November 26, 2008

Pavement//All My Friends, Jackson Browne//I Am A Patriot

Who are you hanging out with on Thanksgiving? Don’t worry if you don’t have plans. You can come over to our place. After all, it’s Friends and Family Week here at OSS, so of course we set a plate for you.

I wish I was best friends with Stephan Malkmus. He’s like the crowned king of 90s indie rock.

Everybody’s going out tonight! Can I come? This song gets dark after a bit, but I love the first part because it reminds me of hanging out in Ann Arbor with all my friends and going to lots of shows.

All My Friends.mp3

Ok, so this song…I need to make a little concession here. While this song is amazing, the production values are pretty fucking terrible. It sounds like someone got wasted and spilled reverb all over this thing, which makes it intensely cheesy and again,

A lot of Jackson Browne sounds like this, but I love Jackson Browne! This is the man who wrote Running on Empty! This is the man who wrote These Days for Nico, and sang it way better than her.

The first time I remember hearing this song was at Morning Reflection at Frost Valley (the hippie summer camp I went to for 8 years of my life). Instead of prayer, Morning Reflection was a space for anyone to tell a story, sing a song or share something with the camp community (again, hippie camp—we also had activities like wellness, relaxation, meditation, simulations of the underground railroad and Herdstock, our own version of Woodstock, I SHIT YOU NOT). Someone covered this song and the 9 year old version of me was really moved. For that reason, it will always have a special, warm and fuzzily nostalgic place in my heart.

This song is about being the right kind of patriot. This means the kind of patriot where your country feels like your home and your citizens feel like your family. I think the recent election should help us take a step back toward this, at least I truly hope this will be the case.

I Am A Patriot.mp3

I want to be with my family,
People who understand me.

November 25, 2008

Modest Mouse//Wild Packs of Family Dogs, Golden Shoulders//Friends and Family

Only two days until Thanksgiving, guys!!!! You know what that means! It’s time to celebrate the things we are the absolutely most thankful for in this world. Now I know you know what that means!
I know what you’re thinking: “What’s that, g? It’s OSS’s medical marijuana week? It’s OSS’s shitloads of money week? It’s OSS’s vegan ho-hos week? It’s OSS’s micro-brew week? It’s OSS’s roller coaster week? It’s OSS’s tropical beach vacation abroad week? It’s OSS’s fine French cheese week? It’s OSS’s short-selling appreciation week? It’s OSS’s reckless gambling week? It’s OSS’s porn week? It’s OSS’s your mom’s prescription to vicodin week? It’s OSS’s European backpacking week? It’s OSS’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas week (Nope! But good idea!)? “
You guys are terrible with your vices. I’m so disappointed. Damn. Get your minds out of the gutter! Seriously. This is America. We’re wholesome here, in case you didn’t notice!

Without further ado: It’s Friends and Family Week here at OSS. And why is that? It’s because we love our friends and family the most. Even more than…er…medical marijuana. So for the next two days you get double the amazingly good friends and family –themed tracks (to make up for the four day weekend, which of course, we’re also thankful for) and we give them to you at the same rate as our friends and family. Which is everyone’s rate. Which is free. Because at OSS, you’re always valued like kin.

Whenever I think of Modest Mouse, I think of Michael Beauchamp, who is the kind of friend I consider family. This is one of my favorite Modest Mouse songs off of what is definitely my favorite Modest Mouse album, The Moon and Antarctica. It’s a weird and hauntingly beautiful composition about a roving and magically bizarre pack of wild dogs and a human family’s equally strange response to their loitering (Dad shoots, Sis gets eaten, Mom cries, Dad gets laid off and our narrator’s just waiting for the pack to take him away).

Wild Packs of Family Dogs.mp3

Golden Shoulders is a little band out of California that I became acquainted with through the State’s Rights’ Bro Zone Comp (which also features friend Super Jib Kidder). Their songs are really catchy and enjoyable--I would highly recommend. Even more auspiciously, this song is off an album called KIN—and they have another album called Friendship is Deep. Can you think of better representatives for our first Friends and Family Week? I can’t!

Friends and Family.mp3

All my friends and my family are
Remarkable people;
They are nothing like the creeps in this town.

November 21, 2008

Jens Lekman//Higher Power, Pocketful of Money and It Was a Strange Time in My Life

Ok, a disruption of the plan kept me from posting yesterday and will keep me from posting Monday too, so in lieu of a LMF (and in celebration of my trip today to the newly opened Red Hook IKEA), please accept these three truly stunning tracks from the King of Swedish Indie Pop, Jens Jekman.

I love Jens Lekman. No. I mean, I loooooooooove him. I actually once told a friend that if I were going to be super radical and have my own gender pronoun, it would be Jens. Is that creepy? I was mostly being flippant.

Oh! What an amazing combination of sweet sentimental pop, fantastic songwriting and modern sampling. I think you will become obsessed, if you're not already. I'm pretty sure this man cannot release bad music. As a testament to this, please find here three tracks from his three albums, all stunning:

Higher Power.mp3
from When I Said I Wanted to be Your Dog (2004)

Those violins? That french horn? That beautiful expressed nostalgia for young naive rebellious love? Oh, I melt.

Pocketful of Money.mp3
from Oh You're So Silent Jens (2005)

This is my favorite Jens song. Wow. It just has such a unique feeling to it, right down to the harmonized-over Beat Happening sample.

It Was a Strange Time in My Life.mp3
from Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007)

I like the samples in this track and the melody is undeniably strong. That said, the lyrics are really the the major hook here. This song has made me cry. Of course, there are those giant violins at the end to drive home the melodrama. They might help.

Chances are this will not be the last Jens post, as he has scores of worthy tracks, but I think this serves as a suitable introduction, to say the least. I also urge you to see this man live, if you ever have a chance. He delivers.

I'll leave you with this supremely cute video for Sippin' On Sweet Nectar, off his latest. Yes, he is actually flying that plane!:

I had a good time at the party,
When everyone had left.
I flirted with a girl
In sign language cuz she was deaf.

November 19, 2008


Chances are good that, by now, you’ve heard M.I.A. Paper Planes is an incredibly catchy breakout hit, which I loved at first, even if I’ve now heard it so many times that I have the urge to pull all my hair out with those opening sounds. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song…but did every A-C list rapper just HAVE to throw up their fly-est rhymes over it? EVERY ONE?

Let’s rewind—before Kala showed up to make everyone love M.I.A. (and make all you want to do is go—bang bang bang bang ca ching and take your money!), I was getting wasted with friends in ASquared while listening to Arular, which is a stellar album in its own right. Weird, but stellar.

Let’s not discount this track, in which we meet our heroine, who has roots in Sri Lankan activism and, fun fact, lives in my neighborhood (really?).


This is M.I.A.
Am I gonna run into you
On the A Train?

November 18, 2008

Lupe Fiasco//Gold Watch

James played this song for me yesterday on the way to work and it was INSTANTLY in my head.

I never really got into Lupe Fiasco, even at the height of my love for Kanye West (which, thanks to his obviously grotesquely inflated ego, has suffered a bit). But hey, I love Chicago (most of my favorite people are there!), so it only make sense that I would be down with repping Midwest in the hip hop dept.

Dude, this guy has serious flow. It’s like…amazing. I mean, the content is pretty flippant—a “my faves” list of modern American consumerism. But, at the same time, in addition to being shallowly clever, it’s put forth in a smart way. There are multiple nods to the complexity of our culture (socio-economically and artistically) and “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality that is so uniquely American. Lupe Fiasco, have you ever considered changing your name to Floratio Alger? Yeah, it’s cool. I didn’t think so.

Gold Watch.mp3

I like Mont Blanc pens and Moleskine paper.
I like Goyard bags and green Now-n-Laters.

Ok, Lupe. I’m with you on the Moleskine, but Now-n-Laters? Could there be a shittier candy?
Tuesday’s fly, rags to riches style.

November 17, 2008

Jorge Ben//Take It Easy, My Brother Charles

Sometimes you just need to calm the fuck down. I know I do.

Unfortunately, I think occasionally having an irrational freak-out is part of the human condition (unless you’re Meursault from The Stranger—nothing riles that guy’s feathers…but it might be because he’s a fictional Camus character meant to embody existential crisis…LOOPHOLE!).

Good thing for us, we have Jorge Ben , reminding us in Brazilian Portuguese with big, big swing to keep it cool. After all, being hotheaded doesn’t really get you anywhere, my brother Charlie. I wonder if Ben sang this song to himself throughout his plagiarism lawsuit with Rod Steward regarding, of all songs, “Do You Think I’m Sexy?”.

Take It Easy, My Brother Charles.mp3

Charlie, take it easy, my boy.
Take it easy, my friend.

Take it easy, my friend.

November 14, 2008

Tape and Wire//Teenage Pricks

[Local! Music! Friday!]

Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

Ok, if the Folk Implosion track from a few days ago was about wanting to grow up and get the hell out, this song is speaking to the exact opposite—it’s all about hanging on to that youthful feeling of fresh exuberance for life and no consequences. And that’s fun! Foils! Not just for high school English class anymore!

Tape and Wire is the band of friend (and…ahem!...colleague) Chris Avello. Here’s something I like about them a lot: they’re catchy, but you can feel the 90s indie aesthetic permeating from the music. Is it coincidence that what I always want to listen to next is Archers of Loaf or Unrest? This is downright respectable!!!

Teenage Pricks.mp3

Here’s what’s more: Tape and Wire play a rare show and release their album tomorrow night at Bushwick’s own indie institution, Goodbye Blue Monday. My band is also joining in the fun (sar, SSP!!!).
More info here.

FRIDAY! Like it’s 1994!

November 13, 2008

The Dodos//Walking

My friend Emily Elert (who has a science blog that you should read because a. it's amazing and b. you always wanted to know how metrocards worked!) referred me to this band and I am pretty much addicted now. The songs can be a bit hit or miss (definitely very eclectic), but I love this one and Fools.

The way this album sounds (in tandem with the fact that they’re from SF), I was ready to swear on someone’s grave that this band recorded at JV's Tiny Telephone. But I was wrong about that. The correct answer: Portland’s Type Foundry, which also has some tasty looking gear and an impressive client list, including the very recently aforementioned Decemberists and Spoon. Regardless, the outcome is a very nice sounding album with great analogy prod values. NERD. I know. I’ll shut up, so you can listen to this:


You can fight the fire that’s in your head.

November 12, 2008

Folk Implosion//Free to Go

Folk Implosion. Remember them? They had that weird hit called Natural One in the 90s. It had a really weird video. You were a little freaked out by it, but it also got stuck in your head.

Folk Implosion is awesome and Natural One is not even close to being their best song! This is their best song. It’s about being a kid and feeling like you have no agency in your life, and then the moment when you do have agency in your life—and how awesome that is. Don’t you remember?!

With sound so weird and songs so catchy, it’s no surprise that Folk Implosion (Lou Barlow and John Davis) has personnel ties to Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and Sentridoh.

Free to Go.mp3

Trapped in the backseat,
Stay on your side.
My hand out the window,
Feeling the wind rush by,
While my parents fight.

November 11, 2008

The Decemberists//Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect

I’m going to see The Decemberists tonight with some of my favorite people from work. It’s going to be awesome, especially because I’ve been wanting to see them and never getting to for years.

I first got into The Decemberists after spending hours tooling around on the free downloads section of Kill Rock Stars site. This section, sadly, seems to have disappeared. Sad, because it’s where I found countless golden free/rare mp3s from bands like Deerhoof, Numbers, Gossip, Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney and Erase Errata.

There were two free Decemberists songs up. One was this song and one was The Soldiering Life, off of their first two albums, which are probably their most stellar, in my opinion. Here’s a great case for a freebie driving a purchase, because after I downloaded and got addicted to these two songs, I immediately bought everything I could buy directly from KRS. It got to my house a few months before I moved to London (2003) and I’ve been a fan ever since. They were one of those bands I got excited about, putting them on mix tapes and trying to force my friends to buy their albums (this is a either an annoying or endearing trend for me). I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to see them live.

One reason I like the Decemberists is because Colin Meloy is a great songwriter; another is because they’ve got a great sound and ear for arrangement; and a final reason is because they have a lot of literary references. Excuse me, they’re called The Decemberists! And they have a song about Myla Goldberg!

Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect.mp3

The Decemberists play the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ tonight.

And just to lay with you
There's nothing that I wouldn't do,
Save lay my rifle down.

November 10, 2008


This weekend, Emily and I went to a riotgrrrl coverband show in West Philly. We wore our sunglasses. We were emotionally unavailable. How apt.

There was a Hole coverband (it was a loose definition of riotgrrrl). They played this song, and while I am not really a huge Hole fan, IT WAS RIGHTEOUS!!!!


When I went to school
In Olympi ya ya ya ya ya!

November 7, 2008

Emily Bate//Thunderclap

Sorry, guys! Due to general forgetfulness and Friday absence, it’s been a while. But we’re back with:
[Local! Music! Friday!]

Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

I get to hang out with Philly singer/songwriter and fellow IAJ mover/shaker Emily Bate this weekend! And that is so awesome, because it’s been months and she’s like, uh, the greatest. Of course, it only seemed apt that I give her a shout-out for this L!M!F!

I first met Emily sometime during my first year at UofM, while living in East Quad. I was very much in my own fully insane world at that time, and we didn’t really become friendly until later. Fast forward four years, and we were going on weird little tours/playing weird little shows, working together on her first “serious” release, Hiss and Hum and hanging out at this strange house in the Michigan woods. It was a pretty creative and productive time.

I’ve witnessed the intense morph and change of Emily’s style over the years and it’s been a wonder to behold. That said, what remains solid and stable is her song-writing, a sturdy foundation on which new and innovative layers of sound are poured. The music is playful, experimental in its use of rhythm, soundscapes and pacing, but also meaningful; the lyrics can stand on their own without much trouble at all.

Thunderclap is my favorite track of her latest album, The Fever in the Feast. I love everything about this song—the arrangement choices, the melody, the sweeeet breakdown…Also, I wouldn’t want to leave out a reference to how awesome the rest of the album is. No bad songs. Really. I highly suggest that you purchase it as soon as possible.


Final thought: this kid plays shows like it’s her job. Because it is?
She’ll be playing the inaugural house show at The 50/50 (yeah guys, that’s my house) on December 6. Details soon.

All we do is wail and moan
Cause we got broken, broken
And we been, and we been
And we been crying alone

November 6, 2008

Electrelane//Enter Laughing

I thought about posting this song up as a L!M!F! because one of my dearest friends in the whole world, Ange, is good friends with Electrelane’s Mia…but then the whole thing seemed a little starfuckery. And I wanted to post the song today, not tomorrow. Although on second thought, maybe my mention of the connection is a little starfuckery also. Oh well. Starfuckery be damned. So there.

This song is great. Vague personal connection aside, this band is great. I love their guitar tone and riffs. They’re extremely catchy. And not just here, but spread over every Electrelane song I've ever heard. These little guitar sub-melodies are an obvious strength in the composition and arrangement style.

Enter Laughing.mp3

I never told you that I
I've been looking out for you
I've been thinking about you
I could, I could, I could, I could, I could, I could,
I could not tell you.

November 5, 2008

The Violent Femmes//Old Mother Reagan, Creedence Clearwater Revival//Fortunate Son


In a celebration of contrast, here are two songs, one that references a less-than-loved-by-the-left American president and one that references shitty American class politics:

Old Mother Reagan.mp3 by The Violent Femmes
About Ronald Reagan —two thoughts: Iran Contra, War on Drugs. ‘NUFF SAID!

Fortunate Son.mp3 by CCR
About David Eisenhower, who was thought to have received preferential treatment due to his family ties and marriage to Nixon’s daughter.

Now, let’s not do that again!

November 3, 2008

Ghostkeeper//Mr. No Show

Oh man. Monday is frantic, in more ways than one.

This song kind of matches my Monday. A little frantic sounding, the lyrics about life being a little disappointing. At least the song is also poppy and fun. My Monday doesn’t have that goin’ for it.

This band is from Canada and they are awesome. This is off their debut album (Thanks, Chris), which is good, through and through. Also, fun factoid: Ghostkeeper’s lead singer’s last name is actually “Ghostkeeper.”

Mr. No Show.mp3

I’m waiting here
Because you said for me to meet you here,
In the coffee shop.