The Receiver – Decades


This Thanksgiving break I listened to several different albums quite extensively, and The Receiver’s Decades was among those albums. If you are looking to just lay back and relax, this is your album. It is working its way up as one my favorites of the year. While listening, my ear was immediately drawn to the mellowed out experimental rhythms the band constructed. The vocals are thoughtful and beautifully orchestrated.

The Receiver’s are brother duo Casey and Jesse Cooper and are based in Columbus, OH. Decades actually began as Casey’s senior year thesis composition at the Ohio State University School Of Music. The project, called From The Corner Of A Room, was so widely acclaimed by those who heard it, that Casey decided to expand on the project with the help of his older brother, Jesse.

The Receiver has been compared to a handful of other musicians, including Elliott Smith, Album Leaf, and Sigur Ros. I highly recommend you check out the music below, along with the music on their Myspace.


The Receiver – Sober Hands

The Receiver – One Hand

Site | Myspace

Shins Announce Tour Dates


If you live on the west coast this may just be your lucky day. The shins just announced a short tour:

12-07 Seattle, WA – Key Arena
12-08 San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
12-09 La Jolla, CA – RIMAC Arena (UCSD)
12-13 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom

The Shins new album, Wincing The Night Away, hits stores Jan 23. If you are resourceful, you should be able to find the album on the web–it leaked a month or so ago. I haven’t been able to get enough of the songs “Red Rabbit” and “A Comet Appears.” Unfortunately, I can’t put them up on the site yet, but Sub Pop has been kind enough to make their new single Phantom Limb available for free. If you do find the album online, please remember to support the band when the music is available for purchase.

Wincing The Night Away:

The Shins – Phantom Limb

Chutes Too Narrow:

The Shins – Gone For Good

The Shins – Young Pilgrims

The New Yusuf Islam Album. The Old Cat Stevens?


As you probably know, after 28 years, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) has released a new album entitled An Other Cup. I have always been a fan of Stevens’ work, and have never judged his music based on his religious or political views. I believe that some of the information that circulates about him may be based on misconceptions, and would be foolish to think that I knew the actual truth. When the US government wouldn’t let Yusuf into the US, there was speculation as to whether he was a terrorist. After seeing six Muslims forced off a plane earlier this week for no particular reason, and having a friend who was detained because her name was accidentally put on the No Fly List, I am not too confident in our “No Fly List.” So basically, I am neither Pro nor Anti-Cat based on his personal life–I just listen to the music.

I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed in Yusuf’s new album. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but when I heard that he was releasing a new album, my anticipation took me right back to his greats like “Father and Son” and “Where Do The Children Play.” When I heard that he was making a comeback, I assumed that he was, well… going to start from where he left off. How could I think such a thing? It’s been 28 years! It’s not as though his life froze in time between album releases. Quite to the contrary, he has undergone significant religious and environmental transformations. So the album came out, I’ve given it a few spins, and I’m mixed on it. It’s listenable, but in my opinion, the album is unable to offer anything more impressive than his older works–it just didn’t have the same oomph. Also, the religious presence was too much for me. But hey, there seems to be a lot of conflicting reviews–some love it, some are mixed, and some plain out hate it. What is your take?

Regardless of the fact that I will probably not be listening too much to An Other Cup , I still love Cat’s old music, and continue to have full respect for him as an artist.

An Other Cup:

Yusuf – Heaven/Where True Love Goes

Yusuf – Maybe There’s A World

Extra: I Love this Elliott Smith Cover. A great musician covering An Other great musician.

Elliott Smith – Trouble

Cat Stevens – Trouble

Site | Myspace

Jeff Tweedy’s Sunken Treasure DVD


Jeff Tweedy’s Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest, is one of the most therapeutic DVD’s I have ever seen. If you’re not yet a Wilco fan, expect that to change after you watch Tweedy’s masterful performances. In this DVD, Wilco’s best songs are acoustically stripped down to their core, providing an entirely different concert experience. The journey begins in Seattle, with Jeff playing Sunken Treasure in a darkened venue, which seems like an abyss. A dimmed spotlight rests on Tweedy as he performs on an Oriental rug with acoustic guitars behind him. There is a comforting ambiance emanating from the stage, that caresses the audience and home viewers. Overall, the recording of the performances gives off a vintage feel. Between songs, Tweedy speaks what is on his mind, and does so in such an eloquent manner, you would think it was a prepared speech. He is able to effortlessly spark a connection with his audience, and responds to comments shouted out in witty and affable ways.

As can be seen in this DVD and interviews Tweedy has done, Jeff is fascinated by the importance of the fan, and how the fan is an essential collaborator in the music-making process. He stated in an interview with Wired, music is “just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience.” At his show in Portland, Tweedy politely confronts talking fans by expressing that when people come to a concert, including himself, they become part of a group. He feels that the unity of sharing an experience is a beautiful thing, and encourages people to share that experience, instead of separating themselves by talking.

If you’re still hesitant on whether to buy the DVD, maybe this will convince you: all audio tracks featured on the DVD will be available to download free of charge. By the way, if you are curious as to who the man is on the header image of my website, it’s Jeff Tweedy.

Audio from Sunken Treasure:

Jeff Tweedy – Sunken Treasure

Jeff Tweedy – In A Future Age

Ian Hultquist – Sunken Treasure Cover(not on DVD–click HERE for artist info)


Fujiya and Miyagi – Transparent Things


Fujiya and Miyagi are a trio out of Brighton(UK) that have a sound that you don’t hear too often in the States. Their music is Dance/Electronica, but there remains a strong Alternative vibe. When Steve Lewis and David Best started the band, they didn’t take themselves as seriously as they probably would have if they knew that they would get national attention–hence the name Fujiya and Miyagi. David stated, “Miyagi was taken from the film ‘The Karate Kid’ and Fujiya was the name of a record player. It just looked really nice written down. And it was the only name we came up with.” Now everyone thinks that they are a Japanese band, because they have a Japanese name and also, David cares more about singing rhythmically than speaking clear English. To clarify the misunderstanding, the band went as far as adding the lyrics into a song to say “We’re just pretending to be Japanese!”

The songs on Transparent Things were written over a span of several years, and while the album is out in the UK, it is yet to be released in the US. The band just struck a deal with Deaf, Dumb & Blind Communications to bring the album to the States on Jan 23. Since you are going to be buying the new Shins album that day anyway, you should pick it up. Even though the album hasn’t hit stores in the US yet, the band is already up and running on their next LP. If all goes according to schedule, it should hopefully be out by the summer. David is still working on the name of the album, but wants to somehow incorporate lightbulbs into it because, “My ex-girlfriend always had a thing about changing lightbulbs immediately, and I always ended up doing the washing up{dishes}, so it’s like a gender reversal.” As you can see from the naming of the band and albums, Fujiya and Miyagi are truly unique.

Transparent Things:

Fujiya and Miyagi – Transparent Things

Fujiya & Miyagi – Ankle Injuries

Myspace | Site

I am sorry for the lack of posts the last two weeks. I’m usually better at keeping up to date, but the last few weeks have been insanely busy. After today, I should have a clearer schedule. Here is a picture of a hamster singing to make it up to you.