I recently described this artist to my wife as “Girl Talk, but jazzy”. While not 100% accurate, it’s pretty close. If you’ve heard the Get Shorty soundtrack (highly recommended), you have a good idea of what RJD2‘s latest work sounds like. It also reminds me a bit of some Propellerheads songs.
Find You Out, from the album Your Face Or Your Kneecaps, has some nice vocal samples in Spanish, laid over a jazz-lounge beat. One of RJD2′s signatures is horn samples, and he has plenty of them here. Fortunately, I love horn samples, so count me as an instant RJD2 fan. In fact, I liked this song so much, I went out and purchased one of his (many) other albums, Magnificent City Instrumentals. That will probably be reviewed in another post in the near future.
Similar in concept to much of Zee Avi’s music, Camera Obscura‘s “French Navy” features a female lead singer and feels like it should be a very old song when in fact it’s brand new. However, where Ms. Avi has a jazzy acoustic/island-girl vibe from the 40′s, “French Navy” is more like a 60′s song. To be honest, I’m having quite a hard time describing it – it’s very hard to define. It’s upbeat, has a great hook, and some nice violin work.
Some might call it a girlie song, and it does have mass female appeal, but I think guys like it too. Strangely enough, I heard it playing in Home Depot lately! That was definitely a surprise.
The rest of Camera Obscura’s new album, My Maudlin Career, is pretty good, but this is the standout single for me.
I stumbled across this band the way I usually do, on Sirius-XM’s XMU station (formerly Left of Center), channel 26. The song was Coast Of Carolina, and I liked it right away. I wrote it down for further research then proceeded to forget about it. Well, a few days ago, I was going through some notes and came across that one. I went to Amazon to check them out and ended up buying the whole album.
Telekinesis reminds me a bit of Phoenix and Everclear, though not exactly like either band. The album is really easy to listen to, though not “easy listening” by any stretch. Especially impressive is the fact that this is their debut album – off to a great start, for sure. I love the whole album, but the most notable songs are the previously-mentioned Coast of Carolina, Tokyo, Great Lakes, and Calling All Doctors.
One thing I like a lot about this album is that the songs are simultaneously consistent with each other and varied. They all have a similar upbeat feel to them, kinda poppy, but there are different flavors to each. Some are more grungy, while other sound more like classic 50s rock. Some even sound folksy.
I saw another reviewer refer to them as power pop, and I guess they do fit that description a bit, but I think they lack the raw wall-of-sound feel to truly fit that genre. They’re a bit smoother and poppier than that. There is a definite low-fi feel to the album, especially Rust and Coast of Carolina. I don’t think it works 100% of the time, such as the equipment noise at the end of Rust, but overall it’s not bad.
Check out Coast of Carolina. If you like that song, go ahead and buy the whole album. You won’t be disappointed.
I discovered Zee Avi the way I discover many other artists, through Amazon’s free download library. I heard Bitter Heart and was instantly hooked. She has a very pleasant voice and her style is very similar to classic jazz singers. Adding to that mood is the swanky instrumental backing, with guitar, upright bass, piano, horns, and even ukelele. (Zee is self-taught on the guitar and ukelele.)
She reminds me a lot of a female Jack Johnson, which is not a coincidence considering he signed her to his Brushfire Records label. It’s the perfect place for her. One way she differs from JJ is that her lyrics are much darker, even though the music is upbeat. In that way, she reminds me of Death Cab For Cutie.
Besides her music, what I found most interesting was the fact that she’s from Malaysia. You’d never know it, listening to her music. Just a funny little tidbit.
I know I haven’t really done much of a review of the album, but go listen to the Amazon preview. I’m sure you’ll like it!
It’s been a while since I’ve listened to rap. I used to be really into it, but lately I’ve been all about indie rock. Well, every Tuesday, Amazon releases a fresh batch of free MP3 downloads. This was in the latest batch. I’m not sure what made me check it out, but I’m glad I did! It has a great old-school vibe to it, but modernized well with an up-tempo, danceable beat. Imagine RUN-DMC fast-foward.
It’s virtually impossible to listen to this song without moving some part of your body. In that sense, it reminds me a bit of Girl Talk. They also make heavy use of samples and artificial beats, though of course not quite as much as GT.
If you like this track, also check out their excellent 2004 release, The Multi-Platinum Debut Album [Explicit].
“Born On A Day The Sun Didn’t Rise” is the new single from Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s new album, Eating Us. It’s a mellow little tune, kind of like hippy trance but with lyrics. The whole album is pretty consistent, so if you like this, you’ll probably like the rest. An interestig detail, this is a five-man band and not just a guy or two with a computer and sequencer. Fans of Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear should like this music.
Check out the full track preview over at Last.fm.
Today’s Song of the Day is actually a whole album, because it’s a continuous mix. The album is Feed the Animals [Explicit], by Girl Talk. If you don’t know this one-man-band already, he is one of the best of the mashup genre. He takes multiple disparate songs and mixes them together into new ones that are more than the sum of their parts. He rarely creates new material for his songs, which some people disrespect, but I am okay with.
A note to those with sensitive ears, the explicit version of this album is the only one I’ve been able to find, so don’t be surprised if you hear some curse words or sexual references.
I just recently purchased Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. If you like Lisztomania as much as I do, you’ll love this whole album. It is very coherent, with a few songs being instantly recognizable as siblings to Lisztomania, but at the same time there is a pleasant variety that keeps it from getting monotonous and boring. It’s also really nice background music to listen to while doing other things, such as driving or working. It’s enjoyable, yet easy to tune out when you need to focus on something else.
The first two singles off the album are also the first two songs – the aforementioned Lisztomania and 1901. They kick it off well, setting the tone for the rest of the album. After that comes Fences, another great song that’s worthy of release as a single. In fact, basically every song on this album could find success as a single, in my opinion. Other noteworthy songs are Lasso, Rome, and Countdown. Basically, everything.
The only thing wrong with the album is that it’s very short, at a touch over 36 minutes. I feel that some of the songs could have, and should have, been stretched out and played with a bit. Maybe they’ll consider doing that during their live shows. In any case, given that “too short” is the only negative I could come up with, this is one spectacular album. I have a feeling it will take a very long time for me to get tired of it, if ever.
Even though 2009 is shaping up to be a great year in the indie music scene, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix gets my vote for Album of the Year so far.
Enough of my gushing. Go out and buy it!
As you should know by now, I’m a huge Amazon MP3 store fan. Well, that’s for a good reason. Not only do they give away hundreds of free songs (some of them even good), but they also do things like pricing a hot new album (in this case, “Veckatimest” by Grizzly Bear) at $3.99!
This deal probably won’t last for long, so pick it up while you have the chance! That’s an amazing value for an album that’s going to be talked about all year (and then some).
While I have to admit I didn’t like them right away, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band has definitely grown on me. I warmed up with their current single, “Who’s Asking“, previewed their new eponymous album, and ended up buying the whole thing. While “Who’s Asking” is definitely a good song, I thought I’d turn you on to a track you might not have heard yet.
“Masquerade” is a great little track. Besides their trademark tempo shifts all over the place (which takes a getting used to), it sounds like “Dead Man’s Party“, but from a parallel universe where Oingo Boingo was a punk band. Being an old fan of Elfman and company, I really like this song. So far, it’s my favorite on the album.
An interesting fact about MSHVB is that their drummer is the 13-year-old younger brother of the lead singer. He’s already amazing – I can’t wait to see what his career turns out like! I’m predicting greatness.
Unfortunately, I can’t find any full-length previews online for this song yet, so you’ll just have to take my word for it for now. Enjoy!