Monday, March 30, 2009

vinyl rip: Cave Singers "After the Baptism"

"The Sky Won't Mind"
(photo by Jonny Leather)
Since their first rumblings after the disbandment of Pretty Girls Make Graves, I've been enamored with the old world folk sound of Seattle's The Cave Singers. While their full length Invitation Songs is an enchanting pastoral relic of days gone by, their first release, a limited edition 7" for Seeds of Night b/w After the Baptism, is what keeps me coming back to the sylvan trio. While "Seeds of Night" was an obvious choice for a single, it's b-side, "After the Baptism", which does not appear on Invitation Songs and cannot be purchased digitally, sums up everything I love about the Cave Singers; lush finger picking, canyon harmonies and a thousand years of history wrapped up in a single vocal melody.

The trio is in NY this week for shows at Brooklyn's Union Hall on Wednesday and the Mercury Lounge on Thursday.

The Cave Singers- After the Baptism

Sunday, March 29, 2009

mp3: The Replacements "Unsatisfied"

"Look Me In The Eye"
Any jukebox worthy of placement in a bar should have The Replacement's Let It Be available for spinning 24/7. This past weekend I found myself in a few such establishments, and probably played 9 different songs from Let It Be over the course of three days and two nights. While it felt great to send up a toast to the sons of Minneapolis, I was still, no pun intended, slightly unsatisfied. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing better than throwing a few back while listening to the 'Mats, but when you want to hear the disheveled acts live version of "Unsatisifed" and have to settle for the studio, it's sort of a bummer, albeit a glorious bummer. Regardless, there is not a better band to enjoy a beer with than The Replacements. In honor, I'd like to start a movement to get the classic 'Mats bootleg Shit, Shower & Shave proper placement next to Let It Be in dive bar jukeboxes across the country. Who's with me?

The Replacements- Unsatisifed (from Shit, Shower & Shave)

Friday, March 27, 2009

mp3: Crystal Stilts "Love Is A Wave"

"Feel Prostituted"

A few weeks ago Slumberland announced that BK nightcrawlers Crystal Stilts would release the Love Is A Wave 7" on March 31st. The track, which clocks in at 1:59, is probably the brightest, most upbeat Stilts song, which isn't saying much considering their penchant for darkness. However, while brief, the song shows exceptional growth for the band, maybe because they're finally recording with Frankie on kit, who really knocks this one out of the park. While I really, and I mean really, fucking love the studio version (probably my favorite Stilts track), I can't seem to get over the live version that NYC Taper recorded on December 7th when the band opened for Love Is All at the Bowery. The song, which closed their set, is a little more chaotic, raucous and the guitar is really frantic, in that "holy shit I just witnessed a murder and must run as fast as I can before the killer realizes I saw him" kinda way. Simply put, it's ferocious. Compare and contrast below.

Purchase the Crystal Stilts Love Is A Wave 7" here.

Crystal Stilts- Love Is A Wave (7" version)
Crystal Stilts- Love Is A Wave (Live version courtesy of NYC Taper)

Crystal Chandelier's "Suicidal Flowers"

"The Flowers Wilt Away"
Before Crystal Antlers, Crystal Castles, Crystal Stilts and Crystal Skulls, before Damien Hirst sold that ridiculous diamond encrusted crystal skull, The Crystal Chandelier made it cool to be associated with a "solid whose constituent atom, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions." The super obscure and hard to Google band was a pioneer of the dark psyche garage movement. Appropriately, their single "Suicidal Flowers" appears on the ever enlightening Acid Dreams Epitaph: 75 Minutes of Green Fuz compilation, as well as the legendary Pebbles Vol. 3: The Acid Gallery. I really don't know anything about these guys except that they released a string of singles between '68-'69, and they sort of remind of the Count Five, in that I could see them wearing Vampire capes while performing. While the band often tended to fall on the psych-folk side of the equation (ala Incredible String Band), for me, their crowning achievement is "Suicidal Flowers", a dark psyche rave-up complete with ripping fuzz guitar solos, spine shaking organ creeps and mystical lyrics about wilting flowers and aged queen's. If you think Sun Dial's Other Way Out is an underrated classic, then Crystal Chandelier's "Suicidal Flowers" will be right up your alley.

Crystal Chandelier "Suicidal Flowers"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

old: Lightning Dust "Listened On"

"You Feel Your Mind Start To Lose Control"
Soaked with rain waiting for the B48 to take me home, I was pleasantly relieved when Lightning Dust's "Listened On" came on shuffle. I often find myself going back to this tune, which I've never found the right moment to post on, as it's one of those essential slow motion soundtracks, perfect for rainy afternoons on public transportation, or walks through desolate parks when all you hear is the faint sound of a siren far off in the distance. Lightning Dust, which is Amber Webber and Joshua Wells from dark psyche rockers Black Mountain, play the sort of gothic folk you'd want to hear towards the end of a seedy noir film, the type where you're never sure who you're rooting for, if anyone. JagJaguwar hasn't had any news on the band in almost two years, though I've heard through the grapevine that they've been prepping the follow up to their ghostly debut. Recorded in "a dank cave and a bright blue house", Lightning Dust is the perfect companion for a lonely afternoons, as it provides just the right amount of sadness and comfort to get you through even the toughest of times. For fans of Marissa Nadler, Mazzy Star & Sharon Van Etten.

Lightning Dust- Listened On

Lightning Dust "Highway"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

live: Camera Obscura @ Bell House

"Don't Know My Elbow From My Ass"
(photo by Greg Chow)
After making the trip to Austin to play a few SXSW showcases, Glasgow's Camera Obscura flew north to New York to play tracks from their soon-to-be-released My Maudlin Career to sold-out audiences. Their first show was last night at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, an old shipping warehouse, which houses some of the finest sound (Thanks EAW!) in all of New York. The veteran Glaswegian septet ran through a super tight set of new songs "you haven't heard because our record isn't out yet" (wink wink), including "James", "Swans", "My Maudlin Career" and "French Navy", the first single. While the focus was on new material, TraceyAnne Campbell and company treated the sold out crowd to golden oldies like "Let's Get Out of This Country", "Come Back Margaret" and "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken." Older songs were bolstered by a newfound love of all things percussive, presumably due to time spent recording with Bjorn (of PB&J), whose replaced Let's Get Out of This Country's sweeping Dusty Springfield orchestrations with his signature minimalist percussion, something the Swedish Midas has done with Taken By Trees, Lykke Li and the Shout Out Louds. An array of glockenspiels, maracas, tambourines and wood blocks effectively gives Camera Obscura's sad pop a more upbeat, almost girl-group bounciness, something I wouldn't have expected while listening to "Your Picture" in a collegiate library. Needless to say, the bands new direction, which is rather similar to that of Belle & Sebastian's evolution circa Dear Catastrophe Waitress (and even more so on The Life Pursuit), is a welcome step forward from a group who could have easily been pigeonholed as just another Lit-savvy band of heartbroken Scots playing melodramatic twee pop.

Camera Obscura "The Sweetest Thing" 3/18/09 Central Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

new: Sparrow House

"I Will Dance In Your Embrace"
In the late 2006, Jared Van Fleet released the wondrous Falls, the first in a collection of seasonal EPs under the Sparrow House moniker. By the end of 2007, there had been no word on a follow-up, strange considering it was to be a seasonal project, with releases scheduled every few months. 2008 passed and still no word from Sparrow House. Now well into 2009, it seems that Van Fleet has emerged from hibernation and is ready to release Sparrow House back out into the wild. Sparrow House's MySpace provides more details:
"i spent 2007 traveling and falling in love. i took 2008 off.

but i'm back now, making music again and feeling good about it, and i hope that other people are feeling good too, wherever they are, and i hope some of you will enjoy my new recordings.

awhile back, i released an ep called falls. it's the first part of a four-part series i'm doing called THE TILT OF THE EARTH. the other parts are television snow, branches, and aquarium sun."
It has also come to my attention, via Twitter, that Van Fleet has officially quit his day job as a member of Voxtrot (
"played my last show with voxtrot, in the same room where we had our first performances"). Fortunately, Van Fleet followed that tweet with this one, "now i really can't wait to release new music...". Sometime during his break from recording, Van Fleet recorded this remix/cover of a Sebastian Schuller song "Weeping Willow". The fleshed out arrangment, features Sidi Ali on mandolin and Benjamin Hofer Lanz on trombone. Oh, and you may remember Falls standout "When I Am Gone", which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of fleeting love better than any song in recent memory.

Sparrow House- Weeping Willow (Sebastien Schuller cover)
Sparrow House- When I Am Gone

#60.7 - Soiree a emporter - Sparrow House

Monday, March 23, 2009

new: Jon Hassell

The Fourth World
If you're looking for music to accompany you on a late night train ride through a desolate rain soaked city then search no further. Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street, the latest from pioneer ambient trumpet and electronic soundcscapist Jon Hassell (who turned 72! yesterday), is a gift that keeps on giving. The album is drenched in Hassell's signature "fourth world" sound which Hassell describes as "a unified primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques." Hassell, who in the past has collaborated with Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and Martin Scorsese, has been pushing the limits of ambient jazz for decades.

Last Night the Moon... succeeds in that even when Hassell seems to be steering off the road into the horizon, subtle themes and melodies are constantly clawing for our attention. Influenced strongly by Eastern culture as well as the later work of Miles Davis, Last Night the Moon... should really be experienced as a whole album when you have no particular place to go, or at least no desire to get their quickly.

Jon Hassell - Time and Place [from 2009's Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Cothes in the Street]

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring = Elephant 6

"Xylophone's Gently Breathing"
(photo by konrad wolf)
We are officially 24 hours away from the first day of Spring, but mild weather and prolonged sunlight have already forced my listening habits to change from the cold sounds of hibernation (Grouper, Beach House, Pocahaunted, Mazzy Star) to the rejuvenating warmth of psychedelic pop, aka the lucid sounds of the Elephant 6 collective. While it'd be silly to try and pin down "the sound" of the prolific, yet still criminally underrated collective, for me the E6 ethos can be summed up by the onslaught of Spring; blooming buds, heightened sun, April showers and a woozy, mushy brain courtesy of allergy medication. (Ed note: I just noticed it's snowing. WTF!)

Of particular interest has been The Olivia Tremor Control's monumental opus Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol.1, a massive collection of wobbling found sound experiments, fuzzed out bliss pop and hallucinatory marvel, which is as much a soundtrack of the Elephant 6 collective's hey-day as it is a swan song from one of its most influential acts. Psychedelic in both its sound and aesthetic, Black Foliage... was heavily influenced by the nonsensical oddities of dreams, so much so that the band asked fans to send in tapes describing their dreams, many of which are included on Black Foliage's final track, "Hilltop Procession (Monumental Gaining)". While the subconscious mind plays a key role on the record, so does sunshine, which acts as a motivating factor on pop gems "A New Day" and "I Have Been Floated", two of OTC's most accomplished tracks.

The Olivia Tremor Control- A New Day

The Olivia Tremor Control- I Have Been Floated

Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour "I Have Been Floated"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

cover: Zola Jesus "Lady In The Radiator"

"Everything Is Fine"

Zola Jesus' cover of "In Heaven", titled "Lady In The Radiator", is an overt reference to the character in the David Lynch film Eraserhead who sings the wistful, albeit frightening, Peter Ivers song. Most of us probably know it as a Pixies jam, whether it be the Frank Black led version on Pixies, or the more recent Kim Deal sung version. However, Zola Jesus' cover is more akin to a horrifying, yet beautiful(?), original (below), as if ZJ were a vengeful ghost moaning inside a radiator in a dark, long forgotten corner of Ed Gein's basement.

Zola Jesus- Lady in the Radiator (In Heaven)

Lady In The Radiator from David Lynch's Eraserhead

new: Atlas Sound virtual 7"

"Trials and Tribulations"

It's been a while but Bradford Cox dropped another in a collection of endess virtual 7"'s on the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza blog. "Solo or the Square" finds Bradford hitting his sweet spot, with a playful, jack-in-the-box-esque loop and stream of consciousness vocals, which, over time, mutate from a candy sweet croon to an almost dubby sort of acid flange.

The B-side, "Memorial Corridor", sounds like a 3 second guitar sample manipulated, and transmitted via CB radio to a satellite base station (ala Christmas on Mars), where it eventually morphs into the sort of jangly guitar-distorted vocal exercise we've come to know, love and expect from Mr. Cox. Just the sort of thing to keep Atlas Sound fans happy/hungry until Bradford drops Logos, or some other record, later this year.

Atlas Sound- Solo or the Square b/w Memorial Corridor (includes Lyrics)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

mix: White Rainbow

Psychedelic axe murderer Adam Forkner, better known as Portland's White Rainbow, has seemingly escaped from the Prism of Eternal Now and resurfaced with this mix tape of "unfinished/weird/fucked/bad/boring/bangin'/terrible-use-of-MIDI-presets/cool-idea-that-goes-on-too-long tracks made between 2007-2008." Quotes Forkner, "this is definitely in a more upbeat/summer/pop/rave/hip hop/flange vibe than most of my more 'serious' musics. but sometimes i gotta get the led out!" Summer Boogie Breezers: Tha Mixtape 2008 was originally released in a limited batch of 20 CD-R and sold out of the back of Forkner's trunk at gigs last Summer.

The Summer Boogie Breezer: Tha Mixtape 2008
1. give it a whirl
2. celebration jazz
3. FUNNY DOOGIE BOWZER BUSY LUCKY FUNNY LUKEY HAIR BALL BOBBERS IN A RIPTOWN WAY (rough draft white rainbow remix of lucky dragons source)
5. shuckies rumble
6. robbinthehood
10. ABACBA DISCIPLINED Second, Final Remix Tussle remixed by white rainbow
12. todaytodaytoday is the clear stream (dawn rave version) STARVING WEIRDOS REMIXed by WHITE RAINBOW
13. summerbreezer

White Rainbows- Summer Boogie Breezer Mix

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

release: Bonnie Prince Billy Beware

"I Can Find It Again"
The ever prolific Will Oldham will release his second album in less than a year today on Drag City. Beware, which sports a cover akin to a fleshier version of I See A Darkness, follows Oldham into a more introspective place than the rather jovial and upbeat (for Oldham, at least) Lie Down In The Light. If new Bonnie 'Prince' Billy releases don't rev your engine, well, you probably need to get that checked out. And if a check up still doesn't get your head on straight, than maybe the Bard of Kentucky hitting NYC for the first time in a long time this May for an evening at the beautiful Apollo Theatre will get your heart in functioning order again. Tickets are going fast, with my single ticket request yielding a seat in the third floor upper mezz, but I think a rare Oldham appearance in New York is worth shelling out a little extra on Craigslist. The video below, taken from a recent performance in Copenhagen, shows a playful Oldham performing "Easy Does It", which might just be the happiest song he's ever written, and sort of makes me feel like I can/should pay any amount of money to kneel at the altar of Oldham.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "Easy Does It" live in Copenhagan

Monday, March 16, 2009

cover: Jessica Lea Mayfield "Words of Love"

"Hold Me Close & Tell Me How You Feel"
(Photo by Kaoru-h)
On foggy mornings of late Jessica Lea Mayfield has been a stereo go-to. While I've been enjoying her bitterly sad and introspective debut With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, her cover of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" is the song I return to more often than not. The song appears on a Starbucks Valentines Day compilation, which, on paper, looks like it could OK (Dept. of Eagles, She & Him, Bed Bridwell from Band of Horses) but, in the end, falls short of mediocrity, the exceptions being A.C. Newman's un-ironic cover of A-Ha's "Take On Me" and Mayfield's woozy take on the Buddy Holly staple.

Mayfield sings "Words of Love" as if she's sang it a thousand times, usually alone, slow dancing in the mirror, romanticizing (dreaming) new love. Of course, there's an ominous, somewhat bittersweet undertone, courtesy of a reverberating whammy bar and accentuated by an eerie yet whistful xylophone line, which makes the song feel like it should be playing on the jukebox at a restaurant-bar in a '50s noir, right before you find out the femme fatale is into some deep shit. Take a listen below. Also, be sure to watch (listen) to Buddy Holly's super lo-fi demo of "Words of Love" from sometime around March 12th 1957. WAVVES ain't got shit on Holly's tape scuzz.

Jessica Lea Mayfield- Words of Love (Buddy Holly cover)

Buddy Holly "Words of Love" (demo 1957)

Friday, March 13, 2009

cover: Shop Assistants do the Beatles

"I Know What It's Like To Be Dead"

Elusively titled "One More Time", the b-side to the Shop Assistants Big E Power 7" is actually a cover of the Beatles "She Said She Said." Whether or not this was a deliberate attempt to circumnavigate paying royalties to Apple Records (or Jacko) is beyond me, however, it certainly seems as if the reclusive Edinburgh band was going for obscurity with the lack of Lennon-cred. "She Said" was written after a rugged acid trip in Southern California, which included Peter Fonda, who had recently injured himself with a shotgun blast, showing Lennon his fresh wound, and saying "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was thoroughly tweaked. Clearly Fonda made an impression and when Lennon arrived back in the UK, he wrote the tune, one of my Revolver favorites. Released in 1990, the heyday of ecstasy/rave culture in the UK, Big E Power is an appropriate, albeit forward, title for the Shop Assistants single, considering its b-side's place in pantheon of drug history. Not a life changing cover, but definitely worth a listen for fans of the Fab Four and the c86 aesthetic.

Shop Assistants- One More Time (aka "She Said She Said")

Thursday, March 12, 2009

old: Marconi Notaro

While reading an interview with Guillermo Scott Herren about his soon-to-be-issued Savath et Savalas record, I was intrigued by references Herren made to both Catalan and Brazilian psych folk, most specifically that of Marconi Notaro. An evening of trolling found that Time-Lag, the label responsible for releasing albums by MV+EE, Woods, Wooden Wand, RACCOO-OO-OON and many other odd-ball American psyche troupes, reissued Notaro's 1973 cult classic No Sub Reino Dos Metazo Arios a few years ago, although vinyl copies appear to be sold out. Appropriately, Time-Lag says it best:
the whole album gushes forth with a sun baked spirit of the highest level, mixing tropicalia tinged folk-beat groovers, satwa style bliss trance ragas, pabiru favored lysergic jungle psych, and even a raging fuzz/wah soaked garage psych rocker. extremely mind melting from start to finish, with huge washes of rippling tape delay, electric & acoustic guitars, 12 string, tranced folk percussion, passionate yet mellow vocals, liquid electric bass, acid effects everywhere, and of course lula's mercurial & heart melting tricrdio (an instrument he made himself, something like a sitar/dulcimer hybrid). beautiful, melancholy and joyous all at the same moment, this is an album that after 33 years still sounds completely fresh & unique.
If you have even a passing interest in tropicalia, weird American folk or psychedelic noodling, you *must* look into obtaining a copy of No Sub Reino Dos Metazo Arios.

Marconi Notaro- Oh, Greedy Life

Marconi Notaro- Anthropologic

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

bobkast #24: Everything's New

"I Wanna Do Some Laughing Too"
(photo by I, Timmy)
If one were to awake from a sylvan daydream ala Rip Van Winkle, one would be able to hear and feel the world bursting with raw energy ("These Blues"). Moving through the forest, wide-eyed and romantic in the new world ("Bluish"), one begins to philosophize ("Fake Blues") and discovers he/she is all alone in the universe ("Baby, Don't Go", "Terrapin"). Self-examination kicks in ("It's Up to You"). And, ultimately, realization ("Moments in the Snow").

Awash in an existential whirlwind ("Whiteout"), one concludes that life is both sad and beautiful, yet doesn't care because it's much more fun to laugh and dance and sing ("Hellhole Ratrace"). Mental joy gives way to meditation and new-age soul searching ("The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything", "Karmic Dream Sequence #1"). Things are getting heavy, maaan ("Keep It Heavy"). But heavy is overwhelming. Good vibes much preferred ("Khala My Friend"). Alas, everything is new ("Everything's Big").

Bobkast #24: Everything's New
1. Spiritualized- These Blues (demo)
2. Animal Collective- Bluish
3. Real Estate- Fake Blues
4. dum dum girls- Baby Don't Go
5. Syd Barrett- Terrapin (Peel Session)
6. Shop Assistants- It's Up To You
7. Comet Gain- Moments in the Snow
8. Lotus Plaza- Whiteout
9. Girls- Hellhole Ratrace
10. Love- The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything
11. The Millennium- Karmic Dream Sequence #1
12. Creme Soda- Keep It Heavy
13. Amanaz- Khala My Friend
14. Here We Go Magic- Everything's Big

Download Bobkast #24: Everything's New (PC: right click +save as| Mac: option+click)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

new: Marissa Nadler video

"Been Drinking Too Much"

Marissa Nadler recently posted this haunting video of new song "Dead Wives Club" (which may be titled "Marie") on her blog. Those in attendance at her recent NYC/BK shows at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah and Joe's Pub may recognize the tune as the one in which Marissa plays banjo. According to lore, Ms. Nadler hadn't touched a banjo in public in over ten years, which is slightly surprising considering how effortless she makes playing it look. In other Nadler news, P4k finally got around to reviewing Little Hells and, appropriately, gave it an 8.3 Congrats Marissa, truly deserved.

Marissa Nadler Live at Joe's Pub "Dead Wives Club (Marie)"

we saw: Real Estate @ Dead Herring

"Do You Feel Alright?"
(photo by NY Rock Market)
Saturday nights unseasonably warm weather was a welcome change from the early week blizzard and a good sign for an evening with NJ hazy dream poppers Real Estate. The band 's set was similar to the one they played Tuesday night at Glasslands, albeit this time marred by mic problems rather than power issues. Regardless, while Real Estate certainly has a few mountains to climb, they are undoubtedly on their way to great things. Case in point, Mr. P4k Ryan Schreiber was one of a handful of young rapscallions in attendance, which is a nice way of saying "buy Real Estate's 7" ASAP before it pulls a Vivian Girls and starts going for $80 on eBay." The band is playing a bunch of shows along the East Coast en route to SXSW, where they will play at least 7 shows, none of which are official showcases. I'd recommend checking them out, and copping that Suburban Beverage 7" on white vinyl.

Real Estate- Suburban Beverage
Real Estate- Black Lake

Monday, March 9, 2009

bootleg: Tom Waits 4.19.1974

"Twilight Coup DeVilles"

A poetic vision of the dusty backstreets and alleys of the American landscape, no one conjures such bourbon soaked images as marblemouthed railroad preacher Tom Waits. His prowess and power have never been questioned, and certainly shine on this bootleg of his first ever performance at the San Diego's Folk Festival in 1974. The city's native son, Waits delivers hobo hymns like a sad, dog howling at the moon, shining on "Shiver Me Timbers", a shanty tune probably sung by men Shanhai'd in the San Francisco port bars. However, Waits may be most poignant most on "The Ghosts of Saturday Night", his piano-spoken word portrait of National City, California from 4am til dawn, in which he oh-so-eloquently describes every diner waitress in the history of diner waitresses as having "Maxwell house eyes, and marmalade thighs and scrambled yellow hair."

Tom Waits 4.19.1974 San Diego Folk Festival
1. Better Off Without A Wife
2. The Heart of Saturday Night
3. On A Foggy Night
4. Shiver Me Timbers
5. Fumblin' With the Blues
6. Semi Suite
7. San Diego Serenade
8. Glad That You're Mine
9. Ice Cream Man
10. Depot Depot
11. The Ghosts of Saturday Night

Download Tom Waits 4.19.1974 San Diego Folk Festival

Friday, March 6, 2009

old: c86 mix tape

"Been Playing With A Spike"
With an endless string of fuzzy loft pop bands currently making waves, the term c86 seems to be appearing all over the Intraweb. Often cited as a reference point for such fine young acts, I really had no idea what c86 was, or what it referred to. A mythical Russian spy program? A new strain of DNA? Of course, half a mili-second on Google taught me that c86 was a mixtape compiled by Britain's finest purveyors of rock gossip and overindulgent hype, the (in)famous New Music Express (NME). Anyway, in 1986 the NME issued this mix tape along with a copy of their magazine and, more or less, introduced the world to reverb soaked, fuzz pop with a punk ethos. Primal Scream, The Bodines, The Wedding Present, We've Got a Fuzz Box and We're Not Afraid to Use It and a slew of other bands that the members of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart probably really, really like. For anyone wondering what's up with all this c86 talk, below is the answer to your curiosity; a digital copy of the tape in question.

Download c86 mix tape (tracklist in comments)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

mp3: Psychedelic Saturday

From Rock Proper Chicago:
Winter in Chicago is humbling. Subzero winds and impossible snowfalls lead even the best of us to booze, fish fries, and B movies on VHS. And when Dave started crashing on the couch at the Moon Tower there was plenty of all that. But there was also this: an epic Saturday jam, mics hot in the frigid garage, Dave joining up with the Moon boys for hours of meandering, experimenting, and mind-expanding. A year, 300 overdubs, and hours of editing later, that psychedelic Saturday was chiseled, bent and fired into this Psychedelic Saturday.
For fans of White Rainbow, 13th Floor Elevators and Predator Vision.

Where the Moon Came From (w/ David Vandervelde)- Psychedelic Saturday

cover: Comet Gain do The Clean

"He's a Rabbi and He's a Guru and He's a Beatnik"
Comet Gain turn up the fuzz box on this classic cover of The Clean's pogo foot stomper "Beatnik." Infectious, snarky and in yr face, "Beatnik" is prototypical art-punk, bridging the gap between the rebels, the absurdists and the kids who can barely play instruments but don't care because they just want to have fun in their basement. A few chords, some two-finger keyboard playing and an alienated college kid attitude are all you need to cover "Beatnik", which would be right at home on a karaoke machine at the Market Hotel. In fact, maybe it should be some sort of indicator as to whether or not your loft pop band is allowed to exist, based on your cover of "Beatnik." Just throwing it out there. Comet Gain will make an increasingly rare appearence in the states this spring and will play Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 12th, Easter Sunday.

Comet Gain- Beatnik
The Clean- Beatnik

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

we saw: Real Estate @ Glasslands

"Carry Me Back To Sweet Jersey"
Sequestering the hallucinogenic power of a Grateful Dead "Space Jam" into a tightly knit pop structure, Real Estate meandered through a set of stoney, lackadaisical and utterly refreshing lo-fi pop last night. Playing to a small crowd at Glasslands, their short set, which included a few power outages and soon-to-be bored kid anthems "Suburban Beverage" and "Fake Blues", felt more like a Thursday night at the local teen center than an evening at a performance art space in industrial Williamsburg. Fittingly, the band exuded a sort-of carefree teenage attitude, no qualms or pretensions to their sound, simply four guys who really like playing music together, as if they were still just bored kids practicing in basements and smoking weed from apples and Coke cans behind the shed when Mom left to drop little brother off at soccer practice. With the uncanny ability to sum up the anxieties of suburban life in a three minute pop ditty ("I don't want to live at home"), something tells me we are going to be hearing ALOT from the Real Estate camp in the coming months. Oh, and any band that projects clips from the animated Hobbit behind them is A-OK with me. Real Estate will be back in Brooklyn on Saturday for a show at Dead Herring.

Real Estate- Suburban Dogs

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

out today: Justin Townes Earle

"The couple in the corner been going at it all night long / man in the back putting bets out over the phone"At a mere 32 minutes long, Justin Townes Earle's sophomore album, Midnight At The Movies, is a quick easy listen on par with Little Joy or Dent May. You can breeze through the 12 tracks so effortlessly that if you don't pay attention you'll easily miss it. What Earle does so well is capturing the complexity of such an enigmatic genre, sounding like Mississippi John Hurt at times ("They Killed John Henry") and Ryan Adams at others ("Mama's Eyes"). He fuses honkey-tonk with bluegrass, blues with ballads, and comes out on top. He even squeezes in a fantastic cover of the Mats "Can't Hardly Wait" which puts the original to shame (I never liked the horns anyway).

For those in the NYC area, Earle, who by the way is Steve Earle's son, is playing the early show at the Merc tonight. It's his only northeast date before he plays every venue in the state of Tennessee. Pick up a copy of Midnight At The Movies on CD or limited edition vinyl, out today.

Justin Townes Earle - Midnight At The Movies [from 2009's Midnight At The Movies]

tonight: Real Estate @ Glasslands

"Swimming Beneath the Power Lines"
This evening NJ/BK/QN/JC lazy surf quartet Real Estate will be playing at Glasslands. The group, which features the ever prolific Matt Mondanile of Ducktails, has been picking up a lot of steam lately with a sound Matt Kimmel of Acid Marshmallow described as "Galaxie 500 mixed with the Grateful Dead." Totally on point, Real Estate exude the smokey blah of hazy suburban late nights in basements, on porches, in forests and next to ponds, friends strumming, slightly singing, getting stoned, throwing beer cans in the fire and, eventually, passing out. "Suburban Beverage", for which they've released a 7", sums it up in one line: "Budweiser, Sprite, do you feel alright?" Take it from me, this is exactly what bored Summer days and nights in Northern Jersey sound like.

Real Estate- Suburban Beverage
Real Estate- Black Lake

Monday, March 2, 2009

live: Deerhunter @ Noise Pop

"I Lived On Hazel Street"

High quality full length video from Deerhunter's free performance (w/ Pains of Being Pure at Heart) at San Francisco's Noise Pop last week. Smothered in fog and lights, this is probably the best live footage of Deerhunter I've ever seen. Oh yeah, and Bradford's wearing a Patagonia fleece. Weird. Expect more videos on Wolfgang's Vault as the week continues.

Intro + Cryptograms
Disappearing Ink
Rainwater Cassette Exchange
Never Stops
Spring Hall Convert
Nothing Ever Happened
Famous Last Words
Saved By Old Times
Cover Me (Slowly) + Agoraphobia
Hazel St.

we saw: Phosphorescent @ Bell House

"You'll Be Permanently Lonely"
(photo by fabio trebbi)
My final stop on a Saturday night of folk shows was Phosphorescent's homecoming at the Bell House. The show, in celebration of his recently released To Willie, found Matthew Houck and his bearded band of urban truck drivers playing the record in its entirety, a first for the Dead Oceans recording artist. The band was as tight as a new pair of boots, often rearranging, and elevating many of the more somber tunes into honky-tonk raveups complete with dueling guitars and whiskey fueled revelry, just the way Willie would've liked it. Reworked versions of "Reasons to Quit" and "Walkin", as well as party favorite "I Gotta Get Drunk", would have been as welcomed at a Barstow truck stop bar as they were at the Gowanus night club.

Phosphorescent- Reasons to Quit (via P4k)

we saw: Marissa Nadler

"I Met You In The Belly of a Whale"
(photo by aprilnine)
The Lutheran Church of the Messiah across from McGolrick Park in Greenpoint is a ghostly, candle lit basement performance state filled with cobwebs and perfect for the gothic folk of Marissa Nadler. Nadler, who is touring in support of her soon-to-be-released Little Hells, a record which finds the Boston based songwriter exploring the sonic textures of her sullen, pastoral folk, played solo on Friday night, ditching her live band for a more intimate performance with just her, her guitar, and the occasional banjo. Friday night's set was a welcome run through of Songs III stands outs like "Sylvia", "Dying Breed" and "Salutations in the Dark", as well as Little Hells highlights "Heart Paper Lover", "Ghosts & Lovers" and "Cobwebs." The especially intimate affair (most of the audience was seated Indian style on the floor) also featured an intensely poignant rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire". Nadler, who switched between a six string Taylor and a twelve string Martin, was in a jovial mood, laughing about how critics had been labeling "Mistress on a Sunny Day", the Little Hells closer, an "uplifting" tune, something that doesn't really exist in Nadler's canon. The warm, rainy night in Greenpoint ended with Marissa doing a version of "Dead Wives Club" on banjo, an appropriate end to a somber evening with the gothic folk princess.

Marissa Nadler- River of Dirt

we saw: Alela Diane @ MHoW

"Your Hands Bring Me Sweet Lavender"
(photo by Dan and Happy)
If the traditional "She'll be coming around the mountain when she comes" were a rugged theatrical drama in the vein of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Alela Diane's canyon folk would be an obvious choice for the soundtrack. The Nevada City native and friends (and family) took Music Hall by storm on Saturday night, making the Brookyln venue feel more like an early evening at a Summer folk festival in a lush California valley than a club on the edge of an industrial waterfront. Alela's wondrous voice was in full command of the audience, and the band, as she delivered To Be Still gems like "Every Path" and "The Alder Tree's", as well as a fitting cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Women", with an effortless ease that can only come from singing your entire life. While her band channeled the spirit of the Canyon, lending Alela's songs the rhythms of a steam-powered freight train, it would have been nice to have heard some material from The Pirate's Gospel, or simply a solo tune. That said, I am still in awe of her and her voice, and you can be too courtesy of the (in)famous NYC Taper, who captured her nearly identical show from the previous night at the Bowery Ballroom.

Download Alela Diane's 2/27/09 performance from the Bowery Ballroom. (NYC Taper)