malleus&incus

Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, AND Pomplamoose!?

Posted in Indie, Pop by jurbanik on August 30, 2010

I really should be asleep right now – it is 5am as of starting this post. But about an hour ago, Pomplamoose tweeted that there would be a new video in an hour… and now it is here. I honestly could not be much more excited about a collaboration – I was well aware of Ben Folds’ album collaboration with Nick Hornby (author of High Fidelity and About a Boy), but I had no idea the album would feature Pomplamoose. If you don’t already know, I’m a huge fan of Jack Conte – check out my post on his innovative VideoSongs. Apparently Ben Folds is a fan of what Jack and Nataly do too! Anyways, lets get to the video.

Entitled ‘Things You Think’, the new song/VideoSong features some extremely complex layering, but is executed almost perfectly. Some people might be a little turned off by Nick Hornby’s role in the song – he reads interesting statistics, cutting away from the musical aspects of the collaboration. Personally, I’m a fan – Nick has a comforting, but intelligent voice, and it just works. Really exciting to me is the fact that both Nataly and Jack sing along with Ben, bringing together some really great voices. The chorus ‘smoke your little smoke/ drink your little drink/ try to make sense of the things that you think’ is unimaginably catchy, especially since it is Ben Folds singing it repeatedly. After the jump, the other single from Ben Folds’ new album. (more…)

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sleeper

Posted in Electronic, Female Vocalist, Pop by Giri Nathan on August 26, 2010

In an album chock full of gold, the coolest track often lies unnoticed. Amidst all the perfect pop songs on Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach, and amidst all the high-profile cameos — from Snoop Dogg to Lou Reed — it’s easy to lose sight of the best one.

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What Have We Done? (Old Ke$ha Demo)

Posted in Pop by jurbanik on August 23, 2010

Quick post to compensate for my way too verbose Djohariah analysis (though linking to Sufjan from this post just feels somewhat wrong).

I just happened across a track from a younger Ke$ha on my friend’s tumblr and I’m still in shock. The act responsible for my ‘Tik Tok’ and ‘Blah Blah Blah’ themed nightmares actually has a voice under all the glitzy synths, vocoders, and autotune.

Goodbye// Untitled Demo

In the words of my friend Leana (or as she’d like to be known, Leana the Great), “I don’t even understand. She doesn’t even sound like a scary gangster woman!” In fact, she has a pretty good voice, and was at one point capable of some natural vocal embellishments. Keep in mind this is Kesha Sebert seven years ago – don’t hope for this kind of material to come back. The song is still barely passable in the lyrics department, but the fact that she actually is able to sing made my jaw drop. (more…)

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You (Are Going To) Smile

Posted in Ambient, Art Music, Pop by jurbanik on August 18, 2010

Just a quick one today, folks.

Up until now, pretty much all of malleus&incus has been devoted to informing you about good music. For this post, though, I’m going to get a little silly – In fact I’m going to make a bit of a game of it. These songs are versions of songs that were with a program called PaulStretch, and your job is to identify what they actually are. There are a few rules: don’t cheat by looking at the soundcloud pages, and don’t scroll down and read what the originals are until you’ve listened to at least a few minutes of each track. There is a decent chance some of you may have seen these tracks online by this point – they’ve gone viral in the past couple of days.

Before we start, a little about PaulStretch. It is a program that was originally intended to slow tracks down or speed up tracks 50x or more to create audio textures. It uses several processes like spectral smoothing to take short ‘windows’ of music and stretch them , maintaining the qualities of the original song but essentially vectorizing and stretching the real audio. (more…)

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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