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Posts Tagged ‘Gnarls Barkley’

19. The Tallest Man On Earth –Troubles Will Be Gone

Singer Kristian Matsson’s folksy laments sound like they have been filtered through Bob Dylan’s wounded larynx. Either the Swede has had too much lighter fluid go down his throat or the honeyed sandpaper-grating vocals come naturally to him. I can picture flower children huddling up and wailing about stuff that Papa Roach would base their music upon several cultures later, as The Tallest Man On Earth’s The Wild Hunt album plays in the background. Being free-spirited and lonesome at the same time would have been too much of an effort for those goddam hippies.

18. Feist & Ben Gibbard – The Train Song

Ben Gibbard, vocalist for Death Cab For A Cutie, and Canadian singer Leslie Feist, came together to create this featherweight alt ballad for Dark Was the Night – a compilation release supporting the Red Hot Organization. Their dueling vocals create the sort of chill that bites through our cheeks during those cold nights, backed by lovely mellow acoustic breeze. Highly recommended for corporate cabin-dwellers to help daydream about lonesome trains whistling through dusky meadows.

17. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Suddenly

Bands like these, I tell you, they come, do their thing and bow out. No one pimps their ride, we don’t see their cribs, and we haven’t a clue what happens backstage at their concerts. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club play spaced-out garage rock. And how. On the 2003 album Take Them On, On Your Own, their music felt darker and more strung out than ever before, as evidenced by this sweaty mantra that drips of some serious psychedelia.

16. Mudville – Hero Of The World

Marilyn Carino and Benny Cha Cha comprise the Manhattan-based Mudville. They make a delicious cocktail of neo soul, jazz rock, minimalist pop and lucid trip hop. Their 2005 The Glory of Man is Not in Vogue album is chockfull of enchanting electronica. Carino’s impressive vocals that harkens back to the glory days of Memphis soul is a perfect bedmate to Benny’s brooding instrumentation, especially on drawling moments such as this one.

15. Orphans and Vandals – Metropes

“It’s been quite a while since indie music has drawn me with such allure. Imagine ‘American Pie’ explosively rewritten by Liam Gallagher and sung by a younger, fitter Lou Reed piss drunk on malt whiskey. If you prefer not to, then you should know that Metropes is a fantastic piece of rock n’ roll storytelling.” Orphans and Vandals, ladies and germs.

14. Blu and Exile – Soul Amazing

MC Blu’s silky smooth flow sticks to DJ Exile’s über-swank production like a George Bush glance towards something shiny and useless. Nearly every track in their debut Below The Heavens is a great example of how much hip hop has evolved and turned from a form of social protest into a channel of cultural communication. This is, as some audiophiles refer to, all killer no filler.

13. Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

The insane popularity of Gnarls Barkley’s debut St. Elsewhere was one of those rare instances where the masses took kindly to clever pop music as the industry credited its musicians for defying categorization. Fittingly, the music video for this track has Danger Mouse and Cee Lo randomly popping in during pivotal moments in the history of pop culture. The song too is a collage of sounds that could have made waves during different periods of time. Heck, in all of them, probably.

12. Moneybrother – Born Under A Broken Sign

Former Monster vocalist Anders Wendin is the brains behind Moneybrother, a band that blurs the line between Sixties garage pop and Nineties’ indie punk. The glorious lalalaaas that greet us during the first 15 seconds quickly settle down and burst into a soulful funky groove as Wendin sighs, “I’ve been born under a badly broken sign. He’s also a Grammy award winner…in Sweden that is. Great song to drive your car into a lamppost and sheepishly crawl out with a smile on your face. Yes, that happened.

11. Jo Yeong-Wook – The Last Waltz (Download)

South Korean composer Jo Yeong-Wook, a longtime collaborator with director Park Chan-Wook, strings together pieces of passing beauty and gets them high on classical jazz and film noir tunes. The final scene in Park Chan’s Oldboy with its protagonist Dae-su Oh vacantly smiling at the screen, with snow falling like a famous portrait beckoned it to, is made even more memorable through this exquisite composition.

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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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