Saturday, November 28, 2009

Show Stopper: Timber Timbre with Snowblink

Last night I headed over to The Grad Club at Queen's University to check Arts & Crafts signee and critical darling Timber Timbre. Opening was local act Snowblink, a reverb-heavy guitar duo. The act worked without percussion because they were able to create really nice texture using only looped guitars and the lead singer's delicate, Feist-like voice.

Timber Timbre's atmospheric blues was missing some of the instrumental flourishes that grace his album, but the accompaniment of a violinist and slide guitarist led to a bigger, broader sound than what is found on the CD, and the crowd was rewarded with an engaging, tight set. What made this show a special pleasure to behold was the extraordinary way in which the opening and main acts complemented one another with repeating one another. Check out the single from Timber Timbre's self-titled effort, "Trouble Comes Knocking," in streaming audio or download below. Happy Listening!

Timber Timbre – “Trouble Comes Knocking” (download)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Billboard Thursday: Anya Marina - "Whatever You Like (T.I. Cover)"

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In what is easily one of the sexiest scenes in the history of the show, Gossip Girl had a threesome a couple episodes a go. This is the song that soundtracks it.

Here, Anya Marina does a T.I. cover that works on so many different levels. It's not kitschy like so many indie covers of rap songs are; it's subtle, sexy, and takes on a whole new meaning in her breathy voice. And really, that's what the best covers do: provide a whole new perspective on a song that had previously been considered in only one context. It got her noticed, too, as this popped up on the tail end of the charts this week.

In short, this is pretty spectacular.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Track Review: Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp"

This is the new single from Yeasayer’s new full length due out sometime next February, and keeping in tradition with All Hour Cymbals, “Ambling Alp” is very ,very good. I really like Yeasayer and have always considered them to be in a league of their own for being able to apply keen pop sensibilities to their ear for experimentation, treating listeners to interesting sounds and textures imposed on effective melodies. Do yourself a favour and check out the download and streaming audio below. Happy listening!

Yeasayer – “Ambling Alps” (Download)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Black Moth!!! Super Rainbow!!!

I've been in such a brilliant and cheerful mood these past couple of days. Just turning 20, redefining my relationships with family and close friends in a positive way, playing gigs, jamming harder and better than I ever have, and feeling great about myself. Thus, this post is really just an excuse to post a track that, isn't altogether that recent but, has been feeding that wonderful feeling. Black Moth Super Rainbow's "Smile the Day After Today" from their 2009 LP Eating Us. The simplicity in the note-flow of the synth, the hoppy bass line holding the track together like glue, and the subtle use of tambourine and other percussive instruments draped over the drum pattern all get at me, and well. The song seems to brighten an incredible amount, without overwhelming the listener and with perfect balance. Now that is good feeling & production, if I do say so myself.

Black Moth Super Rainbow - "Smile the Day After Today" (download)

Billboard Thursday: Iyaz - "Replay"

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This entry is going to be short because when it comes to "Replay", there just isn't a whole lot to say.

It's some inoffensive, catchy, Sean Kingston-esque pop that will be stuck in your head for a couple weeks but afterwards be rather unmemorable. Which isn't to say catchiness in and of itself is an inherently bad sole quality to have, but there just isn't anything terribly original about "Replay" that's going to keep it playing on your iPod a few months from now.

Still, enjoy it for a little while, as it is summery and fun, and winter's coming quickly on its way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Video Of The Week: Grizzly Bear - "Ready, Able"

Oh Veckatimest, you bring my heart to tears.
Oh Veckatimest, you will surely move me, for years.
Oh Veckatimest, you truly made my eyes leak,
Oh Veckatimest, you bring us another Vid of the Week.

A lame attempt at poetry, for a not-so-lame music video. "Ready, Able" from Veckatimest finally has an official music video and lord is it tasty. Mmmm.. it gives me wiiiillldd feelings! Check it out to the right or by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rediscovery: The Virgin Suicides Original Score by Air

How did I forget about this album for so long? A recent sojourn reveals what makes good music (and soundtracks) great. Majestic and fragile, epic and intimate, The Virgin Suicides encompasses contrasting moods and tones adhered by several recurring themes. Indisputably Air's finest work, they take their trademark style and apply it on a much grander level to great effect. Listen to it on the train or while walking in the park. Hands down my favourite soundtrack, and yes, this includes YOU, Mark Mothersbaugh. Essential listening for anyone who has ever even kinda liked anything that even sounds a little bit like Air.

Below is "Afternoon Sister," my favourite track, for download and streaming audio, but do yourself a favour and listen to the whole thing. Happy Listening!

Air – “Afternoon Sister” (Download)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Track Review: Syntaks - "Sudden Dream"

Syntaks returns with this, one of two tracks released in anticipation of their new full-length, Ylajali, which came out November 3rd. In “Sudden Dreams” Syntaks creates a sublime soundscape that congeals nicely under a beat that bubbles up halfway through. As the track title may suggest, this is very dreamy and quite etheral. Overall, a pleasant diversion from more structured stuff and is really nice for passive listening or doing homework. Check out the streaming audio and download below. Happy listening!

Syntaks – “Sudden Dream” (Download)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Billboard Thursday: Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"

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"Just Dance" I loved immediately, but it took me a little while to warm up to "Poker Face". Given that "Bad Romance" is definitely cut from the "Poker Face" cloth, I'm also considering it a bit of a grower. It doesn't have the immediate appeal of something like, say, "Lovegame", but all the elements are there for another #1 hit, which is why it debuted at #9 on the charts this week.

I'm still unsure of how I feel about all the "la-la-roma-roma" shit at the beginning, but I imagine it's the kind of weirdness that will eventually become necessary to the "Bad Romance" sing-alongs. I enjoy the background electro flourishes stolen right out of a Bloody Beetroots song, and the chorus is as epic as one would expect from a new Gaga single.

While I'm not crazy excited about the song in and of itself, it's likely because I've heard better songs off The Fame Monster already, namely the drop-dead gorgeous electro beast that is "Alejandro". "Bad Romance" will play well in clubs, though, which is more than we can say for a lot of attempted club music these days.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

50 Cent = Douche

Is there anything that represents more douchebaggery than a rapper sampling himself for a new song? I'm not talking about someone using a vocal hook, I'm talking about taking a sample from an album you put out approximately two years a go and using it on your new album. Like this:

50 Cent has long ceased to be relevant, but this is just too hilarious not to make mention of. This is presumably a new single (I'm not sure, I just found it) and it takes a line from "I Got Money" and samples it for the hook ("Have a baby by me, baby / Be a millionaire").

Now, "I Got Money" is one of his best songs, and pretty much the only redeemable quality of his last record. But still: it's awkward to sample yourself, and even more awkward to sample the last legitimate hit you had. That's like Timberlake sampling "Sexy Back" for his new single. It's just not right.

"Baby By Me" isn't going to put Fifty back into the limelight, but it will reinforce how unintentionally hilarious he can be. And really, that's his role at this point: all his new singles just spotlight the fact that he's now a parody of himself so we can laugh amongst ourselves and then get the fuck down to "Just A Lil' Bit". Which is to say that it's impossible to hate "Baby By Me" because it's just continuing the natural order of things.

Now someone throw on "Candy Shop".

Show Stopper: Gentleman Reg and The Hidden Cameras

Last Friday night, Toronto-based indie darlings Gentleman Reg and The Hidden Cameras played the second show of their tour at The Grad Club, one of several student-run pubs at Queen’s University. The Grad Club is essentially a century home converted into a drinkin’ hole, with a bar on both floors and an L-shaped music room. Despite the awkward shape of the facilities, the sound was excellent and could be heard at a pleasing volume throughout the establishment. If you’re in Kingston and happen to enjoy good music and beer, a stop by The Grab Club is a good bet.

The music that evening was equally stellar, both bands playing light and energetic indie pop. The two bands complemented each others’ styles very nicely, and the two frontmen, Reg Vermue and Joel Gibb, collaborated on several tunes during each set. There would have been a lot of dancing, but most of the crowd had beer in hand. However, I suspect that this may not be the case for at least some of the shows on the tour schedule, so if you should check out one of these shows, bring your dancing shoes. Below is a song from each artist in streaming audio and download. Happy listening!

Gentleman Reg - "We're In A Thunderstorm" (Download)

The Hidden Cameras - "Death Of A Tune" (Download)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just Listen: Ola Podrida

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I first heard Ola Podrida when he was getting solid reviews from quite a few major music publications for his debut self-titled album. I was hooked from the first listen, and it easily made my top ten list from that year.

So, imagine my face when I get an e-mail from his publicist reminding me that he has new material coming out! It resembled that smiley emoticon represented by the ":D" that no one really uses because it's kind of obnoxious but is meant to embody someone who is REALLY FUCKING HAPPY.

New album Belly Of The Lion doesn't disappoint, either, picking up right where the debut left off with it's folk-y aura and emotional arrangements that beg for you to pay attention to them. Is it blasphemy to say that in a battle between Ola Podrida and Bon Iver, Ola Podrida would win my heart? Potentially, but I don't care because that's how much I love this artist.

The album drops tomorrow, and you can pre-order it here.

Ola Podrida - "Roomful Of Sparrows" (Download)