Friday, August 31, 2007

New Band of Horses – “Is There A Ghost”

“Is There A Ghost” does more than just tickle my fancy, the song caters to some of my most fundamental musical pleasantries: charming timbre accenting crooning vocals, reverb thick production, and a kinetic energy that respects the parameters of pop history. The lead off track on Cease To Begin starts with as much immediacy as it ends. The song, ranking in at a few seconds over the 3-minute mark, is an emotional bullet train that has the trajectory that never falters from its straight and narrow course. It’s overly simplistic in its circulatory design; its verse-chorus designation effortless loops like the rounding tires of any forward moving vehicle. The song in no way reaches the levels of complication or experimentation that one tends to search for in modern rock to validate its placement in our ears (a type of litmus test for the musical elite). But with all the bogies and miss hits that come to bat in our stadium of sound, Band of Horses have hit a line drive, out of the park, home run for our attention span.

Band of HorsesIs There A Ghost


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dave Brubeck @ The Hollywood Bowl

I cannot comprehend how one appendage can be so nimble, while others begin to fail. Dave Brubeck steadied himself on the shoulders of his quartet walking to his piano on stage, but then sat down and played with hands as precise and quick as when his records were first cut.

These are men in their 80’s, and as they took to their instruments there was no contesting their “cool.” They've been making music twice as long as we have been listening. It should come as no surprise they do so, so perfectly.

I wish I had video of Brubeck bassist, Michael Moore’s solos. His eyes closed, head down close to the neck of his upright; dancing his gray goatee back and forth as he mashed and slid over its strings. The quartet sounded flawless. Fresh and unrehearsed, I can only imagine the years of practice and memory that have gone into their harmonies and improvised choruses.

The original West Coast sound on a summer west coast night.

[mp3] Dave BrubeckTake Five

ed: Special thanks to Patrick Woodward, for the only pictures of the event on the internet.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Liars present Liars

It’s some sort of heart attack. The new Liars album begins in a frantic chase of adrenaline, a one-way train through a Dali desert with the four corners of horizon rushing in on the chaotic, disconcerting action that lay at the canvas center. It is quite possibly the most straightforward entry into a Liars album that one could envision with enough texture and disturbia to get one’s usual knocks off. But this straightforwardness is only the beginning to an album that is peppered with Liars’ practiced efforts to write “real songs” as they had previously reported. Track two “Houseclouds” is a more fully formed pop effort with singalong type vocals and a jingle jangle of a synth line. This fun runs at a perpendicular junction to Liars’ previous concept gone underground Drum’s Not Dead to form a strange dichotomy of pop tradition and outside the borders, off canvas brush strokes of experimental rock.

Within these last two comparisons spans the spectrum of the Liars catalog and a diversity that is reminiscent of the clichéd out comparison to Radiohead. I would personally have steered clear of such pairing except for the striking similarity that comes across in the album closer, “Protection”. It might be my own imagination but I can envision Angus and Thom lodged up in that abandoned German sound space working out the chord and vocal lines with the pair trading one liners to complete the lyric. It might just be my own predilection but maybe I would just like to see Radiohead cover a Liars song. Maybe Thom would too.

[mp3] LiarsProtection


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Daft Punk present ELECTROMA film

I’d agree. Making some of the worlds best electronic music probably isn’t fulfilling enough. Having lyrics written about you; “the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids,”1 set up as a 2001 monolith shift in hipster understanding - Might merit a journal entry, but you’ve had entire albums translated into an anime film2, and are in the habit of throwing live shows heralded as: “The best concert of any summer3 ” so you’re not really sweat'n it.

Might as well go ahead and make another movie.

Thomas Bangalter & Guy-Manuel De Homem-ChristoElectroma
The quest of two robots in becoming human.

Release Date: OCTOBER 15 2007

[mp3] Daft Punk Face To Face (Fabriclive. Cut Copy rmx)
[mp3] Daft Punk Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger (OK Ikumi rmx)
1 "Loosing My Edge," LCD Soundsystem
Kazuhisa Takenôchi, director, Interstella 5555, 2003
3 "Best Concert Of Any Summer," Steady Mobbin’, Friday Aug.10 2007

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

It’s another beautiful day in West Los Angeles, and I’ve spent the afternoon in my apartment weeping after witnessing the devastation and crippled humanity brought to light in, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.

This four hour documentary, directed by Spike Lee, is an untainted portrayal of the state of emergency in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the communities appalling struggle to receive aid. The tragedy occurred two years ago, next week.

Told via first person interviews, there is no escape from the heart-retching reality of a city virtually abandoned by its own government (there to pick up the scraps only after the lives were lost). It is a black pit of unthinkable stories: a wheelchair ridden woman washed away to drown – her husband unable to come to her aid, a son helpless to provide his mother with medication – forced to spend four sweltering days in the Convention Center next to her corpse. Over 1,800 men, women and children where killed during and after the storm, 700 of those in the New Orleans, many left to rot floating in flood water or cast to the shoulders of I-10 for well over a week.

Natural disasters are clearly terrible events, which are unmanageable at some level; however, the national disaster in New Orleans only truly came once the storm had vanished. From the gaze of most News watching Americans, people saw a mandatory evacuation and thought – why did so many people chose to stay in a death trap? Aren’t they partially responsible for their fate? The answers to that are: 1) While the evacuation might have been mandatory, there was little to no aid for the poor and elderly to make their way out of the city. How can an elderly couple leave the Lower Ninth Parish without transportation, extra food, medication or water? 2) The Superdome and Convention Center were meant as temporary refuge for citizens during the hurricane, but by the third/fourth day were of no use without the deployment of Federal troops and aid*. The water had been shutdown, the plumbing overrun and the bodies were piling up, yet this was looked at as the community safe-hold.

A slew of rumors swept the news that people were being murdered and even children raped in the Convention Center; however, every level of police and government official has dismissed both as false. Despite the falsities, the claims further fueled the idea that these citizens were savages and brought the chaos upon themselves. While images of people looting electronics are disheartening, it does not dismiss the dire needs of a city or represent the community as a whole.

A fury of finger pointing was conducted after the devastation between: the heads of government - Bush, Rice, Rove and Chertoff, FEMA – Michael Brown, and local and state officials - Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin. Chances are the fumble was caused by a combination of all these elected officials, but Michael Brown was the one who went down with the wreckage. It only takes a quick glance at Brown’s background (a decade as commissioner of the Arabian Horse Assoc) to realize he had no authority, outside of political ties, to manage any sort of Federal Emergency team. Brown had been forced to resign from the AHA, and needed a new gig – he just happened to pick FEMA out of the grab bag of government positions thrown at candidates who “fit the bill.”

Does George Bush hate black people (as Kanye put it)? Probably not, and I hope that somehow I (or this film) didn’t just preach to the choir and leave Conservatives dismissing this as a political attack. This event was infinitely bigger than the political aisle – if you don’t believe me, I’ll go out and vote for Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) in 2008 just to prove it to you. It’s about the sanctity of human life, and our government’s responsibility to put an equal stake in everyone. I truly believe Katrina is our great nation’s largest failure in the last 100 years. I also recognize that my hurt/anger is a product of the United States’ greatness, and feel blessed to be given the opportunity to hold my government to a high standard.

Over seventy countries pledged monetary donations including: Kuwait ($500 million), South Korea ($30 million). Cuba and Venezuela were first to pledge $1 million and various aid (canned food, doctors, medicine); however, the US denied these donations.

Please take the time to educate yourself about this national disaster by watching When the Levees Broke. It's on HBO all month, available for rent on Netflix and purchase on Amazon.

Donate to Direct Relief

*The Coast Guard should be seen as heroes during Katrina - restlessly saving people from their roofs via helicopter.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Sigur Ros present Heima film + B-sides

Sigur Ros may be the benefactors of one of the most beautiful video catalogs in rock music. All of the band’s videos relay the epic landscape of their home in Iceland as well as incorporate the crisp scenic beauty that one is sure to find through any time spent out doors in the countryside. Sitting in isolation in the northern Atlantic, Iceland, as portrayed be Sigur Ros, can be a place rooted in mysticism, a description that is well fit for all those who tag on the word “alien” when they describe the band’s music. It is only appropriate then that a documentation of the band playing for the people in their homeland would consist of the same mesmerizing beauty and painstaking care that their previous filmed ventures have. Entitled Heima for “at home”, the film follows Sigur Ros as they play for their own people in arenas that span from grand productions in forest clearings to small acoustic reenactments as their audience sits upon a small gymnasium floor (and I thought my seats at the Hollywood Bowl were good). With the inclusion of the companion album Hvarf-Heim, it looks as though Heima will likely be the source for all those that need a little something to fill their Sigur Ros yearnings, aural or otherwise.

[mp3] Sigur RosO Fridur
[mp3] Sigur RosSigur 9 A
[mp3] Sigur RosFonklagi / The Funk Song (Live In Reykjavik 1998)
[mp3] Sigur RosRokklagi / The Rock Song (Live In Reykjavik 1999)


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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Andy Goldsworthy - Rivers and Tides

Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
- Wallace Stevens

Scottish sculpt
or Andy Goldsworthy, makes artwork outside. Sometimes permanent (like the wall depicted here), but often fleeting as he arranges leaves by color in pools of water, or freezes broken ice one piece to another till they are columns weaving in and out of a boulder.

There seems something valuable in putting great effort and investment into things purposefully temporary. Creating something that may be destroyed on its completion. How would your approach to it change? How would that variable of instability alter your perspective? What a worthwhile lesson in patience and motive.

Often, art is an effort to emulate nature. An apt tribute to turn to nature itself and manipulate native materials into sculpture in their own environment. Goldsworthy orchestrates new shapes and arranges new colors in harmony with their surroundings though they would not occur naturally in them.

The pictured work is Goldsworthy's commissioned piece installed outside Stanford University’s Cantor museum. A long stone wall starting like a fossilized spine in the ground and then descending, revealed by a hole that feels like might have been escavated around it. Called "stone river" the wall winds in ox bows till it dries up at the the other end.

The process of Goldsworthy’s work is best understood in the documentary about him: Rivers and Tides. Art is probably most powerful in person than art see on film. Ironic that the union of film and Goldsworthy’s often short lived work becomes one of the few ways to see it at all. Rivers and Tides is an inspiring product of this colaboration. Beautiful filmed, it quietly conveys the calm and commitment that is given over in creating each piece.

[mov] Stanford University - Stone River
[www] Thomas Riedelsheimer - Rivers and Tides

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Beirut releases Elephant Gun single

Beirut's track "Elephant Gun" can be seen as a mere sidestep into a fantastical safari land dream, a hint at the the grandeur of escape and travel that Zach Condon and team have been fashioning over the last few years. Others seem eager to call it their best tune to date. As all of us eager beavers await the release of the next Beirut album we are pleased that the band has decided to whet our appetites for the upcoming release with the official digital release of the Elephant Gun single with b-sides that include a new song ("Transatlantique") as well as a live recording of a Jaques Brel tune ("Le Moribond"). Go get it now at eMusic.

Also, as a benefit for those who live in our western city, Beirut has decided to grant us with their presence this coming fall. Good things come to those who wait.

10/10/07 - Avalon (tix) - $22

[mp3] Beirut - Elephant Gun


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St. Vincent - Marry Me

Some of the best nursery rhymes and children’s stories intertwine seemingly playful situations with ominous undercurrents. St. Vincent thrives in the space between beauty and darkness. Marry Me is a collection of music box performances with the ability to leap out of their oak confines without a moments notice. You can almost hear the turning of the hand cranked gears as she deliveries the verse for “Now, Now.” It is the guitar that frees her from this restraint. During “Your Lips Are Red” muted guitar cuts are heard leading up to the attack, as if she’s holding back a wild animal before finally letting it free. It's what draws me to and also scares me about St. Vincent.

Come experience the beautiful nightmare dreamscape.

[mp3] St. Vincent - Now, Now

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Friday, August 17, 2007

The Cloud Of Unknowing

Why the bother of such questions? Why the burden of the seemingly unanswerable to weigh upon the shoulders of this young life? It’s such endless torment that can only be extinguished under the power and beauty of the intangible; the notes of youth and experiment that come together in an other worldly, celestial melody. No voice, no lyric, no rhyme yet pulled together in a recognizably tight reason that allows the inconsistencies of faith and truth to be suspended for a time; a momentary atonement of my doubts and fears.

The Cloud of Unknowing rings completely true in this more than heavyhearted period in my life where tradition has been forced into question and practiced principles burn bright under the light of reason. James Blackwell’s twelve string is purveyor of notes that ring hallow as if bounced like the ideas of God reflecting off some stonewall of a cathedral tower. Blackwell is no prophet yet he designs soundscapes with the timbre that can equate to the fulfillment of my own yearnings at the moment; a voice that embodies the hope that I hold on to as an answer to all those bigger questions that sit like boulders, smoothed and weathered from a quarter century of being positioned under the rushing thoughts in the back of my mind.

James BlackwellRunning To The Ghost


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Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Thursday Treat

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Breast Cancer Benefit this Sunday

It's time to support great music and great causes!

Michelle Sandoval with Dreamworks and The Central Second Collective are hosting a Breast Cancer Benefit this weekend in Downtown LA.

366 E. 2ND ST. L.A. 90012

The Slow Demise 6:00

Todd Mclaughlin

One Trick Pony

Henry Clay People
[mp3] Henry Clay People - The Gentle Charm of the Soviet

The Transmissions 10:00
[mp3] The Transmissions - Self vs. Self

Death to Anders 11:00

There is a $15 suggested donation at the door. There will also be a silent auction to raise funding for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. All proceeds will be donated to the Avon Foundation. Members and friends of L.A.'s Central Second Collective will also be performing. For more info visit here.

Please come support the Avon Foundation and all these great bands!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Mohawk Lodge - Wildfires

Opening the album with a voice that is somewhere between heartbreak and broken bank is a mind job of a starter. It is apparent that there is some sort of awkwardness that lines the vocal chords of front man Ryder Havdale who wails and croons through the Mohawk Lodge’s new album Wildfires like a blue collar dramatic dusting his heart up on his sleeve. Wildfires finds the band maneuvering itself away from the dusk beauty of communal campfires found on their debut Rare Birds to an attraction of dustbowl duels and working man feuds; small, simple realizations of the fragility of life and nature (“Where ‘Em Out”), reflections on hope during the tribulations of common day sufferings (“Hard Times”).

Despite the comparison that might turn away some of the more hard-headed hipster mindsets, Havdale’s vocals have a tendency to mirror up to a more gruffed up, dirt headed, and collar stained Chris Martin – an image that is both rewarding to those that have found the celebrity husband personality a bit overbearing at times as well as to those that would be eager to see a departure from more mainlined rock. With backing duties being fulfilled on multiple tracks by Handsome Fur, Wolf Parader Dan Boeckner, Wildfires is filled with the credibility and texture that recall some of the more interesting and gratifying releases as of recent.

[mp3] The Mohawk LodgeWear ‘Em Out


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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Stream: Okkervil River - The Stage Names

Virb strikes again, with a full album stream of Okkervil River's forthcoming (and Pfork christened) release, The Stage Names. Will Sheff has one of the most dynamic voices in _______ rock (not sure what sub-category to box them in), and it's on display throughout Stage. It's been too long since Black Sheep Boy, but The Stage Names proves to be worth the wait. Enjoy the stream for now, but be sure to buy the LP on 08/07 through Jagjaguwar.

09/04/07 - Troubadour w/ Damien Jurado


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Monday, August 06, 2007

New Sunset Rubdown and a blogger’s lament

I have no doubt that the new Sunset Rubdown album is going to be everything that I expect it to be as I recollect on my aural memorizations of my previous live rendezvous’ with Krug & company. The few songs that have made it through to my hard drive have testified of and solidified my previously identified presumptions. Great. I’m excited that there will be interesting music to soundtrack my drive through the grounds of the Veterans hospital as I sidestep my way through the short cuts of west LA on my way to roundtable talks on Russian poetry and US voting behavior. I need this to give my life more texture, more friction between my reality and what I pretend exists in some other dimensional parallel to the life I am living. I hope it exists but this is all beyond the point.

My real disgust is with the liberty that ones take in the blogosphere in “promoting” new albums. We here at the Content have multiple avenues at which we acquire new music, which does not exclude the old dollar and change transaction at our local Amoeba records, nor does it exclude the sharing of albums from one individual to another via record label or friend. But besides how we acquire music it is important to identify that bloggers should take the responsibility (and many do) to approach the way that they share the music they love with the world in a more constructive way.

The Content has tried to steer clear of questionable means of promoting new albums where the questions revolve around the number of tracks we put up from any one release. It just doesn’t make since (from a fan level) to take liberties on the dispersal of one quarter of any given release (not including three or four song EPs where one track is actually greater than or equal to the aforementioned quarter percent). In following through with the coalition formed with our dear JAX to “Not leak albums - shit ain’t cool”, it is impossible for me not to bring up this problem of those that put up three or four songs from an unreleased album so that they can reap the rewards of Hype Machine traffic. Middle finger to you my friend. I’ll just hold my breath and hope it all goes away.

And so the hypocrite speaketh. For your listening and viewing pleasure, the promotional track and album art from Sunset Rubdown’s fantastic Random Spirit Lover.

[mp3] Sunset RubdownUp On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days


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Friday, August 03, 2007

Releases, Labels and Dates

Black Lips will be releasing, Good Bad Not Evil, through Vice on 09/11. "Cold Hands" shows the chaos makers doing what they do best... it's surfy, trashy, thrashy and plain yummy.

[mp3] Black Lips - Cold Hands

10/19 - Troubadour

In other black news, Black Dice just announced they will be releasing Load Blown on 10/23 through Paw Tracks (as oppose to DFA). It seems like a logical choice since Black Dice have been hanging in the Animal Collective camp for a while now.

[mp3] Black Dice - Kokomo

Architecture in Helsinki are readying album # 3 titled, Places Like This, which will see a release on 08/21 via Polyvinyl. In support of Places they will be touring throughout the fall.

[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - Heart it Races
[www] Architecture in Helsinki - Take Away Show

10/05 - Troubadour

Labels: , ,

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Contest: Fader/Subaru Mixtape

Fader just pressed an exclusive, 100 copy cd mixtape with Subaru, and we have one to give away! I'm excited about the DJ Mehdi and Bonde Do Role remixes - personally.

You should know the drill by now: put your name and email address in the comment box or send us an email at

We'll pick a winner on Sunday night.


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