Unknown Mortal Orchestra - “So Good At Being In Trouble”
A Blue Eyed Soul-informed take on R&B, scrubbed down and sanitized the way that only Blue Eyed (read: white) boys tend to do, for better or worse. I should probably be upset about the lack of actual “soul” here, but this trebly, skeletal take on R&B strikes a certain chord with my general feeling of teenage emptiness.
On an actual plus side, it’s all analog. In crafting this single, Unknown Mortal Orchestra ambitiously spurned the dreary synths of the time and constructed a legitimate R&B cut with refreshingly real and very welcome guitars, bass, and live drums. If you ask me, the UMO boys should ditch their psych rock crutch in the future and stick to this aesthetic for a while. It could be interesting.
Stream “So Good At Being In Trouble” above and pick up Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s new record II via Jagjaguwar.
The Guru - “Go Easy”
Connecticut’s own precious psych-pop youngsters The Guru have a new album on the way called Go Easy, and they just dropped the title track/first single via The Needle Drop. As Anthony Fantano points out, “Go Easy” marks an impressive maturation in composition and presentation from their last album Native Sun. True to its name, “Go Easy” is calm and relaxed, but it maintains the dancey, evocative grooves that make the band so infectiously enjoyable.
On this track, the group expands beyond the confines of their traditional four-piece sound, incorporating hilariously smooth, disco-reminiscent saxophone and a slightly distorted vocal effect that lessens the intensity of frontman Eddie Golden III’s manic pipes. On the whole, the track is not nearly as immediate or aggressive as anything on Native Sun, but it feels a lot less niche-focused and potentially more enjoyable in the long run.
Stream “Go Easy” above and pick up Go Easy when it drops on November 21st. Connecticut folks pay attention: That night, The Guru will be playing an album release show at The Space in Hamden with Tigers Jaw. Find more information about that show HERE.
Song of the Day Number 176
The Flaming Lips - “Race For The Prize” (The Soft Bulletin: Live La Fantastique de Institution 2011 version)
When it was originally released in 1999, the album The Soft Bulletin established the legendary psych-rockers The Flaming Lips as one of the preeminent bands on the newly elevated indie rock stage. It’s also one of my favorite albums ever, so when I heard that they were performing The Soft Bulletin in its entirety at select shows, I was understandably excited. Although I didn’t ever make it to one of those shows (The one time I did see the Lips, they played nothing from the album), the band recorded one of those performances at New York’s SUNY Fredonia campus and officially released the recording for fans to hear in limited numbers. A recording of the performance was releasted in rare, marijuana-flavored gummy skulls along with tickets to their June 14th and 15th shows at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in California, where they played The Soft Bulletin and covered Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. Nobody ever said that The Flaming Lips weren’t eccentric, and they certainly won’t be doing that any time soon.
Anyway, the recordings have since leaked to the internet for fans to hear. Stream the high energy take on the gorgeous The Soft Bulletin opener “Race For The Prize” above. These guys haven’t lost it.
Song of the Day Number 149
Passion Pit - “Little Secrets”
Remember Passion Pit?
Believe it or not, their 2009 full-length Manners was one of the first records seemingly tailor-made for inclusion in the “mainstream/indie” canon that I really got psyched up about. My interest in the group peaked with their summer 2010 performance at Governor’s Island in New York City, and afterwards, I stopped caring about them almost entirely. The show was great, but for whatever reason afterward I almost completely lost interest. Maybe it was the fans — scores of entry-level teenage girls who were just moving on from MGMT and obnoxious faux-hipster frat bros at my high school — who made it hard for me to appreciate the music anymore.
In the months since that show, something seems to have changed. I haven’t been paying much attention to people in real life lately, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone mention Passion Pit anywhere in at least six months. Incidentally, I now feel more comfortable listening to this music than I have since last summer. The simple, unpretentious bounce of “Little Secrets”, a huge hit from the album, and its delightfully squelchy analog synth line seem to resonate better than ever. Maybe it’s just the seasonal change, but I’m really enjoying this in a way that I haven’t in a long time.
higher and higher and higher
Maybe I’ll bust out the old Passion Pit t-shirt today. I got it at the New York show for some ludicrous price. Whatever, it was probably worth it.