Apologies for the recent blogging fail. Over the past couple months (yes shit it’s been months now.. I started writing this post in September), however, I have had the chance to see some of my favorite acts and have heard some rather glorious album leaks, so I am now ready with updates galore.
And so we begin, with yet another post dedicated to that sometimes dark and always sexy British trio, the xx.
Although the Palladium is perhaps my least favorite venue in Los Angeles, like seriously I would rather risk catching gonorrhea in an alley on the way to getting shot at the echoplex than have to see a show at the Palladium, I had to man up and deal with it if I wanted to catch the xx one last time before they took a long break from their relentless touring schedule. Tbh, this show was rather long ago so I don’t remember the subtle details of it all so I am going to summarize and shuffle through the drunken hazy memories, highlighted of course by some stellar footage.
Zola Jesus was the first opener of the night. I think they were good. I remember thinking the girl had a nice set of lungs on her. cue expensive beers. Warpaint was up next right before the xx and they were, as is expected, fantastic. The ladies provided a perfect complement to the xx with their sultry, hypnotic sound and seductive riffs.
What more can I say about the xx that I haven’t already gushed over? Their set was gorgeous, sexy, and transcending. Oliver further enforced the hold he has on mine and Tanya’s hearts. After their show, Fader and Converse sponsored the afterparty at Bardot, so of course we had to attend. Drinks were aplenty, drunken conversations were had with Romy (xx) and Emily (warpaint), Jamie xx dj’ed, and we danced/tried not to drool around Oliver.
Matthew Dear‘s latest release, Black City, is a treasure trove of droning synths, twitches, glitches, sexy vocals, and all around fine electronica just waiting to be devoured. The album presents us with a Dear that has taken on a darker twist with his work (darker than what he previously showcased on Asa Breed). The album’s ultimate highlight, in my opinion, is “Slowdance,” a sultry song with the kind of driving backbeat that will run through your head for days. Now that Brooklyn favorites, Bear In Heaven, have added their own funky/psychedelic/futuristic sound to the remix we are left with two completely different and completely awesome versions of my favorite track off Black City.
For many considering themselves relevant in the art of music blogging, bro to bro discussion and pressing ‘like’ buttons as a form of communication, Fuck Yeah Fest has only recently streamed through the thousands of psyches that attended. While FYF is essentially a collective of bands pushing through performance glitches and playing good fucking music, individuals coping with rising temperatures and even a few displays of unnecessary physical violence, it has the potential to house an absolute emotional response, certain factors considered.
The notions of a “music festival” can be agreed, by the general populous, as a gathering; an outlet for a large mass of people to share an experience. This agreement, albeit positive, is inherently flawed. Sure, every thing would be all fine and dandy if we could slap five with every member of the human race because “Wavves may be a dick but he can totally kill it when he wants to.” but the reality is this is not possible. For reality is relative .
This is a hard concept to grasp, so I understand if this answer appears shocking to you. Let me show you how, through synchronicity of desirable sanctions in matter and place, one can attain a zen of festival proportions. I shall use Fuck Yeah Fest as my buffer. Consider this the ideal fest.
I. The Point of Insertion: Time Approximated at 1:53 pm
You must forget everything that you find necessary. You must not be bounded by tickets or sunblock. You must remove yourself from daily rationale. The wave of people and the high heat that occupy this realm are integral to the first step. You must wait, and if necessary, refer to the nearby ice cream truck for occasional grounding.
During your wait, start tempting your mind with the absolute IMPROBABLE.
This line is futile. In fact, even this being will call, those without tickets shall get in much faster.
Even more so, this line shall prove an exercise in futility, as staff will simply hand you a ticket with no information necessary.
The rift has begun.
II. A Push Beyond Boundaries: Time Approximated at 4:15
You have entered the festival and, without knowing, begun to slip through dimensions. You reconvene with your small collective of like minded brethren. While you witness AA Bondy, they know something is adrift, but what it is they know not.
III. A Seam Unsealed: Time Approximated at 6:30
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT. You are beginning to see. You are no longer bounded by the effects of others and you must prove it. YOU NEED BEER.
This may seem like an insignificant detour, but rest assured this is necessary. This beer will be god’s elixer running through you, a wake up call to your mind’s eye, it’s a god damn golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory, the untouchable entity, every 36 spices in Dr. Pepper, it’s your happiness SkyNet, threatening to eradicate any bummer technology. Sure, you’re going to miss Dead Man’s Bones for this, but your mind has expanded beyond the concept of missing or witnessing. In this state Unbroken is the end all, be all because any sound is good if you make it so.
If all of this has been successful, your day should look like this:
Congratulations on incepting yourself the perfect fest. For every future festival, please repeat steps accordingly.
PS: Be safe out there, guys. Always remember to drink an abundance of water, bring your totem, and never faint, despite how tingly Delorean may make you. Also, be aware of your surroundings. If FYF has shown me anything it’s that, at any moment, you can be tackled or severely stomach slapped for dancing/walking/observing.
*Pictures sniped from varying sources, band pics by P-fork, other pics by beautiful individuals.
my sincerest apologies for the lack of updates and blogging in this hectic month of August. Between school applications and work and beating out people on Ticketmaster for much sought after Arcade Fire tickets I have been such a wretched lipstick communist. SORRY! But never fear, I have returned with such great treats I can hardly contain myself. So much amazing new music has found its way into my inbox and itunes I have not a clue where to start. So instead, prepare thyself for a mega post of releases from favorites, new and old, to turn the rest of your month into a grade-A scorcher.
Canada’s indie darlings turned stadium-selling-out sweethearts Arcade Fire have returned with their most recent installment, The Suburbs, and it most definitely does not disappoint. They managed to take a subject matter as old and as tired as the mundanity and stifling reality of living in the Suburbs and turn it into something grand and beautiful. My personal favorite off the album has to be “Sprawl II”. It ends the journey through the Suburbs, with its strip malls and modern kids, with a hope for something greater to come. With its almost dancey disco beat, it may seem a little out of place, but I want nothing more than to comply with Regine’s request to “please cut the lights” as we ribbon dance and dream about the bright lights of something better just beyond us.
Ra Ra Riot‘s newest release, The Orchard, is a notable departure from the previous The Rhumb Line album. Gone, for the most part, is the joyous, upbeat pop of yesteryear as we see the band delving into darker themes (as can be expected with the death of their first drummer, John Pike) and paying greater attention to subtle detail. However, with their infectious track “Boy,” amongst a couple others, Ra Ra Riot still takes the time to remind us why we fell in love them in the first place.
I don’t even need to say much about this song , just that Cee-Lo has probably created a major contender for song of the year with this track. “Fuck You” revives classic soul, funk, and 60’s punk with a cheeky twist on things that makes this track impossible to resist.
This album has been YEARS in the making and now Melbourne’s hottest ticket, Miami Horror, has finally released their debut album, Illumination, and boy has it been worth the wait. From its humble roots (Miami Horror started out as one fantastical producer with a synthesizer, Ben Plant) to buzz band and Pitchfork darlings, this group has been holding onto one of the most anticipated electro albums of the past couple months. Pretty much can’t stop listening to “Sometimes” and dancing around my room. It has been floating around for a while now, but if you haven’t heard it yet you are in luck mon petit ami.
Glasser showed up on my radar about 2 years ago when we booked High Places to play at UCLA and Glasser was on the bill to open for them. I went into the show not knowing what to expect from Los Angeles based Cameron Mesirow, and she immediately won me (and the entire audience over) by the end of her enrapturing and ethereal set. I am itching to get my hands on her upcoming Ring, which is being released and limited to 500 copies by True Panther Sounds. Don’t hesitate in reserving yours now here. Glasser’s first single off of the album, “Home,” is a many layered and almost understated thing of beauty. It is filled with lush harmonies, swelling strings, and a plethora of claps, plucks, and drums.
After Blonde Redhead released 23 in 2007 I was completely beside myself. I have always been enamored, in a bruised knee fashion, with this band and it seemed that they were just going to get better with the passage of time. So, with their recent endeavor, Penny Sparkle, I was expecting to be immediately taken with the album. However, I seem to be finding myself listening to it repeatedly trying to feel the same emotions this band once evoked. The songs are still, true to BR nature, very dark and dreamy and perhaps they just need me to pry myself away and focus long enough to fully appreciate their inherent beauty.
Historically speaking, Americans have often lagged behind the Brits in terms of musical ideas. Maybe it’s mainstream American culture in general that’s responsible – giant corporations (ie, Capitol Records in this case) typically finger their assholes until trends become cool enough to capitalize on before jumping on board, thus avoiding the investment of any real risk. Or perhaps it’s a lack of decent British orthodontists that forces the Brits to focus more so on creative endeavors than pure physical appearances alone to get laid with.
While I don’t know the real reasons behind the phenomenon – or much of anything for that matter – I do know this: The Postelles, a fully calculated and predictable group of New York charter school kids with trust funds and phone books as extensively fashionable as their wardrobes, have released the most formulaic, artistically void, and outdated take on modern brit-pop that I’ve ever heard.
Produced by fellow trust-fund scenester Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes, The Postelles’ White Night EP kicks off with the similarly named single “White Night.” While the song is undoubtedly catchy as hell, it sounds as if it’s just a Luke Prichard of The Kooks vocal track placed on top of a b-side from Is This It. Replete with Albert Hammond Jr.-esqe bright and chimey stabs of guitar, warm and hooky bass lines, and driving mid-tempo drums, the song is preposterously dialed-in and radio ready. Make no mistake: this is a pop tune through and through.
“I’ve got a problem and it drains my soul/Don’t tell, nobody knows,” belts lead singer Daniel Balk in a pseudo British accent to introduce the chorus. Well, if the problem is sounding terribly boring, then I’m afraid it’s painfully obvious. But unfortunately enough, like “Sex on Fire,” this is the type of shit that’s bound to bombard radio airwaves and Lower East Side pool parties all summer long.
With nothing much to say besides “Tell me what to do/I wanna feel ok,” Balk resorts to a medley of “whoas,” “oh-ohs,” and background vocals in an attempt to ostensibly distract from his vapid lyrics; it’s as if he’s holding a bunch of pretty bright objects in front of a baby.
But it gets worse: “I’m a systematic automatic city really dizzy track” rivals Bare Naked Ladies for worst string-of-shit-rapidly-sung-in-a-verse award.
The next track, “Sleep On The Dance Floor,” further showcases Balk’s impressive Prichard impersonations. Beginning with a slightly modulated guitar line, the song slowly eases into a feel good sing-along all too reminiscent of Razorlight’s worst moments (which can be downright awful). “Don’t you come around knockin’ on my door ‘cuz I fell asleep on the dance floor,” professes Balk. Well, Danny boy, let’s hope I don’t hear this one out or that’ll make two of us.
The third and final track, “Looking Glass,” moderately redeems the prior 5:41 of the EP, if only for its playful Motown tendencies and words of encouragement: “Let’s make a toast to self control,” shouts Balk. Whereas this EP is littered with annoyingly catchy hooks and feel-good major key progressions, I’ll surely try my best to stay away – thanks for the reminder.
The problem isn’t that The Postelles don’t know what they want — that’s quite the opposite. They know exactly how they want to sound. The problem is, however, that while they’ve perfectly achieved their aim, the result is one that should have been avoided in the first place; a lot has happened since Is This It and the Kooks’ Inside In, Inside Out, and as a result, The Postelles just sound dated. Hopefully they’ll wise up and visit their more inventive neighboring borough to reform their sound. If not, look out for the debut album in bargain bins everywhere.
Kevin Duffel is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Transworld and Astory Magazines. His musings and reviews can also be found in Huck magazine, lifelounge.com, and seriousstache.com from time to time. You can catch more of his rants and handsome, white guy problems here.
There seem to be so many artists and bands out there with really inane names lately. Sunglasses, however, has made me realize that you can not judge a band by its title. This band has been making its rounds in the blogosphere realm for a while now, but with the recent release of their self-titled EP debut, which is really little more than 3 songs, I have been hit with Sunglasses fever all over again. It helps that they sound insanely similar to Animal Collective, for whom I have expressed my deep-seated love for before. Sunglasses is the lovechild of 8000 Bam Bam (Samuel Cooper) & Baby Seal (Brady Keehn), upon their meeting at Savannah College of Art and Design. The pair create a great soundtrack to summer, producing a hazy brand of pop on acid. Their music is bizarre, quirky, and always very fun with its wavering melodies and shimmery vocals layered over trippy synths and swelling beats. Keep an eye out for this duo, I sense greater things to come in the near future.
Energetic Amanda Palmer, of Dresden Doll’s fame, is a free agent after being released from Roadrunner Records early this year. She’s celebrating this how? Well, by releasing what ever the fuck she wants and whenever she sees fit. That has lead to her new pet project, Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele, a short but relatively sweet collection of pre-Amnesiac covers of songs you’ve all heard covered so many times before. Even still, her cover of Idioteque is worth mentioning. It’s sparse but still holds some of that uneasy feel of the original. Purchase Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele here, at the low price of $.84 (or more if you’re feeling generous)
Festival season on the West Coast is upon us; a sure sign that Summer is here (that and the permeating smell of smoke as the hills around me are on fire… again). Yesterday, the annual Fuck Yeah Fest, based in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Treasure Island Music Festival, which takes place in San Francisco released their line-ups and tickets, respectively. Throw in LA’s Sunset Junction Festival, HARD Summer, Culture Collide, and SF’s Outside Lands and you’ve got yourself a pristine way to spend your Summer and early Fall, albeit some are greatly more worthy of your cash flow than others. If you’re jumping out of your skin for the FYFfest line up, go here to get your early bird pass for only 20 bucks. 20 fuckin dollars to see Lipstick Communism favorites like Panda Bear, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The Rapture, Cold Cave, Washed Out, Delorean, Best Coast, Cults, etc. I’ve already got mine, so hurry up and get yours. Treasure Island, although more than a hop, skip, and a jump away from me and about 5 times the cost, has some to-die-for acts on its bill like Broken Social Scene, The National, Belle & Sebastian (high school me is dying), LCD Soundsystem, Miike Snow, Surfer Blood, and so on and so forth.
So what better way to celebrate my favorite season (we are all assuming here that Coachella is lumped into the same continuous festival season) than to issue yet another LC mixtape, revolving around our favorite acts at these upcoming gatherings of happiness.
Waves. We’re rapidly becoming a world enveloped in them. Google has one. The ocean has a few. Music has way too many. It’s a fact, computers are not the most rapidly developing phenomena, it is Waves. Yes, friends, some day we’ll all be bouncing our ever curious grand children on our knees and proclaiming that “I remember a simpler time, when waves were either radio or tasty, and we didn’t even have to worry if either of those were chill or dreamy!” Pssh, whatever you say, Gramps.
Blackbird Blackbird embraces his waves like a man of the future. Hailing from the creative hub of San Francisco CA, Blackbird Blackbird, aka Mikey S, is a bedroom Bach that makes bright, shimmering psychedelic-pop, but you can call it Dreamwave if you really want (urghhh) It’s great headphone fodder and unique enough to keep its head above all the other waves out there. The newly released Summer Heart LP is a slice of ethereal bliss that’s sure to fill out your summer days nicely, as its filled with pulsing synths, airy vocals and much appropriate percussion with audible clashes and crashes. If not convinced by my wily words, check out the tracks below and go for a swim. You can purchase Summer Heart at Blackbird Blackbird’s Bandcamp page, along with further samples for those on the fence.
Of course, if rent was just due and you are deftly afraid of monetary transactions, you can find Blackbird’s Happy Here EP for free download here. Believe me, while we here at Lipstick Communism are a little weary of deeming music by a “Wave” genre (a wave implies something passing, why would you want to associate your music with something that fades away?) Blackbird Blackbird is definitely worth the ride.
After having originally blogged about this band in May (via James) and including them as the cornerstone of Lipstick Communism’s No Bummer Summer Mixtape, when I found out Tame Impala would be playing an L.A. show at the Silverlake Lounge I lunged for my laptop to reserve a ticket at the tiny venue. With the brilliance and success of their most recent album, Innerspeaker, I knew I would never get a chance to see them in such an intimate venue again, the next time they headed to the States.
This being my first time at The Silverlake Lounge, upon entering my olfactory senses were overwhelmed with the odors of stale alcohol and sweat. Lovely. Looking around the tiny bar the first couple of thoughts that entered my head are: no one here must own a hairbrush and a small, but substantial, minority must have missed the deodorant aisle at their local CVS. After scanning the venue, which took all of 2 seconds, Tanya and I headed to the bar for our traditional and obligatory “show” beer. There’s only one beer on tap and it’s PBR. For 4 bucks. Barf. Sorry (and rip Dennis Hopper) but this must be hipster hell.