MGMT – Congratulations
Following their hit debut, Oracular Spectacular, was always going to be difficult. And lots of people seemed to find Congratulations a let down. True, it’s lighter on obvious hits than the last disc. But this album makes up for that by being an unabashed bit of hero worship. Every song is packed with musical and lyrical references to MGMT’s influences, sometimes making it seem more like a covers album than anything else. But the more subdued songwriting and an over all more melancholy sound (notwithstanding some outstanding chorus explosions) led me to love Congratulations even more than Oracular Spectacular. And live, it was even better.
Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)
Janelle Monáe is really cool. Originally given the nod by Sean Combs because her MySpace videos showed no flesh, and because she ‘sounded different’, her music is a combination of soul, funk and hip-hop and it’s 100% pop. She might be the new David Bowie. The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) is effectively two EPs on one album, both smoothly combined as single compostions and packing an incredible number of great tunes, inventive rhythms and intriguing android-themed lyrics. The album is produced by Big Boi and there is definitely a pretty clear Outkast influence on its sound… with is always a good thing. She’s playing live in Barcelona next February.
Wavves – King of the Beach
I don’t know much about these guys but I gather they’ve divided opinion among their target hipster audience. King of the Beach is just a great collection of surf rock songs played in a psychedelic mode. The album is essentially about being a lazy bum who smokes weed at the beach all summer. If that sounds obnoxious and sad, you won’t like this album. If, on the other hand, you think it reminds you of good times, and you like the idea of Beach Boys riffs played at quadruple speed with a ton of fuzz, you will like this album. The band is constantly shedding members (they had a disastrous on-stage meltdown in Barcelona in 2009), so I’ve no idea what they sound like currently. Either way, the record is cool. I might sneak a few tracks onto the New Year’s Eve playlist.
The failure on my part to do any blogging recently is a result of:
- having a new job
- temperatures reaching 35 degrees
- knocking down a shed
- the lack of things interesting enough to discuss, often brought on by Summer
For the record, I’m getting GTA:San Andreas next week. I am not interested in Live8. I think it’s only right that they ban smoking in public places. I’m worried about the red meat. I think Neil Michael Hagerty is some sort of musical wonder. I was burnt by the sun yesterday. We’re going to Benicassim this year. If I get the days off from my new boss. I like Saskia and Makosi in Big Brother, but only for their minds. I loathe media types talking about David and Victoria Beckham – the snide snobbery of some people is really too much to take.
The summer listening:
Royal Trux – Cats and Dogs (always at the top of the list anyhow)
The Howling Hex – All Night Fox
The Rolling Stones
Jefferson Airplane, the Worst Of
Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock
Love Forever Changes
Supergrass, Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, David Bowie.
(ie all the usual stuff… I like the fact you can get away with guitar solos when it’s really hot.)
Oh yes on holiday I’ve had much opportunity to consider things… Like what music do I like, and why do I like it?
I can safely say that I like:
and numerous other groups whose music is similar to these artists.
I can’t really find any reason why I like these bands and not others. I would like to claim it’s to do with SOUL, like oh they don’t sell themselves to ad merhants, but they do (Bowie and the Stones do anyway). Or being genuine, but the Trux are a curious blend of the genuine and the not-so, and Bowie ripped off everyone. And what does genuine mean?
So now I’ve decided it’s just attitude and cool. I can’t deny it, it’s utterly superficial, but I like all of these artists because of something to do with their attitude. The whiney or groany vocals, the sweet instrumentation, the rhythm section, the endless addictions! The not giving a fuck but really giving a fuck at the same time.
I can never dig U2 or the Coldplay clones because they’re so relentlessly dull. Say what you like, and maybe Witch’s Tit ain’t the most meaningful song in the world, but the truth lies in The Spectre, Second Skin, Pol Pot Pie, Needle in the Hay, Independence Day, Brainville, Heroes, C.R.E.E.P, Judy is a Punk. Not in ELEfuckingVATION.
/rant paused (will no doubt continue)…