Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slain by Friendly Fires Sophomore Album Pala

UK dance psychedelic band Friendly Fires is set to release their sophomore album Pala this upcoming Tuesday, May 24th in the US (the Brits are surely already getting down to this with their earlier release this past Tuesday; alas Europe will always be cooler no matter how much tea we threw in the harbor).

The new album doesn’t disappoint: Lead vocals Ed Macfarlane is back with his spacey voice, Edd Gibson (guitarist) brings it with his same head-bobbing, foot-tapping riffs, and – my favorite element on the new album – Jack Savidge offers some drumlines that will amp your heart’s BPM. While the lyrics may not be the most profound, they’re certainly universally applicable.

The action item from their first, self-titled album was: Simon Says, 'Dance, dammit.' Without a doubt, the second album's command is the same, and is sure to catalyze some hot kinesthetics. “Blue Cassette” begins at an nostril-scrunchingly, skeptically slow pace but quickly opens up with a verifiable “This is my heart on fire!” chorus line that rocks. “Hawaiian Air” offers that high-energy drum beat and flies high with ethereal lyrics and sound. A distant-cousin-throwback to their first album, “Pull Me Back To Earth,” sounds more familiar in lyrics and beat, which is a welcome reminiscence.

The first single off the album “Live Those Days Tonight” recommends to listeners “Don’t hold back!” Our heads, shoulders, knees, and toes will be sure not to hold back from boogeying when Friendly Fires command the stage next Friday, May 27th @ the Paradise.

Pala streaming on Hype Machine

Great YouTube mix replete with live and studio recordings

Pop Wreckoning's 3-part Interview with FF Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

UK's Prized Foals = Best in Show

On Monday, May 2, when I headed to the 'dise to see the Naked and the Famous, Freelance Whales, and headliner Foals, the latter was the band I was least excited about. To me, they'd sounded a little flat in their two albums, Antidotes and Total Life Forever. If you've felt the same way listening to their tracks please do the following: Chuck, incinerate, destroy these preconceptions and get your ass out to their next show. The Foals are raw, wild, and jam harder and better than any band I've seen live in months. After pondering why they sound smaller on their albums than their true-larger-than life status, I've concluded they are so hot and SO good, it's impossible to contain them in an inanimate object like a CD or MP3 file. Hopefully their next album does justice to their true talent.

Opener Naked and the Famous didn't show up to open due to illness, but Freelance Whales seamlessly hopped on stage and gave the Foals a worthy opener. To the starstruck fan in the audience who shouted "I LOVE YOU" lead singer Judah Dadone replied a bashful and perfectly timed, "I really, really have ... strong feelings for you." They were a pleasure to watch, galvanizing the crowd from the first moment with their enthusiastic "Generator First Floor" a song peppered with a hot xylophone melody.

Despite the fact that, according to Dadone, it was their seventh time playing Boston in twelve months, Freelance Whales offered a fresh, mellifluous performance, punctuated with sick drumlines, vocals, accordion, and watering can (!?). Best picks of their set list include: The Great Estates, Ghosting, Broken Horse, and Hannah. Dadone revealed that after touring, the band's headed home to work on their second album (the first being Weathervanes). It's definitely one to wait for with bated breath.

After an, ahem, incredibly thorough sound check, the Foals took the stage. They exploded with "Blue Blood" to the delight of Foals zealots in the crowd. They played on early through technical difficulties with bassist Walter Gervers's guitar, following lead singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis's no-big-deal suggestion, "Come on, let's just jam." It's rare for me to truly enjoy a long-ass jam, but their set was punctuated by these sporadic crescendoing sessions that I literally never wanted to end. I think we were all hoping there'd be some sort of Star Trek, Rip Van Winkle vortex that would suck us in where we'd listen to Philippakis's insane, kinesthetically unbelievable guitar rifts endlessly. The British, Oxford-formed band works effortlessly together and has a palpable, beating-heart energy. It helps that diminutive Philippakis is on the lunatic fringe, climbing into the lights to play during Spanish Sahara, flinging the microphone and its stand around stage, beating the big single drum on center-stage a la some sort of primal pyro-tradition song and dance. No one wanted the show to end, and truly my ears and soul are still ringing.

Key tracks include: Everything they played, but if I must be more specific: Spanish Sahara, Red Socks Pugie, and Olympic Airways. My three favorite moments of the show: Realizing the keyboardist was playing in polka-dotted socks without shoes, seeing a fan inconspicuously plucking and swigging one of the guitarist Jimmy Smith's un-touched Coronas off-stage, and witnessing Philippakis's entire Tasmanian Devil, seizure dance repertoire.

Freelance Whales
Doris Cellar (accordion, vocals, guitar)
Chuck Criss (keyboard, xylophone)
Judah Dadone (lead vocals, guitar)
Jacob Hyman (drums)
Kevin Read (guitar)

Yannis Philippakis (lead singer and guitarist, big drum player)
Jack Bevan (drummer)
Jimmy Smith (guitarist)
Edwin Congreve (keyboards)
Walter Gervers (bass)

Foals set list
Blue Blood
Olympic Airways
Total Life Forever
After Glow
Black Gold
Red Socks Pugie
Spanish Sahara

French Open
Two Sets Twice