I got tagged with a musical meme by my buddy Joe at a perfect time.
I've been reminiscing about the traveling I did in California during the first half of April. And I've been reminiscing about the West Coast(-inspired) music that often served as ambition for my trip.
Neither one is with me anymore. Both the scenery and songs are now gone. All I have are memories, and luckily, some mp3 copies on my hard drive.
So here then, thanks to Joe of Joe's Wine Journal, is what I have been listening to lately -- sounds that have definitely shaped my spring (these are not mp3s but rather video links so just click on them to listen to the tracks).
MGMT - "Of Moons, Birds & Monsters"
Shea at Just Grapes responded to Joe's tag with "Kids," this band's most alluring pop song in my opinion. But MGMT are a very talented act with some serious chops in so many genres: glam, psychedelica, classic rock, indie dance, even disco. My great hope for modern music in 08, though I must say that their live show doesn't suggest the how incredible their debut full-length recording is. Buy Oracular Spectacular before your friends do.
Sonic Youth - "Disappearer"
The best band in the universe once wrote an album called "Goo" that chronicled the effect of show business to those new to the biz. It's a modern-day Gypsy but with a noisier score than "Everything's Coming Up Roses," and it's more about Hollywoodland than anything I else I could grab when I was packing my bags for my first trip to Cali.
Saint Etienne - "Postman"
Though a British band with a French pop element, Saint Etienne sing many songs that evoke or pay homage to postwar California. Much of their 1998 album named Good Humor (with its characteristic US spelling), evokes California living and chasing the American dream, usually with a catharsis or two along the way.
No Age - "Neck Escaper"
The band shown at the end of the video linked above is not No Age, but another Los Angeles band named AAnchors AAweigh, who I enjoyed at Spaceland in Silver Lake on April 11. No Age, meanwhile, is primed for big success with their new album Nouns following the critical acclaim of their last release Weirdo Rippers, from which this infectious track is taken.
Imperial Teen - "Room With A View"
The rushed, do-it-all, fit-it-all-in-better-than-you feeling of this song captured my week in San Francisco in retrospect. It's about grabbing what you can, while you can, even though you know it's not gonna last. The band is not on my regular rotation list but I admire them more than I listen to them, which is okay too.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "10 x 10"
I'm always aurally turned on by the sounds of this Brooklyn band, now spending much of its time in LA. No clue about what this song is actually about lyrically. I just love their feisty throw-downs, their great guitar sounds and their sense of self.
Pavement - "Fillmore Jive"
This could be the best song of all time. After seeing the musical depth of this Bay Area band's ten-year oeuvre when jazz masters James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Reginald Veal and Ali Jackson pored over songs from the Pavement catalog, there's no doubt that cuts like "Fillmore Jive" can live forever. It's nice to be particularly into this track at the moment once again.