by: Sam Farzin, KUCI Music Director
Good afternoon, sport!
I went to Yogurtland on Saturday and Sunday. Can you say "weekend highlights?" I also saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for free at a skatepark in Lake Forest (basically wtf?) and had a heart-to-heart in a bunk bed. I hope your weekends were as testosterone-filled as mine.
This week sees some totally wonderful adds to our music library. This is what they are:
Beirut – The Flying Club Cup [Ba Da Bing]
I'm basically really jealous of Zach Condon. Everyone has heard the first Beirut record "Gulag Orkestar" I am pretty sure. Everyone was charmed by the extremely palatable blend of eastern European scales and orchestrations and Zach's ubiquitous baritone vocals. I just had a lot of Del Taco and am not feeling particularly well at this very moment so I will say that this is the new Beirut record which I imagine a lot of you have been waiting for. It sounds a lot like "Gulag Orkestar" and in a good way. Listening through it, it's basically full of winners. Track 2 ("Nantes") is the single, but it is pretty much chock full of catchy, timely, harmonious, drum-rolling, nearly-epic lovelorn songs from a foreign troubadour transplant. ALSO: try to say the name of this record 5 times fast. I DOUBLE-DOG DARE YOU.
Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover [Jagjaguwar]
The last Sunset Rubdown album was probably my favorite record of last year. Spencer Krug basically urinates brilliant arrangements and enthralling lyrics, and on "Random Spirit Lover" he has drank a lot of water. The songs are pretty dynamic; they have ups and downs, like mini-epics (twice in two blurbs, sh*t), and the vocal harmonies will melt you. Play track 1 ("The Mending of the Gown") if you have a safe harbor show, otherwise, track 3 ("Up On Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days") is a good place to start: circus-like organ and bouncy drums kick off a spiraling guitar line which in turn provides a backdrop for Krug's truly, truly ubiquitous (I swear I will look at a thesaurus) vocals. It then morphs into a slower beast that is seemingly waking up; the whole thing explodes in a hypnotizing and heart-wrenching chant. Basically I want to date Spencer Krug. Okay so after writing all that I realized that the big promo sticker is a liar and Track 3 also has OPI. Just play something off this album that isn't any of the marked OPI tracks (I marked them all). Unless you have safe harbor then play the whole damn album.
Enon – Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds [Touch and Go]
I don't myself know as much about this band as I should, but I know folks heart them. The faux-Corinthian design is pretty rad in my book. Listening to it, I hear pronounced basslines, boy/girl harmonies (sort of like the Deerhoof songs that Greg Saunier sings on), woozy synthwork, and guitars that could be synths if they weren't as cutting. There is also drums. I'm on track 4 ("Sabina") and all of the songs so far have been excellent. "Sabina" is a pretty nice song, a LITTLE calmer and more palatable to fit in pretty much anywhere on your show.
PRE – Epic Fits [Skin Graft]
This is like Melt-Banana with a little more pop sensibility. Not a whole lot, but it's there. I think it is pretty great: (very) short songs; screechy girl singing, pointy guitars, spazzdrums, and really awesome basslines. The first two songs on the record ("Drool" and "Fudging on our Folks") are both awesome. Track 3 is fantastic if you want the noisy repetition in relatively long-form. This is really, really noisy. Go otters!
The Octopus Project – Hello, Avalanche [Peek-A-Boo]
The first track on this record ("Snow Tip Cap Mountain") is really really really pretty and cute. The cover of this album is also really cute. This is instrumental fun; all the usual soundmakers, plus Theremins, samplers, drum machines, etc etc. If you liked the Black Moth Super Rainbow disc from a few months ago, you will for sure like this. The two bands could almost be alter-egos of each other, and their collaborative effort from last year shows that they are aware. Track 4 ("An Evening with Rthrtha" [???]) is phenomenal; mellow into a breakbeat into mellow+breakbeat=winner forever. Play this! Woo! Yeah! Yogurtland!
Belaire – Exploding Impacting [Indierect]
This is really fun record also. Its apparent claim to fame is that it features a member of Voxtrot, but who cares. It's good stuff: wonderful girl-vocals, bubbly cute synths, syncopated drumming, and like just awesome, like! Really though I am running out of steam. This record sounds like its cover. Track 4 ("Exploding Impacting") is great. So is 5 ("Shadows Moving on the Wall"). This is loveable.
Ween – La Cucaracha [Rounder]
Dude, I have never listened to this band. A lot of people like them. HAS ANYONE ELSE NOTICED THIS TREND? Here is the new Ween album. Ween fans, unite!
The Watery Graves of Portland and/et Genevieve - The Watery Graves of Portland and/et Genevieve [Marriage]
This is Phil Elverum's (Microphones/Mt. Eerie) wife (who performs under the name WOELV also) singing in French over slow-moving, subtle barely-jazz stylings. It is really pretty and pretty catchy in its own weird way. She has a wonderful voice. I dig track 8 ("Les Nerfs!"). Also, check out the instrumental Watery Graves of Portland album that will be added in Jazz soon. Also good.
POLYSICS – Polysics or Die!!!! Vista [MySpace]
This is a best-of of these unlikely Japanese stars apparently on the verge of breakthrough due to myspace/youtube. Electro-spazz with a lot of energy. They are compared to Devo pretty often, and it's definitely there. This is way fun and play it because it will make you happy. Start with Track 1 ("Electric Surfin' Go Go") if you want, yeah.
Castanets – In the Wines [Asthmatic Kitty]
Honestly, I think this is boring. But I know people like it, so here it is for you. Moody, dark-folk. Really slow. I hear this guy is amazing live. Blurbs over!
You got the will to joy!