The Rich Girls Are Weeping: November 2006

30 November 2006

I'm chilling (literally -- love that 50 degree temperature drop last night -- yay massive cold front!) at home this morning before heading to some doctor's appointments. I found two nice eye candy items in my mailbox and wanted to share them with you to enjoy over morning coffee. You're welcome, naturally.

First of all, our pals Calla are shortlisted for the best video of 2006 that aired on MTV2's Subterranean for "It Dawned On Me." Go vote for 'em (the site's a bit flash heavy, click on vote from this landing page) and your other favorites -- there's a ton of other worthy candidates as well. Heck, the list reads like a hip blogger's best of 2006 list. No kidding. Relatedly, our pal and burgeoning superstar rock show photographer Kathryn Yu has some great pics from the band's October show at the Bowery Ballroom. Also -- look for Calla's new album in February 2007. (That was quick, actually -- last time we talked to lovely frontman Aurelio Valle earlier this summer, the band was heading out for the Euro festival circuit and recording was in the planning stages...)

Remember when we posted about I Was A Cub Scout the other day? Well, looks like the band is getting a worldwide digital release for their first single "Pink Squares" under the wing of the Beggars Group (or at least I assume so, as the press release came from XL). And, yeah, the Conor Obrest comparisons are totally going to overwhelm this band, but try not to think about that -- it's a pretty weak analogy in my opinion. Honestly, this is the kind of thing I wish I'd been able to listen to in like, 1998 or something. Sometimes genre mutations take longer than you'd expect.

29 November 2006

I have exactly enough time to post a few songs -- I was so swamped today. Who knew like, 5 people would call about my guitar that's for sale on craigslist [again]?!?

I'm cleaning off my work hard drive (natch), and dug up the following in the first half of the alphabet. Apologies, because I'm sure I ganked at least one of these from some blog or another, only I couldn't tell you now now which...

Four Tet -- Iron Man. Best cover ever. Hands down. EVER EVER EVER. (info)

Furniture -- Brilliant Mind. Why don't more people love this band? WHY? Maybe it's just me and all the other crate-divers out there? Because you know I'm a sucker for rumbly, grumpy melodic basslines and gloomydoomy voices. For the kids in the crowd: RIYL The National. Trust me. (info)

Gina G -- Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit. Congratulations, I've just admited my greatest guilty pleasure (outside of the entire Spice Girls back catalog, that is) to the entire internet. You're welcome! (site)

Ginny Arnell -- Dumb Head. You know how sometimes you have a massive falling-out with a really good friend? Well, a certain former friend that I no longer speak to gave me this song, and I absolutely love it despite the negative baggage. I'm really surprised this didn't make it on to One Kiss Can Lead To Another, actually. It's a keeper. (info)

28 November 2006

We're here, we're all right -- we're just mad busy with moving plans. I have four doctors' appointments over the next three days, for instance. (Please note that we are still selling our cars.) Things are happening so quickly, it's insane. Hope everyone had a nice weekend, holiday or not. We sure did -- visiting home is always lovely.

Here's some news from the inbox that you might find interesting:

The Lolita Bras EP is done, and you can buy it directly from them at their MySpace page.

Local upcoming events of note: Cue and Tia Carrera play tomorrow @ The Beauty Bar; Pink Nasty is at Beerland. The Onion's launch party is Thursday at Emo's and is free -- SoundTeam, Tacks The Boy Disaster, IV Theives, Lemurs, and Eugene Mirman are the featured attraction. Buy The Onion's Austin city editor Sean O'Neal (This Microwave World, The Arm) a beer or two and congratulate him on his new job! Finally, the massive three-stage, one day FunFunFun Fest at Waterloo Park is Friday -- check out the site for lineup and ticket details. Spoon, Peaches, The Black Angels, DJ Mel, Prefuse 73, Whitey and a whole host of others are on the bill. Mates of State, Asobi Seksu, and Faceless Werewolves rock Emo's on Sunday.

Stream the new Gwen Stefani record, The Sweet Escape, courtesy of AOL.

This may be everywhere already, but you know I can't resist a Freeform Five effort, especially this deliciously funky number from Soul Mekanik, which is covered on Robbie Williams' new record. Unfortunately, though, that cover effectively tanked the commercial release of this remix.

Soul Mekanik -- Never Touch That Switch (Freeform Reform).

Cassettes Won't Listen, who has remixed indie rock luminaries Asobi Seksu and Midlake, among others, has a new album out called The Quiet Trial. You can buy it direct from Dope Lotus Records.

I have had this song stuck in my head for days, and something about the Soul Mekanik song above just made the earworm even worse! Now it'll be stuck in your head too. Does anyone remember when it was the theme to Fashion Television? That was my Saturday afternoon, back in the day -- Style with Elsa Klensch on CNN and Fashion Television on VH1. Ah, nostalgia.

Animotion -- Obsession.

Oh, and -- guess who was reviewed in the People ish with George Clooney being one sexy mofo on the cover? The Hold Steady, that's who. They got 3.5 stars. Recorded in a crappy picture made with my secondhand Treo:

21 November 2006

"Dinner party after work?" he asked. "No, a funeral this afternoon," I replied. I guess I don't much feel like posting today with the funeral-attending and all -- plus I have a sinus headache. I hope you'll understand.

We are very close to securing an apartment, though -- in a brownstone in notorious Brooklyn hood that actually has fewer crimes per capita than our way-desirable 78704 zip code. Believe me, we were kind of surprised by that too.

...and I just got an email that my Joanna Newsom record is in. Goodness!

The Mountain Goats -- Love Love Love. It's slightly strange when a minister quotes Paul's First Letter to the Corinthinans in his sermon, and all you can think of is this The Mountain Goats song. Then again, given the themes in The Sunset Tree, experiencing this effect at a funeral is vaguely fitting. It's less comfortable when it happens at a wedding, though. (site) (citation)

Pink Nasty -- BTK Blues. Here's another lovely one for you from Sara Beck, sanctioned by La Nasty's PR lackeys. It's totally worth hearing despite that fact -- which is why I've posted it. Buy her record, okay? It's blindingly good. (site)

Sorry for such a sparse post before going on an extended holiday break; things are slightly insane right now. We'll be back next week, promise. Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans! Have a great weekend, rest of the world! (It feels very odd to say that on a Tuesday...)

(ps -- Girls Aloud, feminism, and me? Thanks, Pageblank!)

20 November 2006

I have about 50% fewer books than I did at this time on Friday. (And 100% fewer falling-apart polyester A-line vintage dresses...) I think the guys at Half Price Books hated me for lugging in about 200 lbs of books and magazines*, and yes, it probably wasn't the best idea to spend a small bit of my take on a half-price copy of the Larrouse Gastronomique, but you hardly ever NEVER see a copy of this 20+ lb book there. Plus, it's been moldering on my Amazon wishlist for years, it wasn't like someone was going to buy it for me at this point. Kind of like one of those right-hand diamond rings. Only, you know -- less politically charged (hmmm, maybe not), but definitely more tasty. BTW, it also taught me what a mazarin is. The food kind, anyway -- which, shockingly, I'm embarassed to say, I did not know.

Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into a food blogger or anything. (Ish!)

The Frida Hyvönen show Friday was weird. It was nice to see Shearwater's Mr. Meiburg open, but I was so exhausted, both physically and mentally, that I can't tell you much about that experience at all, save that there was a new song, and one the band never does live. Tacks, the Boy Disaster was fair-to-middling, but maybe they were tired too -- I was only hooked by "the hit;" the rest was a little muddy. Frida was interesting, true, and she kind of reminded me of an angry Blossom Dearie. But let's face it -- we were all tired, the crowd was very thin from the acres of competing shows: Anathallo & Page France, The Melvins, She Wants Revenge. And though I had nice chats with var. people, it's all kind of a blur. Maybe it was because of that tequila shot Miguel gave me. I usually don't drink when I'm that tired, but I'm very bad with peer pressure.

I actually cried (yeah, yeah) when I realized I might never see Jonathan play a solo show at Emo's ever again. There are a few things I'll miss around here, I suppose.

I have amazing news about a certain band, but I can't share. I called a musician friend in NYC for a favor and he hasn't returned my calls; I should known better. Dear indie music world, you're such a fucking tease sometimes.

That theme continues: still on the hunt for a copy of Joanna Newsom's Ys on vinyl.** Tuesday, they tell me. In the meantime, I picked up Soul Jazz's repressing of ESG's Come away with ESG. Yes, yes -- I know I really need to stop ADDING to the things I'm moving. But really, if you'd seen what went out of my apt. this weekend, you'd forgive me. Maybe. Anyway, I'm starting to wonder if this is an elaborate ploy by the record store loveys to get me to buy other records before I move. I'm pretty sure it's not, but I am getting suspicious! Ha!

In the meantime, I've enjoyed some inspirational reading in the form of Bloggers Who Got Book Deals. (Sure, it's a pipe dream of mine to get a similar deal, but I don't think I have the attention span.) All the good ideas are taken -- whoring, finding yourself via Julia Child -- there's really not many options left. How about "music blogger relocates to NYC with super best friend with no job (but some good options!) and no apartment (but some promising options!) and hopes to find love and adventure in the big city?" Too trite? Thought so, I need a better angle. Should I add my record collection and the Larrousse Gastronomique to the mix? I'll get to work on that.

In HIGH DEMAND today. To say I have a backlog would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. I'll get to everything eventually, I suppose:

Mystery Jets -- Umbrellahead. The possibly unflappable Erol Alkan produces the Mystery Jets. There's hope for the univere yet, I think. Tell me what you think. It's like a demented English music hall number that turns into a heartfelt dirgey "All my rowdy friends are STILL FUCKING ROWDY, WTF we're too old for this shit" number (with a cello solo) when you're not paying attention. Maybe like, if The Walkmen were English, perhaps? (No, I totally had the idea to post this before I saw it on Wolf Notes. Seriously!!) (MySpace) (Erol Alkan)

Holy Hail -- County Fair (Part Two). Maybe today's theme is actually interesing piano bits. Maybe? (MySpace)

Art Brut -- Nag Nag Nag Nag. Ok, screw the piano idea. Nevermind. New theme: We're getting old, SHIT! So late to the party with this one, but I have to post it because well, Art Brut's Eddie Argos, as usual, NAILS IT SQUARELY ON THE HEAD. What's it, you ask? Life, children. Life. Also, isn't the guitar riff a totally dig at Editors? IT IS! Priceless. A record collection reduced a mix tape... (MySpace)

Justice -- Waters of Nazareth (John Redden Mix). If I worked out, I'd put this on repeat whilst I attacked the treadmill. Alas, as I am lazy, and my sole workout regime consists of dragging boxes of crap in and out of my apartment, I listen to this to drown out the blanket-like silence that is an office the days before the Thanksgiving holiday. (site) (remixer)

Boytronic -- Little Italian Feeling
. This is the gayest -- as in utterly homosexual -- thing I've heard since like, Jonny McGovern The Gay Pimp or Mickey Avalon. Which means I love it dearly. Camp isn't a row of tents, it's uh, a fucking crowded dancefloor in Italodiscoville. Clearly. Sidebar: This band has about the most complicated history of all time, yay! (info) (site)

* For the record, for the kids keeping track at home, I did finally get rid of my two competing copies of GQ with Johnny Knoxville. They were an object lesson in How To Write A Celebrity Profile -- one with Johnny Knoxville The Character and one was with Johnny Knoxville The Real Person, Sorta. But I'd read both so many times, I think I'd committed each to memory, which is kind of weird. Yeah.

** Story of the weekend: A friend from jr. high/high school got in touch via MySpace. I'd been looking for her for years now, but her name was kinda Un-Google-able. (You'd get porn stars, mostly!) Anyway, she and I were obsessed with the same musicals (Chess, Les Miserables, City of Angels, Aspects of Love etc.) in the late 80's/early 90's. So, guess what record she's totally into now? GUESS! GUESS! We haven't spoken for like over 15 years! GIVE UP? Joanna Newsom, natch. She apparently likes Beirut, too -- which I imagine I would too, if they hadn't been overcooked on the blogs. Anyway, she also goes to rockshows (one word, always!) and I guess I'm just kind of amazed that we ended up sort of facing the same direction. There's more analysis in here somewhere. I need to know her opinion of the Junior Boys record, maybe.

...WHICH REMINDS ME! I was listening to the radio the other night, and BAM! out of the blue the dj played Junior Boys and then The Wrens. I was like, swooning hardcore. Nice choices, KUT Saturday overnight dj dude. They went really well together. It was almost like I'd thought of it.

Ok, that's enough from here. Don't get me started on why we didn't get that apartment in Clinton Hill, btw. I'll probalby never get over that, which is okay, because it makes a great cocktail party anecdote. Involving a three-year-old drawing a name out of a hat. NO I AM NOT KIDDING.

17 November 2006

The best songs I didn't post this week:

Voxtrot -- Love Vigilantes (via Chromewaves). If you ever wondered why we adore Jason, catch that bassline. I mean, we adore him because he's an all-around sweet and lovely person, but also, as it happens, he's one hell of a bassist. We love it when people make Peter Hook-isms their own. It's practically a requirement, actually, to be at the top of our list.

Curses! -- Hungry 4 Love (via Big Stereo). OMG NOT FAIR WHY DIDN'T I FIND THIS FIRST?

The Concretes -- Grey Days (via Marathon Packs). I'd previously kind of ignored this song on In Colour, but Eric brings up a good point -- now that Victoria Bergsman is gone, there's a good chance that the next iteration of the band may resemble Maria Erikkson's work on this song. Which is actually kind of rad, now that I consider that possiblilty. That dour Nico act kind of only gets you so far, I suppose; then again, Erikkson sounds like a Swedish Neko -- Case, that is.

Prototypes -- Un gars fragile (via Idolator)
. Please don't hate me. I love this band.

[Sidebar: I went to get Joanna Newsom at the record store. I came out with this instead. Not a repressing, but the real deal.]
Remember that time we went to see Neko Case tape her "Austin City Limits" appearance? It was about the most amazing thing ever, and yes, that really is why I won't ever go to another "Austin City Limits" taping ever again. It was that sublime and profound. No, I'm really not exaggerating.

This is a song that has yet to appear on any of Case's records, "Behind the House," sometimes known as "Flaming Sword." Unfortunately, you can't see me in these crowd shots, but if you watch the rest of the DVD, you totally can. Plus, Kelly Hogan's story about her grandma thinking the show is actually taped out-of-doors was pretty priceless too. (Thx Chromewaves -- he's got a nice new site design, btw. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet.)

16 November 2006

In which I point you to items elsewhere, but still have lovely tracks especially for you at the bottom of the entry, don't fret! As has been the case for the past three years, I have nothing useful to say about this year's edition of Information Leafblower's The Top 40 Bands in America, save that our friend 5500 (whom we TOTALLY ADORE and hope he looks great in his new Viktor and Rolf togs from H&M) had the best pullquote on the list, re: The Decemberists.
As a queer English major, I'm pretty much required to love the Decemberists. That they're now selling out 2500-person venues is either a historical accident or a testament to how good they've become. Possibly both.
Which reminds me -- I've been meaning to write about The Crane Wife for a few months now, especially because, well. I really like it. But that's another story for later.

I admit that the entirety of the list puzzled me, especially the screwy rankings toward the bottom, but I guess that says more about the tabulation methods that people's actual voting habits. And, as ever, the fact that it's only for American bands inevitably makes me splutter "BUT WHAT ABOUT ____________!?!?" until I remember that ___________ is Canadian, English, Swedish, Mexican, Australian, or whathaveyou. However, I will echo one commenter's sentiments: Austin represents with 10% of the list. Not bad! Go town!

One more reason The Wrens kick ass: Playing "Everyone Chooses Sides" in a fan's living room, Jerry uses a box of Cap'n Crunch as a percussion instrument. Not to be outdone Charles, Greg, and Kevin get TOTES NERDY ON BORROWED ACOUSTIC GUITARS in the best display of bizzaro chords I've ever seen. Ever. The video below was recorded this summer at a fan's apartment in Chicago. From Camp Jinx, via Wolf Notes. A must-watch. (Oddly enough, I also have that poster on the wall over Charles' left shoulder -- it was from The Wrens/Okkervil Show at Emo's in 2004).

Via Gorilla vs. Bear comes this link to Quarterbar Gets Sad with Motown Classics. Quarterbar is also known as Noah Blumberg of The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up, another sleeper fave of ours. (You can't see, but I'm totally making eyes (long-distance stylee) at Frankie, JYPU's incredibly adorable bassist.) Anyway, Quarterbar/Noah totally redid/remixed four deeply depressing Motown hits, and made them deeply depressing in his own special way, with some really great results. I liked this remix best:

The Supremes -- Where Did Our Love Go (Quarterbar Redo)

And ... is it just me, or is the post behind this link really, really offensive? Maybe it's just me, but it seems that Of Montreal's always been a bit queer, really -- no matter what they were wearing. Blatant homophobia is never cool -- especially blatant homophobia carried out whilst invoking the Scissor Sisters. Grow up!

Your tracks for today. For some reason, I'm all about The New Pornographers...

The New Pornographers -- The Body Says No (Live on CBC Radio 3 Sessions). From Mint Records Presents The CBC Radio 3 Sessions. (info)

The New Pornographers -- Fake Headlines (Live). From a hand-made limited CDR that the band was selling @ shows on their last tour, entitled, aptly enough, Live!. This is my absolute favorite NuPs (that's pronounced Nooops, btw) song. Of all time.

Spektrum -- Cedar (The Heat Lodge). Spektrum wanders into Goldfrapp lyric territory with this one. Deliciously dirty and well ... HOT. I have mixed feelings about this band -- I think they're pretty hit and miss, but new album Fun At The Gymkhana is a good listen all the way through, which I kind of wasn't expecting. (MySpace)

I Love Poland -- Stereo Legs. Um, I shrieked when I heard this band for the first time. Loudly. With glee. There was also a lot of jumping up and down and clapping. I loved the name, and well -- the music was perfect too. Just enough glitch to keep the glitch-heads happy, just enough pop to keep the pop kids happy. A fleet of soaring kazoos that are coming from synths or guitars or both and drone-y Eno vocals. OH HELLS YES. (MySpace)

15 November 2006

It was like yesterday didn't even really exist. I was so busy with work and showing my apartment to a potential tenant, I just plain forgot to post. Pls. forgive. It may be like this for the next few weeks, considering Pinkie and I are planning a major cross-country relocation in approx. three weeks, with a national holiday smack in the middle. We probably won't be at many shows, or schedule any dj gigs -- but I know you'll understand. (BTW, if you're in Austin, Pinkie's already posted her car on craigslist -- check it out.)

Anyway, I was listening to an old mix CD in the car on the way to work this morning, and I was kind of blown away by the now-timeless goodness of some of the selections -- early Ratatat, John Vanderslice, and of course, the omni-present Wrens. I've lodged myself in new-music mode for so long that I was really grateful for the chance to snuggle up with some old favorites -- even if they're really like, only between two and four years old. I guess that's today's lesson: don't forget where you come from. I could probably detail my history as an indie rock fangirl going back to the mid-90's (commencing with my first time at SXSW in 1995, I suppose), but it would bore you dreadfully. It doesn't really get interesting until I fell in with the Barsuk Mafia (REPRESENT!) in late 2001 or so. This CD I found in my car was that interesting moment in time around late 2002 when I started to look outside of the comfortable confines of pretty straightforward indie pop/rock. I stopped hiding my love of stuff from the 70's, got re-accquainted with the 80's (hello new/no wave!), tried to work through my snotty attitude about Nirvana (with varying degrees of success), and stopped trying to understand why people with rockist attitudes gave me crap for liking electronic music. Which was basically the first step on the journey that leads to the Cindy Hotpoint you all know and love today. True story.

Speaking of looking back -- I'd like to point you to Idolator's post about Aveo yesterday, and the news that Mazarin is changing their name/sort-of retiring, to avoid a legal battle with another band, also named Mazarin... Unrelatedly, if I were in NYC already, I totally would have gone to see Panic! At The Disco at Madison Square Garden. No, I'm not kidding.

Ratatat -- Seventeen Years.

John Vanderslice -- Pale Horse

The Wrens -- Everyone Chooses Sides.

ps -- I'm having a fit of nerdiness here -- The Green Pajamas, a semi-favorite band of mine (but mostly a favorite of my friend Chelsea -- more accurately, I know of the band because of Chelsea's recommendation) who play swirly psychedelic folk-pop (more like Fairport Convention, less like The Decemberists) have a new album out called Night Races Into Anna, which is a reference to an imaginary, unfinished book in Jonathan Carroll's book The Land of Laughs. It's far too complicated to explain here, but in The Land of Laughs, the author of Night Races Into Anna, Marshall France, who's kind of like a creepy L. Frank Baum, discovers that every thing he writes in the story becomes real. Needless to say, I'm totally going to check out The Green Pajamas' album for sure now. Check out this sample track, courtesy of Parasol:

The Green Pajamas -- Looking For Heaven

Dude, I am so stopping after work to get Joanna Newsom's Ys on vinyl, I completely forgot yesterday. I know I shouldn't be acquiring things, seeing as I'm about to move and all, but this is a special exception. Seriously.

13 November 2006

As promised...

Goodness, where did the afternoon go? Luckily, I had these in HIGH DEMAND tracks to speed things along...

Coco Freeman & Franz Ferdinand -- The Dark of the Matinee. For like, at least five years, the Gipsy Kings version of "Hotel California" from The Big Liebowski was on every mix CD I made. Though, I suppose I was guilty of using Selena's "Fotos y Recuerdos" (a cover of The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang") just as often. I'm exceptionally pleased that I now have another great Spanish-language version of a (potentially) classic pop song. (Along with Calexico's mariachi version of Goldfrapp's "Human" -- which we've featured before.) I think this particular Franzies number has staying power. And it's simply incredible en Espanol. This track is taken from a benefit cd, Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba. Do the right thing and buy the CD, which includes collaborations between members of the Buena Vista Social Club and big-time international pop stars like U2, Coldplay, The Arctic Monkeys, Sting, and others. (info)

Cake on Cake -- 1981. Something tells me that in an alternate universe, where Swedish popsters are sina qua non, this song is that alternate universe's version of Mates of State's "Fraud in the 80's." Cake on Cake is one girl: Fine arts student and musical polymath Helena Sundin, though sometimes she tours with a backing band and enlists friends to play the instruments she can't. I know that somewhere it was decided that We Bloggers weren't supposed to preview 2007 releases yet, but I had to break the rule for Cake on Cake. The band is touring in the US before the end of the year, check them out if you have the chance. (MySpace)(site)

I Was A Cub Scout -- Pink Squares (Radio Edit)
. Ok, remember that alternate universe I mentioned above? Well, if in that universe all glammo (gloth?) was only produced by little slips of boys and girls who were English and a whole lot less grandiose and annoying than their American counterparts, then The Horrors would be My Chemical Romance, and I Was A Cub Scout would be Panic! At The Disco. Are you still following my logic? I hope so! Or have I totally lost you? Secretly (or rather, not secretly) this is one of those baby bands from the UK that I hope doesn't flame out before they're really successful. (MySpace) (interview)

Shearwater -- Turn Your Transmitters Off. Once upon a time, everyone's favorite Shearwater song "Red Sea, Black Sea" was a jangling, percussive, spacious demo called "Turn Your Transmitters Off," which was my favorite song of 2005. I posted this song here ages back in our nacscent days, but this is a cleaner version from the band's little disc of demos that they took on tour across Europe called Bursera Graveolens -- which, as we all know, is the botanical name of the palo santo tree. Now they're back from that big tour, and hopefully resting and having the best kind of Shearovian adventures possible -- a little rest and recreation our gorgeous central Texas autumn. (site)
Things I've done today: a) written an ad to sell my car and b) turned in my resignation letter at work. Both were vaguely anticlimactic. In other news, apparently, we've confused the Trail of Dead crowd (sorry, registration required, but kind of worth it if you're into well, band message board torture) and become the target of a anonymous and toothless mp3 hateration blog that's apparently the work of someone who's not that anonymous. I really can't stop laughing over here. Oh, blog-o-sphere!

That being said, the video for Gwen Stefani's "Wind It Up" gave me a touch of a swimming headache -- do we need to direct complaints to Baz Luhrmann? Then again, there's no way he could have forseen this...

On the other hand, this is brilliant. Seriously. Sometimes I dream that Jake Shears will just turn into Elton John (or is it vice versa?), and that we'll all live happily ever after in AM mellow gold bliss.

Scissor Sisters -- Land Of Thousand Words.

Elsewhere: Girls Aloud cover Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" on the BBC One Live Lounge -- snag that at Oxygen Chunks; Fluxblog has the original.

More later, I'm slowly drowning under my to-do list.

[Lastest Joanna Newsom print-press-spotting: The December issue of Marie Claire.]

10 November 2006

Yeah, you all know I have the unholiest of unholy loves for Interpol and the National. The even unholier tertiary love I maintain is so predictably dark and twisted that I dare not speak its name. No, it's not Marilyn Manson, dorks...even if that spread in this fall's Conde Nast Fashion Rocks suppliment issue was awesome. It's Trail of Dead. The only thing that would make for even more unholy love is if the perverse rumor that Carlos D was relocating to play second fiddle...uh...bass to Neil Busch were true.

(I see that lasting exactly 26 minutes before My Favorite Gothtard says "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" and swishes his sassy bespoke’d backside back to New York. Actually, it would probably be something closer to "I can't continue to be a contributor to this exercise unless I'm to be included in a revisionist reinterpretation of the historical process of this band's formation and ultimate demise. By the way, Schopenhauer is rad and poststructuralists are completely iconoclastic intellectual despots. And I'm from Jersey and use my expensive education and painfully over-constructed prickly exterior as a lint-free, yet cushy security blanket to cover the fact that I'm a sensitive milquetoast who just wants a real girl to really like me, but don't tell anyone, because it would tarnish my deliberately developed and self-aggrandized reputation as a debauched egomaniacal weirdo.”)

But anyway, back to Trail of Dead proper and tales of Twinkies and Darkness. Alas, I cannot take credit for deducing that the aforementioned Hostess product and darkness are the median sustenance for Trail of Dead because the true coiner was Cindy, in response to a former coworker's hopeless fangirl love for Conrad Keely; and that's a level of unholiness that we're not even going to discuss because Twinkies and lust aren't so mixy in my book. Arsenic and old lace are, though -- which applies to certain things that will not be discussed here, as well as Conrad Keely's illustrative gummylump fantasmagorias. And, “Zingers and Darkness” just doesn’t have the same ring.

So yeah, Jason Reece who once gallantly squired Cindy and myself across the 8th and Red River intersection complete with masterful stopping of traffic and a polite send-off—for the record, we were northbound and he was trotting toward Club de Ville—has recently married himself off. He and his lovely bride are the proprietors of the locally franchised incarnation of the Beauty Bar. Assumptions can be made Conrad is still in “arm’s reach of the black remote,” that Kevin is off doing something that doesn’t involve making coffee for other people [ed note: We all remember when he was the sassy barista at BookPeople, right? NB from Pinkie: No, I think that was just Jason when Little City had the space and he was subbing for D. ed note: Oh, that's right. God, that was a MILLION years ago.], and that a friend of a friend is still dating that new guy who isn’t Carlos D but is playing bass nevertheless.

Somehow, in the midst of this, Trail of Dead slouched toward Bethlehem scoring the best of the best of weird session musicians, and made that record slated to be the one that makes World’s Apart known as the most awesome Trail of Dead record ever. A/K/A: The record before the record that makes friends and people who we see out on random Tuesday nights stupid famous. (See also:Kill the Moonlight.) And I say this realizing, more or less, that Trail of Dead are stupid famous (two nights at Irving Plaza?!), but the Austin perspective is a bit skewed as they still play outside at Emo’s and haven’t yet crossed into Stubb’s territory. Though Trail of Dead are on a major, in the grander scheme of things, they really have yet to conquer the Hot Topic generation, and fortunately for them—and unfortunately for weirdos who expect their musician friends and mentors to languish in obscurity and continue to have “real” jobs as some sort of exercise in indie “cred”—So Divided might be it … even though Trail of Dead quit their day jobs long ago. So we could look at “so divided” as a metaphor for what this record is going to do to Trail of Dead fans, or we could look at it as a meaningless title since titles are public domain and only serve a purpose when you’ve already had a self-titled release.

Dear My Chemical Romance, “Stand in Silence” is how it’s done. It has all the same formulas that you’ve relied on since before the days of “I’m Not
Okay (I Promise)” and are still working, to great aplomb with the new record. Mad excellent ROI, guys. However, what Trail of Dead, et al are doing that you haven’t been able to grasp with Liza Minnelli, the other cast of thousands, or your friend Sara, is to make Art. There’s art made for popular consumption—don’t they call that “public works?”—and art made for deeply private introspective moments—I think that’s called “experimental music” and “IDM”—but then there’s Art that means far more than rocking your new high-lift platinum emo haircut like a cut-rate not-so-dark-side Brian Molko. “I had a band / I had a song.” That’s all Conrad had to say (sing? emote? bleat?) to suck the listener back into Trail of Dead’s Eastside land of discontent at being content with what being a discontented musician is offered via advances and checks that have brought the steady income and clean, well-lighted room of one’s own that most of us take for granted.

And if Trail of Dead continue to build a career on self-referential social criticisms, odes to Baudelaire and Bosch, and media-bomb multi-media manifestos rich with Darger-esque visual collage paraphernalia, the Trail of Dead Land of Make Believe Art Park might yet open. But I bet the rides would be scary. Still, they’d probably have Twinkies. Meanwhile, three years from now, My Chemical Romance—if they’re still together—will be playing the amphitheatre at Great Adventure, back in New Jersey, whence they came, while unsold CDs fill cut-out bins. A larger purpose my not be served by comparing Trail of Dead to the Agents of Glammo (or is it Gloth?), but the same kids will buy both records, so it’s really not too far a stretch…especially not in that move toward monoculture (or lack thereof) that Cindy has been talking about.

So yes, Trail of Dead. Yes, So Divided. Yes, totally awesome Guided by Voices cover that gives us a glimpse at a kinder, gentler Trail of Dead and a window on those guys who are still out on random Tuesdays when they’re not running their scenester bar or at home watching TV. But what, pray tell Mr. Pollard, is a “queen directory?” It wouldn’t be a Rich Girls post without a nod toward The Gay! or a reference to gender politics, so is it not inappropriate for me to ask if a “Gold Heart Mountain Top Queen Directory” is an index of Denver-based tranny hookers with hearts of gold? Totally inappropriate.

Stream the entirety of So Divided at Trail of Dead's Myspace abode. (Twinkies and darkness not included.) Or, check out the following:

Trail of Dead -- So Divided
Trail of Dead -- Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory


What’s the scoop on the job, you ask? Unlike Cindy, my own professional field is totally boring. I work in international exchange and facilitate visa processes. If you’d like to sign up for a completely informal and un-authoritative All About Immigration workshop, take me out to dinner. I also like rock shows. NB—I cannot give immigration advice as I am not an attorney, but I am fully versed in the “What Not to Wear” of getting here and working here in accordance with consular regulations and all rules and policies thereunto appertaining. See? Boring.
[Editor's note: This entry also functions as a submission piece for a job application. Multitasking is neat!]

Sorry to be so late to the party, but we simply have to tell you our thoughts on Sufjan Stevens' appearance on "Austin City Limits" (the TV show mind you -- see local listings for repeat times) this week. And those thoughts would be: Zzzzzzzzzzzz. For instance, this song should have ripped, instead it sank like a stone.

However, if you make it through the stultifyingly dull first 30 minutes from Soof and the Winged Bird Crew -- not even Shara Worden's lovely vocals spiced things up, and playing "Spot the blogger/local hipster royalty/music journo!" in the crowd shots was boring; everyone's a beardo or a cute girl in a Threadless tee, and they ALL LOOK EXACTLY ALIKE -- the second half will save your soul. Our long-time faves Calexico delivered their signature solid, dusty music of the Southwest, complete with their amazing mariachi horn section and a guest appearance from Sam and Sarah Beam of Iron and Wine. Now that's a classic ACL moment.

09 November 2006

Best. Best. Best. So, not a huge post today because when I'm not working, I'm applying for jobs, but here's some of the ultra-best things I've seen/heard in the past few days. (And, I promise, I'll try not to descend too deeply into OMG I NEED A JOB angst too badly. Because I also have OMG I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF angst and OMG WE NEED AN APARMENT angst too. I'll be sure to spare you from that as much as possible.) Tonight's event should be fun, a cocktail hour for the Austin Lyric Opera's ARIA group -- it's the outreach program for young professionals. We're going to attempt to be both young and professional and have proper cocktail manners, all at once.

Best compliment:

Our sassy friend at new blog The Cold Inclusive sure knows how to make a splash in the blog-o-sphere. It's nice to be included in such good company.

Best song:

Loveninjas -- I wanna be like Johnny C.

Seriously, can I just like, live in a world scored by the best of the Labrador label? Alternatively, I'll take Loveninjas, who apparently used be kind of spazzy and odd and play shows in ninja masks and heart costumes, but they've supposedly moved on. Mostly, they just look kind of adorable and Swedish and wear striped scarves. And sing perfect dance pop numbers that somehow manage to amalgamate influences across the last oh, 30 years or so without sounding a bit stale or retread-y. (Myspace) (Download more from their earlier EPs at the Loveninjas site. "Keep Your Love" is great.)

BONUS: For the record, this is only way to appropriately deal with The Killers.

Best video:

The Rapture -- Whoo! Alright! Yeah... Uh Huh.

And, of course, I could go on about how So Divided is the THE BEST ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead album ever, but I'm leaving that for Pinkie to cover later this week! (Seriously, I cannot get enough of "Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory.")

08 November 2006

So, of course, Blogger would be all wonky when I wanted to post earlier. *sigh*

The big news today, of course, is that Miss Pinkie Von Bloom got a job offer. YAY! I'm still looking of course, so if you know of anything ... (I kid, I kid. Actually, not really. Drop a line if you can be of assistance! But I'm not groveling. {yet})

The other big news was that The Rapture (We missed The Presets again! They're totally turning into the M83 of 2006...) show was incredible -- easily the best thing we'd seen since, well last Thursday, really -- but trust us. After a fall full of fair-to-middling and pretty uninspiring shows, The Rapture was just what we needed. Catchphrases for the evening included "Ok, get all James Chance with your bad self!" (Aimed at the incredible sax/cowbell/keyboard player. I have a huge crush on him for his musical polymathyness alone!) and "Close your eyes and you can kind of pretend it's 1980!" Though honestly, some of the hipster hairstyles did an even better job of convincing us we'd travelled back in time some 25 years. Some pretty impressive styles were on display. And who knew the hipster kids could dance like that? Wow. Also, Britt Daniel and Sara Beck (Pink Nasty) stood behind us for a few minutes and kinda shook it before heading for the bar. Always a plus! That rave-tastic reworking of "I Need Your Love" was totes special; one song I didn't recognize slipped into pure first-album Roxy Music-ness and I completely flipped out. (ps -- congrats again, Keaton!)

Trust us, if you're in need of some serious dance euphoria, you really need to get out and see this tour when it comes to yr. neck of the woods (they're headed west from here). Totally necessary.

Random links for the day:

This story's a smidge dated, but any thoughts on whether these are really the best new bands in Portland? Because, hello, Norfolk and Western have THREE records. I'd hardly classify them as "new." Feedback requested.

TINY WEE ANALOG SYNTHESIZERS MADE OF PAPER. Seriously, that's all you need to know. Can there be like, a Cute Overload for musical instruments? That would rule.


Pink Nasty -- Thirsty Thursday. Quick! Quick! Get on the Pink Nasty band wagon now so you can say you were like, there with the cool kids. She's kind of like ... well, remember that Sandra Bullock/River Phoenix/Samantha Mathis flop/cult hit, Thing Called Love, about struggling musicians in Nashville? Well, Pink Nasty would star in my awesome version of that film set in Austin in 2006. Alternatively, I would write a screenplay just so that she and the band could serve as the semi-ironic Greek chorus element. There's a Wanda Jackson/Neko Case/Cat Power influence there, for sure -- but she's so much better than just a watery blog-friendly comparison. Listen. Furthermore, must be seen to be believed -- it's very rare to see that kind of completely unaffected confidence in an indie rock performer. You can order her new album, Mold the Gold, from her website. See her in Louisville, Kentucky with a full band (she's totally boy-napped some cuties from The Black) at The Pour House on Nov. 11. (MySpace)

The Rapture -- Get Myself Into It. Well, naturally. It was about the greatest thing ever to finally dance to this last night, away from the confines of my desk and cubicle and headphones. It is approximately TEN MILLION TIMES BETTER live. Which honestly, I never would have expected. (site)

The Mary Onettes -- R.U.N.. Ok, really. I have yet to hear a band on Swedish label Labrador I didn't LOVE, and The Mary Onettes are no exception. Need some seriously pretty modernized Echo and the Bunnymen/New Order dark and spangled action -- but with the tininest sparkle of Swedepop magic? This would be the band for you. I'm crushing hardcore. Wow. (MySpace -- be sure to check out "Explosions," too -- so good!)

My My -- Pelourinho. It was hard choosing a representative track from the fanastic new My My album, Songs for the Gentle, but this ended up being my favorite. My tastes in Germanic minimal electronica (is this microhouse? minimal techno? not sure...) are pretty predictable, and this nails every mark. Stuck somewhere between dance music and listening music, this is the perfect accompaniment to, well, getting shit done. No really -- put on Songs for the Gentle and try not to feel motivated to do whatever it is you've been putting off lately. [Hey! Why didn't anyone tell me this is the new band of Lee Jones from Hefner!?!?! Well, of course I like it! I could smack myself for not doing better research the last time I posted about My My. Pls. forgive.] (label site)

06 November 2006

Ok, so maybe I shouldn't have waited until today, four days after Britt Daniel's solo show @ The Parish Thursday night to write up little reviews of the new songs. Why? Well, I could have sworn there were four songs, that Britt said there were four new songs -- but between Pinkie and I, in a furious flutter of email just now, could only remember three of them. So, um, if there were four, that doesn't really bode well for the health of that one we can't remember. So. If anyone was there and can correct our unforgivably spotty coverage here, we'd really appreciate it. Please confirm or deny our accounting.

What I can tell you is that the three songs we do remember are still in the Gimme Fiction vein -- not that much of a stylistic departure from that sound. Though, honestly, I saw Britt perform the Gimme Fiction songs in their nacent form at solo shows a few times before the record came out, and they all sounded like Kill the Moonlight retreads to me, so take that with a grain of salt.

So, there was "Rhythm and Soul," which kind of sounded like a sequel to "Merchants of Soul," but not a complete photocopy of those sentiments. "Cherry Bomb" was the most classically Spoon-y of the new offerings, with lots of "uh-huh!" and "all right!" action and seems to perhaps be an anti-war number, but trying to read meaning into a Spoon song is sometimes like trying to read meaning into dadaist poetry or something. Don't try it, it will drive you crazy -- unless you have a symbol glossary, like for "Sister Jack." The one of the bunch that's stuck with us most, though, may either be called "Target" or "(Don't Wanna Be A) Target," -- which I think may not be another potential anti-war number (despite the continued theme of bomb/target imagery), but about a relationship gone sour. Anyway, over the course of the weekend it kind of morphed into us singing it as "(Don't Wanna Go To) Target," and if we didn't know better, we'd say that the boys of Spoon are totally cribbing from Interweb-celeb Merlin Mann's famous rendition of The Mountain Goats song that never existed, "Going To Target." Which of course isn't really possible, but...

[Sidebar: I'm sorry, that's a horribly obtuse and inside-jokey reference, which pretty much only makes sense if a) you are intimately familiar with the massive Mountain Goats back catalog and its various song-cycles and themes, b) actually have seen Merlin perform said song, and c) are convinced there must be some kind of conspiracy because Merlin knows John Vanderslice and John Darnielle, and John Vanderslice is friends with Britt, and sometimes in the world of indie rock, the universe does have a tendency to collapse in on itself because there's only .75 degrees of seperation between any two major players. Woah, damn! Look at that serious dinosaur of a Klosterman-esque sentence! I clearly need to like, wash out my brain as I spent most of yesterday reading Killing Yrself To Live. However, this might be a great opportunity for any propective employers whom I've bombarded with applications over the past week to see that I have a very flexible writing style. So flexible, in fact, I apparently seem to be a master of literary ventriloquism! But I digress.]

So, rest assured, Spoon fans, the next album is most certainly going to rock in a most satisfying fashion.


Jenny Lewis and Jonanthan Rice -- Little Boxes. (alternate link) EXTREMELY LIMITED AVAILABILITY. The much-coveted cover of the Weeds theme, penned by Malvina Reynolds. One in yet another series of you-did-not-get-this-from-me moments. (more "Little Boxes" covers)

Hanne Hukkelberg -- The Pirate
. Dirgey murder ballad that manages to be neither ultra-goth (see: Nick Cave) nor ultra-twee (see: The Decemberists). From her new album Rykestraße 68, which is an interesting collision of cabaret and the most au courant musique concrete. Please don't smack me for being too pretentious, okay? (MySpace)

Archie Bronson Outfit -- Funnel of Love. I promised you this last week, sorry for the delay! Not the best cover, you know -- but still fun. (MySpace) (Wanda Jackson)

Dragonette -- Shock Box. I command you to dance around and have a good time. Even though it's a Monday night (or possibly Tuesday morning), and I bet like, 25% of you readers out there haven't recovered from CMJ yet. I first heard Dragonette thanks to Fluxblog about a kajabillion years ago, I was very happy to randomly come across their self-titled EP this weekend. RIYL electronica or pop, dancable or not, made by married (or similarly seriously committed) couples. (MySpace)

Tiga -- 3 Weeks (Jesper Dahlback Mix). Keep dancing, because the ominous claps on this one totally compel you to. That's kind of one of my favorite things about Tiga tracks, remixed or not -- there always seems to be kind of a scary disco clap involved. I know, I know -- Tiga is like, so last year -- but this is still really great. So there! (MySpace) (jesper dahlback)
Monday Morning Quickie! Ok, we're recovering from our long weekend (birthday gatherings! a job interview! brassiere shopping! sewing galore! cassoulet! lots of steak! wanky conversations about Trail of Dead -- more on that later this week!) but there's two things you simply must see right now:

One: London Lee's new project, Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop is up and running. We're all about airing one's embarassing tastes to the entire wide world, so we're totally looking forward to hearing more about Mr. Lee's alleged 'rubbish taste in music' that haunts his past. We doubt it's actually rubbish; we are all a collection of our wide and varied influences -- and there's nothing to be ashamed of in that even if those influences include Jilted John. Or, in our case, Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance."

Two: Pictures from The Mountain Goats' Halloween show in Baton Rouge. OMG!

Sad note: Via the Matablog, we're very sad to hear of actress/director/Hal Hartley muse Adrienne Shelly's passing last Wednesday. In tribute, we suggest a viewing of Trust, one of Ms. Shelly's most amazing performances or her cinematic debut, The Unbelievable Truth, both directed by Mr. Hartley.

Cass McCombs -- Sacred Heart
Midlake -- My Young Bride (Roger O'Donnell Moog Mix).
New Order -- Thieves Like Us.
Shearwater -- I Can't Wait.

(ps - in preparation for the inevitable discussion of ...Trail of Dead's new album, So Divided, please review the work of outsider Henry Darger and previous indie rock references to his ouevre.)

03 November 2006

We're totally taking the day off, but next week we'll have lots to tell you about the show last night, including: Sally Crewe's continued mediocrity, Pink Nasty's complete and utter awesomeness, and the four new Spoon songs Mr. Britt Daniel rolled out for an assembled audience for the very first time. A wonderful time was had by all.

For your listening pleasure this weekend, we offer the following:

Heartz4 -- Intimacy Girl. Ridiculous name for a project, but a great track. Heartz4 is the new alias of Duesseldorf-based Polish dj/producer Daze Maxim. I've had this track for days and wasn't sure when to post it, and today just seems like the perfect time. Mellow and sexy with minimal beats and fluttery effects, this modest track has surprising staying power.( MySpace)

[ETA by Pinkie: If you hit the newstands this weekend like so many coffee consumers, check out this month's edition of our favorite fashion smack Lucky for a glimpse into the crackden that is End of an Ear. This is in the midst of an erstwhile typical profile of local Kick Pleat proprieter and designer Wendi Koletar, and we hope that Dan, Blake, or Jacob were saying something reasonably smart-ass about krautrock or dub to make Miss Koletar appear so humored. Survey says that she is holding a copy of Thom Yorke's solo record, rather than the double-CD reissue of Telefono or any of the really neato stuff at the other CD kiosk. Alas. Another door featured in magazines belongs to TRGAW-pal Matt Smith's Eastside recording studio / pied-à-terre. This month's issue of Nylon prominently displays DIY Austin fashion at the studio's colorful stoop.]

[ETA of the ETA, from Cindy: That would be the Telephono/Soft Effects EP pseudo-box set re-release.]

Have a lovely weekend!

01 November 2006

A demonstrative tale. Now, I'm not saying that if you send really nice email (gramatically correct, generally coherent text) you'll win our hearts or anything, but when you send a submission query email as nice as Jenn Leathers from Stihl did, you certainly have a better shot of finding your way into our listening queue. And of course, if you send your CD promptly and enclose a lovely personal message on band stationary, as Jenn of Stihl did -- well! You've practically guaranteed we'll at least write something nice about you. And of course, if you send us a CD that sounds nothing like the rest of the stuff in the inbox -- that being smart, bass-heavy electronica full of bleeps and blomps and strings running under silky, confident vocals reminiscent of Everything But the Girl (ETA: actually, live, they're more reminiscent of Adult. or very early Metric...) -- as, um, Jenn from Stihl did, you'd better believe we're gonna write you up and post two of the best tracks and exhort our fellow Austinites to pop down to catch your show tonight. [It also helps, naturally, if you kind of name your band after people who make chainsaws and other nifty power tools.] (Myspace) (Buy beyond the reach of satellites at cdbaby)

Stihl -- Love Is Like Cancer.
Stihl -- Drizzle Dazzle.

Stihl play tonight at the Chain Drive @ 9:00, and it's free -- as always. Sadly, we're not djing this night anymore -- but our replacement, John Gomi, promises to deliver. Also on the bill: Mistress Stephanie and Her Melodic Cat and Drop Dead Steady.

In HIGH DEMAND (and possibly C&D territory...) today:

Jarvis Cocker -- The Lion and Albert. Jarv has cautionary tale for you for you, children. Do pay attention. (info)

Architecture in Helsinki -- Do the Whirlwind (YACHT Remix)/Architecture in Helsinki -- Do the Whirlwind (Hot Chip Remix). Because, clearly, you need these both. (info) (remixer/remixer)

Spoon -- The Book I Write. Pssst, kid -- you did NOT get this from me. Dear Spoon: I <3 YOU! (info) (site) [ps -- Britt Daniel plays a solo show tomorrow night @ the Parish.]

The Hold Steady -- Teenage Liberation
. Ditto -- capiche? But first, tell me again why this didn't make the cut for Boys and Girls in America? It's better than most of the songs on that record -- an skewed update of "It Was A Very Good Year," as only Craig Finn & Co. could present it. Perhaps because it's the only song that's vaguely sympathetic to those boys and girls in America. (site)

Irene -- Little Things (Mike Downey Remix). Oh, land's sakes, I think this is exactly what remixes of dour, deadpan Swedish surf pop are supposted to sound like. No, I'm not kidding! (RIYL Jens Lekman, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names.) (site)

BONUS: It behooves you to fall in love with Sally Shapiro. NOW!

That's all for today. Lately, I'm slogging through Rip It Up and Paste It Back Together With A Really Bad Over-Ambitious, Over-Arching Theme -- er, I mean, Simon Reynolds' Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84, which takes a really, really interesting subject, and makes it completely dull and dry. I'm sticking with it, only because I waited so long to get it out of the library. But really -- it feels like a school assignment, as the only thing I've really taken away from the thing is a slightly better understanding of punk's six months of validity and the rise of Thatcherism. The rave reviews really puzzle me -- is it because Reynolds got there first? Or because he attempts to legitimize the music by burying it in history? Are there better books on the same subject that lie somewhere between this kind of flaccid "social history" and the incoherent "oral history" that came before? Please let me know. And maybe I'm so peeved because even the too-short music documentary Made In Sheffield, which I watched the day I started reading Rip It Up, was more enriching and satisfying. (Totally worth it to see Jarvis and Saskia Cocker being adorable in the bonus bits. And to remember that Phil Oakey is still HOTT!) Perhaps the history of post-punk is best left to the documentary filmmakers? Thoughts?
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