Bee and Flower

Apparently, here in Brooklyn, it’s flu season. When you are achey, shakey, sniffley, coughey and just generally miserable, it is important not to discount having health appropriate tunes available. My prescription is Bee and Flower (and a flu shot). Bee and Flower are refugees from this fair city, now happily residing in Berlin and making tunes that are interesting, pretty and, bless them, soothing. I wonder if perhaps they were fleeing the rampant germiness of this place. Alas, they are on the cusp of releasing a new album, with a new track included here. For the past two days, most of what I listen to has simply been registering as noise, but these guys have somehow brightened my days. I hope they brighten yours. Also noteworthy about Bee and Flower? Collaborations with French Expat songstress Keren Ann and the lovely Calexico.

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Final Fantasy

You can call me a philistine, but the term “experimental” scares me a little bit. Maybe y’all agree with me? More often than I am comfortable with “experimental” becomes some sort of catch-all term for… well, for lots of things that wouldn’t be nice to say here in this my first post of the new year. Alas, Canadian violinist Owen Pallet AKA Final Fantasy, who notably arranged the strings for Arcade Fire’s “Funeral” amongst other past musical endeavors, is unequivocally “experimenting” with his solo musical offerings and I can’t find a single unkind word for him, nor would I want to. These songs are non-linear, funny, offbeat, complex and unexpectedly beautiful. Pallet maintains all of the musicality of his classical training while successfully maintaining a lovely pop sensibility. Now don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely traces of some of the oft-loathed hallmarks of “the independent sensibility” (i.e. utilizing the word poo in the album title, naming oneself after something random like a video game, writing an album that is apparently “an eight-song cycle about the eight schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons,” etc.) but he’s smart. Really, really smart. So Pallet gets away with all his geeky wit and irony like a bandit. All things said, I’m really shy about dropping the L-word, folks, but let me say here, loud and proud: I love this. Don’t dig it? Then just listen one more time, for me, and then decide. Okay?

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Apes and Androids

Despite the fact that I’m sensing a whole lot of holiday spirit from the 3hive dudes this week, I’m going to have to deviate from the norm and express my relief that the world has returned to its normal state of affairs. And in the coming days, I’ll have to step aside and let someone else find you all that hot new ghettotech version of Auld Lang Syne. In any case, the seasonal lights may still be up, people may still be out of town, but the madness is over. And for a grinch like me, that means some celebration is in order.
Who knew that NYC band Apes and Androids would provide just the kind of relief I was looking for? I’m naturally arrhythmic and dancing has just never been my thing, so what a miracle it is that I cannot stop dancing around my apartment to “Radio”! Seriously, this is huge. I’ve been dancing all weekend! There was a time when uber-electronic music that made other people want to bump and grind really didn’t speak out to me, but times are a-changing and Apes and Androids happen to be clever about the placements of their bleeps and zips and pings, which helps. Of course, let us not discount the value of hearing something fun after all these days of cheer and sentimentality. A&A are new to the game, and will be releasing their album in early 2007, but while I wait, I plan on buying a pair of good flat shoes to dance in ALL NIGHT LONG. Ah, how sweet to remember just how fun life can be when you need a holiday from the holidays.

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Takka Takka

So I have this friend who is pretty much the indie rock grinch. You can throw on the newest.freshest.latest and he’s all BAH! INDIE BY NUMBERS!! Off with its head! It’s a battle you can’t really win. If he hears so much as a hand clap, a trace of irony, or god help you, whistling – it’s over. Enter exceedingly indie, uber DIY, outer-borough band (specifically: Brooklyn, Queens): Takka Takka. Hand clapping? Oh yeah. Whistling? Totally. Irony? Much. And they’ve got a country twang that’s not living in Mississippi. They are the arch nemesis of my hater friend. But that is his issue, not mine. Despite some musical tics that might seem a bit obvious, there’s just something about these boys that resounds with me. It’s a kind of clapping that I can get down with clapping along with. And who doesn’t like something catchy to whistle along with. Indie by numbers, it’s possible, but Takka Takka are also doling out some solid, catchy pop too. And after forming a veritable trifecta of oddness when they joined forces with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Architecture in Helsinki for a recent tour, the proof is in the pudding – silly/weird/random can be some good stuff.

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