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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Whither the weather?

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I almost hate to blog about Regina Spektor again for fear of KYCW becoming something of a Regina Spektor shrine, but what the hell. I'm repeatedly blown away not only by her album but also the accompanying videos that I can't resist mentioning it. At my count (which may be off) this is the fourth official video that's been released from Begin To Hope, and deservedly so. There have already been videos for Samson, Better, and On The Radio- this time it's the opening track and one of the album's definite highlights, Fidelity. I love the black and white motif, and Regina is as lovely as ever...

Regina Spektor- Fidelity video


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Once again NME is quick to use a tricky headline that gets one's hopes up, only to find it's a bit of an exaggeration. Former Libertines Pete and Carl have "teamed up" recently according to this article but in actuality they only recorded vocals for the same track and weren't even in the same room when doing it. Ah well.


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Dinosaur Jr's gear was stolen last night in NYC, which is an even bigger shame considering the guitar greatness that is J Mascis. It always seems ridiculous that these bands' stuff (like Sonic Youth and Raveonettes, to name a couple from the past) isn't better guarded but I can think of a number of shows that I've been to where it certainly wouldn't seem difficult to easily walk off with equipment. Gives a whole new meaning to the title "Get Choppin'." Hopefully they end up getting their stuff back as soon as possible.
Details here.


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And for some strange reason the last few weeks I've repeatedly seen or heard people talking about Mew and I continuously and repeatedly think they're talking about Icelandic band Múm. Which is OK, because it just prompted me to dig up their first album again, which I hadn't listened to in forever. If you think that experimental ambient electronica might be up your alley, then check out Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK here. And by the way, as an interesting trivia tidbit- the twin sisters from the band are on the cover of Belle & Sebastian's Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like A Peasant.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's no longer familiar to me- it's become routine...

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Dayton's Lab Partners

Great times and great music at Independent Expose at the Southgate House Saturday night. I enjoyed Kamikaze Saucers and the Sights even more than I expected plus the spectacular Kelly of Looking at Them introduced the bands there.

I was also completely blown away by Lab Partner's live set- they reminded me of early Storm In Heaven-era Verve multiple times throughout their show. I even chatted briefly with the keyboardist, although I'm not too sure she appreciated my comparisons to Kate Radley. I blame the rum that was being mixed with my Coca-Cola. If you're a fan of Spiritualized, the Verve, Black Rebel Motorcycle club and the like, definitely give Lab Partners a listen...

Lab Partners- "Love Don't Care" and "Now" at 3hive
Lab Partners- Blood Moon


You can listen to all of Kasabian's new album Empire (which I've been liking quite a lot) at NME's website.



Ah, it makes me so happy that it gives me chills (in my own backbone) to hear a new Lemonheads tune, "No Backbone." Evan Dando's solo album Baby, I'm Bored was a bit underrated, I thought- but it's still much better to hear a more band-styled sound on this track. The familiar guitars and vocals are there and if the rest of the album turns out along the same lines, I'll be ecstatic.

The Lemonheads- No Backbone


Someone's claimed the site www.jamesdeanbradfield.com for themselves and proceeded to use it as a mock website for the lead singer of the Manics. Only slightly funny, though...

"Find your faith in your cocaine! The only God I need is a brain!" what a poet Wire was! This is basically just Stay Beautiful only you get to hear Auld Jimmy shout "Fuck Off!". That said I'd rather have the wanky little guitar bit which covers up the swear. This was when things started looking up for us. The first real spark of the Jim as Axe God!
You can find the real James Dean Bradfield (and ask him a question if you'd like) here...



Check out the video for Robbie Williams latest (and somewhat sub-par) single "Rudebox" here...



And as requested, here's a re-up of a Black Box Recorder tune...

Black Box Recorder- Child Psychology

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I love you 'cause you're true blue.

Here's another bit of a hodgepodge update- just a handful of songs I've really been digging on lately (and as is generally my way, listening to repetitively...)

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Bright Eyes- True Blue (live)

I don't care if it's considered uncool to like Bright Eyes now. Whatever. You can take or leave Conor's singing and style, but I certainly appreciate his songwriting abilities. This one was originally released as a b-side to the also spectacular single "Lua," but this live version is taken from the live album Motion Sickness. You'd probably think that taking a single concept like repeating the phrase and idea "blue" and actually making it into a great song with a story would be impossible but sure enough, it works.


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Prince- Willing and Able

Prince, you say? Damn right, Prince. One of the greatest and certainly easily one of the most prolific musicians of our time, I've always followed Prince- occasionally more closely depending on what phase he seems to be in. Purple Rain was an early favorite album of mine as a kid, and I always thought he was one of the coolest cats in the world in the movie. "Willing and Able" is a little overlooked nugget from Diamonds and Pearls and looking back, it seems like what Prince would sound like if he'd written Paul Simon's Graceland. Great little fluid propelling guitar throughout, with Prince's smooth falsetto and backing singer making a perfect little combo. Even that rap that sounds a bit dated (comparisons to MC Skat Cat, anyone?) seems to fit in OK and not detract from the rest of the song...


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The Head Set- Enemies

This song has certainly been kicking my behind lately, and in a good way. I hate to make a Strokes comparison because it doesn't fully do these guys justice but I get the same kind of feel from this song. If anything, the vocals are definitely livelier- but at the same time it's got a similar feel as far as the guitars and bass go. Most definitely a solid band from NYC with a great band name to boot, which I've certainly grown to appreciate considering some of the shite musical monikers one can seem to run across lately. If you dig on this tune, check out more free tunes at the Head Set's official website.


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The Sights- Circus

The Sights- I never would have originally listened to these guys if it weren't for the fact that they're on the bill at Independent Expose- a benefit for WOXY, which I'll be attending. "Circus" is just a great little straightforward rocker, with great swagger (I've been describing music with that term a lot lately) and a catchy chorus. Should be a smashing time live. If you happen to also head to the Southgate Saturday night, feel free to say hello and buy me a drink- I'll be the guy with hair and a t-shirt on. And be sure to check out Kamikaze Saucers, too- fresh off their appearance at the Midwest Music Festival...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Don't say we're alone...

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In a way I'm a bit surprised that a band with the sound of the Raincoats would come out of England and not from Berlin or New York. Minimal and experimental, the vibe of the Raincoats would probably fit in well with some of the scenes in those two areas, while more straightforward punk seemed to be happening at the same time (the Raincoats recorded from 1978 to 1984) in the UK. In turns they can have elements that sound like the Velvet Underground (in part because of the prominent violin playing) or even the sparseness of Joy Division. Keep in mind this is all with pretty unique female vocals to go along with it. Jagged guitar lines, thick bass lines, violin stabs, and singing from a range that includes ominous half-spoken lyrics to more feminine vocals with prominent British accent all add up to a great, unique sound.

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Much like the Vaselines and the Meat Puppets, the Raincoats got a wave of renewed interest in the early Nineties when none other than Kurt Cobain expressed his admiration of the band, even going so far as to describe his meeting of Ana da Silva in the liner notes of Nirvana's album Incesticide. In fact, the Raincoats were even invited by Nirvana to open for the band until those plans were cancelled following Cobain's death. This didn't stop the band from touring again with a lineup that included Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks- in fact the Raincoats have continued to play occasionally at special events and recorded a song for the Monks tribute album Silver Monk Time, which is to be released this fall.

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If you have any interest whatsoever in post-punk, give the Raincoats a well-deserved listen...

"I don't know anything about The Raincoats except that they recorded some music that has affected me so much that whenever I hear it I'm reminded of a particular time when I was (shall we say) extremely unhappy, lonely and bored. If it weren't for the luxury of putting on that scratchy copy of The Raincoats' first record, I would have had very few moments of peace. I suppose I could have researched a bit of history about the band but I feel it's more important to delineate the way I feel and how they sound.

When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I'm a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I'm listening in on them. We're together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it's their thing. They're playing their music for themselves. It's not as sacred as wire-tapping a buddhist monk's telephone or something because if The Raincoats did catch me, they would probably just ask me if I wanted some tea. I would comply, then they would finish playing their songs and I would say thank you very much for making me feel good."

Kurt Cobain, June 1993.



The official Raincoats site

The Raincoats on Myspace

The Raincoats- And Then It's O.K.

The Raincoats- Shouting Out Loud

Monday, August 14, 2006

A dawn obscured by slight sky raining...

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If you're at all a fan of indie music (or a reader of music blogs at all) I'll assume you know of the Decemberists. Fans of Colin Meloy's music love the storytelling aspects, the whimsical nature of his tales of ships and the sea. And they certainly won't be disappointed with the highly anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Picaresque. There are more dreamy epic tales of adventure, and more evidence of Meloy's degree in creative writing.

That's not to say that the Decemberists tread water with only old styles this time around- songs like "The Perfect Crime 2" show a sly, ominous groove that hadn't really been heard previously, and it's a welcome new tack for the band. There even seems to be a bit more of a heavier electric guitar leaning in some of the tunes, evident in the riffs of "When The War Came." Meloy's vocals are still perfect for the lyrics and backing music, with a feeling of yearning that seems to always thrill in its reach.

The obvious question will of course pop up- is it better than Picaresque? That's a mighty tall order and will probably only be proven one way or the other upon repeated listens, but with these tunes it certainly doesn't seem impossible...

Official website

Pre-order at Amazon

The Decemberists- The Crane Wife 3

The Decemberists- Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)

The Decemberists- The Perfect Crime 2

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's not just for breakfast any more...

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New discovery, at least to me. And still another artist that is difficult to google and get more info on because of the name, just like Camille turned out to be- what with the hurricane and Prince alter ego connections. This time around, the culprit is at least one other musician named Bob Evans and of course, that breakfast restaurant favorite. Turns out it's actually a recording pseudonym for Perth native Kevin Mitchell.

This Bob Evans happens to be an Aussie singer-songwriter with a bit of a country bent at times. Partly because of the one-take video for "Don't You Think It's Time" I at first thought I heard a bit of a Michael Penn similarity, but then I decided it's not really there- although I do hear a few hints of it in his tone. Quoting some of his listed influences might help a bit- the Shins, Wilco, the Beatles, John Lennon, Beach Boys... Yet again I find myself with a haunting feeling that I'm reminded a lot of another singer but I just can't quite place it. There are far too many Beatlesque artists these days to narrow it down these days, you know?

Some of the more country-leaning bits of the music of Bob Evans almost give me the feel of a solo Roger McGuinn or Gram Parsons and a few of the tunes would definitely fit in among a good number of other alt-country acts. According to his Myspace page, Evans sounds like an "Indie kid writing pop songs on an acoustic guitar with a country twang" and I'd say that puts it extremely simply but is just about right. This seems to be something of a side project for him, as he's also the frontman for the band Jebadiah, who seem to be pretty popular in their home country. Written more for himself, it was conceived and initially recorded in his own home studio before he moved off to none other than Nashville to create the final record.

"You've Been On My Mind" is apparently the first single from the album, and while it's not nearly as upbeat and catchy as some of his other tunes, it's a simple, pretty tune with a pretty cool video that seems to be done in a single take.

And with that, I'll leave you with a few tunes and close out with a blurb from his bio:

Lyrically, Mitchell transcends the country tinges to focus on homespun intimacies. Big adventures can indeed happen in little worlds and it's in this realm that the personal can evoke the universal.

I wanted to really push the idea and feeling of turning the `Suburban Everyday into something of almost fairytale quality, Mitchell explains. Of romanticism. That magic can happen in the suburbs every single day. Almost like making a record where within the stories it's like everythings happening on Christmas morning. There's that little hint of magic in the air.




Official website

Myspace

"You've Been On My Mind" video

Bob Evans- Don't You Think It's Time

Bob Evans- Friend

Bob Evans- Nowhere Without You

Monday, August 07, 2006

Scavenge.

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Beth Orton has been posted here before but I won't let that stop me from passing along a few live tunes from the Mark Radcliffe show courtesy of to die by your side...


Further ravings on French singer Camille? Well OK, I can't pass up the chance to pass along this amazing live performance of hers on Youtube.


Continuing on the live path, download Pulp's last Peel session from 2001 at the Runout Groove.


There's a heaping helping of live REM circa 1995 at rbally. Apparently the tour was for Monster- which is still one of my favorite REM albums, along with Murmur and Document. Great stuff.


Snatch a couple of live tracks from KYCW favorite Liars over at Kwaya Na Kisser.

There's a remix of the Streets "Pranging Out" over at Psalms Out Sounds, although I'm not sure once again if "remix" is the right word when it seems that any more Streets "remixes" are just the backing track of the original with one of Skinner's pals doing a different rap to the tune.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Modest Marr???


In lieu of a post proper, here's just a few things we've stumbled upon that seemed worthy of mention...

From out of left field, news comes that apparently Johnny Marr is now a full-fledged member of Modest Mouse. Good things could be abound, folks. This could very well be spectacular...

According to Rolling Stone...

For the sake of radar, here's a couple tracks. The first, while the most popular and well-known Smiths tune, is definitely deserving of it's popularity. And a great showcase for Johnny's genius guitar playing. Not necessarily the most difficult part to play, it certainly has an unbelievably spectacular sound and feel that is the perfect mood-setter for the whole tune. Classic.


The Smiths- How Soon Is Now

Then along comes what may be my favorite Modest Mouse song. The title alone is great, there's a nice changeup in the song, and as always Isaac comes up with phrases and lyrics that are clever and intriguing without falling into the hokey realm. Great stuff.

Modest Mouse- Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset


I'm not a big fan of the Raconteurs at all, although I can't quite put my finger on why. The album just didn't really grab me at all and seemed like a pretty weak effort, especially considering the talent behind it. That said, I found the video for their latest single "Hands" by chance and think it's great. Complete with hand signing from the band and a deaf school rockout. Good times.

Raconteurs- "Hands" video (QT)





Thom Yorke recently posted his disapproval of British PM Tony Blair (certainly not for the first time) on the official Radiohead website and then proceeded to remove the comments the very next day. Was he pressured by the government to do so? Did he change his mind and decide that Blair was pretty A-OK after all? Does the world in general care?

NME story


Get yourself some live Camera Obscura over at bradley's almanac

Have a magnificent weekend.


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