26 May 2006

three rockin' beats

I'm trying out an update of my Flash music player. You can now slide that thing under those jumping yellow bars to fast-forward or rewind the song, and control the volume. Don't mind those symbols on the left as they only work when there are multiple songs in the file.

have a good time : morning runner
click here or on the image below to listen

Although Morning Runner released their debut album Wilderness Is Paradise Now just a couple of months ago, Amazon UK says their early work inspired the creation of the album X&Y by Coldplay. Never forceful, Morning Runner switches comfortably between the urgent electric guitar of Be What You Want Me To Be and the piano balladry of Broken Benches and Hold Your Breath. What the band suffers from, however, is the comparison with other acts – Elbow, Keane, Coldplay, Athlete – which essentially questions their originality. I think Britons are split in the middle whether they actually like Morning Runner or not. Well, I do, and I don't mind the comparisons, which are accurate, although Morning Runner has a stronger blow and a sharper bite. Have A Good Time is easily my favorite track. I never expected it to take a drastic turn to lacerated guitars and vocals right after the frantic and funky drum into. I was hooked, goosebumps and all. These kids will have a great future if they can get past the pigeonholing and people take them for their versatility. Wilderness certainly covers greater emotional range than Hopes & Fears by Keane. Gone Up In Flames is a vigorous track that can find itselt at home in any bar today or any 80s dancefloor, with smart songwriting to boot: Going to the race track to try and get your money back/You got caught trying to break in, but you just laughed and said 'It couldn’t have been me.' The Great Escape, despite its unnecessary intro (they will probably edit it out if they release it as a single), gives you an expectation of standard-issue schmaltz until it fires up with umbrage at the chorus. In fact, the fast-slow switch seems to be the common denominator of the songs in the album, but it's not too premeditated to sound pretentious (like the word "umbrage," I know).

brilliant sky : saybia
click here or on the image below to listen

Saybia are a good reminder that diversifying your sources of rock music to countries outside of the English-speaking world can be rewarding. Coming from Denmark, the band has been around since 1993 as an independent act, going through the familiar struggle of striking a record deal. From their roots in a seaside village 130 kilometers from Copenhagen, the band toured the country until recording their own six-track EP in 2000. Their record-label aspirations were realized the following year, releasing their debut album The Second You Sleep in 2002, and Saybia have been breaking Danish charts since. The bio in the band's website has an interesting confession: "Success extracted a price and the five musicians were drained of energy. They forgot what it was like to be friends and none of them could spell the word communication, or for that matter, even remember what it meant." But instead of tearing apart, the band bought a house outside Copenhagen, renewed their bond, and wrote some songs together about the experience, resulting in lyrics that are either honest or affected. I get visions of the five of them forming a circle with their arms locked together, chanting oms, and then sitting down in the living room to write cringe-worthy words like, Do you remember the exact time we went dry on gasoline/Just the five of us against the rest of the world? (Guardian Angel) and Stayed together through stormy weather/Still divided but soul united (Soul United). Poor lyrics aside, Saybia's second album, These Are The Days, has the sound of seasoned musicians, from the timid yet self-assured vocals of Bend The Rules to the fetching bass line of Flags to the sweet-tempered acoustic guitar of The Haunted House On The Hill. The band managed to make every song in the album catchy and radio-friendly, although the promise of exuberant rock in the opener Brilliant Sky is not sustained. The rest is a mellow affair, as the band has apparently made These Are The Days a personal, emotional undertaking.

wimp soufflé : phantom buffalo
click here or on the image below to listen

Forgive me as I use the word "funnest" to describe this band. Even though the word gets 1.5 million Google results, I can never get myself to use it. But here I go: Phantom Buffalo is the funnest unknown band I've heard in a while. Apparently from Portland and formerly called The Ponys, they released Shishimumu, the album where Wimp Soufflé comes from, in 2002. They have managed to stay undetected since, in spite of sounding like many of the stateside indie bands of late. Although they're starting to break out – check out their busy gig schedule on their myspace page – it's still hard to find any information about the band, or even images of them in Flickr. I guess they're living up to the phantom image. But what the hey. Listening to Wimp Soufflé or Killing's Not OK (a single downloadable from their site – wait for the mad drumming in the middle) is great fun. The band is amateurish; it feels like they just learned to play their instruments from boarding school, decided to form a band after graduation, and somehow struck gold while goofing off. Songs like Domestic Pet Growing Seeds and Ask Your Grandmother are as clever as the titles are witty. Heck, the songs are funny, paying homage to bugs and ghosts. From Wilamena: Wilamena, you're a bug crawling on my knee/It's not a metaphor, I mean it quite literally. I'm happily sharing their record label's description of the album here, because it's quite accurate: "The sounds of the past and present meeting to create a unique and uplifting timelessness. Merging rock instrumentation, acoustic guitar, electric slide, moog, wurlitzer, and gorgeous vocals into a cluster of irresistible, catchy, and haunting songs. Flowing through droning psychedelia, velvety instrumentals, quirky indiepop, country twang, and distortion fueled rock." Sounds like a mouthful of balderdash, but have a listen and you'll agree.

1 comment:

  1. Man, Thanks for the info about Morning Runner. Plase, can help to find the lyrics. I'm not good hearing english, at all. So I hope you can help me. The lyrics I want is: What Expectation. The youtube link is this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYK5R2O5QEg

    Thanks, really. Greetings.

    ReplyDelete