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December 15, 2007

The Most Serene Republic






The Most Serene Republic (TMSR) is a band from Toronto that is fairly new on the scene. I'd like to say that I've been following them throughout their entire career, but that would be a lie. I had a couple of TMSR songs that I found through Insound.com. But, I didn't start seriously listening to TMSR until I heard Stars' Do You Trust Your Friends? (remix album of Set Yourself on Fire). On the album, TMSR recorded an amazing acoustic version of "Ageless Beauty." I enjoyed the rendition so much that I started searching for more of their music.

From Arts & Crafts, The Most Serene Republic was the first band on the label that was not related to Broken Social Scene. TMSR carries on some of the same indie-pop feel that is embodied by bands on the label like Broken Social Scene and Stars. However, I definitely think that a lot of TMSR's stuff has more of a math rock feel. So, it's not surprising that the album was influenced by the works of Igor Stravinsky. I love the complexities of their music, and the combination of sounds is unlike anything else that I've heard before (excluding music that I didn't enjoy).

Off their new album, Population, "Solipsism Millionaires" is one of my favorites. But, they didn't play it last night when I saw them at Mercury Lounge. Sad, I know. Still, I wasn't at all disappointed by their performance. The band had so much fun playing on stage that I couldn't help but dance and smile right back (which is my normal behavior, anyway). It's refreshing to see a band having fun while performing. I hate watching bands who care more about looking the part than actually enjoying themselves. I keep on thinking about how Adrian (lead male vocals) said that we, New Yorkers, were watching them and judging so that we can go home and blog about them later. I guess i lived up to that stereotype.

Since Mercury Lounge is a small venue, I was able to meet some of the members of TMSR after the show. There are always two things that I can count on from New Yorkers at a small-venue, 21+ show:
1) They are afraid of being too close to the stage. Therefore, I am always in the front.
2) They are afraid of approaching the band. Therefore, I have no problems talking to the band afterwards.

I mostly talked to Tony, the drummer, and Ryan, the pianist. We talked about the math rock influences in their music and griped about Pitchfork's reviews, which are NEVER elitist, pretentious, or biased. They were really gracious and down-to-earth. Also, Andrew, the merch guy, was great and found me some buttons.

Can't wait until they return to NYC. Hopefully, they'll play "Solipsism Millionaires" next time.

Setlist
Humble Peasants
You're Not An Astronaut
Anhoi Polloi
The Men Who Live Upstairs
Phages
(Oh) God
Sherry and Her Butterfly Net
Why So Looking Back
Compliance
Career in Shaping Clay
You're A Loose Cannon McArthur...But You Get The Job Done
Content Was Always My Favorite Colour
Present of Future End


The Men Who Live Upstairs - The Most Serene Republic



Sherry and Her Butterfly Net - The Most Serene Republic



Solipsism Millionaires - The Most Serene Republic



The Most Serene Republic

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December 9, 2007

Top of 2007: Radiohead's "In Rainbows"



"In Rainbows" is Radiohead's newest (7th) album. It was released two months ago as a download for a price that you could name (even $0). As far as albums go for 2007, "In Rainbows" probably falls into my Top 3. Apparently, the first single off the album will be "Jigsaw Falling Into Place," which is surprising to me because I don't think that it is the strongest track on the album. Not bad, but not spectacular for "In Rainbows."

Please give the tracks below a listen. Some people are writing "In Rainbows" off for not being "experimental enough." What characterizes experimental music anyway? Unpredictability? Complete uniqueness? And what defines a band as being "experimental?" I think it's unreasonable to expect a band, who was initially defined as being experimental, to continue producing music that is unlike anything else. As time goes on and more artists experiment, ground-breaking composition and performance techniques can become more common. Not that Radiohead's sound is common in any way. There's definitely an evolution in their sound from album to album. Anyway, what I expected from Radiohead was a solid album, and they definitely surpassed that expectation.

If you don't have this album, you need to get it immediately. Hopefully, you had a chance to download this album for free. The name-your-price download ended on December 10th (London time). But, you should find a way to acquire it, because it is AMAZING and not to be missed. World tour starts in May!


Bodysnatchers - Radiohead



15 Step - Radiohead



Reckoner - Radiohead



Jigsaw Falling Into Place - Radiohead



Buy it here.

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December 3, 2007

!!! (Chk Chk Chk)




!!! (commonly pronounced "chk chk chk") is a band from Brooklyn, NY (surprise, surprise) that I found through Insound.com. This was probably around the time they released their most recent album, Myth Takes. Judging by that album, I knew that their live show would be a crazy dance feast, the best kind of concert. Sure enough, when I went to their show at Webster Hall in October, I got exactly what I expected. I was in the front, and I even danced with the lead singer, Nic Offer, through the iron wall that separates the fans from the stage.

***Side story: Nic Offer rhetorically asked, "Who puts on a better show than us?" Some girl yelled out, "BATTLES!!" I gave her the look of death. I've experienced Battles, and I was sorta confused by what I had witnessed. But, I guess the recorded album is equally as confusing. It's not that I hate them... I just don't particularly enjoy them. Sometimes, I'll listen to a song and think, "Wow, this isn't bad." And then the synthesized voice of Tyondai Braxton (aka Alvin and the Chipmunks) comes in, and I am rendered speechless. However, for whatever reason, I like "Atlas." Their next single is to be "Tonto," which THANKFULLY does not feature any vocals.

Anyway, back to !!!.

Their first single off Myth Takes was "Must Be the Moon," which I can only describe to be infectious. The story that the singer tells is classic: One-night stand with an unpleasant morning-after. Guy wakes up to girl who doesn't want to give him her number. Lesson of his story? Don't blame the music, blame it on the moon. The music video matches the song pretty well. Rituals at a house party? Definitely the influence of the moon.


I dare you to listen to "Must Be the Moon" and not dance in your chairs.



Must Be The Moon - !!! (Chk Chk Chk)



Heart of Hearts - !!! (Chk Chk Chk)



Bend Over Beethoven - !!! (Chk Chk Chk)




!!!

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