The Music Sounds Better
By Michael Mandeville ’11
We return with the next installment of “The Music Sounds Better,” The Roundup’s music blog and podcast.
This edition we’ll cover LA punks, No Age, up and coming new waver Twin Shadow and Animal Collective’s own Avey Tare.
Having just released their second full-length dubbed “Everything in Between,” the follow up to 2008’s wildly successful “Nouns,” No Age have once again resurfaced to the top of the independent music world.
This lo-fi noise rock duo has done it a little differently this time though.
While their earlier material was recognized for hard-hitting, punch-in-the-face genetics, “Everything in Between,” while maintaining a lot of what made this outfit so recognizable (dissonant melodies, heavy drumming, shadowed vocals and noisy guitar work), really is a much more ambitious effort.
The focus on songwriting is strikingly more apparent, especially on the album’s first single “Glitter.”
This track seems somewhat boring the first listen through, but its ingenious form is nothing avoidable after further digestion.
It revolves around a steady, almost beach-pop drum beat, and the instrumentation develops from there with a handful of what-is-that-noise moments.
What I find most remarkable is the band’s decision to use vocals as vocals versus another instrument hiding behind guitars and feedback, and this really compliments the maturing melodies throughout the track.
George Lewis Jr. the man behind Brooklyn-based Twin Shadow has been receiving his fair share of publicity throughout the Internet, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was well deserved.
Its basic new wave vibe turned me off after bands like M83 and The Teenagers’ charm quickly wore off and left me yawing two years ago.
I first heard the track “Slow” after a friend of mine bombarded about six Facebook walls with the link to the song, and I just did not enjoy or like it at all.
The predictable structure, elementary melodies and barely innovative instrumentation didn’t surprise me at all- it was another new wave song, what was I to expect?
But after talking to friends and giving it more a chance, I decided to accept the music for what it was.
Sure I had gotten sick of the genre already, but that did mean Lewis wasn’t writing great music.
After listening to the track a five, six or 15 times over, my appreciation steadily grew.
If the melodies were basic, they were still gorgeous, if the structure was barely surprising, It did well for a pop song.
The instrumentation of the other hand is a bit more dynamic than I initially considered.
There is quite a bit going on in terms of layering: synthesizers upon synthesizers, extremely melodious bass lines and complimentary chorused-out guitar all do well for an engaging listen.
It is difficult to talk about Dave Portner, aka Avey Tare, from an objective perspective considering he is one my favorite and most admirable musicians today.
His work with Animal Collective has been extraordinary, releasing eight full length albums and a multitude of EPs and singles.
In basic terms, you can’t really get as creative and influential as this man and his 10-year effort without bumping up to the likes of Radiohead or Sufjan Stevens.
He is often overshadowed by his band-mate Panda Bear (who is currently working on his second full-length studio album) solely because of his independent identity outside of Animal Collective.
But in my humble opinion Avey Tare should be more recognized as the star member for his work and benefit to Animal Collective just outweighs that of any of the members.
Anyway, Tare is currently getting ready to release his first solo album “Down There,” which is scheduled to be released at the end of October.
The first single off the new album “Lucky #1” follows a similar, but more experimental path to Animal Collective’s 2009 phenomenon of an album “Merriweather Post Pavilion.”
It is a compilation of electronics, redundancy and hidden melodies does well for a very solid track.
Although I have to say I would have liked to see Tare take a slightly different route with his solo material, I guess I can’t really complain until I get the opportunity to listen to the rest of the album.
Well, that is it for now fellow Brophy music nerds.
Be sure to listen to the podcast online to get a preview of all of these songs and comment to tell me your thoughts.