Monday, November 20, 2006


This time, it may not be an idle threat.
I seem to be losing no one is awake steam.
This is in no way a final decision. I just feel inclined to let the few faithful readers I have know.
Please keep the faith for a little while. I may turn around and find my drive again.
Your comments or advice would be helpful as I weigh out my possibilities.
Maybe January will bring a no one is awake version 2.0.
I'm sure we'll find out together.
If you leave me your name and e-mail, I'll try to let you know (if a lack of updates happen) when there is a resurgence of material to listen to and read.

For right now, I ask of you your patience and support, in any capacity.
For January, I ask that you spend money on Menomena's Friend and Foe and Of Montreal's Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? as I can tell you that they are positively spectacular.
Menomena is my Savior.

Bound Stem's "Andover"
& "Western Biographic"


Sunday, November 19, 2006

130bpm is not too slow.

I will most certainly be in Detroit's Magic Stick on March 14th to see Of Montreal play with Grand Buffet.
Oh boy, will I.
Of Montreal has two new songs from their January release, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, on MySpace.
Polyvinyl is now selling new Of Montreal vinyl. "Faberge Falls For Shuggie" and "She's A Rejecter" get some special pressings.
In addition, the sensational PV mailorder store is now selling The Late B.P. Helium music. Get going.
Just over two months before Hissing Fauna, and just under four until I finally see the squad play with my inexplicable favorite duo, Grand Buffet.

I've been having a busy and enjoyable weekend. I'll make it up here. You know I'm good for it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

just a you and me house.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

i'll get a real job.

If you are in the least bit creative and/or would have any idea how to go about making a fantastic shirt design, now is your time to shine. Threadless loves Owen. Or vice versa. Their contest is for the best shirt design inspired by Owen's quaint At Home With closing track, "One Of These Days." What's your motivation? Oh, very little. Just a grand prize of the following:

Autographed Owen "At Home With Owen" CD
Autographed Owen poster
The entire Polyvinyl Records catalog on CD! An incredible 80 CD package!
Owen / The City On Film limited edition silkscreened UK tour poster
Owen hoodie in the size of your choice
A gift pack of Owen's top 5 favorite CDs!
Super comfy "I Heart Threadless" tee in the size of your choice
1-year 12 Club subscription
$300 Threadless Gift Certificate
$1,500 in cash

Yeah, so it's hardly worth it, really. Someone let me know if you'd like to submit something under my name.
Get to work.

Owen's "One Of These Days"
from At Home With Owen

Eef Barzelay's "Joy To The World"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

the years have been unkind like a winter clementine.

Starting out by telling you to go to You Ain't No Picasso to hear Beck cover Of Montreal is a poor way to keep you here. So is advising you download Bishop Allen's November Sixth show at the Troubadour from Fabulist. A stronger start would be by coming right out and saying:
It's Bishop Allen EP Day!
After today there will be just two additional days where excitement reaches a fever pitch and Christian, Justin and the Bishop Allen gang unveil their EP for the most recent completed month. To refer you to You Ain't No Picasso for a second time, Matt confirms that plans are set for Bishop Allen to release their sophomore album in the Summer of 2007. I don't know that this will be an alternate universe version of their long-awaited Clementines. A bulk of the original and continuously re-worked Clementines songs have reared their pretty heads throughout the EP project. Today, Bishop Allen release October and are previewing the EP with the song "Clementines." This is the first time I've become overwrought with sadness that the EP project is near completion.
Bishop Allen is an exceptionally and important band.
I rough drafted that sentence with an additional "to me" at the end. It seemed tacked on, needless, and false.

Bishop Allen's "Clementines" from October

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

I just realized how I really have spent nearly a year with Bishop Allen during this project. Sure, every month I was excited to place an order. And every month I was thrilled to get a package in the mail. And every month I listened to four new songs and smiled. But now, upon the release of the tenth of twelve monthly EPs, I recognize the significance of this series both from the band's standpoint and more pertinently from my own.
Christmas is partially as special as it is because it goes hand in hand with the new year. It's a time for remembering. And at a time in my life, when I couldn't be looking more forward to my future, it's refreshing to look back quite fondly at the events that have lead me to where I am and where I'm going.
Maybe I subconsciously steered you elsewhere to set myself up to unexpectedly talk candidly and privately. Maybe I just like Bishop Allen.

Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime"
Tom McCrae's "Wonderful Christmastime"
Sleeping At Last's "Silver Bells"

Monday, November 13, 2006

all up in my space.

I can't seem to download songs from MySpace lately. I wonder if I'm the only one having such a problem. In any case, I'd really like it if you spent some time going to the following destinations, courtesy of MySpace.

Cale Parks has a new demo up that's really just as good as most of his Illuminated Manuscript material. I assume that you know how good his album is.
Baby Dayliner also has a new demo up called "Dolemite" as well as several videos. If you're not hip to Baby Dayliner already, he's like a disco Morrissey and a club Bowie giving birth to an urban kid with equal amounts attitude and ego. Dig it.
The One AM Radio will release This Too Will Pass at the end of January. He's posted the first song on his MySpace. January is going to be bloated with grand music.
Tenebre is an Californian instrumental outfit who like to have fun with their guitars the way I like. For fans of Owls and Don Caballero.
Massimo is another instrumental melodic guitar outfit. This time the origin is Tokyo and the Mike Kinsella influence is American Football.
Sharks and Seals are always a good listen, and are tight with no one is awake chums, Them, Roaringtwenties.
Them, Roaringtwenties are still fantastic, and be sure to seek out their members' solo stuff through their own accounts. Drawing Trees, Summerteeth and James Beesley are my main points of emphasis.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

you've got a lot of f***ing nerve.

Before New Sense (song links won't work) and Decibully was Camden, a fantastic Milwaukee secret that represents the rock roots of what would become Decibully. Recorded by Chris Walla (what isn't?), Camden's Reel Time Canvas is a downright spectacular album that could be openly welcome and well received if released today, but is now over six years old. Really, I can't find many flaws in the Decibully related projects and Camden's one full length and one EP are both absolutely tremendous releases that fully engross me. I simply cannot say much more than thank you to William Seidel and Ryan Weber as well as Eric Osterman and Brian Zimmerman. Find more at Camden's MySpace page, including several more downloads.

Camden's "Mike, Who Is Diary?"
& "Darling, Applaud"
from Reel Time Canvas

Camden's "Bread: Side A"
from Pieces of Places

John & Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
The Polyphonic Spree's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
Sense Field's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"
Snowden's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"

Saturday, November 11, 2006

harold just counted brush strokes.

We're going to see Stranger Than Fiction tonight.
More to come.

Spoon's "The Book I Write"
The Free Design's "Love You"
from Stranger Than Fiction

Friday, November 10, 2006

if i was a marching band.

Over the last several months, I have infrequently checked on the progress of the third Burn To Shine DVD. Today's labors were rewarded fruitfully, as the third in a series of DVDs that capture the last day in the life of a house is now available. Skip what I have to say and just go order it.
Burn To Shine's concept is quite simple. Take a house that is scheduled to be demolished and spend it's last day as a lived-in structure to file bands from that city in and out to play one song each, before the demolition commences. The first two installments took place in Washington D.C. and Chicago, and combined brief documentations of each house's history before showing several hometown artists set up and play. The films have a gritty, real feel from which they derive their power. As difficult as it is to grant the premise that the demolition of a house the viewer has never seen will have any impact, the finale of each piece is strikingly impacting.
The line-up of artists that gathered together in D.C. were Bob Mould, Medications, French Toast, Q And Not U, Weird War, Ted Leo, Garland of Hours, and The Evans. In Chicago, Wilco, Shellac, Tortoise, Freakwater, The Ponys, Red Eyed Legends, Tight Phantomz, The Lonesome Organist, and Pit er Pat brought the house down. In the latest installment, that took place on June 15, 2005, performances from Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, The Decemberists, The Thermals, The Gossip, Mirah, Quasi, Lifesavas, The Planet The, Tom Heinl, and The Ready were the last hurrahs for a home in Portland, OR.
I highly recommend seeing these DVDs at some point. As I said, they're surprisingly affecting. It was the performance by Jeremy Jacobsen (Lonesome Organist) that took me most by surprise. Jacobsen attaches himself to an impressive amount of instruments, and plays them all quite well. His energy must be off the charts to keep this up for an entire set.
Here are two examples of Lonesome Organist's unique style from 2003's Forms and Follies which was accompanied by a thick flipbook (not unlike the unique 2004 debut album from Menomena).

Lonesome Organist's "The Moped"
& "One of Me"
from Forms and Follies

PAS/CAL's "Little Red Radio"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

sink into oblivion.

As the blog buzz dies down and the number of corporate magazine articles incriminating blogs for killing bands, I find myself finally delving into Cold War Kids. You can read up on the Kids just about anywhere, and as my week winds down, I need the weekend more and more.
Tonight is a perfect night for eye-resting and Cass McCombs albums.
Well. Could I have interested you any less in Cold War Kids?
Let them do the work. They've got a new free downloadable EP at their website.

Cold War Kids' "We Used To Vacation"
& "Hospital Beds"
from Robbers & Cowards

Steve Martin's "Five Wishes For Christmas"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

donde nunca jamas nadie haya ido.

Draining days lead me to music with some mystic quality. Luckily for me, I came to Cafe Tacuba today. The outfit's 2003 Cuatro Caminos was called "the Rock En Espanol Kid A" by Alternative Press; an album that "fans of intelligent, forward-thinking music in any language won't want to miss."

Cafe Tacuba's "Cero y Uno"
& "Camino y Vereda"
from Cuatro Caminos

Dan Wilson's "What A Year For A New Year"
Phantom Planet's "Winter Wonderland"
Ron Sexsmith's "Maybe This Christmas"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

will nature make a man of me yet?

Yesterday's tribute to the discography of Rainer Maria was the closest no one is awake has come to a Tuesday Spotlight in quite a while. So I refer you to the plethora of songs immediately below this for that reach back to the days of the Spotlight. I won't rule them out for the future.
I could cite today as the start of a new feature, but I know it will be difficult to continue with any regularity.
Today's focus is one of the most popular songs in The Smiths' catalog. Released as Johnny Marr and Morrissey's second single just over twenty-three years ago, "This Charming Man" serves as a quintessential Smiths song, representative of Marr's jangly guitar, and Morrissey's characteristic lyrics and vocals. "This Charming Man" is a Smiths mainstay, and any fan knows it by heart. Fortunately, some of the most influenced fans have become legitimate musicians themselves and so we have many additions to my much loved musical world of cover songs.
I won't pull any punches. This is just an innovative way for me to feature Stars' rendition of the song for a second time. This song was among the first I shared when I started no one is awake just over seven months ago. It would be nearly impossible for me to enjoy going back to Stars' Nightsongs any more than I do, when I get the urge to break it out.
What else can you do but play this song through over and over, covered in vastly different ways by a few influential groups?

The Smiths' "This Charming Man" from The Smiths
Stars' "This Charming Man" from Nightsongs LP
Braid's "This Charming Man" from Movie Music
Death Cab For Cutie's "This Charming Man" from You Can Play These Songs With Chords

Peggy Lee's "Happy Holiday"
Clearly & The Mainstream's "Christmas Is Coming"

Monday, November 06, 2006

now there's just a piece of atmosphere.

Timing couldn't have been more coincidentally unfortunate in my delving back into Kyle Fischer's solo album. Fischer was one third of the long-running Rainer Maria. That's right. Was. The trio decided to hang it up after a few final shows at the close of 2006. After six LPs, several EPs/singles, and a live album standing as a testament to their powerful show, Rainer Maria made an impact on the world of music they set out to join in 1995.
Pitchfork writer Amy Phillips owns up to always admiring Caithlin De Marrais, and enjoying every Rainer Maria album, even though Pitchfork hasn't been too kind to the group in recent years. I feel that I can internally relate. I've modestly enjoyed Rainer Maria since turned on to them by Jeff, but I've never overdosed on any one album or been more than a passing fan - a passing fan with every release. I'm sorry, Rainer Maria. You will be missed and appreciated posthumously. Oh, and thank you most of all for "Long Knives." It's admittedly been my favorite since it first made my ears ring from over-playing it.
I almost hate to say that both Kyle and Caithlin have more dynamite solo material in them, and it would be a shame if we didn't hear it. I don't mind saying, however, that I hope for parallels between Rainer Maria and Rilo Kiley to be made. I can only hope that Caithlin has a Rabbit Fur Coat in her.

Rainer Maria's "Rain Yr Hand"
from Rainer Maria

Rainer Maria's "Tinfoil"
from Past Worn Searching

Rainer Maria's "Breakfast of Champions"
from Look Now Look Again

Rainer Maria's "Atlantic"
from Atlantic EP

Rainer Maria's "Artificial Light"
from A Better Version Of Me

Rainer Maria's "Ears Ring"
from Long Knives Drawn

Rainer Maria's "Long Knives" (Live)
from Anyone In Love With You (Already Knows)

Rainer Maria's "Catastrophe"
from Catastrophe Keeps Us Together

A: Harry Connick, Jr's "(It Must Have Been Ol') Santa Claus"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

what comes is better than what came before.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November. The Gunpowder Treason and plot; I know no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.

Cat Power's "I Found A Reason" (The Velvet Underground)
from The Covers Record

I had forgotten how beautiful Kyle Fischer's Open Ground is. Fischer is the guitarist for Rainer Maria. RM's Caithlen De Marrais offers her sweet logical vocals to a few songs, Mike Kinsella lends his drumming skills, and cellist Matt Turner leaves a solid impression. Open Ground is about five years old, and Fischer's second, Black Milk may have been scrapped, but that doesn't mean a thing in relation to this album's soft, simple beauty.

Kyle Fischer's "Should Your Way Ever Need Finding Back"
& "Christopher Isherwood"
from Open Ground

Cap'n Jazz's "Winter Wonderland"

i almost touched your blouse.

I'd be more reliable if I had let you know that PBS's Austin City Limits has Sufjan Stevens and Calexico on, prior to the day after it airs. Hopefully, you knew and didn't miss it. I was watching Borat in a see of loud guffaws, and had the episode taped. I'm not in the TiVo generation yet. In any case, you can see a few clips on PBS's website.
More later.

Sufjan Stevens' "Casimir Pulaski Day"
from Come On Feel The Illinoise!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

i'm on your side and we're always right. it's perfect and worth it.

Sometimes, an album can be on my "to buy" list for so long that it becomes too built up, too epic, or too old for me to ever actually buy it. Luckily, not much has changed in the last six or so years. Back in the days of my "Today's Song" Angelfire website. Well, a lot has. I know have an absolute appreciation for The American Analog Set. At that time, upon my first listen, my tastes were all over the place and I think I was excited for "Punk As Fuck" to sound punk as fuck. It was the irony that drew me in then, but the song itself was enough to help shape my ideals of mellow melodic synth pop.
The American Analog Set's Know By Heart is finally a happy member of my growing record collection, and his home couldn't be more welcoming. It's nice to have another album in such close alphabetic proximity to The Album Leaf and, well, my other American Analog Set albums.
This stopped being interesting about a hundred words ago. AmAnSet has been around for the better part of a decade, and their most recent release, Set Free, on Arts & Crafts is damn fine. You can currently download an album's worth of Set Free demos from American Analog Set's website. These are definitely worthwhile extras from an appropriate soundtrack, like most AmAnSet albums, for a drive on a cool Fall day.
Oh hell. What doesn't make for a good listen, driving on a cool Fall day?

American Analog Set's "Punk As Fuck"
from Know By Heart

BONUS: American Analog Set's "Born On The Cusp"
from Set Free

American Analog Set's "Desert Eagle (All I Want For Christmas mix)"

NOTE: I am starting to get a better feel for the new EZArchive. But I know that older links are not working, and will continue not to work until I get a surge of energy and free time to change them individually.
Oh hey. What're you listening to a lot of lately?

nobody can see us.

I did lag behind on the first wave of blog buzz surrounding I'm From Barcelona. I didn't miss it. I watched the "We're From Barcelona" video several times and sang and swayed along. Emanuel Lundgren wrote an album full of overwhelmingly fun pop songs and gathered nearly thirty of his closest friends to flesh the tunes out for Let Me Introduce My Friends, a positively positive experience of clap-reinforced, dance-inspiring, sing-along infectiousness. Where The Polyphonic Spree's size is often quite apparent, I'm From Barcelona could very well be a solo album. The songs derive their power through their simplicity, but the knowledge that almost every sound in a song is created by a unique individual gives the album a sense of beautiful unity.
This is the kind of album that is too good for you to listen to too frequently, but every time you brush the dust off of it, you're affected the same way as the first time you listened. Smiles ensue.
Shopping around online for an import won't set you back a regrettable amount, but Lundgren just announced that Mute will release the album in North America in early 2007.

I'm From Barcelona's "We're From Barcelona"
& "Treehouse"
from Let Me Introduce My Friends

Barenaked Ladies' "Green Christmas"
Barenaked Ladies' "Deck The Stills"

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

wearing the face of concern with your free medications.

If you take into consideration my adamant adoration for both catchy pop music and all things uncomfortable and/or awkward, it should come to no surprise that I was taken just by judging The Awkward Stage by the cover of their debut, Heaven Is For Easy Girls. Headgear (not the sporting kind; the pubescent kind), a sex doll and a youthful, fun looking bunch of musicians. Noticing that a female band member eerily reminded me of the main character from the McGee & Me videos of my cult-led upbringing clinched this album as having a fighting chance before the first note.
The first note came and went. The melodies, hooks, over-the-top pop, pianos, choirs, and guitars came and stayed. Though it's been years since I've dusted off my Travis CD's, I find that if I can note specific similarities to those "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" saps, I enjoy them all the more. My dangling preposition, them, referring to, in this case, The Awkward Stage.
Skeptics beware. Simplicity is an attribute worthy of achieving.

The Awkward Stage's "The Morons Are Winning"
& "We're Going For A Ride"
from Heaven Is For Easy Girls

Ferrante and Teicher/Les Baxter's "Sleigh Ride/Santa Claus Party"
Leon Redbone & Zooey Deschanel's "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song"
Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas"