The Swell Season is Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s first album without the built-in emotional resonance that comes from the identification of character, plot, and image with song. It’s hard to imagine the music from the Once soundtrack without recalling its place in the film, whether Glen was busking by himself or recording with the band. “Low Rising” has a video, but for the most part, the music has to speak for itself.
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San Diego’s Anya Marina is a rising singer-songwriter whose 2009 sophomore effort Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II was produced by indie hero Britt Daniel from Spoon and Brian Karscig from Louis XIV. Marina has a tune on the new The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack where she appears in the company of Thom Yorke, Bon Iver, St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear, and Death Cab for Cutie. The just-released video for “Satellite Heart” was shot in Portland with Scott Coffey behind the camera. Marina’s upcoming tour dates appear after the jump.
The Phenomenal Handclap Band played a funky, fun, lively set at the 9:30 Club to kick off their international tour. Hardly the “eye-popping spectacle that overwhelms the senses” that their press materials promise, they do have a great stage presence and a better sound. It also doesn’t hurt that upfront duo Laura Marin and Joan Tick are nice to look at, in addition to having great voices. For a Sunday night at 10pm, they definitely rocked.
So the chorus in “Automatic” shares its melody with “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States of America, but they get a pass due to music being a bit of an infinite monkeys, infinite typewriters situation these days. The rest of the song is saturated with noise and sounds exhausting. Whether it’s an beautiful, religious exhaustion or an “if I listen to this for one more second I’m going to vomit my organs” exhaustion depends on your mood, I suppose.
At a few points in this video, it looks like the new single from Tegan and Sara has a little life in it. It doesn’t take much—a lilt in the vocals—but it’s enough to show that “Hell”, in its banality and its cautiousness, does a disservice to the artist.