Friday, October 9, 2009

The Strokes Post #229

Nikolai has always been a superhero to me, even before this recent bout of awesomeness-embodied-in-marathon training. his bass playing in Is This It was actually the thing that got me to separate the different instruments in music for the first time. before that, music was all just one sound to me, if that makes sense. after I heard Nikolai's part in the title song, everything changed. I really began to listen to music.

Nikolai has always been a huge source of inspiration to me. bass guitar is my favourite instrument, a claim I have began to make since I started listening to the band. he really PLAYS the bass. I love it. he was on my mind while I was running today (as I was listening to The Strokes of course). it was Room on Fire, and as I was listening, I realized something that makes The Strokes so unlike every other band:

even though they only have three albums, (almost) everyone who really LISTENS to them beyond the first handful of singles really becomes a full on fan, and these fans begin to cite The Strokes as their favourite band. the great thing about the singles is that they make you want to hear more, and, of course, that almost every Strokes song could easily be a single.

most bands with three albums are considered too "young" to matter, but The Strokes have always made every song count. the fact that there are only three albums makes them's quite easy to completely absorb everything in a couple of weeks or months. they don't have any superfluous or filler albums or songs. everything is an important piece of the puzzle. you don't have to worry about accidentally buying one of their boring albums. their music is so listenable that it compels repeated listens.

I think about bands like Wilco, whom a lot of my friends at Berkeley (mainly stoner co-op folk) cite as their favourite band...and I think of their reaction to my lack of enthusiasm for the band, and they say "well yeah, they have some lulls but Being There is incredible" or "I adore everything before _____ album". the same thing goes for other bands.

not The Strokes.

I love them so much it's insane, but at this point, it is the only think that makes any sense in my life...everything else is inane. just for the record, that wasn't a typo, I specifically left out the "s".

The Swing Movement: new site + free songs

The Swing Movement are a great band from the UK that I really quite dig and hope with all of my heart will strike gold and gain recognition for their darkly catchy dance numbers.

they have a nifty NEW WEBSITE and are hosting free downloads of the three following songs: "To The Bone" and "Tarantula" and "Jigsaw"
head on over and check it out!

visit the band on MYSPACE for more tunes and/or info

Magnet: over/underrated Dead Kennedys songs

The Dead Kennedys are a band that I got into after starting this music blog. the more I learned about/listened to punk music, the more I heard about the band until I finally checked their music out. needless to say, they lived up to my wildest expectations and their music blew me to pieces. it still does.

here's what Magnet thinks about their short but solid discography (4 studio albums and a handful of miscellanea):


1. When You Get Drafted
2. Riot
3. Chickenshit Conformist
4. Too Drunk to Fuck
5. Terminal Hippie

1. Funland at the Beach
2. Halloween
3. Where Do Ya Draw the Line?
4. We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now
5. Night of the Living Rednecks

read more HERE

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Strokes Post #228

I've never been one for drama and I am quite sick of the whole Jules debacle, so I am not going to post regularly about Phrazes for the Young anymore. in all actuality, I'll probably only post about the album when it leaks.

instead, I'm returning to the basics...that is, the greatest music ever, from the band that somehow manages to be simple and incredibly intricate...

here's a short but sweet boot--the band doing a radio session at the Beeb in 2006, including the ever-so-tasty cover of Ramones' "Life is a Gas"

1. Heart in a Cage [mp3]

it's a tad annoying that they bleep out "fucking around" but oh well
2. Life is a Gas (Ramones cover) [mp3] awesome. highly listenable. a great tribute to a phenomenal band.
3. Reptilia [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED] holy fuck this is insane(ly excellent)
4. You Only Live Once [mp3]
this is the version with lyrics from "I'll Try Anything Once", quite popular among Strokes fans

ZIP FILE (entire set)


Classic Track Thursday

"despite all my rage I am still just a rat in its cage"
this particular lyric reminds me of a literary-minded friend of mine who simply adores the following song. or at least he did a few years ago...

The Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet with Butterfly Wings [mp3]
from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)

ever since I can remember, The Smashing Pumpkins have been a refuge from the mundane for me. this particular song really resonates with me, partly because of the repetitious chorus-- which is indeed an element of a genre I don't usually appreciate--but Klosterman is right, the Pumpkins are definitely a metal band at heart. to me, though, they'll always sound more prog rock than Sigur Ros. and that's saying something.

and, of course, the song title itself is incredible. effortlessly cool, unlike some other bands' obviously less successful endeavours in the same department


The Smashing Pumpkins - Today
just because this song always reeked of optimism to me (not the lyrics but the guitars in particular), and that is something so incredibly intrinsic to my own sunny personality. lately, I've had loads of spats with my narrow-minded employer--the epitome of private school squareness-- but every time I meet/talk to parents of my students, they always gush about how their kids love me, and always talk about me, and I don't think I have to worry about being fired any time soon. people would probably withdraw their kids in protest...a sixth grader told me I was her favourite teacher today and I'm not even her teacher =)

viva la revolucion!

The Strokes Post #227

I'm starting to think that the "LA residency" thing was a rumour...the Tokyo gig was widely publicized, but I haven't found any info pertaining to Jules' supposed shows in LA. it doesn't make sense for him to play four nights in LA's not fair, methinks.

really, the only residency around here relating to Mr Casablancas is my desktop background.

what do y'all think?

(also, is anyone else pissed off that Phrazes hasn't leaked yet? at this point, I might just wait until the 20th for the proper release)

Band of the Week: Beck (belated)

oh look at that, a lovely alliteration.

I've been in a semi-nostalgic mood lately, and when I get like this, I don't look through photos or cry over past lovers...I watch my favourite movies and dust off records I haven't heard in a while.
I get nostalgic for my past, not necessarily for people in my past.

but anyhow, I was rewatching Eternal Sunshine for the goodness-knows-how-many-th time, and found myself, once again, in awe of Beck.

one day, Beck will go down in history as the poster boy for alternative rock. he has established himself as a force to be reckoned with, the very epitome of an entire genre, much like Bowie and Cobain did before him in glam and grunge.

how can I make the claim that he stands for Alternative rock?

Beck is versatile. he's fresh. he has a cool voice that can lull or invigorate. it's up to him. he keeps good company whom he ends up making impromptu cover albums with.

he doesn't have a "sound". he changes constantly, dabbles into so many genres that it's hard to keep track of sometimes, and ends up being channeled in the most unlikely of places.

for some reason, he always reminds me of a musical Aldous Huxley. I don't know much about his personal life other than he's a Scientologist, but, like Huxley, he seems like the kind of guy who would write tracts about the benefits of LSD. or, in his case, express these slightly erratic views musically, which I think he does.

to put it simply, he is an incredibly interesting musician. I think it's quite impossible for anyone to say "I know everything about Beck, and know all of his songs by heart, let me hum out his fourth album for you"

his latest studio album, Modern Guilt (2008), is a heavy dose of aural happiness, and was produced by Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley and Dark Night of the Soul)

oh, and, of course, Alt Rock wouldn't be what it is if it didn't break into the mainstream just a little bit.

I really love Beck, and think you should listen to him too. I'd go to a local record store and pick up which ever cd of his that is's all guaranteed to please. his albums are so eclectic that it doesn't matter where you start--the journey through Beck's discography is always intriguing, captivating, and often strange in a lo-fi way which would put Black Lips to shame.

his website is plenty of fun and is updated regularly, so check it out! he's currently covering Leonard Cohen's debut.

Beck - Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime (The Korgis cover) [mp3]
from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's soundtrack

Beck - Modern Guilt [mp3]
from Modern Guilt

Beck - Nicotine & Gravy [mp3]

from Midnite Vultures

I have 135 of his songs and STILL can't wrap my mind around it all. it's great though, Beck makes the kind of music that you can just enjoy, and not have to worry about knowing every little detail about (or being obsessively faithful to).

he's like a musical fuck buddy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Strokes Post #226 (belated)

you know you guys, I'm getting quite sick of myself skipping posts like this. I still haven't posted band of the week, which should have been on Friday. here's an interview from Julian that kind of sums up my general out-of-it-ness to hold you over until this evening, when I'll do some proper posting:

I'm sorry, my time management skills have just all but disappeared. I love Music Induced Euphoria, I don't want it to become a chore. I just need to manage my time better.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Strokes Post #225

if this picture tells us anything, it's that Julian has replaced JP as the band's "guru".

Vampire Weekend announce new single + dates [California bonus!]

the new single is a bit too mellow and has a tad too much xylophone for my taste, but it's not awful. the redeeming quality of today's update email from VW? they're playing the Catalyst in Santa Cruz-- a super intimate venue (read on below, the band seems to be favouring California...yay!), andandand it's 16+ so I can take my baby brother! he really likes the band so it works out perfectly

Vampire Weekend - Horchata [mp3]
what do you think of the song? I like "White Sky"'s a lot more...Vampire Weekend.

"Vampire Weekend are also pleased to announce several shows, including a very special set of intimate tour dates in California. Fans are asked to pay close attention to the band's website, as there will be daily announcements about impromptu events taking place during the California tour.

10/6 - Montreal, QC Le National
10/8 - Toronto, ON Horseshoe Tavern
10/15 - London, UK King's College (Mailing List Exclusive Pre-Sale)
10/22 - Paris, FR Nouveau Casino
11/02 - Long Beach, CA The Art Theater
11/05 - Pioneertown, CA Pappy and Harriet's
11/07 - Lafayette, CA Town Hall Theatre
11/08 - Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
11/09 - Visalia, CA The Cellar Door
11/10 - San Luis Obispo, CA Downtown Brew
11/12 - Bakersfield, CA Chencho's
11/14 - Lomita, CA VFW Hall
11/17 - Tokyo, JAP Tokyo Unit (Mailing List Exclusive Pre-Sale)
11/21 - Sydney, AUS Oxford Art Factory (Mailing List Exclusive Pre-Sale)

The California tour dates go on sale Friday October 9."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Strokes Post #224

I spent the day in San Francisco yesterday, and had to keep shaking my head at all of the hipsters. they really are everywhere, but it doesn't make me love the city any less.

here's a great review of Julian's "11th Dimension" from hipster central itself.


The Strokes Post #223 (belated)

so, everyone is super excited about THIS GREAT NEW INTERVIEW WITH JULIAN via the Guardian's Observer (a UK publication), mostly because it says that Juliet is pregnant (hello Julian Jr!)

my favourite bit, however, was this:

"it's about everyone being happy. If we can get to that point, I think the rest will fall into place."

I think that all Strokes fans can agree that Julian seems a LOT more happy lately, probably because his wifey is pregnant, but other stuff too

is it bad that I'm a tad disappointed that he is completely sober now?

Sunday Morning Covers


Ben Folds - Say Yes (Elliott Smith cover) [mp3]
just snagged this one, it's fantastic.

Lissy Trullie - Ready for the Floor (Hot Chip cover) [mp3]

Rogue Wave - On a Plain (Nirvana cover) [mp3]

Graham Coxon - Shipbuilding (Elvis Costello cover) [mp3]

I was just thinking this morning that I really never liked Blur; Pulp has always been my monosyllabic-with-the letter-"u"-Britpop-band-of-choice. (Jarvis' solo work is also > Graham's)

CSS - Cannonball (The Breeders cover) [mp3]

The Strokes - Life's a Gas (Ramones cover) [mp3]
oh how I love this.

Beirut - Shiki Shiki Baba (Kocani Orchestra cover) [mp3]

Foo Fighters - Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty cover) [mp3

Glen Campbell - Times like These (Foo Fighters cover) [mp3]

this is actually hilarious in an ironic, Napoleon Dynamite musical score kind of way.

Lightspeed Champion - Heart in a Cage (The Strokes cover) [mp3]

Jamie Cullum - Frontin (Pharrell cover) [mp3]

Band of Horses - Your Love Is Forever (George Harrison cover) [mp3]
this is incredible. Band of Horses is the perfect band to cover my favourite Beatle's trippy solo work, methinks.

Saturday Music Definitions: Children (belated)

congratulations, Julian and Juliet!

Oasis - Married with Children [mp3]

The Smiths - Suffer Little Children (Troy Tate Sessions) [mp3]

The Henry Clay People - Children of Chin [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

Margot and the Nuclear So & So's - A Children's Crusade On Acid [mp3]

Delta Spirit - Children [mp3]