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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Band Wagon

 So I know my blog is all over the damn place.  But, my first love is MUSIC.  Without it, my life would be pointless.  Well not completely pointless but a lot less existential and meaningful.  Music is my heartbeat and provides me with an endless soundtrack.

So I will share with you a few bands that I've been into lately.  

BAND #1-  M83.

I've known about them for a few years.  Their first song that I discovered was 'Kim and Jessie' off their album, Saturdays=Youth (2008).  M83 is French and was formed in 2001 with Nicholas Fromageau (by far the coolest French last name I've heard) and Anthony Gonzalez.  If ever I have a soundtrack to a movie that I'm in and/or direct, then I hope to hell it's M83.  I hope they write the soundtrack for that movie.  I will commission it to be done if I ever become a hot shot director.  In the dream version of my life, that's what I'd do, direct music videos and work my way up to film.  And be a band promoter on the side, like band PR.  I love directing but that's a topic for another post.  But most of all, I love music.  I fucking love it!  Hey, it brought my wife and I together.  Music is a passion and a muse for my essence of living!  So...

M83 has this dreamy synth/electro pop quality.  Their music is ethereal and like a reverie.  Dreamy and light yet electric and alive.  I cannot get enough of this band.   I haven't had a favorite French band since Air who kind of petered out of the scene, though they last released an album Late Night Tales came out in 2006.  Air did the soundtrack for the 1999 Sofia Coppola film version of the 1993 book 'The Virgin Suicides' (by Jeffrey Eugenides).  Back to M83.  They are boss!  Seriously!  I cannot imagine what it would be like to hear them live in concert.  Probably like being in a cloud drifting over the South Pacific during a kaleidoscopic sunset.  M83 has six albums, the last, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming having been released in 2011. 

What I like even more about M83 is that their music videos tell a story.  I cannot stand it when I envision a music video for a song that's better than what actually gets made.  My mind always dreams up stories for songs that I listen to.  Once, I wrote a play based on music.  The music wrote the script.  That's just how my mind works.  Anyway M83 puts time and thought behind their videos.  What's cooler is that many of their videos continue the story line much like our (my) dreams often do.  One time I had a week's worth of dreams that were in scrambled order all about the end of humanity.  So, yes I relate to M83 and their visuals.  See for yourself:

video for 'Midnight City' (#1)


Video for 'Reunion' (#2)


video for 'Wait' (#3)

Video for 'Kim and Jessie'


They are expert storytellers.  Their music is amazing on its own but with their videos, it is transformed and given a new meaning altogether.  I don't know a lot of music that does that.  One, there are a lot of bands that suck.  But, to have a band that stands on its own two feet with its music and then become transformed and transcribe upon itself a brand new meaning, well that's special.  That, my friends, is art!

BAND #2- Foxygen

If David Bowie and the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack combined to have a baby, well then Foxygen would be it.  They fuse that late 60's, early 70's glam rock sound so well into a new thing.  I love it!  They formed in 2005 with Sam France and Jonathan Rado from the sunny state of California.  They have two albums, their debut Take the Kids Off Broadway (2012) and an upcoming release, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors.  We all know that I fucking love 60's/70's rock.  So this band is going to be a given win for me.  They recreate that 60's avante garde sound so well.  They recently had a sold out show in NYC.  They are on Fuse's list of must see bands of South by Southwest.  I have a feeling that in a year or two (maybe sooner), that Foxygen will blow up.  They'll get gigs on Jimmy Fallon and SNL.  They're not a taste for everyone, though.  It's a niche, for sure.  But I'm part of that niche.  I feel like I'm going back in a time machine with this band.  Get out your paisley polyester, bell bottoms, and make sure to get some glitter platforms.  And it'll be one hell of a fun, fun, trip.

                                            'San Francisco' (from upcoming album)


Foxygen's full debut album 'Take the Kids Off Broadway' (from Bandcamp)


Band #3: Susanne Sundfør

Susanne is Norwegian so that's a first reason why she rocks.  She is only 26 but she is a rising star (for America).  What she does is poppy but has an indie/electronic hint to it.  She is a singer/songwriter and gets props for that.  So, she rose to fame with her 2006 single 'Walls' which apparently topped every Norwegian radio chart.  I found out about her because her song 'White Foxes' appeared on my Songza playlist (it's a kickass Iphone app).  I hate how music from abroad is always hazy and is slow to reach our shores.  What's more is that a band or artist can have huge success in another country/continent and be virtually unheard of here.

Take the band Silverchair for instance.  That Australian mid 90's alternative rock band?  Heard of them?  They are still a favorite of mine.  I love Neon Ballroom (1999) and it's my fave album of theirs. But, the success they had in Australia and Europe did not even do anything for the marginal success they had in America.  I think Americans don't have that good of taste in music.  I mean, c'mon.  American Idol?  The times that I've watched it, Adam Lambert, Crystal Bowersox, and James Durbin, the lot I rooted for, did not win.  The winners, in my opinion were not the 'best' singers.  I just don't think Americans have good taste in music.  Yes, I'm a music snob, and Americans are tone deaf dolts when it comes to anything of musical worth.  I digress.

Back to Susanne.  Some of her songs are electric pop and some are more country twang.  She has versatility.  She seems like one of those artists who you just don't know what to expect next from.  And I don't mean like Jewel who went from cool, soft folksy poet to seductive pop/country sexpot.  Jewel's first album is golden, by the way.  And I have no problem with an artist who reinvents himself/herself.  However, with Susanne you can guarantee that you'll have something special every time.

I haven't been THIS excited about a foreign female artist since Garbage debuted back when I was in middle school around 1995.  Seriously, Susanne Sundfor has some major talent.  She has pipes and I like that she's an outspoken feminist.  She once said, 'I am first and foremost an artist, not first and foremost a woman' in response to a host's introduction of women artist nominees at a 2008 music awards show.  There was discussion about having a totally separate category for women, but as Susanne says, why should she be singled out?  See how being hyper PC can actually turn into borderline bigotry?  I agree, Susanne.  I agree with you completely!  She has five albums, her first being Susanne Sundfør (2007) and the latest being The Silicone Veil (2012) Give her tunes a listen:

                                                      Walls (2007)


The Brothel (2007)

                                               White Foxes (2011)              

                                             Running to the Sea (2012)

So that's it for this cold and wet Wednesday.  Some new musack for ya.  I have to put in though that lately, I've been crazy about this fusion of late 70's early and 80's synth pop/electronic music into the indie scene.  I even listen to some of those bands like Ultravox, B-Movie, and Kraftwerk.  I love the idea of taking robotic, non-human sounds and giving them life.  We live in a robotic world, plugged into our machines, after all.  Are we even human anymore?  Beep beep buzz tsszzz....

I am excited to see what keeps cranking out of the scene.  I have not, sadly, been to any live shows lately.  But, hopefully as the weather improves and money comes my way, I can find my way to some cheap/free shows in and around Brooklyn and NYC.  I'm always on the lookout for new tunes.  So if you have any suggestions, hit me up.  E-mail me.  Let me know so I can give my Ipod a rejuvenated state of being.

Musically yours,


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