Brooklyn band Team Genius created a buzz last month when they released three EPs only weeks apart (available for streaming/downloading on Bandcamp), featuring standout tracks such as “Everything’s Alright” and “Making Myths.” This week, Team Genius dropped yet another new batch of songs focused on a particular theme, this time around Songs of New York. Even though that is the title of the band’s new LP, the track listing doesn’t actually read like an album of New York songs. In fact, there is only one song, “Farewell, New York,” that makes a direct reference in the song title to New York. (Here are actual songs about New York)
That aside, the lead single from Songs of New York, “Roaring,” is a catchy dream pop track with elements of post-punk and shoegaze. Lead vocalist Drew Hermiller, one of eight band members, said the song originated from “an old series of really basic chord progressions” that he liked playing “on this analog modeling synth that was supposed to be modeling ‘Baba O’Riley.’…[with] “a ton of melodies for vocals over the top of it, but eventually, I settled on something really sparse and simple…the really strong rhythm section groove lends itself to that pretty well. Lyrically, I was basically just looking at the thought process of a twenty-something finding their [sic] way,” adding: “It’s a lot of bluster, and abandon, and big plans, and ideas, that hardly ever work. We all do it and we probably always will. It’s a means of survival and a means of growing up.”
– Team Genius from New York Songs
On their Bandcamp page, Team Genius wrote about their newest album: “This is about New York making you into a New Yorker. This is about what it takes to get there. The euphoric wins, the colossal failures and all the plodding moments in between. This is about being a real adult but still confusing people about your age because you haven’t quite lost your optimism yet.”
Another standout track on the album is a fantastic cover version of Plastic Bertrand‘s 1978 international, iconic hit single, “Ca Plane Pour Moi.” There have been many cover versions around the world of this song during the past four decades, but this may be the best of them all. Team Genius really captured the spirit of the original track, while simultaneously giving it a 2012 make-over so that it is more palatable to music fans who were not even alive in 1978. As a matter of fact, we like this version better than the original for a variety of reasons, including the fact that its more raw and edgy; has better overall sound quality and production; the guitar riffs and solos are more crisp; the percussion section is on fire, and Hermiller’s vocals, singing in French, are effortless. It’s certainly “cooler” than the original.
Case in point: watch this clip from the U.K. show Count Down, featuring a rather flamboyant (but much of the pop culture in the 70’s, and into the 80’s, was flamboyant, cheeky, even tacky…you get the point) Bertrand lip-syncing to the original 1978 recording, which, as it turns out, was actually sung by the composer of the song, Lou Deprijck, and not Roger Jouret.
Double-shot: “Ca Plane Pour Moi” – Team Genius from New York Songs
Listen to more tracks from Songs of New York, as well as the EP trio – Pop Songs; Loud Songs; Whiskey Songs via Team Genius’ Bandcamp page. The band’s thematic approach to their music is unique and compelling, and certainly attention-getting. “Everything’s Alright” is off the second of three EPs released last month, Loud Songs.
– Team Genius (via MOKB) from Loud Songs
Afterall, there is the opening left by Sufjan Stevens‘ abandonment of his so-called ‘states project,’ in which he suggested some years ago he was going to embark on writing an album for each state in the United States. It wasn’t considered a completely flip proposal. Afterall, he had already released two albums about states – Michigan and Illinois. We never thought he’d be able to do all 50, but if he cranked out five or ten such albums about states, it would have probably been enough to satisfy his grandiose pronouncement.
IRC has already posted playlists featuring all kinds of ace songs about places, called the State of Music playlists, comprising of tracks from all over the genre map, and the geographical map, including many from well-known artists. We plan to resume the State of Music playlist series because there is no shortage of standout songs about cities, towns and states, and because it’s enjoyable to put together.
Actually, for a number of years, we have been listening to, sorting and cataloging hundreds of the best place name songs we can get our hands on, and we plan to post more State of Music, and related, playlist mixes in the coming months. Stay tuned. In the meantime, in addition to the State of Music playlist links above, check out Volume One and Volume Two ‘Songs About New York’ playlists we posted a couple of years ago. As with all of IRC’s playlists, you can stream the songs uninterrupted and download for free the tracks you like the most (which is true for all of our playlist mixes and why we avoid Soundcloud and other embedded song streams).