12424-we-are-beautiful-we-are-doomedArtist: Los Campesinos!

Album: We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Released: 2008

Label: Wichita Recordings

N. Smith has been rather busy of late, so I’m hijacking his usual feature. Today’s Song of the Week comes from a spastic indie rock group out of Wales. The sound of Los Campesinos! is Architecture in Helsinki meets the Shout Out Louds meets the Arctic Monkeys. The group consists of seven members who play surprisingly conventional instruments aside from the glockenspiel (Gareth Campesinos!). Translator’s note: Los Campesinos means “The Peasants” or (“The Farmers” in Spanish).

“We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is the title track for their second album and features an intro of synthesizer combined backed by some slick percussion on the part of (). After the guitars creep in minimal strings emerge and the singer starts to kick out the first verse. The singer’s second line is corny sounding enough to make the listener grimace, but is immediately followed by “As you squint and you grimace, we both know your heart’s not in it,” which may just be lampshading, but is never-the-less effective. The speaker is “trying to be sexy” and his feeble attempts at it seem to make him increasingly disillusioned. A harsh message for all you hopeful romantics out there, but well delivered.

The verses display his “realist” views, but the chorus retains a raw emotion throughout the entire song. The singer’s half spoken verses vary the style and the shouting choruses build until the song explodes with all the instruments pounding. If you have trouble understanding the lyrics, by all means Google them — it’ll be worth it. Have a listen:

For the official single “You! Me! Dancing!” off their first album, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj6SO_yKMe8

wolfgang-amadeus2

Artist: Phoenix

Album: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Released: May 25, 2009

Label: Glassnote

 

 

I, like many viewers watching Saturday Night Live on April 4th, was unaware of a French rock group by the name of Phoenix. Apparently these dudes have been playing music for over a decade and most of it is very listenable, much of it being categorized as alternative, electronic and dance. Anyway, that fateful Saturday night has now given me a song that has been stuck in my head for a few days now. “1901″ is the hit single off Phoenix’s latest effort, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” which will be hitting stores in the colonies May 26. The song is upbeat, toe-tappin’ and overall very lighthearted, which is a mood that I am always on the hunt to find new songs to satisfy. If you are in an economically stimulating mind frame, then head on over iTunes where there is a four song EP for sale which also includes “Lisztomania,” the second song Phoenix played on Saturday Night Live, which is also very good. If not, here is the video of the performance, or the album version.