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Thursday, November 30, 2006

more fish



So More Fish is nearly upon us, and someone sent us a copy that we're going to assume is the final product. Upon first listen, it's not quite the masterpiece that Fishscale is, if only because Ghost takes a back seat throughout much of the record. But upon first listen, I was...hyperbole alert...wait for it....absolutely blown away by "Block Rock." This track is just...uh, wow. If I'm not mistaken, it was produced by Madlib, which would make sense, because it's some of the most bizarre, progressive production I've ever heard on a mainstream hip hop track. Get it while it's good:

Ghostface Block Rock mp3

other highly recommended tracks include "Guns 'n Razors," "Ghost is Back," and "Street Opera" (featuring Ghost's son, who apparently is older than he is)

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try to make me go to rehab, i won't go


amy winehouse

I recently discovered Amy Winehouse in the last few days, thanks to the kids over at Discobelle. Ghostface Killah just appeared on a remix of one of her tracks, and on "Rehab" she sounds like Lauryn Hill before she turned wack. On the remix, Hot Chip turns her '60s-style R&B into a typical bouncy, danceable Hot Chip jam. (Sidenote: in light of recent events, I think Britney Spears should totally cover this song on her next record.)

Amy Winehouse Rehab (Hot Chip remix) mp3

Get the track Amy did w/ Ghost over at Discobelle.

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between roof and bird

Over the past few months, I've become quite fond of France's "Toy Fight Collective," a rotating cast of Paris' finest that have at one time or another played in Toy Fight. The newest project to come from this talented collective of musicians is the The Limes, a transatlantic group consisting of Mina Tindle, Orouni, and Toy Fight themselves. This wonderful song was written by Durham's Henry Sparrow, the newest member of the Toy Fight collective/a founding member of the Limes, and from what I can gather, the only one that lives in the states. From Mr. Sparrow himself:

"What we aim to do is to "cover" or finish each others ideas, bringing a fresh approach to the material we are sharing. "Between Roof And Bird" is an excellent example of this, being that they (Toy Fight and Mina Tindle) transformed the song into a beautiful waltz. I am nearly finished with my version of David's (Toy Fight) "Miniature", so pretty soon we will have 2 finished songs. We are very excited about this, and plan on keeping this up until we can, eventually, have an albums worth of material. It's really wonderful, that we have never physically met each other, but have managed to start forging a strong musical relationship. For some reason, we seem to share a very similar musical aesthetic, and we have become good friends, as well."

We're very proud to premiere "Between Roof and Bird," featuring Henry Sparrow's gorgeous melody, brought to life by arrangements from the members of Toy Fight, and vocals by the lovely Ms. Tindle:

The Limes Between Roof and Bird mp3

Henry Sparrow is also currently hard at work on his new album, Love Letters. We'll keep you updated.

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also:

previously from the Toy Fight collective (both highly recommended):

Mina Tindle The Good mp3
Toy Fight Crystal Bass Terror mp3

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SIRIUS Blog Radio Live Session


Dana Falconberry + Red Hunter

Peter and the Wolf and Dana Falconberry stopped by last night for our SIRIUS Blog Radio show. They played a few songs for us in what Red called Garrison's fancy studio, which has incredible acoustics, by the way. Hopefully the intimacy of these two talented artists performing in such a huddled, cozy space comes through in these recordings. I think it does. Download them here and decide for yourself. Oh, the harmonies.

gorilla vs. bear/SIRIUS Blog Radio Live Session mp3s:

Peter and the Wolf Dear Old Robyn
Peter and the Wolf My Grey Overcoat
Peter and the Wolf The Apple Tree

Dana Falconberry Clementine
Dana Falconberry Paper Sailboat

click read more link to view the full playlist from last night's show...



Gorilla vs. Bear/SIRIUS Blog Radio Playlist:

1. joanna newsom--emily
2. st. vincent--these days
3. peter & the wolf--safe travels (mp3)
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Peter and the Wolf + Dana Falconberry Live Session:

4. Peter and the Wolf--Dear Old Robyn (live on SIRIUS)
5. Peter and the Wolf--My Grey Overcoat (live on SIRIUS)
6. Peter and the Wolf--The Apple Tree (live on SIRIUS)
7. Dana Falconberry--Clementine (live on SIRIUS)
8. Dana Falconberry--Paper Sailboat (live on SIRIUS)

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9. Ola Podrida--Cindy
10. Inlets--Pictures of Trees (mp3)
11. Benoit Pioulard--Palimend (mp3)
12. Grizzly Bear--Colorado
13. Dirty Projectors--Two Young Sheeps
14. The Blow--The Big U
15. Hot Chip--Over and Over
16. the Go! Team--Huddle Formation
17. Think About Life--What the Future Might Be
18. Clipse--Trill
19. Ghostface--Jellyfish
20. Stina Nordenstam--Parliament Square (the knife remix)
21. Swan Lake--Widow's Walk
22. Chad VanGaalen--Red Hot Drops
23. Destroyer--Painter in Your Pocket
24. Husky Rescue--Diamonds in the Sky
25. Sigur Ros--Hoppipolla

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

song of the evening



I have no idea who The Boggs are, and to be honest, I only paid any attention to this because it's a Hot Chip remix. Turns out it's a pretty badass song, and it has been posted all over the place. I should probably read more blogs. Ah well, here it is again, in case ya missed it. Check the insane primal drums at the start of the remix.

The Boggs Arm in Arm (Hot Chip Remix) mp3
The Boggs Arm in Arm (extended version) mp3

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Music For Total Chickens Contest!


Rafter

via Asthmatic Kitty.com:

"Perhaps we are jumping on the YouTube shameless self-promotion bandwagon, but why the heck not when we're promoting something that is both pop and lovingly off-kilter as Rafter's Music for Total Chickens (release date: January 23, 2007).

Contestants will be offered four mp3s to choose from off of Rafter's upcoming release, Music for Total Chickens. These mp3s will be posted on various blogs and the Asthmatic Kitty website, contestants will choose one of these mp3s to make a video. Contestants will create and upload their videos to the Rafter Contest Group on YouTube. They will have two months to create and post the video. The contest will run to January 23 and the winners will be announced on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2007. No submissions will be taken after January 23, 2007."

Two $500 cash prizes will be given:

THE QUALITY PRIZE: The first prize will go to the video selected by a panel of "celebrity" judges.
THE QUANTITY PRIZE: The second prize will go to whichever video is the most viewed according to YouTube's statistics.

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Okay, I've seen the list of "celebrity" judges for this thing, and it's probably the craziest list in the history of celebrity judges. So far, one video has been submitted, and trust me, you can beat this guy. Here's his video, and here's the song he used:

Rafter Gentlemen mp3

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yea yeah


Matt & Kim

Matt & Kim recently shot a video for their song "Yea Yeah." According to the band, the video was shot "in one 'here goes nothin!' kinda take." Food fight!

Matt & Kim Yea Yeah mp3

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elsewhere:

Tonight on our SIRIUS Blog Radio show:

Peter and the Wolf and Dana Falconberry are gonna stop by and talk about their new records, and might even play a few songs live here at gorilla vs. bear studios. Don't miss it. You can listen for free at sirius.com if you're not already a SIRIUS subscriber.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

gorilla vs. bear's "how can you not like hip-hop?" mix



This mix is inspired by and dedicated to my good friend Skatterbrain, who claims he doesn't like hip-hop (although he once thought it was really cool to wear his pants backwards. true story). We have eerily similar taste in most other aspects (although he likes twee more than he should), but hip-hop doesn't do anything for him, he says. I know a lot of these are somewhat obvious choices, but remember this is for a kid that is lost and very confused. These aren't necessarily my favorite songs by these artists; instead, they are (according to me) the most inherently likeable songs, and more importantly, songs that I felt would be a good starting point for someone who thinks they don't like hip-hop. Seriously, there's no way you can't like these songs.

A Tribe Called Quest Award Tour mp3
Black Sheep The Choice Is Yours mp3
Camp Lo Luchini (This is it) mp3
Hieroglyphics Classic mp3
Deltron Mastermind mp3
De La Soul A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays mp3
Souls of Mischief '93 til infinity mp3
Pete Rock & CL Smooth T.R.O.Y. mp3

bonus:
Watch the video for "A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays" here

Please help Skatterbrain, and people like him, by leaving your recommendations in the comments...

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charades

P-fork finally got around to reviewing The Shivers' "Beauty," giving it a bunch of stars (thank you, Jessica Suarez). The song originally appeared on the Shivers' (aka Keith Zarriello) 2004 LP Charades, so I figured now would be a great time to revisit the lost/mostly undiscovered classic. "Beauty" is an amazing song, but it only begins to hint at the darker themes of alienation and asexuality/anti-sexuality that permeate throughout the album. No where are these ideas more starkly evident than on this song, which begins with Keith's answering machine messages (including one from his mother), proceeds to explicitly and bluntly explore some thoughts on sexuality from a female's perspective, then inexplicably turns into a cover of Cat Stevens' "The Wind":

The Shivers SoHo Party mp3

bonus:

The Shivers Beauty mp3

Purchase Charades from Outer Borough Records, it'll be the best 10 bucks you spend all day. The Shivers will also be having a CD release party for the new album Phone Calls, which is coming out on Outer Borough Records. From the band:

...This night is not all fun and games. We need your support now more than ever. One of The Shivers is sick and we need your help to help her. Joanne Schornikow, the newest member of The Shivers (piano, vocals) has been hospitalized and we are trying to raise funds to help her. It would mean the wore ould to us if you came out on this night!

Thursday at 9pm at Arlene's Grocery
95 Stanton Street
NYC
F to 2nd Ave.


All the money we take in from the door will be put towards helping Jo, SO PLEASE COME and BRING AS MANY FRIENDS AS YOU HAVE. And this is not some ploy to get you to our show. Thank you all very much and we hope to see you Thursday!

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Monday, November 27, 2006

pictures of trees


Inlets

Inlets is "the bedroom-fidelity recording project of Sebastian Krueger." Sebastian, who also contributes his multi-instrumentalist/falsetto talents to My Brightest Diamond, has just released Vestibule, a FREE digital EP, which can be downloaded here. Vestibule is highly recommended for fans of the fragility of Seven Swans, and Stereogum also recommends it for fans of Beirut or Andrew Bird. Perfect for your wintry listening pleasure. Here are a couple of my favorites from the EP:

Inlets Pictures of Trees mp3
Inlets Decks, Up and Above mp3

Download the EP in handy zip format:

Vestibule .zip (37.1 MB)

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elsewhere:

Just in case you forgot, the Clipse would like to remind you that their album comes out tomorrow.

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ola podrida



Since we last checked in with Austin/Brooklyn's Ola Podrida, they've finished mastering their debut LP, which will be released by Plug Research on March 20, 2007. As we've mentioned before, you might be familiar with the work of Ola Podrida's David Wingo; he's responsible for the beautifully understated scores for All The Real Girls and George Washington. So, it's no surprise that the songs on Ola Podrida are in the same vein: hushed and introspective at times, sweeping and cinematic at others. My first favorite of 2007:

Ola Podrida Jordanna mp3

Listen to more at Ola Podrida's myspace

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elsewhere:

P-fork gives the Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury a 9.1, calling it a "classic" and "one of 2006's finest." A few people correctly guessed 9.1 in our predict the score contest: Joe C., Justin Rands, and K8teebug. Email me with your addresses, and I'll send you your prizes.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

lightness

First official Peter & the Wolf music video, for the title track from their new album, Lightness. Directed and edited by Sound Team's Bill Baird:

(for some reason the embedded video is causing problems in Firefox. view the video here)

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Friday, November 24, 2006

what you don't love, the child won't know

"This record is a tribute to both Eric Dolphy and the bird sounds that mystify not only us, but all others who listen to our world with a different set of ears".
--Connor Bell aka Shedding



I received Shedding's new 3-song record, what god doesn't bless, you won't love; what you don't love, the child won't know, in the mail recently. Now, I have no idea who Shedding is, and I'd likely have dismissed the album altogether if not for a couple of superficial details. First, it's a Hometapes release, and I love those guys; further, the cover art, which I immediately recognized as the work of the wonderful Kathleen Lolley, is everything I love about her distinctive dark, whimsical style.

Well, as it turns out, what god doesn't bless... is an often stunning, if somewhat challenging, collage of avant-garde, decontextualized "micro-sampled" jazz. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't usually have the patience for most experimental jazz (I blame my ADD...any recommendations?), but I found myself wholly entranced by the end of the first track. You can download a track from Hometapes, but it's hardly indicative of how hypnotic the work is when listened to as a whole.

Go ahead and order the CD now, but I'd also recommend going back in January when you can get the vinyl, which I then recommend framing and hanging on your wall. Also, if you like the cover art (pictured above) it couldn't hurt to familiarize yourself with Kathleen Lolley's work.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Peter & the Wolf: Live in Dallas

Peter & the Wolf + Dana Falconberry played last night at Club Dada here in Dallas. Here's a video of the duo performing "The Apple Tree," and some photos from the show:





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elsewhere:

Trouble picking out gifts for your hipster friends? Check out Shots Ring Out's Discerning Hipster Holiday Shopping Guide. I want the Donny Miller book, please.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

shake shake shake


white denim. get it? (photo)

So I've gone on about White Denim quite a bit in the past, and I've decided they're one of those bands where it's really difficult for me to pinpoint what I love about them. At the risk of sounding corny, they have this energy and electricity inextricably woven into their raucous songs that just elicits the kind of visceral, raw excitement that reminds me why I love music. I find their whole aesthetic very intriguing, to be honest, and I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the kind of thing that can be absorbed by listening to an mp3 or two through your busted-ass computer speakers. But, it's all I've got for now. The band sent me a note today to let me know that they'll be releasing a new song every Friday for the next month or so, leading up to their Dallas show on Dec. 16. Here's the first one, via their myspace page:

White Denim shakeshakeshake mp3

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tonight



Peter & the Wolf and sometime P & TW contributor Dana Falconberry are playing tonight at Club Dada here in Dallas. Dana is a Michigan girl, living in Austin, and she recently released her debut solo EP, Paper Sailboat. This song, featuring Patty Griffin on piano, is sung from the perspective of a grieving husband who's wife has passed away. According to Dana:

The song is a portrait of a farmer who's lost his wife. He's left in the fields and can't see anything but rolling hills. He still farms everyday, so he's stuck doing the things he used to do with her, thinking about her, unable to get over her. I wanted a rolling flavor to the music, a kind of spooky, lost feeling.

Dana Falconberry Sadie mp3

You can purchase Dana's six-song Paper Sailboat EP on iTunes.

bonus: (From Peter & the Wolf's Lightness)

Peter & the Wolf Safe Travels mp3
Peter & the Wolf Lightness mp3

p.s. Almost forgot, Peter and the Wolf will be playing a free instore at Good Records at 6:00 PM.

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elsewhere:

Stephen Malkmus has announced some early-2007 U.S. tour dates which can be seen here. What they don't tell you is that St. Vincent will be opening the San Francisco date on January 5th.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

this deserves its own post...



Required reading: Pfork interview with Joanna Newsom, in which she discusses working with Van Dyke Parks and some of the underlying themes of Ys.

also:


Ys

I just picked up Ys on vinyl over at Good, and this thing sure is pretty. It's a double-vinyl, complete with gatefold sleeve with a lyric book attached to the inner spine. Highly recommended, pick one up if you can.

Joanna Newsom Emily (live) mp3

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surprise surprise


Love is All's Josephine Olausson

Year-end list preview: Love Is All's Nine Times That Same Song is going to be in our top 5. I realize it came out in '05 overseas, but we picked up our copy from the band at this year's SXSW festival, and it wasn't released in the U.S. until late March '06. It's an incredibly likeable (if a bit too short) collection of lo-fi, poppy post-punk that recalls a more loveable, less angry version of girl-fronted late '70s punk bands like X-Ray Spex and the Slits. Anyway, we figured that now'd be a good time to revisit the more straight-forward bubblegum pop of Love Is All frontwoman Josephine Olausson's less spastic but equally jubilant former band, Girlfrendo. Here's a track from their 1999 album, Surprise! Surprise! It's Girlfrendo:

Girlfrendo First Kiss Feelings vs. Everyday Sensations

Bonus mp3s: (from Love is All's website):

Love is All Talk Talk Talk
Love is All Motorboat
Love is All Felt Tip (demo)

watch the video for Love is All's "Make Out, Fall Out, Make Up" here.

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elsewhere:


Beach House's Victoria Legrand

There was a slight chill in the air Saturday night, which made the Amsterdam Bar's backyard the ideal setting for the warmth of Beach House's dreamy, autumnal pop. The band's set covered most of their gorgeous self-titled debut, and they mixed in a new song or two as well. The duo couldn't have been nicer, and I think everyone in attendance is now in love with Victoria. Thanks to C.J. for putting this show together, and to the Spores and Over the Atlantic for their great sets. Click read more link to view more photos...




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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Beach House Tonight



The more I listen to Beach House's hauntingly beautiful debut (every night lately), the closer it moves to the top of my year-end best albums list. Should be a great show tonight at the Amsterdam, please come out and join us. Only $5.

Beach House Apple Orchard mp3

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Head over to the Yellow Stereo to read an excellent write up on the band, and download three more songs while you're there.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

go blue. please.



So with my Tigers bowing out of the World Series in less than impressive fashion, I now have yet another opportunity to get my hopes up only to have my heart broken tomorrow afternoon, as #2 Michigan puts its national title hopes on the line against top-ranked Ohio State. To add to the drama, Bo Schembechler died this afternoon. No question this will motivate them, but it can only add to the already immense pressure. As with the Tigers, no one expected Michigan to be here at this point. But that's little consolation if they lose. Don't blow this, Michigan.

Here's an appropriate Sufjan vinyl-only B-side:

Sufjan Stevens Wolverine mp3

In one of the best blog posts ever, Mgoblog writes about tomorrow's game and Schembechler's death, set to the sounds of Sufjan Stevens' "Seven Swans."

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2005 Revisited

So with 2006 year-end lists coming up (and seriously, who doesn't love year-end lists? That was a hypothetical question, anonymous guy) my friend Garrison and I decided to revisit our choices for top albums of 2005, and re-rank them according solely to which 2005 albums we've listened to most this year. You might think this is a pointless exercise, and you would mostly be right. But we were bored today, so back off. If we learned one thing from this little activity, it's that we're both extremely fickle, and we both suck at year-end lists.




First, Chris' original 2005 top 5:

5. Bloc Party--Silent Alarm
4. Rogue Wave--Descended Like Vultures
3. Wolf Parade--Apologies to the Queen Mary
2. Sigur Ros--Takk
1. Sufjan Stevens--Illinoise

Chris' revised Top 5 of 2005: (with last year's rank in parentheses:)

5. Broken Social Scene--BSS (9)
4. M.I.A.--Arular (13)
3. Tapes 'n Tapes--The Loon (15)
2. Wolf Parade--Apologies to the Queen Mary (3)
1. Sufjan Stevens--Illinoise (1)

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Garrison says...

I guess I was unaware of what music would have longevity. Looking back, I over-ranked many records (ed. note: that's what bloggers do, man). Soon after posting my list in early December '05, I was recommended a couple bands that would strongly direct my musical taste for 2006 (TnT & Page France).

Garrison's Original 2005 Top 5:

5. Ryan Adams--Jacksonville City Nights
4. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah--CYHSY
3. The Octopus Project--One Ten Hundred Thousand Million
2. Sufjan Stevens--Illinoise
1. The Decemberists--Picaresque

Garrison's Revised 2005 Top 5: (again, last year's rank in parentheses)

5. The Decemberists--Picaresque (1)
4. Feist--Let It Die (unranked)
3. Tapes 'n Tapes--The Loon (unranked)
2. Page France--Hello, Dear Wind (unranked)
1. Ryan Adams--Jacksonville City Nights (5)

If you are new to Planet Blog, here are some downloads from our favorite records of 2005:

mp3:
Tapes 'n Tapes Omaha
The Decemberists The Engine Driver
Wolf Parade Shine a Light
Sufjan Casimir Pulaski Day
Octopus Project The Adjustor
CYHSY Over and Over Again
Page France Junkyard

So, did your favorite records of 2005 stand the test of time? Has anyone listened to CYHSY this year? Anyone?

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elsewhere:

TV on the Radio stopped by AOL's The Interface. They played "Young Liars," which automatically makes this worth downloading:

TV on the Radio
Live on the Interface mp3 (41.7 mb)

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Islands at Good


islands

Good news for people that don't want to drive out to Denton tonight: Islands are playing an in-store at Good Records today at 2 PM. Bad time, I know, but free beer.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

free Prototypes EP



We've declared our love for the "shit-kicking electropunk" stylings of France's Prototypes a couple times here on GvB, and now our friends from Minty Fresh are offering up the full Je Ne Te Connais Pas EP for free! Now would be a good time to check this band out if you missed them the first time around:

mp3:
Prototypes Je Ne Te Connais Pas


download the full Je Ne Te Connais Pas EP at Minty Fresh's newly redesigned website by clicking on the "Stimuli" section

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Peter & the Wolf Live Session



Peter & the Wolf recently stopped by Detroit radio show Cloak & Dagger to record a live session/interview, which the station has made available for download. The session includes quite a few songs from Lightness, as well as the band's cover of "My Girl":

Peter & the Wolf Cloak & Dagger Live Session .zip (54.4 mb)

In other Peter & the Wolf news, the band will be playing tonight at Mohawk in Austin. Red will have some hand-drawn t-shirts for sale at the show. Each shirt is unique; drawn individually on American Apparel Ts by Red Hunter with permanent ink. View the shirt and the entire setlist of the radio show after the jump...


Peter & the Wolf t-shirt

Cloak & Dagger Radio Session setlist:

01. Dear Old Robyn [take 1]
02. Dear Old Robyn [take 2]
03. My Grey Overcoat
04. New Song
05. Red Sun
06. Silent Movies [take 1]
07. My Girl
08. Sail Me Out Into The Ocean
09. Silent Movies [take 2]
10. Beards
11. Fiends
12. Sweaty Palms

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get sad with motown



Quarterbar (also a member of the Jim Yoshii Pileup) has remixed what he calls some of the "sadder Motown classics," complete with "acoustic guitar, synth, and beats." Some of these work better than others, but it's an interesting "indie" interpretation of some of these classics:

mp3s: Quarterbar Gets Sad With Motown:

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles The Tracks of My Tears
The Supremes Where Did Our Love Go?

Download a couple more here. Make sure to check out "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted."

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elsewhere:

Our friends over at We Shot J.R. recently interviewed Beach House, who will be rolling through Dallas on Saturday night. Read the interview here.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

hip hop album of the year?



So we've heard 6 tracks from Hell Hath No Fury (out Nov. 28), and not one of them has a weakness. Even the one with Pharrell singing the hook ("New World") kicks ass. XXL has already basically anointed it an instant classic, and some Pfork dude hinted that it may be the "hip hop album of the year" in what, by our standards, has been a stellar year for hip hop. Personally, I think it'll be tough to top Fishscale, but we'll see. And indie bands take note: this thing comes out in two weeks and it still hasn't leaked yet in its entirety. UPDATE: oops, nevermind. it leaked today. thanks josh.

Anyway, without further ado, it's Contest Time: Predict the Pfork rating for Hell Hath No Fury in the comments. Winner gets a big-ass box of some of the cooler promo stuff we've received lately, including, but not limited to: the Decemberists' The Crane Wife (on vinyl!), the new Hold Steady, the new My Morning Jacket double live album Okonokos, the Knife's self-titled debut, and more.

For the record, we're guessing it gets a 10.11. You can hear a few songs from Hell Hath No Fury on the Clipse's myspace page. Watch the video for "Mr. Me Too" here.

UPDATE: Download two songs from the album at Spine Magazine.

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elsewhere:

Information Leafblower has posted their list of the Top 40 Bands in America: 2006 Edition, as voted upon by a bunch of bloggers (based on posting frequency). Most of my choices didn't make the top 40, but it's still a pretty interesting read.

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long long long

Today, our friend Garrison Reid offers up his thoughts on the surprisingly awesome upcoming Beatles/Cirque Du Soleil production, LOVE:



A while back I heard renowned Beatles producer George Martin and his son Giles on NPR talking about LOVE, the production/soundtrack that merges Cirque du Soleil with the Beatles. The coupling is a powerhouse: arguably the best producer ever teaming up with an immensely successful global entertainment company.

The full record will be released on November 21 and yet, the press has only received a 4 song sampler. Entrusted with the legacy of one of the most seminal bands ever, George Martin did not stray from the original songs as much as I had expected. LOVE is rather a collage of songs and manipulations of timing and vocal phrasing. From the sampler alone, I'm impressed. Although I am not an avid Beatles fan, it's quite possible that I have listened to them more this year alone than the rest of my life combined.

Lately I've been frequently listening to the Beatles' later albums (Revolver, Sgt. Peppers, The White Album, Yellow Submarine and Abbey Road), 5 records that were released start to finish in just over three years. It blows my mind to think that the short existence of the Beatles (10 years) is 11 years less than that of Guided By Voices, 2 less than The Stone Roses, and just as long as Pavement.

There are songs that I've heard hundreds of times and loved with each listen and others that only now resonate with me. One of those songs is "Long Long Long" from off the Beatles' self-titled "white album." A short song that seems to exist under the shadow of other hits, "Long Long Long" is soft, mournful and appears designed for the Elliott Smiths out there (who covered it live). "So many tears I was searching / So many tears I was wasting." It's one of those songs that will make you hurt with each listen, but you that you'll put on repeat regardless.

You only have to wait a little under a week for the release of LOVE. While you're attentively waiting, we'll offer you this amazing cover recorded by Low. It's available on their rarities box set, and it ranks up there as one of my favorite Beatles covers.

MP3: Low - Long Long Long
eCard: The Beatles - LOVE snippets

For those who have heard LOVE, what do you think of it? Sacrilegious? Blasphemous? Enjoyable? Refreshing?

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Hot Chip


Hot Chip

Head over to Hot Chip's myspace page to check out a laid-back, bouncy new track, apparently from their upcoming 2007 DFA release Shot Down In Flames. No mp3 just yet, but we liked the song (entitled "I Became A Volunteer") so much, we made it our myspace profile jam.

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elsewhere:

It's been a little while since we've heard from your boy Austin LaRoche (my fault, not his), but he's finally back with his latest column. As always, Austin's views do not necessarily reflect those of gorilla vs. bear, but we love him anyway:

More Randomonium
By: Austin LaRoche

I've now scratched 3 columns this week because my head's all over the place, and it's been too long since I saw you guys last, so let's fire out another edition of Randomonium and talk a little indie music, eh?

Click read more link to continue reading Austin's column...

1. Year end lists are coming up! Woohoo! There's nothing quite like the end-of-the-year lists in my mind. Everyone arguing over which album was the best, pretending that a remix of a Britney Spears song is the "single of the year," and letting the world know who their "band that you haven't heard of who is secretly the best in the world" is. But list-ers beware, you tend to overlook January and February albums. Destroyer and Cat Power are the two that come to mind this year. Bright Eyes fell victim to this last year (more on this in a bit) and The Shins will probably deal with it in 2007.

2. So I've devoted a lot of time recently to trying to come up with my favorite 90s adult contemporary song. At first, I thought it would be "Hey Jealousy" in a landslide. In fact, I think the whole thing started when I heard "Hey Jealousy" at a bar and thought to myself, "wow, is there any adult contemporary rock song from the 90s I enjoy more than this?" As the night went on and I kept flipping through the jukebox, I found another contender in the New Radicals classic, "You Get What You Give." Right now, I'm leaning towards the Radicals, but that could change any minute. (High five to myself: first guy to ever debate the Gin Blossoms and the New Radicals on an indie blog!)


3. I've taken a bit of time from the MP3 Blog scene. I left for awhile because people just wanted to post 3-4 bands a day regardless of how good they were and every band was a combination of 3 awesome bands in their descriptions, however, they ended up all sounding more mediocre than Death Cab. The parody has gotten ridiculous. And I'm not saying I could do any better, if I was giving 20-50 bands a chance each day, I'd want to post about 3 or 4 decent ones just because I went through such an effort. I'm not blaming bloggers, especially because a lot of them have reacted to the parody by posting more rarities, remixes, and covers from acts that truly deserve hype rather then try to pretend they're into bands that don't totally suck.


4. Speaking of MP3 blogs, one of the first I ever went to and easily in my Top 3 Favorites, My Old Kentucky Blog, has the best feature going right now. After the NFL weekend, Dodge posts an MP3 that describes how the game went. For instance, after Drew Brees amazing performance this week for New Orleans, he used the song Modern Day Saint by Via Audio to describe what the main theme of that game was. The first time I saw him do this, I said to myself, "Damn I wish I woulda thought of that." I still can't believe he's got it going every week, he knows his music well. Unfortunately for him as a football fan, he's a Peyton Manning Guy, which means he hates the month of January. (And yes, that little Manning--jab was only put in there because he responded to my The 10 Saddest Songs I've Ever Heard article by saying, "great post, Adam." Adam? Ouch! )


5. Could someone inform me to on what the annual "overplayed radio
song that indie kids love to call their 'guilty pleasure' song" of 2006 is? I mean, Kelly Clarkson and "Since You've Been Gone" won that category in a landslide last year, but I think 2006 may be more competitive. Justin Timberlake is always good for a guilty pleasure indie-kid admission, and something tells me The Fray might be up there as well. Meredith Grey and Derek Sheppard can make the hippest of hipster enjoy The Fray. Wait, what? Me? You think The Fray are my guilty pleasure pick because of those goobers? No way. It's actually because of Dr. Bailey and Alex. (I have a girlfriend, it's in the bylaws of the modern relationship.)

6. Great email from one of my favorite readers, Mr. Adam Gerber...

Hey man,

You know how the NBA played "This is how a heart breaks" as their theme music to the 2005 playoffs? And then they had some equally annoying crap for 2006? Well, after watching the playoffs for various sports, I have determined that somebody needs to take over these music choices. That somebody should be you. Take a column on GvB, or a piece of a column to pick an indie song for each of the most recent finals match-ups in the 4 major sports (or whatever sports you like, world cup?). You can even add a degree of difficulty by making it a song that was released in the year before the finals. just a thought... also, this is obviously a big bill simmons gripe, but he is unequiped to rise to the challenge of fixing this problem. You have the power.

(Note to any fans who'd like to see their name in a column: flatter me like this guy. You say stuff like this, you're in there. I swear, I'm that easy.)

I could have made a whole column out of this, but why bother when the response is too predictable...

"This is a music site! Write about MUSIC!"

"You don't know your head from your ass about sports!"

"If there was anyone in the world who knew less about music than you,
I would have him castrated!"

So instead, I'll do 2006 theme music for the BCS Championship, the Super Bowl, March Madness, the NBA Finals, and the World Series and see if more championship years can be addressed in the future.

A few quick things to know about theme music for these things--you really only need about 5-10 seconds of each song, what the song is about really doesn't matter just the snippet you use, and Tom Petty, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Rob Thomas have all had themes to these events, so Adam is right when he says we need a change.

Okay, so putting myself back in time to the moment just before these championships, here's what I would have played as a TV executive, had I had the power...

BCS Championship: USC vs. Texas

The Themes: Offensive shootout, Who's better: Leinart or Young? Can anyone stop Reggie Bush?

Song Choice: Kings of Leon--"King of the Rodeo"
Key Lyric: "Let the good times roll, let the good times roll" and interchange it will "Good time to roll on" each commercial break.

Reasoning: It's a fun, catchy rocker. You've got the Texas/Rodeo tie-in, and just like expected, it certainly was a shootout.


The Super Bowl: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Themes: Two clutch defenses, unproven QBs, Cowher's second taste, Holmgren's return to the big dance, and don't forget the NFL centering the game around the Steelers beating an unbeatable Peyton Manning.

Song Choice: Maximo Park--"Apply Some Pressure"
Key Lyric: "I'd like to wait to see how things work out…if you apply some pressure" interchanged with "the every dare is part of what consumes me, the hit I deal, is part of what fuels me."

Reasoning: Because when two crappy teams face off on a stage so big, you know it's going to be a sloppy game where the turnovers decide everything, so the defenses become so important. I think this would have been catchy enough for the modern sports fan to enjoy as well. Something that would make them say, "hey, who sings that? I want to download it?"


March Madness

The Themes: Same as every year, you don't have a clue what's going to happen. This year had no dominate team, and about 20 of them actually had a chance to win the championship, it just depended on who got hot at the right time.

Song Choice: Spoon--"The Way We Get By"

Key Lyric: You guessed it, "that's the way we get by, the way we get by..."

Reasoning: The team that wins March Madness fights for every loose ball, plays scrappy as hell, and is always the team that wants it more. "That's the way they get by, the way they get by, the way..."


The NBA Finals: Miami vs. Dallas

The Themes: Dallas finally gets in, aging Miami vets last stand, emergence of D-Wade as the best in the game, Avery Johnson being the first woman coach to bring her team to the Finals (that's a joke for you non-sports fans, there aren't women coaches in the NBA.)

Song Choice: Wilco--"Nothingsevergonnastandinmywayagain"

Key Lyrics: "Nothing's ever gonna stand in, nothing's ever, gonna stand in my, nothing's ever, gonna stand in my way, again..." (You see, sports fans need things to be quite literal. This is why "Running Down a Dream" was the theme this year.)

(Note: This would be a hip-hop song if I did know my head from my ass when it came to hip-hop. So hip-hop fans, help me out here. I don't think Jay-Z wants to hear Wilco when he's watching the NBA finals.)

Reasoning: In a series where one team (Dallas) finally pulled a 1991 Bulls/Pistons move and got past the Spurs that had been holding them back for years, and another team (Miami) had 5 guys a combined 874 years old, both teams could relate to the chorus of this song, in two completely different ways.


World Series: St. Louis vs. Detroit

Song – The Walkmen--"The Rat"

How is it the most corrupt sport of them all was the one that got it
right this year? Unbelievable.

And finally, to sum up the 2006 Sports Champions, thanks for a year where every champion would have gotten beat by another team in the league 8 out of 10 times in a championship series. Fluke year. If your team won a title this year, you should feel very lucky. Let's hope 2007 will be better to us sports fans.

(Note: I know we could go further on this subject and if you're reading this and thinking "wow, I could have done that SOOOO much better," go ahead and leave your ideas in your comments. I'm really interested in this topic and I'd like to hear other ideas on the matter. Maybe we can pass some around and get a vote going next week or something.)



7. I found an old Rolling Stone with The Strokes on the cover (issue935) that made me remember reason 9,754 why I don't like them. Aside from being obnoxious and a bigger mimbo than Keanu Reeves, Julian Casablancas said in his interview, "Doing heroin is like walking around with a terrorist as your friend...It's like taking a terrorist around to parties," he continues. "You never know when it's going to blow up on you."

My name's Julian Casablancas. People call me Julian Casablancas.

8. So let's see, I've just told every sports champion there team is no good, talked crap about the Strokes. Um…anyone still around? Sorry we had to let bitter Austin out today, it's getting cold up here in Chicago, must be seasonal depression. And on a funny note, I've given up on weekday fashion. I'm tired of doing so much laundry, so during the weekdays, I'm just changing my underwear, socks, and t-shirt, and wearing my athletic pants and FSU hoodie everyday to walk around in. I have an awesome girlfriend, a great job, and amazing friends...I'm done having to impress people in life. It's like that time George Costanza decided he was just going to wear velvet...only I'm a real person. So if you see some guy walking around North Chicago with grey Adidas pants, a red hoodie that says "Seminoles" and a smoking hot ass, you'll know it's me.


9. Is there a more enigmatic indie character than Bright Eyes when it comes to the media? Few bloggers put Conor on their year-end list last year (the whole January release quandary) and the only national publication that had him ranked high was Rolling Stone. Not even one of Pitchfork's Top 50. But then, at the 2005 Plug Awards, Conor won Artist of the Year as well as Song of the Year, When the "President Talks to God". Now, I'm in the "Bright Eyes is an underrated genius" camp. I thought I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning was classic and a surefire Top Five album last year. But I feel like he's one of these artists that people are weary to say they like (add him to the list with Ryan Adams, The Killers, and Coldplay) but he's also undeniably one of the best songwriters around at the same time. So, if you've been wanting to admit you like Bright Eyes and you needed someone to relate to because he really gets no media attention, you can know your good buddy, Austin thinks he's damn good.


10. Borders is evil. Borders used to be my favorite place in the world. In fact, Rachael and I chose where we would live based on where the Borders was located (true story). Not only have they been gracious enough to let me sit on their extremely comfortable chairs for the past five years while I spent afternoons reading magazines, but they had the best Chai Tea in the world. I thought that I loved Chai. In fact, I really don't, I had my Chai cherry popped by Borders, and like a loyal customer, I didn't really stray elsewhere for it. Well, the assholes at Borders sold their café to Seattle's Best recently, and decided they were not going to give them the Chai recipe nor sell their delicious Chai from the can, either. I thought I could live in cold city because of that Chai. What am I supposed to do now, wear long underwear? Become a coffee guy? Absolutely not. I'm going to give all the local places ONE shot with the Chai, and then re-evaluate it come December. In the meantime, it's Barnes and Noble for my weekly magazine afternoon.


11. Is anyone else cracking up at the pathetic spite Pitchfork is giving the blogs? The tagline for their Cold War Kids review said "Sound Team, Birdmonster, now these guys--bloggers, raise your standards!" Wow, seems they aren't taking to the whole "everyone checks blogs for the latest bands these days instead of Pitchfork" situation. Hey fellas, get over it. You had a good run. You can always claim The Arcade Fire if it helps, but don't hate on bands because they get blogged about. That means the indie audience thinks the band is good. When you continually tell this audience that their favorite acts aren't to your standards, they eventually stop caring about you. And I don't want that to happen, then you won't be able to throw the festival this year. So sack up and start rating bands on the quality of their album, not the fact that you didn't find them first.

12. I got the new Shins album. If I were them, I would demand to be released from their label. The album is not bad by any means, in fact, I quite like it, however, I don't think it's going to do well with a January release date because there isn't a killer single that will bring the fans in. I'm interested in seeing how the album does critically. They take chances, sometimes they pull it off, not so much other times. I will say this though--a good Shins album is still better than almost every album out there. Hope you guys notice it when it comes out in January and you're in a post-Christmas state of depression freezing your ass off waiting for Spring Break. Man, I need to control this anger. I'm just a little pissed that one of my favorite bands is letting morons from their label hurt their careers. Oh well, maybe if they change Rachel Bilson's life this season on The OC the album will sell well.

13. Borat = Amazing. Don't think you're too cool for this movie because every frat guy in American is going to love it, too. Get over it, laugh your ass off, and enjoy your ethnicity/race/gender being offended at its finest.

14. Modest Mouse has a cool mini-tour going on this month with L.A.
and NYC dates. I'm hoping you cool bloggers can possibly get some MP3s of these. I'm incredibly intrigued by the idea of Johnny Marr and Isaac Brock together. I really don't think the press made enough of a big deal about this union. This is where I always argue the music media needs to be like the sports media--overrate everything and drive so much hyperbole into their reporting that it stirs up fans and gets people constantly arguing. I mean, if ESPN was covering this, well, it would be a little different...

Stu Scott: Yo dawg, we got a mad analysis about the Marr signing from ESPN's very own, Sal Palentonio. Sal Pal, what are you hearing down there in Modest Mouse camp?

Sal: Stu, sources say Marr is EXTREMELY close to signing with the
band. He's jammed out at their facility all week and his agent said he feels VERY comfortable with Modest Mouse.

Stu: Sal, what's the dealio with Modest Mouse's lead singer and
driving force, Isaac Brock, what's that brotha thinking about all this?

Sal: Sources are telling me it was ACTUALLY Brock who started the
negotiations last winter. They ran into each other at a London restaurant, and it became apparent that the two need to collaborate in some way.

Stu: When can we realistically see this deal go down? Are we talking hours, days, weeks? C'mon, help a brotha out?

Sal (fake giggle): Keep your phone on, Stu, we could be talking MINUTES.

Stu: HOLLA!!! And how does Franz Ferdinand feel about this? We knew
they were DESPERATELY making a run at Marr this winter. Do they even have a prayer?

Sal: At this point Stu, I'd be shocked if all of Franz nation wasn't
just sobbing. I mean, is there a more TORTURED fan base out there than the poor Franz Ferdinand fans. The curse of the Austrian Prince still haunts them to this day.

Stu: Any chance, Franz, ya know, tries to up the ante and go after
Morrissey as a "BOOYA!" to Marr and Modest Mouse?

Sal: I'm being told from reliable sources that Franz Ferdinand is
EXTREMELY satisfied with Alex Kapranos as their lead singer, but is possibly trying to work out a deal where Morrissey could come in and play a song or two at next year's Lollapalooza with the band.

Stu: Yo, you heard it here, first. Stay true, Sal Pal...

15. And that wraps up this week's edition. I apologize for the gaps in between columns, if I was a paid writer and did this for a living, then maybe I could spit out a few more columns. But I'd rather not rush them, I'd rather make them better and less often than half-assed, you know? I think I say this every week by the way. As always, any column ideas, questions, or any of that you all may have can be directed to me at AustinLaRoche@gmail.com. Take care everyone, see ya soon...

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Ratatat vs. Mouse on Mars


Lex 12"

Ratatat are currently globetrotting over in Japan or Australia or somewhere, but they will return to the U.S. in late November to start a tour with The Faint and Steve Aoki (aka DJ Kid Millionaire) The band did find time, however, to release the 12" single for "Lex," one off the best songs of their latest LP, Classics. The 12" contains an unreleased b-side ("Truman"), as well as this remix by Mouse on Mars:

mp3:
Ratatat Lex (Mouse on Mars remix)


buy the Lex 12" from insound for only 4 bucks. Here are the complete tour dates:

TUES, NOV. 28: DENVER, Co.; OGDEN THEATER w/ The Faint
FRI, DEC. 1: BELLINGHAM, WA; WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
SAT, DEC. 2: SEATTLE, WA; SHOWBOX w/ The Faint
SUN, DEC. 3: PORTLAND, OR; ROSELAND w/ The Faint
TUES, DEC. 5: SAN FRANCISCO, CA; MEZZANINE w/ The Faint
WED, DEC. 6: SAN DIEGO, CA; FOURTH AND B w/ The Faint, DJ Kid Millionaire
THURS, DEC. 7: LOS ANGELES, CA; HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM w/The Faint, Ladytron, DJ Kid Millionaire
FRI, DEC. 8: LONG BEACH, CA; THE VAULT w/ The Faint, DJ Kid Millionaire
SAT, DEC. 9: LAS VEGAS, NV; ART BAR - HEADLINING
TUES, DEC. 12: AUSTIN, TX; LA ZONA ROSA w/ The Faint
WED, DEC. 13: HOUSTON, TX; WAREHOUSE LIVE w/ The Faint

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elsewhere:



We've been nominated for two Plug Independent Music Awards, but we're not going to suggest you vote us "Music Blog of the Year" (that would just be shameless). We think it would be a lot funnier if Gerard won, anyway. We will, however, beg for your vote on behalf of our Blog Radio show on SIRIUS, which was nominated in the "Specialty Show of the Year (Commercial Radio)" category. Go here to cast yr votes.

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st. vincent: "these days"


St. Vincent in Barcelona (photo by Oscar Garcia)

Have we mentioned that St. Vincent is touring in Europe right now with Sufjan Stevens? Well, as we expected, she's been a huge hit. The lucky European showgoers have been blessed with a 3-song, tour-only EP, containing "Paris is Burning," a brand new song ("What Me Worry") and a cover of one of my favorite songs of all time.

Originally written by Jackson Browne for Nico, St. Vincent makes "These Days" her own on this wistfully beautiful cover. The nature of Nico's version, that of a post-VU drug addict, has been in some sense cleansed; what's left is this crisp, vibrant version which still exists fully in the original's melancholy. St. Vincent emotionally exposes herself to the listener, and her vulnerability will make your heart ache:

St. Vincent These Days mp3

If you find yourself in Oslo, go see St. Vincent play tonight. If not, go make friends with St. Vincent here

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it was machines. and emotions.

Mute Records has generously brought both The Knife's 2001 self-titled debut and their classic 2003 album Deep Cuts to America. The self-titled reissue is pretty straight forward, but the deluxe CD/DVD edition of Deep Cuts includes 6 bonus tracks, and a DVD packed with 6 of the band's videos (including "Heartbeats") and When I Found The Knife, an amazingly creepy shortfilm narrated by a Donnie Darko-style rabbit. The rabbit likes the Knife so much, he gives the masked monkeys a record deal...um, just watch this clip of the film on YouTube, and you should be able to get the idea. I can assure you that the the DVD alone is definitely worth the purchase price. Mute's website says they both were released in the U.S. on Oct. 31, but that both are "not available for sale," so I'm not sure where you can buy the U.S. version of the release.

mp3:

The Knife You Make Me Like Charity
(from Deep Cuts)

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more videos:

watch the video for "You Take My Breath Away" from Deep Cuts
watch the video for "NY Hotel" from The Knife
watch the even darker "sequel" When I Found The Knife Again

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Monday, November 13, 2006

plastic little and ghostface



Plastic Little's debut LP She's Mature finally drops on November 17, but you can order the CD/DVD now here. To say I'm pleasantly surprised by this record would be an understatement. I'm not generally a fan of jokey rap (like, at all), and this definitely almost crosses over into that territory at times. But the beats are so uniformly sick throughout that I can't get over it, and the Plastic Little MCs can flow, and they are often genuinely hilarious. She's Mature features guest spots by Spank Rock, Amanda Blank, Hollertronix DJs Diplo and Low Bee, and on this track, my favorite MC in the world right now:

mp3:
Plastic Little Crambodia feat. Ghostface Killah

buy it now. highly recommended for fans of Spank Rock, Hollertronix, or any BMore stuff.

Bonus:

Plastic Little DJ Low Budget's Immaturity Remix mp3

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songs

"Imagine if Scott Walker met The Dramatics, and you've only got part of the picture"--Dusty Groove on Songs



I read about Rotary Connection in the latest issue of The Fader (the one with the beautiful Charlotte Gainsbourg on the cover), and I was intrigued by the mag's description of the '60s psych-soul-jazz-folk collective. The band was the brainchild of the great Charles Stepney, whom The Fader calls "an evil fucking genius." Songs is a record of cover songs, produced and recorded by Stepney, and featuring the great Minnie Riperton on vocals on most tracks. Dusty Groove called this "some of the most godlike soul music to be recorded on this planet..." Originally released in 1969, the LP has lodged itself into my iPod's most played list over the last couple days.

You're no doubt familiar with The Band's classic "The Weight," but you've never heard it the way it's reinterpreted in this stunning cover.

mp3:
Rotary Connection The Weight (The Band cover)

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elsewhere:


Sound Team on Daytrotter

The always great Daytrotter.com invited our friends in Sound Team to stop by for their latest Daytrotter Session. Songs ensued. Download them here. While you're over there, read the excellent "A Week With Joanna Newsom's Ys" progressive review.

Finally, the new Deerhoof record, Friend Opportunity, has leaked, and the thing has some incredible songs. I've never been a huge Deerhoof fan, but "Matchbook Seeks Maniac" is pretty genius. Mr. Skatterbrain has a different track for your downloading pleasure.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

music by friends



Jonah (aka YACHT) of The Blow recently completed a new mix for French National Radio. The mix includes tracks by the Dirty Projectors, Girl Talk, and two sweet previously unreleased Blow remixes, so get to downloading:

mp3:
YACHT Music By Friends For the Radio in France (84 MB)

p.s. You can view the entire tracklist here

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bonus: The Blow Pile of Gold mp3

I think pretty much everyone loves The Blow's Paper Television. Along with it and releases by Hot Chip, CSS, Ratatat, and more, it's been a pretty great year for dance records that sort of blur the line between electronic music and indie rock. What's been your favorite hybrid party record of the year so far?

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grizzly bear gets robbed



Grizzly Bear, one of my favorite new bands and the creators of one of the best records of 2006, has cancelled their current European tour. A note from the band:

I have the worst news.

Firstly, Daniel's father is very very ill and we had been debating for some time cutting the tour short so he could be with his family. But last night, the final straw happened, our Van was robbed and much of our gear and personal belongings were stolen while in Brussels.

It's with a very very very sad face that I have to announce we are cancelling our last 12 shows. We were really looking forward to them all so much. We will surely be back sometime in 2007, once we can replace all the stolen instruments and Daniel has had time to be with his father


What's with the current disturbing rash of indie bands getting their shit jacked? If you criminals must rob a tour bus, make it Nickelback's or something.

Grizzly Bear On a Neck, On a Spit mp3

Support the band by purchasing copies of Yellow House for yourself and all of your friends and family. Buy it at Insound and get 15% off using discount code grizzlydiscount

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

springtime can kill you



The lovely Jolie Holland is playing tonight here in town, along with (the even lovelier?) Bosque Brown. Great bill, perfect venue, highly recommended, etc. Why was the newest Jolie Holland record so overlooked by most people (myself included) in blog-land? It's totally worth a second listen:

mp3:
Jolie Holland Crazy Dreams
Jolie Holland Springtime Can Kill You

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p.s. I'd like to thank the eight or so anonymous commenters who were so genuinely concerned about my recent trip to L.A. I can assure you there was no selling out going on, as that would imply that I am obligated to give something in return. For anyone that knows me, it's obvious that would never happen. Full disclosure after the jump, you nosy bastards...


I got to meet Lady Sov at the Zune Party. I'm a total sellout (photo)

So, Microsoft flew me (along with a few other bloggers) out to L.A. for the Zune launch party. The sole reason we were involved at all was that the Microsoft dudes wanted our input. We are/were under NO obligation to mention the damn thing at all here on our stupid little blogs. I told them my honest opinion about the player, and that I wouldn't be buying one or recommending that my readers buy one. Hopefully they'll go back to the drawing board and work out the obvious kinks that have already been pointed out in real journalistic outlets like the New York Times and Forbes. If you snarky little anonymous kids think I'd ever allow anything other than my own taste to dictate the content on my site, you're sorely mistaken. To be completely honest, I spent maybe an hour of my four day trip talking about the Zune. The rest was spent hanging with my friends, wandering in awe around Amoeba, and eating at In-n-Out. If the handful of you that care still have any unanswered questions, feel free to email me anytime before jumping to conclusions.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Nevada City, California

Around the time Chris's Austin mixtape posted, he and I began discussing city scenes and debating the varying community of each. Austin, Portland, Brooklyn, Chicago ... we got your responses.

One scene I kept thinking about and discussing with Chris is Nevada City, California. The small town (pop. 3,001) came to be thanks to the 1850s gold rush, and the town has been said to be "swarming with artists and hippies and old prospectors." Swarming. It's best known by Joanna Newsom, the author of that quote as well as two amazing Drag City records.

After listening to Nevada City/Grass Valley artists for a multiple hours, the list was whittled down to these five (in no particular order).


Alela Diane

pFork track-reviewed Alela Diane Wednesday. The bloggish-webzine described "The Rifle", saying "the strategic reticence, however, gives the song its particular power as it demands repeat listens."

Just a few weeks back, the Nevada City-native, Portland-transplant re-released The Pirate's Gospel on Portland's Holocene Music label. Chris posted his thoughts on "Pieces of String" back in September, but it's so excellent I'll share it again.

MP3: Alela Diane - Pieces of String


Mariee Sioux
Of all these artists, Mariee Sioux most resembles Newsom: active picking/plucking, distinct tempo shifts and lyrical content with great imagery which borders on the metaphysical.

In this song, much like many on The Milk-Eyed Mender, Mariee Sioux seems to have more lyrics to sing than time will allow. The race to have all words in the desired phrase is one of the refreshing characteristics of a young songwriter.

MP3: Mariee Sioux - Buried In Teeth


Casual Fog
This song's percussion intro reminds me of "Jaan Pehechaan Ho" or another notable world music song. The percussion bed provides the song stablity. It's as though vocal harmonies, guitar solos and the song's overall melody weaves into that percussion - sometimes exposed, but most often muted into the song's fabric.

The band will be playing at Cafe Utah in San Francisco tomorrow night.

MP3: Casual Fog - Little Diamond


Kings And Queens
Throughout Devendra Banhart's Cripple Crow, there are guitar tones that I find alluring, from first listen still to today. The October 2005 show proved to me that these weren't studio tricks. Guitarist/producer Noah Georgeson (read below) can duplicate them live. Tracing back Georgeson's musical career led me to the currently paused/defunct band The Pleased (which included Georgeson and Newsom) and their incredible record, Don't Make Things.

That in turn led me to Kings and Queens. Noah and Rich Good share more than just a previous band on their resume; both artists have a passion for crisp 70s guitar tones.

I also have an appreciation for musicians that have an artistic eye. Rich Good seems to also have a designer's eye - all of Kings and Queens' graphics are well shot/designed and he's also the layout designer for Newsom's newest release.

MP3: Kings And Queens - King's Theme


Lee Bob
Listening to political music during campaign season is so trite. Listening days after elections isn't.

In addition to his contribution to Kings and Queens, Lee Bob (Watson) is behind Santa Cruz Gospel Choir: War Danzon::, a protest album recorded in San Francisco, the only place for legitimate protest.

In what might the be most applicable lyrical phrase I've heard in a contemporary protest song, Watson mutters, "If we forsake our liberty/For some semblance of security/We become our own enemy."

MP3: Lee Bob - Air Strike Remedy


I'm sure there are many more that I have overlooked. I could do this weekly and probably have enough quality artists for months. Are there any you've found that should be noted?

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Related
pFork continues their effort to promote the Nevada City artists this week. In addition to the Alela Diane track review, they've announced there will be a solo release from producer extraordinaire Noah Georgeson titled Find Shelter. Coincidentally, his record will share the same release date as his former The Pleased member and roomie Joanna Newsom. If you haven't heard Ys yet, it won't let you down. [Edit: It seems the Find Shelter release date has been changed. Georgeson's MySpace has the release date as November 28th. ]

MySpaceMp3: Noah Georgeson - "Find Shelter"

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