Tag Archives: passion pit

Take Five – The Birthday Edition

What’s my favorite song this week? If I was corny, I’d say “Happy Birthday,” because that’s what tomorrow is. But actually, my favorite song this week is Dizzee Rascal’s “Fix Up, Look Sharp.”

Without further ado…

RIYL…

Sunday nights are the big night for local music on the radio. WFNX’s former New England Product show has relaunched as Boston Accents, airing 8-10PM, and WZLX’s Boston Emissions is still going strong from 10PM-12AM (which sadly falls in the “Mad Men” time slot).

As a former college and community radio DJ, I love keeping tabs on this stuff. That’s why I’m jazzed about the next Rock Shop, which features Boston Accents’ Dave Duncan, Boston Emissions’ Anngelle Wood, WAAF’s Carmelita of Bay State Rock and WMBR’s Tim Kelly of The Hidden Capital. The event is at 7PM on Aug. 23 at the Middle East.

NEW RELEASES

  • I arrived back at the office after a four-day weekend and was greeted by Christmas in my mailbox: The new Mike Viola/Kelly Jones EP and the new Cloud Cult album, “Light Chasers,” had arrived! The Viola/Jones effort is sublime, as per usual, and I am beyond pleased to have a recording of their haunting duet of Viola’s classic “A Way to Say Goodbye” (now the third version of the song in my possession). “Light Chasers” is no “Feel Good Ghosts,” but what could be? It’s still a powerful, unabashedly honest rock record.
  • One of my favorite bands, Girlyman, has finally released an album consisting solely of tuning songs — the spontaneous nuggets of genius they always come up with during their live shows, usually while someone is tuning a guitar. The live compilation is $15, which may be a bit steep, but consider part of the payment as going toward this awesome promotional video:
  • Jens Lekman has a new song out, “The End of the World is Bigger than Love.” It’s typically epic, heartbroken and charming. Lekman also releases a mixtape, “A Summer in 3/4 Time” [.mp3]. Some more background on Chromewaves.
  • After much urging and promotion from the likes of Brad and The DP, I snagged the new Versus album. And it is as fun and awesome as those Merge fanboys say it is :-)
  • Speaking of Merge, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the new Arcade Fire album. I’m not an Arcade Fire fangirl (true confession: “Neon Bible” is still in the shrinkwrap, though I listen to “Intervention” on iTunes a lot), but I snagged it from Amazon MP3 for $3.99 and was pleasantly surprised. Probably their most accessible (is that a dirty word?) record yet, and very well crafted.
  • I finally acquired the best of The Alarm. I recommend you did the same. They are much more than “The Stand.”
  • Josh Rouse has releases a new live EP, “El Turista en la Radio,” for free download.

AROUND THE WEB

IN THE NEWS

  • An awesome Facebook post by Hallelujah the Hills the other day: “Dear bands & musicians, do you have recordings of songs without any vocals on them? I’ll make up melody, lyrics, and record vocals on them if you send them to me. If I get enough tracks we’ll put out an album for free online. Send to band AT hallelujahthehills dot com.”
  • Fast Company provides some interesting data on “The State of Internet Music on YouTube, Pandora and Facebook.” Thoughts: 1) Fans/followers/friends are important, sure, but what are theydoing for the musicians they are fanning/following/friending? 2) I totally buy YouTube > Apple when it comes to music, because iTunes isn’t a social or a learning platform; it’s purely a purchasing platform. 3) I’ve never gotten into Pandora — I have other recommendation engines that are more human that work for me. I’m sure it’s great for some, but just not me.
  • Cassettes are back! Obvs. So glad I still have my 5 disc CD changer with dual cassette deck that I bought in 1999 — the thing is practically a hipster recording studio, nowadays.
  • Hello Music is a service that connects musicians with “real industry opportunities.” Not sure how useful it is, since most of the entries read “[Song] by [band] is now in rotation on the Unsigned & DIY station on Yahoo! Radio,” but in this Bandcamp era, it’s nice to see one more option for artists trying to make it on their own steam.
  • Rdio, the music streaming service by the creators of Skype, is out of invite-only mode and live to the world. For just $5 a month on your computer ($10 on your smartphone), you can have access to a streaming equivalent of your music collection.  Seems like a good option if you want to listen to your own music at work or on the go. However, I own an iPod and listen to KEXP, so, I have no need for Rdio (yet).
  • It’s no replacement for the mix CD (and it’s more expensive), but file this under nice-to-know: you can purchase and send an iTunes playlist to a friend, so long as all of the songs are available in the iTunes store.

SECOND THOUGHTS

The Boston Phoenix’s On the Download blog linked to this video from Lollapalooza of Lady Gaga crowdsurfing during some crappy band’s side stage set.

The video itself is pretty uninteresting, as such things go, but one thing caught my attention. Of everyone in the crowd who had their arms outstretched, the majority of them were clutching cellphones and cameras. It depressed me.

Of the crowd shots I’ve seen from stadium and festival concerts over the years — Woodstock ’94 and ’99, other Lollapaloozas, Glastonbury, you name it — what has always impressed me is the sea of people, arms raised in exultation, reaching out to grab the moment. No matter how far they are from the stage, they are always reaching up, reaching out, trying to hold on to ecstasy one note longer.

But here, at Lollapalooza, with Lady Gaga’s barely attired flesh passing just above their heads, so many of those hands clenched devices to record the moment, and so many eyes were trained on the LCD screens of those devices, making sure the moment was in frame, clicking the shutter or hitting record.

But there she is! Lady Gaga! The experience is happening right next to you, right above you. Reach out and touch it — it’s right there.

But your hands and eyes are removed from the experience. You’ll have amazing media later, but is that a memory? Is that sweat on your palm, or a bruise to the temple you’ll be bragging about for days? What are you really holding on to?

June Tunes

Hooray! It’s June! Back in the dark, dire depths of February, it seemed like this month would never come. But it’s here. It’s sunny and in the 70s. For the next four or so months, we will scramble to soak up every ounce of warmth and sunlight we can find. So, to usher in this glorious season, we need an appropriate soundtrack. Because every summer needs a jam. So here, choose from these six (in honor of this, the sixth month):

  • Nickodemus feat. the Real Live Show – Sun Children (via 3Hive)

    This infectious, world music-infused title track from the sophomore album by NYC dance scene mainstay Nickodemus can’t help but get your feet moving. If it doesn’t, check to see if you are implanted in cement.
     

  • The BPA feat. David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal – Toe Jam (via Brooklyn Vegan)
  • Passion Pit – Little Secrets (via iMeem)

    Yes, I went on about both of these artists before, so I apologize for the repeat. But I would be doing a disservice if I denied these songs to you in the context of providing quality summer jam material. “Toe Jam” is all about those thick summer days in the city with dance parties in sweltering fourth-floor walkups where clothing is lacking but desire is in high supply. “Little Secrets,” if you read the lyrics, has a dark undercurrent that is easy to miss in the kid-voice chorus and triumphantly synthy keyboards, but as far as I can tell, there is a message of damn-the-torpedoes, doing what you want and getting what you need, hang the consequences and the naysayers. Many folks look to summer as a season of opportunity and optimism, so why not?
     

  • Montt Mardie – We’re All the Pirate Bay (via Swedesplease)

    Who would have thought that a song penned in honor of a shutdown file sharing service could be so hot? Swedish pop artist Montt Mardie not only releases this anthem for free, but is encouraging anyone and everyone to create remixes by releasing the multitrack version for download. It’s OK, though, if you simply download the original and, as Mardie entreats, just “sing along.”
     

  • Owl City – Hot Air Balloon (via RcrdLbl)

    I got clued in to Owl City by my friend Dave over at The Shimmy Shake, and yes, Owl City is like a slightly more teenybopper version of the Postal Service, but that is not a knock on the owl himself, babyfaced Adam Young. This is a perfect song for a picnic in a park, complete with kite-flying and maybe a tumble in the shrubbery.
     

  • Baby Dayliner – You Push, I’ll Go (via KEXP)

    If you’re looking for a little crooning to go along a killer R&B/Dance groove, this is your cut. I imagine this playing in the car for some reason, windows down late at night, off to find out what the evening — or the dawn — has in store.

New Fun Music Discovery of the Day

I have nearly 20 MP3 blogs listed in my Google Reader. Every day, I scan through the day’s posts and offerings, downloading a healthy amount of songs. Some I chuck. Some I keep because they are fun or lovely, even if they don’t make me really sit up and take notice. Then, there are those that make me sit up and take notice.

Today’s discovery was Passion Pit, a local band which according to the Boston Phoenix’s On the Download is taking the blogs by storm. Music For Ants/Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good (what is that blog called anyway?) shared a couple songs from their forthcoming album Manners (dropping May 19) today. Take the ambient whimsy of School of Seven Bells and blend that with the synthy goodness of MGMT, with a healthy dash of Cassettes Won’t Listen, and you’ve got something perfectly delightful. “Little Secrets” is a four-minute party with all the makings of a classic summer groove, while “Moth’s Wings” is a piano-dappled daydream. Go check them out. You can also find their remix of Ra Ra Riot’s “Ghost Under Rocks” here. Shimmy Man, I’m looking at you.