Friday, December 29, 2006

Good God! Help us to be less identical.

For the past two weeks, The Smudge has featured soul, gospel, and funk. How to end this smorgasbord of spirit and groove? If I were obvious, totally lacking in thought, utterly inflexible, and incapable of going off on a creative tangent, I'd wrap it up with a combination of the three.

Okay, I'm obvious.

But first, since I probably won't be posting again until Jan 2, here's a New Year's toast: To the mp3 blogs - the providers of beautiful obscure music downloaded mostly by other mp3 bloggers, growing exponentially in number circa the birth of our forefathers Fluxblog, Said The Gramophone, and Teaching The Indie Kids To Dance Again (RIP) - may we collectively venture out of our little circles of comfort, tap into our e-muses often, and may we find many treasures not already posted and write things not already written, without making the majority of any album available via a simple Hype Machine search.

The Modulations - This Old World Is Going Down (mp3)
Trevor Dandy - Is There Any Love (mp3)

From Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Didn't It Rain

It definitely didn't snow, at least not in Michigan, where I spent Christmas.

But there was a Starbucks, where I picked up a compilation called Lifted: Songs of the Spirit, which delighted me with 15 uplifting spiritual songs from several genres - folk, country, jazz, get the idea. Everything from Thelonious Monk to Alison Krauss to Rufus Wainwright. It also has these:

Mahalia Jackson - Didn't It Rain (mp3)
The Chambers Brothers - People Get Ready (mp3)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown, Live at the 9:30 Club, Dec 28, 2005 (mp3)

Just a year before his death, the Godfather of Soul reached into his vast catalog of hit songs for a night of music, recorded live from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Hear the full performance, originally webcast live on Dec. 28, 2005 as part of NPR Music’s live concert series from All Songs Considered.

- From NPR Live Concert Series: James Brown In Concert

James Brown, Live at the 9:30 Club, Dec 28, 2005 (mp3) (from the same site)

Stax Southern Soul Sisters

The powerful bluesy organ intro foreshadows Mavis Staples' voice in the opening couplet to Since I Fell For You (mp3) : You made me leave my happy home/You took my love and now you're gone. There are blues in this southern soul, yet Mavis sings with the power and spirit of a gospel song; unsurprisingly, this was the first secular song that Mavis learned to sing. It's a song about loss, and it's devastating, but in the end, you don't feel that this is defeated woman, but one with an enduring spirit.

Mabel John's I'm Running Out (mp3) also has an intro that immediately attracts and holds the ear, but this one does it with play between guitar, horns, and bass. This song, too, is about the pain of bad love, and again, the triumph of a strong independent spirit, rather than a lonely woman's sorrow, is what shines through.

Both songs are from The Stax Soul Sisters.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Anita Robinson of Viva Voce to perform with The Shins on SNL

Viva Voce's Anita Robinson will be singing with The Shins on Saturday Night Live on Jan 13.

From yesterday's Viva Voce newsletter:

The big news around here is that Anita has been asked to sing with The
Shins on Saturday Night Live, Jan.13th. She'll be singing their current
single "Phantom Limb" and their 'next' big single off their new record
- Wincing The Night Away.
Anita sang on the record and those tunes in particular & we're pretty
flattered they asked her to sing on the show. It's NBC - check local
listings for time. Awesome.

We're planning a tour in the states in March - Europe in April - the
states again in May - so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dates.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Joy of Stax

Stax Records will be relaunched next year. Let's hope together that their new releases are filled with all the passion and spirit characteristic of their classics. Their first two signees are Isaac Hayes and Angie Stone, so they're on the right track. Also, Concord Records' John Burk old USA Today that "This is an opportunity to fill the void for real soul and R&B."

These are from It's Christmas Time Again, Stax's 1992 Christmas compilation.

Staple Singers - Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas? (mp3)
Albert King - Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' (mp3)
Rufus Thomas - I'll Be Your Santa, Baby (mp3)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Work It On Out With Rhino

A few days ago, I posted a few tracks from The Complete Motown Singles, which is the perfect gift for the classic soul lover. There's another perfect gift for the same person - Rhino Records' What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves is a collection of four discs, 91 rare soul jewels, a glorious overload of soul and funk. This is all the soundtrack you'll need for your post-holiday treadmill workouts.

The Bar-Kays - Soul Finger (mp3)
The Stovall Sisters - Work It On Out (mp3)

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Versions of Georgie James Songs on Myspace

Listen to them now. They blew me away. My appetite for their full-length is now more whettened than a melted Frosty the Snowman.

'66 Stevie

Hip-O released the sixth collection from its The Complete Motown Singles series, last month. It's a treasure. All of the songs are from 1966, including these alternate versions of Stevie Wonder singles:

Stevie Wonder - Someday at Christmas (Alternate Version) (mp3)
Stevie Wonder - Blowin' In The Wind (Alternate Version) (mp3)
Stevie Wonder - Nothing's Too Good For My Baby (Single Version) (mp3)

Own the astounding The Complete Motown Singles Volume 6: 1966.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Twelve Days Of Soul.

I'm going on vacation from today thru New Years. I'll be away from home, away from my music, and mostly away from the blog. I'll probably get a few posts in. They'll probably be soul. Just wanted you to know. Wherever you are, I hope your holidays are going to be as perfect as mine will be.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rumba In The Congo

The packaging for the Crammed Records' Roots of Rumba Rock (Congo Classics 1953-1955) double-disc reissue immediately captures the eye, with its scarlet & white lettering hovering atop a Congolese gentleman adjusting the dial of an antique radio. The photographs inside the the disc are just as captivating, with musicians and dancers lost in the rhythm, and they are a reflection of the music on the disc.

This isn't something that you're going to pop into your CD player and listen to from beginning to end. It's not Congotronics, though Vincent Kenis compiled the collection. It's a collection with the theme the jubilation of emergence - a satisfaction of living in the moment, a happiness that these people are in a studio, in front of a microphone, or on a dance floor, spending their time inside the music, an escape from the everyday.

Crammed says:

The origins of Congolese rumba, its strange links with traditional music, French crooners and Belgian brass bands… the spectacular reappropriation of Afro-Cuban music by Kinshasa musicians who recognized some of the old likembe (thumb piano) patterns originally brought to Cuba by deported Congolese slaves and proceeded to adapt them to the electric guitar… the social context, the lifestyle of Congolese musicians in the early Fifties… all of that and much more is extensively described in the liner notes written by Kenis and based on interviews with musicians from that era.

Kitenge - Odjali Na Mouchoir? ("Have You Got A Handkerchief?")(mp3)
"Break! Break! (Roll Your Hips) It feels good! What if we die tomorrow? Never mind, cherie! Break! Break!"

Liengo - Tembe Na Tembe ("Fight After Fight") (mp3)

Lisanga Pauline - Menagere (mp3)
A menagere was a white man's concubine - and quite pertinently, this song features the rhythms of two worlds: the tango...and the polka pike...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Frank Black Has A Gay Old Time On The Current.

Have you seen Frank Black's latest videos for Don't Get Me Wrong and Gyaneswar? Yeah, creepy. You never know what to expect from FB, but whether he releases something stellar or not quite, you can always count on him to please his die-hard fans without pandering. Take his performance last month on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current. He plays an untitled song about his father and a tune that he downloaded off of the Smithsonian Global Sound by folk singer and poet Gary Green, once again proving that he'll always be lefter of left field than you can imagine.

Frank Black - Live on MPR's The Current, 11-3-2006:

My Life Is In Storage (mp3) (left-click for video)
Untitled Song About My Father (mp3)
That Burnt Out Rock And Roll (mp3) (left-click for video)
The Black Rider (Tom Waits) (mp3) (left-click for video)

And here's the original Gary Green song, from the album linked to above at Smithsonian Global Sound:

Gary Green - That Burnt Out Rock And Roll (mp3)

Get ready for the 2007 Frank Black CD/DVD release, Christmass.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Lucky Soul

Lucky Soul craft their songs out of Motown, 50's - 60's era girl-group pop, and rock. They have the gift of grabbing the ear and pulling the listener along into the song, like a Pied Piper or a snake charmer. In a recent interview on The Torture Garden, guitarist Andrew Laidlaw describes the perfect pop song:

"Brevity, I think, is the key to perfect pop, and hooks, hooks, hooks. And no clich├ęs."

Lucky Soul - Lips Are Unhappy (mp3)
Lucky Soul - Struck Dumb (mp3)

Their EP will be available in January.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Boyskout - Live on WFMU 11-25-2006

Last month, Boyskout stopped by WFMU's Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T, and put out a solid, spirited set of rock and roll. Have I told you that you really should see their live show? Yes, I have. All hail Boyskout.

Boyskout - Live on WFMU 11-25-2006 (mp3s)

Apt. 2A
Blind Eye
The Model (Kraftwerk)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Devotchka - Live on MPR, 11-30-2006

Devotchka's Nick Urata and Tom Hagerman played two songs for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current last week. Here they remind us that when arranged properly and played passionately, an acoustic guitar, a violin, and a sincere voice can carry all the emotion of a full orchestra.

Devotchka (Live on MPR, 11-30-2006) (mp3s):

Something Stupid
Queen of the Surface Streets

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Georgie James Is On Blogger.

Georgie James have finished recording their full-length, and will be releasing a single from it in January. They've also announced a few shows, listed below. And don't forget to check their new blog regularly.

1.11.07 - Washington D.C. - Rock And Roll Hotel w/Tralala - ALL AGES - $8adv/$10dos - 8pm.

1.12.07 - Philadelphia, PA. - Johnny Brenda's - w/Tralala - 21+ - $8 - 8:30pm

1.13.07 - New York, NY. - Mercury Lounge - w/Tralala and Spectacular Bird - 21+ - $10 - 8pm

1.14.07 - Cambridge, MA. - Middle East Upstairs - w/Tralala - 18+ - $9 - 9pm

1.19.07 - Harrisonburg, VA. - James Madison University - w/Antelope, The Wayward and more - ALL AGES - $5 - 6pm

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Matt & Kim Battle The Human Banana

Matt & Kim: A 4-Minute Meal

This Matt & Kim video for Yea Yeah (mp3) reminds us that throwing food at people is always fun, and is a good argument for the one-take music video.

Amputation is also great for music videos.

Get Matt & Kim stuff.

Also download:

No More Long Years (mp3)
Verbs Before Nouns (mp3)
Silver Tiles (mp3)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Andrew Douglas Rothbard

Andrew Douglas Rothbard's debut solo album, Abandoned Meander, is loaded with organic, trippy, psychedelic, spiritual headphone music. Colorful noise effects come at you from all directions, but it stubbornly holds on to its folk heartbeat. This is the first of a series of five CDs, but don't wait for the collection - you'll want to take each leg of the trip, one inventive step at a time.

Bull in the Dell (mp3)
Rabbit Hole (mp3)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Josef K on Domino

This is why we love Domino:

In our continuing series of releases documenting the best of avant Scottish pop of the early '80s, Domino is privileged to be releasing Entomology, a comprehensive anthology of Josef K, the Edinburgh quartet whose legend has far outlived grown well beyond the band's own brief lifespan.

Excerpted from the liner notes for Entomology, penned by the inimitable Paul Morley:

There needed to be a gloomy remotely intimate glam pop group named after a character created by Franz Kafka who detuned their pained, pining guitars like the Velvet Underground, who screwed up dance beats with as much nimble knowingness and/or amateurish exuberance as Devo, who faced up to long lasting reality with as much sad, mad grace as Magazine, who got stuck into logic as defiantly as Pere Ubu, who had spent a lot of time watching Television and listening to the first six or seven songs written by Buzzcocks.

They took themselves very seriously whilst circling the idea that fun was a very peculiar notion.

They were The Sound of Young Scotland, together with Orange Juice, whose guitars were also radiant and brittle, whose rhythms were also scrubbed and blunt, whose vocals were also proud and serious, but who sounded like another group completely.

A touch more rational. A little less glaring. A splinter less uptight. Lacking, perhaps, the art for art’s sake element that some of us swooned over, and which we see explicitly echoed in they way, say, the popular Franz Ferdinand express themselves.

Their own men.

In their own special time.

Who would know when it was time to quit.

Sorry For Laughing (Postcard 7" single version) (mp3)
Probably the band's best-known compositions, it's definitely the most-covered, most recently by Nouvelle Vague.

It's Kinda Funny (Postcard 7" single version) (mp3)
Released in the autumn of 1980, "It's Kinda Funny" was their third single and a haunting tribute to Ian Curtis of Joy Division, who had passed away the previous spring.

Also download Chance Meeting on Epitonic.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

BoySkout - Live at The Talking Head, 20 Nov 06

Christina, Piper, Leslie, and Ingrid want you to do a bad deed.

Looking for a rock show to energize you to the bone, something more Hives than Hem? Go see BoySkout. Watching their live show is like getting laid. I saw them with my friends Randy and Uncle Tom (if you were there, we were The Three Obviously Straight Guys) on Monday night, and I'm still buzzing and smitten. The San Francisco girl group jolted the small crowd at Baltimore's Talking Head Club with some hard feminine electricity. I read good things about their live shows, but I didn't expect to be sold, heart and soul, at a late-late night Monday show in a venue the size of my living room.

It all started before they took stage, with the bandmembers warming each other up by frolicking like Hobbits during performances from androgynous opening acts Pariah Piranha, The Degenerettes, and Baby Aspirin. Singer Leslie Satterfield, keyboardist & violinist Christina Stanley, and guitarist Ingrid Dahl (also of the band Lismore) danced in every corner of the club, brushed up on or touched almost everyone in the venue at least once, shared more than a few kisses with each other, and copped more than a few generous feels. Unbeknownst to the crowd, this behavior boosted its collective arousal, like feeding chum to a school of fish.

This went on for hours, a long and cruel tease. They didn't start playing until after midnight. But once they started I was wide awake. Leslie was fantastic. She has that rare ability to sing in a downcast style with clarity, like Elastica's Justine Frischmann. Christina and Ingrid are the band's sex appeal and presence. Their perfect smiles are pure innocence, but their eyes are the yang to the yin, sending the message: "I'm bad news." Their play is feverish and furious. Bassist Piper Lewine and their drummer held it all together with rhythmic power, and it held together for the entire set.

Mayhem ensued when the band requested that the crowd remove their shirts before the encore. Predictably, the drunk people up in front of the stage did just that, and became a mass of bobbing boobs and man-boobs. The mostly sober people paid almost no attention to them, though, because Christina stole the crowd's attention and sent it into a frenzy when she laid into her plugged-in violin with orgasmic fervor during their untitled closing song.

After leaving a BoySkout show, there's only one question for the remainder of the night: snuggle or just sleep?

Boyskout - Spotlight (mp3)
Boyskout - Untitled (mp3)

Stream the BoySkout e-Card, where you can also buy Another Life, which was one of my 20 favorite albums of this year.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jamie Lidell, Live on MPR's The Current, 11-11-2006

Jamie Lidell bared his soul for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current on the 11th of this month. You'll have a hard time finding a more genuine live soul sound than you will on this live version of Multiply.

Jamie Lidell - Live on MPR's The Current, 11-11-2006 (mp3s)

Game For Fools
What's The Use

Own Multiply and Multiply Additions.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Yes, I Realize.

Beck played a surprise show at the Black Cat on the 30th of last month. I wasn't there, because surprises like that just don't happen to me.

Here's the setlist, with two songs recorded from the show, including an essential version of Do You Realize?:

1. Black Tambourine
2. Devil's Haircut
3. We Dance Alone
4. Think I'm In Love
5. Go It Alone
6. Nausea
7. Motorcade
8. Scarecrow
9. Minus
10. Nicotine Gravy
11. Hollywood Freaks
12. Paper Tiger
13. Do You Realize (Flaming Lips)(mp3)
14. Guess I’m Doin’ Fine
15. Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games (Of Montreal) (mp3)
16. Ghost Range
17. Girl
18. Horrible Fanfare / Landslide / Exoskeleton

Friday, November 17, 2006


Former Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy pastes together elements of Kate Bush-style new age, pop, and creepy underwater ghost triangle sounds in this track from the netherworld, the aptly titled "Ghosts," from her forthcoming album with the same title. Feel the eerie factor rise when she blends in a dark Gregorian melody at the end. This is dark, edgy euphoria from a planet more evil than ours.

Siobhan - Ghosts (mp3)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hot Chip, Live on The Current, 11-11-2006

Hot Chip played three songs in an intimate, subdued, yet shiver-inducing in-studio performance for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current this past weekend.

Hot Chip, Live on MPR's The Current, 11-11-2006 (mp3s):

Whistle For Will

Own The Warning.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Trouble Everywhere.

NYC's Daylight's For The Birds create lush melodic layers, dreamy atmospheres, and sweet vocal purity on their debut, Trouble Everywhere. Daylight blends synth, guitar, drums, and voice seamlessly into little pop dreams. And yet, there's a sadness in them, and something that digs its way into you and reminds you that not everything is right. These are beautiful songs.

Daylight's For The Birds - To No One (mp3)
Daylight's For The Birds - For Now (mp3)

Stream the full album on the E-Card.

Own Trouble Everywhere.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Captain Amazing

The Lame Drivers are Matt Lemay, Joe Posner, and Jason Sigal of Get Him Eat Him, with guitarist Kevin Sparks. The Rhode Island quartet's 2005 Captain Amazing EP has been reissued by 75 or Less Records, and you can get a limited edition hand silkscreened copy with 5 bonus tracks, all for 5 bucks. It's well worth it - these guys make a noise big enough to overflow their tiny state, and with hooks infectious enough to get all 1,048,319 of its heads nodding in unison.

Lame Drivers mp3s from The Captain Amazing EP reissue:

Let Me Get Those #s Down
Wits Out

Own Captain Amazing.

Also download Hangman's Code (mp3) (basement version) from their never-released They Expand EP.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Viva Voce, Live on KEXP 11-8-2006

Viva Voce played three songs in the KEXP studio yesterday. If you're like me, you love Get Yr Blood Sucked Out for its raw power and no-nonsense attitude. They hit you with all that from the beginning of this performance.

Viva Voce - Live on KEXP, 11-8-2006:

1. So Many Miles
2. Believer
3. Special Thing

Stream the full Get Yr Blood Sucked Out album, and buy it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fuck All Y'All (The EP)

Now that we have your attention. Here are some mp3s from Applied Communication's free EP:

Operation: Load Up On [Tang] (mp3)
Infinite BJ (mp3)
Echo Boom (mp3)

Download the other 2 songs, and Awesome Fantasies (mp3), because you can never have too many, and because it goes like this:

do you know you've never known how i've really felt?
i've only felt what i've felt you've felt i should feel.
i only give you what i think you want to be given; only tell you what i want to tell you
based on my understanding of what you want to be told.
you're getting nothing but convoluted blankets of repetition--
repeating your body, surrounding your body.

here are some drum beats, i made them myself.
here's a package- it's got my heart, my stomach, my soul.
here's my trust. i believe you, understand you.
here's my hope. i'm glad i see you every day.


ahhh, poetic verse.

If you feel like being emotionally disturbed, watch the video for It Bothers Me It Bothers You I Snore:

Buy Applied Communications stuff.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Black Angels, Live on The Current, 10-28-2006

The Black Angels played three songs for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current last month. These guys urgently belt out a rock song like it's three and a half decades ago. In some ways, maybe it is.

The Black Angels, Live on MPR's The Current, 10-28-2006 (mp3s)

Better Off Alone
Bloodhounds On My Trail
The Sniper At The Gates Of Heaven

Also download The First Vietnamese War (mp3).

Own Passover.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Beck, KCRW, 10-31-2006 (the rest of it).

For all of you asked for it via e-mail, here's the rest of Beck's KCRW performance, which I partially posted last Thursday. Also, these are in the correct order.

Beck - Live on KCRW 10-31-2006 (mp3s):

1. Motorcade
2. Cellphone's Dead
3. No Complaints
4. Movie Theme
5. Interview
6. We Dance Alone
7. Nausea
8. Dark Star
9. Strange Apparition
10. Think I'm In Love

Get The Information.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Why did the Iraqi chicken cross the road??

Depends on who you ask.

U.S. Army division:
The chicken was not authorized to cross the road without two forms of picture identification. Thus, the chicken was appropriately detained and searched in accordance with [standard operating procedures]. We apologize for any embarrassment to the chicken.

U.S. Air Force:
In the last seven days the USAF has cargo-lifted 732,361 chickens across 852 roads.

Moqtada al-Sadr:
The chicken is a tool of the evil coalition and will be killed.

U.S. Marine Corps:
The chicken is dead.

Other Answers here, in Tom Ricks's Inbox.

The Shins, Live on KEXP, 11-3-2006 (CMJ)

If you're like me, you impatiently waited all week for The Shins' live KEXP performance, which finally happened yesterday. They were astounding.

The Shins - Live on KEXP, 11-3-2006 (@CMJ Music Marathon in NYC)(mp3s):

Kissing the Lipless
Pressed in a Book
Phantom Limb
Girl Inform Me
[New Song]
Turn a Square

Buy The Shins' CDs.

Friday, November 03, 2006

+/- {Plus/Minus} Live on KEXP 11/1/2006 (in NYC)

The hyped and rising +/- played a live set for KEXP before their show for the Absolutely Kosher showcase at CMJ on Wednesday. Check out this version of Steal The Blueprints, which sounds a lot less Postal Service and a whole lot more garage.

+/- {Plus/Minus}, Live on KEXP 11/1/2006, NYC(mp3s):

This is All (I Have Left)
The Important Thing Is To Love
Steal The Blueprints
One Day You'll Be There

Own Let's Build A Fire.

Listen to album version of Steal The Blueprints (mp3).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beck - Live on KCRW 10-31-2006

Beck's KCRW in-studio sessions are essential. He played one that aired on Halloween, featuring songs from the The Information, including two of my favorite songs of the year, No Complaints and Movie Theme. Here's the setlist:

Beck - Live on KCRW 10-31-2006

1. Motorcade
2. Cellphone's Dead
3. No Complaints (mp3)
5. Interview
6. Movie Theme (mp3)
7. We Dance Alone
8. Dark Star
9. Nausea (mp3)
10. Strange Apparition
11. Think I'm In Love (mp3)

Get The Information.

Check out Amazon's customer images of Beck's customizable cover.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Mika is unturndownable and unturnoffable. In fact--and it is a fact--you can't listen to him without turning the volume up. His pop compositions have all the right things in exactly the right places as he Freddy Mercuries and Prince Rogers Nelsons his way up and down the octaves. And on top of that, he's so seemingly honest. You hear it in his lyrics, and you feel it in this autobio from his Myspace:

I was born in lebanon and rasied in Paris and London, hopping from country to country like a footloose hippy with my four brothers and sisters.

Coming from different background to most I found no place at school and delved into music from an early age. I started writing songs as a kid, not because of grand ambitions but because it was an easy way to tell a story, a joke and often the truth. Tell the truth in a song and people are less pissed off than if you were to say it to their face.

I sent out my stories to anyone and everyone, not surprisingly I often got no reply. The further I got into music the more attention I was getting for my own song writing, I made a choice last year and decided to go for it...

Mika - Happy Ending (mp3)
Mika - Grace Kelly (asx stream)

Listen to more Mika at his Myspace and on the Mika e-card.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Soul Bird


My, oh my. This song is ebullience. There's a lively bass line, enthusiastic brass, and a hot rhythm section. It's the background vocals, though, that give Soul Bird that push over the line that crosses from the soulful into the spiritual. This is from the reissue of Jackie Mittoo's 1971 Canadian debut, Wishbone.


Jackie Mittoo

Light In The Attic

Download "Soul Bird" (MP3, 192kbps)

Benjy Plays Black Cat Black Cat.

My new theory is that you can't be a bartender at the Black Cat for any length of time, exposed to night after night of great music, and then make songs that suck. That would be akin to hanging out with Shakespeare and friends for a while, and then resorting to using descriptive words like "suck," "fantastic," and "amazing."Benjy Ferree, who probably served me, Randy, Uncle Tom & His Artist Wife Sugarduck spirits during his time at El Gato Negro, is proving my theory with fantastic songs like the ones below. Benjy returned to the Black Cat yesterday, where he shared the stage with Archie Bronson Outfit and Apples In Stereo. If you were there, please let us know how amazing it was.

In The Countryside
Why Bother

Own Leaving The Nest (Full-length due Nov 7th (U.S.)).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunshine Soul

Fire & Ice Cream

What you will hear in these songs: Earth Wind & Fire. The Brothers Johnson. What you won't: sarcasm, irony, cleverness & wit. These are all sunshine and groove. Boost the bass and forget your thinking cap. You won't be needing it.

Fire & Ice Cream

Bing Ji Ling

Kreme Kul Records

Download "What Went Wrong" (MP3, 192kbps)

Download "Can't We Be Friends" (MP3, 192kbps)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Seventh Man (excerpt)

"A huge wave nearly swept me away," said the seventh man, almost whispering. "It happened one September afternoon when I was ten years old."


"It was the biggest wave I had ever seen in my life," he said. "A strange wave. An absolute giant."

He paused.

"It just barely missed me, but in my place it swallowed everything that mattered most to me and swept it off to another world. I took years to find it again and to recover from the experience--precious years that can never be replaced."


He cleared his throat, and for a moment or two his words were lost in silence. The others waited for him to go on.

"In my case, it was a wave," he said. "There's no way for me to tell, of course, what it will be for each of you. But in my case it just happened to take the form of a gigantic wave. It presented itself to me all of a sudden one day, without warning, in the shape of a giant wave. And it was devastating."

- from Murakami's short story The Seventh Man, available in his new collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yo La Tengo - Live on KEXP 10-24-2006

Once upon a time, I told someone I was dating that I was going to a Yo La Tengo show. She said, "Yo La Tengo?? That doesn't make any sense. It means 'I The Have.' Stupid name for a band." And that's when I knew we were totally incompatible.

I The Have played four live songs, including a Zombies cover, in the KEXP studio on Tuesday. It was a priceless performance, and I Have It to share with you:

Yo La Tengo - Live on KEXP, 10-24-2006 (mp3s):

The Summer
The Weakest Part
You Make Me Feel Good
I Should've Known Better

Own I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Beirut, Live on KEXP 10-24-2006

Beirut played five songs in the KEXP studio on Monday. It was as magnificent as you'd expect: damn near perfect.

Beirut - Live KEXP 10-24-2006 (mp3s):

Mt. Wroclai (idle days)
Elephant Gun
After the Curtain
Closing Song

Own Gulag Orkestar.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Take The Boyskout Oath.

Boyskout can rock your face off as you dance your inhibitions away. On their solid Three Ring Records release, Another Life, Boyskout's infectious pop hooks are deceptively sweet; they belie their bad girl punk attitude. Let me take that back: "attitude" implies acting a certain way. Boyskout really are deliciously dangerous. You see it in the videos (below), and in the lyrics:

I am Napoleon.
You are my Josephine.
I'll start a Revolution for your love.

I am your Romeo
You are my Juliet
I'll swallow poison if you swallow first.

They don't push you into decadence so much as bring you to the precipice to let you decide whether or not to self-degenerate. You will. Once you play these, there's no turning back.

Boyskout mp3s:
Everybody Knew
Happy Yet?

Stream the entire album on their e-card, where you can also buy the very highly recommended album. There's not a disappointing moment on

This is the best video in the cosmos, which features hardcore face sucking:

And this one has the ladies crossing pistols, and a sizzling synth line:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Alice Smith

Listening to her album, I imagine Alice Smith late at night in a Takoma Park or Washington, D.C. bar, reaching out to and into the people with her voice, as if there's no stage, no space, between them and her, and leaving all of them with the certainty that there is no limit to how far this girl can go. She has range, slinkiness, and raw power in a classic voice that's perfect for soul music. Most impressive is the way she changes her stylistic delivery to fit the song - this lady can shout it like Tina, she can do sexy-strong like Fiona Apple, she can do sultry jazz or country with equal ease. She does all of that on her debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers, & Me, which I can't recommend highly enough.

Alice Smith - Do I (mp3)
Alice Smith - Desert Song (mp3)

There's more, even better stuff, here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

On, On.

It's hard to believe this is from 25 years ago.

Anyway, happy Monday. Smile.

Come to my room, I need you
You're living proof, make your move

On and on we will come
There are scores of us
On and on, here we come
There are more of us

You are the youth, we're with you
We're living proof what we can do
On and on we will come
There are scores of us

Tom Tom Club - On, On, On, On (12") (mp3)

Own Tom Tom Club CDs.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra

On I'm Thankful, Spanky Wilson, with Will Quantic's full Quantic Soul Orchestra, bring on the hot funk, and Lordy, it is gooooood, and I am truly thankful for the way the trumpet wails in You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover, and lyrics like these:

If I'm not the woman for you baby
You'll find another
But a woman like me
Don't grow on no trees

- from A Woman Like Me

Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra (mp3s):
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover
A Woman Like Me

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Haiku of Many Syllables

Chicago MC Haiku mixes classic lo-fi atmospheric soul sounds with his intense modern beats. Refreshingly, his writing is evocative rather than provocative. While big ticket rappers operate by making brash, boastful statements, Haiku's rule of engagement is to get the listener to ask himself questions. In For That, the question is: was it worth it? "That," for you, might be money, an object, a lover, a bad habit, or an idea. Whatever it is, you lost something to get it.

Haiku - For That (mp3)
Haiku - Betty Blue (mp3)

Stream the entire album on the e-card.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Matt Pond, PA, Live on MPR's The Current, 10-16-2006

Mp3 blog darling Matt Pond, with band, with cello, played a stirring three-song in-studio set at MPR's The Current on Monday.

Matt Pond PA (Live at MPR's The Current, 10-16-2006) (mp3s):

Is It Safe
From Debris

Own Matt Pond PA.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bossanova The Band

Chris Storrow (with guest players from Black Mountain and New Pornographers) is the one-man band called Bossanova, whose TeenBeat release, Hey Sugar, is confident and polished. Storrow understands where his songs want to go, and he helps them get there - the guitar and synth are controlled and measured, but the songs are given the liberty to escalate and erupt, punctuated with piercing rhythms, as in In The Immortal Words Of You. Nothing is forced, and nothing wanders. Everything flows, and that timeless voice is just right for the music. The album sounds like it could have been imported from Britain two decades ago, yet it fits right in on today's college radio.

Bossanova - In The Immortal Words Of You (mp3)
Bossanova - Calvary (mp3)

Listen to the entire album on the Bossanova e-card.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Grizzly Bear, Live on MPR's The Current, 10-8-2006

In the past month, Grizzly Bear has played two arresting in-studio sessions on KEXP, and this equally time-halting one on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current. They played last night at the 9:30, and I'm kicking myself for having missed it. Now it's my mission to hear "Shift" and "Knife" live in either Baltimore or Philadelphia next weekend, which are their last listed U.S. live dates.

Grizzly Bear - Live on MPR's The Current, 10-8-2006 (mp3s):


Own Yellow House.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Cassettes' Radio Hour

Washington, D.C.'s The Cassettes have included their entire 'Neath The Pale Moon album in their Radio Hour podcast, as an AM radio broadcast.

The Cassettes - Radio Hour Podcast (mp3)

Also, their 2003 album, O'er The Mountain, is available on iTunes with Bonus Tracks.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bliss In The District

As if there's nothing ugly and nothing to be cynical about in their native Washington, D.C., as if there's no war and no backpack searches at National Mall events, and as if politicians don't shoot sexually explicit instant messages to minors, The Positions crafted an album of innocent, upbeat diner-jukebox girl band pop (though they're not all girls), worthy of being blasted on your car stereo as you're served greasy food and an ice cream soda by a waitress on roller skates. The best part is, they're not trying to transcend the times through regression, or to achieve Pipettes-style irony and cleverness. They're stargazingly sincere. You hear it in the jubilant brass, and you feel it in Nicole Stoops' unwavering, confident voice, and the harmonies and rhythm section dare you to think "revolution" or "reform," and though the songs are sometimes about personal regret, what comes through in them is hope.

The Positions - I Need You (mp3)
The Positions - Back To Me (mp3)

From Bliss!

Friday, October 13, 2006

WTF? (Where The Funk?)

It's Friday already, and by now you're surely wondering: Hey, where the funk at? Indeed, the funk is overdue. Let me get it out to you:

Freddy Wilson - What Would It Be Like? (Part 1) (mp3)
Sundia - Stand Up And Be A Man (Part 1) (mp3)

From Absolute Funk, Vol. 2

But don't stop there. Go ahead and make this funky couple a threesome with Funkadelic's true No Head, No Backstage Pass, over at WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cold War Kids, Live In-Studio @ KCRW, 10-11-2006

Cold War Kids are all Hype-d up and rising. They soulfully rocked the KCRW studio yesterday, and in their generous 7-song set, they deliver you from nowhere with a brave cover of Springsteen's State Trooper.

Cold War Kids (Live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic) (mp3s):

06 State Trooper (Springsteen)

01 We Used To Vacation
02 Passing The Hat
03 Robbers
04 Hospital Beds
05 God, Make Up Your Mind
07 Harmony In Silver

Own Robbers and Cowards.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Yo La Tengo, Live on MPR's The Current, 10-7-2006

I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass is among Yo La Tengo's best, and is one of the year's best albums as well. It will remain among your regular rotation as you trade most of the year's offerings in. Ira, Georgia, and James played some of it in-studio yesterday for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current. It was among my favorite in-studios of the year. All 3 of these are essential - tack them onto the album's playlist.

Yo La Tengo, Live on MPR's The Current, 10-7-2006 (mp3s):
Beanbag Chair
Mr. Tough
I Feel Like Going Home

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Turnpike Glow on 75orLess

75orLess Records recently put out a special hand-silkscreened limited edition EP Rush Home, from Italy's Turnpike Glow. Fantastic, but guitar melodies like these deserve a larger audience than the 150-copy release. The hooks are irresistable, and the multilayered melodies won't let you walk away. Turnpike Glow have no small measure of aural charisma. Get the EP, and anticipate the full length soon.

Turnpike Glow mp3s:

Dirty Rain

Monday, October 09, 2006

Amy Millan, Live on MPR's The Current,

Last week, Stars' Amy Millan played three beautiful songs in-studio for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current.

According to MPR:

...Millan thinks of herself as a country music girl at heart.

Her idol is Johnny Cash. For her solo album, she recorded songs about drinking and heartbreak that she wrote when she was still in her early twenties.

Amy Millan (Live on MPR, 9-29-2006)(mp3s):

Losing You
Look Up (Stars)
Into The Dark

Own Honey From The Tombs.

Friday, October 06, 2006

TV On The Radio On The Radio

TVOTR have been making their through the college radio studio circuit, haven't they?

I'm not complaining. This show aired the same day that their tourmates and good friends, Grizzly Bear, played at KEXP.

TV On The Radio (Live on KEXP, 10-4-2006) (mp3s):

Blues From Down Here
Wolf Like Me

Own Return to Cookie Mountain.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Raining Grizzly Bear (Hallelujah).

Grizzly Bear just played a live in-studio set for KEXP a couple of weeks ago. They did it again yesterday. This time around, Grizzly Bear played Service Bell and Little Brother instead of Shift and On A Neck, On A Spit. There's a palpable intimacy in the strumming and fingerpicking in these; you feel the knife.

Grizzly Bear - Live on KEXP, 10-4-2006 (mp3s)

Service Bell
Little Brother

Invest in Yellow House.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Calexico, Live on The Current, 9-28-2006

The southwest Americana of Calexico's Garden Ruin was just the thing for summer evenings this year, wasn't it? But you know what? Listen again: It works just as well as summer slips into fall. These songs have a kind of lazy urgency, the anxiety at the edge of a season. It's still warm, but we know those days are running out.

Calexico, Live in studio at Minnesota Public Radio's The Current, 9-28-2006 (mp3s):

Bisbee Blue

Georgie James finishes recording

As reported on their website:

9/25/06 - We finish mixing the record this week, hopefully, and we're really excited to get it out so people can hear it. As far as I can tell, it's turned out even better than we'd hoped and we're really glad we were able to put some time into it. As of now, there are thirteen songs and that's probably the amount that will be on the finished product. We'll announce more news as it comes along. Hopefully we'll know soon who is putting it out and when. Once the recording is wrapped up, we'll get back to playing shows. We're setting some up for the fall now and we'll announce them as they're confirmed. Thanks. - JD

We'll keep you updated. You're going to want to buy it as soon as it's available. Their Demos at Dance Place is fantastic, and enduring. I still listen to it as much as I did when I got it early this year.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Gospel According to Chris Richards.

In the latest edition of the Washington Post's Sunday Source, Hamil Harris and Q and Not U's Chris Richards suggest eight gospel "Songs to stir the spirit," as part of this article on where to find good gospel choirs in D.C. Their choices are:

F.C. Barnes and Janice Brown - Rough Side Of The Mountain
James Cleveland - Peace Be Still (mp3)
Thomas Dorsey - Take My Hand, Precious Lord (mp3)
Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace
Mahalia Jackson - Move On Up A Little Higher (mp3)
Mississippi Mass Choir - Near The Cross
Edwin Hawkins Singers - Oh Happy Day
Richard Smallwood - Total Praise

This wasn't on the list, but it's revelant:
Mahalia Jackson - Take My Hand, Precious Lord (mp3)

Friday, September 29, 2006

M. Ward, Two Songs, Live on KCRW, 9-28-2006

The bad news is that my stream cut off after the first two songs that M. Ward played in the KCRW studio yesterday. The good news is that those first two songs are below. Of course, you can still listen to the rest of the performance on KCRW. AND you can get some great M. Ward rarities here.

M. Ward (Live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, 9-28-2006)(mp3s):

Chinese Translation

We still have his in-studio performance at Minnesota Public Radio's The Current here.

UPDATE: Muzzle of Bees has the rest of the performance. They don't have "Post-War" yet, though, so it's kinda like we complete each other.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bobby Bare, Jr.'s 11 Hour Stunt

Since I mentioned Bobby Bare, Jr. yesterday...

Have you heard his latest, The Longest Meow? Criminally good.

11 members, including My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Patrick Hallahan and Carl Broemel, 11 songs, all in 11 hours. It seems almost planned, and seems to beg for a Spinal Tap reference, but I'll spare you. The album sprawls stylistically, which, in this case, makes for an engaging, unexpected experience. It plays like a really good live in-studio mixtape.

Check out Sticky Chemical (mp3), which is Sha Na Na playfulness, without crossing the line into silliness.

And then there's his acoustic treatment of the Pixies' Where Is My Mind? (mp3), which comes across as a folk tale.

Help a starving criminal. Own Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminals Starvation League's The Longest Meow.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quincy Coleman - Live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic (9-26-2006)

This has been a phenomenal year for in-studio performances - Grizzly Bear, Cat Power, the Bobby Bares, Art Brut, M. Ward, The Coup...the list goes on.

This performance is right up there among the best of them. If there's justice in this world, Quincy Coleman just sold an assload of records after her set at the KCRW studio. She fuses country, jazz, blues, doo-wop, rock, ragtime, handclaps, and much, much more, seamlessly and proficiently. She's not your everyday average Norah Jones-wannabe, though--there are surprises and delights around every bend, especially the spicy guitar and brass solos. Improv heaven.

Quincy Coleman - Live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic (9-26-2006)(mp3s):

This Time
Calling Your Name
Never Happy
Don't Go Away
Blown Away
Want Me Back

After seeing her photos, you might want to check out the video (.ram) of this performance.

Support justice. Own Quincy Coleman's independently released Come Closer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Decemberists, Live on KCRW, 9-25-2006

Curious about The Crane Wife, the Decemberists' debut on Capitol, out next week? The band played four songs in 30 minutes (you do the math) in the KCRW studio yesterday; three were from the new CD. Worry not: they still know how to touch a nerve.

Decemberists, Live on KCRW, 9-25-2006 (mp3s):

O Valencia
The Island
The Perfect Crime 2
Crane Wife 1 & 2

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I was up late last night listening to the engaging new Guther album, Sundet. It's a fantastic emotional journey. The songwriting inveighs at one moment, and confesses in the next, but the music is always clean and patient, seeming to seek absolution through pop melody. The best thing about it, though, is that smoky hypnotic voice.

Guther - Statements (mp3)
Guther - Trick or Treat (mp3)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Annuals - "Ida, My" (Live at Sin-e, NYC) (YouTube)

The Prefixmag Blog posted this vid from a recent Annuals performance.


Serena- Maneesh, live on KEXP, 9-19-2006

Norwegian rockers Serena-Maneesh played four songs on KEXP yesterday, before their show with those manic Evangelicals last night. I wish I were in Seattle.

Serena-Maneesh (Live on KEXP, 9-19-2006)(mp3s):

Chorale Lick
Sapphire Eyes
Selina's Melodie Fountain/Beehiver II

Own their self-titled album.


Check out this vid, just posted on YouTube:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Polyphonic (not spree)

Polyphonic the Verbose isn't as talkative as the name implies on Abstract Data Ark. Some of the tracks are experimental instrumentals, psychedelic hip hop blended with jazz, reggae, and electronica. When the verbage does flow, it dazzles.

Land Rovers in the Video (mp3) works for several reasons, among them:

1. The spaced-out intro.
2. Clever use of the phrase "doo-doo head dummies."
3. The flute. The guitar.
4. The fact that this is a political rap song with a spaced-out intro, flute and the phrase "doo-doo head dummies."

Spin the Globe (mp3) is Nintendo rap, with well-placed bleeps, but more impressively, perfectly placed pauses.

The subliminal Moving On (mp3) has all of the above, minus the "doo-doo head..." and is the best track on the disc.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cibelle, live on The Current, 9-14-2006

Cibelle played 3 songs on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current last week. I hoped that she would perform stripped down, straight bossa versions of her selections. She didn't. After listening to these songs, I'm confident that you'll be as happy as I am with her decision to keep it modern. I was blown away by them.

Cibelle - Live on MPR's The Current, 9-14-2006 (mp3s):

London, London
Minha Nequinnha
Naite de Carnival

Own The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves.

Mountain Goats @ Amoeba, & Interviewed by A.C. Newman; Cat Power's Lived in Bars vid

From the Beggars YouTube Channel:

Even better: the video for Cat Power's Lived in Bars. Amazing.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Grizzly Bear !! Live KEXP 9-14-2006

Grizzly Bear played a live in-studio set for KEXP yesterday, and it will floor you. I've been waiting impatiently all week for this set, and I knew they wouldn't disappoint. I think that my contemporaries would agree that these live mp3s are the kind of stuff that you would save to put up as your last post.

I'll keep them in mind for a re-post when that time comes. The Smudge has a long way to go.

Grizzly Bear (Live KEXP (recorded in NY) 9-14-2006) (mp3s):

On A Neck, On A Spit