My first exposure to Broadcast was “Come On Let’s Go” off of their stellar debut LP The Noise Made By People. That track, characteristic of Broadcast’s glitchy, psychedelic brand of dream pop is truly unique. “Black Cat”, while still retaining the repetitive, minimal melodies and atmospheric drones Broadcast mastered on their first two records, is a different beast; Broadcast trade in live drums for a drum machine and replace gentle synth swells with glitchy melodies and walls of feedback. “Black Cat” features a simple groove that gets turned on its head by fuzzy, stuttering synths and swells of guitar noise. The late Trish Keenan’s hypnotic vocals rise above the droning instrumentation, floating gracefully above a sea of static. It is rare for a band to so successfully incorporate noise and experimental elements into pop music, but Broadcast do it flawlessly. Certainly one of the more original and inventive groups of the early 2000s, Broadcast is a fantastic band well worth a listen. Fans of Animal Collective, Stereolab, MBV, or Yo La Tengo, this’ll be right up your alley. Check it.
If I ever go on a road trip, this will be the first track on my playlist. “Me & Magdalena” fills me with nostalgia and makes me think of wide open spaces. The lyrics are gorgeous, especially the two-line chorus (And I don’t know if I’ve ever loved any other/ half as much as I do in this light she’s under). Play it while walking across campus at sunset for a full listening experience.
After a full day of class sometimes the best medicine is some hazy, lo-fi, dream pop. Cigarettes After Sex delivers with “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby.” The droning of lead singer Greg Gonzalez lulls you into a relaxing listening experience. Repetitive drum beats help reinforce the lull, while still giving this song some backbone. With a very similar vibe to “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star albeit slightly slower, if you’re a fan of Mazzy Star then you are bound to like this.
I can still remember being front row, the most enthusiastic in a small crowd at froyo ma’s set in New Orleans. I was screaming “I LOVE YOU!!” to one of my favorite artists who looks suspiciously like Napoleon Dynamite (I may be his biggest fan). His sound is very unique and I’m a sucker for his album art. When I saw his new mix out with Nick Hakim i was even more excited, and have been listening to it often for the past month. Love you froyo ma, you’re killing it.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard produce deafening, propulsive shredding that echoes from a villain’s dungeon in your Saturday morning cartoons. Throughout their career, the seven-piece outfit from Melbourne has imbued jazz, soul, surf, and metal into their distinct blend of psychedelia. While it’s tempting to pigeonhole them with all the other emerging garage rock revivalists, this band is entirely its own animal. A first listen to “Am I In Heaven?” and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is already distinguished from the rest. The mind bending song begins in a serene haze of jangly acoustic guitars and quickly descends into apocalyptic, adrenaline-fueled inferno. Check it out:
Almost one year ago, Homeboy Sandman played to a crowd of about 30 students in Armstrong Theater. The passion that he performed with was commendable seeing as he was playing to a measly crowd of college students on a Friday night in Colorado Springs, CO. The rapper, who hails from New York City, has made a living on his understated and poignant raps. In “God,” the MC creates a friendly image of God in his distinctive poetic flow. “God gives me dreams / God gives me bed bugs / The big and the small God gives it all.” The world of “underground” hip-hop is a curious thing and I hope that Stones Throw Records can continue to expose Homeboy Sandman to a bigger audience, because the man has something to say.
Fourth week, tuesday night. The most savage night of the most savage of weeks. Coming to you from the fishbowl, downing coffee, writing an essay on this band, Talk Talk. Dare I say one of my favorite bands. Their final two albums are utter masterpieces (Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock for the unfortunate bunch to not have these albums enter their ears), but here’s an earlier cut, one from 1984’s It’s My Life. This fine piece of synthpop seems kinda relevant, since living your life is probably hasn’t been in cards for you this week. Whether writing, studying, or swirling about in a downward spiral of anxiety and despair, power through it. It’s your life, don’t you forget. And if you’re like me, you did fuck all the past three weeks of your life. So it goes. At the very least, listening to this song on repeat has helped me write good.
Being a Porches fan is a struggle when you’re not crazy about electronic style music. Before I discovered “Scrap and Love Songs Revisited”, an album consisting mainly of stripped down guitar tracks, I had to search around Youtube for acoustic versions of my favorite Porches songs. “Peach Pit,” a bonus track, is about as stripped down as you can get. The simple, repetitive melody and soothing acoustic guitar motif makes it feel sort of like a lullaby. But despite its sweet, childish lyrics, its tone is mature and melancholic, and at times comes off as worn down, emotionally weary. Give it a listen!
If you’re a fan of Sylvan Esso then “Breathe” by ANIMA! is definitely worth a listen. With a low-key electronic vibe in the background and strong, clear female vocals, these two artists share an uncanny resemblance. Even if you’re not a big fan of Sylvan Esso but you’re looking for a great song to write a paper to, then this is for you. Calm enough to be background music when you want it to, it still has enough depth for a great easy-listening song while putting off writing that final paper.
One joyful week this summer, two albums that I have since grown to love, and which I consider creative summits for both artists, came out : “Freetown Sound” by Blood Orange and “Wildflower” by The Avalanches. I’ve seen Blood Orange pop up quite often this year on the SoCC blog, and (in my humble opinion) with good reason. Still, I didn’t want the Avalanches’ album to be overlooked. While its lyrics may not be as emotionally/socially charged, the production value of the album is outstanding –– for proof, just listen to how intricately tens of seconds of samples are woven through most of the songs. For the Song of the Day, I chose “Subways”, the fourth song off of “Wildflower”; listen below and find out why.