February 21, 2006

# 50

File under: FYI

Since the time I dyed my hair blonde, which coincided with the last time I had hair, I've been into discoveries. *insert applause* As such, and through poorly publicised events leading to my termination as a music journalist (no resurrection was forthcoming because the art of writing about famous people wasn't worth the toilet paper used to wipe one's delicate parts with; not that it's changed) I believe it's vital to remain even moderately in touch with what's going on in the world of contemporary music. Unless you crave a premature ending to your life as an evolving being. The sooner you find yourself saying, 'There have been no advances in music since The Beatles; everything's been said and done,' the sooner you can dial Doctor Death and request an immediate termination to your life.

Here are some recent discoveries I've made through Tweak the Tunes!, which is to say, by way of clarification, that the artists and their music existed well before I discovered them, but that as a consequence of discovering them for myself my life is now infinitely better. Hooray!

Optional paragraph: Lastfm.com is a site where members sample music (songs in their entirety) for free. It's also a site that enables listeners to create play lists using genres (using the 'tags' system) or by association (using the 'similar artists' system). Essentially, if you're up for it, you can have 24-hours of streaming radio at your disposal, if such things turn you on in the Biblical sense. The added bonus is that this entire package doesn't feature a single annoying voice over from overpaid dickheads. It's about the music, man. Optional paragraph ends.

Without further ado, I give you my recent discoveries in the contemporary music realm. Pre-existing artist descriptions, lifted from the site, are included in quotation marks. I've added my own interpretation where applicable.

'Ladytron are a contemporary electropop band from Liverpool, England. The band takes their name from the song "Ladytron" on the 1972 self-titled debut album of the band Roxy Music. Music journalists have classified Ladytron as electroclash, and as is typical for that genre, live performances include live guitars and a drummer along with the electronics.'

I reckon this is a spot-on call that doesn't require refining. Good show, old chap.

'Four Tet is the name used by Kieran Hebden for his electronic music-oriented solo efforts to differentiate from his work with post-rock band Fridge. Four Tet is highly respected in many parts of Europe (most notably in Hebden's native Britain) as an original and talented experimental electronic artist, but remains relatively unknown in the United States. Hebden's solo work typically utilises samples lifted from various sources including hip-hop, electronica, techno, jazz, and folk mixed with his own guitar playing. Four Tet shares some stylistic similarities with other musicians, such as Prefuse 73, who use computer editing techniques that give the music a staccato, cut-up feel. Hebden's music is notable for its rich, organic sounds and harmonious melodies as well as for eschewing the traditional pop-song format in favour of a more abstract approach.'

Again, the description is sound and nails the man's talents admirably. I'd probably add that it's essential to have some Four Tet handy if you're heading off on the road or enjoying a bottle of fine vino or creating a mood for your hips to thrust romantically in rhythm with your partner's (partners').

'The Fiery Furnaces are a U.S. indie rock band formed in Brooklyn, New York, in 2000. They primarily consist[ed] of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The brother and sister are originally from Oak Park, Illinois a near-western suburb of Chicago. Their name is a reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and is also found in the Bible. The inventive, often challengingly experimental rock band signed with the Rough Trade music label in 2002, and recorded their debut album, Gallowsbird's Bark, the same year. Released in the autumn of 2003, that album garnered critical praise for its clever wordplay and original songwriting and was often compared in the press to The White Stripes due to the garage blues elements of the band’s sound and the fact that the band are siblings (The White Stripes sometimes promote themselves as siblings, though they are not).'

Being none the wiser about this band, apart from the wicked explosion of mind-fucked music I was privileged to hear upon discovery, I'd add that most tracks I've heard so far are quite detailed journeys where multiple rhythm changes create multi-faceted layers within each track. I heard Green Day's nine-plus minute nightmare of noise fuelled shit, whatever it's called, for the first time during the Triple J Hottest 100 count down. I can say without remorse that none of The Fiery Furnaces' music is as diabolical as Green Day's voyage into excrement. It's an eclectic batch of quirky excess with liberating lyrics and aural exploration that demands your attention.

'Featuring a voice that one could curl up to late at night, Masha Qrella creates an intriguing meld of sublime vocals and worldly rhythms as foundations to an overall sensually charged atmosphere. At times minimalist, where artificial beats provide a contemporary backing to Qrella's dreamy vocals, her style is never short of character or feeling, leaving the listener comforted and wondering if she isn't actually a friend who you lost touch with many years ago. Highly recommended for fans of quality female vocals and wordly dimensions.'

Hmm. I wrote that. It's scratchy and cliche but it's been a few sleeps since the last review. I hope you take that into account when handing down judgment on me as an entire person and not just the words I slap together haphazardly.

For now, that is all. More to come, provided further discoveries are made. If you're interested in becoming a member of Lastfm.com, click the links anywhere on this post and start enjoying music again.

My user name is Kaufmon. I come from the land down under.

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Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

It's high time I got hooked up to t'internet at home.

Then I could enjoy services such as this.

I tend to get my fix of new music from my brother (McGoose). He buys at least 5 albums a week. He bought me a Sigur Ros album with a baby on the cover. I don't know what it's called. They sing in their own language. Wacky.

I spend most of my off time songwriting, so he fills in the musical blanks for me.

I am a Techno-Neanderthal

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

p.s. - Don't smile or offer me a vegemite sandwich.

Kaufman said...

I'm prooood to be a techno-neanderthaaaaal!

This Lastfm.com thing's as simple as cutting your thumb off. The cost beats buying anything, let alone five albums a week.

Just quietly, between you, the wall and that bloke over yonder, you can hear new stuff there and then acquire it elsewhere...nudge, nudge.



I'll say no more.

Do you speaka ma langwij?

reverendtimothy said...

Ladytron had a hit or two down under (Seventeen or something? That's from memory, and my memory isn't the best at the best of times) so I'm familar with them... but I must admit I haven't heard of any of the others.

But then again, that's because I'm lazy, and about thisclose to being a music snob (but moreso the lazy). I don't usually hear new artists until someone physically puts a CD in my hand and tells me why I should listen to it. It's lazy and snobby at the same time. Fantastic.

Anyway, thanks for the list, I'll check 'em out if I can be arsed. Which may or may not happen. But it's good to have options. :-)

PS: I'm sure the women are glowing at the way you're plundering that damn song.

Kaufman said...

Tim: They call me The Plunderer. Umm, which song would that be? I assume you're referring to Green Day's.

It is my humble opinion that one should never become a music snob, which is why the concept of a radio station within a web site blows me away.

Get this: You go to the setting on your puter, press play and then do whatever you do without the hassle of constant interruption from anally retentive DJs.

Sha-zing! Someone's been thinking.

I've got a list as long as my arm of new artists that have impressed the hell out of me. Und I'm nicht about to concede defeat.

I'll do another FYI music update in a week or so.

reverendtimothy said...

Neat. :-)

PS: I come from a land down under! Where the women glow and men plunder! Can you hear can you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover!"

A bit TOO subtle, perhaps.

Kaufman said...

I admit it's more a case of being a bit too daft from this end.

Good work. 1-0 to you. ;)