Feature Friday IV

After an absence of nearly a month, Feature Fridays are returning to my little blog.  Once we get deeper into 2011 my goal is to include a band of my choice and a band/album that was released this year.  I wouldn't call it a review per se, but will be very similar to how I wrote the summaries for the first three Feature Fridays.  Also, there is now a button at the bottom of the blog that might let you tweet this blog, so share with your friends or unleash me upon your enemies.

Los Campesinos! (iTunes Link)

There are many reasons that I love this Welsh band.  First of all, I really love twee (cutesy, simple indie pop).  In fact, I've always thought that my idea of meeting the perfect girlfriend involves her playing The Bird and The Bee song Fucking Boyfriend at some point.  Back on track time!  Los Campesinos! oozes twee, but they take the typically simple sounds and beef them up by having lots of sounds.  I mean, there are sounds coming from all over the place, even a few places that you might not be sure you'd want sound to come from.  In fact, the band have themselves referred to their band's sound as tweecore.  For the first few releases tweecore sounded like high energy, somewhat crazy pop songs surrounded by what I like to think of as a beautiful cacophonic assault (oxymoron, yes, don't care).  Los Campesinos!'s (hah) most recent release tweaks that formula to include some yelling and aggression that is more typical of genres that dip their suffix into the pot full of hot and melty -core.

Something else that Los Campesinos! have that I love is mixed vocals.  By mixed vocals I mean that there are two or more people sharing lead vocals.  The band also takes it one step further since there are both male and female vocalists.  Gareth is not terribly melodic, preferring howls and punk styled vocals, and does thankfully little to hide his Welsh accent.  In opposition is Kim, formerly Aleksandra on the first two albums, providing smooth and soothing vocals with nary a hint of an accent.  The totally different approaches as a dynamic layer to each song.

To be honest, it works for some people and others just hear noise and get annoyed.

The Menzingers (Interpunk Link)

They look like a bunch of nice guys, eh
Anyone who read my 2010 Top 20 list may remember that The Menzingers' Chamberlain Waits topped my list.  Interestingly enough, the album has been topping all sorts of list, appearing as number one and number two on Punknews' aggregated editors and readers lists, respectively.  That suggests that I've got excellent taste, which we already knew (hah!), and that the album must be pretty damn good.  And it is.

The first Menzingers release was a interesting, if not a little banal folk-punk album.  Their subsequent EP suggested a movement towards to a fresher more dynamic sound that was fully realized with the release of Chamberlain Waits in the Spring of last year.  While the folk-punk sounds were still featured on a few tracks, the majority of the album consisted of sharp technical punk and seamlessly executed scream/sing vocals.  The seamlessness comes from the face that its not like Tom and Greg will scream the verses and then sing chorus like their distant metalcore relatives, instead the melodic vocals get pushed into passionated, gruff screams.  Hell, screams might not even be a good term.  The first write-up for today was really long, so I'm going to cut this short and just let you listen to the music for yourself.

The Menzingers "I Was Born" - official video from Steadfast Videos on Vimeo.

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