Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Latest from Please Do Not Fight and 8th Grader


pastpresentfuture, pt. 1

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It’s been just over two years since South Bay collective Please Do Not Fight released their MOVE EP, and after a long period of no new music, near-perpetual lineup changes, and what seems like a nonstop parade of 21+ shows, they seem to be back. pastpresentfuture, pt.1 is slated as the first in a trilogy of EPs, and it’s a promising start. The songs on this EP have less in common with the upbeat power-pop of MOVE as the wistful ballads on their 2007 debut Leave It All Behind--its sound is defined by drifting female vocals, evocative lyrics, and echoing guitar leads. “Take It Back” and “Silence My Skin” are midtempo rockers tempered with uncertainty, the musical equivalent of that guy who alternates between dancing and text-messaging at a concert; “Something Here” takes a party-rock synth hook that could have been penned by MGMT or Foster the People and repurposes it as a ghostly memory of the narrator’s salad days; the epic “Blink” is a late-night-driving jam as lonely and strangely fulfilling as a stop for coffee during a drive down Interstate 5. Though the band won’t say, it is very likely this is the “Past” installment of the pastpresentfuture trilogy, and that the others will be “Present” and “Future.” Whether this is true or not, this is a promising introduction to the future of Please Do Not Fight that also looks back to the band's history.

“Heavy Without You”

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Why Music for Animals’ Jayson Martinovich decided to call himself 8th Grader on his synth-R&B solo project is beyond me. As far as I know, he isn’t an actual 8th grader (unless he got his hands on some platform shoes and an industrial-strength vat of Rogaine)--in fact, he’s the furthest thing from an 8th grader I’ve ever heard. “Heavy Without You,” Martinovich’s latest single under the name, brings to mind someone whose epic love-making sessions are long behind him (and probably not in seventh grade... okay I’ll stop with the name jokes now). Yet this is not lonely music--the backing track is pure baby-making music, from the plush, multi-tracked vocals to the cat’s-purr synthesizers, and it’s hard not to feel an aura of body warmth emanating from this music. The division between the intimate music and the lovelorn lyrics creates somewhat of a conflict of interest, and it’s disappointing to hear the song putter out into nothing. Yet at the end of the day, it’s those smooth R&B textures that win the listener over and make the song.

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