Heavy Rotation 62February 13, 2011
Featuring Umberto, Simian Mobile Disco, the Sleep-Ins, Marina and the Diamonds (assistance provided by Pictureplane) and Bisquit. Some dark electro, light electro, post-electro, good old fashioned indie rock and a fat slab of cheese. Need a track removed? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous Rotations available here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive
If any one of these ring a bell, you’re in for an atmospheric treat. Umberto lays down the creeping menace like nobody’s business, least of all the person who has just now realized the calls are coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE.
Knives out. That door. Fuck. That door locks from the other side. Upstairs. Shit. The lights. The fucking lights!
(While you enjoy that minimal word picture and the soothing tones of your near-death experience closing in, take a moment to revel in the pure snark of the song title. The perfect answer to the sneering Nimrod who knocks your music with a sneering, “So, you like write soundtrack music for movies that don’t exist? Is that about right?”
Let’s all hope this prick is the expendable cast member. You know, the annoying one that the audience starts shouting directions to, like “Open that door!” and “Go lay down on the centerline!”)
Also noted: Umberto hails from Kansas City of all places. Isn’t music fucking great!
I don’t know what someone said to Simian Mobile Disco but it must have cut them deep. Something about selling out. Going pop. Jumping in the shallow end with Justice.
Whatever was said worked. SMD released the most aggressively non-commercial album of their career with Delicacies. Dark dirty dancefloor material. Brutal minimal beatdowns with no concessions granted to the hipsters, the charts or the pretenders claiming to be tastemakers.
No vocals. Well oiled precision electronics hammering the point home. Nothing under 7 minutes in length. You wanted a hit? Not here. No sellout.
The Sleep-Ins are a throwback to very early-90s altrock, throwing around walls of guitar fuzz like the adopted children of the Inspiral Carpets and the Soupdragons. There’s also a bit of Dinosaur Jr’s more temperate moments (Feel the Pain, in particular) where Mascis could un-slack long enough to make a brief connection with a potential audience.
I also here a bit of Pavement in here as well (Box Elder, specfically) but this would be a Pavement that wasn’t so damn sure it was smarter than its listeners. Great, earworming stuff.
Marina and the Diamonds revive the adventurous near-pop of Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush (especially the latter) in this charming, chiming shard of bliss. “Rapturous” could get tossed in here as a prime adjective. Incredibly catchy, sporting a melody that goes for miles. Pictureplane is on hand to add more charm, chiming and roughed-up chords and samples.
I left this one for last since it may be the last thing you hear today. It’s not that other music won’t reach your ears, it’s just that whatever it is will have no chance of dislodging this insidious piece of bubblegum from your subconscious. It’s so infectious it should come with penicillin booster shots.
It’s German but the lyrics are in English. There’s plenty of vocoder scattered all over these lyrics which gives it a high-tech feel while still being retro as all hell. (Kind of like an audio approximation of The Jetsons. And the vocoder is easily one of my favorite electronic thingies, right behind the Roland TB-303.)
Do yourself a favor and watch the video, which contains some of the most half-assed choreography and easily-tired dancers I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure that if this didn’t exist, neither would the Vengaboys, which in no way diminishes the ridiculous amount of pure, naïve fun this brings to the table.