Thursday, September 28, 2006

Interlude: Like A Rave...But With Hooks

Ladytron + CSS
Webster Hall, NYC- Sept. 27th, 2006
Presented by KCRW

Wow. My ears are still ringing. As shown below, the ticket stated that the doors open at 8 pm, as is the case for most shows. Having never been to the venue or, for that matter, any venue of the type, I thought it would be a relatively brisk affair, especially considering that the afterparty was 10 pm. As it turned out, CSS didn't get on until about 9. Their set was the sonic equivalent of a power bar: low in nutritional value, but high on energy. I had planned on listening through their album beforehand, but I suppose it wouldn't have made much of a difference. Lead singer Lovefoxxx was quite charismatic, going as far as to mosh with us (see below) on two separate occasions.

This was simply a taster for the synth-powered transcendence that was Ladytron's set. There's something about this band, seemingly mechanized, yet able to convey such human emotion and fragility, that's incredibly unique. Singers Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo were charming, classy, and provided fantastic vocals. Helen seemed rather amused when a member of the crowd felt the urge to jump on stage and show off his dance moves...on two separate occasions.

Perhaps it was the addition of a bassist and drummer, combined with the proximity, but their sound has really become massive, dare I say, almost My Bloody Valentinesque. Yet, throughout the density of synths, Helen's soaring vocals, complemented by Mira's Bulgarian-inflected delivery, gave the show an ethereal atmosphere. Of course, the crowd added a whole other dimension, turning the entire evening into a collectively euphoric experience. The band played a good deal of material from Light & Magic, including the crowd-pleasing "Seventeen," as well as slightly less prominent tracks such as "Cracked LCD." A number of cuts from 604 also appeared. They saved "Destroy Everything You Touch" as a one-of encore, and my favorite performance was the moody "International Dateline."

Enjoy the pictures:

Lovefoxxx: Moshing With The Masses!
Also, for your pleasure (and your leisure), I've uploaded Ladytron's Peel Session, recorded on January 31st, 2002.


Another Breakfast With You

AMCD: Here
Tired of Being Sexy? Here

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Laughs From Below: Flight of the Conchords

And now for something completely different. Flight of the Conchords are not so much of a band, per se, as much as a comedic "gangsta-folk" duo. They're quite hilarious, if frivolous, with content brimming with sexual innuendo and racist dragons. However, they've got to be given kudos for their independence, having gotten exposure essentially on the strength of their live material; they have no conventional studio albums. These songs provide a pretty good overview of the group.


1. Hiphopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous
2. Hotties
3. K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Part B
4. Pencils in the Wind
5. Bus Driver's Song
6. Angels
7. Nothing Wrong With My Life
8. Something Special for the Ladies
9. Albi (The Racist Dragon)
10. Business Time

Spread Your Wings: Here

Monday, September 25, 2006

Portrait d'une Femme: Ladytron In France

Ladytron was featured on my first post, which seems like aeons ago. I've gone through a massive volume of music since then, but through it all, I've never lost my appreciation for the 'tron. Their style of music is a fantastic blend of some of my favorite genres, danceable electro, moody ambience, dense shoegaze and gorgeous pop, crafted with technical precision and songwriting sensibility. I've got tickets for the show at Webster Hall this Thursday, with CSS opening, so expect pictures.

This show was recorded at the 2001 La Route Du Rock festival in Saint-Malo, France. It's all material from their debut album 604, with the exception of Light & Magic's "Nuhorizons." I suppose my goal now is to get a live recording of a Witching Hour-era show.


1. Zmeyka
2. He Took Her To A Movie
3. Paco!
4. Discotraxx
5. Nuhorizons
6. Another Breakfast With You
7. Commodore Rock
8. This Is Our Sound
9. Playgirl
10. Skools Out...
11. Mu-Tron
12. The Way That I Found You

This Is Their Sound: Here

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The End of Medicine: Feist as Placebo

Feist seems ubiquitous, whether in the bloggersphere or in more prominent publications. She's absolutely charming, with a smooth, sultry voice that's appeared with artists as disparate as Peaches, Kings of Convenience, The New Deal, The Postal Service and, of course, Broken Social Scene.

But that's not the full story. Like fellow Calgarians Tegan and Sara, she got her start musically by playing in a punk band named Placebo (but not Placebo), which actually opened for the Ramones. I don't know how in the world I got this (stalker complex, probably), but I've somehow acquired their recording, entitled Don't Drink The Bathwater. It's a bit jarring, and perhaps it's not surprising that she had to take time off to recover her voice in the wake of the band. But for those of you craving something a bit more...familiar, I've also provided the enjoyably lo-fi Red Demos.


Don't Drink The Bathwater
1. Anchor Arch
2. Back Down The Same Way
3. Pale Pink Tiger
4. Lazy Review Guy
5. Keen Nose
6. Double Run
7. Hidden Chicken

The Red Demos
1. Intuition
2. Leisure Suite
3. Mushaboom
4. The Eastern Shore

You Can Buy: Here

Friday, September 22, 2006

Interlude: Apartment Life

Well, dorm life, at least

It's been about a month of existence here in the city. Our University president, John Sexton, likes to describe the environment as "hyper-stimulating." Another popular mantra is "a school in and of the city." I'd say that it lives up, literally. In an effort to convey this to you, as well as an excuse to abuse my camera some more, here are a few glimpses.

Broadway, via 10th St. via Window
Non-Work The ViewTicketography

The final shot should offer a bit of a glimpse into the future. Once again, security permitting, I should have plenty of content, visual and musical, to share! Until then...

Aphex Twins: Múm Live

You may not have heard Múm, but you may have seen the Valtýsdóttir twins on the cover of Belle and Sebastian's Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. Múm plays a genre of music seemingly dissimilar from Glasgowian indie pop, but the gentleness and mentality is actually quite comparable. I haven't explored their full discography, but what I've heard has been soothing and, at times, quite striking. This set was recorded at Barcelona, Spain's BAM music festival on September 21st, 2002.


1. The Land Between Solar Systems
2. Green Grass of Tunnel
3. K/Half Noise
4. Smell Memory / I Can't Feel My Hand Any More, It's Alright, Sleep Still
5. Please Sing My Spring Reverb
6. Now There's That Fear Again
7. Awake On A Train

Money Make Good: Here

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Viking Invasion: Mew at the Interface

Here's a quickie before I upload even more esoteric stuff. Mew, as briefly mentioned, are a band from Denmark. They've really evolved, from the early pop of Frengers to the density of And The Glass Handed Kites. AMG calls the album a prog-fusion reminiscent of Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine, no mean feat. Hype aside, I simply enjoy the hooks and singer Jonas Bjerre's distinctive voice. They just played a sold out show the other day at Webster Hall with Kasabian, and hopefully they'll do a headlining tour in the States soon.

This excellent live set was recorded at AOL Music's The Interface; thanks to Pitchfork for the heads-up. Enjoy:

Set list:
1. Zookeeper's Boy
2. Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed
3. Why Are You Looking Grave?
4. Comforting Sounds
5. Interview

Full Set: Here
Will You Buy? Maybe: Here
Purevolume (with downloads): Here

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Interlude: Soft Is The New Awesome

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Joe's Pub, NYC - Sept. 19th, 2006

What a fantastic show! Although the website said it would just be Emily, blindfolded a la Toronto, it was quite a full production. The Soft Skeleton was Emily on piano, a guitarist, drummer, and programmed string sections via laptop. I really can't say enough about the moodiness of this new record. It's depressing to a degree, but the lyricism and instrumentation, along with Emily's distinct voice, really makes for an incredible listen. The set consisted of the entire album, played in track order. What is merely suggested here is the incredible visual element that accompanied the performance, disturbing black and white footage from some forgotten movie, yet completely appropriate for the mood and content of the album. And the venue, wow! Excellent acoustics, a yummy looking menu for the well-endowed and, once again, an appropriate mood. Incidentally, Amy Millan of Stars is playing there in a couple weeks, and I'm tempted to go, although I have a couple of shows already planned for that week. Enjoy the pictures.

Okay, this is the last of the unreleased solo stuff I have, really:

Detective Daughter (Demo)
Sprig (Demo)

Kwaya Na Kisser Has The Recording: Here
Once More Time: Here

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Victorious: Emily Haines In Toronto

After a few weeks of futility, I finally managed to get tickets to see Emily Haines tonight at Joe's Pub. Needless to say, I'm thrilled, and to celebrate, here's another recording! Although it's from way back on July 24th, 2004, many of these songs appear on Knives. Security permitting, I'll have some photos to share soon.


1. Intro
2. Ending Start
3. The Lottery
4. Telethon
5. Sprig
6. Mostly Waving
7. Shrine To Fast Goodbyes
8. London Halflife
9. Bottom of the World
10. Banter
11. I.O.U.
12. Succexy
13. Banter
14. Detective Daughter
15. Our Hell
16. Banter
17. Numb Is The New High

Can You Put Me On The List? Here

Monday, September 18, 2006

In Your Ears: Mixing With Mylo

Miles MacInnes, better known as Mylo, is quite the audio-wizard. While it seems that my indie rock tastes have been apparent so far, I'm also into a fair bit of electronica. My initial post was, after all, Ladytron, whom I'm happily going to be seeing next week at Webster Hall. Security permitting, photos should be forthcoming. Anyways, electronica isn't that far removed from the artists that I've been exploring; it's inherently collaborative, with copious guesting and remixing. Mylo really takes this concept to a new level, as most of his excellent album, Destroy Rock & Roll, was engineered on a Pro Toolsesque program, utilizing various samples and archival material. The end result is a really fun, enjoyable listen, even if you aren't particularly into the genre. I've got quite a few uploads today, and I'll do my best to type you through them.

Here's a live DJ set, recorded at Club London in Dundee, Scotland on May 13th, 2006. Mylo's from Skye, a tiny isle off of Scotland, so this is a bit of a hometown crowd, with audible cheering. It's a rather large file (about an hour of music), so please be patient with the download. You can make out parts of the songs "Paris Four Hundred," "Otto's Journey" and "Drop The Pressure." Also, The Knife's "Silent Shout" is sampled.

Download: Here

Here's another live set, recorded via Galaxy FM in Hi-Fi: North, Liverpool, England (Ladytron's home town, incidentally). It was recorded on May 27th, 2006 (My eighteenth birthday, incidentally). I didn't recognize many specific song samples, but there is a nice DFA moment (R.I.P.).

Download: Here

Okay, now for the esoterica. Mylo has a fantastic song called "In My Arms," which you can stream at his official site. It's actually a mashup of the synth line from "Bette Davis Eyes" with the line, "In my arms, baby yeah!" from "Waiting For A Star To Fall." No, I wasn't aware of these 80's hits either, but as I'm a sucker for connections, no matter how obscure, I can't resist uploading:

Boy Meets Girl - Waiting For A Star To Fall
Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't reiterate this fantastic mashup that Party Ben did of two of my favorite artists. Definitely worth a listen:

Tegan and Sara vs. Mylo - Walking With A Ghost In Paris

Thank Mylo For House Music: Here

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Transcontinental: Death Cab In Portland

Death Cab for Cutie recently announced an extensive fall tour starting, relevantly enough, with an appearance at Bridge School. Three excellent openers appear at various stages: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins and OK Go. Around here, Ted Leo opens for Death Cab at the Garden, and while the tickets are a hefty $40 or so, I'm quite tempted to go. Until then, there's a gold mine of Death Cab recordings at etree, as well as many other artists, including two that have been featured here.

The set was recorded on November 17th, 2005 in the Crystal Ballroom, Portland, Oregon. Thanks to Ryan Olsen for the recording; you can view full technical details here. It's an incredible set, with highlights from Plans and Transatlanticism, as well as a few older songs. Stars was opening in this tour, and I think you can make out Torq's voice in the "Come On!" climax of the final song. Speaking of which, the crowd is really fantastic, singing along and adding a level of energy that isn't necessarily present in the studio recordings. It's worth checking out for the encore alone, and the best part is, the links aren't going to expire anytime soon!


Disc 1
1. Intro
2. Marching Bands of Manhattan
3. The New Year
4. Why You'd Want to Live Here
5. Title & Registration
6. Soul Meets Body
7. Summer Skin
8. President of What?
9. Photobooth
10. Crooked Teeth
11. Different Names for the Same Thing

Disc 2
1. For What Reason
2. Company Calls
3. Company Calls Epilogue
4. What Sarah Said
5. Expo '86
6. The Sound of Settling
7. I Will Follow You Into the Dark
8. Tiny Vessels
9. Transatlanticism (w/ Stars)

Expo '06: Here
Etree Archive: Here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Black Flowers Blossom: Cocteau Twins In Boston

Wow. I might have been premature in declaring Emily Haines as my favorite frontperson. Elizabeth Fraser, she of the sublime "Teardrop," is an absolutely mesmeric vocalist. While perhaps most recognized for that Massive Attack collaboration, her actual band, Cocteau Twins, has a staggering wealth of material. I've only scratched the surface of their discography with Heaven or Las Vegas, but what I've heard has been yet another hyperbolic adjective. While that term, shoegazer, is once again applicable, I think it's far more apt to call their music "dream pop." Between Liz's gorgeous, cryptic vocals and the guitar soundscape, there really is something otherworldly about the Cocteaus.

This set, recorded in Boston during the tail end of the band's career, does a lovely job of encapsulating their work. It's really a tragedy that they're no longer releasing new material (much like their countrymen, the Delgados), although guitarist Robin Guthrie did recently release a second solo album.


1. Fifty-Fifty Clown
2. Calfskin Smack
3. Watchlar
4. Touch Upon Touch
5. Treasure Hiding
6. Ella Megablast Burls Forever
7. Pitch The Baby
8. Wax and Wane
9. Aloysius
10. I Wear Your Ring
11. Summerhead
12. Seekers Who Are Lovers
13. Iceblink Luck
14. Violaine
15. Pandora
16. Pur
17. Blue Bell Knoll

Treasures: Here

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Reminder: Thom Yorke At Bridge School

One of the most unexpected albums of the year was, of course, Thom Yorke's The Eraser. Despite the short time between announcement and release, a significant amount of anticipation greeted its arrival. There are some excellent songs on the record, particularly "Harrowdown Hill" and "Black Swan," but the overall focus does make for a rather static record. I suppose the real hurdle that Thom and Radiohead have to overcome each time they release new material is the "burden" of an absolutely spectacular back catalogue. Somehow, they've managed to surprise us just about every time they've put out a record, something that few bands can claim.

This is a pretty interesting set. Neil Young holds a two day event each year called Bridge School Benefit in the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. I originally became aware of it via Tegan and Sara, who are signed to Neil's Vapor Records, and who have played in two of the shows. Thom appeared in 2002, and this is the first of his two sets, recorded on October 26th. While it's just Thom and his acoustic guitar and piano, he explores a significant chunk of Radiohead history. Hopefully it'll sate you until they release that seventh album and get back on the road.


1. Intro
2. Everything In Its Right Place
3. I Might Be Wrong
4. Sail To The Moon
5. Like Spinning Plates
6. There There
7. Pyramid Song
8. Lucky
9. After The Gold Rush (Neil Young Cover)

You Must Hear These Records: Here

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cut With Knife: The Other Emily Haines Album

Today is a bittersweet day (although it's an improvement over yesterday). Emily Haines, singer of Metric and my favorite frontperson, is releasing her solo debut, entitled Knives Don't Have Your Back. Having, uh, acquired it for a bit already, I can say that it's as sharp as it's namesake, with Emily's characteristic charisma and lyricism evident. There's also a certain vulnerability that's merely hinted at in the lulls of Metric's bombastic albums ("Too Little Too Late," for example). The album's release is accompanied by a short tour, including two shows next Tuesday at Joe's Pub, a mere two or three blocks away from my dorm. Upon finding this locale, I was delighted, but upon further investigation, I was shocked to find that both shows were sold out. Apparently the label, Last Gang, is holding a significant chunk of these tickets, hence the shortage. I'll continue to check, but in the meantime, here's her other, unreleased solo album, Cut In Half and Also Double. What's with Metric and unreleased albums, anyways?


1. Dog
2. Bore
3. Eden
4. Pretty Head
5. Freak
6. The View
7. Eau de Toilette
8. Carpet
9. Pink

Fight Off The Lethargy: Here
Generally Interesting Article (with Emily): Under The Radar

Monday, September 11, 2006

Interlude: Five Years Later

In the short time that I've considered myself a true New Yorker, I've seen the incredible spirit of this unmatched city. Hopefully, we will use this tragedy, even five years later, as an opportunity to improve, not as an excuse to divide. Perhaps one day we'll duplicate the incredible sense of community and cooperation that existed in the wake of the attacks. And in my mind's eye, the Manhattan skyline will always be unbroken.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Taste For Irony: Broken Social Scene and Friends

Apparently, we have a radio station here. It's a pretty exciting prospect, after having been so fixated on music recently, to have an opportunity of broadcasting something. I was brainstorming potential show themes when I realized that one emerged upon browsing the contents of this blog, as well as my library. I'm not from Canada; I was actually born in Beijing, China, but for some reason I've gravitated towards my collective-centric northern neighbors, the most prominent being Broken Social Scene. This set, which opens with a staggering rendition of the superb "Almost Crimes" that's been featured in Arts & Crafts' samplers, is really the epitome of the collective ideal. The numerous band connections are explored here, with different members of the group playing their respective songs. It was recorded at Radio Aligre in Paris, France, and while I'm not sure exactly when it was recorded, the songs are from You Forget It In People-era BSS. As usual, various non-album tracks follow.


1. Almost Crimes (BSS)
2. Baby, You're In Luck (Apostle of Hustle)
3. Starts With A Big Finish (Jason Collett)
4. Cause = Time (BSS)
5. Bruised Ghosts (Amy Millan)
6. Let's Get Out Of Here (BSS)

All The Gods
Do The 95
Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day) - Live at the Junos
Puff The Magic Dragon (Demo)

Indie Label Debuts: Here

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Shoetastic: Silversun Pickups At Café Du Nord

Recently, I was talking about shoegazer as if it were some obselete genre. Admittedly, the glory days of My Bloody Valentine and friends may have passed, but there are definitely excellent contemporary bands that employ the fuzz and distortion of yore. The aforementioned space-rock of Mew is clearly influenced by past density, particularly in their recent U.S. debut And The Glass Handed Kites. Asobi Seksu, with its endearing Japanese inflection, is another example. Finally, there's Silversun Pickups, whom I was introduced to on Subterranean. I think they're just fantastic; their album Carnavas has taken a significant chunk of my recent listening time. Here's a set recorded at Café Du Nord in San Francisco, California on March 11, 2006.


1. Intro
2. ...All The Go Inbetweens
3. Comeback Kid
4. Future Foe Scenarios
5. Waste It On
6. Kissing Families
7. Well Thought Out Twinkles
8. Lazy Eye

Cartgazers: Here

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Neuromancy: Straylight Run Odds and Ends

I can really trace my immersion into music to Straylight Run. At the time of their first release, I was mostly entrenched in the mainstream alternative (if there's such a thing), more or less unaware of truly independent music. If nothing else, Straylight introduced me to the philosophy that drives both the new reality of the music industry, as well as mp3 sharing sites such as this one, that of free flow of ideas. The band initially released this six song demo set/EP for free online, and much of their exposure (coupled, of course, with a well documented ex-band connection) can be attributed to that. In any case, there's a rather hefty amount of subsequent live stuff, which I've included as well. The band's currently in the studio recording their second full-length, and you can check out footage at their official site.


Online EP

1. It's Everyone's Fault But Mine
2. Existentialism On Prom Night
3. A Slow Descent
4. It's For The Best
5. Mistakes We Knew We Were Making
6. The Tension and the Terror

Costello - Demo of "It Never Gets Easier"
Dignity and Money - Live on WLIR Radio
Now It's Done - Live on WLIR Radio
A Slow Descent - Live on Sirius Satellite Radio
Existentialism On Prom Night - Live on Sirius Satellite Radio
Tool Sheds and Hot Tubs - Live on Domestic Disturbance Radio
Now My Heart Is Full (Morrissey Cover) - Live on Domestic Disturbance Radio
Velvet Waltz (Built To Spill Cover) - Live on Domestic Disturbance Radio

Begging To Be Owned: Here

Monday, September 04, 2006

Interlude: Eurgasm

Somewhere in the Mediterranean...

Studious readers might realize that two days in Ottawa does not a summer vacation make. I also had the excellent fortune of spending a gluttonous amount of time in Europe, throughout the Mediterranean area. If it's any consolation, the flight home was delayed three hours, although I managed to avoid the liquid ban by about a week. As I'm a fiend, I took a number of musically-oriented and generally offbeat shots in addition to the obligatory tourism fill. To keep up the quota of verbosity, just a bit of indulgent name-dropping as far as esoteric European music goes.The UK-area is, of course, brimming with it, so I'll leave that be. There's quite a bit of interesting Nordic electro, including The Knife, Röyksopp and Múm. Although seemingly disparate, lo-fi artists such as José González and Kings of Convenience are also linked to their technological neighbors and a number of other more prominent groups. Ironically, I'm From Barcelona also hails from Sweden and is causing quite a bit of buzz. Also, I was quite delighted to see Mew's video for "Zookeeper's Boy" on MTV2 's Subterranean this morning.

Germany includes Lali Puna, Barbara Morgenstern, and Ellen Allien, who was just in the city last week. My metalhead acquaintances have said good things about Opeth, and the Italian band Lacuna Coil is quite prominent, though its metal-ness might be diluted (Depeche Mode covers and such), but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've just scratched the surface, but hopefully that'll provide a starting point.

Enjoy the pics, more tunes coming shortly:

The Vatican just isn't nearly as scene. (Monacco)

Information Salvation (Nice, France)

Gives new meaning to "stadium-sized rock" (Rome, Italy)

Bryan Adams was the opener (Rome, Italy)

Speaking of which... (Athens, Greece)

Mixed Media (Barcelona, Spain)

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