Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Birdy and the Squirrel Nut Zippers



Have I gushed over Andrew Bird to you yet? I did? When was that? Is it about time again? sure it is.

Unfortunately, I missed his show when he visited this old mealy apple I'm living in currently. I noted this, whiningly, to one of my coworkers who was quick to reply "Andrew Bird? why, he plays here from time to time, don't worry you'll see him"

I promptly did not believe her out of jealous spite. but through the darkened shadows of my subconscious I began to realize how oh so wonderfully true that statement could be. For you see, Joe's Pub spanks the shit out of the singer/songwriter clan. and who else's photo to be next to singer/songwriter in the OED than one A. Bird?

Oh, there are others? I wasn't aware.

Truth is, I have a soft spot for our contemporary boy wonders like Bird, Timbaland, Patrick Wolf and that guy from Beirut. I know not why. During the gestation of each song I imagine them kneeling before an insidious, musty tome in a heavycurtained library; poring over its strange markings with an eyeglass. I find very appealing musicians that can construct and construct a measure of pop music like the grammar of a sentence.

Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs was one of my favorite albums of 2005. It was mostly an impregnable chestpiece of fluid pop. With, albeit, a few links missing. Nevertheless, its highs blew Sufjan out of the water with gale force winds and a surprising longevity.

Particularly A Nervous Tick Motion Of The Head To The Left with its dark, perpetual Rube Goldberg beat and prairie whistle hook. His words are always precise, incisious.

It may be prudent, now, to mention his former career as a quote honorary member unquote of that awesomer-than-you-remember band The Squirrel Nut Zippers. As long as you can detach that dreadful taste that the late Ninties swing fad left like a re-used zip-lock, you're golden. Who, by the way, are...back? Apparently they're going back on tour according to their wiki, their site, and this preposterously shitty Digg entry. Check out their sinister stomp-thump, bass sax (you know I like bass sax), pocketwatch twirling, song Bad Businessman. and of course everyones favorite, "hell," is on their myspace, to which I will direct you ah-here.

By the way, Man Man is the same band. They just have a shitton more hipster irony. and more top-hat.

So I got ahold of Oh! The Grandeur! by Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire (thats pre-"Andrew Bird" Andrew Bird), which I hadn't bothered to listen to because I'm a chump, apparently. Go back and find this shit, particularly the jumpy, smoky, cat-gut strings of Vidalia. Or, essentially the same song but with more pizzicato and KALAMZOO! type vaudeville moustache, Feetlips.

Anyhow, Bird has announced his next album, and it, like the rotating of the earth or the hilariousness of the elderly, leaked a tad bit ago. "More Cowbell" posted a track called "Heretics" off of Bird's next album called "Armchair Apocrypha" here. But shhhhhh! Stereogum had to take theirs down, so keep mum about this.

I'm actually not a big fan of the track, its a little more down the ruh-ruh-ruh-rock avenue than down the hodge-podge structure of Mysterious production of eggs. But I sure do love them pizzicato strings, birdy m'boy.

I'm looking forward to this one, heres hoping it isn't a fixin'less baked potato.
___________________________
Link O' Rama
___________________________

Rest in peace Northsix, I only went to a couple of your shows but you were a pretty bitchin' venue. Sucks about that ConEd.

Also, Luis Guzman is doing cheese commercials now? WHAT? Its like watching a second trimester abortion.

Also: Pretty Girls Make Graves are not my favorite band but... its like a thousand (four hundred) voices crying out, a ripple in the force, when a big act kaputzes.

However, taking their place is yet another matador band with a stupid name (Okay, Matmos is cool): Lavender Diamond. They sound like a circa "Let It Be" Beatles cover band gone wild and writing their own songs, with strawberry cream-cheese spread and Julie Andrews singing lead vocals. and the sounds they make are pretty good.

Lavender Diamond - You Broke My Heart

Get ready to de-holster your Jenny Lewis comparisons.

- im out

JFK!!!!!



okay so Neely is clearly a genius. First it was Washington Washington, the low-bassed, heavy sex breathed funk comedy gold. Now its the, Casio bassed, fast drum looped thump fest with a droning vocal hook.

God Neely is a fucking genius.

And thats what I think about that!





In other words: the new explosions in the sky is good, but it also sounds like ummmm.... all the other explosions in the sky albums.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Take Pills




I feel confident to say that Animal Collective is the closest thing to a favorite band that I have right now. Now I don't exactly know what the criteria is for a favorite band, because the last favorite band I was willing to venture from my little obscure musical woodland camp was Radiohead, but only because of Kid A and several songs from OK Computer and the ones after that (Bends and Pablo Honey? Oi! Out!) and I let their importance in my life wane and expire several years ago now.

My adventurousness and willingness to use flag symbols to communicate my sequestered musical tastes have changed with the time and the constant influx of music; very rarely do I venture a "favorite band" anymore without a schoolgirlish grin and a downnosed shoescuffle. In other words, AC blows my mind with just about everything they do. And that holds very true for Panda Bear's new album "Person Pitch."

The blogosphere has been bloated with Panda praise like swimming trunks coming out of a pool so I'll just add my two cents and shut the hell up. Person Pitch is most likely going to be one of my favorite albums of the year, assuming The Arcade Fire doesn't pull my ears off and jam them up my nostrils with a hot pitchfork (they won't).

Sounding like it was recorded in a subway stop, intentionally so I'd imagine counting the number of subway/train samples Panda Bear uses, the drone/echo factor here is, on a scale from one to echo, way off the fucking charts. But thats a good thing, don't let it scare you, Panda uses delay like Bob Ross uses afro. deftly. And if "Young Prayer" didn't convince you that Panda Bear had a natural affinity for beautiful melodies then you might want to think about turning up that hearing aide, Dad.

Take Pills starts with a strangely beated, but on beat, loop of a subway car passing, and slowly a few instruments smolder their way through beneath Panda Bear's mournful tune from way down one of the subway tunnels. And then your trains stops at a stop and here he comes down the track with a full parade of echoing, harmonizing himselfs playing one of the greatest and most joyous melodies I've ever heard that babbles its way down the scale. And as soon as it starts the doors shut and your train moves on, and you turn back to reading the onion.

Panda Bear - Take Pills

Heres a couple from Gorilla Vs. Bear

Panda Bear - Bros

Panda Bear - Comfy in Nautica

- Signing out

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Person Pitch

Nihilists With Good Imaginations



Upon listening to the new Of Montreal album (yes I'm a blogging cliche) I find myself being drawn to the darker, more emotionally convoluted songs on the album than the poppier, albeit still emotionally convoluted, songs. If you haven't heard it I suggest doing the hearing because its a fantastic album. Much more easy to listen to completely than Sunlandic Twins or Satanic Panic.

That latter album I enjoy, but towards the middle I start to lose interest. Somewhere around the treacly city bird. Nevertheless! Satanic Panic has my (and most people's) fav O' Montreal track: Lysergic Bliss.

The compositional chops of that song sticks me with a bayonet, twists it, and throws me out the side of Kevin Barnes' technicolored parapet. Its impossible to resist such an intelligently executed vocal arrangement that manages to both hearken back to the beach boys and still break from the inexplicable botulistic paralysis the boys manage to hold over vocal arrangements in rock music to this day. Barnes did a bit on Sunlandic Twins as well, not as impressively as Satanic Panic, but well enough.

The new album, however, does not utilize as much of those crrrraaazy vocals that I laud Of Montreal for. actually, Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer is the album that the second half of The Sunlandic Twins merely mentioned in passing. It's more of an off-broadway phantom of the opera gig than the productions of their past. Dark twisting pipes, silly but affecting lyrics, constant and chugging riffage: they sound like
pyrotechnics/swinging chandelier/gasping audience on this album. But its all smoke and mirrors deflecting, and thus drawing, attention to Barnes' depression and crumbling marriage. but there is a whole lot more beneath the surface than the music ia initially willing to reveal, and so it is more rewarding than Andrew Lloyd Weber's entire catalogue, except maybe cats.

Enough of that hubub, bub - The following is one of my favorite tracks off of the new album because it is really the only one that draws up bridge blueprints between the band circa Satanic Panic, an exit at "Wraith Pinned to the Mist" on Sunlandic Twins, and now. Those vocals I said were missing from this album are in full force here, though not as impressively helixed as lysergic bliss, they do their job, they do. actually, a good majority of the music here is Barnes' voice, a humpty dumpty bass, a drum track and a few paper-football keyboard flicks.

Listen:
Of Montreal - Gronlandic Edit

Its kind of a crime to post this song and leave out the following two tracks, considering they're all cogs in a three part Spacely sprocket machine. Especially the long and heartbeating centerpiece of the album "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal." but I'm doing my best here dammit. Just go out and buy the album.

Of Montreal

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Brooklyn vs. DC



I managed to foist a ticket to Deerhoof last night from my compatriot in Pub, J. Seroff of Tofu Hut. Its good to know people in internet places.

Unfortunately I missed the first show by the as of now unsigned band Proton Proton, who, my other compatriot in pub, Grace, assured me was one of her favorite unsigned bands from Brooklyn. Afterwards she gave me the Proton Proton EP being sold at the show, a dischordant mess that swirls and discharges and reunifies all within the same song.

I, like the David Karesh I am, lead you into the compound where Proton Proton offers their riff driven punch. Plates begins with overdriven harmonics and an
ex models-esque guitar zapcrunch on the alternating beats, and, like I said, starts and stops on several dimes.

Sand seems to be more the direction Proton Proton wants to go, and, though it is a sloppier song in its construction, it seems like they are a bit more confident in the performance itself. The two guitars jump back and forth between speakers answering each other until it breaks down into an all out riff jam in the middle.

Listen:
Proton Proton - Plates

Listen:
Proton Proton - Sand


But wait there's more!

I do not mention Proton Proton because I think they are particularly awesome. I do indeed think they are going somewhere smart, but only in the ephemeral way I once wondered at the couple who attained "most likely to succeed" status in highschool. Nay, I bring up Proton Proton because they are indicative of this sound coming out of Brooklyn. A dischordant mish-mash, and I do not use dischordant lightly.

DC is the king of Dischord for obvious reasons. Fugazi not being the least of them. but, as of late, Dischord has been a bit lacking in the, well, dischord. I've seen The Aquarium several times because they happened to play several shows with a friend's band. Not Dischordant. The Evens, Ian Mackaye's political acouso-folk band is kind of a bore (search your feelings, you know it to be true). Also not dischordant. In fact, the only band not atypically Dischord to come out recently, Antelope (former members of el guapo, the song is called goggles, I kinda like it don't you?), sounds like Fugazi w/ nutri-sweet and a lime.

So what is the summation of all of these links and proclamations? Well, I'm not claiming that the DC music scene is dead or anything even remotely like that, its just...going through some phases, some changes, growing little budding bosoms. And who can blame them? DC's BMOC, MacKaye is reaching his mid forties(!!!). He's no longer the virile young hellian he once was. Who's going to take over, Dave Smalley? The Former singer of Dag Nasty? The guy who runs ConservativePunk.com and has a fucking hummer?? yeah. sure.

So, the gap. Is there a gap? Probably not. At least none big enough that anyone would care about filling it. Brooklyn certainly doesn't claim to fill it, and I'm not claiming that Brooklyn does, but there is a definite analogousness between the DC sound and the Brooklyn sound of bands like Ex Models, Excepter, Proton Proton, Pterodactyl and even Grizzly Bear.

Its the discordance, the flippant lack-of-structure, and a splash of darkness. But there is something else that differentiates the two. perhaps its the direct, or indirect, political nature of DC's scene. and the lack thereof in Brooklyn. but that focus, though important, is not a specifically aesthetic one.

Fascinating, then, that New York does not have the same consistency maker as a single, and singular, label, run, basically, by the creators of the scene and the sound(i.e. Fugazi).

Actually, very much like their counterpart cities, Brooklyn's indie scene swirls and changes with a dark, spacious, but fluid sound and DC's is more angular, more visceral, more immediate. The overall spacious, dark, fluidity of New York's streets seem to tug it's gaudy, bleak, barge-like art scene behind them. and Brooklyn watches and waits, a little to the side, and describes that in it's music. DC is small, jagged, easy to get lost in, and full of laws (both in action in the city, and in utero for the country).

Of course, these comparisons rely upon the flimsy, one dimensional pyramid of speculation. I wish it were that easy to describe a scene in a few words, and there are clear omissions. but hey, I can always fall back on the notion that nobody actually reads all of my posts all the way through! I'm golden!

-cap'n guthrie out

Friday, January 26, 2007

Justice Fruit Pies aka my celebrity mix



click: listen while reading.

I've been sitting in my own head for a while, thinking and staring at an idea, with that expression that every kid has on the packaging for a rock tumbler , and thinking to myself: yes! yes! why not?!

Well the time has come. I am currently in the process of making a celebrity mix. Right?

The idea is this: Justin Timberlake, though talented, probably doesn't listen to a wide variety of music, if any at all. He probably listens to himself like GOB on Arrested Development, come to think of it. 'course, if I was JT I'd do the same thing, and I'd probably be doing it with a lot more people.

I'm carrying around said mix in my bag from here on out and I'm going to give it to any celebrities I see, regardless of who they are. Imagine the possibilities! There probably are none, none possibilities, but imagine them anyway.

I saw Michael Showalter at Union sq a couple of days ago, he was just hangin out, and I kicked my own ass because I didn't have the mix. I also saw Mos Def at the Amy Winehouse show, and I kicked my own ass because I didn't have the mix again.

I mean, if some random dude came up to me and said "I have made a mix for you, sir" and then T-1000'd back into the crowd, I'd probably listen to it. Wouldn't you? Not to mention! If the person put their email address on it wouldn't you email them? no, neither would I. Thats why I'll probably not put my email address on it. That would just be creepy.

Not saying that this isn't phenomenally creepy anyway.

here's the tracklist:

1.) Les Primitif Du Futur - Fox Muesette
2.) Girl Talk - Friday Night
3.) Hank Williams - The Honkytonk Blues
4.) My Chemical Romance - Dead!
5.) Destroyer - Your Blood
6.) Aesop Rock - Daylight
7.) Junior Boys - Double Shadow
8.) TV on the Radio - I Was a Lover
9.) Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
10.) Velvet Underground - Who Loves the Sun
11.) Kasai Allstars - Kabuangoyi
12.) Pavement - Father to a Sister of Thought
13.) Grizzly Bear - On a Neck, on a Spit
14.) 10CC - The Dean and I
15.) Lila Downs - La Tequileria
16.) Spank Rock - What it Look Like
17.) The Kinks - Picture Book
18.) Harrison Ford - If Not For You
19.) Loretta Lynn - Love Is The Foundation
20.) Sam Cooke - Get Yourself Another Fool

adventure time



Amazing. absolutely amazing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

pic unrelated



I'm sorry, mostly to myself, for not having updated this old bitch in a long time. You see, when you store your writing in the attic for days and days and days it starts to mildew and get a little stinky and get covered in husks of spiders. I blame Joe's Pub but it most likely has to do with a little snifter of depression. Fortunately a long walk from 31st street Manhattan to Willoughby avenue Brooklyn gave me time to crank my depression into submission and spindle my manic phase back out of her hidey hole.

I like how this is a livejournal now.

Anyhow, I don't know how many of you've gotten to hear sum of dat Amy Winehouse, but let me tell you this: her forthcoming album (in the US) is the first album I've heard to be released this year that I can't stop playing on repeat.

Now! the whole album is superb, but people give less than two shits about a whole album as they now do about Yao Ming if anyone ever did. You all want your i-pod's corpulent and resplendent, you brats, and I, being the whore I am, will afford you a couple songs to stuff those little white rectangles. Trust me, though, you'll want to run out and buy Back to Black as soon as it's out, its damn good.

My initial reaction when I saw her (and was momentarily trapped in a corner by Mos Def's back) was that she sounded like Lauren Hill. No doubt this allusion will be made time and time again by jerks like me who have nothing better to compare. She still sounds like Hill, but it has become clear to me (and the media) that she is a little drunker around the edges than the stab-you-in-the-face-with-a-crucifix Hill. Regardless, both of their influences incubated beneath a warm light bulb in the same classroom where Soul, R&B and funk once learned their shapes (though funk was held back several years due to white music executives not believing it was worthy of anything besides this)

Anyway, we won't get further into that slip'n'slidey slope of authenticity and identity that a white girl singing traditional soul might ask of us, I will simply say that the songs "You Know I'm No Good" and "He Can Only Hold Her" (the latter of which, as I was shown by Mr tofu, actually lifts riffs and tunes from various soul songs) are amazing cuts and perfect examples of the smashing (SMASHING I SAY!) this album could do to our little american sandcastle pop-charts.

You might recognize "You Know I'm No Good" if you've heard the Ghostface Killah version on More Fish, his B-Side Album for fishscale released late last year. I actually haven't gotten a chance to hear it yet but the copy of the album I got had the Wu-Tang master's song on there. Its good, but not as good as the Winehouse vrsn. It works better with Winehoue's brilliant and painful lyrics about compulsion to cheat on her boyfriend. also: works better with her sultry vixen vixen vixen voice than Killah's raspy, feaux-bitter (though convincing as always) spitting. It's a shame that his rapping outshines her simply because her vocals seem sampled or used for a hook. But those horns those horns, god damn give me more of those horns. I need more bass sax in my ears and more broken up chords building me up and finally the follow-the-bouncing-ball hook. God damn. that hook is so good.

listen:
You Know I'm No Good

Initially, "He Can Only Hold Her" is a clear reference to Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and in fact, when I saw her, a little tongue in cheeky Winehouse square-knotted Hill's masterpiece into the end of this song all easy like. But jesus
another perfect hook emerges with them brassy trumpets mere seconds into this one and the backup singers singing along and overtop and underneath and around and each doing barrel rolls. and the back bone of the song is the jazzy echo guitar fucking around behind everything.

listen:
He Can Only Hold Her

and I'm out- its bed time.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Congotronic, robotic, rock your body



Kitsch my adorable little silly of a roommate claims that when I heard him listening to Konono #1, the first of the two congotronics albums, I said something to the degree of the following: "This sounds like Stewart Strange music."

Stewart was a kindly young man who attended my collegiate institution; he was prone to putting African tribal beats on the stereo in the midst of parties awash with tiny hipped people stoking the fire in their loins with much Rapture-fueled ass flailing. He would complain: "None of you know how to dance" and then performing some sort of white-guy body incantation that nestled somewhere between an Andy Kauffman dance and a morbidly obese woman shrieking down a waterslide. Bless his heart for trying, but (at the time) we were more interested in the mechanics of looking fiercely aloof.

It is quite possible that I said something of the sort to Kitsch. I try to piss him off as much as I can because he's button cute when he's flustered, and now that I've incriminated myself I suppose I'll get on with it.

Truthfully, I'm sure I didn't like it at the time. Entire genres would ebb and flow in the time it once took for me to even slide along the surface of just one of them, eons in the music listening world. The affliction lingers even today, but the sheer amount of music I consume out of of post-collegiate boredom allows my mind to pluck the pretty things from beneath the surface; I can have my perfect musical moments and eat 'em too.

phew! preface: complete.

Congotronics 2, though not as widely acclaimed as #1, has some pretty fucking perfect moments. In particular I speak of the fourth track by Kasai Allstars called Kabuangoyi. Definitely a headphone track, it has a strange droning repetition, a circular musical staff, the colorful notes aligning themselves behind a treble or bass cleff and marching. It is joyous and beautiful and it is tempting to place it between the frets of Western music, but any western precedent I try to place it beneath has loose footing, not to mention would reek of that silvery roadkill smell called appropriation.

Check it: Kasai Allstars - Kabuangoyi

Monday, January 08, 2007

There's A Moon In The Sky



Long long long before VH-1 began mongering its over-the-counter pop criticism, long long before the same network began to air loose knit ski-lodge sweaters and shoulder-pad friendly music, long before the same crowd worked out to Barbarella Fonda: there was a band known as The B-52's.

And they did far more than write Love Shack for the same twits mentioned above. They were once a post-punk band, trolloping down the same post-modern, half-ironic trail as contemporaries Devo and sounding like the brain child of David Byrne and Andy Gill's younger, pre-war obsessed sister (if she lived in Athens, Georgia [and actually existed]).

I've been obsessed with their first album recently, with the surfadelia of Rock Lobster and the perfect slide fretting end riff of Theres a Moon In The Sky (And Its Called The Moon). This is the kind of stuff you're allowed to put on at solo cup parties where the chump kids of the twits play Sublime. Its okay because: "hey, aren't these the same dudes who did Love shack?" I rubber stamp that "pretty good".

Rock Lobster

There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Joe's Pub



So! I've been trying to get my fingers back on the keyboard because, after New Years/Christmas/bindle-stiffing away from New York, my work ethic and my writers block have been eyeing each other like an unmanned battering ram and a castle gate (respectively). I've determined that I am my own love of my life (because I can't seem to accept anyone else into that position), but determining how to create a green paper catapult for the siege and razing of my romantic, sixteenth century notion of the tormented writer (complete with parapets and stone and starving peasants) may be harder than anticipated. The slings and arrows of hunger can be subdued with coffee and cigarettes, but hackneyed metaphors are much more difficult to quell.

I've sure been listening to Destroyer's Rubies a whole lot recently. Its a night drive of an album; its an echoing cathedral of an album; its a solitary drunken subway smile of an album.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Years



How was your new years eve? Mine was pleasant with 10 CC's of guitar Hero II injected into my face, ample amounts of Bloody Marys (labeled BM at some point in the night, much to the chagrin of those who hate bad puns [I hate my fair share of them believe it or not]), and fondue. Pretty good.

One thing I realized while playing guitar hero II: whoever wrote the music for sonic the hedgehog must have listened to a whole hell of a lot of Rush. Seriously, listen to YYZ and tell me that you don't feel like you should be bouncing yourself against a fat doctor in a giant drill machine, I dare you.

- signing out bitches.