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BY: Megan Hundley, 8.21.08

Throw every notion you already had about Bloc Party out the window. Intimacy, the newest album from this booming British band is a whole new side to their musical talents. With fresh lyrics, including a few more blatantly vulgar phrases, and a more techno sounding sheen covering said album it completely shows Bloc Party turning a new leaf. With no song less than 3 minutes long, get ready to be entertained!

With the jarring initial track “Ares” begins almost angelically and then dives right in to the synthetic guitar sounds and outstanding drum beat. Kele chimes in with the first words on the track, “War war war war!” Initially, I thought this song reminded me of how I feel when I’m intoxicated. A mish-mash of sounds, words and tones. It’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s worth revisiting.

Then comes the second track “Mercury” ( which I saw Bloc Party perform live just a few weeks ago at Lollapalooza ’08 ) which I can definitely see being remixed sometime in the near future. It’s repetitive and catchy and a jumble of many different sounds.

“When I saw them play [“Mercury”] at Lolla, I thought it didn’t sound anything like what they’ve done before,” commented John McGuire, when asked about his thoughts on their new sound.

Track three, “Halo”, might be my favorite on the album. From the beginning you just want to get up and dance, jump around on things and sing along with Kele as he asks you to “Paralyze [him] with your kiss”. I was really hooked on this song by the break down. What an amazing tune! You really just have to listen to it.

Let’s slow it down for a bit with track four, kids. “Biko” is an easy, flowing song that makes you want to be in love with someone. It’s a very encouraging tune that really makes you feel a lot of different strong emotions in a 5 minute span. With lyrics like, “Biko, toughen up/ I need you to be strong”, it really makes you think that it was written about a cornerstone in someone’s life. It really made me think about my life and what I find important.

Then there’s “Trojan Horse”, the song that sounds like a good song to speed down a freeway listening to. It’s fast, entertaining and emits a spirit of pure carelessness and a need for something new. It’s commanding and OH MY GOSH, the break down is insane. I was going to go back and erase what I said about “Halo” but both break downs are equally enticing.

Next, “Signs” takes you on a trip to somewhere completely different from the rest of the album. In all honesty, I thought I was going to Mr. Rodger’s house at the beginning of this song. That was until the song took flight into the picture that Kele is trying to paint for the listener. It’s a calming, slightly adorable song, that has an underlying tone of irony because Kele begins talking about someone’s funeral and then you literally just get lost in the soothing music.

( photo by Caroline Doerhoff, Bloc Party at The Pageant, St. Louis, MO, 2007 )

Seventhly (that’s a word now), we are presented with “One Month Off”. It’s a complete 180 from the previous song. The thick and juicy baseline catches your attention and refuses to release its grip. I was lying before when I said that “Halo” was my favorite song because “One Month Off” takes the cake. It has an interest message that really connects with many of today’s bigger issues ( war, corruption, etc.) and puts it into perspective, for me at least. This songs is chalked full of synth sounds!

Track eight, “Zepherus” sounds a little bit like “The Prayer” off of A Weekend in the City, but only for a brief moment. This epic song is very ghostly and it really sticks with you after you listen to it. The back-up singers really make this track so shockingly different from the rest of the album. The lyrics are full of emotion and intense, what I felt was, anguish. It sounds like they are looking back on a certain conversation that went awry in the past. Very thought provoking, if I do say so myself.

“Better than Heaven”, the ninth track on Intimacy, is in a class of its own. The set up for this song builds up anticipation for what is to come. It’s certainly a step up in tempo from the previous song but it is still slightly less energetic than the rest of the more dance-worthy songs. Again, this must be the album of intense break downs because just around the 3-minute mark, you are blown away by the way the song builds up to such an explosion of immense sounds.

To wrap up this digital release we have “Ion Square”. A piano brings us in to Kele’s slightly raspy yet loving voice and brings us into the meat of this song. With over six minutes to bring this album to a close this song does its job to a “t”. It’s not too loud, too soft (to be really lame and make a reference to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”), it is just right. More words from the heart and experiences of the members of Bloc Party are scattered all through out this song. I just want to hug all of them when they sing, “I carry your heart/ here with me.”

I think that these four (Kele, Russell, Gordon and Matt) must have just sat around with distortion pedals and a synthesizer for a year and just threw their awesomeness on them because that’s all I can think about when I listen to this album. I’ve fallen even more in love with Bloc Party, if that was possible, after I listened to Intimacy. A very strong third album that will surely keep them going for many more amazing albums to come.

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KSLU DJ, Adam Hayes, has opinions about music (and many other things) and he would like you to know them. In this first of many weekly installments, Adam gives you a song he likes and believes you should like, too!
 
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“Uninvisible” by Medeski, Martin & Wood off of their album “Uninvisible”
 

Who has two thumbs and likes jazz? This guy does (points to self with two said thumbs). This track is for any one who enjoys any of the following items:  organs, horns, unicorns, drums, and ghosts. Guess which two items don’t belong. The answer will surprise you.

 

This bumpy track starts out with a heavy bass line that will hook you right away. Light and steady drumming tie together the two featured musical elements of this tune, the organ and the horns, both of which show influences of 1970s funk, a musical movement that is, in my humble opinion, very much underappreciated by the kids these days. A relatively short track that leaves one wanting more, put this track on repeat and have yourself a groovy time. 

 

According to the know-all, be-all of music information known as iTunes, this MMW tune is the 11th most popular in their catalogue. This goes to show that while probably somewhat unknown, somebody out there agrees with my genius. Now I can groove to this song with some confidence in the existence of taste in a wider music-appreciating population. And you can, too! 

 

Caroline and I (Megan) are fairly cultured, to say the least. That being said, there is now a daily updated section of The Amp Magazine that allows you readers to see what we think is cool, interesting, funny, etc. in the music realm.The page entitled, “Epiphanies of Megatron and Mrs. Dranklesworth” is that place. Check it out and be entertained! p.s. We have the sweetest nicknames of all time. Forever.

BY: Sanita Saengvilay 

White Denim is a new and upcoming band from the city of Austin, Texas.  They play a mixture of classic rock, mixed in with spastic experimental quirks, but keep an overall a well-managed raw sound.  Creating much buzz since their appearance at SXSW, they made a last minute decision to go on tour to promote their EP.  Being that this was their first tour, they probably had no idea what to expect of St. Louis, let alone The Billiken Club specifically, or where the rest of their tour would take them. The week prior, with the insistence and recommendation of Red Hunter, I sat in front at scrabble dining table with my pen and tab in hand ready to interview James, Josh and Steven of White Denim.

 

           

So how has your tour been going?

 

“It’s been good, exciting, fun.  We played at Schubas (Chicago), last night.  They gave us delicious sandwiches.”

 

            Your concerts have been known to be quite energetic and entertaining, what keeps you guys going every night?

 

“Coffee, water, the expectation, and trying to keep the high energy.  The songs are fast and we need to be excited.”

 

            Like your concert, you guys have had a lot of buzz around since SXSW; do you guys feel any pressure to live up to it?

           

“We are talked about being high energy, but we’re having a good time and we try to take that attitude into all the shows.  We are just starting (as a band) so there is not too much to prove or show.  We want to keep it simple and have fun.”

 

            Well, I interviewed Red Hunter (Peter and the Wolf), last week and he told me that I should interview you guys.  It sound like the Austin music scene is a big family where everyone knows each other.  You guys ever think about forming an Austin, TX super group and being the American version of Broken Social Scene?

 

“Maybe.  We’re open to collaborations.  It’s a tight community, but we’re just trying to get through records, for now. We’re always in the studio, every weekend just always recording and writing.”

 

            If you weren’t in the music business, what do you think you’d be doing right now? Or what do you wish you were doing right now?

James: “Working in a plant nursery business (specifically a truck driver). “

Steven: “Probably a full time student.”

Josh: “Yeah, probably school and working.”

 

Complete this statement.  I have too many _________.

 

James: “bills”

Steven: “ socks”

Josh: “The same as bills or mostly responsibility in general.”

 

            Socks?  I guess I would much rather have too many socks than bills or responsibility.

 

Steven: “ Yeah, it’s just that I have a lot of mismatched socks.  I guess I should just throw them out.”

 

            If you guys didn’t know I’m moving on from the strict music questions, do you guys have any movie recommendations?

 

Josh: “hmmmm, I guess the last movie I saw was Agueri which is a about a conquest to South America.”

Steven: “Thin Blue Line, which is a documentary.”

James: “ West Side Story*.”

 

Did you memorize all the songs and dances from West Side Story?

 

James:  “Actually no, this was my first time seeing it.  I don’t usually watch musicals, but I really enjoyed this one. I highly recommend it.”

*Note James later wanted to change his answer to Mortal Kombat 2: Annihilation.

 

If you could be any instrument, what would you be?

 

Steven: “An oud. I’d break over a while and no one would mess with me.”

Josh: “An oboe because I would give people problems especially junior high kids who couldn’t play me.  I like the idea of causing problems.  Actually can I just be a whole junior high wind ensemble? Yeah that’s what I want to be.”

James: “A keytar, just because.”

 

Any shameless promotions?

 

“Buy the EP, its on iTunes.  Shoot us an email, we like people saying ‘hey’.”

 

 

Hello faithul readers!  Sorry about the lack of updates this last week or so…finals ate our time for breakfast!  But don’t fret, there will be new content up very soon for your reading pleasure.

Interview with Evergreen Terrace

Metal enthuiast, Matt Albers, hung out with the band Evergreen Terrace and asked them about their music and their influences. This lively bunch made for an interesting interview, to say the least. It seems that you can’t swing a dead can with out seeing an interview on The Amp Magazine site, and we like it that way!

Stay tuned for multiple uploads in the coming week. Illness and holidays plagued the staff, sorry for the lack of amazing music stories.