Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual

Baltimore's Ponytail is for the restraint-repulsed soul, the impulse reveler. They specialize in the seemingly random sound outburst, but not as occasional surprises as gimmicks or hooks. The little guitar and drum explosion is their modus operandi and their raison d'ĂȘtre. All songs are sustained multiple orgasms of sound. And then there's lead singer Molly Siegel, yelping and wailing and begging for another like a pony in heat, or an alien, her vocal cords clearly controlled by the instrumentation, feeding off it like a radio control signal. It all comes off as ferocity barely leashed, often on the edge of escape, midair at the end of the chain and drooling. If Michael Bay made profound indie rock, it wouldn't be this awesome.

Ponytail - Beg Waves (mp3)

Ice Cream Spiritual! won't be out until June, but you can catch them on tour now. They're playing with Cut Copy and Black Kids at Sonar in Baltimore on May 18th.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Want To Hurry Home To You

You can pre-order A Skin, A Night, a Vincent Moon documentary on The National, which includes the Virginia EP, now.

Here's an in-studio performance with a stunning version of Slow Show, on Oregon Public Radio last year. I've come to expect stunning live versions of their songs.

*mp3s removed at the request of Click on the link above to listen to the performance.*

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Take Me Baby.

Mondays render your pulse weakly and frail ? Get it back with these ladies, who lay on jolts of funk with uncommon directness.

Althea Spencer - Take Me Baby (mp3)
Cheryl Johnson - It's Not Too Late (mp3)

From the electric compilation, Sister Funk 2.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Okkervil River, Live at WOXY, 4-24-2008

I've saved countless in-studio performances this year, and posted the ones I like the best. This one beats them all. This arresting acoustic version of A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene inspires me to go out and buy a Martin D15, yesterday. And all of these, when listened to at the right moment, will make you tremble - Will Sheff's voice has a deep soulful sadness that connects instantly.

Okkervil River - WOXY Lounge Act, 4-24-2008 (mp3s):

Lost Coastlines (new, unreleased)
A King & A Queen
A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene
It Ends With A Fall

Listen to the entire performance with interview here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Atmosphere, Live on The Current, 4-21-2008

Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold is out today. Rapper Slug "stopped by The Current to play a couple new songs 'bluegrass style' around one microphone. The set up is stripped-down, trading turntables for an acoustic guitar." The entire show with interview is here.

Atmosphere - Live on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current (4-21-2008) (mp3s):

Not Another Day

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hot Chip @ The Current Studios, 4-18-2008

Hot Chip dropped in at Minnesota Public Radio's The Current studios on Friday for an interview, and generously played some songs for us, without computers, including a very special medley.

Hot Chip - Live on MPR's The Current, 4-18-2008 (mp3s):

Made In The Dark
Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor)/In The Privacy Of Our Love (medley)
Ready For The Floor

Get Made In the Dark.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Georgie James, this Saturday, plus a live in-studio performance at Rainydawg.

If you love Georgie James as much as I do, you'll love two things: an in-studio performance at Rainydawg Radio (Seattle), available for download here. Second, a live show this Saturday night at UMBC's Quadmania, featuring a carnival and live music all day. Georgie James is up at 8:30, and Dan Deacon plays at 5:50.

Georgie James - Places (demo)(mp3)
Georgie James - More Lights (demo)(mp3)

Both from Demos at Dance Place.

Thanks to The Finest Kiss for the intel.

Places was on my year-end Best of 2007 list.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Calico Horse

The Calico Horse used to be Clock Work Army, whom we said very nice things about a few years ago. Loved singer Emily Neveu then, and love her now. Father Feed Me (mp3), a carnivalesque rock tune, is tagged as a Clock Work Army song, but it's not really, and it doesn't matter, anyway. It's a damn good song, with a warped oom-pah-pah piano intro and dark guitar fuzz, and real pretty piano flourishes at the end. I'll be looking for their debut, Mirror, out May 27th. Also check these out: Awake In The Clouds (mp3)(these clouds seem to be the black variety, not white), and Onomatopoeia (mp3), which in some ways feels a little like a Walkmen song, with soaring vocals and the title word drawn out in syllables, vocal hesitation cleverly creating emphasis.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Okkervil River & The New Pornographers, Live at the 9:30 Club, 4-14-2008

I just wanted to say...I was there. Before I left, I told myself that I wouldn't post a proper review of the show. So I arrived without a camera, without recording equipment, and without a worry about remembering setlists, banter, etc. - in other words, I left the critic's eye and ear at home. Liberated, I lived in the moment with the rest of the fans in the mixed-age sold-out venue. It was like taking a night trip to Canada to see a dream rock combo.

Here's what I took with me:

Okkervil River - the opening medley of The President's Dead and Black, two of my favorite Okkervil songs, and from the start, Will Sheff was ON. Also, the blissfully noisy parts of Our Life Is Not A Movie, and the collective shiver I imagined we all felt in the solemn A Girl In Port.

The New Pornographers - It was A.C. Newman's birthday, and we attempted to sing the Birthday Song in unison, but it didn't come out that way. The gift was to us - The Electric Version, From Blown Speakers, and The Laws Have Changed, and All For Spinning You Around enthralled, My Rights Versus Yours, All The Old Showstoppers, Twin Cinema and Use It were also crowd-movers, but the euphoric height of their set was The Bleeding Heart Show, stunning even without Neko Case, who was sick.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Sunday Sinners, CBC Radio 3 In Session

The Sunday Sinners hit CBC's Radio 3 with an in-your-face In Session performance a couple of weeks ago. Lead singer Jenna is a powerhouse vocalist - she has the fire inside. Here's the set:

The Sunday Sinners - live on CBC Radio 3 (4-2-2008)(mp3s):

It's So Lonely
St. Peter
5 and 20 Ponies
He Don't Love You
The Green Fairy
Moon Song

The Wet Secrets' Rock Fantasy.

Are you ready to go in? The Wet Secrets steer your dinghy directly into their Rock Fantasy, which trembles with throbbing pulses of noise, cries and echoes of desire, hooks that search for your skin, and at its heart, a dark enchanting chasm that devours your flesh whole as you laugh at its whimsical irony.

The Wet Secrets - Easy Prey vs. Sex Maniac (mp3)

Rock Fantasy is coming in May.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Eels, Live on The Current 4-7-2008

Mark Everett of Eels played Dylan for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current on Monday.

Eels (Mark Everett) - Live on MPR's The Current (4-7-2008)(mp3s):

Girl From The North Country
Ugly Love

He also spoke at length with Mary Lucia about working with the BBC on a documentary about his father, who developed the theory of parallel universes. Here are some bits from the interview:

MC: Was there a lot of things that were absolutely new to you that you found out through doing this process?
E: Just about everything. I really knew very little about him.

E: Well, people probably have no idea what we're talking about here. We're talking about the guy who invented the concept of parallel universes. And I did not inherit the math gene from him at all. I can't even add up the tip after dinner without a calculator.

E: I blame Einstein for ruining my childhood.
MC: Right on. How so?
E: Well, he didn't take my father seriously. My father withdrew, and he was like a piece of furniture in the house to me. That's all I knew.

MC: [about her relationship with her own father] I think people feel like, again, well he's your father, you should know him, and you should know where you come from, but when you don't necessarily have that much in common with someone...
E: Yeah. It's hard to have anything in common with a guy who's a genius quantum mechanic...and I think that was his biggest problem in life, that it was extremely hard to relate to the regular chimps around him.

MC: How did you meet Tom Waits? How did that ever initially come up?
E: There's this thing called the Shortlist Music Prize, and he was a judge on it a few years ago, and he nominated our album, Shootenanny, and that was the first time I had any idea that he was paying attention...the thing that's great about meeting Tom Waits is that he really is Tom Waits. There's no mistaking the entire time you're in his presence who he is. He's exactly who you would expect.
MC: Which, again, exactly what you would expect I'm not entirely sure...
E: Just awesomely Tom Waitsian.

MC: You met Neil Young?
E: Yes.
MC: Did you want to?
E: Of course, yeah. I met him and I got really nervous and the first thing I said to him was "I like your beard."

Pick up Eels' Meet the Eels: Essential Eels 1996-2006, Vol. 1 and Useless Trinkets: B Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2007 (2CD+DVD), both released earlier this year.

MGMT + Adriana Lima

Music by MGMT.

Sexy by Adriana Lima.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige Do Letterman

If you missed it, here's the Jay-Z & Mary J. Blige performance on Letterman a couple of days ago:

Jay-Z with Mary J. Blige - Can't Knock The Hustle (Letterman 4-4-2008)(mp3)

...and here's the hilarious interview:

Can't Knock The Hustle is the first track on Jay-Z's classic debut, Reasonable Doubt.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The rest of the set.

Okay, okay. Here's the rest of the set from the show I posted yesterday.

You still need to listen to the interview.

The B-52s - Live on KCRW (4-2-2008)(mp3s):

Hot Corner
Juliet Of The Spirits
Love Shack
Rock Lobster

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The B-52s, live on KCRW, 4-2-2008

The B-52s performed on Morning Becomes Eclectic yesterday. They played some new songs and some classics, each a crowd-pleaser, ready to turn a room's gloom into vroom.

The B-52s - Live on KCRW (4-2-2008)(mp3s):

Hot Corner
Juliet Of The Spirits
Love Shack
Rock Lobster

Listen to the entire show with interview:

The B-52s' latest album is Funplex.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Frank Black Sent Away.

Two observations made in the last hour:

1. Seven songs is sometimes better than ten or twelve.

2. Nobody can record a taut two-minute expression of self-dissatisfaction like Black Francis.

I was alone
I killed my clone
I learned to play
The xylophone
But I was bored
With modern chords
And so today
I sent away
I sent away
I sent away
I sent away

Black Francis - I Sent Away (mp3)

From his new mini-album with seven songs a vowelless title, Svn Fngrs.