Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Neon Bible -- Finally

Well, after 3 years of both indie and mainstream hype, Montreal's The Arcade Fire have finally returned with "Neon Bible," the follow up to 2004's modern day indie/mainstream crossover-classic "Funeral" (also known as my father's favorite album of the last 7 years.) Now, children of blogland, I know what you're thinking; "Quick, tell me, how does it stack up? Should I like it? Hate it? What's Pitchfork gonna give it??!"

Well, friends, unfortunately there is no simple answer to any of those questions (except the last, which will be, um, 8.1.) All I can offer you is one man's opinion, and, that opinion isn't too heated in either direction. Rather, I'm not quite sure how to feel about this one yet. Some tracks stand out, and those are damn good, but, as a whole, I'm not sure if the album is as cohesive and exciting as "Funeral" was. Still, it's impossible to deny the power of Win, Regine and the gang's songwriting, as evidenced on a few highlights you'll find below. But, whereas "Funeral" was a completely original punch in the gut, this all sounds a bit too U2-ian for me. Still, it could very well be a grower!

And so, a few personal favorites:

The Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running - This track isn't necessarily a stand out, but rather, is fairly indicitive of the strongest aspects of "Neon Bible's" general sound. The building power of the song is effortless enough to put the numerous Arcade Fire ripoffs that have emerged in the last few years to shame. Plus, a pretty guitar part.

The Arcade Fire - Antichrist Television Blues - For some reason, this one is by far my favorite on the album. Something about it, from the first chord until the astounding and sudden ending, is very grabbing and powerful. Win's lyrics and performance have never been this overdramatic, yet somehow, it really really works. If the whole album sounded like this, I'd be in heaven.

The Arcade Fire - No Cars Go - Not actually a new song, but rather a highly energized rerecording of a song from the band's recently rereleased selftitled EP. And so, obviously, this is the song that is most reminiscent of "Funeral's" dark, orchestral, rocknroll mayhem. And lordy is it sweet.

Well, now that I've chewed up and spit out another high profile upcoming release, I can sleep easier. I'll no doubt be back soon for more.

!!!BONUS MP3!!!! Final Fantasy - This is The Dream of Win and Regine - A song by Owen Pallet (who arranges the strings for the Arcade Fire) about his bandmates. Plus, the title's a Dntel reference!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Deerhoof and I like it

I know it's been out there for a little while now, but I just got to listening to it on one of my long bus rides and I really enjoyed it. It's good experimental indie music. And after learning that Sufjan loves the band, well now how can you say no to it.

Here's my favorite


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Video Friday: Andrew Bird

Yeah, its late, I know. Anyway... these aren't music videos, there live, but perfect quality, and with my recent obsession with Mr. Bird since the release of his new CD, I found these. Here's two of his songs from Bonnaroo this summer. And the rest are up there, all posted by this "andrewbirdmusic" character. Anyway, enjoy.

Motion of the head

Simple X

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Stephan Jenkins’s Brilliance of Berkeley and 3eb Updates

Stephan Jenkins, front man for the pop turned cult-rock band Third Eye Blind, sat down with his alma mater UC-Berkeley this June. Graduating valedictorian from the University in 1987, he returned for a brief interview and performance dubbed as the “Brilliance of Berkeley.” While he played some old favorites like “Motorcycle Drive By” and “Jumper,” he surprised the crowd by playing two songs from the long (and I mean very long) awaited forthcoming new album from Third Eye Blind. Recently released, tracks “Second Born” and “Monotov’s Private Opera” are easily up to par with past Jenkins ballads and have the same “The Police mashed with Rapper's Delight” feel that made the man famous.

Stephan Jenkins- Second Born (Live)
Stephan Jenkins- Monotov's Private Opera (Live)

But that’s not all, folks! Third Eye Blind secretly announced last week that they have a treat in store for their fans that have stuck by them the past ten years. While details are scarce at this time, a few things are known for sure. Third Eye Blind will be performing two shows in March at home in San Francisco. The tickets for these shows will NOT be open to the general public, and only available to those fans associated with their online community. In addition, they will be booking an ENTIRE hotel for the fans that are traveling from around the globe to see this show, AND filming it for a Direct TV special. If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, you might want to try clicking around The Village Churchyard. When information becomes available, that is where you will find it. But whatever you do, don’t ask what happened to Kevin Cadogan.

The Village Churchyard

One final little tidbit for Vanessa Carlton fans out there. Jenkins, along with Rick Rubin, Channel 7 and Irv Gotti (I’m not kidding), recently wrapped on her new album “Heroes and Thieves.” Jenkins’ song writing ability and production on her last album blew critics away, and one can only imagine what he can do alongside some of the biggest names in hip hop and alternative rock.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

Okay, I know, I know. No posts for two weeks, and then two within a day. Pretty ridiculous, right? Well, I agree. However, after getting my hands on this long anticipated gem, I just couldn't help myself.

That's right folks, you heard it here first! Andrew Bird's new album "Armchair Apocrypha" is out there... and it's great! All you violin loyalists out there might be a bit disapointed, but, if you're looking for an expansion on the more experimental/funky aspects of 2005's great "The Mysterious Production of Eggs," then you'll absolutely love this record. The record starts off strong, with several rock tracks built around Bird's unique electric guitar layering, as the vocals remain swaggering and cool. Then, with the quietly expansive 7-minute long "Armchair," the record takes a turn for the mellow, calmly propelling through the remainder of the album, before ending with the elegant instrumental "Yawny At The Apocalypse." Below are a few sample tracks. This album hits in March, and is sure to gain Andrew some much deserved cred.

Andrew Bird - Imitosis
Andrew Bird - Plasticities
Andrew Bird - Scythian Empire

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Playing Catch Up

Okay, I admit it, I haven't really been around much lately. I could give you a million excuses for my laziness (moving back to school, starting classes, watching a lot of Heroes,) but in truth, there ain't no point to that now. Instead, I'll make my amends by covering and posting a bunch of new music that I've enjoyed over my absense.

FIrst off is a damn fine album that officially released in stores today. Bracken's "We Know About The Need" is the first solo album from Chris Adams, chief songwriter of Brit blip-pop masters Hood. The album, which was put out by Anticon records, does not necessarily stand apart from Adams and Hood's previous output, but is simply another reminders of just how underrated this band is. Listen to this one with headphones on:

Bracken - Safe Safe Safe

Next is one that I just heard for the first time today, and certainly something that I was strongly anticipating, Bright Eyes new EP "Four Winds." This 6-track foray into Conor Oberst's newly adopted Dylan-lite persona releases in March, in anticipation of the April full length "Cassadega." The obvious standout is the title track, which is the only one that will appear on thenew album. However, there are also several other highlights, including the joyous melancholy of "Reinvent The Wheel" and the dark cynicism of "Cartoon Blues." Oberst's B-Sides have always been remarkably consistent, and this new EP is no exception.

Bright Eyes - Four Winds

Bright Eyes - Reinvent The Wheel (Is this song about Elliott Smith?)

Another new album that's been getting a lot of play as of late is Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah's new one, "Some Loud Thunder," which seems to have slipped under the indie hype radar, due perhaps to the internet wide Arcade Fire anticipation. The album, which I had previously written off due to a few weak singles released through Myspace, is actually surprisingly consistent, fun and relistenable. The first three tracks are pop heaven, as they expand upon the melodic cool of the band's brilliant debut. "Emily Jean Stock" in particular glimmers with mock-1960s classic rock perfection. Other highlights to the admitedly inconsistent album are the ridiculous live favorite "Satan Said Dance" and the enchanting "Goodbye To The Mother And The Cove." This one's a grower folks, so be sure to donate it more than a couple listens!

Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah - Emily Jean Stock

Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah - Mama, Won't You Keep Those Castles In The Air And Burning

Moving away now from well known indie rock staples, another new album that I find myself continuously returning to is Charlotte Hatherley's new solo record "The Deep Blue." Hatherley, the former bassist of power-pop gods Ash, has left the band to fully pursue a solo career, and judging by the strength of both this and her first record "Grey Will Fade," this was a wise choice. Now, while this new album at first struck me as an unfortunate departure from the insta-pop of her awesome debut, upon relistens, I've come around to it big time. The production here is more detailed and engaging, and multiple listens reveals a more mature songwriting sensibility. The album is full of highlights, but the early standout for me is "Siberia," which I dare you to listen to twice in a row and not have in your head!

Charlotte Hatherley - Siberia (HIGHLY RECCOMENDED)

Charlotte Hatherley - Very Young

Finally, one fantastic new album that I've had the privelege to fall in love with over the last few weeks is the sublime new album from longtime favorite The One AM Radio, "This Too Will Pass." Written and recorded over the last two years, the album, which is a bit more understated than his previous masterpiece "A Name Writ On The Water," is a calm, reflective and deeply personal work. It's perfect for falling asleep or waking up to. This is an artist who deserves a lot more credit than he has, and, if you're in or around Boston on February 21st, you'd be wise to check out the band's record release show at Coolidge Theater. It promises to be amazing.

The One AM Radio - In The Time We've Got

The One AM Radio - The Echoing Airports

Well, that's about all I've got for y'all today, but I'll be back soon. Promise!

it's fantastic... to be back

Hello all! It’s been a while (okay, a month) since I’ve posted anything due to… really extenuating, yet unavoidable suburban circumstances (Gamecube marathons and uh….Gamecube marathons). Honestly, though, I was pretty busy over break and have a lot of catching up to do, but I'm ver. excited because 1. I love these bands and 2. I love you.
So anyway, a lot of people complained that 2006 was a year of not-so-impressive album releases, and that 2007 isn’t looking much better. Please. Last year was awesome, and to prove that, here’s a recap of some of the best (and my official, very unmonumental list of ten great albums from the past year):

10-Emily Haines, Knives Don’t Have Your Back
9 -The Islands, Return to the Sea
8-Danielson, Ships
7- Tilly and the Wall, Bottoms of Barrels
6- Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
5-Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat
4-Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope
3-The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
2-Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche
1-Joanna Newsom, Ys

Since we said Auld Lang Syne almost a month ago, I’m not going to get into my reasons for that list, but if there are questions, comments, concerns, we can def. talk later. Anyway. So if you’re a Doubting Thomas of the greatness that will be 2007 music, see and believe: Tuesday, January 23 (Today! Surprise!) and the week to follow are some important days for music indeed. Let’s have a little looksy:

The Shins: Wincing the Night Away - It’s been three years since Chutes Too Narrow, but The Shins prove that they’ve still got it with one of the most anticipated albums of 2007. Noted as a more experimental, calculated step (The record is rumored to be a concept album following one central character, a jaded boy who could be an indie Holden Caulfield), the group maintains their standard sound while branching out into some new concepts. Though their experimental tracks may be controversial to some fans, they’re definitely moving in an innovative direction (let’s just hope Zach Braff thinks so).

Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? – Some people say Kevin Barnes has gone completely crazy. I say…possibly, but he still writes some damn good lyrics. The band also gets kinda funky on this release, utilizing everything from a melodic piano to a screaming synth, making Hissing Fauna one of their trippiest albums yet.

Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity-The quirky little quartet (I just realized that I originally wrote "trio"..duh.. anyway, and Sufjan Stevens’ self-proclaimed favorite band...sorry, needed to throw that in) is back with their eighth album, recorded in John Dieterich’s bedroom, no less. Percussion heavy and synth happy, Opportunity is slated to be the group’s “tightest” album to date, though there are circling arguments over it becoming “too mainstream.” Oh, you wily musicians, you.

Also more fun albums to look forward to:
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: Living With The Living
Rufus Wainwright: Release the Stars
Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
Animal Collective: Okay, so it isn’t technically a new album, but the band is releasing their People EP (originally released in Australia) to the states sometime soon. Also, keep an ear out for member Noah Lennox’s solo project, Person Pitch, due out later this year.

Even more lovely bands to expect lovely things from:
The Postal Service
Duran Duran

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Samuel L. Jackson = Musical Badass?

We all know he's a bad-ass on and off the screen, but did you know he can be a bad-ass on the musical stage as well? Seriously... this might be the most bad-ass song by the most bad-ass of humans, did I mention it's bad ass? This is one of the songs off the soundtrack for the movie, Black Snake Moan. Bad-ass.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Kaiser Chiefs Single

It's called Ruby, its pretty good, just thought you'd like it.

Ruby (If the link expires, let me know)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Video Friday: Feist

She likes to dance and I like her voice (not so much her dancing though). But great music and cute videos equals a fun Video Friday.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From Willy Mason

" To Whom It May Concern:

I, Willy Mason, will be putting together a house party
concert tour of the UK (& Ireland) in late January / February.
This letter is a formal request to all interested in hosting
such a show to submit their offer for consideration. All that
is required for a house to be considered is ... electricity.
Another asset to your submission would be the likelihood of a
small and friendly audience.

To make a submission, please write to
and include address of house/garage/dorm room/etc., along with
your name and phone number and any further information regarding your request.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Willy Mason"

You read right (foreign) friends. Willy Mason could play at your house. And for those of you unlucky to live here in the US of A, I have a new track for you, off his new CD called "If the Ocean gets Rough.'' There's actually two new tracks on his myspace, and the one called "Save myself" is amazing, I actually got to hear him play it live/acoustic and it blew me away and it delivers on this version as well.

Save Myself

BUY all his CD's, go see him, this man is everything

Friday, January 12, 2007

Video Friday: Bright Eyes

Sorry about not posting many real posts the past few weeks, it is my vacation, but once I'm back in school you'll get much more of that lovely music bloggage. Anyway, I'm not one to miss Video Friday, so here's some Bright Eyes.

At the bottom of everything

First day of my life

Bowl of Oranges

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's A Weezer Wednesday!

Hey all! Hope everyone's enjoying this chilly Wednesday evening. The January weather's been so inexplicably amazing that whenever the temperature falls below 40 it somehow feels like a punishable offense. But, even if it's a bit more bitter than usual, doesn't mean we can't warm ourselves up with some power-pop.

And so I thought that today would be a good day to begin to share my massive bounty of rare Weezer songs. These hundreds of songs, which I obsessively collected from age 13 until around 18, are testimony to my perhaps unhealthy adolescent obsession with geek rock pioneer Rivers Cuomo ,and every 3 minute pop gem he effortlessly penned between 1993 and, hmmm, let's say... 2000.

This isn't going to be by any means a weekly feature, but, whenever I feel that deeply buried urge for Weezer, I'll throw up a few more.

So, to start things off today is "Lover In The Snow," a 1998 demo that Cuomo wrote and performed himself, for inclusion on the scrapped "Homie" album (Homie being one of River's many unrealized side projects.) The song is a favorite of mine, and contains some pretty great handclaps.

Weezer - Lover In The Snow

Next up is Walt Disney, a breezy and perfect home demo Rivers recorded circa 1995. This one's got some clever lyrics ("Just like Walt Disney, I'm a block of ice.")

Weezer - Walt Disney

Next up is Undone (The Sweater Song.) Now now, hold on, before you yell "Hey bitch! I saw that song on Video Friday, that ain't no mothafuckin rarity!" let me explain: This version is live and acoustic, and could perhaps be my all time favorite Weezer live performance. Weezer invites a "mad scientist friend" on stage to perform an original poem throughout the song's verses, and, the results are remarkably rocking.

Weezer - Undone The Sweater Song (live acoustic)

And finally, here's a quick pleasent B-Side from the Blue Album Era

Weezer - My Evaline

I'll assuredly be back at some point with more Weezery-goodness, including a few tracks from the mysterious "Songs From The Black Hole" sessions. Till then... enjoy, and be well!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cloud Cult's "The Meaning Of 8" - The First Great Album of 2007

First, I think that everyone out there in blogland needs to salute Mr. Preciousroy. Loses a load of blood and is still able to deliver Video Friday? C'mon guys, that's dedication.

And, another quick sidenote: that new Modest Mouse song turns out to be a little bit of a grower. Sure, it's still nothing more than a pop song, but it's a pretty decent pop song. At the very least, it's a nice little listen.

But, moving on to more pressing matters, I've just finished up my 2nd listen of Cloud Cult's new album "The Meaning of 8," and, to put it mildly, I'm floored.

The band, the brainchild of environmentalist Craig Minowa, was started as a project to support several of Minowa and friend's causes. But, after the tragic death of his infant son, their music began to become more ambitious. Still though, Minowa and Cloud Cult hold firm to their environmental convictions, as they hand produce each of their thousands of plastic CD cases themselves, using exclusively recycled products. Further, every one of the band's studio sessions is completely powered by wind power, which is pretty damn remarkable considering just how great it sounds. The band's live show is one of indie rock's most unique, and often features several live painters.

But, even better than the band's quirky and respectable talking points is their beautiful music, which overflows with hooks, richness, and emotion. "8," the follow-up to 2005's "Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus" expands upon that epic release's diverse songwriting and Flaming Lips-esque sincerity with another song cycle concerned with death, mortality and the beauty of everyday life. Indeed, this album is a logical progression from "Hippopotamus," but everything seems to be kicked up a dozen notches for this release, which offers 19 tracks of blissful pop sincerity, emotion, and uniqueness. This is Highly recommended, and sure to be one of the years best albums.

Some of the album's many highlights:

Cloud Cult - Purpose
Cloud Cult - Dance For The Dead
Cloud Cult - The Deaf Girl's Song

***If you enjoy Cloud Cult's music please be sure to purchase a CD or some other piece of merchandise from Cloud Cult is a completely non-profit band, meaning that all proceeds are donated towards charity.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Better Version of the new Modest Mouse song

Thanks to Kurk for this one, enjoy. Read about it in the earlier post.


Video Friday: Weezer

I know this post is coming a little late in the day, but to be fair I did lose a lot of blood this morning and have been unable to do anything except sleep for the past 8 hours.(Seriously folks) But I can't forget to hook you up with some sweet videos, here's a couple of Weezer classics.

Keep Fishin

El Scorcho

Say it ain't so

Buddy Holly

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Aluminum is something amazing. I mean it's easy to work with, its light, and it's shiny. This metal is in no way what I am actually talking about though. What I am talking about is the White Stripes secret collaboration, "Aluminium". It is a collection of symphonic alterations on White Stripes songs, done by two men in honor of Jack White and is done using all the instruments he didn't, and it is simply amazing. But it is not something you will find in stores or on the White Stripes website.

So heres a taste, if you want the whole thing, start your epic search.

I'm Bound to Pack it Up

The Hardest Button To Button

Two Articles on this mystery album:


Two (Wiki style)

Just kidding on that epic search, heres the website, you can get one of the very limited edition CD's there.

Modest Mouse - Dashboard

Well, I hope everyone had a wacky new years. I know I did (See also: The only sober person in a room full of definitively unsober people.) But hey, who cares about my poorly executed New Years plans, because, at the stroke of midnight last night, a Seattle radio station kicked off the new year by giving listeners (See also: nerds sitting at home with audio recording devices) their first taste of "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank," Modest Mouse's forthcoming highly anticipated collaboration with former Smith's guitarist Johnny Marr. And that taste was "Dashboard," Brock, Marr and co.'s latest single.

So yes, as previously mentioned, God bless the internet, as within minutes of the song's airing, dozens of recordings began to circulate. You will find one such version below. Be warned, the sound quality of this rip does leave something to be desired. But hey, it's new Modest Mouse, so how could I not post it...

Modest Mouse - Dashboard

Now, I encourage each and everyone of you to give this one a listen for yourselves, but I can't help but quickly interject my honest opinion about this latest single here. And, unfortunately, that opinion ain't too positive. The song, to me, sounds like a rehash of the worst and most forgettable elements of 2004's "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." That is, the substance and intensity of Brock's songwriting has been forfetted for catchy melodies. But hey, it is a single.

I'm going to continue to play the cautious optimist here, and hope that "We Were Dead," whenever it might find it's way onto the old internet, turns out to be one of the best listens of 2007. Lord knows Modest Mouse (See also: The most innovative and talented rock band of the last decade) has it in them.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I would marry Stephen Colbert

This is not a crazy thing for me to say, in fact I have said it many times before, but the recent Colbert crazyness has put him over the top. If you don't watch the show, you need to, but if all you care about is music, then the Stephen Colbert Vs. The Decembrists contest should interest you.

To sum it up simply, the Decembrists crossed Colbert and they payed the price for it. You just need to trust me on this one and watch the videos. To get your mouth watering I'll drop a few names. Henry Kissinger? Peter Frampton? Robert Schneider(Apples in Stereo)?

Just Watch (All the 8 videos are in order on the Comedy central video thing)

So funny...