Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Taxi 'We Don't Know Any Better [[Free Song]]

Black Taxi have a lot to offer, they're catchy, upbeat, and pretty darn groovy. Their second full length, We Don’t Know Any Better proves this four piece has massive hopes and a good deal to accomplish. Song after danceable song makes this album undeniably fun, but I found it at times to be a bit confusing. "Tightrope" opens the record and, lets be honest, it's one to jive to. It might not be dubbed the most unique of tracks because it clearly draws from pop rock influences, but it’ll hook you in, and you’ll be bopping and shuffling before you realize it's happening. "We Don't Know Any Better" throws a wrench in the trajectory of this album. As a completely different style tune, it brings in more noise and less pop, and is where the directional confusion begins.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kurt Vile - So Outta Reach EP

Kurt Vile's So Outta Reach EP is a gloomy yet dreamy release full of fingerpicking, wavering vocals, and repeated phrases. Vile doesn’t take any chances on this one as its sound is in the same folky, moody vein as his past albums, but the dependability is appreciated.
The EP opens with “The Creature”, where Vile showcases his guitar skills and lets his sultry, freakish vocals saunter over the delicate, scintillating notes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Real Estate - Days

I'll admit I was nervous about Real Estate’s newest album, only because they have such a strong track record. Their Atlantic City Expressway EP and Reality 7” were both flawlessly arranged and performed with a carefree, meditative ease unmatched by any other band I know. But from the first track off Days, “Easy”, I knew Real Estate had exceeded my expectations.
Days is the natural next step for the Brooklyn based band. Pastoral melodies interlace with gauzy, soothing harmonies to create ten tracks that are sure to put your mind at ease. Even instrumental tracks devoid of Martin Courtney’s hauntingly gorgeous vocals, such as “Kinder Blumen” resonate with the placidity and joy of a day spent in the beautiful outdoors. The album shows that their skill as musicians has improved over the years, as their songs get more complicated and layered with more percussive instruments included.
“Wonder Years” switches it up with bassist Alex Bleeker providing deeper, brooding vocals. It has a very Byrds-esque feel to it, and it keeps with Real Estate’s close-to-nature vibe with some psychedelic sounds thrown in. Real Estate is awesome because their sound fits in anywhere, geographically speaking. “Younger Than Yesterday” has a more alt-country feel to it, while other tracks are more surfy..and yet others channel the chill and grayness of New England. And their songs have a perennial charm - perfect for summer adventures or staying in during a snowstorm.
This is definitely an album you’ll play over and over again. Every track is different from the rest, but Days plays seamlessly. A perfect musical accompaniment for sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes and hour long cuddle sessions.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Front Bottoms @ TT The Bear's

“We’re gonna fuckin’ party tonight” Brian Sella shouted at an equally stoked and rambunctious crowd. There’s no denying that The Front Bottoms folk-punk is too enthusiastic and sincere not to entice you immediately. Rounding out the tail end of their month long tour, The Front Bottoms hit TT The Bear's this past gloomy Wednesday. Although it's only been a few months since the releases of their full-length debut on Bar/None Records,the duo has already been making a solid run. The last time they hit Boston they were were making it through a string of basements. “They played my house and blew everyone away. We put them on first because no one knew them, and they were just better than everyone!” said a fellow concert attendee. This might have been the only show in months that the crowd came above ground for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Battles Interview

Right before the Battles’s show at Boston’s Royale, I got together with guitarist Dave Konopka to talk about their new album Gloss Drop, music influences, and Battles’s new era post Tyondai Braxton.

What was your earliest musical experience?
My fist show ever was Neil Diamond, when was 5 years old. My parents used to listen to them and I thought it was pretty cool. When I matured a little bit, I remember my first proper show was Fugazi and Shudder to Think. It was really awkward because when Shutter to Think played, Wedren was so flamboyant. It was in a hockey rink and there were all these kids and everyone was like “this sucks!” and I was thinking, “I actually like this, this is almost better than Fugazi”. I didn’t start playing until I went to Mass Art. My roommate played guitar but he was a lefty, so I learned to play with a left-handed guitar. He taught me how to play and we stared a band together called Lynx.

How did you like the Boston scene when you lived here and played with Lynx?

There was a lot of stuff going on, there was an interesting community, but my friends and me were kind of wise asses. When we started playing we were doing math rock; we liked Don Caballero and Helmet. Were we super psyched that we were this weird band coming out of nowhere. It was awesome while it lasted. Unfortunately, then we moved to Chicago to try to get signed. I think we reached the level where we needed to leave Boston to get signed. Back then it was a different story, getting signed was the thing. You would give people your cassettes. Now [with the internet] everything is almost out of control.

How is the writing process for Battles? How has it changed from Mirrored to Gloss Drop?

We’ve kind of switched the process. When we started we used to write everything on piece of paper. We would jam, but it’d be more of a planned synch. The whole band would sit and stare at this paper and see the whole parts. We did this for Mirrored but when we started Gloss Drop it didn’t’ work. Between Gloss Drop and Mirrored we were doing this waiting period when the forth guy [Tyondai Braxton] was recording his solo album. I was writing things at home and Ian was doing the same thing. Then we would try out different things, like change the key to match up our parts. But we really went into the studio unprepared. We started recording our own stuff in separate rooms and then we would exchange parts. If we tried to jam it’d become chaos.

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