Moroccan Role: March 2006

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time

I had not heard Band of Horses prior to reading the Pitchfork review, but I read music blogs with regularity and saw their name mentioned on a few occassions.

Their sound is very reminiscent of a few current indie-ish acts-- My Morning Jacket and fellow Sub Poppers The Shins immediately come to mind. The vocals are a nearly spot-on ringer for Jim James'...without the vague southern tinge.

But, their newest album Everything All The Time is an undeniably enjoyable listen. Ten strong tracks-- no filler to speak of...this album will hold us over for a bit. 2006 has thus far proven to be a weak year for music, so this album is a welcome break from this. Besides a handful of albums (Arctic Monkeys, Liars, the Knife, Fiery Furnaces), this year has not really had much to offer.

Give the stand-out tracks below a won't be disappointed.


Band of Horses - "The Funeral" (PC: right click, "save as" | Mac: ctrl click, "download linked file")

Band of Horses - "Monsters" (link expired)

Band of Horses - "The First Song" (link expired)

Buy the album here!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hot Chip - Coming On Strong

Rating: 57/100

With their forthcoming album The Warning due in May and with them garnering tons of attention on the blogs lately, I figured I'd review their debut full-length which was released November 29, 2005 on Astralwerks.

Ultimately, Hot Chip is best enjoyed as a side dish. Hint: in small portions.*

There's a certain aura of pretense surrounding these guys which is strengthened by lines like: "I'm like Stevie Wonder, but I can see things", "Give up all you suckas, we the tightest mothafuckas", and "You peelin' potatoes while we sonic alligators". Mind you, these fine examples of lyrical profundity all appear in one song, "Keep Fallin'".

But beyond their occassional sophomoric flirtation with faux-gangsta posturing and sometimes downright stupid lyrics, there lies a vague sense of sincerity and a somewhat endearing tongue-in-cheek charm in these sparse electronic soundscapes. An impressive stylistic diversity is present on Coming on Strong; from the above-mentioned white-boy 'thug-pop' of "Keep Fallin'", to R&B, soul, and electronica. Hell, the impressive "Crap Kraft Dinner" features an extended saxophone outro for christsakes. The lo-fi buzzes, beeps, and casiotones do little to guise the group's evident musical knowledge (clearly music nerds) and a laundry list of influences is readily apparent-- including, but certainly not limited to, four artists name-checked on the album: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Yo La Tengo, and the brothers Ween.

While frequently sounding unfocused and, at times, even blatantly tossed-off, the most conspicuous flaw is the length of the record. At 14 songs and about 65 minutes, Coming on Strong would have greatly benefited from more careful editing. The album is front-loaded and second half drags considerably. Three or so tracks could have been removed and would not have been missed. The most obvious of these being "Shining Escalade", which sounds way too much like a tune Coldplay's Chris Martin would write for a Spike Lee "Joint", and the sweet but utterly forgettable "One on One".

I have never really read Alternative Press (seems painfully generic), but they provided this very apt description of Coming on Strong: "Could pass for a set of lo-fi synth demos Sir Paul McCartney cooked up one long weekend for shits and giggles."

File under: Soulful, lo-fi laptop geek-hop.

*so what if their name most likely references chips of the micro variety and not any sort of food...admit it, the lame joke still kinda works

From Coming On Strong:

Hot Chip - "Keep Fallin'"

Hot Chip - "Take Care" *recommended*

Hot Chip - "Crap Kraft Dinner"

What the critics have said:

Pitchfork: 8.0

CokeMachineGlow: 78%

Prefix Magazine: 3.5/5

Metacritic: 65

Bonuses: These tunes are from their upcoming album The Warning due out in May:

Hot Chip - "The Warning" *recommended*

Hot Chip - "Boy From School"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Man Man - Six Demon Bag

What do you get when you cross Tom Waits' gravelly vocals and the under the bigtop, carnivalesque feel of the opening track on Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled 2005 album? Yep, you get Man Man's Six Demon Bag.

Critics invariably mention the Waits, Frank Zappa, and Captain Beefheart influence triumvirate when reviewing Man Man albums. The waltz feel of many of the tracks and the high pitch call-and-response vocals are also obvious fodder for the critics. What's lost on the reader amidst all of this self-referential music criticism is the simple fact that when Man Man are on their game, their charged romps are about as fun as any pop music in recent memory and listening to them is the closest musical equivalent to a drunken riot you're likely to hear. The fact that Man Man simply cannot be serious and most of their appeal is based on caricature and shtick is of little consequence; their tunes are too absurdly entertaining to be ignored.

Derek Miller offered this great allusion to the feel of Six Demon Bag in his review for Stylus Magazine: "There's a fiesta foaming in the drunk tank again. The inmates have doped the lawmen and hollowed out their few toilet rolls for percussion. They've pulled their teeth and thrown them at the bars, plink, plunk, and pink plop. They're squealing in chorus, leaping at these steel rods and filling the cell with the thud of their skulls, mayhem. This is extravagance in the night, within the cage; a group of sensualists done gone rabid, in a commune that supports them body and mind via chain and steel. But they don't want to leave. " Now, how could I possibly improve on that?

What the critics have said:

Prefix Magzine: 90

Pitchfork: 8.3

Stylus Magazine: B+

Tiny Mix Tapes: 3.5/5

From Six Demon Bag:

Man Man - "Engwish Bwudd"

Man Man - "Black Mission Goggles"

Man Man - "Van Helsing Boombox" *recommended* (PC: right click, "save as" | Mac: ctrl click, "download linked file")

Buy the album album from Amp Camp and receive the out of print "10 lb. Moustace" single free.