Monday, November 29, 2010

not guilty (ok...I am)

"po po shut us down..."

This a part two to sunday's post. Go read it here. Kilter really wanted to write about guilty musical pleasures. I knew instantly what I would write about. I was worried though. I have street cred after all. I had to write a fucking music blog for over three years to get it...and now just to keep with a "theme" I'm going to throw it all away. Kilter is trying to unseat me from my throne with this thematic gauntlet. Well fuck him. I can be honest and still keep my cred. Right? Right!?!

I one likes to admit their guilty pleasures. I mean, if you have an unhealthy fetish for cake, you tend to keep that shit to yourself. Cake for breakfast for example? You might tell your lover. He could think it's cute? Maybe you might let it slip while drinking with friends at the bar. Maybe you do it to see how unhealthy this guilty pleasure of yours is. Normally you eat your cake in the privacy of your own kitchen. In front of the open 'frigerator. Just in case you need to hide the evidence.

This guilty pleasure applies to all of you too. Kilter loves himself some George Michael, for example. I'm about to outdo him though. I love myself some Ke$ha. The fact I just typed her name with a dollar sign makes me blush with shame.

I have a friend who used to bust a gut laughing when he saw a man singing in his car. He would always imagine them singing Whitney Houston or whatever girly pop song was popular at the time. I would say, maybe he's singing along to Metallica. He didn't care. He would always just imagine him singing some girly and poppy, and it would crack him up!

I agreed with him and we made fun of all those dudes in their cars. Little did he know that I was one of these guys. I sing in the car. Sometimes it can be some punk or "indie" rock. A lot of the time though, it's the sugary pop on the radio.

Imagine me singing this song: Click to play Boots & Boys

I'm not interested in boots, or boys for that matter... but the song is so damn catchy...I sing along. It's embarrassing. I still am not sure why I am sharing this.

Ke$ha has a new EP out recently titled Cannibal. It has song titled "C U Next Tuesday". You gotta love that! I've already rocked the new album a few times on my commute to work. I'd have to tell you to pick it up. Just be careful to not leave the CD case out in your car. You don't wanna get caught.

Click to play C U Next Tuesday


Sunday, November 28, 2010

not guilty (by reason of insanity?)

I woke up with Neil Diamond's "I Am...I Said" in my head the other day. Before I move on, let's all listen to that together so we're in the same place.

Click to play Neil Diamond - I Am...I Said

Neil can be kitschy but I have to admit I'm a fan, and waking up with this random song in my head (and singing it for the rest of the day) made me think about other "guilty pleasures" in my music selection. These are the ones that for some reason I'd be a little hesitant to list in my favorites. Or I'd worry about my hipster cred, no matter how many PBRs I drank to make up for it, if I did. Then today I ran across this quote:

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom. -Thomas Jefferson

I want to write that book, Mr. Jefferson. It's time I brought some of my musical skeletons out of the closet. So here we go...

Neil Diamond: You've already heard my confession on this one. Yeah, I know we've all sung "Sweet Caroline" at karaoke and made the occasional joking reference, but I really think this guy is a great songwriter. Come on, he wrote "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon," which was badass enough to be covered by Urge Overkill and featured in Pulp Fiction.

Click to play Neil Diamond - Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon

He is the "Solitary Man." And, though it started as a joke, because of his contribution to the movie E.T. I ended up with a lamp and string of lights that are pretty special to me now. They look more or less like these. And yes, I do sing "Turn On Your Heartlight" every time I see them.

Bread: These guys may be more familiar to you than you know. They had quite a few big hits in the 70s, playing the kind of rock that makes Celene Dion seem aggressive. Their songs, particularly "Baby I'm A Want You," "Make It With You," and "Guitar Man" have been covered by all kinds of artists. It's sappy, melodramatic silliness, but I can't help loving it. Here's "Diary," one of the saddest songs ever written.

Click to play Bread - Diary

On the flip side you've got "If," which I stand behind as one of the sweetest love songs ever.

Click to play Bread - If

George Michael
George Michael: If I weren't American, I might feel less reserved about this one. Europe seems to have always known the guy's talent and been able to reconcile his ability as a deep soul-influenced singer with his penchant for putting out poppy dance hits. On this side of the pond, or at least in the more rock-centric circles I run in, there seems to be more of a stigma. I finally had to look at myself, hiding in dark corners with my walkman and my copy of Listen Without Prejudice and say, "this is wrong. Be proud, for what the man doth he doth so well. Let him make great pop music!"

Click to play George Michael - Freedom 90

Pay attention to the lyrics there. It's actually an emotionally autobiographical story of a young man getting caught up in the industry and struggling to find his own identity as he matures musically. And damn it's catchy.
He's also written some great ballads.

Click to play George Michael - One More Try

Faith and Listen Without Prejudice are both pretty brilliant albums that should be part of your collection. I find his most recent material more hit-or-miss but the guy is still super talented.

There are so many more but I'll stop here. Maybe I'll revisit the theme later. I invite you to begin writing your own book of wisdom. Shout your guilty pleasures from the rooftops, or even post them in the comments. Go buy the catalog of that one artist you've been running from all these years. Liberate yourself, for music should make us all more free.
Speaking of music making us free (there's a stretch of a segue, but I didn't want to characterize classical music as a guilty pleasure) I want to take a moment to recognize Henryk Gorecki, who passed away a few weeks ago. As a modern avant-garde composer he wasn't for everyone, but his "Third Symphony, Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs" seems to be something most of us can agree on. Dedicated to the memory of Holocaust Victims, it is a stunning piece of work that stands as one of the most moving compositions ever written. It's too long to post here but do yourself a favor: track down a copy and take some time out to listen to it all. It's

Friday, November 26, 2010

Smiling but We're Close To Tears

I heard this song every once in awhile on the radio. And I just assumed it was Rob Thomas. I know the hipsters hate Rob Thomas. I hate what our idea of Rob Thomas is, but I actually kind of like him. I probably wouldn't buy tickets to his concert, but when I make jokes about him being untalented, it's just jokes. He is one of the front-runners of a genre for which I have a strange taste in my mouth. Train. Jason Mraz. I just can't point out what it is. And it's not that I'm being a music snob or hipster. Today's soft rock just rubs me wrong.
So back to the point... This song. "Breakeven."

Her best days will be some of my worst
She finally met a man that's gonna put her first
While I'm wide awake she's no trouble sleepin'
'Cause when a heart breaks, no it don't break even

It STILL sounds like Rob Thomas. I only realized it was by a band called The Script because I saw it on the music I.D. in my car stereo. And I barely cared to look further into who this band was.

Meanwhile, all of the United Kingdom has been losing their collective minds over this band. Selling out shows. Selling out entire tours. Getting their albums long before we get them in the States. Well. Kind of like what some people had been doing over here for M-raz and Train for quite awhile, isn't it.

But recently I saw the video for the single off their second album. It made me think. A lot. So I BOUGHT THE SINGLE. And I bought the self-titled debut album too. I'm listening to the album now. If I have to say the name Jason Mraz again I might throttle myself, but I'm just saying... /cough

And it's not like they physically resemble any other three-piece from the States. Or pose like them.  Not at all.

OK, I have fully delineated my disclaimer. I'm not into this kind of music. You GET it.

But there are so many reasons that compel me to share their new single with you. Science & Faith won't be released in the States until January, but they just released "For the First Time" and shot the video starring Bono's daughter. (They are having such a ridiculous British lovefest over this band, I am telling you.)

Here's the thing.

Changes take place in our lives... Things happen to us. We happen to things. And we resist. Or the people around us resist. We start fighting. We hurt the ones we love. Over the loss of a job. A frightening health discovery. Any difficult process. Resistance. Weakened defenses. Stress. We fall prey to it. We will cause tension, friction, conflict.

She's all laid up in bed with a broken heart
While I'm drinkin' Jack all alone in my local bar
And we don't know how we got into this mad situation
Only doin' things outta frustration

"If you're going through hell, keep going." --Winston Churchill

"If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't embrace trouble; that's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it. " -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

I just want to send this track out to all of you - I know in some way you're being affected by, whatever it is - the economy, your parent's health, your health, other adversity.

Click to Play The Script - For the First Time

I can't wait to meet you all over again when we get through this. It's going to be beautiful. And then we'll go through it again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bomb dancing skillz

There are a few moments in life you're thankful for witnessing. Even fewer that you witness and catch on video. I got one of those, and oh god, it's epic. I really don't know how to describe this. Check it out.

Anyhow, this was at a birthday house party the other night, as my buddy Gray showed off his skills dancing to Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad". Re-watching it later, I was nearly in tears from laughing so hard. Considering it's Thanksgiving tomorrow, I have to say I'm thankful for catching this brilliance on video. Oh, and here's your music. Since I guess that's why you came here, right?

Click to Play Outkast - Bombs Over Baghdad

Click to Play Outkast - Bombs Over Baghdad (Rage Against The Machine Remix)

Monday, November 22, 2010

All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom

Girl Talk (Greg Gillis)
When discussing the best mash-up artists, Girl Talk is widely considered the King of Kings.  Girl Talk, also known as Greg Gillis, is the best there is. The album Feed The Animals is a big favorite of ours here at It's over 54 minutes of mash-up madness and got played hundreds of times on road trips, pre-party warm ups, and of course was on the playlist of countless trips to the gym.

My friend Jeremy and I had planned on seeing Girl Talk as soon as he was back on tour and within a 5 hour drive from our hometown. We checked for new albums and news of a U.S. tour often; it seemed like Greg was in hiding. I had worried that maybe those copyright lawyers had finally got their claws into our man. All the many uncleared samples he used in his work finally catching up with him. Then again, if that WAS the case, it would be all over the internet.

Then finally, spreading like wildfire, word of a new album called All Day. It wasn't news of a release was just released as a total surprise! 

I found out later that Gillis had begun working on All Day after wrapping up production on Feed the Animals. His need to create more new music while on tour was the biggest catalyst for the material on this new album.

I fly quickly to the Illegal Arts website, Girl Talk's label site, to grab my copy. Previous albums were distributed using a "pay-what-you-want" model, but I notice this album is just simply FREE! (you can still get your copy for free by clicking here). For hours I attempted to download the album, only to be denied by the overwhelmed site. I did finally get a copy from...well...from that same friend I mentioned earlier. Jeremy was triumphant in his attempt at the download.

I got the tracks loaded up in iTunes and the first thing I noticed was that this album is long! Clocking in at over an hour and ten minutes, this ends up being the longest album Girl Talk has put out!

The album starts out strong! A mash-up of Black Sabbath, 2Pac, Jay-Z, and Ludacris all in the first 1:20 of the first track! Another highlight is the mash-up of J-Kwon, The Ramones, and Slick Rick! Amazing!

Let's break down a song of this new album. Track 10 is called Steady Shock. Peep it out below.

Click to play Girl Talk - Steady Shock
The track illustrates how amazing Greg Gillis is at his artform. Look below to see the breakdown of all the samples in this one track. Keep in mind the track itself is under 5 and a half minutes long.

Click to play Blue Oyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
Click to play N.E.R.D - Everyone Nose

"I'm Not A DJ"
With over 370 samples that comprise the album All Day, there is plenty of samples you are sure to know well! There are some mysterious ones in the mix. They sound familiar but you are going crazy trying to figure out the original work the sample comes from. Never fear! The internet music geek community created a wiki page within hours of the new album release to identify all the samples used on the album. Check out the wiki article here. A less detailed, but considered more accurate version exists over here.

Now... many of our readers have asked me, is this album BETTER than Girl Talk's previous album Feed The Animals. It isn't better. In fact, Gillis' albums Unstoppable and Night Ripper are better albums. All Day just doesn't have the energy these previous albums have had. All Day is more like a "party-starter" than the full on party rager. The one thing that I like about All Day is that Gillis lets the samples breathe a bit more. Although this is what actually takes a bit of the excitement out of the album, it ends up making the album seem more mature to me.

Gillis talks about pacing himself in a recent interview with MTV:

 "I'm really interested in the rate of change but sticking with the same source material for a bit longer. It's a little bit more patient, mostly because I've spent just about every day working on it, editing it, going over each segment. It's been a full-time commitment." 
If you still think this album might be better than Feed The Animals, please refresh yo self with this video that mashes up all the source videos that make up the song "Play Your Part (Part 1)".

One last track for you!

In Steady Shock, there is the obvious sample of Bruce Springsteen's hit "Dancing In The Dark". Here is an amazing cover of "Dancing" by up-and-coming UK artist  Little Loud that I'd like to share with you. 
Click to play Little Loud - Dancing In The Dark (Bruce Springsteen Cover)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the Lotus position

Remember the game Guess Who? Let's break it out for a minute.

Does your person write impressively complex dance music?

Does your person blend said music with unique samples and live classical and jazz musicians?

Does your person love laser sounds?

Was your person the great-nephew of John and Alice Coltrane?

Did your person write a good portion of the interludes I hear on Adult Swim?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes? Hmm...

Is your person Flying Lotus?

Ha, I win again!

Flying Lotus, or FlyLo for short, is the kind of artist who I find it very hard to write about. He defies genres at pretty much every step. I've seen him labeled as Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) but I don't think anyone really takes that label seriously, particularly the artists who tend to receive it. I want to say FlyLo is making jazz music for our time, blending electronics with an improvisational approach and playing with the rules of music as we know them. Somehow that still doesn't cover what I hear on his albums.

Pattern+Grid World is an EP that FlyLo dropped about a month ago. Compared to recent previous releases this album comes off a little more electronic, trance-y, and sparse, though sparse in this case still means a whole lot going on. Here's track 2, "Kill Your Co-Workers:"

Click to play Flying Lotus - Kill Your Co-Workers

It's a nice, mellow EP, and a good introduction to Flying Lotus if you're not familiar. If you like what you hear, head back in time and grab some of FlyLo's full-length albums. I highly recommend 2008's Los Angeles to start. Oh, you want to hear a track or two from that record? Let me oblige you.

Click to play Flying Lotus - Beginners Falafel

Click to play Flying Lotus - Auntie's Lock/Infinitum (Featuring Laura Darlingon)

And here's a nice collaboration from full-length Cosmogramma, which was just released last spring.

Click to play Flying Lotus - And The World Laughs With You (Featuring Thom Yorke)

Now go forth, my children, and multiply (your music collections).


Friday, November 19, 2010

My water comes straight from the tap

You forgot, didn't you? You totally forgot how much you LOVED Matt & Kim. You got them confused with She & Him, and remembered that you only like listening in those melancholy moments. NO! Matt & Kim is nothing like that! Last year's Grand was just one beautiful explosion after the other. Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino are two totally insane dance punk masters who might be the best representation of the term "dynamic duo" ever envisioned.

Earlier this month they released Sidewalks and I have restored my joyful commitment to shake it. Shake ehhhttttttt. I'm ready to travel for a show again. I'm in full-on stalker oh-my-God-I-could-be-your-friend mode. But I couldn't be their friend. I am nowhere near as cool or as brave. I will just stay here and stay safe, with my silly four-strands-of-pink-hair punk posery.

But oh my God, seriously. PleaseIneedtoseethemlive.

I slept through this tour that just ended.

Do you know why?

I was so mad that all my cries about THEM being the SOLE reason I wanted to go to Lollapalooza where unheeded.

What. That's the way I remember it.

And those bottles are just for show.

Click to Play Matt & Kim - Cameras

I'll leave you with this. It is unmitigated evidence that Kim Schifino could be my best friend.

I have always said if Beyonce came up to me and said “Kim (yes, in this daydream Beyonce knows me) I want you to come be one of my back up dancers,” I would have to tell Matt I am leaving the band. Well, we all know this isn’t going to happen, so to satisfy myself I dance at our shows. I decided I had to step it up though and bring out not just a booty dance, but a booty dance on top of the crowd.

I have done it twice now. The first time was in San Francisco. See the video below.

Buy all the Matt and Kim you can get your hands on and that is an order!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pogo stick

Every so often, you run into something that amazes you with it's purported simplicity. Only later do you find out how difficult the endeavor really was. That's the case for Australian DJ and producer Pogo, whose real name in Nick Bertke. By now, unless you live under a rock, you've heard some of what this kid has done. When I say kid? I come close to being correct. He was only 18 or 19 when "Alice" was released, and is still a youthful 22 years of age. So we fully expect to hear a lot more from this guy.

Now, while his music is certainly one that catches your ear, it's the videos he makes that are the true treat. By simply taking clips from the movie he also samples for the audio portion, he creates a very vivid connection of music to imagery. His first video for "Alice" was an almost instant sensation. Take a peek at it and you'll know why.

Now, he was commissioned to work for Disney for a year. In part to make an agreement that his past work that sampled the Disney works would be taken down. Now that year's up, and thanks to a friend of mine overseas, I found out about his latest track that samples some Disney goodness. The track is "Wishery" and the movie? Well, none other than Snow White. Take a listen, and the video is included, also.

Click to Play Pogo - Wishery

On top of the sample heavy works, he does create his own tracks. One that I happen to like is his track "SplurgenShitter". Odd name aside, this is a winner of a track. The piano riffs throughout are happy, light, and don't overrun the rest of the wonder of this downtempo track. This time, he made a video of his own, so that is below, also.

Click to Play Pogo - SplurgenShitter

So go buy stuff. Now.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I heard the whole thing

I have always said that insanity and genius share a very thin line.

This is the perfect sentence to describe Chicago rapper Kanye West. West is quirky and erratic at times. He says and does things without thinking about them first. For example, Kanye goes off script at a Katrina Relief benefit concert and says "George Bush doesn't care about black people" (well some of us were already thinking that). There's also the Swift incident at the 2009 MTV Music Awards. On the music side of things, Kanye has redefined the rap and hip-hop games. Maybe there is a correlation between Kanye's personal and romantic life unravelling with the quality of his work.

It's not unusual is it? I think some of the most amazing art has been produced by troubled people during troubled times. Mozart, Beethoven, John Mayer... I think people just write Kanye off as an asshole and hate on everything he does. Like Batman says, "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." I wonder if Biggie and Tupac would have had similar problems if their lives were not taken so early. Tupac in particular had potential for violence and quirky behavior. Regardless, he's loved by everyone who appreciates rap and hip-hop.

I empathize with Kanye though. I know what it feels like to have everything fall apart. Everything could even seem to be going great, but you keep burning bridges and breaking hearts with every step. I know how it feels to have lost love and lost your mother. West described losing his mother like "losing an arm and a leg and trying to walk through that." I've been there. That pain I felt affected many around me who loved me. Instead of fixing it, you keep chipping away at the foundations. Chip away until it all comes crashing down around you. Although, unlike Kanye, I can't get centered in Paris while working as a shoe designer for Louis Vuitton.
Banned album art for
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Let's have a toast for the genius! On November 22, 2010 West's latest album will be released. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is Kanye's best album, and might be one of the best Hip-Hop albums in the last ten years. Not easy to say. I feel like arguing with myself about it. With every spin of this record though, I believe it more and more.

You know that this is not going to be a basic hip-hop album from the first 30 seconds or so of the opening track of the album. The track, called "Dark Fantasy", features a rap/spoken word intro from Nicki Minaj. Minaj is an up-and-coming rapper with a British accent that really sets off the intro in my opinion.

You might think you've peeped the scene, you haven't.
The real one's far too mean.
The watered down one, the one you know; was made up centuries ago.
It made it sound all whack and corny, yes it's awful, blasted boring.
Twisted fiction, sick addiction, but gather 'round children, zip it listen!

Click to play Kanye West - Dark Fantasy

When you hear that first track, you can hear how Kanye has really stepped up his game on the production front. Yeezy's willing to experiment and stretch with his sound. This isn't the same cat who just speeds up Dr. Dre drum beats and vocals. He's grown more confident and is less worried about experimenting with new sounds. This experimentation doesn't just end or level off with the first track. EVERY track on this album sounds fresh and exciting.

The real highlight for me is a track toward the end of the record. Track 11 is "Blame Game" featuring John Legend and comes in at almost 8 minutes. Although the final 2 minutes is Chris Rock going on with a skit that is slightly funny, but a whole lot heartbreaking. John Legend is such a talent and probably deserves a ton of credit for how dope this track is. West doesn't disappoint either. His raps are spat through venom and bile, tears and blood. Yeezy does some interesting effects on his vocal in this song. Perhaps it's the "voices" in his head. You'll have to hear it for yourself.

Click to play Kanye West - Blame Game

On a bathroom wall I wrote "I'd rather argue with you than to be with someone else."

I hope that you can't relate to the story told in this song. It's the worst kind of love. The worst kind of lust. It's painful heartbreak. It might be your fault. It might be the world against you. It might be that bitch (or asshole) is just crazy. I read somewhere that Kanye considers this his favorite song from his new album. There is no question it's my favorite track on any of his albums. Troubled equals great art.

Don't forget to check out if you find any of this interesting. Ye has been releasing a free song under the G.O.O.D. Friday project (GOOD Music Records is Kanye's record label) for the last 13 weeks. There are some real gems to grab over there.

There is even a 30 minute video for the track "Runaway" on the new album. My only suggestion is watch it in 1080p... it's beautifully shot, but awfully weird.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Playing games that young people should


From Toronto.

Their album is called Strike Hard, Young Diamond.

And it carries you away.


That is the name of the band.

Spirited Canadian mountain children.


Click Play.

Click to Play Wildlife - When I Get Home

I'm at a loss for words with this album. I feel like I am along for the ride while a bunch of energetic besties grab their banjos and flannels and head for the hills to jam. Each track just keeps up the driving pace and delivering on the intensity. By the time they get to Track 9, "Move To The City", I am positive they are playing in the lively field of my imagination as they repeat the anthem that they'd never move to the city because " doesn't sound like us!"

This album is driving me a bit crazy with wistful thoughts of vitality and spontaneity... What would I do, where would I go, if I was making this kind of music?

Where would you be? Who would you be with?

Order their album Here. Support independent music. Moreso than ever, support GOOD independent music.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No Protection

There are some days I like to kick back and listen to a certain song over and over and over again. This is one of those songs. Massive Attack used the vocal talents of Everything But The Girl's Tracey Thorn for their second album, and the title track of Protection became something of a sensation. The music video was something of a wonder, also, as Michel Gondry took on the role of turning the song into a video masterpiece of its own.

Click to Play Massive Attack - Protection

That being said, you would think that it would be tough to outdo the original. In most cases, I would agree with every one of you. One of the two remixes I've been digging non-stop for fifteen years, now. I had to place an order for the Massive Attack VS Mad Professor CD, and seeing as how Arkansas wasn't really noted for their diversity in music, I was considered something of an oddity for having this disc. A guy I met while at college in Arkansas actually placed the order for me, and he was one of the few that really fed into my passion for music while I was in school there. The Mad Professor mix of "Protection" is nothing short of breathtaking in every way, shape, and form. This has been played to death, and is one of the rare songs I can listen to and just never tire of.

Click to Play Massive Attack - Radiation Ruling the Nation (Protection)

The other remix is by ambient and electronic legend Brian Eno. I discovered this remix only recently, but there is a real harkening to his Music for Airports days in this remix. It's astounding in its own right, and I strongly suggest taking a listen.

Click to Play Massive Attack - Protection (The Eno Mix)

Regardless of what version you prefer, you won't get an argument from me about which one is tops, as I consider all three to be mind-blowing. Enjoy these!

Monday, November 8, 2010

She once belonged to us

For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
-Ernest Hemingway

In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway’s friends and colleagues bet him that he couldn’t write a COMPLETE story in just six words. As you can read above, they had to pay up. Hemingway considers it his best work.

I'm sure that this isn't what the song "Baby Shoes" by the group Bad Books is about... but maybe you could be persuaded?

Click to play Bad Books - Baby Shoes

Bad Books is a band/project that joined friends singer/songwriter Kevin Devine with Andy Hull and his band Manchester Orchestra. I had first heard about the project while talking with Kevin Devine before his show at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas.

I'm still waiting for this album to ship on vinyl, but I have had the MP3's for a few weeks now. It's the best sort of mash-up. Two of my great bands getting together and make something new and fresh.

I found a statement about the "story" of the song "Baby Shoes" from Andy Hull. During a studio session with 104.5, a Philadelphia radio station, he said this:

"It's a fictitious story (...) if it was me, say I'm the character. I have a kid and the kid dies and then I give the kid to Satan and Satan brings it back to life. But it's an apocalyptic baby so it tries to kill me and so I try and kill it and that lands me in prison and her out on the loose."
Bad Books

That dude is so hilarious, isn't he?

Have you heard about this concert in Atlanta the day before Thanksgiving? It's called The Stuffing.

I beg you...whoever is in charge. I hate Thanksgiving. Family get-togethers give me the worst kind of fear and anxiety. Please...send me free tickets to cover The Stuffing... I'll have no choice but to go. It's work...can't get out of it. My family would have no choice but to understand. No grinding my teeth while anguishing over dry turkey and awkward conversations. Maybe... finally, I can have a Thanksgiving that is memorable in a good way.

Full line-up for The Stuffing:
Manchester Orchestra
Dead Confederate
Bad Books
Kevin Devine
Death On Two Wheels
Harrison Hudson
All Get Out

Check out the first official video from the band Bad Books:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Elvis has returned to the building

How do you keep writing fresh, relevant music after 30+ years in the business? I'm not quite sure, but Elvis Costello has it down.

Since 1978's My Aim Is True Elvis (wasn't there another guy with that name once?) has been releasing edgy, intelligently irreverent music. I have a feeling he would have been relegated completely to the underground if he didn't write such catchy tunes. Instead, he has managed to sneak the occasional mainstream hit in over the years while he's busy cranking out great pop-rock albums, delving into jazz music (most notably in collaborations with his wife Diana Krall), and even working up a chamber opera. Sadly that last one never quite came to fruition.

Costello's new album, National Ransom, is a solid release. It's got plenty of the familiar pop-meets-punk-meets-new wave vibe Elvis does so well, with some genre benders thrown in along the way. Here's the opening track, which I would say rocks.

Click to play Elvis Costello - National Ransom

The man's ballads always get me, as well. He's quite the crooner.

Click to play Elvis Costello - You Hung The Moon

And above all, you've got a love a guy who joins Spinal Tap onstage for a classic hit:

Give it a listen. There's a lot to like, even if you're not a die-hard Elvis Costello fan.