Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

it's raining in the city

Headlights - Put Us Back Together Right


Here's a number from the Illinois group, Headlights. It's from their debut, "Kill Them With Kindness," yet it's impressed me leaps and bounds more than other tracks from that LP. More than ingenuity and innovation and novelty, Put Us Back Together Right has me pondering puddles on city streets at night. It might be a non sequitur, but there's the image. A puddle and a chattering of voices, as invariably the city is a social place for a suburb-stricken soul like myself. "So we can leave them on their feet for the night, take us apart and put us back together right" bespeaks the emotional games we play with each others' heartstrings, on such occasions. [learn]

image by: ytje

Sunday, January 28, 2007

you and I look so keen together

The Mountain Goats - Mole
The Mountain Goats - Home Again Garden Grove
[from We Shall All Be Healed]

Here's two songs that complement each other dearly. They occur consecutively on The Mountain Goats' 2004, mainly acoustic and lyrics-based LP We Shall All Be Healed. Mole has a submissive, resigned tone that largely sets it apart from songs preceding it on the album. Its trickle of vocals and swelling piano with choppy acoustic accompaniment alternate, swelling and relenting, to end at a low point. Home Again Garden Grove then cuts through, its violent and upbeat pace a warm knife. [news]

image by: Hugo

Saturday, January 27, 2007

an answer to morning inquiries

TV on the Radio - Ambulance

Beauty is not always a surface quality. It's not always right there, in front of you, for the scrutiny of unforgiving and unappreciative eyes as plainly as for the grateful ones. Sometimes it's in a crease or fold. Around a corner it waits for you to discover it, and when you have, it's utterly personal. Ambulance's beauty is of the latter sort. It's a quiet a cappella about disaster and love and happiness. I've selected it for the beauty it conveys of its own, but the rest of TV on the Radio's "Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes" conveys equally stunning, understated beauty, tucked in-between clarinets, throaty distortion, and the wailing, wailing sorrows. It's a remarkable achievement. [learn]

Boris - Pink

In line with a recent tangent into a "Japanoise" genre of sorts has been my recent discovery of artists like those of Boris and Merzbow. I'd expect more of this sort on posts in the near future, mixed in with the rest. Boris in particular has rivetted me with their ballsy dynamics. Yes, ballsy. I can't think of another way to describe a group incorporating a sawed-off double-bassist who would play several minutes of staticy single chords at live shows and on albums. Yet when they get into it, the Japanese (sometimes-)trio are kind of fast-paced raw energy incarnate. Really. I got to experience a local band who apply similar dynamics, called Kinski, a year or two ago with some friends. When Sam called them a "wall of sound," I found that it was a dead-on description of the experience. This is how I feel about Boris, whose dynamics variously drone and crackle and muddle and then break through in bright, clear licks. [learn]


Look to Said the Gramophone. Sean has posted another work by Agent Simple, a man and a band that have been captivating me since they were first mentioned on the same blog. They have a new album out. Go learn yourself.

image by: IrenaS

Friday, January 26, 2007

on floating

Menomena - Wet and Rusting

This past week was a single, drawn-out day. Finals and major projects were due. My sleep patten ranged from two to three hours every night since Sunday, and the result, after weariness, was predominantly a feeling of continuity between each day, as if every full night of sleep were actually a brief nap snatched between more courses. This side of it, I’m (again) coming to accept the axiom “you reap what you sow.” Menomena's track conveys a similar feeling of relaxation in the face irreversibility, of accepting the course of events as they have played out. I discovered them in a Sonic Boom Records newsletter; the Portland "experimental rock" outfit just released Friend and Foe on Barsuk. This track from it makes me float. Something like the way The Most Serene Republic's piano melodies and melding of genres achieves saturation and busyness, a holding of breath underwater in the middle of a distance event (yes, I swim competitively), Menomena applies smoothness with a nautical piano to buoy one to the surface of a swift river. Its current is tugging and insistent, and multicolored layers of sound are fanning out on the surface like oil, but we've already made peace with the order of things by :31. Our heads are leaning back to enjoy that precarious, precious feeling of being without responsibility, without ability to change the course of events flowing by, swiftly and irrevocably, like water.

image by: irana

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Favorite Song!

I can't get this damned song out of my head. Straight up this song is so unbelievably addictive and full of hooks that i can't even explain it. it's very raw and quirky, but the song is like some drug i can't get enough of. have a tiddle:

What In The World...

Speaking of Modest Mouse (see comment on Wincing) What is the deal with Modest Mouse getting a guy from the Smiths in their band. I completely agree that Johnny Marr is a fabulous guitar player, but he doesn't really seem

I've heard songs from MM's new cd and it lacks the intensity and queerball sound that they had achieved on their previous records. I'll have to wait 'til it comes out to see how it sounds but I must say i'm worried.

I guess what bothers me the most about this is that i love MM with all of my heart but i feel that suddenly it's become Marr and Mouse or something like that. it just seems that the simple unity of MM has been lost and now it's got a new leader who's leading in a new direction.

If you have any tracks from the new MM CD you should put a link to them because i'm honestly interested to see what it's like.

Wincing About Wincing the Night Away

The new Shins CD was recently leaked on the internet and my friend got a copy of it and played it for me, and as a huge fan of the Shins i was very suprised to find that i really despised most of the songs.

Now, i totally understand that despised is a very strong word, but i truly feel that it applies completely to my feelings as i was listening. There are a couple songs (like the single Phantom Limb) that warm my heart and give me the same feeling that i get when i listen to the CD Chutes Too Narrow but the majority of them were reaching for something sonic and experimental that they were completely unable to achieve. it ends up sounding contrived and over-produced.

It is, frankly, dissappointing.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

When you're feeling blue?

What do you do when you're feeling down?

Apparently if you're Kevin Barnes you smash you're head through a clear glass window.
Or you know, not. Nevertheless, an entertaining track from Of Montreal's early release "The Bird Who Continues to Eat the Rabbit's Flower".

Of Montreal- I Felt Like Smashing My Head Through A Clear Glass Window


Do you leave? "Lines on pavement screaming by?" Where do your answers lie? "The solution's eluding me." The Consequences, a Seattle local band has some seriously talented vocals and intricate guitar work. "Somewhere" is about leaving and taking chances. "Somewhere" is about everywhere.

The Consequences- Somewhere

Or perhaps you choose a less costly option. Singing the blues. "Little wet tears on your baby's shoulder." Regina Spektor's track "Lady" from her 2006 release "Begin To Hope" is classic Spektor in that it has seamless vocals- but it's got more hints of blues than any other track I've heard from her. Regina Spektor really can "sing the blues so well as if she means it".

Regina Spektor- Lady

No matter what you are sad about, wallowing in your own misery seems to be a popular choice. Sometimes you just can't shake it off. That's when you listen to Louis Armstrong. His classic, gravely voice can make anyone feel a little bit better.

Louis Armstrong- Black and Blue

Monday, January 08, 2007

Are you going to bottle all that up inside you?

(written Sat, July 6)

It's been a rainy and winded two days. Two hours of sleep doesn't complement four hours of salsa dancing the next day, from which a 2am return can't complement a college interview later that morning, which shouldn't complement later travel research at a local bureau, which certainly doesn't complement another few hours of practice with the frisbee team after. But that's how it worked out. And it worked. I'm exhausted. This set is a shot of caffeine to my weary nerves.

While driving a full car home from salsa dancing, with a belly full of fast food and blistered feet pushing gas pedals, I couldn't help but notice how the moon glared like a headlight to illuminate the night. It's a second daytime, that period between late evening and early morning, when you can see the navy shadows of leaves stain silvery porches. Anyway, we drove north, and suddenly these illuminations broke the sky in the distance. The first was a greenish flash near the horizon. It was like a firework, but its flash lit the low-flying clouds in a way unlike any firecracker I had seen. Something of a pyromaniac's daydream. Many other illuminations followed, all of differing colors and at vastly different points around our vehicle, to create the impression that some alien bombardment had stricken the earth. We drove on, playing with the idea of chasing the lights on the horizon.

Enter: The Fall of Troy. For all their hyperactivity and reckless precision, The Fall of Troy is a moon-washed night sky broken by blistery, multicolored illuminations. They hail from Mukilteo, WA. The selections are from their second debut, "Doppelgänger."

The Fall of Troy - I Just Got This Symphony Goin'
The Fall of Troy - Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles
The Fall of Troy - Macaulay McCulkin
[Buy Doppelgänger]
[The Fall of Troy band site]

The Fall of Troy's energy recalled some other groups that had emerged from my diggings, lately. Crossing over from Japan, OOIOO and Boredoms are two bands sharing a leading member named Yoshimi. They've had some influence in American music, as I've read that Yoshimi's name was borrowed by the Flaming Lips for that one album of theirs, and Boredoms benefited from the support of Nirvana and Sonic Youth in gaining temporary backing from a major US label, Warner for the album "Pop-Tari," which "has been called the least commercially viable album released on a major label since Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed’s infamous feedback drenched double album which many are convinced was made to break his contract with RCA." [source]

Boredoms - Arrow Up
Boredoms - Bore Now Bore
Boredoms - Seadrum
[visit Boredoms on MySpace]

OOIOO - On Mani
OOIOO - Grow Sound Tree
[band site]

Super Numeri round off from Liverpool, in good way. The way an awkwardly-shaped piece fits perfectly into the puzzle where you had least expected it to.

Super Numeri - The Babies
Super Numeri - The Chart
Super Numeri - The Sea Wolves
[ninjatune site]

Nippop - a great Japanese music resource

image: OOIOO album cover

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Daniel Johnston

I don't feel that i know enough about Daniel Johnston to truly do him justice but i'm hoping to be able to go to Scarecrow Video sometime soon and rent the documentary about him called The Devil and Daniel Johnston. while his music is definately off kilter and sometimes inconsistent, it is beautiful and moving.

Johnston suffers from Bipolar Disorder and has been hospitalized many times because of this and is unable to live on his own. much like that late Elliot Smith, Johnston is unable to write his music or create his art while on his medicine. Unlike Elliot Smith, however, Johnston's music is much more raw and somehow seems to be able to convey even more emotion than Smith did. Particularly in the song Cold Hard World his emotion becomes obvious, though in other songs like I Killed The Monster, he shows a lighter side. either way, Daniel Johnston is a musician that, whether or not you like the music, you have to respect simply because of the beauty of his songs.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Just To Clear Something Up

I've talked to a few people lately who have said they thought Page France was Christian Rock, and so i decided to inquire into the matter. The answer is, while Page France does kick some serious ass, it is completely secular ass. his music, while it may make some religious references, does so unintentionally.

As he says; "The 'Christian band' inquiry wears me out, to be honest. As for the Christian symbols in my writing - sometimes I don’t even realise that they exist until someone points them out to me. There’s really no reason; it just rolled out that way." [1] (

Still, the song Jesus rocks my socks.

In a completely secular way.

God Bless,

God Hates 21+ Shows

So. Sparklehorse is coming to town. It's gonna be fucking amazing, but (Surprise, Surprise!) it's 21+. i'm so pissed i could spit.

All the same, Sparklehorse is a fantastic band that hasn't gotten nearly the attention it deserves, and so, here goes nothing:

Picture a Beatles song. Add about 10 more layers of depth, and some amazingly sweet and lovely vocals, and you can begin to get some idea of what Sparklehorse sounds like, but this leaves out the sheer raw intensity and beautiful power pop songs that are thrown into the mix. Truly, the only way to give any hint as to the sheer magic of this sound is to let you listen to it for yourself:
I would stongly suggest going to see him if you are able to, and if you liked any of this music, email me at and i'd be glad to send you more.

In my opinion the best CD is Good Morning Spider, but they're all great and very diverse and it just depends on your taste in music. Sample them all and it will be worth your while.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We'll walk on all fours

Black Bear - Black Bear
Black Bear - Your Princess is Priceless
Black Bear - Eve of the Fall
Black Bear - Like Venice

Black Bear on MySpace
[order "The Cinnamon Phase" by Black Bear]

Black bear is a one-man band from Seattle, and his beautiful drawling is convincing...You are that black bear, the one in the creased suit standing in the middle of the big big city. The traffic and noises and streetlights are a buzzing whirlwind of electrified noises around your head. It's nauseating. You hate it. You're standing on a wet sidewalk and rain is pelting your coarse fur. Slowly reaching into a breast pocket, you pull out some bruised berries. Munching them reminds you of home, of a den and a forest. It's been centuries since you've been there, and a longing grows inside you. Again, you start to imagine hibernation and the feeling of that sincere warmth, its memory more real than any of the surrounding concrete and asphalt, those itineraries and these people.

image: Mathew Feyld