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?


Locksley: Be in Love

RIYL: The Beatles, The Strokes, The Kinks

The Brooklyn-by-way-of Madison quartet Locksley still holds a dubious honor in the Bullz-Eye/ESDMusic camp for the press release that announced the release of their debut album Don’t Make Me Wait. It was, without question, the worst press release we’ve ever seen, dismissing the entire Midwest as beer-drinking fatties with lousy taste. Here is the opening sentence. Try not to choke on the condescension:

Wisconsin is one of those Midwest states that we all assume is running rampant with overweight Miller High Life drinking blue collar boys at the Lambough Field.

We later learned that the person who wrote this is from, yep, Wisconsin. (To set the record straight, the band had nothing to do with the press release.) We’re pretty sure misspelling ‘Lambeau’ is punishable by death there, but we’ll have to get back to you on that.

At any rate, the press release did a terrible disservice to the band, as their debut was a smoking hot mixture of ’60s pop rock with modern-day attitude, and singer Jesse Laz can do spot-on impressions of both Lennon and McCartney. The band’s sophomore effort, Be in Love, is more of the same, and that’s perfectly fine. (You hear that, Vampire Weekend fans?) However, the songs don’t quite pop like the first batch did. There are some standout moments, notably the handclap-happy “It Isn’t Love” and surefire first single “Darling It’s True.” In the end, though, the Strokes comparison proves rather fitting, as Be in Love is their Room on Fire; it sounds just like the debut, only not as exciting. (Feature Records 2010)

Locksley MySpace page


Phonograph: OKNO

RIYL: Guided By Voices, ELO, Pavement

Just in general, Brooklyn-based quintet Phonograph would seem to have a formidable task ahead of them in trying to carve out a distinctive niche in rock’s already overcrowded arena. Bands spring up almost daily, each competing for attention and some measure of popular acclaim. Fortunately, Phonograph jumped off to an impressive start with their 2007 self-titled debut, a set of songs that blended atmosphere and Americana so adroitly, neither was able to overpower the other. Lead singer Matthew Welsh was clearly weaned on the Tom Petty school of slow drag, his vocal drawl coming across as the perfect accoutrement for the band’s weary, ragged shuffle. The songs evolved like a slow burn, frayed around the edges but steadfast nevertheless. Other tracks took a more rustic route, bringing to mind Neil Young and the Band in all their tattered glory. And while Phonograph’s penchant for tossing in all matter of cosmic effects occasionally crowded the proceedings with unnecessary distraction, their assertive, straight-ahead designs remained as basic and unmistakable as the flat black discs that inspired their name.

Nevertheless, as history has proven, it’s the artists that demonstrate variance and flexibility that are ultimately hailed for being the most innovative and intriguing. The Beatles are the ultimate example; from the midpoint of their career, their songs branched out in a multitude of directions, whether it was rock, country, blues, ska, folk, psychedelia or experimental. And while it would be presumptuous to mention Phonograph in the same breath as the Beatles, it ought to be noted that the former do emulate the latter, at least in the sense that they leave no boundary unbroken.

Indeed, OKNO finds the band on an even more adventurous tack than the one they took before. Having amped up the energy level, they kick off the set with the buoyant “You/Me” and sprinkle in a number of equally infectious offerings from that point on, from the effusive strains of “Less Than Expected” and “Holy Rollers” to the rambling banjo-based clap-along of “Mountain Tops,” the chipper steel guitar sway of “American Music” and the quaint ukulele serenade of – what else? – “Uke.” Make no mistake, the group still seems tempted to dally with psychedelic cacophony, and even their most melodic moments frequently run head-on into some discordant dissolves. Happily, though, those intrusions don’t allay the inviting approach OKNO conveys overall. The fact is, this is one of the most satisfying albums a relatively novice band has delivered in quite some time. Here’s hoping Phonograph choose to crank up their sound for a long time to come. (BNS, 2009)

Phonograph MySpace page


Tiny Masters of Today: Skeletons

If you can get past the subliminal screams of “Hipster band! Hipster band!” as you’re listening to Skeletons, the sophomore effort from Brooklyn teenagers Tiny Masters of Today, it’s easy to see why they’ve earned the love of David Bowie, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and (cough) Kimya Dawson. They make simple but crazy catchy DIY alt-pop, all fuzzed out guitars and dispassionate vocals (but well sung for teenagers), with tunes that would give the Breeders and the Strokes pause. Indeed, “Ghost Star” is catchier than anything the Breeders or Strokes have sent to radio in ages, and “Big Stick” has the kind of drum track that the Beastie Boys will surely sample for their next record. The biggest problem with Tiny Masters of Today is that while they do what they do really well, they’re not exactly versatile. Sure, they incorporate indie rock, hip hop elements, and other borough-friendly sounds, but the album feels longer than it is, even at 26 minutes. Still, you can see the makings of a band that will one day be worthy of the hipster buzz they’re already getting. It will be interesting to see what they do when they reach their twenties. (Mute 2009)

Tiny Masters of Today MySpace page


White Rabbits: It’s Frightening

It is increasingly difficult to stand out in the overcrowded pop scene these days, but leave it to Missouri transplants White Rabbits (they’ve since relocated to Brooklyn, much like fellow Midesterners Locksley) to take a trick from .38 Special’s playbook and turn it on its ear: two drummers! The similarities end there, though; It’s Frightening, the second long-player from the White Rabbits, takes those two drummers – think Adam and the Ants, not the Doobie Brothers – and frames them with singer Stephen Patterson’s barroom piano and some sparse guitar work to create the kind of angular pop that you’d expect from the bands on the other side of the pond. Britt Daniel’s presence here as producer is no surprise, as the band’s “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong” sounds like a lost Spoon track, and Single of the Year candidate “Percussion Gun,” armed to the teeth with handclaps and double-decker harmonies, is delightfully quirky and insanely catchy. That unusual approach to their drum tracks could prove to be an albatross – ask Guster about that one – but for the moment, all is quite well with the White Rabbits. (TBD 2009)

White Rabbits MySpace page