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Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House

I am so behind on bloggy-ness. Josh Rouse's new album Country Mouse, City House was released this week and I've been listening to it and thinking about how nice it would be to live by the ocean. Josh Rouse has that effect on me. Nothing revolutionary going on here, just music to chill out with and maybe grow old to. Not that I know what I'm talking about.

I'm in something of a writing slump lately, nothing I put down on paper is good enough for the standards I've set for myself. Josh Rouse makes me feel like I can be okay with that for a little while, everyone needs to give themselves a break sometimes. Not that I deserve a break. I need to find more music that pushes me forward and doesn't let me be complacent. No more Josh Rouse for me. If you've got any music that fits this description, send it my way. Or maybe more coffee will do the trick.

Josh Rouse - Sweetie
(Country Mouse, City House)
Josh Rouse - Hollywood Bassplayer (Country Mouse, City House)
Josh Rouse - His Majesty Rides (Subtitulo)
Buy Country Mouse, City House
Josh Rouse's Website/Myspace

Bonus: Blur - Coffee And TV (alt link)
(Bob Dylan likes this song, he played it on his radio show. So do I, duh.)

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The Old Soul

Lately I've been enjoying The Old Soul's self-titled debut album (released in April) thanks to the folks over at Friendly Fire Recordings, and recently looked at their website only to discover there's a new Old Soul album to be released October 2nd in Canada, possibly November in the U.S.?

Genre-wise I have a hard time placing the Old Soul, who seem as willing to steal musical stylings from honky tonk as from Mariachi bands. The result is energetic, funny, and never cliched. Check them out.

Tracklisting for 2 Titled Gold: 1.The Old Soul
2. You are Gold
3. Your Sister
4. War on the Imposters
5. Fightus Titus
6. Not a real tan, just a bronzer
7. Silver Medal
8. Fear is a man's best friend (ft. Andre Either)
9. Diamonds are for Beggars
10. Let's Neck
11. I sing in Uni-verse
12. The Old Soul again

The Old Soul - Nectar of the Nitwit

The Old Soul - Vege-tables (Brian Wilson cover)
Buy The Old Soul (self-titled) from Insound
The Old Soul's Website/Myspace

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Bishop Allen "The Monitor"

I was a little disappointed the first time I listened to the Broken String, the second time, the third time. The preview I wrote in June was after the fourth time I'd listened to it straight through. It was around the sixth time that I stopped judging the album and began to simply enjoy it (I'm actually embarrassed to be admitting this, but I do this type of intense listening with virtually all the music I post on). Recently I listened Charm School a few times again, then all of 2006's EPs in order. I don't know quite what it is that I've decided, but this is a try.

Bishop Allen's March EP included a track called the "the Monitor" about an old battleship, where Justin Rice (or his "narrator") imagines the battles fought by the ship and considers his isolation from the men at the ironworks, who work on and don't care. June's EP featured a song about the same Ironworks burning down called "The Same Fire." And neither song was really about an Ironworks.

"The Monitor" became the source of the album title the Broken String:
"It’s stunning to know I’ve survived
But I’m not sure what I’m fighting for anymore
And when I break another string
And continue to sing
Is that courage? I’m not sure."
Charm School has been described by its creators as an album about lonely insomniacs who wander around New York City at night. In interviews Justice Rice, Bishop Allen's lyricist, has talked about Charm School as having a narrator; if this is the case, then before 2006's EP series there was never a chance to really get into the narrator's head, to see the world through his eyes. Something changed in January, and I don't know what it was. If there's anything I can say for certain about the Broken String it's that its attempt to condense 12 months' worth of songs into a single album feels shallow, like skipping rocks over the surface of a deep body of water. But some of those rocks are going to sink, damn it. Christian Rudder and Justin Rice's work deserves more fans.

Bishop Allen - The Monitor (March EP)
Bishop Allen - The Same Fire (June EP)
Bishop Allen - Middle Management (The Broken String)
Buy the Broken String and 2006's EPs

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Northern Room "We're on Fire"

Remember the last time good music made it on to anything besides college radio? Northern Room, hailing from Milwaukee, reminds me of the rare occasion something I liked made it to the radio before I stopped listening - Snow Patrol (the closest comparison in this instance), Carbon Leaf, Eve 6, Beck.

"We're on Fire" comes as a sudden blast of sound, a moment of exhilaration put into musical form. Indie rock is always hesistant to live in the moment, but Northern Room is an exception (and possibly not technically "indie rock," sound-wise).

Northern Room - We're on Fire

Buy Only Seconds EP
Northern Room's Website/Myspace

Bonus: Radiohead - 2 + 2 = 5

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The internet is a very scary place, you know. least Mitt Romney thinks so. Apparently he doesn't know the difference between myspace and YouTube either...

Maybe that's why all the Republican candidates are trying to back out of the YouTube debate (except for Ron Paul, and John McCain did initially sign up). James (EmergencyCheese) gets the point:

Sorry, I've been being a good girl and not putting up any politics-related posts lately, but I had to let off some steam.

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Let me explain how my blogging methodology works: I keep a list of bands I need to post on. It grows, it shrinks, it actually has a mind of its own (As Mrs. Weasley would say, "if you can't see where it keeps its brain..."). Mostly I just use it to remind myself of all the other great bands I could be posting on when I've, for example, been listening almost exclusively to Maritime over and over and over again for an entire week.
It's a rare occasion when a something forces me to let a band jump the list.

This time it's Phosphorescent (though the post title might have given that away). Matthew Houck's songs are reminiscent of the 60's New York folk scene, with what could be silverware clicking and clacking in the background as though it just happened to be hanging from the ceiling in place of chimes. "I am a full grown man (I will lay in the grass all day)" is a fitting song for a man who purposefully dropped out of college at age 18 to pursue music. Sometimes we're favored with a horn section or drum beat, but there's a sense they're simply thrown in for our listening pleasure.
"i can sing through my fingers
though the worth of a singer
is nothing i'm told
Why did Phosphorescent jump the list? Matthew Houck's label announced that he has a new album coming out this fall, and we know absolutely nothing about it. I've been listening to his last release, Aw Come Aw Wry (2005) since last November and love it to death. Fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, this is for you.

Phosphorescent - I am a full grown man (I will lay in the grass all day)
Phosphorescent - When we fall
Buy Aw Come Aw Wry (eMusic also has it)
Phosphorescent's Myspace / Daytrotter Session

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A small dose of mainstream: The Rocket Summer

It's Kate - not Joe, not Jason. Though they both rock my world for posting.
Doesn't this music video remind you, just a tiny bit, of something?

The Rocket Summer - So Much Love
Buy Do You Feel (released July 17th) from Island Records
The Rocket Summer's Website/Myspace

I'm thinking Hanson. Yeah, the comparison is pretty shaky, but it's what came to mind. Maybe it's the sappy-but-awesome factor. Maybe it's because Bryce Avery is hot. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for power pop. Who knows?

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I Could Throw You In A Lake/ Or Feed You Poison Birthday Cake

Here's my mini-mixtape of the day:

1. The Old 97's - Streets of Where I'm From
2. The Scissor Sisters - I Can't Decide
3. Bright Eyes - Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love And Be Loved)

And with that, I'm off to California for my sister's wedding. I'll be back in a couple weeks.

Peace and Love (oh, what the hell--how about some CSNY while we're at it?),
- Joe


Lost in the inbox: Christians & Lions

I feel like such a bad blogger for not writing about these guys earlier, especially since it looks like they're moving to Falls Church, VA sometime soon. Not to mention they're releasing a single for "Gimme Diction" in August.
Christians & Lions, hailing from Massachusetts, live in the world where stories are told with acoustic guitars and stream-of-consciousness lyrics and storytellers don't want their stories to be rehashed and explained but felt and understood. If none of this makes sense, you need to read more post-modern poetry.
"We're only starting a racket 'cause you've started a racket!"
I scream, "We only want to level this city because
things are so uneven!" But I don't think they can hear me.
Christians & Lions - Skinny Fists
Christians & Lions - Gimme Diction
Buy More Songs for Dream Sleepers and the Very Awake from ECA Records (I appreciate their discouragement of iTunes)
Christians & Lions' Website/Myspace

Upcoming Tour Dates
Jul 28 - The Space - Hamden, Connecticut
Jul 29 - Pianos - Manhattan, New York
Jul 31 - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aug 1 - Current Gallery - Baltimore, Maryland
Aug 2 - Nara Sushi - Richmond, Virginia
Aug 3 - Spazzatorium Galleria! - Greenville, North Carolina
Aug 4 - Street Performance - Asheville, North Carolina
Aug 5 - Wolfcastle House - Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Aug 6 - The Muse - Nashville, Tennessee
Aug 7 - Bourbon Ave - Lexington, Kentucky
Aug 8 - Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center - St Louis, Missouri
Aug 9 - The Dusty Bookshelf - Manhattan, Kansas
Aug 10 - Saddle Creek Bar - Omaha, Nebraska
Aug 11 - Red Rooster Coffee House - Aberdeen, South Dakota
Aug 12 - 7th St Entry - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Aug 13 - The Nucleus - Eu Claire, Wisconsin
Aug 14 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, Iowa
Aug 16 - Schubas - Chicago, Illinois
Aug 17 - The Glass Haus - Western Springs, Illinois
Aug 18 - Firefly Coffee House - Fort Wayne, Indiana
Aug 19 - Brick House Community Center - Louisville, Kentucky
***Aug 20 - Oberlin Bike Co-op - Oberlin, Ohio***
Aug 21 - The Screamer House - Columbus, Ohio
***Aug 22 - Velvet Lounge - Washington DC***
Aug 23 - Zebulon (tentative) - Brooklyn, New York
Aug 25 - T.T the Bear's Place - Cambridge, Massachusetts

(On the Oberlin date: why they're playing the Bike Co-op before the school year starts is a mystery to me, I didn't realize it was even open during the summer.)

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Concert Review: The Swell Season @ 9:30 club

Hello, Jason here.
Apologies to all for not posting of late, I've been rather busy with work, and about half my extended family is currently visiting here, which is making things a bit hectic.

Last night a friend and I got to see Glen Hansard (The Frames) and Marketa Irglova (pretty) perform together as I guess The Swell Season. The name of the band is a bit confusing, when The Swell Season album was released it seemed to be a onetime solo collaboration of Glen Hansard and newcomer Marketa Irglova. However this album snowballed into the critically acclaimed movie Once and a romance bloomed between Glen and Marketa. Thus was born The Swell Season

The opener Amy LaVere was a complete surprise to me. Instead of maybe another Irish rock band we were presented with a very Tennessee rock band. I was also surprised on how much I liked it. Every member played beautifully, never missing a beat, playing tremendously good solos and seeming to have a good time. They played both original and covers; in fact, one of the best songs of the set was a version of Carla Thomas' That Beat Keeps Disturbing My Soul. This is truly a band that needs to be watched.

Let's be honest here. Glen and Marketa could have walked on stage, given a half-hearted performance straight through the Once soundtrack and walked off and they would have pleased the crowd. However, by any standard their performance was amazing. Although Marketa was clearly a bit more shy, Glenn with his years of experience talked to the crowd, told stories of where some of the songs come from, and they had a solid set with well known favorites and their more obscure work. They tried new arrangements even trading vocal parts for the song "All the Way Down." What was most interesting is the new music they introduced at the show. This gives us all hope that The Swell Season will be putting out more music in the future. And of course, Glenn and Marketa had quite the "awww" factor of being a rather cute couple.

Go see the movie Once if you can. It is kind of amazing.
Amy Lavere - That Beat (Anchors & Anvils)
The Swell Season - This Low (The Swell Season)
The Swell Season - Falling Slowly (The Swell Season)

- Jason

Update: you can download the show (by individual song) at The Q Speaks

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Road trip!

The fam's going to South Carolina to visit some relatives (we should have left 2 hours ago, but...) and I've been dragged along. The posting may be sketchy until Tuesday. If I can post I will, If I can't I won't. It's pretty simple that way, no?

Animal Collective - Sweet Road
Feist - Somewhere Down the Road

Things to look forward to: Matt Costa and Jens Lekman

There's a new Jens Lekman album to be released October 9th! It's called Night Falls Over Kortedala.
Stereogum leaked a new track a day or two ago:

Jens Lekman - Friday Night At the Drive-in Bingo (Night Falls Over Kortedala)
Jens Lekman - Black Cab (Oh You're So Silent Jens)
Jens Lekman's Website

The tracklisting:
1. "And I Remember Every Kiss"
2. "Sipping on the Sweet Nectar"
3. "The Opposite of Hallelujah"
4. "A Postcard to Nina"
5. "Into Eternity"
6. "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You"
7. "If I Could Cry (It Would Feel Like This)"
8. "Your Arms Around Me"
9. "Shirin"
10. "It Was a Strange Time in My Life"
11. "Kanske Är Jag Kär i Dig"
12. "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo"

Matt Costa also has a new album coming out on October 2nd, to be titled Unfamiliar Faces. Songs We Sing was one of my favorite albums last year, so I'm seriously excited.

Matt Costa - Yellow Taxi (Songs We Sing)
Matt Costa's Website

(Update: here's the tracklisting)
1. Mr. Pitiful
2. Lilacs
3. Never Looking Back
4. Emergency Call
5. Vienna
6. Unfamiliar Faces
7. Cigarette Eyes
8. Downfall
9. Trying To Lose My Mind
10. Bound
11. Heart Of Stone
12. Miss Magnolia

Wilco, Metric, and Final Fantasy are all doing some touring in the U.S. this fall (though not together) and all failing at it. "Why?" you ask. No DC or Ohio dates, that's why!
Though when it comes to touring, Ryan Adams is awesome. Knows where to go.

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"Love and Happiness" music video

How they pulled off the continuous camera angle in this video is beyond me, if you have any clue leave a comment, I'm curious. My post on Marc Broussard from a few weeks ago.

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Come, be blue with me.

The picture is my little sister's depiction of what I'm like in the morning; she was nice enough to draw it and leave it for me on Tuesday so that I would discover it when I went to make myself coffee. After I finally noticed it, I couldn't stop laughing.

Catherine Feeny - Mr. Blue (download or die)
Catherine Feeny - I Still Don't Believe You
Hurricane Glass is one of those great albums I didn't discover until months after its release, though a remastered version was released in June.
In "Mr. Blue" a cheery piano and Feeny's sweet alto shed a little sunlight into a dark room, joined by a friendly acoustic guitar and a harmonica. The universe has conspired to cheer up our "Mr. Blue" and with Catherine Feeny involved it's sure to succeed. Some days I'm my own Ms. Blue, "And I can see it in your face / You’ve been waiting to break / Since you woke up this morning." This is what friends are really good for, picking up the pieces and putting them back together with blue duct tape.
Buy Hurricane Glass from eMusic / Amazon (remastered)
Catherine Feeny's Website/Myspace
UK Tour Dates - she's touring starting in August

Jaymay - Gray or Blue (download or die)
Jaymay - Sea Green, See Blue
I got Jaymay's EP Sea Green, See Blue from the radio station last year while I was on blog leave and have posted a few tracks randomly since them.
With "Gray or Blue" the details are so close but the situation so distant from my own experience that listening to it creates an ache for things to be different. And the approach is beautiful, aware of its own limitations: " I feel so helpless now, my guitar is not around / And I'm strugglin with the xylophone / To make these feelings sound." Listening to Jaymay feels like acceptance.
Buy Sea Green, See Blue EP from Insound
Jaymay's Website/Myspace
UK Tour Dates, most supporting Laura Veirs or Isobel Campbell

I'm done the hyping I needed to, so let's make it a mixtape:
Bright Eyes -True Blue
Gary Nock - Troubled Blue Eyes
Ryan Adams - When the Stars Go Blue
Something Corporate - She Paints Me Blue
Velvet Underground - Pale Blue Eyes
Wilco - Blue-eyed Soul
Repost: Josh Ritter - Thin Blue Flame

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Caribou: Andorra

Few upcoming albums right now have me more excited than Caribou's Andorra, to be released August 21st. "Melody Day" is a psychedelic winter's symphony, so far indie rock's best answer to Vivaldi. And I'm not one to flatter. Abstraction lives in "After Hours," which makes simple promises "I'll follow you until you wear me out" in the most majestic of musical contexts. I feel silly heaping so much praise on one band, but in this case I don't think I'll regret it a bit. Fans of the Arcade Fire, this is for you.

Caribou - Melody Day
Caribou - After Hours
Pre-order Andorra / Buy other Caribou albums
Caribou's Website/Myspace

(Update: music video for "Melody Day" here)

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Magic Bullets = Love Doctors

Who would have guessed? Maybe the magic bullet is the new cupid's arrow?
a CHILD in Life But Yet a DOCTOR in Love (their capitalization, not mine) was released in May, and you know by now how the story goes: I missed it. However, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one (it was their debut album).

I've had "Heatstroke" on repeat for about a month now, and somewhere between the keyboard, drums, and guitars I feel like Magic Bullets, hailing from San Francisco, have managed to put a city's pulse to music, its blood vessels in the streets and subways quivering with life. "People refuse to make do when they lose / something they though they'd never find again." I think the song is written to all of us, I'm well included.

Magic Bullets - Heatstroke
Magic Bullets - Yesterday's Seen Better Days
Buy a CHILD in Life But Yet a DOCTOR in Love from amazon (or iTunes)
Magic Bullets' Website/Myspace/Label Page

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"The Underdog" music video

P.S. - I had the date right on Georgie James, Places is out September 25th. See my previous post.

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Architecture in Helsinki "Heart it Races"

The video parodies any documentary on tribal natives you might see on the Discovery channel, and the result is brilliant.

Architecture in Helsinki - Heart it Races (Heart it Races EP)
Architecture in Helsinki - Debbie (Places Like This)
Buy Heart it Races EP / Pre-order Places Like This from Insound

Places Like This drops in the U.S. on August 21st. You can find tour dates and a stream of the album on their myspace.

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Josh Ritter streaming party

No, I'm not really having one. But you can here, where you can stream the Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. No kidding.
Thanks to Turn the Page for letting me on to this track off the new album, I think Ritter played this song when he came to Oberlin last year. If you get on his mailing list and buy your concert tickets in advance you get an mp3 from the new album - I don't think this is very fair because there's no Oberlin date yet, and he always comes to play there being his ruggedly handsome, beard-sporting alumni self.

Josh Ritter - Next to the Last Romantic (The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter)
Josh Ritter - Thin Blue Flame (The Animal Years)

I can't decide how I feel about what I've heard from the album, I'm going to have to listen to it more.

Update: You can also see Josh Ritter's performance at the Verbier Festival here, just click on July 24th (the video quality is really great).

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Go to sea with me, Maritime

Lately I've been listening to We, the Vehicles on repeat, seeing how I missed it when it was first released. Then I was trying to come up with an excuse to post "For Science Fiction" until I realized it was from Maritime's upcoming album Heresy and the Hotel Choir, to be released in October. This is the part where you point and laugh at me. Go ahead.

Maritime's appeal (which would be a lot easier to explain if I weren't so tired right now, I've been feeling sick all day) seems to lie in its instinctual combination of world-weariness and the "catchy factor," with instrumentation that ripples with energy and disillusioned lyrics. If it helps, my tolerance for not-exceptionally-awesome music is very low when I feel as crappy as I do right now. Actually, that fact that I'm writing about Maritime while being sick should be a give-away on its own.

the first two are
[download or die]
Maritime - For Science Fiction (Heresy and the Hotel Choir)
Maritime - Guns of Navarone (
Heresy and the Hotel Choir)
Maritime - Young Alumni (We, the Vehicles)

We, the Vehicles at Insound
Maritime's Website/Myspace

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Make an inside joke: Oberlin

Vote for America's Most Annoying Liberal Arts College here.

Oberlin's profile:
Their grads deliberately make THE most annoying contributions to American culture - Eric Bogosian, Bill Irwin, Julie Taymor, Kim France, Liz Phair, Ed Helms, Josh MacPhee, David Rees, Josh Ritter, and yea, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It's a type.
No mention of the Marxists, hippies, pot, vegans, co-ops, exco's, gender-neutral bathrooms, environmental studies kids, chronic overuse of the phrase "socially constructed," or conservatory majors? Please.
(Update: I can't believe they didn't mention Michelle Malkin)

The line-up for Pop Montreal got announced today. Right now I wish I were Canadian.

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Today's release dilemma

Personally, I find this one pretty tough. I've bought/am buying two out of the three, I couldn't decide. And now I'm going to go broke. Thoughts, anyone?

Repost: Bishop Allen - Rain (post)
Repost: John Vanderslice - White Dove (post)
Tegan and Sara - Back in your head

Buy Emerald City or The Con or The Broken String

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Bishop Allen, Page France, and the Teeth @ the Black Cat 7-22-07

It's been a long time since I've been to concert where I've been as impressed by the openers as I was at the Bishop Allen show on Sunday. Right now the only comparable example I can think of is when I saw Islands open for Metric 2 years ago and I was so completely blown away by Islands that Metric seemed a bit disappointing by comparison. Though, as always, Bishop Allen were great, but the blown-away factor already happened the first time I saw them; every show after the first time you see a band live is a little like listening a favorite song on repeat. Jason (who's been guest-blogging lately) was going to come too, but had a car crisis and ditched us at the last minute. I went with an Oberlin friend and we still had a great time.
Bishop Allen, Page France, and the Teeth will be touring together for the next month, more dates here.

The Teeth put on one of the most energetic nothing-but-Rock-&-Roll shows I've seen in a while, with Peter & Aaron (I think) sharing vocals and much crazy dancing and instrument-playing. The band's drummer seemed to be hanging out in the back thinking to himself, "yeah, I'm the non-nut in this band." If you're seeing BA in the near future, don't be one of those jerks who misses the opening bands, because missing the Teeth when you've already paid for that ticket is a crime. Now I have to spend money to buy their album, damn it. I'm going to go broke soon.
(I didn't take very many photos of the Teeth, and all the ones I took were pretty bad, the photo is from their myspace)

The Teeth - Shoulderblade

The Teeth - It's Not Funny
Buy You're My Lover Now (released in May)
The Teeth's Website/Myspace
Some older live sets from the Teeth here and here, which are available for download
Page France were up next in their full cuteness, though I might be talking specifically about Michael Nau, with his chirpy voice and all. Their live sound rocked way more than I expected, I was the kid obnoxiously dancing on the far right of the stage. Not to mention that I made an exception to my dislike of that one random girl that lots of indie pop bands seem to have (who inevitably wears the best of female hipster dress, sings, and plays keyboard, the xylophone, maybe a tambourine or maracas) for Whitney McGraw, who was great and actually needed to be there. I wouldn't mention this, except I might be implying something about a different band. Tell me if you figure it out.
(Please credit me for the photo if you use it)

Page France - Here's A Telephone

Repost: Page France - The Ruby Ring Man

Buy ...and the Family Telephone
Page France's Website/Myspace
Up next was Bishop Allen. I had to leave a bit early (all I missed was a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover, I've been told) to catch the metro before it closed, so I didn't have to the chance to steal a copy of the set list. As usual, Bishop Allen put on a great show. Much of the audience didn't seem very familiar with this year's EPs, and "Choose Again" from the Broken String was greeted by relative quiet, possibly surprise. Still, for a crowd of indie kids, Bishop Allen got people dancing. Justin Rice's on-stage dancing is always fun to watch, not to mention the way he stares out into the audience looking a little like a fawn stricken by the heat of the stage lights (no deer, no headlights, no road-slaughter), ever the misunderstood poet. Christian Rudder (who rocks my socks) is cool enough to sell merchandise himself, which I find a little nerve-wracking because you go up to buy stuff and it's him, not some random person. I didn't have to deal with this at the Charlottesville show in March, the band was running late, but at the Black Cat it freaked me out a bit. Stay put, more BA-related fun is coming.
(more photos I took at the show here, please give me credit if you use them)

Bishop Allen - Click Click Click Click (The Broken String)
Bishop Allen - The Same Fire (June EP)

My review of the Broken String
Buy The Broken String (officially released today)
Bishop Allen's Website/Myspace

I got an e-mail last night from Bishop Allen's current bassist, Giorgio, so it's time for a plug. He and BA's drummer Ruddy are in a band called 1986, they released an album called Nihilism is Nothing To Worry About last year and are about to go record another one. I've been listening to bits and pieces of the record, it's a lot of fun.
(the photo is from 1986's myspace)

1986 - Better When You're Stoned (the song could be about my ex, easily. or me, sometimes.)
Buy Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About
1986's Myspace

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Mixtape: indie kids covering indie kids

Sweet insanity

Hello people, Jason here. I sadly wasn't able to make it to Bishop Allen and meet up with Kate. (sad.) Speaking of Kate, she lies so terribly about HP, do not listen to her. The truth is... the Bloody Baron is a Horcrux and Peaves is really the reincarnation of Gridelwald.

Tonight I bring you the music of singer(band?) Soko seems to based in Paris and has one of the sweetest sounds I've heard in awhile. They also have some of the most psychotic lyrics I have heard with such sweet music. I hope she doesn't kill me.

Soko's myspace
Soko - I'll Kill Her (Soko Not Sokute)
Soko - Take My Heart (Soko Not Sokute)

and finally the awesome I'll Kill Her Music Video!

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I've just barely made it with one day to go before John Vanderslice's Emerald City is released. If the tracks I've heard are any indication of the rest of the album, it could be one of my favorite releases of the year.

Listening to "White Dove" I am seduced by the twilight, the aphotic grief cast over the song without the aid of anything but the simplest of instrumentation. Vanderslice seems to want to lurk in the depths, letting us slide over his sorrow as he freezes it over. He refuses to flinch as I listen to the mocking coldness of his voice and look through the ice, skating on the sleekest and the sharpest of blades. But his concerns are of a higher order, living and breathing in their world-weariness, their desire to look to current events and ask how pain and sorrow will end.

John Vanderslice - White Dove [download or die]
John Vanderslice - Kookaburra

Some upcoming tour dates:
July 25 - Palo Alto, CA
July 28 - Seattle, WA
Aug 3 - Long Beach, CA
Aug 4 - San Diego, CA
Aug 11 - San Francisco, CA
Aug 17 - New York, NY
(full tour schedule)
***Sept 22 - Washington, DC @ the Rock and Roll Hotel***
***Oct 3 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop***

Pre-order Emerald City from Barsuk Records / Insound
John Vanderslice's website (mp3s available for download here)
John Vanderslice's myspace (where you can stream Emerald City)

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Quick update

So I ran away to DC this weekend and haven't been able to post due to my lack of internet access and time. I'm seeing Bishop Allen, Page France, and the Teeth tonight at the Black Cat (so is Jason, by the way), so expect a review sometime tomorrow Tuesday.

Bishop Allen - Rain
Page France - Junkyard

P.S. - Harry Potter was excellent! (Spoiler: Peeves is really a Horcrux)

Harry making me crazy

I ordered Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows on and won't get it until tomorrow. The wait is killing me, so I'm posting. It's sad to think that posting is what I do when I'm waiting for reality to catch up to me.

The Flaming Lips - Waiting for Superman
Iron & Wine - Waiting for Superman (Flaming Lips cover)

...just because it's J.LO...
Jennifer Lopez - Waiting for Tonight


The Rakes: Ten New Messages

I've been wandering around all day (yesterday too) thinking there was some band I really wanted to post on, but couldn't remember what it was.

The Rakes released Ten New Messages in March, and the second single from the album, "The World Was a Mess But His Hair Was Perfect," was released on July 16. Somehow I let this critical piece of information slip my mind. The Rakes make blissfully British 80's-style dance music, minus the bad hair and ugly high-waisted jeans (it was really the Americans who always seemed to look awful in them). I've never been a good devotee of all things 80's - my musical knowledge is mostly limited to The Cure and Billy Idol - so please help me find more of this joy, if you will.

The Rakes - When Tom Cruise Cries
The Rakes - The World Was a Mess But His Hair Was Perfect

The Rakes' website (check those tour dates - some of you non-Americans may be able to catch them live, us U.S. kids won't have that kind of opportunity in the near future)
Buy Ten New Messages (you can also get it at eMusic)

P.S. - The Arctic Monkeys announced some new tour dates.

The Arctic Monkeys - Choo Choo

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Mixtape: TGIF

Finest Dearest - Sleep Until the Weekend
The Young Knives - Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)
Georgie James - Long Week
Jens Lekman - Friday Night At the Drive-in
Lily Allen - Friday Night
The Cure - Friday I'm In Love
Girl Talk - Friday Night
The Darkness - Friday Night

John Stewart reminds us why the Democrats are whimps:

Plus: George Bush is actually a Buddist ("Two sides of the same reality") and...Stephen Colbert interviewed Michael Moore and actually spoke to Moore like he should be taken seriously, which I found a bit disgusting.


New Stars in the Sky

Jason's back with another guest post:
I have been giving the new Stars album several listens trying to pick it apart. (If you are wondering why I'm even listening to it, it's been released digitally on emusic, iTunes, and the Arts&Crafts website for those digital crusaders among you)

Some things in this new album are familiar and comfortable as an old friend. Amy and Torquil provide ever beautiful vocals, and a strong interplay on tracks such as "Personal." We still have the beautiful instrumentals that seemed tinged with sadness. Of course, there are still tracks about relationships coming together and falling apart, but not as many as you would think.

However, things have changed, like life, Stars has evolved. The arrangements have become somewhat more sparse, that sadness more subtle. Stars is that old friend... You see them years later, and life and wisdom has shaped them into someone different then what they were when you remember him. You still see your old friend, but it's different.

And it still sounds perfectly beautiful.
I could work my way for pages trying to pin what exactly sets this album apart from star's other albums.

but I don't think I can. I can barely choose what track to post on the blog.

Listen for yourself.
Stars - Personal (In Our Bedroom After the War)
Stars - the Aspidistra Flies (The Comeback EP)
Stars - Your Ex-Lover is Dead (Final Fantasy Remix) (Do you trust your friends?)

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This is not news, but still I pine away.

There's been no news from my favorite Scottish twee poppers (and possibly favorite band of all time) Belle and Sebastian and no tour dates since last September. On one hand, this could mean that Stuart Murdoch is writing songs, the band is in the studio, and Stevie's just being his cute self. On the other...anything could happen! They could break up! They could go on being their charming Scottish selves and never record music together again!

In the Q&A Section of B&S's Website:
From: Derrick Reid
Q.Hey....You guys..... So...the suspense is killing me..! It's June 13th, not a peep from my favourite band as to their plans for the rest of the year !! Back to studio ? Album ? Tour ? What gives ? ;-) Derrick

The Summer is calling, come blow your horn, go get a girl, go forth and live your dream.
See the colours in your paint box?
Mix them up and splash them across the Season's canvas Jackson Pollok style or if you wish, apply them with a more deft yet still joyful stroke.
I hate to be an emo kid, but I'm dying inside.

Belle and Sebastian - Sukie in the Graveyard (The Life Pursuit)
Belle and Sebastian - If You Find Yourself Caught in Love (Dear Catastrophe Waitress)
Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (The Blues Are Still Blue EP)
Belle and Sebastian - Your Cover's Blown (Books EP)

Belle and Sebastian - I Know Where the Summer Goes (This is Just a Modern Rock Song EP)
Belle and Sebastian - Belle & Sebastian (Dog on Wheels EP)

Buy albums and apparel from the Belle and Sebastian shop

from "I Know Where the Summer Goes"

I know where the summer goes
When you're having no fun
When you're under the thumb
I know where the summer dwells
If your underarm smells
And your kitchen looks like hell


Harry Potter + Bloc Party

Only 2 days (or a little more than 1 if you're getting the book at midnight) until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is released, and I'm so scared Harry's going to die...

Meanwhile, I'm loving this YouTube video, where Bloc Party's "the Prayer" is played over a mash-up of clips from the HP movies.

Bloc Party - Hunting for Witches
The Flaming Lips - the Wizard turns on...

More book prep: Hypeful's Wizard Rock Post

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Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog preview

Nothing about Iron & Wine's music has ever been revolutionary, nothing about Sam Beam's songwriting hasn't been done before. With a voice ancient and balmy as an ocean breeze, Sam Beam always struck closest to my heart when he told stories - it's no wonder that my favorite Iron & Wine song is "Jesus the Mexican Boy." Our Endless Numbered Days (2005) was an album obsessed with mothers, God, lovers, and what happens when the world goes wrong. The past lived within the present, and Sam Beam's imagination was clearly obsessed with the possibilities of a troubled Southern past with songs like "Free Until They Cut Me Down" and "Sodom, South Georgia."

With most of the Shepherd's Dog sitting on my computer and the Boy with a Coin single in my hand, I wonder where those obsessions have gone. Are they still there hiding in Iron and Wine's music? I'm not sure.

What I can tell you is this: with the Shepherd's Dog, I get the sense that Sam Beam has metaphorically placed his voice and Iron & Wine's instrumentation on an anvil and hammered it to perfection. The sapless quality of the vocals is gone, and while I miss the prominence of the guitar and lo-fi feel of older Iron & Wine recordings, I think the change is for the better.

Iron & Wine - Boy with a Coin (single)
Iron & Wine - Resurrection Fern (The Shepherd's Dog)
Iron & Wine - Jesus the Mexican Boy

The Shepherd's Dog will be released on September 25th.
Buy the Boy with a Coin single from Insound

Iron & Wine tour dates - all of these are in the UK in October

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The Rondo Brothers: Seven Minutes to Midnight

Genre-hopping indie music is always a bit troublesome, and this is especially true with anything with an overlap in hip-hop. The Rondo Brothers reside in that strange place between hip-hop and electronica (thanks to Beck they at least have good company), not particularly comfortable in either genre and proud of it. In the face of a cityscape increasingly painted in shades of gray, the Rondo Brothers' response is to make blissful dance music and flip hip-hop's social awareness coin on its opposite side, and simply shrug off our differences. Seven Minutes to Midnight was released on June 19th, and trust me, you don't want to miss it.

The Rondo Brothers - In the Valley

The Rondo Brothers - Until We All Fall Down
Buy Seven Minutes to Midnight at
The Rondo Brothers' Website/Myspace

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More birthday fun...

Celebrating 19 years of bad music

It's my birthday today, so this is what you get:
(bands I would never normally write about)

Nine Days Theirs was the first non-Broadway Musical, non-Britney Spears, not-terrible album I bought with my own money back when I was 12. I actually still love the Madding Crowd and pull it out sometimes on a rainy day.
Nine Days - Absolutely (Story of a Girl)
Nine Days - End up Alone

Green Day
Green Day was my big 7th grade musical discovery, I think I pretty much own all their albums, though I'm not so crazy about the direction they've gone with their music since American Idiot. They take themselves way to seriously these days.
Green Day - J.A.R.
Green Day - Westbound Sign

Bowling for Soup
They were the first band I ever saw live, I'm thinking back when I was freshman in High School. I think I went through my emo music stage after buying Drunk Enough to Dance and deciding I was too cool for this pop punk stuff. Thank goodness that didn't last.
Bowling for Soup - Girl All the Bad Guys Want

John Mayer So I completely loved Room for Squares, but got a little disgusted with John Mayer after "Your Body is a Wonderland" and moved on.
John Mayer - 3x5

The Starting Line Yeah, I still love the Startling Line. Especially this music video. And that girl on the album cover? Not a girl.
The Starting Line - Best of Me

Dashboard Confessional
I have nothing to say... except you should read this Dusk and Summer review, because it's hilarious, maybe brilliant.
Dashboard Confessional - Vindicated

Around the time I was getting into indie music (ahem, Belle and Sebastian), Avril Lavigne emerged on the scene (4 years ago) and I was equally disgusted and intrigued, so.
Avril Lavigne - My Happy Ending
Not to mention she makes the greatest music videos (a good example here).

Currently I have this strange obsession with Ashlee Simpson, don't ask me why.
Ashlee Simpson - L.O.V.E. (music videos here and here)

Some more music videos I'm ashamed to love:
Fall Out Boy - This Ain't A Scene, It's an Arms Race
Kelly Osbourne - Shut Up
Relient K - Be My Escape

The All-American Rejects - Move Along
Hillary Duff - Wake Up
My Chemical Romance - I'm Not Okay
Something Corporate - Punk Rock Princess

I challenge you all to admit to all the bad music you've listened to over the years...GO!

Today's link dump: Reid fails again

  • So last night Reid tried to pull an all-night vote on Iraq withdrawal, and couldn't get enough votes for cloture (52-47). The Post story frames this as a "failure" for Reid, but Scott over at LGM was nice enough to remind us of some past uses of the filibuster (which I'm all for keeping, I just think the mainstream media should cover it as what it is - a tool for the minority on a contentious issue).
  • Harold Meyerson's editorial in the Post today rails against Republican Senators who are against continuing the war on its current course in name only - VA's own John Warner being a prominent example. The 5 Senators he highlights all voted against cloture, by the way.
  • Aw shucks, Romney isn't actually a top tier GOP candidate and people should stop talking about him like he is. Which would imply that hard-line Democrats talk about him because Romney = great way to make fun of the Republican party as a whole. Ooops, I'll stop covering him, but not before I mention the $300 his campaign spent on make-up before the May 3rd Republican debate.
  • Why we shouldn't take Edwards' poverty tour too seriously.
  • Psssp - this is a secret. I still love and idolize John McCain, but I'm thinking my dream ticket for 2008 is looking more like Obama-Richardson these days, unless Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination or something crazy like that. Don't tell anyone. Why ideologically-libertarian politically-independent voters (like me) and "conservatives" (Andrew Sullivan's definition) may vote Democratic.

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Of Montreal tour! (there's an Oberlin date!)

YANP put up some Of Montreal Tour dates, and I was shocked when I looked at the list to discover that Of Montreal are coming to Oberlin!
I'm so excited! I can't contain it!

More dates (I left out the European dates):
09-28 Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
10-02 Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theatre
10-03 Urbana, IL - Canopy Club
10-04 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
10-05 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
10-06 Chicago, IL - Metro
10-07 Chicago, IL - Metro
10-08 Oberlin, OH - Hale’s Gym (Party in the house!)
10-09 Detroit, MI - Majestic Theatre
10-10 Buffalo, NY - The Tralf
10-11 Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero
10-12 Boston, MA - The Roxy
10-13 New York, NY - Roseland
10-14 Baltimore, MD - Ram’s Head Live
10-31 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
11-01 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
11-02 Houston, TX - Numbers
11-03 Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest
11-04 Dallas, TX - Granda Theatre
11-05 El Paso, TX - Club 101
11-06 Tempe, AZ - Marquee
11-07 Tucson, AZ - Rialto
11-08 Los Angeles, CA - Avalon
11-09 Los Angeles, CA - Avalon
11-12 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
11-13 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
11-14 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
11-16 Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue
11-17 Denver, CO - Ogden Theater
11-18 Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall
11-19 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant

Of Montreal - No Conclusion


Trey Mills

When it comes to submissions I'm a huge procrastinator, so sometimes I just have to prioritize. As soon as I heard Trey Mills' music I knew I had to write about it. I hesitate to make a comparison to Timbaland because of the obvious genre differences, but when a producer comes out of the studio into the spotlight, the result is usually worth listening to.

Listening to the Saving Me EP, some things are immediately apparent: like any good producer, Mills knows the ins and outs of masterful arrangements. What makes this particularly intriguing is that behind the layers of instrumentation is a poignant vulnerability. "Saving Me" is a particularly good example of the lucidity of Mills' lyrics (which would be hard to pull off without the strong melodies and instrumentals), his willingness to stretch his voice to frailty in order to convey his point. Fans of Pete Yorn, the Fray, Snow Patrol, and Jamie Cullum will find their place in Mills' music.

Trey Mills - Saving Me [download or die]
Trey Mills - Holding On

Buy Saving Me EP (also on iTunes)
Trey Mills' website/myspace

P.S. - I'm 19 tomorrow!

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On repeat: The Broken West

I wrote about the Broken West back in May, but finally bought I Can't Go On, I'll Go On while I was in Georgetown on Saturday. I'm still impressed with how great of an album it is, belonging up with the likes of Ryan Adam's Heartbreaker and Wilco's A.M.
Check it out.

The Broken West - So it Goes [download or die]
Buy I Can't Go On I'll Go On from Insound/Amazon
The Broken West's Myspace

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Comedians for Scooter Libby

Remember Obama Girl? now, versus Giuliani girl

Pitchfork (aka "Bitchfork") retrospective

Hello! Jason here.
I'm back from a beautiful weekend at pitchfork and my god was it amazing. The people at Pitchfork truly have put together another fine festival for the indie kid public. Hopefully they will continue to offer us poor starving indie kids a wonderful but inexpensive festival experience and not go the way of other festivals *cough*Lollapalooza*cough*

I noticed a few trends and highlights:

First of all, beards seemed to be popular at Pitchfork, and not just some scraggly indie beard (see: Voxtrot) (tons of those) but big fuckoff old testament beards. (apologies to Eddie Izzard) notable examples: Sam Beam of Iron and Wine and Brent Hinds of Mastadon. As a fan and supporter of beards that are not mine, I would like to see more of these great bearded musicians. Some of the members of Californe looked well on their way to the beard critical mass.

Second of all, I beat someone at one of the label tables at chess. I can't remember what label, I'll probably remember when I get an email from them (I signed up for their email list.) The girl wasn't terrible and she played a good game. I was missing The Sea and Cake at the time. I hope nobody finds that to be too big a crime against music.

One thing I'll say I have mixed feelings about is the lack of blood and bone being given up for the festival this year. Last year we had two notable musician injuries. We had one artist on the 3rd stage jump or fall (can't remember which) off the stage and break his arm. We also had Ted Leo getting much too excited and he seemed to have cut his head. We didn't have that kind of masochistic devotion this year. I'm really not sure if that's good or bad yet.

One thing that did return from last year is the announcer. The balding guy...was just a little excitable. He gave some of the corniest intros I have ever heard, which were sometimes very long-winded to boot. He also was infamous for announcing the Mountain Goats as the Billy Goats last year and this year announcing Deerhoof instead of Deerhunter. (Deerhoof did play last year though) Despite being terrible, he is rather amusing and I hope he sticks around despite all of his shortcomings.
Finally, although most bands were good, some great, some just weird as hell (I'm looking at you Deerhunter and Of Montreal) one band stands out in my mind. The New Pornographers played an amazing set getting everyone moving, and giving me an hour of bliss with old and new songs off their forthcoming album which Kate posted about a bit below.

P.S. For all those complete Yoko haters. No, the set was in no way shape or form great. I also think it wasn't appropriate for pitchfork or to be headliner. However, some of the noise rock they did was actually rather good and Thurston Moore gave a brilliant performance.

- Jason

P.S.S. Kate is a Yoko hater.

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