Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Amazon's Music Bestsellers: Pretty Much MJ...Off The Wall & Bad Special Editions - $7.97

Michael Jackson's albums are the Top Music Sellers on Amazon.com

If you follow The Smudge, you know that if you get just one (assuming that you already have Thriller), I recommend Off the Wall (Special Edition).

Norton Records Hates CDs (still.)



Those vinylphiles (or is it digiphobes?) at Norton Records have released another winning amalgam of 45 rpm rarities, digitized it, released it for our convenience, and ironically titled the epic collection I Still Hate CD's: Norton Records 45 RPM Singles Collection Vol. 2.

I get what drives purists to hate CDs and other digital formats - the same cold, hard metallic data storage devices that are also great for holding (egad!) work references, educational software, spreadsheets, databases, and infinite other forms of anti-art. There's the impersonality of bits, the miniaturization of cover art, the burnability of digitized information, the deprived lack of a needle contacting a grooved rotating surface, this digital monoculture in which everything is turned way up and subtlety is crushed like brittle vinyl under a boot, the absence of organicness, of analogness, of warmth and romance...and that annoying mettalic rainbow that obscures your reflection on the back of the thing.

And so progress makes you want to, as Ione Skye so elegantly declared in her graduation speech in Say Anything, "Go back." There was a time when music came on something more substantial. But you won't get the heft of vinyl with this collection.

Still, for all the disadvantages of the digital format, what you CAN do with this collection hooked into your hi-fi that you CAN'T do with the cool, dusty individual 45's from which they were born, is to simply push play. There's no need to "shuffle" these, as they are already pretty much placed in a beautifully random order by Norton. You can go on to entertaining your summer partygoers, manning the grill, and you're good: no standing by the record player unsleeving and resleeving your records, no dirty barbecued kids' hands flipping through your collection. And taking it a step backward, Norton has already taken the pleasure, and I say that without a needle tip's worth of irony, of saving you the time and money involved in sifting through the dustbin detritus to find the hidden gems - from Gino Washington's "Are You Ready?" introduction in the smoking "Out of This World," to the Pleasure Seekers' swaggering declaration "well, I may not make it past 21, but...whew! what a way to die!" to Charlie Feathers' trademark twang in "We're Getting Closer to Being Apart," and I could continue 42 more times, but that would just make this a lengthy this begat that begat that exercise. All 45 - ALL 45 - are worthy of your deck, back yard, balcony, or - sacrilege! - the earbuds of your iPod.

Long live Vinyl rips, and Norton - thanks for the Easy Button.

Pleasure Seekers - What A Way To Die (mp3)

Also, check out the I Still Hate CDs Vol. 2 Sampler (mp3)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael.

I hate, hate, hate to see you go. Thank you for the music and the memories that went with it. See you in the big Hitsville in the sky.

Jackson 5 - Never Can Say Goodbye (mp3)

Bat For Lashes, Live on the George Lamb show, 6-24-2009

Listen to the in-studio session here.

Also check out last night's performance of Daniel on Kimmel.

Phoenix, Live on The Current, 6-23-2009



Click here for popup streaming audio player.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sharon Jones on meeting James Brown

She was a prison guard, she was a wedding singer, and she is the Queen of Funk. Tavis Smiley interviewed soul singer Sharon Jones earlier this week. You can watch or listen to the interview here.

Camera Obscura - Live in-studio at KCRW and KEXP

Camera Obscura have been getting around. They were recently in Minnesota Public Radio's studio for a performance on The Current, they were also at KEXP, and today, they performed on KCRW for a Morning Becomes Eclectic session, which should be available for streaming soon. Here's a Boss cover from their KEXP performance, which you can download as an uncompressed .flac torrent here (registration required).


Camera Obscura - Tougher Than The Rest (Bruce Springsteen)(Live KEXP 6-6-2009)(mp3)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bat For Lashes, Live on KEXP, 6-10-2009



I wish I had Natasha Khan's muse. I imagine that she's the kind of a singer who might sit at the edge of some old stone wall and dip her feet into darker universes, where she hears and remembers faint lullabies and forbidden fairy tales, and as a medium between the two worlds, sings them to us. It's a dangerous thing, to sit on that precipice: the other side might yield creative inspiration, but in its absence, may also hold destruction.

Yesterday, Bat For Lashes played a spare in-studio set for KEXP. You can download the uncompressed (flac) torrent here (free membership required). Here's a sample:

Bat For Lashes - Daniel (Live on KEXP, 6-10-2009)(mp3)

Also, don't miss the fluxblog post on her new single, Pearl's Dream.

Download Two Suns

A Camp's Colonia - $1.99



A Camp's (The Cardigans' Nina Persson's new band) Colonia is available for $1.99 (and worth much more) as an mp3 album on Amazon.com right now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Raveonettes - Last Dance Demo

The Raveonettes are posting demos from their forthcoming studio album via Twitter. The first mp3 is called Last Dance. As/of right now, they have 561 followers. Surely that number will explode over the next 24 hours.

Passion Pit, live at the Black Cat DC, 6-9-2009

NPR has Passion Pit's sold out Black Cat show, available for streaming here.

Federico Aubele - Otra Vez



Federico Aubele remains my favorite 'fro-topped Argentinian guitarist. This is from his latest release, Amatoria.

Federico Aubele - Otra Vez (mp3)

Monday, June 08, 2009

John Vanderslice Lounge Act

Don't miss the John Vanderslice Lounge Act, up today as an mp3 podcast on WOXY.

Grizzly Bear and Camera Obscura, Live on The Current.

Grizzly Bear and Camera Obscura in-studios, both made available on the same day...And the Camera Obscura set includes a cover of Springsteen's "Tougher Than The Rest," from 1987's bittersweet, beautiful Tunnel of Love. Long live The Current!

(from today)

(from Saturday)

Céu: Bubuia



Since her teaser Cangote EP was released last month, I've been eagerly awaiting anything new from the Brazilian bossa electropop artist Céu, so World's Fair's news that her forthcoming full-length, Vagarosa, will be released July 7th, got me in a true bossa mood. This is the fourth track from Vagarosa, and though not strictly bossa, it still carries that Brazilian sensuality, so strong that my headphones are spewing pheremones. Pardon me while I do my headphones.

Céu - Bubuia (mp3)

Friday, June 05, 2009

stellastarr* - Freak Out, New Release, Summer Tour

stellastarr* - Freak Out (mp3)

stellastarr*s new album is out July 7th. Fans who pre-order the album now get a Limited Edition package, including an autographed CD, a t-Shirt and a poster. They're on tour this summer, the first half of which they will share the stage with The Postmarks.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Jenny Lewis Live, The Current, 6-3-2009



Jenny Lewis tames Carpetbagger to a lazy, beautiful acoustic strum.

St. Vincent on The Current, 6-4-2009

What I love about Annie Clark is that in her songs, I never know what's coming next, and yet though it's always a surprise, it is also exactly the thing that should come next.

White Rabbits Lounge Act, 6-1-2009

There's enough percussive tension in this session to get a dead heart thumping.

White Rabbits - Live, WOXY Lounge Act, 6-1-2009 (mp3 podcast)

Big Leg Blues.



I know it's the blues, but ever since I was a teenager, I haven't walked away from listening to Mississippi John Hurt without a big smile on my face.

These are 1928 pre-Great Depression recordings - capital-V vintage. You'd think that the blues, if anything, would sell during the depression, but people didn't even have the money to buy these singles, released by Okeh records. The depression drove Okeh out of business, and Hurt returned to sharecropping, and fingerpicking for parties and dances, until rediscovered in the 60's. Read Mississippi John Hurt's wiki entry here.

Mississippi John Hurt - Big Leg Blues (mp3)
Mississippi John Hurt - Nobody's Dirty Business (mp3)

From Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Au Revoir Simone Lounge Act

Au Revoir Simone played 25 glorious minutes of casiotone for WOXY yesterday, and voila, the mp3 of the performance is already up here.

Still Night, Still Light is their excellent third album.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I Sowed Love & Reaped A Heartache

James Carr makes the kind of songs that make you remember the first time you heard them - tough, and at the same time, tender, lingering songs like "The Dark End Of The Street," in which you can hear the man singing as both halves of his heart search for hope, redemption, or a companion. These have a quicker tempo than that song, with livelier bass lines, but still have the same underlying power.

James Carr - I Sowed Love And Reaped A Heartache (mp3)
James Carr - Stronger Than Love (mp3)

From the everlasting A Man Needs A Woman.