What I’m Listening to: Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

31 08 2010

Steven Ellison A.K.A. Flying Lotus puts his love for Los Angeles on display

In my opinion the music industry, as with many other industries, has always stood divided.  There are forward thinking innovators, and there are those who dwell in the realm of familiarity, sexploitation, and cookie-cutter tunes designed for the masses.  It has always been a shame to me that the latter of these opposing schools of thought often earns a greater portion of air-time, money, and fame, while the innovators, the true artistic masterminds, get left in the dust: poor, broken, and forgotten.  Obviously there are those who overcome the public’s lust for awful music and find their creative niche where they can be embraced for the geniuses they are.  One such artist is Steven Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus. Read the rest of this entry »


New Music: Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

18 03 2010

Gorillaz third release is every bit as genre-shattering as the first one

It’s the time of year where I get to write more about new music than the older stuff that just happens to be popping through my computer speakers, and that is something to be excited about.  Just this week new albums from Gorillaz and Broken Bells (more on them later) dropped new albums, and new cuts from MGMT, The National, Erykah Badu, Band of Horses, and Nas and Damien Marley are all expected before May.  Not to mention Drake, LCD Soundsystem, and The Arcade Fire all expected out before the end of the year, plus whispers of a new Radiohead album (SHH! they can hear you thinking about it).

The third release from Gorillaz, Plastic Beach, is pretty much what you expect from Damon Albarn and his animated company; which is the unexpected. Read the rest of this entry »

What I’m Listening To – Arcade Fire: Funeral

16 02 2010

Arcade Fire's debut "Funeral" is a personal favorite

So the word on the street is that the Arcade Fire have a new album due out this year, combine this with new albums due out from MGMT and Radiohead and it should be a great year for music. Arcade Fire have been one of the most innovative, original bands, both in the studio, and live, of the last five or six years. The news of their highly anticipated third studio album had me excited and so I went back to listen to their brilliant debut: Funeral.

I must admit that I was unaware of this album when it was first released, and I didn’t even learn of this band until the follow-up Neon Bible was released in 2007. Even though Neon Bible was every bit as critically acclaimed as their debut, there is still something about Funeral that I can personally connect to more than its successor. After listening to this album it is no surprise that these songs were the inspiration to the recent film Where the Wild Things are. Oft-ignored childhood themes of dissonance, isolation, rebellion, and free spirit are all touched upon. These are not things that a normal rock band would address, but Arcade Fire do it with such passion and conviction that it is hard to not be emotionally connected to such relevant song-writing. The Lyrics to “Wake Up” really hit on a lot of these points. Lead man Win Butler sings:

“But now that I’m older/ My heart is colder/ and I can see that its a lie./ Children wake up/ hold your mistakes up/ before they turn the summer into dust./ Children don’t grow up/ our bodies get bigger/ but our hearts get torn up./ We’re just a million little gods causing rainstorms/ turning everything good to rust.”

The childhood themes don’t stop with the lyrics. The upbeat, yet serious, anthemic feel that makes the Arcade Fire who they are is all over this album and it fits perfectly with the aforementioned writing style. After reading the lyrics to Wake Up (above) it might be hard to envision the song being placed in NFL advertisements, but the epic guitar makes it perfect. Side note is that Arcade Fire NEVER lisence their music to outside sources (minus the WTWTA) trailor, and idiotic copyright laws allow the NFL to use their music for 15 seconds or less, despite the band’s attempts to protect their music, but that’s a topic for another day.

This is one of those albums that brightens your day for reasons that you can’t quite put your finger on.  Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) puts a smile on my face every time.  All of us remember waking up with the power out and going back to sleep, claiming ignorance, to try and get out of school.  This song is the embodiment of what I said before about the lyrics and  the music coming together to put forth such an emotionally charged, easily relatable rock performance that is as of now unmatched by artists everywhere., and I’m certain that Arcade Fire will continue to break new ground for years to come.  Good luck musicians of the world, Arcade Fire have set the bar, and they have set it high.