What I’m Listening To…

Beverly-Honey-Do

1. Beverly-Honey Do

This is a new band headlined by the fabled Frankie Rose. She was a former member of Dum Dum Girls and has released a fair share of solo works. For Beverly, she teamed up with Drew Citron. To my knowledge, “Honey Do”  is the only track they have released to the general pubic. After one listen, I’m already wanting more. The guitar gets you into it right off the bat. While it features solid guitar playing, it’s the vocals of these two that stand out to me. They are harmonic and smoky during the verses, they switch to apathetic during the chorus. It’s seems like it would be an odd transition but they pull it off perfectly. It could probably be the theme song for April Ludgate from “Parks and Recreation”

 

 

2. FKA Twigs-Papi Pacify

Not gonna beat around the bush. Some bands creep me out. This would be one of them. However, they make a killer R & B track. Those who are looking for a a dark, yet intriguing number; look no further than “Papi Pacify”. It’s starts out slow and rather ho-hum with simple lyrics. I think the point of the beginning is to lull you into being bored until a dramatic shift in musical direction (@1:50). The strength of the song is the transitions. The synth lines lay down a thick, rap-like beat. Give this one at least a couple of listens before you form your opinion on it.

3.Vampire Weekend-Step (Remix featuring Danny Brown, Heems, and Despot)

It’s not really possible to generate more buzz than Vampire Weekend’s latest album Modern Vampires of the City did. It’s funny with Danny Brown taking a romantic sounding song and inserts some not so lovey-dovey lyrics. It works, though. The songs moves along well and they do make sure to include some of the original vocals in at the end. I dislike it when a remix is made that doesn’t pay homage to the original song.

Step Remix-Vampire Weekend

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Gigs: Yuck-The Riot Room

Band members (L to R):  Max Bloom, Mariko Doi, Jonny Rogoff

Band members (L to R): Max Bloom, Mariko Doi, Jonny Rogoff

One of many bands that I think deserves more recognition in today’s music scene would be that of the group simply referred to as “Yuck“. They’re from London, they’ve been together since 2009, and their first album came out in 2011. It was a stellar debut album featuring great songs like “Get Away” and “Holing Out”. I expected big things from this band back in ’11. After their debut album and the release of a single “Chew”, they disappeared from the scene for awhile. I sort of forgot about them until they released Glow and Behold.

I’ve made a concentrated effort to get out and see more shows in recent years. Fortunately for me, I noticed Yuck was slated to appear at the Riot Room in Kansas City this past Saturday. I met with my brother who was familiar with the venue and it.was.on. The Riot Room gets a thumbs up from me. It opens up to a lounge area when you enter and the stage is just a small flight of steps away. They have a circular bar that features enough tap selections to please even the snobbiest of craft brew snobs including almost the entire lineup of Boulevard brews. It’s an intimate experience with the band as you’re practically right on top of them when you enter the stage area. It’s awesome, there’s not even a backstage. Tough for me to imagine a better way to spend a Saturday night than enjoying a show at the Riot Room.

The first to open things up was a local group called Bummer. There was a about a 4 second intro and then the band started playing. They were loud, they were to the point, and they straight-up rocked! They had a  sludge/punk-rock sound that was perfect for the venue. While they did their thing with little to no fan interaction, the crowd got into it and most of the crowd strayed away from the bar area to check them out. A three piece group that has a lot of potential based on what I saw. Follow the link and see for yourself. I highly recommend “infinite witches”. It’s what they opened with and you can see why cause it’s such a badass song.

http://bummerkc.bandcamp.com/

After them, The Dead Girls performed. They’re classified as power pop-rock. A style I was not familiar with and one that I found I disliked after watching this group. Not saying they weren’t a good band but I didn’t think they really fit in in with the other two groups.

Onto Yuck, there was no drop-off in sound quality from studio to live show. The vocals and instrumentals were fantastic. They opened with what is in my opinion their strongest effort off of their most  recent album, Glow and Behold. The song is “Middle Sea” and it’s a shoegazey, chill number that features the vocal talents of both Max and Marico.

Another great song of theirs that played about mid-way through the show is “Holing Out”. This was a a song that should have been a bigger hit than it was. It’s bliss for those who like to zone out to fuzzy guitars and general indie goodness. This version features former lead vocalist Daniel Blumberg, who I feel the band took a hit upon his absence. Their live version rocked just as hard, though. Max’s vocals and new member Ed Hayes’s guitar playing made this track sound as good as I thought it would.

Much like Bummer, the band did their thing with not a ton of between song dialogue or fan involvement. I’m fine with this. You’re there to see a band play good music and they did that and more. I can’t stand it when a group goes off on some lame story or some inter-group playful bantering that they think the crowd is into but actually couldn’t care less about.  Yuck did invite some people to dance on the stage during one of their numbers and that was a nice gesture on their part. They all seem like cool, down to earth people and I’m rooting for them to take it to the next stage with their music. I’m confident they have the talent to do so.

There was one song I was hoping they would do and I was slightly disappointed when they didn’t. I understand why it was skipped as it may be because it came right before Blumberg left and may be centered around a fallout of some sort. I don’t know for sure but that’d be my guess as even as strong of a song as it is; if it represents a non-favorable time in the band’s career, I can see why they’d like to forget about it altogether and leave it in the past. It’s my favorite Yuck song and one I hope you enjoy as well. Few lyrics but the guitar riffs in this track are some of my favorite of all time. The last chorus with the guitar solo is one of the greatest musical joys these ears have ever had the pleasure of listening to.

Until we meet again, Yuck and Riot Room…

Quick Hitters: Best Novelty Songs

It’s refreshing to see that bands that will go outside of what is considered normal or acceptable in the music industry.  While a fair amount of these types of tracks tank horribly. There are a few select ones that strike gold. I feel the three songs posted below are examples of those.

 

William Shatner/Pulp-Common People

The lyrics to the original version of this song are intriguing. But I never really enjoyed listening to this song. Awkward beat and sub-par vocals. But it’s always noteworthy when a traditionally non-musician celebrity decides to cover a song. And when it’s Billy Shatner, it makes it even more awesom-er. He sing-talks his way through the beginning, plenty of emotion but it’s more like a narration than a vocal performance. It changes after the first chorus, though. His vocals start to intertwine with the lead singer’s and it makes for an epic Shatneresque performance See for yourself.

 

 

Electric Six-Gay Bar

This song is a riot, simply put. It’s from a band I’ve surely never heard of. They’re from the UK and they’ve produced NINE albums. All of which have gone completely unnoticed by the lot of us. I could not help but be drawn in when I first heard this song. It’s fast paced, upbeat, and has some interesting lyrics to say the least. My favorite of them being (mainly because of the vocal delivery of them @0:25) “Let’s start a war, start a nuclear war, Let’s start a war, at the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar!!!  It’s a well-put together song; the vocals, instrumentals, and the bold approach to sing on a subject matter where very few other bands would make this a good overall effort.

HQ Link (just select the “play” option)

 

King Missile-Detachable PenisThis is a classic from the 90’s. Like the previous group, can’t say I’ve heard of anything else this group has done. But the lyrics and the vocalist’s apathetic delivery make this memorable. Beavis and Butthead even did a spoof on it so you know it’s at least worth a listen. The song describes a scenario that is so unorthodox and weird that it’s unclear to me how it was even conceived in the first place. It’s funny nonetheless and my favorite part of the song is the sequence where the singer is forced barter for the subject of this song. It goes something like…”

as I walked down Second Avenue
Towards St. Mark’s place
Where all those people sell used books
And other junk on the street
I saw it lying on a blanket
Next to a broken toaster oven
Some guy was selling it

I had to buy it off him
He wanted 22 bucks
But I talked him down to 17