Kwaping! Music

Archive for May, 2009

Album Review: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, by Phoenix

by on May.30, 2009, under Album Review, Music

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!

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Holy Crap! Grizzly Bear’s new album for under $4!

by on May.26, 2009, under Music, News

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).

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Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band – “Masquerade”

by on May.22, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

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!

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Doves – “Kingdom of Rust”

by on May.16, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

I really try to avoid jumping on bandwagons, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. Case in point: “Kingdom Of Rust“, the latest single off Dovesnew album of the same name. It’s the indie rock darling of the moment, and for good reason. These English lads sure know how to rock the American cowboy style. Once again, I’m reminded of a more palatable Chris Isaak. Is it just me, or is this some sort of weird trend I’ve uncovered?

Anyway, back on topic… if you’re looking for a mood-heavy, slow-paced song to chill out to, this would be a good choice. Surprisingly, my young son also liked the song, which I take as a good sign. He usually only likes more danceable stuff, so for him to like it means it has a pretty good cross-market appeal.

The video is also very well done.

Enjoy!

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Say Hi – “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh”

by on May.14, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

Today’s Song of the Day is “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh” by Say Hi. For some reason, the vocals on this song keep reminding me of Chris Isaak – a less whiny and nasaly one, which is a Good Thing.

It opens strongly with a catchy synthesized horn riff, then gets right to the drums and twangy guitar goodness. I dare you to listen without bobbing your head. The only negative part about this track is that it does get a little repetitive, but overall an excellent tune. Look to be hearing this one more as time passes.

Make sure to pick this song up, along with all the others, on the excellent Barsuk Records: 2009 Amazon Digital Sampler while it’s still available! It’s an amazingly good sampler, free or not.

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Deerhunter – “Nothing Ever Happened”

by on May.13, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

It’s always weird to like something without knowing it. If you would have asked me a year ago if I liked “jam bands”, I would have said no and looked at you like you were crazy. I’m not much into classic rock or psychedelia, which is how I used to think of jam bands (Phish and the Grateful Dead, for example).

Deerhunter changed all that. I heard their songs on XMU and fell in love. Only after I was a fan did I hear that they’re a jam band. Two of their songs are on my list of all-time favorites, and of those two, today’s Song of the Day “Nothing Ever Happened” is the best. It’s close, though. (The other will have its own SotD in the future.)

Enjoy!

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Band of Skulls – “I Know What I Am”

by on May.12, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

The first thing people usually say when they hear “I Know What I Am” by Band Of Skulls is that they sound a lot like The White Stripes, which isn’t surprising given that they are of similar composition. They have a guitarist and a drummer and a male and a female vocalist. The only extra instrument is a bass, which is played by the female vocalist.  I also think they sound like 80′s Camaro rock. If you’re in the mood to bob your head to some good ol’ American guitars and drums, you’ll like this band.

You can preview the full track of “I Know What I Am” over at Last.fm.

If you like this song, you’ll probably like the whole album, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. It’s all pretty consistent, which sounds bad but I think is a very good quality to have. At the time of this writing, Amazon has it on special for five bucks, so definitely make a point to pick it up asap if you’re interested. If you don’t want the whole album, another good song off of it is “Patterns“. Last.fm also has a full-track preview of this song.

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Cold War Kids – “We Used to Vacation”

by on May.10, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

Cold War Kids is one of those bands that you hear a lot about, but don’t know their songs. At least, that was the case for me, up until recently. My wife and I caught them as an opening act for Death Cab For Cutie (along with the excellent up-and-coming band Ra Ra Riot) and they blew us away. The best I can describe their music is a male Alicia Keys on the piano and a kick-butt indie rock band backing him up. Oh, and they REALLY like maracas.

They have a popular song out right now called “Hang Me Up To Dry“, but I’ve chosen the first song off their new album Robbers & Cowards for this Song of the Day. That song is called “We Used to Vacation” and it’s a great representative of the rest of the album.

You can take my word for it, or listen to the full song for free over at Last.fm. Enjoy!

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Happy Mother’s Day! The Bird and the Bee – “Love Letter to Japan”

by on May.10, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d make my wife’s current favorite song the Song of the Day. “Love Letter To Japan” by The Bird And The Bee is four minutes of sugar-pop fun. It has a great video too. If you’re looking for some upbeat, lightweight listening, this should do the job.

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Dan Deacon – “Of the Mountains”

by on May.08, 2009, under Music, Song of the Day

Dan Deacon has produced a nice little song in Of The Mountains. It’s a little bit Carol Of The Bells and a little bit techno. At over seven minutes, you really get your money’s worth out of this one!

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