The Rich Girls Are Weeping: May 2007

31 May 2007

(photo courtesy of the Escort myspace page)

As if this weekend couldn't be more stuffed with musical goodness, this is just a quick note to also let you know that Escort is playing our oh-so-fave Fun! gathering this evening (Friday the 1st) at Studio B in Greenpoint. We have yet to see this 15ish-piece disco orchestra in action; I'm trying to figure out if we can make it there in time after The National wrap things up at the Bowery, but I think this may be totally impossible. Escort released their last 12", All Through The Night, in May. They're heading into the studio to work on a full-length album.

Escort -- All Through The Night (The Rapture Hush Hush remix)

Escort -- A Bright New Life (Vocal Mix) [repost]

Also at Studio B this weekend, Datarock, those delightful Norwegian purveyors of scuffed electronic pop. They play Saturday the 2nd. Their self-titled debut album, one of our favorites that's chock-full of fizzy, sunny summer jams, is finally seeing release stateside June 10 with slightly different content than the 2005 release; anyway, seeing as it's nearly perfect and comes complete with a paean to Laurie Anderson, we can't recommend this one more highly. Dance, dammit!

Datarock -- Fa-Fa-Fa

Datarock -- Laurie
Datarock -- I Used To Dance With My Daddy (Comet Remix)

Bonus: Datarock -- Computer Camp Love

And, I've been meaning to post about this for ages -- but remember our pals the lovely Don Delilo-flavored Los Angeles kids Airborne Toxic Event? Well, they just finished a little mini-tour of the UK (they played Club NME at Koko in London last Friday; would that we could have been there!) and play The Troubador in Los Angeles June 9th after opening for the Kaiser Chiefs on the 7th. They're also recording a 7" for a UK release later this year.

The Airborne Toxic Event -- The Girls In Their Summer Dresses

(And, yes, Julie Christie, the rumors are true -- we were at Capitol Music Group's offices today over on 5th Ave to listen to Interpol's Our Love To Admire (out July 10th). We took our knitting and were very polite and well-behaved. Sadly, due to requests from the nice folks behind the PR machinery, we can't review it quite yet, but stay tuned...)

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30 May 2007

(photo courtesy of packratticus)

It's summer in the city, finally -- and NYC is bursting at the seams with shows we're intent on catching over the next few weeks. We finally broke down and Craigslisted tickets to The National's sold out stint at the Bowery; we'll be at the Friday show. Also on the bill, the tomb-gloomy song stylings of ubersupergroup (producer Peter Katis, full-time dad and studio/label namesake Tarquin Katis, and label and multi-band project impresario Adam Pierce) The Philistines Jr. (Austinites in the house can catch Mr. Pierce in his Mice Parade guise a few days later at Emo's on Sunday June 3rd. Such a jetsetter!)

Also, next week packs the one-two punch of the Bellmer Dolls' free show at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (107 Suffolk Street) Monday the 4th; Piker Ryan, Dimi Dero Inc., and Preacher and the Knife are also scheduled to appear. And in what seems to be an unprescedented feat, we'll be at the "secret" Interpol show at Bowery (it's not even on the calendar at press time) on the 5th. According to our sources, it sold out in a few hours with roughly zero promotion. Welcome home, buckaroos!

[Also not to be missed: Lavender Diamond (June 3), The Clientele (June 8) and The Long Blondes (June 9), also at Bowery.]

Relatedly, all this unbridled man-howling (the ladies and more mellow choices mentioned above notwithstanding, of course), hot rhythm sections, and pwanging guitars have given us Television on the brain. That lead us to reread Lester Bangs' "free jazz punk rock" to get ready for our hot hot hot summer of nouveau blues. Get on board!

Television -- Marquee Moon.

Our secret fave Magazine's also popping up all over; the quintessentially bitter "Song From Under The Floorboards" has appeared over a handful of blogs lately, much to our delight; afternoons just aren't complete these days without a listen.

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17 May 2007

We're kicking it old school lately, what with the new Spoon album sending us back to the band's back catalog and all -- but most pleasantly, we are glad to let you know about the return of Shannon Wright. We saw her at SXSW 2002 at the Scottish Rite Theater, where she played right before a young man you might have heard of -- Andrew Bird (it was totally one of those "I was there" moments...she spent most of her alloted time setting up a giant light-up keyboard, and then blew everyone away with a gorgeous and powerful set that left us all kind of speechless in wonder) and at SXSW 2003, when she played the Quarterstick showcase with Quasi -- it was the last time I enjoyed one of their sets, let me tell ya. (BTW, I found this feature whilst checking those dates, and OMG, the nostalgia...). I admit, I hadn't thought of Ms. Wright much lately, and so I was infinitely pleased to see a press release about her latest release, Let in the Light, in my inbox the other day -- and was completely blown away by the songs therein. Ms. Wright is back in fine form, and her gorgeous, gorgeous voice is still going strong -- she's one of those artists that's hard to do justice to in text. Just listen. Trust me on this one, 'kay? RIYL: Feist, Cat Power, Electrelane, Rilo Kiley.

Shannon Wright -- Everybody's Got Their Own Part to Play
Shannon Wright -- St. Pete

The charming Staten Island-dwelling Ingrid Michaelson, (who sends the sweetest, most polite emails -- we've been following her career since she submitted some tracks for us to review almost exactly a year ago...) was the subject of a lengthy profile in the Wall Street Journal today (link good for 7 days) about artists bypassing the major label-schema and going straight to exposure via primetime TV. One weird twist: one of her songs is the centerpiece of the "Grey's Anatomy" finale tonight, won't be available anywhere, except for streaming on her MySpace page, until the release of the "Grey's Anatomy" soundtrack later this year. Oh, and Jason Kurland, who manages Death Cab for Cutie (Who became the famous because of "The O.C.," remember? heh.) reminds unsigned artists that this is a really risky way to build a career if they don't have the strength of a major behind them to handle the supply chain issues. I think Ms. Michaelson--who's been paid upwards of $15,000 for each song of her songs used on various TV shows, and who makes about 40% more per song sold on iTunes than artists on labels--major or otherwise, is aware of this fact, but might argue that Mr. Kurland's cautions are rapidly becoming a moot point. We shall see, I suppose.

Speaking of new and exciting modes of distribution in the industry, Wired and Slashdot are literally beside themselves over the fact that two independent record labels -- the UK's First Word, and Omaha's own Saddle Creek, are selling vinyl albums that come with codes to download a DRM-free digital version of the album for free. (*gasp!*) Um, I'd like to point out that several of the labels in the Beggars Group and Merge Records HAVE ALREADY DONE THIS. (As a matter of fact, Pinkie heard Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills discuss this very subject in a panel at SXSW 2006, yo, and it made her positively swoony.) And then there's the fact that most indie labels shun DRM copy protection. Whatever, Wired -- your fact checkers and editors are AWESOME.

In other news, we will indeed be attending the Secret Machines/Bellmer Dolls show on Saturday at the High Line Ballroom (CRAIGSLIST!). From what we've been able to ascertain, the reason this show is sold out is that the festival is heavily reliant on corporate sponsorship (duh!), and most of the ticket buys went to sponsors. Awesome! The High Line branding scheme in general is really, really strange, you know? But ... whatever, we'll be there. It's a new venue, we simply MUST go. Everyone will be there. (tee-hee)

Oh, and! We'll be djing an Austin-licious bill at Union Hall in July thanks to our friends at Neon Lights -- more details to come when we have them!

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16 May 2007

(photo courtesy of Kathryn Yu)

So, understandably, people want to know what we think of "The Ghost of You Lingers" -- the preview track from the new Spoon record, Ga ga ga ga ga.

It seems like a lot of people really hate it.

We think it's really great. And here's why.

The wonderful thing about Spoon records is that they always reveal what's on heavy rotation in Britt's record collection.

Remember when Spoon songs kinda sounded like Replacements songs? And Wire songs? Or John Lennon songs? It's cute, because Spoon songs never ape the influences, but send them through the weird filter of the band's songwriting grammar (uh huh! yeah! all right!), and the result is something charming and rarefied and unpretentious, all at once.

Spoon -- Car Radio
Spoon -- Mountain of Sound
Spoon -- Everything Hits At Once
Spoon -- Stay Don't Go

See? Uh huh -- you know what I'm talking about.

Someone over on Idolator namechecked Steve Reich and Philip Glass in the discussion about "The Ghost of You Lingers." That's sounds about right. There's nothing here but synthy bits pounding out a Glass-y hypertensive rhythm. And Britt's multi-tracked vocals. And the occasional atmospheric electronic crunch or swirly wisp of a marimba or steel drum under that that echoes soundscapes from previous albums. And that's it. No, really. THAT IS ALL. For the whole song. But it's not that different from say, the grammar of "Stay Don't Go," you know? Just without the BrittBeatBox action.

It would appear that maybe this is Spoon's record in the modern classical/experimental mode? I mean, things had been heading that way for a while now -- I mean, most of Kill the Moonlight was ultra-minimal, with a whole lot of low pile noise made by the rhythm section going on in the background and on top of that, spartan melodies with canyons about three miles wide running right through the middle--but Gimme Fiction was a little more, how you say... accessible.

Now, we can't absolutely say for certain what's going on with Ga, etc., and if it's entirely a return to form as promised on Kill the Moonlight because we haven't heard the rest (we have it, we just haven't listened to it quite yet...busy!). But we're hedging our bets that basically, this is the kind of record that says:
"Yeah, we know you loved our hits 'Way We Get By' as heard on the hit television series "The O.C." and 'I Turn My Camera On' from that Verizon commercial, but really, that's not who we are. Oh, um, you thought we wrote catchy indie anthems? Well, you know, not so much. We're actually trying to bring back No Wave. Again. Please enjoy this anti-album full of anti-melodies. LOVE AND KISSES, SPOON."
Spoon -- The Ghost of You Lingers

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15 May 2007

We hope we're not totally the last girls to the party on this one, but the buzz is that Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip's "Thou Shalt Always Kill" is totally the next "Losing My Edge." A little unfair and reductive, to be sure -- this is a whole lot more blisteringly hortative and a lot less confessional than LCD Soundsystem's seminal track... And it certainly says something that certain lines have already slipped into Cindy-speak.

I'd post the mp3, but we'd have to pull it down -- check out their Myspace to listen or the Lex Records site for more deets on where to purchase. See also: Dan Le Sac's blog.

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10 May 2007

This is what happens when you innocently go looking for new tracks and get totally and completely sidetracked. So, everyone's favorite Fergie recorded a cover of Heart's "Barracuda" for the Shrek the Third soundtrack. Now, I admit, I wasn't the biggest Fergie fan, there was something about her tuneless Rex Harrison act for the Black Eyed Peas that betrayed the memory of the big-voiced brassy blonde named Stacey Ferguson I remembered from late 90's pop travesty act Wild Orchid. Pinkie kept trying to convince me than the new Candie's shoes spokesmodel was out-Gwenning Gwen Stefani, but I remained staunchly loyal to the former Queen of Orange County.

That is, until we had a little Fergie binge just now. Believe me, you need to hear this.

Fergie -- Barracuda.

She can uh, really sing. Anyone know who's in her backing band here? They've labored very, very hard to sound like Howard Leese. Naturally, you need the original, for comparison:

Heart -- Barracuda.

And, while we're on the Fergie kick, you probably need to be reminded of her turn in the aforementioned Wild Orchid. Boy, this really hasn't aged well, has it? Or, uh, was it ever good? Hmmm.

Pinkie was stunned that Fergie could actually sing. I reminded her of Ms. Ferguson's turn on Kids Incorporated... here, ca. 1984, doing "Let's Hear it For the Boy" with, uh, Martika and future Wild Orchid-mate Renee Sandstrom. (It's highly amusing when taken in juxtaposition with "Fergalicious," btw)

Oh, what the heck, you need a Martika infusion too, right?

Martika -- Martika's Kitchen

Wow, what is it with the Kids Incorporated alums?! Did they all turn out completely bonkers and destined to record pop songs where they namecheck themselves? (If you uh, make it through the video above, you'll see what I mean... MARTIKALICIOUS!) Alternatively, it's gotta burn to have a project like this one when your former colleagues are making jillions...

, you need this as the final word in everything...

Fergie -- Fergalicious (Tyler Nelson Beat Mix)

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08 May 2007

First, utter hilarity from Spinner, AOL's totally invisible music site/blog thing: James Murphy vs. blogger Hayen Merrit of Telephone Panda (har har har!), re: backlash and uh, Ultimate Combat and um, the fact that Murphy is "a snake." (OBVS!)


Places we won't be tonight
: Ok, look -- it's a Tuesday. I know I live in NYC and all, but this is kind of ridiculous:

Arcade Fire & The National -- Radio City Music Hall United Palace Theater SOLD OUT (capacity: 6000 3292)
Ben Gibbard & Dave Bazan -- Town Hall SOLD OUT (capacity: 1500)
Bjork & Spank Rock -- Apollo Theater SOLD OUT (capacity: 1464)
Blonde Redhead & Fields -- Webster Hall SOLD OUT (capacity: 1400)
Amy Winehouse -- Highline Ballroom SOLD OUT (capacity: 700)
Beirut & Final Fantasy -- Bowery Ballroom SOLD OUT (capacity: 550)

That means approx. 12,000 10,000 "indie"/"hipster" kids of all persuasions will be concentrated in six venues around the city tonight. Sounds like an Onion story waiting to happen. "Scary sucking void created in LES, Williamsburg on night of six sold-out rock shows."

Seriously, though -- looking at this, I'd say that dude, the music industry's issues are so about internal business disorganization and an aging business model, rather than the lack of alternative revenue potential.

In the meantime, there's some non-packed options tonight and lots of good Wednesday options that still have tickets available -- guess everyone is shooting their wad tonight.


You clearly need some music for your troubles. Clearly.

Ola Podrida -- Cindy
. I doubt the dudes in Ola Podrida wrote this about me, but it would be especially funny if they did -- right? Can we call this country shoegaze? Shoegazey folk? Brought to you by some of the lovely people behind American Analog Set, hence the gorgeous lushness. (myspace)

Nina Simone -- Sinnerman.
Posted sort of as an inside joke, but Nina Simone is always good for what ails you. ALWAYS.

Escort -- A Bright New Life
. There's a new Escort 12" out -- "All Through The Night". And they're recording a full-length, finally. Rock on, Escort. Please continue to be awesome. (myspace)

Depeche Mode -- Just Can't Get Enough (Dirty South Mix)
. Well, yes, now that you mention it, I do think you need to have a dance party with yourself, right now. DO IT.

Loose Joints -- All Over My Face (Original Long Version)
. Oh, why not? Because I deleted this in The Great Achive Purge. And you so need to listen to it again, or for the first time. Either/or. Probably one of the best songs of all time. This is all kind of connected to the James Murphy discussion above, stylistically, at least. (And yes, Pinkie, this is the one with the male vocal instead...)

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I was so tired and slammed today -- I wanted to post and didn't get around to it. I think I may still be just a smidgen drained from seeing the Bellmer Dolls on Friday, even though I lounged around for the rest of the weekend. It was highly amusing -- the usual Fun denizens were in Studio B's mythical "other room" which could only be reached by traipsing through the crowd of gloomcookies who came out for the Bellmer Dolls and made the entire main room look like that dark corner of the gym where misfits hung out in high school. The looks on the faces of the hipster kids coming for the underground dance party really were quite priceless when they were faced with a wall of coldwave, as selected by guest dj Alex Chow. (Pinkie swears she heard some Antler action in his set... We'd post some Poesie Noire or something, but Pinkie just has it on vinyl, and we are so not putting up some Lords of Acid, y'all. You understand.)

Anyway, we were pleased that the Dolls tried out some of their fabulous new songs on the small but enthusiastic crowd. Here's a visual aid (photo by Collin LaFleche); Pinkie wrote elsewhere (she's kindly letting me quote her here):

Like I said on the bus the other night, watching Peter is like watching a young and dirty hot tent revival preacher on a hot summer night. He's not handling snakes, but he's feeling the spirit, and even though he's holding his bible open, it's just a tangible link to the divine because he doesn't need it for reference to scripture. For those 20 minutes, he's God's tool, but afterwards it's likely that he'll be a creature of the flesh, waging his own battle with the sins of liquor and women, saying things like "you look good in your skin, girl." And Anthony is his straight man, and Daniel just drives. ... You have Preacher Man Peter poised on the edge of offering someone deliverance and engaging with Anthony in this uneasy-making, primal, completely masculine, and hetero-erotic (yes, I said hetero) paso doble. It's really a paso doble, in the tradition of bull fights. ... Seeing the Bellmer Dolls gives me that same weird feeling that I get when I start to wonder if there is any truth to the legend that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads so that he could play the blues.

They're also playing an already sold-out show with the Secret Machines on the 19th as part of the High Line Festival (Highly recommended if you feel like Craigslisting it...) and are working on a full-length album.

Here's an earlier track from their previously well-received ep on Hungry Eye records, The Big Cats Will Throw Themselves Over.

Bellmer Dolls -- Push, Push

In other news, Rihanna's "Umbrella" is totally our unequivocal broken heart summer jam (oh, boys can be such trouble sometimes...) -- it makes you happy and sad at the same time, as all great pop songs do. And wow, we sure do love the video.

Rihanna feat. Jay-Z -- Umbrella (Clean)

(And dude, who cares if that's not her en pointe, really? The fetishy aesthetic is grand...)

Reminds us a lot of this particular video too...

Madonna -- Fever

...which of course, made us then think of this ...

Sinead O'Connor -- You Do Something To Me

which inevitably brought us full circle, back to the Wiemar Republic, with:

Marlene Dietrich -- Falling in Love Again from The Blue Angel

ps -- Watch out, it's gettin on summer, and we're kind of totally freestyle-mad. Doesn't help that they air the commercial for Forever Freestyle constantly on VH1 Classics -- even during Metal Mania. Stay tuned! You've been warned.

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03 May 2007

Two quick items: Go NOW and listen to the Bellmer Dolls guesting on East Village Radio's Dead Beat Radio until 2pm EDT -- I can't because I'm firewalled here at the day job. Happy Birthday, Peter!

When you're done with that, it's imperative that you head over to OI OI OI, the new blog of the Bang Gang kids. (via Big Stereo...) YOU ARE COMPELLED TO DANCE. Do not fight it. Nope. Don't.

(Also, big ups to Song, By Toad -- because we hadn't seen his new banner, and we lurve it.)

Randomly, because I love you and I love this -- Lo-Fi-Fnk smooshes all the squeaky clean popitude out of this track and turns it into a rhythm-happy and perky-dirty floor-thumper:

The Feeling -- Love It When You Call (Lo-Fi-Fnk remix)
/ (myspace) (remixer)

Favorite current subway commute track, from what's really shaping up to be the best album of 07 so far:

Mark Ronson w/ Amy Winehouse -- Valerie

BONUS: Our old friend Rachel Rhodes (old-skool Austinites may remember her gorgeous, smoky voice from back in the day when she was the vocalist with Rubinchik's Orkestyr) is living in Paris now and is in the process of self-releasing a covers album on her Virb page titled A Tribe Called Request -- the content's directed by specific requests from her pals from around the world via her Vox page. I've missed hearing her sing; perhaps we can compel her to record "Psycho Killer" with ukelele next! (hint, hint)

Rachel Rhodes -- Just What I Needed (and there's more to be had on RR's Virb site)

EXTRA BONUS: Via 14icedbear, The Believer interviews Okkvervil River's Will Sheff. Well, it's Sean from Said the Gramophone, actually doing the interviewing. Best part: knives and being pro-murder. That's what Okkervil River is all about, people. Seriously.

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02 May 2007

Song/band of the moment. Yeah, so, they were last active 'round these parts in the early 80's -- Polyrock's getting the blog love right now (Loudersoft & Idolator have mp3s to dl) thanks to a reissue of their first two albums (the self-titled Polyrock and Changing Hearts, released in 1980 and 1981, respectively), produced by Philip Glass, mind you. Love the square haircuts and and polo shirts; they just look so shiny and clean and sweet. "Romantic Me" is, suffice it to say, brilliant.

Polyrock -- Romantic Me

Polyrock -- Bucket Rider

And, because we're in the mood, some Sparks to go with.

Sparks -- #1 Song in Heaven

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01 May 2007

YAY BONUS POST. In proof that I can tie everything together, eventually -- I present the following as an addendum to the previous post:

LCD Soundsystem -- Jump Into The Fire (Harry Nilsson cover)
Hank Williams Jr -- All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)


Bellmer Dolls -- The Diva

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