Monday, January 07, 2008

White Rabbits - Fort Nightly

The last five weeks of my life have involved wandering through European cities finding the external fortresses and treasures reflecting the internal conflicts and answers that I was seeking to better understand. It was no cliché renaissance dream of “finding oneself”, no much mocked after travelers lament, in actuality nothing more than a mere vacation from my self and that other anti-culture city life that my body left behind in the exotic basin of Los Angeles.

In my tourist trap dodging and backpack sidestepping one of my multiple musical companions was the fantastically appropriate album Fort Nightly by the New York rockers the White Rabbits. The excessive percussion and danceable, swing step beats made Fort Nightly a reasonable soundtrack for my city spectrum meandering and instantaneously turned White Rabbits into one of my new “go-to” bands of the moment. There is some type of dirt ridden, dive bar, middle finger conglomeration going on here that sounds so much more wholesome than it’s described. Maybe its because they have put the piano so far up in the mix that it actually sounds like the White Rabbits have slipped in through the back door of some decent establishment with their noise makers and guitars and enough confidence that they aren’t ever kicked out. Album opener “Kid On My Shoulder” has moments that could have found itself comfortably positioned anywhere in the first half of Jeff Buckley’s My Sweetheart the Drunk. But besides those fleeting moments Fort Nightly contains a sound that is recognizab
ly their own. It’s just nice to have an album to care about again.

[mp3] White RabbitsThe Plot


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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Transmissions - Burning the Winner

Los Angeles can be a cold and lonely place for any resident, artist and professional alike; however, using the "power in numbers" approach, people have taken to forming clubs, hangouts and collectives. The Central Second is a collective of bands out of Silver Lake and the surrounding pockets of LA, including RC favs The Happy Hollows and The Henry Clay People.

My biggest complaint with most "LA" music is that no one takes any chances; however, the common thread running through The Central Second collective is having the confidence to create unique music. Hearing The Transmissions full length, Burning the Winner, helped me realize this thread of fearlessness. Burning the Winner is full of slowly cooked songs, which rest on a foundation of discord and fragmented riffs. Every song on the album bypasses the 3 minute pop structure, allowing the listener to sink deeper into the world of the song. In that sense (the approach to listening) it feels closer to a noise record. The Transmissions show off their live energy in the second half of Burning the Winner, showcasing three songs not on the album proper. It proves to be a smart choice - one that will send a lot of people to their myspace page for some tour dates. "Head (live)" brings out the Washington DC, Fugazi sounds that are hinted at in the first half of the album. Hearing this grit and integrity, come out of a city famous for having neither characteristic, puts a smile on my face and makes my morning commute across town a little easier.

[www] The Transmissions - I'll Run It

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