BlackBook Tracks #29: Sucks to be Anyone in Music Who’s Not Justin Timberlake or Destiny’s Child

I know you’ve probably been in a Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child K-hole for the past day, but if you feel like crawling out, here are some other songs for you to listen to.

We Were Evergreen – “Leeway”

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in life, but We Were Evergreen get twee-pop right. Alongside launching a Kickstarter for their debut album, the London-via-Paris trio has released charming new single “Leeway.”

Drop The Lime – “No Sleep For The Wicked”

The retro/electro wizard’s new video boasts more zombie cheerleaders than an episode of Misfits. His penchant for horror and killer beats serves as a reminder that there are all kinds of things that go bump in the night.

Anna Calvi – “The Devil”

If that last track wasn’t evil enough, remember that Anna Calvi must have made a deal with “the Devil” to become such a skilled guitarist.

Housse de Racket – “Aquarium”

Clocking in at close to seven minutes, Housse de Racket’s latest single is a slow burner that’s worth every second. Those who have seen the Parisian electro-rock duo live know this as the striking closer to their show.

Sharon Van Etten – “People Ain’t No Good”

I’m jealous of people in Australia, because it’s summer there. Also, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten is on a sojourn down under, where she made a stop at Triple J radio to cover future tourmate Nick Cave.

Caitlin Rose – “I Was Cruel”

Singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose tells a familiar story of love gone sour on this cut from her forthcoming album The Stand-In. Her voice manages to be both vulnerable and matter-of-fact, and there’s the hint of steel guitar that you might expect from a Nashville artist.

Palma Violets – “Step Up For The Cool Cats”

London rockers Palma Violets are on track to be 2013’s It Brits, and this 60s-inflected track hints at what’s to come when they release their debut album in February.

Gold Fields – “Dark Again” (Diamond Rings remix)

Australian up-and-comers Gold Fields are plenty charismatic on their own, but Diamond Rings punches up the original to make it a little more dancefloor-friendly.

Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (Dan Deacon remix)

By “remix,” I mean that this is the a capella version layered 147 times. It’s strangely compelling, hearing “Hey, I just met you” repeated ad infinitum.

BlackBook Tracks #26: Apocalypse Now

Hey, what’s up? At the time I’m writing this, I have been sitting at the airport for nine hours because my flight back to California for Christmas was overbooked, so I’m kind of at the point of hoping the Mayans were right. Here’s your apocalypse playlist.

Beyoncé – "End Of Time"

Admit it, if the world was actually ending, you’d want to go out listening to Beyoncé.

Tame Impala – "Apocalypse Dreams"

The Australian psych-rock outfit doesn’t mess around with the end of the world. Imagine the earth bursting into flames in slow motion!

Andrew Bird – “Yawny At The Apocalypse”

You’re bored of this apocalypse talk, aren’t you? Andrew Bird apparently already was back in 2007, with this track that closes out Armchair Apocrypha.

Jens Lekman – "The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love"

The apocalypse really puts things into perspective, or at least it does for Swedish raconteur Jens Lekman. This song also shouts out the Flatbush Ave Target, which sounds like a decent place to stock up on doomsday supplies.

Guillemots – “If The World Ends”

This seems like a pretty chill way to end things. It’s either that or watching Melancholia, which I still haven’t seen all the way through because I fell asleep.

Mew – "Apocalypso"

The Danish band made their breakout back in 2005 with "Apocalypso." It’s still a driving anthem for a fiery crash.

Housse De Racket – "Apocalypso"

You get two songs with the same title, because apparently the apocalypse is a more favored theme in indie rock than I previously realized. I’m glad I’m finding this out before our premature demise.

Julian Casablancas – “Four Chords Of The Apocalypse”

Apocalypse confession: I still haven’t listened to the most recent Strokes album all the way through. Maybe I can still fit that in before Cthulu rises or whatever.

The Doors – "The End"

Shit, I’m still only in Saigon.

Lessons Learned From CMJ Music Marathon

Ah, the CMJ Music Marathon. Ahead of the circus of buzzbands, open bars, and impractical swag that took over NYC last week, I made a list of goals for myself that included things like “no puking,” “no crying,” and “no professions of love or hate.” (I like planning on having dramatic public meltdowns so that I Murphy’s Law my way out of them actually happening.) I’m proud to announce that I did not do any of these things, despite the stress induced by three different good bands playing at the same time in far-flung locations and having only consumed caffeinated beverages all day (#musicbloggerproblems). In between hating Pianos and mourning the closure of Brooklyn DIY venue Delinquency, I saw everything from Philadelphia rockers Free Energy to British YouTube comedians the Midnight Beast.

Five days spent away from being hunched over my laptop and interacting with the music industry in real life meant putting a microscope on what it is, exactly, that I do. I finally met a band that I’ve written about after seeing them for the fifth time in three months, and one of them said that he was aware of me “as an internet presence.” Several days later, I still have absolutely no idea of what this means, but if I’m memorable on the internet, that theoretically means I have some distinct viability as a blogger, right? For both of our sakes, let’s hope so.

In meeting so many new people, there’s also the pressure to qualify what you like and why you like it. I’ve taken to boiling my taste down to “French dance music and internet rappers,” though obviously I listen to music that goes beyond that. I’m trying to pin down why I’m so excited about Team Spirit when I thought my garage rock phase ended years ago; they have a higher production value and stronger pop sensibilities than some of their peers, and nothing can replace genuine good energy. That being said, it was also a pleasure to catch Gallic electro-poppers like Yan Wagner, Owlle, and Housse de Racket.

Other highlights included Citizens!, Avan Lava, We Were Evergreen, Conveyor, and the amount of grievously unhealthy food that I justified consuming. Gold Fields must be a very special band, because I stayed conscious for their 2:30 a.m. set on the last night of the festival. As much fun as CMJ is, it’s also pretty exhausting, so I’m going to keep working on recovering.

Anyways, here’s to the pursuit of vibes. Maybe you’ll catch me vomiting on Ludlow Street next year.

Miscellaneous other notes:

– Why did so many people ask me if I saw Skaters? (I wasn’t able to, though they were one of my picks for the week.)
– I also did not see Foxygen, one of the more hotly tipped acts of the festival. Based on their name, I’m going to keep assuming that they’re sort of glam rock and wear a lot of neon.
– Seeing Le1f at The Westway while it was packed with drunk bros was the second most uncomfortable I have ever been at a rap show.
– If someone figures out how I can join Icona Pop if I’m not Swedish and can’t sing, please let me know.
– Spotted so many dudes with great eyebrows. Keep up the good work, boys!

 

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter and Tumblr.

BlackBook Tracks #5: Vive La Fête

Now that you’ve recovered from your Fourth of July celebrations, let’s talk about how tomorrow is Bastille Day. France totally puts America to shame when it comes to partying for the sake of national pride, so it’s time to do it all over again. Here are some coups de Coeur for la fête nationale.

Pravda – “Je Suis French”

The name of the song explains everything in this electro-punk take on national identity.

 

Phoenix – “Napoleon Says”

An old but good one from what the rest of the world sees as the reigning kings of French rock. They’re due for a follow-up to the hugely acclaimed 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but the back catalogue is always worth revisiting.

 

Housse de Racket – “TGV”

This Parisian electro-rock duo alternates between French and English lyrics, and this highlight from sophomore album Alésia sees them embracing their mother tongue. They’re also known for incorporating “La Marseillaise” into their live show.

 

The Aikiu – “Pieces of Gold”

This song has gone viral recently, thanks to a music video featuring porn made SFW. The bright and breezy track also deserves it on its own merit.

 

Yuksek – “The Edge”

France’s best-kept secret is Yuksek, electro-pop artist extraordinaire. His latest single “The Edge,” released this week, exemplifies his brand of dance music for both head and hips.

 

We Are Knights – “Tears”

Under chilled-out production and hazy vocals, the beat keeps this song as assertive or laid-back as you want to hear it.

 

Yelle – “Mon Pays”

Despite singing strictly in French, Yelle have always had a healthy audience in America. Even if you can’t understand what Julie Budet is singing about, her tone effortlessly communicates everything against a background of glittering synths.

 

Anoraak – “Long Hot Summer Night”

This song sounds exactly like its title, all lingering warmth and hints of romance.

 

Justice – “New Lands”

The latest single from the irreverent Parisians was just graced with one of the best music videos of the year so far, if you’re into futuristic sports.

 

Make The Girl Dance – “Tchiki Tchiki Tchiki”

The trouble-making dance production duo takes on surf-rock and it totally works.

 

Joe Dassin – “Les Champs Elysées”

Pourquoi pas?