Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pornographers Live

Maybe I should change the name of this blog to "The Rip."

Here are mp3s of the The New Pornographers' live Sounds Eclectic set, which aired Sunday on KCRW. They played it with all the passion and enthusiasm that you'd expect. Neko Case sounds magnificent on The Bones of an Idol, and the music on that track is a refreshing update. And the "listening too long to one song" harmonization in Spanish Techno is bliss. And then there's the irresistable melody in the Streets of Fire intro. The entire broadcast is here (real player required).

Twin Cinema
Use It
The Bleeding Heart Show
Jackie Dressed In Cobras
The Bones of an Idol
Spanish Techno
Streets of Fire

By the way, a helpful hint: don't listen to these at work, because network security might not take too friendly to the word "pornographers."

Own Twin Cinema. (Or you can get it from Best Buy for 7.99. But should you? Sheesh!)

Subscribe to KCRW and get rare goodies.

Note: My server was down the day I posted these. They should work now. Please let me know if they don't.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I'm not scared. I'm outta here.

These are from the complete unedited 2001 MTV R.E.M. Unplugged concert. Unless you were fortunate enough to catch their early gigs at places like the 40-Watt Club or the old 9:30 Club (the one with the beam in the middle of the floor), this might be as intimate as you'll get with them.

Electrolite [2nd take] (mp3)
At My Most Beautiful [2nd take] (mp3)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another Brilliant Broadcast

This has been a golden week for live in-studio performances on internet radio. In addition to yesterday's post (which I'll be taking down today to preserve bandwidth), and the one the day before, KCRW aired a confident set from Broadcast on MBE yesterday.

Broadcast mp3s (Live on KCRW, aired 01-25-06):

Michael A Grammar
Black Cat
Goodbye Girls
America's Boy
I Found The F
Ominous Cloud

Buy the brilliant Tender Buttons CD.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Performances by Go! Team! Rocky Votolato! The Elected!

There was an orgy of interesting in-studio performances at KEXP and KCRW yesterday. KEXP hosted Rocky Votolato and The Elected, and KCRW had a recording of the Go! Team.

Since it took a long time to save, convert, and upload these mp3s, all I'll say is you won't be disappointed.

The Go! Team - Live MBE performance at KCRW (mp3s)

Huddle Formation
Junior Kickstart
Bottle Rocket
The Power Is On
We Just Won't Be Defeated
The Icestorm
Hold Yr Terror

Rocky Votolato - Live@KEXP (mp3s)

White Daisy Passing
Portland is Leaving
She Was Only In It For The Rain
The Night's Disguise

The Elected - Live@KEXP (mp3s)

Would You Come With Me
Sun Sun Sun
Bank and Trust

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Live Tortoise

Tortoise played a live set at KCRW in November of last year. It aired yesterday. Listen to the set in its entirety, including the illuminating interview with Nic Harcourt, here.

Tortoise mp3s (recorded 11.18.05):

Magnet Pulls Through/eden 2/eden 1
Five Too Many
Unknown/dot/eyes (medley)

Buy Tortoise CDs.

M. Ward, The Entertainer

M. Ward on "Bean Vine Blues .2"

Choosing a song was not easy - he has a million incredible songs that i would love to take the time, sit down and try to learn someday - maybe I chose bean vine blues #2 cuz it stands out so much...in my opinion its probably the only song of faheys that ive ever heard with a blatant sense of humor -- maybe at the time of choosing I was in need of some levity?

-M. Ward

-from the MySpace johnfaheytribute blog

You get the feeling that M. Ward wishes he could play this one in a wild west saloon, and banter afterward with the whiskey-soaked cowboy gunslingers.

Bean Vine Blues (mp3), from the I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey compilation.

Hear more from the tribute album to the Takoma Park, MD native here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Climate Change Blues

There go the ice caps, and here come violent storms! Hello, pestilence & famine! There goes civilization, and the plants will take over! Can you get used to this lifestyle? Sing along with me.

David Byrne - (Nothing but) Flowers (live acoustic) (mp3)

Who wants revenge?

She Wants Revenge reminds me of a best-of 120 Minutes feature that Anthony Kiedis and Flea hosted back in the 90's. The part where they introduce a Green Day video goes something like this:

Kiedis: This next band, Green Day is from...
Flea: They think they're from England but I think they're from California.

Live, from last week's KCRW in-studio set in California, it's She Wants Revenge, a.k.a. They Sound Bloody English. They do play a tight set, though.

She Wants Revenge - 01 Red Flags (Live KCRW) (mp3)
She Wants Revenge - 02 Sister (Live KCRW) (mp3)
She Wants Revenge - 03 These Things (Live KCRW) (mp3)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Getting Funky Round Here

Here's a little nugget of wisdom for you: If you're going to do a Google image search for "Black Nasty," make sure your safe search is on.

Two tracks of rousing funk from Black Nasty's Talking to the People (Stax, 1999):

Black Nasty Boogie (mp3)
Booger the Hooker (mp3)

And, what the hell, here's a bonus while we're in this kind of TGIF mood:

Ikettes - I'm Blue (the Gong Gong Song) (mp3)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bubblegum Dolly

Take your mental image of Dolly Parton, and age-regress that image until you see a sprightly, energetic 20-year old future starlet, two years out of high school. Now imagine her singing bubblegum pop, shaking her hips and begging you to remain in her life, like an endowed American Idol contestant on an old black & white console. Too weird? Nope, not too weird. She was originally promoted as a bubblegum pop star after signing with Monument Records in 1965. She sounded like this:

Dolly Parton - Don't Drop Out (mp3)

What would Simon have said?

Here's something equally clap-along-able. I love the way the drums and hand claps play with one another.

The Angels - Adore Him (mp3)

Both songs from the One Kiss Leads To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found compilation .

Still got that image of young Dolly in your head? Fix it by listening to this:

Dolly parton - In the ghetto (mp3)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sing a Cover for You

Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim & Jeff Buckley, will be available in the U.S. in a couple of weeks. The opening track is a hyperharmonic cover of Tim's Sing a Song for You (mp3), and oh, how those voices melt together as they do just that.

Then there's the masterful No Man Can Find The War (mp3) by Tunng, which is a band, and perhaps a dining room line from IKEA. Their No Man Can Find The War is nicely fingerpicked, with just the right touch of hypnotic electronic effects.

The New American Songbook

I was at the bookstore this weekend, looking for the MOJO 15-track tribute to The Who. They didn't have it. Instead, they had the Springsteen issue, with two CD's to choose from: one with classic Americana, and the other with new stuff. Both compilations are solid, so the choice was tough. I decided on the new one, for the live song by My Morning Jacket's Jim James.

It's a folk song clothed in video game blips. It's as though he's singing in a cave, with drops of water falling into surrounding wells - some shallow, some deep, and those wells are plugged into sound processors.

Jim James - Sooner (Live) (mp3)

Kelley Stoltz's The Sun Comes Through (mp3) is great, too.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Presidential Introspection

This is introspective, self-disclosing, frail, computer nerd pop. And you will love it, because you really, really miss Postal Service. It's all sincerity, melody, and atmosphere. Oh, and well-placed blips. We don't use the word "twee" here, for we are men. Well, most of us are, and I'm pretty sure our lone female doesn't use it. But if we did say it, this might be a good occasion.

Electric President - Insomnia (mp3)
Electric President - Grand Machine No. 14

From Electric President (Self-titled).

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wouldn't Mind Dying

There's debate over what zither or primitive harp-like instrument Washington Phillips used in his gospel blues. It doesn't really matter. The sine qua non of all blues & gospel is the channelling of the spirit into song. In some songs, you hear the devil. Washington Phillips reached down for the lord.

Washington Phillips mp3s, from Key to the Kingdom:

Wouldn't Mind Dying If Dying Was All

A Mother's Last Word To Her Daughter

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sia Has Been Getting Breathed All Over

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Sia's "Breathe Me" is the most resilient song from last year, and possibly, next to Beck's Guero songs, the most re-mixed. I'm guessing it was also probably one of the most posted songs on the mp3 blogs.

Here is yet another version, from yesterday's in-studio set at KCRW.

Sia - Breathe Me (Live on KCRW 1-10-2006) (mp3)

ConFinnuously Dark

There's so much to say about last year's CD, Yha Hamaraa, from the Finnish Christian band, Paavoharju.

Boomkat says, "This is the album Ariel Pink wished he could produce, the album that sent Brian Wilson over the edge, the promised collision of worldwide styles that keeps evading every artist as they suddenly qualify for arts funding. It’s easy to point the finger of influence at Paavoharju but impossible to name peers, they are a band which truly stands alone."

Even the first listen won't leave you alone, without first begging for interpretation. The album title means "Continuously Dark," and appropriately: it's spiritual and mysterious, often clouded in a diaphanous fog of gentle static. At times it's like trying to hear a whisper on a demagnetized tape on an archaic cassette player. At other times what you hear is as clear as water dripping into a wooden bucket, but what does it mean?

Maybe that's the point. It was made for you to interpret, for you to listen to and not read about.

paavoharju - yhä hämärää - syvyys (mp3)
paavoharju - yhä hämärää - ilmaa virtaa (mp3)

Listen and buy here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Scary Monsters

This post goes out to someone who loves David Bowie, and someone who loves Frank Black.

Hey, I think I just covered everyone, and some of us twice, didn't I?

David Bowie & Frank Black - Scary Monsters (Live@50) (mp3)

The Minus 5 on Life

As I mentioned a few days ago, the new Minus 5 CD, The Gun Album, will be out very soon.

Here is evidence that it's a definite buy:

Leftover Life to Kill (mp3) starts with hints of vintage Teenage Fanclub, with a grumbling, sinister guitar, which holds you down throughout, as the downer lyrics are spat into your ear: More than fate/when your dreams don't coagulate/and the ones you love/hate you for good reasons. At about 2:20, a instrument comes in - it's an organ combined with electric guitar combined with bagpipes. What's the name for that? The bagorgtar? And then something else distorted comes in before the final assault begins. The final chorus ends with about a minute left to kill, and kill it they do. You suspect that this is the way Minus 5 would take it to that leftover life.

My Life As A Creep (mp3) sounds maybe or maybe not like Travelling Wilburys meets Brian Wilson meets piano-based George Harrison, and when you listen you'll realize that's not a bad thing. The songwriting is dim, but with a touch of hope: I just hope one day/you'll understand/I'm not supremely evil/and I can be better than I am.

Pre-order The Gun Album here and receive a bonus hand-made CD-R with two exclusive mp3s.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Corinne Bailey Rae Becomes Eclectic

Corinne Bailey Rae played a live set on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic last Wednesday. As I listened to it in the office, several people walked by my desk, froze, and curiously asked, "What's that you're listening to?" "Corinne Bailey Rae." "Who?"

I have a feeling we're all going to be very familiar with this young lady very soon. Her voice holds both warmth for a biting winter and coolness for a merciless summer. You will move to this, and sing with it. It's soulful, and gorgeous.

Here are the live tracks she played:

Put Your Records On
Till It Happens To You
Like A Star
Trouble Sleeping
I'd Like To

Corinne Bailey Rae's self-titled import is available for pre-order.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Peter and the Pipes

Cyndi Lauper shows off her pipes on top of Peter Buck's guitar, and what a gorgeous pair they make.

The Minus 5 featuring Cyndi Lauper - Midnight Radio (mp3)

Speaking of The Minus 5, their new CD, The Gun Album, is due out February 7th. The Minus 5 lineup (this time) is: Peter Buck, Jeff Tweedy, Colin Meloy, John Wesley Harding, Sean Nelson, Ken Stringfellow.

And speaking of Peter Buck, did you hear that REM played a wedding reception in Athens, in October of last year, with BILL BERRY! If anyone taped this, I will PAY YOU MONEY for it. Unlikely, though, as they played in front of only 300 people in a tiny arcade room at a bowling alley. Mike Mills said "It was awesome to look behind me and see Bill on drums."

Fear of Nothing

This is from a radio broadcast from earlier this week. It a kick-ass song to kick start a weekend. Listen to it on the trip home and it will inspire high speeds, and then catch you with sirens, but no, you're not slowing down now...

Jack Knife Lee - Fear of Nothing (mp3)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What happened to John Hughes?

my fellow students were perfectly-cast extras walking through the hall for those establishing scenes where the director is trying to set a mood for a Cool High School movie. What happened? What happened to John Hughes? Do the kids of this generation, the ones who are 16, do they really, really see Mean Girls and relate? Do they leave the theater wanting to run home and throw all their sports pendants and strings of pearls and soccer trophies in the microwave?

pump up the volume made me want to blog. it's the practical equivalent of having a pirate radio station, but quieter. but that's all i'm doing, vomiting out my head periodically like this.

-from the Dresden Dolls Diary.

Dresden Dolls - Pretty In Pink (mp3) (from the High School Reunion compilation)

Pretty Little Heads On The Shelf

Almost two weeks ago, the music headlines screamed "Nellie Mckay Splits With Columbia," because there were apparently too many notes on the album as she intended it, and Sony wanted to tell her which ones to take out. Yesterday, like a pissed-off McDonald's manager, Columbia pulls the "You can't quit because I'm firing you" move. Or maybe a better analogy is: like an angry husband who has just been left, Columbia declared that it wants a divorce, and it's keeping the records, dammit. After all, Columbia reportedly told Mckay that Pretty Little Heads will not be distributed.

It's a tragic break-up, and so, fittingly, here is what might be the most tragic lament of personal loss since, ummm, Pink Floyd's "Don't Leave Me Now"(?):

Nellie Mckay - I Am Nothing (mp3)

So, 23 songs, no album. Where does that leave us fans, who have been anticipating the CD for ever-so-long? We know they exist and we want them. And yeah, I'm REALLY talking about the 7 songs not on the advance copy. Ideas, anyone? E-mail me!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

a bell, a whistle, a spray can being hit against a plastic beer case

Congotronics 2: Buzz'N'Rumble From the Urban Jungle, the follow-up to Konono No. 1, is out now. The Crammed Records website declares:

Hot on the footsteps of Congotronics 1, here comes a fresh selection of even more amazing sounds, courtesy of no less than seven electro-traditional bands from Kinshasa, all especially recorded and produced by Crammed's Vincent Kenis...These bands all draw on traditional trance music, to which they’ve incorporated heavily-distorted sounds generated by DIY amplification of their instruments.

And the Crammed site says it all about this track, which clocks in at a meaty 6:47:

Sobanza Mimanisa ('orchestra of light') are the resident band in Nganda Boboto, in the Selembao district where we recorded this piece. There are only five instruments here: a bell, a whistle, a spray can being hit against a plastic beer case, a guitar - whose 'power chord' style is very unusual in Kinshasa - and a likembe which manages to play the bass and solo parts at the same time.

Spray can, check. Now where can I get my hands on a plastic beer case??

Sobanza Mimanisa - Kiwembo (mp3)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Around the World in a Locomotive

Speaking of travel, bold new directions, and overlooked music from last year, Alex Schippenbach, Aki Takase, and DJ Illvibe gave us an hour-long spring tour of planet earth in their daring Lok 03. From the Splendid review:

There are a few ways to experience a journey across the world. One is simply to take it -- but unless you've just cashed in your ten year-old Microsoft options, that trip might put you on the short road to Chapter 7. The trio behind Lok 03 took another route by creating their own excursion -- one that will take you further than you imagined.

World-renowned husband-and-wife pianists Alex Schippenbach and Aki Takase, and adopted musical stepchild Dj (sic) Illvibe, pull together their resources -- piano, percussion, turntable, trumpet -- to simulate a train ride (Lok, as in locomotive) in which each new track explores one of twenty different and disparate locations, from Oklahoma to Utrecht to Caracas to Osaka.

Here are their trips to Detroit and Osaka.

Detroit (mp3)
Osaka (mp3)

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Good Earworm

Get Him Eat Him have a new EP called Do As I Tell You. On it you'll find a song called Exposure (mp3), which will plant itself in your head and never leave. It's part Weezer, part TV Theme Song, and ALL GOOD.

Fieldwork Trips

I didn't see Fieldwork's Simulated Progress on anyone's Top 10 list for 2005, or Top 50, for that matter. Pity.

If travelling to new places is among your resolutions for 2006, clear your mind of thought, close your eyes, and give pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Steve Lehman and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee (Tyshawn Sorey is now with the band) your ears and your subconscious mind. Though Iyer's piano tends to give in to rhythmic chants, the music is more violent jungles, nervous subways and drunken dance floors than serene prayer rooms and clean dojos.

Fieldwork mp3s -


Here's to a year of bold new directions.