Thursday, August 31, 2006

why don't you try making five beats a day?

If there's a more obvious choice of a comedian for an independent pop music blogger to have a big boy crush on, it's Aziz Ansari. He's best known for his short films which he makes in conjunction with Human Giant, but what draws folks like you and I in is his own blog and his adamant love of (what readers and the writer of no one is awake would deem) good music (Neutral Milk Hotel, Talking Heads, Pavement, etc). Additionally, though it offers no real insight on his comedy and serves more as a school girl crush description, but you simply have to nod in respectful agreement with this list of Aziz's "favorite movies:"
Spinal Tap, Before Sunset, Before Sunrise, Annie Hall, The Graduate, Vanilla Sky, Broken Flowers, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Royal Tenenbaums, Office Space, Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, Reservoir Dogs, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, & The Squid and the Whale.
To the point; Aziz is funny and a lot more people are noticing every day.

Aziz Ansari on Invite Them Up

Aziz Ansari's M.I.A. Story with Eugene Mirman

Aziz Ansari in Shittiest Mixtape Boombox Blast

Aziz Ansari in Other Music

Aziz Ansari in Clell Tickle: Indie Marketing Guru

Check out a few more videos at Aziz's website, including the series Shutterbugs. Really. Do it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

god is glorifying us with his magnificent fluorescence.

I shouldn't have to set up today's comedian in any way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, the subsequent paragraph:
David Cross doesn't stop. He's been in an overwhelming amount of films, television shows, music videos, and obviously much more. His roles (while sometimes seemingly in Eugene Levy-ian multitudes) have been the highlights of movies otherwise not worth mentioning (Scary Movie 2, Pootie Tang, Men In Black, She's The Man, etc.) and the surprisingly memorable small parts in extraordinary films (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Melvin Goes To Dinner, Ghost World, Waiting For Guffman). He's also lent his voice for recurring characters on what are arguably three of the best [adult swim] shows (Home Movies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Tom Goes To The Mayor) as well as for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo. Throw in gigs on The Ben Stiller Show, Dr. Katz, The Drew Carey Show, Crank Yankers, NewsRadio, Tenacious D, as well as several appearances on the spectacularly irreverent Wonder Showzen and the finely-tuned Colbert Report, and you've got almost all the background information you need. But David Cross has starred in two television shows that were both miraculously brilliant and tragically overlooked. If one could base his sense of humor on only 83 half-hour television episodes, he certainly couldn't do much better than Mr. Show and Arrested Development.
Still, Cross is best understood through his stand-up which has been summed up with two Sup Pop CD releases as well as a DVD documenting the tour behind the 110 minute, Shut Up, You F*cking Baby!. Cross combines political, commercial, personal, and absurd commentary in enthralling storytelling that remains relatable while passionately pushing envelopes and the buttons of the easily-offended. I don't know what that synopsis does for you, and I obviously struggle with reviewing or explaining stand-up comedy. For that, I apologize. But for presenting the following bits from David Cross' career, I am not.

David Cross' "Lunch With Frankenstein"
& "Diarrhea Moustache"
from Shut Up, You F*cking Baby!

David Cross' "Women, Please Rinse Off Your Vagina and Anus!"
from It's Not Funny

David Cross on Last Call with Carson Daly (September 15, 2005)

David Cross on Wonder Showzen

Trailer for Let America Laugh DVD (including exclusive footage)

The New Pornographers' "Use It" Video

David Cross on Dr. Katz

David Cross and Michel Gondry in Gondry's "One Day..."
(hint: Cross is the one playing a turd)

David Cross on Mr. Show's "Blowing Up The Moon"

David Cross on Mr. Show's "The Audition"

David Cross as Tobias at an Audition in Arrested Development

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

flesh becomes water. wood becomes bone.

Keep hope alive. It's time for say two of...

Perhaps a comedic trio that needs no introduction is one that goes by the name Stella. On the other hand, their short-lived Comedy Central show received a discouragingly tepid response, all but eliminating the stable ground for a future for Stella. The three comic treasures that have been working with each other for over a decade are David Wain, Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black. The three of them starred on MTV's last good show, The State, albeit underappreciated and short-lives itself. The team then created Stella as a live show in the mid nineties, which helped introduce other up-and-comers at their frequent performances at New York's Fez. They recorded quite a few shorts that spread the Stella ideal, and enough interest was drummed up to spawn a cable network television show. The first (and potentially only) season of Stella will be available on DVD in just two weeks, and you can watch over two dozen of their pre-TV shorts over here. I recommend you watch a few of these before watching my favorite, "Day Off," as it represents more of a break from their absurd dialogue-based (or would it be trialogue-based?) humor.
They've all appeared at Invite Them Up, which I mentioned yesterday, and Michael Showalter's presentation with Zak Orth (as The Doilies) is one of my favorite bits from the recently released Invite Them Up 3CD+DVD package. Listen below. You can also hear David Wain's attempt at a love ballad with "Bagel." It follows Stella's ongoing theme of awkward failing comedic moments. And let's face it, failing is funny. Michael Ian Black is a mainstay on every VH1 countdown show, but also a recurring guest on Adult Swim's brilliant Tom Goes To The Mayor.
Enjoy some great YouTube finds of the boys at their best. YouTube is also just about the only place to find episodes of The State. Here's one here. Explore More Videos to find even more.
Oh. And they starred in the David Wain written and directed Wet Hot American Summer.

The Doilies' (Zak Orth and Michael Showalter) "Story of a Shark Attack"
from Invite Them Up

David Wain's "Bagel"

Michael Ian Black on Tom Goes To The Mayor

Stella in "Day Off"

And for no justifiable reason...
David Wain in a deleted scene from Anchorman

Local note: Michaels Ian Black and Showalter will be at Cleveland's Grog Shop on October 12th. Anyone care to accompany me? Check Showalter's website to see if they'll be near your place of residence.

Monday, August 28, 2006

this is a bag of dandelions.

I've decided to make this a special week at no one is awake. It's going to stray from the general theme of this place, but upliftingly so. Because as pleasant as it is to find a person or group of people with a similar taste in music, the conversations can head south to dullsville rapidly. So, it's far more enjoyable to find a group of people with a similar sense of humor. Thusly, I present to you several days of laughter and spirited monologues and jokes.
Ladies and gentlemen...

As an introduction, a man who helps introduce new and innovative comedians to the world through the weekly comedy show, Invite Them Up, in New York's East Village. Alongside the energetic Bobby Tisdale and Holly Schlesinger, Eugene Mirman has drawn quite a following with his inventive and bizarre videos on his own website. His first album was released by the ever-surprising Suicide Squeeze, while his latest effort is in good comedic company on Seattle's Sub Pop Records.
Listen to samples from both of his albums and watch two of my favorite Mirman videos right here. But there are plenty more (read: "all") at Eugene's website, right here.

Eugene Mirman's "Hello, Credit Card, Fidelity, Kids Say The Darndest Things"
from The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman

Eugene Mirman's "Joking and Lying, Jack in the Box, Extreme Bowling"
& "Letters to Nouns"
from En Garde, Society!

Eugene Mirman's "Secret Agent" Video

Eugene Mirman's "Canada" Video

Sunday, August 27, 2006

what about what's good?

Thank you to everyone who helped me modestly celebrate a moderately insignificant birthday. Truly, your thoughts were very much appreciated. I've spent much of this weekend playing God of War, which has made me that gamer kid, and watching season three of Arrested Development, and at nearly seven full hours is no small trick*.
I'm just going to be sharing with you two songs from very different places in the musical spectrum and my collection, both from legends in their own right.
The first from recently deceased James Yancey (J Dilla), who was claimed by cardiac arrest as a result of a life of suffering from Lupus. His production work has changed the hip-hop game, or at least highlighted what makes it great. On the recently released The Shining, several of J Dilla's conspirators, friends and fans come together to celebrate some of the final material Yancey concocted.
The second from an indie great whose work has made a huge impact, be it as The Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon, or simply Mark Kozelek. Ghosts of the Great Highway was presented (pun intended) to me with the indication that "Carry Me Ohio" is an absolute masterpiece. I've found difficulty arguing a case to the contrary.

I'm working on something special for the week ahead. Be prepared to be happy.

J Dilla's "Baby" (Featuring Madlib & Guilty Simpson)
from The Shining

Sun Kil Moon's "Carry Me Ohio"
from Ghosts of the Great Highway

*It's an illusion.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

the day looks a little too long.

I can't imagine that it's possible that no one has referred to The Pipettes as "the god damn doo wop band." The ironic opposite reaction is that I'd wager that the band actually called The God Damn Doo Wop Band has been accidentally referred to as The Pipettes. Three girls singing harmonies and present day doo-wop pop songs with a talented male backing band and the undeniable allure of the bleating saxophone.
I would like to see The God Damn Doo Wop Band live and, over the course of one set, count each and every clap.
That's that.

The God Damn Doo Wop Band's "Talk Too Much"
& "Rooftops of Bangor"
from Broken Hearts

BONUS: The Pipettes' "Pull Shapes"
from We Are The Pipettes

Friday, August 25, 2006

i'm playing the part of the playwright.

To be honest, Get Him Eat Him sounds more like a band I'd go nuts about two years ago. To be fair, that's not such a horrible trait. To be honest again, I still have a place for them today. They are a fun pop rock (emphasis on pop) quintet from our country's geographically smallest state, that have no problem making intelligent songs sound fun and uber-danceable. They are signed to Absolutely Kosher, a label that is quite familiar with left-of-center pop, having released material by The Hidden Cameras, The Mountain Goats, Pinback, +/-, Sunset Rubdown, Xiu Xiu, and (do not vocally admit to enjoying) Goblin Cock.
My introduction was through my new inspiration, Catbirdseat. I also, found room in my collection for their latest homemade EP, Get Him Eat Him Challenges YOU to a Game of Basketball, complete with a toy basketball game. You can take them up on their challenge by purchasing the EP, or any of their other recorded works at their shop. Also, you can listen to more songs on their sammichey MySpace.

Get Him Eat Him's "Exposure"
from Do As I Tell You EP

Get Him Eat Him's "Present Tenses"
from Challenges You To A Game Of Basketball EP

The release of Owen's At Home With Owen is drawing nearer, and Mike has just updates his own MySpace with a second album track ("Use Your Words") and a song even newer than his yet-to-be-released new album. The demo version of "A Fever" is of course that song that he's played with the stunning "You f*cked a fever in me" opening line.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

on a hill in the lazy moonlight.

I'm going to try to put together a better, fresher, newer look at Utah's Foxes In The Attic, but for right now I'm just going to refer you to the two songs I know that I shared back in May. I've been listening to them quite a bit lately and hope to find out the band's status and capability of getting me some more material by any means necessary.
So read May 20th's post here.

Additionally, you can hear two new Sharks and Seals songs on their MySpace.

i am so far from where i wanted to be.

I've got many personality traits that, when combined, make it very easy to hear new music.*
I got five CD's in the mail from Fall Records today. My intention was to simply purchase In Ink Please's Formica Table for Two, but compulsion took control. I'm interested to hear the label's back catalog and roots, but as it stands, I'm very much content with their present.
In Ink Please is Vanessa Palmer and Jerik Hendrickson. Together, when not toying with Black Sabbath covers, they play acoustic piano-driven pop songs that may very well remind you of Lisa Loeb with better instrumentation and more clapping or Gregory & The Hawk with a softer view of the world and
better recording quality. You can attribute some of the sound quality to their latest album being mastered by none other than Page France's Michael Nau. This is an interesting side note and not a basis for musical comparison, though both bands are making some damn fine indie pop songs, the similarities end right about there.
Nevertheless, In Ink Please are a fine listen and Formica Table for Two is a worthwhile investment from Baltimore's budding and precious Fall Records.

In Ink Please's
"Rick Allen"
& "Carlo Rossi Jug Band"
from Formica Table for Two

BONUS: Gregory & The Hawk's "Boats & Birds"
& "The Bolder Thing To Do"
from Gregory & The Hawk Demo

*And very difficult to keep money.

for years and years i chased this day.

Jimmy LaValle has been a member of Tristeza, Sigur Ros, The Black Heart Procession, GoGoGo Airheart, Swing Kids, and the Locust. There's no way he could've gotten around this much on looks alone. As a solo artist, LaValle assumes the pseudonym The Album Leaf, and he is about to release his fourth full-length album in October through Sub Pop Records. With lush, ambient, glitchy pop music in the same realm that Her Space Holiday had all but perfected, The Album Leaf takes you on a floating tour of the city at night. The lights and movement below keeps you anchored to the real world, but LaValle effortlessly lets you experience that several feet above where you're used to being.
No doubt 2004's In A Safe Place got your attention, but let LaValle expand his place in your listening ears with Into The Blue Again.

The Album Leaf's Into The Blue Again is available for pre-order at Sub Pop. If you order the CD, use coupon code "blooballzcd" for $2 off.

The Album Leaf's "Always For You"
from Into The Blue Again

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

searching for this band who writes songs about girlfriends.

Rocky O'Reilly and Shaun Robinson are Irish. O'Reilly and Robinson are Ireland's happiness-accepting dance floor-driven answer to The Postal Service. O'Reilly and Robinson are Oppenheimer, and if their self-titled album, released by Bar/None Records, grants as many bobbing heads, smiling lips and genuine interest as it should, they could become the standard. It would be nice to hear less reviews that use the term "Postal Servicey," wouldn't it? Granted, that term still pulls it's weight, and perks your interest, and you'll (only seemingly) reluctantly buy Gibbard's and Tamborello's next instant classic. It does, and you will. I know that.
But Oppenheimer draw from many influences, including Kraftwerk, Stereolab, My Bloody Valentine, and (believe it or not) The Like Young. They've got a firm grasp on what the words "pop music" are all about. Warm, fuzzy, bright and embracing, Oppenheimer is a worthwhile album of melodies that will surely stick with you. O'Reilly and Robinson will sing you to the dance floor, to sleep, to drive, and to remember why it is you always come back to pop music, no matter how obscure your preferences get.

Oppenheimer's "Breakfast in NYC"
& "Saturday Looks Bad To Me"
from Oppenheimer

It doesn't take much to make me ache for Saturday Looks Good To Me, specifically Every Night, so this seems an obvious segue. Enjoy National Hug Your Sweetheart Day.

BONUS: Saturday Looks Good To Me's "The Girl's Distracted"
& "When The Party Ends"
from Every Night

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

i love it when you blink your eyes.

For the second night in a row, I've all but conceded not posting and have been greeted with Barsuk Records news.
In a downright predictable - but nonetheless exciting - move, Chris Walla has begun recording a solo album, and will release it through Barsuk in March. You of course now Walla from his work in Death Cab for Cutie, but you're more than likely also familiar with his production and recording work, alongside such bands as The Decemberists, Nada Surf, The Velvet Teen, Hot Hot Heat, and many more.
The solo album, not under his former Martin Youth Auxiliary moniker, should be good. There's not much more that can be said as of now. Listen to a recent Clinic cover he recorded. I've never cared for Clinic, but this song may make me reconsider.*

Chris Walla's "Distortions"

I know you could have read roughly this same thing at forty dozen other locales. Thank you for choosing no one is awake. I went to see Snakes on a Plane for a second time, and am whooped... Pooped? ...P0wn'd?

Today was new release Tuesday, and I got seven packages in the mail. Mind you none of them were actually released today - many quite a while ago - but it does mean quality fuel for the rest of the week. Definitely some good reasons to stay tuned. ...Stay connected? Stay URL'd? Stay p0wn'd?

*I doubt it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

close your eyes if it helps.

Menomena is not a secret, nor is my adoration for their odd jazzy funky style. Don't just take my word for it. Actually, please do.
So, after a recent extended apparent slumber, what has Menomena announced? Well, here are some hints:
Rocky Votolato, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Starlight Mints, Smoosh, Jim Noir, Mates of State, Viva Voce, (and Harvey Danger?).
Menomena has penned their names at the bottom of one or several sheets of paper that may or may not have printed on them a small dog with a record in his mouth.
Menomena has signed to Barsuk records.
Catch them on tour with The Long Winters and What Made Milwaukee Famous this Fall (See dates below).
Spend hours wrapped up in I Am The Fun Blame Monster.
Anxiously anticipate Friend and Foe's arrival in early 2007 on Barsuk Records.
Thank your lucky stars for Music Saves*.

*Pertains specifically to me.

Menomena's "E Is Stable"
from I Am The Fun Blame Monster

September 22, 2006: ATLANTA, GA [ Smith's Old Bar ]
September 23, 2006: CARRBORO, NC [ Local 506 ]
September 26, 2006: CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA [ Satellite Ballroom-UVA ]
September 27, 2006: BALTIMORE, MD [ Sonar ]
September 28, 2006: PHILADELPHIA, PA [ World Cafe Live ]
September 29, 2006: NEW YORK, NY [ Bowery Ballroom ]
September 30, 2006: BOSTON, MA [ Harper's Ferry ]
October 03, 2006: MONTREAL, CANADA [ La Sala Rossa ]
October 04, 2006: TORONTO, CANADA [ Lee's Palace ]
October 05, 2006: DETROIT, MI [ Magic Stick ]
October 06, 2006: CHICAGO, IL [ Subterranean ]
October 07, 2006: MINNEAPOLIS, MN [ Triple Rock ]

All dates with The Long Winters & What Made Milwaukee Famous

i should have stayed with your brother at home.

In the next two months, they will play with Art Brut (whom I have to admit I have a low tolerance for), Man Man (in Cleveland, no less), and being a tour with Tapes 'N Tapes. They've been mentioned in the same breath as Animal Collective, The Arcade Fire, and Broken Social Scene, and they've just signed to Ace Fu (Tunng, Man Man, Devotchka). All of the above information means you'll be hearing a lot about these guys until their record is released in October. And who knows? Maybe even for a little while afterwards. At this time, I've got to add fuel to the fire. Ace Fu has released three songs, and they are all quite fantastic.
The band is Annuals and they are from North Carolina. Trust me, you'll hear more and more in the next two months. I don't want to overexpose you this early on.

Annuals' "Brother"
"Bleary Eyed"
& "Dry Clothes"

NOTE: Hail Social's weekly song is "One U Luv," and it's another reason to look for ward to the future of Hail Social. Listen at their MySpace.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

spending time together is easy.

I'm going to see Bishop Allen tomorrow night no matter what.

Bishop Allen's "Corazon" from January
Bishop Allen's "The News From Your Bed" from February
Bishop Allen's "The Monitor" from March
Bishop Allen's "Flight 180" from April
Bishop Allen's "Butterfly Nets" from May
Bishop Allen's "The Same Fire" from June
Bishop Allen's "Click Click Click Click" from July

Bishop Allen's "Things Are What You Make Of Them" from Charm School

Buy any one or all of them here.

And a trailer for the tremendous Mutual Appreciation by Andrew Bujalski, starring Justin Rice of Bishop Allen

Friday, August 18, 2006

love will tear us apart again.

Nouvelle Vague plays new wave covers. But Nouvelle Vague plays all bossa nova songs. The combination of these two grippingly addictive music styles is exactly the sum of it's parts. You'll want to hear Nouvelle Vague play every vaguely new-wavey song you've ever heard. Their latest boasts covers of songs by Echo & The Bunnymen, Billy Idol, Blondie, New Order, Bauhaus and more. That's all for early Friday evening.

Nouvelle Vague's "Dancing With Myself" (Billy Idol)
& "Blue Monday" (New Order)
from Bande a Part

BONUS: Nouvelle Vague's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division)
BONUS: Calexico's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division)
INDIE CREDIBILITY DEPLTETION BONUS: Fall Out Boy's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

i've had it with these manner manning snakes.

The poster should have, in plain text, simply read, "Snakes on a Plane: No Tagline necessary." The world would have still been sold. I'll be attending the local premiere tonight at 10PM, and I'll be helping Jake advertise for his recently booming CafePress store. He currently has more than thirty "Snakes..." related items for sale. You can purchase any design on any format, including T-Shirts, aprons, baseball jerseys, bibs, boxers, thongs, camisoles, calendars, dog shirts, tiles, golf shirts, cards, journals, infant creepers, hoodies, baby dolls, tanks, mugs, messenger bags, tote bags, mouse pads, pillows, postcards, magnets, posters, steins, bumper stickers, teddy bears, coasters, clocks, and tracksuits.
It all started with a group of us talking about alternate locations snakes shouldn't be that rhyme with 'plane.' Jake's store started with the modest "Snakes in a Drain" design (pictured below) and exploded with creativity and crudely drawn worm-like snakes. The shop was recently featured and published in a widely distributed book entitled Snakes on a Plane: The Guide to the Internet Sssssssssensation and is being viewed by exponentially more people every day. I guarantee you won't want to be without these items that commemorate Samuel L. Jackson's greatest accomplishment in life.
I ordered my "Snakes in Chow Mein" (pictured below) shirt this week. I'll wear it when I see the film for the second time. That much you can count on.

Jakes on a Plane!

Man Man's "Engwish Bwudd"
& "Black Mission Goggles"
from Six Demon Bag

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Chicago Public Radio aired it's local show "Chicagocore," on Sunday with a special interview entitled "AKinsellapolothology." If over fifty minutes of the music of and interviews with Tim Kinsella and Mike Kinsella intrigue you, you'll find great joy in this download. Whether or not you're a fan of Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, Owls, American Football, Owen, or any of the various projects the two Kinsella brothers have been a part of, you'll be fascinated by two men around the age of thirty talking about their music-driven lives and how their family and reviewers respond. And Chuck Norris.
Spend an hour listening to this interview.
"Music for music's sake doesn't particularly interest me."

Chicagocore: aKinsellapolothology - an interview with Tim and Mike Kinsella

Joan of Arc's "Eventually, All At Once"
Tim & Mike Kinsella's Guitar Duet

Recall some of my coverage of Make Believe, Joan of Arc & Owen.

few feign a frown or forget their towns.

Tuesday's twelve hour lack of electricity (and several rousing games of Uno) made presenting a Spotlight nearly impossible. But today is new, and it's being made up to you.
The seven members of The Hidden Cameras have been releasing only slightly-odd hymnal pop songs occasionally with kinky and frequently homosexual themes. And you'd be damned right in saying that there's nothing wrong with that. Song writer Joel Gibb and his six-additional-member cult plants melodies solidly in the dirt, allow them to grow with only a small amount of added fertilizer, and climb them up through the clouds. They also make quite sure they make plenty of time for fun along the way. There are times when Gibb's voice could be mistaken for Owen Pallett's (Final Fantasy), and you'd be damned right in saying that there's nothing wrong with that.
The Hidden Cameras recently signed to Arts & Crafts, who will release the band's third full-length, AWOO, in September. The title track alone is enough to make the one month between now and the album's release seem an eternity.

The Hidden Cameras' "Boys of Melody"
from The Smell of Our Own

The Hidden Cameras' "Music Is My Boyfriend"
from Mississauga Goddam

The Hidden Cameras' "Death of a Tune"
& "Awoo"
from AWOO

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

chicken on a plane.

I have just a few random items for you due to a twelve hour power outage strangely altering my day.

Daytrotter held a session for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin back in March. Check it out here.

I brought up Blake Zweig in this blog's infancy, but feel like reminding you of his gorgeous acoustic tendencies.

Hrishikesh Hirway, better known as The One AM Radio, performed "Buried Below" exquisitely on KFJC. Listen for yourself.
The One AM Radio's "Buried Below"

I shouldn't have brushed off Bishop Allen's newest EP song so quickly. You really should listen to it several times and then send money to the band in return for July's EP.
Bishop Allen's "Click Click Click Click"
from July

Remember, quick shipping time means you're still able to order your Snakes on a Plane related merchandise in time to sport it to your SoaP cherry-poppin' at Jakes on a Plane.

I've only got one Belle & Sebastian tidbit thus far. (See next post.)

And finally, a charming Devendra Banhart B-Side...

Devendra Banhart's "Chicken"
from Heard Somebody Say (Single)

Monday, August 14, 2006

that crazy avenue of trees, i'm living there still.

I held off on picking up The Life Pursuit by Belle and Sebastian until I could find a reasonably priced limited edition book copy. That day was yesterday, and it was as worth the wait as it was a mistake to not have listened to it for however many months it's been since the release.
As far as my writing goes, you'd be better suited re-reading the Shelly Blake and Eric Bachmann write-ups. Sunday is a much easier day to write. As far as reasons to go back to Belle and Sebastian or pick them up for the first time, you're in the right spot. I honestly hadn't given B&A the time of day until 2006, but better late than never.

Belle and Sebastian's "Another Sunny Day"
& "For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea"
from The Life Pursuit

How about this... Leave a comment giving some type of little-known or well-known fact about Belle and Sebastian. You could even explain the first time you heard (of) B&A or your favorite song or album.
Anything you want. You do the research or inspiration drawing today.
I'll go to sleep, exhausted.
Thank you for your continued supporting of no one is awake.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

i hope it's clear and that you understand.

Oh my word. Last night's meteor showers must have aligned the stars and planets just right such that today's second review is of another American roots folk singer whose work simply stunned me.
Along with Cursive's Happy Hollow, I received Eric Bachmann's To The Races this weekend, and damned if I wasn't thrilled to listen to either one. While I still have yet to listen past the first new Cursive song, the debut solo Eric Bachmann album was just what I needed.
Stop. Read the Shelly Blake post immediately below this, and then return to this spot...
Towards the end of that sermon, the open ears of the congregation hear gently plucked guitar strings through the stained glass windows and are immediately enchanted. The melody gets closer, the church doors open, and the community's long lost son tip toes inside. He's returned from his country spanning soul searching. His voice couldn't sound sweeter to those who cried the day he left.
Eric Bachmann is the voice of Crooked Fingers, one of Seattle's finer rock bands, whose 2005 Merge album, Dignity and Shame, was considered Bachmann's masterpiece. Bachmann spent the next several months that year voluntarily living in his van and writing inspired folk songs that would comprise To The Races.
Between this album alone and Now It's Overhead's Dark Light Daybreak (due 9/12/06), Saddle Creek is having a completely solid year, though I believe Ladyfinger (NE)'s album will rank next to xbxrx's Sixth in Sixes in my book. That's all beside the point. Eric Bachmann has been impressing his listeners for quite some time. But he's got one more true fan today, and is bound to gain more on his upcoming tour with Richard Buckner.
Oh my good word. Crooked Fingers covered Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure" with gusto?

Eric Bachmann's "Carrboro Woman"
& "Lonesome Warrior"
from To The Races

BONUS: Crooked Fingers' "Under Pressure"
from Reservoir Songs

BONUS: Crooked Fingers' "Dignity and Shame"
from Dignity and Shame

i've been hanging out with the ghosts of my past.

Thank whatever higher power may or may not exist for Page France. Had it not been for my adoration of Michael Nau's wondrous pop group, I may have never heard of Maryland's Fall Records, and for that reason more than likely would have not sought out purchasing Shelly Blake's Discourse and Correspondence when given the opportunity. Blake is a unique soul, who has been creating music for over a decade. His American roots folk music is touched by an avant-garde take on lyrics and composition.
I do find it notable to reiterate that Shelly Blake is a male. In not knowing that prior to my first listen, I was in for a jarring realization. Though something tells me your first listen will be just as jarring. Blake's achey voice cleans up nice at times, but is more often than not as sloppy as it is comfortable.
In a church where William Elliott Whitmore is preaching to a congregation that solemnly remembers Daniel Johnston fondly, Shelly Blake is in the last pew scribbling his feelings on life, jotting his fears on a prayer card that may profoundly touch a few of the parties before him but will never make it to the pulpit. Blake will make up tunes for his thoughts off the top of his head on his long walk home on a warm Sunday afternoon.
Shelly Blake is very comfortable improvising music alone or with others. The second half of his latest album is testament to this fact. The songs stray wildly from the indie-folk-pop songs of the first half, but stand proudly on their own to feet, even when pushed by the fists of expectation.

Shelly Blake's "Vesper"
& "Home Movies"
from Discourse and Correspondence - Part I (Discourse: Songs for Mary Jean)

Shelly Blake's "Magnetic Tapes and Dreams"
from Discourse and Correspondence - Part II (Correspondence: Improvisations for Joel Grip)

In June, Shelly Blake and Joel Grip took on an impressive feat. They played music together for forty-eight straight hours. They refused to get a wink of sleep as they drove to several places to play over the course of two days. Listen to this extremely interesting short radio documentary by Aaron Henkin on the event by going here or simply downloading the MP3.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

i must have been asleep.

Need something that will bring to mind The Arcade Fire, Talking Heads, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (if Alec Ounsworth made the vocal effort)? I didn't know I did either until I wrapped myself up in Catbird's fifth release as an independent label. The label spun off from the music blog, Catbirdseat, and damned if I'm not wrapped up in thoughts about that possibility. The CD is Tap Tap's Lanzafame and it is quickly gaining attention across the webland and in my CD player as well. Of course they're from the UK, and you can listen to more on their MySpace, but I primarily urge you to pick up their new CD here before even the regular edition is sold out. I'm sorry I didn't tip you sooner, but the limited edition "books" went fast. They were worth the extra dollar.
Evidence that you should be clicking that link? Throw at least the above bands in a room and demand that they clap the shit out of a song, and you've got the following...

Tap Tap's "100,000 Thoughts"
from Lanzafame

Need more of Tap Tap's singer? Listen to Pete and the Pirates.

Actually, listen to Pete and the Pirates' "This Thyme"
from Wait Stop Begin right here.

the music meant something to someone.

I'm doing my best to get back to normal. I've also been listening to a lot of the new Owen album. I'm very pleased.
I don't have any intentions of sharing anything that Polyvinyl doesn't first approve, but I would be glad to lead you to a very good recording of Mike Kinsella's Philadelphia performance in February. He played four of the new songs that night and if you missed hearing them in person, this is a great way to be introduced to the new material.
One of the most unique properties of being a fan of Mike's music is that the same way it's refreshing to hear his new material flourish on his albums, it's equally refreshing to hear him pour them onto the stage with only his guitar and a modicum of enthusiasm.
At Home With Owen marks a new chapter in Mike's life; one where he seems to resent having to keep playing music to support his lifestyle and new home and wife. That may be at least partially true, but we know better. He still lights up in front of a polite audience and loves to have the attention given to his occasionally funny jokes. Even when his jokes aren't completely fleshed out or he gives up on playing a song halfway through, he continues.

Owen's performance on February Fifth, 2006 at The North Star Bar in Philadelphia

"Who Found Who's Hair in Who's Bed?"
"Bag of Bones"
"In the Morning, Before Work"
"I Woke Up Today"
"The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi"
"I'm Not Seventeen"
"Windows and Doorways"
"Bad News"
"Breaking Away"

Also, I keep feeling surprised with how much I like Mike's cover of The Velvet Underground + Nico's "Femme Fatale."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

i don't want to be lost.

Another brief downloadless update due to a draining week...

Philadelphia's Hail Social seems to be growing up at an irregular pace. Mike prompted me to mention them a little while ago, and I still urge you to give their debut a turn or two. But I'm growing increasingly interested in where they're headed. The guys are hosting a new song every week or so from their recently recorded sophomore album. While I would guess that Polyvinyl is still interested in releasing the album, I believe that is as yet unconfirmed.
The point is that the first of these new songs is "Heaven" and is surprisingly gentle with it's prodding you to join the couples skate. Again, these guys have an irregular sound that would stage them comfortably in the video game section of a run down and mostly empty roller rink. Dim lights and slow-moving mirror ball spots fall on the fairly gothic looking crew toning their regular songs down a bit.

I have no idea what I just said. Listen to "Heaven" on Hail Social's MySpace.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

click click click click.

It's been a day where I just keep expecting to wake up. Absolutely everything was slightly off and dream-like, and not a dream you regret having to wake up from. My point is that my mind isn't really on no one is awake today, and if it were I'd simply be writing my own parallel versions of what Matt over at You Ain't No Picasso brought up today.

The M's debut album has been re-released by Polyvinyl, and the package includes a new seven inch, with The M's cover of "Turn On Tune In Drop Out" by The Isley Brothers.

Bishop Allen's July EP is available for purchase and download now and includes the great Clementines era "Click Click Click Click."

Again, I refer you to
You Ain't No Picasso for more on both The M's and Bishop Allen

I'll have pictures and video of Them, Roaringtwenties performance (on my back porch) up as soon as I can. Thanks so much to those of you who made it out and talked with the five spectacularly nice avant-jazz-math-rock playing wizards.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

it's been this way for so long.

Q: Why have I never made solid mention of an album that's become one of my favorites of the year?
A: To correctly get the songs to you, I'd have to take the CD out of my car and transport it to the computer, and I haven't wanted to take the risk of being without Sing Along With Acid House Kings on the road since I got it several months ago.
Acid House Kings are a quartet of starry-eyed Swedish songsmiths, singing sweetly about very little that is sour in the world. Your heart won't be able to help but feel lighter, upon opening itself up for this established group which, despite their youthful sound, has been playing for about a decade.
As I'm busy getting ready for a fun night, and watching Home Movies episodes, I'll give you this bare bones Tuesday Spotlight on Acid House Kings, your new (or already current) favorite indie Swedish pop group. Hint: It's not Summer without "Do What You Wanna Do."

Acid House Kings' "This and That"
from Advantage Acid House Kings (1997)

Acid House Kings' "Sunday Morning"
from Mondays are like Tuesdays and Tuesdays are like Wednesdays (2000)

Acid House Kings' "Do What You Wanna Do"
& "This Heart Is A Stone"
from Sing Along With Acid House Kings (2005)

BONUS (New!): Acid House Kings' "Keep Your Love" (Loveninjas cover)

Monday, August 07, 2006

hey. remember july and early august of 2006?

There are a few things cooking right now that I'm excited to get to, but to allow me proper time to delve into them, I'm going to do a recap of some of the best (my favorite) of no one is awake over the last month.
Download any song you haven't already by Right Clicking and Saving File/Target As. You can also click on the corresponding dates to see the full post.
All locals, remember that Them, Roaringtwenties are playing at my house tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Don't worry. They're included in the recap.
And go.

July 1st: Best Friends Forever's
July 1st: Owen's
"Pietro Crespi"
July 3rd: Cursive's "Dorothy At Forty"
July 4th: Rocky Votolato's "White Daisy Passing"
July 5th: Kevin Hearn's "Nightlight"
July 6th: Bishop Allen's "The Same Fire"
July 7th: Cass McCombs' "I Went to the Hospital"
July 10th: Thom Yorke's "The Eraser"
July 11th: The Format's "Dog Problems"
July 15th: Noise For Pretend's "It's Oh So Quiet"
July 16th: Kite Flying Society's "6000 Shipwrecks"
July 20th: Make Believe's "Pat Tillman, Emmitt Till"
July 20th: Maps & Atlases' "Every Place Is A House"
July 21st: Headlights' "Put Us Back Together Right"
July 22nd: Girl Talk's "Minute By Minute"
July 23rd: Talking Heads' "(Nothing But) Flowers"
July 25th: Them, Roaringtwenties' "Tonight Your Wife Is My Wife"
Them, Roaringtwenties' "Cody Hides Microphones at Practice"
Them, Roaringtwenties' "Riding Bikes to Work"
Them, Roaringtwenties' "Duck Scout"
July 26th: Anathallo's "Hanasakajijii (four: a great wind, more ash)"
August 3rd: Now It's Overhead's "Let the Sirens Rest"
August 4th: We Are Scientists' "That One Pop Gem"
August 6th: William Elliott Whitmore's "Dry"

What in the world? That's just a little bit more than the length of one CDR! Oh my word. Why, I bet you could eliminate your least favorites and make yourself a pretty unshabby Summer Mix!
So long as EZArchive will stand for it.
Let me know if you have downloading troubles.
Or which songs you'd knock off to make it an even 80 minutes.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

these inspirations are my saving grace.

If you're not interested in reading about an unprecedented confrontation from my personal life, then skip forward to listen to two amazing new songs from William Elliott Whitmore. Otherwise, press on...

Joe and I went to Crocker Park (an upscale local strip mall) and walked by a family that I couldn't help but notice contained one or more members whose odor was less than pleasing. We were growing in distance from them when we heard a deep aggravated voice behind us declare that "you" need to take a f***ing bath and "you" smell like s***. I couldn't help but laugh out loud, assuming he was being loudly rude to the family. He continued, "I'm walking right behind you and you f***ing stink like s***."
Joe and I stopped and the man passed, but looked back at Joe constantly as he walked ahead of us, continuing his rant about the smell. It's now that we can tell that he is in his late thirties to forties, and wearing appropriate beach apparel (a slim tank top and shorts). It was obvious that his comments were not directed at the family, and I continued to laugh; harder now. You have to understand that Joe is a man's man, the hero of most bearded individuals and in no way metrosexual. You must also understand that I am in no way insinuating that he is malodorous. I have yet to notice a displeasing feeling in my nasal cavities in the countless hours I've spent with him. Clearly the disgusted man was slightly out of touch with reality.
Joe lets the man know that he is "the nicest person [he's] ever met."
The man, on the defensive, shouts, "What'd you say?!"
Joe repeats, "I said you're the nicest person I've ever met."
The man presses on that "[Joe] need[s] some f***ing deodorant" and starts to finally part ways with us.
This is where Joe's experience with the out of touch gives him a second wind. Joe instantly remembers a demand that a homeless man once made of one of Joe's male companions. He turns toward the man, who was walking away at this point, and says the following: "Lick my p***y, f****t."
This has been a laughable statement with anyone who knows Joe and has inevitably heard about said homeless man. Our instigator at Crocker Park had not. He charged toward Joe, openly agreeing that, "I will lick your p***y. Come here!"
Believe it or not, Joe was not prepared for this. We both backed up as the man made sure we were aware of his extremely close proximity. I believe that what Joe said was fairly acidic, and that feeling was apparently shared, because the man directed his focus on Joe and spat. Joe allegedly dodged the saliva with little room to spare. I said to the man exactly what was going through my mind as I tried to position myself between him and Joe. "Let's just be done with this."
He had other plans in mind as he forcefully shoved me away. He was fully capable of doing more physical harm to each of us than we would be able to prevent. He cornered Joe next to the windows of a movie theatre that, as I was now more removed from the action, I noticed was a central meeting place with no less than two dozen onlookers. Not one doing more than looking on with a detached glaze. Again, I vocalized my thoughts. "Really? And none of you can do anything but stare? No one can say anything or call the police or anything?" I must have felt more threatened than anyone present felt I needed be.
Meanwhile, the man capitalized on his cornering of Joe by smacking him in the face. If the smack's audibility was testament to it's force and inherent pain inflicted, Joe should be packing his hairy cheek with ice, even now.
The man was satisfied with this outcome and was suddenly walking away. I continued to press on the crowd. "Wow. No one would do anything. You couldn't call the police or anything."
I finally receive a response from a mustached man, in his late forties to fifties, leaning casually on a railing, "You call 'em."
As we finally walked away I stared at the casual male, forced a Bill Clinton-esque thumbs-up, and let him know that he was "truly a gentleman. Thank you."
The situation escalated more quickly than could allow for patience or the turn of a cold shoulder and while I love Joe dearly, I can't help but imagine what the world (and my day) would be like without his adoration of the homeless' affected spoutings.

I praised William Elliott Whitmore highly after first seeing him open for Owen in April. I still can't say enough about him to too many people. His latest album, Song of the Blackbird, will be released at the end of this month, and in November he will be in Cleveland with Lucero and another of my favorites, Rocky Votolato. I haven't been this excited for a Grog Shop show three months in advance in a long time.
Again, MP3's cannot substitute his live presence ("show" or "performance" don't seem fitting), but you should still find a lot to fall in love with in these two new songs.

William Elliott Whitmore's "The Chariot"
& "Dry"
from Song of the Blackbird

If you still haven't listened to Rocky Votolato's "White Daisy Passing" as many times as you've used the word(s) MySpace, then you're doing life all wrong.

Rocky Votolato's "White Daisy Passing"
from Makers

Saturday, August 05, 2006

they will never trust us.

31 Knots aren't my favorite band in the world, but when I do delve back into their albums, they welcome me. I looked into obtaining their back catalog when they signed to Polyvinyl last year and was both blown away at times and underwhelmed at others. The trio from Portland play a varied style of progressive indie rock with standout elements of guitar trickery, start and stop rock drums (courtesy of former Dilute drummer Jay Pellicci), and excellent vocal work from the less than perfect sounding voice of Joe Haege.
Polyvinyl gently remided me what 31 Knots are capable on their latest sampler, What To Do With Everything. 31 Knots are featured twice on the sampler, but shine notably on the otherwise unreleased "Vanish." They shine so brightly that I couldn't resist sharing it and hope it will be included on the next release. They will be mixing their next album, The Days and Nights of Everything Everywhere, soon and will more than likely release it in early 2007.

31 Knots' "Vanish"
from What To Do With Everything (A Polyvinyl Sampler)

There's a lot more to smile about on this sampler that I won't be quiet about for long. I guarantee it.

why won't you come on over?

I became bilingual this morning. I now speak the Language of Flowers. With Tara Simpson on vocals, evoking Kelly Caldwell's work with Saturday Looks Good To Me, this British band released a great pop album in 2004. Classic indie pop is the most fitting category for Songs About You, with it's notable influences from The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian, SLGTM, The Cure, and Camera Obscura. Language of Flowers will grow on you as well. Even if you enjoy them on your first listen, you'll probably like their songs even more the second and third time around.

Language of Flowers' "If It's Not You"
& "Tara Mascara"
from Songs About You

Friday, August 04, 2006

i love you, too.

I'll have something for you later this evening, but I just wanted to take a minute to point you in the direction of the gospel according to my friend Jeff. It gets tedious reading only about music; I praise those that read everything I write and don't skip down to the songs. Like I said, it gets tedious. Well, Jeff has written for Bowling Green of Ohio's news website (and newspaper, I believe) on several occasions and for good reason. He writes very well and I firmly believe you'll laugh aloud as you scan through some of his work on his newer blog, Jeebus Loves You. This is a standup guy who introduced me to great music back in our day. no one is awake is simply trying to pay him back daily.

Just as a bonus thrill for you today, here's We Are Scientists' hard-to-find 2003 EP, In Action. I found it for $2.50 last year before seeing them open for Bishop Allen. The show was far from sold out and far from terrible.

We Are Scientists' In Action EP
"Selective Memory"
"Coming Clean"
"That One Pop Gem"
"Secret Handshake"
"Bomb Inside The Bomb"

And for those of you in the area...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

you won't go back where you came from.

I believe I've already admitted that my attempt at a theme week with "Don't Write Off Saddle Creek" in April was simply a way to feel less guilty about wanted to post about Maria Taylor and Now It's Overhead in such close proximity. In truth, it's been hard to not write about Now It's Overhead every week. They've been a sleeper favorite of mine as it took me a while to realize how much I actually adored them.
In any case, Andy LeMaster and company's third album, Dark Light Daybreak, will be released on September 12th (slightly over a month from now). You can pre-order it from Saddle Creek's online store and they'll ship it before September 1st. I highly suggest you do so. Now It's Overhead is a phenomenal outfit of exquisitely produced songs of a dream-like clarity. The scene in a movie where the main character is faced with finding himself and drives through a gorgeous landscape but the camera focuses on the rain drops falling in slow motion on the windshield and sneaking sideways, out of frame. He's listening to Now It's Overhead (or possibly Calexico) and finds true inspiration. Listen to two great songs from the band's first two albums on their MySpace and two great songs from their third just a couple hundred pixels downward.

Now It's Overhead's "Let the Sirens Rest"
& "Let Up"
from Dark Light Daybreak

BONUS: Now It's Overhead's "The Book of Love" (Magnetic Fields cover)
from Wait In A Line single

Didn't I say I'd be talking about the Chin Up Chin Up mix CD? I did. I will.
For now, tell me: Do you like the YouTube additions? I can just as easily not make the effort. Let me know.