Monday, December 19, 2011

Queue the Crickets (not the Buddy Holly band)

Things have been quiet here the past week.  There are two things at work there: a) December is by far the slowest month for new releases, so there just hasn't been a huge amount of noteworthy singles this past week, and b) I'd initially planned on using the downtown to play catch up on overlooked albums, singles, etc with the motive of putting together an obligatory top 50 list or whatever.  Can't do it.  I tried, bince I didn't repurpose WKMR into a new release blog until halfway through 2011 there's just too much stuff I didn't get around listening to in order to feasibly cram it all in at the last minute.  Any such list I might put together, then, would be woefully incomplete to the point of sheer uselessness, so I'm not even going to bother.  We'll make it a regular thing in 2012, but until then hopefully you've gotten enough unanimous Adele and Drake recommendations to guide your listening preferences for the next few calendar months.

For the rest of this week I'm just going to be clearing out my back log of singles and videos to post, then it's off to Redneck Purgatory in East Texas (a.k.a. my dad's) for the last week of the month.  There is no internet out in his (literal) neck of the woods - I can't even get a fucking cell phone signal within 20 miles of his house - so WKMR will be AWOL from Xmas through New Years.

Not so you'll notice.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fucked Up: "Turn the Season"

This has been out for awhile but we're just now getting a video.  It's been amazing to me how few year end lists this has reached the upper echelons of.  As far as punk concept albums go David Comes to Life says everything that can possibly be said about why American Idiot is the overrated piece of shit that it is.

Sinkane: "Jeeper Creeper"

Ahmad Gallab, Yeasayer drummer here.  Not quite Balearic, not quite Reggae, "Jeeper Creeper" slinks along over a multi-ethnic panoply of worldbeat influences.  The vocals bring it all back stateside.  There's been a lot of this belatedly sunny indie pop coming out so far this winter.  Hopefully spring won't invoke another Joy Division revival for sheer congruence if nothing else.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guards: "Do It Again"

I'm going to assume you already know about the Cults connection and just move on.  No sign of a full length album on the way, but depending on who you ask these days singles are the future, long players are dead, so instead we'll just scramble to keep track of these scattered, under-the-radar singles.  "Do It Again" is the latest, and this one should catapult Richie Follin into the upper echelon of indie pop songwriters.  Faultlessly catchy and instantly memorable, this one would have made a top notch summer anthem if Follin hadn't inexplicably chosen to release it in the grey midst of winter.

[EDIT 2/8/12: adding official music video]:

School of Seven Bells: "The Night"

Interestingly, the whole 80's synthpop revival has taken us nearly chronologically from the stripped down, Gary Numan-cum-post punk circa 1980 to the more ornate, borderline mainstream pop of the mid-to-late 1980's.  School of Seven Bells definitely fit into the latter category, although upcoming LP Ghostory will be their third.

School of Seven Bells - The Night by Consequence of Sound

The Jameses: "5th Dimension"

This is 60's psych-pop rendered as modern dance music, a deft touch on the editing console turning a simple carousel melody into an oscillating kaleidoscope of refracted arpeggios.  Or something of that sort.

"5th Dimension" - not a Byrds cover, by the way - is the b-side of The Jameses' new single, "Caribou", their sophomore 7" on Captured Tracks, home of Heavenly Beat and Thieves Like Us among other indie contenders.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

KILLER COVERS || Holy Ghost!: "I Wanted to Tell Her"

Cheekily paying homage to cheesy movies of the 80s has become a trend in music videos the past few years - I still like to watch that J-Lo Flashdance one on mute - so hey, what about Rad?  Holy Ghost got you.  The throwback aesthetic is all the more appropriate considering this is a cover of the early Ministry jam "I Wanted to Tell Her" from their synth pop/pre-industrial period.

Major Lazer: "Original Don"

If you're ever unclear on what you should be doing in your band's music video, it's easy to fall back on synchronized dancing featuring bladed armaments.  Throw in a Betty White substitute and, voila, your meme cake is ready to be adorned with celebratory candles.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pontiak: "Lions of Least"

I somehow overlooked these guys at SXSW last year, but they push the same kind of bluesy, boogie down buttons that Black Keys push without really sounding much like them.  If you're willing to content yourself with loose analogies you could also characterize this as White Stripes with more balls.  Whatever, "Lions of Least" is the distilled essence of all that was great about post-Zeppelin 70's hard rock.  Get your horns in the air and shut the fuck up.

Echo Ono will be out on 2/21/2012.

Pontiak - "Lions Of Least" from stereogum on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Young Dro: "Maserati"

...and just I get finished praising Aleon Craft for not falling into that typical bling/frat boy trap that too many rappers from the ATL fall into, here I go posting a bling-happy frat boy track from Bankhead, GA who is actually signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle record label (also: getting real hard to take you seriously as an MC when you have "Young" or "Lil" preceding your chosen nom de plume).

Fuck it, though, this shit is catchy as hell and one counter-example doesn't disprove that, for all the Outkasts and Goodie Mobs, Atlanta is still largely rapping at an 8th grade level.

Young Dro - Maserati from Tamarcus Brown on Vimeo.

Aleon Craft: "Make It Out" [feat. George Clinton]

As near as I can figure that's a heavily syrupy George Clinton on the chorus, but otherwise this track is all about Aleon Craft, an up and coming Atlanta rapper who fortunately eschews the Luda/T.I. blueprint and is instead in more of the Outkast alterna-rap mold.  "Make It Out" is off of his second album, Mothership Decatur, which can be digitally downloaded here.

Willie Evans Jr.: "Introducin'"

Kanye's not the only one that can produce his own tracks while also being a showcase rapper (although I would argue his MC skills aren't for shit to begin with):  enter Willie Evans Jr.  His beats may not aspire to the same Mt. Olympus heights as Ye's but at least he can string a clever couplet together.  Plus have you ever heard an album with crayon & magic marker cover art that out-and-out sucked?  Such things just do not happen.

Danny Brown: "Blunt After Blunt"

I don't know why I've never gotten into weed.  I don't get the creative/imaginative vibe going when I toke up, it just numbs me out, not dissimilar to popping pain pills but without the drowsiness.

Oh, who are we kidding?  WKMR has never inhaled.

[UPDATE: 4/24/12: added 3:33 Remix (see below)]:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

THROWBACK 2010 || Shockproof: "Satisfied" [Rough Mix]

Credit where credit's due:  I came across this via West Norwood's Fact mix, which you should check into if this strikes your fancy at all.  I can't really find any definitive date on when it was released, but I found this standalone post on Soundcloud that appears to be artist uploaded, so I'll take the time frame at face value and go with 2010.

When hearing this mix of old bluesy/gospel field recordings combined with electronic dance music, most people are probably going to think of Moby's Play album, but actually there's at least one known example predating that album that Sir Richard Melville Hall definitely would have been aware of.  I'm just gonna leave that little teaser dangling, though, as the song in question is actually worthy of a post in its own right.  Look for that a bit later this week.

 Shocko - Satisfied Rough Mix by shockproof

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Niceguys: "Ari Gold (Remix)" [feat. Bun B]

Bun B is showing up everywhere these days.  That's hip hop in general in 2011: sharks don't sleep, you sleep ya get slept on.  Non-stop releases are the norm, endless mixtapes... I don't know how anyone is making any money off this shit anymore.  Anyway, The Niceguys are a new group out of Houston - not that you need that Texas connection to get Bun on your cut - and I assume "Ari Gold" is off some up-and-coming album or mixtape, because it's not on their sole release so far, 2010's The Show.

I'm also damned if I can place that guitar sample, even though it's intimately familiar and on the tip of my brain.  If anyone knows what it is serve me up a comment.

[EDIT 1/7/12: updating with official video]:

 The Niceguys Feat. Bun B - "Ari Gold" Remix by TheWellVersed

The Weeknd: "The Knowing"

The Weeknd - one guy, Abel Tesfaye, for those keeping score - broke out in 2011 with his free album House of Baloons (nominated for the Polaris prize in Canada) but has since signed with Drake's label, so we'll see whether he continues to pioneer an indie alternative to R&B or whether his success leads him the mainstream route.  In the meantime here's a freaky ass video for the album's closing track, "The Knowing", which presumably has a linear plot but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

The Weeknd - The Knowing (Official Video) from xoxxxoooxo on Vimeo.

Caveman: "Easy Water"

More syrupy, murky shoegaze from Brooklyn.  Are we reaching the saturation point where this kind of somber, hazy tone starts to wear thin and backlash begins?  Perhaps, but if that's the case this is one worth slipping in at the deadline.  Last one, promise...

Lambchop: "If Not I'll Just Die"

I've liked Lambchop every since I heard "Your Fucking Sunny Day" nearly a decade ago.  I can't really say I've kept up with them diligently over the years, though.  Good to hear they're still ripping off easy listening slow jams with aplomb.

Black Lips: "Raw Meat"

Hey, dude from The Wire!  Yup, but that's not the only thing this vid has going for it.  In addition to a tremendous garage rock tune - brevity like a muhfucka - the quartet that is Black Lips get to play Bad Lieutenant all up in this bitch.

Black Lips - "Raw Meat" from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.

Vas Deferens Organization: "Defenestration at the Gravy Pit"

I usually think of Dallas as home to bullshit, corporate acts like the Simpson sisters, Ryan Cabrera and Bowling for Soup, but every now and then the most superficial, yuppie ass city in Texas produces something real like Erykah Badu or Freddie King.  I'm just now hearing about Vas Deferens Organization but apparently they have a wide and varied discography.  First taste is on me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

KILLER COVERS || Jimmy Cliff: "Ruby Soho"

Yep, that "Ruby Soho".  I'm actually kind of surprised this song hasn't been covered more often before, it being well known to just about everybody but not overplayed by radio to the extent that, say, "Santeria" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" have been over the years.

VCMG: "Spock"

VCMG is the new project with the unimaginitive name from Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, both former compadres in Depeche Mode before Clarke bailed to continue making squeaky clean synthpop in Yazoo and Erasure while DM went all gloomy and sour.

When I first heard about this project a couple weeks ago it surprised me a bit.  Clarke has collaborated outside of Erasure quite often over the years, but never with any of his former Depeche band mates.  In fact, I've never seen any indication that he was still in touch with any of the lads.  In a perfect world, a collaboration between Vince Clarke and his successor in Depeche Mode, Alan Wilder, would have been a perfect match up, but until then...

Gore has also stepped outside his main band's fold occasionally, mostly remix work, but listening to "Spock" - the first track off the duo's upcoming EP - I hear the hand of Vince Clarke more so than Martin Gore here.

VCMG - Spock [Pitchfork Exclusive] by Mute UK

KILLER COVERS || Salem: "Better Off Alone"

That's right, this is a loose adaptation of the Alice Deejay classic from 1999, "Better Off Alone".  I didn't realize it until now - probably because I don't listen to most of these bands - but apparently there have been prior covers by the likes of Paulson, The Secret Handshake and Matt and Kim (not to mention an aborted studio session by Weezer intended for their Maladroit album... which I daresay could have used a few non-originals).

I don't care, this is the only version of this you need.  Hopefully it will become the definitive arrangement a la Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" or Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help from My Friends", although we arguably don't need any more covers of a tune that was admittedly huge but not particularly all that great to be begin with.

Loops Haunt: "Ark"

It's getting harder and harder to relegate electronic music into definable genres these days.  There's a kind of bouillabaisse aesthetic going on in all corners of the dance market where even micro-genres have become obsolete, the overlap becoming so all-encompassing as to defy even the most liberal of pigeon-holing.

The best stuff is coming out of the noobs, and it doesn't get much fresher than Loops Haunt.  Lifted directly from his FB page:
"Just for the books- ARk is NOT a DUBSTEP release--(i have never made any dubstep). ARks main melody was made in 09 and inspired from jamming on the same rick wakemnan solo i used in my electronic explorations mix. YESSONGS was the first record i ever owned as a kid."

Loops Haunt - Ark by Black Acre Records

Swing Ting: "Creepin' / Hold Your Corner"

Swing Ting is Platt & Samrai, a pair of Manchester DJ's mix-and-matching genres via their club residency of the same name.  "Creepin' / Hold Your Corner" is their first release on the Fat City Recordings label, but you can stream both songs on Soundcloud.  If you want a physical copy of the 12" it'll cost you five pounds... don't ask me how many quid that is, I'm American.  We can't even be bothered to figure out the metric system.

Swing Ting - Creepin / Hold Your Corner 12" (Fat City FC12041) by swingting

DJ Rashad & DJ Manny: "Ooh Babby"

This isn't the best footwork I've seen in a video, but the song is pretty tolerable.  Since Chicago is ground zero for the footwork movement in the US I can only assume that's frigid Lake Michigan we're gazing upon in the background... which kind of raises the question on whether footwork might not have evolved out of attempts to stay warm without looking too ridiculous.  OK, maybe not.

PS.  You have no idea how much I'd like to be able to edit the title of this Youtube video with a "[sic]" disclaimer.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blotted Science: "Ingesting Blattaria"

Blotted Science are the latest brainchild from Ron Jarzombek, tech-metal virtuoso and sought after studio gunslinger extraordinaire.  Jarzombek got bored playing in traditional speed metal variants of tech-prog, so he hired Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) and Hannes Grossmann (Obscura) to explore more of a technical death metal direction.  Truthfully, the guitars on "Ingesting Blattaria" still err on the side of speed metal but it's interesting to watch an old dog try to learn new tricks, though, and the chops are top notch by whatever standards you want to employ.

Primus: "Tragedy's A' Comin'"

I lamented the lack of an official video in my review of Green Naugahyde awhile back on Metal Injection, and finally we have one.  "Tragedy A' Comin'" is not really my favorite song from the album but at least they didn't do "HOINFODAMAN".  Plus it's Primus so of course the video is going to have enough wacky visuals to up the endearment quotient proportionally.

The Neptune Power Federation: "Wizard Lovin'"

Not that "Wizard Lovin'" isn't a fine tune in its own right, but its the raucous animated video that really puts this over the hump (pun semi-intended but halfheartedly). Neptune Power Federation is from Down Undah so you know they got that boogie-inflected, old school rock thing going.  Otherwise that's all I know about them because they're new as shit and this is their first single.  If NPF was a Twinkie they'd still have like 60 years worth of shelf life on 'em.  As it is this is rock & roll so I give 'em maybe a week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Slackk: "Polar Bear"

This appeals to my innate love of polar bears.  I won't even go to a zoo unless they got a coupl'a them muhfuckas.  Nowadays you can't even mention polar bears without someone associating them with global warming.  Which is sad... a polar bear is not an avatar for your sloganeering, he needs to be loved for the savage, inhuman killing machine that nature made him.  It'll take more than climate change to thaw his icy, bloodthirsty heart...

Oh, the song's kind chill though.

Co La: "Vanity Plate"

Already posted Co La recently, but boy keeps bringin' the shit. This one is less laid back than "Egyptian Peaches" and more straight up funky - more dancefloor than beaches and headphones - but it's all part of that diverse range Matthew Papich has to choose from.  Supposedly a full album stream is due this week.

Vanity Plate by Co La

[EDIT 2/19/12: added video for "You've Been Expected", which melds "Vanity Plate" into a seamless transition with album track "Wanna Say Faux"... didn't seem to warrant a separate posting]:

Co La - "You've Been Expected" from Nicky Smith on Vimeo.

Heavenly Beat: "Faithless"

The splintering of so called "chillwave" has taken us to some interesting places, not the least of which is this track by Beach Fossils side project Heavenly Beat.  Did you ever watch Skinemax back in the 1980's, when they were still importing their late night smut from Europe, back before the made-for-video craze ensured there was plenty of homegrown yet cookie cutter (and artificially enhanced) T&A to choose from instead?  It was a glorious time, Mediterranean beach themes and breezy Europop takes on whatever they imagined Jimmy Buffett to be... that's what "Faithless" reminds me of.  Then again, if you have a sewer mind and a potty mouth like me you'll find filth in even the most staunchly fortified innocence.  This could be an earnest stab at transcendence for all I know.

Heavenly Beat - “Faithless” by Creeping Wave

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Darkside: "A1"

I wish there were more of this kind of shit.  Grimy guitars produced squeaky clean and straight out of the late-70's/early-80's - half Mark Knopfler, half King Crimson - over top a Tangerine Dream styled backbeat, itself filtered through a modern, experimental house lens.  It's not as fractured as it sounds as paper.

Darkside is the new side project from Nicholas Jaar featuring guitarist Dave Harrington.  No idea who Harrington is, but Jaar has been making a huge name in the electronic scene, both for the plethora of EP's and digital downloads released under his own label as well as remixes for the likes of The Bees, Matthew Dear and When Saints Go Machine.  You can buy Darkside's new (and only, so far) EP by clicking on the blatantly obvious link below.

[UPDATE 5/15/12: wow... super belated video]:

Pete Swanson: "Misery Beat"

Too many fucking blog entries/reviews start off talking about how apt the song title is to the mood of the track... no shit, ya think the artist might have intended that?

Pete Swanson is a member of PDX duo Yellow Swans and has a new solo album, Man With Potential, out now on Type Records and boy, if there's anybody that has serious potential it's this kid!  See what I did there?

I also hate when people say "see what I did there?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Penguin Prison: "Don't Fuck With My Money"

I'm not posting this as any kind of political solidarity but simply because it's a great jam that really has nothing to do with politics if you ignore the trendy, bandwagon-jumping video and just focus on the pimp-driven lyrix.  Smangin'.

Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire: "Lou Ferigno's Mad"

Ain't this some shit?  Old 70's deep funk groove - early psychedelic-era P-Funk bullshit - channeling Lou Ferrigno's seminal Hulk interpretation, whose name has inexplicably been mispelled.  Just another day in the life of hip hop.  Don't watch this at work unless you work in a flophouse.

Mr Muthafuckin' eXquire "Lou Ferigno's Mad" from on Vimeo.

Homeboy Sandman: "Same Number, Same Hood"

I've been waiting for an excuse to post new Homeboy Sandman since the Mark II version of WKMR began.  This "Juicy"-sampling jam is all about why.  Apparently this is a one-off track commissioned by Puma so no idea whether this will end up on an album or mixtape.

Homeboy Sandman - 'Same Number, Same Hood' by Funky Diabetic

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nutso: "Galaxy of Queens" [feat. Capone-N-Noreaga, Royal Flush & Tragedy Khadafi]

Another post-breakup CNN joint?  In the same week as their collab with Raekwon?  My Spidey sense is tingling... actually that's a heart attack coming on.  This could be my last post.

Raekwon: "Chupacabra" [feat. Capone-N-Noreaga]

For a group that just broke up in June, Capone-N-Noreaga are back already on Raekwon's upcoming mixtape (this shit may very well have been in the can for six months, so don't bank on a full blown CNN reunion just yet).  The line between official albums and mixtapes continues to blur, with "Chupacabra" being a prime example of how MC's are no longer using mixtapes to phone it in over preexisting beats.

Star Slinger: "Moet & Reese"

That artwork says it all.  And by that I mean these beats is pregnant.

Star Slinger - Moet & Reese by Star Slinger

Chrome Dome: "After Midnight"

Chrome Dome are clearly riding the 80's nostalgia wave, but "After Midnight" has as much Wax Trax industrial as Transmat techno going on.  Even that band logo screams Alien Sex Fiend.

Chrome Dome - After Midnight from Angela Bermuda on Vimeo.

Gross Magic: "Yesterdays"

This is pretty much the perfect combination of modern vs 80's throwback.  Sam McGarrigle's hushed, bratty vocals and the bold guitar riff interlacing between the verses and chorus tend to douche the hell out of one's ear canals. "Yesterdays" is a bonus track off of the iTunes version of Gross Magic's debut EP, Teen Jamz.  I'm kind of resentful of this whole retailer-specific exclusives trend, so either enjoy the song via the magic of Youtube or search out the iTunes link for yourself.  iTunes ain't pimpin' WKMR last I checked.

Total Control: "Stonehenge"

Australia has always been synonymous with snarling, prehistoric garage punk (among other things, of course).  Total Control deliver on that promise, the spastic visuals in the video for "Stonehenge" perfectly complementing the herky, jerky rhythm.  Henge Beat is their first album, and according to a Mess + Noise review expect to hear a lot of synthpop influences as well.  Not so much on this track, however.
Total Control - Stonehenge from Timothy Hillier on Vimeo.

Sex Church: "Dull Light"

Sex Church is a provocative name, but "Dull Light" is not particularly confrontational.  A gripping blend of surf rock, post-punk and neo-psych, the name of the song is more appropriately evocative than the name of the band.  If you still want your glib you can get it off their Facebook bio, though.
 Sex Church - Dull Light by Load Records

Factory Floor: "Two Different Ways"

I used to be really, really big into the various strains of techno during the 90s, from the rave hangover of The Prodigy's early material to the Big Beat of Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Wildchild, etc.  Early on I got used to using the term "trance" to refer to minimalist, usually metronomic hard techno, particularly of the German variety (Hardfloor's "Acperience 1" from 1992 is probably my favorite trance song of all time).

So when asshats like Darude and Tiesto came along at the dawn of the millennium and turned the genre into an uneasy truce between traditional trance and progressive house, shit started sounding like elevator music to me.  And when it proceeded to absolutely dominate electronic music for a large chunk of the ensuing decade, I largely tuned out of my "techno" (fuck the term "electronica") altogether.

Well, Factory Floor are not old school trance revivalists at all (their Wiki page describes them as "post-industrial", whatever the fuck that means) but if "Two Different Ways" is the only thing you've heard by them, you'd be hard pressed to say otherwise.  Minimal?  Check.  Metronomic?  Check.  Dull?  Hardly.  You're thinking of Tiesto.

Modeselektor: "Shipwreck" [feat. Thom Yorke]

I'm predisposed to dislike Modeselektor.  Mainly because they make statements like this to the press: "We don’t like it if people tag us as being a certain style or school or scene or whatever. We don’t really care about all that." Blech. I've always believed that diversity speaks for itself, and I can guarantee you that patchwork artists like Tom Waits and Bjork don't have to warn their fans against pigeonholing them. I call this the Dave Mustaine rule.

However, "Shipwreck" is a pretty sweet little ditty, so I'll assume the two gents that make up Modeselektor are still a little green at this whole press thing, and that they're just parroting what they've heard other people say while they work on their articulation.  They've got Thom Yorke's ear, and that's a heartier co-sign than anything I could offer.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Michael Monroe: "Trick of the Wrist"

This video does little to convince me that Michael Monroe is anyone other than Jaime Pressly's grandmother.  Still rocks more than that shitty, shitty shitcom that Pressly has coming out, though.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Revocation: "No Funeral"

One of the saving graces, I think, for death metal in this era - a full 20 years after its initial ascent - is a renewed focus on technicality.  The race to see who can be the fastest or most brutal had already long ago been subsumed by black metal, which frees death metal up to return to its role as thrash successor: riff-based, catchy, instrumentally competent.  Revocation is all these things, which is why they're one of the more popular bands to emerge from death metal in the last few years.

Abigail Williams: "Ascension Sickness"

The main gripe about Abigail Williams has always been the supposed lack of authenticity.  Black metal purists don't tend to take kindly to the band's attempts to wed progressive/symphonic tendencies to the traditional BM template.  The band appear to have taken that criticism to heart, and if "Ascension Sickness" is indicative of a new direction the naysayers will have to reconsider their objections.  Tortured, muffled vocals, shitty production with rusty blast beats, keyboards used sparingly for ambiance only... this hardly even sounds like the same band.  Looking out for Becoming, out on Jan. 24.

Rammstein: "Mein Land"

I have to take my Rammstein in small doses. Their blend of deep throated vocals and frankly antiquated industrial metal chugging gets stale pretty quick.  For that very reason I haven't gone out of my way to follow them for years now, which makes the timing of this video perfect:  if anything it's been long enough now that I could actually use a little throwback industrial in my life right now, and "Mein Land" has to be their crowning achievement in terms of promo videos.

The majority of the narrative leading up through the guitar solo is a cheeky, upside down accompaniment to Rammstein's intrinsically dark aesthetic, but in the end it's all a false edifice that's been erected for the sole purpose of being torn down by the band's true nature.  The last minute or so of this is NSFW if that matters.

Rammstein - Mein Land from Rammstein on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

CSS: "City Grrrl"

Indie rock fans are often excoriated for being too dismissive of mainstream pop music - obligatory, token coverage of R&B titans like Rihanna and Beyonce in Pitchfork and other indie-centric blogs not really fooling anybody - but to that I would respond: if Top 40 pop music is about anything other than formulaic, unchallenging pablum (musical comfort food) repeated ad nauseum - same production values, sound-alike verse-chorus-verse structures - then there would be no reason "indie" mainstays like CSS wouldn't regularly show up on the charts.  Unpolished, rough around the edges beat aside, "City Grrrl" has everything the mainstream demands out of a Katy Perry song - catchy yet familiar chorus, teen-friendly rock star posturing - but, unlike an actual Perry song, there is a sense of individuality here.

So basically my rebuttal is this: it's not so much that indie rock fans reject pop music as it is that pop fans tend to marginalize anything that indie aficionados would consider "pop" in the first place.  Without the multimedia blitz of cookie cutter superstar producers, high profile hip hop guest stars for that added street cred, and frequent radio play sandwiched between established giants like Coldplay and Lady GaGa, what chance does CSS - an inherently pop band whether you want to admit it or not - have in the cold light of the status quo?

CSS - City Grrrl feat. SSION from Freak! Produtora on Vimeo.