Saturday, January 19, 2008

Trying to feel "Lucky"; Nada Surf first listen

The "Popular" boys are back. But I'm pretty certain they don't care to be remembered as the band who did that song, way back when. It caused them to earn the one-hit-wonder title, be considered Weezer wannabes, and then to be dropped from their major label and forgotten about. Well, if you've been listening to them since they've been signed to Seattle's Barsuk [umm, anytime in the past, say.. nine-or-so years], you'd know they're none of those things.

Nada Surf have pumped out three very consistent and, plainly put, awesome records since High/Low. I still regularly listen to Let Go and The Weight is a Gift, and both contain some of my favorite warm fuzzy feelgood singalong songs [that don't feature Kelly Clarkson, Vanessa Carlton or Cat Stevens on the mic].

The latest Paste contains a pretty good little story on the guys, and I recommend reading it as they address dealing with people remembering them as the one-hit-wonders who did that one song and how they bailed on their major label only to become more successful [definition of success here] and, some like me may say, a better band. It also answers the questions I had about how lead singer Matthew Caws speaks French so damn well. Get to your closest newsstand, library or bookstore to check it out.

Ok, on with the new record. Lucky was pretty much my most-anticipated new record of early 2008. It comes out 5 February, and I was kinda surprised to have already heard it this early. I need a few more listens, but right now.. it's not quite hitting me like I hoped it would. It's pretty light, and there's a bit more twang to it than their previous records have had-- think they're getting old? Shit, I hope that's not the cause.

I actually just realized that the sound they're turning more to on this album is what turned me off Ambulance LTD when they tried to pawn off New English as a proper teaser for a new album-- two years later and there's still no new album.

Listen and decide for yourself. Download these tracks, from Lucky, out 5 February.

"See These Bones" [right-click save-as download]
"Whose Authority"
"Here Goes Something"
"I Like What You Say"

My other NS favorites:
"Fruit Fly", from Let Go
"Do it Again", from The Weight is a Gift

And two of the greatest covers I've heard:
"If You Leave" [OMD cover]
"Friday I'm in Love" [The Cure cover]

Preorder Lucky from Insound.
Buy other Nada Surf material from iTunes.


In totally unrelated news.. I neglected to inform y'all that I'm kicking 2008 off to a great start by seeing two awesome and one pretty good bands tonight. In less a couple hours I'll be rocking out first to White Denim, then to White Rabbits, and then finally to show headliners the Walkmen. I'm most excited to see White Denim, as I've been rocking their forthcoming album Workout Holiday and their 2007 EP Let's Talk About It for a while now, and I've also heard/read they're really good live. Holiday made my unofficial and never-quite-completed Fave Albums of 2007 list. White Rabbits' Fort Nightly did as well, as I rocked out to that album a great deal of last year, and also saw them rock it hard last summer before trying to show them the Madison midweek nightlife, and all the while one Rabbit hit on my British friend.. anyway.. The Walkmen.. eh.. excited to see them because they're a good band but I really don't listen to 'em much.

Find some White Denim and White Rabbits tracks that I previously posted on these pages.


Last.. I failed to mention that in Friday's post, in the second photo drunking next to me is none other than infamous [or now famous] Madison blogger Chicken, aka the Lovechild, aka Rachel of The Life of a Lovechild, who I am happy to call my friend. She just told recently informed me that she is a bit under the weather, and so for some reason I feel obligated to publicly wish her well. I hope you feel better, Chicken.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back from the dead: me and Vampire Weekend

Wow! What a bum I've been. It's been, what.. three weeks since my last post? I had all intentions of writing some, first around the holidays and then after New Years, but the first truth of the matter is that I had no new stuff to share. The second truth? I've just plain been lazy as hell.

But to my defense, I was doin a little bit of this:

And a little bit of this:

Some of this:

And a little bit more of this:


Also, thanks to a couple friends and a couple of hours on a Thursday night, I'm now solidly hooked on what many have been touting as the greatest show on HBO, now that Sopranos and Six Feet Under are done. I liken The Wire to a ghetto black Sopranos with a little more Law thrown in. It shows police corruption, police brutality, drugs, drugs, junkies, strippers, dealers, guns, Black gangstas, Greek gankstoirs, Polish gangsterskis, corrupt port authority, murders, beatings, strippers, lesbian cops, drugs, and every other word out of some idiot's mouth is fuck. It's got all the making of a great HBO show. And I've been known to sit in front of my large computer monitor for six hours, watching half a season's worth in one sitting. A clip here.

Download Tom Waits "Way Down in the Hole", The Wire theme from season two.

Now back to the music.

I don't know how Vampire Weekend [from where? Brooklyn, where else] slipped through the cracks in my world last year. I picked up a couple tracks late in the year, but somehow they managed to be swept away with a bunch of other stuff. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" is catchy and different but not crazy. Every time I hear it, which has been a lot lately, I hear Simon & Garfunkel. I can't put my finger on that, but I can't shake it, either.

Their self-titled album, to come out on the 29th, is short and sweet. It's the first great release of 2008 [to actually be released in 2008 and not leaked months earlier, like the awesome Bodies of Water and White Denim albums]. And while the video for the first single, "A-Punk" may look like an Ok Go! video, but VP's sound goes way wider and deeper than the Chitown-bred JC Penney-fed popsters.

Download Vampire Weekend, from the forthcoming Vampire Weekend.
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
"Mansard Roof"
"Oxford Comma"

And those are just the first four tracks of the album!
Go download four more VP tracks-- two non-album-- from the Daytrotter sessions.
Pre-order the album from Insound.
Get the "Mansard Roof" single + b-side from iTunes.