Saturday, November 29, 2008
One of the things I really like about Old Crow Medicine Show is how they can turn a song you know by heart on it's ear. Case-in-point: Bob Marley's "Soul Rebel."
Obviously these Ithica, NY buskers share little in the way of the hardships known by Bob Marley. But, their interepretation has a sense that makes you feel like they've lived it. It still has the gentle strum of a reggae guitar, but the Bluegrass strings added to it give it a down home feel without shedding the original versions sentiment.
I've been meaning to put out the good word on this album for quite a while now. When I first heard the title track "Keep Your Eyes Ahead" I was instantly in love with Portland, OR duo known as The Helio Sequence.
Keep Your Eyes Ahead is an album that can't be pinned down to one distinct sound. It shifts effortlessly through Shoegaze and Britpop sounds, to New Romantic and folk all without leaving you jarred by the changes in style. The album starts off in the Shoegaze fashion with "Lately" and the spectacular "Can't Say No" and then into a New Romantic feel of "The Captive Mind." The stunning picking on "Shed Your Love" adds to the honest lyrics and approachable vocals that are a highlight of the album. Vocalist Brandon Summers has a very Dylan-esque sound and Beat poet feel to it on "Shed Your Love" and "Broken Afternoon."
"Keep Your Eyes Ahead" is the most interesting songs on the album. For a duo, a drummer and guitarist only, the sound the dense, rich sound they are able to make is amazing. It's an example of how they use programming, keys and sequencers to give their two-tone sound into a fuller dynamic.
Even though I just now (read: finally) heard this album so late in the year, I think it easily has to be one of top albums of the year. There are a lot of artists who try to make music that sounds like what The Helio Sequence does with a full band and they pull it off with just two people.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Don't let the name The Uglysuit fool you, this Oklahoma City band makes the beautiful music, my friends. I had seen their name tossed around on Oklahoma Rock Blog, and when I checked them out on Myspace, I saw the descriptor "psychedelic" and I thought 'meh, no thanks.' I didn't need to go through anything like their Norman brethren the Evangelicals again. But, I checked out their Daytrotter Session from yesterday and was blown the eff back. Looks like the band was worthy of their feature on the "Breaking Blog" on Rollingstone.com.
I'm not sure where the "psychedelic" description comes in--unless it's regarding the Polyphonic Spree-like choral harmonies. But, as I get through my second repeat listening of their debut album The Uglysuit, I would have to say they share more in common with the sunny sounds of the 60's California pop sound...or that new dang-fangled indie-pop sound (Think the Afternoon Naps mixed with the Beach Boys) the kids keep talking about.
One thing I will say is: do NOT sleep on this band! Their album is worth an immediate download from iTunes or buy the CD (yes, it's that good I shit you not).
Oh, and check out their video for "Chicago" below.
Looks like it's a very video friendly day around here. Over at Stereogum they premiered the new Portishead video "Magic Door." But, by the power vested in my by the interweb, I bring it to you.
It's a pretty interesting piece, but, kinda boring. A lot of writing on film, odd video of odd things and very little of Beth Gibbons. Not sure if you've been listening to Third, but, it's definitely Portishead's return to form.
It's a pretty interesting piece, but, kinda boring. A lot of writing on film, odd video of odd things and very little of Beth Gibbons. Not sure if you've been listening to Third, but, it's definitely Portishead's return to form.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been diggin' The Stand Ins for about a few weeks now. I love how the Okkervil Boys use the traditional instruments of Bluegrass and turn rustic on it's ear. "Lost Coastlines" is a brilliant piece of music. I love the combination of vocals with lead singer Will Sheff and Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg. While Sheff brings the indie vocals, Meiburg channels the deep croon of more recent Morrissey. Each voice gives the song the a nice dual dynamic.
But, I particularly love the kiss off quality of "Singer Songwriter." This song could be about any number of artistically snobby people bragging about their outsider art, the books they read and what the newest, best, unheard-of band they are listening to.
There are some songs that are on the cusp of being good, but, you end up suffering through them. "On Tour With Zykos" and "Calling And Not Calling My Ex" are the two that come to mind. These two songs are ok, but, they lack a little extra something that makes them genuinely good songs.
All in all, I'm really diggin' this record.
MP3: Okkervil River - Lost Coastlines
So, I was a-readin' E Dub today and they had a very interesting article...about Blake Shelton. Yep, that's right, product of the Nashville Music Machine, cookie-country country music star...that Blake Shelton.
Now, I don't really dig on that type of music (the Nashville Machine part), but, he now lives in my hometown of Tishomingo, OK. He's from Ada, OK (hometown of the Jeremy Shockey). He didn't actually talk about my hometown, but, he did reference where he lives now, a place full of ranchers and cowboys. It was just cool to see him at least reference your home town that as big as a two neighborhoods here.
His ringtone is AC/DC, which reminds me of parties back then. If you drove up to a party blaring Back In Black or anything by Hank Jr. you could get into just about any party. Ahhhhhh home, sometimes I miss thee.
I've read a couple of different articles (here and here) the last few days bashing Paste for tapping Vol. 1 by She & Him as their best for 2008. Maybe bashing is to strong of a word, but, I definitely get a sense of "wtf?!"
I got this album shortly after it came out and was blown away by how good it actually was. This isn't Scarlett Johansson trying to record. Nor is it that chick from Desperate Housewives who thinks she can sing. Zooey Dechanel proves she actually has some musical and vocal talent throughout the Vol. 1 and I just don't get what all the bashing is about. "This Is Not A Test" is one of the best songs I've heard all year; and their version of "You Really Got A Hold On Me" is stunning.
I'm assuming all the hub bub is because Dechanel is an actress first and a singer second. Ok, I get that. Sure, it's not super-indie like Vampire Weekend or Sufjan Stevens, but, you can't deny the talent and chemistry she and M. Ward have on this album.
Friday, November 21, 2008
So, I've found a few mash-ups that today that I'm pretty keen on. Like any good mash, it should take two completely different artists and make one pretty sweet track. I've posted some of my favorites below. I really like the Stevie Wonder vs. The Killers...good stuff. But, is it as good as M.I.A. vs Bon Jovi? I'm not sure, it's a toss up.
MP3: DJ Losterlust - Jenny's Supersticious (Stevie Wonder vs. The Killers)
MP3: Leebuzz - Fist Full of Diggity (Blackstreet vs. RATM)
MP3: DJ Schmolli - M.I.A Wanted Dead or Alive (M.I.A. vs Bon Jovi)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Last nights performance from The Knux was rather unfortunate. They gave it their all, but, the crowd just wasn't havin' it. As I was writing my review of the show I listened to some of their tunes on Myspace...and, they weren't bad. Their songs are pretty good, and I really liked this particular track "Bang, Bang" off their debut Remind Me In 3 Days. I dig the sped up break beat and their humpty dumpty flow.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Broken West's sophomore album Now or Heaven has been on heavy rotation here for quite a while. So, I was pleased as punch to see they were todays latest artists to be featured on ye old Daytrotter Sessions.
However, I wasn't so excited when I heard the new version of "Gwen, Now And Then" (my favorite cut off the new album). Why? Because it was so different from the recorded version! But, about half way in, I started to realize it was just like a garden and I started to dig it, man. But, the reasoning behind the reworking was splained thusly:
When we first started rehearsing this song during the sessions for the new record, it had this really strong, driving drum part. Kind of like The Cure’s “Close to Me”. But then the song got really stripped down — we lost that beat and ended up using this drum loop for most of the track. I’m happy with the way it turned out on the record, but we thought it would be fun to go back to that big beat. So we came into the Daytrotter session knowing that we wanted to try it that way; that’s about the only thing we knew we wanted to do for sure. Then Danny came up with this really awesome, percussive guitar part on the fly, and it all sort of came together. I really like the way it turned out — I’d kind of like to play it like this live from time to time.
You can download the tracks here.
Tonight is the Q-Tip show at the House of Snooze and I can't wait! I never got to see A Tribe Called Quest back in the day or on their recent reunion...so, this is the next best thing. Besides, e'rybody know Tip's the main man anyway.
Here is his newest vidie off The Renaissance, called "Renaissance Rap." Nice. It's like Q-Tip's version of the Bourne series. I'll be covering the show for DC9 and I'll post a link to the "Last Night Review" tomorrow once it's posted.
*EDIT* Here is the link to the "Last Night Review" for the show on DC9.
One thing I forgot to write in my review was the greatness/awkwardness of "Sucka Nigga." That's one of my favorite tunes off of Midnight Marauders, but, it was super awkward to be a Caucasian singing it. It was one of those "should I?" moments. So, I just went with it. It's not everyday Q-Tip is 10 feet in front of me, ya know?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I'm not really sure what the deal is with Of Montreal. I know these guys are big fans, but, I don't really see what the huh-bub is all about. I mean, Paul Rudd likes them so why can't I? Every blog I read has a lot of posts about them and I've noticed Of Montreal is a big fan of the cover songs. So, I was a readin' one of the blogs today and they posted OM's cover of my favoritest John Lennon tune, "Instant Karma" (Sorry "Imagine," I didn't want you to find out like this!)
So, I figured 'what the hell, I'll give 'em a chance.' I'm sorry that I did. This is the worst version of a cover song--any cover song--ever. I tried, they failed, sorry.
Monday, November 17, 2008
So, I've been diggin' the hell out of the new Eastwood album, Everythings Personal. It's an album that combines the many elements of the band. Their sound can't really be described very easily, a little rock, a little country and little pit of pop sensibility and a dash of that sweet Bluegrass sound. Songs like "Givin' Up, Givin' In" has the countryfied-pop sound that is very reminiscent of The Eagles.
Their sound is approachable and very easy to get hooked into. The stand out track on Everythings Personal is "Right Place, Wrong Time." It's a situation a lot of couples find themselves in with the person they are in a relationship with. 'I love you, I really do. But, I really hate putting up with your shit. We've had this talk 100 times, remember?' If you have any questions about the tone of this song, just listen to that sweet, sweet steal guitar and you'll know this song was meant for lookin' back. Or forward, just depends on which side of the relationship your on.
Another stand out track is "They'll Never Take Me Alive," a nice little rocked up tracked about breakin' out of the hooskow and, well, they ain't gonna take him back alive. And, then there's "Natalie"--the I'm sorry for cheatin' on you song that is actually sweet and makes you want to forgive the guy for doin' 'er wrong.
Yep, Eastwood carries on the strong Dallas tradition in the Americana, Alt-Country and Roots-Rock that sounds just a great in the car as it does on stage. Whether they make music a full-time career or just for shits and giggles Eastwood are a damned good band.
Yeah, so, I've been listening to "Down Boy" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs quite a bit the last two weeks. I'm not sure what it is about the song that gets me in the gut. I like the loud/quiet part of the song, and I like thinking Karen O is telling me what to do. And, it could also be about the energy of the loud parts. But, overall, I think it's just the rockin' vibe the whole things gives out. To me, it's the YYY's at their best.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
So, I don't really know a whole lot about Mike Watt other than he was in the Minutemen then struck out on his own. Oh, and once my brother saw him play somewhere and some dude kept yelling "Mike, where's Jay?!" several times throughout the show. To which mike finally told him he was in a new band or something.
So, I was looking around for "The Golden State" mp3 when I happened upon this little gem from Berkeley Place--a live show of Watt's from '95 featuring Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and William Goldsmith of Sunny Day Real Estate! I believe the writer put it perfectly when he said it's a "grunge supergroup." Indeed. But, I listened to their version of Pearl Jam's "Habit" and I really liked it. Mike's hittin' the bass a little to hard, but, that's what punks do, right? But, the best part comes when I believe Watt is the one who says the line "Speaking as a child of the 90's," excellente.
MP3: Mike Watt & Friends - Habit
I'm not sure who saw this on DC9, but, it's a good thing for local musicians. The Libertine is going to play only music from local bands on Monday nights. When I first read it I wondered how they were going to fit a band inside that tiny place. Then I read a little further and saw the DJ will be spinning music solely from local bands. And, as I read a little further I read that they will play just about anything local if you recommend it to them.
So, if you're having a bad case of the Mondays, hit up The Libertine and listen to good tunes as you drink away your worries about the "Bob's" coming in to interview you for your job.
My list of who they need to play:
Radiant*, Dove Hunter, Sarah Jaffe, Robert Gomez, Eastwood, Jason Bales, 100 Damned Guns, Elkhart, I Love Math/Deathray Davies and The New Frontiers.
Play them ASAP!
I believe I have stated this a couple of times now, but, I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan. That being said, I'm really diggin' the direction the Ed has been going in the last couple of years with his solo material. The Into The Wild soundtrack was completely different from about 99% of what Pearl Jam has done.
To that point, Ed has been joined by former PJ opener and Sleater-Kinney alum Corin Tucker to cover John Doe's "The Golden State" for his release of Golden State EP. I've listened to this lil' number a few times now and it gets better with each listen. (Pitchfork)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I'm not sure what it is about The Killers, but, I've only started to soften my stance on them. Sure, they have good tunes and what not, but, Brandon Flowers has always gotten on my nerves. He seems a bit to pretentious for my taste. But, what I do like about him is he seems to have a good sense of humor--as evidence by this clip.
While everyone seems to want to cover Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," The Killers go for he gusto and cover "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." That takes some balls my friends.
Tonight Doug Burr will be playing an intimate set at Times Ten Cellars (not to be confused with Jazz Times Ten) in Lakewood and is on the second Wednesday of every month. It will actually be in the Times Ten Too, which is the attached building to the east of this locale for the uninitiated.
The doors open at 7p and Matt Thompson will be the opening act with Mr. Burr playing after. If you haven't been to Times Ten Cellars it's a very neat place. Some friends of mine actually got married there a couple of years ago.
So, if you read this blog on a regular basis you'll know that the Fleet Foxes are one of my favoritest new bands of the year. I dig their harmonies and the throwback good viberations of their tunes.
The Seattle boys recently got together with LaBlogotheque for a "Take Away Show." The video show them harmonizing "Sun Giant" on the grounds of the Grand Palals and then inside an abandoned wing singing "Blue Ridge Mountain." When they're inside it served as a natural reverb chamber serving the FF's sound well.
Fleet Foxes - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ryan Adams has a penchant for doing terrific cover versions of songs I love/like. And, well, he's done it again. This time, he's covered the Foo Fighters acoustic redux of "Times Like These." You remember that one, right? The one where Little Davey Grohl went from full-throated scream to hushed acoustic excellence?
Monday, November 10, 2008
I just got a song in my inbox heralding the release "Still Alive (Teddybears Remix)" by Lisa Miskosky featured the remix soundtrack to the video game Mirror's Edge. Surely you've seen the commercial for it on the telie? The one with the animated girl jumping from rooftop to rooftop? Well, I wasn't to sure about listening to this song--and I'm now on my fourth straight listen. It seems like the digital soundtrack is comprised of remixes by some of the best dance producers in that scene. I'm particularly interested in hearing the Paul van Dyk workout of that song. I've been a fan of his production for a while now.
Man, this song is good! It gives me a feeling that reminds me of a song that tops off a really good night out at a bar or club (a club more likely with this song) and makes you feel happy all over. The only thing holding me back is it has "guilty pleasure" written all over it. Honestly, it's not something I would be blastin' with my boys around. But, I can at least rock it with the Mrs. and hopefully not be seen as soft for liking it. Hopefully. However, she does like to poke the fun sometimes.
Let me man it up a bit here: Dude, check out that picture of Lisa Miskovsky! Swedish chicks are so hot.
Anyhoo, check it out, let me know if you likey.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
So, last night I took myself down to Club Dada to check out what turned out to be a great night of music. Well, except for the very first band. I never got their name and apparently the singer never got singing lessons. Dude, you got heart, I give you that. But, next time you might want to bring a bucket with you to carry a tune in. But, I digress.
The second band was Elkhart and I was impressed right away by their live set. They have the Americana rootsy vibe without the typical voice associated with it. Travis Hopper is a good singer, his voice reminds me of an Roots/Americana version of Thom Yorke, except Travis doesn't have a crazy eye. That being said, I was totally blown away by their version of Radiohead's "House of Cards." I've been checking out their album The Moon today and it's quite tasty.
MP3: Elkhart - Tune Out
Last night was my first exposure to Mr. Jason Bales and I was more than impressed with this guy. He's got a rockin' set that to me was a mix of Red Dirt and Texas Country. I could be way off base, but, that's the way it hit me. I will definitely get more music from Mr. Bales and check out his live set again. His set was pretty rockin' last night.
MP3: Jason Bales - 335
But, the headliners of the night were Eastwood--the tallest band in Dallas music. I got to hang out with the guys a little before the show and I've never felt so short in my life! Kevin has to be at least 6'9". Their set was as good live as it is on record. For guys who hold down day jobs and get their rock and roll jollies out on the weekend they are blessed with a lot of talent. I can't wait to check out their show at the Barley House next month.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thanks to a friend of mine I can't get this song out of my head. I've listened to "House of Cards" about a hundred times today. I'm not a huge Radiohead fan, but, I did Thom Yorke and his wonky eye. Oh, and some of his bands tunes as well. I'm not sure if it's the time of year or something else, but, today this song seems to very fitting.
So, last night I saw Q-Tip was going to be on Letterman and I set the trusty ol' DVR to record. I was tired and couldn't stay up and watch it. Hey, I was tired! So, I gots up this morning eager to watch it. I fast forwarded through most of Ben Stiller and got to Tip. I got to see the first minute of his performance. I hate it when a show runs late and the DVR isn't smart enough to keep recording. Idiot.
So, through the magic of the interweb I get to see it on my laptop. He put on a solid performance even giving a shout out to Dave.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I was reading over at Gobbler's Knob about the new Waylon CD, Waylon Forever and so I checked out the songs that were on it. I was more than a little surprised when I saw he covered Cream's "White Room." I guess I shouldn't be to surprised since ol' Shooter is the one behind the project. Anyhoo, it got me to thinking about good cover tunes I've heard and what makes a good cover.
A good cover doesn't always have to be complete reworking of the origninal, but, it usually helps. A friend of mine turned me on to a cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" by one Obadiah Parker. It's a great version, but, I can't help but think that chicks would really dig this. Then, there is the completely awesome version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" that The White Stripe perform.
So, here are some of my favorite recent cover tunes.
Those crazy Austin kids! The last time I heard from The Boxing Lesson was when they released their completely awesome video for "Dancing With Meow." While "Dancing With Meow" was like the a more trippy version of Josh Wink's "Simple Man" video. Now they've released another innovative video for "Dark Side of The Moog."
This animated video shows what happens to Major Tom if he actually made it to another planet...and had two co-pilots. But, the video unknowingly preys upon something that has freaked me out since childhood--giant Spiders. I know spiders as big as a VW Beetle aren't real, but, whether they are animated or crafted from an FX studio they still freak me out. But, I digress.
The video is super good.
The Boxing Lesson - Dark Side of the Moog from Eric Power on Vimeo.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
So, I got an email today that the ol' Kings of Leon premiered the video for "Use Somebody" on Myspace today. I'm not a Facebooker or MTV watcher, so, I can't really say if it premiered on either of those or not. But, I think it's funny that you can premiere a video on a website instead of going to MTV.
If you haven't gone out to get Only By The Night, then you should do so--now! It's packed with choice cuts and is quite the good album.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Man, last night was really exciting. I mean, we now have a black American President! These are exciting times we live it, my friends. I thought John McCain gave a great speech as he conceded the race to Obama. I like how he hushed the Obama haters and urged them to work with Obama instead of against him. I wish he could've been that way during the campaign instead of the borderline hate-mongering.
But, whether you voted for Obama or not, his speech last night made you feel like an actual change is coming. He spoke to the country with a preachers cadence and it actually felt like he cared. I hope that he will be able to keep up with the change he has promised. It was such a spectacular night and one that won't be forgotten for quite a while.
We're buzzin' pretty high in anticipation of The Renaissance from Q-Tip which is out today. Yesterday Stereogum and DC9 had the new track "Life is Better." Norah Jones handles the hook duties for this funked out jam. It's funny how Tip is pretty much relegated to a guest on his own track.
The track doesn't really sound like old Tribe, instead it has a Hip-Hop Soul of Jill Scott or Erykah Badu.
I happened to catch this vidie on Subterranean the other night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Up until that point I had only heard one other song by Okkervil River and wasn't very impressed. But, I thought I would give them another chance and I wasn't disappointed. Visually, the video is stunning, I dig the TV heads and I enjoyed the surprise ending. I was happy to hear some banjo in this lil' pop ditty.
Monday, November 3, 2008
As the world waits patiently for Chinese Democracy to be unleashed in all of it's rock and roll fury at the end of the month, check out this remix of "Welcome To The Jungle."
It's not really a dance remix, it's more of a dance-rock remix...maybe. I've only heard one of the new tracks from the long gestating album and it has some elements of Industrial rock that Axl supposedly wanted. And this remix fits in kinda nicely with that sound.
Whomever remixed it did a pretty great job. The opening guitar riff is used repetitively and quite well. Some of the vocals are buried a little bit suggesting they sampled it straight from the recording and not from a DAT recording. But, I still dig it none the less.