Published on April 18th, 2014 | by Neusha Mofazzali3
The Feedback Society’s Week in Music
Neusha Mofazzali steps in for this installment of The Feedback Society’s Week in Music, a list of albums that we’ve been throwing on this week.
Foals – Holy Fire
Disco is coming back and it’s attaching itself to indie rock. ‘My Number,’ a Foals hit from their third Album ‘Holy Fire’ is continuously being played on CBC Radio. It’s a typical example of a successful 21st century indie song. Foals are rhythmically algebraic, with explosive and complex experimental guitars/synthesizers, rapid palm muted notes, and okay vocals. ‘My Number’ is an upbeat and catchy listen, and though this style of music is something they have focused on since ‘Antidotes’ (their first album), they keep on producing material that sounds a little different every time. ‘Inhaler’ would be my pick of the picnic; it sounds like a bunch of soccer hooligans fighting in slow motion. Even though I am against bands that cause unwanted drama off-stage (I’m talking Twitter battles with other bands), I still recommend these guys, especially to those who are trapped between punk and indie rock.
The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
After ten years and only three albums The Maccabees have become proficient in the art of patience. However there is little worse for fanboys with a lack of forbearance like me, than bands who know the industry all too well. Without giving too much away, most of my pubescent- delinquent activity in the UK was accompanied by a soundtrack solely consisting of The Maccabees. In an era where The Verve, The Libertines, and Oasis were dominating Britpop, a subsequent transformation from the ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ attitude set by the infamous punk era, it was always going to be tough for groups to claim originality. Up step The Maccabees, a hybrid of Britpop and the volatile life of an English secondary school insubordinate. Of course there is a significant difference from their initial album ‘Colour It In,’ which featured songs about a town swimming pool (‘Latchmere’) as well as a track about a girl’s dress (‘About your Dress’). ‘Given to the Wild’ is a much more matured, instrument-driven album with eloquent lyrics. Lead vocalist Orlando Weeks’ unique and diverse vocal range shows how feeling content can suddenly mean nothing when you realize how easily you can retrace the most distant of memories. To counter his spacey, distinct accent-driven vocals, you meet this math rock, almost disco sound that is really establishing itself into indie rock (see Foals, Broken Bells). This is a review for this album, but also everything they have done and will do. Another new album comes out in the fall, so look out for it.
Broken Bells – After the Disco
Do you see a pattern? Just picture a high octave synth melody accompanying the lead singer of The Shins, James Mercer. Danger Mouse would be the other famous name in this power group, playing drums, but not limiting himself on percussion. A year and a half after releasing ‘Port of Morrow’ with The Shins, James Mercer produced this highly anticipated second album with Danger Mouse that sounds as if The Shins traded the 90s for the 80s. We shouldn’t be surprised that Mercer flips in and out of bands so elegantly, producing gold, as The Shins have more past members than studio albums released. The indie idol obviously has a strong passion to play around with his style, using various instrumentalists, and I’m all for that. If you’re not sure about The Shins, I urge you to at least watch the minute long promotional teaser for ‘After the Disco.’ The album is as good as The Sopranos finale was annoying.
Austra – Olympia
David Bowie was a guest in the introduction for the classic 1983 kids movie The Snowman. In case you don’t recall The Snowman, it was a picture book by Raymond Briggs turned animated film, usually played on Christmas morning in the UK. I invite you to search for it, so you can witness the haunting classic ‘Walking in the Air,’ sung by a young chorister boy from Wales. Getting to the point, the entire album reminded me of this childhood memory. I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie throughout the album. I’m not joking and I’m not sure why — maybe because singer Katie Stelmanis has a unique but evocative voice that creeps me out, in a good way. The instrumentals are very limited and tedious, probably due to Stelmanis’ voice wittingly centered as the appeal, and a lot of songs portray heartbreak. I don’t have any particular song to point out; though well structured and attractive, nothing on the album stood out enough for me.
July Talk – July Talk
This Toronto based blues/indie rock group released one of my most played albums in 2012. July Talks’ self-titled album gives you hit-after-hit of attractive heavy indie rock. Peter Dreimanis’ gravelly voice is so absorbing; you find yourself unsure what the heck to do with what you just heard. Seriously, there isn’t a voice like his in indie rock and it’s just bloody great. His counterpart Leah Fay’s uniqueness lies with her soft but instantly heart wrenching voice and it complements Dreimanis’, even though it seems as if they are polar opposites. I do not want to focus only on vocals, because their songs are incredibly catchy. And here’s the best part — the recording sounds just like their live performance, so you know what you are getting. You can pair this album with a World War ll film, as it exposes the thoughts of a soldier battling in the trenches. You don’t get on-stage chemistry like this anymore, so make sure you keep track of when the group next graces your town with their presence.