Album 12: On Oni Pond by Man Man

Man Man is one of the strangest bands I’ve ever heard. With names of current members like Honus Honus and Pow Pow, and past members like Kritter Krat, Chang Wang, and Turkey Moth, This is a band that prides itself on embracing the strange aspects of life, from living in a storage unit or jokingly starting an interview with a few good minutes of a suicide joke. That’s the kind of band they are, and you can hear every part of their strange life on their album On Oni Pond.

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Album 11: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

My oh my, this shouldn’t be a surprise. When it comes to bands under the radar their is no album more contested than Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Some people call it the threshold that needs to be passed for every new album (and consistently rated in the top five albums of the 90s) , others (as one of my friends called it) ” a mess of hot garbage. It’s literally just young people complaining about life .” Personally I think it’s just… okay. Not perfect or garbage, just okay. Let me explain before everyone grabs some pitchforks and torches.  Continue reading →

Album 10: Crazy For You by Best Coast

This indie garage surf rock band in the local town of Los Angeles, Ca. is the epitome of LA  just by it’s name, Best Coast.

This group is true image in exposing the focused LA struggles. Relationships, my cat, the beach, my weed, but not necessarily in that order. Well that might differentiate amongst others but it is very accurate with Los Angeles hipsters. The vibe Best Coast ripple out in their songs are relaxed, fun, and original. I’d point out other blogs describe this group with a combination of other artists who have similar sounds, but I’m not musically inclined or educated enough in indie garage bands to give out great examples.

This album in particular not including its following albums(The Only Place and California Nights) has a taste for exposing crushes, fear of commitment to relationships and friends with benefits to a crisp T. Lead singer Bethany Cosentino sings of love’s roller coasters and wanting to be near “him” all the time and often romanticizes the beach and summer sunset.
This album is a taste of falling in love ( with someone who loves you back) for the first time. It’s  different and fresh, with this comfort you weren’t aware of that can electrify you in strange moments. Like shaking a can of soda and opening the lid slowly letting all that carbon fructose fizz spill out.
A lot of the songs involve Bethany crooning over unrequited love, but this in fact is a mislead in the lyrics. I believe this is the album, of crushes and falling in love. In Boyfriend Cosentino belts “I wish he was my boyfriend, I’d love him til the very end, but instead he is just a friend.” In The End she  admits “last night I went out with this guy, this guy, he was nice and cute, but he, he wasn’t you.”  Whoever this he is, she has fallen for him hard.

Don’t listen to this in dim lighting with a candle burning or headphones. Save that stuff for Iron and Wine. Save it for when you’re driving around at 2 am to a local party or during a quick run at a 7/11 for some kick ass slurpees. It’s meant to be felt with headlights on the road ahead and wind in your hair.

This album exemplifies love in its yearning and longing for someone in its lyrics, but ricochets a summer vibe great enough to play at a party, bonfire, or if lucky enough a mix for someone special, and yes people still do that.

Album 9: The Mysterious Production of Eggs by Andrew Bird

Halfway through my Sophomore year, a friend tried introducing me to a very strange mix of Imitosis by someone called Andrew Bird. It didn’t turn me on to the sound but it planted the seed and beat for me to discover years later, when I heard this. I then spent hours listening to the entirety of The Mysterious Production of Eggs.

Lyrically, there are few musicians I like more than Andrew Bird. It’s hard to describe his songs as each one is kind of  its own little story. Every little song is a unique look at some of the creative parts of Bird’s mind back in 2005.

The entire A side plays off like so deceptively  innocent, as the first few times you listen to it you won’t notice the lines that talk about “accidental suicide, the kind where no one dies” in Sovay, or “you really should have died, stretched out on the tarmac” in  A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left (which is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time).

Of course Fake Palindromes takes the cake of for A sides deceptively nice song, with it’s fun beats and electric violin, which is a real instrument that I never knew I needed in my life. Why is it so frightening? Perhaps it’s the lyrics that describe a “dewy-eyed Disney bride” who has formaldehyde in her blood, has committed  fratricide ( or the murder of one’s brother or sister), has blood in her eyes and wants to “drill a tiny hole in your head.” Nightmares guaranteed!

Luckily we get a break from the Lovecraftian nightmares on side B about skin so pale and cold that it is transparent again the buildings downtown in Skin Is, My or how MX Missiles tells us that the subject of the song was “in the ground in late November” because that they weren’t as impervious as they thought. Did I say

Even more bleak is Tables and Chairs, which is just about the end of the world. Bird croons that “after the fall there’ll be no more countries…we’re gonna live on our wits, throw away survival kits.” Of course all is not doomed in the cheerfully bleak future as the song ends claiming that even after all this, there will be snacks.

Then there’s the ultimate gut punch in the form of Happy Birthday Song, the closer for this album. There’s no veil here, Bird just wants someone to sing it to him. He knows that it’s a bit cliche and maybe you don’t mean it but sing it anyway. Sing it “like it’s gonna be your last day here on earth.”

So go ahead, no matter how bleak tomorrow is, face it with a smile and beat that makes you happy.