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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Parsing the lyrics to new Vampire Weekend single “Step”

March 19, 2013

Yesterday post-colonialist indie darlings Vampire Weekend released two songs off their upcoming album, ‘Modern Vampires of the City’:

  • Lead single “Diane Young,” in which Ezra Koenig laments the loss of an arsonist girlfriend
  • “Step,” a low-key paean to international studies classes.

The web is ABUZZ with people wondering what it all means. Could “Step” be a hidden tribute to the ABC show ‘Step by Step’, which dealt with familial discord in the same uptempo, driving fashion as sophomore effort ‘Contra’? Do the pitch-shifting “babys” on “Diane Young” suggest surprise parenthood for lead singer Ezra Koenig, and if so who is the mother? Mindy Kaling?

Obviously we’ve all got a ton of questions. But you know what? Lifting Fog has ANSWERS.

Keep reading!

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Lifting Fog Live: Blink-182 at the Hollywood Bowl

December 2, 2011

Imagine for a second that you’re an inappropriately sensitive 20-something whose musical taste has not advanced much in over a decade. (I know it’s a stretch, but keep imagining!) You try out “now” bands, like Vampire Weekend, and genres, like dubstep, but nothing can replace that middle-school-fresh sound you grew up with; nothing can come close to piercing your heart, your SOUL, like the group that essentially defined 7th and 8th grade.

Now imagine that not once in those formative years but several times did you miss out on the chance to see these guys live. Your friends who had older sisters caught them. Even people who didn’t like them all that much so WHY SHOULD THEY GET TO GO? managed to snag tickets. Meanwhile you sat at home, listening to their teenage anthems on a battery-powered Discman. You sobbed and stewed and life just sucked.

Twelve years later you’re a man, sort of, with disposable income — when you apply credit card logic — and an adult’s right to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Your friend Ashley has landed tickets to your group’s TOUR ENDING show. The stars have finally aligned.

Everyone can take off their imagination caps because it’s time for the BIG REVEAL: the musical group is Blink-182. And that sensitive 20-something, stuck in some 1999 time loop that thankfully does not include JNCO jeans? He’s ME. I KNOW.

Keep reading!

If ‘Watch The Throne’ Were Death Cab for Cutie and The National Instead…

September 7, 2011

Kanye West and Jay-Z’s ‘Watch the Throne’ is not the greatest album ever released (in case you were wondering), but it is still very, very good — especially considering the delicate balance of egos and artistry crucial to its success. Too much Kanye and the mental illness levels go THROUGH THE ROOF. Too much Jay-Z and you have, at this point, an overstuffed American Express commercial. But together they make it work! Which got the “What If?” team at Lifting Fog thinking: what does this album look like in the hands of another musical dynamic duo?

From Seattle, Washington, the emo-est band to have ever scored Seth Cohen’s teenage angst, DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE!

And from Ohio — yes, OHIO! — the Baritone Bruisers, the Prozac Provocateurs: THE NATIONAL!

CHEYEAH IT’S YA BOOOOOYYYYYYYY

Keep reading!

“Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?” RELOADED

September 4, 2011

In a summer where one of the most talked-about movie releases is the latest in a 40-year-old franchise and the average age of baseball’s best team is, like, 35, it’s no surprise that David Bowie’s Major Tom, a character first introduced in 1969, has gotten a new lease on life. It JUST MAKES SENSE. To wit: Breaking Bad‘s deceased nerd chemist, Gale Boetticher, a few weeks ago sang a karaoke version of “Major Tom” (by Peter Schilling).

(Was the catalyst for his murder rooted entirely in this performance? We’ll have to wait for the season finale to know for sure.) And now for the kids, illustrator Andrew Kolb has put together the saddest book ever in his illustrated version of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Keep reading!

BDA: Austin City Limits, for the Musically Challenged (10/8-10/10)

April 13, 2011

People infinitely cooler than I are right now packing their bags (or bindles, I don’t know what’s in right now) for Indio, CA and Coachella: a weekend of KILLER sets from an impossibly great lineup of musicians. But you know what else is cool?

If you’ve been reading Lifting Fog with any regularity over the past few years (which means you’re a relative, or you hate-check us), you know a few things:

1) Music trends are not something I can even pretend to know anything about. One time I tried to like Black Kids (the band! The band!); ten years after “What’s My Age Again?” I still sometimes listen to Blink-182. Meanwhile DJ Steve is named “DJ Steve” and GOD. DAMMIT.
2) Crowds I find generally unsettling, especially when there are unisex jeans involved.
3) “Oh, that? It’s from a Wes Anderson movie.”

The words I would use to describe my musical acumen, “not hip,” are already themselves the product of another time. Want to hear about “not hip”? Last fall I emailed a friend about this cool new mash-up artist, Girl Talk, who she should “really check out.” Girl Talk has of course been around for going on seven years now, and that I only found out a few weeks ago. So I’m very much NOT YOUR GUY on issues of contemporary coolness.

But in spite of that, or possibly because of that, I’m pretty sure I had a better time at Austin City Limits than any of the 100,000 other music-lovers in attendance. What was likely for all the cool kids just another cool weekend in cool city was, for me, an incredibly unique new cultural experience. Something totally off the beaten path. …And guess who just beat the hipsters at their own game!

The all-too detailed story just after the jump!

Are We Entering A Post-Piracy Era Of Music?

September 1, 2010

With the announcement today of new iPods and a new iTunes, I think it’s time we reflected on how far we’ve come since the days of Napster and the wild west of music downloading. Along with the introduction of brand new iPods, etc. come some cold hard facts about music downloads in the current music retail climate. The numbers are fairly impressive, at least from an iTunes standpoint. In little more than a decade, iTunes has become the largest music retailer on the planet. Translation: people are buying music. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t twice as many people still downloading music illegally, but it’s a significant change that’s worth noting.

I had an enlightening moment two days ago when I went to download a Prince song (…illegally). I wasn’t looking for an entire album (BitTorrent), but only a single track from Prince’s seminal Purple Rain. How to get it? All my previous methods of obtaining a song illegally have been exhausted. LimeWire has lost in court, the other P2Ps having dropped out years ago. Even Lala, a site I had high hopes for in its golden era, has been shut down. I chuckle to myself as I realize I have nowhere to go but Amazon or iTunes to procure the track I’m looking for. What has the world come to?

Keep reading!

YouTube No Longer The People’s Republic of Video?

July 28, 2010

In the last week  I’ve been reading more than I’ve been watching videos. Lord knows, I’m no bookworm: the last book I successfully read before I plugged myself into the Matrix was assigned to me by a teacher. Instead of watching videos, I’ve been reading cease and desist notices, and “content removed by ____”. This past week I had a hard time enjoying videos I’ve come across on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, et al. because it seems as though YouTube is no longer the fountain of free content that I, along with the billions of other people on the web, have come to trust. Exhibit A:

Click for bigger version

Two weeks ago I attended a tremendous concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Kings of Leon did more than just impress me and my set of low expectations, they played a few new songs from a forthcoming album. New material from a band that’s been touring on the legs of a platinum selling album for several years is always worth noting. One track in particular, called “Immortals” was the highlight of the entire set for me. I was excited to upload my first HD video, shot on my new iPhone 4 because the audio quality came out great. Several days after uploading, I received an email and when I tried to visit the video’s page, I saw this (above). Don’t worry, I posted it on Vimeo instead. See below for face melting rock:

As someone who still avidly pays for music, something most of America can no longer say, I am in support of artists’ right to profit as the next 75 year old music industry executive. But let’s consider the facts on this: the song HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED in any form that requires money to obtain. Therefore, all I am doing, by publishing a live video of Kings of Leon KILLING IT on a new track, is providing the band, it’s record label, its management company, etc. FREE publicity at my own expense. If, let’s say, the video becomes popular (not double rainbow popular, but popular), there are hundreds of thousands of people watching a free promotional video of the Kings of Leon doing what they do best. Not to mention if someone sees the video and says “I wasn’t going to go to see Kings of Leon on this tour but if they are playing new material it will definitely be worth it!” You’re welcome, LiveNation/Ticketmaster/Budweiser/t-shirt vendors.

So why such flagrant acts of corporate tyranny these days? Just the other day I went to check out the iPhone 4 vs. EVO videos that have a BestBuy employee in hot water and got a similar message. I’m not surprised by these messages, they’ve always been there every time I went to watch a classic Will Ferrell SNL sketch, but I have definitely been seeing them rear their ugly heads more frequently than usual. These might be glitches in my browser or the Google servers, but if Chrome can’t load embedded YouTube videos on the regular, there’s no hope for anything working correctly. This is just another example of how completely misguided major entertainment companies are in their quest to make a profit off of YouTube. They want  to charge people for something they are accustomed to getting for free, if they can’t charge them for it, they take the content down. Despite what they might think, this is not a business model.

Some Sick Videos. That’s It.

March 3, 2010

Take it as one of the reasons we don’t post everyday or just a testament to our own false sense of superiority (either works!), but it’s become something of a Lifting Fog mission to not allow this site to become a compendium of Internet paraphernalia. You know the stuff: Downfall Hitler mash-ups*, bizarre music videos** — the endless and endlessly inane stream of clips and images and links that keep us from writing our novel (it’s about a society disconnected) or even getting to that article we bookmarked on avoiding procrastination. “Dude, this is the SICKEST video I’ve ever seen. Starts kind of slow, but you have to watch the whole thing!” will probably be the last thing we hear before collapsing onto our keyboards and embracing warm, sweet death. Lifting Fog doesn’t want to be a party to that! We refuse to drink the Kool-aid***!

…But sometimes the videos really are the sickest you’ve ever seen. And what can you do?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This “History of Western Art”-inspired Hold Your Horses! video is pretty French and yet PRETTY SICK.

Two more SICK videos after the jump, because of the rule of three.

‘LOST’ + The Get Up Kids = Emo Fantasy Tie-Ins

February 23, 2010

SEMI-SPOILER ALERT

OK, as of right now I am looking at t-minus seven hours until official PST LOST episode commencement. Needless to say, like most of the western world who is unfortunately being disappointed yet still gripped by the final season, my mind is a jumble of theories, flash-forwards, flashbacks, and insignificant (or are they?) points about the show. A few weeks back, after a hearty drinking session with a co-worker who shared most, if not all, of my music listening habits of the late 1990s, I went back and started listening again to one of my all time favorite bands The Get Up Kids [RIP]. Headed down this path of musical re-enlightenment, little did I know that my constantly wandering LOST-mind would draw uncanny parallels to songs I have listened to for years without ever making a connection.

I present to you, readers, the song “Valentine” by TGUK: a quintessential track off their quintessential album, Something To Write Home About. This song defined what people came to love about the band. It also ultimately led to their downfall as the band, increasingly tired of their “emo” moniker, felt forced to aggressively alter their sound and, in turn, alienate many fans. The song is below in video form and the lyrics are found after the jump. Bear with me for the mind-melting LOST tie-in.

Craving more?

While Ke$ha Sets Records, Uffie Actually Produces Music Worth Bumping

February 1, 2010

Recently I’ve been exposed to the creative juggernaut that is: Ke$ha. Before you say you’ve never heard of her, stop… you have. And if you haven’t you’re probably someone who still considers the Moody Blues a contemporary artist. In 2010, Ke$ha has already been busy breaking music industry records. I consider this about as impressive/telling as setting a new hi-score in Contra, Paperboy, or any other game on a long outdated medium, but it’s worth noting nonetheless. Just about a week ago, she set the record on Billboard’s Pop Songs radio airplay chart with a mind-numbing 11,224 plays inside of one week. What does this speak less highly of: commercial radio or mankind at large? Let’s pause to digest the magic that enabled the young, blonde artist to become the 12th woman in history to “…send her debut single and album to No. 1 on the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, respectively” (Billboard.com):

Digest that? Let’s move on.