Psychedelic? Well, that’s what I read about these guys, Klaxons. But it’s a modern psychedelic, not like The Music Machine (original) or Plasticland (neo-psych), or even like the current stoner rock bands. This is more original, although there are moments that remind me of Gaye Bykers on Acid. There are lots of strange sounds and trippy lyrics but absolutely no self-indulgent protracted freak out jam sessions. In fact, most of the songs are pretty rhythmic, even “sing-along” and dance-able. My favorite is “Gravity’s Rainbow.”
I mentioned Klaxons a good while back. And it’s taken me a good while to get into Myths of the Near Future, but now that I’m tuned in and turned on, I’m digging it… man. Just kidding! Nothing retro about Klaxons. Maybe they’re future-psychedelic.
I want to be in The Hives! The suits alone are enough incentive for me, but the music on The Black and White Album makes the dream of band membership irresistible. I like all their records but this is the best one yet. The Hives have that essence rare that reminds me of The Fleshtones: familiar but fresh, fun but not dumb, and always rocking even when the music is low key. At times this record is more punk than punk rock and more funky than funk. I can’t get enough of it. I’m probably playing it, in its entirety, at least five times a day. It’s hard to pick favorites but one standout is the fast rocking “Won’t Be Long.” It has a glockenspiel riff that is a perfect layer of icing atop a multilayer rock and roll cake, like the recorder solo in “Wild Thing” by The Troggs.
Everyone’s a loser in the modern world
Look at all the sad and gloomy little boys and girls
I know all you got is troubles all you got is woes
Shake the chips off your shoulders here’s how it
New Wyclef Jean coming out next month, Carnival II (Memoirs of an Immigrant), December 4 to be precise. This single “Riot” is intense, with more riffs and breaks than most albums. And if you can believe this, it features Serj Tankian (System of a Down)… rapping. Listen to it.
This is one quiet and dark album. I am huge PJ Harvey fan, and I just got this album. At first I was disappointed how quiet and low key these songs are, all of them. Drums and percussion are virtually non-existent, and no song rocks out the way PJ always seems to, eventually. But there’s a different kind of power here. According to PJ, see the documentary below, she was determined not to repeat herself. I have probably listened to the entire album 10 times in the last 24 hours and each time it gets better.
White Chalk is being release in a limited edition vinyl version, which tragically I do not have. But the CD is packaged in a more earth-friendly way, similar to a real record, with a cardboard jacket and separate liner. Handsome.
New Music Monday on W-I-H-Deeeeee… Make up your own jingle.
Thanks to Steven for the tip on this one. Serj Tankian (System of a Down) has a new solo record, Elect the Dead, coming out October 23. The first single and video is “Empty Walls.” It’s heavy thematically and musically, but maybe a tad smoother than SOAD. Tankian’s voice is so distinctive and immediately recognizable that I’m sure most folks will assume it’s SOAD. But those folks would be wrong. Apparently the band members are on hiatus while they pursue other projects. I’m a long time fan of the band. If “Empty Walls” is any indication of what the music from these solo projects is going to be like I think fans have a lot to be excited about.
Serj Tankian — “Empty Walls” video
And if you just can’t enough of that Serj stuff, check out the next video. It’s a whopping, and humorous, nine minutes of Tankian interviewing himself, with cuts from his home studio. There are several characters in the video and they all look familiar.
There’s been more hardcore punk in my life this past week than usual, at least for over 20 years. I got to see, and meet, Double Negative at a show last week. Like many hardcore shows it was at a place not really intended for live music. In this case it was Gourmet Perks, a coffee house just down the street from my place. It was a fun show with a small but enthusiastic crowd of “hardcore” fans.
I also happened to finally see the movie American Hardcore in its entirety this weekend. The film is about the birth and evolution of hardcore punk in the years between 1979 and 1986. I was really involved in that scene and found the movie very interesting. If you weren’t, I’m not sure you would agree. To quote from one interview in the film, “normal people didn’t like this music, and we liked it that way.”
This is definitely a good hardcore album, and to be honest it certainly sounds better than most of the music from the original scene. It’s really on an altogether higher level. My favorite song is probably “Stop Growing.”
Seeing Double Negative live last week and playing the album a lot since then, along with watching American Hardcore has made me think quite a bit about what punk was, and is. Maybe it’s just because I’m older, but I can’t help wondering what is it all about now, this hardcore punk scene? In the movie a couple guys from Flipper make a point of saying “punk is dead, it’s over.” Well, after seeing last week’s show and listening to this record there’s no way I can agree with that. It may not be the D-I-Y music revolution it was decades ago, that can only happen once. But the spirit, attitude and principles of hardcore punk live on with new, younger fans and bands like Double Negative.
New music to start the new week… Is this music “psychedelic”? I suppose. Either way I like it because it sounds fresh, and maybe a little like Kaiser Chiefs. I recently read something that described their music as “dance rock.” Maybe that’s accurate too. I also read they had trouble getting visas to tour in the US thanks to our ridiculous immigration rules, but it appears that has been straightened out. They are coming to the 9:30 Club in DC. Mary just reminded me we don’t live there any more. But if you do I recommend checking them out. They are supposed to be great live. I love both of these songs. The first video is for “Gravity’s Rainbow” (they have two different vids for this song), the second is for “Golden Skans.” You might like the latter more if you don’t watch the video, just listen, or at least watch it with a sense of humor. See the Klaxons site for more.
Today’s selection is The Good, The Bad and The Queen by the band that allegedly has no name. But everyone seems to call them GBQ so I’m filing it under “G.” The music is very different than Damon Albarn’s other project, Gorillaz. It’s mostly chilled out. The songs sound like they are from another time, but not dated. There are at least a couple moments that make me think of the Beach Boys. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to this album for a while after Mary bought it. Then, I saw them perform on Henry Rollins’ show on IFC and it was so strange that I had to check it out. I’m glad I did.
It’s K day! OK, I know, it’s been K day for over a week. But this one is worth waiting for. Klarcnova is an Asheville trio that includes Andy John, our kids’ guitar teacher. Yes, Andy is the guitarist in the band. I just got around to listening to this album about a week ago and it’s all I’ve been playing since. I love the whole thing, including the sweet “naked” production, the excellent playing, and tasty songs. My favorite is probably “Thumbprint.” It’s a spicy Latin jazz number, complete with a fast-tempo jazz odyssey in the middle. Klarcnova is a very eclectic and excellent album. This is one for you Jazzy G.
I was in the local Barnes & Noble the other day when I heard a great acoustic version of Metallica’s “Orion.” I headed straight to the music section where a woman in front of me was already asking about it. The clerk grabbed a copy of Rodrigo y Gabriela and I snatched up the last one. I’ve probably played it 20 times in the last few days. I bought it because of “Orion” but my favorites are the originals, especially “Diablo Rojo.”
This was the first I had heard of Rodrigo y Gabriela, but it turns they’ve been on Letterman, Leno, etc. earlier this year. This record came out late last year in the US. They’re from Mexico City, but have been in Europe for a while. They’re already popular there.
I told a friend yesterday that this album was “the greatest thing ever!” I don’t know if he agrees, but I’m sure he too thinks it’s slamming. They have few, if any stylistic rules, and they have some roots in thrash metal. (Gabriela apparently tired of the “testosteronic” vibe of the metal scene.) So how would I describe it? It’s not Flamenco, but it is rhythmic and energetic. It’s not jazz, they play structured songs. Other than “greatest thing ever” and “slamming” I’ll just add that it’s two people playing acoustic guitars and there is a tasty Latin flavor.
There’s a DVD included with some great live performances where the crowds are going nuts and raising the horns. Also included are interviews, a photo gallery, and a great tutorial where they step through the techniques they use so you can play just like them. Ha!
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