last week's jams:
sanskrit at gmail dot com
the speed of boredom
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Happy holidays, all. here's a music video:
Kanye West's Heard 'Em Say (Michel Gondry version)
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
once again, geography and timing kill me.
i start school again, my final semester, on january ninth. its bad enough that We Are Scientists and Sufjan Stevens are both playing big, big, big shows in NYC that week, but check this out:
on January 21st, Asobi Seksu will be opening for Serena Maneesh at the Bowery Ballroom!!!
that's an evening of music that sounds like asian My Bloody Valentine tribute bands, but is actually complete and utter bliss!!! and i'm in stupid florida by then!
NYC better be this fucking cool when i start living here full-time again.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
it seems that His Name Is Alive fans have received an early Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa present from Warn Defever as he released a free downloadable album this week on His Name Is Alive's official website:
Cloud Pop (The Cloud Box Sampler)
In November 2004, a limited edition of 50 wood "cloud boxes" which gathered ten CDs of new music from His Name Is Alive was released via mail order from Time Stereo. These quickly sold out. An 11-track sampler of the boxset, titled Cloud Pop, was subsequently planned and it appears below as a limited time free download courtesy of His Name Is Alive. These downloads are of interest to owners of the Cloud Box as well as those who missed out because these are freshly remixed versions, never before released in any form. Enjoy!
1 - USA vs. Gamelan
2 - Brown Rice
3 - The Pine Cone
4 - The Pine Cone II
5 - Everglades National Park
6 - Mystery Spot
7 - Brown Rice II
8 - Wake Up Jin (Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most)
9 - Free Concert
10 - Dreem Up
11 - Detrola
in my opinion, to those unfamiliar with His Name is Alive, this hour of instrumental freeform and found sound from the past ten years or so will seem like little more than gentle therapy music, and in fact, that's what alot of it is. the Pine Cone tracks in particular are music that Warn makes as a personal form of therapy, producing music with a pinecone wired up to a guitar amp. to fans of His Name is Alive's more recognizable albums from 4AD, this will still seem an awkward set of songs as there are no operatic vocals echoing across a stage of distant plinks and hums (until the penultimate track, "Dreem Up," which is more or less exactly that). personally, i like it a great deal and am happy it was released as such, as i was one of the many who were an hour or two too late to receive one of the 50 copies of the Cloud Box.
if you're curious about the new material HNiA have up their sleeves (which i assure you is much poppier and song-oriented than this collection here), you can stream the Something-Nothing EP on His Name Is Alive's MySpace page, and the new album Detrola comes out on January 24th.
Friday, December 09, 2005
they say its near impossible for a band to release a hit record in the last quarter of the year. in celebration of that fact, here are some of my favorite songs from albums that have come out since August from bands that could use a bit more love
Hail Social - Get In the Car from August's Hail Social
Au Revoir Simone - Back In Time from August's Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation
Luminescent Orchestrii - Knockin' from September's Too Hot To Sleep
Tapes 'n Tapes - Insistor from October's the Loon
Toothfairy - Kicked Outta The Band from November's Formative
Ris Paul Ric - Purple Blaze from November's Purple Blaze
Derrick's Top Ten New CDs of 2005:
10) Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
On the album's opener and introduction to the oddity that is Art Brut, "Formed a Band," Eddie Argoes sets forth the mission statement: "We're gonna be the band that writes the song that makes Israel and Palestine get along. We're gonna write a song as universal as 'Happy Birthday' that makes sure everybody knows that everything's gonna be okay. We're gonna take that song, and we're gonna play it eight weeks in a row on Top of the Pops." So they may not have achieved that level of rock super-stardom yet or accomplished any of those world-altering rock goals just yet, but Bang Bang Rock & Roll is still an exceptional rock and roll album, with songs exploring universal themes and hooky guitars. Art Brut are what rock and roll is all about.
MP3: Emily Kane
9) 13&God - 13&God
13&God seemed poised to do for fans of Themselves and The Notwist what The Postal Service had done for fans of Death Cab For Cutie and DNTEL, except that Californian experimental hip-hop and European electrorock aren't apparently as different as west coast indie/emo and east coast lap-pop. I'm a big fan of the back catalogue of both groups (including Themselves' larger incarnation, Subtle), and the two bands are brilliant together, but this album suffers from the fact that some of the tracks barely sound like a collaboration at all. "Men of Station" would fit in perfectly on The Notwist's Neon Golden, and "Soft Atlas" sounds mor eor less like typical Themselves. Tracks like "Tin Strong" and the glorious "Superman On Ice" really highlight the two groups working together on making something neither of them could have made on their own, and its so, so beautiful.
MP3: Tin Strong
8) of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins
I was pleasantly shocked by what I assumed would be the least interesting of Montreal record yet, after all, Kevin Barnes seems to have been slowly sliding away from the experimental psychadelic pop that he started out with, and The Sunlandic Twins promised to be more new wave than anything else. What I found in this album was a vast and bountiful synthetic landscape, built on grassy knolls of electronic tones, warm rivers of cooing guitars, cool breezes of echoing voices, all under the twinkling stars of techno blips and bloops, with a healthy smattering of handclaps. To me, more than anything else, The Sunlandic Twins is a beautiful landscape, and I would like to play there.
MP3: Oslo in the Summertime
7) Final Fantasy - Has A Good Home
This album would absolutely be higher on the list if it weren't for fairly uninteresting tracks like "Furniture" and "Library." Yes, they're nice enough songs, but they're so tame and bland, especially compared to the shimmering aural brilliance of "The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead" and "None of You Will Ever See a Penny," and, in all honesty, beautiful as they are, they're even more astonishing live. Still, overall, this is a stunning debut from Owen and I expect his next album will knock everyone flat on their wishing-I'd-stuck-with-those-violin-lessons asses.
MP3: The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead
6) Neon Blonde - Chandeliers in the Savannah
It took me a little while to warm up to The Blood Brothers. Screamed vocals that sound like a pair of rape victims and dissonant guitars that sound like they are being thrown into a wood chipper while still plugged into an amp was the first impression I had of Johnny Whitney and Mark Gajadhar's primary band. Neon Blonde is a slightly different beast. Whereas The Blood Brothers sound akin to a flaming car wreck involving nine tractor trailers, Neon Blonde is more like a grand piano falling down a spiral staircase.
MP3: Wings Made Out of Noise
5) LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
Everything you need to know about James Murphy, co-founder of DFA Records and frontman of LCD Soundsystem, is stated clear as day in LCD Sounsystem's very first single "Losing My Edge." It is there that James lets us all know "I'm losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978...I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties...But I was there. I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City...I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids. I played it at CBGB's. Everybody thought I was crazy...But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent. And they're actually really, really nice...I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know...You don't know what you really want." The part of the song that instantly won me over, however, is when James decides to list all of the highlights of his personal record collection. It just becomes a flurry of namedropping, giving the scenesters the song is aimed at a taste of their own medicine, and just as it gets as cacophonious as it could be while still maintaing audio legibility, James proudly breaks the hum on noise and proclaims "Gil! Scott! Heron!" You had me from the very first song, James, and three years later, your first full-length album is phenomenal.
MP3: Beat Connection
4) The Decemberists - Picaresque
The Decemberists' most ambitious album to date is probably also their finest achievement. Every single chorus on the album is a delight to sing along with, and they all seem to be outright challenges or proclamations such as "And we'll both go down together!" or "No they'll never catch me now!" or "And if you don't love me let me go!" The only way to compare this to previous releases from the Decemberists is that Picaresque is BIG. Big in the sense of vast and huge and immense. Everything is very spacious. The drums pound and echo and reverberate in these tremendous spaces. While Colin Meloy has been known to spin quite the yarn in the past, the songs on Picaresque seem to take on a noticably more political nature, be it about betrothed European princesses, class separation, poverty, government spies, or a democracy turned military dictatorship (and yes, there are actually songs for each of those topics).
MP3: The Mariner's Revenge Song
3) Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die
Yes, Architecture in Helsinki's music is cute and a little bit crazy, but its also wildely melodic and engaging. I have a very difficult time listening to songs like "Nevereverdid" without imagining seven Austrailian kids in an explosion of youthful energy on stage, running around, hitting everything they can and wailing on horns and just falling down laughing at the end. Even the energetically calmer tracks like "Do the Whirlwind" and "What's in Store" are hopelessly catchy and so cute that you just have to smile with your headphones on or dance with it pounding out of your speakers.
MP3: Tiny Paintings
2) Sufjan Stevens - Come On, Feel the Illinoise
No, Illinois isn't as hauntingly beautiful as Seven Swans, and alot of it sound very similar to Michigan, but its still a splended adventure into Americana, and I really can't think of anyone who could do it better than Sufjan. I heard alot of folk music growing up, and I can attest that Sufjan's music could fit in with the folk crowd very comfortably if he wanted it to, but it does still veer a good bit toward alternative rock, which is plenty of fun too. With song topics varying from UFO sightings, serial killers, Superman, and zombies (in that order), Sufjan not only delves deep into the rich history of an overlooked state, but makes geniunely fascinating tunes out of it. And you know you cried the first time you really listened to "John Wayne Gacy Jr." Thumbs down, though, to discman-killer tracks like the six-second "One Last 'Woo-hoo' for the Pullman"
MP3: They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!
1) Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
Bloc Party's debut LP had me hooked since basically the start of the year. I listened to it pretty continuously for some seven months before I lent my copy to a friend and went back to Florida. I still can't bring myself to delete a single track of it from my iTunes, no matter how filled my hard drive becomes. It may be slightly chilché or mainstream for me to choose Silent Alarm as my top album of the year, but whatever, all you hipsters denying it know deep down inside that it dominated your stereos or iPods or whatever more than anything else in the past twelve months and are just too proud to admit it.
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