Posts Tagged ‘Black Lips’

Spotify My Soul – November 1

November 29, 2011

A couple of weeks late due to traveling and work, but a few albums and singles and the best week ever for prog fans since Rush re-emerged in 1997?

  • Black Lips, Arabia Mountain.  The latest album from the Atlanta garage rockers, I was relieved to see they’d ditched some of the darker, slower numbers from the second half their last album.  I was wondering whether Mark Ronson’s influence (he produced the album) would be evident, but I didn’t really feel this was anything much different than other Black Lips albums, which is fine by me.  They still are standard bearers for the latest generation of garage rock bands.  Favorite song so far, the whistle-driven “Raw Meat.”
  • M83, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming.  Garnering a 9.1 review from Pitchfork that included some rapturous praise, I decided to check out this double-CD.  There’s some good stuff on here that veers toward shoegaze (my favorite track was “Wait”), but overall I wasn’t understanding the “epic”-ness that this album was characterized with.
  • Justice, Audio, Video, Disco.  Another album from an electronic artist, but this one is a serious curveball.  The French duo’s first album was full of some club-ready bangers, most notably the true-to-its-name “D.A.N.C.E.”  Their followup, while referencing disco in the title, has its main influence in the progressive rock of the 1970s (think Rush, Yes, Queen, etc.).  While I applaud their effort to pay homage to music that they obviously love, I have a feeling they didn’t really care if this alienated fans of their first album.  While songs like “Canon” are enjoyable as  pastiches of prog stomp (think Queen) and noodling, as an album it just didn’t hold up.
  • El-P, Rush Over Bklyn.  Continuing the prog revival is El-P with his latest single.  Ummm, yeah you probably weren’t expecting to ever read that sentence.  The independent MC and producer is known for dense, complicated beats and equally complex rhymes.  Released on Legitmix, a new outlet for artists to legally sample copyrighted music without going through sample-clearing process, El-P actually makes a hip-hop song work with the main samples consisting of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”.  You can listen to it here.
  • Black Keys, Lonely Boy.  Since this single came out, several other songs from the forthcoming El Camino have also been released.  So far, this would be the stand out track from the ones I’ve heard.  Continuing some of the more upbeat, less bluesy tunes on the fabulous Brothers album, this is a hard-charging tune that still packs in some cool riffs and a very catchy chorus.  And much like the Keys, a simple yet effective video accompanies the song:

Moments of Silence

September 24, 2010

Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah – Black Lips from Let It Bloom

My first real exposure to the Black Lips was when I saw them as an opener for the Ponys in Baltimore.  I’d heard a few songs and liked them, but seeing them live sold me on them.  Lots of energy that was reciprocated by the crowd.  As their set ended, the drummer flung one his drumsticks straight up in the air, smashing a stagelight above and showering some glass over the stage.  Not that crazy by the Lips’ standards, but a rock n’ roll moment for sure.

Seen them twice more since, and both times they’ve played Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah (which apparently is a cover of a 60s French song by Jacques Dutronc).  It’s a crowd favorite, even though it’s a slower-paced song than a lot of their newer stuff.  It is a good song for those up front to catch their breath.  It’s a sloppy song, even more so live.  There’s reverb, echo-y drums, a rattling tambourine, lyrics that sound like they were recorded in a air conditioning duct (it’s hard for me to make out more than every second or third word and there’s a metallic quality to the guys’ voices).

But what really makes this song for me is the pauses.  Starting for the first time around 40 seconds in, the music quiets as an organ enters and as quickly as it came disappears, and a voice (Cole or Jared, not sure which) shushes the band and then speaks a few words in French(why, who knows) and then there is nothing.  Well not quite silence, as there is a quiet hum of guitar feedback.  It only lasts for two seconds, but it builds anticipation of what’s to come.

The guitar riff kicks back in by itself.  Then the snare drops in, quickly followed by a cymbal crash.  Not sure why but it gets the hairs raised on my neck everytime.  They come back and do it again two more times over the course of the song.  I find it interesting how the lack of sound can have such an effect in a musical composition, but I’ve noticed some other songs that use silence to great effect (some of which I plan to write about in the near future).  Not sure the Lips are the kind of band to consciously think about things that way (and since it’s a cover they probably didn’t), but damn it rocks.

Here’s a live version (though in their live versions there’s usually a lot more noise during the quiet/”silence” parts):

Attn: Music Doc Fans

April 5, 2010

Just a quick tip for those of you interested in music documentaries, is giving a free week-long preview of a documentary called We Fun.  I’m a sucker for music documentaries, and this one prominently features Jared Swilley (above) and his bandmates in the Black Lips.  The doc does a good job of giving a quick and entertaining overview of the Lips and a small group of like-minded bands and the scene they’ve created in Atlanta.  Some like Deerhunter, you’ve probably heard about.  For the most part, though it was an interesting introduction to some characters and some bands that I will have to investigate further.  There’s some good concert footage of the bands playing in various local venues and houses, including a couple good ones of the Lips, known for their live shows.  In fact, the picture I have behind my blog title is a pic I snapped of Cole from Black Lips climbing onto the ceiling at Black Cat in DC and hanging there, guitar in hand, above the hands of their fans.

Just a warning, there are definitely some NSFW material, so probably not a worktime distraction.  But check it out soon before it’s gone.  Though it will be available for purchase.