What’s up? Get comfortable, we’re doing 17 bands today, in a SPECIAL DOUBLE EDITION. I promise I won’t go into capslock too often.
Excellent. Oh, by the way, the Coachella music and arts film festival site will be fully operational april 1st. You can bookmark it and check back later here.
COACHELLA A-Z PART 5
Being from Toronto, I’ve known K-os for quite some time now. I don’t mean like know his music or listen to him, I mean like, I see him on the street and know where he lives. I may not know the guy, but if you ever had any questions, then I’m pretty sure what music shops I can find him in. So, when I read the Coachella lineup and saw K-os, I thought two things; Awesome!…and what the hell is he doing at the bottom of the list? Then I realized, he’s Canadian, and he only has two albums (two f*cking excellent albums) and only one of his videos has been on MTV (which, for some reason, doesn’t get played here, but a bunch of others do. It’s strange.) If he’s first, I’ll be there. I don’t care. I’m going to scream “i’M FROM TORONTO!” and he’s going to notice that.
Now, for how he sounds, you can listen to his entire new album on his website. We’re all sort of sick of it up here because he’s been over played so damn much, but if you’re not familiar, and like your hip hop completely unique, dancy, and…um, well, just good. Lets go with good. If you don’t like fun music, you won’t like K-os. If you like regular radio hip hop, you might not like K-os, because he doesn’t rap about bitches and bling. His message is really positive, and I don’t mean positive like ‘believe in yourself’ stuff, I mean ‘we have to get people listening to good music’ positive.
You can watch a few of those aformentioned videos here.
In writing these previews, I have to say that sometimes I haven’t been able to listen to more than one or two songs by certain artists, and may have shortchanged them by doing so. Sometimes, a band cannot be summarized by a single song. If I were to listen to only one M83 song, this is exactly what I would be doing. So far, every single song I have heard by these guys has been different. Their album, “Before the Dawn Heals Us” is absolutely the definition of ‘all over the place’. Sometimes its moody synth with a single lyric repeated over and over, sometimes it’s full out pop. Some songs build off of seemingly nothing, and some songs don’t build at all, even if it sounds like it’s going to. The ridiculously emo-sounding song titles lend you to think that it’s an album about angst (as does the song titled ‘teen angst’) but it’s mostly build, build build. Into what? Well, that’s sort of the thing. I’m not completely sure what the payoff is to this record. Many songs seem to end just before it would seem like the right time to crescendo into something awesome, but that might be just because of the over use of decrescendos. Most lyrics act like another instrument and are tough to know exactly what they’re saying. All in all, a bit of a mystery.
You can watch a few of the videos here.
Here’s a great quote to give you insight into how Matmos’ sound is put together ~ “In their spare time Daniel and Schmidt work to change our perceptions of what music means and where it comes from, creating whimsical and peculiar electronic sound assemblages that often feel like musical versions of Alexander Calder’s playful mobiles. Most striking about Matmos, perhaps, are their unique choices for sound sources; over their career, the adventuresome duo has employed the sound of amplified crayfish nerve tissue, human hair, plastic surgery, frozen steam thawing in the sun, latex clothing, a steel guitar recorded in a sewer, and a whole heckuva lot more. Yeah, they’re brainiacs. Or maniacs? The fact is, while Matmos has been enthusiastically embraced by the left field electronic music community, their work displays a degree of originality and willingness to experiment rarely found in any music today, aligning Matmos with the great musical academicians of the last century as much as with any of their peers” – Epitonic
As for how that actually sounds, I’m up and down on it. At points, I like the fact that these guys experiment with the craziest alternative forms of music and electronia, and sometimes its really fun to try and animate their music, because sometimes they sound like a spyrograph. On the other hand, there’s parts of me that want the artist to leave their experiments to bootlegs and b-sides, and when they release a song for it to be as good as they can be. You can pretty well decide if you like these guys depending on which side you fall on.
If you need some help, download up to three of their songs on mp3 right here.
Matthew Dear is one of those few DJ’s who actually uses his own voice in his beats, so he’s got that going. And I like his voice; I think it contrasts with the ultra-clean pop beats in a neat way. New Order was a huge influence on him, and it’s easy to tell that. Also, his last albums name, “Leave Luck To Heaven” was apparently a reference to Nintendo, though I don’t get it. Other than that, I don’t really have a ton to say about the guy. I’m not sure his music is all that danceable, though I can say that I’m not sure I’ve heard anything quite like it, but at the same time it’s not mind boggingly great. For electronica-heads, you should give him a listen. If he catches your eye, all the better. He doesn’t really do it for me, is all.
you can download a track entitled “but for you” here.
Mercury Rev is another one of those bands that sort of everywhere. Is it that they just haven’t found exactly the kind of music they want to play, and just decided to play everything? Sometimes its light, commercial rock, sometimes its Ben Harper-esque ballads, sometimes its Flaming Lips-style, sometimes it’s Raveonettes/Buddy Holly-style. I really like them, however they are. The tone stays consistently light and fun no matter what they’re doing.
You can stream one of their hits right here.
There’s some irony to her name. Her website is under construction, and her album hasn’t actually been released yet. There is seemingly no press about her, and no way of listening to what she sounds like. This is frustrating, but funny when you connect her name to it. There’s an explanation of the whole thing here.
I’m not totally sure what to think of Miss Kitten, exactly. She’s a DJ from the prime Rave years of the early 90s, and her stuff is extremely psychadelic and totally belongs in that era. The weird spanish vocal samples along with seasonal track names and accompaning tones to the tunes lend a conceptual theme to the presentation. Other than her website, which looks like it could have been designed by someone’s spunky 11 year old sister, I couldn’t find much on her. Her stuff can get a little dark at points, which explains how she managed to collaborate with Tricky for a track a few years ago. On the whole it’s nice, early 90’s sounding chill room rave music, and if that’s what you’re into, she’ll fit your niche.
MF DOOM is a supervillain. He used to be known as Zev Love X, part of the group KMD. They tried to release this album called Bl_ck B_st_rds, which was crazy controversial and got them dropped from Elektra records. “With the album in limbo, Zev went underground for five years, “recovering from his wounds” and swearing revenge “against the industry that so badly deformed him,” – Yahoo bio. When he came back, he released an album called Operation: Doomsday, to rave reviews. Last year, he teamed up with Madlib to form MadVillain and put out an amazing hip hop record, Madvillainy. Late last year, he came out with his official sophormore record, “Mmm…food?” to even higher reviews. Whether or not he sounds good is still up in the air for me, since I couldn’t find a single piece of music online. If anyone could help me on that one, I would gladly edit this later.
I’m not completely sure, but I’m pretty sure “Blue Monday” is still one of the highest selling UK singles of all time, if not the highest. Everyone has heard this song. Everyone has heard remixes of this song. It’s been bootlegged and rapped over, as well as mashed with other songs because it just works so damn well. It’s just as, if not more infectious than Billie Jean. But enough about that one particular song, what’s up with this band?
Well, if you have heard of them before, then your eyes are bugging out that there is, in fact, a new New Order record out soon. Hell, you’re bugging out that New Order is together at the moment. If you don’t know them, here’s a short history. At one point in the late 70’s, there was this band called Joy Division. They wrote several albums of amazing music, but then their lead single hung himself at the height of their popularity. The remaining members became New Order and continued to make amazing music, helping to shape how we see dance music today. They broke up quite some time ago, but like seemingly tons of other 80’s bands, have decided to reunite and tour one more time.
What’s really comforting to know is that their new album is really stellar. The single, “Krafty” is so damn positive and infectious, it’ll be stuck in your head for a week. The rest of it doesn’t dissapoint, either. There’s really no way you can hate this record. check it out for yourself. You can stream the entire album off their main website.
As well, you can listen to interviews, listen to old, rare and live tracks, right here.
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails will be the last band heard at Coachella 2005. As headliners on Sunday, they have the responsibility of making sure all 70,000 plus leave satisfied. That’s quite the load. Can they handle it? Well, that’s up to two things; whether or not they”ll be able to perform on the level they did 6 years ago, and if the crowd can respond like they did 6 years ago. Six years is a tough sell; not quite long enough for a reunion, but too short to be considered the next album in the regular line. This new album, ‘with teeth’ has to be, at least for now, set apart from the first set of Nine Inch Nails records. It has to be looked at as a reflection of Nine Inch Nails themselves. It’s very much a judgement record. If you’re going to wait 6 years to put out a new record, it’s got to be good, right?
Well, for anyone that has said new record, I hope you like it. I hope everyoe likes it. When I finally get it, I hope I like it too. Because if none of us like it, it’s going to be a very long final set at Coachella.
While Nine Inch Nails was never on my list of bands to see before I die, I think that was mostly because NIN have always been on the periphery of my musical tastes and never fully inside. I didn’t get into industrial stuff until just a few years ago, halfway through their hiatus, and even then they weren’t really there for me. But they were there for lots of other people. I still see people wearing the sweaters just about anywhere I go. That’s got to account for something.
Prodigy were a band in the late 90’s that had that really post-grunge dance rock thing happening that worked for about 10 minutes then got pretty annoying, and I don’t think I’m the only one who was initially confused as to why they still exist. Turns out, they’ve gotten better since “firestarter” and its ilk. They’ve added a lot more hip hop, and the whole getup is less dirty and faster. Still, they sound like Prodigy, and if you liked them, then you’ll like them now. If you didn’t, you probably still won’t.
If you have no idea who Prodigy are, then it’s best to just give you a page full of mp3s, both new and old, such as one right here, and let you decide for yourself.
There’s a lot of hype for Bloc Party this year. In this weeks NOW magazine, it says “Bloc Party is your favorite band and no, you don’t really have a say in the matter.” Radio 4 is a band just like Bloc Party, if not in their hype, but in their awesomeness, and the general reeking of said awesomeness. With bands like this, which incorporate really nothing new but instead remind you of 15 other bands you really love because they make music that’s sort of like your favorite bands but seemingly better. In a perfect world, Radio 4 would be doing soundtracks for uplifting family films, making people dance in alternative clubs, and running away from throes of teenage girls. But at the same time, it’s really nice to listen to Radio 4 and know that really, not too many people know about them yet, and you can still sort of claim them. It’s only a matter of time though, so act fast on this one.
You want to know what makes them even more awesome? On their website is a sign-up link to raise the ban on dancing in New York. I’m not sure if I believe that or not, but it’s a good cause nonetheless. Those Yankees deserve to dance, dammit!
Razorlight wins points for hosting a contest for people to win tickets to Coachella. They lose points for having a stupid video that uses all those tricks that old video editors from the 80’s used. They gain all the points they could ever need for creating the music that should be played on the radio, but isn’t because the boneheads in the radio business don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Catchy pop that’s actually worth listening to is hard to come by in general (though not at all during this particular festival) and if that’s your thing, don’t miss this set.
I’m not the biggest fan of Rilo Kiley, but my girlfriend is, so without further ado:
“Rilo Kiley is indie rock that can laugh at itself yet still underlyingly poignant. Here are some things you can do while listening to Rilo Kiley: have an ice cream eating contest, cry over your boyfriend who is married to another woman, and ask a long time crush to dance, to Rilo Kiley of course. Their latest album, ‘More Adventurous’ has a little more twang than their previous work, which adds weight and drama. While you can sense that the two singers had broken up during the recording of their previous record, ‘the execution of all things’, Jenny is both more open, hurt, and powerful on the new record. I saw them live at The Horseshoe in Toronto earlier this year, and their music was definitely good, and Jenny was just as shy as you’d expect. They’re all quite timid people you just want to hug (Blake, while playing ‘Ripchord’ had to ask the audience to be quiet a few times), and I hope their quiet power will be able to compete with the surprising amount of hiphop at this years show.”
Speaking of all that hip hop, Roni Size is a DJ who works primarily with MC’s Beverly Knight and Dynamite MC. The sound is really quite fast and I’m not sure if you could dance to it. It’s very intense, but at the same time extremely positive. That seems to be the entire MO here; keeping hip hop as original and positive as possible. They should talk to K-os sometime. You can check out their video ‘no more’ right on the website.
And just in case you’re not a fan of Roni Size’s or K-os’ progressive-style hip hop and like the good ol fashioned blings and bitches, then Roots Manuva is for you. The guy should be on BET or MTV – he’s got a great look, and the exact kind of attitude and style those stations breathe off of. I have to be honest, of all acts appearing at Coachella, I’m looking forward to Roots Manuva the least. There are several tracks you can stream off his website, and please go and make your own decision on this one. You may very well end up liking the guy. I’m all for freedom of opinion and everything, so don’t necessarily take my viewpoint on this. He is on the bill after all. There must be something about him that got the organizers’ attention. I just don’t see it is all.
“Sage Francis is to indie hip-hop what Rage Against the Machine was to alternative rock, a full frontal ambi-political rush that turns its voice man into a deified performer with legions of impressionable youths hanging on his every word. Think Sage doesn’t want it that way? Check the corporate rock whore American flag he donned at last year’s Coachella festival, greasy heair shaved off like Colonel Kurts scrawling scrawling, “Drop the bomb. Kill Them all!”” – Epitaph
To belong to Epitaph records, you’ve got to have something important to say. It’s primarily a punk record label, so to see a white rapper on there is distancing at first, but then you see that he’s rapping primarily about politics and how stupid people are, and it all becomes clear. If Buck 65 is the laid back grizzly Canadian rapper, then Sage Francis is his exact opposite; cranky, sharp, and American. He’s been getting tons of press lately to support his new record, and it’s definitely an important one.
You can download four tracks from the new album right here.
Wow, that was a lot of music to write about in one night. I’m going to have to spend the next two days in complete silence just to even things out. Join me next week as I take a look at the next 8 bands; Sixtoo, Shout Out Louds, Sloan, Smokestacks, Snow Patrol, Spoon, Stereophonics, Subtle, and Swayzak.