Monday, February 28, 2005

Running out of scary nightmares

Soldout - I Don't Want to Have Sex With You - This is some groundbreakin shit right here, courtesy of my favorite on-hiatus blogger. Not the song so much, though it's a servicable, if not outright good piece of trashy, funky electro. No, whats groundbreaking is the website associated with the song. Go there. Click on the banner on the top that reads "Make Your Own Sex." Be amazed. Make Your Own Remix. The band offers up multiple drum tracks, alternate leads, 7 possible vocal tracks, and then - once you've got a version you like... just click the button in the corner to BUY YOUR OWN COPY OF THE SONG ON CD.

If thats not awesome, I'll eat my fuckin' hat. And unlike many who say that, I have a hat. I wear it often. It is wool. I can assure you it is probably not tasty.

Something for Rockets - Tragic City - Before starting on Something for Rockets, the bands musical DNA must be addressed. Particularly, frontman/muli-instrumentalist Rami Perlman.His father is Itzhak Perlman, the legendary concert violinist, and yes, Rami is classically trained. Now that thats out of the way, let's look at Tragic City. The so opens okay, but around 2 minutes all the instrumental tracks that seem to have been isolated earlier colide, and the falsettos come in, and the song just becomes a riot of handclaps and skittering beats, and a wierdly motwownish vocal howl that is totally out of place with the somewhat forced sounding baritone of most of the vocals on the album.

[Buy Something For Rockets self titled debut from their website!]

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Burnin' Up in Heaven...

Billy Harvey - Dope Wings - This ones for Hunter. "Dope Wings" is a reggaefied little blast of pop from Austin, TX's Billy Harvey. It's reminiscent of some early Beck stuff in some ways, particularly the reverb heavy vocals and killer little one liners such as "I'll be like Flash Gordon in the atmosphere, givin all the planets just a little tug, wearin a Space Helmet like a Beer Mug." It's a druggy stomp of a number, and Billy Harvey also has a really phenomenal website, where you can listen to songs like "Belly Up" and "Like a Boy" and "Stupid Daniel" which show that he's not ALWAYS trying to be Beck - Sometimes he does Wilco, or the Get Up Kids, or They Might Be Giants impressions - and good ones too.

[This is a link to Billy Harveys website. Where you can like, Buy his Album or something. It's called Pie, okay?]

The London Apartments - Streetlights Are Soldiers - something quiet for a Morning staring at the suns reflection in the snow. The London Apartments are from Ontario, Canada, and make beautiful dreamy music that might get classed as IDeMo, ala the Postal Service, except they lack that groups kineticism and hooks, favoring instead wider, more lush soundscapes, reminiscent at times, of a distortion free My Bloody Valentine, or of the quiet moments in the gaps of an M83 album. The Crescendoes of those artists removed, we are left instead with "Streetlights Are Soldiers," guitars plucked quietly, as the downtempo drum machine shuffles around in back. And high pitched vocals that, by all acounts, are coming from the male half of this boy-girl duo (or so the release notes say), though you wouldn't know it, except that there's a hint of strain on the vocals - at first blush, it sounds like distortion, but in reality, it's probably just flat out difficulty reaching those long, high, whispered notes, echoing out into the void - much in the way of a lamp on an empty street.

[The London Apartments have a great website with Blogs and stuff, and Dialogue of One the EP from which this track is taken, is availiable as a DRM free Mp3 from the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons Liscense, which is very awesome.]

Sorry about my recent disappearance. Things've been busy. Life needs to stop getting in the way of blogging.

That or someone needs to pay me to do something that is at least tangentially related to musicblogging so I can make it look like work. This whole salesgig just isn't cutting it in that department.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Held back by the place I come from.

Little Barrie - Burned Out - Little Barries press material spends a great deal of time puffing the bands frontman up as a guitar virtuoso, a sort of "British Jack White," called upon by the likes of Moz, Weller, gallagher and Marr for guitar expertise. It's hype. Barrie Cadogan is a talented guitarist, sure, but first off, the real work here is being done by bassist Lewis Wharton and Drummer Wayne Fulwood. Barrie happens to be the lucky little guy standing on stage with an absolutely gigantic rhythym section, turning out some absolutely blistering stripped down funk-rock. "Burned Out" is the leadoff track from the bands debut EP which drops stateside in 2 weeks.

[Tour dates and more band info at LittleBarrie.com]

Other Passengers - Bank - I slept on Other Passengers for a long time, having gotten the EP back in October when it came out, on the strength of some big buzz, and at the time, I wasn't blown away. It's been a serious grower though - especially Bank, with it's laid back, computerized opening beat (I'm convinced that high pitched bleeep tone is the digital equivalent of cowbell when used properly), and vaguely industrial, foundsound rhythyms, "Bank" hypnotizes you before the vocals come in and simply take control. It's a commanding performance, the sort of thing that, when placed at the center of the psychedelic swirl of guitars that defines most of Other Passengers first EP, seeks to control visions and induce hallucinations. It sounds like nothing so much as a harrowing flashback to the joyful trip of the Flaming Lips, out of tune, oppressive, and as the song concludes, cathartic and explosive. Where Wayne Coyne trails off in bliss, Other Passengers take their punches until freaked out beyond capacity, they lash out with a sonic storm that demands attention.

[Buy Is It Nothing To You, All Those Who Pass By? From Insound.com!]

Also, Blogger announced this morning that they changed the comment system. For one thing, you no longer need to register to have a post signed with an email address/URL. Obviously this is great news. I hope to see some more comments here now.

Oh, and Yes, I know about the Moz/Firefox download problem. I assure you., the songs are there, the links work. Stream it and File->Save As. I have no problem if you stream the files rather than downloading immediately, though I know some blogs do.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The sun is shinin' but it's rainin now.

The House of Love - Love You Too Much - Yesterday, I promised to explain my house of Love post. But someone in the comments beat me to it. They're back together. Not only that, but in a few weeks, they'll be releasing their first album in 11 years. Their first album with the original lineup in 15 years. Needless to say, for the microscopic group of demented cultists who understand the gravity of this news, it's huge. For the rest of you... well, when "Love You Too Much," the lead single of Days Run Away hits streets on Valentines day... well, hate to say we told you so. This track is infectious, with cowbell bubbling up from out of nowhere, and a singalong chorus that might be what it finally takes for the House to get some long overdue respect.

The House of Love - Gotta Be That Way - The album isn't entirely a departure into Beatlesesque pop though. Gotta Be That Way is a bit more classic HoL. Terry Bickers almost humed vocals communicate a perfect mix of acceptance and despair. It's an optimistic song about the end of optimism. Faith in the loss of faith. We'll even contemplate prayer at this point. And the guitars ring out in hallelujah.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

So I Memorized, The Diamonds in Your Eyes...

The House of Love - Shine On - The House of Love are one of those rare historical oddities that really needs revisiting and a reputation boost. Signed on the strength of this single in 1988, The House of Love were simultaneously the last breath of british post-punk ala the Smiths, and themissing link between that music and the manchester scene that was to come. Combining a distinctly moz-esque baritone with riging guitars, thrilling rhythyms, and raw, lyrical feeling. "Shine On" is a thrilling debut statement from a band in need of revisiting. The opening hook hits like a brick, and the guitar solo about 2 minutes in absolutely flors. When the song fades away, giving in to loops of feedback and congas coming in from the distance, it's clear whats coming next.

The House of Love - Loneliness is a Gun - An old early B-Side, "Loneliness is a Gun" may be the bands finest moment. A quiet, acoustically driven ballad, it absolutely nails the bands core emotion. The resignation throughout this song, as it swells into a duet, lovers eternally seperated, the pathetic, desperate loneliness, is just cut-to-the-core resonant. Dying to meet you never sounded quite so morbid as in this song. It's almost enough to bring tears.

Tomorrow, we'll learn why I chose to revisit the House of Love today.

[Buy 1986-1988: The Creation Recordings, home to The House of Loves debut and early singles, From Insound.com]

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's Easily Done, My Friend...

The Kills - Run Home Slow - So, on Saturday, this little Blog that Could turns one. All we're asking for for our birthday this year is a Bloggie award (Best Kept Secret, down near the bottom), which you can vote for. And it's funny how things come full circle. A bit less than a year ago, I posted some tracks by Discount, a pop-punk band of high school ids from Florida fronted by one Allison Mossheart, who made some great Billy Bragg covers. And now, the Kills have a new album coming out in a few weeks entitled "No Wow". It's a phenomenal album, full of the sexual tension and classic blues wanderlust, a formula that simmers in a pot full of distorted guitar fuzz and drum loops and explodes all in a burst. The lead single, "No Wow" is a potent firebomb that plays up the melodic side that many thought Allison (now V.V. Kills) had forgotten in the duos debut record, Keep on Your Mean Side. And then, "Run Home Slow" crosses my inbox. It's an unreleased track (That, I'm told will eventually show up as a Japanese B-Side or some such), but it makes the perfect bridge between both Kills records. It has the same repetitive, droney, almost Jesus & Mary Chainesque quality that made the first record such a strange Blues record, but the mix is a bit more friendly, and lyrically, it's a huge step forward. What it loses in energy from other tracks, it makes up for in it's swinging, narrative style. Now if only they would stop pawing at each other on stage. It's so gimmicky.

Andrew Vincent - Paul Revere - And while we're on a revisiting tip, a few months back, I posted some tracks by Andrew Vincent & The Pirates, a Canadian band that loves Jonathan Richman and the Ramones. Andrew saw the post, and was kind enough to send me his old records. And one of those records, was After School Special, a concept album about the trials of tribulations of High School Life. After School Special is a phenomenal record. It's mostly Andrew solo and shows a more adventurous side of the singer-songwriter, but the most daring track on there easily, is this cover, of the Beastie Boys epic "Paul Revere" - the king of late night rock radio staples for some reason. Growing up, I would always hear this song as the night drew on and DJ's sensed fewer people listening for some reason. There's something very right about that context, the song isn't particularly long, but it can be exhausting due to it's sheer narrative density, and the lack of repetition. But Andrews cover is something else. There's not a hint of irony in my love for this cover, full of lo-fi keyboards and a nifty little drumloop, and Andrew crooning out those rhymes. For once I can understand why the Sherriffs daughter might let somebody "do it like this," and "do it like that", and "do it with a wiffle ball bat." There's magic here. Andrew told me that Kelp Records doesn't really have the money to do another pressing of the old albums, so to all you industry types out there reading this, I'm going to beg you: pony up the cash to reissue "After School Special" with some wider distribution. The tunes are there. If you put them in record stores and get a little marketing done, the sales will follow. Especially with this cover making the rounds on the airwaves.

Also, apologies for no post yesterday. The Arcade Fire have been in town. I won't post more Arcade Fire because everything I have is in wide circulation. But you shuold all do yourselves a favor and track down their KCRW "Sounds Eclectic" session performance of "Intervention." It's a new song and it rules.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I have had enough.

The Talk - Imaginary Lines - This song opens too quietly and delicately for it's own good. Kicking off the Talks sophomore effort "It's Like Magic in Reverse", Imaginary Lines is about the most frenetic song I've heard in ages. Take a healthy dose of Cars worship, and then, feed it an entire crate of pixie stix, and maybe a bit of coke, and you just might be able to keep up with Imaginary Lines. This song is over almost before it begins, storming through your brain and tearing down sense and reason like a cliche in a bestseller. It's powerful, exhilarating stuff, an atom bomb in the center of a stagnant night musically. The Talk are leading the charge for fledgling North Carolina label MoRisen Records, and for an up and coming, regional label they couldn't have chosen a better standard bearer.

[Buy It's Like Magic In Reverse from Insound.com!]

The Never - Bigger than Jared - I'm not sure if the Jared in question here is the Jared of Subway fame, or some other Jared, but the intent is pretty clear regardless. This is a band that wants to play stadiums. This is a band that wants it fucking all. Perhaps they took the phrase "Emo Drama Queen" a bit literally, because there's some of that operatic dynamic going, as pianos interplay with crunchy metal guitars on the verses, but the chorus is straight up nasal pop punk, and somehow still isn't quite as catchy as that opening piano and vocal hook. Killer stuff, and if this is a labels second string, than they have some serious talent going.

[Buy the Nevers album, Enjoying the Outdoors From MoRisen Records]