Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Songs from Will Sheff

Watch 'em here.

Some thoughts:

"Walked Out on a Line" sounds a lot more country influenced than a lot of Okkervil River's stuff. You can mostly hear it in the high falsetto parts. The lyrics seem more surreal than the usual grounded-but-eloquent, and I'm not sure how much I like it. I get that the song is about doing quite a lot of drugs, but I always loved the stark simplicity of Sheff's lyrics, the elegant way they disemboweled you. This song seems a little bit more obvious, I suppose. It's pretty enough, though to allow me to overlook some of my reservations.

"Lay of the Last Survivor" is more in line with the songs he wrote for "The Stand-Ins". The little wordless whine he does later in the song is more yelp than musical, but it works. The crescendo near the end is effective despite being a well-worn trick in the Sheff toolbox.

The two songs are enjoyable, and I'd love to hear them properly worked up, and recorded with the whole band, but they're not as exciting as I hoped. There's an oomph that's missing, be it the weight of the full band, or the more impressionistic lyrics resonating less. We'll see how things shape up, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kid Dynamite - K05-0564(live at This is Hardcore)

Just ordered a copy of the This is Hardcore pressing of the Kid Dynamite discography. So. Fucking. Stoked.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Codeseven Reunion Show/Tour

In my young young days, I caught Codeseven opening for Love Lost but Not Forgotten, and Hopesfall. I want to say as I Lay Dying might have played as well, but I think we left during their set. It was a weird show, but I remember Codeseven had just released their album "The Rescue" and kids were bummed that they went from melodic screamy stuff, and were all into spacey rock. I fucking loved "The Rescue", and spent their whole set rapt with attention. LLBNF also were great.

Back to the point. Codeseven recently just played a reunion show, footage from which can be seen above. They're also doing a reunion tour opening for Circa Survive and dredg. Dates are here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Thermals - I Don't Believe You

I thought this video was weirdly creepy upon my first viewing, but subsequent viewings just make me think that being friends with the Thermals results in them hiding tiny speakers all over your flat, and waking you up with catchy poppy punk songs. This is a catchy song. The Thermals seem like dicks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Middle School Dance Night

Last time I saw Matt and Kim they inexplicably covered this. The grown-up frat boys and their girlfriends loved it, but were less charmed by M&K's actual songs.

I do really like this song. I have vivid memories of super awkwardly dancing to this in the cafeteria as the girl I had a six-year long crush on danced with my grade school rival. Going to school in New Hampshire was sometimes exactly like a teen TV drama.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rachel Bloom - Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

As a fan of Ray Bradbury, and power-pop, and silly songs, I could not be more amused by this.

This seems like a good time to mention Jesus H. Christ & The 4 Hornsmen of the Apocalypse and THEIR raunchy power-pop track "Connecticut's for Fucking". It is also pretty great.

The bass player from Bridge and Tunnel pointed this out to me, so make sure to check out their upcoming tour with the Gaslight Anthem and Fake Problems! Here's some dates:

Monday 9/20/2010 Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL
Tuesday 9/21/2010 The Vogue, Indianapolis, IN
Wednesday 9/22/2010 Bogart's, Cincinnati, OH
Thursday 9/23/2010 House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
Sunday 9/26/2010 Northern Lights, Clifton Park, NY
Monday 9/27/2010 The National, Richmond, VA

The Wrens - Crescent

New song from the Wrens! Do I really need to say anything more?

Here's some background: It's from a compilation called "Dear New Orleans", which is a benefit album. "Proceeds from the sale of this album will be granted to New Orleans based nonprofits working to support and sustain the region's unique musical and cultural traditions, and to protect and restore vital environmental and community resources for future generations."(taken from the Dear New Orleans website) There are apparently quite a few unreleased tracks on here from indie notables, so it's definitely worth a gander. In addition, there appears to be a cover of "Kick Out the Jams" featuring Erin McKeown. Interesting.

Listen to the new Wrens' song here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cap'n Jazz - Live at Wicker Park Fest

I was lucky enough to have two chances to catch Cap'n Jazz on their reunion tour this summer. The first time was at a sold-out Bottom Lounge, with Tounges(the worst band I've seen in a very long time), and Gauge opening. It was great to hear those songs finally, but the set went a little too long, and I was slightly cranky from the heat and the close quarters.

Their set at Wicker Park Fest solved all my minor quibbles, and in doing so, was one of the best shows I've seen in a long while. It was a lovely night, and Cap'n Jazz was just on top of their game. Each new song was greeted with cheers, and when I looked around, everyone was singing along. There was more dancing than standing still, and the night air was cool enough to keep everyone from being drenched in sweat. The set ended up being about 45 minutes, and they ran through "Basil's Kite", "Ooh Do I Love You", "Oh Messy Life", their cover of "Take on Me", and a number of other songs from their expansive catalog. Great night.

In other Cap'n Jazz reading, The Reader has a great interview with Tim Kinsella about his feelings on this tour.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blind Guardian - At The Edge of Time

German power metal is the best kind of power metal. Blind Guardian is the best kind of German power metal. At least, they used to be. Their penchant for combining epic riffs and over-the-top vocals with the aggression and speed of thrash catapulted them head and shoulders over nerd metal crap like Rhapsody. As of late, though, their albums have been over-produced and overwrought. To say I had low expectations for this album would honestly be an understatement.

It's pretty fucking good. The album opens with "Sacred Worlds" which is a rattlesnake of a song, starting out as a fast-paced orchestral thrasher, and turning into a half-time epic ballad with the occasional death growl. This kind of experimentation seemed half-baked on "A Twist In the Myth", but gels much more naturally here. "Tanelorn(Into the Void)" and "Ride into Obsession" offer some of the speediest moments on the album and particularly impressive vocal performances from Hansi Kürsch. His penchant for multi-tracking his vocals is in full force here, but man, it sounds fucking fantastic and so epic. "Control the Divine" has a chorus that is straight out of the Klaus Meine playbook, and rules as a result. There some songs that aren't as much fun, like the obligatory folk song "Curse My Name", and the weirdly proggy/poppy "Valkyries", but the majority of this album is head-banging good times.

Blind Guardian seems to have gone back to their roots with this release, incorporating speed metal much more prominently, but still acknowledging their growth as a band, skillfully utilizing additional instrumentation, and some more popppy song structures(see "War of the Thrones" and "Control the Divine" especially). This is certainly the strongest and most savage work Blind Guardian has done since "Nightfall In Middle Earth". Well worth your time.

Blind Guardian - Ride Into Obsession

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seidr - Cortez the Killer Tour EP

Credit: I found out about this awesome EP from the fine folks over at HSS. They've been a little quieter than usual lately, but still the best source for strange, kvlt and unfathomable metal.

Seidr is an Norse term for sorcery, for witchcraft. Seidr is a band from Lousville, KY that practices "ritual doom". Seidr is a band that recently played Chicago and I fucking missed them because I only just became aware of them.

This is a two song EP featuring a reworked version of the song "Gullveig", and a cover of "Cortez the Killer", originally by Neil Young. "Gullyveig" is a harrowing 11 minute sludge fest, with nice bits of melody peaking through in the guitars from time to time. The vocals are appropriately harsh and evoke images of criminals gurgling their ragged defiance while being hung. It's the contrast of the sometimes sweetness of the riffs and the oppressive nature of the vocals and drumming that makes this really interesting to me.

"Cortez the Killer" is essentially a doom song already, and Seidr do the song justice. The drumming is much doomier than the original, leaving plenty of space between each drum hit. The song starts clean and spacey, and ends with screams, echoing on and on as the guitar mournfully picks out the melody. What a killer, what a killer.

Did I mention that this is free? Yeah, go check it out. It's pretty great.

Head over to HSS to download the EP.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good Luck - Acoustic Performance from 07/25/10

Southside DIY has posted videos from a recent acoustic Good Luck performance on their European tour. It's a smattering of songs from "Into Lake Griffy", their recent demo release, and a Weakerthans' cover("Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist"). It's a good chance to see how strong their songwriting really is. Without the distractions of amplification and heaving masses of sweaty bodies, their charming and cleverly simple songs stand entirely on their own merits. Good Luck remains one of Our City is Burning's favorite bands, and this series of videos only cements that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Robyn - Hang With Me(video)

yep. just going to post about robyn from now on. so wonderful.