The rest of the songs that make up Sleeping Beauty don't quite fit in the same category, but are still enjoyable. "Your Dead City" makes me giggle a little inside with the line: "You could call your website: Counting Sheep."
The Special Pillow - I Love Your Smile [highly rec'd]
The Special Pillow - Your Dead City
Buy Sleeping Beauty at CD Baby
The Special Pillow's Website/Myspace
Georgie James - Long Week
Hot Hot Heat - Running Out of Time
Band of Horses - Weed Party
We Are Scientists - Ram it Home
Bishop Allen - The History of Excuses
Saves the Day - Third Engine
Seabear - I Sing I Swim [download or die]
I've been lured into the sparkling net of Seabear, a pretty fish for the catching. But the song aims to mourn and throws me overboard, and so I'm saved.
The first snow of the winter won't come for another 2 months or so, and I'm left to imagine its arrival. Leaves, windblown, circle in a soft vortex, coated with white dust. I try to taste snow flakes, they melt with human contact. I take a long walk after the sun sets, the moon is bright and my toes are cold. I remember I won't tell you what, except that it's cause for a sad smile, not nearly a grimace. Such is the end of the fall.
Somewhere in here I should mention the fluttering piano, the understated guitar, the dainty xylophone, and Sindri Sigfœsson's hushed, understated vocals. Seabear hails from Iceland, and The Ghost that Carried Us Away was released in August.
When the birds are sleeping that’s when the trees singSeabear - Libraries
You left your winter clothes in the deep marks in my skin
So shake the leaves off the trees, watching them fall down on the street
Your son, your daughter, swimming in the water
Buy The Ghost that Carried Us Away from Boomkat/Amazon.de
Bonus: Iron & Wine - Communion Cups and Someone's Coat [highly rec'd!]
(see previous post: The Shepherd's Dog preview)
I’ve been listening to “Vice Rag” on repeat for a couple of days now; since the first time I heard it I knew I had to post on it. But tonight I found myself listening to another AA Bondy song, “There’s A Reason,” which reminds me of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” for inexplicable reasons.
And I gave my hand to the fatesAnd the feeling I’ve had lately of looking over my shoulder is suddenly illuminated. Behind I can see where I’ve been, and I know not where I go. A strange state of mind indeed.
and they took me around
and they showed me the seven wonders
the sights and the sounds
There was a man with cinders for eyes
There was a girl with a dress made of flies
And there’s a reason…
AA Bondy - There's A Reason [highly rec'd!]
AA Bondy - Vice Rag
Buy American Hearts (released September 18th)
AA Bondy's Myspace/Label page
Psychedelic pop* rarely seems to live in the real world, and that’s often part of its appeal. But “Time to Pretend” seems determined to turn this notion on its head, with cynical lyrics such as “Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives” set to a soundtrack of steady drum beats, synths, and trippy vocals. MGMT is touring with Of Montreal, and of course will be opening for them when they come to Oberlin. They’re based out of Brooklyn, and I think this could be the beginning of the end of my Canadian obsession…but we’ll see. I'm having a hard time pinning down when their debut album, Oracular Spectacular, can be bought / will be released (supposedly this month?), but I'm working on it. (Update: it was released on October 2nd, and you can get it on iTunes.)
What else can we do?MGMT - Time to Pretend [download or die]
get jobs in offices
and wake up for the morning commute.
Forget about our mothers and our friends,
We’re fated to pretend.
Tour dates with Of Montreal
*They seem to take issue with their music being described as “synth pop,” but Surf/Jungle/Country just makes me go WTG? (I just made that up, it stands for “What The Genre?” and I think it’ll be making regular appearances on the blog now…)
Bonus: Of Montreal - No Conclusion
Drastic Fantastic, KT Tunstall's new album, is out on Tuesday (the 18th). The disc is more rockin' as a whole than her Eye to the Telescope, which was successful largely due to the two upbeat singles "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See." Is it any surprise, then, that Drastic Fantastic should more resemble those than, say, "Heal Over" or the excellent "Through the Dark?"
Notably missing from this album are slower songs anywhere near the quality of those off of Eye to the Telescope or KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza. Although "Someday Soon" is quite good, it's nothing next to "Universe & U" or "Ashes" off of her previous discs. Interesting, though, are the songs that sound suspiciously as if they used to be soft songs that have been fed through the pop production filter. Witness "If Only" and "Saving My Face," both good songs but here produced as a kind of female rock-anthem instead of the quiter treatment that they seem to call for. I like this about them--they fit the album, and are still great songs--but a little more variety wouldn't have hurt. Maybe that's just me.
This is not to say that KT has "sold out" (am I the only one who needs scare quotes to say that?). Drastic is a sensible progression of her style--even the quiet songs of Telescope have that stomp-clap drive to them that is honed to a perfect pop beat in "Hold On," Drastic's first single. I may wish that this disc slowed down a little here and there, but what it does do, it does very well--you'll be bobbing your head throughout. I'm particularly fond of the folk-punk "I Don't Want You Now," the quiet-song-gone-a-rockin' "Saving My Face," and "Hold On." A tambourine always does rock-n-roll good.
So with all that having been said, I'm off to rock out with KT some more. Enjoy!
KT Tunstall - Hold On
KT Tunstall - Saving My Face
Buy Drastic Fantastic from Amazon
Moving Units - Blood Beats [highly rec'd!]
Moving Units - Wrong Again
Pre-order Hexes for Exes from Amazon.com
Moving Units' Myspace
It's "too beautiful too fuck." I've been avoiding writing about Kevin Drew's upcoming solo album (to be released September 18th) even though I'm loving what I've heard so far...sad, no?
Broken Social Scene fans will know - well, I just gave away the punchline - Kevin Drew through his work with the band, but having never been a huge BSS fan, I'm favoring the quieter, more personal approach of his solo work. I'm pretty sure you'll like it too.
Damn those Canadians and their amazing musical talent, damn them all to Canada.
Kevin Drew - TBTF [highly rec'd!]
Kevin Drew - Fucked Up Kid
Pre-order Spirit If... from Insound
Kevin Drew's Website/Myspace
Bloodshot Revival - King of the Casios
Bloodshot Revival - Naive Allure
Buy their 3-song demo from CD Baby
Bloodshot Revival's Myspace
Bonus: The Buzzcocks - Wish I Never Loved You
Zookeeper - Tax Collector
Chaos has overtaken not any physical space so much as my life, and my roommate / bff has had to put up with the mess the most. The phone rings, the hill-billy country takes over with jingles and jangles and a thumping baseline, accompanied by drums. "I live in the mess you are" has become something of an anthem for me lately: sharing someone's craziness is part of what makes sharing your life (or room) with them worth it. Though sometimes it can become a bit overwhelming...
Zookeeper hails from Austin, TX and the band will be releasing its debut album, Becoming All Things, on November 6.
Buy Zookeeper EP from Bellecitypop
On a similar vein, I saw Rock Plaza Central when they came to the 'Sco at Oberlin last week. Live, they're fucking crazy! (in a good way)
Rock Plaza Central - Anthem for the Already Defeated
Rock Plaza Central's Website/Myspace
Just the facts: The Main Drag hails from Boston, and makes electro-rock, or something of the sort. Being able to make up words here is a relief, I already have papers to write.
The Main Drag - A Jagged Gorgeous Winter [highly rec'd!]
The Main Drag - Love During Wartime
The Main Drag's Myspace
(I'm pretty sure you can buy the album on iTunes, and I'm telling you this despite my hatred for iTunes)
Dar Williams – After All [download or die]
As such stories often go, things got worse before they got better. I’ll do myself a favor and spare you all the details. I've never been a huge Dar Williams fan, but I'm thinking last night's performance may have changed that.
Dar Williams - I Had No Right
Lately I can think of a band I've spent more time obsessing over than the Triangles, who hail from Australia and make truly delicious bubblegum pop. "Will It Float?", from their newest release, Seventy-Five Year Plan, has gotten a little bit of blog attention, but the song I've found myself listening to is "I've Had Eyes for You" which imitates a dialogue that goes something like this:
I've had eyes for you for most of the yearAnyway......
...Well actually that explains a bit
You never know
...I am oh so oh so slow
The Triangles - I've Had Eyes for You [alt link] [highly rec'd!]
The Triangles - Will it Float? [alt link] [highly rec'd!]
Buy Seventy-Five Year Plan
The Triangles' Website/Myspace
The Triangles - Applejack [alt link] [highly rec'd!]
(this song is disgustingly cheerful, but I'm pathetically in love with it.)
Bonus: Modest Mouse - Long Distance Drunk
I went to see 3:10 to Yuma last night--good movie, I recommend it--and as the ads rolled before the previews, I saw this new Razr ad:
I was very pleased with the choice of music (Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko). They could have cut the song better, but it's still a great ad: awesome music, action sexy and well-done.
For more Shiny Toy Guns, see my post here or their website--they're doing a thorough tour with Blue October right now, if you're interested in a show.
I've been flirting with a love of a cappella music for about a year now, and DeCadence, hailing from the People's Republic of Berkeley, was one of the first groups to tempt me down that path.
On the one hand, it's a shame that the only real a cappella to be found out there is on the college campuses. On the other, it's takes the particular blend of pop culture, academic pursuit and youthful energy found only on these campuses to produce such gems as DeCadence's Songs From The Closet.
Check out the track listing:
1. River of Dreams (Billy Joel)
2. King of Carrot Flowers (Neutral Milk Hotel)
3. Let Her Cry/ Foolish Games (Hootie and the Blowfish/ Jewel)
4. You Gotta Be (Des'ree)
5. Hurt (Nine Inch Nails, Johnny Cash)
6. Rainbow Connection (Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson))
7. Summertime/ Motherless Child (George Gershwin, via a Princeton a cappella group)
8. Falling (Ben Kweller)
9. Say Goodbye (Angela Don)
10. Super Mario Brothers (Live) (Koji Kondo)
The arrangements are (largely--there are a couple of duds) good, the singing excellent, the selection tasteful...the only downside is that the only way to get it is through their website.
I particularly like "Let Her Cry/ Foolish Games" -- put it with The Beatles's "For No One" and Ryan Adams's "Dear Chicago" and you've got a the sound of heartbreak.
DeCadence - Let Her Cry/ Foolish Games (Hootie and the Blowfish/ Jewel cover) [download or die]
DeCadence - Falling (Ben Kweller Cover) [highly rec'd]
Buy Songs From The Closet from DeCadence's website.
P.S. I've fixed the links on my Shiny Toy Guns post--sorry about the delay!
“No blog tracks found for: we're, about and 9 :(“
I arrived at the Cat in the Cream with my usual set of expectations: better than average means better than mediocre, and I go to as many of their free concerts as I can, so I'm not making this up. I was blown away by We’re about 9 almost as soon as they’d arrived on stage; both Katie Graybeal and Brian Gundersdorf have great voices for folk music, their songs are incredibly vibrant, and their lyrics are funny and smart. Not to mention the fact that they kept the audience laughing with banter between songs. Why had I never heard of this band before? The first set came and went, I bought an album, I came back for the second set. The folk music became more personal, more low-key, and the appeal remained the same.
Anyway, after the show I went up and talked to Brian for what ended up being a good half hour. The band has been playing together for 7 years and is releasing their newest album this month. They played a bunch of songs from it at the show, and all of them were excellent. I don’t have an mp3s from it to give you at the moment, but hopefully that will change sometime the near future. The ones below are from their some of their older albums, and hopefully will make you fall in love with them.
We're About 9 - Brooklyn [highly rec'd!]
We're About 9 - I Stopped Listening [highly rec'd!]
Buy I Stopped Listening from CD Baby
We're About 9's Website/Myspace
Yes, that's right, Jason is back in all of his glory! I am currently studying abroad in Denmark for the next 4 months and hopefully will still have time to post beautiful music for you beautiful people. Maybe I'll even infiltrate the danish music underground and dig up the next big Scandinavian band for everyone to bow down to.
During my travels I've been compiling a playlist which illustrates getting to Denmark and my first few days in Copenhagen.
We shall begin.
Going Through Security: Ok Go - Here it Goes Again (I swear to god I need to remember to shave off my beard before I leave next time)
Take off: Rilo Kiley - Plane Crash in C (no, I don't like flying all that much.)
"traveling songs": these songs just are the songs I thought of that were perfect for traveling.
Bright Eyes - Four Winds
The New Pornographers - Go Places
Bedroom Eyes - Norwegian Pop (yes, they played Norwegian pop on one of the music channels...no, it wasn't as amazing as this song.)
St. Vincent - Paris is Burning (this one goes out to the hilarious/annoying Frenchman sitting behind me on the plane.)
Arrival: Gene Kelly - Singin' in the Rain (yes it rains alot here)
Airport to University bus ride: Justus Kohncke - Interglactic Autobahn (I swear the highways are a form of population control)
Hailing from Spain, Malaventura is Fernando G. Tamajon, who creates electronic music that shimmers and thumps, that would suit rain falling in neon colors just as well as a rush past the stars and encounters with the exotic unknown. The Secret of the Moon EP was released in July.
The Octopus Project - I Saw the Bright Shinies
The trio's name is remarkably fitting, because hearing them is a psychedelic sea voyage, sailing at night while possibly tripping on acid. You know you know how it goes. Hello, Avalanche will be released on October 9th.
The Octopus Project's Website
The Starting Line - Island (Direction)
The Starting Line - Best of Me (Say It Like You Mean It)
Some other music with which I'm having similar problems:
Yellowcard - The Takedown
Dashboard Confessional - Thick As Thieves
Red Collar - Used Guitars [highly rec'd!]
The song is a solid rock number, but I’ve been listening to it the way some of my friends read Tarot cards. Each meaning of every card is enumerated, its implications discussed in detail, thought about for days afterwards until what overwhelms you is no longer the singular combination of cards, but the full meaning of the message they convey.
The first line of “Used Guitars” comes as though casually dropped in a conversation, when you’ve suffered enough setbacks to learn that the best kind of expectations are no expectations, you have to be careful about getting to excited about anything with promise. Fortune doesn’t keep her promises. Jason Kutchma’s voice is weathered, and when he sings “we were made / to fail every day” there’s no bitterness, no anguish, just dark acceptance. And more importantly, kindness: “And I wish you all the luck / that I never had.”Buy The Hands Up EP
Red Collar's Website/Myspace
I know I've mentioned it before, but ever since last spring a year-and-a-half ago I've had something of an identity crisis. My parents had moved three times and I had moved five times in by the beginning of last fall, all in a period of about 7 months, and somewhere in the change I found that there was no place I felt I could call home. It wasn't really something I talked about much, but the perceived loss became something of self-constructed parasite.
Anyway, I've been looking forward to returning to Oberlin because last spring, and more so this summer, I realized that at least for the next 3 years, this is Home. There's something incredibly comforting about that.
Oh No! Oh My! - Finally Found A Home [download or die]
Oh No! Oh My's Website/Myspace
I've been on an electronica kick recently, thanks to Shiny Toy Guns. I've found myself inadvertently dancing as I walk between classes--usually a good sign.
Their album We Are Pilots was released last year. It's a great mix of electronica and rock, but as catchy as the music is, it's the vocals that carry the day: it's nice to hear a record that features both a male and a female vocalist, and Carah Faye Charnow is not shy about delivering the lyrics as they deserve.
Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko
Shiny Toy Guns - Jackie Will Save Me
Buy We Are Pilots from Amazon
Edit: Ok, I fixed the links; sorry about the delay--I can't get notifications when comments are left on my posts, as this isn't my blog. I didn't realize they didn't work until last night. Enjoy the music!
And thanks to Alex for the stop-gap link provision.