Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuff We Loved In 2008 (Best of...)

"I Promise/ I'm On It"

By this time, I'm sure you're all sick of top 10 lists. Us too. Therefore, we've resigned to posting a list of stuff that we absolutely adored. There are no rankings, merely praise for everyone, in and of their own right. After all, 'tis the season.

Artist of the Year
Bradford Cox- Microcastle/Weird Era Cont., Let The Blind..., Logos, etc. This dude released more material than anyone this year, and, for once, quantity and quality go hand in hand. Thanks in large part to the Deerhunter blog (best record label of 2008?), you can probably listen to Bradford 24 hours a day, which will really make your brain feel gooey and nice. Like waking up from a Robotussin dream.

Criminally Unreleased Stateside
Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra

Still Not Tired of (Best Albums...)
Fleet Foxes- Sun Giant/Fleet Foxes
Deerhunter- Microcastle/ Weird Era Cont.

Best Pop Album
Lykke Li- Youth Novels

Best Non-Dance Remix
Caribou- Melody Day (Four Tet remix)
The Rosebuds- Silence By The Lakeside (Portastic remix)

Best Dance Remix
Friendly Fires- Paris (Aeroplane remix featuring Au Revoir Simone)

Best Reason to Invest in the Dutch Master Corporation
Flying Lotus

Most Captivating/Riveting Performance
Joanna Newsome @ BAM

Most Insane Performance
Of Montreal @ Roseland

Best Live Act (tie)
Animal Collective

Favorite Foreign Weirdness
Lau Nau

Best Reason to Write a Sci-Fi Space Adventure Screenplay
Lindstrom- Where You Go I Go Too

Most Delightful Album
Little Joy- s/t

Best One-Two Punch
Amadou & Miriam- Sabali-> Ce N'est Pon Bon

Best 7"
Girls- Morning Light/Lust for Life (complete with custom corsage)

Best Reason to Own Black Light/Nag Champ/Smoke Machine
School of Seven Bells

Best Visual Aesthetic
M83- Saturdays=Youth, Kim & Jessie video, Graveyard Girl video

Best Album Title (and Best Garage Act)
harlem- free drugs ;-)

It's Good to be From Jersey..
Titus Andronicus releasing the Albert Camus 7" & The Airing of Grievances LP on TU!

Best Mix
Aeroplane- Resident Advisor (Fleet Foxes->Space Disco= 2008 in a nutshell)

Highly Anticipated for 2k9
Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion
Girls- (?)
Marissa Nadler- Little Hells
Alela Diane- To Be Still
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart- s/t
Dent May- The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & his Magnificent Ukuele

Friday, December 19, 2008

classix: Cymande

Appropriate for the holidays, Cymande (pronounced sah-mahn-day) is derived from the calypso word for dove, signifying peace and love. The name is fitting since most of their members originally hailed from Caribbean islands like Guyana, Jamaica, and St. Vincent. This seemingly forgotten nonet of 70's self-taught British funk-a-holics released only three albums, all in the span of two years, before calling it quits.

And what happens to nearly all forgotten funk bands? They get sampled 20 years later. You might recognize Cymande from Spike Lee's Crooklyn, the Fugees title track from The Score, or De La Soul's "Change in Speak" from 3-Feet High And Rising.

Cymande - Bra [from their 1972 self-titled debut]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

cover: Tallest Man on Earth "These Days"

"I've Stopped My Rambling"

(Photo by Karl Gunnarsson)
We've discussed "These Days" before and probably don't need to go into details about a song that is adored by nearly everyone whose ears are lucky enough to hear it. However, last week, The Tallest Man on Earth helped revive a song that, while still very much adored, has sort of become ubiquitous in the post-Royal Tenenbaums world. The Tallest Man on Earth's version is true to the original. To be honest, I can't really note any real difference between his cover and the many that have been recorded over the past 30+ years. Regardless, his version was quite moving, and a lovely segue into a magical set from Bon Iver. I enjoyed it so much that I picked up The Tallest Man on Earth's Shallow Grave after the show and it's proving to be a great mid-December album, perfect for the looming transition into Winter. Plus, it really compliments the smell of Nova Scotian pine (ie. the Canadian Christmas tree in my living room). Peep Hooves on the Turf's video of his performance below.

Tallest Man on Earth: These Days (cover) from hoovesontheturf.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

remix: Love Lockdown Flying Lotus

"I'm Not Loving You The Way I Wanted To"
Flying Lotus gives "Love Lockdown" a bit of a Burial. Ahum. Supa dubbbby. Studio headphones, X-Bass, and a box of Vanilla Dutchee's highly rec'd. FlyLo continues to crush the remixes. (via Mad Dec)

we saw: of Montreal at MHoW

"Escape From Patterns Your Parents Designed"

(photo by Diana Wong)
After the freak-show that was the Roseland, we couldn't wait to catch Elephant 6-turned-neuvo Funk sexpots Of Montreal at the more intimate, and way closer to home, Music Hall of Williamsburg. While theatrics were certainly in toe, as they have been for the entire Skeletal Lampings tour, last nights show was incredibly toned down compared to its October counterpart. Sure, I would've been ecstatic to watch Kevin Barnes hang himself on stage again only to be re-born as a centaur and I sort of missed all the freaky Gold John McCain orgies, but what they left out in terms of theatrics, they multiplied with music. Last night's show was roughly 2+ hours of sweaty FNK, complete with Lampings gems like "Gallery Piece" and Hissing Fauna jams "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger", "She's A Rejector" and, of course, "Gronlandic Edit." Flalling limbs, booty grinding, head banging, singing from the bottom of your heart, all the signs of a band/crowd with soul power. The haters, well, they ain't got no soul power. My only revelation last night, besides deciding that in my next life I'd like to be a gold painted Buddha, is that Kevin Barnes must run the stairs of High School Football stadiums for hours in order to dictate/direct/keep up with the massive Jazzercize on Acid disco carnival he's created. It's truly a beautiful thing.

UPDATE: NYCTAPER has the show up for download, with complete setlist, et all. Continuously crushing it. God bless. Of Montreal 12/16/08 Music Hall of Williamsburg

(photo by Diana Wong)

(photo by Diana Wong)

(photo by Diana Wong)

Of Montreal "Plastic Wafers" 10/10/08

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

we saw: School of Seven Bells

"Can't Not Seem To Remember My Dreams Lately"
(Photo by redhead canvas)
If you see a show and don't post about it, did you really see it? Well, that was the case with the phenomenal Ghostly showcase, which closed out CMJ at (le) Poisson Rouge roughly 2 months ago. It wasn't long after the Detroit powerhouse released School of Seven Bell's intoxicating Alpinisms, and pairing the synthetic dream-gazers with dapper, micro-popist Matthew Dear couldn't have been a better bill. In fact, it was the best show we saw at CMJ. By far.

School of Seven Bells returned to NYC for a small club show last night at the Mercury Lounge, which was dimly lit and smelled like a Nag Champa factory. The atmosphere was perfect for School of Seven Bells, who appropriately got together during a late-night bonding session on tour. Dreamy, narcotic bangers like "Half Asleep" were shrouded in dense layers of manipulated guitars and pre-programmed drums, while relentless strobe lights forced many to enjoy the show with eyes half open, or entirely shut. This was beneficial, as, for me, the only way to experience School of Seven Bells is to shut your eyes and shake your head, letting blasts of color hypnotize your psyche as waves of sound wash over your entranced body (and mind). The band ran through the majority of Alpinisms, including "My Cabal", "White Elephant Coat", "Chain" and "Iamundernodisguise" during their short, but mesmerizing set. One of our favorite debut's of 2008's, we only wish they'd join Matthew Dear and fellow Ghostly artist (and CMJ show alum) Michna late night for New Years at LPR (2am-8am). Too bad they'll be tearing up Tokyo.

School of Seven Bells "Chain" 11/11/08

Monday, December 15, 2008

we saw: Bon Iver @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

"What Might Have Been Lost"

Bon Iver: Wolves I & II from hoovesontheturf on Vimeo.


Favorite Videos of 2008

"Warning: This Video Contains Flashing Lights"
Bjork "Wanderlust"

It's been a good year for music videos. We like them. They make the work day go by that much faster. And with the exception of "Parisian Goldfish", they probably won't get you fired. Here are some of our favorite videos from 2008. Enjoy.

M83 "Graveyard Girl"

M83 "Kim & Jessie"

Flying Lotus "Parisian Goldfish"

Hercules & Love Affair "Blind"

Evangelicals "Midnight Vignettes"

Efterklang "Illuminant"

My Morning Jacket "Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt. 2"

Fleet Foxes "Sun Giant/Blue Ridge Mountains"

Yeasayer "2080"

Friday, December 12, 2008

upcoming: Grouper & Kria Brekkan

"I'd Rather Fall In A Tidal Wave"

Last night I found out at that the Silent Barn will be hosting one helluva show this Sunday. The venerable Ridgewood, Queens DIY performance space will showcase the quiet sounds of Kria Brekkan (mum, kria & avey tare) and Portland's absolutely enchanting Grouper, whose Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill is showing up on a lot of year-end lists, and with good reason. Liz Harris, the brains and body behind Grouper, has truly captured the essence of night on Dragging A Dead Deer..., so much so that I often wake up unable to distinguish my dreams from reality. For this, I thank you Liz Harris. If you are doing anything this Sunday, besides watching the Giants dominate the Cowgirls, I suggest going to this show. Do it for the sake of your dreams. For fans of Julianna Barwick, Eno and Stars of the Lid.

Kria Brekkan "bee xlaura"

Grouper- Heavy Water/ I'd Rather Be Sleeping

Thursday, December 11, 2008

video: Bon Iver

"Love is for Fools"

This just made me very excited for Friday night at Music Hall.

new: Dent May

"I Belong Here In This World"

The lore goes a little something like this. Animal Collective went to record MPP in Mississippi and found this ukulele toting, four-eyed crooner playing the sweetest, saddest, most sympathetic songs a young man could sing. His name, Dent May. The visionaries they are, they set Mr. May up with producer Rusty Santos, who recorded May in his double-wide trailer in Taylor, Mississippi. The result is a record full of heartfelt witticisms and all the dumb intellectual and philosophical questions a drunk and stoned college-town boy ponders on weary afternoons on the quad. I only wish I was still a faux-ID toting undergrad listening after a three hour lecture on the Christ-like symbolism in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." Oh well, maybe in a next life, when its reissued for the 100th time.

Dent's got a big tour scheduled for 2009, opening for AC Newman nationwide, including a stop at the Bowery Ballroom March 15th. Paw Tracks will release The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele on February 3rd. Highly recommended for fans of Jens Lekman, The Magnetic Fields, Jonathan Richman and Beirut.

Dent May- Meet Me in the Garden
Dent May- College Town Boy

Dent May "Oh, Paris"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

we saw: Beach House

"If Not Now, Not Ever"

Beach House's performance on a humid Tuesday night in December felt like a warm winter's night at the shore. Victoria Legrand's dream inducing vocals were whistful and haunting, playing the romantic counterpart to Alex Scally's sorrowful fret work. To be honest, I was surprised at how much energy the Baltimore duo brought on stage, as songs from both Beach House and Devotion felt more "alive" than on record, managing to transform the ethereal haze that envelopes their studio records into something that felt akin to a leisurely jaunt through Purgatory during a blizzard. Unquestionable highlights were Devotion standout "Heart of Chambers", which show'd off Scally's understated axe work and exquisite tone, as well as "Used To Be", the phenomenal new single the band released a few weeks back. Contemplative, romantic, dreamy and warm, all the things you'd expect to get from Beach House in the middle of December.

Beach House- Holy Dances (Live from Juan's Basement)

Beach House "Gila"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

live: Animal Collective

"The Sweet Aroma"

Everyone's getting really "stoked" on the new Animal Collective...even though it hasn't leaked and most people haven't heard it. It's gotten so out of hand that there are over 600,000 page views in the AC-MPP atease thread and even a Twitter account dedicated to the Merriweather Post Pavillion leak. As one of the lucky few able to attend the NYC-MPP listening party, I can attest to the freaky joyous bounce fest that is MPP. If you've heard the "Brother Sport", or the "My Girls" rip, or have seen the band live in the past year, you're probably feeling the same way. That said, it's important to look to the past to remember how far AC have come, and this live set from Other Music in 2004 is a great example. Remember when Animal Collective was a "freak folk" band? Yeah me neither, but some people said they were. Anyway, this in-store performance, recorded a few months after the release of Sung Tongs, is all the drone-y vocal, shuffling acoustic strum and Avey screaming you remember from the pre-sampler AC. Notice the "On A Plain" cover, it's money. These guys sure have a way with Nirvana covers.

Animal Collective Live at Other Music 8/16/04

Monday, December 8, 2008

video: Little Joy

"I Will Be Waiting Here"

A creeper of a delight, Little Joy is like the blankey you were wrapped in at birth that you just don't have the heart to get rid of twenty five years later. It's scant and tattered from years of use and abuse, travels and nightmares, yet still maintains a certain soft and fluffy charm that cannot be understated. An old friend that makes you nostalgic for a much simpler time.

Little Joy- Next Time Around

Little Joy- Unattainable

Friday, December 5, 2008

video: Stars of the Lid

"Dopamine Clouds Over Craven Cottage"

stars of the lid at le poisson rouge (nyc) november 20th, 2008 from acid marshmallow on Vimeo.

Acid Marshmellow's capturing of a night that I'd like to live over a million times. These guys have been crushing the videos lately, with some killer White Rainbow footage (below), and many assorted others. Acid Marshmellow is also throwing a show next Wednesday at Matchless, featuring NJ-bred tropical-loopster Ducktails. Definitely worth a trek to G-Point, or a bike ride down the street. Live videos of White Rainbow and Ducktails below, courtesy of Acid Marshmellow.

white rainbow at knitting factory (nyc) november 23rd, 2008 from acid marshmallow on Vimeo.

ducktails at silent barn (ridgewood) november 8th, 2008 from acid marshmallow on Vimeo.

lost and found: "The King of Goombay"

"Give me what you gave my daddy last night"
The Caribbean saw a significant rise in tourism following WWII. In the Bahamas, as was elsewhere, musicians began melding musical styles to accommodate the tourists. "Calypso was stereotypically represented to tourists as an exotic, sensual music, associated with tropical beaches and lush foliage." Arguably the most adroit of these crossover Calypsians was George Symonette. Symonette helped pioneer the sound of goombay, the Bahamian off-shoot of Calypso. I first heard of George Symonette, known as "The King of Goombay," through my grandfather, a jazz and blues aficionado who saw Symonette play in Nassau in the 50's. His music was tough to track down, but I eventually came across a vinyl rip of his album Bahamian Troubadour. It's sort of an island mix between George Benson, Mississippi John Hurt, and early Kinks.

George Symonette - Mama, Out De Light [from Bahamian Troubadour]

Bahamian internet commercial featuring George Symonette's "Don't Touch Me Tomato"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

bobkast: #20: Tangled Wood Vines Twine

"Rosin Smells and Turpentine Smells From Eucalyptus and Pine"
Bitter tastes of twigs we chewed where tangled wood vines twine
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see
I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me
- Woody Guthrie
Inspired by some of my favorite Woody Guthrie lyrics, and one of my favorite interpretations, "Bobkast #20: Tangled Wood Vines Twine" is a collection of live songs recorded around the world at legendary venues, radio stations, back seats, basements, theaters and beaches. A mellow treat for those adversely affected by day-light savings.

Bobkast #20: Tangled Wood Vines Twine
1. The Arcade Fire- Wake Up (Black Session, Paris, FR 2005)
2. Mazzy Star- Flowers in December (The Metro, Chicago, USA 1994)
3. Jeff Tweedy- Remember the Mountain Bed (Vic Theatre, Chicago, USA 2005)
4. My Morning Jacket- Touch Me I'm Going To Scream pt. 2 (Cab, London, UK 2008)
5. R.E.M.- Gardening At Night (Seattle, USA 1987)
6. Fleet Foxes- Blue Ridge Mountains (Nigel Godrich's Basement, UK 2008)
7. Beirut- The Penalty (Black Session, Paris, FR 2007)
8. Department of Eagles- Herring Bone (Daytrotter, Rock Island, USA 2008)
9. Grizzly Bear- He Hit Me (Daytrotter, Rock Island, USA 2007)
10. Beach House- Used to Be (Beach, Australia 2008)

Direct Download Bobkast #20: Tangled Wood Vines Twine

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

new music: Deastro

Sky High Anthems
Making a strong case for label of the year, Ghostly International's newest release, Deastro's debut album Keepers, is an overwhelmingly strong collection of singles and basements tapes similar to LCD Soundsystem's debut, only rather than packaging it with a second disc of new material, Deastro plans to release a new album, Moondagger, in January.

Sonically disparate from LCD, Deastro's songs are textured and complex and cover a melange of genres while still maintaining a central aesthetic. They would be perfect touring with fellow Ghostly-mates School of Seven Bells (hint hint) or School of Seven Bells tour-mates M83, or Peter Bjorn & John, who have no relationship with any of them.

Keepers is available only through digital download. It's a shame, because the digital download is well worth the $10--Keepers deserves a proper release.

from Ghostly's description of Keepers:
All of this genre-hopping — shy synth-pop to instrumental robot-rock, whisper-soft ballads to sky-high anthems — would be nothing if not for Chabot’s deliriously fizzy production and soft-focus melodies. Keepers is like that three-eyed space cat: a strange amalgamation of an artist’s various obsessions, disjointed but held together by sheer force of will, coming from humble origins but belying grand ambitions of beauty, positivity, and imagination.
ED Note: Speaking of Ghostly, they just posted this incredibly 90's, betamax crushing suburban “Triple Chrome Dipped" banger from label signee Michna, who you may recognize for his work on Bonde Do Role's WIth Lasers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

live: Fleet Foxes

"In The Quivering Forest"

Still not on the Fleet Foxes bandwagon? Try this Nigel Godrich produced, recorded and engineered live version of "Blue Ridge Mountains" on for size. It fits wayyy better than that itchy sweater your great Aunt Ada gave you last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. In fact, it fits so well, you'll never want to take it off. Ever. You can marvel at the video, soon to be shown on IFC, here, but we know your going to want to take this one with you, so grab the mp3 below. Ripped by yours truly. And May the wind always be at your back...

Fleet Foxes- Blue Ridge Mountains (Live in Nigel Godrich's Basement)

we saw: Science in Fiction

"Sound of Science"

Jean Painleve's underwater science films are some of the most surreal, utterly trippy visuals I have ever seen. Definitely not some rhythmic algorithm ala Windows Visualizations, Painleve used microscopes and manipulated lenses to capture the idiosyncrasies of life in the deep blue sea for the better part of the 20th century. Whether it be observing the insemination of an Octopus, roaming Seahorses or zooming in on "Liquid Crystals", Painleve was no doubt way head of his time in both his artistic vision and his vision of Science. Throw in an absolutely trance-inducing score by Yo La Tengo and you've got a force to be reckon with. Unfortunately, Science in Fiction, shown at MonkeyTown, is not available for purchase in the US(!?). If you've got friends studying abroad or hanging out in ex-pat land, tell them to do something productive and pick up a copy of Painleve's Science in Fiction for you. They'll thank you later.

{Ed Note: You can in fact purchase the DVD in the US, from the Yo La Tengo store, however, it will only play in Region 2 or All Region DVD players.}

Yo La Tengo- The Love Life of the Octopus

Jean Painleve "Liquid Crystals" from Science in Fiction

Monday, December 1, 2008

mix: Flying Lotus

"Because We Separate"

When not increasing the syzurpy-ness of "A Milli" by tenfold, tweaking Reefer's "Let It Go" with Gravity Bong ooz, taking a scalpel to the membrane of "Reckoner" and dropping his own outer-wordly LP, Flying Lotus can be found sequencing bad ass mixes for the BBC, which includes Bobka favorites Alice Coltrane, Burial, Ghostly International's Osbourne, Portishead and even a Chocolate Star/Nelly Furtado mash up that features "Promiscuous Girl." Peep the comments for the tracklisting. It's a doozey. (via Mad Dec)

Download Flying Lotus Essential Mix

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

local: Julianna Barwick

"Come Around"

Some of the most beautiful new music I've heard this year comes from Julianna Barwick. The Brooklyn based sound collage artist's take on loop based ambiance feels like it was birthed during a year long dream. It is devoid of space and time, and exists in the invisible ether surrounding us. It is both timeless and space-age. Mournful and uplifting, like the dawning of a new day. While it was her remix of Radiohead's "Reckoner" that initially drew me to her, it's her phenomenal Daytrotter session that got me hooked (not a surprise). Highly rec'd seeing Julianna 12/6 at the Cake Shop, where you can pick up a copy of her 13-track, 23 minute record Sanguine. For a taste of Julianna's dreams, check out this set from Greenpoint's Cafe Grumpy, courtesy of Sing Like Buildings.

Julianna Barwick- first song

Julianna Barwick- fifth song

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

morning music: Grouper

"I'd Rather Be Sleeping"

One could argue that Grouper doesn't make music, they (aka Liz Harris) make dreams, or vignettes of noir-consciousness. They are understated, foggy and often drift into your psyche like a lost breeze, until you find yourself cold and in need of a blanket (or seal pelt). However, these wafting bits of semi-consciousness tend to linger longer than a breeze, following you like a shadow until your alone in the dark with no choice but to drift off into a sea of dreams. With day light savings behind us, and a rainy morning upon us, there is no better time to explore the haunting beauty of Grouper than today. For fans of Kria Brekkan, Lau Nau, Islaja and Paavoharju.

Grouper- Heavy Water/ I'd Rather Be Sleeping

Grouper- Heavy Water/ I'd Rather Be Sleeping

Monday, November 24, 2008

we saw: Stars of the Lid

"Tired Sounds Of..."
(Photo by The Roaring Twenties)
As expected Stars of the Lid took everyone to the astral plane on Friday night. A heavy combo of ethereal arrangements and intergalactic visualizations made me doze off a few times, but in the best way possible. Not only that but SOTL finished with the epic opus "December Hunting for Vegetarian Fuck Face." Mort's text to me, twelve and a half hours after the show ended, sums it up perfectly: "WOW! That was incredible. Felt like I was on another planet." Me too, Morto.

(Photo by Mercurian)

Stars of the Lid 12/15/2007 Prague, Czech Republic

Friday, November 21, 2008

video: Chad VanGaalen

"I'll Find You & I'll Kill You"
Featured on the latest Bobkast, the video for the haunting "Molten Light", from Chad VanGaalen's Soft Airplane (Sub Pop), is a twisted pyschotropic nightmare that somehow comes off as playful, regardless of the dour lyrics and sort of horrifying animation. It should also be noted that even though we've never discussed Chad before, Soft Airplane is quickly becoming one of my favorite records of 2008. It's full of slow-folk trips down memory lane that meander like endless drives and lilting melodies that soar like hot air balloons over ancient valleys. Throw in some sound manipulations, a few electric beats and you've got yourself a winner. Now if Sub Pop would just release it on wax (along with Sera Cahoone and the Ruby Suns) the world would be complete.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

black session: Jesus and Mary Chain

"I've Been Swimming Where The Fish Won't Go"

Known as much for their outlandish live shows, acid use and bad (ass) haircuts as their bubble gum meets screeching fuzztone sound, the Jesus and Mary Chain are undoubtedly one of the most influential bands to come out of the 80's. In the post-Lost In Translation world this seems rather obvious, especially with the rise of bands like Crystal Stilts and the Vivian Girls. For fans familiar with the bands debut masterpiece Psychocandy (home of "Just Like Honey"), this Black Session, recorded with Bernard Lenoir in France in 1994, is a grand collection highlighting the bands later, slightly-less shoegazey, sound. A great collection for newbs and hardcore JAMC elitists alike.

The Jesus & Mary Chain- Black Session 1994
1. Snakedriver
2. Hole
3. Girlfriend
4. Head On
5. Dirty Water
6. Come On
7. Teenage Lust
8. The Ghost of a Smile (Pogue's cover)
9. Far Gone & Out
10. She
11. Save Me
12. Everybody I Know
13. Reverence
14. Sidewalking

The Jesus & Mary Chain- Black Session 1994 (download)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

old: Giorgio Moroder

"Surrounded and Confounded"

It's no secret that we are big fans of Giorgio Moroder. His lifelong commitment to pushing synthesizers on the world has lead to an extremely long, incredibly impressive curriculum vitae (Scarface soundtrack, Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", Top Gun soundtrack, his own "From Here to Eternity", and "Flashdance...What A Feeling", just to name a few). However, until recently we had no clue the dude also had an affinity for far-out psych rock. As evidenced by the first two tracks on 1972's Son of My Father, Moroder's got a thing for both San Fran and Mark Bolan, especially on "Automation", which could easily be a long lost T.Rex demo. While these are certainly choice cuts, they act more as a stepping stone to the arpeggiated, oscillations of his late 70's work with Donna Summer. If you are unfamiliar with it, do yourself a favor and pick up Donna Summer's On The Radio: Greatest Hits, which was mixed (exceptionally), and produced (mostly), by the Italian Knight in White Satin. Looking for a Moroder history lesson, peep the promo video below.

Giorgio Moroder- Son of My Father
Giorgio Moroder- Automation

Giorgio Moroder Promo Video

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bobkast #19: Where Do I Start, Where Do I Begin

"Maybe I'm a stupid fool / Chasing butterflies like you"Believe it or not this bobkast began with mostly new songs. In the end however, only the Rosebuds, Juana Molina, and Chad VanGaalen survived. It brings me great comfort to think that should the world turn out like Footloose or that goofy Queen musical, we've at least stockpiled enough good music to last us a few more years.

So in honor of all things fall (mainly snare brushes, sonic swelling, and acoustic rhythm intros) I bring you the 19th installation of The Bobkast. Take this one for the cold walk home on a windy November.

Bobkast #19: Where Do I Start, Where Do I Begin
Annuals - Brother
The Rosebuds - Hello Darling
Juana Molina - Vive Solo
Destroyer - European Oils
Clem Snide - Evil vs. Good
Iron & Wine & Calexico - 16, Maybe Less
Devendra Banhart - Korean Dogwood
The National - Green Gloves
Howling Bells - I'm Not Afraid
Radiohead - Gagging Order
Badly Drawn Boy - Camping Next To Water
Califone - The Orchids
The Chemical Brothers - Where Do I Begin?
Swan Lake - Widow's Walk
Chad VanGaalen - Molten Light
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Honey Child What Can I Do?

Bobkast #19: Where Do I Start, Where Do I Begin (Download: PC- right click + save as; Mac- option + click)

Monday, November 17, 2008

new: Deerhunter

"With Elaborate Designs"

If you follow the Deerhunter blog, or attended their hometown Halloween show in ATL a few weeks back, you probably already knew about On Platts Eyotts Island. Deerhunter pressed 200 limited edition cassette copies of the session, which features stripped down versions of Cryptograms gem "Spring Hall Convert", as well as some choice Microcastle material, and you can now listen digitally courtesy of 4AD. From the press release:
This session was recorded during the evening of the 15th of September at Studio Plateaux, a DIY studio nestled on the Platts Eyott island - a nature reserve with the western end designated as Green Belt - on the Thames - London.

The idea behind the session was in memory of John Peel and his famous Radio 1 sessions. The studio equipment is a rare collection of vintage Ribbon microphones, preamps, tape machines and effects, all resourced over many years and sourced from around the world.

Bradford Cox recorded the songs like a continuous stream of consciousness; the session intended to be listened in order and uninterrupted. Kristian Craig Robinson (Capitol K) produced and engineered the session, while Bradford reworked several songs from Microcastle, a ne version of ‘Spring Hall Convert’ from Cryptograms and a couple of unreleased songs.
Track List
1. Cum horizon (improvisation)
2. Spring Hall Convert
3. Microcastle
4. Saved By Old Times
5. Never Stops
6. Backspace Century (Version II)
7. Calvary Scars

For a chance to win one of the pink cassettes, click here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

next: Rose Hill Drive

"Tearing my body all apart"

Rose Hill Drive is one of the few bands nowadays with both the chops and the cahones to successfully cover Jimi Hendrix (see above). As you can hear in their sound, they were big fans of all things Hendrix while growing up in the mountains of Boulder, CO.

So for those wondering who will carry the torch of this raw hard rock sound as the legends continue to pass away (RIP Mitch Mitchell), look no further than Rose Hill Drive. Equipped with nothing more than guitar, bass, and drums, the trio creates a wall of sound that literally dropped jaws when they opened for The Who on their most recent world tour.

Rose Hill Drive performs TONIGHT at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. Stream the opening track from their second album Moon Is The New Earth below.

live: Why?

"Will they map my skull and wrap my bones when my wig is gone?"
We wrote about Oakland hip-hop/rockers Why? earlier this year; their newest album, Alopecia, has been a 2008 Bobka fav (yes, we've got a bunch of those). Thankfully the good peeps at Dublab recorded a killer live set with Why? way back in January.

The strength of their live material lies in the combination of simplified hooks and the articulated lyrics of lead singer Yoni Wolf (examples below). Even better articulated is the album's logline from Why?'s myspace page:
In short, Alopecia is a collection of hard rhymes and raw-spun songs forced through the stubborn smile of a life-lover scorned and reborn. In long, this is an album of bone-dry jokes, suicides played out in poem, musings on final moments written inside of restrooms, begrudging self-affirmation, and the grit and glories of every day living.
Well put Yoni.

Here's a few samples of Yoni's poetic abilities as well as his knack for unique irony:

"Your cat clawed out my eyes while I was distracted by your smile /
and now my sockets sit like empty catcher's mitts waiting /
and you ask me if there's anybody else that I'm dating"

"Sucking dick for drink tickets at the free bar at my cousins Bar-Mitzvah"
"Using Purell 'til my hands bleed and swell"

Highlights from this set include "By Torpedo Or Crohn", "These Few Presidents" and "Fatalist Palmistry".


A Sky for Shoeing Heroes Under
By Torpedo Or Crohn
Brook & Waxing
These Few Presidents
The Hollows
Fatalist Palmistry
Good Friday
The Fall of Mr. Fifths
Simeon's Dilemma
Song of the Sad Assassin

Why? - Live at Dublab 1.18.08" [right click to save]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

new: Bon Iver EP

"Forever Ago"

It's been over a year since Justin Vernon self-released the phenomenal For Emma, Forever Ago and alot has changed since his first NYC appearance. A lot. First off, Bon Iver sold out two nights at the legendary Town Hall, and tickets are going for over $150 on Craigslist (!). Luckily for the Brooklyn faithful, Bon Iver added a third date at Music Hall, which sold out in 13 minutes (but we got ours). Now, our good friend and west coast correspondent Dura notifies us that JagJaguwar has a webpage for a CDEP/12"titled Blood Bank, due out 1/20/09 (aka inauguration day, aka Animal Collective release day). From JagJaguwar:
The four song Blood Bank collection continues down the path forged by 2008's critically acclaimed For Emma, Forever Ago.

While still tied to the identity of the place where it was born, Bon Iver is no longer an unplanned entity synonymous with Justin Vernon. It is an idea, a place and sentiment that has now become as international as it is timeless. From the title track's remembrance of the winter warmth we seek, to the summer love tribute of b-side gem "Babys," Bon Iver's snow-blanketed harmonies live across the seasons. Still, there is a reverence for sabbatical, solitude and the winding down of time. As much as Emma is about the cold, the Blood Bank collection is about the warmth that gets you through it. You can feel the air move. Like a fire you've been stoking for hours and finally got to sustain itself, the heat blisters your face while your back is frozen solid.

Bon Iver has grown to include more than what was available at the much-fabled Wisconsin cabin, such as piano, slide guitar, and vocoder. As Justin layers on harmonies in the meditative R&B a capella "Woods", he declares "I'm building a still to slow down the time." It is as poetic as it is necessary. Both expansive and intimate, these four songs explore the darker and lighter natures of the seasons and what they signify, and offer a dynamic glimpse into the natural energy and refined craftsmanship that characterize Justin Vernon's music.
Blood Bank
Beach Baby

You heard it here first people. Make sure you thank Dura next time your in the Haight.

we saw: Frida Hyvonen

"Winter Knows Best"

Last night Swedish songstress Frida Hyvonen played her last Stateside show before returning to Sweden. Lucky for her the transition back to Swedish live shouldn't be so tough, as last night's show was held at the Church of Sweden, a lovely Scandinavian chapel located in the heart of Midtown (E. 48th & 5th). The second floor of the Chapel, with its incredibly gothic windows, and almost Medieval chandeliers, gave the small room an incredibly warm and intimate vibe. There were candles everywhere, and even a Swedish minister. Frida, with just her piano and a friend to accentuate the backing the vocals, played a short set heavily focused on her recent release Silence is Wild, including opener "Dirty Dancer", "Birds", "Why Do You Love Me So Much" and "Science." I noticed it on her records before, but Frida really is like 21st century, Swedish Joni Mitchell; strong voice (both literally and figuratively), passionate, often self-deprecatingly witty, lyrics and an absolutely instinctual feel for her instrument. Yes, her "piano fingers" were sprightly last night, and the acoustics of the upstairs chapel at the Church of Sweden were pristine. Until Death Comes classic "Once I Was A Serene Teenage Child" was my personal highlight of the evening, with its sardonic lyrics ("You said you were a poet/ but your poetry wasn't obvious to me/ when you said you had the stuff to drive me/ wild"). As expected with any intimate show in a church, "the feeling of power was intoxicating magic." I highly rec'd Frida's latest on Secretly Canadian (Silence is Wild) for fans of St. Vincent, Joni Mitchell and El Perro del Mar.

Frida Hyvonen- Enemy Within

Frida Hyvonen "Dirty Dancing"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

covers: Vashti Bunyan "Martha My Dear"

"Hold Your Head Up You Silly Girl"

Bill posted this incredible cover of the "typecasted eternal hippie" Vashti Bunyan re-imagining the Beatles White Album classic "Martha My Dear." Bunyan's hushed vocal, coupled with the songs lo-fi production and the majestic harp, really lend this cover a woolly, winter mornings feel. Sort of the musical equivalent of taking a really hot shower after riding your bike home through the chilly Autumn air. To be greatly enjoyed while cocooned in a blanket, starring at the looming dawn and drinking hot tea. 

Vashti Bunyan & Max Richter- Martha My Dear (courtesy of SoundBites)

video: Fleet Foxes

"Over Near Tennessee"

Two of my favorite songs of 2k8. Casey adds some melodica to Blue Ridge Mountains, a perfect, almost Parisian, touch to the Appalachain hymn. Once again, go see le Fleet Foxes ASAP.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

cat's pajamas: Absentee

"Watching fat girls in cafes / Eating cakes like they're biting on hand grenades"

In an effort to be as eloquent as possible, I have "borrowed" from the tool box of emissaries like Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jack London, and that dude who used to be the President of Hamilton:
Born to the sounds of Barry Manillow and The Carpenters, raised on romantic comedies, and schooled in failed love and misfiring lust--Absentee emerge well-versed in the rigors of romance with their finest album to date, Victory Shorts.

But seriously, British swoon-rock outfit Absentee released their third album, Victory Shorts, overseas last month and for the first time in a while I'm not bitching about getting raped by the exchange rate (is $25 USD too much for a vinyl? talk amongst yourselves).

While lead singer Dan Michaelson can't help but resemble bass-laden crooners like Johnny Cash, Steve Berman, or Tom Waits, his band mates support him in a refreshingly sincere way using all the instruments that make us Bobkats giddy (melodica, glockenspiel, lap steel).

Like most great pop albums, Victory Shorts is an easy listen that only becomes more enjoyable with time. The quiet opener, "Shared", is more than just Dan Michaelson 101. Melinda Bronstein's backing vocals and gentle piano riffs evoke R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts". When Absentee stretch their legs on the beat-driven "Bitchstealer" and the excellent closing track "That Old Ghost", we feel an amazing sense of exploratory profoundness. Quiet when they want to be; loud when they don't; happily, Absentee never leaves us asking why.

Absentee - The Nurses Don't Notice a Thing [from 2008's Victory Shorts]

Monday, November 10, 2008

we saw: Deerhunter @ Music Hall

"Light of My Focus, Light of My Bed"
(Photo by t-fal)
Friday night we saw Deerhunter for the third time since Microcastle leaked in June. While their LPR show was outstanding, the show at Music Hall had all the trappings of a classic rock show, minus all the cliches. The band jumped right into killer material ("Cryptograms", "Never Stops"), building momentum through kraut-rock rhythms and an absolutely bombastic wall of sound. As per usual, MHOW sounded impeccable, as you can tell from NYC Tapers recording (equally as impeccable, as expected. Dude srsly's got it going on.) After "Never Stops", Bradford and Co. dropped it down a knotch for Flourescent Grey's "Dr. Glass" which seamlessly segued into Cryptogram's "Hazel Street." Reverb and Delay pedals were in full effect. Things were getting epic. At this point there had been maybe two lines of banter, pre-show at that, making this show inherently different than LPR's Bradford story-teller show. They were on fire. The crowd knew it. And I think they did as well.

If that wasn't enough, they segued "Hazel Street" into "Nothing Ever Happened", arguably the most in your face (and poppiest) of the Microcastle material, and easily one of the best Deerhunter jams for highway rocking. 5 songs in and they were absolutely murdering it. The first part of their set took the ole North 6 to the astral plane, where they brought out parts of the Microcastle suite and "Flourescent Grey." The only thing missing was "Strange Lights", but no complaints on our end.

Get the show from NYC Taper asap.

Never Stops
Dr. Glass
Hazel St.
Nothing Ever Happened
Vox Celeste
Saved By Old Times
Fluorescent Grey
Calvary Scars II > Aux Out
encore break
Microcastle Intro
Twilight At Carbon Lake