November 30, 2008

Jean on Jean

The group Out Hud came and went without leaving as much as a blip on my radar but it is the solo record of their cellist / vocalist Molly Schnick that has me paying attention. She spent multiple years shaping this debut self titled record (Jean on Jean) and the final product is a dramatic string heavy twee album with vocals straight off a Tiger Trap record. But that isn't a fair comparison either because while she shares the breathy little girl vocal style, her vocal arrangements alone are complex and layered to the point dizzying. Clearly a ridiculous amount of care has gone into the making of this record. The songs are a bit like walking into a meticulous home where every single thing, in this case every note and every word is in its place and serves a meaningful purpose.

Cuddle core, sweater pop, twee-tastic goodness, I plan on spending my whole day with this Jean on Jean record. The Vivian Girls might be getting all the press these days but Molly Schnick has the talent of that whole band inside her.

There is a great interview with her here.

November 27, 2008

Friday Flashcard - My Metal Record of the Month

2008 has been the year for me to discover and obsess on black metal bands that don't fit neatly into the usual Burzum wannabe category. These more recent bands and often one man recording projects are much more experimental and Nahvalr's version sounds as if Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music was murdering MBV's Loveless in a cacophonous tribute to Euronymous.

In fact black metal over the past few years has become the only style of music I keep one eye on at all times just to follow what sort of wacky direction it will move towards next. It has become one of the few genres of music that seems actively willing to take dare devil risks and heavily experiment. We haven't seen rap or indie rock take that kind of leap into the creative unknown in I don't know how long. Forever?

You can stick as many name tags as you want on this S/T record: black metal, shoegaze, experimental noise, new age doom... but the point really is that Nahvalr have made a curiously brilliant one of a kind record built from the ground up by sound donations from others. These submissions were then sculpted by Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga (from the group Have a Nice Life) into a shimmering ear shattering record that will have you believing that the sounds of hell can be ghastly as well as gorgeous.
In fact if hell is as fantastic as this record sounds, you can count me in.
Note to self - send Dan and Tim some of my stuff so I can have in on whatever masterpiece they are Frankenstein stitching together now. My goal of taking dream doom to a new level of evil might just happen yet. A girl can dream....

November 26, 2008

A Newly Acquired 12"

I picked it up used from a friend. I forgot how great Swervedriver's Song of a Mustang Ford is.

This isn't really a video but you can hear the song at least.

Semi Super Group

Maybe if I had more free time to read music blogs I would have heard about this band sooner.

Magnetic Morning is Adam from Swervedriver with Sam from Interpol who have added Jimmy from Album Leaf. They sound exactly like you think they would.

Touring to a city near you.

Oct 15 2008
Caledonia Lounge
Athens, Georgia
Oct 16 2008
Local 506
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Oct 17 2008
Rock And Roll Hotel
Washington, Washington DC
Oct 18 2008
Johnny Brenda’s
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Oct 20 2008
Great Scott
Allston, Massachusetts
Oct 21 2008
South Paw
Brooklyn, New York
Oct 23 2008
Horseshoe Tavern
Toronto, Ontario
Oct 24 2008
The Grog Shop
Cleveland, Ohio
Oct 25 2008
The Catus Club
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Oct 26 2008
The Empty Bottle
Chicago, Illinois
Oct 27 2008
7th Street Entry
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Oct 30 2008
Chop Suey
Seattle, Washington
Oct 31 2008
Doug Fir Lounge
Portland, Oregon
Nov 2 2008
The Independent
San Fran., California
Nov 3 2008
The Roxy
L.A., California
Nov 4 2008
San Diego, California
Nov 7 2008
House Of Blues
Dallas, Texas
Nov 8 2008
Waterloo Park
Austin, Texas
Nov 10 2008
The Earl
Atlanta, Georgia

November 24, 2008


Another friend passed away this weekend and that was the first phone call of my day. At this point I am trying desperately to think of something that would cheer me up and I am coming up empty handed. If I could draw maybe I would depict something kittens riding unicorns over a field of cupcakes and rare records with pristine record covers and scratch free vinyl.

This is almost as good as any picture I could hope to paint plus any video that has a cameo of Bill Ryan - part owner of Pier Platters- is golden in my book. (door guy)

And to you Carl....I know you were more of a jazz guy...but you like the funny so maybe you would approve of this video in the spirit of the silly world of music you have left us behind in. Thanks for making me laugh and often.

November 23, 2008

Rock Bottom Riser

I've owned Smog records for as far back as I can remember. I used to think they were mine but I recently realized with the passing of a friend that I don't own these songs any more. I share them with the memory of him.

My last memory of Nathan is talking together after one of his live performances. It was the first and only time I saw him play and I couldn't wait to tell him how much I liked his songs and how much they reminded me of Smog. He seemed to light up like a house with all its lights on when I told this.

Now Smog and Nathan share a spot on the same shelf inside my heead. I think he would have really liked that.

November 21, 2008

Friday Flashcard: I Got Something Better For You

Buzzo might be the funniest man in metal ever. All American cool and classy.

There are so many links to the man on Fox news - it is actually a little scary. Fox News? Who knew?

All in the Family

The McCain at EMI Music... Yes, There's a Relation

Politics are notoriously thick in the music industry, even in deeply disruptive times. But recently-promoted EMI Music executive Sidney McCain carries more connections than most. McCain is a common last name, though Sid is actually the eldest daughter of the recently-defeated presidential contender. "If I ever have to have Secret Service... they'd better be ready for a lot of late nights," Sid told the New Yorker in December of 1999.

The Secret Service issue is now off the table, though the close relationship to John McCain could spell baggage among certain artists. Musicians mostly rallied behind Obama, and many - including, Common, and Nas - recorded songs to celebrate the Senator-turned-President-Elect. Others will undoubtedly react differently, especially given the extreme military sacrifices and public service record of McCain. Either way, Sid McCain now faces serious challenges of her own, particularly given the distressed position of EMI. On Wednesday, EMI named McCain to the post of Vice President of Label Services for North America.


November 20, 2008

Good Vibrations

It's Psychic TV doing the Monkees doing The Beach Boys.

November 19, 2008

Pretty & Nice / Get Young

Artist: Pretty & Nice
Title: Get Young
Hometown: Boston
Label: Hardly Art
Street Date: Out Now

RIYL: XTC, Punk with angles, Field Music, Eno, a young Paul Weller, Ted Leo on Nickelodeon
The Hits: Tora Tora Tora but the whole record is pop heaven.
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Strong

If you find yourself hungry for new music, something easy on the ears, then do yourself a favor and pick up Pretty & Nice's Get Young. They are a trio from Boston who make ridiculously good disjointed pop music on what sounds like toy instruments and have vocals that slide into a falsetto range that makes me wonder if they reached puberty yet.

I like this record to maybe even recreate the cover by leaping for joy.

November 18, 2008

This Is Not A Joke

This is a real obit from a local paper in Richmond. Thank you Mr. Bo Peep for passing it along to me. Don't get me wrong, I offer genuine condolences to his friends and family but you have to admit his name is pretty amazing.

Marijuana M. "Pimp" Thompson

THOMPSON, Marijuana M. "Pimp," departed this life November 6, 2008. He is survived by two children, Tajuan Martin and Tjuana Leatherwood of Tusca-loosa, Ala.; his mother, Mildred Thompson; father, Henry Polk of Jacksonville, Fla.; maternal grandmother, Theresa Turner; brother, Mario Polk of Jacksonville, Fla.; a host of aunts and uncles, cousins, other relatives and friends. Remains rest at Chiles Funeral Home, 2100 Fairmount Ave. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, 12 noon, at the United House of Prayer For All People, 926 Chimborozo Blvd. Apostle Anthony L. Taylor officiating. Interment Evergreen Cemetery. Remains will rest in church one hour prior to service.

Wilderness / (k)no(w)here

Artist: Wilderness
Title: (k)no(w)here
Hometown: Baltimore
Label: Jagjaguwar
Street Date: 11/4/2008

RIYL: Genius guitar playing, Lungfish, PIL, early Sonic Youth
The Hits: Own Anything, Chinese Whisperers
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Moderate

First off here is what separates this record from the previous two Wildnerness releases, taken from the Jajaguwar site:

Wilderness's third full-length album entitled "(k)no(w)here" was conceived as one musical piece, and the impetus for this composition came from an invitation to collaborate with renowned visual artist Charles Long at Long's exhibit at the Whitney Biennial in Spring of 2008. The eight identifiable parts of "(k)no(w)here" are not readily separated from each other, such is the flow from and into each part. Created in ways different than the previous Wilderness self-titled album (2005) and the Wilderness "Vessel States" album (2006), "(k)no(w)here" still retains the Wilderness sound, with some evolution. On the new album, James Johnson is sometimes joined vocally by Colin McCann (aka The Lord Dog Bird, whose self-titled debut was released by Jagjaguwar in the Summer of 2008). And, as on previous albums, McCann performs on guitar, Brian Gossman on bass, and William Goode on drums, but the resulting community of all these parts comes across as more dynamic, and the perceived space they inhabit seems more vast.

On paper it seems like the above information is important to know but if you had handed me this record and just said listen - don't do any homework in regards to the making of this record. My review would have been the same either way.

First of all Wilderness has maybe one of my top 10 guitar players of all time in the band. Colin McCann's metallic siren tone and choice of notes bring me to my knees every single time. Emotive, piercing, chilling...he draws the stinging outlines which the rest of the band colors in. Per the norm about 1/3 of each Wilderness record brings tears of joy to my eyes but then I can barely make it through the rest of the tracks, mostly because the unconventional speak /scream / often tuneless chants make my ears hurt but also because their songs can drag on like a hike through what is more tame than wild.

I guess when a band produces the kind of quality song writing that goes beyond most band's best work I end up excusing the Wilderness even though I cannot in fact listen to most of their records from front to back in one sitting. So how I am supposed to review a band I both love and am occasionally repelled by? To be honest I am not sure other than to say just that. I think by their next record I will be able to make a greatest hits of sorts that will rival some of the best records in my collection.

November 17, 2008

November 14, 2008

Friday Flashcard - Name that Metal Band

These three ladies from Japan don't have a crazy logo so instead I will show their video and you can guess who they are from this. (Two posts about all girl bands from Japan this week - heck yeah!)

Their name and the link to the MySpace page is in the comments section.

November 13, 2008

Flipside Part II

Thank you Gillamonster for this picture of me working at Flipside.
I am the ultimate billboard for the early 90's here: Das Damen shirt, army shorts, and a wall of tapes behind me.
I am guessing I was in my late teens when this picture was taken.
The records on the wall are the owner of Flipside's personal collection. They continued on the other side of the tape rack and it was a constant source of learning for me over the years.

The Creepers / Liquorice Flavour

The Creepers are exactly what one might expect from a member kicked out of The Fall (guitarist / keyboardist Mark Riley) for rumors that he was too melodic for the band. I also suspect from listening to the lyrics that his sense of humor may have been to flamboyant for Mr. Smith's taste.

Liquorice Flavour is The Creepers' final record (1987) and is arguably their best. While the instrumentation is absolutely more melodic and straight rock rock than his previous band, The Creepers vocals see saw between spoken word through what sounds like a telephone and flattened half melodies. There are Fall-esque moments to be found on this record but I can't help but be reminded of Sonic Youth minus the chaotic guitar acrobatics (add sax and accordion).

Last but not least there is a stellar Pretty Things cover of "Rosalyn" which is worth the price of admission alone. The Creepers are a weird combination of commercial and cool - Hoodoo Gurus meets the Television Personalities on steroids and there you have it, The Creepers and a great record from front to back.

The Creepers do Eno:

November 11, 2008


Amazing instrumental 3 piece girl group from Japan. Yummynoisygoodness.

November 10, 2008

Flipside Records : Pompton Lakes, NJ

Here it is. My home away from home. The place I worked at from 1988 to 1994. The record store that taught me more than any classroom could have about music history and the art of record collecting. This store changed my life (although for better or for worse I have yet to decide) and my obsession with music was kindled here. Owner Dan Dondiego is still a mentor to me as he knows more about music than any one man should.

Flipside Records is a legendary New Jersey record store that has a bounty of used records - the kind of records you just don't find anywhere else no less at a decent price. As you can see, it is sort of a free for all so it takes a little digging but it is always worth the trouble. There is always something ridiculously weird or cool to discover there although it may be hidden under scattered beer bottles or next to a zucchini in a birdcage.

I heart NJ but I love Flipside more.
120 Wanaque Ave
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

And don't bother looking them up on the internet. They don't do computers. This is a drive and see for yourself sorta adventure.

The carpet at Flipside is even out of this world.....

"Some Gal Smell Like The"

Bottom Of the Barrel by TIFA. You gotta love that the ladies of the Dancehall scene leave no topic untouched.....

I don't really know what a Kitty Police is but check out the Cat Woman sexy breakdown in the middle of the song. Meow.

Plexi Film Presents

Short Synopsis
WILD COMBINATION is director Matt Wolf’s visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Arthur prolifically created music that spanned both pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art. Now, over fifteen years since his passing, Arthur's work is finally finding its audience. Wolf incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Arthur's family, friends, and closest collaborators—including Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg—to tell this poignant and important story.

Jens Lekman cover's A. R.'s A Little Lost

November 6, 2008

Friday Flashcard - Name that Metal Band

What could be scarier than Satan?

Satan himself!!!

Ooops. I gave away the band's name. Oh well.

They are called Satan and I am pretty stoked that their simple band name has a complex logo.

These dudes are from Mexico and are face painting black metalers. My favorite part of their MySpace page is the super cute adopt a pet cartoon ad on the left side. Maybe this is why I am drawn to the band. They appeal to both my love of corpse paint and Hello Kitty.

Hush Hush

It feels like a long time since I heard much about what Joanna Newson is up to and my guess is we should see a record from her in 2009. It is difficult to say as she doesn't have a website of any kind that offers such updates. The Drag City site is pretty much useless and all the MySpace pages are fansites. This isn't really a complaint - I like the mystery of not knowing what and when I can expect something new from her.

When the weather gets cooler I tend crave hearing her songs so here is a clip from The First Unitarian Church Sanctuary - Philadelphia, PA, November 16th, 2006

November 5, 2008

Music To My Ears

I was in Washington, DC last night for the Deerhunter / Times New Viking show last night. The ride home through the streets of the city was perhaps one of the most incredible audio / visual experiences of my life. The show was great don't get me wrong but you can't really beat the country's capital creating a spontaneous party in the streets once the announcement had been made that Obama would be our next president. The whole city appeared to be screaming, honking, weeping, and dancing for joy. Bliss poured from every face. High-fives we being exchanged from car to car at stop lights, every car window was down, everyone talking to everyone about was a beautiful and happy this moment was not for just our country, but for the entire world.

The DC party in the streets.

November 3, 2008


Spacemen 3 : Walking With Jesus

Silver Jew

"Director Michael Tully’s documentary, Silver Jew, chronicles the three-day life-changing visit to Israel in the summer of 2006 of “born-again” Jew David Berman, front man for the band The Silver Jews.

Although the band had been together since 1992 and had recorded many albums in that period, it had never toured. But that changed with a European tour that Berman made sure included Israel where he discovered that he had many many fans he never knew about.

Silver Jew includes scenes from concerts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in which the lyrics are often hard to understand in the din of nightclub noise. Intercut with these concerts are visits to Christian and Jewish holy places, as well as shots of everyday street scenes in those cities, giving a feel for ordinary life there. There also are scenes in which Berman rambles on and on philosophically about his feelings toward Judaism. This, for him, is a sort of rock tour pilgrimage in which he gets to connect to his roots. The emotional high point of Silver Jew comes when he recites a prayer handed to him on a flyer at the Wailing Wall and breaks down in tears."

I can only hope the movie is better than this preview.

Yma Sumac

From CNN and for all you lingering fans of the Exotica: Yma Sumac, the Peruvian-born soprano who wowed international audiences in the 1950s with her stunning vocal range and modern take on South American folk music, has died.

For those of you who are reading her name and thinking you don't know her, watch the video which has many of her record covers pictured. Surely you have seen her records in used bins...10"ers and 12 inches alike.

And I know, don't call you Surely.

Making a bad day better.

Listening to Neil Halstead always has a calming affect on me. My favorite song off his most recent album is called Paint a Face and here is a video for it.

Maybe it will help make your day a little better too.

The Lodger

All Music Guide is pretty spot on:

Influenced By
The Wedding Present
Orange Juice
Television Personalities
Talulah Gosh

Check out UK band The Lodger here.