Saturday, August 21, 2010

Album Review- Little Dragon "Machine Dreams"

From the very first listen of Gorillaz newest album "Plastic Beach", I was initially fascinated and taken by unique voice of lead singer Yukimi Nagano.  I first listened to this Swedish electronic band's album "Machine Dreams" on a turbulent airplane and brought back to a state of calm from their trance-y, shimmery sound.  Well rounded and interesting, this album has tracks that will make you want to dance such as "Swimming" and "My Step" matched with songs like "Feather" that will melt your soul.  Yukimi's soft sugar glazed voice paired with spacey analog synthesizers creates a sound that has been noted as "trip hop". There really is something trip-like, dream-like, and other worldly to this band, and I just can't get enough of it. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Top 5 Favorite Music DVDs

While I sadly work most monday nights, I can't praise Good Records enough for their monday night music movie showings! What is better than free Lonestar beer, food and fabulous films on huge projection screen at the front of the store. If you haven't had the pleasure to attend one of these nights make sure you check out their website and feast your ears, eyes, and taste buds :) Because of these movie nights I saw a great viewing of my number 5 favorite music film before its release.

#5- Under The Great White Northern Lights (The White Stripes)- This dvd follows the Stripes on their 2007 tour of Canada.  It has a great blend of live performances, honest interviews, a glimpse into the duo's downtime on the road. I was nearly brought to tears at end of this film at Meg's emotional response to Jack's solo performance of "White Moon" on the piano.  This scene alone is worth the dvd all together. 

#4- Dig (Brian Jonestown Massacre & Dandy Warhols)- Whether you are a die-hard fan of either of these bands or not, the dramatic plot of this dvd and the character study of Jonestown's Anton Newcombe will hold the interest any music fan out there. Also, the juxtaposition of the two bands makes this music dvd a nice change of pace from the standard live footage mixed with a few interviews. You'll love it- I guarantee this. 

#3- Fearless Freaks (Flaming Lips)- In a young band myself, I'm always a sucker for history of bands.  Especially in the case of this film, which follows the band from it's beginnings as a noisy arty band from Oklahoma.  The personal stories of individual musicians and their struggles only add to the joy of watching this film and seeing the hurdles the Flaming Lips have overcome.  And with a beloved band this strange- who doesn't want to know where it all comes from? 

#2- Loud, Quiet, Loud (Pixies)- I must be honest, this dvd has an unfair advantage simply because of my love of the Pixies. But, even if you don't share this obsession, this film is truly unique as it follows the 2004 reunion "sell out tour" of the Pixies as well as the separate lives each member has made since their sudden break up. The personality clash and new band dynamic is explored as well as some brilliantly documented live performances making it an wonderfully well-rounded film. 

#1- I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (Wilco)- This film follows the making of the great album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) as well as the classic story of the artist versus the industry. The viewer observes artistically shot, black and white snapshots of recording the album in the Wilco loft, live footage (both as a full band and Jeff's solo tour), the power struggle between label and the band, and even the relationship of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett deteriorate before our eyes.  There is something that just feels very personal about this dvd, like I actually know these people and are in the room with them.  And I just like that- simple as that. 

(close runners up include: The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Drive Well, Sleep Carefully-Death Cab, No Distance Left to Run- Blur, Rockers to Swallow- Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Before the Music Dies) 

The rankings are all my opinion of course! Do yourself a favor and check out every single one of these films and decide for yourself!! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Artist Review!- Sleigh Bells "Treats"

Of the many treasures Sirius XMU radio has bought me, Sleigh Bells has been exactly that of their album title, "Treats". They are quoted as being "an American noise pop duo" and I can't seem to get some of their hooks out of my head.  This is impressive as they have only a guitar player and singer and pre-recorded backing track.  Even though there are not multiple instruments on stage, the guitar and beats are so noisy and distorted you won't feel like they are missing a thing. Signed to M.I.A.'s personal record label N.E.E.T. it is hard to ignore the similarity to M.I.A.'s speak-singing style at times. Don't let the fact they are electronic band with a female singer fool you. The vocals can have the same "sugar in the raw" graininess of Beach House, but their sound can also be just as agressive "Fragile"-era Nine Inch Nails or Yeah Yeah Yeahs before Karen O  went sober.  While it's hard to pick a few tracks that shine above the rest on this album a great two to start out with are "Infinity Guitars" and "Kids".