After my celestial experience with 2008’s charmingly haunted In Ghost Colours, I couldn’t imagine the terms in which I’d be similarly effected by a Cut Copy album clearly preoccupied with an impending doom (see album cover). However, when a close friend sent me an email saying, “Cut Copy – Zonoscope / For the love of God, download buy this RIGHT NOW”, I couldn’t resist.
WRGW is incredibly proud to announce that our very own Drew Bandos (aka DJ Banda Bear, my co-host on Sit Back and Dream, on Fridays 2-4 pm EST) has been signed to Mush Records for his project Is and Of The! Drew’s debut album, Heads Phased for Dreamless Sleep, was recorded in dorm rooms and basements in DC and Philly, along with the collaboration of friends. It spans an expansive range of genres, including elements of shoegaze, psychedelic, electronic and post-rock, but maintains a unified and beautiful ambient feel.
When I first heard the hype about the Cleveland pop-punk outfit Cloud Nothings, I instinctively thought, “here’s another Pitchfork favorite, named-after-a-cloud-something band.” This past weekend, however, fellow DJ Matt Kalan and I sat down and listened to Cloud Nothings’ self-titled album, and my preconceived notions were completely changed. This album marks the transition of 19-year-old Dylan Baldi’s power-pop solo act from his basement to the studio, and the difference is notable, not to mention impressive. The first track, “Understand At All,” begins with a bang, as Baldi croons over the frenetic beat of melodious guitars and drums. A unique mixture of genres and musical styles are prevalent throughout the album, including energetic punk, droning distortion and Wavves-esque guitar solos. They’re neatly interwoven through tracks such as “Not Important” and “Heartbeat,” which see an experimental blend of guitar-crunching punk jams that would make Atlanta garage-punk outfit Black Lips proud. Simultaneously, “Should Have” could have been co-written by Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. Despite the blend of of genres, the unifying thread that holds Cloud Nothings’ self-titled album together is the raw yet increasingly confident lyrics, passionate and honest in their execution. As Baldi screeches over power-driven punk, with its traces reminiscent of late ’70s era Dead Kennedys minus the subversive political satire, the influences of beach pop, the inevitable trials of adolescence and young talent make their way to produce a solid, honest and accessible record.
I was fortunate enough to nab a few tickets for Girl Talk’s first of two shows here in Washington D.C. at the 9:30 Club. The highly anticipated set had the whole venue brewing with energy. As the lights dimmed, Mr. Gillis, aka Girl Talk, crawled to his dual-computer set up, and proceeded to hop on the table to a crowd of swaying hands and screaming vocal chords. After a few short words, the music started and jaws dropped. It seemed like he started with pieces of “Once Again,” the opening track off his album Night Ripper. At first I was like “YES,” but then I wondered, how good could a set of just pre-recorded mashups be? My questioning was shortly answered. It was so much more than just his album tracks. The set was filled with sing-a-longs, a mind-blowing back drop (as pictured), and more treats in the form of confetti and balloons than a kid can dream of. Every beat was accompanied by a custom light show, and the crowd continuously bounced for the full 55-minute set.
I’ve been waiting for this album for so long, and I hadn’t heard of this band until today. It’s the kind of album that, on first listen, you think to yourself, “how can something be so familiar if I’ve never heard it before?” Or maybe I’m just weird. (sidenote – when I first read about this band, I was really angry that someone had the nerve to pluralize the name of one of the greatest emo bands of the 90’s. but honestly, this is so much better. my apologies to any muscular bearded guys in flannels reading this)