Friday, September 19, 2008

Matt & Kim: "Nightmare" Drum Kick

Brooklyn's own Matt and Kim caught my eye and ear last fall, when I saw a video of them performing an acoustic version of "Yeah Yeah" on You Tube. Their bare bones approach, with Matt on an outdated keyboard and Kim drumming on a cardboard box accompanied by a bell, and what looks like Tupperware, blew me away. They are known for Matt's bad, but good vocals, basic melodies and simplified hooks (see "Yeah Yeah" and "Its A Fact"), but you don't need to be complicated to make good indie pop. I immediately snatched up their self-titled debut and the remixes that followed. For some reason, their accessible approach to music makes it that much easier to remix.

Matt and Kim's next album, Grand, can't come soon enough. Their simplicity is backed by the usual bouncy synth on their newest single, "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare", but Kim's big band drums steal the show. The track is their most jolly and well-rounded to date, and proves you don't always need Auto-Tune if you sing off-key. Besides, they look like their having a blast doing it.

Matt and Kim - Good Ol Fashion Nightmare

Matt and Kim - No More Long Years

Matt and Kim - Its A Fact (Million $ Mano ft Hollywood Holt)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cover Me Badd: Alphabeat, The Kooks

Since I've gotten more and more into the indie/underground rock realm, I've noticed the impact of covers. Mark Ronson made a solid album full of them with Version. While I was hesitant at first, talented musicians can certainly make someone else's song, their own work.

Its not exactly new any more, but Alphabeat continued Daft Punk's recent resurgence earlier this year with a cover of "Digital Love". With all of the beeps, synth and electro on the original, I was pretty skeptical before I gave it a listen. Surprisingly, Alphabeat re-imagined the track as an acoustic, choral sing-along, rather than Daft Punk's Spring Break heater. Needless to say, I pretty much played this any time I could this summer.

Alphabeat - Digital Love (Daft Punk cover)

More recently, one of my favorite bands of last summer, The Kooks, covered one of my favorites of this summer, MGMT. Similar to Alphabeat, The Kooks opted to turn MGMT's electro-funk sound into a guitar laden foot tapper on "Kids". By exchanging futuristic keys and vocal distortion for the English accent of Luke Pritchard, The Kooks edition will line up to the original on my future playlists.

The Kooks - Kids (MGMT cover)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Passion Pit: Wake Up, "Sleepyhead"

If you haven't been exposed to Passion Pit yet, be prepared, they are about to erupt. After being discovered by now defunct blog, Good Weather For Airstrikes, Passion Pit has been mentioned in more places than I can count. The Good Weather For Airstrikes folks even made them their first signing on Neon Gold Records.

Passion Pit's style is almost schizophrenic. Somewhere between pop and electro. Think MGMT but more upbeat and less psychedelic. "Sleepyhead" had me immediately hooked with its hypnotic bounce, off the wall vocals and eerie sample. The Cambridge-based band opened for Death Cab for Cutie and Girl Talk in the past year, and will hopefully make a stop in your neighborhood soon. Their re-issued EP Chunk of Change drops on 9/16.

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

Sidenote: Quitting a blog to either open a record label and/or music venue is tops on my list. So if anyone has any ideas on how to do that, let me know. Now....