30 December 2008

I'm starting over!

This is my current anthem for the impending new year. Off one of my most anticipated releases of 2009 200 Million Thousand, the Black Lips remain true to their shambolic selves with "Starting Over". Lo-fi and slurry its perfect for imbibing your final gulps of the year as you raise your glass to the better times to come.

Starting Over - Black Lips

27 December 2008

Perfect for your little shiksa wife

Hanukkah is nearly over but we can't let the holiday pass without posting this silly Mountain Goats song to help you celebrate.

Hanukkah - The Mountain Goats

25 December 2008

22 December 2008

The Walkmen @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Brooklyn, NY 12/15/08

I think we can all agree Hamilton Leithauser is a damn fine looking guy. However, his boyish face, mighty cheekbones and all-around clean cut look stands in stark contrast to his fierce, unrestrained howl of a voice. Once he opens his mouth, an commanding force of vocal prowess is released and defies you to oppose it. Meanwhile the guitars chime and whirl and crash and fall around the words that belie them. The Walkmen's nervy sound translate phenomenal live, especially the new material off this year's super-excellent You & Me.

I wrote at length about "In the New Year" in my top songs of the year list. And I stand by what I said before:

Hamilton's snarl is so damn sexy and menacing. The way he sings “I know it’s true –it’s gonna be a good year” is like a threat. Year, you better be good or I’ll choke you with my bare hands. Meanwhile the shambolic guitars teeter as if on the brink of cautious optimism.

In the New Year - The Walkmen
Four Provinces - The Walkmen

20 December 2008

Julie's Top Songs of 2008 (part the first)

1. My Year in Lists - Los Campesinos!

I listened to this song for about four months solid this year. I retitled my personal blog after it. I watched the video nearly obsessively. This was undoubtedly the song of the year for me. The hook, the twee, the nostalgia, it was unstoppable. Thanks, Danny.

2. Murder in the City - The Avett Brothers

I have been extremely remiss in not writing about the Avett Brothers show we saw earlier this year in Gainesville, Florida.

Thanks to a tip from my old pal Curtis, I had already started listening to Emotionalism pretty obsessively as early as February of this year, but their studio work left me completely unprepared for the live show. Raucous bluegrass hoedown, indeed. Although this year's release, The Second Gleam, left me a little bit cold, this particular track is just so sweet and family-oriented, it melts me every time.

3. Fools - The Dodo's

This is another twitchy genre mash-up that I found completely impossible not to listen to over and over again earlier this year. They may be sweaty, but they sure can put together four-plus minutes of music.

4. Bleeding All Over You - Martha Wainwright

The song doesn't start until about three and a half minutes into the clip, but it's worth it. Something about her music is so classic and timeless, a little Rickie Lee, a little Neko Case, a little twang, and a lot of bitter cynical melancholy. And we all need that sometimes, right?

5. Here's the Thing - Girl Talk

In the interest of ending this on an upbeat note (with a positive jam), and because it is so damned well-deserved, a little slice of genius from the brilliant minds at the Case Western Reserve University bioengineering department:

June's Top Songs of 2008, pt. II

Songs released in previous years, that influenced me or that I loved this year, in no order:

Jens Lekman - F-Word.m4a
buy Oh You're So Silent Jens
This song is half the reason I've been so lazy this year. An entire month of procrasturbating to this song should be more than enough.

Beck - Debra.mp3
buy Midnite Vultures
I didn't beleive this song was Beck at first either. This one is a rediscovery. I loved it when I first got it on a mixtape when it came out, and recently dug it up. Best line: "Lady, step inside my Hyundai!"

Howard Jones - No One Is To Blame.mp3
buy Dream into Action
Something I related to a little too well.

The Starlight Mints - Goldstar.m4a
buy Built on Squares
This song is "kooky like some girl from Mars" with spooky strings and creative percussion, but don't be put off by the voice that sounds like a dude doing a bad impersonation of a woman's voice--it's actually the guitarist's girl.

Sufjan Stevens - To Be Alone With You.m4a
buy Seven Swans
A classic that for me will never die. Perfection in simplicity, a highlight from one of my "top 10 desert island" albums.

The Opposites - Pillar of Salt.mp3
You can't buy anything by them, sorry: This is a friend's now-defunkt band from NJ circa 2003. Drunken spoken intros contrasting with a playful ending FTW!

DiskothiQ - Tulsa Imperative.mp3
buy The Wandering Jew
This was written by John Darnielle, but initially discarded. Peter Hughes picked it up for his solo project at the time, and since then, the Mountain Goats have occasionally performed it live.

Sia - Death by Chocolate.m4a
buy Some People Have Real Problems
Deeply soulful in two parts, with heavy hand of gospel as by an Australian (and produced by Beck)!

Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours.mp3
buy Some Great Reward
A special song for the holiday season, for those of us who are still bitterly recovering from oppressively religious upbringings (though, ex-Mormon is the new ex-Catholic).

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Tamacun.mp3
buy Rodrigo y Gabriela
Spanish guitar flair. I'd love to see Gabriela and Kaki King battle it out, acoustic guitar style!!

the Mountain Goats - Mole.m4a
buy We Shall All Be Healed
For all those who came to see me up there in intensive care, with tubes coming into me and coming out of me, and for all those I visited, handcuffed to their beds.

19 December 2008

June's Top Songs of 2008, pt. I

My favorite songs released this year, in no order:

Cut Copy - So Haunted.m4a
buy In Ghost Colours
Addictive and hypnotizing.

Coldplay - Lost!.m4a
buy Viva La Vida
An enthusiastic backbone with power pop lyrics.

Reynaldo - Brothers Forever.mp3
The only good thing to ever come out of American Idol.

Lykke Li - Little Bit.mp3
buy Youth Novels
Swedish with a light voice, a lovely sweet song.

Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.m4a
buy Vampire Weekend
Why be "A-Punk" when you can lean into this floaty Caribbean beat instead?

Besnyo - No!.m4a
buy Worry
Another great exclamation-point song, from a fab band out of Buffalo NY.

The Hood Internet - The Year This Club Broke (My Heart) [Usher (feat. Young Jeezy) vs Los Campesinos!].mp3
The year's best mash-up.

Flight of the Conchords - Bret, You've Got It Goin' On.mp3
buy Flight of the Conchords
This isn't from the album, but the best song from the show.

Islands - Vertigo (If It's a Crime).m4a
buy Arm's Way
11 minutes of sheer epic awesomeness.

the Mountain Goats & Kaki King - Black Pear Tree.mp3
The Black Pear Tree EP is SOLD OUT so instead buy Heretic Pride
A wistful, sadder song.

Weezer - Pork & Beans.mp3
buy Weezer (The Red Album)
Too obviously catchy and lovable to not theme your summer.

Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas Vol. 8

FIRST! Thanks to our intrepid Sufjan correspondent Katie, we're proud to bring you the freshly leaked new Christmas EP by Sufjan "Stovetop" Stevens, "Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Infinity Voyage, Volume VIII."

EDIT 10/22/2010: refreshed all links!
01. Angels We Have Heard On High.mp3
02. Do You See What I See.mp3
03. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.mp3
04. Christmas In The Room.mp3
05. Good King Wenceslas.mp3
06. Joy To The World.mp3
07. The Child With The Star On His Head.mp3 Edit 12/12/2010: This track disappeared and I no longer have it to share. Sorry! :(

...or grab all 7 tracks HERE!

18 December 2008

Caroling with the Decemberists

OK, so, I feel slightly guilty for posting this, BUT it's just too fun not to share. Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists sing a couple of impromptu Christmas carols at a private holiday benefit held by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, but oh look what happens when Colin spots the camera...

15 December 2008

We Shall All Be Healed

So I've been having a lot of trouble putting together a list of my favourite songs this year. Not because there hasn't been a lot of good songs released this year, because there seriously has. But for me there was only one song that mattered this year, and it wasn't released in 2008 but in 2004.

At the start of this year my mother passed away very suddenly. She went to bed feeling fine, and just didn't wake up in the morning. Which would be a blessing if she'd been 80, but she was only 49. And I found my self incapable of listening to music. You have to understand, since I got my first cassette tape player back when I was eight (with 'Spice World' and the Lion King Soundtrack, oh yes) I haven't gone a day without music. I love music. But those months following my mum's death were months of awful, awful silence. Happy music made me feel angry, sad music made me feel worse. Only a music lover can understand how much this distressed me.

And then, there was this song. I would have ranked it as one my least favourite Mountain Goats songs, if I even remembered to rank it at all. But one rainy afternoon when I was fitfully skipping through my iTunes library trying to find something, anything, to let go to, it came on. And I let it play though. Then I played it again. For a solid month I listened to nothing but this song. I clung to it, I depended upon it. It was the only song in the world that made me feel just a little bit better, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I don't think I would have made it through this year without it.

For me, 2008 will always be the year I lost my mum, and the year of this song:

Your Belgian Things - the Mountain Goats

Heather Margaret

14 December 2008

Top 26 Songs of 2008 (Jess Edition, Part 2)

Read Part 1 here

13. In the New Year – The Walkmen
Hamilton's snarl is so damn sexy and menacing. The way he sings “I know it’s true –it’s gonna be a good year” is like a threat. Year, you better be good or I’ll choke you with my bare hands. Meanwhile the shambolic guitars teeter as if on the brink of cautious optimism.

12. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit
Incredibly disorienting on the first listen, but upon closer examination this total mindfuck of electro-pop reveals layers upon layers of hooks. In my utopian world, this is what the future sounds like, or at least it should.

11. Lovecraft in Brooklyn – the Mountain Goats
John Darnielle finally gets his metal on--albeit in a highly literary, detailed narrative of paranoia in the city. Novelistic imagery of switchblades and brains in mason jars abound to genuinely frightening affect. The nearly meta-lyrics ring true: like John, we too are “like genuinely afraid.”

10. 5 Years Time – Noah and the Whale
The whistling intro, the clap-along melody, the Wes Anderson homage video – no doubt about it, this song is what it says: Love, Love Love.

9. Oh My God – Ida Maria
The Norwegian fireball defies you to “find a cure for her life” with raging grrrl power riffs and a smidge of vulnerability. Let us know if you.

8. Little Bit – Lykke Li
Sometimes the most minimal arrangements are the most effective. The sparse cyclical percussion, the whimpering puppy dog vocals that only a Swede can utter, plus those gutsy lyrics about “keeping your legs apart to forget about your tainted heart” all synergistically culminate in an anthemic confessional for the ages.

7. My Year in Lists – Los Campesinos!
Britain's cheekiest youngsters possess the wit or Art Brut and the twee-ness of Architecture in Helsinki and in under two minutes create one of the catchiest, cleverist melodies of the year.

6. Lights and Music – Cut Copy
This song is like a prism that shines rainbows on the dancefloor. It’s a technicolor wonderland of dance-y 80's goodness. How did New Order not record this song?

5. Light of Love – Music Go Music
Abba is reincarnated as a Californian indie-pop band, and sound a whole lot better this time around. The sugary chorus soars with this weird thing called optimism.

4. L.E.S. Artistes – Santogold
Pure empowerment from an electro-new-wave-hip-hop goddess. It’s the very definition of fierce.

3. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? – She & Him
Old-timey adorableness with a contemporary snap. Makes me wanna hike up my skirt and bat my eyelashes, though somehow I doubt I could beat Zooey in the coy, come-hither department

2. Blind – Hercules & Love Affair ft. Antony Hegarty
Very few songs move me. Even fewer songs get me to move. It is an extremely rare thing when a song accomplishes both. Antony’s operatic vocals humanize the icy synths and bleating horns into six full minutes of pulsating pathos.

1. Lost Coatlines – Okkervil River
This is everything I believed this band could be. With a delicious “Lust for Life” baseline, a lingering coda of “la, la, las”, not one, but two of the sexiest male voices in existence, this is a smart, sad wallop of a song. It won over my heart, my mind and my toe-tapping feet and is best heard in darkness alone.

12 December 2008

Quick gift idea

The Yellow Bird Project is probably the best way to support your favorite band's favorite charity. AND get very cool t-shirts at the same time.

According to their website:

Yellow Bird Project is a Montreal-based, non-profit initiative. We collaborate with musicians in designing a T-shirt, we print and sell them on our website, and all of the money we make goes to charity. Which charity? Each of the artists gets to choose their own. We have three fundamental aims:

1) To make money for charities directly through T-shirt sales.
2) To raise awareness for charity organizations through artists’ endorsement.
3) To raise the profile of the artists we like.

And with a current roster that includes Bon Iver, the New Pornographers, The National, The Shins, Rilo Kiley, My Brightest Diamond and lots more, how can you resist?

Simply put, the Yellow Bird Project is awesome.

09 December 2008

Top 26 Songs of 2008 (Jess Edition, Part 1)

Here's my list of fave songs of the year. Stay tuned for the other gals' lists of songs. And then check back at the end of the month for our cumulative top albums list.

26. Mykonos – Fleet Foxes
This is the song that convinced that Fleet Foxes were waaaaay more then Grizzly Bear-lite. Swelling harmonies and tribal rhythms rarely sound this compelling.

25.Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) – Gnarls Barkley
It’s all in the little “woos” and “las”. Simultaneously menacing and dizzyingly fun.

24. Slapped Actress – The Hold Steady
With this song, The Hold Steady finally managed to become epic. Massive crescendos, lots of “woah woah woah-ing” and Craig Finn’s as-always urgent delivery work in perfect unison.

23. Pieces of You – Islands
Ultra-bouncy and deceptively intricate song that bubbles its way into full-fledged orchestral grandeur.

22. Another Day – Jamie Lidell
The sunniest single Motown never released (by a British white boy, no less).

21. Too Drunk to Dream – The Magnetic Fields
The title says it all –a bitingly witty (and boozy) ode to my two favorite verbs.

20. Chasing Pavements – Adele
While most of the British neo-soul songstress’ debut album errs a bit on the sleepy side for my taste, this song just explodes once it hits the chorus. Heartbreak rarely sounds as bombastic as it feels.

19. The Crook of My Good Arm –Pale Young Gentlemen
Theatrical crooning, a clanging bell and one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard all year (RUN! RUN!) make for an awesomely frantic song - from a damn-underappreciated band at that.

18. Dying is Fine – Ra Ra Riot
e. e. cummings’ poetry and rocking cello make for an epic combination.

17. Heart of Chambers – Beach House
Victoria Legrand, oh my, your voice! Oh my, this song! Where does it come from? I’m thinking it’s gotta be from some otherworldly realm where Nico and woozy organ drones collided to form a black hole of exponential melancholy.

16. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear (Live on Letterman)
It’s a bit more sprightly then their usual hazy-as-codeine sound. And by that I mean it has a lot of bouncy keyboards. Yet it still retains the haunting-as-fuck aesthetic of anything they’ve ever recorded. In other words, it’s the sound of a group howling at the moon while dancing in its light.

15. Raincoat Song – The Decemberists
Songs about rain and loneliness are by no means a rare thing and Colin Meloy manages to breathe a breath of fresh air into the fowl weather canon with a sparse acoustic melody and wistful lyricism. “You sleep like a spinster and you’re twenty-eight/ you’ve been thinking late, you couldn’t catch a cold” Sadly, some of can relate.

14. Id Engager – Of Montreal
Sure the album, was a bit choppy (and let’s face it, nothing’s gonna top last year’s Hissing Fauna) BUT we’re talking about songs here and as far as songs go, you don’t much more audaciously sexually playful then this (unless of course you’re Prince). Kevin Barnes coos out from a jungle of swooping synths and a self-proclaimed “phalocentric tyranny”. Baby, I’ll play with you any day!

Stay tuned for the final 13 songs later in the week...

07 December 2008

The only Christmas song that matters?

Some blogs only post cover songs. Some blogs only post Christmas songs.

Well, one blog only posts covers of one Christmas song. And not just any Christmas song, but THE Christmas song to end all Christmas songs - Wham's! heartbreakingly catchy "Last Christmas".

Believe it or not, Last Christmas (the blog) has been around for over 3 years! and has featured over 300 renditions of the now-classic song. I just can't believe it's taken me THIS long to discover it, but oh thank heaven I have.

And just because, I'll share one of my fave renditions

Last Christmas - Coldplay (Wham! cover)

Last Christmas I gave you my heart
But the very next day, you gave it away

04 December 2008

Vampire Weekend @ Terminal 5, New York, NY 12/03/08

Live, Vampire Weekend are pretty much exactly how you expect them to be. They're just four lighthearted guys in collared shirts making playful, afro-popped tinged indie-rock. Thank goodness the music was good-spirited fun, because so many other aspects of the evening were not.

I hate to bitch about security, I really do. I realize that most security guards are hard-working people doing their best to ensure that the show goes on smoothly without rowdiness or other crowd-based incidents. However while getting our bags frisked before entering the venue (the middle-of-nowhere cavern that is Terminal 5) my friend was almost not allowed in because they found -get this- markers in her bag?! We questioned this policy as they attempted to confiscate them. They insisted we could "vandalize and grafiti the building." Which is probably the lamest thing I've ever heard considering they weren't even thick-tipped permanent markers, they were practically pen-like. My friend's an art student (not a vandal!) and the fact that they would even try to take away her supplies angers me to no end. We finally reached a compromise and were allowed entry as long as we coat-checked the box of markers under a guard's watchful eye. Pretty absurd stuff. Moral of the story: leave the Crayolas at home kids.

But wait there was more drama! Although luckily it didn't involve us. But there were a whole bunch of belligerent kids in the front row who got kicked out for underage drinking and man, were they angry. I overheard bits and pieces of the scuffle but the only words I could really decipher were "responsibility," "consequences" and "sue his ass!". By this point, I just wanted a little peace and quiet and in the remaining ten minutes before I got my kwassa kwassa on.

Thankfully baby-faced Ezra and company didn't disappoint. Although they only played for about 75-minutes, since you know that's about all the length of their entire repertoire. The new stuff sounded good, as did their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere".

Boston - Vampire Weekend

03 December 2008

2009: Year of the Best Album Covers. EVER

I'm making that assessment based on these three upcoming releases alone. Neko, Morrissey and The Boy Least Likely To, how you never dissapoint! If the music is only half as spectacular as these images, I'll be more then satisfied.

I'm totally jealous of that baby. (Out February 16)

Stuffed animals and military weaponry - a brilliantly subversive combination. (Out March 3)

Neko. On a pimped out ride. Wielding a sword. What a bad-ass! (Out March 3)

And two preview songs to hold you over (sorry I don't have any new Neko tracks, but let me know if you do!)

All You Need Is Me - Morrissey
Balloon on a Broken String - The Boy Least Likely To

Bonus BLLT video for "The First Snowflake":
The First Snowflake from The Boy Least Likely To on Vimeo.

02 December 2008

Christmas on Ward 7

The dour, cyclical piano and the cryptic details of memories past haunt Chris Flew's "Christmas on Ward 7", which is easily one of the eeriest holiday-themed songs I've heard in a long, long time. Even if you're not locked away this Christmas, chances are you'll probably still relate to the feeling of alienation, as you long for a better time. Maybe next year, maybe next year...

Christmas on Ward 7 - Chris Flew

And I didn't see the Christmas lights
I started seeing red
Fighting losing battles with the voices in my head
I'm holding onto next year
And praying that it comes real soon

30 November 2008

Best "!" Songs of the Year!

Ok, so allow me a little bit of shameless self-promotion here. I've got an itty-bitty article in the this month's Paste magazine (it's on page 37 in the December/January issue with She & Him on the cover for those you keeping score). Anyways I basically noticed that an awful lot of songs this year featured exclamation points! So I wrote about them! And here they!

“You! Me! Dancing!” – Los Campesinos!

With its coy boy-girl vocals and meandering instrumental intro, this twee tune by Britain’s cheekiest youngsters possesses all the awkward charm of a middle school dance, but with a lot more glockenspiel.
Why the !: The dancing continues for nearly seven minutes!

“Lost!” – Coldplay
It’s an anthem with pounding percussion, droning organs and relentless riffs—the sound of four blokes striving to be the biggest band in the world.
Why the !: Brian Eno’s immaculate production!

“Be Mine!” - Robyn
The Swedish pop tart blows an electro-pop kiss-off that’s both sassy and sad.
Why the !: You’ll never be Robyn’s lover. Really, you never will!

“Souled Out!!!” – Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

Omaha’s favorite son yelps pun-laden social commentary.
Why the !: Bye bye to the Bright Eyes moniker!

“Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!!” – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

A twisted 21st-century reinterpretation of the biblical story of Lazurus, sung with a snarl and a swagger.
Why the !: He's still the ultimate bad-ass!

28 November 2008

If you feel like dancing, dance with me.

So every year on my birthday I go to the local cd store and buy a cd. Not just any cd, one I've never heard of before. I buy because the cover is cool, the songs have quirky names, or based on a highly scientific round of eeni meeni minie mo. Some years I end up with a less than steller choice. (I got Panic! At The Disco's debut a week before that god awful wedding song hit the radio) but some years I hit musical gold. This was such a year.

It was the cover that got me. It was pretty and simple, a nice soothing blue cover. There was also an 'and' inbetween the band and album name, and little touches like that always tickle me. So, I put back the cd I had been considering and bought Bishop Allen's 'The Broken String.'

Light and pretty songs. Crisp and fresh like a summer's morning. The lyrics are deeper than the music would sugest, which is great because I can't work with lack-lustre lyrics. And while the songs share a similar sound, they are each distinctive in there own way which stops the album from becoming boring. Plus, trumpets and bells and castanets.

It's really just a delight to listen to, not too light and not too dark.

The Moniter
And you think I'd understand
That a rock-n-roll band
Doesn't mean a blessed thing

Click, Click, Click, Click.
I wasn't someone they'd invite
Because I didn't know the groom

Or know the bride

But when I stood next to her brother

For the photograph

He was laughing

27 November 2008

I love a parade!

Currently liveTwittering the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for VK:


If you haven't followed us yet, check it out now!

The Magnetic Fields - Parades Go By.m4a

EDIT: Now that the parade is over and there's no danger of ruining "spoilers" for anyone, here's our Tweets, in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest):

  • Kermit has had, sadly, one of the best voices we've heard today.
  • @mirandate no bari sax for Jess... this is from June's experience. 
  • Marching with a bari sax? From experience I can tell you: not easy.
  • @Sarakenobi I'm sure it'll be up on YouTube before the end of the day.
  • Gotta admit: Charice has an incredible set of pipes.
  • RICKROLL!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Skinny Al Roker is creepy.
  • a marching band played gary numan's "cars" my life is complete!
  • Disco-soul-funk remix of "The Age of Aquarius"... thumbs down.
  • Clique Girlz = Hanson???
  • I think I have this song on my Sesame Disco! tape from 1979: http://tinyurl.com/67n2qr!
  • There is nothing man has ever dreamed of more than scaling the mighty rhinocerous! (but srsly, WTF?)
  • Conch shell is the new cowbell.
  • hey june you crack your alter-twitter-ego up -can u also post them on vk too??
  • "Fantasia on Georgia Tech Themes" could possibly be the least inspiring music title ever
  • James Taylor has seen better days.
  • I love the Rockettes so much. They should team up with Bono to make world peace happen sooner. Or something.
  • I was hoping for the Simpsons version of this song. Still, some childhood illusions are being ruined right now.
  • Harry Connick, Jr.: stick to music, not jokes plz.
  • @doctoracula Did you notice that their poodle skirts actually had reindeer on them? Awesome. (I swear I'm not 60 years old) 
  • One of the greatest musicals of all time to be sure, but South Pacific isn't the same without Robert Guilet. 
  • Finally, a holiday musical for those of us who miss Lawerence Welk! 
  • When it comes to recent musicals about NY neighborhoods, In The Heights < Avenue Q
  • liveblogging the Macy's Thanksgiving parade: did Girl Talk do this opener for the cheerleaders?

And in case you've ever doubted the power of the internet, yes, the Macy's parade got RickRolled! Observe:


Happy Thanksgiving!

24 November 2008

List lovers and haters delight!

As we mentioned in a previous post, it's list time again! We'd like to alert you to our fave aggregator of year-end music lists at Largehearted Boy. It's updated on a daily basis and is by far the most complete compilation of annual argument starters.

If you find yourself fuming while combing through the list of lists, just keep these immortal words of Of Montreal to heart:

There is Nothing Wrong With Hating Rock Critics - of Montrealmp3

As for us, well we'll wait till (gasp) December before posting our best-of picks. Stay tuned.

21 November 2008

Brooklyn Vegan asks "When did the Best Album of 2008 actually come out?"

So it's that time of year again - the time when self-appointed critics everywhere start compiling those best-of-year lists. While lists exist pretty much for the sole purpose of debate, usually its the contents of the list that are debated, not the year of their release. Because, um aren't the best albums of 2008 supposed to come out in, uhh 2008?

Not so. Brooklyn Vegan makes this excellent point:

"According to the aggregated critics at MetaCritic, this is what was best this year...

1 London Zoo by The Bug
2 Fed by Plush
3 For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver
4 Dear Science, by TV On The Radio
5 Exit by Shugo Tokumaru
6 Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes
7 Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
8 Robyn by Robyn
9 Hercules And Love Affair by Hercules And Love Affair
10 What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective by Steinski

Does when an album actually came out matter?. Bon Iver's album actually came out in 2007, but was reissued in 2008. Shugo's album came out in 2007 in Japan. Plush's album actually came out in 2002 in Japan (I still haven't heard it). Robyn's album came out in Sweden in 2005. Steinski came out in 2008, but as the title suggests, is actually a compilation of tracks that were released between 1983-2006."

(Read the full article here)

Ahhh, I'm so confused. So I ask you dear reader, as we here at VK rack our brains trying to rank the oh-so-many quality records that came out this year, how do we sort through this sort of hullabaloo? And more specifically, even though we first heard Bon Iver in 2007, can we please include him, since the "For Emma Forever Ago" wasn't WIDELY released until this year? Pleeeease?

Oh and while you're at it, re-visit our Best of 2007 list>

Flume - Bon Iver

20 November 2008

Nothing to feel guilty about.

True Story: I actually spilled coffee all over my couch upon hearing the news of Guilt By Association Vol. 2. And then once I cleaned up the mess, I actually listened to it and smiled a lot. You will too.

In case you're unfamiliar with the concept, GbA is basically a collection of indie-fied covers of your favorite pop songs. Really there is not a drop of irony, just a lot of talented artists trying their hand at the songs you'd least expect, but in a fun celebratory way, not a mocking, condescending way.

Besides, who wouldn't want to hear Kaki King taking on Justin Timberlake! Or hear Jukebox the Ghost get their Ace of Base on! Also Matt Pond PA actually make My Chemical Romance sound poignant. And best of all, you can stream the ENTIRE album. Give it a guilt-free listen:

And download a track too:

Tainted Love - My Brightest Diamond

18 November 2008

Plastic Snow!

Ok so it's not even Thanksgiving yet, however that doesn't mean we can't crank up the Christmas tunes already. On that note, we'd like to highlight a brand-spanking-new album of holiday songs curated by our friends at Confessions of a Would-Be Hipster. Basically they gathered sixteen of their favorite LA bands(ah, so that's why the snow is plastic!) including Earlimart, Great Northern and Princeton and had them record seasonal standards and originals alike. And best of all, proceeds from the album go toward Midnight Mission which has been helping the homeless since 1914!

So what are you waiting for? Go download it here now, only ten bucks for great music and an even greater cause.

Here's a sneak peak:

Icicles - Let's Go Sailing

16 November 2008

Girl Talk @ Terminal 5, NYC, November 15, 2008

I almost got trampled last night. Anyone who's ever been to a Girl Talk show knows how intense the crowd can be. As soon as Greg Gillis opens his laptop, hundreds of people bum-rush the stage and leap over barriers just to get a taste of the party that ensues. Security guards anticipated the onslaught of rabid dancers, positioning themselves along r At one point I was almost kicked to the floor and my shows went flying. BUT I scurried back up and hustled past security and found myself lost in a sea of neon spandex and glowsticks. As I starred out into the crowd of 3,000, I couldn't help but think, the view is always nicer from the top.

Any time there is flying toilet paper, dudes dressed up as teddy bears, confetti and oh yeah an hour and a half set of killer non-stop mash-ups you are pretty much guaranteed the best dance party ever. That's basically what we got.

Here's the Thing - Girl Talk

14 November 2008

Warsaw Philharmonic @ Penn State's Eisenhower Hall, November 13, 2008

Because sometimes the indie kids like to listen to music that pre-dates record players, I'd like to hand the blog over to my friend Deb for a special guest post on a classical music performance she saw. She knows far more about the genre then I, so take it away, Deb!

So Classical Music is the ugly step-sister on this blog, but sometimes a group – like any other form of music – just gives me such a high that I have to share. So thank you to my Dear Friend Jess for giving me this time and space to share with you one of the best orchestral groups I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve seen quite a few of them at this point. The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra is currently on a U.S. tour and happened to stop in State College, PA where I am currently…stuck…as a graduate student. My friend and I, both exhausted from having spent the entire day at a conference joked with each other that we’d fall asleep on each other as we walked in. Little did we know…

We walked in about twenty minutes early – hey, assigned seats mean we don’t need to arrive over an hour early to get a spot on a rail – and we see, and hear, that they are tuning the piano. We turned to each other and said “why are they tuning the piano twenty minutes before the concert?!” Tuning pianos usually takes hours. They manage to finish the upper range by the time the concert was scheduled to begin. Out walks the string section (looking very European…they’re from Poland!) followed by director/conductor Antoni Wit. Wit has no baton in his hand and simply stands on a platform – no music stand in sight. He conducts all four movements of the Seranade for String Orchestra Op. 2 by a Polish composer I’d never heard of – Karlowicz – with his eyes closed turning towards whatever instrument he wants emphasized, using his bare hands to command strength or pianissimo. At times, I could barely tell where the beat was in his conducting. The orchestra and Wit seemed to just know where they wanted to go and didn’t need a steady beat to keep them together. Every bow on every instrument moved in perfect synchrony. I had an orchestra teacher tell us that this was the mark of any great orchestra, where the bows move as if one arm was controlling them all. I had never seen it done so perfectly as it had been done here. I was in complete awe, to the point where the usual annoyance of idiots clapping between movements didn’t bug me as much as usual…not that I didn’t roll my eyes at my friend.

Then, out came Valentina Lisitsa, the solo pianist for the Listz Piano Concerto Number 1. Wit used a score and baton for this one – you could see how annoyed he was to have to do so, though – and Lisitsa pounded away on the keys. Her hands like I said – no wonder the piano was out of tune! I can’t even give her justice here so just know she was pretty amazing.

They play through their final symphonic piece – Brahms Symphony Number 2 – and luckily this time people knew not to clap. My friend and I, tired but amazed at this point were ready to go. Clap clap clap. Standing Ovation (I don’t even think I’ve been to a show where there hasn’t been a standing ovation anymore). Wit walks back … and… what, an orchestra is playing an ENCORE??? If you’re not a classical music person, this is a rarity – perhaps soloists, but a whole freaking orchestra playing an Encore? Okay. So they play something. Clap clap clap, time to go. Wit walks out AGAIN. WHAT, ANOTHER ENCORE??? They play a polka of some sort. I bend down and get my purse while clap clap clap goes on again. AND AGAIN WIT WALKS OUT. ENCORE NUMBER THREE!!! Wit turns to the audience and in his heavy Polish accent says “This is dedicated to your new President Barack Obama.” He turns and proceeds to conduct his all Polish orchestra in playing Stars and Stripes Forever, complete with the Polish flutists soloing. My friend said to me afterwards “can you imagine the flutists playing that in rehearsal and memorizing that, its so American!” We cracked up, we smiled. Something has really changed in the world if a European Orchestra is playing Stars and Stripes forever. They were finally done.

I went home, smiling, quite amused and awed by what I saw.

More info: http://www.filharmonia.pl/start.en.html

13 November 2008

They live up to their name...

Isn't it great when you stumble on a happy little album without any expectations or preconceptions of what its gonna sound like? Somehow I managed to get my hands on Little Joy's self-titled debut without having any idea that the band contains the drummer from the Strokes (the yummily named Fabrizio Moretti) and this awesome Brazilian dude (Rodrigo Amarante of Los Hermanos) and some other girl with another awesome name (Binki Shapiro). And so these three notables come together make one of the most effortlessly listenable records I've heard in a while. And its probably the most relevant album put out by a Stroke since 2001.

Nearly every song makes me want to sip girly drinks with mini-umbrellas in a hammock, swaying by the beach. It's nothing earth-shattering or life-altering - just breezy, acoustic melodies, almost like She & Him, but with a twist of tropicalia. But it's all just so pleasant - and sometimes that's all you need.

Brand New Start - Little Joy
How to Hang a Warhol - Little Joy

11 November 2008

The Mountain Goats @ Webster Hall, NY 11/09/08

Adjectives like "amazing" and "incredible" get thrown around so often, they're practically rendered meaningless. However, Sunday's Mountain Goat concert was truly that -an epic night of incredible amazing-ness. It more then lived up to its billing as "the last happy night of your life". Because for most of us, or at least for June and I, it was.

In addition to the usual crowd pleasers we got treated to not one, not two, but THREE songs off 1997's Full Force Galesburg. One of them, "New Britain" had been played live only once before many moons ago. Other highlights included multiple collaborations with guitar goddess, Kaki King all in support of their collectively performed Black Pear Tree EP. They noisily jammed away on "Supergenesis" and quietly cooed the EP's somber title track. They make quite the pair.

Additionally as we acknowledged in the previous post there was a cover of Morrissey's "Suedehead". John Darnielle pulled off his best impression of the Moz with a series of diva-licious poses and flamboyant hand gestures, as the full band raged on behind him. On the strength of that cover alone I would almost be ok if tMG forsaked their original material in sole favor of becoming a Morrissey tribute band. Almost.

Oh and speaking of covers, they also played their now legendary cover of Ace of Base's "The Sign" Like the rest of the night, it was filled with pure unironic glee. Indeed they opened up our eyes.

Black Pear Tree - The Mountain Goats & Kaki King (live)

And best of all you can download the entire show here courtesy of NYCtaper

[Total Time 1:50:55]
01 [introduction]
02 Have to Explode
03 Heretic Pride
04 The House That Dripped Blood
05 Moon Over Goldsboro
06 Slow West Vultures
07 New Zion
08 [banter]
09 New Britain
10 It’s All Here In Brownsville
11 Minnesota
12 [banter]
13 Black Pear Tree
14 Bring Our Curses Home
15 Mosquito Repellent
16 Suedehead (Morrissey)
17 Supergenesis
18 San Bernadino
19 Sept 15 1983
20 Game Shows Touch Our Lives
21 This Year
22 [encore break]
23 Houseguest
24 Going To Georgia
25 No Children
26 [second encore break]
27 Palmcoder Yajna
28 The Sign (Ace of Base)
29 The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton

All photos courtesy our good tMG buddy, Thom. Thanks Thom!

10 November 2008

Mountain Goats (P)review

June and I are still recovering from the awesomeness of the Mountain Goats concerts we just saw (two nights in a row, baby!). Until we are capable of properly reviewing them, we'll leave you with this preview.

Two words: Morrissey Cover!

Suedehead - the Mountain Goats (Morrissey cover)

06 November 2008

The Decemberists @ Terminal 5, NYC 11/5/08

Is it funny to say that the most patriotic I've ever felt was at a concert? Because The Decemberists' show yesterday, better known as President Elect Obama: Day 1, was one of the most joyous, collective celebrations of hopefulness I've had the priveledge of experiencing. Chanting a call-and-response refrain of "Yes We Can" and "Yes We Did" along with 3,000 others during the particularly timely "16 Military Wives" seemed a euphorically aptway to commemorate such an historic occasion. "America says its so!" Indeed! Later on Obama himself (ok, a cardboard cut-out, not like the actual president-to-be) made an appearance and even crowd-surfaced. He's super-cool like that.

The best prop of the night, however, had to be a peacock feather someone in the front row handed to Colin Meloy. I mean, who doesn't bring a peacock feather to a rock show?? It's like totally the new hipster accessory of choice. Meloy being the master improv showman that he is used it to violently strum his guitar in full rock-god style. Because all the best rock-gods sing about Victorian era chimney sweeps.

Set highlights included:
New single: Valerie Plame mp3
Fleetwood Mac covers?! Dreams mp3
and the yet to be released, but beautifully melancholic: Raincoat Song mp3

(All photos taken by me or good friend Deb)

04 November 2008

Drunk on Election Night!

Allow us to be the 72nd website to remind you to VOTE! And for all you non-Americans, thanks for putting up with the entire internet's insanity over one wacky and hopefully historic election.

ANYWAYS regardless of who you're rooting for (cough*OBAMA*cough), enjoy this song titled after what you probably be tonight...

Drunk on Election Night - Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males

03 November 2008

Rock and Roll Means Well

So last weekend, after taking the kidlets trick-or-treating and stashing them at the Oma's house, the Resident Photographer and I headed north to Tallahassee to see two of our favorite bands perform together at The Moon. He's more of a Drive-By Truckers type, while I'm a Hold Steady girl through-and-through. Neither of us was disappointed. (Okay, I was a *little* disappointed, see comments.)

The DBT's played first, but both bands played full sets. They appear to be alternating the rotation depending on where they're playing. THS opened in the DBT's native Georgia, but I daresay they'll "headline" both of the upcoming dates in Minneapolis. I'd hate to spoil the highlights for those of you who are going to see future dates and want to be surprised, as I did, so see the comments for encore details. Or! if you don't mind the spoilers, you could enjoy this video, not from our night, not taken by me:

We also stimulated the local economy by buying a ridiculous amount of CDs at Vinyl Fever, an independent music store that is neither dead nor dying, which you should really check out if you ever find yourself Tallahassee (or Tampa) way. It's not my favorite music store in Florida - that honor goes to Park Avenue CDs in Orlando - but it's close.

P.S. If the message of this post was not clear, it is the following: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GO SEE THIS SHOW. YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID.

02 November 2008

Love Is All you need

Can we talk about how adorable Love Is All is? I mean I know adorable bands are probably Sweden's biggest export. It's as if the country doubles as a factory that churns out adorable bands as if by assembly line production. But I swear I had forgotten just how great this band is until I saw them open for Of Montreal a few months back.

Josephine Olausson's baby doll whimper of a voice is the perfect compliment to her bandmates' angular riffage -it's a sucker punch of sugar and spice, kind of like a twee version of Deerhoof with just a tinge of brass. I've been spinning their 2006 debut "Nine Times That Same Song" all week and giddily anticipating their follow-up album "A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night" which is due out November 11.

Busy Doing Nothing - Love Is All
Turn the TV Off - Love Is All

31 October 2008

happy halloween from tim fite!

I know, I know, it's been forever, I have so much to tell you about,* and will have even more after this weekend,** but for now, I'll offer up a guest blog from Danny at Rough Draft, who would like me to share with you the following:

If the playlist for your big Halloween party tonight consists entirely of Thriller and Monster Mash, you're going to want head over to http://www.timfite.com/ to grab Tim Fite's Ding Dong DITCH!!! The EP is free, Halloween-themed, and only available today. As you might expect from Tim Fite, the tracks are a pretty good mix of country and hip hop, avant-garde and humor with a Halloween theme.

Having only made it through the EP once, I'd have to point to the Old Dirty Bastard evoking 'RAW' and 'Put Some Eggs On It' as the stand outs.

Last year's It's Only Ketchup Halloween EP is also up for the day. Tim's sophomore full length Over the Counter Culture is available for free every other day of the year so if you've missed it so far, run over and grab it tomorrow when the site reverts to its non-holiday format.

* e.g., the Why? show, my new-found obsession with the Pernice Brothers.
** We're going to see the Drive-By Truckers and the Hold Steady.

30 October 2008

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ The Cake Shop, New York, NY 10/24/08 (CMJ)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are everything their name suggests. A cute band composed of cute boys (and a girl) who sing cute songs that make you fall in love with falling in love. They've got the jangliness of the Smiths, with a smidge of reverb, ala the Jesus and Mary Chain but with 21st century sensibilities -we are living in a world of hook-up culture and friends with bennies after all. Catching them live was definitely a highpoint of CMJ. Check out Amy's photos and then enjoy their uber-catchy (and catchily titled songs).

This Love is Fucking Right! - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Doing All the Things That Wouldn't Make Yout Parents Proud - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

28 October 2008

Cut Off Your Hands @ The Cake Shop, NY 10/24/08

Cut Off Your Hands are nowhere near as emo-sounding as their name suggests, so really you should disregard it. Rather then being bitter and mopey like their moniker suggests, these hyperactive New Zealand boys proved to be just the opposite, providing a well-needed jolt of energy into my exhausting fourth day at CMJ. For those of you who don't know, The Cake Shop is a teeny, tiny corridor of a venue. It was the perfect crowded and cramped setting for their sweaty post-punk riffage. Also the hot lead singer (that should really be his name) ran, like literaly RAN into me and about half the audience, as he jumped around like a madman through most of the set. It was epic good fun. And best of all they just signed to French Kiss which means they should have a record out in the States by early next year.

Happy as Can Be - Cut Off Your Hands

Photos courtesy Amy.

26 October 2008

The Most Unwanted Cover

OK so you all remember the Most Unwanted Song, right? The one about Yom Kippur and Wal-Mart. How could you forget it?

Well our good friend (and tMG bootlegger) Thom has taken on the challenge of recreating the world's "scientifically" proven worst song. Why?? you might ask. Well it's all for a good cause. I contributed to his autism fundraising efforts and in exchange he let me request a song, ANY SONG, for him to cover. And because I'm a sadist, I chose this one. Here is the result. You've been warned:

Thom - The Most Unwanted Song.mp3

23 October 2008

Literal video!

So you may or may not have already seen the Literal Video--in which an extremely convincing cover band sings what is actually happening in the video--for A-Ha's "Take On Me." If you haven't, you're only denying yourself hilarity, so click Here already! (Also highly recommended: The Family Guy interpretation of this video.)

The latest work by these geniuses sticks to the 80's theme with "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears:

...if you're wondering where this post is going, or perhaps were hoping for some snark leading up to insightful commentary about the bands, I'm sorry to disappoint, but these are stand-on-their-own for quality, music, and humor. I wonder what video they might do next. Personally, I'm hoping for "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel!

22 October 2008

CMJ - Brooklyn Vegan Showcase @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg 10/21/08

Ah, it's that time of year again -CMJ. And you know what that means. The city is overrun with five days of marathon concert events, a bevy of industry people, wide-eyed college kids, and irresistible drink specials. We chose to kick our week off with the Brooklyn Vegan Showcase at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and spent the subsequent six hours drinking three-dollar beers while trying to find your next favorite band. Oh and I forgot my camera, which basically makes me the worst music blogger ever. Perhaps enjoy my words instead.

England's Emmy the Great kicked the night off and managed to even live up to their name, a hard task to do for a relatively sober seven o'clock opening slot. The British indie-folk pop collective, lead by singer-songwriter Emma-Lee Moss played a mellow set of lovely, lilting songs that ebbed and flowed with mandolin, violins and plenty of heartbreak. But it was Emmy's sweetly girlish voice that truly impressed us.

Next up was The Sammies, a rock band from North Carolina that reminded us a lot of the Strokes circa 2001 –unpretentious and fun. Except with Southern accents and facial hair. Despite their occasional tendencies to veer toward country jam-band territory, they probably would have been way buzzworthy half a decade ago. About halfway through their set I found myself getting antsy for the next band Shearwater, who were the recently announced special guest band of the night and wow, did they not disappoint. Lead singer ex-Okkervil River member Jonathon Meiburg's expressive, nearly operatic voice often strained to its falsetto heights and filled the venue to haunting effect, backed by a dramatic array of obscure percussion, woodwinds and strings. Gorgeous, gothic and baroque are really the only apt adjectives that come to mind when describing just how darkly beautiful their music is.

The much-hyped Ponytail was up next and could not have provided a more jarring and antithetical change of pace. The Baltimore four-piece play what some call experimental art-rock and what others more simply call noise. With their prickly riffage and intense drum banging, they get a lot of comparisons to Deerhoof, but the thing that really sets Ponytail apart, for better or worse is Molly Siegel's vocal stylings, which are unique to say the least. To call it singing would be a great injustice –monosyllabic grunting is probably a more accurate term, or just plain screaming –that works too. Also despite being an adult she looks about 14 years old, but then again so do all the members of this band. Also one of the guitarists kept hopping on one foot for the entire duration of the set, alternating legs while still playing the guitar. It was exhausting to watch, yet the indie kids went ape shit for it. While I kept feeling like I was missing something, one thing's for sure –Ponytail is the kind of band that'll either keep you young or make you feel old, very old.

I was happily surprised with the next band, Passion Pit. They were yet another extremely buzzworthy young group, the kind that CMJ-ers eagerly anticipate on their five day quest to hear the next-big-thing. But Passion Pit brought what none of the other acts of the night had brought –a beat! They played highly rhythmic electro-pop, the kind that allows even the most disaffected hipster to bob their head and tap their feet. Four hours into the night, it was nice to finally dance.

Endearing Swedish pop star Jens Lekman kept the dance floor going with his specially billed "Singing DJ" set. There was much speculation as to what a "singing DJ" set would actually entail. (Would he sing while DJing?) Turns out first he spun a set of crowd-pleasing party tunes –everything from Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" to hipster faves like Lykke Li's "Dance Dance Dance" (who was actually playing a set of her own at the Bowery Ballroom that night). And then once the crowd was wildly moving, he segued into spinning –and singing- a handful of his own songs karaoke style, thus singing AND dj-ing. Perhaps I would have preferred a bit more singing, but really Jens' very presence was enough to make me smile. He can do no wrong.

We didn't stick around to see the Phenomenal Handclap Band, as we were a little dizzy from all the dancing (not to mention 3 dollar drink specials) but we're guessing there were lots of handclaps involved.

1 day down, 4 to go.

Short Country Song - Emmy the Great
Glisten - The Sammies
Century Eyes - Shearwater
Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came From An Angel) - Ponytail
Sleepyhead - Passion Pit
Into Eternity - Jens Lekman

20 October 2008

John Vanderslice @ 92Y Tribeca, NY 10/18/08

The "nicest man in indie rock" John Vanderslice played an awesome show as part of the opening night of the brand new 92Y Tribeca, an arts, entertainment and cultural center in downtown New York. During which, the analog-obsessed, singer-songwriter did little to dispel his moniker. He enthusiastically gave home-baked cranberry almond cookies to the audience and even went so far as to hug quite literally everybody in the room (yours truly included). He also raffled off gummy vitamins (yes, such a thing exists) to whoever could answer a trivia question about your favorite political pawn/plumber, Joe.

The set also included several new tunes, including one about a Romanian orphanage that was inspired by the Olympics. Apparently the songs were the result of a very good friend who challenged Vanderslice to write 24 new songs this year. We have a sneaking suspicion that friend is John Darnielle. Though that's purely our speculation it seems exactly the kind of thing he'd do.

After he performed, Vanderslice proposed what only seemed a natural way to follow up his set of quiet, lyrically-thoughtful, acoustic songs –a dance party with an emphasis on the new Lil Wayne album. Cue the DJ! And yet the odd transition was a perfectly complete way to end the night.

Exodus Damage - John Vanderslice
White Dove - John Vanderslice

18 October 2008

Creepy Creeper

I know we've been pimping this album like whoa, but this video it so rad, especially the outer space part!

Islands -Creeper.mp3

15 October 2008

Hail! Hail!

In honor of the release of Satanic Messiah EP, The Village Voice just came out with a super list of the top 5 FREE Mountain Goats downloads. If you haven't heard any of the shows/songs on the list, then by all means listen now - no excuses, they're all FREE.

We'd also like you to pay special attention to their #2 choice:
Mountain Goats Live at Old American Can Factory on 2005-07-02

"Recorded two days before 4th of July, on a Brooklyn rooftop, you can hear the fireworks going off during a devastating string of quiet songs: "Twin Human Highway Flares," "Going to Port Washington," and "Waving at You," potentially the most unfuckwithable Mountain Goats song that exists. Both this and the above are solo sets—no coincidence."

Not only do we undeniably agree with this assessment, but we're proud to know the dude who taped the show. So here's our shout-out to our friend and tMG correspondent Thom and his mad bootlegging skills. Hi Thom! Keep up the great work!

Oh and here's the album version of that aforementioned "unfuckwithable" song:

Waving at You - the Mountain Goats

What you still haven't downloaded Satanic Messiah?!?! Technically it's free, but pay some love to the Goats and donate a little, will ya please!

13 October 2008

More like in EARWORM park

Department of Eagles' latest album "In Ear Park" is a real doozy. Dan Rossen's other band, (the non-Grizzly Bear one, don'cha know) will almost make you forget about your undying need for a follow-up to Yellow House. Almost.

Like Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles is at once relaxing and unnerving and is probably the most autumnal album you'll hear all autumn. Its echoey strumming and shuffling percussion provides the perfect soundtrack to watching leaves turn color, wither, fall and float downstream.

Department of Eagles - No One Does It Better.mp3
Department of Eagles - Floating on the Lehigh.mp3

11 October 2008

Of Montreal @ Roseland Ballroom, NY, October 10, 2008

All you need to know about Of Montreal's current tour: Kevin Barnes rides a white horse (like a real, live horse, not some fake, prop horse) wearing nothing but gold underwear!

If you've never seen this band live, you're in for a real head trip. The glammy absurdism borders on surreal, like a Dali painting come to life. Think bizzaro costume changes, ninja actors parading around in glittery masks and more eye makeup then you or I have owned in our entire lives. Also if I hear one more teeny bopper shout "Let's go to Outback tonight!" I will break their knee caps.

Skeletal Lamping is due out later this month. If you're in the mood for a romp through sexed-up disco-funk-land you'll want to visit this album. Seriously Kevin Barnes explicitly states that he wants to make you "come 200 times a day". I listened this album only twice, but I think he succeeded.

Id Engager - Of Montreal

and a slightly older, mellower flip-side to the above scenario:
Eros' Entropic Tundra - Of Montreal

Okkervil River @ the Tralf, Buffalo, NY 10/10/2008

A Girl In Port
Singer Songwriter
A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene
The Latest Toughs
On Tour With Zykos
Blue Tulip
John Allyn Smith Sails
Pop Lie
Maine Island Lovers
Lost Coastlines
Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe >
For Real
Unless It's Kicks

Okkervil River Song

08 October 2008

Okkervil River @ Webster Hall, NY, October 7, 2008

I have been trying to see Okkervil River for years, literally years. But every attempt has been thwarted by bad scheduling, too much homework and other such lame excuses. BUT, last night compensated in every single conceivable way. And it started with a cat.
I got to the venue nearly an hour before doors opened, but this adorable black cat, lets call him Linguine (because he looks like he must be related to Spaghetti Cat), had already beaten me to being first on line. I'm assuming the cat wasn't a stray because it was immaculately groomed with a shiny, shiny coat and wasn't the least bit skittish. In fact we even cuddled and everyone assumed it was mine. We bonded. Nevermind what they say about black cats bringing bad luck, Linguine was a most auspicious start of the night. OK, OK, so now on to the actual show. IT ROCKED! Will Sheff dripped sweat and spit and being in the front row, I reveled in it. Never, never have I seen a band pour that much of themselves, quite literally on stage. AND they continued for more than two hours playing song after song after song. Howling in hysterics, so shambolically melodic!

But here's where the win comes in, the literal win. Every night on their current tour, Okkervil's raffling off a one-of-a-kind brand new song. In order to enter, all you have to do is buy a sticker (a really pretty sticker!) and all the proceeds go towards reducing carbon emissions while they tour. Great cause, great sticker, chance to win a great new song for only $2 - count me in, I'm feeling lucky!

So during the encore Will reaches into a cup and draws a number, lucky 153, and get this...I WIN. I shriek! I'm standing in the front row and jump up and down getting Will's attention. He shakes my hand and tells me to go to the merch table after the show to pick up my newly recorded song on CD. WIN!

Sooo I head back to the merch table still reeling filled with soaring music and winning awe, Kelly, their super-sweet merch lady informs me she still hasn't received the freshly recorded CD and I should just hold tight. Someone should deliver it shortly. I hang around for about 15 minutes. No CD still, so Kelly texts Will himself. By this point the merch table's beginning to get packed up and I'm getting impatient.

Then Okkervil's manager lady swings by and tells me to follow her upstairs to Webster Hall's VIP section and wait with her. Getting access to an area where I'd normally be denied is making me feel very important. Then Will himself, who might I add is THE SEX with his perfectly shaggy hair and tight, sweaty t-shirt hands me the CD and apologizes for making me wait. We hug. TWICE! (My enthusiam is akin to the that of Art Brut's "Good Weekend"). I gawk. A lot. And tell him how I've been meaning to see him forever. And I stare. I stare. A lot at his gleaming eyes and humble smile. I swear he probably thinks I'm autistic. Time to use my favorite verb: Swoon. Here's the note that Will wrote that accompanied the CD:

And as for the song, well yeah of course it's great. And all mine. But not to fear faithful readers, as soon as their tour is up I will post it for you all to hear. (or actually maybe not because the band really doesn't want this song leaking and I totally respect that) But in the meantime, try and win a copy yourself. This one's for my ears only!

But here are other great songs by Okkervil. And if you haven't already, please buy The Stand Ins. Linguine implores you!

Okkervil River - Singer-Songwriter.mp3
Okkervil River - The Latest Toughs.mp3