The Rich Girls Are Weeping: October 2006

31 October 2006

Happy Halloween!! Though not quite the high-traffic release day that 6/6/06 was, today's notable all the same. We'd like to remind you that Lady Sovereign's album, Vertically Challenged Public Warning, is out today. Wait, wait. It wasn't out yet?!?! Anyone else feel that though artist development is always key, that maybe that whole process was unneccesarily drawn out? Maybe it's just me... It seems to have worked -- everyone knows who she is now, right? (site)

Anyway, speaking of delayed releases from tiny, sassy ladies -- Nellie McKay's double disc, Pretty Little Head, is finally out today as well on her own imprint, under license from Sony, who, as you may recall, declined to put out the album to Ms. McKay's specifications, in a truncated version that scrapped more than half of the 23 songs she'd recorded. On first listen to the two-disc version, you can't help but sympathize -- Ms. McKay may be in the running for the best pop song stylist of her generation, but the downright bizzaro Harry Nillson-like studio production (vamped skits with herself, screeching confessionals, overly expressive instrumentation and production, etc.) that's in direct opposition to her more-or-less refined live show persona would have sent any label exec into conniptions regarding saleabilty. And though I may not quite fully buy into the sometimes overly-agressive social crusader messages (veganism, anti-fur, etc.) in Ms. McKay's songs, they're all still quite lovely all the same. I just really do wish that she'd put out a live album instead. And I sure would love to see her play again soon-ish. (fan site)

Lady Sovereign -- Gatheration

Lady Sovereign -- Hoodie.

Nellie McKay -- There You Are In Me.
Nellie McKay -- David (Early Version).
(naturally, if you do some snooping, you can find more of Ms. McKay's ouevre floating around here somewhere...)

Nellie McKay -- Real Life

Not surprising, todays in HIGH DEMAND tracks are on the spooky side, the kind that need no introduction:

Ministry -- Every Day Is Halloween.
Siouxie and the Banshees -- Halloween.
The B-52's -- Devil In My Car.
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross -- Halloween Spooks.

Be careful out there, kids!

Oh, and... Sorry we won't see you at CMJ this year. Things are just to hectic this week down here in the ATX. We were almost glad we weren't going 'cause CMJ is way harder to navigate than SXSW, what with venues stretching from Hoboken (Maxwell's) to the depths of Brooklyn Warsaw, et. al.) -- but we are kind of bummed to be missing all these fantastic parties we've been invited to (have some BKLYN Lager for us, y'awls) and what's sure to be the madhouse Van She show on Saturday..
You'll probably laugh, but once upon a time, this video scared the bejeezus out of me. Now, I think we'll all agree that young William Broad is just totally, totally hot -- and I have more than a few friends who kind of look like the wedding guests!

Billy Idol -- White Wedding.

Happy Halloween!

30 October 2006

This is a public service announcement from Candy Hotpants. After seeing the bajillionth article linked on Largehearted Boy today in which The Hold Steady's Craig Finn had to talk about the whole Springsteen thing for like, what's probably the bajllionth time (seriously, we feel for him, that's gotta be really annoying), I was inspired to be of assistance. In order to combat the remnants of this effect in any other interviews Mr. Finn may need to conduct on the rest of the band's press junket, here's a handy guide for all you clueless and unoriginal print and/or electronic journalists out there. Perhaps this will spark a more interesting discussion.


1) France Gall -- Sacré Charlegmane (thx Chilango!)

2) Neil Diamond -- Holly Holy

3) Heart -- Crazy On You

4) The Magnetic Fields -- Strange Powers

5) Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band -- Laissez Faire

That is all.
Things I learned at some point this weekend:

There's a great interview with Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff in Found Magazine #4. Also, Found uh, founder Davy Rothbart and Sheff are working on a documentary project about children's amateur video filmmaking. Pick up the ish for more deets... (Thx to Summer Anne for the tip.)

Apparently, Joanna Newsom marketing machine -- which cruelly bypassed the entirety of the blog-o-sphere, leading to ruffled feathers and leaked tracks -- seems to be focused entirely on semi-quirky fashion (i.e. Nylon) and music magazines (i.e. Paste). If you pop by a newsstand now, you might notice Ms. Newsom on the cover of at least one, and mentioned in the coverlines of at least three others. Who said print is dead? Is this some kind of weird bellwether for music blogs? If Ys does well with absolutely ZERO promotion on the Internet -- no Joanna Newsom Myspace page, no mp3 downloads, no courting of bloggers -- does that actually mean anything? I would love, love, love to know if someone (Drag City? Ms. Newsom? Her publicists?) is trying to prove a point here.

People who are obsessed with Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves are um, still obsessed with House of Leaves (it was published in 2000). Even though Mr. Danielewski is touring for his new book Only Revolutions, he weathered the endless string of HOL-related questions from the weirdo fanboys (and yes, the crowd seemed to be nothing but weirdo fanboys) well. So did his co-panelists, Heidi Julavits and Cristina Henriquez. Marisha Pessl pulled an Ultragrrl, apparently and didn't show -- but she didn't even bother to invoke 'food poisoning.' Classy.

The Mountain Goats shows are a totally different experience now than they were even about year ago. (Has it really been over a year since I've seen them?) I'm not sure if it's that the crowds have changed, or the fact that Get Lonely (and to a certain extent, The Sunset Tree before it) isn't exactly filled with rousing shout-alongs. That being said, the now-traditional all-hands, rousing shout-along of "No Children" was perfectly cathartic without being overboard. Of course, it must be said my perception of the show was strangely skewed because I've had a lot of trouble actually spending a lot of time listening to Get Lonely -- it takes me to a place that I'm sort of avoiding after my weird breakup last year -- but I think more importantly, it's the breakup with my previous way of living (as opposed to my good-for-nothing boyfriend) that is more painful. It's not, of course, that I'm rueing wasted time or wasted relationships or wasted feeling -- more, in fact, the realization that this is what life is like -- it's never really going to be perfect or all settled or a piece of cake -- just ask Ryan Phillpe and Reese Witherspoon, after all -- right? Wait, wait -- before this turns into yet another boring treatise on my life changes and all that -- I need to tell you we had a really good time. And! If you saw two girls in nifty dresses working merch, well, then you saw us!

(ps -- We didn't make it to that Voxtrot show -- long story. If anyone went, let us know how it was. But the applejack-fueled pumpkin carving party was a riot!)

There's people wandering around my office in pretty spectacular costumes (the entire casts of Gray's Anatomy and Lost, for starters!) and for you, I have today's in HIGH DEMAND items:

Crystal Castles -- Love & Caring. You know them from that righteous remix of the Klaxons' suddenly omnipresent "Atlantis to Interzone." But did you know that the Crystal Castles totally power up (forgive the pun) their own delightful 8-bit glitchy dance numbers? WELL, THEY DO. The nice thing is, the Crystal Castles' output is often polished and shiny and lovely instead of earsplittingly noisy. This track is really neat, but I'm extra fond of subdued beauty of "Magic Spells," included here as a special bonus. (Myspace)

Rebecca Pidgeon -- Learn to Pray (Version Remix). I can't decide what's weirder -- that David Mamet has a TV show ("The Unit" -- which I've never seen, but is reportedly full of awesome scenery-chewing) or that his wife, the vaguely talented Rebecca Pidgeon has an album out, from which this track his been pulled for the good ol' house music remix treatment by Version (Charles Webster and Martin Iverson). Seriously, these two facts are both so weird, I can't tell you. Though, I'd have to say, advantage Pidgeon here, because Mamet's work is usually about dudes being dudes, and apparently so is "The Unit." But this whole dance diva thing is kind of tripping me out. (I especially like what appears to be the oddly sliced-up and warped clarinet or soprano sax on this track...) And, despite being touted as something utterly amazing by some sites I cruised by today, the other Charles Webster mixes also on this 12" are pretty um, boring and uninspired. (Site) (Remixers)

Archie Bronson Outfit -- Dead Funny (Four Tet Vocal Mix)/Archie Bronson Outfit -- Funnel of Love (delayed due to corrupt file). What's better, a Four Tet remix, or a Wanda Jackson cover? It's too hard to say -- which is why I've posted both. Congrats, Archie Bronson Outfit, despite your really bad name, your really bad album cover art, and your insane buzz, you've found a way into my heart. Finally! (Site)

The Mountain Goats -- The Day The Aliens Came (Demo). Because I absolutely couldn't post this without a Mountain Goats song, now could I? (I LOVE THIS SONG, maybe it'll show up on an album someday -- this is from the vinyl-only, limited edition Come Come To The Sunset Tree.) The boys are on tour for the next week and a half or so -- go check them out if they swing by yr neck of the woods. (Site)

27 October 2006

Cindy Hotpoint & Pinkie Von Bloom's weekend to-do list:

1) dj party Friday night
2) Sewing, job applications, knitting, apartment tidying, library DVD drop-off. In other words, general TRGAW Saturday stuff. It's hard work being this glamourous (tm).
3) Cindy's going to a Texas Book Festival event to make eyes at this writer guy she's had an embarassing crush on for like, six years. No, she's not telling which.
4) Voxtrot show Saturday night!
5) Potentially hazardous pumpkin carving party Sunday! With cocktails!
6) The Mountain Goats show Sunday night! OMG YAY!

Really, it's not always this busy, we swear! Well, not often, anyway.

Enjoy yr. weekend. Be careful carving those punkins!

In HIGH (and ultra-brief and rather international) DEMAND today:

Rinôçérôse -- Get Ready Now (David Amo and Julio Navas Remix). For Chacal: Have a dance party break to break up all that studying! (site) (remixers)

Sara Isaksson and Rebecka Törnqvist -- Do It Again (Steely Dan cover)
. Swedish piano jazz chanteuses take on Steely Dan on their album Fire in the Hole. This track's some lovely stuff -- the rest of the album is kind of mixed -- but then again, you kind of want to make your cover of The Hit shine. (info)

Janis Siegel -- Hidden Place. 1/4 of vocalese heroes The Manhattan Transfer (Remind me to tell you sometime why they totally, totally rule. Oh goodness, I can hear you mocking me already. Stop!) takes on Bjork, in a saucy Latin jazz kind of way. And it totally works. (info)

We Are Scientists -- This Scene Is Dead (Pete Predictable Remix). We know that WAS can sound like The Velvet Underground -- well, here they remix to sound uncannily like a certain electro-rock dance punk band. But in a good way! And hey, remember when we saw WAS at SXSW, and Seymour Stein was standing next to us and it was INSANE? Or when they played with Neal Pollack about a billion years ago (aka 2001)? Who knew it'd all come to this? WAS have a new collection of b-sides and rarities and videos out next week -- Crap Attack (sadly, it seems to be UK/Germany-only, but you can order it from them directly later in November) -- rock on, Art Brut 47! (info)

ps -- Check out DJ Paul V's Smash-o-Ween 2006 mix to get you in a right spooky mood this weekend!

26 October 2006

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. A break from the regular format today because, well... just because I really couldn't make this stuff up, even if I tried.


A few minutes ago, my co-worker, who's a shreddy guitar goddess, and her supervisor, who sits on the other side of the cube wall from me, were trying to figure out a song.

"Cindy! Do you know this?" I think that's what they said; I can't read lips, and my I had my music up too loud.

"Wha?" I said as I peeled off my headphones.

"Do you know that song that goes '[gong noise] Boyyyyyyyyyyyy... [gong noise].'"

"Book of Love. "Boy." It's about a fag-ette who wants to go to the gay bar but can't get in, 'cause she's 'not a boyyyyyyyyyyyyy...'" I sang that last bit.

"Seriously? I didn't know that!" [NB: I only know this because Pinkie told me, actually.]

We proceeded to sing the first verse or so, dorkily.

"Cindy always knows every song!" the guitar goddess chirped to her boss, who was seriously impressed.

That's right. Apparently, I know at least some section of the melody and lyrics of like, every pop song ever written -- and can fake my way through the rest. Surely I should be able to monitize this skill, right? Right?

Book of Love -- Boy
Book of Love -- Boy (Peter Rauhofer Remix)


This is probably old news, but John Cale has a blog!

John Cale -- Graham Greene


Sometimes the press releases that arrive in the inbox are too good to be true.

Once upon a time, the clotheshorse bassist (always in some variation of leather-and-eyeliner) and the former fashion model/CEO (who spent a lot of time in her signature ads, it seemed, jetsetting about, flanked by men ordered out of International Male catalog) met under a big top tent -- and well, magic happened, or something.

Yes, Nikki Sixx, of Motley Crue and Kelly Gray, the former face (she's been deposed by Angelina Jolie) and former CEO (she's been deposed by a leveraged buyout firm) of design house St John (they, however, are still making overpriced, conservative suits favored by ladies who lunch and get shit done) have started Royal Underground, a "high-end men's clothing collection with a distinctive rockstar vibe," available for purchase, if you're so inclined, at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales this holiday season. (A big step up, to be sure, from Mr. Sixx's previous fashion venture, Dragonfly...)

Needless to say, we think this is terribly, wonderfully excellent news -- seriously, check out the site!

Yes, Mr. Sixx is still the best-preserved member of the Crue; yes, Ms. Gray still models and does fashion executive things at the same time. And, well, it kind of looks like they're stupid in love as well. (Which is really freakin' adorable.) Well, maybe -- they're very careful to gush platonically about each other in the text of the site (probably because Mr. Sixx is probably still in divorce proceedings with former Baywatch babe Donna D'Errico -- she filed in May, citing irreconcilable differences), but the pictures hint at something a little deeper. (As does the PAPER blog...) And, well, Mr. Sixx gave Ms. Gray a Holga camera as a gift, and as we all know -- that's totally a sign of L-U-V love if ever there was one.

Motley Crue -- Kickstart My Heart


Yes, they're the buzziest band on the Internet this week -- but can they do it live? You be the judge. To me, they have that same churny, distancing precision machine feel of Bloc Party live -- as if they're having fun, but not really...

Klaxons -- Atlantis to Interzone (Live on the Zane Lowe Show 10/10/06)
Klaxons -- Atlantis to Interzone (XFM Session)


I think my pal Jere, who is truly a connoisseur of girl groups the world over, told me about Nylon about a year ago. They're a perfectly polished girl group from ... Iceland! Smashing! Here's their next single, a perfectly polished Eurythmics cover, and an old fave as well.

Nylon -- Sweet Dreams
Nylon -- Dans Dans Dans

25 October 2006

Part The Second, In HIGH (but brief) DEMAND today (this is what happens when you spend hours in meetings):

Pulp -- Wishful Thinking (Peel Session, 11 July 1981). Read all about that fateful day here. (even more info)

Roxy Music -- Angel Eyes (Kaos from Berlin Mix, Re-Edit by Frank Tope & Dean Rudland). This song has the BEST harp glissando of all time. Seriously. And -- sooner or later, apparently, everything gets remixed. From the forthcoming Roxy remix project. (info) (remixer)

Micah P. Hinson and The Opera Circuit -- Letter from Huntsville. Short, sweet, to the point -- a great "I can't take it anymore, I've gotta get the fuck out of here" song -- the only problem is like, he's in jail. Straight outta that churchy berg of Abilene, Texas, this one's especially for Pinkie -- 'cause she's from Huntsville. I love that Abilene is this weird nexus of earthy and dark banjo, strings, synths, and saxophone-steeped 21st century outlaw music (in that way that way freaky folker Devendra Banhart will never quite grasp, despite his love of Townes Van Zandt). In addition to Mr. Hinson, see also half of The Earlies -- and the intersection of the two, The Late Cord. (MySpace)

Asobi Seksu -- Goodbye. Simply put, this song rules, and I've been listening to it a lot lately. It might be the best one I've heard this year, even. No. Really. And when it's all said and done, I think Citrus is the second serious contender (after Shearwater, natch) for my favorite record of the year. (site)

Gang of Four -- Natural's Not in It. OMG I CANNOT GET THIS SONG OUT OF MY HEAD. I'm seriously almost peeved with Sofia Coppola now; used in the obvs. Sally Potter-influenced credit sequence to Marie Antoinette. (We'll get sick of this eventually. Maybe. Remind me to show you my dorky air-drums action for this song sometime.) (info)
Video Collecton: Midlake. Seriously, when both Simon Raymonde and Jason Lee love you, you've got some serious universal appeal -- as well as a label head who knows the power of a gorgeous video and an actor who has some serious directing chops of his own (see "Ballon Maker" below). So, it's not surprising that Midlake is shooting a video for every song off their breakthrough record The Trials of Van Occupanther and posting them over 10 weeks on -- where else? -- YouTube. Some are stronger than others; below are the cream of the group so far...

We know that these darling Dentonites get gobs of blog love, but it's seriously justified -- they make 70's folk rock for the present day, without being insipid or flaccid or derivative. We don't know what's in the water up there in Denton, but it's sure great to add Midlake to the already grand collection of bands from that sleepy college burg in north Texas.

Young Bride, directed by Terri Timely

Ballon Maker, directed by Jason Lee

Bandits, directed by Jon Collins

We Gathered In Spring, directed by Make and Do Creative

24 October 2006

Thanks, Blogger, for totally acting up today and making it a general pain to get an update up!

Anyway, some news: We're djing at the Cue house Halloween party on Friday the 27th. Not sure how wise it is to publicize the address, but the details are on their MySpace blog. Jason, Colin, and Clarke's Jesus Lizard cover band (with Toto from Octopus Project), WWJLD? and the Crystal Shits (a Dead Milkmen cover band, OF COURSE!) play, and there will also be hott action from dj Taco as well. We think this may be the annual party behind Star Seeds that attracts about a billion people and usually gets broken up by the cops. Shouldn't I have been up to this kind of thing about ... 10 years ago? I kid, I kid. It should be a good time -- we're super excited. We're not actually dressing up, btw, despite toying with the idea of going as Ann and Nancy Wilson OR as Linda Evans and Joan Collins. We're just going as ourselves, with lots of makeup on. Which, honestly, isn't all that different from our usual state. I don't think I'll be rockin' the false eyelashes though, they give me vertigo! Anyway -- come on out -- should be a total riot. And if we survive, we'll be working merch at The Mountain Goats show Sunday. For reals.

In HIGH (and bizzare) DEMAND today:

The Dead Milkmen -- Bitchin' Camaro
. Catch that extremely meta Crystal Shit reference above. "My favorite cover band, Crystal Shit. Oh. Yeah, they do a Doors show..." Amazingly, this song holds up really well. I was surprised! (info)

Hot Club de Paris -- Hello. I wrote A Song For You Called 'Welcome To The Jungle'. Because um, I needed a song that wasn't too jarring between the one above and the one below. Melancholy, jazzy, quirky spaz rock that's actually quite lovely. Kind of reminds me of the intersection of Hefner, Boy Least Likely To, and Ballboy. This may only make sense to me though. They've really got a hell of a rhythm section, btw, which is always a plus, because sometimes bands like this are a little limp and have a tendency to meander. Not Hot Club de Paris... (MySpace)

Siskid -- The Architect
. I'm not kidding when I tell you this is easily the best piece of minmal techno I've heard this year. Wait, I'm not even really sure I could accurately name all the minimal techno I've heard this year, but whatever -- this is gorgeous. Big slinky bass line and a smooth build -- I know this is going to sound weird, but it makes me think of ... candles? I totally want to hear more from this guy, it's great. (Thx for the tip, Fluokids... This is a different version than the one in their post.) (site)

Human League -- Don't You Want Me (Eric Prydz Remix)
. Nice reworking. You must invite all your friends over and have a barefoot living-room dance party, okay? (As long as you don't have an apartment above the ground floor.) This deserves that, at the very least. (info) (remixer)

The Seedy Seeds -- Earned Average Dance America. Ok, do not come crying to me, indie kids, when this is your new favorite band, but Pitchfork HATES them. Just remember, on that sad day, that we thought they were fun and great first. And so, this song contains the following: hollered boy/girl vocals, a disco laser, a really dorky drum-n-cowbell loop, a banjo, and an accordion, a hot melodic bassline, and, according to the vamp at the end, a slide whistle. Without being annoying about it. Really, this song is kind of like the apocalypse on wheels -- form Cincinnati! If that wasn't descriptive enough, this is defintely for fans of U.S.E. or people who couldn't get ZombieDraculaUSA DraculaZombieUSA's terrific "Thomas Window Paine" out of their heads. (Thx for the tip, PC...) (MySpace)

23 October 2006

I don't know what it is today -- I'm spaced out and crabby at the same time. I suppose it might be because I made the mistake of eyeballing a bunch of messageboard and blog comment thread conversations about the utter non-news item that is the leak of the Shins' album Wincing The Night Away (due out in January...) and SubPop's sudden about-face into RIAA land (someone tell RIAA Radar!!!) and employment of Web Sheriff to police the mp3 blogs and aggregators for naughty leaks from the album. I'm not really a fan of getting into wanky conversations about the legality or illegality of what we do here in mp3 blog-land -- it's a really pointless conversation, don't you think? Pandora's box is already open, there's no stuffing the P2P networks back under the bed, or the sites that flagrantly post in-demand tracks to boost traffic (and ad revenues). Not that I'm brushing off a discussion steeped in morality, or anything. I just feel that, as with all other hot-button issues, it seems very few people can really discuss this subject rationally or coherently (including myself). Also, I'm just not a fan of wanky intellectual exercises, either. I didn't do so well in those college philosophy courses, as you might imagine.

Additionally, I was rendered absolutely cross-eyed by the New York Times' article about Starbucks' foray into the marketing of cultural products along with their coffee. We know about the music -- but they're tiptoeing into other media: film and books, most notably. I think this bit freaked me out the most:
A major player in the company’s music business is Timothy Jones, manager of compilations and music programming. Mr. Jones, 58, ran a small independent record shop in Seattle until 1987, when his business folded and he started managing the Starbucks across the street. Customers there asked if they could buy the mixes of Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis he was playing, and that’s how it all got started. What he looks for now, he says, is “a believable sound that isn’t too harsh.”

Mr. Jones championed Madeleine Peyroux when she was a critically acclaimed singer who had never quite hit it big; since her album “Careless Love” started selling at Starbucks, its sales have CD tripled.

“We do our best with a new artist when there’s sort of an NPR buzz going on around him, the stars-in-the-making,” Mr. Jones said. “Then we take a Decemberists or a Madeleine Peyroux and put it out there in the spotlight of the coffeehouse, and people standing in line say, ‘I’ve heard about this person.’ ”

Balancing out the newer artists are the classics Starbucks sells packaged in coffee hues of sepia: Tony Bennett, Etta James, Marvin Gaye. “It’s like European-style roasted coffee,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s reaching back, it’s timeless.”
It's not that I really have a problem with Starbucks, or their product, or that they're shilling CDs and movies and books, or running the Starbucks Salon, which hosted appearances from a number of my favorite bands and authors -- it's that this utterly offensive, corporate-speak-spewing person is the one in charge of deciding what the bajillions of Starbucks consumers are exposed to. (You think they could hire someone who makes an effort to exude the aura of a quirky tastemaker -- it ads more authenticity that way, right?) I mean, you think that there's some kind of correlation between the NPR aesthetic and the Starbucks one, but to see it spelled out this clearly, that's just, well, creepy -- you know? I don't know, maybe it is just better that we be all meta about this and have it all out in the open, so that everyone's aware of that 'faux-alternative' aesthetic (thank you, Jonathan Lethem). So, excuse me if I laugh when the author of the article quotes someone as saying that exposing customers to the sweetly-bland singer Madeleine Peyroux makes the the Starbucks experience less antiseptic -- when for me, hearing her music in that context only functions to anesthetize the environment, not enhance it.

But, on the other hand, there's grand news that Spoon are recording down at Public Hi-Fi, and there's a Britt Daniel solo show on November 2nd, which is a nice treat for us as we can't go to CMJ for Pinkie's birthday... This news cleaves nicely with the pleasant surprise of seeing Mr. Daniels' name on the big screen durning the previews before Marie Antoinette -- I knew he was doing the soundtrack for Stranger Than Fiction, but I'd also somehow also completely forgotten that as well. Looking forward to that...

And yes, for the record, as if this is a big shocker, we loved Marie Antoinette. We cried. We loved the emotional maniplation, especially via soundtrack and the paucity of dialogue, especially in the first 20 minutes or so. If I were feeling particularly like utilising my film degree, I could wank annoyingly on that topic for a good 20 mintues or so -- wait, what was that I was saying about not being a fan of wanky intellectual exercises? Riiiiight. But seriously, it was a lovely picture and yes, if you're expecting a mainline costume drama (but really, who was at this point?) -- you will be disappointed. If you wanted the gory ending, you will be disappointed. If you wanted moralizing, or a message, you'll be disappointed. Well, there is a message, I suppose -- and it's more along the lines of the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Hey, go check out Sound of the Suburbs' post about the Peel Session sets out in the UK today, accompanied by three Peel Seession winners from the Au Pairs.

So, after all this bluster and commotion, I discovered that my FTP client isn't behaving, and most the things that were to be posted today are just sort of sitting in limbo on my home machine. Apologies!

In HIGH DEMAND today (abridged):

Seu Jorge -- Oh! You Pretty Things. I don't know how I missed this for over a year -- Seu Jorge's complete recordings of the David Bowie covers in Portuguese originally rendered for use in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou were finally released all in one place. When I'm feeling particulary crabby, I like to listen to Jorge's covers of the Thin White Duke -- I'm also thinking they might make great lullabies someday... (info)

My Chemical Romance -- Song One (Radio One Live Lounge)
. Yeah, the pretty perfunctory Blur cover -- now in glorious hi-fi (and not a crackly online radio transcode) and collected on the Radio 1's Live Lounge collection out today in the UK that's mostly full of boring duds from bands you won't have heard of (that is, assuming you're not in the UK), much less remember a year from now. The highlights are the versions that were circulated around the blogs days after they were performed on Jo Whiley's lunchtime show on the BBC's Radio One -- the Arctic Monkeys covering the Sugababes, etc. (see also: Franz Ferdinand -- What You Waiting For (Radio One Live Lounge) -- a crowd pleaser if ever there was one, probably because of that seg into "White Wedding" at the end -- or maybe it's hearing Alex sing the line about the Harajuku Girls.) (info)

Bipolar Bear -- Playin' for Keeps
. Ha! Tricked you! Not a cover, but a punchy rocker with plenty of hollerin' and swamp rock boogie action. This rather hotly-tipped LA band (full disclosure: I'm long-time Internet friends with the drummer and her husband!) is totally for fans of Blood on the Wall and the less-stonery-more-cock-rock-y members of the Superprog! revival. If you like what you hear, check out "Bogota," from their label site, and buy a CD and/or check them out if you're in the LA area! (ps -- meet LA Underground, a nice blog I found whilst googling about...) (MySpace)

Ok, I kind of forgot about Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins (with Will Sheff of Okkervil River and The Blow) tonight at Stubb's. Which sucks, because I really wanted to see how The Blow worked in a rather super-huge venue. Someone report back and let me know how it goes. I might make it out to see Cue later at the Beauty Bar, but it's a late show, and there's a very good chance I might just conk out later. The change in weather really is wearing me out something fearsome.

20 October 2006

Not much to report today. I've seriously got a serious case of the Friday afternoon sleepies. Oh, wait, yes -- how did I miss that Kill Rock Stars' Slim Moon is moving over to do A&R for ... Nonesuch? And that KRS is shuttering 5 Rue Christine, the label with the best logo ever -- not to mention a killer roster? Word is that the 5RC crowd will be absorbed into KRS -- I certainly hope no-one ends up homeless! Also, what's gonna happen to the Kill Rock Stars book club? I have a feeling I missed an email over there about this as the list is really quiet, and no-one seems to want to read The Fountainhead again (shocker!).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a nice weekend full of Mickey Avalon, Marie Antoinette, and parties with friends... Oh, yeah -- and sleeping in.

In HIGH (weird) DEMAND today:

Gerry and the Holograms -- Gerry and the Holograms
. So, Fluxblog and Marathon Packs posted some great tracks from the new 7" UP! compilation on the Crippled Dick Hot Wax! label. It's a great complation of rare UK 7" dated 1978 to 1982. Oddly enough, there's a bit of crossover with artists and songs that appeared on Obey The New Wave, which we wrote about the other day -- including this weirdo electronic number. According to the folks at CDHW (and Wiel's Time Capsule), the band had another single that one can't play it because it's glued to the sleeve. Hmmm. Anyway, elsewhere, someone called this particular song "refreshingly annoying." Agreed! And one hell of a long life-span for something limited to a couple hundred copies. (info)

Mekon -- Blood On the Moon (In Flagranti Remix). I like this, I think. Features vocals from Alan Vega (Suicide) and Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), scary handclaps, and sinister sequencing. Mostly, I picked this up 'cause it was an In Flagranti remix -- you can find the original version over at 20 Jazz Funk Greats. Still, um, I'll get back to you about this one. Yeah. (interview) (remixer)

120 Days -- Come Out (Lansing-Dreiden Remix, 2nd Version). It's curious remix day, that's for sure. Does this mean we can expect more remixes from those famously odd and elusive Lansing-Dreiden peeps in the future? I hope so! Anyway, this one's not for headphone listening -- the ultra-layered effects and trippified vocals might make you like, ultra-dizzy. (site) (remixer)

Ladytron -- Sugar (Playgroup Vocal Mix). In honor of the fact that I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing Ladytron tomorrow night at Stubb's. They're one of those bands I like a whole lot, but never seem to be able to catch. Like, ever -- and how did they go from playing tiny venues to huge ones in a matter of a few months. Did I miss something? (site) (remixer)

Bow Wow Wow -- C30, C60, C90, Go!. A nod to the prevalence of Bow Wow Wow on the Marie Antoinette soundtrack ... and the slippery morality of the mp3 blogger. An ode to home taping, penned, naturally, by Malcolm McLaren. (info) (video)

Bonus: Deportees -- Missing You, Missing Me. This song as the earwormiest hook of all time and the cutest video, too. Can't really speak too highly, though, of the rest of the band's schlocky output. There are times when the whole Swedish pop thing does go a little too far in the wrong direction. In general, Deportees would be a perfect example of that. You've been warned. (site)

19 October 2006

When you live in a climate area where summer lasts from oh, mid-May to mid-October, the planning of one's first cold day outfit is a major undertaking. When I heard a cold front was coming yesterday, I immediately began to ponder just what exactly I was going to wear today -- I think Pinkie thought I was nuts when I asked her excitedly, "OMG! What are you wearing tomorrow?!?!" when I popped 'round her apartment before we headed out to the Chain Drive (in the rain!). At that time I swore allegiance to my new (cheap!) black boots and my favorite red tights and a black skirt -- I hadn't thought much further than that, though. Unfortunately, my ill-advised selection of a teal t-shirt under my favorite black and white sweater this morning was proof of my half-baked idea. I kind of look like a bedraggled hipster Christmas elf -- well, maybe not quite that bad, but I need to remember not to pair this shirt with red ever, ever again. Not a good scene -- especially on a day I got up in a company meeting, in front of the CFO of our corporate parent and about 300 of my co-workers and got all emo about my job (but that's another story for another time...). But! I am comfortable and warm, so there's that. And my boots really do look spiffy for something made entirely of man-made materials!


PAS/CAL -- Dear Sir. OH GOD THIS WAS SO HARD. Look, PAS/CAL is my favorite ultra-underrated band that doesn't put out nearly enough material. The thing is, I don't begrudge them the time and care they put into recording each EP (it's been about ... 2 years since the last one?), because every song on their latest, due out November 6, is a perfect crystalline dollop of multi-genre pop. Quite frankly, it will blow every creakily precarious baby band's overhyped noodlings out of the water, leaving you to wonder why it is that most mp3 bloggers are constantly on the search for the "next big thing" when sometimes it's been sitting in front of you all along. Remember the other day when I compared Ivy League's cover of "Crown of Love" to a Wes Anderson film? Every PAS/CAL EP is like a Sofia Coppola film. Deceptively light, brightly candy-colorful, and over far too soon. I can say, unequivocally, that PAS/CAL is the best band in the US that you probably haven't heard. So: You must, must, MUST buy Dear Sir, from Darla. And while you're at it, would someone buy me a new girls' tee, size XL, from the band? I've kind of worn mine out. (site)

Cold War Kids -- Hang Me Up To Dry. I never, never understood why this band was big with the blogger kids. I would have thought their weird point of intersection between Cale's Paris 1919 [n.b. I'm not saying the CWK are anywhere near Cale's masterpiece -- it's just reminiscent of, that's all...] and Berlin cabaret tunes and upscale Klezmer action and white-boy blues and deliciously convoluted lyrics would have scared off the kids whose idea of sophisticated musicality and lyrics is ... Pavement. And I totally understand why Pitchfork, or specifically why that particular Pitchfork critic hated it. (Kids, don't make this personal.) Look, Robbers and Cowards won't change your life. Sure, it was probably rushed. Yes, they probably need more time to germinate and settle into their sound. But it's better than that crap SoundTeam put out. Then again, you can't tell me that a bottom-steady percussion and keyboards combo that can distill the quintessence of the past oh, 100 years of music or so into one tight package isn't just a teeny bit arresting.(site, with more mp3s)

Ben Folds -- There's Always Someone Cooler Than You
. Um, self-explanatory. From the self-released Supersunnyspeedgraphic, The LP, a collection of Folds' EPs from the past few years. All of the tracks have been either re-recorded or tweaked in some way, and all were remastered for this release. (website)

The Postmarks -- Goodbye (Cassettes Won't Listen Remix). Yet again, one that's probably on everyone else's blog. But seriously, CWL continues to blow me away in a way I didn't think possible. This, in my humble opinion, is how to do a remix, ca. Fall 2006. (info) (remixer)

The Dears -- Raising the Dead
. B-side from Gang of Losers. Brilliant. Dark. Sinister. Everything I love about this band. (site)

The past few days have been ass-kickers, sorry for any inconsistencies.

[NB - In other news, Pinkie has a job interview in New York.]

18 October 2006

Part Two of today's previous post...


The Twilight Singers -- Sublime. From the online-only A Stitch In Time EP, a torchy ballad that's a surefire panty-peeler. It really goes without saying that we really, really love Greg Dulli's voice. Hard copies of the EP available from One Little Indian come November. (site)

The Pigeon Detectives -- Wait For Me.
In a 180-degree shift from the previous song, here's some totally snuggly and twee Brit Indie. It's the B-side to the "You Know I Love You" single. This band is ridiculously sweet; this kind of thing is a big weakness, but don't tell, okay? (site)

The Tranzmitors -- Dancing In The Front.
I swear, all this adorable Canadian pop is just crawling out of the woodwork lately. This is a totally cutesy and sassy dance anthem -- hardly substantial, but it made me smile; a serendipitous find that totally brightened my day. (MySpace)

Presets -- Down Down Down (Midnight Juggernauts Remix). I love remixes with distinct movements that provide multiple shifts in mood -- like the way this one shifts effortlessly from an insane strobelight electro party to spangled synths and back again before blending the two tangents seamlessly. (site)

Dear Nora -- Defeated and Lonely. Not to be a total downer on the way out, but I read the other day on Dreams of Horses that Dear Nora is no more. Katy Davidson is still making music (she is, she says, "breaking up with [her]self"), most notably with Marianna Ritchey, as Katy and Marianna. This is an appropriately fitting track from Dear Nora's final album, There is No Home. (Related: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and Dear Nora -- Hot Boyz) (info, and more mp3s)

BONUS: Amerie -- Take Control (Instrumental). Please, please, please mash this up with something that desperately needs its horn and rhythm section replaced with this bit of super-slick ultra-modern R'n'B magic.
Super-brief bulletin: If my calculations are correct, the mp3s on this post won't be up for much longer -- in fact, it's technically been up for a day longer than the sell-by date: WFMU posts the entirety of Douglas Wolk's super-hard-to-find Obey The New Wave - 1980 and all that-- UK DIY, etc., a complation disc he made in 2001 as a pledge-drive premium for WFMU containing "23 blurts of intense, delicious, mysterious and staggeringly unusual UK DIY and art-post-punk, circa 1980." The Flying Lizards! Diagram Brothers! OMG YAY! (via Douglas Wolk, natch!)

Speaking of pledge-drive premiums, Austin's KUT started their pledge drive today. Give generously, kids! We especially <3 Twine Time on Saturday nights and TRGAW dulcet-voiced pal Laurie Gallardo's overnight shift from 11pm-3am on Fridays night/early Saturday. Plus, it totally makes us laugh when some of the wizened DJs play The Hold Steady or Sufjan Stevens. We are, however, TOTALLY SICK of hearing Ray LaMontagne every freakin' morning on Eklektikos.

Oh and, since Idolator has kindly leaked My Chemical Romance's "Mama" (with special guest, the uh, mama-fixated Liza Minnelli) and we're still on a French and Saunders kick -- a favorite sketch with Jennifer Saunders as La Liza. (Wish the quality was better, though...)

ps -- I know we should shut up about The Hold Steady, but: A nice interview @ The Onion AV Club clarifies a few things (but doesn't make me feel any better, really), and you probably should watch the video for "Chips Ahoy," if only to see Franz done up as Zorro.

17 October 2006

Because, really, if you've ever wondered... We're not really French & Saunders, but rather an incredible indie-rock simulation. Cindy is really excited to be Dawn French if that means that she gets a Lenny Henry. Pinkie isn't as tall as Jennifer Saunders...or Cindy, and she would never, ever wear a skirt that short.

Good evening, and kinky boots.

16 October 2006

It was one of those weekends where I said: "I really hope there's not any shows, because I'm not particularly sorry I've missed them!" I'm not sure how that happened, but I was just so exhausted I couldn't think about going out; I think Pinkie felt the same. The weather's changing and the pollen is high, and everyone looks kind of dazed and spacey. Especially if you spent time on Factory People's roof last Thursday night when that weird cold front came in.

For the record, though, this Tuesday night is promising: Metal Hearts and A Featherweight Burden open for the utterly dull Say Hi To Your Mom at Emo's. Wednesday, naturally, we'll be at the Chain Drive to heckle support Terry -- he'll be in the dj cage with his lady pals, whooping up his last official night as the Odd Numbered Wednesday booker. The Boxing Lesson, Hua Hua Chiang, and Shoot for the Stars and Kill Them play.

Later in the week you might be forgiven if you think it's 1995 or something -- Bettie Serveert plays La Zona Rosa and KMFDM is at outside at Emo's on Thursday; Built To Spill is at Stubb's Friday and The Pet Shop Boys are at the Backyard Saturday. Naturally, we'll probably be seeing LA's own glam trash former (?) junkie hooker Mickey Avalon in Emo's lounge on Friday. But, if you're a music blog reading-type, I suppose you might be more interested to know that current buzzters and coffehouse indie superstardom contenders Oakley Hall (along with Brothers and Sisters, Li'l Cap'n Travis, and Pink Nasty) are at Emo's Friday; Saturday's a cointoss between Ladytron and CSS at Stubbs, and Emo's hostst the NYC power combo of comedians Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and Todd Barry on the outside stage and spazz-rockers Thunderbirds Are Now! (with Rescue, Prom Nite, and The Always Already) inside.

So, plenty to do this week -- meanwhile, all we care about is the opening of Marie Antoinette. The soundtrack (released last Tuesday, but good luck finding one at Waterloo -- looks like someone didn't order enough...) scored our errand-running activities around town this weekend -- with the playlist compressed to fit the two discs on one burned CD (I nipped out the bits of quiet score), it's just about the best mix ever -- the kind given with a wink and a blush from a knowing older sister. Be sure to snag our fave hidden gems from Sofia's movie playlist below.


Windsor For The Derby -- The Melody of a Fallen Tree. (From the Marie Antoinette soundtrack.) WFTD was one of Austin's most unassuming and constantly morphing bands -- until they moved away, that is. (Does anyone know if they're still based in Philly?) WFTD excel at creating pretty and sometimes bombastic post-rock loveliness. This song was originally on 2004's We Fight Til Death (aka the first record without I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness frontman Christian Goyer) -- it's 8 minutes of unbelievably gorgeous pastoral rock. Secretly Canadian's re-released two of the band's mid-90's efforts, Calm Hades Float and Minnie Greutzfeldt this year, complete with new art and bonus tracks. Highly recommended. (site)

The Radio Dep't -- Keen On Boys. (From the Marie Antoinette soundtrack) Buzzy guitars, faded vocals, atmospheric percussion. Gorgeous. (MySpace)

Feist -- Inside And Out (BeeGees cover). I found this buried in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable BeeGees tribute record from the UK titled To Love Somebody that also features Girls Aloud doing "Grease" (I'll post that if you're very, very good little readers), as well as assorted schlockmeisters like Boyzone, Michael Bouble, and Michael Bolton and other surprises -- like Swede teenpopsters M2M. I'd completely forgotten this song was on Ms. Feist's 2004 album Let It Die. (Site)

Oxfam Glamour Models -- Postmodern Star. If you like your disposable NME-fave, British Indie to be heavy in the rhythm section, than this track (the b-side to the so-retro-it's-brand-new "Kick Out The Grams"), which is kind of a dark, bitter, straight version of Rufus Wainwright's "Oh, What A World," is totally for you. (MySpace)

Boyskout -- Everybody Knew. More girl-group pop than some of the band's darker efforts, here's something to make up for all the gloom and dredgy guitars I've foisted on you today. You can stream the band's entire debut record, Another Life, behind this link. They're on tour through most of November and December, though Austin doesn't seem to be on their route (though Dallas is...). (MySpace)

Lo-Fi-Fnk -- Wake Up (Ola Salo and Jens Anderson Remix). Because this entry wouldn't be complete without a nod to yet another one of the latest Swedish sensations in the music blog universe. This remix transmogrfies "Wake Up" into something you'd swear was a lost synthpop gem, circa 1986 or so. (MySpace)

BONUS: KMFDM -- Dogma. I only have this track because gloomcookie poet and sultry spoken-wordstress Nicole Blackman (see also: her work with The Golden Palominos) is on it. No, really!!! (info)

ETA: Via my mom, the NYT Style section weighs in on black nail polish, which I guess means it's all over now. THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG! It isn't a horrible thing, though, because it's all chipping off. (Heh.) But then again, if anyone wants to send me a bottle of the coveted Chanel Black Satin, or Remedy's Revamped, I wouldn't turn it down.

13 October 2006

Oh lordy, I'm tired and kind of bummed out. Too many boring, dull details to get into here -- but hey, we did have fun last night -- especially as everywhere we went had free drinks and scintillating conversation. Quote of the evening? "I'm a Tori Amos fan, I don't fear your abuse," from the e'er quotable Achtung Baby!. (And why is it that we only ever see him at the Beauty Bar anyway?) Clearly the young man who asked us about Ani DiFranco last week cannot take our abuse, and we're still sorry about that (sort of, but we are glad Righteous Babe puts out Andrew Bird's records...). But no amount of self-indulgent singer-songwriter abuse training could prepare the generally unflappable Mr. Luna for how we feel about gamers, programmers, and people who refer to watching TV as a "hobby" or use the word "fandom." You could say we just have a teensy bit of baggage in that department.

Speaking of amusing bon mots, there was a sign on one of the coffeemakers in the breakroom today that read: DO NOT USE. THIS WAS ON FIRE. REALLY. No, I didn't write that notice. Really!

Of interest: What Junior Boys and Peter and the Wolf are listening to. I love features like this...

So, what's better than dancing zombies? Nothing, really -- save zombies being pelted with Halloween candy, perhaps. Viz.: The new video for Tilly and the Wall's "Sing Songs Along" (via Stereogum).

And, while I'm on the subject, my other favorite video of late is the practically ancient one for The Blood Arm's "Say Yes," which is basically ... All That Jazz and A Chorus Line infused with twinkies and darkness. Seriously. (via Big Stereo)


Datarock -- Fa Fa Fa (Princess Superstar NYC Dirty Disco Rabbit Pearl Remix). Well, that's a mouthful. And quite a fine remix. (Myspace) (Princess Superstar)

My My -- Butterflies & Zebras (John Dahlbäck Remix). Because sometimes you just want to dance and dance and dance and dance.... (Myspace) (John Dahlbäck)

Rufus Wainwright -- Banks of the Wabash. Ancient rarity -- I've been looking for a clean copy of this for years. Literally. Years. (site)

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names -- Trees & Squirrels. Again with the adorable Swede-pop. This is the aural equivalent of Cute Overload. (Myspace)

Ivy League -- Crown of Love (Arcade Fire cover). (link removed at request of management) Apparently, I live under a rock -- I totally missed this cover when the blogger kids were freaking over it a while back. Measured and pretty; I can't decide if this is utterly bloodless or sublime. Kinda like the aural equivalent of a Wes Anderson movie, it's growing on me. (Sorry, I'm big on the analogies today.) (site)

CSS -- Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above (Instrumental). Your bonus, but only because I like you, so go make me a good mashup, okay? Okay! (Myspace)

Have a good weekend!!!

12 October 2006

Keeping It Peel... I meant to post a picture I took of the John Peel memorial mural in Brighton when I was there in 2005, but I never got around to it -- here's a link to some people who did, though. And, in honor of John Peel Day, since we didn't schedule a tribute gig (however, The Limelight in San Antonio have devoted this weekend to Peel's memory), here's some cool Peel Session tracks from the way, way back in the vault... (N.B. the quality's kind of sketchy on some of these...)

Delgados -- Mr. Blue Sky (ELO cover)
The Mountain Goats -- Dance Music
Cat Power -- Wonderwall (Oasis cover)
Billy Bragg -- Jeane (Smiths cover)
(Smog) -- I Break Horses
Hefner -- New French Tits

ps -- The Telegraph examines Peel's bona fide lasting legacy as a leading champion of indie music...

pss -- The Burnout Groove has some nice Peel Sessions up (more (smog)!), most notably the only one those quixotic mad good dressers, Interpol, recorded for Radio One.

11 October 2006

We had a little pea soup and manicures party last night. I totally painted my fingernails black (with the cheapest thing I could find: NYC Black Lace Creme) and glossed the fuck out of them, like I saw was The Next Big Thing in some magazine whilst in the checkout line the other day (probably in an issue of OK! or some similarly low-rent celeb gossip rag). Anyway, they look surprisingly classy. Seriously. Pinkie, as ever, went for the more glam OPI shade of Lincoln Park After Dark, which always makes me laugh -- it's a totally gothy vamp color named after a highly gentrified, hipster neighborhood in Chicago. Unfortunately, we decided to watch the film version of RENT during all this. Not that I was ever the biggest fan of the musical, but the film was just cringeworthy. The only high point was the very tiny cameo from Broadway workhorse Randy Graff, who may be the first musician/singer/etc that I ever wrote a fan letter to. I think I was about 13 -- she sent me a photo and a letter on stationary printed with her Hirschfeld cariacture. I thought that was like, the neatest thing ever.

Totally charming (via Bows+Arrows): Will Sheff of Okkervil River posts some mp3s on the O.R.N.A.G. blog. It makes me secretly very happy that he's as much of a nerd for Arthur Russell as the rest of us. And by the rest of us I mean me and the nice young man from Black Country Grammar.

Everyone is sluggy with allergies today, it seems. Including me. There's not a whole lot going on this week, which is also okay, though I'm a little bummed that I missed Bound Stems last night...


Arthur Russell -- Keeping Up. I just told Pinkie this might be one of my favorite songs of all time. I'm not exaggerating. I would either like to see a modern dance piece set to this, but not a cheezy modern dance piece -- or a short film of some kind with time lapse photography, but not cheezy time lapse photography. (info)

All Saints -- Rock Steady (MSTRKRFT Edition).
Oh lordy, All Saints are back! And there's a MSTRKRFT remix! My excitement over this may make me about the lamest person ever. EVER. (site) (video)

Nirvana -- Come As You Are (Dirty Funker Remix). Ok, ok. Someone, somewhere (or perhaps several someones somehere) will think this is sacrelige. Personally, I think it's just the kind of thing I would play if I ever dj'd a bar/bat miztvah party, and the theme was high irony. "I was part of the historical process at Rachel Cohen's bat mitzvah!" That would be the giveaway t-shirt, for sure. (do I really need a link here?)

Isolee -- Hermelin. I'm still challenged by dance and electronic music genres, I just like what I like. Apparently, Isolee are micro funk, which doesn't exactly conjure up the most charming mental images, now does it? Whatever you call this, it's just really lovely -- smooth and pwangy at all the right moments, I love tiny motifs -- the sleighbell for a few seconds, the surprising whisper or steam press in the background, hardly noticed until the moment's passed. (site)

Alden Tyrell feat. Nancy Fortune -- La Voix (Isolators remix). Since we were gushing quality dance music, why not some Alden Tyrell too? This remix is super-Italodisco-tastic, which American Athlete pointed out, is NEVER a bad thing. (info)

Harvey Danger -- Cold Snap. If I were a music supervisor for a soapy nighttime drama about ... the complicated love lives of interns, or criminal attorneys, or pampered teenagers, I'd totally use this song in the "seasons change" episode that has tons of heartbreaky moments, including that farewell montage at the end of the hour. Just a hint. (site)

10 October 2006

Without getting into gory details or trade secrets, this is an ultra-brief post today because I woke up late, got caught in a flash flood, and spent the day in meetings. And now I have a bunch of errands to run! So, I have an extremely thin wafer of time to give you some stream-of-concsiousness presents from the vault. Ta-da!

Chuck Jackson -- The Breaking Point.
I had a co-worker a few years back (I think I've mentioned him before...) who would send me random mp3s with subject lines that were the song lyrics or something tangentally related, and no other content. I often miss him because we both loved Burt Bacharach (obvs.) and The Assocation and accordions, among other things -- anyway, he sent me this song once, and I listen to it whenever I'm having a busy day. (info)

Phantom Planet -- Local Black and Red.
Remember when Phantom Planet was good, and had the most rabid fanbase ever and Jason Schwartzmann was still in the band? Those were the days. (site)

Elvis Costello -- Veronica. In an alternate universe, my name is Veronica. Tangentally, and sort of related: After Heathers came out, I totally wore a mononcle for effect. TRUE STORY! I have, on the other hand, never thought Christian Slater was hot. (info)

The Pixies -- Wave of Mutilation. Speaking of Christian Slater, ask any woman of a certain age who was an "alternative" girl in a certain era, and she most likely owned the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack. *ahem* The first 25 seconds of this song have been the ringtone on my phone for like a year. (label site)

09 October 2006

WTF? I don't have enough time to research this as much as I'd like to, but I've been meaning to mention Unlock Austin, a site that purports to reccomend local bands based on yr. other music preferences, for a few weeks. I was first directed to the site a few weeks ago by a text ad in Gmail. Most of the features were static, but something about the whole venture set off a slightly nagging alarm bell about the site's legitimacy. But, this being me, of course, about 30 seconds later, I forgot all about it.

As I was checking the elegantfaker email box today, a link to Unlock Austin popped up in the ad bar again. I duly followed it and much to my surprise, it looked like the site was live -- but it still had a strong whiff of phoniness about it. I was hesitant to register when I noticed a number of key venues (mostly of the Red River variety) missing from the live show calendar; furthermore a search for "alternative" shows in downtown Austin yielded no results. Just a smidge fishy, since, as we know, Austin is lousy with just as many uh, "alternative" bands as singer/songwriters and crappy bar bands.

Upon further inspection, the site yielded no 'about us' info, but the user agreement and privacy policy referenced a company called Excellent Suggestion as the holding company for the entity doing business as Unlock Austin. A cursory search of the Texas Secretary of State filings yielded no filings for a company or d/b/a called Excellent Suggestion. I attempted to send a message to Unlock Austin via a feedback form on the site (no email address is given, but the company's street address is on a residential street not far from my own home), but I received an error message. At this point, that didn't surprise me (there were some other dead links off the homepage), so I did a little more digging. I found the Unlock Austin Myspace page, whose 'friends' mainly consist of cheezeball Austin bands and notorious Austin-based Myspace friend sluts/spammers/bands that don't get the hint when you deny their friend request and keep trying to friend you. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Further down in the Google results (naturally), I started to find some interesting information, namely that Unlock City LLC is the new business venture of notorious spammer Ryan Pitylak (the information about the public document filings in the previous link is confirmed by the Texas Secretary of State filings for Unlock City LLC) who was sued to the tune of $500 million in damages by Microsoft and The State of Texas; the case was settled in June of this year and Pitylak paid a $1 million fine and promised to never send out spam again. Just a few short months later, Mr. Pitylak is trying to pass himself off as born-again, legitimate anti-spammer and runs a security business to help companies combat spam. Forgive me for being such a bitter cynic, but um, yeah right.

Could someone out there who's well-versed in Internet law take a look at Unlock Austin's privacy policy and terms of agreement? Because to me, it looks like there's a few loopholes that give Mr. Pitylak to essentially spam registered users of Unlock Austin once he's got their personal information. And you know, I'd hate to think he was violating the terms of his settlement with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

In the meantime, naturally, I'd highly discourage anyone from registering with Unlock Austin. (N.B.: At the time this post was published, a query message sent to Unlock Austin's Myspace had received no response.)


St. Barbara, don't let me explode*: The Hold Steady/Sean Na Na/Zykos @ Emo's, October 8, 2006

Well, things were supposed to get started at 9pm because they're implementing a new schedule over at Emo's. It ended up being more like regular ol' 11pm by the time the crowd was thick enough to merit getting a band on the stage. Zykos was a pretty inspired choice for a local opener and I was glad to see Sean Tillman back touring as Sean Na Na -- no word if he's given up the Har Mar Superstar manqué for good, though. The set was understandalby a little wobbly -- mostly made up of winners from last Sean Na Na album Her Majesty and an ill-advised full-band take on old favorite (as in, seven year old favorite -- yikes!) "The Princess and The Pony." One hopes, though, that the band will settle down somewhat (they were a bit more antagonistic and rowdy than was necessary). It is nice to see, though, that Mr. Tillman has not lost one ounce of his amazing stage presence, or his suaveness with a few adoring ladies in the crowd. (There's some new songs up at the band's MySpace page.)

Now, the interesting thing about The Hold Steady's set was that it completely and finally ripped open the bits of Boys and Girls In America that were still bugging me, and that's this: You just can't perform wordy, epic story songs for a crowd of fist pumping dudes in a venue with a cruddy PA that holds a couple hundred people. Well, you can, but it sounds like shit. Sitting up in the old lady bleachers (we were the only people up there at one point, which felt VERY weird, but hey, it gave us a nice view of the impossibly hot dude working the merch booth, but I digress...), this became plainly evident as the wonderfully complex lyrics of both the relatively low-key "Don't Let Me Explode" and wailer "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night" were completely incomprehensible, even for someone who's listened to Separation Sunday more times than is probably healthy (My iTunes tells me um, close to 100, but that doesn't include car rides. Oof, I so didn't tell you that...). The main thing that became clear about the songs off B&GIA, though, was the following: 1) there are no verses, only annoying shout-along choruses, which I hadn't noticed before and explains yet again why they feel so empty, but hey, you can totally understand the words! and 2) they all kind of sound, not like Springsteen or Soul Asylum, as previously cited, but fucking Bruce Hornsby and The Range. Once Pinkie pointed this out to me, I was torn between tears (real ones, mind you) and hysterical laughter. Mostly because, when I was about 12, I really loved Bruce Hornsby and The Range. So, you know, you've been warned.

What it comes down to is this: The Hold Steady is a great band when they're on, or, you know, playing "The Swish" (the strongest moment of the evening, and the oldest song in the set) -- and when they're off, it's really, really bad.

We clamored down from the bleachers as soon as they started to play "Southtown Girls" -- which I'd warned Pinkie was the worst song on the record, and she agreed it was pretty bad (she said something along the lines of, "I may not like this band, but I can still tell a good song from a bad one") -- and fled before they could get to the really abysmal "Chillout Tent." It was 1:30am anyway by that point, and we didn't feel like getting swept into the afterparty either -- which, apparently, according to a bulletin sent out by the band on Myspace this morning, raged on and on and on until 5:45am. Um, congrats?

An interesting sidebar to this review: I collapsed in exhaustion when I got home from work Friday night and woke up to the strains of "Stuck Between Stations" coming from the radio -- local NPR affiliate KUT more specifically, which kind of weirded me out. Anyway, it was clear that airplay on the station brought out a few people -- it's not often you see um, techie millionaire types at Emo's. Seriously.

ps -- The weird press coverage of the album continues: The Village Voice, which devoted a cover story to the band last year, weighs in with this really strange profile.

*I hope if you have yet to see the band on this tour that Mr. Finn is telling the story of St. Barbara every night, because that was about the best part of the whole experience. Well, that and when Tad tried to play his double-necked monstrosity and the patch cable seemed to be dead, so the band vamped through the technical difficulty with a level of professionalism that was impressive, considering a good portion of the break consisted of them accosting a case of Tecate.


In High Demand Today:

Sean Na Na -- Give Me A B-Side. Because it's kind of a theme today. (site)

The Hold Steady -- The Swish. Because this will probably always be the best song Craig Finn wrote, with approx. 175 pop culture references in three minutes. Which kind of makes it he aural equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino film. (site)

The Wombats -- Patricia The Stripper.
Up-and-coming UK indie group that like's like a much less refined Voxtrot -- which means that they're still good of course,and still quite clever, just upbeat in a slightly different way. Trust me. (Myspace)

New Young Pony Club -- Ice Cream (Comets Mix)
. Delicious, peppermint twist of a remix of this indie dance fave. You're welcome... (Myspace)

Polytechnics -- Headshaker
. Sorry to be so UK-centric, but this buzzy little band out of Manchester is definitely worth hearing. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah would be more likeable if they were this coherent. Is this what happens when musical evolution speeds up to approx. 4.5 times normal speed? (site)

Ratatat -- Swisha (Drum Instrumental)[n.b. delayed due to file corruption]/Ratatat -- Swisha (Guitar Instrumental) . Go make me some mashups. Go on with you, now. (site)
 View My Public Stats on