Dull Thud - The Bleeps
Every band has at least one good, ok, at least one decent, song in them. I believe this. I'm sure The Bleeps have more than one (really). I say this with supreme confidence because "Dull Thud" is pretty spectacular as far as two-minute blasts of pop-punk go. It's all in the frenetic, pogoing bassline, obviously, but let's not overlook the enormous sense of fun these London boys bring--smirky lines like "You've got some of you mum's instincts, but you've used all your dad's moves." And fun should never be devalued. Never. Just this afternoon I was listening to Superchunk's first, self-titled album (something you should own if you care at all about noisy melodicism and, well, pogoing), specifically, "Not Tomorrow." It's a song where the bass also staples the song together (though probably not as effectively; you can hear Laura Ballance still learning her instrument), and the lead guitar line drills tiny holes in your head. For what purpose? To move you. No, not emotionally. Physically! Vertically, horizontally, against your friends, strangers, the wall, the floor, whatever feels good. This here's the same deal. Get up get up get up! The Bleeps' Myspace.
Pressure - Teenage Filmstars
If Teenage Filmstars were a new band, I'd be setting up a MySpace page so I could make them my friend. I'd be clearing space on my best-of year-end list, just so I could show my appreciation, proper-like. But Teenage Filmstars are not a new band and they are not a they. They are a he, one Ed Ball: punk, Television Personality, historical footnote (more than historical footnote?), noiseslinging slapdash rabblerousing pastichepiecemealcollage artiste.
Auburn and Ivory - Beach House
Oh course Beach House's debut album (Amazon, eMusic) makes me want to tell stories about my childhood. I even have a couple set in beach houses on the Jersey shore and one in San Diego queued up. Stories that are inconsequential--about wrestling with lobsters crackers and sand in pillowcases--except in aggregate. And then they concatenate into a crucial piece of a personal history. But I'll spare you. Because I think people have been reading Beach House all wrong. Beach House is about now, not the ghosts of the past, but the ghosts of the present. The ones you feed and foster, the ones you pick to haunt you and allow to nip at your heels until you're left with flat-bottomed feet, the ones, in short, that matter. In "Auburn and Ivory," Victoria Legrand leads a slow, sinister waltz. Queasy guitars, quaint tinkling harpsichordish keys follow. So do you: dazed, seduced, half-chloroformed, semi-somatic. Oh, you fool. Beach House's Web site, Myspace