So this has been one of the busiest weekends in recent memory ’round these parts, leaving me exhausted, depleted, physically sore. I’m packing up the house I’ve lived in for three years, heading for hopefully greener pastures closer to downtown and the lovely neighborhood where I work. This entails slogging through a lot of crap, selling off everything that’s not bolted down, and getting ready for this stager lady that my realtor provides to come in on Thursday while I am at work and move all my furniture around and decorate in ways unknown to me. So when I come home it will be just like Trading Spaces except no Ty Pennington and no blindfold reveal.
In order to make the undesirable things (like bleaching the bathroom grout and polishing those hardwood floors) more palatable these days, I’ve been listening to some of these songs and albums. And I feel better.
Drummer Danny Seim from Menomena (rhymes with phenomena, now I know) has a bedroom side-project called Lackthereof that actually predates his more well-known endeavors. In this ongoing project he plumbs some wonderfully moody, melodic, and obviously rhythmic depths. “Last November” is good for night-driving home from concerts, for that Lost Highway atmosphere as you watch the lines flick past. It starts with brooding clash and moves into something fairly soaring and surreptitiously suggestive on the choruses, part of an album chock full of rich moments. Your Anchor is out now on Barsuk Records.
No, funny you should ask, they’re not from Sweden or Iceland or anything like that. Despite sounding like a lost Sigur Ros cut, Takka Takka is actually a snappily-named quintet from Brooklyn. Their sophomore album Migration is out tomorrow on Ernest Jenning Recording Co, and was “lovingly produced” by Sean Greenhalgh of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah drumming fame. It was recorded in Brooklyn and features performances by Bryan Devendorf of The National and Lee Sargent of CYHSY. Friend Bruce hears Lou Reed and the Modern Lovers, while I’d cite a definite “Could You Be Loved” on that intro. So yeah, we can agree that it’s eclectic (and intelligent and ear-pleasing).
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
I have a strong suspicion that behind the cleanscrubbed 17-year-old impression that meets the eye, Conor Oberst is just an old folkie at heart with a backporch fiddle, great stories, and a rambling beard. Maybe the kind with birds living in it. We all knew that it was just a matter of time before he ran off to Mexico with his Mystic Valley Band. This cut from the upcoming self-titled album was recorded in TepoztlÃ¡n, Morelos earlier this year and possesses many of the same loosely rollicking, great storytelling airs that I like from the most alt-countrified of his back catalog … but this time with astral plains, choloroform, and dying children. Spooky. The album is out August 4th on Merge Records, and they’ve got five in-store performances in independent record shops to celebrate over the next two weeks.
Remembering to blog this song is one of the greatest aha! moments I’ve had in the last few months. I had listened to this particular tune from L.A.’s Everest on serious repeat in May and heavily dug the muted Buddy Holly classic pop-song vibe with autumnal colors. And then it got lost like a leaf on a fast-moving torrent of my iTunes library, so I’ve been singing unrecognizable parts of the song to myself (mumbling through words I don’t know), Googling desperately trying to find out what it was, and sending myself text reminders late at night when I felt like I’d had a breakthrough on a new relevant detail. Here it is! It’s here and it’s so lovely. The aptly named Ghost Notes is out now on Vapor Records, and the band hits Outside Lands in SF in mere weeks.
I had the pleasure of seeing this Denver band explode at the Hi-Dive Saturday night at the record release party for their new Boom Bust EP. The crowd was jumping and dancing to their somewhat unclassifiable blend of sounds – the Denver Post tried to nail it down with “punk, alt- country, classic rock, British dance-punk and garage rock.” Either way, these songs rock in concert and as a bonus their lead singer looks like a slender Will Ferrell. I am looking forward to seeing them again at the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase this weekend. If you live in Colorado, you should be too.
And look! Who’s your daddy?! Thanks, makeout club.