Thursday, May 25, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 4

Hey. Get on board the Better-Than-You Bus or your ass can walk home with The Snow Patrol fans.


Everyone now, all together,

“Wha- wait, Gomez?”

Yeah Gomez. They’re back.

It is among a music nerd’s most supreme and hallowed pleasures to find a band, once stellar- now mediocre, suddenly rocketing from the depths of mediocrity right back into the best-of-the-year fray.

It’s been six years since Gomez released something both moving and artful. Their last several albums, although not explicitly poor were sub-par offerings from a group that gave us the jazz/blues/roots-soul rock of Liquid Skin and Bring It On.

I had written these English boys off. VERY few bands snap out of a six year funk to release something truly quality.

Well sometimes I love being wrong.

Not to say How We Operate is on a perfect level with ‘Skin or Bring It On, but if I were to rate those albums as 9.0s (which I do) How We Operate is easily an 8.0. (Only because some of the choruses on the later tracks are a bit strained and sappy.)

Sounds like:
Um, Gomez- thank god.

No really, sounds like:
“Wow someone turned up the tech; their guitar player really stepped up his gam- wait, wait that’s not a guitar… is that a goddamn banjo- “

[STREAMER] Gomez - How We Operate [NEW.ALBUM]
[STREAMER] Gomez - Get Miles [Live]

[THE ‘SPACE] Gomez

[HOME] Gomez

peeping tom

Mike Patton. Michael fucking Patton.

I don’t even know where to start. I think it might be fair to say Mike Patton is to indie music what Quentin Tarantino was to indie film; an artist who could wear the phrase ‘style-over-content’ as a badge of honor across his chest. The only difference between these visionaries is that Patton was fame-struck early in his career as opposed to Q who has slowly amassed his following.

However both men luxuriate in homage and a reckless urge to push their genres out of their normal restraints while fusing them with whatever strikes their creators as stimulating and hip.

The results are painfully eclectic and hopelessly goddamn cool.

Patton’s vocals range anywhere (and everywhere) from a gravel-throated slang to piercing falsetto chorusing and even sweeping angelic undulation.

And that’s warming up.

Throw Patton’s peerless voices on top of some of the most sinister and deft production he’s done to date and you’ve got something unlike anything you (or anyone else) has ever heard before.

Peeping Tom may be one of Mike’s best projects, ever. If you have an experimental bone in your body do yourself a favor and get on the ride.

(In case the above statement didn’t properly warn you- this is a release 95% of you will not enjoy. For that 95%, my suggestion; Snow Patrol just put out a new album, idiots.)

Sounds like:
Dan the Automator, Massive Attack, Kool Keith, Kid Koala and Norah Jones (Yes, That Norah Jones) guesting on an album built with wicked dark beats and narrated by Patton’s twisted and eerily gorgeous vocals.

The Gorillaz penning the score to a battle between Heaven and Hell might sound like this.

I don’t know man.

No really, sounds like:
A cartoon painted in blood across the marble floor of a pristine chapel.

[THE ‘SPACE] Peeping Tom

[HOME] Peeping Tom

Head Like a Kite

I like bands that don’t shy from mixing styles and genres. Head Like A Kite is a little bit indie, a little bit glitch pop, a little shoegaze and a whole lot of Prada sheathed toe tapping.

Yes, this sound is part of The Killers neverwave movement, but where The Killers beg for air play, bands like a Head Like A Kite wouldn’t be caught dead on their knees- they’re too busy gyrating against your girl’s ass with a cigarette in one hand and martini in the other.

The music on ‘Kite’s first LP, Random Portraits of the Home Movies does threaten to break into a drunken dance party at any second but the nearly hypnotic vocals manage to sooth the inflammation and keep things blissfully low key. It’s a nice twist on a strong drink.

Sounds like:
“Think Four Tet, The Notwist, Mouse on Mars, and The Dismemberment Plan hosting a party in Manchester during The Factory heyday.” - Head Like A Kite Homepage

(Shit if they are gonna do it for me…hey, I’ll take hand outs.)

No really, sounds like:
Swaggering riffs and slutty runs played across a field of dangerously danceable rhythms.

[MP3] Head Like A Kite - Tell Mommy You Want a Sip of Beer
[MP3] Head Like A Kite - Noisy at the Circus

[THE ‘SPACE] Head Like A Kite

[HOME] Head Like A Kite

Russian Circles

These kids have been touring with Minus the Bear so I’m sure they’re all kinds of old news, but even I move slow on some artists. Although in all fairness ‘Circles first LP was released only a few days ago. Still I know, I know, I should have had it back around Christmas, right?

Russian Circles is at a point in their career where fans should treat them as an investment. Listeners must choose to invest their precious time and energy into a group that in all likelihood has some growing to do and leaving their end prodcut some what nebulous. Yet Russian Circles have managed to build themselves a sound that is intriguing and a bit unique; they take a more technical and aggressive approach to the instrumental/post-rock field, however there is nothing truly groundbreaking or revolutionary in their form. Still, if these kids continue playing and writing I foresee something much greater in their future.

This may be one of those bands whose tenacity presently outreaches their level of talent but if they strive to master their craft, eventually both skill and scope could meet for some truly impressive results.

Time will tell.

Sounds like:
Minus the Bear got long winded and picked up some of the haunting (and breath-taking)dynamics of Jeniferever.

No really, sounds like:
The majesty of a distant mountain peaks wreathed in clouds, and then the eruption that cloaks them in ash and fire.

[MP3] Russian Circles - Death Rides A Horse

[THE ‘SPACE] Russian Circles

[HOME] Russian Circles


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