November 5, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

This weekend was an unexpectedly gorgeous Indian summer weekend in Colorado, with temps in the 70s and me completely loving the feeling of the sunshine soaking into my skin for what could be the last time in a while. On Saturday I made it up to the top of Castle Rock which gave amazing panoramic views of the whole Front Range area. I’ve driven past it a million times (every time I see a show in Denver or Boulder) but never thought to see what it looked like from the top.

In order to tackle the easy hike up (2 miles or so) I had to face my icy-grip-of-death fear of mountain lions and other large carnivores with big teeth and claws that sometimes eat people. I despise being afraid of anything, really, so I get hotly mad at myself for flinching at underbrush crackles. But after seeing pawprints in the mud, it took some serious steeling of the will to overcome my natural inclination to go somewhere indoors. So as lame as it sounds to you rugged types, I was proud of my little mini-feat in overcoming fear — and the view from the top of the rock formation was worth it.

Delivery (demo) – Babyshambles
This song could have easily flowed from Ray Davies’ pen + guitar. Pete Doherty lays off the smack and blatant self-destruction long enough to record one of the catchiest tunes of recent memory. This is an ’06 demo version from the Stookie + Jim Bumfest sessions available on French Dog Blues (Doherty’s site), while the finished version is even snappier and out now on the new album Shotter’s Nation (Astralwerks). And as Pete says in the song, the vibe of this is your basic “make pretend it’s 1969 forever, find a girl, have a drink, have a dance and play.” Okay Pete. You convinced me. [photo]

I Just Want The Girl In The Blue Dress To Keep Dancing
Mike Doughty
This is my new favorite song. Mike Doughty was the lead singer for Soul Coughing, and his uniquely gravely voice and badass sense of killer rhythm always gets me. He’s announced a new album called Golden Delicious, out on ATO Records in 2008. This preview tune manages to combine indie-rock sensibilities with a retro feel, using some fun little vocal repetitions imitating the band that he wants this girl to keep dancing to — “Ba-rumpa-doh-bum-bum.” It’s like the little drummer Boy, but significantly less annoying. Love it.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
(Neil Young cover)
Lions In The Street

This scorching cover of Neil Young’s 1969 classic comes from fellow Canadians Lions In The Street when they visited the XM Radio studios recently. Here’s a band that has the crazy idea that music should be shared and loved freely, so to that effect, they give away quite a bit of it on their website, despite some disagreements with their label. When I wrote about these guys last summer, I cited the obvious swagger and strut of the Stones in the vocals and the boozy riffs, but in this song I can also hear a bit of the warm tone of some of my favorite Adam Duritz vocal moments. So if you like those bands, you should check out LITS, go download some free tunes on their site — my favorite is still probably “Mine Ain’t Yours.” New full-length from these guys is expected in 2008.

The Future Is Nothing New (the toolbox song)
The Alternate Routes
This was one of the coolest tunes that Connecticut’s Alternate Routes did when I saw them live in concert last month, using an amplified toolbox to provide the uniquely crashing hurrumph beats throughout. There’s also a Latin-tinged feisty feel to this that reminds me of Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita,” and so I am pleased to finally have an mp3 of this (courtesy Andrew). The Alternate Routes are finalists in this ‘lil Hennessey/Rolling Stone contest so you can go over and vote for them. Matt Nathanson is also listed and I felt guilty for not voting for him, but the Alternate Routes asked me to go out with them first.

My Favorite Mutiny
(feat. Talib Kweli)
The Coup

This past February when I saw Oakland, CA band The Coup as part of the Noise Pop Music Fest (now accepting apps for 2008) I was completely and totally blown away. It was one of the best and most thoroughly fun shows that I have seen in a long time. They made those dusty historic floorboards at the Fillmore shake up and down. Therefore, news of their 2002 live double album being available on eMusic is welcome (although, really, you just need to go see Boots Riley & Co in concert for yourself). So Much Silence has ripped an mp3 “Shipment” from that live album for your listening pleasure, but this particular song from their 2006 album Pick A Bigger Weapon still kills it as one of my favorite tunes I discovered in this past year; I am not yet weary of listening to it. I doubt I ever will be.

Check the video I took at the show in San Francisco, I’ll use any excuse to post this again:

THE COUP: Laugh/Love/F*ck (live 3/1/07)

July 24, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

I have been finding a lot of interesting reading on the always-packed-with-goodness Largehearted Boy blog/music news conglomerate. I recommend you browse it yourself, but the link that I thought was the most amusing recently was this description of a new game, iPod War. It’s like the old card game you played when you were seven because it was the only game you could understand (“War! My eight beats your two!”), but with iPods set to shuffle. Sounds lame a little, yes, but the way she explains it made me laugh.

You and a friend each set your iPod on shuffle, then listen to and compare what pops up. Whoever has ‘The Better Song’ gets one point. The author illustrates several vagaries to consider in judging:

-Older doesn’t always mean better. (“Yes, music was exceptionally rad from 1964-1982. Doesn’t mean a song from 1995 can’t be better.”)
-Don’t demand a win on principle. (You say: “But the Rolling Stones kick Prince’s ass!”) Each song should be evaluated on its own merit. (I say: “While The Stones are an important part of music history, there are lots of Stones songs that are mediocre/sucky and some Prince songs that fucking rule.”).
-Counting Crows never wins.
-If neither person will concede the win, “Vietnam” is declared (both sides claim a win, but nobody really won).

Even though, clearly, sometimes the Counting Crows DO win, I applaud her creativity. A simple little game for the music nerds out there, to entertain yourself for a trip on the tube or a really boring homeroom class.

Onto my random musical selection for this week, for your enjoyment.

Michael Stipe & Rain Phoenix
I’ve been on a bit of an R.E.M. kick lately after making a mix up for a friend who was severely lacking in the Athens, Georgia college band department. Amidst my sifting, I rediscovered this poppy little song from the soundtrack of the 1998 film of the same name by Welcome to the Dollhouse director Todd Solondz. The song is written by Eytan Mirsky, and it plays over the ending credits. Who knew Rain Phoenix could sing? Those multi-talented Phoenixes.

Bounce That
Girl Talk
This looks horrifying, but I cannot defy the inexorable and unexpected party power of this fantastic song. If you are able to listen to this guilty pleasure without moving some piece of yourself (be it a tapped toe, a bouncing chin, a shakin’ rear end) then I will personally salute you in disbelief. The inexplicably awful-named Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis) has made “the ADD-afflicted’s album of the year” with Night Ripper, which throws together literally hundreds of recognizable hooks from popular songs of the past 40 years in an extremely pleasurable blend. It has been burning up the blogs (especially after Pitchfork gave it an 8.4). I hear everything from the Breeders to Elastica to Van Halen, Smashing Pumpkins, Temptations — come on. It looks like a really bad idea, but I swear it’s not. Download it immediately.

Mine Ain’t Yours
Lions In The Street
Magnet Magazine said of these guys, “What the Stones were, what the Dandy Warhols should’ve been” — and they are spot-on. Lions In The Street (who borrow their name from a Doors lyric) have released a sloppy & bluesy free EP on their website, I recommend snagging these five songs and adding them to your collection. They’ re embarking on their first US tour this summer/fall – in the past they’ve opened for Kings of Leon, JET, Ambulance LTD, and The Zutons. Swaggering & rollicking stuff.

Tell Me
This new one from L.A.-based retro-rock outfit Rooney was posted on their website last week as a little sample of their sophomore album, due out Fall 2006. We’ve got some serious ’70s arena rock goin’ on here – sounds like the kid from The Redwalls fronting Queen. Anthemic and fun, and I do like it, but I’m still trying to assimilate the fact that they’re touring with Kelly Clarkson this summer. What?

Atlantic City/Murray
Pete Yorn
This one is a nod to the fact that mere hours from now I will be heading to see Mr. Yorn himself — first to the in-store at the Twist ‘N’ Shout, then off to the sold-out show at the Walnut Room.I am uber looking forward to it, it will be the first time I’ve seen him live. This track is a standout from his excellent double-disc Live From New Jersey (2004), blending together some Springsteen with a Yorn original. The subject matter fits, the transition is seamless. If you don’t have any other Yorn stuff and want a good introduction, I recommend the live CD, and remember his new disc Nightcrawler comes out August 29.

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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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