Tuesday, February 28, 2006

O Holy Fire

Q: What do you get when you mix Count Chocula with a robot?

A: Something metallic and delicious.

Count Robocula - Fire Worshipers (Remix) (mp3)

From Ypsilanti to Bed With Compass

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Michigan's Mason Proper list Blur, Radiohead, the Pixies, the Flaming Lips, and Michel Gondry as their influences on their Myspace. In Mr. Charm (mp3), I hear the Blur, but none of the others. I also hear a Devo-ish New Wave angle, though, and the manic guitar attacks, sci-fi D-movie sounds, and vocal echoes give it an attitude that won me over.

Preorder There is a Moth in Your Chest.
_______

I'm Already Dead (mp3) is upbeat gloom pop by Compass, with a melody and structure resembling early (Holiday-era) Magnetic Fields. The songwriting doesn't have the biting wit of Stephin Merritt's, but then, there's only one Stephin Merritt, isn't there. Besides, this is not a song about me, you & someone else's boyfriend. It's a dark declaration of lost hope: I'm already dead/Dead cells in my head/Just want to go to sleep for awhile/Just let me go to bed. But it's a danceable, charming declaration of lost hope.

Despite all this talk about crushed hope, Compass are donating all profits from the sale of their Munchy the Bear LP to Oxfam. Own it here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

D & D on the WWW?

From Dungeon Masters in Cyberspace, in Monday's NY Times:

"There have been a lot of video games based on Dungeons & Dragons, but in the past they have been almost entirely solo, single-player experiences," Jeff Anderson, chief executive of the company that makes the online game, Turbine Inc., based in Westwood, Mass., said last week. "Now, with the Internet and advances in graphics, we can finally create an online version of that classic sitting-around-the-kitchen-table Dungeons & Dragons experience, without people having to actually go out."


Hmmm.....I just dunno. No crayoning in the 20-sided die? Having to hold a mouse and a keyboard the entire game? It's just not the same, and I'm sure the Lone Gunmen would agree.

Snow & Fire

Snow Lion is Feist's smoky voice contrasting with Jean-Philippe Verdin's computer music, and it turns downright spooky at precisely 2:43.

A Fire in the Forest is David Sylvian singing with a vintage wind-up music box in his hands. Equally creepy, and equally beautiful.

Readymade FC mp3s, from Babilonia:

Snow Lion
A Fire in the Forest

Bablionia is essential listening for these and other gorgeous songs, including Slide and The Only One, both featuring Yael Naim.

NY Times on Canada's Collectivism

To call BSS [Broken Social Scene] a "band" is to simplify matters drastically. It's more like a network, or, as Emily Haines, a sometime BSS'er and lead singer of the Toronto band Metric, put it, "somewhere between a tribe and a cult." Most of the members of BSS are also members of other bands that are released by Arts & Crafts. The very name connotes what all the artists on the label have in common: they are lo-fi, heartfelt, ironic, makeshift and as tightly interlinked as the kids in a summer-camp lanyard-making session. The musicians play on one another's CD's (BSS can have between 9 and 17 musicians on a given track depending on who shows up or what's needed for a particular song), a level of cooperation and organization unusual in any popular-music scene, even one that might be summed up by the slogan above the bar code on BSS's most recent CD: "break all codes." Perhaps it helps — or maybe it hurts — that a few of them have also slept together, though the BSS'ers tend to be secretive about whom, when and why.

Musically, you could say that Toronto has become a nicer but less aesthetically coherent version of Seattle in the early days of grunge. Broken Social Scene is Toronto's Nirvana, without — so far — the troubled-rock-star antics or the anomie and with a social agenda that puts collective music making above individual success.

...

Just as the L.A. punk scene circulated around the SST label and the early grunge scene sprang from and adhered to the Sub Pop label and K Records in Olympia, Wash., the Toronto scene has coalesced around a few key labels. The 25-year-old Kado, who has joined or started more than 10 different bands, started his own extremely independent music label, Blocks Recording Club, in 2003. Blocks now puts out records by local bands at a phenomenal pace — 30 CD's in two and a half years. The most acclaimed is Final Fantasy, which sold 7,000 copies of its last album, a string-heavy CD with full band arrangements, which Kado describes as "orchestral loner music." Unlike A&C, Blocks is a cooperative — CD's are packaged by hand — that divvies up profits between members and musicians.


- From Guided by (Many, Many) Voices, in Sunday's NY Times Magazine.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tasty Habits

Remember the early days of the World Wide Web, when you never knew what you were going to discover from click to click? When I came across the Myspace page for DC's The Tasty Habits while surfing yesterday (who does that anymore?), I got that old feeling that you get from finding a little treasure after a string of dull links. These songs made me laugh, nod, and sing along, and I think they'll do the same for you. Scroll down the page and you'll see the comment: "are you coming home for winter break loser? im just kidding...i love my big brother!" How touching is that.

RIYL Weezer, and I'm going to say the early 90's band from Burke, VA, Poole.

The Tasty Habits - Me Deane and the Drum Machine (mp3)

The Tasty Habits - If Nick and Jessica Split (mp3)

From the Nick and Jessica Split EP. Sorry, but I've no idea where you can get it.

We All Go In The Same Direction, Eventually.

I listened to this song by Compass just now. Five times. Remember how Stipe used to declare "This next song is my favorite song" at REM concerts, and those choices might change from month to month?

This next song is my favorite song. Better listen to it now, because you won't live forever.

Maybe the universe is still too small
Even Baby Jesus had to learn to crawl


You'll Never Live Forever (mp3)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Wedding Present, Live on KEXP

The Wedding Present played an in-studio set at KEXP yesterday. It was an inspired, albeit short, set. Crushed was especially good. It would be even better to see them at Criminal Records in Atlanta for an acoustic set & autograph signing on March 3rd.

The Wedding Present (Live on KEXP, 21 February 2006):

Suck
Crushed
Go Out and Get 'Em, Boy
Always the Quiet One

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Minus 5 Live on KEXP

The mp3 blogs aren't gushing about or teeming with tracks from the new Minus 5 album. I suppose that's about right, since it plays a lot more like pub rock than indie. I like that, though. They're probably my second favorite supergroup, next to New Pornographers. And Travelling Wilburys. Let's not forget Wings. And on that note, Damn Yankees. Did I leave anyone out? That's right - GTR. Okay, okay, seriously, though, it's a really, really good album. And their in-studio performance at KEXP was also really, really good. There, I gushed.

Minus 5 KEXP Live Set (mp3s):
Out There on a Maroon
Hotel Senator
My Life as a Creep
Cigarettes Coffee and Booze
Lies of the Living Dead
Twilight Distillery

Monday, February 20, 2006

New Arcade Fire Video - Tunnels

Sean at Said the Gramophone posted a beautiful new video for Arcade Fire's "Tunnels." It's by far his favorite Arcade Fire video, and mine too.

Arctic Monkeys Live on Sounds Eclectic

I hereby predict this creepily accurate prediction: within 24 hours, at least two other mp3 bloggers will post the exact same mp3s from yesterday's Sounds Eclectic broadcast of a recent (November) gold medal-caliber performance from Arctic Monkeys. Cue Twilight Zone theme.


Arctic Monkeys mp3s (Live, Sounds Eclectic broadcast 2/2006):

A View From the Afternoon

Dancing Shoes

Fake Tales of San Francisco

You Probably Couldn't See The Lights But You Were Looking Straight At Me

Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But...

From The Ritz To The Rubble

A Certain Romance

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oops

I mislabeled a live Of Montreal mp3 that I posted earlier this week. It's not I Was Never Young. It's the modern sing-along classic from Satanic Panic in the Attic, Disconnect the Dots (Live on KCRW, 2006)(mp3). They had extra time in the studio, so Nic Harcourt encouraged them to play one more.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wooden Wand's Gipsy Freedom



The title of the new Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice album, Gipsy Freedom, might give you pause: how can you not imagine a disc full of eastern European Gypsy music, perverted by indie-hippie experimentalists? You fear that you'll be disenchanted by some sort of Freak Gypsy Avant-Folk, and prepare listen to Wooden Wand with a Vanishing Attention Span. So you pop the disc in, expecting jingly percussion to pop out at you immediately. What you get, though, is an arresting downtempo Trane-influenced sax intro with strong feminine vocal.

Did I accidentally put the wrong CD in the jewel case?

The second track, Didn't it Rain, begins, and, ah - there's the gipsy music. There's the percussion and there are the rhythmic strings you knew were coming. And it is Wooden Wand, so there is a fair amount of perversion that goes on in this nearly 11-minute experiment. What you're not ready for is the brass, psychedelic electric guitar, and the chanted "Didn't it rain, rain, rain, my lord..." that sounds like Kate Bush singing as a documentary on free jazz in Pakistan plays in the background, a guitarist practices solos next door, and a UFO sits on the lawn.

And then, Don't Love the Liar (mp3) surprises you as a pretty straightforward, accessible, short (1:37!) song with a classic rock feel. And that's when you realize that Gipsy Freedom has nothing to do with the spirit of geographical travel, but is a stylistic musical journey through time, and it covers a hell of a lot of terrain. This is no Harem of the Sundrum & the Witness Fig, an album that held together as an experimental folk-americana record, though the fingerpicking on the foreboding, brilliant Dread Effigy (mp3), which has replaced Dogpaddlin' Home to Live With My Lord (mp3) as my favorite WWVV song, would have fit nicely with Perch Modifier (mp3). In Gipsy Freedom, you have no idea what musical ground you'll be standing on from one track to the next, and in some cases, from one moment to the next.

And yet, you always look forward to that next moment. The album holds together, with some enchanting thread that you can't hear or see, much less grasp. Confounding? Yes. But it's strangely satisfying to be confounded in this way.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Q And Not U - People Wonder (President Remix)

Get this mp3 and find out what the former members of Q And Not U are up to at Muzak For Cybernetics. I picked up Purple Blaze, the new album from Ris Paul Ric (a.k.a. Christopher Paul Richards), a while back, and highly recommend it. I also have Laura Burhenn's debut album, which showcases her great singing and composing talent, so I'm eagerly anticipating Georgie James, which is Q And Not U drummer John Davis' collaboration with her.

Experimental Songs About Shootings.

Naked City, the avant-supergroup featuring John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Wayne Horvitz, and Joey Baron, played at the Knitting Factory in 1989, and these tracks are from the live CD from that show.

You Will Be Shot (mp3) is a frantic victim chased. He runs, he hides, he's found, he runs. The sax expresses horror in short loud bursts.

Shot in the Dark (mp3) is, yes, a murder in a dark corner, a short, uneasy silence, and then, death as chaos. A gathering order follows, and next thing you know, the spirit is surfing on a crashing black wave with accompanying surf guitar and halloween keyboard.

Igneous Ejaculation (mp3) is pretty much self-explanatory. At 22 seconds, it might be the shortest offering on an mp3 blog on record.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Morning Jacket: Live on Sounds Eclectic (mp3s)

Jim James is a genius and a pioneer, and the My Morning Jacket albums are brilliant. So of course I penciled in their Sounds Eclectic performance on my calender, and captured it this Sunday. Anybody rip the Austin City Limits performance Saturday?

My Morning Jacket live mp3s (from 2/12/2006 Sounds Eclectic broadcast)

Wordless Chorus
It Beats
Off The Record
Wonderful Man
Dondate

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Forget Ginger vs. Mary Anne. It's All About Jake Ryan vs. Lloyd Dobler.



From What I Did For Lloyd, in the Washington Post:

A New York documentary filmmaker came by last summer and set up lights and rearranged furniture and interviewed me -- she was making an entire movie about Jake Ryan... "But what about," she finally asked, "Lloyd Dobler?"... Because, it turns out, for every one woman with a residual Jake Ryan thing there are maybe 100 with a persistent Lloyd Dobler fetish.

...

"Jake Ryan is dessert, and Lloyd Dobler is like the vegetables you need," says Sasha Johnson, 29, a Washington TV producer. "Lloyd Dobler ruined men forever. I can't take total credit for this, an ex-boyfriend said this to me once. He contended that Lloyd Dobler's boombox moment became the pinnacle of romance -- the standard that no man could ever meet no matter how hard he tried..."


What do I think? It's a no-brainer, ladies. Lloyd just wants to spend as much time as possible with you, and clear rubble from your path. Jake is sold, bought, processed.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: hoping you feel cooler than you might actually be

Bites from Sasha Frere-Jones' New Yorker review of the forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeah's CD, Show Your Bones:

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs value joy over indie credibility, and they want to be catchy. [Thank God.]

...

Is she talking to her lover? Or to her bandmates, imagining that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are on the verge of becoming big enough to be resented? Karen O understands that rock lyrics aren’t necessarily better when they’re clearer.

...

The next song, the gentle and plangent “Way Out,” borrows liberally from R.E.M., Sonic Youth, and Nirvana, which is a sign of confidence; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs know that no one will mistake them for anyone else, however much they plunder the past.

...

“It’s important for kids to feel bigger than they usually do,” Karen O told me. “We’re trying to make you feel a little bit cooler than you might actually be.”

Nelly Furtado - Maneater (mp3)

It kinda came and went pretty much unnoticed yesterday, but "Maneater," from the forthcoming Nelly Furtado album, "Loose," is available here. It made the poor blogger weep.

Of Montreal, Live on KCRW

On my way home from work today, I listened to the Go! Team and the New Pornographers' live performances that I ripped from KCRW, and couldn't decide which was the best in-studio show of the year so far. It's a 3-way tie now. Yesterday, KCRW broadcast their Of Montreal performance from a few weeks ago, and it smokes.

Of Montreal mp3s (Live at KCRW, broadcast 13 Jun 2006):

Raptur Rapes The Muses
So Begins Our Alabee
The Repudiated Immortals
Wraith Pinned To The Mist (and Other Games)
Oslo In The Summertime
I Was Never Young
Party's Crashing Us

As always, you can listen to or watch the entire broadcast at KCRW.com. If you don't listen to the interview, you remain unenlightened.

Buy Sunlandic Twins.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Teenage Fanclub - Here Comes Your Man; Flaming Lips - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

...all this and more:


"Here Comes Your Man" (Pixies cover) - Teenage Fanclub

"I Don't Think I'm Ever Gonna Figure it Out" (Elliott Smith cover) - Kevin Long

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (Judy Garland cover) - The Flaming Lips

"Rocky Mountain High" (John Denver cover) - Engine Kid


at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands.

Gist

A quick search for Gist on the Hype Machine comes up empty. What a shame. Or maybe not. Maybe it's better that Gist isn't one of those indie pop bands du jour from the indie label du jour, whose album shows up almost completely on Hype. Maybe it's better that these mp3s are going to show up on the Great Aggregator, and will be ignored, because they're not from forthcoming new Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Part of me wants Gist to be huge like that. But another part of me wants to enjoy the post-punk, post-harDCore of their Diesel City, for myself, along with other frequenters of Revolution Records, Black Cat regulars, and such. Yes, we'll be perfectly happy to keep the searing, thrashing guitars, driving bass, throbbing drums, vocals reminiscent of TVOTR, and wrenching, tormented lyrics, to our damn selves.

Gist mp3s, from Diesel City:

Eclipse (mp3)
Things Will Work Out (mp3)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Do You Realize (Postal Service Mix)

The Postal Service Mix of the beloved Flaming Lips song is at Muzak for Cybernetics. There's other good stuff there, too, like a Polysics remix of Kaiser Chiefs. Browse around.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Bonapartes Came, Saw...


...and so the revolution begins.

The Bonapartes have a Napoleonic urge to stir and conquer the civilized world. After listening to the D.C. quintet's self-titled EP, I think they might succeed, by rocking the hell out of every primitive soul, one at a time.

In the EP's centerpiece, Concentric (mp3), guitarist Eamonn recreates the high-pitched Y-Control Yeah Yeah Yeah's sound and plays it with the Edge's staccato. The effect is a guitar imitating hard synth, but in a pointillist kind of way, rather than a literal sound-alike, like the Strokes do, for instance. Concentric pulses and soars.

Boy (mp3), a live track not on their EP, is enough of a rush to quicken the dead, and shoegazers, and even atmospheric electro-folkers. There's urgency in all the elements - the aggressive vocals & punishing drums, the bass, and the guitar that pushes you around throughout. If this is a representative sample, their live shows are kick-ass.

I'm already conquered, underfoot, and ready for a full-length, hopeful that these guys can keep up the intensity. Who's next?

Download more Bonapartes mp3s here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Let's Make a King Britt Sister Gertrude Morgan Blog Post!



Let's Make A Record, the sole record by Sister Gertrude Morgan, a painter and gospel singer from New Orleans, needs no embellishment. Her enthusiasm and spirit are carried in her voice alone. In King Britt's interpretation of her music, it's the embellishment that needs Sister Gertrude. That's a good thing. It means that the two elements work together to move your feet along with your spirit.

Mp3s from King Britt Presents: Sister Gertrude Morgan (2005)

Let's Make a Record (mp3)
Precious Lord Lead Me On (mp3)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Caution: Popular Singer-Songwriter Post

With singer-songwriters, what it all comes down to is this: how well do the songs translate heartache or heartbreak, or some burning social issue into music, and is the singer someone who makes you want to listen?

23-year old Brandi Carlile is a strong songwriter with a strong voice. But there are a lot of those. The question is, does she have that other something that draws people into her songs? Variety.com called her "stunning, vulnerable, and affecting," and compared her to Melissa Etheridge, Jeff Buckley, and Thom Yorke. Yeah, I don't think you can really do that either, but if you haven't already, you should listen. She's good.

She's playing at Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis tonight.

Brandi Carlile mp3s:

From Brandi Carlile:

Fall Apart Again (mp3) (watch video)
What More Can I Say (mp3)

From Brandi Carlile Acoustic:
Throw It All Away (mp3)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Numbers Live

The Magic Numbers have been called accessible, and they are; just about anyone can easily "get" their catchy little pop stimulants. Here are a couple of songs from their live in-studio set, broadcast on Sounds Eclectic this weekend.

The Magic Numbers - I See You, You See Me (Live KCRW) (mp3)
The Magic Numbers - Love Me Like You (Live KCRW) (mp3) (watch video)

And while you're at KCRW, become a member. It's good for you.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The End of Violence

Hey Seahawks fans, at least you still have mp3 blogs to take your mind off the game last night. Here's a song for you to sing along with.

Vic Chesnutt with Michael Stipe - Injured Bird (mp3) (from the The End of Violence OST)

And here's another Stipe collaboration, just because:

Kristen Hersch with Michael Stipe - Your Ghost (mp3)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Farewell, Black Cat

The Lilys, French Toast, and Sounds of Kaleidoscope are playing at the Black Cat tonight. This will be a sort of farewell trip for me, since the occupation is taking me to Delaware later this month. See you at the show. I'll be the one with a tear in the corner of my eye.

French Toast - Pattern (mp3) (from In a Cave)
also download Float Away here.

The Lilys - The Night Sun Over San Juan (mp3) (from Everything Wrong is Imaginary)

One Hundred Fifty or Less

75 or Less, the preferred music review site of the attention-deficient, has spawned a record label, 75 or Less Records. They are currently offering two EPs of guitar rock, both urgent in the Dischord sense.

My hunch is that the good people at 75 or less would appreciate a concise, unpretentious capsules, so here goes: my 75 words or less on songs from each of their EPs.

The first two tracks from A Passing Feeling's self-titled EP are made for standing up on a sticky floor, drinking beer, and screaming along. It's music for rowdy people in the era of tweeness. In the manic Book of Matches (mp3), they show a knack for melody, energy, and vocal delivery. The rousing Probably (mp3), begins "You're probably wasted/I'm probably wasting my every word/We're not going anywhere..." My guess is that they are going somewhere.

Pixelated Ones & Zeroes (mp3), from Staggering Statistics' EP with the same title, is scruffy and unshaven. It brings to mind Here's When The Strings Come In-Era Superchunk, especially lead singer Austin Brown's unrefined voice. I'm not complaining. Like Superchunk or Pavement, repeated listens offer increasing rewards, in this case bringing you into the rhythm section, and its complex relationship with the guitar. It's not for everybody, and that, I think, is the whole point.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Great American Songbook

If you missed last month's issue of MOJO, or if you only picked up Volume 2 of their Born in the USA: The Great American Songbook, you missed out on something special. Volume 1 was a 15-track compilation of traditional American classics, from Hank Williams' You Win Again to Woody Guthrie's Washington Talkin' Blues to The Stanley Brothers' Man of Constant Sorrow. It also has the Jelly Roll Morton track posted below, in which Jelly Roll plays piano and tells the story of I'm Alabama Bound before breaking into song. The Story of I'm Alabama Bound is from his recently released Complete Library of Congress Recordings.

The Ian & Sylvia track goes out to The Keoki (one of our contributors), Karen & Gabe, who left a big fat hole in our lives this week when they moved to San Antonio. It's good to hear you're all doing well and eating thick juicy Texas steaks, brother. I doubt you'll ever run into Freegans in Texas, and that's a good thing, right? Anyway, I think I speak for all of us when I say that You Were On My Mind pretty much nails how we feel.

mp3s from Born in the USA: The Great American Songbook, Vol. 1:

Ian and Sylvia - You Were On My Mind
Jelly Roll Morton - The Story Of I'm Alabama Bound
Leadbelly - Midnight Special
The Doc Watson Family - I Heard My Mother Weeping

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mastercuts

Short post today. I had some technical difficulties to deal with yesterday. Sorry if anyone had problems downloading.

Here are a couple of goodies from the vault.

Wilbert Longmire - Black is the Colour (mp3)

War - World is a Ghetto (mp3)

From Mastercuts: Classic Jazz Funk, Vol. 7