Archive | March, 2011

trembling justice

30 Mar

One of my favorite bands of all time, Death Cab, came out with a new single this week. Hooray… except I am not sharing it because I don’t really like it. It is an OK song, and I am excited for new material from them, but for my favorite artists of the past I have come to expect epic greatness or the music falls flat. I can’t help it. The trajectory of a band can vary so much, and my own tastes can shift so easily.  I have found that the idols I hold the dearest tend to fall the hardest (dare I say from Such Great Heights) in my eyes because I have set such high expectations. Foo Fighter’s Everlong is one of my favorite songs ever, but I am barely buzzed about their upcoming album due to lackluster recent releases. The newest Counting Crows album was purchased, listened to three times, and gathers dust, while August and Everything After remains on rotation forever after.

What do you do when your relationship with an artist has potentially reached its peak… do you linger around hoping they can somehow make things like they used to be, reignite that fire? Or do you remember the good times, smile because it happened, and move on? Today I choose the latter… but don’t worry DC I haven’t given up on you yet. May 31st.

Update: this BBC bit sums things up nicely.

Today’s Emo: Trembling Hands / Explosions in the Sky

This song lives up to its name… symphonies echoing upon symphonies, sound trembling on sound. The track is off Explosions in the Sky’s upcoming album, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, and while that is a lot of taking and caring I can’t wait to have a new perfect soundtrack for both work and play. Like many, I first came across Explosions in the Sky via the television show Friday Night Lights. I have only caught a couple episodes, but the soundtrack stuck, especially after the group started following me around on Pandora like a lost puppy.

Friday Night Lights and EITS have Texas in common – although this sound sounds so far away from Texas. Explosions in the Sky could mean something terrible and destructive (bombs) or dazzling and full of light (fireworks). It wasn’t until writing this post and thinking about the group name that I realized I never thought anything but fireworks, which I’m sure is how they want it. Captivating, cinematic, electric. #emo

Today’s Untz: Civilization / Justice

‘the beating of a million drums’

Getting on the internet bandwagon that is going nuts over this track, because as with many bandwagons there is a reason so many have hopped on board for the ride. Justice emerges from a serious hiatus to drop a track in an Addidas commercial of all places, that happens to feature everyone and their mom, from Katy Perry to the Chicago Bulls to B.o.B. and some skater bros.

The song is so good I couldn’t care less, and it  instantly makes me forgive the French duo for the four year production break and less than organic reappearance onto the scene. There is something about the chorus that is so simple but still so captivating – untz at its finest. March to the D.R.U.M.S. Do the dance. #untz


black ce soir

28 Mar

Epic adventures with old friends all weekend. No time to write.

Today’s Emo: Ce Soir / Monogrenade

With the exception of Sigur Ros’ Icelandic gibberish, and Shakira being way better of a singer and songwriter when she sticks to her native tongue, I like my music in English. Perhaps its because I am so lyrically conscious. I don’t speak a lick of French, but one listen of Ce Soir had me hitting repeat and going to to try and figure out what this beautiful song was about. Something sad.

I thought it quite romantic to fall in love with a French song, but turns out Monogrenade is from Montreal. I guess French Canadians can be sexy too. Gentle guitar, silky vocals, and a steady beat, with a bit of a James Bond crescendo in the middle. Beautiful. Merci beaucoup. #emo

Today’s Untz: Black and Blue (Netsky remix) / Miike Snow

‘the dog is always barking at the mailman’

Miike Snow’s Burial came on at dinner the other night, and drove me to revisit the whole album, which I hadn’t done in months due to my over listening to things I love addiction. What a great revisit it was, track to track. Then I came on this sped up version of one of my favorites on Hypem and it felt like a sign for sharing. Hopefully the Swedes come out with some new material of their own soon so I can get sick of it. #untz

girl eyes

25 Mar

Lilith Fair watch out, cause today’s post has a lot of lady in it. Perfect timing for two of my best girlfriends from college arriving into San Fran tonight. Shout out to Ms. Diaz down in Peru, you will be with us in spirit, and we will send you some love. Napa here we come, rain and all.

Today’s Emo:  Eyes / Still Corners (Rouge Wave cover)

I can handle a lot / but one thing I’m missing / is in your eyes / in your eyes

Chirping crickets, willowy vocals, this song makes me want to sleep under the stars somewhere warm and far away. I first heard Eyes in a LG cellphone commercial about a neighborhood coming together to fix an antique carousel (random, but kind of fitting). While Rouge Wave’s original version is sigh inducing in its own right, London Based Still Corners adds something soft and shimmery here that I want to curl up in. Beyond #emo

Today’s Untz: Stop Hey (Rusko remix) / The Sunday Girl

‘I’m afraid of tomorrow / when I wake up you’ll be gone’

This intro is so untzy and hard to understand that I thought I had stumbled onto something in Russian. Not so much.

I get jealous when people born in the same year as me are wicked talented at creating music, and Rusko is an amazing dj from Leeds who just turned 26. He injects serious beats into Sunday Girl’s pretty but kind of weepy sounding Stop Hey and turns it into a remix that makes me want to dance my way through the end of this rainy week La Roux and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs style. Happiest of Fridays, per usual. #untz

friendly monsters

23 Mar

Big changes at work mean little time to find new tunes during the week anymore… with great power comes great responsibility. Luckily I had time to catch up on a lot of tracks while cleaning the crap out of my apartment last weekend. Dance music + swifter  made me feel like Pippi Longstocking when she taped scrubbers onto her feet and poured bubbles on the floor. I will always find the time.

Today’s Emo: Little Talks / Of Monsters and Men

‘we used to play when we were young and full of life and full of love’

Who needs mice when you can have monsters? I almost skipped over this track upon first listen because the intro sounds like a bad Mighty Mighty Bosstones song. Then the vocals chimed in and I thought I had fallen into a miscategorized  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros track.  Upon further listening and a bit of digging through the interwebs I discovered Of Monsters and Men: an Icelandic pop group with clever male/female banter and a jamboree vibe. This is a great indie folk jam and the Oregonian in me can’t help but tap my foot along to the tambourine.

Thanks Iceland, I was losing faith in your musical exports after too many funny SNL clips of Bjork. #emo

Today’s Untz: Live Those Days Tonight / Friendly Fires

‘you claim  your history / is beyond a man like me / but I’ll live I’ll live I’ll live / I’ll live these days tonight’

Bad Enrique Iglesias song, or new indie dance band release? The latter, but sometimes it’s shocking how fine of a line it can be. I like dancing to bad Enrique anyway, especially with tracks like Tonight I’m Fucking You (so dirty you have to watch it on a Russian YouTube knockoff).

This Friendly Fires track may be a bit more subtle in its message, but it still stirs me up. I saw the group and fellow britts The xx play a show at the Independent a couple falls back and was impressed with the likes of Strobe and Skeleton Boy, so I am looking forward to May 16th’s release of their new album, Pala. If it has more tracks like this, I am sure to be catching them again and dmfo. #untz

the sun, the ego

21 Mar

Music makes everything better. Good becomes great. Happy becomes happiness.

Today’s Emo: Anna Sun / Walk the Moon

your hands on my cheeks / your shoulder in my mouth’

Catchy. Guilty pleasure Monday. This takes me back to my Something Corporate/Taking Back Sunday days of musical naivety, and I love that I can still love songs like this.  These Ohioans are still playing the likes of venues like Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack, but have some serious heart and are sure to have 14 year olds weak in the knees in no time. Watch their music video and try not to smile, because clearly the lead singer can do nothing but. “Anna sun” in song sounds kinda like “innocent” and  I get it. Young fun free.

Live my life without coming up for air. #emo

Today’s Untz: Ego / Burial, Four Tet & Thom Yorke

‘I bet you hear this all the time’

A beautiful, chill collaboration. Four Tet and Radiohead make perfect sense. Settle into this song and feel the struggs of Monday wash away… earthy warm beats, it is the kind of song that can drift me into sleep with the volume down, or drive me to move with the speakers up. #untz

dancing with the mau5

18 Mar

I am crankily finishing off a 3 day juice cleanse. Last weekend I decided I go out too often and eat too much crap and that I needed some focus in my life. After 72 hours of just veggie and fruit juice, eggplant broth, detox tea, coconut water, and the energy level of 90 year old, instead of feeling pure and inspired to live life green, I feel like I miss hamburgers, happy hour, and my friends.

My quest for perspective has had the opposite effect than I planned: fuck pro-biotics and aloe shots. I love my messy life, and I cannot think of a better way to break the fast than dancing my face off at Boys Noize tonight at the Mezz.

Today’s Emo: Dancing with the DJ (Campfire Acoustic Version) / The Knocks

I know good love is hard to find / when you’re dancing with the dj, dancing with the dj’

While The Knocks original version of this song makes me want to skate in a disco-themed roller rink, this striped down version makes me want to… strip. Listen to this slow jam and just try not to take your clothes off, maybe around a campfire. The producers-turning-artists Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson have remixed the likes of Big Boi, R2d2 and Calvin Harris, but have recently started releasing attention grabbing tracks of their own. Funny that I discovered them via something so chill. Pass the marshmellows.

Today’s Untz: HR 8938 Cephei / Deadmau5

Oh hai Deadmau5, thanks for randomly debuting an epic 10 minute opus of untz in the middle of the week with another nonsensical song name. When I wiki’ed ‘cephei’ I got a lot of scientific business up over my head, but gather it has something to do with eclipsing stars. The HR and random (?) four digits make the song name feel like some top secret government project in space. Fits the sound. All the elements of signature Mau5 that somehow never get old, I could have this on loop for hours. #untz

** Update from Nicole **

foster the funeral

16 Mar

Despite the shitty weather (or perhaps because of it, it’s San Francisco) it is starting to feel like spring. On Monday’s evening run I caught the surfers bobbing about in the water at the base of the bridge for the first time since last fall, taking advantage of the extra hour of light. Love is in the air with spring romances and engagements in full bloom a la Bambi. And yet, rain rain rain. Accordingly a surprisingly upbeat emo for the season, and a more somber untz for the weather.

Today’s Emo: Helena Beat / Foster the People

‘yeah yeah and I’m alright/ I took a sip of something poison but I’ll hold on tight’

Heralded as the perfect replacement for MGMT’s mismanagement, with a bit of Gorillaz sass and a hint of Adam Levine’s chops, LA born Foster the People are having a moment. The band’s EP, Pumped Up Kicks, debuted to internet acclaim in January, and will be followed by a full length album, Torches, at the end of May.

Like Cults, the indie trio has steadily garnered a crew of faithful online followers via lots of hearting on Hypem, and will be showcasing their stuff live at some of the season’s top festivals before the debut. Torches will come with perfect timing for summer… this music makes me want to kick my shoes off, sprawl out in the grass at Fort Mason and a sip on a cold one.  #emo

Today’s Untz: Funeral (Butch Clancy remix) / Band of Horses

‘I’m coming up only to hold you under / I’m coming up only to show you wrong

The original version of Funeral has been following me around everywhere I go lately, to the point where I feel it in my bones. The release of this remix seems like a sign… I don’t know how I feel about it, but I know it’s worth sharing. A pretty amazing feat to inject dubstep into one of the most emo/haunting songs of all time, but I think Butch Clancy does a good job of doing it, considering what a hard task he is taking on. I am just not sure if a song like Funeral should be tampered with.

During the intro I always picture two people in a pool of water, someone emerging up to pull the other down with them. There is something so eerily beautiful about the song, and this isn’t lost here, it’s just different. #untz

sleeping dragons

14 Mar

Last fall I was excited for the extra sleep daylight savings provided when we all fell back an hour. Then it got dark at 5, and that hour stopped feeling so sweet. This morning’s alarm was brutal, but I am thankful for the opportunity to take my end of day commute and evening runs out from under the cover of darkness. Make light.

Today’s Emo: Sleeping Lessons (RAC remix) / The Shins

‘and glow / glow / melt and flow / eviscerate your fragile frame / and spill it out on ragged floor / a thousand different versions of yourself’

RAC gently folds in something warm into the Shin’s already fantastic Sleeping Lessons, crafting a remix that awakens my soul while drifting me away into sleepy musical bliss. Known for capitalizing on a song’s subtle nuances, Remix Artist Collective takes a fresh approach on the art of the remix: “I strive to create remixes for music lovers who want to hear the song re-invented, not just re-interpreted and chopped up,” RAC founder Andre Anjos says, “I hope people experience the original songs in a different way that not only complements the original, but takes them somewhere else.”

Andre is originally from Portugal but currently resides in Portland, Oregon, and has enlisted Andrew Maury and Karl Kling into the collective. The group of twenty somethings have worked magic on Phoenix’s Armistice, Chromeo’s Fancy Footwork and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s Home. All refreshing, but Sleeping Lessons takes me somewhere else. #emo

Today’s Untz: Hello / Martin Solveig & Dragonette

‘you’re alright but I’m here darling to enjoy the party’

The perfect weekend anthem, Hello captures those nights when you are out dancing with your girlfriends and aren’t interested in getting distracted by engaging with the opposite sex. I believe Dane Cook said it best with, “…let’s go dance tonight! Fuck guys tonight. Let’s just stand in a circle around our shoes and our pocketbooks and lets just dance. And if guys come near us we’ll tazer them. No guys.”

Dragonette is an indie band from Canada that has also done some killer collaborations with Kaskade, and Martin Solveig is dj gold from Paris. There are dozens of Hello remixes out there, but I keep going back to the original. The song’s music video is also a treat – Solveig takes on Bob Sinclair in a tennis match. Lycra, short shorts, bad pony tails… #untz

star fetish

11 Mar

It’s the Friday before Saint Patrick’s Day which means a weekend of merriness, day drinking, beer that stains your teeth green and pinching. This will happen all over again on the actual Saint Patty’s day and then again the weekend after. So it goes. I am in the middle of reading Slaughterhouse-Five, and want to follow every thought with ‘so it goes.’

Today’s Emo: Death as a Fetish / Starfucker


I saw Starfucker play all of two songs Wednesday night thanks to totally miscalculating  when they would take the stage. During the majority of their show I was down the street drinking beer from a boot and eating delicious German food, killing time before their show. So it goes. I had the best kind of company, the two songs were good and as a consolation I got to meet the band/get my album signed. The boys look like babies so perhaps this is why they decided to play a headlining show at the Rickshaw Stop at nine pm. School night.

Death as a Fetish is surprisingly upbeat for having a morbid (if not kinky) title.  I’d like the sound to follow me around on a sunny weekend adventure somewhere warm and outdoors. I realize I originally introduced STRFKR as an untz, but their new album is decidedly more mellow than their earlier stuff. Reptilian, which is a slimy sounding title for an album with such smooth beats, is phenomenal – Passion Pit meets Miike Snow meets chill instrumental djs like Germany Germany.  Starfucked. #emo

Today’s Untz: Stars (LAZRtag remix) / The xx

and I can draw the line on the first date/ I’ll let you cross it / let you take every line I’ve got

The xx is one of my favorite bands, Stars is one of my favorite songs, and this is a stellar remix. The underlining theme of Stars takes you to a place that we’ve all been to– that dizzy feeling when you are hitting it off perfectly on a first date, your subsequent decision to not put out because you really like this person, and the inevitable allowance to lose yourself in the moment because Stars don’t shine for the very first time very often, and deserve to be celebrated. LAZRtag transforms the whispy song into something dance worthy and the beats at the end have a hint of Kaskade’s trance inducing sound. Celestial. #untz

stop your body

9 Mar

[guest post by Kurt Soller]

Today’s post injects some East Coast influence into both the Untz and the Emo. The same boy who introduced me to Vampire Weekend during a sun soaked Mexican spring break and Francis and the Lights last fall contributes two bands I have never heard before but instantly love. It doesn’t hurt that the boy can write, having taken on the pages of Newsweek, Esquire, and New York Mag.

I am also not the least bit surprised that his untz involves roaming the streets very late after a night of play. Great taste and thoughtful words… enjoy. And thanks ‘Tugs. – Tor

Today’s Emo: Your Body is a Machine / The Good Natured

we are influenced by self-love and benevolence / narcissism’s overwhelming / vanity is quite exhausting / self-indulgent, hedonistic, blame it all on your upbringing’

I don’t remember how I first found this song, but I do know this: when I went searching for more information on The Good Natured and the indie-pretty Sarah McIntosh, she had just launched her band’s website that day – on March 8th. Needless to say, if she’s anything like her fellow label ladies (Bat for Lashes and Lily Allen, to name a few) or any of the other fierce front women that seem to be farmed in the UK these days, we can expect true greatness. Florence, batten down the hatches!

I’m especially digging the song above because it hides emo-romance beneath lively beats and a constantly-changing cadence. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a gothic, Crystal Castles-inspired undertone to all this, another group that starts my mind racing toward darkness every single time. #emo

Today’s Untz: Stop and Stare / Fenech-Soler

the city, it sleeps, not knowing the reason why

Growing up, everyone always mispronounced my name as Soler (Solar?) and for some reason, even now, I’ve always remembered that. So I was originally drawn to Fenech-Soler when I saw their name – my mistaken name – while reading Kitsune Maison’s stellar online journal.

Soon, I forgot all about the name bullshit and was pulled into this U.K. band’s hypnotizing electro-pop. Like La Roux or Ellie Goulding, I like the glam sensibility that underlines pulsing techno beats. This time, it’s absolutely a dude’s game, with a chorus that’s booming with brio; Ben Duffy is one energetic lead vocalist, and I’m eager for the band to head on their first U.S. tour. After struggling over which of their songs would be the most weekend-worthy, I settled on the one above. It’s an up-all-night anthem about losing track of time, wandering around the city and, perhaps even, forgetting how to pronounce your own name. #untz