Saturday, 28 March 2009

Dose Over?

I'm sorry to inform you that Polarbear Neckwear's institution, the Double Dose, will be on a brief hiatus. During this period of hibernation, I urge you to go out and listen to all the music you can. Doses should resume at the end of April...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Dose 12...Silent in the Morning

I have a terrible problem with early rising. Long before my friends and neighbors rise from their slumber, I awaken with full alertness. Much like the solitary rooster at dawn, I sit forlorn and silent waiting to hear the stirring of other creatures. Luckily, these hours as a hermit afford me ample time to listen to the mollifying tones of some artists with whom I have the most intimate of relationships...

1)Chains, Chains, Chains by Elvis Perkins in Dearland

The prestigious Brown University has had its fair share of notable alumni who excelled in the preforming arts. Artists like Chubb Rock (of the Crooklyn Dodgers), Damian Kulash, and Lisa Loeb once graced the halls of this Providence, RI institution. The latest name to add to the list is Elvis Perkins. Son of actor Anthony Perkins and photographer Berry Berenson, it seems as though Elvis was destined to live an artist's life.

In stark contrast to Perkins' Ash Wednesday (2007), an album forged by tragedy, his most recent creation is boisterous and processional. Despite the difference in tone, Perkins remains devoted to a similar subject matter. He focuses on dark issues such as death and lonliness, but does so within the aesthetic of Americana.

"Chains, Chains, Chains" is a particularly poignant track on Elvis Perkins in Dearland (2009). Throughout the song, Perkins voices many of the existential questions which sporadicly arise from our own subconcious to plague us. Interestingly, he punctuates these dispiriting inquiries with intermitent horn, trombone, and string interludes which give the track an overall lightheartedness. Make sure to also check out "Doomsday" and "I'll Be Arriving" (as luck would have it all three are in order).


2)That's When the Audience Died by Final Fantasy

In 2005, Canadian musician, Owen Pallett, released his debut album under the pseudonym, Final Fantasy. Has A Good Home (2005) was the classically trained violinist's first foray into the world of indie, wherein he would garner his most fame. Straying from his roots, Pallett creates a whimsical and cheerful string-concentrated indie-pop "fantasy" wrought with subtle allusions. On "That's When the Audience Died", he showcases his dexteral prowess. The imaginative lyricism, rising strings, minimalist aesthetic coalesce to produce a truly beautiful song.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Dose 11...Southern Rap

Enough already with all this east coast/west coast bullshit!!!!! Everyone knows the best hip hop comes from the Dirrrty South. First emerging as a reaction to bifurcated nature of the 90's hip hop scene, southern rap carved out its own niche as unique brand of rap. Although this genre was originally typified by gangster content and contemplation of the troubles of southern life, of late this classification has come to denote the rubbish that Lil John and his crunkified colleagues pass off as "music". Still, there are the gems of the 90's which stand out as perhaps the pinnacle of a by gone era in hip hop history.

1)One Day by UGK feat. 3-2

The 10+ year collaborated effort of Pimp C and Bun B as UGK began in the heart of Texas' rap scene. After the release of their second album, Too Hard To Swallow (1992), the two began to build a solid following. Four years later, UGK put out their critically acclaimed Ridin' Dirty (1996), which quickly set the standard for southern rap. Expounding on an eclectic assortment of topics, the duo proved that the southern sound didn't need to be dominated by materiality. Though they have most recently become recognizable for their work with Outkast on their 2007 hit "International Player's Anthem", it's obvious that Ridin' Dirty stands in a league of its own.

I think I'll let this song speak for itself...


2)Mind Playin Trick '94 by Scarface

In 1994 Mr. Scarface pulled off a feat, attainable only by the elite of the hip hop community. Upon the release of his album, The Diary (1994), the once Geto Boy was given the ratings of 5 mics and XXL. Mind you this was before The Source became the most arbitrary and least reliable appraiser of music that exists (besides me). The reason for these plaudits was the contemplative gangster lyricism delivered through Face's smooth drawl. Listen to this entire album and it will change your understanding of southern hip hop!

Unlike the Geto Boys version of this track released on We Can't Be Stopped (1991), Face's solo track focuses primarily on the psychological baggage that street life of can bring on. Three years older, and perhaps three years wiser, Face can now deliberate on failed love, hypocrisy within the community, and the daily violence that he witnesses.


Saturday, 7 March 2009

Dose 10...Acoustics

1)Blood Red Heart by Le Days

While checking out the trailer for the upcoming Swedish climbing film, "Sends", I heard an amazing background track. It was delicate, intimate, and just a bit dark. It emoted pain, regret, and frustration. In essence, it was the perfect pairing. After hunting down the track (which would have been much easier if I had waited until the end of the video), I found out that it was by the small Swedish artist Le Days. Daniel Hedin, the front man, acoustic guitarist, singer, and songwriter, is relatively unknown. Aside from the fact that the band has put out no LP's, has no information on its Myspace, and doesn't even have a biography section on its website, Hedin remains even more enigmatic by alluding to the fact that he has actually been creating music since 2003. Rest assured, your music will soon find its following. For you Pixies fans, Hedin's melancholy acoustic tunes are reminiscent of a sombered down "Surfer Rosa". For everyone else, the modest and introverted tone of Hedin's music is great for those moments of solitude and self-reflection.

Because there are no LP's I'll hook up some Youtube links...

Blood Red Heart

Hot Spot

2)Undertaker by M. Ward

On Transfiguration of Vincent (2003), Ward attempts to make sense of the death of close friend Vincent O'Brien. The immediate intimacy of the album's subject matter at once makes you close to Ward and able to empathize with his grief. Ironically, Ward sets the tone for this album with a certain lightheartedness which "transforms plain grief into a celebration of the essentially absurd, precarious nature of life." On "Undertaker", he opens with a shivering harmonica verbrato and a guitar tuned to the spirit of Jack Johnson. Throughout the track, Ward describes the high's and low's of love...original huh? What differentiates Ward's portrait from that of his colleagues (namely every musician to agree "love hurts") is his relative equanimity. Ward gives us a descriptive account of love, in the strictest sense. "Love is so good, when you're treated like you should be," he sanguinly warbles. This sentiment is decisively contrasted with the halcyon recitation, "Oh but if you're gonna leave, better call the undertaker, take me under"...


Friday, 6 March 2009

Dose 9...

1)8:08 PM @ the Beach by Fred Falke

Fairly little is known about French house turntablist and DJ Fred Falke. In fact, he has spent most of his career in collaboration with electronic comrade, Alan Braxe. In 2008, the two decided to part ways and pursue solo careers. Braxe's would lead to popular remixes for groups like Goldfrapp, Röyksopp, and Justice. Falke, on the other hand, opted to create his own electronic tracks and has since released a number of singles. As the sun slowly comes out of hiding, eager to illuminate the the northern hemisphere in that annual phenomenon we call "spring", I felt it only fitting to find a tune in the spirit of the season. We are all aching to get rid of the cold and escape into that blissful period of long days, longer nights, and no responsibility. Falke's "8:08 PM @ the Beach" reminds all of why we're all so damn chipper about these warmer seasons. The night parties at the beach, the firepits, and the serenity of waves crashing. All in all, it's enough to get your summer festivities started early this year...

Get it

2)G'won Train by Billy Larkin & The Delegates

Ain't That A Groove (1966) was the fourth album by Billy Larkin and The Delegates. Larkin, the organist, began his group as a jazz trio, with Hank Sworn on guitar and Mel Brown on drums. By '66 the band had been revised to include Jimmy Daniels on guitar, Jessie Kilpatrick on drums, and tenor saxaphonist, Fat Theus, who became an intergral part of their success. Larkin and The Delegates' audience was intially centered in the Los Angelas jazz scene. With the inclusion of Theus, their following grew to include jazz enthusiasts, as well as those just looking to dance. Larkin's funky Hammond B3 skills, Kilpatrick's steady drumming, and Fat T's emotive solos proved to be the perfect combination for jazz which expanded the boundaries of the genre.

Get it