Monday, March 31, 2008

Elsewheres

EW.com is hosting an exclusive first listen of a new track off of Phantom Planet's upcoming album, due out in stores on April 15. Phantom Planet only recently re-entered my radar, after I heard about their tour date in Houston next month. The song, "Raise the Dead," is the title track from the album and is certainly a departure from the sunny So-Cal sounds of the group's sparkling breakout, The Guest. But I think I like it. I think.

Click here for a listen

and

Brooklyn Vegan informs that REM has done a Take Away Show with La Blogotheque, which I think is soooo rad! If you haven't heard about the series, it's a completely informal and casual but absolutely genius set up where artists of the moment take to the streets and perform their new material. Seasoned veterans usually don't take part, so I think it's really cool that Michael Stipe and co. did a set.

REM's new album, Accelerate drops tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Radiohead

Pitchfork has a rad interview with Radiohead bassist--and very cool fellow--Colin Greenwood.

Among other things, Greenwood explains why he loves playing shows during the conversation:

"...That's why I love playing shows, you've got thousands of people sharing their personal passion for the music with each other, it's such a wonderful thing to be able to curate. When you're playing the songs, people are really into it together but they're all into their own thing about it, too. I remember reading this book of essays by Jonathan Franzen called How to Be Alone in which he talks about the actualization of public spaces in American suburbs and how people can only congregate at malls now. So to be able to play and get loads of people together is really cool."


I'm soooo excited to see these guys this summer

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is My Confession


I have a confession to make. I watch The Hills. I can't even tell you why. I think I have a problem.

Now that it is out in the open

Last night while I watched the season premiere a day late, French dance-pop singer Yelle's music streamed during the commercial breaks. I think she's the coolest thing since sliced bread. She's kind of a fun hybrid of electronic/rock/spasms/glitter/stars, in the vain of French band Prototype.

Yelle has a bunch of videos up on Youtube, and she's performing in the States in early summer. Here's a remix of her song, "A Causes Des Garcons"

Yelle - A Causes des Garcons

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Youtubing: Stop-Loss

The film, Stop-Loss, has been getting lots of great press lately, including this profile of the movie's director, Kimberly Peirce, that was featured in the Times last week. The movie was produced by MTV Films and may well be an episode of True Life; it chronicles a group of soldiers who are stop-lossed, forced to continue serving in the army long after their initial commitments are up.

Here's the trailer


Stop-Loss opens in theaters this Friday.

When He's Not Raconteuring


When he's not singing and playing guitar along with Jack White in the band, The Raconteurs, Brendan Benson [pictured] is making fine music of his own as a solo artist. Newsweek recently caught up with the avid storyteller, and Benson reports that a new album is in the works for next year. I saw him a couple of years ago in concert, when he was touring in support of his splendid record, The Alternative to Love. He's amazing.

I think I wrote about this song in college

Brendan Benson - Cold Hands Warm Heart

The Raconteurs have a new album they had rush delivered to stores yesterday just for you. It's called The Consolers of the Lonely.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Choosing to Think of it

Today, ten thousand people will die
and their small replacements will bring joy
and this will make sense to someone
removed from any sense of loss.
I, too, will die a little and carry on,
doing some paperwork, driving myself
home. The sky is simply overcast,
nothing is any less than it was
yesterday or the day before. In short,
there's no reason or every reason
why I'm choosing to think of this now.
The short-lived holiness
true lovers know, making them unaccountable
except to spirit and themselves--suddenly
I want to be that insufferable and selfish,
that sharpened and tuned.
I'm going to think of what it means
to be an animal crossing a highway,
to be a human without a useful prayer
setting off on one of those journeys
we humans take. I don't expect anything
to change. I just want to be filled up
a little more with what exists,
tipped toward the laughter which understands
I'm nothing and all there is.
By evening, the promised storm
will arrive. A few in small boats
will be taken by surprise.
There will be survivors, and even they will die.
-- Stephen Dunn

Probably one of my favorite poems of all time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bridges and Powerlines


Sometimes you just have to give thanks to Gary Neuman and the other Synth Gods for making songs like this one possible:

Bridges and Powerlines - Uncalibrated

New York based band Bridges and Powerlines [pictured] play with synth throughout their debut album, Ghost Types, a fine record that balances the new wave element with some grounded rock and roll. Ghost Types comes out on April 22, and after a listen or two I can unequivocally say that it's fantastic.

The guys are having an album release party in NY tonight, detes on their webpage if you're in the surrounding areas.

How about another mp3, from the band's 2006 EP, for your listening pleasures? Why not

Bridges and Powerlines - Carmen

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Indie Rock 25


EW.com made a slideshow of the top indie albums from the last 25 years. It's a hoot. Some of my favorites made the cut, like Built to Spill [pictured], Interpol, and R.E.M. (obvis.) I don't necessarily agree with some of the more recent choices, but isn't that half the fun to be had with critic's lists?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

unHappy Anniversary

The present Iraq War is five years old today. Vanity Fair excerpts a portion of economist Joseph Stiglitz's new book, The $3 Trillion War, in its latest issue. Stiglitz argues that both the Pentagon and the White House have grossly underestimated the cost of the Iraq War, which will assume the hefty price tag that inspired Stiglitz's book's name in record time:

"To understand why the true costs of the war are so much higher than the official estimates, we can start by looking at America’s veterans. No one has suffered more from the administration’s blindness and stinginess. To date, more than 1.6 million American troops have been deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. More than 4,000 have been killed. More than 65,000 have been wounded or injured, or have contracted a disease. Of the 750,000 troops who have been discharged so far, some 260,000 have been treated at veterans’ medical facilities. Nearly 100,000 have been diagnosed as having mental-health conditions. Another 200,000 have sought counseling and re-adjustment services at walk-in vet centers."


I'll never forget attending a lecture in college, where an old Korean War vet got up during the Q&A portion to quote Eisenhower; "I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity."

Now I see why.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Things: White Rabbits and Gnarls

So congrats to one of my favorite new bands from the last year, White Rabbits have just scored a record deal with Radiohead's label, TBD. Oh, and they're going on tour again, yay.

It looks like the guys have gone and made a video for their song "The Plot:"



And Gnarls Barkley decided that April was simply too long to keep their fans waiting for their follow-up to St. Elsewhere. So they decided to release their new album, Odd Couple, a little early, like um, today! Will last minute record release rushes become a trend?

Here's the adorable video for their single, "Run." I dig:

Viva El Alamo

For the record, rock band Alamo Race Track does not hail from the land of the Alamo, aka San Antonio (where I spent part of the weekend visiting my brother.) The lads in ART are actually from Amsterdam. Despite any logistical confusion, this song has a very instant appeal.

Alamo Race Track - The Northern Territory

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Traces of Gravity

Josef and Esbjorn of Swedish shoegaze band Oh! Custer pose an intriguing question concerning their music:

"These sounds we make, are they traces of gravity?"

Oh! Custer - Post


Pondering the Earth's pull on our bodies isn't the first thing to come to mind when I listen to this song (or the second...), but it is a splendid reminder of how grand music is, how it's bigger than us all.

Oh! Custer has made an EP called States that can only be purchased through their record label, Series Two, a boutique operation based in Nebraska. So let's see, a Swedish band, releasing an album out of Nebraska, and perhaps so named after the famous 19th Century American general. Just checking to see if I had that right.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Little SXSW for Everyone


Here's a little something for those of us who didn't splurge on a wristband at this year's South by Southwest. Tune in on Friday afternoon for an NPR webcast of a festival showcase featuring Kaki King, the Whigs, and Someone Loves You Boris Yeltsin [pictured]. The concert starts at 1pm.

SLYBY's new album, Pershing, is due out in April. Have you heard their new single, "Glue Girls?" It's dyn-o-mite.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Glue Girls

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Je T'aime Tant


Although I am a fan of Before Sunrise, I did not expect to be as moved as I was by the film's sublime sequel, Before Sunset. And yet there I was on Saturday afternoon, balling my eyes out during the car scene.

Another thing I liked about this movie, besides the skill required to make one lengthy piece of dialogue play out so beautifully, and Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's perfect chemistry, was the music. There's Nina Simone's playful "Just in Time" at the very end of the film, and some Julie Delpy originals sprinkled throughout, like this one

Julie Delpy - Je T'aime Tant

Delpy came out with an English/French solo album around the time Before Sunrise was released. It features this song and some other lovely folk tunes.

I hope they make another one of these in the next decade.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Get Yours!

I'm a sucker for self-help books these days, especially for good ones. Amy Dubois Barnett, the pioneering former editor in chief of the now shuttered Honey Magazine, has recently released a book called Get Yours!, which provides ample counsel on how to well, get yours. And then some.

I've been a fan of Dubois Barnett for sometime now. I remember reading Honey Magazine back in high school, and thinking it was the coolest. No one was doing what Honey was doing. And I think it's telling that no one has done it since.

Dubois Barnett has had a string of successes after Honey's unfortunate demise; she became the EIC of Teen People (and as a result the first black woman to head a major mainstream magazine), she is currently holding it down as Deputy Editor at Harper's Bazaar, and she has written what looks to be a tremendous book.

You can read more about the book, and about Dubois Barnett in this AP story in the Seattle Times. Thanks, Fishbowl.

Interview: Nicole Atkins

Why I love Nicole Atkins, Reason #36:

We've heard that you are in an all girl metal group called 'that word that Jane Fonda recently uttered on daytime television.' Can you tell us a little about that and any other musical projects you are involved with?
Now that I don't live in NYC anymore, Cunt (umladts over the U) is now on hiatus, or maybe defunct, who knows. Over the last couple of years I’ve been writing some songs for an EP with my friend Stephen Warwick of Charlotte, NC and I’ve also been singing backup on Scott Liss's record. He’s pretty amazing, You should check him out. I also moonlight as MC Bombpussy in the Asbury Park/Brooklyn rap conglomerate, the D** D** stains with members of the Parlor Mob. It’s hilarious.

You can read the rest of the interview over at Houstonist, and catch Nicole and her band The Sea perform this Monday at the Mink in Houston.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Youtubing: New Santogold

Pitchfork thinks this music video for Santogold's jam, "L.E.S. Artistes" is new. Well, it's new to me:



And there's a new remix of "L.E.S. Artistes" that has been floating around the internets too. You can check it out over at Gorilla vs. Bear

Santogold - Creator (Windows Stream)

Santogold's debut album is being released in April, and I can't hardly wait.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rock With U


I'm not really a fan of the overuse of text message lingo. Is it so hard to actually write "you," "to," and "for" these days?
I am, however, a huge fan of Janet Jackson's new song, "Rock with U," the second single off of her album, Discipline. I heard it for the first time in a BET Access Granted with Jackson that aired tonight and was blown away.

Janet Jackson - Rock With U

Ann Powers of the LA Times likes "Rock With U" too. And does a much better job at explaining the song's amazingness than I ever could:

"The song pays homage to her beloved brother Michael's glimmering early hit of the same name without directly sampling it. Instead, the co-writers -- Ne-Yo, Dupri and Atlanta house-music producer Eric Stamile -- create a sonic meditation on what Michael (and Janet, and all of us) have lost since those sweet last days of disco.

Building on the original's bed of synthesized chord changes, Team Janet layers in swirling keyboards, vocoder whispers and the singer's own distended murmurs; the effect is the gentlest time travel ever accomplished. The song's opening line, "Strobe lights make everything sexier," seems ridiculous -- until you remember the rainbow strobes that made Michael seem like a glitter angel in that image-defining video."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Joy Formidable

My good friend Hunter Wry first alerted me about this great new band called The Joy Formidable last week. And then I received an email from TJF bassist/singer Rhydian and I've officially been hooked ever since. Lead singer/guitarist Ritzy has a gravel in her voice that will haunt you in your sleep, and they seem to be fans of the reverb and distortion, a la Nick Zinner. In other words, TJF is really kind of awesome.

The Joy Formidable - While the Flies

Here's an interview with the band that I found on a Norwegian music blog, and you can download more excellent TJF songs off of their Myspace page. I wish I could tell you the name of their album, but they don't have one yet! They don't even have a record deal, which I just can't believe

Saturday, March 1, 2008

She Did it Her Way

The Times has a great profile of former Gilmore Girls exec producer and show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino about her new upcoming series for television. The show is called "The Return of Jezebel James," and centers around indie darling Parker Posey and Six Feet Under's Lauren Ambrose who play sisters.

I'm really glad to see this lady doing work again. There aren't a lot of women doing what she does in Hollywood, and I think that she has a remarkably unique voice that needs to be heard. Can't wait to see the new show.