So far this year…

Albums that I’ve enjoyed so far in 2010:

Beach House “Teen Dream”

Broken Social Scene “Forgiveness Rock Record”

Hot Chip “One Life Stand”

Owen Pallett “Heartland”

Vampire Weekend “Contra”

I haven’t listened to the new LCD Soundsystem yet, but I assume I will be in love with it.

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Review: Los Campesinos! “Romance is Boring”

This review is a guest post. Written by Alex Quintana. Edited by Thomas Irby.

Romance is (not) Boring

Los Campesinos! has always been a band that I wish that I could listen to and not understand what they’re saying, in a good way, just to get the music in its essence…then suddenly be able to understand them, mid-song, just to destroy my own little happy world. Their up-beat, happy, busy sound and full-band 8 part vocals in contrast with their depressing and often gruesome lyrics makes their music a nice garnish to any indie cocktail playlist. Unlike their previous albums the Welsh octet put the microKorg away for a good bit of “Romance Is Boring” and opted to arrange more acoustic instruments (beyond the violin) and emphasize un-augmented guitar sounds (the track “Who Fell Asleep In” has a beautiful string intro). Several of the songs are surprisingly bleak musically, especially “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think of the Future”, which speaks rather bluntly about depression and self-mutilation. Other songs like “There Are Listed Buildings” and “We’ve Got Your Back” sport that usual Campesiniosity that you may come to love, or hate.

Some interesting tracks on the album called “200-102” and “Heart Swells/100-1” are very much worth giving a listen to. Both are less than a minute and both satisfy a need for noisy, confusing music that just kind of works, a void often filled by bands like The Flaming Lips and Why?.

I’m not a huge fan of the cover art, the album seems too long, and I don’t seem to instantly love it like I did “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.” However, Los Campesinos! has produced another interesting album that shows the band growing and progressing while maintaining their sound and individuality. I received my copy in a download format; however, I would recommend ordering a physical copy due to the band’s history with interesting packaging components, such as in their early singles that included paper dolls of the band members. The album is available in CD, digital download, and a limited printing in 7” vinyl.

(7/10)

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor

I feel like this is the first news that I’ve heard in a while that is worth writing about. According to their website, Canadian Post-Rock giants Godspeed You! Black Emperor will be doing some touring in 2010 (9 US dates) and curating the ATP festival. Check Pitchfork for more details.

Godspeed has always been one of those bands that I wish I could have seen in their “prime”. They’ve been on an indefinite hiatus for years. Their massive string orchestrations mixed with heavy rock elements caused them to be one of the forerunners of the instrumental post-rock explosion of the early 2000’s. Their influence later birthed bands like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky.

I’m really looking forward to seeing which 9 American cities they choose to play.

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Things are about to change.

If you have regularly read this blog over the last 6 months, you’ve probably noticed that my updates have been a lot less frequent for the last 3 weeks. I would love to say that I have been working on something else that is super important or interesting. Honestly, its because I’ve been really apathetic about keeping this blog up. I haven’t felt like writing a review in a long time.

From this point on, The All Night Eatery will revert back to its original form- a blog that I write in when I feel like it. When I listen to a new album that I feel like writing about, I will. When I hear a band that I think you should hear, I’ll write about them. I want this thing to be fun again.

Thanks for reading.

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iTunes Tuesday

My top 5 most played songs on iTunes this week:

1) “White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes

2) “Take Care” – Beach House

3) “Nothing Better” – The Postal Service

4) “World Sick” – Broken Social Scene

5) “Cousins” – Vampire Weekend

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Film Review: “One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur”

I’m not a Jack Kerouac freak. I’ve read On The Road, but it was far too late in my life to be impactful. I should have hit it when I was 16 and had a youthful fantasy for mindless traveling. Instead, as a “jaded” 20-year-old college student, I picked up Kerouac’s work for the first time. Though his classic book didn’t shake me, I saw for the first time what all the fuss was about. When it was published in 1957, his love for the open road and unbridled sense of adventure was a novel concept. Now its in the heart of every American teenager that hates the town that they grew up in. Just as modern consumers of emo can’t fully appreciate the music of Mineral, I don’t completely “get” where Kerouac was coming from. Even so, I thoroughly enjoy stirring up the emotions that he once authentically evoked and have been an unconscious consumer of its commercial byproducts ever since.

One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur is a documentary about Kerouac’s trip to a secluded cabin at Big Sur, which is near Bixby Canyon in northern California. The trip was to be a purging of the, depression, misery, and shallow relationships that came as an unwanted repercussion to On The Road‘s commercial success. He planned on staying by himself in a cabin with no electricity or running water for three weeks. While at the cabin he penned Big Sur, the book that offered a glimpse into the author’s mental instability and alcoholism.

A few months ago, I wrote a scathing review of this film’s soundtrack, which was written and performed by Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar. I ended the review with the following line:

I’m interested in seeing the film (it’s on the Netflix queue) and analyzing the soundtrack in that context. Maybe I’ll be a bit more generous.”

I’m not ready to write a retraction, but I was completely ignorant of the intention of the music. At the time, I had no idea that the soundtrack was perfectly paired with the film and made a tremendous amount of sense in its proper context. I still hold to the fact, however, the the soundtrack does not function independently as an album.

The film was beautiful and gripping. Though I had never read Big Sur, I was able to see why people were are moved by a horrendously painful book that explores the demons of an alcoholic’s rock bottom. The cinematography spoke volumes about the utter desperation that he was suffering. The film’s story and pacing was perfected and scrutinized over. The writing, though mostly made up of the text of Big Sur, was done in a way that offered literary criticism and insight without being weighed down by too much interjection. The directors allowed the book to speak for itself and only subtlety aided the viewer in understanding it in its proper context.

My only problem with the film was that some of the contributers really got on my nerves. The first was a stoned hippie who was playing pool (Want to lost credibility? Get a hippie to talk nonsense in your documentary). The second was a girl who couldn’t have been older than 25 who acted like she and “Jack” (apparently they were on a first-name basis) were best friends that went way back. More noteworthy interviews came from Tom Waits, Ben Gibbard, the guy that played Artie on The Sopranos (who also narrated).

Other than a slight lack of oversight when choosing contributers, the film was extremely successful. You don’t even have to like Jack Kerouac to enjoy it. Just to give you a heads up, there is a good chance that this One Fast Move Or I’m Gone will cause you to accidently fall in love with him and make you pretend like its 1957 and you are experiencing something new.

(8.5/10)

If the music of Dan Deacon changed your life: 6/10

If you’ve ever written “Road Trip Mix” on the face of a CD: 9/10



View the trailer:

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I’m under-qualified.

There is a certain amount of narcissism that you must possess to write a blog. Before you write your first post you have decided that:

a) what you have to say is important (or at least interesting)

b) someone wants to hear what you have to say

However, I want to take them time to say something as humbly as possible (on the blog that I set up for me to write on so that people will think that I am a good writer and that I have a good taste in music). I am under-qualified to review a lot of music. I spend a lot of time trying to make you think otherwise. I arrogantly make “daring” comparisons (Yeah, I’m the guy who suggested that Dirty Projectors sounds a bit like Dave Matthews Band) and jokes about how every member of At The Drive-In should have quit music after Relationship of Command. But when it comes down to it, I have pretty weak credentials.

I’m not much of a musician (playing guitar doesn’t make you a musician). I don’t know a ton about musical theory or history. I just like music and love to talk about it. From time to time I feel like I have something interesting to say about certain styles and genres of music. However, there is some music that I’m just scared of.

For instance, I plan to never write a hip hop review. I can’t relate to the music. Though I know that Mos Def’s The Ecstatic was one of my favorite records of 2009, I don’t know enough about the history of the genre or the roots of the music (not to mention the struggle of being poor, hungry or discriminated against) to feel like I can adequately review it.

I have the same problem with electronic music. I know absolutely nothing about creating and producing digital beats and synth. Regardless of how cool I think that it sounds, unless the artists uses vocals I can’t tell one producer from another judging by style or creativity.

With that said, here are a few albums from the last 12 months that I would love to review but am scared too:

Mos Def – The Ecstatic

The Ecstatic features intricate layers of beats and samples that back Mos Def’s intense lyricism. This album produced my favorite track of 2009, “Quiet Dog”.

Four Tet – There is Love In You

“Cool” is the best word that I have to describe Four Tet. I love their use of organic samples (bells, chimes, hand percussion) mixed with digital blips and chirps. There Is Love in You is one of the most enjoyable records that I have listened to thus far in 2010.

Owen Pallet – Heartland

Owen Pallet is far too talented for me to criticize. He was previously known by the name “Final Fantasy” but has decided to be recognized by his birth name. He writes wonderfully orchestrated music that features layers and layers of intricately-composed strings and horns. His melodies effortlessly add to the brilliant compositions.

Aziz Ansari – Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening

How can a music critic justify themselves reviewing a comedy album? I’ve seen people do it, but I don’t have the audacity to judge someone’s comedic talent. Comedy is such a relative thing that varies from person to person. With that said, I think that this performance is hilarious.

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