Sunday, May 13, 2012

Outta here...

I am now blogging music at

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I get a sparkle in my eyes

Sparkle in your eyes

Here's some songs exiting the Heavy Rotation list but worth mentioning...

"I've Been Fighting For You" - American Royalty - Passive-Aggressiveness Break-Up song.  You think he's apologizing for himself but it's really all on her.  Either that or he's saying instead of fighting for Girl 1 he should have been fighting for Girl 2.  Hard to tell as the lyrics are kinda blurry.  Annnnnyway, it's still a good song, over-analyzers be damned.

"Lost in the Light" - Bahamas - The Bahamas dude is all Jason Mrazzy here but without, y'know, Jason Mraz.  Whereas the last song was a break-UP song, this is a break-IN song about a new relationship where the singer finds himself sleeping next to someone he barely knows and starts fretting about all the shit that can go wrong in the relationship.  It's for that slow jam tape, bra.

"Atlas" - Beth Jeans Houghton - She's in a relationship with a dude that's way older than her and they sit up at night and look at the atlas and she realizes how much more shit he's seen in his life.

"Our Glowing Days" - Boxeur the Coeur - This is like listening to what would happen if the Funeral-era Arcade Fire met the Suburbs-era Arcade Fire and those other records in-between never happened.

"When the Open Road is Closing In" - Blue Eyed Blacks - Probably the most mainstreamy song on the list today, a slightly boozy country folk piece.  Its yeah kinda corny - doing the whole "life is the open road" and "truckstops" are those five years of your life you wasted and you know keep yer chin up, take another swig, it's alright because you "won't be coming home again."  Y'know, think positive.

"Lights" - Farmer Sea - Vintage photo as the album art, check.  Hushy vocals, check.  offbeat instrument (mallets), check. Driving beat that places the focus on the first beat, check.  Yeah, it's an indie rawk und roll song.

"In The Hearts of Men" - First Aid Kit - They were playing with Barbies only a few years ago and now they're writing better cuntry-folk songs than their elders have written in years.  This is like the fourth track of the album I've showcased, I think.

"Creek of a Lonesome Town" - Francis - Another N. Euro band from Pigeons and Planes people.

"When You Have Gone" - Highasakit - A slower one from the All That Floats LP.  Features clop-clop temple blocks in a three four ballad.  If that Twin Peaks bar was still open, this band would be booked.

"No Love" - Hooray for Earth - Anthem in an 80's chord progression.

"Hang-Ups of the West" - The Kabeedies - Another fine one this group.  Again, props to the drummer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Computer Love


Never heard of Agent Side Grinder but I hear they're big in Sweden.  Like the girl with the dragon tattoo.  Comparisons to a certain Deutsche group creep in though - the cover image for the ASG album kinda makes a pretty broad hint, too.  Didn't Sweden try to conquer Germany?  Well, then this is the second invasion.  Gotta listen to the rest of their album.

Links:  Agent Side Grinder site kinda makes me think of Depeche Mode, too.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Start Amazing

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"Night's Song" - Say Anything - Turns they will say anything and while I'm unsure why I'm listening to a song that actually uses the word "Byronesque" and rhymes "moon" with "swoon", I have to respect that stream of conciousness lyrics shouldn't be messed with too much and it perfectly captures the young adult angst of a lovesick dude wandering around the streets obsessing over some chick.  Teenage Ukele cover in 3, 2, 1:

"sheena is a t-shirt salesman" - Future of the Left.  Silly political song masquerading as a right decent slab of punk rock.

"Corridor" - The Plastic Traps - Garage blaster from two-dude Phillie outfit who sound nothing like Black Keys or My Morning Jacket and that's so a good thing.  Song has been around for(a year)ever but just showed up on Spotty so it's worth throwing into the must play list.

"Candles" - Daughter w/Igor Haefeli, Elena Tonra - Delicate little folkie sings about some rotten guy abusive affair she's in.  What would singer-songwriter chicks do without bad boys and the nasty things they do to girls on their birthdays.  My sarcasm aside, the song does break you when she sings the voice-cracking bumper line to her chorus, "like we're in a crime scene."  Powerful arrangement for what sounds like a three-piece.

"Point Back" - It's a Musical - Girl-boy pop N. European band have a signature song with this organ/synth/drums cut.

"His Song" - Luke Roberts - Bleary slightly scary 60's style folk-twanger about life and shit (it lends itself to multiple interpretations but I suss that its about the ol' 'search for self' (answer: under the sofa) thang).  I hear fiddle, acoustic, bass, unprocessed drums and a great electric solo halfway through.

"Good as New" - Vacationer - Laid back soul pop with just a veneer of more recent production sensibilities.

"Maria Marie" - Thieves Like Us - Drolly sinister (reverse) stalker song - watch out for Maria Marie, she's following you type of vibe.

"These Days" - Dr. Dog - my first listen to Dr. Dog's new album, I thought it was just an utter piece of shit, nothing like the early stuff when I was the only person listening to them.  My second and third listen kept on confirming it but then this tune kind of popped up to the top of the Dogpile and now its in my Top 40.  Life is fucking cruel and strange.

Magnetic Fields - 08

"Quick!" - The Magnetic Fields - Another fucking masterpiece breakup song from one of America's best rhyming songwriters.  

"Grass Stain" - Waxahatchee - This week's unrequited (post-breakup) song winner goes to Waxahatchee from their recent American Weekend LP.

"On The Day" - Conduits - Mysterioso song for some future movie montage scene - you know the one where all the major characters retreat into their corners to lick their wounds and look soulfully at clocks, mirrors and people down on the streets.

"Always Sad" - Drunken Prayer - Who knew bar band pop was a worthy genre?

Taylor Swift

"Safe & Sound" - Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars - I have never listened to a Taylor Swift song for more than 10 seconds until this.  Always thought it was some sort of joke being foisted on us like just about every other "top music artist"... but if it takes a young adult fiction tweener movie to inspire her to write more pretty tear-rending pop-folk songs like this, then I'm aboard the Taylor Swift train.  #shaniatwainwho #teamTaylor

"Breaking the Yearlings" - Shearwater - Took awhile for this to show up on Spotify.  As usual, a nice complex piece although the album itself is somewhat overshadowed by other acts who have outdone Shearwater at their own game.  This cut captures the bands brilliance, though, even if the rest of the album still hasn't excited me as much.

"Humble Digs" - Beth Jeans Houghton, Hooves of Destiny - Speaking of which, here's yet another stellar cut from Ms. Houghton's recent masterpiece.


"Smoke and Mirrors" - Gotye - Another guy in the "Top 30 Musical Artists" in the world that doesn't yet suck.  

"Plage" - Crystal Fighters - Indie kids keep on showing their love for Paul Simon's Graceland years after Vampire Weekend broke.  Don't go figure, I already did for you.  This is the twee song of the moment.  Get it.

"Green" - Paul Weller - One of the greater song-writers of the New Wave era (The Jam, Style Council) is still kicking against the pricks and he's doing so quite impressively if his new album is any measure.  This is but one of the latest batch of mighty songs that I've been spinning out of it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shoeshine Boys are the Intellectuals of The Subordinate Masses


"Windows" - Rocco Deluca.  This may be Mr. Deluca's entry fee into how the Elliot Smith Veneration Society. A pretty piece with an understated lo-fi slide about some magical realm where you can float around like a ghost looking at everything.  Either that or the windows are his girlfriend's eyes.

"No Sleep" - DZ Deathrays.  Every cool band has a "No Sleep" song or have it in an album title.  Motorhead, Beastie Boys, Stiff Little Fingers, Wiz Kahlifa and all the covers thereof.  And now, may we hear a round of applause for 2012's "No Sleep" song.  This one features a slightly detuning guitar as the hook (or at least its my hook, your results may y'know vary).  There's a funny low-rent video to go along with it.  Comes off a fine similarly titled EP.

"Boomerang" - Miniature Tigers.  This comes off M. Tigers noteworthy new album, MIA PHARAOH.  I've already spoken of the fine attributes of "Female Doctor."  This is a pop  mixture of elements from every of the last five decades - Beatlesque harmonies, 70's electric drums, 80's Brit-pop psyche, some 90's electronics and 00's Afro-pop bass and rhythm guitar line.  It's a mixture that goes down real smooth and all the burps taste like cherry.

"Dead Oaks" - Now, Now.  A short building throbber about a long trip to see someone.  It wastes little to get there.

Spoek Mathambo

"Let Them Talk" ft. Yolanda - Spoek Mathambo.  Wow, what a great song from this S. African Sub-Pop artist.  Mixes rap with electro and grime.   A feast for the ears, play loud and directly into your aural cavity.

"Ice Wharf" - Work Drugs.  Apparently recorded on a beach on the Cayman Islands, it certainly captures the laid-back beach feel even if the song is about a "summer of trouble" back in London.  Crickets and a second voice provide the only accompaniment besides the guitar.  Makes me want to quit my job, cash in my savings and head down there.

"Oblivion" - Grimes.  It's hard not to like what the Canadian has laid down on this track and one or two others from her new long player.  Maybe I'll even grow to like the other cuts as I expect its going to keep on resurfacing.  Call it laptop-waif.

"Leonard" - Sharon Van Etten.  Ms. Van E slows it down a bit in this song, puts it into a country bluesy 6/8 about some guy in some waypoint on her journey for whom she appears to hold a mysterious fascination.

Ting Tings

"Guggenheim - Got It Right Mix"   - The Ting Tings.   Explosive remix of one of the better songs on their sophomore record.  Starts off with a Lou Reed style narrative about some guy and the girl he cheated on with.  As a result, as explained in the chorus, the wronged woman first considers revenge but then realizes it was just as much her fault and instead of pining about a failed affair, she's going to aim higher and get into a venerated art museum.  Or something like that.

"Holding Teeth" - Princeton.  Another cut from a sophomore album.  Orchestral rock(?) - mallet instruments, strings, lite percussion and that Earlimart style vocals are put to fine use.

"Fatherland" - Mr. Dream.  Crazy stupid and as dumb as great garage anthem rock can get.

"Break My Spine" - Backwords.  Folky piece about what's like to be the subordinate in a relationship.  "I love it when you break my spine."

All links go to Spotify.  All photos link back to original owners and are compliant with their license.

Eventually most of these songs will get into the often updated "Top Songs of 2012" playlist

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That is EXACTLY why I've put together this eulogy

Sat 2

"Andrew in Drag" - The Magnetic Fields.  If this is the state of homophobia in 2012, we have less to fear than the vast multi-wing conspiracy would like us to fear.  Disregarding the whimsy and the ability to find a hundred words that rhyme with "drag" (except for that f-word), the hetero acceptance of his love for another hetero is probably only admitted in his subconcious but only 30 years ago, this would be cause for self-castration or at least a Movie of the Week.

"In The Yard" - Bowerbirds.  While much of the album put me to sleep, I think this has one of the prettiest choruses released this year.

"Apple Pie" - Nelson Can.  Absurdist rock at its finest.  Plus there's whistling and it's not a pretentious as Andrew Bird.

"KILL KILL KILL" by Vacant Fever Limited Edition 7" EP (500)

"Kill Kill Kill" - Vacant Fever.  Drugged out wheezer that would go well on your next mix tape built around Rob Zombie's gore fetish.

"The Shakedown" - Yellow Ostrich.  Near perfect proggy floor shaker that suggests this band might have more populist aspirations.

"Brave Women" - Baby Eagle and the Proud Mothers.  A more shambling, quiet version of Mountain Goat's confessional testimonial rock.  Also, less pompous than MG's last three albums.

"Phone Home From The Edge" - Dinowalrus.  If I could do somersaults in my car while driving, this song would be responsible for me doing that and losing control of my car and causing a 28 car pile-up, the bastards.

"HEART" - Oberhofer.  While I couldn't stand to look at them too long while they were on Jay or David a few nights ago, this is a state-of-the-art indie pop concoction that deserves some listens.

Miniature Tigers

"Female Doctor" - Miniature Tigers.  Carole King Fender-Rhodes piano creates both the groove and the hook to this angst funk ode to someone's girlfriend and medicator.

"Skin Warming Skin" - Laura Gibson. Another gem from Ms. Gibson's album.  What?  Are we up to three cuts featured here so far.  This one is even slower and mellower than the last two if that's possible.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pro-Bullies, Unite

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These are the tunes that have been schlocking my werld.  Dig!

"Into Giants" - Patrick Wilson - Never heard of this guy until now but he creates a piece of chamber pop here that rivals few.  I'm kind of reminded about what first drew me to Shearwater's early stuff and there's a bit of Earlimart here.  So, very pleasing to the ears.  It's a teaser for an upcoming album which I'm definitely going to be looking out for.

Regina Spektor

"All The Rowboats" - Regina Spektor.  I've always been somewhat standoffish on the cutesy pie stuff coming from Ms. S but this might cause me to reallocate my black balls into someone elses bag.  They say she has "discovered" drums and indeed with the exception of the wierd  electronic sample that opens and closes the track, this has a great drum chart but I also like the classical piano and strings break (around 1:20) here as well.

"Jesus Is My Girlfriend" - Jesus Is My Girlfriend.  A chick blues punk-roots thing.  On a scale from one to one hundred this has a full out 95 sneer score.  Singer has a great cigarette voice, not too much of a croak but just there under the mix.  So, is Jesus a trannie friend, a strangely named girl or just random blashpemy?  Can Jesus be a girl much less a girlfriend?  Comes off their 2012 full length.

"Under Control" - Good Shoes.  I really want to hate this pop-punk band but the tunes are too damn good even if they shamelessly steal left and right.  The last time I poached from this LP, the targets were the Strokes - here the victims are Franz Ferdinand, which is good since that band has not put out anything of worth since 2005 anyway.

Y La Bamba!

"Squawk" - Y La Bamba.  Kind of an oddball song for the rest of this posting but a fine harmonic folky singing feat  and the dig the Latin percussion that kicks in the second verse.

"Lightshow" - Plants and Animals.  Kind of a quintessential Canuck indie rock anthem here.  yeah, it's been out forever but now you can listen to the rest of the album (assuming you didn't download the leak, you sneaky monkey).  Since its now an official release, it should get some sort of nomination for the cool songs of the year list.  Great bashy jamming for a trio is heard between verses.  Good full sound overall for a trio.

Teen Dreamz" - Po Po.  Haven't heard a good industrial track in awhile but this caught my ear during a recent listening jag.  It's actually a two-part song - a slower introduction complete with sirens, big machine things  slowly pounding and then that segues into a saddened electronic atmosphere, fleeting reverbed out disturbed vocals flying through, synths playing the role of sirens and anchored by lo-fi drums and percussion.

"Nightmare Voodoo" - Royal Baths.  About the closest comparison I can come up with is the low blues shuffle championed by Grateful Dead in the Pig Pen era.  A sort of B horror movie set to music.

"Time Time Time" - Evander Owens.  Some mid-tempo laptop chill that seemed a cut above the rest thanks to the detached phlegmatic vocals.  Worth checking out even my description doesn't really make a case for it.

"Replicate" - Disappears - Steve Shelley's new band picks up where Sonic Youth left off more so than any other the other Yute's solo projects.  Although that's not entirely correct as this isn't a "solo project" but more like Steve adding to a band that's getting onto its feet (two albums prior to this release), just like he did so many years ago.  And the Philip K. Dick references are back but the guitar playing is almost conventional with leads that make for groovy hooks.

"Be Brave Go On" - Big Sir.  This album keeps on spitting up gems from its multi-colored chill pop heart.  This has a counter-intuitive rhythm section line that provides the repeatable groove and is a bit of a hook in itself - like the Spektor track, this has a fantastic unconventional break at 2:16 which sounds almost like a church hymnal.  If more tracks keep emerging from this album it might need consideration in the records of the year category.

"The Way That You Are" - PT Walkley.  Like Watson and Spektor above, here's another singer-songwriter pop masterpiece.  Very Beatlesque and yeah that's not a word.  It appears to be a teaser from an upcoming record.

First Aid Kit live

"I Found A Way" - First Aid Kit.  Not as lovely as "The Lion Roars" but with a decent interval, this comes up fresh and worth jumping into the heavy rotation.  Like their hero, Emmy Lou Harris, this puts their dulcet vocals into a more country setting but keeps the minor key folk element.

"Lovely Bones" - hollAnd.  Like so much in my playlists, I hear something and gets thrown into the playlist and I either grow to hate it or love it.  There's something about the pulsing beat and the chorus that reminds me of a band from the 80's (Meat Puppets?) but I can't put my finger on who or what song it is.  Drives me crazy but no reason to flick this off the playlist.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh, my death car

In my death car

More excursion into recently released music...

"Generals" - The Mynabirds - Garage punk anthem for a protest.

"For Awhile" - Mansions on the Moon - This is a chillout dream-pop style single that has a degree of stylization and warmth to distinguish it from the pack.

The Kills @ The Granada Theater in Dallas

"Pale Blue Eyes" - The Kills - This band makes it look so easy and perhaps that's the best description of a band on top of its game.  Mossheart (vocals) and Jamie Hince (slide-ish guitar) create a perfectly balanced conversation in this sort of alt-country blues ballad (let's say Lucinda Williams could cover it easily).  This comes from the Last Goodbye EP.

"Jesus Christ" - My Best Fiend - A country spiritual with indie attitude.

"Matchstick" - Amercan Royalty - Follows a construct of a jam-band song but without too much noodling and a wierd processed percussive guitar.

Blaudzun vs Reyn @Hoorn

"Heavy Flowers" - Blaudzun - Epic gloomy ballad from Dutch songwriter who named his band after a 70's athlete

"Eyes" - The Kabeedies - Happy dappy pop-punk with a great drum track.  If they didn't multi-track the bridge/break at the 1:45 mark, then I'm doubly impressed.

"Telephone" Beth Jeans Houghton - another piece of gold from Miss Jeans with on-target lyrics ("so if you're lonely / call me dear / you have a telephone / and I have ears ") and a nice acoustic drum track.  Not on her recent album but definitely belongs in your playlist.

Monday, March 05, 2012

It's pickled pepper, asshole

pickled peppers, one peck of...

More selections from my personal Top 40

"Genesis" - Grimes.  While I'm not so hot on the rest of this buzz record, I love this heaping helping of originality.

"Simon Says" - Dare Dukes with Jim White - Not exactly sure what Jim White is doing on this track but it's the best one of Dare's latest collection.  Elliot Smith fans should take note.

"Shout it In" - Dirty Ghosts - Ska's not my normal thing but this one rises above the regular stuff and has a cool little underproduced garage feel to it as well.

"Lions of Least" - Pontiak.  This is the album I was hoping for from Howlin' Rain - guitar heavy psyche that doesn't crumble into jam band land.  Nice warm self-recording feel to it, no compression, just mics up to amps and drumheads.

"Settle Down" - Yalls.  An almost perfect cut from a band with this week's best name.  Vintage electronics hybridized with organ and chanted, almost Meat Puppetish vocals.  Who-ah-whoa.

"While We're Young" - April March - from the nth reissue of this classic girl garage band album.  Worth seeking the vinyl.

"Idiom Wind" - Zammuto.  It was only a few weeks ago that I was raving about Zammuto's FucC3PO.  This is a beast of a different color yet still fresh and pleasing to these ears.  While this is Nick Zammuto's song, it's a showcase for the drummer's precise percussion.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

You Are My Happiness, Now

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Here's some of the tunes I've been listening to lately

"White Hot Gun" - The Phantom Family Halo - sick, violent and deranged no-fi masterpiece from Kentucky band reminiscent of the Touch & Go era - Laughing Hyenas, Killdozer, older Butthole Surfers.

2010 Chicago Blues Festival - Friday

"Look to the Side" - Otis Taylor - a different type of cut from the master bluesman's latest record, this could have been written by Radiohead.  That said, it bespeaks a common blues theme, the lost traveller trying to find his way home.  Question is, is the singer alive or singing as a ghostly memory to his loved ones?  Makes me wonder what it would sound like if Otis teamed up with Richard Russell for his next record.

"As Long As" - Thom Hell - McCartney-ish lite-rock tune from under-rated pop craftsman's latest.

Perfume Genius

"Hood" - Perfume Genius - Not sure exactly where I stand with Perfume Genius.  The entire album takes a patient listen with a few moments of greatness and a number of moments of meandering.  This is the "single" from boy somewhat like Antony and the Johnsons without the yodeling and more piano.  Worth further watching to see what he comes up with next.  Or is this his statement?

"Furry Skin" - Boho Dancer - just what we need - another forest waif spinning stories about magical sex in the woods betwixt man and animal.  But this features a nice drum track and good folk vocals alongside a nice bass hook.


"Origins" - Tennis - didn't like the debut record and don't really like the rest of this new album but this is a great pop song worthy of a few plays throughout your lifetime.  Has a great buzzy guitar hook, Carole King piano staccato chords setting the rhythm and even though I have no idea what she's singing about, it's probably something interesting.

"Scavenger" - Zig Zags - psyche/metal/punk smashterpiece single from LA combo.  Love how it bottoms out 2/3 through and brings it back.  Makes me air drum in my car.

"Go Ego" - Eight and a Half  - blippy, blappy glitch tune from Stills/BSS cabal.  Kinda reminds me of Postal Service but less electronic but a little more chilly.

"Sunday Calling" - Teen Age Kick - Simpleton pop-punk Richman-like raver - guitar, keyboards, bass and drums simply recorded and played but overly self-conscious about it like, say, a "K" band.

Band of Skulls

"Sweet Sour" - Band of Skulls - 'member when unenlightened stoners would sing songs about how they dig girls who are essentially damaged bitches - "sour by the minute and but cha sweetah by the hour" ---- made for some great stupid rock tunes.  This is the type of shit the USAF Rock Band can never play (or write).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Popular Baby Delusions

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Let's get right to the pick of the weeks of the century!  All links are to Spotify.  Get it, get premium, get the mobile app and then get Tomahawk and listen to Soundcloud and Spotify from the same player on your Mac or PC.  You will not go back.

Rachel Sermanni

"Black Current - Rachel Sermanni" - Yeah, just what we need - another Kate Bushy / Vashti Bunyon type plying songs about dreams but damn it, can't get this out of the heavy rotation until it makes its mysteries clear to me.  Beautiful arrangement of strings, percussion, nylon string guitar (guess) and Ms. Sermanni's fairy princess voice.

"Severus and Stone - Radical Face" - Reminds me much of the Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby that came out of the same NC folk cloud that produced Wye Oak (for better or worse).  This song even has a short story attached to it in case you don't get that it's really a chilling ghost story of two brothers.

"Smoke in the Desert, Eating the Sand, Hide in the Grass" - Envelopes.  For some weird reason Spotify identifies the band name as BRILDB107DLX, which would be a cool name if they decide to change.  And actually, they do change from their previous album (Demon) which sounded more VU'ish.  Here, they shed the whole "I'll Be Your Mirror" vibe and are rocking with their tiny French cocks out.  Even that doesn't diminish from the awesomeness of this track which comes off their longer player, Here Comes The Wind.  They should get Spotify to fix this name FUBAR.

"Pa Que Vives" - Davila 666.  If Envelopes are rocking with their thang out, Davila 666 rocks with their middle fingers extended.  Can't understand a thing they are saying but the noise is just as glorious in their Puerto Rican garages as any others around this small world.

"Amber" - Labryinth Ear.  Superlative dream chill track from the English electronic duo's Apparitions EP.

"Wow Wave Cinema" - Unicycle Loves You - Buzzy midwest trio that sort of remind me of Pavement.  Their fronting something else as the single from their album but this oughta be at least the next one.

"Murder1" - Wazu.  I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to blame MGMT for the wave of electronic duos once they start putting out shitty music.  But this ain't one band to throw a tantrum over and makes me rethink the notion that this whole two-person electronic gadget / laptop group is more than just a passing phaze.  Excellent first outing (Wavu EP available everywhere and nowhere now).

"Little Things" - Experimental Pop Band.  The single off of EPB's latest makes me wish it was a big fluffy pillow I could puff up and lay my head on it.  More pop like this, please.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunglasses at Night, I don't need Light

Garden 360

So before I get started - two comments so far about Spotify.

First, to Spotify - please fix your applications.  They shouldn't crash so often.  This is your lifeblood - even if you have to lose money at it, get your programming talent on it or you will bleed off users.  Spotify, you need to REALLY improve the social networking capability, it's more than just interfacing with Facebook and being able to spam someone with songs, which I pity the poor mp3 bloggers once the promotion guys get their spotify user name!  Add things like "trophy rooms", skins, stuff users and fans can create and invite their friends to look at.

Second to all the bands, especially those who don't put their music up on Spotify (or RDIO).  Forget it, it's too late.  ACTA/SOPA/whatever ain't gonna save you.  You are missing a great opportunity with Spotify.  The APP development capability should be exploited by bands and labels.  Think about it - you can make an app that provides bonuses to your users if they buy merch.  For instance, I buy a t-shirt and I get a new skin or I get something like a sticker or trophy (and ).  What if you get a trophy if you listen to the entire output of an artist.  Or a buck off the vinyl album - which you buy through the spotify interface direct to your merchandiser site.  The possibilities right now are endless.  The first band or label to do this is going ride the first wave in.

Now, onto the tunes of the week.  These come from my current "Heavy Rotation" list.

"Orange Blossom" - Gardens & Villa.  Although I guess the big song off this is "Black Hills", I really like this one much better.  It's got a slow jam, e-drum feel to it but doesn't sound dated at all.  The singing is great as well.

Field Music

"A New Town" - Field Music  - A great song off this new album called Plumb.  Has a sort of soul feel to it with a great 80 funk bass line.  There's also a water pipe played by a percussionist I suppose.  It's there in the background and gets a solo in the final seconds. A new town is not enough.  There's some other nice cuts on this album I may get to.

"Just A Song About Ping Pong" - Operator Please - Fast snot punk, well recorded, not much else to read into it except that it's just a song about ping pong.  We need more songs about ping pong.

"Caught Me Thinkin - Bahamas- This is another slow-ish jam.  Bahamas kind of lives up to its name.  You expect this light pop to be playing at some beach dive - perhaps New Jersey because the lead up to the bridge has a sort of Philly Soul chord progression.  Nice almost plucked guitar hook enlivens the lead-in to the verses.

"American Daydream" - Electric Guest - the second cut I like from this four song EP(? - at least from what I can tell).  Another smooth pop thang with an extra slinky chorus, fat, wet snare sound.  Love it.

"Cool Bitch" - Trevor Childs - while girls write songs about how guys are jerks around them, guys write songs idealizing the women they then ignore/belittle/cheat on.  This has also been mashed up to some Miami Vice cuts so gives you an idea of what to expect.

Arder / Bailar - Tigres Leones - this is the a-side of a single from this Spanish band.  It's kind of simple and lo-fi but has mucho spirito and reminds me of stuff I used to do in the '80s.

"Jealous" - The Super Orchestra - Majestic teen-weeper with a creepy stalkerish vibe and musical climaxes - everything but the key change - "If I can't make you want me / I'll make you look at me"... well hopefully whomever is the object of the song-writers affections has heard this song at least.

"This Is Not A Song" - Islands - Clever, sad-alt broken-hearts club song sung with typical perfection by Nic Thorburn.  Comes from their new album.  This is the song that the girl puts her feet on top of your shoes and you dance real slow.

River Boat - The Soft Hills - Alt-folk with what sounds like a found Moog doing the dirty work of providing a verse answering song hook.  More saddy sad musik - what is wrong with me this week?

And Then She Walks Away - Good Shoes.  Not usually fan of the pop-punk sound and almost put this album into the do-not-listen-anymore pile and then this number comes up and kind of redeems them (rest of the album still is kinda not to my liking).  But this rocks alright even if lawyers from The Strokes might want to investigate theft of their sound.

My Soldier - Highasakite.  Norway chick who is a cross between K. Bush and Bjork and takes her name, I guess, from Blister in the Sun or maybe that Nickie Minaj song, haha.  As you might surmise, this is a song from a girl to her soldier.  Again, SAD.  Didn't even know Norway had an Army.  Love the brittle recording/producing approach to this song.  It's almost like the aural equivalent of creme brulee.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just Getting Started

Lady in Window, Germany, 1977
More best songs of the moment...

Seven Stars - Air - While the whole concept album kind of drags, this cut stands on its own quite well as a sort of Floydian/Ziggy ode to rocketcraft.

Sick - The Twilight Sad - A love song apparently sung to a dying person, you can't get more depressing than this.  Lovely drum track that builds through the song.  Sounds similar to that one Radiohead song that I can stand.

Ready  On The Line - Big Sir - Electro-bleep-blap chill folk pop about getting high, I guess.  Singer maintains icey demeanor until the final second when she finally lets loose with a releasing scream.

Hey Joe - Liz Green - Liverpudian folkstress does her take classic blues song accompanied by guitar, mallet cymbal, strings and brass.

In My Life - Roberta Flack - The pre-eminent septuagenarian song interpreter does a collection of Beatles songs the same week that Macca releases his piss-take on old standards.  This bossa-nova crossed with Steve Wonder (minus the overbearing keyboards) version brings new life to a moldy oldie.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Can I get a God damn amen?

Lightning Love

And number one with a bullet today...

Beath Jeans Houghton @ Komedia

Sweet Tooth Bird - Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny.  Destined to be a rockestra masterpiece, kinda of reminds me of how I felt with early Fiery Furnaces before they got boring.  Ms. Houghton should have quite a future ahead of her and we (meaning, you know, just me...) all anticipate her upcoming album.  Also check out her Liliputt single from 2011.

Also peaking in the playlist

Bullet in the Gun - The Delorentos - Pouges / Springsteen / Walkmen / Hold Steady amalgamation kind of sounds bad at first read but for some reason works in this pub anthem.  Sing along, I'm gonna.

Cry, Cry, Crow - The Pines.  Have loved this group since 2009 and glad they haven't mershed out like Great Lake Swimmers.  This fine bit of folk gothic follows the archetypal lost gentleman through the Styxian agricultural landscape and would make a great addition to the soundtrack for American Gods if it really is going to get made.

Deadbeat - Lightning Love.  What was I saying yesterday about how we probably wouldn't get good new pop music if 20-something girls didn't fall in love with louses.  Think of this as the sequel to "Johnny, Are You Queer?"

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The illusion of safety


Wouldn't the world be great if this illusion of safety is only broken long AFTER a child, say,  learns about Santa Claus?

Too Much Blood - Howler - it's got a Mersey-beat drum kick, a table-saw reverb-drenched guitar and a Oooh-wa-wa chorus providing the hook.  Not much more to be asked for in one song.

Cate Le Bon

Puts Me To Work - Cate le Bon  - Another one of Vashti's grandnieces.

No Matter What You Say - Imperial Teen - Pure pop for the now teen - another cut from a great little LP.

Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings - Yes, I'm jumping on the Cloud N. bus as long as it doesn't stray too far into GoodCharlotte land and sticks with shit like this, hell yes.

Laura Gibson

La Grande - Laura Gibson - The title track from her Applachia-gothic album this one borrows some techniques from Cocorosie without getting into stinky finger land.

Goliath - Kithkin - While there's something about the vocalist that annoys me (too much, I dunno, Hutchence), the ensemble is incredibly good here and arrangement of this song make it worth sticking into my personal top 40.

Monday, February 06, 2012

"You know what breaking legs sounds like?"

"Branches snapping."

Luck Wing

And so onto the songs of the day... all song links are to Spotify.  If your song isn't on Spotify, I don't review it.

Gas and Matches - Deerhoof/David Bazan - This odd pairing of the Pedro singer with what is essentially the rhythm section from Deerhoof allows us to see both of the artists in a new light.  Deerhoof sounds more conventional and Bazan sounds less so.  While most folks focus on the A-side of this single, I found the flip to be much better - a menacing (and since when has Deerhoof sounded menacing?) 7/4 cut with Bazan's growly voice and Saunier's solid drumming (replete with ride cymbal crashes) and (I assume) Cohen's stalkerish bass.

Chair - Big Deal - What would pop-music be without 20-something's love issues?  I guess writing a song about your problems is cheaper than Couples Therapy at least until ObamaCare kicks in.  With just female-male vocals (mostly female) and a electrified guitar, Big Deal craft a perfect pop song about a girl who thinks her boyfriend just wants her to sit on a chair and sing along to his songs.

Anthony Green

Big Mistake - Anthony Green - This is from Anthony Green's solo album and is his perfect storm - that is where is high pitched vocals are in tune, the instruments are slamming and the underlying guitar riff strings you up in whatever Pennsylvanian forest birthed this creature.  It's not the single from the record which is a big mistake in my eyes (and ears).

Put Me To Sleep - Porcelain Raft - Been cherry-picking off this album since it came out.  While Porcelain Raft is lazily described as "Dream Pop" I find this cut more like Insomnia Pop both in name and the unsettling twitchy beat and slightly faster tempo than usual.  It isn't until the last 30 seconds that it seems to resolve itself and the singer appears to be on his way to the Land of Nod.

I'm His Girl - Friends - This is a silly, slinky song but I can't bear to see it taken off the playlist.  With an 80's New Wave detached female vocalist who even does a Debby Harry like rap here and there, the plucky song about (I guess) post-post-feminist and modern day boyf-girlf relations wastes not a beat to keep things moving.  You can almost visualize the grainy black and white video of hipsters walking down NYC alleys with heavy eye-shadow and Vulcan-like demeanor.

Love Like Rain - Cardinal - How many touchpoints to the Beatles can one put in a song (title, lyrics, song, riffs, recording style) and still stand alone as a single from a what's turning out to be a pretty great little comeback record.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Finding a Place in the World

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More songs from my heavy rotation playlist:

Seed, Crop, Harvest - Prinzhorn Dance School - Minimalism isn't always my bag but these guys know how to build a song.  I might even go so far as to say that Wire has some competition.  There are several gems on their 2012 album Clay Class.  This one has been around awhile but is worth digging into agin.

Usurper - Prinzhorn Dance School - Following in the same lyrical tradition of Harry Chapin's "Father and Son" but with a slightly more insistent and forward bent.  A son sings to his father to get out of the way while many years previous the father sings to his baby boy that he knows that the son is his "replacement" and a symbol of his mortality.  That all said, like Seed, Crop, Harvest, this one features some exciting singing and guitar even while the bass/drums which come in and out of the mix are on a loop.

Leonard Cohen

Darkness - Leonard Cohen.  I was kind of expecting something more, lifechanging(?) big(?), er.  from Cohen's new album.  Dunno why - it's just that it might be his final statement and all given his advancement of years (too soon!).  So after listening to the entire thing, I kept on coming back to this cut - perhaps because it is sort of the song we expect from a bitter old man facing his last few years.  Why not give a massive f.u. one more time to the one that broke his heart?  Like Dylan in his latter years, Cohen is using standard chord progressions - this is clearly I-IV-V blues (why do you think the LP is called Old Ideas) - but the arrangement which mixes in piano, organ, rhythm section, backup singers providing woo-woos and echoed lyrics and Cohen's ever-more gravelly voice just pulls you in.  From Old Ideas.

Thirteen - Albert Hammond, Jr.  I'll forgive the drum machine and the stock arrangement as it seems almost like a throw-off someone put together for a benefit album.   But I like it despite all that.  Plus it's by the son of the guy who wrote "It Never Rains in Southern California" - it's almost like some sort of circle has been connected.  This comes off the Lunchbox Fund benefit album which also includes a twee cover of We're Going To Be Friends by Bright Eyes.

F U C-3PO - Zammuto.  This is a Books side proj. that has picked up blog buzz and now that the EP (Idiom Wind) is out, we can see that at least for this cut the fuss is worth it.  This is a treat for the headphone, a sort of modern day Traffic song about ill-mannered robots and the humans who their "acid tongues."


Seahorse for Dragon - Hyperpotamus.  A capella indie rock.  I wouldn't have believed it could be pulled off but by damn, this here One Man Glee Club does it all and more.  I'm afraid to listen to the rest of the LP (just-released Delta) as I wonder if it will wear out its welcome as a gimmick but I suspect it won't if I time it right (late night, 'haps?).  I see a considerable future in vocal arranging if the band doesn't pan out.  A beaut, don't pass it by.

Lilacs - Lilacs & Champagne.  Another spin-off, this time from the guys behind Grails so you know you gotta at least sample it if you treasure the proper health and maintenance of your ears.  What it is, I'm not really sure... what it sounds like is a kind of a dirty ambient groove, chill e-drums and an arrangement that snakes around a single verse before slinking away.

Friday, February 03, 2012

New Music for the Tired People

Annnnd I'm back.

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For M - Vegomatic - There's a familiar classical piano riff riding on top of this meeeestereeeeussss 3/4  waltz from Vegomatic's latest LP.  A voice speaking an unknown foriegn language delivers a message but it's not for me or you, it's for "M".

Time is Not - Laura Gibson - I was content with just the title track from Ms. Gibson's La Grande and maybe the flip side of her web single (a cover of In the Pines) so it's a pleasant development that there's another track on the album worth more than one listen.  Like the rest of the album, the background/backing band is produced to give that eerie sorta Cocorosie, sorta Low Anthem feel while enhancing the overall effect of Ms. Gibson's song and vocal timbre.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Major - The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - While on one hand I'm thinking they are for the vast horde of people with the one or two brain cells available to appreciate, say, the Black-Eyed Peas, the AGT are still a delightful listen at least for now.  The pop funk music is happily under-produced which gives it if not a lo-fi pop feel a sort of throwback to the 70's but with a Aughties "Let's Dance Bitches" sneer.  Extra points for the snappy horn arrangement.  "Dis is wot u get!"  Via the just-released Out of Frequency LP.

Festejo - Novalima - I'm a big fan of Latin and especially Peruvian percussion in my "other life" as a soft pro drummer so this has both sentimental personal appeal but for those wanting to add some crossover contempo Andean music to atone for their rockist ways, give it a try.  From the recently released Karimba album.

The Storm - Pepe Deluxe - What if someone wrote the greatest early 70's rock opera ever mixing elements of rock, classical, prog, pop, surf and even hillbilly stomp and then it got lost to the ages.  This would have been the Opening/Overture.  From the recently released Queen of the Wave album.

A Night And A Day - Pepe Deluxe - Late 60's style acid rock funk also from Queen of the Wave.  Even the instrumentation and recording techniques hew back to that era - fuzzy guitar, Edgar Winter screams, Moogs and analog processing.

imperial teen

Last To Know - Imperial Teen - While this is probably aimed at younger demo than yours truly, but I like the two-step garagey verse, the trippy bridge and the hooky accusatory refrain "Were you the last to know?"  This comes from the brand-spanking new album Feel the Sound. (Smell my finger, too)

Friends of Friends - Hospitality - This comes off the self-titled LP that came out last week.  I'm actually kind of shocked how much I like this record and I've already cycled through two other songs from it.  This one, like those others, both manages expectations one might have of NYC-based girly pop and breaks them.  Really, I'm shocked that I'm thinking this is one of the early contenders for better albums of the year.

Funny Girl - PacificUV - And finally I leave you with this cut that almost didn't make the list.  It took me several listens to come to the conclusion that this bears further consideration.  I normally don't like smug English-y (ok, kavalierbariton) singers but there's a certain appeal to the misery that one little girl can provide a boy songwriter so might as well wallow in it with him.  From the just released Weekends.

 Hello Vinyl Mine readers.  All one of you (me, of course).

As you can tell, I am only providing Spotify links.  This solves my fears caused by DCMA and more recently the SOPA/PIPA imbroglio. 

If you don't have Spotify or Rdio and love music you are a either a pretty stupid person who shouldn't be reading this or a pure audiophile snob who can tell the difference between 320 bps and CD sound.  

While I'll still buy vinyl, the Spotify Unlimited service with its iPhone app has made my previous life as Mp3 downloader tons more easier and guilt-free.  It also makes me a much better informed vinyl addict and I no longer have to take a flier on something I haven't heard all the way through.  

If you are on Spotify, let me know so I can add you because God knows I need new friends.