Friends With Both Arms » 2009 » September


Archive for September, 2009

Nada Alic

Lets play pretend

l_851b24a17c434fe491c8ba8078eb7eeaLIGHTS‘ full length album ‘The Listening’ is finally out this week- and it’s a sparkling collection of electro-pop songs that will fly off silent motioning mouths of young girls everywhere. Despite the extra cheese of her unique brand of dance/pop- the lyrics are dazzling. Exploring the anxious and defeated plight of the adolescence, she offers not only her condolences but a chance for airy hope that makes joy something within the reach of a pop song.

The track ‘Face Up’ assures that “the way you feel is something everybody goes through” and insecurity pounds through the synth of ‘The Listening’, claiming, ‘I never really ever know what to say’- surely not evident in the stellar album’s worth of knowing just exactly what to say. The track entitled ‘Pretend (Reprise)’ is an eerie ballad that whispers, ‘I’m losing my innocence’ over bouncing piano keys. They song mourns lost youth, reminiscing about water guns, checked attitudes, playing pretend and starting over again. It’s a child’s plea for something greater, a life with greater meaning- and all the whimsy and freedom of childhood years. A plea that seems rather premature for this petite poet citing no more than twenty years to her name. A wisdom hides behind her gleaming smile and well-adorned painted fingernails. Already thoroughly examined, the song Saviour alludes to a spiritual awakening, the track ‘River’ wonders, ‘I wish I could discover something that doesn’t expire’ while everything exists only as a transitory place- the seasons, the tired people- change is the only promise for her. 

I’m so impressed with LIGHTS, and if you could peel passed the anime version of this tiny girl, and even the ocassional overuse of auto tune, you’ll emerge with a newfound appreciation for the girl whose powerful prose suggests a giant leap from telling you to, ‘straighten up your tie’ because she ‘don’t need your mess’. 

LIGHTS- Pretend (Reprise)

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LIGHTS – The Listening

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LIGHTS- Face Up

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Nada Alic

Slow Jams

Described by the almighty Pitchfork as ‘bedroom synthpop’ Washed Out‘s EP: Life of Leisure is a hazy collection of pop and dance jams slowed and repeated with a good and steady beat. Created over a couple months ago in rural Georgia, Ernest Greene masterfully recreated 80’s synth alone in his bedroom while his parents slept- making him the ultimate unexpected DIY buzz artist, without any intention to tour or gain any momentum with this whole music thing.

I definitely appreciate making art for arts sake, while his impending wedding and the doldrums of job hunting take precedence in his current state- this EP serves as a testament to what one can accomplish if crafty, and with a summer’s worth of time. 

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Washed Out- You’ll See It

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Washed Out- Lately

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Washed Out- New Theory

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Nada Alic

L-O-V-E

-Where-The-Wild-Things-Are-

 

You knew this was coming right? In eager anticipation for this film- I’ve been listening to the soundtrack trying to envision muppet-like monsters dancing with Karen O in a giant forest of birch and redwoods. I can’t wait, and often I’d be concerned with sounding cliche, but not this time- because there is a righteousness in it, in liking youth, in wanting to watching a couple hours-worth of someone’s dream, to pretend you’re along for the ride. The purity that it represents manifests in this collective adoration for monsters, the safe and playful kind.

The album is at times frantic, but most times ambient and soothing. It’s largely instrumental, throwing in the tribal sounds ringing throughout ‘Animal’ and the delightful sounds of children screaming ‘ow owww’ in unison over a canopy of piano keys and hand claps. I’m in love and wrapped up in impatience for this great wonder to be unleashed upon the world! Spike Jonze has done this place a great service. 

Karen O and the Kids- Heads Up

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Karen O and the Kids- Building All is Love

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Karen O and the Kids- Food is Still Hot

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Nada Alic

no one is as lucky as us

paramore

Any kind of follow-up to a freak success of any sort carries it’s own pangs of anxiety- living up to one’s ghosts is a weighty burden, especially mixed in with all that other growing up junk that the cards of youth deals you. Paramore exploded after Riot, an album that- despite it’s pop punk leanings, held it’s own consistency, like it was packed with extra preservatives to ensure quality whether it was it’s first, and four-hundredth play. Under the viscous veil of hype and teenaged crushes, there is something magical about Paramore. It’s hard to write a simple pop song, even harder to make that simplicity shout at the depths of your consciousness, a place you’d never expect to illuminate with the sounds of a cherry-haired girl from Nashville. Her honesty is absolute genius that is largely unrecognized, even by the band itself.(Their modesty is unrivaled by any band in their scene, or perhaps the industry- likely attributing to their wild and much-deserved success)Their latest album ‘Brand New Eyes’ commands attention, with it’s darker, broodier pop that remains impressively consistent credited largely to the accessibility and fierce vocals of Williams. In the words of my friend Brooks, ‘it makes me wish I were a 9th grade girl’ although we both know this band has successfully crossed the landscape of nearly every demographic leaving fleets of fans in their power pop dust. 

Songs like Misguided Ghosts stray from the classic Paramore anthems, but exude a versatility that shows their musical maturity. ‘Looking Up’ repeats ‘it’s not a dream anymore.. it’s worth fighting for’ followed by the required chants of Whoa oh oh ohs that makes us all want to cheer for their team- whatever team that is. Playing God calls out religious hypocrisy, taking cues from the ever-doubtful Bazan. The best track is ‘Where the Lines Overlap’ a song that ensures an earnest gratitude, very aware that in fact ‘no one is as lucky as us’. Overall the album calls out the fakers, bullies, and cry babies who infest the scene packaged in twelve of the best songs you’ll overplay this year. Go team Paramore. 

Paramore- Misguided Ghosts

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Paramore- Playing God

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They’re currently on tour with the Swellers and Paper Route! Go HERE for dates.

Nada Alic

don’t knock it

The Kings of Leon Notion EP released July 31st somehow only found me now, but I’m in love with the track ‘Beneath the Surface’. This Australian EP also features a CSS Remix of Bucket along with a few pretty solid live tracks. All of my attempts to articulate the depth of love I have for this band will sound as tired as their overkilled radio play so I will continue no further. They have deserved their lofty and royal title as Kings as their unthinkable record sales wear the currency of a kind of unverisal love for filthy southern rock. 

Kings of Leon- Beneath the Surface

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Kings of Leon- Notion (Live from Amsterdam)

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Nada Alic

i’m still an animal

The final scene of this video, where the bearded wonder twirls through a back alley with arms outstretched looks a lot like what I did through the streets of Manhattan despite the embarrassment of onlookers, although what IS shame in a city like that. There is a freedom in positioning your arms rather Jesus-like and  turning your head up towards the sky, it’s something we all need to practice more often. 

Swedish group, Miike Snow has been gathering his fair share of hype these days, as the invisible blogosphere cheers and raves so fervently, you can almost hear them. As if you must definitely be some kind of mutant had you not heard the way-too-cool song, Animal off his self-titled debut this past May. Anyway, I got a call from my friend Taylor this week, seems we switched countries as he toured Canada selling merch for none other than-Miike Snow while I was brushing the dust off my American phone while lying on some dewy American soil. Anyway, our paths will cross once again. Enjoy his latest video ‘Black and Blue’, I’m really into this song.

In case you haven’t heard..

Miike Snow- Animal

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Nada Alic

Pizza, People and Pictures

In the strange time warp that is the seven-day week of music blogs, time spent apart seems like a lifetime-and-a-half upon return. I’ve been hanging out in NYC this week with some good and loved friends. The trip was nothing short of necessary, and beautiful. I mapped out all of manhattan, and parts of brooklyn by conquering the subway system and fueling on pizza to keep my legs moving. I met some very cool people, and reunited with San Diego friends as well. Special thanks to Matt Woods, Kyle, Cynthia, George, RJ, Kenny, Jed, [Brandon via LA>NYC] and of course and absolutely: Mr Zimms. 23 is a good place to be. 

The exciting thing about being away from the machine for a few days is all the new albums that await you at home. It feels like a school project you’re excited to dive into. That happens, right? Anyway, so much good stuff this past week! And strangely enough- most of it isn’t all that new!

Okay, I’m a little late on this one- released this past July, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ album, ‘Up from Below’ is electrifying. I’m so excited about these guys: fronted by Alex Ebert of Ima Robot and made up of a fleet of ten bohemians, you’d swear it were Jesus and his wispy-haired disciples of beauty and truth had you not looked twice. This band is genuine in dress and in words- not the crafty Williamsburg kids who could’ve fooled you with their untied ‘I don’t give a shit’ oxford shoes, but the lost hippies of decades before vintage meant a damn thing. With tribal sounds of flutes, xylophones playful meditative ‘ommms’ the Magnetic zeros transfix us with beautiful southwestern melodies and longed-for hedonism with only songs to live safely and vicariously through. Favorite track is ‘Home’ a duet that includes the strangest blood-covered love story between Jade and Alexander thats more adorable than it is gruesome. 

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros- Simplest Love

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros- 40 Day Dream

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Montreal-based Islands’ third studio album ‘Vapours’ came out last week, and I love it! This is a rarity. I often don’t like anything that comes out of Montreal. I don’t know what category to place him without going on about drum machines, synthesizers, rock ‘sensibilities’ (what is sensible about a genre, it’s consistency?) I will leave it to run around, uncategorized, free to please the hypem devotees, the dance party kids and the more mellow folk to enjoy as a collective. It’s haunting, with a little postal service-inspired pop. The only track I’m not a fan of is ‘Heartbeat’ with distorted auto-tune vocals it cheapens the sound of an otherwise solid song. Favorite tracks are ‘No You Don’t’ and ‘Switched On’. They play the Mod Club Nov. 7th.

Islands- No You Dont

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Islands- Switched On

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Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse’s brilliant collaboration, ‘Dark Night of the Soul‘ featured vocals from James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils. It was released a few months back, and due to legal disputes with EMI it was never fully released, only sold as a blank cd and a photo book created by David Lynch with a note to invite the listener to ‘do what you will’. However, it streamed in it’s entirety via NPR. I heard a few tracks some time ago, but I finally have the full album. It’s a masterful project with ambient melodies and pop hooks. Dark Night of the Soul was derived from a 16th century Spanish poet describing loneliness and desolation in one’s spiritual walk. There is a fair amount of sombre, lonely tones in this album, with waves of absolute lightness carried by violins and scratching bells heard on the track, ‘Insane Lullaby’. It is easily one of the best records of the year. 

 

The Man Who Played God- ft. Nina Perrson

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Insane Lullaby- ft. James Mercer

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London group The xx is pretty big in the UK with their new wave pop creations with the help of a children’s casio keyboard and drum machine. The vocals take some soul from R&B while maintaining it’s dreamy electronic pop sound. Their lyrics are very sensual and angsty. If sounds were images, I’d see a straight-faced mod kid barely opening her lips to let out the saddest words she thought up that day. It’s great- if you can get over the hipster credibility that will build them up them soon after discard them. But as for today- I love them!

The xx- Heart Skipped a Beat

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The xx- Stars

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Nada Alic

We Are Family

Polaroid-1-786090

okay, this isn’t Andrea and I, but how funny would it be if it were. And why would Andrea look so sassy, while I’d be smiling rather weasely with a little shoulder-exposure happening. I do, however, own that shirt. 

This post is in honour of Andrea Dyer- she’s on the road with Invisible Children, and like a neglected pet, I’m impatiently awaiting her arrival home in December. Soon after, she’ll have to start picking up the slack around here, so I thoroughly hope she enjoys her time basking in the California sun. Kidding, kidding. She’s running on no sleep and the disadvantages of being hit on by minors at schools across the greater southern California area. She is dearly missed, and not forgotten by her brother/sisterfriends Ross and Nada. 

What I lack in a good friend, I make up for in abundance with all the activities the autumn season brings. Who needs friends when you’ve got a bike?

I often tell my friends that this season was the most beautiful season we’d ever get. And that the sunset is this powerful, staggering force that no one properly appreciates, even with my small words and larger hand gestures, I can’t even begin to appreciate it’s bigness and brightness. It baffles me that so-called ‘indoor kids’ have never really looked at the sun. It’s a giant fireball in the air that rises and falls everyday. I’ll even say a ‘wow’ or something of the cheesified nature because I don’t really know what else to say. September looks real good on the north. Here are a few songs to remind you of the only season where you can dress up like a monster, drink cider and collect piles and remnants of nature’s annual death. 

gooutside

Elliot Brood- Oh Alberta

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The Cave Singers- Beach House

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Woods- To Clean

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Iron and Wine- Lion’s Mane

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Nada Alic

throwing firecrackers

yorke7inch2

Thom Yorke released the tracks ‘Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses’ and ‘The Hollow Earth’. There is a skiddish beat that pulses throughout ‘The Hollow Earth’ that evokes a great nervousness, as he hums and sings, ‘without a conscience, a hollow ring’. While ‘Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses’ is spooky as well, with echoes and a strange repetitive bass under a clatter of drums and what sounds like it could be dogs barking, it continues for seven minutes. There is something uneasy about his soft voice dragging bizarre melodies over the music. It’s definitely Yoke, characteristically weird. 

Thom Yorke- Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses

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Thom Yorke- The Hollow Earth

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Nada Alic

Get A Room

Andrew Bird and St. Vincent at La Blogotheque. Perfect.

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