July 31, 2011

Young Cat Purring

Kitten is a name I have heard causally throughout my latest Internet ventures. They are a newbie rock quartet based in LA, fronted by Chloe Chaidez, who has already been around for a few years even though she's only sixteen. Gosh! It beggars belief that she started her first band at the mere age of ten, and by the age of eleven she already had the honor of sharing the stage with an impressive list of her peers. MidlakeYoung The Giant and Band of Horses to name just a few. Yeah, by the time she was ELEVEN! What is more, three of the four band members are under 21. So there have been times when the younger band members haven't been able to stay in the venue after the show!

Despite being together for less than a year, these youngsters must be doing something right cuz they've begun to cause a stir and the music industry is buzzin' over them. Indeed, they've been recognized as one of the most promising young bands, receiving comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cat Power and The Killers.

Now check their video for Chinatown  off their debut EP, Sunday School, which came out last October and is now starting to pick up some pace. The short film makes use of very beautiful rotoscoping techniques and image loops. You're going to freak out!




Obsessed now too? Thought so.
Take a peek below to hear their entire album.


July 30, 2011

Kaleidoscopic Dance


When it comes to innovative and visually mesmerizing videos, the truth is no one better than OK Go. Their releases have always been a major event ever since Here it Goes Again, a massive global YouTube hit, where group members jumped and slid along four treadmills. Frankly, this is quite an achievement considering further that the band does not have a big budget, but they do not have dollar make up for in great inventiveness. Making a brilliant, creative and quirky music video is totally expected at this point, right? 

The Chicago-based band is passionate about choreography and intricate dance steps, and hence have become quite famous for including complex visual routines in their productions. Well, in this regard they continue to impress with their latest stuff for the song All Is Not Lost, from an EP that will be dropped on August 9.

Would first have to explain that the group created a mini site to present this project. Apart from the video, you can see a couple of recordings behind the scenes in which the band explains that this clip is actually a kind of letter love for Japan, the result of a joint desire to support this country and its people after the terrible earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11.

The visual element of this effort from OK Go is all about footwork, as the band dons skin-tight bodysuits and is engaged in a perfectly orchestrated dance, walking, crawling, bending and rolling on a transparent glass-like screen, joining forces with contemporary dance group Pilobolus to create a series of human-body effects with the soles of their bare feet. The beauty of the thing is, while the dancers create their shapes, the video is divided into numerous screens that change position and size to the music and to accompany the dance. Watching it is really like looking through a kaleidoscope! Amazing? Yeah! Wait, here comes my fave part: Interactivity, as the watcher is able to embed a personal message and have the band dance it out. I already did mine and I can tell you the interactive version is pretty nifty and definitely worth fiddling around with. Seriously, give it a whirl!

You can enjoy the full interactive experience here

Ah! It's important to note that the interactive edition is only accessible through the Chrome browser. So, for those who aren't running it, here's the standard video without the personal messaging.




Hey, do you want to take a peek at all their freakin' rockin' music videos released over the last few years? Click on the next button and lemme know what's your fav one in the comments below.


July 29, 2011

Music Soothes the Beast Within

Klaus & Kinski has become one of the most prominent bands of the Spanish indie scene. I must confess though, that I don't quite understand such enthusiasm. Indeed, these are the (only) two songs I really like:





The singer's voice is so mellow and soothing to listen to that it manages to transport the listener into a dream state in which a parallel reality is happening while their body rests peacefully on the seat.  In other words, you fall asleep. And I'm not kidding! My sister took a long nap in one of their concerts. I guess that's why they put so much effort into astonishing videos, trying to keep the viewer alert, which will remain flabbergasted in front of the screen. Totally bizarre and absurd short stories full of symbolism thanks to which their crazy lyrics acquire meaning. None of these clips will leave you indifferent, for sure!


Forma, Sentido Y Realidad


Ley Y Moral


Who knows, maybe you do love them or maybe you are looking for some background music to calm nerves. Just give it a listen and form your own opinions. 



July 27, 2011

Ukuleleing

If you go into Eddie Vedder's latest LP, Ukulele Songs, presuming new stuff from Pearl Jam, you're going to be disappointed. However, if you go into it expecting elements of Into The Wild's escapism, a Pearl Jam cover, plenty of love songs, famous guest vocalists, and everything else in between, then you'll love it and appreciate everything about it.

With Pearl Jam, Vedder helped invent the sound of grunge rock, being considered one of the big four along with Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Soundgarden. So, TBH, I never expected this. That a male performer like him can create such a tender, powerful, and beautiful set of songs, on an ukulele no less, is just astonishing.

With regard to Pearl Jam, I'll tell you that Jeremy  became the anthem of my teens and still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Click on the button below to read some interesting facts about this theme tune.


Pearl Jam celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Ukulele Songs isn't officially part of this commemorative process. Yet because it features material written over more than a decade of the band's life, including the driving Can't Keep, which also appears on a 2002 album called Riot Act, Vedder's album presents itself as part of the band's history.

Vedder, who played a variety of ukes on the album, covers the Mamas & The Papas' Dream a Little Dream and the ukulele classic Tonight You Belong To Me. For me, these songs don't sound too different than the original but the added texture of the ukulele brings them to a new level.

Dream A Little Dream by MM&PP (1968)
Cover by EV

Tonight You Belong To Me by Patience And Prudence (1956)
Cover by EV (featuring Cat Power)

But the real treasures here are Eddie's original songs. Some of the material collected on the record was written back in the mid-'90s after he first picked up the tiny guitar in a Hawaiian convenience store as a traveling companion in times of loneliness and songwriting tool. These are lyrics about love and loss, and for anyone who has ever gone through either, they are simply heartbreaking. Anyone who wants to read the lyrics here as autobiographical can do so. The songs of grief seem to describe the breakup of his first marriage, while the blissful ones pay homage to his second. More interesting than gossip is the sound of Vedder being so direct when American rock transforms here into a sweet lullaby. This album certainly isn't for everyone, but for those who have a longing for intimate, breathtaking music, it doesn't get much better than this.

Scroll down and click below to listen to some examples.








July 26, 2011

Quarrels Between Brothers

Over the years, the most well-known britpop  exponents themselves have drifted apart or taken new music directions teaming up for new bands. Gorillaz by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon new solo stuff are the results from the former members of Blur, Supergrass mainman started his new outfit The Hot Rats, and ex-Pulp frontman began a solo career.

How Gallagher got to this point is already chapter and verse to fans. Oasis had existed under the thumb of Liam's brother and the band's main songwriter Noel. One fraternal backstage fight too many, this time over who ate the last M&M (Noel did, according to Liam), led Noel to finally quit after eighteen years. The rest of the band quickly decided to carry on, in much the same classic Brit rock vein. Liam and Noel haven't spoken since.

There's some of you out there who will think this is just a holding pattern until they finally reconcile. But let's face it, Oasis in its later years became a caricature of itself and probably didn't deliver much in the way it used to do more than a decade ago. So try to stop "looking back in anger" for an Oasis reunion and start looking forward to what these new projects cook up next.

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Noel Gallagher's new single The Death Of You And Me has been premiered online just A FEW HOURS AGO. The former Oasis guitarist is about to release his first self-titled project entitled Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds on October 17. It will be his first material since the Manc band split in August 2009. Besides, he's revealed that another as-yet untitled album will be dropped in 2012. 
Regarding to the track, he's denied that it is about his relationship with brother Liam, instead saying that it is "about feeling safe in your surroundings". The video clip was apparently filmed in the desert outside LA.


The Death Of You And Me

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Meanwhile, Liam announced shortly after the breakup of the band that he and former Oasis band members had written new material as part of a new project under the name Beady Eye. One year later, they released their first single entitled Bring the Light, as a taster for Different Gear, Still Speeding, a full-lenght CD which definitely saw the light of day in February 2011. 
These Brit blokes recently told they are recording new material and hope to drop a new, sophomore album towards the summer of 2012. So keep ready cuz the continuing struggle between brothers to become the kings of britpop has just been restarted.


Four Letter Word


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July 25, 2011

An Industrious Creature

I had never heard of Ham Sandwich before their video clip for Ants  landed in my inbox, but after watching the inventive saga set to the soothing duel vocals of Niamh Farrell and Podge McNamee, I'll definitely be checking out more from this oddly named band. McNamee's low baritone reminds me a lot of The National frontman Matt Berninger, while the inclusion of a female vocalist to the mix produces a unique result that I'm really digging.

The ant has long been a symbol of hard work and diligence, but let's let the facts speak for themselves. In the video the mighty one with many talents cooks dinner and pours wine while waiting for his date. Ok, now my suggestion for the producers and the casting director: on your next clip, pls, try to look for a smaller ant or failing that, a tiny spider, because everyone knows that the camera puts on weight. Thus, it seems a cockroach rather than an ant. Yuuuck! 


Ham Sandwich - Ants


You will be able to listen to more songs from this outfit by clicking on next link.

July 24, 2011

Bandelicious - Special Menu

Hello weekenders! Welcome to irrelephant restaurant, where you will be able to enjoy yummy homemade dishes created from a combination of bands with food names. This avant-garde menu is finger-licking good so you'd savor every bite!

 Your comments are my tip, thus don't be a tightwad!

STARTERS
You can choose between:

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String Cheese Incident + Iron & Wine = String Cheese & Wine

Sirens
Naked As We Came

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Blind Melon + Ham Sandwich = Melon & Ham

No Rain

Broken Glass

FIRST COURSE
You can choose between:

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Cream + Mushroom + Soup Dragons = Cream Of Mushroom Soup

White Room

Crying

I'm Free


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Little Caesar + Angry Salad  = Caesar Salad


Wish It Would Rain
 Empty Radio 


SECOND COURSE
You can choose between:

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Blood Orange + Chicken Shack = Orange Chicken

Dinner

I'd Rather Go Blind


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The Grilled Lincolns + Hot Tuna = Grilled Tuna

Camels

Angel Of Darkness



DESSERT
You can choose between:

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Strawberry Alarm Clock + I Scream Ice Cream =
Strawberry Ice Cream

Incense and Peppermints

Trust Tissue

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Apricot Rail + Coconut Records + Organ Crumble =
Apricot & Coconut Crumble

The Parachute Failure

West Coast

Fuckin' Crumble





July 23, 2011

The Sound Of The Smiths-ish

The post you're reading right now has been on my mind for quite some time, before irrelephant  was even a thought. However, writing about The Smiths is so extremely hard that I have put it off until now. And the reason is not because I have nothing to say about them, it's because such talented artists set the bar very high in relation to articles about their music. I have no words to describe how much I love this band. The illuminating fact is that they keep the first position in my lastfm top artists list.




We cannot deny that Mr. Morrisey and his buddies developed their own style and aesthetics during the more than five years together as a band. WTF ! They are still trendy and have penetrated deeply into the music scene, as many artists have a background reminiscent of the legendary Mancunians. While listening carefully to tons of outfits that might seem similar, tears came to my ears as I was reminded of hearing The Smiths for the first time. This is a list of those that come closest to them (IMO).



With regard to frontman Morrissey, a recent article on Pitchfork made clear how much he's bothered by the fact that the band he led for a while is casting a shadow on his current music career. 


In fact, when he has been asked about sharing again a stage with his former bandmates, he has vowed that he'd rather eat his own testicles than reform The Smiths. And that's saying something coming from a vegan!


Ok, I have made a collaborative list in Spotify for you to include all the bands that bear some resemblance to one of the greatest Brit rock outfits. C'mon, do your bit!


Added Bonus: If you want further information about The Smiths, a very brilliant blog in perfect chronological order is waiting for you. That's a real fan, huh?


July 22, 2011

Mäbulous!

Many of you have been asking for more Spanish indie music lately. Fine, I think you might like this next stuff by Mäbu, a band with a weird name coming from the initials for María Blanco Uranda, the lead singer. Before their debut album landed a few months ago, they had already been bubbling under the surface for a while, playing in some of the most important concert halls in Madrid, their hometown. Actually, I've been lucky enough to have seen their simple but engagingly intimate show a couple of times and from my point of view, they sound even better live. 


Hallo



A Solas


Left wanting more? Click the button.


July 20, 2011

Bandelicious - Afternoon Snack

After sifting through Spotify and the infinite Internet, I found it curious how many band names involve food. Then I decided to combine two goodies-related outfits to form an entirely new, even tastier one. No matter what time it is, let's nibble something! 

I think this is the first installment of many more recipes to come. I will keep  "cooking"  for you!

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Fiona Apple + Cinnamon = Apple & Cinnamon

Across The Universe
Stone Temple Pilots

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Marmalade + Humble Pie = Marmalade Pie

Rainbow
Hot 'n' Nasty

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Neutral Milk Hotel + The Tea Party  = Milk Tea

Oh Comedy
Paint it Black

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Corn Sisters + The Cookies = Corn Cookies

She's Leaving Town
I Never Dreamed

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Marc Almond + The Sea and Cake = Almond Cake

Tears Run Rings
Coconut


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July 19, 2011

Seemingly Naive Songs

If there's one band that I can't say enough great things about, it's Braids. This Canadian boy-girl quartet is comprised of friends who started playing together in high school and mutually skipped university to spend time in a garage cementing (and evolving) their sound. Tunes driven by guitars, percussion, synths with plenty of added effects and crescendoing lyrics from lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston. Native Speaker, their debut LP,  is preeetty damn good.


Music journos are comparing them to other bands such as Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene but I would also liken Raphaelle to Emmy The Great for the frank way she sings about sex.

Emmy The Great - We Almost Had A Baby

Lemonade, for instance, sounds like an especially happy track, but on closer inspection her sweet voice masks a darker meaning to the song and it turns out to be a biting indictment of a former lover full of lonely bitterness and disappointment. Elsewhere, the title track feels like smooth, innocent lyrics till one realizes she's really singing 'bout her desire to have men inside of her. These sexual motifs are all over the album's seven tracks. Thus, best be careful when singing those ones out loud to yourself.

For me, the only snag is that sometimes it takes more than a minute and a half to start listening to something tangible, and even when the vocals and instrumentation kick in it takes almost another minute to get going. Due to such languid development, several tracks reach the eight-minute mark when they could have easily fit into six. But, it's ok!

I suspect we're going to be hearing a lot more from them. Be sure to keep your ears peeled!








July 18, 2011

Etymology

As a Spaniard, I have the good fortune to be in vogue. Ahem! Well, okay... I mean, at least many current band names involve Spanish words... See for yourself!


      Tristeza                                                    The Delgados
   (meaning "sadness")                                                                        (meaning "the slims")      
                Golden Hill                                     Coming In From The Cold   
                                        
                



                  Desaparecidos                                   Yo La Tengo 
                    (meaning "the ones who disappeared")                                              (meaning "i have it")
                Man & Wife, The Latter                                  Center Of Gravity
                     
              


   
                Los Campesinos                            El Perro Del Mar
                              (meaning "the peasants")                                                             (meaning "the sea dog")
            Death To Los Campesinos!                             Change Of Heart
                                   
             
   

Do you know any more outfits than these? Leave your comment below!
      

July 17, 2011

Bay Yay

Stunning scenery, sun drenched beaches, luxury yachts and perfect pretty people. L.A.? Miami? St. Tropez? Nope, it's The English Riviera!


Metronomy - The Bay


If you liked this track, you'll probably love the entire new Metronomy record. Listening to it, you'll feel like being really by the sea. It's apparent from the get-go with the sound of cawing seagulls opening the album's first song. Cast an ear on it!


July 16, 2011

And There Was Light

I want to take this time to thank Carlos for his music reco, Dark Dark Dark, which floats around aimlessly in my head. This Minneapolis-based chamber-folk sextet bring together disparate influences including New Orleans jazz, Americana, Eastern European folk and pop. Some of their songs cud even conjure comparisons to British folk oldies and French accordion music.

TBH, listening to them it's like being introduced to something completely new that you are familiar with. It's a hard feeling to describe! Part of its instant appeal is the central presence of (mostly) lead vocalist Nona Invie, who precisely appears naked on the cover of the second full-length, Wild Go, with her back to the camera and her face turned toward the viewer. She seems to rebuke us for seeing her in this state of undress, doesn't she?

With one pass, this band pull the listener forward into their world of soft rhythm and enchanting vocals. It will find a place in the collections of those seduced by the indie-folk of Laura Marling. There are also hints of Beirut in some tunes! Dark Dark Dark couldn't be moving more resolutely towards the light.








Click on the next button to immediate download of the album. It's not to be missed so get on it!

July 15, 2011

The Flight From Hell

Friendly Fires have recently premiered the video for their new single Hawaiian Air, off their recent sophomore album, Pala. Ok, for me it's not the most poignant of songs, but this band just knows how to create that feel-good tune. The clip is pretty good too. It features frontman Ed MacFarlane undergoing the rigors of being squashed into some distinctly lower class seating. Couldn't his label have paid out to upgrade the poor chap? Bratty children, horny newlyweds, a man sleeping on one's shoulders, the three-piece sitting… Ugh! I'm getting anxiety just thinking about it.

Anyone afraid of flying will definitely want to look away when things get shaky at the midway point. In that case, you should go directly to minute 2.30 when, SPOILER ALERT, there is reward for Ed upon his arrival to Hawaii.

According to them, the clip was shot in the South of Spain due to the limited budget! Must have saved all their moolah for the latter half of the video, though.

Warning: I truly recommend you don't watch it if you are trying to avoid jealous "holiday destination" rage.




July 13, 2011

The Bearded Bard

Sex, death, booze, pretty flowers, prettier girls; these are the subjects of an average Bigott song, with all of the obsessions and neuroses that use to accompany them. But, who's this hairy guy? 

Somewhere in between the upfront vocal solidness of Beirut and the background textures of Iron and Wine, Bigott is one of Spain's most prolific artists and one of our best kept secrets. If it wasn't for his roots in traditional music (he adds the strings of the Spanish guitar) anyone cud think that this inspired folk-rock singer-songwriter is a native from the depths of Kentucky. BTW, the nickname Bigott comes from "bigote", meaning "moustache" in Spanish. 

His last LP entitled This Is The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship, has a wry and provocative tone which is set from the album's very first lyric, << I said to the doctor " Can you help me with my Mum? " And he said " Oh, your Mum is out of tune."  >> Such a statement can't help but exhibit an equal amount of shock and intrigue out of the listener.



Other highlighted tracks contained in the record are the charming and catchy Cool Singer Wedding, the chipper and most cynical piece Sparkle Motion, or the José González-but-way-more-fun vibe of Pachanga. If you're into folk and nice handlebars, you'll love Bigott!  



Sparkle Motion


Pachanga



For those eager to find out more about this charismatic troubadour click on the Spotify  icon.

July 12, 2011

A Magical But Dangerous Story

Swedish electro-pop makers, The Sound of Arrows, launched the beautiful track M.A.G.I.C. all the way back in January 2009, but just recently released the stunning video you see above. Usually if a band spends getting on for three years fiddling around with a song, the end result will be so bloated that it loses any spark that once made it brilliant. Somehow they've made their tune even better.


At the beginning, you might think it's a song by Pet Shop Boys, but it's slowly gaining strength with the addition of a young chanting school class.

Set in a world where all the adults have disappeared, the two main characters roam free across their Spanish city, before eventually stumbling upon a hidden enclave of magical creatures who become their friends and protectors. This short movie brings to mind the enchanting mystery of Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, the fearsome-looking monsters from Where The Wild Things Are, the gorgeous settings and landscapes from The Neverending Story and the playful imagination of Pixar 's creations. It foshotally will make you want to be a kid again! Watch it after the break.





But, apart from this delightful video, another good reason why everyone should know about The Sounds Of Arrows is the marvelous little gem of song below. I've made a playlist adding a pair of amazing covers of the original version. Enjoy this mini-compilation!