November 13, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

At my lovely university in California, things were usually scenic and tranquil when walking across campus; vivid green grass, carefully manicured flowers, and lots of squirrels frolicking. Those dang squirrels would always look at me a bit askance (I swear) as they froze in my path, weighing which direction to run, and the thought would often fleetingly cross my mind that this would happen. See, I’m not crazy.

Here’s some new songs that I have added into regular rotation this past week that I think you’ll like too:

Gretchen My Captain
As Fast As
Ahh, opening bands: something you don’t count on liking, but it is always a treat when you do. I saw Portland, Oregon’s As Fast As (as fast as what?) on Saturday night opening for Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, and I was impressed by their alternating arena rock/pop-deluxxe sound (which reminded me of sort of Van Halen meets Marcy Playground). With their windmill guitar moves, matching fu-manchu moustaches, and interesting use of instruments, these guys were clearly having fun. This song features an amplified ukulele with heavy distortion, and sounded like nothing I’d ever heard in a song when they busted it out live. Nice whistle solo too — this song is catchy (admitted: the vocals at the beginning may first strike you as grating, but give it to 0:53 where it all soars, and then if you don’t like it, you have my unnecessary permission to delete). As Fast As are heading out with Under The Influence of Giants next, and then the travesty that is the re-formed INXS. Their album Open Letter To The Damned is available now for a scant $8.

Silent Movies
Peter & The Wolf
Okay, so I am hopelessly falling all over myself in love with this song. A friend recommended that I check out Peter & The Wolf, fronted by Austin’s Red Hunter, and emailed me “Silent Movies” to listen to. It is an irresistible blend of scratchy M. Ward old-time radio sound, combined with these fantastic harmonies that would make Brian Wilson blush. From the album Lightness (2006) on Los Angeles’ The Worker’s Institute label (home to Sigur Ros). Listen to more goodies on their MySpace.

Janie Jones” (Clash cover)
In between his demanding schedule of beating photographers bloody, getting Kate Moss’ engagement ring stuck on his own finger, and just generally imploding, Pete Doherty and his Babyshambles cohorts have teamed up with Strummerville (the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music) to record this cover of the Clash classic. I am not sure how they all fit in the studio, but Doherty joins 21 other musicians on the single, including fellow ex-Libertine Carl Barât, The Kooks, We Are Scientists, and the Guillemots. Sounds a bit unnecessary, but whatever, the resulting tune is fun.

Middle Distance Runner
So what IS it with all these oddly-named bands in the roundup this week? It’s a leitmotif. Middle Distance Runner was a recent and pleasurable find for me this weekend over on Some Velvet Blog. Bruce says, “If you dig The Format or Hot Chip or The Changes or The Spinto Band” (I do) “then you’ll dig MDR’s Plane In Flames” (and I do). One just needs to hear those opening handclaps to know we are on the right track towards pop goodness.

Greatest Mistake
Handsome Boy Modeling School, featuring Jamie Cullum and John Oates
This isn’t a new addition to my rotation, but one that popped up recently on shuffle and I remembered how much I enjoy singing along to it in my best soulful falsetto. From the diversely chill and superbly star-studded White People album (2004), Handsome Boy Modeling School teams up here with British skateboarding jazzmaster wunderkind Jamie Cullum and the moustachioed half of Hall & Oates. The resulting song is slinky and absolutely fantastic to belt in the shower.

November 28, 2005

Monday Music Round-up

Happy Monday, folks. Okay, time for another collection of musica which I am enjoying this week. Enjoy:

Waiting for Pete Doherty To Die
The Indelicates

Thanks to Revolution In The Head for this track. Try to listen to this (or even read the title) without laughing. If you can, you are a better man than I. A tongue-in-cheek tribute to everyone’s favorite smacked-out junkie (former Libertines frontman, currently in shambles and in Babyshambles). This song deserves a picture – since there are so many great ones of him out there. How about:
How could Kate Moss NOT want a piece of that action?

Cancelling Stamps at the University of Ghana Post Office
Just what the title says, this is absolutely awesome. I love African percussion and this makes me want to work in a post office, or at minimum mail a letter to Ghana. How wonderful to make something so mundane sound so amazing. Big ups to for posting this and other world music tracks. Diversify my ears.

Could We
Cat Power
Swingin’ alt-country turn with an edge from Ms. Power (Chan Marshall), who has got to be one of the most diverse female artists out there that I know of. I have mentioned her before and will mention her again, I am sure. From her new album The Greatest, coming out in January 2006. This track has the trademark slinky vocals (what else would we expect?) and great Memphis horns. Check it out.

I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer
The Cardigans
The Love Fool folks go foxy. I like the spunk and the edge in this song, lead singer Nina Persson gets sassy. Plus, how can you go wrong with a title like that? This is from their new album Super Extra Gravity, produced by Tore Johansson, who also has worked with Franz Ferdinand and OK Go.

Y Control (Faint Remix)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I am listening to this a lot lately. Very good, trancey licks with stomping backbeats and even what sounds like some handclaps. And I love Karen O from the YYY’s edgy and earthy punk rock voice, although she is a little too full of herself, what with the over-the-top sexual posing. The Faint haven’t changed this song too drastically from the original, just lightened up the hi-hat and electrified the guitar a bit more heavily. I like the overall effect.

And a *bonus laugh* for today comes courtesy of Please read THIS POST, and here is a link to Knoxville Girl, which plays a prominent role in this lovely little story. Man alive, it’s a classic.

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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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