There are a couple of things to be mentioned before I get to the usual hideously colored playlist widget. First, it was roughly a month ago or so when I asked whether Clap Your Hands Say Yeah fell into oblivion; it had been 4 years since Some Loud Thunder, with absolutely no news about the band since then. It was almost as if they never existed after I saw them at the Bowery Ballroom for a Planned Parenthood benefit concert. Then out of nowhere, this:
In September, we’ll have a brand new CYHSY album, with what seems to be a very different sound from their much mellower last effort. On their self-titled debut, they were all about bouncy, catchy beats. This? I’m going by seconds at a time here, but it seems a bit like they’re going for a bigger sound, grander. Looking forward to hearing it.
The second thing I want to mention is I had a moment of pure musical shame recently. If you’re a Time Warner customer, you’ve no doubt been on hold with them because something fucked up. Why? It’s Time Warner, that’s why. Well, as a fan of Broken Social Scene, and as a person who was on hold waiting for a CSR to ask me if I’ve tried unplugging the cable box for 30 seconds, I wasn’t pleased to hear this while sitting on hold:
When the hell did I start listening to muzak and/or adult contemporary on the regular? Unless they changed it in the last couple of months, it wasn’t a fluke either. That’s their default “hold” music (I’ve had more than a few issues with Time Warner necessitating a good number of calls) I recognized it immediately, and looked down, ashamed.
Moving on from my self-pity, French Kicks are a Brooklyn outfit that I saw more times than I needed to, frankly. But, they were fun enough, had a few good songs, and put on a good live show. There are a couple of reasons I include them this week, but the main thing is that I saw them at the now dead and gone Virgin Megastore at Union Square. It was a tiny space near the back of the store, in the coffee shop-ish section, and it was a pretty cool time. Thinking about that short set makes me miss record stores in general.
It’s sort of the natural order of things, what with iTunes and everything (hell, I’m an Rdio subscriber so I shouldn’t talk), but I really enjoyed walking through the aisles of Tower Records, Virgin, and for any people from my very specific neck of the woods, Record Factory, and picking up a CD or picking out a few albums I was to buy as soon as I came back with the money. I’m also a huge sucker for album art, which we get in mere thumbnail form on a tiny iPod screen nowadays. iTunes is trying with their added digital booklets and what have you, but nothing beats actually flipping through the booklet and popping a disc in for the first time. And for the damn near $20 it’d cost at Sam Goody or Virgin, it better have been great. No sampling unless you wanted to put on a pair of diseased shared headphones and press buttons that never, ever worked. Glamorous, it wasn’t, but it’s still an experience I miss.
Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi have collaborated on an album called Rome, and… well, it’s an album alright. I’ll need to give it another listen, but it’s one of those records that sort of comes and goes by your ears. It features the likes of Jack White and Norah Jones, but it never really grabs me. I could see it being excellent working background music, but perhaps not much more than that. Still, it has some good tunes, if not too different from the usual Danger Mouse fare. Here, we have Black, featuring the aforementioned Norah Jones.
The next two tracks on the list are by bands I’ve heard of before, but never actually heard. How that happened, being that I usually check out at least one song by a given band I hear the name of, especially when they’re associated with other bands I like, I have no idea. But better late than never. Major thanks for the next two songs go to the just awesome person who recommended them to me (thanks Ro!). I can’t say there are too many things I like more than getting a music recommendation that I really take to, making me curious to hear more.
Okkervil River just released their newest album, I Am Very Far Away, to some good reviews, but being that they’re “new” to me, I decided to go with what I think is a best foot forward approach. Unless It’s Kicks, from The Stage Names, is an infectious, fun song that really hooked me. If you haven’t listened to Okkervil before and like this song, they have a lot more music to check out, and they’ll definitely be featured here again.
Then, there’s Beirut, and the just excellent La Llorona. This is the first song I’ve heard by them, and I loved it damn near immediately. I’ve always been a sucker for horns that sneak into the music I listen to regularly, so to hear this sweeping horn barrage was a real pleasure. Zach Condon has a great voice that enhances the song even more, the only thing I regret about it being that it’s over in a blink. Oh, and that comment about bands being associated with other bands that I like? Beirut’s first album was made with the help of Jeremy Barnes of Neutral Milk Hotel.
Little Tired by Yellow Ostrich being included here is the result of two things: 1) I had a hard time coming up with a 5th song, and 2) I’m literally a little tired at the moment, so it seemed apropos. Meta! The song flirts with being repetitive, but I feel the quality of the vocals, and the song’s general dreamy sound is just enough to make this an enjoyable song. Don’t worry, it does vary slightly after the first 40 or so seconds. Not by much, but hey.
And now, the hideously colored widget. Enjoy.