Monthly Archives: August 2011

Coeur De Pirate- “Comme Des Enfants”

I’m an absolute sucker for any song that opens with a piano. It’s how I got into Ingrid Michelson a few years ago. Same story with She & Him last year. This year the same pattern continues again with Coeur De Pirate (French for Pirate Heart) the stage name for Béatrice Martin. As much as I wish to claim that I have discovered the best new thing, I must report that I stumbled upon Coeur De Pirate the same way I found out about the previously mentioned artists: Two to three years later. Better late than never eh? If Ingrid Michelson was French, this is who she would be. I know that the blog is recovering from  a Canadian love spree a few months back ( Here. Here. And Here), but music like this could be the slippery slope for me to proclaim my love for the neighbors up north (which is silly eh?). However, the girl has the ability to sing the sweetest songs, even if the non-French speakers may not understand them. Her 2008 self-titled album was nominated for Francophone Album of the Year at the 2009 Junos. In 2009, the song off the album called Comme Des Enfants received a CBC radio 3 Bucky Award for “Best Reason to Learn French”. It was a quirky infectious pop song about a child-like relationship. Enjoy this lovely track.

Comme des Enfants

Letting Up Despite Great Faults- “Teenage Tide” Music Video

So I’ve mention Letting Up Despite Great Faults before, and today Rolling Stones has premiered the music video for the gorgeous track “Teenage Tide”. Here’s what Rolling Stone had to say about the music: “Frontman Mike Lee describes the song as “a struggle with who you thought you wanted to be, masked and sometimes deceived with a sense of nostalgia and daydreaming,” and in the video, that message rings true. It follows a group of carefree 20-somethings, running and drinking the day away as they lose themselves in a dreamy, late-summer evening.” Man, turn back the clock everybody, if only I came across this song earlier this summer. Jesus what a great song.

I keep trying to embed the video to see it on this blog, but gosh darn it something keeps screwing up. Meh. Head over to Rolling Stones’ website to check it out. [Link]


Yes! “Yes and Also Yes” New Mike Doughty Album Drops

I have yet to understand why Mike Doughty (best known as former frontman of Soul Coughing) has never reached a higher level of notoriety. He’s released several solo albums since the early 2000’s to much critical acclaim, but far from being a household name, good luck even finding anyone on the streets who can properly pronounce the name “doe-tee.” I consider his second LP, Haughty Melodic to be one of the defining works of the decade. It may be true, as some critics have stated, that Doughty tends to rip off many of his own song structures and progressions. Haughty Melodic (an anagram for “Michael Doughty”) however, is as good an album as any you could possibly find. His debut Skittish, as well as Golden Delicious are solid releases as well. This week brings a new album from the underrated rocker. Some have called it more of the same, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide. Here’s the first single, “Na Na Nothing,” as well as one of his older songs to give you a taste.

“Whirring” – The Joy Formidable

Let’s just say the radio edit undersells the song. When I left Seattle a few short weeks ago, it was the only thing played on 107.7 The End, and it skipped the best part. Fellow blogger Taylor played me the full version, and I was completely blown away. The radio edit song is only a precursor to the real song, a swirling escalation of distortion and drums that leads to a full-on double bass metal breakdown around four-and-a-half minutes in.

The song pre-can jam is impressive on its own. The vocals are stunningly mixed in with the spacey, yet grounded instrumental track. The instrumentalists incorporate classic rock and progressive indie sounds into a hybrid production that sounds so ahead of its time. I hope that music heads in this direction in the future.

However, the buildup to and the execution of the double bass faux-metal breakdown is the most impressive melding of genres I’ve heard in recent years. “Whirring” manages to incorporate metal into a relatively traditional punk-rock sound…and make it AWESOME. I can’t evoke my love enough for such an occurrence. The Wonder Years and The Get Up Kids have tried to merge metal, punk, rock and pop, and have succeeded. However, neither has approached the sound in the way that The Joy Formidable has, and neither has come closer to a mainstream sound. It could be a crossover hit, if stations started playing the full version. But it doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon.

Their sound pulls in pieces from all over the stylistic map – some hazy vocals and fuzzy guitars from shoegaze, frenetic rhythms and reedy guitar from the post-punk era, serious stomp and crash of the so-called grunge sound. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the band is the voice of Ritzy Bryan, which reminds me of a stronger version of a few 90’s period UK bands that shall go nameless. Is The Joy Formidable the next big thing? — The Scruffy Yak Music Blog

So in the meantime, you can check out the full version for yourself right here:

Coldplay…and Swedish House Mafia!

Awwwwwwwwwww yeah, now this is a sick song (but don’t worry, it’s not a tacky mash-up).  Instead check out house superstars Swedish House Mafia give an excellent remix of Coldplay’s latest song “Every Teardrop is A Waterfall”. Now before, I couldn’t get into Coldplay’s latest hit ( They seriously increasing the sappiness bar with each release), but with this remix I don’t get that same vibe. Instead the new version is more like a track that it’ll get a huge crowd jumping along thanks to the fantastic buildup and traditional house elements. It’s a radio rip so the last 15 seconds will be some radio dj chatting a bit, but don’t worry about that too much. You can just edit the song to end earlier in itunes.

Coldplay – Every Teardrop is A Waterfall (Swedish House Mafia Remix) (Click to download)

Scarlett Johansson does cool Indie Music too. Seriously. It’s fucking awesome.

I love Scarlett Johansson, the actress. She’s my favorite. Woody Allen likes her too, so I like to think I have good taste.

What I didn’t know was–up until a couple of years ago–that she is, in addition to being an actress, a singer and musician. Now I know what you’re thinking. When big-name stars* have a solo music career, it’s always poppy and shitty and awful (save for Zooey Deschanel’s superb She & Him, though that’s not a solo project).

There is now an exception to this rule. Scarlett Johansson’s music is unconventional, distorted, and full of raw emotion. The vocal talent isn’t unlike Zooey Deschanel’s (who my friend Shelby worked with, shameless plug for that HILARIOUS video here). Her collaborations with Pete Yorn remind me of the great Serge Gainsbourg/Bridgette Bardot collaborations (which Yorn himself admitted he was going for).

She’s made unconventional choices, ones to be applauded in this day and age. She forewent the conventional debut album, mostly covering Tom Waits songs with the help of David Bowie. Yes, you read that right. The reviews were initially mediocre, but improved with time, with Pitchfork calling it–a year after its release–a “better-than-anyone-realized drug-pop swooner”. Johansson then moved on to Break Up, her collaboration with Yorn, depicting a breakup through close harmonies and distorted acoustic indie pop melodies.

However, the song I’d like to discuss today is her cover of “Bullet” by an indie rock band called Steel Train, a fairly unknown act which has toured with Tegan and Sara, Ben Folds, The Get Up KidsSilversun Pickups, O.A.R. and Barenaked Ladies. To be honest, I haven’t heard the original version of the song. But the lyricism is brilliant, so I’ll remark on the last lines of the chorus:

We are the last generation of hope
And I wouldn’t mind if
Together we died alone

Solitude and solidarity, in the last generation of hope–two completely dissonant ideas, but ones that fit so well together. It doesn’t make sense, but neither does life, and Johansson’s choice to tackle these fairly large conflicting ideals that define our lives, much like Vicky (Rebecca Hall) did in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, displays an incredible maturity from such a young artist.

Her arrangements and harmonies kick ass too. “After all we’ve lost / I swear I’ll never *let* go” gets me every time with the harmonic, dynamic structure, in which she breaks everything down in order to build it back up again (instrumentally speaking), reflecting the dissonant and distorted structure of the lyrical elements of the song itself.

Right-click to download: Scarlett Johansson – Bullet (Steel Train cover)

The Apache Relay – “Home Is Not Places”

When your cd is called American Nomad, it is fitting that the discussion of home and how it is defined is brought up. Lo and behold, I introduce to you The Apache Relay, another Nashville band that my favorite Nashville band (The Colorfeels!) introduced to me. When Parker of the Colorfeels recommended this band, he stated that “I think will be a household name very soon is The Apache Relay.  They are good friends, great guys, and they work really hard.  They happen to make some pretty freaking awesome music too!”

Listening to “Home Is Not Places”, right away you can tell that this is an ambitious, big sounding song that I wouldn’t find it out of place on a playlist of arena rock songs that include the likes of Young the Giant. Thanks to the seamless integration of the acoustic with the electric guitars (and is that a fiddle I hear in the background?), The Apache Relay create a nifty sound for themselves. Lyrically, the song evokes the spirit of a youth whose exuberance has been tempered a bit due to the time spent on traveling. I’ll sum it up this way: If the town you grew up in couldn’t satisfy your restless self, but the place you left your hometown wasn’t exactly what it was all cracked up to be, which one would you call home? When reading the band’s facebook page about the song “Home Is Not Places”, one of the members was quoted to say that  “It’s a song that that battles the feelings of isolation and homesickness while touring. It’s the idea home can be found in a community not a physical place.” So there you have it, home has a transcendent quality to it, defined not by location but rather one’s perspective on what brings him or her comfort. A feeling derived from the relationships around oneself and gives meaning to his or her life. I dig it. Check out the music video below and become a fan on facebook.