Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vampire Weekend; Modern Vamps

New format kids (calm down, it's not that exciting).  Here is how it works.  I get the Music, listen to it 3 times and tell you if it sucks or not.  My kids and wife (say "Hi" Renee.....kidding, she doesn't read my drivel) are also tested on it and I plan to share a 1 to 2 sentence reaction from them.  With that said, grab a beer, clean your glasses off and give me 3 minutes of your day:

"Modern Vampires of the City" is the third studio album (there could be more, but c'mon, who cares, no one is reading this anyway) does NOT disappoint.  Unlike many artists' 3rd-go-round, Vamp sticks to what is knows and does best and only adds to their formula of success with tweaks like voice modulation (check out "Diane Young", which is likely a play on words (dying young) and also a jab at the late Teddy Kennedy Bridge/Woman/Death thang').  They seem to play more with organs and strings (check out "Step" or "Don't Lie") and certainly a more mature, less "cute" feel (which feel I liked in their first self-titled album and second album "Contra").  The maturity fits and it works.

My favorites are:

Step - This song seems to be about a relationship and progressing to the next step; needing that person.  Hits home and I fucking like it.  Starting with their early college years, travels and distances between them etc.  "The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth out, what you on about, I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones, I'm strong enough I'm ready for the house......I cant do it alone...".)

Hannah Hunt - This song - - shocker - - is also about relationships...and travel...and trust.  Spoiler: does not sound like this 'ship worked out for Erza *awe, frowny face*.  Good song, low key, almost tribal beat and that picks up at the end after he describes his cross-country journey with...yeah, Hannah (duh).

Finger Back - One of the many faster tracks with an upbeat tempo and portions that remind of a punk feel. The speed of the music is matched by Ezra's quick choppy cadence of the lyrics.  Not really sure what the song is about (probably some broad) but I like it for the title lyrics: "bend my finger back, snap, wrap it in a paper towel, break a twig in half and set it straight."  Gross, but how he sings it makes it better and certainly less gross....maybe.

Rhys and Carys loved Diane Young for its fast and fun beat.  They also thought it was really funny how he altered his voice and how it goes in and out of a fast paced surfer rock to a very down tempo song. Certainly a kid friendly album (but don't recommend explaining the lyrics to them).

Check it out.  Do it already.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The First of the Last Bison

The Last Bison
Inheritance - 

This album took me in for odd reason.  The Music: Folky; The Vocals: Falsetto; and and overall feeling of rough unrefinement.  Do they have un/intentional voice cracks you ask? Yeah, they have that too.

This is NOT a party album, nor are any of the independent songs on the album.  This is a album of unconnected stories.  It's a sit, drive, train (like "choo-choo" not "pumpin'; iron" listen.  So don't pop this bad boy in and expect your guest to complement you on a good social gathering selection.

The album opens as a folky, banjo strummin', fiddle playing jam, and then rather quickly followed by a voice that can only be described as a cross between the singer from The Used (Bert interesting fella) and ol' so-and-so from Mumford, only not British (yet all the while thinking that if you didn't know he and his band mates were from Virginia, they could possibly be from a far off land).

Bison is a group of very talented and classically presented folk musicians.  There is a sense of theater with their delivery of strings, bells, and light percussion that balance well with a heavy kick drum for balance.

I was introduced to them by their most popular song, "Switzerland," which if you judge them by radio play or charts, however (which should not be the test of any good band); is likely the only song you have ever heard from them.  My daughter really seamed to love this track (so if you can't hack-it, it means your ears are more immature than a 4 year olds.  It's a fun catchy song and great to dance in the kitchen too.

Downsides - They seem to be a bit of a one trick pony.  Most of their songs while great, sound very similar and matched with a similar vocal track, making it hard to tell many of the songs apart unless you have listened to then many many many times.  Don't get me wrong, the songs are not any less great because of their similarities, they are great because of them, but one has to wonder if they have a second album in them.

Two Tracks to Point Out:

1.  "Tired Hands" - This song for some reason reminds me of a song in the where Lincoln was shot".  It may be some of the surprising insertions of musical scales, or lyrics (to which I have no clue what he is talking about) that seem to be more spoken than sung, as if it was musical (many songs actually have this quality like the song that follows of "Take all the Time".  But whatevs', I like-ie.

2.  "Watches and Chains" - This song seems to be very personal to (Ben Hardesty).  From what I get it seems to be a song about a chatty/gossipy town that speaks ill of the boy's hard working (supposedly) father who goes out to sells his wares (of watches and chains) and focusing on this "theology" and while he is away, the neighbors tell the boy and his mother that their father/husband is wasting his and their time and not providing for the family ("where's your meat, where's your fruit, where's you bread, have you eaten today, have you eaten today?).  Then the mom would try to console the worried son (Ben, again, allegedly).  Here is what I know (thanks to Wiki):  Ben Hardesty, lead singer (there is also a sister in the band) grew up the son of a preacher, and likely lived a very religious and modest, if not rough, life and was subject to ridicule from the Town and neighbors who either thought differently than they did (religiously or otherwise).  Here's the crazy part about the song, it ends with his dad coming home, telling him basically "to hell with the neighbors" and don't worry, and of course, read your bible.....then it just fucking ends. Just ends.  Fuck you early ending *i'm ok...zen now*.  Moral being: Fuck the neighbors?...who knows?.


Join me next time...when the Vamp is back......