Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow Days

I feel a bit guilty distracting myself from the research article that I should be writing, but the moment's just too perfect. The first snow of the year is one of my all-time favorite sights, so I'll suffice to say I'm pretty excited right now.

I just got ahold of Real Estate's first full-length release, and it's meandering soundscapes are, honestly, a great soundtrack to any whether - snow, sun, rain - I can see it all working. One of my favorite tracks from the album just happened to be the final cut on the album, "Snow Days" - I've been humming it for a few days now.

Okay, intermission over. Check out the song and watch the snow fall. I'll be busy looking up citations on schema theories.

Real Estate - Snow Days

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lindstrom - Little Drummer Boy

For me, Thanksgiving officially marks the beginning of the time that it is socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music. That gives a full month for you to get all of your holiday pep in, without giving someone like me the desire to land one square on your jaw. After that, it's icy-cold post-rock until March, when you're allowed to listen to music with words again. But I digress.

Lindstrom must have been able to read my mind, because on Friday he posted a teaser of his latest piece: a 5-minute edit of his 40 minute long rendition of "Little Drummer Boy." I had heard about this a few weeks ago and was quite intrigued. He's no stranger to marathon music: his last album, Where You Go I Go Too (Smalltown Supersound) was sixty minutes long and had three tracks. It was an absolutely fantastic blend of minimal techno, space disco, and all kinds of other pseudo-dance jbberjabber terms that make other people want to punch me in the face for using them (and rightfully so). In short: I was interested to see what he could do with the song.

I should have seen this coming. Lindstrom foregoes the nuance of his previous work and pounds a MIDI-esque marching snare into your skull, while the major-key melody we all know gets a cheesy church chior treatment. And that's about it. There's some other space-synthy noises going on, but they don't really do much to remedy the fact that he chose to use a synth handbell choir for the song's coda. Now that I think about it, I don't really know what I was expecting that made me so excited.

I'm still holding out, though, because Where You Go I Go Too was that good - and because his upcoming album with Christabelle, Real Life Is No Cool (which will come with the full-length take of "Little Drummer Boy" as bonus material) is looking pretty promising. Maybe the genius lies in the other 35 minutes. Or maybe I'll just have to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and move on.

Check it out, if you're still interested:
Lindstrom - "Little Drummer Boy (Edit)"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beach House - "Norway

Everyone has been ecstatic about the online release of "Norway" the first single from Beach House's Sub Pop debut Teen Dream. The album is due out on January 26th in the US. Although the hype machine is already running at full tilt, practically ensuring Teen Dream will be well received, I'm not convinced that this song is anything to write home about - certainly not the drastic shift in sound that many internet tastemakers are declaring it to be. Perhaps I'm just upset that it doesn't quite deliver on the promise of the "Used to Be" 7" (in my opinion, their strongest work yet - though "Saltwater" is a very close second). That said, it's still a good Beach House song, slightly more dramatic & theatric (I'm quite partial to those accentual cymbal crashes) than anything off of 2008's Devotion. Yet all of the elements of every other Beach House song remain: organ, heavily-reverbed chiming guitars, drum machine, and Victoria Legrand's voice. It's definitely worth a few listens though, maybe it'll grow on me when I hear it in the context of the album.

mp3: Beach House - Norway

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adam Arcuragi's "Death Gospel"

Philly-based singer-songwriter-poet-playwright Adam Arcuragi released his sophomore album, I Am Become Joy (High Two Records) in September, but you probably wouldn't know that by listening to it - his music is definitely aiming for something timeless (as he explains here). The songs focus on things that are part of our human experience: death, faith, community - things that you wouldn't exactly call a "flash in the pan."

While you're right when you think that this could quickly turn self-indulgent, Arcuragi has a knack for insight and narrative that invites the listener in, because after all, we're all in this together. The sense of community and celebration is heightened with choruses of friends, (Arcuragi spent his formative years in a Southern Protestant church chior), horn arrangements, and of course, Arcuragi's own full, joyous voice and hearty strumming. I Am Become Joy's lead single, "She Comes to Me," as well as their take of "Bottom of the River" on La Blogotheque's Take Away Show are prime examples of Arcuragi and his band of merrymakers hitting all the right buttons.

Adam Arcuragi - She Comes To Me

Also check out Adam Arcuragi on MySpace.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So instead of a post where I say a bunch of stupid things about some band, I'm just gonna post some music videos that I've come across recently that I really like.

To get us started, we've got a rather long one, it's Thin Lizzy playing "The Cowboy Song" directly into "The Boys are Back in Town" live in Sydney,Australia in 1978. The transition between songs is great in so many ways.

Next is another really long video, but I really suggest at least watching the first song. It's Part One of concert that Neil Young did for BBC in 1971, you can watch the rest of it on YouTube as well. He starts it off with "Out on The Weekend", WOO.

Next onto some newer things, here is a video of NJ's own Real Estate who's debut, self-titled, full-length is out next Tuesday, November 17th on Woodsist. This video was shot by Chocolate Bobka in the middle of the summer at an outdoor show and the sun is setting as the band plays. So it's pretty much the opposite of the weather these days. Anyway, they play a reverb-drenched version "Green River" right into "Suburban Beverage" (yea it's another long one).

This isn't really that new either but I still think it's worth a look. It's a beautiful fan video that I came across the other day for Deerhunter's "White Ink" from their album, Cryptograms. The song is just a mellow ambient drone but the visual is really captivating.

I'm gonna change gears a little bit, here's blues musician Furry Lewis performing "When I Lay My Burden Down" in a very singular style. Via Naturalismo.

Finally, we have Santo & Johnny performing their 1959 hit and one of my favorite songs "Sleep Walk". It's great to be able to see the steel guitar playing.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Too Bad It's November.

One thing that I find confusing is how the music that is declared the soundtrack to a season (most recent example that comes to mind: glo-fi/shitgaze/whatever this past summer) gets released at the right time to listen to it. Sure, it makes sense to the listener - it's summer and I'm listening to music that sounds like summer. The thing is that that music was written who knows how long ago in who knows what season. My point here is that there has been a salvo of new songs just released now - right in time for Thanksgiving - that would seem perfect for a summer dance party. In a way, maybe that makes more sense. You don't care about this, you just want the music. And I will provide!

First up: Air France's new remix of Saint Etienne's "Spring." This song is available as a bonus track on the reissue of Saint Etienne's 1991 album Foxbase Alpha. It's pure Balearic goodness and if you've read this blog before, you know that's all I need to give a track a thubs up. Check it:

Next: The first single from Lindstrøm's new project, a collaborative album with the singer Christabelle. The album will be out January 19 on Smalltown Supersound. It will be called Real Life is No Cool and that is awesome. The song, "Baby I Can't Stop" is sure to bring out the diva in you, either in album form (which reminds me of MJ's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Titular coincidence? Discuss.) or in the form of the Aeroplane Remix (pitch bent synths never fail). Both are available over at Lindstrøm's MySpace.

Finally: "Love Cry," the first single from Four Tet's forthcoming album, There Is Love In You (January 26 on Domino). Four Tet has been a truly awesome laptop-wielding experimental producer of the past decade, and it doesn't look like he's stopping anytime soon. Perhaps one of his most accessible, four-on-the floor type songs, "Love Cry" is undeniably catchy and undeniably groovy, but (thankfully) undeniably Four Tet. Again, check it out at his Myspace.

In conclusion: invite me to the beach-themed party you will inevitably have this month.

Monday, October 26, 2009


In 1974, Detroit based proto-punk band Death began recording an album for Columbia Records. When Columbia insisted that Death change their name, the band refused and the album that they had recorded was never released. Prior to this past February, only 500 copies of Death's only self-released 45 were in existence. However Drag City unearthed the recordings originally intended for release on Columbia Records. The songs strongly echo their influences: the Stooges and MC5 in particular. But these recordings still sound remarkably fresh and Death was certainly ahead of their time, sounding at times like a slightly heavier Thin Lizzy and at other times predicting the blistering pace of punk rock. "Keep On Knocking" would not sound too out of place on classic rock radio. It has taken 35 years for the world to finally take notice of Death but the band has even begun to tour in support of their record.