The coolest news around these parts this weekend is my newfound ability to bring music to any room in my house with the new iSphere that my folks got me as a belated birthday present! I love hearing the bass, cranking it loud directly from my iPod, and being able to cruise through my playlists whatever I am doing. It vastly improves upon my previous system of bringing my laptop wherever I wanted to listen to tunes, or being reclusive and putting in the earbuds. Yay! I think you should get one, definitely the coolest electronic toy I’ve had in several years.
(Thanks Mom & Dad!)
Here are some of the songs that have been gracing said iSphere in recent hours.
You must give The Whigs a listen right now, and buy their new album, the pugilisticly-titled Give Em All A Big Fat Lip, when it’s re-released tomorrow on ATO Records (home of Ben Kweller, Mike Doughty and My Morning Jacket, among others). From the opening beatbox breaths of this Strokes-like melodic rocker, I was hooked. The album is varied and driving from start to end. Rolling Stone called the three-piece from Athens, Georgia “One To Watch,” raving about their “Ninieties indie rock with Sixties pop craftsmanship and Southern-rock twang . . . the best unsigned band in America.” Good thing ATO snapped them up; I foresee good things from these guys.
“I’ll Walk You Out“
When Mark Kozelek (muted frontman of the Red House Painters/cover-loving experimenter of Sun Kil Moon) couldn’t find someone to distribute his collection of hushed Modest Mouse reinventions, he created his own label, Caldo Verde. Although he says he wasn’t looking to add artists to the roster, now he has signed the fantastic Ms. Corinna Repp – and check out this crackly, lo-fi, atmospheric gem from the Portland native. Her debut album The Absent And The Distant comes out tomorrow on Caldo Verde, and she will be touring with her benefactor Kozelek for a handful of shows in October, starting in Indianapolis. Other music from Repp can be found on eMusic, including her contribution to the terrific sampler The Sound The Hare Heard.
“Let’s Turn The Record Over“
My blogger pal Chad was the first of my regular-reads to draw attention to the four new demo songs from Elliott Smith that were posted last week over on Elliott Smith B-Sides (because Chad has Elliott radar built in like a bat). I think this one is my favorite because of the strong harmonic vocals with just a hint of desperation, and the short length which leaves you wanting more. You should also check out “True Love,” a beautiful track which is rumored to have been produced by the masterful Jon Brion. As Chad says, all this posthumous material is setting Elliott up to be the Tupac of the singer-songwriter world. Aw yeeeah.
“The First Five Times (Russian Futurists remix)“
Thanks to Dodge’s weekend record store hunts, we get to hear this sample track from the forthcoming Stars remix album, Do You Trust Your Friends (due this fall on Arts & Crafts). The original version of this song, with it’s rhapsodic orchestration that falls in like an assault and its clean, feisty percussion, is one of my favorites on their superb 2004 release Set Yourself On Fire. But this version is starting to grow on me as well, with its dirty electric guitar grooves and fat pauses between the thumping beats. A remix album sounds like an interesting idea since Stars make richly layered music that can be reimagined in a variety of ways. Thanks Dodge!
“Pile of Gold“
Finally something that should make you get up and shake it a little bit, if everything is functioning correctly with your rhythm-thing. There is a slightly sleazy ’80s-cocaine sheen to this track from The Blow, which a friend of mine christened the “Hey Ya” of the indie rocker world when he first heard it. The lead singer Khaela Maricich sounds reminiscent of Karen O. from Yeah Yeah Yeahs in her snarly drone with a sexy little edge to it, and the comparisons to the simple male-female duo sound of Mates of State is pleasantly unavoidable. The Blow is from Portland, and this track is off their new album Paper Television (Oct 26, K Records).
Finally, I’ll leave you with something that made me laugh recently. I was watching some episode of Saturday Night Live (I think a re-run because I no longer sit at home to watch SNL on Saturday nights — because, well, I am not a high schooler with no car anymore) and something actually made me laugh (!!). They were doing a spoof of NBC’s fall lineup and one of their new “shows” was billed this way: “This fall, watch straight men receive fashion advice from a gay guy who may or may not be looking at you in ‘Queer Guy With A Lazy Eye’!”
Sounds like a winner to me.