Tuesday 29 Jul
 
 
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OKG Newsletter


Topic: pop

The Ladybug Transistor — Clutching Stems

It's all about the tunes, man


Indie

Stephen Carradini
The Ladybug Transistor’s pop songs are elegant constructions.
 
Thursday, July 7, 2011

No dummy

The man behind alt-rock act Jack’s Mannequin knows what it takes to dress up his piano-pop tunes: freshness.


Music

Stephen Carradini
Jack's Mannequin with Steel Train, Lady Danville and River James
6 p.m. Friday
Diamond Ballroom
8001 S. Eastern
diamondballroom.net, 677-9169
$19 advance, $24 door
 
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stretch Marx

Eighties popster Richard Marx stays relevant by reworking his past hits and writing new ones for other artists.


Music

Becky Carman
Richard Marx|
8 p.m. Friday
Choctaw Casino
Grant, 800-585-3737
$25-$45

8 p.m. Saturday
Choctaw Event Center
Durant, 800-585-3737
$34.50-$50

 
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do you do you do you do you wan-na dance?

With free, new tracks from The Rapture and M83, you oughta be set

While this speculation remains unconfirmed, the New York dance band’s sure to sell a bunch of albums this fall. Their fourth LP, “In the Grace of Your Love,” hits stores in September, courtesy of DFA Records.

The nearly 7-minute melodramatic disco banger “How Deep Is Your Love” is the album’s first single, and if it’s any indicator, “Grace” is going to absolutely slay the competition for album of the year.

Here’s why: The Rapture previously operated as a pretty stripped-down, manic, dance-punk band (see: 2003’s excellent “Echoes”) but “Deep” exhibits some aggressive sonic expansion. Included is a more earnest and theatrical lyrical arrangement as well as more nuanced use of keys and synths, where those were mostly used as solo instruments on previous Rapture records.

Somewhere, Justin Vernon’s beard trembles.

Anywho, M83 is another electro band slated for an ambitious fall release (a double-LP, in fact) that just so happens to have put out a terrific single to hype it.

Midnight City” starts off sounding the way MGMT did on their first record — dancey and psychedelic on an epic scale. I’ve got a feeling that the French electro-poppers will be highly sought-after on next summer’s festival schedule.—Matt Carney


by Matt Carney 07.21.2011 3 years ago
at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

Pop this


OKG7 things to do

Gazette staff
Don’t even act like your edge-of-puberty daughter doesn’t want you to take her to see Greyson Chance in concert.
 
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It’s a Chance Chance Chance Chance ‘World’

Girls will go Gaga for it.


CFN

Gazette staff
Adorning the cover of the new “The World Almanac for Kids 2012”: a whale, skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, country star Taylor Swift and Edmond pop moppet Greyson Chance.
 
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's a Chance Chance Chance Chance 'World'

Next cover ... Rolling Stone


CFN

Gazette staff
Adorning the cover of the new “The World Almanac for Kids 2012”: a whale, skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, country star Taylor Swift and Edmond pop moppet Greyson Chance.
 
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chance encounter with the tube


CFN

Gazette staff
Well, that was quick:
 
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

OKS Chatter: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

The Detroit band talks Wayne Coyne, hip-hop beats, pop radio and Pitchfork.

The three best shows I saw at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival were two obvious choices (Kanye West, Arcade Fire) and one dark horse I’d pinned a lot of hope on. That band is Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and the duo’s Sunday-afternoon set showed off their flair for garish styles, fun-loving melodies, twinkling electronic textures, falsetto harmonizing, bubble machines and straight-up rock ’n’ roll. Also, they tossed Popsicles to a thankful crowd, heat-exhausted by three days of loud music in the Texas sun.

With those antics – the names, the games, the showmanship, these press photos  – it’s hard to tell whether or not Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein have their tongues wriggling in their cheeks. Luckily, I had the chance to chat with them the day before their set, and the guys seem as genuine as the homegrown, preservative-free cheese I bought at Forward Foods during my lunch break yesterday.



My verdict: They’re ambitious, quirky guys who record weirdly lovable music and are nostalgic for a time when physical media was more important and radio stations crackled with music that was beautiful and challenging. But I’m rambling now. On to the chatting:

Zott: So what’s up with Wayne Coyne? He gets to do whatever he wants on a major label, and everyone loves him. It’s weird.

Epstein: He has like, three houses, right? Right in a row?

OKS: It’s actually four. He’s expanded. I think they’re all back-to-back, and connected by the backyard. It’s just a gigantic compound.

Epstein: That’s so weird.

OKS: It’s in the shady side of Oklahoma City, so the houses are probably pretty cheap. He’s spent a lot of money remodeling and redecorating them.

“Nothing but Our Love” at ACL 2011


Epstein: That’s awesome. Is he part of the community?

OKS: I see him at concerts all the time. There’s a venue in Norman called Opolis, where a lot of the smaller-name indie acts come through, and he’s there with friends and family at a lot of the shows I go to. He just walks right up to the stage, pulls out his phone and tweets photos. He’s checking out new bands and hanging around.

But on to you guys. One of the things I like so much about your music is that a lot of it’s textured with electronica — the little fizzly sounds that keep things going. How is that coming out of Detroit? It seems very different to me, from most of the music that comes out of there.

Music video for “Simple Girl”


Zott: You’re talking about the garage-rock scene.

OKS: Yeah, that’s usually what I think about when I hear about Detroit.

Zott: There’s that element, and we do have a rock element to our sound, but Detroit does have an electronic scene that’s really huge. It kinda started there.

Epstein: Yeah, techno music came from Detroit.

Zott: There’s a lot of bands doing that kinda stuff right now, and the roots are there for it. A lot of bands we like are electronic-type bands. It’s more natural than you think, there’s a lot of electronic tinkering going on up there.

Epstein: There’s a huge, underground hip-hop scene that’s getting notoriety also. I think hip-hop’s actually a big part of our music, too.

Zott: I’d say more so than electronica is a hip-hop type vibe. It’s a little bit warmer. There’s a groovier beat than a stale, 4-4 beat.

OKS: I definitely feel like – listening to you guys’ music – it’s more intimate and warm-sounding.

Zott: Yeah, there’s definitely some of that electronic texturing, but it’s Detroit to us.

OKS: You guys did the “Summer Babe” cover for The A.V. Club. Do you guys have a particular affinity for Pavement, or that song in particular?

Epstein: Well, the songs had to have “Summer” in the title, but I’ve always been a huge Pavement fan, so it seemed to be a pretty obvious choice.

Zott: And I hadn’t listened to them much. Usually when we do a cover or a remix or something like that, one of us has heard the song and the other hasn’t, so it makes it more fun because you can’t quite put as much of a spin on the song if you know it in and out. That’s really hard to do. I think we were able to get away from it because I wasn’t familiar. Josh kept the things that we needed to keep, but we also made it fresh.

OKS: Let me ask you guys about your album, particularly the Gil Scott-Heron cover, “We Almost Lost Detroit.” Did you guys pick that one out because you’re big fans of Gil Scott-Heron, or because of the hometown mention, or kind of a mix of both, or what?

“We Almost Lost Detroit” live on KEXP


Epstein: I think initially it was because of Detroit. We really liked the version we did. It felt updated, in comparison to the original. But also we really liked the sentiment in it. It sums up so much about our record, especially the name “It’s a Coporate World,” so it felt like we had to include it. It was just kinda meant to be.

OKS: Do you guys’ songs start out with words, or do you go melody first or what?

Zott: It’s different every time. I think the key is to keep it inspired and to avoid forcing anything. Sometimes Josh’ll have an idea and we’ll work it out, sometimes I’ll have an idea and we’ll work it out, sometimes we push something together, or sometimes we write a whole song and there’s no lyrics. Sometimes you need to make lyrics sound good. It’s different every time, I think.

OKS: If you guys had to record a pop album or a folk album, which one would you choose?

Zott: That’s where we’re kind of a mix. We want to be a pop band. We hate the idea that a pop band has to be dumbed-down — lyrically, sonically, chord structure-wise. It used to not be like that. “God Only Knows” was a massive hit worldwide, and that song has the weirdest chords in it, it has time-signature changes, a key change. It’s weird: It would never fly right now on pop-radio format.

God Only Knows:


OKS: It’s morbid, too.

Zott: Yeah! It was considered a beautiful love song, and it is. But it’s got these funky lyrics that aren’t typical love-song lyrics. But we think people can still digest that stuff, and people do. I’d like to write a pop album that breaks that rule. We’re just making music we love, that we think could be pop music and doesn’t necessarily have to be Top-40 radio. It can be complex. I think we’d do a pop record.

Epstein: To me, they both exist within me, and I don’t think I can separate them. I’ll still feel the need to write lyrics that are meaningful and challenging. You can do it. People just aren’t doing it in the Top 40 anymore. The system’s a bit broken. People at the radio stations want to keep their jobs. Radio plays a huge role to make bands visible to people who aren’t on blogs, who don’t seek out new things.

People who read Pitchfork fail to realize that most people in the world don’t read Pitchfork. I was working with this band, recording a song, and they were like, “Pitchfork’s gonna love this.” And I told them they were idiots. Do it because you love, not because Pitchfork’s gonna like it. They’re just one opinion, anyways. Somehow they’ve managed to make people think they’re the authority.

I just think that, ultimately, if it were DJs playing the songs they wanted to play, like it was in the ‘60s, then we’d have a much more diverse popular music scene. People are hungry for good stuff. That’s how Phoenix became a Top-40 band. I think mostly probably because it was so different when it played on those stations. People were like, “Holy crap! What is this? It’s not Nickelback!” y’know?

OKS: So are you guys going to get to go around at the fest at all? Who are you going to see?

Zott: If we have time, we’d love to see Stevie Wonder.

Epstein: As a musician, it’s really hard for me to go to a show and just be entertained. And when bands can do that, I’m always so blown away. Like going to a Flaming Lips show: You feel like a little kid and you just want to cry. I learn a lot from them.

Zott: I don’t go to concerts, which is kind of a weird thing. I guess I’m going to have to make up for it now.

Epstein: I go to too many. I played with OK Go one time, and they said something along the lines of, “Everything we do, we try to be like The Flaming Lips.”
by Matt Carney 09.28.2011 2 years ago
at 01:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 

VOTD: Ra Ra sis-boom-bah!

Ra Ra Riot do Fallon, on their way to OKC.

On Tuesday night, Syracuse indie-pop mini-orchestra Ra Ra Riot (or “the not-so-dancey Passion Pit,” as my old boss once so aptly described it) stopped by the big city to play “Shadowcasting” for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

We’re less than a month away from the band’s Nov. 2 appearance at ACM@UCO, and I couldn’t be more excited. Its first record, “The Rhumb Line,” was somehow tender, vulnerable and catchy all at the same time, and one of my favorites from 2008. Watch:

by Matt Carney 10.13.2011 2 years ago
at 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
 
 
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