Saturday, June 30, 2012

GROOVIN ON A SUMMER AFTERNOON (Music for your summertime blues)

Summer is in full swing and, like my other Las Vegas compatriots, I am struggling  in vain to stay cool. Every year we dread it and every year we complain when it arrives...ahhhhh SUMMMER! In order to survive I have compiled a list of great jams from my music grab bag. Goes great with lemonade(or stronger beverage of your choice), ice, air conditioning, and pool parties.

Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital: Immediately upon hearing Sound Kapital by Canadian two-piece Handsome Furs I was sonically transplanted to CBGBS in it's old school New York hay-day. I heard experimental, guttural, unhinged rock - unusual for a synth pop band! I heard the smooth depth of electronic heroes Depeche Mode combined with the guitar crunch of The Jesus and Mary Chain's William Reid. Handsome Furs, made up of Husband and wife team Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, were among the many bands going back to the eighties and nineties for inspiration in 2011, but they stand out as the most original. They have successfully taken the electronic genre and reinvented it with heart and attitude. Key tracks; "When I get Back" and "Memories of the Future".

Wild Flag - Wild Flag:  Wild Flag's four fearsome females are comprised of former indie rock/punk bands Sleeter-Kinney and Helium. They had been jamming together for over ten years as friends before recording their debut as Wild Flag, and the experience is evident. Wild Flag sounds familiar but not overdone, new and refreshing and instantly accessible. There's a lot of hand-claps and sing along chorus moments - sort of Blondie and The Go Go's if they had come of age in the nineties. Also the live recording makes great use of fuzzy rhythm guitars, retro keyboards, deep bass, razor sharp leads and machine gun drums. Key tracks; "Racehorse" and "Romance".

R.E.M. - Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011It's hard to believe that R.E.M. has been around for twenty nine years. It's also hard to believe that last year's Collapse Into Now was their final album before retirement. What makes this double cd stand above most greatest hits compilations is that it covers all of this time period in chronological order, giving listeners a coherent overview of early and most recent singles. Part Lies... is a great introduction as well as a companion piece for those already familiar with R.E.M's catalog. From early eighties college rock("Driver 8") to early nineties acoustic( "Losing My Religion"), to mid nineties alternative ("What's The Frequency Kenneth","E-Bow The Letter"), R.E.M.'s evolving sound has woven a rich tapestry and helped defined modern music.

 Panda Bear- Tomboy:  Noah Lennox( also known as Panda Bear) is cited as pioneering the genre of electronic music known as "chillwave" with his 2007 album Person Pitch. The New York Times defines "chillwave" as "solo acts or minimal bands with a laptop at their core. 80's inspired, recession era music low budget and danceable."  My definition of Tomboy is choir-like harmonies layered with experimental electronic landscapes, a melding of mellow Beach Boy tunes with trippy house/ techno meditative surf music. Yes I am aware of how convoluted that sounds, but this album is a summer treat! With song titles like "Surfers Hymn" and "Last Night at the Jetty" can't you feel the waves at your feet already? Lennox also masterfully handles the multiple roles of a full band as a strong vocalist and multi instrumentalist.

No comments:

Post a Comment