The Rich Girls Are Weeping: August 2006

31 August 2006

Special is as special does. Or at least that's what we usually think. Last night's "Special 5th Wednesday!" set was to have an inspired beginning featuring Erasure's cover of ABBA's "Voulez-Vous" back to back with the original, but when we got started, the mixer wasn't on, someone had been using the crossfader on the CD deck, and our ability to check connections and levels was impeded by Chain Drive staff who were very helpfully covering for us because of our unintentionally late arrival. (Sorry, our dear Friends of Judy; we were each waylaid separately by the PBS documentary on the grand dame Frances Gumm herself.) And due to myself not being the only control freak in the DJ booth at one time, things were said that shouldn't have been and I made myself sit in the corner afterwards...or actually on the booth floor on a Baby Ford record so that my hipster trash American Apparel skirt wouldn't get dirty. My ego was eventually repaired after the first mini-set with the aid of a Coke and a Carta Blanca and snide commentary about that band who played. And played. And played. And played a Bowie cover. And played. And pretended to the be the Pixies. And played. And played a Beatles cover. And played. Ad nauseum, natch, but it's a good illustration for why bands who think "[they're] totally great, man!" go a lifetime without a second booking anywhere.

Last night's temporary discombobulation didn't deter from the boogie wonderland experience of the Chain Drive DJ booth. It's a small, dark space that neither Cindy or I have talked about much, other than to mention the sense of loss that accompanies many of the records that have been left behind by DJs who can never return to claim them. Copywrite dates make it all to easy to place that loss within historical context, and accordingly, it gets to anyone who spends any amount of time there, looking into or working with the abandoned singles and LPs, but it's a treasure trove of dance tracks that range from legendary to obscure. Thus our ambition is fueled to show up one night without our record boxes, to use the records that come with the mixer, just to see what happens. Here's what happened last night:

french kicks - so far we are // brian eno - needle in the camel's eye // magneta lane - broken plates // rumble strips - hate me you do // snowden - anti-anti

celebration - war // x-ray spex - artificial // japan - adolescent sex //t-rex - 20th century boy (i'm sensing an x theme!) // david bowie - rebel rebel // buffy sainte-marie - a soulful shade of blue // jonathan richman - rockin' shoppin' center

laura nyro and la belle - i met him on a sunday // spoon - we could be underground // bette midler - chapel of love // marc almond - something's gotten hold of my heart // timi yuro - what's a matter baby // lou reed - walk on the wild side // boy least likely to - faith // marlene dietrich with burt bacharach - makin' whoopee

And now, a question for the (other) fashionistas: What's a girl to do when she has the nameless butter yellow two-strap gigantor tote from the Marc Jacobs Spring 2005 collection and it needs to be cleaned?! It's well-worn and much loved, but let's face facts. It's fallen victim to more than one Emo's hand stamp and the suede liner is a little dingey after two summers. Give over the product and service recommendations, already. I'm ready to transition to my winter bag and I'd like my spring bag to look like new when I tuck it into its darling white flannel dust cover.

And also, in a fit of something that's not pique, TRGAW friends and Hourly Radio superfans Dave and Krissi ran off to Burning Man for some ungodly reason. Dave said something about air mattresses and sand goggles as he was leaving the office yesterday. We wish them luck, though we expect they'll return resembling beef jerky with tales of tweaking to desert trance. Good night and good luck, kids.

ps, from Cindy -- DISCLAIMER: We are being compensated for this endorsement (in the form of a t-shirt that we'll be giving to The Judge) of tonight's MTV Video Music Awards -- though I'm not sure I'm okay with the fact that the Hanger Bar (OUR HANGER BAR! OURS! ADORABLE HIPSTER BOY DJS! BROKEBACK MOUNTAINS, $5!!!!) is on the front page of that there site we just linked to as a 'hot spot'. Anyway, we don't even have cable, we're not watching the darn thing! Plus, Kelefa Sanneh wants you to know that that whole videos-on-TV thing is SO OVER. There's this YouTube thing now -- just ask OK GO. Who, we might add, will be performing the amazing treadmill routine live on the VMAs tonight. So. EVERYONE WINS! (Though, we are quite sorry that we missed the Private Men's Club pre-VMA afterparty...)

Bonus tracks, from Cindy...

Bromheads Jacket -- Trip To The Golden Arches [site]
The Blow -- Bonjour Jeune Fille [site]
Brothers and Sisters -- Without You [myspace]
Bryan Ferry w/ Antony -- Lowlands Low [album site]
Free association with Joanna Newsom's Ys. So yes, we managed to grab the Pitchfork-oriented leak, along with the rest of the blogosphere. If you're looking for a sample, check out inkiostro, or grab "Emily" from yousendit before someone catches on (sorry!). Yes, it's gorgeous and lovely and the kind of thing I know I'll still be listening to 20 or 30 years from now. Then again, I've been a fan of hers for ages (remind me to tell you about 4th of July 2004 sometime), I've never particulary found her music to be overly fruity and lame, as many of my friends do -- I think it's kind of neat, actually. I was thrilled when I heard that Ys would have contributions from the venerable Van Dyke Parks, Smog-er and new Austinite Bill Callahan, and Jim O'Rourke; I was a little more wary of Steve Albini's involvment, but that seems to have turned out okay as well.

Anyway, we won't say what this makes us think about the P-fork's (lack of professionalism in) maintaining a "sprawling illegal download hub" since most of us seem to get everything illegally anyway -- it mostly just made me annoyed that no one's cracked the copy protection on that Hold Steady record yet. Oooh, was that out loud? Anyway...

The cover: Yes, okay, I admit it: In junior high, I was a total Anne McCaffrey (the fantasy author who wrote all those books about dragons on a planet called Pern, in case you uh, don't know...) nut. Look, I was that weird girl that read in the library every day -- like this is some big shocker. Anyway, the cover of Ys reminds me of the work of Robin Wood, a fantasy artist who did a whole book of portraits called The People of Pern as well as a pretty neat (not Pern related) tarot deck, which is the one I used when I read cards at a crystal shop my senior year of high school after I flunked out of calculus and had a free period in the afternoons (no, really!). This is getting completely irrelevant, but anyway -- once upon a time, before I got even stranger and started reading Bret Easton Ellis and listening to Husker Du and Nine Inch Nails constantly, that book was totally my most prized possession. I think I hung on to it years after I'd lost interest in fantasy "literature" and finally sold it on eBay during a spate of college poverty. It was probably for the best. I may still have that tarot deck though. Needless to say, I am not among the people who are mocking this cover; it makes me totally nostalgic and I kind of wish Joanna'd been around to listen to when I was 16 and totally weird and contrary.

Joanna Newsom -- The Book of Right-On

Van Dyke Parks' string arrangments: What can I say, I adore his work (though the stuff he did with Matthew Sweet a few years back was a bit cringeworthy), and he's a perfect compliment for Joanna's sweeping vision. The songs are fleshed-out, but not overblown. Yet more totally nerdy stuff: I'm really enamored with VDP's live CD from the late 90's, Moonlighting. The most applicable track I have, though, is his contribution to the soundtrack of Robert Altman's The Company; this scored the totally weird modern ballet that's the albatross of the film, Canadian choreographer Robert Desrosiers' The Blue Snake. Oddly enough, there already was a score for The Blue Snake, by John Lang and Ahmed Hassan. Goodness only knows why it wasn't used in the film. Perhaps VDP's was more cinematic.

Van Dyke Parks -- Blue Snake and Zebras

30 August 2006

It's official. I MUST declare the moratorium on rawk star facial hair in effect as of NOW. Unless you are a) Pinkie's hot neighbor or b) a member of Sparks. Sufjan, I want you to know that this is totes your fault -- not his, or his, or even the hipsters at summer festivals. Nope. Totally your fault.

Sparks -- This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both Of Us
Ok, no long rambling posts today. No picking fights over Pitchfork or Built to Spill. Just a small opportunity to tell you about the new record from Austin-based TRGAW pals Pompeii (their site seems to be down, weird...), whose debut album, Assembly, is out on Eyeball Records October 10. Apparently, they're using something I wrote on in the press quotes, so, er, maybe we should finish moving the site and stuff. *ahem*

Watch, I will engage in self-plagarism -- er, quote myself, I mean (seeing as I've done it before and all...):
As I watched Pompeii, I realized that for the first time, I was seeing a band who was using that ubiquitous (and utterly tiresome, usually) Radiohead influence in the right way -- chiming, lovely guitars and sweet, sad boy vocals and modestly epic and darkly uplifiting lyrics, over the driving clatter of emo drums and Peter Hook-ish melodic bass lines -- all hoisted up by the deep, raspy scraping of Caitlin's cello. I'm hesitant to know what to call Pompeii's music -- because it's not indie pop, or indie rock, or straight up goth or emo. It's all these things, and in the end, I think that's why Pompeii's music is so affecting.
Well, you get the idea -- even if that is apparently the worst thing I've ever written. Speaking more compactly, in possibly useful comparison-speak, I'd place Pompeii squarely between the chilly, sad detachment of The Like and the hyper-emotive, ornate pop of The Format. Dean's got the kind of open, bright voice that every 16 year old girl in the universe will sigh over; the instrumentation and lyrics reveal the band's melancholy core. I will confess, I regularly get a little teary-eyed at their live shows -- which are just incredible, btw.

Assembly doesn't really have a dud moment (yes, I have totally listened to it like three times today already...), which is pretty impressive -- then again, I wouldn't expect anything less from these guys -- they never cease to impress me. (And isn't that record cover the loveliest thing ever? Seriously.)

Pompeii -- Catalog (via Eyeball Records)
Pompeii -- Assembly
Pompeii -- Numbers

...And a gentle reminder: we'll be at the Chain Drive dj'ing tonight. On the bill: Summer Wardrobe, Vacation Gold, and The Midgetmen -- and, as always, there's no cover! Hope to see you there!

29 August 2006

Horrors! My employer, it seems, has blocked access to YouTube. This is absolutely traumatizing -- and ironic, since our yet-to-be officially launched blog just ran a feature on the company a few days ago. I'm totally bummed about this. I mean, I can't figure out why they still have access to various other sites up, but not this one. Ah, the vagaries of corporate IT. So, no more video posts from me during the workday, unless they're on another service, I suppose.

Out and about: Via Warped Reality, news that the retro international pop-obsessed La Lalaque is in the studio working on their new EP. Sample tracks are available for download on their Myspace page...

You can read that profile of The Long Winters in Paste that's simply awful -- misattributed photo credits and overstuffed metaphors ("the album is a grande-sized mug of the smart-assed synthesis of sweet and sour that characterizes Roderick’s best songwriting") and bad epigrams epigraphs (REM LYRICS?!?!) -- online! (Well, sort of. There's something kind of wrong with page 4...) When I saw said issue of Paste in the grocery store, it kind of made me cry, but not in that way that the September issue of Vogue made me cry. Oh no! That was over the beauty of it all. The Paste Incident was much, much more traumatizing, friends. Seriously.

Here's something to get you all revved up: Wired's article on "The Pitchfork Effect," which, again, as seems to be the prevailing trend in articles about the state of the music/mp3 blogoteria, gets all excited about something, somewhere -- but just never gets there. My official position, btw, is that there will never be another Travistan debacle or Arcade Fire/Broken Social Scene blow-up. A bad review in P-fork doesn't cement failure, nor does a rapturous one ensure scary-big sales. So yes, yes -- this is more of a paradigm shift in the way people -- journalists, consumers, record executives, and the bands themselves -- view this 70,000 headed-hydra we call the independent music business. In a way, I sometimes feel like Pinkie and I are the pirate queens of a blockade-running ship that brings you yummy provisions daily. The good kind, natch -- triple creme cheeses instead of American pasturized procesed cheese food. Or something like that. Oh shit. I just turned myself into a Decemberists and/or Brecht/Weill song. Sorry about that. Anyway, you get the drift, right?

Interlude: Kind of related not one but two of the items above: The Long Winters -- Medicine Cabinet Pirate

Which reminds me, I should tell you about my visit to Pitchfork HQ 2 years ago (which was, at the time, the basement of a carriage house in Lincoln Park, Chicago full to the brim with promos and Diet Dr. Pepper cans) sometime. Mr. Schreiber and I nearly came to fisticuffs over, of all things Franz Ferdinand and the "future of indie rock." No. Really.

The Feeling -- All You Need To Do ("Never Be Lonely" b-side that's a perfectly modernized 'sophisti-pop' number... Sorry for this hiss and pop -- it was ripped from the 7" single.)

End Interlude.

Last night Pinkie and I finally got around to watching Downtown 81, which is something we'd talked about doing for ages. It's a gorgeous little picaresque (dang it, can't get away from The Decemberists today, can I? Gah!) film (barely over an hour long) that's short on plot but long on gorgeous visuals and great performances from the NYC scenster bands of 1981. And naturally -- a lovely, naturalistic acting performance from Jean-Michel Basquiat. The first band featured in the film really caught my fancy, with their stacks of pwangy Fender amps -- I was not surprised to find as the credits rolled, that it was the possibly immortal Tuxedomoon.

Tuxedomoon -- In A Manner of Speaking
(sorry, it's the only track I have with me today...)

The collective consciousness is a weird thing: I was going to post about how I found a copy of Heaven 17's first album at Cheapo last night -- and Mars Needs Guitars posted about them today. WEIRD!! Go over there and check out what Merz has on offer.

I also picked up a copy of a record I've been looking for for ages -- The Joan Baez Ballad Book. Its existence was made totally redundant after all of her back catalog was released on CD so you can only get Ballad Book on vinyl -- and I swear, I really had been looking for a copy for about 10 years! I LOVE LOVE LOVE creepy traditional ballads, and no one does them quite like Joan...

Joan Baez -- Silver Dagger

I'm very, very amused at the recent spate of ca. 1994 Built to Spill sounding-bands. (Oxford Collapse, anyone?) Not that this is a bad thing really. I adore ca. 1994 Built to Spill -- it's everything after that which I loathe. Anyway, at first I thought that Rafter (which is actually just the one-man-band of Rafter Roberts, engineer/producer extraordinare) was chief among those, but that wonderful throwback flavor is probably due to the fact that the bulk of the album 10 Songs was recorded in 1998. It's available as a download and as an internet-only release from Asthmatic Kitty on Sept. 12.

Rafter -- Bicycle
Built to Spill -- Big Dipper

Random factoid of the day: on my office's iTunes network, there are 174 Radiohead songs. There was one Boards of Canada song -- and yeah, I admit, it wasn't even mine, so I guess I can't complain too loudly.

Boards of Canada -- Julie and Candy

And finally -- and really, I've been dying to be able to post this: a non-gritty, not-ripped-from-Myspace copy of Jarvis Cocker's latest. You're welcome!

Jarvis Cocker -- Ruling the World

And, I'm really behind on the email -- I'm sorry if you've sent something over, and you haven't heard from us. We're getting to it, promise!

OH AND!!! My favorite favorties The Sadies are going to be on Late Night With Conan O'Brien tonight (check your local listings!) with the lovely and glamourous Neko Case. Watch if you know what's good for you. Mmmm. The Good Brothers. So very, very good. *ahem* Stream "Jason Fleming" (with Neko and Garth Hudson of The Band) and "Tailspin" (with Kelly Hogan).

28 August 2006

Monday's a bit scattered sometimes. You know how it is. First some reading material, new tracks follow. Cedric Bixler-Zavala (aka that guy Cindy went to elementary school with -- I could post incriminating pics of him with a Morrissey pompadour, but that would just be evil, wouldn't it?) of The Mars Volta talks about his iTunes playlist with the NYT. It's nothing too suprising, knowing Mr. Bixler-Zavala's preferred aesthetic, with shout outs to Mammatus, Feathers, and Nick Cave's new film -- but it's always nice to hear what musicians are listening to.

Crank up the hype machine: Evangelicals interviewed in Pitchfork. Remember, we told you how rad they are first! We're only kind of kidding.

Could this be the most pathetically annoying music column of all time? I mean, if Mr. Berrier is trying to be ironic, he's failed miserably; if he's sincere, it's terribly grating. I mean, we've contended for ages now that, like it or not, Pitchfork Is The Man now, but seriously, we've never quite whinged on the topic quite so ... annoyingly. (Chuck Klosterman vs. Corey Feldman? What an odd comparison!) This may be why I never went to work for newspapers... Sometimes that sense of journalistic entitlement demonstrated by mostly-print journalists can feel so odd at times. Still, I suppose I should be happy that old-guard (read:print) music critics are taking music bloggers seriously, or something. Um, did this piece have a point? Let me know if you find it floating around in the muddle.

Speaking of which, I hate it when an article in the NYT brings aspects of the Austin scene to our attention. I mean, we know that there's a big alternative art scene on the East Side (in fact, two friends have a rather lovely studio not mentioned in the article), we just didn't realize that it was quite so chic! That's what we get for being a tad too insular, I suppose! Anyway, it's a nice feature, rather impressionistic in tone though -- it gives you the odd impression that San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Marfa are all cozily near each other, which I'm here to tell you, they're not.

John Darnielle reveals a whole lot (and maybe more than some music listeners are willing to know, really) about the genesis of The Mountain Goats' Get Lonely in a piece for the LA times. I remember reading about Goats' King of Prussia misadventures in Peter Hughes' tour diaries last year; the connection between the desolate tone of the album and those bleak three days really, really cracked open the album for me. Speaking of, it's a weird criticism, but we're really not the biggest fans of the typeface used on the cover (especially after the possibly pointed use of recognizable and well, pretty 4ad typefaces on the previous three releases), though the pitch black gloss inner sleve and the tiny credits on the outer sleeve on the vinyl edition speak volumes. Nicely done there.

Speaking of Nick Cave ... we got a nice promo from Brassland in the mail the other day from Aussies Devastations. We think they sound like a nice cross between The National and er, yeah, Nick Cave (they're probably WAY sick of that comparison) -- maybe with a smidge of the Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers vibe as well. But the use of acoustic guitar throughout, somewhere in the middle of the mix, calls to mind the kind of goth peddled by The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. As a whole, their debut album, Coal, isn't nearly as consistent as say, the self-titled debut release from The National -- but really, how can you not love a band with a delicously wrong and mellow song called "Sex and Mayhem"?

Devastations -- Sex and Mayhem

Speaking of Australia and 4ad, then -- the lastest band to totally sneak up on us out of the shadows is Wolf & Cub. Somehow we missed the flurry of excitement over the Phones remix of their track "Thousand Cuts," so we don't have that for you, but here's a couple winners from their new album Vessels, out today on Dot Dash in Australia and New Zealand and 4ad in the rest of the world on Sept. 2nd. A goodly amount of the album is blues-y psych and glam-tinged stompy rock dripping with fuzzed out feedback over a sassy rhythm section -- as demonstrated in "This Mess." Other tracks are neat-o, desolate soundscapes dripping with spiky feedback, bizzaro keys and beats, and ... the occasional digeridoo -- as demonstrated by "Condundrum." Really, how could we not love that combination of sounds?

Wolf & Cub -- This Mess
Wolf & Cub -- Conundrum

Just for fun, a few remixes and etceterata:

Dntel -- Rock My Boat (feat. Mia Doi Todd)
Ladytron -- Destroy Everything You Touch (Archigram Remix)
The Knife -- We Share Our Mothers Health (Radio Slaves Secret Base Mix)
The Gossip -- Listen Up! (A Touch Of Class Remix)
Hot Chip -- Colours (Fred Falke Remix)

25 August 2006

Lo siento!! Obviously, an entire week has passed without last week's weekend update, which is still due being that we went to three shows in three days, on top of our regular Wednesday night DJ set at Chain Drive, which features 3 more bands. What is this, motherfucking Rocktober?! This is unprecedented for summer, seriously. And on the delay: kids, this is what happens when you grow up and have a real job with a title like "Executive Director," or "Editor" after your name; some days you just don't have time, and when you do have a precious moment to catch up between meetings, reports, and general duties, you hold on to it with such desperation that you don't want to waste it on your blog. Which is not to say we don't love you, dear readers. Just, you know, sometimes corporate America makes it hard to do so. But enough whinging.

Things learned over the weekend of 8/18-8/20: 1. One of our friends "came to Will Sheff--over and over and over..." (we think that might be cut out of the Okkervil River documentary, though), and 2. "Brojobs: It's not gay if it's on the road." Luckily, these quotes weren't heard at the same event (nor at the Final Fantasy show), though one was delivered over breakfast.

Writing about Final Fantasy after the fact is rather anticlimactic -- especially considering the circumstances under which we saw young Owen Pallet for the first time in January 2005 when he was on the magical Partridge Family-esque school bus tour with the Arcade Fire (actually there was no bus--just like fifteen people crammed into a van). And it's hard to write about August-in-Texas shows with any degree of glee, because there sure isn't any when you head out for the night and it's still over ninety degrees. Still, Owen charmed us with a fabulous set which included the song we'd all been waiting for -- his cover of Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" (as documented in this entry). [And, in case you care, we found Bob Wiesman tiresome and kind of accidentally missed The Curtains, even though Cindy was pretty hot to see them. Er, oops.)

Meta: Tom Tom Club -- Genius of Love
Final Fantasy -- Peach, Plum, Pear (Joanna Newsom cover)

Look, we've gotta be really frank about this: If you missed the Evangelicals on tour with Get Him Eat Him, you missed one of the absolutely unabashedly fun and exciting bills of the summer, perhaps even of the year. Get Him Eat Him have really come into their own as performers since we saw them last in January; their new songs are wonderfully fun and danceable, in that spazzy kind of way that we really only tolerate from Matt LeMay and His Indie Rock Army. The Evangelicals' set, sparking a with an unhinged riotous energy only really hinted at on their recordings, was the kind of thing you so rarely see -- a set that makes you remember exactly why you head out in 100+ degree heat to hang out in a (mostly air-conditioned) rock club during the utter dog days of August. Luckily for you, the Evangelicals tour pretty much non-stop -- they're back out on the road with Sereena Maneesh (and later, Say Hi To Your Mom) through September and October.

Evangelicals -- Here Comes Trouble
Get Him Eat Him -- Exposure

Sunday morning saw us open Pinkie's daintily appointed apartment to the five young lads of Get Him Eat Him -- never let it be said that we don't send our favorite boys back out on the road without a good brunch. There was lots of giggling, gossip, and a few serving mishaps (we'll not talk about when Cindy dropped some eggs on the floor...) before they headed out on the road, a ziploc bag of cookies in tow. Get Him Eat Him's second record is being tweaked this fall (it was recorded in DC at Inner Ear with the Dismemberment Plan's Jason Caddell at the helm, and includes a guest appearance from Charles Bissell of everyone's favorite band, The Wrens...) whilst the rest of the lads return to the coal mines of higher education for two more semesters. If you're in NYC tonight and tomorrow, catch GHEH at the Mercury Lounge with mp3blogger faves Beirut (if there's still tickets, that is!) and ... hey! The Curtains! Small world, huh? Anyway, bring them cookies, or other healthful snacks, if you're so inclined. They might be hungry!

After all that fun, we headed out around 8:30 pm to get in line outside (while, yes, it was still unbearably hot...) that wonderfully kitschy Austin institution, the Carousel Lounge, to catch the "secret" Okkervil River show that was being filmed for a documentary. Said documentary apparently will, in addition to featuring the shows filmed in Denton and Austin, also star TRGAW superfriend Summer Anne as The Best Okkervil Fangirl Of All Time, which is very appropriate -- for she does indeed fit that role quite well. We're really actually quite shocked that the fire marshall wasn't called -- there were hundreds of people squashed into the tiny Carousel Lounge along with a tiny crane and a whole lot of cameras. We ended up sitting in one of the booths by the bar, knitting (yes, that was us, if you were there, wondering what those two weird girls were up to...) the whole time, as it was impossible to see anything without being crushed in the front. Cindy was able to see a small portion of Jonathan's eye and nose if she stood on the seat, but that was about it. Though fun, it was, overall, a weird little show -- as with events staged for filming, the setlist was a little uneven, perhaps filling in gaps from the night before rather than geared toward being a crowd-pleaser. However, it was a nice opportunity to catch up with old friends and people-watch (who were all those sorority girls, anyway?) and evaluate people's outfits -- even if it was, overall, a kinda bizarre and oppressively hot experience.

Needless to say, after all that excitement, we were quite wiped out. However, we managed to get out Wednesday night to catch a semi-repeated bill of one of the best shows of the first half of the year -- a solo set from Jonathan Meiburg (see above, and you know, also of Shearwater...) and the fantastic Baby Dee, who mixes just the right amount of pathos and riot -- dirgey, creepy Edwardian parlor-esque songs and raunchy vaudevillian humor -- in her shows so that you're not sure if you're laughing or crying by the end of it all. Both sets were wonderful, but so very intensely personal -- but sometimes that's just the kind of rock show you want on a hot weeknight in the rather nicely super-chilled front room at Emo's, sipping on a coke whilst perched on a barstool.

Jonathan Meiburg -- Child of Never
Baby Dee -- Lilacs

Naturally, this weekend can't possibly be as exciting as the last, but that's okay, really. A girl can't party all the time.

But, just as a quick reminder, we'll be at the Chain Drive dj'ing again on Wednesday the 30th -- the 5th Wednesday of the month -- occurrencence that naturally merited a spankin' new flyer... On the bill: Summer Wardrobe, Vacation Gold, and The Midgetmen -- and, as always, there's no cover! Hope to see you there!

Also, best wishes to Cindy's little sister, the Judge, who got all moved in and settled at Michigan State this week! This one's for her...

Ladyfuzz -- Oh Marie

24 August 2006

More hot link action! Not to make this the All-Sean Nelson-All-The-Time blog or anything, but here's an excerpt from his upcoming book for the 33 1/3 series on Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark. I'd thought about submitting a proposal to the fine Mr. Barker at Continuum, but couldn't narrow down my options. Shockingly, Court and Spark wasn't even on that list. At all. (I have something perfect picked for the next open call, though -- NO I'M NOT TELLING WHAT IT IS!)

For someone who loves menswear as much as I do (and er, as much as Pinkie does too, I might add) fall is a very special time of year. Oh yes, yes, yes indeed. We are not summer people. We like to be dressed, and see people who are dressed. Ya dig?

Who's next, bar mitzvah DJ's? Or, this is totes your fault, Ultragrrl. (We kid, of course...) The Wall Street Journal ran a story today about how young couples planning their weddings, with their impeccable taste and their iPods, are offering stiff competition to wedding DJs. BTW, according to Allison Emmerson, bride, graduate student, and White Stripes and Bowie fan: "Playing music is not brain surgery," she says. "If you have good music and you have a fun atmosphere, you're going to have people dancing." Someone get that girl a DJ gig on Tuesday nights at the new Alchemize in Cincy! However, I suppose you'll be glad to know that a) wedding DJ's don't generally have Weezer in their collections and b) high-priced wedding planners look down on the iPod as "unprofessional" so, you know, basically there isn't really a story here, now is there? (link good for seven days only!)

And, everyone's all over this -- but Say Hi To Your Mom needs a girl singer. Perhaps they're taking a page from the Bound Stems' playbook? Are there any other Lady InterWeb Celebs out there up for the task? All I can think of is Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in Walk The Line: "Get me out of this car with all these boys!"

And yeah, I know we already told you about The Blow's "Pile of Gold" already today, but The Anchor Center wins some prize for best track pimp of the day. SERIOUSLY. Go. Watch. Laugh.

Into the magic time machine. Or, what we added to the iTunes 2 years ago today. Or, I haven't had time to listen to anything new for days. Or, the only reason I even noticed this at all is because I've had to clean out my iTunes library on my work machine beacause it's too massive for words:
Beat Happening -- Our Secret
The Mountian Goats -- Cubs in Five
The Twilight Singers -- Hyperballad
Architecture in Helsinki -- Spring 2008
Frog Eyes -- The Oscillator's Hum
(I love how Carey Mercer sounds like a bizzaro Tom Jones. NO! REALLY!)
Where is this day going? I mean, really? I'm off to meetings, more later. But for now: make your playlist wonderfully girly, like mine. I'm wearing a new dress today I got off a clearance rack for $6, rawk!

First: Go get The Ettes' "No More Surprises" and The Blow's "Pile of Gold" from This Big Stereo
Then: Snatch "Seperated by Motorways (What's Your Rupture Mix) from Dreams of Horses' cache of Long Blondes goodies.
Next: Slam those songs up against Rachel Stevens' "Crazy Boys" and Shaznay Lewis' "I've Never Felt Like This Before," courtesy of Greenpeaness.
Top it off with the Teenage Bad Girl Remix of Scissor Sisters' "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" from Fluo Kids.

Play ad nauseum.

23 August 2006

Out and about on the Inter-tubes today. You know, that Decemberists cover of "Bring on the Dancing Horses" (follow link, scroll down) kind of makes me want to kill myself. And not in that "I'm a gothy 16 year-old girl and everything makes me want to kill myself" way -- oh no. It's much, much more melodramatic than that.

So, it occured to me just now that most of the time, Decemberists covers are kind of like that Eddie Izzard bit from "Dress to Kill" about how Anglicans can make a chorus of "Hallelujah" sound like the most dreary thing ever...
There's something weird, something phenomenally dreary about Christian singing. The Gospel singers are the only singers that just go crazy, joyous and it's fucking amazing! And it's born out of kidnapping, imprisonment, slavery, murder, all of that - and this joyous singing! And the Church of England, well, all those sort of Christian religions, which is mainly Caucasian white people, with all the power and money - enough power and money to make Solomon blush, and they're all singing, [dirge-like] "Oh, God, our hope in ages past, our hope for years..." They're the only groups of people that could sing, "Hallelujah" without feeling like it's a "Hallelujah!" thing. [drearily] "Hallelujah, hallelujah, joyfully we lark about." It's just not kicking, is it? God must be up there going, "What on Earth is that?"
Oh Mr. Meloy, I know you're trying, but it was better you were all affected and dorky doing "Bridges and Ballons" or "Human Behaviour" -- not to mention all those Mozzer covers -- and not completely, dourly, and flatly murdering one of the best songs ever (and for the record, I wasn't a fan of of that Left Field cover that re-surfaces every once and a while either).

Colin Meloy -- Pregnant For The Last Time
Colin Meloy -- Dance To Your Daddy

Anyway, a good bit of news, also concerning covers. Sean Nelson, lead singer of Harvey Danger (and late of The Long Winters) told me about a bajillion years ago that he was going to do an album of Nilsson covers. We once discussed options over email -- I strongly suggested "Turn On Yr Radio" and "Miss Butters' Lament," I believe -- but I never heard anything else about the project. And after the new Harvey Danger album, Little by Little..., was released, I assumed it was completely dead for good. How wrong I was! Seems Mr. Nelson sneakily recorded his Nilsson covers album, with the assistance of producer/multi-hyphenate Mark Nichols, and is looking for someone to release it. Believe me, it's enough to make a girl start a record label, let me tell you... *ahem* Anyway, just add him to the pantheon of Nilsson lovers out there: The Format, The Walkmen, and the omnipresent Carlos D. You're in good company, Mr. Nelson.

Sample some tracks at the Nelson Sings Nilsson Myspace page. It's all very promising -- Mr Nelson's full-bodied, sweet voice is naturally well-suited to the material and his versions, though hardly huge departures from the originals, have a class and flash of their own.

And, if you're not familiar with Mr. Nelson's song stylings, save from the ubiquitous "Flagpole Sitta," here's some goodies for you:

Harvey Danger -- Cream and Bastards Rise
Harvey Danger -- Elvis, I Don't Love You
Harvey Danger -- Defrocked

Sidebar of no particular importance: The Wikipedia entry for Girl Talk's Night Ripper clearly exemplifies the underlying problem with Mr. Gallis' mashups/mixes/whathaveyou -- and I know I've mentioned this before -- that the songs seg into each other with a predictable, precise regularity. Though flashy, after a few listens, you start to realize that there's no strong foundation for each track -- and that for all the exciting stuff (MIKE JONES! WITH NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL! OMG!) going on up top, they just kind of cave in on themselves.

Ok, enough complaining from me...
The triumphant return of +/-! "Wait, wait that Plus/Minus?" I said to Absolutely Kosher's Cory Brown when he told me their new album, Let's Build a Fire, would be released this fall. (I am just a smidge dense sometimes.) Now, there's band I hadn't thought about in a few years -- at least! Nice to see them back. The first track that's out for consideration, "Steal The Blueprints" is a nice teaser of the forthcoming goodness. And below, the video, directed by the band's drummer/programmer Chris Deaner. The album is out October 26, and around that time, they're playing a few dates on the eastern seaboard with everyone's favorite band, labelmates The Wrens.

22 August 2006

Woah, totes slammed today! And, yes, we totally owe you a weekend recap that's sitting in draft form, waiting to be finished. Perhaps we'll actually get that up tomorrow. Anyway, happy record release day to two very special TRGAW band-pals: What Made Milwaukee Famous and The Mountain Goats. The new edition of WWMF's Trying to Never Catch Up is out on Barsuk. Here's a fave track of ours that didn't make the cut for the new version...

What Made Milwaukee Famous -- Around the Gills

Catch WMMF on tour with The French Kicks tonight in San Diego, and with The Long Winters in September and October.

I've been very good. Very, VERY good. How you ask? Well, yes, I found The Mountain Goats' Get Lonely on out on the Internets and didn't even get through a whole listen when I decided I would wait to buy a hard copy today. So that's where I'll be after work -- picking it up... Because there's something nice about spending quality time with a record you're looking forward to, examining the pretty liner notes and packaging (which we hope are again designed by the incomparable Vaughan Oliver) and hearing the gorgeous production (courtesy of the divine Scott Solter) on the good speakers, and not through your crappy work headphones.

So, you ask, what's my favorite Mountain Goats song? Too hard to answer, really (today: "Against Pollution" or possibly "Korean Bird Paintings;" tomorrow, who knows) -- but here's a cache of tMG cover tracks that we've posted since setting up shop. There's a few extra-special songs here, of course!

The Mountain Goats -- Cut Yr. Hair (Live Pavement cover)
The Mountain Goats -- Sometimes I Still Feel The Bruise (Trembling Blue Stars cover)
The Mountain Goats -- Tell Me On A Sunday (Andrew Lloyd Weber cover)
The Mountain Goats -- Terror Song (Live Furniture Huschle cover)
The Mountain Goats -- The Boys are Back In Town (Live Thin Lizzy cover, with R. Kelly "Remix to Ignition" breakdown)
The Mountain Goats -- The Sign (Live Ace of Base cover)
The Mountain Goats -- White Box (Jandek cover)

(And so much, much more at Le Chemin du Hype or, you know, Le Machine d'exagération)

Oh, hey! That Snowden record is out today too. Don't tell, but Miss Candy Hotpants totally secretly loves this band a whole, whole lot. Tastefully slick pop with just the right touch of post-punk revival trendiness in their rhythm section. (Really, you'd never know they were from Athens Atlanta, GA...) Maybe this is what SoundTeam was aiming for but uh, didn't quite pull off...

Snowden -- Anti-Anti

Bonus: Bricolage Fantasy has Snowden's great cover of The Zombies' "Time of the Season" along with some other tracks, including a clutch of remixes... Though, honestly, I don't think the Radiohead influence is as strong as the BF crew seems to think it is.

21 August 2006

Well, this is really embarassing. Nonni's 48th birthday blew past and didn't even take note -- it was on the 16th! Forgive us, Madonna, for we have sinned...

Madonna -- Bad Girl
Berlin -- Live To Tell
A plus D -- Hung Up Night (Madonna vs VHS or Beta)

Madonna - Up Down Suite (Scrub's Motor Video Mix)
Embrace your inner teeange goth. You can't resist. DO IT. NOW! Look, it's a nice new video for "Language of the Living Dead" from our fave NYC gloomcookies Blacklist directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Eva Aridjis. They look so serious and menacing. Awesome!

Also, they're playing a few upcoming dates around Gotham:

09.09.06 Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony w/ Screaming For Emily
09.17.06 Brooklyn, NY @ Galapagos w/ Psychic TV
09.21.06 New York, NY @ The Annex w/ The Sugar Report
10.31.06 New York, NY @ Magnetic Field [Halloween show]

And, how about some mp3s?

Blacklist -- Language of the Living Dead
Blacklist -- Exit
Blacklist -- Dawn of the Idols

If goth's not yer thang, check the ADORABLE SNACKING BUNNIES OMG @ Cute Overload.

18 August 2006

Je prepare pour Marie Antoinette. Meet The Radio Dept. -- they're big in Sweden, and Sofia Coppola liked 'em enough to put three (yes three) of their songs on the Marie Antoinette soundtrack. The stylish video below is for "The Worst Taste In Music." One classy remix and one b-side, full of gorgeous, swirly New Wave-iness, follow.

The Radio Dept. -- Worst Taste in Music (Flow Flux Clan Remix)
The Radio Dept. -- What You Sell
Yes, yes. We know, it ended in horrible, horrible drama and secret affairs and broken hearts, but wow. While Bryan Ferry and Jerry Hall lasted, that was glamour, y'all.

Bryan Ferry -- Jealous Guy
Roxy Music -- Dance Away

And goodness me, how deliciously loud and rowdy and kinda dirty are Saddle Creek's Ladyfinger (NE)? This band makes big, BIG, BIG rock'n'roll that's smart, just the way we like it. And hey, is having 'lady' in your name, like, the new 'wolf'? Especially if you're a bunch of dudes from the Midwest? (Bethanne over at Clever Titles also likes Ladyfinger (NE) -- really, really likes them...) Their debut full-length, Heavy Hands, is out on Sept. 26.

Ladyfinger (NE) -- Sea Legs
Ladyfinger (NE) -- Diet Smoke

And, because we really, really like you, a lovely Midlake b-side...

Midlake -- Marion

Which reminds me, speaking of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music and b-sides, I finally got my hands on Electrelane's Singles, B-Sides, & Live album, out next week on Too Pure.

Electrelane -- More Than This (live)
Electrelane -- I'm On Fire

And for your weekend dancing needs, some disco house with big, BIG, BIG synths. From what I can see on the Internets, the limited 12" of this is super hard to come by, so thanks to the little vinyl rippers out there in the aether for providing it:

Lindstrom -- The Contemporary Fix (Serious Syntoms Remix)

This is the busiest weekend we've had in a long time -- shows Friday (Final Fantasy), Saturday (Get Him Eat Him), and Sunday (Okkervil River). I suppose we might see you out and about, then? Good!

Oh, one last thing: John Peel's son Tom Ravenscroft debuts his new music podcast SlashMusic for Channel 4's new venture, 4Radio, next week. Glad to see that whole English primogeniture thing working, I suppose. He sounds quite sweet, actually.

17 August 2006

Don't mind me, I just work here. I just used a crowbar to pry Candy off the keyboard (she's really enjoying editing her profile a little too much, I think) so's I could post this high-larity from the Matador blog, by which I mean the uh, Matablog. Insert rimshot here.
Candy Hotpants loves you, dear readers! I had this amusing idea during my morning commute, that I would start a parody blog -- of myself ("Candy Hotpants Saves Indie Rock!"), in which I planned to make fish stories out of my experiences in "The Scene," but that seemed, you know, a bit excessive. Ha! So, instead, a giant entry, just for you.

Kiki and Herb, who we posted about a while back, have a new show, Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway, running through through September 10 at the Helen Hayes Theater. The Times has a predictably wacky 'multimedia slideshow' with Kiki, which gave me a good laugh this morning...

Obviously, the best scandale of late in the Texas indie scene is the kerfuffle over the Denton 'noise' scene. Things get pretty catty in the comments in this entry over at great DFW-area music blog We Shot JR -- fun, fun, fun!

It's a teeny-tiny world, ain't it? Toronto's marvelous (even if Pitchfork found 'em tiresome) Tin Bangs, who we literally found randomly one day surfing the Internets, are playing a show tonight in NYC at the Annex with TRGAW pals The Hourly Radio. Talk about a perfect bill -- too bad we can't be there. However, if you can make it, you should totally go. Here's a few from both bands, from the TRGAW archives:

Tin Bangs -- He's So Pretty
Tin Bangs -- The Skinny
The Hourly Radio -- First Love Is Forever
The Hourly Radio -- Lost + Found
The Hourly Radio -- Crime Does Pay

And hey, remember Lifter Puller, the precursor to the favorite band of dude rock critics everywhere, The Hold Steady? Well, former LFTR PLLR-ite and faboo photographer Dan Monick's new band Sex Eyes plays their first show at the The Fuck Yeah Fest 3 (curated by Keith Morris of Black Flag and Circle Jerks and Sean Carlson) in LA's Echo Park neighborhood this weekend. The entire bill is mad good, for that matter -- we want a full report if you go, okay? (Oh, and if you're interested in historical artifacts, there's a whole buncha LFTR PLLR mp3s available attached to this interview with Craig Finn. And have you seen the cover of the new Hold Steady record, Boys and Girls in America? Love it -- can't wait to hear it, where is our promo, Vagrant? Seriously.)

Moving along: As ever, our bi-weekly gig at the Chain Drive was too, too fun. As is the established pattern, the first band (Sheboygan) was serviceable, the second band (Girl in a Coma) kicked serious ass, and the last band (The Dirty Hearts) started out well, but all that potential wore thin as they trundled through an over-long set.

Pinkie just sent this over for me to paste in -- she's so much more eloquent than I am about these kinds of things:
So we were there, at the Chain Drive, which is like the TRGAW-collective favoritest place in the whole world. (There's a rad leather daddy local membership badge in the DJ booth, which would have been quite a prize for any straight girl DJing there, but we were ladies and left it so that its proper owner could claim it.) And in the midst of planning our all-Roxy Music-all-the-time miniset, SA-town's Girl in a Coma took the stage and started setting up. Candy Cindy and I, being curmudgeonly individuals who have logged countless hours at rockshows -- and in my case, countless hours in Women's Studies courses -- were prepared for Girl in a Coma to totally suck. I say that, even knowing that the very statement is loaded with a host of baggage with various labels like "feminism," "rock'n'roll is a boys' club," "anti-feminist," etc., but the fact remains that relying on baggage or lack thereof when evaluating bands comprised of women has created a huge performative crutch. Girl bands are expected to suck and often do because they spend their entire existence battling the fact that they're expected to suck instead of just rocking the fuck out with no regrets and playing like they mean it instead of playing like they're aware they're being evaluated. The exceptions are rare, and even the bands that fall into the trap (thus not being the exceptions) are sometimes still quite good: e.g. The Organ. But, as I was saying, we were in the midst of all-Roxy-all-the-time with the addition of a little Britt D vs. Carlos D accompanied by our own squealing over the cover of Bryan Ferry's The Bride Stripped Bare -- and about to experience Ferry's warblings on love being the proverbial drug -- when we were shown exactly how chick bands can NOT suck. Remember the first time you heard PJ Harvey back in 1992? How Harvey spit those first words: "Oh my lover / Don't you know that it's all right?" and you felt the bitty hair rise on the back of your neck because you knew that Polly Harvey was a plain-looking (then) young woman with a Fender Twin, a voice to match Nick Cave's, and you knew that she was angry at a man instead of men in general and that she knew where to put the blame? Remember that one time on 120 Minutes when Kim Gordon stopped by to visit Dave Kendall and brought her young friend Courtney Love and played clips from Hole's Pretty on the Inside -- long, long before the Kurt Cobain drama -- and you hadn't heard anything like that since the first time you'd heard Kat Bjelland bellow with that roar that makes nu-metal vocalists feel like they're wearing Bjelland's panties. Or maybe since your first brush with Kristin Hirsch's and Tanya Donnelly's creepy harmonies when you were up late listening to college radio? That's what happened at the Chain Drive last night when Nina Diaz started to sing. I just paint the pictures here. I'll let Cindy bring the facts.
Honestly, I couldn't have said it better myself. The ladies of Girl in a Coma are going on a mini-tour of Texas later this month -- check their MySpace page for deets and sample tracks, since I was a goober and left their CD in my dj crate and don't have anything to post...

Furthermore, our setlist, for interested parties: Johnny Cash -- Get Rhythm // The Satisfactions -- Daddy, You Gotta Let Him In // The Josie Cotton Band -- Johnny Are You Queer // The Waitresses -- I Know What Boys Like // The Jets -- Crush On You // Lene Lovich -- New Toy // The Judy's -- Guyana Punch // B-52's -- Legal Tender // The Stranglers -- Duchess // Spoon -- Jonathan Fisk // Placebo -- Black Eyed // The Mountain Goats -- Palmcorder Yajna

Book of Love -- Boy // Keith -- Mona Lisa's Child (Alan Braxe and Fred Falke extended mix) // Roxy Music -- Same Old Scene // Interpol -- Slow Hands (Britt Daniel Remix)

Elton Mortello -- Jet Boy Jet Girl // The Format -- Time Bomb // Scissor Sisters -- I Don't Feel Like Dancin' // Nicky Click -- Don't Call Me Baby (Remix) // Sheila E. -- The Glamourous Life

Heart -- Barracuda // The Hold Steady -- You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came With) // The Pipettes -- I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform) // Patsy Cline -- Wayward Wind // Petula Clark -- Un jeune homme bien // Loretta Lynn -- Daydreams About Night Things // Bette Midler -- Higher & Higher // Sarah Vaughn -- What The World Needs Now Is Love // Nina Simone -- Nobody // The National -- All The Wine

According to The Times, we're pretty set for fall fashion: layers, layers, layers and natural eyebrows. Well, um, that was easy.

And, so sue us for being on the hype bandwagon, but A Sunny Day In Glasgow is too good to pass up, really. We heard about 'em from the always au courant Fluxblog, and for that we are most grateful to Mr. Perpetua. Ben Daniels writes the songs and plays all the instruments; his sisters Robin and Lauren provide the ethereal, far-away vocals. The best way to describe this band is to say that they make the kind of dreampop that sounds like a lost demo tape some little band sent in to 4ad sometime between 1987 and 1991 -- which is about the highest praise possible, really.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow -- A Mundane Phone Call To Jack Parsons
A Sunny Day In Glasgow -- C'mon

And one more for good measure, because we love you:

The Rapture -- Get Myself Into It (Serge Santiago Re-Edit)
(please correct the filename when you download it.)

16 August 2006

No need to be gentle with me, I'm not afraid of anything -- not even the countryside. We're a bit gloomy today, thoughts of our DJ gig tonight at the Chain Drive (don't forget!!) have helped cheer us up, as has the glory that is Cute Overload. Also chipper-making: It's the best personality test ever, from The Boy Least Likely To. I'm not a bit embarassed to tell you that the little cartoon iconography that makes up the band's graphic identity totally pushes my OMG CUTE! *SQUEEE!* buttons.

Reposts, all...

The Boy Least Likely To -- Every Grubby Little Memory
The Boy Least Likely To -- Faith (George Michael Cover)
The Boy Least Likely To -- Rock Upon a Porch With You

Bonus, my favorite:
The Boy Least Likely To -- I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon (To Your Star)

...and, a rarity. A little band called Hot Air Ballonists friended me on MySpace, and they're ... really quite good. I don't know anything about them, they don't seem to have a website, but the three tracks they've posted are defintely worth your time: Sweetly heartfelt pop songs backed by a strong rhythm section that keeps them from being too airy-fairy. Gorgeous harmonies and strings abound.

ps -- Dear Bel Auburn, We don't hate you hate you. You're just a little too close to the ol' Radiohead-derivativeness for us to really like you. Keep up the good work, though!

15 August 2006

Having admiration for Pitchfork columnists, whilst having a general antipathy for the review section of the publication, is a bit like saying that you like the personal finance and small business columns and feature writing in the Wall Street Journal, but really can't stand their editorial board. Which, ok, um, I say all the time -- so maybe that's not the best comparison. Like saying you like Maureen Dowd but find the stringers in the Times' newsroom the most loathsome creatures on the planet? Something like that. Anyway. I have a point. And that's that over at Pitchfork's Interrobang!?, Dr. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd presents a brief discussion of the new Xtina Aguilera. You know, the same as the old Xtina Aguilera? So, there goes my chance to write an essay on the same topic -- go read hers instead. And yeah, yeah. I'm totally sold on the Cult of William Bowers now too, especially as he so tastefully eviscerated Wendy Fonarow's new book, Empire of Dirt: The Aesthetics and Rituals of British Indie Music in his latest Puritan Blister column. Now, I haven't read Fornorow's book yet, but doesn't this blurb from her site tell you all you need to know?
Wendy’s in-depth study of the British independent music scene explores how the behavior of fans, artists, and music industry professionals produce a community with an aesthetic based on moral values. She had incredible access to that entire community, and has created a book full of remarkable truths. It has the effect of the best pop song – once you’ve read Fonarow on this, you think "Of course," and you can not imagine how you might have understood this in any other way. Even musicians who have lived the life she investigates are floored by her findings, which explore gigs as expressing the contemporary attitudes towards youth, the strategy behind guest pass placement, musicians as tricksters, guitar playing as symbolic sexual union and – everyone’s favorite -- "groupies" as sin eaters.
Woah, watch the ego, there, Wendy. Revolutionary! I've never heard ANY of those ideas expressed before -- especially not in one of me and Pinkie's long-winded discussions of ... yeah. Those exact same subjects. Anyway, my point here, though -- and I promise, I have one -- is that Bowers' succinct critique made me feel all, like, intolerably trivial, but you know, in a good way. Heaven forbid that we can't make fun of ourselves every now and then constantly.

Anyway, enough pseud blather from me, maybe I should post some songs or something.

Here's something slightly embarassing: YES, I HEARD ABOUT THIS BAND FROM A PRESS RELEASE. There, that at least makes me feel a little better. I won't be writing about Richard Buckner (who, btw, has the distinct honor of being the only artist whose show I was enjoying, but walked out of because it was uh, too loud and smoky -- and if you know me, you know that means it was ULTRA smoky and UNBEARABLY loud, but I digress), even though there was a spate of interest concurrent when we bloggers got the promo in the mail, I have yet to listen to it. I also won't be writing about Bel Autumn, because you know, I have ears and taste, please! They're currently in the running for least deserving buzz band (you know, now that I apparently like Sam Champion...), and based on the fall-off of the manufactured hype, I'm glad to see my gut reaction was right on. Remember, tastemakers, you can't make people like anything. And well, Bel Auburn, you're getting to witness this in action!

However, there's this Fields band. The press release tumbled in from somewhere -- seriously TRGAW is on the verge of needing an intern to keep up with email. I can hardly handle the comments as it is, much less sending nice emails to publicists saying, "This is utter shit!" or "This is great, thanks, but I won't write about it!" But yeah, Fields. They make me think of Stars, but are perhaps even more lovely and completely inoffensive, which, I promise you is not an insult. They're clearly better than Viva Voce, who sound, as my dear friend J. Frank Parnell noted, not unlike a defanged, declawed, deloused Quasi. And yet I liked Viva Voce back when they were first a buzz band three years ago...what happened? I think they did a Mates of State, clearly -- watered themselves down to the point of utter inoffensiveness (and yes, that's inoffensiveness in a bad way this time) -- so much so they got signed to Barsuk, even! But, hey, I was talking about Fields here. Fields are, to me, more in line with the current prog-psych revival, which is a category I only use to file away pure practisioners of this art -- Psychic Ills, Brightblack Morning Light, Dungen, Blood on the Walls etc. (Just don't confuse them with the Fields who really were a psych band...) But they also have flashes of the kind of shoegazer tendencies that belies a love of Big Star and the Stone Roses. Am I making sense here? Am I totally bonkers? Wait, don't answer that. What this boils down to is that I feel like I'm listening to the Fairport Convention, or It's a Beautiful Day, or something. Except now, through the My Bloody Valentine filter. And that's grand. Really.

Fields -- Song For The Fields
Fields -- Heretic
Fields -- Brittle Sticks

Pinkie reminded me of something the other day -- how is Youth Group's cover of "Forever Young" sticking with kids who have no context for the line: "are you gonna drop The Bomb or not...?" (Or is it "are you gonna drop The Bomb on us?" -- opinions vary.) Anyway, it's an interesting thought.

Youth Group -- Forever Young (live acoustic)
Alphaville -- Forever Young (extended version)

And if you've read this far, make sure to keep scrolling and read the previous entry, if you haven't already...
Well, good for them, actually. Interpol's left Matador for Capitol, reports Hits Daily Double, after what they termed a "fierce bidding war" with Interscope. Then again, maybe our well-dressed faves should have read this article from Fortune which asks, "Who needs record companies?" Indeed, it's a very good question. (Apparently, you don't if you're Ice Cube...) And The Wall Street Journal covered the rise of the Internet Music Star a few days ago (link good for 7 days only...). But maybe the promise of a way, way bigger paycheck was more alluring for those gentlemen in natty suits -- it certainly is a big and ballsy move that also included a trade up in their management as well, to big-big-leaguer Dave Holmes (Coldplay). Naturally, we're looking forward to the next album with baited breath -- whatever can they have lurking up those well-pressed sleeves?

And who'll be the next defector to a major? I've never thought that it would be the New Pornographers -- maybe Spoon? We shall see.

14 August 2006

For those of you following along at home, I you'll be relieved to know (or something), that I finally got The Knife this weekend. I was browsing at End Of An Ear Saturday afternoon, and they were playing what I guess was Silent Shout, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I was totally grooving out, and when I checked the 'now playing' shelflette, I was stunned. The Knife? No way! And it totally came clear -- The Knife is not headphone music. Too much going on -- all those multi-tracked vocals and all -- almost at a nausea-inducing level. I still don't think I'm going to be a superfan or anything, but I think I get what you kids are raving about now. And this information -- what sounds bad on headphones may be bearable over the air -- was carefully filed next to other empirical data recently acquired -- just because a song sounds good on headphones, that doesn't mean it will play well over speakers (c.f. Spektrum).

Speaking of playing well in public, I suppose we overestimated how many people would come out to just hang and listen to us play records on a Sunday night -- thanks to those who did stop by, it was lovely to see you! I suppose all residencies weren't built in a day, but then again, maybe we shouldn't have gone up against the Second Sunday Sock Hop and The Clientele show in an already sluggy summer... This will probably go down in our collective mythology as "the longest two hours of our lives." The wonky mixer didn't help, either. Still, the setlist for interested parties:

Burt Bacharach - Mexican Divorce // Françoise Hardy - Je changerais d'avis // Dominique A = Le twenty-two bar // The Veils - The Tide That Left // Lush - de-Luxe // Heavenly - Space Manatee // Jesus and Mary Chain - Taste of Cindy // Lavender Diamond - Song of Impossible Occurences // Frenté - Bizarre Love Triangle // Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - (I'll Love You) Till the End of the World // Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - From Her to Eternity // Dif Juz - Two Fine Days and a Thunderstorm // The Waterboys - The Pan Within // Piano Magic - Disaffected // Midnight Movies - Strange Design // The Kills - Run Home Slow // Velvet Underground - Waiting for the Man // Okkervil River - All the Latest Toughs // France Gall - Laissez-tombez les filles // Nous Non Plus - Lawnmower Boy // Stone Roses - She Bangs the Drums // Big Star - September Gurls // The Dears - Death of All the Romance // Lush - Ciao! // Rilo Kiley - Execution of All Things // Roxy Music - Over You // Kate Bush - Hounds of Love // Cocteau Twins - Donimo // Final Fantasy - This Is the Dream of Win and Regine // Jody Grind - Wishing and Hoping // Patsy Cline - San Antonio Rose // Rachel Sweet - Shadows of the Night

That being said, we will be back with a vengance at the Chain Drive Wednesday with Dirty Hearts, Girl in a Coma, and Sheboygan (free! fun! your girl djs in a cage!). And I made a new flyer, because we love our spokesmodels!

model: andrew // photo: aubrey edwards // location: emo's

And look, here, see -- this makes that little still-rent corner of my heart ache. Ache, I tell you. The Walkmen doing Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross," from their cover album of Nilsson's Pussy Cats (how meta is that, a cover of a cover?), which can be found at Stereogum or Culture Bully. Mr. Leithauser's reg'lar voice generally approximates Harry's shattered one. Interesting.

Harry Nilsson -- Many Rivers to Cross
Jimmy Cliff -- Many Rivers to Cross

Speaking of covers and what not... Want some flashy UK-derived b-sides? Here's a deliriously gleeful ode to summer from popsters The Feeling that, though not a cover, is just dripping with XTC-ness and ELO-ness. Also, here's a more than competent and relatively faithful cover of The Cure's "Catch" from Boy Kill Boy.

The Feeling -- Sun Is Shining
Boy Kill Boy -- Catch

Speaking of the NME set, don't tell, but I'm quite taken with The Needles, who have a bit of an Elvis Costello-ish pop sensibility mixed in with the usual sort of UK buzz band post-punk angularity. Their second single, "Summer Girls" (which I actually find to be a bit weak) is out today in the UK.

The Needles -- Dianne

All for now, must dash. Hope you had a good weekend!

ps -- Just where have you been all my life? Seriously. Let's run away and um, raise a bunch of snuggly kitties.

11 August 2006

I knew I would miss something whilst I was ill. Namely, the video for the first single off the Mountain Goats' Get Lonely, "Woke Up New." Directed by Rian Johnson (Brick), it's a gorgeous little film, full of ingenious camera trickery, that compliments the song wonderfully. Also note that bassist Peter Hughes is wearing all his favorite suits therein. We approve!

10 August 2006

Well, I'm doing a whole lot better today, thank goodness, though I'm still resting up at home and not in the office. The main agenda for the day has been eating dry toast, listening to Nilsson and The Format, and sending way too many emails. Thrills!

That being said, doesn't that make it a remix kind of day...?

Robots! Robots with vocoders are talking over the world, I tell you!

MSTRKRFT -- Work On You (Para One Remix)

I love semi-crappy anonymous white label 320 bpm drum'n'bass remixes, don't you? Go! Go! DANCE OMG DANCE RIGHT NOW! Frenetic doesn't even begin to cover it, and it kind of sounds like an anime action sequence: XTINA SAVES HUMANITY!!!! (From the robots with vocoders, perhaps?) Which you know, she totally could. Or something.

Christina Aguilera -- Ain't No Other Man (DNB Bootleg)

I listened to Gotye's latest album, Like Drawing Blood, and I found it to be rather boring, truth be told. Which, naturally, makes this remix from Faux Pas all the more impressive, especially that horn breakdown. Pretty! (To check out Gotye, unremixed, check Le Hype Machine.)

Gotye -- Coming Back (Faux Pas Back to Bellhead mix)

Requisite Goldfrapp remix. I swear, I don't think I'll ever run out of these... This one is quite naughty -- check that dirty bass line and the scrunchy electro bits. Does go on and on a bit, though.

Goldfrapp -- Fly Me Away (The Naughty Rmx)

Speaking of dirty, Tiga goes above and beyond here, which is wholly appropriate. Lovely stuff.

Depeche Mode -- Shake the Disease (Tiga Remix, Promo Edit)

And, because we all need a little ridiculousness in our lives... I love this song, truth be told, and this remix has floor-filler written all over it. Which amuses me greatly.

Fall Out Boy -- Dance, Dance (Lindbergh Palace Remix)

[Sidebar: NPR reviewed Candy Bars and The Theater Fire on All Things Considered Tuesday. Glad to see the phrase 'indie rock renaissance' has entered the vernacular...]

09 August 2006

Ugh, ugh, ugh. I am sick, down with a nasty stomach thing. This is the first moment I've had to actually sit up in front of the computer without feeling woozy. Blegh.

Hopefully things will be back to normal by tomorrow... In the meantime, Birmingham (UK, that is -- not Alabama), artrock collective Misty's Big Adventure are cheering me up immeasurably. Usually, I wouldn't go for something quite so twee and ridiculous and well, fun, but well. I am sick. This could all just be a bizzaro fever dream.

RIYL The Boy Least Likely To, Guillemots, and collectives with like, 17 members and a horn section and deadpan, dour-voiced lead singers. And sure, they may resemble that other giant collective who wear white suits and have giant, dancing stuffed animals -- but really, that's mostly superficial.

Misty's Big Adventure -- Biscuit Tin
Misty's Big Adventure -- Night Time Better Than the Day Time

I'm going back to bed now.

08 August 2006

Earlier this year, when Books on Tape and Captain Ahab came through town, Pinkie and I took them to dinner at Nuevo Leon, where we had margaritas big enough to swim in and were entertained by a large wedding shower party complete with sassy mariachis. The 'hot' mariachi is still looked back on quite fondly. (Seriously, he was fiiiiiine. But I digress.)

Anyway, during the course of the evening, the boys told us about their friends' band Anavan. "They're awesome! They're gonna be huge!" we were told. Well, I finally got a hold of some Anavan tracks, and we were not misled. Dear readers, may I now present them to you?

First, here's a nice profile from the Los Angeles Alternative Times, just for you. Apparently, and this doesn't surprise me in the slightest, Anavan puts on a hella mad live show.

So you like saucy, dirty electrodancepunk party music (or, as it is known in LA, "Ravesploitation") with dueling boy/girl vocals with lots of hollerin'? OMG, so do I! Let's party!

"Mingle" is the soundtrack to the kind of attitude owned by the Party Pictures on Myspace generation -- it's gently satirical and wholly filthy. "Eel Air Camera" is a disco party anthem from the future and an alternate dimension simultaneously, with a dirty, dirty bassline and sparkly synths and one of the best shout-along verses ever -- "shake your fanny like a tranny!" being one of the more choice morsels. Oh yes, Anavan -- please and thank you!

Anavan -- Mingle
Anavan -- Eel Air Camera

Anavan is currently on tour, and playing Seattle tonight, Missoula, Montana tomorrow, and a "big ass house party" in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Denver on Friday, and Vegas on Saturday (see the Myspace link above for more deets...). I suggest that if you're in the affected areas, you'd best plan on attending, and prepare to be humped by members of the band. You've been warned, or enabled! Whichevs!

(And, while you're out and about on the internets, check out the Books on Tape remix contest, or watch the video for Captain Ahab's "Snakes on the Brain.")

And, speaking of parties, well. We really, really needed somewhere to go Sunday nights. Pinkie and I have always been, in general, resolutely against going out on Friday or Saturday night unless it's absolutely necessary. This was especially the case after becoming completely spoiled by our fine Sunday nights out in NYC. So, naturally, we decided to throw our own deal at the the glamorous pride of the Eastside, The Peacock -- where they make the absolute best campari cocktails.

In that cozy and inviting drinking den, we'll be DJing almost entirely off vinyl from the most Sunday-spangled corners of our respective record collections. Which means you'll hear anything from Blancmange to T.Rex to that weird French New Wave record of Pinkie's to Lush and Pulp and Okkervil River and back again. Just like is says on our flyer (which also functions as a mnemonic device for the location): New Wave, No Wave, and Indie Glam. That's this Sunday, the 13th, starting 'round 10pm and running 'till close. We do hope to see you there!

Cocteau Twins -- Fotzepolitic
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