Saturday, December 31, 2005

New player

Hello, fellow too poppy bloggers. I'm an old friend of Lee's, whom he invited months ago to join this fine discussion. I'm just now getting around to it. My screen name, country feedback, tells you a bit about my musical DNA; it's the title, as you probably know, of an old R.E.M. song, one of my favorites. Stipe and the boys were my first musical love back in the day. (that's if I don't count that high school obsession with rap, of course; public enemy, krs-one, n.w.a. - i was an angry black man trapped inside the body of a 16-year-old white boy) Anyway, here's another telling snapshot of my musical tastes: I've compiled my Top 10 albums of 2005, as well as some honorable mentions. I tend to stray toward the indie stuff, but, as Lee would say, I'm always just a sucker for a good melody, too. Here goes, in no particular order. (+ denotes "with highest honors")

* New Pornographers - "Twin Cinema" +
* Stars - "Set Yourself on Fire"
* Rogue Wave - "Descended Like Vultures"
* Spoon - "Gimme Fiction" +
* Wilco - "Kicking Television: Live in Chicago"
* Ben Folds - "Songs for Silverman"
* Sufjan Stevens - "Illinois"
* Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - self-titled +
* Fiona Apple - "Extraordinary Machine"
* Andrew Bird - "The Mysterious Production of Eggs" +

Honorable Mention:
* Wolf Parade - "Apologies to the Queen Mary"
* The National - "Alligator"
* Bloc Party - "Silent Alarm"
* Sleater-Kinney - "The Woods"
* The Decemberists - "Picaresque"
* Death Cab for Cutie - "Plans"
* Broken Social Scene - self-titled
* Feist - "Let It Die"
* Ryan Adams - "Cold Roses"

Thoughts? Comments? Any "if you like this, you'll like this" sort of suggestions?

Game on.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Music to Your Ears

A new Mates of State tune emerged right before the holiday. It's from their upcoming CD. Thanks for the link DirtyPop. Sounds good. Not groundbreaking, but good.

New MoS - Fraud in the 80s

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

After Years of Waiting Nothing Came

Unlike Ed O'Brien, I would never, ever characterize a Radiohead album as "a little bit in the comfort zone." Nonetheless, that kind of thinking has led them to abandon their longtime producer Nigel Godrich for their new album. They still have plenty of recording to do so don't expect any new music for a long while.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

If I Run I Can Free My Worried Mind

A Cold Dan WilsonWhat do you do after your band is put on semi-permanent hiatus because three albums only produced one hit? Everything. Members of Semisonic are ridiculously prolific since putting the brakes on the band best known for Closing Time.

Drummer Jacob Slichter wrote a great read on the Semisonic story and the burdens of high expectations in the music business. The unfortunately named So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star is a must for anybody who's wanted to know how a band grows, hits, and sputters.

Bassist John Munson has a few music projects currently underway. The most recent is The New Standards, a jazz trio that just released a CD full of curious covers. Consider this the jazz version of the Moog Cookbook. He's also in a band, either called The Flops or The Dark Nights (with Matt Wilson, Dan's brother). I don't think that's quite finalized, although The Flops already have released music. Finally, Munson is evidently a student of Chinese traditional music, although, I'm not quite convinced that's legit.

Guitarist and chief songwriter Dan Wilson is not taking a break either. The most talented member of Semisonic (in my opinion) has produced, written, and sung with others (including Glen Phillips of Toad, Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing, and even the Dixie Chicks) over the past couple of years. He's also had time to record his own original music, and evidently, his new CD will be released under the Warner/Reprise umbrella sometime in spring or summer.

And don't forget where they got started: Trip Shakespeare.

Phew. I'm exhausted just writing about them. Enjoy some downloads and previews:

MP3: Pleasure (Semisonic) - If I Run (demo) (via)
MP3 Preview: The New Standards - The New Pollution (Beck cover) (via)
MP3: The Flops - Drummer Like Me (via)
MP3: Dan Wilson - Everything I Own (Bread cover) (via)
MP3: Dan Wilson - What a Year for a New Year (via)

They Should Try To Hold On Best They Can

Great! I'm tired of hearing all about the Flaming Lips without hearing any decent new music (soundtracks, blah; covers, blah). So much buzz and their new album is finally coming out in April (wait, April?!?). Damn, I guess we're stuck with music-less buzz for a few months. At least there will be a new song released on January 10 and a newly remixed DVD of their classic Soft Bulletin on January 31.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We Only Acted Out an Imitation

In the spirit of the holidays, Splitsville has made available a free download of their version of the Who's Our Love Was. Enjoy, and merry holidays.

MP3: Splitsville - Our Love Was (Who cover) (via)

Trying to Change the Whole Wide World

Just a reminder, a week and a half ago or so Amnesty International released some digital download covers of classic Lennon tunes for its Make Some Noise initiative. I have yet to download any of the tracks but The Postal Service and The Cure sound very interesting. Snow Patrol's version of Isolation seems a bit disappointing, but keep in mind I've yet to hear the whole thing.

iPod fans: annoyingly, these releases are .wma files, which means you'll have to figure out a different way to get them on your preferred music listening device.

If anything, it's a good cause at the right time of year to be thinking about good causes.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Am I the Sentimental Favorite of the Day?

Three Wishes has been cancelled. Three Wishes was that cheesy show that granted three wishes to somebody. And Amy Grant was the one who granted those wishes. Get it? Grant? I'm shocked it's cancelled.

Anyway, Owsley, who is quite a fine pop artist himself, has been a guitarist for Grant's band for years. I believe he helped compose the theme song for that ill-fated program. That was just some of the news from his email list. I happen to think more interesting than that is the fact that rare and new music may be coming out on iTunes in January. From the email list:

Owsley has been in contact with iTunes and they are excited to get some more singles coming our way, probably in January. They have talked about releasing “Mess With Me” (yeah!) (Ed. note: Mess With Me is only available on the Japanese import copy of his first CD, an excellent, grammy-nominated collection of power pop), possibly the Cars tribute song he did plus some song we have yet to hear! While working on other projects (below) Will continues to write and record in his studio, so by no means has he totally shut the door on his solo work. He’ll be in LA next month and is working to line up an acoustic gig while he’s in town… we’ll post any info when it’s nailed down.

Photo is from his official site

How Stupid Is It? I Can't Talk About It

I just don't think Weezer matters anymore. Distractions like this certainly don't help matters. Sometimes, rarely actually, individual personalities grow bigger than the band and it works (think Time's Person of the Year Bono), but all too often, especially when that person desperately wants to be bigger than his band (think Rivers) but doesn't have that kind of Bono-charisma, it ruins the whole damn thing, including the music. Just stop it.

And the Heroes You Met Were Just Fiction

Here are some more details on The Elected's new release, coming out on January 24. The Elected is a "side project" of a primary member of Rilo Kiley, although, in their world, what makes a side project? All those indie artists are in one way or another involved with some other indie band, which inspired me to revisit liveplasma to explore all the connections a bit further, but unfortunately, they don't even have The Elected in their database. Still, checking out Rilo Kiley is interesting.

MP3: The Elected - Greetings in Braille (via)

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm tired of playing the Sue Me Sue You Blues

Want to put lyrics in iTunes or your iPod? You better do it quick. The recording industry is now starting to go after lyric sites.

We're Together Face to Face, My Apple Scruffs

Apple Corps. is continuing in its quest to become the most litigious vanity label ever. I guess it is the Beatles catalog we're talking about.

Why Stir Up Memories?

God, yes, another Paul McCartney post. I'm sorry. It'll die down after awhile. He must be short some cash because he's pushing a lot of product this year, and I had to share this one.

He's made available a few vinyl copies of the original Russian printing of Choba B CCCP. This was an album of oldies he did back in 1988 that was exclusively released in the Soviet Union until a version was made available in the US a few years later. It was ridiculously collectible in those few years it was not available here, and now you can get a legit copy of the original thing. It's a very cool gift idea for any Beatles collector. I'm not a big fan of covers and oldies and crap, but this is certainly some of McCartney's best work.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Over Pine Ridge To Wounded Knee

Super-rare Todd The Wet Sprocket Song available for download. All I'll Ever Need was recorded live in Athens, GA back in 1991.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It Pays My Way and It Corrodes My Soul

You always get so excited when you hear about a great band "regrouping" or "reuniting." So naturally I got excited to see the Smiths were "regrouping," albeit for temporary purposes. Not so much. Without Morrissey, there can be no Smiths reunion. But really, do we want to see a reunited Smiths? Can't we just keep their dreadfully moody music as a recurring memory of our teenage years? That's where I prefer to keep it. Anybody got any razorblades?

Just the Basic Facts

On March 6, David Gilmour is coming out with his first solo album in over 20 years. I think I'm more freaked out that 1984 was over 20 years ago than I am excited that my favorite member of Pink Floyd is releasing new music!

Monday, December 12, 2005

But In Truth I'm Lost For Words

Snow Patrol will release Eyes Open in April. Hopefully, there will at least be another cool tune like Run.

Who Doesn't Know What I'm Talking About

Why do I make myself vulnerable to criticism?! Sigh. In the spirit of the mantra of this blog ("just pop music"), and the idea that we're not trying to pass any hipster tests, I pass along information about - gulp - the Dixie Chicks.

I'd be happy to expand upon my thoughts on why they are too poppy material, but not today. But I do think there's potential in working with Rick Rubin. His work with Johnny Cash revived his career. The Chicks could use some raw edge that he might apply.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We're Dancing All Around

Barsuk Records is one of the good guys. They've proven their good taste with some new signings. More cut-and-paste lazy-ass goodness:

Barsuk is pleased to present three new additions to our roster: Mates of State, Starlight Mints, and Viva Voce. The debut Barsuk release from Mates of State, bring it back, will be out March 21, 2006, and features ten songs of unabashed joy. Starlight Mints will release their Barsuk debut the following month (April '06), followed sometime later in the year by an album from Viva Voce. Check the website in the coming weeks for more news, information, and sample MP3s

Viva Voce anyone? They're new to me but descriptively sound similar to MoS. Very cool. And very cool news about a new MoS album too!

Sony BMG Update

Very interesting. Just received an email from the Sarah McLachlan list (see below). Obviously, her new CD is one of those offensive Sony BMG pieces of crap. A little good will (if you can even call their disingenuous message good will) a month after this controversy exploded is way too little way too late. Idiots.

Do you have Sarah Mclachlan's Bloom (Remix Album)? Get important information regarding security updates for the content protection software contained on this CD. http://sonybmg.com/mediamax/

Get Some Rest...

I'm tired, it's late, and my brain hurts from studying. Time to cut and paste...

Just announced via email list:
A very exciting announcement for Mike Viola fans: Mike's new record "Just Before Dark" will be available on www.candybutchers.com on Friday, Dec. 9th, in a limited edition vinyl release. The first 200 people to purchase the vinyl will receive a CD version free! (This album won't be distributed on CD -- digital downloads and vinyl only -- so this will make a cool and rare holiday gift for any fan of Candy Butchers.) Happy Holidays from Candy Butchers Central! www.mikeviola.com www.myspace.com/mikeviola www.candybutchers.com

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's Been Too Long Since We Took the Time

December 8 marks the 25th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. Anniversary isn't really the right word. Aren't anniversaries supposed to be happy? Anyway, you'd think his widow would be the best individual to properly mark this occassion, but she's too busy mucking up his legacy. Leave it to everybody else:

Thursday: Lennon Live tribute on Sirius (Stereo MCs still exist?!?)
Saturday: Amnesty International releases digital covers by Postal Service, Snow Patrol, and Cure
About has a BBC listening guide for other goodies.

And somehow, the excellent documentary Imagine: John Lennon, which was released theatrically in 1988, has finally received the proper DVD treatment to little fanfare. This is an incredible look at his life and would be a proper way to honor his legacy.

Very Gay, Hip Hooray

Paul McCartney continues to milk his new album for all it's worth. Now, you have a chance to remix bits and pieces of his new tunes. Cool idea, I just never thought of remixing Paul McCartney. But, you could win his signature and your remix on a disc, which would be a very cool one-of-a-kind McCartney momento.

Monday, December 05, 2005

You Only See What People Want You To See

Oasis is coming back to North America in the new year. Dates are slowly trickling out.

Oasis is one of the more divisive bands in music. Most people seem to hate them for the very reason why they were so successful in the first place: sounding like the most derivative band ever. After the significant success of What's the Story, Morning Glory?, Oasis was really in a catch-22: do more of the same and continue being successful while alienating the cool kids, or try to get cool. They tried to get cool for a couple albums with shaky results. Their last couple releases have been surprisingly consistent with their early material and I invite (nay, challenge) you to revisit Oasis.

Saw them in Minneapolis during their height of popularity and was not disappointed (although I was almost killed by black ice on the way there, but that's another story for another blog).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I Love, Love, Love, Love, Love Her

WHAT THE HELL?!?!? Yoko Ono is off her frickin' rocker. Evidently, John Lennon's underrated (and one of my favorites) Walls and Bridges was recently reissued with some substantial changes made by that -- that -- that -- thing. Why must people mess with the original product, particularly under the guise of finally released remastered versions (not unlike Paul McCartney's misguided efforts to change the order of Beatles songwriting credits)?! It is unacceptable to mess with your deceased husband's choice of artwork, but that is nothing compared with changing his music!!! Holy god this woman is atrocious.

Related: Evidently that woman has just released a new version of one of the tunes from Double Fantasy in order to advocate for gay marriage. You can find it on iTunes. I won't link to it. Not because I'm against gay marriage. That's irrelevant. I'm against her.

One final note: I was checking out Pat DiNizio's website (he of Smithereens fame) when I came across this news. Just so you didn't think I'm up late at night reading FOXNews.

Friday, December 02, 2005

This Bird Has Flown

Last night my local NPR station (KUNI for those who care, Mark Simmet rocks!) played Low - Nowhere Man off of the THIS BIRD HAS FLOWN: A 40TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES' RUBBER SOUL. I like it. I like it more than most Low. I'm hot or cold with them. I know several of the too poppy readers are bigger fans of the Beatles than I. What do you think? Salon.com's Audiofile had this as their daily download the other day.

Really quick. How much do I love public radio. This much:

ELVIS COSTELLO - THE OTHER SIDE OF SUMMER
SON VOLT - BANDAGES & SCAR
THE KING OF FRANCE - SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE
MATT POND PA - SEVERAL AROWS LATER
WOLF PARADE - SAME GHOST EVERY NIGHT
WILCO - HEAVY METAL DRUMMER
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH - LET THE COOL GODDESS RUST AWAY & THE SKIN OF MY YELLOW COUNTRY TEETH
MY MORNING JACKET - LAY LOW
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS - STACKED CROOKED
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS - FREQUENCY
GRATEFUL DEAD - BIG RAILROAD BLUES
THE CURE - OUT OF THIS WORLD
BECK - THE LITTLE DRUM MACHINE BOY

There's more. Much more. But this many good songs in one four hour stretch rules. Now I feel guilty. I need to pledge.

Trust Me, Dear, You're Better Off This Way

Guster is taking over this blog. Guster suggests renaming it Too Guster. Guster is getting a big head because Guster's new tune, available on iTunes, is quite delictable. Guster embraces piano pop! Guster hearts pop. Me gusta Guster.

Oh yeah, Guster is now on MySpace. Who isn't? Too Poppy ain't. Maybe soon.

UPDATE: You can now visit myspace.com/toopoppy to find out I'm a pisces. Wow.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Get this... Get this... I will be warm again.

I can't get enough Beta Band. While painting my porch I put the song Simple on repeat and listened to it for an hour. Maybe that's too much for you, it isn't for me. If you aren't intimately familiar with them, change your ways. Simple is on their fourth album Heroes to Zeros. Buy it, here's a link to Amazon, that seems pretty easy. If you need to hear a sample listen to it on iTunes or you could probably download it here at Veritas Lux Mea. I don't hate my friends.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Thought of All the Stupid Things I've Done

What the hell happened to the Coldplay of Yellow and Trouble? Or even In My Place? In his increasingly desperate pleas to be the new Bono (or even Michael Stipe), Chris Martin started putting political messages on his fingers, arms, whatever. Ok, fine. Then he married an annoying, snobby celebrity who really didn't deserve her Oscar. Sure, that's to be expected. Then he had a kid and named it after a fruit. Hey, I like apples, even computer and record apples despite their disagreements. But to subject a child to such punishment is disappointing to say the least. Then, they release a by-the-numbers third album that had some decent tunes (Speed of Sound) and one horrific piece of garbage (Fix You). Now, they're releasing their next single as a ringtone during CSI:NY. YIKES! It doesn't happen much, but when the BS starts outweighing the quality of the music, it's not even worth the iPod space anymore (warning: Flaming Lips, you're dangerously close to meeting a similar fate). With the exceptions of the decent tunes already mentioned, Coldplay is dead to me.

Rant over.

I Break the Silence That Keeps It All In

Guster satisfies ambitions. Guster gives more details about the new album. Guster named its new album Ganging Up On the Sun. Guster keeps me happy. Me gusta Guster.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

You're the Best Thing That I've Ever Found

As my fourth day of constant Thanksgiving heartburn lingers, I reach for the Tums to find out they are long gone. I consider a home remedy such as a teaspoon of vinegar, but the momentary pain of that vinegar as it hits my already acidic esophagus seems to be not worth it. So to ignore the discomfort, I sit back and enjoy Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and her recently leaked solo rendition of Handle With Care, originally done by the Traveling Wilburys. I enjoy it, yet, the heartburn remains. Curses.

It is quickly becoming my favorite experience with the tune since Tom Petty's surprising cover during his summer stop in Des Moines, which, at the time, was my favorite experience with the tune since it was released in 1988.

MP3 @ gorilla vs. bear

Monday, November 21, 2005

We'd Love To Take You Home, Each and Every One

Every now and then, you need to listen to something that truly reminds you of listening to old radio on your headphones back when you were growing up. It's like comfort food. Not Lame recently turned me on to Fred. Think harmonies, piano, and keyboards. Not surprisingly (once you listen), Chris Manning, formerly of Jellyfish and Roger Manning's brother, produced their CD Sound Awake. The comparisons to Jellyfish are worthy, probably the most worthy I've heard in years. Fred also reminds me of Mike Viola / Candybutchers, which isn't surprising because they remind me of Jellyfish. And don't be afraid to say it sounds groovy. I think that's an appropriate description for it. It feels like a guilty pleasure, but I don't think it is. I don't feel guilty anyway. I'm really digging it and think you might too. They truly fit the Too Poppy mold. Enjoy plenty of streams, etc.:

Official site
Not Lame site
CD Baby site
Myspace site

And buy it from Not Lame. They deserve some credit for this. They sent me a special email telling me about Fred because I've bought Jellyfish from them before. You gotta love that kind of personal attention (as opposed to Amazon's cool but often misguided recommendations feature).

Sony BMG Sued Under Anti-Spyware Laws

Ah, sweet justice. Sony BMG is being sued for their "anti-piracy" software quietly loaded onto unsuspecting user's computers.

Strange Fascination, Fascinating Me

David Bowie as Nikola Tesla? Brilliant! Keep track of developments with IMDB.

You Might Think It's Foolish

Why do bands think it's ok to continue and/or reunite without some of the members who were really the heart and soul in the band's original incarnation?! Really, how many bands have been successful at this? I suppose Van Halen was moderately successful, but they have since felt the same fate many bands feel when they do something stupid like this. At least Alex Chilton is involved in the new Posies-ish Big Star. Regardless of your opinion of Todd Rundgren, to have him essentially replace Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr in a newly reformed Cars just reeks of a bad idea. Get Ric to participate, or just don't do it. Damn, greed and mis-Fortune (ha ha) have already ruined the legacy of INXS. Let's not spoil the Cars too.

Friday, November 18, 2005

So Go On If This Will Make You Happier

Guster is crazy. Guster is releasing a new single five months before the album. Guster sent me a special message about this. Guster would like me to share this message with you. Me gusta Guster.

Okay, so this will be really quick. We have a release date for "Manifest Destiny / Sorority Tears" -- the first nugget of music we're throwing your way from all the recording we've done this year.
While the album won't be out until April, you'll be able to download this little song-and-a-half from the iTunes Music Store and other major digital media sites on Nov 29th. I suppose that with all the computer savvy Gustertrons out there, combined with the low low price of 99 cents for the download, combined with one more naggy emailer dropping on the 29th of the month, we are aiming to shake up the iTunes world with the kind of five-months-before-the-album response that will earn us our own collector's item Guster iPods with a pastel color for each member of the band.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bonji Infects Hisself

So I decided to take one for the team and buy the new My Morning Jacket - Z. As always, I'm a little underwhelmed by their studio work (saw them live opening for GBV and that spoiled me). Now I got this infection...it burns when I pee or when I try to play the disc through my default audio playa. Thanks Sony! Right after I get myself to the clinic, I'm callin' your mama...and your boyfriend...and your sister.

And while I'm all negative now, lemme tell you about Brian Wilson's SMiLE. I've never been a Beach Boys fan, but all the hype and all the cool press on SMiLE piqued my interest...especially when I read things like "Smile-like psychedelia" in other album's reviews. It took me close to six months just to get the dang disc out of the package (how about a thumb slot next time). Uggh...I'm concerned I missed something, and I will really give it a few more chances, but at no time while listening to the album did I find anything worth listening to more than three times. The Bonji is usually down with drug-induced artistic achievements, especially when they've been given the grace of a 38 year sobering up. But here, right now, color me deeply disappointed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Why Don't You Roll It Out, Carry It Away?

Ambulance Driver by Superdrag just popped up on the ol' iPod (no, really, it's old by today's standards - it doesn't even have a color screen, yikes - so embarrassing!) and what a hell of a song. They are currently "on hiatus," so it might be a good time to catch up on stuff you probably never even bothered to listen to. They have a ton of releases out there. I first was turned on to them with their perfect pop song Sucked Out. I think every decent pop band has a perfect pop song in them (e.g. Tearaways' Jessica Something, Lightning Seeds' Pure) and that was indeed theirs. But it didn't end there for them. In the Valley of Dying Stars is the most recent thing I have from them and I still love the hell out of it when I hear it. A great album and highly recommended. Superdrag truly deserves a spot in the power pop canon.

Check out some downloads by Superdrag and their relations here.

iPod Mania: Internet iTunes Registry

iPod Mania: Internet iTunes Registry

This is very cool. I tried to upload my XML file earlier today. Didn't work the first time and the second time took too long. I look forward to adding my mix to the, uh, mix.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Who Am I Supposed to Be?

Hit the ol' bookstore last night to gulp a frappacino and browse the way overpriced CDs and noticed the new Q magazine has a free (whatever: the mag costs 8 or 9 bucks) CD that includes lots of covers of John Lennon tunes. It's been 25 years since he was killed, you see, so we must celebrate. Everybody celebrates deathdays, right? Joseph Arthur does a cover of Look At Me. Get it while you can.

MP3: Joseph Arthur - Look at Me (John Lennon cover) (via Copy, Right?)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Important

Not too long ago, it was discovered that Sony was infecting computers with copy protection technology called XCP. Some of its CDs include this software that hides itself once loaded onto your computer. It's a crap move and it's created quite a backlash. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published an incomplete list of these dangerous CDs. Use them carefully. Don't buy them. Boycott Sony. Buy a Mac. Whatever. As consumers, we should have the right to know exactly what we're buying, and we should have a right to listen to our music without infecting our computers. This kind of tactic will inevitably have the adverse effect -- why wouldn't music lovers track down electronic versions (legal or even illegal) to avoid this? Let's just hope other companies don't try a similar bone-headed move.

UPDATE: Who didn't see this coming?

UPDATE 2: This is getting ridiculous: Macs are allegedly not safe either.

UPDATE 3: Sony temporarily suspends its intrusive abuse of its customers. I'm sure their R&D department is busy at work on how to alienate more music customers.

UPDATE CUATRO: Boing Boing has a great timeline and continues to publish new updates.
UPDATE CINCO: Jeez - Thanks a lot, Sony

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Amir Baltezar


One of the things I love about the internet is the ability to find music I never would otherwise. This week I found it on one of my favorite blogs Catbirdseat. In this month's mix they placed Sub-Division's Express at number one. Which is exactly where it should be.

Sub-Division is from Mexico City but Amir Baltezar's vocals sound like she could be from Japan or Scandanavia. Comparison to early Bjork or Jesus and the Mary Chain are inevitable.

The stand out in the 3-song EP is Express. You can stream The Primos EP here. The feel of it really reminds me of the first time I heard Calla when they opened for Interpol. Dirty, distorted, beautiful. They really deserve their own post.

Like everyone else they are now on myspace.

So Keep On Playing Those Mind Games Together

John Lennon breaks the Beatle bias against digital distribution by releasing his new compilation digitally this week and the rest of his catalog in December. Of course, thanks to Apple v. Apple, he won't be popping up on iTunes any time soon.

Related: a new and unfortunate Hollywood flick about the murder of Lennon will feature, naturally, L.Lo.

Another One Bites the Dust

Say goodbye to file-swapping Grokster. Hello, iTunes.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

You Know My Name, Look Up My Number


Ah, new technology. The porn industry embraces it first, the Beatles last. According to this article, EMI, who owns the masters, but not the rights to the Beatles music, has been pressuring Apple Corps to embrace the digital music age.

But Apple Computer is yet again in a trademark infringement lawsuit with Apple Corp. Seems the last time they were in court, Apple Corp agreed that Apple Computer could use the name "Apple" as long as they didn't make music. The reported settlement Apple Computer paid was 30 million. When the Macintosh came out, it was capable of producing sounds and music. In typical Apple Computer rebelious fashion, one of the system alert sounds was named "Sosumi" (So Sue Me).

Now that Apple Computer is selling music, Apple Corps believes they are violating their agreement. I'd say that the case was delaying the Beatles appearance on iTunes, but I'm not sure. If you look back in history, they were always the last to jump on the technology bandwagon. Stereo. 8-Track. Cassette. CD's.

As a Beatles fanatic, I already own every song commercially released, as well as quite a few more. So I don't need to download their music. I'm just patiently waiting for them to upgrade the current CD's which were released in the 80's. Listen to their latest release, 1, and you can hear the incredible difference in quality. The bass is incredible (Come Together) and the quality is pristine.

C'mon Apple (Corps), get with the times and get on iTunes so that your fans - old and new - can get the Beatles music. Even the friggin' Rolling Stones are on iTunes.

Breakfast Is On The Kitchen Counter

The Odds - Neopolitan
Retro Time - I was listening to an album by a somewhat obscure but awesome early-90's band, The Odds, called Neopolitan.

It has probably been about 3 years since I've listened to this gem. What a great album and what great memories it brings back. Stand-out tracks include Eternal Ecstasy, Wendy Under The Stars, Truth or Dare, Trees, Domesticated Blind and Big White Wall. Hey, I told you it was a good album.

Follow-up albums didn't quite capture the magic in my opinion, but Bedbugs came pretty close. Check 'em out. Unfortunately they're not available in iTunes.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Chad VanGaalen


Chad VanGaalen is finally starting to get some more respect. I wish I could remember which blog first introduced me to him in December of '04 because they deserve some major kudos. For those of you who have yet to be introduced CVG is a recent addition to the SubPop label. They have just rereleased his incredible album Infiniheart. It was first released on Canada's Flemish Eye label. He's been compared to Beck, the Flaming Lips, Neil Young, and Modest Mouse. None of these comparisons seemed quite as good as Bonji's suggestion that it sounded like Neutral Milk Hotel. Listen to CVG's Clinically Dead and to NMH's Holland 1945. Both brilliant. He isn't Jeff Mangum yet but I can't wait to see what comes next.

If you are going to buy anything from SubPop why don't you pick up CVG as well. It is well worth your expense. Oh Canada you really are where the music is lately. I just need more Godspeed You Black Emperor.

One Last Time These Words From Me

Guster has some more news. Guster is expecting to release its new album in April. Guster has new t-shirts. Guster is my co-pilot is one of them. Guster makes me smile. Guster is still not coming to Des Moines. Me gusta Guster.

No Love or Pill Could Keep Her Cool

Yoko has apologized for living off her late husband's legacy for all these years. Well, not quite, but supposedly she didn't mean what she said about Paul.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Home, Don't It Seem So Far Away?

Neil Diamond will forever remind me of my childhood. If it wasn't Simon & Garfunkel playing on the family van's eight-track, then it was likely Mr. Diamond. If it wasn't my dad blaring Bob Seger, Wings, or the Eagles on the home stereo, then it was likely Mr. Diamond. I can thank my mom for that.

So hearing his voice singing on any tune always has an oddly calming effect on me and pushes me to sentimental areas I don't always visit. With that said, it's refreshing to hear him on his new CD pushing past his own schmaltzy comfort zone and revisiting the more raw, singer-songwriter he was in his early days. Not unlike Paul McCartney's surprising use of Radiohead/Beck producer Nigel Godrich on his most recent, Mr. Diamond's latest, 12 Songs, is produced by Rick Rubin. Yep, the same Rick Rubin who has produced everybody from Slayer to Tom Petty, System of a Down to Johnny Cash. Quite a repertoire.

I challenge you to push past your own comfort zone and chill out to some Mr. Diamond on a cool November day.

On a side note, he's Mr. Diamond to me because he seems like a friend of my parents' or something.

STREAM: Neil Diamond - 12 Songs (via MySpace)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Our Shadows Will Remain


The first and possibly only complete cd I ever downloaded and burned from the old cool Napster was Joseph Arthur's Come to Where I'm From. It took some time but I've since rectified it by purchasing this and his other albums.

He's come a long way since then and his latest album Our Shadows Will Remain created quite a buzz. Rolling Stone Critic Chris Rubin has called it the best album of 2004 (Nod to the Faint's Joel Peterson and Broken Spindles in at 8). USA Today says. "Shades of David Bowie, that godfather of so many adventurous modern rock acts, keep popping up on this latest effort from critical and cult favorite Arthur. Folding funk, punk and pop textures into arrangements that are at once raw and gracefully atmospheric, the singer/songwriter glides from lithe, pulsating numbers such as ‘Wasted' to the rougher, more muscular ‘Devil's Broom.'"

Even Dan the Automator has gotten on the Arthor bandwagon remixing his song Even Tho. For those who do like remixes (I do) you can find it on the 14th Floor Label.

For those new to JA check out some of my favorites. Chemicals, Honey and Moon, Redemption's Son, and In the Sun. Unfortunately Come to Where I'm From isn't offered in iTunes but you can hear samples on Amazon. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tune It All Out and Turn It Up Too Loud

Time to catch up with dada (the band). The last we heard from them was their less-than-great 2004 reunited (and it should have felt so good) CD, How to Be Found. No, I'm not here to announce a new CD. Rather, it's an opportunity to buy dada merchandise ON SALE! Don't ever say this blog doesn't serve a public purpose.

If the guys ever bring their live show out of California again, I highly recommend it. I've seen them twice in two very different venues (Chicago and Des Moines) and both times they exceeded my expectations. The drummer is excellent.

And if you haven't listened to their debut Puzzle in a while, I'd recommend doing that too. If you don't have it, the sale (!!!) is a good opportunity to buy the reissue at a reduced price (keep in mind only their self-titled and underappreciated 1998 release is available on iTunes and not on the dada site -- iTunes also has a few choice cuts from Puzzle). Get past the gimmicky Dizz Knee Land (although "I just flipped off President George" is likely a crowd favorite these days) and spend time with greats like Dim, Moon, Posters, Dorina -- really, the whole damn album.

Finally, check out dada-offshoot Butterfly Jones and Joie Calio's solo release, which are both excellent and are both better than How to Be Found (and both on sale too).

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I Hope You Feel The Way That I Do


Let me have this. I have a soft spot for Mandy Moore. It all began one warm summer afternoon when I saw the video for Crush. She bit her knee. Yes, she literally bit her knee. And for some reason, I was smitten.

Then she released Coverage, an album full of some choice covers. I was quite impressed, and it was quite cool that she worked with the likes of John "Strawberry" Fields and Andy Sturmer. And it gave me hope that she was something above and beyond the other blondies in the pop music world. She kinda has a cool voice that has a personality all its own. She even went brunette, which was pretty gutsy.

Now she's working with the likes of Adam Duritz and Chantal Kreviazuk for her new album. I realize Duritz of Counting Crows really hasn't done anything great since that first album, but what a great album! Sullivan Street?! Damn, gimme my iPod now. But Michelle Branch?!!? Mandy, you're slumming.

Come on, we all have our guilty pleasures.

As Fragile As Sugar Paper

My god, "as fragile as sugar paper?!" That is way lame. But Snow Patrol's Final Straw has been a nice guilty pleasure for me over the past year or so. I don't know why I feel guilty about it. But I do. I'm sorry. Run ... cool tune.

This Is Not a Joke So Please Stop Smiling

I don't care about live albums. I don't care about benefits. New studio albums, though, catch my attention. Wilco in 2006.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Shine On Til Tomorrow

After big shows earlier this year from Tom Petty and Green Day, Paul McCartney stopped by the new Iowa Events Center last night for an intimate and modest performance, which was neither intimate nor modest.

Let's get the bad stuff outta the way first:

  • Bad beer. Bud Light? At least Tom Petty had Sam Adams.
  • Too many guitar lifts following a song. It started to look like he just wanted some exercise.
  • The lack of cheesy-yet-necessary lighters: no smokers in Des Moines anymore? Let It Be was sadly not illuminated enough.
  • It had to end at some point. A real bummer.
Now the good:
  • The quality of musicianship. McCartney is underappreciated for his skills on guitar, piano, and especially bass. As a bassist, he truly deserves a spot at the top.
  • The choice of bandmates. The guitarists were so skilled it was almost embarrassing. And the drummer - damn.
  • The surprises: see below.
  • The stage. Video screens made up the floor and backdrop for a very cool submersive effect. The large video screen (for us in the nosebleeds) was crisp and colorful and as high-def as you could need. And the pyrotechnics were kept to a minimum for maximum effect (Live and Let Die was sweet, and his new one Follow Me had some nice cascading sparks near the end of the tune).
  • The music, obviously. It's timeless and life-affirming and just plain fun.
  • He delivers. He's a showman and he knows what the crowd wants. The crowd wants to see the Beatles classics live: Let It Be, Yesterday, Hey Jude (with the predictable yet necessary and enjoyable sing-along: who doesn't want to sing with Paul?!), Sgt. Pepper's, Back in the USSR, Eleanor Rigby, Penny Lane, I Will, and on and on and on. They want to see his best solo hits like Maybe I'm Amazed, Band on the Run, Jet, Let Me Roll It, etc. He's a master at creating a mood and sticking with it while seemlessly transitioning from ballads to anthems to rockers.
And finally, the surprises:
  • The DJ who opened the show (spinning bits and pieces of McCartney's ridiculously expansive library of tunes to great effect) was not necessarily expected, but definitely added a nice modern touch to the evening. It'd be great to find this somewhere online.
  • His new tunes, particularly Follow Me and Jenny Wren (the new single), stood up incredibly well with the classics. It seems Sir Paul really got it right with this new album.
  • I had some revelatory moments with old tunes that never really moved me much before last night. Blackbird, in particular, was quite possibly the highlight of the night for me and I would have never expected that. The tune is universal and transcedent and something I'll never listen to in the same way again. Similarly, Eleanor Rigby far exceeded my expectations as a live tune. Amazing.
  • It was really cool to hear him perform some unconventional choices. Too Many People from his Wings days was likely the most surprising choice, but older tunes, including the pre-Beatles In Spite of All Danger, really set things in proper historical perspective, speaking of which...
  • The man is 63 and barely seems 40. He played for nearly 3 hours and hardly broke a sweat. It'd be one thing if he spent the whole time sitting at the piano, but he only did that for a few tunes. He was up-front keeping up with his much younger bandmates without any problem. True, his voice cracked at times and he can't belt out Helter Skelter like he could on the studio version, but this only added organic authenticity to the songs and his persona. The show may have been over-scripted, but it never really felt that way because of that.
I could go on and on, and probably will in person if you ask. For now, though, I will revel in my post-show glow and simply let it be.

Tomorrow I Start In a New Direction

Guster has some news. Guster is playing live shows. Guster is not playing Des Moines. Guster is releasing new music. Guster is my friend. Me gusta Guster.

College Girls Aren't Really That Easy

Hey happy readers - it's been quite awhile since the ol' Bonj had words for you. The Mates of State gig at ISU's Memorial WhatEver MShop Thing back in late September was a blast. Kori and Jason played louder than any two people I've ever seen, and the grroovvee was insane. Who knew an all-ages show still meant us a-dolts could get wrecked on decent beer? Lots of very pretty girlies, but knowing they're all about 10 years younger than me is a) depressing; b) daunting; c) funny when one is wrecked on decent beer.

Also picked up some newer things...Wolf Parade's Apologies to the Queen Mary is currently in Bonji's Heavy Rotation. If you haven't checked it out, DO IT NOW. Part of me says it's very much what U2 would sound like today if they would have held onto the Fire and not gone adult smarmy.

Saw a few cool bands to dig on Subterranean recently. Can't remember any of them, but I did TIVO the show. I'll be back with names. Loves to everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm Your Nightmare, Little Man

Ben Folds takes the inevitable aging-pop-star step of releasing a live recording with backing by a full-fledged orchestra. It probably sounds kinda pretty and stuff.

What next, an opera about One Angry Dwarf or something?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Never Said Nothing

I have yet to really get into podcasting. My commute is too short. But news that Liz Phair is podcasting while on the road helps me see the potential that this new medium really has. Although, I don't know if I have enough patience to hear Phair read her original fiction. Maybe it's good, who knows, but I don't want to waste precious iPod time on mere words without music.

Hmm, don't tell me she's going to release a book of poetry next, ala Jewel. Gack. Oh god, maybe Jewel will start podcasting ... we've gone down a bad road here, folks.

PODCAST: Liz Phair

Notable New Releases

In no particular order:

Fiery Furnaces - Rehearsing My Choir
Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures
Earlies - These Were the Earlies
George Harrison - The Concert for Bangladesh
They Might Be Giants - They Got Lost
Dramarama - Everybody Dies
Dead Can Dance - Memento: The Very Best of Dead Can Dance
Daniel Ash - Come Alive
Lagniappe: A Saddle Creek Benefit for Hurricane Katrina
This Bird Has Flown: 40th Anniversary Tribute to Rubber Soul
Cardigans - Super Extra Gravity

TMBG, Dramarama, Dead Can Dance, Ash: what the hell, is this 1990?!?

You Make Me Wanna La La

Read "La La" as "throw a hard object at your head." The lesser of the Simpson girls (and that's saying a lot) debuts at number one on the Billboard charts, beating out new ones from Depeche Mode and others. Bad yikes.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Now It May Seem So Far From Where We All Are


Before Live 8 and Live Aid and Farm Aid and other aids was The Concert for Bangladesh spearheaded by George Harrison. Revisit it next week on DVD and CD.

VIDEO STREAM: The Concert for Bangladesh - Trailer

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's Just a Fond Farewell to a Friend

Stereogum and others has provided yet another excellent tip: unreleased Elliott Smith tunes that have leaked. Find them all here.

Sigh, too poppy, playing catch-up again. Vacation will do that to you.

There Is a Fine Line Between Mark-up and Rip-off

Paul McCartney has opened a store to sell merchandise from his current tour. $35 for a t-shirt? Jumping Jehosephat!

Related: PM in DM in one week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Limits Now Were None

Sabbath, Blue's Clues, Flaming Lips ... frankly, it just makes sense.

There's Always Another Wound to Discover


Now this is cool: liveplasma music

Pick a band, any band, and it will map out other bands within the interests, style and other criteria. The size of the halo around the artist shows its popularity. A really interesting way to discover new bands. Oh yeah, they also do movies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Make an Old Man Wish for Younger Days

Despite being a Commodore fan back in the day, this seems a bit sad and pathetic. Looks familiar, eh?

Thanks to Stereogum for the lead on this.

Are You a Fool, or Is It True?

In yet another stellar attempt to honor the memory of her late husband on what would have been his 65th birthday, Yoko Ono takes a cheap shot at Paul McCartney at the Q awards.

Related: I was quite surprised to see Oasis pick up a couple big awards. Don't Believe the Truth is a decent return to form for them, though, so it's good to see them recognized for it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Hope Someday You'll Join Us

Yesterday would have been John Lennon's 65th birthday. It's been 25 years since he was shot and killed in New York. To commemorate the occasion, Yoko and Capitol has found a way to compile his previously released material into a whole new release. Giving us little reason to purchase a compilation of music we already own sounds like a great way to honor Lennon's memory and contributions. Well, I suppose it's been "mastered from the most up-to-date sources."

Link
If anything, the signed birthday card is worth a look.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

With Your Opinion Which is of No Consequence At All

New Radiohead album reminds Yorke of Kid A. Too bad. I much prefer OK Computer or Bends, but I think I'm in the minority there.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Could Make You Satisfied In Everything You Do

Not a huge fan of tribute CDs, but this is bound to be one of the better ones: Elliott Smith.

Notable New Releases

Seriously, didn't I just post a huge list last week?! Yikes.
In no particular order:

Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
Finally. Too bad Jon Brion's getting the blame for the loooooong delay.

Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah. Convince me.

My Morning Jacket - Z
This and a cameo in Cameron Crowe's new flick? Wow. Special.

Liz Phair - Somebody's Miracle
Consensus: no me gusta.

Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
Just ... can't ... think ... of ... anything ... to ... type.

Celine Dion - On Ne Change Pas
Oh, god, no, eh. I didn't know Vegas acts still recorded.

Ladytron - Witching Hour
Their first one was a righteous table tennis soundtrack.

The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers
I read something somewhere sometime recently that made me remember their name.

John Lennon - Working Class Hero: The Definitive Collection
Yet another compilation. Must be the holidays. Just buy his damn albums and avoid crass cash-ins like this.

Andy Bell - Electric Blue
Worst Blue Man since Tobias.

Journey - Generations
Classic.

I Will Always Be Around

RIP: Michael Gibbins

Seems the curse of Badfinger continues.

Never Knew You Could Feel This Good

New Mike Viola. Feels good.

STREAM: Mike Viola (Candybutchers) - So Much Better

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oh Here's to My Sweet Satan

An entertaining time-waster if anything, although I don't think the title is entirely accurate. Some of this stuff is common knowledge.

Come On Tell Me the Answer

Go here and type in "give the finger." Amusing. And I stay true to the mission of this blog by posting this, dammit.

And Say Hello to the Now You Know

A Posies video? Wait, good bands still make videos so they might get played once or twice on MTV2? Or has MTV2 stopped playing videos too?

Incidentally, listened to their new CD again today. It keeps getting better and better. I believe Conversations is turning into a classic Posies tune.

VIDEO: The Posies - Conversations (via Rykodisc)
Naranjas!

Notable New Releases

I tend to miss so many new releases despite receiving updates every frickin' week. So, I'll add to the fray by listing my own notable new releases. Perhaps I won't miss too many now. Yeah, ok. This week:

Abandoned Pools - Armed to the Teeth
I remember hearing a tune or three a few years ago and really liking them. Oops, forgot to dig deeper.
Sample here.

Big Star - In Space
New Big Star?!? Goo.

Blind Melon - The Best of Blind Melon
What? One song?

Calla - Collisions
I'll defer to our elusive contributor Dirty Pop for this one.

Her Space Holiday - The Past Presents the Future
I dunno - I've heard of them.
MP3: Forever and a Day

The Joggers - With a Cape and a Cane
I hear a buzz.
Sample here.

Natalie Merchant - Greatest Hits
What? Two songs?

Ric Ocasek - Nexterday
I've heard good things about this but I've yet to hear it. Nice to see him doing his own stuff, though.

Supergrass - Road to Rouen
I've always meant to listen to more Supergrass. I particularly like their earlier stuff.
Sample here.

Neil Young - Prairie Wind
Legend.

Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era - 1976-1995
Smithereens, Posies, Spongetones, La's, Plimsouls, Teenage Fanclub, Inspiral Carpets, Wondermints: just a bit of what's in this box. No need to say more. Wow.

Just Say Sire: The Sire Records Story
Depeche Mode, Cure, Erasure, Modern English, Morrissey, Echo & the Bunnymen, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Ocean Blue, Ice-T: just a taste of what's in this box. No need to say more. Wow.

Veronica Mars Soundtrack
In the tradition of The OC, another TV show ruins good music, like Stereophonics, Delays, Ivy, etc. I miss Phantom Planet before The OC ruined California. Sigh.

Holy crap. I need money.

The Placenta Falls to the Floor

New Live soon. Who? Live. Who? Lightning Crashes, you know, that band. Oh, Live. Sure.

Saw them in NYC at Irving Plaza right before Throwing Copper was released. One of the most intense shows I've seen. Ed was in the crowd within seconds of starting the first song. They just never have really lived up to their promise. I think Ed has had some EGO issues.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Floating Out to Wonderland

Tired of all the Garbage?

Notable Upcoming Shows in Iowa

Just a small taste of what's to come for those of us in Iowa:

Saturday, September 24: Fruit Bats & Rogue Wave
Maintenance Shop, Ames

Saturday, September 24: Goldrush
Playground, Des Moines

Tuesday, September 27: The O.A.O.T.s
Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines

Wednesday, September 28: Mates of State
Maintenance Shop, Ames

Monday, October 10: Built to Spill
Gabe's Oasis, Iowa City

Tuesday, October 11: The Posies
Gabe's Oasis, Iowa City

Monday, October 24: dios (malos)
Maintenance Shop, Ames

Thursday, October 27: Paul McCartney
Iowa Events Center, Des Moines

Saturday, November 5: Local H
Maintenance Shop, Ames

Somebody who is bored in Iowa and whines about how we get no shows is simply not seeking them out. I was tempted to list Bon Jovi's tour kick-off date at the Events Center in November but I feel they're a bit ... off-topic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Podcasts are Not Lame

Strike that. Reverse it. No, that doesn't work either. Check out the new Not Lame podcast. I haven't yet, but I'm sure it's spiffy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Where the Dogs of Society Howl

What a great idea. Decent American artists could never pull off something like this.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nano Nano

Apple does it again.

Katrina Notes

Donate

Alex Chilton is safe.

Kanye West has balls, as inappropriately timed as they may be. And what an unlikely pairing with Jon Brion.

MTV and its network of boring sister stations are putting together another benefit concert to feature acts like Green Day, Paul McCartney, and others I care less about. Here's hoping they'll do better than their god-awful coverage of Live 8, which, incidentally, is getting the DVD treatment just in time for the holidays.

Jacko is looking to repeat We Are the World yet again. Gack!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It's About TIme You Understood Which Road To Take

Paul McCartney's new single, "Fine Line," can now be downloaded via his site. "Unfortunately, these downloads are currently only available for PC users as they use Windows Media 9 technology." WTF? I know the guy's heard of iTMS. Let's get on it, Macca.

New CD out September 13.

Speed On

One of my greater regrets in my music life was missing the Guided by Voices show for some reason. Can't remember why. That makes it even more aggravating. Their last show at Chicago's Metro is being released via DVD. I guess now I can experience a bit more than simply living vicariously through my friends who saw GBV without me.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sing Me Spanish Techno


Ok, so I'm really only part of the way through The New Pornographers' Twin Cinema. Gimme a break, it just went into the Jetta's changer over lunch.

I am smitten. Again. I liked Mass Romantic, loved The Electric Version, and the 7 or so tracks on TC that provided soundtrack to my lunchy-time adventures of office supplies and gas stations gave me that extra-special feeling of holding hands for the second time. You know, first times are great, but second times (when you really like the person the hand is attached to, and when you discover the first-time feeling wasn't your imagination) are even better.

Only one song I'd maybe skip over and that one grooved into a killer tune before it was over.

Sample a couple tracks at Matador Records.

Drenched in My Pain Again

Hmmmm. Sometimes music videos are very cool and can make a decent song seem great, although I can't think of an example right now. Other times, and more often than not, the opposite occurs. The examples of those are countless. I'm not sure how I feel about the not-so-subtle drama of the new Green Day video for "Wake Me Up When September Ends." You decide for yourself, but I'm not such a big fan of being bombarded with the message despite any agreement or disagreement I have with said message. On the other hand, it's no secret the message Green Day has been sending with American Idiot since it was released. I just wish the execution was more effective.

VIDEO: Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Kerrang!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Royal space halves and has it not, oh no!



So - who is geeked about Mates of State rolling through Ames on 28 Sep? I AM!

They'll be at the Maintenance Shop. Bad news, crazy adults...it's all ages. Mind your manners, and watch the public urination.

Their mad sound be teaching my nine-month-old C-Dog how to move since he was just a few days old. Since it's an AA show, maybe I get him up there, maybe I get him back stage, maybe I get a snapshot of MoS holding him. Maybe I just bring back an autograph for his scrapbook.

Until then, check out their available downloads from Polyvinyl.

Words Like Violence Break the Silence

Fast Fashion - no? - Fashion News? - blecch - Depeche Mode released a new single on iTunes this week. "Precious" has that classic DM sound we want to hear. New album Playing the Angel is due to be released on October 18.

ITUNES: Depeche Mode - Precious

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hey, Why Wait Another Day

Paul McCartney has posted two more new songs on his website (must be a registered user to hear): Jenny Wren and Promise to You Girl. On first listen: pleasant, but not mindblowing. Must give them more time soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I'm Not Above Singing Overdone Love Songs

If you haven't sampled Bleu yet, you must. Redhead is one of my favorite "power pop" releases of the past few years. He's great because he doesn't go to any lengths to look or sound "cool" and does not follow any particular trends. When I say "pop music," Bleu's Redhead is a great representation of what I mean. As we all know, a great deal of pop music can sound generic and anonymous. Bleu is quite distinctive and rises about most. He's got such a big sound. Perhaps it's his collaboration with Andy Sturmer.

Check out some demos from his upcoming release (when?) here. Download a classic below.

MP3: Bleu - I Won't Go Hollywood (bleutopia)

All I Want Is The Truth

Now that we're over 40 years removed from the beginning of the phenomenon that was (and is) The Beatles (which occurred a decade before I was even born), and with two gone for good and the other two making "memory music," we would serve ourselves well (as music lovers who want to continue the appreciation into future generations) if we shared with our kids not only the music, but our experiences with The Beatles. Can you imagine hearing Revolver again for the first time? It's a once in a lifetime experience and something for which I envy my kids. It's not just the music. It's an entire experience that, for me, was like no other. It's unlikely we'll ever see another band like them that had such a musical and historical impact, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

This article prompted this post. It's a quick read on John Lennon and his ongoing impact. How long will he/they stay relevant? Is he/are they still relevant? It's a good read.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I Don't Expect You To Understand

Well what the hell did you expect?!? Let's focus more time on releasing a super-enhanced DVD of Imagine than a lame John Lennon musical that nobody wants to see. What's next, a Beatles version of Cirque de Soleil? DAMMIT!

What I Need Is a Good Defense

Fiona Apple emerges after a six-year hiatus. I'm a bit disappointed that she's abandoned most of Jon Brion's work. His work on When the Pawn... tempered its pretentious title and Apple's eccentricities. And I've enjoyed what I've heard of the leaked early version of the album. Nonetheless, I'll be sure to check out the streams and iTunes downloads.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

And She Will Sleep and Rest Her Brow

First, he released the first Posies album in seven years. Next will be the first Big Star album in decades. Now, early next year, Jon Auer will be releasing his first solo album. I'm exhausted for this guy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Friday, August 05, 2005

Years Ago My Heart Was Set to Live

Big Star is releasing their first studio album in 30 years on September 27. This will be interesting.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

When I'm Drunk In a Room, That's When I Think of You

I guess I haven't been drinking enough lately. That's an easy problem to fix.

I just recently reinvigorated my appreciation for one of the 80s and 90s least appreciated bands, The House of Love. And behold, a new CD was released this year! If only it didn't cost so much for the transatlantic shipment.

Could Shine On be one of the least-heard best songs of all time? Does that even make sense?

Discover Me Discovering You

Help. Please help. John Mayer needs lyrics. Desperately.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Luckiest in Luckydom

I'm tired and don't want to write all of this is a new, interesting way, so here's an update on Michael Penn, taken verbatim from his email list:

Michael's new CD, Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947, will be available in stores on August 2. However, you can pre-order it at iTunes http://www.michaelpenn.com/itunesmp.htm today and get an exclusive bonus track, "Down by the Riverside", and a downloadable video and digital booklet.

In other news:
8/3/2005 - Michael will be performing in store at Amoeba Music at 6400 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA
8/4/2005 - Look for Michael Penn to appear on the NBC's the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Michael will be touring in North America this summer and fall. Please check his website for current dates.http://www.michaelpenn.com

Thursday, July 28, 2005

It's An International Pop Overthrow

The latest compilation (Volume 8!) of International Pop Overthrow, the best in pop music you probably haven't heard yet, is now out. Big highlight for me: the CD includes a demo tune by the late, great Jim Ellison of Material Issue.

Preview Clip
MP3: Jim Ellison - Each Day I Call Her Name (Not Lame)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's All I Can Do To Conceal My Feelings of Jealousy

Pitchfork gives some low blows to Liz Phair discussing her upcoming new album, tour, and her recent Lollapalooza performance. Damn it's gotta be tough being so cool. Check out a short clip of her new tune Everything to Me. Sounds ok.

Preview Clip
STREAM: Liz Phair - Everything to Me (FMQB)

UPDATE: Stereogum has more links to more previews.