Don't let the barriers you have built to define who you are blind you from appreciating the unfamiliar.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

MGMT - Brian Eno

I take what I said about MGMT. This song should be their single.

It has been the soundtrack to my brain for the past couple days. I think MGMT is brainwashing me to listen to Brian Eno. I found myself listening to Brian Eno album Here Come the Warm Jets yesterday and my head is a little clearer.

I love the jumpy, manic feel this song has and the weird key they play in (sounds all horror show). The song reminds me of a band from Peoria, Illinois called The Amazing Kill-o-Watts. I went through their back catalogue trying to find the song it reminded me of, but I was unsuccessful. Anyone from get the same feeling I do? Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dum Dum Girls - Jail La La

Dum Dum Girls feel like lofi-ed 60s pop rock with a hint of 90s girl-la-la twee. They have certainly have a sunny, summery feel, like the Jacuzzi Boys, although Dum Dum Girls come from the West coast. With the hot summer ramping up, this is the music I feel like walking to while sweat drips down the back of my neck.

This video has a washed out female Easy Rider feel with lofi video effects to match the song. My favorite part is the scene that looks like a clip from a French new wave film with subtitles. It gives smoking that sexy ennui before it become a dirty habit associated with sleazy car salesmen and cancer. Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Patrick Watson - Beijing (live)

I am in Beijing now and this song has been in my head since I woke up. Listen to the first line of the song and you will understand. I love this city.

One of the best aspects of this song is the percussion. In the album version, Patrick Watson plays a bicycle, drumming on different parts of the bike for different sounds. While there are no bike parts used in the making of this video, I love watching his drummer use an assortment of stuff from the kitchen as instruments. It is almost as interesting than the weird expressions that stretch across Watson's face when he sings. Share/Bookmark

Friday, June 18, 2010

YAWN - Kind of Guy

YAWN - Kind Of Guy from Druid Beat on Vimeo.

After a week of posting several boring pseudo-psychedelic music videos from big indie artists (see Neon Indian and MGMT), I am pleased to actually post a good psychedelic video.

The video starts with a wonderfully flakey public access tv meditation guru bit. Then the video explodes into a vivid rainbow space scene. The best part is the band playing and dancing, covered in light sticks and probably wearing green suits. Its fun, colorful video you can watch more than once without yawning. (hah)

I don't know anything about YAWN and I think this is off of their first EP. Looking through their twitter page I am guessing they live in Chicago and like to play old-school Super Mario Kart. They may be unknown now, but they are playing Pitchfork this summer, so they may be the next big thing. Kind of Guy is a lighthearted, summer song and the whole EP is pretty solid. Who knows what the fickle Pitchfork hipsters will say. Share/Bookmark

Thursday, June 17, 2010

MGMT - It's Working

Oh how the mighty fall, well at least stumble. MGMT helped usher in a wave of good and not-so-good electro-pop. With a handful of singles, MGMT permeated pop culture in 2008-09. Kids and Time to Pretend showed up not only in every hipster's party mix, but in teen dramas like Gossip Girl, clothing store soundtracks, and commercials. French President Nicolas Sarkozy illegally puts Kids in some of his videos and played it at rallies and had to copyright infringement. (This happened as he was trying to pass a law to deny Internet access to file-sharers)

The point is that MGMT was one-hot-hit-making machine. Everyone was salivating for the next round of pop hits to accompany the kissing scene for their teen vampire show or sell their Bar-B-Que sauce or to play in the background to convince the young kids that they are still hip. But that didn't happen.

Instead, MGMT put out a record with no singles, no electro-pop, and nothing that sounds like the two songs that everyone knows. Ad-men and suburban teenagers everywhere moved on to tow-headed teen boys that sing like Stevie Wonder.

The record isn't bad at all. Congratulations isn't the wonder-child album that Oracular Spectacular is. It's much more rock and roll and pulls from old psych-pop and maybe some geek rock from the 80s.

The problem here is that MGMT is MGMT. If this record was released by an unknown group called MGNT or MGNR, the album would have been consumed in a completely different way. Congratulations is being panned for being inaccessible and pretentious, which may be true, but it is mainly being panned for not being Kids or Time to Pretend.

I want to talk about the video, but it is forgettable. The duo has shed their wild and colorful rag-tag outfits for tight jeans, Buddy Holly glasses, and plaid shits. For being a psych-pop song, this video is surprisingly strait-laced. Magical IKEA furniture that dispenses pink ice cream, contains a dollhouse and an angel ballerina sounds like it was dreamed up by a committee of the suburban teens that watch the vampire show. Oh I get was all a dream. Yawn.

If you are bored you can count the excessive number of dashes I used to this post, I will send you a psychedelic unicorn that poops pink ice cream. Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

X-ray Spex - Oh Bondage, Up Yours

This isn't exactly a music video as much as it is a live performance, but it should be the music video for this song.

The X-Ray Spex were a short-lived teenage punk band from the late 70s in the UK.  They are sometimes credited as the first grrrl rock band more than a decade before the riot grrrl movement and this song could easily be considered the first riot grrrl song.  Poly Styrene, the woman screeching and wailing, paved the way for decades of feminist rock.  See the Raincoats, Sleater Kinney, Patti Smith, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

This song is manic emancipatory rock.  Poly Styrene starts the song, "Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard.  Well I think, OH BONDAGE, UP YOURS!" and never relents. Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

zZz - Grip

zZz is a Dutch duo that uses just a drum kit, an organ, and a some effects. I don't really know much about them other than, I like this song and I love this video.

Whether the the director intended it or not, this video is an homage to the long running Korean television show Kasou Taishou. Twice a year, there is a competition to impress the audience with the most innovative and entertaining skits. One specific type of skit became popular and now the show is known for it.

The people competing on Kasou Taishou create live special effects. The point is to act out something that would normally be done with camera tricks and editing. The most famous skit from Kasou Taishou is Matrix Ping Pong. It was a hot internet meme several years ago so most of you have probably come across it. There are thirty years of skits from this show, some more clever than Matrix Ping Ping.

The zZz video is at inspired by Kasou Taishou, but also include some fresh ideas. Pay attention to the progress bar slowly being painted throughout the whole. Share/Bookmark

Monday, June 14, 2010

Los Massieras - Boogity Boogity Boogity

Los Massieras is a DJ duo that is part the disco scene in Spain and in Berlin, Germany. The label/collective is Discoteca Oceano in Spain, but Los Massieras are on an off-shoot label called Bananamania, based in Berlin. Whatever the lineage, the music coming out of this scene is good. They revive the electronic sounds and the dance feel from disco, thankfully leaving the orchestral instrumentation of late 70s disco behind.

The video is the highlight here. The creator Gerson Aguerri seemlessly combines animation and some live-action shots to create a world reminiscent of HG Wells's distant future in The Time Machine with the Eloi and the Morlocks. The camera constantly pans through a world with peaceful furry humanoids being attacked by Skeletor-looking bat people that turn everything into static. I love that world loops through the video several times and you see the destruction as the invasion progresses. The whole video is beautifully devious. Share/Bookmark

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know

My roommate mentioned that the last I posted of Mazzy Star's Fade Into You looks very similar to this Alanis Morrissette and I agree. It has the same blown out look in a desert interspersed with slow, choppy video clips, but for a completely different effect. Rather than being slow and lonely, this video is harsh and angry.

I posted this video for several other reason. Sure, I love this song and the entire album, Jagged Little Pill. Alanis Morissette is a staple of the mid 90s and she helped paved the way for mildly confrontational female pop rock artists like Meredith Brooks in the 90s and Avril Lavigne in the 00s.

Another reason is that Alanis Morissette just got married a couple days ago to rapper Mario Treadway aka Souleye (not the Souleye from Sweden that does chiptune music).

Finally, this song is important because of who it is about. Alanis Morissette has claimed that song is about a specific person, but has never revealed who that person is, similar to the legend surrounding Carly Simon's You're So Vain. For over a decade, there have been rumors about who she was talking about, but now most people believe that it was Dave Coulier.

Yes, Uncle Joey from Full House is most likely who Alanis Morissette "went down on in a theater". To give you some context, here is Dave Coulier:

According to Snopes, the reason that they broke up is that Dave Coulier wanted to start a family but Alanis felt she was too young. At that point, Dave Coulier had already been married and divorced with a kid and I guess he wanted something serious. Well I guess Alanis won out in the end because now she has married and poor Uncle Joey has remained a bachelor. Share/Bookmark

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mazzy Star - Fade Into You

Stupid EMI YouTube link that doesn't allow embedding.

As I mentioned in my last post, I Can Hardly Wait sounds very similar to Fade Into You. Mazzy Star is much cleaner and this song is in 3/4 as opposed to 4/4, but the music is very similar, even down to the slide guitar at the end of the song.

Mazzy Star had one hit, but they never really were a hit making type of band. Their music was slow, shoe-gazey, post-punk. I think they got lucky with Fade Into You, but the fame was well deserved. This song is a darkly beautiful ballad that exemplifies one wave of alternative music in the mid-nineties. I still get shivers listening to Hope Sandoval's haunting wail.

The video is also visual time capsule of music videos from that era that were heavily influenced by Gus van Sant's music video for Red Hot Chili Peppers. The shots of band loosely arranged performing together are interspersed with shots of driving, landscapes, and random things treated with some film effect. The washed out look was also very popular (see Alanis Morrisette's You Oughta Know).

Beyond that, I just love the feel of the video. It does what a good video should do, echo the feelings of the song. The video has a lonely, melancholy feel that is accentuated by the shots of the wide empty desert and the bright overpowering sun. Share/Bookmark

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Complicated Universal Cum - I Can Hardly Wait

Vimeo version

I am not sure where to start with this one.

How about we start with Frederik Valentin. This is Frederik Valentin. His favorite food is pizza and his favorite quote is from Futurama. Complicated Universal Cum is Frederik Valentin's new project. He is a Danish artist that is also in bands such as Hard Rock Power Spray and Vomit Supreme, whose influences are: "Weed!" I have heard Vomit Supreme before, but I wasn't particularly interested.

Complicated Universal Cum, on the other hand, I love. This song is beautiful and I really enjoy all of the songs they have posted on their myspace page. It doesn't sound or feel like Valentin's other bands. Its calm and more lofi and subdued. I Can Hardly Wait reminds me a lot of Mazzy Star's Fade Into You.

The video is also a perplexing juxtaposition in comparison to Valentin's previous work. On one hand, this video is beautiful portrait of a long kiss that sparks all those feelings you have when you are really in love with someone. So in love, that you can just sit next to each other in silence, stare into each others eyes and make-out.

On the other hand, judging by the comments on the video, it also taken in a completely different light. Here is a gem from engmoodyzeid on Youtube, "OMG....toooooo hoooooot.... ill make sure tht my next gf will be an EX-lesbo." The video is not hardcore or pornographic, it is soft and passionate, but it is also two beautiful girls kissing.

The directors of this video had to be aware of what they were making, especially put into context with Valentin's previous work. They had to be aware that their video would be appealing on different levels for different people. If they were only going after the engmoodyzeid's on YouTube, they would have made the video look more like a late night softcore porn on Cinemax. There is a definite beauty in this video but there is also another element that reflects how our society views homosexuality.

The YouTube version of this video is flagged as content for 18 years and older. Why? There is no nudity, just a long passionate kiss. I guess homosexual content equals adult content on YouTube. Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tag Team - Whoomp, There It Is

VH1 version with better quality

In my news feed on Monday, Gawker claimed to have found Barack Obama in the music video. Here is a snapshot that is taken from about 1:02.

I don't think anyone at Gawker actually believed that it was true, but as for the rest of America I am not sure. If you believe that Barack Obama is a secret muslim that was born in Kenya, I guess you can believe that Barack Obama was a secret rapper that did MTV videos. It won't be long before we will see this picture with a Hitler mustache on a sign at the next Tea Party rally.

Well Gawker has finally debunked the coincidence by simply asking Cecil Glenn aka DC the Brain Supreme and Steve Gibson aka Steve Roll'n of Tag Team. So no, it isn't Barack Obama and the woman at 0:47 is not Michelle Obama.

As for the video and the song, they are classics. The song has been a staple of sports events, cheerleading dances, and wedding DJ's for over a decade. The video feels like it was taken from a night scene on MTV Spring Break.  Its the Who Let the Dogs Out of the 90s, but we have enough distance now to not be annoyed. Share/Bookmark