Saturday, October 06, 2007

Currently Listening: Caribou and The Bird and the Bee

Okay, when did indie music return to the late 1960s? I recently stumbled across a couple of artists that I had never heard of, but I have really grown attached to. The first, Caribou, I found while perusing's music library. Caribou's new album, Andorra, has been doing very well on the indie charts. I decided to give it a listen, and I was very surprised by what I heard. The opening track reminds me very much of the flower child music of the 60s, something like The Mamas and the Papas, with it's mellow harmonies and winsome instrumentals, yet driving progression as if its floating with a definite but unknown purpose. It really seems like it should be on the soundtrack of a hippy documentary about the 1960. But it doesn't stop there. The rest of the album takes that theme and expands on it, bringing it into the 21st Century indie pop, influsing electronic sensibilities and pop melodies with 1960's feeling. Tack on some evolving prog rock near the end of the album, especially with the subtly powerful "Niobe", and you have a really solid album from a guy I had never heard of but will follow in years to come. Favorite Tracks: Melody Day, Irene, Niobe

Additionally, I came across The Bird and the Bee while perusing iTunes list of songs featured in TV ads. Apparently, their song "La La La" is or will be featured in the commercial for the iPod Touch, which is essentially the iPhone without the phone. The song sounded interesting, so I looked further into their music, and I was blown away. It too evokes thoughts of 1960s flower child music, but they are much more overt in their electronic roots. The female lead singer, however, covers the highly suggestive lyrics with a pixiesque melodic intonation. I've read more than a few reviews of the band that compares them to groups like Air, The Beach Boys, and even Burt Bacharach. Infact, iTunes' description of their self-titled debut album referrs to the album as "the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds if Burt Bacharach had snuck into the control room". I completely agree, but it still comes out sounding very good. It's not deep; it's not meant to be anything other than fun, and I get it. I also bought their more recent Please Clap Your Hands EP, which doesn't have the same flair, but does contain two really good songs nonetheless, "Polite Dance Song" and "Man". Again, I don't think it's for everyone, but if light-hearted, dancable, electro-pop is your thing, you'll probably like it. Favorite Tracks: Again & Again, My Fair Lady, Polite Dance Song

On a side note, I recently came across a couple of remixes from the The Shins' album, Wincing the Night Away. That's right Shins remixes. Boggles the mind, doesn't it? Anyway, my absolute favorite is a remix of "Sea Legs", which is one of my favorite songs off the new album. I have to say that I might actually like the remix more than the original, and that's saying a lot. It is downright awesome. Give it a listen:

The Shins - 'Sea Legs (Knux Remix)' (mp3)