March 6, 2008

An arctic monkey and his twin, caught in the age of understatement

Arctic Monkey Alex Turner and Miles Kane from The Rascals have a side project goin’ called The Last Shadow Puppets, with a new video online today called “The Age of the Understatement.” It’s an epic-sounding song about marauding and proper kissing, with a video to match — an affair of tanks and singing WWII troops, priests and Russian figure skaters.

After seeing it, I’m pretty sure that these guys are twins or clones or at the very least, go shopping together. Watch it here.

The duo played their first live show together on Tuesday night to a packed Williamsburg record store, and thanks to Hypeful blog, here’s a live mp3 of their first single (which will be released in proper form April 14th, with the full album following shortly):

The Age Of The Understatement (live 3/4/08) – The Last Shadow Puppets

[top photo credit Kyle Dean Reinford, taken at last night’s surprise Cake Shop show on the Lower East Side]

July 9, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

If you’re a guy thinking of cutting off those luscious Shannon Hoon locks you’ve been growing since your sophomore year of high school, what better way to go out than in a blaze of glorious mulletry?

That’s definitely what this guy did in a wonderful bit of photo-chronicling (what did we do before the Internet?). Also check his endeavor to consume locally and scramble up a pigeon egg instead of his normal chicken fare. Not to give away the story, but he writes, “All in all, pigeons, I was let down by your egging skills. The yolk was no different than a chicken yolk. I was hoping for some kind of natural spice or kick given all the wacky, awesome stuff you guys eat.”

Here are five (no, six!) new songs for you this week, to support your musical habits in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed:

Number One
Miss Fairchild
I think I’ve asserted this opinion before, but each of us inherently has a certain Required Daily Allowance of funk — something that makes you wanna stand up from your desk and shake it while you grimace slightly, something that makes you wanna walk down the street like Shaft. You might not know that you have this requirement, you may eschew it – but Miss Fairchild wants to help you stay happy and healthy. Miss Fairchild is a New England band who brings you “fun with a capital K.” Although their name conjures up images of a proper British Mary-Poppins-trainee, their velvety funk conjures up visions of a young Prince meets James Brown (and maybe a little of that “Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Puff” song if we can name-check embarassing ’80s pleasures). And I love it. From their Ooh La La Sha Sha EP.

ALSO, they love you so much, they made you a mixtape for free download. You have to register (I just did it, nothing scary happened) but then you get an instant party with 4 of their new songs mixed with pop-funk classics, all in a sleek zip package.

Off Work
Thurston Moore

So many years in Sonic Youth may have in fact driven Thurston Moore a little bonkers. All you need do is listen to the closing track on his new solo CD Trees Outside The Academy, where he repeats this line,”What you are about to hear is…” me opening a can of Lysol, me dropping a penny, me snapping the scissoors away at random, etc. And YET, he still sounds cool even just wasting time. Such is the life of a rock legend. Take a listen to this fantastic cut, which sounds like the scuzzy, harmonic art-rock of Rather Ripped meets the likeable melodies of The Archies. The album is his first solo effort since 1995′s Psychic Hearts, and will be out in September on (his label) Ecstatic Peace.

Temptation By Your Side
Formed from the ashes of Sub Pop-signees Vue (who opened for everyone from BRMC, The Faint, and Franz Ferdinand to . . . The Rolling Stones), Bellavista is a San Francisco trio of childhood friends who grew up in the picturesque Half Moon Bay area. Fitting with the foggy splendor of those parts, this music is formidable and sounds bigger than a trio — like it could stand up a dark and brooding Pacific storm. Other tracks on their 2007 self-titled album (Take Root Records) feel like some of the swirl and haze of early Verve, but this song pounds and wails with a slightly off-kilter warble that Julian Casablancas made okay to let loose with. They’ve got a handful of shows in very cool SF venues coming up.

Tomorrow Is A Long Time
(demo, Bob Dylan cover)
Nick Drake

The posthumous collection of unreleased material from British hushed-folk troubadour Nick Drake will finally see release this week. Family Tree (Tsunami Records) is a warm and elemental view of a pensively troubled man, but one who nonetheless loved his music. Drake died in 1974 of an overdose of antidepressants at the green age of 26, leaving behind reels of demo tapes and home recordings. We hear his own sketches, his unfinished vignettes, his duets with family members. He covers artists as varied as Jackson C. Frank, Bert Jansch, and Blind Boy Fuller as well as traditional arrangements. Listen for the lyrical misstep in this Dylan cover at the beginning of the second line (when he starts to say “tomorrow” instead of “tonight”) and the clinking of a glass in the background. Intimate and surprisingly lovely.

Hawaii Mud Bombers
Finally – summer’s here and the time is right for . . . lots of surf music. I’ve added four or five surf albums to my collection this past week, including this fun “surf-meets-The-Ramones” blend of Sweden’s Hawaii Mud Bombers. Yes, they’re from the dappled sunkissed swells (right) of Falun, Sweden, and their album Mondo Primo just saw U.S. release on Wicked Cool Records (the label run by Little Steven Van Zandt, of The Sopranos, the radio show, and the E Street Band — and trivia answer here, also the writer of the awesome song “Patriot” that Pearl Jam deftly covers in concert). This song’s instrumental, but they usually sing along.

BONUS TUNE! This cover is just completely . . . unnecessary and I think you should hear it. A whole new generation of concertgoing ladies (not me) wanted to take their panties off and toss them with wild abandon across his golden stage.
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Tom Jones
(Arctic Monkeys cover, live at that Princess Diana shebang)

Something about hearing the aging bronzed-Welsh-sexbomb Tom Jones sing that line about “dreams of naughtiness” with such gusto definitely makes me want to go take ten very hot showers, maybe pour bleach in my ears.

[via my favorite guys who beat me to the rip]

May 11, 2007

Win yourself some Spidey-tastic music, I won’t even make you hang upside down in the rain

It’s Friday, which must mean a contest or something, right?

Spiderman 3 came out last week and it’s, well, a Spiderman movie – all villains and stunts and improbable choices. The thing that makes it notable is the dope soundtrack, which features folks like Rogue Wave, Wolfmother, The Killers, JET, The Walkmen and recent Fuel favorite Coconut Records.

I have one Spiderman prize pack to give away, and it kind of cracks me up because it would be a total bonanza especially for a 12-year-old male reader if I have some of those. My winner will get the soundtrack (yay!), a webblaster thingie that straps to your arm and shoots silly string (okay) and a Spiderman dog thing that hooks up to your iPod and dances on your desk. He has a crush on Hello Kitty, but you totally didn’t hear that from me.

Signal Fire – Snow Patrol
Move Away – The Killers
Sealings – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Pleased to Meet You – Wolfmother
Red River – The Walkmen
Stay Free – Black Mountain
The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love – The Flaming Lips
Scared of Myself – Simon Dawes
Twist – Chubby Checker
Sightlines – Rogue Wave
Summer Day – Coconut Records
Falling Star – Jet
Portrait of a Summer Thief – Sounds Under Radio
Letter from St. Jude – The Wasted Youth Orchestra
Small Parts – The Oohlas

This was one so easy to think of a challenge question for:
In the comments, tell me what your superpower would be if you could pick any one you wanted. The one I enjoy the most, wins. (You have one week to think)

AND: As for last week’s contest to win the Arctic Monkeys vinyl, the winner for “worst band name” suggestion is Ashley, who stole my heart and completely echoed my sentiments when she left a one-word submission. Her choice is one that I have always thought of as so . . . retarded (sorry, but it is) that I can’t hardly even say it. Hoobastank. It’s like Huffamoose, only worse.

Congrats Miss Ashley, please send me your info so I can get that neato 12″ mailed out to you and you can have your very own jumparound Arctic Monkeys dance party.

May 4, 2007

Win twelve inches of a storm called Brian from the Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys‘ favourite worst nightmare is finding one day that there is actually a band out there with a more awful name than theirs, when they thought they had the market cornered.

I’ve got a 12″ vinyl containing the catchy track Brianstorm (+3) to give away to one lucky reader that can tell me the name of a band even worse than theirs. It can be similarly Simian, correspondingly baffling re: geographical origins, or just plain bad.


(that album art totally makes me think of Captain E.O.)

1. If You Found This It’s Probably Too Late
2. Brianstorm (here’s a live version from Jimmy Kimmel)
3. Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend
4. What If You Were Right The First Time

PS – Contest runs a week.

These songs are not on the vinyl. I just like them.
Mardy Bum – Arctic Monkeys (I’m already thinkin’ summer mix)
Flourescent Adolescent – Arctic Monkeys
Take It Or Leave It (Strokes cover) – Arctic Monkeys

March 12, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

While not as insanely hilarious as, this site fills that same voyeuristic niche of eavesdropping into the (unintentionally funny) things people say with no regard for who is listening. solicits contributions from New Yorkers with good ears, and the result is a site that I regularly lose track of time on:

Hobo: Go shorty, it’s your birthday…
Drunk black woman, joining in: Yeah! Go, go!
Hobo: Shorty, it’s your shorty…
Drunk black woman: You singing it wrong. It’s, ‘We gonna party like it’s your birthday.’
Passerby gives hobo two dollars.
Drunk black woman: You need to give me half of that, I helped you out with the words.

–Overheard on E train

14-year-old girl: I had like eight shots of vodka, and I didn’t get drunk or anything. I just couldn’t feel my face.

–Overheard in Forest Hills

Tight jeans #1:
It’s like the only way to be a punk these days is to be a Republican.
Tight jeans #2: I know.

–Overheard on 2nd Ave, between 7th & 8th St

Dude, I’m so punk rock. Finally. Here’s some handpicked freshness for the new week:

Feel Like Taking You Home Now
Brendan Benson
A new tune off Brendan’s MySpace, this one definitely has a darker, more driving edge than some of his past sunny alternative pop. Perhaps all that time with Jack White is taking its toll. I do like this song, especially once the drum builds and it turns into a gloomy rocker. It’s from his untitled forthcoming solo album, and in the meantime Brendan’s also on the new Stooges record singing back up on a song called “Free and Freaky.” For some other new song samples from Brendan, thanks to So Much Silence for pointing me here.

Weapon of Choice
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
San Francisco’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club‘s third album Howl was a catchy, loose, bluesy-Americana treat in 2005. This sonic sample from their new album Baby 81 (due May 1) is definitely fuzzier and anthemic, although it also still has the tambourine that I love. It’s a trend I’m noticing more lately, a gravitation away from the young and bluesy sloppiness and into the more produced, larger sound. It will be interesting to see what the album as a whole is like. There’s one more sample song, 666 Conducer, streaming on their site and BRMC recently announced a tour with The Killers.

The Now
Mouthful of Bees
Having a mouthful of bees is pretty much my worst nightmare. Maybe an earful of bees. Whereas I can handle spiders completely without cringing, and once fearlessly killed a scorpion in El Salvador (okay, I had, because he was in my hostel room and no way we were sleeping together), something about bees literally gives me the cold shivers and a primal panic in my gut.

All that to say that I like this song despite the band name — kind of a David Byrne fronting a surf-music-trio vibe. Extremely fresh. Mouthful of Bees is from Minneapolis, and this song is from their 2007 album The End, out now on Afternoon Records.

Maybe We Should Fall In Love
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Here’s the first official mp3 released from the Roger Clyne camp for his new album No More Beautiful World, due out March 20. This one has an acoustic Mexican-seashore feel that’s a little more relaxed, similar to the reworkings of songs on the Four Unlike Before EP last year. It’s fun; it doesn’t grab me as unyieldingly as some of the cuts off Americano! but I still like it. Clyne is, of course, relentlessly touring as usual — starting in the homelands of AZ and CO, then up and down the West Coast in April, and from there . . . everywhere. An excellent show.

Arctic Monkeys
And finally we have a (non-radio-rip) mp3 of the new tune from Arctic Monkeys off their forthcoming album Favourite Worst Nightmare. It appears to be about someone named Brian who gets top marks for not trying and is apparently both smooth and wet, but other than that I can’t translate much. It is, however, relentless from the opening notes and catchy as all get out. I’d expect nothing less from these fresh-faced NME wunderkinds. The much ballyhooed followup to their 2006 album Whatever People Say I Am . . . is due out April 24th on Domino Records, and they just announced a North American tour which, unfortunately, skips the Rocky Mountains completely. Boo to that, but yay to this song. If it doesn’t make you dance a bit this Monday morning, then you clearly need some more coffee.

May 19, 2006

Odds & ends

Ûž Starbucks is selling the new Pearl Jam album. No wait, listen. Starbucks. Is selling. The new Pearl Jam, alongside Norah Jones. Let’s just ponder that for a little while. I am not sure how I feel about that, but then again, *I* was in Starbucks. And I like Pearl Jam. So that means either I am not as youthful and rebellious as I once thought, or else I am just becoming a yuppie (in denial, but one nonetheless?). Hmmm. Depressing.

Ûž Well, that settles that. The Arctic Monkeys have officially beaten Noel Gallagher in a drinking contest after a show at London’s Brixton Academy. With tequila nonetheless. It’s because the Arctic Monkeys’ livers are younger and fresher. Noel says, “Normally when somebody asks if you want one you say ‘no’.” Remember that, Heather. Tequila, my nemesis. The article is funny as all get out.

Ûž In the wake of the defunction of Grandaddy, you can catch some in-stores with frontman Jason Lytle. He’ll be at Easy Street in Seattle tonight, and at Amoeba in San Fran on Saturday performing songs off Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2).

Ûž One of my all-time favorite bloggers gets in on the music commentary. Read dooce’s “Potentially Shamed By The Shuffle.” Another Heather doing the world proud.

Ûž FUEL’s 100,000th visitor received the Nicolai Dunger promo CD I sent him (see, you didn’t even know there was a contest going on! Neither did I!), and as a sort of thanks he posted up a “superb gig” with Jens Lekman over on his blog. Enjoy!

Ûž I also just got an email from Ticketbastard: “Heather, Don’t Miss Nickelback! We thought we’d let you know about the following events you might enjoy: Nickelback VIP Packages, Coors Amphitheatre, 08/09/06.” Tempting. Glad I am somehow on their list for them to let me know about that one.

Ûž Death Cab For Cutie will be on the Henry Rollins Show tomorrow night, you can watch it online. The ULTIMATE in scary tattooed manliness meets the gentle emo boys of indie rock.

The person who let me know about this show also told me that the band name of Death Cab comes from the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour. Perhaps I am the last person to know that, but I guess it makes the band name seem a percentile cooler and less annoying to know that provenance.

Ûž Fascinating article about the hidden rootkits/spyware scandal from Sony BMG Music.

Ûž Penn State University of Pennsylvania gets all the best commencement speakers. I think I got the Smothers Brothers. What? I’ll take me a rapping Jodie Foster any day. Wait, no, actually that makes me feel mightily uncomfortable. It’s like when your dad tries to quote Nas or something.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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