by: Sam Farzin, KUCI Music Director
This has been a fun week. I have gone to see a lot of artists and performers in a variety of contexts. I could list them all but that would be presumptious and obnoxious so I won't. Instead I will focus on one event in particular I attended, last Friday, in Costa Mesa.
The band is called Dark Meat and they are a ramshackle orchestra in the way Beirut wish they were. There are all manner of instruments and loud-rawk guitar. They are like an arena rock band blistering through jams without a single care, and a lot of drugs.
In any case the concert was a free 'launch party' for Vestal Watch & Clothing company's fall line. There were a lot of unsavory people there. There were fire twirlers. There was unlimited free alcohol. When Dark Meat played, the crowd largely moved into the tent where they were to play, fairly inebriated. Three songs in, a bevy of beach balls, like one hundred of them, fell freely from a net on the ceiling of the tent. What follows is 25 minutes of people manically kicking beach balls, slowly getting grosser as more and more beer is spilled all over the floor. It is difficult to describe this warzone, so I will link to a video I took with my cell phone. It is poor in audio and video but gives the truest experience.
It was one for the ages, to say the least. Bro.
In other news, music:
Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea [Drag City]
David Berman writes songs about love, life, sex, and some other things, and sings them with heart and emotion in a deepdeep voice. He has been doing this for a long time! His songs are very good. The music that accompanies his singing is in a rock and sometimes alt-country vein. This is music to listen to and be moved by.
Dr. Dog - Fate [Park The Van]
When I was an intern on KUCI a long time ago, my proposed cohost liked Dr. Dog a lot. I had never heard of them. At some point, I heard one of their songs and I found it enjoyable but they were not really my "thing." In any case, Dr. Dog has persisted nobly and continues to make good folk-lo-fi-garage-rawk-sometimes-with-violin jams and tour the country. Good on your, doctor.
SJ Esau - Small Vessel [Anticon]
This one took me by surprise. It is is very cut-and-paste-heavy, like sounds coming and going and coming back but differently and then leaving sooner, or later. But above these sounds is a sweet sweet voice and great songs with great melodies and beats. Sortaaaaa-RPM, but very much not. Plus it's on Anticon, so half of you will play it.
The Dutchess And The Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke [Hardly Art]
These songs are really good. Like, dude with a guitar and a tamborine, playin' his guitar in the park in a ratty three-piece suit, singing about what he is feelin'. Dudette singin' along, harmonizin' and spreadin' the love. It's totally sweet and unpretentious and 100% good music.
The Awkward Stage - Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights [Mint]
You could probably make a totally appropriate transition from the last record to this one. This one treads a little more subtly, but has a very similar vibe. Sweet sweet (though not always sweet in subject matter) songs, airy and pretty instrumentation. The song "Skeletal Blonde" stuck out to me as a jam and a half.
We Versus The Shark - Dirty Virsions [Hello Sir]
This is crazy! Like guitars battling on a mountain amid rain and thunder, and wild animals and foliage, etc. The drums would be the thunder, I guess. I hesitate to compare this to the Mars Volta but I guess I just did, so this sounds kind of like the Mars Volta if that band made digestible songs.
Albert Hammond Jr. - Como Te Llama? [Black Seal]
Everyone's favorite curly-haired Stroke is back with his second 'solo' (+ band that is not The Strokes) album in as many years. Nothing new here, but he is lovable and his songs are solid so why not support him in his personal endeavors.
The Delicious - Postcard To My Sewing Circle [Joyful Noise]
Already a new EP! These dudes' last disc got swell plays so here is more sorta-mathy ramshackle (paradox?!) pop. You dudes will probably dig the fun piano-rox herein.
Monocle - Outer Sunset [Hidden Shoal]
This is sort of an outlier. I once again struggle to say "bossa nova" but that is probably the best term to describe this album. And before you think about Mai Tais and tiki torches at your next flowery backyard bonanza maybe listen to this and you'll dig it more than a Starbucks compilation of chill tunes.
The Song Corporation - Pirates! [Self-Released]
I am not sure what The Song Corporation's goal in music is, and I think that is why I like this album. They do a lot of things across this record - most of it is pretty firmly "indie" a la early-to-mid 90s stuff but there is, in whole, an earnest quirkiness that can't be forced. Maybe that is not the proper thing to judge a record by but I am into it totally.
King Khan And The Shrines - The Supreme Genius of... [Vice]
This would have been my number 1 add of the week but it was supposed to add last week and came late. I LOVE King Khan. King Khan is like. I don't even know. He is a going-on-middle-age Indian by way of Montreal expat Berlin transplant who has spent the last 15 years of his life making the sweetest and baddest sounds in 50/60s tinged guitar bands around the world. This is his most hyped project - a big big soul rock band with horns and all the bells and whistles singing songs about everything with whimsy and dirty heart. To be honest, I prefer his other project more (The King Khan and BBQ Show [BBQ being Mark Sultan whose "Sultanic Verses Record" I added almost a year ago]); but there is no maligning King Khan And The Shrines. Play "I Wanna Be A Girl" for a no-brain winner.
Fact: Last time (and the only time) I saw The King Khan And BBQ Show, King Khan performed in a purple wig and gold, glittering dress (I did not get the full experience though, because across that tour he frequently lifted his dress to reveal a lot of not underwear (which he was wearing at the Galaxy show I saw).
Olafur Arnalds - Variations Of Static [Erased Tapes]
Real minimal, lingering, melancholic orchestrations. Quiet and slow and pretty and perfect.
I hope you enjoy these discs.