Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lizard Kisses - Hirono (Beko DSL)

Usually I don't review singles. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my Creative Commons obsession.  The "Hirono" single by New York lo-fi pop music outfit  Lizard Kisses is an exceptional case. The band is Marc Merza and Corey Siegler who make intimate pop songs. In this single's three songs are the kind of lazy gauzy pop songs that are a perfect pace for the extremely hot Summer days. This single is innovative in that can be played turned label down and the played on a record player. Have you ever heard of such a thing? I haven't.  Below is the Youtube video showing how the single plays on a record player. This is on the very cool Beko DSL which releases some damn fine music and features these singles every Monday. It really nice to see them getting some exposure off the heels on Sleeping In, an album you'll want to check out, which is a name your price download on their bandcamp. If you do download for free, think about purchasing the Beko single or a handmade by Marc and Corey cover cd copy of Sleeping In.  This single is innovative and features three pop songs you'll want to listen to. Thanks to Marc and Cory for a copy of the single.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tune Yards - W H O K I L L ( 4AD )

W H O K I L L finds the wildly imaginative Merrill Garbus yet again utilizing African rhythms to drive these songs that are a perfect mix of pop, jazz, blues and an outsized amount of soul. The things that were most exciting about Tune -Yards   Bird-Brains are still present; the sparse production that let the soul of these songs breathe, a mixture of self recorded samples, and Merrill's voice without effects.  The centerpiece of these songs is  her amazing ear for making a melody out of even disparate sounds pieces of sound as on "Riotriot" and "Es-so". It is almost a given just two albums and one ep that Merrill could make any type of music she desired.

"Gangsta" starts and stops time and again and is accented by some nice jazz fills on bass and the crazy sax all make for a loud great mess.

 "Powa" is 100% raw Merrill. "Your heart, inside, it rocks me like a lullaby" she oozes. (video below)

The beautiful cascade of vocals on "Bizness" (the first single and a free mp3 download) gives way to Merrill's signature insistent pleading vocal style. There are some direct jazz touches in the vocals that then usher in the nice sax runs. "I'm the victim yeah, don't take my life away, don't take my life away".

The Mowtown girl group beauty of "Doorstep" finds Merrill taking old soul to a very new and fresh place.  "Well I try so hard to be a peaceful loving woman , I believe that love and understanding were the way, oh but how many gone before you listen to the cries, with my dead heart, how do I find my way through the truth and all the lies". So she writes some very deep lyrics at times.

I would dare anyone to listen to "You Yes You" (video below) and try not to dance. The loop effects on this track are especially nice.

This album has so many different sound textures and feelings because that's how Merrill writes her songs. You can feel exactly what she is feeling. It's amazing to think she could actually grow the sounds of Bird-Brains and still retain the individuality. On top of being a wildly talented songwriter and posessing an ear that many do not, she is in control of the whole process and has created a masterpiece of an album.  To date this is my most listened to album for the year and it's well deserved. I can never just listen one track.

 I was lucky enough to interview Merrill at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago off her tour of Bird-Brains. She was totally unassuming and accommodating. The gentle soul she sings about being in her music is the person who she is in person.  Also she performed a few songs that she was working on for W H O K I L L so I will post a few of those. See her live at all costs, it will be one of the best shows you will see. She is totally invested live. Thanks again to Merrill and Carolyn at 4AD for the interview.