Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shabazz Palaces

From the ashes of the defunct indie hip-hop group Digable Planets comes frontman Butterfly's new project Shabazz Palaces and their debut LP Black Up. Whereas Digable Planets played heavy with a jazz background, Shabazz incorporates a heavy emphasis on distortion and electronic sounds. This results in one of the most unique hip-hop albums in a long time. It's not something you'll hear being blasted at the clubs, this is smart risky rap. It's a feeling. It's a feeling.

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Are You Can You Were You (Felt)

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Rapture

Back in the day there were three prominent artists to come out of the DFA label. LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and The Rapture. LCD became legendary, Hot Chip continues to pump out solid albums, but The Rapture however faded away. Band members quit, they had a couple relatively popular albums, "House of Jealous Lovers" was epic but for some reason they couldn't quite keep it together. Call it a comeback! Because in September The Rapture will drop a new album and have already released the incredibly powerful "How Deep Is Your Love?" which just might be one of my favorite songs of the year. The track starts strong and quickly finds its groove that continues to build and progress throughout the entire song. Electro kids take note, this is dance music done right.

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How Deep Is Your Love?

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Morning Jacket at Pantages 6/22

It was hard to tell if the smoke that filled The Pantages Theater last Wednesday night was from a fog machine or the fact that My Morning Jacket were absolutely burning this mother fucker to the ground. Jim James & Co. tore through an absolutely blistering two and a half hour set. The group seemed to favor their new album Circuital the most by playing the entire album. That was my one gripe about this show. I know bands tend to love playing their new material for crowds because it's fresh and exciting for them as a band, and Circuital is a fine album but only four or five of the ten tracks are worth hearing live. I would have traded "Outta My System" or "Slow Slow Tune" for "Dondante" or anything off of At Dawn which they completely ignored that night. But alas, we can't always get what we want. 
It's very difficult to talk about this band's live presence on a blog or watch YouTube videos of them. They are a force that must be experienced live. My Morning Jacket cranks it up to eleven the entire show, and through the swell of keys, drums and guitars Jim James's voice pierces through the cacophony straight into your soul. From the epic opening notes of "Victory Dance" to the blazing closer "Megateeth" this band kept the entire Los Angeles audience completely captivated.

Here's one of the songs I wish they would have played.
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The Way That He Sings

Monday, June 20, 2011

Outta Town

I'm out of town for a few days, so it may seem slow on here. See you Friday where I'll have a write up of My Morning Jacket live at Pantages Theater.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Whereas his previous record For Emma, Forever Ago softly played like a gentle snow in a cold winter, Bon Iver's self-titled sophomore LP blossoms from the spring. It's a new direction for Justin Vernon although it is still breathtakingly beautiful and reminiscent of For Emma, it certainly stands on its own. The problem Bon Iver had to face was that their first LP is considered by many to be one of the best records of the previous decade. It is a record that people (myself included) have fond memories associated with. If you were to compare these two records, which you shouldn't, then of course For Emma stands above and beyond Bon Iver. This record simply put is beautiful, and will be on the top of many people's year-end lists. However, there are some dull moments in this record and some songs towards the latter half of the album don't really stand out. The last song "Beth/Rest" I haven't quite decided if I like or not. The lyrics of the track are extremely heartfelt, but the song's aesthetic borders the line of being pretty and schmaltzy, with it's Phil Collins-esque cheese guitar solos gently in the background. Above all things Bon Iver is a very pleasant listening experience and the band once again becomes the soundtrack to nature hikes everywhere.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Vetiver - The Errant Charm

Vetiver return with their 5th album of their signature breezy laid back folk. This is a perfect summer evening album that should be played just as the sun begins to disappear over the horizon. The Errant Charm much like every Vetiver album is a slow-burner and I'm sure after repeated listen this will become one of my favorite albums of the year. The major change for the group is their successful attempt at a straight up no frills rocker with the track "Ride Ride Ride." This shows that Vetiver are not yet quite done exploring their sound and are keen on switching things up. Vetiver are quickly becoming synonymous with solidarity.

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Wonder Why

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hall of Fame: The Beach Boys - Holland

** Hall of Fame is where I discuss my favorite albums of all time, they may not always be the most critically acclaimed, but they hold a special place in my heart**

Everyone loves a good comeback, and for The Beach Boys the late 60s and early 70s were a very rough time. Their leader, Brian Wilson had suffered a mental collapse and were constantly living in the shadow of other successful bands like The Beatles. For their nineteenth album the band decided to ditch America and record in The Netherlands. After several attempts the band even got Brian Wilson to get on the plane. Carl Wilson had the duty of steering Holland  into the direction that the band wanted it to go in. 
I have this theory about The Beach Boys, when people are younger they tend to focus solely on their early work like "Barbra Ann" or "Help Me Rhonda." They're great songs don't get me wrong, they are absolute staples in American Rock & Roll, however they're very straightforward. Yet, as one gets older they begin to discover The Beach Boys' later work that includes records like Holland and Surfs Up. My theory has to be true! These are Beach Boys songs that never see radio-play, why would an oldies station play "Sail On Sailor" when they just as easily could play a mega hit like "Surfin' USA"?
However, where albums like Holland lack in commercial appeal, they make up for it in content. This is a beautiful fully-realized album with depth, risk and landscape. Holland received much critical acclaim as it should have, and for a brief moment The Beach Boys were back in the limelight before they faded away again. Holland is one of those records that I firmly believe will stand the test of time and will be eventually considered by critics and fans alike as their best album.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

 With the political world is in an uproar over "Weinergate" there isn't a more perfect time for Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks to release their new politically charged single "Senator." Seriously, I'm beginning to think this Senator Anthony Weiner thing is just a really involved ad campaign for the new Malkmus album. I like the Malkmus & The Jicks releases, of course his solo work is always going to be in the shadow of his other Titanic-sized band Pavement, but he seems to be getting his kicks during "Senator." The Beck-produced album  is due out in August! 

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Sick in Bed

I've been out of it the past few days with food poisoning so I haven't had the right mindset to put together a well thought out post. So here's a track from More Songs About Buildings and Food by Talking Heads it's called "Stay Hungry." Watch what you eat kids.

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Stay Hungry

Friday, June 3, 2011

ST&SP Presents: Summer's Eve

I love mixtapes, to me they are one of the best ways to discover new music. There's a beauty in listening to a short segment of a song blend into the next one. I have collected a number of mixtapes over the years and they have greatly expanded my knowledge of music. I have thought about doing this for a while but never had enough time to spare cutting everything together. Yet here we are, Shiny Tops & Soda Pops Present: Summer's Eve, our first summer mixtape. There's something for everyone on this tape, download it, burn it to disc and pop it in your car for ultimate listening pleasure. This mixtape is dedicated to all the other blogs whose mixtapes have inspired me to do this: Aquarium Drunkard, The Rising Storm, Ponytone, Gentlebear  and Cold Splinters. We will see you in the winter with our next mix! 

ST&SP Present: Summer's Eve (run time: 1:05:53)
Nat King Cole – Nature Boy
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Atlas Sound (feat. Panda Bear) – Walkabout
David Crosby – Tamalpais High (At About 3) / Wooden Ships Jam Demo
Dirty Gold – California Sunrise
Spoon – The Underdog
James Brown – Your Cheating Heart
Anthony Lamont – Benny The Skinny Man
Head Hands & Feet – Safety In Numbers
Grateful Dead – Rolling Thunder (Shoshone Invocation)
The Monkees – As We Go Along
Flo & Eddie – Keep It Warm
Chubby Checker – No Need to Get So Heavy
Dead Man’s Bones – Lose Your Soul
Panda Bear – Surfer’s Hymn
Third Wave – Eleanor Rigby
The Roches – Hammond Song
Bob Dylan – Wigwam
The Equals – Reincarnation
Os Mutantes – Bat Macumba
The Fiery Furnaces – Benton Harbor Blues
Emit Rhodes – Mary Will You Take My Hand
Little Joy – For No One’s  Better Sake
Roberto Cacciapaglia – Sei Note in Logica (excerpt)
Hoagy Carmichael – Two Sleepy People

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