Beirut – March of the Zapotec/Holland (2009)


I’ve been listening extensively to Beirut’s two upcoming EPs, March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland (2/17). Zach Condon, Beirut’s frontman, has shifted his sound once again from previous albums–Zapotec features a new Mexican folk music style, while Realpeople Holland is Condon’s electronica side-project. In fact, it’s such an odd mix, that originally the electronic EP was just called Holland, and Condon was going to release it under the name Realpeople. He decided to release both under the Beirut name after a friend advised him, “You should trust your music enough that people should be able to enjoy them both in their own way.’”

Zapotec was partially recorded in a small town outside Oaxaca, Mexico, where Condon traveled last year after canceling his European summer tour. In his two weeks down there, he played with a funeral band, in which he says in a Pitchfork interview, “The entire town plays in the band. It was pretty interesting. It ended up being 17 people.”

I think both EPs are fantastic, but slightly favor Realpeople Holland. My favorite tracks on the two EPs include, “La Llorona” (Zapotec), “My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille ” and “The Concubine” (Holland).

For those who are new to Beirut, they are based in Brooklyn, New York, fronted by 22 year old Zach Condon, and have two LPs to their name–Gulag Orkestar (2006) & The Flying Club Cup (2007). Both albums are amazing, with Gulag Orkestar having a lo-fi Eastern European sound, while Flying Club Cup is more on the French Pop side. When Metromix asked Condon in an interview what part of the world he wants to explore next, he responded “Probably nowhere. I feel like everything’s jumbling together in my head. I feel like I’ve explored all the palettes and now it’s time to look inward for inspiration.”

Beirut  should be announcing more tour dates soon, so I’ll keep you up to date (they just announced they are playing at this year’s Coachella festival). Below is a video of Beirut debuting “The Concubine” at a last minute secret show in Greenpoint. The band contacted the venue, Coco66 at 4pm to request the space and took to the stage at 10pm.


March of the Zapotec / Realpeople Holland EPs (2009):

Beirut – La Llorana

Beirut – My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille

The Flying Club Cup (2007)

Beirut – The Penalty

Gulag Orkestar (2006):

Beirut – Postcards From Italy

Beirut – Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)

Lon Gisland EP (2006) :

Beirut – Elephant Gun

Site | Myspace

Coachella Lineup Revealed

Looks like a pretty good lineup with big acts like Paul McCartney, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Leonard Cohen, Amy Winehouse, cialis generique and the Killers and some up and coming indies like Fleet Foxes, Vivian Girls, Peter Bjorn and John, Band of Horses, Blitzen Trapper and No Age. Anybody planning on going after seeing the list?

(mp3) Fleet Foxes – Blue Ridge Mountains
(mp3) No Age – Eraser
(mp3) My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow
(mp3) Band of Horses – Ode to Irc

Video: Animal Collective – My Girls

Check out the new video for Animal Collective’s viagra sans ordonnance “My Girls”. This band always seems to be on the cutting edge

of awesome sounds and images. The video just consists of the band performing their song, but with crazy tadalafil bioequivalence study effects going on throughout the entire video. I’d say it accurately portrays how the music

makes me feel sometimes.


Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009):

(mp3) Animal Collective – My Girls

From The Vaults: Split Enz (1975)

Six years after the Beatles broke up, at the apex of Neil Young’s influence stateside, New Zealand’s Split Enz released an album encompassing Young’s folk ideals tinged with the Beatles charming quirks. At times, Beginning of the Enz sounds like B-sides – or simply an alternate version – of Magical Mystery Tour, at others like a sequel to Harvest. It’s freak-folk, it’s art-rock inflected bluegrass, it’s something entirely different, a mélange of influences spanning the world, and a reflection of New Zealand’s isolation from the rest of the world. Their harmonies are guttural and often off key; but they’re real, they feel right, like Malkmus’s harmonies in early Silver Jews recordings. The refrain in “For You” transforms after each verse, separated by bursts of bass-driven melody and backed by a sweeping, string-driven descent into something wonderful. “Home Sweet Home” is backed by harpsichord and rushing cymbals, and freaked-out with voice-over samples from what sounds like an old-tyme British TV show. The album is constantly evolving, a trip as epic as New Zealand itself. Distorted guitars wash over twangy mandolin, spacy keyboards compliment airy vocals, while popping, rolling bass backs everything. Get into it.

From Beginning of the Enz:

Split Enz – For You

Split Enz – Home Sweet Home

Split Enz – Split Ends

And below is the video for their 1980 hit, “I got You.” This song increased their notoriety worldwide, making them one of the few New Zealand bands to make it internationally. Hysterically 80s, also a major departure from their ’75 sound.


MySpace | Amazon

David Karsten Daniels – Fear of Flying (2008)


As of recent, I’ve been listening a lot to David Karsten Daniels’ album Fear of Flying. If you are a fan of Devendra Banhart, The Bowerbirds, or Wilco, I think you’ll dig his folk sound–It’s unfortunate that such a talented musician hasn’t gotten more exposure. Daniels incorporates a variety of beautiful instrumentals into his songs to make for a lush listening experience.

Fear of Flying released in 2008, and is Daniels’ sophomore album (there have been five albums in all, but this is his second widely available one). My favorite tracks on the album include “That Knot Unties?,” “Martha Ann,” and “Falling Down.” The first track on Fear of Flying, “Wheelchairs,” quickly reveals the theme of the album: fear of growing old.

What I respect so much about Daniels’ music is similar to what draws me to some other folk musicians, particularly The Shivers. Like Shivers frontman Keith Zarriello, he isn’t willing to compromise his art to make an easily recognizable hit song, though he is clearly capable of producing one. Listening to his albums, it’s apparent that with a little self-restraint, Daniels sculpts his music to fit his messages. Most artists compose their music to be instantly gratifying, while Daniels often uses build ups, and with a little patients, it’s extremely rewarding.

David Karsten Daniels is from Seattle, though his website bio says he “has lived in too many places to really be from anywhere.” It goes on to say, “He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon with his lovely wife and schizophrenic pet rabbit [editors note: you have to watch out for those schizophrenic pet rabbits]” Although Daniels debut, Sharp Teeth, was widely overshadowed when it came out in 2007, it got critical acclaim from those who did hear it. His two main albums have been released on FatCat recordings and were recorded at his home.

Fear of Flying (2008):

David Karsten Daniels – That Knot Unties?

David Karsten Daniels – Martha Ann

Sharp Teeth (2007):

David Karsten Daniels – American Pastime

David Karsten Daniels – Jesus and the Devil

Site | iTunes | Amazon | Myspace

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)


In 2007, Animal Collective released what I consider to be one of the best albums of the decade, Strawberry Jam. Met with opposition from some fans, Strawberry Jam saw the band bidding farewell to the tribal shouts and bursts of noise that had made some tracks on early albums Sung Tongs and Here Comes The Indian sound like they were dancing on the line between insanity and genius.  Yet at the same time, the album reaffirmed the strange flirtations with pop music that the band had begun integrating into their sonic weirdness on Feels and Sung Tongs.  Strawberry Jam was simpler instrumentally, relying on samples or repetitive guitar progressions, and more lyrically focused, displaying vocalist Avey Tare’s best work to date.  Animal Collective’s 2009 effort Merriweather Post Pavilion once again asserts the bands groundbreaking ability to combine pop with a mess of psychedelia and electronic music.

The album draws influence from Animal Collective member Panda Bear’s 2007 release Person Pitch, which had Panda Bear utilizing minimalist samples under lush vocal layering and harmonies reminiscent of the Beach Boys.  Panda Bear takes a much larger role on Merriweather Post Pavilion than he did on Strawberry Jam, playing main vocalist for most of the songs on the album.  Avey Tare has his solo vocal performances also, but the vocal harmonies between the two members is where the album finds its beauty and strength.  Songs like  “Also Frightened” and “Bluish” feature the vocalists perfectly weaving their voices into one spine-tingling wail.  Gone also are the cacophonous screams and screeches that Avey used on tracks like “Grass” or “For Reverend Green.”  The instrumentation is once again minimalist in its approach, employing simplistic ethereal keyboard lines, steady rhythms, strange samples and thumping bass.  The recording is heavy on reverb, which accentuates the soaring vocals and catchy rhythms and is certainly reminiscent of many of the tracks on Person Pitch.  Though a bit less varied than Strawberry Jam, the album flows perfectly while managing to change both the tempo and mood from song to song.  The opener, “In The Flowers,” begins as an intimate combination of Avey’s cryptic whispers and quiet piano before exploding into a intense mix of heavy drums and accented keys.  “No More Runnin” is based off of a bouncy piano line while the rhythms on “Taste” vaguely resemble reggae.  “My Girls” is easily both the album’s most accessible and best track.  “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things, like a social status!  I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls!” cries Panda Bear at the end of the song, backed by an infectious bass line and triumphant drums.  “Summertime Clothes” is Avey’s highlight, with him delivering verses full of cryptic lyrics and then exploding into a beautifully catchy chorus with Panda Bear.  The album’s closer, “Brothersport,” is a wild mix of “Comfy In Nautica” sounding samples, animal noises and Panda Bear’s poppy melodies.

Merriweather Post Pavilion is a near perfect execution of a psychedelic pop album.  It seems as if the band has abandoned the stranger elements of their past work and focused on creating an easy to listen to, cohesive album. Like I said, I believe that Strawberry Jam is the group’s best execution and combination of the older strange psychedelic influence with their ever-improving ability to write pop songs, but I would not be surprised if Merriweather Post Pavilion is eventually regarded as Animal Collective’s best work. It is a truly breathtaking album and a fantastic way to start off the year.  Animal Collective have now proved that not only can they create some of the strangest genre-bending music of the past decade, but also that they are superb songwriters.  And their unique take on pop has created an album that will be remembered for years to come.  Check out Merriweather Post Pavilion, out now on Domino, and catch the band on tour this spring-summer.

Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009):

(mp3) Animal Collective – My Girls
(mp3) Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes

Animal Collective World Tour
01-21 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
01-22 Chicago, IL – Metro
01-23 Los Angeles, CA – Henry Fonda Theatre
01-24 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
03-04 Oslo, Norway – Rockerfeller
03-05 Lund, Sweden – Mejeriet
03-06 Copenhagen, Denmark – Amager Bio
03-08 Cologne, Germany – Gloria
03-09 Heidelberg, Germany – Karistorbahnof
03-10 Fribourg, Switzerland – Fri-Son
03-11 Luzern, Switzerland – Konzerthaus Schurr
03-12 Florence, Italy – Viper Room
03-13 Rome, Italy – Teatro Studio
03-14 Milan, Italy – Rolling Stone
03-16 Strasbourg, France – La Laiterie
03-17 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
03-18 Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique
03-19 Lille, France – Aeronef
03-20 Nantes, France – L’Olympic
03-22 Bristol, England – Trinity Centre
03-23 Nottingham, England – Rescue Rooms
03-24 London, England – The Forum
03-25 Leeds, England – TJ’s Woodhouse Club
03-26 Liverpool, England – Static Gallery
03-27 Dublin, Ireland – Tripod
03-28 Belfast, Ireland – Stiff Kitten
05-11 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05-12 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
05-13 New York, NY – Terminal 5
05-14 Boston, MA – House of Blues
05-15 Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis
05-16 Toronto, Ontario – Sound Academy
05-18 Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Hall
05-19 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
05-20 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
05-24 Vancouver, British Columbia – Commodore Ballroom
05-25 Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
05-26 Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre
05-27 Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Memorial Library
05-29 Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern
05-30 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
05-31 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
06-01 Albuquerque, MN – Sunshine Theater
06-02 Boulder, CO – Boulder Theatre
06-04 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
06-05 Austin, TX – Stubbs
06-06 Oxford, MS – The Library
06-08 St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
06-09 Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
06-10 Orlando, FL – Club Firestone
09-12 Monticello, NY – All Tomorrow’s Parties

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (2009)


As much as I support the hype around Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, I’m a bit surprised that more people haven’t been talking about Andrew Bird’s superb new album, Noble Beast.  It releases today, and is likely going to be my favorite of this year–Noble Beast displays Bird’s progression as a musician, both instrumentally and lyrically.

It’s hard to pick only a few favorites off the album,  but some tracks that I do find myself seeking out are “Oh No” “Masterswarm,” “Effigy,” “Not A Robot,” But A Ghost,””Anonanimal,” and “Natural Disaster.” Although I still think Mysterious Production of Eggs is Andrew’s best album to date, Noble Beast is definitely a close contender.

I find it really interesting that Bird maintains a column on New York Times’Measure by Measure” blog, where he writes extensively about his process, both in his head and the studio from before, during, and after the recording Noble Beast. For those who are interested in music, his posts are a must read. It feels like we sometimes take for granted the production side of things and only care about the finished product–whether it be a movie, album, book or any other form of art that stems from ones imagination. The inside access Bird provides on this album makes me appreciate his music on a whole new level.

Here is an except from one of his posts:

We [Martin Dosh] discuss a lot of things to help us get the songs just right — like not hitting cymbals because the crashes can be “cheap thrills.” Instead we favored the dark, walloping sound of the toms. Often times the choice becomes: Do you give the song what it wants? Or do you go against its demands? “Oh No” seemed to be asking for a 1970s Jackson Brown or Fleetwood Mac type of dead snare drum sound. That “everything’s gonna be just fine” sort of beat. The pitfall of approaching it like this is that your song can get hijacked by someone else’s record collection. I personally feel that the world has had its fill of 70s light rock. So we’re forced to be more creative. Not a bad alternative, though sometimes, you just say, “Why fight it? This just feels too good.”

Noble Beast (2009):

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Masterswarm

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Effigy

Useless Creatures (2009):

This is an instrumental record that Andrew worked on during the recording of Noble Beast. He calls it his “indulgent” record, and it comes with the deluxe edition of Noble Beast. He says in his latest post, “The piece on Useless Creatures I’m most excited about is called ‘The Barn Tapes.’ Three summers ago I had an engineer friend come out to my barn in western Illinois with an old quarter-inch tape machine. We opened all the doors and windows, hooked up my violin to six amps placed throughout the barn, put microphones inside and out and made four hours of ambient loops

(mp3) Andrew Bird – The Barn Tapes

Website | iTunes | Amazon (Useless Creatures) | Myspace (stream entire album)

Andrew is incredible live. See him if given the opportunity.

Jan 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of the Living Arts
Jan 28 – New York, NY – Carnegie Hall
Jan 30 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
Feb 3 – Washington, DC – 930 Club
Feb 4 – Atlanta, GA – The Variety Playhouse
Feb 6 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Theatre
Feb 7 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
Feb 12 – Austin, TX – The Paramount Theatre
Feb 13 – Albuquerque, NM – The El Rey Theater
Feb 14 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
Feb 15 – San Diego, CA – SOMA
Feb 18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Orpheum Theatre
Feb 19 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 20 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 21 – Portland, OR – The Roseland Theater
Feb 23 – Seattle, WA – The Moore Theater
Feb 24 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
Feb 25 – Murray, UT – The Murray Theater
Feb 26 – Denver, CO – The Ogden Theater
Feb 27 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Mar 15 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Mar 17 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
Mar 21 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
Mar 22 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
Mar 23 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford
Apr 3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Apr 4 – Montreal, QC – Le National
Apr 5 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
Apr 7 – Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall
Apr 10 – Chicago, IL – The Civic Opera House
Apr 11 – Minneapolis, MN – The State Theater

Dark Was The Night Charity Compilation (2009)


Recently, I wrote about the Dark Was The Night charity compilation on my Examiner column. Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National produced the compilation that includes 32 exclusive tracks from an impressive list of musicians. By impressive, I’m talking Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, Feist, The National, Arcade Fire, Iron and Wine… the list goes on.  Even better,  all the proceeds are going towards the fight against HIV/AIDS. The compilation releases February 17th worldwide by 4AD as a double CD or triple vinyl.

If you are like me and can’t wait to hear these new songs, you’re in luck–from January 15 through February 1, each track, in order will be released for one day only at Dark Was the Night’s Myspace page, as well as on the bands MySpace page. Many charity compilations have good intentions, but the quality doesn’t usually offer a big incentive for people to help out. That’s not the case with this album–you’ll be helping a great cause, and receive top quality exclusive music from your favorite artists in return. Below are two songs from the compilation for your listening pleasure–again, please be sure to buy this album when it becomes available for purchase.

Dark Was The Night (2009):

Feist & Ben Gibbard – Train Song (Vashti Bunyan cover) (removed by request)

Dirty Projectors & David Byrne – Knotty Pine


Vashti Bunyan – Train Song (written by Alasdair Clayre)

Track list:


1. “Knotty Pine” – Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
2. “Cello Song” – The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
3. “Train Song” – Feist and Ben Gibbard
4. “Brackett, WI” – Bon Iver
5. “Deep Blue Sea” – Grizzly Bear
6. “So Far Around The Bend” – The National
7. “Tightrope” – Yeasayer
8. “Feeling Good” – My Brightest Diamond
9. “Dark Was The Night” – Kronos Quartet
10. “I Was Young When I Left Home” – Antony with Bryce Dessner
11. “Big Red Machine” – Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
12. “Sleepless” – The Decemberists
13. “Stolen Houses (Die)” – Iron & Wine
14. “Service Bell” – Grizzly Bear + Feist
15. “You Are The Blood” – Sufjan Stevens


1. “Well-Alright” – Spoon
2. “Lenin” – Arcade Fire
3. “Mimizan” – Beirut
4. “El Caporal” – My Morning Jacket
5. “Inspiration Information” – Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
6. “With A Girl Like You” – Dave Sitek
7. “Blood Pt. 2” – Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
8. “Hey, Snow White” – The New Pornographers
9. “Gentle Hour” – Yo La Tengo
10. “Amazing Grace” – Cat Power
11. “Happiness” – Riceboy Sleeps
12. “Another Saturday” – Stuart Murdoch
13. “The Giant Of Illinois” – Andrew Bird
14. “Lua” – Conor Oberst with Gillian Welch
15. “When The Road Runs Out” – Blonde Redhead & Devastations
16. “Love Vs. Porn” – Kevin Drew

Win a Flight of the Conchords Prize Pack!


As you may know, the second season of Flight of the Conchords begins tomorrow (1/18 @ 10p/9c) on HBO. We thought we would celebrate the return of the funniest show currently on television by giving away a Flight of the Conchords prize pack.

So here is how the contest is going to work:

Below are 3 general topics for what we would like to see happen in Season 2. You need to take one of the topics and have up to 100 words to expand on it. For example, if the topic is “Jermaine gets the hiccups” you would have up to 100 words to write out what else happened. What were they doing when the hiccups started? How did they try to get rid of his hiccups? Be creative.


1) Bret goes to the doctor

2) Jermaine questions his sexuality

3) Murray befriends a Hasidic Jew

Submissions should be made by January 25th in the comment section below. Then a panel of expert judges (the writers of IM) will decide which submission is the funniest.

Note: Unfortunately, we can only ship the prize pack to U.S. addresses. Sorry!

The winner will receive:

+ Season 1 of Flight of the Conchords on DVD
+ an FOTC notebook
+ FOTC guitar picks
+ an FOTC poster + some FOTC postcards

You can only post one time so make it count! Thanks and good luck.

p.s. if you are looking for something more on the interactive end, check out this lip dub Flight of the Conchords contest.

The Flight of The Conchords (2008):

Flight of the Conchords – The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)

Flight of the Conchords – Mutha’uckas

The Distant Future EP (2007):

Flight of Conchords – Business Time

Flight of the Conchords – I’m Not Crying

Also, you can watch the first episode below:

The Concretes – In Colour (2006)


If you are a fan of Feist, Rilo Kiley, or Camera Obscura you should check out The Concretes. In an industry that is more or less dominated by males, it’s nice to come across good female led bands. Victoria Bergsman vocals bring to mind Jenny Lewis with maybe a hint of Nico. She left The Concretes in 2006 to pursue a solo career, but the band is still together and released Hey Trouble in 2007.

Although In Colour, which was a follow-up to the band’s 2004 self-titled debut, has received mixed reviews, I personally enjoy its charming sound.  I can definitely understand why some critics were harsh on the album– it does have some hit or miss songs, and at times the lyrics leave a bit to be desired–but the lush instrumentals and harmonies make this a keeper. On In Colour, you’ll hear glockenspiel, vibraphone, clarinet, and a variety of string and brass assortments.

“On The Radio” is by far the catchiest song on the album–the beginning piano chords sound like they would be at the opening of a Broadway musical. Other highlights on the album include “Fiction,” “Ooh La La,” and “Songs They Sing.”

The Concretes are based in Stockholm, Sweden. Victoria Bergsman, Maria Eriksson, and Lisa Milberg formed the band in 1995, but they gradually grew to eight band members. When Bergsman left the group in 2006, Milberg took over as lead vocals for the band.

In Colour (2006):

(mp3) The Concretes – On The Radio

(mp3) The Concretes: Song for the Songs

S/T (2004):

(mp3) The Concretes – Say Something New

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