December 10, 2008

New solo album from Raveonettes dude

Sune Rose Wagner is the masculine half of Danish duo The Raveonettes, alongside his platinum counterfoil Sharin Foo. After seven years of working in tandem (including on this year’s marvelously cool Lust, Lust, Lust) Wagner is striking out on his own for an album of solo material, released this week.

That same echoey blend of surf sounds and scuzzy garage rock from the Raveonettes output is at play on this collection. To my non-Nordic eyes, these song titles look like Sigur Ros, but sound like Phil Spector — except completely in Danish. It works!

Beruset Og Forhadt – Sune Rose Wagner

Wagner’s self-titled solo album is out now on Juvenile Records.

October 27, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

No two ways about it — I’m pretty proud of those Halloween carving adventure results. First time I ever tried one of those fancy kit things with tracing wheels and all (mine is on the right), and I still popped the eyeball out of the left eye and had to tape it back on (shhhh, don’t tell). Since we always used dull carving knives and grabbed the gooey innards with our bare hands when we were kids, I felt a little out of my element when handed mini saws and ridged plastic scrapers. But what I lack in inborn creativity, I make up for in being able to trace.

I also solidified my costume this weekend at the Buffalo Exchange secondhand shop in Capitol Hill (Denver) with my friend Laurie. When she screamed and then died laughing after I tried said element on, I knew it was a keeper. My mom took out a needle and thread yesterday to make some alterations to the dress (because she is the best mom ever) and I am set. Boo!

Music for this week:

If You Want Blood (AC/DC cover)
Mark Kozelek

Gathering a wide variety of covers from his days with Red House Painters and also his solo career, Mark Kozelek is releasing The Finally LP on December 9th. Always staggering in the ways he reinvents originals, many of the tracks collected here were first featured on compilation albums that are no longer available. If you know me at all, you might know that I am a sucker for covers (and love his) so I will be picking this one up. AC/DC never sounded so pensive, so sensual, so sad. Listen to his previously unreleased cover of Husker Du’s “Celebrated Summer” here, and pre-order the record on his Caldo Verde imprint.

Fresh Feeling (live in 2005)
This song takes me back vividly to a perfectly encapsulated feeling of, well, freshness. Possibility. Old paint peeling and new horizons suddenly coming into sharp focus. I never tire of the the sweet melancholic strings combining with the crispness of the sharp clean beat. This live version of Fresh Feeling is from Manchester in 2005, and part of a free 4-song EP for download on the Eels website as part of a promotion for the new Blinking Lights deluxe version. Lately I’ve been quite impressed with Eels reissues and special collections – the packaging and liner notes alone are a journey. And since I’ve never caught E live, I can always use more free live Eels. You have until tomorrow to go and get it!

Born In The ’80s
The Boat People

While I watched Game 1 of the World Series, Bruce from Philly and I were electronically bantering, and he recommended I check out The Boat People from Brisbane and Melbourne. Their music is jaunty and bright and catchy – like Phantom Planet and the cousin Coconut Records. Even though the song talks about being born in the Eighties (and they likely were) don’t let it mislead you — the music isn’t bound to that decade. Their album Chandeliers is out now, with colors and lines on that wonderful cover art that echo the feel of the music inside.

Black White
The Raveonettes
Julio feels nauseous when he thinks about how effortlessly cool Danish duo The Raveonettes are, and listening to this new attitude-laden slowburner from their fresh Beauty Dies EP makes me jealous as well. All I know is that when they make a movie of my life I kinda want a scene where I get to walk down the street with this playing. I will probably wear sunglasses. In keeping with their vibe, this feels like such a stark, spacious song while vibrating with those warm surf-retro guitar tones. So sexy. Stream the full EP here, it came out last week on Vice Records.

Duet (with Ray LaMontagne)
Rachel Yamagata

So one more song featuring Ray’s warm voice before I head out the door to his show in a few minutes — and this is an incredible tune that has knocked me flat. The duet here is from Rachel Yamagata‘s new album Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart, and it is exceptional. One of my favorite Ray moments falls within the nakedness of early renditions of “Can I Stay,” and this feels like its musical twin, or its postscript. Yamagata’s voice has innate qualities that have always reminded me of a female Ray (or perhaps the sadness wound deeply into Lisa Hannigan’s songs). Now the twain shall meet in this flawless, delicate, intimate bedroom classic.

December 3, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

1) Go see Lars And The Real Girl

2) Christmas trees are freakin expensive. We bought the retarded one on the lot with a broken-off top. They wired a fake top on the tree so we’d have somewhere to put the angel from grade school. It looks majestic and the house smells heavenly, but even being the lame one, it still cost 50 smackers. Ouch.

3) This blogger wrote a really funny commentary on a 1977 JC Penney catalog, and you’ve probably had it forwarded to you at least six times, as I have. He’s being ripped off all over the internet — heck the community paper I read when I was in California even reprinted it with no attribution. Go read Johnny Virgil’s original and laugh.

The picture to the right is captioned, “nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and an appreciative blonde with a look on her face that says ‘I love the way your junk fights against that fabric.’” With fashion like that, it’s a miracle that anyone from our generation was ever even conceived.

Tunes for the week:

Even The Stars (live)
I Am Kloot
Who are Kloot, and why? I read about these guys over on Torr’s site, and the band name was unfamiliar but I agree with him that this new live tune is brilliant. Hailing from Manchester, I Am Kloot has an expansive melodic Britpop feel –circa 1995 in the best way– and remind me of folks like Ash or James. This feels swirling and important, earnest and memorable. Their 4th album is expected in early 2008 and will be called I Am Kloot Play Moolah Rouge. Looks like you can preview most of the tracks from it on their website.

Sweet Sophia
Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

When I finally popped in the CD from Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers that had been staring at me for months, this opening track made me stop what I was doing and take notice to those sparkling piano cadences and burnished alt-country vocals. My curiosity had initially been piqued when I saw that the album Glassjaw Boxer was produced by Mike Daly (Whiskeytown) and mixed by Dave Bryson (Counting Crows), plus Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown companion Caitlin Cary lends harmonies.

All The Night Without Love (Dearland Sessions)
Elvis Perkins in Dearland
I’ve heard rumblings about Elvis Perkins and his band Dearland because of friends who caught their act on tour opening for My Morning Jacket and Okkervil River, but had not listened much to him until this re-worked tune surfaced in my iTunes this week. The original appears on his 2007 album Ash Wednesday; this cut was recorded in LA with producer Chris Shaw (Bob Dylan, Weezer) and it adds a compelling, almost old-time Western feel to the original song. The comparisons in my mind run both to The Decemberists and even daring desert escapades, Apostle of Hustle style.

Aly, Walk With Me
The Raveonettes

From their newly released album Lust Lust Lust (Vice Records), Danish duo The Raveonettes have crafted a collection of songs that feel like a blend of Garbage, Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Buddy Holly all at once. This should be in a David Lynch flick, absolutely. It’s all sexy and melodic with dark undertones. Also check out the new video that just came out for “Dead Sound” off the same album. Watch it here.

All My Life (version 2)
Jeff Tweedy

Here’s a little forgotten piece of television history ripped from cassette thanks to the Good/Bad/Unknown blog. Back in 1998, Jeff Tweedy was asked to pen a theme song for the Christina Applegate sitcom, then-titled All My Life. The show title was eventually changed to be called Jesse and these tunes were left on the cutting room floor. But Tweedy wrote two versions, short and sweet, and you can get the other one on that blog. Wow, better than the Full House theme song, even.

. . . And, heh, dig my cameo appearance in this short music video recap of my 10-year high school reunion. Yeah, superb.

September 3, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

What better way to spend a holiday Monday than at the ballpark? That’s a trick question; there is no better way.

We had a mini family reunion this afternoon at the Giants vs. Rockies game in Denver, as my sister was in town from California for the long weekend. We brought our own small contingency of Giants fans to represent with cheers and SF love while they painfully lost (7 to 4 final – it was 7-1 for a while there). But not for lack of fan support out in the bleachers, I tell ya.

And (!) I got stung by a yellow jacket that I figure must have been Rockies-trained to go after the orange and black. I guess that’s what I get for wearing a Giants tank top. Seven hours later, it still feels like a hot needle in the skin of my forearm. Little yellow striped bastard.

Playboy Decoy (demo)
Probably Vampires
Oh vampires are so hot right now.
I thought I had read about Chicago’s Probably Vampires in Rolling Stone, but I think that was actually Vampire Weekend, an NYC band also with an EP coming out. These guys don’t sound anything like vampires, unless vampires got all poppy ’60s harmonies (like The Redwalls with a vengeance) when I wasn’t looking. There’s nothing about this band hearkens the pasty gothness of nocturnal bloodlust — this will make you tap your toes and feel sunny. They’ve opened for folks like Voxtrot, Harvey Danger, and Phantom Planet, and this track is a home demo version of a song on their forthcoming EP, Sons of Guns, due out in October. Be their MySpace friends — they’re not as scary as they sound.

Tick Tick Boom
The Hives
I love this new Hives song because it’s unrelenting and urgent, making me feel like I am the protagonist in a high-action movie like Mission Impossible, racing against the clock. It will undoubtedly be optioned for a film soon, what with the ticking time bomb chorus and tightly-caged riffs, so listen to it now. In fact, I made a whole mix around this vibe over the weekend. This is the first single off their upcoming October album The Black and White, which is conveniently also the two (non?) colors that they allow in their strict matching band dress code. This Swedish garage rock five-piece is on tour now with Maroon 5 (and did you see them on the cover of Rolling Stone and is Adam Levine’s head molded of rubber?).

Love In A Trashcan
The Raveonettes
This track is worth listening to simply for the feeling I get that it’s what Hole would sound like if they joined a ’60s surfing community. The guitar tones on this are amazing, echoey and warm and so close you wanna dive in. Another Nordic delight, The Raveonettes are a duo from wonderful Copenhagen with an edgy retro-Spector 1950s sound. This is track 3 on their 2005 album Pretty In Black (Columbia/The Orchard) and I’m glad to be finally hearing it now.

My Party (Kenna & Chad Hugo remix)
Kings of Leon
Stereogum had this up last week [story here], and I gotta confess that Kings of Leon are one of the last bands that I expected to get the remix treatment from Ethiopian musician Kenna and sometimes-Neptune Chad Hugo, but this song has a strong backbeat to begin with and actually works pretty well. We’re still not sure what Caleb is singing about (she saw his party?) but this remix is suitable for busting out at your next shindig, and will help me get ready to see KOL in two weeks at the Monolith Festival out at Red Rocks. I am ridiculously excited, you don’t even know.

Middle Distance Runner
So at least my tastes are consistent. I was finishing up the post for today, including my favorite tune off the new Middle Distance Runner EP, when I realized that this is a new version of the same song I posted from them last November. Originally included on their full length Plane in Flames album, this re-recorded version is cleaner and tighter for the new EP, and I still love the handclappy pop sound. MDR is from Washington D.C., and their hometown paper (the Post) said, “MDR’s sound clearly draws on mid-’90s British rock — think pre-OK Computer Radiohead, Blur, Oasis — and exudes a confidence and professionalism that many young bands lack.” The more I listen to this, the more I like it — especially the layered breakdown at the end with cascading chorus harmonies. Addictive.

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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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