Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There's Old Curiosity in the Air

Arrah and the Ferns forming is a happy accident. Their debut album, Evan is a Vegan, is a candy store full of Wurlitzer organs, banjos and sunshine filled guitars. While the whimsical, sweet melodies and convivial moments remind me of Play School, the lyrics spew vitriol about emo kids and ways to kill someone. Apart from the amusingly malevolent words, I also love the Arcadian atmosphere imbued within each song.

Arrah and the Ferns Problems
Arrah and the Ferns Southern Comfort
Arrah and the Ferns Skylark

Constantly changing homeroots even up to the point when she graduated from Berklee School of Music in Boston in 2003, Caroline Lufkin is more than just your normal musician. She’s a wondrous duet of pleasures, composer of romantic and starry eyed minimal arrangements and a master at finesse. Lufkin, who was recently in Australia as part of Mice Parade’s band, has the most illuminatingly sweet voice ever.

Caroline Where's My Love
Caroline Sunrise
Caroline All I Need (Owen Vallis Mix)

Bring on the bubblegum! Hey Willpower, the brainchild of Will Schwartz (part of pop group Imperial Teen) with the addition of Tomo Yasuda and a rotation of collaborators inject their helping of slick sunshine and candies of synth pop, queercore, and contemporary R&B. The addition of choreographed dances and matching outfits at live shows make this rightly unabashed pop troupe even sweeter.

Hey Willpower Chewing Gum
Hey Willpower Not Trippin'
Hey Willpower Silent Ring

The Kills’ new one is a softer record, to say the least. They’ve chosen to take a refined route with their new record but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve abandoned anything great. While I do proclaim my love for their No Wow regularly, Midnight Boom is pleasantly surprising. There are catchy hooks littered everywhere. My particular favourite, Cheap and Cheerful, is at the same time a fervent and serenely calm track, complete with drum rolls and comical samples. Midnight Boom is out in March.

The Kills Cheap and Cheerful
The Kills Tape Song

Crystal Skulls is a collection of bookmarked pages of a history book. They flourish with warm, intelligent pop and read pages from jazz and soft rock, as well. There’s a proclivity on all their records to appeal to everyone on the sound spectrum. The compositions are intricate, yet very romantic. The words out of Christian Wargo’s mouth are eloquent and ready to incite zealous discourse between listeners but inversely, have diaphanous and even quixotic tendencies. And, best of all, it’s excellent music for the lazy lounge.

Crystal Skulls The Cosmic Door
Crystal Skulls Baby Boy


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