Friday, October 2, 2009

The Strokes Post #222

thanks a million, klein! I've made a youtube video to ease the sharing of this gem.

so, Jules sounds great, he even says what his favourite Strokes album is--Room on Fire (!) I love what he says about Is This It =)

and mentions three of his favourite Strokes songs--Red Light, I'll Try Anything Once and You Only Live Once...the last one, I think is his absolute favourite. he started saying something about it being super profound, and then stopped himself short, knowing the repercussions which inevitably would have ensued if he had continued.

all brilliant, of course, any song he would have chosen would have been a great choice BECAUSE THE STROKES ARE INCAPABLE OF WRITING A BAD SONG.

I love when he talks about not listening to his own music...he is so humble, and it really comes through in this interview.

The Strokes Post #221

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Classic Track Thursday

I've written on this blog before that I really don't like discussing Elliott Smith with music lovers, because so many people seem to hate his music, and I can't deal with that.

but I really do love Good Will Hunting, and "Miss Misery" will always be a special song, because a. it is gorgeous and b. it helped Elliott gain the recognition which he deserved.

so put on some headphones, and take a trip down memory lane back to 1997--or the last time you watched the film.

Elliott Smith - Miss Misery [mp3]


Elliott Smith - Miss Misery (early version) [mp3]
from New Moon, the posthumous album from Elliott, and the source art of one of my most-worn shirts.

PS "Between the Bars" ALWAYS makes me cry, especially during the film.

record review: Putumayo Presents: Espana

World music.
Sometimes, the phrase makes me gag, especially when I think of that prick from High Fidelity.

Just the thought of some music from another country playing softly in the background brings up really disturbing images of dinner parties and other particulars of a respectable lifestyle I want nothing to do with.

But Putumayo changes all of that. I became acquainted with Putumayo via my public library’s offerings of compilations called “music from the tea lands” and “music from the chocolate lands”. Basically, Putumayo World Music is a label which is based in NY and likes to bring together lots of great music from all around the world, with one uniting theme. This time around, they have released a collection of songs exclusively from Spain, and the results are fantastic.

Instead of slipping into some non-descript coffeehouse soundtrack, the collection is fresh and vibrant, and ranges from extraordinarily danceable (the opening track) to more mellow music that is a nice reminder of how even The Clash liked reggae.

Put on this album and don’t worry about being pretentious. It is sure to please a wide audience, as the music comes from such a diverse group of artists.

The album was released on Tuesday, and here’s a fun fact: a portion of the proceeds of this album go to the Spanish branch of OXFAM, so go ahead, indulge yourself with a solid collection that will surely deviate from the ever so glamourous indie rock n roll.


here's the first track, I really quite love it and find myself moving involuntarily to the addictive beats (as well as most of the songs on here):

Peret - Para Poder Olvidarla [mp3]

buy the album on AMAZON

visit Putumayo World Music on the interwebs

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Magnet: over/underrated Ramones songs

read the article HERE

most overrated:
1. We’re a Happy Family
2. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
3. Rock N Roll High School
4. I Wanna Be Sedated
5. Pinhead

most underrated:
1. Listen to My Heart
2. I Can’t Make it on Time
3. Pleasant Dreams (album)
4. Subterranean Jungle (album)
5. Questioningly

You know the magazine is a fan of the band when they place two albums in the underrated song category. To be honest, I've always considered the Ramones catalogue a tad expansive. not as straightforward and easy to recount as that of, say, Sex Pistols.

but who am I to question Magnet? I fucking love the following song (it's one of my all time favourites):

now excuse me, I've gotta bust out my copy of Pleasant Dreams and give it a spin.

new song: Free Energy -Something in Common

Free Energy has debuted a new song on RCRD LBL and even though I've heard a live version of this track, I'm still quite stoked! I'm so ready for a full length release from this band

it's so surreal how some bands release many, many albums before they gain recognition, some bands break out after a great debut, and others, like Free Energy (and The Strokes) get booked and signed and go on full on tours with just a demo under their belts.

in any case, thank goodness for good music and a nice cup of tea.

Free Energy -Something in Common [mp3]
even though it's more synth driven, and has a lot more club-friendly beats, this song is much more subdued than their previous dance-y tracks.

visit Free Energy on MYSPACE

The Strokes Post #219

ok, so um I was gonna continue posting spank-bank photos as Strokes posts but I just got an email from my reader Klein and this is much more important:

Casablancas will perform a special series of shows every Wednesday night in October at Los Angeles’ Downtown Palace Theatre. Additional dates will be announced shortly.

WHAT?! why Wednesdays, Jules, WHY?!

he had better make an SF appearance soon. I really don't like LA.

Monday, September 28, 2009

record review: Girls - Album

When you study literature, you learn about something called New Criticism. It emerged in the ‘20’s and was essentially the idea that one should be able to read a piece of poetry or prose without any information about the author or even know who the author is. In this way, they could judge the piece on its quality rather than with preconceived ideas of whether or not it should be great.

When I embarked on my journey to Album, I unknowingly took the opposite route. I first read multiple articles( in magazines like SPIN and all over the blogosphere) about how singer/songwriter Christopher Owens was raised in a cult, had a tumultuous childhood that lacked proper nurturing, and then proceeded to write an album to help himself move on and leave his dark past behind.

There were two things that really got me to want to hear the music. The first one was a quote in his SPIN interview, where he said that he wanted to be a great songwriter like John Lennon. This really struck me strongly, because he was obviously serious about music and actually wanted to create a legacy. I really respected that. The second thing that got me to listen to the much-buzzed about album was the ever-quoted set of lyrics from “Lust for Life”: “I wish I had a father, maybe then I would have turned out right…I wish I had a suntan, I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine”. The careless juxtaposition of the two desires was strikingly honest and refreshing. It really proved that Owens no longer dwelt on the past, but looked to the present and future for brighter prospects. Or at least the ever comforting distraction provided by alcohol and an interesting group of friends.

Girls are from San Francisco, and their debut LP Album is one of the most eclectic offerings of the year. The album is obviously derivative, but not boring or unoriginal. It does really interesting things with music that already been perfected, and adds in the occasional clap or tambourine shake every now and then just for good measure.

Owens sings like a scratchier but noticeably less bitter Elvis Costello who was raised in the California sun. Album opener “Lust for Life” is clearly the best song of the bunch, and simultaneously more cheerful and heartbreaking than Costello’s “Alison”. The short song (just under 2:30) sounds like a day spent being intoxicated at the beach, with the wind in your hair and being liberated by the ocean. It’s a good thing it was placed first, because it makes way for the rest of the songs, which flow together like a Pacific Ocean filled with heartache and hangovers.

“Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker” is a fun song because it’s like a Beach Boys song for a slightly cynical adolescent audience. “Headache” screams of the sexy depressed music which Jarvis Cocker perfected in Pulp, and “Morning Light” evidently looks to My Bloody Valentine for inspiration.

The one uniting theme is the feeling of partial nostalgia evoked in the songs. I say partial nostalgia because—background information or not—it is obvious that Christopher Owens is ready to move on. The songs are like a final goodbye—to the past, to our demons, to the summer.

Try not to let this album break your heart, because it probably will. Just remember, Owens has created a soundtrack to a renewal, and wants to reconcile—not dwell on what could have been.

Highly recommended.

Album was released today, buy it HERE

The Strokes Post #218

Sunday, September 27, 2009

band of the week: Mando Diao

[sorry for the late post guys, but I'm making up for it in subject matter.]

Mando Diao is the best band I’ve never heard anything about.

What is wrong with the society that I live in that it forces me to go so long without hearing a thing about this amazing band? Thankfully, wikipedia can fill in the gaps of my ignorance.

I was exposed to them via and subsequently youtube, but I didn’t want to buy any of their albums online because I know that I always lose control when I buy music online. I went to three or four different record stores, none had any of their albums.

I went to Amoeba Berkeley yesterday and snagged their first three albums, their debut was on clearance for 1.99. I’m glad I waited. My Sunday is now filled with goodness.

Kicking off with a debut album in 2002, the Swedish band continues to release delectable garage rock till this day. Their fifth album was released this February, and even though I haven’t heard it yet I’m sure it’s just as good as what I’ve heard so far.

You know how The Hives are always hailed as the Swedish Strokes? I never thought that; if anything, The Hives remind me of The Vines. This band, however, sounds like The Swedish Libertines, especially because they have two front men.

Mando Diao has two lead singers, Björn Dixgård and Gustaf Norén. Gustaf sounds like Britt Daniel of Spoon, especially on “Paralyzed”. Bjorn sings in a more urgent manner, and sounds more like Pelle Almquvist of The Hives. Both singers reek of excellence.

On the band’s second and third albums, they really do start to sound like The Libertines, especially on Ode to Ochrasy. This is not to say that they copied the Libs, just that they write songs in the same vein, which of course, is good for us!

I really love bands who write songs in English even though it isn’t their native language, because they always manage to sing about overlooked concepts. Mando Diao even sing about the unibomber. Now that’s what I call innovative.

Get listening!

Mando Diao – Sheepdog [mp3]
from their debut, Bring ‘Em In (2002)

Mando Diao – G-d Knows [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
from their second full length, Hurricane Bar (2004)
this is probably my favourite album of theirs so far. it's so LISTENABLE.

Mando Diao – Long Before Rock n Roll [mp3]
from Ode to Ochrasy, the band’s third LP (2006)
"so play me a song from 1954"...I think this is a homage to The Beatles, the band that inspired Mando Diao to make music

[I’ll move on to their fourth and fifth albums soon!]

visit the band on MYSPACE, they're currently on tour in Europe

new song: John Mayer - Who Says

just heard the latest from John's a very, very laid back song backed with a simple and pleasant addition from his acoustic guitar

"who says I can't get stoned....who says I can't be free?" he sings softly

this song is so simple and genuine, it reminds me a bit of Toy Story. I love it. this might be my favourite thing he's ever written, even though a lot of his work is better than this.

I never would have expected this from John Mayer. Ryan Adams, maybe, but not Mayer. this makes me like him a whole lot more. my respect for him has also gone up, past the fact that he attended Berklee. I will definitely be on board for his new album, Battle Studies, which will see a November release

John Mayer - Who Says [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Girls to play an ALL AGES show in SF!

I love my Cafe Du Nord email subscription, even though it usually mocks me with 21+ shows.

Girls, a band I've had a recent fling with, will be playing an all ages show at the Swedish American Hall (located above Cafe Du Nord) on Friday, November 20th. buy tickets HERE

incidentally, I love the following video (just saw it yesterday or perhaps the day before):

I was really mad because I missed the free Amoeba SF show they played last week (they released their record early in their hometown's best record store) but this makes me quite happy because it's gonna be a full night of music, not just a short set!

see you there!

The Strokes Post #217

Sunday Morning Covers


Nick Cave - Let It Be (The Beatles cover) [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Elliott Smith - When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob Dylan cover) [mp3]

The Wombats - There She Goes (The La's cover) [mp3]

Cat Power - Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover) [mp3]

We The Living - Black Swan (Thom Yorke cover) [mp3]

Get Cape.Wear Cape. Fly - D.A.N.C.E (Justice cover [mp3]

Andrew Bird - Think About Your Troubles (Harry Nilsson cover) [mp3]

Coldplay - Songbird (Oasis cover) [mp3]

I know I'm gonna get shit for posting this. so many people hate Coldplay and Oasis but I think they're both good, although sometimes a tad boring/repetitive.

Arctic Monkeys - The Lovers (Rod McKuen Cover) [mp3]

Division Day - More Than This (Roxy Music cover) [mp3]

The Strokes Post #216


Saturday Music Definitions: Secret

The National - Secret Meeting [mp3]

Arctic Monkeys - Secret Door [mp3]

Patrick Wolf - Secret Garden [mp3]
yeah, he's super bitchy but I love him because he's beautiful and makes my insides feel like magic.

The Beatles - Do You Want to Know a Secret [mp3]

Maroon 5 - Secret [mp3]

The Magnetic Fields - Save a Secret for the Moon [mp3]