Friday, May 30, 2014

One Fine Selection No. 9 (With Bonus Selection)

I think a fitting end to the Battles/Gary Numan fix here on the Townhouse recently is to feature two fine selections, both from Battles.  The first: "Atlas" from their first LP Mirrored.  The second, "My Machines" featuring Gary Numan from their second album Gloss Drop.  I think these selections represent the best of Battles pre and post Tyondai Braxton, and show that even without him, Battles is just as great and will forge ahead.  Enjoy.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Is He A Martian? Understanding Gary Numan.

It's only fitting to follow up the last post by providing some information on Gary Numan and giving him the recognition he deserves.

Gary Numan is the man behind the songs "Cars" and "Are Friends Electric?", the 80's synth-pop hits that helped bring electronic music into the mainstream.  He's also a somewhat mysterious man, shifting in and out of relevance. I only learned who he was through his being featured with Battles.

His early image was eerily robotic.  It was an image that perfectly fit the mystery of his music describing a world inhabited by deadly machines and electric friends...I guess you could say he was prophetic.

But as the interview below illustrates, he's an extremely humble individual and very well spoken.  It's always interesting to demystify an artist like Numan, and put them into a human context, rather than viewing them in the context of their art.  He gives some great insight into dealing with success, the burden of expectation, living up to your own standards (or not), and not being so hard on yourself.  I always like to hear an artist talk about what they do because it helps to strip away some of the fog that sometimes gets in the way of their humanity.  The points Numan makes in the interview could be applied to any artistic discipline, or anything in life for that matter.

"If someone like [Trent Reznor] (of Nine Inch Nails) who I admire enormously is saying things like that about Pleasure Principle, then maybe I should be kinder to it as well".
"I just want to love what I do on a day to day basis".

"I make the music I want to hear, cause at the moment there's not a lot of it".

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Importance of Good Bass. "My Machines" by Battles

The importance of the bass in this song by Battles cannot be understated. The drumming is a marathon and a good workout to say the least, but the bass is the glue of it and adds the perfect amount of grit and heaviness to Gary Numan's dystopic lyrics.  Listen to the sound of my....bass. Enjoy:

Also, enjoy these hilarious interviews:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

One Fine Selection No. 8

In keeping with the trend of acoustic selections lately, here's "California" by Rogue Wave. A wonderful selection to welcome this warm weather. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sufjan Stevens...Too Awesome for One Post

Sufjan Stevens and his band are probably the only people who can make plastic wings, neon tape costumes, tyedye t-shirts (never spelled that before), and dancing like you're in your bedroom cool. There's "too much" cool in the being of Sufjan Stevens for one post, so here's another one featuring videos of mostly live performances, and a couple studio selections. Can't get enough of this dude's music. Enjoy.

Drums on this version aren't very version to follow. Still a great performance though.

Last but not least...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pure Genius: Sufjan Stevens

This post is a mish mosh of Youtube videos and songs by Sufjan may end up being very long. 

Stevens is a genius in my book.  His musical ability speaks for itself, but it's his ability to disguise and layer his lyrics, and connect with whatever subject he's writing about on a very personal level where his genius is revealed. On the surface, his songs can easily be interpreted as personal narratives, and they are. But they're also much more than that.

"Casimir Pulaski Day", for example, sounds like a highly emotional account of the loss of a loved one to cancer. And you couldn't be blamed for assuming that. But according to Sufjan, it's about the Polish Casimir Pulaski who fought in the American Revolution.  The song works either way.

Or take his 2010 LP, The Age of Adz, which also can be interpreted as a personal, or possibly religious piece.  It's really about folk artist Royal Robertson, who thought himself to be a prophet-visionary and saw visions of God piloting a spaceship, and who eventually went insane.

Stevens has an uncanny ability to connect with a subject and get to the core emotion of it. Because of that, his music can be listened to through a different prism each time, and their intrigue always remains.  Besides all of that, they're wonderful songs!  He deserves to be regarded as one of the greats in musical history.

Here's some Sufjan Stevens for you:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

One Fine Selection No. 7

Another one from Jose Gonzalez.  "Broken Arrows".  He is masterful at packing relatively short and simple songs full of emotion and intrigue.  Enjoy.

Friday, May 9, 2014

One Fine Selection No. 6

This week it's "Stay In the Shade" by Jose Gonzalez. It's a short song, and relatively simple.  And therein lies its beauty.  Enjoy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

One Thing Led to Another...And Some More Good Music!

After finishing yesterday's drum extravaganza, I did a little hunting for some of Zach Hill's (last drummer featured) other projects. I discovered experimental hip hop group, Death Grips. The song "Beware" from their album Exmilitary completely redefined hip hop for me.  The album also has an awesome cover design.

After listening to that song a few (dozen) times, I found the group And So I Watch You From Afar, completely unrelated to Zach Hill, but a great band.  This group is very similar to Battles, in fact, they've even borrowed some of Battles' guitar sounds. Their tags on bandcamp are "alternative instrumental rock", but they're much more than that.

Both groups are, for me at least, genre re-defining and illustrate that there's still hope for music.  More on that in the future.  For now, enjoy these finds!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sick Beats! The Townhouse Drum Feature Extravaganza

The townhouse is overdue for some good drumming, so here we go!  Here's a compilation of videos featuring drumming with a cool factor of 11. Enjoy.

Super Cool

Mega cool

As is this one

and this

John Stanier and Battles, also mega cool

The blazing speed of Brann Dailor

Eric Moore shredding

Travis Orbin shredding

Zach Hill shredding right out of his skinny jeans

And finally, Zach Hill shreds his shirt off

Friday, May 2, 2014

One Fine Selection No. 5

"I'm Not Going Anywhere Tonight" by Owen.  Don't we all feel like that sometimes?