Monthly Archives: May 2013

Required listening: Ramones’ “I’m Against It”

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Know this about The Ramones — they don’t care. Take ‘ I’m Against It,’ from their 1978 release Road To Ruin.

The punk-rock legends dive right in with the mantra ‘Well I’m against it….” It doesn’t really matter WHAT they’re against, the song is just a blast to listen to.

It’s rapid-fire punk rebellion, with a killer, heavy rock riff that kicks you around and shoves you back and forth like a struck tuning fork. Cymbals crashing, drums pounding.

These guys work hard at showing how apathetic they are. 

“I’m Against It” is smart enough to be quirky — “I don’t like sex and drugs/I don’t like water bugs,” — and still manages to be relevant to the time, railing against the Viet Cong and “Jesus freaks.”  

Joey Ramone proclaiming “I don’t like Burger King” is laugh-out-loud perfection.

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Here’s the lyrics, since some of it is hard to make out. For a Ramones primer, read here. 

Now, go listen.

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His mission? David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ — in space

The Thin White Duke, upon release of Hadfield’s video, tweeted “Hallo Spaceboy” to Hadfield.

Canadian astronaut and sometime musician Chris Hadfield made history this week when he released a music video on his last day on board the International Space Station.

His choice — David Bowie’s 1969 “Space Oddity.

When I first started watching the video, I’ll be honest — I didn’t QUITE get it — here is this guy singing a David Bowie classic, trying to be cool, trying to be Bowie. It’s true — lots of people want to be Bowie.

But that feeling of doubt was fleeting. As Hadfield strums and sings so plaintively, and stunning images of Earth from above slowly roll past, any question of his validity vaporizes.

Hadfield’s version is not bad either. He adapts some lyrics so that it’s more appropriate with his space mission, but I think he earned that license.

The video’s significance gives the iconic song yet another reincarnation, for perhaps a new set of fans, a new genre of listeners who might not ever dream of listening to David Bowie. The video is fascinating to watch, especially that acoustic guitar, which just floats, sort of like an oasis, adrift among wires and metal.

Hadfield’s decision to make the first music video entirely in space was brilliant. Hard to believe that more than 30 years after the first music video, another way has been found to keep the medium relevant. It only took a song from 1969 — and a space mission in 2013.

Here’s a link to the Wiki page about the original “Space Oddity.” It also shows just how much mileage Bowie’s gotten out of this song through the years.

Space Oddity album cover.

Space Oddity album cover.

The NYT story, includes incredible photos of Earth that Hadfield took from space. And here’s The Independent‘s take on the video.

Chris Hadfield — you’ve made the grade.

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TEEN sends love from the ’60s on ‘Carolina’

TEEN-Carolina

Indie-pop wunderkinds TEEN bring a pop-psych vibe to their latest release, the EP ‘Carolina’. Although TEEN definitely possesses an alt-rock flavor, they sway quite often toward psychedelia, which makes their alt-rock side all the more mellow and fuzzy. The group may have met The Magnetic Fields in a past life.

Teen band pic

TEEN is an all-female quartet formed in Brooklyn in 2010. TEEN is Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson, and her two sisters Katherine and Lizzie, and Jane Herships. Kristina left her spot in the band Here We Go Magic to take the reins on TEEN.

The addition of organ, especially on the title track and the EP’s highlight, ‘Paradise,’ turns ‘Carolina’ into a more dreamy affair. A small horn section (a trumpet) adds some kitsch on ‘Circus.’ Teeny’s sprawling voice takes up residence throughout the EP. She’s a meld of late 70s Debbie Harry and 80s Laura Branigan, refreshing for this century.

According to an interview in  The Line of Best Fit, Teeny Lieberson cites as past influences Patti Smith, Pink Floyd and the experimental band Can from the ’60s and ’70s — which could explain the wonderfully loopy guitar improvs on “Carolina.”

Here is a link for TEEN’s new video, “Circus.” Carolina EP comes out May 28 on Carpark Records. TEEN is also touring with Eleanor Friedberger starting June 4. By the way, you can download the single “Stare at the Sun” at Friedberger’s website.

Dig It or Ditch It: Dig it, but be prepared for the echo effect. The EP sounds like everyone’s in a giant tin box, which can be distracting sometimes.

Listen to “Carolina:”

http://soundcloud.com/carparkrecords/teen-carolina/s-bwgd9

and “Paradise:”

https://soundcloud.com/carparkrecords/teen-paradise-1/s-fdeac

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