Wednesday, August 31, 2005

August 2005 Archive


there are several great records expected to release this month, but the one i'm most excited for is the new one from John Vanderslice entitled Pixel Revolt. while he invokes an incredible sense of narrative in his songs, the lyrics also feel cryptic at times, making them that much more fun to unravel. the attentiveness paid by Vanderslice throughout the recording process has already come up time and time again in reviews of past albums and from what i've heard of Pixel Revolt, the subtle sonic textures plotted in the san francisco-based Tiny Telephone studios are to be marveled.

John Vanderslice - "Trance Manual "

Posted: Mon - August 1, 2005 at 07:18 PM


today's live offering is simply a lead-in for new music arriving tommorrow from louisville's finest. to hear My Morning Jacket in recorded format and to see them live are really two different experiences. i picked up their first album years ago simply because i liked the bands name and fell in love with several songs that struck me as a bit haunting and reminiscent of something i'd expect from drag city at that time (in the vein of Palace, Smog, etc) and then two albums later i saw the group live in new york raising southern rock from the grave in an unanticipated, rousing rock performance. this track, featuring a tune for their last album, was recorded at a chicago outdoors performance. frontman Jim James is playing a solo set at the Newport Folk Festival this upcoming weekend. perhaps playing to a younger crowd, this years festival includes the likes of M. Ward, Bright Eyes and Elvis Costello.

My Morning Jacket - Mahgeetah (live)

Posted: Tue - August 2, 2005 at 01:10 AM


a new Cardiagns track (with an interesting name) for you today. new album was just wrapped up and here's hoping it takes less than a year to reach the states like the last one did. that last album entitled Long Gone Before Daylight and coming off a considerable band hiatus, was amazing, so much so it made my top ten. if the last thing you recall about these swedes was the mid-nineties, sugary pop that was their breakout hit "lovefool," you should get reaquainted. lyrically, the band has become a bit more confessional, touching off on some darker points and moving beyond the confection.

the Cardigans - "I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer "

Posted: Wed - August 3, 2005 at 10:18 PM


My Morning Jacket have a new album out in the early fall entitled "Z." the group also persues some cinematic ambitions later this year with their appearance as a cover band in the upcoming Cameron Crowe film, Elizabethtown. given Crowe's background, it's no surprise he must be a fan of MMJ, who have increasingly drawn upon rocks past to energize their sleepy southern sound. with a few line-up changes, the new album closes the gap between previous efforts and their live show (see previous entry) offering some "rockers." looking at other change-related impacts, they also ventured out of their own studio for the first time, working with producer John Leckie who has previously tackled the likes of Radiohead and New Order. the result includes a few unusual tracks and i've put aside one of those for you. perhaps looking to steal some thunder from The Police, "Off the Record" unquestionably contains a reggae vibe and while that might scare some fans, you'd be surprised at how well they pull it off. it should be interesting if the groups second major release (ato/rca) is the one that finally connects with a wider audience, an audience they deserve. at the very least, it looks like they may be able to conjure up a few of orlando bloom's fanbase in cinemas.

My Morning Jacket - "Off the Record "

Posted: Wed - August 3, 2005 at 12:20 AM


one of the more anticipated releases this year is the Iron & Wine and Calexico collaboration, In the Reins. the seven song ep delivers just what you'd expect, which is to say a southwestern canvas featuring the intimate observations of Sam Beam. given Calexico's reputation as road warriors, a tour was inevitable and tickets are on sale already for select fall dates that will include individual sets as well as the pairing. while "History of Lovers" is my favorite tune from the album, i choose "16, Maybe Less" because it sounds precisely what i expected this melding of musicians to sound like.

Iron & Wine/Calexico - "16, Maybe Less "

Posted: Thu - August 4, 2005 at 09:23 PM


the Free Design are often brought up as a band that never got their due. that may change give one of this year's more interesting releases that surpasses potentially being a novelty and instead is something worth checking out. here's this group whose pop songs were on par with the best of their time (late sixties/early seventies) and yet never broke the pop charts. and yet for a group whose talents where lost, it's surprising how often you'll encounter their name when talking to musicians, especially those making indiepop. so the genesis of the following came as a mild surprise as the Free Design has been resurrected by those with a less saccharine repertoire. i guess never underestimate what a vinyl junkie can uncover and what they'll do with it. the result may be a series of 12 inches that sought to "modernize" and update the groups sound through a series of re-workings and remixes. contributors represent a far-reaching group of sounds, including those of Madlib, Stereolab & The High Llamas, Danger Mouse & Murs, Super Furry Animals, Peanut Butter Wolf, Kid Koala & Dynomite D., Caribou and more. the following track has to be my favorite though, featuring the beautiful voice of Sarah Shannon of Velocity Girl. thankfully a new cd collects all of the vinyl series and makes for an exceptional listening.

the Free Design - "I Found Love" (Styrofoam & Sarah Shannon Mix)

Posted: Sun - August 7, 2005 at 11:50 PM


Sometime in the coming weeks the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe 's new film Elizabethtown will be released. Several of you may recall us mentioning the film along with the fact that My Morning Jacket appears in the forthcoming film. In honor of said release I've attempted to craft a Cameron Crowe soundtrack of my own, albeit for a film that does not yet exist. It's a much much easier undertaking than you think. Crowe has a formula by now. It's most obvious telltale sign is a heavy sense of nostalgia both apparent in his classic rock selections as well as younger artists who bask in the same spirit as those oldies but goodies. The key is to find the great but not obvious tracks by these artists. Add an Elton John song for sure and then either Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, or both. Finally wife Nancy Wilson will have to craft something original for the film (give me a call). Here's mine...I've included a few MP3s with the mix and if you enjoy them please do us a favor and purchase something using the referral to the right that helps us pay for this website. Thanks, enjoy!- Josh

01. Walter Reed by Michael Penn
02. 5'15 by The Who
03. Treetop Flyer by Stephen Stills
04. Speak for Me by Cat Power
05. Dealer by Traffic
06. Radio Campaign by M Ward
07. Dignity and Shame by Crooked Fingers
08. Do Ya by Electric Light Orchestra
09. Come Dancing by The Kinks
10. Midi Dans le Salon de la Duchesse by Keren Ann
11. Masters of War by Bob Dylan
12. Running on Empty by Jackson Browne (Jay picked this one!)
13. I Was In the House When the House Burned Down by Warren Zevon
14. Buckets of Rain by Neko Case
15. Pick Up the Change by Wilco
16. Sweetness Follows by R.E.M.
17. Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead
18. I Think I'm going to Kill Myself by Elton John
19. Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan
20. Wounded Bird by Graham Nash
21. Dead Man's Will by Iron & Wine and Calexico

Posted: Mon - August 8, 2005 at 09:51 PM


todays live track comes from one of the few bands i've seen multiple times in the last year...the Decemberists. in fact they just announced another show here in Denver, albeit at a large theatre with ticketed seating and such. this track, my favorite song off the new album, is from a bootleg from their spring tour and was recorded in boston.

the Decemberists - "We Both Go Down Together" (live)

p.s. if you have any live tracks you'd like to submit
for live tuesdays, please e-mail them to

Posted: Mon - August 8, 2005 at 09:53 PM


i've always found it tricky to explain (verbally or in writing) why i like a particular singer/songwriter. partly it's the latter that's key and my judgement of one's writing is fairly dependent on my personal experiences and what i choose to connect with. one of my favorite singer/songwriters is Denison Witmer. back in my music industry days i had heard the song "the 80's" and i decided i would work a hundred records by the philadelphia-based artist if he could release that many and in fact i made his second album, Of Joy and Sorrow, the first album i promoted when i began my own radio promo operation. many who picked up that album were taken by Witmers obvious talent and wrote of him as an indie-alternative songwriter worthy of Elliot Smith notoriety. Witmer has, however, remained fairly low key despite releasing an excellent third album, Philadelphia, as well as a covers album wittingly called Recovered that many have appropriately noted touches off on Witmer's more obvious influences, mainly culling tunes from the adult contemporary sounds of the seventies (think Jackson Browne and James Taylor).

after spending some time on the road playing bass for Sufjan Stevens earlier this year, Witmer readied a new album entitled Are You A Dreamer? it's a very loosely approached concept album, featuring songs inspired by the topic of dreaming. like on previous albums, Witmer's soft, inviting and yet pensive vocals captivates, waiting for an audience that is much deserved. this is someone i'd not hesitate in recommending you seek out more music from.

Denison Witmer - "Ringing of the Bell Tower "

Posted: Tue - August 9, 2005 at 09:01 PM


a thursday mini-tribute to the north. i wonder if people in the u.s. sometimes take the current explosion and fandom of canadian indie bands for granted. it is a time where the Arcade Fire is uber-hot, montreal is supposedly the next big scene, Broken Social Scene and the Arts & Crafts folks are much beloved, Feist in on a big u.s. label and everyone is wondering what members of the disbanded Unicorns will be doing next with new projects. i've been obsessed with bands from canada for some time and it was never quite this easy to persue that interest. i used to talk to music directors at canadian radio stations for long hours because frankly i knew there was something going on that wasn't immediately available for me to discover. in good time i was discovering great bands like Stars and the Salteens.

back in the early nineties, outside of bryan adams and that guy who sang life is a highway, my (and many indie kids) knowledge of bands from canada was limited to a Sup Pop singles club double single called Never Mind the Molluscs featuring Eric's Trip, Sloan, Jale and someone called Idee du Nord. i became a huge, huge fan of Sloan and then Eric's Trip and often wondered 'what other great bands up there am i missing out on? ' soon Hayden broke and i picked up an invaluable series of comps called More of Our Stupid Noise. then indiepop gave way to Cub, who i adored. things were seemingly quiet stateside for awhile and then came Godspeed You Black Emperor and the Constellation bands followed by the "supergroup" antics of the New Pornographers. a slow build-up, but now there's an incomparable glut of bands from the land of strange brew that are dubbed worthy of being 'must listens.' impressive considering that even on the underground level, americans have been traditionally resistent to music not made in the u.s. or the uk.

thus appropriately enough, we're heading back to Eric's Trip for today's track. this is one of my all-time favorite songs. (i won't even get into Moon Socket or Julie Doiron's post Trip solo albums, which are also all great) this song has made it on more than half of the mix tapes i've ever made. please enjoy.

Eric's Trip - "Alone and Annoyed "

Posted: Wed - August 10, 2005 at 09:30 PM


Where's Jay today? I don't know. Hopefully getting drunk or getting laid. Anyway, I'll take the time to recommend something today...

For those of you who may not have heard Bob Mould has a new rock album out. Also, it's fucking great. So why the hubbub? Well Bob declared in 1998 that he had hung up his electric guitar for good and it was rumored that he took his pen-craft to the WCW wrestling league. I'm not kidding. He also made an electronica album and built himself a regular residency at a dance club in Washington DC. It wasn't necessarily a sad day for me but certainly a slightly disappointing one. Mind you I'm not just speaking as a former impressionable teenager who spent most of his youth in cardigans because Mould did so in his Sugar videos. Ok, so I am. Mr. Mould also crafted some loud, emotional, well written songs with both HÜSKER DÜ and Sugar that expertly capture the ebb and flow (most notably the two pop-rock fixtures of torment and frustration) of everyday living. It was my tea, my Prozac and my catharsis for many years.

Now the Bob is back. I'm glad that he went and did his thing. The influence of the electronic music is found throughout Body of Song and it often works really well. But mostly I'm just so happy to have his voice and that rock sound back in my life. Track one, "Circles" is a rousing number that should please fans, check it out:

"Circles " by Bob Mould

P.S. Check out BOBLOG, Bob's blog.


Posted: Fri - August 12, 2005 at 12:42 AM


ah yes, the Danger Mouse & MF Doom collaboration is on it's way. set to drop this fall on Epitaph, the album entitled The Mouse and the Mask apparently include two things that shouldn't be all too surprising for a hip hop album...guests and skits. guests include Ghostface Killah, Cee-Lo & Talib Kweli. meanwhile the skits were apparently something arranged by the folks at Adult Swim and will feature voices from several of the AS cartoon line-up and the albums maestros as super-hero mice. yes, this album has a-typical indie white boy hip hop fan written all over it.

DangerDoom - "Sofa King "
"A.T.H.F. "

Posted: Mon - August 15, 2005 at 01:08 AM


i picked up the Beulah dvd this weekend. it's called A Good Band Is Easy to Kill. my approach to band docs of any nature has become quite jaded ever since that Wilco documentary came out. this one is more a tour diary on dvd if anything and earnestly provides an additional two hours of live performances separated from the doc in the special features section. it opens interestingly enough with front-man Miles Kurosky's "Fuck Dylan" comment that i've heard several people debate. i think he meant something along the lines of there's a point where we judge certain musicians differently as icons and as a result let their less than sincere efforts slide through. this makes sense to me because you can see Miles commitment to putting out a perfect product several times throughout the doc. in fact it almost seems manic at times and i wonder if i could get through a Beulah tour unwounded.

the doc is quite fun and conjures laughs in several spots. there are a handful of tense shows and moments that show you how difficult touring cam be given how much is out of your control and that you're cooped up with the same people for so long. still, it's the crazy moments that stay with you, like trying to get your border-crossing stories straight, deciding if you'd rather fuck member of their band or the opening act if they had to decide or the r-rated moment with opening act John Vanderslice who decisively mock-mounts Miles and offers the best line of the doc (i'm not giving it away). in fact it's hard to not give away all the funny moments that make this worth at least checking out if you've never been on a band tour yourself. i myself bought it because i always felt that Beulah was a hugely under-appreciated band. i love pop music and as i told Miles when they played their second to last show in Denver, you made a few of what should be the most memorable pop albums of the last five plus years and i don't think those albums will be lost on anyone who listened to and/or memorized the lyrics.

Beulah - "Popular Mechanics for Love" (live on Netherlands radio)

Posted: Mon - August 15, 2005 at 10:49 PM


Colleen is the moniker used by french artist Cecile Schott. Schott has a minimalist streak running through her music that's not without it's eccentricities. while the first Colleen album was mostly recorded and pieced together on a computer, The Golden Morning Breaks requires a keen ear well schooled in a number of peculiar instruments to pick apart what's going on. the album utilizes a number of not so common, acoustic instruments in creating something lost between a classical and folk-like aesthetic. if you're looking for something equally challenging and rewarding this week, this should be right up your alley. it's like meticulous poetry.

Colleen - "Sweet Rolling "

Posted: Tue - August 16, 2005 at 11:09 PM


Juliana Hatfield's post-Blake Babies solo career has endured fifteen years leading up to her latest solo album, Made in China. several albums precluded this one, all with their respective catchy and well-written songs and yet even with major-label backing and the alternative music boom of the mid to late nineties, Hatfield failed to gain much recognition (unless we were to include her guest-starring stint on My So Called Life). the bitter tribulations that have affected the singer along that road have been hinted in some of her later songs as well as several curious "manifestos" that have showed up on her website. Hatfield has released this new album on her own label, perhaps taking the "i'm fed up with the demands of the industry" mantra. i have read mixed reviews, some calling it pouty and immature, but i will say that like what i've heard thus-far at least better than her previous album. or maybe i'm just nostalgic for my high school days Hatfield was one of the crush-worthy regulars on 120 Minutes.

Juliana Hatfield - "Stay Awake "

Posted: Wed - August 17, 2005 at 09:43 PM


Grandaddy have a new 8-song ep (9 if you buy the vinyl) coming out that is curiously titled Excepts from the Diary of Todd Zilla. it's sort of a "don't you forget about me" as the groups follow-up to 2003's Sumday is not due for release until next year. seems a bit more stripped down and a little less like the indie-synth vibe of the most recent albums (as fun as that was). i love how every press release for the EP ends with a comment about how frontman Jason Lytle shaved off his "trademark" beard. yes folks, it's all about the music. i grew a beard myself recently despite the fact that my brother's trademarked it for years (Josh's note: This is bad b/c we are twins and it's a great well to tell us apart). it's challanging trying to dodge twin-ness, let me tell you. anyhow, the real reason i picked out this song (aside from liking the band) is that people at work have been claim i say "fucking this" and "fucking that" way too often and well...listen for yourself...

Grandaddy - "Pull the Curtain "

Posted: Fri - August 19, 2005 at 04:34 PM


the first time i saw American Analog Set was in their hometown of austin after the release of their debut album. i went to see them after someone alikened them to Bedhead and i took to it pretty quickly. i would next see them in new york some six years later and surprisingly only recogized one member of the band. i thought only oldies bands pulled the ole band members bait and switch. i guess part of the reason i never noticed the changes where that the groups albums were all consistently good; droney and quiet with hints of poppiness. sneak a peak from their latest, the album Set Free, and see what i mean.

American Analog Set - "Born on the Cusp "

Posted: Mon - August 22, 2005 at 03:21 PM


my brother is out on the road vacationing in california, but suggested the National for today's live track. Josh and i saw the National open up for Pernice Brothers some time ago. i was into it, but my brother was the one who went the distance to discover the albums were also good. i had put the song "Murder Me Rachel" on my ipod next visit and soon was chasing down the albums myself. i was quite excited to learn they are playing denver soon (though curiously it's one of only two tour dates they're not playing with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah even though that group has been selling well here and would have dragged more people to see the National). anyway, Alligator has been one of my favorite albums this year as it just beckons to the brooding late-twenty-something in me and so i concurred my sibling's request.

The National - "All the Wine " (Live in Cambridge*)

*Check out Bradley's Almanac . He's the guy responsible for these MP3's that are being traded around quite a bit!

Posted: Tue - August 23, 2005 at 01:43 AM


the titular opening lines of "I Wanna Know Girls" just cracks me up even though what follows is a thoughtful and heartfelt sentiment. Portastatic is the solo indulgence of Mac McCaughan, co-founder of Merge Records and frontman of indierockers Superchunk. he has a new album called Bright Ideas that many are calling his best yet. perhaps it's because what began as a lo-fi project is now hitting the strides of full productions, also using a full band for the first time. some have even suggested that given Superchunck's current hiatus, perhaps these were the next Superchunk songs. at some points on the album, including on this song, i get a strange 'tender rock song vibe' that makes me think of Bruce Springsteen's cheesier E-Street Band albums. Mac's always got great vocals that sound like they're being pushed to the edge and his songwriting has always been a favorite of mine, mixing the obvious with cryptic thoughts i could only assume were metaphors far beyond my experiences. Portastatic will be on (it's first full, national) tour this and next month from John Vanderslice, who also had a great new album release this week (Bright Ideas was recorded at Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone studio).

Portastatic - "I Wanna Know Girls "

(Josh's note: "Hey Jay- made me think of Big Star!")

Posted: Wed - August 24, 2005 at 02:16 AM


indierock crushes available to guys are few and far in-between. i say this because it was rare i could conjure up a response to my perceived most attractive ladies of college rock beyond Neko Case and Dominique from Ivy. well one winter i found myself at a Japancakes show and thus happened upon a new indie crush, namely Orenda Fink. this was often met with responses of "who" up until her formation of Azure Ray with Maria Taylor. further to my joy, their albums were quickly a favorite of mine. this summer sports debut solo releases from both of the Azure Ray ladies and it's pretty easy to predict which one i'm gonna say i favor. i can back it up though, with one of those mp3 things we put up here every weekday.

Orenda Fink - "Bloodline "

Posted: Thu - August 25, 2005 at 01:12 PM


semi-recently Copy, Right? had posted a Number One Cup cover of a Pavement song and my reaction was something along the lines of "wow, i was way into that band in college and i need to do a write up on them for my site. in digging through my record collection, i discovered in fact i also still have my Number One Cup "i hate the suvs" bumper sticker. the mid to late nineties saw chicago as a hotbed for guitar-based pop artists and Number One Cup emerged from the pack and signed with short-lived but quality-dependable Flydaddy records after earning comparisons to the aforementioned Pavement. unfortunately the group only released three albums as seth cohen broke his neck, limiting touring and eventually leading to a number of line-up shake-ups before disbanding. their final album, People, People Why Are We Fighting? was chock full of catchy tunes including this one:

Number One Cup - "Remote Control "

Posted: Fri - August 26, 2005 at 01:33 AM


This morning we have a new music video from Athlete, a band from South London with quite a following among import-rack rats in US record stores. The track is called "Half-Light" and it is from their album Tourist which was released earlier this summer. I believe this is the 2nd track being released from that disc- the first, "Wires" has been a particular favorite of mine this year. Some of you may remember the band from their Mercury Prize nominated debut album Vehicles and Animals. That album was affectionately born out of the ashes of the mid and late-90's Brit pop scenery and found much success, eventually being picked up by Astralwerks for US distribution (who are also releasing this followup).

Athlete opened for Snow Patrol earlier this year and that makes a lot of sense. Much like that band's newfound penchant for channeling their inner-Coldplay, Athlete have embraced the sweeping soaring sound that has made "Radiohead-lite" quite a popular act, and the result isn’t as insulting as that may sound. Tourist is catchy and well written.

Check it out: "Half-Light" (video)

Select Athlete Tour Dates:

9/15 Cambridge MA - T.T. The Bear's
9/16 Montreal QC - LaTulipe
9/18 Ottawa ON - Zaphod Beeblebrox
9/19 Toronto ON - Opera House
9/21 Chicago IL - Double Door
9/26 Los Angeles CA - El Rey Theatre
9/27 San Francisco CA - Slim's
9/29 Portland OR - Doug Fir Lounge
9/30 Vancouver BC - Commodore Ballroom
10/1 Seattle WA - KEXP radio show - Neumo's
with : M83 and The National!!!
10/3 Baltimore MD - Sonar Club Stage
10/4 New York NY - Bowery Ballroom

Posted: Mon - August 29, 2005 at 02:09 AM


Josh is in san francisco at the moment. i visited the bay area myself earlier this year as it was closest city for me to take in the Gang of Four reunion tour. the tour has since been extended and i'll be seeing them a second time here in denver. the show was surprisingly good considering they hadn't been playing together for some time. the cynical side of me also noticed that the impact of their hyper-intellectual, politically-minded (post) punk has softened with age. i also laughed a bit as Jon King danced around the stage as if he was from manchester and not leeds. still they are one of my all-time favorites and that can allow me to even turn a cheek to the news that they've rerecorded their material for a "new" album set for release this fall. i used to call in my friend Andy's radio show all the time and request "Damaged Goods" (and it was only fitting she joined me at their sf show). i've managed to conjure up a copy of that song from the forthcoming, updated recording.

Gang of Four - "Damaged Goods "

Posted: Tue - August 30, 2005 at 11:58 PM


the first interesting press-related tidbit regarding Newcastle quintet Maximo Park was that they were signed by Warp records, a label breaking outside of it's electronic music reputation to latch on to yet another up and coming british band emerging from the post punk & new wave revival that's striken us most of this year. they put out the enjoyable A Certain Trigger earlier this summer and while they've made some bonifide hits and sold out shows back home, they've had to simply live with some favorable reviews here in the states. i enjoyed said album and thus taking a cue from my brother's entry yesterday, i'm staying across the pond and making them the uk representative for this weeks live track.

Maximo Park - "Now I'm All Over the Shop" (Live XFM Session)

Posted: Tue - August 30, 2005 at 02:40 AM


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