Monthly Archives: May 2014

So Dead

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‘So Dead’ by Tearjerker has been featured On My Loop and the track kind of inspired me to make a playlist full of these “heck care” songs that are perfect for slacking off. So for all you deadbeat bums out there while you skate your way to the mall or down the alley, this is for you. Even if idling by isn’t your thing, take a day off and jam out.

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Tribes’ Day Has Come

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Tribes | Baby |

This debut album may have been released a few years back and the band has even produced a second album that was less than sub par since then. However, ‘Baby’ will always be an impressive album to me. It’s punchy, bold and breezy songs keep reeling me in and never leave dull feeling. Although, not every debut album is stunningly revolutionary and ‘Baby’ is no exception. A number of forgettable tracks do surface but the stronger and catchier ones definitely compensates.

Their debut album personally, is a classic alternative rock album (for this era) where the tracks are rock anthems just for you to jam out to. It opens tremendously with ‘Whenever’ where there’s a heavy bassline and a youthful chorus that could propel you to shout to along “if you came back, it’d just be me and you.”

‘Corner of An English Field’ and ‘Halfway Home’ are heartfelt with the guitars sounding rich and sultry. Lloyd’s vocals are absolutely earnest as he expressively sings about a difficult relationship in ‘Corner of An English Field’. Lloyd’s coarse and grit lets the latter track sound like a rugged lullaby that could almost give you goose bumps.

‘Sappho’, ‘Himalaya’ and ‘Nightdriving’ all continue this dark and grungy sound that embodies the album. However, ‘When My Day Comes’ is where the album peaks. The track is vibrant and energetic with a carefree chorus “just been out having fun, now it don’t mean a thing to me or no one, I will live my life when my day comes,” which is the rock anthem that I’ve been longing for quite some time. The hype of the track is continued with ‘Walking in The Street’ which is cheery and pretty upbeat, leaving a spring in your step in some such way.

‘Baby’ concludes with the mellow ballad of ‘Bad Apple’ and the tuneful country track ‘Alone or With Friends’. These last two tracks are pretty humdrum after listening to the bands other dynamic tracks. It was an abrupt halt to the spirit of the album. Nonetheless, Tribe’s debut album is fresh and youthful but still gives you a slight sense of nostalgia of old alternative rock. To this day I still adore it and associate this band with this album.

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On My Loop: Tearjerker – So Dead

This band could be clumped together with other new indie rock bands such as Bleeding Knees Club and Wavves and sure they share a comparable sound of disgruntled grunge. But these bands also share a knack for producing infectious tracks alongside this untroubled vocal that is so easy to sway and sing along to. ‘So Dead’ is so perfect for hanging out at the skate park, scraping a few elbows and shrugging it off. It’s mellow, groggy and there will be no doubt that your feet is tapping along to it.

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A Rightful Tribute to Wes Anderson

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Various Artists |I Saved Latin! : A Tribute to Wes Anderson|

I love Wes Anderson movies, i may be labelled as a hipster for it but it doesn’t matter. His movies possess an intriguing element that just reel you into the universe of Wes Anderson. The characters that he brings to life all seem so relatable but all have their own special quality, disorder or issue that makes them so entertaining to watch. It’s the eccentricities and subtle humour that Wes Anderson is genius at and the reason why his movies have attracted cult attention. My personal favourite Wes Anderson film, Rushmore, speaks to my inner ambitions. Max Fischer is determined, although with a lack of focus, but is certain about what he’s passionate about and that’s as quote “going to Rushmore.” Sure it might seem slightly immature to want to go to school for the rest of your life at least he knows where his strengths lie and that’s admiring to me, knowing what you’re good at. Despite his many achievements through his countless curricular activities, Max still has insecurities such as being embarrassed that his father’s a barber instead of some successful hot shot.

I think that’s the reason to Wes Anderson’s success. His characters are all relatively accomplished individuals but is still yearning to achieve something that actually matters. The soundtrack that accompanies the characters through their emotional adventure is able to sum up each milestone moment so aptly. The songs are always whimsy and gentle and it fits in the world of Wes Anderson wonderfully. The songs fills the spaces in the films eloquently and stretches a sentiment that was enveloped within us and eventually leaves a lasting impression. It was only a matter of time before a tribute album was produced in honour of the brilliance of Wes Anderson. ‘I Saved Latin: A Tribute to Wes Anderson’ and my personal favourite quote, is a triumphant tribute and is must listen for any fan. It may be hard to adjust with the original song ingrained in your brain along with the scene vividly replaying in your mind. But the covers here make an admirable attempt to carve a new and colourful path but still essentially preserves the unique characteristic of the original.

Taking PHOX’s ‘The Way I Feel Inside’ as an example, it’s serene adaptation on The Zombies’ original brilliantly upholds the intent of sincerely  expressing one’s feelings. It’s touching to the extent that gives you goosebumps and especially when the vocals start  to a hit a trembling high that is just haunting. It doesn’t emulate the song’s predecessor but attempts to have a new spin at it and possibly do it justice. Just as how Freelance Whales’ cover of the jaunty ‘Let Her Dance’ was refreshingly different. Instead of keeping the upbeat pace, Freelance Whales made it more tame and kind accompanied with this gleam of guitars and keyboards. Despite the distinct change, the track still feels bright-eyed and cheery.

These tracks are just the two of many other marvelous covers in this tribute to Wes Anderson. They’re not the first-hand tracks that made you fall in love with The Tenenbaums, Steve Zissou and Max Fischer and may never compensate the original soundtracks of these cult films. But it was never suggested that we alter the universe of Wes Anderson that we have all come to know and love. It would be as if we were repainting the Starry Night, it just wouldn’t be as right as before. But the concept of  idiosyncrasy and peculiar personalities is still intact. There’s a feeling of susceptibility as you’re listening to this tribute, a similar feeling when you get cosy with a Wes Anderson film and i think that’s what makes this tribute pretty pleasurable.

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On My Loop: Childhood – Falls Away

This is what smooth and funky should be. The London four-piece has impressed with a number of tracks such as ‘Solemn Skies’ and ‘Haltija’ which has set the bar to a higher level for fresh indie bands. ‘Falls Away’ has justified as to why Childhood is here for the long-haul. The jittery beats and hazy guitars give off an aerial feeling with the soft crooning of the vocals adding more so to the ‘distant-realm’ feeling. The track could feel detached but its dance beats still stay grounded. It’s certainly a splendid track from the band and it’s possible to see the hype around this band increase.

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Arctic Monkey’s Suave Cover of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

I’ve been an Arctic Monkeys fan since I can remember. I’ve listened to all five of their albums countless of times and I’ve grown to favour this band more than a number of others. I was thrilled when I heard there would be new material from them after ‘Suck It and See’ but ‘AM’ however had shown that the band had matured from the music they had produced from their youthful days. The transition was clear in ‘Suck It and See’ but ‘AM’ had taken it to whole other level. Their budding ambitions back in the day made their music more genuine and frank and ‘AM’ just seemed like an attempt to please the masses with an over the top persona. The band started to become overrated for me and this cover kind of certifies it for me. Tame Impala had a kaleidoscope quality that made sense for a song like ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ while the Arctic Monkeys just gave an exaggerated and macho cover that felt very off. Nonetheless, Alex did make a compelling effort to make this track as one of his own. Though the band may no longer be what I used to adore, they are still a band that I would give props to over a number of others.

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Heaving Heavier Sounds

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The Maccabees |Given to the Wild|

I cannot stress enough how much I adore this band. This English indie-rock group first captured me with their single ‘First Love’ from their debut LP ‘Colour It In.’ The track was fast and energetic but Orlando Weeks’ cooing vocals was absolutely endearing and wore me down with these touchy-feely emotions. I was hooked even more so when I saw Weeks’ puppy dog eyes in the music video. The Maccabees’ debut may have consisted mostly of nimble and vibrant tracks about tender moments but it was catchy, memorable serving as a very impressive debut.

Their follow-up did not fail to level up to their splendid debut. ‘Wall of Arms’ touched on similar heartfelt subjects but they have taken a different turn from bright and merry tunes. But it is no less dynamic than before. That endearing quality that this band consists is still prevalent throughout this album though with a slight maturity. It is clear that the band is evolving as they go from album to album, especially on ‘Given to the Wild’. Their tracks get heavier and more refined as they grow as a band.

The sounds from third album of The Maccabees’ might be almost unrecognisable compared with their previous work but Weeks’ swooning yelping is always a significant and noticeable aspect in their music. This time round, the band has ditched that high energy from their past two albums and has instead adopted an atmospheric, ethereal but weighty take for this album. The opening title track already has this spacious feel, affirming the assumption that this album is going to be in contrast to its predecessors.

Transitioning from the title track, ‘Child’ has a kind and dreamy introduction. When the beat kicks in and Week’s concerning vocal’s come in, a stirring emotion kind of surfaces. The addition of trumpets along with scintillating guitars makes the climax all the more striking. ‘Feel to Follow’ is an acceleration from the previous tracks. It has frenzied guitars that complement Week’s drawn-out yelping, racing drum beats and brief piano playing making for a stimulating track.

‘Ayla’ and ‘Glimmer’ both have a similar glistening aura that is quite ravishing actually. ‘Forever I’ve Known’ is initially clouded with a woeful eeriness but slowly picks up the pace while Weeks wavers delicately before a fearsome riff takes over. Weeks upliftingly chants “are we so different,” in ‘Heave’ which is just airy and pretty magical. ‘Pelican’ then starts to punch in and touches on the roots of their past work, sounding more dynamic than the other tracks on this LP.

The LP does start to get more energetic in the later half after ‘Pelican’ and with ‘Go’ being such an intense and overwhelming track that wouldn’t have been triumphant if it wasn’t arranged so sublimely. ‘Unknown’ has Weeks softly wallowing with a background set with instrumentals that is fuelled with temper and grit but soon surprises us with a calming female voice crying out “just while, love remembers.” As a whole, it closes off magnificently with ‘Grew Up at Midnight’. A sensation of blitheness comes over you as if you were reminiscing about your carefree childhood.

‘Given to the Wild’ is definitely a more polished and glossier album of The Maccabees. Commencing enchantingly and eventually leading to more hard-hitting and adventurous tracks. It shows that The Maccabees are maturing from cute and cuddly songs to something with a lasting and memorable impact. If you haven’t heard them, ‘Given to the Wild’ is sure to make you genuine fan.

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On My Loop: Wild Nothing – Only Heather

Wild Nothing, known for tracks that has an air of serenity and a dream-pop atmosphere and this track from ‘Nocturne’ does not fall short. It’s smooth, pretty twinkly and something you’d play when you’re with your significant other. The whole album offers a great number of gauzy tunes that could be speaking to your conscience but ‘Only Heather’ tugs at your heartstrings and gives you this enchanted sensation.

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Drowners’ Mediocre Debut

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Drowners |(Self-Titled)|

Alright, I admit what attracted me to the Drowners was the former Welsh model now turned musician, Matt Hitt. His rugged yet innocent attraction had pulled me in and intrigued a new found interest. Being enticed by the dapper frontman of a rock band was inevitable but with Matt Hitt’s good looks, there was almost an instantaneous appeal. No need for a marketing manager when you’ve got his cheekbones. I apologize for the constant mention of this particular character but it is where I first discovered his new project, the almost punk-rock Drowners.

The first listen to ‘Luv, Hold Me Down,’ was relatively promising. It may not be the ground-breaking sounds to represent a new generation of music, or even an uncommon sound of music but it was enjoyable. It did feel as if I had put on a combination an amateur version of the The Kooks and The Libertines. The track felt breezy, youthful and basically fun. ‘A Button On Your Blouse’ bore a striking resemblance to the former track but hey, it’s a Drowners song. Why wouldn’t it sound similar? However, the latter track held a slightly gentler pace than its former but consisted of the same zest nonetheless.

These two tracks gave me high hopes that their debut album could be rather delightful and that they were possibly hiding tracks that could surpass the first two I’ve heard. Or it could also just be the appeal of Matt Hitt misleading me. The LP opened averagely. ‘Ways To Phase a Rejection’ was a like a small tribute to The Strokes that needed a lot of getting used to. It introduced itself with guitar plucks jumping from ear to ear (reminded me a lot of ‘Automatic Stop’) maybe to just give the track a little more depth, even adding on short dialogue in the background at some point. It was acceptable throughout but I was completely lost when a squeaky guitar solo of some sort kind of made me cringe a little.

The next track was as discouraging as the first. Verses were surprisingly short and the chorus was not as snappy as I hoped it would be –“all the girls have long hair/ and all the boys have long hair/ and your were missing out.” Even the reoccurring ‘aahs’ didn’t feel necessary. So far, the band was trying to satisfy with a false sense of profoundness. When ‘Luv, Hold Me Down’ followed after, I kept my fingers crossed that my potential obsession with them could be assured with the next set of tracks just as this track did. Some of it did come through. The likeable quality of the band was able to show through and the instrumentation had taken itself up a notch. ‘Watch You Change’ had a funkier attitude, a twinkly suddenly rough chorus. ‘Unzip Your Harrington,’ one of the stronger tracks, has an easeful melody and a somewhat memorable chorus. Hitt’s supple crooning in the track definitely helps though.

There are still a number of blunders in the LP however, such as ‘Bar Chat’ which is hurried, rowdy and not in a good way. Sure he could be channelling Julian Casablancas again but the track lacks a certain quality that The Strokes possessed.  Even the closing track, ‘You Keep Showing Up’ is lifeless. Hitt’s vocals aren’t exactly full of emotion and expression nor does it sound particularly extraordinary. Singing in an acoustic track without any distinct specialty or even personality n is a cause for a drudging feel.

Even though the better tracks are sprightly and roughly entertaining, the Drowners debut may still acquire this moderate aspect to it, could be the lack of lyrical substance. You’ll appreciate the songs the band has to offer and they’re not too bad to admire either, but they don’t exactly inspire a substantial fondness.

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