Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Hitlist

Well, things sure have been quiet the last couple of weeks; reviews are in the works, but for now, exam prep seems to have got the better of me.
For now, here are some new tracks that have managed to get my attention recently:

First up is a track from the MySpace sensation herself, Lily Allen. Sure, she sings about the hard-knock life and drugs which it seems she may have heard about through stories her nanny (sorry, servant) told her, but dammit if the chorus isn't the catchiest thing I've heard in ages. And just in time for summer, too.

Lily Allen: Everything's Just Wonderful

Off the just-released Pieces of the People We Love, The Rapture's new track has one of the coolest chants yet to grace an indie/dance track in some time:
"People don't dance no more / they just stand there like this / they cross their arms, and stare you down / and drink and moan and diss". Quality stuff.

The Rapture: Whoo! Alright - Yeah...Uh Huh

So I don't know a whole lot about this guy, but Lupe Fiasco's the new Kanye-endorsed rapper. So he's GOTTA be good, right? And he pronounces "Liquor" phonetically. Not many rappers do that. Sarcasm aside, Fiasco's debut is one slick package. And you'd expect it to be, with Kanye himself behind the production steering wheel, along with other all star names of hip-hop both helping to produce and guest-starring. While some of the samples on the tracks have been horribly overdone before, the remainder of the album is fantastic, especially Kick, Push.

Lupe Fiasco: Kick, Push

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Album Review: James Figurine - Mistake, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake

First things first: If you were looking forward to Jimmy Tamborello's new album because he was one-half of the Postal Service, and you COMPLETELY LOVED Give Up (in which he teamed up with Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie), then don't bother with this album.

Glad we cleared that up.

To the rest of you, who have also enjoyed Tamborello's other projects (or side projects? There are so many, I can't tell which ones are the main ones anymore) such as Dntel and Headphones, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake is a mixed bag. From the press release, "James Figurine" (as he is now referring to himself) talks about how a few years ago he developed a love for minimalist techno whilst in Germany, primarily because he was stuck in a car with it on for an extended period of time. Oh dear. It seems Tamborello was taken hostage by minimalist (read - boring) techno, and experienced something akin to stockholm syndrome - but with music.

Essentially, the feeling you get when listening to the album, is that with Mistake... Tamborello simply tried to make an album in a genre which he 'kinda dug for a while'. The listener hears moments of brilliance among the mediocrity - such as the track "leftovers" - where we can hear Tamborello tyring to repress his Postal Service-style era and stay within this self-imposed ideal. What results is extended periods od glitchy electronica minus any hooks or harmonies that keep you coming back for more.

In the album's accompanying press release, Tamborello said that the album "was supposed to be an extra melodic, minimal techno record with some sparse vocals". Sparse is the keyword here, and this time without the help of indie wunderkind Gibbard, has instead drafted a list of singers including Jenny Lewis (Postal Service, Rilo Kiley), and the other indie white-boy, Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience, part-time vocalist in Röyksopp).

Unfortunately, none of the vocalists (including Tamborello himself) are able to really add anything memorable to the songs, instead exuding the sound of an old sampler that is just too, too tired to do all of this again.