Monday, April 30, 2007

Memory Almost Full

Paul McCartney Memory Almost FullPaul McCartney finally talks formally about Memory Almost Full. Click here to read the whole statement. Read below for highlights from my perspective.

In places it’s a very personal record and a lot of it is retrospective, drawing from memory, like memories from being a kid, from Liverpool and from summers gone. The album is evocative, emotional, rocking, but I can’t really sum it up in one sentence.

There is a medley of 5 songs towards the end and that was purposefully retrospective. I thought this might be because I’m at this point in my life, but then I think about the times I was writing with John and a lot of that was also looking back. It’s like me with ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ - I’m still up to the same tricks!

The opening track of the album is ‘Dance Tonight’. I recently got myself a mandolin and I was just playing about with it and came up with the basis of this track. A couple of weeks ago we made the video, which was great fun. It’s directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) and stars Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook. I’m not going to give the plot away. You’ll have to go and watch it for yourself, but we had a good time doing it.

Full Track Listing
1. Dance Tonight
2. Ever Present Past
3. See Your Sunshine
4. Only Mama Knows
5. You Tell Me
6. Mister Bellamy
7. Gratitude
8. Vintage Clothes
9. That Was Me
10. Feet In The Clouds
11. House Of Wax
12. End of the End
13. Nod Your Head
Wow. This just makes me even more excited. A video starring Natalie Portman and directed by Michel Gondry!?! Excellent news indeed.

Pre-order here. Deluxe version here ("This beautifully-packaged, deluxe limited edition also comes with a 2nd disc that contains 3 unreleased bonus tracks and audio commentary by Paul McCartney describing the music, 6 foldout color postcard-sized photos, and full lyrics.")


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just Dying for a Subject Change

John Mayer is coming to the Wells Fargo Arena here in Des Moines June 18. Ok, fine. Have fun at that one. I've seen him (a byproduct of seeing Guster open for him) and he was certainly entertaining and less annoying than on his albums, but I'm not too interested in seeing him again. I kind of lost interest when my body became a wonderland. Oh, damn, look who's opening!

Internet pre-sale going on right now. Click here and enter the word GRAVITY to join in.

Related: Ben Folds is going on vacation. Click here to read more, or here to sign up. I don't get it ... yet.

It's True I'm Missing You

Crowded House releases its *NEW* album, Time on Earth, on July 10. Big day. Former Smiths/current Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr guests on a couple of tracks. Tracklist:

"Nobody Wants To"
"Don't Stop Now"
"She Called Up"
"Say That Again"
"Pour Le Monde"
"Even a Child"
"Heaven That I'm Making"
"Silent House"
"English Trees"
"Walked Her Way Down"
"Transit Lounge"
"You Are the One To Make Me Cry"
"A Sigh"
"People Are Like Suns"
For those in the know, Silent House is the same Silent House that appeared on the Dixie Chicks' most recent album. It was written by Neil Finn and the Chicks.

I'm not one to rush my summer, but it's going to be grand!


I Know You've Supported Me for a Long Time

Interpol releases its third album, Our Love to Admire, on July 10. Tracklist:

"Pioneer to the Falls"
"No I in Threesome"
"The Scale"
"The Heinrich Maneuver"
"Pace Is the Trick"
"All Fired Up"
"Rest My Chemistry"
"Who Do You Think"
"Wrecking Ball"
"The Lighthouse"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hollow and of No Use

Travis The Boy With No NameThis MySpace is becoming an epidemic, no? It all seems like a giant step backwards in the evolution of the interweb, except when it comes to music. The official band pages are a great resource to hear streams of new releases and lost gems. Travis has decided to focus on the latter with plans to release hundreds of unreleased tunes on a somewhat regular basis. Might be worth checking once or twice a week.

By the way, The Boy With No Name will be released May 8 (10th, Amazon, really?)

Sell It to the Crowd that Has Gathered Around

The Raconteurs are already well on their way to completing their second album. In the meantime, Jack White will be releasing the next White Stripes album in June and Brendan Benson indicates a new album is on the way as well. Now that I'd be excited to hear. Until then, hisspace will do just fine. Visit The Raconteurs at theirspace. As for the White Stripes, well, read the cool blogs for more info.

Keep Your Lawyer on the Line

Yahoo! has released a comprehensive lyrics site on the web featuring 400,000 songs. Shockingly, this is the first publisher-blessed lyrics site on the web of this magnitude. It's going to be quite handy for, say, a blog that titles each entry with a lyric.

Search away!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Hope It Isn't Too Late

Play the fan-created video for Paul McCartney's new tune Ever Present Past below, mostly to hear the new tune in its entirety.


UPDATE: You can listen to the full song without the cheesy YouTube video here. Also note the majority of comments at stereogum are quite positive. Nice to see from a highly opinionated crowd.

What's that Sound in Your Voice?

Tim Finn Imaginary KingdomTim Finn's new album, Imaginary Kingdom, was released elsewhere in 1990 or 2006 or something. It's finally out here in the states today! Finn is of course half of the legendary Finn brothers of Split Enz, Crowded House, and Finn Brothers fame. Virtually anything a Finn does is gold. Not necessarily RIAA gold, but gold nonetheless.

Hear more of Imaginary Kingdom at hisspace.

And don't forget about the upcoming Crowded House reunion. All is well.

There's Nothing Left to Hide

Duncan SheikDuncan Sheik is hairy. He's also playing Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines next Wednesday night. Anybody want to babysit a couple kids? Me and the missus are planning to go if we can take care of the kid issue.

I have to admit, I never did pick up his latest studio effort, let alone his highly acclaimed foray into Broadway. But I have enjoyed the rest of his work quite a bit and would really regret missing him. He's so much more than Barely Breathing (think a fully realized Nick Drake, Sheik's obvious top influence), although if he wasn't, kudos to him anyway.

In the Dark Sits a Sad Cliche

Hello! A tribute to Jellyfish will be released in early May. It's called Hello! A Tribute to Jellyfish. Not Lame has previews of the 5-song tribute with mostly unknown bands. Stay tuned because a full-length tribute will also be released in May. Doesn't beat a full-fledged reunion (yeah, right), but it's something.

1. The Sonic Executive Sessions "Hello"
2. Tommi Zender "Bedspring Kiss"
3. threads "Joining a Fan Club"
4. Ken Morrison "Calling Sarah"
5. Edison Gower "Glutton of Sympathy"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Listen to the Girl

Lost in TranslationInexplicably, Scarlett Johansson is going to sing with a reunited Jesus & Mary Chain April 26 in California. Inexplicably, Scarlett Johansson is going to release an album of Tom Waits covers. Inexplicably, Scarlett Johansson is going to move into my basement in Des Moines.

Speaking of Jesus & Mary Chain and my mistress-in-waiting, do yourself a favor and watch Lost in Translation again. If not for the music, then for everything else about it. Modern day classic that is.

More about J&MC

MP3: Jesus & Mary Chain - Just Like Honey (via Here Comes the Flood)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My bouncing ball had started it all

In Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. news, Robo-Sapiens is now available from his Japanese label Pony Canyon. Recording under his Beck-given nickname "MALIBU", the album features electronic, instrumental, dance, house, etc. Similar to his experimentation with Moog Cookbook, but this time with, er, electronic, instrumental, dance, house, etc.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I've Got Too Much On My Mind

Listen to a 30-second clip of Paul McCartney's new single Ever Present Past here. Album Memory Almost Full comes out June 5.


It Was a Beautiful Sight

Below, a charming low-budget video for Jon Auer's Angelita from his brilliant Songs from the Year of Our Demise. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nobody Knows That They Exist

Rooney Calling The WorldSpeaking of...

Just in time for summer, Rooney is finally releasing their second album (c'mon, you can't play Traffic and Weather ALL summer). Calling the World is coming out this spring. Hell if I could find an exact release date. I got bored of looking.

Read more here. Stream tunes here. Download tunes here. Download the debut album here.

MP3: Rooney - Calling the World (zip file via

Oh, Christ, What's Coming?

Apparition of the Eternal ChurchUndoubtedly, listening to music is a visceral experience. For so many of us, we experience a full range of emotions and reactions upon listening to any given piece. That is one of the joys of music, whether it's a perfect 3-minute pop song like we talk about so much here or a 10-minute organ piece composed in 1931.

Filmmaker Paul Festa attempts to document the reactions of 31 people as they listen to the latter.

...the music is Olivier Messiaen's monumental organ work Apparition of the Eternal Church, which the composer wrote in 1931 when he was 24 years old. A devout Catholic and the organist at the Church of the Trinity in Paris, Messiaen wrote a piece that sends some listeners to the heights of spiritual and erotic ecstasy.
I'm thoroughly intrigued by this experimental documentary and kick myself for not thinking of it. Watch the trailer here. I have to admit that I was a bit irritated by the overwrought personalities of some of the cast, but I'm sure that's part of the experience. Perhaps I'll film a documentary of 31 people watching Apparition of the Eternal Church. Perhaps not.

Buy the DVD here.

You're the Ultimate Pop Queen

Evan Dando, Jr.'s Ben Lee's new album Ripe will be released in September.

"We are in the process of working through the top 25 of the 80 songs I've written, in order to choose the 18 that we will record," Lee wrote last month.
Lee is one of those pop savants that has hooks and melodies spewing out of his orifices at all times. He's quite prolific so I've never felt current with him. I'll work on changing that. I respect his non-judgmental approach to collaborations. The new album will feature contributions from Mandy Moore, a guy from Good Charlotte, the members of Rooney, Tom Petty's keyboardist, and Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins.

Stream older Lee music here. Download here.

Like a Song that Ain't Worth Singing

SuperdragSuperdrag released a new album yesterday. I got excited until I found out it was all b-sides and live tracks. Still cool, but I'd rather hear a new album. The album, Changin' Tires on the Road to Ruin (sounds like a title for a live album), includes demo versions of two of my favorites, Keep It Close to Me and Lighting the Way. It doesn't appear to be available via iTunes quite yet, but you can buy it here or here.

Just Roll On

The new Dntel album comes out next Tuesday, but you can hear it all here.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

They Get a Kick Out of My Misery

Kurt Vonnegut Birdcage

I've been holding this one in all day.

Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions is required reading
... absolutely required.

I'm Not After Any Special Treatment, But I Wouldn't Mind a Hand

I'm not sure why I'm engaging in the Paul McCartney rumor mill. Trouble I tell you, nothing but trouble. Now it seems there are dueling tracklists, both complete with descriptions of the songs. Sigh. Here's the latest:

1. “Everybody Gonna Dance Around Tonight” (title?) - Short album opener. Instrumentation includes ukelele (some similarities to Harrison’s “Any Road”), kick drum (lockstep, martial beat) and whistling. Similar to “We’re Open Tonight” in sentiment, the lyric is a trifle but track is brief/fun enough.

2. “My Everpresent Past” (title?) - Musically quirky (McCartney II fans will love this one), hooky and clever with great lyrics, addictive robotic rhythm, nifty distorted guitar riffs and terrific double-tracked vocals. Fully realized top-drawer Macca Pop in every respect. Opening line: “I’ve got too much on my plate - I’ve got no time to be a decent lover”. A+

3. “Wanna See Your Sunshine” (title?) Creative, commercial pop love song with wonderful bass playing. Echoes of Linda in the background vocal department (as on “Run Devil Run”, the vocal ghost of Linda shows up repeatedly throughout the album, as least to my ears). Middle section features a neat tempo change and fastly sung lyric. Romantic. Accapella ending.

4. “Only Mama Knows” (title?) Orgasmically great Power Pop! Back To The Egg-esque energy! Great vocal! Junior’s Farm-esque gutbucket feel, quirky lyric, lots of Linda/Denny/Wings guitar energy. My early favorite, rocks like a bitch!

5. “You Tell Me” - Stunning, heartfelt, bittersweet non-silly, post-love song, Acoustic based with great confessional lyric (ala “Dear Friend”) and astounding, emotional vocal. Very Wings - echoes of Denny and Linda abound. “When was that summer of a dozen words” (let the Heather/divorce lyric hunting begin).

6. “Mr. Bellamy” (title?) - I can’t believe how great this track is; the odd, glorious musical structure and chord changes will surprise you at every turn. An A Cappella breakdown to die for. VERY early 10CC (think “Sheet Music”), with goofy vocal interjections (if you are familiar with 10CC’s “The Worst Band in The World” you’re halfway there).

7. “Gratitude” - Pop/gospel w/shouty, “Oh, Darling” vocal. Nice tune and interesting arrangement but overemoting vocal ruins it for me. Possible grower.

8. “Vintage Clothes” (title?) - not positive but I think this is the first track of the album-ending Medley, ala RRSpeedway/ARoad. Lyrically a modern-day “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”-a tongue in cheek (I think) sendup/lampooning of modern clothing/fashion trends. Possibly inspired by daughter/clothing designer Stella? Strong lyric, ultrahooky tune and great arrangement, w/Beatlesque swirly backwards mellotrons and highly compressed tack piano (the opening piano riff is almost identical to Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Love Me”). Perfect pop.

9. “That Was Me” (title?) Backwards drum loop, rockabilly guitar riffs on acoustic, with great dissonant piano stabs, ala “I Want To Tell You”. Autobiographical lyric speaks of/chronicles events in Paul’s childhood, The Cavern Club, success…

10. “Very Hard” (title?) - Top track, features Brian Wilsonesque vocal breakdown section (with vocodor!) and another strong autobiographical lyric.

11. “Hidden In The Yard” - moody, forboding, cinematic - think a darker “Beware My Love”. Great lyric/arrangement, unexpected chord changes from heaven, screaming guitar solos and one of Paul’s best vocals ever.

12. “The End Of The End” - touching, confessional album closer, unlike anything that Paul has recorded. The lyric speaks to how he would like to be remembered/celebrated after he’s gone. A heavy lyric tempered by upbeat, song-closing whistling coda (echoing whistling on opening track).

13. “Nod your Head” (title?) - Silly, brief album closer, ala “Boil Crisis”. Probably (hopefully) a bonus/hidden track. Musically similar to the also-hidden instrumental track that closes Chaos (sounds like the same session).
Either some people are awfully creative wishful thinkers or simply have an inside track. Any way you look at it, though, it's great that a buzz is growing. I just hope the music meets the buzz.

Life Is What Happens To You While You're Busy Making Other Plans

Our two-year anniversary kinda came and went with no fanfare (it was on 4/7). Oops. Well, uh, hey, it's been fun. We're looking forward to, uh, another two years. Isn't that what I'm supposed to say?

Our first post
Our first month
Our first anniversary

There Will Be An Answer

Apple Corps. and EMI kiss and make up, leading to .... digital releases of the Beatles catalog we hope?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Every Gesture Matters

Thanks to an "anonymous" comment from "MC," (perhaps?) I'm happy to share with you three new tunes from Jason Falkner's upcoming I'm OK You're OK album. The album is out in Japan next week already (!!!) with a supposed domestic release sometime later. Sigh. Amazon does have it via import, though, starting April 26. Wow, I like what I hear. Classic Falkner.


UPDATE: From Jason himself via hisspace:

Hello all. I have put up 3 songs from my new record "I'm OK You're OK" which is out in Japan in a week! I am currently working on its release for the rest of the world so don't fear it will be released here sometime in the summer. This is the record that would've cracked me had I been made of balsa wood but I am indeed human and I hope you all enjoy my homegrown efforts. Recorded, performed and mixed by yours truly in my various home studios over the past (too many to count)years. Intentionally "mid-fi" this is probably the most personal music I have made. Please loosen your scarf, hold someone's hand and let it in. Thank you jasonf

There's A Lot To Be Said

Lots to report on the new Paul McCartney album. Forget that it's on Hear Music, Starbucks' music label. That's virtually irrelevant when it comes to the music. has posted a purported advance tracklist complete with brief descriptions of the tunes:

1. To Be Said - Based on the poem. A short string quartet piece. Delicate.
2. Bring the Dawn - Huge production number, mellatrons to brass, booming drum.
3. Memory Almost Full - Nice pop song (see Driving Rain), likely first single. Some electronica.
4. Love Hear My Thunder - Stones-like rocker. Peak Wings.
5. Robber of Soul - Funky jazz/brass number, unlike anything in catalog so far.
6. Cracks in the Earth - Elec piano ballad, sounds like a chaos track.
7. Buy the Farm - Solid rocker, Steve Miller-ish.
8. It Happens Every Time - Tight tight rocker, best song here.
9. Silent Water - Piano/organ/electronica song- nice lyrics.
10. God Damn Rock 'n Roll - Sounds like a BTTE outtake- almost punk.
11. Pizza and Fairytales - Most Beatle-esue- reminds of Return to Pepperland.
12. Pictures in Song Suite - Almost 15 minutes- a true song suite, divided into four movements- most people won't get how good this is.
Intriguing to say the least. Sounds like a lot of comparisons to both Wings and late Beatles eras, which is a cool thing indeed. Various other sources are reporting that the album will be called Memory Almost Full evidenced by placeholder pages at Barnes and Noble and Amazon UK, as well as the music label's purchase of More here. And, oh yeah, it'll be released on June 5.

Ok, so the fact that he's on a new label, a coffee label no less, is not irrelevant. If it means more of a promotional push to generate excitement like this, I'm all for it. More soon I'm sure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I just can't quit now, You've really got a hold on me

I know this is my second Beatles-related post in as many days, but today it was announced that Neil Aspinal, onetime roadie and fierce guardian of the Beatles music for Apple Corps resigned. While it shocks Beatles fans, the news is not all that surprising to insiders. No word on exactly why he resigned, but apparently it's not related to the ridiculous wait for the Beatles catalog to be released online.

What Is Sweet Now Turns So Sour


Risen From Where I Sit

Buffalo TomBuffalo Tom has been trying to stay afloat in the consciousness of the music world by releasing various compilations in the past few years, but it's been nearly ten years since their last studio release of all-new material and frankly, I've forgotten. Paste Magazine gently reminded me of them and generously informed me that their new album Three Easy Pieces will be released on July 10. Thanks for that.

Listen to three classics at theirspace. Visit them at home. Download classics like Summer and Sodajerk at iTunes. Rock on.

It Feels Like Home

Brandon Schott's second album, Golden State, will be released on iTunes May 15.

Golden State was self-produced along with engineer Jason Wormer (who has worked with artists such as T-Bone Burnett, Josh Rouse, Ricky Lee Jones and Josh Ritter), and also features the talents of Ramy Antoun (Seal), Jay Bellarose (Joe Henry, Sam Phillips), Rob Shapiro (Populuxe), Jake Posner (The Breakups, Edison Gower) and Steven Wilson(Plasticsoul).
Nice. He's been compared to other singer-songwriters like Joe Pernice, Ben Folds, Michael Penn, Matthew Sweet, and Owsley -- you need any other names to get interested? He's new to me, but I certainly like what I hear. You can download his first album Release via iTunes. You can listen to more at hisspace and his official site. Check out the silly video for Simple Life below.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What would you think if I sang out of tune

What do you think of a tribute for the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's? What if I told you the original engineer Geoff Emerick was using the same equipment as used on the famous album to record it? Intriqued now? Okay, how about if I told you Oasis, The Killers, Razorlight, James Morrison, the Fratellis, and Travis were all involved in the project? Got your attention now? BBC2 will be airing the special radio event on 02 June 2007. No word yet on which songs will be covered or when an album might surface, but regardless, it's pretty cool. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Just Don't Forget That It's Dumb Luck That Got You Here

Dntel Dumb LuckIf you're like me, you're impatiently waiting for the sophomore album from The Postal Service. Give Up is by far one of my favorite albums of the last five years, but I want to hear more (and less of Such Great Heights on UPS commercials). Well, we're getting closer, but this ain't quite it.

One half third (including Jenny Lewis) of The Postal Service (the non-vocals half third) is Jimmy Tamborello. Jimmy is releasing a new Dntel album called Dumb Luck on April 24. It's not quite The Postal Service, but Ms. Lewis does contribute vocals (as does Jimmy himself on the title track!)

Thick with Tamborello’s signature electronic washes and genius beat placement, Dumb Luck is an album lyrically as much about human distance as connection.

Jimmy is a curious and interesting dude and he’s created what he calls “a 40 minute drone piece” which is really him alone in the studio doing what he does in long-format. Sub Pop is giving away copies of this on CD if you pre-order the record at and they are super limited so hurry up.

And for historical reference, The Postal Service had its origins in Dntel. Ben Gibbard provided vocals to Dntel's (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan. Just, you know, FYI.

MP3: Dntel - Dumb Luck (via Sub Pop)

Can You Be For Real?

"Created at the Art Institute of California-Orange County" says it all. Check out the studenty video for Roger Joseph Manning Jr.'s pure 60s cheezy (and probably my least favorite from The Land of Pure Imagination) Dragonfly below.

Um, ok.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Pitchfork has more details about the new album by New Pornographers, straight from the mouth of Carl Newman himself.

Pitchfork: You're recording with the New Pornographers now?
Carl Newman: Yeah, we're about a week away from starting to mix our record. We're going to try and have it finished by the end of April, then it should come out at the end of August, something like that.
Pitchfork: Do you have a name for the record?
Carl Newman: I think it's going to be called Challengers.
Pitchfork: You're pretty confident about that?
Carl Newman: Yeah, I think that's what it's going to be called.
"You're pretty confident about that?" Brilliant stuff.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You Could Be My Diamond Ring

Joseph Arthur Let's Just BeWell, it's not the usual I expect from Joseph Arthur, but he's such a talent that I should always use an opportunity to spread his name. Stereogum has a new track from his forthcoming album Let's Just Be, out on April 17. Gotta respect his prolificness.

MP3: Joseph Arthur - Diamond Ring (via stereogum)

It Got A Lot of Laughs from A' Lots of Folk

For Way2Poppy, who loves his story songs, here are the AV Club's 26 Songs that are as good as short stories. What, no Fountains of Wayne?

An Hour in the Shower Is the Best That You've Got

Fountains of Wayne Traffic and WeatherPerfect.

Traffic and Weather by Fountains of Wayne is out today.

Just perfect.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Maybe the Sun Will Shine Today

Today is a special day. Not only is it opening day for the Cubbies championship season, it is a special preview day for Wilco's new album Sky Blue Sky Blue Sky Blue Sky. Stream the whole album here all day long. Sky Blue Sky is not out until May 15 so now is your chance. If you likey, you can pre-order it from Amazon. Me likey.

Also, news from Wilco:

we've just decided to release a "deluxe version" of SBS which will include a DVD feature film by our good friends and cohorts Brendan Canty and Christoph Green (Sunken Treasure, Burn to Shine). Over the last year or so they've been filming rehearsals, interviews about the record, behind the scenes stuff, etc. and have put together a 48 minute film we're calling "Shake it Off' that we're confident you're gonna dig.
Pre-order this special version here.