I had a very untz and emo intensive weekend. Think underground dance party til 4 a.m. on Friday and then a beautiful couple of days in the rolling hills of Napa with the new Cold War Kids album on repeat. Life is good. So are these songs.
Today’s Emo: Big Jet Plane / Angus and Julia Stone
‘she smelled of daisies / she drive me crazy’
Brother/sister acts weird me out a little bit in the same way the dads do on the e! reality television show ‘Toddlers in Tiaras.’ Something just feels a bit off. This hasn’t stopped me from loving Australian sibling duo Angus and Julia Stone ever since I heard sigh inducing Just a Boy a couple years ago. I like that this song keeps it simple. Gentle guitar rifts, calming vocals, subtle strings, and the idea of a sweet escape make Big Jet Plane the perfect sleepy Monday morning song. #emo
‘and I never was smart with love / I let the bad ones in and the good ones go’
A-Trak borrows the violins from Robyn’s acoustic version of Indestructible and injects them into her dance track, and the result is untz genius. The strings remind me of a mixture between the shower scene of Psycho and the part of Romeo and Juliet where Leo is following Claire Danes through the costume party when they first meet, and they look at each other through the fish tank. Sharp urgency, just like Robyn’s lyrics. The remix kicks an already fantastic song up a notch, and just when things start to feel a little emo, A-Trak tosses in some crazy electro for the final minute. This is hard core. #untz
With this post The Untz and the Emo officially becomes non-child safe. It’s about time.
Today’s Emo: Go Outside / Cults
‘I really want to go out / I really want to go outside and stop to see your day / you really want to hole up / you really want to stay inside and sleep the light away’
I am a bit late on this train, but I came across Go Outside last month and was instantly won over by the track’s xylophone tings, warm childlike tone and simple premise (minus all that cult speak at the beginning). Per usual, I began scanning the interweb to figure out who Cults are, and after a couple detours into some seriously freaky satanic stuff, arrived at an answer. Pitchfork says Cults is comprised of two young film students living in New York who are dating each other and just started dabbling in producing music for fun one afternoon. I have those kinds of afternoons all the time…
The two unsigned lovers are now at work crafting a full album, and if it is anything like this, I can’t wait. Even pre-relesase, the duo has already garnered enough buzz to secure a coveted spot at Coachella this April. There. #emo
Today’s Untz: Bury Us Alive / Starfucker
Chill untz to ease into what is mapping out to be a fantastic weekend. Starfucker (family safe/stock ticker version of name is STRFKR) is an indie electro group from the best state on earth (Oregon) and just make me want to move, slowly, all the time. Love the soft vocals, love the trickling beats, love getting lost in this song. They have been around for a few years, but I only discovered them on Hypem a couple weeks ago and have been Starfucking quite a bit since. I love that I can say that. The band temporarily tried to change its name to more NCA friendly Pyramiddd, but rightfully returned back to Starfucker last May.
Bury Us Alive is the first single off their upcoming album set for March 8th, a date they will just happen to be tearing up the Independent in SF. There, DMFO (dancing my face off). #untz
It has been unusually pleasant in San Francisco, making it increasingly unpleasant to be trapped indoors. 68 and sunny t-shirt weather in January. Sigh. Between dreaming of Dolores Park, Ocean Beach and hiking, I present two tracks to help trek through the rest of the work week.
‘keep in mind / when you’re ready / I am here to / take you every time’
Love Lost is played at the end of ”No String Attached,” which I saw on Monday night. Great song, not so great film. I was happy to hear it, because it took me back to an afternoon in Golden Gate Park, at Outside Lands last August. Aussie group The Temper Trap was the first band I caught for the day, and I really just showed up to hear their single, Sweet Disposition. It seemed like everyone else did too as there was quite a bit of chatter and little focus amongst the crowd when the band took the main stage. Then this song’s signature clapping came on, and things fell quiet. Fast. It is rare for a song to win me over on first listen, let alone first fifteen seconds. Love Lost is definitely attention worthy, and soaking it in for the first time with the sun and a beer and my best friends was simple happiness. #emo
Today’s Untz: I Follow Rivers (The Magician Remix) / Lykke Li
“I, I follow / I follow you / deep sea baby / I follow you”
This jam makes Lykke Li a serious contender for Sweden’s 2nd best musical export next to the goddess that is Robyn. Lykke’s raw and unchecked voice isn’t necessarily pretty, but somehow her songs are pretty to listen to. And while the lyrics in this track are beyond repetitive, it really doesn’t get old. Bongo drums, a disco vibe, and piano cords mesh to untz worthy perfection, only aided by ex-Aeroplaner The Magician’s clever twisting of rhythm.
I also like that Lykke is out there, a la Lady Gaga, from her outfits to her interview comments to her music videos. Just watch her video for Get Some and you will see what I mean. Her new album, Wounded Rhythms, will be released at the end of February, and I will definitely be checking it out. Until then, rivers. #untz
After an active weekend of boozing and boarding in Tahoe, I present a couple of mellow tracks to ease into the work week. The first an old favorite, the second a new addition to my collection on heavy rotation. Happy Monday.
Today’s Emo: Hot Like Fire (cover) / the xx
‘I know you’ve been waitin’/ you’ve been waitin’ a long time for me/ but if you wait a little while longer this is how it’ll be‘
The xx are great at producing covers that rival their original counterparts, often while sounding nothing like them. With Hot Like Fire the trio takes Aaliyah’s Timberland laced track you probably grinded to in high school and flips it into a hazy, sultry duet that begs to be played behind closed doors. The result is bedroom pop at its best: echoing, whisper-like vocals delivered with a subtle sense of urgency. I’d love to think that the ridiculous sexual tension exuded in this song is inspired by real life, but when you see the two leads together physical chemistry is the last thing that comes to mind. The vocal chemistry, however, speaks for itself. #emo
Today’s Untz: Mine is Yours (Passion Pit remix) / Cold War Kids
‘you were changing colors like the leaves in fall‘
This. song. makes. me. so. happy. I have listened to it at least 50 times in the past few days and I am still not sick of it. Yet. The Cold War Kids’ confident vocals meet Passion Pit’s knack for a beat, and it’s all tossed together with lyrics that have pulled my heartstrings undone. While CWC have been clever with words in tracks like Audience and Hang Me Up to Dry, this is the first time I have heard them with heart (and a truly untz worthy backdrop). The new Cold War Kids album officially drops Wednesday – and their single ‘Louder than Ever’ is also definitely worth a listen. You can stream it here. #untz
‘all of my stones become your pearls/ all of my trials are your treasures / what is mine is yours‘
I am finding (very) early on in this endeavor that most of my favorite untz is a bit emo, and most of my favorite emo a bit untz. I shouldn’t be surprised.
Today’s Emo: Metaphysical / Long Walks on the Beach
While Metaphysical has upbeat undertones, the band name and song title alone make this track categorically emo. Everything about Long Walks on the Beach is cool, from sole contributor Fritz Kramar’s I just woke up voice to his song titles like “I didn’t want to make out (I wanted to kiss)” to the animal loving artwork on the LWOTB site. The band self categorizes as “bedroom pop,” and I’d happily play this in my bedroom, but I’d even more happily play this on a drive with the windows down on a sunny friday afternoon, leaving work, on my way to a mountain escape in Tahoe. Convenient timing.
“Not all we know is what we see / but I’m looking at you, you’re looking at me.” Simple beats, can’t help but smile lyrics, mild sexual innuendo, and an easy acronym. #emo
Today’s Untz: Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix) / Two Door Cinema Club
Although the first strike of sound in this track makes you think you are delving into yet another remix of Bulletproof, The Twelve’s subtle blend of untz into this already dance worthy song makes it another Friday afternoon anthem. I discovered Two Door Cinema Club a couple of weeks ago thanks to Hype Machine, and their album Tourist History is now on heavy rotation. Two Door Cinema Club reminds me of a more American sounding The Kooks (funny because they are Irish) with a dash of Death Cab for Cutie. This discovery came with great timing, because they are playing Coachella this spring.
The Twelves, a fantastic dj duo from Rio, are also doing a show in SF at the Mezz in early February. They will hopefully rock this song and I will inevitably dance my face off and temporarily forget where I am. #untz
Emo (pronounced /ˈiːmoʊ/) A style of rock music typically characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics.
Untz The official rave or techno sound of a pulsing beat, usually written with an umlaut (two dots) over the ‘U’.
Greetings to my first posting of the Untz and the Emo. You can expect tri-weekly updates of my favorite dance and indie songs, and perhaps some thoughts on what makes them so great.
Today’s emo: Down in the Valley / The Head and the Heart
To begin, a band I have done nothing but inundate everyone I know with since the first time I heard their album, the Head and the Heart. They may or may not have contributed to the inspiration behind the title of this blog, and are one of the reasons I got inspired enough to create one in the first place. Thus tweetathons, spammy Facebook posts, and enough youtube links in my gchat status to their achingly emo live shows to undoubtedly have trained some of my friends to stop bothering to click on my gchat status forever.
Ryan Adams vocals, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros cacophony of sounds and instruments, and simple yet sigh inducing lyrics (“I know there’s California / Oklahoma / and all of the places I ain’t ever been to / but down in the valley / the whiskey rivers / these are the places you will find me hiding / these are the places I will always go”) have made The Head and the Heart’s debut my favorite album of 2010.
These are the places I will always go. #emo
Today’s untz: Not in Love / Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith
Risking a bit to have a somewhat emo-y first untz song, but this song has had me rocking out in my cube during the past week, and then wanting to down shots of patron while pre-gaming at a party intentionally hosted without patron this weekend. Crystal Castles borrows the lead singer of the Cure, turning the regular baby cooing like (but still awesome) vocals of this song into something both inteligible and all too tangible. “We were lovers / now we can’t be friends / fascination ends.” Might as well dance it out. #untz