by: Sam Farzin, KUCI Music Director
Another week, another batch of albums.
Last night, I saw Radiohead. It was pretty boring because they didn't rock enough. The lights were pretty though, very pretty. The lightning designer must be this guy.
Brian Quon, who most of you know as Training Director, Helpful Dude, and Someone Who 3 Metal, also helps me in the music dept. sometimes. This is one of those times.
ROOKIE BLURBS by Asst. MD BRIAN QUON
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: SAM FARZIN
(laugh it up, film majors)
Fujiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs
The timing of this album couldn't have been better for me - the one week I get to do adds for KUCI is the week that we get an album from everybody's favorite deceptively Japanese but-oh-so English kraut-poppers Fujiya & Miyagi. Their 2006 album Transparent Things has been a pretty big hit on my own radio show over the past couple of years, as well as getting lots of positive press from pretty much every music publication and blog out there. And there's good reason for that. They are what happens when you take Krautrock bands such as Can or Neu! and transform them into irresistibly catchy pop maestros. On Lightbulbs, Fujiya & Miyagi use their newly acquired fourth member to, paradoxically, slow down their sound into a grooving amalgamation of funky basslines, whispered vocal melodies, and calculated guitar. This is a pretty good album, through and through.
Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
Perhaps I have never been the biggest Okkervil River fan, but then again, I am nothing if not a huge prude. Following on the heals of last years The Stage Names, this album is really more of the same from this Austin, Texas band as they incorporate the same energetic guitar work, catchy basslines, and piano flourishes that made them underground darlings over the last several years. Perhaps the most distinctive and enjoyable part of this album is vocalist Will Sheff, who has made a career out of entering into "Morrissey Mode" from time to time, but in all the best ways. Check it out gang, and make Okkervil River the "stand outs" in next weeks Top 30.
(...I apologize for that last bit...)
The Dead Science - Villainaire
This is experimental baroque pop of the best sort (if there is such a thing to begin with) with fluttery "Dave Longstreth meets a turkey; procreates" vocals, spastic acoustic guitar, and a constantly unusual rhythmic patten. This isn't even mentioning the schizophrenic string sections, which shift from moments of grandiose pleasantness to moments of jagged noise with lots of go between throughout. This is sprawling and engaging and a lot of positive synonyms I can't fully describe until you guys actually listen to it.
Andy Dixon - The Mice of Mt. Career
Things that are getting pretty big in music: Using string instruments in situations you wouldn't normally expect stringed instruments. Cut-and-paste sampling. Dressing like Andrew Bird. If you're a fan of all three of these things, then boy have I got the thing for you. This guy sings over stand-up bass, cello, and guitar while filling up the rest of the space with gratuitous sampling and vocal melodies. This entire album is fantastic, so check it out.
Your Heart Breaks - Love is a Long Dark Road (Love is All You Need)
This is pretty fantastic folk-pop coming from the Northwest which features solo artist Karl Blau, as well as Steve Moore of Earth fame along with a guest appearance from Kimya Dawson (obviously the song with cursing on it). This is not an entirely exciting album, but I don't think they were really trying in the first place. This is warm, folky music that you can use to sit around a fireplace with some friends with and reflect about the uncertainties of life.
Pop Levi - Never Never Love
Sometimes I wonder whether people name their children under the assumption that someday, at some point, they will become songwriters. I mean, Levi they didn't really have a choice in... but POP Levi? He probably came out of the womb with a guitar and a hatred towards this damned war. In this case, however, it probably ended up being for the better as the album is pretty interesting throughout. If you're a fan of Frank Zappa's uncompromosing music as well as fan of Ladytron and wish there were somebody who could mesh those two together, then Pop Levi might be just the thing for you.
The Dreadful Yawns - Take Shape
True story: Back when Kyle Olson was music director, we got a bookbag as a promotional item from Exit Stencil Records, and I thought it was such a cool handbag that I decided to take it without his ever knowing (sorry Kyle!) and have been using it ever since. Now I feel like adding an album from Exit Stencil is like a karmic neutralizer, though it's not like that's the only reason I decided to add this. There are comparisons to the Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, and Pink Floyd on the actual album but I think that couldn't be further from the truth. The supposed psychedelic aspect of this album that the band was going for is still drowned out by their ever-present indie pop sensibilities, which are pretty hard to disguise though that can be a good thing at times. They're a pretty fun band to listen to on a warm Irvine afternoon.
The Torn ACLs - Cedar-By-The-Sea
There is such a thing as an "sincere" sounding band, and the Torn ACLs make music that shows off their sincere quirkiness. This is a pretty solid debut EP, so hopefully people check it out.
Lykke Li - Youth Novels
Imagine something sweet. Say ice cream. Now imagine that sweet ice cream is covered in sweet chocolate syrup covered in sweet sugar which is topped with sweet sweet whipped cream. Now imagine this sweet sweet dessert concoction existing within like a chocolate cake. INSIDE the cake. Now imagine this cake is covered with chocolate frosting and more sugar and more whip cream. Now this dessert is like five feet tall, a forboding monster of sugary substance that has become sentient, demanding that you continually feed it jello and pie so that it may grow. That is what Lykke Li sounds like. Only in Sweden.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - S/T
This album is recorded with Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor and Chris Bear as well Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, and their influence on this album's sound is apparently immediately. This album sounds kind of like Bonnie Prince Dylan, with definite Grizzly Bear flourishes. It's good, check it out.
The Stills - Oceans Will Rise
The Stills play pretty straight forward Indie Rock, and they've toured with bigger name bands like Interpol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Kings of Leon. They are also from Canada. Are you a fan of Canada? It's the one on top of us. If so, then check out the Stills.
Oh man, are you guys stoked or what. Check it out. Play the jams. Eat you vegetables. Don't play video games all day (like me).