31 August 2009

You've got to Paste to play ...

So what are your picks for album of the decade? Go tell Paste here: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2009/08/whats-your-favorite-album-of-the-decade.html

After reviewing their list, mine are as follows:

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
The Avett Brothers: Emotionalism
Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlantacism
Fountains of Wayne: Welcome Interstate Managers
The Hold Steady: Boys & Girls in America
Iron & Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days
Sondre Lerche: Faces Down
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Sun Kil Moon: Ghosts of the Great Highway
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Check back later for track links and liner notes.

Jay-Z & Michael McDonald heart Grizzly Bear. Group Hug!

I stood on a picnic table yesterday, squinted my eyes through the sun and peered around the park, just scoping out the crowd at the Grizzly Bear show at the Williamsburg Waterfront. I had been loitering around for 4 hours (because I'm hardcore like that) making sure I had a prime spot to see and hear some of my fave songs of the year. I don't fool around when it comes to free shows. I don't fool around when it comes to free anything. Among the 6,000 people I saw a guy that looked an awful lot like Jay-Z, but I shrugged it off. Jigga at a Grizzly Bear show would be as incongruous as Grizzly Bear at a Jay-Z show. But I was wrong. WRONG. Moral of the story: don't make stupid assumptions. Ever. Lesson learned: if it looks like Jay-Z, it probably is. Especially if there's a girl that looks like Beyonce standing right beside him.

Video proof of Jay-Z rocking out to "Ready, Able". And by "rocking out", I mean "swaying", because that's about as rocking as GB get.

By the way Michael McDonald sings on the new Grizzly b-side! Jigga What?!
Stream it here and your mind will be BLOWN!

29 August 2009

this song will get stuck in your head all over again

A song as nearly perfect as Animal Collective's "My Girls" probably doesn't need to be covered. But that didn't stop Taken By Trees from taking a stab at it. Victoria Bergsman not only regenders the original, but strips it down with some oddball Pakistani instrumentation and in the process renders it shockingly unique. Kudos for taking a risk that *gasp* actually pays off. We think you'll agree. Trippy video too:

My Boys (Aninal Collective cover)- Taken By Trees

27 August 2009

R.I.P. Ellie Greenwich

As you maybe heard songwriter extraordinaire Ellie Greenwich died yesterday, an untimely death of a heartattack at only 68. Maybe you've never heard of her before, but you've undoubtedly heard her songs. "Be My Baby", "Out in the Streets", "Da Doo Ron Ron" and all those Brill Building girl group gems. But most importantly She helped give a public voice to female desire in an era when nary an outlet existed to express such personal feelings. Even if through a lot of these songs, a girl's sense of self was entirely dependent and defined by being in a heteronormative relationship (a mega-gripe in my book), I think there is still something to be said for making it at least acceptable for a girl to say she wants a guy and to embrace said desire. Besides there was a lot of sexism in the 60s. I know this because I watch Mad Men.

You Don't Know - Ellie Greenwich
Out in the Streets - The Shangri Las
The Train From Kansas City - The Shangri Las

25 August 2009

The first ever Volume Knob Podcast

Here it is. The very first Volume Knob Podcast (Knobcast?). I'm not sure how frequently I'll record these. A lot depends on your feedback and my tolerance for my own voice.

It runs about half an hour long (28:40 to be precise) and features songs by bands recently mentioned on the blog, with a few other tracks thrown in for good measure. The first edition features music by:

Yo La Tengo
The Very Best
The Antlers
The Mountain Goats (duh)
Horse Shoes
AND to top it all off Brian Wilson RAPPING

Be sure to let us know what you think. Should we do more of these? Should I talk less? What about lenghth?

Oh and by the way it's me, Jess talking. I fail to introduce myself on tape. Oops, some people never outgrow their awkward teen years (and by some people I mean me).

Download it HERE.

(RSS Feed coming soon)

The Decemberists just wanna use your love tonight

Ok, so this cover is about five years old, yet it's totally new to me. Decemberists' guitar player Chris Funk finally steals center stage away from Mr. Meloy and sings the crap out of a song that is pretty much impossible to fuck up. You know the one that goes "I just wanna use your love tonight, I don't wanna lose your love toniiiiiiight". Yeah that one.

I think Chris Funk should just hit the road as a one-man-80s-one-hit-wonder cover band. That'd be way more epic than The Hazards of Love. Just sayin'

The banter at the end is also hilarious, but I don't want to give anything away so just listen for yourself.

Your Love (The Outfield cover) - The Decemberists

23 August 2009

Sunday Mail Bag: Horse Shoes edition

This post marks the first installment of a new feature in which we weed through emails (and snail mail) galore to bring you music actually worthy of your attention. First up: Horse Shoes.

Number one way to get this blogger's attention: tell me your band sounds like they're from Sweden even if they're not. That's what Horse Shoes did and it sure worked.

And to make matter even more interesting, these two guys are from FLORIDA which is the aesthetic opposite of Sweden, all hurricanes and grandmas (not that those are bad things; they're not. They're just not Swedish things). But believe it or not they manage to capture the icy essence of that distant pop wonderland with dreamy vocals, lovelorn lyrics lo-fi samples (ala Air France or Jens Lekman) and jangly beauty galore.

There latest EP The Imperial School is out Sept. 22 via Shelflife records. Along with the Swedish feel, its also got a retro-80s vibe, like half these songs wouldn't feel out of place in a John Hughes prom scene, especially the epic "Changing Winds" (except Andie ends up with Duckie this time). Morrissey himself would be proud of the earnestness.

Changing Winds - Horse Shoes

The Imperial School - Horse Shoes

21 August 2009

not-so-relevant thoughts of Pitchforks Top-20 songs of the 2000s

Mp3s and some not-so-relevant thoughts on Pitchforks Top-20 songs of the 2000s.

20. The Rat - The Walkmen
For the longest time this was the ONLY song by the Walkmen I actually liked (up until the release of last years You & Me). It's got sass damnit. Bonus points for being the best ringback tone for your ex EVAH. One blast of YOU'VE GOT A NERVE TO BE CALLING MY NUMBER oughta show 'em who's boss.

19. Ignition - R. Kelly
YES YES YES! Mr. Mountain Goats himself, John Darnielle started a list of 100 reasons why this song is so damned great.. And I agree with all 100 of them. From the toot toots to the beep beeps, Ignition shoulda bounce-bounce-bounced its way higher up on the list if you ask me (and JD of course). "It's the freak-in week-end baby I'm about to have me some fun" remains the most joyous exclamation of the decade.

18. Blind - Hercules & Love Affair ft. Antony

My 2nd fave song of last year. Here's what I said then, and still stand by now: "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."

17. Heartbeats - Annie

Sweet song that builds with guileless electro anticipation. The sonic equivalent of a first kiss with a stranger who is probably Scandinavian, still 17 seems a bit high for mere making out.

16. House of Jealous Lovers - The Rapture

Not gonna front, this song mildly scares me. Didn't Rob Zombie direct a movie with this title. Oh he didn't? Well just wait he will. And when he does, there will be cowbell. And dancing corpses from Brooklyn circa 2002.

15. Heartbeats - The Knife
More Scandinavians singing about heartbeats? The Knife must be Annie's older goth sister. Still dig it though.

14. 99 Problems - Jay-z
Have you ever seen a pint size college gal give this song a whirl on karaoke night? Well you really should because it nearly transforms into a mighty feminist anthem. HIT ME!

13. Losing My Edge - LCD Soundsystem
Aging hipster laments, can't wait to see what James Murphy whips up when he's 50.

12. Hey Ya! - Outkast
The most impossible to hate song ever? I sure hope so.

11. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
When this song first hit my iPod, I listened to it literally 43 times in one day (thank god for iTunes play count) And then I never listened to it again. Maybe next year though.

10. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire

Someone once told me they like to paint to this song, which is apt. It is the sound of colors being splashed on a canvas, Jackson Pollack style. TUNNELS! TUNNELS! TUNNELS!

9. My Girls - Animal Collective
It took at least five listens for this song to stick and then once it did, it was like a million light bulbs exploding.

8. Idioteque - - Radiohead
I still don't know how to pronounce this title. Is it idiotic? or Idiot-tech, like a discotheque full of idiots? I'm gonna go with the latter.

7. Get Ur Freak On - Missy Elliot

Sometimes my mom works out to this song. That's kinda weird right?

6. Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Subtle beauty from a band that usually makes noise that is anything but.

5. One More Time - Daft Punk
Someone should play this song on a loop at their wedding. That way there are a lot of one more times, for infinity the fun!

4. Crazy in Love - Beyonce
I like the horns.

3. Paper Planes - M.I.A.
I called this at #1 yesterday. Oh well, I was wrong.

2. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
The song that convinced me that LCD were actually good. And you know what, they are.

1. B.O.B. - Outkast
Can we get Outkast a spot in national security. They totally predicted the insanity of international relations in the 00s. AND they did it with epic flair.

19 August 2009

The post in which I finally listen to the Antlers

Despite the fact that Pop Tarts Suck Toasted has been telling me to listen to this band for the past oh 2 years, I must admit I am slow to the Antlers bandwagon. But all it took was one listen to "Two" and I was enthralled. It's all warm strummy goodness that swirls around an eliptical melody, like pixies around a campfire. I've yet to investigate the rest of their album Hospice (just re-released on Frenchkiss), and hate to get all Sarah Palin on ya, but you betcha, I will be!

If you haven't already, listen for yourself:

Two - The Antlers

Oh and hey there's a cartoon video too!

17 August 2009

Red Light Love video

Loving the animation for the new video for "Red Light Love". Those Darlins are just as cute as cartoon characters as they are in person.

15 August 2009

51, Count 'em 51 Elliott Smith cover!

That's right folks. We salute The Rawking Refuses to Stop for re-posting their epic collection of Elliott Smith covers. We know this post is from like seven months ago, we heart completists (plus the links are still good) we thought we'd alert you to it.So head right over and get 'em while they're hot.

And sample one here:

Blackbird - Elliott Smith (The Beatles cover)

14 August 2009

It'll be interesting to see if/how he apologizes

We adore Patrick Wolf and his dreamy blend of orchestral-electro magic and all, BUT tirades like this just don't fly. Calling the woman in charge of the PA a bitch and throwing shit and spitting is really uncool - even if you are totally glammed out and super-duper talented. It all went down last night at the C/O Pop Festival in Germany. Watch for yourself:

Accident and Emergency - Patrick Wolf

12 August 2009

Best non-existent magazine EVER.

(courtesy sounds about right)

I hope Andrew Bird is the centerfold. He's like totally dreamy.

C'mon you know you'd subscribe.

Naive Melody - Arcade Fire (Talking Heads cover)

10 August 2009

Maybe we'll even get to hear new songs!

HOLY SMOKES BATMAN! Sufjan Stevens is emerging from his batcave/hyperbaric chamber/center of isolation to *gasp* TOUR. Here's the official list (check out all the teeny tiny venues!!!)

09-21 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's *
09-22 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's *
09-23 Ithaca, NY - Castaways *
09-24 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom *
09-25 Pontiac, MI - Crofoot Ballroom *
09-26 Champaign, IL - The High Dive *
09-27 Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar *
09-28 Madison, WI - The Majestic *
09-29 Bloomington, IN - Buskirk Chumley *
10-01 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Place *
10-02 Montreal, Quebec - Cabaret *
10-03 Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall *
10-04 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
10-05 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
10-06 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
10-07 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *

*with Cryptacize

Let's celebrate with these rarities shall we:

Majesty Snowbird - Sufjan Stevens (live)
Free Man in Paris - Sufjan Stevens
Jupiter Bad June - Sufjan Stevens

09 August 2009

The cover is like the most depressing birthday party ever.

Julian Plenti is the euro-trashy sounding alter-ego of Interpol's Paul Banks. And I have to say his solo debut is a mixed bag of an album, though way better then Interpol's last blah album. ANYWAY I'm mega-exhausted from the weekend, but you can read my actual review, like with grown-up words up on Crawdaddy!.

No Chance Survival - Julian Plenti

07 August 2009

RIP John Hughes

We're still recovering from the news of John Hughes death (seriously what have we done to anger the pop culture Gods so much this year??)

Here are two Pretty in Pink covers, as tribute to the man, the movies and the music that will always be there to comfort adolescents on their awkward, but maybe lucky (or just Ducky) prom night.

Pretty in Pink - The National (Psychedelic Furs cover)
Pretty in Pink - The Mountain Goats (Psychedelic Furs cover)

06 August 2009

Los Campesinos! @ Webster Hall, NY 8/4/09

Anyone remotely on the fence about seeing Los Campesinos! live should go, just go. You will sing! You will dance! You will become an accelerated reader! You will get drenched in sweat (both your own and other peoples) as you learn that mosh pits and glockenspiel are not mutually exclusive!

And as if you needed further incentive to see the Welsh septet, you might even end up sneaking into a park and making out with a fellow concert-going stranger following the show in your state of post-concert euphoria (just ask my friend about that part, true story).

Another true story: we met a guy who made it to the band's semi-secret show at Union Hall the day before. He ran into band member Tom Campesinos! in the bathroom, said hi and struck up a conversation. Tom also checked one of the stalls to see if it was occupied for him. That totally beats the time I ran into Sarah Vowell in the bathroom and was all gawky and awkward (gawkward?). Anyways, what a guy! What a band!

Also this is your last chance to catch Aleks (the female vocalist/keyboard player) on tour with the band, as she's leaving to back to school.

And hey they played a new song!

Plus a classic:
Ways to Make it Through the Wall - Los Campesinos!

Plus an INSANE mash-up, courtesy The Hood Internet:
The Year This Club Broke (My Heart) - Usher (ft. Young Jeezy) vs. Los Campesinos

04 August 2009


As you might recall, Heath Ledger directed a Modest Mouse music video for "King Rat". Then he died.

It has animated fishys with wings and thus is awesome.

And now you can watch the video HERE

03 August 2009

Let the exclamation points abound!!!!

We're seeing Los Campesinos! tomorrow. We don't think you need reminding as to how awesome they are, but in case you do....

You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos!

01 August 2009

Talk about a band that's hard to Google

Confession: I tend to overuse words like "awesome" and "amazing" so often they're practically rendered meaningless. However please note that when I use them to describe "Hellhole Ratrace" by Girls they are anything but hyperbolic. I literally cried the first time I heard this 7 minute epic. It's as if someone distilled all the emotional anguish I've ever experienced (and believe me that's a LOT) into a song. It's got a slow build to an Arcade Fire-like crescendo and a yearning so pure and sincere and honest, it makes me wanna rip my heart out and give it hug. Except I think that might be a little messy so maybe not.

Seriously if you only download one song off our blog all year please make it this one.

Hellhole Ratrace - Girls
I don't wanna cry my whole life through. I wanna do some dancing too. So come on come on come on and dance with me!

Girls debut album, the frustratingly titled, Album is out Sept. 22 on Matador.

Oh and hey a video: