Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rainy Day Music

I tend to gravitate to certain types of music depending on the weather. Obviously when it's sunyy outsides (which is often the case here in Southern California) I find myself looking for cheerier music on my IPOD. But when the weather turns cold (as it has today) I flip through to some old rainy day favorites. Not suprisingly, most of my raindy day faves are mopey British types with a love for distorted guitars and minor chord progressions. Here are a couple of all time rainy day standards.

RIDE were four guys from Oxford, England who were a large part of the Shoegazer movement (i.e. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive) and had huge success over there with virtually none here in the states. My first exposure to them was "Vapour Trail" which is pefect for an overcast Sunday because it seems to hint that the sun just might pop out at any minute (metaphorically of course) Although the band went on to a more traditional rock sound later in their career (in fact one of the guys is now in OASIS) this song is just about the best way to introduce yourself to a really good band.

(m4a) Ride -- Vapour Trail (live)

THE EELS are really one guy and a bunch of studio musicians and msot of their music is actually quite upbeat and catchy. However, as I was driving around last night I heard "Rags to Rags" from their first album and was instantly reminded of this guy's extraodinary talent for writing really dark stuff. I also remember this song and one other, "Not Ready Yet", featured on a great TV show HOMICIDE about the family of murder vicitms dealing with their loss. This is the kind of stuff you can only focus on when it rains...

(m4a) The Eels -- Rags to Rags

I welcome anyone' s ideas on their favorite music for overcast skies. Their are literally dozens of other bands I would mention here but we will save them for another rainy day.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Most Anticipated Record of the Year

Hype is a very funny thing. Bands go through the "Hype" process faster and faster these days that it seems that the next big band is surfacing every day. Usually they receive tremendous adulation for the "original" sound and in depth interviews about their rise to fame. This is then followed by a critical backlash and accusations of over exposure as said new band tries to establish itself as more than a flash in the pan. Used to be that this process happened over several it can come full circle in one album's time.

Why do I bring this up now. Because BLOC PARTY have released their second record, A WEEKEND IN THE CITY. Many other blogs ahve already commented on the record (with some mixed reviews) and seem to be divided into two distinct camps; those that feel that the band has sold out and softened and those that are in rapture based solely on the fact that it's something of a concept record with deep lyrics. I have listened to the record three times now and can honestly say that what I hear is a band that is a work in progress. Don't get me wrong, I loved the first album (I defy anyone to not want to subconsciouly dance to BANQUET or gaze wistfully off into the distance during HERE WE ARE). I firmly believe that these guys will be a force to reckon with for a long time. Much like U2's OCTOBER, WEEKEND is the sound of a band beginning to stretch its legs. Some of the record is reminiscent of the first (I STILL REMEMBER could be an outtake from SILENT ALARM'S recording sessions), other parts are very different (A PRAYER is oddly catchy for a song based on chanting)

What I keep coming back to is the simple fact that these guys can write and play and have a sond that is unique enough to make them stand out from the pack of current "it" bands. Here's hoping we all give them the chance to realize the potential and at the same time appreciate that this new record is really quite good.

(mp3) Bloc Party -- Hunting for Witches
(mp3) Bloc Party -- The Prayer

Thursday, February 01, 2007

For Anyone Who Has Kids

There are a lot of milestones that are of importance when you have kids for the first time. (I know, I know this is a music blog so why is he writing about his kids...) Anyway, the first time your son walks is probably one of the coolest experiences you can imagine. Words fail to describe the shear mix of joy and terror that goes through your heart as he cautiously takes a few quick steps then does a face plant into Mom's arms. All I know is, my house will never be the same.