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Posts Tagged ‘Broken Bells’

29. Zwan – The Number Of The Beast

Some days you wake up wondering how many straight punches to the face you can unflinchingly take before your instinct kicks in and you crumble to the floor like a sack of anemic tomatoes. Then you get all confused trying to figure out which option hurts a whole lot less and you’d probably sink in the armchair, desperately holding on to a cigarette. At that time you’d be well advised to play this track; the fact that it is a cover of an Iron Maiden classic only adds to the cruelty of life that Zwan’s version briefly soothes.

28. Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give A Fuck

I sometimes wonder if I scourge the web for bands with ridiculous monikers and force myself to appreciate their music. Rhys, Bunford, Pryce, Ciaran and Ieuan (Super Furry Animals) laugh uproariously at such contrived pop psychology with this amazing track released on Out Spaced, a collection of their B-sides and rarities. It even boasts of a grand chorus that samples Steely Dan’s Showbiz Kids. One of those precious moments during the Nineties when quasi-juvenility lent itself to a mean artistic streak. Isn’t it remarkable how everybody takes any side but that of the censorship board? Makes me want to have faith in humanity and stuff.

27. Belleruche – It’ll Come

Belleruche lovingly evolves Nineties blue-eyed soul into something funkier and far more soulful. In 2007 Kathrin deBoer, Ricky Fabulous and DJ Modest put out possibly the best album in their label Tru Thoughts’ brief history. You should go out of way to pick up their album – Turntable Soul Music. Matter of fact send them an email or give them a shout-out on Facebook and tell them how awesome they are. I bet they’d be all “ah shucks, thanks…do you want a free CD?” but you should refuse and pay for it anyway.

26. Tricky & Martina Topley Bird – Hell Is Around The Corner

The coolness of Tricky’s deeply breathed poetry has found an irresistible bedmate in Martina Bird’s sweaty and sultry cooing. Go back to when Don Henley paired up with Patty Smyth in 1992 to sing about how sometimes love just isn’t enough. Remember how unholy and irritating that was? This has the exact opposite effect. Great video too.

25. Solace – Mother Godzilla (Download)

Just so you know, New Mexico-based MeteorCity Records is home to plenty of great stoner rock bands. Now, Solace comprises a bunch of unruly guys from Jersey Shore who pay proper respect to the almighty riff. Their sound is gargantuan with downtuned rhythm sections exploding like heavy metal shrapnel over fiery solos. Mother Godzilla, from the ultra cool Destroysall (A Tribute To Godzilla) album, wakes from its fuzzy slumber around the 1:15 min mark and launches itself into a superlative free metal jam that haunts as much as it rocks.

24. Broken Bells – Mall and Misery

Broken Bells is all that and then some. The talents of Brian J. Burton a.k.a Danger Mouse and James Mercer (The Shins) mix like green candles and decent sex. Dueling vocals effortlessly, one sulky and the other cherubic, drip through a bubbling canvas of warm snares and quirky electronics on this track; and once again, my minions, we stand a good chance of getting our ears wetted by sticky sweet pop goodness.

23. Dead Can Dance – Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove (Live in Hague)

Singer/composer Lisa Gerrard and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Perry were the purveyors of neo-classical medieval pop exotica that caused the wind chill to bite through a large chunk of underground goth clubs during the Nineties. In this 2005 live version of a Dead Can Dance classic, Brendan and Lisa revisit those incredible double reed instruments, tripped-out percussion arrangements and ethereal vocals that reach such heights it’s a wonder how Enya could sleep at night knowing she was making more money than these guys.

22. Soulfly & Tom Araya – Terrorist

If I was a super villain with access to thousands of vicious flying monkeys, I’d watch them wreak havoc on the general populace while listening to this. Max Cavalera and Tom Araya were once Ares and Hephaestus of the thrash metal scene and they have proudly shown it off in Soulfly’s Primitive album. They shred their throats dry over Roy Mayorga’s apocalyptic percussion blasts and frenzied four-stringed riffing to create an atmosphere so brutal that the least you should do after the track ends is watch a Kim Ki-Duk film. Fly, my monkeys, fly.

21. Air – Playground Love

Air’s possibly one of the underrated electronic duos out there; problem being when they’re ordinary, they sound truly horrendous, but when in form they sound like a distant male cousin of Cocteau Twins with a voracious appetite for trespassing uncommon grounds in the electronica genre. They were in spectacular form during the recording for the Virgin Suicides’ soundtrack and it shows in this moody gem with its sleepy-eyed saxophone licks coaxing us to beg for more. You can move on to Cherry Blossom Girl and Alone In Kyoto after this.

20. The Deftones & Maynard James Keenan – Passenger

Barring the ferocity of My Own Summer, The Deftones never sounded as compelling as they did on the 2001 album – White Pony. This had so many fantastic tunes that picking just of the lot should rightfully be both insidious and misleading…if it weren’t for Maynard James Keenan absolutely tearing the goddam roof off with a jaw dropping vocal performance on this , of course. “Ahhhhhhhh I’m your passsssengerrrrr”.

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If sobriety and music are bedmates you don’t cuddle up next to, chances are you’ll get a kick out of the Pittsburgh-based Black Moth Super Rainbow. Their Dandelion Gum album has fragility clinging to its every note, malcontent and mumbling about sleepy summers and lost flowers; agreed not exactly the most breathtaking of concepts, but the music certainly carries it to places very rarely tread even by indie music standards. Hell, Black Moth Super Rainbow is too indie to be called indie; they’re beautiful noisemongers because as discordant as you might think the music is, you’d have to be deaf to miss out on the how gorgeous it sounds. Neon Syrup For The Cemetery Sister, with electronic fuzz washing over it and Untitled Roadside Demo, a space gospel amongst other trippy things, are highlights. In fact I’m yet to find a track of theirs I could do without on a rainy Saturday afternoon; even Rollerdisco gently coaxes my ears despite staying true to the second part of its name. I’m feeling giddy thinking about The House of Apples and Eyeballs (their collaboration with the fantastic pop-tronic band The Octopus Project). Check out Pop Matters’ review too.

*****

Broken Bells has Danger Mouse, uber-producer and one-half of Gnarls Barkley, hooking up with James Mercer, lead singer of indie stalwarts The Shins, creating great music for us to feel the wind in our hair and wag our tongues out of the car window to. No, seriously…this is the stuff that makes road rage a fleeting thought. This is music that sounds feel-good and shockingly also makes you feel good, mostly because it never stoops to down to lows like dipshit happy choruses that rhyme “high” with “why” or fancy guitar solos that never serve any purpose but getting the lead guitarist decent head or better coke. Broken Bell’s debut is scheduled for release in about three weeks (don’t be a dick by downloading the album now) so for now, gorge yourself on the single – the tremendously synth-tastic The High Road.

*****

A British supergroup comprising Damon Albarn (Blur), Paul Simonon (The Clash), Simon Tong (The Verve) and Tony Allen (an Afrobeat legend) released an album called The Good, The Bad And The Queen in 2007 that was very fucking listenable. They decided to remain unnamed as of yet but I doubt it started off as a gimmick considering how lackadaisical each song is towards grabbing our attention. I think that the album remained rather obscure (or maybe I was too busy listening to Anselmo’s side projects in 2007) because it never quite lived up to the reputation of its musicians. While I’m game for musicians letting their legendary status rot in a trophy case rather than stroking it in the recording studio, still a punk icon, two British alternative rock stalwarts and one of the greatest drummers ever could surely have come up with something more than a bunch of dainty, bouncy, and vaguely refreshing melodies neatly packaged as “indie music to look out for in 2007”. The title track however is epic and not because it goes on for seven minutes; it’s a track that puts the spotlight on their collective brilliance. Albarn hurriedly whispers, “It’s the blessed routine, for the good, the bad and the queen, just moving out of dreams with no physical wounds at all” as the rest revisit great Eighties pop briefly with their instruments and then move into a frenzied post-grunge guitar section before calling it a day all hush-hush. Good stuff.

*****

The Raah Project, where do I start?  clears throat and gets knocked down by a silhouette). Ahem, from Scholar’s The More I Make Revolutions, The More I Want To Make Love, “No matter what kind of what music you dig, I hope you’ll be adventurous and give this joint a listen. It’s a cross-section of so many styles that it would be problematic to faithfully paint a picture with words…just an insanely beautiful piece of music.” Yes good man, YES! I can stop overplaying Cool Calm Pete’s remix of Sharon Jones’ Stranded In Your Love; this, my simians, has the smoothest groove I have heard in a long time.

Watch

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Neon Syrup For The Cemetery Sister, Untitled Roadside Demo

Broken Bells – The High Road

Untitled – The Good, The Bad And The Queen

The Raah Project – All Of Your Things (or download it from Souled On)

Buy

Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Dandelion Gum

The Good, The Bad And The Queen

The Raah Project – Covered Up In Stars

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