Thursday, February 28, 2008

Georgie James, Live on Conan, 2-27-2008

Georgie James was on Conan last night! Sam Sessa of the Baltimore Sun wasn't surprised to learn that they were playing, but I know what he means when he writes, "it still feel pretty weird to type it."

Georgie James - Need Your Needs (Live on Conan, 2-27-2008)(mp3)

Watch the full Late Night episode here.

Georgie James' debut album, Places, made my list of top 10 albums of 2007. Sam Sessa agrees.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Grizzly Bear, Live on KCRW, 2-27-2008

This is so dramatic, so wild and beautiful.

The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, Live on Fair Game

You'll find a lot of material from Stephin Merritt projects in our archives. Here's more. The Magnetic Fields' brainchild was recently in the Fair Game studio with Faith Salie, and played these songs, which aired yesterday, acoustic, with no distortion.

Stephin Merritt - Live on Fair Game (aired 2-26-2008)(mp3s):

This Little Ukelele
The Nun's Litany

Get Distortion

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Okay - Huggable Dust: The Smudge Review

The title of Okay's latest album is Huggable Dust, an unsubtle expression of the impermanence of mutual love, or rather, the condition that remains when love endures when that which is loved disappears.

And Marty Anderson bares his heart without hesitation, in the first song, My (mp3):

More than you know
more than I can show
it's my heart
you got

and i start speaking too soon
when I look at the moon-
light on your face

Then, in Only, he gives himself away to what might have been lost. A female voice in the phone introduces the song with "I'm going to give this a shot here. Here we go." And so begins a long-distance duet:

I want you to know that you're my only
I want you to know you're my life
I want you to know you don't got to be lonely
I want you to know it's all right.

And though some days are so long
And though some things turn out wrong
But oh that don't change where I belong, my love,
No, that don't change at all.

At the end of the song, the woman in the duet ends with a simple, devastating "Okay. All right. Bye."

The third song, Tragedy (mp3), establishes isolation, after opening with an ominous march:

This boy
He really wanted this girl
But he didn't have the time.

She said
I want into your world
But he said this world is mine.

These verses repeat throughout the song, with variations, as layers of sound build to an incredible climax.

Anderson uses these devices throughout the album, and the result is a powerful sense of a fortress of sound being built around the listener, voices forcing their way in - in Loveless, he repeats "I can't get you out of my head," as everything else is shut out. As the intimate and spare give way to lush musical atmospheres, Anderson paradoxically contains the mind, keeps it in a box and focuses it on its obsessions and possessions.

And so, in that, these warped lullabys that twist traditional forms of folk, blues, even doo-wop into little black holes that assimilate them with homemade electronic effects into a singularity, are entirely original, inventive, and entirely Marty's own territory, and every single one of these songs is as captivating as a shifting night sky.

Download the electronic version of Huggable Dust

Monday, February 25, 2008

Free Smithsonian Folkways On Emusic

If you're an emusic subscriber (I've been one for over two years), don't miss out on the Smithsonian Folkways Sampler: A Sound Legacy--60 Years of Folkways Records and 20 Years of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, a FREE 15-song sampler that's all over the geographic AND musical worlds. Look at this tracklist:

1. Black Snake Moan (From Traditional Blues, Vol 1, 1957)
Artist(s): Brownie McGhee (mp3)

2. Lukembi and Voice (From Music of the Ituri Forest, originally released 1957)

3. Moon Don't Go (From Call and Response, originally released 1957)
Artist(s): Ella Jenkins (mp3)

4. Green Treefrog (Hyla Cinerea) (From Sounds of North American Frogs)

5. Oh, Mary Don't You Weep (From American Favorite Ballads, Vol 3, 1959)
Artist(s): Pete Seeger

6. Go Tell It On the Mountain / Which Side Are You On, Boy? (From Freedom Songs: Selma, Alabama, 1965)

7. Akonodey (From Roots of Black Music in America, 1972)
Artist(s): Akan Adowa musicians

8. McCord cont. (From The Watergate Tapes 1, 1974)
Artist(s): James McCord

9. We Shall Be Free (From The Original Vision, originally released 1989)
Artist(s): Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly

10. Lithuanian Lullaby (From Musics of the Soviet Union, 1989)
Artist(s): Veronika Povilioniene

11. Tetigo (From Music of Indonesia Vol 7: Music from the Forests of Riau and Mentawai, 1995)
Artist(s): M. Sarif, Kondang

12. Saturday Night Blowout (From Calypso Awakening from the Emory Cook Collection, 2000)
Artist(s): The John Buddy Williams Band

13. Ahora Sí (plena) (From Viento de Agua Unplugged, 2004)
Artist(s): Viento De Agua

14. Little Liza Jane (From You Are My Little Bird, 2006)
Artist(s): Elizabeth Mitchell

15. Bardasht (From Music of Central Asia, Vol. 6, 2007)
Artist(s): Alim and Fargana Qasimov

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saint Bernadette

On Saint Bernadette's forthcoming EP, I Wanna Tell You Something, Meredith DiMenna starts where she left off - in the ballroom, for the first few verses of the opening song - but she doesn't keep us there for long. Before you can say "chanteuse," she blows a storm up through the pipes, channeling Ann Wilson and Grace Slick, and drags us squarely into the barroom. She accuses, pleads, despairs, and manipulates; she leaves us breathless.

Love is a Stranger follows the loud-quiet-loud formula, but it's a fresh variation, with harmonized whispers and expertly built tension in a study of anxiety and unease.

Saint Bernadette - Love Is A Stranger (mp3)

Download I Wanna Tell You Somethingfrom Amazon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yelle on Fair Game

Yelle more, more, more

When I say "Brittany," what do you think of? The first thing that comes to my mind is Brittany, France, the place that pop phenom Yelle calls her hometown. Faith Salie introduced her in a live in-studio performance on Fair Game today. Sample these two French pop nuggets, and you'll be smitten. Love how she mixes heavy textures with ethereal ones in Les Femmes, and the chord changes in Tristesse/Joie are just right.

Yelle (Live on Fair Game 2-21-2008)(mp3s)

Les Femmes

Own Pop Up

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The National, Live on Fair Game, 2-19-2008

The National played a four-song in-studio session for Faith Salie's Fair Game yesterday. These songs' enduring emotional punch is confirmation that Boxer was one of the best albums of 2007.

The National - Live on Fair Game (2-19-2008)(mp3s):

Fake Empire
Slow Show
Start A War
You've Done It Again, Virginia

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights, Live on Letterman

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings performed on Letterman last night, and it was, as Dave put it, "tremendous." The band must tire of playing this song, over and over (and over), but they don't show it. They put so much physicality into their performances - they play their songs as though this is the last time they're able to, every time.

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights (Live on Letterman, 2-18-2008)(mp3)

Own 100 Days, 100 Nights

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Raveonettes' Lust Lust Lust: The Smudge Review

I recall looking at the cover of The Raveonettes' debut, Whip It On, a few years back, and thinking that Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner look trendy and harmless, the kind of couple that you might find lurking the aisles at IKEA. You'd think they would sound more like John & Yoko than Thor, the Norse God of Thunder. The feedback scream that introduced the first song, Attack of the Ghost Riders, was evidence that the demure couple had harnessed the powers of darkness and weren't afraid to unleash it on the unsuspecting listener.

After their black, dressed-in-B-flat-minor debut, The Raveonettes have increasingly crept toward pop, surf rock, and bubblegum, with rough edges, of course. Their latest album, Lust, Lust, Lust, carries over these elements - it still has the hooks and beats, but it also brings back tsunamis of noise and fury. There's danger in this - throwing all of your tricks together simultaneously, even in the era of the mp3 single, can yield an unfocused mess of an album. The risk pays off on Lust, Lust, Lust - in its quieter moments the songs groove and strut, and they gain momentum and force when the guitars blast through in dissonant sonic bursts.

Aly, Walk With Me, the album's opener, is just as much an announcement of impending devastation as Attack Of The Ghost Riders was on Whip It On. The wall of feedback is patient, though - after two minutes of slinky vocals set over a sexy bass line, a la Love & Rockets, and just when we start to wonder where the song is taking us - where are we taking Aly? - the demonic guitar noise swoops down and takes us like an evil surprise.

Hallucinations begins with innocent girl-band vocal melodies and simple but beautiful surf-guitar harmonies, and a soaring guitar melody with searing feedback in the foreground that comes in at the minute mark. It finishes with a pulsating beat propelling waves of distortion and that same repeating melody, perhaps a proper salute to Jesus and Mary Chain.

Dead Sound also features the girl-band vocal melodies, but is more uptempo, and the high point of this one, for me, is the flatpicking and countermelodics in the interplay between guitar and bass that come in at around 2:10, and the way it closes with that perfect little high bend at 2:30.

The same plucked-note flatpicking returns in You Want The Candy, a raucous romp about desire that leads into the equally raucous Blitzed, which blends 50's guitar styles with the Raveonettes' own noise rock.

One final thing - you might have heard the stripped, acoustic versions of Dead Sound, Lust, and Aly, Walk With Me. They hold together nicely, even without the guitar acrobatics and dynamics. To paraphrase The Cars' Ric Ocasek, a good song is still good, no matter who plays it or how it's played. Lust, Lust, Lust is an album full of them. Now, the question for the duet is: what's next?

Dead Sound (mp3) From Lust Lust Lust [Vice Records]

Dead Sound (Remix by Peter Homstrom and Jeremy Sherrer)(mp3)

Dead Sound (Digital Leather Cover)(mp3)

Watch “Dead Sound” From Lust Lust Lust [Vice Records]

Watch The Raveonettes perform “Dead Sound” on Black Cab Sessions

Own Lust Lust Lust

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Keren Ann, Live on The Current, 2-11-2008

Keren Ann played a live solo acoustic ooh-la-la in-studio set for The Current on the same day that Dean & Britta were there (they both played at Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis that night). Stripped down, inviting, comforting. Just the thing for the later part of a week.

Keren Ann - Live on The Current (2-11-2008)(mp3)

The Hardships Of The World
Lay Your Head Down
In Your Back

A Public Service Announcement From Dan Deacon

A bulletin from my myspace friend Dan Deacon:


Date: Feb 12, 2008 2:11 PM
Subject: my old albums for free
Body: hi everyone,

a while ago i mentioned posted a link to my old albums where you could download them for free. sorry it took me so long:

feel free to share these with anyone you think might enjoy them. i'll be adding more in the near future. feel free to repost this bulletin. ok, bye!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dean & Britta, Live on The Current, 2-11-2008

(digital download)

Dean & Britta played a short in-studio set for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current yesterday, and they'll be on KEXP this Friday. Funny...late last week I created an iPod playlist with one of the songs from their 2007 KCRW performance, and wished they would do it again. Lucky me.

Dean & Britta (Live on MPR's The Current, 2-11-2008)(mp3s):
Knives From Bavaria
Words You Used To Say
Night Nurse

...and a bonus, from KCRW (4-6-2007)(mp3s):
Our Love Will Still Be There (The Troggs)
You Turned My Head Around (Lee Hazelwood)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Nada Surf, Live on KCRW, 2-5-2008

I'm in Charleston, SC this week, and my connection here is weak, so the posts are a little painful to get up...but I'll get them up anyway.

I recently posted Nada Surf's KEXP performance, and last week, six days after the KEXP in-studio, they played eight songs for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Busy, aren't they? Let's hope they stay that way.

Nada Surf - Live on KCRW (2-5-2008)(mp3s):

Whose Authority
Ice on the Wing
I Like What You Say
Are You Lightning
Here Goes Something
Beautiful Beat
See These Bones

Get Lucky

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bob Mould, Live on The Current, 2-6-2007

Yeah, more Bob Mould. Because it's Friday, and you deserve it.

This time, from a live session on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current.

Bob Mould - Live on The Current (2-6-2008)(mp3s):

Again & Again
Makes No Sense At All

Bob Mould's excellent District Linewas released this week.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bob Mould - Live on Fair Game (2-4-2008)

The legendary Bob Mould ripped and slashed through four solo electric songs in Faith Salie's Fair Game studio yesterday, and it was pure electrified passion.

Bob Mould - Live on Fair Game (2-4-2008)(mp3s):

Again and Again
Hardly Getting Over It
I Apologize

Bob Mould's District Lineis out today.

Black Mountain, Live on KEXP, 2-1-2008

Black Mountain was on KEXP last week, and they played these four songs in-studio, and sad beauty sprouted forth.

Black Mountain (Live on KEXP, 2-1-2008)(mp3s):

Set Us Free
Evil Ways
Stay Free

Get In the Future.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Nada Surf, Live on KEXP, 1-30-2008

Nada Surf's fifth album, Lucky, is out next week. Its lustre reflects the band's experience and comfort level, with lush arrangements and dense layers adding dimensions for deeper listening. Lucky for us, the new ingredients - cellos, horns, etcetera - add to the songs, rather than cover up for something missing. Remove the frills, including the guest vocals by Ben Gibbard, from the opening song, See These Bones, and it still reaches euphoric heights despite the charged lyrics: try as they might, no one's immune to/misfiring and acting on the wrong clues/always thinking it's time to redo and redo. Don't take my word for it - the band played an acoustic set for KEXP on Wednesday, and the songs, stripped down, have all the force of the originals.

Nada Surf - Live on KEXP, 1-30-2008 (mp3s):

Whose Authority
Ice On The Wing
See These Bones
I Like What You Say

See These Bones (album version) (mp3)