Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Go! Team on The Current, 7-30-2008

Yesterday, The Go! Team scintillated The Current's studio with 3 live songs - over ten minutes of blissed out electro-cheer.

The Go! Team - Live on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current, 7-30-2008 (mp3s):

Grip Like A Vise
Doing It Right
Keys To The City

The entire performance is here, including an interview in which we learn that none of the band members were or are currently cheerleaders, and that there are, in fact, no cheerleaders in Britain (the horror!!).

Order Proof of Youth.

Dedication To Pete Johnson

...a mighty fine one, by Memphis Slim.

Memphis Slim - Dedication to Pete Johnson (mp3)

...and here's another touching dedication.

Lead Belly - Big Fat Woman (mp3)

Both from Classic Piano Blues from Smithsonian Folkways.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Walkmen: You & Me, $5 For 3 Weeks, $5 of Each Sale Goes To Cancer Center

From The Orchard:

The Walkmen released their highly anticipated new album today exclusively on as part of the website’s ongoing Download To Make A Difference campaign that launched earlier this month.

You & Me will be sold for a period of three weeks at the special price of $5. For each album purchased will donate $5 to a cause of personal significance to The Walkmen.

“All donations go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in honor of Luca Vasallo, a friend to the band and a current patient who is seven months old and doing a great job fighting a very difficult disease,” said Peter Bauer of The Walkmen. “This is a very good organization that certainly deserves the attention.”

The You & Me exclusive pre-release marks the second major release for's Download To Make A Difference campaign, which gives people the chance to support important causes by downloading new music.

The Walkmen’s new album is released by Gigantic Music and marketed and distributed by The Orchard. To download You & Me and give $5 to a great cause go to

The Walkmen - In The New Year (mp3)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Little Jackie With The Big Sound

Little Jackie recently played a live set for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Check out that awesome performance below...

Their debut release, The Stoop, has uncommon bite and wit for a neo-soul album, and yet it feels almost too good to be so smart. They'll be compared to Amy Winehouse, as will all neo-soul groups with female leads, thanks to all the ground that Winehouse broke. But Little Jackie's delivery is quick and sharp, and they're more likely to insert a lyric as a vocal surprise, rather than hesitate on a word, like Amy would. The effect is dizzying and dazzling.

The Stoop easily made my 2008 recommended list.

Little Jackie - Black Barbie (mp3)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

51 Live Fiery Furnaces Songs

The Fiery Furnaces will release a double live, 51-track(!) CD (or triple LP, if you prefer) called "Remember" to coincide with their spring tour. There's a lot to "Remember" - over 2 hours of musical invention, the sound of pioneering in progress, and not a note too many. The CD version will come as a limited edition deluxe packaged with coupons for bonus tracks, and the LP will be triple LP gatefold, also with coupon for downloads plus bonus material.

The Fiery Furnaces - Single Again (Live)(mp3)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Go! Team Free Stuff

If you sign up for the Go! Team's mailing list, you can get an updated batch of digital goodies from their freestuff site, including the Get It Together EP, some remixes, and some song parts that you can fiddle with, including Flashlight Fight with Chuck D. You'll also find a Go! Team remix of Jim Noir and the Polyphonic Spree. This came from the site, too:

The Go! Team - Milk Crisis (Anglo Japanese Version)(mp3)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Durable Riff

By now you've listened to Beck's Modern Guilt. If you're like me, you might have listened to it repeatedly, and declared it a modern masterpiece, easily the album of the year, perhaps Beck's very best. And you might find yourself wondering where you've heard certain sounds or combinations of sound before, thinking, "That's completely new, but I've heard this other part somewhere before...But where?" Haven't I heard the single repeated acoustic guitar note from Gamma Ray played like that somewhere? From a Frank Black or Pixies song, maybe? And aren't the beats in Replica something that Johnny Greenwood might have composed? Profanity Prayers is certainly an intentionally clipped Radiohead-influenced song, as well, right? Or maybe not. The beats are attributed to Danger Mouse, but do I hear The Zombies in the drums?

Therein lies the genius of Beck. He's his own musical melting pot, soaking up everything - everything: bossa nova, classic soul, acoustic blues, country, metal, the sounds of the dinner table - and he puts the relevant ones in order on his albums. There is always a danger of sprawl. But this time, I think the focus is right on.

And I think I figured out where I heard this riff before.

Beck - Soul Of A Man (mp3)

The Kills - Pull A U (mp3)

Order Beck's Modern Guilt over there to the right, under "The Smudge Recommends."

Pull A U is from The Kills' Keep on Your Mean Side.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shearwater, Live on WFMU, 7-14-2008

Shearwater played an in-studio set for WFMU's Irene Trudel on Monday. They also gave her a generous amount of interview time. Listen to the entire show here.

Shearwater, Live on WFMU, 7-14-2008 (mp3s)

North Col
Leviathan, Bound
I Was A Cloud

Order their latest album, Rook, there to the right under "The Smudge Recommends."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Constantines, Live on KEXP, 7-11-2008

The Constantines played at the Sub Pop 20th anniversary festival last week. Maybe you were lucky enough to be there. For the rest of us, the day before the show, they played a live in-studio set for KEXP.

Constantines - Live at KEXP (7-11-2008) (mp3s):

Young Lions
Little Instruments

The Constantines' latest album is Kensington Heights.

Friday, July 11, 2008

He's Here!

If you wondered why I've been out, it's because Julie and I had a baby boy the day before yesterday. He was 7 lbs, 14 oz, 19 3/4 inches, has black hair, and is way cuter than daddy.

I'll catch up on the emails and promos over the next couple of weeks, between naps.

Meanwhile, here's some Belle and Sebastian...the first song goes out to Julie.

Belle & Sebastian - Anything You Do (Badfinger)(Live on KEXP 3-25-2006)(mp3)
Belle & Sebastian - She's Losing It (Live on KEXP 3-25-2006)(mp3)

To do something in return for this beautiful gift, I'm microlending at Kiva. If you're feeling generous, do the same and let me know!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I just got the latest from Numero, the genius soul miners of the dustbin. This time, it's the soundtrack to Brotherman, a blaxploitation film that was cancelled just before it was to be released in 1975. According to Numero:

Prior to the script being finished, the producers commissioned an original soundtrack to be performed by The Final Solution, a fledgling vocal group from Chicago’s west side. The ten-song album draws deeply from Curtis Mayfield’s well, certainly, but the proof in the pudding is Carl Wolfolk’s unique guitar style – a combination of flamenco and funk – that stabs around the four part harmonies.


Dragged around for 30 years by songwriter and arranger Wolfolk, the tapes of his life’s work have finally been mixed, and the soundtrack album has been augmented to include two orchestrated instrumentals intended for the film.

The riff-lick-riff guitar sequences in this song are unbelievably good:

Final Solution - Brotherman (mp3)

From the Brotherman OST.

Superstar Revisited

Fresh off of the success of Sonic Youth's inspired cover, originally recorded in the early 90's, but resurrected in an important scene in Juno, Dallas, Texas' Shock of Pleasure give The Carpenters' Superstar a different sort of treatment.

Shock of Pleasure - Superstar (The Carpenters) (mp3)

From their forthcoming album, It's About Time.

Normalcy or Lackthereof

...I'll take Lackthereof every time. Menomena's drummer is Lackthereof's brainchild, and if this song is an indication, he imported all the inventiveness of his other band and plugged it into his new project's music. Your Anchor is out on Barsuk on 22 July, and here's a rhythmic orgasm of a song from it:

Lackthereof - Last November (mp3)

Order Your Anchor.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bring Us Back, Kirsten.

Kirsten Price is a fresh face and a formidable voice on the now-unstoppable nu-soul train. The NY-based singer looks like Jennifer Connelly and sounds like Joss Stone or Xtina. In this song, she hits that spot, the one somewhere deep inside you that you forgot about, with a vocal melody that makes you realize that you've been deprived, and you now feel a thirst that you didn't before.

Kirsten Price - Bring Me Back (mp3)


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Soul Messages From Dimona

More rare, totally unexpected soul from Numero, this time from Dimona, Israel. You read it right. From the online release notes:

Between 1975-1981, a group of American ex-pats took their native sounds of Detroit and Chicago and intermingled them with the messages of the Black Hebrew culture. The results are a heavenly mix of spiritual soul and jazz with an undercurrent of gospel psychedelia.


Sons of the Kingdom - Modernization (mp3)
The Spirit of Israel - A Place To Be (mp3)

Order Soul Messages From Dimona here.

Blue Giant, Live on KEXP 6-27-2008

Blue Giant is not an oblong object that you might receive in the mail in plain brown packaging. Blue Giant is a band, featuring the members of Viva Voce, named after a type of intensely luminous star that is so hot and dense, it burns itself out after a brief lifespan in a climactic end as a supernova.

The band will be releasing an EP and recording an LP, as well as touring, "in the short future," according to Kevin Robinson, as interviewed in the Portland Mercury. More details on the full-length once I get them.

For now, here's a preview of their live show - they played four songs for KEXP last Friday. Keep your eyes open for this band. They're going to be something to see.

Blue Giant - Live on KEXP 6-27-2008 (mp3s):

When Will The Sun Shine?
Target Heart
Blue Sunshine
Hell Or High Water