Sunday, December 31, 2006

But I have nothing to do tonight?

Let me help you out then. I can't stand the thought of my readership being lonely on New Years Eve, and if I could come and comfort each and every one of you, I would. But that just can't happen. So as my gift to you I thought I'd let you in on two sites that offer nice archives of live performances of some of your favorite artists. KEXP, out of Seattle and NPR's Live concert series will fill your rooms with (previously) live music right up until that ball drops. Enjoy.

P.S. KEXP has a sweet live Sufjan performance.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Don't Fall For That Christ Bait, It's About As Passe As Rock Star Arrogance"

Well, now that we've got that 2006 stuff out of our collective system, we can finally look ahead towards a new year of indie rock. There are a shocking amount of new releases from already established as Godlike artists coming towards us in 2007. I've already heard a few (New Shins is pretty great, same goes for the new DoMakeSayThink.)

And, what's better, I awoke this morning to find new tracks from two indie superstars waiting for me to download, engulf, and critique. And now, lucky you, can do the same!

First up is a new song from The Arcade Fire. Now, a really sketcy version of "Intervention," the single from their new album "Neon Bible" has been floating around for a few weeks, and is sort of decent, if not a little bit too U2-sounding. And so, when iTunes added the track "Intervention" to their Music Library last night, I assumed that Christmas had brought a decent copy of the same track. But oh, dear friends, you do know what happens when one assumes, correct? (Answer at bottom of post.) Anyway, it turns out, iTunes fudged up, and accidently posted a completely new song. So, don't be fooled, even though the file is labelled as "Intervention," it is most certainly Not that song.

The Arcade Fire - New Song (Not Intervention)

Next up is a new studio song from Mr. New Bob Dylan himself Conor Oberst. Conor, since his mass critical acclaim for 2005's one-two punch of "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" and "Digital Ash In A Digital Urn," has seemed to grow a bit more arrogant. In recent interviews, Oberst has openly mocked the musical value of his old albums, telling reporters, in reference to old band members, that he would no longer be using a "high school orchestra" to back him. Oh Conor, you're so crazy.

But, fortunately, it would appear once again that he's got the material to justify his arrogance, as "Endless Entertainment" is another self-aware and solid track from Oberst. Though one does sort of wish, upon first listen, that he'd let it all hang out once again, like he did back in the old days of the early 2000s. An EP, entitled "Four Winds" is out this March, followed by a new album in April.

Bright Eyes - Endless Entertainment

ANSWER: You make an ass out of you and me.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My (The Ruler of the Blog) Top Ten Albums of 2006

I could not let those two (bloggers/losers) be the only ones to tell you what you should have been listening to all year. These albums were the most played and most enjoyed by yours truly. This year was a long and interesting one and these albums kept things moving along nicely. Also I am going to do you all a favor and keep my opinions on these albums to a sentence or two, no need to spend your entire day reading a post. Enjoy.

1. The Format- Dog Problems

The Format finds a way to top it's previous album (which is still one of my favorite) and construct something beautiful with catchy lyrics steeped in personal experience.

2. Regina Spektor- Begin to Hope

Regina is back again, she fills this CD with her unique voice delivering 12 tracks that melt my heart.

3. John Mayer- Continuum

I heard John Mayer say on TV that this was the perfect album, and it is, in a sense, it is in fact the perfect John Mayer album, where will he go from here?

4. Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche

Call it B-Sides, call it whatever you want, I call it more of the Sufjan that I love, it has some of my favorite Sufjan songs on it. (Springfield anyone?)

5. Lupe Fiasco- Food & Liquor

I loved his voice when I first heard it, but I didn't know what he would do when he got the chance to create his own album; let me just say he created Rap at it's finest. (This was the best Rap album of the year, no offense to Ghostface)

6. Ben Kweller- Ben Kweller

I hate to admit it, but this album got me into Ben Kweller. I didn't give him much respect before this, but this album was very accessible and opened my eyes the the incredible talent of this man.

7. Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Right now she is my favorite female singer-songwriter, a little bit of a country feel is okay by me when it comes to Neko.

8. Anathallo- Floating World

I happened to see them for the first time performing with The Format (aka Most amazing show ever) and they blew me away. I didn't think they could make an album that showcased the energy they have on stage, but somehow they were able to lay it all down.

9. Mates of State- Bring it Back

Mates of State, might be the cutest band ever. Cutest, because this husband and wife team just radiate a feeling of love for one another and their music when they perform. Don't worry though, this album is filled with awesome synth and drums and plenty of catchy lyrics to go with that cuteness.

10. The Decembrists- The Crain Wife

Oh Decembrists, why do you have to make me put you at the end of the list. I loved this album, I love Colin Meloy, but this album just didn't have the energy I felt on his past ventures, but hell its still on constant rotation with me.

Here are the other albums which almost made the list:

Sufjan Stevens- Songs for Christmas (This album is amazing, but Christmas music is it’s own thing.)

John Legend- Once Again

Belle and Sebastian- The Life Pursuit

Brand New- The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton- Knives Don’t Have Your back

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The 15 "Best" Songs of 2006

Well, tis the season, as my fellow blogger Jack Gladney proclaimed, for overblown and self-important music lists. And, try as I might, I just couldn't help but add to the already supersaturated blogosphere my choices for the 15 "best" songs of the year. Best gets the quotation marks because while putting this list together, it became obvious just how entirely subjective my (and everyone else's) choices are. So, while these 15 songs were able to do for me what no other songs this year could, they just might (and some most likely will) sound like horseshit to you. These songs were widdled down from a list of 100, and, while these truly are my 15 favorites of the year, some of them are from album's that, otherwise, I don't particularly care for. Likewise, many of my favorite albums are not represented here (No Bonnie, no Mountain Goats, no Kevin Devine.) So, proceed at your own caution, and please, if these sound interesting to you, give em a quick listen (And hey, weird, these songs fit pretty perfectly on a mix CD!,) because I spent a helluva lot of time uploading em:

15. Anathallo - Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)

A lot of people (re: Pitchfork) complain that Anathallo are an unoriginal mishmash of more successful indie acts (re: Sufjan.) But, what these naysayers fail to understand is that Anathallo have been crafting these epic gems for years, pouring themselves into their music long before the Illinois-explosion. Seeing this band live recently only confirmed their passion and grace.

14. Owen - The Sad Waltzes Of Pietro Crespi

In a year when the genre was once again hijacked by embarassing major label MTV travesties, Owen continued to quietly write some of the best "emo" music around. This song, a beautiful acoustic gem from their CD "At Home With Owen," contains a piano line at 2:02 that gives me chills every time.

13. Tilly and The Wall - Bad Education

Tilly's 2nd album was another solid collection of great singles, and so this, the album's actual lead single, leads the bunch in quality and relistenability. I'm shocked that this gem didn't sweep the indie-pop nation, causing millions of 17 year olds with nice haircuts to dance their hearts away.

12. My Latest Novel - Sister Sneaker, Sister Soul

Like the love-child of Belle and Sebastian and The Arcade Fire, My Latest Novel quietly emerged in 2006 with a solid album of, oddly enough, twee-post rock. This song, which contains a fantastic instrumental build up, is the highlight.

11. Defiance, Ohio - Oh, Susquehanna!
The most promising folk-punk band around today returned in 2006 with a CD a bit heavier on the folk than their previous efforts. But, no worries, as the CD, and this single specifically, retained, and even expanded upon, the unique DIY charm of this explosive group's earlier work.

10. Adem - Something's Going Come

A quiet gem from a quiet release, this single by lo-fi folk artist Adem perfectly embodies the otherworldly dreamlike beauty of his sophmore album "Love and Other Planets."

9. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
Camera Obscura, a twee group from Scotland following in the footsteps of Belle and Sebastian, perfected their sound with this 3-minute pop masterpiece. This is the kind of song I could listen to over and over again anytime.

8. Califone - The Orchids
This song came out of *nowhere.* Wow. A completely enchanting, hypnotic 3-minutes of whistful folk.

7. The Weepies - Gotta Have You
One of the best "teenage angst" songs I've ever heard (up there with some of The Smith's best,) this breaths nostalgia. The lead singer's beautiful voice is unique and fantastic.

6. Belle & Sebastian - Sukie In The Graveyard

Now this is what I'm talking about. Belle and Sebastian, who have yet to release an album that wasn't chock full of indie pop greats, came out fighting last January with "The Life Pursuit." This song is just another reminder of how Murdoch and co. can write em like no one else.

5. The Acorn - Blankets
I know little to nothing about this group, who, to the best of my knowledge, remain unsigned. But, their 4-song EP "Blankets" is far and away my favorite EP of the year. The title track picks up where lit-rock masters Death Cab left off after the Photo Album (right before their bodies were possessed by evil aliens bent on world domination.)

4. Mates of State - Nature and The Wreck

For some reason, right after hearing this 2 minute song from Mates of State's new CD "Bring it Back," I decided that it was, far and away, the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. Now, after an infinite amount of relistens, I've decided that that was most likely a bit of an overstatemen. But, that doesn't mean I still don't think it's totally great.

3. Okkervil River - The President's Dead

It's pretty ridiculous how Will Sheff can write a piece of genius like this with what seems like little to no effort, and then throw it on an Australian tour EP. This song is the antithesis of last years awful Conor Oberst turd "When The President Talks To God." That is, it's personal, melodic and lyricially passionate and original. Simply put, another reminder why Sheff is the most promising songwriter in music today.

2. The Long Winters - Hindsight

As good as indie-pop gets, this song has enough unexpected twists and chill-worthy moments to justify it's place near the top of any music list.

1. Joanna Newsom - Sawdust and Diamonds

In my opinion, no album came close in scope, ambition or success to "Ys" in 2006. Joanna's album is one that is remarkably easy to write off (as it seems many did) based solely on it's inherent pretention. But just under the surface of the otherworldly grandiosity of "Ys" is a deeply personal work. And, never is that more important than in this song, where, in just under 10 minutes, Joanna pushes her songwriting, lyrical and vocal abilities to their absolute core, and emerges with something very close to perfection.

The Top Ten Albums of 2006

The answer is thrice yes.

Yes. It is indeed my first post at this here web log. Yes. This is indeed a quite an ambitious entry for an e-phantom that has not yet gained your trust. And yes. Lists are indeed a bit hackneyed. But, I digress. This great year that has brought us catastrophe, heartbreak, and tragedy (More Jon Benet!), has also brought with it some mighty fine musical instrument segments, which I like to call “songs.” Now put eight or more of these “songs” together and you’ll get a little something named an “album.” Tens of these are made every day and often are lost in the clutter of a post-9/11 society. However, I try to hold on to the good ones and place them into concise numbered presentations, for you the reader. I have spent years working on this and would like to present you with my list of The Top Ten Albums of 2006.

1. The Hold Steady- Boys and Girls in America
Why: “Boys and Girls in America” could possibly be the greatest album to ever creep through my incus and stapes. Eleven quasi-narratives centering on a single line from Kerouac’s On The Road: “Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.” Tastes of “Born to Run” Springsteen mixed with lyrical prose comparable to any of the best. “Boys and Girls in America” might possible the best compilation of socially conscious rock tracks since The Velvet Underground.

Best Lyrics: The devil and John Berryman took a walk together.
They ended up on Washington talking to the river
He said "I surrounded myself with doctors and deep thinkers
But big heads with soft bodies make for lousy lovers".
There was that night that we thought that John Berryman could fly.
But he didn’t so he died.
She said "you're pretty good with words but words won't save your life"
And they didn't so he died.
-Stuck Between Stations

Best Track: Stuck Between Stations

2. The Format- Dog Problems
Why: “Dog Problems” was robbed. A sophomore LP this good deserves to be album of the year, and The Hold Steady had to go and ruin that. Simply stated, the best pop album since Third Eye Blind’s self-titled debut. “Dog Problems” combines Beach Boy-esqe harmonies with synth tracks that almost feel like Robert Smith wrote them. Dismantling e-hypocrisy everywhere, The Format lyrically destroys the social networking world that made them famous while with biting revenge, certainly cost a few record executives their jobs.

Best Lyrics: Sometimes, when sailors are sailing
They think twice, about where they’re anchoring
And I think, I could make better use of my time on land
Ill drink less
Cause lord knows I could use a warm kiss
Instead of a cold goodbye
I’m writing the folks back home to tell them
"Hey I’m doing alright"
-If Work Permits

Best Track: Time Bomb

3. Paul Simon- Surprise
Why: Think Postal Service meets Mrs. Robinson. Brian Eno stepped out of his realm to help one of the best song writers of all time try out something new. The first track ends with the hardest rock Paul’s voice has ever sung over and leads into an electrionica-folk album you can listen to with your dad.

Best Lyrics: I've been given all I wanted,
Only three generations off the boat.
I've harvested and I've planted.
I'm wearing my father's old coat.
-How Can You Live In The Northeast?

Best Track: How Can You Live In The Northeast?

4. John Mayer- Continuum
Why: The nineteen-year-old girls that placed the lyrics to “No Such Thing” in their away messages have now grown up. So has John’s music. “Continuum” dances between the pop that made him famous and the blues that made him respectable. Afraid of growing up? This record is to help you cope.

Best Lyrics: And when you trust your television,
What you get is what you got.
-Waiting On The World To Change

Best Track: Stop This Train

5. The Long Winters- Putting the Days to Bed
Why: John Roderick claims to be incredibly talented at writing slow songs with unhappy endings. However, it’s quite clear he’s talented at writing unhappy endings to fast tempos as well. One of the best lyricists in indie-rock, Roderick and the rest of his Seattle-based crew can call “Putting The Days to Bed” their best yet.

Best Lyrics: Tower likes to fall and cream likes to spoil
Everything living tries to get back to the soil
And what seems right and what's made for you
False prophecy doesn't mean prophecies are true

Best Track: Pushover

6. The Streets- Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living
Why: The Streets continue to do something American hip-hop has not yet learned to understand. I can’t put my finger on it, but I have a feeling it has to do with accents and absurdity. While the actual title of this album should be “HAY LOOK GUYZ I’M FAMOUZ!!1” I would call it my favorite album in their discography. The narratives are weak but the beats are unforgiving and you can’t ask anymore from such an annoying voice.

Best Lyrics: But loud trashing is fucking droll
Spelling for all the death of Rock and Roll
Rap and Roll is separate to some acid trip
Cause Rock and Roll is fucking old
-Hotel Expressionism

Best Track: Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living

7. Mike Falzone- Fairview
Why: Touting raspy vocals and a funk-based sound, Mike Falzone will be a household name in five years. Familiar around Connecticut and most of New England, he will remind you of what Gavin DeGraw and Mike Doughty’s love child might sound like. Falzone enters the studio with Joss Stone’s producer in a few months to record a follow up to “Fairview,” his best work to date. Want to be ahead of the curve? Start listening to Mike Falzone.

Best Lyrics: It’s enough to make you go hoarse
Take a vow, walk a mile just to end up in divorce
They treat love as if it was a chore of sorts
Just pretending that you’re happy
“Are you happy?” “Of course.”
-Third Wheel

Best Track: Third Wheel

8. The Killers- Sam’s Town
Why: An homage to St. Pepper, The Killers return with a matured sound and more harmonies than a neo-wave fan would care to hear. While not as successful at this as “Dog Problems,” no listener can deny the catchiness and replay value of “Bones” and “When You Were Young.” A great album that would be much higher on this list were it to include lyrics as good as “I got soul but I’m not a soldier.”

Best Lyrics: If I only knew the answer
If I change my way of living
And If I pave my streets with the good times
Will the mountain keep on giving?
And if all of our days are numbered
Then why do I keep counting?
-Why Do I Keep Counting

Best Track: Bones

9. Guster- Ganging Up On The Sun
Why: Had you asked me in December of 2005 if I thought that Guster made music with dark undertones, I would have shot you in the face and buried your body in a desert filled with the robot homeless. Yet after the release of “Ganging Up On The Son,” I could only refer to their new work as mysterious. Refreshing in its originality, Guster has allowed itself to find fans outside of Worchester. Okay, people in Brookline and Holden like them too.

Best Lyrics: You and I can quit this scene
Build a town and then secede
Like an Adam and an Eve
To the dreamers go the dreams
But leaders have the lead
It's a frightening, frightening thing

Best Track: Dear Valentine

10. The Decemberists- The Crane Wife
Why: Slightly less awkward than their earlier works, “The Crane Wife” sadly sounds more like adult contemporary than sea shanties. The second track entitled “The Island…” blares guitars reminiscent of the Tran Siberian Orchestra. The beautiful narrative “The Crane Wife 1, 2 and 3” all find their way into your bestiality loving hearts while “Sons and Daughters” gives the listener hope for the future of this country. While no “Her Majesty The Decemberists,” “The Crane Wife” stands up as wildly entertaining and creative.

Best Lyrics: My girl, linen and curls
Lips parting like a flag all unfurled
She's grand the bend of her hand
Digging deep into the sweep of the sand

Best Track: Crane Wife 1 & 2

Runners Up (In No Order):
Snow Patrol- Eyes Open
Ben Kweller- Ben Kweller
The Mountain Goats- Get Lonely
Regina Spektor- Begin to Hope

New Norah Jones

The jazzy soulful Norah Jones is about to drop her new CD, 'Not too late'. It comes out January 30th, 2007. So to get you all in the mood she's put the new single up on her website.

I also found this little number as well. Don't know what it is exactly, like a few seconds of each song I guess, listen if you want.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Video Friday (close enough): Mates of State

A hometown favorite, here's a few videos from Mates of State.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Michael Myers Resplendent

Well folks, tis the season to sleep until 2 in the afternoon and forget all of the useless crap I crammed into my brain for finals season. There are a lot of plusses to being home, but unfortunately, there's also a small downside. For some reason, Sendspace doesn't work on my laptop with my internet connection, so, unless I figure out a way around it (which I just might,) my favorite songs of the year post might have to wait till a little bit into the new year. But, it's definately coming.

Here's a pretty good consolation present though; some new Mountain Goats. "Get Lonely," John Darnielle's last record, was as gloomy an affair as I've ever heard. The songs ambled along slowly and passively, and all of the flare that used to characterize Darnielle's songwriting was inexplicably replaced with quiet defeat.

And so... where do you go from there? Well, if "Michael Myers Resplendent," a new home demo Darnielle has posted on his website as a Christmas Present is any indication, back to the well. There is hardly anything unique about this track, hardly anything that differentiates it from the hundreds of great songs Darnielle has written. But, it is yet another example of songwriting done right, an altogether solid affair that has me anticipating this year's new release even more.

The Mountain Goats - Michael Myers Resplendent

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sufjan takes a page from Ben Folds

Well Ben isn't the only one who has done it in recent years, but Ben Folds shows that involve Orchestras (even if they are Australian) are simply amazing. But Sufjan is going to take a stab at it come this February (5th). With the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra as his back up band, Sufjan will no doubt rock that place good.
His performance is a part of a festival like event commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the stage he's playing on, or something. So if you can find a way to get tickets go. (As a note: Online ticketing is currently unavailable. Please call Kennedy Center Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324 to purchase tickets.) As another note, this event is free, but I assume pretty hard to get tickets to.

If I could go, I would, so go in my place and live it up.

He killed the party again...

I <3 sweden for many reasons: Meatballs. Cute red houses. The Cardigans. Political neutrality.
So my new and very fitting nordic obsession is centered on Mr. Jens Lekman, a little musician making a big stir on the Baltic shores. With a voice that's at times part Morrissey, part Ian Curtis (Seriously! Come on..even just a little? Humor me) and a style that is, to me, at least, part Beck, part Rufus Wainwright (and surely no part Abba), Mr. Lekman simply breaks and then destroys the mold of your average Swedish pop star.
Utilizing a range of instruments (mandolins, harps, violins, lots of neato beats), Jens' instrumentation is eccentric, yet still maintains a strong, melodious quality that is present in both his ballads and upbeat tunes. Jens also puts on a unique live show, often changing up his peformances by using a lone guitar or varying his singing style via a capella or with a choir and string quartet.
Since 2003 Lekman has released a handful of EPs, three of which were combined, with additional tracks, to create his 2005 album release, Oh You're So Silent Jens. Some essential tracks to download are "Black Cab," the popular "Maple Leaves," "Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song," "Pocketful of Money" and "Julie." According to Lekman's myspace, a new album is scheduled for release later this year.
Still not convinced? Fine, you hard-hearted heathen. Regardless, I leave you with this quote:
"I´m not here to save the world, but if I can just save Göteborg, or make two teenagers in a small town in Norway fall in love... then it´s worth it."
- Jens Lekman


Official Website

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

These Friends Of Mine!

Rosie Thomas's new album, "These Friends of Mine," an understated collaboration with the always Godly Sufjan Stevens, is an elegant, quiet and sweet listen. It could be this season's definitive "Sunday Mornings In Winter" album.

One track in particular, "Much Further To Go," stands out. Thomas's mellow acoustic guitar strums and Steven's trademark banjo help highlight the incredible vocals and beautiful lyrics. The song is about NYC, and if it's any indication of what Sufjan's New York album (whenever it might come about) will sound like, I for one am damn excited.

"Friends of Mine" doesn't officially release in stores until next year, but, it's available now on iTunes.

Rosie Thomas - Much Further To Go

I'll (hopefully) be back soon, with a post about my favorite songs of 2006.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pipe organs are quite heavenly.

The ever-lovable Arcade Fire is gearing up to release their new album, the Neon Bible, complete with classy viral marketing and tons of religious references gone mad. More importantly, one of the new singles is out for sample from either calling the number on that site or by checking the link here from the radio. Your choice, really.


Funeral was incredible, and here's to hoping that they don't give the heavy religious themes the childish treatment Cursive did. Judging from what's out, it's looking good.

myspace foolishness

Saturday, December 16, 2006

the grass is bluer on the other side

Hi there, boys and girls! So how cool is Video Friday?! I know, right! Everyone say "Yayyy, Preciousroy." Yayyy!
Fun and excitement abound! And you know what's just as, if not more, exciting? Progressive bluegrass (newgrass) bands you listen to at 4 a.m. instead of writing a final paper, like the very talented Colorado quartet Yonder Mountain String Band whom I just happen to be hearing in my little ears as I type this up for your little eyes. Anyway.
YMSB is made up of four talented guys - Jeff Austin (mandolin, vocals) , Ben Kaufmann (bass, vocals), Dave Johnston (banjo, vocals), and Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals). Since '98 the band has completed 8 albums, evolving and expanding their impressive progressive, folky style on each record. Their new album, which is self-titled (released in May), is definitely a great move for the band ("Classic Situation," Sidewalk Stars," "How 'Bout You?" "East Nashville Easter," and "Winds on Fire" are some good ones) while their old stuff remains just as great ("Half Moon Rising," "Goodbye Blue Sky," etc. ) I was fortunate enough to see these lovely boys over the summer in my pint-sized hometown's sole concert venue and they put on an incredible live show.They're starting a 2007 tour in Colorado and the South/ Midwest, which sucks for us East Coasters, but check out their official website to stream some songs and peruse the live photo collection and do whatever else it is you do at band websites.


Friday, December 15, 2006

The Shins: Video Friday

So I like posting music videos, since i love them. So I am starting a weekly tradition of Video postings. And I am calling it Video Friday. So enjoy the first installment in this series.

Also: On their website they have a few other music videos and some cute little comedy shorts.

Indie (Classic) Rock: Guided By Voices

I first heard Guided By Voices at the age of 13, right around the time that their 2nd major label effort, Isolation Drills, hit stores. I devoured that album, playing it for weeks, not being able to imagine anything better. But man, I was wrong. Over the next several years I poured over much of GBV's expansive recording history (To this day I've only got through a few hundred of their thousands and thousands of song,) and I discovered classic after classic. Alien Lanes remains one of my favorite albums of all time. I recently bought "Under The Bushes Under The Stars" on vinyl and have been falling in love with it all over again.

I got to see Pollard and his band live 3 years ago at Irving Plaza in NY. The show was completely ridiculous, probably one of the longest concerts I've ever been to, as Pollard chugged no less than 30 beers on stage and totally rocked out. Though GBV broke up two years ago, Pollard has continued to tour until very recently, when he officially announced that he would be retiring from touring. His recording career is far from over though, as he plans to release 8 (!) new albums in 2007.

So to pay a very quick and unworthy tribute to a band that wrote more great songs than I could ever hope to count, here are my five absolute favorite GBV songs:

5. Fair Touching (From "Isolation Drills")
4. A Good Flying Bird (From "Alien Lanes")
3. Cut Out Witch (From "Under The Bushes, Under The Stars")
2. I Am A Scientist (From "Bee Thousand")
1. Game of Pricks (From "Alien Lanes")

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

But who is Danielson?

For those of you who couldn't put a song or a face to this group (including myself), here is one of each. This is a video for their song, "Did I step on your Trumpet"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grab The Banjo & Pass The Popcorn

Attention, Illinoisemakers/ Lovers of the loves that make up the Danielson Famile:
Starting this Friday at limited theaters across the country is the Danielson documentary ( Danielson: A Family Movie (Or Make a Joyful Noise)), starting in NYC and ending in Boston in early February. If you love Sufjan Stevens, Steve Albini, David Garland, Lenny Smith, Elin Smith, etc., or just, you know, adorable things, go to this site and read up on the movie, as I am too lazy to write my own creative summary of it. If you're even lazier and cannot click the link (there are movie clips, guys...come on), I've posted the overview below:

Danielson: a Family Movie is a documentary about unbridled creativity vs. accessibility, Christian faith vs. popular culture, underground music vs. survival, and family vs. individuality. The film follows Daniel Smith, an eccentric musician and visual artist, as he leads his four siblings and best friend Chris to indie-rock stardom. Beginning in 1995 when the youngest band member was 11 years old, the Danielson Famile performs in white, vintage nurse costumes to symbolize the healing power of the Good News, a recurring subject matter. Though tepidly received by the Christian music world, the South Jersey farmland-bred clan is widely embraced by the mainstream independent music community, written about in Rolling Stone, Spin, the New York Times and elsewhere as an outsider curiosity backed up by innovative, experimental music.
But as with other family acts, members of the band begin to seek out their own paths as they go through college and Daniel eventually faces the struggle to become viable as a solo act. Along the way he mentors an unknown singer-songwriter named Sufjan Stevens whose own subsequent success stands in stark contrast to the music world's uneasy reception of Danielson just a few years prior. With production starting in 2002, at a high water mark for the band, all the drama is played out before the camera making Danielson: a Family Movie both engaging and entertaining. Collage, direct cinema, animation and memorable performances all contribute to this thoughtful and thought-provoking spectacle.

Dates to grab a date for:
New York: Cinema Village-Dec 15 – 21
Chicago: Gene Siskel Center- Dec 10 & 14
Austin: Alamo Drafthouse- Dec 11, 20, 28 & Jan 2
Seattle: Northwest Film Forum -Dec 15 – 21
Bloomington, IN: The Cinemat -Dec 1 – 14
Los Angeles: Laemmle Grande 4-plex- Jan 19 - 25
San Francisco: Red Vic- Jan 25 - 27
Boston: Coolidge Corner Theatre- Feb 2 & 3
Portland, OR: NW Film Center-Jan 20

K, now buy your tickets and run (or road trip) to one of the above theaters. Cheers, all!

Oh Jason Anderson, You're So Awesome

I spent the last two nights gloriously. Namely, I had the awesome opportunity to see Jason Anderson, my favorite live performer, twice in a row, as he played two stints in Boston. First, Sunday night, Jason and his band The Best opened up for Harry And The Potters. Their set was made up of half Christmas songs and half Springstein-esque rock and roll. The set was very solid, and a pleasure to watch all the way through.

But tonight was the show that stood out, as Jason played The Cabaret (a small venue in the basement of an Emerson College dorm) solo acoustic. Jason was firing from all angles as he played a nearly 90 minute set, seasoning album tracks with frenzied humor and heartaching sincerity.

If you ever get the chance to see this man live, take it. There is no one out there playing music with as noble goals or as much heart as he.

Some live songs can be found for download on his myspace, but these only hint at the feeling of actually experiencing Jason live.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Holly Jolly Format

Here's a little song I found out was on some crappy punk Christmas music mix, but it is far from punk. It is from my all time favorites, The Format. So check out Holly Jolly Christmas, format style.

(P.S. and lets all thank Covert Curiosity for the hosting)

Holly Jolly Christmas

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Von Bondies, FREE SHOW

Tonight at 8 pm the doors will open at Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Why will they be opening? For a show silly. A free show. Now that I have your attention, the Von Bondies will be playing a free show tonight because some company is sponsoring it or something. Whatever the reason is, its free and they will be playing a number of new songs (so says their myspace.) So check it out if you can. I will probably be there.



Saturday, December 02, 2006

Spektor Vision

Here's some awesome videos. I love them and her.... only if she would notice me.

Oh and this one too:

Voting for a good reason, no seriously!

NPR's All songs considered is an amazing thing. A radio show that is truly devoted to bringing good new music to the ears of our parents, and well the few kids that listen to it (ME!!!) This show combined with World Cafe, gives NPR an important place in the promotion and cultivation of lesser known artists. SO the voting, every year they do a show devoted to the Top 10 albums of the year and you get to vote! Or just do what you teenagers always do, nothing. It airs on December 5th at 5pm EST. Last years winners include Fiona Apple, Sigur Ros, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, My Morning Jacket, Brights Eyes, Spoon, The Decemberists, The White Stripes, Death Cab and the winner Sufjan Stevens. (P.S. those aren't the order for 2-10) I think thats a pretty damn good list if you ask me, so check it out. That's all I got.


Contest Description

2005 Winners