Sporadic MP3age: Neon Indian/Peelander-Z (Tonight!) + The Niceguys + School of Seven Bells + Local Natives

It’s been a month or two (or, um, six?) since the last time I posted some of these, so I figured now’d be a good time to dip deep (well, sorta deep) into the Flowing River of Musical Things that meanders through my Inbox. Especially since I’ve gotten a fair number of MP3s & whatnot for bands/musicians who’re coming through town in the coming days…

Anyway, here goes:

Neon Indian – “Psychic Chasms (Apache Beat Remix)”
Neon Indian – “Mind, Drips”

Okay, so this isn’t exactly what I’d expected from Neon Indian, and at first listen, I was pretty put off, enough that it took me quite a while to give the track a second shot. The second (and third) time around, I’m comparing the gamelan-like beats, subsurface bass, and slightly-manipulated, kinda-flat vocals to Underworld, and I’m catching myself smiling and tapping my feet along with the beat.

“Mind, Drips,” on the other hand, a cover, although I’ve got no idea who Jesse Woods is, so it doesn’t mean that much to me, honestly; the song’s a nicely drifting little chunk of murky folk, though, sleepy and yet a little menacing, and I’m liking it even if it’s putting me to sleep on my feet as I listen. I’m guessing it also sounds a lot more like what Neon Indian really sound like, minus the remixing & beats. It’s interesting to hear two different takes on the same band back-to-back; not entirely sure which I like better.

Neon Indian is playing 10/6/10 at Groundhall, along with Prefuse 73, Miniature Tigers, Gab-E, & Mr. Castillo.

Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
Um. Yes. What you’re thinking, before you even click “Play”? Believe it or not, you’re absolutely right; that’s exactly what this is. Now, did the world really need a bizarre, funk-ska rendition of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” as played by a band of Japanese-born New Yorkers wearing color-coded costumes and claiming to be from “Planet Peelander”? Okay, maybe not, but I have to admit that Peelander-Z do it so freaking straight-up, with big, cheery, sincere grins on their faces, that I can’t help but like it, dammit. They’re cute & fun like Shonen Knife were/are, but with that additional weird fake(?)-alien vibe.

It makes more sense, as well, when you learn that the band’s latest album, P-TV-Z, is a children’s album, complete with all sorts of cameos from punk and indie icons, including members of the Riverboat Gamblers and The Octopus Project. Not only do you get “E-I-E-I-O,” but also songs like “Ice Cream!,” “How Are USA,” “No More Cavities” (which I really hope is about brushing your teeth), and “Taco Taco Tacos.” And yes, I would be willing to bet my six-year-old would absolutely love this.

Peelander-Z is playing 10/6/10 at Fitzgerald’s, along with Somosuno & Clockpole.

The Niceguys – “Mr. Perfect”
These guys’ show’s a little further out, admittedly, but I just have to post this track, because it’s blowing my mind. Local H-town boys The Niceguys start off with a soulful, church-y organ, but it’s a fake — they quickly slam in with in-your-face drums and snarling, embittered lyrics about the demands and unrealistic expectations people stick on you, unasked, and your head spins, dazed but in complete & total agreement. The backing track itself is pretty damn great, playing like old-school soul, and the Niceguys use a thick, funky guitar beneath it all to further beef things up. I guaran-damn-tee that the first time you hear the chorus, with the nicely-stuttered vocals, you’ll be hooked all the way to the close of the Fight Club sample at the end.

And yes, these guys do indeed have a full-length out now, and it’s free — head on over & download The Show. Full review to be coming as soon as I can get off my ass & do it, I swear.

The Niceguys are playing 10/23/10 at House of Blues.

School of Seven Bells – “Heart is Strange (Active Child Remix)”
School of Seven Bells – “Babelonia”
I’m not super-familiar with School of Seven Bells, I’ll admit it, but I’m liking what I’ve heard so far. “Heart is Strange” is alluring and sweet, with great washes of sound and retro-’80s keyboards that make me think (favorably) of M83, but with remixers/tourmates Active Child transforming the whole thing into more of a dancefloor chillout track than a dreampop head-nodder, and then the track dissolves into gently-plucked harp strings and subtle synth beds briefly before the beats come back in, sending it soaring its way up to Disco Heaven. Pretty neat, if you ask me…

“Babelonia,” for its part, is a bit more straight-up dreampop, at least from where I’m sitting — there’s the Jesus & Mary Chain guitars, the melody ripped from a Darling Buds track, and that gorgeous, detached, somehow Euro-sounding voice, all merging in together to form a track that could’ve come off a Curve LP. Makes me long for the days of blissing out on the carpet in the sunshine listening to MBV on repeat.

School of Seven Bells is playing 10/10/10 at Warehouse Live, along with Active Child.

Local Natives – “Careful”
Local Natives definitely live in the indie-folk realm inhabited by folks like Fleet Foxes or Antlers, so much so that just listening to “Careful” makes me think immediately of the Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” — it’s got that same friendly, easy-going feel to it, not to mention the same gentle, rambling pace. By the time it unspools, though, I’m finding myself sucked into it, enjoying the rolling, swaying, ambling guitar lines and increasingly-interwoven vocals, and I’m thinking that rather than live in the same neighborhood as all those indie-folk bands (several of whom I really do like, mind you), Local Natives are instead trying to carve out their own little nest in the woods to call home.

Local Natives are playing 10/7/10 at House of Blues, along with Union Line & The Love Language.

Didn’t get as far as I’d hoped, and there’s still a big, big pile of MP3s sitting here in front of me; I’ll try to get more posted soon…

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2 Responses to “Sporadic MP3age: Neon Indian/Peelander-Z (Tonight!) + The Niceguys + School of Seven Bells + Local Natives”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Sporadic MP3age: Joe Pug + Strand of Oaks + Hold Steady (All Tonight!) + Sarah Jaffe + Voxhaul Broadcast + More on April 1st, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    […] It’s been way too long since I did this last (October, I think?), and so there’s an honest-to-God flood of MP3s cluttering up my Inbox, 90% of […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Summerfest 2011 Rundown, Pt. 2: Giant Princess + finnegan + Free Rads + Neon Indian + Nosaprise + Outer Heaven + More on June 2nd, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    […] Indian I’d talked a bit about these guys late last year, actually, and then totally forgot about it ’til earlier today; in the […]

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