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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Random

Here are a few random odds and ends that I thought you guys would enjoy:



José González: Live in Sydney: Forget for one second about the poor quality of this cell-phone video, and just enjoy the man's voice and the perfection of the song for about 40 seconds.

José González Heartbeats (live) .mov

(thanks to shanna and craig for the video)

Song of the Afternoon:

Oh No! Oh My! Walk in the Park mp3
(via Music for Robots)

(Buy Oh No! Oh My!'s cd for only $1.50. I'm serious.)


Rabbit Fur Coat (click for larger image)

Thanks to Ryan for hooking us up with the above image, the cover art for Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins' upcoming Rabbit Fur Coat LP.

Also:

Head over to Dodge, Matt, and Shannon's blogs for unreleased Neutral Milk Hotel demos. Very rough, but still cool.

Finally, go checkout the The Rock Insider and read my hump-day picks with everyone's favorite DJ, Jax. Thanks for asking me to take part, Jaxxy.

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Brought to you by the letter Blood

"They say I'm no good for you, that I'm in it for the blood...but they're just player hatin'"
--Elliott the Letter Ostrich



I believe it was Matt who compared Elliott the Letter Ostrich to the Unicorns, and that makes a lot of sense, but EtLO's songs possess a more endearing quality that I always felt the Unicorns lacked. These songs are spooky, cute, and awesome all at the same time. I especially like this song, the album opener. They threaten to suck our blood and take our first born children, and that's all before the real greatness kicks in at about the 3 minute mark:

Elliott the Letter Ostrich Pink Dracula mp3

buy Elliott the Letter Ostrich's Blood Cape for only $5. Best 5 bucks you'll spend all day.

be Elliott the Letter Ostrich's friend. or they will kill you.

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Birdwire



When I left for work this morning, I could see my breath in the air, signaling an end to our unseasonably warm fall here in Dallas. And seeing as how Birdwire's music deals with "the indelible grief of ending, and the determined optimism about renewal amidst grief", I thought this song would be perfect for the last morning of November. Such a pretty song:

Birdwire The Day the Sun Disappeared mp3

buy Birdwire's EP, I'll Take It With Me, from CD Baby

be Birdwire's friend

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New Belle & Sebastian



From the upcoming The Life Pursuit LP (via Dreams of Horses):

Another Sunny Day mp3

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Sara Culler



I have to thank one of my readers (Kina) for introducing me to Sara Culler. I don't know much about her, but from what I can gather, Sara is a Dallas girl living in Sweden. I don't know why she moved to Sweden, but based on these songs she has confirmed my theory that all music from Sweden is awesome. She has also contributed to works by David Fridlund, and his band, David & the Citizens.

Sara Culler Lies of 'Justice House' mp3
Sara Culler Blackbird Duet mp3

If you like these songs, support Sara by buying her demos from her website

bonus:

David Fridlund me against you mp3

Elsewhere:


SOUND team's Bill Baird

Check out NashvilleZine's entertaining interview with Bill Baird from SOUND team, in which he discusses signing to Capitol, his favorite albums of 2005, and garbage-filled recording studios. And if you find yourself in Nashville this evening, go see SOUND team at the Basement. It's free, so go tell them I said hi.

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Like "Sigur Rós locked in an underground cavern with Slowdive"

"Paavoharju presents a more curious mixture...Sigur Rós locked in an underground cavern with Slowdive"
--Pitchfork



Okay, all of you that insisted it was too early for a year-end "Best of" list were right. Had I waited only another week or so, Paavoharju's Yhä hämärää would have surely made the list.

I just discovered Finland's Paavoharju while reading Moka's Best of 2005 list, and I was immediately smitten. Pitchfork says Paavoharju's album, Yhä hämärää, "possesses the magical giddiness of an unknown radio station tapped into momentarily while traveling unfamiliar back roads" and that's actually a perfect description of how I felt while listening to these two tracks (way to go, Pitchfork).

This band just sounds like Finland to me. Of course, I've never been there, but I imagine it to be icy, mysterious, beautiful, and somewhat dark, just like these songs:

Paavoharju puhuri mp3
Paavoharju aamuauringon tuntuinen mp3

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Monday, November 28, 2005

The Art Conspiracy: 100 Artists | 5 Bands | 1 Night

The Art Conspiracy takes place this Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Texas Theater here in Dallas, and here's how it works:



At 7 a.m. December 2nd, 2005, hundreds of empty canvases will be placed throughout the lobby of the Texas Theater. Dallas' most noted artists will take shifts and fill in as many of the canvases as possible in a 24 hour period.

At 7 p.m. December 3rd, 2005, Doors will open to the public of Dallas' most historic and infamous theater. The many canvases filling the lobby walls will be available to anyone and everyone. You, the audience, will determine the price of the piece you take, and money will be collected using the honor system only

I am seriously excited about this event, and here's why:

  • I'm moving into a new house on Saturday, so this will be a chance for me to buy some real art to adorn my bare walls.
  • This will be the first event in over 10 years to be held at the Texas Theater, which is where Lee Harvey Oswald was caught after he shot JFK (allegedly).
  • The Happy Bullets, Salim Nourallah, and Pleasant Grove will be performing, and I love them all. Plus I've heard great things about the Theater Fire and I Love Math and they're performing too.
  • And most importantly, all proceeds will benefit children affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
So if you're in Dallas (or anywhere close), you should definitely come out and support this very worth cause. Admission is only 10 bucks.

mp3 (both highly recommended):

The Happy Bullets The Vice and Virtue Ministry mp3
Salim Nourallah 1978 mp3

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The Rosebuds: Live in Dallas


The Rosebuds

My latest obsession is The Rosebuds' new album, Birds Make Good Neighbors. When it comes to husband/wife fronted indie rock bands, you can pretty much count me in (the Arcade Fire, Mates of State), and The Rosebuds are no different. Frontman Ivan Howard's voice has been compared to Morrissey, but live, they sounded more like a '60's southern rock band crossed with the Arcade Fire, which was just fine with me. Plus, Ivan is a super nice guy. (Torr was also at the show, read his take on it here)

Check out these songs, and buy the album, I'm pretty sure you'll like it:

The Rosebuds Boxcar mp3
The Rosebuds Leaves Do Fall mp3
The Rosebuds Bluebird mp3

And be sure to check out the band's website for more mp3s from previous releases, and also check out the band's blog.

Here are some photos from the show (click for larger image):





The Sun, from Columbus, Ohio, opened the show, and they were also pretty impressive. The band's frontman was charismatic in a Buddy Holly/Napoleon Dynamite sort of way (only much, much louder), and they were surprisingly tight for such a young band.






The headliners, Sweden's the Shout Out Louds, were fun, but nothing spectacular. Although I'm not really qualified to comment on them because we left after a couple songs.



Also:

If you're really, really bored, go check out Muzzle of Bees' new feature, "Get To Know Your Blogger". The first installment in this new series over at MoB features some dumbass (me), so check it out.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

New Voxtrot Song

Very exciting news: Voxtrot have posted a new song on Myspace, entitled "Mothers Sisters Daughters and Wives", from their upcoming EP (due out Spring '06). Can't wait to see these guys on Dec. 2 at the Cavern (w/ the Castanets and Phosphorescent).

Also, a huge thanks to Chris from Australia who sent me some pics from José González's show in Sydney (i think) the other night:

(click image to enlarge)


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Thursday, November 24, 2005

New Jenny Lewis


Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

Thanks to whoever e-mailed me this. From Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins upcoming LP, Rabbit Fur Coat:

mp3:
Handle With Care (feat. Ben Gibbard, Conor Oberst, M. Ward)

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

gorilla vs. bear's Top 50 Albums of 2005

Well, it's that time of year again (okay not quite, but almost), so here's my list of the Top 50 Albums of the year. Now, despite my near flawless taste in music, I'm no expert, and there's tons of stuff I probably didn't give enough attention to this year. So, I'm not claiming these are the best 50 albums of the year, but merely my 50 favorite. I've broken it up into the top 25 (in order) and the next 25 (alphabetical by artist).



Please feel free to comment/make fun all you want. And thanks for reading my blog this year, I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions.

(support the blog by clicking here)

The Top 25:

25. Anniemal--Annie



24. One State Two State--The Light Footwork



I have to thank Matt for introducing me to these guys, and if I'd heard the full album sooner, it might be even higher on the list.

23. Life Embarrasses Me on Planet Earth--Seventeen Evergreen
key track: Lunar One mp3



22. Nice and Nicely Done--The Spinto Band
key track: Oh Mandy mp3



21. Birds Make Good Neighbors--The Rosebuds
key track: Blue Bird mp3



20. Gimme Fiction--Spoon
key track: I Turn My Camera On mp3



19. Infiniheart--Chad VanGaalen
key track: Clinically Dead mp3



I got this one early in the year and it was in heavy rotation for a while, then I forgot about it until Sub Pop re-released it this summer. He's been called a "bedroom genius", and don't be surprised if his next album is even better.

18. Black Sheep Boy--Okkervil River
key track: Black mp3



Another one that sort of snuck up on me. I saw these guys live early this year when they opened for the Decemberists, and they were very impressive. But for some reason I put off giving this album the listen it deserved until near the end of the summer. I'm glad I finally gave in.

17. Akron/Family--Akron/Family
key track: Running, Returning mp3



16. The Vice and Virtue Ministry--The Happy Bullets
key track: The Vice and Virtue Ministry mp3



15. The Loon--Tapes 'n Tapes
key track: Insistor mp3



As far as I'm concerned, if you have Wolf Parade on your list, you can't leave off Tapes 'n Tapes' new album. I'm not sure how I made that correlation, but it makes sense to me. Such a good record.

14. Twin Cinema--The New Pornographers
key track: Twin Cinema mp3



13. Arular--M.I.A.



This album started strong for me, then faded a little after a couple months. Then I saw her live, and it worked its way right back onto the list.

12. Picaresque--The Decemberists
key track: Engine Driver mp3



11. Veneer--Jose Gonzalez
key track: Crosses mp3



I know this one came out a couple years ago over in Sweden, but I never heard of the guy until the U.S. release. This album would have made the list based on the strength of "Crosses" and his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" alone.

10. Cripple Crow--Devendra Banhart
key track: Quedate Luna mp3



If you would have asked me the first few times I heard this if it would end up on my year end list, I would've said no way. But after seeing him live, I definitely felt a deeper appreciation and connection with more of his recorded material. Not the creepy little boy stuff though. Also gets my vote for album cover of the year.

9. Broken Social Scene--Broken Social Scene



While this album didn't blow me away at first like You Forgot It In People, it's steadily lodged itself into my brain the more I listen. "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" is not only one of BSS's best songs, it's one of the best songs of this year.

8. The Alternative to Love--Brendan Benson
key track: The Pledge mp3



This one probably won't wind up on many critics "best of" lists, but that doesn't change the fact that I love everything Mr. Benson does. One of the best power-pop songwriters of this generation. I'm willing to bet that the upcoming Raconteurs album (Benson's collaboration with Jack White) will wind up near the top of next year's list.

7. Woman King/In The Reins--Iron & Wine
key track: Woman King mp3




Yeah I know I'm cheating by including both of these as one album, when neither is really an LP (one's an EP, while the other is considered a mini-LP, i think). But I couldn't let the fact that Sam Beam didn't release a full-length this year keep him off my list. Despite their lengths (or lack there of), these are two of the best releases of the year.

6. Feels--Animal Collective



Although I could appreciate it's artistic merits, I wasn't a huge fan of Sung Tongs. A little too chaotic for me. But this album is pure pop bliss. "Grass" and "Did You See The Words" are two of my favorite songs of the year.

5. Silent Alarm--Bloc Party
key track: Banquet mp3



I saw these guys live 3 times this year, and every time they improved on the previous performance. And this reaffirmed the strength of this album to me. Nothing groundbreaking, but really exceptional for what it is.

4. Descended Like Vultures--Rogue Wave
key track: Publish My Love mp3



This album is less immediately loveable and accessible than their debut, Out of the Shadow. It's also more nuanced, fuller, and better. Having a full band suits Zach Rogue well.

3. Apologies To The Queen Mary--Wolf Parade
key track: You Are a Runner mp3



I was almost tired of this band before I even heard their music. I don't usually mind hype (see Sufjan Stevens), but something about all the hoopla rubbed me the wrong way. You know, "the next Arcade Fire" and all that. All I can say is this album rewards repeat listens. I read somewhere that the band described their music as sounding "like burnt toast, or like two pinball machines in a slow motion bareback horserace." Not sure what that means but it fits. The "indie rock" (the genre) album of the year.

2. Takk--Sigur Ros



Ever since I heard the genius that is Ágætis Byrjun, I've been in love with these guys. Slightly less dark and moody than ( ), but equally beautiful.

1. Illinoise--Sufjan Stevens
key track: Chicago mp3



Yeah, I proclaimed this my album of the year quite some time ago, and despite valiant efforts by Sigur Ros, Wolf Parade, and Rogue Wave, that proclamation still stands. An instant classic.

Honorable Mentions and Disclaimer:

I left off some albums that otherwise would have made the list only because even though they were released in the U.S. in '05, they were released in '04 in other countries (namely Stars' Set Yourself On Fire, Dungen's Ta Det Lugnt, and The Go! Team's Thunder, Lightning, Strike).

The next 25 (alphabetical):

13 & God--13 & God
Architecture In Helsinki--In Case We Die
Beck--Guero
Andrew Bird--...& the Mysterious Production of Eggs
Bright Eyes--Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
Vashti Bunyan--Lookaftering
Castanets--First Light's Freeze
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah--Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Jason Collett--Idols of Exile
DangerDoom--The Mouse & The Mask
Deathray Davies--The Kick and the Snare
dios (malos)--dios (malos)
Diplo--Fabric Live 24
Final Fantasy--Has a Good Home
Fruit Bats--Spelled in Bones
Ghosty--Grow Up or Sleep In
Husky Rescue--Country Falls
M83--Before The Dawn Heals Us
Metric--Live It Out
The National--Alligator
Pilotdrift--Water Sphere
The Tah-Dahs--Le Fun
Thee More Shallows--More Deep Cuts
Tim Delaughter--Thumbsucker Original Soundtrack
The White Stripes--Get Behind Me Satan

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Good News for Dallas



From goodrecords.com:

*******************
MOVING SALE
*******************

"Have you heard? Good Records is moving to a new location in Lower Greenville at the first of the year!

Run don't walk. EVERYTHING in the store is 30% off unless already on sale. This does not include tickets or gift certificates. It's like this if--you buy it, we don't have to move it. Shop now for the holidays and before we change our minds."


I'm pretty excited that Good Records is finally moving into a new, and much larger, space. I'm going to buy this album tonight, I think:

Castanets A Song is Not the Song of the World mp3

Also:

I'm going to be posting my rather large Albums of the Year list tomorrow morning. I realize it's a little early, but I figured it's a good time since I won't have much time to post over the Thanksgiving holiday. Check it out if you want.

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Send For Help

"Known for being innovative and fun, they fuse melodic guitars, angular drums and quiet melodies with compelling lyrics perfect for that finely tuned sound which chaperones teenagers during kisses and love. Their sound is armored by energetic rhythm and a distinct taste for sweet choruses...add a touch of Pinback flavor and a dab of Built To Spill and you get Send For Help."
--Zero Magazine


Send For Help

San Francisco is a veritable hotbed right now for bands making pretty, intelligent pop music that, as far as I'm concerned, should be ruling the radio waves. Send For Help is one of these bands. They just recently released their debut EP, but they've already been tapped to open shows in San Francisco for bands like We Are Scientists, Pinback, and Bishop Allen.

This song has been rocking my iPod all morning (and all day yesterday):

Send For Help Burmese Tiger Pit mp3

Buy Send For Help's debut EP from CD Baby for only $5.99

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