M.I.A. “Kala”

October 25, 2007

m.i.a.

Maybe I’m a little slow to jump on the wagon with this one, but what else can I say? I guess I’m not as up to beat on the next Sri Lankan hip hop star as some other people.

Already praised by the likes of Missy Elliott and Björk, M.I.A. has hit the American music scene with her sophomore album Kala. Described as “shapes, colours, Africa, street, power, bitch, nu world, and brave” by M.I.A. (Mathangi Arulpragasam by birth) herself. A catchy blend of ethnic hip hop, electronic rhythms, and entertainingly political lyrics (for example, MTV denied airplay for her song “Sunshowers” off of her debut album Arular because of the lyrics “Like PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], I don’t surrendo,”) M.I.A. is a breath of fresh air in the hip hop scene.

Variety is what keeps the energy alive on this album. “Bamboo Banga” opens up the album with infectious tribal drumming and the lovably egotistical “I’m big timer, it’s the bamboo banga.” A couple tracks later, M.I.A. pulls us into the scene of what I can only think to describe as Bollywood disco with “Jimmy.” Whether it’s a matter of musical ingenuity or artist’s block, “$20” is a blatant rip-off of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and the Pixie’s “Where Is My Mind?” Now, that’s not to say that the lyrics aren’t bizarrely unique and politically motivated; “Like do you know that cost of A.K.’s up in Africa? Twenty dollars ain’t shit to you, but that’s how much they are.” But wait, there’s still more. There’s “Paper Planes” which touches on subjects such as murder, robbery, and making paper planes all to a sample of the Clash’s “Straight to Hell.” As if that weren’t enough, I’ve got one more thing that will probably grab your attention… the final track features none other than Timbaland himself.

Advertisements

of Montreal

Albeit I wish of Montreal made more live-action videos (as they did with Heimdalsgate,) I can’t say I don’t love their animated ones. And this newest one is by far my favorite of the animated.

of Montreal “Gronlandic Edit”

Taken from of Montreal’s blog:

 

All Tomorrows Parties

Pitchfork announced earlier this month that they’ll be personally selecting about half of the bands at next year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival.  of Montreal is among those bands; others picked so far include Man Man, Los Campesinos!, Caribou, Glass Candy, and the Dirty Projectors.  (Sebadoh, Ween, Pissed Jeans, Fuck Buttons, and Apse will also be playing, as chosen by ATP.)  The event will be held May 9 through May 11 at the Camber Sands Holiday Centre in East Sussex, England.  Buy your tickets now and you’ll be nestled in the lap of sweet-sugary luxury at the Camber Sands’ chalets, playing mini golf, driving go-karts, and rocking to of Montreal.

More info here.

Nesey Gallons: 2 Songs

October 14, 2007

The little films were shot last spring at julian’s house in the Calendar Islands. We could only film things indoors or out of windows as the white beard blazes up in direct sunlight, this therefore is the only reason you do not see the sea but we are surrounded by all of it.

For those who speculate or believe that nesey gallons & julian [The Music Tapes] are all the same things, they’re not, we have simply been friends for a long lungy time now, and julian was naturally quite pleased to contribute to a love song about the aurora borealis.

These two songs are from nesey’s frothcoming new record ‘eyes & eyes & eyes ago’ recorded last winter. I say frothcoming but that is a hopeful word indeed as no one has yet offered to put it out. There may be a self-released 7 inch record once funds become available!

Akron Family - Love is Simple

I think I was a little bit disappointed when I first listened to Akron/Family’s newest LP Love is Simple. I don’t know what it was, but it was lacking something. It had the sincerity, the compassion, and above all the not-so-simple simplicity of their previous albums, so what was it that I wasn’t feeling? Well after giving it a couple more listens, I think I’ve pinpointed the problem. The album wasn’t lacking anything, it was the mindset I was lacking. My mind was congested, I was preoccupied, and I was missing the point: love really is simple, and that’s basically all you need to know to fully appreciate this album.

This album is Akron/Family at their best, and I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. The heart-felt folk songs (“Love, Love, Love (Everyone)”) and experimental ethnic-influenced chants (“Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music for Moms”) are really what this album, if not Akron/Family in general, is all about. Bringing people together. With intricate tribal-like drumming, offbeat clapping and chanting, and electrifying experimentation in guitars and other gizmos and gadgets, it doesn’t take long for this album to break down the walls of reality and pull you right into the music itself.

Along with “Lake Song,” “There’s So Many Colors” really moves this album along into a different territory. A haunting blues riff carries us from the surreal Akron tribal chanting to a 60’s rock masterpiece. The album is topped off with the “Love, Love, Love 2 (Reprise)” picking right up where it left off with the intro track, “Go out and love, love, love, everyone” reminding us that unlike Love is Simple, love really is just that simple.

Flashback: Kyuss

October 12, 2007

Welcome to Sky Valley is the definitive desert rock album. Three tracks averaging about fifteen minutes a piece, each split into three or four parts, and one semi-amusing 57 second doo-wop track as a closer. What else you could you ask from Kyuss on their second to last album before disbanding?

Kyuss

While I’m not a big fan of Kyuss’s earlier work (1990’s Sons of Kyuss and 1991’s Wretch,) Kyuss has been one of the only bands to control the cd player in my car for the past few weeks. Their last three albums Blues for the Red Sun, Welcome to Sky Valley, and …And the Circus Leaves Town are prime albums when it comes to the vague genre of “stoner” or “desert rock.”

Heavy blues-influenced guitar riffs, psychedelic style solos, subtle acoustic undertones, and organic lyrics join together to make Welcome to Sky Valley one of the prime albums for any listener of heavy rock. Though I’m not a huge Queens of the Stone Age fan, Josh Homme has really left me dumbstruck with his Kyuss work, (and the Eagles of Death Metal aren’t too shabby, either) and really gave me a taste of what the whole droning stoner rock genre was about. 1995 really was a year of mourning for rock and roll.

Official of Montreal Blog

October 12, 2007

As you can tell, I’m probably too big of an of Montreal fan for my own good. But now anyone can stay updated with them with their new blog. Enjoy!

the Fiery Furnaces

Is it a coincidence that two of the most talented musicians of today are siblings? Maybe it’s genetic? Or maybe Eleanor and Matt Friedberger are geniuses, and instead of disproving the theory of time travel, they are putting their minds to producing experimental concept albums that touch upon more genres than I have fingers and can only be described as “breathtaking.”

If I had an all-time top twenty albums list, 2004’s Blueberry Boat would be pretty damned close to the top. Hell, if those pretentious snobs over at Pitchfork give the album a 9.6/10, you know this album has got considerable potential. The perfect blend of sitars, extensive guitar solos, three-part eight minute songs, ear-piercing (yet melodic) piano melodies, and nonsensical brother/sister vocal duties telling us the story of something I haven’t quite yet understood makes for 76 minutes of pure aural bliss. Songs include subject matter such as cheating partners, religious canines, and typerwriter repairers.

Instead of embellishing this album with an extensive list of adjectives, let me leave it at this: you’ve gotta listen to this album.

of Montreal
Those bastards of Montreal have yet again given us more reason to love them. On Minnesota Public Radio, of Montreal performed a cover of Lindsey Buckingham’s “Trouble,” “Feminine Effects” from of Montreal’s upcoming album Skeletal Lamping, and a cover of the Who’s “The Kids Are Alright.” If we keep getting gems like this before the new album, I would actually have a reason to want to wait a little longer for Lamping.

Streams can be found here.

Entrance (born Guy Blakeslee) is quite possibly my current favorite musician. Three full lengths and an EP later, I have nothing but respect for the guy. A unique blend of psychedelics, blues, and solid rock and roll, there is not one other person who can mimic his sound. Recently released is the video for “Grim Reaper Blues,” the psychedelic anthem off of his recent album Prayer of Death.