Tuesday, October 31, 2006

don't forget who's taking you home.

I've got the makings for a thoroughly loathsome cold. But as I sit down in front of the comforting glow of the computer screen, I find a silver lining. It's been several days since I came near no one is awake, for a plethora of reasons. Not to be overlooked is that EZArchive has been updating and understanding the process was a challenge. That's your answer as to why songs are working correctly. I'll have to go in and manually change any song I want to keep up for your listening pleasure. My efforts may only take me as far back as the beginning of October. But I've missed this outlet, and feel a genuine sense of guilt in seeing that roughly the same amount of people check in on a daily basis.
It's nice to be able to take a breath. To delve into an album with scarce thoughts of 'keeping up' or sharing. I've made mention that it's been increasingly difficult to enjoy music the same way I have in the past. But sometimes a nice deep breath puts everything in better perspective.
Of course, I'll be explaining something as a metaphoric breath at this point. I know that it's everywhere and you see ads on Pitchfork (which hosts a less than glowing review) and everywhere else, but "Pussy Cats" Starring The Walkmen is an absolute eye-opener. I occasionally feel guilty about finding an appreciation for an artist through another's cover songs, but in the past month I've swallowed my pride and allowed Mike Kinsella to open my eyes to the undeniable influence of The Velvet Underground, and I've played The Walkmen's album of Harry Nillsson tributes no less than a dozen times in a week.
"Old Forgotten Soldier" is as effective now as it ever could have been. "Loop De Loop" should play at every party ever. Everyone has wished that "Rock Around The Clock" could sound grittier and sped through, and some songs (though you've heard them many times in your life) can have a new profound and moving impact on you. "Save The Last Dance" is one of the best songs to have spawned an awful film of the same name.
Bows + Arrows is superior to Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone and denying that has set me back for too long. I vow to not go another week without owning A Hundred Miles Off, and Harry Nillsson will no longer be neglected in my record collection. Thank you, Walkmen.

The Walkmen's "Save The Last Dance"
& "Loop De Loop"
from Pussy Cats

Here are a few more things I've been listening to a lot lately, served as a peace offering for neglecting you for almost a full week.

Blake Zweig's "Say Goodbye"
What Made Milwaukee Famous' "Hellodrama"
Decibully's "Uncle Sam's Yard"
Bishop Allen's "Things Are What You Make of Them [Reprise]"
The Format's "Janet"

I will start making up Christmas songs as well, but today I must offer a few songs that have been heard a lot in the last week, and their presence has been more than appreciated.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters"
Bobby Boris Pickett's "Monster Mash"
North American Hallowe'en Prevention Initiative's "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

such a sight to see.

EZArchive is undergoing an update and may quiet things around here for a short period of time. I estimate a triumphant return during the weekend.
In the meantime, stop not listening to "Pussy Cats" Starring The Walkmen.
And do NOT watch "Hey Santa" by Wilson Phillips. Don't.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the birds all envy me.

fingerings lost in the motions of our hands.

Included in yesterday's spirit-rejuvenating loot was an album that I had every intention on buying new from my dearly missed friends at Music Saves, but at $2.50, how am I supposed to turn down Califone's [Roots & Crowns]? It was obviously a wise investment and I strongly suggest you make the same investment, even if you are forced to spend five times what I lucked out in paying. The latest from the legends in their own right continues their credential building with an overall subdued, divine collection of wonderfully orchestrated songs of equal parts unequivocal bliss and heartaching warmth.
When deciding on whether or not to risk buying an album from a band I don't know, I find myself finding the list of instruments played, and had I not already been sold on Califone, I would have made my decision based on the following:

Joe Adamik [drum kit, bass clarinet, wurlitzer, piano, organ, vibraphone, dr. sample, bells, melodica, prepared metaliphone]
Jim Becker [violin, banjo, vocals, guitar, bass, loops, electronics, percussion, xylophone, cajun accordian, mandolin, kalimba]
Ben Massarella [batterie,; lensdrum, pistons, zuni rattles, shu{3}lai{2}bao{3} treasure counting stick, bronze fork, gourds, shakers, glass, oak chimes, ribbon crasher]
Tim Rutili [vocals, guitars, piano, electronics, field recordings, organ, synthesizer, banjo, loops, bowed balalaika]

Brian Deck [synth, electronic manipulation, vibraphone, organ]
Michael Krassner [harmonica, loops, electronics]
Wil Hendricks [bass]
Alan Scalpone [trumpet]
Michael McGinley [trombone]
Anthony Gilbert [viola]

I'm sorry. Banjos and gourds?! Sign me right up. Califone is predictably abstract, and while they occasionally get too into the groove to remember how they got there, they are always able to take a breath and start again, beautifully.

Califone's "Pink & Sour"
& "Spider's House"
from [Roots & Crowns]

Dave Lawson's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

the fire's what keeps us warm when winter rolls around.

My Monday began and ended in very different ways, but the start and the close had one biting thing in common. Two completely separate harbingers of happiness in my life offered almost identical commentary on my life. I'm sparing you almost all the details of my personal life and it's recent elemental dramatic nature, but the bookends of my Monday, which were nearly nineteen hours apart, are of fundamental relevance to this very website.

October 23, 2006, 7:03am: "I find comfort in knowing that in a couple years, [he will be] sitting alone in his downtown loft with only the company of his records and computer screen..."

October 24th, 2006, approximately 1:30am: "I like music on the radio, like country..." (It is important to note that this was stated somberly toward the top of a list of factors potentially working against a vital friendship)

These instances, especially given their proximity to each other, have worn on me severely today. In all honesty, I intended on simply typing those two summaries of the flaws inherent in my adoration of music, followed by Ben Folds' cover of Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit," released today on his supersunnyspeedgraphic collection. But I dragged myself out to pick up The Walkmen's Harry Nilsson tribute, Pussy Cats, and wound up finding several things that abstractly happy about music. One find, in particular, absolutely redeemed my faith in mankind. Of course, with that kind of introduction, it could be Sufjan Stevens releasing a song for song remake of Pet Sounds with Devendra Banhart and Jenny Lewis accompanying him, and you'll be let down.
In November, Southern Records will release six mighty songs as one EP (CD/10"), bearing the title Hallways of Always. This is a collaboration between Erase Errata singer Jenny Hoyston and underground folk-blues powerhouse William Elliott Whitmore.
Recall the first time you saw William Elliott Whitmore live - and if you still haven't, for shame - after the silent awe breaks (which lasts until his last breath on stage), the hand-shaking subsides, and drinks are shared, imagine Whitmore returning to the stage with a mysterious and equally worn-looking woman (his former roommate). It's now a party, and Jenny and William don't mind if you're drinking and talking and carrying on. They play to you.
Try to keep up with Jenny Hoyston's many endeavors through her MySpace, and make sure you track down the closest Whitmore show on his tour with Rocky Votolato and Lucero.

Music is my life. I may be merely a listener, but I couldn't be more content with who I am. In the words of the great Aesop Rock, "I'm not an asshole, I'm just a little confused."

Jenny Hoyston & William Elliott Whitmore's "Feast Of A Thousand Beasts"
from Hallways of Always

Brian Wilson's "Christmasey"

what are we going to do about this?

The Notwist have a DVD coming out, and aside from quickly finding and watching it, my one hope is that there are subtitles. Of course, I can't imagine there won't be. In any case, my prediction is that it will be mesmerizing to watch and backed with a soundtrack that is the damn near perfect Neon Golden. I forgot how felicitous this album is, and it was exactly what I needed to be reminded today.
Here is a trailer for the DVD, On/Off The Record, a documentary of seventy days spent with Germany's electronic pop pros, as Neon Golden was made, thrown out, remade, thrown out and remade again. Below are some reminders as to how well-suited The Notwist are to score your soundtrack for just about anything.
Neon Golden is one of the first featured Album Downloads. Give it a try. They're trying to "save the album."

The Notwist's "Pick Up The Phone"
& "This Room"
from Neon Golden

BONUS: The Notwist's "This Room (Four Tet & Manitoba Remix)"

The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping"
Kylie Minogue's "Santa Baby"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

she's going to smile to make you frown.

The southern half of my town was inexplicably without internet from Friday evening until late Saturday. Truth be told, I'm relieved to have a legitimate excuse for having not been updating all weekend. I've been spending quite a bit of time with some truly great people, and some truly great music. I spent a fraction of what I could have on some fantastic finds. I've finally let The Velvet Underground and Nico wow me, and two Morrissey albums and a Smiths record added to the exploration of days passed. I got a few more things that I will hear and potentially pass along to you, but for now I've been in more a reminiscent mood than an exploratory one.
So, before I catch you up on some Christmas goodies, allow me to take you back to March of 1967, when Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, and Nico offered to the world an album that would influence hipsters and nerds for the next forty years. Produced by Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground & Nico captured the essence of this powerhouse's performances. Of which The San Francisco Chronicle once said, "Shatteringly contemporary-the electronic music, loud enough the room and mind vibrate in unison-Nico, the beautiful flaxen-haired girl, the noise, the lights, the film and the dances build to a screeching crescendo."
Usually high on notable 'greatest albums of all time' lists, the phallic album was originally shunned by many radio stations and stores due to it's references to drugs, prostitution, S&M, transvestites, et al. As tends to be the case, time would prove this hesitance foolish and shameful.

The Velvet Underground & Nico's
"Femme Fatale"
"There She Goes Again"
from The Velvet Underground & Nico

The City on Film's "A Christmas Waltz (O Holy Blanket)"
"Little Drummer Boy"
Mike Spence & Chris Hatfield's
"All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

we are feeling so erroneously unknown.

Maybe I gave one song a chance. Maybe I didn't like their name. Maybe I didn't like album art. For some reason I had dismissed The Dears. Unfortunately they don't play the quirky, instantly appealing music that wins me back over. It took a depression-induced buying spree for me to pick up their new (Arts & Crafts) album, Gang of Losers, and then another week to give it it's due listen. While I still wouldn't quite know what to say to someone who dismissed The Dears as boring, I would be content knowing that that person is missing out. For those keeping a sentence word struggle tally: Consecutive sentences using "it it's" and "that that."
The Dears rake together a thick, layered pile of leaves that could be easily passed by. But, if indulged, one can find an explosion of colors, warmth, and a timely sense of acceptance of his current state, which would theoretically be at the bottom of a thick, layered pile of leaves.
If you live in the states, you may be better off seeking out Gang of Losers from your local carrier of decent independent music. Otherwise, Arts & Crafts may offer you a good deal. Oh, and buy me The Most Serene Republic's Phages. I cannot stress to you how much I need this EP.

The Dears' "Ticket To Immortality"
& "Bandwagoneers"
from Gang of Losers

Dean Martin's "Let It Snow"
Dean Martin's "The Christmas Blues"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

we got a new house.

One would think that my praise of Horse Feathers would negate the possibility of my even mentioning Le' Hospital Rule. One would be wrong, but have valid points. Le' Hospital Rule boast faint pained vocals that evoke a truly folky feel. Lyrics are echoed off of down home acoustic guitar and brushed percussion. And their two songs from MySpace (and here) clock in at just under twelve minutes. I'll be brief, since Le' Hospital Rule aren't, are more captivating for it.

Le' Hospital Rule's "Our New Hides"
& "O'Paul"
from Miss. Tropics

Ryan Adams' "Hotel Chelsea Nights"
Bleu's "Mele Kalikimaka"

cry yourself to sleep.

I just came across the music of Justin Ringle and Peter Broderick and couldn't be more pleased. The duet is called Horse Feathers and their indie folk music is layered with lush pop ideals and more strings than a Cosby sweater. Ringle and Broderick both sing and play banjo and percussion, and while Ringle pulls guitar duty, Broderick adds the sweeping and earthy arrangements on cello, violin, viola, mandolin and piano. Words Are Dead was released within the last month on Lucky Madison, and I need to get my hands on a copy, due in part to my one complaint for Horse Feathers. Brevity. Maybe that's where the appeal is drawn from, in that they keep their songs short and sweet, for fear of diluting them by allowing themselves to keep playing. The three songs they have available on MySpace (and that I have here) total less than seven minutes in length. Still, one couldn't ask for a more enjoyable seven minutes.

Horse Feathers' "Finch On Saturday"
& "Blood On The Snow"
from Words Are Dead

Horse Feathers' "Like Lavender"
from Vicious Are The Mouths That Taste (DEMO)

Monday, October 16, 2006

wrap yourself around me.

I get a lot of satisfaction from responses to what I share on a (nearly) daily basis. Jeff from Jeebus Loves You and from life compiled his own Fall mix. He swears that it's perfect for couch dwelling romance. So here's to all of you that are so lucky this crisp, cool season.

N. Lannon's "The Catch"
Nedelle's "Heatstroke"
Hayden's "Woody"
Decibully's "Skipping Over Goodbye"
Matt Pond PA's "Counting Song"
Clem Snide's "The Curse of Great Beauty"
Lullaby For The Working Class' "The Wounded Spider"
David Garza's "Baptiste"
Richard Buckner's "On Traveling"
Aloha's "Ferocious Love"
The Boggs' "On North Wood Ground"
Tortoise & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "Thunder Road"
Damien Jurado's "Johnny Go Riding"
The Twilight Singers' "Follow You Down"

And for Mike...
American Football's "Never Meant"
& Songs: Ohia's "Come Back To Your Man"

Kevin Devine's "Splitting Up Christmas"

i've made big steps with small strides.

I made the first no one is awake mix. Most of it is not anything you haven't heard before. It's a mood-based mix with a hopeful finish. I don't feel compelled to share what has been going on in my personal life. I'm all but unsatisfied that the first mix I've made for this site bears it's emotions on it's digital sleeve. In any case, the entire reason I put this together was to properly display Menomena's "Gay A," a song only seeing release on their Wet and Rusting EP. The wildly different versions of "Wet and Rusting," bonus songs, and album artwork make this EP/single a wise investment to whet your appetite before Friend and Foe is unleashed in January. You can now purchase the EP through Barsuk Records.
The setting of my first hearing "Gay A" was a long aimless cold drive alone, spent engaged in thought and a less than positive outlook. "Gay A" grabbed me with it's baritone sax and bells and inspiring ideal and turned me around. I spent the duration of the evening in a serenely peaceful state, enjoying having several hours to myself.
Obviously, every other song on the first no one is awake mix is quite good. It's far from the endlessly uplifting Fall mix I set out to make, but I think that gives it more poignancy. I hope you enjoy it, and I'll make up for the lost days in Christmas tunes later on.
Thank you for reading and listening to no one is awake.

The Brothers Creeggan's "You Walked Out"
The Album Leaf's "Into The Sea"
Cass McCombs' "I Went To The Hospital"
Cub Country's "Could Be The Moon"
Now It's Overhead's "Estranged"
The One AM Radio's "I Think This Is My Exit"
Ryan Adams' "Please Do Not Let Me Go"
Chin Up Chin Up's "Why Is My Sleeping Bag A Ghetto Muppet?"
Owen's "Bad News"
Blake Zweig's "Better Without You"
Beck's "The Golden Age"
Menomena's "Gay A"
Headlights' "Centuries"
Aloha's "Let Your Head Hang Low"
Matt Pond PA's "Halloween"

As always, your thoughts are welcome and appreciated. Since this is not the Fall mix I set out to make, let's hear some of your favorite Fall albums and songs.

March and April's songs have now been removed, with the exception of Tuesday Spotlights. At least May, June, July, and August will be removed by the end of this month. Take advantage while you can.

Friday, October 13, 2006

the click and clatter of my feet.

Every month I get a lay-up, and there couldn't have been a better day than today. Stop not giving Bishop Allen your money. They've been giving us tremendous songs all year and they only have three EPs left to record. September is finally available for your purchasing pleasure and in an act sheerly lacking in creativity, I'll direct you to what Christian had to say at Bishop Allen's website on September's EP.
September is here, featuring "Like Castanets." Justin was invited down to Chile just a bit ago because his movie was screening in festivals there. He walked around Santiago, through the streets and the antipodal Winter. If I remember right, he flew back and then we hopped in the van to go on tour. When we returned to New York, we recorded this song first thing for the new EP, and it remains our favorite.
It would be a shame if you let the entire year go by having not gotten over your fear of PayPalling money to New Yorkers in a band, pushing product on you each and every month.

Bishop Allen's "Like Castanets"

The Flaming Lips' "A Change At Christmas (Say It Isn't So)"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

it's written like chapters.

Somewhere between Neko Case and Gregory & The Hawk, Shelley Short is playing her heart out. Short is not a Chicago native, but collected a group of players after moving there to record her second album, Captain Wild Horse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow). She stumbled upon violinist Tiffany Kowalski of Bright Eyes and a several more established musicians, resulting in an album of rugged folk pop that belongs on the same label roster (and alumni) as Norfolk & Western and The Decemberists. And it just so happens that this is the case. Hush Records has done little but impress me lately and Shelley Short is no exception.
Be sure to listen to "Vie En Rose" on Shelley's MySpace.

Shelley Short's "Tomorrow Night"
"Like Anything, It's Small"
Captain Wild Horse (Rides the Heart of Tomorrow)

The Beach Boys' "Merry Christmas, Baby"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

we both wait for nothing.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Unique Chique made their way into my ears and built a nest all up in there. The Chicago-based quartet are friends with no one is awake pals Them, Roaringtwenties, and have earned the praise and respect of Rainer Maria, Colossal, and Bob Nanna of Braid, Hey Mercedes and The City on Film. Bob Nanna has said of Unique Chique, "Think Jeff Buckley singing for the Sea And Cake. Yeah, it's that good!"
Though I have made my way to Unique Chique's MySpace page, their impact wasn't felt until listening to their latest seven songs, Ethica, which the band graciously sent me this week. Their sound is really pretty moving in a sinking way. Melodic and textured, profound and honest, driving and hypnotic, Ethica hosts subtly jazzy melodic guitar hooks and pounding forward-moving rhythms. With self-proclaimed influences (Radiohead, Rainer Maria, U2, Hum, American Football) that can be heard, Unique Chique is creating original music with more power than you may originally give it credit. Several listens are a must, so I suggest heading to their MySpace and listening to three songs from their 2005 LP. You should additionally give due consideration to purchasing It Never Fails Forever. Their latest EP is incredibly worthwhile, but may just leave you wanting more (in length, strictly speaking).

Unique Chique's "Long Dead Naomi"
from Ethica

IF x=27, THEN 4[(x + 10) / 2] = DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS
Decibully's "Like A Child on X-mas Day"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the world is spinning and no one can stop it.

I gave PAS/CAL a no one is awake style introduction early on in my blogging in March. I've got to admit that it can be downright difficult to be so much in love with a band before they even release a full length album (See also: The World vs. Voxtrot, myself included). Well, all that is changing. PAS/CAL will finally release Citizens Army Uniform in January of 2007. If you're keeping score at home, that's Of Montreal, The Shins, Menomena, Youth Group, and (though my personal interest is fading) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah all slated with January releases. 2007 may, by definition, destroy.
PAS/CAL is making up for lost time with their third EP, Dear Sir, becoming available in less than a month. The EP will house six songs, though history shows that being that the bliss output will be inevitably high, diminishing the relevence of length. One can only assume that Citizens Army Uniform will deafen you with it's pop perfection. The first two EPs were surprisingly wise investments at $10 a pop. You can order them through PAS/CAL's record label, Le Grand Magistery or through their website. There you can also find vinyl with more PAS/CAL songs, including their rendition of Wham's "Last Christmas," a holiday favorite of mine.

PAS/CAL's "C. A. U. (Sans Muscle)"
from Dear Sir EP

Low's "Blue Christmas"

Anyone who has ever had the need to listen to "Blue Christmas" has nothing to relate to in versions by Elvis Presley, Porky Pig, or even the seemingly (always) crying Bright Eyes. Low have captured the true desperate bleak feeling of this horrendously depressing holiday hymn.

Monday, October 09, 2006

storyboard the light.

I keep telling people about The British Calendar Act of 1751. This event has such an impact on me and I'm not entirely sure why. But I'll clue you in on the three main contributing factors.
First of all, while I'm no history buff, and am certainly not as worldly as I'd like to be, I've never heard of The British Calendar Act of 1751. In addition, I found no reference to this somewhat monumental period in history on my go-to source, Wikipedia.
Secondly, I let my thoughts go admittedly deeper than they should when I try to fully grasp what The British Calendar Act of 1751, in effect, did. It's this factor that requires I actually explain (if you aren't aware) what The British Calendar Act of 1751 was. I keep saying the full name so you remember and tell your peers. In 1751, King George II and British Parliament finally faced the problems with the Julian calendar, in order to switch to the Gregorian calendar. The delay in facing the 200 year old problem was actually Catholic in nature. Martin Luther's "Ninety-five Theses" was construed to believe that following the Gregorian calendar would be "bowing to a Papal decree." If you're still with me, this is where it comes together and gets good. The problem with the Julian calendar is that it lacked Leap Years, which had added up to set the world precisely eleven days behind where it theoretically should be. To correct this problem in switching to the Gregorian calendar, two major steps were taken. The first was changing the beginning of the calendar year from March 15th to January 1st, presumably to make all the "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" songs more appropriate and timely. The second step that The British Calendar Act of 1751 did, was to correct the eleven day surplus by eliminating eleven days in 1752. On September 2nd, 1752, when the clocks struck midnight it became September 14th, 1752.
This just baffles me. Even my old standby explanation of anything ("It's only language") doesn't get me through it. Everything we explain and believe in the world is expressed through language that we created. I can get lost in thought about that. But still, all the language-based possibilities are what impress me. For instance, we are living eleven days in the past. It should be eleven days from now, and Fall wouldn't have even begun yet. Equally impressive, in a language-problem manner of speaking, is that the dates of September 3-13, each year, are days that have been lived less than any other day of the year.
In any case, The British Calendar Act of 1751 thoroughly intrigues me, which brings me to the third factor as to why. If I didn't listen to the music that I listen to, I may have died having never known about September 3-13, 1752. Granted, not knowing wouldn't have changed my life very much, it still impresses me that it is due, in full, to Make Believe's sophomore album, Of Course, that I am able to say that I know about the eleven missing days in World History.
So to Tim Kinsella, as well as Nate Kinsella, Bobby Burg, and Sam Zurick: Thank you.
I hate to say, however that I think you miscounted days. Am I wrong?
Of Course is available now on CD from Flameshovel and on LP from Polyvinyl. It's quite good, and "Pat Tillman, Emmitt Till" remains my favorite and album standout.

Make Believe's "Political Mysticism"
from Of Course

BONUS: Joan of Arc's "The Cash In & Price"
from Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain...

Domotic's "Christmas for Berry"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

you come barring down like an atom bomb.

I had forgotten about Longwave. Around four years ago, I was not quite into the independent music scene, so when my favorite now-closed record store (My Generation) offered "back-stage passes" with the purchase of Longwave's The Strangest Things, I hopped on board. As I drove home, being delighted with the rock album I was being introduced to, I found some ex-girlfriend to go to the concert with me. I think maybe Stellastarr opened. Longwave were extremely impressive. They gave off kind of a Walkmen meets The Strokes with more sincerity, occasional shoegaze beauty, and an ability to be more up front about their love of Television.
In any case, There's A Fire came and went last year, and The Strangest Things remains just as important to me. Sure, I learned that night that backstage passes are for fans of bands who tour stadiums; not clubs, autographs are far more awkward than simple conversation, and a good rock concert is irreplaceable.

Longwave's "Wake Me When It's Over"
& "Everywhere You Turn"
from The Strangest Things

Rilo Kiley's "Xmas Cake"

It should be noted that I cannot stand the word "X-Mas" in print. If you know be, you know that it is not in any way a religious sentiment. I simply think it looks dumb and is a senseless abbreviation.

As I grow closer to filling my alloted space on EXArchive, I am faced with the unfortunate task of taking down old MP3s. I will probably start next weekend by removing songs from the first two months of no one is awake. That will be approximately 200 of over 800 songs I've shard with you. I don't like doing it. I'd rather have everything available for anyone at any time, but that appears to be slightly overzealous. I probably won't become a dot com, and I probably won't pay for more storage space. I probably will continue to do my best for you.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

i bet you would hate to hear half the things i say.

I'm thinking about becoming a dot-com. I haven't had notable problems with Blogger. I'd just like to get no one is awake seen more. After an eye-opening affair with GoDaddy, I learned that I don't know enough about domains and hosts to make the move just yet. If anyone has any helpful advice, please let me know. I'm out of my element.
I'm also out of sorts lately. It's getting harder and harder not to be.

Husband & Wife's "Don't Change"
from Operation: Surgery

Christmas2004's "Feliz Navidad"

Friday, October 06, 2006

do you hear what i hear?

You may or may not be surprised (based on my other musical interests) to know that I kind of like Copeland. I was actually modestly excited to learn of their new album when looking up Denison Witmer. Copeland's third full-length is due out at the tail end of this month. Sure, there's all sorts of possibilities in releasing anything so close to Halloween, but with Aaron Marsh's breathy sweet vocals and Copeland's overall harmless existence, there will be absolutely no irony or coincidence with the October Thirty-first release date of Eat, Sleep, Repeat. Copeland are evolving, be it subtly and without straying from the pleasant sound that has won over fans in all different cliques, scenes, groups, etc. With more piano, vibes, strings, and layers of oozy goodness, Copeland is after an even larger fanbase.
They won me over with 2004's Know Nothing Stays The Same EP, on which they covered Phil Collins, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Berlin, and Stevie Wonder. The albums that surrounded that release were very solid, but lacking the range that could make Copeland more than emo kids' ironic guilty pleasure and credible addition to otherwise painful record collections. We'll see if Eat, Sleep, Repeat slowly widens Copeland's range, or takes huge leaps toward excellence. Either way, it should be a captivating listen.

Copeland's "Eat, Sleep, Repeat"
& "When You Thought You'd Never Stand Out"
from Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Copeland's "Take My Breath Away"
from Know Nothing Stays The Same

Copeland's "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

music for one apartment and six drummers.

amalgam: a striking critique of self and drums.

There are many things that I strive for with no one is awake, and there are several specific things I try to shy away from for good reason. What, as a general basis, I do is share what I like, musically. That's not out of the music blog ordinary. Two things that I, as a rule, try not to do are detailing lengthy personal accounts and negative reviews. Let me quickly qualify what I just revealed. Anything ever written that can be found interesting or enjoyable reading material has had some personal flair from the writer. I'm simply stating that I identify this as a music blog and not a personal journal. I presume you're here for music, and don't dilute myself that you, the reader, are all that interested in my personal life. I also claim to remain positive in reviewing music. That doesn't, however, mean that I lie with recommendations or exaggerate to show everything in a positive light. Sure, enthusiasm fades and every song I share might not be my favorite at that time, let alone months from then. I simply choose not to discuss music that I'm not particularly fond of. I've made no mistake in professing my distaste for xbxrx, and I've probably spoken out against Arctic Monkeys as well as a few others, but I don't pretend to like anything that I don't, and I don't take up much space with artists I have little or no use for.
This brings me to yesterday's lapse into personal territory. I've gotten more feedback (through comments and other communication) about Robot and Lily than any Bishop Allen post or even Joan of Arc related music (where I believe I have a decent following). So I question the few standards I've set for no one is awake and will disobey both aforementioned rules today. I've already written a lengthy bit of material that is more inwardly focused, and will now discuss something I have less than positive feelings about (though I have a feeling I will convince myself, through negative critique, of the opposite of what I believe now - and what I believe now is that this is an impossibly long parenthetical thought which finishes an admittedly poorly written paragraph).
I have a difficult time escaping my love of most music that shares any one of the several traits inherent to that of the now defunct Pele. Instrumental avant-jazz driven by frenetic yet melodic guitar, rolling bouncy bass and some of the best jazz drumming around. It's all right here. My overwhelming respect and devotion for this music has led me to discover many bands that I otherwise would never have had the distinct pleasure of hearing. This allegiance, as well as my collection-driven OCD, has also driven me to purchase as many pieces of work that Pele percussionist Jon Mueller (founder of Crouton records) has been a part of. I never seem to learn my lesson. Even when he re-teams with former members of Pele and Collections of Colonies of Bees (namely Jim Schoenecker), the pieces of music are drawn out synthesizer experimentations. My untrained (but not deaf) ear can rarely pick out any distinguishable percussion, save for extended drum rolls that act as a waving pulse of sound. I try and I try. I continue to believe that this is phenomenal music that is just above me. And maybe it is.
There are very few sections of any Pele song that leave an imprint in my brain such that they repeat for days, but while I am listening I couldn't be more content. The music I own and have listened to once on CDs like The Interview, Amalgam, Ears Only, Supershells, and the Crouton released collaboration between Mueller, Schoenecker, and Bhob Rainey are not so much testaments to patience (see: Sandcats) as they are insignificant. Maybe it's about the live presentation, but even then I couldn't imagine finding much, if any, enjoyment from the shrill sound of a headache incarnate.
Will I part with any of these CDs? Probably not. I know they represent something, and even though I'm not exactly sure what, I cling to the hope that this is something far above me. The musical experiments dangle in front of me a greater sense of being, a higher sense of enlightenment that truly talented musicians can achieve and create perfection, indecipherable to the uninformed. Jon Mueller may be a percussionist of Greek God proportions, gracefully presenting his powers on a select few albums that few will hear and fewer will own.
The doubt that this is true grows exponentially every day, along with my wish that Pele would return.
Try as I might, I can't let this be completely sour. I'm currently listening to Hat Melter's Unknown Album, a limited Crouton release, and I find it's inversion of cellos experimenting in place of synthesizers far more tolerable. More importantly is the compilation entitled Just Drums. As is completely inferable, it is a collection of drum solos (seventeen to be precise) that left me far more satisfied than anything else I've just referenced. At times it sounds like the percussionist is just warming up, or has no intent on "getting to" anything. At almost no time would any listener say, "Man, that cat can really cook." But at almost all times, the drum solos serve as perfect music to read, study, write or talk by. They can actually be listened to, sure, but they're much more effective as a source to drive thought and conversation; even the five minutes of stop-and-go by Jon Mueller.

Jon Mueller's "Pop"
from Just Drums: Drummer Compilation
(Currently available - along with most other Mueller-related releases - through Polyvinyl Records)

Bright Eyes' "Little Drummer Boy"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

you be just who you are.

I briefly wanted to share that I was thinking about my two kittens that I had to give up almost exactly one year ago. They were brother and sister and their names were Robot (short for Robot II: Electric Boogaloo, naturally) and Lily. They lived with me for many months from the day they turned six weeks old. They would play with each other with fierce vivacity and, seconds later, fall fast asleep in my hands. Lily would fall asleep on top of the back cushion of the couch on which I am currently sitting, and gradually slip in between the cushion and the back of the couch. I'd have to check before sitting down that she wasn't sleeping there, or I'd cruch her.
I'm sorry. I know this is far more personal and gag-worthy than no one is awake ever gets, but it's important to me and so were they. Below are Robot, Lily, Robot and Lily, and the origin of Lily's name.

Matt Pond PA's "Lily One"
& "Lily Two"
from Four Songs EP and Emblems

Math and Physics Club's "A Marshmallow World"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

this is not my tune, but it's mine to use.

Really, the first in Eric Metronome's weekly offering of one cover song for every week in 2006 should have been the one that he shared on September 20th. The entire argument being the lyric quoted as the title of this post. That said, let's backtrack.
Eric Metronome is from Columbus, Ohio. He used to be in a band called Tiara. He's legitimately "big" in Japan, and we are now within a month of the release of his eighth solo album. You Should Be Happy will be his first for a "real" label. That label is Sunken Treasure Records, which is also home to The Celebrity Pilots. Eric's new album, which has already started to become blog buzzworthy, will make 2006 an important year for him, and in pre-celebration, he brought US gifts. He's been recording a cover song every week this year. Covered artists have included Pedro The Lion, Spoon, M Ward, The Mountain Goats, Syd Barrett, Sufjan Stevens, The Promise Ring, Band of Horses, John Lennon, Pat Benetar, John Vanderslice and more. These songs have offered new ears a great chance to get to know Eric Metronome through songs they already know and, in all probability, love. The goal is that those won-over ears will communicate with their owners to pick up You Should Be Happy, which displays Eric's own splendid songs. As good as any of the aforementioned covers have been up to this point, "Call It A Day" is that much better. That said, let's come full circle.
Joanna Newsom has turned a lot of heads and built a steady following since 2004's The Milk-Eyed Mender. She was perhaps described best by Owen's Mike Kinsella in November of that year in an interview on WBWC. "She really makes me wanna throw myself off a bridge. She plays a harp and sings and she's got an incredible voice and it's kinda like simple but complex. It's pretty perfect."
About three weeks ago, Eric covered Joanna Newsom's "Sadie," a song which I've had in my head numerous times since my girlfriend first introduced Joanna's harp-n-sqwalk to me. The truth is that I've never enjoyed repeatedly failing to love a musician so much. It's that quality that I do thoroughly enjoy about Joanna Newsom, and I have every intention to believe that her next (epic) album, Ys will make a believe of me, and that her live show with a backing orchestra will seal the deal.
Eric Metronome, on the other hand, has already sealed the deal for me. And I imagine it won't take much for him to convince you too.

Eric Metronome's "Call It A Day"
& "Time To Destroy"
from You Should Be Happy

Eric Metronome's "Sadie"
Joanna Newsom's "Sadie"

Erlend Oye's "Last Christmas"

Monday, October 02, 2006

you'll become a resolution.

It has been quite a chuck of time since I've mentioned how fond I am of a band that my girlfriend introduced me to nearly two years ago. I tried to simply dismiss the lo-fi songs I heard under the simple pretense that she described them as her friend Jasen's band. I feel like an ass even admitting that. I didn't expect Page France to be so good. It was impossible that she or I could have guessed that they would get as much of the deserved attention as they have. The song that captured my interest was "A Dozen Dimes," and I've agreed not to host it as it's unreleased and apparently unpolished. But such is the appeal of Michael Nau's indie pop sensation Page France; their material is sweet and touching in any form, be it live, mastered and mixed recordings, or unfinished demos.
Daytrotter is currently making this evident with four songs recorded live in a session a couple months back. You can download the four recordings here, so you can have an additional version of "Chariot" to play on repeat.
Suicide Squeeze just re-released their sophomore album Hello, Dear Wind, which means that it can legitimately top just as many lists this year as it did last year. It also means that this is your second chance to pick up one of the most painfully beautiful collection of sincere pop gems that paint a brighter hue of blue to any sky and emit enough light to make any tear or smile twinkle.
My most sincere gratitude goes to Ashley and Jasen for both directly introducing me to Page France. Who will you thank?

Page France's "Air Pollution"
& "Rhythm"
from Come, I'm A Lion!

Page France's "Junkyard"
& "Bush"
from Hello, Dear Wind

Page France at Daytrotter.
Page France on MySpace.
Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw also play as The Broadway Hush.
You can purchase their albums or their rough draft EP's, Pear & Sister Pinecone through Fall Records.

Arcade Fire's "Jingle Bell Rock"
Neil Diamond's "Jingle Bell Rock"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

anything worth doing is worth getting hurt for.

For quite a while I've owned five albums by The Faint and have no lasting impression of any one of them. I may have not even listened to all of one or two or three of them. I don't dislike The Faint, but until yesterday I've found no real attraction to their original brand of electronic/dance/punk/rock. Today I made the decision to make a conscious effort to go back and listen to Media, Blank-Wave Arcade, Danse Macabre, and even Wet From Birth.
Why would someone so preoccupied with pop and indie-lectual artists make such forced plans to listen to the back catalog of such a dark, quasi-industrial, dance-punk band? There would be almost no reason were this individual not so obsessive compulsive and prone to being a completist with collections. I've always burst with pride about my complete collection of Polyvinyl releases, save for two initial cassettes, but my hubris about my owning more than half of Saddle Creek's catalog has come under recent self-criticism. A recent resurgence in Saddle Creek interest, caused by fantastic albums by Eric Bachmann and Now It's Overhead led me to finally pick up Saddle Creek 50, a two-disc collection of 22 songs by 11 artists, half of which were already available upon 50's release in early 2003.
Eleven unreleased songs finally sounded like a worthwhile ten dollar investment, and it still might be. I can't tell because I can't seem to get much further than the second track on the first disc.
The Faint's "Take Me to the Hospital" was already well-known by the time I got to it. It's been downloaded nearly 200,000 times from the band's MySpace page. But it was new to me early this weekend and has delighted me ever since.

The Faint's "Take Me to the Hospital"
from Saddle Creek

Snowden's "Christmas Time Is Here"