Foster The People – Torches – album review

Well, more like a sales pitch: Buy it! It is very good.
The group was formed two years ago in LA by Mark Foster who does vocals, synthesizer, piano, guitar, and more. To make it a sharp trio came Mark Pontius and Cubbie Fink. First hit Pumped Up Kicks got so popular last year that they got signed and released their debut album Torches this year.

The thing that separates them is  they focus very heavily on making catchy chorus tunes. That often compensates for everything else. I know it’s nothing new, most performers try to do just that, but they achieve it. Their style of music is a little fusion but basically everything good pop is supposed to be… just updated for this decade. Mark also has this pleasant simple, straight, and bit rough around the edges voice. He often over-synthesizes his voice though. Here are some of the cool songs from the album:

  1. Helena Beat: happy little pop party. That’s why it’s the first track. The end makes you want to hit repeat.
  2. Pumped Up Kicks: The acoustic version he performs on radio is better than the one in album. This is a good example of how their music makes you forget that its lyrics are pretty twisted.
  3. Call It What You Want: Initially didn’t like it, but like I said it works because of the chorus. Again, the end makes you want to hear it again.
  4. .
  5. Waste: Its words seem like someone genuinely smitten. Normally the music would seem too out-of-place but somehow works but maybe not symbiotically.
  6. I Would Do Anything For You: The Best song of the album. It’s what got my attention.
  7. Houdini: mostly for the music. Focus on your ability, focus on your ability…
  8. Life On The Nickel: ‘Gonna’ make it through’ kind of feel with quite a fast tempo.
  9. .
  10. .
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Is covering classics alright? Three examples

Is it safe to cover a classic? Dangerous grounds, but if you can produce something like this, why not. Sometimes the cover offers a new perspective to it that wasn’t considered before. Rare, but it happens every now and then.Three examples.

1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Original: A legend created by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. However, I always remember it by the Supremes + Temptations.

Cover: I know. I would have rolled my eyes too — what the heck can come close to this? Well, it can’t. But it offers something else. So what if it was publicized mainly because of a DHL commerical. Vula Melinga and Paul Epworth’s remake of this everyone’s-favorite does not detract a bit and is something I wouldn’t mind having in the same folder as Ms. Ross’s.

 

2. I Want To Hold Your Hand

Original: (You know.)

Cover: I’m going crazy, right? At least give T.V. Carpio from Across The Universe a try. Takes it in a whole different direction.

 

3. Bring Me Sunshine

Original: Morecambe and Wise. Their signature song during the end credits of their comedy show on the BBC in the 70s. 

Cover: Willie Nelson. Even if you have sway, plenty of street cred., and do it around the same time like our good ol’ Willie did, it still is a cover. It turned out to be one of his big hits reaching #13 on the U.S. Country charts. Brenda Lee’s cover was pretty darn good too.

Hate Twitter?

Then take some comfort knowing you are not alone… ridiculously outnumbered, but not alone.

I mean as if Facebook wasn’t bad enough to placate our narcissistic pangs, we have a website devoted to just one fraction of Facebook — its status messages. What else could you fit into “micro blogging” besides how flushed your morning commute just made you feel, or that Grape Nuts is doing squat for your bowel movements. I know you’re lonely and even your cat’s had just about enough of that smell in your apartment, but please, behave like the rest of us normal people and drown the crushing sorrow out with Costco-sized Oreo’s and Ho-Hos in front of the telly. Man-up! Now excuse me as I think of a clever tagline to publicize this post on Twitter.

If I tweeted enough and therefor had more best friends, I’d share this video with every single one of them. SO funny. Thanks to Richard for sharing this vid.

Bénabar

I am happy to present Bénabar. One of those artists that you love to carried by even though you don’t have the slightest clue where you are going — his songs are in French.

He entered the music scene in 1997 and has since enjoyed platinum, gold, and diamond albums under his sleeve, so I know I’m not breaking any new ground by ”presenting” him to you. However, for the unacquainted, his is a typically French style of  music and  emphasis is placed on appreciation of the lyrics and it’s linked to a specific culture of modern “guinche“.

You don’t have to be mildly fascinated by French culture (like me) to flow with his songs. Give them a background-listen when you are slightly relaxed, perhaps when making your very own baguette from scratch at home.

 

Joy and horror of French lovin’

Very mini book review of Me Talk pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

This is one book you definitely should glance through. I say glance because since the book is a compilation of several autobiographical essays, reading any one at random will still cause you to laugh out loud. That is the mildest guaranteed reaction.  If you believe milk can spew from your nose, that too.

It starts with his childhood in North Carolina with his firecracker of a family and progresses towards his meandering twenties. ”Part Deux” focuses on the later tribulations of learning French culture and its language after he moves to live in Paris with his partner.  Sedaris’s sharp observation of the mundane and remarkable ability to convert it into an enviable zany life is pure talent. His writing seems effortless, which always means it is not. No wonder his books have sold over 14 million copies.

Why not judge for yourself?

Listen to him read a chapter from the book. Learning French by a sadistic teacher and describing Easter in a handful of words never sounded so good.

Or read the very first chapter here.

A funny little interview with the man.

Whaling – Best of Freelance Whales

It seems to me there is a lot of this indie pop rock with smooth male synth voices going around. What made it once unique is now getting a bit common.

If you like this style of music, like me, it just means you have to set your filters better. One band that passed is Freelance Whales.

Best three songs of theirs: 

1. Generator ^ First Floor

2. Starring

3. Broken Horses

Peter Pan runs through the jungle

A quirky release from Down Under. Jinja Safari’s most entertaining song and video yet. The carefree Australian band offers “dreamy folk pop,” and works in the Forest Rock genre. I don’t know what that means but I like it!

Peter Pan was the lead single from their self-titled EP last year. You understand how dreamy folk pop is an apt description for the track within seconds after you play it. No idea why they are running around with torches at twilight in a dense forest but Smokey the Bear is gonna’ be friggin mad! Maybe that’s who they are running from…