Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blu & Exile

Thanks to Passion of the Weiss [one of the funniest music blogs I regularly check in on] and his inclusion of Blu & Exile on his list of best LA-area albums of 2007, I now have some really good hip hop to listen to instead of the new Lupe album, which of course is great but I don't wanna get sick of it before the year is over.

Weiss likens Blu his hometown's Jurassic 5 [although maybe it's not so much a sonic comparison, Idunno] but I'm going with Mos Def. Or even Talib Kweli. But Weiss is a little more knowledgeable in the hip hop game, so.. whatever.

Listening to this album the first time really reminded me of Black on Both Sides, which probably stands as my favorite hip hop album ever, since I grew up listening to Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins and got into the hip hop game a little late. But that's not to discount Mos Def at all. He's one of the best.

The beats of Below the Heavens seem pretty Jay Dilla -influenced. Opener "My World Is..", with the female vocal samples sounds like it coulda been Blu's guest spot on a Kanye-produced track. And each time I listen to it I half-expect Mos or Talib to chime in with a few verses. Other beats sound like Primo. "Juicen' Dranks", with Detroit's Ta'raach is the most J5 -sounding tune, if not only for T's Chali 2na -like guest verses and the Jayou-esque flute.

All in all it's very good, and very.. indie. Yeah, good description, right? Just go download, listen, and purchase if you like it enough.

Blu & Exile - "My World Is..", from Below the Heavens
Blu & Exile - "Blu Colla Workers", from Below the Heavens
Blu & Exile feat Ta'raach - "Juicen' Dranks", from Below the Heavens
Mos Def - "Ms Fat Booty", from Black on Both Sides
Mos Def - "Speed Laws", from Black on Both Sides
Jurassic 5 -"Jayou", from Jurassic 5

Purchase Blu & Exile Below the Heavens from Amazon.
Purchase Blu & Exile Below the Heavens from iTunes.
Purchase Mos Def Black on Both Sides from Amazon.

BluSpace.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Favorite Songs of 2007, Part Diez

Yesterday after my final exam I treated myself to one of the things I do best: anything but schoolwork. I didn't do anything too crazy, but I enjoyed it more than usual because I didn't have that nagging feeling that I usually do when I write this blog, which is that I should be studying. It was frickin awesome. And then I did like this lil gumper and chillaxed a little.


I uploaded these tunes a few days ago, anticipating some procrastinating digression from studying in the form of blogging, but it never happened. And then I took yesterday off. And I should be cleaning my house right now, because it's turning into Chez de McCormick this weekend as my roommie's family crashes it. But those songs are just sitting out there not being enjoyed, so go enjoy them already.

I'm considering this the 10th and perhaps final Favorite Songs of 2007 post. Some of these are songs I've enjoyed all year, but some are songs I just nabbed off Pitchfork's best of 2007 list last week and I liked immediately. It never ceases to amaze me-- and always bugs me-- that out of the 100 songs they post, there are always at least 30% which I've never ever ever heard of.

Most of the new favorites I pulled from there, however, were from bands like Nick Cave's Grinderman, avant tardesters the Liars, and the Tori Amos-esque Bat for Lashes. I never really felt like giving these bands a chance based on their previous material, hype surrounding them, or just because I don't like the way they look. Well, maybe I should have and maybe I still won't. In any event, before I take another swig of my IPA, I first raise it up and offer a toast for the sake of judging books by their covers [and almost always being right]. Without further..

Daniel Rossen [of Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles] - "Too Little Too Late" [JoJo cover], from the Grizzly Bear blog
Kelly Clarkson - "Fading", bonus track from import version of My December
Grizzly Bear - "He Hit Me", from Friend
Menomena - "Shirt", unreleased
Liars - "Plaster Casts of Everything", from Liars
White Denim - "All Truckers Roll", from forthcoming Workout Holiday
Bat for Lashes - "Horse and I", from Fur and Gold
Grinderman - "No Pussy Blues", from Grinderman
Deerhunter - "Wash Off", from Flourescent Grey
Gogol Bordello - "Forces of Vistory", from Super Taranta

Check out the rest of my 2007 favorites here.

Gogol Bordello, by the way, is my new obsession. I dismissed them earlier this year as a novelty act, but WOW every song is like a gypsy dance party. I think that if Pale Young Gentlemen started drinking heavily and let themselves go a little, spent some time in a gypsy camp outside Budapesht, they may eventually turn into something like Gogol Bordello.

And holy balls, I just discovered that the lead singer is in fact Alex from Everything is Illuminated. How did I not know this?! I thought of Alex the first time I ever heard Gogol, but never thought they were one in the same. Wicked.

Haven't seen the movie? Go get it now. It's hilarious, touching and just simply all-around amazing.



The band actually appears in the movie in this clip.

Happy holidays to everyone. I truly hope you have a peaceful next few weeks with family and friends. I'll pop in and share stuff when I have the resources and time.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Covers!, etc

Coke Machine Glow's recent podcast featured their Fantasy Covers Project, where they asked some of their favorite bands to go and cover some of this past year's best/favorite tunes. You can download the 45 min-long continuous podcast from their site, or else you can make me feel like some of my own hard work wasn't all for naught and go download a zip of all the songs, split and tagged by yours truly.

Downlizzle that shizzle, here.

My immediate favorites was The Blacks' cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black". Also worthy of note is The Hood Internet track, in which they take a different approach than usual and incorporate several tracks into one.. The Main Drag's "All My Friends" is good, too, if you weren't satisfied by neither John Cale's nor Franz Ferdinand's versions. Deer Tick's rendition of "Beautiful Girls" is refreshing for those who can't take any more of the original. Also, Menomena's leadman tries to do The National's "Fake Empire" justice, but it's pretty dam hard to top the original-- or even come close. But that's alright, Menomena boys-- I liked your album better than The National's anyway, so you're both still winners. And just to show how much, here's two cool videos.

The National "Fake Empire" live on Letterman


Menomena "Evil Bee"


If I had the ambition and resources, I'd re-direct this video using only clips from Bee Movie.

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They've got the wrong blog

postgrad

Ha!

I know I sometimes use big words like spank, hipster, y'all, shizzle, heezy, teiam, hiphopopotamus, beaver, pitchfuck, scrabulous, and warfair, to mention a few examples of my apparent scholarly awesomeness. But, seriously-- postgrad college reading level? That's gonna steer away all the lowbrow audiences I'm trying to attract.

And because this is a music blog.. actually, I've been listening to nothing but Spank Rock and Vanessa Carlton the past few days, so I have nothing new to offer.

That's only partially true.. I'll have something later.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WTF? Vanessa Carlton, that's WTF, B!

Yes. Seriously. This girl has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, but.. why should I feel guilty? Screw that, I'm embracing it. First it was "A Thousand Miles" which I heard a brasilian times on the radio but was always too embarrassed to ask about. Then when I was hit again with "White Houses", I recognized the voice and piano, and just had to know. That song remains to be the the best thing to come about a girl losing her virginity since this beautiful romantic masterpiece.


Anyway, Vanessa has a new album, Heroes & Thieves. I'm not going to tell you the whole album's amazing, because the sad truth of the matter is that it probably isn't. But she does once again deliver one quite awesome tune, the opener and first single "Nolita Fairytale". It's the whole point of this post, really. "This Time" ain't bad, either. Disappointing is the track which Stevie Nicks appears on. You decide for yourself. Parts of it remind me of "American Pie". Don McLean's, not the stupid movie.

Download [click song title], Buy [click album title]

"Nolita Fairytale", from Heroes & Thieves
"This Time", from Heroes & Thieves
"The One" feat Stevie Nicks, from Heroes & Thieves
"A Thousand Miles", from Be Not Nobody
"White Houses", from Harmonium

And look, she's hella cute, too.

In every single one of these pictures, she's looking right at me.



Except this one. I probably just said something stupid and she was trying to look mad.

In the one she's looking at my picture on the floor.


I think I'll make "WTF?" a recurring theme, where I tell you all of the wonderful things I listen to when no one else is around.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Party Rap! Plastic Little and the rest of Philly

NBC of Plastic Little

I hate using the word rap-- I think of the first time I heard Bone Thugs or Doggystyle. But party hip hip just doesn't have the same zing to it.

Anyway, PackofRats, SQUID, No Body's Child and Jon Thousand, collectively as Plastic Little, have been bangin club speakers all year [perhaps not here in Madison, but some club speakers, somewhere]. And my speakers here at home have sustained some Plastic treatment as well. They are about as close as I can get in my ceaseless quest to quench my Spank Rock thirst. Like Spank, they're from Philly and they also work with my favorite foul-mouthed female emcee Amanda Blank.

That's her on the left, with Naeem Juwan, aka Mr. Spank Rock. As these hipster/ party/ rap kids tend to be the trendsetters so all I have to say is jah fucking help us all if those shorts make a comeback.

Anyword.. Below are a few various tracks from the posse.. spotlighting a couple Plastic Little joints, as well as their Philly brethren Pase Rock. You may remember Pase Rock from this Teiam Player smash hit, where they were teamed up with some Primus.

Word, y'all.

Download
Plastic Little - "I'm Not a Thug"
Plastic Little - "Jump Off"
Plastic Little feat Spank, Amanda, & Ghostface - "Crambodia"
Plastic Little feat Spank & Diplo - "Now I'm Holler", featuring a PJ Harvey sample
Pase Rock feat Diplo - "The Motherfucking Rave is Over"
Aaron Lacrate feat Amanda, Spank - "Blow"
Spank & Benny Blanco as Bangers & Cash - "Pu$$y", from Bangers & Cash
Spank Rock feat Amanda - "Bump", from Yoyoyoyoyo --skip straight to 4:00 to hear Amanda wax poetic in her best appearance to date
Santogold feat Spank - "Shove It"
Chromeo feat Pase Rock - "Bonafide Lovin'" [Eli remix]

And go here for a little Eli remix of Britney's "Gimme More" featuring miss Amanda Blank

Buy
Plastic Little - She's Mature
If you really need to buy any of the other stuff, look first at Turntable Lab.

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On a separate note, Santogold deserves her own post.. I am simply too lazy to go ahead and do it, so instead go to the SantoSpace and go read some other posts that other bloggers have written.
Trust me, if you're a fan of the idea of a strange hybridization of M.I.A. and Karen O, then you only owe it to yourself. Have I ever led you astray? Fine, see it here for yourself.


That's Spank Rock who comes out dancing like a crazy twelve year old white boy.


Coke and wet bitch, guns ninja holllllllllllla.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Kaki King

Before Wednesday I knew nothing about the girl who calls herself Kaki King. But I had gotten hold of the August Rush soundtrack because I had heard good things about it. I wasn't totally impressed with the entire soundtrack-- or at least haven't yet been-- but the tracks which stood out immediately were Kaki King's.

They are two instrumentals, with some echo/delay and possibly looping effects, and they are really nice. I can see them fitting into that movie pretty well, as there is a little hint of Celtic flavor present. I went and found her 2006 release Until We Felt Red, and am digging it.

She employs some of the same vocal looping techniques that my absolute favorite Spanish-speaking artist Juana Molina does. Most likely because of that depth, some tracks I'm beginning to like it more each time I listen to them, as I do with Juana's music. Some of the tracks on Red are instrumental, some she sings on, uses a drum machine and synth on one ["Gay Sons", below], and some get kinda heavy with her getting to bang out on what sounds like multiple drumkits [she was, apparently, originally a student of the drums] as well as electric guitar and bass.

Kaki playing album opener "Yellowcake" live in studio:



And another which shows her bad-ass side and displays her pretty damn good skills, in 2004's "Playing With Pink Noise":



Download:
Kaki King - "Bari Improv", from August Rush OST
Kaki King - "Ritual Dance", from August Rush OST
Kaki King - "Yellowcake", from Until We Felt Red
Kaki King - "Gay Sons of Lesbian Lovers", from Until We Felt Red
Kaki King - "Playing With Pink Noise", from an NPR live in-studio performance, November 2004
Dave Grohl feat Kaki King - "Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners", from Foo Fighters' Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Purchase from Amazon:
Kaki King - Until We Felt Red
Various Artists - August Rush OST
Purchase from iTunes:
Kaki King - Until We Felt Red
Various Artists - August Rush OST

In the totally-unrelated realm:

Happy Birthday, Ma!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm from the city in the midwest, best city in the whole wide wide world

Oh. Emm. Gee.

It leaked.

I got it.

I'm freaking.

It's almost 1am and I have a paper to finish, but this is so damn good.... so far.

Earlier today I went and nabbed a few tracks that surfaced on the net. Get them from IndieMuse. I rocked them each about twelve times on my computer here at home, twelve times on my laptop on campus, and twelve times while walking to and fro.

Here's another from the album, "Go Go Gadget Flow", which may now be my new favorite. Download it.

You're makin 'em wanna do right, Lu.

And I'm tryin'a graduate from skool, Lu.

I've got my go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-gadget flow.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Favorite Songs of 2007, Part Nueve

I really want to go dancing right now.


Of Montreal - "The Past is a Grotesque Animal", from Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
LCD Soundsystem - "All My Friends", from Sound of Silver
Gui Boratto - "Beautiful Life", from Chromophobia
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - "When Your Mind's Made Up", from Once OST
Andrew Bird - "Plasticities", from Armchair Apocrypha
The Cool Kids - "88", from The Bake Sale [forthcoming?]
White Rabbits - "The Plot", from Fort Nightly

There's a Teiam Player track out there somewhere using "The Plot". Go look for it if you missed it and care.

The rest of the favorites are here.

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Lupe Mixtape


Wow, so I'm waaaayy behind on this, but.. go check out the promo bootleg mixtape here, to hold you over until next Tuesday.

ZIP format.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Favorite Songs of 2007, Part Ocho

More. 2007 favorites.

Holy SNOWses, man. It was really coming down out there all day here in Madison.

Inadvertent theme: animals. Advertent theme: Beirut.

Caribou - "Niobe", from Andorra
Beirut - "Nantes", from The Flying Club Cup
Beirut - "Forks and Knives [La Fete]", from The Flying Club Cup
Beirut - "Elephant Gun", from Lon Gisland
Grizzly Bear - "He Hit Me", from Friend
Department of Eagles - "No One Does it Like You", from Gold Suits [forthcoming]
Poni Hoax - "Antibodies", from Antibodies
Bodies of Water - "I Heard It Sound", from Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink [forthcoming]
Kanye West feat Young Jeezy - "Can't Tell Me Nothin" [remix], from Graduation

Yeah I totally can't decide on my favorite Beirut song, so you get spoiled. If you haven't latched on yet, the album is totally rad and beautiful and amazing and addicting.

Go see more of my favorites.

Y'all are hereby warned that after Wednesday I will most likely return to my old rambling self. Same amount of music, a lot more words to sift through to get it.

Word.

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Oh, Neon Neon

Everyone who was in serious Spank Rock mode earlier this year and surfed blogs trying to get a much-needed fix in the wake of Yoyoyoyoyo has probably already heard the Spank Rock-, Amanda Blank- and Har Mar Superstar -featuring "Trick for Treat". The tune dropped on the NeonSpace and was leaked somewhere in high-quality format. Although that happened in the spring of this year, the album isn't being officially released until 2008, and it may [or totally may not be, as I'm often wrong] be the indie cousin to "Crazy".

Neon Neon is the Super Furry Animals lead animal Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip together. Boom Bip in the past has always made pretty chill beats, but earlier this year released Sacchrilege, which was more an electro EP [and was even featured in a Teiam Player tune, featuring Rhianna; you may have the chance to hear it someday]. Anyway, Gruff Rhys offered vocals on "Dos and Don'ts" [MP3 below], the best cut from Boom Bip's 2005's Blue-eyed in the Red Room, and then apparently the two showed a liking for each other, creating Neon Neon sometime between then and now.

So the album should drop in 2007 but since they knew they had us waiting for so long anyway, they released the the "Raquel" double A-sided single, which contains a Hot Chip remix of "Trick for Treat" as well as the original, and an alternate mix of the title track.

I don't care who Raquel is. I can't stop listening to this.
[edit: in case you didn't notice it, it really absolutely truly indeed is about Raquel Welch. Awesomer.]

Boom Bip feat Gruff Rhys - "Dos and Don'ts", from Blue-eyed in the Red Room
Neon Neon - "Raquel", from Raquel

iTunes the MP3s here.
Get the Neon wax or CD-S straight from the record label, Lex.
Pre-order the album from Insound.

Now let's get back to writing papers.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Animal Collective: New Favorite Band?

I've always been an Animal Collective fan. Yes, I was born one, alright? No, actually I don't remember exactly when I became one, or how I found out about them, but I'm sure it had to do something with Pitchfork or a blog. And then an old roommate [you know who you are] bought me Feels on vinyl for my birthday [because I'm sometimes a jerk, she thought I didn't appreciate it very much but I really did].

Anyway, this year's Strawberry Jam has, as recently reported, become one of my favorites of the year. And so I went around looking for all the AC stuff I didn't already have. What I found was something I remember seeing but never listened to. It's a 2005 EP they did with Londonese 70s folk sonsgtress Vashti Bunyan, who recently became cool with indie kids as they re-discovered her album. The EP is called Prospect Hummer and is worth getting if you like the song below.

Animal Collective with Vashti Bunyan - "I Remember Learning How To Drive"
From previous FaveSongs2007 post: "Chores"
More AC from The Hype Machine.

Here's the official video for Strawberry Jam cut "Peacebone".




If the video isn't working, which for some reason it wasn't for me, click here.

Purchase Animal Collective shiz here.

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Also, head on over to Pop Headwound to check out some chill covers of some of your favorite pop songs by Wakey!Wakey!. Just don't go by the band name because yes, I too find it obnoxious. Some signs point to this being a band but all the signs from the covers offered at PHW point to A Guy, His Piano And His Voice. My favorite is definitely "Say It Ain't So".

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Favorite Band of the Week: Figurines

Denmark's Figurines and their 2007 album When the Deer Wore Blue have jetted themselves to the top of my listening order the past few days. And they've done it with poppy but not shallow tunes the likes of which I don't remember hearing on last year's blog-heralded Skeletons.

On Skeletons, I recall thinking these guys are trying to be the Danish Modest Mouse, as lead singer Christian Hjelm really did sound a little like the drunken masochist Isaac Brock. Only not drunken nor masochistic, as far as I've heard. But he is Danish, so he probably talks a little funny, by our standards.

Anyway, maybe I should go give that album another listen. That's if I can ever stop listening to this one. Seriously, in the last week it went from non-contender to currently sitting in the honorable mention section of my favorite albums of this year.*

So here are a few of the songs that did it for me:

"Childhood Verse"
"Let's Head Out"
"Drunkard's Dream"

Go buy When the Deer Wore Blue here.

*this much-alluded-to list which I may or may not contemplate, decide upon, type up and publish here soon. Until then, read the Muzzle of Bees picks. I may not agree with.. well, half of that list but MoB is without a doubt one of the best blogs around, even though you may not know it as well as Brooklyn Vegan or Gorilla vs Bear or Stereogum. Ryan spends so much bloody time on that thing, he's like Pitchfork in one body. Only nicer. It's unreal; he must not have a job. Just kidding, he does have a job. I'm sure he does. He probably does. Maybe he does. I hope he does. He's just really passionate about music. Anyway, loads of interviews, album and concert reviews, etc etc. And ya know what? He's a Madisonite, too. And he may be bonkers for ranking Boxer higher than The Flying Club Cup on his list [and Yeasayer and Menomena and Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem, for that matter], but I think I'm in the minority on that one [seriously, what's the big deal about the National anyway?].

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hippomothamus: Rhyming in Rainbows

I was searching for news on the In Rainbows bonus disc when I stumbled across Hippomothamus. Immediately, I thought of Gemaine and Brit, aka Hiphopopotamus & Rhymenocerous.

But it's not! It's Hippomothamus, and I was surprised that there was nothing else out there about him, except his blog. So naturally I had to write something. What he did was made a mixtape sampling In Rainbows and some original beats over the top, and hip hop acapellas from the likes of the Beastie Boys, Blackalicious, Mos Def, Jurassic 5 and Kanye.

It's no masterpiece, but it's not too bad. So far my favorite is "It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop", which is Dead Prez over "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" [which is my favorite on In Rainbows as well, which probably explains that].

Since the sampling source is kinda limited, some of the tunes are rather simplistic, and some vocals just don't work well with the beats. Idunno.. The beat production is definitely the best part; I'd like to get my hands on some of his beats and try some other vocals. Anyway, overall it's pretty good; an ambitious project no doubt.


Go decide for yourself. It's worth the free download and the listen, if you're into Radiohead and hip hop. Download the entire album from Hippo's blog, or stream each tune.

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Favorite Songs of 2007, Part Seis


Happy Snowy Day, Madisonites. I helped shovel the weekend's snow-turned-to-ice from my friend's driveway this afternoon, and by the time we were done my car was totally covered in a beautiful fluffy blanket. And now I want to go snowboarding.

Here's another list of tunes. Faves. From this year. Hence the title.

Kano - "The Layer Cake", from some bootleg mixtape
Menomena - "Evil Bee", from Friend or Foe
St Vincent - "Now Now", from Marry Me
Yeasayer - "Wait for the Summer", from All Hour Cymbals
Kelly Clarkson - "Never Again" [no, seriously; I mean it's no "Since U Been Gone", but let's not kid ourselves, what is?], from My December
Dntel feat Grizzly Bear - "To a Fault", from Dumb Luck
Pase Rock - "Lindsay Lohan's Revenge", from Lindsay Lohan's Revenge 12"
Brazos - "Miss Virginia", A City Just as Tall [I'm buying my copy from iTunes as I type]

Bonus! Teiam Player's keep-the-perversion-going remix of Pase Rock tune, featuring Primus's "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver". You do the math. Ok, I will.
Pase Rock + Primus = "LiLo's Big Brown Beaver"

Buy your new favorite artists here, here, here or here [Insound, Other Music, iTunes Store, or Amazon].

Be sure to check out all the other favorites.

Now go play in the snow.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Favorite Songs of 2007, Part Cinco

I have a few busy days ahead of me and am in the middle of one right now, so it'll most likely be a week of few words for me, at least until I need to come here for solace and for my own sanity. Lucky for you, I'll keep on yesterday's habit of just producing a few short lists. Today, it's two old Teiam Player tracks and a few other Favorites of 2007 which, at the time of typing this were still undecided.

I'm also skimping on the linkage, because I just can't be bothered to do so. To buy anything below, head over to Insound or Other Music or Amazon, ore simply crack open your iTunes.

Okkervil River - "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe"
!!! - "Sweet Life"
Battles - "Atlas"
Digitalism - "Zdarlight"

Teiam Player:
The Islands "Rough Gem" + Outkast "B.O.B" =
"R.G.O.B"
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone "Young Shields" + Cadence Weapon "Sharks" = "Young Shark Shields"

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Favorite Songs of 2007, Part Cuatro

An almost wordless post; only the necessary ones [ie, no fun].

Some more of my favorite songs of 2007 and the albums to purchase them from [with links to do just that].

Pela - "Cavalry", from Anytown Graffiti; 88%
Modest Mouse - "Spitting Venom", from We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank; 60%
Jose Gonzalez - "Down the Line", from In Our Nature; 62%
Animal Collective - "Chores", from Strawberry Jam; 90%
M.I.A feat Timbaland - "Come Around", from Kala; 64%
Decibully - "If I Don't Work", unreleased
Ghostface - "Chunky", from J-Love's Street Savior Part 5 [bootleg mixtape]; 23%
Reina Boone - "Beauty of It", from her self-released sampler EP; 24%
White Denim - "Mess Your Hair Up", from Let's Talk About It; 31%

All truckers roll.

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Other news: I kinda can't wait for The Cool.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Yeasayer, Bodies of Water, St Vincent Live

And I am so jealous.

Hip hop hoor-yay! ....sorry.

Yeasayer has a pretty damn good chance at holding the number one spot for me, as far as this past year's albums go. No, I haven't thoroughly listened to Ghostface's new album, and I'm still waiting for the new Girl Talk. Nevertheless, All Hour Cymbals is just that good.

I'm currently listening to an exclusive KEXP live performance from October. You should go get it. I'm pretty sure it's now only available via their iTunes podcast-- just open up the little i and within the store search for KEXP, and find the Live Performances podcast. You will want to subscribe. Just in the past few months they have shows from several of our current favorites. To name just a few: MIA, Pela, Animal Collective, Beirut, Battles, The Twilight Sad, Simian Mobile Disco, Band of Horses. Phew, where does a guy find the time?

And then if you have a few hours to spare, go browse the live performances on the KEXP site. I remember when their alphabetical listing had three sections: A-G, H-M, N-Z. Now there are like seven, and each page is approximately seventeen miles long. Quality and quantity.

After you do that, go support public radio and buy the KEXP Live CD. Or call up your own local public radio station and make a pledge. In Madison? Listen to WORT? Go here.

Back to the live music. Yeasayer's set is simply amazing. They mix some things up a bit by giving some extended or just different intros to a few songs, so you'll reward yourself if you go give it a listen. I really can't wait til these guys start touring outside of NY and that corner.

Go buy their stuff.

Bodies of Water also have an awesome record out. I was quickly hooked, but then admittedly fell victim to the oversaturation I'm always mentioning and I kinda totally forgot about them. Actually, they were replaced with Celebration's killer disc. But recently I picked it back up and so far this weekend it's been played a lot. La Blogotheque had a crack at them recently in the infamous and wonderful-in-their-candidness Takeaway Shows. Here's "I Heard It Sound", from Ears Will Pop and Eyes Will Blink.



Typically, if I see a band dressed like this I judge the book by it's stinky feet and brazen who-the-hell-does-she-think-she-is-by-wearing-that? mentality of "look we're a band!" cover. But they got the goods, so they can do whatever the hell they want. Just like VietNam.

Gorilla vs Bear also has one sweet live video of St. Vincent from a recent in-store. And yes, if you happen to go check it out, I did in fact leave a comment that professes my love to her. Shut up. You do, too. Just look at'er:

*Sigh*.

Get Marry'd here.
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Because I'm now feeling too lazy to post MP3s or go find some myself, following are Hype Machine links to all the other music that has really made my weekend move a little mo betta, so you can go find stuff yourself. Stuff like Animal Collective and Black Dice from earlier this year that I just now got into, and fairly new stuff like Austin, TX's White Denim or the Regina Spektor/St. Vincent morphing that is London's Kate Nash.

Animal Collective
Black Dice
White Denim
Kate Nash
Brazos
Jonquil
The Cave Singers
Subtle
Bodies of Water
St. Vincent
Yeasayer

Enjoy the snow, localers.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

New Teiam Player





Chris Brown feat T-Pain

+ Golden Bear

= Teiam Player

"Kiss Kiss Darkness"








Yeah and I guess I totally lied about a FaveSongs2007 post. But I think this is just as good. Check back sometime over the weekend.

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First Doogie, now a frickin essay?

No music right now. My recent Four Tet post [which none of y'all are diggin, by the way-- why no love for the drumtastic remixes?] was a music overload, and technically it was yesterday, so I haven't yet gone too long without sharing music.

It was brought to my attention that yesterday's Doogie rave perhaps wasn't really that clear. In my defense, I had been up for thirty hours at that point and had been subsiding mainly off espresso grounds and cacao leaves, and I think more than a few times I simply transcribed what the three-foot wizard who was sitting on my couch a lot of that night was whispering into my ear.

So I went back and read over it, and discovered it probably wasn't that clear what I was trying to do. So, dear friends, I've edited it and now it should be a little more clear. If you were unclear and thought I was wacko, go ahead and take another look. If you're scratching your head while thinking your posts are supposed to make sense? then.. well thanks for still reading. Everything after the video clips is the same, so only read it over if you want to laugh really hard again.

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Last night while I shoulda been writing a paper, I broke out a bunch of old poems and essays and short stories I wrote for a creative writing class I took three or four years ago. After that class, I had decided that, without a doubt, I'd be a creative writing major. I'm a Comm Arts major. And not even officially.

So I tortured a friend by reading most of that stuff en voz alta, because [a] I hadn't read the stuff since I wrote it and [b] I'm narcissistic like that. Usually when you stumble across something you wrote a long time ago, you're initially pretty embarrassed at how silly some things were, but then you realize that just means you've improved a lot. Well, maybe that means I haven't improved at all in the last four years-- it's entirely possible, because the most creative writing I do these days appears on the Missed Connections pages-- because I stumbled across an essay I wrote about pencils, and I didn't want to change a thing. In fact, I didn't. Ok, I didn't change anything, but I did remove one small paragraph which shouldn't have been included in the first place.

Here I share it with y'all because if I don't, it's simply going back into a manila envelope and onto a shelf or a floor or into a box for the rest of its life. So let's give him some air first. [Remember this one, Missus Sims?]

I bought some pencils recently. Dixon Ticonderogas. Everyone knows and loves the Ticonderoga. Classic pencil look. It's really the quintessential pencil: the yellow that's otherwise only found on school buses and the three green stripes on the metal band right underneath the virgin pink eraser.

It's strange that I bought these pencils because I have drawerfulls of pencils in my apartment and I never use a single one of them. Pencils from seventh grade, I shit you not. That one's a Cubs pencil, and it hasn't even been sharpened. Ever. I don't hold onto it for any imaginable reason (although if I needed one, the simple fact that it's a Cubs pencil is enough); to throw it away would just be a waste. In fact it's one of those plasticky pencils, the kind that's made out of recycled material. That and the fact that it's got Cubs logos freckling its body are the only things it's got going for it. I hate those pencils though. You can bend them so much you'd nearly touch eraser to tip without it breaking, which now that I think about it actually sounds pretty cool. You always know when to stop, too, because you'll hear those mousy little cracks, much softer than the ones you hear when you drop an ice cube into a glass of water. But if you did break them, you discover that they're the only pencil you can break and have two clean edges, no sharp jagged weapons. If you had one of these pencils in school (the most common brand was Empire, if my memory serves), you were always looking at the rich kid next you's wooden pencil, with a jealous eye. Maybe he'd get up soon and you could snatch it.

I have other pencils in other drawers. I have sketching pencils, which I keep because they have a purpose, even if I never employ them for it anymore. There are mechanical pencils, which I won't even get into because, like a robot, they just seem like they would be the answer to everything. But they're so deceiving, those guys. And then there are the short pencils that were cut off at the waist, their top halves presumably making equally short pencils somewhere else, but with one integral feature to brag about to their friends: the eraser. I keep the short headless pencils around partly because I feel sorry for them, but mainly just because they seem cool to me. Like they were very selectively chosen for a cause much more noble than to be in the grimy hands of an unappreciative student—such as behind the ear of a drywaller, lying littered on the fake grass of a mini golf course, in the hand of a happy bride-to-be perusing Ikea, or in the dark and cool confines of a Yahtzee box.

I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve written anything of substantial length in pencil. That was until two weeks ago when I tried one out in my journal. It was a Saturday, not that the day is of any real importance. Although it is fairly noteworthy that I chose to make an entry in my journal on a Saturday, in August, when everyone else was out at the park throwing frisbee, or on the lake basking in the sun, or somewhere else doing something more summerly than writing in a journal. And then there’s me, doing just that. To my credit, I do believe I was outside at a nearby café, taking in rays and watching people stroll by. People that had too much to drink the night before. People that had money to spend and were looking for somewhere to spend it. People with nothing at all to do but walk around with other people who with nothing at all to do, all of them perfectly content with the nothing they were doing. People with journals to write in but apparently nothing to write about. That’s where we differed, as I sat there, actually having something to write. And I did it in pencil. And that’s how I remember.

What I can’t remember is a time before that Saturday in August that I chose to write in pencil when I had another option, or why. I sat in this spot for several minutes and contemplated a time or a place I would have wanted to use a pencil. Then when I thought I had recalled one, I realized that I in fact had used a pen.

There is something uneasy to me about writing in pencil. It definitely can be just a little fun—that is until the lead gets dull. Then it’s clumsy. Like when it starts to dull and you feel like you’re writing with a piece of balsam fir. And so you turn it between your three fingers every three words, constantly striving for that one straight edge of lead. And then it begins to only write thin lines on the vertical up- and downswings of your letters, but not east or west. And then, inevitably, there is no longer even any salvageable splinter or sliver or slice of sharpness in your hand, and you would be better off writing with that piece of balsam fir. Or a French fry. With ketchup.

But there is still another uneasiness. What is uneasy to me may be very comfortable to someone else, and vice-versa—in fact I have come to understand that there’s a good chance that’s the case. With pencils, it’s the selling point that most everyone else values. Its crux, its sole purpose for being: that little salmon-dyed forgetter-of-mistakes on the non-marking end. I think that is what makes me feel most uneasy about writing with the ol’ No. 2. I cannot understand why anyone would ever write in pencil anything of any significance if he knew there was a chance any schmuck with a piece of rubber could come by and remove it. Forever.

-RTM, c. 2004.


Wait for a FaveSongs2007 installment later today. If the music isn't enough reason to come back, howabout this: it may a historical moment, the first time I say nothing of any of the bands/songs, just posting links. Insanity!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Boy Genius. All Around Great Kid.

So I finally got my Hulu beta testing invite in the mail last night. Luckily Steep 'n' Brew's wi-fi was ultramegaArgentina slow, and so it didn't deter me from doing my homework. Lucky for me, I resorted to the usual distractions.


Hulu is a new project, owned by NBC Universal, which offers loads of TV programs, both old and new, and even some feature films [Weekend at Bernie's, people!]. It's not just NBC programming, as you can see by the image above, but has shows from all over. Users can embed full episodes in blogs or e-mails [examples below], in which you can highlight certain clips to cue.

After perusing for just a few minutes, a two word review: JUMPIN JIMINY! It all works pretty slick. The resolution is pretty is pretty good, it all streams pretty quickly, easily pause- and restartable, good fullscreen mode.... the way they can do this is through advertsing, however it's really not that bad. One 5-10 second clip at the beginning, and then during 30-min shows it seems they only do one commercial spot which lasts 30 seconds. Of course you can't get around those, but that 30 seconds give you more than enough time to CTRL+T and open your Gmail or check on your Ebay auction or maybe even make that move on Scrabulous [umm, Scrabulous-- anyone else need a new addiction?].

Hulu is the perfect answer to the desire to just want to remember a few older shows, but not wanting to go and drop $40 on an entire season. Really, who could sit through an entire season of WKRP in Cincinatti?

I chose to watch Doogie Howser, MD, as I didn't think I had the patience to sit through an entire A-Team or Airwolf, although yes, they're both available to watch.

Want proof of its awesomeness? Check out this ish, yo.



You can't do that.

And apparently if you're using MSIE, you can't see it, either. Go get a better browser.

And as if that wasn't enough, here's a Vinnie friggin Delpino moment! [yes, it is a different clip; looks to be the same right now, but just click on it already]



After watching this, I was amazed at how good this show really was. Don't snicker, it was good. Here's just a few of the moments I liked the most.

First, I feel the need to quote Vinnie’s wonderful line to the Big Doog in an effort to get more visitors to my blog by attracting all walks of perverts and pedophiles to my blog through their x-rated Google searches:

“Oh, I was just visiting with Doogie, Dr. Howser, listening to his plan to part Wanda Plenn's pulsating red lips with his probing pubescent tongue.”

And now to get the highbrow crowd, I gotta give Dee Hizzy's romantic rouse:

"Girls love getting sniffed. And then, I'll give her a lick on her lobule auriculare."

Spoiler alert!

If you weren’t old enough to watch this kind of smut, weren’t alive, or were like me and the Doogs and were too busy typing in your computer diary, you sure missed out. You can rewind one of those clips and watch the entire episode if you want, but I’m gonna spoil it.

During a birfday prank gone horribly embarrassingly awry, Nurse Spalding drops the Doogie Monster’s [her words, not mine] drawers and we learn two things: [1] Doogie’s voice can get higher, and [2] Douglas Jr is not the smallest doogie in the Howser family as, after being exposed in front of his doctorly colleagues, D'angles covers his dangle and runs off in shame.

D-Hows gets down to the L-O-C and to, like, totally ensure his ear-to-tongue action with Wanda, unloads half a bottle of aftershave on himself. In this montage, there are also plenty of clues that, knowing what we know now, make more sense: [1] He’s wearing pink-spotted boxers! [2] The skinny white boy can dance! [3] Doog Heezy has a James Dean poster. Duh.

Also, in a quicker recap:

Vinnie pukes down the front of some broad’s dress, D-Love smells her hair and then totally sticks his wet one in Wanda’s ear, but doesn’t get much play because some little black kid dies and he's beeped into the hospizzle. And then Dooger Ray Leonard punches a locker so hard that.... a magnet falls off.

All the morals at the end are so obvious/cliche/whatever that they aren’t worth mentioning. But after Doog Little proclaims that he just wants to be normal, Doog Big does dish this unjustifiably denied Emmy-deserving ditty:

“Because you’re not a normal kid. You’re Doogie Howser, MD… BG… AAGK…”

And then Mahatma Doogie goes and writes something profound and poetic about life on his magical computer that always comes on faster than my DualCore [and I’m not talking about my Intel].

The end.

In either clip, go straight to 18:56 to see Doogie's dirty deed go down; it's a beautiful moment and some of you could probably take some notes.

Never have the words doogie, probing pubescent tongue, wampa wampa, harvest dance, pencil neck and lobule auriculare, when used within the same thirty minutes, seemed so wrong. Wait.. yeah they’ve always been so totally damn wrong. Way to go Doog.

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Four Tet: Remixer of the Year

That's right, you heard it here first, forks. I'm hereby declaring frentic beatsmith Kieren Hebden, aka Four Tet, the Remixer of the Year. Forget Justice, Soulwax [please pardon me, Oh Wise Brothers], Swizz Beats, MSTRKRFT, Hot Chip, Diplo [again, pardon me, worldly EclectoMash Master*], and all the countless other electro remixers out there who rocked my bedroom this year. Umm.. not to leave out all ye crunksters [kiddies: is crunk still in?]. Oh! And apparently there's another Beirut [no, not the OHWNT-approved band] going around making good remixes. And what about the Silver Album, Grey Album, and Beachles album -inspired/follower/reincarnate, Bullion's Pet Sounds: In the Key of Dee?. Yeah that's pretty blogdopetastic, too. I'll let nialler9 take over and talk about it, though.

*update-slash-tangent! Right-click + open-link-in-new-tab on over to my not-so-anonymous-friend's [that part will make more sense in another paragraph or so] bee-ell-oh-gee to see a same-time-horrible, same-time-rad video of Diplo and Girl Talk spinning a sweet sixteen [which totally beats out Mark Ronson's TomKat gig, by the way].

And you know what? I'm not even going to talk much about Four Tet. No, seriously. Just this:

[1] If you like Caribou/Manitoba, you should like Dan Snaith's friend Kieren.

[2] I keep trying to convince Postal Service fans who are even too afraid to dip their toes into that electronic stuff to give Caribou and Four Tet a try. Do it. Please. Dip your toes.

[yadayadayada] Some people try to put tags like experimental [it's not], psychedelic [it may be], post-rock [I never understood that one], glitch [no], IDM [umm....], or the jahforsaken tag electronica. Ignore all that nonsense. I have an anonymous friend who says the Cold War Kids aren't rock. Wha? That's like saying the Beatles aren't pop. Or that fish isn't meat. That pink shirts are gay.

[blahblahblah] Ok, so maybe they aren't all the same thing, but my point is this: go read Shakespeare. A rose, any other name, blah blah blah. Oh, and don't judge books by their stupid pigeonholes.

Wake up! The music's finally coming.


In my most illegal post yet, here are SIX downloads: four Four Tet remixes from 2007 [all four of which validate this as a FaveSongs2007 post], one classic FT track, and his amazing remix of everyone's favorite tearjerker, Sia's Six Feet Under -ending "Breathe Me".

[if you don't know that the above is in fact what I call keeping this short, then you haven't been coming around these parts long enough]

Sia - "Breathe Me" [Four Tet remix]

Battles - "Tonto" [Four Tet remix]

Caribou - "Melody Day" [Four Tet remix]

Matthew Dear - "Deserter" [Four Tet remix]

Nathan Fake - "You Are Here" [Four Tet remix]

Four Tet - "No More Mosquitoes" [Boom Bip remix]

Go buy Four Tet music:
Insound
Other Music
Turntable Lab
Amazon

If you ever happen to see me walking around, bopping with my earbuds in and I'm drumming imaginary drumsticks in the air, chances are I'm listening to something having to do with Four Tet. Or my iPod's dead and I just don't want to talk to you.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Teiam Player!


Alicia and the MGMT boys get down and dirty. Well, not entirely. But MGMT definitely makes Alicia pick up the pace here. There's even an extra little something special in there, too [secret-but-not-too-unapparent sample from another OHWNT favorite!].

Alicia Keys + MGMT =
Teiam Player "No Kids"


Special thanks to Liz and Rachel for opening my eyes/ears to both of these tracks, both just in the last few days.

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