Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Are you coming over for Christmas?


MP3: Belle & Sebastian - Are You Coming Over For Christmas?

Happy holidays all. I am fairly confident that our output should remain consistant throughout the week, but these times always find a way of paralyzing you out of no where, so I'm trying to remain half ready for it.

The always rad Belle & Sebastian have posted a new single, "Are You Coming Over For Christmas?", on their myspace. It's available there for download just for today, but in case you miss it, I've posted it here. No need to rush now, though it is a wonderful pop song.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 15 Songs of 2007: #11 Bat For Lashes


MP3: Bat For Lashes - What's A Girl To Do


NOTE: Happy birthday Mom. Just for you, here is post #5 from my personal list of the 15 greatest songs of 2007. Faaaaantastic.

It is so rare when you hear a song that sounds like nothing else and it's even more rare when it turns out that the song is actually good as well. Not only did I get this from "What's A Girl To Do", but honestly Bat For Lashes' debut lp "Fur And Gold" delivered an album full of unique pop music.

"What's A Girl To Do" has those thundering drums and great loops I love so much, with it's infectious chorus and honey sweet vocals from Lashes' mastermind Natasha Khan that will fucking cut you if the timing was right.

It's also impossible to post about this song without mentioning the just-as-incredible video shot for it. There is a reason it showed up on everyone's favourite video lists this year, so if you haven't caught it yet, please enjoy it below.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Top 15 Songs of 2007: #12 Fourth Of July


MP3:
Fourth Of July - I Don't Want To Lose You

NOTE: Awwww yeah suckas, day number 4 from my personal list of the 15 greatest songs of 2007. Maybe more posts today, maybe not, but I'd check every now and then just in case. Either way, these posts are coming daily so come on back tomorrow at least. Wonderful.

I try not to post about my friends here too much without having them involved in some way, but since this is my top 15, I'm going for it.

Lawrence, Kansas' own Fourth Of July released a fantastic record titled "Fourth Of July On the Plains" this year on Range Life Records (friend of the blog) that is chock full of fantastic music that will stick to your head like gum on shoe (that you purposely stepped on).

When they went on tour this fall, they released 3 "tour singles" of all new music that were freshly recorded and ready for the public's ear to enjoy. And enjoy we did, as they had already topped themselves months after the gem they just dropped on us. For me, "I Don't Want To Lose You" was the stand out of those 3 incredible songs, with it's irresistible hook and it's overall sincerity coming from a band of rock geniuses.

Plus, they have a pretty sweet crib too:

{purchase fourth of july recordings from range life records}

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top 15 Songs of 2007: #13 Grinderman


MP3: Grinderman - Get It On

NOTE: We're still at it mother fuckers, the 3rd day of my personal list of the 15 greatest songs of 2007. Don't stop looking, some days will probably have more than one post (hint: probably today), and you don't want to miss out on pure gold! This shit might continue to be posted daily as I haven't been slacking much. Alright!

Grinderman's self-titled debut this year was really one of the best things to happen to 2007. It gave us that raw edge that rock and roll has been missing for so long (and in some ways had never seen) as well as giving us bits and pieces of tenderness as only Nick Cave could deliver. Back in March, Matt introduced us to "No Pussy Blues", certainly one of the stand out tracks from the lp, but the one that constantly stunned me was the opening song "Get It On". And while I could go on and on about how amazing it is, really all you need is what could be the greatest lyrics ever penned:

"He drank panther piss and fucked the girls you're probably married to."

Fuck yeah.

"Grinderman" is out now on Anti Records.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top 15 Songs of 2007: #14 Simian Mobile Disco


MP3:
Simian Mobile Disco - Hustler

NOTE: Here we are, day 2 in counting down my personal list of the 15 greatest songs of 2007. Keep your eye on the blog, because some days may bring more than one post, and you wouldn't want to miss out! If I keep kicking ass, these songs will be posted daily. Fantastic.

Here it is, the track that introduced most of us to the blast that is Simian Mobile Disco. Thanks to Gorilla vs Bear for posting "Hustler" way back when the record wasn't out anywhere yet and made it a total bummer until later in the year when it was released in the states. Whew. The main draw to this song is the original video (there's a new rubbish one for all the prudes to enjoy), that is full of whispers and women making out. Now go steal some records if you're broke.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Top 15 Songs of 2007: #15 Akron/Family


MP3:
Akron/Family - Don't Be Afraid, You're Already Dead

NOTE: I am counting down my personal list of the 15 greatest songs of 2007. I may put up a couple a day, and I do plan on doing our regular posts as well so please keep checking back, as we could double up in that day. If all goes to plan, these songs will be posted daily. Sweet.

One of the most endearing and representational tracks of Akron/Family as a whole was, to me, "Don't Be Afraid, You're Already Dead" from this year's "Love Is Simple". It not only captures an emotion, but has an entire song written around it, becoming even stronger with the group's four part harmonies and delicate instrumentation. Lyrically, it's the album's strongest (my main beef with the lp was the quality of lyrics, a strong point in Ak Ak's previous efforts but mostly absent in this round) and it has everything great about Akron/Family: rising build up to a grand finale, in this case it's audible love. As they sing the titular line over and over, you realize it's very true: love is simple, especially when it comes to loving Akron/Family.

"Love Is Simple" is out now on Young God Records.

{purchase akron/family recordings from insound}

Monday, December 17, 2007

Paul Duncan


MP3: Paul Duncan - The Fire

MP3: Paul Duncan - High In the Morning

I fucking hate say what I'm about to say, but here goes: dude sounds a lot like Will Oldham. It's nobody's fault or anything and it's actually kind of awesome because thankfully, he writes songs that sound like Paul Duncan songs and they're totally great.

"Above the Trees" came out this year and I didn't get to spend a lot of time with it. I've had it since before it came out and really was mostly excited about it's beautiful cover art (seriously its the best album cover of 2007 hands down), but this past week I dusted it off and haven't stopped listening to it. Oh Hometapes, why must you be the best label ever? Well done as always.

{purchase paul duncan recordings from hometapes}

Saturday, December 15, 2007

No Age continue to slay streaming internet video


We love No Age, and this performance at Other Music in NYC during CMJ time is proof further why us musical blogs get erect for such rad jams from these gents. Dig that new song "Sleeper Hold", is it showing up on the Sub Pop debut mayhaps? Oh and "Neck Escaper" never gets old, rock that shiz for life. I will.

Friday, December 14, 2007

FUCK YEAH: Iron Maiden


MP3: Iron Maiden - The Prisoner

MP3: Iron Maiden - The Number Of the Beast

NOTE: Today's FUCK YEAH! contribution comes from my life partner Matt Giordano, who sent this in forever ago (October 4th to be exact) but I never got to it. Literally, I never even read it so this is just as new to me as it is to you. Enjoy the weekend, stay warm and don't let the snow kill you. Even though that would be so metal.


Some days you just want to be rocked, so you have turn back to the classics. Most modern music just isn't rocking enough, save a few, but it just seems to lack the qualities of the older lot. It could be the newer recording techniques compress the sound waves so that everything sounds flat and the quiets and louds are wrongfully balanced. Anyway, Iron Maiden fucking slays, and, if you disagree, you're a fool, and, give the beast a chance.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks


MP3: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Batimore

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks have given us a taste off of their upcoming sure-to-be-a-fucking-facemelter/gash-slayer "Real Emotional Trash". If "Baltimore" is any indication (and I think it is), we're in for a treat with sexy harmonies, usual Malkmus guitar shredding and excitingly loud and brutal drums from everyone's favourite rock and roll drummer and new "Jick", Janet Weiss. We'll have to wait until March to be rocked, but hopefully Matador or the bloggers will be kind enough to leak a couple of tracks every month or so to keep our respective smiles large.

In the meantime, look for every blog to make some sort of quip about Baltimore while posting about this track. Our quip? Baltimore fucking sucks. This song? It does not.

{purchase stephen malkmus and the jicks recordings from matador}

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Get Loose


Too hard not to enjoy this last minute entry for best video of 2007 for "Loose" off the impossible to hate Bangers & Cash ep. Everyone loves women on the toilet, titties and Spank Rock playing bitchs' asses like bongos. Enjoy the video and download the track from when we posted it here. There is mad breasts and almost gash in this, so obviously NSFW. Fuck yeah!

Chromeo


MP3: Chromeo - Bonafied Lovin' (Tough Guys)

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from adventurer Matt Giordano, who hopefully enjoyed his Moral Orel dvd collection I watched him purchase over the weekend. Fuck yeah!

Sadly for the music lovers, this time of year brings the stress of recollecting the best of the year, and trying to catch up on what we've missed. This track is a combination of the both, but a bit more of the latter. Homeboy David Lizmi was playing this the other night, and it's ├╝ber-catchy 80's pop mimmicking just got to me. This song will get your booty shaking Don Johnson coke party style.


Chromeo's "Fancy Footwork" is out now on Vice.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Terrordactyls


MP3: The Terrordactyls - Devices

MP3: The Terrordactyls - I Want to Cry

BONUS HOLIDAY MP3: The Terrordactyls - Landscapes and Heartaches

Hey duders, I certinally enjoyed my birthday week (the official day being yesterday, fuck yeah), but here it is: Monday and back to business.

The Terrordactyls are the duo of Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl, and together they make some fantastically fun, fantastically glum and just plain fantastic music. It's honestly honest and really the perfect record to dissect, and throw on mixtapes with the pure intention of it sticking out like a sore thumb. Each song works by itself easily, but as a whole these 14 songs flow like a river compliments by everyone's favourite instruments along the way: kazoos and toy pianos.

Kimya Dawson even found time to stop on by, singing on the albums standout track "Devices", by far a last minute favourite of the year for me. I've posted that, along with a gem titled "I Want to Cry" and finally, the boys gave us blogs a holiday bonus along with the note: “Dear Mr. Blogs: Here is a song about traditions; ones that we make no effort to perpetuate, but that we continue to carry with us anyway... mostly just because.” – Michael and Tyrel, The Terrordactyls.

Finally, here is their video for the song "Decoration Daniel". If anything, you can't say these dudes aren't giving. Score!

The Terrordactyls self titled full length is out now from Pankof Records.

{purchase terrordactyls recordings from the band}

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Aloha


MP3:
Aloha - Body Buzz

MP3: Aloha - The End

Don't make those best of lists just yet! With a new Ghostface album that dropped yesterday and a new Wu Tang to follow next Tuesday, it seems some of our favourites are popping up in December to challenge all previous discs with the promise of being more fresh in our minds and also being just as awesome. Case in point? Aloha's "Light Works", which hit shelves yesterday.

I still haven't taken it all in, but what a lovely little ep we've got here. First, the art is amazing. A beautiful cover, graced on a digipak with materials made from recyclables in a gentle package. Quite honestly, I could roll with the word "gentle" for this whole post. An ep meant to tide over fans before dropping a new lp in 2008, Aloha shows a gentle side that has been hinted at over the years, but finally delivered completely for the first time (and hopefully not the last!). The 7 songs go by somewhat quickly, just under a half hour, which is enough time to fall in love and replay for countless repeated listens.

They're all highlights honestly, but look out for the 2 gems I've posted here, "Passengers" which flows nicely with lovely harmonies backing Tony's sweet pipes and the closer "Equinox", which is a song built around around an improvised piece. It's all so carefree and inviting, very much worth checking out, even if you're not familiar with the band (but thankfully we all know that's not true).

It sounds perfect in these winter days and can morph quite nicely for the holidays, if you so wish. Thank you Aloha, see you next year!

{purchase aloha recordings from insound}

Monday, December 03, 2007

FUCK YEAH: The Come Along & Eat It


MP3:
The Come Along & Eat It - Taste the Blood

MP3: The Come Along & Eat It - ZOMBIES (cover)

MP3: The Come Along & Eat It - Eat UR Family

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from ho-zone Matt Giordano, is hopefully buying me a birthday pint this weekend. Also, these songs he sent are tagged really annoyingly, so download and enjoy at your own will. Fuck yeah? Fingers crossed!

The Come Along & Eat It were passed along to me last year, and it's always been one of the most challenging groups I have ever listened to. However, the rewards of this band are so great, mostly as a result of their reinvention of "indie" music. The boundaries have been pushed so far, you'd almost expect said boundaries to push back, yet they cannot. It's rare that a band can take such an cascadingly bland genre and make it their own.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

David Karsten Daniels


MP3: David Karsten Daniels - American Pastime

MP3: David Karsten Daniels - Beast

It is a beautiful thing when you go to a show to see someone and walk out of the venue with a new band to love. This happened to me when in Chicago many months back to see Tom Brosseau on a Fat Cat tour and the opener happened to be the amazing David Karsten Daniels. After chatting a bit and purchasing the cd, I realized that I had seen this record at the shop I was working at and ignored it, because of the oft putting cover art of "Sharp Teeth" (it now makes sense in context, I promise!).

What I like about DKD is his ability to seamlessly weave between mellow and upbeat without it feeling forced. Also, as seen in "Beast", mother fucker knows how to work a buildup in song like no other. Sprinkle some quality lyrics in this cookie mix and you're going to bake yourself something delicious. Highly recommended!

{purchase "sharp teeth" from fat cat}

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

GO TEAM: Pattern Is Movement


MP3:
Pattern Is Movement - Right Away

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from a slice of home, Matt Giordano. For those of you whom may have missed it, a couple weeks back we introduced a new feature here called "GO TEAM". Essentially, these posts support our friends who we want to hype, people who were in involved in the song (be it artist, label, friend, studio, etc) or that support my home state of Connecticut. Matt was kind enough to send in his GO TEAM post this morning supporting his main man Hetero Steve , so with many thanks and without further adieu, here you are. Go team.

Pattern is Movement is now Andrew and Chris. Andrew sings like Pavarotti and Chris plays drums like a calculator. Chris is also a recording engineer at Gradwell House, a studio that has recorded some of the bands' whom work with the proprietor of this page, Joey Gantner. Hence, they're part of the team.

Getting to the point, the band has recently finished their third album, with a projected release date around March of 2008. In anticipation, they have just released a seven-inch in Technicolour for the first single, "Right Away", on Hometapes (who is also putting out the record). To put it bluntly, the song fucking slays. The orchestration fully weaves in and around Andrew's vocals, with Chris' beat providing the booty-shaking motivation.

{purchase pattern is movement recordings from hometapes}

Monday, November 26, 2007

Amanda Blank


MP3: Amanda Blank - Get It Now

Still full from all the tofurky this weekend, but I didn't want to leave you hanging. Dig on this Amanda Blank track (thanks to Pingletracks for the mp3) while my belly gets empty enough to get back on track for the week. Fuck yeah!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh Astro


MP3: Oh Astro - Snow Queen

MP3: Oh Astro - Journey to the Center

Marriage makes up Oh Astro in all possible ways. Of course that means the duo of Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler hold each other's hand, but the entire project can be seen as a joining of samples and originality. In fact, this is probably one of the most unique and exciting sample based groups I've heard in quite some time.

Everything is so chopped up and glued together it's often times completely unrecognizable (except Lionel Richie's "Hello" which I think I'll always know somehow in my heart) and becomes it's own beast. The songs are mostly projected as wide often landscapes, large but not empty, just so vast and straight to the point but also can explode into a million pieces of sounds entirely out of nowhere. It's really quite something that will sleepover in your brain. The band was kind enough to post a brief list of the samples they used on their myspace blog, which can be found right here.

I do want to note that you should check out one of my favourite tracks on this album, "Lucy Sees the Moon", sung by their daughter Lucy. I desperately wanted to post it here, but it's honestly not the best representation of the band or album if you're a new listener. However, linked below, is an e-card to stream the album thanks to your best friends at Fanatic Promotion. I highly recommend checking it out, as it is a work of pure beauty.

{purchase oh astro releases from illegal art}

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FUCK YEAH: The Sword


MP3: The Sword - Under The Boughs

It's new release Tuesday, and I could name a few gems that came out today, but fuck it. It snowed, which means it's time to bust out "Age Of Winters" on your way to the shop to pick up the new split 12 inch the Sword did with Witchcraft that came out last week. Killer.

And you can throw this gem in your iPod to listen to in the car. It's a track that appeared on the insanely awesome "Invaders" compilation Kemado put out last year. The boys say they're rerecording it for their new lp they're working on. Sick.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mariee Sioux


MP3: Mariee Sioux - Buried In Teeth

MP3: Mariee Sioux - Two Tongues

"Faces In the Rocks" has been a tough one to put down to tell the truth and I certainly don't mind. Mariee Sioux has crafted a wondrous, timeless folk masterpiece that is sure to stick deep in your bones. Very much worth a damn, enjoy.

{purchase mariee sioux recordings from grass roots record co}

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Age are practicetastic!


Hey everybody. Sorry it's been more than a couple of days since our last post, and tomorrow we'll get the mp3 train a choo-chooing again but for now please enjoy the following.

No Age let Vice TV into their practice space recently and the video is now up thanks to VBS.tv. This was good timing since I'm still plenty into "Weirdo Rippers" and I got the "Every Artist Needs A Tragedy b/w Loosen This Job" seven inch in the mail on Friday. It's a No Age party at my place, I can assure you, and I am getting more and more excited for their Sub Pop debut. Thanks to the folks at Vice for the heads up.

View the video here: http://www.vbs.tv/player.php?bctid=1293598940&bccl=Mjg0OTQ3NzE4X19NVVNJQw

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nicole Atkins


MP3:
Nicole Atkins - Party's Over

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from Matt Giordano, whom judging from this post and the subject it had in the email sent to me of "mp3 wank" had a great time at the Pipettes on Monday. Fuck yeah.

Nicole Atkins is that lady from the American Express that you've never heard of, although she'll probably be all over the place soon. Obviously Sony is dropping the dosh in hopes she'll be this decade's Sheryl Crow. She's been opening for The Pipettes and that's where I saw her. The set she and her backing band played provided decent background music for my conversation with my buddy Seb, although it made be feel as though I was at a shopping mall. It's not that the music is bad, it's just bland, uninspired and not at all unique, which is actually worse than bad. I mean, at least you have quite a laugh at bad. If all goes according to plan, she'll be the female James Blunt. Fuck Yeah? More like Fuck Off!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Clipd Beaks


MP3: Clipd Beaks - Hoarse Lords

MP3: Clipd Beaks - Black Glass

I don't think I've ever been so stumped on a write up for an album like I have been for Clipd Beaks' "Hoarse Lords" and I think it's because it is sooo good. I can't explain why, I can just tell you that it tends to get loud, spastic and sexy; the vocals crawl out through heavy layers of various instrumentation to show themselves as something special and the songs are exactly as long as you want them to be. Maybe I like it so much because it's both original and fulfilling, unlike most of the time when you hear something unique and it's really terrible (aka weird for weird's sake). Also, the artwork has breasts in it, and who doesn't love breasts?

You know what, the fact that I was able to say all of that makes me proud of myself. Thank you Clipd Beaks, for challenging me to do this. The ball is in your court now. Support this wonderful art.

"Hoarse Lords" is out now on the label on a roll Lovepump United.


{purchase clipd beaks recordings from insound}

CLIPD BEAKS GIGS:

11/10 Chicago, IL Ronny's Bar
11/11 Lafayette, IN Knickerbocker Saloon
11/12 Cincinatti, OH Gypsy Hut
11/13 Columbus, OH Bourbon St.
11/14 Oberlin, OH Oberlin College
11/15 Toronto, ONT Sneaky Dee's
11/16 Montreal, PQ Les Saints
11/17 Quebec City, QC Le Bal du Lezard
11/18 Boston, MA Obrien's Pub
11/19 Annadale-on-Hudson, NY Bard College
11/21 Providence, Rhode Island AS220
11/23 New York, NY Cake Shop
11/24 Brooklyn, NY Silent Barn
11/25 Philadelphia, PA Queen Sheba II
11/27 Purchase, NY SUNY Purchase
11/28 Washington DC The Bobby Fisher Memorial
11/29 Columbia, SC New Brookland Tavern
11/30 Atlanta, GA Lenny's Bar
12/01 Birmingham, AL Bottletree
12/02 Hot Springs, AR The Exchange
12/04 Houston, TX Proletariat
12/05 San Antonio, TX Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar
12/06 Denton, TX Secret Headquarters
12/07 Austin, TX Emo's
12/08 Oklahoma City, OK Conservatory
12/09 Albuquerque, NM The Curio
12/10 Phoenix, AZ Modified Arts

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Gwenno


MP3: Gwenno - U & I

I've had this ep sitting on my desktop in the zip folder it was offered in on link from Gwenno's myspace blog since the day it was made available to the public, however I didn't even listen to it until today. Shame on me.

The draw for me at first was, of course, that it is from a member of the Pipettes aka my #1 album of last year (and maybe this year too, as it was issued here in the states finally last month with 2 brand new tracks, and plus nothing has come out in '07 that is anywhere near as good). I'd heard a couple of her solo tracks awhile back and they were quite good, but being that they were stuck on a website, they literally and figuratively didn't travel with me beyond that.

So today I decided to transfer that pesky zip file into my iTunes once and for all and give them the ears they deserved and just my luck, they're fucking brilliant and a welcome companion to "We Are the Pipettes". The "U & I" ep leaves behind the lavish production of WATP for keyboards and drum machines, bringing Gwenno's phenomenal voice to forefront more so than ever.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this is just pure pop music. The songs aren't weighed down by it's lyrics or harmonies, but are just merely 2+ minute songs of sugary goodness and winning melodies: a winning formula for entertainment. She says these are just demos for the time being, but they're beyond good enough for me. Can't wait for an album (and more from the Pipettes of course!).

Fun fact: According to last.fm, Jennifer Love Hewitt is a similar artist. Am I missing out?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

GO TEAM: Dri


MP3: Dri - Don't Wait

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from Mr. Busy: Zach Hangauer.
I asked him to do a write up on "Don't Wait", a song from Dri's "Smoke Rings", which came out today. He released this record and I wanted to support it in any way possible, as it is beyond fantastic. It also introduces a new but long overdue feature here on the blog, the companion to our "FUCK YEAH" posts: GO TEAM. These will pop up every now and then, varying from hometown heroes (aka anything Connecticut) to words from the people involved with the jam. So without further delay, enjoy this post. Go team.


"Don't Wait" by Dri
Produced by Josh Powers
from the album "Smoke Rings" out now

The way we did this record was by picking out tracks a few of our talented local producer and deejay friends had put together and then arranged them so Dri could step up and slay them. Some we had for six months before recording and by the time we recorded they were pure flow. A few others we got very last minute and "Don't Wait" was definitely one of those. Josh Powers, bless his old-school soul, is a procrastinator and he promised, promised, promised and then - finally - delivered.

At the time Dri was recording "Smoke Rings", White Flight was finishing recording his next record in Catskills, New York and was getting ready to make his first visit back to Lawrence in two years. Justin and Dri, as all you Anniversary fans know, were not only a couple once, but a couple who, by virtue of their coupling, broke up the band. You can feel the weight of their history in "Don't Wait", especially in the second verse where Dri takes a step back and sings, all Sly-Stoned, my favorite round of lyrics on the record: "The Universe couldn't stop it/ And it didn't try", and "I love you more/ because you are the one who set me free."

She had just talked to Justin on the phone. She was thrilled, as we all were, to see him after two years. She hung up the phone and knew she had to write this song. I imagine that's where the chorus came from - being filled with this flood of feelings and thinking "If I don't take care of this now, it could get lost forever." "Don't wait", she thought to herself. And she didn't.

{purchase dri recordings from the range life shop}

Monday, November 05, 2007

Becoming the Zookeeper


MP3: Zookeeper - Snow In Berlin

MP3: Zookeeper - Everyone's A DJ

Hot off the heels of a killer ep, Chris Simpson's Zookeeper project returns with the "Becoming All Things" full length, once again out on Bellecitypop.

On the surface, the album could come off as extension of the self titled ep, but if anything it's the result of it's promise. I hate to say it's the most accessible of Simpson's discography, but it's really all I can think of. However, those who have been enjoying his output for countless years will undoubtedly hold on for dear life throughout the Zookeeper journey.

A representation of indie pop at it's finest, "Becoming All Things" has so many songs that stay in your head, that it should most likely remain on the tip of your tongue throughout the seasons until it is time to shout it from your best of 2007 lists.

"Becoming All Things" is released tomorrow, November 5th, on Bellecitypop. Highly recommended.

{stream "becoming all things" from fanatic promotion}
{purchase zookeeper recordings from bellecitypop}

Sunday, November 04, 2007

TIAC


MP3:
TIAC - Catalogue of failures

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from Matt Giordano. Since it is Sunday, he is probably off playing football (soccer). Goal? Fuck yeah.

This one kind of came out of nowhere. TIAC hadn't put anything out for around two years (and on a label with some very active artists), and now they're back with one of the best singles of the year. Seriously, melody will be in your head all day and night, drifting amongst the downtrodden words. Lightheartedly, you'll be dancing in your room to this before you go out and dance to a song that, in your head, will still be this one.


{purchase TIAC recordings from hybris}

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Octopus Project


MP3: The Octopus Project - Upmann

MP3: The Octopus Project - Ghost Moves

NOTE: HAPPY 100 MP3 POSTS (or is it happy halloween?)! Be one of the first 2 or 3 people (depending on the amount of requests, if there's any) to send your full name, email and mailing addresses to unicorntastic@gmail.com and I will send you cd-rs containing every track we're ever posted thus far, plus other goodies! Insane! Expires this weekend, so get on it sucka!

Usually when I get cd packages for promotional reasons, I am not aware of the band. Receiving the Octopus Project's newest effort caused me to be giddy and I didn't know why. I threw it on immediately and it wasn't until I was reading their bio that it hit me: these dudes did that killer collaboration disc with the amazing Black Moth Super Rainbow! Duh! From there, this already fantastic disc got only more enjoyable.

"Hello, Avalanche" opens with a dream before the actual avalanche starts. From there, it's audible snow falling on top of your ears the whole way through, until the closing "Queen" sings you to safety, shocking you at first before realizing it's the only way out.

A 90% intrumentaltastic effort, The Octopus Project deliver a 13 song heap of goodness, keeping you moving but making sure you stop to enjoy the scenery, largely in part to gentle guitars and the world's greatest instrument: the fucking theremin. This was another post where I could've put up the entire lp, as it was REALLY hard to choose a favourite. Luckily, if you look below, I've posted a link so you can stream the entire thing, thanks to the sweethearts at Fantatic.

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, here is the video for avalanche starter "Truck". Hope you like awesomeness!


"Hello, Avalanche" is out now on Peek-A-Boo Records.

THE OCTOPUS PROJECT GIGS:

10/31 Oklahoma City, OK Opolis
11/01 Lawrence, KS Replay lounge
11/02 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
11/03 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
11/05 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
11/06 Vancouver, BC Media Club
11/07 Portland, OR Holocene %
11/08 San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill
11/08 Visalia, CA Howie's
11/10 Los Angeles, CA The Roxy
11/11 San Diego, CA Casbah %
11/12 Tucson, AZ Plush
11/13 Phoenix, AZ Modified
11/14 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
11/15 Lubbock, TX Jake's
11/17 Austin, TX Emo's

% = w/ Enon

{stream "hello, avalanche" from fanatic promotion}
{purchase the octopus project recordings from the band}

Monday, October 29, 2007

Marissa Nadler in the sand.


MP3: Marissa Nadler - Cowgirl In the Sand

Dear Marissa Nadler,

I think you should know something: your record, "Songs III: Bird On the Water" is 99.9% going to be my #1 album of 2007.

Releasing it in the states with 4 bonus downloadable tracks, demos and covers on Stereogum, the new Daytrotter session and now another Neil Young cover, is all very wonderful. Not that you needed it, but I'm pretty sure doing all of that created the .1% needed to allow you to bring home the gold. Congratulations!

I love "Cowgirl In the Sand", and you covering it (with assistance from Black Hole Infinity) keeps my heart pumping.

Your fan,

Joey.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Welcome


MP3: Welcome - Natural Frost

MP3: Welcome - Bunky

I fucking love Welcome and their 2007 release of "Sirs". As I wanted to hold off on what I was intending to post today (and have been for oh so long), I decided to finally get on top of one of those "meaning to post for too many goddamn months" entries, so here we are...

It is autumn. No really, it is; look outside (hopefully you're in New England, like me, enjoying the world's sexiest possible fall season), breathe in the brisk air, rake your leaves, drink your apple cider and then turn off the fucking folk records. I am guilty of this too, so who am I to judge? But every now and then, you sort of wake up from a haze and want to get your life on the right track, not with a hop but a karate kick and the best way you can do that is with rock and roll.

Welcome put out a record called "Sirs" back in March here in the states (you lucky bastards overseas got it in November 06, you suck/rule) on the wonderful Fat Cat (No Age, Tom Brosseau, all your favourite bands) and when I was working at the record shop back then, my co-worker discovered and fell in love with this record. Being a complete wanker, it took me a couple of tries before fully realizing that this band had done it: they released a complete melting pot lp filled with everything upbeat and wonderful about rock music. It's so dirty yet cohesive, cluttered and catchy with vocals from the best of both genders, begging to be turned up at the highest volume on endless speakers, kicking your enemy's teeth in and laughing about it over a pint.

I could really post the whole record and I think half the reason it took me so long to put this up was because I didn't know what songs to put up, but here are 2 that I think are a great starting point. If you like what you hear, it only gets better: track this down. Fuck yeah.

PS! To the band in Connecticut called Welcome, change your fucking name! I'm sick of the let down I get every time I see you dudes on a flier and find out it's you.

{purchase welcome recordings from insound}

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Loney, Dear: "I thought it was a word."


MP3: Loney, Dear - A Band
MP3: Loney, Dear - I Love You (In With the Arms)


NOTE: Today's contribution comes from the Swede that never was: Matt Giordano. Last time we hung out, we were wasted and got delicious fries at like 4 in the morning. Fuck yeah.

ALSO: This is round 2 of our 2007 Loney, Dear coverage. Enjoy round 1.

This (re)release has gone somewhat under the radar, but Loney, Dear's fantastic Sologne finally hit retailers stateside. Seeing as how it's the time of year for sweaters, and about a year since I first saw him/them live (both shows in which I dragged the proprietor of this site to). I was smitten initially with the music, but it took Joey a few months to reach that level. The music is just so pretty, and like an old friend, recalls sweaters, tea and just the overall warm one gets from being around great people as the darkness and cold weather begins to surround us.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Three tickets to Acapulco


MP3: Bob Dylan and the Band- Goin' to Acapulco

MP3: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Goin' to Acapulco

MP3: Jim James and Calexico - Goin' to Acapulco

"Goin' to Acapulco" is a song I never paid attention to that much. Sure, "The Basement Tapes" from Bob Dylan and the Band is an enjoyable affair, but it's not exactly a stand out track by any means.

So why have Will Oldham and Jim James, some of my favourite songwriters and two of the greatest living American artists currently recording and performing, covered this song? Perhaps it is the general challenge behind it: it is not short and the instrumentation chosen to illustrate it are only semi-conventional. It must be the lyrics. After all, who cannot relate to wanting to escape somewhere far to a sweet woman's home, who puts it to you "as plain as day" and gives it to you "for a song"?

Taking a song away from it's lp is and making it create a completely different mini concept is hard, and backing that song's single with 2 songs you didn't write is damn near impossible. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy did just that when he released his single for "Lay and Love" earlier this year, adding 2 Bob Dylan covers to follow the title track, and (along with the artwork) created a 3 track ep of love. I believe Will Oldham covered "Goin' to Acapulco" because of the song's character "Rose Marie", keeping the song sparse other than a commanding trumpet and a rhythm section, slowing down to make sure all the feelings and emotions conveyed have their time to be taken in fully.

Jim James' contribution to the soundtrack of the upcoming "I'm Not There" Dylan biopic finds himself being backed by the mighty Calexico (who does multiple duties all over the album), almost leading the song with strong horns and wonderful drums but as we all know, it's impossible to trump the stellar vocals of James. The wonderful thing about these mp3s are that they're all led by unique and fantastic vocalists, and if anything what makes this special is completely all Jim James. As a whole it works, but without him, it is just any other cover, destined to get lost in the shuffle of obscure Dylan covers.

So while I passed over "Goin' to Acapulco" initially, hearing these 2 great interpretations from the people I trust made me want to go back and take the song in fully. I don't know if I understand it any better, but the covers help make the song a lot more fulfilling.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

FUCK YEAH: Bangers & Cash


MP3: Bangers & Cash - Loose (featuring Amanda Blank)


NOTE: Today's contribution comes from our own banger Matt Giordano, who I'm going twirl with all next week for CMJ during his off-work hours. Will we prevail over music evil? Fuck yeah.

This shit kills. Spank Rock and Benny Blanco have teamed up to create some of the best party jams of the year, and this track is one of the best of the lot (actually they're all pretty great). Harkening as much 2 Live Crew as humanly possible, they're (along with the debut Spank Rock album) making hip-hop fun again, and that's all music should be about. It's stuff like this that should be number one on the Billboard charts instead of wankers like 50 Cent. Enjoy.

(joey says: here is the art for loose, as it is too genius not to include. go nuts.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wyclef Jean: Bringing the Carnival back to town


MP3:
Wyclef Jean - Apocalypse

MP3: Wyclef Jean - Yele

I have to question Wyclef Jean's decision to release his newest album as "The Carnival II: Memoirs Of An Immigrant". I only just last night found out about it thanks to Stereogum and I wonder something: did he go into the studio with songs in mind as a proper sequel to 1997's brilliant "Wyclef Jean Presents: The Carnival Featuring Refugee All Stars" or did he come out with a record that he thought was so good, it was worthy of "Carnival" billing? I mean, of course I suspect this is a way for him to bring fans back, after years of lackluster material, but I also hope it can come through.

The passion behind the Carnival is odd: Wyclef really didn't need to put his all in, as he was a famed producer and member of the Fugees. So why the effort? I suppose it could have been because he wanted to make a name for himself; for his songwriting/producing talents, his Haitian background, his guitar playing and his varied tastes. The Carnival was all over the place musically: it was hip hop, it was folk, it was salsa and it was orchestral. Of course, you can't mention genres without mentioning one of the lp's biggest hits "We Trying to Stay Alive", featuring a sample of the Bee Gee's hit "Stayin' Alive". In a time when it was a race to sample a hit song of yesteryear, no one was more fit to helm the challenge of putting a beat to the disco anthem like Wyclef. At the top of his game, he turned in a faithful track full of that party attitude, drunk on whiskey-stoned out of my gourd-head bobbing-where are the fine looking ladies flavour the 90's mainstream hip hop audience had come to love and crave. "We Trying to Stay Alive" was his debut solo track to the world, introducing us to a capable solo performer and a classic album.

Another key theme throughout "The Carnival" is the skits centering a courtroom trial. Skits are nothing new in rap albums, but rarely are they funny to anyone but the artist. Wyclef's delivered nothing but gold (I've asked around, to confirm that I wasn't the only one in on the joke), a highlight being the closing argument with it's "bishop/bullshit" quip; a shining example of genreless wit.

My final note would be the amount of beauty and honesty with the declarations of love throughout the songs. This can be found on "Mona Lisa" and most would cite the famously popular, Bob Dylan video cameo laden, string fueled "Gone Till November", but not I. What hit me early on, listening to a cd-r version of the record given to me by a friend in high school was the should-be-closer "Yele". I did not understand the words one bit, but the guitar and previously mentioned passion spoke to me more than lyrics could. I would sit in my room, listening to the track on repeat, marveling at the world out there I did not understand but hoped to one day fully experience in my adult years (I'm still working on it for the record).

So I leave you with that track and the second song/real opener "Apocalypse", a true representation of an instant classic. Can Wyclef ignore years of past failures to recapture his initial spark and happen on lightning striking twice? Of course I like others have my doubts, but that doesn't mean I'm crossing my fingers extra hard not just for him, but for my listening pleasure. The prospect of bookending my early years and my current exploits with another Carnival is admittedly exciting. Good luck 'Clef. Knock em dead, for me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Je Ne Sais Quoi


MP3: The Je Ne Sais Quoi - I See It Faint Tonight

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from Macy's own Matt Giordano, who by sending this in is saving my ass while I finish my vacation this week. Fuck yeah.

Wow, I didn't see the this one coming. The new album by The Je Ne Sais Quoi entitled "Rhythm" is one of the best of the year. This track, "I See It Faint Tonight", is flat-out proof on how they have expanded their sound, and is a danceable song with a gorgeous melody and a ridiculously tight hook. In fact, that statement could be made for the entire album, and it wouldn't be exaggerating. Of all the bands thrown under the "dance-punk" umbrella, this year belongs to The Je Ne Sais Quoi, as they are unabashedly doing it the best.

Friday, September 28, 2007

FUCK YEAH: Danava


MP3: Danava - Quiet Babies Astray In A Manger

I honestly have no idea how I missed out on Danava for so long. I saw promos of it lying around all the time when I was working at a record store, they're on the wonderful/near flawless Kemado Records and they're from Portland. But they went over my head, until recently when my friend was bumping their self titled record on red wax. It was described to me as Black Sabbath meets Led Zeppelin, which I can totally agree with, though I'd suggest you add drugs into that.

The songs are long (I don't think any of them are under six minutes) but they fucking rule beyond all belief. It's an album that will have you pressing play over and over again, as it flows into itself. 5 songs never sounded so good.

{purchase danava recordings from kemado}

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Akron/Family


MP3: Akron/Family - Crickets
MP3: Akron/Family - Phenomena

While on my adventurous train ride to Salt Lake City, Utah (which also explains my absence from the blog world) I was able to stop in Chicago to grab the new Akron/Family masterpiece "Love Is Simple". I had a long walk back to the train station and while sitting I opened up the cd to find I was given 2 dvds instead of the expected cd/dvd package. So I walked back, exchanged it, and again walked back. I almost collapsed. Then my train got delayed for almost 10 hours.

So thank you to Akron/Family for making it all worth it and giving my sanity a soundtrack. I was excited for "Love Is Simple" and it did not disappoint. The boys seem to put out records yearly and (as of last year) will yearly end up on my best of list. Fuck yeah.

{purchase akron/family recordings from insound}

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Owls


MP3:
The Owls - Air

In my relationship history, I find that I never learn of any new music from my ladyfriend. I don't know if that is because I date girls with shitty taste or that I'm stubborn (probably a cocktail of the two), but at the end they walk away with new favourite bands and I've got nothing.

Luckily, once upon a time, I did get a band out of it. That bands is the Owls, a band with feather light vocals and butterfly kisses of instruments. My first song was "Air", a gentle pop gem that was like a seed, and before I knew it I loved the Owls so much, they were as a big as a tree in my heart.

They've been low key for many years (the "Our Hopes and Dreams" ep came out in 2004), but researching for this post brought me great news: They will release the 14 song "Daughters and Suns" this October (I think once again on the great Portland label Magic Marker). The first pressing even comes with a dvd! I have no idea what to expect, but if they expand on the potential brought on by "Air" and the rest of their ep, it will be a contender for your best of 2007 list. Bring it on Owls.

{purchase the owls recordings from magic marker records}

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Juvelen


MP3: Juvelen - Watch Your Step

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from the original gangsta Matt Giordano, who hopes to get the band back together in December. Fuck yeah.

Juvelen is currently making some of the best flat-out pop music these days, and that's quite an accomplishment. He released his debut EP, which this track is from, this past January with an LP proper due later this fall. Resurrecting all that is great about pop music—and coincidentally what has been missing from it for almost two decades—Juvelen has actually brought sexy back, as opposed to those who have claimed to.

{purchase juvelen recordings from it's a trap}

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wooden Shjips


MP3: Wooden Shjips - We Ask You to Ride

The 5 song, half hour plus self titled lp from Wooden Shjips is simply put a maze. You enter through "We Ask You to Ride", which starts off innocently enough and then before you know it, you're lost. Every time you get somewhere new, you realize you're still getting deeper longer and longer each time. By the time you've exited after the 10:18 "Shine Like Suns", you feel an emptiness and get ready to enter the maze again.

Seriously, this is a wonderful effort of psychedelic drone, spilling over your body and near perfectly hypnotizes you through it's currents, rocking your fucking skull apart. Recommended with some fresh air and a thick coat.

{purchase wooden shjips recordings from insound}

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Black Lips


MP3:
Black Lips - Navajo
MP3: Black Lips - Bad Kids

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from the beloved Matt Giordano, whom I'll hopefully be having a serious bro down with this weekend. High fives and a couple of pints? Fuck yeah.


Sometimes it may better to wait for an album to actually be released to it give a listen, and such was the case for me with the new Black Lips album "Good Bad Not Evil". I wish this album was released in June, as its rather sunny, and could easily have been one of the feel-good hits of said just past summer (although technically speaking we'll have to wait a few more days). Anyway, the two tracks I'm giving you here are just great pop songs filtered through that lo-fi jangle of the Black Lips.

{purchase black lips recordings from insound}

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scout Niblett


MP3:
Scout Niblett - Kiss

"Kiss" hit the blogs hard. You might be over it, but I certainly am not. It is a track good enough to tease you and get you beyond amped for the upcoming "This Fool Can Die Now" from Scout Niblett. How do you start the hype? A duet with Will Oldham of course, a man who 87% never does wrong. Niblett provides audible glue, sticking with you and sprinkling glee all over your heart.

"This Fool Can Die Now" is released in the cd/lp formats October 15th from Too Pure.

{purchase scout niblett recordings from insound}

Sunday, September 09, 2007

No Age


MP3: No Age - I Wanna Sleep

NOTE: Today's contribution comes from Matt Giordano, who actually wrote this a couple of weeks ago, before the album came out here in the states. So he had crazy cred, except I took forever to post it, thus robbing him of all possible kudos. Sorry? Fuck yeah.

It's slightly humourous that I found out about this band whilst in London two months ago, seeing as how they're from L.A. and all, but it just seems appropriate due to the fact I was surrounded by a couple of great up-and-coming designers and noise enthusiasts. To put it bluntly, No Age fucking rips, but not in the typical sense. Their songs mirror angst and drip punk ethos, yet are so well written and arranged that the listener empathises with the subject and recognises the beauty in what's being lost. Their debut compilation "Weirdo Rippers" is available on 28 August in North America (it's already been out in the UK for two months). Not only does this disc come highly recommended, but it is one of the years most fully-realized debut outputs, and that's quite an accomplishment.

{buy no age recordings from insound}