Thursday, January 18, 2007

Midweek MP3s: Let's Get Into This Country


It's a time of transition. School's started up again, and while that means concerts, it also means that time for blogging will be limited, or at least shifted (go insomnia). I'm also not really sure where this blog is going, as it's definitely beginning to evolve into more than just live music. I guess this is another attempt to mix things up a bit, but I promise that I'll provide a live music fix tomorrow later today for those of you craving it.

The other day, Pitchfork referenced how many good Glasgow bands seem to out there these days, and I'd like to extend the sentiment to include all of Scotland (and beyond, really) with the following picks. You've probably seen many of these bands, but I think they're all worth multiple listens. There's also a bit of context here, as I'll be seeing Camera Obscura in a week. Regarding some omissions: I'm sorry to say that I'm not really familiar enough with Belle and Sebastian or the Jesus and Mary Chain to include them, but hopefully their countrymen make up for that.

Enjoy:


We've seen the brothers Michael and Marcus - deceptive name aside - a couple times now, and I have to admit that my experience with them doesn't really extend beyond Music Has The Right to Children and "Dayvan Cowboy." Having said that, this track is pretty worth hearing, having been featured in an ultra-slick Jaguar ad (which unfortunately isn't streaming anymore). As I said, it's a bit hard for me to really immerse myself in full-on albums of this IDM stuff, but this extended track is pretty appealing.

MP3: Boards of Canada - Happy Cycling
Buy: Here


Way back at the beginning of last year, when I was really just getting into music, I started up this somewhat naive email list in an attempt to do something with all the new goodness that I was hearing. Essentially, I'd email everyone on the list a song every day, with some commentary. While I can credit this project as planting the seeds of future blogging, I have to say that the latter practice is far more gratifying. Anyways, Pitchfork kicked off something similar with their Infinite Mixtape over the summer, and it still seems to get updated sporadically. This really gave me a taste of the new Camera Obscura. While Underacheivers, Please Try Harder didn't really stick out for me, this new album, as you've probably heard, shimmers. When the concert rolls around, I'll be sure to post a boatload of live stuff. For now, here's the title track, courtesy of the 'fork, who also seem to have infinite bandwidth.

MP3: Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
Buy: Here


Is there anything Elizabeth Fraser can't do? Not only does she provide the highlight (emotionally, anyways) of Mezzanine, which I can conclusively call my favorite album ever, she anchors what's one of the downright prettiest albums I've ever heard in Heaven or Las Vegas. Getting to see her at Roseland last fall, was, as they say, a religious experience, and probably the highlight of my concert attendance so far. My only regret about this album is that it's made much of Cocteau's older work pale in comparison, but it's well worth the tradeoff.

MP3: Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas
Buy: Here


At this point it should be abundantly clear that I'm a huge fan of pop songs and multitracking. Oh, and the Delgados. This song's a bit sparser than much of their dense, orchestral work. Yet there's an elegance to this song and Emma Pollock's delivery that I find irresistable. As I've lamented frequently, the band is also no longer together, but with any luck, we'll see a solo album from Emma this year. In addition to all the music, one could very well credit the group with founding the Glasgow scene by starting Chemikal Underground. Oh, and you can hear two live versions of Universal Audio tracks here.

MP3: The Delgados - Sink or Swim
Buy: Here


I'm actually taking a seminar on World War I at the moment, so this particular Austro-Hungarian Archduke is pretty relevant. I'm not sure what the band is actually up to these days; the only definitive piece of news that I recall is their tour with Death Cab. For some reason, I haven't gotten into Franz quite as much as I probably should have, and some of their like-minded peers appeal a bit more to me. But they're probably the biggest thing out of Scotland right now, hiatus or not, and that means, uh, remixes? In an interesting case of Allied collusion, Daft Punk takes the stomper, "Take Me Out," and adds a bit of electro. No idea where exactly it comes from, suitable cover aside.

MP3: Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out (Daft Punk Remix)
Buy: Here


Apparently Garbage was formed in Wisconsin, which seems a bit bizarre. While frontwoman and Scot Shirley Manson was actually a late addition to the band, she definitely appears to be the driving force. Like Shirley, this song has pretty seriously attitude, combining a straight-up guitar snarl with some swanky beats, making for a great opener to the suitably eclectic Beautiful Garbage. Of course, it's the vocals that really make the song, twisting from the anthemic to an insidious pseudo-rap. Rawr.

MP3: Garbage - Shut Your Mouth
Buy: Here


Rock bands are no strangers to anthemic openers, but Idlewild have one that's really quite melodic. While originally a punk band (or so I'm told), the Edinberg group is downright literate on their fourth album, The Remote Part. As the title suggests, there's some contemplation amidst the noise, and the results are very nice. From world of the pleasant surprises, the band will be releasing a sixth studio album, as well as a UK tour in the spring.

MP3: Idlewild - You Held The World In Your Arms
Buy: Here


Technically, the 'tron are from Liverpool, but as the group includes a Chinese, Bulgarian and, you guessed it, Scottish member, I can't resist. That latter individual would be Helen Marnie, who provides much of the vocals, particularly on their latest, greatest album, Witching Hour. Although the band toured extensively in 2006, their only release was the self-explanatory Extended Play, which includes some b-sides and remixes. This one's the best of the bunch, in my opinion, and just another reason why James Iha is so awesome. In a perfect world, we'll see a fourth album later this year.

MP3: Ladytron - Weekend (James Iha Mix)
Buy: Here


I'm sorry to say that I've only recently gotten into all of Mr. Beast, Mogwai's excellent 2006 effort. This whole post-rock thing is still a bit new to me, but I definitely enjoy what I hear. That piano really adds a lot, especially in the opener "Auto Rock." This track was the first Mogwai song I ever heard, via NPR's excellent All Songs Considered, and perhaps it's one of those psychological things, but it's stuck. They've have also appeared on a number of soundtracks, mostly recently in the Zidane biography.

MP3: Mogwai - Travel Is Dangerous
Buy: Here


Myles MacInnes is from the isle of Skye, and he's basically really internet famous. Party Ben has gone to town with him, with no less than three mashups (including a very recent remix of an old favorite). The album track, "Otto's Journey," has garnered some fame of its own, appearing in a Kraft salad dressing commercial with Michelle Kwan.

MP3: Mylo - Otto's Journey
MP3: Mylo vs. Miami Sound Machine - Conga Pressure
MP3: Tegan and Sara vs. Mylo - Walking With A Ghost In Paris
MP3: Tegan and Sara vs. Mylo - Walking With A Ghost In Paris (2007 Remix)
Buy: Here


This is pretty much a contemporary classic, and for good reason. Gary Lightbody's distinctively Scotty delivery is heartfelt, and the accompanying instrumental is huge. I'm not nearly as keen on Eyes Open, although the Sufjan name-dropping in "Hands Open" and the gorgeous duet with Martha Wainwright is pretty nice. Still, I can't really fault a band with such a wicked iTunes playlist. They have what looks like a monster spring tour coming up, with OK Go and the Ü-endorsed Silversun Pickups.

MP3: Snow Patrol - Run
Buy: Here


Whew. Remind me to visit a quieter place next time.

1 comment:

d16 said...

thanxs for the great music!

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