December 16, 2010

The Turtles, The Lightning Seeds//You Showed Me

Alright, all you casual music fans. Today is your day here at OSS. Behold: The Holiday Shopping Guide for People Who Think Music is Just OK.

Look, I know that for the most part, if you're reading this blog you're either (a) someone who is actually pretty into music or (b) a close personal friend (hi, Kot! hi, Karl!). But as people who are pretty insane about music know, almost everyone else in this world is not as insane about it as we are. And this is fine. We don't have to force our relatives to accept our gifts of obsolete 7"s and obscure chillwave CDs when really all they wanted was a nice pair of wool socks for lounging around the house (do 95% of mothers really just want these?). ALSO, if you're reading this, you might be scrambling around trying to get in your last minute online orders before it gets too late for shipping.

Hence, I give you this list of awesome "other" things to get for people (which are, in many cases, also made by awesome people). Ready, go:

Heroes of Science
Because, like music, science is another thing some folks seem to get all nerdy and passionate about. I'm guessing someone you have to buy a gift for would be pretty overcome with ironic or non-ironic appreciation of an ornament featuring Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking or Jane Goodall. Collect 'em all to turn your tree into a genetically modified super tree that can calculate complicated physics equations before you can say, "yuletide."
HoS are made by my homies Sharon and Jon and were previously featured here.

Grammar Love Letterpress Cards
Grammar is yet another thing people tend to nerd out about hardcore. I added hardcore to the end of that sentence to avoid a dangling participle. As the child of a couple of people in the journalism business, we actually had a family car named Gerund, which is why I'm really looking forward to pairing some of these with some of my holiday gifts. The cards are beautiful, hilarious and made my friend Kot, to whom I am entrusting the serious deed of pressing my own wedding invitations. To whom. That's right. I said it.

Tunnel Vision
I feel like it's necessary for me to show a little hometown pride here. These mugs and cheese plates are made for New York/New Jersoids or vice versa, or vice versa TWICE EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. IN. BUMPER-to-BUMPER TRAFFIC! The only things I've ever seen that could make getting stuck in the tunnel fun.

Bacon Magnets and Mustache Pen
Fred Flare has set up the most relevant death match of this holiday season: Bacon vs. Mustache. What I'd like to do is call for world peace. Why can't hipsters and jokesters bond together and live in Baconstache harmony? Actually, that does sound pretty gross.

Daria: The Complete Animated Series DVD
Give the gift of 90s sarcasm with this set that everyone in the entire world was waiting for for years. A and I recently started rewatching some of these and they are so hilarious. This DVD set doesn't include all the original music, but you know you'll still be laughing til you cry when the Morgandorfer family eats poisonous berries that send them running around the woods in search of Jake's spirit animal or when Jane, Daria and Trent don't quite make it to Alternapalooza. Mystic Spiral!

In fact, today's song(s) are inspired by that very episode, where a cover of the original track plays in the background toward the end.

The most well-known version of the song was recorded in 1968 by The Turtles. It was written by Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark of The Byrds. It was original composed to be a much faster song, but a broken harmonium forced The Turtles to record it slow, which actually made it much more powerful.

The cover included in Daria is from 1997 by The Lightning Seeds, a UK band I really don't know much about. They added just a little bit of disaffected edge to the song, which really brought it to a different place. I like them both.

You Showed Me.mp3 (Turtles)

You Showed Me.mp3 (Lightening Seeds)

If you or someone you know thinks music is more than just OK, check out the OSS Holiday Shopping Guide for People Who Love Music.

December 13, 2010

Summer Fiction//Chandeliers

The start of a new week. Monday Mail.
What is Monday Mail?

This year has been a year of changes for me. I quit my job to start freelancing. I got engaged. I decided to move to California. All this change has been, for the most part, massively improving my life. I hope that it's also been improving this blog slightly as well.

Up until recently, I was pretty married to the format of OSS. One song per business day, nothing more, nothing less. And while I still generally believe that it's a great way to go, I want the freedom to be able to switch it up from time to time. I want to be able to do more than theme weeks. I want to be able to give you my favorite songs of the year, to let you know about a show we're curating or just to do something completely random and off the wall. Essentially, I want to be able to change what goes on here, just as life changes. Deep, huh? Anyway that's what I'm doing this week.

So, behold, the first ever OSS Holiday Shopping Guide. We're going to split this puppy up into two sections, the first of which is today's OSS Holiday Shopping Guide for People Who Love Music. This will be in lieu of a best songs or albums of the year kind of list. It also happens to be a Monday Mail.

Stay tuned for the second installment of the guide, OSS Holiday Shopping Guide for People Who Think Music is Just OK.

It's rare that I fall quite as head over heels with a submission as I have with Philly-based Summer Fiction's “Chandeliers.” My love for the song prompted me to immediately seek out and obsess over the whole album.

Bill Ricchini, who essentially is Summer Fiction, says:

I really enjoy your blog and wanted to tell you about my band SUMMER FICTION. It is the moniker/bandname for me--  Bill Ricchini.

Check out our video for free single “Chandeliers” by artist Kevin Chia known for his "The Sun Was High" clip for indie band Best Coast.
Sounds like: baroque pop, chamber torch songs, freewheelin’ folk, and the golden days of missing you. Think Beach Boys, Smiths, Nilsson, Catholic School

Sometimes a band just has that THING that makes you want to tell everyone you know about them. The production is beautiful and lush. The songs are interesting and well-written, many of them perfect pop gems. At times, the compositions and arrangements are reminescient of Nilsson, at other times Vampire Weekend (but not in a bad way).

Getting excited about a new album made me think about how fun it is to share new music that's awesome with people you love. So, without further ado, here's a list of the albums music-lovers should get to hear from this year. If you know someone who loves new songs, consider buying them one of these. Support the artists so they can continue to produce great work:

Toro Y Moi's Causers of This
Who will love it: Seasoned chill-wavers and tip-toe'rs into the genre alike. People who are calm and also like to dance. Those who find solace in OCD production and sampling.
Where to get it:

The Green Door Kids' Musical Yooth
Who will love it: Jaded post-punkers looking for a reason to keep going. Anyone interested in children covering post-punk classics, Scottish non-profits or Scottish children covering post-punk classics thanks to the help of non-profits.
Where to get it:

Red Tail Ring's August Roads EP and forthcoming full-length
Who will love it: Folkies. Michiganders. Ex-Michiganders who miss Michigan. Lovers of recontextulized old-timey things and sick banjo riffs.
Where to get it:

The Corin Tucker Band's 1,000 Years
Who will love it: Despondent Sleater-Kinney fans. Riot grrls who've settled down. Indie rock stalwarts.
Where to get it:

Grass Widow's Past Time
Who will love it: Despondent Sleater-Kinney fans. Riot grrls who haven't settled down. Indie rock youth.
Where to get it:

Ribbons' Love is Mysterious EP
Who will love it: People who love Joy Division, The Smiths and The Organ, equally. People who wear black. The smart. The shy.
Where to get it: Other Music

Real Estate's Real Estate
Who will love it: Chill, suburban burn-outs. Dudes with long hair. Dreamy girls. Wiliamsburg hipsters.
Where to get it:

Swimsuit's Dolphins 7”
Who will love it: Surfers trapped in the midwest. People in cold climates yearning for summer.
Where to get it:

The Tallest Man on Earth's The Wild Hunt
Who will love it: Those searching desparately for the second coming of Bob Dylan. Swedephiles. The depressed.
Where to get it:

In Tall Buildings' In Tall Buildings
Who will love it: Senstive, quiet types who wear layers. Gear nerds.
Where to get it:

Deerhunter's Halycon Digest
Who will love it: People who love Deerhunter.
Where to get it:

Best Coast's Crazy for You
Who will love it: Stoners. Slackers. West Coasters with a mellow sense of pride. Members of the surf fuzz brigade hungry for something female-fronted.
Where to get it:

John Vanderslice's Green Grow the Rushes EP
Who will love it: JV fans who were diappointed with Romanian Names. Contemplative types. Recording geeks. Everyone.
Where to get it:

Summer Fiction's Summer Fiction
Who will love it: Vintage pop people. Background vox lovers. Appreciaters of high producion values and solid writing. Twee, sensitive, literate boys and girls.
Where to get it:


Catch a plane
To the Sahara
And pray for rain,
Running mascara.

December 9, 2010

The O'Jays//Love Train

Well, OSSers, since last we spoke, I went to California and came back, worked a lot, frantically tried to prepare for moving, saw Jens Lekman play a weird free show at a hotel skybar and launched a Kickstarter project that I’m super, super stoked about. I wanted to take this opportunity to be extremely annoying about it here and hype for a moment, before returning to our sporadically scheduled program.

Here’s the idea:
In January, I will be moving cross country from NYC to California to be with my fiancé. I’m going to take Amtrak the whole way, which means about three days of riding the rails. As I travel, I'll be documenting my journey by writing, taking photos and writing songs.

My friends Sharon (expert animator and ornament entrepreneur), Dave (voice-over pinch hitter) and Julie (musical contributor) helped me make a really cool video about it, which you should check now:

If you think this sounds like a cool idea, go over to Kickstarter and become a backer of the project. The week it takes me to get to California is probably going to be a week without OSS, so if you think you might miss me, this could be a way for us to keep in touch. Similarly, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while (I have been writing it for over two years now) and you’ve enjoyed it, here’s a small way you can give back. Please go ahead and back the project now!

And just to keep it relevant, please enjoy the unofficial theme song to the project, a favorite wedding dance song for my Motown-lovin’ dad (and probably Motown-lovin’ dads across the country), "Love Train" by The O’Jays.

You also may remember the other song in the video from a previous OSS post. Check that out here.

Love Train.mp3

Please don't miss this train at the station,
'Cause if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you.
People all over the world,
Join hands,
Start a love train, love train!