Oh yeah. I am feeling GOOD about this song. “Medusa” is the title track off GEMS’ forthcoming EP and it is instantly mesmerizing. The juxtaposition of the strong-bodied female alto with the deep male bass is near perfect, and even more so when the falsetto harmony rings out.
(In other news, there was a bizarre Twitter rumor floating around about Knox Road closing up shop, which could not be further from the truth. If you’re a fan/follower on Twitter and saw this, please disregard! We’re happy to be approaching our fifth birthday and excited for many more great years with all of you. Cheers and holler at us if you’re at CMJ this year!)
GEMS on Facebook
Fossil Collective is in the midst of a strong run of single releases lately as they prepare to officially release The Water EP. The Leeds duo knows not to add extraneous noise to their enchanting vocals. The piano and acoustic guitar are all we need for the delicate, magnetic track. Simple is better.
The Water EP is due October 28 via Dirty Hit.
Fossil Collective on the web | Facebook | Knox Road
In 2011, New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous released their synth-pop debut Passive Me, Aggressive You; which included the sugary electro-pop anthem “Young Blood,” which hit the radio like a runaway train carrying a cargo of starburst choruses, metallic synths, and soaring vocals. With comparisons to early MGMT floating around the blogosphere (which wasn’t fair, if you ask me), The Naked and Famous established themselves, rather quickly, as the electro-pop outfit you’d expect to hear on video game soundtracks and cable TV.
Then something happened: Thom Powers (vocals/guitar) and Alisa Xayalith (vocals/keyboard), toured the world on some 200 blistering dates, settled down in Los Angeles (Hollywood, to be exact), and began to get a bit melancholic in the process. The overwhelming amount of tourists, the constant feeling of being trapped in a giant theme park, and the bro’d-out anthems at Hollywood nightclubs were a bit much for the artsy New Zealanders. So they packed up their bags and headed over to the Laurel Canyon, a place of rock ‘n’ roll legend, to began working on new material under the influence of raging emotions, alt-rock tendencies, and the kindred spirits of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon.
But before landing in L.A., the endless tour dates sharpened the organic elements in their sound, and allowed them to create a live show that now includes a psychedelic explosion of lights, industrial flourishes, and a loudness of sound that rivals early shoegaze pioneers like My Bloody Valentine (just the volume), and brings all the dazzling stage show of a massive touring pop machine.
Continue reading Colorful Electricity: The Naked and Famous →
photo: ‘for everything.’
song: secret players society – “keep me”
‘now rushed into this brightness,
as if by a shutter
that, once opened,
can never be closed.’
– billy collins
it’s something i think about regularly, whether the smoke from a cigarette i inhaled two years ago on the beach in california, or the mountains in denver, or the coffee-stained, nicotine streets of chicago is still floating around inside my body.
like one atom of tar and smoke, one atom of time, one atom of a booze- and coffee-fueled night is a part of my body now. attached to the walls of my heart, coursing still through my blood, around and around and around again. always. and when i exhaled its brothers in a final sweep of movement from my body, stamping out a cigarette on my boots or crushing it on the sidewalk, one particle of smoke remained, trapped in the canals of my being. and now he is joined by a new family of fellow atomic smoke — the last cigarette smoked in the golden sunshine of a perfect day, the break up cigarettes, the after-sex cigarettes, the early mornings and late nights and too-far drives.
have they joined together in a band of orphan smoke particles, or did they resign themselves to a life of solitude? a life of lonely rhythmic cycles, accompanied by the heavy sound of blood pulsing through my veins. accompanied also by the memory of where they came, the significance they held at the time of my life.
Continue reading [soundscape] and here, instead. →
“The world used to be silent / Now it has too many voices.”
- Savages (Silence Yourself Manifesto)
As I prepare to see Savages at the Fonda Theatre in L.A. tonight, I look back at my first experience seeing this band earlier this year.
Jerking her head back-and-forth, with sudden and purposeful movements, Jehnny Beth’s dark, piercing black pupils slice through the crowd’s veneer of hipster-euphoria like a Katana sword through a watermelon. Her stage presence is as impressive as Ian Curtis during the genesis of Joy Division, and one day, we’ll all be talking about her ability to own a crowd. So if you weren’t already aware, Beth, the vocalist and lyricist of UK-based quartet Savages, is driven to be taken quite seriously. For her, Savages is fine art; a gallery showcase of her soul, and to be taken seriously as a proper artist is expected.
The Hipster Gestapo at the El Rey, with their heads spinning as they text their fellow KCRW-listening groupies about the “Next Joy Division,” seem dumbfounded at the monochromatic intensity in the French-born singer’s eyes. As the white lights reveal the wrinkles in their all-black outfits; bass player Ayse Hassan quickly stands out sonically with the pummeling bass line for “City’s Full,” which has the bassist bouncing behind her pearl white P Bass like a possessed beatnik on a pogo stick. The ferocious rhythm section of Savages is the byproduct of Hassan’s experimental punk plucking; smashed together with the outright hydrogen explosion of crashing cymbals and frenetic hi-hat bravado of their drummer, Fay Milton, who is known to have an unconventional warm-up routine that requires isolation and focus. Milton’s virtuosity behind the kit is one of the pillars that will hold this band above their peers, in a different stratosphere, for as long as they wish to occupy the space.
Continue reading Nothing Romantic About UK’s Savages →
I haven’t really been posting about “popular” indie music lately, but it doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it. So I figured I’d take a break from my recent experimental folk pop and provide a danceable new tune from THUMPERS, a duo from London. They’re expected to release their debut full length in early 2014 via Sub Pop. I’ll be anxiously waiting.
The Landing’s “Strange Charm” is a soft piano falsetto track that’s right in my wheelhouse. Not overly experimental, which keeps it listenable, but still layered and sophisticated. It’s pretty; it’s hopeful; it’s mesmerizing. Go ahead and take the plunge.
The Landing on the web | Facebook
The temperature is changing, and we’re changing too. The rhythm of our pulses steadily increases as the days become shorter and life feels a tick quicker. The sharply crisp air has a reserved mood, rendering us reflective; introverted. What lies ahead? Are we ready?
Fossil Collective on the web | Facebook | Knox Road
Hype Hype Hooray is a biweekly “critique” of the music scene and the blogosphere that feeds it, told through the lens of Jamie Hale, a journalist who likes music about as much as he likes scotch and a firm leather chair. Please enjoy with a grain of salt.
Portland music writer Robert Ham wasn’t happy Wednesday morning. “If I don’t start seeing more musicians freaking the fuck out about this Pandora news, I’m going to be incredibly disappointed,” he Tweeted. “I can’t figure out why they feel that paying musicians/artists LESS money makes the most sense. Fucking bullshit.”
That “bullshit” Pandora news to which he was referring was a federal court decision handed down Wednesday that prohibits musicians and their publishers from making licensing deals with music streaming services, like Pandora, if they’re already members of a licensing fee collecting society, like the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
Recently a few major labels had decided to try to negotiate separate licensing deals for some of their music on Pandora, all of which had an established licensing deal through ASCAP. The court saw those separate deals as problematic.
This effectively allows Pandora to bypass, by law, record label negotiations that could, theoretically, grant artists more money in licensing fees.
While there are plenty of valid arguments to be made here, like the fact that Pandora executives and shareholders probably don’t NEED any more money, while many musicians barely make enough money to LIVE as it is, the real debate is about what musicians should actually DO about it.
As is the case in so many times of crisis, we turn to Thom Yorke.
Continue reading [Hype Hype Hooray] Pandora v. Music or How Artists Can Beat The Industry →
I can get down to this holychild pizzazz; it’s the type of live music we need now and again. Hopefully it translates as well to the stage as it does to the recorded material — there is so much energy here it’s contagious. (But, man, does she need to be wearing a Lakers shirt?)
holychild on the web | Facebook