Brassy – Got it Made

27 07 2010

Listened: Tuesday July 13

Brassy is one of the few bands I’ve been introduced to at a show and was intrigued enough to buy their album later. Which I kind of feel bad about since I’ve been to so many shows – am I just super picky? Though to be fair a lot of the time I’ve heard of the opening bands before going to the show, so it’s not apples to apples.

In Brassy’s case, Muffin Spencer (yes, I think that is her real name) had such great charisma and powerful attitude that she immediately got my attention. It also helped their cause that they followed one of the worst opening bands I have ever seen – Pancake Circus. Brassy coming on was a breath of fresh air.

As I  noted earlier, Brassy is well-described as twisted cheerleader rap. I can’t put my finger on why I like Brassy when I usually am annoyed by groups of a similar style. Maybe Brassy tread the sassy/annoyingly-in-your-face line just right for me. They also know how to be catchy without being incredibly repetitive. Unsurprisingly, with all those attributes, this album is great for work-listening.

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Gorky 5

27 07 2010

Listened: Monday July 12

By the Gorky 5 period, GZM was starting to put together really great albums instead of just having a bunch of (admittedly good) songs thrown together.

Gorky 5 has fewer songs in Welsh (which is neither good nor bad) and fewer instrumentals. Considering how good their older instrumentals are, this is a bit of a bummer, though several of the songs have long instrumental intros (the beginning half of the song has no lyrics) so that sort of makes up for it. But the album as a whole is tighter and leans a bit less goofy than the prior releases.

Gorillaz – Gorillaz

27 07 2010

Listened: Friday July 9

I remember when Gorillaz came out how fresh it sounded. Clint Eastwood is a great song, mixing up rock, rapping, dub, and electronic music into a tasty stew for your ears. The radio remix of 19-2000 was another splendid soundtrack to my time in Wales, along with Desmond Dekker, as it was in constant play on Radio 1 at the time. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since this came out; it still rocks the house. I’m not as much of a fan of later Gorillaz records, but this is a classic.

Their first tour might have been the weirdest show I have ever been to. The whole time we were staring at a screen with cartoons projected on it, behind which you could occasionally see silhouettes of the actual people playing the music. Needless to say, it wasn’t actually that interesting. Their music isn’t really a live-show thing.

I can’t seem to find it online, but I read a music editorial after 9/11 that said Clint Eastwood (which was still in heavy rotation on the radio) was the theme song for youngsters at the time, as in “I’m useless, but not for long, my future is coming on”. I remember hoping they were right, since I had just graduated from college and my future was coming on, in the middle of a gun-shy market, and at times I felt totally useless. However, for me it’s not Clint Eastwood but Sound Check (Gravity) that takes me back to the freaky post-9/11 time; it never fails to creep me out.

China Drum – Goosefair

27 07 2010

Listened: Friday July 9

I much prefer Goosefair to the Barrier EP; the singer’s voice sounds less Creed-y. I forgot I’d already referred to their resembling Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – again that was my first thought upon hearing this album.

The hidden track is a cover of Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush). Which is actually really great, despite being very different than the original.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – The Good, The Bad & The Queen

27 07 2010

Listened: Thursday July 8

I checked out The Good, The Bad & The Queen because of its incredible pedigree (Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen) and because they would be playing at Coachella 2007.

I wasn’t disappointed – this another album that I knew was modern the second I put it on. It just has the “sound of the now” to it. I can hear hints of Radiohead‘s influence on the music side. It’s also achingly British (shocker) and Damon’s voice sounds great.

When I saw them at Coachella, there were several moments with rather creepy ethereal wind – right as they stopped playing a song, a huge gust would come and flutter the Buddhist-like flags decorating the stage, almost like their set was haunted. It worked well.