Sunday, 14 December 2008

Nick Miller - Quitters

Mikwaukee based troubadour Nick Miller kindly sent me his acoustic demo disc, which is pretty sweet. Quitters is a great track, and his voice reminds me a little at points of Jeff Buckley and sometimes a little of Anthony of "and the Johnsons" fame. It varies a great deal in the demo, from the high falsetto I've just been describing to a gruff low tenor, which is either interesting or inconsistent depending on how generous you are.  

The music reminds me a little of Nick Drake and I say that fully aware that literally everyone compares literally everything acoustic with a male voice to Nick Drake. Listen to it, I think you might agree. 

One question: Nick, dearest, why are you wearing sunglasses indoors? Actually, two questions: what are you knitting?! 

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Frank Bango - Angela Eagleton

I recently interviewed Frank Bango, who I've raved about before twice. His responses exceeded my expectations: they were really very interesting. It's all on, which is a site I've got involved with recently. Clicky here.

Monday, 8 December 2008

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Here's a no frills blog post for you - this is a great song, one that can and should be appreciated by masses.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Spolkestra - Open Arms

Warning - this post contains enthusing. Having said that, so do 95% of all the rest of the posts on this blog. Not sure why I'm bothering to warn you, to be honest.

I saw the Spolkestra on Saturday in London and if anything I'm even more in love with them than I was when I first heard the album. It's magnificently complex music. In the back of my head I was slightly worried that they wouldn't be able to recreate the intricacy of the album when live but they proved the back of my head to be wrong. Yey! It is probably going to be my gig of the year simply because I have never heard anything like it live. There is something symphonic in the ambition of this band and I love them for it. I went on about it last time I wrote about them but I really cannot recommend the 14 minute epic "Trio Together" enough. I really want to post it but feel bad as it's an album exclusive on iTunes.

Here's the title track of the Open Arms EP, released earlier this year and available everywhere, particularly if you have iTunes and a wi-fi connection...

My Little Pony - Macgyver Blues

My Little Pony are from Oslo. I like My Little Pony so much that yesterday I actually found myself idly contemplating moving to Oslo, which would perhaps result in some of Oslo's talen rubbing off on me. Obviously that's ridiculous and I soon realised that I was thinking out of my ass. Oslo is 1,295 miles away from my house (thanks Google). I don't know anyone there and I don't speak a word of Norwegian. But My Little Pony are awesome, just pure distilled awesome. It's charming indie-pop sung (primarily) in a twee indie boy voice. The words are observant, wise and witty, as these ones from track 3, "Comic Relief", demonstrate:
In a television show from the crazy wild wild west
One of the characters stand out from the rest
Cause he's bald or he's friendly or sometimes comes late
And the others always tell him he's slightly overweight.

And in this other programme that I like to watch
From back in the days when everything was top-notch
With his funny accent, now that's an old trick
He's the foreign exchange student who never gets a chick.

But if we ask him about our motif or religious belief
He wouldn't have an answer and not cause he's brief
He's just the comic relief.

Sometimes I like to make people laugh
and at the place where I work I'm the youngest of the staff
And they do seem to like me though I think they're all my boss
But to me that doens't matter, authority's no great loss

And although I'm not [can't work this word out] or commander in chief
They all need me like golden leaf
I guess I am the comic relief.

I guess we need it in this world of ours
Where everything is so serious that sometimes we forget to smile to each other
It might be false belief
I think we all need a comic relief.

[I transcribed those myself so they're not perfect.] 
What really impresses me is that these are (presumably) written by someone for whom English is a second language. Anyone who can write that well in their second language deserved muchos kudos. I could discuss a million other bits I love but that would cheapen it (though I can't resist pointing you towards the chorus of track 5). Listen to Macgyver Blues and then buy the album. It might be the best thing you do all year. 

P.S. I don't think it's been released in the UK yet but you can definitely get it from iTunes.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Clor - Good Stuff

Ahh Clor, I miss you. You made one of my favourite dancey indie albums and then just disappeared without so much as a farewell. It makes me very sad.

Check out these filthy lyrics - love it.

Clor - Good Stuff
Coming out of my mouth
Into your eyes
Not once, but twice

Choosing the other's eye
Always why
Forever yielding
You should have seen your face
Can you imagine how I must appear

Let me do it for you
Let me do it for me
Let me give me some more of your good stuff

Help me out with my hair
How i have come to resemble those things you like No hidden seams are here
No happy faces
Guided by stellar voices

Now let me do it for you
Let me do it for me
Let me give me some more of your good stuff

We are the content
and we drink them all night
Out through a curly straw
Let's suck our poisonous juices!
Oh, that's good
Let me do it for you
Let me do it for me
Let me give me some more of your good stuff

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Rapture - No Sex For Ben

You may have heard this track on the soundtrack to GTA4 (Radio Broker) - it's a wee bit of a chooooon.

The Rapture - No Sex For Ben

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Amanda Palmer - Oasis

Amanda Palmer is hilarious (and I don't use the word hilarious very often - I try to save it for things that are genuinely hilarious). This song in particular is just fantastic, the lyrics are spot on. It's off her solo debut, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, released back in September.

Amanda Palmer - Oasis

when i got to the party
they gave me a fourty
and i must've been thirsty
cause i drank it so quickly

when i got to the bedroom
there was somebody waiting
and it isn't my fault
that the barbarian raped me

when i went to get tested
i brought along my best friend
melissa mahoney
who had once been molested

and she knew how to get there
she knew all the nurses
they were all really friendly
but the test came out positive


I've seen better days but i don't care
I just sent a letter in the mail

when i got my abortion
i brought along my boyfriend
we got there an hour
before the appointment

and outside the building
there were all these annoying
fundamentalist christians
we tried to ingore them


i've had better days but i don't care
oasis got my letter in the mail

when vacation was over
the word was all over
that i was a crack whore
melissa had told them

and so now were not talking
except we have tickets
to see blur in october
and i think were still going


i've seen better days but i don't care
oh i just got a letter in the mail

oasis sent a photograph
its autographed and everything
melissa's gonna wet herself
i swear

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Muttering Retreats - The Capitalist & The Communist Vie For Our Hero's Affection

I hereby declare that adore overlong and slightly ridiculous titles, and this may be the best yet. The Muttering Retreats are a threepiece who hail from Lakewood, Ohio,
and one of them wants to fall in love with a girl who's got some real estate. Who can blame him, I say, in this turbulent time... or not. I'm so fucking sick of the media going on about the "credit crunch". It's not so much the news items that I object to, it's when you're watching a cookery programme and the presenter is like "well that's a perfect recipe for these credit crunch times". Somehow every item in every show now has to make some kind of reference to it. It's mindless.

End of rant.

The Muttering RetreatsThe Capitalist & The Communist Vie For Our Hero's Affection

P.S. Having plenty of problems with file hosting services but this link should now work..

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Brighton Port Authority

The Brighton Port Authority centres around Norman Cook (i.e. Fatboy Slim) and producer Simon Thornton and, as you'd expect from anything Mr Slim is involved in, it's extremely enjoyable danceable music. Even better, there are 4 tracks available on their website to download without paying any of your "hard earned" money. How awesome is that?

And I strongly recommend you watch the video to Toe Jam:

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fear Of Pop - In Love

I really don't know what to make of William Shatner. At times he's brilliant, at times he's idiotic.A lot of his popularity seems to depend on a certain amount of kitsch value but he is occasionally genuinely great. Most of the people who worked with him in Star Trek seem to think he's a bit of a nutter: he'd argue they're all nutters. All I can say is that I think this track, from Fear Of Pop Volume 1 (1998), is pretty damn near perfect. Of course, a lot of that is to do with who wrote the track, but Shatner's delivery is spot-on.

Monday, 27 October 2008

David Bowie - Let's Dance

If by some bizarre freak of statistics and coincidence you've somehow avoided this track all your life, listen to it, welcome it into your heart and dance your ass off. If you know it then you've probably already done all of the above. 

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Kindness Kind - Beautiful Souls

The Kindness Kind may rival the Spolkestra in the ol' worst band name in the world competition. Either that or I just don't get it (this may also be true of the Spolkestra). If I am not getting it can someone please tell me what it is I'm missing. Still, like the Spolkestra, the Kindness Kind are pretty damned good once you get beyond their moniker. Here's the opening track off their latest self-titled release, Beautiful Souls. I chose "Beautiful Souls" cuz thats wot u av, dear reader, and don't you forget it.

The Kindness Kind - Beautiful Souls

PS: What an awesome promo poster:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Los Campesinos - Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats

I saw Los Campesinos! in Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff about a week ago and heard a fair amount of the new record, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, which will be released on October 27th. Only 5000 copies will be released. If I don't get one and you do, dear dear reader, I'm warning you, I shall be just the tiniest bit pissed off. It's sounding pretty goddang sweet and I'm feeling pretty goddang excited. Given that I'm over-using the phrase "pretty goddang", I'm gonna make the most of it and point out that Gareth from Los Campesinos is pretty goddang fit. I hadn't noticed it before (I'm tend to be off my face at their gigs - which may explain why - but I was comparatively restrained at this one). Well done to you, Mr Gareth Campesinos! You now have a gay following. Though I may be the only one in the following. And I'm not planning to take the whole "following" thing too seriously, just to reassure you.


Los Campesinos! - Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Spolkestra - Soil

"The Spolkestra" may just be the worst band name I've ever heard (I'm sorry but it's true!): The Spolkestra's music on the other hand is awesome with a capital A and the prefix "fucking". It's exciting, complex, challenging, bizarre, fascinating. There's more going on in the music on this 40 minute record than there is on any other record I've heard in a hell of a long time. This is indie music with classical ambition: the epic fourth track, "Trio Together", is as long and as complex as an opening movement from a symphony. Put it this way, I don't normally use the analysis techniques I learned studying music at uni when I'm listening to music for this blog but I'm thinking I may need to for this track. It's mental. I'm not posting it because it's 14 minutes long - if you wanna hear it you'd better buy the EP. You can get it at CDBaby or on iTunes ("Trio Together" is an album only track on iTunes). "Soil" is a little bit more manageable as an introduction so I'm posting that for you. If you like it, I really recommend you buy the EP. It's an epic and exhilerating ride.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Travis - Something Anything

Travis have a new album out and it sounds pretty sweet (you can preview the whole thing on their space that is mine). I feel bad for saying it but after the first love I felt for The Man Who, I've been fairly indifferent to their recent efforts, but this track is a CHOON with a capital CH. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Turner Cody - Slippery Slope

I've been listening to too much complicated music that it's completely refreshing to hear Turner Cody's EP, Crying in my Whiskey. It's just a guy with a guitar, playing a couple of chords and singing some rhymey lyrics. Me likey. Turner Cody was - rather wonderfully - born Turner Van Pelt Kniffin, which may be the best name I've heard this year. Since he left Boston aged 18, Mr Cody has recorded 8 full length LPs, and a new one comes out this year called First Light. This particular track is taken from his EP Crying in my Whiskey, wot I got from the lovely Boy Scout Recordings just for signing up to their mailing list, so I recommend you take yourselves over there and get on and sign yourselves up. Go on, off you toddle.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Joe Richardson - Laggard's Warble

I just stumbled across a copy of the sampler put out by the excellent Boy Scout Recordings about a year ago, which features this excellent bit of random from Joe Richardson. Stick it on and do something else and I'll be surprised if you don't come back to your speakers with wide ears and an open brain. The whole sampler can be downloaded for a measly £1.99 here - recommended by me.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Eugene Francis Jr - Hobo Occupation

Supporting Coldplay when they tour this November/December is Eugene Francis Jr, aka Kris Williams, Welsh singer-songwriter. His new single is the country influenced "Hobo Occupation", a ranty wisdom filled monologue, which you can hear here. I have a really random remix by Jennifer Gunscare to share with you, which takes what's a relatively simple accompaniment and rearranges it to the point where it sounds like it's on the verge of falling apart. It's weird and fascinating - I'm not sure I like it exactly but I can't deny that it is interesting. 

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Max Justus - Seven

Haven't posted any electronic without vocals for a really long time and this track off Max Justus' new album, Five Leaping Leopards, is pretty sweet. Instrumentals aren't restricted by repetition in the same way as songs tend to be, and it's refreshing to hear someone who's aware of this and wants his music to go somewhere, not just to repeat endlessly. Yey for Mr Justus. Yey and yey again. 

Friday, 10 October 2008

Frank Bango - Summerdress

This is my favourite song off possibly the best album I've heard this year. Frank Bango, one doth love thee.

Frank Bango - Summerdress

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

We'll Write

Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Tom and Pete (above) from We'll Write are apparently convinced that the end of the world is nigh and have decided that they will go down laughing. Good for them. Describing themselves as "the only post-apocalyptic quasi-acoustic indie-folk duo you'll ever need", We'll Write create, as they put it, "amusing ditties about the End Times as a kind of nervous distraction". Moreover, they're giving their album away for free. Presumably this is because money is fairly worthless when everyone and everything that exists is soon to cease. It's called Songs For The End Of The World and there's a new track each month. I like Tom and Pete. Initially I was utterly bemused (I think "what the fuck?" were my exact words on hearing "Demon") but their stuff is good fun and pretty damned awesome to boot. Here's a couple of tracks: "Demon" is from SFTEOTW (it turns out that does NOT make a nice acronym), while "Lying For The Song" is from an earlier EP, which seems to have been written before the whole post-apocalyptic direction took hold. I'm posting the latter just to show that they're perfectly capable of writing seriously - they just choose not to. Go to their space which is mine for a listen to more or to their website if you want to download some.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Ben Folds - The Frown Song

I know I only posted a Ben Folds track a few days ago but this is such a good track it makes me slightly giddy. 

Ben Folds - The Frown Song

I've read a few blogs where people are saying that Way To Normal is good but not as good as previous albums. While that's a perfectly valid thing to say if it's true, I'm not convinced that it is true in this case. I've noticed that people always say this about artists who've been going for a while and I reckon it's often less about the music that's released, and more about the people who are listening. Nostalgia is a problem. It's the whole rose-tinted lenses thing. When they're thinking about old albums they now love, people tend to forget the things they didn't like when they first listened to it. It's very, very rare that you instantly love everything about an album. Rather, you get very excited about the bits that grab you instantly, and you just like the rest of it. And as you listen more and more, you start to love the bits you didn't quite get to begin with. Pretty soon you'll be loving the whole thing. 

What I'm saying to you people is that it's important to give yourselves time to fall in love with new music. And to be aware that the more you listen to an album, the more you get to know it, and the more you're gonna like it. If you expect something to be brilliant, it almost inevitably doesn't live up to your expectations (this happened to me with Silence of the Lambs, which left me totally underwhelmed when I first watched it as I was expecting the scariest experience of my life). And that is the end of my sermon and I will shut up now. Here's the lyrics to "The Frown Song".
Tread slowly from the car to the spa
Like a weary war-torn refugee
Crossing the border with your starving child
It's a struggle just to get to shiatsu

Present the waitress with your allergy card
And tell her all your problems
And leave no tip at all
Down to the shoe store with your friends
Speculate who might be fucking the guru

Rock on, rock on, with your fashionable frown
Rock on, rock on, spread the love around
Rock on, rock on, with your fashionable frown
Spread the love around

Do you remember how we managed before
We could afford real nervous breakdowns
Or before the Anthropologie store
Was erected on Indian burial grounds

So really don't you see a little of yourself
In the bathroom attendant that you just scowled at
Or the child who's hiding inside
As you wipe the smile off the teenage barista


All right

You're gonna be all right, baby
You're gonna be all right, baby

Floating back from the spa to the car
A state of bliss, and it wasn't the steam room
Sometimes life's not so bad
Now we know who's been fucking the guru


Monday, 6 October 2008

Beirut - My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille

I'll be honest, I was seriously considering posting this track even before I heard it, just cause I like the title. Luckily it's pretty fucking awesome, hey? Can't be posting crap. It's just not on. 

And on the subject of crap, I am reliably informed by a textbook that I'm reading that when cows poo, the ideal consistency of their poo should be such that when it falls to the ground from their bum, "it should sound like one person clapping slowly, not a round of applause". So there you go. I hope that has enriched your life as much as it has mine.

Beirut is Zach Condon from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have no idea from whence this track hails, as I got it from a friend but his album Gulag Orkestar is the demented mental offspring of our Zachary's drunken trip around Europe and features horns, violins, cello, ukuleles, mandolins, glockenspiels, drums, tambourines, congas, organs, pianos, clarinets and accordions BUT NO GUITARS. Though I guess a ukelele is a kind of guitar. Anyway. Well done Zachary.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Audrey - Big Ships (remix)

There's something really evocative about this track and I don't want to ruin it for myself by thinking too much about it; so, here it is, Big Ships by Audrey remixed by someone or other. You can hear the original on their space that is mine. It's taken off their 2008 album, The Fierce and the Longing.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Astronautalis - The Wondersmith and his sons

This tense narrative is the opening track to Astronautalis' third album, Pomegranate, released earlier this year. I don't really know what to say about it, other than I'm fascinated, just riveted, by it and feel a pressing need to hear more. 

EDIT: Just read this post again (and the Beatles one, oh god) - how pretentious do I sound? I've been reading Moby Dick - I'm gonna blame it on the language I've picked up from that - but actually I suspect that my inner pretentious wanker was attempting to burst free. Time to kill him with swearing.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ben Folds - Losing Lisa

Ben Folds' new album is out today. How shall we celebrate? With a bouncy song about depression? Perfect.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The Beatles - Let It Be

It's a strange, troubling and wonderful thing that words can be interpreted in different ways. I was listening to Aled Jones' Sunday Morning radio show on Radio 2 this morning (not through choice) when "Let It Be" came on. 

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, 
speaking words of wisdom, let it be. 
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, 
speaking words of wisdom, let it be. 

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. 
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be. 

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, 
there will be an answer, let it be. 
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see, 
there will be an answer. let it be. 

Let it be, let it be, ..... 

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, 
shine until tomorrow, let it be. 
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me, 
speaking words of wisdom, let it be. 

Let it be, let it be, ..... 

Given that Aled Jones's show is basically a christian show (for all that it pretends to be multi-faith) I ended up thinking that the lyrics summed up really well the idea of faith. The song obviously uses religious imagery, that almost goes without saying. I'm really talking about the line "there will be an answer, let it be", which could be interpreted to suggest that you've got to wait for the answer to come from elsewhere. Saying "let it be" is basically saying "have faith". And because I knew that McCartney isn't a Christian I assumed that he was trying to picture things from a Christian's perspective, trying to understand faith. If this were the case then while McCartney might be trying to picture how it would feel to have that kind of faith, he might not necessarily be endorsing it - there's nothing in the song about the answer actually being found or the people in the world no longer being broken-hearted. I guess what I'm trying to say is that he could even be criticising faith by implying that just "letting it be" isn't actually doing any good.

This last sentence might be an interpretation too far. It certainly reflects how I feel about life - and I reckon one of the warning signs of over-interpretation is when a song suddenly seems to reflect your own opinion when it didn't five minutes ago! Still it shows how ambiguous words can be. I was mildly suprised to read this paragraph in Wikipedia:

McCartney explained that his mother—who died of cancer when McCartney was fourteen—was the inspiration for the "Mother Mary" lyric. McCartney later said, "It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing 'Let It Be'." He also said—in a later interview about the dream—that his mother had told him, "It will be alright, just let it be."
So it would seem that McCartney probably didn't set out to examine faith! In fact, it would seem from that paragraph that he endorses "letting it be". Not necessarily, but possibly. I don't pretend to have read enough on the subject, and I certainly don't have the finest of minds for interpreting songs.

Anyway, this all goes back to what I was saying earlier about the ambiguity of words being both troubling and wonderful. People care deeply about Beatles songs and it's not just because the music is awesome, it's also because the lyrics can be complex and worthy talking about. 

The Beatles - Let It Be

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Radiohead - Reckoner

Lovely wonderful Radiohead are, quote, "asking radio stations to play Reckoner", which I guess is the Radiohead equivalent of releasing a single, and they invite us to remix it. Get the bits from here

Friday, 19 September 2008

Jesse Dee - My Two Feet

Jesse Dee seems to have become an essential part of my daily listening. He inevitably crops up at some point in my head and then acts like an ear worm, burying himself in until I can't help but put the CD on. This trad jazz style track isn't really representative of the CD but it shows he's no one trick pony. (I wonder what trick it is that the famous one-trick pony has?). Jesse's got funk, soul, trad jazz and ballad all down. And what a voice. 

Jesse Dee released Bittersweet Batch on September the 16th. I'm not trying to push you toward buying it but if you don't, let's be honest, you've failed as a human being. 

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Manic Street Preachers - Australia

In some ways the bands you hear when you're first getting into music are the most important ones. They don't just reflect your developing taste, they help shape it. The Manic Street Preachers are one such band for me. When I was about 15 I was roped into playing keyboards at my dad's church and the guitarist there, Adrian, lent me Everything Must Go (1996) and This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours (1998) and I devoured them. I'd guess they were about the second band that I really paid attention to (Travis were the first). And I still get excited when I hear lyrics that aim for the same kind of eloquent, idealistic, passionate anger about injustice. Anyway, I found Everything Must Go in my attic a couple of weeks back and have been rediscovering it in the car. "Australia" was the fourth single off this album and suggests band members' reactions to Richie's disappearance.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Friends - Sleeping

Here's another track from The Friends' demo EP. It's so full of promise that I get excited just listening to it. I'm not sure which of the Friends is the lead singer but whoever it is sings with such joyous abandon as to make me grin all over. Yes. Grin all over. You heard me. Someone needs to sign these people, give them a shit load of money and let them make the best record ever. This might sound like hyperbole. I'm not sure it is.

Don't be put off by the slightly rough opening to the track (it is a demo, after all) it gets really good shortly after. And Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Innercity Pirates - Compani-animals

We all know I love Los Campesinos! but fellow Taffs Innercity Pirates are equally awesome and if this video to "Cockney Sparra" is anything to go by they are going to be big. They released the Cockney Sparra EP back in June. Compani-animals is the third track and just edges it as my favourite, mainly for the lyric "you were my chocolate spread, I was your toasted bread", though there are plenty of gooduns including an East 17 reference - awesome.

Innercity Pirates - Compani-animals (alt)

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Faded Paper Figures - North by North

Think Postal Service with boy-girl vocal harmonies - Faded Paper Figures could be the perfect late night driving soundtrack. Faded Paper Figures are Heather, John and Kael. Their debut album Dynamo was released back in July and is available from Tunes of the I and CDBaby.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Elle Milano - Laughing All The Way To The Plank

Brighton based three piece Elle Milano released their debut album back in April and this tight song of urban dissatisfaction is the opening track. There's a couple of awesome lines in this track. "When getting your attention we go 'SEX SEX SEX SEX'" is the first that I noticed. When I first listened through what stood out most aside from the tight music was them shouting "sex" - and I completely missed the irony. Clearly I'm part of the flat packed furniture generation. I'm also a big fan of "big ideas sound best when on your own".

Friday, 12 September 2008

Eisley - They All Surrounded Me

Not sure why Sherri Eisley looks so bemused but there's something about this photo I really like. Anyway. On Eisley's website they're teasing us with hints about their new album and photos of the recording session. Damn you Eisley. I want it now! Talk about your instant gratification generation. 

This is a random track off the Final Noise E.P. from 2006. 'Tis rather good and should whet your appetites for future albumage.

Yes, I said albumage.

Forgive me for rambling with stuff off the top of my head but I think what I like so much about Eisley is the way their voices blend. The way their voices work together reminds me of what Brian Wilson said when he was waxing lyrical about the beautiful blend in the Wilson brothers' voices, and how the voices of Al Jardine, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston didn't blend so well but added a bit of complexity to the sound. Eisley's voices blend so well it's almost as if one person is singing two or three lines at the same time.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Los Campesinos! - My Year In Lists

You said "send me stationary to make me horny"
So I always write you letters in multicolours
Decorating envelopes for foreplay
Damn extended metaphors - I get carried away
I'm super duper pooper scooper excited as I've just heard (a little belatedly) that Cardiff-based wunderkinds Los Campesinos! are releasing a new album - already. Hold On Now Youngster was only released in February. That's pretty damned quick. It's tempting to worry that they haven't had enough time to create something as wonderful as wonderful as HONY but then when you listen to them you realise that they're pretty damned spontaneous - that's practically the sound of the album. Plus I'm thinking that they must be on a creative roll. Why waste it? 

My Year In Lists is about my favourite track on HONY: great lyrics and great music. There's something a little knowingly self-indulgent about some Los Campesinos! lyrics, as the opening lines show.

Los Campesinos!'s new album, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, is released on October the 13th and they're touring the UK straight after.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Drug Rug - Day I Die

Fancy a laid-back singalong? Here's one from Drug Rug, except it's more. The closing instrumental brings in what sounds like a sample of orchestral strings in vibrato mode. Class. Drug Rug are from Cambridge MA and look like very nice people. I'm especially loving the snake bodywarmer. I'd find out more but it would get in the way of me listening. Just take a listen. Go on.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Super Furry Animals - Cloudberries

I've just found Love Kraft, a lost and much-missed Super Furry Animals album, in my attic. The Furries are so varied it's hard to sum them up unless you plump for the word eclectic. Love Kraft was a little more downbeat (though this is by no means true of the whole thing) than some Furry albums and as such is one of my favourites. Cloudberries is one of the two last songs, both of which are beautiful.

An unofficial website,, gives these as the lyrics - the numbered bits are presumably the titles of the three musical sections:
1. humming bird

She came into the room
Didn't know her name
How I danced inside
No one to confide
In the darkest winter
I made a sound like a long lost humming bird

2. friends of friends

Took a CIRCLE of friends
To the village SQUARE
Made us so aware
Of a distant era
But we're still here
To sing as humming birds

3. locust death march
Super Furry Animals - Cloudberries (alt)

Monday, 8 September 2008

Dr Dog - The Old Days

Honky-tonk arpeggios anyone? Apparently Dr Dog have been making this kind of rootsy psychadelica for years. All I can say is I wish someone in the US had told me. Goddamn you America! Why would you nurture something so beautiful and then keep it to yourself? This track is taken from their fifth studio album, Fate, which was released this year. And I missed it. What a loser I am.

Dr Dog - The Old Days (alt)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

The Friends - I Fell In Love With A Ghost

Couple of days ago I was sitting in the car, listening to Pet Sounds, wishing there were more Beach Boys-loving bands who wore their hearts on their sleeves. The cosmic doodoo must have been listening - he should have been as we have a special arrangement - because next time I checked my email, The Friends had emailed me with their Demo EP. Here's the exuberant "I Fell In Love With A Ghost", complete with full on vocal harmony including some "doo wah wah wahs". There aren't enough "doo wah wah wahs" in the world.

I like The Friends very much. Nothing sounds better than people enjoying themselves, and The Friends are so wonderfully joyful as to make the world feel that little bit warmer. I really can't wait to here a proper studio recording. They're going to be featured here frequently until they sell their first gold record. (I've already warned them that gold isn't a very practical material but they seem determined.)

The Friends - I Fell In Love With A Ghost (alt)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Rufus Wainwright - Between My Legs

There are many great things about Rufus Wainwright but I must confess that it was the filth and innuendo that first got me interested. Have you heard Gay Messiah? That made me lol, as my brother is wont to say. This isn't quite as filthy but so so compelling. It's off his last album of his own music, 2007's Release The Stars.

Rufus Wainwright
- Between My Legs

Friday, 5 September 2008

Harry Nilsson - Everybody's Talkin'

There's something indescribably good about this classic. It's not just that it was on the soundtrack to a really good movie, Midnight Cowboy, a frank dealing with sex and money and dissolution that won 3 Oscars in 1969 (it's also on the soundtrack to Forrest Gump). It's the sense of hope/escapism in the lyrics. It's Nilsson's unique voice. It's the combination of the strings and the guitars. It's all of the above (and I think it's also partly a sense of nostalgia on my part). Anyway, if you don't have it, listen and and treasure it.

Harry Nilsson - Everybody's Talkin'

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Calexico - Two Silver Trees

This track grabbed me straight off. It's track 2 off Calexico's sixth album, Carried To Dust, which is released on the 9th of this very month. That's soon, people - do you have your wallets ready?

Calexico - Two Silver Trees

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Late Of The Pier - The Enemy Are The Future

Given that it's Wednesday, and (tongue firmly in cheek) "Wednesday is Mental Day", you should be listening to this. It's nu-rave youngsters Late of the Pier again, easily one of the most exciting bands I've heard this year. I have absolutely no idea what's going on in this track - and it's glorious. It's either a recorded-as-is live jam of the most inspired kind, or they're very good at recreating that vibe. It goes from David Bowie to Justice inspired breakdown via the Flaming Lips. It's schitzophrenic but cohesive, eclectic but united. More importantly than that it makes me want to dance like a twat.

Late Of The Pier - The Enemy Are The Future (alt)

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Captain - Keep An Open Mind

Suck the iron from my blood
And fashion into a small nail
Bang into your head
For all of things I've said
Isn't that class? "Keep An Open Mind" is the title track of Captain's new EP. If you can bear the fact that it's been picked up by Topshop then I think you'll love it. The reactionary left-winger in me bloody hates Topshop and the way it attempts to seem less corporate and evil by playing relatively unknown indie music in its stores. Goddamn you Topshop!

Captain are from London town. They have an extremely yukky biography up on ("conceived to sidestep the fashionistas and stand egoless next to their heroes", anyone?") but are actually pretty damned good, despite the best attempts of their promoter to make them sound like they live up his unwashed arse. Track 4 on the EP, "Satillites" is particularly nice, especially the yummy girl-boy vocal harmonies.

Captain - Keep An Open Mind (alt)

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Album review: The Gabe Dixon Band

The Gabe Dixon Band - Till You're Gone

That picture pretty much sums up how I feel about the Gabe Dixon Band. Like Jeff Giles on I got about 20 emails from a promoter and then received an unasked for review copy of the CD in the post. Via airmail. These guys are keen. Like the puppy, these guys really want to be loved. And listening to them is a bit like looking at the puppy: pleasant, inoffensive, even quite charming at times. There's nothing wrong with labrador puppies in themselves. But to me they're dogs for people who plump for the easy option. Why would you have a labrador when you could have an powerful and beautiful german shepherd? Or a super intelligent collie?

The Gabe Dixon Band are the labrador of the music world. They make perfectly pleasant - accomplished, even - piano driven music. This would be completely fine if I'd not heard Ben Folds' finest moments. Let's do a comparison. Lyrics first. The best word to describe Gabe Dixon's lyrics is "earnest". Here's some taken from track 3, "Further The Sky":

When you don't know when you're going and you don't know why
It feels like another day is bleeding into the night
Lay your head on my chest while my beating heart pounds out the secret of this life
The higher you reach, the further the sky
The more miles you walk, the longer the road [etc etc]

Ben Folds does earnest at times but when he does it there's a serious purpose. "Brick" springs to mind: a moving and at times inspired recalling of his teenage girlfriend getting an abortion. Or "Losing Lisa": the story of a girl who commits suicide, writen with complex, allusive lyrics to an ironically upbeat accompaniment. Gabe Dixon's lyrics aren't bad by any means but they are never more than middle of the road retellings of loves lost and gained that use the same old metaphors ("new day dawns" or "highway as metaphor for earning love" - that last one is used twice) that are so generalised as to lose all real emotional connection. The ones I quoted above are fairly typical. There's nothing wrong with them, it's just that we've heard it all before.

The same goes for the music. It's fine. Just fine. Gabe is a very good pianist and the piano sounds lovely throughout but none of the writing is that exciting. The opening track is early Keane through and through, and god knows that's been done enough. Later tracks are better (particularly Till You're Gone, which you can listen to above) but it's a bit like listening to someone driving exactly at the middle of the road - safe and just a little bit boring.* Till You're Gone is as close as Gabe gets to cutting loose and going wild. What really gets me is that Gabe purports to play prepared piano at some point on this album. This has the potential to make things very interesting as prepared piano can sound completely nuts - John Cage wrote a series of pieces called Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano which sounds quite a lot like a Indonesian gamelan - but having listened through the album a few times on various different speakers I still have no idea where the prepared piano comes in. If you're going to use a prepared piano, actually use it. Not making it audible is like taking your hands off the steering wheel to scare your passenger before revealing that you've got a car that can drive itself in the middle of the road just as well.

I feel bad about being mean to Gabe and the labrador puppy. There's nothing wrong with either of them. It's just that as I listen I find myself wanting to be challenged and I never am. The lyrics aren't going to make you reevaluate your life or see something completely differently for the first time and you're never going to get that wonderful thing with challenging music where you initially go "what the fuck?", then suddenly get it, and then it becomes the most exciting thing in your life up 'til now.** Or the thing where you're so dazzled by how well someone plays or how complex a chord sequence is that you're literally mesmerised. Gabe Dixon Band is none of these things.

I wish Gabe well. I'm just puzzled as to why his promotion guys are working the blogs so hard. Most mp3 bloggers are serious to the point of being fanatical about music. They want to be challenged. They want to be inspired. The Gabe Dixon Band is the kind of music they play as the token bit of contemporary on BBC Radio 2 in the daytime. Mp3 bloggers want BBC 6 Music, or at least late night BBC Radio 1. This is the only time I'm ever going to give advice to promotional people - BBC Radio 2 is where it's at for the Gabe Dixon Band. It's not that there aren't people out there who aren't going to love this music, it's just not the bloggers.

To be honest, it's my mum.

*Actually, that middle of the road metaphor doesn't really work, does it? I mean if you're right in the middle of the road, half of your vehicle is in the wrong lane causing havok.
** That's 'til, Gabe, not till. A till is something you put cash in. EDIT: Turns out I'm wrong about that. Apologies.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Jesse Dee - Alright

This is the opening track to Boston based soul man Jesse Dee's wonderful debut album, Bittersweet Batch. It's like a contemporary summing up of everything that was great about soul music. Funky bass lines, throbbing hammond organs, great big band writing, good lyrics sung with feeling. And boy, Jesse sure can sing. His voice can be delicate or powerful, soft or harsh, and he can jump an octave apparently without thinking. Highly recommended.

Jesse Dee - Alright

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Monsters are Waiting - I Wanna Be Adored

Los Angeles based Monsters Are Waiting have a new EP out called "Ones And Zeros". I haven't yet heard the whole thing but the title track is currently spinning through my head like a catherine wheel in a gale (you can check out the video at the bottom of the post) and if that's any indication it should pretty awesome. Here's a preview of the EP, track 5 of 6, a mental cover of The Stone Roses' "I Wanna Be Adored". You can preorder it on their website (I never understand why bands don't do this more often).

Monsters Are Waiting - I Wanna Be Adored (alt)

Monsters Are Waiting - Ones and Zeros

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Bamboos - King of the Rodeo (Kings of Leon cover, feat. Megan Washington)

Oh my good god this is funky. Since listening to that documentary about Brian Wilson's production methods yesterday and hearing the hammond close up I'm thinking there should be more funky organs. I might just have to purchase one. Anyway.

The Bamboos are "Australia's premier Deep Funk outfit", or so gushes I'll be honest, I've never heard of them before today but I caught this track on Gary Crowley's show on 6 music just now and fell just a little bit in love. I shall find out more and report back.

The Bamboos - King of the Rodeo (feat Megan Washington) (alt)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Beach Boys - I Know There's An Answer

I was originally going to post this track because I think the bass harmonica solo is fucking awesome, but I was just reading the lyrics and noticed how rich they are. Could Brian Wilson's words be addressed to himself? Either way, he's a very talented lyricist.

EDIT (30/08/08): Embarrassingly, Brian Wilson didn't write the words, Mike Love and Terry Sachen did. Noone told me this, I just happened to wonder about it about a week after writing the post. Goddamn. Still, bloody good lyrics!

I know so many people who think they can do it alone
They isolate their heads and stay in their saftey zones

Now what can you tell them
And what can you say that won't make them defensive

I know there's an answer
I know now but I have to find it by myself

They come on like they're peaceful
But inside they're so uptight
They trip through their day
And waste all their thoughts at night

Now how can I come on
And tell them the way that they live could be better

I know there's an answer
I know now but I have to find it by myself

Now how can I come on
And tell them the way that they live could be better

I know there's an answer
I know now but I have to find it by myself
The Beach Boys - I Know There's An Answer (or here)

EDIT: There's a fascinating and in depth documentary available on the BBC iplayer from a couple of days ago about Brian Wilson's record producing technique - clicky here.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Radiohead - Idioteque

Who's in bunker?
Who's in bunker?
Women and children first
And the children first
And the children
I'll laugh until my head comes off
I'll swallow till I burst
Until I burst
Until I

Who's in bunker?
Who's in bunker?
I have seen too much
You haven't seen enough
You haven't seen it
I'll laugh until my head comes off
Women and children first
And children first
And children

Here I'm allowed
Everything all of the time
Here I'm allowed
Everything all of the time

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both
Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Throw them in the fire
Throw them in the fire
Throw them in the

We're not scaremongering
This is really happening
We're not scaremongering
This is really happening
Mobiles quirking
Mobiles chirping
Take the money and run
Take the money and run
Take the money
Radiohead - Idioteque (alt)

Friday, 22 August 2008

Eels - P.S. You Rock My World

I confess, I've barely listened to anything but Frank Bango since I got his album, so I'm finding it hard to think about any other music. HOWEVER. I'm posting this track because some of his lyrics remind me of the Eels. You'll need to read yesterdays post if you're not sure what I'm on about - Frank Bango is very highly recommended.

E of the Eels has had a very dark life and is very capable of dwelling on it - there have been a couple of times when I confess to having found him a bit self-indulgent - but can be brilliant and he's at his best where he works through all the shit to get to some kind of optimism. That's the basic narrative of two of his albums, most obviously the most recent one, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, but also 1998's Electro-shock Blues, which opens with the destitute "Elizabeth on the bathroom floor", the lyrics of which were assembled from the diary of E's late sister Elizabeth - she had committed suicide. Choice lyric: 'My name's Elizabeth / My life is shit and piss'.

I'd argue that Electro-shock Blues is the best album E has ever produced, partly because the lyrics and music are great all the way through, but due in large part to fact that there's a really coherent narrative in which you can follow E's reaction to his sister's suicide (and other horrid happenings). It literally goes from dark to light - via mental. "P.S. You Rock My World" is the final track and what a way to go out.

Eels - P.S You Rock My World (alternative download location)

I was at a funeral the day I realised
I wanted to spend my life with you
sitting down on the steps at the old post office
the flag was flying at half mast
and I was thinkin' 'bout how everyone was dying
and maybe it is time to live

I don't know where we're going
I don't know what we'll do

walked into the thrif-tee
saw the man with the hollow eyes
who didn't give me all my change
but it didn't bother me this time
'cause I know I only got this moment
and it's good

I went to the gas station
old woman honked her horn
waiting for me to fix her car
I don't know where we're going
I don't know what we'll do

laying in bed tonight I was thinking
and listening to all the dogs
and the sirens and the shots
and how the careful man tries to dodge the bullets
while a happy man takes a walk
and maybe it is time to live

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Album review: Frank Bango - The Sweet Songs of Decay

Frank Bango - I Saw The Size Of The World (alt source)

It's 14 years since Frank Bango released his first record - The Sweet Songs Of Decay is his fourth. It's also one of the best records released this year and this is no small praise considering there's been Radiohead's In Rainbows, Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid, and Los Campesinos' Hold On Now, Youngster!, all of which are utterly fantastic. The Sweet Songs of Decay is complex but simple, emotional but funny, capable of being childish but adult in meaning, easily accessible but containing great depth, happy but sad. It is perhaps the ultimate bittersweet album.

Bango sets out his stall in an ironically titled opening track "You Always Begin By Saying Goodbye". The message is clear: savour how beautiful life is because your time is short. And in the ultimate of unfunny ironies, Frank Bango was diagnosed with cancer the day after he put the final touches to the mastering.

Well the moment is here, but the moment is fleeting
You walk in a room and it feels like you're leaving
I can't slow you down so I won't even try
You always begin by saying goodbye

Well the clock has two faces so it isn't surprising
That for each setting sun there's one that is rising
You can capture time but it's your hands that are tied
Because you always begin by saying goodbye

Before you drive to the ends of the earth you should just sit in the car
Before you go where you think you should be, allow yourself to be where you are
Becase the moment is here but without it's only a minute
It'll settle on somebody else unless you put youself in it
I would have been happy to meet you but you never even said hi
Because you always begin by saying goodbye

The music is pure and perfect power pop with beautifully constructed vocal harmonies. There's just something very special about Frank Bango's sound. It is at once familiar - you can hear echoes of the Beach Boys, the Kinks, Elvis Costello - and something new. Each time a track begins it's like you've just rediscovered a long lost but much loved song from your youth: hairs rise on the back of your neck with nostalgia; you kind of know where each song is going but you've forgotten some of the beautiful details and as the track sweeps past you experience the joy of uncovering something that you've been missing for years without being aware of it.

In each track Bango finds something new and wonderful (in the true sense of the word) to appreciate. In "She'll Miss The Spider" the female protagonist becomes fascinated by 'a graveyard without circumstance or saint, behind the mousetrap and the empy cans of paint', realising that 'there's something beautiful in everything that crawls'. She listens to 'the buzz of the captured flies, the sweet songs of decay' and realises that 'she'll miss the spider when the web is wiped away'. My favourite track has a slightly more conventional theme (though the same underlying message): it's the spine-tingle-inducing ode to love and the girl who 'could outshine the sun', "Summerdress". It's the music that gets me here: beautiful string countermelodies and bursts of vocal harmony sweep you away. It's maybe a bit early to say, but this could be one of my favourite tracks of all time.

But the message isn't quite as simple as 'everything is beautiful if you only took the time to appreciate it'. Life isn't perfect. In "I Saw The Size Of The World", Bango imagines the excitement that a worm - the ultimate agent of decay - feels when it crawls out of the ground . At one point the worm realises it will never be able to fly - but it throws itself into the wind. But as "If A Plane Goes Down" shows Bango believes that life's sadnesses and tragedies serve to make the good times all the more beautiful, giving more meaning to love:
I haven't seen you for so many years
But I still remember your face.
Still as each passing year brings more danger and fear
I only hope that you'll always be safe
And Bango is able to find beauty even in death. The last track with vocals on the album is "What This Place Needs", in which Bango suggests that the world will be even more beautiful once there are no humans around to fuck things up. And this is realised in the very final track, "Gardenvariety", which is nothing more than a three minute recording of birds singing. It's a striking way to end a wonderful album and what it says (I think) is: even when death - the ultimate Bad Thing - happens, beauty will still continue.

There is an enormous amount to be said about this album; I haven't written anywhere near as much as I could. Dear reader, there's still loads left for you to enjoy discovering - buy it now and enrich your life. The Sweet Songs Of Decay was released on July 22nd, and is available from iTunes (download only) and CDBaby (download and physical copy). And if you're in New York on August 26th (that's Tuesday night people!), get down to the Bowery Ballroom to enjoy the Frank Bango Bone-Marrow-Thon-Stem-Cell-A-Bration which features music from Simone White, Scott Matthew, Victoria Williams, Richard Buckner, Dean & Britta, Nada Surf (acoustic), Sam Champion and other special guests. Tickets are $20 and all money goes towards helping Frank through his treatment and to worthwhile volunteer organisations.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Lily Allen - Guess Who Batman (Fuck You Very Much)

This track is ironic pop at its finest. In an ordinary song I can't help but get a cheap childish laugh when a singer uses expletives; in such a happy sounding song as this I literally laughed out loud. Thank you Lily Allen: you make me lol. This is basically a rant at small minded racists and homophobes. Again, thank you Lily Allen.

Lily's second album, the fantastically titled Stuck On The Naughty Step is forthcoming. She explains here: "In England, when kids are naughty, they get sent to sit on the naughty step. Like a timeout, you know? I feel like I'm stuck in a hole where people say, 'Lily, you're bad. Go think about what you've done." What excites me muchly is that she co-wrote the album with Greg Kurstin of the brilliant band The Bird And The Bee. The first single off the new album will be "Everyone's At It" and will be released next month.

Lily Allen - Guess Who Batman (Fuck You Very Much) (alternative download location)

Thanks to Alors, Vraiment?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Cara Beth Satalino - Can Kicker

I HEART Cara Beth Satalino. She writes songs that are witty and wise and just plain beautiful. Here's another gem - Can Kicker.

Cara Beth Satalino - Can Kicker (or here if that doesn't work).

Monday, 18 August 2008

Leerone - Care For Some Whisky (video)

Isn't that just the juciest jumble of joy you've seen all July? Damn, it's August.

It might as well be J for January here in Wales - the rain has been continuous for about a week and it doesn't seem to be about to end any time soon. I'm sorry for not having posted for a while. I got a new computer and installed Oblivion onto it to see how well it would run. Well, let's just say it's been running pretty well constantly for the last four days. What can I say - I'm a geek.

Leerone is a nice Jewish lady from the US who pays an enormous amount of attention to her music (which, to be fair to her, she's fully aware of - her label is called "Fussy Music"). She also conceives and designs her cover art, snaps some of the photographs featured on her recordings, and designs her own stage attire - I think there maybe something a little OCD about it. If she was involved in creating that wonderful video then kudos to her.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Ace Bushy Striptease - Mervyn and Isaac Find A CD

The idea that "Wednesday is mental day" started off as a bit of a joke but for some reason every Wednesday for the last few weeks I've been grabbed by a song which I can legitimately describe as mental. This week is no exception.

Ace Bushy Striptease
- Mervyn and Isaac find a CD

Alternating thrashy eukele driven shoutalongs with an utterly random spoken argument, "Mervyn and Isaac find a CD" is as much pure unadulterated fun as putting pop-rocks in coke.

Ace Bushy Striptease are from Birmingham, have been playing together for about a year, and they have a beautiful website on which you can download some trackz and read a fairly lengthy and wonderfully rambling self-penned biography.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Ben Folds Five - Underground (live)

Though you wouldn't necessarily be aware of it when listening to some of Ben Folds' recent solo efforts, he has a deserved reputation for being a great showman. Going to see him live is fun, pure and simple. His banter is witty, he makes songs up on the spot, he gets you singing the brass parts for "Army", he plays pretty much all of his back catalogue but best of all, he's a phenomenal pianist to watch - incredibly fast and incredibly accurate.

This'll give you some idea. Underground is a track on Ben Folds Five's exuberant self-titled debut album; this live version is taken from a b-sides and live album titled Naked Baby Photos. There are some other great live tracks I could have posted (Ultimate Sacrifice and Satan Is My Master are particular favourites) but I just love what the guy in the audience shouts out.

Ben Folds Five
- Underground (live) (alternative download location HERE)

Ben Folds has a new album called Way To Normal out on 30 September in the US and on 29 September here in the UK. Tracklisting below:

1. Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)
2. Dr. Yang
3. The Frown Song
4. You Don't Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)
5. Before Cologne
6. Cologne
7. Errant Dog
8. Free Coffee
9. Bitch Went Nuts
10. Brainwascht
11. Effington
12. Kylie from Connecticut

Monday, 11 August 2008

Jens Lekman - I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You

Romantic Swede Jens Lekman makes sample heavy pop with witty, knowing lyrics. Here jangly jazzy piano chords bounce around in the background as Jens narrates the end of a relationship. The music is far too happy for the lyrics, it's all the wrong way round, but that's why it works.

Jens Lekman - I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Gwilym Simcock - Sneaky

I don't often watch the Proms but last night Prom 31 was on the TV and it caught my ear so much that I stopped everything I was doing and just watched as the dinner went cold and the family went hungry. There was a premiere of a piece by a young British composer and jazz pianist called Gwilym Simcock which just blew me away. The piece married Gwilym's jazz trio with a full on orchestra, and flipped between beautiful, colourfully orchestrated modern classical music and fantastically creative jazz. Some of the piano solos were just mind boggling. I wish I could post it here right now. You can listen to it on the BBC iPlayer here but only for a week (it starts at about 9 minutes and 30 secs).

What I can post is a track from the jazz trio's debut album, Perception. As you can tell by how much jazz I've written about in previous posts, I haven't been listening to jazz very frequently for quite a while (the Wynton Marsalis post earlier this week is only an exception to the indie-rock/pop rule), but this really gets me going. Imagine this kind of fascinating jazz combined with an orchestra and you'll have some idea of what last night's piece sounded like. It's basically a wide-eyed OH MY GOD moment.

Gwilym Simcock - Sneaky
(still having issues with, if that link doesn't work, try here).

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Justice - The Party

Hypem isn't short of Justice related posts, partly because they're prolific remixers, partly because their music is great to mashup, and partly just because they're awesome. I don't think it's hyperbole to say that their Cross album is the best indie dance album of last year; if they keep on putting out remixes of a similar quality they're slowly going to take over the world. Cross really deserves to be heard in full but here's a sample if you haven't heard it yet. It's track 8 and it features Parisian rapper Uffie.

(feat Uffie) - The Party

(If that doesn't work, try here)

Friday, 8 August 2008

ZibraZibra - Arcade Catastrophe

Sometimes the most pressing thing to say is "listen to this track now". That's certainly the case right now. Without further ado...

ZibraZibra - Arcade Catastrophe

Does that make you smile and shake your body? Then you are my kind of person. Well done. This is utter TUNAGE. I'd love to hear this out while clubbing, I think I might just do a little wee due to excitement. ZibraZibra are from Minneapolis and stuff, they make excellent music - what more can I say?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Wynton Marsalis - My Funny Valentine

I'm in the mood for jazz today. Been bashing some out on the piano with a singer friend of mine. This track starts out perfect for a wet day, then transforms into something that will transport you entirely away to a dark jazz club in some dirty city where you're dancing like a nutter, oblivious to all around you. It's wonderful.

Wynton Marsalis - My Funny Valentine

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Born Ruffians - Barnacle Goose

So it's Tuesday. What fun. This'll cheer you up. Exuberant Canadian youngsters Born Ruffians released their debut album back in May, and have already featured here because they were played in a Skins episode which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Born Ruffians - Barnacle Goose

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The Dresden Dolls - Dear Jenny

For my dear friend Jenny, post wrathful rant about shitty ex boyfriends:

The Dresden Dolls - Dear Jenny

Here's another track from the Dresden Dolls' most recent album, No, Virginia..., a collection of b-sides and rarities, and a companion to 2006's Yes, Virginia. As usual, the lyrics are worth paying attention to, though there's certainly enough in the music to keep you more than entertained.

Boys wear overcoats in heat like this to keep themselves from showing
Girls fill out prescriptions for the tricks that keep their hearts from growing
Specialists review the year in tears and call for drastic measures
Send them to resorts for boys and girl to get their wits together

Sad but true the facts of life are bound to get you down
So whats the use dear jenny anyway the world is pretty...

Ashley talks to astronauts back home by way of fax transmission
Andy gets a new tattoo each time his pastor comes to visit
Weary o so drealiy we wave our flags into the camera
Amber goes the hotlines are friends but no-one ever answers

Sad but true the truth can turn your smile to a frown
So whats the use dear jenny anyway the world is pretty

The rates are better in the summer
Looks like dear jenny's doing better...

Back at home the broadcast warning bounces off of an empty table
Jenny asks the astronauts to sleep with her behind the stable
Christmas hasn't been the same since dad put in the central heating
Checks you before bedtime with a battery to keep your new heart beating

And the world might turn a million times around before
They tell you jenny anyway the world is pretty world is pretty happy world is pretty happy

Sometimes they let strangers in and other times they check their records
When they check out in the morning dad puts out the lie detectors
Jenny prays to gods she've never heard of for a special hurting
All the walls stay dead as jennys head is
But shes still observing

Sad but true the two of us might really make it through
But whats the use dear jenny anyway
The world is happy
World is happy
World is happy without you...

The rates are better in the summer....
Looks like old jennys doing better...

Friday, 1 August 2008

Muke - Hamburger Waltz

"If you buy seven burgers
You get the eighth free!"
Muke are Maddy and Luke who studied together at Eugene, Oregon. They have 18 listeners on which should be a crime and if I ever carry out my plan to establish my own 10 acre republic you can be damn sure every single citizen is going to be listening or they'll face a 10 minute stretch in the pig pen with a sexually frustrated boar.

This charming little song starts off as wonky waltz about hamburgers and then someone adds an almost Brian May style guitar solo before someone closes the whole thing off with a flute solo. It shouldn't really work but it really really does, mainly because there's such a sense of enjoyment underlying the whole thing. It's really wonderful! I love listening to people enjoying themselves.

Please don't quote that last sentence out of context.

Muke are mixing their debut album Shutterspeed Lullabies right now so keep your eyes peeled and your ears trained.

Muke - Hamburger Waltz

Thursday, 31 July 2008

7 Dollar Taxi - Do The Robot

If you haven't seen this video, you need it in your life - like I need to get a haircut in my life.

It's Swiss band 7 Dollar Taxi's new single "Do The Robot" - touring the UK right now. Highly recommended. Here's a b-side remix to whet your appetite further...

7 Dollar Taxi
- Do The Robot (Megatron remix)

acloudofstarlings hollas greetings to Thrash Mountain.