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 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.


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,


Thursday, October 25, 2007


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

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.