July 30, 2010


The Water's Fine: Local Music Friday
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

Ypsi-based Swimsuit is the new(ish) project of Fred Thomas (SLGTM), Dina Bankole (Secret Twins), Amber Fellows and Shelley Salant.

There's the classic Fred mixture of interesting sounds, retro-pop vibes and fuzzy nostalgia going on here. There's also a little surf. Not too much.

Swimsuit takes Brooklyn tonight at Death by Audio and tomorrow night at Pizza Forest (which is an awesome name for anything). Hear more jams and get more info on those shows here. You can also get a whole demo here. Or you can get a tape here. An actual tape. Awesome, right?

Not sure which show I'll be heading to, since this weekend turned into an epically amazing music bonanza. Chad VanGaalen at South Street Seaport, two Swimsuit shows, free Grass Widow/Sonic Youth at Prospect Park. The summer's turning the corner. It'll start ending any minute now. On the plus side, the heat wave's over, for now. No boarding yourself up in your one-and-only air conditioned room. No excuses.


It's in your head,

July 29, 2010

Grass Widow//Shadow

Grass Widow: they might be your new favorite band...just sayin'... because I kind of think they might be mine. I'm hearing so many touches of things I already love in their sound. A little Breeders, a little classic 90s indie guitar sound, a little 70s proto riot grrrl/post punky stuff like Raincoats or Slits, a little Sleater-Kinney every now and then. And yet it's completely it's own thing. Yessssss.

I've been listening to their self-titled album basically on repeat for a week. It's so fucking good.

This song is from the SF-based group's new album, set to be released on KRS (duh) on August 24. If this is any hint of how sweet this album is going to be, it's going to mega-fucking-sweet.

WTF does Grass Widow mean anyway? Here's what.

Also, GW opens for Sonic Youth for $3 donation (aka free) THIS SATURDAY in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn. OMG AMIGONNA SEE YOU THERE!?


Walls that spoke to me

July 28, 2010

MC5//Kick Out the Jams

The MC5 always remind me of this one professor I had in college who I totally fucking hated. He taught an American Cultures class on American Counter Culture: Beats, Hippies and Punks, which, in theory, should have been the best thing ever. Was it? No. Why? Because this dude was a sad washed up wannabe and all he could do was name drop his famous friends and tell us to REVOLT! AGAINST! THE! SYSTEM! while wearing expensive professor hiking boots and listening to a sparkly new ipod.

However, there were some high points (no pun intended) in his class and these always came when he decided to ditch the preaching and just tell us wacky stories from his youth. One of my favorites was the one about how he and a friend pretended to work for Con-Ed and blocked off a few key NYC exits, thus messing up the whole traffic grid of Manhattan. In another, which was very complicated but very awesome, he pretended to be a radio personality and got involved in all the controversy surrounding 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and John Sinclair’s arrest. It was wild.

I guess what I’m really trying to say here and not saying at all is that the MC5 rule. They were an amazing bridge between the end of hippie-era rock and the beginning of PUNK!. Their music sounds like a sponge for the political and cultural unrest that was happening at the time. It is fucking rad. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

Kick Out the Jams.mp3

Let me be who I am
And let me kick out the jam.
Yes, kick out the jams!
I done kicked ‘em out!

July 27, 2010

Tennessee Ernie Ford//Sixteen Tons

Ok. Fess up. Who loves Mad Men? Who saw the first episode of Season 4? I only watched half of it on iTunes so, shhhhh, no spoilers.

This is song is one that I knew, because, hey, doesn’t everyone know it? But why? It’s not like we learned it in grade school music class…did we? Is it just one of those standards embedded in the subconscious mind of every red-blooded American? I don’t know. But I do know that I hadn’t thought about it for quite some time, until it was the credit music for a recent episode of Mad Men (Season 3, I think?).

There are many versions of this song, which is originally attributed to country singer Merle Travis. The guy who sang this version, which was a pop hit in 1955, is Tennessee Ernie Ford. Question: why don’t people have names like that anymore? Another questions: why don’t we have pop hits like this anymore?

Sixteen Tons.mp3

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;
I owe my soul to the company store...

July 26, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.//Vocal Chords

It’s not NASCAR: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

I’ve got some good homies who release their jams on QuiSci, so I thought I’d give this one a listen. I was not disappointed.

Brooke at Big Hassle says:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., a project started in Detroit by two professional men of music and leisure (Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott), is offering an mp3 download for their single, "Nothing But Our Love," (in exchange for an email address) at DaleEarnhardtJrJr.com.

Building ground-up, recording in a basement without the benefit of expensive microphones or big-name producers, while also building top-down with the use of drum machines and samplers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. create what Real Detroit Weekly called "trippy, ethereal hip-hop/folk...it's a weird combination that is delicious to the ear." band's upcoming Horse Power EP, due July 17th on Quite Scientific Records.

That’s right—there’s another free song above, making today a twofur!!!

There’s a lot going on here. Something reminds me a little of Vampire Weekend, not in an annoying way. It’s that light, poppy goodness that drifts through the song all sweet and easy, until the chorus takes it up a notch, providing an almost-danceable energy. Not a bad way to start your week. Not bad at all.

Vocal Chords.mp3

No NYC dates in the immediate future, but keep your eyes pealed here.

July 22, 2010

The Sea and Cake//Midtown

The Sea and Cake makes music that is so pretty and, for lack of a better word, pleasant. Like a mellow breeze on a warm summer day, there's something calm and easy about their jazz-tinted vibraphone-soaked indie rock. It's perfect chill music.

A misunderstanding of a song-title, "The C in Cake" by Gastr del Sol, lead to their band name. Members include Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt, who have each also maintained successful solo careers in addition to their work with the band.

I love all the tracks on 2000's Oui, especially this one, called "Midtown," which also happens to be my all-time least favorite part of NYC.


I don't let on that you done wrong.

July 21, 2010

Eddy Grant//Electric Avenue

I think this song, a radio hit from the 80s, is really good for the summer. Something about it feels…sweaty? Is that ok to say?

This song is named after an actual street called Electric Avenue, which is in Brixton, London. It's so-named, presumably, because as the main drag, it was the first to have electricity in the neighborhood. I remember going to Brixton for the first time and immediately making the correlation between the street and the song…then having the song in my head for the rest of the night. Perhaps the tune's only flaw is that it's a tad repetitive. Sorry in advance.

On second thought, maybe the reason this song reminds me of summer has something to do with warm weather black-outs. We haven’t had one yet this year in NYC, but I hope you all have candles or charged flashlights or something like that ready and waiting.

Electric Ave.mp3

We gonna rock down to
Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher.

July 20, 2010

Martha and the Muffins//Echo Beach

About a year ago, on a trip to Chicago, I got Ali to give me a copy of a summer mix she had made. Filled with lots of new wavey relatively obscure late 70s/early 80s stuff, I still return to it every so often, especially in warmer months. This song is the first on the mix and it’s a great thing to listen to in a crowded subway train while on one’s way to work.

This was the band’s only hit, although they were quite prolific under their original name and a later (more 80s sounding) name, M+M.

The narrator of the song has to work a shitty office job, but she manages to make it through by falling back on the knowledge that she’ll one day return to her favorite nostalgia-drenched spot, Echo Beach, which, judging by the song’s lyrics, could actually be some kind of code word for heaven. Still, whether it’s just a favorite vacation getaway or the afterlife, there’s nothing worse than sitting in an office all day when you could be watching the sun go down on Echo Beach, amIright?

Echo Beach.mp3

From nine till five I have to spend my time at work.
The job is very boring. I'm an office clerk.
The only thing that helps pass the time away
Is knowing I'll be back at Echo Beach some day.

July 19, 2010

Al Lover//What Goes In Circles Remix (The Fresh & Onlys)

A New Take on Woodsist: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Hi. Been a while. Time to get back into the ol’ routine with some mail.

Alex (aka Al Lover) says:

I recently put together this remix album of songs off the Woodsist label for free download and thought you might be interested in checking it out. It's basically parts of different songs off their catalog sampled, chopped up on an MPC 2000XL, ran through effects petals and an old Tascam 4-track, then sequenced in somewhat of a instrumental hip-hop fashion. Lots of fuzz and delay, grimy stuff. I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think if you get a chance to check it out.

Here's a direct download link:


and a link to my site:


By now, between my strong love rants about Kurt Vile and all that crazy Northside coverage, you’ve probably gotten your fill of me going on and on about how awesome Woodsist is. But seriously, they’re awesome. In addition to checking out the releases from which these tracks come, I would highly suggest going over to Alex’s blog and downloading his full remix, because it’s a totally interesting take. Unlike much of what the remix world can represent, these tracks retain the dirtiness of the originals while also adding a new spin.

What Goes In Circles Al Lover Remix.mp3

More from Al Lover here.

July 6, 2010

The Velvet Underground//Stephanie Says

Hey sweeties. I’m going on a little hiatus. Until July 19th, this blog will be quiet, as my internet supply will become spotty and/or borrowed. I’ll be in Alaska. And you know what Lou Reed says about Alaska.

Stephanie Says.mp3

But she's not afraid to die.
The people all call her Alaska.

July 5, 2010

Eddy Current Suppression Ring//Cool Ice Cream

I'm hoping that by posting today, you'll excuse me for my mp3 silence on Friday.

There's also this: did I tell you guys I'm getting married? Whoa. I am. Kind of a big deal, especially for someone who's been badmouthing the concept since childhood. But my fiance has really changed my life and my world view on this one. And, even though this likely isn't going to happen for a full year and a half, we have to start planning now. So, if you're wondering, that's where my Friday went.

Moving on, there are few things I want to say about this song:

The first is that it's summer--the day after The 4th in fact--and that summer, for me, is all about ice cream, which becomes so much more justified when it's hot out. This song is also all about ice cream. Well, it may not be exactly about ice cream. But it is about getting something you want and deserve after putting your time in...which is also kind of like summer. I consider living through the months of Novemember through March to be the equivalent of putting one's time in, which is the role of eating one's veggies in this song. Is this making sense? I was at the beach all day yesterday and I think the sun fried up my brain cells.

The second is that this is what The Hives would have sounded like if they were actually good and not a creepily engineered garage punk group designed to make Swedish teenagers part with their parent's money.

My final point is that as a younger person, I really enjoyed punk rock. Many of my friends were in bands and I went to all ages shows at a local firehouse that hosted hardcore, ska, metal and (what were the beginnings of) emo. As you get older, it can be harder to justify listening to punk or even rock music with a lip-curly punk edge (which these guys definitely are). You're...making a sandwich, listening to punk music. You're...cleaning your bathroom, listening to punk music. There's just something that feels weird about it. But after thinking about this for a while, here's what I say to that: FUCK IT. You should listen to loud awesome music whenever you want, because life is short and punk rock is rad. So, you're not 17... So, you have a bank account... It's ok. TURN IT UP EVEN LOUDER. Shock your neighbors. Cool ice cream.

Cool Ice Cream.mp3

Ate all my veggies,
Ate all my soup--
Now can I have just one scoop
Of that cool ice cream?
I deserve my dessert.

July 1, 2010

Julian Cope//All The Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die That They Were Suckers)

Never been a huge Julian Cope fan, not because I don’t like his music, but mostly just because I’m just downright unfamiliar. This song (and good words from friends/fellow musicians) is probably going to make me go out and invest in some of his stuff.

I saw The New Pornographers (whose new album is one of their best in years, by the way) cover this song a few weekends ago and honestly, I haven’t really been able to get it out of my head since. It’s definitely the catchiest pop song about suicide bombers ever. I’m actually astounded by the sheer amount of syllables he’s able to cram into that chorus.

All The Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers.mp3

All the blowing-themselves-up motherfuckers will realize the minute they die that they were suckers.