Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pavement - Brighten The Corners

One of my favorite bands of all time. This is the first album I listened to of theirs, simply unlike anything I had ever heard. Malkmus' way of twisting the pronunciation of words is so irresistibly catchy. I mean the man invented a way of singing no one to my knowledge has ever done before. This like all of Pavements music seems to be clumsily perfect, in other words "organized chaos". From the first listen to the first track "Stereo" I was hooked. Sometimes at work or out somewhere the question "What about the voice of Getty Lee? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy? - I know him, and he does." flies out of my brain cells and I think one thing - Genius-. But the real stylistic gem for me is -Transport Is Arranged-. Every word leaves you in suspended animation with your mouth open. At least for me, its not that these are extraordinary lyrics, they are actually really simple. Malkmus has always made the hard seem attainable. And for all this praise, this isn't even their best record. Please enjoy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stan Getz & João Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto

I recently helped a family friend move a large collection of records he just recently purchased. The man whose collection it was until his death, spent the majority of his life collection tons and tons of records, he ended up with 60,000. Helping move and looking through the collection you can see how he progressed through buying records. He started with 50's and 60's soul and gospel music. He owned a lot of records from the "King" record label which was a major african american label in the country and was located in Cincinnati. You could see he started with James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Johnnie Taylor, then branched out to Jazz with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Stan Getz, then to rock n roll with Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd. The final phase for this man was 80's and 90's rap complete with Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre. We judged from the condition of the records that they couldnt have been played much. Anyways this was one of the records I picked out to keep. I really love Stan Getz and especially his records dealing with Latin Jazz. This is a great record and contains one of the most famous songs ever, The Girl From Ipanema. Whether its heard on your stereo or a hotel elevator the song can bring old memories back. Enjoy here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wise Blood - 2 Demo Tracks

Wise Blood contains one member, Karl Spaeth who is a friend of mine. He was a original member of the Cincinnati band "The Pomegranates" whose blogging and Spin Magazine (Band of the Day) praise have been primarily focused on the songs he wrote. Anyways he and the band have parted ways, and he is now on his own. Reborn under the name "Wise Blood" he has two really fucking good demos up on his myspace site. I was nervous at first wondering what it would sound like, but jesus I was impressed. The first song is titled "Driftwood", and is a haunting story of a piece of wood on a journey, sung with a deep voice and a great melody. The second is "I Had A Revelation And..." a sprawling song with a great bass line, drum track, and synth effects. Karl didnt ask me to post this, I dont even think he knows about this site, but they deserve more listens. I wouldn't post this unless I really believed and admired the tracks listen and enjoy. Here.

His myspace page, Here.

French Kicks - Swimming

It took me a little while to remember to listen to this album, and I am very glad I did. The French Kicks will probably be forever tied to the current New York Pop Punk scene made famous by The Strokes. But, there is something much different about this band than it's peer groups, the drumming. The drumming was the first thing to strike me about this album, due to line-up changes in the band the drummer became the lead singer, and I suppose is what lead to the drums being the main sound you hear and notice. The sound of the drum is more prominent than any other sound even at times the vocals. A wise decision, I am a sucker for bands who let the drummer just fuck around the kit and create new beats instead of having them do the same beat every song (...ugh....strokes...ugh). However the French Kicks are not a band someone could hold as their favorite band, but its good upbeat rock/pop music that is a good switch from my usual stuff. Anyways notable songs include Abandon, New Man, and All Our Weekends. -Oh yea let me know if you think some of the sound from the first track Abandon sounds just like Boston's "More Than A Feeling" the one guitar to me sounds like a exact copy. Anways Enjoy as I did, here.

Wilco Demo's - Summerteeth, and AM.

Well I have gotten my two rant posts out of the way, I apologize. Here are two Wilco demo albums that I really love. I will soon post the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot demos as well.

First the Summerteeth Demos, I have always had a love affair with the normal album, it was once described as an album The Beatles would have made after Rubber Soul, I agree. Notable great demo versions on this include, Pieholden Suit, Via Chicago, and ELT. Also a great track is Tried And True, which will contain the same lyrics as the title track of the actual Summerteeth album. Get it here.

AM was the only wilco album that I could never get around to listening to often, mostly because of the reviews. But I have long since dropped that silly idea, and have grown to love the album just as all their others. Notable demo tracks include Passenger Side, Promising, and Let's Hear It For Rock. Here.

The Hold Steady....Not For Me

So I once had a friend that would endorse this band and their past album "Boys And Girls In America", so I finally got the interest to listen to that album once I downloaded their new album. BUT.....I thought it sucked, pretty basic generic "riffs" and pretty general "frat rock" lyrics complete with exaggerated drunk stories. The Hold Steady seem to go wrong with every angle they choose to take (which is the only thing they accomplish), the whole "we did or do a lot of drugs and drink" - the replacements did it better. The basic "high school band guitar distortion effect" - Green Day did it better (and i don't even like them either). Another big thing this band is known for is their on-stage antics, "Oh man, this band rules, they get wasted as they play." - well sure I'll grant you that makes for an occasional great show, and many bands have done it well (The National, The Replacements, Pavement). But the difference is they made good music, and they were more than a silly gimmick.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Elliott Smith - Elliott Smith (1995)

Elliott Smith is most famous for his songs that appeared on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack in 1996. One of these songs-- "Miss Misery"-- was nominated for Best Original Song in the Oscars. Smith battled with depression, alcoholism and drug addiction throughout most of his adult life probably as a result of a troubled childhood and family life. Smith ultimately committed suicide, almost 5 years ago now, at the age of 34. Some speculate that his girlfriend could have killed him, but nothing was proven and most seem to accept that it was suicide.

Upon re-reading a brief biography about him, it's interesting and sad to note the pattern in his life. It seems his mental health had deteriorated quite a bit in his late twenties and early thirties. At the height of his fame, he began forgetting the words and chords of his own songs and was reported to have put on several 'excruciatingly bad' performances. But near the end, he supposedly began turning it all around, quit most of the drugs and began having some success writing new music again. Mysteriously, it was just during this period that he chose to kill himself during a fight with his girlfriend.

Elliott Smith's music is a sort of sleepy apartment rock. The lyrics and melodies are calm, sad and beautiful. His style varies a bit from album to album, in my opinion growing increasingly produced, ballady and honed with each album (until perhaps the last one, which is a bit more chaotic). My favorite of his stuff is at the beginning of his career, when his songs were all voice and guitar. And this is my favorite album by him: Self-titled "Elliott Smith"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Favorite Author

I have, for some time now wanted to write a little bit about my favorite author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., most American readers will know some of Vonnegut's words from his most famous novel "Slaughter-House 5" which has become basically required reading. His books are completely without genre. Part love stories, social commentary, and definitely science fiction, Vonnegut will take you to places you have never been to and make you feel part of the scene. Main and supporting characters become close friends and you can see yourself in about every character. Another unique aspect of Vonnegut's writing is that he has some main themes and also characters that travel through many of his novels (the most popular of course is either Kurt himself or Kilgore Trout).

Kurts style most likely developed from the fact that he was NOT an english major, he went through school in the chemistry department, and subsequently some scientific themes can also be noted in his books (especially Cat's Cradle). I watched an interview of Kurt on Charlie Rose, and Vonnegut said "the best thing for a writer to do is stay out of the English department!" he later describes that if you are a english student and you write something for your professor he will say "well this is very good ______ (fill in your name), but there are some problems. Let me show you how James Joyce approached this issue." We can see that you cant grow as a writer and have inspiration if you are constantly being compared to the greatest writers in history.

Outside of writing, the human named Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was just as interesting and endearing as the writer. He was president of the Humanists (taking over for Issac Asimov) and generally a caring and considerate man. He urged people to write to make "your soul grow". Although he was quite the critic of mankind's propensity for atrocity (as he was part of it in WWII"), he was always level-headed enough to see both sides of humanity, both the love/hate, sadness/happiness, and the glory/gloomy.

His books cannot be put into a genre or time period, they are simply timeless. If you are unfamiliar with his writing I suggest my favorite book of his "Mother Night". Also you can type "Kurt Vonnegut Jr quotes" in google, and find so many great quips, advice, and social criticism. Vonnegut died months ago, and I am still stunned. I dont go more than a day without thinking about what Vonnegut said his uncle used to say, roughly "if this isn't nice, i dont know what is." We constantly throughout our lives never truly recognize what we have, when we have it. I can only hope Vonnegut knew and appreciated his impact on the human race.

I am really sad to put this video in this post as it angers me so, but its important to see how terrible American news and Fox news in particular is/ or has become. This is their memorial to Vonnegut, note this is just after his death, "Faux" news calls him a "liberal writer" and "irrelevant".

But to combat this awful "news story" i will repost this video, as well as tell you all Kurt's favorite joke "Kurt is in heaven now."

Monday, May 19, 2008

National - About Today

Saw this video on Get Your Melancholy On (on the blog list) and had to post it

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jeff Tweedy - Letters To Santa Volume 3

As promised, the last and final volume of the Jeff Tweedy Letters To Santa recordings.

Part 1
Part 2

Track Listing In Comments

Glen Hansard and Markita Irglova ("Once")

The 2007 musical film "Once" and its soundtrack is the first collaboration between Glen Hansard (singer of The Frames) and Marketa Irglova, a young Czech musician. The film won an Oscar for Best Musical (although, to me, this movie does not fit my idea of a musical). Hansard and Irglova play the lead roles in the film of two street musicians who meet in Dublin, Ireland, write music together and fall in love. The movie is really well-done and charming. Zak posted a while back about this movie and said he didn't see what all the fuss was about. But anyway, I really like both the film and the soundtrack. So I recommend at least giving them a listen.

For those of you who are familiar with this movie or music, you might be interested in this interview with Hansard and Irglova on NPR's "Fresh Air." I found it to be really interesting and a good insight into their music writing and collaboration process. Listen to the interview here

Neil Young - Chrome Dreams (1977)

Chrome Dreams is an unreleased album that has appeared in a few different bootleg versions. He scrapped the album for whatever reason, but some have said if he had released it, it would have been his best album of the 70s. I don't go that far because I love some of his other albums from that decade, but I do think it's a good album. Some of these songs appeared on later albums. Notable songs: Pocahontas, Captain Kennedy, White Line, Look Out for my Love, Ride My Llama. Get it here

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip - Angles

I first heard this album a couple weeks ago, and was really impressed. A friend downloaded it off waffles, we both had no knowledge of what kind of music it was or how it sounded. Jesus were we happy we got it, it has become a staple album for weekend nights or any night or day actually. For those of you who are unfamiliar this band is composed of Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip, both men hail from Essex. The music is hip/hop and really fucking unique. If you ever wondered "what would it sound like if someone rapped about the periodical table?" well you will find out on the track "Development". The best track on the album is the big hit "Thou Shalt Always Kill" - the video is below, I will also post the lyrics because they are fucking brilliant. But remember Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip IS JUST A BAND. Enjoy.

Thou shalt not steal if there is direct victim.
Thou shalt not worship pop idols or follow lost prophets.
Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Johnny Hartman, Desmond Decker, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or Syd Barret in vain.
Thou shalt not think that any male over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a peadophile… Some people are just nice.
Thou shalt not read NME.
Thall shalt not stop liking a band just because they’ve become popular.
Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.
Thou shalt not judge a book by it’s cover.
Thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover.
Thall shalt not buy Coca-Cola products. Thou shalt not buy Nestle products.
Thou shalt not go into the woods with your boyfriend’s best friend, take drugs and cheat on him.
Thou shalt not fall in love so easily.
Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls’ pants. Use it to get into their heads.
Thou shalt not watch Hollyoakes.
Thou shalt not attend an open mic and leave as soon as you're done just because you’ve finished your shitty little poem or song you self-righteous prick.
Thou shalt not return to the same club or bar week in, week out just ’cause you once saw a girl there that you fancied but you’re never gonna fucking talk to.
Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were.

The Beatles - Were just a band.
Led Zepplin - Just a band.
The Beach Boys - Just a band.
The Sex Pistols - Just a band.
The Clash - Just a band.
Crass - Just a band.
Minor Threat - Just a band.
The Cure - Just a band.
The Smiths - Just a band.
Nirvana - Just a band.
The Pixies - Just a band.
Oasis - Just a band.
Radiohead - Just a band.
Bloc Party - Just a band.
The Arctic Monkeys - Just a band.
The next big thing - JUST A BAND.
Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-English speaking countries as to those that occur in English speaking countries.
Thou shalt remember that guns, bitches and bling were never part of the four elements and never will be.

Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music
Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music
Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music
Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music
Thou shalt not pimp my ride.
Thou shalt not scream if you wanna go faster.
Thou shalt not move to the sound of the wickedness.
Thou shalt not make some noise for Detroit.
When I say “Hey” thou shalt not say “Ho”.
When I say “Hip” thou shalt not say “Hop”.
When I say "he say, she say, we say, make some noise" - kill me.
Thou shalt not quote me happy.
Thou shalt not shake it like a polaroid picture.
Thou shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak like me.
Thou shalt spell the word “Pheonix” P-H-E-O-N-I-X not P-H-O-E-N-I-X, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells you.
Thou shalt not express your shock at the fact that Sharon got off with Bradley at the club last night by saying “Is it”.
Thou shalt think for yourselves.
And thou shalt always kill.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The National - The Virginia [EP]

This EP comes with the new National DVD documentary of the process of creating and recording their latest and greatest album Boxer. I haven't bought the DVD yet, but rest assured I will have it tomorrow. Enjoy here.

Jeff Tweedy - Letters To Santa Volume 2

Here is his second show, enjoy.

Part 1
Part 2

Track Listing In Comments

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jeff Tweedy - Letters To Santa Volume 1

Awhile back Rbally, which is gone now uploaded three shows Jeff Tweedy did for his charity. These shows were performed in people's living rooms, a really cool idea, and lord knows if i had the scratch i would have paid so much for the pleasure of him playing in my house. Anyways, luckily for us a person at the party recorded the three shows (of course Jeff was alright with it, as he and wilco endorse people recording them live). Each person chooses one song for Jeff to perform, and also the recordings include Jeff's banter with the people (which sometimes I listen to more than the songs). These performances include rare songs as well as big hits all done with one man and a guitar, except for when the crowd does backing vocals, and in the case of "Jesus, ETC" a woman plays the violin with Tweedy. Enjoy show #1, i will upload the other 2 shortly.

Volume 1 Part 1

Volume 1 Part 2

Track Listing In Comments

Pop Apocalypse

Anna sent me an email, blogger shut her site down due to many complaints by the record companies. And apparently some porn dudes got the URL before she could, hence the porn where her old site was. BUT she has a new site the new link is on the blog roll, its essentially the same layout, but it will take her some time to get back up and running full speed, I wish her all the luck.

Request for help....

Hey guys I was wondering if anyone can help me find Cody Chesnutt's The Headphone Masterpiece. Thanks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yann Tiersen - Goodbye Lenin Soundtrack

Yann Tiersen is a Czech composer who is famous for writing the music to the movie "Amelie" (2001). I'm always surprised at the number of people I meet who saw this movie and were immediately struck by its music and proceeded to get their hands on the soundtrack. "Goodbye Lenin" was made a couple of years later in 2003. This soundtrack is just as good, though a little different than Amelie's which, to me, was a bit more upbeat and had more Eastern European or Gypsy influence. The "Goodbye Lenin" soundtrack consists mostly of piano compositions which are beautiful and memorable. As a sidenote, the movie is also really remarkable, it is about the fall of the Berlin wall and the upheaval that East Germans had to go through during that period of time-- highly recommended. Get the soundtrack here

Friday, May 9, 2008

M. Ward Discography

One of my first posts on this blog was my collection of M. Ward music, I figured that I would re-post the links under mediafire (faster) and also add Duet For Guitars #2 which I didn't have before. Wards music is the text book definition of timeless, each song he has seems that it can be played in any time period and work, he also has a voice like a young Tom Waits (and who doesn't love that). He credits his voice with always playing music in his house, and in order for his parents not to yell he had to whisper hence the gravely voice. His voice and his expert and unique guitar playing makes for some of the best and original music I have ever heard. The perfect example I can find to sum up everything Ward can do is in his song "Vincent O'Brien" where you hear piano playing you'd expect from a speakeasy with the guitar noise you'd here at a Wilco or Sonic Youth concert. Enjoy, oh yea and please watch the video at the bottom and let M. Wards guitar expertise amaze you.

Duet For Guitars #2

End Of Amnesia


To Go Home

Transfiguration Of Vincent

Transistor Radio

She And Him - Volume 1

Ridiculous Video

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Flight Of The Conchords - S/T

Listen To Comedic Genius here.

Woody Guthrie - Dustbowl Ballads

A collection of crackling old folk songs sung by the man who inspired Dylan to start playing music. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Band - Northern Lights - Southern Cross

Released in 1975, this was the Band's comeback album after the commercial and musical shortcomings of Cahoots. This album includes the Band's classic tracks It Makes Not Difference (which includes one of the best chorus' ever recorded, in my opinion) and Ophelia. This album though is much different from the previous Band's music, NLSC seems to be a straight 70's album, which is exemplified by Robbie Robertson's (who was on his way out of the Band after this albums release) new guitar sounds (use of whammy bar, solos), and funky song "Ring Your Bell" really seems to date the music. None of this though makes this a disappointing record, just different, and different can be great. Enjoy this here.


The Why album is now re-up'd enjoy.

The Everybodyfields - Plague of Dreams

Upon request, I'm posting the second album of The Everybodyfields from 2005. This album, like their newest, is really good. It was practically all I listened to for a few months in 2007. The music on this album has a stronger country/bluegrass feel than their newest album, and the album before this one ("Electricity and the South") is even more in that vein. So you can see them becoming more and more rock-influenced with each album. This one gels very well together to create a complete album experience, but as always there are some highlights, and for me they are "The Only King" (a nice tribute to Elvis Presley), "Arletta", "Out of Town", "Fade Jeans Blue", and "Good to be Home." Get this album here and then go support this great band and buy it here.

Explosions in the Sky - Those Who Tell the Truth...

"Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever" is my favorite EITS album to date, but I have honestly liked, I would even say loved, everything they have done. I think this album is particularly memorable and is a good introduction to their music for anyone who has not yet encountered it. They are an instrumental band from Austin, Texas. Their music is reminiscent of so-called shoegaze bands like "Mogwai" and "Godspeed You Black Emperor," and at least for me, has certain similarities to other generally awesome and uncategorizable instrumental groups such as Ratatat, The Sea and Cake and M83. But Explosions in the Sky is my favorite of all these bands, their music is poignant, melancholy and beautiful. One thing I find interesting about them, which I read once in an interview: to name their songs, they first write the song and then listen to it and give it a name according to what the song makes them think or feel. And very often you can really hear the music describing the name of the song... or the name of the song describing the music.

Every song on this 6-song album is noteworthy, but my favorites are "Greet Death," "The Moon is Down" and "Have You Passed Through This Night?". By the way, the monologue at the beginning of "Have You Passed Through This Night?" is an excerpt from the war film "A Thin Red Line" (1998). Get this album here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wilco - Being There

I am surprised that I haven't already uploaded this album. Fantastic album, I would say this is tied with "Hollywood Town Hall" as the best Alt-Country album ever. Every song is brilliant and a great time piece, when I hear specific songs on the record (Hotel Arizona, Monday, etc.) I am transported to a desert with my friends having a blast. Other songs express deep anguish that all humans feel (Misunderstood, and Sunken Treasure). But of all the fantastic songs, I would say my favorite is "The Lonely 1", I really think this is one of the most honest, ironic, and simple songs about our childhood/teenage/adult musical heroes. The lyrics are below, try not to relate, its impossible. Other interesting facts about the album, are that each song was practiced, recorded, and mixed in one day, and Jeff Tweedy wanted to release a double album, but he was concerned that people wouldn't buy it for the standard 30$ double album price, so he convinced them to sell it at a single album price, and that Tweedy's royalty checks would cover the losses. Apparently since that time it's suggested he has lost "$600,000" on the deal, but remains satisfied. What a man, he is probably the truest form of a musician I have ever seen, heard, or non-personally known. Disc 1. Disc 2

"After the show you walked right past.
Arms reached out for your autograph.
And as you flashed your backstage pass.
I caught your eye with a camera's flash.
When the band came out they stood behind you.
Cymbals crashed, the lights went blue.
You stood alone in the halo's haze.
Shiny guitar hung on gold lamé.
And you, you were the lonely one.
You were the lonely one.
When you perform it's so intense.
When the critics pan I write in your defense.
I understand I'm just a fan, I'm just a fan.
When I get home I turn off the alarm.
I've checked the phone, no messages on.
I play the ones from yesterday.
I play your song just to hear you say that....
You, you're the lonely one.
You are the lonely one.
You, you're the lonely one.
You are the lonely one"

Why? - Alopecia

First heard this in a friends car, what a trip that was. Anyways I was really surprised that I have never heard of these guys before then, they are from Cincinnati and they are making music that is simply ridiculous (in a good way). I see some comparisons to Daniel Johnston and Adam Green in terms of random, crazy, and beautiful lyrics. There is definitely some Hip/Hop influences, but it isn't Hip Hop, as they aren't rapping so much as singing like their rapping. More so like absurd beat poetry set to drum tracks and guitars. Listening to each song you are transported so far from where you thought you were, but you end up right where you want to be. -Granted I don't know what any of that means, but its the best way I can describe it-. I read this on Amazon and it seems to put it better "The first time you hear it it's like a jigsaw puzzle, but with only twenty or so pieces giving an incomplete picture. And then each subsequent time you listen more and more pieces appear adding to your enjoyment of the overall picture." Check it out here.

European adventure, new author.

As most of you know I have invited a great friend of mine to contribute to the site, his name is dusty and he has been the bringer of great music to me for awhile now. I cant wait to see some of his posts and writings. Also I am going to be taking a vacation in Europe around the middle of June, but will be back blogging in full force when I get back (probably middle of July). A friend and I will be traveling by train throughout Europe, we fly into Dublin then catch a flight to Stockholm and will be working our way down from there. If any of you experienced travelers or friendly Europeans want to let me know places to visit, or good bars please feel free to email me.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Everybodyfields - Nothing is Okay

This is my first post on Zak's blog. He invited me to contribute and keep it running in his absence during his upcoming trip to Europe. (By the way, my name is Dusty, I'm a friend of Zak's from Ohio. Nice to meet you.)

The Everybodyfields is one of my favorite bands, which I randomly encountered about 3 years ago on a camping trip in Pittsburgh at a now-defunct cafe called 'The Quiet Storm.' They were on a small tour (they're from Tennessee) and the crowd was sparse, but their show made a strong impression on me. Their style is a unique mixture of bluegrass and rock (leaning more toward the bluegrass side). The male and female singers (featured equally) weave some really remarkable vocal harmonies. The melodies tend to be bittersweet or just plain melancholy (although their are some notable dance-y exceptions) and their lyrics are often touching. I'm posting the newest of their three albums, "Nothing is Okay," which is their best album in my opinion (their second album, "Plague of Dreams", comes in a close second). Notable songs: Don't Turn Around, Be Miner, Tuesday. Get it here.