Last night Nick Robinson and Griffin McElroy livestreamed the (pre-recorded) final episode of their Youtube series Car Boys wherein they experiment with the vehicle simulation game BeamNG.drive. What started as an exercise in creatively smashing cars slowly created its own mythology and story around explained happenings of the physics engine. Can’t pry a crash test dummy out of a vehicle? “Busto” has a mind of his own. The graphics implode upon the boys journeying underwater? It’s a tesseract trying to impart knowledge. Nick and Griffin have created a better mythology around glitches and physics than most authors could hope to do with an unlimited palate.
Like many finales, you might not be that touched by the video unless you were along for the journey. But trust me, it’s been a hell of a journey and this is a perfect ending. Not long ago the boys spawned a giant airbag — intended to cushion gnarly jumps, no doubt — and nicknamed it “The Blob” after it fought off all attempts to pop or crush it. Early in this video Nick and Griffin discover the dammed reservoir has a funnel at the bottom of it. They think if they can knock the Blob into it, that might KO their new unstoppable opponent. What results is the 2001: A Space Odyssey version of the Let’s Play genre. As Griffin presciently guesses: “Maybe this isn’t a trap. Maybe it’s a wormhole to a different universe.”
See You Space Car Boys…
Portugal. The Man share interactive video for “Feel It Still”
What does it take to bring me out of hiding? Apparently a new album from longtime YANP-favorites Portugal. The Man. The song and video for “Feel It Still” debuted a few months ago and have only grown more and more in my esteem. We’re almost halfway through the year and “Feel It Still” remains my favorite song of the year.
The video is next-level as well. Visit feelitstill.com to see the full interactive version. PTM created a video that’s not only a beautiful visual accompaniment to the song, but also a link to 30 ways to resist apathy and injustice.
Woodstock is out June 16. Head to PTM’s website to preorder it in whatever format you like.
Hollywood Handbook episode #183: “Employee Reviews”
I won’t bore you with the my months-long journey to really get the characters of Hollywood Handbook — that’s basically a meme of the show by now. But let’s say that this is a show that rewards 100-fold whatever work you put toward it.
Take, for example, Hollywood Handbook episode #183. The boys pick up on hit podcast S-Town’s claim that they have the “best podcast staff in the world.” This drives Hayes and Sean to starts pulling in any Earwolf employee they can find — including people above them on the food chain — and start grilling them about it. They thought they had the best staff. It’s time for employee reviews.
It’s a small miracle that Hayes and Sean’s plan to involve half a dozen staff in their unscripted show works as perfectly as it does. By the end they have a packed room of employees brainstorming ways they could improve.
I doubt I could do a “best comedy podcast episodes of the year” list justice, but this would definitely be my starting place if I did.
Remember when I confessed that I’d never listened to XTC and everyone pitched several fits? Well get your pitchforks ready (pun intended), because I’ve never heard Stereolab either. The band’s new album, Fab Four Suture is a wonderful collection of songs. Half of the songs were released last year as singles, and half are as-yet-unheard by the general public. The latter half of the album are going to be released as three limited edition vinyl singles. But for now, here’s a peak at the unreleased part of Fab Four Suture.
MP3: Stereolab – Eye of the Volcano
Apparently Spin Magazine listed Stereolab as one of the top 50 most influential pop groups of all time. With songs like this, I can see why. “Eye of the Volcano” is a delightful float through some dreamy vocals. While it might not be the pop masterpiece that I was expecting from such a highly-lauded band, it’s most assuredly a treat for everyone from old Stereolab fans, to newcomers like me.
Is Michael Nau a music fan’s dream? The Page France songwriter has been posting unreleased songs on his myspace, complete with back stories for each one. His latest batch consists of one Page France tune and three solo efforts (that might eventually be released on a limited pressing 12″).
MP3: Page France – Everybody Knows (live on WLUR)
This is a different take on a song that will be on the band’s new EP, Pear. I’m hoping the studio track includes a little bit more of the rhodes. It’s a decent enough song, but I think that the studio version might blow this one out of the water. Michael stated that it was a “stripped down” performance, so I’m hoping the EP version will include all their usual tricks.
BONUS MP3: Michael Nau – Heart and Brain
In my opinion, this is the best of all the songs Michael posted today. He hinted at the possibility of a future 12″ of solo songs; and if “Heart and Brain” is any indication, it’ll be everything you could hope for.
BONUS MP3: Michael Nau – As Long
A bit slower than I expected, but still worth having. Again, the piano could stand to be a bit louder in the mix, but it’s not a major problem. Nau’s vocals and lyrics are still enough to drive this crooning love song.
Before I get flood of emails, I’d like to say that I plan on posting most of the “Apple Shaped Songs” on my website very soon. Some will wind up on various releases, so I won’t be uploading them.
Don’t forget to try and catch Page France while they’re on tour. If you live in Lexington, be sure to come out to their 18+ show at The Dame.
You know that feeling when you stumble across a good band? It’s something that just makes you feel good all over, and sometimes can restore your dwindling faith in music. Sure Juror gave me that special feeling earlier this week.
MP3: Sure Juror – The Drive Will Do You Good
I love it when genres can bleed over into one another. Sure, songs that fall squarely into one niche are just fine and dandy; but the bands who incorporate different elements into their work are the ones that usually capture my ear. Sure Juror manage to smash elements of rock with a little dash of jazz to form “The Drive Will Do You Good.” Not only do they have a good little combination of drums and guitar, but they really make good use of a couple other elements. Their bass is on a constant trip around the fretboard–which actually unites the song more than you might think. Also, they’ve got a wonderful piano part that absolutely makes this song the gem that it is.
The Like Young are what Mates of State would sound like if they weren’t so darn cute. Cut out the organs and replace them with some guitar and you’re halfway there. This married couple (the similarities never end!) will be releasing their album entitled Last Secrets on Polyvinyl records on May 9th.
MP3: The Like Young – For Money or Love
Instrumentally, this song is pretty basic. It’s got some nonoffensive guitar and a simple bit of drumming. Nothing wrong with either of those things. After all, some of the best songs in the world are only a couple chords. My real problem, however, is that Joe tends to sound a little late-90s pop punk during the verses. I don’t know if it’s the melody or his vocal style, but it made me think of some bands that I’d rather not associate myself with. After managing to overlook this very minor detail, I found a good song buried underneath. Amanda’s vocals are a Godsend, and the song is pretty well put togther.
All I’ll say about Sigur Ros until my review is that I’m pretty sure that’s the best concert I’ve ever attended. We couldn’t listen to music in the car on the ride home, because nothing could stand up to what we’d just experienced.
So yeah, apparently Blogger ate my post about The Sunspots. Now I have to go find the link again and rewrite the whole thing. Thanks Blogger! So because I hadn’t planned on having another post today, I’ll tap into my reserves and use this great song from Bound Stems. Thanks to Matt from Skatterbrain for suggesting them to me a couple months ago. He’s been a big supporter of them and was probably the direct cause of them being voted Spin Magazine’s “Band of the Month” for March 06.
MP3: Bound Stems – Wake Up
This song kicks off like a cross between Arcade Fire (subtle, beautiful build-up) and any Saddle Creek band (talking, and random dialogue). But where Bound Stems set themselves apart from the other weirdo-rock at the moment is with their understanding of what makes a good song. “Wake Up…” has not only a good melody and instrumentation, but the little things as well. At the 1:35 mark, it enters into one of my favorite bridges in a new song. It enhances the song without breaking the flow.
EDIT: Found my Sunspots post! Thanks to some kind readers for sending me some info to help in my quest.
So tired. Our plans to see Matt Pond PA fell through at the last minute. Thankfully Sigur Ros is still on for tonight. If you see a kid with shaggy hair and a big nose, who is taking photos every 10 seconds…that’s me.
MP3: The Sunspots – Carmen
Sadly, I’m tired and need to finish studying. That’s the one downside to be a 19-year-old blogger. Tests, tests, tests. On the plus side, there are the 19-year-old blogger groupies (HA!). But yeah, let me steal a common press kit tactic: the “recommended if you like”
RIYL: We Are Scientists, The Futureheads, Thunderbirds Are Now!