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What’s Playing Now October 28, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Music.
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Gang Gang Dance – Saint Dymphna (2008 )
Brooklyn’s Gang Gang Dance has always been known for their murky, tribal experimental music. But their latest album “Saint Dymphna” is such a unique and unexpected step toward experimental pop. What’s astonishing is how easily they make the transformation without losing any form of what they originally were. They’ve somehow made a weird, freak-dance album without compromising experimentation and not compromising what’s considered pop either. For example, they’re actually able to pull off a grime/rap song without sounding completely laughable. In the same breath, they then turn out a ’80s nostalgic pop track, which is then followed by a powerful manic-beating-girl-screeching jam out. It has to be heard to believe. Definitely one of my favorite albums of the year.

Marnie Stern – This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That(2008 )
After listening to Marnie Stern’s latest album, I realize there are few people out and about right now that are anything like Marnie Stern. I seriously can’t name one. From her overly quirky album title, to the awesome, rambling intro “Prime,” Marnie Stern shows a fresh view on music that’s not entirely new. The music here is actually vintage rock, but Stern knows how to flip it on its head, adding a quirky and sometimes muddled touch. Unfortunately, Stern’s greatest weakness is her overabundance. Sometimes there is such a thing as having too many good ideas in your head, and sometimes Stern just doesn’t know how to edit herself. Although there were several tracks that succeeded, most of the album was somewhat unlistenable. Sadly, for her sophomore album, it looks like Stern is back to her old tricks. There are awesome songs on this album; “Prime,” “Shea Stadium,” and “The Package is Wrapped” are some of the standouts. But other times the album sounds like it’s tripping over itself trying to find where its feet are. But of course, I shouldn’t expect Marnie Stern to create an album with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Overall, it’s an interesting effort.

Eleanoora Rosenholm – Älä Kysy Kuolleilta, He Sanoivat (2008 )
It seems like lately I’ve been so in love with Finnish music. But it’s no coincidence these artists just happen to come from the same label, Fonal Records. Apparently I’m in love with every artist on that label, and Eleanoora Rosenholm is one of the newbies. Her music is a unique blend of pop and throwback nostalgic experimental ’80s music (well, that’s what it sounds like to me). But her songs tend to be hit or miss. There is such a thing as spiraling too far off the deep end and sometimes her music can become a bit silly. But even though some tracks might have listeners thinking, “Oh, come on,” there’s a true, genuine feeling behind the songs. So hey, at least she can pull them off…somewhat.

High Places – High Places (2008 )
High Places’s Myspace page categorizes their music as “surf hardcore,” which sounds funny at first, but to be honest, I can’t think of a better way to describe this album. Psycho beach music perhaps? Not since Panda Bear have I heard an album that captured that same airy, nostalgic feel, but High Places does it in a strange and interesting way. But unfortunately, their album is more about being intriguing than having good songs. But they’re definitely a unique band to have on your radar.
(Edit: This album is actually a lot better than my review. I just reread it and realized I was being overly critical, but I’m too lazy to rewrite it.)



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