Bleachers

I remember back in 2014 (or sometime around then) when Fun. announced they’d be going on hiatus, I was pretty distraught. Personally, I am a pretty big fan of the band, and I’ll patiently stay hopeful for their glorious return. It wasn’t soon after their hiatus announcement that I discovered Bleachers, whose front man, Jack Antonoff, was actually the drummer for Fun.! This was madness to me, but my love for Fun. extended to Bleachers, and I fell in love. Who put him on the drums? This guy can kill vocals! (Not that Nate Ruess couldn’t, God bless – check it)

Since the release of their first album in 2014, Strange Desire (which housed familiar hits like “I Wanna Get Better” and “Rollercoaster”) the artist had only released Terrible Thrills Vol. 2 way back in 2015. This album was a simple reprise of all the songs from the original Strange Desire, but sung by some pretty prominent female vocalists (Sia, Tinashe, Sara Barellies, MO, Elle King – to name a few). 

And now, in the magical year that is 2017 we have been blessed with all new music from Antonoff. The first of two singles (so far) “Don’t Take the Money” is somehow worth the three (two?) year wait. First, I’ll say that it definitely feels like summer. It also has a pretty wicked music video to accompany it, it’s pretty weird with a fun little twist – but, that’s not unusual for Antonoff considering previous music videos. Check it: 

Next up, we’ve got the latest release, “Hate That You Know Me”, which feels a bit like “I Wanna Get Better” as far as lyrical composition, but definitely departs from the more rock/punk feel that “I Wanna Get Better” throws out. Personally, it’s my favorite of the two to be released so far. I feel like it’s that track that everyone has been trying to write, but no one has done it just right. It takes the classic cliche “hate that you know me so well..” that you find in a lot of songs, and expands it into an entire track. 

Just right off the bat, the two songs really feel pre-2000′s with a nice modern twist all blended together with Bleachers’ mixed bag of rock, pop, and a little bit of heavy piano ballads. I’m excited for what’s to come – and you can bet you’ll find a follow up post.

The upcoming album “Gone Now” holds a lot of potential, and it’s three (two?) years in the making. You can find it dropping on June 2nd – get it while it’s hot. No doubt it’s gonna dominate the summer, ya know, sorta like “I Wanna Get Better” did? 

image
Zach Krieger

Album Review: This Old Dog from Mac Demarco

image

Easy going Mac Demarco has dropped his fourth album, This Old Dog. This follows his 2015 album Another One and shows his continued growth as an artist. Demarco is known for his laid-back demeanor, wanting to interact with fans directly, whether through his Official Fan Club or at shows. He’s given out his New York home address on the final track of Another One offering his fans a cup of coffee if they stop by. Since this, he moved to California at an undisclosed address and started working on his newest release. If you’re unfamiliar, you can get a better sense of his attitude through his music videos or social media posts.

This Old Dog doesn’t deviate much from Demarco’s easy, breezy sound found in his previous two albums, but displays a level of growth in songwriting and production. His lyrics are less cluttered than before and grapple with much more complex and adult themes, the largest being Demarco’s relationship with a largely absent father. He laments that he’s turning into his father on the first track “My Old Man”, closing the album with “Watching Him Fade Away” where Demarco says of his father’s illness: “the thought of him no longer being around/ well sure it would be sad but not really different”. It’s heart wrenching to hear about losing something that was never quite there and a stark contrast to previous songs such as “Ode to Viceroy”, an ode to Demarco’s favorite cigarettes.

Maybe it’s his shift towards these more adult themes that makes this album feel different from the previous ones. The sound hasn’t changed that much, although Demarco’s favored an acoustic guitar heavily this time around. This album also sounds more polished, more studio produced than previous demo-like moments from Salad Days or 2.  He’s still the laid-back singer-songwriter but his sound is starting to explore a selection of other genres and influences. “A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes” feels folky with a harmonica and acoustic guitar while “One More Love Song” immediately after is funkier with heavier bass. However, he manages to do all of this and still sound like Mac Demarco.

This album makes for easy listening in true Demarco fashion. While it personally isn’t my favorite work from him, it still has great moments and is still a strong album.

Stream This Old Dog here and catch Demarco at The Moore Theatre September 10th or 11th.

Best Tracks: “My Old Man”, “Still Beating”, “One More Love Song”

image
Jessica Gloe

Bastille: A Concert I’ll Never Forget

Last night I saw Bastille perform at the WaMu theater, just outside international district in Seattle. In a word, it was WILD (pun intended). I bought the tickets because a friend and I were (and still are) really into their newest album, Wild World. Also – it was her birthday, so, perfect gift. I wasn’t super interested in their older stuff, from Bad Blood, but there was simply no denying I’d heard it all before. It had been force fed to me by the various radio stations that played almost all their songs relentlessly. Bad Blood, particularly the track “Pompeii” was what made this band absolutely explode (yes, like the volcano). Bastille has some kick-ass merch, so naturally as soon as we got to the venue and I immediately bought a shirt from the merch stand, no regrets. You can find their merch here. With a belly full of hot Asian soup, bubble tea, and a new Bastille T-Shirt on my back – I was pumped to see them perform. 

[As a side note – I was too busy buying merch that we missed the opener, Cosmo Mondo, but the drunken woman behind us assured me they were fantastic.]

If you haven’t seen the music video for their song “Fake It” you should watch it now, because it’s pretty important to several aspects of the concert. 

Anyways, the newcaster guy from this video was displayed on the two huge screens on either side of the stage for about 20 minutes before Bastille took the stage. Essentially, it was just behind the scenes footage (although clearly staged) of this news caster being a pompous asshate to basically everyone in the studio. It was really interesting and gave a lot of context to the music video. There was a lot to read into here, but I know I’ll get carried away talking about it so I won’t even start. 

When it was time for Bastille to enter, we heard “Pay attention to this breaking news” (or something like that) as the beginning of “Send Them Off!” began to play. Bastille stormed the stage and the concert was in full swing in a matter of seconds. They rocked, they destroyed really. Dan (the lead singer) had excellent control over his voice and completely blew me away. You can check out his vocal performance compared to the track performance here, and you’ll see there’s very little discrepancy. In my opinion, he was better live, Bastille as a whole was. 

image

Between the amazing guitar solo (during “Four Walls”), the mesmerizing background, and the awesome sound of Bastille 20 feet away from you – I got lost. I took too many pictures, and I’m not normally one to take photos of a concert, I’m all about that “be in the moment” bullshit. But, they were so picture worthy. I was dancing and singing along, the concert lasted 2 hours and I loved every second of it. 

Back to the background for a moment, did I mention it rocked?? Because it did, each song had its own really intriguing music video esque background to accompany it. Some of it was new perspective on their already released music videos, and a ton of it was new content. I couldn’t get enough of it. Again, so many ways to read into it… don’t even get me started. Basically justa  huge amount of playful commentary on how the media and politics can destroy and mold us.

image

The concert ended with an awesome and emotional encore. The whole idea of encores seems silly and planned to me, so usually I find them superficial (not that I’m not thankful for the extra songs, but yeah). But, right before they played the last song of the set Dan told the audience that they’d be back, obviously, for the encore, so not to be worried. He commented on how silly it felt, but he had no choice. Awesome. Speaking of which, Dan (and the whole band) had great stage presence and audience interactions. At one point Dan walked right through the middle of the audience to the back of the theater… I tried to snap a picture, but I didn’t do a great job. I didn’t get close enough to actually see him.  (Maybe you can spot him here in the middle of the spotlight somewhere)

image

When the lights came back on, the newscaster dude was back on the screens. And he FREAKED out. It was awesome. I can’t even explain how much commentary about the political and media climates there were, but it was a lot. And it was done perfectly, considering the Wild World album focuses a lot on the media and how our views can be shaped. I was sad to leave, but I wasn’t disappointed. Next time Bastille is here in Seattle you can be I’ll be there.

Until next time blawgers!

<3 Zach

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Flor:  A Better Opener

So, a few weeks ago a few friends and I went to go see Hayley Kiyoko live. The performance was at the wonderful Crocodile in downtown Seattle (although the roof was leaking??) and we were excited to see the show. We got there praying there wouldn’t be an opener, we just wanted to get straight to the Hayley Kiyoko part of the night. But there was an opener, of course, the upcoming band Flor. To our surprise, Flor blew us away with their music and stage presence – they rocked our socks right off. Surely, we thought, Hayley would top them by leaps and bounds – this wasn’t the case. Hayley Kiyoko was fine, she got the job done but all in all she was a beautiful mess. The show felt unprofessional, and I’d describe her stage presence and remarks thereof as a long Tumblr text post I did not want to read. So, this blog is gonna be about Flor, because I fell in love with them. Sorry Hayley.

image

Although Flor has just only started touring and doing large live performances, they still managed to impress us. The lead singer, Zach, was adorable and so awesome and kind to the audience. He had sort of a cute and quirky way of getting us pumped up. After their first few songs he thanked the audience, “Thank you guys for applauding, you really didn’t have to. It could’ve been totally silent, and I just wanna thank you guys for the applause”. I hope that in the future, if Flor gets big, that he doesn’t lose this thankfulness to a jaded look at fame and performance.
All four members of the band had a stage presence that played off one another, they worked as a cohesive organism that made awesome rock sounds. Not only was their stage presence just fantastic, so was their music. The indie and high voice of the singer was the perfect complement to the airy indie rock music flow they had going on. They did a really cool rock style performance of Adele’s “Send my Love (to your new lover)” that you can watch here:

All in all the concert rocked, and it was really worth it to see Flor – oh, and Hayley Kiyoko was there too. I ended up buying this sick hat from the Flor merch, I liked them so much.

<3 Zach Krieger

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Artist Rediscovery: Sir Sly

Check THIS to start listening while you read

             Anyone
remember the song “Gold”? You know, released in 2013 – popular over the summer
that next year? No, well, unfortunately not many people I’ve talked to seem to
remember it. Clicking this might jog your memory, if
you’ve heard it before at least. The song was off the album You Haunt Me by Sir Sly, and it was a magnificent album. Sir Sly focuses on an
ambient, electronic “chill” pop sound mixed with some interesting vocals. The
band is a three-piece formed in California just back in 2012, so relatively new
to the music scene. You Haunt Me is
their debut, with 12 tracks, was released in 2014. I’ve been patiently awaiting
the release of a second album; but, it’s been three years and all I’ve gotten
is one single, “Expectations”, in 2016 and nothing since. I figure maybe if
they get more support they’ll be more apt to release some new music, so here’s
an artist rediscovery of Sir Sly.

image

             If you’ve
heard Sir Sly, it because you found them through their most popular song,
“Gold”, which admittedly is a pretty sick track. A lot of the tracks on You Haunt Me feel very much like “Gold”,
with a sort of accusatory lyrical composition and an ambient electronic feel.
It’s the sort of music you listen to on a cloudy day (so pretty much everyday
here..). Like any angsty new band, the songs focus mainly on the destructive
end of a relationship, and the hindsight that comes with it. From tracks that
focus on self-doubt like ”Leave You, to tracks that blame the other person,
like “Found You Out”, we journey through every part of a relationship as it
ends. This album has it all; from fast paced and anger filled, to melancholy
and down-tempo.

             Sir Sly
takes advantage of metaphor, and employs the technique liberally throughout all
their songs. It kicks ass when coupled with the atmospheric feel of the whole
album. Not only that, but the unique twinge of the vocals completes the
electronic undertones that accent most of the tracks. Beyond the base
metaphors, the lyrics feel destructive and precise, they hit right where they’re
meant to – this band certainly is country but they know how to pull your
heartstrings. I’ve found that they express a lot of things about love that you
won’t find very often in music; the subtle doubts. Sir Sly doesn’t necessarily
focus on huge, glaring, problems that are visible on the surface of a relationship.
Rather, their music emphasizes things like pride or disloyalty (or other
personality traits) that leak into a relationship and poison it. Here are some
of my favorite lyrics:

“A taker and a giver / Oh I made you shiver
/ Couldn’t I deliver?”                    (Found You Out)

“I believed in you and then you feel apart/ You broke my trust, broke
my heart” (Nowhere/Bloodlines, Pt. I)

“I’ll be the bigger man while you act like you’re innocent / No matter
where you go, your lies will follow you” (Found You Out)

“I don’t owe you a single thing, not a God damn thing” (Gold)

If you don’t listen to Sir Sly then you really should. If you’re
ever feeling angry, sad, or just sorta existing, Sir Sly is the band for you.
They are fairly difficult to characterize, but they are similar to The Neighbourhood,
a slowed down David Guetta, or maybe more of a Bad Suns type vibe. As far as
where to start listening, I recommend “Found You Out”, “Inferno”, and “You Haunt Me”.
Thanks for the read! See you next week.


<3 Zach Krieger

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!