Brooklyn Couple Breaks Up in YouTube Video

If only every relationship could end in an amicable music video.

Brooklyn-based couple Jonathan and Ivory are making viral headlines with their YouTube sensation song that chronicles their relationship’s demise in light of opposing views.

According to the song’s lyrics, Ivory takes an adamant stance against having children, in contrast to her pro-kid partner Jonathan who makes clear that he “wants to have babies.” After five years of dating, the couple have concluded their conflicting desires leave no other choice but the inevitable break-up.

The song delves further with its lyrics, assuring mutual friends that they “don’t have to choose” sides, “though it will be awkward, yes.” The ex-couple additionally requests invitations to friends’ parties, assuring they will still remain cordial:  “No, don’t feel weird; we love all of you! After five whole years at each other’s sides, there’s just some things no relationship can survive.”

The YouTube video concludes with an eager Jonathan admitting he wants a couple of children, juxtaposed to a negating Ivory who simply shakes her head in disagreement.

What’s your take on this couple’s breakup rendition? Do you believe this civil break-up ballad ends on a musical note, or nonsensical approach?

Pendulum: Immersion


RIYL: The Prodigy, Nightbreed, King Cannibal

Pendulum have the most apt band name in history, because they love to swing back and forth between two genres; drum and bass and hard rock. Their 2006 debut Hold Your Colour was almost exclusively drum and bass, but their 2008 follow-up In Silico saw the group abandon almost all of the drum and bass influences in exchange for a hard electronic rock style (think Nitzer Ebb meets metal) that put off much of their core fanbase. It also made them mainstream stars throughout much of their native Australia as well as Europe, leading bassheads around the world to cry “sellout.”

Well, this should shut them up, although it probably won’t. With Immersion the band takes a hard swing back to their drum and bass roots while still keeping just enough of their rock influence to sound exciting and different. They even pull in some electro-house and dubstep influences into the fold. Sometimes they even do it all at once, like with the two-parter track “The Island,” which starts as a straight-up electronic-rock song before suddenly exploding into a sea manic breakbeats and then transforming again into a shockingly good dubstep sound, a genre that is usually as boring and empty as the fans who listen to it. There are a couple mid-tempo tracks on Immersion that stick closer to the rock/dance formula of In Silico, and most of the songs still feature an abundance of vocals. I’m sure the most hardcore drum and bass fanatics out there will cling to those two facets of the album to convince themselves that Pendulum are still a bunch of sellouts. They can go ahead, the rest of us will be rocking out to the first great electronic album of 2011 (or the last great electronic album of 2010 if you live in the rest of the world, where it came out months ago). (Atlantic 2011)

Pendulum MySpace page

Bullz-Eye’s Favorite Albums of 2010: Staff Writer Ted Asregadoo’s picks

The days of getting lost in an album have passed me by. This year, I really tried to rekindle that lost listening art of playing entire albums – instead of compiling playlists in iTunes. It hasn’t been easy. I think the ease of digitally downloading albums has dried up the sense of anticipation that used to come with a purchase of a physical copy of an album at a record store. Now, the record store is just part of the millions and billions of distractions that await you on the Internet – much of it for free.

Now, I don’t mean to go on a diatribe against the devaluation of music because of the Internet, but one thing that has occurred because of the sheer plethora of music available with one click of your mouse is a kind of ADD when it comes to listening to music. My colleague both here and at Popdose (that would be Jeff Giles) has written about it more eloquently than I can, but the sentiment is very much the same: because of the volume of music that is available in downloadable form, it’s difficult for me to form a deep connection with an entire album. If we could flash back 20 years, it would have been a different story to feature 10 albums. Nowadays, it’s rare that an entire album can hold my attention.

But, never say never, right?

What you will find here are mostly my favorite songs of 2010, but occasionally you’ll find entire albums. I know, after all that “downloadable music is ruining my attention span” crap, I say that there were some albums that really captured my attention. But like I said, I’ve tried to rekindle the art of listening to entire albums, and while I feel I’m losing that battle, I haven’t entirely lost the war. So, here we go with my top 10 of 2010!

10. Paper or Plastic, “The Honest Man”
Every now and then a link arrives in my inbox that lives up to the hype. Case in point is the New York group, Paper or Plastic, who has a kind of Ben Folds thing going on with “The Honest Man.” The song is an example of some very lovely power pop, and you’ll find yourself humming the chorus after a few listens. The band is giving away their EP Ron Save the King on their website. Get it, if only for “The Honest Man.”

9. Somebody’s Darling, “Lonely”
In my review of this album, I was upfront about my allergy to country music – even if it’s alt-country. But Somebody’s Darling has enough rock-n-roll in them to make the musical waters safe for a guy with my particular affliction. “Lonely” is by far my favorite track on the album, and it’s not difficult to hear why. The song is just one big fireball of energy with a great driving beat and some wailing guitars. But it’s the full-throated vocals from Amber Ferris that takes this song from good to great.


Read the rest after the jump...

Laura Cortese: Acoustic Project


RIYL: Uncle Earl, Pete Seeger

Laura Cortese is a well known side musician whose skill on the fiddle, vocals and bass have made her a favorite with artists as diverse as Uncle Earl and Band of Horses. She’s released two solo LPs and two EPs before the release of Acoustic Project, a seven-song set of music featuring just fiddles and cello, with Coreste handling vocal duties on five of the songs (the other two are instrumentals).

Acoustic Project is short and sweet. All of the songs have their own unique sound and feel as if they were drawn from some time long ago when folk songs were passed down from the mountains to Greenwich Village. However, most of these compositions were recent compositions, so their timeless quality is a tribute to the songwriting talent of Cortese and the few collaborators who helped her out.

“Perfect Tuesdays” is a rollicking, Cajun-influenced song, while “5 Tune” has the charm and spirit of an old pioneer jig.  The highlight of the Acoustic Project is “Women of the Ages,” a haunting, beautiful song that features plucking violins, a cello and Cortese’s gorgeous voice. It has the stature of an old Irish folk song and will stay with you for weeks. That song alone you should give you reason seek out Acoustic Project. However there is enough great music on this EP to make it well worth your while the next time you’re looking for something unique and adventurous. (Laura Cortese 2010)

Laura Cortese website
Purchase Acoustic Project through Amazon

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew Legacy Edition & Dogfish Head: Bitches Brew

Bitches Brew (album):

RIYL: Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Return to Forever

Bitches Brew (beer):

RIYL: Dogfish Head Raison D’etre, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Tröegs Flying Mouflan

Miles Davis’ creative spirit in the late ’60s and ’70s was particularly restless, and his music gave voice and volume to that restlessness, as he found new fans and embittered jazz purists by adding electric instruments to his palate. In a Silent Way (1969), in particular, saw Davis and his sidemen playing with side-long compositions built from extended sessions that were cut and edited by Davis and producer Teo Macero. It was dense, sometimes difficult, often beautiful music, requiring active engagement on the part of the listener, and also an open mind. Rock writer Lester Bangs might have said it best when he described it as “part of a transcendental new music which flushes categories away and, while using musical devices from all styles and cultures, is defined mainly by its deep emotion and unaffected originality.”

For Bitches Brew (1970), Davis expanded his band, as well as his vision. A given track might have featured, in addition to his trumpet, two or three electric pianos, saxophone, bass clarinet, one or two electric basses, two drum kits, one or two additional percussion pieces, and electric guitar. It was a tempest coming out of the speakers, with intricate compositions to match that gave the maelstrom a form and power virtually unheard of in jazz at the time.

The mastery of Davis and band on Bitches Brew has never been clearer than on  Sony’s new Legacy Edition, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the record’s original release. Though the bonus tracks are questionable additions (we’re not sure why sub-three-minute “single mixes” of four of these cuts were needed in the first place), the pristine sonics of the remastered discs bring all manner of nuance into full relief.

“Pharaoh’s Dance,” which opens the record, has an insistent yet understated groove, which enables Davis to steer and pianists Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul (who composed the song) to throw sparks at will. Davis himself sounds particularly fierce on “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” foreshadowing some of the dark themes and sounds he would build in later “fusion period” live albums like Agharta and Dark Magus.

Those records would go deep into the funk of the early ’70s; here, Davis’ vision is more in line with the wide open textures of late-’60s rock. You can hear it in the rhythms of “Spanish Key,” which are as simultaneously unfettered and locked-in as were the Grateful Dead’s two-headed percussion hydra at the time. Guitarist John McLaughlin is all blues in “Spanish Key,” but given to shorter lyrical bursts in Bitches Brew‘s title song, in which the instruments bounce around and into one another in a fabulous blanket of echo. In some ways, you can hear elements of ’70s fusion, noise rock, and even prog take root in these fertile moments of brilliance. There was certainly enough here to take as inspiration for a long time to come.

The music of Miles Davis, Bitches Brew in particular, served as inspiration to Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a Delaware-based creator of fine “off-centered ales” with a seriously devoted following (this writer included). To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bitches Brew the album, Dogfish has created a limited edition Bitches Brew beer – a marvelous combination of three parts imperial stout and one part honey beer.

May we suggest drinking your 750 ml bottle of Bitches Brew beer while watching the DVD included in the Bitches Brew Legacy Edition set, an hour-plus program taped in Copenhagen in 1969. Open the beer and take a whiff – you’ll notice the deep bouquet, almost like a wine that’s aged in mahogany. Put on the DVD and watch the band – all acoustic, except Chick Corea’s electric piano – launch into the cosmic groove of “Directions.”

Pour some beer into a wineglass or brandy snifter – no pint glasses; this stuff is meant to be savored, slowly, in small portions. Notice the opaque brown in the glass, the tan head; take another sniff as air hits this elixir and the woodiness of its scent comes to life. Take a sip and revel in that malty first hit, that lingering bitterness. Give it a moment to sink in.

Watch the band bounce off one another, particularly Corea and drummer Jack DeJohnette, weaving in and out of one another’s path, pausing only to listen to a note, a snare hit, something to push the conversation into its next phase. Hear saxophonist Wayne Shorter expound at great length on a theme, echoing a phrase from Davis’ own horn, or pulling a fragment from his leader and expanding it. Marvel at how muscular the band sounds, how tight – it’s not as expansive as the massive Bitches Brew ensembles, but just as strong in its own right.

Take another sip, this time leaving the beer in your mouth a few seconds before swallowing. Notice the sweetness of the honey beer gently touching your palate before the bitter wave washes back again as you swallow. Notice the chocolate and coffee tones in that wave as you think to yourself how seeing the music being made onscreen makes it all the more inspiring – a young, cool Shorter in the final stages of his apprenticeship with Davis (soon to launch Weather Report); a young, hippie regalia-bedecked Corea, coaxing just the right notes from his piano; a powerful Dave Holland, fingers flying over his upright bass’ strings, keeping up nicely with the propulsive forces around him.

Note that there is something special about seeing Davis play, watching him at arguably the height of his creative power, making powerful new music, in complete control of his band, while being led by his muse. Take another sip. Drink it all in. (Sony Legacy 2010)

Miles Davis’ MySpace page
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Web Site

Click to purchase Bitches Brew at Amazon.

Big Gigantic: A Place Behind the Moon

stars:
RIYL: Sound Tribe Sector 9, Pretty Lights, EOTO

This Colorado-based electronic duo has been honing their skills with heavy road work – including some touring with electronic rock masters and label mates Sound Tribe Sector 9 – and it shows here on their sophomore release. Saxophonist/synth man/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken bring their own organic skills to the electronic genre, and having real instruments involved always propels electronic-oriented music higher.

The album is a high-energy affair all the way, packed with slamming beats, psychedelic synths and big phat grooves that are guaranteed to get a dance party going. Tracks like “Sky High,” “Step Up,” “Shine” and “Cloud Nine” all crackle with a fresh sound that is often missing in electronic music that relies too heavily on drum machines. “Driftin” drops the tempo just a bit, which makes its tight groove stand out even more. “High and Rising” might be the top highlight with the way the track keeps ascending through a swirling succession of ecstatic peaks.

Lalli’s sax also adds a jazzy improv flavor throughout, especially on tunes like “Lucid Dreams,” “Breaking Point” and “Shine.” His synth skills are some of the best in the biz, mixing a variety of otherworldly sonic flavors to create unique soundscapes. Members of STS9 join in on the bonus title track for another highlight tune that recalls some of their seminal work like “Breathe” and their newer “Between 6th and 7th,” on which Lalli has collaborated with the band.

The electronic genre has seen a lot of new contenders in the past few years, which can make it hard to stand out when so many acts are following a similar vision. But A Place Behind the Moon shows that Big Gigantic are in it to win it. The duo’s combination of jazzy melodies with pulsating beats and dazzling electronic undertones creates one of the tastiest flavors the evolving genre has seen in recent times.
(1320 Records 2010)

Big Gigantic MySpace page (Contains link to download A Place Behind the Moon for free)

Marco Benevento: Between the Needles and Nightfall


RIYL: Medeski, Martin and Wood, Stanton Moore, Trombone Shorty

Between the Needles and Nightfall If the term “Hipster Jazz” hasn’t already been coined by the folks at Pitchfork, allow me to beat them to the punch. Marco Benevento’s latest release, Between the Needles and Nightfall, sounds a bit like the bastard child of a ménage à trois between Radiohead, Trent Reznor and McCoy Tyner. It is also the definition of “Hipster Jazz,” featuring the carriage of timeless jazz themes and movements, adorned with the electronic post-production, complete with the obligatory blips and noise. It is also a mind-numbingly good record.

The tracks range from the traditional (“Ila Frost” and “Music Is Still Secret”) to avant-garde (“RISD”); and do so without losing Benevento’s unique sensibility. With many of the tracks on the record breaching the six-minute mark, the record can be a challenging one at times; but the experience is worth the investment. While Benevento’s vocabulary is clearly rooted in jazz, he steps outside with forays into pop and soul. There are moments where you can almost hear Elton John, or Joe Jackson seeping through the cracks, providing a familiar base to reference.

Speaking of familiar references, his cover of Amy Winehouse’s hit, “You Know I’m No Good,” imparts about as much grimy soul as the original; which is a hell of an accomplishment considering it is an instrumental track performed by a trio. While categorizing this as “hipster jazz” seems appropriate, the record is as well suited to headphone listening session as it is as background music for a dinner party; even if your guests aren’t hipsters. (The Royal Potato Family 2010)

Marco Benevento MySpace page
Click to buy Between the Needles and Nightfall from Amazon

Me, Myself, and iPod 6/16/10: Rock chalk Jayhawk

esd ipod

Mark Olson – Little Bird of Freedom
As a longtime fan of the Jayhawks’ 1995 gem Tomorrow the Green Grass, I’ll do anything for Mark Olson, Gary Louris and Marc Perlman. The three are occasionally moonlighting as the Jayhawks – this after Louris personally told me when he was promoting his last solo album that the Jayhawks were done; thank goodness he was wrong – but this is from Olson’s upcoming solo album Many Colored Kite, due in late July.

The Silver Seas – Another Bad Night’s Sleep
Here’s the amazing thing about Chateau Revenge, the forthcoming sophomore effort from the Silver Seas: we’ve posted two great songs from the album for download (you can find the other one here), and we still haven’t touched my favorites from the album. Singer Daniel Tashian sounds a bit more like Rufus Wainwright on this one than his usual Jackson Browne baritone. It’s all good to me.

Hey Champ – Neverest
There are a lot of bands making valuable contributions to the new synth pop wave – the tricky part is finding them. For every band like Hey Champ, there are 20 shit bands who play vintage synthesizers and sneer a lot. That’s not synth pop; that’s just posing. These guys get it; their songs are based on songs, not attitude. And if you really want to get freaked out, check out the video for this song. Dolphin boobies!

Everything Everything – Schoolin’
Not to be confused with shit ’90s band Everything, who had that lame-ass song about seeing better days. This is a UK band that sounds like they’ve been spinning a lot of Neptunes productions. Funny that I keep comparing bands to other artists who haven’t sold any records, but the first person I thought of when I heard this was Kenna.

Crocodiles – Sleep Forever
I’m just going to assume that the band name came from the Echo & the Bunnymen song of the same name, because these guys have clearly heard a few Echo records. Big, jangly, quasi-psychedelic ’60s guitar rock song. Here’s hoping the full-length is just as good.

Olafur Arnalds – Tunglio (Moon)
Because even download columns need a come-down song. This string-kissed instrumental is heartbreakingly beautiful. Don’t be surprised if it winds up serving as the score to a “Grey’s Anatomy” montage in the fall.

Me, Myself, and iPod 6/9/10: They work in bars. Whether they are all on drugs remains unknown

esd ipod

Strange. I thought that the closer we got to summer, the more awesome mp3s I’d have for all y’all. Instead, it appears the opposite is happening. Like I said, strange.

The Chap – We Work in Bars
I’m not 100% sold on this London band, but there’s a spirit to the work that I find appealing. Definitely want to hear more before officially passing judgment.

The Mercury Program – Arrived/Departed
This made the cut for one reason: the delay-driven guitar line at the beginning of the song is a near note-for-note copy of the beginning to the song “Outside” by the late, great band Tribe. These guys obviously took it in a much different direction (an instrumental, moody jazzy direction, that is), and that’s cool.

Hot Hot Heat – Goddess on the Prairie
You have to feel a little bad for these guys. When people start making jokes about the ’00s, these guys will be near the top of the One Hit Wonder joke list, and the worst part is that even the members of the band don’t like that song and wish they had never recorded it. This song, from their new album Future Breeds, which came out this week, shows the band, well, pretty much where the world left them. Give them points for not suddenly pretending to be Franz Ferdinand.

Parlovr – Pen to the Paper
Is Montreal the new Brooklyn? Or was Montreal Montreal before Brooklyn became the destination of choice for musical immigrants? Either way, this song has a driving quality to it that brings out the New Order fan in me.

Sound Tribe Sector 9: Ad Explorata


RIYL: Disco Biscuits, Pretty Lights, EOTO

Ad Explorata is Sound Tribe Sector 9′s follow-up to 2008′s Peaceblaster, an album that delivered more of the live immediacy the band is known for. But the jamtronica stalwarts are also known for constantly pushing the boundaries with their sonic explorations, so it’s not shocking to hear the band shifting direction again. STS9′s continued experimentation with electronic technology has driven a few old-school fans away, for it was the band’s instrumental skills that set them apart as a pioneer in blending rock with electronica. But the band’s continually growing fan base knows that STS9 uses modern technology as just one more tool in their musical arsenal, without becoming slaves to it.

“Phoneme” opens the album with almost eight minutes of atmospheric vibe, serving as sort of an appetizer that sets a spacey tone before the giving way to “Heavy,” where trippy synths and hard-rocking percussion conjure some of the classic STS9 sound. “Looking Back on Earth” brings a cosmic vibe indeed, but with drummer Zach Velmer powering the tune’s deep groove with a heavy attack. The psychedelic synth work is definitely the star of this album, with bassist David Murphy and guitarist Hunter Brown often joining keyboardist David Phipps in the synth and sampling mayhem, as they increasingly have been onstage. But while Brown’s tasty fretwork is perhaps at too much of a shortage here, most of the songs are well-served and probably inspired by the synth-heavy formula. Longtime fan favorite “EHM” receives overdue studio treatment and the tune is a keeper. Inspired by author John Perkins’ best-selling “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” the epic song about the folly of predatory capitalism opens with a spooky vibe that builds slowly but surely into a monster groove that epitomizes just how dynamic the band can be with multiple synths. Percussionist Jeffree Lerner adds some heady cowbell work (even though it too is from a synth) as the song explodes into an up-tempo jam.

“Atlas” is another major highlight, featuring Velmer at his dynamic best over a majestic sonic tapestry that feels like it could be the soundtrack for a Rebel Alliance assault against the Empire. “Re:Stereo” takes listeners on more of a down-tempo journey, while “Central” brings things back up into another spacey groove before “Lion” drops an intense rocker similar in vibe to “Atlas.” The new album isn’t going to win back that smaller demographic of old-school fans that drifted away when the band started using more synths and samples in the middle part of the past decade. But it’s another strong collection of sonic explorations demonstrating that STS9 is a band that will never be content to hit auto-pilot. (1320 Records 2009)

Sound Tribe Sector 9 MySpace page

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