malleus&incus

Heartbreaks

Posted in Funk, Hip Hop, Indie by dc3 on August 23, 2010

No one is immune to the pain of heartbreak, especially when its hands reach viciously into your chest and suffocate your soul until you’re left a bitter and heartless shell. Today, my heart was broken by a 16-year-old androgynous pop star. A friend told me today that Bieber now wants to date Emma Watson. Bieber, you’re a bitch for stealing my woman.

But music heals all wounds. A few words from me to Emma via the Cee-lo Green (of Gnarls Barkley fame):

Cee-Lo Courtesty Stereogum

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The ABC’s of Indie Rock part 2

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Alternative, Folk, Indie, Lo-fi, Playlists, Punk, Rock by dc3 on August 13, 2010

Jumping right in from the last post:

Sequestered in Memphis // Stay Positive

Though they formed just six years ago, the Hold Steady has a sound that feels like it came straight from the ‘80’s. It’s a modernized, Midwestern Springstein with a classic rock feel. Such a strange strange sound.

Love Vigilantes // Around the Well

So folksy I wanna die. Sam Beam never sings above a whisper so his voice feels like it’s right up against your ear, like if you and him were stuck in a small room together and his  face was the only thing you could see in the dark. (more…)

The ABC’s of Indie Music part 1

We here at the blog have so selfishly denied the site any color up until now, attempting to project a sense of self-importance at the expense of any cheerfulness. After a long wait, Technicolor has finally arrived at Malleus&Incus and along with it, youth.

Let me begin by promising that this will be the first book my kids will ever read. If anyone in Williamsburg, Brooklyn decided to quit getting high (or maybe while very high) and write a children’s book, it would be Paste’s Indie Rock Alphabet Book. The alphabet isn’t perfect and includes a few artists that make you scratch your head, but there are enough gems to merit a recap. It runs the musical gamut from Animal Collective to (spoiler) The Zombies in a wonderfully educational summary of some of indie’s best artists. Buy this book for your little brother or cousin; try to eradicate bad taste at its roots. No matter how you take it, kick it back toddler style and relearn your abc’s. (more…)

Mixtape #1: Lovely Folks

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Folk, Indie, Lo-fi, Playlists, Singer-Songwiter by dc3 on July 22, 2010

Now the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.

There used to be a time when I always had some infatuation on my mind, a stupid sense of self-importance, and metal on my teeth (only one of those has since changed). But it was also a much simpler time, one where attitudes and feelings could fit neatly onto ten-song playlist. Honestly, the mixtape had this magical quality. Whenever you met someone significant you had to make them a mixtape. It was the ultimate expression of love for that girl, the most thoughtful gift for a friend. Those songs that you painstakingly selected and invested your emotional energy into really spoke to your identity or some shit like that. Mixtapes were the spiritual of our adolescent years.

Out of either nostalgia or childishness, I think we should bring the mixtape back. I found this unlikely gem on iTunes. With a cutesy title like “Folksy Indie Love” and the description “this playlist was my lifeline when I was writing my undergraduate thesis. I love it so much, it needs to be shared,” (Princetonian perhaps?) you couldn’t go wrong.

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Ëspänä

Posted in Indie, Pop by dc3 on July 13, 2010

In a belated celebration of Spain’s World Cup victory comes a band from Sweden. Listen to this Swedish pop collective (yes, all hip things are part of collectives now) I’m from Barcelona. For all its complexity as a band of 29 members (think Broken Social Scene and Polyphonic Spree), the music is light-heartedly simple. Their lyrics are childish but catchy as hell. Consider this ingenious chorus from the song Chickenpox:

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Live (almost): She and Him (and me)

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Folk, Indie, Pop, Singer-Songwiter by dc3 on July 8, 2010

One thing needs to be clear. Any judgments about Zooey Deschanel’s musical talent will probably be clouded by her irresistible good looks. The second thing that needs to be clear is that her collaboration with M. Ward is pretty good.

It could be Zooey’s voice and M. Ward’s good musicianship, but deep down, every guy knows that it’s because she’s just downright beautiful. Sentimental-bullshit-inducing beautiful. Naturally, I had to see for myself. Tonight, the 9:30 club was filled with many she and him’s but scarcely any just she’s or just him’s. It was hard to tell whether the girlfriends had dragged the boyfriends here or, equally likely, the boyfriends had taken their girlfriends.

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Live (almost): Islands @ Black Cat

Posted in Alternative, Indie, Live Music, Pop, Rock by dc3 on July 2, 2010

Live shows are always filled with unease. Maybe it’s the strange realization that the voice you’ve been listening to for a year now through headphones actually has a voice box and a head and appendages attached to it. Or perhaps it’s your own nervousness for the artist who’s meeting hundreds of people he doesn’t know but who in some abstract music-is-the-expression-of-the-soul kind of way already know him.

In any case, this unease was too much and caused me both to take the Metro in the wrong direction and to almost fall forward accidentally walking down the up escalator. After thinking that these two literal reversals of direction were some unspoken symbolic message to “turn-back,” and seriously considering calling the whole thing off, I decided that that would be the stupidest reason to miss a perfectly good concert and so decided to forget about the whole thing. The rest of the night contained no other prophetic signs.

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Introductions

Posted in Folk, Rock, Singer-Songwiter by dc3 on June 27, 2010

Nick Drake

Inaugural posts always shoulder the burden of having to be profound or enlightening simply because they are first in order. I’m usually a sucker for those kinds of unwritten rules, but profundity aside, an introduction must be made.  An introduction of two sorts: the music and the irrelevant blog that attempts to frame the music in so many words.

I’m not sure how this music blog differs from any others except that it presents our favorite music in our own words. I’m not sure that a music blog should do more than that. This project sprang from what all projects by young people spring out of these days, boredom tinged with some restlessness and dissatisfaction. A group of friends and acquaintances decided to jump on the bandwagon and go public with our musical tastes. We all have pretty different preferences so you’ll probably hear a variety of music on here loosely connected only because they happen to appear in the same library that we’ve built up over the years. In a sense, then, the music reflects something about us; but that’s also the kind of sentimental bullshit that doesn’t mean anything. I can’t speak for the other authors on here, but music is the easiest way to avoid originality and speak through other people’s words. How else could you package a generation’s voice into neat rhyming verse? I guess because that’s what I love and hate about music, that’s how I’ll speak from now on.  So hopefully you won’t find anything frighteningly democratic or hilariously incomprehensible here. Instead, we’ll try to pick music that’s interesting and tell you why. It might not be the newest stuff or critically acclaimed, but hopefully other people see something in the songs that we do.

In a desperate attempt not to come off as a snob, I won’t try to categorize my musical taste as mostly indie folk, folk rock, indie pop, brit pop, twee, low-fi, and singer-songwriter. In other words, place any two unlikely genres together, add “indie” in front of it, and you’ve got an excuse for music. Good music usually consists of a voice, an acoustic, and not much else; but then again, not every college kid is a good artist either. Since this is an introduction, I’ll start at the roots, digging back into the family tree of good music. Indeed, if my music taste has a lineage, these would be its ancestors:

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