Sunday, April 30, 2006

the m's without the m's.

I was having trouble deciding between two or three bands this morning, when I noticed their common thread. Upon noticing this I realized what had to be done. More music. I'm to make a menu of musicians whose melodies muster up merriment in my mind. It's difficult to tell what that mutual manacle is, isn't it?
Tomorrow is May Day. And I may be taking a day off for my first practice for Marvin's Room, and to decide on the best songs for Tuesday's Spotlight. So, may your Monday be magical. What follows is twenty songs that represent a cleaning of house as well as a presentation of new finds. It's really Maps and Atlases that led me to the M Day.

Make Believe's "One Zero"
Tim Kinsella and his long-time friends and fellow musicians apparently wanted to play their old Owls songs in an abandoned warehouse while taking a combination of hallucinogenics and steroids.

Man Man's "Engwish Bwudd"
I'm just now getting around to listening to Man Man, in preparation for Pitchfork, and... Well...Wow.

Manitoba's "Bijoux"
Manitoba=Caribou and You=Love Manitoba.

Maps and Atlases' "Every Place Is A House"
These guys were a MySpace recommendation from some message board. Sam Zurick-esque guitar. Very much the kind of Chicago music I've loved inexplicably for a while.

Marching Band's "Home Alone IV"
You tell me. This is just quite good.

Maritime's "Tearing Up The Oxygen"
We, The Vehicles just reassures everything we thought might be the case when we heard Glass Floor. Pitch perfect pop.

Willy Mason's "Hard Hand To Hold"
First generation Team Love folkboy whose debut was just re-released by Astralwerks and is now touring with Radiohead.

Mata Hari's "Jacob Trilogy: I. Mop Up On Aisle Five"
Nate Kinsella of the Joan of Arc tree plays with this mellow organ-drum enlightenment three-piece.

Mates of State's "These Days"
Their cover of Nico's cover of Jackson Browne's (you love it from The Royal Tenenbaums) classic.

Matmos' "Roses & Teeth For Ludwig Wittgenstein"
The new single from the band whose first album was an electronic masterpiece created from found sounds of cosmetic surgeries. The new album will destroy and they'll be at Pitchfork.

The Meligrove Band's "Everyone's A Winner"
New solid indie-rock band on V2.

Colin Meloy's "Charlie"
Colin's neat and Colin's sweet and Shirley Collins' song is a dandy.

Menomena's Eleventh Hot Air Track
Music Saves was given permission to distribute a CD-R of Under An Hour B-Sides and clips. Throwaways are even evidence of Menomena's potential to one day own planet Earth.

Stephen Merritt's "Sounds Expensive"
This show tunes album sounds quite promising.

Metric's "Monster Hospital"
Emily Haines' (of Broken Social Scene) rock band that demands attention.

Minmae's "Everyone knows Jusus Wore a Chain"
Le Grand Essor De La Maison Du Monstre is out on May 9th. Sickeningly Sweet.

The Miracle of '86s' "A Less Important Place"
Kevin Devine's original guitar rock band before he released his incredible solo records. Miracle of '86 was just too good.

Mitch and Mickey's "When You're Next To Me"
Eugene Levy has been in every movie, and most are head-shakers, but when we works with Christopher Guest, it's a whole other story. He and Catherine O'Hara are Mitch & Mickey in A Mighty Wind, which tops Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman as my favorite.

The Most Serene Republic's "Where Cedar Nouns and Adverbs Walk"
These Arts & Crafts outsiders have just released a split 7" with Polyvinyl saviors and next-huge-thing Headlights, and they're pretty spectacular themselves.

The Mountain Goats' "This Year"
These guys continue to impress me. They've been playing for over a decade and the world is just now catching up to them.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

fill my stomach with your singing.

You know how when you play Grand Theft Auto for several hours and then immediately try to get in your car and drive somewhere, the result is disorientation, death-defiance, and danger? Such is the peril of reading too many similar blogs. You begin to think that a band or artist is extremely well-known and that even the uttering of their name is platitudinous at best. But the world is much much larger than that, and maybe the four (tops) people who read this blog are not in touch with any others. Hey. Roll-call of the readers. If you read this, simply comment, "here" or "present." The point is that not nearly as many people as I may have thought are in such elevated anticipated of the June Thirteenth release of He Poos Clouds as I'm so inclined to believe.
Owen Pallett has played violin and arranged strings for Picastro and The Arcade Fire, and has scored one videogame, two operas, three movies, and now two solo albums under the stage name Final Fantasy. His first record was written and recorded over two weeks at the tail end of 2004. It's called Final Fantasy Has A Good Home and it gained much more attention than was expected. We're now a month and a half away from the release of his second, He Poos Clouds, and the indienet kids are too excited for words. Both albums found homes on Tomlab, which you may know through Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, P:ano, Xiu Xiu, and The Books (to name[drop] a few).
Has A Good Home is about forty-five minutes of hushed violin and string arrangements worthy of your favorite art house film score battered with Pallett's back-of-throat nectar-filled vocals. But just like the videogame Final Fantasy (the following is speculation as I've never actually played the game), there are many more hidden treasures lying on and underneath the surface.
Pallett's perfectionism and apparent tendency for self-sabotage has led him to go much further with He Poos Clouds. And truthfully, I'll withhold saying anything further about it until I hear more. But rest assured that I want to hear more. Here are a few tidbits about the new record that may interest you: recorded entirely in a church; contains only a string quartet, piano, harpsichord, organ, vocals and percussion; other than an interlude and conclusion the songs are about the school of magic (abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evokation, illusion, necromancy and transmutation).
Here are some highlights from Has A Good Home, some great songs from January's Young Canadian Mothers 7", and some reasons to look forward to June 13th. I highly recommend "Song Song Song."

Final Fantasy's "This is the Dream of Win & Regine"
"That's When the Audience Died"
& "Please Please Please"
from Final Fantasy Has A Good Home

Final Fantasy's "This Is The Dream of Emma & Cam"
& "Peach, Plum, Pear" (Joanna Newsom)
from Young Canadian Mothers

Final Fantasy's "Song Song Song"
& "Many Lives -> 49 MP"
from He Poos Clouds

Friday, April 28, 2006

i need some dignity. i'm sorry. i'm sorry. i'm sorry.

I lie all my potential hipness or non-nerd possibilities on the line with the following statement: It was not until entering Hind Hind Legs into my RecordNerd until I realized that Islands and The Lovely Feathers were label-mates (and the only releases thus far from Equator Records) and everything clicked.
First there was Unicorns. A transition and slight line-up change begat Islands, whose base sound is very Unicorns-esque but lighter, poppier and slightly spacier. Islands started a new record label called Equator Music, which signed The Lovely Feathers, who - I would argue - also have a Unicorns-based sound, but much earthier, more spread out and slightly more gruff. Hind Hind Legs is the debut album and it's been turning many heads with no surprises. The quintets website boasts:
"The Lovely Feathers are a band which toots blossomy extractive post-punk-infused eccentric pop.

Rarely do we experience music that portrays the canopy of life with such clarity and tragic heartsmiles. The Lovely Feathers, in all its poppy grandeur, somehow manage to convey feelings we never knew we knew so well."
Well, there it is, eh? I took in quite a bit of this album today and have to admit that there are some spots where my mind drifts away, but it's almost worth it for the songs or sections that grip me and throw me right back into it. This kind of CD reminds me that as much as I love vinyl, I have to force myself to be a CD man, otherwise I would never listen to the second half of most albums. Would I like some records as much if the second half were first? And would I like the second half better if it were first? I think it's an interesting notion, and one that bears little relevance to what I was talking about. This is what most people might refer to as a tangent. I go on many of them as I talk, and The Lovely Feathers go off on many of them through the course of Hind Hind Legs. It's an enjoyable ride that you should embark on with gusto.
The moment I was convinced is within the first ten seconds of "I Really Like You," when (and I know I'm taking it out of context) the band seemingly explodes, immediately apologizes profusely and then proves it's sincerity with a bitterly sweet (on the verge of madness) like song.
I'm presenting a block of songs from the first half of what would be Side A. They truly are (arguably) the best tracks, and sometimes (quite often) I use a lot (too many) parentheticals (these).

The Lovely Feathers' "In The Valley"
"I Really Like You"
& "Frantic"
from Hind Hind Legs

Hey! The Lovely Feathers will be at Beachland with Dr. Dog and The Spinto Band on June 17. That's ten days before Final Fantasy, eight days after Tilly & The Wall, three days before We Are Scientists and The Double, and forty-two days before Pitchfork Music Festival. Ooh, Summer.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

raise your hands and turn them into fists.

Things are really moving in Those Transatlantics country. The pleasant five-piece from Mount Pleasant, Michigan have just released their proper debut through Suburban Sprawl and are about a week away from setting off on a creeping tour of these Great Lake States and the East Coast. They've also got a video touring in the very interesting sounding Scion xPress Fest. To be most forthright, I was properly introduced to this band in Michigan at Anathallo's CD release show (part one). What's that? Yes. The Anathallo/Page France show. It's majesty shall live in the-antonym-of-infamy. Those Transatlantics really held their own at the show, and if not for there being more than one Mount Pleasant in the continental United States, it would have been their CD release show as well.
Those Transatlantics are four gentlemen expertly rocking to some great pop rock (indie-style) songs behind a very charming young enchantress, with occasional boy-girl sing-alongs. The quintet will definitely appeal to anyone who has a warm, soft, fuzzy spot for Saturday Looks Good To Me, but will attract many fans on their own merit. It's always fun to read what bands or musicians write under "Sounds Like" on their MySpace page, and while I don't agree that Knocked Out sounds like an early ABBA record produced by Brian Eno, I admire the possibility. These kids have the ability to pull off several different components within their own style, from straight guitar solo's and nice and powerful drumming to layered vocal choral sounds and Bye Bye Birdieesque conversational lyric breakdowns.
In summary, those who like their pop slightly jangly, very timeless, girly in spirit but not in nature, and unadulteratedly varied could do a great deal worse than giving their timid heart to Those Transatlantics(' Kathleen Bracken).
I thought about sharing the band's free internet-only EP, until I realized that the same six songs just became a baker's dozen for Knocked Out. There are two more songs on their Myspace from You're Seated In The Back, which I would frankly like to know more about.

Those Transatlantics' "Boys and Children, Sing For Summer"
"In Your Neighborhood"
& "I Had an Idea, But I Left it at Home"
from Knocked Out

Bloggers in the Those Transatlantics know tend to agree on the highlights of the album, and I am no different. The opening track offers quite a lot of what the group has in it's arsenal, only for them to go back to and elaborate on throughout the record.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

speaking honestly comes naturally.

Polyvinyl Records has embarked onto something new with something old. The much talked about seemingly mythological band that hosted Mike Kinsella and Steve Lamos before American Football and David and Allen Johnson before Very Secretary and Favorite Saints. The One Up Downstairs has only three recorded songs from their brief existence nearly a decade ago. Polyvinyl would have released the material as a 7" had the band not broken up. But now the label is releasing the three songs as their first ever digital release. For a mere $2.97 one can attain the only evidence of The One Up Downstairs' very existence.
I'd personally rather the vinyl product, as I like to own music as a physical entity, but it's pleasant to see Polyvinyl branch into the undeniable future. I actually downloaded iTunes just to pay for digital music for the first time. The facts are that the songs are good - American Football's sound was inevitable based on this beginning - and that they're cheap. Under three dollars to own a piece of history is a bargain that you cannot refute.

The One Up Downstairs' EP (available through iTunes here, courtesy of Polyvinyl)

Monday, April 24, 2006

will play for to food.

I may have mentioned that I had an Of Montreal revolution somewhat recently. It was The Gay Parade that won me over and compelled me to listen to what I have owned and taken for granted for too long. Well, there's something I hadn't heard from the Of Montreal tree until today that I had to share. Of Montreal cohort Andy Gonzales has been creating music under the moniker Marshmallow Coast for quite a few years and this music is good (good with many additional o's that I feel uncomfortable using). This pop music has a soothing effect while still being fun, enlightened, and exhilarating. The band has recently chopped the "arshmallow" from their name and should have a new album available soon.
Gonzales' proximity to Of Montreal and Neutral Milk Hotel can be used to describe his distinctive approaches with M Coast, as the bands' influences range from The Beatles to Os Mutantes to Talking Heads. Of course there are certainly not worlds between M Coast and Of Montreal. Both are enchanting, engaging, and very enjoyable. Gonzales is some kind of visionary, utilizing an odd mix of instrumental sounds and curious vocal melodies and creating 70's indie pop rock. Oh, with flute.
Marshmallow Coast have released five albums as and at least as many 7 inches.
There are a few songs available for your ears from the next release, Say It With Slang, on the band's MySpace. I highly recommend you give it a visit. And here are a few songs from their recent releases as well as their entire first album, Timesquare, which is also available through their website Enjoy.

(In reverse chronological order.)

Marshmallow Coast's "She Could"
from Antistar

Marshmallow Coast's "Classifieds"
from Ride The Lightning

Go to bed, already!

can't stand to wait the wait.

It's post #50. That's right. NOIA-050. But, I'm really thinking that the timeline will be long enough such that at now this blog is still a baby. As such, today I will share with you a new find for me: Baby Dayliner.
Baby Dayliner is the musical alias of New Yorker Ethan Marunas, and if you like The Smiths, David Bowie, Magnetic Fields, or wonder what a crooner might sound like over a new-wave sound, then you've found a new fancy.
Matt Berninger (frontman for The National) extols, "Baby Dayliner is a rare fearless original. This brainy record is jammed full of heart and moxie. It's a dance party for sexy intellects." Hell, even Aesop Rock can't get enough of this guy. Marunas was originally musically molded by classical, jazz, and hip-hop and his own music is all the better for it.
Baby Dayliner's debut was released over two years ago, and his sophomore album will be released on May 2nd. Both are through Brassland, home to The National and sister band Clogs.
I've got to go. I'm now in the mood to listen to The Smiths. Happy Monday and Allergy Season.

Baby Dayliner's "Raid!"
from High Heart & Low Estate

Baby Dayliner's "At Least"
from Critics Pass Away

Sunday, April 23, 2006

don't drown yourself in all your old regrets.

Today is "One month before Bottoms Of Barrels day." In pre-celebration, my buddy Joe found Tilly & The Wall's new full length at a used record store. I will have to wait until mid-May for my pre-order to arrive. But I just wanted to prove to some doubters that BoB will be a worthwhile experience.
Everything I've read so far has described the new album as very much like Wild Like Children, and just upping the ante. I just have to go along with this. Nothing will shock you (presuming you're familiar with T&TW), but nothing will disappoint you. This co-ed gang sings, shouts, and taps at your heart. They're a little wiser and more experienced this time around and it shows. Just have intelligent fun.
That's all from me on the subject. I want to spend very little of this Sunday in front of this monitor.

Tilly & The Wall's "Sing Songs Along"
& "The Freest Man"
from Bottoms Of Barrels

BONUS: Tilly & The Wall's "Shake Shake"
from Woo! (debut)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

if i keep screaming, you'll cave in.

Sometimes your musical tastes are based on chance. During my mid-high school years I grew into a habit of walking through Best Buy and buying CDs based solely on their artwork and ability to peak my interest. I'd be lying if I told you that it was anything other than superficiality and book-by-its-covering that turned me on to Kid Koala, Gomez, and Her Space Holiday, to name a few. These are albums that I still find incredible. Another just such band begged me to buy their CD by putting cartoon robots on the cover and naming one of their songs after a Pee Wee's Big Adventure quote. The Get Up Kids released several albums before calling it quits in the summer of 2005. Their climax was with Something To Write Home About, the somewhat emo, somewhat punk, mainly pop opus of guitars (both electric and acoustic), keyboards, and Matthew Pryor's lyrics and voice. It's not for everyone, specifically if you're indie-or-bust, but it did a lot for me, and evolved with me with On A Wire, which turned the volume down, and acted as the musical bridge between The Get Up Kids and Matthew Pryor's solo side project The New Amsterdams. Oh, and let's forget that Guilt Show ever happened.
May The Get Up Kids rest in peace.
Matthew Pryor has that much more time now to focus on his solo work, of which I am certainly a fan. As The New Amsterdams, Pryor plays stripped down songs of a pop nature. They are obvious and hide very little, but it's the honesty and straightforwardness that are somewhat refreshing and palette-cleansing. The New Ams released three full lengths during The Get Up Kids' duration, and shelved one during the end of TGUK's reign. This is actually an interesting story. This album would have been Killed or Cured. But it was instead chopped down to a five song EP and released online for free. Pryor has recently released a proper fourth LP, Story Like a Scar, which I quite enjoy.
Maybe you feel like you've grown out of this sound. If you contend that you're too old for it, I respect your decision and advise that you not spend time with Pryor's other solo project, The Terrible Two's. This is an alter ego of The New Ams and consists of songs written for Pryor's children. The first collection of songs is If You Ever See An Owl... and it's been finished and seeking a label and distribution since last fall. Children's music speaks to us, it's true. That See You On The Moon compilation still makes me smile, and The Terrible Two's are good clean fun. Go ahead. Bounce around. And do so while coloring some owls.
I'm presenting to you the entire depression-inspired Killed or Cured EP, and two selections from both Story Like A Scar and If You Ever See An Owl... to progress in both chronological and emotional order. There are more Terrible Two's songs on MySpace, including "Pizza And Chocolate Milk." Mmm.

The New Amsterdams' Killed Or Cured EP:
"Wears So Thin"
"Watch The World Cave In"
"Heaven Sent"
"Drinking In The Afternoon"
"Strangled By The Thought"
BONUS: "Dear Lover"

The New Amsterdams' "Turn Out The Light"
& "Beautiful Mistake"
from Story Like A Scar

The Terrible Twos' "When I Get To Eleven"
& "Caroline"
from If You Ever See An Owl...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

all of these words make no sense.

Will I be done talking about the Owen/William Elliott Whitmore/The Snake The Cross The Crown show anytime soon? I guess I'll have to be after today. Needless to say it was an overall thoroughly impressive concert, and an early show too boot. There's something about having the sunlight cracking through the curtained windows until the headliner starts and getting home by 10 that leaves one feeling fresh. I've posted about every band on the lineup backwards, so it's saying something when the first band is as great as The Snake The Cross The Crown (or Snakes on a Cross...on a Crown, if you will).
TSTCTC, named for a band member's birthmark, was started by brothers Franklin and William Sammons and has been making southern-tinged indie rock for several years. With just an EP (Like A Moth Before A Flame)and one LP (Mander Salis) under their belt, TSTCTC has honed itself into an impressively solid outfit with a tremendous sound that translates well on stage and on record. It's been almost two years since the band's debut was released by Equal Vision Records and new material is being perfected on stage and is being recorded.
Turns out this is another brief-due-to-phenomenal-weather post, but I'm confidant that the music will stand on it's own.
An interesting side note is that I've now seen The Snake The Cross The Crown twice; both times with Owen, once with Decibully. One could not ask for better two better shows, could one?

The Snake The Cross The Crown's "Empires"
& "On The Threshold of Eternity"
from Mander Salis

The Snake The Cross The Crown's "The Great American Smokeout" (New Demo)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

the only thing left to do is sing.

Every now and again everyone gets reinvigorated by some force that reinforces a love in their life. Sometimes a man can be convinced that he's traveled a road as far and long as he can and giving up is the only thing he has the energy to do. The results of that decision can range from depression to relief. The tragedy is that sometimes this is the final page and there is nothing left but the end itself. The miracle is that this isn't always the case. Occasionally the clouds will part, the demons cease, the soul reignites and the body has the life to recognize that not only is the road he's traversed worthwhile, but that it's the best possible place he could have ever been. These miracles occur in all shapes and sizes.
Last night a miracle occurred in a room occupied by no more than one hundred people. On the stage of the Grog Shop in Cleveland, Ohio sat an old handmade stool, and two well worn cases. Sitting on one case was a lived-in acoustic guitar ans on the other an aged beaten-up banjo. Sitting on the stool was an enigma of a man. Heavily tattooed with a plethora of non-specific tattoo-parlor-wall designs, donning a clothing style most commonly attributed to a ska/punk band member, William Elliott Whitmore picked up his banjo and began to fill his large open throat with a thick sound. Slightly raspy in nature, his voice projected and carried throughout the small room, silencing all around him. Not once did he pluck one string or strum one chord is his entire opening number, but he had the full attention and awe from every eye and ear in the building. When a few dozen people in one small space all feel the same thing, you can sense it. No more than a handful of listeners would have known about Mr. Whitmore before this night and now few will forget.
W.E.W. used the jaw-dropping power of his worn, lived-in, traveled, heavy voice to sing songs with souls identical to the sound he emitted. His heel stomped hard on every downbeat, and his banjo (and occasional guitar) playing offered the perfect setting for Whitmore's stories. And his tales are told with a mix metaphor and fact and a sincerity that comes from a farm boy well versed in a spirituality that only the earth itself can provide. The storytelling of Johnny Cash and the voice of Tom Waits coming together to create hearty songs from the heart of a man from the heartland in a genuine and new way. His is the type of performance than can never accurately be described and has the power to silence and mold a person into a new man, re-energized to follow his own road with a new vibrancy and spirit.
William Elliott Whitmore has released two full length albums for Southern Records and his third, Song of the Blackbird is due out in August. These songs from his most recent release represent the idea and the sound, but not the puissance.

William Elliott Whitmore's "Diggin' My Grave"
& "Porchlight"
from Ashes to Dust

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

i'm a bicycle. i'm too tired.

Going to see Mike Kinsella (Owen) play is addictive for a few reasons. First of all, his brutally honest acoustic songs are both heartbreaking and life-affirming. The same can be said for his tour planning. For several weeks you can see Owen in an opening slot for MeWithoutYou, being talked over and treated with an amount of disrespect quite disproportionate to the quality of his songs. The next time he goes out, he'll be with Decibully and The Snake The Cross The Crown. The experience is serene and intelligent music lovers rejoice. What's next? More opening slots, now for I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business. He likens his own performance to being the soundtrack on The OC where teenagers aplenty talk over his music. Tonight, Mr. Kinsella is teaming back up with Snake, Cross, Crown for a rejuvenate tour. And I'm thrilled to see him happy about making music again.
Mike started with Cap'n Jazz, and has played with Joan of Arc, Owls, The One Up Downstairs, and American Football. With the exception of Joan of Arc, a fiance, and home-ownership, Owen is now his main focus. The Owen pseudonym has released three albums and an EP, and new material is piling up for a forthcoming release.
It's an early show tonight, so this Spotlight will have to be truly music centered. But what better music to center around? Included are tracks from each of the aforementioned releases as well as some compilation-only tracks that are self-defined.

Owen's "Most Days And"
& "Most Nights"
from Owen

Owen's "Nobody's Nothing"
& "I'm Not Going Anywhere Tonight"
from No Good For No One Now

Owen's "Breaking Away"
from (the ep)

Owen's "Who Found Who's Hair in Who's Bed?"
& "She's A Thief"
from I do perceive.

Owen's "I'm Not Seventeen"
from Association of Utopian Hologram Swallowers

Owen's "In the Morning, Before Work" (Live on WBWC: 11/17/04)
from Polyvinyl 2005 Sampler

Owen's "I Woke Up Today"
from I do perceive. (Japanese import)

Monday, April 17, 2006

don't use your words, chicago.

Monday is a day that I feel alright about not posting on. And even though today was quite long, I will not dismiss the opportunity to bring you a short post on a band I've been listening to for a short while.
I probably heard about Them, Roaringtwenties from the Joan of Arc message board, and justifiably so. These four Chicagoans play instrumental indie jazz music that truly lacks accurate categorization. If you know and enjoy Pele, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Colossal (sans-vocals) the guitar work of many Joan of Arc centered projects, and possibly Tristeza, I'd be willing to bet you'll be quite impressed with Them, Roaringtwenties. I don't know too much about the band, so I'll leave you with that brief praising description. The band has four songs up on MySpace. And I've got two of them for you here.
Thanks. Let's get through the week.

Them, Roaringtwenties' "Cody Hides Microphones at Practice"
& "Riding Bikes to Work"
from Vagina Monologues

Sunday, April 16, 2006

so the shower just leaks a little bit.

Without doing any research on the following statement I'm declaring that Easter weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. And while traveling brings many things to mind (secondmost that I am not), first and foremost is The Travelin' Limbeck Band. Two years, one month and one day ago was a pretty special day. With the accompaniment of several new and fantastic friends I drove to Columbus and back one evening to see four bands. I'm proud to announce two of them: Hey Mercedes & Limbeck. You remember. That was the month that The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" was not only tolerable, but enjoyable and rockoutable. This was Hey Mercedes 25th to last show, and my first with them. It was also Limbeck's 25,000th to last show - again, my first.
At the time, Limbeck had recently released Hi, Everything's Great, their clean-slate debut as an alt-country-pop-rock outfit playing songs about a never-ending road trip across these great states. The following year (2004) they released Hey, Everything's Fine, which was essentially a recording party with several friends joining in the live playing of all the Great songs. It worked unbelievably well. The Old 97's/Ryan Adams/Big Star lovin' boys are just starting to wind down for a spell after even more touring supporting their latest, Let Me Come Home, a collection of more polished country rock songs.
It's time to start associating memories in terms of Limbeck songs. It's time to walk around whistling Limbeck tunes weeks after having listened to them. It's time to be glad Limbeck are in your life and will inevitably knock on your door every few months. It's time for fresh warm homemade chocolate chip cookies. It's time for Limbeck.
Look at Limbeck's fun website! Listen at their descriptive MySpace!
It's Sunday, yesterday's post was brief and I'm admittedly going overboard. It's like a Spotlight.

Limbeck's "Honk + Wave"
"Silver Things"
from Hi, Everything's Great

Limbeck's "Julia"
& "I Wrote This Down"
from Hey, Everything's Fine

Limbeck's "People Don't Change"
"Sin City"
& "Names For Dogs"
from Let Me Come Home

You may ask yourself how a band starts out with so many tour inspired songs, wondering what they played originally while touring and writing those songs. I know I did. Also, why did I call Hi, Everything's Great their "clean-slate debut?" In 2001, Limbeck released This Chapter Is Called Titles. It's rockier in both possible senses I would use the word. Hell, I'm ordering it and should have it soon, to say for sure. I don't anticipate the greatness now inherent with Limbeck.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

we'll all die someday.

Headlights are from Illinois. That's right. I'm back to posting what I'm most comfortable with. Headlights have really only officially released four songs. But they've done so three times. Polyvinyl released their Enemies EP as a limited run mailorder exclusive before coming to their senses and issuing it as a genuine release. What you need to know is that these songs are mind-bending. With electronic ornamentation over pedal steel, violin, spacious rock drums full of intent, supporting airy male and female voices singing moody and triumphant songs. Their MySpace page contains links to better reviews of this EP, a list of tour dates that takes its cue from the Engergizer Bunny, and two songs from Enemies and two newer songs. Their endless tour sees them add a touring member, Nick Sandborn. You may know him from Decibully. If not, you should.
Their EP is available through Polyvinyl on CD and through Mi Amante on vinyl (with a bonus song).
You should attain these songs, even though a bulk of them are available at your fingertips on their website and on MySpace. I present to you my favorite cut, or at least the one that is most prone to stay in my head for days.

Headlights' "Centuries"
from Enemies EP

Friday, April 14, 2006

LBJ-005 (Friday)

It's Friday. I've been home sick since Wednesday. I blame...

I make the rules, and I'm making this Saddle Creek week a work week. Thus day five is the final day for my presentation of the qualities of this record label that one should be aware of before writing it off. For the musical download portion of this finale, I'll just be selecting a modge-podge (or hodge-podge, if you will) of songs released by Saddle Creek that I enjoy and think you should too.
The truth is that Conor Oberst is extremely talented and his songcrafting abilities have grown exponentially since his first recorded material was documented. This should be undeniable to anyone with an appreciation for music, not to mention independent music fans. And is there any way to not say the same of Tim Kasher? Anyone denying their individual talents and ability to create captivating music more original than ninety percent of current radioplay is denying more than simple musical critique.
Here are a few more "did you knows," followed by my selections for you as well as an attempt to round out the bases and present material from most of the current roster. And that will bring this week to a close. Thank you for your patience and interest, if applicable.

Did you know?: The first official "Saddle Creek" release was a split 7" featuring Commander Venus and the aforementioned (See LBJ-002: Tuesday) Drip. Prior to this the label was Lumberjack Records. Commander Venus was Oberst's first real band. You can find their releases for around $100 on Amazon, Ebay, etc. My suggestion: Don't.

Did you know?: Spoon released an EP through Saddle Creek. Spoon will also be rereleasing some of their other early work this year while recording their new album. Frontman Britt Daniel (who released a split with Bright Eyes for the Home series) will also release his solo debut this year.

Did you know?: Members of Bright Eyes and Tilly & The Wall (of Saddle Creek offshoot Team Love) were once a band called Park Ave. SC released their split with The Wrens. Their only full length was recently repressed by Team Love.

Did you know you wanted to know any of that?: Doubtful.

Azure Ray's "If You Fall"
Beep Beep's "I am the Secretary"
Bright Eyes' "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Bright Eyes' "Bowl of Oranges"
Bright Eyes' "Land Locked Blues" & "Road to Joy"
Bright Eyes' "Gold Mine Gutted"
Bright Eyes' "When the President Talks to God" & "Mushaboom"
Criteria's "Prevent The World"
Cursive's "The Martyr"
Cursive's "The Great Decay"
Cursive's "The Recluse"
Desaparecidos' "The Happiest Place On Earth"
The Faint's "Birth"
Orenda Fink's "Bloodline"
The Good Life's "Early Out the Gate"
The Good Life's "Album of the Year (April)"
Son, Ambulance's "Paper Snowflakes"
Sorry About Dresden's "Sick and Sore"
Two Gallants' "Waves of Grain"

Twenty-one songs. Good Friday indeed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

LBJ-004 (Thursday)

When you're home sick you hear that Fred Durst believes he will be mentioned in the same breath as Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic). It's just as likely he'll be mentioned in the same breath as...

Ted Stevens and Tim Kasher both lend their talents with guitar and voice to the cinematic Cursive albums. Stevens originally took the lead with Lullaby for the Working Class, a seven-piece acoustic band, but now calls the spotlight in front of Mayday his home. Mayday plays indie Americana songs in an Old West saloon partly oblivious to the murderous gun-slinging riot around them, and partly cheering it all on. Ted plays with three other permanent bandmates, but welcomes the contributions of countless others. Mayday has released three albums; their first and most recent on Saddle Creek.
It's hard to put the two in the same song/album crafting league, but Ted Stevens and Tim Kasher both like to turn the volume down, bring in a subtle twang, and create more spacious spelled-out backdrops when doing their own thing in Mayday and The Good Life respectively. It's almost surprising the directions they take with Cursive, whose The Ugly Organ should and does top many favorites lists.
A Mayday CD would not be out of place in the collection of most Ryan Adams fans. You read right.

Mayday's "Come Home"
from Old Blood (LBJ-44)

Mayday's "Pelf-Help"
"I'm Not Afraid to Die" (Gillian Welch cover)
& "Song of the Scaffold"
from Bushido Karaoke (LBJ-76)

Did you know?: That this is funny?