Monday, January 30, 2006

You've Found Yourself a Friend

Brendan Benson is an immense talent. His own albums have been superb and now he's working with Jack White of all people and the results are intriguing. Stereogum has more of the story and an MP3 here, but the short of it is that Brendan + Jack = The Raconteurs and one of the coolest band sites I've ever seen: definitely not to be missed. Plus, the music is worth at least a listen or two.

I guess the Raconteurs are starting off with this 7" and going from there with a full-length album finished and expected to be released sometime. NME has more.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Outsiders are Gathering

Michael Stipe (you've heard of him, right?) will be featured on a tune on the new Placebo album. Interesting mix of styles. Can't wait to hear it.

Thanks, goldenfiddle.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hey, I Really Love You

Manchester is historically one of the greatest centers (centres?) of excellent music so it's no surprise to hear yet another Manchester artist is creating some worthy buzz: Lisa Brown. Despite the misleading name, Lisa Brown is a band that, according to theirspace page, has been "inspired" by Sigur Ros and David Bowie and New Order. I like what I hear and I want to hear more.

Thanks to DoCopenhagen for tuning me in.

MP3: Lisa Brown - Snowfight in the City Centre
MP3: Lisa Brown - Hey I Really Love You

Bitter Melodies Turning Your Orbit Around

Could it be that Wilco is playing the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines on March 22?! Make it so. We will go.

In This Life Will I Ever See You Again?

Our Grandaddy has died. In an interview with Pitchfork just posted today, Jason Lytle said their album being released May 9, Just Like the Fambly Cat, will be their last. RIP.

And kudos to Wikipedia for already having this information in its Grandaddy profile.

UPDATE: I wanted to add the link to NME, which has the "exclusive" news. I don't care who really got the news, but I tend to think NME is cooler than Pitchfork, so go there.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Love Dark Orgasm Monkey

Two episodes into Columbia Broadcasting System's midseason show Love Monkey and I'm in love, monkey! Ed the lawyer left Stuckeyville OH and moved to NYC to take a gig as a record exec. He also changed his name to Tom. And his black friend is no longer in a wheelchair...must've gotten better. Tossing perfunctory nods to formulaic tensions aside, it is refreshing to spend an hour (44 minutes, TIVO time) watching a show about MUSIC. Lyrics get quoted. Artists drop by. Cool Tshirts are worn. Music is played. And it's way better than American Idol.

Also, I received direct from the UK the latest Julian Cope disc Dark Orgasm. Immediately I was given a soundscape recalling his brilliant 1992 work Jehovakill. Heavier. Darker. Neolithic-er. A Thor's-Hammer-on-ecstasy rhythm section turns the wheels of buzzed-out trash guitars and Cope's baritone vocals on gems like 'White Bitch Comes Good', 'She's Got a Ring on Her Finger (And Another Through Her Nose)' and 'Nothing to Lose Except My Mind'. The instrumental opener 'Zoroaster' is a great way to tell your co-workers "Not today, I'm bizzy."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sweet Jenny Lewis

Just saw that Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins are playing Omaha on March 11. That's a Saturday night, for you out-of-towners...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Would You Be Mad If I Had Held the Old Me Back?

Bleu is finishing up his new album, but it appears he's dealing with some crap from his parent label, SonyBMG. Shock. His words from his email newsletter:

...unfortunately, due to some shakeups at SonyBMG, the future of my record
is up-in-the-air once again...i won't get into the sordid details right this
second, but, i will say that Aware has been very supportive, and we're both
def'nly psyched to move forward as soon as possible...

He also notes that for this new album, he's worked with pop greats like Andy Sturmer and John Fields. That's good. You can hear a demo or two on his MySpace site.

One More You're Done

The Polyphonic Spree is blogging about the creation of their new album, The Fragile Army. But does anyone care?

Thanks for the lead, gorilla vs. bear.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Well I Get So Delirious

ClienteleJust ran across this in my iTunes library: Clientele - Since K Got Over Me. Must have downloaded it months ago. It has been neglected, and I am quite sorry. What a delightful tune. Very summery, very sixtiesy. I like. Makes me want to watch reruns of the Monkees, and that's a good thing.

Note to self: seek out more Clientele.

Don't Give Up On The Dream

New Placebo tune if you haven't heard it: Because I Want You via DoCopenhagen (same post has a couple other Eagle*Seagull tunes, too, so you can't lose). It's been making its way around the blogs for a week or two. Good. Not great like Pure Morning, but good.

Be Thankful Everyday

Ryan Adams may be a bit more prolific (damn, three albums in a year? What is this, 1964?), but I really dig the new tune from Robert Pollard's upcoming solo CD, From a Compound Eye. You'll remember RP from the millions of tunes he released through the always underappreciated Guided by Voices. I heard his new CD was poppier than GBV, and GBV could get quite poppy at times (Chasing Heather Crazy anyone?). From a Compound Eye comes out on Tuesday.
You can download Dancing Girls and Dancing Men from his official website. Enjoy.

And check out some cool auctions RP has going on eBay. Only nine hours left from the time this post is published. Good luck.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Feels So Lazy, Come On and Play Me

Man. Sometimes, Not Lame gets it just right. They didn't disappoint a while back with Fred, and now they highly recommend Willie Wisely. In fact, they're calling it "one of the most brilliant power pop records of the decade." Wow. To prove it, they're providing an unconditional guarantee and throwing in four free gifts if you pre-order his new CD Parador. And you can even preview it in its entirety here. You can't lose.

I've spent a little time listening to it. Keep in mind that I'm listening to it on a low-end laptop while my humidifier is going full blast and my kids are sleeping upstairs. So this isn't an optimal listening environment, but I have to say, I'm very impressed. If you find some middle ground between Michael Penn and Bleu, Wisely would be right there. I can't wait to give it a proper listening-to when I get it from Not Lame soon. Sweet. I love new finds and I love to support Not Lame. Good people selling good music.

To All of the Geniuses

Duncan Sheik is releasing his new album White Limousine next week. His last album, Daylight, which was released in 2002, was probably his best to date, especially from a pop fan perspective. It followed Phantom Moon, for which he did his best Nick Drake imitation. Sheik is no Drake, but I respect his appreciation of him.

Sheik's biggest hit, Barely Breathing, has probably done more to hurt his reputation than anything else. That song firmly planted him in adult pop territory (on radio playlists along with Phil Collins for example), but that label does a disservice to the music he's released throughout his career, including Barely Breathing. Any naysayers should spend some time with him, especially if they're Drake fans.

Sampling the title track from the new one doesn't really get me too excited to hear the rest, but at this point in his career, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and pick it up anyway.

I Don't Like Knowing People and I Don't Like People Knowing About Me

Matthew SweetThere's little more I hate on the Internet than MySpace. The sites are painful to view, and after spending way too long on them, you realize you learned absolutely nothing except the fact that avid MySpace users tend to only leave extremely inane comments (No disrespect intended. I don't even know you). That said, many musicians are taking advantage of the huge social network that has developed via MySpace and an interesting network is developing around them that serves as ancillary official and fan sites. MySpace music has even released its own CD. But most of the time, they offer very little new information that you can't access elsewhere, but every now and then, they may roll out a tune or two for you to sample. It's also interesting to note what musicians are each other's "friends."

With all that said, how the hell can we know if an artist's page is really that artist's page, or if it's just some pathetic geek who gets a chuckle out of misappropriating others' personas?! So I was initially interested in reading that the ever-elusive-on-the-web Matthew Sweet started his own. Then I visit it and find absolutely nothing of substance. His last blog entry was in November for chrissakes. So there is nothing to prove to me that this is an actual product of Matthew Sweet. Oh sure, there's name-dropping, but any casual fan would know who Ric Menck is, or the connection Sweet has to the Bangles. What is the point?

Ok, I shall end my rant now. I'm sorry it ever happened. If you loooove MySpace, well, enjoy it. I can't say I won't continue to visit periodically to see if there's anything new going on. Hell, you can even check out the new BTS there. I'm just irked and needed release. There. Release.

By the way, Matthew's CD with Susanna Hoffs is coming out this spring and they're playing SXSW together this year (look under Hoffs). There. Matthew news.

And finally, don't forget to check out my MySpace page. Whooo!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Maybe One Day Soon It Will All Come Out

It's about time. Fountains of Wayne are finally working on their new album, their first since 2003. Come on, guys. We need more great stuff like this.

Goin' Against Your Mind

Here's some new Built to Spill to keep you satisfied until their new album You In Reverse is released on April 11. Thanks, stereogum.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To Make a Mountain of Your Life Is Just a Choice

I worked in radio in the 90s and one of the most distressing things about my jobs was to strip any particular song's appeal to its least common denominator to try to determine whether it would help boost ratings. I'm going somewhere with this. In the 90s, all too often this meant listening for a catchy novelty tune. Think PUSA. Their whole career has been one novelty after another. Hang on, almost there. Every so often, though, a band will transcend that unfortunate initiation to the masses to become so much more. Think Flaming Lips. They could have been that band I heard in college with that song about using jelly and vaseline or something. And here we go...

Which brings me to Nada Surf. True, all too many still only know this band for the gimmicky Popular. But a couple years ago, they released a great album of pop, Let Go. Great album. Then, they go ahead and one-up themselves to create a nearly perfect pop album, The Weight Is a Gift. Imagine my surprise when I picked this up when it was on sale at Target (embarrassingly, it wasn't even on my radar really) and then I listen to it to discover it's the epitome of a Too Poppy album. Virtually every song is one of those songs that even though you've never heard it before, you end up singing it halfway through because you can't resist. By the second time around, the album feels like an old favorite. Honestly, I come across albums that make me feel this way maybe a few times a year at the most. Perhaps you'll have a similar experience with it.

Check out a couple tunes at their MySpace site. Always Love is my new favorite song.

But Then I Wonder, Oh, What Christ Would Think

Download the new Flaming Lips - The W.A.N.D. via iTunes from the upcoming At War With the Mystics. The free 30-second clip doesn't disappoint despite them being obscene buzz whores.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It Is Okay To Be Seen

Despite how freakin' cool Iowa is, The New Pornographers and Belle and Sebastian refuse to tour here. Bummer.

Monday, January 09, 2006

And She's Lying There All Naked on the Floor

It's probably pretty easy to guess who this post is about from the lyric in the title alone. It's not unlike their classic "the placenta falls to the floor." And that's my biggest problem with Live. It sounds like they keep trying to reproduce their unquestionably classic yet overplayed Throwing Copper with each new release (although I've heard precious little of their last two releases). News from their email list, courtesy of Way2Poppy:

Ed Kowalczyk here to welcome you to our "sister" site at Epic Records, We are very excited about the upcoming release of our 7th studio album, Songs from Black Mountain, which is slated for release April 11. Stay tuned for more details about the CD, the making of the video for "The River", and all other news related to the new album. In the meantime, you can check out the first single, "The River," right now! Listen in RealAudio QuickTime Windows Media: lo - hi
You can also download the new one via iTunes here.

It's So Late and Now It's Time to Rise

I guess the cancellation of Three Wishes kicked Owsley back into working on his own music. News, sorta, from his email list:

It's looking like the double sided single willbe two brand new songs
entitled "Freak" and "Someday". The release date is not yet set, but he is
anticipating the single is about 4-6 weeks out. Owsley also said he has
about a album's worth of songs lined up and ready to go, so there is even more to
come after this one! In addition, he is working with a station on XM radio to get
his music out on the airwaves. We'll let you know what station to check
out when that moves forward.


Hey y'all! My New Year's Resolutions were to: 1) stop smoking tobacco and 2) post here more often. I have accomplished neither.

The second chord of John Cage's 639-year-long concert, organ2/ASLSP, is scheduled to sound this coming Thursday. Don't miss it.

Friday, January 06, 2006


The last couple of weeks the Lincoln (that's Nebraska) band Eagle*Seagull has been getting a great deal of press. I'm particularly engaged by the song Photograph. When I listen to Eli Mardock's vocals I hears snippets of the Cure, some say Arcade Fire, others say a little bit of Wolf Parade. Eagle*Seagull isn't as good as any of the bands previously mentioned but they have potential. Download the song, its from their website, no need to feel bad.

March 17 they are playing The Vaudeville Mews (cool place) in Des Moines with Kite Pilot.

1. Public New Years Resolution: Attend at least 1 live event a month.
2. Beards are cool, even shitty ones
3. Like the new too poppy graphic

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Could Never Give It Up

I was thrilled that Scrubs came back on the air last night with two new episodes. Not only do I think it is one of the funniest damn shows around, it also well-known for its stellar mix of cool music. This season's debut episode was no exception, which featured quite prominently the great tune from The Finn Brothers (of Split Enz and Crowded House) called Anything Can Happen, probably one of my favorite songs of any that they've put out. You can find it on their excellent 2004 release Everyone is Here.

Here's a consistently-updated, excellent summary of the great music featured on Scrubs.

So What's the Big Attraction?

Wait, people still make music videos?! Enough people still make music videos to have the 50 best of the year all neatly collected in one place by DoCopenhagen? Nifty. Enjoy.

These Are Crazy Days But They Make Me Shine

If Noel Gallagher is to be believed, which at times is A BIG IF, then it looks like Oasis may actually be releasing new music this year after all, even a song that might be -- wait for it -- "catchy as fuck."

Meanwhile, I just heard their older tune All Around the World in some commercial last night. Give them a break. Their last few albums haven't sold too well.

Homage or Not?