31 January 2008

And now for something completely different

Lasagnacat (via FatalFarm.com) is a collection of bizarre videos in which an unfunny Garfield strip is ham-handedly reenacted (complete with laugh track), and then a "music video" follows to "explain" the joke.

This winner uses Fischerspooner's "Emerge".mp3 in a meta-literal explanation. Hilarity ensues!

These get addictive fast. Be sure to get a load of the best of the rest:

29 January 2008

Give him some Merritt

They're Not There: Disguised as Magnetic Fields and Cat Power, Stephin Merritt and Chan Marshall are still playing games with the singer-songwriter archetype.

Passing on an article from salon.com asking why certain singer-songwriters, who channel their single talents into those of an entire band, seemingly hide behind a mask. The author implies that with age and maturity, transparency is the natural result. To do anything else, he suggests, betrays the artist's true self, and thereby, the fans.

That's where I disagree. While the piece repeatedly name-drops Jesus and Mary Chain as an influence and John Darnielle as an example of what should be done, it fails to note the basic fact that regardless of what our favorite musicians develop, the fans will judge them on their art, not maturity. The mask a musician dons, especially if an act of preserving a definitive personal self that's different from the stage persona, seems an act of higher development.

Here's a smattering of songs mentioned in the article:
The Magnetic Fields - Take Ecstasy With Me.mp3 (off Holiday)
The Magnetic Fields - California Girls.m4a (off Distortion)
Cat Power - Metal Heart.mp3 (off Moon Pix)
Cat Power - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.mp3 (Rolling Stones cover) (off The Covers Record)

28 January 2008

"Every moment leads towards its own sad end"

Lyrics aren't the most important part of Mountain Goat songs. They ARE the songs. Director Ace Norton realizes this and exploits it for fantastic results. Check out this nifty hot-off-the-presses video for "Sax Rohmer #1". It features, quite possibly the best usage of Sharpees ever.

We here at VK are reserving our judgment of Heretic Pride until its official February 19th release. But needless to say, we're quite pleased.

26 January 2008

Neko Case @ Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown NY 1/25/08

You know her voice by now -that lush, velvet siren call. Yet to hear Neko Case in a live context is a rare, remarkable experience in which a voice comes to life, popping off the record and literally filling the room with sound. It might sound like I'm gushing. And to some extent I undoubtedly am, but honestly I can think of so few female singer-songwriters I admire half as much.
Think about it. This is a alt-country chanteuse who has written murder ballads based on Ukrainian folklore and still managed to snag a guest appearance on the Cartoon Network's Aqua Teen Hunger Force?! (check out the below pic), while simultaneously infiltrating the Starbucks marketplace and holding down a cushy part-time gig in the New Pornographers. Who wouldn't want to be her?

This is to say nothing of how modest, down-to-earth and unpretentious she is. Following her set, in the gorgeous antique theater she met with fans for photos and autographs. As I gathered near her for a picture, she warned me she might smell (she didn't). But that candor and honesty was probably the most charming thing I've heard this side of a Jens Lekman concert.

Favorite - Neko Case (Off 2001's Canadian Amp now available only on tour.)

23 January 2008

I Feel It All

Feist runs around and bangs on trash cans filled with fireworks. Best video concept ever. All shot in one take too. Impressive. And explosive.
Hopefully "I Feel It All" will get her known as more then just the iPod girl. It is after all the stronger single on what is, overall, a fairly strong album.

22 January 2008

The LK on VK

If you're a regular VK reader, then you're probably familiar with our propensity to like anything Swedish. Well the land of Jens, PB&J and I'm From Barcelona has struck indie gold yet again. Lindefelt and Fredrik, a duo of Swedes known simply as The LK (short for The Love of Kevin, Colour, Chaos, and the Sound of K) craft intricate electro-pop. Their album Vs. The Snow (out stateside March 4 on The Kora Records glistens with infectious, icy melodies and eerie atmospherics.

There's also a fascinating explanation for the band's full name. Lindefelt has synaesthetia, a condition which causes physical senses to be confounded -in his specific case he hears colors. Give the album's first single "Private Life of a Cat" a spin. Who knows what you might see.

Private Life of A Cat - The LK

20 January 2008

The Power of Love

When we heard Final Fantasy cover Mariah Carey earlier last year, well we thought he couldn't get more diva-liciously awesome. But oh god were we wrong. Check out his take on Celine Dion's (yes you read that correctly) "The Power of Love" The performance was a part of the 33 1/3 book series' evening dedicated to "Let's Talk About Love - A Journey to the End of Taste". It's shockingly pretty, but then again what do expect from someone with a voice of gold and violin of steel?

The Power of Love - Final Fantasy (Celine Dion cover)

18 January 2008


It's been a while since we've heard from Antony. He hasn't released a full-length album since 2005's hauntingly morose and transcendent I am a Bird Now. But now his ethereal voice is showing up in a most unusual place, alongside techno beats and jagged brass. And um somehow it works. Check out Hercules & Love Affair (featuring Antony)'s "Blind" now streaming at their myspace page. It's quite odd to hear his voice in such a dance-worthy context. Very odd, actually.

16 January 2008

Bones of an (American) Idol

As American Idol's seventh season kicked off this week, we (ok, so probably just *I*) would like to take this moment to remember Sanjaya, the pony-hawked squawker that the twelve year old girl in all of us can't help but love (ok, so again, it's probably just me).

To compensate for exposing you to that sad, sad little clip here's a song with the word "Idol" in its title that you might actually enjoy:

Bones of An Idol - The New Pornographers

13 January 2008

Bon Iver

Bon Iver's yet another artist I've been meaning to mention forever, but just never have gotten around to doing so. And I guess "forever" is an apt word choice here, because with an album titled For Emma, Forever Ago, there seems to be an eerie timelessness in Justin Vernon's haunting music. Lots of music is made by recluses in the woods, but rarely does it sound this good. Let's be thankful that his debut album will get a proper release on Jagjaguwar on February 19th. I only managed to snag one dark and blurry photo of him during his set at CMJ, but that's because I was so arrested by the otherworldly soulfulness of his voice that I honestly was too mesmerized to hit the flash button. This guy's good.

For Emma - Bon Iver
Skinny Love - Bon Iver

12 January 2008

"You will never put your arms around me..."

So awhile back we shared a lovely pop song by the Swedish band Pinto. "Iron and Rust" is a breezy little ditty with all the fundamental elements that make a good song great - boy-girl harmonies, peppy handclaps, wistful lyrics, metallic metaphors- you get the idea. And now there is an awesome video to accompany it. If you're a fan of melancholic finger puppets, you'll adore it. And if you're not, you will be.

And here's Pinto's latest single:

What You Did To Yourself - Pinto

10 January 2008

Saturday Looks Good To Us

Despite having seen Saturday Looks Good To Me perform twice during CMJ in October (and being thoroughly impressed both times), I didn't get around to actually listening to their latest album Fill Up The Room until this week. And wow is it ridiculously catchy. Think sunny, retro-pop goodness, sugary boy-girl vocals, with a smidge of contemporary rocking-ness from an overall criminally underrated band. Every single track can stand on its on as individually infectious, like you've sworn you've heard them before, yet they're clearly fresh and unique.
Make A Plan - Saturday Looks Good To Me
The Americans - Saturday Looks Good To Me

And here's an older track off Sound On Sound:

Can't Ever Sleep - Saturday Looks Good To Me

08 January 2008

The Other Juno

I don't get out much, admittedly. I don't see many movies. So when people started coming to me saying, "I love Juno! You should see it!"
I was confused. "See? It?"

Far as I'd always known, Juno is a Seattle-based indie rock band. My favorite album by them, 1999's So This is the Way it Goes and Goes and Goes, features the nearly 10-minute, Phillip-Glass-esque opus, "Leave a Clean Camp and a Dead Fire."
Though the band parted amicably in the early aughts, they've recently reunited. Good news!

Juno - Leave a Clean Camp and a Dead Fire.mp3
Entire lyrics:
"You don't have to be strong
if you don't want to be free
When you turn off the alarm
and I turn on you and I
I turn turn on my disease.

Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll AND DEATH!

This is a special mix your resident Volume Knob heathen just made for a friend. It was tentatively titled "Michael in 2008!" but with the record of indulgences that rank unpopularly with the voting circuit, I decided to call a spade a spade and title this mix what it's really about: Sex, Drugs, Rock n Roll, and Death.

22 tracks total / 1:19:53 total time

Side A:
1 Placebo - Pure Morning.mp3
I’m fairly certain this song has a little bit of everything.

2 The 6ths - The Dead Only Quickly.mp3
By Stephin Merritt. To know him is to love him.

3 The Moldy Peaches - Anyone Else But You.mp3
“up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start” I heard this cheat code for the first time a few weeks ago. So the theory goes that every male under the age of 30 has the Konami Code embedded in his DNA. True?

4 Matt & Kim - Yea Yeah.mp3
Such an addictive song! And the video is really fun. Also, go onto YouTube and pull up the super cracked-out remix of this. It’s like Sesame Street on 2C-I.

5 Cut Copy - Hearts On Fire.mp3
Another song-like-crack-like-whoa. It sounds totally 80’s but I think it came out in ’06. Those crazy Australians!

6 Jens Lekman - Into Eternity.mp3
My favorite track off the best album of last year. During the last part of the song, with the cowbell and drums and claps, I think all you need to do is add a whistle and it’ll sound like a Brazilian street party. And thus concludes the “super happy dance-y” part of the mix.

7 Jukebox the Ghost - Hold It In.mp3
I saw this band live in NY—the lead singer emotes with his entire face. It’s incredible.

8 Tori Amos - Happy Phantom.mp3
The happiest song about death EVER!

9 Peter Peter Hughes - I Don't Smoke.mp3
A solo-act song by my friend Peter (of the Mountain Goats). I think the lyrics are apt.

10 a-ha - Take on Me.mp3
lolololol. Forever on I will think of that scene in Family Guy when I hear this.

11 Beirut - Scenic World.m4a
I am currently SO obsessed with this song. I will listen to it on repeat and and the swaying, bouncy strings just keep capturing me, especially with the paired-down percussion and that brass.

12 Manu Chao - Me Gustas Tu.mp3
I took two years of Spanish in high school. I like this song because I can understand 90% of the lyrics. “I like your kitchen?” Whatever. It’s damn catchy.

13 The Cat Empire - Hotel California.mp3 (Eagles cover)
I’m hoping you don’t have this song. Je ne parle pas Français.

Side B:
14 the Mountain Goats - Two-Headed Boy.mp3 (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
The Mountain Goats! Covering NMH!!! Be still my heart!! (Yes, this is a blatant attempt to butter you up and say “Cooooome to the PDX showwwww!”)

15 Justin Timberlake - Lovestoned.mp3
...The Sincey is what allows us bloggers to tell everyone, “Look, I’m not just some narrow-minded indiephile, I am open to all music,” but the obligatory nature of the annual practice and the nerdiness by which we go about explaining our mainstream affection merely reaffirms our individual hipster personas.

It reminds me of the time one super hipster co-worker of mine played a mix on her iPod, and the songs were, in order, a really obscure Stereolab song, a really obscure Magnetic Fields song, and then “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes, complete with an instant “I don’t care what anyone says, I love this song” disclaimer.

Part of being a hipster is being deliberately mainstream at optimally calculated opportunities, and as long as that remains the case, I’m sure I’ll continue to find myself arguing in favor of the “unadulterated pop greatness” of “Hey Ya” with my T-shirt-clad peers at many a Brooklyn bar in the forseeable future.

16 Flight of the Conchords - Banter.mp3/Robots (live).mp3
This is what you missed when you were, um, busy.

17 Avenue Q - I Wish I Could Go Back to College.mp3
You don’t know how good you have it right now! I secretly suspect this song is the driving force behind my going to grad school.

18 Sufjan Stevens - Size Too Small.mp3
I don’t know if you have the album Seven Swans. It lacks some of the highs of Illinois and A Sun Came! but is by far a more consistent, cohesive opus. It’s my favorite album by Sufjan, and one of my 10 “desert island” albums.

19 Knife/Heartbeats (Grizzly Bear vs The Knife).mp3
One of the most fantastic and masterful mash-ups of recent.

20 The Magnetic Fields - Take Ecstasy With Me.mp3
I’d like this.

21 Tom Waits - Cemetery Polka.mp3
This song sneaks onto a lot of mixes because it’s short. Also, death. Also, I love the line “as independent as a hog on ice.” Also, Tom Waits is who you’ll sound like if you smoke Lucky Strike unfiltereds for 30+ years.

06 January 2008

"We sure are cute for two ugly people"

Juno has been getting lots of notice for its soundtrack, which plays a bit like a twee apocalypse. It features excessively precious music for a shockingly non-precious film. Anyways, I really liked it -musically and otherwise. But regardless of what you think of the movie, you have to admit The Moldy Peaches "Anyone Else But You" is a terribly adorable, aw-shucks sweet song.

Anyone Else But You - The Moldy Peaches

03 January 2008

I Dream Alone

Considering the Magnetic Fields penchant for self-descriptive album titles, the fuzzy reverb-soaked aesthetic of Distortion (out January 15) should come as no surprise really. Its almost lo-fi feel harkens back to Holiday and is a far cry from the shiny, polished pop of 2004's I. Out with the orchestra, in with the synths. Check out "I Dream Alone" one of the albums best offerings.

I Dream Alone - The Magnetic Fields

02 January 2008

This Year

Happy 2008! Now that we've all had a moment of silence and recovered from our hangovers, here's a special kickoff to the new year. If you can make it through this cover, you can make it through this year:

Aaaaand the requisite dose of New-Year-themed tunes: