Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Last week I was absolutely inundated with the perfection that is Lana Del Rey from what seemed to be every aspect of my viral and real life (Thank you Ian/Twitter/blogosphere). Lana Del Rey is the sultry alias for this pouty-lipped, gorgeous creature that is New York singer-songwriter Lizzy Grant. She’s breathtaking and what’s even more she is talented; her single “Video Games” makes my heart hurt in the best way possible. With its sweeping strings and stripped down vocals, Video Games manages to evoke memories of the days I would worship at the altar of Cat Power/Fiona Apple. Her single is very reminiscent of the same brand of lazy, sexy, orchestral pop those ladies created that provided the soundtrack to my breakups and hangups. It is no wonder that I was immediately obsessed with Lana Del Rey, as well. I’d throw myself happily into emotional turmoil if it meant more tracks like this would suddenly appear in my realm of existence.

“Video Games” will be released with its b-side, “Blue Jeans,” by Stranger Records on October 9th.

and here’s the mp3 so you too can put it on repeat forever and let your heart break a little.

Lana Del Rey – Video Games (mp3)

xx,

Michelle

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Balam Acab – Wander/Wonder

The massive over saturation of data in today’s society is daunting. Present technology affords us the luxury of having any piece of knowledge, any semblance of history and antiquity be it the military strategy of the Phoenicians or the import and exportation of domesticated horse semen. This ease of acquisition has changed the way we live, developed a dissonance simply by being over informed, and helped develop new forms of expression to the ones who take advantage of its virtues. Balam Acab is a sterling example of the latter aspect of the phenomena.

Alec Koone, the plainclothes moniker of Balam Acab, is notable for a few reasons. He’s the baby face of TRIANGLE Records (a label which should be commended for both its austerity and its artists’ ability to both shudder your spine and lovingly massage your ears with their work), just a spry 20 years old, yet his keen and often ethereal skill with reworking samples render his age irrelevant. As his previous effort, the sumptuous See Birds EP proved, Balam Acab has an uncompromised direction for his music, devising bright R&B vocal samples into dark and distant cries for help, as accompanied strings and bass laden drums trap you in places unknown, unfamiliar and at times both haunting and poignant. It’s hip-hop for the ketamine crowd, witch house for the downer-induced, dance music for the crowds utterly sick of high BPMs. And it’s gorgeous. Continue reading “Balam Acab – Wander/Wonder”

The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

Preface: Many of you might have wondered what had become of Lipstick Communism, it’s dormancy leaving a harsh cry in the ears of its several dozen readers, its absence a bitter aftertaste of those who reveled in the opinions of a small few. Never mind our MIA status, we’re back with sincere apologies and I myself have returned after a bitter bout of writer’s block which lead to the dark annals of alcoholism, only to emerge with a tragic and besmirched worldview. And that just makes for better reading.

New York based dance-punk trio The Rapture played a major role in the whole post punk revival that was oh so popular in the early “aughts,” a scene that took a raw propensity and married it to the more electronic and dance elements that took hold of the 80’s and early 90’s and nearly strangled them. Whether this is something to be admired or cursed, The Rapture helped form a sound that was ruthlessly beaten like a horse just out on to the tracks, barely even able to consider a suitable place to die. But The Rapture did it in absence of conviction and with a desire to hold every instrument hostage until they got as much fun as they wanted out of it, lest we forget the all-too-important free jazz sax solos. In the Grace of Your Love, the third LP release from the band and a heart-warming return to the James Murphy DFA Empire Inc. should mark a union of the scratchy, rambunctious scatter shots that Echoes made you swoon over with the almost-too-polished-shoe-shined-dance-floor romps of Pieces of the People We Love. What ends up coming from five years of work and a brutal cowbell neglection is a band in an identity crisis, an album that the late Annie Lennox, were she alive, would probably soil her knickers over (RIP Annie Lennox, who is definitely, indisputably no longer alive.)

May you warm the soul of heaven, you sweet angel.

Continue reading “The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love”

It’s that time again… Coachella 2011 Survival Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the yeaarrr….almost. Coachella season is OFFICIALLY here and so is my annual Chellz Survival Guide (find last year’s here). I am ready for the heat, the pain, the crowds, the over priced booze, and ready to try and face my fear of porta potties (fingers crossed). I am also ready to find Unicorn Girl again, DON’T LET ME DOWN LADY. Now that I am a well-seasoned veteran (hahah yeah right) I feel it only fair to pass on some pearls of wisdom for the Summer music festival goer this year. Things like:

1. Remember to pre-party. Unless you enjoy paying $9 for a fuckin Heineken or $10 for the sweetest margarita you will ever guzzle down (which leaves you with little more than a sugar high and a sticky mouth), sneaking booze in or keeping a steady supply of libations in your car or campsite is ardently suggested.

2. Don’t forget a sweater/hip cardigan and sunblock. The desert gets real cold at night y’all, a mistake I learned firsthand at our first Chella night as I practically froze my romper-clad bum off. And unless you are all blessed with the bronzed goddess-like tan I so easily acquire upon standing in the sun for 2.5 seconds, you’re gonna want to protect yourself from some tomato red tinged pain and shame.

3. Hydrate. Don’t forget to drink water! Excessive sun exposure + inevitable children almost overdosing on ecstasy should probably lead me to change this to #1 but I am, of course, too lazy to hit backspace in this bitch.

4. Baby Wipes. I don’t think this one needs any further explanation.

5. Set up a rendezvous point for you and your fraaands. You will have limited to pretty much zero cell reception so when you do break away from your group always have a meeting spot and check in times so you’re not left all alone, like a creep. This lone state will lead to super freaky lurkers or free love hippies trying to recruit you into their masses. Remain vigilant.

Anyways onto the good stuff and the only reason you have subjected yourself to my ramblings. Here is my compilation of the artists I am most excited about seeing this weekend. Hard, Sophie’s Choice-esque decisions will have to be made to fit in the maximal amount of musical goodness, I fear.

COACHELLA 2011 SURVIVAL GUIDE MIX (.zip)

Tracklist after cut —>

Continue reading “It’s that time again… Coachella 2011 Survival Guide”

Dog Is Dead

Dog Is Dead is a name that has been floating around languidly on the interwebz for about a year now, and it is a shame that the band hasn’t burst out in a horn-filled explosion for everyone to clamor over…yet. I believe this will be they year that that all changes for these 5 British babely boys. Hailing from Nottingham, these barely 20 year olds sound like they have been playing and harmonizing together for decades now. Their energetic brand of indie pop will grab you from the get-go and keep you wanting more.

From the moment I heard Dog Is Dead’s “Glockenspiel Song” I have not been able to get it out of my head. It resonates and bounces along in there until I am in a maddeningly good mood. It will make you want to grab your friends, run across a field, and proclaim “WE ARE A MESS, WE ARE FAILURES, AND WE LOVE IT!” and you will mean it, but like in the best way possible.

So, are we so alive?

Dog Is Dead – Glockenspiel Song (mp3)

xx,

Michelle

Nottee’s Young Modern Life

My reason for internet living, Cyndy G, asked me a question about a song a couple weeks ago, and I loved it but could not place it. So after hours of e-searching her brother figured out that it was Nottee’s “Young Modern Life” and we started to fall in love with her. I was also incredibly shamed that I hadn’t figured it out first, but we’ll save that for a future therapy session. Nottee is the moniker for 25 year old Swedish pop songstress Rebekka “Nonno” Drouggev (is it just me or is there something in the water in Sweden that makes them all so fucking awesome/gorgeous?) Nottee is no stranger to Swede music godliness, as she was playing bass in her brother’s band, Lo-Fi-Fnk (OMG), up until a few years ago. She makes songs that are tinged with Lykke Li’s great electro-pop sensibilities and Stevie Nicks-like vocals. “Young Modern Life” just sounds like carefree Summer afternoons, doesn’t it?

Nottee – Young Modern Life (mp3)

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Extra: here is a live performance of the incredibly charming “Control.” Also lololol at how Swedish sounds to us Ugly Americans. oops.

xx,

Michelle

Twin Sister

Last year, Andrew turned me onto the band Twin Sister and it was love at first listen. Little did I know that, months later, their songs would subtly stalk my life everywhere I turned.

If you know anything about me, you would know that I watch an inordinate amount of TV. I don’t care how embarrassing the show may be, I will probably watch it once. Now, that’s not to say that I have no discerning taste and will watch any shit they slap on the tube (read: MTV’s version of Skins). The shows I do love, however, I watch regularly and follow-up on religiously via ONTD. (secret confession: I’ve always been the biggest fan of the original UK version of Skins. I thought I would hate this new 3rd generation of characters, but it turns out I am absolutely OBSESSED with them. WATCH IT!)

Anyways, back to the topic at hand,  the series (serieses? god i hate irregular plural nouns) I tend to find myself enraptured with almost always have amazing music directors or something because they are constantly playing songs from artists I adore. This particular Twin Sister track, “I Want a House,” has actually been stalking me I swear. I hear it everywhere, like most recently on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the aforementioned terrible episode of US Skins I had been subjected to.

Twin Sister – I Want a House (mp3)

Twin Sister is an indie-pop act made up of five super-cute-twenty-something Brooklynites (by way of Long Island). They have accurately been described as making “music that sounds like a secret.” Their songs are bathed in an aura of dreamy romanticism and rounded out with pleasantly sweet/airy vocals. They made waves by releasing two EPs (Color Your Life and Vampires with Dreaming Kids) for free-99 last year. And their first experience with a real studio brought us this luscious track, “Meet The Frownies.” Leaves you salivating for what their proper debut album will be like, huh?

Twin Sister – Meet The Frownies (mp3)

xx,

Michelle

this week: a musical retrospective

Holy shit. This week in music has been absolutely bananas. It’s been a huge week for the underdog (see also: WHO IS ARCADE FIRE??!?!), for outstanding live performances, and for surprise albums releases that took the world by storm.

Last Sunday night, Arcade Fire won a Grammy for Album of the Year for the brilliance that is Suburbs. Whilst I was freaking out that the once little known Canadian-band-that-could was on national television winning a freaking Grammy,  it seemed the rest of the world was found asking itself, WHO IS ARCADE FIRE?! lulz lulz. Sidenote: if you watched the award show, how strange was their performance of “Month of May” with the BMXers and seizure inducing strobe lights? Not the biggest fan of that, but so ecstatic that the Grammys still got something right by giving the biggest award of the night to the band that deserved it the most. (Also, let’s just take a moment and thank god that Lady Antebellum didn’t sweep all its categories with that redneck drunk dial song)

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Local Natives. What more can I possibly say about these hometown heroes that hasn’t been said before a million times. If you have not seen this band live yet, then you need to find a way to correct this fault asap. They are one of the greatest live bands I have ever come across. Friday morning the boys had an in-studio live session on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic show and they brought along a gorgeous string quartet with them in preparation for their big Disney Concert Hall debut.

You can stream the awe-inspiring set HERE.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or OFWGKTA, is a hip hop collective from Los Angeles that has been around since about 2008, but has recently EXPLODED onto the music scene. Headed by Tyler, the Creator they are being hailed as the ultimate hype band and being treated as the saviors of hip hop at the moment. Take one look at their performance on Jimmy Fallon this week and you can’t help but get swept up as well. You will hardly be able to contain your excitement and will want to run out into the streets and scream “SWAG SWAG SWAG,” just like Mos Def. These kids have been releasing mixtapes for free for years on their tumblr and Tyler’s solo sophomore album Goblin has been picked up for release through XL Recordings. Odd Future is taking no prisoners and they are all only going to get bigger, so hold on now.

Tyler, The Creator – Yonkers

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AND THEN! To add even more excitement to a week that I could never dream could get any better Radiohead (FUCKING RADIOHEAD) announced that they would be releasing their new album, King Of Limbs, this week. And then they go right ahead and release it a day early (came out Friday 2.18.11) and preface it with this video of Thom Yorke dancing his way back into my heart in this video for “Lotus Flower.”

King of Limbs may not be as magical a release as In Rainbows was, but any gift from Radiohead is still a gift from the Gods themselves. I first heard this track “Give Up The Ghost” last year when Thom played it at Coachella and it still gives me chills today with its haunting beauty.

Radiohead – Give Up The Ghost (mp3)

-Michelle

A Tardy Top 10 of Twenty Ten.

Last night, The Style Eater embarrassingly brought it to my attention that I hadn’t blogged since the end of November. Oy vey. After we baked this GLORIOUS Black & Blue(berry) crumble pie for our weekly Gossip Girl tea party (and yes, it is as cute a ritual as it sounds), Janelle and Xtina and I started gushing over our favorite bloggers, and even scoffing at other life-ruiner bloggers whilst secretly really wanting their button-ups. This was about the time I had to hang my head in shame for my absence. Although, the last thing I left you with was a .gif of A.Skars’ nakey little bottom, so you’re welcome. But, with school apps out of the way and me just sitting around playing the horrid waiting game, this is pretty lamesville on my part. I blame Netflix; so many bad movies to watch instantly, so little time. So, I please beg of you to forgive my tardiness BUT seeing as how it is still January, I think I can (shamefully) get away with a Best of 2010 list. Right? Anyone? Bueller?

OH HAI! Also! Coachella lineup was released finally. What do we think about it? I’m not as excited as I was about last year’s but this shiz is selling out like crazy! Pre-sale tickets, camping passes, and VIP passes have already sold out in record time. what the eff? I blame KROQ. They need to stop S-ing Chella’s D right now so I can find me some frakkin housing for the weekend. Just had to vent a little, sorry. The inevitable Coachella artist preparedness posts will come later.

On to the the main event!

Top 10 of 2010:

10. Beach House – Teen Dream I have seen this band more times than I can keep track of, but I keep going back from more. I don’t know if it’s the dreamy quality of the music, Victoria’s scratchy, sexy vocals, or the many memories with great friends I have associated with Beach House songs that keeps me coming back. The only important thing, though, is that I keep returning.

Beach House – Take Care (mp3)

9. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record BSS will always be a forever favorite. This band is forever in my top 5. Even though, this album is not their crowning jewel it still has some really great moments.

Broken Social Scene – Texico Bitches (mp3)

8. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me I am completely obsessed with Joanna Newsom. I love everything about her. From the fact that she plays a harp to her boyfriend (Andy Samberg) to the mythical elf she sometimes resembles to her epic albums that recall a different era.

Joanna Newsom – ’81 (mp3)

7. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Yeezy may be the most self-involved, egotistical genius out there, but he definitely proves his brilliance again with MBDTF. Kanye wins, once again it’s all about him, but this time we’re not complaining because the result is so enrapturing. He even does a couple tracks with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. what the what.

Kanye West – Runaway (mp3)

6. Angus & Julia Stone – Down The Way These two are what brother-sister musical duo dreams are made of. When we saw them play at the El Rey, Julia brought out Damien Rice to cover a song from Grease with her. uhhh I die. How can you not love them?

Angus & Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane (mp3)

5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening Oh James Murphy, this album makes me want to dance my freakin pants off. A+.

LCD Soundsystem – All I Want (mp3)

4. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker Australian dreamboats that play psychedelic rock that instantly transports you to the 60’s and makes you want to trip on acid? sign me up.

Tame Impala – Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind (mp3)

3. The Head and The Heart – The Head and The Heart 2010 was THATH’s year, the little indie band from Seattle that took the world by storm in such a short amount of time. They had me at first Hallelujah, and now that they have been recently signed to Subpop, the days that I could see these lovelies playing in a friend’s living room are definitely numbered, if even a possibility anymore. This band has so much heart and so much talent that I couldn’t be more happier about the amazing things coming their way (like tours with Dr. Dog and Iron & Wine, having Dave Matthews as their biggest fan, opening for Vampire Weekend and so on and so forth. NBD). Can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us.

The Head and The Heart – Ghosts (mp3)

2. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor (technically this came out in 2009, but it didn’t have an official US release until 2010 so we’re going with it) Local Natives can do no wrong basically. this album was on repeat for months.

Local Natives – World News (mp3)

1. Arcade Fire – Suburbs Seeing this band live this year was a dream come true. They were one of the last bands on my list of “artists I need to see before I die” and they surely did not disappoint. S. Tan even got to touch Win’s sweaty arm as he ran by us. WIN WIN.

Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (mp3)

I didn’t go too much into why I love these albums because I have pretty much been raving and rolling about them all year anyways. Who the heck wants to hear that twice?

Ps. I got to babysit this little nugget / ruler of kittehs today. Jealz?

On a related note, isn’t catpaint the most amazing app you’ve laid eyes on??!

xx,

Michelle

Tracks To Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is perhaps one of my favorite holidays. An entire National Holiday dedicated to eating?? Yes please. Sign me up. The inner fat kid in me rejoiced as I planned our menu and, trust, my baked mac and cheese and garlic mashed potatoes were to die for (in case you were wondering). Throw in some booze, a fantastically loud and hilarious family, and new tunes and I don’t think anyone can resist this season’s charms.

So whilst I slaved away (I use this term relatively loosely) in the kitchen, I luckily had my “Tracks to be thankful for” playlist on repeat.

I am thankful for my loving family, all my very patient friends, a free Lil Wayne, black bottom pie, Cranium, Alexander Skarsgard’s ass,  4loko, and all these songs for being in my life.

Tracks To Be Thankful For (after the cut) —>

Continue reading “Tracks To Be Thankful For”