Saturday, February 19th, 2005

Walk On The Moon

One of the acts I’m most looking forward to seeing at SxSW is New York’s Asobi Seksu. I won’t be in town in time to catch their evening showcase, but I will be at their daytime show at Emo’s on the 18th. I only got their debut self-titled album this week, but it’s already burned its way into my consciousness. Curiously, it sort of sounds like three different bands on the album, depending on who’s taking vocals and what language they’re singing in.

When Yuki Chikudate is singing in Japanese, it sounds like a giddy combination of Puffy Ami Yumi J-pop vocals over top of a huge wall of My Bloody Valentine-ish barbed wire guitars, but when she’s singing in English the music takes on a darker, more edgy quality not unlike Caithlin De Marrais of Rainer Maria. But when guitarist James Hanna steps up to the mic, things get rather drab and plodding by comparison, sorry.

Asobi Seksu is a fairly strong debut with a few fantastic high points, a number of good songs and only a couple that don’t quite inspire. It’s somewhat front-end loaded but is very addictive and enjoyable all the way through and definitely augers well for the future.

MP3: Asobi Seksu – “I’m Happy But You Don’t Like Me”

MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Sooner”

There’s a few more downloadable goodies available on their website, and Earlash has this interview with the band from last Summer.

Womenfolk profiles Feist, whose Let It Die will finally be coming out in the US in April. They’ve also got a couple mp3s from Feist’s first record, Monarch, which used to be pretty easy to turn up in the used bins around town but now? Not so much.

The CBC addresses complaints that Muslims are portrayed badly in 24 by pointing out the good guys don’t come off much better.

Snow Patrol are coming back to town on May 18 at the Kool Haus and they’re bringing some of their Britpop buddies with them. Support for the show will be Embrace and Athlete. I’m amazed that Embrace is still around. I got a copy of their debut The Good Will Out from my college paper to review back in, like, 97 or 98 and I remember it being unremarkable and actually one of the records that signalled to me that perhaps my Britpop days were over. I thought they split up. As for Athlete, well Stylus is not impressed.

Bradley’s Almanac has the new video for Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” for your viewing pleasure. It’s a big file, download that puppy.

Microsoft offers some helpful tips on understanding what the kids are trying to say on the internet these days. Sadly, I actually found the information helpful. Thanks to More Cowbell for the link.

Was out last night to celebrate yet another 30th birthday for one of my friends (Sudeep is now an old man) and ended up at another of my frequent mid-20s haunts, Ye Olde Dance Cave, for old time’s sake. They’ve done some minor renovations to the place since I was last there probably a couple years ago, but it’s still got that same hole-in-the-wall vibe. We even scored our old table way back on the left of the stage. Good times, even though I didn’t really recognize a lot of the music they were playing (as opposed to when I was a regular and I knew the playlist top to bottom). But one of the things about going out and feeling young in the evening is feeling old in the morning. Ow.

np – Elliott Smith / From A Basement On The Hill

By : Frank Yang at 10:05 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Torr says:

    We’ll have to agree to disagree about Embrace. I love ’em. Their latest album (their 4th) was #1 in the UK, and is their first to be released in the U.S. since their debut. This will be their first ever shows in the U.S. and I think it’s an amazing triplebill since the new Athlete album is great too.

  2. mishie says:

    i quite liked the latest embrace record, especially "gravity" (the song chris martin wrote for the band…wonderful) for asobi seksu – i love these guys…and the album is pretty remarkable, in my opinion. they deserve to be big. have you checked out dirty on purpose (www.dirtyonpurpose)? they are another nyc-based band that i think deserve to be bigger than they are…they have less of a shoe-gazer influence but make very pretty, melodic music.

  3. Frank says:

    I don’t much stock in chart standings – I mean, look at the top albums in North America.

    I’m a very hard sell on current Britpop, spent too many years buying (into) some very mediocre music on account of hype from across the pond. I had that first Embrace album for a while and didn’t miss it at all after I sold it.

  4. Ryan Waddell says:

    I haven’t watched 24 this season (I’m still trying to catch up on the first 3), but I’m confused as to what all the hubbub is about. You mean a show about terrorists, is having *in its 4th season* a plotline about Islamic terrorists? I think they showed remarkable restraint, personally.

  5. Torr says:

    I wasn’t saying that Embrace was good because it got #1, I was saying it as evidence they hadn’t broken up :-)

  6. Mickey says:

    Regarding that Arcade Fire video, it’s not an "official" video, if you didn’t know. It’s just a fan made thing. He synced the album version of the song to a live video. The blog that posted it didn’t make that very clear.

  7. Arys says:

    I think you just made Asobi Seksu my new guilty pleasure. I definitely feel the pop overtop the edge going on, and I think it’s a rather gutsy combo. Living in Ohio really cuts into one’s ability to come across new music (let alone good) so randomness and sheer luck play a huge role. Thanks for posting.

  8. orlando says:

    embrace’s new record is very good and im glad they are finally making it to the usa. i cant wait to see them play their first show ever in america at sxsw.