Jesca Hoop – “Intelligentactile 101”

Jesca Hoop

“Jesca Hoop’s music is like a 4 sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch, or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night” – Tom Waits

You know, I don’t really know what that exactly means, but that doesn’t stop me from listening to her music. If she has the endorsement of Tom Waits, then there must be something good there. I saw her earlier this summer opening for the Polyphonic Spree in Boston (which was amazing). I came in about half way through her show, but I wish I had arrived earlier. There’s something different about her that sets her apart from her contemporaries like Regina Spektor, Feist, and Emily Haines.

“To me it is about fostering the imagination…invention and making a life of one’s own. It’s very heart-centered music, and at the same time, there is something very playful and sensual about what I do. I try my best to give something away–to create something that someone can actually make use of, so that within that creation they can drive their own story.”

One of the songs she played “Intelligentactile 101″tells the story of a baby floating around before it’s born gathering together all of its body parts and getting ready to travel to earth. It’s a little out there, but it’s a damn catchy song. I highly recommend it. Her album Kismet comes out September 18th.

Check out her website
or MySpace to hear more songs

Jesca Hoop – Intelligentactile 101

Song of the Day – 12/28/07

The glory of a shuffling playlist means you can blindly encounter a song you forgot existed. One whose sonic melodies were “unforgettable.” The song found its way onto a slew of mixes and then, for whatever reason, was simply gone. Maybe you went through some hippie jam-band phase or your computer got stolen or whatever… the point is hearing that song after a long time can be one of the most satisfying moments ever.

Pas/Cal’s third EP, Dear Sir, was released earlier this year (maybe sometime last year?) and it was an incredibly strong release. I think I had a real thing for most of the songs on it. The song of the day today is “The Lot Came We Came Home With,” the fourth track.

What starts out simple pyramids into a complex and beautiful climax that really hits close to the soul. Everytime I listen through the EP, the flow between the two last tracks feels fantastic. I’ll spare you the bio and the pressure and let you take it as it is. Enjoi!

MP3: Pas/Cal – “The Lot We Came Home With”

I think we could really use a full-length sometime soon, eh guys?

MP3: Pas/Cal – “Wake up Wake Up Wake Up”

The best part? Every other track on this EP is equal or better… that’s called consistency, kids…

Video: The Loudness War

I was cleaning up some of my old bookmarks today and came across this 2 minute video showing how big-name CD manufacturers are distorting sounds to make them seem louder, and the negative impact this has on sound quality. Thought it was an interesting video you might want to check out.


Update: If you are interested in this topic, you can also check out this new article published by Rolling Stone addressing the Loudness War. Really weird that I came across this today, because I had no idea this article was written until after posting this video which I had bookmarked for ever.

Best Album of 2007: Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Bon Iver is amazing. I have been meaning to write this post for several months, and am excited that it’s finally getting posted–this talented musician deserves the acclaim of everyone. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to start growing quickly in the music scene. If you are a fan of M. Ward, Iron & wine, or Ray LaMontagne, make sure to take a listen his music. Bon Iver’s acoustic strumming and unique and soulful vocals make listening to him therapeutic and pleasurable. His beautiful voice is an instrument in its own right. His thoughtful and poetic lyrics add so much more. I have no reservations saying that, in my opinion, this is the best album of 2007. I am willing to stand behind that. Listen to For Emma, Forever ago. Embrace it. You owe it not only to the music, but more importantly, yourself.

Justin Vernon is of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is Bon Iver (French for good winter). Vernon moved to a remote cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin at the onset of winter. Tailing from the swirling breakup of his long time band (DeYarmond Edison), he escaped to the property and surrounded himself with simple work, quiet, and space. He lived there alone for three months, filling his days with wood splitting and other chores around the land. This special time slowly began feeding a bold, uninhibited new musical focus.” Reveille Magazine interviewed Vernon, and asked him about the environment he made the album in.

I don’t think there’s any way I could have done it elsewhere. It’s been painted in the reviews of the record as this magical four months of hunkering down and writing a record. In reality I headed out to the cabin because I just didn’t know what to do next in my life. Once I got there though it just felt like all the blocks that I had put in my brain and heart in terms of musical expression started to loosen. They had been there for so long and the only thing that was able to loosen them up, and loosen me up, was having that much space. Not just the physical space, but also the emotional space, just being away from bandmates and old friends who know you so well. It was the first time I could really hear myself. I had my finger on the pulse of what was happening as it happened. Having the time and space allowed me to listen to my inner voice. When you’re in a city and constantly playing shows and are worried about how your band’s doing it’s too easy to get distracted.


Cabin where Vernon recorded For Emma, Forever Ago.

Vernon comes off as an extremely modest guy, and is taking the recognition he is starting to receive in stride. He released For Emma, Forever Ago independently, but is now signed to Jagjaguwar and the album will be re-released on Feb 19, 2008. I still consider it to be the best album of 2007, though. I posted an Amazon pre-order link below. If you like this music support Vernon. I already pre-ordered my copy. When I listen to this album, I visualize Vernon at his father’s cabin that winter. His music radiates warmness.

For Emma, Forever Ago (2007):

Bon Iver – Skinny Love

Site| Amazon Pre-order| Virb (stream full-length)| Myspace

Song of the Day – 12/27/07

So it’s that elusive, treasure-trove of a week that sits firmly between Christmas and New Years when we have the right to drink more than we should, eat more than we should and just avoid doing what we should, you know? It’s called the holiday season because we have the right to be as happy as fucking possible.

White Shoes & the Couples Company is a band I really don’t know a lot about. At first listen, it’s an immediate recommendation to fans of Belle & Sebastian or The Clientele. A gift from a friend, their self-titled album is “fun as fuck, dude!!!!!111” and I agreed, so I did some research.

The band hails from Jakarta, capital of Indonesia. Influenced by more classic jazz than modern experimentation as well as 70’s Indonesian movie soundtracks, these guys don’t let the mood out for a second. More than just homogeneous indiepop, this album is a perfect blend of smooth jazz, rock, funk, disco, awesome noise and sound as well as thoughtful and energetic indiepop. It’s honestly a pleasure to listen to the album through, I truly hope you go out and find this one. It’s worth it… especially at a time like this. Let the good ones roll…

MP3: White Shoes & the Couples Company – “Tentang Cita”

Buy their album: Amazon | iTunes

Be their friend: MySpace

Bonus MP3: White Shoes & the Couples Company – “Topstar”

Check out this fantastic video for their single “Senandung Maaf”


I’m all about the revival of “jolly badasses,” join me?

The Maccabees – Colour It In

The Maccabees. Are they Jewish? Are they not Jewish? Who knows, and really, who cares (they aren’t)? Today, I saw this Jewish magazine over at a friends house called Jvibe and there was a music section that included, “Best Jewish Singer/Group You Wish Would Refer to Being Jewish”. The nominees in the magazine are Joe Trohman (of Fall Out Boy), Adam Levine (of Maroon 5), The Beastie Boys, and Amy Winehouse. If the Maccabees were Jewish, they would certainly top the list of “Best Jewish Singer/Group who Refer to Being Jewish”. Even though they are not Jewish. That’s all I have to say on that matter. And that I think it’s silly to expect musicians, or anyone for that matter, to publicly discuss their religion, unless they are Yusuf Islam. But that’s for another day. Now to the important stuff.

The Maccabees have a similar sound to Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, Wolf Parade, and Dogs Die In Hot Cars. Some songs are better than others, but I think the band is worth your listen, as they do have some catchy hooks. Their music is more on the indie rock side and is probably as indie rock as I get. My favorite song of theirs is “Toothpaste Kisses” which is on their debut, Colour It In. I must say that while “Toothpaste Kisses” is a good song, and the most mellow song on the album, I can’t help thinking of Dylan’s “Lay, Lady, Lay.” Does anyone else hear the similarities? I mean, listen to the lyrics. “Lay with me, I’ll lay with you, we’ll do the things lovers do.”

The Maccabees are from Brighton via South London, UK, and band members include Orland Weeks (vocals), Hugh White (guitar), Rubert Jarvis (bass), and Robert Dylan Thomas. You don’t have to read far into the biography on their website to see the sarcastic British humor I love so much.

They were ambitious from the start. Shortly after Felix joined, they entered a Battle Of The Bands competition. They lost to a girl group called Red, who played covers, had massive afros and wore miniskirts. The Maccabees had already planned how to spend the money when they won – new amps and a demo. When they didn’t, they were so devastated they didn’t even collect their second prize – tickets to a beer festival.

Fun fact: They chose the name by flicking through books. The biggest in the house was The Bible. They came across the story of The Maccabees, Jewish rebels who fought against Greek rule and established Jewish independence in the second century BC. As soon as they saw they name, they knew that was it. But it’s only a name. They’re not a religious band.

Colour It In (2007):

The Maccabees- Toothpaste Kisses

The Maccabees – First Love

The Maccabees – Good Old Bill

Bonus (what do you think?):

Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay

Site| iTunes | Amazon (only $9.98 hard copy)|Myspace


Funny, but weird “Toothpaste Kisses” music video. Very weird. Disturbing, actually.


Tulsa – I was Submerged

If you are a fan of My Morning Jacket, Nada Surf, or Band of Horses you should check out the Boston band, Tulsa. They are one of the better lo-fi bands I’ve heard recently. The band offers a wide variety of sound throughout their debut, I was Submerged, from more mellow tracks like “Breath In”and “Shaker” (my two personal favorites) to grungier based songs, such as “Mass.”

The few reviewers I have found for this relatively unknown band were all fascinated by the fact that the band is not from Oklahoma. Not me. I think it makes perfect sense that the bands name is Tulsa. You see–Tulsa is in Oklahoma, and the Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma…and the Flaming Lips have performed in Boston…..which is umm..where Tulsa is from. Oh right, also, Rufus Wainwright has a song entitled “Tulsa” on Release the Stars, where he sings “you taste like potato chips in the morning,” and Cape Cod chips are produced in Massachusetts…which is where Boston is located….which is umm..where Tulsa is from. Clearly I know nothing about this band’s biography.

Tulsa was actually named after a book of photographs by Larry Clark. According to the band’s website, this book contains images of people with whom Clark grew up, who, in his opinion, epitomized apathy. Band members include Carter Tanton (lead singer/guitarist), Greg Hatem (drums), Marc Pinansky (guitarist), and Erik Wormwood (bassist.Wormwood..Wainwright. Coincidence? I think not). They formed in Boston, after the Tanton moved there from Baltimore, where he had a solo career (Birds & Rain). They are signed to Park the Van Records.

Fun Fact: According to an interview Tanton did with paperthinwalls, the song shaker is named shaker because “Greg shakes a shaker in ‘Shaker,’ and like Dinosaur Jr., we put absolutely no thought into song titles.”

I was Submerged (2007):

Tulsa – Shaker

Tulsa – Breath Thin

Tulsa – I Feel Great

iTunes | Amazon | Site | Myspace

Simian – Chemistry Is What We Are

I just came across the former band Simian, a psychedelic, experimental band out of England. They had two main releases before separating, their debut, Chemistry is What We Are, and We Are Your Friends. After taking a listen to both albums, I can say confidently that the debut is my favorite of the two, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. It has a drifty vibe, and many of the songs start off experimental and transform into neat beats. We Are Your Friends has a different more poppy sound, and while there are a few tracks that sound good, such as LA Breeze, the album is not nearly as accomplished as Chemistry is What We Are.

James Ford and Jas Shaw played around with electronic music while rooming together at Manchester University, and after two fellow students at the University, Simon Lord and Alex MacNaughten, discovered the guys, they formed Simian. I do not completely understand why the band broke up, but it sounds like they struggled remaining signed, and Ford and Shaw’s passion for electronic party music swayed them to start their own group, Simian Mobile Disco. According to their biography, “they’d finish a gig and then run off to play electro records to small, sweaty rooms full of people who often seemed to be having lots more fun than the audiences at their gigs.”

A few fun facts: Simian’s record label decided to launch a competition for bedroom acts to remix the Simian track ‘Never Be Alone’. A then unknown French production duo called Justice entered and, famously, didn’t win {video below}. Another fun fact, Brian Eno {U2} produced their album, and also was hired by Microsoft to compose the 4 second start up sound for Windows 95. He told XFM that he received $35,000 for those 4 seconds of bliss heard around the world. Click HERE to hear the sound.

Chemistry is What We Are (2001):

Simian – Drop & Roll (listen past annoying intro; the second part of the song makes the first part forgivable)

Simian – Doba

We Are Your Friends (2002):

Simian – LA Breeze

Simian – Helpless

Amazon|iTunes| Site


I forgot about Christmas…

I’m sure this will end with me being accused of treason of some kind, but just to settle… I really do love Christmas and I love you all.

Aside from being the time of the year where fantastic deals heavenly praises flood  suburban malls Earth–other than being a time to look to the age-old decorations of pine and tinsel to remind us of desire generosity–Christmas has some economical historical significance too. It recalls a very special time…

You don’t hate Christmas, do you? Sing along if you know the words!

The day that Capitalism Jesus Christ wasn’t was born is one we can never forget. Or can we? Now, I’m a Hindu… but I grew up in rural Wisconsin, so I know my sacred holidays. This year, however, something is different. While everyone was blasting their Christmas music as soon as the turkey was finished, I didn’t. Maybe living on my own secludes me… maybe the unforgiving Boston winter has abused my ductile heart… or maybe the bullshit is just too much to take this time… all I know is that it’s been business as usual. So here’s my playlist for all of you suffering from the inability to get psyched for this year’s commercial fuckshow Holiday Season.

It’s full of great songs that I’ve been keeping on rotation lately. Good for any season. There’s honestly not an obvious theme here, but if you make a little playlist I’m sure one of these songs will be perfect for the time… and that time is anytime, by the way. Check em out. Some I’m sure you’ve never heard… some are just great.

  1. El Ten Eleven – “My Only Swerving”
  2. The Four Hundred – “Marionettes”
  3. Liam Finn – “Second Chance”
  4. Brazillian Girls – “Homme”
  5. Andrew Bird – “A breaks B”
  6. Jeff Tweedy – “Simple Twist of Fate (Bob Dylan Cover)”
  7. Pseudosix – “Treacherous Ways”
  8. Nas – “Surviving the Times”
  9. Phosphorescent – “A Picture of Our Torn Up Praise”
  10. Galactic w/ Gift of Gab – “The Corner”
  11. Old Crow Medicine Show – “Cocaine Habit”
  12. frYars – “happY”
  13. Wax Fang – “Avant Guardian Angel Dust”
  14. The Flaming Lips – “Nobody Told Me (John Lennon Cover) – Live”
  15. The Bowerbirds – “Human Hands”

Now, there is something special about people around the end of the year, and it’s a good thing. Good hearted people are good no matter how you spin it. When I was younger, I would get excited for presents holidays because I was a greedy little bastard for what would seem like no reason. Instead of hating the way things are, I think it’s time for me (and the rest) to love it the right way. The problem is… they just don’t make McDonalds French Fries and 6-Piece McNuggets Christmas like they used to…