August 31, 2009

Electric Tickle Machine//Part of Me

Pop Mail: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Jessie Hector at Goldest Egg writes

Electric Tickle Machine's debut album, Blew It Again (out in October) relishes in the magic moments between cynicism and forgetfulness where surrender makes imperfection a blessing. Recorded in 14 days in the winter of 2009 by Matt Boynton (Gang Gang Dance, Vietnam, Bat For Lashes), the record delivers hooky anthems bathed in organic layers of psychedelic fuzz.

Weirdly, I can’t find much more information about this band on the internets, so maybe they just prefer to remain mysterious.

I like this song because it’s catchy and a little weird. It’s not really psychedelic, but there are mild tinges of it in the production values. It’s light and funny and a little snarky. The lyrical content and that keyboard sound conjure the occasionally enjoyable one trick pony, The Dandy Warhols. It’s hard for me to say if ETM has more range to offer, but hey, if this is it, at least we got to jump around with a smile on our faces.

From what I can tell, ETM is a New York band. You can learn (a little) more here, including that you can go see them at The Market Hotel on Sept. 26.

On a final note, I think we must be getting really desperate as a society that we have to start naming our bands things like Electric Tickle Machine. The world is definitely going to end really soon.

Part of Me.mp3

Everyday we get a little more invisible,
No heads are turnin’ when we’re walking down First Avenue.

August 28, 2009

Alex Greiner//Dans, Afrikaans

Dutch in New Amsterdam, Local Music Friday.
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

It's kind of interesting that Alex Greiner's track is called "Dans, Afrikaans," because I went to see District 9 last night with A. and it's given me a lot of cause to think about South Africa and those Dutch. First you're watching an intensely graphic and disturbing conceit about apartheid in the form of a major Hollywood blockbuster, and the next thing you know you're listening to an experimentally sprawling ballad named after the form of Dutch spoken in the setting of the movie. Life's so weird, huh?

I don't know Alex super well, but he came to a 50/50 show a while back and introduced himself. He's not hard to remember, because he has quite a mustache (see below). When he expressed interest in a show, I checked out his myspace and enjoyed his music, featuring innovative vocals and a lot of thoughtful instrumentation. I think you will too.

Dans, Afrikaans.mp3

Alex plays The 50/50 tomorrow night.

August 27, 2009

Dirty Projectors//Cannibal Resource, No Intention

Loves. I'm really sorry but I didn't get OSS done yesterday because my waking hours severely got away from me. Ever have one of those days where you're not exactly sure what you did with your time, but before you know it, it's getting dark. Yep, that's what happened. Still, I hate when I fail you, whoever it is you are.

One pretty fantastic thing about yesterday was that I got to DJ with Pat at Lucky 7 in Jersey City and it was SO MUCH FUN. Playing records and drinking for free--sign me up.

Anyway, switching gears, since I missed a day I'd like to make it up to you with two jams today from the album I became obsessed with basically overnight, The Dirty Projector's Bitte Orca.

I think finally deciding to listen to this band is a great example of Gladwell's Tipping Point theory. Here's what happened:

1. I heard the Dirty Projectors in a variety of places over the last few years. On comps, webisodes, ect. I saw their name on fliers. I didn't think much of them. There are a lot of bands in the world.

2. Various press outlets freaked out about Bitte Orca.

3. My friends in Chicago told me to check out Bitte Orca.

4. Finally, I had dinner with Scott a few nights ago. We were bemoaning the death of "the album." He asked, "what was the last album you heard that you liked through and through?" I answered with a few recent albums I really liked. He said, "Well, I guess I like Bitte Orca all the way through." Case closed.

And hey, it's worth it. This band is weird, because they sound exactly like themselves (in this way, I keep thinking about the Fiery Furnaces, who also sound exactly like themselves). How do you categorize this music? Into what genre does it fall? I have no idea, but the extreme originality of the sound and composition lets me forgive the occasionally ridiculous and bad lyrics that are peppered throughout the album (alongside some that are quite interesting and profound, to be fair). And the hooks, which you can't even tell are there at first, get into you, so that you wake up with them in your head in the morning. No joke--it happened to me.

Cannibal Resource.mp3

No Intention.mp3

<--These MP3s disappeared because copyright owners weren't into it.

I think you're more than a terrified witness
Behind the arbitrary line.

August 25, 2009

Destroyer//English Music

Once I played Destroyer for my dad and he was like, “Oh. It’s David Bowie circa Hunky Dory.”

OK, dad, you’ve got a point. But I still love the biting lyrics and meandering pop of what is basically Dan Bejar’s solo project (he’s also in The New Pornographers). His albums vary in arrangement and orchestration, but are, in my experience, always good.

Andrew gave us Destroyer on the same ridiculous weekend in Toronto when we discovered The Hidden Cameras. Am I really going to be able to resist a dude from Vancouver who has a song called “Farrar, Straus & Giroux”? No. I’m not. And I’m also not sure I’ve ever wanted to visit Canada’s Pacific Northwest more than I do when listening to Destroyer.

On top of all that, this album is really so fucking good through and through that it’s extremely difficult for me to select just one song for you. I keep changing my mind. After my fourth period of FTP switch, I’m going with the old reliable “English Music,” because that’s what this blog is all about: old reliable. The song that never fails you.

English Music.mp3

Everyone has got a finder's fee.
Find something difficult to do and do it
Your English music, write your English music,
Write your English music, run free!
She tasted of the Christmas wines and said,
So many things have run through me.
I know
The altar boys, they just want to do me,
And that's fine.
You gotta have faith.

August 24, 2009

My First Earthquake//Outta The Band

A letter you may have already read, this time with Lisa Frank unicorn stickers all over it: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Ok, Josh at Fanatic, you got me. You filled my inbox with my not-so-covert kryptonite/dirty little secret music: the post-modern and more irreverent riff on the original “serious” Riot Grrrl movement or a pop take on grittier garage rock. These are the Boyskouts and the Metrics and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs of the world. This is more like riot-girly than Riot Grrrl, but you can hear the influence and appreciate that a song like “Outta the Band” couldn’t exist without a band like Sleater-Kinney or a song like their own “You’re No Rock and Roll Fun.” Even so, “Out of the Band” gets pretty damn tongue-in-cheek, not just toward popular music, but also to the feminist band that the lead singer defects into after refusing a boob job. What I’m trying to say here is that while Corin Tucker does Betty Freidan proud, it seems more like Rebecca Bortman’s writing fan mail to Candace Bushnell...and that’s mostly fine with me. Sure, I’d rather watch an obscure feminist Czech New Wave film, but I’ve been known to enjoy the odd episode of “Sex in the City.” Oh my, I’m mixing my media metaphors.

Josh writes:

After racking up a cool 40,000+ views of “Cool In The Cool Way,” its ode to hipster body snatchers, San Francisco’s My First Earthquake has dropped “Outta The Band” the latest single and video from its popular full-length debut, Downstairs, produced by Anthony Molina of Mercury Rev.

Ok. So “Cool in the Cool Way,” which references the oft-remembered and much-beloved 80s kid snap bracelet meme, might be a little too cool for me. But “Outta the Band,” with it’s witty lyrics and it’s simple not-quite-punk fuzzy guitar progression, suits me fine. This goes out to all the girls who got kicked out of the tree-houses of the boys for wearing their leopard print snap bracelets. Or something.

Outta the Band.mp3

Knew it was the final straw,
Wouldn’t hold the lollipop
At the photoshoot last week.
Well, I have found a better band,
One that don’t require men.
All our songs are about the body politic.
All our songs are covers
And we all have multiple lovers
And we’re called The Beckys.

August 21, 2009

The Ultra Death Men//Pizza Tower

1+1+1=3, Local Music Friday.
Tell me...what is this Local Music Fridays?

You probably never thought you'd hear anything mathy here on OSS, but prepare to have your mind blown like it was when you got placed in that advanced Calculus class that turned out to be way over your head senior year of high school.

Today was the third full day of Palmyra recording this week, which meant lots of hangout time with Karl, Kenny, Sean and Jon. Well, this gave me the idea to feature Sean and Jon's OTHER (OTHER) band today, which has the best name ever: The Ultra Death Men. Yes, these dudes are in my band.

It's hard to outdo their own self-description. Read on:

The Ultra Death Men are an improvised, noisey, thrashy, free jazzy type group turned weird, math-rock mess from Verona NJ.

The group was started in concept in the Verona Summer Music classrooms, where all three members teach for one month each year.

I really like rocking out and thrashing around my room in strange spasms to Pizza Tower. We also enjoyed listening to it in the Volvo on tour.

An additional note: after hearing UDM play a live show, I noted that their music is, "like someone's playing a trick on you...but you like it." I stand by this assessment.

I'm wondering how high you could actually build a tower of pizza. Oh boy. I may have fried my brain with copious recording.

Pizza Tower.mp3

Learn so much more about the Death Men here. And also, have an awesome weekend. Summer is winding down, so get to the beach! Eat some ice cream! Jesus, do both. That's my plan.

August 20, 2009

Stephen Malkmus (and the Jicks)//Church on White

Hello. Today OSS comes live from day two of intensive Palmyra recording sessions at Karl's apartment. It's hot as balls here and when we're not tracking, we're all camping out in Karl's bedroom with the AC and the fan.

I asked my bandmates what the song should be today and Kenny helpfully suggested something from Stephen Malkmus's Pig Lib. Karl specifically suggested “Vanessa from Queens,” because it's summery (so summery, it made it onto Ali and I's summer mix, long long ago).

Don't get me wrong—I really like Pig Lib and I REALLY like “Vanessa from Queens,” but I've always fancied myself more of a self-titled album girl. Oh, those Jicks. Oh, Janet (even though she's not actually on this album).

Q: Karl, why do you like Steve Malkmus?
A: He sounds like he embraces his guilty pleasures and makes them sound good. He'll do what normally would be super cornball, but then it will actually be kind of cool.

Q: Kenny, why do you like Steve Malkmus?
A: Because I like Pavement...And I wish Pavement were still together.

And there you have it.

Church on White.mp3

When enough is enough
Do the fakers drop out?
Promise me
You will always be
Too awake to be famous,
Too wired to be safe.
But all you really wanted
Was everything
Plus everything
And the truth.
I only poured you
Half a lie.

August 19, 2009

Royksopp//Poor Leno

Continuing on a stream-of-consciousness journey from yesterday's post (and related to this one and this one, as well), here's Royksopp with my favorite Royksopp song, Poor Leno.

I don't usually love this kind of electronic music, but I do really enjoy a lot of Royksopp and I LOVE this video. The poor Leno is captured and put in a zoo, where he is ogled all day by curious humans. He dreams of returning to his homeland, the frozen tundra, relegated to etching pictures of the peaks on his cell wall with a spoon. By the end, his mate shows up, theoretically to spring him free. Everything about the way this animation looks (and works with) the song is perfect.

Also, this video once led to a decision to dress Squashington (a cat) up as a Leno for Halloween, prompting Ryan to say, "but we neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed a Leno suit." Where does one acquire a Leno suit?

As for the band, Royksopp's particular brand of housey electronica fits into a movement known as Bergen Wave. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

Fun fact: Royksopp is the Norwegian word for puffball mushroom.

Poor Leno.mp3

I think I am officially ready to visit Norway now.

August 18, 2009


I don’t know what my problem is. It all started with James telling me that Coldplay played a really incredible set at All Points West.

Then, in Costa Rica, Annie mentioned to me that she had been listening to a lot of Coldplay (which queued me to pump up the Buckley, who of course, their sound is a complete rip-off of).

Then, a few days ago, on a train to my Grandma’s house down the Jersey shore, I found my fingers dialing up the random Coldplay tracks that I still (for some reason) had on my iPod.

This lead me in turn to start daydreaming to a time when I really did like Coldplay, circa Parachutes/A Rush of Blood to the Head. During the spring/early summer of 2002, I went on a cruise with my cousin (who just got engaged this weekend—congrats, Kel) and my aunts to the Bahamas. This trip was weird for a few reasons, but most of all, I was just coming off my serious alcoholic year and was basically drunk the whole time. We got to Nassau for a day off the boat and I basically broke off from my family and cruised all the liquor shops, which each had their own tasting bars. I’d go to one shop and they’d give me three shots of different tropical rum varieties (Pineapple and Coconut—yum). I’d drink those and then go to the next place, where they’d give me three more. I’d go to an internet café and talk to my friends in Michigan over AOL Instant Messenger, totally shitfaced, declaring myself over and over again to be “Tropical G.” I ended up hammered with my cousin and a few aunts in the casino/resort Atlantis, watching them play the slots and drinking frozen Pina Coladas. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

How Coldplay fits into this ridiculous story is that every morning , I would walk around and around the deck of the cruise ship with my Discman (pre iPod, homez!) listening to either Coldplay or Kings of Convenience (obviously heavily in my sad drunk stage). What’s weird also--I found out later that Royksopp did a kickass remix of “Clocks.” Universe mashup!

Anyway, I really did like these songs, even if now I feel a little embarrassed at their obvious cheese-factor/extreme mainstream popularity (here are my snob tendencies revealing themselves). I’ve been trying to get over myself though lately. My first step was proclaiming my love for the Grateful Dead to the entire internet. Let this be my second.


I promise you this;
I’ll always look out for you.
That’s what I’ll do.

August 17, 2009

Miguel de Braganza//Study for Potato Gun

Exprmntl Mndy//////Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Miguel de Braganza just wrote in to say hi following the death of Michael Jackson a few months ago. He also sent me a link to his myspace, which included some delightfully weird, pretty, analogy stuff, in addition to a long intense biography (feel free to read it (or check his dates--NYers can catch him on Aug. 30 at Arlene's) on your own time). Miguel explains, of this tune:

Potato Gun is an original that I made for a sound exhibition at The Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston.

You know what this reminds me of? Elephant Six—that’s what. Specifically, Olivia Tremor Control. I admire the way the music shifts, very experimentally, while also retaining melody. There’s a whole slew of influences here (folk, noisepop, dirgey lofi), ripped apart and recombined to form something new. Not only is this enjoyable to listen to, it also takes you on a strange journey.

Furthermore, to tie into Friday’s post, we can all thank Mr. Paul for all the amazing multi-track technology that lets us record these complex and layered soundscapes. Seriously. Thank you.

Study for Potato Gun.mp3

You’ll always travel a lonesome road.

August 14, 2009

Les Paul and Mary Ford//Tiger Rag

Hey Loves! I’m back in the USA! I left Annie’s house in Costa Rica at 4Am on Wednesday and didn’t get back to Brooklyn until 2AM on Thursday! This included a super-fun and totally unexpected seven hour layover in one of the worst places period, Dallas, Texas. Holy 22 hours of international travel, batman!

CR was amazing and totally mind-blowing. I could not even begin to adequately describe the experience here, but I was by-and-large cut off from technology/modern world, and it was awesome. No cell. No internet. Just incredible people, lots of bugs, beautiful mountainous rainforest views and super horrifying roads. Some pictures are here.

Sadly, while I was in layover hell, real life guitar hero Les Paul was living out his last few hours. Much has already been written about this 94 year-old extremely innovative legend who played weekly sets until his last days, so I’ll skip the obit. He still definitely deserves to be honored for his writing, performance and electronic innovation though. Please enjoy this 50s recording, with his wife Mary Ford, of “Tiger Rag,” (given to me in mix form from Emily) featured on NBC’s The Les Paul Show and observe a moment of music for this incredible individual. RIP, fine sir.

Tiger Rag.mp3

Has anybody seen that tiger?

PS. Also, thanks Les Paul, for giving us multi-track recording, because it's my favorite invention EVER!

August 4, 2009

Dionne Warwick//Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Tomorrow morning, WAYYY TOO EARLY, I will be on a plane leaving for San Jose, Costa Rica. I’m going to visit my friend Annie, who has been stewarding this house for the summer. I’ve never been to Costa Rica. In fact, I’ve never been anywhere in Latin America, so I’m totally excited! I’m overdue for an international jaunt.

There’s some good news and some bad news to this. The good news: today we are going to listen to DIONNE WARWICK singing a song written expressly for her by BURT BACHARACH. The bad: there isn’t going to be an OSS post for a full week. I’ll miss you guys.

So obviously, this song it about a very different San Jose, but I think some of the lyrics still apply. Indeed, I may be “going to find/some peace of mind.”

Something of note about Dionne Warwick, besides that when her career was slowing down in the late 90s she decided to become a spokesperson for Psychic Friends Network, is this : she was born just down the road from where I’m sitting right now (The Bricks), in East Orange, NJ. EO!!!! Also interesting is that Warwick made the Top 250 Delinquent Taxpayers List published in October 2007, as she currently owes the government $2,185,908.08 (thanks Wikipedia). Hot damn. I thought I was broke. Maybe she can pay that and the government can start up some kind of Dionne Warwick Stimulus Package. Everybody gets 50 cents and a copy of the “Walk On By” single.

As for Burt Bacharach, he is a supremely cheesy song-writer, but somewhat self-consciously so, which puts him delightfully over on the kitschy side of the cheese-kitsch continuum. There’s some real talent under that kitsch, which you can really hear in this song, which is AWESOME. And damn, I really like those backup vocals! Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah Woah.

And on that note, see you next week.

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?.mp3

ONE LAST (TOTALLY UNRELATED) THING BEFORE I GO: My BFF, Ange, is DJing tonight with Mia from Electrelane at Bruar Falls in Williamsburg. It's going to be sweet, so skip the free RAA show and come there instead to help me decide if it's really worth it to sleep for only three hours pre-flight or if I should just stay up all night instead.

LA is a great big freeway.
Put a hundred down and buy a car.
In a week, maybe two, they’ll make you a star.
Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass,
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas.

August 3, 2009

The Idles//You'd Forget

LoFi MoFi: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Last week, I got an email from Kellen about a new label called Acousticlaw:

we recently launched acoustaclaw records to help spread the word on the music being made by some of our friends here in washington, dc. we are very happy to be kicking things off with 4 excellent albums from the idles, quidnunk and the idles/quidnunk collaboration mystery squid and hope you'll give them a listen and consider sharing them with your readers. some comparables might be artists such as the silver jews, smog and ariel pink.

each of these 4 albums can be downloaded in their entirety for absolutely nothing, so feel free to post whatever/as much as you like.

Smog? Silver Jews? Go on, I’m listening. Everything’s free? This label is called Acousticlaw? What could be bad about this?

Especially like this because it sounds very 90s indie to me, and that is a sound I wholeheartedly enjoy!

One little tip for those starting fledgling labels: links to myspace pages help a lot.

Note: not to be confused with the UK Idles.

You’d Forget.mp3

All you do is hang out at KFC now.