Monday, February 28, 2005

Warsaw

Joy Division originally called themselves Warsaw and had a full album recorded before they scrapped it and released Unknown Pleasures. The album, finally released in 1994 as Warsaw (both band name and album title), has a great raw punk edge to it and little of the self-indulgent mopiness that can (in my opinion) really get in the way of some of Joy Division's lesser songs. One of the songs, Warsaw, actually surfaced on Substance. My secret shame is that that song, the least Joy Division-esque song on the whole album, has always been one of my favorites. [Just like my favorite Woody Allen movie is Bullets Over Broadway because he doesn't actually appear in it, which puts me in the same league as Ned Flanders: "I'd like his movies if it weren't for that nervous fella that's always in them."] Don't know if the album is available on iTunes - kinda doubt it. But you can at least listen to clips from AllMusic.com and determine exactly how much of a Joy Division completist you are.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

We Are Scientists

Great rocking guitar band originally from California but now in New York called We Are Scientists, which as they describe makes "rock music of the thoughtful, sometimes epic, often loud, vaguely danceable,implicitly humanist variety," and as the promotion for South by Southwest, where they are playing next month notes, "We Are Scientists are constantly developing their sound, flinging self-recorded discs into the hands of a growing crowd, spreading like some happy disease the scientist sound: tense, catchy pop songs, the guitar and bass gyrating independently over unexpected beats. Believe it."

Here are a couple of songs from the band, which are all great, In Action, This Scene is Dead, The Great Escape, Nobody Move.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

An short excerpt from Rolling Stone from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas...

LCD Soundsystem

Big hype about James Murphy, the creative force behind LCD Soundsystem. The new album is all over the place, with definite house, early 80s, and garage rock influences. This reminds me of the Rapture, which is only natural I guess, since Murphy along with his partner Tim Goldsworthy produced The Rapture's Echoes album for the DFA label (also the label of Le Tigre) in New York City, which raises the question, how much damn talent is there in NYC right now? Great video on the band website for the song Daft Punk is Playing at My House. I recommend this album including the Daft Punk song, along with Tribulations and Too Much Love.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Electric Six

A must download from Jack White and the Electric Six called Danger! High Voltage! Came out about a year ago or so. Just found it on epitonic.

A Pixies Concert Gone Wrong

Dave Eggers chimes in on the important topic of can I enjoy a band enjoyed by someone I do not enjoy?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Crooning Troubadour

Anybody ever see the episode of Mr. Show where David Cross and Bob Odenkirk play "megaphone crooners", fictitious guys who were briefly all the rage in the pre-radio early 1900s and to the delight of the ladies, crooned lovesongs onstage into megaphones? Well, Mpls local artist Randall Throckmorton, the self-styled "Crooning Troubadour," definitely channels that look and sound (see 6th photo where he's singing into a "voice horn"). This is way outside my usual taste for Pavement/Guided by Voices/My Bloody Valentine - aping indie guitar rock, but RadioK has been playing a song by Throckmorton called Honeysuckle Vine that piqued my interest. You can download it here, along with several other songs. Recommended if you appreciate The Beatles' Honey Pie, particularly its intro. I don't know, might not be for everybody, but I kinda dig it...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

...And They Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

I found this band two years ago after their album Source Tags & Codes came out, and I thought this was one of the more powerful albums in recent memory. Compared to Sonic Youth for their intense walls of guitars, drums and vocals, two songs from that album in particular stood out to me and are an absolute must to download - Another Morning Stoner, and How Near, How Far.

...And They Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead have a new album out called Worlds Apart which is a solid but in my opinion not spectacular follow up. The songs Will You Smile for Me and The Rest Will Follow are very good songs but not quite as good as the previous mentioned songs. You can download a few of their songs at epitonic.

CocoRosie

Found this band called CocoRosie described as indie-folk-tronic which is a bizarre description. It somewhat sounds like a tripped out lo-fi Billie Holiday. Cannot describe it any other way. Recorded in a Paris flat last year by two sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady, CocoRosie combines folk, jazz and blue in a sometimes soaring and sometimes disturbing way. With bizarre beats, strange samples, and relaxed guitar riffs, I think that this is very much the stuff that people will either really love or absolutely hate. I highly recommend Good Friday, By Your Side, Terrible Angels and Butterscotch.

Economics of Music

Quick article about top money makers in rock. In the top 10 are Jimmy Buffet, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart and Simon and Garfunkel...

I could not find the best band of last year Arcade Fire on the list...

Podcasting

The latest online is called podcasting which essentially is delivering recorded online sound files to your computer to use on your iPod. Essentially a hybrid of a blog and radio. It essentially becomes TIVO for radio and the BBC is starting to put some of its content into podcast form. There are rumours that NPR will as well. There are about 1000 regular shows right now - and most are amateur shows including a guy who takes a recorder with him on his commute to work, records everything and then puts it up on the web to subscribe and listen to...

Here is an NPR segment on this. Apparently originally started by Adam Curry, former MTV disc jockey, I found a number of shows which have share alternative music. Here is a link to download the software, which allows you to subscribe to different shows. There are many shows listed there as well which you add to the software and it will start subscribing to these. The shows then appear in your iTunes once downloaded.

I am currently going to check out the following shows to see if they are worth it -

The Daily Source Code by Adam Curry
IndieFeed
Insomnia Radio

Will write about this more one I have listened to all of this...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Legends?

With a name like "The Legends" you better be able to back it up, but their debut release is absolutely incredible. They are in the Noise Pop genre and this album is one of the highlights of the year. The songs have a timeless feel to them and I highly recommend The Kids Just Want to Have Fun, There and Back Again, and Nothing to Be Done. Here is the review from allmusic which raves about this album - "the kind of stunning debut that makes you excited about the possibilities of pop music. ...Indie pop in 2004 doesn't get any better than this." You can download There and Back Again and Call It Ours, and When Day is Done from Up Against the Legends.

The And/Ors

The And/Ors is, apparently, an indie rock supergroup of sorts, composed of former members of a bunch of bands of which I've never heard (not meant as a slam). Their first album (2001), Will Self Destruct, received rave reviews: see AllMusic.com or PopMatters.com. A short list of bands to which they've been compared: Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Guided By Voices, Big Star, Pavement, Television, Replacements, and Sonic Youth. In other words, every beloved, influential alternative band of the last 30 years, so you're gonna love them.

Insound.com has 3 of their songs available for free downloading: As We Play the Tape Tricks Us, Flexiclocks, and Screams Nicole. The first 2 are my favorites but they're all good. Note that Screams Nicole is posted twice for some reason. These songs definitely show off the Pavement and GBV influences.

You can read more about the band on the website of their record label, Better Looking Records. That site also has 2 of the 3 downloads available on Insound.com.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Apparently this band is recording another album (or perhaps finished) but I just noticed that their entire collection of music is on their website along with some recommendations by BJM. Started in San Francisco in 1990, to date over 40 people have played in the band. I am going to defer to Mike about top BJM songs since this is an area of obsession for him.

The End of CBGB

An article in the Village Voice about clubs closing downtown due to rent and insurance increases. One of the potential casualties is CBGB...which seems amazing given the punk and post-punk revival of the last few years.

Ulysses

The front man from Apples in Stereo has a new album out which was recorded live with one microphone so it is quite raw. I have only heard two songs - TheFalcon and Glacier - and I like both, particularly former. Here is the review from artistdirect.

Luna - New Album & End of an Era

The new Luna album Rendezvous has a number of standout tracks including Malibu Love Nest and Speedbumps...I cannot stop singing the latter song. Album is on iTunes and a more detailed review of the album on pitchforkmedia. Obviously this band has a huge debt to the Velvet Underground as they shift between songs with walls of rhythm guitar and then beautiful ballads. Starting off in the ashes of Galaxy 500, and releasing multiple standout albums including LunaPark, Bewitched, Penthouse, the highlight of their career is their live album from a couple of years ago, which is a must have (I think I have played this at least 200 times). Epitonic has two songs from that live set - Anesthesia and Tiger Lily. They are unforunately on their farewell tour right now (were in San Francisco a week ago, which I unfortunately missed), but they have left behind some great music.

Elefant

Elefant is NY band fronted by Argentinian singer Diego Garcia. Their music recalls some of the pomp, style, and drama of Morrissey and later Brit Pop groups. You can download 2 songs free from Insound.com. Both are good, but Misfit is especially catchy. I listen to this song about once a day. To wit, I'm listening to it right now...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Asobi Seksu

Asobi Seksu is NY band that channels My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth successfully, while bringing in its own sensibility. How can I not make a comparison to Blonde Redhead - arty SY-influenced NY band with a Japanese female vocalist (the rest of the band, however, does not consist of male Italian identical twins, so there ends the similarity). You can get four free songs from the band's website. Sooner is the most MBV-ish of the tracks (perhaps a response to the MBV classic Soon?). I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me is bouncy dream pop with Japanese lyrics. Walk on the Moon is slower and dramatic. The last track, Let Them Wait, is sung by the male guitarist and reminds me of early Blonde Redhead and by extension, Sonic Youth. The songs are all off the band's self-titled debut. Looks like the album is available on iTunes, if you want to check out other tracks.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Exploding Hearts

The Exploding Hearts were an amazing band in the punk tradition of The Jam, The Buzzcocks, and The Clash. I say were because, unfortunately, 3 out 4 members of the band died in a van wreck on the way home from a show; only their bassist and manager survived. Nevertheless, they left behind one great album - Guitar Romantic, released in 2003. The album is great, start to finish. One reviewer described it as The Clash if Mick Jones had written all the songs. I only stumbled across the band/album by accident after downloading a free track from Nexus Underground. The track, Rumours In Town, is one of the standouts from an album that has no weak moments. Modern Kicks is also especially good. But really, get the whole album. I downloaded it from eMusic.com but iTunes has it as well.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Grahan Coxon (ex-Blur)

Up until a few years ago, Graham Coxon was the guitarist for Britpop giants Blur. He's released several solo albums, before and after he left the band, with varying critical success. However, his latest album, Happiness in Magazines, has been getting a lot of positive press. Read more about it at AllMusic.com. So far, I've downloaded the two singles:

- Spectacular
- Freakin' Out

If you loved the indie rock sound of post-Park Life Blur (think Song 2 - you know, the "Whoooo-hooooo!" song), then you'll love these songs! And if you're wondering why Blur's most recent and first post-Coxon album sucked, you may have an answer.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Sloan

Sloan is a great power pop band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that's been around since 1991. Years ago, I was introduced to them by accident. My first choice of a free CD with my Magnet subscription wasn't available so they sent me Sloan's 1998 album Navy Blues instead. After my initial disappointment, I realized that the album was the greatest 70's power pop album not actually recorded during that decade. I strongly recommend the album.

I hadn't kept up with Sloan on subsequent releases or dug into their back catalog, but I just downloaded some AllMusic-recommended tracks from their latest album, Action Pact, from eMusic.com. The tracks rock, and I'd definitely recommend them:

- Gimme That
- False Alarm
- I Was Wrong

I probably will check out the rest of the album when I have more eMusic credits next month. You can listen to samples at Sloan's website, although they all seem to be for RealPlayer. :(    iTunes probably has their stuff, too.