Six songs in 20 minutes. This is a tight six songs - even the Karen O track, which is a lot of fun. The movie it comes from is going to be a lot of fun too. From there, well, we're covering a lot of the rock and roll. Get to it...
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Karen O - "Capsize"
At some point the world realized that Karen O has a lot more to offer than squirming around the stage moaning and screeching while her band members bash out the sounds of punk behind her. I'm willing to bet it's because she stopped doing it - it was gonna get as old for us as it already had for her. Since making that turn, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have proven to be a pretty good band and she's turning out to be a pretty good songwriter. "Capsize" comes from her soundtrack to the Where The Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze's adaptation of the Maurice Sendak book that is destined for "Neverending Story" status.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - "Mundo De Ciegos"
Rodriguez-Lopez is one half of the central duo in The Mars Volta, though he ought to be known more for the continuous stream of solo albums he releases rather than the band. Each "solo" record is vastly different than the one before, but is still identifiable as "that guy from Mars Volta" every time out, regardless of the name he uses for it. The album this song comes from, Xenophanes, is the first to be recorded at his compound in Mexico. The man is a psychotic musical genius, and although I frequently have no idea what he's talking about whether the lyrics are in English or Spanish (Xenophanes, though named for a Greek philosopher, is entirely in Spanish) I will continue to listen to all of them. From the sick guitar work to rhythms only Rodriguez-Lopez understands how to write, this delivers what we've all come to expect.
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - "Higher Than The Stars (Others In Conversation Remix)
I couldn't resist putting another track out there from this band. This remix, from the 7" for "Higher Than The Stars," adds a louder electric guitar sound - as if they're using the pedals now. It gives a different look at the band.
Frank Turner - "Poetry of the Deed"
I didn't know much of Turner until he started turning up all over TV and being exalted by several punk labels and a lot the bloggers and journalists who salivate over the genre. I've seen the "maybe he could be a new Joe Strummer" reference more than once but he sounds like a less balls-out version of Ted Leo to me. Is there a huge difference? Not really. Is Turner worth your listening time? You better believe it, as "Poetry of the Deed" - song and album - should prove.
Rehasher - "Turn Around"
In 2004, Roger from Less Than Jake struck out with the debut of this pretty straightforward, somewhat LTJ-sounding, skate-punk band. Fast, catchy, melodic - everything you could expect from such a side project. That year, it was one of the albums that I kept in the car because there was no time it wasn't the kick in the ass I needed. The new album, High Speed Access To My Brain, is more of the same. And hot damn is it still exactly the kick I need, and probably would be for you too.
Polvo - "Beggar's Bowl"
Underground heroes I know of from long-forgotten vinyl dug out of the nobody-wants-it stacks at WKPX, though the lack of Internet prevented me from knowing until now that they were underground heroes. "Beggar's Bowl" is the lead single from their comeback album, In Prism. This is some good, angular rock music - just like their old records. Go with loud, I say.