Boys and Girls Living Together :: An 8tracks Mix

Last summer 8tracks asked us to curate a summer mix for them, which we did and got us involved in their personalized take on Internet radio. After a long layoff, we returned to 8tracks this afternoon with a mix exclusively concerned with boy-girl pop music. Not surprisingly, most of this music is about break ups. Called "Boys and Girls Living Together" it comprises some of the best pop conversations between male and female vocalists (a trend that we traced to Human League's sex-power treatise, "Don't You Want Me"). The requirements were that each vocalist had to sing at least a verse or a bridge, not just the hook in the chorus. If you enjoyed the Postal Service's brutal "Nothing Better" or the masochism of Stars' "Elevator Love Letter," you already know this aesthetic well. Stream the mix above and take a spin around 8tracks and let us know what we missed.



"You deserve some kind of warning," comes the cooing chorus of TRAILS AND WAYS latest single, "Mtn Tune." It is a strange thing to hear from a band who seemingly emerged from the primordial independent rock stew in the past three months. They could have warned us their guitars would have a voice all their own, distinctly equatorial and pleasantly warm to the touch. They could have told us they would have these inexorable, strange pop songs. In short, we could have been warned. Topically, and now part and parcel of the band's mercurial rise to notoriety this spring and summer, "Mtn Tune" is either about mountain top removal coal mining or falling in love at metaphorical high altitude, which both strike this writer as exceptionally dangerous, systemically bad ideas. At their best - and this counts - the band exudes a clean fecundity, alluring and not a bit sordid. "Mtn Tune" is pop that doesn't need a warning label, though it does its fetching sort of damage all the same.

Modern Rivals :: "Defenestrate You"

Modern Rivals craft the most esoteric of break-up songs on "Defenestrate You." It is an echoing and undulating ride as the chorus hits with the punch of a Calvino novel getting its sea legs: pretty, valiant and inchoate. There isn't a single hook - even the title lyric falls a bit flat - but the whole arrangement is laden with these sorts of pop trap doors where the listener finds themselves falling and pleasantly caught in an eddy of melody or silky backing vocal. The bumping guitar punches evoke something southern, though Modern Rivals are a Brooklyn band with a stupidly good debut EP. The desire to "defenestrate," quite literally to throw out of the window, to reject another or an idea completely, is old. Like the old Proustian axiom, to make the listener see the window, first you must make them believe in the wall. Then give them the power to throw their past out of both.

Listen :: Modern Rivals - "Defenestrate You"


On The List :: Milagres @ Glasslands [7.26.12]

Opening for New York's Milagres was a gracious Danish artist who plays under the moniker Indians. Without necessarily delving into the bizarre irony of a northern European playing in New York under the name Indians - he could have been Dutch and named his band Lenape Stuyvesant - suffice it to say Indians possesses great affection for New York City. His last song was explicitly about New York, and he waxed philosophical about the city's charms two other times in between his pretty, looping keyboard creations. The audience felt guilty - or what guilty would look like after three drinks - like one of your college friends just informed you how "cool your parents are." You shuffle your feet and demure. These people know New York is transformative, and they know they take it for granted. Indians doesn't, sounding a bit like a more lonely Porcelain Raft, and his car service is coming to get him at 11:30. New York will have to wait.

Milagres took the stage as a surprisingly tight five piece. Their debut record for Kill Rock Stars, Glowing Mouth, dealt almost exclusively in a distended series of keyboard arrangements drowned in high-fret board guitars. They were the Antlers without taking themselves so seriously. On this night they sound phenomenal, featuring one of the better drummers in the independent rock music and layer upon layer of keyboards, vocals and guitars. On record it can be a beautiful, occasionally challenging listen, but live the music is sharp and urgent. The band opened with "Gone," playing "Lost In The Dark" and "Here To Stay" along the way, crafting the dualism of grieving departures and settling down for good. Appropriately, Milagres closed their main set with album opener "Halfway," a final moment of indecision. The chorus suggests, "I could be halfway from anyone," as Indians packed his gear into the trunk of a black cab. On this night, Milagres, one of the better indie rock bands you can see live, was happy to be trapped by the same city Europeans are loathe to leave.


Letting Up Despite Great Faults :: "Visions"

Letting Up Despite Great Faults practically monopolize the market for great, fuzzy, summer pop. This is saying something in an era where making a photo pretty involves using a washed out filter, where making pop music involves similar haze, where a band actually named itself Washed Out. Put another way, in the last three years lo-fi synth pop was to indie rock what drone strikes were to American foreign policy: ubiquitous, effective and debatably good. But, remarkably, LUDGF avoided sounding predictable, even if they trafficked the same territory as so many other bands. Perhaps it was their album art which frequently featured isolated appendages of what you imagine are quite attractive brunette girls, or perhaps, more importantly, it was their ability to drive their sonics under a layer of fuzz but never to lose the hooks and melodies that mark the boundaries of good pop music. On "Visions," the lead track from forthcoming LP, Untogether, the band features the same methodical guitar, fuzzy synthesizers and a satisfying launch sequence as the band tumbles into the body of the arrangement. It sounds exactly like everything else, and still manages a certain singularity in a sea of bands held under the water and neatly browned in the sun.

Suburban Living :: "I Don't Fit In"

During the 1980s, movies aimed at teenagers attempted to reconcile the image of the "outsider." The Breakfast Club notably grappled with the role of the individual and "the other," ultimately deciding that everyone was cool in their own way and love was a product of embraced individuality. Or consider, Can't Buy Me Love and Say Anything, two movies that essentially boil down to the revealing of the secret coolness (or worthiness) of a perceived outsider. Even Ferris Bueller, for being universally beloved, seemed to have few real friends beyond the super foxy Sloane and the sardonically morose Cameron. Bueller is in some sense the archetype, a guy who has claimed his coolness by operating firmly outside of societal constraints. Teenage movies haven't materially changed - if anything these same tropes have moved to post-adolescent territory. The themes are still about how to "fit in," how to find love in a developmental stage that rewards only group-think. The appropriately named band Suburban Living attack this issue on single, "I Don't Fit In," the title and chorus resounding like Cameron kicking his Dad's car through the window of the family garage, a kind of dreamily destructive raison d'etre. "I Don't Fit In" can be retrofitted as marching orders, a celebration of purpose - for footnotes see the concluding 15 minutes of any of the above mentioned movies. The guitars borrow wholesale from the Cure catalog and the chorus is a layered, elevating and beautiful mess, as good a dream-pop single as 2012 will have to offer. It sounds cool and you'll love it, which seems to always bring the outside in at the end.


The Mountain Goats :: "Cry For Judas"

The just released Mountain Goats single, "Cry For Judas" comprises two of John Darnielle's favorite elements: religious imagery and a slicing, wincing revisionism. The narrative here is about regret, told from a somewhat sympathetic perspective toward Judas, though the implication here is: Everyone can be a bad guy sometimes. The horn rich arrangement and splashy drums hide lyrics like, "feel the storm every night," "sad and angry, can't learn how to behave," and the chilling refrain, "long black night, morning thoughts, I'm still here but all is lost." This is an artist who memorably compared his transcendence of his abusive father to the first tetrapods who "wriggled up on dry land," using the evolutionary story to tell a darkly triumphant human one. So, it isn't surprising that Darnielle would mine for material in the night the Romans executed the not-yet Christian world's messiah. Judas would, according to the Gospel, die by his own hand and with that the terrible final act was complete. Consider it Darnielle's profound talent and empathy to steer the camera from a different direction, turning the exceptional, the messianic, the specific, into the terrifyingly common.

"Cry For Judas" is the first single from the Mountain Goats forthcoming LP, Transcendental Youth, out October 22, 2012. Download it for free here.


On The List :: The Killers @ Webster Hall [7.23.12]

This review runs live on Bowery's House List Blog.

To watch the Killers in 2012 is an act of disjointed historical remembrance. This sort of anachronism isn’t simply a product of the band’s ability to resurrect the musical genres of everyone from Joy Division to Springsteen. Because these days, the Killers turn backward twice, using old influences with a wink and trying to escape and revive the songs that made them stupidly famous in 2004. It was then that the opening five songs of their debut LP, Hot Fuss, were as ambitious and outstanding as any popular rock album of the previous decade not made by the Strokes. This is and was the past, before the band nearly broke up, before the litany of solo records that take us up to present day. This sold-out crowd in the East Village would serve as the rough approximation of now, or the scene of where we might figure out the dimensions of the word. The Killers, four guys who wanted to lionize and transcend Las Vegas, the most anachronistic place on the planet, arrived at Webster Hall with a new single, “Runaways,” and a forthcoming new album, Battle Born, rich with the interstitial tension over whether to dig up or completely bury the past.

Appropriate to this dichotomy, the band opened with “Runaways” followed by their first American radio single, “Somebody Told Me.” The packed crowd was in full throat on the night’s third song, “Smile Like You Mean It,” before lead singer Brandon Flowers asked, “Are you guys in or are you out?” perhaps unaware that these fans had either passed up or taken advantage of the huge scalping price on the secondary market. For those who passed on the urgent, big offers in the line outside, they were, most definitely, in by the time Flowers climbed his stage monitor to shout the lyrics of “Spaceman.” It only served to raise the stakes, as the band oscillated from older material, like “This Is Your Life,” and new-album cuts, like “Miss Atomic Bomb,” full of future tense fatalism—Flowers soaring on the lyric “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”

The main set concluded with the Hot Fuss long-form anthem, “All These Things That I’ve Done,” arriving at this denouement by way of “Reasons Unknown,” “Bling (Confessions of a King),” “Human” and the band’s first UK single from 2003, “Mr. Brightside.” But it was the present perfect tense of “All These Things That I’ve Done” that suitably served as the ending for a band standing on the very fulcrum of itself. Those in the crowd screamed the meaningless and perfect bridge, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier,” along with Flowers, a slice of 2004 in 2012, these things we’ve done acting as a beacon for whatever it is that comes next.

Blonds :: "Time"

Exploding with sweeping melody and a pleasant aphorism, "Time is on our side," New York's next big band Blonds release next single, "Time." Coming off the popularity of sultry one-off, "Run," Blonds continues down the road of the one word title, this time with less bombast but no less pathos. Where "Run" erupted into big sky of a chorus, "Time" glides along under its own power, metronomic drums marking the only measure of insistence behind a song that is ostensibly about ignoring just these sorts of chronological pressures. There are elements of the Beach House formula here, and more than enough for fans of a bands like Tennis or Cults, though the impulse for Blonds always trends toward something cinematic. Consider the first lyrics, "Sleep in cars, explode like stars," a couplet with enough generality to appeal to anyone who was ever under 25 and had the kind of halcyon youth - or imagined they did - the band outlines here. "Time" all but suggests the listener project him or herself into the narrative, replacing the general with specifics, a place where the tempo slows and the clocks wind at a more reasonable pace.


Black Marble :: "A Great Design"

Black Marble even sounds cold. The Hardly Art band readies another LP, A Different Arrangement, of the icy pop that made them suitably famous, albeit in small circles, on debut, Weight Against The Door. Like first glimmer of a Chemical Brothers idea that got stopped at the door of the party and turned out into the night, "A Great Design" wanders through rich keyboard-scapes, shaping little hints of warmth and lightness at the edges. The architecture relies - flat out - on a sub-zero gloss, a chemical bond phase-change where the structure only holds together below a certain temperature. This is load-bearing cold. The lyrics mention, "changing your mind" and "running out of time", but the landscape is broken obsidian and the clock is frozen to the wall.

Listen :: Black Marble - "A Great Design"


The Eastern Sea :: "The Match"

Most creative people have either a healthy fascination with or an abject fear of fire. This is certainly reductionist but we only have a paragraph and The Eastern Sea have less than five minutes on spacious and elevating single, "The Match." Opening with loose guitars and the kind of image-heavy lyrics like, "watching stray cats under cars" and "lighting matches just for fun, running fire along your thumb," the band paints a dark and pastoral summer front porch from which to build the rest of the arrangement. "The Match" unfolds twice - and we won't necessarily presume some kind of form-meets-function thing from illumination to extinguishing - the first around the introduction of drums, a satisfying shift at the 1.53 mark, and then the movement toward the conclusion, an ascent that includes horns and a veritable church of backing vocals. The conclusion is as austere as the opening, guitars replaced by insistent drums, and the crushing final lyric, "Is it you or is it me?" How better to put the fine line between the power of light and the heat of destruction?

On The List :: Deleted Scenes @ Mercury Lounge [7.19.12]

If being a small rock band on a small label was easy, everyone would do it. Deleted Scenes took to the Mercury Lounge in the 8 o'clock slot as the headliner of the "early show," which is rapidly becoming code for, "How do we turn this place over twice in a night?" The band opened with the buzzy onamonapia song, "Days of Adderall" before turning to the more esoteric, "Teenage Kids," a song that is, according to the band, not available anywhere, sporting a central lyrical image, "This is what it must feel like to have teenage kids" in regards to a failing romance. "I'd die to please you," the lead singer intones in what has to be the most heart breaking moment on the Lower East Side this Thursday. The middle of the set turned the band toward its more 1990s indie rock influences, cheeky and thinly veiled Pavement turns of phrase and, at times, chunky Built To Spill-style guitars. Deleted Scenes updated their reference points to those of the quirky, looping pop of the Shins on, "Bedbedbedbedbed," a song good enough to use a noun five times with no need a space bar. The night closed with "Fake IDs", a 2009 release and, surprisingly not their most recent single, "English As A Second Language," a song that was left out of the Thursday night set list. "Fake IDs" rang, as it has for the last three years, as an identity think piece, settling on the somewhat provocative lyric, "We've all got fake IDs" and its presumption that for all their "everyman pretensions," you couldn't be this band if you tried.

Listen :: Deleted Scenes - "English As A Second Language"

The band plays Rock Shop this evening, 7/20.


Freelance Whales :: "Locked Out"

I once disparaged Freelance Whales as "Lou Pearlman's Arcade Fire." It was a joke that required at least a cursory knowledge of 1990s pop culture, a sort of backhanded compliment to Freelance Whale's tight sound and nearly adorable assortment of Urban Outfitters-clad members. It was the kind of thing you say too loudly between sets at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Their music felt cloying, almost claustrophobic, the lyrics about Hannah taking the stairs, "elevator" rhyming with "Now and Later." It was the end of indie rock, or so this writer would have told you then, either undaunted or unconcerned with the fact that indie rock's obituary had already been written nearly a decade earlier. (Editor's note: In a sense, this marks the coterminous beginning and end of indie rock, or perhaps, the death of indie rock as a real thing meaning "independently released rock" and the beginning of it as a style genre.) So, Freelance Whales are back with a new record, Diluvia, and a new song, "Locked Out" and it is a bit more atmospheric, still prominently featuring chimes and adorable male-female harmonies. The last movement and last lyric, "We have the rations to go anywhere," turns the aesthetic outward, making this a journey and making us all prepared for it. This is ambitious and worthwhile, not a bit planned and packaged, unlike, say, a retroactive apology for a biting comment from three years ago.

Stars :: "Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It"

Stars have been making music just long enough to risk being a footnote. You know, reference material, the kind of thing you cite in an academic defense of some new, and presumably, better band. Their last album, The Five Ghosts, found Stars playing itself a bit. This is, of course, the grand risk of being first and being good: You one day find yourself playing yourself asking, "What would we do here?" and either railing against or falling mercilessly into this pit of self-parody. Imitation of self is the direct antecedent to artistic atrophy, a very cruel and very public version of your grandmother's advice about you continuing to make that face and your face staying that way. This raised the stakes and lengthened the odds for Stars coming release, The North. The first single, "The Theory of Relativity" risked everything contained in this paragraph, a titan of indie rock seemingly adrift, until the second taste of the record, "Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It" released this morning. It is full of bleeding hearts and Cure-style guitars and a lyric, "Take the weakest thing in you and beat the bastards with it" as close to both a great turn of phrase and marching orders as we get in 2012. Amy Milan shows up late to do a sort of Kate Bush turn in her upper register while Torquil Campbell outlines the architecture of a pro-love polemic below. It is all in the title, predictable in a sense but spacious and propulsive like all great pop music, buzzing against killer lines like, "if I'm frightened if I'm high, it's my weakness please forgive it." As for Stars, if their weakness was that they started to look too much like themselves, here they prepare to beat you with impunity.

Night Panther :: "Snudge"

Cultural literacy is the new cultural feeling. In essence, it is better to know about a thing than it is to have an unexplained notion that the same thing is good or powerful. Or, at least, literacy organized its armies into a slew of cultural references and intellectual arguments, largely aimed at eliminating enthusiastic ignorance - which is totally understandable by the way - but by consequence (or maybe "collateral damage" works better here) literacy attacked and destroyed a world of aesthetics with a horde of explanations. It was, and now is, simply unacceptable to like something for its own purposes. You needed reasons. You needed cogency. The world looked at your loves and said, in effect," Prove it. I don't believe you." Night Panther wade into this territory with a very fun single, "Snudge." The chorus, which is whip-smart, suggests, "We take pleasure in being defensive forgetting our hearts were made for affection, we started a nasty fable." Interpretation might not be entirely valuable here as the band soars into the refrain over a methodical piano progression, the kind of thing you could love even if you weren't worried about the minds and hearts of a generation that, at times, chose argument over beauty. In fact, forget anyone said anything.


Blonde Summer :: "Slow Days Fast Company"

The girl you're standing next to at a house party in Silverlake recently appeared on an episode of an extremely popular television show. She played a high schooler on television and definitely isn't in high school. But, as the lights from Dodger Stadium filter over the hills like a second sun and people wax about the recent humidity, it's easy to imagine a sort of protracted, forever adolescence. In the city where it's nearly always warm, you never have to get old. It could be the red cups or her blonde hair and steady gaze, but this is Los Angeles, idealized, silly, suburban and pretty, exactly the days and nights that LA band Blonde Summer write about on their glossy and roaring single, "Slow Days Fast Company." With elements of the Thermals spoken-word delivery on simple lyrics like, "We're here now/hanging out/and you look like the type that's been around and around," the band offers a sort of hushed narrative about parties broken up by police and mornings after and girls who "look like your mother/to me you look like no other." It isn't a think piece, the title says most or all of it. These are languid, sepia-toned afternoons turning into endless evenings, imagery carefully chosen and hermetically sealed against time, full of pretty girls who just appeared on television.

Listen :: Blonde Summer - "Slow Days Fast Company"


TRAILS AND WAYS :: "Miracle" [Ghost Beach cover]

One of the best new bands of 2012, TRAILS AND WAYS, released a split single with Ghost Beach yesterday. The A-side features a TRAILS AND WAYS cover of the Ghost Beach synth anthem, "Miracle," though here it is recast with a first verse in Spanish and some bossanova inflections that imply an ambigious internationalism. (You win the office pool if you had "bossanova" as the next surprisingly successful World influence to crack independent rock.) The strength of "Miracle" lies in the chorus, a slice of pop that can burn off any early morning marine layer. The other half of the single finds TRAILS AND WAYS stunner single, "Nunca" turned out and remixed by Ghost Beach into the kind of thing that only makes sense being played at enormous volume in the three hours before sunrise.


Permanent Collection :: "One Thousand Sins"

Teenagers can stand almost anything except hypocrisy. They can understand the world is unfair. After all, with the exception of certain ethnic minorities in certain societies, life is most broadly unfair for teenagers. They can understand the cruel Utilitarianism - that which is best for most is best for all - of democracy and modern government. They can understand that life is occasionally short and extremely difficult. But don't lie to them or spout values that run contradictory to your behavior. They can endure almost anything but this sort of contradiction. Permanent Collection, a band from San Francisco who aren't teenagers but reflect on the impulse nonetheless, set this sort of "do as I say, not as I do" platitude in their sights and ripe for destruction. The sound is like a careless and shoegazing indie pop, like Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart if they sincerely believed their own name and sang in a shabby baritone. The band's debut LP, Newly Wed Nearly Dead is being readied for release.

Listen :: Permanent Collection - "One Thousand Sins"


Wildlife Control :: "Analog or Digital"

The great musical watershed of the past three decades is no more directly phrased than by Wildlife Control on debut single, "Analog or Digital". The title, thankfully and consciously, lacks a question mark, though the interrogative is perhaps tacit. There is no such indecision in the music where the driving guitars rip like a Tom Petty arrangement that chased an amphetamine habit cross-country from behind the wheel of small, small vehicle. Or maybe it sounds like a Phoenix song with no esoteric side. All of it is the foundation for a song about favorite songs, headphones and girls who know records that other girls don't know. In essence, an overly romanced depiction of right now. The gift here, from the band's debut self-titled record due on July 31, lies in the resolution, "it doesn't matter if she's analog or digital," squaring the circle on the grandest and silliest of questions in the span of one refrain. It is a summer song, an instant favorite whether it ends up as zeros and ones in your pocket or a vinyl LP on the shelf of some girl who is as relevant as it also doesn't matter.

Listen :: Wildlife Control - "Analog or Digital"


On The List :: Mates of State @ The Echo [7.6.12]

It's hard to write about Mates of State without writing about all things people write about Mates of State. The band's story, after being told and retold and retold again, has sort of transcended the band itself, an arc around to stab the backs of the people who first told their story. As we smash through the fourth wall of music journalism, this would be the part of the introductory paragraph where I mention that everyone mentions the two main members of Mates of State, Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, are married and very much in love and everyone at the Echo on Los Angeles' East Side knows this. It is inescapable. Of course, Mates of State once suggested, and played on this night, "Everyone Needs An Editor," a love song about blue skies and maybe introductory paragraphs, and it is hardly their fault that their narrative so gratuitously swallows their music. It is also worth noting here that Hammel, the drummer, took off his wedding ring rather conspicuously in the minutes leading up to the show. This was not a symbolic or temporary divorce of Kori Gardner, it's just very hard to play drums with a wedding ring on. The music might trump the narrative after all, or at least they would collide on the stage for a bit more than an hour.

The band opened with a concerted mixture of material from their previous three albums, Bring It Back, Re-Arrange Us, one of the best releases of 2008, and their more recent, Mountaintops. Opening with "For The Actor", a screaming love song from a couple who is already in love, Gardner and Hammel glanced at each other furtively, with a learned and controlled fecundity, singing lyrics like, "I remember when it poured and you sang to me in summer, it's a fantasy." This from a band who made their name in the early part of the previous decade by playing shows while staring unbroken into each others' eyes. It was creepy and cute. There is none of this type of explicitness these days. They then played "My Only Offer", "Now", "Sway", "Unless I'm Led" and, maybe their finest song, "The Re-Arranger", its four discrete parts showing the band's gift for key signature changes and second (and third and fourth) movements. The third movement of "The Re-Arranger" featured Gardner and Hammel nearly screaming, "Re-arrange us, re-arrange us", one of the most tremulous and triumphant moments in recent pop music.

A brief interlude debate about what of their old catalog the band could play lead to one of those adorable arguments between the lead-singers about what key 2000's "Everyone Needs An Editor" was originally written in. Eventually, they arrived at the right key, or the right one for this night, and plowed to the final act centering on the lyric, "I'd paint the sky with you, I'd let you choose the blue." It is the type of life-affirming, love-sick lyric that makes audiences swoon. The band then played, "Ha-Ha", another of those multiple movement songs that closes with the lyric, "This is blood that we're made of, go tell it like a chronicle," that blood is their music and their marriage. It is the story that we, and they, can't help retelling.

Mates of State plays the Echo again on Saturday, July 7.


Easter Island :: "Independence"

Easter Island's latest release, "Independence," from their excellent debut LP Frightened, is a quiet one. The song roots in a distended acoustic guitar progression, later backed by piano but, thankfully, never the plodding mid-tempo kick-snare that ruins the second half of so many songs of this variety. "Independence" is one of those songs about leaving town and losing love, a pastoral take on places with "the best whiskey you can buy" rhyming easily with a line about the air being "warm and dry." But, all is not as it seems, and when the twist arrives, it kills. The protagonist has no future in these places that the band names as "peaceful" and "hellish" in the same breath. This perfection is a prison. The band waxes about "a perfect arrangement, you finally found it" before suggesting, "keep moving to stay alive, got to run away," a capitulation to the powers of escape. Possession is recast as fear, not freedom. The final lines, "you could have this for the rest of your life," finish the argument. The implication being, you can't and you won't. "Independence," the title, we presume, also cuts both ways.

Listen :: Easter Island - "Independence"


The Rubbish Zoo :: "I Don't Know Where I Go"

There was a good case for Reptar's "Orifice Oragami" as the song and the sound of the summer. Entering themselves firmly into the conversation is Los Angeles-by-way-of-Cheyenne (yes, that Cheyenne, the one with the terrifying Stage Coach motel) band The Rubbish Zoo with the ebullient "I Don't Know Where I Go." The song centers itself in yelping group vocals and lyrics like, "warm and beach burned, I was daydreaming of sunny skin I could climb." The guitars chirp with the Afro-beat and World Music sensibilities that just about everyone uses these days, but rarely are these sensibilities used so well as on "I Don't Know Where I Go." The lyrics outline the languid days of protracted adolescence, all inside some serious linear anxieties like, "I can be alright if I make up my mind," before the chorus kicks to remind the listener that most of these kids have no idea what they're doing. Of course, this is the type of art that can be most elevating and meaningful, a song about the crushing world of both too many and too few choices. The Rubbish Zoo chose a clear direction, a fun and memorable EP and a stirring anthem for the season, a season that hasn't reached the solstice for this generation of longer days and worn out kids, a world of incredible possibility with absolutely nowhere to go.


Napoleon :: "City Girls"

"City Girls" is a tidy rock song from Brooklyn band Napoleon. The arrangement suggests a slow-drive version of the Strokes "Hard To Explain", so much that before the lyrics kick in, you almost imagine Casablancas' signature warble interjecting itself with, "Was an honest man." While a shade more cloudy than the aforementioned titans of New York rock, Napoleon does seem to thrive in this downtown aesthetic, having recorded their entire debut LP in three days. Of course, downtown has moved out of town and is now in Bushwick and beyond. These "City Girls" are of a different breed. The band's release party will be held just blocks off Bushwick avenue at Big Snow Buffalo Lodge on July 25.


Skipping Girl Vinegar :: "Chase The Sun"

Everyone wants pathos these days. Consider for a moment the shocking and ubiquitous success of Edward Sharpe's "Home", a song, ostensibly, about nothing other than coming back to something you know. Consider this generation's obsession with all things vintage. Photos should look like photos taken three decades ago. T-shirts are best when referencing an event that happened before you reached elementary school. Movies should look they were shot on Super-8. Movies are called Super 8. This may be the only age in human history that wants nothing to do with itself. This is the collision of modernism and fear of modernism. So it is something of a relief when a band like Skipping Girl Vinegar traffics so obviously in these well-worn, faux-vintage avenues and spouts a different narrative on single, "Chase The Sun." It is no less sentimental than Sharpe's "Home", lyrical delivery a shade more confessional and blue collar, but the thesis is turned outwards, the eponymous title lyric. Of course, the band's video for "Chase The Sun" is both ridiculously charming and filmed in the same highly stylized stereotypes listed above, but it holds none of the sadness of a time at the end of time. Rather, that the present or the future might reasonably save us.

Listen :: Skipping Girl Vinegar - "Chase The Sun"