Infinite Shuffle

May 22, 2013

160 – Foxygen

Filed under: F, Westlake Village Calif. — assman41 @ 1:28 pm

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of the Rolling Stones. And you were super-excited to see them on the cover of last week’s Rolling Stone magazine.

I’m just kidding. Other than an album’s worth of songs from the ’70s, I couldn’t care less about the band. And the fact that they’re the cover story in 2013 is a perfect example of why that magazine is worthless.

I only bring it up because of how much I was reminded of Mick Jagger’s vocals while recently listening to the band, Foxygen.

That tune, “Waitin’ 4 U”, is from the band’s 2012 album, Take the Kids Off Broadway. Hearing that makes one think that Jagger stepped into a portal back in 1973 and arrived in the Los Angeles suburbs in 2005 and decided to start a psychedelic indie rock duo.

In actuality, it was Jonathan Rado and Sam France who joined forces in Westlake Village, Calif., and set forth making several EPs full of experimental, avant-garde, garage rock.

The group’s early work is an acquired taste. But on the recent release, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, which came out this past January, the band finally starts to put things together in a more palatable manner.

The song that’s been getting a lot of love lately is “San Francisco”.

In April, the group released Jurrassic Exxplosion Phillipic, an LP they recorded in 2007, to the public for the first time. It’s a bit of a time capsule for the band, considering how much it’s grown since then.

For now, it might be wise to stick to the newer stuff. Especially if you still long for the Rolling Stones’ heyday.

May 14, 2013

159 – LEAGUES

Filed under: L, Nashville — assman41 @ 4:09 pm

I’m not exactly sure when I first heard the band, LEAGUES, or what song of theirs was being played at the time. (More than likely, it was on a random mix via MOG.) But whatever the source and track, one thing is certain, it was enough to prompt me to jot down the band’s name so I could listen to more in the future.

That time finally came this past weekend as I spun through the Nashville trio’s debut album, You Belong Here, a handful of times and grew to love it a little more with each listen.

The first thing that stands out about this album is the lack of filler. There are several notable tracks, but nothing on here should be considered a throwaway. The above song, “Walking Backwards”, is the standout, but there are several others hot on its heels, including the title track, “Haunted”, “Pass My Way”, “Lost It All” and “Mind Games”.

In trying to conjure bands that might accurately be called contemporaries, the first that comes to mind is Vampire Weekend. But that’s mostly based on the way lead singer Thad Cockrell spits out his vocals. Otherwise, LEAGUES’ music is far more accessible than their Brooklyn counterparts.

Another similar band is Two Door Cinema Club and specifically their 2010 debut disc, Tourist History, which was filled with loads of catchy electro/indie-rock songs and lacked any real filler. In fact, LEAGUES’ first big single, “Spotlight”, is probably only my seventh favorite song here.

The vibe of this album is perfect for the summer. And, hopefully, the band can capitalize on that as it is currently touring the country. It has several stops in my general area, but I doubt I’ll have a chance to make it to one. It’s too bad because I have a feeling this band will be blowing up pretty soon.

May 7, 2013

158 – The Mowgli’s

Filed under: Los Angeles, M — assman41 @ 11:31 am

For some of you, it might be difficult to get past the glaringly horrible grammar error in The Mowgli’s name. But if you’re able to quell your inner high school English teacher long enough to listen to the band’s debut EP, then you’ll find a group loaded with endless energy and potential.

The Los Angeles eight-piece doesn’t hold anything back on Love’s Not Dead, which came out in October 2012. On the opening track, “San Francisco”, the group channels The Polyphonic Spree while churning out an instant classic.

They continue their Up With People thing on “The Great Divide”, but with slightly lesser returns.

Then comes the album’s sleeper track, “Time”, which is just as great as “San Francisco”, but for totally different reasons. On this track, The Mowgli’s switch gears, drop all the harmonies — save for one notable line — and become something closer to the Plain White T’s or Okkervil River.

On “Slowly, Slowly”, the band changes gears again with a faster-paced indie-rock tune that wouldn’t sound too out-of-place on a Switchfoot album. But don’t let that comparison twist your stomach into knots. If this is what the band considers filler, it could do worse.

The closer, “Carry Your Will”, is a slow-builder that sounds almost like an indie-Christian rock song, with the band incorporating its signature harmonies throughout.

Overall, the disc is an interesting mix and shows some versatility from the band. And at just under 18 minutes, it’s an easy one to get through. The Mowgli’s hit the road next month and will make their way around the country, including stops at such festivals as Bunbury (Cincinnati), Lollapalooza (Chicago), Bumbershoot (Seattle) and LouFest (St. Louis).

May 1, 2013

157 – The 1975

Filed under: England, Numbers — assman41 @ 1:25 am

With three EPs released in less than nine months and another on the way in a few weeks, one has to wonder if the band, The 1975, intends to put out a conventional release anytime soon.

Then again, considering how good the tunes have been so far, maybe it doesn’t really matter as long as the Manchester quartet keeps churning them out on a regular basis.

The 1975 have enough influences that it’s difficult to pinpoint one in particular. They bounce among styles from song to song, but they never stray from the electro-indie neighborhood.

When asked about the band’s influences, lead singer Matthew Healy rattled off a number of acts, including Michael Jackson, Talking Heads and My Bloody Valentine. But he said the most prominent force in their music may be the films of the late John Hughes.

Above is the title track of the band’s second EP, Sex, which came out in November of last year. That song and disc are the band’s strongest to date. The EP also includes the song, “You”, which is slower than most of the group’s tunes and includes an enchanting guitar line that’s reminiscent of Kings of Leon or VHS or Beta, maybe Two Door Cinema Club. (I should note that I’m not too confident in those comparisons. Maybe one of you could provide a better one.)

The first EP, Facedown, came out last August and included the notable “Antichrist”. The most recent release, Music For Cars, arrived in March. Besides the track, “Chocolate”, it’s mostly filler that goes off into a few different directions.

Their fourth EP, the aptly titled IV, is due out May 20. The main single off of it is “The City”, which originally appeared on Facedown and was the tune that helped the band gain traction in the UK. It’s really not that great, so, instead, I’ll leave you with a previously mentioned track.

By the way, the band will be embarking on a U.S. tour next month that winds its way from Tulsa to Atlanta to Brooklyn — so, just the South and East.

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