Liz and Laura’s Finite Playlist: What We’re Listening to Right Now

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Liz

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1. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains

2. Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim

3. Built To Spill — There Is No Enemy (I’m still “meh” about it — thoughts?)

4. Talking Heads – Remain In Light

5. Flaming Lips – Embryonic


Laura

Laura Record Background

1. Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3

2. Gossip – Music for Men

3. Flaming Lips – Embryonic

4. Vivian Girls – Everything Goes Wrong

5. Mika – The Boy Who Knew Too Much

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CMJ Day 2 – Cymbals Eat Guitars

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Bursting immediately into the explosive first track “And the Hazy Sea” off their debut album Why There Are Mountains, Cymbals Eat Guitars rocked an entranced Santos Party House last night. The members are talented, tight players that are quite visibly skilled at their instruments and bring what might be called an indie rock sound along with this precision. What makes them stand out, though, are their song structures.  They have all the normal elements that an appealing new band might keep things interesting by flitting between – guiltless pop, hazy wanderings, and screaming catharsis – but they do so with a randomness that is not often seen. The payoffs are not necessarily in the choruses, if the song even has a definable one, and elsewhere what might seem like a wailing, expend-all-the-energy climax transitions suddenly into lullaby. The set’s final song “Wind Phoenix (Proper Name),” for example, spent some time in summery pop bliss before delving into noisy, flailing jam that seemed like the perfect sendoff for a memorable evening. But the song was not over there, as singer/guitarist Joseph D’Agostino innocently began the real fadeout, the album’s catchiest melody that had him crooning as the ribbons of sweat still leapt from him face and onto the stage. Other highlights of the short set included “Some Trees (Merritt Moon),” “Indiana,” and a new song, all of which had CEG proving how refreshing it can be when a band that’s talented at the base leaps from one excellent idea to the next. They have, in fact, something for everyone, especially the easily bored.

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Five L&L certified Halloween movie rentals

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The best way to get in the Halloween spirit is to watch a few spine-tingling scary movies, and we’ve got five badass recommendations.

1. Trick ‘r Treat – This surprisingly awesome set of spooky vignettes couldn’t be more Halloween related.

2. Drag Me to Hell – If you haven’t seen Sam Raimi’s newest masterpiece yet, it’s about time.

3. The Midnight Meat Train – If the title puts you off, you probably won’t like this gorey examination of the dangers lurking in metropolitan subway systems. But if you’re into Clive Barker (on whose short story the movie is based), you’ll probably like it.

4. Dance of the Dead – Which is scarier, zombies or high schoolers? How about both?

5. House on Haunted Hill (1959 version) – The original House on Haunted Hill is a scary-funny romp that is well worth revisiting. If you’re dubious about a ’50s horror film, I’ve got two words for you: Vincent Price.

CMJ Day 1 – Laura Marling and The Antlers

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Arriving from the UK, from where it’s apparently a bitch to ship a cello, wise-beyond-her-years musician Laura Marling enraptured a packed house of believers. Tiny and girlish, but with a voice that’s not only lovely but alarmingly wise, Marling did not veer far from the shape of her songs in the live setting, though they were so bone chillingly rendered as to make attendance more than worth the effort. Opening with “Ghosts” and playing only that and “My Manic And I” off debut album “Alas I Cannot Swim,” she mostly presented tracks of her forthcoming follow-up, which she has just decided will be called “Speak Because I Can.”

New songs included one of the same name, as well as “Rambling Man” and “Hope In The Air,” to which the crowd responded enthusiastically. Marling’s draw is that, in addition to her deft guitar playing and fine songwriting skills, she’s got a voice that shocks in its gravity and takes hold with its strength, especially for one so young. Dressing in white and with a similarly colored light shining down upon her, she certainly looked angelic as she strummed, and as her voice cried out she retained a fixed, almost possessed gaze.  If she had played for any longer, the audience might  easily have been commanded to do her bidding.

Next came The Antlers, a band that clothes serious topics in both thoughtful tranquility and big, bright pop. One must be fine with leaping between moods to really enjoy them, which is made all the easier with Peter Silberman’s great voice paving the way, pleasing in that urgent, bratty sort of way and insanely capable of hitting the high notes live (and boy were they high). He and keys/effects guy Darby Cicci each had a tangle of pedals with which they engaged, and that really came to good use during moments of leg-kicking, frantic jamming. The Antlers break into melodies that are easy to latch onto, but just as often they float in thoughtful quietude or noisy experimentation – call them well-rounded, but they’re at their best when they really let loose.

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More CMJ coverage to come…

tUnE-YaRdS

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Merill Garbus, member of the excellent Sister Suvi (who’ve now either disbanded or simply gone on temporary hiatus) performed as her oddly-spelled solo project tUnE-YaRdS last night at Union Hall. Enthusiastic hooters and a few hilariously swaying hippies welcomed her to the low, comfortably livingroomesque space below Brooklyn’s favorite Bocce Ball bar. More than just a girl and her sweet ukulele ditties, Garbus brings a downright amazing vocal prowess, but also distinctive bits of quirk that elevate her above other singer/songwriters – she creates mountains of sound and her own percussive accompaniment with on-the-spot-recorded loops. She was also joined on this particular evening by a bass player and beer bottle tapper, filling the space with as much energy and intriguing sound as any full band could hope for.

Garbus has garnered a good amount of press as of late, and rightly so. Having recently signed to 4AD, she’ll also be touring with a certain critically-buzzed act that you may have heard of, Dirty Projectors. A highlight of the night was the infectiously swayable “Fiya,” on which she leaps from insecure little girl to feminine powerhouse, blasting a wonderful pop vocal melody over looped vocal backing and drum clacks. The light innocence of the ukulele brings a sweetness to her loud, strong wail, two seemingly mismatched strengths that in fact blend quite soothingly. Crowd favorite “Hatari” constructed a cascading flurry of hooting vocal parts, wonderfully strange and unique, before a break that had Garbus shouting from the rooftops, much to the audience’s delight. tUnE-YaRdS is so dang likeable not only because she’s doing things you haven’t heard before, but because even stripped down she’d be an engaging songwriter with a voice that will sink into your brain. Plus, she’s a sweetheart.

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Hollywood has gone horror remake mad!

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I’m as guilty as anyone of encouraging Hollywood studios by going to see terrible remakes of classic horror movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, Friday the 13th, and Halloween (which was a little better than the others thanks to Rob Zombie but still pretty much sucked).

But now they’ve just gone too far! Take a look at some of the horror movies that are set to be remade in the near future, according to about.com. (P.S. On an unrelated note, I’m really excited about Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper Walks Among Us).

The Birds

Whyyyyy?

The Crazies

I still haven’t seen the original, but I’ve heard it’s good.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Really?

Hellraiser

I didn’t really care about the original, but I know a lot of people who are probably really pissed about this.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Without the original Freddy, what the hell is the point?

Poltergeist

Now, this is just heresy.

Predators

Maybe this isn’t related to Predator, but I’m already worried.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

Never saw the campy original, but I’ll bet it’s awesome.

Suspiria

I am not okay with this.

The Wolf Man

Ha!

Also of note, movie sequels that should give up already: Scream 4, The Ring 3, Resident Evil: Afterlife, 28 Months Later, Halloween 3D, and (of course) Saw VI.