Hot Chip – Made In The Dark

28 09 2010

Listened: Thursday September 9

I was introduced to Hot Chip via Made In The Dark by my ex-coworker Mike. I know I said Basement Jaxx were modern disco, but Hot Chip is the next generation of modern, or maybe post-modern.

Ready for the Floor is the quintessential disco song, with calls to come to the dance floor, unashamedly man-on-man advances delivered in harmony (“You’re my number one guy”), and chiming melodies combined with beats that make any reasonable person shake it.

Eighties-Erasure-redux is in full force.





Discovery – LP

28 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

Kevin Rose recommended LP to me. Well, not to me specifically. The day I started following Kevin on Twitter, he happened to tweet that he thought this album would be “huge”. Very soon after, Amazon had the download on sale cheaply, so I bought it.

I ended up loving LP. Discovery is a band composed of members of both Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot. Basically, LP is the stew that is formed if you mashed those two bands together with an autotuner. It’s got the catchiness of Vampire Weekend, but put through an electronic wire mesh screen.

It’s a little on the heavy irony side, what with the use of so much autotune, but the songs stick in my head really well. I also love the lyric “Sleep on the train to Tokyo, Google yourself when you get home.”  The robo-cover of Michael Jackson’s I Want You Back is a nice touch too.

Overall, despite his good recommendation Kevin hasn’t been right, at least not yet. I don’t think many people have bought this album.





My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

28 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

Loveless is the only My Bloody Valentine album I own. I have to confess – I can understand the charm of it, but I’m not a huge fan. Saying this is blasphemy if you’re into indie rock.

What always comes to mind when I hear this album is Coachella 2009. I thought it was weird that the day MBV were set to play earplugs were being handed out at the entrance. In all the years I’ve attended the festival, I’ve never seen earplugs being distributed officially. When I checked out MBV that night, I suddenly understood why. It was a sonic blast. I felt like I lost some measurable amount of my hearing before I dug some earplugs out from the bottom of my bag. Later I learned that for many years they have passed out earplugs at every one of their shows.

It was sort of like the one time I saw Sonic Youth in high school; I think I kind of get what they’re trying to do, and I appreciate the art, but it’s not something I’m going to listen to casually. There goes my indie cred…





Starsailor – Love is Here

28 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

Like Doves’ Lost Souls, I listened to Love is Here for a little while, then moved on. Therefore, I haven’t listened to it for some time. It’s better than I remembered; the songs are very singable, especially their anthemic single, Good Souls. The singer has that British tenor soulful singer voice. It reminds me of James, Keane, or the Verve.

Starsailor was working on their second album with Phil Spector either just before or during the time he got arrested for murder. The association was just a little too much for me. It turned me off buying their next album. I wonder how many other people felt that same effect, at least in America.





The Stratford 4 – Love & Distortion

28 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

Love and Distortion is perhaps the album I am most annoyed about leaving unlistened for years, until about a year ago. The Stratford 4 were a local band from San Francisco, which is what motivated me to buy their album in the bargain bin. When I finally gave Love and Distortion a listen, I fell in love.

The album is a dreamy wash of noisy very shoegaze-inspired guitars. I easily get lost on their tide of sound. I also appreciate that there’s real lyrics and the singer can sing decently. Sometimes those things are neglected in shoegaze in favor of the drone.

I wish I had gotten a clue about them back when they were still a band. It would have been great to check out one of their shows.





The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs

28 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

Louder than Bombs is my first Smiths album. I’ve sung along to Shoplifters of the World, Panic, William, It Was Really Nothing, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, Ask, and Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want more times than I can count.

Morrissey’s way with words can’t be topped:

“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I’m miserable now. I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I’m miserable now.”

Especially at my very first job out of college (which I only put up with for 9 months), I sang this to myself many times. I know many people consider Morrissey to be a glum depressive, but the dramatic “heaven knows” part to me indicates he’s making fun of his own depression and despair. That subtle irony is what I love about his lyrics.





Doves – Lost Souls

28 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

Lost Souls got pretty quickly relegated to the “been there, done that pile”. Upon re-listening, this album is actually pretty good, though. Sort of drum and bassy/electronica in parts, more straightforward rock in parts. The weird slowed-down vocals shouldn’t work, but they do. I also love the album cover; I’m a sucker for silhouettes.





Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West

27 09 2010

Listened: Wednesday September 8

The Lonesome Crowded West is the soundtrack to my freshman year at Cal. Study breaks and goofing off sessions on the 8th floor of Ida Sproul Hall involved going down the hall to Timo and Tai’s room to play backgammon as Tai cranked some Modest Mouse. I heard this album many many times in those circumstances and fell in love with it. It’s an album that reminds me very much of great times that I didn’t realize we so full of possibility until they were over.





The Clash – London Calling

24 09 2010

Listened: Tuesday September 7

If you asked me to name an album released in the year of my birth, London Calling is the only one I can think to name. How many more do you need to know?

This album was pretty big in my high school music life, probably because of the punk and ska revival happening at the time. Live 105 used to play The Clash pretty often, even 15 years after most of their songs were first released. I remember loving London Calling and Train In Vain.

The album cover was also very recognizable to youth at the time, probably because the photo is one of the most perfect expressions of rock and roll in existence. I wasn’t aware until very recently that the pink and green framing type was borrowed from Elvis Presley’s debut album. It’s new and old joined to equal more than the sum of their parts, which is the way it should be.





Beirut – Lon Gisland EP

24 09 2010

Listened: Tuesday September 7

I felt a little dumb after I left out the space in the name of this album when typing this review – I didn’t realize until then that Lon Gisland is really Long Island with the space in a weird spot.

Lon Gisland is an EP of more gypsy love from Beirut, in the Gulag Orkestar vein. It’s been more than a year since Beirut has released their last EP, March of the Zapotec. I hope to hear more from them soon.