Monday, August 13, 2007
I have been attempting to pirate the new Sunset Rubdown album for the last couple of weeks and the internerd has really let me down this time. So, Instead of posting music I'm going to just vent my frustration.
This frustration has two components, one of which is from not being able to get the music from my conventional spots er...Hype Machine blogs which really in the whole scheme of things isn't that much frustration - it's like a 2 out of 10, about the same level of frustration as say, having your roommate not refill the ice cube tray. The real frustration though is dealing with the realization that I'm not like a member of the cool blogging nerd community that shares all the secret songs and albums before they are released and that is like more of a 9 out of a 10 frustration. And if I haven't said it already a thousand times - my whole life revolves around three things: Getting air conditioning in to my mom's basement, avoiding debt collectors and stealing music before anyone or at least as soon as anyone else can.
So for anyone who hasn't encountered it before - here is the Frustration Scale:
1 - Trying to make a post on your dumb blog about a frustration scale and realizing your computer is too lame to even have any paint type program and thus having to utilize something that's really more like an ascending frustration list.
2 - The ice cube thing.
3 - Being barely above the height of the average girl and thus much less tall than the average girl model making it that much more difficult to score with the only chicks you care about scoring with.
4 - Leaving your atm card and driver's license at a bar that's like thirty minutes from anywhere where you normally would find yourself.
6 - Not being creative (drunk, high, bored) enough to come up with a number 5 on a frustration scale/ascending list.
7 - Trying to kill some warcraft dragon with a bunch of noobs and some guy from Finland. Seriously...more than a million downloads.
8 - Not being able to get more than $400 for the sex tape you made of your best friend and a girl that looks exactly like a Puerto Rican Lindsay Lohan.
9 - Having 500 words or more written on anything but a typewriter or cocktail napkin randomly deleted by the cybergods. And that whole not being intercool thing.
10 - Accidentally drowning your dog because you just wanted to see how far you could throw a frisbee in to the middle of a frozen lake.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Whoa two singer songwriter posts in one week what the hell is going on. Well I wouldn't be posting unless the stuff really blew me away and god does it ever. Bon Iver is actually the project of a broken hearted lumber jack named Justin Vernon who locked himself inside a Wisconsin cabin this past winter and recorded this stuff himself. Vernon sings in a yearning falsetto and is generally only accompanied by an acoustic guitar though a few tracks have some horns added to excellent effect. The stuff is soulful and mournful which in his vernacular adds up to beautiful.
And O yes he did do a short set before the Land of Talk / Rosebuds show I was at earlier this year. As I recall, he did have some box set up that added some atmospherics to a very still room. He wasn't on the billing so I didn't really know who he was - there were only about 15 people in the room so the experience was very personal.
Bon Iver - For Emma.mp3
Bon Iver - Skinny Love.mp3
The album For Emma, Forever Ago is available here.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Anyway if you think you know something about music - you don't. This interview melted my mind though I'm sure the two of them were sitting there at their laptops or something looking up shit between each response. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. Either way the breadth of musical reference is pretty impressive.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I've been trying to spend as much time with the new Stars album In the Bedroom After the War as I can lately. And therein lies the problem. Maybe I've changed, maybe they have. Maybe they've grown up faster than me but I feel as if I'm forcing myself to love this album.
Amy Milan's voice is as beautiful and probably more prominent here than ever. The album on a whole is just that - very pretty, but I can't find anything quite evocative about it. There is a pronounced lack of the vibrance or bravado I guess that was so evident in songs like "Set Yourself on Fire," and especially "Your Ex-lover is Dead." There is a definite step away from the sound of "Ageless Beauty," which was new and shoegazery for Stars in 2005 but there's nothing like that here. In the Bedroom After the War recalls biologically and sonically to the sound of Torquil Campbell's adult contemporary side project Memphis and the first Stars album Heart.
Nearly every song here is a ballad - if there's anything that Stars have never lacked, it's earnestness and this album bleeds it. And if you ever forget it - the strings that accent nearly every track will remind you - and if not nearly every track - then why does it feel that way? I know, Stars use strings frequently and have done so for a while but instead of being the featured voice like they have in the past, they seem to be a cloying Goo Goo Dollsish presence here - just a production effect - and I guess that's just a bit disappointing.
Probably my favorite song on the album is "My favorite book," which is introduced by a divine Amy Milan vocal - I mean seriously she sounds just as good as anyone acapella. It then proceeds into a jazzy Hall and Oatesy chorus full of island frills and Doo doo doo's which though totally out of character for Stars is actually a pretty interesting dynamic. There are interesting moments in other songs as well: "Life 2 The Unhappy Ending," features a short but well done venture in to electrodance and Torquil Campbell has his own Michael Jackson er...Justin Timberlake moment on "The Ghost of Geneva Heights."
None of the songs have quite the power though of past Stars efforts. Even the released track - "The Night Starts Here," isn't the jam I'm gonna start my night out with - of course unless it's Tuesday and "OMFG I have a BIG CLIENT to meet with at 8am tomorrow." No, it really only has one place and that's in your bedroom after like a really big fight or something and it's just fine that way but that's all.
My Favorite Book.mp3
The Night Starts Here.mp3
I'm not really usually a huge singer songwriter fan but there's something pretty incredible going on here with A.A. Bondy. The picking in "Black Rain" is beautiful. Imagine Zeppelin's "Going to California," without the multitracking.
The album exudes the folk timbre that M. Ward has done very succesfully. But on American Hearts, Bondy keeps the songs pretty minimalist - only his voice and the occasional harmonica to accompany the amazing guitar playing. Bondy's voice can sometimes sound a bit like Conor Oberst, but thankfully without all the drama - though I do know that he has played some shows with him.
American Hearts is out September 4th.
Black Rain, Black Rain.mp3
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The songs in the trailer are from The Kinks. If you want to download them, go here: The Playlist.
St. Vincent (Annie Hall) has eyes that are so big you'd think she was about to eat your grandmother. According to her press photos she also enjoys wearing garbage bags, pretending to be lost, and standing barefoot in puddles of water while holding giant metal rods towards darkening thunderclouds.
She actually plays the guitar pretty well but she sings like a fed up Mary Poppins. Probably the only tolerable song I have heard from her with the possible exception of a cover of "These Days," a song which I had previously thought to be unbutcherable is called "Now, Now." The song is accented by these precious little guitar harmonics and for four minutes Annie manages to channel her innate cuteness.
The rest of the songs sound as if they were recorded to soundtrack a musical where Woody Allen has imprisoned her in the dungeon of a transylvanian castle, lets her out for two days in Prague, and then forces her back into the dungeon to compose an album while Woody's neurosis gradually wins her over.
If you still want an mp3 from St. Vincent then I suggest you try the internet - they're giving em out for free everywhere.
Friday, July 6, 2007
I've been looking for an excuse to post about Tampa's amazing and totally underhyped band The Candy Bars since I started blogging. Well I just read on their MySpace that they finally booked their first shows in NYC and I couldn't be more excited for them. Since NYC is sorta my other hometown and since I'm hanging out in Sarasota (My other other hometown) this week I guess that gives me an excuse, right? I'm just a little disappointed that I'll miss them again as I'm leaving Florida soon and won't be in NYC for their show.
The Candy Bars hypnotic and charming release On Cutting Ti-Gers in Half and Understanding Narravation was easily one of my favorite albums of 2006. Start with a bit of Kevin Shields and Jesus and the Mary Chain, throw in a dash of Nine Inch Nails, yes fucking Nine Inch Nails, and top it off with mesmerizing Beach Boys quality melodies and you begin to understand what The Candy Bars are about. The effect is devastatingly good. Reverby electric guitars, distorted vocals, chamber pop arrangements - it's all there.
The Candy Bars - The Flood in Your Old Town.mp3
The Candy Bars - Violets
July 14th - Tampa - New World Brewery
July 28th - Brooklyn - Union Hall w/ Beni Hemm Hemm!!!
July 29th - NYC - Piano's
Well I just posted on Minus Story, the Uh...American version of Windmill. Apparently Windmill released a 7 song LP back in September of last year and now have a 12 song EP Puddle City Racing Lights available with a number of the same tracks. Anyhow, they've been getting a decent amount of blog love lately. They've got a big ambitious sound and I've heard a lot of Arcade Fire comparisons which is a reach - ya Windmill's sound is expansive in purpose but not realized the way that Arcade Fire is with their menagerie of sound. Comparison's to Minus Story and Florida's Radical Face are much more apt.
Windmill - Tokyo Moon.mp3
Monday, July 2, 2007
Holy crap I just banged my head through a fourteen foot ceiling. So far Feist's latest album The Reminder has really done nothing remarkable for me. Ya I thought it was nice and cute and fine to listen to and completely noncomplainable and then GWFA posts a remix of 1234 from Van She Tech and I lose my shit. Female vocals always seem to accent the best electronic and dance music but I've never really considered Feist to be an artist who could be translated well in to that genre. But it's fucking ONE TWO THREE FOUR - this song was just begging to be transformed into ceiling banging hotness and god this remix just does it for me.
Feist - 1234(Van She Tech Remix)
Edit: I just ran a credit report or a fact check or hired a private detective / unemployed blogger and it turns out that Van She Tech are actually the same guys in the band Van She - they've just been focused more on remixing these days. Anyhow I always enjoyed this song:
Van She - Kelly
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I haven't posted in almost a week - what a slacker I am...Here's some new stuff from a band some people are claiming as a Lawrence band which of course although not completely true is better than not being claimed at all. As far as I'm concerned this is the best album with Lawrence ties I've heard this year.
Minus Story - Stitch Me Up.mp3
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Band of Horses put out last year's album of the year for me Everything all the Time and is slated to release another LP October 3rd which of course I couldn't be more stoked about. In the meanwhile, they're touring Europe and have released a limited edition single of "The Funeral," which features a cover of The New Year's "The End's Not Near."
Band of Horses - The End's Not Near.mp3
My thanks to I Guess I'm Floating for turning me on to the new song and hosting the file.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I'm generally not one to get to concerts early but it was a good thing I did for this one because the Goonies er.... Maccabees hit the stage promptly at 7:30, ripped through their 10+ song set and were gone by 8pm which is still half an hour before I originally was planning on getting there. And no - they didn't get chased off the stage by the Fratelli's - but by another rocking brit band - The Noisette's.
Sean Astin and drummer Josh Brolin of the Maccabees, Sean Astin as Mikey in The Goonies:
The Maccabees - First Love.mp3
The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli.mp3
I don't really have enough good things to say about The Noisettes. Their music is just a little too rocking to find a regular place in my rotation but given the right situation, say scoring A.J. Soprano's BMW M3 in Sunday night's final episode of the Sopranos, The Noisettes' energy can be very compelling.
The Noisettes - Scratch Your Name.mp3
Just before Bloc Party took the stage, two fratster's! rudely came shoving through the crowd and parked directly in front of my friend and I. As my friend cocked his right fist back ready to serve a proper brit style hooligan beatdown, the offenders turned around and like the well-groomed English gents they actually were, explained that they had come from Liverpool and were following Bloc Party around the states...15th show or something...also did this for Kasabian...Muse...They hate Keane...blah blah tea, crumpets...
We told them we were from Lawrence and they mentioned they were big fans of The New Amsterdams so all controversy was averted. As Bloc Party took the stage, I wished them well and in the traditional British style of greeting, they heaved their half empty 10$ beers at the stage. The British fratsters then gathered up their groupies' groupies and moved forward. In the end, I was glad to be standing behind them.
Bloc Party played a good set - heavy on Silent Alarm. The crowd went pretty ape shit over "Banquet," and their first set closer "Like Eating Glass." I was a little disappointed over their performance of "The Prayer," which I really expected to be a banger live but it didn't deliver.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
It's early, but this summer needs some party music and The Teenagers "Homecoming" is my early nomination as the summer banger. The remixes have started to flow in but this jam has some serious staying power. At first I thought the lyrics were being read straight out of Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers. I won't be copying them here not because of their uh...interesting use of the English language but because it's so much more awesome if you just hear it.
The Teenagers - Homecoming.mp3
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I promise I'll get back to finishing my first 5/12ths review but for now I'd just like to share some photos from Monday's Land of Talk/Rosebuds show at the Jackpot in Lawrence.
Elizabeth Powell, the daughter of North America's first female alligator wrestler offered to sell us her sweaty stage worn official Land of Talk t-shirt for $2 off the list price. I didn't ask if that was US or Canadian. I think I was afraid to. Anyway - she performed barefooted in some awesome red sweatpants and proceeded to get hammered with the rest of us while we all jammed to The Rosebuds. Elizabeth was pretty cool with the crowd - very down to earth and the whole band seemed to be enjoying themselves. Her vocal performance was pretty much pitch perfect and in a word - tender, a friend of mine actually thought that her voice sounded like the lead singer of The Cardigans, which after I thought about it, I had trouble disagreeing.
Land of Talk - Street Wheels.mp3
I heard some of the females commenting on the alleged hotness of Land of Talk's drummer so this one's for the ladies .
The Rosebuds put on a solid polished show. They dedicated "Get Up Get Out" to the internet and for good reason. I'm sure I wouldn't have been at the show if it weren't for the net. They played a pretty damn long set and it was 1am before they moved in to the crowd for an acoustic jam session and sing along which I think everyone who was there will remember.
The Rosebuds - Get up Get out.mp3
The Rosebuds storm the crowd:
Land of Talk jamming (and getting dizzy) to the Rosebuds acoustic in crowd set.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Well since I wasn’t around for the first 5/12ths of 2007 – I’m gonna post on some of the best releases this year. This will be a several piece post as I probably won’t do as much reviewing in the future as I do here, but I’d just like to give people a sense of what I’m in to. So here it is, the best of the first 41.67% of 2007.
Pela – Anytown Graffiti / The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns Fifteen Winters
Pela is something special. Lead Vocalist Billy McCarthy sings with passion and melancholy - as if he’s a prisoner being wrongly held captive in a towering spire high above some medieval village – his punishment to sing hymns to the townsfolk – though his release is never assured. In "Waiting on the Stairs," he begs his innocence then demands recognition. Come sit next to me cause I am not your enemy / Come admit it to me that I have become your enemy. The music is emotional though not “emo,” or the least bit treacly – there’s no doubt it’s rock – or indie rock at least.
Across the pond, The Twilight Sad operate through a similar vein - in rich post-rock verses that take you through tunnels of sound which at the end, open up to distinctive and again, prominent vocals. James Graham of TTS’s thick Scottish brogue transcends the band from being an extraordinary experimental/rock outfit in to a pure genre bridging powerful melodic indie pop rock sound.
Blonde Redhead – 23
For me Blonde Redhead has always existed somewhere on the fringe of my musical milieu – that is I was barely aware of them and heard them compared to Sonic Youth – a band I am not really in to – and basically dismissed them, something that was obviously a mistake. In fact I played soccer with Amadeo (Center) in Battery Park City for three years without even knowing he was in the band. On 23, BRH’s musical sound is lush, especially for a three person band. Although typically guitar driven in a My Bloody Valentine way – they infuse their sound with a liberal amount of synthesizer that is used constructively both as lead and to pulse midtempo behind Kazu’s ethereal vocals. BRH has encouraged users to remix “Signs Along the Path,” a bonus track from the album (and one of my favorites). The track has both the magical nebulous quality that I could imagine being picked up as the backing for Oakenfold and the persistence that could complement a thick driving bassline by a group such as RAC.
Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City / Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank/
Just like most critics this year, I’m not giving these bands the justice they deserve for the quality of their 2007 releases. With 2004's Funeral, the Arcade Fire ripped a gigantic dimensional hole through what indie music could be and fused so many musical elements (from Bowie and Baroque to U2, Folk and Springsteen) in to a zeitgeist producing sound. So much so that fans have soaked their sister’s jeans jonesing to see them in action again. The Arcade Fire never fully supported Funeral with a tour of the scale that they could have and that in hindsight it deserved. But they are doing it this Spring and Summer for Neon Bible and that, their Arcade Fireness, their Funeralness, is what has fueled the frenzy following them wherever they have gone the past few months. Musically, Neon Bible is a fine album – which is why I’m including it. It has the Arcade Fire sound, but it’s impossible to follow up a once in a generation album. If anything, the anthemic “Intervention,” will be best remembered from this album. It’s the most accessible and most concert friendly. Regine’s vocals are sorely missed from Neon Bible and though Win Butler's voice is more mature, it’s less winsome and somehow that’s less good.The Arcade Fire - Intervention.mp3
Bloc Party’s first full length album, Silent Alarm (2005) was one of the most danceable pop album’s in recent memory. It was my preparty soundtrack for the better part of a year. “Banquet” was just immeasurably catchy and jammable. Songs like “So Here We Are” and “Like Eating Glass” just got me going in a frolicky how-great-is-this-night-going-to-be sort of way. 2007’s A Weekend in the City is still fun and danceable, only this time, instead of cavorting recklessly through the city night – this time everything is less hazy, and you’re with your girlfriend. A totally different quality of partying in type ne measure. With the notable exception of “The Prayer,” which takes a driving stentorian bass line accompanied by an almost chanted verse into a chorus that is as brilliant and hooky as any of BP’s work - Kele sings “Tonight make me unstoppable/ and I will charm/ I will slice/ I will dazzle them with my wit,” – A Weekend in the City is a much cleaner album. Though that is not to say the remixers have not been busy working with the Bloc Party template, the impeccable production is a Bloc Party trademark. Sebastian takes one of the ordinary girlfriendy cuddly tracks “I Still Remember,” and drops the roof in on it and transforms it in to a fantastic ass-shaker.Bloc Party - The Prayer.mp3
Bloc Party -I still Remember(Sebastian Remix).mp3
The first recording I heard of Modest Mouse’s “Dashboard” – the immensely fun first single off We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank was a rip from a November performance at Avalon. I was totally stoked. It reminded me of a moment I had at Hiro Ballroom I’m guessing around 2004 when the DJ threw on “Take Me Out” from Franz Ferdinand and the whole place went as nuts as a place like Hiro can go. I thought Dashboard had that kind of a potential and if “Dashboard” was on Good News For People Who Like Bad News, it probably would have been even more of a critical success. Anyway – let me be the one to say that I’ll be happily jamming out to Dashboard all summer.The Shins are probably the least disagreeable indie rock band going. They are also the indie rock band you're most likely to hear in your dentist's office, Anderson Cooper's Ipod, and on your parent's satellite radio station of choice. None of this however changes the fact that their latest album Wincing the Night Away fucking rocks. It's their best album to date. Building on a pop sensibility only rivaled by Death Cab for Cutie, this time The Shins blend layers of electronic atmospherics to melodies that are even more interesting than the ones that Zach Braff said would change our lives.
"Sleeping Lessons" gets the album going and evolves into this foot stomping nascent anthem before suddenly fading away. The song could have jettisoned any other band from obscurity to pop stardom by simply adding a second verse, yet The Shins seem to be so full of quality song components, i.e. they seem satisfied having conjured enough elements into one track that although catchy, the musical elements aren't repeated in Warholesque pop. With "Sleeping Lessons," as soon as the jam gets going, they let it go at just under four minutes - right on time for radio but too sparse to be a hit. Nevertheless it's worth a listen just for the build.
The Shins - Sleeping Lessons.mp3
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
It's that time of year again - weddings, rain, baseball, graduations, and BLOGGING! This of course is my first post ever and I'll spare the bloggish self-examination for another time because now is the time to celebrate the fact that I was actually able to figure out how to do all the nerdy stuff that is associated with creating a blog in under three hours and I just want to get some content out there to the world! For those of you scoring at home, the first three sentences of this blog ended with an exclamation mark! So, here it is - your standard blogger faire - a picture and a song. Thanks go out to Said the Gramophone - the first music blog I ever read for posting this song.
Yeasayer - 2080.mp3