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Archive for August, 2010

I know.  You’re sad.  I’ve been busy finishing up summer semester and beginning fall semester, and you miss me.  Don’t worry though, I have just the thing for times like these.

Me consoling you.

Ida, out of New York City, has been around since 1992, making music that I find hard to describe.  I will let their official website do the talking:

Although Ida has often been identified with labels like “slowcore” and “quietcore”, they have always played songs that could be described as “kind of fast”, “mid tempo”, “kind of loud”, and “super loud

Yeah, I think that about sums it up.  18 years is certainly a lot of time to explore different styles and tempos, which Ida has done at length.  With this longevity comes 7 studio albums and a bunch of EP’s and singles.  I really could never get into most of their stuff, but I always manage to find a reason to listen to 1996’s I Know About You.

Psychics

This is perhaps the most emotional album I’ve ever heard.  I think if I listened to this in 1996 I would have pooped my pants.  6 year old me would not be able to process the raw heartbreak contained in the albums’ 12 songs.  It’s my go-to sad album for sure.  Slow and pensive, packed with absurdly relevant lyrics and beautiful vocal harmonies, it’s perfect for any sad situation you may find yourself in.  From losing a childhood pet to running out of your favorite ice cream flavor, just put this on and cry your brains out.  Here’s “Requator”:

I had a hard time choosing what songs to put on here, because they’re all incredibly awesome.  Each listen through makes me think that I have a new favorite.  Here’s “Treasure Chest”:

If you just had an awesome day, don’t come home and listen to this.  You’ll just be confused.

Download I Know About You

Hopefully I wont have such long breaks in between my posts now that the fall semester is fully underway.  Next up is probably Voxtrot (who I have been unable to turn off lately) and some kind of mix possibly maybe.

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Scott Hartnell, a true Canadian hero

Yesterday while listening to my Last.fm Recommendation Radio, a song by Darwin Deez popped up.  I immediately thought of this picture of Scott Hartnell.  My mind is a scary place.  Anyway, whether it be through reminders of Hartnell’s 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff heroics or something else, I quite enjoyed this Darwin Deez fellow.  I figured that it was just one man, Darwin Deez, who was responsible for the music, but upon further research it appears that his band’s name is Darwin Deez.  But the frontman is also named Darwin Deez.  Uh, whatever.

Prince meets poodle in "Office Space"

I grabbed his/their album, and gave it a good listen through.  I’m pretty sure I’ve heard “Radar Detector” somewhere before, but I can’t place it:

The album is self-titled, so it’s also called Darwin Deez.  Hopefully he/they don’t pull a Crystal Castles and name their second album Darwin Deez too.  That would just be too much.

From start to finish, the album is really easy to listen to.  Punctuated by infectious guitar riffs, the songs are simple yet fun to listen to.  Darwin Deez’s (the man) vocals fit perfectly with the guitar tracks and drum machine.  There’s even some good beeps and boops in there if you listen closely.  I think I could get bored of the simplicity after another album or two, but for now it’s new and another great summer album.  Listen to “My DNA”:

Something about the guitar riff in the chorus makes me keep it on repeat longer than I should.  Perhaps when the internet calms down about the new Arcade Fire album I will be able to discover more new gems like this one.

Download Darwin Deez by Darwin Deez featuring Darwin Deez

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It’s time for a New Junk showdown!!!! In the Sophomore-Slump-Busting Corner we have Ra Ra Riot’s The Orchard. In the Released-an-Incredible-Album-Then-Just-a-Really-Good-One Corner we have Arcade Fire with The Suburbs. DING DING!

Sorry, but this is all that came up on my google image search for "suburban riots."

When we ran out of tickets for the main event tonight, things got ugly.

The Rhumb Line is amongst the most played full albums in my music library.  It is the ever elusive complete album, with not a bad song to be heard anywhere.  I tried not to expect too much from the follow-up, as I have learned I am easily disappointed.  Especially with a relatively new band in Ra Ra Riot, as I have no idea if they can be consistently awesome or not.  Even with all my efforts, I couldn’t help but be massively excited to have my first listen.  It was definitely the most excited I’ve been to listen to an album for the first time in a long time.  Incredibly, I was not disappointed.  At all.

The Orchard is plain wonderful.  It keeps all the energy and verve of The Rhumb Line while still progressing and not being boring.  The band certainly knows how to arrange songs on their albums too, as this one is built superbly.  The title track is the perfect opener, while “Keep It Quiet” rounds out the only 39 minute aural adventure.  In between lies a contrast of fast and slow, of dark and playful, and of new and old.  “Boy” sounds like a track straight from their first album, which is a huge compliment.  Perhaps one reason why I think so highly of this album is that my future wife, Alexandra, gets to sing a whole song!  By herself!

Future wife number two. Or three? I don't remember.

I’m still trying to find a bad song, but I haven’t yet.  I think I’m just a sucker for strings.  Got that Alexandra?  Good.

Have a listen to “You And I Know”:

This is the part of the post where I would link you to the album that I host somewhere, but since this album isn’t out yet doing so would probably get this post deleted like last time.  I could rant about why me linking to a download is a good thing, but instead I will link you to google, which will then link you to roughly 130,000 places you can download it other than here.

Google Facilitates Music Piracy (and it’s not my fault so don’t delete my post)

Win Butler and the hipster mullet.

I don’t know if that’s really a mullet, but that’s what I’m calling it because it deserves a strange name.  When I heard that Arcade Fire’s new album was called The Suburbs, I was scared.  Scared because the suburbs are the city’s less exciting cousin.  Would that mean this album would be a boring version of Funeral.  In a way, I really expected it to be.  I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I just couldn’t see them making another solid album.  I was wrong.  Hipster Mullet 1, Eric 0.  Whatever strange brain that lives below those beautiful flowing locks of Win’s is here to stay.

The Suburbs is not at all a departure from the band’s previous efforts, rather a reinvention of them.  Capturing the unwavering energy of the band and dark songwriting edge of Win, the album is one full hour of solid listening, which few bands can say they create.  Not a whole lot sticks out to me, which isn’t a bad thing.  “Empty Room” sounds like Owen Pallett spent some time in the studio with Broken Social Scene (in a good way).  “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains” touts a synth line straight from the 80’s.  These things, mixed with the well known Arcade Fire strings, piano, guitar, megaphone, and bible tearing make for one great record.  Listen to “Ready to Start”:

I haven’t decided where The Suburbs sits in my mind in relation to Funeral and Neon Bible.  It’s definitely up there somewhere though.  Funeral is an amazing album all the way through, Neon Bible has some incredible songs, but could The Suburbs tie it all together?  Probably not, though time will tell.  Neon Bible took a long time to achieve its “Quite Awesome” rating in my mind.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see it past Neon Bible fairly soon.

GFMP (AINMF) (133,000 results)

Oh right, boxing metaphor, I forgot.  Well, Ra Ra Riot came out swinging fast and hard, but Arcade Fire used the illusion of the Hipster Mullet to dodge the blows.  The Suburbs struck back with bowling alleys and movie theaters, while The Orchard started throwing apples.  Wait what.

It’s a very close call, as both albums are certain to be on many Best of 2010 lists (and deservedly too).  However, I’m going to say Ra Ra Riot wins this edition of New Junk. Did you really think I would pick against my future wife?  There’s no way I’m sleeping on the couch tonight.

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