22 December 2010

Top 5 songs this time of year

For maximum effect, play these songs over this video :)

I love holiday music, I really do. Primo examples of my favorites and why they deserve a place by your hearth this Yule.

1. Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Carol of the Bells.mp3
A powerful, joyous song in a minor chord. Too short for me... love it so much I always have to listen twice!

2. Vince Guaraldi Trio - Greensleeves.mp3
Just a beautiful, classic carol I love. The 1960's jazz musician Vince Guaraldi helped bring the genre into the mainstream by soundtracking the classic Peanuts flick "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In this track, they simply and beautifully muse on the theme with just piano, upright bass, and soft drums. Perfect mood music for more serene moments during the holidaze.

3. Boston Pops - Sleigh Ride.mp3
This song is all about the percussion. Like 19th Century Russian composer Modest Mussorgky's pieces such as "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Pictures at an Exhibition", The song is an example of literal story-telling, using the sounds to paint a picture. (modern example: Sufjan Stevens does this in The BQE.) The woodblock is the horse's feet, the bells jingling in time to the brisk pace in a flurry of snow. Listen for the whipcraks, and the trumpet's neigh at the end.

4. Barenaked Ladies - Auld Lang Syne.mp3
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought t' mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

It's basically Scottish for "Let's drink for old time's sake." Can't argue with that logic.

5. Kling, Glöckchen, Klingelingeling.mp3
This tender carol, according to Wikipedia, is "a German Christmas carol from the 19th century. The lyrics were written by Karl Enslin (1814–1875) to a traditional German folk tune." Translated as " Ring, Little Bell, Ring-a-ling-a-ling,"it uses German onomatopœia to tell the story of an angel that lights the way for children as they go door to door around the village. At each door, they ring bells and are invited in where they are given small toys and warm sweets. (Sounds fun!)
Some decades later, they popularized the Christmas tree, keeping the kids at home for the Christmas eve visit from the local pastor, and carols like this all but vanished. This was one of my favorites to sing as a kid, and I still love it now.

(FYI... Sufjan's "Songs For Christmas, Vol. VI: Gloria!" was just leaked! You can get the whole thing here. Here's hoping Vol. VII will eventually leak so all our collections can be completed.)

12 December 2010

Top 5 genre-bending, pre-Adz songs you probably wouldn't guess were by Sufjan

"I'm not sayin'... I'm just sayin'... I'm not sayin'. Know what I'm sayin?"

In the Words of the Governor.mp3
I would call this Punk if Sufjan weren't trying so hard to rap.

Movement IV: Traffic Shock.mp3
Maybe it's because I've watched the BQE a lot this year, but the music playfully illustrates the movement of traffic along the BQE at night, from different POV's. A fun blend of the synthetic and the organic, the old and the new, the human and the machine weaves classical orchestra through electronica.

Siamese Twins.mp3
I have no explanation for this brief, distorted spoken word piece.

Satan's Saxophones.mp3
This is on the same album (his first, A Sun Came!) as the previous track. Sounds like "4:22" has competition in the avant-garde category. (Subcategory: "Can I really listen through all the way without skipping or adjusting the volume?")

Holy Holy Holy.mp3
Holy unpeggable soundscape, Batman! The guy releases a fucking HYMN, and no one bats an eye for content because it's simply a gorgeous sound. Is there anything he CAN'T do?

23 October 2010

Could it get much better?

I have the same reaction to your music

The Age of Adz is not a "middle finger" to fans, but it IS a dividing listeners into two groups: those who wish for "the old Sufan" of his Illinois or Michigan days--and those who are taking this schizophrenic future and running with it.

For the nostalgic, the acoustic love intro "Futile Devices" may not be enough balance to sit through the distortions, synthesizers and cacophony of "Age of Adz." But for those who embrace it, the daunting 25-minute journey of "Impossible Soul" (being performed live in its entirety on the current tour) is incredibly rewarding and heartfelt at its core.

Themes of love, sex, death, and the apocalypse feature prominently on a tightly woven narrative of songs more orchestral than Illinois and more personal than Seven Swans. The familiarity of what those two albums offered may seem cold comfort compared to the thrilling novelty of Sufjan wailing "I'M NOT FUCKING AROUND!" 16 times on "I Want To Be Well."

The expectations we leave behind will allow us to more fully explore this fantastic, futuristic post-genre soundscape Sufjan is creating. He's taking us forward with all the bells and whistles--plus some synthesizers and dancing.

Sufjan Stevens - I Want To Be Well.mp3

Oh, and I refreshed the download links to 2008's Songs for Christmas: Vol VIII for your holiday pleasure. Enjoy!

07 September 2010

Weezer @ Bumbershoot, Seattle, 9/5/2010

First, a VK announcement:

I'm still a bit overwhelmed from the 3-day musicfest here in Seattle, and have many more awesome concerts on deck in the next month. Reviews will trickle out as my brain sees fit.

Upcoming reviews:
Joanna Newsom,
Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes),
The XX,
Sufjan Stevens,
Vampire Weekend,
Ra Ra Riot,
The Decemberists,
Neko Case,
Bob Dylan,
Plants & Animals,
The Flaming Lips,
Neutral Uke Hotel
Broken Social Scene



I mean, I could spit vague platitudes like "it was so awesome" but I'm gonna let the Setlist say that for me:
Epic Intro
Hash Pipe
Undone - The Sweater Song
Surf Wax America
Perfect Situation
Dope Nose
Say It Ain't So
Brian's Theme
Island in the Sun
El Scorcho
My Name Is Jonas
Beverly Hills
Hot for Teacher (Van Halen cover)
Pork and Beans
Kids (MGMT cover)
Poker Face (Lady Gaga cover)
(If You're Wondering If I Want You to) I Want You To
Buddy Holly

Rivers Cuomo, adorably gymnastic, spent much of the set climbing the stage like a jungle gym and just giving it all to the enormous, grateful crowd. He donned an appropriately blond wig for the Lady Gaga cover. The band was at the top of their game, and took some liberties with songs.

Recent covers aside, this could have been a show from a time machine... imagined by someone who idolized early 90's Seattle as a place of grungy, devil-may-care, flannel-bedecked crowd surfers. Weezer's set followed Hole, for Chrissakes, and an chilly late summer evening under the Space Needle added to the ambiance that it really could have been 1994.

...I mean, did I mention the crowd surfers? And Moshing? (seriously, who's moshing at a Weezer show. Get with the times).

16 August 2010

New Okkervil, finally...

This new Okkervil River song is simply divine. Will Sheff played a rendition of "Lay of the Last Survivor" last week at a solo show. I can't wait to hear how it will sound fleshed out by the full band, but in the meantime the core melody sounds great stripped down as do most of Okkervil's songs.

15 August 2010

It's that time again

Hope you got your tickets to Sufjan's North American tour this fall already! Tix are still available at most venues. (Seattle kids, I'll see you there!)

I'm not even going to wait for the tour to actually start or see him before the blogosphere is being flooded by show reviews and critiques, so instead I present:

-----Generic Sufjan Stevens Concert Form Letter-----

Well folks, I just got back from seeing Sufjan at [concert location] for the [# of times] time. It was amazing.

He told lots of wonderful stories; they were all so heartfelt and funny. He is really a nice person. I was sitting in the [nosebleed row #] so I couldn't really hear what he was saying, but hey, he's Sufjan, so I clapped and laughed and yelled like a wild [gender] whenever he would deliver the [punch line/deep thought ending].

He played [list every song even though we all know he plays the exact same thing every show] and they were wonderful, but I was kind of disappointed when he didn't play [obscure Sufjan song that I played over and over for 31 hours straight after my [boy/girl] friend dumped me].

He was talking to the audience as if they were all close friends of hiss, and even though I was in [nosebleed row #] and Sufjan was about the size of an ant, I felt like he was staring right at me. He said something like "I'm a really good banjo player" and everyone started laughing but I don't know what he was talking about.

Then, he turned and faced the audience, and everyone suddenly became very quiet, because we all knew we were about to experience the vaguely sexual/religious poetic insight known as For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti. Sufjan sang the words with [pain/ecstasy/hurt/strength/pity] and I heard people all around me weeping openly.

Just as the audience was at the height of awkwardness and dead-silence-uncomfortableness, some [guy/girl] in the balcony stood up and yelled WE LOVE YOU SUFJAN!!/GO MICHIGAN!!/PLAY CHICAGO!!]

Sufjan continued the rest of the show, wonderful as ever, and finally came back for [one/two] encores, which were [we all know, they're the same every time but I’ll tell you anyway].

My friends and I rushed backstage; knocking over several smaller fans as we made our way to the exit that Sufjan would leave via. There was already a crowd of unattractive girls there, waiting around for his arrival. Then Sufjan's bodyguard walked out. He told us that Sufjan wouldn't be able to sign any autographs because [he's tired/he's in a bad mood/he's sick].

We all stood around anyway, and when Sufjan came out we all tried to rush him. The bodyguard pushed us all back, and we were all shouting, "We love you Sufjan!" He looked at us, made a gesture with his shoulders that said, "I'm sorry, they are making me leave, I can't help it!"

Feeling really desperate, I jumped through the line clutching my [poem/song/drawing/love letter/obsessive-fan-stalking-threatening note-written-with-letter-clippings-from-magazines-describing exactly-what-I want-to-do-to-Sufjan] and threw it at his. He caught it, swore he would look at it as soon as he could, and I nearly exploded with happiness.

As his tour bus pulled away, I stood the with 50 other girls who shared one thing: We didn't need men to make us happy, we didn't have to be attractive to feel confident, and we knew listening to Sufjan's music 24 hours a day would eventually help us overcome our individual traumas.

-----End of Generic Sufjan Stevens Concert Form Letter-----

03 August 2010

"I killed a man in a synagogue last night"

It's here! OMG guys, it's here! The first video from Peter Peter Hughes epic Fangio album is out! It's for "My God is an Angry God".

We've already gushed enough about it in previous posts (is it bad that when I hear New Order now, I think "WOW that sounds just like Fangio?!" instead of the other way around?), so just enjoy the video.

The Fangio LP is officially out September 7.

29 July 2010

Interview with Johnny Hickman, of Cracker

[Ed. note: this is a special guest post by friend and journalist Tara Nelson, who recently had the opportunity to talk with Hickman about the newest Cracker album, "Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey," in Bellingham, Wash. Matthew Ward contributes.]

Q: Hi Johnny. It's funny, ever since your publicity agent said I'd be interviewing you, I had the song "What You're Missing" stuck in my head where you talk about helping start the band.
A: That's funny because it was just us kind of joking around and making fun of rap and telling our little story. David and I have been playing music together for more than 20 years but we've had more than 15 other members come and go so we were trying to explain that in that song.

Q: I saw Camper and Cracker when you guys played in Bellingham a couple years ago. What brings you back to the area – Glacier of all places, which has a population of 90, and lies in the middle of the Mount Baker Wilderness!? Don't you know there are bears here?
A: Well I've lived in wilderness areas before, although now I'm in Colorado so it's not exactly wilderness but it's pretty close to it. I guess it’s just about time we come back. In fact, we often look at the map and look at areas we haven’t been in awhile and check out new towns and sometimes we just go to one based on the advice on someone else. We’ve played in big cities and now it’s time to go off the beaten track a little bit. Every time we do that we find great little towns we fall in love with and put on the tour map in the future.

Q: You're entering your fourth decade as a musician. If you look back to the early ‘80s when you first got started with bands like the Box 'O Laffs and Camper Van Beethoven, did you have any idea that this was actually going to turn into a viable, long-term career?
A: Certainly not and every year that it does I feel lucky, but part of it is also hard work and perseverance. David and I both had bands in the ‘80s in southern California, or the Inland Empire, as so they call it, and we’ve both experienced varying degrees of success. We’ve been at it a long time and we have fathers and sons and mothers and daughters who have seen us. One thing we said to each other in the beginning is that bands break up over trivial bullshit and we said let’s stay the course go for the long-haul and we’ve managed to do that. We’ve never been a household word but we’ve been making a living and that’s great.

Q: What is Cracker Soul?
A: That’s a great question because it brings us back to the origin of the band. When we first started hanging out after Camper broke up, I had just come from Bakersfield, California. We had both been into Captain Beefheart, The Kinks, Pixies and bands like that and we started going through our CD collections and saw how much we shared. He turned me on to the Buzzcocks and I turned him on to X and the Dead Kennedies. At the same time we started going away from what was on the radio, which was, at the time, all hair rock and new wave, we went the opposite direction with the songs we were writing. They all had our characteristic humor but stylistically, they were going in a sort of folk and soul roots directions. We realized we were kind of like Creedence Clearwater Revival and bands like that which were mostly white guys singing with this kind of African American soul. We both grew up in the south, we were exposed to a lot of soul music and country and sort of made them mash together. For example, the song “Get Off This” is sort of like a band like Hot Chocolate or something. And then with “Mr. Wrong,” it’s one of those songs where I’m celebrating country music while I’m making fun of it.

Q: That song is so funny, it's one of my favorites.
A: When I was writing that, I thought it would make David laugh. And he liked it so much he wanted to sing it. It’s been a mainstay in the Cracker show ever since. I think that same character shows up a lot in our songs like with “How Can I Live Without You If It Means I Gotta Get A Job” about the sort of quintessential ne’er-do-well who somehow has redeeming qualities.

Q:We all know people like that.
A: Ha ha, yeah we do. Some of us are related to people like that.

Q: Cracker has been described as everything from soul to rock, alt-country, punk, psychedelia to roots and folk music. How would you describe it?
A: At the root of it, it’s just rock music. People have called us alt-rock godfathers and that’s a high compliment but it shows our age, it also shows the time we came up in. In some ways it doesn’t make sense because when I talk about Cracker music, we don’t really sound grunge or alternative even though we came up in that age of Nirvana and Alice In Chains. To me, we sound more like a cross between the Kinks and sometimes The Beatles and sometimes Led Zeppelin and Little Feat. We’re a hard band to categorize and record companies have had a hard time with that. David and I are kind of proud of that, we have no problem with that at all. All my favorite bands I grew up with were also hard to categorize. I don’t like being defined. Anytime anyone tries to define us, there are going to be holes in those definitions.

Q: What’s currently in your rotation?
A: Always Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Rolling Stones. The Clash is always readily available. X is another one.

Q: On the new Cracker album, Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey, you duet with Patterson Hood of Drive-by Truckers on the song “Friends.” How did that end up happening? Are you guys friends or something?
A: Yeah, we are. I wrote that song about partnerships like David and I or Mic and Keith or Patterson and Mike Cooley, all are sort of classic musical partnerships. It’s a silly song, certainly, but it’s one that a lot more people have identified with than we thought would. I thought to myself two of the icons of alternative rock singing a song I wrote, that’s kind of a feather in my cap.

Q: And your song “Turn on, tune in, drop out with me” is based on the famous quote by Timothy Leary and suggests finding a meadow high up in the Cascades to disappear in. Do you have some sort of special allegiance to this region?
A: David wrote the lyrics to that one but I think the song is just roughly a sketch of him poking fun of some of his alarmist friends, talking about younger urban professionals in their minds planning to go out and live off the land. In one of the verses, they’re trying to decide on granite or tile in the gun nest. It’s quintessential Lowery humor and he’s poking fun of our generation which we all like to do and he’s picturing this couple who wants to go out and live off the land. It could be someone in any major city in Washington deciding to go out and build a commune and set up a teepee and bring guns. I mean, I don’t take lightly the people who look to the dark sides of the future but there’s a little humor in almost all we do, and there’s certainly a little humor in that song.

Q: One of the more interesting things you've done lately is to tour Iraq with Cracker. Is it true that the idea for this tour started with a Youtube video for Yalla Yalla that a soldier put together?
A: A little bit. It’s bits and pieces of Youtube videos that soldiers have posted and it has everything from battle to dancing, to joking around to rocking out to their favorite music, but we took out the sound and made them rock out to our music.
David got the idea when he happened to be at the Atlanta airport where a lot of troops go through on their way to and from Iraq and he overheard a lot of young soldiers saying Yalla Yalla, which is an Arabic word that basically means let’s get up and go, kind of like odelay, in Spanish. The song doesn’t take a stand one way or another on the war, it’s just sort of a sketch.
So he contacted soldiers on their blogs and in their correspondence he was inspired by all the bravado and machismo of young soldiers to write the lyrics. We tried to put ourselves in the minds of 22-year-old soldiers and the kinds of things they’re trying to do to distract themselves from the duties they’re there to perform.
At the end of the song it becomes all about sex and one-upping each other and a lot of ridiculous sexual connotations – things like “she rocked my world,” “she liked my anaconda,” and “she hollered yalla yalla.” It just becomes more ridiculous as the song goes on. But it’s true to form because that’s how guys that age talk to each other. That’s the way David writes. He writes more like a novelist than a song writer and he creates characters true to their own voice.

Q: What are the prospects for another new Camper record in the foreseeable future?
A: I think there’s talk of another one, I know in 2004, they released New Roman Times and I think they’re working on another one. I know David is also working on a solo album. We’ve all done solo projects but David’s never done one and I think it just struck him, he’s pretty close to getting it out. Probably sometime next year.
If we’re not working on the mother ship, Cracker, which is sort of the center of our world and affords us our bread, then we’re working on Camper or solo projects. We’re music 24/7 kinds of guys.

Cracker is performing in Glacier, Wash., on August 19th, for you Whatcom County luckies!
Cracker - What You're Missing.mp3

27 July 2010

What David Berman has been up to for the past two years...

Last Sunday, a small room of maybe 50 people tops, were treated to an awesome lecture by former lead Silver Jew, David Berman. It was part of an Open City writing program. But really Berman spent two hours bashing his father, you know the evil PR guy who represents the interests of big tobacco, alcohol, tanning beds and anything with high fructose corn syrup and fights against MADD, the humane society and the minimum wage. Yeah, very evil. Berman described his father "as a man who prevents progress from happening" and hasn't spoken to him in over five years. More on the evilness here.

Sadly, Berman said he quit music because he felt his "father's world had subsumed his" and that culture and commerce intersect in really disturbing ways. Basically he hated playing festivals next to banners for beer promotion and other corporate things. I'm not sure I agree, but regardless he feels music can no longer be oppositional, which is why he got into it in the first place.

Anyway he started work on a memoir, but then gave up on it. He was also in talks with HBO to create a television series about his father but he decided that was a bad idea since in his words "television normalizes the satanic" and the audience also always sympathizes with the anti-hero. I mean who doesn't love Tony Soprano. So basically we'd all fall in love with his father which defeats his mission entirely. Now he's completely broke but working on a documentary (again about his father). They also filmed his entire talk so you should be able to see it in some capacity, hopefully not too far in the future.

Best quote of the night: "When you're a writer, it's nice to have a dog or two around the office. Because you know they're not getting anywhere either."

I even got to talk to him afterward and thanked him for his awesome music and he gave me a hug, aww.

Random Rules (live 3/10/06) - The Silver Jews

24 July 2010

Keyboard Cat's sophomore effort

I know Jess loves few things more than cats, especially dancing cats...

Clearly, Keyboard Cat has found a more accessible path for his music. Though the debut release was stripped down and intimate, this year's release shows Keyboard Cat growth, with a more diverse assortment of instruments, some interesting new beats, and finally lending some vocals to what was previously an instrumental only soundscape.

12 July 2010


We're well into Summer, which means it's music festival time. If my luck holds, I'll be at Pitchfork all day this Saturday, so drop a comment if you'll be there, too. I'm looking for another pair of tickets, if anyone has a lead on one. See you there!

Young Fresh Fellows - Sittin' On A Pitchfork

11 July 2010

Girl Talk Gossip!

Gregg dropped a note on Facebook today that a new, unnamed album will be out by the end of this year! I was unconvinced that anything could boot his last album, Feed The Animals, out of rotation and mashup favor, but this might just do it! Keep your ear to the rail for more info...

Girl Talk - Set it Off.mp3

28 June 2010

Swinging London!

So I just got back from a whirlwind trip to London. I was technically there for educational purposes (I was taking a course on e-publishing), but between the tours of libraries, museums and other antiquities I managed to squeeze in a some time for music and music-oriented musings. Here are the highlights:

-I finally saw the Avett Brothers live. Of course it's only logical that my friends and I see a band that excels at crafting twangy Americana when travelling across the pond. This totally ruled for several reasons... A) the crowd was epically friendly and polite (a massive departure from the typical Brooklyn hipster scene I've apparently grown immune to) B) it only cost 10 pounds! (that's like 14 American dollars, a fraction of the price I'd pay to see them in the States, which is like over 30 bucks) C) in a venue a fraction of the size I'd see them here (they're scheduled to play the cavernous Radio City in October). Oh and naturally they sounded great, bounding with energy dressed to the nines in their vests and ties.

-Speaking of vests and ties, Harrods (while terribly overrated in my book) was having a 25% off sale on Etro clothing. For those of you who don't know, that's Mountain Goats' bassist Peter Peter Hughes favorite brand for tour wardrobing. And we can't really blame him despite the high price, the designs are so intricate and the fabric so sumptuous. In other words, I'll take any excuse to post this photo of his vest:

-Being able to identify Tube stops from song, i.e. Mornington Crescent and Waterloo Station. Shout out to Belle & Sebastian and the Kinks!

-Hearing Okkervil River's The Stage Names its ENTIRETY being played in an airport gift shop at Heathrow. Instead of waiting at the gate for my flight, I just loitered in the store and enjoyed hearing one of my favorite album's of 2008 being played in the most random of public spaces. I finally got up the nerve to thank the clerk behind the counter for playing it. We chatted about music for about 10 minutes and he even showed me The Hold Steady tattoo on his index finger, (basically just the words "the hold steady" in lowercase typewriter font). If you happen to find yourself in the HMV in Heathrow's terminal 4, tell the man behind the counter I say hi.

And now the only song I know that references both London AND Libraries:
Swinging London - The Magnetic Fields

11 June 2010

“It’s going to be incredible. It’s going to probably blow people’s minds."

...That's what she said.

onethirtybpm.com just released yesterday this jewel that I have been waiting to hear for months: New Sufjan Stevens album!!

While they sort of dismiss his work on Songs for Christmas and The BQE (a big mistake, because it is even more well-done and epic compared to 2005's Illinoise) it sounds extremely promising. Many of the new songs were debuted during last fall's tour around the Northeast/Great Lakes region, so it's tremendously exciting to hear how they'll sound from a studio and months of Stevens' tinkering.

Here's a bit of info fresh from that tour if you want a peek into what to expect. Plus oodles of downloads!

While some are still bitching and moaning about the sabbaticals between albums and the whole "he has 48 states to go!", know that the state album project was intended as a joke, as publicity. the new album, as yet unnamed, has no state affiliation. (Unlike Songs for Christmas, which a few people know is actually supposed to be Vermont!)

Plus, think of it this way: his three greatest, most solid albums are Seven Swans, Illinoise, and The BQE. Those three all took about two years of studio work. Instead of badgering him for more songs, know that with a long timeline we get even BETTER songs. So hold onto your hat(s), and in the meantime, check out the interview with Bryce Dessner of The National, and the video of Sufjan sneakily performing live with them on Letterman a few weeks ago.

Random songs!
Sufjan Stevens - Too Much Love.mp3 NEW!
Sufjan Stevens - Year of Our Lord.mp3
Sufjan Stevens - Majesty Snowbird.mp3 LIVE DANCEY VERSION!
Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz.mp3 NEW!
Sufjan Stevens - Super Sexy Woman.mp3 LIVE!
Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People.mp3 NEW!
Sufjan Stevens - Impossible Souls.mp3 NEW!
Sufjan Stevens - Toilet Paper Dolls .mp3 STORY!

10 June 2010

it r mah birfday, prezentz now plz kthx

Happy birthday to me!
Here's a gift for YOU:

Sondre Lerche - Happy Birthday Girl.mp3

09 June 2010

Why I love the Love Language (and why you should too)

The Love Language is by far and away the most underrated band on Merge Records. While well-deserved I'm kinda sick of Spoon and the Arcade Fire getting all the love (how bout their upcoming Madison Square Garden gig, eh?). Last year, I wrote at length about their debut self-titled album which is a lo-fi folk lover's paradise that vacillates wildly between upbeat, orchestral party pop and morning-after melancholia with ramshackle glee. But my love has been renewed after 1. hearing their upcoming album and 2. seeing them in the live.

First off, Stuart McLamb's croon expands tenfold on stage. Without the fuzz of the tape-recorder its given ample room to fly off the stage and into your ears. His vocal prowess lends the songs a new found emotional heft, one that leaves you swooning as a result. The arrangements are also given room to breathe so there's an extra energy to the music.

In other words this is a band who could write a textbook on how to win me over. All other bands take note: Step 1. Write pitch-perfect songs 2. Compile said songs into an album and title it LIBRARIES (I am currently getting a Masters in Library Science). 3. Make ultra cute t-shirts with purple cats on them (OMG I LOVE CATS!!).

But the BEST news of all is that you can stream their ENTIRE upcoming album, the aforementioned Libraries on Merge's website and then buy it on July 13.

Oh and while we're out it download these goodies:
Lalita - The Love Language
Heart to Tell - The Love Language

06 June 2010

What I love in 2010 (so far)

I'm still alive!

Apologies for all but leaving our belov'd blog behind while I ran away to culinary school in Montpelier, Vermont and then home to Seattle, but now that life has some pauses I intend to fully make good with the MP3s and such! So let's find a basic starting point: What're the fresh and ripe picking for ears this season?

Some might say I've taken a turn to the dark side with a newfound affinity for pop, or could it be that suddenly there's actually good pop music out there? Lady Gaga's endlessly changing looks and enviable stage productions take already awesome songs and elevate them further. From personal experience, The Fame Monster is an excellent album to cook or bake to.
Lady Gaga - So Happy I Could Die.mp3

"Broken Bells, sounds like the guy from the Shins with a DJ." Close, it's the Shins' James Mercer with Brian Burton of Danger Mouse. Local station KEXP made a good point: After listening to the album, wait 2 hours, then try to sing one of the songs. You can't, because they completely lack hooks of any kind. The Shins' least-poppy songs are still poppier than anything from BB but don't categorize them with artists like Fiery Furnaces just yet. They hold their own musically and deserve multiple listens. Here's the first track off the album:
Broken Bells - The High Road.mp3

Considering most of my preferred viewing fare is along the lines of Breaking Bad and The X-Files, Glee is a wonderfully refreshing change. The musical dramedy's impeccable attention to detail, the incredibly talented cast, and fresh writing make this show a true gem.
Glee taught me two things: 1, the influence of Bollywood supports the idea that culture doesn't (and shouldn't) move strictly from west to east, and 2, that in recession times people cut back on the serifs and flourishes of life but that singing and dancing will always be popular. Glee does it right with a healthy dose of snark. If you like cover songs as much as we do, then this is a bandwagon you should definitely get on.
Glee - Total Eclipse of the Heart.mp3 (Bonnie Tyler cover)
Glee - Poker Face.mp3 (acoustic Lady Gaga cover... aw yeah)

Now that hipsters have decided to move on from the 80's to the 90's, I'm hoping for a revival of some of my favorite artists from that decade. 20 years ago, Jeff Buckley worked on his first fledgling recordings: the Babylon Dungeon Demos and an album with Captain Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas. Here're two songs from that time:
Jeff Buckley - All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun.mp3 (Rare, high-quality studio recording with Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins)
Jeff Buckley - Unforgiven.mp3 (aka Last Goodbye, this early version is from the Babylon Dungeon Demos)

I love Stephin Merritt. It's too bad that he's a gay 40-something smoker with a tiny dog named Irving Berlin; otherwise, we'd be perfect for each other. I love his lyrics, his gravelly voice, his depressing demeanor and deadpan, dry wit. His straightforwardness in even titling songs is a nice balanced reflection opposing the previous album, Distortion, which was electronica artfully obscuring music. In Realism we have a reprieve, where Mr. Merritt steps away from the keyboard and sits down with his fellow bandmates to bring songs back to their raw element. Even the cover art is almost meta-literal about this. It's one of the best Magnetic Fields albums in some time.
The Magnetic Fields - The Dada Polka.mp3

The classic 1988 punk album Beelzebubba contains the same raw anger and youth passion as albums from a decade before, but with more toxic under-sink solutions (sniffing glue, drinking bleach, smoking banana peels) and hilariously ill-informed attempts to woo through song. Without being overly grating, this energetic album is totally awesome as a soundtrack to working or grocery shopping.
The Dead Milkmen - Born to Love Volcanoes.mp3

I was lucky enough to attend the Mountain Goats show @ Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon on May 30. It was a bit rough in production but very full of love. JD lived only blocks from the venue at one time, with mixed but intense memories that he shared with the crowd in a high-energy "hometown" show They ran through a nice selection of favorites. JD attempted a new song from the "Going to" series, "Going to Brazil," but he couldn't remember the lyrics so we only got the first line and he moved on to "Going to Bogotá."
Only about a half-dozen pictures of the show are on flickr, from one guy, and nothing you haven't seen before. Tons more are of the Sasquatch festival, which I suspect might be due (in part) to JD complaining in Portland about how there's nothing worse than one really serious guy in the front trying to hold a phone up the entire time. JD said if you're in the mental health field, you just immediately get the urge to help, like "oh you look so sad" and you need to fix them... but mostly it's annoying.
Aand if you don't already have a copy, know tMG have and listen to Hi, We're Not the Mountain Goats, with proceeds going to the purchase of a goat from Farm Sanctuary.
the Mountain Goats - Going to Bogotá.mp3

Sure, I could try to justify why I bother with this bubblegum teen-pop at all. Like cheap candy and butterflies, this 16-year old pop star provides absolutely nothing of value or substance, but is always an immensely entertaining draw nonetheless. Who says guilty pleasures should be guilty? S/He who is without New Kids on the Block or Beatles(!) fandom, cast the first comment.
Justin Bieber - Common Denominator.mp3

Yes, yes I know:

Consider this offering of Mashups an olive branch:

Life's a Bitch, Loser (Nas vs. Beck).mp3
Ghost Beasties (Ghostbusters Theme vs. Beastie Boys).mp3
Seasons Of Juice (Chambaland vs. Rent).mp3
The XX Gon' Give It To Ya (DMX vs. The XX).mp3
Tipsy In The Sun (Weezer vs. J-Kwon).mp3
Tik Tok Seattle (Ke$ha vs. Owl City).mp3
Heartbreaker Baby (Justin Bieber vs. MSTRKRFT).mp3

04 June 2010

Thought So!

Thought So craft the kind of music rarely heard from New York buzz bands. You know the kind -sparkling alt-country. The kind of music that's twangy yet still polished but not overly-produced. It's refreshingly untrendy americana much in the vain of the Avett Brothers or old school Wilco. In other words it's the kind of music we here at the Volume Knob rather enjoy. They only have one EP so far but bodes well for their musical future. Take a listen for yourself and stream the tunes at their MySpace page (hey what do you know, MySpace is still good for something!).

Oh and if you live around NY, be sure to catch them at the Mercury Lounge June 11.

Every Eventually - Thought Somp3


Here's (half) a new Of Montreal song to get kick off your weekend. Gotta love Kevin Barnes spoken word interludes.

20 May 2010

Iron Man has really good taste in music

Hey look, the characters in Iron Man quote the Mountain Goats almost as much as we do!

19 May 2010

Not so easy to Google

The Sleigh Bells album, Treats, is finally out! You can get it on iTunes for a whopping $6.90. Go, do, right away! Stream some of it here, on their Myspace. It's really, really good, and I'm not big on Electronica, which is not to say that I'm not enjoying the new LCD Soundsystem album, This is Happening, also out yesterday, and available at the Buy More ... I mean the Buy'n'Large ... I mean the Best Buy for $7.99.

This is what happens when all of one's local records stores go out of business. One has to buy on the Internets and at the Big Boxes. It's strange to me how the Big Boxes are filling the niche. One can only hope that the artists are making some small pittance out of my purchases. If anyone knows of a good analysis of the state of the recording industry today, feel free to point me to it. Touring is probably still king, followed by direct internet sales, maybe? Hmm ...

08 May 2010

Narcissistic confession time

Sometimes I buy albums for all the wrong reasons. Instead of buying that album my friend enthusiastically and perpetually recommends or buying the EP from that stellar opening band, I buy the album that has that song that's titled after my name.

I'll admit that's what initially piqued my interest in Avi Buffalo's debut self-titled album. But it wasn't just the beautifully titled track 5 "Jessica". It's that it was sandwiched between track 4 "Five Little Sluts" and track 6 "Summer Cum". Oooh "DIRTY!" was my first reaction. I wondered how my name played into all the sexual sexiness of it all. And thus I plunked down ten bucks for one of the most deceptive listens I've found in a while.

First of all, I was expecting something loud, fast and downright filthy, but what I found was light, acoustic and lovely. Nearly downright dainty. I'm talking shimmering harmonies, mellow melodies, some Grizzly Bear-esque atmospherics and a dash of old-school Wilco twang. Of course this is sort of weird juxtaposition when the lyrics refer to the stains of bodily fluids and "shady deals regarding money and girls". Okay so maybe it's dirtier than I thought. Listen for yourself:

Summer Cum - Avi Buffalo
Jessica - Avi Buffalo

And here's the video for one of their best songs, "What's In It For?":

04 May 2010

"The enemy is everywhere!"

I'm not sure what else I can say about Titus Andronicus' stellar album The Monitor that hasn't already been said. It's about the Civil War as much as it is about New Jersey as much as it's about disaffected youth. That is to say it is about a lot of BIG things. That is also to say it's gonna take a lot of listens before I can unpack it all.

But that's a beautiful thing, because it sounds about as big as the subject matter it covers. Not in an overblown way though, more like an out-of-breath way. There might as well not even be a track listing because every song just sort of ramshackle-y unravels, verse piled on verse, and spills into the next, but in the best possible way. It kind of sounds like a much punkier, more youthful version of The Hold Steady, with all the Springsteen worship to boot. (Check out the lyrics in epic opener "A More Perfect Union", "tramps like us, baby we were born to die!") In other words, it's the sound of something exciting looking forward and looking back.

A More Perfect Union - Titus Andronicus

01 May 2010

First of May!

This is a Spring anthem of sorts. I won't give anything away, but let's just say its dedicated to all the horny college kids out there. It's a damn beautiful day so grab the one you love (or just the one you think is really hot) and start making out on the quad.

19 April 2010

"His smile is like a baby bunny sniffing a flower"

Hipster Kitty is right. The more we talk about it, the less stigma there is. That being said, I have nothing to say for myself. Quod Scripsi Scripsi.

Justin Bieber - Up.mp3

17 April 2010

Record Store Day 2010

Just a reminder: today is Record Store Day 2010! Swing by your local independent record store and pick up some goodies, like the Mountain Goats' "Life of the World to Come" DVD which is also released today. Only 1,500 copies were made, and distributed throughout the U.S., so call and visit to snag a copy!

Here's my personal favorite track off the latest album by the same name:
the Mountain Goats - 1 John 4:16.mp3

14 April 2010


Ah yeah, it's that time again. Today is going to be an all-Glee mix at work. While you're Enjoying Sue Sylvester's spoof of Madonna's iconic "Vogue" video, check out some fantastic amateur tributes to the show. I present to you Seattle's Glee Flash Mob!

13 April 2010


Not that this really has to do with music per se, but I stumbled upon this belt buckle that reminds me of this beloved blog:

Oh yes, it goes up to 11 as well!

12 April 2010

an open letter to our beloved bands

Dear Music Artists,

As you may/may not know, the recession has hit those of us who do not have "touring" in our job description rather heavily.
The plus side is that all of your lovely VK ladies have since returned to graduate school and/or gotten recession-resistant jobs.
The bad news is that grad school + these jobs suck up almost all our time, and we're still broke.

It's a delight when you tour through town, but the exquisite dearth of disposable income has made it difficult to invest in new music or go to shows. (Spoon, with your $30+ tickets for crappy seats at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, I'm talking to you.)

Suggestion: instead of trying to impress the hipsters with vinyl 7" releases or putting on elaborate shows that are out of the average working woman's price range, do what everyone else is doing and scale back a bit.

The Dimes (@The Tractor Tavern) and The Morning Benders (@The Crocodile) both put on great shows for <$12 in the past fortnight. Maybe the rest of you should look into that sort of thing.

the struggling music fans who are your bread & butter.

25 March 2010

Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre

Of all the new music I got this week, the Weakerthans' Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre CD/DVD is by far my favorite. It would serve as a great introduction to the band, if you happen to need one, or a great rehash of all your old favorites, if you're already acquainted. For me, it serves to make me feel much, much better about the concert of theirs I missed a few years back.

And now, the obligatory video clip:

No, it's not the Weakerthans, but, seriously, how awesome was that?

24 March 2010

Guilty on all charges

Via Flavorwire, it's music review bingo! And yes, it totally captures the vocab of VK. Well done, indeed.

17 March 2010

RIP Alex Chilton

We are saddened to have to write this blog post about yet another super-talented song-writer dying. Alex Chilton, you know the guy from classic 70s band Big Star has passed at only 59. If the dude only sang "Thirteen" that would have been more than enough to solidify his immense talents. I mean that is THE purest, most innocent declaration of young love EVER. His trembling voice is the encapsulation of adolescent yearning. It was practically written for do-you-like-me?-circle-yes-or-no mixtapes.

BUT thankfully his output far exceeds just one song. Celebrate his life by revisiting his tremendous body of work.

Thirteen - Big Star
The Ballad of El Goodo - Big Star
It gets so hard in times like now to hold on

11 March 2010

The cover is so crayon-y!

The best National songs make me want to punch holes in walls. Even when they're elegant restrained there is still such unbridled angst and anger amongst the beauty. And dear God is "Terrible Love" beautiful. The slow-boil crescendo percolates to such awesome heights, I get shivers. Shivers, I tell you! Mark your calendar's for May 11's release of High Violet. We sure have.

Terrible Love - The National

and another live stunner:

Runaway - The National

07 March 2010

05 March 2010

Just Because

I have no timely reason to post this song, except because it's beautiful and got stuck in my head in the shower this morning:

01 March 2010

The saddest PSA this side of the Sarah Mclachlan with the puppies one

You guys! The rabbits are sad! I know this because they are in cages and are listening to Morrissey! Factory farming never seemed so cruel.

28 February 2010

Rap song! Rap song!

If you live in the northeast than you've probably survived a blizzard this weekend. But have you survived Blizzard Man??

Ok so that was parody, and um be forewarned this isn't. The lovely boyfriend and I are taking up a collection to get the Mountain Goats to sing this at the next Zoop:

23 February 2010

Great band, great cause

Looking to get rid of your crappy old albums (not that any of our readers own crappy albums, no, of course not) and get something less-crappy in return? Oh and want to see some awesome bands AND help combat AIDS and homelessness? Well I sure do. Therefore this Thursday I be at Housing Works Bookstore.

I will plunk down my five bucks, a donation to the aforementioned causes of course, and a bushel of old CDs and pick one that is hopefully a lot better than those crappy promos I've accumulated over the past three years. (All albums that aren't claimed will be donated to the non-profit shop.) And I will see the Morning Benders!


OH and did I mention I WILL SEE THE MORNING BENDERS! Their upcoming album Big Echo, out in March is pretty damn awesome and has lots of sha-la-las and ooh-ooh-ahhs and other monosyllabic sounds of delight. (It's also produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor and you can definitely hear a smidge of the Grizz in the moody atmospheric production.) This is a long rambly way of saying its occupying all of my ears' time lately. Take a listen:

Excuses - The Morning Benders

SO GO GO GO! All the cool kids will be there!

18 February 2010

Sound through Sight

Looking for something to do tomorrow (it's a Friday in New York, so of course you are)

All proceeds go to help some cool kids write a pretty cool book. Basically they're take a road trip across America and Mexico next month in search of where music and the music industry stands in 2010, how we got here, and where we're going.

The book is called Sound through Sight. Here the deets.

12 February 2010

SO many La, La, Las

Here's a beautiful way to start your weekend. In honor of a pre-murderous Phil Spector, The Morning Benders perform their song "Excuses" with choir of their friends. It's just that their friends all happen to be a who's who of the San Fran music scene. We got the Nicest Guy in Indie Rock (TM), John Vanderslice, plus the guy from last years breakout band of choice, Chris Owens' of GIRLS and the Mumlers. Together they call themselves the Big Echo Orchestra. Basically your ears will be in heaven for the next six minutes. Enjoy!

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

10 February 2010

Everybody's favorite twitter topic becomes a song

You know what I did instead of watching the Superbowl last Sunday? I saw MC Frontalot rap his ass off. To the uninitiated he is the reigning king of nerdcore. That basically means he raps about Star Wars and internet and it is all sorts of awesome. Here is a video of a song on his upcoming album, the brilliantly entitled "First World Problems":

06 February 2010

Two-headed comic

So I hung out in this adorable comic book shop last night. While perusing the shelves I stumbled upon this book entitled "Ballad of the Two-Headed Boy". That has got to a be a Neutral Milk Hotel reference, right? I mean it came out in 2000 and even the black and white sketches seem Aeroplane-esque.
Just thought I'd throw that out there and if anyone knows for sure, hit us up in the comments. Also I'll take any excuse I can get to post this song:

Two-Headed Boy - Neutral Milk Hotel
Two-Headed Boy - the Mountain Goats (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)

03 February 2010

Yeah, that's right TRIPLE ALBUM

I'm probably the only one who likes Joanna Newsom but does not love Ys. Sure, it's alright I guess. I mean I dig the harp and even her girly sometimes overly affected vocals. But with the exception of maybe "Emily" I simply didn't enjoy the overly ornate orchestral arrangements and rambling song structures. It was a total 180 from the homespun charm of her debut album The Milk-Eyed Mender and I missed the folksy twang of it all.

BUT hope is not lost. This week Drag City unveiled two new tracks off her highly anticipated TRIPLE(!) album Have One on Me out February 23. And I like them both. One is long. One is short. Yet the production is definitely a return to the old and the melodies are tight. There's even some banjo thrown in for good measure. Check 'em out:

'81 - Joanna Newsom
Good Intentions Paving Company - Joanna Newsom

31 January 2010

Les Savy Fav @ BAM, Brooklyn, NY 1/29/10

This man (dressed as a monkey):

played this venue (an opera house):

Ok, let's back up a little. For those of you who've never experienced the spectacle of a Les Savy Fav show, Friday night's show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music opera house (BAM) was an unconventional place to start. These art-punk guys have been at it for over a decade and are consummate pros at infusing rock with DIY theatrics so maybe playing an opera house wasn't that much of a stretch for the band?!

Ok, so who am I trying to kid, because obviously the ushers at BAM had NO idea what they were in for when lead singer Tim Harrington took the stage, clad only in shiny purple spandex leggings, beard adorned with close pins and limberly pranced around with near balletic movement inviting the somberly seated crowd to take to their feet and GASP stand as close to the stage as humanly possible. Dude also proceeded to give himself an atomic wedgie with the black briefs over said leggings WHILE SINGING. The man suffers for his art. Cue the sound of monocles room-wide breaking.

To close out the set Tim changed into a homemade monkey costume and re-wrote the lyrics to Cats' "Memories" to "MOOONKIES". If anyone has a video of this, I will give you my first born. It's kinda impossible to take any video or photographic footage there, given the rigidity of usher/security guard nazi. (and that is why I really love Bill for stealthily taking these photos <3)

The Sweat Descends - Les Savy Fav

30 January 2010

Britt! Britt! Hooray!

So last Saturday my friend Thom and I double-dosed on Britt Daniel. We caught the Spoon frontman twice in one night - once at an in-store at Sound Fix and then later that night at the Brooklyn Vegan Haiti benefit show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. And best of all Thom recorded BOTH. Enjoy!

Download the Sound Fix show here:
01. The Mystery Zone
02. [tuning]
03. Written in Reverse
04. The Beast and Dragon, Adored
05. I Summon You

Download the Music Hall of Williamsburg set here:
01. Isolation (John Lennon cover)
02. Who Makes Your Money
03. I Summon You

25 January 2010

Brooklyn Vegan's Haiti Benefit Concert @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 1/23/10

Brooklyn Vegan's Haiti Benefit concert basically doubled as a cover lover's paradise. Here's the rundown:

-We got swoonworthy Spoon man Britt Daniel covering John Lennon's "Isolation". (How I'd love to run my hand's through his perfect bedhead.

-My Brightest Diamond took on Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore" (Dear God that voice, it's so sexy that as a 100% hetero-woman, I want to sleep with her vocal chords)

- St. Vincent literally made me shed tears with her cover of Nico's "These Days". AND then she followed it up with The National's "Mistaken for Strangers" EPIC DOUBLE WHAMMY OF MELANCHOLY.

- Bon Iver sang the crap out of the oft-covered "Satisfied Mind". (Also can we talk about his unabomber hair? Maybe someone's been locked in the cabin too long?)

Oh as in typical infomercial form, BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

St. Vincent joined Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Megafaun's Brad Cook to form an indie cover supergroup awesomely know as Songer-Singwriter and played Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", Tom Petty's "A Face in the Crowd", a 10 minute version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" complete with a noisy, psychedelic freakout outro and finished it up with a sing-along of Annie Lennox's "Why".

All and all it was pretty much the best 35 buck donation I've ever made. In fact I'd probably donate my left arm, a kidney and a few buckets of blood to see it all over again. Thank god for YouTube.

Oh and I won't even taunt you with the line-up of Comedian's who also contributed to the night's festivities. The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenac AND Jeaneane Garafalo. Oh this other guy. Some dude who looks like fat Jesus. I think his name is Zach Galifianakis. He was in some little movie called The Hangover. Maybe you've heard of it.
It's ok. Your jealousy is allowed. I'd hate me too if I didn't get to witness such a one of a kind event.

These Days - St. Vincent (Nico cover)

23 January 2010

Sufjan & Co. documentary released soon??

Finally! Crooked River, the 2006 Swiss documentary by Kaleo LaBelle about his childhood friends, brothers Sufjan and Marzuki Stevens, is coming available stateside!

In the trailer, you can see glimpses into the daily life of music making, running, crafts, Pac-Man, and a long road trip from NY to Boston over to the Great Lakes and home to upper Michigan, to reunite with their estranged father. This long-awaited and deeply personal film is slowly coming out of obscurity.

Fervent searches haven't led to exactly when/where/how it will be available, but a public demand for this film will move the process faster and give it a wider release here.

Sufjan Stevens - Alanson, Crooked River.m4a


A member over at SufjanFans.com emailed the director of the film and received this in reply:

Thank you for writing and for your interest in the documentary film CROOKED RIVER by Kaleo La Belle, featuring brothers Sufjan and Marzuki Stevens. A DVD version of the film will be available for purchase in the Spring of 2010. Please check back on the CROOKED RIVER website for updates. Because of your interest in the film, you have been added to the CROOKED RIVER email list. An email will be sent out when the DVD is available.

Keep an eye out for Kaleo's newest feature documentary, BEYOND THIS PLACE, with musical score composed and performed by Sufjan Stevens and Ray Raposa (Castanets). A trailer for the film can be seen at http://www.beyondthisplace.ch.

HOORAY!!!!!!!! :D

22 January 2010

Did you hear that Contra is the number 1 album in America? Madness.

Because my brother finally got around to giving me my Christmas present I found myself yesterday with some money to spend on new music, yay!

I've been rather poor of late, so it's been a while since I've had the chance, here is what was going down in my brain:

me: wow, look at all this new music! Oh, so shiny, what shall I get?

brain: why, look at this album here, OK GO.

me: OK GO? Nah, I don't really like them.

brain: have we ever heard them?

me: sure we have, you know, they had the film clip with the treadmills.

brain: oh yeah! That was cool, we should by this

me: well, yes, but brain, but I don't by music because the film clips are cool. I'd own a hell of a lot more Kanye West if that were true.

brain: wait, wait, hold the presses! didn't we see a film clip for this new album, with marching bands and stuff and it, too, was really cool? Was that OK GO? I'm pretty sure it was.

me: and again I point out that cool film clips do not awesome music make. Here, let's buy Contra.

brain: Nooooo! Everyone's buying Contra, Vampire Weekend don't care if you buy Contra! Buy this one, reward cool film clip making, come one, buy this on! Buy it!

me: argh, fine! I'll buy it! Stupid brain.

So, yeah, I bought OK GO's new one; 'Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky.' I'd dismissed this guys as gimmicky and far too reliant on treadmills to sell albums, but I'm posting here so that must mean it's time to tuck into some humble pie. Because yeah, I' really liking its lo-fi electro poppiness. The middle seems like it might be a little slow, but the last few songs are really beautiful, and there's this one track that I can't stop repeating. That's probably why I no strong feelings about the middle, because I rarely make it to the middle because I get caught up on repeating track two over and over.

It's called 'This Too Shall Pass.' My brain was right, it does have a seriously nifty film clip floating around, which apparently can't be embedded or some such (there's a letter from OK GO to EMI popping up about the place explaining the situation) and it's just a really killer track.

Maybe I should listen to my brain more often? But then again, probably not...

This Too Shall Pass
Back from Kathmandu

New She & Him!!

Yay, new She & Him! You know the drill: "In the Sun" is um, sunshiney indie folk with a tinge of twang and Zooey Deschanel's oh-so flirty voice. Oh and Tilly and the Wall contribute some back-up vocals too for just an extra bit of adorableness. Be on the lookout for Volume 2 March 23.

Oh and hey they're playing the Bowery Ballroom the day before my birthday. Who wants to buy this blogger some birthday tickets?? Bueller, Bueller?

In the Sun - She & Him

19 January 2010

Dear Ringo Starr,

All I ask of you is to please don't make 80's-esque album covers that immediately make me think of Garth Brooks' shirts.

Thank you. That is all.

18 January 2010

Silly Los Campesinos!, romance is anything but

One of the most anticipated releases of the year, Romance is Boring Los Campesinos! is streaming in its entirety on the band's MySpace page. (Wow, MySpace is actually good for something!) Listen HERE.

It's probably worth noting it features what is likely to be my most quoted lyric of of the year "I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock". Bloody brilliant, right? But here's the catch: I'm not telling you which song its from, so you'll just have to listen all the way through to find it.

The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future - Los Campesinos!

17 January 2010

Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in!

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately. I've just been busy settling into a new place in the indie mecca that is Brooklyn. YES, I've finally moved to Brooklyn! And I'm having trouble hiding my elation, It's only been three days but I've fallen in love with my neighborhood (and I'm not even living in a trendy area, take that Williamsburg!), have a part-time job lined up and most excitedly am starting grad school (WOO shout to Library and Information sciences!).

(These are the pretty houses down the block.)

And given this crazy awesome transition, there is only one song that fits the mood. The Avett Brothers "I and Love and You" is a siren song to the city I now call home.

I and Love and You - The Avett Brothers
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

15 January 2010

Cover of the year, I'm calling it now.

You're probably aware of the PANTS ON THE GROUND phenomenon. And if you're not get yourself acquainted ASAP:

But let's take it a step further and imagine Neil Young covering that catchy little ditty. That's what Jimmy Fallon did, and man is it downright poignant:

12 January 2010

a lot of bands would benefit from only covering songs from the labrynth

Oh man, I'd laugh if this wasn't exactly how I explain music to people ALL THE TIME. (Also, I would totally buy that album)

11 January 2010

The Rural Alberta Advantage @ TheMercury Lounge (early show) 1/9/10

In less than two days I am moving to Brooklyn, which is probably why the Rural Alberta Advantage's debut album Hometowns is so appealing to me right now. Like the title implies there is a great emphasis on place and that paradoxical loving/loathing relationship you cultivate over time with the space from which you come. It's about moving on and out but also knowing that no matter where you go for better or for worse, you can never quite escape where you've been.

I can't think of a band that covers this lofty territory with more verve, rhythm and sincerity than these guys. They simply ooze urgency from Nils Edenloff's earnest nasal bleats (it would be irresponsible to compare his voice to Jeff Mangum, since no one sounds that singular, however there are inflections that recall his trademark yelp) to the the raucous, pounding percussion. I wrote waaaay more about why I adore their album here on Crawdaddy if you care to read my fan girl gushing.

I took a break from packing to catch them live last Saturday, suffice it say the show did not disappoint. Also they covered the theme song to a children's show I never heard of called "The Littlest Hobo" (perhaps it's a Canadian thing?) It's apparently about a homeless German Shepard that solves problems and fights crime. If anyone has a recording of their performance, hit us up in the comments.

Oh and hey, I nabbed a setlist:
"Tornado" is a new song about, well a tornado. Along with that song about a mudslide, this band has a real knack for writing rock songs about Canadian natural disasters.

The Dethbridge in Lethbridge - The Rural Alberta Advantage
Don't Haunt This Place - The Rural Alberta Advantage