Monday, April 30, 2012

New Music Tuesday - May 01, 2012

Father John Misty - Fear Fun

Given how obsessive I can tend to get about music, I was surprised to realize that this was not J. Tillman's first album, granted it is his first under the name "Father John Misty." Tillman is the recently departed drummer for the Fleet Foxes, so I know he's been a major part of at least two incredible albums. I also like what I've heard from him here, looks like my library is about to grow by seven albums!
"Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings"

Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts

Norah Jones has been a number of things in her career. She started off a lilting jazz singer, with a heavy pop influence, which she maintained for about three albums. On her most recent album, The Fall, she explored a more roots-based, country sound. Here, though, may be my favorite incarnation of her. It's pop, but more straight-forwardly so. She seems more confident than ever and, I think , it suits her voice better.

Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe

I'm still pissed that someone forced Santi White to change her stage name from Santogold. Fortunately, she's still the same amazing artist regardless of the name that she records under. Having loved her debut album, I had very high expectations for the follow-up. She does more than deliver, she blows the debut out of the water.
"Disparate Youth"

Sunday, April 29, 2012

OK, I'm a Dork

Sherwin-Williams (yes, the paint place) recently released a browser add-in called Chip It! The add-in allows a user to take a picture that's online and find up to 10 of the colors in the picture.

Presumably, it's meant to be a tool to allow users to find a paint color to match a beloved picture or swatch of fabric. But me being me, I've been using it to find the colors on my favorite album covers!

I don't actually have any current plans to create room themes around any of these albums, though the ease of using this tool may make that a future project!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Congratulations Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford!

Last Saturday, actress Carey Mulligan married musician Marcus Mumford in England. The two had been engaged for nine months and dating five months before that.

Carey has become one of the few truly bright points among young actresses, gaining attention for movies like An Education and Shame, getting a Best Actress nomination for her role in the former. Mumford is the frontman for folk-inspired band Mumford & Sons (I guess that makes Mulligan a step mom!).

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rapture - "How Deep Is Your Love"

I like this video since it reminds me of going to church as a child and how the ladies at the church would have their Sunday best on, including colorful hats! That said, I'm not quite sure what to make of tiny Luke Jenner dancing around in the video, especially since it doesn't seem to be a part of any greater narrative. An interesting video, nonetheless.

Well...I guess something could be said about the debated religious undertones of the group's album, In the Grace of Your Love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On Repeat: "Night Swim"

My knowledge of and experience with Frankie Rose goes back only as far as about the release of her excellent new album, Interstellar, which was about three months ago. In that time, she has quickly become one of my new favorites. While the album has many excellent tracks, "Night Swim" might be my favorite. I love how crisp and fresh her vocals sound on the chorus!

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 04/24/2012

Brendan Benson - What Kind of World

Mr. Benson probably could have picked a better date to release his new album. As well-written as his songs are, he always seems to be playing second fiddle to his Raconteurs band mate, Jack White. While the album may lose out on attention, it's still a good release. He doesn't attempt to reinvent his own wheel, sticking to a simple, straightforward pop sound.
"Bad for Me"

The Dandy Warhols - This Machine

I caught an early listen of this release on NME. The songs are good, but a little all over the place. It seems like, after seven albums, they're suddenly unsure of what they want to be. At times, it sounds like Iggy Pop, other times Daft Punk and almost like Magnetic Fields at other points. None of the songs, individually, are bad, they just don't seem to fit together. This album's at its best when it's not trying too hard.
"Sad Vacation"

Jack White - Blunderbuss

It was starting to seem like Jack White was a band kind of man. He always embarked on musical ventures, at least, as part of a duo. After more than 20 years performing music (and 15 years after The White Stripes' first album) he is finally releasing a solo album. Stylistically, I'd say this is more akin to his work with his most popular band; it's mostly his voice and his guitar, whereas in later projects, there was more instrumentation and shared vocals. A very welcome return!
"Sixteen Saltines"

The Raveonettes - Into the Night EP

The Raveonettes are one of those bands that found their sound early and have not strayed from it. They return with this short, but sweet, EP of songs just as reverb-y and loud as anything they've put out.
"Into the Night"

Rufus Wainwright - Out of the Game

I almost can't get over how beautiful Rufus Wainwright's voice sounds on this album, especially on the title track (not that he hasn't sounded good in past releases). I think what really convinced me of this album was watching him perform the song, as well as "Jericho," in the back of a taxi cab on a recent episode of The Black Cab Sessions. Also, no one can ever truly go wrong putting Helena Bonham-Carter in one of their music videos!
"Out of the Game"

Suckers - Candy Salad

I just realized that Rufus Wainwright says this band's name repeatedly in the title track for his new album. While I'm sure it has nothing to do with the band, he should be a fan if he isn't already. If there's one thing that this band does well (and they do many things well) is whistling. Sure, it seems like a minor aspect of music, but you have to appreciate a good whistles. From the songs I've heard so far from this release, they aren't straying from the whistle. Hopefully, they maintain the quality of their music all around, as well!
"Turn on the Sunshine"

Theresa Andersson - Street Parade

Swedes make some of the best music. Probably a disproportionately high amount of awesome tunes given the country's relatively small population. Theresa Andersson is just one of many amazing Swedish artists. I love her voice here, especially on the song "What Comes Next."
"What Comes Next"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Shins - "The Rifle's Spiral"

The new video from The Shins, for the track "The Rifle's Spiral," is a beautifully animated, but hauntingly creepy story. It shows a young magician as she attempts to reclaim her "rabbit in a hat" from a trio of evil, but also magical, men.

The video was initially released just for the Nintendo 3DS and created, obviously, for a 3D experience. The 2D experience is pretty incredible, though I still kind of want to see how this looked in 3D!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Record Store Day 2012

Today was Record Store Day and you know I was out to participate! While, last year, I hit up Landlocked Music in my old stomping grounds of Bloomington, I stayed in Cincinnati this year, checking out Shake It and Everybody's Records.

What it is

Record Store Day is held the third Saturday of April, and this is the event's fifth year. On the day, a great variety and number of artists release limited edition special singles, live albums, EPs and early releases, with fairly limited numbers of all releases. The day is meant to encourage music fans to support local independent record stores. The emphasis on shopping locally has even expanded to other small businesses, with a mini-Record Store Day and small business day now held on Black Friday (which I also participated in last year).

Every year, an ambassador (usually an established member of the music industry) to promote the event and serve as a figurehead. This year's ambassador was Iggy Pop, punk rock star and former frontman for The Stooges, who had three special releases this year.

My haul

I made sure to make myself a list of what I wanted this year. I managed to successfully grab almost everything on the list. I missed out on the Laura Marling "Flicker and Flail" 7", which Shake It had, but ran out of. I still managed a pretty good haul, though!

Here's what I picked up:

The Tallest Man on Earth - King of Spain EP
St. Vincent - KROKODIL 7"
Walk the Moon - Anna Sun EP
The White Stripes - Hand Springs 7"
Feistodon split 7"
Beach House - Lazuli 7"
Walk the Moon - Anna Sun 7"
Karen Elson - Milk and Honey 7"
T. Rex - Electric Warrior re-issue

All-in-all, the record shopping portion of the day was good. I picked up some great releases and met some cool people waiting in line for Shake It. The day ended on a sour note, with a fairly nasty car crash (don't worry, I'm alright).

RSD 2012 was still a wonderful experience for me!

Friday, April 20, 2012

R.I.P. Levon Helm

It's said that death comes in threes and after the deaths of Andrew Love and Dick Clark, The Band's Levon Helm becomes the third of this week. Helm passed away yesterday at the age of 71 after a battle with throat cancer.

Helm was the drummer and vocalist for The Band, who first gained prominence working with Bob Dylan in the mid-1960s before breaking out on their own and releasing many of their own iconic Americana songs. In the mid-1970s, he started a solo career, but recorded with The Band up until the late 1990s. Towards the end of his career, he released a series of Grammy-nominated and winning albums. His early work with The Band is situated among my favorite music from the era.

Goodbye, Levon!

Bob Dylan and The Band - "Yazoo Street Scandal"

The Band - "The Weight"

Levon Helm - "Golden Bird"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

R.I.P. Dick Clark

Yesterday, I was shocked to read about the death of America's oldest teenager, Dick Clark. Although it came at the ripe old age of 82, it still came as a bit of a shock given his (relatively) youthful appearance and seeming health. Despite his healthful appearance, he had suffered from a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes and a stroke suffered in 2004. In the end, it was a heart attack that took his life.

Dick Clark played host in a variety of contexts, but was perhaps best known for American Bandstand and New Years' Rockin' Eve. In these hosting gigs, he played a big part in introducing America to new music and bringing favorites to the screen. He has been been perhaps the most iconic host in entertainment and he will be missed.

Goodbye, Dick Clark

Dick Clark interviewing The Beach Boys on American Bandstand (1964)

On Repeat: "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"

I guess my '90s nostalgia is creeping back up again. Recently, I haven't been able to stop listening to the Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet with Butterfly Wings."

I heard the song a couple of months ago when I was traveling in Chicago and found a good indie/alternative rock station (and, no, I wasn't familiar with the song beforehand). I only recently acquired the album on which it appears, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and this is certainly one of the standout tracks on the album.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Separation

As much as I enjoy quirky indie movies, I can also appreciate more serious fare. Last week, I saw the Iranian drama A Separation.

The movie follows a married couple as they cope with separating from each other and the unique situations that creates for them. It begins with the couple sitting before a divorce judge with the wife, Simin, wanting the divorce so that she can emigrate to give her daughter a better life. She would prefer to leave with her husband, Nader, but he has an elderly father than he feels he cannot leave. Even without the divorce, she leaves, but doesn't go far, moving in with her mother, while her daughter stays with Nader. Simin's departure leaves Nader needing to hire someone to look after his father and his home while he is at work and his daughter's at school. The woman he hires, Razieh, gets into an altercation with her employer and eventually accuses him of assault. Simin is brought back into his life, compelled to protect her daughter, as the entire family deals with the fear, anguish and uncertainty the situation has dealt them.

The movie received a lot of (well-deserved) positive attention, including an Oscar win or Best Foreign Language Film and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. I think that the actors' performances should have also received greater attention. For being in a language that I didn't understand and having to rely on subtitles for the dialog, I was still transfixed by many of the performances, a rarity even in English-language films. While I realize subtitles aren't everyone's cup of tea, I would still suggest this film for its great performances and storyline!

R.I.P. Andrew Love

Andrew Love, part of the Memphis Horns, passed away this past Thursday at the age of 70. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for about the past decade.

As part of the Memphis Horns, Love played a part in the work of many artists, both expected and not. He worked with a slew of performers, from Elvis Presley to Dusty Springfield, to U2. He has been a part of what made many iconic songs just that, iconic.

Goodbye, Andrew Love.

Otis Redding - "Try a Little Tenderness"

Dusty Springfield - "Son of a Preacher Man"

Aretha Franklin - "Think"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Music Tuesday - April 17, 2012

Battles - Dross Glop

Battles released their last album of new material, Gloss Drop, during the summer of last year. In the time since, they've released a series of remix EPs, inviting a number of other prominent artists to put their own spin on the album's songs. The final EP, Dross Glop 4 gets released on its own this Saturday for Record Store Day, but before that, this compilation of the remixes (plus one song) will be available.
Listen: "Toddler" (Kangding Ray Remix)

Maps & Atlases - Beware and Be Grateful

Maps & Atlases seem to exist at a crossroad of several sub-genres of rock, primarily math rock (which has never been my favorite) and Afro-inspired rock. They've developed a unique enough sound, though, that they don't sound like a copy of other bands that inhabit those labels. This album holds to their uniqueness.
Listen: "Winter"

Marina & The Diamonds - Electra Heart

I think that the Brits best prove that pop isn't such a bad thing, and British pop singer Marina Diamandis is one the best examples of that. I got into her deep-voiced brand of pop a couple of years ago with her first album, The Family Jewels. She returns to form here, even seeming more cheeky and confident than she did on her debut.
Watch: "Primadonna"

Moonface - Heartbreaking Bravery

With Wolf Parade going on indefinite hiatus about a year ago, I've had to figure out how to get my fix. Thankfully, many of the members have side-projects that continue to pump out music. Dan Boeckner has Handsome Furs with his wife, which released Sound Kapital last year around the same time as the hiatus was announced. Spencer Krug has Frog Eyes and this band, Moonface. As long as these bands exist, I might be okay with no more Wolf Parade.
Watch: "Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips"

Spiritualized - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

This album opens with what has become one of my favorite songs (and videos!) so far of the year, "Hey Jane." With such an epic opener, it would be easy to think that the rest of the album may not live up, but that is far from the case. The whole album is strong throughout (although I'm really not crazy about the artwork).
Listen: "Mary"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gossip Girl Music

I have a few guilty pleasures in life, one of them is the CW show Gossip Girl. The show's a little silly (and only gets more so as the seasons progress), but I'm mildly obsessed with it. It's a show that almost seems to take itself too seriously, despite its ridiculous plotlines and desire to hook every character up with every other character. I do find one saving grace in watching the show, it has an incredible soundtrack!

The show currently gets a lot of attention for its fashion, which, I will admit, is often pretty nice to ogle at. This is for good reason, the show's costume designer, Eric Daman, honed his chops as an assistant costume designer on Sex and the City, another show noted for a great eye towards fashion in style. The show's connection to fashion has been so strong that designer Anna Sui designed a Gossip Girl-inspired line for Target and fans have created websites devoted to breaking down the various outfits that the characters on the show wear.

Despite the attention the show has given (and received) for fashion, I think it deserves just as much credit for its soundtracking. Alexandra Patsavas, the show's music supervisor, deserves a great deal of credit, not only for choosing the perfect songs for a particular scene, but also giving an audience to a lot of artists that don't reach quite the same group as your standard Katy Perry or Justin Bieber. While I can't say that I've ever checked something out just because I heard it on Gossip Girl, I have often heard some of my favorites on the show.

They also will occasionally bring in musicians to be on the show...and good musicians! Jenny Lewis, Florence + The Machine and St. Vincent have all had cameos on the show. Some artists will perform a song on the show, others simply show up and say hi!

This was a squeal moment for me!
Here's just a snippet of the great music that the show has featured over the years:

Season 1
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Kiss Kiss"
Episode 5 - The Handmaiden's Tale

Band of Horses - "The General Specific:
Episode 10 - Roman Holiday

Season 2
The Black Keys - "Lies"
Episode 7 - Chuck in Real Life

The Kills - "URA Fever"
Episode 22 - Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Season 3
The National - "Gospel"
Episode 15 - The Sixteen Year Old Virgin

White Rabbits - "Percussion Gun"
Episode 19 - Dr. Estrangedlove

Season 4
Spoon - "I Saw the Light"
Episode 9 - The Witches of Bushwick

Lykke Li - "Youth Knows No Pain"
Episode 21 - Shattered Bass

Season 5
My Morning Jacket - "Movin' Away"
Episode 3 - The Jewel of Denial

Feist - "Graveyard"
Episode 16 - Cross Rhodes

Cloud Nothings at MOTR Pub

I should have known better than to stand in the very front for a punk show at a small venue, but the spot was open and I took it! Cloud Nothings put on an incredible show though, well worth the ringing in my ears over the next couple of days.

Up close and personal as Dylan Baldi sets up.

They're still young, soon he'll have so many pedals, he'll need to attach them to a board!

If that guy to the right of the picture looks like he's going crazy, it's because he was...the whole night!

Had to give the bass some love (no one ever does).

More love! Also, the drummer's kinda awesome in this picture.

Everything's moving so fast, but the guitar stays still...true talent.

Time to play!

Mini setlist:

"Fall In"


"No Future/No Past"

Friday, April 13, 2012

tUnE-yArDs - "My Country"

New video from probably one of the most unique and creative artist out right now. The video co-stars a bunch of really awesome kids, who were culled from Brightworks, a school in San Francisco, and the San Francisco Rock Project. So, there's a really good chance that these kids are this awesome in real life and not just for the sake of this music video!

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 04/10/2012

Grand Duchy - Let the People Speak

Frank Black (a.k.a. Black Francis) is a fairly busy man, musically speaking. He started his career with the Pixies, began a solo career around the time the Pixies ended in 1993. He joined up with backing band The Catholics in '97 and released his first album as Grand Duchy (with his wife, Violet Clark) in 2009. He's also done a fair amount of other collaborative work, including last year's Paley and Francis, with Reid Paley. While he's struggled to attain the same praise as a solo artist that he received for the Pixies, he's certainly been very prolific!
"White Out"

M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion

Despite having spent more time as a solo artist, M. Ward has become better known for his work with Zooey Deschanel as one-half of She & Him. Many fail to realize, though, that he had five albums under his belt before teaming up the The Quirky One, and probably has many more.
"The First Time I Ran Away"

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "We Almost Lost Detroit"

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. overcomes a horrible band name to make some really enjoyable music. In this video, they pay homage to their home city of Detroit, featuring (what I am assuming are) the city's residents singing along to the song!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 04/03/2012

Amadou & Mariam - Folila

This is the seventh album for this blind duo from Mali who've been performing together since the 1970s. With African-style music seeing periodic resurgences in popular music, it's great to hear music that's straight from that region, rather than just inspired by it.
"Wily Kataso"

Bear in Heaven - I Love You, It's Cool

In preparation for the release of their third album, this experimental band did what many other bands do, they streamed it online. The only difference was that they streamed it continuously over the month preceding the release slowed down 4,000 times...pure drone. No worries, they normal-streamed it on NPR, as well!
"Reflection of You"

Black Mountain - Year Zero OST

Year Zero, the movie, is an apocalyptic surf video released last year, sounds pretty awesome. It makes perfect sense that a Canadian psychedelic would produce the soundtrack for the film. The album mostly consists of existing songs from the band, although it does also include five new recordings.
"Mary Lou"

First Serve - First Serve

There's not a lot of hip hop that I like, but De La Soul is definitely among the short list of hip hop artists that I will listen to. This album is a side project from a couple of the members. Even without the full group, the music is better than much of the hip hop that's already out there.
"Pushin' Aside, Pushin' Along"

Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance

Of the members of Deerhunter, it's usually front man Bradford Cox, who performs solo as Atlas Sound, who gets the majority of the attention. Lockett Pundt, Lotus Plaza, hasn't been content to stay in the shadows, though. His second solo album doesn't see him straying far from the sound of his band or bandmate, showing that he may be just a strong a force in Deerhunter as Bradford.

No Age - Collage Culture

This is an unexpectantly experimental move for this punk duo. This single mixes instrumental from one channel with essay excerpts being read in the other.
No music for this one, sorry!