Monday, May 31, 2004

Black Sheep of Omaha.

Okay, first off, LJ Users can now add this feed to their friends page to read TTIKTDA that way if they so choose. Yay for all of you.

Many people write off Saddle Creek Records, and by extension, Omaha, upon first hearing Bright Eyes. (A great many more dig deeper and discover the cities scenes many many talents, but go with me here...) Something about Mr. Oberst's tortured crooning, and the similarity of many of his labelmates drives many to write off the Omaha scene as monotonous, whiny, boring, and otherwise lame. Many of these people manage to miss The Faint. Following up on the news that on September 14, The Faint will be releasing a new album entitled Wet From Birth, completing the apparent trilogy of Blank-Wave Arcade, an album about sex, and Danse Macabre, an album about death, it seemed an appropriate occasion to post a pair of tracks from the back catalog, to prime the pump.


The Faint - Worked Up So Sexual - A story of sex, exploitation, ambition, need, and corruption, this is the highlight of the Faint's debut. Showing off their trademark dark, danceable sound, not quite heavy enough to be industrial, not quite poppy enough to be synth pop, the track is propelled by a bass and keyboard riff that makes for a great song.

The Faint - Agenda Suicide - But this, the lead track of Danse Macabre is where The Faint started to hit their stride. Skittering drumbeats and basslines, baroque organs, just enough bleeps to create a semblance of melody, and lyrics that would fit in the pages of any self respecting teenage goths journal - but delivered with just enough panache to avoid dragging the song down into a morass of complaining about commericialism and drone workers. I love listening to this song commuting my way along the highway without much traffic, knowing it's only a matter of time before the pileon. It seems to fit.
[Buy The Faint's albums at Amazon.com!]

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ballroom?

The Dresden Dolls - Girl Anachronism I'd written off the Dresden Dolls stufio debut a while back, dissappointed by it in relation to A is for Accident, their live album. However, yesterday evening, at the urging of Garage Dream, I gave it a relisten, and came to the realization that 1) it's not as bad as I thought, and 2) it's VERY front loaded, which weakened my estimation of it. "Girl Anachronism", the albums first single is a move away from the weimar epics that still define the bands sound, towards a definite more rocking piano - echoes of Jerry Lee Lewis as an angry young woman, denying conformity, the song storms in, a tightly wound ball of fury, sparse production, disjointed, falling apart piano, as palmer rattles off a cathartic stream of conciousness with spirfire speed and timing. It's a great song, and I don't know how I ignored it.

The Dresden Dolls - Bank of Boston Beauty Queen But this track, off of A is for Accident has what drew me to the Dolls in the first place. The dramatic, swinging vocal, the slow burning, jazz pianos, all building up, the fuse slowly burning away, until you don't even realize it's coming when the catharsis hits you. The drums are restrained, promising hints of a more contemporary sound, but firmly rooted in the pop music of another era - the song is obviously a somewhat unpolished live recording, and I can only wonder what the Dolls would have done with this number in the Studio. Here's hoping it finds it's way onto a future release.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Synthpop.

Blogging is gonna be thin on the ground this week as I'll be moving back to Noo Yawk City this weekend, more specifically, my old stomping grounds on the eastern edge of Queens. Feel free to drop a line.

Both of todays tracks are definite Retro. One firmly entrenched indie scenesters who should be making it, and one pack of kids who seem primed for radio success.

I am The World Trade Center - Love Tragedy I was shocked and saddened to learn of IATWTC lead singer Amy Dykes being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.It's doubly horrible for such news to come right in front of what absolutely would have been the duo's breakout record. I only hope that Amy has a swift and full recovery and that the she, and IATWTC come out on top from all of this. The music is certainly strong enough, a bubbling concoction straight out of the 80's, full of deep synth grooves and a bass line right out of the new wave. This is not what people think of when you mention lap-pop, though, by a strict definition, it most certainly is. Here's praying that Amy is strong enough too. [Buy I am The World Trade Center's previous albums at Amazon.com!]

theSTART - Shakedown! The Start are on tour with The Offspring right now. Okay, now that I've gotten that bit of "this is a band that wants to make it big and maybe might" out of the way, I have to say that this, the title track off of their 2001 debut is a fantastic song. Copping a bassline from the Cure, and vocals from Debbie Harry's angrier moments, The Start are the sort of pop friendly dance punk that Stellastarr* were only the beginning of. If the Rapture were the sound of the revolution, and all revolutions in music are eventually commodified into a radio friendly form, well, the Start have done it. But they really couldn't have done it with a better sound, I must say. For all it's insipid lyrics, the song is catchy as hell, and really quite good. If this is where radio rock is headed, than bring it on. It's light years ahead of.. say... The Offsprings latest. [Buy Shakedown! at Amazon.com!]

Other News:
Eric Idle writes love song for FCC. It is not playable on the radio ever. Also probably NSFW without headphones.

33 Revolutions Per Minute is a new kid on the block with a great design.

The Bush Game, from the makers of the Legendary Emo Game. NSFW, by the way, and you had better have a solid hour free to get through the whole thing. It needs a savegame feature. [Via The very slickly redesigned Music For America]

The Comics Code as Rock opera

The Mountain Goats. I couldn't have put it better if I tried.

Out of Iraq. The Easy Way.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Linguisticism

First off, thanks to the guys from Heavy for the two spectacular Sumosonic comps that showed up on my doorstep today. Great stuff.

Now down to the tunes. I figured I'd seque this week, from a Song about a Mystery, to songs that ar mysteries to me, one of which was not in english, to songs not in english.

Dengue Fever - I'm Sixteen First off, we've got a track from Dengue Fever, mixing up garage revival/surf guitars with slow burning sax and synths out of a spy movie soundtrack, all wrapped by Chhom Nimol's sinuous, Khymer vocals, this Cambodian American 6 piece. This track, from their self titled debut is probably the best representation of their sound in a song - in a way, it's kind of a blend of both of yesterdays selections. I particularly love the sax at the end. [Buy Dengue Fever at Amazon.com!]

David Byrne & Rufus Wainwright - Au Fond Du Temple Saint - off of Byrnes newest solo outing, Grown Backwards, we see Byrne and Wainwright testing out their pipes on an old Bizet number, and the arrangement, while startlingly unlike Byrne in it's lack of percussion, affirms his views on opera as "the pop music of it's day." While the song gives both vocalists the chance to show off their fantastic pipes, on the whole the thing that's most striking about it is the lack of pretnetiousness generally associated with pop singers doing opera. Which is not to say that they don't treat the source with due reverence - make no mistake, this is a Bizet piece, being performed by two fantastic singers, with a full, lush string arrangement rounding it out - nothing is dumbed down here. But there's something... human, in the way Byrne strains to pull it off, in the way Wainwright's accompinent moves in, like a friend offering a helping hand, that seems more human than Pavarotti, for all his magnificence could ever manage.[Buy Grown Backwards at Amazon.com!]

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Mysteries.

Todays posts are 2 tracks by artists that I want more of. I can't find more information, because the Internet hates me. And so, my dear readers/listeners, I appeal to you, and your (hopefully greater than my) google-fu. Because Mine is ever so lacking this evening.

Jill Brazil - The Songs of Jill Brazil, Track 3 I wish I knew the name of this song, but I don't. It came into my hands via a rather convoluted route, and I don't have a tracklist for the album. That said, it's a fantastic album, and a great song, inhabiting a space somewhere in between James Chance, John Zorn, Mr. Bungle, and Tortoise. What I know about Jill Brazil from google, and the source of my copy of this album can be summed up as follows: They are from Bellingham, Wa. They are now defunct. This is one of 2 albums they recorded. Frankly, I want more. More importantly, I want a tracklist for this album. If anyone can help me out, please comment or e-mail me. It's fantastic stuff.


Witches - There She Is You might recognize this track from this classic Flashtoon from Korea - according to an FAQ on the authors website, the song from the movie is entitled "There She Is", and is by a Korean ska band known as the Witches. Frankly, I think it's fantastic. The problem is, it seems the entire english speaking interweb has never heard of them, outside of the context of this one flash animation. So, I'm posting this song, at least in part, as a plea to the world, for more information. Because this is a fantastic, propulsive piece of pop ska that, were it in english, likely would have charted 10 years ago. I want more. Badly.

Monday, May 17, 2004

I Lost my Dog, but Now He's Found....

So, I'm gonna step on Big Poppa Perpetua's toes as official Fiery Furnaces Mp3 Blog Flogger, and post a pair of cuts from their upcoming album, Blueberry Boat. First off, this album is good. DAMN Good. To quote a message board poster from elsewhere on the interweb: "Bottom Line: Blueberry Boat is a beautiful disease, and you require infection. MOTHERFUCKING PROG-BLUES ROCK OPERA IN UNDERWATER SPACE. YOU. REQUIRE. INFECTION."

About fucking right. This album obliterates. This is an massive leap forward for the Furnaces for their good, but not revolutionary debut. To put it another way, Gallowsbirds Bark is to Blueberry Boat, as Pablo Honey is to Kid A. As Surfer Rosa is to Doolittle. As Surfin USA is to Pet Sounds. As Bleach is to Nevermind. As This is Your Bloody Valentine is to Loveless. As The Clash is to London Calling.

That sort of leap forward in the space of a year. I have to wonder how much further the Furnaces are headed. This is what I expected when I heard the hype surrounding Elephant.

The Fiery Furnaces - I Lost My Dog - probably the most instantly accessible, and old-Fiery-Furnaces style song on the album, the song, an upbeat piece of ragtime blues, tells the story of a search for a lost dog. The narrative itself is nice enough, and the propulsive piano line is fantastic, but what really sells the song for me is the utterly heartbreaking final verse. Something about the delivery of the last line gets me every time.

The Fiery Furnaces - Inspector Blancheflower - one of 5(!) 8 minute plus tracks on Blueberry Boat, and probably my favorite track on the album, the song goes through several movements, shifting between the openings synthed out drone, telling the story of a challenged child, to a sudden shift and a kick up in the tempo, as Elanors vocals kick in and the song suddenly starts to move, and I find myself wanting to dance as she sings about police work. The song really starts to chine when the Furnaces kick the storytelling into overdrive at the 5 minute mark. The lyrical quality here is fantastic, and the music is perfectly appropriate to the sort of rock operatics. Many bands have been sunk in reaching for the heights of Floyd, or Tommy territory, turning the idea of the concept epic into a bloated joke. The Furnaces have managed to build a ship that floats though. No, I don't think it's a little late. I don't think so at all...

Also, Lead singer of Dwarves records song about Metrosexuals, scores minor Novelty Hit. - it is pretty funny, I must say.

See ya tomorrow, and you fuckers damned well better not touch the cargo.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I've mentioned the World/Inferno Friendship Society before, but don't think I've blogged a track. So, here goes. The WIFS are a band from Brooklyn NY, by way of NJ, that are emphatically NOT part of the "hot new Brooklyn sound." Yes, they are rockers. Yes, you can dance to it. But lump them in with the hipster bands and yer likely to have a whole mob of angry WIFS fans calling foul. Nominally, they're a Ska band, mixing in healthy doeses of cabaret theatrics - weimar chords and all, goth sensibilities, and a fair dose of Klezmer riffs. It's great stuff.


These two tracks are in sequence from a live album - listen in order to have the second song introduced! (if you actually care about such things)
The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Peter Lorre (Live @ NorthSix, 10/31/02) Let's open things up with a straight ahead, stomping rocker - not much to say about this track, except that it's a hell of a lot of fun.

The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Younger Man (Live @ NorthSix, 10/31/02) There's something jarring about the idea of a Ska ballad. It seems fundamentally wrong on so many levels, for what is, in essence, happy dance music, to try it's hand at tenderness, at restraint, at emotion. But the WIFS, intent on ignoring instinct, or perhaps going on it, have gone and written one anyway. And for what it is, it's beautiful. The story of a man looking back, a decade on from a relationship with an older woman, recalling it. it's a tale of lost innocence, of resignation, wondering what could have been, and yet, it's also utterly spiteful, a song full of that unique sort of venom that having mellowed, only becomes entrenched. It's bittersweet, and all the more powerful for the decade of distance in it's voice.


The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Pumpkin Time (Live @ NorthSix, 10/31/02) An encore that careens wildly between 50's rocker, riotous ska, bizarre carnival dirge, and a healthy dose of Halloween Preachin', this encore captures better than any other single track from the WIFS's live album just how insane and schizophrenic a band they are. And how can you NOT love a song that demands that you declare your belief in the Great Pumpkin?

In other news, I'm thinking about switching over to one of Bloggers shiny new templates. Whadaya think?

And I'm still sick, but in my fever induced semi hallucinatory state (I spent 20 minutes this morning trying to unlock my apartment with my car keys...), I was struck by an idea, unsure if it's ever been done. We've seen the Concept Album born, killed, killed again, butchered, roasted, spat upon, and eventually revived in some corners (by the likes of the Streets, The Magnetic Fields, etc.) But have we ever seen something along the lines of a concept compilation? Drawing from musically diverse sources to patch together a story? Is it a project worth undertaking over the course of a week or two?

All I know right now is how it ends.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

The Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution

A while back I posted an MP3 by the Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution.

I asked if people wanted more, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So, to kick off a week that will probably be mostly ska and ska related material, here is the "Call to Arms" 5 song EP in it's entirety.

I'd post more, but i'm a bit sick today. Enjoy!

Intro - This is a Call to Arms
Here's to Life
Dear Sergio (Catch 22 "cover")
It's a Wonderful Life
They Provide the Paint for the Picture Perfect Masterpiece That You Will Paint On The Insides of Your Eyelids

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I'm back...

Sorry I've been gone. The real world has a way of destroying well intentioned regularly scheduled blogging.

That said, It's time to get some Cinco De Mayo on!

This week, some of the best of what I've heard from the genre of Rock En Espanol - a genre in which I am woefully undereducated as it's tough to find english language writing on the subject. Thus, any help in tracking down more bands would be MUCH appreciated.

Todays selections come from grammy nominated Mexican superstars El Gran Silencio - hailing from Monterey, El Gran Silencio serve up an addictive fusion of traditional mexican rhythyms, pounding punk rock energy, hip hop flavored ska and reggar, and a healthy dose of the dance.

All of todays selections come off of 2003's ¡Super Riddim Internacional! vol. 1


Sound System Municipal - This is a scalding, propulsive, wildly energetic piece of Cumbia Rap. Bouncing between multiple vocalists, flying stylistically around the map, with a speed, energy, and flow that I'm sure would be the envy of many US MC's were they ever exposed to material this energetic. The verbal energy here is tangible, and it's held together by some incredibly tight steel drums and a very nicely done chorus.

Buenos Dias - for an album that opens with a triple threat of powerful rap rock, this song abruptly shows that El Gran Silencio are not a one note band. Indeed, I would go so far to compare the albums freewheeling tone to that of a London Calling. This song slows things down substantially from the likes of "Sound System," with a beautiful guitar, reggae beat, and a substantially more 'pop' sound. It works.

Sueño - Here we see the band trying on a Mariachi tinged ballad. I wish I hadn't dropped Spanish in High School, as I can only make out about 1/4th of this song lyrically, but what I can comprehend is beautiful. Even without it, this is what a ballad should be. A beautiful, haunted, longing symphony to someone. There's something about that howl of "SUEEEEÑOOOO" that gets me every time.

Songbomb - Cumbia meets Ska meets Hip Hop. The horns in this song are all over the place, the Ska rhythym is tight, and textbook, the Cumbia flow oozes through the whole thing and again, that verbal energy that defines El Gran Silencio at their best oozes through the song.

It's fitting in many ways that I discovered these guys through the late Joe Strummer. Just before he died, he did a pilot of a world music video show for MTV2 - in the months following his death, M2 aired it from time to time to fill some schedule holes, and I happened to catch it one day. Among the many other fantastic tracks he played, was one off of El Gran Silencio's last album Chuntaros Radios Poder. I was hooked instantly. But, if Chuntaros was EGS's coming out, the definition of their sound, Ala Give them Enough Rope for the Clash, then this is absolutely EGS's London Calling. An album so adventurous and skilled, it should be a wake up call to the rest of the world - try something different. It's the only way you'll ever manage to get better.

In other news,

1) Sidebar update is coming. I've been Busy.
2) More Mod material is coming as well. Same w/ More Ska. Eventually. This week, belongs to Español.
3)HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
4) Is there anybody out there willing to host between 5 and 15 megs of MP3's, for a period of a week, on a server that will be HAMMMERED, and with some risk of a C&D?

I know my current host isn't up for anything too high profile, and I have something that I am considering posting early next week, which will likely draw a fair bit of attention. And may draw a C&D. If you'd like to volunteer to help out, drop me a line via e-mail.

And have a margarita or 7 for me tomorrow.