Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday Music Definitions: West

because, for nineteen of my twenty years on this earth, I've lived on the West coast of the United States, specifically California's beautiful Bay Area.

Andrew Bird - Way Out West [mp3]
from the live album Fingerlings

Billie Holiday - East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon) [mp3]

Pavement - Western Homes [mp3]

Louis Armstrong - West End Blues [mp3]

Coconut Records - West Coast [mp3]
I love everything Jason Schwartzman has ever done.


She & Him - Sweet Darlin' [mp3]
as much as I love Zooey Deschanel, I really don't like Volume One by She & Him. I really like her singing voice but hate her songwriting. the only songs that I like from the album are the covers she does, and the one song she co-writes, with, you guessed it, Jason Schwartzman.

The Strokes Post #174

this is absolutely priceless:


on the sanctity of physical music.

[this is in response to an anonymous comment left on this post]

in this post, I'll attempt to properly explain why I hate digital music so much, and why physical albums mean so much to me.

here goes.

everyone who's ever stepped foot in my bedroom is always taken aback by the stacks of vinyl, the shelves and drawers of cds (there is more music in my dresser than clothing haha), and the walls of posters. oh, and my closet lined with set lists. when I have my own house, I want to cover my walls with my receipts from record stores and my ticket stubs, both of which I always save.

it's kind of obvious that I'm a music enthusiast.

what's not obvious to most people is that it wasn't always this way. I always get really jealous when people talk about growing up listening to Zeppelin or The Beatles, because I didn't.

I went to a private Islamic school when I was a kid. my parents are super conservative, and they didn't believe in pop music. my older brother, always the first one to rebel, exposed me first to pop-punk like Green Day and Blink 182 and later into rappers like Tupac and Biggie. but soon, I wanted to explore my own musical terrain.

when I was 15, I started listening to alternative radio, and I would make mix tapes by recording tunes off the radio. then I discovered limewire, and started to burn entire cds.

this is how I came across Is This It. it's because I really liked the Franz Ferdinand single ("Take Me Out") that would always play on the radio, and wikipedia directed me to The Strokes, a similar band.

I'd also borrow loads of cds from the public library, and burn my favourites (like XO by Elliott Smith)

but anyway, I always felt guilty for downloading music, but I knew I'd get in trouble if my parents found out what I was listening to. I swore to myself that one day, I'd buy all of the things that I had downloaded.

so I compromised. I started buying as many cds as I could afford and hiding them, kind of like Lane from Gilmore Girls. I'd listen to my cds-- both burned and bought-- under my covers at night, and these albums spoke to me like nothing else could. they gave me hope that one day I could be free. I felt the same thrill reading the liner notes as I did when I read Ralph Waldo Emerson or Betty Friedan. it was nothing short of catharsis. I knew that my brain and my music would pave my path to independence. I had to break free of the mold that my parents wanted me to fill. Arab women are expected to get married and raise nice families. that always disgusted me beyond reason. I wanted something different.

when I went off to college (on a full scholarship to UC Berkeley), I raided record stores like nobody's business, mostly buying things from the clearance cd racks. I had a part time job, and every month, I'd go down and spend most of my paycheck at Amoeba, only saving money for concerts.

and then I started collecting vinyl, which made fulfilling the promise I made to myself (of purchasing the albums which I had illegally downloaded years prior) a lot easier. a lot of the vinyl that I've bought are records that I burned and really loved back in high school, albums that I still listen to. going to these record stores also exposed me to tons of cool new music, and at a dollar a pop, I could afford to buy 20 albums a week. it was pretty great.

I still download music illegally, mostly leaked albums, but I only do so to sample albums. albums that I don't like, I delete, and the ones that I do like, I buy (usually, in the more expensive vinyl format), or I put on a list to buy later.

at this point, my parents know about my music addiction. I'd slowly bring home some records each time I'd visit them from college, but now, everything's out in the open. it still bothers them, but we're all adults now, and I don't have to sneak out to go to concerts, like I did when I was 16. for the most part, they've accepted me as I am.

when people talk about how great itunes is, and how inconvenient and obsolete physical albums have become, I get really annoyed. for me, physical music was always a luxury, one that I had to hide for years.

do you remember that scene in the beginning of Almost Famous, where Anita sneaks the Simon and Garfunkel record into the house, and a few scenes later, William's thrill at discovering the vinyl that she left him? those two scenes affect me the most from the whole movie.

a lot of us have parents who not only think that people like Joe Strummer or David Bowie are worthless, and will never appreciate the art that they left behind, but like to tell their kids that these people will burn in hell, alongside people who idolize them.

and they have kids like me, who love music more than anything in the world, and who couldn't give a damn about a G-d who would punish people for wanting to appreciate good music, and who tell their parents that they would much rather spend an eternity in damnation with these "wicked" people than a minute in paradise with religious bigots like themselves.

and these kids write stupid blogs about music because music is their favourite thing in the world and they have pipe dreams of being music journalists which are crushed when they realize how hard it is to get paid for your writing. so they decide to keep it as a hobby instead, knowing that they at least have the power to share their favourite music with some strangers who might just understand their obsession with music.

but whatever. I don't think I've ever told anyone all of that. that's about as much information about my personal life as you're ever gonna get.

I'll end this post with the ever-so-famous scene from Almost Famous, when they sing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" on the bus.

I always get shivers (the good kind) when Penny Lane says "you are home". that sums up everything about me perfectly.

I think Almost Famous will always be my favourite movie. and In Transit, of course.

band of the week: Stereophonics

I don't know everything there is to know about this band, and I won't pretend that I do. I only have one of their six albums (their second), Performance and Cocktails--a cd I picked up from the clearance racks at a record store because I loved the album art.

In a twisted way, it reminded me of this famous photograph.

I subsequently fell in love with the cd, but never went and looked for more of the band's music. This is most unlike me, I think it was midterms to blame.

I do know that they have created one of the best covers that I have ever heard, which you can download below. A main reason that the cover is so good is because this band is a dead-on Welsh version of Foo Fighters. The steady drum beats; the guitar fueled, messy but moving songs delivered in an angst filled scream that renders both of you breathless. Oh, and the occasional acoustics of course.

As I dug around the internet for more info on this band, I realized that they sing the following song:

Stereophonics - Maybe Tomorrow

! I never knew that! I totally love that song. And this is why I love blogging about music. Because it helps ME discover awesome new things about bands I love. I think it's about time I delved a bit into the band's other five albums.

visit the band on MYSPACE

Stereophonics - Best of You (Foo Fighters cover) [mp3]

PS I'm really proud of myself. I've been consolidating my music collection and deleting things I don't listen to anymore. Over the last couple of weeks, I've gone from 69.5 GB to 38.46. I also have a stack of vinyl and cds I've gotta sell or give away. It makes shuffle a lot more pleasant and my computer is running a lot faster too. As Michael Scott would say, Win, Win, Win.

The Strokes Post #173

just, wow. this is freaking amazing.

new video: Free Energy (eponymous song!)

haha I love that they named their debut single after the band, which also has a killer name.

click HERE to watch the video

great song, I'm still on the look out for the 7 inchhhh.

pst, I still like the following song (their first) better:

Free Energy - Dream City [mp3]

keep your eyes peeled for this band, they'll go far.

visit them on MYSPACE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Julian Casablancas photo + quote slideshow

this is why I love NME.

On pop music: "Why does everything that has to be big and popular suck? I got a problem with that, so I'm trying to do something about it." (Rolling Stone, 2003).

Radiohead forsake the art of creating albums

I just found out that Radiohead has made the decision to only release singles and EPs from now on.

This makes me incredibly sad. I am a firm believer in records, not individual songs. One of the reasons that I cannot stand itunes is that people now only purchase the songs that they like, and therefore do not get the full experience intended behind the music. It's like looking at only a portion of a photograph or watching 20 minutes of a film or eating the crust of the pie. It's incomplete, and although it might keep you occupied for a moment, it doesn't leave any lingering satisfaction.

And it seems that this has affected the way that some musicians view their craft.

Thom Yorke says it'll kill the band to release another LP. Well how convenient, some of the industry's most creative people have gotten sick of their jobs. I guess creating music for crap films like Twilight is more appealing than the purity of art.

Don't get me wrong, I think Radiohead have done really great work so far. Kid A, Ok Computer and In Rainbows are all amazing albums. I just hate this decision. For me, I'd rather they didn't release anything anymore rather than only work on singles. For me, singles and EPs are for bands in their early stages, who are experimenting with their sound and trying to get gigs booked. They're also nice to satiate the fans' hunger for new tunes between albums. But they're never as good as the proper full length efforts.

But what do I know?

This will probably be the last time that I ever post about Radiohead. I'll just keep myself occupied with their old albums. I'm not interested with what they have to offer anymore.

Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees (acoustic) [mp3]

The Strokes Post #172

I just watched this for the first time a few days ago:

pretty sweet footage.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I am crying tears of joy.

read the entire interview with Julian from NME here

move over, Dead Weather, Them Crooked Vultures are here

I was really excited when I first heard about this new supergroup, consisting of Josh Homme on guitar and vox, John Paul Jones on bass guitar and Dave Grohl on drums.

according to Austin Scaggs, they just played their first gig.

yeah, it's gonna be epic. have I ever mentioned how much I love the concept of a supergroup? take a bunch of super talented musicians and force 'em to make a record together? sounds like a good plan to me.

an album and tour is forthcoming. I'll keep you updated.

Julian Casablancas talks about forthcoming tour

via NME

"I'm in the process of figuring out what kind of show it's going to be," he said. "It's like anything, it's starting out probably a little bit too ambitious so we've got to figure out what we can and can't do and that will dictate how much touring happens. Ideally, I'm going to try to put on some over-the-top, amazing, Disney shows.

"Not Disney, but you know how they have some amazing rides where you feel like you're in a weird world, like the Epcot Centre or something? I'm not thinking of the big Goofy costume but I was thinking of how those rides make you feel with lots of set changes and stuff. But that might not happen and we'll do straight shows, I haven't quite figured it out yet, it's the next thing to do."

(of course they put the one thing that he takes back [disney] in the header...)

The Strokes Post #171

I'm gonna post an entire bootleg today, because it's too good to split up.

The Strokes - Live, Santiago (Chile, 2005) [zip file, entire concert]

1. Last Nite
2. Soma
3. Under Control + A Salty Salute (Guided By Voices cover)
4. The Modern Age
5. 12:51
6. Juicebox
7. Automatic Stop
8. Someday
9. Hard to Explain
10. Is This It
11. Heart in a Cage
12. You Only Live Once
13. I Can't Win
14. Alone Together
15. Take It Or Leave It
16. Trying Your Luck
17. Hawaii
18. Reptilia

my only complaint is that they didn't do NYC Cops, but the set list is great. I especially love that they played "Trying Your Luck" (probably my favourite Strokes song...or "Is This It"...or "Under Control"...or "Alone Together"...or "I Can't Win"...oh no I've gotta stop before I list all of their songs)

as usual, Jules tells the crowd that they're great (he even sort of requests "encore" cheering hahaha!)

the sound quality is fantastic, and the vocals are absolutely perfect. I love this bootleg.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Moz says: don't buy reissues

apparently, the forthcoming November reissue of Morrissey's singles was done without his approval, and he will not be receiving royalties. he therefore asks that you don't buy them. read more on NME

good going, Moz. I always hated reissues anyway.

Morrissey - The Youngest was the Most Loved [mp3]

The Dodos to play Rickshaw Stop

I should have posted about this when I first heard about it but I am spacey and stuff. In collaboration with Outside Lands, they'll play a nice full set at the greatness that is SF's Rickshaw on Wednesday August 26th. The gig is bound to be intimate, so catch it while you can, before the band gets too big and you're stuck seeing them at Oracle (ew.)

go to Rickshaw Stop's WEBSITE for tickets and visit the Dodos on MYSPACE

The Dodos - Red and Purple (live, Austin) [mp3]

The Strokes Post #170

I was going through my external hard drive yesterday and found loads of Strokes goodies. the following interview, I'd never seen on youtube, so I uploaded it. enjoy!


I never get bored of watching that performance. sososososososososososo good.

Monday, August 10, 2009

calling all UK readers

hey guys,

I was wondering if one of you could do me a huge favour. according to this tomorrow's issue of NME has an interview with Julian Casablancas. I really want it. correction: I need it.

when they came out with the commemorative issue of The Strokes a few months back, I looked EVERYWHERE for it, but couldn't find it. nobody stocks NME. Fog City News used to but they don't anymore. I gave up because I was so swamped with school work but I never thought of using this blog to get my hands on one.

anyhow, all I need is for one of my UK readers to pick up the issue and send it to me (I'll email you my mailing address). I'll reimburse you in full (including shipping charges) via paypal.

any takers? I'd be really grateful. it's no secret how I feel about The Strokes.

Arctic Monkeys: live!

"all that's left is the proof that love's not only blind but deaf "

ah, bootlegs, how I love thee.

Arctic Monkeys - Black Sessions, France (2006) [zip]
sample: Arctic Monkeys - Mardy Bum (live, Black Sessions) [mp3]

Arctic Monkeys - Live at The London Astoria (2007) [zip]
sample: Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before the Lights Come On (live, London Astoria) [mp3]

Arctic Monkeys - Live at Glastonbury (2007) [zip, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
sample: Arctic Monkeys - Balaclava (live, Glastonbury) [mp3]
they do "Temptation Greets You Like a Naughty Friend" for the first time. my oh my how I love good b-sides. hear that crowd go.

Arctic Monkeys - live album (2006?) [zip]
sample: Arctic Monkeys - The View from the Afternoon [mp3]
this one is mislabeled as "Apollo Theatre" but that concert happened in 2007 with FWN songs. I don't know the origin of the bootleg, but all of the songs are from their debut, so it's probably from 2006.

I hope you enjoy em, K.


The Last Shadow Puppets cover The Beatles

why doesn't anyone ever tell me about these things? I can't spend all of my time scouring youtube!

they look A LOT like The Beatles here.

The Strokes Post #169

may I present, my new desktop background:

I've fantasized about Jules with a guitar for years.

Radiohead - Harry Patch (In Memory of)

am I the only one who doesn't like this song?

I'm sorry Thom. try again.