Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Blog Post?!?

That's right!!! So, to make this more "special", here's a "leap" ahead as to four songs that I will be likely to review within the next month or so:

1. "Can't Find" by Eddie Vedder
2. "Don't Leave Me INe Me Quitte Pas)" by Regina Spektor
3. "Out of the Game" by Rufus Wainwright
4. "This Isn't Everything You Are" by Snow Patrol

And now, on with the REAL show...

“On the Run” by Kaiser Chiefs: I’ll admit, I didn’t think much of Kaiser Chiefs when they debuted in the mid 2000’s with the Knack-ish power pop song “I Predict A Riot”, but they grew on me. “Ruby” is one of the sunniest slices of alt-pop I’ve ever heard, and “Never Miss A Beat” is quite a catchy tune as well. “On the Run” has a bit of a darker tone than the Chiefs’ previous songs, but, like most of their songs, it has memorable moments. The fragmented synthesizer sound of “On the Run” pretty much defines the song, and it has a somewhat danceable rhythm (though not as much as their previous three hits). Paul McCartney was one of the first famous people I knew of to praise the music of The Kaiser Chiefs, and it’s no wonder, really, as both McCartney and Kaiser Chiefs are British rock musicians known for their melodic but irresistibly rhythmic music. “On the Run” doesn’t seem like it has the same sort of sound that McCartney would favor, but what can I say, sometimes bands need room to grow, and Kaiser Chiefs seem like the type of band who would benefit from doing so.

“Primitive Girl” by M. Ward: It’s only two minutes and twenty seconds, but Zooey Deschanel’s backing man from She & Him churns out a charming piano-rocker with “Primitive Girl”. Ward’s material is usually rawer (though still kinda folk-y) and more guitar focused than how he comes off as on “Primitive Girl”, so he almost comes off sounding (musically) more like Zooey than himself! Aptly enough, “Primitive Girl” SOUNDS primitive, with its repetitive note sequences, starkly arranged instrumentation, and small amount of words. Ward’s fans were probably expecting more from him than this, but songs like “Primitive Girl” are among the best kind of indie songs – the cute kind!

“Temporary” by White Rabbits: Despite the name of this band, White Rabbits have little (if anything) to do with Jefferson Airplane. Their sound is a lot more contemporary than that, and comparable to bands like Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, TV on the Radio, and Modest Mouse, all of whom are far more influenced by new wave and post-punk than psychedelic. Unlike most of the songs I review, it’s hard to tell where the guitar is in this song (until the solo), yet it’s quite easy to tell where the bass is throughout the song, as the bass (and synthesizer) serve as the dominant instruments in “Temporary”. In contrast to the thumping bass-and-synth sound of the song, the vocals in “Temporary” are more wry and detached, the combination of which comes off sounding a bit like The Cars crossed with Radiohead, with a techno influence added in as well. In addition, the cover of White Rabbits’ latest album alone gives hints as to how off-the-wall their sensibilities can be. On it, their name is written backwards, the album title is written like an all black Jackson Pollock work of art, and even the title of the album itself (Milk Famous), sounds bizarre and enigmatic.

“That Dangerous Age” by Paul Weller: Paul Weller was once the frontman of the heavily Kinks-influenced British punk group, The Jam (fans of the movie “Stranger Than Fiction” would probably be familiar with their sarcastic “ballad”, “That’s Entertainment”). Since splitting apart from The Jam, Paul has released a couple of solo albums, but so far, no songs from any of those albums have gotten near as much attention as his latest song, “That Dangerous Age”. This time around, though, Ray Davies is not the British rocker Paul Weller is trying to imitate, but instead, the sleek disco-meets-punk type sound David Bowie had in the middle of his career! I have yet to figure out what “dangerous age” Weller is referring to, but at this point, it doesn’t matter, because the song is already catchy enough!! What an awesome comeback!

“When the Ship Comes In” by The Chieftains and The Decemberists: This song is pretty much folk-rock all over the place, but in varying styles! It is a cover of a song by folk-rocker master Bob Dylan, with instrumentation by Irish folk group The Chieftains, and vocals from contemporary folk-rockers The Decemberists! Of course, this being a cover of a Dylan song, the lyrics have a very folk-y feel to them, too, but more in a sea shanty kind of way, with all of its maritime imagery (seagulls, shorelines, sand, ships, etc.) It’s not a very somber song, either, in fact it has a rather jolly, upbeat sound to it, in a way that might create mental imagery of what it would be like if “Riverdance” met “Spongebob Squarepants”. The Decemberists spinning tales from the briny deep?! Hasn’t happened before, but so far, I really like it!