Monthly Archives: May 2009

[Video] Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

Nice, much better than the Zero video which was a bit aimless with Karen O, er, aimlessly wandering about in that leather jacket.

Like Zero, this track has a few Michael Jackson tributes. Zero had the leather jacket and glove combo; this has got the dance moves, the suit, the Billie Jean style dance floor, the hat throw…plus half a dozen over nods that the more fantatical fans of Jackson’s work will be able to point out I imagine.

The red confetti as blood is a nice touch and suits the light-hearted nature of the video and the shiny new-wave disco style of the track. The last shot of Karen O bloodied and disembodied, singing the last few lines of the track is a great image, too.

Richard Ayoade, Moss in the IT Crowd, and Dean Learner of the vastly underrated Darth Marenghi’s Darkplace, directs.

MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

New Mars Volta – Cotopaxi and Since We’ve Been Wrong

Two new-ish Mars Volta tracks to share with you. Cotopaxi and Since We’ve Been Wrong.

Since We’ve Been Wrong appears to be what pops into Omar’s head when he decides to write an ‘acoustic’ album. Sure, it’s got an acoustic guitar in it, but it’s not exactly the stripped down, minimal sound you expect when someone says ‘acoustic album’. For the opening minute or so, behind the arpeggiated guitar riffs and Cedric’s (relatively) hushed vocals, a delayed, reverberating electric guitar pulses in the background but only until the chorus hits and it explodes into a latin infused guitar solo. By the final minute of the song there’s at lease two extra layers of guitars throw in, some strings and other ethereal, ambient sounds all join the mix. Not exactly a James Blunt strumfest, thankfully and very good.

Cotopaxi, however, is probably my favourite of the two singles. It’s the same sort of interstellar, operatic prog-rock featuring Cedric’s typically octave bursting wails completely unrestrained by any acoustic nonsense. It’s got a great Schizoid Man style break with a tight interplay between the shuffling drums and relentlessly ascending guitar. Your ‘typical’ Mars Volta song, if such a thing exists. Since We’ve Been Wrong feels restricted by its acoustic stylings, that it never really sticks to, this song has no pretensions and just goes straight out the blocks.

Both songs are very good, though. This could be my sort of acoustic album.

You can dig a little deeper and check out their ‘interactive artwork experience site’ http://www.intotheoctahedron.com/ which features what is presumably going to be the album artwork,a stream of Since We’ve Been Wrong, pictures of the band and lyrics to Cotopaxi to check out, if you like that sort of thing.

The artwork is pretty special. I’m not sure if it’s a contender for best or worst album artwork of the year so far though…it certainly evokes something in me.

The Mars Volta’s fifth album, Octahedron, is due out on the 23rd of June.

1. “Since We’ve Been Wrong” 7:20
2. “Teflon” 5:04
3. “Halo of Nembutals” 5:30
4. “With Twilight as My Guide” 7:52
5. “Cotopaxi” 3:38
6. “Desperate Graves” 4:56
7. “Copernicus” 7:22
8. “Luciforms” 8:21

I just hope the album is more De-Loused than Bedlam.

MP3: The Mars Volta – Cotopaxi
MP3: The Mars Volta – Since We’ve Been Wrong

Regina Spektor’s new song and video is really, really bad

Regina Spektor‘s always been an artist I’ve always wanted to get into, but as many times as I’ve been drawn into her by a song, there’s been a time where I’ve something that really grinds my gears. I’ve never really been a fan of ‘minimal’ stripped down singer-songwriter ‘guff’ and she’s always toed that line between earnest sentimentality and trite banality a little too much.

This song and this video is an example of the times she’s grinded my gears…

Ignoring the song’s complete lack of dynamism and a hook. Ignoring Regina’s constant force-feeding of an unbearably schmaltzy and infuriatingly smug ‘God’ idea that sounds like something a stoner would profoundly come up with in the middle of a high before coming down and relishing what rubbish they’ve spoken. Ignoring the awfully meandering and limp lines that just further embarrass what is essentially a simple idea by butchering its execution (and make her sound like she may have been high when she performed as well as conceived the song)

Ignoring all these things. The music video looks like an extremely vivid and unbearably ‘naff’ nightmare. What are meant to presumably be abstract, metaphysical landscapes look like they were made sometimes in the mid 90s, perhaps modeled using a Sony Playstation. It looks like a video made by whatever the bland piano-pop equivalent of pen and pixel is. Instead of lens flared, Mercedes, gold chains, guns, we get huge apples, lots of Reginas and she takes off her head, wow! The aching earnestness of her face throughout it all! God..

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Her voice annoys me too, it’s got that child-like Joanna Newsomishness going on which just feels so affected, unnatural and put on.

It’s a shame because I really like Blue Lips which I first heard on Jools Holland earlier in the month, It has the same sort of fragile earnestness, the same repetition of a clear, simple ‘humanistic’ theme, but it manages to get it right in all the places that Laughing With doesn’t.

Perhaps I will give her a chance. Sometime.

MP3: Regina Spektor – Laughing With

Myspace:http://www.myspace.com/reginaspektor

Ugh, what a rant. Three (mainly) negative posts in a row! I’ll try and post something I actually like later.

Epic Fail

Ahhhhhhh fuuuuck.

Now that my first year at University is done with I’ve begun blogging in earnest in the past week, but I’m a bit rusty. After watching a toothless Manchester United concede their Champions League title last night, I decided to cheer myself up by looking at some blog stats – I know, very rock and roll, but it gets me off and feeds my inner narcissist knowing that hundreds dozens of you flock to this blog on a daily basis.

But I’ve been doing it very wrong. No one’s really been looking at the blogging I’ve been doing over the past week, because I’m a bit rusty after all the intermittent blogging I’ve been doing over the past months I’ve rather absent mindedly uploaded my files to zshare instead of yousendit, which means no hits or hype on the Hypemachine.

Ugghh, so er, feel free to make me feel a bit better about myself and check out some of the music I’ve posted over the past week that you haven’t been reading because you probably didn’t know it existed. Think of it as a new weekly feature that probably won’t be appearing ever again.

Thursday, May 21st: Emil & Friends – Downed Economy

Friday, May 22nd: Animal Collective prep Summertime Clothes release with awesome Dam-Funk remix
MP3: Dam-Funk – Galactic Fun

Saturday, May 23rd: Grizzly Bear’s Two Weeks video might give you nightmares

Monday, May 25th: Magistrates – Heartbreak
MP3: Magistrates – Heartbreak

Wednesday, May 27th: Jack White’s new side-project still sounds like all his other projects and side-projects
MP3: The Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Jack White’s new side-project still sounds like all his other projects and side-projects

As I said back in March, this could easily be a White Stripes B-side or a Raconteurs single. So why bother?

It’s competent enough, I suppose. It just seems like an unnecessary distraction when he’s in two other – so far better – bands that share the same blues/garage/lo-fi rock thing and sound pretty, pretty similar.

The album, Horehound, is coming in July. Still not feeling this one.

MP3: The Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother

Magistrates – Heartbreak

Magistrates

Those with a sharp memory will remember that I posted about these boys from Essex way back in July of last year, when I described their music as…

‘an interesting fusion of funk and pop. Imagine the early Prince, The Ohio Players and Kool & the Gang. It’s funk of the scratchy and organic variety rather than the outrageous p-funk of say Funkadelic or Parliament. Chicken-scratch guitars and nervy cymbal clashes rather than outrageous basslines and synths.’

The track I posted back then was ‘Make This Work‘ which, as I listen to whilst making this post, is as eminently catchy as it was when I first heard it last summer. Really good white-boy funk. Very catchy.

Anyway, despite my cocksure prediction that it would be ‘only a matter of time before they get their big break’ Magistrates sort of fell off my radar for the rest of 2008, but they’ve reappeared on it with this track. Heartbreak is very much in the pop category of things. Compared to the lo-fi ‘garage-funk’ stylings of Make This Work, this has a very clean and accomplished production befitting of its sparkly synth-pop. It’s still got elements of funk to it, the chicken scratch guitar is still there, which lends bite to the crystalline production, but with its big chorus and simple pop melody delivered on consciously retro keys it’s more Justin Timberlake than early Prince, not that that’s a bad thing (and not that there’s necessarily a huge difference) when it’s done this well. Another catchy summer anthem then, see you this time next year, I guess.

EDIT:As ever, my finger is firmly on the pulse of popular music. This is now single of the week on iTunes!

MP3: Magistrates – Heartbreak
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/magistratesband

Grizzly Bear’s Two Weeks video might give you nightmares

Superb song, but the video is er, uhm, yeah…

Stay tuned for a review of Veckatimest next week.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – Whilst You Wait For The Others