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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bat, Your Lashes, For Lashes

Bat for Lashes released Two Suns today. It's gotten rave reviews. If you like gloomy glimpses into the female aspect of a relationship, this is the album for you. Her voice is soothing and she speaks in tongues of reassurance.  An albums worth of internal contemplation. 

Though not a fan of her debut, Fur and Gold, there were hints of brilliance in Natasha's lyrics and voice. This follow-up is definitely a turning point. The droning is catchy and will put anyone in the mood for a nice toke from the hookah. Don't take too much. Her lyrics can become eerie in an instant. 

Top 5 Tracks:
5. "Good Love" - a sorrowful organ(ic) nightmare on elm street... 
4. "Sleep Alone" - an oceanic voyage complete with dark rhythmic drums and echoes of electronica, complete with cryptic chants
3. "Peace of Mind" - acoustic strums of 'om'
2. "Glass" - a dream-like state of gypsy
1. "Traveling Woman" - feminist ode to women with flat feet and boots made for walking

An album you'll bust out when you're in "the zone."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Who: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit; How: Airstream Trailer

On the indy radar, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit is by definition a Muscle Shoals band. Isbell has the genuine southern twang down. From fly fishing to a great appreciation of the classic Airstream trailer, there's no denying Isbell has some good stories to tell.

Isbell, former Drive-By Trucker, recollects his childhood in Alabama on his second solo album. "Seven-Mile Island" deemed 'Song of the Week' by IndyWeek.com, is swamp-thumpin' tale of this nature preserve. Seven-Mile Island, home to passing Native Americans, flashes Isbell back to days spent with his father fishing and collecting arrowheads (that now cannot leave the land). It definitely speaks deeper to listeners than the other songs on the self-titled album.

"Good" is a T.G.I.F. party anthem that contrasts well with the tone of the rest of the album. There's no telling what Isbell will do on a Friday night. Oh, he's such a bad boy.

Blender gave the album three stars, deeming Isbell "unexciting" but encouraged his talented writing skills. Maybe he just needs a double shot of espresso? The Washington Post, on the other hand, reviewed their show at the 9:30 Club and compared Isbell to Joe Walsh.

Good news: he is on tour. Bad news, he rounded out the nor'easter earlier this month. You'll just have to rent an Airstream and become a groupie.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lite on the Soy Sauce, Please

A couple years ago, I started having a deeper appreciation for music in foreign tongue. It began with Stereo Total - which is kind of cheating since I studied French for 13 years - and more recently I got into Mexican Institute of Sound. I don't know much Spanish and you certainly cannot depend on learning it from their music. M.I.S. are electro-pop in Spanglish. Mejico Mexico (2007) was my workout album. I hula-hooped-up a sweat to that album. I swung my hips to "Miranda a Las Muchachas" and "Drume Negrita" like it was going out of style . I had no clue what words I was singing out loud, but it was so tangy.

Yesterday (3/24/09) M.I.S. released Soy Sauce. If you are looking for "different" as I was a few years back, it will keep you occupied for about, well, 50-minutes. After that, you'll be regretting that you wasted 50-minutes of your precious life. The rhythm and sauciness got lost in efforts to overuse fancy electronics.

Go back to the basics. We like that sh*t.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PB & J Have Nothing to Worry About


They're baaaaack. No, it's not another sequel of Poltergeist; it's Peanut Butter & Jelly a.k.a. Peter Bjorn & John. I was driving back across country from L.A., Baltimore-bound, and my girl made me a mix tape. It was quite possibly the best indie mix I've ever heard, featuring "Young Folks." It instantly became my anthem.

In the car alone, I sang the words pretending to be different characters - Kermit the Frog, Barney Rubble, Barbie, and Danny Tanner. For three years, I've been patiently waiting to move on from Writer's Block.

Next Tuesday (03/31/09), PB & J release Living Thing - a lighter, fluffier, poppy seed bag of goodies. A dash of Paul Simon cultural grooviness with a pinch of indie catchy-tude, so watch out, you'll be hooked. You're friends will probably make fun of you, but don't listen to them cause they just don't get it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cough Up the Bucks

So during this whole change of power and the economic meltdown, we're all thinking, where is the man who usually has so much to say? Neil Young's being pretty quiet. WRONG! During his 2008 world tour, Mr. Young has penned an entire album's worth of protest. Dribbling a few leaks onto Myspace and performing a few songs on the road, it's a perfect time to let America hear his stand.

Fork in the Road exemplifies Young's sense of humor mixed with an unhealthy dose of political wit. Maybe not unhealthy, but the man did suffer from an almost-fatal brain aneurysm, he should be relaxing on his ranch in La Honda, CA. Yeah, right. In the "Cough Up the Bucks" video, Neil drives around aimlessly in the back seat of a limo while rhythmically-rapping the chorus and reading The Wall Street Journal ... "where did all the money go?/where did all the cash flow?" 

His other low-budget videos for "Fork in the Road"  notably films a large screen TV being repossessed and "Light a Candle" is shot in front of a trailer home.  Neil released two film versions of "Johnny Magic" - a song about the home of the heavy metal Continental, Wichita - in support of his LincVolt project a.k.a. his Electric 1959 Lincoln Continental. Watch him discuss it with Dave Letterman

Stay up to date with this 69 going on 30-year old on his hi-tech website: www.neilyoung.com

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is the original Santogold album worth $?


It's not very often that an artist changes their name during the peak of their career. Well, accept for Prince - but he just wanted to change it to a sound to be mysterious.  Apparently, the artist formerly known as Santogold has officially changed her name to Santigold. The original artist Santo Gold is making a come back ... with infomercials? Is that even fair? His name is Santo (space) Gold and he sucks. 

Santi White, we love you.