Welcome to Those Tunes

Those Tunes is a blog completely devoted to my rantings and ravings about music. Reviewing songs, albums, bands, music videos, and live shows. Those Tunes doesn't just talk about the new releases, but everything that is worth mentioning. No mater if it's good or bad, old or new, undiscovered or mainstream, we got the review for it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Halfhair Girl by Saharan Gazelle Boy

For those of you unaware I am a proud Kansas City MO resident, so I jump on any and all opportunities to check out good local music. One band in particular that I have grown an obsession over is Saharan Gazelle Boy. Formed by Darin Seal, a member of KC indie legends Capybara, and later joined by Sarah Handelman as guest vocals on a few tracks. The project has perfected the art of bedroom pop with a moody and nostalgic 80s feel that calms the mind and soul. I've heard some compare SGB to Washed Out with it's lo-fi chill-wave but with more of a pop underline that drives the song to the point of being ridiculously catchy.

The song Halfhair Girl is the second single off of SGB's Strange Teen Heart is all this and a bag of chips. The song oozes moody bedroom pop and brings up memories of 16 Candles. This track exemplifies the wonderful sound scape of synths and drum machines that make SGB's distinctive sound. And the lyrics seem like a mellow dramatic love letter to girl with a simple statement of "don't change a thing". It's been said that Darin Seal took a turn for the weird with this project by writing songs that sound like they should be diary entries from a teenage girl straight out of the 80s. This may be true, but he does it so perfectly you just don't care. Nostalgic energy of the mellow drama is put together in such a calm and soothing manner that makes you just want to listen to this song over and over again. I just can't recommend this band enough, check it out!

P.S. If you ever have the chance to see Saharan Gazelle Boy live, take it. Their live show is easily one of the best I have seen. The usual chilled out emotional vibe of the songs take on a new life in a live venue when they breath more energy and enthusiasms into each note. Yet they still remain soothing and the whole show just feels so relaxed. It also helps that the back up band for Darin Seal is his friends from Capybara.

Halfhair Girl by Saharan Gazelle Boy

Albatross by Wild Beasts

I am a huge fan of Wild Beasts so I had been waiting for their new album for quite some time, and their new album is accompanied by their latest single; Albatross. From the very start we are hit with a completely new sound from this English group. We are all familiar with their art rock sound with slow melodies, echoing instruments, layered vocals, and sometimes joking lyrics. But this song hits us with a new addition to the band, a synth. Now adding an electronic element to their spectrum seems to bring new life to this amazing band.

But have no fear, upon listening to the track you are quickly reassured that the iconic and memorable elements that define Wild Beasts is still present. Albatross instantly hits you with a classic electronic/ synth pop sound and then slowly grows to be filled out by Wild Beasts other musical talents being perfected with the introduction of the vocals.

The name Albatross has more meaning in this song than just a sea bird. Since the 1798 poem titled The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the albatross has taken on the symbolic weight of a negative omen and a burden. In the poem a sailor on a large ships shoots down a Albatross which was following the ship (meant to be a good sign), the other sailors punish him for ruining their good luck and force him to wear the dead albatross around his neck to try to fight off the curse, but to no avail. This same symbolic meaning to echoed in the Wild Beasts' lyrics. In the song, the Albatross is metaphorically used to symbolize a burden which someone carries and blames all of his hardships on. It even directly hints at the original poem with lines like "Its my neck around which you hang like a chain or a tag." The lyrics express a painful burden which the writer carries with him and can't seem to escape, could it be a person or an event? We are left not knowing what his Albatross is, but at least we are given an amazing song.