Thursday, August 31, 2006

Briertone and the modern western

Sunsets across desert passes, a lone ranger wanders between cactus and city street. His hollow howls, vibrating against red rock, soundtrack shadows of flicker flame silhouettes. This is the modern western. This is Briertone.

Far enough from civilization, the cowboy travels to the sounds of the open west to bury his sins beneath blood red sand that houses more than a few ghosts. On his knees, his fingernails filled, he pulls handful upon handful of desert dust from a hole in the ground. Your face is down there, down deep in that hole, a memory of love forgotten in places that need be forgotten. In Death Valley the dead creep low and the city folk hide fast.

[mp3] BriertoneBehold
[mp3] BriertoneStrawfoot (16 Horsepower Cover)

These are the visions from Briertone's Sojourners EP, a collection of songs that embody Briertone's mission of shelling out "truth spoken by lyric and melody." Our dear JAX loves the Briertone boys and has followed them around at their latest stints in LA and our hometown, Costa Mesa. Enjoy her pics. Our sources say that they throw down a crazy good live show so we’ll for sure see you out there at Briertone’s upcoming shows. Consider it Mandatory Attendence. Also, be sure to check out Briertone’s acoustic set at Swinghouse.

9/22/06 – El Cid
9/26/06 – Knitting Factory
10/9/06 – Detroit Bar

Continue reading "Briertone and the modern western"

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mandatory attendance

By reading this you are now bound by law to attend all of these great shows. Also you must introduce yourself to us after the show. We'll be waiting outside. Seriously.

Deerhoof Sept 6th @ The Troubadour
I saw a bit of their show at Coachella, and was pretty floored by the drumming alone. This big cloud of chaos descended upon the stage for about a minute at a time, then suddenly everything would fall silent, making way for their female lead singer to offer a soft, soothing melody. Once delivered, the band quickly tore apart the silence with a fit of guitars and drums.

[mp3] Deefhoof - Dummy Discards a Heart

Serena Maneesh Sept 23rd @ The Troubadour
I beg you not to miss this show. Wish you were around for the Velvet Underground, and/or My Bloody Valentine? This show will ease those nostalgic and impossible dreams. Just calling Serena Maneesh a VU descendent is unfair, because they are such a unique voice, and deserve to stand on their own as a band. FYI - this show will be really loud. I just threw some toilet paper up the old canals and was all good, but I think I saw blood coming out of everyone else's ears.

[mp3] Serena Maneesh - Un Duex

Beirut Oct 21st @ The Troubadour

Duh. Just read these posts to find out why.

More mandatory shows:
Cold War Kids Sept 8th @ The Troubadour
The Black Keys Sept 13th @ The Troubadour/ Sept 14th @ Avalon
Ratatat Sept 20th @ The Troubadour
Grizzly Bear Sept 28th @ Spaceland
Man Man Oct. 5th @ Spaceland
Sufjan Stevens Oct. 9th @ Wiltern
The Blood Brothers Oct 10th @ Amoeba (Free)
Thunderbirds are Now! Oct 14th @ Spaceland
Xiu Xiu Nov 9th @ Echo
Wolf Eyes Nov 13th @ Echo

(I wish I could write on all these bands, but at this point RC ain't quite paying the rent. Yeah I know - Boo Hoo. I just really love this site, and wish I could make it a full time gig. Until tomorrow... Adios)

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This thing they call Malajube

I am locked away, far away. Desert sands and relative isolation have left me alone with my thoughts and translations of novels from foreign lands. Tolstoy has joined me as well as Nabokov himself. Yes quite honestly it is he, the embodied being in paperback form. And after a summer of being stowed away, speaking in tongues beneath secret chambers (curiously marked “sandbox”) I have moved my mind, body, and appendages to the most God forsaken spot of California (till winter comes and that whole metaphor is reversed).

And though I have discussed this with Tolstoy and have had Nabokov bounce it around his head (swallowed in English, digested in Russian, and regurgitated in French), we still can’t wrap our fingers around it. This thing they call Malajube. Their theatrics are reflections of city streets being destroyed by giant cartoons of neon hammers chasing down purple nails with crazy eyes. Their tongues of nonsense surely do not describe the perverted image that I have come up with yet my translation seems so much more fun. And with the intro to “Montreal -40C” taking cue from the acidy drip-drip paintings of Wayne Cohen, it is no wonder that my mind immediately took a turn off the beaten path.

And yet, in taking a step back it seems that my bearings are all awry. This heat, oh dear Lord, take it away. Forgive my head and the stains across this page. Oh dear Lord, take it all away.

Montreal. Negative forty. Those were the days.

[mp3] MalajubeMontreal -40C
[mp3] Malajube - Fille À Plumes
[mp3] Malajube - Étienne D'août

Their site has a bunch of info on where to get the album, Trompe L'oeil, as well as some slamming good videos that further infuse my cartoon hammer revelation.

Continue reading "This thing they call Malajube"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Mew and my battle against the term "prog"

Oh prog, how you've been wronged. Much like "emo" or "tour de force," "prog" is the currently over used term for any sound that isn't in perfect 4/4 order. FYI - prog is short for Progressive, and usually written as Prog-Rock. The term makes little sense. Who doesn't want to be progressive? Unless you're a 80's metal band (I'm talking to you Metal Skool), every songwriter is looking to add something to the musical universe, and therefore wants to be progressive. As a result, there are only two types of bands/artists in the world, prog and boring.

Where does Mew fit in? There from Scandanavia, and they layer guitars over high vocals - I guess they're prog. At least that's the ticket Columbia records is taking with their newest import.

And the Glass Handed Kites is the band's fourth LP, and despite being released only last month in the US, it debuted in Europe last September. If I was forced to adopt the current labels for music, I would put Mew on the prog-pop shelf. When I think of current prog-rock, I hear Mars Volta. Mew's sound is more subtle and pleasant (this is coming from a huge Mars Volta fan, so don't confuse pleasant for an always positive term). "Apocalypso" has a strong driving chorus that could go head-to-head with anything on the radio, and "Zookeeper's Boy" shows a toned down side of the band. A common thread for me in Mew's sound is its cinematic quality. The music swells and soars in the vein of Sigur Ros, which makes for some great music videos (check out the video for "Special" below).

I've only heard great things about Mew's live performance so go here and get some tour dates.

Come see them in LA:

10/11/06 The Fonda

[mp3] Mew - Apocalypso
[mp3] Mew - The Zookeeper's Boy

Continue reading "Mew and my battle against the term "prog""

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Beirut – Demos, Live Stuff, & a Request

Beirut has been an obsession of mine for some time now. Heck, I even went out and bought a ukulele and mandolin in order to try and learn a few songs. But now I have caught the itch for some new Beirut as I await their upcoming EP, which is sure to include some of the songs that they have been playing live. Hoping for the best, and ready for that sophomore slump (does an EP release even really count?) I have been enjoying a few live tracks of new material and a few early demos of songs that didn’t make it onto Gulag.

My only request...does anybody have anything else? I know there are a few other demos out there like “the White Whale,” and that Mr. Condon recorded under the moniker Real People. If anyone has any input or wants to hook a brother up for the public service that he does here on the blog, go ahead and leave a message or send us an email. We’d really appreciate it.

Did I mention I give wicked back rubs?

[mp3] BeirutInterior Of A Dutch House (Demo)
BeirutBeluga (Demo)
BeirutZebra Safari/Jersey Shore (Live)
BeirutCarousels (Live)
[mp3] BeirutMaspeth (Live)
BeirutMontauk (Live)
BeirutEderlizi (Live)
BeirutClosing Song (Live)

A fore warning to all you who like to wait till the last minute to get your concert tickets, there are still tickets available for Beirut at the Troubadour. Be there or be square.

- Troubadour (Beirut w/ Hack and a Hacksaw) (tix)

Continue reading "Beirut – Demos, Live Stuff, & a Request"

Was Buzz and getting to know Let’s Go Sailing

A bumblebee flew by me the other day. As I watched the yellow blackness make its turn to descend again on my questioning head, I curiously began to listen closely to its language. Was it angry? Annoyed? Did it love me? Did it even know my name? Even the greatest of my interpretative skills couldn’t judge the nonsensical mumbo jumbo that my friend enemy used to break through the language barrier between us. In the end, all it was…was buzz.

And so is much of the buzz around new bands, albums, and songs. Nobody knows what anybody is saying about “it” because all one can hear is the indecipherable language of foreign wings rubbing together in busy harmony. Is it good? Is it bad? Does it live up to what everyone is saying?

Let’s Go Sailing was one of these bands for me. After reading about them over at our beloved cohorts Rock Insider and IGIF, as well as other reputable sources, all I had was buzz. I am sure we have all had the experience, a girl you had to meet, a good flick worth seeing, a song you had to hear this person sing. And for some reason or another, it doesn’t always happen. Songs can remain an empty statistic in your iTunes, a film to the endless queue on Netflix, and that girl…well she just doesn’t dig you (pity party for one please).

Though Let’s Go Sailing might not be the next Beirut and might not be the girl of my dreams, I am glad that I have met her because we might make pretty good friends. Their Aimee Mann type ease of melody and singsong layering of heartache and sincerity makes Let’s Go Sailing a must for the winter hold-me-down or the springtime pick-me-up. Their debut full-length The Chaos In Order comes out…soon?

[mp3] Let’s Go SailingIcicles
[mp3] Let’s Go SailingIt’s As Clear

Be sure to check Let’s Go Sailing tonight at the Echo.

8/24/06 – Echo (w/ Oh No!Oh My!) (tix)

Continue reading "Was Buzz and getting to know Let’s Go Sailing"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band @ Vanguard

Last night Silver Mt. Zion played a two hour set that included only six songs (two being new). Since the setlist was so tiny, I was actually able to remember it all - so here it is before I forget it:

1. God Bless our Dead Marines
2. Take These Hands and Throw Them in the River
3. Blind, Blind, Blind
4. America Motor Over Smoldering Fields
5. Ring Them Bells (Freedom has Come and Gone)
6. One Million Died to Make This Song

I'm not sure if I would ever label myself a critic; however, if I was to take on that role, there wouldn't be much to critique about Silver Mt. Zion's performance last night. Although Efrim Menuck set himself up for some awful audience response, when he asked the crowd if "anyone had anything to say," it did seem to keep everyone quiet outside of that designated time. Some of the jaw-dropping quotes of the evening were "Fuck Bush" (wow, yeah we don't like Bush - but who thinks that is original, effective, not cliche?), "Art is God" (another deep thought from a drunk in the back), and "We've been here since 11AM" (that's nobodies fault but your own).

Silver Mt. Zion is both politically charged, and strategically ambiguous when they create music, giving them a perfect balance of societal and personal emotion. Calling everyone an "American Idiot" just doesn't hit me the same way as " Oh! To live! In a burning house With burning children eating dust And finger-painting flags Smoke pours out of their eyes They're praying and saluting. They're all hanged up."

The music is incredibly moody, both lyrically and instrumentally; however, it evokes passion out of me, not hopelessness. Efrim references birds a lot, which I always connect to Silver Mt. Zion's constant reaching upward. Each song grasps for the heavens. They're not sure if anybody is waiting for them up there, but they're not afraid to try.

The stage setup was a piece of art in itself. Two nymph violinists flanked the ouside corners of the stage, as Efrim and second guitarist faced each other in the center. In the back a semi circle of drums, stand up bass and cello, completed the seven piece. In every aspect Silver Mt. Zion was a unified whole.

This is Silver Mt. Zion's first US tour, and it better not be their last.

[mp3] The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band - God Bless Our Dead Marines
[mp3] The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band - Blind, Blind, Blind (live)

Continue reading "The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band @ Vanguard"


The beautiful, talented and all around lovely Natalie Citro is 21 today, and to celebrate, I have a previously unposted video of her singing "These Days" at The Living Room Show. Happy Birthday my love.

Continue reading "HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATALIE!"

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Remixology! Dos Manos!

Just when summer was cooling down they come and throw this at us. After loving these two remixes, the first an appetizer to a succulent meal, the second a long overdue dessert to a feast, the Content can't help themselves than to offer them up for your consumtion. Enjoy.

[mp3] The Rapture - Get Myself Into It (Prince Language Disco Edit)
Sure to be on every back to school playlist come this fall, the Prince Language Disco Edit adds little to the original tune yet seems to give us more of the parts we love. Lengthening it out for a couple more minutes, DJ Prince allows us to wallow in Luke Jenner's sharp vocal jabs and karaoke solo with the usually set back saxophone. Pre-order Pieces Of The People We Love, due September 12, here.

[mp3] Tapes 'n Tapes - Cowbell (Black Eyes Remix)
Some say more DFA1979 than Black Eyes but the Content just says more "Cowbell." What seemed to have been the most immediate and energetic song off of The Loon, "Cowbell" is brought back to life with a double dose of drums and beats. The original took off like a sports car waiting for the go, where this one doesn't even wait for the green light. Buy the "Cowbell" single here.

BONUS [mp3] The Rapture - Get Myself Into It (Serge Santiago Remix)

Continue reading "Remixology! Dos Manos!"

DeVotchKa and the dying opera

The sun was descending during my first live experience with DeVotchKa. The open-air stage, backlit by the summer sky of muted pastels, stood atop the hill where the Getty Museum overlooks west Los Angeles. As heartbreaking as a Los Angeles sunset can be, with its miraculous neon reactions of smog and sun, the setting sun was more a backdrop to the theatrical live presentation of a band that beats life into the slowly dying art of music performance.

What seems to be a result of my age gaining momentum into its mid-20s, live shows have started to become less and less fulfilling, yet I am going more and more. I think the main reason for my consistent credit card bill, filled with Troubadour and Spaceland receipts, is a desire to observe that presentation of the sound, where the music becomes more a place of meaningful vacation rather than notes mismatched with glib banter of inane comments about alcohol levels and less than humble proclamations of gratitude.

As the polka bass beat began Devotchka’s set at the Troubadour, main man, Nick Urata, and multi-instrumentalist drummer-cum-trumpeter, Shawn King, were found in the rafters. Spotlight stunned, armed with brass amidst smiles of awkwardness, the two began the ringing melody of “La Llorona,” an old tune redone for the recent Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. All I could think of was how this is what live music is supposed to be like, a “show,” an experience where audience and performer communicate between applause and silence, spotlights and shouts. This is what I see when I close my eyes and listen to How It Ends, foreign verandas filled with lovers crooning and Romeos calling forth from the balconies to their long lost Juliets.

With “Til The End Of Time” being a possible contender for an Oscar nod this year for its place in Little Miss Sunshine, DeVotchKa might be able to demonstrate to the world how opera and world music do, in fact, have a place in modern pop music. The Content is praying.

[mp3] DeVotchKaTil The End Of Time (from Little Miss Sunshine OST)
[mp3] DeVotchKaThe Last Beat Of My Heart (from Curse My Little Heart EP)
[mp3] DeVotchKaThe Oblivion (from Una Volta!)

BONUS [mp3]
DeVothcKaVenus In Furs (Live) (Velvet Underground Cover)

Buy DeVotchKa here.

Continue reading "DeVotchKa and the dying opera"

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Content's Book List Continues...

Nick here, back again with another installment of The Book/Music Dating Game. This time around all songs were chosen solely based on their shared theme with the respective book. I'd love to hear your suggestions, if you have read any of these books. About half of my choices are based on very concrete themes and parallel events, while the other half come out of common moods and artistic intention.

The Crying Of Lot 49

[mp3] The Postal Service - Natural Anthem

House of Splendid Isolation

[mp3] U2 - Sunday, Bloody Sunday

No Country For Old Men

[mp3] Pearl Jam - Do the Evolution

Federico Fellini: His Life and Work

[mp3] The Mars Volta - Intertiatic E.S.P

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Sufjan Stevens - The Upper Peninsula

Propaganda and Control of the Public Mind

[mp3] Bright Eyes - Let's Not Shit Ourselves

Bonus DVD pick:

Miami Vice

Modest Mouse - Shit Luck

"This movie is totally sucking!"

Continue reading "The Content's Book List Continues..."

Friday, August 18, 2006

Eskimo Hunter soundtracks our days

Business, education, connections, and expectations pile like bricks atop our backs, bricks to a house that we didn’t know we were building. Love slows us down and family speeds us up. Beauty pauses and money fast-forwards. Amidst this blueprint of life, we find movements of stop and go, flux and freeze, that leave us exhausted, frustrated, and alive. We listen to music to document our feelings at moments in time. Be it a scream to release the frustration or a finger plucked melody to lay our bodies to rest, we are the composers of the soundtracks of our lives.

Somewhere within this description, amidst the quarrels and triumphs, is a song playing by Eskimo Hunter, a brainchild Kevin Shields may have wished was his. It might be unfair to say that Eskimo Hunter is trying to be My Bloody Valentine, a band that stands alone in their sonic structures of tone and distortion, though I wouldn’t be surprised if one was mistaken for the other by a novice ear. The vocals are set back, the drums brought forward, and the fuzz is overflowing everywhere. It makes you wonder if it is possible to call fuzz wet?

If anything, Eskimo Hunter has gotten my attention and has me excited (Thanks JAX). For what, may you ask? Well, for the opportunity to have my ears blown out by something bigger than sound, for this is music, when performed live, that should leave your head ringing

Be sure to pick up Eskimo Hunter’s EP, Musical Snowglobe Machine, here. Welcome to the igloo.

[mp3] Eskimo HunterSurfing At 32F
[mp3] Eskimo HunterWalking Tour Of Space

Spaceland (Eskimo Hunter, Minor Canon, Stars of Track & Field) (info)

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson In Crime

I’m sitting in my dark living room, typing this on a foreign Power Book, minus internet. Background information is essential for me, when diving into a new band; however, tonight Tokyo Police Club is pumping through my ear canals, and I know little about them. I am completely outside of my comfort zone. I know they are slowly rising to the top of the musical food chain, and I’m almost positive they are from New York (wrong it's Toronto), but outside of that it’s just me and A Lesson In Crime. Mano-a-mano.

It doesn’t take these boys too long to establish their presence in the room with “Cheer It On.” The Tokyo Police Club seem to be everywhere, and they enjoy rewriting history in order to make our lives more painless. They’ll “cut out all the sad parts” of your morning paper, and “arrest you for being in love.” Don’t worry though, because they have our best interest in mind.

The band is merely an observer of this (not so distant) future, and take on the task of telling the story. The album is comprised of seven unique experiences that piece together into one disillusioned vision. Each song is a lightning-flash image of a dreary tomorrow, and the tale ends within fifteen minutes.

It’s a warning siren that you can dance to.

In terms of innovation, TPC doesn’t have much to show for themselves; however, they’re just so damn good at fusing every aspect of independent music. “Citizens of Tomorrow” was the first song that drew me to TPC, but I’m still not sure how to feel about it. It’s so perfect… almost too perfect. The hand claps, and crowd shouts are so effective. The emotional reaction they evoke feels on par with brilliantly placed mood music in a film. I can’t decide if I’m being manipulated or if it’s genius. Either way, I swim through the world of 2009 every time I hear it.

I hope these two tracks help convince you to buy A Lesson In Crime.

[mp3] Tokyo Police ClubCheer It On
[mp3] Tokyo Police Club Citizens of Tomorrow

Continue reading "Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson In Crime"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

All in the Family

Thirty years ago Iggy Pop rejected the term "punk," calling it a word that is based in contempt, fashion, style, elitism, satanism and everything that is rotten about rock n' roll. Today, Devendra Banhart is taking on a similar pegging, with the term"freak-folk." It doesn't take a person versed in psychoanalysis to understand why Devendra would object to the label of "freak." It's a bullshit phrase, given by people that can't wrap their heads around ideas of openness and community. So Devendra has gone with "the family" as an alternative to the prior label. Who's in this family? During an interview with Spin, Banhart described the universe, and how his family fits into it.

"Ben Shatley is the gardener
I'm [Devendra] just a snail eating the lettuce in the garden,
Antony is a big palm tree... with suns instead of coconuts,
Coco Rosie are the water,
Vetiver is sunbeams,
Joanna Newsom is roots that grow upward,
Born Heller is the wind,
Espers are soil,
Damon & Naomi are reading a good book in the corner."

I thought it would be nice to present a taste of this magical universe to all of you, so I've gone through and picked songs that I feel best characterize each artist in regard to Devendra's explanation.

[mp3] Antony & the Johnsons -
Lake (live)
[mp3] Coco Rosie -
Noah's Ark
[mp3] Vetiver -
I Know No Pardon
[mp3] Joanna Newsom -
[mp3] Born Heller - (
get the album)
[mp3] Espers -
Moon Occults the Sun
[mp3] Damon & Naomi -
In The Sun

Last but not least:
[mp3] Devendra Banhart - Long Haired Child
Transforming soundwaves into physical elements is a bit of a abstract science, so I hope you can just close your eyes and go with it. The mysterious Ben Shatley (not sure if I heard it right) is no where to be found. If anyone knows who Devendra was referring to, please let me know.

Continue reading "All in the Family"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Emily Haines Attacks! (or I’m Trying To Get Your Number #3)

Sometimes I can’t help myself. Beautiful women are death to my wellbeing, and I doubt I am alone in this phenomenon. It’s amazing the amount of walking corpses there are roaming the crowded city streets, all internally paralyzed from the amount of sticks and stones you women have thrust into our hearts and sides. Shame on you. You really should know better.

My recent attack of sting and slaughter is a product of the beautiful timbre and atmosphere that surrounds a Miss
Emily Haines. My aching, breaking breathlessness is a result of two hauntingly beautiful songs from her forthcoming debut, Knives Don’t Have Your Back. The songs, piano driven ballads, sung by the prettiest of ghosts, are just a sweet introduction to the haunt that Knives is sure to give us. Fortunately, this ghost will put herself on display come September as she stops by the Viper Room in support of Knives. Lloyd…I’m ready to be heartbroken.

“Like girls in stilettos”

[mp3] Emily Haines & the Soft SkeletonOur Hell or [stream] here
[mp3] Emily Haines & the Soft SkeletonThe Lottery

9/21/06 – Viper Room (2 shows) (Tix On Sale 8/18 @ 10am)

Continue reading "Emily Haines Attacks! (or I’m Trying To Get Your Number #3)"

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Content’s Summer Mixtape 2006

About this time every year things start to slow down. Mothers start parading their kids around to back-to-school sales. Students start to pick up more hours at work to save up a little more cash before the start of the upcoming school year. Parties are largely nonexistent, for everyone seems to be saving up that last ounce of energy for that final summer get together – Labor Day.

The Content is going to go ahead and yell “humbug” on all of that. Summer is not a time to slow down your tan time and warm up for your fall work schedule; but a time to relax under the sun, carefree for the busy life, full of responsibility, which will inevitably return. My thought process might be such since I get out of summer school this week, but that doesn’t mean I am going to let everyone else suffer to the softening of summer. Hence the Summer Mixtape, a conglomeration of old and new tracks that is sure to put that summer spell back in the air.

Summer lovin', happened so fast.

[mp3] Camera ObscuraIf Looks Could Kill
[mp3] The Little OnesCha Cha Cha
[mp3] The PipettesPull Shapes
[mp3] Bloc PartyTwo Years (MSTRKRFT Remix)
[mp3] Thunderbirds Are Now!We Win (Ha Ha)
[mp3] The Beach BoysSloop John B
[mp3] BeirutPostcards From Italy
[mp3] Gnarls BarkleySmiley Faces
[mp3] The ZombiesCare For Cell 44
[mp3] The Spinto BandOh, Mandy
[mp3] Kite Flying SocietyThis Shadow
[mp3] Tapes ‘n Tapes - Insistor

Continue reading "The Content’s Summer Mixtape 2006"

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Cursive: Happy Hollow (sneak peak)

In the recent Saddle Creek documentary, Tim Kasher (lead singer of Cursive) comes off as a lost musical genius. However, Tim's lost genius complex is very different than a Conor Oberst. It's actually the exact opposite. While Connor clearly feels an essential need to release his pain onto tape, Tim takes (at least in the doc) a more noncommittal attitude. It was only from the insistence of his friends that the songwriter ever made his plunge into the music scene. Listen to one Cursive/The Good Life song, and you will call me an idiot. The guy's pouring his cracked heart onto the pavement. How is that a passive approach? It confused me too, but I sat and watched several interviews and he never comes off desperate to play music.

Either way, Tim Kasher has proved nothing short of prolific, with a slew of Cursive releases, and multiple Good Life LPs. It's time for another album, and this one is coming from the more aggressive, Cursive camp. Happy Hollow will be on the (digital) shelves August 22nd, but has already been released via the Saddle Creek pre-order. There will be a proper review, but for now here is a sneak peak. One thing I can say about all Kasher's songs (these included) is that he pronounces his words impeccably. He's like a tortured Colin Meloy when it comes to lyrics and delivery.

[mp3] Cursive - Dorothy at Forty

This song is classic Cursive, and I'm loving every second of it. It's fast guitar lines are no match for Kasher's elongated vocal strains.

[mp3] Cursive - Bad Sect

Bad Sect moves straight into Good Life territory with female backing vocals and subdued instrumentation. Will the rest of the album be this tame? I've been in a more thrash-it-around mood lately, but I'm excited for whatever the album holds.

Stay tuned...

Continue reading "Cursive: Happy Hollow (sneak peak)"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Pipettes: Sex and The Modern Woman

I can understand how a lot of people might have a little trouble taking the Pipettes seriously. Their sound, a Spector splurge, every frame filled with three part female harmonies and knickknack percussion sitting deep in the mix, is something that was abandoned long ago when the Beatles and Stones first set foot in the States. Now, those once rebellious and innocent proclamations of enduring love are looked at as childish and out of date. Is this a shtick? Are those matching polka dot dresses for real? I would like to think that the Pipettes debut is less a shtick and more the resurrection of the pop song before it lost its soul to rock and roll.

Throughout We Are The Pipettes, it is hard to find what the defining characteristic is in their sound. Is it the effective “wall of sound” production? Is it that their song writing is so well done that you don’t have to wait for the hook, rhythm, or beat? Is it their poignant lyrics that represent the modern, independent woman who is trying as hard to be self sustaining as she is in her search for true love and dependency? On “Sex,” the Pipettes leave trying to be the mouthpiece for the ultra girl generation and sing from the point of view of the guy who wants to “get right to the point.” The Pipettes not only nail the female perspective in their songs but as seen on “Sex” can understand their sexual counterpart as well - the modern man that is almost as interested in talking about "life and gossip" as he is about getting down to business.

[mp3] The Pipettes - Sex

[mp3] The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes (XFM Session)
[mp3] The Pipettes - Judy (Acoustic)

But then again, I might just be in love with The Pipettes because I think Gwenno is super hot. But how 'bout it, which Pipette is your favorite?

Continue reading "The Pipettes: Sex and The Modern Woman"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Don't watch this if you are having a bad day

Bill O'Reilly's vile lies must stop. Without any regard for the truth, he rewrites history to fit his argument (using the heroic dead of WWII as his pawns). Don't worry Bill, FOX News seems more than willing to clean up your dirty laundry. The first time could have been a misquote; however, the second was explicit, and the follow up by Bill and FOX were both contradictory and shameful.

For any conservative readers, let me preface this by stating that these blatant and unapologetic lies are a-political. If he were a left-wing commentator I would be equally angry. A lie is a lie, and these people need to be exposed. I'm not kidding, if you find blatant lies on Media Matters, The Colbert Report, Daily Show, NY Times or whatever, send them my way. I don't want O'Reilly getting off the hook by people saying that this is just a liberal "hit piece." The rewriting of history is happening TODAY. Who's down to stop it?

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MSTRKRFT - The Looks

MSTRKRFT emerges from the rubble of Death From Above 1979 (rest their souls), and is as stripped down and single minded as their name suggests. They don't even have time for vowels. Like the dispensing of cheap metals during the creation of alloy, MSTRKRFT has melted down all the fat from its name, and become steel. A crowd of consonants. Is this a good thing? My vote is... mostly.

The initial success of MSTRKRFT came out of their glorious remixes, and I think that is a very important factor. Jesse Keeler and Al-P are masters of finding the dance beat in existing songs. Take one listen to their mix of Wolfmother's "Woman," and you will never listen to the original track again. The only potential problem with remixes, are they are given a complete (and successful) song structure as their base. What happens when there is only the drone of computer fans and fluorescent lighting? The Looks happens. A free-for-all of catchy beats and gorgeous production that can't always find a home.

I'm not really a dance music guy. I usually stay out of the techno-tribal section of Tower Records (back in the day when they paid their bills), but The Looks is too much fun to resist. It's club music that knows it's club music, and loves that fact. While the exit of Death From Above has been keeping me down for the last week, the fact that Jesse always wanted to make dance albums immediately cheers me up.

If you are new to MSTRKRFT, I would start with "Easy Love." The infectious electro pop will usher you into the world of The Looks. Once there, push play on "Paris" and enjoy the ride.

[mp3] MSTRKRFT - Paris
[mp3] MSTRKRFT - Easy Love

buy the record here

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Kite Flying Society - Where Is The Glow?

It's impossible to escape the sea on Kite Flying Society’s bebut Where Is The Glow? The sound, a perfect mixture of handclap lullabies, love drunk off salt water and sunshine, could as easily soundtrack a lovers’ sunset stroll or a top down joyride down Highway 1. With backroom production drenched in reverb, singers Dustin Illingworth’s and Kelly Duley's vocals are as rays of sunshine through an early morning cloud cover. With summer already half way through, Where Is The Glow? is the perfect record to guide us through that slow transition into fall while still enjoying the freedom and weather that has been provided for us. [BUY]

[mp3] Kite Flying Society - This Shadow
Put this on your summer mixtape and it is bound to be one of you favorites. Illingworth teaches us "the qualities of what a shadow means" as we bob our heads to the songs rattle and hum. "This Shadow" is a good display of Illingworth's knack for story telling amidst atmospheric pop flourishes that can sometimes come off a lot more distracting than helpful. Thankfully "This Shadow" effectively draws it's listener in an appropriate direction that is suited for the playful feeling that surrounds the album.

[mp3] Kite Flying Society - Thick As Thieves
It is easy to imagine "Thick As Thieves" playing in the background as the blinds are drawn, with eyes covered, and memories softly float you away into your next dreamscape. At the same time, "Thieves" could play in the early morning sunlight bouncing off your lover's skin as you brush away their bangs before their yawn brings them back into existence. It's a broad translation of a feeling that is specifically romantic.

[mp3] Kite Flying Society - Groundflower (Live - Acousitc)
[mp3] Kite Flying Society - Tiger Stripes (Live - Acoustic)

Be sure to catch Kite Flying Society tonight at Spaceland as part of the International Pop Overthrow Festival. KFS is going to be going on early at around 8:00 so be sure to get there on time to catch their set. See you tonight.

8/8/06 - Spaceland (info)

You Ain't No Picasso also had some kind words for Where is the Glow?

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Monday, August 07, 2006

The Little Ones - Sing Song EP (Repost)

The Little Ones will be playing a free show every Monday this month at Spaceland, and so we felt justified reposting this review of their Sing Song EP. If you are in the LA area, I REALLY hope you come out to support this great band. See ya there!

The Little Ones might be the most infectious music to come out this year. With that said, it isn’t surprising that blogs the world over have championed the Los Angeles five piece from first listen. Even before the release of their debut Sing Song EP, word was beginning to spread, warning of the immediacy of the band’s sound. The layered vocal chants, hand claps and “yeah, yeah, yeahs,” were enough to label them as happy music. However, the Little Ones are much more than just your next “feel good” band, and might be the next big thing to blog about.

The band’s Sing Song EP is a collection of recordings that demonstrate their ability to get your feet moving. During the writing process, the band adopted a standard they entitled “Uncle Lee’s Rule of Feet.” The rule stated that “a song was deemed appropriate if, and only if, each of the Little Ones’ feet could shuffle to it.” Their live shows are a true testament to the rule's success - where hips shake, feet tap, and lips sing. An extraordinary happening in an indie scene known for standing still.

In a world where things don’t always go to plan, the Little Ones plant optimism in the hearts of all who will listen. Their smiles and communal friendship are a physical proclamation to the sound that they have fashioned. With the political trifles and social struggles that surround us in everyday life, the Little Ones remind us that there are still things to smile about.

Get your shuffle on.

[mp3] The Little OnesLovers Who Uncover
[mp3] The Little OnesCha Cha Cha

All photos by: Braedon

Be sure to check back later this week to read the Content’s Exclusive Interview with the Little Ones.

Also, be sure to catch the Little Ones during their residency at Spaceland, every Monday in August. It’s FREE so you really don’t have an excuse not to come (and if you need a ride, we can carpool...seriously).

8/07/06 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland (FREE)
8/14/06 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland (FREE)
8/21/06 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland (FREE)
8/28/06 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland (FREE)

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Friday, August 04, 2006

The Busiest Krug in Indie Rock

Spencer Krug doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. After consistently touring with Wolf Parade, followed by cross country gigs with his side project, gone full-time band Sunset Rubdown, it would seem like this one-time grad student might be the busiest person in indie rock.

In his new project, Swan Lake, with Dan Bejar (Destroyer and the New Pornographers) and Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes), Krug has the opportunity to once again show us how well he can flashdance with those fancy songwriting skills of his. To be honest this kid seems to be on his way to the indie rock hall of fame with the amount of solid work he continues to shell out. With “All Fires,” Krug’s vocals and lyrics take center stage atop acoustic strums cornered by eerie vibrato plucking. The distant drum work and Bejar’s hollowed out, backing vocals are the ingredients to make a campfire song for the ghosts of the community. Short and sweet, “All Fires” is a nice introduction to this much anticipated indie supergroup.

[mp3] Swan LakeAll Fires

After falling in love with Krug’s songwriting on Apologies to the Queen Mary, Sunset Rubdown was an easy and much enjoyed transistion. The new song “Winged/Wicked Things,” which was recently performed as part of the brilliant Daytrotter Sessions, shows that even with busy schedules, there is time to keep one’s guns shiny and knives sharp. In other words, Krug’s weapons are still fit to kill if you know what I mean.

[mp3] Sunset RubdownWinged/Wicked Things (Daytrotter Session)

One of the most powerful transitions that I have experienced in any live set has got to be Wolf Parade’s fusion of “You Are a Runner” into “Fancy Claps.” “Runner” has enough thump to wind your feet up before exploding into "Claps," the “rockiest” of Wolf Parade’s songs. A live recording might not do this mash up justice but let this just be a warning for your next Wolf Parade show, when you hear “Runner” you better sure as hell be ready to put your dancing shoes on.

[mp3] Wolf ParadeRunner/Fancy Claps (Live)

Swan Lake’s debut Beast Moans is out November 21. Drumroll please...the
artwork and tracklist.

1. Widow’s Walk

2. Nubile Days

3. City Calls

4. A Venue Called Rubella

5. All Fires

6. The Partisan But He’s Got To Know

7. The Freedom

8. Petersburg, Liberty Theater, 1914

9. The Pollenated Girls

10. Bluebird

11. Pleasure Vessels

12. Are You Swimming In Her Pools?
13. Shooting Rockets

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ratatat is Coming...

As a follow up to their, dancing gem of a debut LP, Ratatat have explored some new directions and named their sophmore album Classics. At this point I have only plucked a few tracks off hype machine, but I'm pretty certain that I'm going to love this album.

There is the standard Ratatat synth joy in "Wild Cats" - topped with a cheeky Cougar sample looping through the track. It's a song that could easily fit into S/T, but is fresh enough to find a home in Classics. The truly new material comes during "Tropicana," where the melodies drop back a few decades. Both GvB and BAFD pointed out the Beatles connections, so I don't want to rip them off, but it's pretty much out their in the open. The track is able to pick up on the magic of a drugged out Beatles song, and convert it to Euro pop. Can't wait to pick up the album on August 22nd (same day as my dentist appointment... yay).

[mp3] Ratatat - Tropicana
[mp3] Ratatat - Wild Cats

Go see Ratatat in LA:

9/20/06 Troubadour

If no one is dancing at the Troubadour, I think I might quit this blog.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pitchfork in the Park - Day 2

Arriving just in time to beat the “in-between-set” surge, the Liars took the stage under a summer sun, fronted by God’s giant magnifying glass. It is a wonder how Angus was able to march around barefoot on that black topped stage, amidst the slurring drum thuds, and drenched looping noise that his band mates were creating. But with Liars being otherworldly, it really is quite unnerving to know that for them, within the state of their music, normal bodily functions and pains go unnoticed and life undisturbed. So is much of Drums Not Dead, an ethereal, sideshow trip down a memory lane of dark faced tomorrows - days that we have not yet met though feel ever present. In that context, it is understandable that Liars live show is completely captivating, and yet completely nonsensical. There is no beginning and no end to their sets, and the short escapades into reality for Angus to shed his outerwear for the more the comfortable blue sundress, are only to flirt with the listeners to come and join in the world they are creating. Without being overwrought, yet trying to do justice to the experience that is Liars, their set might have been the biggest vacation that I have had awhile.

Positioning seemed to be everything over the weekend, and it seems we lost that fight during Mission of Burma’s set. During Mission of Burma’s set, the sound traveling from stage to ear became muted by the overpowering flood that was the Biz tent, and therefore left much to be imagined. Fortunately, we were able to get somewhat decent seats for the Devendra Banhart Band.
My first live experience with Devendra and backing band is timeless. The communal feel, and carefree dancing that was alive within the walls of the Vanguard Theater, seemed to have forgotten its invitation to Chicago, because that same essence came through in very small doses. It makes me question if I am forever doomed to live a life of, “remember whens,” when thinking about Devendra. It seems as though this new incarnate known as the “Devendra Banhart Band” is a little too much “band” and not enough “Devendra.” Of course we want to have that community of artists, and be able to bond within it, but not if it takes away from the experience of the music and how we interpret it. Listening back to older Devendra makes me hope for a different future, where the focus becomes the music again rather than some idealist movement that is hard to nail time and time again.

After hearing about Spoon’s live show from numerous accounts, I was excited to see how much “rock” they could really put in front of “roll.” Britt Daniel really is doing something special in his songwriting, when it is able to travel across a crowd of thousands and still be effective. The thousands that struggled through heat and humidity that day to hear Spoon’s crunchy chord conjunctions and bent knee beats, couldn’t have been let down. After Sunday’s performance, going back to Gimme Fiction and taking into account the sweat and smiles that surrounded Spoon’s set, there is a special memory that now surrounds such perfect pop gems as “I Turn My Camera On” and “I Summon You.”

Will you see us at Pitchfork next year? It is hard to answer that one. I think I might need a year to recover and rejuvenate from the amount of sweat my body gave off during those two days. But at the very least, Pitchfork will be a fond memory connected with a city, a community, and the music that I love so much. Thanks Chicago, thanks Pitchfork, and thanks for reading.

Day Two Roundabout

[mp3] LiarsEveryday Is A Child With Teeth
[mp3] LiarsMr. Your On Fire Mr. (Peel Sessions)
[mp3] Mission of BurmaWounded World
[mp3] Devendra BanhartWe All Know
[mp3] SpoonI Turn My Camera On (Demo)
[mp3] SpoonTarget (Live)

Bonus Outtake: This is really how we slept (and yes the mustache is real).
Thanks for the couch Lauren!

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pitchfork in the Park - Day 1

Pitchfork Day 1 started out how all events should - by us getting lost. Blue, green, pink... the Russian roulette of L trains. Once we lost that game a few times, we settled for a cab ride, and all was well.

Union Park is an strange place to organize a festival, and we discovered the highs and lows very quickly. The pros: fairly small, lots of shade and can't miss any performances. The cons: being in the front at one show means being in the back for the next, and lots of muted sound. So that is basically our take on the dynamics of the day. What about the music you say?

Man Man is the savior of live music, and I'm John the Baptist preaching the word. I'd say that their placement on the bill was 25% of the reason I flew to Chicago, and it was worth every penny. In every interview I've read, Man Man stresses the importance of live shows, and current artists' lack of creativity or care while on stage. They knew we wanted a show, and they delivered - with war paint, feathers and madness.

To tell you the truth, the rest of the day was kind of a blur. We stayed for Band of Horses, Mountain Goats, Destroyer and Art Brut; however, nothing really stood out. I found myself wondering if festivals just don't do it for me, but then I think back to Coachella, and know I will be there next year. I'm not trying to compare Pitchfork's gathering at Union Park with the epic scope of Coachella. I understand what a budget is. I loved the smaller feel, unbelievable ticket price and cheap waters at Pitchfork; yet, the music display just didn't add up for me.

We did get in some great freestyle walking though...

[mp3] Man Man - Zebra
[mp3] Art Brut - My Little Brother (acoustic)
[mp3] Mountain Goats - Baboon

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