Thursday, June 7, 2007

Lo-fi Love Life

Through the ages most art has delved into the theme of love and the many forms it takes in our lives. Un Deux Trois' "Lover's" EP is no exception. Heather McEntire and wonderboy Jenks Miller have created a warm, stripped down, poppy sound with this EP (Maria Albani has since joined the band and will be on their next full length album).

The most beautiful song on the EP is '45 RPM'. Heather sings, "We're not in love, but it sure feels nice." Her honeyed voice is meant to lull the object of her affection into wanting to escape with her. Gently, she reminds everyone with the chorus-"we're not in love." At first, you think it's just a case of lust. But after a few listens, you begin to wonder if she is trying to reassure herself and not fall in love. Fearing that everything would be ruined if attachment all of a sudden reared it's ugly head.

This is an EP about lovers- the good, the bad and the ugly. On the song, "You Earn Your Enemies," you are again lured in by her siren's voice. But this is a bitter song about someone who should get what they deserve. "You burn your bridges one by one down to the ground," reminds you of the scorn that so many of us have experienced. As we stood by waiting on that person, who is entrenched in their own narcissism.

Heather's alluring voice will enchant you. You are left wanting more with only four songs, but as she sings you just won't care that love, life and CD's all must come to an end.

Holidays for Quince Records

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Now Is the Time When We Dance!

"Would you like to touch my monkey? Touch him! Touch my monkey!"

The EP "Little Advances" from the band Future Islands is a tantalizing little gem of music. The lead singer, Sam has this distinct, slightly gravel-like voice that brings an interesting texture to the backdrop of their synthesized, new wave sound- there are no mixed tracks here. Recently, I had the luck to see them live at Local 506. Sam was able to work the crowd into frenzy as all the boys and girls pined to touch him. Honestly, it's been a long time since I have seen a New Wave mosh pit and a crowd react to a musician with such adoration.

The synthesizer provides a textural element to many of the songs and really helps push the energy of this music forward. On the song "Take it Back" there is a really nice interplay between his singing and the keyboards. His voice is complex, but the simplicity of the keyboard arrangements gets your head bopping.

One of the strongest songs on the EP is "Pretty Riffy," it's definitely high energy and peppy, but when you listen to the lyrics it is a gut-wrenching song where you want the other person to leave you, but not really. You know...that kind of love that feels so good and wrong at the same time. Musically and lyrically, this song experiments with the tension and attraction of duality.

Another winner on the EP is the song "Follow You." Another love song, but less tragic. "Follow You" really stands outs to me as a beautiful love song where you would go to the ends of the earth for the one that you love. This unabashed, wearing your heart on your sleeve is refreshing in a day and age where we create little walls for ourselves. Definitely, reminiscent of a John Hughes film or a film starring John Cusack.

This EP is a nice introduction to the band. As this is just an EP, I am left wanting more. Right now, Future Islands, seems like they are following in the footsteps of Gerty. I can only hope that they stay on that path and flourish.

Follow You by the Future Islands

Heteromorphic Polyphony

The Durham, NC band the Ex-Members is releasing their long-awaited EP- "XOEX" on June 19, 2007. The Ex-Members are comprised of Shirle Hale, David K, and Melissa York. David and Shirle were previously the band Gerty, and Melissa York is a former member of The Butchies. They have joined forces to save the world with their mutant, new wave sound. Yes, I truly think they can save humanity with their booty shaking beats. As you listen to the song "Into the Nite", you start to bop your head to the rhythm, and then all of a sudden your whole body follows suit and you are a dancing fool. In this moment, you have let go off all your hang-ups and stress of the day and it feels so good.

Shirle, a classically trained musician, brings a richness and depth to each song that evokes Yaz's album "Upstairs at Eric's". Her voice is strong and deep like Alison Moyet. There are instances in each song where you are musically transported back to a time of Alphaville and New Order. However, they keep you in the present with their pulsing tempo and their mixing within each song.

This is definitely an enjoyable trio of songs. I recently played it for one friend (once a professional drag queen and Solid Gold dancer), immediately he started dancing around and said, "Oh yeah, I can definitely clean the house in my underwear to this." Take that as you will, but this EP is some good stuff. Seriously, check it out.

Into the Nite by The Ex-Members