Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Animals Collecting Album totals.....

So Animal Collective recently released a new album! Yes, these weird folksy guys are releasing some more strange tunes. I have yet to take a good, long listen to their new album Merriweather Post Pavillion, but I am sure it will be sort of an extension of their last album, Strawberry Jam. I say that meaning there should be an obvious directional difference with some of the tracks, and from the little I've heard, it's adding more of the spacey kitsch that made Panda Bear's Person Pitch such a fantastic album. And yes, the album cover is very trippy.

Well, this post is a departure from the recent long-winded stuff I've written lately. I'm simply giving you the first single - "My Girls" - off of the album, but also a nicely done remix that Dave Wrangler submitted my way (as well as practically every blog out there!). If I had a gig now? I'd have no qualms droppin' this track in a house set, and have every reason to believe practically any sort of crowd would like it. This is a super DJ-friendly remix that sounds very clean and crisp. It's one I highly suggest you guys grab from here.

The original is very spacey, and brings thoughts of the Beach Boys, circa Pet Sounds, when Brian Wilson was trying practically any drug shoved in front of him. The only complaint I have with this song is that it builds to a point, and just sort of hangs there before ending rather abruptly. Otherwise, this is a great tune. So enjoy, boys and girls!

[Download Animal Collective - My Girls]

[Download Animal Collective - My Girls (Dave Wrangler remix)]

And yes, I expect you to buy the album! With groups like this that are lesser known, it's that much more important to help them out with a purchase. If not through us, then buy something while at their shows! That's even more kickass. I'd probably even give you a hug. A boney, pale, Irish, drunken hug. Which really just means either I'd pass out on your lawn or start a fight with a barstool. Either way, you're entertained.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh, that was supposed to be a secret!

I learned recently that Dwight Howard, center and power forward for the Orlando Magic, sings Beyonce songs while he's at the free throw line. It's funny that this giant man pumps himself up and gets focused signing Beyonce, but well...let him explain it (From ESPN's PTI):

"Ya’ all heard about that? Oh, that was supposed to be a secret!" Howard said. "Like when I’m at the free throw line I try to keep my mind off everything and I might just up there and start singing like …"

(singing) ‘I’m a single lady, I’m a single lady’ … And sometimes I might make it! It happens. I get up there and I might sing Beyonce. I don’t know why, out of all the artists, I’m supposed to be like, (makes menacing noises), like Jay-Z, or Kanye or Lil Wayne, or someone towards those lines, but I’m singing Beyonce … If I have to sing Beyonce to make a couple of free throws, I’m gonna keep doing it."

Love it!

What would you sing if you were at the free throw line and needed to get focused? My choice would be any song off the Ignition album put out by The Offspring around October 1992.

Why? The music is fast and edgy. I tend to get more focused with a little anger.

Just listening to it gets my heart beating faster. I was telling someone recently that this album makes me wanna drive very fast. Listen to the song Session and imagine you gotta get across town, weaving in and out of cars on the road. /shiver YES!

[The Offspring - Session]

The Offspring have a booty load of albums, all worth picking up. But Ignition is the best. CASE CLOSED.


Friday, January 23, 2009

The smoke that rises separate from the fire

Is this all you ever wanted
is this all you'll ever need
Don't you know I'm not a martyr
but you're making me bleed

This song belongs on the radio. But I'm not going to start another diatribe on that. Besides, it's only a matter of moments before the day arrives that saying something belongs on the radio is taken as an insult. Just look at what passes for popular music. I wouldn't want my paid advertising butting up against a lame BuckCherry or Hoobastank track either. No wonder Clear Channel laid off over 1000 employees this week.

The boys at Winston Audio seem to agree with me. So I will take back what I said about getting this song on the radio. Just now, Dan D made a comment to me about how he'd rather have people hear about music from somewhere other than a "homogenous radio station that overplays everything." I didn't even expect to get a quote like that in my blog post today. What a roll I've been on lately with the way my posts have been fluently spilling out and fluidly syncing with life's happenstances. (Unfortunately the painkillers that life's happenstances have forced me to be on today may have ended my fluency streak. Sorry, lovelies.)

Not that it's all about me; although their upcoming album, The Red Rhythm, does have a track called Hey Ann... But, I've spent some time wondering who could ever produce the strong sound Sparta delivered and I've been a little lost since their disbanding. Listening to The Red Rhythm reminds me not only of how I would feel listening to Porcelain or Threes, but it also has the strength in sound and build that Soundgarden had. I really tried hard to refrain from making the comparison that I assume-and I'm not even going to run a google search to verify-everyone else has made between Soundgarden and Winston Audio. But since I did, I will say that lead singer Dan DeWitt's voice is just as strong if not stronger than Cornell's. It's a sound like this that makes me all warm inside. Take a listen to "Martyr."

[Winston Audio - Martyr]

Despite Dan's claim that he reserves his rage for the road, there is definitely a strong emotional charge coming through in these tracks. Track three, Keeping it Down, has a sound that reminds me of Eddie Vedder's passion. Vedder, by the way, is one of the artists the band says they'd love to collaborate with. Good choice my friends. Speaking of collaboration, Favorite Gentlemen label head Andy Hull lends his voice to the track. Check out a live video of the song:

So what's with the name? You're going to love this: think of the way that smoke curls from the end of a cigarette (such as a Winston.) Just as the smoke constantly changes, twisting, turning, and then becoming part of the air... Winston Audio sees music in the same way. The music on this upcoming release, which is the band's first LP, gets progressively stronger as each track plays. This is a fabulous album to set the tone for 2009. It's so real, and soulful, and it flows well.

Winston Audio The Red Rhythm comes out February 10. This is one worth a visit to the record store, so mark it on your calendar. In the meantime, watch the label's site for tour dates and more info on the band.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You ain't gonna miss your water until your well runs dry...

I spend a lot of time at Daytrotter.  It's a great site.  Probably once you discover them, you might never come back to our silly little blog.  It's what every music blog strives to be, at least in part.

Read this from their site:

There are so many music/entertainment websites that copy one another, scrambling so fast to “discover” or present something new to the world. And just because you get there first, it doesn’t really make you an explorer. We did poke a stars and stripes into the moon, but we could always see it. We knew it was there. It wasn’t new. We can always come along and say we did, saw, heard something first, but we’re never right. What Daytrotter is attempting to do is to not kid around with you and tell you that we found something that you never knew existed. We are going to contribute to the musical landscape, not just toss it around like a used book or a stolen pick-up line. We’re going to give you something that you truly have never heard. We are not giving you songs from someone you love’s record album, thereby stealing from someone you love. We’re giving you exclusive, re-worked, alternate versions of old songs and unreleased tracks by some of your favorite bands and by a lot of your next favorite bands.
Yeah.  They kick ass.  Make it a site you visit often.

I was listening to the session TK Webb & the Visions did on daytrotter the other day.


You haven't heard of TK Webb & the Visions?


Ok. Real quick...

[TK Webb & The Visions - 1,000 Horns]

The CD is great. Not overly compressed, so it's a pleasure to listen to. If you love psychedelic bluesy guitar rock, I suggest looking into them further.

(We Now Return You to Our Regular Program Already in Progress)

While I was listening to those, I discovered yet another bad ass site being advertised on Daytrotters site. 

Wolfgang's Vault is a place you can listen to the greatest live music of all time in full concert format. They even have an iPhone app so that you can easily listen to these live concerts from anywhere you are.  I have been listening to some amazing Bob Marley concerts.  

They way Marley and the Wailers build and build during the set is mind bending.  Please, go check out wolfgangsvault and check out all the amazing music there.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr., remembered through music!

A quick tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., today. In 2002, Trax Records released a 12" that featured a remix of the Mr. Fingers classic "Can You Feel It?" that has much of MLK's "I Have A Dream Speech" overlaying this mellow, yet uplifting classic. So for today, just enjoy the track. I have also posted a video someone made using the song.

Remember what King stood for, today! Do a good deed in unsolicited fashion. Volunteer! Give to a charity you feel close to. If you give of yourself, you'd be quite surprised how good you feel afterwards. And work to help bring the ideas of equality to our country. As long as anyone suffers, we can always improve to give everyone the same rights and chances of everyone else.

[Download Mr. Fingers - Can You Feel It? (MLK mix)]

And for this one, please do buy the music! No funny messages or anything. I think buying this song sends a very real message about the passion you share with us about what this great man stood for.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Even if death were good

If you have all of the information..
And you can't make a decision in 60 seconds....
Then perhaps you do not deserve to reap the benefits that such a decision might bring.

Call it self-help gobbledygook, or more Robbins-style success training... But this advice has been around for almost a century. Andrew Carnegie once said "those who are slow to make up their minds are also slow in carrying out their decisions."

Well if you can't decide
Your move you either weep or moan
You waste a year to mull this through

[Ra Ra Riot - Ghost Under Rocks]

Meet Ra Ra Riot. Did you hear the cello? The violin? How is it that I can be a sucker for both the double bass pedal and the stringed instruments? I'm a sucker for ska, too, so what does that tell you. (Absolutely nothing.) As I mentioned in my last post, I am reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live in which the author visits the places and ponders the legacy of the deaths of well-known, and some not-so-well-known rock artists. So I found it odd to discover that in the short couple of years that the sextet Ra Ra Riot has been together, they've already lost their original drummer to an accidental drowning after playing a show and then attending a house party in Providence, RI last summer. Prior to that show, they wrapped up a 6-week tour with inALLcaps faves The Little Ones. And in December of 2008, they toured the east coast with So Many Dynamos. That would have been a nice show to see.

Listening to Ra Ra Riot is really soothing to me. It sometimes takes me back to The Smiths, and by the end of the album The Rhumb Line I could swear they are as upbeat as Motion City Soundtrack. Like Morrissey they do often mumble their lyrics, so nailing down what it is they're saying is tough - and as more and more 12-year-olds access the internet, the lyrics websites are plummeting in credibility by the hour. Unlike Morrissey, these guys are American as Apple Pie and don't sound like they hail from Syracuse, New York. But what they've got going on ranges from deep to flighty and it makes me very happy. Soothed. I love it. Try another sample.

[Ra Ra Riot - Dying Is Fine]

In stark contrast to The All American Rejects, I am glad the youth of today has a band like Ra Ra Riot. You have to get this album.

I get nervous every time you speak.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Armand Van Helden-mania! - Part 2

So last week, I started you all off with a few old school Armand Van Helden tracks and remixes. It got a pretty good response, actually. Well, except from the Strictly Rhythm folks, and we can understand why, so we took down the mp3 of "Break Night". Hopefully if you guys trust my opinion, you'll buy the track, anyhow!

So this week, we're bouncing ahead a little further. After his seminal album 2 Future 4 U, he has just sort of gone downhill, unfortunately. The edge isn't there, any more. That's a real shame, because for a good half-dozen years, this guy made nothing but quality. Here I'm sharing a few more of his tracks.

To start off with, we're going to bring up Daft Punk yet again. Daft Punk was part of a crew that called themselves "Da Mongoloids". Well, according to discogs, it was just Bangalter of Daft Punk that took part in the crew. The crew would extend out to guys like Junior Sanchez, Basement Jaxx, and DJ Sneak, amongst others. Well, Armand made a remix of "Da Funk" that really is just a nutso take on the original, and here it is.

[Download Daft Punk - Da Funk (AVH mix)]

Next up is possibly his best known remix, and the one that got him the assloads of work he got after this one. He remixed Tori Amos' "Professional Widow" and then, just about every DJ worldwide seemed to be playing it. It was one of the anthems in dance music in 1996, and for good reason.

[Download Tori Amos - Professional Widow (AVH mix)]

The next three I have listed here are much lesser known remixes by Van Helden. He went on a remix tear for a few years, and was remixing just about anything thrown his way. Hell, I even found a copy of the 12" for Rednex "Cotton Eye Joe" with three remixes he did. And yes, it's godawful. I won't even force you all to listen to that one. Well, here I have listed his remixes of Apollo Four Forty's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub", Skunk Anansie's "Secretly", and The Trancesetters' "The Search". The last one, I've seen iTunes list an Armand remix that, unless he made a 2nd version? That isn't it. So don't waste the time on it.

[Download Apollo Four Forty - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub (AVH mix)]

Skunk Anansie - Secretly (AVH mix)

Trancesetters - The Search (AVH mix)

Now, I have plenty more Armand cuts, and for now, I am going to leave those on the backburner. I think I'll revisit this topic again in the next month or two, because I have a lot of good stuff to share that wasn't made by Armand. Stay tuned if you're a househead, because I have a few more gems to share with you all!

Now, go buy some of this! We do, and so should you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

SKELETONS come to LIFE in my closet!

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

Green Day always makes me think of my friend Ade. She was totally a punk rock princess to me. Even before she was into Punk Rock. My memory, albeit addled with reckless drug abuse, is that I introduced her to Green Day. I set her life into motion in a way. She now had a purpose. It was not long after this introduction that I noticed the giant Green Day sticker on the back of her new car. She never gave a fuck about what you thought of her. I spent many hours with her on the power box outside my house. We talked about our parents, about school, the douche bags on the bus, and more importantly; we talked about music.

And on this night...I think of her fondly. I hope she is happy. I picture us both singing along. I salute you with my middle finger and a smile!

Can I get another Amen? AMEN!

Bullet in a Bible is a live show by Green Day which documents the two biggest shows that Green Day have ever headlined in their career. According to Rolling Stone, Bullet in a Bible was the seventh largest one-band concert in history, playing to over 130,000 people at the Milton Keynes National Bowl in the UK on 18 and 19 of June, 2005.

My first thought while watching this was:

Wow...I had forgotten how many bands have looked up to Green Day in their style and the sound. And the first one that comes to mind is...My Chemical Romance!

[My Chemical Romance - The Sharpest Lives]

There is some good commentary in between songs that make the DVD worth a purchase all on its own. There was a lot of crowd interaction in the show, and some pyrotechnics. I wonder if they just did that for this big show?

I sat down to watch in my living room while nursing a bottle of JD. Choice. It was great to sing along to Billy Joe and company with a nice buzz in my belly. How will you enjoy watching it? Let me know.

[Green Day - Android]

Friday, January 9, 2009

I still dream of runnin' careless through the snow

The band is Blitzen Trapper. They've been around for awhile, so it's alright with me if you pretend you've known of them all along. Their fourth album is called Furr, and it was released this past September. Rolling Stone said it was one of the best albums of 2008.

SPIN described the band's music as suitable for "cubicle-penned office drones in desperate need of a vacation." I may not be cubicle-penned, but desperate doesn't even begin to describe my need for a vacation. I digress. Speaking of SPIN, I've been reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live and as I finished chapter 6, something he said about the Allman Brothers gave me the resolution to write this blog. He'd been bashing them on nearly every page thus far, but he made the point that it's difficult to carry on a conversation during "Ramblin' Man."
This is true, isn't it! And what does that say about a piece of music? Perhaps it's not a testimony to a work of genius, but if you're forced to stop and sing along... Wait, what does that mean about the Britney Spears music that I hear at the mall? Do I have to digress again?I bet my boyfriend wishes I was unable to carry on a conversation during any song... I have been known to talk a lot.

I am not the only one making an Allman Brothers connection. Check out what their hometown paper, The Oregonian, had to say about the music:

...showcases an impressive array of alt-country and psych-rock songs that sound a little as though Wilco ate the mushrooms growing in the Allman Brothers cow pasture.

Look, it's good stuff. It makes me feel like I'm finally old enough to really appreciate Bob Dylan or Tom Petty. In the form of Blitzen Trapper. And that's cool with me. Check out the title track, Furr.

[Blitzen Trapper - Furr]

I'm shaky at the knees. Would you take me by the arm and settle down upon a farm?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Armand Van Helden-mania! - Part 1

So this week, I'm going to give you guys mostly a bunch of old Armand Van Helden tunes. I shit you not, if it's from the years 1994 to 1998? I most likely have it on wax. He used to reside here in Boston, and played at the locally legendary Loft. I missed out on the Loft back in '96 by maybe a few months, and man, I am still upset I never got to experience it. Those were my formative days with house music, and I am sure that would've just sped up the process!

Since I've found so many tunes that Armand's done that I want to share, I will keep this in two parts. A couple of local Boston guys have done the Armand theme in the past, and it's really not easy picking what tunes to represent what Armand did! The Soul Clap guys have been in Boston for a long ass time, also, and know their shit. Here's a link to their blog postings on Armand.

So let's get this shit started! If I find the response to these little retrospectives to be very positive - meaning you should leave comments or e-mail me at - then I may do a second batch of his old school shizzy!

First off, I remember talking to a guy about five years ago that knew Armand back in the Loft days, and he actually told me I reminded him of Armand from the attitude standpoint. Basically, fuck trends....fuck "top ten" what you like and take some chances. It was probably the most humbling thing I'd heard in...well...ever. He told me that when Armand first moved down to NYC, he was actually essentially homeless for the first three weeks there! A lot can change in just two or three years, huh? Whether or not that's true is up for debate, and Armand, I hear, hates interviews. And I know some kids who hang with him and they've said even with their help, it wouldn't be likely.

Armand's early stuff actually bounces around a lot. Here, you'll see what I mean. I have given you guys what is probably my favorite Armand cut - The Mole People's "Break Night". It's a 13 minute long track! It's deep, tribal, and hypnotizing. Released on Strictly Rhythm back in 1995, it was just one of many Armand tunes that would help establish him as a future force in dance music. Of course, I could've just given you all Armand's "Witch Doktor" as the tune that embodies his old stuff, but everyone does that.

Editors Note: Strictly Rhythm has asked us to no longer offer the track from Mole People from our site.  Like a responsible music blog, we complied.

So the next two are from the same album. He was also on another classic label - Henry Street. These two are lesser known tracks from his Old School Junkies persona. "Brooklyn Beats" has a sort of twisted story, however. It's on Armand's Old School Junkies - The Album (parts 1 and 2) but when I first heard this? I was under the impression it was another artist by the name of Scotti Deep. Well, I can't see anywhere where the track actually was produced by Armand. In fact, this particular mix was done by Pulse 2 Rhythm. So who knows who actually gets credit for this one. For now? I will put it here as Armand's "version" I guess. If anyone can clear this up, feel free!

[Download Old School Junkies - Brooklyn Beats]

The next is is a very underrated track of his. "Play The World" is very deep and funky. It's actually a few years ahead of its time, in my opinion. While some artists may have done deep tracks like this, none were getting released in such a manner that reached a pretty large - for electronic music - audience.

[Download Old School Junkies - Play The World]

The last one is a remix Armand did about the same time he produced all of the above tracks. Sagat is known for one track. The song "Fuk Dat" got wide play, and was remixed by the likes of Josh Wink and Armand. Here, Armand has it in a very stripped down format, and has a killer acid loop (albeit not in the classic Chicago acid house sense) backing it. There's another mix he did with the full vocals, but this one takes the cake.

[Download Sagat - Fuk Dat (Armand mix)]

In fact, he even made a video for this cut! Of course, he had to tone it down a bit, and it was re-titled "Funk Dat", but you get the point!

Oh yeah! Go buy this stuff! Or else someone named Vinny is coming to your house. My guess is it won't be for dinner, either.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I watched in terror, the lake opened wide

For Xmas I got three classes to a cooking school. I was shocked at first. Why would someone think to get me this? I guess I forgot about all the times I had daydreamed aloud about owning my own hippie pizza kitchen. But somehow the idea of classes threw me off guard.

I'll tell it like it happened, it was Darius and Nolan and me
Just a few po' boys trying to get up outta Missouri
Took 55 to Louisiana, stopped by the highway to eat
They both had crawfish, strictly chicken for me
Back out under thunderheads, the radio was Southern soul
They interrupted Clarence Carter with a strange-ass local show,
They were sayin',

After further thought, I realized it was quite a thoughtful gift. I love watching Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen and other foodie shows, and while watching them I get pretty into it. I often wish I had better knife skills, and I would love to try my hand at using some of these fancy ingredients like truffles or selecting the freshest ingredients to throw in my dishes.

Come down to Lake Pontchartrain
Rest your soul and feed your brain
That's where you will get to see
Everything the water can be.

Food is a powerful thing. Eating a great risotto is something that can change your life. You never forget when you taste your first amuse-bouche. Even horrible meals are memorable. I can't think about LSD without remembering the grilled cheese sandwich I ate while frying my balls off.

The rain was comin' down, the wind was howlin' outside of Slidell
It was the kinda night that makes you think the whole world's goin' to hell.
We got off on an exit 'cause we couldn't read the map so great
Near the Choctaw Motel, we parked to deliberate
When out of the bayou came a man like the lake had a tongue
He was right up on the glass, all yellow-eyed, black teeth, bangin' on the
screamin' like a demon at the top of his lungs,

Come down to Lake Pontchartrain
Rest your soul and feed your brain
Free for you and all your friends
Crawfish 'til the bitter end.
Come down to Lake Pontchartrain
Wade to where the shallows break
That's where you will get to see
Everything the water can be.

[Download Ludo - Lake Ponchartrain]

The song we are highlighting today, is about food, in a way. It's the story of three boys, on a road trip. A quick bite on the side of the highway has horrific repercussions.

I was driving out of there as fast as a Camry could
But the interstate was flooded and I had to take the road through the woods
Bad move in retrospect, the road disappeared in the rain
And I stood on the brakes when I saw the sign: "Lake Pontchartrain"
Darius was yelling that he saw somebody out in the swells
He jumped out runnin' and Nolan was goin' as well
"Come back!" Why the hell would they leave the car?
And that's when I heard it, make no mistake
the voices were calling them from under the lake.

Come down to Lake Pontchartrain...
Come down to Lake Pontchartrain...
Come down to Lake Pontchartrain...
Come down to Lake Pontchartrain...

I first heard the song while driving to Arizona. My brother threw on his iPod while we were on a road trip of our own. When this song came on, I was stunned.

"Who is this?!" I shouted over the blaring music.

"Ludo," he replied.

Shit. I have this album. How could I have missed it? Well, I had to ensure that you, our faithful readers, don't also miss out.

The crawfish were screaming, the waves danced in time
My friends went in deeper, the water, it climbed
I watched in terror, the lake opened wide
And horribly roaring, it pulled them inside.
That's how it happened, why would I lie?
There were no bodies, I've got none to hide
I'm just a boy, lost his friends in the rain,
Any more questions, just go and ask Lake Pontchartrain

Quickly purchase You're Awful, I Love You and enjoy the whole album!