Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Foxygen, or, I Like Pizza

So, XMU and WRAS have both been playing the shit out of Foxygen lately and I am really, really enjoying it.  I thought I might be just really late to the party, but their recent release, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, was only released two months ago, so I guess it's still topical.  What is wrong with me that if I enjoy something that everyone else is enjoying I have to get all skeptical about it?  Well, I'll tell you. 

Would you find a blog post entitled "I Like Pizza" really interesting?  How about "Puppies Are Soft"?

The first song that caught my ear was "Shuggie."  I love this song!  The entire album is incredibly stylized to sound like an old piece of vinyl you pulled out from behind your couch and said, "Oh hey, I bought this album in 1972 and forgot about it."  Yet, with lyrics from the modern era, and with a wide sampling of sub-genres from the 60's and 70's, they are definitely providing a very unmistakeably modern take on the classic sounds.  "Shuggie" initially sounded to me like something I've never heard before, and as a whole that holds true, but the song transitions are comfortably familiar.  The comfort to me is primarily because it reminds me of Supergrass (whom I LOVE) and their various retrospectives from the 90's of tunes from the 70's, but way more lo-fi.  Yep, that's right.

Awesome video too!  (BUT - shame on you for rhyming "house" with "house"!)

Foxygen is comprised of two small children, one from each coast.  They are actually 22 year old men named Sam France and Jonathan Rado, but I am bitter because I am advancing in age.  SO ARE YOU.  They met in Los Angeles, where apparently no one has anything better to do than to play music and make love and frolic in the sunshine and look fabulous doing it.  I tried to get a sense of what kind of gear they use in recording and on stage, but you know what's weird?  Reviews never talk much about gear.  Rado plays a Fender and France sometimes is seen with an acoustic guitar and other times behind a Roland keyboard.  I read a cool interview they did for delicious audio in which they talk a bit about gear, but mainly seem to say that they like playing with vintage audio toys of different types.  Go figure.

The next song that I stalker-dialed WRAS about was "On Blue Mountain."  I seriously have WRAS on speed dial on the bluetooth system in my Hyundai.  I don't see how a college education could be worth what I put those kids through, frankly.  This one has great lyrics, plus it has that togetherness vibe that I love.  Plus who doesn't love the mountains?  Not you I hope.  It also has multiple sections and a bit of a hippie freakout at the end, which to me is the hallmark of a great song.  The other singles that seem to be shaping up as such from this album are "San Francisco" and "No Destruction."  "San Francisco" nails it - the pop sound of the 60's (Mamas & Papas maybe?  Velvet Underground with a better singing Nico?) and the glamorization of San Francisco.  By the way, if you ever go to Singapore, they only call that city "Frisco."  But I digress.  "No Destruction" sounds like a cross between Lou Reed and Bob Dylan.  Yeah, that's my least favorite on the album, but it's still good.  Throughout the album, I keep hearing the Stones, the Beatles, the Doors, half the British Invasion, and even a hanful of people from Motown.  Then I had to let go, because ultimately it's more fun to just drown myself in Foxygen and not worry about their ancestors.

It was totally, compeltely worth the $6.99 for the mp3 download on Amazon, and it comes with a pdf of the liner notes, which is a lovely courtesy.  Seven thumbs up!  No, I haven't come up with a rating system yet.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Turbo Fruits

[We went to go see the Turbo Fruits show at the EARL on Sunday, March 10, 2013.  The following is our post-show discussion and evaluation.  We had a great meal and drinks at the U-Joint beforehand, then ankled our loved ones, so the scene was set for the best possible reception of live music.]

area.personality:  I think the first thing, and most lasting, that struck me about the Turbo Fruits was that the lead singer has a beautiful head of hair. What a gorgeous, healthy looking mane! He could be in a Prell commercial.  One time my Dad was talking about my brother's insane friend [Name Withheld] and he said, "I could throw her around for a little while." It permanently scarred me, but now every time I see a skinny white boy tossing his long hair about, that is the exact same phrase that always comes into my mind.

iwishuwould:  yeah the fact that they were kind cute and lithe was appealing to me initially as well. in fact that was pretty much the whole reason i wanted to go see them. i didnt have time to listen to anything by them before we left, i just saw them in the earl listserv and was like damn they kinda cute.

area.personality:  I did listen to a few tracks before we left, and the only one I listened to that they actually played was much better live than the recorded version ("Volcano"). I would have listened to more, but they barely have any of their tracks listenable on bandcamp. What's up with that? 

iwishuwould:  but then i was like "turbo fruits? are they fags? Either way thats a shitty band name."

area.personality:  I hate the name Turbo Fruits, but I enjoy their bandcamp artwork where they insert "muthafuckin" between the two words because I enjoy casual swearing.  But, there's no self-respecting queer who would allow such a slip in style and personal hygiene.

iwishuwould:  i think that they had the "motherfuckin" between turbo and fruits made me go against my better judgement and go see them, that was a great way to better their name.  Then i read all about them on wikipedia, etc and tried to ascertain what style of music they got. the description from the earl was kinda lame, but i was pushing against my better judgement in the face of all that lawng haiyuh. just like your dad and crazy [Name Withheld]. that chick was literally insane. oddly enough we are both descendants of banjo playing legends....

area.personality:  I didn't know you are the descendant of a banjo playing legend! Who?

iwishuwould:  here is my ancestor Snuffy Jenkins --

iwishuwould:  this is the foto that made me think-oh shit-turbo fruits-shit they're queers! but i should have known better. its hard to tell from the pictures that they are just session players cobbled together into an "alt" band. but live you truly get the sense that these guys don't belong together. after the show i read a pitchfork review that gave them like a 5.3/10. like the drummer and the lead guitarist both sounded great, and had the most metal hair. the bassist looked like he was from a punk band, and the singer kinda verged on buttrock (sorry dawg). this cobbled togetherness was pervasive in their sound as well, as they skipped from one genre to the next, sometimes within a single song. pop punk+ rock+ buttrock+ altrock+ powerpop + top 40 ballads= crap.

area.personality:  The ballads were the worst, most painful thing ever. It's like they went back in time to a rock show from the 80's and took notes - "We have to have two energetic songs, then a slow ballad, then a hard rocking one, then a fast one, then another ballad..." And this was the first of many things I found formulaic about them. Sometimes formulas work, but not this time.  I agree 100% on the cobbled together issue, and I really would like for them to pick a single style or even two and just go with it. There's something to be said for having a range, but they were all over the place.

area.personality:  I will say this, though. They were extremely tight. They were very polished sounding. That was impressive. It is clear that, cobbled together though they may be, they are experienced musicians.  But, having said that, there was no jamming, no wabi-sabi, none of the good stuff you expect from a live show. It was almost fascist. The lead guitar did some fairly shreddigious solos, and I liked his sound, but as you pointed out at the time, the solos were strictly limited to the number of measures allotted.

iwishuwould:  they were totally tight- they sounded like they had been practicing forever- gotta give them credit for that. and yeah the whole mutli-genre thing is fine, as long as it works somehow, but they really werent werkin it. and everything was totally formulaic, which was a major bummer. i feel like any high school student can perform nice n tight in band, but not anyone can just cut loose and jam, so they totally got docked points for that. but the lawng beautiful hair made up for it.

area.personality:  They were nice to look at (but yeah, better in their photos), but they didn't move or make eye contact with the audience. The 90's are over, people. The horribly self-conscious dont-make-eye-contact-under-any-circumstances thing was mastered by the early lords of emo and needn't be repeated. Entertain me, yo. The bassist was the worrrrrrrst. He kept pivoting on one foot from facing forwardish and looking at the guitarist to facing sidewaysish and looking at the drummer, neither of which were looking at him. As a bassist, I know both of these instruments are important, and sometimes you gotta look at them, but not for an hour.

area.personality:  Did I cheer for them? Yes. I cheer for every act I see because I want to encourage them and get my money's worth by helping them play their best. Would I go see them again? No. So instead of watching a video of Turbo Fruits playing something horrible live, here's Snuffy Jenkins with Pappy Sherrill playing "Long Journey Home."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

peace loving man

blossom toes- peace loving man

this shit fucking rules. i heard this on the radio show the other night. i like that show tower of song its on tuesdays 8p-10p. i usually listen to that shit and scratch me some lotto on Tuesdays after work. its usually this chick Stephanie hosting, but it was this other chick Yoon subbing. Yoon hosts another show that I love to listen to, Jet Lag  which comes on Sundays 8p-10p, but which is sadly, on myspace still so I never see the setlist. anyway I had to call and ask her what the fuck THIS shit was. Love it. Here is some pictures of them, which lead me to an upcoming topic: my rating system. Stay tuned for more on that, but for now consider the terms "flower power" and "heavy".

Also she played THIS by the scorpions  and i was like "WHOA! this is fucking, the scorpions, as in, rock u like a hurricane the scorpions???!!" and it fucking IS.

and here they go, circa 1975:

 i think they changed lineups a bunch of times  so, like many bands from this era, every album may be totally fucking different from the last, because the lineup has completely rotated.

which brings me to the topic of LEMMY circa hawkwind. stop the fucking presses! you wanna talk about a fine ass lawng haiyuhed man? here HE go:

hawkwind - lost johnny