Charissa Che

Posts tagged Foster the People

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They’re back.

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I’ve blogged about Foster People at least 13858 times here, but it’s for good reason. Three long years’ worth of reasons.

2011’s Torches was a Pandora’s Box of earworm indie pop gems that placed the band on the brink of big things.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Mark Foster used to write commercial jingles, but these songs have some sort of MSG fairy dust on them. The songs were catchy, yes, but they were also super anthemic and meaningful, giving us something to latch onto way after our dance shoes wear out. (“Focus on your ability!”)

Last month, they’ve finally unveiled the first single off their sophomore LP, Supermodel. While “Coming of Age” takes the taurine levels of “Pumped Up Kicks” down a few notches, it’s every inch earworm-wiggling delicious.

In an interview with NME, Foster explained the new release as an “angry” quasi-departure: ”There are songs that act as a bridge that fans of the first record will grab onto, but also songs that show a side that wasn’t there at all.” (Read article here: http://www.nme.com/news/foster-the-people/75218)

Until its release on March 18, the least we can do is speculate over what that means from the tracklist:

Supermodel:
1. Are You What You Want to Be
2. Ask Yourself
3. Coming of Age
4. Nevermind
5. Pseudologia Fantastica
6. The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones
7. Best Friend
8. A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon
9. Goats in Trees
10. The Truth
11. Fire Escape  

Filed under Foster The People mark foster supermodel ftp coming of age indie rock

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Are you self-actualized, or whatever?

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Sub Pop, or whatever.

I was reading this blog post earlier about Self-Actualization (a concept I’ve been obsessed about ever since psych class in high school), in relation to music. I thought that was interesting, just because I’ve always felt your taste in music was a reflection of your progression as a person. But self-actualization through cultivating taste in music?

I am a music lover in my late twenties. The other day, I was telling some friends how we should get our demo out there (we’re trying to do this band thing) by handing out CDs, and one of them laughed and pointed out that would be today’s equivalent of giving someone a record or cassette. And then two things hit me - I am 1) old, and 2) behind with the times.

I remember when I was 9 years old and Titanic first came out (please don’t do the math). I really wanted the soundtrack on CD but at the time they were all $20 or more, and despite my pleadings, my dad just wouldn’t budge with those two Hamiltons. So I had to go with the cassette instead. It had fewer pictures of Leonardo which made me sad, andI had to really work hard at getting in my requisite 10 plays a day of “My Heart Will Go On,” with all the rewinding and fast-forwarding and making sure it started at precisely the right second, but despite the torture, I remember my Titanic soundtrack fondly.

When CDs came along, I was in heaven. My dad got me a Walkman - technically it was called a SONY Discman, mind you- and I started saving up for those shiny plastic saucer braggables. Britney, Christina (before she was Xtina), Backstreet Boys, Weezer and at one point even 98 Degrees, for some reason. Suddenly, I could just press the forward arrow to pick my track number, and BOOM, I could listen to “Baby One More Time” over and over again. I mean, dude, I could replay, shuffle, play consecutively; it was downright insane. But of course, I was modest about it - when my cousin came over to try it out, I gave her a total of 3 songs to listen to from the CD of her choice, free of charge.

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CD Incentives, or whatever!

Then came MP3 players when I entered high school. I eyed those chunky white bricks my classmates held (they called it an “iPod”) with the utmost suspicion, and trusted only this little rectangular thing the size of my thumb called an MPIO. It held about 15 songs at a time but soon it started to slow down and forgot its purpose and a year later it could only hold 7 songs. I think 3 of those were different versions of “Time After Time”; one was “Hashpipe”; another ws “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Basically I tried to always have a track for each emotion I could possibly feel as an angsty high schooler. MPIO did its best, but I think I ended up killing it from an overdose of two many shades of gray.

I think from there I moved on to an iPod mini, to the next iPod mini, to an iPod touch, and that’s where things completely took a 180. Apple, are you telling me I can now listen to music WHILE on the internet WHILE on Facebook and AIM?? How on earth did you cram all that into something that only recently used to be the size of a brick?

Cut to now: iPhone, MacBook Pro, iPad, and some part of my old music fanatacism feels like it’s died. I know I can easily go to Best Buy as I’d used to and blow $10 (come on, half the price of what it used to be!) on a CD, but why should I, when I could find a torrent or download a digital copy of the specific songs I WANT to listen to on iTunes? Why should I sit in front of my stereo with the CD booklet, following the lyrics to American Idiot from start to finish then all over again like the devout Green Day fan I was, when I can just look up a lyric video, sing along, and repeat, as needed?

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Sub Pop vs. Pop Pop vs. Whatever

When people used to ask me who my favorite artists are, I thrilled at the buffet of answers I had to choose from. I recall the alphabetically-stacked CDs on my shelf and mentally tallied which artists I knew best or had the most of, and voila, I REALLY like Death Cab for Cutie like in a really unhealthy dosage. Now, it’s more like I’m naming an artist just because I know they put out that one really good song that took all of 30 seconds for me to download and drag into my phone. Or I’m answering with a certain level of wariness, in case they’re testing me on whether I was a Pitchfork or MTV kind of person.

On my self-actualization as a 90s baby (technically 80s; again, please don’t do the math), I’d say my taste has evolved from that terrible, terrible earworm infection song from Titanic. But on tracing my own genealogy as a music discoverer and fan, I don’t know. At the moment, the most-played song on my iPhone is Foster the People’s “Houdini,” because my iPhone said so, so right now I’m telling people who ask that FTP is my favorite band. Spotify also told me that because I listened to The Joy Formidable, I might like STRFKR, so I’m looking forward to “discovering” them later.

I was feeling nostalgic earlier so I put on the ABBA station on Pandora and all I got were songs from the Grease soundtrack and more ABBA songs, and I’m pretty sure I even heard some ABBA songs played more than once. With each subsequent offering, I felt like I was belittling Pandora’s ability to think of similar artists, so after a while, I just told it that The Killers station would do just fine, and it did. I hope Pandora felt better about itself after that.

Is it considered self-actualization and evolution if you go from from proudly declaring that you’ve got your own “niche” of music favorites to liking “everything,” or is it the other way around? Maybe I’m just thinking too much and should just slap on these noise-cancelling headphones and mellow out to my “Most Frequently Played” list because I’ve been trying to decide what to listen to for way too long and no matter how much I scroll, none of these songs are speaking to me. There’s just way too many to choose from, so maybe I’ll just go with whatever.

Filed under music Death Cab For Cutie Foster The People green day pitchfork mtv self-actualization psychology indie the joy formidable strfkr ABBA the killers

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Foster the People at SummerStage, ft. Kimbra, The Kooks and Some Rain—May 29 Concert Review

Foster The People

It was two hours before the show last Tuesday, and the line outside Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield had already extended to the street. True to form, many in line were donning their finest pair of Chucks as they sat waiting on the hot gravel.

Foster the People is among some of the biggest acts to headline SummerStage 2012, having snagged three dates during the festival as part of their last US tour for Torches. Comprised of Mark Foster (vocals, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitar, programming, percussion), Cubbie Fink (bass and backing vocals) and Mark Pontius (drums, extra percussion) the band released their debut album a year ago. Since then, word of mouth about the Los Angeles trio has been gaining momentum, thanks mostly to generous airtime given to “Pumped Up Kicks.” At a time when it seems so necessary to categorize oneself as “indie” or “pop,” and when what you listen to seemed to determine who you are, FTP managed to get a number one hit radio single out of a pepped-up song about an emotionally-disturbed kid who goes on a school shooting rampage.

Foster The People’s dexterity brought together the talents of two very different openers; Kimbra and The Kooks.

Although the Kimbra’s Vows debuted at number 14 on the iTunes charts, much of the crowd’s murmurings appeared to come to the conclusion that she was Gotye’s better half in “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

Kimbra

So when the 21-year old New Zealand native bounced on stage in her spacey, jewel-encrusted hoop dress and the bass dropped, many were taken aback. This woman has the bright red lipstick coyness of Regina Spektor with Jessie J’s moves. Her tambourine and shimmying skills were on display as she performed her hits, “Cameo Lover,” “Good Intent” and “Two Way Street” during her half-hour set. And it wasn’t before long that she had everyone joining in on her songs’ trademark handclapping.

Then in a visually anticlimactic turn, Luke Pritchard of The Kooks came onstage in a burgundy sweater and some really tight tan trousers. Fans of the Brit indie rock band were there in multitudes, and the girls seemed quite keen on his cute accent. Along with Hugh Harris, Paul Garred and Peter Denton, the troupe regaled everyone with their classics, “Naïve,” “Always Where I Need to Be” and “Shine On,” along with tracks from their recent release, Junk of the Heart. A minimalist approach works well in their favor—they’ve got the sunny charm of the Arctic Monkeys, minus  the thrashing.

Read more …

Filed under Foster the People SummerStage Central Park The Kooks Kimbra Mark Foster Pontius Cubbie Fink

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"You would look a little better dontcha know if you just wore less makeup"

Two Door Cinema ClubThis is my intro to you as a music junkie.

Before I became a news junkie, I fancied myself an aspiring William Miller a la Almost Famous: Rock n’ roll journalist for Rolling Stone. That dream still occupies a good chunk of my heart, because writing about music has always been something that was innate to me.

Currently, I am alternating between Childish Gambino’s debut LP, The Black Keys’ El Camino, and Weezer’s Pinkerton. For the past half year and going, I’ve been addicted to Foster the People. I can go into a self-psychological evaluation poring over the possibilities of why I can’t seem to get over FTP, but that would have to be a blog unto itself.

Regardless, this FTP fixation cannot possibly be healthy and I think I may have finally found myself an antidote: Two Door Cinema Club.

I’m listening to “Handshake” right now. It’s trippy and distorted and I cannot make out what is being sung at all. But as a music listener who is big on lyrics, somehow, this is easily forgiven. Perhaps it’s because of the pulsating synths which hit me like tiny pinpricks on all of my tickle spots; maybe it’s the heavy bass that is featured in their songs that give them spunk no matter what their subject matter is. 

Two Door Cinema doesn’t sound like FTP. Really, I’ve yet to find anything that sounds like FTP, which is perhaps why nothing can fully cure my fever over Mark Foster’s musical genius until the band’s next album, set to come out next year. But I cannot deny that Two Door Cinema’s latest, Tourist History, is an infectious album that will certainly keep me occupied longer than Patrick Stump’s catchy but forgettable solo debut, Soul Punk, which is neither soulful, nor punk.

Filed under Foster the People Two Door Cinema The Black Keys Childish Gambino Weezer Patrick Stump