Band of the Week: Jared Mees and the Grown Children

As if KZUU did not have enough reason to love record label Tender Loving Empire, owner Jared Mees’ latest project reminds us why the Portland-based label will remain a favorite.

Only Good Thoughts Can Stay, the sophomore album from “Jared Mees and the Grown Children,” is filled with the childlike optimism, ecstatic choruses, and clap-driven beats that are becoming popular in the shaping Portland scene.

On “W.W.J.B.D.,” Mees begs “why can’t music always be this pure?” a statement that illustrates the album perfectly. Rooted in indie-rock, but laced with country-folk, Only Good Thoughts Can Stay is driven by Mees’ band of bards. His voice soars high with a sort of quailing quality, and the instrumentals carry you through the album like a marching band, with a focus on trumpets, cymbals and an upbeat piano. A palm muted Gibson guitar underlays every track with chord progressions evocative of the classic punk-rock Mees says played a heavy influence in his songwriting.

But to be clear, this is not a punk album. Punk themes of skepticism and the counter-culture face off with notions of childhood friendship and love that are almost too cute for their own good. The power chord influence translates into a “folk-riot” sound, evocative of artists such as The Films or Family of the Year.

There isn’t much variety here, but rather a consistent feeling of both joy and anxiety that bridges each track. His lyrics are memorable, quickly turning every song into a sing-along for listeners. This is most visible on the closing track “Shake,” where a repetitious chorus reminds listeners of those old pre-school hymns, and layers that feeling beneath a heavy array of trumpets, snare drums and harmonies. “Holy hallelujah, I’m losing hold,” Mees proclaims on “Juicy Fruit,” lamenting the cynical reality that comes with adulthood.

A warm yet distant charm that comes with the innocence and naivety of childhood composes the golden heart of Only Good Thoughts Can Stay; recognizing the value of youth and mourning its swift passing in life. It may not be an album for children, but it will, if only for a brief moment, make you feel like one.



KZUU Top 30: 4/29/11

Happy end of dead week! Unfortunately that means the start of finals week. Sadly, next week will be the last week of charts until September, but the DJs are getting in their best plays at the end of the year. This week’s #1 is a KZUU favorite: Craft Spells. As the weather has warmed up, Idle Labor has seen more and more spins. The correlation is obvious. Justin Vallesteros’ tunes are the perfect companion to a warm spring afternoon. Last week’s #1 Panda Bear drops to #7. Newcomers Kraak & Smaak debut at #6, and Royal Bangs take the number 8 spot in support of their show last week at the Belltower.

KZUU Top 30, 4/29/11:

1. Craft Spells – Idle Labor

2. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

3. Starfucker – Reptilians

4. Yuck – Yuck

5. Bibio – Mind Bokeh

6. Kraak & Smaak – Electric Hustle

7. Panda Bear – Tomboy

8. Royal Bangs – Flux Outside

9. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

10. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong

11. Ghost Animal – Youth

12. Glorie – Glorie

13. Gold Panda – Companion

14. Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo

15. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

16. Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines

17. Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine

18. Winter’s Fall – At All Angles

19. Agnes Obel – Philharmonics

20. Bass Drum of Death – GB City

21. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key

22. Chain & the Gang – Music’s Not For Everyone

23. LAKE – Giving & Receiving

24. Noah & the Whale – Last Night On Earth

25. Bangs – Fakes

26. The Lonely Forest – Arrows

27. Typhoon – A New Kind of House EP

28. We Became Actors – Something Great

29. Yarn Owl – Montana y Caballo

30. Yuni in Taxco – Sanpaku

What’s New @ KZUU: 4/25/11

Whoa, look at all those albums! Too bad a huge week like this had to come at the end of the semester, but at least you guys get some new stuff from Explosions in the Sky and Fleet Foxes before the school year ends. Also note a lot of older stuff is being purged from the preview rack. I’ve been told that the shelf life of an album at college radio is only about 4-8 weeks. That hardly seems fair to me, I’m sticking with my 3 month plan for now.

You can still find all your favorites under the music tab on the DJ computer. Those albums that received very few plays probably got deleted, if you have an objection to an album being deleted, let me know!

New adds, 4/25/11:

#25 The Belle Brigade – The Belle Brigade

#27 Imperial Mammoth – Imperial Mammoth

#42 Jookabox – The Eyes of the Fly

#50 Metal Mother – Bonfire Diaries

#73 Thao and Mirah – Thao and Mirah

#74 Jared Mees & the Grown Children – Only Good Thoughts Can Stay

#77 The Perfect Vessels – Name Our Own Stars

#85 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

#92 The Donkeys – Born With Stripes

#101 Times New Viking – Dancer Equired

#108 Cass McCombs – Wit’s End

#116 Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

#215 Bella Ruse – Kuhzoo


Cut Copy (MUS)

Cloud Nothings (MUS)

Minks (MUS)

La Resistance (deleted)

James Blake (MUS)

El Ten Eleven (MUS)

Fergus & Geronimo (deleted)

Deerhoof (MUS)

David Lowery (deleted)

Apex Manor (MUS)

KZUU Top 30: 4/22/11

No surprises here… this week’s #1 is everyone’s favorite Animal Collective member: Panda Bear. His newest album, Tomboy, had barely hit the preview rack when DJs started spinning it relentlessly. I have no problem with this amazing album getting played to death, and I’m sure MD Brennan feels the same way. Last week’s #1 Gold Panda takes the standard “post-#1-week” plunge to #14. BOAT and Toro y Moi are still tearing up the charts, coming in at #2 and #3 respectively this week. El Ten Eleven charted at #7, in support of their Monday show at the Belltower. I expect similar results for Royal Bangs

KZUU Top 30, 4/22/11:

1. Panda Bear – Tomboy

2. BOAT – Dress Like Your Idols

3. Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine

4. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

5. Yarn Owl – Montana y Caballo

6. Alexander Ebert – Alexander

7. El Ten Eleven – It’s Still Like a Secret

8. LAKE – Giving & Receiving

9. Craft Spells – Idle Labor

10. Dirty Beaches – Badlands

11. The Kills – Blood Pressures

12. Yuni in Taxco – Sanpaku

13. The Dodos – No Color

14. Gold Panda – Companion

15. Heidecker & Wood – Starting from Nowhere

16. Joan as a Police Woman – The Deep Field

17. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

18. The One AM Radio – Heaven Is Attached By a Slender Thread

19. Wye Oak – Civilian

20. Bibio – Mind Bokeh

21. Chain & the Gang – Music’s Not For Everyone

22. Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years

23. East River Pipe – We Live in Rented Rooms

24. Ghost Animal – Youth

25. Haroula Rose – These Open Roads

26. Ironwood Run – The Atlantic & America

27. The Lonely Forest – Arrows

28. Minks – By the Hedge

29. Parts & Labor – Constant Future

30. Starfucker – Reptilians

Band of the Week: tUnE-yArDs

On 2009’s BiRd-BrAiNs, Merril Garbus sings “When a girl feels so alone / What a tease to throw a bone.” That sense of longing and aloneness was amplified by the delicate ukelele and lo-fi DIY sound of her debut, making Garbus’ first album more suited for a seat on a turntable at 11 PM when all your friends bailed on your plans to go out that night.

But on the w h o k i l l standout “Powa”, she proclaims “Baby bring me home to bed / I need you to press me down before my body flies away from me.” Whatever loneliness that existed two years ago has apparently been replaced with a boyfriend or love interest. Her second album, w h o k i l l, comes across as more celebratory and explosive than her first album.

Later on in “Powa” Garbus states “My man likes me from behind / Your power inside / It gives me thrills I can’t describe.” Sex becomes a recurring theme on w h o k i l l, and the album progresses much like a wild night. The first four tracks provide an immediate upper, all with stomping beats and hummable hooks before the aforementioned “Powa” brings the mood down to slow dance pace. The obvious singles, “Bizness” and “Gangsta”, will be the first tracks to make an impression, but the beauty of w h o k i l l comes from discovering all the intricacies of the other tracks and picking your favorite. “You Yes You” has become one of my favorite songs of the year, just for the little diva-esque scream she belts out during the second verse.

There’s no doubt that tUnE-yArDs’ newest album is one of the best of the year. w h o k i l l has the potential to open a large fanbase for Merril Garbus, and one can only hope she has dozens of more songs floating around in her head for the future.

– Adam

What’s New @ KZUU & Top 30: 4/18/11

A two-for-one blog post today, new Top 30 charts and a whole bunch of new albums to spin this week! Gold Panda’s new compilation album Companion comes in at #1. I can foresee another Panda coming in at #1 next week too (heh heh). Please play tUnE-yArDs a bunch, and don’t forget to spin some Royal Bangs for their upcoming show in Pullman!

Top 30, 4/18/11:

1. Gold Panda – Companions

2. Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine

3. Yarn Owl – Montana y Caballo

4. The Lonely Forest – Arrows

5. The Babies – The Babies

6. The Cave Singers – No Witch

7. Yuni in Taxco – Sanpaku

8. El Ten Eleven – It’s Still Like a Secret

9. Heidecker & Wood – Starting from Nowhere

10. Vivian Girls – Share the Joy

11. The Asteroid #4 – Hail to the Clear Figurines

12. Bibio – Mind Bokeh

13. Middle Brother – Middle Brother

14. Minks – By the Hedge

15. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong

16. Cut Copy – Zonoscope

17. Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil

18. The Dodos – No Color

19. Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots

20. Haroula Rose – These Open Roads

21. James Blake – James Blake

22. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo

23. Noah and the Whale – Last Night on Earth

24. Pandit – Eternity Spin

25. Parts & Labor – Constant Future

26. Starfucker – Reptilians

27. Beach Fossils – What a Pleasure

28. BOAT – Dress Like Your Idols

29. Chain & the Gang – Music’s Not For Everyone

30. Craft Spells – Idle Labor

New Adds 4/18/11:

#48 Kraak & Smaak – Electric Hustle

#66 About Group – Start & Complete

#68 Mages – Majestic

#83 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l 

#98 Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo

#102 Glorie – Glorie

#218 David Rosenfield – Son of Ojito

What’s New @ KZUU: 3/11/11

#12 I Was Totally Destroying It – Preludes

#15 Bass Drum of Death – GB City

#60 Panda Bear – Tomboy

#60 Jonny –Jonny

#75 Errors – Come Down With Me

#110 LAKE – Giving & Receiving

#212 Oy Vey – Botanical Curiosity

#214 The One AM Radio – Heaven Is Attached By a Slender Thread


Tennis – Cape Dory

British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall

Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

Ducktails – Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics