Friday, June 19, 2009

On my way to Japan

This week I leave for a long trip to Japan and I've been studying up on the history, language, and culture. Here's the song I'm learning along with the group of educators I'm traveling with (it was the only song by a Japanese artist to ever hit number 1 on the charts in the US). Among the surprises in my research was how small the country really is, the fact that speaking English is something you find everywhere even though it is usually taught in schools, and their public toliets are not flush toliets, they are squat toliets (I'll let my animated friend Shimajiro show you how to use them).

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Queens Killing Kings

This week I stopped by the set of a music video for The Queens Killing Kings song "Ivory" shot by my buddies Adam Rothlein and John Carlucci. Here's a couple photos that I took from the shoot. Check the band out Friday June 19th at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Music Review: Solid Gold

Solid Gold - Bible Thumper

I’ve heard it said that you can get addicted to certain hardcore drugs after trying it just once or twice and such is the case with the debut album from Minneapolis’s Solid Gold entitled Bodies of Water. The sound is remarkably easy to listen to with its smooth melodies and offbeat digital percussion and sounds a bit like a shoegazing version of later 1980’s AM radio (along the lines of later Fleetwood Mac and Steve Miller’s Abracadabra). The album is like a bucket of chill with a moody, electronic chaser and the pacing and diversity of the songs keep it interesting throughout.

The album begins with “New Kanada” which introduces a low-fi acoustic riff that opens up into a dense electronic composition complete with what sounds like digital woodpeckers, down-home banjo, and psychedelic keyboards then again gets minimal during the chorus with just drums, keyboards, and vocals. It’s followed up with “Armoured Cars” which is quicker in pace and more simplified musically but has a fantastic melody and golden vocals. Seamlessly, the next song, “Get Over It”, takes the pace down slightly but it’s funky synth melody hooks the listener in as it strings together a smooth, dreamlike sonic landscape with the simple but effective lyrics. “Bible Thumper”, the next track is another keeper with its looped, oddball pulsating sounds and bright guitar rhythm which drops out at key moments lending a power to the vocals and keyboard melody.

The album continues to impress with songs like “Calm Down” which is reminiscent Pink Floyd, the up-tempo, Castilian-esque “Neon Rose”, and “Who You Gonna Run To?” which mixes the dreamlike trance keyboard feel with a steady digital beat for great effect. The band hasn’t hit big yet but it’s just a matter of time so beat out the trend and check out the album so you can call your friends losers when they haven’t heard of them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Neil Young Live at Massey Hall 1971

I recently bought Neil Young's archive release of "Live at Massey Hall 1971" from Toronto and it's incredible to hear the piercingly crisp vocals on classic songs like "Ohio", "Old Man", and "Down By the River". It's haunting and the intro's to some of Neil's mindset at the time (only 8 of the 18 played were recorded at the time).