Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Interlude: I Wanna Be Your Dog

Despite the Spanish-tinge, El Perro del Mar is yet another Swedish export. It's the musical vehicle for singer-songwriter Sarah Assbring, who brought along her acoustic guitar for tonight's in-store. Major thanks and kudos to Other Music for consistently bringing us great in-stores, even through the cold winter months. Incidentally, Sarah's first U.S. appearance was just last November, in what must have been a fantastic show at Joe's Pub with Emilie Simon. Unfortunately, I heard of Emilie a few weeks after the fact.

But it seems that El Perro's previous appearance - along with a little help from the internet - has cultivated a strong following. The line to the in-store stretched from Other Music's doorway to the cusp of Lafayette street, no mean feat. There's a sadness to her music that would seem to dissuade such widespread appeal, and her onstage persona was quite sombre, but she's clearly connecting with a lot of people.

But I'm not a believer yet. There's definitely been a lack of effort on my part, as I haven't really given her studio work enough time, but with respect to that, there hasn't really been that hook, musical or otherwise, to draw me in. Unfortunately, the set doesn't really propel me to investigate. It was a bit short, I think around four songs, and there's an unfortunate amount of repetition in her lyrics. However, this sort of music seems like it would grow on me, so I'm sure I'll revisit it at some point.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar - God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)
MySpace: Here
Official Site: Here
Buy: Here

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monarch: Erlend Øye Black Session

Erlend Øye is a man of many guises: DJ, electropop collaborator, singer-songwriter, and most recently, frontman. But throughout these various endeavors, his distinctively understated voice remains the centerpiece. His Black Session, recorded on February 12, 2003, draws most of its material from his solo release, Unrest. While I haven't heard the studio tracks, these live songs are a pleasant concoction of electronic landscapes and bittersweet vocals, a strong combination. The closer, a mellow take on the sublime Röyksopp track "Remind Me," is a highlight. Speaking of which, does Erlend's bespeckled appearance remind anyone of Jarvis?

1. Ghost Trains
2. Every Party
3. A While Ago and Recently
4. Fall
5. Summer Go
6. Prego Amore
7. The Black Keys Work
8. Remind Me

Gold For The Price Of Silver: Here

Monday, February 26, 2007

Interlude: More Fun

All hell breaks loose...

Arizona and Dawn Landes
Club Europa, Brooklyn - Feb 23rd, 2007

My last Arizona show seems like yesterday. The venue was the same for round two, and while the lineup was condensed, the same great vibe permeated both shows. Maybe it's the borough, or just the fact that the artists are local, but there's a real sense of community here. Call it naive, but it's kind of comforting that such a place exists in what's really a tough industry. The night was particularly exciting, as a crew was on hand to film a DVD, which should be out in a couple months.

Dawn Landes

Dawn plays at Joe's Pub this Friday.

Dawn Landes started things off with a bang; her first song was accompanied by most of Arizona (Musicality has a pic). But then things settled down, with the core of Dawn, cellist Eric Stephenson, and (sorry) one of the guitarists from Arizona on drums. There's still that country/folky tinge to her work (a couple of my friends referenced Iron & Wine after the set), but it's definitely more interesting to me than your average guitar plucker. Dawn has a really powerful delivery, which she demonstrated throughout the set's big choruses.

But what was really nice about this set was the second half. With the lights were dimmed, she delivered some of her more introspective work, including the wonderful "Twilight" and a cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." I've never been a huge fan of Dylan, but his words, filtered through Dawn's voice, was a pretty transcendent experience.

MP3: Dawn Landes - Bodyguard
MP3: Dawn Landes - Twilight
Buy: Here


There's some comforting about seeing a band twice. Familiarity is, I suppose, a big reason why we see bands live. Despite the repetition here, this was a set full of surprises. Aside from introducing two new tracks, singer Ben Wigler was on, trading banter, stage antics, and great musicianship throughout the set. What really stood out to me was how big they sound, with three and four part harmonies, and six musicians onstage.

Of course, this all was a prelude to a monstrous finale of "Splintering." Ben joked before the set that the more we came to Arizona's shows, the more likely it was that he would throw his guitar at us and expect us to play a solo. Well, he did just that with Dawn (first photo), and suddenly everyone was onstage. A great end, but also just a beginning...

It's going to be a busy Spring for Arizona, with numerous radio appearances, and a tour with Band of Horses; dates are available on their MySpace. Check 'em out if they're in your area, and check out these songs.

MP3: Arizona - David
MP3: Arizona - Some Kind of Chill
MP3: Arizona - Splintering
MP3: Arizona - Te Amo Tanto

Buy: Here

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blue Light: Azure Ray in San Francisco

Strangely enough, the members of Azure Ray might be louder on their respective solo albums than as a group. Maria Taylor's lovely 11:11 sports a fair amount of production, while Orenda Fink's Invisible Ones enlists a full-blown congregation. By contrast, this set is relatively minimal, mostly relying on the girls' voices and acoustic guitar. Despite the simplicity, it really gives me newfound appreciation for each of their voices. While the instrumentals don't elicit quite the same endearment, there's a nice balance between staying true to recorded material and adjusting to a live setting. Incidentally, Maria's second solo album, Lynn Teeter Flower, arrives on March 6th.

The show was recorded at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco on December 6th, 2003.


1. Hold On Love
2. Sleep
3. Look To Me
4. The Drinks We Drank Last Night
5. Rise
6. These White Lights Will Bend To Make Blue
7. Dragonfly
8. Displaced
9. Beautiful Things Can Come From the Dark
10. November

Here are some album tracks, courtesy of the official site:

MP3: Azure Ray - Displaced
MP3: Azure Ray - November
MP3: Azure Ray - Seven Days

Hitched: Here

In other news...

Due to popular demand, previous shows from CocoRosie, The Postal Service and Lush have been uploaded again. If you'd like anything else, feel free to email me or leave a comment. Enjoy!

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Week That Was #7: Reparations

Apologies for the lateness of the update. Aside from various distractions, I was a bit uncertain where to go for this week, as my recent listens haven't drastically changed. But I finally gave the gigantic SXSW list a look (a green cassette means an mp3 is available for downloading), and basically Christmas came early. I guess I'm doing something right, because a number of the artists jumped out at me.

Emilie Simon isn't playing SXSW, but she's at the top of the week, so a blurb seems most appropriate. I got into her after seeing a feature at the lovely Music is Art, and Thievery Corp's remix of "Desert" has entranced me since then. It wasn't until last week that I heard the original version, which is just as good. I've also included the English version, which is bundled with various bonus tracks to the album.

MP3: Emilie Simon - Desert
MP3: Emilie Simon - Desert (English Version)
Buy: Here

Kate Havnevik appeared last week courtesy of Carmen Rizzo, and this one's another collaboration. It's not that I don't appreciate her solo work; her Imogen Heapesque delivery works really well with the various electronic textures on Melankton. But this track basically supersedes, well, just about every pop song I've come across. I've referred to it obliquely whenever mentioning her, and it's about darn time I shared it.

MP3: Röyksopp - Only This Moment
Buy: Here

I put up Errors' remix of Mogwai's "Auto Rock" a few weeks ago without knowing who or what Errors were. Turns out they're (yet another) group out of Glasgow, but one that's making electronic noise instead of utilizing guitar (or piano). Their mini-album, the cheekily titled How Clean Is Your Acid House? seems to have gotten quite a bit of support across the pond, and I can see why. Here's the lead track.

MP3: Errors - Mr. Milk
Buy: Here

And we're back in Glasgow. Former Delgado Emma Pollock is playing a couple solo acoustic shows (dates) in New York in a few weeks. It's a far cry from the orchestral density of her previous band, but simplicity is hardly a compromise when her lovely voice comes in force. Her solo album should come out sometime early this year, and it's one of my greatly anticipated releases. And, okay, full disclosure - I'm interviewing her tomorrow. More developments soon.

MP3: Emma Pollock - Limbs
Buy: Here

Headlights have gotten a decent amount of attention in the blogosphere, balancing those ubiquitous shoegazing influences for something far lighter and accessible. It's a wonder I haven't mentioned them more frequently, but I've been listening to their debut, Kill Them With Kindness, pretty frequently over the last week. Here's an early highlight, full of momentum, but perhaps as a result over a little too quickly.

MP3: Headlights - TV
Buy: Here

Immaculate Machine is anchored by Katherine Calder, niece of the New Pornographer's A.C. Newman. She's definitely got the same powerpop blood, even doing all the vocals on this allegedly A.C. track, "Transcanada." That's not to say that IM's all about Kat, as guitarist Brooke Gallupe and drummer Luke Kozlowski all contribute vocal work, as seen on the great track "Broken Ship."

MP3: Immaculate Machine - Broken Ship
MP3: A.C. Newman - Transcanada
Buy: Here

From Vancouver, we hop (or sail) down to Seattle. I don't really know much about Tullycraft, although name sounds vaguely familiar. However, my initial impressions are uniformly positive: endearing, jangly pop delivery, bloggerfied home page, and mp3 generosity. I approve, and I will definitely give the band a more in-depth listen.

MP3: Tullycraft - Stowaway
Buy: Here

And, to wrap all this up, here's a recent interview with Daniel Kessler of SXSW "headliners" Interpol. Lots of interesting tidbits here, including a confirmed track title, "Mammoth." That should be interesting!

MP3: Interpol Interview, Lamacq Show, Feb 15th, 2007


Sorry, I overlooked Au Revoir Simone's single from their upcoming album, the Bird of Music. According to Pitchfork, they're right around Paris tonight, which works out nicely with the etymology. This sophomore release looks like a much more developed work than the too-short Verses. I'm definitely looking forward to that one.

MP3: Au Revoir Simone - Fallen Snow
Buy: Bere

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just For A Day: Slowdive in Norway

Slowdive is (still) pretty much the dreamiest band ever. Souvlaki has become the go-to album in the last few months for me, and I'd say it's definitely time to share more live stuff. The only real complaint I have about this set - and you can hear audience members agreeing during the outro - is the exclusion of "Alison," which seems borderline criminal. But still, it's the band's right to choose the setlist, and the various non-(main) album content is pretty nice. On the flipside, it's particularly nice that Rachel Goswell gets a lot of singing time, and there's a cute exchange midway through the set with an enthusiastic fan.

After reading into the band's history, this set, recorded on December 18th, 1993 in Oslo, Norway, seems especially vital. Slowdive was given minimal support from their label throughout their history, eventually having to fund their later shows out of their own pockets. It's a shame, and probably one of the main reasons they haven't received the recognition, in the shoegazing scene or otherwise, that they so deserve. At least the story ends somewhat happily, as three members went on to form the still active Mojave 3, a band I need to hear more of. Even though live performances are by nature temporary, the beauty is that you can revisit one years later, and it'll retain its power.


1. Machine Gun
2. Souvlaki Space Station
3. Slowdive
4. Avalyn
5. Catch the Breeze
6. Melon Yellow
7. Morningrise
8. She Calls

All Of Us: Here

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Interview: Ladytron

I recently emailed a set of questions to one of my favorite bands, Ladytron. Hopefully this will form the basis for another article over at Washington Square News (although the clock is ticking), and here's the text of it. Many thanks to Reuben Wu of the band for answering, and to Wendy Stenzel for setting it all up.

Update: Check out the article here.

Question: I notice a lot of shoegazing influences on Witching Hour. How did this come about? Any thoughts on the apparent shoegaze revival that seems to be going on? (The Jesus and Mary Chain playing at Coachella, Robin Guthrie producing and recording, Kevin Shields saying there will be another MBV record, etc).

Reuben: We've always been fans of MBV, Chapterhouse, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Ride and Ultra Vivid Scene amongst others. It all still sounds so fresh. As well as that we were listening to bands like the Bauhaus, Siousxie and the Banshees, the Comsat Angels and a load of stuff on the Constellation label. I think there is always a revival of past music every decade or so. It's good because it's like recycling and making it more accessible for fans who would not normally get the chance to hear the original bands.

Question: Ladytron has a large amount of material that’s been remixed, as well as contributing a large number of remixes. What impact has this had on when it comes to original material? Any particularly moments of inspiration?

Reuben: I think remixing others is definitely more of a creative trigger than having music remixed by others. It gives freedom to experiment with a song which has already been written by someone else, and you are pretty much free to do anything you want to it. It's a great way to come up with interesting riffs and patterns that might be incorporated into your own compositions later on. In recent months we've remixed Placebo, Indochine, Blondie, Gang of Four and Bloc Party and I definitely want to do more studio-based work, perhaps soundtracking.

Question: How has touring, particularly with a live drummer and bassist, affected the band? Can you attribute live sound to the denser sound of Light & Magic and especially Witching Hour? How does DJing compare to full-band sets, and has it had any influence on your own music?

Reuben: Yes, the live sound that we had developed over the years with a live drummer and bassist had developed the way we think about our own music. We finished the touring in 2002 and pretty much had a load of songs ready to be worked on in the studio for Witching Hour. We wanted an album which reflected the way we had grown as live performers, not to produce yet another electro record. I think we succeeded - and whilst we still regard ourselves as electronic, I don't think we see the record as being 'electro'.

Question: What direction do you think the band is heading, as far as new material? When can we expect a new album?

Reuben: We're working on a 4th album right now whenever we get time off between gigs and I'd say we have well over 20 songs already. Direction-wise I wouldn't like to say until we are in the thick of it all but we definitely want to work with Jim Abbiss again, the producer worked on Witching Hour. Hopefully we should finish it by the Autumn 2007.

Question: Ladytron is a pretty diverse group. How have your different backgrounds affected the creative process? Specifically, I’ve read that Daniel did most of the songwriting on 604, but it’s become a more collective project on the later albums; how did this trend occur?

Reuben: It's really the individual diversities rather than cultural diversities which has shaped the band. We all pretty much like a lot of similar things but there are areas where we bring something new into the group. I came into the band as a DJ and got more involved that way, so I tend to work a lot on programming and remixing. Regarding songwriting, Witching Hour was the most collaborative effort to date and I think the next album will be even more so. The reason why it was less collaborative then was because all but Daniel had full time jobs and there was only so much time we could commit to the record.

Question: How did this tour with Nine Inch Nails come together? Has Trent Reznor had any influence on style, production, or any other aspect of the band?

Reuben: Trent made a request for us to support NIN on the UK and European dates. It's a great honour because I listened to them a lot when I was 15 or 16. Pretty hate Machine, Broken and the Downward Spiral are great albums and they have probably influenced me somewhere along the way. I think we listened to the same kinds of music such as Throbbing Gristle, DAF, Joy Division, Psychic TV, Queen.

Question: There seems to be a somewhat cold aura surrounding the band (whether through the press, visually, or perhaps just our preconceptions about synths and drum machines). What are your thoughts about this? It seems that this was a real stylistic decision, at least initially, but has it changed? For example, was the shift from the 604-era “uniforms” to a more casual dress an effort to dispel these notions?

Reuben: I agree some of the photos we've had done do give that impression but in all honestly, what bands do you see laughing and smiling? When we play onstage the reason why we can't move around much is because we're all playing synthesizers but we did ditch the uniforms because we felt that they were quite restrictive, both physically and conceptually. It wasn't in an effort to dispel notions, we just wanted to feel more comfortable on stage yet still look like a cohesive group.

Question: Any general thoughts on the state of the music industry or, for that matter, the state of the world? Witching Hour is definitely a dark album, but (without revealing too much) was it in response to outside events or more personal content? I just saw that Mira was interviewed by Peta 2; is more political activism in the future?

Reuben: I think we're one of those bands who are lucky to have music which has international appeal. This has allowed us to get really interesting gigs all over the world (Russia, China, Brazil, Columbia, Bangkok, Australia) relatively easy. And because of internet communities such as MySpace, it has become possible to play entire tours in regions where we have no support from labels - the interest from the internet has been enough of a medium to fill entire venues with kids who know all the words to our songs, it's a really fantastic situation to be in...


Thanks, Reuben! Ladytron plays in NYC at Capitale on Thursday night; call 866-988-8800 for ticket info. An epic European tour with Nine Inch Nails follows; dates can be found at the official site.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Interlude: It Could Be Sweet

Bitter:Sweet - Feb 15th, 2007
Joe's Pub, NYC

Discarding my journalism objectivity (but not my personal conviction), I have to say that this was a great show. Although I was prepared for a crowd - there were eight musicians onstage - I was still blown away by how well they syncopated, creating something recognizable as The Mating Game, yet instilled with live energy. Despite the presence of various contributors, the core of Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani was very much the bright spot. Shana's stylish dress was outmatched only by her fantastic vocals, while Kiran's energetic bass-work provided the foundation of each song. It was clear from the onset how much fun the group was having, and their enthusiasm really shone through.

One moment that really epitomized the vibe of the set was at the tail end of one song. In the midst of a turntable assault, the drummer began beatboxing, while the Pub's moody lights gave way to disco-worthy pyrotechnics. Shana pulled out a tambourine, and the whole band rocked out while the crowd roared approval. In a word, triumphant.

The only real downside was that the show had to come to an end, although the band came back with a three song encore. Bitter:Sweet will be playing a few dates on the west coast in March, details at their MySpace.

MP3: Bitter:Sweet - The Mating Game
MP3: Bitter:Sweet - Joe's Pub Interview
Buy: Here

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Past That Suits You Best: Lush in London

A couple of people have asked for the Lush Black Session that I posted a while ago. Unfortunately, while I've gotten my external hard drive back, everything on it was wiped. That's a roundabout way of saying that I don't have the mp3s anymore, and I would greatly appreciate it if anyone that has them could get them back to me. I'd eventually like to have everything on this blog always available, and look for some sort of aggregate post during this long weekend.

So Lush has grown on me, not so much in their shoegazing incarnation, but more as a peppy, fun pop-rock group. While their songs deal with relationships in a somewhat frivolous way, it's a nice break from all the melodrama. Lead singer Miki Berenyi, despite being of Hungarian and Japanese ancestry, has a pretty Anglo-fied delivery, and while it's not as melodic as some of her dreamier contemporaries, it's pretty appealing. I was intrigued to read that she appears on the album of the Rentals, the project of T&S collaborator Matt Sharp. Apparently she'll also contribute to Seinking Ships' release. And hey, the way the year has been so far, we'll hopefully have a Lush reunion any day now.

Here's a nice little set that pretty much encapsulates the less-gaze, more-pop mentality of the band towards the later part of their career. It was recorded at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, London on April 3rd, 1996.


1. Lovelife
2. 500 (Shake Baby Shake)
3. Heavenly Nobodies
4. Single Girl
5. Kiss Chase
6. De-Luxe
7. Last Night
8. For Love
9. Ladykillers

Lushlife: Here

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Craigslist Connection Proves Bitter:Sweet

This article appears in today's Washington Square News.

Don't dismiss the next ad you see on Craigslist. It could be your big break.

Singer-songwriter Shana Halligan had just returned to her hometown of Los Angeles from Europe. She was disillusioned with the L.A. scene, to say the least."There was a time when I had even stopped listening to music," Halligan said. But when she answered an anonymous ad on Craigslist for a singer, her luck changed. The source of the ad was Kiran Shahani, the former production wizard of the band Supreme Beings of Leisure. Despite their random introduction, the two unknowingly lived on the same block and even recorded in the same studio before meeting. The result of this collaboration is Bitter:Sweet.

Although Halligan's past work involved "sitting at a piano, writing sad songs," as she said in an interview with Santa Monica's KCRW radio station, there's no confessional key-playing on the group's debut album, The Mating Game. Instead it's an intoxicating blend of trip-hop, electronica and Halligan's seductive vocals.

The evolution from ivory to silicon was a natural process. "I've always had a big appreciation for electronic music, it's the majority of my CD collection," Halligan said. That's not to say the band runs on a 4/4 beat." My dad [Blood, Sweat and Tears founding member Dick Halligan] turned me on to a lot of music, including jazz," Halligan said. She explores this last element in her vocals, which move gracefully from the sassy "Dirty Laundry" to the lounge aesthetic of "Heaven." Halligan's father also took an active role in string arrangements for the album.

In addition to Everything But the Girl and Billie Holiday, Halligan cites Portishead as a major influence. Although the melancholia of Dummy is substituted for a more upbeat outlook on The Mating Game, the legacy is definitive. While Beth Gibbon's dignified delivery remains unmatched, both albums begin with the use of turntables, as well as a mood often described as a "spy theme."

Halligan had difficulty translating these influences into a musical environment, but after the serendipitous meeting with Shahani, everything fell together. The former Cirque du Soleil director Bruno Guez signed them to his Quango Music imprint and contributed production. But the group's foundation, undoubtedly, is the dynamic relationship between Halligan's singing and Shahani's production. This complementary setup has been extremely productive - Halligan said the group is already halfway done with their follow-up album, tentatively scheduled for a fall release. But you can expect to hear plenty from the band before then.

Bitter:Sweet has drawn attention from the prominent KCRW, and has appeared on soundtracks for "Grey's Anatomy," "Entourage" and "Nip/Tuck." Microsoft began preloading The Mating Game onto their Zune portable music players in the fall, while Apple's iTunes music store offers a number of remixes of the singles "The Mating Game," "Dirty Laundry" and "Moving Forward."

These trends coincide with the shift in the industry towards unconventional marketing. "Being innovative is how to get yourself played, so few bands can get onto commercial radio," Halligan said. In addition to television and radio outlets, the band has established a strong following online, receiving over two thousand daily plays on their MySpace page a year after the album's release. The band has embraced the virtual environment and posts frequent updates."We have to change with the times," Halligan said.

Extra exposure was particularly important because the logistics of touring presented another challenge. "We've set a standard for ourselves live, and we're trying to bring as many people as we can," Halligan said. The group's depth comes through its liner notes, which credit saxophone, cello, a number of violins and two DJs, all of whom appear during live sets. It's not quite Portishead's 35-piece string ensemble at Roseland Ballroom, but this collective mentality is rare in electronic music. Unfortunately, the sheer cost of such a lineup has prevented the band from touring extensively. This week represents Bitter:Sweet's first major trek across the country, and its first show in New York. A number of West Coast shows will follow, ending with a live performance at KCRW's "Sounds Eclectic Evening."

When Bitter:Sweet steps onto the stage Thursday night at Joe's Pub, expect a crowd.


There are actually two shows scheduled tonight. The 9:30 show is apparently sold out, but there are tickets still available for the 11:30 show. Info can be found at Joe's Pub.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Alpha Male: The Postal Service in Minneapolis

The more I revisit the Postal Service's Give Up, the more I grow to appreciate it. "Such Great Heights" was, after all, my first encounter with Ben Gibbard's earnest songwriting. At times, I almost think Jimmy Tamborello's electronics serve as a better complement than Death Cab. It really is the best of both worlds; while the band ventures into continually interesting instrumentals, there's always that pop sensibility that holds it all together.

So with Chris Walla busy with production duties and Death Cab on hiatus, now would seem a prime chance to get that tremendously anticipated sophomore release. Unfortunately, it seems a long shot at best, especially if Jimmy's releasing more material under Dntel in the Spring. So, it's back to the past. Here's a set recorded on April 25th, 2003 in Minneapolis, with indie saint Jenny Lewis present.


1. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
2. We Will Become Silhouettes
3. Sleeping In
4. Nothing Better
5. Recycled Air
6. Clark Gable
7. This Place Is A Prison
8. There's Never Enough Time
9. Brand New Colony
10. Such Great Heights
11. Natural Anthem
12. Against All Odds (Phil Collins Cover)

Ships: Here

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Week That Was #6: Look Up

Last week was definitely a return to favorites. I'd like to keep things fresh, but I haven't really touched on a number of these artists (at least as far as studio work), despite the fact that they're regularly at the top of any playlist. So, I'm going to split today's picks between favorites and newcomers, although there's an emphasis on the former, especially in regards to upcoming releases. Hopefully the following will have something for longtime readers and newcomers alike. Oh, and how awesome is that new music quilt feature?


As the release of Bloc Party's new album sends waves throughout the blogosphere, the hunt for bonus tracks begins (although Jeff over at as the cry flows seems to have it all). It's pretty remarkable that the band would so nonchalantly include more b-sides than actual album tracks. This isn't such a break from tradition, as the non-album material released between Silent Alarm and Weekend is probably enough to fill a couple LPs. "Two More Years" is the first song I really heard, and it's still a standout for me. I've also included an acoustic version of "Plans," which appears on the bonus disc to the remix album of Silent Alarm. Whew.

MP3: Bloc Party - Two More Years
MP3: Bloc Party - Plans (Acoustic)
Buy: Here

I've been immersed in Bitter:Sweet for the last week or so. I had the pleasure of interview Shana Halligan, the vocalist for the group, and some sort of feature should be appearing soon, in anticipation of their Thursday show at Joe's Pub. As I allude to a couple times in the write-up, it's going to be a great show, and if you've been shut out of Arcade Fire like the rest of us, I can't recommend it highly enough. The band's bringing along a menagerie of strings, horns and DJs, and it's definitely going to be a case of quality and quantity. And remember, they're doing an interview at 6:30 tomorrow evening at the Virgin Megastore at Union Square.

Mp3: Bitter:Sweet - The Mating Game (Dublex Remix)
Buy: Here

Brian Eno calls it the "the vaguest music ever to have been a hit;" I'm generally speechless whenever I listen to it. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so I suppose we can consider this MBV's gift to the world. I'm still not completely enraptured by Loveless (insert pun here), and I get a bit restless when the roar of guitars gives way to the muddle of feedback. As heretical as it sounds, the group just isn't all that appealing to me when they tone things down. They're far too abrasive (in a good way!) to be minimal. But this track is more or less perfection, especially now that I've realized that it has actual lyrics.

Mp3: My Bloody Valentine - Soon
Buy: Here

Silversun Pickups just continue devouring my listening time. Carnavas has conclusively maintained my hyperactive musical interest for the longest time in a while, and it does so on the simple premise of rocking out. If that wasn't enough, the opener to their extended play Pikul is no less stellar. Brian Aubert's growl is toned down to great effect, and excellent backing vocals from Nikki Monninger, as well as a downright emotional bass, complete a fine picture.

Mp3: Silversun Pickups - Kissing Families
Buy: Here

I gave Eisley's Room Noises a full listen for the first time in a long time, and it's still the most magical experiences I've ever had. It's been a long while since I dedicated a post to the band, but that will undoubtedly change in the next few months. They're finishing the details on their sophomore release, which should be arriving in the summer. As great as this year looks for new releases, they remain at the very top of the list. If I could pick any upcoming albums to listen to, it would be theirs. Seriously. I guess the logic there is that I've exhausted just about every there is (check out Orange Gold and Green for a bunch), and I've been waiting for something new for a solid year. But here's one of the tracks from the Room Noises sessions, on the EP of the same name; it's one of my favorites.

Oh, and guys, we're still waiting for that studio version of "Sun Feet."

MP3: Eisley - Head Against The Sky
Buy: Here

Before the Eisley album, Straylight Run's self titled debut was basically all I listened to. I've grown a little away from the band, and I suppose that's inevitable in such a crowded environment. But I gave it another spin, and it stands the test of time, even if it's only been a couple of years since its release. "It's For The Best" features Nate Ruess of the Format and some nice melodies. The second track is from their upcoming album, and I'm liking their evolution towards janglier, but still dramatic, indie pop. And who can resist those horns?

MP3: Straylight Run - It's For The Best
MP3: Straylight Run - The Miracle That Never Came
Buy: Here

Producer Carmen Rizzo's album is a long guest list, including a couple of my favorite vocalists. Welsh cutie Jem contributes a track, and hopefully she'll be releasing her own sophomore album shortly. Kate Havnevik of Röyksopp fame also appears on a couple tracks. This one is trippy, and a pretty good companion to her album, Melankton. Sure, listening by association is a really arbitrary way of choosing, but I find it to be pretty effective. Speaking of which...

MP3: Carmen Rizzo - Easy Way Out (ft. Jem)
MP3: Carmen Rizzo - Bring It Back To Me (ft. Kate Havnevik)
Buy: Here

Not too long ago, I was wondering when CocoRosie was going to return with new material. Apparently, they've been listening in, because their third album, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn, arrives on April 10th. For those of you keeping score at home, that's the first actual, definitive release date, and the girls will be playing at Warsaw on April 20th. I'm pretty intrigued to see their set in person, as I've found their live recordings to be a bit more accessible (and expect another bootleg as the release date nears). Anyways, here's Bianca's recent appearance on Busdriver's new album; thanks to WSN for the heads-up there.

MP3: Busdriver - Go Slow (ft. Bianca Cassidy)
Buy: Here and Here

Sunday, February 11, 2007

All My Friends: Mew on P3

So I heard "The Zookeeper's Boy" by Mew playing over at Palladium the other day. It's still pretty shocking that the group's gotten so ubiquitous (in my immediate surroundings, anyhow), so quickly. But after revisiting the band's earlier work, I'm a bit surprised that they didn't receive more exposure earlier on. There's an incredible vitality that permeates the lightness of Jonas Bjerre's voice and the driving guitar and percussion. This isn't just conducive to hooks, but it makes them one of the most exciting contemporary rock bands out there, at least personally.

Here's a recording encompassing highlights from past and present work. Unfortunately, only a couple of songs are available individually, but this style is pretty consistent with And The Glass Handed Kites. Now, there are a couple of P3s out there, but I think this is mostly likely the rebroadcast of their Roskilde set. If anyone can translate the DJ, that might pin it down. Now, all they need to do is tour again...


MP3: Mew - Live P3 (Part I) [Link]

1.The Circuitry of the Wolf
2. Chinaberry Tree
3. Am I Wry? No
4. 156

MP3: Mew - Live P3 (Part II) [Link]

5. Snow Brigade
6. The Zookeeper's Boy [Link]
7. Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed
8. She Came Home For Christmas [Link]
9. Special
10. SheSpider
11. Apocalypso
12. Comforting Sounds

Catch You: Here

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Where Are You Now? Metric EPs

Okay, MediaFire is pretty unsatisfying when it comes to direct linking, but it is reliable. To cover all my bases, I'm also going to upload files into MyDataBus, so each song will now have direct links and click-throughs, in that order. Hopefully, there won't be any problems in getting files from now on.

Thanks to Matt for reminding me that Metric is opening for the aforementioned Bloc Party in England, at least for a couple more days. While that's great for residents of the UK, I can't help but feel a little left out, despite the recent visits from Emily. Although the band is releasing another single (a bit of an odd choice in "Empty") in a few days, that dreaded hiatus is looming.

I've discussed my rather underwhelming first impression of the group a couple times, and also the subsequent appreciation after hearing earlier material. As I've said, as good as moments on Live It Out are, it remains a wee bit abrasive for my tastes, although news from Billboard suggests that the next album will be less so. But these are some of the most lo-fi tracks from the group, they're also some of the most appealing. While these EPs aren't quite as trip-hop-esque and pleasing as Grow Up and Blow Away (which has been uploaded again), that irresistible Metric charm is very much intact.


Static Anonymity EP

1. Grow Up and Blow Away [Link]
2. Siamese Cities [Link]
3. Down [Link]
4. Soft Rock Star [Link]
5. London Halflife [Link]

Mainstream EP

1. Butcher [Link]
2. The People [Link]
3. The Battlecry [Link]
4. The Mandate [Link]
5. The Lifestyle [Link]

Bonus Tracks:

MP3: Metric - Combat Baby (Demo) [Link]
MP3: Metric - Dr. Blind [Link]
MP3: Delerium - Stopwatch Hearts (ft. Emily Haines) [Link]

IOU: Here
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...