Friendly heads-up people: the Breeders are coming to the Rio Theatre in August. The band has not played together since 1994 and lucky us, Santa Cruz is one of the stop on the LSXX (That’s the cool name they’ve given it.) tour.
If you want in on the action, get tickets now, because you know that show is going to sell out, and probably soon.
Now you know.
Vampire Weekend’s third album, Modern Vampires of the City, has already been hailed as the best pop album of the year (and let’s keep in mind that the year isn’t half over). With a metacritic score of 80+ (indicating something called “universal acclaim”), the latest record from the distinctly New York quintet is possibly more hyped than any record in recent memory. But is it any good?
Yes. It is.
The 12 songs that comprise Modern Vampires of the City offer practically nothing to dislike. This may seem like a funny way of saying something is good, but it is certainly an apt method of description on this record; the music is perhaps best described as strikingly non-offensive. There is bubblegum, but not too much. There are somber moments, but not without taste. There are sound experiments which are more intriguing than tiring. The band even wades into something resembling political and social commentary (albeit of the highly personal variety) without coming off as too didactic, condescending, or alienating.
Modern Vampires of the City is chock-full of these really beautiful musical moments — not to say that the songs themselves aren’t satisfying as a whole (they certainly are) but there are these tiny moments in almost every song that you sort of have to listen for where all these elements come together to create something that transcends pastiche or genre, perhaps even transcends Ezra Koenig’s (sometimes) tiring cultural references.
Actually, the only moments on the record that stirred me out of a sort of reverie were the slightly awkward monologues featured on “Finger Black” and “Ya Hey.” These, I could have lived without, but again, they are tolerable, like a college room mate you don’t like, but at least keeps the dishes done.
Seven years into its career, Vampire Weekend has recorded a pop masterpiece; delicate and bold, mature but not boring, tasteful yet not timid.
Tomorrow’s the day the new Vampire Weekend album, titled Modern Vampires of the City drops. We’ll have it on vinyl and CD and you can get your vampire-loving hands on it in the morning. In the meantime, here’s a teaser, the official video for “Step,” the first single off the album.
Savages – Silence Yourself (2013 – Matador)
London-based indie outfit Savages offers up a tremendous, ambitious, and, well, effective collection of dark, neo-gothic post-punk songs that will, with your assistance, test the limits of your ear-buds.
Silence Yourself is the first LP from Savages, who formed in the UK in 2011, and is evidence for other young bands that taking it slow is a good idea. Since its inception, Savages has managed to craft a sound that is at once derivative and completely its own. Yes, there is a fair amount of obvious influence on the record; heavy doses of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and the Cure are felt throughout.
Savages may wear these forbearers of darkness on their sleeve, but they own them. On Silence Yourself, the listener is treated to a sleek, dynamic and totally powerful, re-imagining of an old genre – and the sheer excitement this band produces is enough to override the skeptics, the haters, the jaded non-believers. This record does not stop. From the intensely aggressive, politically-charged opener “Shut Up” to the soul-stirring closer “Marshall Dear,” Savages maintain an incredible level of tension (sexual and otherwise) through the entire set.
Silence Yourself by Savages is an intense, visceral experience of an album; something to dig into and freak-out over. A real-feeling gem that is exposed, carnal, and immediate; the perfect aural antidote for your musical-malaise, boredom, or disaffection.
For fans of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and Wax Idols.
01. Iggy & the Stooges – Ready to Die
02. Iron & Wine – Ghost On Ghost
03. Flaming Lips – Terror
04. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
05. Hanni El Khatib – Head in the Dirt
06. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – Love Has Come for You
07. She & Him – Volume 3
08. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
09. Strokes – Comedown Machine
10. Postal Service – Give Up (10th Anniversary Edition)
01. Big Star – Nothing Can Hurt Me
02. Shuggie Otis – Introducing Shuggie Otis
03. Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground
04. Deerhunter – Monomania
05. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
06. Dust – Dust/Hard Attack
07. Dead Can Dance – In Concert
08. Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory
09. Nas – Illmatic
10. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
01. Ty Segall – Horn the Unicorn/Live in Aisle 5
02. Ty Segall – Ty Segall/Black Time
03. Traditional Fools – Traditional Fools
04. Nirvana – Cult
05. D33J – Tide Songs
06. Defecation – Purity Dilution
07. Brutal Truth – Extreme Conditions
08. Spits – I & II
09. Various Artists – Thai Funk Vol. 1
10. Daniel Higgs – Surrender to Love
01. Sound City: Real to Reel
02. Into the Wild
03. Chasing Mavericks
04. Empire Records (Remix)
05. Portlandia: Season 1
06. Coldplay – Live 2012
07. Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88
08. Rolling Stones – Ladies & Gentlemen
09. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Live
10. Mumford & Sons – Road to Red Rocks
01. Lady Gaga – Monster Ball Tour
02. Gamera the Brave
03. Great Escape
04. Django Unchained
06. Hyde Park on Hudson
07. Silver Linings Playbook
08. Promised Land
09. Chasing Mavericks
10. All Superheroes Must Die
01. Assassin’s Creed
02. Resident Evil 6
03. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckonings
04. MLB13: the Show
05. Super Mario Bros.
Deerhunter – Monomania (2013 – 4AD)
In an earlier era, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox would have been an iconic rock and roll star. If Cox had been producing the type of glitter-infused punk anthems he’s currently crafting in the 1970s or 80s, he would have been the type of rock-star kids would have to lie to their parents about; a dangerous weirdo whose music might contain subliminal messages instructing American teens to take acid and have pre-marital sex. Congressional hearings would’ve be convened; Tipper Gore would’ve DEMANDED appropriate labeling.
Monomania, Deerhunter’s latest LP for 4AD is a substantial glam-rock opus that could only exist in this limbo between two centuries. Crunchy, pop gems dusted with space-trash satellite crackles and littered with carefully blown-out drum and vocal sounds combine to form the perfect backdrop over which Cox practically bursts with the outcast confidence of a young Mick Jagger or a purp-infused Weezy.
Opener “Neon Junkyard” has real Bowie swagger to it, while “Leather Jacket II” moves more deeply into shades of 90s brit-pop – a mix of the noisy art-pop of 13-era Blur and the cocksure peacock strut of Pulp.
“The Missing” mellows things out a bit, exchanging the noise for a delicate melody hovering over a gently rolling mid-tempo rock ballad, which, in traditional Deerhunter style, builds into something larger and more satisfying with each passing measure.
Monomania nearly falls apart at the seams at moments. Frontman Bradford Cox positively drips with confidence on nearly every track, so much so that it almost serves to give the record a sense of desperation that threatens sonic implosion. Here, Deerhunter is on the verge of musical trainwreck, in a good way, but in a such a way that it’s impossible not to rubberneck. Will Cox completely lose it on this one? Will his personality disintegrate completely? What will it sound like when it does?
We never find out. Monomania is the sort of record that takes the listener right to the edge, holds them as far out over it as possible, but never actually lets us fall into the abyss. From the proto-punk delirium of “THM” to the dangerously intimate confessional “Nitebike,” Deerhunter repeatedly takes us there and back again, always allowing us to keep one foot on the cliff.
For fans of David Bowie, Blur, Jay Reatard
by Mari Stauffer
What could be better than Beach Fossils playing literally across the street from my work? Local rockers the Groggs opening for them!! Each talented member of the Groggs came together for a great opening set. Giving garage rock a refreshing new spin of charisma and inter-dimensional musical drive, the Groggs maintain a consistent if not ever-improving sound that is always guaranteed to rock you!! And rock they did, paving the way for the headliners.
After that splendid musical journey through the hyperspace of garage rock, it was time to get dreamy with Beach Fossils. Upon listening to their music for the first time, it may seem that someone has unearthed a long-lost new wave/post-punk band from the 1980s.
Singer/multi-intstrumentalist Dustin Payseur is entertaining live, cracking jokes between songs with a straight face and dry humor and all the musicians in the band mesh well together. The band’s lo-fi style has all the memorable elements of dream pop and new wave of the ’80s. From prominent bass lines played in a higher-than-typical range (think New Order/Joy Division) to jangly guitar licks (a la the Cure, the Ocean Blue), they deliver the new wavey goods. Nonetheless, the band also manages to give the genre their own sound, with poetic and thoughtful lyrics.
Definitely worth checking out live if you’re a fan of this style of head-bopping new wave, and if you miss their live show, check out their brand new album Clash the Truth, available at Streetlight Records right now!