Tag Archives: tokyo police club

Album Review: Boxed Wine – Cheap, Fun EP

Seems I haven’t posted on here for a ‘bit.’ I’ve been a tad busy with the real world, but I figured if I liked something enough, then I should probably write about it.

Boxed Wine just put out their second EP last week, as a preview of an album that should be out in the Spring. They describe themselves as ‘indie party pop,’ and this looks to be just that. In a time when so many bands are afraid of the term ‘pop’ on account of it sounding mainstream, the band bats a blind eye and throws their cards in. The results are exactly what one would expect; catchy, simple songs about having a good time.

The first track is “Bones,” and has a bit of a rockier sound than the other two, and might remind fans of their first EP. Still, it’s sonically bigger than what they’ve done before and is more along the lines of Young the Giant than Two Door Cinema Club.

“Boomerang” is next, and that’s where they find a pop groove that could legitimately get people dancing. If you don’t get the damn title stuck in your head, there may just be something wrong with you, with the band coming off a bit like the child of Hot Hot Heat and MGMT. Weird, I know.

It’s on the last track, “Dayglow,” where they start to really stray from their formula. It’s still poppy, but the dance element sticks through more than anything else. The beat sounds like a Pitbull b-side more than an indie rock band from New Jersey, but somehow Boxed Wine makes it work. This might be where they’re going with their sound, but all three tracks could point to a possible direction change.

Overall, the band gets to the point, and maybe that’s what we really need in 2013?  With the indie scene how it is, it’s kind of refreshing to hear a band honestly describe themselves and not come off as pretentious. Hopefully this EP doesn’t have the best songs from their album, but being how different their songs have been up until now, I don’t even know what to expect. All I know is that it might be cool, and will definitely be fun.

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Tokyo Police Club – “Under Control (Strokes cover)”

By this point Tokyo Police Club are definitely in my top ten favorite bands, and this might have just bumped them up an extra notch or two.  While Julian Casablancas is always raving about his love of reggae and Bob Marley, the sound itself never truly makes it into his work without being put through the ‘Strokes filter.’  That filter also has the side effect of making everything sound amazing, by the way.  Tokyo Police Club put the song through their filter instead and “Under Control” comes out like Dave Monks wrote it after smoking a tad too many pots and listening to that Legend bonus disk of Marley remixes one too many times.

You can decide if you like the reggae vibe for yourself…

Tokyo Police Club – “Centennial (acoustic)”

An example of good songwriting.

 

Tokyo Police Club – Centennial (acoustic)

Tokyo Police Club @ Terminal 5 1/21/2011

Tokyo Police Club played Terminal 5 and I was there.  SPOILER ALERT: they rocked!  But first, the opening and co-headlining bands…

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin was up first, and their set went along exactly like I expected it to.  They played a few songs from their new album mixed in with their most popular tracks from their first two.  They ended with what’s probably their best song, “Pangea,” and everybody enjoyed it.  Yet honestly, I don’t think the band is cut out for bigger venues.  That’s completely based on the style of their music though, as they don’t really have any rocking anthems to sway a large audience.  Their brand of folk rock would definitely be better suited for a club, and that’s really a good thing.  A more intimate setting would let the band come across more consistently than a live stage would ever let them.

Two Door Cinema Club is an interesting beast and I find myself split on how to write about them.  They played a great show, but I honestly didn’t like it that much.  Their sound was impeccable, yet I found that all of their songs really blended into one.  I’m going to chalk this up to the fact that I don’t like everything this band does.  The electronic feel they give their music doesn’t always do it for me, and they came across as more of a dance act than the rock band that’s often featured on last year’s debut album.  My favorites by them live were the same as my favorites on the album, especially “Eat That Up, It’s Good For You.”

I think my ultimate feeling toward TDCC is this: a lot of their songs have this, for lack of a better word, “unreal” fealing to them.  Not that they aren’t good and entertaining, but that their songs sometimes lack what I would call a soul.  The album, as well as the live show, felt very produced, and I can sense this weird lack of heart in the band.  I felt the same way about Oberhofer the night before.  Sure, the band is consistent, efficient, and (by all intents and purposes) good, but I always feel there is something missing.  Ith Oberhofer, it is a lack of genuine song writing.  With Two Door Cinema Club, it is not so much that as it is a lack of feeling.  They have the hooks to keep you entertained, but the delivery always falls flat.  This is the opposite of Tokyo Police Club.

Dave Monks writes the songs of Tokyo Police Club, and his sentiments are all over every note the band plays.  They are a direct translation of his feelings, and the band does and did a great job of getting those across to the listener on Friday night.  Ultimately, the songs are simpler than TDCC’s, and any of them could be translated to just Monks and a guitar and have the same effect.  He sings from the heart, and even when he is completely off-key (semi often), it has no effect on his spirit and clear passion for music.  That’s why I would be bold enough to say that Tokyo Police Club will be around for a long time if they choose so.  If not, Monks will probably be doing something musical no matter what.

In terms of performance, the vocals were more powerful than I thought they would be, and Dave sung well throughout the performance.  They played a ton of songs, and they were all played perfectly.  My biggest gripe is that the sound man must have spent more time on TDCC than TPC, because the mix was pretty terrible.  The guitar was far too low for the entire set, and I’m surprised that nobody did anything about it.  That fact didn’t matter that much anyway, because people were too busy singing along to the clever lyrics and fun melodies than they were focusing on the sound.  TDCC might bring the beat, but Tokyo Police Club bring the soul of a true band.

Capping off the night was an amazing performance of the Strokes’ “Last Nite”, with all three bands coming out for the encore.  I was ecstatic, obviously, but in the end it really goes to show you something.  The cover was probably the defining moment of the night, and no song by any band there could match up to the love fest the crowd gave to a version of New York’s favorite band’s classic hit.  Now tell me that doesn’t say something about lasting appeal, I dare you…

That’s it for now.  As a gift for reading, check out these songs…

Two Door Cinema Club – Eat That Up, It’s Good for You

Tokyo Police Club – Wait Up (Boots of Danger)

See You There!!!

Thumbs Up

I will be seeing The Vaccines, Tokyo Police Club, Young the Giant, The Static Jacks, Best Coast, Wavves, Telekinesis, The Love Language, and Bombay Bicycle Club in the next two months.  I am PUMPED!! Here’s a song to celebrate me spending lots of money!

The Static Jacks – Parties and Friends (and Bullshit)

Top 20 Albums of 2010: Part Two (10-1)

Ok, I know I’ve been super lazy, but it’s only because I’ve been super busy.  Forgive me!  Here’s part two of my end of the year thingamajig.  Enjoy!

10) The Drums – The Drums

Yes, I know there are haters out there.  I know the band uses the same beat and gimmick over and over.  They just do it so well that I can’t help myself when this comes on.  I think it comes down to the crooning.  I’m a sucker for a crooner, from Sinatra to Morrissey to this guy.  I don’t care who knows it…

9) LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

James Murphy is my electronic God.  He is a poet pretending to be a great musician, but he’s just too good at it.  He uses LCD Soundsystem to tell the world how he feels on a year-to-year basis.  From what he thinks of women to how he approaches age and learns lessons are documented beautifully in his work.  This Is Happening is his best record yet, and the approach to not making standout tracks works best for him.  Every song is worth a listen, and they’re all so different that it’s impossible for everyone to have the same favorite.  My favorite is “You Wanted a Hit,” whats yours?

8) Young the Giant – Young the Giant

Young the Giant is the most bombastically beautiful band of 2010.  They have the harmonies, the beats, the reverb guitar, and the soul that makes a good band become great.  Their songs are anthems, but they come straight from the feeling of a guy and a guitar.  That’s what makes them special to me, and I hope you take the time to give them a listen.  They deserve it.

7) Vampire Weekend – Contra

It’s a shame that this band gets so much backlash (re: “many backlashes” to my AutoCorrect, which kind of works too).  I don’t see how somebody can hate this or any band for its style, upbringing, or simple pop sensibility.  Can you not see that the most successful artists are the ones who are creative while staying within the world of being catchy, energetic, and fun?  Vampire Weekend do that better than almost any other band I can think of.  They have a welcoming sound that is meant to be liked, and only the most cynical of listeners hate them.  It’s like hating the Beatles.  Don’t be that guy/gal; nobody likes that person.

6) Wildlife – Strike Hard, Young Diamond

Why does nobody know about this album?  This band is just as good as other loft rock pioneers like Local Natives and Suckers, and they take the fire of Funeral Party and make it slightly more appealing (by the way, Funeral Party is an HONORABLE MENTION).  Their songs are just the right amount of diverse, but they stick together quite well.  The best thing about Wildlife is that I remember their songs in a time when there is so much music that even great songs become lost on trained ears…

5) Free Energy – Stuck on Nothin’

Remember when music was fun?  Thanks to Free Energy, you no longer have to.  This is pure power pop rock, and it has no shame.  It’s written with huge hooks and begs you to sing along to it.  With an incredibly compelling frontman and a homage to the greats of the 70s, I consider Free Energy to be the ultimate bar band; except for the fact that they write their own great songs instead of covering Boston.

4) Twin Berlin – Youth Scenes (I have an album’s worth of material, so it counts.)

Twin Berlin is the best unknown band I’ve heard this year.  They have a garage rock style that mixes the Strokes with a slightly more pop-oriented mentality, and they aren’t afraid to give it their all.  By “give it their all,” I mean they aren’t afraid to quote unquote rock.  Their songs have energy, catchiness, and balls.  All of these were very scarce in 2010, what with the mellow direction independent music has taken in the last few years. I really am thankful for this band, and I’m sure they’ll get the fame they deserve soon enough.  (Did I mention they’re super nice guys, too?)

3) Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

Local Natives put out an incredible album of reverb surf rock mixed with tribal drums and sing along harmonies.  They are a prime example of what I’ve dubbed “Loft Rock” and their live show was one of the best I’ve seen this year.  They are compelling in so many ways, making it easy to forget how beautiful their songs are by themselves.

2) Locksley – Be In Love

Locksley has at this point made its way into my top ten favorite bands of all time.  I think that’s a good indicator of how talented I think they are.  They sound like The Beatles updated to the modern day and imbued with the energy of the early 2000s garage rock revival.  The band is hands down the best live show I’ve ever seen, including bands known for their shows (Dropkick Murphys, Reel Big Fish, Third Eye Blind).

1) Tokyo Police Club – Champ

I wrote all I could about this album here.  I don’t know what else to say except that it’s still my favorite album of 2010.  I seriously bonded with this band, and I didn’t even have to meet them.  They are unique in the best possible way and the only thing that could have topped them in my eyes would have been the Strokes.  It didn’t happen, and 2010 is their year in my book.

OK I did it! And I totally forgot about the Morning Benders, whose new album Big Echo is amazing.  Arcade Fire would have been kicked off for sure.  Here are what the blog robbers came for, so enjoy it!

Local Natives – Sun Hands

The Morning Benders – Excuses

Funeral Party – Finale

Wildlife – Stand In The Water

Young the Giant – My Body

Tokyo Police Club – Wait Up (Boots of Danger)

The Drums – Saddest Summer

Locksley – Darling It’s True

Twin Berlin – All I Need

LCD Soundsystem – You Wanted a Hit

Vampire Weekend – Holiday

Free Energy – Free Energy

The Genre of Loft-Rock

There is a new genre forming, and I’ve been trying to come up with a name for it.  Just as chillwave came about a few years ago after a number of bedroom pop acts exploded from their homes, a group of bands today seem to be influencing each other’s sound in the same direction.  These bands have reverb-drenched guitars mixed with soaring harmonies layered over bombastic drums.  Often, there are moments of yelling, and the songs usually build to a climax of some sort.  Can you think of and bands like this?  How about these:

  • Arcade Fire
  • Local Natives
  • Suckers
  • Young the Giant
  • The Union Line
  • Surfer Blood
  • The Morning Benders
  • Ravens & Chimes
  • Avi Buffalo
  • Funeral Party
  • The Walkmen
  • Wildlife

Getting the picture?  Here’s some that are close but not quite.

  • Tokyo Police Club (too rocking I’d say)
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (a bit closer to chillwave)
  • Freelance Whales (a tad too folky)
  • Foreign Born
  • Fanfarlo (folktastic)
  • The Ruby Suns (tropical)
  • Fool’s Gold (really tropical)

So yeah, if you’re familiar with a few of the bands above, I think you can start to see this trend.  The name I came up with is Loft-Rock, taking the word “lofty,” which is clearly the feeling of the genre, and adding “rock” to it.  Simple enough, right?  I’m hoping this catches on, because there really hasn’t been a category to place these bands in except for just “general indie rock.”  I think it’s about time this changed.  So, without further ado,  I now present to you Loft-Rock, the biggest genre of 2010…

Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

Local Natives – Sun Hands

Suckers – Black Sheep

Young the Giant – My Body

The Union Line – Goldmine

Surfer Blood – Swim

The Morning Benders – Excuses

Ravens & Chimes – January

Funeral Party – Finale

The Walkmen – Angela Surf City

Wildlife – Stand In The Water

Enjoy!