20 July 2009

Postal Service Covers

In confiding in our randomness theme today (one ehteral Coldplay track, one crunk-rock pop-and-lock FF5 track) I bring you two extremely different covers of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights." Take it away A.V. Club:

"It's a band called Confide. They're covering The Postal Service's gentle electro-ballad "Such Great Heights." I guess it's a testament to the song that it "works" both in this incarnation and the way that Iron & Wine did it a while back. Check 'em both out. If you play both videos at once, Satan will tell you to kill something."

Family Force 5- Dance or Die

Coldplay- Strawberry Swing

Upon my first few listens of Coldplay's latest effort, the most "experimental" track out of the bunch was "Strawberry Swing" towards the end of the great fourth effort from the Brits. It bounced and rolled with Afro-pop guitars, falsetto vocals, percussion faded in-and-out and perfectly complimented the dream landscape vocalist Chris Martin painted.

I always took the track literally, always painting the "sitting underneath the oak tree, possibly on a swing in the English countryside" loll that the Afro-pop guitars and swirling violons put you into. But what Coldplay (and the directive team behind the video) has done to in the mere context of words I cannot find --reimagine-- this song is one of the most beautiful, imaginative and heartfelt videos of our generation. We are swept into a childlike, playground/street fantasy that who knows, maybe Martin's child Apple came up with. This video not only changes your opinion/form on the song, but I think personally challenges myself to try and be as creative in my lifetime.

Think Up!, and remember, don't look down, because you're already there.

(Ed. note: This version is pirated, I know that sexpot Katy Perry is trailing behind the end of Strawberry Swing for some unknown reason (but I mean, who wouldn't want Perry trailing you right?). The video just came out today and LOP wanted to get it to you ASAP. I will update and embed a better version as soon it Coldplay puts it up on their channel in HD. Family Force 5's Dance or Die video should be coming around soon as well.)

14 July 2009

Brand New-Daisy Preview

Brand New's forthcoming album, Daisy, has been set to be release September 22 (an avid fan might use some vulgarity to explain their feelings of the continued postponement of the album). But this antsy fan can rest assure that the next album will be just as different as The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. Jesse Lacey's comments on the new album alludes to the fact that this could be the band's last chapter in their musical odyssey. Let it be clear that the new tracks are meant to be experienced, meaning get your ass to a concert even if you don't have a job, rather than a merely repeated LP in the whip. Here is one of the songs off the new album at their July 11 show in Brooklyn. The song is more than mellow and the crowd reflects this mood, but at a Brand New concert most of the audience is swaying to simple tones that barely slide past the THC bouncers anyway.*

LOP Track Grade-6.5

This is a much better video of another new track, Gasoline.

LOP Track Grade-8

*See my pictures from the concert in Amsterdam

Kings of Leon- In Memorium?

Since the most recent news out of the good ol' countries of Scotland/Ireland suggest that Kings of Leon are either A)Breaking up, B)on the verge of a epic internal collapse that could lead to collapse or C)Just having one of their famous 48-hour drunken rages that leads to brotherly fighting-- I present to you two rare tracks from their earlier (and still drunken brawling) happier times, Youth and Young Manhood.
Talihina Sky (rare B-side)

Molly's Hangover (Wasted Time B-side, acoustic rendition of Molly's Chambers with a little splash of improv)

Coldplay- Billie Jean (Live Cover)

1. Coldplay has always been a victim of its worldwide mega-stardom and commercial success, one of the last real super bands to be tied down by a record company these days, and sometimes it hinders their artistic creativity. You know these guys are good, they sometimes just don't want to be better.

2. Having gone to a Coldplay show live (I was with a chick mind you!), they used to stick to their rock star formula-schtick, but ever since the experimental and needed change-of-pace Viva La Vida (Or Death and All His Friends) they have decided, "People are going to see us regardless, and they have probably already seen us perform, so lets change it up." And they have on their most recent world tour. Sure, yellow balloons fall from the sky during "Yellow," and the swinging light flies around during "Fix You," but filtered into their newest set is a more intimate experience with the fans.

3. During their last world tour, the encore was a stripped down, acoustic set allowed for a clap-along, jammed out ending with Kingdom Come, and has progressed into a middle-of-the-set walkout into the crowd jam session. One improvised song (in our case, "Billie Jean" from a few days ago," and one mash-up of crowd (and personal) favorite "God Put a Smile on Your Face" and "Talk." It allows the usually by-the-basics band to return to their more acoustic routes, and connect more with the ever-distancing audience in an arena tour.

4. Their "Billie Jean" cover is a great of improvised jamming, strumming, and overall you can tell the band in having a good time paying tribute to the King of Pop. The song lags a a tad bit (as given by parched audience participation) , but the duel guitars of Johnny Buckley and drummer Will Champion provide plenty of Quincey Jones' trademark funk on the track, while Chris Martin rides the falsetto rollercoaster in-and-out of the song. How long will it stay on the arsenal? Probably not long, but a fun change-up to throw at the giant crowds nonetheless.

LOP Track Grade- 7.5

5. The tour-long staple of the mash-up is a great little thing of brilliance however. When a band this large has released so many popular songs, how do you please the fans who come to see the ONE song that touched them more than any other? Mash-ups of course! Usually reserved for a Daft Punk of Justice concert, Champion uses an electronic drum pad to put up the tempo, and bassists Guy Berreyman and Buckley are hooked up wireless-amps to all jam around Martin's piano and produce both songs in back-to-back succession to perfection. It may not be the way the crowd wants to hear both songs, but I guarantee those people at "The George," I'd imagine that would be some silly arena in the middle-of-nowhere in the Dakota's, will be left with a different interpretation of the band's songs on that little perch. Those outfits they've been wearing for 1.5+ years gotta be stank by now though.

LOP Track(s) Grade- 9.0

Another Phoenix Post...

Yes, ok, I have a summer crush, but its warranted! Everyone else does as well. If you want to get cerebal and pretend you were whisked away to those GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) classes when you were in elementary school, try and figure out this coding offered to the single of the year so far, Phoenix's 1901.

12 July 2009

A Summer Band Fling

Driving down through Koreatown and into West LA, I noticed that Phoenix's upcoming (and now past) concert was placed right alongside a fitting tribute to "The King of Pop," Mr. Michael Jackson.

I think it is also fitting that as we will continue to have Mr. Jackson's legacy (good and bad) and his family's future legal troubles thrown upon us all summer long, I give you my media-attention whore at the moment, those French dudes from Phoenix. (I also found it fitting that they gave a tribute to the man at a recent concert in Denver, staying afterwards and throwing a huge "Thriller" album dance party, posted last.)

Phoenix is destined be the next "French fry" if you will from France. Their latest, "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix," is by far their best, tightest and most productive/rewarding album to date, but I highly recommend you go back in their catalog to see how their friendships with both Daft Punk and Air (grew up in the same neighborhood) has heavily influenced the AM-radio/early 70's radio on the French quartet. (I'm 3-for-3 in turning my friends on to them.)

So as the summer hits its stride (and halfway point), the heat becomes sweltering and swampy-assed, remember that at the end of the day you can grab a cold one, throw a party, and have Phoenix as the background noise.

Enjoy some recent killer live performances and get litzomanic.

09 July 2009

Dirty Projectors- Stillness Is The Move

This fresh sextet hales from the streets of Brooklyn and are creating much steam on as the opening act for TV on the Radio's tour. Headed by Yale graduate, David Longstreth, This band bends the sounds of West-African guitar lines and the synth provides hollow beats to the angelic clamoring and high-pitched, euphoric sounds from the girl members. Bitte Orca is the new album in stores now. "Stillness Is The Move" provides a clear and catchy understanding of this progressive sound.

06 July 2009

Amazing Baby- Headress

Not quite sure how I feel about this light-on-the-feet Brooklyn band yet or their single. Its a mix of everything a quintet can throw at the art-rock genre (glam rock, power-pop, experimental stuff) and they even sound larger than they actually are, it's quite ambitious stuff. It's very unsettling at times but the barouque pomp-and-circ. of the whole thing leads me to believe their album will be worth of few spins.
Amazing Baby - Headdress

LOP Track Grade: 7.8

Boys Like Girls- Love Drunk

Dance-pop-rock darlings Boys Like Girls came onto the scene over 2.5 years ago after slowly smoldering on the sidelines. With a small record label budget and a DIY attitude, BLG was one of the great stories to come out of 2007/2008, when the tweens and TRL finally picked up on the working class-routed Boston quartet (even though there album was met with lukewarm reception in the summer of 2006).

Their self-titled debut eventually went has moved over 600,000+ copies to date, thanks to extensive touring and a worthy track-to-track "Soundtrack of the Summer" quality of the record, but was there any indication that these Nor'Eastern dudes had any staying power?

It's cliche to say "A debut takes a lifetime to write. A lifetime of memories, breakups, heartbreaks, etc. That second album? What is there to write about but good times, money and girls?" And yeah sure....BLG was a product of style and genre placement, a cross between Glamour Kills, Hot Topic and Fall Out Boy, something to make the kids dance and sing (but not too hard or loud), just pure power-pop. Producer Matt Squire probably didn't do much help, as he is known to basically just make the music himself and look how well that has turned out for media-darlings Panic! at the Disco.

Basically, BLG got received a ton of cash to make this album, and who knows, with all the touring and corporate tie-ins and commitments they have had to make over the past few years, things might have gotten a little hectic in ol' lead singer Martin's head. Lyrics and innuendo's like "Top down in the summer sun/The day we met was like a hit and run/And I still taste it on my tongue" just won't get it done in the big scheme of things, let alone The Edge wants hit opening riff back and Taking Back Sunday and All Time Low already did the chants with "Sink Into Me" and "Weightless" (again, a Matt Squire productions). (Don't even get me started about the "NaNaNas" at the end, completely pointless.)

With all that said, Martin and the boys still have that knack for blending in simple and subtle electronics into their work, which stands them apart from their peers in using it so well without being overdone. Martin's high notes are a little overdone on the chorus (no doubt he will have a cold when touring, like he did for two years because he can't hit them) and again, the lyrics go from trying to please 12-year old Hot Topic chicks to possibly passing as mature:

I used to be love drunk/But now I'm hungover....We used to kiss all night/Now it's just a barfight" So that's what they call fucking these days?

It's passable emo at best, but when BLG want to be playing like their lives depended on it (like on their amazing debut). The inter-wove stories of growing up and breaking up mixed with sometimes dark, moody and intense and uplifiting music, and now I guess, well they're stuck on rollercoasters love drunk.

LOP Track Grade: 5.6