MP3 (56k | 128k)
Real Audio (56k | 128k) Flash Player |  Help


Nana Grizol -- "For Things That Haven't Come Yet"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review by Amy Jorgensen

Singer/songwriter Theo Hilton formed the infectious indie-pop band, Nana Grizol, in 2007 after being involved in Elephant 6 Recording Company, who had previously worked with bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal. “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet” is one of the many beautifully crafted songs off of their sophomore album “Ruth” that was released earlier this year.

“For Things That Haven’t Come Yet” begins with a contagious mix of brass instruments and catchy drumming patterns that draw the listener into its delightfully contagious lyrics. The song contains upbeat portions as well as more mellow and relaxed segments that leave the listener focusing on the singer rather than getting distracted by the pleasantly catchy array of music. When the music slows down and takes a secondary role in the song, the lyrics take on a dreamier feel. For example like when the singer states “I had a dream about parking lots, and shopping malls” and later stating that “when we wake up it's always the same” the music slows and gives the listener a better chance of hearing what the singer is trying to say. However, right after this portion, the music swells and prepares the listener for the happily upbeat mix of intricate horn arrangements as well as extremely likeable drum line once again.

“For Things That Haven’t Come Yet” displays, with quirky perfection, that pleasantly nervous, folky type of singing that Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes have made famous. Containing down to earth lyrics that speak to the listener “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet” contains a message that has the ability to reach out to the hearts of many. I believe that Nana Grizol is trying to persuade their listeners to live life to the fullest, “don't live your life like it's already gone” and not get hung up on things that haven’t even happened yet, thus the song title “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet.”

Nana Grizol’s “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet” is an example of indie-pop at it’s best containing catchy drums, a unique mixture of instruments and tasteful lyrics that leave you thinking about life in general.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

For Things That Haven't Come Yet (mp3)

Yacht -- "So Post All 'Em" (I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review by Alejandra Olmedo

YACHT, aka Jona Bechtolt, started out as a side project during his days with the Blow. Bechtolt, hailing from Portland, Oregon, has released a slew of albums since its formation, a total of seven albums since 2003 is something to boast about for this one man band. However, throughout these albums he has collaborated with a who’s who in the indie scene. With such big hitters like Devendra Banhart, Calvin Johnson and the Dirty Projectors just to name a few, contributing facilitates the conception of albums. The jangly indie pop and electropop sounds of YACHT draw comparisons to indie darlings Neon Indian, Girls and Volcano Fire. Meanwhile, Bechtotl’s vocals are quirky, silly and echo that of Volcano Choir’s Justin Veron.

So Post All’Em, is the first track of YACHT’s 2007 release, I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real, sets up the tone of the 13 track album. Kicking off with a guitar and bongo intro mixed with electro chimes and beats sets up what is to come in So Post All’Em, whimsical lyrics and catchy beats. Meanwhile, the bongo solo midway through the track, makes the song all the more infectious with underlying electro beats. Although, this song has relatively simple lyrics with “I couldn’t say no. But I learned how to say yes,” it does not detract from the overall fun tone of the song. With whimsical sweet vocals, it is difficult to listen to this song and not crack a smile. Its infectious little beat will keep you humming throughout the day. Ultimately, Bechtolt manages to make a catchy and unique with simple yet complex techniques and lyrics, all in under four minutes!

Buy at iTunes Music Store

So Post All 'Em (mp3)

Kero One -- "In All the Wrong Places"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Review by Emily Woodman-Nance

“In all the Wrong Places” reminds me of the adage “opposites attract.” It is a great blend of jazz and hip hop. When it comes to hip hop it is all about beats. This song is off the chart. As a lover of jazz, I was immediately taken in with the introduction, I was drawn in further with the hip hop beats and rapping style of Kero One. Not expecting to be pulled in deeper, I heard the saxophone and I was swept away. As I was typing up the review, my head, hips and feet were constantly moving. I even noticed that I was swaying from side to side. Kero One’s style of rap is positive, inviting and energizing. I found myself transfixed in the beat and attentively listening to Kero One’s rhymes. As he laid out his lyrics, I began reflecting on how easy it is to look for love in the wrong places. Some people may think sex or a relationship with a super fly person equates to love. If you really think about it, it is much more than that and really starts with a person loving himself/herself. Then, taking it one step further and “promoting love in its true essence.” Kero One expresses what he thinks about a woman’s love with the lyrics:

“But its unique love only women can provide I seent it in my moms, I seent it in her eyes”

Love in its true essence is self-less and always wanting the best for another person.

I never heard of Kero One until today. As I listened to “In All the Wrong Places,” I wanted to know his story and listen to some more of his songs. I soon discovered that Kero One is the epitome of hard work and determination paying off. Kero One was a web designer by day and DJ/Rapper/Producer by night. The endless hours he spent gaining exposure to his self produced hiphop project "Windmills of the Soul" paid off when one of the 50 copies available worldwide landed in a tiny record store in Tokyo, Japan. "Windmills of the Soul" and "In all the Wrong Places" became a hit overnight and opened a floodgate of opportunities for Kero One. He immediately began touring internationally and offered numerous performance opportunities. Three years later, Kero One received an award for "Best Hip Hop Album of 2006". He quit his job as a web designer in 2006 to pursue music full time. Kero One is often compared to the sounds of Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, and Common.

I could not fight the urge. Therefore, I listened to some more tracks of Kero One’s and they were all tight. Kero One rhymes about real life stories and topics that you can identify with or imagine really happening. If you love jazz, hip hop or a lover of music you cannot go wrong with Kero One.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

In All The Wrong Places (mp3)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- "Young Adult Friction"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review by Alejandra Olmedo

New York City based band, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, comprised of Kip Berkman on vocals and guitar, bassist Alex Naidus, drummer Kurt Feldman, and Peggy Wang on keyboard and vocals, was meant to be a one-time gig for Wang’s birthday party. However, with their 2009 self titled release they garnered online hype. Which lead to rave reviews from the difficult to please hipster website, Pitchfork, NME and Rolling Stone magazine. POBPAH ‘s self titled album was released from Oakland, Ca based record label, Slumberland Records. Slumberland is known for releasing albums from notable artists like Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Stereolab, and the Softies.

Often this four piece band, draws comparisons to My Bloody Valentine, fellow label mates Black Tambourine, the Field Mice and Vivian Girls. Their brand of shoegaze, twee and indie pop characterizes their feel good sound. Kip Berkman’s vocals are reministic to that of Bobby Wratten, vocalist from the much loved the Field Mice. Meanwhile, Peggy, bassist and vocalist, adds another dimension of to the vocals with her sweet and whispery backup vocals during the chorus of the song.

Although, Young Adult Fiction sounds like an innocent song with its catchy indie pop sound, the lyrics could not be so far from this. The entire song is a metaphor for a sexual encounter between a girl and boy in a library! With lyrics like “We came they went, out bodies spent” clearly imply the not-so-innocent content of the song. However, POBPAH approach the metaphor in a silly manner with such humorous lyrics like “I never thought I would come of age. Let alone on a moldy page.” The repetition of the lyrics “Don’t check me out” is a fantastic way to end a song catchy little ditty about a coming of age story in an unlikely setting.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Young Adult Friction (mp3)

Alela Diane -- "Dry Grass and Shadows"

Thursday, December 31, 2009

review by Emily Woodman-Nance

The Grass Roots Record Co. – Family Album is definitely “grass roots” at its best. The album is a compilation of songs from groups that are connected to Nevada City, California. During a course of two weeks, groups came into the studio and recorded songs. The result was the Family Album with a total of 17 songs. The songs are diverse in style and voice but somehow the songs flow from track to track. Alela Diane is a local Nevada City artist that contributed to the collection. Alela is a singer and songwriter who is associated with 60’s style folk songs. She grew up singing with her musician parents, taught herself guitar and began writing songs. Her contribution to the album “Dry Grass And Shadows” is warm, trance-like and meditative.

Before I knew it, I was engrossed in the lyrics. I imagined myself lying on my back in bed and slowly drifting to sleep while thinking about wonderful memories of the one person I cared so much about. Seeing the person’s teeth, loving eyes and beautiful smile. Thinking that even though my father is no longer alive, the picture I painted will remain in the morning and forever more. My thoughts pretty much go in lockstep with the lyrics:

“There are things that I’ve seen in my head
While I’m sleeping in bed
Do not wither in the morning light”

The title of the song “Dry Grass and Shadows” made me quickly think about a rustic area in the summertime. If you were to look up Nevada City, California, you would discover that it is considered to be among the best-preserved towns of the West. Therefore, it seems appropriate that the song would have such words as dry grass, shadows and flat lands. Listening to “Dry Grass and Shadows” definitely put a smile on my face and reminded me how fortunate I am to have such wonderful memories of my father. Even now, I can see his wonderful face and feel the house being filled to capacity with his laughter. If there is, someone special in your life that you have not thought about lately this song is for you.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Dry Grass And Shadows (mp3)

Half Pint -- "Just Be Good To Me"


review by Emily Woodman-Nance

Half Pint is a Reggae artist who originates from the West Kingston enclave of Rose Lane a community that has produced the likes of Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, Lee “Scratch” Perry and a host of other international Reggae superstars. Half Pint is no stranger to decades of success and good music. His prolific song writing ability was officially recognized in 1987 when world renowned rock group, The Rolling Stones made a rock version of his #1 hit “Winsome” and renamed it “Too Rude”; and by the pop group Sublime’s adaptation of “Loving” in 1996. Half Pint’s has left his eternal prints on numerous movie soundtracks, made “raggamuffin” a universal term and received several awards.

The track “Just Be Good To Me” from the album “Past to Present” is another hit. It was released the same year that Half Pint won two World Music Awards. “Just Be Good To Me” immediately puts you in a relaxed and reflective mood. It gives you the space to think about how outside forces can disrupt a perfectly good relationship. The following lyric puts everything into perspective., “All dis stuff a he say and she say ohhh”. It made me think about if you permit “outside” negative conversations to seep into your relationship, it can cause misunderstandings. When you think about it the essentials elements of a relationship really boils down to what a couple thinks, feels and how they treat each other. It has nothing to do with what others may say or attempt to interject in the relationship.

For this track, Half Pint veered away from ragga (dancehall reggae). “Just Be Good To Me” is a slower tempo with mystical strumming of the guitar and hints of the harmonica. It is capped off with the “listen to what I have to say vocals” of Miki Howard. It is a must hear if you have loved, want to be loved or simply want to reflect on love!

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Just Be Good To Me Feat. Miki Howard (mp3)

The Bran Flakes - "What's It All About"

Friday, August 7, 2009
review by Suzanne Casazza

The Bran Flakes continue their quirky pop mash-ups with their short but striking song, “What’s It All About” off their album I Have Hands released February 2009. The Bran Flakes’ album art features two people with giant purple paper mâchéd heads. It sets the tone for the kooky album of collage audio fun.

“What’s It All About” combines samples of orchestral sounds, horns, beat boxing, Japanese singing, pop vocals, and a kicky drum line. Barely over a minute long, the song shifts about every 10 seconds or so and keeps up a fast pace of genre shifts. It begins with an upbeat horn beat, mixes in exotic-sounding Japanese vocals, and then seconds later switches to sweeping Disney-style orchestra.

The song closes with a man speaking about morals and life lessons against an understated backbeat that is reminiscent of the sagacity of Baz Luhrmann’s, “Sunscreen Song.” His last words, “Your style won’t survive you, but your substance will. It is eternal, and it is what it is all about,” ends the song abruptly, and makes listeners wonder what other substance The Bran Flakes have in store.

Although you can’t call I Have Hands a concept album, “What It’s All About” certainly upholds the consistently playful theme. What begins as an eclectic mix of seemingly random sounds grows on listeners and becomes infectiously zany, leaving us wondering what unexpected twist is coming next.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

What It's All About (mp3)

Little Brother - "Breakin' My Heart"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
review by Kristine Ugalde

Little Brother is one of those underground hip hop groups that gained critical acclaim a couple years back, but never received widespread attention. While it may seem like an odd collaboration, I don’t know why I’m still surprised that Weezy is on the track. It's certainly the right direction to go, not only because the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper Alive” has established himself as a formidable emcee, but also his ability to blow up the track.

However, unlike other artists who collaborated with Lil’ Wayne in the past, Little Brother doesn’t take a backseat. They hold their own weight. Wayne’s verse is saturated with clever metaphors, and many might easily dismiss the verse as a freestyle cipher from the 90’s.

I found that the “She loves me, she loves me not” cut in the beginning as well as the hook lacked creativity. It sounds like an old school R&B song bordering trite, holding no emotional resonance. While personally I’m not usually drawn to songs about relationships, the specificity of the lyrical content is honest and on-point. Phonte’s line “Cause a woman's life is love, a man's love is life” on the surface sounds like a gendered stereotype, it speaks volumes about the dynamics between women and men.

Although it’s a romantic track, the track ends with Phonte’s commentary on the younger generation’s misguided consumption and critiques how the ethnic majority are the benefactors of hip hop materialism, proof that Little Brother manages to put out evocative, honest music, which is the basic foundations of hip hop as a musical medium.

Buy at Rhapsody

Breakin My Heart feat. Lil' Wayne (mp3)

Vetiver - "Blue Driver"

Monday, July 6, 2009
review by Monica McCallum

The opening chords of Vetiver’s cover of Michael Hurley’s “Blue Driver” evoke, in my mind, a very particular image. Driving through the desert, in an old beat up van with bad coffee, sporadic air conditioning, and stops at shady diners planted haphazardly in the middle of nowhere – I can understand why folk music is so popular out here. Of course, if you’ve never made the drive yourself, you can get pretty close simply by listening to this song. The steady tap of the drum and repetitive bass line in the background lend a sense of perpetual motion to the tune as it progresses steadily from start to finish, without a care in the world, ending only when a vocal siren wail pulls the song over for being too awesome.

Vetiver’s Andy Cabic first brought the group together in Greensboro, North Carolina where he met his fellow musicians Sanders Trippe (guitar and vocals) and Brent Dunn (bass). Since the group’s move to San Francisco, they have collaborated with numerous artists, including the delightfully original Joanna Newsom, amongst other local musicians, to produce a string of whimsical, earthy, indie-folk albums. “Blue Driver” can be found on Vetiver’s June 2008 release, Things of the Past, which boasts a wonderful collection of folk/rock covers from the late 60s and early 70s, revitalized by Cabic without destroying their originality. If you are looking for a mellow, blast from the past for your daily commute, be sure to listen to “Blue Driver” – you won’t be disappointed.

Buy at Rhapsody

Blue Driver (mp3)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything With You"

Monday, June 29, 2009
review by Joanna Clay

Birthed in the Big Apple in 2007, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is comprised of Alex, Kip, Kurt and Peggy. The band name comes from an unpublished children’s story written by a friend of Kip, and the band notes musical influences such as Black Tambourine and My Bloody Valentine.

The melancholy melodies of the talented four-some are reminiscent of dream inducing sugar-pop of the 80s and 90s. Their Slumberland single, “Everything with You,” sounds like the lyrical love child of the Velvet Underground and the Pastels with its magnetically soft vocals and bouncy beat. The sadly hopeful lyrics read like a journal-torn pubescent ballad: "I’m with you and there’s nothing left to do/Tell me it’s true/ …and the starts are crashing through/ I want everything with you!”

Even if the themes may be youthful, the band is anything but immature with consistently solid tracks and stories that speak to souls of every shape and size.

Buy at Rhapsody

Everything With You (mp3)

Window Twins - "Purple Flies"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009
review by Joanna Clay

“Purple Flies” by the Window Twins sends you into a mystical world of ambient infused folk that brilliantly exposes the debut collaboration between Tim Cohen (Black Fiction) and Jon Bernson (Ray’s Vast Basement). It showcases Tim’s audacious psych-pop roots, but at the same time it doesn't overwhelm Jon’s understated hippie-rock.

The song begins hesitantly with delicate instrumental and then introduces the soft harmonies of the San Francisco musicians. The lyrics tell the story of Joey, a guy that parked his camper on an island in the middle of the world by the nest of the purple flies. The synchronized chanting sounds like spoken poetry set to music with a distinct pulsating rhythm that simultaneously is hypnotic and irresistible.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Purple Flies (mp3)

Los Campesinos -- You! Me! Dancing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
review by Lorraine Chambers

"You! Me! Dancing!" begins with a slow introduction, and then explodes into a surging wave of guitar strumming fun! You start jumping around and wishing that your earplugs had a longer cord! Then the singer begins to talk--is that a Welsh accent from a band named Los Campesinos? Yes, this is not a band from East L.A. This is a Welsh big band of seven! Back to the song, who cares where the band is from, we're having too much fun jumping around to this song! It's recess time again back in the schoolyard - get crazy!

Very reminiscent of the power pop scene pogo pits during the early punk days of the 70's. Yes - this is 'bedroom dancing' just like the singer says. (Resume bouncing around!) Whew! A wee bit of a rest with a melodic break with taps sounds tapping into a gunning taps rhythm. Another buildup to more madness?? Relax, there is more chatting, now we hear a female voice...oh wait, back to more 'Bedroom Dancing'! This song should be played daily so listeners got there heart rates up! Pure fun!

Buy at Rhapsody

You! Me! Dancing! (mp3)

Andrew Bird -- "The Trees Were Mistaken"

Monday, May 25, 2009
review by Joanna Clay

Finding meaning in an Andrew Bird song is sort of what it is like when I try to analyze In Rainbows. He’s one of those artists that really uses instruments and vocals in true harmony to create pieces that are uniquely beautiful and poetic. However, many contend that it is simply that- words artfully thrown together without much thought for an actual story.

Rumor has it that Andrew was commissioned by Molly Shanahan to write the piece for an interpretive dance routine. Each artist was given an inanimate object to use as inspiration thus producing some of the ambiguous lyrics.

Nonetheless, “The Trees were Mistaken” is my favorite Bird song and I would love to steal his journal and see the evolution of his writing process and how he comes up with lines like “feathers are warm in molasses.” Similar to stream of consciousness writers, his lyrics roll off the tongue in rhythmical fashion as if each song is improvisation, performed on the spot as a result of his present emotions.

If you’re interested in checking out his writing process, Bird frequently contributes to the New York Times blog Measure by Measure detailing the development of songs such as “Oh No” and “Natural Disasters.”

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Andrew Bird - The Trees Were Mistaken (mp3)

Presto - "Pour Another Glass"

Monday, May 18, 2009
review by Kristine Ugalde

No stranger to the game, Presto has been producing and DJing for almost 20 years. He describes his sound as “hip hop with a soul backdrop and jazz edge.” It is almost too easy to guess his influences: DJ Primo, Pete Rock, Jay Dee, Tribe--yet, he brings to the (turn)table a definitive edge.

Although State of Art was released June 2008, hip hop heads continue to sleep on Presto. Why? Because the digital age has led to saturation of wanna-be artists/producers now that hip hop has imploded the music industry and American culture. His album does justice to the hip hop luminaries before him and his collaborations on “State of the Art” with such influential hip hop greats such as Large Professor, CL Smooth, and Sadat X is an indication that hip hop, even with its explosion in the mainstream, is still capable of producing quality music.

His sound is jazzy, soulful, organic, old-school with refreshing enough to keep it contemporary. The layered instrumentation of jazzy keys, echoing horns, easy-going drum composition, and the inclusion of sleigh bells in a meticulous, yet subtle synthesis of samples shows his skill as a producer.

And so the age old question still remains: what is hip hop? Is it flashy videos, blatant misogyny, violence and brutality, or reinforcing materialistic values? To avoid sounding like a diatribe, the answer remains ambivalent.

One consolation is that Presto takes us back to the fundamental sounds of the early 90’s. Sampling jazz and soul music using a keyboard rather than an MPC gives the production a sense of intimacy and live instrumentation.

Blu still doesn’t disappoint. A favorite in the underground scene, his consciousness and ability to illustrate day-to-day vignettes demonstrates how the resurgence of West Coast hip hop deviated away from gangsta rap and into an art form used to contextualize his environment. His flow displays his excellent storytelling skills about how he emerged from being a eager amateur to internet/underground success. Blu balances his cockiness while still maintaining his cool against the jazzscape background.

His album does justice to the hip hop luminaries before him and his collaboration on his album “State of the Art” with such influential hip hop greats such as large professor, CL Smooth, and Sadat X is an indication that hip hop, even with its explosion in the mainstream, is still capable of producing quality music.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Pour Another Glass (mp3)

Lee Bob Watson - "Let the Hate In (I Won't)"

Monday, May 11, 2009
review by Robbie Santos

Lee Bob Watson’s track “Let The Hate In (I Won’t)" comes from his CD Family Album (Grass Roots Record Co.). Watson does not adhere to a set genre and is not quite country or indie rock. But rather, he brings together a unique blend of folk, country, and soul-jazz. Heavily influenced by the music of the late 60’s and 70’s, he combines different several layers into a distinct sound punctuated by his soulful vocals.

Lee Bob Watson passionately proclaims in his track that “I won’t let the hate in” with a country, gentlemanly like drawl on top of a steel guitar. The virtues of perseverance and faith through hard times seep through the song, leaving the listener with a simple message of optimism. Watson lets his talents shine through as the track expresses the story being told by a man and his guitar. He lays down bluesy, rhythmic guitar solos as his vocals echo the plight of the everyday person. The sound is completely organic and never comes across as forced, taking on a kind of a grassroots charm which makes it easy for the listener to identify with the message Watson is trying to send.

Lee Bob Watson’s track, “Let the Hate In (I Won’t)”, presents the soul-searching quality that the blues brings about but as well as his own unique sound. In these difficult times, it is easy to delve into negativity and spread it to others but Watson encourages hope and love through his catchy, nuanced song.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Let The Hate In (I Won't) (mp3)

The Love Language - "Sparxxx"

Monday, April 13, 2009
review by Perry Chavez

Sparxxx is an experience that is lighter sound-wise than the Love Language’s debut single Lalita with a bouncy guitar and harmonies that channel the Beach Boys. It has a somber tone in comparison but equal amounts of awesome.

More emphasis is placed on the melody and vocals on this track as they sweep over the fast guitar whose prominence sometimes changes and can be sparse at other times. The melody’s notes rise and release, like a cold, refreshing wave at the beach, into the chorus. It would be a shock to find that the Love Language’s Stuart McLamb was not influenced by 60s pop because this song unconsciously has what seems to be influences of artists of that period.

The song feels naturally a piece of that time period but with a modern twist because it rocks way more than anything could back then.

The tone is surprisingly upbeat for a song that describes the singer’s “heart in ruin”, but then you hear that the tone is inspired by “white lies [that] have set [his] heart on fire” as he continues to describe that a girl he was smitten with wants to watch his heart in pain. It then all makes sense. He’s angry, he wanted her to “blow [him] away, like a birthday candle” instead of watching him squirm, and it’s chilling to hear him end the song chaotically as he emphatically screams “do what you, want!” because that’s exactly what she did to him.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Sparxxx (mp3)

Asobi Seksu - "I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me"

Friday, April 3, 2009
review by Robbie Santos

The track “I’m Happy But You Don’t Like Me” comes from Asobi Seksu’s self-titled album in 2004. Asobi Seksu, when loosely translated, is a Japanese colloquialism meaning “casual sex” or even literally “fun sex.” The band draws heavily from the shoe-gazing genre and combines elements of dream/noise pop. The band is comprised of Yuki Chikudate (keyboard) and James Hanna (guitar) who share vocal duties throughout the album.

The standout elements in this song are Chikudate’s vocals and Hanna’s guitar work, which easily draws comparisons to Blondie. The entire song is sung in Japanese which could easily distract the listener but Chikudate’s vocals, while not overwhelming, are extremely charming and compliment the poppy track well. However the band’s talent for expression is showcased when the lyrics are translated: “Futari de koi shite/tanoshii tokoro eikitai kedo/kimi wa dokonimo inai”: “I want to go back to the time/when we loved each other and had fun together but/you aren’t here.” While the entire mood of the song remains upbeat and airy, the juxtaposition of these somber lyrics with the remainder of the track brings a different facet to “I’m Happy but You Don’t Like Me.”

Steady guitar and keyboard (played by Hanna and Chikudate, respectively) keep the buoyant song afloat, never drawing too much attention to one or the other. Asobi Seksu keeps things fun but at the same time builds on this consistency which allows them to delve into various forms of expression. The entire album is definitely worth a listen but “I’m Happy but You Don’t Like Me” is a great starting point for everyone.

Translated lyrics:

Look at those clouds
That small bird is flying
I'm happy but you don't like me

I want to go back to the time
when we loved each other and had fun together but
you aren't here

Why did you want to disappear
Why did you want to run away
Why, why, why
I love, love, love you, but...

Buy at iTunes Music Store

I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me (mp3)

Beirut - "My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille" (from March of the Zapotec & Realpeople/Holland

Friday, March 20, 2009
review by Christine Thrasher

A departure from the acoustic folk pop/rock work that Beirut is most famous for, “My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille,” a new track from their March of the Zapotec EP, features fully electronic instrumentation along with Zach Condon’s signature melodic vocals.

This song is fairly short and repetitive, featuring lyrical motifs such as “I believed her then,” and “now outside you see the waves in her eyes / and I, I won't mind what you decide to swear by,” but the effect is nostalgic and romantic. The track brings to mind a strange, colorful dreamlike circus in the summertime, perhaps describing the confusing but delightful absurdity of love and beauty.

On many levels, the track is quite melancholic, remembering a time past. It should appeal to fans of Alaska in Winter, Owen Pallett, and A Hawk and a Handsaw. If you’re expecting something identical to Beirut’s indie hits “Elephant Gun” and “Postcards from Italy,” this track will surprise you with its catchy, almost danceable electronic instrumentation—it might throw off some fans of the band. However, if you give it a chance, it will grow on you.

Buy at Rhapsody

My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille (mp3)

Mariee Sioux - "Two Tongues At One Time" (from Grass Roots Record Co. - Family Album)

review by Christine Thrasher

In “Two Tongues At One Time,” Mariee Sioux, an American folk singer of indigenous descent, both comforts and haunts the listener with her acoustic guitar playing, accompanied by beautiful yet strange lyrics about being a child of the “wild plains.”

This song comes from her first studio album, “Faces in the Rocks,” following her self-released album “A Bundled Bundle of Bundles.” Though the song is simple, using nothing but voice and guitar, the songwriting is creative and unique, demonstrating her talent with the guitar and poetic lyrical voice.

Her style is mystical and spiritual, with a hint of the psychedelic grotesque. She writes about “faces in the rocks with medicine tongues” and “blankets. . . woven from the hair of the dead” as well as the ” thundering roll of ghost buffalo.” Her voice is fragile and wavering, reminding the listener of wind across the plains, and she takes you on a stream-of-consciousness journey through her meditation on history, natural environment, and the human experience.

I would recommend her to fans of Joanna Newsom, Alela Diane, and Joni Mitchell, but her work should appeal to anyone who appreciates poetry about the natural mystery of the universe.

Two Tongues At One Time (mp3)

Buy at iTunes Music Store

The Love Language - Lalita (Self-Titled)

Monday, March 16, 2009
review by Perry Chavez

The Love Language

I knew something good was coming when I heard the first few seconds of Lalita’s tempo explode into energetic drums and a muddy distorted guitar. The Love Language intricately mixes 60s pop with a modern lo-fi sound that resonates deeply within the listener due to the feel-good vibe it provides. This song proves a good first single off of the Love Language’s debut album because of the sweet and simple quality of the guitar and chorus. The pulsing drums make you want to get up and dance the night away like no one is watching, affirming the band’s self description of “western swing.”

The song sounds like it comes from somewhere innocent and sweet while maintaining an almost ominous undertone because of the reverb placed on seemingly everything and the hidden nature of the singing. Stuart McLamb’s vocals blend in the background of the song and I wish it they were more prominent and audible, because I would love to scream along to this song and become part of the music. The singing makes me imagine what sad, yet uplifting love story the Love Language front man is trying to keep from me. Lalita amps you up and ends abruptly leaving you with a sensation of restlessness. I wanted the song to never end because it was so inviting and catchy. You’ll find yourself singing “Lalita, don’t you hate these kisses” before you know it.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Lalita (mp3)

School of Seven Bells - Chain (Alpinisms)

Monday, March 9, 2009
review by Robbie Santos


The School of Seven Bells is comprised of Benjamin Curtis, along with identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. The track “Chain” comes from their 2008 release Alpinisms, which melds a dream-pop vibe together with an indie-electronic style. The upbeat “Chain” is immediately likeable—vibrant from the outset, but soon takes on an ethereal quality when the vocals from the Dehezas enter the track. The sisters work together in a seamless way with the arrangement; they are an unmistakable presence, but never take the forefront and compliment the dreaminess of the caressing melody.

The trio utilizes an unconventional process in the composition of their songs in that the music is made to shape and to supplement the lyrics. “Chain” is no exception, as the entire piece can essentially be described in the first lyric of the song: “My sleep burrows me a chain of monochromatic rooms/that jangles in the day and recalls a samey drone.” The combination of the haunting, siren-like harmonic unison of the sisters, along with the almost meditative quality that the rhythm takes on, creates a soothing ambiance.

The track is unrelenting in its thoughtful cadence; focusing on one element of the track is almost impossible as the rhythmic guitar, along with the gentle layers of the drums, brings the listener right back to the dream-like vocals. “Chain” states that “I cannot seem to remember my dreams lately” and while being a sentiment that many of us can relate to, it is a lyric that sinks right into the soul of the track and reverberates into a noteworthy composition.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Download (mp3)

Matt & Kim - Yea Yeah (Self Titled)

Sunday, March 1, 2009
review by Joanna Clay

Self Titled

Heralding from Brooklyn, New York, the dynamic duo of Matt & Kim prove once again that hipster punk pop is anything but fluff with their new single “Yea Yeah.” With loaded lyrics tackling those things that, well, suck, it makes me happy that they can smile and play while doing it. A little hair tossing never hurt anyone, right?

Their self-produced music video is just so cute. It makes me want to pull on a white tee, grab a guitar, and be part of their paper constructed band set. Apparently the lyrics and playfully ferocious food-fight are portraying the classic human problem of sweating the small stuff. In interviews, Matt uses common annoyances like fines and tickets as examples of how he lets things build up to become larger issues. If only a pie to the face was the biggest of our problems.

As of January 20, their newest album Grand is now available on Fader label. I warn you though, upon purchase you may not be able to stop banging pans and dancing on your kitchen table.

Buy at iTunes Music Store

Matt & Kim - Yea Yeah (mp3)


Home | About KUCI | Contact | Alumni Pages | Photo Gallery | Schedule | CD Reviews | Listening Help | Articles | Hosts | Links | KUCI | University of California, Irvine | Site Map