Sunday, August 30, 2009

Donuts on a Sunday Morning

My dreams have been oddly vivid of late. First, I imagined that I had lived for a thousand years; nine-hundred and seventy-five of which were spent spiraling into madness by way of a circular logic bug in my technologically enhanced brain. Apres ca, I imagined myself in Occupied France (mon Francais was flawless in this one) meeting all manner of gorgeous women, and killin' Nazis. I killed so many Nazis that I began to feel bad. Good Lord, you're thinking, what does this random bullshit have to do with music? Well sit back, young soldier, and let me count the ways.

1. When you're having oddly vivid dreams, it might just mean that you need to chill out and get some soul in your life. That's what brings me to the blog this morning. I'm reading posts and furiously downloading dope new tunes to get my head right. I've also been listening to Donuts by J Dilla. Let's just say it's working out tremendously. Donuts is a grand album of production. It's progeny can be found on recent albums by Common, Wu-Tang, DOOM, The Roots, and probably countless others that I haven't discovered yet. Short tracks begin organically, build up, loop, switch tempo, and end abruptly when the thought is completed. It's a delicious and deeply satisfying variety of musical tapas.

2. Killing Nazis is an emotionally draining exercise. You will need a soundtrack. For this, I recommend any of these selections:

Mos Def - The Ecstatic - I'll be attending the NY show on Governors Island in mid September.

Nas & DJ Green Lantern - The Nigger Tape - Nas recalls Elizabeth Taylor telling him "...You the Fifth Nigga in the Beatles, You the 10th Nigga in the Wu-Tang". Priceless.

Jel - 10 Seconds - More cool instrumentals. Skills on display below

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Miike Snow

Sorry for the DMX post, I guess my sense of humor is off. Anyhoo, here's some stuff you may have heard of, or saw at Lolla09. Can't stop listening to it - I'd say the best description I can come up with is a mix between Passion Pit, Phoenix and MGMT, who are all similar in the first place so it's not such a genius comparison.

But it's solid stuff, switching from slow drum beats to a techno foray, kind of takes you from wanting to chill to wanting to get up and dance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DMX and The Fluffy White Stuff

Well, I haven't posted anything in a while, so to keep up with my "hip-hop" only updates, here's one of the more solid "you shouldn't do mass quantities of cocaine" PSA's you'll ever see. Courtesy of the one and only DMX, who is currently heading up the Dogfighting Anonymous Club with Mikey V.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist

Proof that good things actually can come out of Wasilla, Alaska

Sometimes we all want to listen to something that's simple and pleasing to the ears, right? Right. I'm not talking about Sarah Palin's speeches here; although she does happen to share a hometown with Portugal. The Man, whose latest release, The Satanic Satanist, came out about three weeks ago. The band also reportedly played a kickin' set at Lolla early in the day Sunday.

Not overly complicated, but extremely pleasant, this album is kind of a throwback to what indie rock used to be: pop that wasn't well known enough to get radio airplay. The vocals are great, the hooks are infectious, and the band is not afraid to explore various musical genres in their songs.

Now it should be noted that the band's previous work is a little more heavy and psychedelic, so perhaps they're trying to direct their sound more into the mainstream, which can be a death knell for a lot of indie bands. But this album works, and I really enjoy it. Their previous releases are good too, but in a different way (check out Censored Colors or Church Mouth to see what I mean). Below are a couple tracks from The Satanic Satanist. You may remember People Say from my Lolla post last week, I really love that song:

Portugal. The Man - People Say
Portugal. The Man - The Sun
Portugal. The Man - The Woods

The band's website
Portugal. The Man on Amazon (You can download People Say for free!)

Some acoustic goodness

Monday, August 10, 2009

wilco (the album)


Play as you read…..

Released just over a month ago, Wilco (The Album) is the seventh studio album from what is right now one of my favorite bands out there. According to Jeff Tweedy (lead singer) Wilco gave themselves more leeway in terms of sculpting the sound in the studio and utilizing overdubs. From a guy who has listened to everything that Wilco has offered I must say that the album couldn’t have been named better. It truly captures the essence of a great American rock and roll band and successfully pulls off something that I think is very difficult for an album to do. It offers a taste of the many different faces of the band, while at the same time remaining a very cohesive work. I have only listened to it twice now, but it really didn’t take any sort of sink-in period; it rocked from the get go.

The first track, Wilco (the song), is a solid offering (again deserving its name) and a very strong kick-off; Track two, Deeper Down, reminds me of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot work; Bull Black Nova (track four) is a really kickin’ song and I would imagine that they will really rock this one in concert. You and I, track five, is the first duet to be featured on a Wilco album, Tweedy teams of with Feist for a really nice track. The closing song “Everlasting Everything” is fantastic, and a classic album closer. Everything else on the album is just Rock. Solid. Wilco.

I’d say that this cd is a must own for any Wilco fan, but I’d also contend that although it is their seventh album, it would be a perfect first Wilco CD for someone to try.

Rock and Roll.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Lollapalooza 2009

Too much rock for one hand
Everyone who's been to Lollapalooza before knows that it is impossible to see everything. It's impossible to see half the bands. You might be able to see a third of it if you tried really hard. But that doesn't matter. There is so much good stuff that you'll always leave happy.

People have complained that this year's lineup doesn't live up to prior years', but in terms of mid-level, all-day talent, I think it's as strong as any year I've attended. Sure the headliners don't live up to last year's Radiohead-Rage-Kanye/NIN monster, but if you were hoping for Coldplay this year, you and I aren't on the same page.

So with that said, here's a whole ton of music that will be featured (it's even chronological!). The bands below represent my personal choices of bands to see. There are many more, and I welcome any additional suggestions.

Hey Champ - Cold Dust Girl
The Gaslight Anthem - Great Expectations
Dark Wave Disco - Trancid GWD Mix
Sound Tribe Sector 9 - Rent
Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood
Thievery Corporation - Cosmic Gate
Andrew Bird - Fake Palindromes
Kings of Leon - Taper Jean Girl

Miike Snow - Animal
Atmosphere - Free or Dead
Arctic Monkeys - Crying Lightning
Santigold - You'll Find a Way Player
TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
Ben Harper and Relentless7 - Keep it Together
Tool - Lateralus

Ra Ra Riot - Dying is Fine
Portugal. The Man - People Say
Cage the Elephant - Ain't No Rest for the Wicked
Dan Deacon - Of the Mountains
Passion Pit - Little Secrets
Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
Jane's Addiction - Just Because

See you out there

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer 2009: Featuring The Hold Steady

The concert after THE Concert

As Ben noted in his post, Phish was the concert of the summer. I was there as well, and it was truly an incredible night at the Valley. Check out the setlist and you'll understand. But Marcus already wrote a stellar guest post about that tour, and we've also had posts about the bands who put on two other great shows I've seen: Grizzly Bear and The Dead Weather (although The Dead Weather post was removed from the site for alleged copyright infringement. Screw that.)

So that brings me to a spectacular Sunday night I had at the Taste of Randolph Street. Sunday shows are inherently different from other shows; you're typically worn out from weekend antics, and rocking your face off isn't really the first thing on your mind (not on my mind anyway). The Sunday of this particular show was the night after Phish, so I was in an even more unusual position. Still riding high on the euphoria from the magical night before, and knowing that there was another show at Alpine Valley that I was missing that night, I set out with a couple of the McGibbons to see The Hold Steady. For those who don't know, The Hold Steady are a rock band from Minneapolis via Brooklyn whose songs are extremely memorable for their storytelling and for the style and antics of lead singer Craig Finn. His talking/singing style isn't for everybody, but their live shows sure are.

Nick and Neelu had been to several of their shows and knew what to expect. I did not. These guys rock. Very hard. Finn is nuts on stage (plus his appearance makes his style all the more impressive), and from what I've heard their set at Randolph Street was relatively tame. They played all their hits, a few of which you can sample below. All in all, it was a fitting end to a rockin' weekend. And the next time I see them, I'll be sure to party to the max rather than hanging back in Sunday mode.

The Hold Steady - Your Little Hoodrat Friend
The Hold Steady - Sequestered in Memphis
The Hold Steady - How a Resurrection Really Feels

The music video for Stuck Between Stations and Stay Positive
The Hold Steady on Amazon

Lollapalooza preview coming soon!