Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crystal Castles - "Plague"

Crystal Castles has released a terrifying and creepy video for their equally creepy track "Plague." The video uses scenes from the 1981 film Possession (that's Isabelle Adjani going crazy in the video).

Crystal Castles will be releasing their third self-titled album, Crystal Castles III, on the first Tuesday of November. Make sure to pick it up after voting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Congratulations Pat Carney!

I'm trying not to be too upset that my favorite dorky, lanky rock star is now off the market! This past weekend, Patrick Carney, drummer for The Black Keys, married his long-time girlfriend, Emily Ward, in Nashville.

Rolling Stone

Looks like I may need to find myself a new rock star crush (I already got my eye on Spoon's Britt Daniel), but congratulations to Pat and Emily, nonetheless!

The Black Keys - "Next Girl"

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 09/25/2012

Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze EP

The Dum Dum Girls produce some of the best female-led garage rock around. Their songs are short, but incredibly sweet. And, unlike, many other girl-led garage bands I've loved over the years, they haven't changed up their sound much. They've gotten better with every release and this is no exception!
"Lord Knows"

Efterklang - Piramida

One of my best friends introduced me to this band and it was easy to understand how someone could easily fall for their folk, electronic, indie pop sound. I've been enjoying them ever since. This latest release was inspired by and named for a Russian mining settlement, on which the band collected sounds that became the basis for the sound of the record.
"Hollow Mountain"

Emperors of Wyoming - Emperors of Wyoming

Butch Vig has had a long career, spanning 30 years now. He started with the band Spooner and has played with Garbage for 17 years. He is also known for producing one of the most iconic rock albums of the 1990s, Nirvana's Nevermind. For his latest band, however, he has taken on a much different sound, releasing a decidedly country album.
"Cornfield Palace"

Frightened Rabbit - State Hospital EP

The is the band's second release on a relatively new label, Atlantic, and both releases so far have been EPs. It's a short, but intensely emotional release. With the EP, the band is gearing up for an upcoming tour and, hopefully, a new full-length early next year!
"State Hospital"

John Frusciante - PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone

In his first full-length release since departing from Red Hot Chili Peppers for the second (and presumably final) time, Frusciante continues to mix experimental sounds with the guitar work he became known for around Californication-era RHCP. It makes for an interesting sound, though his predilection for experimenting should be no surprise given his history as both a solo artist (ten albums in now) and his work with bands like The Mars Volta.
"Walls and Doors"

Mumford & Sons - Babel

Now, here is a band that have done quite well for themselves. They came out of the gate running, having found a way to make folk rock appeal to the masses. They haven't, of course, been without their detractors, but for me, their sound is very effective. If you haven't already, make sure to check out their incredible performances on SNL, including a parody of The Beatles!
"I Will Wait"

Murder By Death - Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon

I'm so happy to be able to show some college town love this week! This band from a little town called Bloomington, Indiana and have made a pretty decent name for themselves even away from the rowdy students of Indiana University. Another friend introduced me to this band, dragging me to a show at the Buskirk-Chumley. I ended up really enjoying the music and their whole vibe. The rowdy seemed to rub off onto their sound and they seemed to have a lot of fun performing together!
"Lost River"

Patrick Wolf - Sundark and Riverlight

For such a young artist, Patrick Wolf has had an impressively expansive catalog of work. He has not only been prolific, but has also been very eclectic in his sound. He has played with folk, electronica, pop and rock. On this album, he is bringing it all together. He has rerecorded songs from his entire catalog, normalizing them into an acoustic, slightly baroque pop, sound.

The Soft Pack - Strapped

The Soft Pack have employed an amazing, sunny, laid-back surfer rock sound, but have done so without sounding simplistic or unemotional. I got into them thanks to an incredible video for "Answer to Yourself," starring cast members from Kick-Ass, about three years ago. I haven't yet seen any videos for this album, but with a sequel to the movie in the works, perhaps there will be a sequel to that video as well...

Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore - YOKOKIMTHURSTON

After Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of the Sonic Youth announced their divorce, the future of the band was uncertain, with even other members of the band not sure of what was going to happen. While I think this may have been recorded before the split, it does give me some hope that they're still able to work together and perhaps continue with their main project. It's a wait and see, but for now, we get to see what they're able to do with such an experimental, avant-garde musician as Yoko.
"Mulberry" (live, not on album)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wilco - "Sunloathe"

I love me a good animated video and I realized that I haven't posted one in awhile. This video for the The Whole Love track, "Sunloathe," is gorgeously drawn with a great storyline to boot.

The clouds at the end are my new desktop picture!

Wilco's latest, The Whole Love, was released about a year ago.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 09/18/2012

Band of Horses - Mirage Rock

Out of Band of Horses' three albums so far, Cease to Begin has been, by far, my favorite. I've struggled somewhat to get into their other work, but that doesn't keep me from being extremely excited for this release. I've loved what I've heard so far and you've already seen that I'm liking the videos released in support of the album, reposted below!
"Knock Knock"

The Citizens Band - Grab a Root and Growl

The Citizens Band is a political cabaret group that focuses on fighting political apathy (which is the reason for the message on the album cover). In the past, the stage-act version of the group has included Zoe Kravitz, Zooey Deschanel and Maggie Gyllenhaal, among many other celebrities. My reason for interesting, though, is that Karen Elson is one of the founding members. Elson has been one of those rare models that served as more than just a muse for musicians and become an accomplished artist herself.
"I Swung the Election"

Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues

After this and last year's excellent Wild Flag debut, I will have spent more time with post-Sleater-Kinney work than with that band itself. Actually, I've still never listened to Sleater-Kinney. Although, based on what I've heard from the former members' new projects, I know I'll love them...and I'll love this, as well.
"Groundhog Day"

Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet on Sky

I started to get into Dinosaur Jr. a bit after the release of J Mascis' most recent solo album, Several Shades of Why. I started with his full band near the beginning, with You're Living All Over Me. In my typical style with more established band, I'll be book-ending my collection of the artist's work.
"Watch the Corners"

G.O.O.D. Music - Cruel Summer

I'm starting to wonder if Kanye West is aiming to prove that he can play well with others. He released an album with Jay-Z last year and performing on this record with a number of other rappers, including Pusha-T, 2 Chainz, Jay-Z (again) and Common. I hate saying this, but I really like Kanye's music, even if I don't think much of his personal character.
"Mercy" (Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, 2 Chainz)

Grizzly Bear - Shields

There was a great feature recently on WNYC which included interviews with the band, along with live performances. They discussed in some length the choice of the artwork, with which they had free reign to the art of Richard Diebenkorn. It's obviously worked out well for them, the art is gorgeous. Even more gorgeous is the music itself. This is a band that keeps getting better with age!

James Iha - Look to the Sky

James Iha is the second artist with a new album this week who represents a member of a prominent '90s band (in this case, the Smashing Pumpkins) whose solo work I am in the process of checking out. Although he left Billy Corgan and company in 2000, this is only his first album since that time, the first, Let It Come Down, was released in 1998.
"To Who Knows Where"

Menomena - Moms

It took an exceptionally amusing video, for the song "Taos," for me to fall in love with this band. The music was great, too, and that kept me around. This promises to be an even better album, with great early reviews coming in.
"Heavy Is as Heavy Does"

The Sea and Cake - Runner

This band always slips slightly under the radar for me. I only stumble upon their album announcements and hear very little about them between releases. I'm not even sure where I heard of them (though I'm thinking it was through Pitchfork, of course). The band has an interesting mix of styles and are fairly unique within the indie world, but they manage to avoid sounding really weird.

Woods - Bend Beyond

Woods us a very prolific band, this will be their sixth album in as many years. Despite this, they've strayed very little from their "freak" folk, but still sunny California pop sound. There's some promise of change here, but what I've heard so far is still very reminiscent of their past albums. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, I've enjoyed all that they've done. It can be easy for the sounds to run together, though.
"Cali in a Cup"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Frank Ocean on SNL

"Saturday Night Live" had its 38th season premier on Saturday and, for the most part, it was it's typical good-to-mediocre fare (though, they finally replaced Fred Armisen's tired Obama impression with the much better Jay Pharoah).

One stand-out on the show, however, were the performances given by musical guest Frank Ocean. I hate to use this word, usually, but it was dope! John Mayer even put aside his own ego and joined Ocean on stage to play backing guitar. Hate to say this, but he was damned good, as well. Nice to know such a young artist already has friends in high places!

One thing I love about Ocean is that he has done away from all of the typical pretense of being an R&B singer. It's not all about being in the club and mackin' on all the foine ladies. He seems like your standard post-teen who plays video games in his mom's basement and has trouble talking to girls (or guys). He seems that much more genuine than almost any other R&B crooner out there.

It looks like SNL is going to have some good musical guests this year with Mumford & Sons lined up for next week!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Here We Go Magic - "Hard to Be Close"

Nobody would want to get trapped in an elevator, but Here We Go Magic explores what it would be like to be trapped for millions of years!

Here We Go Magic released their latest album, A Different Ship, in May of this year.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Like I need anything to make me think that getting married may not be worth the hassle.

The movie follows three high school friends Regan, Gena and Katie (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher) as they come together to celebrate the nuptials of a fourth, Becky (Rebel Wilson). Becky being the most comely member of the group, they all wonder how she landed a ring before they did (they speculate on a magic vagina). Still, they put on brave faces and join her in her celebrations. After a unceremoniously short bachelorette party in which the stripper calls Becky by her high school nickname of "Pigface," they are left to their own devices. They start by accidentally destroying the wedding dress, prompting a night full of trying to find someone to fix it. Hijinks, of course, ensue.

The synopses of this movie were a little misleading. Many presented the movie as one where Becky invited her high school tormentors to be in her wedding to continue to torment her. However, the girls, while not great people, were her friends in high school. While hers wasn't truly the main character, Rebel Wilson really stands out in this film, perhaps because she's the actress with the least history in the US. Hers is also the only truly sympathetic character, you feel bad that these are her friends. The movie has drawn a lot of comparisons to last year's Bridesmaids. I can see where a lot of that is coming from, but I do think that this film stands on its own. It's less of a laugh riot and, where Bridesmaids aimed to be the "bro" movie for ladies, this takes a much darker look at the run-up to a wedding.

Mini soundtrack:

Sleigh Bells - "Infinity Guitars"

The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

Airbourne - "Blonde, Bad and Beautiful"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Music Tuesday - 09/11/2012

Amanda Palmer - Theatre Is Evil

In what could end up being the first big success story for an album funded almost entirely by Kickstarter, Amanda Palmer is dealing another hand in a music industry now marked by constant changes in funding and distribution. She raised over $1 million on the site and this album will be released on her own record label, 8 Ft. Records. Hopefully, this week, we will see that her do-it-yourself attitude and the investment of hundreds of Kickstarters will have paid off.
Watch: "Want It Back"

The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter

The Avett Brothers are generally more highly-regarded for their earlier albums than for their later work (at least, by the indie crowd). This will be their second album of aiming for something a little bit higher than rowdy banjos, also the second produced by super-producer Rick Rubin. I got in on I and Love and You, but hated it on first listen. It took a good friend to introduce me to earlier works like Four Thieves Gone for me to fall in love with the group and I've come to appreciate their last album. I feel that I will love this, too, though it may never live up to the energy and fun of their earlier work.
Watch: "Live and Die"

Bob Dylan - Tempest

Bob Dylan is one of those rare artists that managed to maintain a high quality of work even as he got older (*cough* Rolling Stones *cough*). True, he's had some dips, but at 71 years old, his music is nearly as rewarding as what he put out in the 1960s. With this release, he seems set on continuing his run of great music and, as you'll see below, pair it with awesome videos.
Watch: "Duquesne Whistle"

David Byrne & St. Vincent - Love This Giant

David Byrne has become a veritable king of collaborations. He has previously released albums with Fatboy Slim and Brian Eno. This collaboration, however, is a bit of a dream come true for me. I've become a huge fan of St. Vincent in the past year or two and have loved David Byrne (and, of course, the Talking Heads) for quite a while. They're both very interesting in terms of style and overall aesthetic, which may provide one of the most interesting albums of the year.
Watch: "Who"

io echo - Ministry of Love

The run-up to this release has been a somewhat frustrating one. The band first came to some prominence about three years ago with the release of a single, "Doorway." I loved the song, but there was scant information on the band outside of that single and a subsequent EP. I more stumbled upon this announcement because they still haven't gotten much coverage from music publications, perhaps they waited too long. Still, I'm excited for this release and to see what they can do with a full-length.
Watch: "When the Lilies Die"

Jonny Greenwood - The Master

This decade must be the years of Radiohead side projects. 2010 saw the release of drummer Philip Selway's debut and this year, we are seeing the debut singles from Atoms for Peace, Thom Yorke's side band. This is not Greenwood's first go-around, he released his first solo record in 2003. This record is a score for the movie of the same name, which will be released this week, as well!
Listen: "Able-Bodied Seaman"

Parenthetical Girls - Portrait of a Reputation

Zac Pennington and company have done a masterful job of fusing classical with pop. Over the past two years, they've been focused on their Privilege series, comprising five EP-length components. This is the fifth and final piece of the album.
Listen: "Curtains"

The Presets - Pacifica

This is another band that I kind of forgot about in the time between this and their previous album, Apocalypso, released in 2008; this is their third overall. I stumbled across their stunning video for "Ghosts" a couple of weeks ago and remembered why I loved them...I didn't even know that they were releasing a new album!
Watch: "Ghosts"

The Raveonettes - Observator

I was surprised to hear that The Raveonettes were releasing a new album this year, especially since it seemed like just yesterday that Raven in the Grave came out (and it was just last year). They've been fairly steady in their style, making few changes, maybe only to tone down on the noisiness of their sound. Based on the early tracks from this album, it seems like it will remain the same. Some may find it boring, but if it ain't broke...
Watch: "She Owns the Streets"

The xx - Coexist

The Pitchfork review for this album presented one of the most true statements I've ever heard about this band, that they "filled a void most of us didn't know existed." It's very true, the band seemed to exist at multiple intersections of music; old and new, electronic and pop. They left themselves a lot to live up to and, while this seems like it will be a great album, I'm not sure they'll ever be able recreate xx.
Listen: "Angels"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Azealia Banks - "1991"

I don't generally make a habit of checking out new hip-hop, but I think I may need to carve out a special place in my heart for Azealia Banks. This video is just as much of a throwback as the song title suggests. I see a little bit of Des'ree and Madonna, perhaps a tinge of En Vogue, as well. Good job, Miss Banks!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Maybe I was anticipating the arrival of Hurricane Isaac when I saw this movie set in the deep south during a hurricane.

This isn't so much a plot-driven film as it is theme-driven. If I were back in school and this movie was the subject of a report, I would say that the themes are acceptance, independence and courage. I definitely cannot say that, when I was six years old, I was anywhere near as independent or brave as Hushpuppy, the little girl in this film. Played by Quvenzhané Wallis (try saying that three times fast), Hushpuppy lives in the Mississippi delta with her father, Wink, but is fiercely independent. She has her own home, which is a trailer on her dad's property, and even cooks for herself when her father disappears for a few days. He eventually returns, but in poor health and even poorer spirits. Shortly after, the storms come. In her imagination, the deluge of water comes from the melting ice caps (something she's just learned about in school), which also brings with them ancient aurochs (ancestral cousins to cows, but shown as boars in the film) which destroy everything in their path. In the course of the film, the people of her small community save the area from the flood waters and escape a "relief" center. Hushpuppy herself goes off in search of a long-lost mother, faces down the aurochs and learns to cope with an ailing father.

This movie was a perfect representation of why big-name directors and actors are not needed to make a film great or memorable. Wallis and Dwight Henry (who portrayed Wink) were both absolute new-comers, this being the first film for both, are both from the region in which the movie was filmed and took place. This was a first film for many of the other actors, as well. The director, Benh Zeitlin, is also new, this is his first full-length film. All in all, this film was excellent and is a much-see if you want to feel enlightened for an afternoon.

Mini soundtrack:

Billie Holiday - "Until the Real Thing Comes Along"

The Balfa Brothers - "La Danse de Mardi Gras"

Happy Fats - "Les Veuves de da Coulee"

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Music Tuesday - September 04, 2012

Animal Collective - Centipede Hz

After seven albums appealing mainly to a more underground crowd, Animal Collective had a relative break-out with their last release, Meriweather Post Pavilion. The album reached a respectable 13 on the Billboard 200 and was highly-regarded critically. There's a lot to live up to, but early listens prove that they can. I'm a little disappointed that the single "Honeycomb," released earlier this year, isn't on this release, but am still very excited for this album!
"Today's Supernatural"

Cat Power - Sun

The timing of this album seemed a little dubious to a lot of people. Earlier this year, Chan Marshall revealed that her relationship with actor Giovanni Ribisi had ended. The ending of the relationship coincided with the timing at which the album was completed and, with Ribisi now married to another person, one has to wonder what effect that had on her songwriting, especially since her personal life does play so much into her music. Despite the tone of the album, it is a brighter and more complicated sound than she usually deploys. With a six-year gap since her last album, a change is expected, but her return is much welcome!

Deerhoof - Breakup Song

I've heard a lot about Deerhoof over the past few years, but despite them being a 18-year-old band with eleven albums, I've never really checked them out. I had some experience after a single was released with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, which convinced me to maybe check out the band's work. I like it so far, and am excited for the new album!
"The Trouble with Candyhands"

Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't

Jens Lekman is an interesting songwriter, he describes things down to an exacting detail and is often quite humorous. It's always enjoyable (for me, at least) to listen to his music as he can make it feel like you are there in the song. I've been looking forward to this new album, although the earliest songs released seem to be a little simpler and more melancholy in style.
"I Know What Love Isn't"

The Noisettes - Contact

I absolutely fell in love with this band's first album, What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?, when it came out five years ago. I though it was some of the best female-led rock released recently and still is. Their second album, Wild Young Hearts, had a more pop sound, but was still a great listen. One disappointment, though, was that the album saw a US release several months after the UK release. They've fixed the one issue I had with their last album, with Contact being released here the standard one day after the UK release. It's still more pop than their initial rock (I did prefer their earlier sound), but this is one band whose work I will always eat up!
"That Girl"

Sondre Lerche - Bootlegs

Another excellent songwriter releasing an album this week, Sondre has always been very good at both writing simple emotional songs and switching up his style at every turn. The album includes songs encompassing his entire career, including live songs and a number of b-sides. It's a fairly secure style of album to release, I already know I love many of the songs or they were recorded at the same time his past songs were released.
"Boxing Day"

Stars - The North

Goodness, I love me some Canadian indie rock groups! The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene, and, yes, Stars, have created some of the most amazing music in the past decade and it doesn't look like it will stop anytime soon (though Broken Social Scene is currently on hiatus). Stars' last album, The Five Ghosts was beautiful and slightly haunting and I am more then ready for more of their gorgeous indie pop sound!
"The Theory of Relativity"

Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon

Everyone else on this week's list is fairly well-established, having been together or active at least nine years. With five years together and only one album, Two Door Cinema Club are relative babies. That doesn't mean their sound is underdeveloped though. Their debut was highly-regarded and won them some pretty prestigious awards. Sophomore albums are always a challenging step for an artist, but there is much promise for this band, I'm pretty curious to see where they'll go.
"Sleep Alone"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On Repeat: "The Way We Get By"

Ever since the release of the excellent debut album from the Divine Fits, A Thing Called Divine Fits, earlier this week, I have also been delving back into the work of Britt Daniel's other band, Spoon. I "rediscovered" Kill the Moonlight and especially the second track. I had forgotten how much I loved this album when I was first introduced to Spoon, but I've been playing it non-stop since!