Much anticipated indeed, our-little-radio-station-that-could has acquired Brooklyn-based Widowspeak’s self-titled debut album. Released last August, this quirky group self-identifies as ‘grunge’ (at least on their bandcamp and myspace pages). Though this term is two decades removed from its heyday, Widowspeak spins and inverts this past score of musical-years in on itself. What we wind up with with Widowspeak is calm and sultry, strolling and serious, heaving and ghostly. Off of the label Captured Tracks, this two guys/ one girl team give us short little energy-pick-ups, ten of them. Perfect maybe for a summer drive, barbeque, or a radio show near you . Singer/ songerwriter/ heartthrob Molly Hamilton gives us a lot of nice vowel sounds, each one of them, right alongside each other. It makes for some really nice phonetic exercises in track seven, titled Hard Times. Just dip your head in the water of this lyric, again and again, ‘Hard Times, oooouhhhooooh;. The stretch of ‘Ovugghhr and ovugghhr’ (over and over) is sheer delight. Behind is some light guitar rifs and a pretty chill drum set. Oh the reverb.
Track 2 (Harsh Realm) sets the mood as a reflection on a past lover. The lyrics again repeat (I alwaaays think about you), as the instrumental parts deepen us into inevitable twists and plot-turns of relationships. It leaves all sorts of gaps to be filled, where the listener can insert their autobiography. Track 5 (Limbs) provides more narrative access, a little sob story on top of some finger-pricking and guitar with some developing moans and airy voice in the back. “So he told me, sink or swim, I did what he said, went underwater instead, everything looks the same, everything looks the same.” Quite Melodic and Contemplative. The album continues much along these, with nice transitions of fast and slow, familiar and unfamiliar. Let’s give it a nice warm welcome, WOBC.
Track List: Widowspeak – S/T
2. Harsh Realm
4. In the Pines
6. Gun Shy
7. Hard Times
8. Fir Coat
9. Half Awake
10. Ghost Boy
Look at these chill bros. I would be delighted to bro out with them, given the opportunity. Wouldn't you?
If you think that Australia’s Pond sounds a lot like Tame Impala, you have good reason: 3/4 of Pond is Tame Impala. But while Tame Impala’s vibe is reverb-soaked and megastony, Pond’s sound is more straight-forward classic rock. On “Elegant Design,” the standout track from the brand-new Beards, Wives, Denim, Pond shows that they’re more than Tame Impala sans washes of reverb. With straight, groovy drums and a falsetto chorus, these Aussies have created an incredibly catchy song that wears its 70s influences on its sleeves. Even with the King Crimson-esque breakdown at the end, Pond still manages to sound fresh and relevant.
Pond – Elegant Design
16 Undone (The Sweater Song)
03 Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus
07 Anxiety Block
As the guitars screech to conclude a low-fi and more angsty version of Weezer’s “Undone,” Eric Harm, the lead singer of Titus Andronicus, taunts the crowd with dark images of our generation: “Think about what you want our generation to be remembered for. Shouldn’t be pictures of some dude doing cocaine in a warehouse bathroom. This is all we’re going to have left after we’re gone: just pictures of us acting like morons. Think about it.” Interpret that however you will, but one thing is clear: this band is out to make a statement.
In 23 tracks Titus Andronicus does these things:
–> Covers Weezer, The Velvet Underground, Thin Lizzy, The Clash, Television Personalities and The Replacements
–> Releases a new track, “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus,” which will be on their next studio album
–> Releases 5 demo tracks of previously released material, including a really sweet acoustic demo of “My Time Outside the Womb”
4 live tracks
The mixtape works in so many different directions that it transcends the modern idea of a mixtape. It wasn’t even released online for publicity, but instead, the New Jersey rockers made 200 copies of the mixtape and sold them at their SXSW show for a small collection of doll hairs. Then the bloggers got a hold of it, started tapping away, and since it’s release last month, it has gone pretty viral on the indie-rock-grunge blogosphere. The result is something unique and reveals the accessible side of the band.
“Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus” is a clear standout on the mixtape. It’s the only newly released track, and even among the classic tunes like “The Boys Are Back in Town” and “Undone (The Sweater Song),” the new track holds its own.
Download a free copy on the bands website.
Socks on C*cks: Red Hot Chili Peppers knew what was up.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Gee, so-and-so used to be so good, but now they SUCK!”? I’m sure it’s happened more than once. For me, I feel like it happens all the time. That’s just how the music world works, I guess… So for this week’s playlist I decided to prove this timeless musical dilemma right: 10 songs from bands who were once awesome (and whom I used to rock out to) but now quite simply, suck.
In other words, songs from bands that make my ears hurt and my eyes cry when I listen to their new material.
Maybe you’ll agree after watching these great ol’ clips.
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Breaking the Girl
2. Green Day – 80
3. The Strokes – Modern Girls and Old Fashioned Men
4. The Black Keys – Have Love Will Travel
5. U2 – New Year’s Day
6. Interpol – Untitled
7. Of Montreal – Cato as a Pun
8. Weezer – Undone–The Sweater Song
9. The Offspring – Gotta Get Away
10. NOFX – Stickin’ in My Eye
Harry and the Potters at Oberlin, Photo courtesy of Alanna Bennett
On April 12th, Wizard Rock band Harry and the Potters played a moderately well attended show at the ‘Sco. A household name for hardcore Harry Potter fans, Harry and the Potters (brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge, also known as Harry Potter and Harry Potter) write and preform songs about or relating to characters (Dumbledore, The Weasle), plot points (This Book is so Awesome, The Yule Ball) or general themes (Song for the Death Eaters, (not gonna put on) the Monkey Suit) in the Harry Potter series. They mostly play in libraries.
Photo courtesy of Alanna Bennett
Although neither of the Harry Potters would ever be considered to be great musicians (okay, they’re pretty bad at actually playing instruments and singing), focusing on these minor, minor flaws detracts from the point of Wizard Rock. Which is fun. It’s fun to be in a crowd of nerds miming Hagrid having a beard and giving really good hugs and singing along to a song about being intoxicated (my enjoyment of this may possibly have something to do with my own level of intoxication, feeling of solidarity and desire to explain to the gentleman next to me that he looked a lot like Nicholas Hoult and that this was a good thing Note: If you are this person, or know him, contact me. Really.) It’s fun to be reminded of your first time reading the first Harry Potter book and expecting your own letter inviting you to Hogwarts. Its fun to pretend, at least for an evening or a few minutes listening to a song that your dining halls, like Hogwarts’, have good food.
Music is about having fun and enjoying ourselves, and that’s exactly what Harry and the Potters do themselves and for others. If you enjoy or enjoyed the Harry Potter books, drop aside your music pretension in favor of releasing your inner 12 year old nerd. Give them a listen.
The Harry Potter Alliance, which brought Harry and the Potters to Oberlin, will be hosting a Night of Horrid Fan-fiction at Slow Train on May 2nd, and an All-Day Prisoner of Azkaban Read-a-thon on May 13th.
This is what Mono really looks like.
One year ago, I slid into the soporific embrace of mononucleosis. Aside from the normal fatigue and malaise, I felt as if there was a damp towel muffling all of my senses. All of my time was spare time, and I spent it camped out on the couch playing videogames, sleeping, and listening to music.
Hopefully you never have to experience mono. It sucks. But if you’re curious, then have a listen to these s l o w d r e a m y s o n g s
1. Grouper – I’m Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
All of Grouper’s songs seem to be sung with eyes half-closed, suspended in a tank of warm water. Maybe she always has mono. Or maybe she’s just sad.
2. Nosaj Thing – Us
This stuttery lullaby comes to us courtesy of LA’s Nosaj Thing. Fragile synths are supported by little clicks and twists as Mr. Thing carries the listener along, before carefully setting them down.
3. Low – Belarus
Slowcore stalwarts Low create an achingly beautiful track out of hushed vocals, minimal drums, and teasing strings that bring the song to a gentle crescendo.
4. Morphine – The Night
With their bass saxophone, baritone guitar and singer Mark Sandman’s deep vocal stylings, Morphine would’ve made the perfect backing band to my mono-induced naps.
5. Julianna Barwick – Envelop
Listening to Julianna Barwick is like sinking into a sonic Jacuzzi. Listening to Julianna Barwick is like being serenaded by a chorus of angelic whales.
6. Bear in Heaven – Dust Cloud
This hazy song from Brooklyn’s Bear in Heaven features guitar nauseatingly modulating guitar, crunchy bass, bells and keening synthesizer.