October 27, 2010

Phoenix//If I Ever Feel Better

I had a hard time waking up today. It's grey outside and my life is constantly oscillating from feeling "fun" to feeling "out of control," much more than usual. It's kind of interesting to be at once so conscious of this feeling and also basically helpless to change it.

This song, another I can't believe I hadn't yet gotten around to posting here yet, seems especially appropriate to my mood today. It's got a few things going for it.

The first is that it's incredibly catchy and instantly memorable. Guitars and spacey synth interweave over a quasi-funk bass line and a crisp drum rhythm. The vocals of Thomas Mars are both empathetic and vulnerable.

The second is that, against that poppy backdrop, the lyrics are very, very poignant. The song basically perfectly describes that difficult, out of control feeling. Of course, here it's in the context of a breakup, but I think a lot of the lyrics are general enough to be applied to many different situations.

My friends and I all got obsessed with this song in our early college days, which were also pretty out of control. I found myself listening to it when things felt truly insane--like during breakups, friend drama and even when I was feeling super isolated in London for half a year. It sounds cheesy now, but I think we really connected with that chorus, the same way people are really connecting with the message of Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project. Of course, I was more of a pessimist at that time, which is why it was essential for me to have that "if" in front.

If I Ever Feel Better.mp3

It's like a bad day that never ends.
I feel the chaos around me,
A thing I don't try to deny.
I'd better learn to accept that
There are things in my life that I can't control.
Hang on to the good days,
I can lean on my friends.
They help me going through hard times.
But I'm feeding the enemy,
I'm in league with the foe,
Blame me for what's happening--
I can't try, I can't try, I can't try...

No one knows the hard times I went through.
If happiness came, I missed the call.
The stormy days ain't over.
I've tried and lost, now I think that I pay the cost.
Now I've watched all my castles fall,
They were made of dust, after all,
Someday all this mess will make me laugh.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait...

October 25, 2010

Doug Hoyer//Lake of Mars

Lost in Space: Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

Hey guys. Sorry I've been so MIA. How was your CMJ? BBQLOL.

Mine was cool. I mostly stuck with bands of friends, including Drunken Barn Dance, Chris Bathgate, Matt Jones, In Tall Buildings and NOMO. Even with a relatively modest schedule, I still felt burnt or dead by the end. This old lady can't take the benders like she used to.

I wanted to chill out today, maybe listen to some recent submissions to the blog. You guys write me a lot of emails and send me a lot of songs and that is really, really cool. The only not cool thing about it is how crazy and poorly written some of those emails are. I chalk that up to inexperienced management companies who use spam to get their artists out there and bands who probably shouldn't be sending their own emails. I know it's not YOU guys. With that in mind, I want to give a shout out to the writer of today's Monday Mail, Doug Hoyer. Bands looking to promote themselves should take a lesson from him.

Doug says:

My name is Doug Hoyer, and I'm a ukulele strummin' musician from Canada, and am often compared to Jens Lekman, Jonathan Richman & Suburban Kids with Biblical Names. A Canadian label, Old Ugly is putting out my upcoming 7", and I've love to share the tracks with you.

I realize that you probably get a TON of emails, so I want to thank you for your time!

- Doug

Seriously, Doug, consider teaching a seminar, because your email was awesome. It was simple. It was polite. It featured correct spellings. It delivered the music in the way I asked.

It didn't hurt that your songs were also awesome. You do sound a lot like if Jens and Suburban Kids had a cute but slightly derivative lovechild, but that's generally a good thing in my opinion. Combine this with the fact that you wrote a song about space travel to mars and you got yourself a post here. You probably didn't know I have a soft spot for sci-fi inspired pop songs...but that was just a lucky shot for you.

Lake of Mars.mp3

I'd bring Trotsky, Trudeau, and even Trebek,
And you would act as the honored poet laureate
To romanticize every gesture suggested.
But they'd all run out of things to say
Cause they don't have much in common anyways.

October 15, 2010

Yo La Tengo//Autumn Sweater

Hi pals. Can you believe I've never posted this song before? Can you believe it's fall already? Can you believe it's actually mid-October? You know once we hit Halloween, it's all totally over. Time becomes a complete and total vacuum until New Years. Whoa. I am not really ready for it yet.

Some of you may have noticed that this blog has gotten a little...uhm...less reliable. This fall-to-winter period is bringing a lot of ch-ch-ch-changes to my life. As a result of some of these, I am sad to say that this blog is going to get a bit more sporadic. It's weird and sad for me too, but as I manage freelancing, a bi-coastal move and general life upheaval, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to post an update everyday. Don't get me wrong--OSS is NOT over. It's just different. It's going to become more like your best friend who shows up without calling than your cousin who works as an accountant. It's been really fun to hang out with you guys EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY, but we can still have fun hanging out when we both feel like it. With so many good songs in the world, we'll never run out of opportunities.

This song is the best fall song ever. It sounds like fall. It's about fall. It's lyrical focus is a girl and her sweater. It's by Yo La Tengo. It's a hipster cliche from the dawn of the hipster age, but it's still awesome. It's completely quintessential.

I've seen Yo La Tengo (one of Jersey's proudest musical exports along with Patti Smith and The Boss) twice. The second time was awful. The first time was magical and was the result of finding free tickets in a balloon emblazoned with an image of Tori Amos. But that, friends, is another story for another day.

Enjoy your sweaters before they become coats. I am enjoying mine.

Autumn Sweater.mp3

We could slip away,
Wouldn't that be better?
Me with nothing to say
And you in your autumn sweater.

October 12, 2010

Del the Funky Homosapien//Style Police

Embarrassing, I know, but I think I first heard Del the Funky Homosapien's (or Del tha Funkee Homosapien's) solo work while playing Tony Hawk with Als at some ungodly hour in East Lansing, Michigan. The track featured on the game was "If You Must," a strangely fabulous track that basically focuses on the virtues of personal hygiene.

Of course, I had been listening to Gorillaz for quite some time. I loved Del's work on that stuff, knew he had a solo career, but for some reason just never bothered to look him up. Glad the stupid game jogged my memory, because his shit is completely insane.

Dude has the craziest flow. Seriously, what is he even doing? What is that beat? It's so weird and unique. Amazing.

This track is a banger. I'll just let you enjoy it. And while you're doing that, here are some things you might not know about Del:

-Del's real name is Teren Delvon Jones.
-He's the cousin of Ice Cube.
-During the late 90s, he was a frequent psychedelic drug user. Shocker.
-In 2009, he did an album with Tame-One. This will only register with New Jersey readers. But it's still exciting.

Style Police.mp3

When I’m up to bat, it's like you trying to duck a gat.
You commonplace,
I shift time and space,
Leave your mind erased like the year 2000
And data replaces the faces.

October 11, 2010

Bellflur//Grey Sparkle Finnish Pig

Back for the Attack:Monday Mail
What is Monday Mail?

I took the red eye in this morning from LA. I really think the red eye is drugs. There's nothing quite like wandering around JFK at 5:30 AM, riding the A train pre-commuters and then watching the sun rise from Nostrand Ave.

The west coast was fantastic. It's so bright and shiny out there. I went to the beach, swam a lot and of course spent lots of QT with A. I also saw The Social Network. Did anyone else? Thoughts?

It's a little darker and cooler here in NYC so I decided to go with that for the song today. Bellflur brings it with great keyboard sounds and harsh electronic blips. This song is from a recent EP, Asleep Asleep (what I am pretty much going to be all day today), and features guests from a previously featured Monday Mail band, Deleted Scenes.

Josh from Fanatic says:

Bellflur, a long-time presence in Washington, DC scene, has been acclaimed for years for its fierce stage performance and knack for making odd musical tendencies seem comprehensible to listeners of all genres. The band’s album “asleep.asleep.” is a profound step forward for the band, demonstrating more controlled grandness and accessibility without being “accessible.”

“asleep.asleep.” was produced and recorded by Bellflur over the course of two and a half years and introduces a more vocal and dynamically challenging side of the band, with far more substantive instrumentation and orchestration than heard previously. Bellflur enlisted several contributors from fellow DC acts to help realize this vision including members of Deleted Scenes, Exit Clov, Pree, Le Loup, and Meredith Bragg. Already, songs from the record have garnered comparisons to acts such as TV on the Radio, Sigur Ros, and Battles – comparisons the band finds fitting.

Additionally, Bellflur has been likened to everything from Radiohead to a Salvador Dali painting, but whatever the comparison, the band has progressed by sculpting something unique and unapologetic. With a growing chatter about the Bellflur’s symphonic live shows and the press accolades already coming in for its new album, Bellflur has managed to push past its self-proclaimed shyness and closer to national recognition.

A final note: I am generally not too into bands wearing pretentious animal masks for shows, so let's just pretend that this band doesn't do that.

Grey Sparkle Finnish Pig.mp3

There is no future,
Just this modern world.

October 5, 2010

The Mamas and The Papas//California Dreamin'

Hey guys. I'm going to be taking a few days off. I bet you can guess why.

Until then, enjoy this:

California Dreamin'.mp3

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey.
I been for a walk on a winter's day.
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in LA.

October 1, 2010

The Umbrella Men//I Don't Emote

Music for a Rainy Friday Local Music Friday
What's up with Local Music Fridays?

Happy Friday to everyone. I am a little late on this one because I meant to put it up last week, but, as per usual, life got ahead of me and so here I am, having finally caught up.

This band, The Umbrella Men, played my house last Saturday. It truly was one of the most fantastic 50/50s ever--the house was packed and these guys played the shit out of their instruments, which included a guitar, fiddle and glockenspiel setup. It always makes me happy to put songs up that are made by super sweet people and the Tuss brothers are as sweet as they come. Suffice to say, the band brought a community bottle of whiskey for the crowd and had a friend doling out shots in Disney-branded dixie cups. Hot times.

Danny and David found their way to Brooklyn (they even live in my hood, which makes this Friday truly local) via Columbus, Ohio, a city I have much love for after the most recent Palmyra tour. Their music is a lovely mix of old timey and indie rock. Perfect for today, your weekend and beyond.

I Don't Emote.mp3

I haven't had any fun since the day we met.