Ummm…okay…soooooo… (say it out loud as if you were Rosie O’Donnell in “Riding on the Bus with my Sister” and it sounds funny) a bunch of you made it out early for the Cake Shop show last week. And a few of you even made it early. And if you were one of those that made it early, you got to see my new favorite band, Swingset Committee. Not since 003 and I were traveling to Philly to stalk The Model have I been this stoked on a band. So of course I had to pick up their new ep (okay so it was released back in November, so really its just new to me), “In Transit” and a t-shirt. FYI my collection of clothing is filled entirely by band t-shirts. But I digress.
Swingset Committee is:
David Dahlquist – Production/Vocals
Andrew Belinsky – Vocals
Tim Morrison – Drums
Let’s talk about the record first. Where do I begin?! This is how synth pop should be. In Transit is six perfect pop songs in 25 minutes that will leave you wanting more. The first thing that immediately grabbed me about this ep is their use of out of character (for synth pop) instrumentation. Album opener Little Life is a song that I was convinced was going to be douchey in that talk about my feelings and we all vomit indie rawk kind of way. Not the case. What starts as guitars and strings becomes a straight forward dance pop anthem complete with 4 on the floor kicks and chirping arpeggiated synths. Swingset Committee doesn’t seem to be afraid to make the most of their equipment; the constant changes in the instrumentation provide the perfect backdrop for singer Andrew Belinsky’s strong vocal performance.
The ep’s six tracks showcase the varying ways in which one can write strong pop songs that makes you dance. Track two, Singing Along, is on the softer, sugary side (and I see some pics that indicate a video is in the works), which is then followed by Mind Reels, the coldest most robotic effort in the bunch. Into the Shelter is a softer track made great by an arrangement that builds throughout the song in a way that reminds me of a better track by the Postal Service — constantly holding back and only reaching fever pitch in the final chorus. Moving towards the end of the ep we come to Easy Way, the most straight forward dance song in the bunch and my personal favorite track. Smell of Soil closes the record with an epic touch, combining drums that have a sped up march feel with spacey synths that make me think of Plus-Tech Squeeze Box’s (Star) but with less ADD (oh god why does it always come back to weird Japanese pop with me?!?!).
After listening to the record and being thoroughly impressed, I wondered how their live show would stack up. I was not disappointed. Despite being a small band and despite much of the instrumentation being tracked, their live energy was more than enough to engage absolutely everyone in the room. And what a great cover of Psycho Killer. I am so stoked on this band. Too bad their next show is the same night as our next show. Cuz I wanna go.
AAAAAAANyways. Just listen. Also you’re welcome.
(this is the edit of Little Life, so you don’t get the awesome “fooled you into thinking we were Coldplay loving jerks” intro but you do get the awesome song)
Also, me and 006 are gonna do remixes for them and then they will do remixes for us and you can all be grateful.No comments
Mega bummertown. I just found out that Satoshi Kon died yesterday. He was the creator of a lot of awesome anime movies and one really amazing television series. His work can best be described as a kind of magical realism / sci-fi crossover that tended to heavily explore the boundaries of fantasy vs reality, often with very dark, paranoid undertones. Satoshi Kon’s works are modern day masterpieces and have always been an inspiration to me as a songwriter, so I wanted to share a little bit about his work with you.
I was first introduced to his work through his 1998 masterpiece (and directorial debut) Perfect Blue.
The story explores one pop stars descent into a world where she can no longer tell what is real and what is the television drama in which she is a character. I guess it’s a psychological thriller…? I don’t won’t to spoil it by going further, but Kon’s brilliant use of cuts between scenes lends itself perfectly to the portrayal of a human psyche on the brink of losing it completely. Here’s the trailer, though it really doesn’t do the movie justice.
The second video is for Kon’s 13 episode series, Paranoia Agent. Once again, the trailer doesn’t do it justice. The story follows a wide cast of characters who are in some way affected by Lil’ Slugger, a rollerblading killer who Read more2 comments
So I continue to be wicked stoked on this record!!! It’s the sophomore full length from Liverpool based To My Boy. I really couldn’t be happier with it, although I didn’t always feel this way. Join me on a magical journey.
It all began when Model-003 introduced me to the band a couple years ago. He insisted that I pick up their full length, “Messages”, but when I did I was nonplussed. Looking back, I can’t figure out why because the record is full of great hooks and excellent instrumentation that uses quirky synths and punky guitars–everything I love. Read moreNo comments
Hey guys! It’s been a little while!! Just wanted to let you know what’s going on n stuff. So we are almost done with a brand new remix ep. Featuring remixed tracks off of human 2.0, I think there will be six remixes in all (one is done by a super awesome special guest!!). It will also have one or two extras, but we haven’t decided what those are (yeah, new songs). In other news, we are playing at the Cake Shop on August 15th, so I hope we will see you there. Yeah, I guess that’s it. Oh, and we are already recording a new ep so get stoked on that too.No comments
So I’ve been obsessively playing Zenonia 2 for iphone. It has been my go to source of entertainment for a couple months now on the train. So I thought I would share. n stuff.
The game itself is pretty straight ahead. It is a top down adventure game in the style of Legend of Zelda, Secret of Mana, or even Diablo. Though the style is far more 16 bit throwback then it is modern adventure. And that is why Zenonia excels. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it and Zenonia does a great job using a tried and true formula. Each of the 4 character choices have different skills, active and passive, and a wide array of weapons and armor to equip. While using new equipment does not change or basic attack and defense skills, each piece of equipment does change the appearance of your character. While this doesn’t have a huge effect on the game, it does add to the fun of finding new stuff. Read moreNo comments
Radtown massacre! Check out those sweet glasses. FLOPPY is an electronic rock duo that formed in Japan in 2004 consisting of Sharaku Kobayashi (vox, guitar) and Hiromu Toda (synthesizer). They released their first album in 2005, Protoscience is their fourth (almost, cuz it’s only seven tracks and one remix) full length record. I would call this music “Post Polysics”, but Sharaku’s other band, Metronome, has been around since the late 90′s, making them contemporaries of my favorite hyper rock band, though Metronome’s style is a bit more visual-kei. FLOPPY’s music has a lot to do with Polysics and other “Tokyo New Wave of New Wave” bands (Hi-Posi definitely!). Their music flies by at breakneck speeds and each song is filled with as many different sounds, textures and rhythms as can possibly fit, but what sets FLOPPY apart is their commitment to a more austere feel that is less pogo punk Devo and more cyberpunk anime while still managing not to take itself too seriously (see above intro video). Read moreNo comments
I first came across Hondalady while searching through Japanfiles’ electronic music selection. I downloaded they 2009 album, Cassettable, based on the kitchy strength of the title track, which was created using samples from the original Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest in Japan) on NES (Famicom). While the song was cute, the rest of the album didn’t really grab me and I haven’t listened to them much since. However, I listened to some samples of their newest album, Sneaker Mon Amour, and decided to give it a shot. And I’m glad I did. They melodies here are much stronger than their previous effort, and the production shows a lot of variety.3 comments
Hey guys, sorry it’s been a little quiet around here the last couple weeks. But not to worry, we have been hard at work!! First off, our next show will be another early one at Mercury Lounge. The sound there is super amazing so make sure not to miss it! Cuz at this show we be unvailing the newest model!! Please welcome Model-006 on keyboards!!! Jun 30th at the Mercury Lounge will be his first show with us so make sure to come out and see what the future of the future holds in store for you!! We will be bringing back an old favorite as well as premiering the first brand new song we’ve wrtten in awhile, scheduled to be released on a new album sometime this fall!! Get stoked. See you soon!!!!No comments
Hey guys!! I dunno how I missed this cuz I think it’s been around for a minute, but I wanted to share with you another fun band. Taking their influences from the likes of Parklife era Blur and Pulp, Manchester’s Performance make some catchy, snarky pop music! I have blogged about 2 of Performances members previously — their electro pop project, Kiss in Cities, is one of my favorite new bands.
While Kiss in Cities and Performance share electronic pop elements and the ability to craft great melodies, Performance is a more somber affair. The tone is darker (maybe a bit more sneering) but more epic (arena rock!!!) without the dayglo club feel. Performance has already released a passable album, but if their newer singles, Reptile and Living, are any indication, the band is only now hitting it’s stride.No comments
San Francisco based artist, Junko Mizuno resides in a magical world populated by curvy women, odd circular men, cute fluffy creatures and lots of sex and drugs. Coupling the cute with the obscene is nothing new, but Mizuno has a way of combining charming and grotesque imagery that is all her own.
My first exposure to Mizuno’s unique brand of story telling happened when I found Pure Trance at a comic book story in North Carolina while I was on tour. I picked it up for my girlfriend at the time, but ended up reading it and had to snag my own copy. The story she told was so dark and so full superficial and evil characters that I found it impossible not to love. And of course, Mizuno’s art is nothing short of perfect.1 comment