Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Up Here

Norway’s electro-dance outfit/ modulation mongers Röyksopp continue their video-making dominance via a wonderfully executed Space Invaders type demolition of concrete landscape. Cool.

Video :: Happy Up Here by Röyksopp

Happy Up Here from Röyksopp on Vimeo.

Song :: Happy Up Here by Röyksopp

“You know I really like it
I know I'll always be here
You know it makes my heart beat
You know I'm happy up here”

Röyksopp’s “Junior” out tomorrow! A reminder of the band's video brilliance is available at their website here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

She wanted to control it

For many years Glasgow’s Camera Obscura languished in hometown heroes Belle and Sebastian’s long, twee shadow. Then came 2003’s aptly titled “Underachievers Please Try Harder” and they were off. Today, they’re churning out orchestra-tinged ditties with big-production vids. “French Navy”, off of the forthcoming “My Maudlin Career”, is a brilliant step forward for the band and it is good to see that they are fairing better than fellow one time B&S shadow dwellers Franz Ferdinand who continue to slide down the respect-o-meter mightily.

As the two characters in French Navy smooch their way through Paris and Rome, something ever so subtly happens to seemingly turn the girl off the boy. Or vis-a-versa. But I put my money on his tidy little beard forcing the rift.

French Navy by Camera Obscura:

My Maudlin Career (the album) is out in late April.


As for Belle and Sebastian, they have been busy lately soundtracking a film, written by lead Stuart Murdoch, called “God Help The Girl”. “God Help The Girl”, coming (or not) to an art-house or university theatre near you sometime later this year.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ukulele Sessions

On a cold Brooklyn night, improvised magic happens:

Video :: "I will call you lover again" and "Now let it go" by Loney Dear (Ukulele Sessions)

love the plastic bag!

Olly Olly blah blah blah

I imagine it is not easy to incorporate “olly olly oxen free” repeatedly into a song and, yes, it kinda feels forced and overused in Bishop Allen's “Dimmer”. This band had a cameo appearance in the underwhelming Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and I guess there is a market for underwhelming as Bishop Allen themselves can be described as such (a watered-down version of Vampire Weekend - if there is such a thing). Anyway, they are mildly worthy enough to spend a few minutes watching their video. I could not be more enthused!

Video :: Dimmer by Bishop Allen

"Olly olly oxen free" worked way better for Newman (though not so much for Ramon)…
Seinfeld - The Pool Guy

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Do You Remember

Progressive rock n [pruh-gres-iv roc] : music where songs either avoid common popular structures of verse-chorus-bridge, or blur the formal distinctions by extending sections or inserting musical interludes, often with exaggerated dynamics to heighten contrast between sections… sometimes yielding entire suites. Live shows often incorporate lasers and giant mirrors synchronized with the music.

In other words, A Recipe For Disaster.

Never one to easily relinquish my indie bias snobbery, I have always dissed the prog rock. Although God-like Rush is included in their numbers, prog rock musicians are people that I have always associated with over-the-top songs, misguided outfits, silly double-necked guitars and easy-to-mock place-name bands like Kansas, Boston, Chicago, Asia… Toto!

However, I am proud to say that I once purchased, and still own, an LP laden with neo-progressive rock: Marillion’s “Misplaced Childhood”. I am also willing to assert that that album’s hit single “Kaleigh” (#16 on the Dutch Top 40) may just be one of the finest power ballads ever constructed.

Admittedly, I have very little experience with the power ballad.

Video :: Kayleigh by Marillion (1985)

Brought to you by: 80's-Videos-That-Haven'

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We drove to the sea

Was about to rant (again) about how the Coldplays, Elbows, Doves, Keanes and Snow Patrols of this world - while engineering some pop perfection over the years - rarely offer anything original or truly inspired, but then I watched the new Doves video for Kingdom of Rust and had to eat those thoughts. Sure on its own, Kingdom of Rust is simply an everyday pop song but the capacity that visuals, and a bit of a story, has to transform a song can be powerful. Not that this story - journey across country/ free a loved ones ashes/ cry - hasn't been told before... so maybe its the sweeping views of one of my favorite places on earth that captured me. "Distant sound of thunder, moving out on the moor..."

Video :: Kingdom of Rust by Doves

(This is not) a love song

Love the Rom-Coms... love the Rom-Coms featuring "There is a light that never goes out" (membership limited!). (500) Days of Summer starring Zooey Deschanel and the kid from "10 Things I Hate About You". Trailer:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Soldier on

New vid from the annoyingly talented Andrew Bird. Apparently you're allowed to sling off flaming arrows in Chicago!

Andrew Bird with Mucca Pazza - "Fitz & The Dizzyspells”

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Depeche Mode were once kings of the live circuit, breaking attendance records for their shows wherever they went. They're one of those bands that, back in the 80's, would have seemed unlikely to carry on through 2009. Their high point was 1990's Violator ("Personal Jesus", "Enjoy the Silence"), their low point: singer Dave Gahan's "clinically dead" overdose from the mid-90's. They are indeed survivors even if their music hasn't really shifted with the times - they continue to employ the same jarring electronics as in the past. Retro, and perhaps dated, for sure... and yet oddly comforting. New car wreck video from forthcoming "Sounds of the Universe" album (out in April)...

Depeche Mode - "Wrong" (official music video)

Quite possibly the best track from DM's career:
Video :: Blasphemous Rumours by Depeche Mode (also check out the Gregorian chant version linked to this video - cool!)

Song :: Blasphemous Rumours by Depeche Mode