August 29, 2008

She Keeps Bees//Focus, Stutter

[Local! Music! Friday!]
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Double L!M!F! today, since it's double the weekend! I'll be camping on Monday and unable to compute with the internets.


NYC-based She Keeps Bees is an amazing live show. They were kind enough to play the Palmyra CD release show at Flux Factory and, though I barely know them, I was overwhelmed by their genuine awesomeness as a band and their sincere kindness as human beings.


From their brand new album, Nests .


From their EP, Shhhh.

You can catch them at The LES Cakeshop on 9/18. And I strongly suggest that you do.

August 28, 2008

Arto Lindsay//Prefeelings

Arto Lindsay is a highly influential figure in a number of important music scenes. Lindsay was born in the land of Bossa Nova and Samba, came of age during Tropicalia, found his footing in Punk and went on to become a king of No Wave, with his progressive band, DNA.

Fast forward to his beautiful and strange solo career and you get tracks like this one, highly experimental while also weirdly accessible. Arto Lindsay is a hero to us all. Or at least to me.


Glitch out to this, Thursday.

The promises lovers make when it's too late.

August 27, 2008

Tears for Fears//Mad World

I love Tears for Fears. I had this Tears for Fears tape in my car. I think it was The Best of Tears for Fears. It was my absolute favorite thing to blast at full volume while driving around—especially Head Over Heals, because it always reminded me so much of that scene in Donnie Darko where those first big dramatic soundscapes overtake you.

Speaking of Donnie Darko, this song is featured prominently, although it’s a way slowed-down cover version done Gary Jules. That version has its merits, but the original is truly amazing.

Mad World.mp3

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Sounds like Wednesday to me.

August 26, 2008

The Zombies//This Will Be Our Year

Ryan taught me about The Zombies, one of the less notorious 60s British invasion groups. Sometimes they can be a little cheesy, but mostly their songs are just fantastic and lush. The arrangements are interesting, the songs are catchy, the harmonies are haunting and the analog depth of Colin Blunstone’s vocals is moving.

This Will Be Our Year.mp3

This song captures everything that’s mod about The Zombies and everything that’s great about being in a relationship. But don’t go trying to make it your song—because it’s already our song.

You can get The Zombies Greatest Hits here.

August 25, 2008

Janelle Monáe//Sincerely, Jane

Monday does make me feel like I am walking dead, but fortunately, this song is the perfect wake-up call—gritty and realistically grim as the lyrics are.

The friend who turned me on to Janelle Monáe described her as “the future of R&B” and I can certainly get down with that assessment, as well as this track (sorry for the corniness; it’s Monday). Monáe is more than really good; she’s also really weird. Good+Weird=Best Possible Combination, in my eyes.

Sincerely, Jane

Daydreamers, please wake up, we can't sleep no more.

August 22, 2008

Melting Moments//Saw You at the Party

[Local! Music! Friday!]
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

In honor of my Ann Arbor visit, I thought I would feature one of my favorite A2 local bands today. Melting Moments is Anna Vitale, Best Poet in Ann Arbor 2004? and Jason Voss, We’re Twins founder. Both Anna and Jason are also involved in WCBN, one of my favorite radio stations ever.

Melting Moments is a really fun band to see live. Anna’s awesome lyrics and fun casio beats paired with Jason’s tough indie guitar riffs always make their shows raucous dance parties. This song brings back many fond Totally Awesome House and Black Elk memories:

Saw You at the Party.mp3

Open the door for me because I’ve lost all my arms.

Go ahead and dance around; it’s Friday.

August 21, 2008

Fiery Furnaces//Slavin' Away

Yesterday, after work, I stopped at Other Music to see Fred and to drop off the new Palmrya record (s.s.p., sar). Sadly, Fred, who will undoubtedly get his own Local Music Friday feature soon, wasn’t there (he’s on tour with his new band City Center). Neither was the music buyer. So, what did I do? Browsed. And what does browsing at Other Music lead to? Spending money I shouldn’t be spending on AWESOME RECORDS. Oh yeah, that’s it!

On my browsing adventure, I noticed something amazing. Something that I was most definitely not expecting. That thing was a new 51-song Fiery Furnaces live album. YESSS!

I knew this was coming, but I didn’t know when. I’m so happy that the release date happened to coincide perfectly with my random OM stop.

I know I posted a Fiery Furnaces song last week, but this is just so cool that I’m going to get a little repetitive here. Forgive me, but they’re my favorite band!

I was extra excited to see this track, from Rehearsing My Choir, included. While I never got into what many of my friends have dubbed, “The Grandma Album,” this song is totally amazing live. I hope you’ll agree.

Slavin’ Away.mp3

I think the Furnaces are at their best live, so I would definitely recommend this glorious record. That said, this is a very unconventional live record (not surprising for this band). The songs are actually multiple recordings from multiple shows spliced together into coherent tracks (double unsurprising if you've ever caught one of their shows, or 13 of their shows--like me). As a result, you get the effect of wildly oscillating tempos and sound quality (some are straight from the board, some are pure bootleg). Pitchfork didn't like this, but that should just serve as an example of how out of touch they are. I think this technique, while totally unconvetional, is really playful and fun.

You can do what I did and buy the 6 disc LP of the 6 disc LP of Remember, which includes a code for a free digital download of album.
Although as per the directions on the back of the box, please do not attempt to listen to all at once.

Slavin’ away. All for you, my love.
And I’ve nothin’ to show for it.

August 20, 2008

Erase Errata//Thief Detests The Criminal

I wanted to get a little angry today. It’s Wednesday, but it feels like it should be Friday. Everyone’s working, but I feel like we should be rioting in the streets. Erase Errata—what could be more perfect?

I got really into EE in the early college years. This was the time of my life where my friends and I were forming a radical feminist collective called radigrrl. Yes, radigrrl. I am not joking.

Radigrrl’s mission was to “fuck shit up!,” which we did very well and very diy-style by defacing public property, volunteering at abortion clinics and making tshirts with stenciled-on depictions of sex toys.
Damn. We were crazy. And bands like EE, Sleater-Kinney, The Raincoats, Kleenex/Lilliput and Le Tigre were our soundtrack to kicking the patriarchy’s ass.

Fast forward to today and the whole thing seems like a quaint and funny jaunt down the memory lane of my sort of naive adolescent feminist awakening. Regardless, EE still knows how to fuck shit up!

Thief Detests The Criminal.mp3

I got the opportunity to see EE when living in London. It was a really awkward show, mainly because THEY all seemed really awkward and kinda crazy. Although, they still totally delivered the hard and fast punk sound I was expecting.

Last thing I heard, EE was on an extended hiatus. Unfortunate, because I doubt anyone could do what they do as well as them.

Make them count it out loud!
And then go back into the cold dark night!

August 19, 2008

Arms//Shitty Little Disco

I’m back from Michigan. It was awesome. We camped. Friends got hitched. I may have lost my digital camera forever. Ok, aside from that sadness, it was awesome.

We also drove around. A lot. Ryan and I made 5 mix CDs as soundtracks to our roadtrip. They were all really enjoyable and included many tracks from a recent obsession and Ryan tip-off, a band called Arms.

All their songs are really catchy and awesome. Here’s just one of their goodies:

Shitty Little Disco.mp3

You can get the whole album here.

August 14, 2008

Sufjan Stevens//Detroit, Romulus and Ypsi

So, here’s a 3-for-1 to wrap up to Michigan Week—and how appropriate that the final offerings are from Michigan native Sufjan Stevens’ 50 States project kickoff Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State.

These three songs happen to be some of my favorite tracks on the album, in addition to accurately representing the stops on the trip that I’m about to go on. I’ll be flying into Detroit (although the airport is actually in Romulus) and then heading to Ypsi for the wedding pre-party. The wedding itself will be in Kalamazoo, but unfortunately, there isn’t actually a Sufjan song about Kalamazoo. Sorry, kids.

Full title: Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head! (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)
A song about all Detroit’s wasted potential. People mover, bad decision.

This song has the ability to make me cry. Anywhere. Anytime.

For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti.mp3
Ypsi is a weird and depressing place. It has a very phallic looking water tower and is home to the famed Ypsipanty.

Michigan Fun Fact #4: The People Mover is an ineffectual public transit system that was built by Detroit in 1987. It loops around the city of Detroit, stopping mostly at major casinos. Nobody that I know has ever actually used it. It was rededicated during a 20th anniversary ceremony last year. Recently imprisoned and obviously corrupt mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was there to kick it off.

Say Yes! to M!ch!gan!

See you next week!

August 13, 2008

Matthew Dear//Hands Up for Detroit

What could be more Michigan than co-founder of Ghostly Records Matthew Dear’s blend of avant-pop and minimalist techno? Nothing. That’s what.

Ghostly was an Ann Arbor success story and institution— and one to really be proud of, like All Music Guide…or Zingerman’s. I’m not sure when exactly this song hit my consciousness, but I was definitely living in Ann Arbor and feeling the MI love. That worked out great, because feeling the MI love is what this song is all about. Although I still can’t figure out if the second lyric section is “our lovely city” or “I love this city.” Good thing it doesn’t really matter.

Put Your Hands Up for Detroit.mp3

UPDATE: The NYT just pointed out that Matthew Dear will be playing Santos Party House tonight. More info here.

Michigan Fun Fact #3
Michigan’s state animal is the wolverine, which is known for it’s wild ferocity.

Thanks to Ryan FG for the suggestion for today's post.

Put your mittens up for Michigan!

August 12, 2008

Fiery Furnaces//Benton Harbor Blues

Michigan Week continues!

Let me start out by saying that the Fiery Furnaces are my favorite band. By a long shot. Best band. Ever.

Now that that’s out of the way, I went with this song because it’s about a small and strange town on the westside of Michigan called Benton Harbor. I also really like this song. It’s one of my favorite Fiery Furnaces songs. Favorite band, one of my favorite songs, one of my favorite states. My, it’s all coming together.

I’ve only been to Benton Harbor once and it was by accident. Emily Bate and I were on tour together, in my crappy little two-door silver Hyundai. We were going to Chicago. All of the sudden, my car started making weird sounds and bopping around. I pulled off at Benton Harbor to see if someone could fix it. The shop took forever looking at it and Emily sat around ogling this lesbian mechanic. I can’t remember her name. Was it maybe Christine? Emily would probably remember. It was funny.
So finally they came back and said it would be 300 dollars and they wouldn’t get the part in for another 4 days.
“But we have to get to Chicago for a show TONIGHT,” I said--“fuck it.”
We got in the car and drove to Chicago. The car almost died in the middle of miles and miles of dead stop traffic on the Dan Ryan Expressway and we got to the show just barely in time. The next morning, I found someone in a shady Chicago neighborhood to fix it for 100 dollars in 2 hours. Now that’s service.
I realize this story doesn’t speak well for Benton Harbor. Maybe that’s why this song is called Benton Harbor Blues.

Benton Harbor Blues.mp3

There’s also a cool video.

I should say that not everything about Benton Harbor is bad. It’s really close to St. Joseph, which is where my super awesome friend Becky is from.

There are also plenty of good things about the Fiery Furnaces. You can find a lot of them here.

Michigan Fun Fact #2:
In New York, Coney Island is a strange and amazing amusement area in Brooklyn. In Michigan, a Coney Island is a fast food joint, where you can get breakfast or a late night snack. There are many different Coney Island chains (Leo’s Coney Island is one that comes to mind). They specialize in greek food and hot dogs. My favorite Coney item is the chicken finger pita. It is what it sounds like it is.

I rode my bike in the snow to the mini-mart. I thought of the ways that I've broke my own heart.

August 11, 2008

Devendra Banhart//Michigan State

Hey all you OSS readers, a little business before we start the week:

1. Ed Park, author of the book Personal Days and of Believer fame, gave us a shout out in his blog. Very cool. Thanks, Ed!
2. I’m going to be taking a few days off at the end of this week/beginning of next to attend a wedding and see some friends in the glorious state of Michigan. That said, no need to worry, as I will still be delivering the usual songs-to-days ratio for the week.

With all this in mind, I’m going to get a little theme-y in honor of that great mitten-shaped water winter wonderland that I used to call home. That’s right, friends: it’s Michigan Week. Lucky for you, this means you get a week packed with upper Midwestern creative inspiration combined with fun facts about that ever-pleasant peninsula! Let the games begin!

What could be a better track to kick it off with than Michigan State by Devendra Banhart?

I remember when I first heard this song. I had just moved in with Ali at Debs Co.op (named after labor leader Eugene V. Debs, of course) on East University in Ann Arbor. This was our first off-campus summer living situation—a big red house with 22 other college-age individuals and graffiti all over the walls left over from a previous tenant’s acid trip. Still, I was living with my best friend, my rent was cheap (under 400 dollar/month!), my extremely part time job covered all expenses+, my girlfriend’s house was a quick bike ride away and all my friends were “just hangin’ out” drinking cheap beer on porches all over town. Oh, the beauty of the simple Midwestern summer…

Ali and I made a joint mix tape that summer, mostly off of our combined record collection. This song made it on for a few reasons: 1. It’s awesome. 2. We were listening to it multiple times every day because this weird poem-to-music-on-a-broken-four-track jam spoke to our daily existence—lazy partying in the summer heat, pretty trips to pickerel lake and a whole lotta Michigan, Michigan State.

Michigan State.mp3

I don’t know much of what freak folk icon Devendra Banhart is up to these days, besides this crazy CELEBRITY GOSSIP!

Michigan Fun Fact #1:
In Michigan, people call liquor stores party stores. Use in a sentence: "I'm crusin' by the party store to pick up a few kegs for tonight's blow out." Seriously, Michigan, I love you, but WTF is up with that?

Oh, Michigan, Michigan State,
How I'd love to live in you.

August 8, 2008

A.P. Swearengin//Everynight

[Local! Music! Friday!]
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

I had the pleasure of playing a really lovely show with these guys last week at Goodbye Blue Monday.
We did an album trade after the show and this song has been breaking my heart ever since.


AP and his sister band are on tour for a week or so more (they're even playing a show in MI with former L!M!F! feature Matt Jones), so try to catch them if you can. You can hear more here.

August 7, 2008

The Carter Family//Single Girl, Married Girl

Sorry for all the sadness of yesterday. Today is better. The sun is shining and the roots of American folk music is in the air! Ok, it’s not really in the air up here in the NYC tri-state area, but I can dream that I’m sliding down some slippery rocks in the a cold Appalachian river, right?

The Carter Family was a legendary early country band that recorded between 1927 and 1956. AP Carter made it his mission to collect all the folk songs in the mountains of his Southwestern Virginia area and record them with his wife and sister-in-law, Maybelle Carter (godmother of country, inventer of the Carter scratch and portrayed in a movie I bet you’ve seen, Walk the Line—Maybelle’s daughter is June Carter.).

Like a modern band, this band has plenty of drama--but in their case, it was all family drama. I won’t go into all the details, but there’s a great PBS documentary that will, if you’re interested.

My interest in The Carter Family was piqued by Wisconsin Death Trip, whose awesome soundtrack draws heavily from the Smithsonion Folk Anthology, which is a totally amazing collection. I highly recommend both the movie and the box set.

This song is about how much more fun it is to be single than to be married, especially in impoverished Appalacia. Also worth noting, many of us speculated that the lyrics were “single girl, single girl/she wears a skinny tie.” Too bad, they’re actually not.

Single Girl, Married Girl.mp3

Married girl, married girl. She rocks the cradle and cries.

I’m right there with you, sister.

August 6, 2008

Pedro the Lion//June 18, 1976

It’s grey and I don’t feel so hot in more ways that one. Looks like sad bastard day today.

Here’s an uplifting track from Pedro the Lion about unwanted pregnancy and suicide.

June 18, 1976.mp3

I promise I’ll get happier as the week progresses.

August 5, 2008

Broadcast//Michael A Grammar

In the winter of 2004, I was encouraged by a few respected sources to purchase an album called HA HA Sound by a band called Broadcast. It was going to be the prettiest music I ever heard and it was going to knock my socks off. So I went to Other Music and bought the album. It was ok. I liked it. But I didn’t love it.

Fast forward to 2006 and I heard this music coming out of Ryan’s computer. Broadcast again, this time with sophomore effort, Tender Buttons. This is the one that knocked my socks off. This album is amazing. The songs are so sad, but so beautiful.

Here's one of my favorites:

Michael A Grammar.mp3

I'll change my hair but inside I'll stay the same.

August 4, 2008

Aphex Twin//Windowlicker

So, no one guessed what makes Window Dipper funny. It’s ok, I also hate participation. Aside from the obvious windows reference, and the obvious dip reference, here’s the final witty inside joke.

Aphex Twin is known for being THE quintessential creator of weird experimental ambient electronic music. While this isn’t really my thing, I love this song, which Ryan put on a mix for me quite some time ago.

There’s also this kind of obscene video:


It's Monday minimalism. Hell yeah.

August 1, 2008

Jib Kidder//Window Dipper

[Local! Music! Friday!]
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Sean SC, the awesome force behind the whirlwind of art and music that is Super Jib Kidder, once said his biggest fans were Sorority girls and homeless people.

Jib Kidder used to do these amazing, extremely colorful chalk drawings all around Ann Arbor (hence the fan base). One early morning, I got a call from him: “guess what I did all night?”
“What?” I asked.
“Chalk drawing under the arch! I’m going home to sleep now!”
He really made the walk through campus a lot more vibrant and engaging. And, because he made the genius decision to do all his public art in chalk, he could never be fined for graffiti or destruction of private property.

Luckily for us, the chalk drawings are just the tip of the now San Francisco-based Super Jib creative iceberg. Jib Kidder is also a prolific musician who’s recorded dozens of albums and for a short time ran an independent subscription based singles club.

Here’s a picture of one of Jib’s awesome chalk murals on the UofM campus and also one of my favorite Jib tracks, which is sure to charm hoards of office 9-to-5ers [insert Microsoft jokes here], as well as all the booty dancers in the crowd (now, I’m not saying there isn’t a possibility for overlap).

Window Dipper.mp3

Bonus: anyone who can name all the reasons this song title is funny wins my respect.
Actual Bonus: Jib Kidder’s got lots of tracks up for free here.

Crtl+Alt+Delete your week!