Probably a little over a month ago I started a new feature I’m calling New Music Life Raft. That is, I now believe, the wrong title to use, as life raft implies the vehicle by which one is saved from drowning in something. Well, I’ve got new music to talk about, TONS of it in fact, to the point that I’m literally drowning in it, so life raft is a bit of a misnomer.
But don’t take my word for it, let’s jump right in, shall we?
Jay Reatard – Mr. Brown’s been telling me about this guy for a while and being that Mr. Reatard is on Matador I’ve been listening, just not to the degree I should have been. Sometimes it just takes that one song to catch you at that perfect moment though, and everything else unlocks and opens to you like a puzzle box sent from Hell itself. Night of Broken Glass was the song for me and Mr. Reatard (rest his soul). I’m unsure as to whether the song is a reference to the 1938 tragedy historically known as the night of broken glass, but then I don’t know that much about Mr. Reatard (yet). All I know is that song is a perfect pop-rock song. No, I’m not talking about pop-rock as it’s colloquially known around the radio. I’m talking about Ramones, Nirvana, White Stripes*– I hear all of that stuff here. The double vocals, the second guitar that clips in and hacks at your nervous system while the beat drives uphill to a shattering conclusion (pun intended). From there Reatard’s stuff opened up and the comp Mr. Brown made me as well as Singles 06-07 stayed in my car stereo for a good two weeks recently. Jay even re-sparked my interest in Nirvana with his cover of ‘Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle‘, a band I grew up with and love but hardly ever listen to.
Yppah. I’m not even sure when or where I received 2009’s They Know What Ghost Know but I’ve had it for a while now and it has finally sunken in to stay. Consisting primarily of one man, Yppah is what happens when you take mixed-tape pop (think Beck) and smother it in synth pop. The album has a little bit of a ‘darker’ tint to it but not enough to say Joe Corrales has eschewed the irresistible club vibe that will no doubt continue to see They Know… playing on dance floors all over the globe for as long as people like to eat pills and move their feet. I’m not a clubber or even really a dancer but two spins back-to-back on the home Hi Fi system at premium volume and this one wrapped itself around me like some kind of parasitic pop infection.
Tobacco – Tobacco is the side project for Black Moth Super Rainbow front man Tim Fec. If you’re not familiar with Black Moth I urge you to change that; their almost entirely-analog sound is as charming as it is hard to describe. There’s a definite 1970’s aesthetic: An Electric Company theme song/Jackson Five element, however there’s also a drugged out super fuzz that rides their sound and pushes it into slightly… futuristically alien territory. As with the group, so with the front man. Tobacco’s most recent album Maniac Meat is a feast fit for even the most stubborn analog enthusiast; the man’s sound is literally bathed in the crackle and pop of vintage synths and vocodered vocals.
Lastly let’s talk about Best Coast. Brown slipped me July’s Crazy For You and I almost missed it, but HOT DAMN!!! after just one listen, hell, not even, try two songs, I was possessed of the idea that I may very well have a new entry to my Best of ’10 list. Best Coast has gotten a lot of press out here in LA lately, to the degree that I’ve not read any of it, but their name keeps popping up. Because of this I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’ll tell you what I got: think The Raveonettes-meet-She&Him, to oversimplify a little and get us into an approximate ballpark for discussion’s sake. There’s not that slightly subdued, laid-back Sonic Youth ugliness that often floats just beneath the surface of The Raveonettes fiercer tracks and definitely not that almost crippling Beatles-fetish that make Zoe and M.’s otherwise breath-taking musical venture sometimes a bit of a burden to me, but the analogy works, I think, with super reverbed guitars and a fuzzy, sunny mystique over the whole album. The band is kind of the brainchild of former Pocahaunted member Bethany Cosentino and I’m hoping this one will last a little longer than Pocahaunted did, there’s a lot of good stuff here.
Really good stuff.
Okay, that’s enough time for me on the raft. Back into the water!
* Who I don’t particularly care for, but they do have some great songs. ‘Some’ being the operative word.