Here’s a show with something good for everybody. And by “everybody” I mean about 3% of the population, but if you’re reading this you’re probably in there somewhere. El Ten Eleven brings instrumental rock out of Southern California, needing only two band members to build the kind of post-rock ballads you expect to hear spilling off of stages crowded with guitar players. But two stringed instrument here (well, three if we’re counting by the number of necks). And only one drummer (well, many more if we’re counting drum machines and looping pedals). Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty’s method for building tracks piece by piece makes for a captivating live show; last year’s live set on KEXP should give you an idea of what to expect.
Opening for El Ten is Slow Magic, a solo electronic act that will be offering something slightly different (but really, highly kindred). Definitely zero stringed instruments and exactly one person at work here, but another high-energy instrumental act with anthem-like tunes. Slow Magic has been called “glo-fi” (see: XXYYXX) and “dream-(-finish-genre-name-here)”, which basically means his songs are danceable, midtempo, and full of echoes and bright electronics. To be honest, I had no idea just how awesome his live shows were until I poked around on YouTube; watch here as he bangs on (real!) drums and wanders into the audience.
Nude Pop, newcomers from El Ten Eleven’s label, seem like a great complement as well (we’ll let them earn a write-up for next time, though…). Their sound lands somewhere between the other two.
Tickets for next week’s show (April 9) at Crowbar are still available through Aestheticized.
Remember when remixes were called remixes? Or just mixes?
Today’s grievance deals with the increasing trend of artists applying grand names to their remixes instead of doing the polite thing: simply identifying the original song. Things have changed, I get that. At this point it seems at least 1 in 10 tracks (baseless estimate) published online are remixes (or whatever), covers, or tracks otherwise built on the shoulders of others’ work. Unlikely sounds are emerging and unlikely collaborators are collaborating. It’s a pleasant thing, so of course that means it’s endangered by an increasing volume of insincerity and exploitation.
Here’s a summary of common issues with remix track titles:
- The remix artist is leaking pride by adding a fancy name
- The remix artist is taking some ownership of the track they depended on for listening appeal
- Corniness, failures at wordplay
- Artistic insincerity, in general
Of course this is all subjective, and really, we’re just having some fun here. That said, here are some proposed guidelines on remix naming:
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY remix)||YES||Long-held naming convention|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY re-edit)||NO||This is redundant. And stupid.|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY refix)||NO||Fix? Was something wrong with the original (2+ times?)|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY refux)||NO, NO||Nope.|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY remixxx)||NO||Nope.|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY rebuild)||NO||You sound like an asshole.|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY re-[anything that isn't "mix"])||NO||Nope.|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY’s electro remix)||OK||Genre tagging can be useful…|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY’s complextro remix)||NO||…but openly claiming obscure buzzword genres is lame, in general….|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY’s “complextro” remix)||OK||…although, quotes = lightening seriousness + possibly sincere intent to orient listener = OK|
|Wham! – Bad Boys (BKY’s Subway Fingerbang mix)||NO||Stop it.|
|BKY – Bad Boys (remix of Wham!)||NO||Maybe convenient for tagging and organization, but this is misattribution!|
|BKY – Bad Boys||NO||It’s not a sample when you used the whole thing|
Some artists have fun with it in a tongue-in-cheek manner, sure (famously: Aphex Twin’s 26 Mixes for Cash). But for the much larger majority of unknown producers looking to siphon some listens from an already-famous track?–be modest!
Does anyone agree? Show me a sign.
Has it been 10 years? Damn nearly. The mini-supergroup that is Postal Service–one half Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), one half Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel, Figurine)–have announced that they will be embarking on a tour to promote Give Up…. a few years behind schedule.
Florida? Yes. The Service will make a drop at Hard Rock Live in Orlando on June 5th. Tickets are sold out, however (we would have told you sooner, but we were in line). Seriously, though, the tickets were gone within an hour of posting.
Give Up Reissue
The tour was announced along with news of a 10-year anniversary reissue of Give Up that will feature some new tracks (–!). Here’s a timeline of how all this unfolded:
- 1/21: Postal Service website updated: “Postal Service 2013″ 
- 2/4: Tour (with Jenny Lewis) announced/confirmed
- 2/22: (Most) tickets went on sale
- 2/22: (Most) tickets sold out
There are tickets floating around in the aftermarket, but if you want them you’d better have $100+ and some patience.
The Postal Service really was a pretty big deal
Framed by its ties with the equally melancholy Death Cab for Cutie and a prominent role in emo culture’s Casablanca, Garden State, the Postal Service arrived at a moment when youth culture was embracing sadness and music listeners were abandoning the radio to seek out new things. Gibbard and Tamborello patched together what would become one of the best albums of the decade, ushering in a new era of bittersweet, homespun indie/synth hybrid music. The echoes of Give Up are still being felt, most noticeably from the fragments of it embedded in pop culture media. Remember the (ironic!) usage of the Postal Service in UPS “whiteboard” commercials?
The ubiquity, in microcosm: Your parents have heard the Postal Service at some point. Give Up was a surprise water balloon that left a few drops on everyone.
The box in the closet from an old relationship
For fans who became willfully attached in the early days, the story of Postal Service–like the story of Give Up–is the story of unrequited love. Unrequited in the sense that the tours we yearned for never happened, nor did the emergence of new songs. It was like a one night stand after which one side thought it meant something and the other didn’t.
In 2007 things changed when rumors of a new album started going around after confirmation that new tracks had been worked on. Ben quashed the excitement by repeatedly insisting there were no plans to create another album and that work on music had grinded to a halt. After a few more years passed with no news, it seemed to be the end of the story for Postal Service; for good this time.
A new chapter?
A few days ago, in what still feels a little surreal, a new Postal Service song was released, “A Tattered Line of String”, featuring Rilo Kiley sweetheart Jenny Lewis. Its origins are unclear, but all signs suggest this song’s production was started in 2007 or earlier. So while you browse around for some tickets on the resale market, indulge in a tune that’s time traveled from your high school days, college days, war days, or.. whatever.