September 30, 2008

Shugo Tokumaru//Green Rain

So, I guess people are calling this guy the Japanese electro-ier Sufjan Stevens. I don’t know about that, but I am obsessed with this song, as well as many of the others I’ve heard. The sounds are amazing. And Shugo apparently plays most (or all) of the instruments himself.

AND DUDE, the bass/bassline in the song is FUCKING AWESOME. Seriously, listen to that shit!

Green Rain.mp3

Also, is this not some of the most adorable album art you have ever seen?

Shugo Tokumaru is on tour with one of my very favorite bands, The Magnetic Fields, at the moment. NYC show is 10/22, Jersey City Lowes Theater is 10/23 (I originally decided not to go to this one, but Mr. Tokumaru’s inclusion may sway me otherwise, as long as I’m back from California in time—damn vacations?). Learn more here.

One Sweet Song is not your father’s J-Pop.

September 29, 2008

Fields of Industry//Point of Contention, I'm Not Afraid of a Fight

[Local! Music! Friday! Monday!]
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?
Sorry that I was lax on Friday. It was a little crazy and I missed my regularly scheduled posting AND Local Music Friday. To make up for it, I’m giving you a double header of "local music" today with Local Music Friday Monday.

Fields of Industry, besides just being a really great name for any artistic project, is my friend Josh’s band. They’re great. This video is also great because of all the friendly faces I can see it in:

Point of Contention [SD version] from Arts vs. Entertainment on Vimeo.

Point of Contention.mp3

I’m Not Afraid of a Fight.mp3

More from Fields of Industry here.

Monday; this is a point of contention.

September 25, 2008

Matthew Friedberger//Bet You Don't!!!

Matthew Friedberger is half of my favorite brother/sister duo and also most likely crazy. Or on drugs (my guess: speed+hallucinogen cocktail). While this is pure speculation on my part, I can’t imagine anyone in their “right” mind being able to produce the kind of sounds and lyrics that this man manages to conjure up.

Friedberger, who released a double solo album in 2006 to keep from getting bored while waiting for Eleanor to be ready to make another FF album, concocted a glorious disc of noisey weirdness and another glorious disc of poppy weirdness. He mixed the album with the music high and the vox low, so that it sounded like listening to it in a car in the summer time (which is super annoying, if you do happen to be listening to it in a car). Regardless, this idea tugs at my heartstrings, as I believe this is prime music-listening space.

Bet You Don't!!!.mp3

I got a broken and contrite heart.

September 24, 2008

Stereolab//Cybele's Reverie

Today is Ali’s birthday! Happy birthday, Als! Sorry though, I didn’t get you anything except for this blog post. I hope we can still be best friends forever (I know we can).

Stereolab is Ali’s favorite band. That’s probably why I started seriously listening to them. Sound Dust was my first review assignment for the Michigan Daily and when I said, “I don’t know much about Stereolab, but I got the new album early. Are they any good?,” Ali kinda freaked out. I’m glad she did. Stereolab is fucking awesome and they also win the prize for having the best song/album titles ever. Here are some of my favorites: Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements, “International Colouring Contest,” “Nihilist Assault Group," “The Noise of Carpet” and "Ticker-tape of the Unconscious.”

This song is from my favorite album, Emperor Tomato Ketchup. This song is also REALLY REALLY good live.

Cybele's Reverie.mp3

Also, here is a very old and very funny picture of Als with The Hatchet in her mouth. Hahaha:

Oh Als, I'm so glad you're alive.

Childhood is very nice.
Childhood brings magic.

September 23, 2008

The English Beat//Save It For Later

I recently found some video of my Uncle Ben dancing around with a 2-year-old version of me to this song. Then, a few years ago, I found the record in my dad’s basement and stole it (shhhhh).

Guess what? It’s still totally fun to dance around to this song.

Save It For Later.mp3

Sooner or later
Your legs give way, you hit the ground

September 22, 2008

Juliana Hatfield//Fleur De Lys

I remember vividly when I bought this Only Everything by Juliana Hatfield. I was probably about 16. I bought it in a used record store in Columbia, MO. I picked it up and thought, “what’s with the colorful buffalo?” I was there with my Dad. I also bought Hope Chest by the 10,000 Maniacs (an album I still LOVE without any reservation about how nerdy it makes me seem) and a Grant-Lee Phillips album that I never listened to (Buffalo theme, anyone?).

I love Juliana Hatfield. Her lyrics are pretty overwhelmingly cheesy and bad, but I still love her. Her voice is so weird. Her sound is so 90s Pacific Northwest grunge. This song is perfect because the lyrics are all in French, so you can’t really tell how bad the words are they are. Oh my god! I’m wearing a flannel!

Fleur De Lys.mp3

Où habitez-vous? Chez qui? Peut-être à la fin du siècle, vous m’aimerez. Je peux jouer. Jouer! Jouer!
(Where do you live? In which house? Maybe at the end of the century, you’ll love me. I can play. Play! Play!)
<--This is my personal translation, so it could be slightly wrong, but see how bad her lyrics are?
Maybe I should have just written, “Hey. Can I get some bass?”


September 19, 2008

The Breeders//Walk It Off

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

Ok. The Breeders aren’t exactly local music, I know. Kim Deal’s been around kicking out the jams since I was a two-year old. Nope, it’s not the music that’s local—it’s one of the stars of this hilarious video. Bonus: this also happens to be one of my favorite new songs from the new album, Mountain Battles.

Enter Denae (DNA), my dear, dear friend and also the cute girl bike messenger making the hilariously DNA face in this video! Als gave me the heads up that DNA was in here (I’ve already forgotten the story of how this happened—my brain=sieve).

Or watch the Fancy Official One.

Walk It Off.mp3

One of my most-loved, most-hilarious DNA memories is from an epic roadtrip we (Kot, Annie, DNA and I) took to Toronto during my sophomore year of college. It was right after I broke my knee, so I was hobbling around Canadian Big Dumb Gay Town crutches, getting my picture taken next to rainbow handicap signs. Anyway, much hilarity ensued (I believe we went there to see a Tori Amos concert, stayed in a strange hotel where “Er What is Dead, God Killed Him” was born, consumed much “homo” milk, drank at a weird bar and spent a few nights with Andy Stochansky’s chronically pot-smoking tour manager). The best part was that on the way home, Kot and DNA, who has purchased a pack of naked men playing cards in a queer novelty shop, insisted in jamming the cards all along the car windows. Countless families driving home from their Canadian vacations were assaulted by full frontal gay male nudity. “HONEY—DON’T LOOK!”

Since I don’t have that awesome rainbow handicap picture anymore (a casualty of laptop theft 2003), please enjoy my other favorite picture of DNA, from post-robot party 2004:

Oh, what a world I’ve just opened by allowing videos into L!M!F!s! What excellent clips await!?

Now the singer gets laid. And the drummer gets paid.

September 18, 2008

White Magic//Poor Harold

My friend Ange really likes this band. That’s how I found out about them. Ange, who is in the top tier of people I adore, was in town last weekend, which in addition to reminding me how much I miss Angelina on a day-to-day basis, also reminded me to listen to this band.

I think that this band, because of how they sound and because of their name, reminds me of some witchy medieval stuff. Actually, I think if you were looking for a band to listen to while looking at a unicorn tapestry at the Cloisters, White Magic would be that band.

Poor Harold.mp3

White Magic plays the Knitting Factory tomorrow night (9/19)!

Poor Harold, works all night…

September 17, 2008

Smokey Robinson//Tears of a Clown

This song features quite possibly the best combo of rhythm section and line I have ever, ever heard.

Tears of a Clown carries a lot of emotional weight for me, because it’s one of the songs that I vividly remember dancing around the living room to with my dad. My dad was pretty into Motown and, when you’re six years old, there’s not much that’s as fun as manipulating lyrics to Supremes songs and running wild in your house to the soundtrack of The Reverend Al Green. SOUL!

Bonus, King of Motown, for your Pagliacci reference.
Also worth nothing, Robinson seems to sing about tears quite a bit. Maybe he was just really sad?

Tears of a Clown.mp3

Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there’s no one around

September 16, 2008

Dabrye//We've Got Commodity

Another Ghostly International genius, Dabrye (aka Tadd Mullinix) is some damn fine electro-jazzy lounge stuff.

When I moved to A2, Ali (who might also be known as a personal editorial force for IDM and minimalist electronic) introduced me to his smooth but syncopated sound. It’s not often that an artist of this caliber also plays an on-campus digital media and art fest, but that’s exactly what happened my freshman year. This lead to a really annoying girl we knew (who we called savory, for reasons I will not explain) saying in a really annoying voice, “TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADD’S HEEEEEEEERE!” Beyond that, the whole thing was awesome.

You also may know Dabrye from the below Motorola commercial, despite his often subversive song titles.

We've Got Commodity.mp3

Tadd’s here.

September 15, 2008

Used To Be Women//How Was I To Know

Karl brought me the blessing and the curse of this song last week (thanks, Karl).
The blessing: it sounds like 90s indie awesome. The curse: it sticks in your head for days on end.

Used to be Women (best name ever or worst name ever?) Used to be Michigan. But they now live in Brooklyn and “work hard for their money.”
The lineup includes an entertaining acquaintance and performer, Gregory Stovetop. Apparently there’s also some kind of Awesome Color connection.

How Was I To Know.mp3

I didn’t care, so I didn’t try.

September 12, 2008

The Pussy Pirates//Stickboy Lullabye

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

It’s Expletive Week, motherfuckers!!!
What does that mean? That means a week of totally offensive songs!

The Pussy Pirates fucking rule! In all ways possible!

Take it from the Chicago Reader: " If you can get past their name, these five women (four from Ann Arbor, one from Chicago) might just charm your socks off. They all play the part of the tough girl, with stay-the-hell-away hairdos and curled upper lips, but their punchy doomsday horn punk brims with love, spirit, and humor."

Gabbie and the rest of the crew are, beyond just being punkrock badasses, really neat people, who I’m always happy to run into in and around Chicago and Ann Arbor. Not to mention, now she’s all 30-under-30 famous.

Stickboy Lullabye.mp3

Expletive Fact: #5: According to The Urban Dictionary, a “pussy pirate” is a lesbian; a dyke. But, as you’ll see, our girls also have an entry there.

Yesssss! Pussy Pirates play Trash Bar in Williamsburg on Monday. More info here.

September 11, 2008

American Analog Set//Punk as Fuck

It’s Expletive Week, motherfuckers!!!
What does that mean? That means a week of totally offensive songs.

This song is called Punk as Fuck but it sounds more like Sad Bastard as Fuck. Partially, my extreme affinity for it comes from it’s hilarious name. And that fact that I secretly envision myself to be Punk as Fuck, especially if being Punk as Fuck can sound like this.

I love this band. They are so pretty and depressing. I was always surprised that they didn’t blow up.

This song is another Ali mixtape find, as many of the best songs are.

Punk as Fuck.mp3

Expletive Fact: #4: Punk as Fuck has 3 separate (equally hardcore) definitions in the Urban Dictionary.

Leave me to die in the comfort of my own home.

September 10, 2008

Hot Hot Heat//Oh, Goddamnit

It’s Expletive Week, motherfuckers!!!
What does that mean? That means a week of totally offensive songs.

When I started working for The Michigan Daily, I was in a beautiful sea of incoming free review copies. Hot Hot Heat’s Make Up the Breakdown was one of the albums that found its way to my dorm room in a manila envelope that I actually loved (most things, I panned). Hot Hot Heat is hipstery (in a world where “hipster” was just starting to enter everyday lexicon) for sure, but for rocky, dancey fun, these guys deliver.

Oh, Goddamnit is all about that moment when you realize you fucked up. And that moment always warrents an expletive.

Oh, Goddamnit.mp3

Expletive "Fact": #3: “Goddamnit” gives you double curse word points, since not only are you calling for something to be damned, but additionally using the Lord’s name being in vain.

Oh, goddamnit. I think I lost it.

September 9, 2008

Broken Social Scene//I'm Still Your Fag

It’s Expletive Week, motherfuckers!!!
What does that mean? That means a week of totally offensive songs!

Canadian music collective phenomenon Broken Social Scene sure makes some pretty music. And you know it’s really pretty because it’s still pretty when it’s employing what used to a top gaybashing term.

I’m Still Your Fag turns the expletive around, making the word a sweet endearment, rather than a potential hatecrime threat. Of course, the fact that the song is about some in love closeted gay men doesn’t hurt.

I’m Still Your Fag.mp3

Expletive Fact #2: Fag may refer to: a British colloquialism for cigarette; a junior boy who acts or acted as servant ("Fagging") to a senior boy at a British independent school; or Faggot (slang), an American pejorative word or slur for a homosexual, especially a man, or for men who are judged to be "unmanly", weak or effeminate; in modern usage the word can be used as a general insult irrespective of sexuality or gender.

I swore I drank your piss that night to see if I could live

September 8, 2008

Liz Phair//Fuck and Run

It’s Expletive Week, motherfuckers!!!
What does that mean? That means a week of totally offensive songs!
And what better way to kick it off with than with Liz Phair, a musician who used to write offensive songs and who eventually actually became an offensive individual?

Yes, Liz Phair totally sucks now. No one in 90s indie has managed or aspired to sell out quite as disgustingly as she has. Despite her recent attempted Lindsay Lohan-ization and entry into bland momhood, back in the Matador days, she was one crazy bitch who wrote many filthy songs.

Fuck, let’s face it, I probably could have put any Liz Phair song up here. There really isn’t a single one that doesn’t have some kind of curse word, describe some depraved sexual situation or throw a middle-finger up at the world . I remember when I first started listening to her in high school and I realized just what I was dealing with. It took a few spins to figure it out, but eventually I noticed—“Is that really what she just said!? OH MY GOD.”

When I was 16, I worked at my summer camp in the barn, tending horses and giving riding lessons. CD selection in the barn boombox was a much coveted position. Fortunately for me, a coworker and I were on the same page regarding our love for Liz Phair. We’d pop Exile in Guyville into the tray and crank it up, reminding each other that one of us would absolutely have to run back and skip “Flower” the second it came on, lest unsuspecting little children be in hearing range of Phair’s guttery filth. Loves it.

So, without further delay, I present the first selection of Expletive Week; a song about shameless promiscuity, emotional void and (perhaps too-young) one night stands.

Fuck and Run.mp3

And now....

Expletive Fact #1: While true etymology is almost impossible to trace, the word fuck has probable cognates in Germanic languages, such as German ficken (to fuck); Dutch fokken (to strike, to beget); Norwegian fukka (to copulate), and Swedish fokka (to strike, to copulate) and fock (penis).

I want all the stupid old shit; letters and sodas.

September 5, 2008

Seven Chakraz//Glitter Wars

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

The 7Cs are close friends of close friends, and for this, I am glad—because I may have never heard them otherwise. Before I heard the music, I was definitely skeptical. What kind of a name is Seven Chakraz? Seriously.

MY BAD. The 7Cs are easily one of the most fun live acts I have seen. In addition to just being totally sweet people, all the Chakraz have mad SKILLZ—although I have an admitted bias toward Nikki P’s amazing voice, flow and presence. While this is a little evident in my track selection, it’s not meant to discount from the talent of the other members. They all have distinctive styles and strengths that balance well in recordings and on stage.

Whether you’re hanging out on the Nick and Kirsten’s porch drinking a forty or hanging out in the Blind Pig drinking an Old Style, 7Cs do not disappoint.

Glitter Wars.mp3

You can hear more tracks highlighting live performances and all the members here.

Raise a PBR to the weekend.

September 4, 2008

Eels//Novocaine for the Soul

I’m genuinely surprised this hasn’t come up yet--this being my Jon Brion obsession. I think Jon Brion is the Jesus Christ of producers. I think he is better than Jesus Christ. I think he is King Midas .

Honestly, this man probably produced most of your favorite albums. He definitely produced most of mine. His impressive list of clients and collaborators includes Elliott Smith, Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright, Evan Dando, Kanye West, Spoon. Fiona Apple, Rhett Miller. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also done tons of solo and soundtrack work (remember Eternal Sunshine? That as him).

Ahem ahem. Now that I got that off my chest, we are not actually gathered here today to discuss the esteemed JB. On the contrary, I want to post a song by one of his collaborators, Mark Oliver Everett AKA A Man Called E AKA Eels.

I came to this band too late, but I still appreciate their lush and varied sound. This song is a sprawling mess of glorious…which is also what I feel like today. Novocaine for the Soul: I could definitely use some.

Novocaine for the Soul.mp3

Guess who’s living here with the great undead.
This paint by numbers life is fucking with my head.

September 3, 2008

Andrew Bird//Heretics

This song makes me feel like a fool. Here’s why: I spent years…YEARS…talking shit about Andrew Bird. Think: “What’s with everyone being in love with Andrew Bird? Isn’t he just another asshole who uses loop pedals too much on stage?” or “Why are you so obsessed with that dude? I definitely don’t see the appeal.”

Turns out Andrew Bird is actually amazing and now I’m eating my words. This song, with it’s incredible lyrics, beautiful songwriting, stellar instrumentation and flawless recording quality, made me see the light. Now I’m hopelessly hooked on this album, Armchair Apocrypha.


Now that I drank the kool-aid, I’ll definitely be trying to catch the talented Mr. Bird a one of his upcoming October shows at Hiro Ballroom, which also happens to be one of my very favorite venues (good taste, again).

Also worth noting, the above Kali-like depiction of Bird is by talented artist Norman Dapito. You can see more of his work here.

Thank god it’s fatal.

September 2, 2008

Dialated Peoples//This Way

This jam is all about recognizing the things that are bringing you down in life and getting rid of them. It’s also about enduring. I think the Tuesday after a long weekend is all about enduring too.

This song came to my attention via one of the alt hip hop gurus in my life, my friend Angie. Angie gave me a lot of mix tapes and this song was my absolute favorite on one of them. It’s got classic Kanye West production and some fucking awesome rhymes. It also came at a time in my life when I needed a positive voice of reform. Quite frankly, this sentiment is one that I think we could all use to hear as much as possible.

This Way.mp3

We sayin' the same thing like a synonym.