Friday, July 30, 2010

Spent Half My Life In A Customer Service Line

It seems like people are desperate to find the easy-listening type of artist they can turn on when they want to intentionally feel depressed. Or deeper in love, depending on the slant they want to pull out of the music. Apparently the world needs more Joshua Radins... Ray LaMontagnes... Damien Rices.
Myself, I have honestly never listened to Radin but I worship LaMontagne and can barely stand to listen to Rice.
Oh wait.
Don't get me wrong. I love Damien Rice. I listened to O a minimum of one hundred seventy-eight times. But it slices through my heart like a razor. It's hard to hear. So here is my replacement:

Dan Mangan.

Even that pic just kills me - but in a good way. Thankfully. Who is this Dan Mangan? A Canadian chap, been recording music since he was 20. That was in 2003 when he released his first EP, All At Once. Mostly his work has been recognized throughout Vancouver. The album I recently picked up was released in August 2009, called Nice, Nice, Very Nice.

Let me share with you what everyone in Vancouver gets to hear on the radio, on the daily. Track 1 and 2 are what's been released, and I like them fine, but I'm loving the other tracks more. The releases getting radioplay (well, Canadian radio) are both a bit more on the anthem-y side, but I prefer "Robots" (Track 2) to "Road Regrets" (Track 1). I just feel like both these tracks switch direction on you and you ask yourself, wait - what was this song about?

Waking young and feeling old
The days are no longer my own
To piss away the waking hours
But don't let them go to waste

Download Dan Mangan - Robots

You're wondering where in the hell the comparison to any of the artists above is. Yeah yeah. I've seen comparisons to Radiohead (is that just a catch-all for bands who you can't assign another "sounds-like" to?), and Bon Iver. Well, in Track 3, "The Indie Queens Are Waiting", Mangan utilizes the support of Veda Hille for a back-and-forth that reminds me of Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, and never picks up the tempo. And it's a gorgeous song, even if it has nothing to do with the heartache that the other couple sings about.

So the album in its entirety is really a mix of all things that Mangan wants to create.
“For this record, I think I kind of turned the corner from listening to strictly roots music to listening to a lot of indie rock and indie pop,” he says. “It then became about branching worlds together. There are a lot of one-two bluegrass bass lines on the record, but at the same time I don’t feel like it’s a bluegrass record. There are a couple of songs that are really mellow and guitar-vocal-heavy, but I don’t feel it’s a sappy singer-songwriter record. There are a couple of punk-rock fills, but it’s not a rock ’n’ roll record. I really don’t know where it fits in.”

So he starts his wrap-up of the album with a simple, but somewhat jarring portrait of one man's life, and the final track is then quite something of an open-ended question as well. But here is Track 11 of 12, "Basket."

So there's a puzzle I work on endlessly
And I've got the sides and all the corners
But there's a space
Yeah there's a space
Lost some pieces I can't replace

Download Dan Mangan - Basket

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Modest Mouse - Boston show review

Okay. Modest Mouse show review, here. If you only heard of these guys when "Float On" came out? Leave. Now. I mean it. To help you out, here is an appropriate website for people of your intelligence to go to.

Okay, now for the disturbing facts. Modest Mouse was decent. Pretty good. They didn't "kill it" as the Twitter feed by HOBBoston I read said. No. They were good in spots. Here's the thing. Isaac Brock? He's not built for this. The mainstream success. Hell, look at their new shirt. A zombie-esque cat. The antithesis of the mouse. Essentially, I saw that and went, "Sweet! They're mocking their idiot fans!" and bought it instantly. As did many of the fans being mocked. Last laugh? Modest Mouse. Well played, Isaac. Well played.

George knows how long I've been a fan of these guys. Hell, I'm even a "new" fan to some. I mean, I "only" got into them about ten years ago. Still, as ravenous as I am with music, it wasn't long before discovering their earlier works. Albums like This Is a Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About and Lonesome Crowded West became favorites. I mean, who can hate a song titled "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset"? Hell, my first time seeing them was in September of 2001. I did a review of that show for the now defunct site I helped George with then. I got to meet Brock after the show. To say he is an odd man? Well, I'm considered pretty fucking nuts. My mind is not a place for the timid. This guy makes me look borderline sane. Which is probably why I liked the band.

Anyhow, back to this particular show. No recent album out. Which right away screamed, "The label is fucking them, so they are trying to make a buck." And that's fine. The House of Blues in Boston, despite the whole mantra of "Love One, Love All" doesn't really show love to the fans with tickets in the Mezzanine. Craptacular view. And hot. In a terrible way. I wanted to find a midget to punch. They are here for our entertainment, after all, right?

So they did "Float On" early, and I even overheard some of the dipshit bandwagon fans say, "Wow. I'm surprised they did that one so early!" Do you know why? BECAUSE THEY ARE SICK OF THAT FUCKING SONG! See, the thing is, that whole album, Good News For People Who Love Bad News is good. However, take a look at their album titles the further they've gone. It's like watching Jack Kerouac get darker and darker in his novels. He knew there wasn't a good ending, and I have a feeling Brock knows this, as well. He has essentially become part of something we know he probably hates. But with his twisted sense of humor, he's certainly going to milk it for what it's worth until then. In a weird way? I'm alright with that. Again, well played Isaac.

Anyhow, other tracks I can remember include "Paper Thin Walls" - which I love - and "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine", "Dramamine", and "Blame It On the Tetons". My favorite that got love from the band was "Here It Comes". God do I fucking love that song. Not one person around me was singing along. Not one. Let me repeat that. NOT ONE. A song with lyrics like "walking around with shit on my shoes...oh here it comes" is something you idiots can't remember? And see, the kicker here is that they repeat the line "here it comes" a myriad of times. It's called repetition. Stop lamenting why Johnny Marr isn't with the band, any more, and get with it, you small minded bandwagon douches. By the way, the fourth shirt you're wearing needs its collar popped.

Download Modest Mouse - Here It Comes

Well, after all of that business, I was just going to leave. The thing with the mezzanine was I couldn't go back to the floor level. Understood due to the fact that it was sold out. Here was one of the few bright spots of the night. The girl working that knew I couldn't see squat? Well, I was about to leave before the encore, and she actually grabbed me and told me if I wanted, I could stay below, now. Essentially, enough folks were leaving to deal with the crowding issue. I don't want to potentially get this young lady in any trouble, so I will omit her name. Gotta look out for those that looked out for me, after all.

Immediately after getting down there, another view of what a bunch of pricks this new generation of Modest Mouse fans are. An encore. We all know about this. Why? Because we go to enough concerts to know about them. Well, I had the pleasure of standing next to three couples. The girls? Basically foul mouthed trophies for the frat boy guys they were with. That's the first bad sign. When one of the girls yells, "Come on assholes!" to, I guess, coax the band out? I cringed. It wasn't until one of the guys screams, "Fucking come out or I'm leaving!" that I had it and bitched out these little shits. As I told them, it's a concert. This is what an encore is.

The finish of the show included one of my other favorites by the band - "Gravity Rides Everything". Now, I have a personal attachment to this song, so I was quite pleased to head out on a high note. The crowd and venue was just terrible. In both instances, there were redeeming qualities, for sure. The band did seem to feed off of the crowd, so at times they looked a bit bored. They were still good. Just nothing like the previous three times I had seen them. How much more of this can Brock take? Well, he seems to have a sense of humor about it, so I'd say we may still see a few more albums before they call it quits. Here's to hoping I can see them without these dopey fans, though. I can do without them.

Download Modest Mouse - Bankrupt

Download Modest Mouse - Gravity Rides Everything

Now, buy some shit. It's what you should do. Especially if you claim to love this band but only bought their last two albums.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Scatter These Ashes All Around

"We Are Bound To Save Some Souls Tonight is a record full of dirges, shanties and shithouse anthems, transmitted from a land where your dancing is proportional to your depression. Eric Rykal is someone to keep an eye on"
- My Old Kentucky Blog

My post about Mumford and Sons got me an opportunity to review the new album from Eric Rykal's band, The Gentle Guest. The band's PR firm describes The Gentle Guest as the "hyperactive brother of Mumford and Sons"! The band released the new album, Cast Off Your Human Form on July 20th. I love how this album is absolutely a dark and bluesy explosion of Americana, only now it's drunk after drinking from a big ole cup of trouble and sins.

These boys from Eau Claire, Wisconsin have really created something special with this sophomore effort. Not that their freshman release is anything to scoff at. We Are Bound to Save Some Souls Tonight was a fast burning fuse of an album, a combustion so fast and strong it will ignite the synaptic pleasure center of your brain. Let us listen as the match makes contact:

Download The Gentle Guest - She Devil

"I gave her a kiss, and she ran right off with my soul..."

The new album was recorded by Rykal not only in the local hometown studio that he owns and runs, but also in several surrounding locations including a basement here and a living room there. The musicians involved on the album are a rotating list of Eric's friends from the Chippewa Valley. How do you take that kind of sound out on the road?

Playing the new songs live has been a bit of a chore for the band, if not for trying to recreate the feeling of the album, than just for the simple task of fitting all the members and instruments on stage. “We’ve had upwards of 8 or 9 people,” says Rykal. “We wanted it to be some sort of rowdy, theatrical spectacle. We figured having a ton of people on stage was the easiest way to accomplish that.”

Sounds like an epic show...I can't wait to see them live! There is one song on the new album that is very stripped down, and actually is one of my favorite tracks.

Sometimes a chorus of voices and a hand-clap is all you really need...

Download The Gentle Guest - Who Is Gonna Love You

Before you head off to buy the albums of The Gentle Guest, quickly check out the tracks they did for Daytrotter!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sometimes, To Get By, I Believe In The Lie

I'm particularly sensitive to the musical "purists" whom I've known over the years who might scoff - or even walk out - if they saw a band preparing for their live performance to include some sort of playback equipment. Bad Veins is Benjamin Davis and Sebastian Schultz, and when they go to perform live, they bring Irene with them to help duplicate the thrilling sounds they've created in the studio.
"Created in the studio?" These so-called purists might say. "Then that's not music."


So if you were to create art on paper or canvas... Your only choices are watercolors, acrylics, or charcoal? Surely any artist worth his salt would scoff at the use of any other medium, no?


When Joseph Kekuku found himself dragging a metal bolt along the strings of his guitar... when Les Paul and Charlie Christian experimented with the modification of their instruments... The artform of music was enhanced for our enjoyment. Whether the artist uses re-mixing, layering tracks, banging pots and pans... This is music. This is expression. Embrace it.

So thank God the boys in Bad Veins can set up Irene, their antique reel-to-reel player, so they can share their unique music with a live audience. Irene has taken a licking and keeps on ticking, even if overzealous onstage supporters from other bands accidentally turn her off. She provides a hefty dose of extra tracks that help thicken their sound. So there is that, and then watching Sebastian Schultz go apeshit on the drums is something that should not be missed.

I probably didn't have to go so far to defend this sound. A healthy ninety percent or so of our readers already get it. But as I said. I'm sensitive to the loud minority. So there it is.

I watched this band live recently, and it was pretty fascinating to see how he sang into an old telephone receiver for a few of the tracks where that muted, I-can't-sing-right-into-the-mic-because-it-will-steal-my-soul sound is preferred. Like in Track 6, "The Lie."

Download Bad Veins - The Lie

Though they formed in 2006, there was no rush to make a record. Their self-titled debut LP was released in 2009, and it's 10 tracks of thoughtful composition. They toured quite a bit before even releasing that album, and I believe they've finally wrapped up their spring/summer tour where they pretty much went everywhere in the US. Feel bad if you missed them.

I just went through their twitter feed in an attempt at stalking grandeur, and saw that they are pals with Chris Hardwick. Now that's cool. The Nerdist can help you find all sorts of cool stuff. That's an aside. I'm running out of things to say. I'm pretty impressed with Bad Veins. I love Track 8, "Dryout", as well, but if you're looking for more laid-back tunes, they've got a new EP out, called Outliers, four simple tracks for a chill afternoon.

But I'm going to leave you with something upbeat. So enjoy "Dryout". And then buy their shit. They will be back out on tour next month.

Download Bad Veins - Dryout

Get the EP Here!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gorilla Bells?

This is one where I basically tell y'all to not sleep on a couple of artists. One you know. One you may not. Who knows. You all seem to be pretty bright and all Johnny on the spot and stuff. Good for you.

Anyhow, there's this band by the name of Sleigh Bells. They're noisy. I mean really noisy. Just not in that way where you want to stab out your own eardrums. It's good stuff. Most of the music is programmed in, with only the guitar being the live instrument. Well they made somewhat of an impact in that they got the attention of Pitchfork, who I personally can't stand. But hey, they get throngs of hipsters to read, so I guess they aren't all bad, right? So when "Crown to the Ground" came out last year, it piqued my attention, and ended up being listed in Pitchfork's top 100 of 2009. Well played. Well played, indeed. So here we have "Tell 'Em", which is just as noisy and raucous. So enjoy it.

Download Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em

Next is one you really don't need an introduction or explanation for. The Gorillaz. Seriously. Do I need to describe these guys to you? Really? You know. Damon Albarn? The guy from Blur? Yeah, the people that did that song "Clint Eastwood". Correct. Well, this is "Glitter Freeze". And it's pretty badass. That is all.

Download The Gorillaz - Glitter Freeze

Now. Buy shit. Because I said so.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Do You Know How Scared I Am About The Bottom Dropping Out?

"How did THAT happen?"

That's what I said to The Little One when it dawned on me that we had never written a post on Kevin Devine.

I was listening to the entire Kevin Devine disocgraphy in preparation for an upcoming concert when that thought occurred to me. Everything from Circle Gets the Square (2002), various Daytrotter recordings, to the new EP released this year, She Stayed As Steam, was on constant rotation for the last week or so.

We have been fans of Kevin since before the Brand New/Manchester Orchestra tour of 2007. Being fans of Brand New we quickly began digging in to these two openers of their show. After listening to albums from both Manchester and Kevin Devine, we decided that we needed to catch these two acts. Sadly, I was late getting to the venue and only caught the final song of
Kevin Devine's set. What a finale it was! Members of all the bands on the tour came on stage to cover Nuetral Milk Hotel's "Holland 1945" alongside Kevin.

I've followed Kevin's career closely after that show. I watched youtube videos of his performances. I read interviews and articles about Kevin. I enjoyed his albums immensely and shared them with friends. But it was always with some regret over missing Mr. Devine's set with the Goddamn Band.

Kevin is a pretty amazing and eloquent songwriter; creating characters and backgrounds for weaving tales in some songs (I've never been a joiner, no, I've quit every team I've been on), allowing for honest examination of personal relationships in others (when you realize it's a pattern and not a phase), and rallying against war and human rights violations in what I presume are his favorites (It's the mission of modernity, go get what's ours til there's nothing leftover to get no more). Pair that with a strong and distinctive voice, and well...well you can only come up with Kevin Devine.


We got to the House Of Blues early, knowing we had to catch ALL the openers. "Is that Kevin manning his merch table?" says The Little One. I look over...well it looks like Kevin. It's not ridiculous to see members of the band a the merch table, but for some reason I just didn't think this was Kevin. "Nah...he probably hires people that look just like him. Makes him more comfortable. I would do the same." I say, smiling. What else is new - she didn't listen to me, and went over to chat him up. Together we reminisced about that last Vegas show, now over three years' past, other acts we've caught since then, and the projects he's most excited about now.

One of the projects is called Bad Books and his a collaboration between Kevin and members of Manchester Orchestra! Kevin thinks it should have a release date sometime in October this year! You can catch an acoustic version of one of these songs on the PodWreck podcast featuring Devine. The track is called "You're a Mirror I Cannot Avoid" and the lyrics and melody are captivating. Check out the song and interview here.

Kevin's set was notched up in intensity from what you might find on his albums. Opening for post-hardcore band Thrice is likely the main reason for this, although I found it refreshing. Imagine your favorite tracks turned up to eleven, a new found fire lit fresh under an already boiling pot.

Things really get hot when Kevin Devine and his God Damn Band take off their shirts...during "Time To Burn (Another Bag of Bones)". Yes. That is correct. The boys removed their shirts. And then various members of the other bands came out shirtless, wearing makeshift masks, pantsless, or a combination thereof. As Kevin counted off a litany of inequities in the world, other men gyrated around him. How's that for not taking yourself too seriously?

Download Kevin Devine - Time To Burn (Another Bag of Bones)

It was a great show and it was great to spend some time chatting with Kevin. Maybe we can convince him to do a proper interview with us in the future? Mr. Devine hinted at a possible Hull/Devine tour (he said that it might be around 15 dates) to support Bad Books. If one of the dates isn't in Vegas we're hoping it's somewhere close...

One last thing...Kevin didn't know about the recording from Jackson, MS of a little acoustic tour he did with Jesse Lacey. It's one of our favorite finds. Check out Kevin playing Cotton Crush with Lacey:

Download Kevin Devine and Jesse Lacey - Cotton Crush (Acoustic show in Jackson, MS 2007)

Support Kevin Devine:

Friday, July 16, 2010

When You're On Your Own, A Little Opera Goes A Long Way

"'s Owl City unplugged."

It's interesting to give the Sky Sailing project which gives reference to the project that followed it, but that's just how this one is going down. Adam Young has gone back to recordings made before he created Owl City and has released them under his former moniker as well. An Airplane Carried Me To Bed is the name of the album released under the name Sky Sailing.

Owl City isn't over with. Young is working on Owl City's next record at this very moment. He explains where Sky Sailing came from in his blog:

Three and a half years ago, I recorded a collection of songs in my parent's basement during the bleary-eyed hours of night when sleep and I could not bring ourselves to meet. I was a metalworker, working 6 AM to 4 PM at a warehouse in my little southern Minnesota town. I was writing, creating, thinking, imagining and breathing music with every second I had to spare. Music has always been my dream, but at that point in time, it was merely a feather tossed to the wind. Regardless, my spirits were far from dampened and I created music as fast and as furiously as I could. In my little basement bedroom, I had an old Dell computer, Reason 2.5, a friend's borrowed Behringer C-1 condenser, a Behringer 8 channel analog mixer and my uncle's old Alvarez. I didn't have a clue what I was doing but I was a dreamer and music was my escape so I gave it everything I had. Never expecting my music to be heard anywhere but by my parents through the floorboards above, I wrote for my own ears. I was both artist and audience and I called myself Sky Sailing.

Not that this is terribly different than the way his Owl City albums are created.

"This album is a step into the past, the documented account of a shy boy from Minnesota with more hopes and dreams than he knew what to do with," he continues.

Oh, OK then.

Well, I've got the alone vibe all over this post and it's all over Young's projects. So I will share Track 9, "I Live Alone".

Download Sky Sailing - I Live Alone

With no connection I saw your reflection at home
In my bedroom mirror
And I felt young again when I saw what we could’ve been
In all of those years

Hey Adam, how long are you going to do this alone? John Lennon said, "A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." It's good music and all, buddy, but is that your plan?

Wait... Here it is.

Download Sky Sailing - Take Me Somewhere Nice

If we hook a dream
And it tows us back down this open stream
We'll say, "Hello - oh, take us wherever you go."

Comparisons to Death Cab For Cutie and Postal Service are fair, especially with lyrics like I'll meet you/Where the page proclaims the end/And I'll make due/With the fractions my reactions bend

It's quite a sweet and whimsical collection of songs when you get down to it. The perfect soundtrack to these hot summer nights when all you want to do is cool off. Or be alone. Or wish you weren't alone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Down with the King!

So the whole LeBron James fiasco is over. I just felt the need to write about how I didn't give a shit and somehow put it to music. So here I am, writing some splendiferous fantastical whimsy to make you smile. If you don't, then learn how and join in.

So LeBron felt the need to tease us with a one hour show about where he would go. If you watched that show and were in need to know where a guy would dribble and shoot a ball? You're the problem in this country. Along with the assholes that hate gays and love war. Sorry, but it's true. Even David Stern was unhappy with the way he went about it all. Even worse, however, was Dan Gilbert's response. This made it look like a couple of ten year-olds fighting. Stupid. And this, people, is what our country cares about. Isn't that just a bit depressing?

So with that being said, the song of the moment for me will be Run DMC's "Down With The King". Because I really hope LeBron fails. And if you want to leave a hateful response? Fine. I'm a big boy. I can take it.

Download Run DMC - Down With The King

Sunday, July 11, 2010

in those bad shoes

I'll be seeing The Pixies play here in Vegas in September. I'm totally stoked to see the show.I even bought a book from the 33 1/3 series on Doolittle to tide me over...but more on that later.

I have been taking piano lessons from a friend of mine. We'll call her Vanessa. Vanessa texted me a few weeks back asking if the girlfriend and I would like to see The Pixies in concert. The Pixies are a band that I love that I have not gotten to see in concert. In fact they were already broken up by the time I became a fan.

Jump to 11 years after the breakup to the year 2003, and the front-man Black Francis agrees to go on a reunion tour with his former band mates.

Now it's 2010 and with rumors of a new album in the works, the band is back on tour, and I'm gonna see them when they stop in my city. This is being called the Doolittle Tour to commemorate the 20th anniversary of this stellar album. They promise to play every song on the album, along with some b-sides and surprises!

The Pixies, although not a full on success in the States, have been given the trophy of "influential" and is likely the starting point for many alternative bands who did achieve success. Bands like Nirvana to Bush probably can credit The Pixies to any success they have seen. Cobain has even said that "Smells Like Teen Spirit was an effort to make a Pixies song. Although many would have trouble making the connection, The Pixies perhaps invented the Quiet/Loud/Quiet formula. Here's a Cobain quote from a Rolling Stone interview:

"I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it (smiles). When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band - or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard."

Excited about seeing the band, I grabbed the book Doolittle from the 33 1/3 series of books. Here is what the publisher describes the book:

DOOLITTLE. By Ben Sisario. (Continuum, paper, $9.95.) A friend of mine once had a girlfriend who kept a careful diary. "Never has so much been written about so little," he'd say. You could say that about "Doolittle," too, an entire book devoted to a Pixies album (part of Continuum's "33·" series). But that would mean you don't know the alt-rock god Charles Thompson, a k a Frank Black. Sisario, who is on the arts desk staff of The New York Times, explains how Thompson and a buddy once placed an ad in The Boston Phoenix: "Seeking female bassist into Hüsker Dü and Peter, Paul & Mary." Only one person responded: Kim Deal (later of the Breeders). In April 1989, "Doolittle" was released, and history was made. "They had a good angle . . . band with pretty girl and silly name makes weird music that critics dig," Sisario writes. Thompson was "an Everydude, a pudgy blank slate" whose lyrics about "sexual loathing and visions of apocalypse" touched a chord. "I don't know that sex is a totally beautiful, normal thing the way that the gods intended for a lot of people," says Thompson, who (to his credit) refuses to get too deep about his music.

The book is great, and I can't wait to share the book with Vanessa at my next lesson! My favorite part of the book is the breakdown of each song on the album. Here is the excerpt about the song Tame:

Pure minimalism is a straight line dividing space in half. Night and Day. Loud and soft. Whisper and scream. And there is no better example of the Pies' particular kind of minimalism than "Tame," a switch abruptly goes from hot to cold to hot again.

The composition is so simple that it's almost insignificant. Three chords reduced to three throbbing bass notes--D,C,F--persistant without change or interruption. It's song writing done on a dare: see how much we can do with so little, with the same chromosomes that are in every single pop song.

Download The Pixies - Tame
Do your part:


Download Rhythms del Mundo featuring Shanade - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Cover)

Friday, July 9, 2010

The least you could do is try to act surprised

Here it is again. Festival Season in full swing. If you've been to, or even considered, a music festival in the last few years you may have heard of Tokyo Police Club. It's almost as if they formed for the sole purpose of performing at festivals. Within two years of becoming a band, they played Coachella, Lolla, Bumber, Glastonbury, and Reading & Leeds. All in the same year.
In 2010 they will be doing some European festivals, Squamish, and... Outside Lands.

As you probably know, inALLcaps had some representation at Outside Lands last year and I've been turned a bit inside out with the decision not to attend this year. And up until now this was a secret: Tokyo Police Club was my main reason for trying to hold out so long and convince Mookie to go.

There is something soothing in the lead singer's voice and something jiggedy in the music that makes it feel like something you should always be listening to.

Infectious. That's what it is.

Tell me what's the first
Very first record you owned
'cause I've got no plans if you don't
No plans if you don't

And I can't decide which is my favorite track on Champ, released Jun 8. But Track 2, "Favourite Colour," is pretty damn enjoyable.

Download Tokyo Police Club - Favourite Colour

Honestly I like each track more than the last. And I am starting to get really torn between going to Outside Lands just to see these boys, going to Hawaii, buying a car, paying tuition... Hmmmmmmmm...

Check out their first released video from the new album, for the track "Boots of Danger (Wait Up)". Friggin adorable dogs swimming. No really, trust me. I never knew dogs who put their front paws in the water before going in. I thought they all just got a running start. I don't know about the one who appears to be getting himself out at the wall though. Did I pay too much attention to detail on this video?

It happens.

You're going to buy this album now right? I don't know how you can survive the rest of the year without it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Benny AND Bennie.....umm....and the Jets

Now this is one I just have been itching to write. Elton John versus Biz Markie! Cage match! GO! If no one gets it, yet, you are probably going to listen to one of the absolute best covers ever. Why is it so good? Because it's so bad. Biz Markie just absolutely butchers the original version of "Bennie and the Jets", here. And everywhere I've seen, the Beastie Boys version has been spelled as "Benny and the Jets", which leads me to believe the misspelling was intentional to avoid some legal fracas with the legendary piano playing John.

Well, to be honest, the Beastie Boys do a wonderful job with the music on this one. They really have become excellent musicians in their own right. Now, when they were making this, we know that they maybe had the idea of bringing Biz Markie into it. I mean, who else do they know would sing this? Who other than Biz could do it? Seriously! Name someone out there that could sing this with the Beastie Boys doing the music. That's right. You can't. Biz was born to do this. And the fact that he just mumbles through the lyrics - not to mention that he can't sing - is what makes it amazing. So sit back, grab a notebook and pen, and write down your thoughts when comparing the original to the magnificence that is the Beastie Boys version. And remember, nobody beats the Biz.

Download Elton John - Bennie and the Jets

Download The Beastie Boys ft. Biz Markie - Benny and the Jets

Go buy something. Or your mom will cry. She probably already does, though. We all know why. You're a disappointment. Don't worry. So am I! Big smiles, everyone!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


“I do not seek. I find.”

-Pablo Picasso

It's interesting how I discover music. It's like a rabbit hole. One song leads me to another album then to other bands, and suddenly I am discovering a new band altogether. New to me at least.

I was checking the blog email box and saw that Philip Selway just leaked a track off an upcoming solo album.

Latest tracks by Philip Selway

You know Mr, Selway, the drummer for a an itty bitty UK band called Radiohead.

I start to do some other searches for Radiohead and Selway. I start to head down the road of the band 7 Worlds Collide, a band Selway contributed to. Instead, I come across something I thought was much better.

I discover that there is a new Stereogum project out called OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer that celebrates the 10th anniversary of Radiohead OK Computer. The idea was to get a bunch of musicians to cover every song of the album. One of the standouts was a cover of Exit Music (For a Film) by Vampire Weekend.

Download Vampire Weekend - Exit Music (For a Film)

Here is what Ezra Koenig had to say about the original and the cover the band did:

"Exit Music (For A Film)" was the first Radiohead song I really got into. My friend Olympia put it on a mixtape for me. At the time I was struck by how much it sounded like classical music. Now I hear trip-hop and maybe a little Pavement (?!?!). No matter what I hear in it, this song is still 100% high-style Radiohead, a super-ambitious, pre-millennial banger.

Then I realize...Pavement? I thought Pavement was a heavy metal band...wait...have I ever listened to Pavement? huh.

I delve into the bands history and discography. An indie band that stayed indie for every release. 5 full length albums and 9 EPs in 10 years. Not metal... alternative rock. Apparently they only experienced moderate commercial success but had a strong cult following.

The group broke up in 1999 but has a reunion show scheduled in New York's Central Park on September 21, 2010. The tickets sold out in two minutes.

I checked out the albums "Slanted and Enchanted" (1992 and their first full length release) and "Terror Twilight" (1999 and their final full length album) and I like what I heard, but it felt dated. I mean they are old albums, but sometimes an album can still fell cutting edge and fresh years later. These two releases were not that. I can see how they must have influenced many bands that I love. Modest Mouse, Silver Jews, Built To Spill, Wavves all feel like they might have been influenced by Pavement.

That's how I discovered the band Pavement.

Download Pavement - Ann Don't Cry