy melodies that Dinosaur Jr. is. It also showcases the power of Mascis's song writing ability and unique geek voice.

It deserves a listen.

All bias aside.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Amaaaaazing video.....for an amazing song.

Heard this song on the local college radio station and haven't been able to get it out of my head since.

On a sidebar - this is why I love non-profit radio - you can discover a much greater scope of music than makes it to the corporate showcase. [Shameless plug =]

But back on topic...

Three reasons why you should fall in love...with this "lost love" video:
1) This one offers up a fairly fresh take on the post-breakup song. 
2) In addition, the production is exquisite.
3) The video is visually enthralling AND it matches up perfectly with the lyrical & emotional content of the song.
4) Breakup song sung from male and female voices.
5) I guess I can't count.

The whole album is pretty great (Gotye - Making Mirrors Making Mirrors - Gotye)
     but this song alone is worth it.

Still not convinced? 

Here's my closing argument:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who's up for a Face-Melting??

Let me start this one by saying, "I am a Pearl Jam fan."

Hey, where are you going?

Don't worry, don't worry.....this isn't some super-deep Z-side for fans that only knew about the band before they were formed.

This one actually features a big hit of theirs from the '90's: Evenflow.

Now, there are a lot of reasons I love Pearl Jam. They are one of the few remaining, evolving, honest-to-goodness rock bands. Their style shifts from album to album, but the core personalities run throughout. They blend rock and dare I say the word "alternative" with a punk edge that drives and engages. And I won't even get started about Vedder's place in the Hall of All-Time Great Frontmen.

But ole' Ed gets enough spotlight.....we're here to praise McCready.

Mike McCready is a guitarist that has the speed of some 80's band I won't listen to mixed with the soul of Hendrix that we all love laid into a hard-rock, alternative format we can all appreciate (and rock out to).

This performance showcases his skills as he obliterated and frankly publicly humiliated the guitar solo section in Evenflow. And I mean that in the best way.

I mean, I truly respect the man and wish him the best.....but I hope he was on a Columbian truckload of high-grade cocaine this night, otherwise I can never pick up a guitar again.

This solo is.....well....I could try to describe it but instead, you should just watch it. But I'll warn you, you may want to dip your computer in liquid nitrogen first.......lest it combust into flames at 2:33.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's short. It's fun. It's Pop.

But that doesn't make it bad.

I hate the idea that simply because something isn't sad/brooding/inaccessible/indie that it has no artistic merit. A well-crafted, engaging pop song is just as hard to write as any avant-garde, indie wet dream. Now "Pop" can cover a lot of territory, so let me clarify:

I'm not talking about Katy Perry.

That isn't good. It's awwwwwwesome (still haven't found the sarcasm font).

But why are we here today, class? To talk about Papa.

No, not in the Freudian sense - the project spearheaded by Girls' drummer, Darren Weiss. Each instrument maintaining it's own idiosyncratic little space, the group pumps out a solid, 5-song dance-along with no room for duds.

From atmospheric guitars to more poppy 80's-esque bouncing lines to straight ahead strummers, each song is tied together by Weiss' earnest voice and driving drums.

So if any of these descriptors are working for you....or you're just curious, check out Papa's EP, "A Good Woman Is Hard To Find."

You know what else is hard to find? Good music. But don't worry.

Search no further.