Archive for the ‘Experimental/Noise’ Category

Do TV Commercials Ruin Good Songs? (Yeah, Pretty Much)

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This week I was planning to write about Chicago pop-experimentalists, Walter Meego (the cool guys in the glasses), whose first studio album, Voyager (Sony 2008), was released last month. (Yes, Walter Meego is actually two people. No, neither one is named Walter or Meego). Unfortunately, an unexpected monkey wrench was thrown smack into the middle of my best laid plans.

Here’s what happened: I was watching some soccer on TV over the weekend when a new Heineken commercial promoting their idiotic “Beertender” home mini-kegerator came on. I guess it might not be so idiotic if Heineken didn’t taste like unfiltered Dutch canal water. But it does. So as far as I’m concerned it’s idiotic. Anyway, the song featured prominently in the “Home Bars” ad spot in question (watch the ad here) brought an instant scowl to my face. “Those Heineken beer-Nazi sonofabitches,” I said to no one but the television, “they jacked my fucking song — already.” The song was Walter Meego’s “Forever,” which just happens to be my favorite Walter Meego song. (Listen to it here).


Now, it was ruined. Forever. “Forever” was ruined forever. Or so I felt. My favorite song from a relatively new and largely unknown experimental pop group (what the hell is experimental pop anyway?) had been reduced to nothing more than another cheap cog in the beer world’s mega-marketing wheel of death and societal detriment. Weren’t alternative/indie musicians like Walter Meego supposed to tell advertisers to fuck off when asked to use their songs anyway? What gives?

At first I wished that I had just never seen the commercial. That would’ve made everything okay. Unfortunately my Men In Black “Flashy Thing” has been broken for years. (Except when it comes to finding my keys). So that option was out.

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Battles Live: Human After All?

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Despite all the acclaim their debut album, Mirrored, received last year, math rock outfit Battles still has their share of detractors. To some, listening to Mirrored was a cold, dead experience as their music lent almost very little, if any, soul or emotion. Fair, I say, but that does not make it any less of an incredible recording.

If anything, the vocals that multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton (son of Anthony, the legendary saxophonist) lends to the songs makes their latest material far more accessible to the listener than the purely instrumental material released almost 4 years ago on the EP C and B EP records. His vocals may be indecipherable, but it adds a human quality that was lacking before. If you were familiar with the band before Mirrored, you were in awe of how precise and monumentally dense the performances were on record, you swore it had to have been done by robots. Daft Punk, eat your heart out.

My first experience with Battles was about 4 years ago when they supported The Icarus Line (remember when Penance Soiree was the shit for about a month?) on tour. Being new to the band when I first saw them, their performance blew me away with how simply incredible they were as musicians. You had to be there: my jaw hit the floor when Braxton and Ian Williams played the exact same melody on their keyboard while fingerpicking their guitars at the same time. John Stainer was an absolute beast on the drums. Watching them was like staring in awe at an enormous machine run like clockwork. But all the while the band hardly addressed the semi-hostile crowd, with the only acknowledgment coming in the form of garbled vocals from Braxton in between songs.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday night as Battles performed for a private audience at 86 in Hollywood as a warm-up for their Coachella gig that coming weekend. Fresh off their newfound fame from Mirrored, they breezed through a set off the album, including “Atlas,” “Leyendecker,” and the monstrous “Tonto.” Having seen them before I was knew what I was getting, but what amazed me most was how loose the band looked despite their music’s call for precision. Despite all the hopping around by Williams and Braxton, the notes came exactly when they were supposed to.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came when Braxton greeted the audience with an unadulterated-by-knobs salute of “Wassup LA!” Battles had tore down the facade once and for all, and showed us that underneath the mechanized output was just some regular guys like you and me. That’s when you took a big sigh of relief and realized to yourself that you had made it out of Uncanny Valley.

Written by Carman

April 28, 2008 at 12:16 am

Dan Deacon/Foot Village Record Release

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At about 1:30am Tuesday morning, drenched with sweat, we all slowly started pouring out of the Smell after Dan Deacon’s performance. I looked at my friend Ian and all he could say was “Wow”. Wow indeed. We were completely exhausted but couldn’t be any more elated. It was a truly special night at the Smell.

Hosted by Sean Carnage this past Monday night was LA’s finest drumming quartet- Foot Village’s record release party. It was jam packed with 6 bands, promptly starting after the doors opened at 9. There were rumors for at least a week that Electro-God Dan Deacon would be making an appearance. By Monday afternoon, The Smell officially announced it on their site. I figured by then the cat was out of the bag, and it would be just insanity. It strangely though never got too packed, but I will say that the 100 or so people that did file in last night, left shocked& awed (!!!). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by RocksRocksRocks

April 8, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Tera Melos-Accepting Deaf

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Tera Melos

Wow. On Thursday night at the local Silverlake Lounge, I had my face melted by an awe inspiring performance from the band Tera Melos. To me, this is what life is about. After following these guys fairly regularly since discovering them on a music forum, I was delighted to finally catch a performance of them in person. This 3-piece band who seemed to not have a fraction of the fan base they deserve, have the exact energy that I seek in a band. They can shred with virtuoso skill, hit a beautiful melody, and then jump into a spastic thrash all in the same song. If I were to actually bog down and attempt at genre description(I’d rather not, but….), I would say they are progressive math rock fusioned with parts metal, punk, and post-rock. Got it? Good. Their albums don’t quite capture their live energy, but still showcases their amazing abilities. They tend to be more calculated recorded while their show seemed a bit more of a controlled chaos.

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Written by RocksRocksRocks

March 24, 2008 at 12:10 am

New Vinyls- Lou Reed(Metal Machine) + Plugz (Better Luck)

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So in the past two weeks I’ve bought three vinyls that I’ve been looking quite hard for. I haven’t given them the spins they deserve yet, but I’m getting there. While collecting records, I’ve realized I’ve become somewhat obsessed with getting the original/first pressing. That obviously makes my search a lot more expensive and tedious, but more exciting too. The feeling I get when I grab an original pressing with an 8 buck sticker at Ameoba is so rewarding (Black Flag-Damaged, Butthole Surfers-Brown Reason to Live…etc). Seeing them sold on E-bay for a lot more is also fun to see, but I have no interest in selling them. Beyond their obvious monatary value, I think there is a bit of romanticism in first pressings. It’s a piece of history. It’s what was released when the artist had no idea if more than 10 would sell. THAT, is exciting to me. Re-pressings just don’t hold that quality. I dont feel the same connection with the history in re-presses. That being said, below are my 3 recent purchases, one an original pressing, another an original German pressing, and the last a total repress.

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Written by RocksRocksRocks

March 21, 2008 at 10:36 pm