Audible Musings

Grizzly Bear LIVE!!!
May 31, 2009, 6:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, the review you’ve all been waiting for. Thursday night, the beast king and I had the pleasure of attending Grizzly Bear at Town Hall. The first thing about the concert was that, well, it was just that. a Concert. NOT a show as I was expecting. The venue was assigned seating, and I felt like I could have been going to see a performance of a Drama, not a rock concert. However, true to form, Grizzly Bear filled the stage with everything from bass clarinets and lights dangling in jars to the Brooklyn Youth Choir, and lived up to the performance space. What a performance they gave!

Going into the concert I had heard many things about the band; some told me that the lead singer only cared about his appearance on stage, and others raved about their harmonies. Well, I have to say that if anything the latter review would be more accurate. The band really has two frontmen and two backing men on stage, or at least that’s how it appeared. Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, the two most prominent singers, are generally the songwriting powers of the band, and it showed.

Indeed, they all proved their musicianship, and the beast king even commented that it appeared as though they could all have their own solo projects. Indeed they do! From The Department of Eagles to minglings with Beirut, multiple members of the band have toyed around with outside engagements and have created sounds uniquely their own. Grizzly Bear is still my favorite combination.

The performance was more of a Grizzly Bear concert as opposed to a Veckatimest showcase, which appealed to me. They pulled out songs from Horn of Plenty, Friend, Yellow House, and their most recent undertaking. It was fantastic because I was going into the show thinking it was a tour supporting their new album. In fact, it was a tour to go see Grizzly Bear play a well ordered assortment of their own arrangements. And they played them well. Even the difficult harmonies on their newer tunes that seemed doctored in the studio were executed live with mastery, albeit with help from the youth choir, who, incidentally, are the recorded female vocals on Veckatimest.

The climax of the show, for me, was “I Live With You” > “Foreground”. This powerful duo of tunes is impecable even on the record, but live it was even more impressive. With the chorus returning for the second time and adding its unmistakable upper register, the band entered into the head-banging chorus of “I Live With You.” It was at this point you could feel the band really straining and the audience seemed to be moving as one in their seats, studying the band from afar. Of course, Foreground is the haunting conclusion to the album, and haunting it was indeed. Droste’s deep tenor had me pealed to my seat unable to do anything else but marvel at him. IT was quite the conclusion to a night of fantastically executed music and, among other things, intellectual spectation from the tight-jeaned, plaid claid audience.

Teenage Bad Girl: For Listening, Not For Dating
May 31, 2009, 9:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Teenage Bad Girl are an incredible and sadly underrated electro duo from France. I had the luck of catching them play a live show (yes, live as in synths) in France, and since then I have not seen them on any lineups of big festivals. These guys are really the shit, and have even received a remix from Boys Noize himself, who even sampled one of their songs for his own original Let’s Buy Happiness. When asked who they were listening to in an interview a while back, Justice simply replied, “Teenage Bad Girl.” According to their myspace, a new album and tour is on the way, so hopefully this will bring them back to prominence. They really deserve it.

Cocotte – Teenage Bad Girl
Their debut album. Godly. A must have for any electro fan.

Cocotte V2.0 – Teenage Bad Girl
The bonus second cd with some of their remixes as well as some remixes of them, including the likes of Vitalic and Yuksek.

P.S. I really miss the upload speeds at Wesleyan…

White Rabbits – Its Frightening
May 26, 2009, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, I know it’s been ages since my last post, and now that I’m home with (some) free time, I figure its time to keep all you people who actually read this thing updated (bastille!) Now, When I came back from school I took stock of my music library, and came across this band that I had never heard of, and no idea how I had acquired their music. Nevertheless, I resiliently gave them a listen instead of just discarding the music. Boy was I surprised! These guys can really play, and I am wholeheartedly a fan. Only after this, it seems as though they are starting to gain traction in the main stream, which I love and think that they absolutely deserve.

Now for my thoughts on the album. The first track, “Percussion Gun,” seems destined to be the one track people take away as the “hit,” as it was played on Letterman and has its own video. That said, it’s a fantastic track. It opens with floor tom percussion, likening itself to the earlier days of animal collective, but with a more upbeat, straight forward flair. To me, it seems as if Spoon met Animal Collective and had a baby and named it Percussion Gun. Singer Stephen Patterson shines on the entire album, but particularly on this tune, as his voice cracks into falsetto at appropriate moments and when he screams, it feels right. The uptempo percussion intertwined with vocal harmonies sweeps from screaming highs to empty lows, and leaves you gasping for breath.

The transition into the following two songs, “Rudie Fails,” and “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong,” are done quite well, and the driving percussive sound pervails, especially in Rudie Fails. Again, Patterson’s voice sings through and cracks appropriately, but this time around increasingly melodic and singing guitar lines that really brings out the instrumentation and skill of the rest of the band. As the album trudges into its mid section, it gets murkier and darker, with Patterson wailing “Listen to Me!” over a repetitive, trashy sounding percussive drive and increasingly rythmic guitar. As the tune, “Lionesse,” progresses, it moves from sounding like Patterson is appealing to an empty room to a soaring soundscape. Granted, this type of sound is not as hit-generating as that of “Percussion Gun,” but taken in the context of the album as a whole, it adds an otherwise lacking pensive and melancholy undertone.

“Lionesse” devolves into a down tempo tune, “The Company I Keep,” which sheds the overtly percussive backdrop of earlier in the album for a more straightforward tempo that highlights the rest of the ensemble, and lends itself to the vocal harmonies that seem to slide gracefully in between the chords. Likewise, “The Salesman (Tramp Life),” finds itself a simple beat but complex harmonies that, in the next song, “Midnight and I,” find themselves compounded upon in a spacey mid section that allows the vocals to sweep and surround the listener. It’s easy to get lost in them as they are quite hypnotizing, but as if sensing this, the band, in the next song, “Right Where They Left,” jolts us awake with the recapituation of the percussive backbeat and dark sounding piano likes intertwined with driving guitar riffs.

The album concludes with “The Lady Vanishes,” which is in the same vein as “Right Where They Left,” and the somber “Leave It At The Door,” which will inevitably draw some comparison to Radiohead, for the chord progressions as well as the way Patterson whines and slides his vocals. However, he manages to retain the distinctive vocal style he had developed throughout the album. By the time the song finishes, the listener is taken through sweeping effected harmonic passages, and is ultimately left to contimplate the album in the several seconds of silence at the end of the tune. All in all, a solid album put together by this bunch of men. With a sound distinctly their own but taking cues from other popular indie artists before them such as Spoon, Sonic Youth, The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, and perhaps even to some extent, The Strokes, this band deserves the publicity it is recieving. As evidenced by the video below, they can play live too, so try to catch them while you can! (The second video is from their first album, Fort Nightly, which I HIGHLY recommend you pick up, its also awesome.)