Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Crystal Castles Rise Above the Binary Clouds

Oh, cold digital world - baptise me in your sea of 1's and 0's - let electricity flow through my veins - put life into this sterile medium. Amen.

Crystal Castles answer this prayer, by breathing life into white noise. While electronic music isn't a new art form, Crystal Castles don't just work with electronics, they are electronic. CC is the result of computers gaining consciousness and releasing their first tortured moan. They are the build up of current that rebelled against their motherboard. Yeah, they're rad, and of course they'll make you dance - in that robot sort of way.

They have even made their way around town, infecting other bands. The list includes Klaxons, Heath and even RC's beloved Little Ones.

So far they have only released two limited print EPs that are completely sold out; however, almost every song is available online.

[www] Crystal Castles - Alice Practice

[www] Crystal Castles vs. The Little Ones -
Lovers Who Uncover

[www] Crystal Castles - She Fell Out

The future holds this for Crystal Castles:

clear pink vinyl
on Young Cubs Records

"INSECTICON" EP (CD & Cassette)
on Blood of the Drash Records

Both will no doubt be limited releases, so get your buy on.

They are also touring, which includes a stop in LA:

3/17 X-Plex w/ The Presets

Continue reading "Crystal Castles Rise Above the Binary Clouds"

Brand NEW Beirut "Pompeii"

These kids just keep putting stuff out. After the release of the fantastic Lon Gisland EP I thought that it would be some time before we heard any new material from Zach Condon and crew. But only a short while after Lon Gisland had been internalized into my system, Beirut come around and release Pompeii, a two track EP of sorts that sounds more influenced by the French pop that we have heard Condon is in love with rather than the usual balkan brass horn arrangements and calfskin drum thumping. The two tracks are subtle in their presentation balancing light hearted drum machines with playful piano rolls and chord punches. Condon stays wholely away from any speed strumming of his ukulele but still manages to set his trumpet up far enough in the mix to fulfill any of your longings for some more melancholic horn soundings.

Pompeii tracklisting:
1) Fountains and Tramways
2) Napolean on the Bellerophon

Since there are only two tracks on this release it isn't really fair to put either one up. Go over to eMusic right now and download both of them. If it sounds like anything that we have heard from Beirut before, its going to be this song, "Beluga".

[www] Beirut - Beluga (Demo)

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Above The Trees the Red Eagle soars

You are crying tonight by the sea…

Sitting as Indians along the shoreline, your soft breaths and body language of locked fingers, curled around the back of your neck, brings my body close to you. My thoughts are heavy as I watch you recall the grimmest of memories. Together we close our eyes to the fog, rolling in from the horizon, and imagine our own nature where the sharks and whales swim in the dark and the red eagle soars above the trees. There you are with me. My cheeks moisten as you open up your little arms.

Reminiscing the best of Califone and Calexico, Paul Duncan colors romantic landscapes, dream weaving emotional escapes with visions of natural parks. Duncan’s voice recalls a Will Oldham that has cleared his throat in order to sing the children to sleep. “Red Eagle” is an adult themed lullaby that is easily adaptable to anyone’s late night soundtracking, aiding all into the visions that rise and fall between sunset and sunrise. We can only hope that Duncan’s Above The Trees is all the beauty that “Red Eagle” alludes at it being.

Above The Trees track list:

01) Red Eagle
02) The Fire
03) The Lake Pt. 2
04) Country Witch
05) Parasail
06) High in the Morning
07) Above the Trees
08) The Lake Pt. 1
09) The Pendulum
10) Memory Curve

[www] Paul Duncan - Red Eagle
[www] Paul Duncan - In A Way (from Be Careful What You Call Home)
[www] Paul Duncan - 1 In 22 (from To An Ambient Hollywood)

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Bright Eyes - Four Winds EP

I don't envy Conor Oberst right now. After creating a national stir in 2005, generating cries of "the new Bob Dylan" as well as "shitty emo pity party," his forthcoming, and now imminent LP, Cassadaga, holds a lot of career weight for the (now) New Yorker. No one knew what chemicals Conor had been mixing back at the lab, until finally he gave the world a taster scoop with Four Winds EP.

Outside of the opening title track, the Four Winds EP is made up of b-sides from the Cassadaga recordings, and unfortunately it ends up playing like a jumbled collection of lost songs. While Four Winds sticks pretty close to I'm Wide Awake in sound, Conor seems to be moving towards alt-country in his delivery. While I mostly cringe at the term "alt-country," Bright Eyes is able to pull it off with a sound similar to My Morning Jacket. However, seeing that Jim James has a guest spot on the album, this is no great revelation.

"Four Winds," the title track, is the obvious standout, and brings new hope to Cassadaga that the "Endless Entertainment" leak had mildly shaken. It's a well crafted tune with a foot tapping beat and patent Oberst lyrics (which I love - for the record).

You can buy the EP on March 6th. It's definitely worth the 4 or 5 dollars for "Four Winds," and another gem called "Cartoon Blues."

[www] Bright Eyes - Four Winds

Cassadaga Tracklist:
01 Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)
02 Four Winds
03 If the Brakeman Turns My Way
04 Hot Knives
05 Make a Plan to Love Me
06 Soul Singer in a Session Band
07 Classic Cars
08 Middleman
09 Cleanse Song
10 No One Would Riot for Less
11 Coat Check Dream Song
12 I Must Belong Somewhere
13 Lime Tree

Tour Dates:
02/27 Toronto, Ontario - Opera House
02/28 Somerville, MA - Somerville Theatre
03/02 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
03/03 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
03/05 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
03/07 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey
03/08 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey
03/09 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
03/10 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
03/11 Seattle, WA - Showbox
03/22 Oslo, Norway - Compolite
03/24 Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser
03/26 Berlin, Germany - Columbia Club
03/27 Cologne, Germany - Gloria
03/30 Paris, France - Cafe de la Danse
03/31 Amsterdam, the Netherlands - Melkweg


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Ben Gibbard to play Royce Hall

Coming to UCLA's historic Royce Hall this May is none other than Death Cab For Cutie's own, Ben Gibbard. Performing alongside the Deathcab frontman will be former Pedro the Lion heavyweight, David Bazan and the young crooner Johnathan Rice. There has to be a special place in your heart for any type of emo-fied, acoustic heartache and I will go all in and say that there will be plenty of that come this May. Tickets aren't on sale yet but the little link below will take you where you need to go to find out when you can get your own. And I am sure all you UCLA students get a nice little discount or front row seats or something like that.

Go and cry your eyes out.

5/19/07 - Royce Hall (w/ David Bazan, Johnathan Rice) (tix)

[www] Ben Gibbard - Why'd You Want To Live Here (Live Solo)
[www] David Bazan - Fade Into You (Live)
[www] Johnathan Rice - So Sweet

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dressed Up For The Letdown

I have been planning my attire for that day for some time now. The funny thing is that it won’t look any different than any other outfit I wear. I am comfortable accepting my fate in a worn t-shirt and jeans. It’s hard not to look forward to that ‘letdown’ where I get that expensive piece of paper (that everybody else’s taxes paid for) and I am asked to go sit in a corner with the rest of the world where we talk about the “woulda-coulda’s” like we actually had a chance to do something about it. Because did we ever really have a chance?

Today was just one of those days when nothing works. The sky wouldn’t change colors, the sun didn’t exist, my heater didn’t work well when I would stand next to my open window. But then I put on Richard Swift’s Dressed Up For The Letdown and my whole world changed. Well, hardly, but it did make me realize that somewhere off in some corner of the LA basin there is a room where a man paints with his own colors, whistles to his own tune, and has metaphorically built a bridge over those nostalgia tripping conversationalists that I fear of coming into contact with. I am saved for the moment.

[www] Richard SwiftThe Songs Of National Freedom
[www] Richard SwiftLady Day (from The Novelist EP)


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

(Please) Don't Blame Mexico @ Le Baron, Paris

To give you some context, I'm writing this post from a fifth story apartment overlooking Bastille, Paris.

Like all worthy movements, the emerging Parisian rock scene is growing quietly and quickly in the dusty corners of nightclubs and apartments. Currently, the scene is two-fold, with the rock wannabes taking the lead over those with musical talent; however, this will surely change once bands like (Please) Don't Blame Mexico reach ears in the West. A band/collective called Toy Fight gave me entrance into this world a few months back. Because each member of Toy Fight takes part in multiple side projects, the collective has
single handedly created a rock circuit. (P)DBM is one of those groups, and I was lucky enough to see them play at Le Baron during my second night in Paris.

Le Baron is known as "the place where everyone wants to be, but no one can get into." The crowd is made up exclusively from a guest list that reaches capacity at about 200, and on monday night the list miraculously had my name on it +2. Once in the club, Spencer, Katharina and I found ourselves inside a dark, smoky cave, draped in red velvet. Cigarette in hand (sorry mom), we found a comfortable corner to enjoy the view, and took in Paris' most beautiful and elite. Older men with their (extremely) young (potentially hired) girl friends, young models drinking champagne splits and middle aged men dressed in their best threads mingled around the tiny bar.

At first I was unsure how (Please) Don't Blame Mexico was going to fare with the crowd, but their relaxed pop melodies blended perfectly with the atmosphere. Maximilian, songwriter and band leader, performed at the piano in vest and tie, playing beautiful Krug-like piano lines that Laurent Blot, lead guitarist, then took and scrambled into a frenzy of distorted wails. Thomas (drums) and Eglantine (bass) moved in-sync to secure perfect rhythm throughout the set, and kept the room tapping their feet.

The most special moment of the evening came when Maximilian performed "Heartbrakes" solo on the piano. Bent over the wooden mantle, carefully pressing ivory keys, a sorrowful song bled through the space, swirling into the scattered French chatter. The crowd noise that infuriates me at home, suddenly transformed into magic once delivered in a foreign tongue.

Walking home at 3AM along the bank of the Seine, there was no doubt in my mind that this evening will stay with me forever.

[www] (Please) Don't Blame Mexico - Heartbrakes

[www] (Please) Don't Blame Mexico - Firstaidkid

Special Thanks to David for making this all happen, and to Spencer and Katharina for giving me a home!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pullhair Rubeye

Oh how we love everything Animal Collective. We have been letting Panda Bear run through our veins for the last few weeks and we still haven't gotten our fill. We didn't even ask for a second course but Avey Tare (Animal Collective) and his love bug Kria Brekkan (Mum) are releasing a "motley collection of fun and somber songs" that are sure going to be running on repeat here at the Content. "Sis Around The Sandmill," the first release from the forthcoming album, entitled Pullhair Rubeye, is a texturalized piece of ambient voices and beats that sounds like fairies singing through the water running out of your faucet.

Pullhair Rubeye is out April 24. Here is the tracklist:

1) Sis Around The Sandmill
2) Opis Helpus
3) Foetus No-man
4) Who Wellses In My Hoff
5) Lay Lay Off, Faselam
6) Palenka
7) Sasong
8) Was Onaip

[www] Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan - Sis Around The Sandmill
| [mp3] (alternate link)
[www] Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan - Foetus No-man (live)

Labels: , , ,

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The Content Goes International, Iron & Wine debuts new songs

So things here at the Content are going international this week. While half of the crew is sticking around in Californialand the other half is parading down the Champs-Elysees being fairly successful at trying to escape away.

Today's post is going to be short and sweet due to how late it is and I am afraid that I will come across as only partially comprehensible. The Content has been enjoying a nice surprise from Iron & Wine (via Rawkblog) of showcasing some new tunes from his upcoming release entitled The Shepherd's Dog due in August. I know its not just me but it is hard to not fall in love with life when listening to Iron & Wine. The melodies and timbre that exudes Sam Beam are full of life that is found in those simple instances that we come across on a day to day basis. The Santa Ana winds mysteriously whipping the tops of waves, holding up the hollows of their underbellies long enough to curl around some smiling surfer. Those same strange winds filling your windsheild with leaves blown from trees miles and miles away. The silence before the sunrise. The moment she opens her eyes. I obviously can't wait for some new music to soundtrack my life.

[www] Iron & Wine - Die (Live)
[www] Iron & Wine - Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car (Live)
[www] Iron & Wine - Love Song Of The Buzzard (Live)

Go get 5 more new Iron & Wine songs from his show at Pabst Theater over at Rawkblog.


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Friday, February 16, 2007


This is really excellent putting that pile of clothes away, morning music. Great brush-your-teeth to, sit-by-the-heater-before-going-outside crooning. Messes is going to ease you into the day, and sees no reason you shouldn’t make time for a second bowl of cereal. Maybe some cinnamon toast.

Aaron Robinson of Messes lives and records in his Echo Park (Los Angeles) home, releasing his self titled EP through shows and by request. Comprised of his guitar and voice, accompanied by friends on xylophone and backing vocals, its a clean little noise Messes makes.

I like the brown paper bag cd case surged together with blue thread and decorated with pictures of birds in flight. Somebody's ink-jet gets a high-five.
I like the (what I’ve taken to describing as) “tingly” guitars, and the well-mannered moodiness of the album as a whole...a lot of love went into Messes and it all feels content, and unhurried.

I was intrigued that some of my initial thoughts listening to Messes were of other bands. Bits of one track reminding me of some forgotten other. Hearing Jonathan Heathcote in “Moment Passing Through You”, or recalling some Walt Mink licks during “Lucky Pennies”. Messes doesn’t sound just like these bands, but the associations made the experience familiar and enjoyable first listen through.

Messes will flow the same vein as Iron and Wine and Jose González for people, but that kind of folk hemorrhage never hurts a guy now and then. Maybe he’s tired of Elliott Smith allusions, or maybe that is how he sometimes describes his own sound. Either way, not the worst thing to have said about your music and Aaron’s own is pleasant to spend some time by.

[mp3] MessesQuiet Voices
[mp3] MessesMoment Passing Through You
Bonus track:
[mp3] MessesOne More Step

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Black Snake Moan Contest!

This is the first RC contest of 2007, and I think it's a pretty sweet one:

Black Snake Moan is the new film by Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow) starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake. It's been causing quite a stir, and if you've seen the trailer you might understand why. I'm not sure exactly what direction this film is going to go in, but I'll be in the theater March 2nd to find out.

Since Jackson plays an old bluesman in the film, a very limited 7" vinyl of Jackson performing "Stackolee" and "Black Snake Moan" has been pressed as promotion for the film.

We happen to have one to give away.

As usual all you have to do is leave a comment with your name and email/myspace address or email us the same info at

For a better taste of what Black Snake Moan has in store for you, check out the music video for "Stackolee" here and the movie trailer here.

The contest ends February 25th @ midnight.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Content’s Happy/Sad Valentine’s Day Mix 2007

Valentine’s Day has always been an enigma. The dichotomy that exists on this day is as equally romantic and lovely as it is achingly lonely. Its wonderful to have a day dedicated to try and resurrect those butterflies that swam within you on your first date or the awkwardness as you walked her up to her door that night. It is also an awful reminder of how much us lonely ones love to wallow in our own heartache. However you spend this Valentine’s Day, the Content wants to let you know that we are there for you and we want you to make the most of it. So with that said, the Content is providing a mixtape for the both of you: the romantically childish and the heart torn crier. We just hope we can carry a little bit of the weight on this day by providing you with the soundtrack.

The Content

- St. Valentine’s Day Mix -

[www] Asobi SeksuThen He Kissed Me
[www] Jose GonzalezHeartbeats
[www] Jimmy Eat WorldFor Me This Is Heaven
[www] Jens LekmanI Saw Her In the Anti War Demonstration
[www] Al GreenLove and Happiness
[www] DevotchkaSomethin’ Stupid
[www] The Beach BoysDon’t Worry Baby
[www] Elvis PresleyLove Me Tender
[www] Hall & OatesSara Smile
[www] Iron & WineFever Dream (Demo)

- St. Lonely’s Day Mix -

[www] Ben Folds FiveSong for the Dumped
[www] The Dismemberment PlanTime Bomb
[www] Roy OrbisonCrying
[www] El Perro Del MarThis Loneliness
[www] R.E.M.Everybody Hurts
[www] Elliott SmithTwilight
[www] Hank WilliamsYour Cheatin’ Heart
[www] MagnetNothing Hurts Now
[www] Rachael YamagataThe Reason Why (EP)
[www] Daniel JohnstonTrue Love Will Find You In The End


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

There's No Pity in this Party

I can't play keyboard, drums or sing. Heisenflei does all three at once. Did I mention that Maurice-Robert is a one man guitar factory. I'll admit it, I'm a little jealous of these two talented people. However, I'm mostly just excited that they met each other and formed a great rock duo called The Pity Party.

The Pity Party is fairly new to the Silverlake music scene, but has been quickly making up for lost time. One factor fueling their momentum is the duo's unique live experience. While their live setup (described at the beginning of this post) may peg them as a novelty, it only takes a song to realize that The Pity Party aren't some cheap trick.
Through a recommendation from a friend (Morgan!) and a thumbs up from Jax, I went to the Silverlake Lounge last month and caught the group's final residency show. Watching The Pity Party destroy every second of their set, I couldn't help but transport myself 40 years and 3000 miles to Exploding Plastic Inevitable. In the confines of my mind, Heisenflei and Maurice-Robert sound like an Andy Warhol garage band - evoking the spirit of Velvet Underground.

The Pity Party's EP sways from raw pop songs, to dark driving repetition. "The War Between Eight and Four" is a good example of the former, while "Dronebots and Peons" shows of the style of the latter. "WMD" finds a middle ground between these two, and is my favorite song on the EP ("Dronebots" being my favorite live song).

Visit their myspace for more info.

[www] The Pity Party - WMD
[www] The Pity Party - The War Between Eight and Four

If The Pity Party are playing in your town - Be There.

3/5 Viper Room (LA)
3/10 Southpaw (NY)
3/11 Maxwell (NJ)
3/12 The Mercury Lounge (NY)
3/14 Johnny Brenda's (Philly)
3/15 T.T. the Bear's (Cambridge)
3/16 The Rock and Roll hotel (DC)

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Frog Eyes Shed Tears

I need to get something off my chest. I was a Sunset Rubdown fan before I ever heard a Frog Eyes song. In my eyes, Spencer Krug was this master songwriter who had found a completely unique sound. Then I heard The Folded Palm. I couldn't believe how much of Krug's sound came from his work with Carey Mercer. I'm not calling plagiarism on Krug (he writes music in the band), but it did make me want to hear more Frog Eyes. It also brought me to the understanding that Carey Mercer should be admitted into Canadian indie-music Royalty.

I first heard "Bushels" during the Frog Eyes Daytrotter Session (love these guys), and the performance encompassed every element of Frog Eyes into one nine minute song. Now having the recorded version, it's obvious they really enjoyed the Daytrotter performance. The song structure has remained intact, and if anything the jams have been extended. The song floats through several movements that all feel like fragments of a great song. Mercer continues his shock and awe delivery, which always makes me smile, cringe and dance simultaneously.

Favorite part of the song:

London, oh you're cold
but we've got to last

Make sure to pick up a copy of Tears of the Valedictorian when it drops (a long time from now) on May 1st.

Tears of the Valedictorian

1 Idle Songs
2 Caravan Breakers, They Prey on the Weak and the Old
3 "Stockades"
4 Reform the Countryside
5 The Policy Merchant, the Silver Bay
6 Evil Energy, the Ill Twin of...
7 ...Eagle Energy
8 Bushels
9 My Boats They Go

[www] Frog Eyes - Bushels

[www] Frog Eyes - Bushels (Daytrotter Session)

Tour dates:

3/16 - Austin, TX - SXSW Merge / Absolutely Kosher Day Party at Pok-e-Jo’s
3/17 - Austin, TX - SXSW Absolutely Kosher showcase
4/14 - Victoria, BC - Logan‘s Pub
5/01 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile
5/04 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
5/05 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
5/10 - Denton, TX - Rubber Gloves
5/11 - Austin, TX - Emo‘s
5/12 - Houston, TX - Proletariat
5/14 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
5/15 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
5/16 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
5/17 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda‘s
5/18 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
5/20 - Boston, MA - Middle East
5/22 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa
5/24 - Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee’s
5/25 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
5/27 - Chicago, IL - Schubas

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Reason To Get Your Read On

With modern technology making it so easy to hear and see news and entertainment, many have shied away from the written text. Many newspapers have already taken the plunge to go digital with the enhancement of “video over internet” capabilities. Sometimes the move away from typeface is blamed on ADD and though I won’t deny that television and the internet feeds a “here-now” mentality, one should not buy into these ADD crutches for one’s lack of desire to flip some pages.

Luckily for us music lovers there is a semi-solution to our inability to open a book. 33⅓ is a series of books that chronicle some of the seminal albums in music history in a concise, pocket book format. Each album is covered by one writer which allows for control and an actual literary flow to the arguments and stories that lay in the shadows of some of our favorite albums. My first encounter with 33⅓ came when I picked up the volume on Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Kim Cooper superbly chronicled the making of In The Aeroplane through research and interviews with those connected with the album. Her choice (or possible roadblock) of not interviewing Jeff Mangum for the book adds to the mystery that revolves around the album.

Recently reading the volume on Pet Sounds, I can sincerely say that 33⅓ has created a wonderful resource for the music lover to get a quick and solid incite into one of their favorite albums. With recent additions to 33⅓ being Loveless and Court & Spark and plans for many more in 2006-07, the Content highly recommends going out and getting yourself a copy if not a couple.

[www] Neutral Milk HotelIn The Aeroplane Over The Sea
[www] the Beach BoysI Just Wasn’t Made For These Times

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Deerhunter - Cryptograms

As the titles professes, Deerhunter's sophomore album Cryptograms is 48 minutes of mysteriously encoded soundwaves. For those who don't know, a cryptogram is a piece of text encrypted by the replacing of each letter with a substitute letter or symbol. Every cryptogram needs a person to encrypt the message, as well as a person to decrypt the same text. The major question I have for Deerhunter is whether the music represents their search for a cipher or is it meant as the encrypted message. I feel like it's a combination of both.

I've just recently discovered Deerhunter, and until tonight knew nothing of their back story. Thanks to Aaron Hemphill's
(Liars) guestlist on Pitchfork, I got my first taste of "Spring Hall Convert" about three months back. The track stuck with me, and I bought the album the day it was released. As I sat down to write this review/post/piece/?, I floated around various Deerhunter related pages, and read an intriguing bio on Kranky.

The first half of the album was recorded first unsuccessfully in 2005. The sessions failed to provide anything tangible, and were racked with technical and personal problems, including out-of-tune pianos, panic attacks, and a tape machine that seemed to fail to capture the full spectrum of ambience the band was exploring. The band returned home, having failed, and considered giving up. The idea arose to give it one last shot and exactly one year from the date of the recording of their first self-titled LP at a small studio in rural GA, they returned to that same studio and plugged in. The session resulted in the first half of the record which was recorded in one day and completely filled the reel of tape they brought with them. Cryptograms' first side begins with an introduction leading to the title track, and ends with the tape literally spinning off the end of the reel in the middle of a drone layered with bells and accordion ("Red Ink"). The second half of the record, also recorded in one day, in the November of 2005, represents the band in an entirely different state. "Spring Hall Convert" opens with the line, " I woke up..." and introduces a set of focused psyche-pop songs fixating on adolescence, illness, and failing connections.
Although music must always stand on its own, the story of Cryptograms' creation is so inherently ingrained in the sound that it demands mentioning. It also brings the listener one step closer to decrypting the album's sonic message (presupposing they've encoded anything to begin with). Since I've mentioned the topic of sound, it might be a good time to describe the band's music.

Because Cryptograms was created from two distinct recording session's, Deerhunter jumps from ambient pitch-shifting and slow-building claustrophobic waves of drone, to more rounded vocal melodies and spacious songwriting. Despite this wide spectrum of sound, the album is remarkable unified in mood. Mostly because even the most upbeat song still emits a deep sorrow.

One theory that's been floating around my head is that the album's fracture represents the two halves of a cryptogram. The tangled, surrealism found in the first half of the album is the encrypted text, while the clarified delivery in the second half conveys the decrypted message. However, at this point I'm not sure what the message is... or I just don't want to know.

Buy the album and discover your own theory.

[www] Deerhunter - Cryptograms

[www] Deerhunter - Strange Lights

Also, be sure to catch them on tour:

03/02 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
0303 Charleston, SC - Music Farm
03/04 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
03/14 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon (Gas Food Lodging Music Festival)
03/15 Austin, TX - Soho Lounge (SXSW)
03/16 Austin, TX - Emo's Jr. (SXSW; Pitchfork party)
03/18 Houston, TX - Mink
03/31 Jackson, MS - George Street Grocery
04/04 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
04/06 Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
04/07 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
04/10 Seattle, WA - Neumos
04/11 Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
04/12 Portland, OR - Dante's
04/13 San Francisco, CA - 12 Galaxies
04/14 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
04/23 Toronto, Ontario - Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
04/25 Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
04/26 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
04/28 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
04/29 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sunday afternoon. Church clothes. I loosen my tie and lay down on the couch as the organ rises through the speakers beside me. The light is low in my small living room; the blinds fencing the orange rays of the setting sun. I am only recently alone on this Sabbath, as I have spent the day within a congregation of reverent, cheery faces. And now I find myself in the interim between the easy, reclined Sunday afternoon and the Sunday evening, the calm before the storm of Monday.

I somehow have placed myself in the perfect time period to listen to the Minor Canon’s debut album No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. My outfit, my mood, and the setting sun are all perfect backdrops for the seven-piece, horn tinged melancholy that the Minor Canon shell out. My
first interaction with the Minor Canon came during their final crashing moments of their set opening for Swedish heartbreaker, Jose Gonzalez. The two-drum attack that I encountered on that night has turned out to be a minority role in the bands smoky barroom, soul song but a welcome addition whenever the band decides to let go. But most welcoming is the bands decision to leave behind the Silverlake sound that surrounds them and head for the old time character that has always hid within the shadows of the limelight. It might be just me but humility is damn comforting to listen to at moments like these.

[www] the Minor CanonA False Start
[www] the Minor CanonIt Never Was

02/15/07 – the Echo
02/20/07 – Sea Level Records (Record Release Show)

Look for No Good Deed Goes Unpunished at all fine retailers come February 20th.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Words and Notes

Welcome to the fourth installment of RC's book and music list. Once again, the pairings are meant to be mostly thematical; however, songs like "We are Your Friends" and "Tone Bank Jungle" are unique, because they were the soundtrack to my reading of Less Than Zero and Agape Agape. If you missed the first three lists, check them out here here and here.

Obey: Supply & Demand

[www] Rage Against the Machine - Freedom

Less Than Zero

[www] Justice vs. Simian - We are Your Friends

The Tipping Point

[www] The Good, The Bad and The Queen - History Song


[www] Daniel Johnston - True Love Will Find You in the End

Death in Venice

[www] Superwolf (Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) - Death in the Sea

Agape Agape

[www] Holy F#ck - Tone Band Jungle

Continue reading "Words and Notes"

Friday, February 02, 2007

Talkdemonic ain't no devil

There is hardly anything sinister behind the duo whose name is a farce collaboration between the common and the other worldly. Yet Talkdemonic is everything their name claims them to be: a metamorphosis between two separate identities, the organic fiddlings of strings and the twiddling knob tweeks of synthesizer keys. Void of voice, Talkdemonic’s second album, Beat Romantic, relies on the intricate build up where strings and soft banjo/guitar orchestrations counter weigh heavy fisted drumming. The musical architecture that results on Beat Romantic is highly a reflection of Kevin O’Connor and Lisa Molinaro’s desire to fill their melody making foundations with harmonies and counter melodies so strong that it need not fear defeat or collapse. But what is so magnificent about their creation is not found in the albums oddities but rather in the many unexpected successes of beauty that you find yourself encountering as you make your journey through the album.

[www] TalkdemonicBering
[www] TalkdemonicDusty Fluorescent / Wooden Shelves

Continue reading "Talkdemonic ain't no devil"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Papercuts Still Bleed

Never underestimate the power of a papercut. While it may be a subtle wound, its effects linger much longer than expected. This description also translates to the songwriting/delivery of Jason Quever - also known as Papercuts. The San Francisco resident is releasing his sophomore LP, Can't Go Back, Feb. 5th on Devendra Banhart's new label Gnomonsong.

Can't Go Back is an album blanketed in a fog of human tension, but also receiving subtle rays of light - successfully brightening the mood. Each song contains a focused narrative, which feels like someone's passing memory. The lead-off track,"Dear Employee," is a boss' callous rejection of a female employee/lover. The biting tale is brought alive by the relentless drone of strings and static drum beat. Once into "John Brown," the album's tension is suddenly lifted by a flowering guitar line. Jason's watery vocals also reflect the song's drug splattered relaxation.

After several spins through Can't Go Back, a pattern begins to emerge that divides the album in two. About half the songs are obsessively taunt and restrained, while the other half are free flowing and relaxed. In this way Papercuts creates a continuous build up and release of tension throughout the album. This mood play is what makes Can't Go Back work so well as a single entity.

[www] Papercuts - John Brown

Bonus track:

[www] Papercuts - Mockingbird

See Papercuts on tour w/ Grizzly Bear:
02/16 Seattle, WA - Neumo's
02/17 Vancouver, BC - Plaza Club
02/18 Portland, OR Mission Theatre (2 shows)
02/20 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
02/21 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
02/23 Tucson, AZ - Plush
02/24 Marfa, TX - Ballroom Marfa
02/26 Norman, OK - Opolis
02/27 Dallas, TX- Club Dada
02/28 Austin, TX - Emo's Jr
03/01 Baton Rouge, LA - Chelsea's
03/02 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
03/03 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
03/04 Washington DC - Black Cat
03/06 NYC - Bowery Ballroom

Continue reading "Papercuts Still Bleed"