Tag Archive - The Payola Chronicles

This just in from Miami..

MAYDAY — Technology
Admittedly, I have not been posting a hell of a lot on this site as of late, let alone posts that push the endless music marketing that flows into my inBox everyday. But this is definitely worth sharing.

Mayday have just released an EP for free download called Technology and it is damn good. Think new-album Gnarls Barkley or Outkast at their best. The stand out track on first listen is Crossroads & Avenues, a hard driving, psychedelic soul/hiphop piece that evolves into what can only be described as beatbox drum n bass. Catchy stuff that pulls no punches. Check it out.

Sunday Evening Tunage

Computer VS. Banjo
COMPUTER VS BANJO

You can be pretty sure that if you meet someone at a party and they tell you that they are “cool” or claim to be “the funniest person you have ever met”, they are certain to not deliver on that promise. Indeed they will no doubt prove to be quite boring and you will find yourself desperately searching for a way to escape from the corner that they have backed you into. Such innate traits never require a lead-in and the genuine article will be so oblivious as to wear them like a second skin. With that said, I offer you “Computer vs. Banjo”, a band which, as their name suggests, mixes digital samples with a folksy blues sound.

Give Up On Ghosts

Now, my first thought upon being presented with this concept was that there are a shitload of musicians walking the line between the analog/digital worlds these days and doing it very well (Beck, Tunng, Radiohead?!?) but they don’t find it necessary to proclaim it in the title of their band. Computer and Banjo seem almost too aware of the fact that they are taking a folksy genre and adding drum machines beneath it. The whole endeavour immediately comes across as “clever ” –a trait that is about as shallow as piss on concrete and for this very reason, the two elements never quite gel, instead it remains in the realm of gimmick.

Joseph Arthur
JOSEPH ARTHUR – VAGABOND SKIES

For the longest time now, I have had a tune in my music library called “A Smile That Explodes” by an artist named Joseph Arthur that I find unbelievably sublime. I did not know where it came from (figured it was caught in some late night tuna net style Acquisition binge) but it repeatedly found a place in my mellower playlists.

A Smile That Explodes

But upon the arrival this afternoon of Arthur’s EP Vagabond Skies, I can only assume that this above first taste was courtesy of my good friends at Sneak Attack Media.

Now, this would probably be a good time for me to admit that I have really only been listening to Burial as of late with its minimalist-fried-synapse-twitching-hour vibe and other twisted and strained rhythms of a similar ilk. It all just seems appropriate as I’m weaving through my caffeine-fed urban morning landscape. But Joseph Arthur could single handedly pull me back into the world of melodic instrument and human driven tunes again. Aside from Second Sight (which is strangely out of place on this album and really not all that good) this album recalls Neil Young at his best. Give a listen to what is by far the best track, She Paints Me Gold:

She Paints Me Gold.mp3

Swedes Invade the Red Room

Swedes Invade the Red Room
Sweeping in on the coattails of whistling pop sensation Peter, Bjorn & John and rockers the Hives amidst what is being declared a Swedish invasion (or is it a Scandanavian invasion: there were 42 acts from the region at SXSW this year; 11 of which were Swedish), two acts from the land of beautiful people and generous social welfare touch down at the Red Room this Wednesday night.

First up, 22 year old music-blog darling Lykke Li whose lilty tunes and airy vocals are produced by the Bjorn of prior-mentioned PB&J; into unabashedly catchy pop creations. The big push online right now is for Dance Dance Dance but I am groovin more on the diskJokke remix of Everybody but Me from over at Recrdlbl.

The second act, El Perro Del Mar, I am less familiar with. The one piece of trivia that I dug up was that TV on the Radio invited her to open for them in Spain last summer which seems like an odd pairing. But I trust their taste. Take the easy pop tracks of Lykke Li above and let them mature for a few years like a fine wine and you would have something sounding somewhat like El Perro. The lovely collection of songs on her new album, From the Valley to the Stars includes this one, Glory to the World.

Should be a good show. Be sure to look up my review later in the week.

Black Kids and Cut Copy at Richard’s on Richards

Black Kids and Cut Copy at Richard's on Richards
There is a black guy in the men’s washroom of Richard’s on Richards dispensing soap and hand towels. He also has an assortment of colognes and prophylactics available for purchase. His outfit suggests that of a hipster bellhop.

I should point out that the men’s facilities at Richard’s on Richards are not large. There were perhaps eight others taking care of business in there at the same time as me and we were choked for space. Nor are we talking about a grand country club restroom with marble walls and golden chalices in which to urinate. This is a good and dirty rock n’ roll WC with key-scratched obscenities on the cubicles and grime in the tiles. Our poor bellhop would be privy to a whole *ahem* shitload of industry fallout over the course of an evening.

I should also point out that the year is 2008, not 1925.

Whatever the case, I had flown in on the red eye from Hawaii the night before and barely stumbled through my first day back at work. And here was an email from HQ in Brooklyn offering guest list status for a concert that had been sold out for weeks and figured prominently in the status of every Vancouver hipster’s Facebook page. And so there I was at the Black Kids and Cut Copy show, bleary and delirious and struck by the surreal nature of a black guy dispensing soap and hand towels in the men’s washroom of Richard’s on Richards.

The show itself was, as expected, quite brilliant. And since I’ve already used up my word count on complete irrelevance, I will let the YouTube coverage tell the rest of the story:

Footage of the Black Kids from mowchar.

And some rather shaky coverage of Cut Copy by chasingphantoms.

Thursday Tunage

Thursday Tunage
THE LOVELY SPARROWS – DEPARTMENT OF FORSEEABLE OUTCOMES

Department of Forseeable Outcomes seems like the perfect song for the last scene of an HBO pilot: A son finds out that his parents are bank robbers when he accidentally blows up his dad’s car while trying to make meth in the back seat and the money from their last heist that was hidden in the trunk now rains down on him. He stands in the middle of the street with his arms stretched up to heaven laughing at the irony of it all.

Camera pulls up directly above him.

Fade to credits..

Thursday Tunage
ANNUALS – SORE

Alright now, pay attention: this tune Sore is from Annuals’ recently released “Wet Zoo”. It is one of three tracks by Annuals on the EP; the other two are by a band called Sunfold which is the members of Annuals only with guitarist Kenny Florence driving the bus instead of Adam Baker. Check out Sunfold’s mySpace page and decide for yourself whether or not the two sounds are unique enough to warrant the confusion.

Thursday Tunage
LANGHORNE SLIM – THE REBEL SIDE OF HEAVEN

“We ain’t goin’ to hell/We’re goin’ to the rebel side of heaven”

I am still waiting for the lab to get back to me with the results on what is in the Brooklyn water that is producing such consistent musical talent. Langhorne Slim is yet another fresh driving sound to emerge from the burrough. It is great to hear soulful rootsy music like this. His voice reminds me of Maroon 5 only without the disco beats..and not crappy.

More on his mySpace page.

It must be in the air here..

Say Hi at the Royal Unicorn Cabaret
Got an email from Sneak Attack today asking me how I liked the Say Hi show which, I am assuming, is a polite way of saying “are you ever going to post something on that concert that we got you free tickets to?” Which is a fair enough question. Allow four days to pass by in the blogosphere and you might as well forget it; everyone has moved on to the next great fleeting moment. Hell, the fact that I was not posting photos, video and Twitter setlists while at the show itself would suggest that we are now discussing things long since past. But the truth is I have been damn busy since Saturday night and only now find myself with a chance to bash something out, if it evens matters anymore..

We arrive at the gig at around 11pm, the club’s backlit sign glowing like a beacon for the young hip party set on a stretch of street whose typical clientèle generally prefer to reside in the shadows. It would be fair to assume, given the small closed off rooms that line the hallway to the toilets, that The Royal Unicorn Cabaret was no doubt once a Chiness brothel. These days it has become the homebase of Salbourg, who seem to be charged with promoting the current dance revival here in Vancouver. And doing a fine job of it from what I can tell. Glancing around the club I can’t tell how many people are there to see Say Hi and how many are waiting for the more electronic side of the evening to kick in.

The gig gets off to a sketchy start. The whole setup seems to be put together with the structure of a house of cards. Feedback bleeds out of the speakers throughout the opening songs prompting a mad scrambling and impromptu re-assessment on the wiring. Technical difficulties aside, Say Hi’s set is decent. The drums and guitar drive the tunes with a 4/4 trancelike rhythm that surprisingly suggests shoegazer bands of yore. But his vocals don’t quite make the cut. In the chorus for “Northern Girls” –the modern day equivalent of a first single– he fails to hit the high note and ultimately it is that note that truly makes the song. But from what I can tell from his website, this tour is still fairly fresh (Vancouver possibly even being the kickoff show) so he has many nights ahead of him to tighten the gears. No doubt he will be in fine form by the time he passes through a city near you.

Friday Tunage

Epochs - Opposite Sides
THE EPOCHS – OPPOSITE SIDES

Another great band out of Brooklyn, The Epochs are making music that sounds like what Justin Timberlake would be doing if he had skipped his Mickey Mouse Club and Boy Band origins and simply focussed on creating catchy falsetto driven pop songs. Opposite Sides is a gorgeous, rambling track that seems to head out in five different rhythmic and thematic directions over the course of its 4 minute span, jumping between fuzz box dance beats, quiet psychedelic digressions and sweet ethereal harmonies.

More from them can be heard on their MySpace site.

Say Hi - Northwestern Girls
SAY HI – NORTHWESTERN GIRLS

Say Hi is going to be at the The Royal Unicorn Cabaret on February 16, and from what I have heard of them so far, it is going to be well worth checking out. Northwestern Girls starts with a Coldplay-on-Casios riff and simple premise (“Northwestern girls, with their fresh faces. Don’t mess it up this time. They seem so nice. It must be in the air here”) and then builds layer upon layer of analog and digital tracks to a worthy climax. Definitely check out the website for additional tracks not to mention its quirky D&D; stylings.

Louis XIV - Guilt by Association
LOUIS XIV – GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

Che Guevara observed that “Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel”. Pitchfork Media, the one time online underdog of indie music has in the course of just a few short years risen to the top of the pile, toppling the old guard publications like Billboard and Rolling Stone to become the new king-maker. Which means that it sucks when they hate you. And Pitchfork Media hates Louis XIV. Their main criticism of the band seems to be that their lyrics are too lewd and they are doing nothing that the Stones, AC/DC and The Strokes have already done a hundred times over. Apparently rock n roll is not just about sex and drugs anymore. It all seems a little harsh in my opinion. Take a listen to Guilt by Association and let me know what you think. You can also catch them on tour with Hot Hot Heat and the Editors. They’ll be at the Commodore on Feb 5.

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