Sunday, February 18, 2007

Recommended or not?: Bloc Party

Theoretically, blogs are all about the wisdom of crowds. So I'm asking the crowd here to weigh in:

If you've heard the band Bloc Party, what do you think?

I heard the song I Still Remember nine days ago and promptly downloaded it at iTunes. It has since attached itself to my brain like the worms in that Futurama episode where Frye eats the egg salad sandwich from the men's room. I got the "Brokeback" theme on the second listen -- I can't directly relate, but as Seinfeld says, not that there's anything wrong with that.

So I went to AllMusic and iTunes to get a recommendation for a second song. I settled on Banquet, from their previous album. It's equally good.

I tend to think two good songs aren't a coincidence. They're a trend. Especially if those songs have aspects that aren't flukes. These guys can write good pop hooks, but those can come and go. They also have intriguing lyrics and a great guitar-pop sound. Good drummer, too.

Anyone else with an opinion of Bloc Party? Should they join Carbon Leaf in the small pantheons of new-ish bands I like?

3 comments:

Shawn said...

Their first album, Silent Alarm, is the best album I've heard in the last two years. Without a doubt, you should buy it. I haven't bought the second album, but I've heard a lot of the songs off of it and I'm a little disappointed. It's a little too glossy for me and lacks the raw power and enthusiasm of the first album. One of the most disappointing aspects of the songs I've heard from the second album is the fact that the drumming , which is amazing on the first album, is significantly dialed back. The songs are still good and I'll probably end up buying the second album, but it's not at the top of the my list.

Daniel said...

I cannot comment on Bloc Party as I have not heard their stuff. I do, however, plan to download it from emusic, where you can get music for something like 33 cents a song (plus 25 free downloads when you sign up). emusic, by the way, is a much better place to buy music than itunes (it has a narrower selection but still plenty of good stuff). Is it, in fact, true that there is only a small pantheon of new bands that you listen to? If so, you need to check out more stuff. The new Shins record is great (as are their two previous efforts). The new Sloan record is also wonderful. Rilo Kiley (and lead singer Jenny Lewis) have done some really great stuff. I highly reccomend just about anything by M.Ward. I could go on (as can, presumably, others) but the message is this: cast a wider net and you'll find lots of great new stuff being made today.

bdure said...

Shawn -- Hey, Bored Athenians in the house! I have one from the first and one from the second, and I like the sound on both. I don't mind the glossy sheen, though that could get dull over time.

Daniel -- I've been down the emusic route before and was a little underwhelmed. I might give it another try sometime.

For a while, I was picking up most of my new music from my Launch player, which I still think is an underrated Web app. That's how I discovered Carbon Leaf, Stereophonics, Dubstar, Mana, Stretch Princess, Vixtrola, Flogging Molly, Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and, of course, Hayseed Dixie. I also heard a few great songs by artists on the downside of the commercial peaks -- Los Lobos, Poe, The Cardigans, even Sting. I also rediscovered some older Liz Phair tunes and the classic Zappa song "Valley Girl."

In a way, it's great that we have all this choice. In another way, I miss the days in which a rock song could have cultural impact. I suppose Green Day did, but generally, everyone's musical tastes are so fragmented that no one's listening to the same stuff. Of your list, I've heard Sloan (so-so) and the Shins (good, but not as good as Zach Braff thinks), but not the others.