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)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Album Absorption 001: Plastic Beach

I realized I hadn't kicked around the new Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach, yet. Here are some tracks from it that I like so far.

Gorillaz - Stylo [feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def] (2010); This is the single from Plastic Beach. The video has Bruce Willis in it and is worth watching. (They are savvy gentlemen who have disallowed embedding the video, so you'll have to click through.)

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach [feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon] (2010); I think this track is pretty interesting for them. It has some weird glo-fi stuff going on, I think, and I approve. They have always had strength in the hip hop relations department, and it's just nice to see them moving in other, more experimental directions.

Gorillaz - Some Kind of Nature [feat. Lou Reed] (2010); This song is worth the cost of admission just to hear Lou Reed's iconic voice over the kind of shit that Gorillaz can lay down. It does funky things to my brain parts. Unfortunately, it is a slightly limp-wristed track, but the idiosyncratic verses go a good ways toward making up for it. Feel free to do as I do and tune out the inane refrain.

Song-a-Day 006: Manu Chao

Manu Chao - Bongo Bong (2000)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Song Set 001: Weird, Loud and Noisy

The White Stripes - Icky Thump (2007)

Quasi - The Rhino (2006)

The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 2 (2002); I hate to do the youtube thing to you, but I can't find a plain mp3 anywhere.

For further listening, here's Quasi live at The Current (15 April 2010):

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Song-a-Day 005: Metric

Metric - Help I'm Alive (2008)

I like songs whose titles sum up the human predicament.

I also quite like the acoustic version:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Live Show Log 001: Amanda Fucking Palmer in Reykjavik

Dresden Dolls - Missed Me (2002): performed yesterday by Amanda Fucking Palmer in Reykjavik at a Volcanic Ash Sekrit Ninja Gig while her flight was grounded, recorded by Whitechapellian Iceland Bob:
Towards the end she broke the piano and nearly blew up the PA system (screaming “I´M A VOLCANO!”), before bringing it all to a close with a soft rendition of Leonard Cohen´s “Hallelujah”.

Song-a-Day 004: Muse

Muse - Time is Running Out (2003)

I like the Dr. Strangelove feel of the music video; I should dig into that movie with both hands and drag out the squirming Kubrick quotables to make a tasty dub.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Note about Squeakatronic

Welcome to Squeakatronic, a Foxy / Bella music log. We're undertaking this project as the ground survey for some collaborative DJ work later; here we are just going to noodle around collecting songs and sounds for our own later snarfability. So far, it's a lot of me posting, mostly because Bella has been visiting me here in the No Coast, and she is flying back today to the West Coast. Expect to see more from her later.

Song-a-Day 003: Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson - You Know I'm No Good (2010)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Noise Diary 001: Breaking Ice

Underwater microphone + shattering ice noise = lasers

Dispersion of Sound Waves in Ice Sheets (2006)

Andreas Bick posts pretty great clips of all kinds of things over at Silent Listening. I haven't given it nearly the amount of time I want, but I always find something good there when I poke around.

Song-a-Day 002: Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus - Titus Andronicus Forever (2010)

Titus Andronicus - ...And Ever (2010) is a reprise of Titus Andronicus Forever that I am having trouble finding a stable link to on the web. If you are (or want to become) a member of Warren Ellis' FREAKANGELS forum, you can hear it there by signing in and clicking on Whitechapel Radio in the left sidebar. Which is where and how I first heard Titus Andronicus.

And, also, in case you were wondering, there is no power on earth that will make me risk the combined wrath (and arse eels) of Warren and Ariana by trying to hotlink an mp3 from their site.

Additionally, they were live in The Current's studio on 5 April 2010.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Song-a-Day 001: Télépopmusik

An old favorite: Télépopmusik - Breathe (2001)

They are quintessential bleepy techno, but unlike the lower 80 or 90 percent of that classification, I enjoy it.

Télépopmusik - Don't Look Back (2005)