Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What luck!


The title sort of describes it all. This past Sunday, I ended up with a free ticket to see the Gipsy Kings. Right place, right time, essentially. So I got to enjoy a free night of music, and it sort of inspired this post. I had heard a bit of their stuff in the past, but wasn't super familiar with them. The standards they played that I had heard were "Volare" and "Hotel California".

Well, during the show, I did the usual with some music talk with the women who had given me these tickets. One group I brought up with them that they may like was the Afrobeat group Antibalas. They certainly have a unique sound, but if you actually listen closely, there are definite similarities between them. It's no different than how we as humankind have evolved to become so diverse. Music has a distinct source or set of sources, although the latter is more likely. The melding of those sources helps music develop and grow. The same can be said for language. Language most likely developed from not just a single source, but from many, although that is something that will never truly have a solution.

Here, we have two groups from different times. Also with two different backgrounds of inspiration. However, one can certainly find strong similarities in general sound, but the quirks are what set them apart. Gipsy Kings have a strong influence from the flamenco stylings. What's pretty telling about the aforementioned similarities is that this style is typically found in only one region of Spain - Andalusia. Oddly enough, this region is closest to the African continent, and while it doesn't fully explain its origin, it could have been inspired by music from African sounds and stylings, but could have developed from earlier sounds in Africa.

With Antibalas, we're talking a style of music that is often called "afrobeat" which has developed from Nigerian sounds and were pioneered by the well known Nigerian artist Fela Kuti. We're all certainly influenced by earlier sounds, and Kuti is certainly no different. If we're to suspect that he didn't suddenly create this sound on his own, but put together an amalgamation of these sounds to create sort of a "remix", as you may, then we can also again go back to the point that this sound migrated South to Nigeria. This, combined with the migratory tendencies of music and language together tells me we could probably infer that we're looking at the creation of a specific music style in Central or North Africa long ago, and with its migration, the evolution of its sound to what we hear from these two bands. It's honestly a fascinating thing to me. To study where we came from or where our ways of communicating came from. So here I present a song from each group. I have given "Volare" by the Gipsy Kings and "I.C.E." by Antibalas.








Download Gipsy Kings - Volare









Download Antibalas - I.C.E.

And go download this stuff! Do that learnin' stuff!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vacation and a Large Popcorn!


It needed to happen. It seemed like everything was against it happening. Schedules and stress made even planning the vacation a chore. The word of the week is inertia. It's what really keeps us from stopping to smell the roses. The inertia of work and everyday life makes it so difficult to change course. It must happen though. For the sanity of yourself and the health of your relationships.

Even a funeral threatened to take the train to relaxation off its tracks.

Three days in to some rest and a change in perspective, and I feel like I am returning to the person I remember I was. Hi Mookie! Meet my old friend George!

One of the main things that helped to spur a reason for some get away time was that TLO's high school friend is premiering her film at the Newport Film Festival. We are going to watch the film for the first time tonight. The movie is called NONAMES. Here is the description of the film from the official website for the movie.

Inspired by true events, NONAMES follows Kevin and his family of friends as they struggle within the confines of a small town. After his mother's death, Kevin decides to make a life for himself in his childhood home in spite of his father's decision to move. In the wake of tragedy, Kevin must end his extended adolescence or lose the things he holds most dear. Haunted by unsettled scores, it becomes clear that he must leave the town he loves in order to save himself from it. A new beginning is only a bus ride away.


They have picked some great tracks for the soundtrack of the movie: Dago, New Kentucky Quarter, Ronnie Hayward, and White Iron Band to name a few.

One track from the film that I especially like is a track from American folk singer Joe Purdy called "Too Young".








Download Joe Purdy - Too Young

I met the producer/director/writer for the movie, Kathy Lindboe yesterday so that TLO could catch up with her and have a few drinks. She asked me if I thought I would cry during the movie. I told her that I cried during Cool Runnings, and that it's likely I will. I have to remember to bring a box of kleenex today.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So bad, it's awesome

This is going to be a brief one. I have to say I love the bootleg house remixes. A lot. I mean it. I heart the good bootlegs. Two of these are from the same EP. One of them? I have no clue about it and just heard it today. The last of the four? Is one I used to beat to death when I was still DJing.

The first two were done by Kaskade. Somehow, that man has blown up. And it's not pretty. He's helping to now make some pretty crappy electronic music. It's sad, really. A basic attempt to make money. And he's bought into it. Well, we can remember the good times. These are two off of the Lake Geneva EP. They are remixes of "Invisible Sun" by The Police and "Much Too Late" by Julian Lennon. They are what they are. Simple, fun bootlegs. So enjoy!


Download The Police - Invisible (Kaskade remix)


Download Julian Lennon - Much Too Late (Kaskade remix)

Next up is one I just heard. And it's really pretty bad in a cheesy way. If anyone is old enough to remember Christopher Cross, you may cringe now. This is a remix I found of "Ride Like The Wind" that is just so damn awful that it's good. I would play this in a set just to fuck with people. It would be funny if it filled a dancefloor. And come on. It's fucking Michael McDonald on background vocals. That alone should make you happy.


Download Christopher Cross - Ride Like The Wind (Layman remix)

The last one is a legitimately great bootleg. It's one I picked up almost ten years ago on wax. Hall and Oates' "Can't Go For That" and we're still trying to figure out who did it. A friend of mine says it was probably the artist known as Illicit, but that's not certain. This is a seriously awesome track. You all should download this one ASAP.


Download Hall and Oates - I Can't Go For That (2001 White Label remix)

So there you have it! House music goodness! Now go buy some stuff.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where people find pleasure in measurements and ounces


April 20th. The day for all the stoners. People get together and smoke marijuana. Usually the festivities hit a peak at around 4:20PM. The history behind 420 is clouded in rumors and misinformation. Explanations range from the number of chemicals in a burning joint to the idea that 420 was a police code for pot possession. Whatever the origins, it's here to stay.

The burning question should be, what will I listen to tomorrow!

For me, getting high needs a soundtrack. Tomorrow is an interesting day for new releases. Check out this list, any of these albums would be a good choice for your 420 celebration:

Cypress Hill
The Apples In Stereo
Circa Survive
Nerdy
Willie Nelson
Ozomatli


For me though, it's going to be the Mos Dub project created by beat extraordinaire Max Tannone. Max gained some signficant fame with his Radiohead/Jay-Z mash-up project, Jaydiohead. His next project was a well received mashup of the Beastie Boys with Beastie's instrumentals all from the Check Your Head album that was called Double Check Your Head.

Mos Dub is a project that takes some classic Reggae and Dub music remixed with some hot lyrics from Mos Def.

Mos Dub - 05 - Travellin' Undergroundbymaxtannone

I requested an in interview with Mr. Tannone about this project, and he was happy to oblige. Check it out below:


inALLcaps: First off, I'm a big fan of both your Jaydiohead and Beastie Boys mash-up albums.

I'm also a big Mos Def fan, I find him to be very underrated as an artist. Why did you choose to make a mash up project using Mos Def vocals, and why did you decide to go reggae/dub for the beats?


Max Tannone: I too am a big Mos Def supporter, and since I made Jaydiohead, I wanted to use Mos Def in a project. His vocals often touch on political and societal issues, as does reggae and dub music. I thought it would flow nicely to put them together. The sounds of reggae are kind of like the musical form of a lot of Mos Def's lyrics. Themes of struggle, injustice, overcoming odds, these were things I wanted to support with the music.


IAC: Did you ever get contacted by either Jay-Z, Radiohead, or the Beastie
Boys?


MT: Jay-Z twittered about Jaydiohead, which was pretty cool. I never heard anything from Radiohead.
The Beastie Boys were really supportive with Doublecheck Your Head and they thought it was cool.


IAC: How has the success of these projects changed your life/career?

MT: The biggest change is just the realization that if you put out quality mixes, people will appreciate them, even with a deluge of remixes, mashups, etc. from pretty every conceivable genre happening every day. I am still trying to turn music into a career. I'm not making money from these projects - as cliche as it sounds, I am doing it for the love and hopefully getting my name out there as a byproduct. But ultimately, I'm going to be creating, mixing, etc. because I enjoy doing it, regardless of my day job. I would call it an enjoyable challenge.


IAC: Can you give us the scoop on what will be your next project? Felt just
released the instrumentals and a capellas to the Rosie Perez album...
have you thought about making something happen with that material?


MT: To be honest, I'm not sure what I want to do next. Its hard for me to jump into something so quickly after finishing a project. If I do another remix/mashup type project, I want it to be equally if not more interesting and challenging than Mos Dub. I define a successful project as one that makes you think a little, while still being somewhat accessible to an average listener. I love hip-hop, and am always drawn to it in some way or another. We'll see...


IAC: What software/hardware are you using for these projects? What would you
recommend to someone looking to get into the remix/mashup scene?


MT: I use FL Studio for everything. I've been using it for years and will continue to do so. As far as recommendations go, I would say to get any type of music making software you can, whether its FL Studio, Reason, Logic, Cubase, etc, and just start playing around. There are tons of YouTube tutorials for all of these programs - so you really can learn quite a bit by researching. I am used to FL Studio, and would choose it over any of these other programs - but that's just because I'm used to it. Use what suits your workflow.


IAC: Tomorrow is 4/20, any plans? Do you smoke marijuana? Is it a part of your creative process?

MT: No I don't smoke - but I do think it should be legalized. Medicinal marijuana is a step in the right direction. New Jersey has begun this process, and I hope New York follows suit. It really is amazing to me that its still this taboo thing. As far as my creative process is concerned, I like to be totally sober when working on music - I work more efficiently and am able to get the ideas out of my head and into the machine much quicker. That being said, I hope everyone reading this enjoys a relaxed and safe 4/20. Put on some Mos Dub while you're at it!

Thanks inAllcaps readers for checking out the music, I definitely appreciate it.

Mos Dub - 06 - Shroud The Starsbymaxtannone

Friday, April 16, 2010

The reason my molars are so broken

Please don't put your face into your hands we could be friends.

This is an amazing album. I am quite satisfied with the music I have discovered this far in 2010, even if half of it was produced in 09... Yeah, 09. Mookie and I are both bummed that we didn't "hear of them first."

Maybe we should move to the east coast, where all this great hipster music is coming from.

Nah.

"I'd rather live in Bend, not know anything, drink tea, and look at the water," I told Mookie. We will, one day.

And since you are my friend I would ask that you lower me down slow and tell the man in the black cloak he doesn't need to trouble his good soul with those Latin conjugations

It's all good though. The album just recently dropped, on April 13. So probably none of your friends know about them yet. Go check them out: FREELANCE WHALES. The album is called Weathervanes.


Download Freelance Whales - Kilojoules

So I've arranged for your phobias to be performed by a string quartet

Some of these catchy lyrics... They make the non carbonated Neuro Sleep I am currently pounding come out of my nose. These are lyrics in the same vein as Death Cab For Cutie... This "simple complicated lyrics" styling that I have such a thing for.

Don't fix my smile; life is long enough...A few more of the quite brilliant postmortem instructions being doled out in the song "Generator Second Floor"...

I love this album. I love these sounds they make, what with the use of glockenspiel, guitars, banjos, tambourines, harmonium... Laptops too... Cello... You know how we love a cello... And you know how we love bands that use ridiculously-named instruments like bing carbon telephones and microkorgs.

Oh, and could this be the best part of the album? Check out this album art.



Right?


Here is what you need to know about Freelance Whales. I am pulling this off of their MySpace page:

Freelance Whales found one another in late 2008, in Queens, amidst a strange amalgam of unfamiliar instruments, and precariously arranged pop songs. Using whatever musical gadgets they happened upon (mostly harmonium, banjo, glockenspiel, synthesizers, guitars, bass, drums, waterphone), the five members worked at crafting songs with interlocking rhythmic patterns, lush textural layering, and an engaged group-vocal energy. The result is their debut LP, weathervanes, whose songs work at evoking a sense of dislocation, or sensory disorientation. They invite the human spirit to exit the body, if only for brief moments. Freelance Whales can be spotted in the streets and humble venues of New York City, and in due time, elsewhere.


In due time, indeed. They played at South by Southwest. They're touring New England right now. They'll make it to the left coast by the end of May. Then Lollapalooza. Sasquatch.

"Amazingly, Freelance Whales are even more arresting live than they are on record. They exhibit the exuberance of a young band that feels lucky to be sharing ideas with their audience" - Leo Maymind, Earfarm


Check out another favorite, "Ghosting", performed live for NPR's All Songs Considered - live at an Austin hotel during SXSW:



And all your little molars cracked under pressure

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

James Curd Interview!


So in the past, I had helped George with a website out in Las Vegas that covered the nightlife. Even after moving back to Boston in 2002, I worked out a number of interviews that were posted on the site until it went defunct. One of the many I got the pleasure of talking to was the subject of today's interview - James Curd of the Greenskeepers.

Some of you guys may know that name from a video that became a viral sensation a few years back. The video was for a song called "Lotion". Well, in this interview, there is even a pretty damn cool backstory to how that was made. I have left the interview in its entirety here, as it just wouldn't seem fair to edit out so much when James did put a good amount of work into this! So kick back and enjoy!

Walt Zink - The last time I interviewed you was after the album 'Pleetch'. What has happened and/or changed since then with the band and the style you've gone for?

James Curd - Wow! That was quite a few years ago! Greenskeepers is a band that is forever changing in form and sound. Pleetch was an album I wrote with Mark Share that featured many different artists. At that time Nick Maurer, with whom I started Greenskeepers was living in Germany, though he did appear on two tracks on Pleetch. After Pleetch Nick moved back to Chicago. With him in back in town we toured non-stop and wrote Polo Club. After Polo Club I focused more on my solo career. I think the sound of Greenskeepers is constantly evolving. Each album crosses many genres and I like the fact that audiences can't put a label on the sound we produce.

WZ - Your video for "Lotion" became somewhat of an internet meme. Did you expect this? What was the thought process when making that song, and how did you get the rights for use of the clips from 'Silence of the Lambs' for that video? How hard was is to get and how long did it take to work that out?

JC - The Lotion video was something that I did for fun. I imported the movie footage into final cut and edited it to our song. We put it up on our server (this was before youtube existed) and and after one week it had been downloaded 100,000 times. It wasn't long after that it reached one million downloads and became a viral hit. I never got the rights to the footage and actually received a fax from Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill himself) ordering me to take it down. I did, but by that time it had already spread and been re-posted everywhere and still is!



WZ - What is the future of Greenskeepers? Are each of the band members doing their own thing? Do you have any new news of future music for our readers?

JC - Greenskeepers has always been a name that represents myself and the artist(s) I collaborate with. I released solo music under Greenskeepers for 3 years during the time I was building the G-Swing sound. Currently I'm releasing a new Greenskeepers album on OM and One Love that I wrote with the other original Greenskeeper, Nick Maurer. The new album is called Live Like You Want To Live and was co-produced by Tommie Sunshine. I have also just finished producing an album featuring Ziggy Franklin. I am currently in the process of mixing it down with Derrick Carter.

WZ - Some DJs or musicians hate this question, but i always feel inclined to ask it: do you have a favorite song that you've made and what are the reasons for that song being picked?


JC - I would have to say my favorite song is "Low And Sweet". It was the first time I experimented with blending swing music into my house production. It was successful around the world and opened the doors for me to DJ internationally.

WZ - Do you prefer DJing or a live gig? What do you find to be the advantages of each? And what about each do you tend to dislike?

JC - I like them both for different reasons. For the most part I don't have to choose. I usually follow every live show with a DJ set. The live show is really fun and gives me a satisfaction in performing the songs that I have worked hard on in the studio, live on stage. What I love about DJing is that it's been a passion of mine since I was 15 years old and I have so much fun doing it. I love being able to take the crowd to places they didn't expect to go and being able to feed off of their energy. I love what I do, and I like to think that it shows in my performances.

--------

So I have to thank James for the time he lent to do this, as well as having the patience with me for occasionally bugging him about it all! He's a busy guy, as many in this industry are, so I am quite happy he was able to give all of you a glimpse into what he's up to! Here is a little of what James has provided as a little ear candy for you all!


Download James Curd - Be My Baby


Download James Curd - Egging Houses (DJ Mix)

Download James Curd - Fade In (DJ Mix)

Om Podcast - James Curd (Child's Play Edition) James just did a mix for the Om Podcast...for just a little bit of info (email/city/state) you can get in on that mix as well! Click the link to check the tracklisting!

And the usual bit applies here. I expect you all to crack open that wallet and buy some shit! Get to it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Try this trick and spin it...


With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself


Who is Gobble Gobble? I dunno...I'm writing this as I understand it. All I know is that they covered, they call it molested, one of my favorite Pixies song.

"Where Is My Mind" is supposedly about being chased by small fish, but whatever...it's a song about losing your mind. It could be seeing giant Oreo cookies in the road while driving to a Grateful Dead concert with a head full of LSD. That might have happened to me, I'll never admit it though. One of my favorite parts of watching Fight Club is the final scene where this song comes on. Fucking great choice in songs for that scene.


Download GOBBLE GOBBLE - Where Is My Mind? (PIXIES BLASPHEMY)

PHOTO CREDIT Jennifer SilverGobble Gobble seem to be a bit deranged. They have an unhealthy fetish for animated gifs and making music. They cite The Pixies as an influence and I think it shows in the reworking/covering (I really don't know how to define it...) of the song. It's got all the great elements of the song plus a healthy seasoning of elctro fuzz. It's a part of the White Guys with Beards Friends Vol. II Cassette Compilation that is also fantastic, and should be downloaded by you as soon as you finish reading this. (You should also pay for the pre-order of the physical copy...)

Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’?


They are not the first group, and won't be the last, to cover this amazing song. It's been covered/remixed by The Toadies, Nada Surf, Emmy The Great, BassNectar, James Blunt, and Isreali musician Yoav:


Download Yoav - Where Is My Mind? (PIXIES COVER)


Friday, April 9, 2010

On A Wednesday

Are you ready? HERE WE GO.

Isn't that what you want a CD to announce when you first hit play? Drum roll, and jive. And groove, and open with a voice that calls it out. And then gives you the idea that you might be able to sing along.

And there you have album gold. It's a simple formula. I'm almost glad I don't hear it often enough. And it's something you think you should hear from a five- or seven-piece band. But Crash Kings is just three men on piano, bass, and drums. It's gorgeous and delicious. And they don't stop giving it to you. Every song. Here it is kids we are going to rock it out. I love this CD.

Track 3 is called "It's Only Wednesday," which slapped me in the face two ways - the infectious music I was already telling you about, and then the lyrics... What did he just say? Damn. I wrote a poem called it's only Wednesday a few years ago. No, you don't get to read it. It's not like it was good. I don't think it was even finished. I'm just saying. It's things like that. Have you had a what did they just say?! moment of incredulity?

Anyway, this self-titled debut album has been out for nearly a year. Maybe you caught one or two of their tunes on the radio. Did you pay attention? Did the dj manage to tell you that you should be? Probably not. They never do. They have ad space to sell, and the advertisers want to hear Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is what it is. But at least I'm here now to tell you you must own this album it will change your life.

Buckle in and get you suited up, it's time to fly.



Download Crash Kings - Come Away

If you need something a little stronger, just say so.


Download Crash Kings - You Got Me


Download Crash Kings - You Got Me

Yes, you heard right. Like I said above, the instruments used in this music consist basically of piano, bass, and drums. Why does it sound SO DAMN BIG?! Well, let me school you just a bit. There's such thing as a tube powered overdrive bass pedal. As in, vacuum tube. It really enhances the sound of the guitar plugged into it. He also uses multiple amps. Then there's the clavinet. Yep, a clavinet. It's still in the piano family - I think! - but it acts like a guitar. It's not a new concept, and unlike some bands we've featured here before... These guys didn't invent it. In fact, bands from Them Crooked Vultures to Phish to Miles Davis... Rolling Stones, Kansas, Pink Floyd, Sound Garden... You've heard a clavinet before.

You need to know more don't you. Well check out this video. You will be A-frakking-MAZED.



Now you know what's next.

The. Crash. Kings. YOU LOVE THEM DON'T YOU.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bring on the summer!!!

If you also live up here in New England, you know we've been getting shafted royally by Mother Nature. Seriously, is that bitch on a perma-period? We here in Massachusetts set a record for the month of March with 14 inches of rain. To put that in perspective, the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico gets 14 inches all year long. Not the best example, maybe, since that's in a pretty dry climate, but who cares. I tried. I'm nerdy.

Anyhow, I am like so many others up here that are truly sick of rainy, cold weather. I want the summer to come! So I figured I would give you all a little bit of summer in my music post! These are all songs that have to do with summer in some way, shape, or form. A couple are newer. And probably are songs you know pretty well. The other? Is a favorite of mine that I actually have on wax. Actually, now that I think of it? I have another nice little mint piece on wax that will get the posting happiness today, also.

The first two are the newer releases. The first is by Texas band Neon Indian. They started to make a bit of noise late last year, and it turned into an album by the name up Psychic Chasms on the Lefse label. The tour he has going even starts off with a bang! Two tour dates with Massive Attack? Yes, please! Well, this track is summer related, and honestly my favorite from this 21 year old wunderkind. It's "Deadbeat Summer".


Download Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

Next up is from a band I've posted about before. YACHT is now on the DFA label (no surprise there) and they've made a full length album entitled See Mystery Lights. I'm still pretty iffy on these guys, but I admit I dig this song, so I think considering the theme of this post today? We can let it all slide. This one's "Summer Song".


Download YACHT - Summer Song

Now come the real treats. Well, they are to me. So whatever. And such. Donna Summer? Anyone? And no, not that person calling themselves DJ Donna Summer. This is the legend from the days of disco and excess. Well, this song has been sampled and remixed to death, but nothing really beats the original. It's her classic track "I Feel Love". It's one I picked up dirt cheap and played fairly often. How can you really diss Giorgio Moroder? Well, I've got the album version here, as well as the now underground legend of a remix by Glenn Underground. Well, because of some probably obvious issues with releasing a remix and getting rights to samples? This became a white label. It heavily relies on Moroder's track "The Chase" from the film Midnight Express. This is a brilliant piece of work - remix or not!


Download Donna Summer - I Feel Love


Download Donna Summer - I Feel Love (Glenn Underground remix)

And lastly, just to trip you folks out? How about the video for "Summertime Clothes" by Animal Collective? Yes. Fun times.



Now, go buy some stuff. These guys are bringing you warm vibes. Buying something is the least you could do!

Monday, April 5, 2010

let me go out on a gurney


Shoegazing (also known as shoegaze) is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. It lasted until the mid 1990s with a critical zenith reached in 1990 and 1991.


I was on the toilet reading Rolling Stone. When you write about music on a regular basis, you need to have multiple sources of influence and I try to keep a balance. I usually sit on the toilet, read all the new music reviews, and pick one, and only one of these bands Rolling Stone thinks I should be listening to, to check out. In my opinion it was an easy choice out of all the crap stuff mentioned this month. Even still, after reading this particular review, I was not sure what to expect.

"Tramps like us, baby we were born to die!" bellows Patrick Stickles on his band's second record. A Jersey rocker needs cojones to quote Bruce — and to make a concept album about the Civil War. Yet after an Abe Lincoln speech recited by Stickles' high school drama teacher (true to your school, dawg!), the band fires away, all martial snares, raging guitars and spit-spraying hollers, punk noise carved by folk roots. Lyrically, history and modern anxiety morph into freedom songs for an age where, then as now, "the enemy is everywhere," and neither whiskey nor "a pretty good GPA" will save you. But an album this excellent just might. (Three and a half stars)

--WILL HERMES


Concept album about the civil war? Weird. Bruce Springsteen? Huh. Raging guitars and spit-spraying punk noise? Yes!

So...after finishing up on my throne, I sit in front of the trusty mac book and google Titus Andro... Andro...um...shit...I left the magazine in the bathroom...and I didn't want to go near there for at least an hour...



Ah...yes... Titus Andronicus. Enter. huh? An early play by Shakespeare? (bloody one apparently) Who IS THIS band? I check out the band's MySpace page. Ok...a music video...that's a good start.


A More Perfect Union

Titus Andronicus | MySpace Music Videos


The band had a few songs in their MySpace player, and I was feeling all of them. So I went for it, and bought the album The Monitor (the name taken from the USS Monitor which did battle with the CSS Virginia on March 9th, 1862. Guess what the release date for this album was? That's right...3.9.2010). I loaded it on the iPhone and headed out into the world to listen to the album. I couldn't believe how good it was. Later I FaceBooked that it might be the best punk album of 2010 (at least until the new Bad Religion album comes out.) I was pretty floored when I looked up Titus Andronicus on Wiki and discovered that there was a genre called Shoegaze, and that, along with Punk, was one of the genres used to describe this band. Um...really? Listen to this song and just imagine the band just staring at the floor.


Download Titus Andronicus -Titus Andronicus Forever

The shoegazing sound is typified by significant use of guitar effects, and indistinguishable vocal melodies that blended into the creative noise of the guitars. The term was picked up by the NME, who used it as a reference to the tendency of the bands' guitarists to stare at their feet—or their effects pedals; seemingly deep in concentration, while playing.


Not that song, but after a few more rotations through the album, I guess I could identify a few songs that we could classify as shoegaze...but man....although I get it, what a crazy idea for a genre.

Here is an example of what shoegaze might sound like off The Monitor:


Download Titus Andronicus - Four Score and Seven

Although I barely passed United States History, a concept album about the civil war is definitely something new...and I dig the whole vibe from beginning to end. I mean, concept be what it may, the themes are still angst and loneliness. The lead singer and song writer, Patrick Stickles, is able to weave these ideas together so well. It's hard to know whether you are on the front lines of the war or back in the present day dealing with what it's like to be bullied and bothered by the same psychopaths that fucked with us in high school. One of my favorite lines from the album comes from a great song called "A Pot In Which To Piss" and the lyric goes like this: "You ain't never been no virgin, kid, you were fucked from the start. It's an album that uses a lot of "F" words. Yes...that one, but what you need to hear are the other F words. Fear and frustration. Fear and frustration we all have, that we can all relate to. It's bad. It's damned bad. The economy, the world. Fears we can overcome... if only the album had bagpipes! Oh! It does! The war is over!

After listening to the album countless times, you catch interesting things, like a Scooby Doo reference (“You may have gotten away with them too, if not for those meddling kids.”) or particularly fitting as I am writing this on Easter is the line "Come in on a donkey" which is a reference to Palm Sunday. It's got a lot of personal stuff to the band. Many mentions of New Jersey (where the band is from) and references to books, plays, and songs important to Stickles. I really enjoyed cross referencing all the different connections in the lyrics.

From beginning to end, it's a great record. Rolling Stone are assholes for only giving it 3.5 stars. It's a five star record. Without question. Check out the Titus Andronicus website, and buy the album. You don't need anymore regrets do you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Follow Me Friday

The moon and stars are ganging up on the sun... rebellion.


Bands are more connected to their fans than ever before. It probably all started with MySpace when you really think about it. Their fans "friended" them and then the band could easily share music/tour dates and the all important "status" update. MySpace might have been the first place bands got familiar with status updates and blogs as a way of communicating with their fans.

Some bands embrace these technologies more than others. When you can follow video blogs, twitter accounts, studio blogs, and road updates, fans practically feel like roadies and drinking buddies with their favorite band! More on that in a paragraph or two...

I first discovered Guster while I was looking for remixes to add to my DJ arsenal. I came across The Astronauts' remix of "Satellite" and became intrigued.


Download Guster - Satellite (The Astronauts Remix)

I bought the album Ganging Up On The Sun after I sampled some of their other music I found around the web. The album was acoustic pop rock from beginning to end. Released in 2006, this happens to be their 5th studio album and is the last studio album the band has released to date. There is an album in the works for 2010, and I am stoked about hearing it.

While researching Guster, I discovered that this is the kind of band that likes to connect with their fan-base through all the cool technological methods we have today. Like blogging and twitter, and the like. Manchester Orchestra had a video blog that consumed me for some time. I kept checking daily for new "episodes" on what the band was up to! Stalker-ish, I know. But it builds and strengthens a fan-base, in my opinion. You keep getting reminders about, and checking in with, the band. For example, when Manchester Orchestra announced they were returning to the studio to record a second album, I was excited, exponentially increasing, over the months they were working on it. Checking their photo blog and videos for shenanigans in the studio. Was I there on release day for that album? You bet.

Be sure to check into the tour and studio blogs for Guster. Just to catch up. I can't wait to see all the new entries while they get together a new album and tour together this year.

Tour Blog: http://gusterjournal.tumblr.com/
Studio Blog: http://guster.tumblr.com/

Before you check those out, take a listen to my favorite track off Ganging Up.... It's called "The Beginning Of The End".

We're unrecognizable
We're sunken submarines
Trying to escape before we're seen
You're gonna miss us when we're gone



Download Guster - It's The Beginning Of The End