Archive for October, 2008

Oct 13 2008

Songs of the Day II

I’ll start, as I always do, with an apology for not writing in some time. Being in school and at work and trying to scrape and find and explore new music is a job that is a lot tougher than I thought. So this past week I swore to devote my time to pick out my recent favorites and share them with you (sorry if I totally missed the boat on some, it’s the thought that counts, right?) I apologize for the layout too, WordPress is being a lameass. Dig deep, there’s quite a bit to be had here.

First off is an awesome track from one of my favorite bands today, Moscow Olympics. Honestly, the production alone on their new album, Cut the World, is worth mention. It is a lesson in tasteful, atmospheric rock the likes of which not only hail to MBV but wholeheartedly attempt to evoke the same amount of emotion… and that’s fuckin rad.

MP3: Moscow Olympics – “No Winter, No Autumn”

MP3: Moscow Olympics – “Still” from the Still 7″ on Fraction Discs.

This next band, Weird Tapes, is infectious (Thanks GvB!). Grab the Get Religion EP for free! And a bunch more tracks at the We’re Tapes blog. These seriously are the jams. I don’t really know too much about these guys, check out Gorilla vs. Bear for that scoop. For now, listen.

MP3: Weird Tapes – “The Heavens”

MP3: Weird Tapes – “TV Romance” from Nightstalking

Arsenal have been popping up around a lot lately. Mostly for their rollicking electronic, pop-rock tune, “Estupendo.” And rightfully so, that song is amazing. Not less than perfect for going on a run, going out or jumping on all the furniture in your house. Their new album, Lotuk, is an eclectic mix of Electropop, downtempo jams, garage rock and blah blah blah… It’s hard to get you a few tracks and fully describe these Belgian dudes, so here are some of my favorites. “Selvagem” it badass, at least. That crunchy lead line is perfect when coupled with their European, indie genius. Also, check out the chillout, spoken word bombs on “The Letter,” if you can. What do you think?

MP3: Arsenal – “Estupendo”

MP3: Arsenal – “Selvagem”

If not simply for his part on The Flaming Lips, Hit To Death In The Future Head, Johnathan Donahue has constantly brought something new and interesting to my table. Mercury Rev have been consistently enigmatic from 1991’s Yerself is Steam all the way to their newest, Snowflake Midnight (You should definitely get this). The title could not be more indicative of the chilled, ethereal concepts behind this album. Take a listen to the first track, “Snowflake in a Hot World,” then jump on the awesome Fujiya & Miyagi remix of “Sense on Fire.” Finally, there’s my all-time favorite ‘Rev song, “Car Wash Hair,” from their first album, written about the Lips and possibly one of my favorite songs of all time.

MP3: Mercury Rev – “Snowflake in a Hot World”

MP3: Mercury Rev – “Sense on Fire (Fujiya & Miyagi Remix)”

MP3: Mercury Rev – “Car Wash Hair” from Lego My Ego EP (1991)?

My favorite underground hip-hop artist today is none other than Cadence Weapon (a Canadian!!!). With truly raw beats and panned out production, this guy is a real person. The character he embodies is actually a reflection of something real and he’s not afraid to be smart, something that I look for in the art of poetics. That said, CW kicks you hard in your teeth and ankles… a blow of truth. Check out these bomb tracks and dig more at Hype.

MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Limited Edition OJ Slammer”

Mp3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate” (which has an awesome video)

Department of Eagles are doing pretty well these days, from what I see. That’s definitely a good thing. I haven’t heard too much, but their album, In Ear Park is full of great, reverb-ey swamp rock and I like it a whole lot. Especially that song that everyone loves, “No One Does It Like You.” Here are three versions, each awesome in it’s own way. These guys are good.

MP3: Department of Eagles – “No One Does It Like You” from In Ear Park

MP3: Department of Eagles – “No One Does It Like You” live 10/6/08

MP3  Department of Eagles – “No One Does It Like You” alternate take at Don’t Look Down.

I’ve said it before, but we should all be even more interested in Rogue Wave. These guys are always at the top of my list of musical recommendation. They’re brilliant. Recently they did a MySpace session and the intimate nature of the performace not only gave me new insight into some of their more orchestrated songs, but also displayed a desire to never set a song in stone and always strive to perfect them. So, it’s okay to cancel a few shows. Great job guys, you are the shit! Few are better.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Eyes” live on MySpace

MP3: Rogue Wave – “What Difference Does It Make (The Smiths Cover)” live on MySpace

MP3: Rogue Wave – “I’m Only Sleeping (Beatles Cover)” live on… somewhere.

In terms of classics, I’ve been listening to the Rolling Stones a bit lately and thought I would remind myself of the total awesomeness of this band.

MP3: The Rolling Stones – “She’s Like A Rainbow”

MP3: The Rolling Stones – “Street Fighting Man”

Finally, it’s election time, and for seriously counscious artists this means there is a great duty to fill. Wilco and Fleet Foxes recorded a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” as an incentive download if you pledge to vote in November. Just a simple, honest gesture of incentive in activism from one of my new favorite bands and one of my favorite bands ever. I’ll post a super LO-fi version here, but you gotta get the real deal for the full effect.

MP3: Wilco & Fleet Foxes – “I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan Cover)”

MP3: Jeff Tweedy – “Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan Cover)” from the I’m Not There OST

MP3: Jeff Tweedy –  “I’m Into Something Good” (Herman’s Hermits Cover)

MP3: Wilco – “Nothing Up My Sleeve” YHF b-side

I hope you’re all doing well. Thanks to everyone who supports and reads our site. We love you very much. Stay connected, keep your eyes/ears peeled for MusicFloss.com and SUPPORT GREAT MUSIC!

10 responses so far

Oct 10 2008

Double Wonderful – Dream Drug Video

Published by under Video

 

This is the latest video from the twisted minds of Long Island power-pop trio Double Wonderful. My band did a tour with these guys two years ago. Their songs are some of the smoothest, sweetest, baby-I’m-totally-going-to-make-love-to-you-right-after-prom-but-only-if-I-can-get-the-car-from-my-mom type pop songs ever. EVER. (Please excuse my hyperbole…and that obnoxiously long sentence.) But they’re also masters of multimedia. This video is just the right kind of stupid to be instantly infectious.

I’m not sure if I need a disclaimer, but, coarse language, adult themes blah blah.

YouTube Preview Image

|MySpace|

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Oct 08 2008

Lykke Li- Youth Novels (2008)

Published by under MP3's

 

Youth Novels is the debut LP from 22-year old Swedish sensation Lykke Li. Produced by Björn Yttling of Peter Björn and John fame, Youth Novels is full of indie pop gems that blend the intimate folk of female singer songwriters Feist with choral, orchestral and electronic elements. No doubt Lykke Li owes some of her sound, especially her high-pitched croon, to Björk but her style is a unique mix. Youth Novels is one of the year’s most fun albums, if not one of the best. She’s currently on tour with Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson so check out the tracks I put up and check her out on tour!

 

mp3: “I’m Good, I’m Gone”
mp3: “Let It Fall”
mp3: “Little Bit”

 

Myspace | iTunes | Official Site

10 responses so far

Oct 08 2008

Pretty & Nice – Get Young

http://hardlyart.com/images/P&N/P&N1.jpg

Pretty & Nice’s first release for Hardly Art, Get Young, is officially out! My vow of silence is finally broken! I’ve had this album for two months and omgomgomgomg it is overwhelmingly good. (That has been building up for some time – I’m relieved I could express it in print so as to save myself the physical embarrassment of flailing my hands and jumping up and down.) I had the fortune of doing an interview with them 2 months ago for another magazine I wrote for (you can find it here) and have obsessed over this album ever since.

It took six months to record Get Young in their own all-analog, basement studio, putting in long hours and agonizing over every slight detail, staying up late in the night to record a sequence of bells on “Gypsy,” inviting friends to stomp and hoot at the end of “Pixies” and layering the hell out of each song with an armada of instruments scattered throughout their home. The result: their songcraft is unique and infinitely charming; the album progresses from frenetic punk epic to to sagacious pop classic, blending abrasive guitars bursting from broken amps with subtle vocoder hooks and pretty, oh-so-pretty pop falsetto. The guitars on “Pixies,” lilting and winding, are a melange of late Of Montreal and early Queens of the Stone Age, while the immaculate closure of “Wandering Eye” hits with an unexpected poignancy and ends with an immediate sense of withdrawal. Dammit, it’s already over? And clocking in at just under thirty minutes, listening to Get Young in its entirety relates an even stronger sense of accomplishment, like I just did an intense work out, or something. But with my brain!

This is the indie-pop epic you didn’t know you were waiting for. I’m often skeptical of “Best of the year…” type statements, but I’m going to make one. Get ready. This, if not the best, one of the best albums this year.

Just get this album, however you can. I won’t even pretend any more; buy it, download it, send for it via money order, or carrier pigeon. And considering P&N’s seeming obsession with the broken and archaic (their blown out speakers, their vintage recording studio, their old synthesizers), I’m sure they have a carrier pigeon package-plan tucked away somewhere in their scheme for world domination.

Then go see them live and freak out. I don’t know how people can thrash that hard and play guitar parts that intricate. Unless, of course, they are magicians. As I’ve suspected from the beginning.

And “Wandering Eye.” Goddamn that song hits hard. I’m still reeling.

From Get Young – “Wandering Eye”:

The entire album streaming here, for a limited time.

And here’s a live video of “Tora, Tora, Tora” at Great Scott in Allston Rock City. Not the best quality, but, they play so fast it looks like they’re being sped up.

YouTube Preview Image

|MySpace|Hardly Art|Store|

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Oct 07 2008

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (2008)

Published by under MP3's

 

Last night, I threw on Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson’s (I know, it’s a mouthful) self titled LP, an album I ripped blindly from my college radio station. Expecting that I would quietly fall asleep to the album, I found myself captivated from start to finish. The RIYL tag on the album at the station had read “Bob Dylan” so naturally I expected some traditional folk. But what greeted my ears was a superb mix of lo-fi psychedelic folk and intimate acoustic songs (think The Microphones’ The Glow Pt. 2). The album features guest appearances by Chris Taylor & Christopher Bear of Grizzly Bear and Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio and their influence is apparent in the powerful vocal layering and awesome production. Though only vaguely similar in sound, I am reminded of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago in regards to this album sheer emotional power coupled with fantastic songwriting. It’s not hard to understand where the intense emotional performance comes from when you read Robinson’s biography (available here), which includes drug addiction, homelessness, and cross country migration. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is one of the most exciting albums of the year and I urge fans of Conor Oberst, The Microphones, Bon Iver or Grizzly Bear to check out the album. Robinson is currently on tour with Swedish indie pop sensation Lykke Li (who I will be featuring later this week) in the States and he is going to put out another album next year, produced by Kyp Malone, so look out for both! “Woodfriend” is a gritty lo-fi rock out with incredible vocal work while “The Debtor” and “Written Over” are examples of Robinson’s pop sensibility with their combination of raw acoustic licks and bouncy piano.

 

mp3: “The Debtor”
mp3: “Woodfriend”
mp3: “Written Over”

 

Myspace | iTunes | Say Hey Records

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Oct 07 2008

Stars – Sad Robot EP (2008)

Published by under Alternative,MP3's

 

Stars’ new EP, Sad Robots, is one of my favorite releases of this year. In my opinion their 2007 release, In Our Bedroom After the War,  didn’t live up to their 2005 release, Set Yourself on Fire, but after spending 10 days recording this EP, I’m happy to see Stars is back, and at the top of their game.

“14 Forever” and “A Thread Cut With A Carving Knife” have been getting the most spins from me, but  I’m not lying when I say all six tracks on this EP are great.

Amy Milan, the female vocalist for the Montreal band, is one of today’s really exciting musicians to follow. Besides Stars, she is an active member of Broken Social Scene, and has recently produced and toured on solo material as well. In a great interview with Kansas City’s, The Pitch, Milan says “You know, I like to think of Stars as my wife and the others as my girlfriend or goomah. You know, you love your girlfriend, your mistress, but when it comes down to it, you come back to your wife,”

The interview also discusses how Stars decided to part ways with their label, Arts & Crafts, and released this EP independently. Milan said, “You know, it was really extraordinary to be able to very quickly release this album so soon after we’d produced it, to just put up a splash page with the download and watch excitement spread through word-of-mouth through the blogosphere.” They are currently selling the EP for $4, and are considering starting their own label.

Stars is currently on tour, check their Myspace for dates.

Sad Robots EP (2008):

Stars – 14 Forever

Stars – A Thread Cut With A Carving Knife

(remember that you can buy this EP for only $4, and it’s all going into the artists pocket. yay!)

In Our Bedroom After the War (2007):

Stars – Personal

Set Yourself On Fire (2005):

Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead

Stars – One More Night

Heart (2003):

Stars – Look Up

Sad Robot site |Arts & Crafts (Stars’ site) | Myspace

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Oct 06 2008

Mount Eerie/Lucky Dragons/Pikelet (Live!)

Published by under Alternative,Folk,MP3's

I went to church last night, and baby, I’m a new man.

No, but really. I saw Pikelet, Lucky Dragons and Mount Eerie in a church. In Australia. Did I mention they played in a church? Like, the holy kind? Well, I’m not much of a church goer myself, but this was damn near the closest I’ve come, and might ever come, to experiencing god. (Blasphemy?)

Pikelet opened, accompanied by a friend playing bass, clarinet, and anything else Evelyn (Pikelet’s secret identity!) could not manage with her hands and feet. (And I say hands and feet because, while playing whatever instrument she has on her lap, she is often twisting knobs and manipulating her delay pedals with her feet). There was something vaguely transcendent about her last performance (as previously mentioned), a sound hovering at the periphery hinting toward the divine. At a church, with her voice echoing from the vaulted ceilings, bathed more in an arrangement of shadows than any one light, Pikelet proved angelic, ascending over legions of synthesized harpsichords, floating above a tumultuous sea of her own creation. Check my previous post on her here.

Lucky Dragons (of LA) set up in the middle of the crowd with an odd assortment of objects, proving that most anything can be an instrument. Their show is magic, and relied on complete audience immersion. To describe what happen would take pages. And an understanding of mystical arts that, from what I can tell, transcend human thought. Their instruments used people as conductors, the magnetic attraction of human touch to create sound. They built more of an aesthetic than a specific sound, letting the random bleeps from the audience fill the canvas offered by their back beats. Sound trippy? It was. As it ended, as we put down the various cables and rocks that were handed us, we began to look around, bewildered. (And I use “we” freely, because, at this point, there may have been a collective consciousness). No clapping. No noise. Was it over? Had it passed? Was I still the same person? The only answer was their closing “song,” a freaked out electric groove to which we danced and flailed and screamed. It ended. We sat down. “Thank you,” they said. “We’re MGMT.” Laughs. For some pictures, check here for a website run by a very nice Aussie named Ro, who was also at the show.

Bashful and visibly humbled by the rapt attention of a church-full of cross-legged attendees, Phil Elverum took his seat under lighting that seeped from the walls, borrowing Pikelet’s guitar and addressing the audience in a timid voice bordering a whisper: “Hi, my name is Phil. Mount Eerie is my music-band project…ok, I’ll play a song.” Later, as he rambles through his stream of consciousness banter, we find that he is jet-lagged and nearly delirious with fatigue. The perfect time to catch an artist, no inhibitions.

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Oct 04 2008

New Andrew Bird: “Oh No”

Published by under Alternative,Folk,Pop

When Armchair Apocrypha came out, I had a hard time listening to anything else. In fact, I felt a similar way when I first heard Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs. There’s something very infectious about his music; there are pop sensibilities without compromising any lyrical depth. The wait for this new album Noble Beast will be a long one (it’s released 1/27/09), and after hearing this track, you’ll only want to hear more.

MP3: Andrew Bird – Oh No 

Bonus MP3s

MP3: Andrew Bird – Fake Palindromes (Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs)

MP3: Andrew Bird –  Heretics (Armchair Apocrypha)

2 responses so far

Oct 02 2008

Ben Folds – Way To Normal (2008)

Published by under MP3's

 

Pretty much all of us at Indie Muse grew up on Ben Folds. There is no question that we are always going to treasure the music he used to produce. Not sure what happened along the way (one hypothesis: he’s old), but opportunity cost laws dictate that his new album, Way To Normal, is not worth your time. Go listen to anything before Songs for Silverman instead. Actually, Songs for Silverman, is a pretty good album, especially compared to this. So go listen to that. Basically, anything but Way to Normal.

That doesn’t mean he can’t still produce a catchy song, though. “You Don’t Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)” is going to be stuck in my head for the weeks to come.

Way To Normal (2008):

Ben Folds – You Don’t Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)

Rockin the Suburbs (2001)

Ben Folds – The Ascent of Stan

Whatever and Ever Amen (1997):

Ben Folds Five – Battle of Who Could Care Less

Bonus:

Ben Folds – Bitches Ain’t Shit

The Bens – Just Pretend (Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Ben Lee)

6 responses so far

Oct 01 2008

Calexico – Carried To Dust (2008)

Published by under MP3's

 

Let me start by admitting that I am not nearly as familiar with Calexico as I should be. Strangely, my first experience with the band was when a couple years back I asked my dad if he had ever heard of an album called Feast Of Wire and to my surprise, my dad responded with “yeah, by Calexico?” I had heard the album name dropped multiple times on “essentials” lists and was interested to find out more. Apparently, despite his all but exclusively classic music collection, my dad really dug on Calexico’s Spanish influenced alternative country/folk jams and he gave me Feast Of Wire, which I listened to maybe once but didn’t particularly like it (though in retrospect, I don’t think I had as much of a soft spot for acoustic folk as I do now). Enter 2008: David and I are in the studio at our college radio station when I spot Calexico’s new album Carried To Dust. Fueled by my desperate need for new music, I ripped the album so I could finally maybe get what all the fuss about Calexico was. A week later, I think I’ve figured the fuss out.

 

Carried To Dust is a beautifully crafted album in Calexico’s traditional vein of Spanish and country influenced folk, written by primary members and chief songwriters Joey Burns and John Convertino. The first two tracks are absolutely breathtaking. “Víctor Jara’s Hands” sets the tone immediately with its Spanish lyrics, dirty southern guitar line and a sexy brass line. “Two Silver Trees” is more simplistic with its use of chimes that mimic the vocal melodies, but the swelling tremolo guitar under the beautiful vocal harmonization on the line “two silver trees” could bring one to tears. “Writer’s Minor Holiday” swings back and forth on its catchy rhythm beneath guitarist/vocalist Joey Burn’s smokey drawl. And while most of the music borders on the sing along folk of the Mountain Goats with a dash of Summerteeth-esque alternative country, “Inspiración” is an unashamed Spanish dance number. From start to finish, the album is truly a fantastic piece of art and undoubtedly one of the best of the year. Luckily, my enthusiasm with Carried To Dust lead me to another Calexico related gem, Iron & Wine and Calexico’s collaboration for a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Dark Eyes” for the film I’m Not There, which I included as a bonus. So check out Carried To Dust and check Calexico’s website to see if they are coming near you during their tour this winter!

 

mp3: “Two Silver Trees”

mp3: “Writer’s Minor Holiday”

mp3: Iron & Wine With Calexico- “Dark Eyes [Bob Dylan cover]”

 

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