Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ambient Signal 5/14/08 - The what the hell am i doing edition

WRPI 91.5fm! for webcast

So theres supposed to be a baseball game coming on sometime during my I didn't plan a playlist because I thought I wasn't going to have to come in so i'm playing random new stuff, and an old playlist from 10/11/05 on a cd I found in the station, haha.. enjoy!

Start of show: Hammock - Gold star mothers and City in the dust on my window
Ester Drang- All this feeling
Wesafari- Alaska
Stars- What the snowman learned about love
Portishead- Machine Gun
Dosh- Wolves
Death cab for cutie- Bixby canyon bridge
Scarlett Johannson- Anywhere I lay my head
Russian Circles- Harper Lewis

Baseball game started like 5:40

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

REVIEW: Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

It's 4 AM on Tuesday morning. Do you know where your new Death Cab For Cutie album is?? I got my dirty little paws on a copy early (it's been floating around the interwebs since 5/2) and just finished listening to it. This is the Bellingham, WA group's 7th studio album and 2nd album with Atlantic Records (the first being Plans in 2005).

Let me get this out of the way first: take what you expect from this album and
throw it out the window. OK now that's done, let's move on.

Narrow Stairs marks a dark turn in Death Cab's sound. Sure they still write about rejection, lost love, and regret, but in an especially melancholy way. The album finds the group using massive production, long build-ups, and careening echoes left hanging like so much dust in the air. Where Plans has a more pop sound, Narrow Stairs takes that sound and drags it through some dark twisting alleyways for a bit. What you end up with is a collection of songs that leave the lost lover narrative behind and take on a more menacing (and quite creepy) sound.

The intro to the first track, "Bixby Canyon Bridge," fools you into thinking this might be like
Plans but no! The heavy guitar riff that kicks in tells you that you've left Kansas behind and entered a new dark world that Ben Gibbard will lead you through with his clear voice. The song ends with Gibbard singing the last verse over guitar feedback. I think Karouac would have approved of this song and Gibbard has said as much (see here and here).

The single "I Will Possess Your Heart" once again comes at you with a bass/piano riff intro then comes the stalking vocals. No, really. After hearing this track, I went to double check all my window shades were drawn and doors locked so Mr. Gibbard over there wouldn't break in or anything. Check it: "You reject my advances and desperate pleas / I won't let you let me down so easily" Wow. Luckily I happen to be on the male side of things. Ladies, good luck...and keep the narrator 100 yards away from you at all times.

Personally, I'm a fan of "Your New Twin Sized Bed." With some cheesy (but still decent) metaphors and a more upbeat sound, it is romantic and longing. Also check out "Grapevine Fires" where Gibbard's writing really shines through. As a comment on the southern California fires and the experience of watching them, I'd say this is one of the best tracks on the album.

So what have we learned today kids? By the end of this record, Gibbard has led us through a haunting world where people live with a lack of love and a deep understanding of loneliness. Though it may have some perky moments ("No Sunlight" and "Long Division"),
Narrow Stairs is definitely an album bathed in the lack of light. I find it to be Death Cab's best album since Transatlanticism (though Plans wasn't bad).



1] Bixby Canyon Bridge
2] I Will Possess Your Heart
3] No Sunlight
4] Cath...
5] Talking Bird
6] You Can Do Better Than Me
7] Grapevine Fires
8] Your New Twin Sized Bed
9] Long Division
10] Pity And Fear
11] The Ice Is Getting Thinner

Official Site

A Moveable Dance {Last Broadcast}

This comes a week late, but I have a surprise for you in return! Check my next post...

[artist] - [track]

Estelle (feat. Kanye West) - American Boy (DJ Sujinho remix)
Thunderkatz - 3 AM (DJ Klever's So So Death remix)
Boys Noize - &Down (Optimus Grime remix)
autoKratz - 1000 Things
Dada Yakuza - Full Metal Yakuza
Feadz - Back It Up (feat. Spank Rock)
Asian Dub Foundation - Fortress Europe
Flufftronix - Shark Attack (Ruff Cut)
Justice - Stress (Auto Remix) <--check out Emelie's post w/ the music vid
Immuzikation - Jeumie (Yelle vs. Weezer)
Busy P (feat. Murs) - To Protect and Entertain
Kanye West - Flashing Lights (Optimus Grime remix)
Santogold - Say Aha
Dead Prez - Bigger Than Hip Hop (Flufftronix Ghetto House refix)
Uffie - Robot Oeuf
Minitel Rose - Continue
Justice vs. Transformer - DVNO
MOULiNEX - Break Chops
Cobra Krames (feat. Rye Rye) - Get Familiar (Start the Violence! remix)
Louis La Roche - Love (Optimus Grime remix)
So Me - Decalcomania
D.I.M. - Is You (Optimus Grime remix)
Feist - Sealion (Chromeo Remix)
Oldschool Reunion - Disco Interface