Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I went to see Owl City at the Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday, September 15th but I couldn't tell you the setlist, I don't have pictures or any video footage and I didn't really take stock of the crowd. However, I did have a really good time even if I spent $20 to have background music. I had a great time because one of my closest friends was visiting and since I already had the tickets I took him. He also happens to be one of my favorite music nerds, one of the first people I tell when I have a new musical discovery. We have grandiose conversations that turn into debates about our favorite songs and bands and have done so for years. While we don't always agree - he always needs a band to have a 'sense of urgency' and I can take a lot more singer/songwriter and experimental indie rock - we always have a great time. So this is why I did not pay attention to you Owl City, sorry. I don't think you cared that much because you were clearly thrilled to see Taylor Swift doing her gawky/baby giraffe arm waving dance to most of your songs up in the balcony with a few friends and a beefy bodyguard. Congratulations on the sold out show in the U.S., you are following in the footsteps of other Euro boy band acts like Aqua, you should be grateful. We also congratulate on providing a perfect first date scenario – dark, not too loud you can’t hear each other but don’t talk too much because the rest of the crowd is into it, and there is a fucking string section which always plays into your sentimental side. What I can tell you about Owl City is the hilarious comments both of us fired at each other from the back bar aka the bourbon soaked peanut gallery: - Owl City, aka ----, looks exactly like Todd, the creepy artist brother in Wedding Crashers. We called him Celebration the entire night. - After a few songs Owl City said ‘I have a bit of a cold so I want everyone to sing.’ To which we reply, ‘You pay us then.’ At this point we realized we should stop trying to focus on the concert and revert to the back bar to entertain ourselves and stop destroying date night for the people surrounding us. - A new addition to an ongoing joke we have – “Just a girl and her piano, just a boy and his laptop.” - Owl City would do a great job of playing the soundtrack to a Volvo commercial. “Conservative but fun loving, expensive but popular, safe for kids, recommend driving if you live in a college town.” Robin Williams always said a radical conservative was a Volvo with a gun rack, which reminded us both of our favorite Robin Williams jokes, which filled up at least 20 more minutes of chat time during the concert. - I say, pretty loudly in the direction of our Euro boy band leader “Hey, how do you put this dresser together.” Friend joins in, “I love the new Birchwood line.”
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I am calling it now - The UK band The XX and LA/Silverlake band Family of the Year are going to be big and popular by the end of the year. Both don't have that much information out about them and are newcomers but the buzz has been hitting me wave after wave and I am continuing the trend. I will have official confirmation of how good both bands are when I see them back to back on October 20th and October 21st when they come to New York.
Right now The XX are killing all over Europe, playing some of the dates with Florence & The Machine, which is another band I have really been into. The band is comprised of two boys and two girls from South London, they are only twenty but have producing abilities well beyond their years. Their sound is kind of like Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation or Hot Chip but more lyrical and they have that distant, slightly creepy, spacey sound down perfectly. It is perfect music to play while you are chilling with friends, bumping around the house doing little tasks or while getting some action (which makes sense since the tracks are chockablock full of sexual references). Their influences clearly come from R&B; they garnered a wave of buzz from covering Aaliyah's Hot Like Fire. These are the influences they list on their MySpace page: Aaliyah to CocoRosie, Rihanna to The Cure, Missy Elliott to Chromatics, The Kills to Ginuwine, Pixies to Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake to Tracy + the plastics.
Family of the Year is a brand new find. I was told about them by their manager that lives in New York this past week. They are about to self-release their EP Where's The Sun on September 22nd, which is pretty incredible given that they have had such a huge response to their music even though they don't have an official album out yet. Ben Folds just asked Family of the Year to open for him on a few upcoming dates. The band is comprised of four guys and two girls; they describe their sound as 'post-teen spirit' and claim such influences as Chumbawumba, Barenaked Ladies, and System of a Down. They aren't on itunes or lala.com yet but you can hear several tracks on their MySpace page - http://www.myspace.com/familyoftheyear. They only have a few gigs in New York and LA up on their page but stay tuned, it is about to be packed with appearances. You will all have your chance to see them in a small venue the first time around and I suggest you take it. We all have stories about liking a band and not seeing them the first time around and the next opportunity you have is a big venue full of more late to the party teeny boppers than you can stomach.
Check out these other newcomers to my rotation:
Fitz and The Tantrums - good old soul with a modern twist a la Amy Winehouse or Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. Their album title is genius Songs for a Breakup Volume 1.
YACHT - like The XX but a bit more pop, get up and dance.
The Antlers - a darker Explosions in the Sky at some points, a dash of Radiohead and pinch of Yeasayer.
Ramona Falls - Menomena side project. Good, creepy rock.