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This is such a beautiful relief. I have been following the career of the various members of the so-called Black Mountain Army for the better part of a decade now. Jerk with a Bomb, Pink Mountaintops, Blood Meridian, Black Mountain itself, Lightning Dust. Amber Webber and Joshua Wells are constants in many of these bands, and form the backbone of Lightning Dust. I’ve been waiting this whole time, knowing that at some point they would find it, find their sound, find the perfect musical marriage to match their actual one. And they found it with “Diamonds”, the new single from their new album, Fantasy, which comes out next month.
With gated reverb on the drums and an analog synth line reminiscent of Time After Time, Amber wrestles very specifically with the idea of love as a chemical reaction and as a greater emotional entity. Love stays, over and over again. Love stays. It’s a beautiful song from a beautiful band who has finally found its sound.
One of the few frustrating things about the National is the difference between their recorded output and their live show. Even here in this video we can see a huge difference between the clean, subdued recording and the actual emotional outburst they put forth live. Early on in their career, before they recorded Alligator, they did a tour opening up for the Walkmen, who were touring on Bows + Arrows. Watching Matt Barick smash the drums and Hamilton Leithauser perfect his aggro lounge act every night rubbed off on the National, leading directly to songs like Mr. November and Abel and adding serious muscle to the rhythm section. So they got amazing live, and are worth the price of admission. But maybe it’s time to switch producers so we can match things a little more seemlessly between their capacity to cut loose and their producer’s propensity for keeping things calm.
Either way, I love the new song and I can’t wait for the rest of the record.
We could debate Tony Molina for ages. The old philosophical question, if this were released in the 1990s would it be considered good? Would it have been as successful as Weezer? The Lemonheads? Pavement? Does that solo owe as much to the Gin Blossoms as it does Dinosaur Jr? Does anyone besides aging indie rockers think about this? At the end of the day I don’t think any of that matters, because the record is just straight up fun. Super fun, fuzzy pop. Maybe it’s ol’ fashioned, but who gives a shit. As all the genres get sliced up smaller and we find ourselves in ever-tinier pigeon holes, it’s nice to just open up and like a fun pop record for its surface qualities and immediate appeal.
It’s a beautiful day, let’s let the feedback wash over us and not think too hard about it. The album is 12 songs in eleven minutes. You have the time.
In Los Angeles, in the late fall, during the Santa Ana winds, the heat is so constant and dry and blanketing that all you can do is lay in your hammock and wait. On those days, the music of a band like Boardwalk would be the necessary soundtrack. Slow as the tides and light as gauze, it’s ever-present but delicate enough to not smother you. They’re about to release an excellent debut on Stones Throw, and it will be worth your time.
I’m on the fence about the champagne money-shot lyric video, which is more distracting than anything else, but I really love the song. At this point it’s evident Vampire Weekend can’t be anything but themselves — charming, bookish, pensive, tortured by love in the way that Woody Allen characters are tortured by love, and with a natural effortlessness with melody. They are easy listening in the best possible way, and in this creeping, blooming Spring, easy listening is what I want most. Underneath the glossy sheen non-sequiturs waiting to be unpacked and explored when given the time, allowing the song to be enjoyed on the surface and for its implied layers of mystery (which may, in fact, not exist at all).
I’m excited for this album like I’m excited for my tomatoes to ripen, which sounds like a joke or a diss but isn’t.
Our colleagues over at Allston Pudding have put together an incredible mix of music to benefit the One Fund for individuals and families who were affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
The mixtape has 130 tracks, so whatever you donate, you’ll get your money’s worth. It features awesome bands like Speedy Ortiz, Mean Creek, and 128 others. Do it. (But do it fast – the mix will expire in the next few days, when the Pudding folks hope to reach their $10,000 goal.)
A rooftop spin class is absolutely the perfect setting for this pulsing, secretly sweaty love letter to rave from Annie. I had almost forgotten about her, and how she was on her way to supplanting Robyn as the top Scandinavian import (2009′s Don’t Stop is totally slept on). But now she’s back with this new single and yes it’s right on time. We have a ton of work to do, the sun is out, the grass is growing, and there’s no time to stop. So let this deceptively tense banger wash over you and get some shit done.