What I’m Listening to: MGMT – Congratulations

13 09 2010

You can make cool music with your shirts on guys.

The boys of psychedelic rock phenomenon MGMT warned the world that their sophomore release would not be the catchy, synth-laden, electro-pop that their massively successful debut was.  They risked completely losing the frat-boy fan base that launched them into stardom over the last couple years. Personally, when I heard the words MGMT and surf-rock in the same sentence, I must admit I was skeptical, and my preconceived notions of what Congratulations would be kept me from giving it the attention I soon realized it deserved. Surf-rock and frat-boy labels aside this album is a legitimate attempt at something fresh and unique.  For a second time Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have ripped the rugs out from under our collective feet and sent us free-falling into musical bliss, once again demonstrating a connection with the new youth counterculture displayed by few other artists. Read the rest of this entry »


What I’m Listening To – Akron/Family

19 02 2010

This album cover looks like something my grandma would have on her wall

Akron/Family’s 2005 self titled debut pretty much sounds like a bunch of noise the first time you hear it.  It reminds me of a little kid mulling around the kitchen, banging pots and pans to get his mothers attention as she prepares dinner.  Then they put forth something that sounds conceivably like regular pop-music, and then they take it away and go back to noise.   Needless to say, I LOVE IT.

So as noted by my previous posts on Grizzly Bear and MGMT, I love a good psychedelic, artsy rock record, but Akron/Family is different.  As opposed to being rooted in rock, they instead hold a foot in the realm of folk.  Almost all of the guitar is acoustic, the songs are driven by polyrhythmic, tribal like drums and percussion, and the vocals are imperfect and driven by emotion, like all good vocals should be in the age of Pro Tools where everything is too perfect.  After listening to the album it is pretty crazy to think that the entire thing was performed by only three musicians, rotating instrumental and vocal duties.  Nothing really to specific to say about this album, but in general its another personal favorite of mine, and everyone should check it out.

Key Tracks: Running, Returning.  Italy.  Before and Again.

You might also like: Animal Collective, Annuals

What I’m Listening To – Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

3 02 2010

Grizzly Bear's second album

You only really need to know one thing about Grizzly Bear’s latest album Veckatimest: If you haven’t heard it then you should go get it right now.  Their dreamy, harmony lathered, art-rock sound got them attention a few years back with Yellow House, and this time around they added a bit of popular sensibility with a few obvious singles (Two Weeks, While you Wait for the Others), while still maintaining their Pet Soundsesque  aural dreamscape.

Although their music is generally laid back and relaxing to listen to, this album has its moments where it really rocks out and brings the energy up, which is a nice contrast to the droning crawl of a song like Dory.  Southern Point, the first track, brings this harder aspect to the album right off the bat, followed by the aforementioned, electric keyboard driven pop single Two Weeks. From there on out the album is pure art-rock genius.  There’s not a skip-worthy track on the whole album.  I could go on for hours about this album, but if your looking for something to relax to, or something to dive really deep into, something to get lost in, then you’ll love this album.

Key Tracks: While you Wait for the Others, Fine for Now, Ready, Able.

Artists you might also like: Beach House, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective