first listen

First Listen: Weezer’s “Back to the Shack”

Anyone who knows me, knows that Weezer will forever be my one true love. And yes, their material in recent years hasn’t been the most promising and a lot of people have the quartet written off. Even so, I think there’s always been a small part of my heart that always remembers the band I first fell in love with, the one that gave us the Blue Album and Pinkerton. Heck, even the Green Album!

Their upcoming album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is due this September and to start the party, Weezer harkens back to the good ol’ days in the album’s lead single, Back to the Shack. The lyrics are quite literal and Rivers Cuomo absolutely knows what we’ve all been thinking about Hurley and that other album.

You can hear it in the lyrics, you can hear it in the song’s crunchy riffs – but this is most definitely the closest to the Rivers Cuomo we first met “in the garage” all those years ago, than we’ve seen in recent years.

Sorry guys I didn’t realize that I needed you so much,
I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks.
I ended up with nobody and I started feeling dumb,
Maybe I should play the lead guitar and Pat should play the drums.

Take me back, back to the shack, back to the Strat with the lightning strap,
Kick in the door, more hardcore, rockin out like it’s ’94.
Let’s turn up the radio, let’s turn off those stupid singing shows,
I know where we need to go: Back to the shack.

First Listen: Pumped Up Kicks.

Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”

I love clicking around on blogs, Soundcloud, Youtube, etc. and stumbling onto a band that I’ve never heard of before. Sometimes, you’re on a mission to find new music. Sometimes, you just happen to be bored. Either way, I love the feeling of finding new music that catches my ear.

It’s hard to explain what makes me stop and pay attention to a band. Not that I feel like I have such supreme taste in music that I’m hard to impress, but I feel like I have a very specific sound that I’m drawn to. When people ask me what type of music I like, I have a hard time describing it so often, I’ll just start listing off a bunch of bands that seem mismatched and out-of-place in comparison to each other.

Foster The People is one such band that I found just clicking through random links on Youtube. These guys are from Los Angeles, California and it definitely seeps through in their first single, “Pumped Up Kicks.” Its relaxed drum and bass line sit just behind the tempo, giving off a nonchalant, semi-drug induced fog to the song. Vocalist Mark Foster sings through a vintage filter and the song almost feels like early Strokes, had Julian Casablancas taken a couple of Ambien and a glass of red wine. It probably doesn’t help that Foster channels the same unwashed hair attitude as Casablancas.

The music video reflects the laid-back, almost lazy nature of the song, featuring clips of the guys on tour and pit stops in parking lots and on beaches. While the V-neck shirt count and vaguely dated metro faux-hawks feel incredibly forced, it’s still a fun video diary of sorts. But it seems accurate as well, considering the guys have been touring consistently over the last year. From the sounds of it, I think they’re actually at SXSW this week.

Anyway, check out their video posted at the top. Their debut album Torches is scheduled for May 24, 2011 so be sure to listen for that. I’ve also posted two other tracks I found online so have at it. When you’re done all of that, make sure you comment and let me know what you think of these guys.


“Helena Beat”

First Listen: When the sun goes down on your street.

UPDATED: Like many others, I thought this track was a Death Cab For Cutie cut off their upcoming album, Codes and Keys. But! It’s actually a solo Gibbard track. He took to Twitter to clarify:

Hey y’all! Just for the record, “…sun goes down…” is not a dcfc track. It’s a solo and will be in the new “Arthur” film. enjoy!
— Ben Gibbard, @gibbstack

Death Cab for Cutie is one of my all-time favourite bands.

I’m not sure what it is but there’s something melancholy and ethereal about Ben Gibbard’s vocals. Death Cab lyrics are always a little dark, a little haunting and leave you unsure about what it is they’re actually singing about. Either way, Ben Gibbard has a new track online called “When the Sun Goes Down On Your Street” and I am really enjoying it.

A while back, there was a video circulating of Ben performing an new untitled track but the lyrics were about Seattle, from what I could figure. Anyway, that track has a very similar feel to this song. So when I’m back on my computer at home, maybe I’ll post that too when I can find it again. But for now, enjoy. I’ve also transcribed the lyrics too for those of you who are like me and love a well-written verse. (Also thanks to The Peak for posting the track on Soundcloud.)

Ben Gibbard – “When the Sun Goes Down On Your Street”

When the sun goes down, down on your street
Oh, let me be the one you meet
In the lamplight haunt when the night has just begun
Though you fear where shadows fall
There’s nothing there to harm you at all
Uncover your eyes, presume uncertain skies

And rise, arise and step into the night
It’ll be alright

When the sun goes down, down on your street
And you’re feeling strangely incomplete
Oh, please don’t grieve for days that fell like leaves
‘Cause under a moon that hangs from silver strings
We know not what this darkness brings
The stars all gleam with possibility

And rise, arise and step into the night
It’ll be alright

When the sun goes down, down on your street
Oh, let me be the one you meet
For I’ve waited years for you to return to me

So rise, arise and step into the night
So rise, arise and step into the night
So rise, arise and step into the night
It’ll be alright