Song Roundup 1: Into August

It would appear that I’ve rather had a long wait between blog posts. For this I apologize and blame the business of presentations and time in an electrochemistry lab. However, I never stopped listening to music. Here are some tunes I’ve been playing in the last few weeks.

“Smile” by Lily Allen

There is a very upbeat attitude to this song, a real groove that you can easily latch onto and jam away with. But quickly the song jumps into much harsher territory as Allen tells us about her boyfriend who was “f***ing that girl next door,” and her only reaction is “what’d you do that for?” But she turns the tables smiling when the cheater cries about his current problems. After being cheated on, she rejects his hopeless attempts at getting back into her life. And each time, Lily Allen just smiles. With the tables turned, there is a great sense of revenge and, coupled with the catchy song, you can’t help but like what she’s doing. It’s a great redemption song and an excellent way to pass the time.

“We’ll Make a Lover of You” by Les Savy Fav

It’s impossible to mention this band without commenting on the antics of lead singer Tim Harrington. So, I’ll send you toward this link:

Now, this song is a gem, even separated from a live show. Singing of an excess of love, Harrington sounds disenfranchised, angry, and absolutely interesting. He simply draws you in with lyrics that are seemingly incompatible with the stereotypical notions of love. Even more impressive are the wandering guitar lines. Realistically, this song would be amazing even removed from the great vocal work – sometimes I just try to follow the strumming. It’s really a fun song that makes you move your feet and challenges most normalized notions of love.

“Tweak” by Busted Vacuum

This relatively unknown band is easily found on the internet (a simple search will yield MySpace, Pure Volume, and other links) and is very fun. Busted Vacuum has various styles including some ska-esque punk, a winding techno-style guitar song, and other alternative variations on rock. While each is quite interesting, “Tweak” is clearly their best output. A loose shuffle drum drives the song along. Ringing guitars wander around as a great sense of rambling draws interest and provides a great source of the song’s fun. And “fun” is the important word here – the whole of “Tweak” exudes joy, even going so far as to tell us that there’s “nothing to tweak about.” So, relax and enjoy this great piece of music.

“Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear

Debuted on Letterman, this song (much like “While You Wait for the Others”) only furthers the intense desire for Grizzly Bear’s next album. Again, stunning vocal harmonies are the immediate draw. However, electric piano work is a decidedly new take on the band’s style. “Two Weeks” opens with this instrument’s staccato attack, and the piano carries throughout the entire song. Amazing bass and drum work only further the excellence always exhibited by Grizzly Bear. Described by others as more “sunny,” I’m not really sure that this new song sounds immediately optimistic. However, this song is simply amazing, even after many listens. You, too, should be very anxious for the next Grizzly Bear album.

“Jonathon Fisk” by Spoon

Minimalist music is Spoon’s forte. On Kill the Moonlight (the home of “Jonathon Fisk”), the song “Paper Tiger” is very noteworthy for forming a song out of almost nothing – and making an absolutely stunning experience. But on “Jonathon Fisk,” Britt Daniels adds a bit more than the bare minimum. Perfect guitars and a driving rhythm are not only excellent, they’re crucial. The song is simple to fall in love with, the lyrics are catchy (“Jonathon Fisk, always a risk”), and everything just falls into one delicious package. There is even a hint of swagger here, as Spoon is on the very top of their game. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint what makes this song so great, but it is. I urge you to go out and find “Jonathon Fisk” and its parent album Kill the Moonlight – they’re both amazing.