Wednesday, June 30, 2004

More NYC Rock and Roll

First up a band from NYC called The Walkmen, who are part of the whole Interpol, Strokes, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs scene. This is my favorite song from that scene, completely filled with anger and passion -

The Rat - The Walkmen

And the second recommendation is a band that the Walkmen tour with, who I also think are great...

Bandages - Hot, Hot, Heat

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Verve Remixed

So about a year ago, I ran across the Verve Remixed collections (volume 1 & 2) which have taken some serious jazz vocals songs and turned them over to electronic DJs to remix. Many of them are quite interesting, although some are complete failures. Two that I like quite a bit are:

Sinnerman - Nina Simone & Felix Da Housecat
Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair - Nina Simone & Jaffa

Some of these songs on this compilation are a disaster like the Tricky song but there are some gems.

Also, if you love Nina Simone, which I do, check out Live at Ronnie Scott's...

Power Pop on Epitonic

Where last we left off, we had examined 2 songs on Epitonic. But wait! There are yet more gems to be found on said site. To wit, let's check out songs by 2 critically-lauded, commercially-ignored power pop purveyors from the 90s: Spoon and Superdrag. To be honest, I've read a lot of good things about these bands but really haven't explored their work outside of what's on Epitonic. But the free stuff is always a good place to start. Each band has 4 songs available; these are my favorites:

Spoon - The Way We Get By. "We get high in back seat circles..."

Superdrag - Lighting The Way. Listen here. It's reminiscent of various songs by Sugar, particularly If I Can't Change Your Mind. The height of irony? One of the other songs is actually titled Sugar. Neat!

Monday, June 28, 2004

Back to College

Well since Morrissey released an album a couple of weeks ago and The Cure are about to release a new album tomorrow, I will pass along two songs from them, which are probably on the radio...the Morrisey song is great, but I do not like the rest of the album that much. The new Cure song is not bad but I had hope for more after reading this review...

The Cure - The End of the World
Morrissey - Irish Blood, English Heart

Neo-Soul and Neil Young

Yesterday the New York Times Sunday Playlist included new Angie Stone...and since I cannot find any of the new album, let me recommend the song -

Wish I Didn't Miss You

from her last album. An incredible soul song with the O'Jays riff. Also since I have listened to the new Wilco album at least 15 times since buying it last Tuesday, let me recommend with Neil Young type guitars -

Spiders

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Let's Explore Epitonic

Yes, I mention Epitonic.com in almost every post, but only because the site is a great source of free indie rock MP3s. Certainly not because I get remunerations of any kind from them. If only...

That said, let's wade into this site slowly so as not to overwhelm. Perhaps 2 songs would be a good place to start:

- The New Pornographers: Canadian supergroup of sorts that received a LOT of critical attention/buzz with their 2nd album, The Electric Version, from 2003. They spin out ultra-catchy pop confections that amaze. I own the album and confess that it's almost too much to listen to in one sitting (like eating a whole bag of cotton candy). Nevertheless, check out their free song on Epitonic - The Laws Have Changed. It's a single from the album and one of the standout tracks.

- East River Pipe: Low-fi artist from the 90's comprised by one-man-band, F.M. Cornog. Every article about Cornog mentions the fact that he was homeless for a while, so I suppose I will, too. I haven't heard other material by him, but the song Make a Deal with the City is one of the most achingly lovely things I've ever encountered. Judge for yourself.

Finally my own password/name...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Soft Boys Rock Hard

Lame-ass, title, huh? Anyway, if you aren't familiar with The Soft Boys, you should definitely check them out. They're part of my "commercially unsuccessful but hugely influential bands from the late 70's/early 80's" series of posts. Trippy old Robyn Hitchcock was the lead singer, and the guitarist, Kimberly Rew, went on to form Katrina and the Waves. The Soft Boys were a huge influence on REM and some of our other favorite artists from the 80's. Their 2nd album, Underwater Moonlight, is a classic. Two standout tracks are:

- I Wanna Destroy You (a response to punk rock)
- Queen of Eyes (talk about jangle-pop!)

You can listen to clips on Amazon, although not Queen of Eyes unfortunately. However, looks like Amazon offers Insanely Jealous as a free download.

The Soft Boys reunited for a few years earlier this century and put out a new album that was well-received critically. You can download a good track (Mr. Kennedy) from it at Epitonic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

1 for Tuesday from Alie

Here's a good album I just bought:

Jet - Get Born

Monday, June 21, 2004

1 more item from Alie

After my music movie additions, I thought I should actually add some music (kinda the point here, right?)

Interpol by Interpol

PDA and NYC are both great songs off the album. This is a dark, introspective, mellow alternative rock album. Here is the link to Amazon
to give it a quick listen...

Enjoy...

2 music documentaries from Alie

I've recently seen two music documentaries that are strong overviews of hip-hop music, the hip-hop DJ and where this music came from and where it is going. Scratch is my favorite because you want to buy about every song you hear, but Welcome To Death Row is a great saga & learning tool...

SCRATCH :
A feature-length film that explores the world of the hip-hop DJ. From the birth of hip-hop, when pioneering DJ's began extending breaks on their party records (which helped inspire break dancing and rap), to the invention of scratching and "beat-juggling" vinyl, to its recent explosion as a musical movement called "turntablism,".

The film features some of the world's best DJ's, whether they're famous for solo scratching, competing in international DJ battles, playing for rap artists, or just rocking parties with the most insane records ever dug up. Check out performances and interviews with DJ's Q-bert, Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys) Rob Swift and the X-ecutioners, Cut Chemist & NuMark Jurassic 5), DJ Craze, The Bullet Proof Space Travelers, Babu (Dilated Peoples), DJ Krush, DJ Premier (Gang Starr), and others, along with "old-school" innovators like Afrika Bambaataa and GrandWizard Theodore (who is widely acknowledged as having invented the idea of scratching vinyl in the first place).

SCRATCH had it's world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a 2002 Independent Spirit Award by the IFP.

WELCOME TO DEATH ROW:
Must-see hip hop video chronicles the untold story of Suge Knight's notorious Death Row label and its superstar acts, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dog, and Tupac.


Saturday, June 19, 2004

2 more for Saturday

Have downloaded the new Magnetic Fields album named I. Not quite at good as 69 Love Songs (which is a must own) but still quite good. Here are two cuts from the new album...

I Don't Believe You
I Thought You Were My Boyfriend

Again available on iTunes

Songs for Saturday...

2 songs, one from Phaser, influenced by Verve/Spiritualized, and The Ponys, a Chicago band, influenced by the Velvet Underground...

Phaser - Life is an Illusion - Clip on Amazon
The Ponys - Let's Kill Ourselves - Clip on Amazon

Both are available on iTunes.

F*ckin-A, Indeed!

Check out a great new band, The Thermals! They've been compared to a noisier, punkier Guided By Voices. They come from Portland, OR and have 2 albums out on SubPop. Their first album, More Parts Per Million, garnered a lot of critical praise last year. The latest one is titled Fuckin A. So, obviously they aren't in any hurry to be played on MTV or a ClearChannel radio station.

My 2 recommendations are, to be honest, the only songs I've heard by them:

- No Culture Icons
- How We Know

Both are available for free download at SubPop. I just love the refrain on No Culture Icons - "Hardly art, hardly starving."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Dream Syndicate

Yesterday on my lunch hour, I went to a indie record store and ran into a friend from college. He was at a listening station checking out a new rarities CD by The Dream Syndicate. For those of you who missed The Dream Syndicate the first time around (early 80s), like I did, they're an incredible band from LA who developed a Velvet Underground-esque sound and were part of the so-called Paisley Underground scene (The Three O'Clock, Bangles, etc). Their leader Steve Wynn is still active as a solo artist. Their first album, The Days of Wine and Roses, is one of those must-have albums that you may not already have. I only heard/bought it 2 years ago, but I vividly remember reading its review in Rolling Stone in 1982 and knowing that I would like it. The reviewer characterized the snarling, malevolent guitar work as the voice of evil with Steve Wynn's vocals and the voice of good. Something overblown like that...

At any rate, you can listen to clips on Amazon.com. I highly recommend the album; standout tracks include:

- Tell Me When It's Over
- Then She Remembers

But, really, it's all good, with the exception of Too Little, Too Late. Let's all make a pact that, when we have bands of our own, we won't let our tone-deaf bassists sing a token song. Kim Gordon can get by on tons of style/attitude, but otherwise, not a good idea.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

New Sonic Youth Album

Since Goo, I have been a huge fan of Sonic Youth. They have a new album out that has been well received. You can hear tracks from the album for yourself. I particularly like -

Unmade Bed
New Hampshire


Updates on Wilco and Jeff Tweedy

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune has just put out a new book about Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. The Tribune today had a great except about the making of the Wilco and Billy Bragg album of Woody Guthrie covers. The NYTimes gave the book a generally favorable review over the weekend and in addition to the book about the band, Wilco is coming out with a new album later this month called "A Ghost is Born." You can already listen to songs from the new album.

In honor of one of my favorite bands, my two songs today are from their 1999 album Summerteeth -

A Shot in the Dark
I'm Always in Love

You can check out clips of those songs.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Verging on novelty

I've really never liked "novelty" artists - Ween, Weird Al, King Missile, etc - or songs. Guess I'm too pretentious and take my music rather seriously. Nevertheless, these are songs that crack me up:

1) Check out the song Wish I Sang A Little Better by The Sprites (available on iTunes). I don't really know anything about the band but the song is hilarious. It namechecks the singer's vocally-challenged idols like Feargal Sharkey (Undertones), Stephen Pastel, and "Bernard Sumner on Love Vigilantes" (i.e., lead singer of New Order).

2) Plea From A Cat Named Virtue by The Weakerthans. Written from the point of view of the singer's cat. Actually more poignant than cutesy. Also on iTunes.

Some music from Alie

My contribution is certainly not as ecletic as some of the posts I've seen here as I'm essentially a rock girl, but here goes anyway...

Kula Shaker – Hey Dude from the album “K”. They also do a fantastic remake of “Hush” (Embarassingly enough, I want to dance around my apartment and sing into a hairbrush every time I time I listen to this band)

Nick Drake – Northern Sky (possibly the most romantic recording ever made, this song it what love must be – or obsession - depending on how you look at it)

Weezer - The Green Album. (Heroin's pop-music equivalent, 'nuff said).

Luscious Jackson – Naked Eye (or anything else by them, though they broke up I still dig this band)

Pixies – Wave of Mutilation" (Since I was in 8th grade, I’ve had an intense love-affair with this band. They simply rock. They have a compilation album out “Wave of Mutilation”. This is a rock must have.)

PJ Harvey – Good Fortune off of “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea” (great song for some low-tech rocking out)

High Art – soundtrack (mostly Shudder to Think, great for lazy Sunday afternoons, or mood music)

Blade Runner – soundtrack (fantastic for falling asleep to)

David Bowie – “Let’s Dance” album. (I have been getting back into David Bowie’s commercial music again. And regardless of how he feels about it, this album is really good. Another rock must have)


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Some suggestions from Damian

Here are some artists that might be of interest. It’s hard to pick just two songs from them but I’ve put their albums so you can check them out. Enjoy

- Josh Rouse-1972
- Josh Rouse-Underneath Cold Blue Stars
- Wheat-Per Second, Per Second, Every Second
- Gemma Hayes-Night On My Side
- Ben Watt-Buzzin’ Fly Volume 1
- Rooney-Rooney
- Carla Werner-Departure
- Frou Frou-Details
- The Cardigans-Long Gone Before Daylight.
- Bebel Gilberto-Bebel Gilberto
- Mindy Smith-One Moment More
- Longwave-The Strangest Things

End of an Era - A Salty Salute

I recently learned that Guided By Voices, one of my all-time favorite bands, is breaking up after their next\last album, which will come out in Aug. The new album is Half Smiles Of The Decomposed. Read more about the end of an era at:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM GUIDED BY VOICES

For those unfamiliar with the lo-fi shenanigans of GBV and its beer-guzzling ringleader Robert Pollard, check 'em out at Allmusic.com. You can download 2 more recent songs at Epitonic, and a few of their albums are available on iTunes. I can't really do justice to the band and their incredibly prolific output here. Suffice it to say that they helped define indie rock music in the 1990s.

Drew Forsberg

Monday, June 14, 2004

Ray Charles

In honor of Ray Charles...two standards...

What I'd Say
I Got A Woman


Also two interesting articles about Ray Charles...

From Rolling Stone Magazine

From the NYTimes

Play Lists from the NYTimes???

Does anyone ever read the Sunday Arts section and see the random playlist. Last week Stephen Merritt. This week DJ Shadow...

I am definitely planning on checking some of this out...


Blues Binge

Not sure if anyone else is listening to the Blues these days but I have been on a major binge...

Magic Sam - West Side Soul
Slim Harpo - Best Of
Otis Rush - Cobra Recordings 1956-1958
Junior Wells - Hoodoo Man Blues
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - The Original Peacock Recordings
Willie Dixon - The Chess Box


The First Songs...

So without haste...the first 2 songs...have been in heavy rotation...

The Shins - Mine's Not a High Horse (Reminds me of Echo & the Bunnymen, thus Mike I recommend you check this immediately)

The Stills - Still in Love Song

Glam Soundtracks

I've been enjoying Modest Mouse - Float On myself. I've had their album Lonesome Crowded West for years and would recommend it.

Since it's been awhile, I'm going to go way over my limit and recommend 2 albums. Tonight's theme is:

Great soundtracks from good-to-mediocre movies about fictitious glam rock bands.

1) Velvet Goldmine. Follows the rise and fall of a very Bowie-esque figure during the glam rock heyday in the UK. The movie is confusing and confused, although visually stunning and interesting. The music is great! It includes contemporary originals by Lou Reed, T-Rex, Roxy Music; covers of period songs by current groups; and originals written in the glam style for the movie that fit right in beautifully. Bowie himself is conspicuously absent but he wouldn't agree to participate. Interestingly, some of the cover bands are supergroups: Wylde Ratttz, which includes most of the non-Iggy Pop members of the Stooges plus movie star Ewan McGregor on vocals; and Venus in Furs, which has a bunch of Brit Pop people including Thom Yorke.


2) Hedwig & the Angry Inch. Follows a male-born East German would-be rock star who's sex change operation was botched, leaving him with an "angry inch." Personally, I enjoyed this movie (based on a Broadway musical) more than Velvet Goldmine. At any rate, the album is great and has some cool glammy songs. Also, Bob Mould plays guitar on the soundtrack.


FYI, I usually hate soundtracks and before these 2, probably haven't bought one since Pretty in Pink.

Drew

Modest Mouse...

I have two additions myself...

Modest Mouse - Float On
Modest Mouse - Gravity Rides Everything


These are great songs that remind me of the best songs growing up...

D.C. Dischord Bands

hi everyone,

my name is john, i'm a friend of mike morsman's from korea.

two great songs for you, both d.c. dischord bands:

Q And Not U: "Hooray for Humans!" 60% Fugazi-40% The Rapture.

The Warmers: "Poked It With A Stick" minimalist trio with Amy Farina playing ridiculous drum fills the entire length of the song. regrettably they broke up years ago.

i hope you enjoy,
John

No Songs this time...

Anyone know anything about Obi or The Czars ? Both sound pretty intriguing and their names keep popping up with the right references. See the Czars review.

More and more

Metric - "Combat Baby" or "Succexy":
Yet more killer music from our odd neighbors to the north (read: Canada). Definite 80s New Wave sound. You can download "Combat Baby" for free

The Records - "Starry Eyes":
File this under "How come I never heard of these guys before??!" Very cool stuff from the late 70's. Referred to as the British Big Star. If you're a fan of power pop, you've got to check this song out! Not available on iTunes but you can at least hear a snipet.

I bought the Records' greatest hits (Smashes Crashes and Near Misses) and have never looked back.

Ok, I'm finally getting around to this...

The first song I recommend is by the Gotan Project from their album La Revancha Del Tango, called "Triptico". It's parisian downtempo tango of the very best kind. And if you pick up the import with bonus disc, you'll get the Peter Kruder remix too!

The second is by Goldfrapp from their first album, Felt Mountain. It's called "Lovely Head" and it's got a chillingly beautiful melody that's reminiscent of a 60's spy movie (or something). And if I can break the rules here, I'd recommend "Utopia" from the same album. Amazing.

Warren

From Korea

In spite of the dearth of new material available in Korea....

Fresh off the Press (Relatively):

Franz Ferdinand - 'Darts of Pleasure'. Glaswegians with a 'New Wave' chip on their shoulder.

British Sea Power - 'Lovely Day Tomorrow'. In the tradition of their Post-Punk forbearers, oblique lyrics and guitars that don't sound quite like guitars.

Luna - "The Alibi". More offhand beauty; slick midnight music.

And from the Vaults:

Magazine - "Sweetheart Contract". Nervous and brilliant.

David Bowie - "Ashes to Ashes". Still remember the weird video - 1979!!

More...

Here are two, both on itunes:

Josh Ritter - Snow is Gone

St. James Infirmary - from the CD: The Preservation Hall Jazz Society

- Cam

Older Classics...

here are a couple...guessing they are on itunes but have been
listening to them last week; oldies but goodies -

(white man) in hammersmith palais - the clash
the saturday boy - billy bragg

Fitz

The First Response...

OK, Steve, I'll bite. First, I'll vouch for The Stills - Still in Love Song. Gender Bombs is also another good song from the same album. Think U2 meets shoegazers.

My 2 picks:

- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y- Control: haven't gotten too deep into their stuff but this is a great song, if you like someone who sounds almost exactly like Siouxsie Sioux. This one is on iTunes.

- Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio: the new band from Mark Kozelek, lead Prozac consumer from now defunct Red House Painters. You can download this one for free.

Very mournful. The band is San Francisco-based so check them out, Malloy et al.

Other Recommendations

www.epitonic.com
Great free, legal source of indie rock downloads. They're perpetually on the brink of going under, it seems, but I've found a lot of great stuff on their site in the last 3 years.

www.insound.com:
Good online indie rock retailer with bad site design, not so great prices. Still, they have a decent selection of free downloads and they email me a coupon every time a new Guided by Voices album comes out so they've won my heart.

www.signalandreport.com
Signal & Report is a Duluth, MN band that seriously channels Joy Division. Too much, some might say, but since Joy Division never got to make enough records, what's the difference? I have their first album, No New Rome to Burn, which I'd recommend. They've got 6 songs available on their website. Check out Signals or Molting from the first album.

Many of you probably know John Haesemeyer from Carleton circles. Check his site out if you haven't heard his new album, Colors in Between. Speaking as someone who endured some really sappy Haesemeyer songs in college, I think he's really come into his own on this latest album. The title song is the best thing he's ever done, in my opinion. Also, Big Company is my all-time favorite song by him.

Drew