Archive for September, 2008

Kid Gorgeous Reviews TV on the Radio’s new album, “Dear Science,”

Greetings KTXT listeners, this is Kid Gorgeous bringing to you the first album review for our blog, The Couch. And to start things off I get a chance to review TV on the Radios 3rd album, “Dear Science,.” Now usually when a band starts out their career with two critically acclaimed albums, it means their music can only go one way, and that’s down. Making three albums (and one EP) in a row that critics universally love is a rare thing in music today. Most bands can debut with a spectacular album and never reach that greatness again in their career, but TV on the Radio has gone against the odds and become one of the few that can consistently put out great music.

Originally from New York, TVOTR first gained the attention of America with their debut EP, “Young Liars” which first showed off their unique style of experimental art music. After this was their debut full-length album “Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes.” This album not only gained the band major attention from several music publications and websites, but also helped them to win the 2004 Shortlist Music Prize, beating other big artists of the year like Dizzee Rascal, Franz Ferdinand, and The Streets. Their follow up album, “Return to Cookie Mountain”, became an even bigger success. The album landed on several top 10 lists for 2006, including both Spin and Rolling Stone. Now when talk came about of TVOTR releasing their third album this year, I admittedly didn’t think much of it. Most bands that make two, or even just one good album usually can’t make much more after that. I could make a list of bands like this but in all honesty, the majority of bands in the indie world fit into this category. So obviously my natural instinct was “this album’s probably gonna suck.” But then I heard the track “Dancing Choose,” and I couldn’t help but laugh. It wasn’t just good it was awesome. It was different, fun and made me hopeful for this album, and I will tell you right now, I was not disappointed.

When a band begins making a new record, they either do the same thing over and over, or they try something so different that it’s like listening to another band. What TV on the Radio does on “Dear Science” is that they try out new things but still maintain their own unique style. TVOTR go for a slightly less dark sound with this album and were able to create some of the most danceable and fun music they’ve ever made. The first track, “Halfway Home,” kicks off the album with a sense of positivity. Kind of slow but has a lining of optimism. The next track, “Crying,” starts to add a little bit of dance influence to their music. Don’t let the title fool you; crying is the last thing you will think of when you hear this track. So far TVOTR doesn’t make any huge strides to change their style, however once you get to track three, “Dancing Choose,” the band takes a turn in a completely different direction. Quick lyrics, drum machines, and a danceable sound that I’ve never heard from this band make this song entirely different than anything TV on the Radio has done before, and it’s different in a good way.

The first single off “Dear Science,” is track number five, “Golden Age.” Now I don’t know if it’s the song itself or just the crazy video made for this song, but this track just oozes bright colors and happiness. I know that sounds weird but if you watch the video for this song you’ll agree with me. After this, the band slows everything down for the very atmospheric “Family Tree,” but everything picks right back up again with “Red Dress.” The album stays true to the new “danceable yet still very arty” style throughout the rest of the album. The album’s last track, “Lover’s Day,” closes out the album with a big ending. Much like the final scene in a big epic movie, this track serves as the ending to an album that defies all odds for one of the best modern indie bands.

Overall, “Dear Science” is an awesome album. When comparing it to TV on the Radios other releases, this album really can’t be compared. It’s different but it’s still TVOTR, which is what bands need to look at when trying to stay alive in the music industry. If you like TVOTR, get this album, if you like music you can dance and chill to, get this album. I love this album and it is definitely one of the best albums of 2008 so far.

Hawnay Troof Review

Two days have passed since Hawnay Troof blew up the LBK. My neck is still sore and somehow so is my stomach. I was probably flailing around too much, but so be it, the show was without a doubt worth the few days of soreness. I am still in complete awe of how incredible the entire show was, it just blows my mind that it could have been that good. And it wasn’t just Hawnay Troof who put on a stellar performance. It was one of those shows where all acts brought their ‘A’ game.

Girls We Never Slepted With

The first act to come on was the local group Girls We Never Slept With. As they took the stage I was just thinking to myself, “Oh god this is going to be bad.” Two white guys (Jordash and Z-Sweat) were standing before us with mics in hand while behind them stood their DJ, ready to throw down some beats. But they were quick to win me over, and the crowd absolutely loved them. Overall their lyrics as well as much of their music was quite reminiscent of the early 90’s g-rap with what sounded like midi keys combined with synthesized notes and beats. About halfway through their set Girls We Never Slept

With debuted their new track “My Bud All Over Your Body.” As Jordash begin spitting out the first verse, he completely flubbed; forgetting the lyrics he brought the song to a halt. The crowd seemed to love it, and everyone was cheering. After admitting to a certain state of intoxication, he promised to nail the verse. They took the song from the top again, and holding true to his word, he got it right the second time through. Ultimately they were an enjoyable show, and although musically they still have some polishing to do, they were undoubtedly a crowd pleaser.

Burgers

The next act to perform were The Numerators, made up of “Burgers” Rana, Sammi Rana, and Reuben Castillo; another local act that is known for their experimental sounds and use of just about any noisemaker they can find such as party horns, kazoos, and whistles. They took the stage in brightly colored indian-like face paint, neon sunglasses that can be found in just about any Dollar General store, and tight-fitting cutoff shorts with wild designs that must have come from the early 90’s. They band quickly made it known that this was not going to be a typical show. As they love to do, they had been trying out a few new things, and had a few big surprises for us that night. They had for us not just new songs, but also a genre of music yet to be heard from them. They all grab mics, queue the beats, and gave us four new hip hop tracks. Although I was well aware that they had an experimental sound, I did not see this one coming. They put on a hell of a show. The music was fresh and still simple where it wasn’t overwhelming or annoying. Their lyrics were lighthearted, but not to the point where it becomes hard to take them serious. The entire band came down off the stage into the middle of the crowd where Sammi would start dancing and grinding on anyone in eyesight,

regardless of what gender-defining anatomical features they had. Reuben was a bit tamer with his dance moves, but still engaged anyone around him. Then there was Burgers who would come out and dance a bit, then drop to the ground laying flat on his belly and continue with the verse. They were able to really get the crowd involved and into the music.  For their final song they brought on stage Daniel Markham of One Wolf to help wrap up their performance with the song “Dancing With Wolves.” It was an amazing collaboration where Markham was really able to bring a psychedelic sound to the song while the Numerators were still able to maintain their style. I felt that this was the best performance to date from the Numerators. It was full of surprises, energy, and incredible music, and I believe that they were really able to step it up to the next level.

Hawnay Troof

Closing out the night was none other than Vice Cooler aka Hawnay Troof. I had been itching real bad for this show for months from when I first heard about it and my expectations for it were real high. I remember how incredible Vice was four years ago when he obliterated Lubbock with mad dancing, insane music, and what I thought was one of the craziest yet best shows this town has seen. I had been keeping an eye on Cooler throughout the night, watching his demeanor, trying to figure out what he thought about the previous bands and Lubbock in general after being away for so long, and I was nervous because he didn’t seem that impressed. He took the stage in a white zoot suit with green pin stripes and a black button down shirt underneath. He picked up the mic and quietly let us know that it’s difficult to put on as intense of a show as he does while having an asthma attack, and politely asked if people would mind not smoking while he was on. Of course no one minded, and I think that everyone ended up dancing to hard to even be able to smoke if they wanted to. He then cried out to the crowd, “Are you ready to rock?!” Everyone erupted in enthusiastic response. He asked us that question two more times until he felt we were really ready for what he was about to bring. He went to his laptop and started up the music, then after a few measures he exploded into wild dancing, jumping in the air, kicking, doing the splits, and tumbling across the stage looking like a 5 year old was in the midst of an overdose on pixie sticks and amphetamines. The crowd quickly took his queue and began jumping, dancing, and pumping their arms into the air; anything to try to keep pace with Vice Cooler. He was performing predominately songs off of his new album Islands of Ayle, which had just been released September 9th. Many of his songs he was able to get the crowd to interact by taking over the chorus, and chanting “yeah, yeah, yeah’s,” and “na, na, na’s.”

Hawnay Troof

He also frequented the depths of the fans by coming down off stage into the middle of the crowd and sing and dance alongside everyone else. During one of these ‘excursions’ into a mass of adoring fans he motioned for everyone to get down, everyone kneeling low to the ground on one knee. He quietly sings the chorus of song, and you could feel the music growing tense, and you knew it was about to explode, and the minute that it finally did so, everyone leaped up into the air and began jumping, dancing, and even flailing about, moving in any manner that the music lead them. Towards the end of the show Vice asked everyone if we like gold, referencing the gold suit he had hanging behind him. We unanimously approve and cheer for a wardrobe change. He kicks off his shoes and takes off his pants leaving little to the imagination in his orange and black leopard print banana hammock. As you could imagine, everyone loved it. Then he goes on and changes into his gold suit pants and the matching jacket. This only helped energize the crowd even more, and he then led us through a few more songs then paused to let us know that he talked to No Age when they got back to Cali from their tour, and when he asked how it was, the first thing they said was Lubbock, to which the crowd erupted. It was real awesome to know that a band who had gone around the world and played some real big shows, thought that highly of Lubbock. He proceeded back to the music, and finally finished the show once we were all soaked in sweat. Of course only a schmuck would finish a show without an encore, and Vice is no schmuck. Living up to his legacy of being an absolute badass, he performed not just one, not two, but three encores. No one at the show could get enough of Hawnay Troof, and although we were completely spent and barely had the energy to hold our heads up, we chanted for more and continued dancing and singing along.

I had real high expectations of this show, and I was a little worried that I was expecting more than what V.C. could offer, but he ended up blowing my mind and melting my face off. He had done what I viewed to be the impossible and he trumped his last show. The energy, the music, and the prodigious experience that he was able to create for everyone in attendance was unserpassed in the LBK. After the show I had a chance to talk to him for a little bit and he let me know that he’s thinking about coming back possibly February or March, so if you weren’t able to make the show you’ll have a chance to see an idol of the music industry, and if you were there, then start getting ready to be blown away again.

Show was brought to you by the Library Booking.

Pictures by Emily Williams.

Hawnay Troof

Hey kids, Johnny Quest here to give you a little preview about the upcoming Hawnay Troof show. If you haven’t already heard about it then listen up. Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at Bash’s I Hawnay Troof will be back in town after a long four years. Playing along the Troof will be local acts Girls We Never Slept With and the Numerators. It’s going to be a straight up dance show, so find those old Reebok Pumps, give them a few pumps, and get ready for a damned good time.

So as I mentioned, it’s been a little over four years since Vice Cooler (aka VC who is Hawnay Troof) shook up the LBK. When he rolled through, he was playing over at Jake’s with Mates of State, and had brought to perform with him Allison Wolfe (of Partyline). This was the first time I had heard of Hawnay Troof, and as it would follow, was the first time to see him. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Almost as quickly as VC and Allison Wolfe stormed the stage, most of their clothing had disappeared. VC stripped down to his shoes and a pair of spandex shorts, while Allison Wolfe sported a brightly colored spandex sports bra and spandex shorts. They qued up the music and an explosion of aggresive electro punk music punched the crowd in the face. They were all over the place and sucking everyone in the room into their act. We all started dancing as they performed songs like Dry Hump 2002 and Gut A Cop. It was one of the most intense shows that I’ve ever seen here in Lubbock, but I can honestly say it was one of the best performances that I’ve seen up here as well. The music is fun as hell, the energy that VC has seems unhuman, and you just cant help but have a good time.

Earlier that Spring Vice Cooler had released his debut full length album Get Up Resolution: Love, which took Hawnay Troof on a worldwide tour. Since then he has released one more full length album Dollar And Deed, the two EP’s White Men In Suits EP and Community EP, along with the Hollar And See: The Mixtape. He has also had such collaborators as BARR, Mika Miko, Allison Wolfe, Gravy Train!!!!, and many others. This upcoming show is going to be absolutely insane. It is one that I have been looking forward to for years, and I can’t wait for Wednesday night because it is without a doubt going to be a face-melting good time. Hope to see everyone out there.

Johnny Quest