Monday, August 25, 2008

The best soundtrack EVAR!

I needed to do that dumb intentional misspelling. Just to be oddly poignant. Because let's be honest, spelling words "EVAR" of "TEH FUNNAY" could be one of the dumbest things ever. If you do it? You should be locked up in a room with Robert Downey, Jr., and have a bag of coke thrown on you. Good luck surviving that.

But that's a total sidetrack. Here I just wanted to discuss the best soundtrack ever. No, it doesn't feature anything by Bette Midler. I know you're disappointed. In all honesty, if you're a fan of Bette Midler, I'd have to question your overall character. Hey, to each their own, I guess. Sorry. The sarcasm is flowing like PBR off tap into my mouth today.

So for the honors of best soundtrack? No offense to Trainspotting's wonderful soundtrack, but this flick holds it down. Which movie? Why, it's one of the more underrated ones, in my opinion. Judgment Night features Denis Leary and his band of merry thugsters. They chase Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Jeremy Piven through the rough streets of a full on ghetto and it makes for a pretty good flick.

The best part is the soundtrack. It features hip-hop artists - circa 1993 - with alt-rock and metal bands. The listing of tracks is as follows:

1. Just Another Victim - Helmet/House Of Pain
2. Fallin' - Teenage Fanclub/ De La Soul
3. Me, Myself & My Microphone - Living Colour/Run D.M.C.
4. Judgment Night - Biohazard/Onyx
5. Disorder - Slayer/Ice-T
6. Another Body Murdered - Faith No More/Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.
7. I Love You Mary Jane - Sonic Youth/Cypress Hill
8. Freak Momma - Mudhoney/Sir Mix-A-Lot
9. Missing Link - Dinoasur Jr./Del Tha Funky Homosapien
10. Come And Die - Therapy?/Fatal
11. Real Thing - Pearl Jam/Cypress Hill

So now I guess I should give you the best part - the music! So here are two tracks from the movie. "Disorder" - by Ice-T and Slayer - is one incredibly angry tune! But if this doesn't make you get fired up and breaking stuff, then you need a therapist. Because all of that pent up anger inside just does you no good. For real. The other one I've chosen is on the other side of the emotional spectrum. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien is part of the Hieroglyphics crew. It consists of other hip-hop artists from the Bay Area such as Souls of Mischief and Casual. He's teamed up here with Lou Barlow's Dinosaur, Jr. for a really mellow jam called "Missing Link". Well, in comparison to "Disorder", that is.

And again, please buy it if you like it! In this case, either the movie or soundtrack will do. They're both worth it!

she matters when everything is meaningless

It was FATE; it had to be. I was stressing about a topic to write about for, and struggling with writer's block. It was then that I turned on the TV and caught the last half of the movie Natural Born Killers.

I have watched this movie hundreds of times. I even wrote a thesis on Natural Born Killers in college. The epiphany came at the end of the movie: The reminder that Trent Reznor had produced the soundtrack to this excellent movie. FATE! I knew then that I had my idea!

For almost a decade I've been telling anyone who would listen that "The Fragile" was the best album ever put out by Nine Inch Nails. This was an epic album but it got shit on by just about everyone. "The Fragile" never got the respect it deserved.

It was the kind of album that, when the volume was cranked you could lie in bed with your eyes closed and imagine it as the brilliant soundtrack to an even better movie. This movie might have everything you would want in cinema: drugs, sex, violence, and maybe something redeeming for the twisted main character. At least that's what happens in my version.

Let's stop here; this post won't be about that old ass album. (But really...if you don't own it ASAP)

This post is about HALO 26, otherwise known as Ghosts I - IV. 4 CDs - 36 tracks.

Reminiscent of "The Fragile", yet "Ghosts" is a completely instrumental album. The packaging and artwork on this album is amazing, just like most NIN albums of recent release. But this whole piece of work is very different then anything Nails has put out thus yet.

So let me get you started with a tune from Ghosts:

[Download Track 29]
This track is more upbeat than much of the rest of the album, chosen in order to pique your interest.

Trent Reznor explains, "I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I'm very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference."

It's this soundtrack concept that I love. I like the fact that I can just get lost in the music. Maybe even better than "The Fragile" is the lack of lyrics to get in the way. I wanna just let my mind wander.

I want to remind you that this not the industrial rock that you would expect from Trent. This is, as Reznor has explained on his website for the album, an unexpected surprise from experimentation. 10 weeks with no agenda and driven by impulse.

Trent elaborates:
We began improvising and let the music decide the direction. Eyes were closed, hands played instruments and it began. Within a matter of days it became clear we were on to something, and a lot of material began appearing. What we thought could be a five song EP became much more. I invited some friends over to join in and we all enjoyed the process of collaborating on this.

The album was initially released digitally on the Nine Inch Nails official website without any prior advertisement or promotion. They even created their own torrent to distribute 9 tracks from the album. Actually, check out this from a text file inside the official torrent:
Now that we’re no longer constrained by a record label, we’ve decided to personally upload Ghosts I, the first of the four volumes, to various torrent sites, because we believe BitTorrent is a revolutionary digital distribution method, and we believe in finding ways to utilize new technologies instead of fighting them.

[Download Track 7]
I want to stress again...this is not about one great track. Much like a concept album I feel like it needs to be listened to from beginning to end. You don't have to...but just do as I say, you'll be happier in the end. /smirk

Trent is my hero. If you had a NIN sticker on your car I instantly think you are probably someone I would like to hang out with. Check out this album, however you get your hands on it. Then comment here. I want to know what you think about this album. Truly. Let's become friends.

This is where I would normally put the Amazon referral links here so you can buy the album and we can hope to make 10% commish. Put the best deal for this album is direct from Trent: $5 gets you the album in digital form. Tough to pass on that right? You spend more than that on a coffee in the morning...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If they catch us, and dispatch us to our separate work camps...

I'll dream about you... I will not doubt you...

It's possible you've heard of the band Say Anything by now. Their release "Alive With the Glory of Love" enjoyed some decent circulation on TV Shows and throughout video channels, such as FuseTV. "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" was an instant teenage sensation since it repeated the thrillingly provocative "called her on the phone and she touched herself" line, not to mention an appearance by Henry Winkler in the video. If you missed these, maybe you heard "Baby Girl, I'm A Blur" which did receive national airplay.
Here is one of my favorite tracks from their first major abum, "...Is A Real Boy". Check out "I Want To Know Your Plans":

"You don't think I'd say those words to you today?"

This blog is being written because I want you to meet the Say Anything from before "...Is A Real Boy" or "In Defense of the Genre". You see, the band as a whole and their songs are very special to me and I am missing someone quite a bit right now. The day this blog goes live will hopefully be the day I get to see that person again. The way we had to go about discovering the band, tracking down early recordings, and what we went through to finally see them live makes it all the more important.

As I write this blog I am listening to some of these old tracks, and this is what I hear:
It's always been for you
I sing every song for you
And every single day I'm falling down
I never want to say you're mine "right now"
A tear rolls down your cheek, it hits the ground
I'm falling down

Max Bemis is the lead singer and songwriter of the band. He began penning tunes after a bad breakup in the year 2000, and fortunately for us, at least a hundred (and counting) articulately written songs about love, loss, society, school, the music scene, and hypocrisy followed.

Unfortunately, Bemis' past decade has been full of ups and downs related to his mental disorder. At least one tour has been cancelled as a result of his paranoid delusions, quite possibly stemming from his decision to replace prescribed meds for Bipolar Disorder with illegal drugs. But a string of successful tours (currently on Warped Tour) and recordings have followed those harrowing times and Bemis and Co. are working on not only recording another Say Anything album, but several side projects with well-known industry pals as well.

It's still difficult to find these earlier recordings on standard music purchase sites. But there is plenty to find on P2P sites. I suggest you check it out... Or purchase their new albums below.

On the EP "Menora/Majora" in 2002, Say Anything recorded one of my favorite tracks, and one that thankful fans were overjoyed to hear played live on the last tour. Please enjoy "A Walk Through Hell":

Even earlier still, the band produced a self-released album called "Baseball". Now tell me, whatever happened to the rock and roll in your eyes? Check out "Shameless":

It didn't kill me to be shameless. Is anyone getting a toothache from this post yet?

If you're not sappy like I am and you enjoy witty observations of society, there is still plenty for you in the music of Say Anything. Throughout all their albums, they've been able to convey distaste and disillusionment, whether through the use of metaphor or an outright calling-out such as in the track "Admit It!" off "...Is A Real Boy". But until then, the video that still gives me chills: Watch "Alive With The Glory of Love":

All this time... It's my favorite pastime, chasing after you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I've got the Good Book open too

But I'm reading different words than you

Paper Rival is currently on tour with The Honorary Title and The New Frontiers in support of their first full-length album, called "Dialog", released Summer 2008. The band hails from Nashville, TN and by all accounts they appear to hold true to the stereotypical southern charm and chivalry. Read a live review and you'll find stories of polite, grateful behavior (and perhaps a bit too much humility) on behalf of this Indie group.

The album is titled "Dialog" to represent the feel of the lyrics throughout the album: as if a conversation is taking place between two people, or between an artist and the world. It's easily heard and understood, as well. In fact, "The Kettle Black" takes its lyrics from actual World War II-era letters between singer Jacob Rolleston's great-grandparents!

An open dialog can be found in the track titled "Keep Us In", eloquently attacking Tennessee's backwards views on same-sex marriage, and family identity seems to be addressed in "Are We Brothers?"

I appreciate this album because each track holds true to the core identity of the whole, of the sound of the band, while exploring different techniques. You can hear piano, upright bass, and even accents of a fiddle depending on the track. My favorite track, though, is the raw "Bluebird." Click to listen:

They've been compared to The Receiving End of Sirens (a band I wanted to introduce you to, but they're defunct!), Moros Eros (also no longer together), Envy on the Coast, and Manchester Orchestra. They do have a strong sound with some weighty lyrics. Previously known as Coda and as Keating, their roots were emo, but they have shown their maturity by throwing out a lot of their early influences and flourishing together by limiting the drama and getting truthful when the personal lyrics come out. I appreciate honestly like that in music.

Check out the video for "Cassandra", put out just days after the release of the album:

I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Concert Series #2 and a couple of interesting tracks!

So Gnarls Barkley is worthy. That's for sure. Hercules and Love Affair provided a good show, as well, but they seemed a bit stiff at times. Disco is fun, though!

So tonight I will be checking out Radiohead. What may seem blasphemous is that I have yet to see them live. And leave it to the venue to say no cameras. However, that's never really stopped me. The worry of bootlegs is the main concern for the band, and rightfully so, although it seems a bit odd considering how they sold last year's In Rainbows.

Now we've known Radiohead as a band with a lot of trippy videos. Good videos, for sure, just a little.....unusual. So for this week's installment, I'll be posting my favorite of theirs. And no doubt it's the favorite of so many others out there, too. Has anyone figured out what the man says at the end of this video? Rumor has it even the band doesn't know. And now, Just.

And this week I've decided to post a couple of pretty interesting - and very different - songs. The first is a very unique cover of M.I.A.'s Paper Planes. This one certainly isn't produced by Diplo! It's an artist by the name of Josh Jones. Now, digging around the indie circuit, I've found a man by the same name that fronts the band The Evangelicals, but with such a common name, I'm still checking this out to make sure I am going to give credit to the right guy. So, hey, Mr. Jones? If you're reading this? Yeah, let me know what's up. 'Cause this is one cool cover.

And for the next track, I was introduced to a couple of new artists. First, the band Jukebox the Ghost. I mean, visit their myspace site. Just take a look at that ridiculous tour schedule! Hell, I get three shows in Massachusetts all for myself. If I so pleased. The first band that sprang out at me for a comparison was Ben Folds Five. Whether or not they'd like that comparison is not known. For the song Hold It In, the band has hired a very busy Andrew Maury for remix duties. It's like pop meeting electro, and oddly enough, it works. It's a fun track, and given the right set of circumstances, it could do well.

And as always, please support these artists! Buying their music only helps us introduce you to more bands that thrive from your purchases!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Top 3 tracks for July 2008 from Dancefloor Mayhem

Top 3 tracks for July 2008 from Dancefloor Mayhem

We had a really productive month in July, notching 23 posts and getting listed with the Hype Machine (Hypem).

Here are our Top 3 songs from the past month::

Shook - The Glow
Click here to download

The Glow - What is that noise? In the distance...a storm is coming...for whom the bell tolls...what's that i hear? Did the song just explode in the air around us?! Now I am dancing in a frenzy and pumping my fist in the air.

Pink Floyd - Time (Cates & dpL No Time For Miami Mix)
Click here to download

A brilliant re-working of a Pink Floyd classic. A nice deep track that just keeps building and building. I want to hear this really loud in a full, dark club.

Mephisto Odyssey - Bump (Hot Pink Delorean remix)
Click here to download

This one is an electro banger that should kick up the energy level at whatever party / club it is dropped at. Fusing elements of breaks / electro / rock / hip-hop and pop into a fist pumping track.

Be sure to swing by Dancefloor Mayhem on a regular basis to not miss out on great music!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I was kidnapped real young by the taste of sweet love

Built a fondness for things that just weren't good enough

Is that why Tilly and The Wall grabbed me so firmly from the first listen? I just recently got a hold of their 2006 album, Bottoms of Barrels. It made me so happy. It reminded me of Belly, or The Lemonheads, or even The La's...The upbeat but slightly underground and always witty music I loved to listen to so long ago.

They've added a drumset to the sound, where previously percussion was provided by one of the band members, listed as Tap Dancer! Acoustic guitar, keyboard, and the multi-layered sound of the members' voices and claps had traditionally rounded out the presentation, but again, electric guitar can definitely be heard in the new recordings.

Check out this recent appearance on Australian radio. They are covering one of my favorite Violent Femmes songs... So the nostalgia this band envokes with me just builds and builds! (Note to musicians: Add It Up? No? Please?)

In June of this year, they released a third album, called o, which is harder and faster and louder... This reminds me a bit of the angry and energetic commentary offered by bands like Garbage or Belly (oops... oh wait...) so it makes me happier still. I'm glad to find out that this band is still recording and touring. It's disappointing to discover "new music" only to find that the band is no longer together.

The band got the inspiration for their name from a children's book written in 1989 about a mouse who seeks to find out what is behind the wall that all the other mice barely acknowledge as simply something that is a part of their everyday existence.

I love the indie ethos that this band proves they have, not only with the selection of their name, but also with the self-recording and launching of their first release, "Woo!", prior to debuting their first LP Wild Like Children in 2004, which was the first album released on a former bandmember's label. They played at Coachella 2007 and have tour dates across the Western U.S. throughout September.

I'm about to become a Tilly Kid. Come along for the ride.

Sometimes you just can't hold back the river.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Concert Series Music Post #1

Okay, so I am taking a rather different approach this week. I'll be posting a couple of videos. The first is from a show I attended this past Saturday. I must thank the gentleman that took this video. It's such great quality, which is so hard to find from a camera.

The band in question? Wolf Parade. Their first album Apologies To The Queen Mary was a critical success, and the live song here - "I'll Believe In Anything" - has become the favorite for so many people, yours truly included. The debut album was produced by Modest Mouse's quirky lead man Isaac Brock, so for anyone searching for indie cred with these guys should get it with that little nugget of information. Their latest release - At Mount Zoomer - has received many a rave review for it's different approach to their music after the success of Apologies To The Queen Mary.

So without further ado, here is the song "I'll Believe In Anything" live from the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Massachusetts.

The next in the concert series is by a group that I have to admit I knew nothing of before purchasing tickets for tonight's Gnarls Barkley show. The group is called Hercules and Love Affair. This is some rather refreshing music. The song I am posting is the single that gave them a lot of buzz. And it's hard to avoid buzz if you're on James Murphy's DFA label. He has quite the ear for spotting new talent, as proven by the continued success of The Juan Maclean and others.

The track "Blind" has a classic disco feel to it. So if you're not into disco? Well, then just re-listen to the Wolf Parade cut! If you don't like the indie-rock of Wolf Parade? Then listen to "Blind" a few more times! Me? Well, I have to admit I like them both quite a bit. It's just how my tastes run. Once I check these guys out live? I will perhaps post a review next week of what I think with more of their work for me to judge!

And as always, please support the artists! Your purchases help keep such great music coming!

Monday, August 4, 2008

We got ash in our pockets, and dust in the urn

In honor of McDonalds serving the VERY delicious Sweet Tea in all their restaurants nationwide, this blog will be about a Mississipi fivesome that ROCKS the fruit off the liquor tree.

Liquor tree?

god is swinging from the liquor tree
licking everything he finds
god knows all about you and me
lucky i got something to hide

There is no such thing as a Liquor tree, but the God/Christianity-infused lyrics, found on both their self titled EP and the first full length release "Plunder, Beg, And Curse", are something to wonder about.

Or are they? They are from the South.

"There is a lot of God-talk, which may alienate some people," Cajoleas, one of the three guitar players, says. "It's kind of a vocabulary thing, whether or not you believe in God. The vocabulary of the church is in the way people talk around here, so a lot of the religious allusions come from that. It's like unpacking some of the garbage you've been fed about it. There's a lot of religious confusion and family conflict down here. I think that conflict is in the music. It's an old times/new times conflict, and, a lot of times, a God conflict."

It's not just God though. Many of the lyrics seem to be very personal accounts of pain and love. One such song is "Innocent and All" which is a song about that cheating girlfriend who we can't get over that shows up in so many songs.

you were making sounds
primitive and underground
and she was such a hound
innocent and all around

I love symbolism-soaked lyrics almost as much as I love music that is dark, with layered guitar and frenzied feedback. Colour Revolt meets all my needs! If memory serves, I bought the EP based on a suggestion from another band that I was getting really into. The EP was perfect. It was dark, angry, and gave me enough of a taste that I was excited to finally get my teeth into the full release.

I had been listening to the EP for some time before the full release finally came out on April 1st, 2008. I was surprised at the noticable difference in sound between the EP and Plunder, Beg, and Curse. I recently found out why:

Shortly before the band was to enter the studio to record the sessions for Plunder, Beg, and Curse, someone stole the band's van, trailer, and all the equipment in them. One of the major losses was an old piano that helped shape much of the sound of the EP.

Also, Plunder, Beg, and Curse was recorded very quickly. "We recorded the whole album pretty much live over a week and a half. There's an urgency to it." says Cajoleas. It might be this urgency that gives this record its special feel. It's both hard and atmospheric; delicate and overpowering; simple and complex. I am struggling with accurately describing the album because it seems frenetic.

Hell... I like it because it is frenetic. It's unsure.

But I am sure you will like it.

This is a dark, brooding band making equally dark and brooding music. Colour Revolt probably will be coming to a town near you. Make sure you make it out to see them. Buy a t-shirt too...a touring indie band gets killed on the gas alone it takes to get from venue to venue.

Plus it will keep these kids from getting jobs. I know I want to see what that sophomore effort will sound like.

By the way, I grabbed a snippet (below) from the bio the band has on their PureVolume profile. Any ideas what it means?

The insects will grow fat on our blood.

And what of it? The dogs will outlive us, by God. And they deserve it. What have you ever done?

Colour Revolt - Ageless Everytime (acoustic) (Right Click->Save As)