by: Kyle Olson, KUCI Music Director
I hope you all had pleasant weekends. I went to see the fantastically talented Mirah perform at the Troubadour. She was as amazing as always. Her music, for me at any rate, is full of those moments where the music completely strips the rest of your life away, and you just feel beautiful and floating. Sadly, there were two horrible bitches from UCSB who wandered their way in and sort of ruined the show for everyone. I hope one of the show’s many tough-looking lesbians jumped their stupid asses on the way to the parking lot.
I am full of love.
Jesu – Conqueror (Hydra Head)
I want you to read all the way through this blurb before you decide if it sounds like something you want to listen to or not. The reason for this is that I am going to use words like “industrial metal” and bands like “Godflesh”, and I REALLY don’t want that to scare you off. Jesu is the project of formal Godflesh frontman Justin Broadrick. Godflesh WAS an industrial metal band, and even Jesu’s early material kept some of the same loud/heavy/drone-y elements of his former band. But, with every progressive release, Mr. Broadrick becomes more enchanted with beautiful melody and melancholy tunes. This latest collection, while still “heavy”, shouldn’t be too much for fans of Mogwai, or ever Sigur Ros when they choose to rock their tiny little Icelandic hearts out. The songs are long and drawn out, and are a nice stew of Isis, My Bloody Valentine, and the aforementioned Mogwai and Sigur Ros. DJs, would you play this please? For me? This is totally my pick of the week. I don’t want to make any threats, but I’m just going to say “poo in your bed”, and just let that be the Chekovian gun on the table.
Aqueduct – Or Give Me Death (Barsuk)
I have it on close sources (the people that live upstairs in my house) that these guys put on an absolutely sick live show. I cannot verify this, because I am only allowed to go outside on full moons (I am a reverse werewolf. Perhaps you’ve noticed my hirsutitude?). What I CAN attest to is that this is very rhythmic indie-rock. Grandaddy keyboard-rock meets Why?s penchant for rhythm (but not his genius pop sensibility, I’m afraid).
M. Ward – To Go Home (Merge)
M. Ward’s “Post-War” was totally a sleeper hit for me last year. When I was making my “Top 10” of the year for CMJ, I totally forgot to stick this in there because it’s so subtle and unassuming in it’s indie-americana-ness. But everytime a song off of that album comes on, I’m like “Shit. I totally forgot to put that on that list. Damn it.” (I get obsessive about things like this. Did you see the end of High Fidelity when he tries to redo that tape like, 20 times? Yeah. It’s like that. But….for most aspects of my life.) “To Go Home”, the title track of this EP, is a FANTASTIC Daniel Johnston cover (I USE CAPITAL LETTERS TO CONVEY EXCITEMENT!). Also included are two b-sides, and a Jimmie Dale Gilmore cover (the EP also features guest vocals by Neko Case). Have I sold this to you yet? What will it take? I promise to stop sending you cellphone pics of old people’s gross legs if you play it. I swear. (Side note: the oldest woman in the world was at the Cheesecake Factory when I went with my sister. Her legs totally put me off my lunch. I am a terrible person.)
Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone (Temporary Residence)
So, I mistakenly added this one to the KUCI library a couple weeks ago, but I’m supposed to add it now. So, take whatever I said about it then. It’s still true. I probably said something about Mogwai. And this being better than their other albums in my opinion. I probably then made some sort of self-deprecatory comment and then ended with some complete tangent for comedic effect. That’s my formula. Now I’ve revealed it. You will never love me again.
The Safes – Well, Well, Well (O’Brothers)
So, these dudes are actually brothers. And there’s three of them. Could they be Hanson in disguise? Hm. Perhaps. But, this feels less Mormon (I was recently told that Hanson is Mormon. Is this true?) This feels more like a keyed-up New Pornographers meets Ted Leo and the Kinks or something. If you could kill one of the members of Hanson, which would it be? Please submit a small essay telling me why. The winner will get to make that dream happen on national television during a commercial break of Grey’s Anatomy.
Marnie Stern – In Advance of the Broken Arm (Kill Rock Stars)
Here’s a glimpse into how I perform my duties as Music Director of KUCI. When I listen to a CD, I think of all the shows and think about if this particular CD would fit well with several of them. CDs that would do well on lots of shows get added. Sometimes, though, I will add CDs that have a narrower fanbase because I want to add something for a particular show or genre. This is sort of one of those. This is sort of brash, female-fronted rock that reminds me of Melt-Banana, Hella, Don Caballero, and Riot Grrrl stuff. Complicated, but spazzy/drummer music (it’s produced by Zach Hill who also drums on the album). The shows that would play this are gonna love it I think. The rest of you will have to fight for my love in other ways.
Harlem Shakes – Burning Birthdays (Self-released)
How great a band name is that? The band is almost as awesome. I’m sort of blanking who to compare this to. Ted Leo seems off. But, close? It’s melodic rock. Fun. Upbeat. Let’s stick with Ted Leo. I want to get home and eat dinner at some point. This IS pretty damned good, though. (Speaking of birthdays, today is Brian Quon’s. Make sure you embarrass him in some way. Like, say, mentioning it in a public emailing that is later posted on the internet.)
The Slip – Eisenhower (Bar None)
Would I really be Kyle if I didn’t add at least one low-key, vaguely twangy indie-rock album? Yeah. I probably would be. But that’s a whole other philosophical discussion that I don’t want to get into right now. I’d rather talk about which is better: Batman or that komodo dragon that reproduced asexually (I think Batman).
The Finches – Human Like a House (Dulc-i-Tone)
OK. So maybe I added two low-key, vaguely twangy albums this week. But, this one is more folky. So, yeah. (Also, the title of this album has me thinking of the expression “safe as houses”, which I heard on a TV show once, and didn’t really understand. Could someone explain that to me?)
Lavender Diamond – The Cavalry of Light (Matador)
The Cavalry of Light, of course, is what Megaman hero Dr. Light calls his army of robots to fight the evil Dr. Wiley. That’s not true. I made that up. We call those “lies” where I’m from. Or “things you say to girls”. HAHAHA. MISOGYNY!!! Anyway. This is slow, folky, pretty, well-orchestrated stuff from your friends at Matador. They put out good stuff. Remember Pavement? Shit. Those dudes ruled.
OK! Time for dinner, and writing more book reviews for my nearly-completed website. I expect all of you to go to it and donate money when it’s done. Promise? OK!