Archive | July, 2011

fire wax and wire

29 Jul

Today’s tracks both come from the influence of friends… one of my favorite attributes of music is how easily and happily it is both given and received. I am homeward bound to Oregon this morning for a long weekend, ready to escape for the annual beer fest, mountains, family, and friends. The happiest of Fridays.

Today’s Emo: Wax and Wire / Loch Lomond

‘I’m helplessly needless and needless to say I owe you’

My friend Chris who is usually an untzer tipped me off on this great indie a couple of weeks ago, and I have been listening steadily since. I love the music box intro, that the song fearlessly takes a moment to break and rebuild in the middle, and the way the words want to make something broken whole again. With a little research I was even more delighted to discover the six-piece band is from Oregon, although they are mysteriously named after a lake in Scotland. #emo

Today’s Untz: Set Fire to the Rain / Adele (Plastic Plates remix)

‘but there’s a side to you / that I never knew, never knew / all the things you’d say / they were never true, never true’

Another untz pulled from my friend Tom’s Blogjuice, where he has succinctly summed the track up in his description:  ‘Sexy voice + Sexy Beat = Sex.’ Well done. Sydney turned Los Angeles transplant Plastic Plates preserves the sincere angst of Adele’s ballad, while upping the tempo to something more engaging and movable. Dish it up. #untz


a-team miracle

27 Jul

My co-rec soccer team, the Fiyah Balls, suffered a tough play off loss Monday night after deciding to channel the US’ PK scoring abilities against Japan. I may have been involved in one of the fatal shots… no Brandi Chastiain moment for me. On the bright side, getting eliminated early in the evening gave me the chance to sit down and finally catch up on music blogs sans distraction for the first time in what feels like weeks. The result: the two solid covers below. And we still have our championship shirts from last season…

Today’s Emo: The A-Team / Birdy (Ed Sheeran cover)

‘but lately her face seems slowly sinking, wasting / crumbling like pastries’

The original version of this song is beyond emo, and Birdy takes her cover up a notch to the point where it stings. The tragic figure in the track is addicted to crack, works as a prostitute to pay rent, and is slowly crumbling like a pastry… a surprisingly poignant analogy, causing me to picture straggling crumbs at the bottom of a bag, hopeless.

All of this is being reworked by this talented fourteen year old British songstress who keeps cranking out breathtaking covers. However beautiful and believable, I hope she has little to relate to in this one. #emo

Today’s Untz: Miracle / The Dirty Tees ft. Natasha Bedingfield (Fragma cover)

Guilty pleasure music Wednesday… time to dance around the bedroom before hump day. Once I got past the shudder of hearing Natasha Bedingfield’s voice (memories of Pocket Full of Sunshine on endless loop in my head) and got into the layers of untz wrapped around this cover, everything fell into place and it seems like the only appropriate response. Enjoy. #untz

beach bass

25 Jul

A short but magical weekend, capped off with tubing down the Russian River on Sunday afternoon. Want to be back there now…

Today’s Emo: I Didn’t Want to Make Out (I wanted to kiss) / Long Walks on the Beach

‘I didn’t want to make out / I wanted to touch your lips with mine / to see if I could change our minds’

Long Walks on the Beach was featured in my second TUATE post ever, so I’m excited to share more of his stuff seven months down the line after happily stumbling upon him on Hypem the other day. Singsongy, clap along beats, slick vocals, and sliding xylophone notes make I Didn’t Want to Make Out a perfect summer driving song… windows down, speakers up, hand out the window rolling into little hills with the wind.

The song sounds decidedly California, but Fritz Kramer is doing his long walks on the other coast out in DC. There is something so endearing in the sentiment of wanting a simple kiss instead of a steamy make out session to reconnect… smitten on this song all over again.  #emo

Today’s Untz: I’ll Get You / Classixx (Gigamesh remix)

‘do you like bass / do you do you like bass’

An oldie but a goodie, we listened to this track to wake up on a sleepy drive home from Yosemite a couple weekends ago and I was reminded of how great Classixx can be… I saw them kill it at Mission Rock last winter. Gilgamesh smooths things out while keeping the catchy chorus intact in his remix. Yes guys I like bass. I love bass. #untz

crave a come down

22 Jul

Friday doesn’t feel like Friday when you know you have to go to work on Saturday. Exhausted. Music to the rescue?

Today’s Emo: Coming Down / Dum Dum Girls

‘by tomorrow I’ll be gone / if you wanna tell me something / you had better make it strong’

Coming Down has an effervescent, Wild Horses couldn’t keep me away kind of feel to it, where things start to slow down around you when you listen. I am finding myself totally bewitched by these California ladies’ new single, off their sophomore album, Only Dreams, out September 27th via my favorite label, Sub Pop.

Lead singer Dee Dee (Kristin Gundred) has the chops and songwriting strength of Cat Power, and this song sounds dangerously close to one of my favorite Mazzy Star songs, Fade Into You. I could imagine it being played in one of those epic montages at the end of an episode of House, instilling a lingering feeling of letting go and finality. Not the best upper for a Friday, but worth a dozen listens nonetheless. #emo

Today’s Untz: Crave You / Flight Facilities (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)

‘why can’t you want me like the other boys do / they stare at me while I stare at you’

Sultry vocals and a very self assured young lady who considers herself to be dripping in gold get untzified via dubstep duo Adventure Club’s dance worthy antics. Flight Facilities present that age old problem of finding oneself amidst a bevy of suitors (life is tough) yet only attracted to the one person who could care less, and Adventure Club really nails the remix, taking the song from a 6 to a 9 in no time. Crave worthy. #untz

california keys

20 Jul

Three weekends stand between me and Outside Lands, and I am restlessly waiting for live music and the revelry surrounding a summer festival weekend. This will be my third time at the rodeo, and having Outside Lands in our backyard definitely takes some of the pressure and expectations off of the whole ordeal of a fest… no weeks of planning, funds into transit and lodging, or pleading for time off. Instead, a hop in a cab or on a bike, and open fields, happy people, and hours upon hours of music all weekend long. The perfect staycation, dripping of untz and emo, sweet and simple. Will be seeing today’s untz-er for a forth time that Saturday night, dancing my face off. Twenty three more days…

Today’s Emo: California Sunrise / Dirty Gold

‘she waits for the summer to find a lover / she looks for him underneath the sand’

This track is the perfect antidote for an antsy Wednesday stuck indoors, sending me right back into the sun drenched Sierras of Saturday. The trouble with living in Northern California is you are only a couple hours away from heaven in any direction at any given moment, and knowing that makes it really hard to make it through a summer work week. The producers of the track make me think I should be working harder, though, as they released their debut EP during their senior year of high school. High. School. Brothers Lincoln and John Ballif and pal Grant Nassif spent the spring touring and releasing their five track debut EP, Roar, amidst finals and the prom.

Seagulls give way to feel good, tap along drumbeats and youthful vocals of summer love and lust amongst the sand, bringing me back to the opening scene of Grease where Sandy and Danny are rolling about in the wake together. Oh young love. Simple and easy to ease into, like the song. California sunrise, come on and wake me up. #emo

Today’s Untz: Where Are My Keys / Deadmau5

The Mau-five laid this track out for an Ibiza crowd in June and I feel transported somewhere else just listening. A steady, teasing build gives way to brief piano break and then signature mouse tracks in loops. This is the kind of song you could get lost dancing to for hours and hours without realizing it… if this is what happens when Joel can’t find his keys, I hope he stays forgetful. #untz

somebody collide

18 Jul

Yosemite totally blew my mind and gave me the retreat I was hoping for… amazing company, peace and quiet, rolling mountains, epic rocks to scamper across, and a fucking freezing river to take my breath away, followed by beers and s’mores and city free stars. I returned to San Fran on Sunday filthy and exhausted, but feeling fresh and recharged. Reminded how important it is to have weekends away from routine to recalibrate.

Today’s Emo: Somebody That I Used to Know / Goyte ft. Kimbra

‘but you didn’t have to cut me off / make out like it never happened’

This track expresses that sinking feeling when something is over, and it is suddenly really really over, to the point you can’t even collect your own stuff back and have to send a friend in your steed. Goyte sums up the dramatic role reversal of having someone be your everything to nothing overnight sadly well.

I am loving Goyte’s (aka Wally De Backer) sound and the unexpected duet folded into the second half of the song, where Kimbra shares the she side of the story. Somebody That I Used to Know is the first single of the Belgian turned Australian singer’s new album, Making Mirrors, out in August. #emo

Today’s Untz: Collide / Leona Lewis (Afrojack remix)

‘crash into me / at full speed’

Drama in the untz and emo world. Leona Lewis has allegedly snatched Avicii’s amazing signature beats from his track Penguin and sliced them into her new song, Collide. Bleeding Love may or may not have been the most played song in my iTunes library in college, but I can’t blame Avicii for being more than a little pissed that a mainstream pop princess has claimed this brilliant sound (try not smiling when you listen) as her own. The blog Vacay Wave has Avicii quoted on the matter: ‘To answer everyone, the first time I heard Leona Lewis ‘Collide’ was today. I didn’t produce it and neither me or my manager could approve it. I’m just upset for someone taking credit of our idea before I had a chance to release it… And for the time and effort that has been put into this by my manager and label.’

Afrojack counter sues Leona Lewis by untzing the shit out her sappy pop song (skip to 2:25). The result is delightfully danceable even if it is not conflict free untz. #untz

reeling home

15 Jul

I am packing into a minivan with six chicks after work this afternoon and making the three hour drive over to Yosemite where we will set up camp, hike, eat gourmet camp food (happen to have a chef amongst us) and lose ourselves in the dirt and pines for a couple of days. Work has been crazy the past few weeks, and I cannot think of a better way to retreat… even if I will be tugging along the laptop and mifi card. Bears beware, kittehs are in the woods.

Today’s Emo: Home (untitled) / Mumford & Sons

‘you went left and I went right / as the moon hung proud and white / you would of loved it here tonight’

A new sigh inducing melody from the crafters of Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons have me pining for home with this recording off their sophomore album due out late this year. I had the pleasure of seeing the English folk quartet at Coachella in April and was floored by their poise, presence and talent, feeling warm, fuzzy and inspired as they played out track after track during nightfall of the second day.

From the opening strums of banjo to Marcus Mumford’s aching vocals, the song quietly unfolds a tale of longing and regret. Delightfully tragic, beautifully nostalgic – a few listens and I find myself wanting to hop onto Kayak to find the next flight home to Oregon to curl up with my parents and my dog. Alas, the real world… a phone call will have to suffice for now. I’ll be home in a little while. #emo

Today’s Untz: The Reeling / Passion Pit (Calvin Harris remix)

‘now I pray that somebody will quickly come and kidnap me’

I have heard this song a million times, but never like this. Calvin Harris provides the perfect Friday mix to unravel for the weekend and get lost in the woods with. PP is in studio, gearing to release a new album early next year to follow Manners. About time! #untz

broken concerto

13 Jul

‘He’s rigged a tiny cassette player with a small set of foam earphones to listen to demo tapes and rough mixes. Occasionally he’ll hand the device to Mindy, wanting her opinion, and each time, the experience of the music pouring directly against her eardrums–hers alone– is a shock that makes her eyes well up; the privacy of it, the way it transforms her surroundings into a golden montage, as if she were looking back…’ – Jennifer Egan / A Visit from the Goon Squad

Wednesday. Thank god for headphones.

Today’s Emo: Winter Beats / I Break Horses

Christmas in July! Swedish duo Maria Liden and Fredrik Balck have produced some cozy musical layers for us to snuggle into in spite of the the heat of these summer months with yesterday’s release of Winter Beats. The timing could actually not be better with the cold spell rolling through San Francisco, leaving a permanent layer of white low hanging clouds over us all.

The vocals are almost childlike, the synth sharp, and the vibe surprisingly dreamy considering it comes from a group called I Break Horses. The sweeping sound makes me think of Sufjan’s Steven’s Chicago. I Break Horses release their debut album, less originally named Hearts, in mid August. Pleased to have. #emo

Today’s Untz: Warrior Concerto / the Glitch Mob

This is not your sixth grade orchestra. The intro to Warrior Concerto starts like a happier, less frenzied version of the epic strings build in the theme to Requiem for a Dream, and moves its way into something triumphant and then playful. Beats meet strings, strings flourish and meet more serious beats, ears meet happiness. The Glitch Mob is an electro tripod from LA with a new EP, We Can Make the World Stop, out yesterday. Download the track off their site for free here. #untz

rocks and stones

11 Jul

Back to a regular five day work week. Countdown to Friday and weekend escape to Yosemite commenced with blaring of alarm clock this morning.

Today’s Emo: Box of Stones / Benjamin Francis Leftwich

‘there when the rain came and settled on your skin / more like before and you let it all in’

Gentle singer songwriter Monday morning emo. I came across Benjamin Francis Leftwitch a couple of weeks ago and have been getting lost in his smooth vocals and peaceful sound… he reminds me of a naive, more literal version of Josh Ritter, and I love the sleepy rolling feel to this song.

The title of his debut album, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm, had the emo monger in me rumbling before I even heard a track, evoking an image of someone lighting a cigarette looking over a Midwestern field, biting the cold as clouds roll in. BFL is a mere 21 years of age and hails from York. While collectively his songs get a bit repetitive, I hear loads of potential. Will be keeping an eye on this one. #emo

Today’s Untz: Hits Me Like A Rock / CSS (Dillon Francis remix)

‘it’s been so long since I heard that song / made me sweat all night long’

I apologize in advance for getting this song stuck in your head all day. Dillon Francis jazzes up an already jazzy CSS song and the result are these beats playing on loop on my speakers and in my head all weekend long. Fitting, since the song is about when a song hits you like a rock. Love these Brazilian dance poptarts… perfect summer backdrop.

CSS = Cansei de Ser Sexy = “tired of being sexy.” Aren’t we all?  #untz

amor video games

8 Jul

After almost six months of blogging and shameless plugging myself via Facebook, Twitter and gchat statuses, as well as several failed url submissions onto the Hypem site,  I officially got TUATE listed on Hype Machine this Tuesday. Beyond floored.

I ordered a Hypem shirt from the site a week or so back, and low and behold it got dropped off on my desk that very same afternoon. Fate! Happiness. Music. Bribery?

Today’s Emo: Video Games / Lana Del Rey

‘he holds me in his big arms / he’s drunk and I am seeing stars / this is all I think of’

Sultry. The harp filled intro makes me feel like I am stepping into Florence + the Machine’s You Got the Love, but Video Games quickly takes a pace and sound all its own. Lana Del Rey’s look and that velvety voice feel from an earlier era: buffed blonde hair, penciled doe eyes, sharp full lips… I could picture her singing this in an old smokey jazz club, all eyes on her. Then she mentions video games and suddenly I find myself on my couch in high school, curled up with an old boyfriend, smuggled beers and a flirtatiously heated game of Mario Kart. The whole vibe and feel of the song is a string of beautiful contradictions to get lost in. A sincere declaration of adoration (‘it’s better than I ever even knew / they say that the world was built for two‘ meets Sonic the Hedgehog? 60’s vibrations meet modern love?

Thoroughly transfixed by this 24 year old emerging starlet from New york, who describes her music as “Hollywood sad core” and herself as a “gangster Nancy Sinatra.” Lana Del Rey  is currently embedded in studio working on her debut album. More video games please. #emo

Today’s Untz: Amor Fati / Washed Out

My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it.‘ – Ecce Homo / Friedrich Nietzsche

I know this is a little quiet for a Friday, but turn the dial to the right and ride this chill-wave straight into the weekend. Another great track off Washed Out’s upcoming album, Within and Without. Everything I have heard thus far screams Santa Cruz, surf, sand and a simpler life, and I am eagerly awaiting the official debut. Happily accepting my fate to listen and listen and listen.  #untz