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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Music IS the food of love!

Brand Spankin' New Musack, Some Bitchin' Tunes


This a new band I just found out about, New Look. They are Canadian but moved/live in New York City. They have such a nice blend of retro and new. They fuse the sound of the late 80's/early 90's R&B/synth-pop into a blend of electronica/dance/indie underground. It sounds like something we may have heard before but only as an echo. This is something fresh! The vocalist, Sarah Ruba, is a former model but even her looks don't match the beauty of her haunting, melodic voice. This band fits right into the indie scene, yet they are not pure rock or pop. They blend genres unabashedly; though they are big in the UK, and the Brits are brilliant at choosing great music! I mean, one of these songs could fit into an episode of Skins UK (which always has great, new music to sample).

ALBUMS: New Look (2011)

'The Ballad': The song opens and you don't know if it will be upbeat or slow. Then comes the haunting evocative voice and lyrics of Sarah Ruba. The video matches up perfectly. You see a car driving through a rainy fog. Lyrics: 'Although this is hard for me to say. It's breaking my heart to, but hear it anyway. This is the part where we embrace. Come out of the dark and into the day.' At first, it sounds like some kind of passionate break-up song. However, at second glance it seems that it's a song about helping a friend coming to terms with the truth of something painful, perhaps addiction (ie. drugs) or one's sexuality. The lyrics: 'And all I want is to reach out and give you a hand to hold...And all I want is for you to know that you're not alone.' As 'you're not alone' repeats in the distance it really seems to be a song about advice and unconditional love. The friend could be addicted to drugs or faced with coming out. Whatever the case may be, the truth is hard; 'coming out of the dark' is never easy. When a person is faced with addiction and pain, they only wish for that one friend to rely on. This seems to be an anthem to friendship and soulfully so.

'Nap on the Bow': This song is a slow dance song but could also serve as background music to any great wine and cheese shindig. It is sophisticated and sexy, yet alluringly hip. You hear the perfect blend of synth-pop and R&B here. It is trippy and sobering at the same time. This is the perfect song to crank on your Ipod as you cruise the streets of NYC. For some reason I picture a woman, alone, in a trench coat walking the streets of any urban jungle. She looks behind her every now and again to make sure no one is following her as she makes her trek to her lover's apartment to spend some alone time with her secret beau. She is trapped between a relationship she despises and one she desires. The lyrics: 'I’m forever in the memory, all about you and me. I’m alone in the dark it's only us on this ark.' It's a love song but not in a mushy, dopey puppy way. The woman dreams of the day that she can escape her current relationship and only be in the arms of her lover. They can plan an escape. The lyrics: 'You and I on an island'. The woman and her lover are now in a boat, escaping to freedom; this is the woman's fantasy, a dream. She wakes up. Lyrics: 'Trying so hard to keep it away. We come, always the sunlight.' The song seems to suggest the pull of reality and fantasy. The dreamy vocals contrast to the rhythm and bass.

Other resources: ~ (official band site)
~ week-new-look/
(article on the band in Vogue)
~ (review on BBC)
(article on The Guardian)


This band is one of my favorites now. They are British (go figure) but blend this 80's synth/underground rock into a new era. The band is from Ealing, London. The members of the band include: Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave, and Jack Lawrence-Brown. They very much sound like whisperings of Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, and Ultravox. I LOVE THEIR SOUND! It cuts into your soul like razors into skin. The vocals bleed onto the instrumentals and you are left feeling hollow inside. Not only that, but the songs are catchy and smart. It isn't dribble, and you know this band can produce great art; you can count on them to NOT let you down. Usually, I HATE synthesized music, but since both this and New Look use them smartly, I think I have an addendum to make. Synthesizer is fine as long as you use it correctly and not use it as boring filler or unnecessary fluff. If it helps paint your picture, then by all means, it is okay.

ALBUMS: To Lose My Life (2009) and Ritual (2011)

'Unfinished Business': The lyrics of this song are really catchy once you listen to it for a few go's. However then you find yourself walking down the street singing 'just put down those scissors baby on this single bed' or 'you've got blood on your hands and I know it's mine'. Then people look at you like you're nuts (yes, I've had this happen before). The opening melodic synthesizer is like a funeral dirge. You know something strange is about to happen. I imagine that this song is something about a lover's quarrel possibly. It seems that the woman that is being sung to has just killed her lover. What else would she be doing with scissors? Also, why would the singer not see his reflection, have cold skin, and not be seen by his lover. Lyrics: 'A voice beckoned gently now it's time to go. A requiem played as you begged for forgiveness.' I have teetered between thinking that the man was murdered in front of or by his lover. I go with the latter though, as it seems that this woman in the song is guilty of the blood on her hands. But then again, maybe it is a murder. Whatever the case, the man is definitely dead and moving 'into the light'. Lyrics: 'There's a light in the distance waiting for me, I will wait for you.' It is a very romantic song in a Shakespearean tragedy kind of way.

'Bigger Than Us':

The video for this song is brilliant. This is a little more rock n' roll and less sleepy than the other songs by Whites Lies, though no less haunting. The video seems to tell the story of a scene reminiscent from those 80's alien flicks like 'ET' or 'Flight of the Navigator'. A boy is hooked up to medical equipment surrounded by doctors and nurses. Then, the strangest part of all, a little girl is rescued out of a large candy bar that says 'Bigger Than Us'. Then, the girl is carried/walks into a crowd of concerned onlookers and police. She is pursued by the boy. At her finding a billboard of herself with the candy bar, the boy grabs her and kisses her passionately. I don't really get it, but I'm not sure we're supposed to get it. The lyrics tell the story of a woman who seems lost and out of reach. Her lover is disconnected and cannot find her. Lyrics: 'You took the tunnel route home. You've never taken that way with me before. Did you feel the need for change? However, it seems to be not only a story of longing and loss but also of fate. There are some things in life that are too large for even love to conquer. Lyrics: 'I feel like I'm breaking up and I wanted to stay...this is bigger than us.' I'm not sure if the girl is abducted, or if the man suddenly dies. Perhaps the 'lights on the hillside' are aliens and he is taken away on a spaceship. Whatever the case might be, we are to assume there is a tragic loss; the lovers are separated forever. Not a song/band to play on your first date!

Other resources:
~ (official band site)
~ (bio on music emissions)


I'm sure by now you're like, damn, this kid must only pay attention to rock/pop charts in The UK. Well, yes, this band, though not directly from the UK, is a big deal there (I first heard their music in an episode of 'Misfits'.) . I can't help it! There are so many awesome bands/artists coming out of the England/UK music scene. I also watch tons of British shows. Don't worry, I have some suggestions of artists purely/mostly unknown in England, at the end of this blog. The Cults, however, hail from Manhattan, NY. Brian Oblivion (real name?) and Madeline Follin formed their band while they were at The New School Anyway, Cults seems to fuse some 50's/60's retro doo-wop pop with 80's synth-pop and some indie upbeat rock. It is so upbeat, that the lyrics don't seem to match the meaning of the lyrics to the songs. It reminds me of Leslie Gore's 'Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows' where something sinister seems to lurk in the background. Is everyone really this happy? Hell no!

ALBUMS: Cults (2011)

'Go Outside': The video starts with vintage video news footage of the Jonestown massacre. Right away, you know what's coming (that is if you know the background of this issue). The song starts very upbeat and seemingly carefree with a xylophone over a loop of Jim Jones speaking. CREEPY! Yet also poignant. The lyric, 'I really want to go outside and stop to see your day And of course, we get footage of Jones's followers dancing and writhing in his church. They look full of good cheer and glee. We then see footage of Jim Jones's cult/commune in Guyana. The most disturbing image of all is the children's choir (you know their cyanide Kool-Aid fate awaits). The song shows the need to get out and see the world and not be tied to another individual. Lyrics: 'You really want to stay inside and sleep the light away.' There is a warning: don't let another persons negativity drag you down or define you. Lyrics: I think that you should wake up. I think I want to live my life and you're just in my way.' If only the members of Jones's cult knew this information. The video doesn't show the massacre and carnage that unfolded. However, at reporters visiting Jonestown, they tried to get the truth about these people and if they wanted to leave. Jim Jones used bullying and threats of violence to scare his followers into submission. So it was never clear whether most of Jones's followers were using free will or were brainwashed. Moral of the story is, think for yourself and don't let others define you.

'Abducted': This song is just as creepy as 'Go Outside'. Again, the beginning sounds upbeat but then you hear the lyric 'I knew right then I'd been abducted.' Yikes! The video is even more terrifying, depicting a woman dressed in a thin nightgown tied up in the middle of a desolate winter road. The reel plays backwards, and we learn that she was dumped out of a trunk of a vintage muscle car. The song brilliantly switches between male and female vocals, presumably the victim and victimized. The song is raw and dangerous. The melody starts slow but crescendos into rock n' roll fervor. It seems to match what the song is saying, that in many relationships one person gives/loves more than the other. Lyrics: 'I knew right then that I would be taking her heart. I knew right then that I'd never love her.' Sometimes love can leave us feeling 'abducted' as if we get too deep into a relationship, a person can become obsessed and pour all emotion into another person. When that person is a void and doesn't reciprocate love, it leaves a person 'scarred'. Lyric" 'He tore me apart because I really loved him. He took my heart away and left me to bleed out.' The video shows what many victims of hapless circumstances dream about, being able to inflict their pain on the person who caused it. All too often though, the 'abducted' is left as bereft and hollowed out as their 'kidnapper'.

Other resources:
~ (band site)

Some other bands/artists to check out:

A) Cameron Stenger: a nice blend of folk/90's alternative. Ray LaMontagne meets Smashing Pumpkins (the earlier days).
albums are 'Fool's Day', 'Where You Are' and *'Lovers' *(release due in April 2012)

B) Doran Danoff: blend of blues/funk/ragtime/barber shop/country roots. I really have nothing to compare it to; it stands on its own.
-albums are 'The Icarus Suite' and 'The Ghost and the Scratch'

C) Cuddle Magic: definitely well versed on the hipster scene but a good folky/indie/acoustic. They remind me of bands like The Peaches or Department of Eagles. Smart and ironic lyrics!
-albums are 'Cuddle Magic', 'Picture' and (soon to be released) 'Info Nympho'

D) Bosco Delrey: A rock n' roll/synth-pop fusion and haberdashery of wild sounds (60s, 90s, now); have been compared to Beck and The The. I think they sound like bands like Papercuts or Black Lips (on acid). YEA!
-albums are 'Evil Lives/Wild One', 'Space Junky/My My Racecar', and 'Everybody Wah'

All of the artists at the bottom of this post are bands/artists who I have personal connections with, and I am friends with! I hope they all find success and personal satisfaction in their music! They are all majorly talented and I wish them the best!

Keep on rockin' in the free world!


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