Wednesday, April 30, 2008

interview: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

"Dreampt of marimbas made from the bones of our relatives..."
We recently caught up with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin singer/songwriter/drummer/guitarist, Philip Dickey before their Charleston gig. While taking an evening stroll through the massive strip mall parking lot adjacent to the venue, we talked about their new record, what it's like being blog darlings and playing in the glorious homeland of their namesake. All under the romantic lighting of a giant neon Arby's sign...

Chocolate Bobka: So this is right in the middle of your tour... how's it going so far?

Philip Dickey: It’s going really well. We were gonna try to do the whole country in one tour, but when we do that, everything kind of falls apart, and we start to try and kill each other.

CB: Is it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at this point?

PD: A little bit. Because it really is a lot of fun, and you get really caught up in it all, and then you’ll just remember how nice it is to be home, and then it just hurts. You’re trying to have a good time on the road, and then you just want to be at home all of a sudden, want to be home with your girlfriend or something.

CB: Let's talk about the new record, Pershing…What was it like recording it?

PD: By the time we started recording it, we were just so ready… we just had so many songs, we still have too many songs to record. I think we kind of psyched ourselves out by waiting so long. We just had to get it over with. At one point we were nervous about what everyone was going to say…Pitchfork, fans, all that stuff. Once it was just us in a room, it made it easier. That’s when we forgot about everyone else. The weird thing about our band is we all want it to sound a little different; no one has the exact same vision. When we made
Broom, we were doing it separately, we didn’t know we were making this album that a lot of people were going to hear, we thought it was just for our friends. We weren’t really self-conscious about it.

CB: It’s been a while between since Broom... do you feel like that will place more scrutiny on this one, with such a buildup?

PD: At first, it seemed like a bigger deal, having a second record. But it’s just a record, you know? It’s just ten songs. And we have so many more, and we’re always writing new ones. I think the buzz is a little distracting, because it builds it up into something it’s not. I mean, we hope people like it, but this is just one phase. This record is more about riding your bike, driving in a car, that feeling.
Broom was more about being in a bedroom, being sad… I think the next one will be a little more intimate.

CB: How does the songwriting process work for you guys?

PD: The one thing about songwriting in our band, is no one ever finishes a song from start to finish, everyone helps each other out.” [Phil starts strumming a new song they’ve been working on.]

CB: Kind of sounds like "Oregon Girl" a little bit.

PD: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess it does! So what I’ll do, is I’ll take this riff to John [SSLYBY singer/songwriter/bassist/guitarist] and say ‘Make this not sound like "Oregon Girl"’. That’s how songs are generally written. Also, Will [SSLYBY lead guitarist] didn’t really have a lot of input on
Broom, just because he wasn’t there when John and I wrote most of the songs, but on this record, he has way more of a presence. "Modern Mystery" and "Boring Fountain" both are based on riffs that Will wrote in high school, stuff he just dug up. And we just kind of turned them into more polished pop songs.

CB: Are you already looking forward to the next record?

PD: Yeah. Honestly, right now it would be awesome to record this summer, and put it out by winter. I don’t know if we’re legally allowed to do that, with the label, but that would be really sweet. The way the business is now, I think it rewards bands that are constantly working on new material.

CB: I’ve always heard that bands with a big backlog of material tend to avoid sophomore slumps better.

PD: Yeah, I can totally see that being true. Having a lot of old riffs and songs really helped us, and it’s going to keep helping us. We have like twenty songs we’re working on…well, maybe a dozen. With
Pershing, everything was kind of planned out, but I think with the next record, it’s going to be half new stuff and half old stuff, like half of it planned, the other half impulse, just in the moment.

CB: You guys have been considered a big "blog success"... are you happy with that, or do you hate the association?

PD: We were just happy to get the exposure. I mean, we have no control over it, except for the material we put out. One thing I really like about the blogs is that, in the 90’s, PR guys were going straight to writers, straight to MTV, and now they’re going straight to the music listeners, and it’s less of a monopoly. I don’t think our band would have had a chance back then. There are certainly people out there who are like ‘What the hell, this band should not be getting this much attention’; people are always going to complain about bands getting too much blog hype.

CB: I think it’s just that blog hype is a new form of the same old exposure; it’s not that certain bands have a monopoly on this new kind of music writing for no reason, it’s just that people really like this music, and they want to talk about it, and this is how it’s done now.

PD: Yeah, definitely. I just think it’s great that these big PR guys, instead of going to MTV, now they’re going to some kid in a basement. I find that really, really funny.

CB: You guys went to Russia to do some shows… what was that like?

PD: Frickin awesome. We just never thought that would happen, it was a weird dream come true, just being there, talking to the people, what they’ve been through. Our tour guide said her grandpa dropped a picture of Stalin on the ground by accident, and they took him to jail.

CB: Yeesh... How were the crowds?

PD: Surprisingly, really great. They really knew all our songs, even the b-sides. When we started playing they held up some signs with our name on it.

CB: Alright, lastly, in what is becoming a running theme with our interviews, I have to ask what it was like to have a song on the OC, especially when you were unsigned at the time?

PD: What happened was Chris Walla [Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer] found us through a friend, and he said he really loved the song “Oregon Girl”, and he gave it to the music supervisor of the OC. We were on tour, playing to like two people, and they called us and said they wanted to use the song. It was really nice because it was a time when our parents were like ‘Come on, what are you really doing?’ and we had to borrow money. So yeah, it was great, to finally make some of it back.

CB: Do you guys make much on these tours?

PD: We just now are starting to finally make a little bit, but it’s still borderline poverty. But at the same time, we’re really, really happy. This is the dream, you know?

Behind the Scenes of Pershing with SSLYBY

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bobkast #13: Let It Blossom

Our Wings Are Open Wide
(thanks to nikomatic for the photo)
After slowly emerging from the winter hibernation, there's no better way to embrace the joyousness of the rebirth season than by putting some life into your bones via raucous dance party in the sunshine. For the thirteenth edition of the Bobkast, we offer you a collection of beat-heavy tunes that we think sound just as good in the warm glory of Mother Nature as they do in the dark clubs where they originated. Ranging from dirty disco funk to sleek and squeeky electro, this mix is an electronic celebration, ideal for working out the kinks to your favorite dance moves (including the cabbage patch, running man, and egyptian strut) in anticipation of the summertime heat.

Bobkast #13: Let It Blossom
Kano - I'm Ready
Metro Area - Evidence
Four Tet - Smile Around the Face
Feist - I Feel It All (Escort Remix)
Arthur Russell - That's Us/Wild Combination
The Gap Band - Ride the White Horse
Professor Murder - That's How They Getcha (Chinzuki Riddim Version)
diskJokke - Staying In
Track N Field - Iso Maha
Lindstrom - Music In My Mind
The Whitest Boy Alive - Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix)

TOTAL RUN TIIME..............53:11

Bobkast #13: Let It Blossom (direct link; right-click and save target as)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

sunday morning music: Rainbow Dome Musick

Sunday morning music is a recurring feature where we attempt to cure the hungover, dehydrated and those still battling Saturday night excess. This week there is no doubt in my mind that you, you indulgent bastard, will be saved from your hedonistic ways by a single song. A bold statement, yes, but seriously, you will be. I guarantee it.

Intended for inclusion at 1979's "Festival of the Mind, Body and Spirit" in London, as part of the Rainbow Dome exhibit (a healing room with crystals and other super heady shit to purify your mind, body, etc), Steve Hillage's Rainbow Dome Musick is an twinkling ambient masterpiece sure to sooth your aches and pains. Don't let the ultra-headiness of Rainbow Dome Musick dissuade from getting it on with Steve Hillage, as this record transcends all new age stereotypes and is the musical equivalent of transcending space and time. The album is composed of 2 side long tracks, with "Garden of Paradise" taking up the A-side and "Four Ever Rainbow" the B-side. They're long, delightful and soothing, the perfect dose of wellness for your ailing Sunday morning blues.

Steve Hillage- Garden of Paradise

Friday, April 25, 2008

video: Bowerbirds "Dark Horse"

"Keep this wood stove burning"

Another exemplary video from La Blogotheque. This one finds Vincent Moon and Co. driving through the streets of NYC's Lower East Side, while the Bowerbirds bless the crew with a breathtaking version of "Dark Horse," one of the standout cuts from last years Hymns for a Dark Horse. We saw the band perform on those same dirty streets a few months back and couldn't have left feeling any better about life. Hymns... will be re-released later this year (6/19/08) on compact disc and vinyl by the fine folks at Dead Oceans. If you don't own a turntable, you may want to purchase one before Hymns for a Dark Horse hits stores, as vinyl is really the only way to truly experience a recording as sacred and pristine as Hymns for a Dark Horse.

Bowerbirds- In Our Talons

Thursday, April 24, 2008

we saw: Ra Ra Riot

"Can you tell I'm losing sleep"
Last night Ra Ra Riot hit up Maxwell's in Hoboken for the only tri-state area appearance on their current tour with The Little Ones. I arrived in time to catch about half of The Little Ones set, a delightful blend of beach pop, sugar pop and all around good times music. I wish I had picked up their brand new EP, Terry Tales and Fallen Gates, as their sound is perfect for bobbing around all happy go lucky in the summer. Mmmm, lemonade.

By the time The Little Ones left the stage, Maxwell's had filled in quite nicely. The show was sold out, and with good reason, as Ra Ra Riot probably won't be playing venues the size of Maxwell's in the coming months. Needless to say, the size of venue couldn't have been a better match for Ra Ra's explosive orchestral pop. After asking the crowd if it was too cold (the air conditioning was cranking), singer Wes Miles vowed to heat the place up. The band did so by cranking into "A Manner to Act." The song, which also has a kick ass remix by RAC, was a great way to kick start the evening started. Following "A Manner To Act," the Syracause bred sextet burst into "Each Year," one of my favorite Ra Ra Riot songs, which, like "A Manner to Act," also boasts a killer remix by RAC. And yes, after "Each Year" the room was significantly warmer.

The band ran through a set culled mostly from last years eponymous EP, however, like cellist Allie mentioned to us a few weeks back, many of the arrangements were fresh and unpredictable. While the entire band was in fine form, I couldn't help but be transfixed on violinist Becca Zeller (a Ridgewood, NJ native), who is arguably one of the most enigmatic performers I've seen in recent times. A compliment of the highest regard as the last couple shows we've seen have all featured some incredibly dynamic performers (Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, Van Pierszalowski of Port O'Brien).

Other highlights included the John Pike penned "St. Peter's Day Festival" (what a great sing-a-long), Kate Bush's "Suspended In Gaffa" and the set closer, and Ra Ra Riot's signature tune, "Dying Is Fine." After a few minutes of rapturous applause and "SU" chants, the band broke into "Hounds of Love," their second Kate Bush cover of the evening. A damn good ending to damn good evening.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

more: Atlas Sound

"I see angels appear"
In what should come as a no surprise, Bradford Cox has released another set of tunes via the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza blog. Posted at 4:51 am, "Bored Dub" and "No Longer" are ethereal wonders perfectly suited for watching the sun rise. I can personally vouch for that. Bradford, graveyard shift workers of the east coast thank you for the treat. Keep 'em coming.

Atlas Sound- Virtual 7" No.3 {zip file}

1. Bored Dub (5:20)
2. No Longer (3:28)

remixed: Radiohead

"A handshake of carbon monoxide"
Before Radiohead hooked fans up with the tracks to make their own remixes, producers had to take it upon themselves. Such is the case with Panzah Zandahz, the beat constructor who does an excellent job tweaking exquisitely arranged, multifaceted "rock" songs and transforming them into stoney downtempo killers well suited for late night blunt cruises, or early morning fornication. From what I understand, Charles found this at Charleston's 525. He thought it looked odd and sweet, albeit expensive (especially for a CD-R). We'll I'm certainly glad he shelled out the loot that fateful afternoon because Radiohead: Me and This Army is well worth the purchase. Nice score, Chuck. Panzah post apocalyptic Radiohead Panzah get a facelift from hip hop mad housers MF DOOM, Ghostface, Gift of Gab and Mr. Lif. While their lyrical contributions are welcome, they pale in comparison to subtle tweaks Zandahz works in and around Radiohead classics.

Radiohead- No Surprises (none at all really) {reconstructed by Panzah Zandahz}
Radiohead- Daytona 500 (panzah zandahz iron lung remix featuring Ghostface)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

nu music: Port O'Brien

"Sleep is where I want to be"
(photo by CharlieHomo)
A couple of days before we were drooling over the Fleet Foxes NYC debut, we were fawning over Port O'Brien's foot stomping ramshackle affair at Piano's. While the latest studio version of "I Woke Up Today" is undoubtedly one of the best songs of the year, the band's got alot more up their sleeve than the pots and pans percussion and bourbon sing-a-long of the song that birthed the title of their upcoming record All We Could Do Was Sing. And while I love the studio recording, the savage army sing-a-long they recorded for Daytrotter during Noise Pop is so boisterous that it practically screams 'wake the fuck up,' both literally and figuratively. Appropriately, the revamped Daytrotter version has been my iTunes alarm clock jam since it was loaded it a few weeks back.

Coincidentally, our good friend, psuedo-west coast correspondent and blow dart enthusiast John Dura (aka SpaceCakes420, muxtape) sent me a few tracks the band recently recorded for a Hear Ya Live Session (brought to you by Beer Nuts!). The band performed three songs, including standout "From Port," but the real treat is "Is This Really What It's Come To." Personally, this song really hits home. Not only does Van mention listening to the Grateful Dead (my first favorite band) and the Smashing Pumpkins (my first concert, Infinite Sadness tour) but he has the uncanny ability to sum up the subtle nuances of young life by way of sleepless nights. I can't do any justice to this one, so just peep the lyrics.
"Is this really what its come to/ Some drugs inside my bedroom/ With the lights turned down/ I know I cant see much of anything/ The glow from my computer screens/ Telling me to go/ And sleep is where I want to be/ but I cant get there for the life of me/ So I guess I'll just, watch TV/ And I'll listen to the Grateful Dead on my headphones/ I'll watch as my old dear friends hit the road/ but I think I will stay/ Stay right here.

I've taken all these college course/ I've seen all kind of courses/ That my life should take/ And not to hesitate/ But that's all I want to do/ So I'll sit right here and think it through/ Until the timings right/ Or right for, the time is running with me/ We're holding hands for eternity/ Then we'll have some kids/ Then we'll die/ And I'll listen to the Smashing Pumpkins on my headphones/ I'll watch as my old dear friends hit the road/ But I think I will stay/ Stay right here."

Port O'Brien- I Woke UP Today (Daytrotter/Noise Pop version)
Port O'Brien- Is This Really What It's Come To

Port O'Brien raging "I Woke Up Today" in New York City

one take new york with PORT O'BRIEN, 'i woke up today' from one take new york on Vimeo.

who: Why?

"Faking suicide for applause / in the food courts of malls"
Genres can be a nasty thing. They can also be essential. I first tried writing this post without using genre words. The result was three nonsensical paragraphs that resembled something Pete Dougherty might have written at 4am in a hotel bathroom. That being said, as critics often ponder the future of popular music on the basis that most musical sounds have already been fully exploited, groups like Oakland hip-hop/rockers Why? prove that regardless of the truth of said critics' remarks, music will always have one thing: itself.

Why?’s newest release, the stellar and invigorating Alopecia, is a lesson to listeners who try to define their own tastes. When looking for Alopecia over a month ago, I looked first in the Hip-Hop/Rap section but to no avail. I scratched my head and tried the Rock section where I soon found the album, clad with a bright green sticker affixed “FILE UNDER: ROCK.”

Alopecia is perhaps as much rock as it is hip-hop, and as much Lyricists' Lounge as it is Cake, or Butthole Surfers. It certainly isn’t the rap you’d find coming from the tinted Nissan pulled up beside you at a red light. But within its genre coding lies complex foundations of fresh sincerity, purpose, and the kind of subtle hooks made famous by people like the RZA and The Hold Steady. Now that I think about it, I might start describing Why? as just that.

Why? - Good Friday
Why? - Fatalist Palmistry

Monday, April 21, 2008

sunday morning music: Fleet Foxes

"What a life I lead in the Spring"

This week's sunday(er, monday) morning music comes from from Xachu'bsh, Washington based Fleet Foxes. Yes, we were drooling over them a month ago when we saw them deliver the gospel at the Bowery Ballroom. This Daytrotter session, while not entirely representative of the choral wonder displayed at the Bowery, is none the less, a wholehearted gift from the Foxes. If you haven't yet fallen in love with these guys, do yourself a favor and jump on the band wagon. Highly recommended for fans of The Band, My Morning Jacket, CSNY and the woods.

Fleet Foxes- Sun It Rises
Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal
Fleet Foxes- Sun Giant

post-420: Pineapple Express

"It's like God's Vagina"
Pineapple Express could end up being the best comedy of the year. Hell it might even become a staple in the vast ouevre of stoner comedies. "I can't even light this thing on my own". Seth Rogan, James Franco, a shit ton of "Pineapple Express," this movies got gold written all over it. Blast off.

Friday, April 18, 2008

r.i.p: Danny Federici

"The fireworks are hailing over little eden tonight"
Last night organist, accordion player and founding member of the E Street Band, Danny Federici passed away after a bout with melanoma. Federici's organ fills were an integral part of the E Street Bands unique sound, while his accordion gave Bruce's songs a timeless, old world quality. One of his most notable and most beautiful contributions is the accordion solo on "4th of July, Asbury Park", aka "Sandy." Watch Federici get majestic in this video of Bruce and the E Street Band performing at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1975. This classic performance, one of the sweetest live captures from Bruce at his peak, is included in the remastered, 25th anniversary Born to Run box set. R.I.P Danny, you will be missed.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1975

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

viddyo: Pinball Number Count

This post is dedicated to my brother, who still cites this classic video as one of his favorite childhood memes. Not that I can blame him: the song (originally by the Pointer Sisters, and remixed here by Ninja Tune's DJ Food) is a funky, soul-jazz tune that uses the numbers 1 thru 12 as its only lyrics, and the mildly-psychedelic pinball animations make counting seem downright amazing. This video (and Sesame Street in general) gets a 10 on the awesome scale. (Thanks to )

new: Atlas Sound

"Right On, Right On"
It seems like every other day Bradford Cox releases a new tune via the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/ Lotus Plaza blog. Not that we have a problem with that, in fact, we like it so much we've subscribed to the blog via RSS, which is a great way to keep up with the outpouring of music Bradford has unleashed in the past months. Last night he posted the following.
After the Deerhunter show at the Market Hotel Friday, I became extremely ill. Lockett and I had both been suffering from a severe flu, but I think exhaustion and too much cigarette smoke pushed me beyond my limits and by Sunday, the 13th I had to go to the emergency room in Manhattan. I honestly felt like I was dying and there is no better time to explore and relive small tears in your past than to have them floating in front of you in a haze of painkillers and i.v. bags.
"April 13th" is a loopy bit of Animal Collective-like happy schizo pop. Warm and inviting, weird and charming all at the same time. According to Bradford "this should give you an idea of what to expect of a solo A.S. performance" (he had been performing with a band, see here, here). "April 13th" is a doozy; nearly twelve minutes of floating melody hung in a perpetual purgatory like state, cuddled with pharmaceutically entranced vocals and all the subtle nuances of sound you'd expect from a Deerhunter or Atlas Sound song. It's reminiscent of "Youth Energy" in form and length, but more focused than the instrumental from the How I Escaped The Prison of Fractals EP. The bells and dreamy, aesthetic optimism also bring Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel standouts "Quarantined" and "On Guard." It's a behemoth of love soaked in high grade opiates, bells and synths, looped over and over for your aural pleasure. "Right On Right On" (or is it "Ride On, Ride On").

Atlas Sound- April 13th

P.S- I thought I had this song on repeat, but it just segued perfectly into Augustus Pablo's dub plate classic "Unity Dub." So much so that I didn't realize the song had ended until I heard Pablo's signature reverb/echo/delay flying snare hits. A compliment if there ever was one.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

whoa: Circulatory System

"You were never so high"
We've been hearing rumors for a while that Will Cullen Hart's post-Olivia Tremor Control band Circulatory System would be releasing an album in '08. Now there's proof and we're fucking psyched about it. If you know Bobka, you know we like psychedelic anything; art, music, shoes, drugs, animals(?). Whatever it is, we like it a little fuzzy, a bit skewed and trippy as balls (see The Sea & Cake video below). So when P4K posted about 3 new jams on Circulatory System's MySpace, we immediately hopped on the bus and hit the information super highway seeking enlightenment, or something like it, via loopy bedroom psych. So far we're really digging "Same Place", a track full of opiated vocals, Beatles in India guitars, homemade percussion and a quirky maelstrom of bizarro instruments you've grown to expect from the E6'ers. All that makes for a what feels like a very lucid sleepwalk through a rainy Amazonian jungle. Listen here.

If you've peeped my muxtape you might have expected this post. Why? Because it's spring and nothings better on the train than some weird Elephant 6 fuzz to combat the itchy crackhead lady sitting next to you trying to free the bugs from under her skin. Creepy, but hey, that's what drugs do. It's not pretty, unless you grew up in Ruston and were/are part of a highly touted, experimental psych pop collective that's sorta kinda based out of Athens, but not really. If you don't believe us about the psych, etc, just peep the video for "Should A Cloud Replace A Compass?"

Oh yeah, the image at the top is from Circulatory System's My Space wallpaper, which might be the best, most appropriate wallpaper I've ever seen on the crap ass social network.

Circulatory System- Yesterdays World
Circulatory System- Now

"Should A Cloud Replace A Compass?": A Short film by Joey Foreman

Monday, April 14, 2008

viddyo: "Coconut"

Directed by Lung

There isn't anything resembling a storyline in the video for The Sea and Cake's latest single, "Coconut", but the trippy, nonsensical animations are certainly fun to look at. That, and the floating, melodic warmth of the backing track, makes the whole thing feel like a laid back acid trip from the early '90s. Where were you in '92?

nu musick (television): P4k

It was bound to happen...
It's been one week since Pitchfork launched their dubiously named, super high quality video site, Pitchfork.Tv. So while we were busy working, we had intern Hunter (we still love the way that sounds). whose spending the last semester of his college career running a hot dog stand, a chance to review the totally bad ass video website. Here's what the youngster had to say

Music television, for all it's age old glory, is, (ahem), not what it once was. As soon as MTV decided once and for all to resign itself to reality tv, game shows, and spring break (woo!), those of us who actually enjoy watching music videos, concerts, interviews, and the like, were forced to the underground (otherwise known as Youtube). No longer! The ratings-obsessed, indie music behemoth known as Pitchfork, who in reviews past has given OK Computer a perfect 10.0 (spot on), as well as The Boy With the Arab Strap a 0.8 (wtf!?), is throwing it's trendy hat into the music television world. Here's a quick rundown:

It seems P4kTV is broken into five different sections:

1. Featured - basically a highlights section, pulled from the other four.

2. Shows - the place for Pitchfork original content that so far contains programs called:
• "Don't Look Down" (a band playing some songs on an NYC rooftop, for now, The Thermals)
• old favorite "Juan's Basement" (now fully produced under the Pitchfork name, featuring performances and interviews, starting with personal fav Liars)
• "Daytripping" (ostensibly a place for Pitchfork produced mini-documentaries, currently following the exploits of those crazies from Man Man)
• "Special Presentation" (whatever else Pitchfork is cooking up; this week poking fun at themselves before anyone else can, by making fools out of unwitting VJ wannabe’s. Someone haul Jessie back out of the dumpster from whence he came...)

3. Pitchfork Live – where you’ll find complete live concert footage, right now featuring Jay Reatard’s Live at Cake Shop performance in NYC from October ’07. (see video below)

4. One Week Only – as this section currently features the (full length!) Pixies documentary “loudQUIETloud”, this might be the most groundbreaking section of PitchforkTV. Presumably, it’s where they’ll be airing content that is too expensive for them to keep up permanently, otherwise known as stuff that’s professionally produced. Maybe next week they’ll be showing the Mark Wahlberg classic “Rock Star”?

5. Music Video – music videos, as well as one song live performances, from indie bands near and far

Damn near all of it. While some of the features (Music Videos, a site-specific search engine) were no brainers, many of the others are downright clever, most notably the One Week Only section. Also, everything that is more than just a music video is broken up into DVD-style chapters, so you can skip to your favorite Jay Reatard song in the middle of his set, or watch the Pixies try to contain their hatred for their David Blaine-wannabe drummer near the end of loudQUIETloud. In addition, it seems as though one "chapter" per Pitchfork produced show will be available for download for your itunes/ipod(!), like set closer "Ocean" from the just added A Place To Bury Strangers set, found in Pitchfork Live.

Ummmmmmmm, not much. I'm a little disappointed that there isn't more available for download; at first glance, I thought that everything besides the One Week Only and Music Videos could be had for free, and I almost wet myself, but like I said, it seems to be just one chapter per segment. I’ll get back to you when they start production on Real World: Athens.

Jay Reatard at Cake Shop 10/10/07

re-review: DFA/ Pop Rally/ MOMA Color Chart

"Colors and Colors and Colors and Colors"
(Photo by Mecredis)
Six weeks ago we attended the opening of the MoMA's Color Chart exhibit. Lots of colors, trippy lights, DJ sets by a bunch of DFA headhunters and free booze. A damn good time indeed. The other day the PopRally kids posted some fresh video of the event, along with mp3's of each and every one of the DJ sets that evening. Definitely sure to get the party started. Grab 'em will they're fresh.

Juan Maclean- 3/1/08 Moma DJ Set
T&T (Tim Sweeney & Tim Goldsworthy of DFA) 3/1/08 MoMA DJ Set
Holy Ghost- 3/1/08 MoMA DJ Set
Justin Miller & Jacques Renault 3/1/08 MoMA DJ Set

Video from the MoMA Color Chart opening 3/1/2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

ha: Wild Knights "Beaver Patrol"

"I hustle chicks"
We've been on a bit of a garage psych kick the past few weeks. So much so that our friend Bill at Sound Bites is waiting for a post on the Count Five (Bill, see below). While they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I simply couldn't pass thing one up on title alone. Truth is there are no shortage of aptly titled obscure garage psych compilations out there (Nuggets being the most famous), however, this one really caught my eye: Acid Dreams Epitaph- 75 Minutes of Green Fuz. How 'bout that, eh? Not only does this mix essentially define punk before punk was even a notion in a pissed of kids head, but it includes one of the most absurd songs I've ever heard (and yes I'm factoring in the entire R. Kelly catalog). The song in question, The Wild Knights "Beaver Patrol." Yeah, maybe its a bit dated, sorta sexist and flat out, um, in your face, but hey, who says music shouldn't make you laugh, cry and rock out at the same time?
My favorite way of getting kicks/ I go down town, I hustle chicks/ Beaver Patrol! (Beaver Patrol!)/ One good thing that's on my side/ It's a big bad car, it's out of sight/ Beaver Patrol!
The Wild Knights, indeed. In all fairness, "Beaver Patrol" is far from an accurate depiction of the Acid Dreams Epitaph comp, which is way better than this novelty sex song. But I'll prove that some other time. If "Beaver Patrol" isn't exactly "your thing", and maybe it's best that way, then check out The Count Five's "Pyschotic Reaction", a jangly rave up with a classic garage rhythm sure to bring you back to Kevin Arnold's world, or something like that.

The Wild Knights- Beaver Patrol

The Count Five- Psychotic Reaction

Friday, April 11, 2008

classik: Herbie Mann "Push Push"

We don't want to know where that flute has been.

Legendary jazz flutist Herbie Mann made a sexy foray into the world of funk, R&B, and pop with his 1971 aphrodisiac Push Push. Having already released a whopping 73 albums under his name, Mann ventured into uncharted musical territory, and as the album cover reveals, he did it with his shirt off. To make the equation even more amazing, he brought along Bobka-idol Duane Allman for the ride. The result is 48 minutes of straight up baby-makin' music, featuring funked up versions of jazz standards and sultry, exploratory grooves.

Herbie Mann feat. Duane Allman - "Push Push"

Happy Birthday To US!

Birthday pie!

It seems like it was just the other day that I was a bored ass fuck temporary employee at the University of Vermont College of Medicine who started a blog to counteract the lack of work I was doing. Regardless, it's been a pretty good time and we wouldn't trade it for the world. Ok, maybe we'd trade it for the world, cause seriously, the world is like a pretty big gain. Hell, I'd probably trade it for a fully functioning laptop right now (old school iBook been acting a fool lately). Anyway it's been a helluva year sharing some of our favorite stuff with y'all. Whether it's posting sweet mixes, getting our first "please take down this mp3 asap" email from the DFA (we still blush when we say that) or pounding PBR's and jamming out to live tunes, whatever it is we've been doing we really liked it. And we hope you did too. After all, we started it for y'all. This blog really does no good for us, especially in the getting chicks department.

The other day I posted a "Welcome to Spring/ It's our Birthday mix", Bobkast #12 for those you keeping score, so be sure to peep that, as it's a happy culmination of everything we love. Disco, soul, reggae, pop, know, the usual. And for today's first birthday post, well we're celebrating. Happy Birthday Bobka! And hopefully many more to come.

The Beatles- Birthday
Junior Boys- Birthday (Manitoba Remix)
Modeselektor- Happy Birthday

Post Script- Thanks for all the kind comments this past year. Even though we're cynical douchebags, they really mean alot to us. Really, they do. Without a kind word here and there the Bobka wouldn't exist. You guys are the best. Slainte!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bobkast #12: Keep on Keeping On Sunny Boy

"I'm in heaven"
Spring time is officially upon us. Also, tomorrow is our first birthday. In honor of both we culled this mix of sweet soul, classic American pop, disco reggae and, of course, Swedish pop. It's sandwiched between Curtis Mayfield and Lykke Li, so you know it's gonna feel oh so sweet. Throw in the Tom Tom Club and it's basically off the hook.

Bobkast #12: Keep on Keeping on Sunny Boy
Curtis Mayfield- Keep on keeping on
Diana Ross & The Supremes- He's My Sunny Boy
Dusty Springfield- Only Want To Be With You (Alt Mix)
Carol Cool- Upside Down
The Tom Tom Club- Genius of Love
Leo's Sunshipp- I'm Back For More (Instrumental)
KC and the Sunshine Band- I Get Lifted (B.I.G Respect)
Freddie Scott- (You) Got What I Need
The Bee's- (This is for the) Better Days
Jens Lekman- I Don't Want To Die Alone
The Mindbenders- Groovy Kind of Love
Lykke Li- Dance Dance Dance

Bobkast #12: Keep on Keeping on Sunny Boy (mp3; direct link)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

nu mix: Aeroplane

Further into space

We first heard of Belgian-based space disco duo Aeroplane on last year's outstanding Essential Mix by Lindstrom & Prins Thomas. Now, Aeroplane return with a stunning mix of their own, featuring that trippy, reverb-soaked sound you know and love. This mix is a great complement to the pair's groovy 12"s and sets the stage for their highly anticipated debut album, which should be arriving at the end of the year courtesy of Eskimo.

Aeroplane Take Off Mix [Megaupload]
Aeroplane MySpace

review: Tapes 'n Tapes Walk It Off

“I’ll be on the record when you’re gone…”
Tapes ‘n Tapes sophomore album, Walk It Off [XL], begins with an opener (“Le Ruse”) that might have been taught in Indie-Rock 101:

“Now class, it’s a good idea to begin the album with some noise, just so people know you’re cool. But then it’s straight into a catchy verse, a subtle chorus, repeat this, then a big booming bridge. Make sure the vocals are pretty distorted and buried in the mix, so that when people finally realize what you’re saying, you seem even smarter. Slam the outro like a mutherfucker, then you’re done right at the 3:00 mark. And that’s Professor Malkmus to you.”

Do I sound like I’m trashing this song? I’m not.

Like good bands who know their place, Tapes ‘n Tapes’ goal seems not to be one of reckless exploration, but instead to dig deep within pre-determined borders, working the land like an indie-rock farmer (allow a moment for that image to sink in). On their sophomore album, they churn out a veritable bounty of great tracks that seem to be in a very similar vein as their much-loved debut, The Loon. But don’t let the first impression fool you; there’s a lot more going on here, and most of these tracks, while possibly feeling at home on the debut, would have been considered standouts there. On Walk It Off, such standouts are the norm (holy contradiction Batman!).

First single “Hang Them All” seems to be a cross between Pixies and mid-period Radiohead (yes please!). A brooding, uneasy base line conjures Colin Greenwood’s best work, while a twitchy guitar riff and a subdued, slightly more articulate Frank Black-style yelp seems to have been perfected by lead singer Josh Grier. Even the insistent drums during the verse seem to be cribbed from Kid A’s “Morning Bell”. The song’s title may seem straight out of Hail to the Thief's paranoid mindset, but when the organ joyously joins in on the chorus, "Hang Them All" becomes anthemic, a supremely righteous trait linked with American rock and roll. It’s all your will power not to shake your fist and scream “HANG THEM ALL! HANG THEM ALL!” at passersby while walking with your headphones on.

Elsewhere, “Time of Songs” lyrics seem to be self-referential, talking about measure, meter, and being on the record (literally), while “Headshock” pushes the lo-fi vocals to the perfect ledge that CYHSY overshot on their sophomore opener/title track “Some Loud Thunder” (Ed Noted: Also a Fridmann production). “Conquest” and “Demon Apple” have some amazing keyboard fills that are so buried in the mix it takes about 10 listens to even notice their existence, reward for repeat listens. Vocals on the raucous “Blunt” are so distorted the track might be mistaken for an instrumental if one wasn’t really paying attention.

Not everything on the album rings true with irreverence; as with their debut, Walk It Off feels a bit top-heavy, the latter half populated by slower numbers, only to close with a scorcher (“The Dirty Dirty”). “George Michael” and “Anvil” are well sequenced, but don’t really bring anything new to the party. “Lines” is a slow starter that builds similarly to The Loon's “Manitoba”; both tracks pick up the tempo mid-song, and stay there until an eventual burn out.

With uber-producer Dave Fridmann at the helm, (Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, Weezer, CYHSY, just to name a few…), Tapes ‘n Tapes seem a little more comfortable in their own skin. Re-listening to The Loon, I find myself thinking of it as a band’s clever introduction, showing the foresight to hold back at times, allowing the listener a good view of what they were trying to accomplish. By contrast, Walk It Off holds little back, expanding on the same amalgamation of influences without forgetting what they were. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if a group this talented chose to move in a new direction for their next project; if their next album comes out sounding all wowee zowee wacky, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

we love: Sera Cahoone

"No clue as to what I'm doing here"
We love Sera Cahoone's new record. This should come as no surprise to anyone whose good at playing connect the dots. Shall we: Sera used to play drums in Carissa's Wierd, with Matt Brooke and Ben Bridwell. Carissa's Wierd broke up. Mat and Ben founded Band of Horses. We love Band of Horses. Sera played drums on their debut, Everything All The Time. Then, Mat left Band of Horses. Tyler Ramsey sorta took his place, but not really. Mat founded Grand Archives, whom we also love. Sera recently toured with Grand Archives and just released her second solo disc on Sub Pop, home to Carissa's Wierd, Band of Horses and Grand Archives. So yeah, six degrees and all that nonsense. Anyway, we've really been digging the "country noir" of Cahoone's Only As The Day Is Long, but there's just one problem; no vinyl release!

Seriously, Sub Pop, were you not listening when Sera dropped the final mix in your palms?! This record screams vinyl, from the front porch banjos to the jangle of tambourines and Sera's oh-so haunting voice. Only as the Day is Long feels like a record released 30 years ago and should be a prime target for vinyl release, just as Bon Iver's sylvan dream For Emma, Forever Ago is one of those records that only feels right on wax. Not gonna lie, we're a little disappointed in Sub Pop for not giving Sera the vinyl treatment, because honestly, Only As The Day Is Long really deserves it.

Sera Cahoone- Only As The Day Is Long

Monday, April 7, 2008

interview: The Explorers Club

"I'll remember our last kiss forever"
The Bobka is not even a year old (one more week!) but somehow we managed to finagle ourselves an intern, whatever that means. So please give a good hearty welcome to Hunter, our intern. (We really like the way that sounds.) When he's not making pita's and redesigning his facial hair, Hunter can be found writing about frogs and buying vinyl at Chuck-towns 525, one of the best record stores in the southeast. In his first call to duty, we had Hunter interview one of the finest bands to come out of Charleston, The Explorers Club. You might remember us talking about them last Spring when their demos of Smiley Smile-era harmonies were setting the stage for a beautiful summer. Since then the band has signed to Dead Oceans (Bowerbirds, Phosphorescent, Bishop Allen) and is about to release their debut LP, Freedom Wind (May 20th). The band is also releasing their first 7" single "Do You Love Me?" b/w "Carry Me" this Tuesday 4/8. You can snag it HERE.
Chocolate Bobka: How was SXSW?

Jason Brewer: I was sick most of the time, but it’s a lot of fun, we definitely got our name out there… We did it last year too, and we really enjoyed it.

CB: I read that Jim and Stefan (of the Explorers Club) ran into Michael Stipe…

JB: Yeah, I saw him sitting at a table at our label’s showcase, and (Explorers Club guitarist) Jim and (organist) Stefan grabbed one of our CD’s and went over and gave it to him, mentioned that we were friends with Brain Wilson. He was really cool about it.

CB: How did the band form? Did you guys have in mind that this is what you would sound like from day one? Or did it evolve more organically than that?

JB: Well I wrote a bunch of songs a couple years ago with that sound, just to see what I could come up with, that whole sixties sound. I’ve known our drummer since high school, and met most of the other guys at college. I called them up, told them I had these songs and some studio time, asked if they wanted to put together a band. I wanted it to be like a singing group, not just a rock band. There aren’t really singing groups anymore, you know? My dad directs choirs at church, that’s kind of how I learned. I wanted to take all these harmonies, take some Beach Boys, Beatles, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, whatever, and just put it all together. That’s what I wanted with the new record, Freedom Wind. I wanted it to sound like a combination of everything on my ipod, everything I put on a turntable.

CB: Let’s talk about Freedom Wind…Can you take me inside the recording process?

JB: We recorded in Atlanta with my friend Matt Goldman…he normally does a lot of commercial stuff, but he’s into Paul McCartney, Simon & Garfunkle, ELO... One of the guys who I co-wrote a lot of the songs with, who’s also from Atlanta, was an engineering intern a long time ago, and that’s how we met Matt. He’s got a really great studio with a lot of really cool session guys. We were able to get some really great horns and strings pretty cheap, as well as just getting a really good sound. And with him being familiar with all the music we like, we were all on the same page. He and I were the co-producers.

CB: Do you guys record live together at once, in separate parts, or a combination of the two? What about the harmonies?

JB: We do both, sometimes live, sometimes overdubs. We’ll sing it together to make sure it sounds good, then record it later. It’s pretty much the same with the instrumentation; sometimes we do different combinations of instruments live, sometimes just each instrument one at a time.

CB: I’ve been listening to the demos for a long time, and after a few listens to Freedom Wind, I’ve noticed a few production changes. What was it like re-recording these songs that had already been staples in your repertoire for so long?

JB: It wasn’t weird. I was really glad to be able to go re-work some of it. The demos were pretty good, but they weren’t as great as they could be. We needed to do it properly. Nine of the songs were recorded in June, and then the three original demos were beefed up a little bit, remixed and mastered; we added an instrument here or there, re-did some vocals.

CB: Do you feel like it helps to take some time off from a song, then revisiting it with a fresh set of ears? Or do you like to just hammer it out and get it done?

JB: I like to hammer them out. When you think about it too long, you start to come up with too many ideas. But sometimes it helps.

CB: From seeing your live shows, it seems like you guys are just out to make sure everyone has a good time. Did you want that vibe to translate to the record?

JB: Live, we’re not up there trying to do an art show, we’re not trying to be as cool as possible. We take our music seriously, but we’re mostly just trying to make sure everyone has fun. I kind of wanted the record to have that feel, where people don’t have to sit there and listen to it like it’s Dark Side of the Moon or something. I think a lot of bands do try and make a Sgt. Pepper’s or whatever, the first time they make a record, and I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I wanted to make a fun record with some really good songs on it, great sonics, something you can really get into with a pair of headphones on, and most of all, the songwriting to be really good.

CB: Between Explorers Club and Dr. Dog, do you think there’s a retro revival happening? Or is it just coincidence?

JB: Probably more coincidence. We’re definitely open to combining powers… I think we might do some gigs with them later this year, I don’t know, don’t quote me on that.

CB: Wouldn’t dream of it.

JB: I think it’s just coming around, you know? There are all these phases… there was the garage rock thing, the dance rock; recently it’s like noisy kind of stuff, I think? I don’t even really know. I just think a lot of kids who grew up in the 80’s, their parents, really listened to a lot of the stuff from the 60’s and 70’s, and are making music that sounds like that. In one way, it’s just kind of a lot of watering down, of the older stuff, but there’s certainly a lot more of it. Now there’s just an explosion of all kinds of music. For me, it’s all across the board, as far as influences go. I think the wide availability of music these days is just going to make everything broader and broader.

CB: What was it like having a song on the OC? (see video here)

JB: They cut it up and remixed it! But I was glad to have a song on there to get some exposure. People definitely went out and bought the song on itunes because of that, so I was pretty excited.

CB: How did you guys get a spot opening for comedian Zack Galifianakis? Was the crowd different at all?

JB: Well I just randomly sent him a MySpace message, saying how funny I thought he was, and to check out our band, and I guess he did, because he asked us to show up at this restaurant in Charleston on his sister’s birthday, and sing happy birthday for her in four-part harmony! After that, he asked us to open for him for some southeast shows. He wanted a band instead of an opening comedian, so we got to play to a bunch of college kids who were thoroughly confused why there was a band playing. But I think they had a lot of fun.

CB: Whats next for the Explorers Club?

JB: Well the record comes out May 20th [on Dead Oceans], and we’re gonna be doing a full U.S. tour, which should be great. We’re hoping that everyone digs the record, and can have fun with it. It’s a good summertime record, good for cruising around in a car and hanging out with your friends. We’re just glad that we can share our fun with this record with everybody else.
The Explorers Club have a few dates up and down the East Coast in late April. Unfortunately, I just realized that they're playing the same night as Ra Ra Riot, bummer. Guess we'll have to make the trek to Philly to see them.

4/23/2008 Mercury Lounge, NY,NY (with the Virgins and Sam Champion)
4/25/2008 Cafe Metropolis, Wilkes barre, PA (with the Spinto Band)
4/26/2008 Johnny Brendas, Philly, PA (with the A-Sides and The SW!MS)
4/27/2008 Sonar, Baltimore, MD (with The Spinto Band)

The Explorers Club- Do You Love Me?
The Explorers Club- Forever (demo)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Dr. Dog new album FATE

"Ain't it strange"
Direct from the Dr. Dog website:
Hey Folks

Well the cat's out of the bag. All this time in the studio seems to have paid off and it looks as though there is a record finished.

We're gonna call it FATE and you can take from that whatever you want. We can't tell you much, but we can tell you that when we sit back and listen, we're real happy with the way things turned out.
From the looks of it FATE will hit stores July 22nd, via Park the Van. If you were lucky enough to snag tickets to the upcoming show at the Mercury Lounge (we're jealous), let us know of any extras.

Dr. Dog- Ain't It Strange
Dr. Dog- Find the River (R.E.M. cover)

Sunday Morning Music: Peter and the Wolf

"It's ok to run, we expect ya back"
Hungover? Hating sun light? Bad case of morning breath? Don't worry, we feel the same way. Only one cure for a dehydrated dilemma like this, Sunday morning music.

Sunday morning music is the polar opposite of Saturday night music. Quiet, introspective and hopefully soothing, this new section will heal the wounded and make becoming an active participant in the day a little less daunting than usual. This week we're featuring an artist who I've been meaning to post about since founding the Bobka, Red Hunter aka Peter and the Wolf. A nomadic boho, Hunter has been making some of the simplest, most introspective music around for some time. He won me over big time in the fall of 2006 with his album Lightness, which eventually became the soundtrack to my travels in South East Asia last winter. Lightness is a whistful dream of a record that often feels like floating on an ethereal plane. Red says it much better:
Lightness is a whole record about that feeling when you wake up all sentimental from a dream and you want to call your friends and ask How is your health, how's your dad, how's travels? It is about those good mornings when you're just wishin' everybody well.
More than any other song on the record, "Safe Travels" seems to epitomize the carefree, freewheeling, well-wishing spirit in which Lightness was crafted. Perfect for roaming the back streets of foreign lands, waking up in harbors half way across the world and curing an ailing headache.

Peter and the Wolf- Safe Travels
Peter and the Wolf- The Owl
Peter and the Wolf- The Apple Tree

Thursday, April 3, 2008

interview: Ra Ra Riot

"Nevermind what your daughter is taught in school"
Today we start a new feature on the Bobka where we chat with some of our favorite artist's about music, life and whatever the hell else pops into what's left of our mangled brains. For our inaugural interview we caught up with Allie from Ra Ra Riot about the bands recent trip to SXSW, recording their first album and what the rest of the year holds in store for the Ra Ra's.
CB: You just got back from playing a ton of shows at SXSW, any highlights?

RRR: It was all pretty much a highlight. The weather was glorious. It was a good time.

CB: Catch any bands you’ve been meaning to see?

RRR: Yeah, I saw The Whip, The Virgins, who we toured with, they're friends. Tokyo Police Club, White Denim…they’re awesome, soo good.

CB: How many shows did you end up playing?

RRR: 7 in 4 days. 3 the first day, 2 on Saturday and a couple in between.

CB: Rumor has it you recorded another Daytrotter down there?

RRR: Yeah, we did, but it’s not finished. We’re going to go back in and finish it sometime soon.

CB: You played a show at the magnificent Red Rocks last summer. Are there any dream venues you’d like to play, or favorites you’ve played?

RRR: I don’t really know a lot about venues, but I’d love to play Red Rocks again. We played in Iceland at Iceland Airwaves and I’d love to play there again. It’s in Reykjavik and it’s amazing. I think we’d all love to go to Japan, but we’re pretty happy wherever we go.

CB: For recording I know you use an acoustic cello, have you ever toured with it?

RRR: Haha. No, I would never tour with the acoustic. When we started touring I got the electric just cause it is a huge relief. Plus, performance wise, it can go loud, it doesn’t feed back, it’s resilient. Not a hassle at all. Just performing with the electric is easier, lower maintenance, and you can move around quite a bit more.

CB: The band just finished recording an album at Bear Creek Studio in Washington, which seems like an ideal place to record an album (see pics). Besides the fact that a lot of great bands have been recorded there (Built to Spill, Soundgarden, Clapton, Mountain Goats), is there any reason you chose Bear Creek?

RRR: You know it was kind of a vibe thing. We went there and messed around and met Ryan and really hit it off with him. Then we stayed there on tour for a night a couple months ago, and it was like ‘wow if we could make a record here that would just be amazing’ and so that’s pretty much how it worked out.

CB: Did you have most of the songs written before going into the studio or did you pen some there?

RRR: Well, we did it in two sessions. And we pretty much had everything done before we got there. Then we added a couple more songs the second session but we only worked out one song there, the rest we worked on in Frenchtown, NJ at Wes’s house.

CB: Does the album have a title yet?

RRR: I think so, but we're gonna sit on it for a week and make sure we still like it.

CB: Songs tend to evolve on tour, are there any in particular that have evolved in the live setting?

RRR: Mostly just tempos. Sometimes we play certain songs a lot faster or a lot slower, depending on the setting. In terms of arrangements we’ve changed a lot of our older songs .

CB: Can we expect to hear any of those new arrangements on the new record?

RRR: There are a couple.

CB: Which ones?

RRR: I’m not gonna tell!

CB: Have you settled on a label yet or are you going to self release ?

RRR: We’re working it out with labels in the US now, but we still don’t have one in the US. Everywhere else we’re on V2. So that stuff will start picking up in a little while. I think probably within the next month it’ll be a bit clearer.

CB: Any plans for the summer?

RRR: Probably going to be a lot of festival stuff. Probably not in the US since were doing that right now. Most likely festivals in Europe.
If your bumming around Europe this summer be sure to catch Ra Ra Riot at one of those ridiculous festivals they throw over there. If not, don't worry, they're currently touring the states and probably coming to a town near you. We'll be catching them at Maxwell's on 4/23. Get your tickets now, they're going fast. Click HERE for dates.

Ra Ra Riot- Suspended in Gaffa (Daytrotter)
Ra Ra Riot- St. Peter's Day Festival (Daytrotter)
Ra Ra Riot- Each Year (Daytrotter)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

coming soon: The Parson Red Heads

"You are the ground beneath my feet"
Sometimes I wish I lived in California. The Parson Red Heads are partly responsible for this. Their music embodies all the idyllic aspects of living in Southern California (the sun, the Byrds, the semi-legalized weed), throwing the negatives (smog, traffic, Hollywood) out the window, or, more appropriately, the roof, as their music feels like it should come with the purchase of a vintage convertible.

A couple months back I had the opportunity to talk to Evan Parsons, who sent me their wonderful pop gem "Punctual as Usual", and informed me that the band would soon be issuing a new EP. Yesterday, I got the email that Owl & Timber will see the light of day May 20th. He was also kind enough to send along two standouts from the EP, including the first single "Got it All." If you live, or find yourself, in Cali-for-nia be sure to catch The Parson Red Heads at one of their upcoming shows.

Upcoming Shows:
April 07 @ The Echo w/The Weather Underground- Los Angeles
April 24 @ The Prospector w/Everest – Long Beach, CA
May 08 @ Amnesia w/J. Tillman, The Monahans – San Francisco, CA
May 09 @ Spaceland “EP release show” w/J. Tillman- Los Angeles
May 24 @ Detroit Bar w/Willoughby, TBA – Costa Mesa, CA
June 19 @ The Rickshaw Stop w/West Indian Girl – San Francisco, CA

The Parson Red Heads- Punctual As Usual
**Highly Rec
The Parson Red Heads- Got It All

The Parson Red Heads- Crowds (new EP version)

Happy Birthday Emmylou Harris

"May you one day carry me home"
Anyone who knows me knows I have a major crush on Emmylou Harris. Not only does she have one of the most pristine voices I've ever heard, she's also one hell of an American beauty. Today just so happens to be Emmylou's 61st birthday and in celebration I thought I'd share some of my favorite Emmylou collaborations. Of course, this was no easy task as Emmylou has a knack for remarkable collaborations. Whether it be her timeless work with Gram Parsons, the Trio records with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, or her backing vocals on Dylan's Desire and Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Emmylou's sultry voice is so immaculate it could make doves cry.

While her catalog spans decades, one of my personal favorites is a rather recent track she recorded with Ryan Adams. The two met while filming a Gram Parsons tribute for the old PBS program Sessions at West 54th. As the story goes, Ryan was so nervous about performing with Emmylou that he vomited after singing the first line of "Grievous Angel" during rehearsal. Of course, he got over it in time to film an exquisite cover of one of my favorite Gram Parsons songs (see video below). The two must've hit it off, as Emmylou sings backup on Heartbreaker's "Oh My Sweet Carolina", a classic example of how her flawless vocal can make a sad song 'oh so sweet'.

One of her most famous collaborations is the only studio track from The Band's Last Waltz. Yes, The Last Waltz was the Band's last concert, and the Band did perform "Evangeline" on that fateful Thanksgiving night in 1978. However, Harris, who was asked to perform by Robbie Robertson, had prior touring commitments and couldn't make it, even going as far as suggesting "Why don't you get Dolly Parton?" Weeks later Robertson's vision of performing the song with Emmylou came true as she gathered with The Band at MGM studios for a post-concert shoot to be included in the film. The song, just over 3 minutes, ended up taking over 18 hours to shoot. No, that is not a typo. Harris says in the Last Waltz liner notes "If I had any thoughts about going into the acting business, they were squelched right there." Luckily, Martin Scorsese finally got a good take, and like David Fricke says in the liner notes, Emmylou "shimmered like an Appalachian angel in an ice-blue chorister's gown, her voice radiating chastity and sensuality in equal measure."

Happy Birthday Emmylou!

Ryan Adams & Emmylou Harris- Oh My Sweet Carolina

The Band & Emmylou Harris- Evangeline

Ryan Adams & Emmylou Harris "Return of the Grievous Angel"