P.TM Leak

June 26, 2009

Yesterday, when Portugal. The Man’s new album leaked, I couldn’t help but download, not feeling too bad since I’ve already pre-ordered it. I listened to The Satanic Satanist through twice, right away, and was not at all surprised to find it to be a fantastic follow-up album to Censored Colors. The Satanic Satanist is composed of eleven relatively short songs with flawless vocals from Gourley and creative instrumental parts. The first song off an album always sets the tone for the rest of it, in this case it being “People Say,” a song that gives me a remarkable feeling of happiness each time I hear it, from the chorus in particular. “It’ll be alright” are the words echoed throughout the song, and they’re the most suitable words I could ever think of to describe how it makes me feel. It fades right into “Work All Day”, percussion being the main aspect of the song, giving it a rhythm that makes it impossible to keep your head still as you listen. Perhaps my favorite track on the album is “The Sun.” It starts off with vocals accompanied by piano and bass arpeggios, and is undeniably catchy. I associate brilliant trippy images with this song as my mind is weighed down by vivid colors that seem to radiate in all directions around me, however, making my body feel lighter than ever. The last three tracks are slower and bring an end to this musical masterpiece in just the right way. The Satanic Satanist has incredible flow, and every song belongs perfectly in its spot on the track list, while a distinct sound is maintained on each. I also appreciate that there are no breaks between tracks. As of right now, this album stands among my top five releases of the year, and will most likely remain there.

However, I must say, reading the band’s blog post on MySpace concerning the leaking of this album nearly a month before its set release date really makes me hope that people don’t abuse this privilege of early listening by not fully appreciating the album and/or not paying for it at a later date. Portugal. The Man is a band that deserves every cent they make through doing what they love, but as revealed by their blog post, they don’t even have enough money to afford suitable living spaces, let alone to pay their manager for his hard work a lot of the time. That’s what really gets to me, and I know being a musician isn’t about the money, but as fans I feel that it’s our responsibility to re-pay them in any way we can (not only by buying albums) for the beautiful music they give us to listen to, and sometimes it seems that people forget this. However, I do think that most people who hear The Satanic Satanist leak will be compelled to purchase it when it comes out, what with its mesmerizing album artwork and songs worthy of being paid for; at least I hope so. Therefore I urge anyone who may read this to do just that.

The_Satanic_Satanist-Portugal._The_Man_480

Andrew Bird – 6/18/09

June 22, 2009

I went to see Andrew Bird on Thursday night at Radio City, with Calexico opening, and for the first time actually had good seats in the venue. Calexico was fantastic, and were impressive enough to make me buy their latest CD in the lobby right after their performance. Andrew’s set, however, was what really blew me away. He began alone on stage, with just his violin in hand, took off his sequined shoes, and started to play the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard come out of the instrument that I myself have been playing for seven years. The sound was then blended with that of a clarinet, and the duet lasted for a few minutes, as the stage behind started to glow. Three objects that looked like phonographs were on stage, the one in the middle spinning quickly every time Andrew began his trademark whistling in an eerie manner. It was beautiful and bizarre at the same time.

The rest of the set included:
-Sweetbreads
-Fiery Crash
-Opposite Day
-Fitz and the Dizzyspells
-Masterswarm
-Oh No
-Effigy
-Anonanimal
-Imitosis
-Cataracts
-Skin Is, My (With Calexico)
-Scythian Empires (With Calexico)
-Tables and Chairs (With Calexico)
(Encore)
-Why
-Don’t Be Scared
-Fake Palindromes

Andrew’s looping ability was among the aspects of the performance that impressed me the most, along with how effortlessly he was able to switch from plucking to bowing to guitar playing, and go from singing a vast range of notes to whistling to talking to the audience; he also had a refreshing sense of humor. It was unbelievable to watch.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Decemberists on Wednesday night at Radio City. They played their new album, The Hazards of Love, in its entirety for the first set; an hour long rock opera, and so far one of my favorite releases of the year. When they entered the stage, all the lights were turned off, and I had never heard the music hall so quiet before. The silence didn’t last long, though, for every person practically lost it when magenta lights began flashing all around the room, creating a silhouette of the band on the wall. The trippy backdrop behind them- which resembled shriveled up trees with oozing cells- illuminated as they began to play the Hazards of Love 1, and would change colors as the first set progressed to fit the mood of each song perfectly, looking like this;

There were two main female voices, whose parts were played by Becky Stark and Shara Worden (of Lavender Diamond and My Brightest Diamond). While one played the part of the lovely woman dressed in white with a soft and sweet voice, the other played the jealous character who sang powerful vocals with anger and intensity. Meloy, of course, was the voice of the man who both desired. It was interesting to watch the story unfold on stage with no interruption until the final song had been played.

There was a break after the first set, and when the band returned, there was an entirely different atmosphere. Meloy started doing a lot of talking, and the band played a good amount of older songs that everyone knew. He eventually called for “audience choral practice,” where he had every section of the crowd singing different harmonies. It probably should have sounded like a train wreck, but with his conducting, it actually sounded as if every person in the crowd had a fantastic voice (though that definitely wasn’t the case). Meloy also pulled a girl on stage, handed her his guitar, and had her strum open chords while he jumped into the crowd, walking on top of every seat to high five people. He ended up having a man give him a piggy back ride back to the stage. Everything became much less organized- not at all in a bad way- and the music continued well past the “curfew” the venue had set.

After this show, I have to say that the Decemberists are one of the most impressive bands I’ve seen live so far, and I look forward to seeing them again at Lollapalooza in August.

the satanic satanist.

June 12, 2009

Watching this reminded me of how anxious I am to hear Portugal. The Man’s new album. I consider Censored Colors one of the best releases of 2008, and I’m sure the Satanic Satanist will be just as impressive.

octahedron.

June 5, 2009

this afternoon, i stumbled upon a leak of the mars volta’s latest album, octahedron. within only a few seconds of listening to the first track, i knew i was in for something very different from their usual work. less chaos in the sound, mellow vocal harmonies, and overall just more chill, which is exactly what they were going for, seeing as they refer to this as their “acoustic album.” the image in my mind as i listen is of a desert, with deep red heat waves rising from the cracks in the ground, the sky unnatural colors becoming more vivid as the music progresses; it’s one that i would have difficulty illustrating anywhere other than my head.

i hope that people don’t resent this change in sound and dismiss this album. the fact that the mars volta are able to develop their unique sound and not put out records that sound the same every time is what makes them so incredible and so interesting to follow. i’m very curious to hear what they’ll create next.

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