Sunday, October 31, 2010
If you're a Crystal Castles fan, or a Robert Smith fan, or a Cure fan, chances are you've probably never imagined an actual pairing between them. I know it never crossed my mind. So imagine my surprise when I learned that the Crystal Castles song "Not in Love" from their 2010 album was remixed to include the one and only Robert Smith performing the vocals. Wait, seriously? Yes, seriously. And by the maker, it's probably the most endearing combination I've heard since...since...I have no idea. It's up there though, I think it's that good. So do give your ears some love and download (or just stream it if somehow you're not already salivating at the mouth) the song, which comes via the good folks at Stereogum.
Oh, and here's the original song for reference.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Artist: A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Album: Ashes Grammar
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Dream Pop/Ambient/Shoegaze
With as much music as I tend to listen to these days it's rare that a single artist not only stands out to me and causes many repeated listens, but drives me toward addiction, elates my soul and accordingly launches themselves to the top of my current favorite artists so quickly. It happened earlier this year after being introduced to the wonderful St.Vincent, and now I feel that the process has begun anew with my new favorite Dream Pop/Shoegaze outfit hailing from...you guessed it, Philadephia (you were thinking Glasgow, weren't you?).
What causes this band to stand out for me is, like any great band, a combination of cohesive elements. First and foremost there are the vocals. Light, airy, dreamy (naturally), and harmonious, they drive the majority of the melodies on the album, sometimes without even needing to utilize lyrics, such as the "ah ah" moment in the song "Shy." Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson are the two women behind the mic if you're wondering. While they definitely take vocal cues from dream pop bands of yore, they're in no way copycats. They simply use that inspiration and make it their own. It's both nostalgic and refreshing. In addition to said vocals, there's of course the instrumentalists who bring a wide array of sounds to the table. Although the band does use guitar in many songs, it's not the instrument that's solely responsible for creating the soundscape. When it does take the lead, such as in "The White Witch", it can be very uplifting. Or sometimes the guitars become full of fuzzy distortion that calls to mind the classic shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine. But more often in this album you have the keyboards and electronic sounds dominating. I think this attribute also plays a large role in causing the album to sound very modern and work as successfully as it does.
But above it all, it's the songwriting that makes this record pure gold in this listener's opinion. There are hooks everywhere, atmosphere aplenty, and a good amount of depth that will keep you coming back for more. The album also flows extremely well, each song bleeding into the next, making for a satisfying experience. So if you're a fan of this genre or even if you're not and have been itching to find something new and different in a music world saturated with the mundane, I heartily suggest you give this album a try.
Recommended songs: "Shy", "Nitetime Rainbows", "Passionate Introverts (Dinosaurs)", "Close Chorus", "The White Witch"