Friday, June 4, 2010

The 4am 20: Making Bells out of Bones

Warren Ellis' podcast, the 4am, is back. I couldn't be more pleased. It is what I play when I can't stand anything else.

This is episode 2 of the reboot.

Lester and the Hoax – “Jellybeanz” (2:27)
Margaras – “Noisegrind” (2:52)
Brent Wilcox – “Gametime” (1:18)
Horrorfall – “Necroplasm Fix” (3:45)
Steve Long – “Uneasy” (1:57)
Max Xiantu – “Forget The Future” (5:00)
Jimmy and the Binliners – “Walk It Out” (0:31)

Track list and liner notes here.

Find all previous 4am podcasts here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Live Show Log: Evelyn Evelyn

Evelyn Evelyn was in Minneapolis on Tuesday at the Cedar Cultural Center (a pretty great venue). I spent the night in a migraine fog, so it's probably for the best that I didn't try to get tickets.

Here's the customary pre-show Ninjaview:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Album Absoprtion 011: Street Fighter Mixtape

I admit: I haven't made it all the way through this yet, but I am pretty much loving it to pieces.

MUSIC by Akira The Don

via Warren Ellis and the new 4am

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Noise Diary 007: Raining

I was lamenting my lack of audio equipment while walking by the two fountains near my house today. But when I got back to the computer, Magnulus, a Whitechapel friend, had posted a great clip of rain:

Magnus Hølvold - Raining (2010)

Another great site for rain is Rainy Mood, a 30 minute loop of a thunderstorm, which basically drops my blood pressure by about ten points just from turning it on.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Song-a-Day 025: Kate Nash

I'm sick of this song. I still like it, I think. I still sing along with the 'bum ba dums,' but I could go a couple of months not hearing it.

Kate Nash - Do-Wah-Doo (2010)

Can I point out, first, that the words Do-Wah-Doo do not appear in the song? Thank you.

The intro grummy guitar hook goes straight to the part of my brain that's still in love with Bikini Kill. It pops up again in the bridge. I wish the song would go with that feeling for the coda, because what it does is so busy! Piano, horns, the seemingly indefatigable hi-hat that gives way to a tambourine, back up singers. My brain stops trying to catalog what it's hearing and goes, "my my, aren't we effervescent?" What the hell is a dirty little guitar riff doing in there? What it does is pull me back into the song. Good job, Mr. Producer, I'm still listening to your song.

The thing I do like about Kate Nash is her voice. It's all floaty and nice. I appreciate the incongruence but a) her tone makes it really sound like this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black and b) what, did she kill Lily Allen and absorb her power, Highlander-style? At least when Lily Allen goes the jaded ingenue route she still sounds kinda like she might cut you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Album Absorption 010: An Unwelcome Guest

I really hope y'all aren't sick of Guante yet. I am definitely a record needle stuck in a groove and I just need to work it out.

An Unwelcome Guest is a concept album. It's about one man traveling across the United States from East to West after an unnamed apocalypse. I choose to assume zombie apocalypse, from the line "We are waking up in our caskets" in track 4, The Stockholm Syndrome (featuring Prolyphic and Big Quarters). Sure, I am probably meant to interpret it metaphorically, and it's a very powerful line taken that way. I just also choose to interpret it literally. Because I can. This is my LitCrit Bill of Rights.

I like, in my mind, to line up this album and Stars Lost Your Name, which is a transcontinental journey in the other direction. Different genres, different stories, different compass needles, but a thread between them. It's good.

A particular favorite is track 3, The National Anthem (featuring Haley Bonar). I need to look into more of her stuff. Intriguing.

Okay, analysis now. Big Cats brings nice beats, and layers them with the nostalgic, tragedies of futures-past retro crackles and bent sounds, as though from time-warped cassette tapes or thermonuclear-slagged records. Guante's voice, now smooth now ragged and raw, delivers very tight images of what we will have lost. What we are in danger of losing right now. What we are losing right now. In a sense he's cataloging our apocalypse-in-progress.

It's all streaming here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So I talk some smack about the Current. I love that I have the luxury of smack-talkin my local alternative radio station. It is one of my favorite problems to have.

This weekend my jaw almost fell off when I heard this song on the radio:
The 757s - Mary Lucia (2009)

Mary Lucia rocks. No matter what I ever say about the Current, that will stand.

Spoken Word: Arts Activism in Milwaukee

Ryan Hurley and Eric Mire - Save the Arts (2010)

via El Guante

Friday, May 14, 2010

Album Absorption 009: Broken Bells

I was in the middle of different musical headspace when I remembered that Danger Mouse had a new project that had just come out. Broken Bells (Danger Mouse and James Mercer of the Shins) dropped their new album in March and I had originally ignored it. I was looking for some kind of something else entirely when I first listened to it, so I dismissed it at first.

Broken Bells - The High Road (2010); this track combines some of the bleepy techno with almost a classic rock vocal line. Then it goes to a more modern indie place and evens out, but that original incongruence is nice.

Broken Bells - The Ghost Inside (2010); listening to this is like the cold hand of my decade-ago self reaching out from the past to clammily touch my face. If this were a late-nineties/early-aughts transitional fossil, I would be less confused. But it's not because it sounds like I've heard it before. Its sounds just fall in a weird place in the nostalgia spectrum. Old ghosts I haven't made peace with yet.

Broken Bells - Vaporize (2010); I find this track basically inoffensive. I think the rest of the album is nice for having on in the background but not necessarily something I can really sink teeth and claws into.

I'll be poking at it more, see if anything else interesting is in there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Album Absorption 008: Sea of Cowards

The Dead Weather's (aka the Kills/Raconteurs/Queens of the Stone Age supergroup) new album dropped this week. Find it streaming here.

I am really enjoying the scuzzy sound and sleazy lyrics.

Dead Weather - Hustle and Cuss (2010)

Dead Weather - Die by the Drop (2010)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Song-a-Day 024: Herbaliser

Found today's track via Oldhat's Mix-a-Day project on 8tracks.

The Herbalizer - 8pt Agenda feat. Latryx (2000)

Noise Diary 006: Björk's Lost Pierrot Lunaire

I just got around to digesting my friend Ian McCowan's last tweet:
Björk sang Schönberg's "Pierrot Lunaire" and only 1:14 of recordings are extant. This makes me sad.

It makes me sad too! The quality is just awful, the audio equivalent of your phone taking a picture of the inside of your pocket. But the site is almost like a case file, trying to track down scraps of the past and figure out what exactly happened there in 1996.

Björk - Mondestrunken

Björk - Galgenlied

I myself have a lost hard drive filled with Björk mysteries; in the filesharing heyday of the early aughts I downloaded anything I could get my hands on. I have mixes never seen before or since, and recordings I have no clue the origins of. Though I am sad that there may be no record of this performance, in our increasingly pinned-to-the-corkboard world, I do appreciate some mystery.

More about Gayngs

Their CD release show is on Friday at First Ave and City Pages has an exclusive audio stream of the theme song, The Last Prom on Earth.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Song-a-Day 022: Cecil Otter

I apologize for missing yesterday's Song Set, but I had the screaming vomits for most of yesterday and today. So let's do a double up on Cecil Otter.

Cecil Otter and Paper Tiger - Forensics (2008) - I was expecting, I dunno, vocals from this track, since it's a Doomtree project, but I really liked how lowkey it is.

I think I may have only ever heard Cecil Otter live. The internet does not yield up tracks of his very easily.

Cecil Otter - Rebel Yellow (2009); recorded at South by Southwest.

Both Dessa and Cecil came up through the Twin Cities' slam scene, and you can hear the echoes in their lyrics. The strength of our spoken word scene is underappreciated.

Doomtree was on the current just before Christmas (3 December 2009): Dessa and Sims - The Wren, Cecil Otter - Demon Girl, and Sims - Like You Mean It.

The Doomtree Crew

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spoken Word: Come and Get Some

Ed Bok Lee - How to Survive in America (2009); Lee was in town last April for the first Urban Griots awards. (Via El Guante's blog.)

Guante performing The Last Words of a Roach, Underfoot (2009); (from Minnesota Microphone's youtube channel, where you can find a crapton of MSP poets.)

Lauren Zuniga - To the Oklahoma Lawmakers (2010); I am very much hoping she makes the OKC team and that I get to see her this summer at the National Poetry Slam. (Hat tip to Pharyngula of all places.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Album Absorption 007: Trans-Continental Hustle

So Trans-continental Hustle, Gogol Bordello's new record, came out, what, a week or so ago? I made the mistake of looking at a review while pecking around for undersecured mp3s:
...(I)t's hard to sustain interest in yet another offering of gypsy punk rock.
-Katie Toms, The Observer, 25 April 2010.

I don't understand this attitude. I have never gotten anywhere near my upper limit for gypsy punk. I mean, that's when they'll be issuing me dentures and two fake hips.

However, listening to the two tracks I've been able to find (Pala Tute and My Companjera), I reluctantly agree with some of her assessments:
Well known for his stripped-down arrangements, Rick Rubin is an odd choice of producer for a band noted for their energetic live shows, and this cleaner sound is a mistake.

They must have a pretty dedicated media person(s) cleaning up loose mp3s because every one I've found has dried up. So, the best I can get you is this live studio performance from 25 April 2010, two days before their album dropped. Songs played are Pala Tute, We Comin' Rougher, and My Companjera.

Pondering 002

So, Start Wearing Purple got, er, 'market saturation' because it was in a commercial (for Yahoo I think?). This song you may not know, from their East Infection EP:

Gogol Bordello - Madagascar-Roumania (Tu jesty fata) (2005)

I am not sure how they accomplish being wistful-feeling while keeping some of their signature rowdiness but I like it.

I am consistently aggravated by the lack of plays GB get on the Current. Basically when they're in town, they'll throw a play or two, and they played the single from the new album, Trans-Continental Hustle, a few times in the week or two before it hit, and I heard Start Wearing Purple a couple of times while it was in that commercial. I'm irritated by how much of the pre-chewed indie homogeny gets overplayed and they could easily spice it up a little of the gypsy punk. Also, Madagascar would be a sweet track for radio, a gentler point of entry. Sigh. Gnash. Become a DJ.

Song-a-Day 021: Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello - Start Wearing Purple (2005)

(The video is quite good as well.)

Also, check out this skeletal, progenitive version of Start Wearing Purple from 2000.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Remixes: Bon Iver

My pal Ben, working as The Ronald Raygun, has two authorized remixes from Justin Vernon's original Pro Tools tracks.

Bon Iver - Wolves [Aen's Howler Reconstruction] (2010)

Bon Iver - Bloodbank [Aen's Ignorant Mix] (2010)

Song-a-Day 020: Amon Amarth

Amon Amarth - Twilight of the Thunder God (2008)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Song-a-Day 019: Cinco de Mayo

In honor of the day, here are my two of my favorite Spanish language songs:

Orishas - Naci Orishas (2004)

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - El Matador (1993) (OH MAN OLD)

Wikipedia tells me Los Fabulosos Cadillacs are together again? Yay to that.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Album Absorption 006: Urge Mode EP

Ok - I don't know anything about any of this except that I stumbled over it this morning via Weaponizer and liked it a lot. Dubstep is sometimes attached to things I like and so I listened to it. It is three tracks of dark, crunchy, scaly goodness.

Morphamish - The Urge Mode EP (2010)

Song-a-Day 018: Rural Alberta Advantage

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Frank, AB (2008)

I am not sure what to make of these dudes, because Frank, AB goes to such a complicated emotional place and has the music to back it up, driving guitars and plaintive vocals etc, but then there's this one, which is has nice strings, but is sort of thin, predictable and safe. The plaintiveness floats over unchallenging major chords, taking the teeth out of it. And the vocals are a little sloppy in the verses, not in a "I'm making artistic choices" way, but in a "go back and record it again" way. It's sad to me, because the subject is a rich one, a great place for the deftness RAA might be capable of.

Don't Haunt This Place (2008)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Noise Diary 005: Wat Saket Temple Bells

I find myself going back to this one over and over again:

Andreas Bick - Wak Saket Temple Bells in Bangkok:

On the winding way up to the temple top there are two rows of differently tuned temple bells that are struck by the pilgrims on the way back down.

I like to pretend that's what I hear out my windows.

Song-a-Day 017: Gayngs

So, Gayngs has kind of been on my radar a little while. Somewhere below Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls (that is until yesterday when she mugged for my camera during the May Day parade (hooray puppets!) and went up quite a few notches) and, say, M.anifest (i.e. local artists who I should probably pay more attention to).

Holy Shit, I should have paid attention sooner. There are approximately nine jillion members, many of whom I already know and love, including the Eau Claire contingent: Joe Westerlund, Phil and Brad Cook, Nate and Justin Vernon (every one of them stellar musicians and much missed by me) and Maggie Wander, aka Dessa.

Also, incidentally, I read the Vernons are organizing a concert and music resource space in Eau Claire at the old women's college, which I had heard NOTHING about. That would be so awesome! That town needs it; it has one of the best university jazz programs in the country and so much musical talent just sort of bubbling away below the surface in so many of the sketchy, sketchy venues I went to in my squandered youth there. Good for them.

Music now.
Gayngs - The Gaudy Side of Town (2010) forthcoming on Relayted in May.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Song Set

These two songs are Björk-related, at least in my head.

Télépopmusik - Love Can Damage Your Health (2002): This quickly reaches out brain tendrils and grabs hold of the Deodato Mix of Isobel.

For comparison, here is Björk - Isobel (Deodato Mix) (1997). (Apparently there are no humans who wanted to rip and host Telegram mp3s, only Post, so you get a damn video.)

And then DJ Shadow - Mutual Slump (1996) because I literally just pieced it together this week that he's sampling Possibly Maybe. I am docking myself so many goddamn points for that.

Björk - Possibly Maybe (1995)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Live Show Log 002: PROOF

Didn't believe me?

P.S. You're gonna get rickrolled.

Dang that was a fun show.

Song-a-Day 016: Jonathan Coulton

Jonathan Coulton - First of May (2003)

I saw him perform this live at the Varsity Theatre on the First of May a couple years ago. It was pretty rad.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Amanda Fucking Palmer Day

This is her and some friends running around like crazy people and recording another live version of Missed Me in the Moog Factory in Asheville. (21 Nov 2009)

Video Bonus: Evelyn Evelyn

Evelyn Evelyn - Elephant Elephant (2010)

also, hooray puppets!

Song-a-Day 015: Evelyn Evelyn

Evelyn Evelyn is Amanda Palmer's new project with Jason Webley.

Evelyn Evelyn - Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn? (2010)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DJ Flashbacks 001: Swingy Edition

So. In college I managed and periodically DJ'd for a monthly student techno/industrial dance. These are some tracks I played in a particular set that is currently rotting in my infected desktop that I'm afraid will try to eat me if I turn it on.

They are particularly swingy. I am not sure how I got away with what I did.

Jean Gabin - Doo Uap Doo Uap Doo Uap (2002). This is a downtempo techno-ish version of Ella Fitzgerald singing Duke Ellington's It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (1931).

Apollo 440 - Krupa (1997) Jesus that track is old.

Propellerheads - History Repeating feat. Miss Shirley Bassey (Ankle Length Remix) (1997) Gah old also!

I have a not-so-secret weakness for breakbeat. Now Batman really knows how to take me out if I go rogue.

Song-a-Day 014: Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats - Southwood Plantation Road (2002)

The Hold Steady - Southwood Plantation Road (2009); Live cover recorded in Leeds, UK

This cover is really not Remake Arena material as there's not much to judge. They basically just do it straight up. It's good, and I like hearing Craig Finn most anytime, but they didn't really do anything to it. It doesn't deserve a WIN or FAIL: it's just not a question that it makes sense to ask.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Song-a-Day 013: The Avett Brothers

I like this one for two quirky reasons:
A) Lyricised stuttering
B) Though it's pretty smooth-sounding, head-bobby pop, the singer is screaming! More of that yes. Good friction.

The Avett Brothers - Kick Drum Heart (2009)

Album Absorption 005: Taphead

By now you might be getting the impression that the denizens of Whitechapel are brilliant motherfuckers. Good. That is the correct impression.

Risto Paalanen (aka Taphead) is one of them. His new album, 800 Memories Per Second, is available streaming online.

via Mr. Paalanen himself on Whitechapel

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Song-a-Day 012: Weebl and Bob / Justin Timberlake

First and foremost: I generally don't believe his music should exist. For a long time, I would have shot it into the sun if I could have. In fact, the Weebl and Bob version was the only one I acknowledged for years.

(Also I gave you some good stuff earlier today. I only feel a little bad now.)

Weebl and Bob - Pastry (2008)

But, due to some unknown and unasked for shift in my brain chemicals, I can now stand the original and get it stuck in my head periodically. I should be glad, because if I couldn't actually stand it, I'd have plucked out my eyes long ago. Also, the estrogen or whatever tells me he's attractive now? WTF, brain. WTF. If I didn't need you for my goddamn bones, estrogen, I would shoot you into the sun as well.

Justin Timberlake - SexyBack (2006)

(I will admit that the fact that the title is glommed together with a mid-word capitalization still makes me want to rip a cow in half with my bare hands.)

Johnny Cash Followup

So, yeah I kinda threw down with Johnny Cash earlier. But let those among us who have not put this on repeat and cried disconsolately throw the first stone.

Johnny Cash - Hurt (2002)

Remake Arena 003: Flume

I spoke ever-so-briefly of Bon Iver yesterday. Perhaps you are aware of Peter Gabriel's new cover album - I'm ambivalent about it so far.

Bon Iver - Flume (2008)

Peter Gabriel - Flume (2010)

The problem with Peter Gabriel's voice is that everything he does sounds like something I've heard before a million times. I also feel like he took everything that made the original weird and a little uncomfortable and raw out of it and smoothed down the edges and made it safe. It's pre-chewed.

So I'm going to have to FAIL this one, even though I'm glad it exists, and I understand what he's trying to do with the cover album. But he's no Johnny Cash; he can't steal the soul of Bon Iver and make it his own. He doesn't know where to find it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Video Bonus: St. Vincent

So, St. Vincent's sophmore album, Actor, came out last year, which I totally missed. Here's the video from the single Actor Out of Work (2009).

Shameless Plug: Dwarfcraft Devices

Man, speaking of pedals, a good friend from back home makes some bitchin' pedals.

Like these:

This is fellow Eau Clairean Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) testing the Shiva prototype:

You might have noticed that a link to Dwarfcraft went up a couple of days ago (points for attentiveness). I was excited to link to Ben, and didn't want to wait to tidy up this post before showing the love.

Song-a-Day 011: St. Vincent

Here's that St. Vincent I promised:
St. Vincent - Now, Now (2007)

St. Vincent - Your Lips are Red (2007)

She performs live with two microphones, one of which goes through a pedal that makes her sound like the sexiest 1940s radio-hour hostess you have ever heard, with that gorgeous bell-like sense of space and crackly edge of static.

Remake Arena 002: Need You Tonight

INXS - Need You Tonight (1987)

St. Vincent, Beck, Liars, Os Mutantes - Need You Tonight (2010) You all know Beck, yes, but St. Vincent is a personal favorite. More from her later.

Record Club: INXS "Need You Tonight" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo. Via Minneapolis Fucking Rocks.

WIN. Full of win.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Album Absorption 004: Ruxpin

Good old Bob Cluness of Reykjavik Sex Farm tweeted a link to I Wonder if This is the Place (2010), an album streaming online, by Icelandic electronic artist Ruxpin.

It is very very good. I have listened to it a few times now yes.

Sunday Song Set 002: Slow and Sexy

Smashing Pumpkins - Eye (1996)

Fischerspooner - Emerge (2001)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Video Bonus: Spoon

This is from 2007 and is a public service announcement for anyone who missed this on any of its many rounds of the internet.

Spoon - Don't You Evah with Hideki Kozima and Marek Michalowki's robot, Keepon (2007)

Oh, hey. Looks like they were also at the Current in 2007, and performed Don't You Evah.

Song-a-Day 010: Spoon (Live)

Spoon - Written in Reverse (2010) performed and recorded live in St. Paul, MN on 2 April 2010.

Now, all browsers seem to have recently decided to hate my computing resources, so watching video has been an issue lately. For those of you in the same boat, here's a plain mp3.
Spoon - Written in Reverse (2010)

You may note that they sound basically the same. What's the point? Well, I do like having a face to put on music. You may not agree. That's OK.

Here's the radio segment from that day in The Current studios.

I think Written in Reverse goes really well after yesterday's Tighten Up, playlist-wise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Black Keys Followup

I told you I would look into the Black Keys and try to overcome my personal failing in not appreciating them. So. Until this afternoon sometime, there was a video on the youtube of a dinosaur puppet singing this song. That video has been pulled, which is a sad, sad thing. It was a pretty good dinosaur puppet. But this is a track from their forthcoming Brothers album that I like. This may have something to do with it being produced by Danger Mouse.

Black Keys - Tighten Up (2010)

Noise Diary 004: Elephant Orchestra

The Thai Elephant Orchestra:
"Elephants in the Thai jungle playing specially designed musical instruments. The elephants improvise the music themselves. The Thai Elephant Orchestra was co-founded by Richard Lair of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang and performer/composer Dave Soldier."

Temple Music (2002)

Thung Kwian Sunrise (2002)

Ganesha (2005)

Little Elephant Saddle (2005)

Yes, you may have noticed a pattern of human chauvinism in my calling music made by animals 'noise.' I admit it. Also, I suppose a human composer is involved in these works, though I'm not sure of the extent. But seriously, dudes. Elephants made this.

Song-a-Day 009: Lykke Li

Lykke Li - I'm Good I'm Gone (2008)

This is also good:
Lykke Li - I'm Good I'm Gone [Black Kids Remix] (2009)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Remake Arena 001: Iron Man

Some remakes are awesome to the max. Some are not. The Remake Arena is where I shall judge the quick and the totally limp-dicked.

Let us peruse one that has recently come to my attention:

First, the setup: Black Sabbath - Iron Man (1971)

Then the punchline: The Cardigans - Iron Man (1996)

FAIL: I am typically in favor of loungey remakes. I enjoy a lot of Richard Cheese. But this remake loses me instantly - the intro vocal is actually where I think it comes apart. Are you Iron Man? I am unconvinced. I think you are Nina Persson going through the sad, empty motions of covering Black Sabbath. This is the kind of thing where you have to be self-aware and say unto yourself, "Yea, Verily, Now I shall loungily cover Iron Man, and I Understand that I court Certain and Everlasting Scorn if I Should Not Execute It With Fiat." I am sensing a distinct lack of fiat.

Do you disagree with me? Tell me more! I change my mind about stuff like this pretty frequently. You can help.

Noise Diary 003: Volcanic Doom!

You might have heard that there's some kind of goddamn Volcano going on in Iceland.

©Marco Fulle, via Astronomy Picture of the Day

Good old Silent Listening has just the sounds for us:
Suffice to say that it was a bone-chilling and mesmerizing experience which is not really carried along with this uncompressed and raw sound recording if heard at normal level – so please turn up the volume for a bigger effect (and imgine the smell of sulfer crawling up your nose)…

Andreas Bick - Mt. Yasur (2004)

And because a) I can and b) "Mother Earth" is today's fucking buzzword

Happy Earth Day: LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)

Song-a-Day 008: Black Keys

Black Keys - Strange Times (2008)

Bella suggested to me a bunch of other songs from their discography, and they're all fine songs, very back-to-basics in their way, but they seem to be missing something after Strange Times. I view my lack of appreciation as potentially a personal failing and I'll give them another go soon.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Album Absorption 003: Stars Lost Your Name

Zoetica Ebb, cosmonomad and Whitechapellian, posted this album on Coilhouse. It's called Stars Lost Your Name and it's by another Whitechapellian, John C. Worsley, aka Clearsignals, and you want to go listen to it.

(Click the pretty starmap already.)

Noise Diary 002: Finches on Guitars

Zebra finches on electric guitars at the Barbican Centre in London.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot - Les Oiseaux de Céleste (2010)

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot - From Here to Ear (2008) in the Galerie Xippas in Paris

Song-a-Day 007: Estelle [feat. Kanye West]

I post this more for its potential - as the kernel of a song, I think it deserves to be alive. This suprised me about as much as it probably surprises you.

BUT. It desperately needs some kind of remix. Some kind of sure-handed, old-school, disco-preserving, non-BPM-accelerated, four-on-the-floor, self-respecting remix. Not any of those bullshit, homogeneous blur-of-sound, pitch-shifted, auto-tuned abortions of remixes some goddamn DJs try to pass off as actual music. And as soon as I can find or make one, you will hear about it.

Estelle - American Boy [feat. Kanye West] (2008)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Squeakovision 001

Squeakatronic to date:

Album Absorption 002: A Badly Broken Code

I wasn't going to post again today, but this is pretty timely. Dessa just won three of City Pages' Best-Ofs: Best Local Album of the Last 12 Months, Best Songwriter, and Best Local Girl Made Good. I first saw Dessa at the Doomtree Blowout (IV) at First Ave. I next saw her open for Ani DiFranco at the State Theatre. I'm just starting to sink teeth into her first solo LP, A Badly Broken Code, and so far I love it. (Also if you click through to that review, there are two songs, Go Home, see below, and Matches to Paper Dolls.)

Let's start with an honest-to-god music video: this is Dessa - Dixon's Girl (2010) from Ted Romeo for Doomtree.

This is Dessa - Seamstress (2010) performed for the first time ever (beware of shaky phone-cam footage) at Doomtree Blowout IV (2008).

She also revisits the song Mineshaft from her first EP, False Hopes (2005)

With Mineshaft II (2010)

If I'd been on the ball in January, I'd have known she was live at the Current 20 Jan 2010:

This is video of her in studio talking about the song The Chaconne (2010). Yes, that is Jeremy Messersmith. Is he a big deal elsewhere? Also, Aby Wolf, who I haven't mentioned yet, performs with her for solo shows and is awesome.

She also played live on Seattle's KEXP on 12 Feb 2010: Seamstress, Go Home (2010), and Alibi (2010):

Pondering 001: 2009 Folk-Country Hipster Vortex

No Song-a-Day today, I have a question to ponder (be forewarned of swears):

What is going on with this Alt-Folk-Country-Bluegrass bleed into what would normally be the MPR/buzzcrowd leading edge of 'rock'? I understand that they don't really have a place in the Top 40 Country suckpit, and I understand that what hipsters like does not necessarily enter the rock canon, but frequently, it does. Why are alt-folk shows selling out rock venues? Bluegrass and alt-country have been existing quite happily on their own for DECADES without getting tangled up with the alt-mainstream. WTF, Hipsters. This shit, no matter how much I like it and otherwise consider it Very Fine Music, is not rock.

I do want to explain that I am annoyed beyond belief at a persistent lack of good terminology to describe the section of popular music that I'm trying to talk about. You might argue that the scoop-edge of hipsterdom doesn't count as 'popular,' since it may swirl around in there for a few months and then disappear. But it gets radio plays. It gets talked about in Rolling Stone. It sells out big venues in major cities. That's not really "under the radar," or a "stealth phenomenon" or whatever other goddamn euphemism music writers use to describe something that's still truly not widely known. I decided (today) to call it the alt-mainstream because there's a pretty good chance it's going to have staying power and ultimately shape the rock canon, regardless of any band or song's particular actual genre.

Ok. So. Exhibits A, B and, most damningly, C.

Exhibit A:Spirits of the Red City. These guys are quasi-itinerant troubadours who ping around between a couple of the major non-Eastern-seaboard music centers. I like them. Why are they on (what I perhaps erroneously think of as) my rock station?

Spirits of the Red City - Bottled Up (2009 I think)

Spirits of the Red City - Fire (2009)

Spirits of the Red City - Constant (2009)

Exhibit B:Mumford and Sons. I, I just, this is solid, amazing folky alt-country. Hurray. Yes it is edgy and a little angry. But hipsters, get your grubby paws off it. Do not make this the new rock standard, ok, because it is not fucking rock.

Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man (2009) Listen for the under-implemented industrial noises. If that is your idea of throwing me some kind of bone, I am fucking unimpressed. Minute props for swearing.

Mumford and Sons - Roll Away Your Stone (2009)

Exhibit C:Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Home has a talkdown! I love a good talkdown, ok, but that is some motherfucking country bullshit right there. That is Highwaymen shit. WTF?

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Home (2009)

Is this the fucking Decemberists fault? Is this because of The Rake's Song, you guys? Yes, Irish-inspired angry folk-rock is awesome. The Decemberists know how to Junt It Up. That is what you do when you want to do angry folk-rock and get rock station plays. You guys are not getting the junty picture here.

The Decemberists - The Rake's Song (2009)