What's Playing

What’s Playing – The Soft Moon

Zeroes, the follow up to Oakland based post-punk band The Soft Moon’s brilliant debut, was a pretty disappointing re-tread of what made their first album so unique and incredible.  It was so similar that you could barely even call it a new album, instead just half an hour of songs that sounded pretty much the exact same as what came before. Ironically, this is perhaps best seen on the song ‘Remember the Future’, which I swear is literally the exact same in every way as a song from their first album.

Want is one of the few tracks that sounds even remotely different; and therefore one of the few worth listening to. I guess Luis Vasquez and co. were going for a darker, grimier feel for their trademark dystopian sounding style, and Wants is one of the few places where this direction, or any willingness to mix things up, comes through. It’s propulsive, moody, atmospheric and utterly infectious in its looping, spiralling simplicity. The fact that this simplicity and deliberately looping structure is integral to their sound just makes the re-tread on the rest of the album all the more blatant, and intolerable.

Still, Want demonstrates what this band are really capable of – though they seem to have forgotten to add an ending to it – and reinforces my belief that this band need to soundtrack something apocalyptic/80s and horrible. Now I’m gonna go listen to their debut again and tap my foot so damn furiously for the next half an hour, possibly whilst enigmatically staring into the distance and imagining that I’m Ryan Gosling getting ready to destroy some faces under neon lights.

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What's Playing

What’s Playing – Arcade Fire

I often forget The Suburbs actually exists. It’s not a bad album or anything – it’s just not very memorable. I remember the “ro-co-co-ro-co-co-ro-co-cooo” of, erm, Roccoco, the piano of the title track and the grandeur of Sprawl II fairly vividly, but I feel no compulsion to actually listen to them again. It’s just all very bland. It’s good background music but it lacks the immediacy and oomph of Arcade Fire’s previous albums.

The exception to that is The Suburbs (Continued). It’s a minute and a half long refrain of the first track that closes out the album, and it’s among the best pieces the band has ever produced. Continue reading

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What’s Playing//Goat

Goat are a Swedish band from a remote town in a remote province that has a population density of like 1 per 2km squared, which roughly translates to NO ONE. They claim the town has a history of Voodoo ever since a curse was placed on it. They claim that Goat, the band, have existed in one form or another for at least 40 years through the community. They claim they don’t make songs, they just make music, and that none of their songs are ever truly finished. They claim that, until recently they’d never played a gig before. They now play their gigs in Voodoo masks.

If they sound hopelessly pretentious and a little bit ridicuolous, that’s probably because they are. Continue reading

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This What’s Playing actually kinda ties into my earlier feature on The Wicker Man and its crazy, creepy soundtrack. Love at first seem like the sweetest, prettiest, most 60-ish band to ever be, and then you realise there’s this whole other dark, ugly side bubbling away. And I don’t mean the fact that their frontman/creative hub Arthur Lee was arrested for possession of enough guns to arm a small army. Which, as a militant black rights activist, is probably exactly what they for. Continue reading

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For reasons that remain unknown to me, I never really gave Grizzly Bear’s new album Shields much of a chance. I did the same thing with Veckatimest and was similarly rewarded when I finally relented and just gave it a proper listen. I can see myself getting so much more out of Shields though. I initially thought it sounded way too similar to Veckatimest, based on the opening 10 seconds anyway, but now I see how insanely, ridiculously, incalculably wrong I was. It is so much more ambitious than I gave them credit for. Continue reading

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I don’t really get James Blake, regardless of my lecturer playing him before lectures to show how young and hip he is. Blake is certainly young and has affectations of hip, though I can’t imagine anyone hopping to anything he ever makes. He’s the latest in the long line of falsetto indie singer-songwriters who prefer things cold, desolate and somewhat depressing. Continue reading

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It speaks volumes about Weezer that their most critically acclaimed album, 1996’s Pinkerton, has been all but entirely disowned by main man Rivers Cuomo. This is a band so hopelessly committed to their sound that they will simply refuse to accept even the most glowing of praise for anything different. It’s a serious flaw. Continue reading

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