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December 8, 2009

Mash That


While Girl Talk didn’t invent the mash-up, he certainly brought it to the party. And since he did, they’ve been all the rage—particularly those that blend unlikely bedfellows hip-hop and indie rock. Here are a couple must-haves for any mash-heads.

The Hood Internet: A Chicago-based team of two (Aaron Brink & Steve Reidell) who take cutting-edge indie rock acts and mix it with hip-hop (underground or mainstream). All tracks are available for free at their website.

Rainy Dayz: AmpLive’s take on Radiohead’s In Rainbows, complete with appearances by Too $hort, Zion-I, Charli2na of Jurassic 5, and Del the Funky Homosapien. AmpLive is a master—even the songs without accompaniment shine. Album available for free at One Seven Seven Six.

Illinoize: Tor, a producer from Montreal, mixes Sufjan songs from several albums with hip-hop heavies like Brother Ali, Grand Puba, Gift of Gab of Blackalicious, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, OutKast, DJ Premier, and Aesop Rock. Album available for free download here.

Girl Talk: Well, duh. As of today, Illegal Art is releasing all GT albums for pay-what-you-want.

October 9, 2009

Toasted Marshmallow Shake @ The Stand


Probably the best thing I've ever tasted. Yes, those are real toasted marshmallows on top. On top of the shake. A shake topped with toasted marshmallows. Shut up.

September 17, 2009

Surly September


What's in: All-caps band names.
What's out: Summer.


Wild Nothing- Virginian Jack Tatum. Sounds pretty rugged, right? Think again, my friend. "Cloudbursting," a Kate Bush cover, is gorgeous and haunting... just the right sound.

LAKE- Seven kiddoes from Olympia, Washington, one of whom is named Mark Morrison. Like, Mark "Return of the Mack" Morrison? Doubtful, from the sound of it. "Don't Give Up" is cheesy but sweet and wonderful.

HEALTH- This band is everywhere I look! (or... listen, I guess). LA-based guys with vague lyrics on top of lively, futuristic noise rock. The CFCF remix of "Before Tigers" is a serious detour from their sound, but in the best way possible.

GRUM: Their song "Heartbeats", especially when remixed by Memory Tapes, is just so CRAZY GOOD.

Washed Out: Lo-fi lovely. Fresh, dreamy, exciting sounds from some South Carolina dude.

Fanfarlo: British indie quintet who play interesting instruments like glock, mandolin, and (you guessed it) fanfarlophone. "I'm a Pilot" is quite good.

DVAS- Canadian crack!!!! Super synthy, riotously romantic. "Forever" is one of the best dance songs ev-er.

Aria Orion- An awesome Brooklyn group that features interesting projections, an accordion-playing-lady-turned-man (Geo Wyeth, who has a kickin' solo act called Novice Theory- check it), and a female singer with the world's most heartbreaking voice. "Augur" has all the elements, but "When I Wake" is the next level. Be careful, it destroys.

August 21, 2009

The Dead Weather at Terminal 5, NYC, 7/17/09


Meet the Dead Weather: Jack White of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, Alison Mosshart of the Kills, Dean Fertita of the Queens of the Stone Age, and Jack Lawrence of the Raconteurs. White drums and Mosshart sings—that’s all you really need to know. Oh, and they’re dirty as hell.

I mean really dirty. The four band members slither on stage, black hair over their faces, ready to rock. They wear an aggressive amount of leather, and adorn their stage with a backdrop of what looks like a Death Eater from Harry Potter. In their encore, they cover Pentagram, AKA the originators of doom-metal, and they spew lyrics like “I like to grab you by the hair/And drag you to the devil.” It feels a little bit like being in the movie Blade.

The band’s Nashville origin explains much: dusty and raw, this is the kind of badass bluesy grunge rock that could only come from the South. When asked about the sound of his new band, White replies, “Perfect. Ferocious.” That about sums it up. But for all of us who revere Jack White, this is a bit of a change. He’s traded in his former candystriper colors for black and taken a seat at the drums—but certainly not a backseat. Throughout the show the crowd worshipped White’s every move; the minute he even looked at his guitar, the place exploded. But Mosshart isn’t one to be upstaged. She literally gets as close to the front of the stage as she can, at times climbing up onto the front amp, her lean body teetering over the crowd

After performing nearly every song off their album Horehound, the band finishes the set with “Will There Be Enough Water?,” or in other words, the Dead Weather does O Brother, Where Art Thou. White finally takes over on guitar, ready to shred, while Mosshart stands to the side, eyes glued to White as she sucks on her cigarette. This song brings the show’s best moment, when White and Mosshart sing lip to lip on either side of a single mic like a strung out Lady and the Tramp. Not only is it perfect and ferocious, but it’s also the sexiest thing anyone’s ever seen.

Moby- Wait for Me (Little Idiot/Mute)


“Gone are the lovely ladies from ‘Last Night’, replaced by the lonely little idiot,” declares Moby. In the wake of last summer’s club-worthy Last Night, Moby’s ninth studio record, Wait for Me, is startling in its sobriety. Moby’s intention in making Wait for Me is “to make something very personal, very melodic, very beautiful”; his success is no surprise. He is the Renaissance man of music, a master of sound for both the club and the bedroom (and by ‘bedroom’ I don’t just mean a sexy place). All in all, Wait for Me is beautifully crafted, full of gorgeous, heart-swelling melancholy, seeped with a vulnerability that his other albums lack.

Accompanying the sixteen-track album are two music videos: “Pale Horses,” a Sharpie-drawn cartoon by Moby, and “Shot in the Back of the Head,” courtesy of David Byrne. “Pale Horses” finds the ‘lonely little idiot,’ who appears to be just a little Moby alien, wandering friendless up to the moon, drawing into existence other little Moby aliens who melt when it rains. It’s like Harold and the Purple Crayon, but for adults. It’s really quite sad. If for no other reason, I recommend buying the album just to witness what Moby can do with a Sharpie.

August 9, 2009

This week's heavy hitters

The Phenomenal Handclap Band

The Phenomenal Handclap Band: Cute guys and gals from NYC with cool psychadelic love rock. Everyone sings so everyone wins, especially with two hottie-hot femmes at the front. Where do bands get girls who look like this (see also: Au Revoire Simone, the Plasticines, School of Seven Bells)? “Testimony” is great.

The xx: Four punky lookin’ Brits lay out subtly sexy but obviously cool songs like “Crystallised” and "Shelter.”

Cold Cave: Dark-wavey, 80’s industrial sound from Philly’s Wesley Eisold. Think Joy Division. Think black. Think good.

Air France: This summer's best music comes from two Swedish guys who make perfect pop. They’re the kind of songs that make you so happy you want to cry. See for yourself with “Collapsing at Your Doorstep” and “GBC Belongs to Us.”

Casiokids: The title of their blog (“Happyjokes”) says it all. These Norwegian popsters make catchy electro tunes with Norwegian names.

July 31, 2009

Remixarama



If you're reading this blog, you probably like music. And if you like music, you probably like remixes. And if you like remixes, you should visit HypeMachine. There are tons of cool songs that have been selected by the best music bloggers.

Also worth visiting is Muxtape. The site's not totally finished yet, but you can listen to some good up-and-coming artists.

ALL POINTS WEST

I'm checkin' out APW on Sunday, and can't wait. But why do all music festivals have to have all the greatest bands playing at the same time? How do you choose? It's a cruel joke to make me pick between Ghostland, MGMT and Coldplay. Thank God I can see Janeane Garofalo with no problems, though. I mean, that's why we're all going anyway. Jesus.

July 27, 2009

Black Moth Super Rainbow


Well, I am just obsessed with Go! Team's remix of "Twin of Myself" by Black Moth Super Rainbow. Go! Team makes such awesome remixes. Get the free download here.

July 26, 2009

Andrew Bird is great...


...because he rocks out in chapels. And because he's the most terrific whistler I've ever seen.

July 24, 2009

Cool Summer Bands

Rock it, pop it.

Thecocknbullkid- AKA Anita Blay of Britain. Sassy as hell. Check out "I'm Not Sorry" or "Clean Apart."

PNAU- Australian duo that makes the best feelgood dance jams. One of the guys is also in Empire of the Sun, which is just as awesome.

Miike Snow- Three Swedish guys, including the two who make up songwriting/production team Bloodshy & Avant (responsible for Britney's "Toxic." Just sayin'.) Great electropop. The remixes of "Burial" are brilliant.

The Hundred in the Hands- I seriously can't get enough of these people. Guy and gal from Brooklyn with apparently only two songs (or two versions of one song): "Dressed in Dresden" and "Undressed in Dresden." One's rocky, one's sexy-- both are addicting.

VEGA- Synthy 80's/future pop from Austin, TX. Listen to "All Too Vivid" or "No Reasons."

Deastro- 22 year old Detroitian who makes what RS calls "otherworldly space-pop." Yes please. "Spritle" is a fave, and there are great remixes to "Vermillion Plaza" floating around.

El Michels Affair- How could you not love ten white guys doing an entire album of Wu-Tang remakes?

Atlas Sound- Solo project of Bradford James Cox of Deerhunter. Another recent worthwhile solo project is Julian Plenti, aka Paul Banks of Interpol.

Class Actress- Dreamy new wave synth pop by way of Brooklyn. "Careful What You Say" and "Broken Adolescent Heart" are so good.

Norse Horse- Started in Korea, now in California. Innovative sounds with a cool name.

Warpaint- Wait, this isn't Cat Power? Sounds exactly the same. Works for me. "Billie Holiday" is lovely.

Les Sins- A "side-project" from a guy in South Carolina, who has another "side-project," Toro Y Moi, that is also fab.

May 9, 2009

5/4 Show Playlist

"Freedom is overrated." -John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice- Too Much Time
Bowerbirds- In Our Talons
Passion Pit- Moth's Wings
Still Flyin- The Hott Chord Is Struck
The Browns- Two of You
John Vanderslice- Fetal Horses
Papercuts- Future Primitive (Ruby Suns remix)
The Field- The More That I Do
Deastro- Vermillion Plaza
Moby- Shot in the Back of the Head
Jeremy Jay- In This Lonely Town
El Michels Affair- C.R.E.A.M.
Deastro- Spritle
Headlights- Market Girl (The Album Leaf remix)
Coconut Records- Saint Jerome
Winter Gloves- Smells Like Teen Spirit
Au Revoir Simone- Shadows
Andrew Bird- Not a Robot, But a Ghost
Deastro- Light Powered
Sufjan Stevens- Chicago (To String Remix by Jongalloway)
The Whitest Boy Alive- Inflation

April 27, 2009

4/27 Show

"Speak in silent tongues
Lies reflect the times
The ghosts and the shadows fill the living scene."
-Empire of the Sun

Sunset Rubdown- Idiot Heart
Headlights- Cherry Tulips (TJ Lipple remix)
Winter Gloves- Let Me Drive
Neko Case- People Got a Lotta Nerve
Moby- Shot in the Back of the Head
Jeremy Jay- In This Lonely Town
Clues- Remember Severed Head
Au Revoir Simone- Shadows
Bag Raiders- Shooting Stars
Au Revoir Simone- Sad Song
Empire of the Sun- Standing on the Shore
Grampall Jookabox- Ghost (Nobody remix)
Santigold- Shove It
The Presets- Girl and the Sea
Rafter- Salt
El Michels Affair- C.R.E.A.M.
Deastro- Spritle
Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (Landau 'Wake Up' remix)
The Twelves- When You Talk
Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal (DJ Doc Rok remix)
The Presets- If I Know You
Vampire Weekend- Ottoman
Of Montreal- If I Faltered Slightly Twice

April 20, 2009

4/20 Show

"I wish you the best, you snake." -Sunset Rubdown

Pelle Carlberg- I Love You, You Imbecile
Au Revoir Simone- Sad Song
Empire of the Sun- Swordfish Hotkiss Night
Winter Gloves- Let Me Drive
Neko Case- People Got a Lotta Nerve
School of Seven Bells- Iamundernodisguise
The Juan Maclean- One Day (James Curd remix)
The Decemberists- Sleepless
Sunset Rubdown- The Empty Threats of Little Lord
Pelle Carlberg- 1983 (Pelle & Sebastian)
Bloc Party- Your Visits Are Getting Shorter
Sparks- Good Morning
Deer Tick- Easy
Bag Raiders- Shooting Stars
Au Revoir Simone- Shadows
Bat for Lashes- Daniel
Suburban Kids with Biblical Names- 1999
Metric- Help I'm Alive (acoustic)
Sunset Rubdown- They Took a Vote and Said No
The Pink Mountaintops- Vampire
Miike Snow- Burial (Benny Blanco remix ft. Neon Hitch)

April 13, 2009

Playlist for 4/13 Show

"What's hurting me when I breathe?
Perhaps it's just mold on the ceiling?"
-Yeasayer

The National- So Far Around the Bend
Iron & Wine with Calexico- Dark Eyes
Hot Chip- And I Was a Boy From School
Yeasayer- Germs
Dirty Projectors & David Byrne- Knotty Pine
Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
White Rabbits- Percussion Gun
AmpLive- Video Tapez (ft. Del the Funky Homosapien)
The Presets- Girl and the Sea
The Whip- Frustration
Winterpills- Beesting
Alaska in Winter- Berlin
Plants and Animals- Bye Bye Bye
Empire of the Sun- Standing on the Shore
Ladytron- Ghosts
Cut Copy- Hearts on Fire
Datarock- Computer Camp Love
The Black Keys- Psychotic Girl
Tapes N Tapes- The Dirty Dirty (AmpLive Recession remix)
The Rolling Stones- Gimme Shelter (Streetlab remix)

April 7, 2009

4/6 Show Playlist

"Now that you feel, you say it's not real."
-The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Hot Chip- Transmission (Joy Division cover)
Tegan & Sara- Relief Next to Me
Passion Pit- Cuddle Fuddle
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart- Young Adult Friction
Miike Snow- Burial (Benny Blanco remix ft. Neon Hitch)
Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
Phoenix- 1901
Swan Lake- All Fires
Yeasayer- Forgiveness
Hercules & Love Affair- You Belong
Iron & Wine with Calexico- Dark Eyes (Bob Dylan cover)
Telekinesis!- Awkward Kisser
The Answering Machine- Lightbulbs (James Yuill remix)
White Rabbits- Percussion Gun
Ra Ra Riot- Ghost Under Rocks (Passion Pit remix)
Arcade Fire- Lenin
NASA ft. Spank Rock, M.I.A. & Santigold- Whachadoin?
Sleepy Sun- New Age
Jack Penate- Tonight's Today
Passion Pit- Sleepyhead
DieYoung & Noel Heroux- With Every Heartbeat
Bat for Lashes- Horse and I

April 3, 2009

Playlist for 3/30 Show

Andrew Bird- Anonanimal
Feist & Ben Gibbard- Train Song
Bat for Lashes- Daniel
Sigur Ros- Gobbledigook
Bon Iver- The Park (Feist cover)
Sparks- Good Morning
Beirut- Elephant Gun
Elvis Perkins in Dearland- Shampoo
Arms- Kids Aflame
Department of Eagles- Sailing by Night
Cat Power- Satisfaction (Rolling Stones cover)
Metric- Hardwire
The New Pornographers- These Are the Fables
Feist- One Evening
The Postal Service- The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Cat Power- I Don't Blame You
Bon Iver- Skinny Love
Sufjan Stevens- Chicago (acoustic version)
Wilco- Jesus, Etc.
Radiohead- Everything In Its Right Place
Stars- Window Bird

March 23, 2009

Playlist for 3/23 Show

Wavves- So Bored
Fever Ray- When I Grow Up (Lissvik version)
Coconut Records- Microphone
Empire of the Sun- Walking on a Dream
Thao- Bag of Hammers
Bloc Party- Talons
Empire of the Sun- We Are the People
The National- So Far Around the Bend
Late of the Pier- Heartbeat
The Twelves- When You Talk
Chairlift- Bruises
Post War Years- Black Morning
Cut Copy- Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
Feist & Ben Gibbard- Train Song
Bat for Lashes- Daniel
Thecocknbullkid- On My Own
Peggy Sue- Square Parts
Late of the Pier- Broken
Beirut- Mimizan
Sparks- Good Morning
Metric- Help I'm Alive (acoustic)
Dan Deacon- Snake Mistakes
Morrissey- I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris

March 14, 2009

Spring Break 2009: Nederland


Nederland, Colorado is famous for two annual events: The Nederland Music & Arts Festival, and Frozen Dead Guy Days. I was there for the latter. I came to Nederland with my college friend Taylor and her dad, who happens to be named Ned. Just for the record, Ned's name has nothing to do with the town of Nederland, but it did provide for some good jokes throughout the day.

Frozen Dead Guy Days (sometimes spelled 'Daze') has been celebrated in Nederland for seven years, basically to raise money to buy enough dry ice to keep a frozen dead guy frozen until next year's festival. The frozen dead guy is Bredo Morstol, a Norwegian man brought to Nederland by his grandson, who was soon after deported. To make a long story short, Nederlanders decided this was a cause they wanted to support, and would fund the effort to keep the body cryogenically frozen until he could be resuscitated in the future. The body is now kept in a shed, where it has been for ten years.

In celebration of Frozen Dead Guy Days, several activities take place, including coffin races, a look-a-like contest (the winner of which most closely resembles the frozen dead guy, of course), a pancake breakfast, a dance called "Grandpa's Blue Ball," a "polar plunge," where partakers swim in the freezing water, and a Rocky Mountain oyster eating contest. We came on Sunday, so we missed Saturday's festivities, which unfortunately meant missing the coffin races. I heard, though, that the winning team had a George Bush figure sitting in an American flag-wrapped coffin, pushed along by a team of Muslims. But Sunday means one thing to Frozen Dead Guy Days fanatics (and yes, they do exist)-- Rocky Mountain oyster eating contest.

The contest was held in the town's sole bar and grille, and was packed to the brim with people eager to see the contestants choke down buffalo balls. The star of the show was a blind man named Ray. Ray has won the look-a-like contest and the Rocky Mountain oyster eating contest for the majority of the years that the festival has been running. Ray, we were also informed by the event's MC (yes, there was an MC), is the town welder, whose welding business is called "Out of Sight." Ray also frequently visits Alaska, where he hunts, assists with airplane mechanics, and deep-sea dives. Don't forget that Ray is blind. Despite his record, Ray did not win the contest this year, and that felt like a shame.

I made a few unwise decisions during that trip to Nederland: going on Sunday instead of Saturday, ordering a tuna sandwich to eat as I spectated the eating contest. However, I did leave with a t-shirt that read in bold print on the front: "Frozen. Dead. In a shed." and Ned walked away with a bumper sticker that said "Neditate." So, all in all, I felt it was a positive experience, and if you ever find yourself around Nederland, I suggest you stop by and say hi to the frozen dead guy.

3/2 Show!

Death Cab for Cutie- Love Song (The Cure cover)
Swan Lake- A Hand at Dusk
Chad VanGaalen- Red Hot Drops
Land of Talk- Some are Lakes
The Rosebuds- Life Like
Yeasayer- Sunrise
Fredrik- Black Fur
Ray LaMontagne- Crazy
The Whitest Boy Alive- Burning
Great Lake Swimmers- Your Rocky Spine
Rogue Wave- Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
School of Seven Bells- Connjur
Winterpills- Beesting
Alaska in Winter- Berlin
Hercules & Love Affair- You Belong
Friendly Fires- Skeleton Boy (Air France remix)
DieYoung & Noel Heroux- With Every Heartbeat
TV on the Radio- Heroes (David Bowie cover)
Hot Chip- Transmission (Joy Division cover)

February 22, 2009

2/16 Show Playlist

Ratatat- Mirando
Rainbow Arabia- Holiday in Congo
Black Lips- Short Fuse
Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (White Sirens of Burr remix)
Max Tundra- Playboy (Hot Chip cover)
The Rapture- No Sex for Ben
The Rural Alberta Advantage- Frank, AB
Thieves Like Us- Drugs in My Body
The Brighton Port Authority- He's Frank (Slight Return)
Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
Matt & Kim- Silver Tiles
Harlem Shakes- Strictly Game
Marissa Nadler- River of Dirt
Woodhands- Can't See Straight
Vampire Weekend- The Kids Don't Stand a Chance (Chromeo remix)
Ruby Isle- White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes cover)
Tiny Masters of Today- Hey Mr. DJ (CSS remix)
Of Montreal- Id Engager (Mad Decent/Diplo remix)
Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (Streetlab remix)
Death From Above 1979- Sexy Results (MSTRKRFT remix)

February 10, 2009

Playlist for 2/9 Show

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti- Can't Hear My Eyes
Miike Snow- Animal (Crookers remix)
Loney Dear- Airport Surroundings
Thieves Like Us- Drugs in My Body
Rainbow Arabia- Holiday in Congo
Andrew Bird- Oh No
Bon Iver- The Park (Feist cover)
Francis + the Lights- Lime
Ratatat- Mirando
Woolfy- Oh Missy (Extended mix)
Faunts- Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
Black Lips- Short Fuse
Handsome Furs- I'm Confused
Beck- Bad Cartridge (E-Pro remix)
Beirut- Elephant Gun
TV on the Radio- Staring at the Sun
Andrew Bird- Anonanimal
Fever Ray- If I Had a Heart
TV on the Radio- Dancing Choose
Yeasayer- 2080
Fujiya & Miyagi- Collarbone

February 4, 2009

Show Playlist from 2/2

Swan Lake- All Fires
Handsome Furs- What We Had
Elvis Perkins in Dearland- Shampoo
Kings of Leon & Lykke Li- Knocked Up (remix)
The Decemberists- The Rake's Song
Fleet Foxes- Mykonos
Company of Thieves- Oscar Wilde
Bloc Party- Mercury (CSS Remix)
Bon Iver- Blood Bank
Animal Collective- My Girls
M. Ward ft. Zooey Deschanel- Never Had Nobody Like You
Ra Ra Riot- Ghost Under Rocks (Passion Pit remix)
Vetiver- Everyday
Vampire Weekend- The Kids Don't Stand a Chance (Chromeo remix)
The Rural Alberta Advantage- Frank, AB
Mystery Palace- Stepchild
The Brighton Port Authority- He's Frank (Slight Return)
Max Tundra- Playboy (Hot Chip cover)
Arms- Kids Aflame
The Rural Alberta Advantage- Don't Haunt This Place
Dirty Projectors & David Byrne- Knotty Pine
Emiliana Torrini- Me and Armini
Pale Young Gentlemen- Paper Planes (M.I.A. cover)

January 13, 2009

Covers, Dude

For whatever reason, I really like it when bands sing other bands' songs. I think it's fantastic. The art of covers is a tricky one, though, and coverers can easily go astray. The most surefire way to make a good cover, I've found, is to make it as different from the original version as possible. Ideally, the cover is so reimagined that, upon first listen, it is impossible to detect which song it really is. That is, until the lyrics betray it. Once this happens, once those famous words give it all away, the listener will be so struck by the wit and the gall of this new version that he can only shriek in delight. Most importantly, the cover is not just good because it is a new version of that one song, but because it is good in itself- it really works in its new form. You would listen to it even if it weren't a cover.
My ten favorite covers are (in no particular order):

1. Pale Young Gentleman: "Paper Planes" (originally by M.I.A.)
2. Dr. Dog: "Heart It Races" (originally by Architecture in Helsinki)
3. Jose Gonzalez: Heartbeats (originally by The Knife)
4. Jackie Wilson: Light My Fire (originally by The Doors)
5. Rachid Taha: Rock el Casbah (originally by The Clash)
6. Bright Eyes: Mushaboom (originally by Feist)
7. Feist & Gonzalez: Lovertits (originally by Peaches)
8. Cat Power: Satisfaction (originally by The Rolling Stones)
9. Hot Chip: Sexual Healing (originally by Marvin Gaye)
10. Ray LaMontagne: Crazy (originally by Gnarls Barkley)