Sunday, January 31, 2010

Concert Tuesday Night

(image via The Mad Mackeral)

Concert Tuesday night 2/2 at the Villanova House on 802 Villanova Dr. There's gonna be three bands, Ohioan (New Mexico), Weaver (Portland), and Dead Western Trio (Sacramento).
Ohioan has as really trippy psychedelic folk country thing going with a big horn section (which they unfortunately don't appear to bring with them on tour). I'd say they remind me of The Builders & The Butchers more than anyone else, but still different from them. I'm really digging them, so expect a full post in the near future.
Here is their Myspace, here is a video of them live, and here is one of their more mellow tracks:
Open Road - Ohioan

Weaver has a very similar sound, but without quite the same mystical atmosphere, and a little more down to earth folk/country sound. Their Myspace is here, and if you like what you hear, you can download their album free here.

Dead Western Trio is from Sac, and they're pretty good if you can get past the bizzare vocals. Myspace.

Judging from what I've heard, I'm gonna declare this a can't miss concert. Ohioan has one of the most unique and interesting sounds I've heard in a while, and Weaver is very solid. I think the two of them are gonna make a killer one-two punch. Get down there if you get the chance.

Facebook Event page for those interested.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Back Soon

Sorry about the lack of posts, I've been spending a lot of time working on a more article length type thing for, and I haven't really found any music that excites me the past few days. I'll be back soon, most likely tomorrow. If like folk music even the slightest bit and you haven't listened to Superwolf by Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Matt Sweeny, do it, its one of the most amazing things you'll ever hear.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Defense of the Mash-up

Last night I discovered this article regarding genre hype in the past decade. It's a hilarious look back, I'd highly suggest giving it a read. Anyway, one of the genres it lambasted was mash-ups, which I have long been a fan of, so I decided to write a post in their defense. To be clear, there's a lot of really bad mash-ups out there, it takes true talent to make a good mash-up, but it's really cool when done right. Unfortunately, this isn't terribly common. I've sorted through literally thousands of mash-ups in search of good ones, and ended up with a playlist of 28 songs. But those 28 are awesome.

Some ingeniously thread two songs together, like "I Got More Than a Feeling", a mash-up of the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and Boston's "More Than a Feeling". It is truly the best last dance of the night song out there. It's got all the nostalgia and emotion of the original Boston song, but with the beat and catchieness of the Black Eyed Peas. Another fantastic one in this category is "Somebody Told Me To Feel Good" (The Killers vs. Gorillaz). The two songs trade verses over a background formed by a melding of the two. I love it far more than either of the original songs, which to me is the sign of a truly great mash-up.

Some just lay the vocals from one song over the instrumentals of another, and sometimes thats all it takes. "Papa Was a Clock" lays the vocals of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" (The Temptations) over the piano riff and ambiance of "Clocks" (Coldplay). Again, better than either of the originals.

They're a bit hard to find, but good mash-ups exist out there, and man are they worth the look.

I Got More Than a Feeling - Boston vs. Black Eyed Peas
Somebody Told Me To Feel Good - Gorillaz vs. The Killers
Papa Was a Clock - Temptations vs. Coldplay

A post I made back before the blog was really a blog, has links to some more great mash-ups.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Video for "The High Road", by Broken Bells

I've been debating for a while whether to post about the Broken Bells, the team of Dangermouse and James Mercer. It's a good recipe, James Mercer has a great voice, and is a great songwriter, and Dangermouse is pretty consistently awesome. I missed the leak, so all I have are the two sample tracks, "The High Road" and "Vaporize". "The High Road" is by far my favorite, and when I saw that they had released a video (via I Guess I'm Floating, awesome blog), I decided to post. The video is cool, it doesn't really tell a story so much as it just sets a mood. It's definitely intriguing, and it makes the song more interesting, which is really what a music video should do. Check it out.

The High Road

Broken Bells | MySpace Music Videos

The High Road - Broken Bells

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tiesto featuring Tegan and Sara

I like some ambient electronic music, but I always love it when I find some electronic music with a great melody. Even better when that melody is given to you buy someone with pipes as good as Tegan and Sara. It's a very good song, catchy, and the accompanying video is awesome. The visual effects remind me of a combination of Tron and the Visualizer thing on the old versions of iTunes. Complements the song nicely.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Transference Review

My favorite description of Transference comes from Jim DeRogatis of the Sound Opinions radio show. He described it as "a road trip record", and it's very true, listening to Transference feels like a road trip. Most of the songs have a strong feeling of forward motion, and this feeling really defines the record.

One of the notable exceptions to this is the album opener, "Before Destruction", which despite not really fitting in with the rest of the album, feels like a prelude rather than feeling out of place. It has a very organic feeling acoustic guitar, which combines with some very spacey vocal effects with very good results. The trip really kicks off with "Is Love Forever?", which introduces the forward motion element, and features a pretty killer guitar hook.

"The Mystery Zone" really reminds me of some of the songs from Wilco's latest album, particularly "Bull Black Nova". The next four songs, "Who Makes Your Money", "Written in Reverse", "I Saw the Light", and "Trouble Comes Running" form the core of both the album and the journey, and keep the propulsive feel strong. "Who Makes Your Money" and "I Saw the Light" both break down into jams over a simple 8th note bass line, which fits the tone of the album perfectly.

"Goodnight Laura" slows things way down, which at first really catches you off guard. It's the first song since "Before Destruction" that is lacking that drive, and its off-putting at first. However, it's a really great song, and after a minute or so it convinces you that yes, it is meant to be there. "Out Goes the Light" keeps things slow, but gets you back on the road.

"Got Nuffin" kicks things back into gear for a final push, and with "Nobody Gets Me But You", you have arrived, and with a really fantastic closer.

I cannot overstate how much I love this album. I think back to my favorite albums of 2009, and this trumps all of them, its that good. It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite track, they are all so good, and they all seem to serve a very specific purpose within the context of the album. As a sample, I guess I will go with "Written In Reverse", as it is relatively indicative of the album's feel. If you don't like it, don't be dissuaded though, I didn't like the song either until I heard it as a part of the album. That's really the bottom line, this is a fantastic album, and it should be enjoyed as an album.
Written In Reverse - Spoon

Stream the album here.

Amazon MP3 ($2 less than it is on iTunes)

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Freelance Whales track!

(image via WOXY)

New track from Freelance Whales, purveyors of the most beautiful folktronica around today. It's called "Rise & Shine", and it's much more acoustic than the material on Weathervanes, no synths that I was able to detect. It has a great get-up-and-go feel to it, and I can definitely foresee waking up to this song for the next couple of days. It's not quite as jaw-droppingly beautiful as some of the songs on Weathervanes, but well worth your listen. The song was recorded live on Austin radio station WOXY. They also played 4 songs from Weathervanes, including "Generator ^ 2nd Floor", one of my top tracks of 2009, so be sure to check it out.
Rise & Shine (Live at WOXY) - Freelance Whales

And by the way, I have a review of Transference, the new Spoon album, coming pretty soon. I really like it, I'm just trying to decide exactly what it is I like about it.
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Friday, January 22, 2010


Today I hit a major milestone in the life of this young blog of mine: I got my first band submission. Even better, it's really good. Without any further self-congratulation, I give you Hands, formerly of Philadelphia and now in LA. They have a new single coming out 2/26 on Headphonica called "Hold". It's a very strong track, combining an ethereal cinematic background, mesmerizing vocals, and powerful tribal drumming. It also has very thick vocal harmonies and some mandolin, both of which I'm a total sucker for. This may sound like something you've heard before, but I highly encourage you to check it out, as the end effect is very mesmerizing and enjoyable. They also sent me a couple tracks from their 2008 EP, Cities. The song "Shadows" very much reminds me of Freelance Whales, with is combination of dense synths and banjo. Not quite as good as "Hold", but still very strong.
Hold - Hands
Shadows - Hands
No tour dates on their Myspace, but when they do head out on tour, hopefully they'll hit Northern California, or better yet Davis, because I would love to see them.
Check out their Myspace for even more good stuff.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

African Music Exploration: Bookor Band and Group Doueh

(picture via Sublime Frequencies)

Got some miscellaneous tracks for you today. First, Onukpa Shawarpo, by the Bokoor Band. It comes to us from the Afro-Rock, Vol. 1 compiliaiton from Evolver Entertainment. Very bluesy, complete with some sweet harmonica as the main instrument. The Bokoor Band was a large Ghanaian collective with a constantly shifting line-up. It was founded in 1971 by British emigrant John Collins and a Ghanaian friend, Robert Buckley."Later on, in the 80s and 90s, Collins would transform his father’s farmhouse into Bokoor Studio and record over 200 local acts, creating an invaluable record of post-independence popular music in Ghana." More of their music can be found on the album Bokoor Beats.
Onukpa Shawarpo - Bokoor Band

Second, the song Wanzan Samat, by Group Doueh, on their album, Guitar Music of the Western Sahara (yes, it is their album, not a compilation), on Sublime Frequencies. According to the label's webiste,
"Group Doueh play raw and unfiltered Saharawi music from the former colonial Spanish outpost of the Western Sahara. Doueh (pronounced “Doo-way”) is their leader and a master of the electric guitar. He’s been performing since he was a child playing in many groups before finally creating his own in the 1980’s."
There is definitely some very strong guitar playing on this track, and with a very unique sound. Take a listen.
Wanzan Samat - Group Doueh
Buy the album and read more about the group here. The vinyl appears to be sold out, but you can still download.

Click a label for related posts. To see all the posts in my series about African music, go here. I would particularly suggest my post about the band Tinariwen.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New OK Go video

I don't know much about OK Go, and I haven't really heard much of their music in the past, but this music video is genius. Good song too.
Update: After 4 more views, I have concluded that this is the greatest music video ever, and a fantastic song. Even cooler, the audio was recorded live as they were shooting the video, so there's no pantomiming going on. The album version of the song features a much more typical rock instrumentation, and isn't quite as good as this video version. Also, that's the Notre Dame marching band, in case you were curious. Original song appears on OK Go's new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky.
This Too Shall Pass (Live video version feat. Notre Dame Marching Band) - OK Go

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Contra Review

(image via Laughing Squid)

One week after its release, I have for you my review of Contra, the new Vampire Weekend album. On first listen, I was not at all impressed. The sound was definitely a departure from their first album (except for "Holiday", which sounds almost exactly like "A-Punk"). None of the songs stuck out as being that great, and it was just generally not very exciting or engaging. However, with a few subsequent listens I started to form a different opinion.

I maintain my original impression that with the exception of "Cousins" and perhaps "White Sky", none of the songs particularly stick out. This is a major difference from their self-titled debut, on which basically all of the tracks were individually fantastic. Despite this, after a second listen, Contra begins to show some worth as an album, and over time some interesting tracks do begin to emerge. With a few more, you begin to realize that Contra is in fact an extremely enjoyable album with some very solid songs. I personally am particularly fond of "Giving Up the Gun" and "Diplomat's Son".

Overall verdit: Its definitely a grower, and if you're gonna get any of it, just buy the album, its not nearly as enjoyable in pieces. Give it a try whether you liked the debut or not.

If you want to give the album a listen (or two) before throwing down the cash, you can stream the album here.

Giving Up the Gun - Vampire Weekend

Amazon Mp3
Other Options

Monday, January 18, 2010

Live Review: South China

Last night, South China played a show at The Greenhouse, on J street. Right off the bat, let me say, it was a fantastic show. I was really needing some live music, and South China really hit the spot. The first word that comes to mind to describe them is mellow. Their music isn't always sad, but it is always very mellow. There was nothing complicated about their msuic, but they did have the two key ingredients of good folk music: beautifully written songs, and amazing voices.

South China are Jeremy and Jerusha Robinson, a couple from Biddeford, Maine. Last spring, they gave up their apartment, and they've been on the road all around the US playing shows ever since. She plays keyboard and cello and does the main vocals, and he plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar, accordion, and provides backing vocals. The cello was plucked as often as it was bowed, which created a very cool effect, and really gave some extra oomph when she did start to bow.

I had intended to take video of one of their songs, but to tell the truth, I was too entranced by their performance to remember to. I did buy their album, so I have a track for you off of that. They've still got some dates on their Myspace, so if they're coming near you, I would highly suggest going, the put on a good show.

Partridge In a Pear Tree - South China
The record doesn't quite do the show justice, but its still good stuff.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

African Music Exploration: Tinariwen

Tinariwen are a band hailing from Northern Mali, and belong to an ethic group known as the Tuareg people, a nomadic group that lives in the Sahara Desert. They've been going since 1979, but really started to gain attention worldwide in the past decade. They have a very bluesy sounding guitar style, but apparently "the Tinariwen guitar style was actually born in relative isolation and has its roots in the rich musical heartlands of West Africa, specifically along the great 'bend' of the Niger river, between Timbuktu and Gao." At any rate, their sound is a great fusion of that African blues guitar and a very native African sound. The vocals are presumably in Tamajaq, the Tuareg language. For your sampling pleasure, I present two tracks from their 2009 album, Imidiwan. "Lulla" has a very tribal sound, and a very celebratory mood, with some call and response chorus vocals and background shouts. There is a great guitar groove that is present in a lot of their music really driving the song forward. "Chegret" takes that same groove, but slows it down into a minor key dirge that shuffles along. Another highly recommended track from the album is "Tenhert", which shows off their bluesy side.
Lulla - Tinariwen
Chegret - Tinariwen

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Concert Tomorrow Night

Folk concert tomorrow night at The Greenhouse, on 928 J. Street(right near Holmes). Features 3 bands, Glass Cake, (Michelle Shofet) from Berkeley, CA, South China of Biddeford, Maine, and A Good Pillow, from right here in Davis. They're all have a pretty mellow folk sound, and they all seem pretty good, particularly South China. Should be a good time. Starts 8pm.
South China
Glass Cake
A Good Pillow

Facebook Events Page

Dum Dum Girls

The Dum Dum Girls have a sound I wish I liked more. The fuzzed out, spacey, almost trance like sound really seems to be everywhere these days. Despite not being a big fan in general, I find that the genre has its highlights, and the Dum Dum Girls are definitely one. The single, "Jail La La" is from their upcoming album, I Will Be, due out March 30, on Sub Pop Records. It starts off strong, but really kicks into high gear at around 50 seconds when some fantastic vocal harmonies start up. They were coming to Davis, but I guess it fell through, as any mention of the show as disappeared. Oh well.
Jail La La - Dum Dum Girls

Friday, January 15, 2010

Vampire Weekend Remix

(Picture via Austin Town Hall)

Well, today was slated to be my review of Contra, the new Vampire Weekend album, but I haven't been able to really form an opinion on it. It's not particularly exciting on first listen, but I feel like it could very well grow on me. I'm going to really sit down with it this weekend, and hopefully I'll have a review for you pretty soon. As a replacement, here is a really cool remix of "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance", done by Miike Snow. I've heard quite a few Vampire Weekend Remixes, and I think this has to be my favorite.
The Kids Don't Stand a Chance (Miike Snow remix) - Vampire Weekend

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

African Music Exploration, Pt. 2: K. Frimpong and his Cubano Fiestas

For the second entry of our African music exploration, I bring to you K. Frimpong and his Cubano Fiestas. Information on them is scarce, but what I can tell you is that Alhaji K. Frimpong was a Ghanaian highlife singer, and that he passed away in October 2005. As to whether his Cubano Fiestas are actually Cuban, I'm not sure. He is best known for the song Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu, which appears on several compilations, including the previously mentioned Ghana Special from Soundaway Records. The song is a blend of latin jazz and African rhythms, with the Ghanaian highlife vocals sprinkled on top. There is a great underlying groove driving the song forward, and some awesome latin sounding horn solos. Highly recommended.
Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu - K. Frimpong and his Cubano Fiestas

Click here for earlier African Music Exploration features.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Little Bird - Eels

(picture via Eels website)

New Eels album, End Times comes out 1/19. It was recorded mostly on a 4-track in frontman Mark Oliver Everett's basement. According to the Eels website, End Times is an album about divorce, but also about "the state of the desperate times we live in. The bottom line-ness of it all. The end of common decency. The loss of caring about doing a good job." The sample track, "Little Bird", has a feeling of sadness and apathy, and a very raw sound, in line with the recording method. Somehow the rasp in the singer's voice really pushes the emotion in a way that really heightens it. Only 6 months after their last album, Hombre Lobo, and in a completely different direction. Impressive, but more importantly, beautiful.
Little Bird - Eels

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Morning Jacket cover archive

Check out the My Morning Jacket cover archive on You Ain't No Picasso, a favorite blog of mine. There are some really fantastic covers on there. A few personal favorites: Peaceful Easy Feeling, Up on Cripple Creek, and Rocket Man (Jim solo), but seriously, check them all out.

Morning Benders Album Incoming!

And now for the most exciting piece of news to come out so far this year: The Morning Benders have given us a taste of their upcoming album, Big Echo! I am a huge Morning Benders fan, and they are one of the few bands I have seen live twice. I saw them once at the Coffee House in our fine city of Davis, and once more recently at this year's Outside Lands. At the Outside Lands show they played almost entirely new material, only "Waiting for the War" and "Patient Patient" from the first album. What I heard I loved, and this track "Promises" further confirms that. In a world where so many second albums really don't live up, I have very high hopes for Big Echo. "Promises" definitely has a different feel from most of the songs on Talking Through Tin Cans, and I from what I heard at the concert, so do most of the new songs. I love the percussion, and Chris's vocals are as great as ever. Take a listen for yourself:
Promises - The Morning Benders
They have a bunch of US tour dates on their Myspace. If they're coming to your area, I'd highly suggest you go, they put on a very good show. Album drops March 9th.

Contra, early and cheap!

Quick bit of news. On Amazon MP3's daily deal for today is Contra, the new Vampire Weekend album a day early, and only $3.99. The low price is usually only in effect for 1 day, so move fast!
Update: Price still low!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

African Music Exploration

(Picture via Dreams in Audio)

The news about the Next Stop...Soweto compilation launched me into a full fledged hunt for good African music, spanning most of the past weekend. I've decided to share the fruits of my hunting interspersed throughout the next couple of weeks, mixed in with the usual fare. To kick it off, I have two songs from the Ghana Special compilation from Soundway Records. Akoko Ba is a fantastic piece of afro-beat jazz, with a very funky rhythm and some great horn solos and vocals. Kai Wawa has a much more traditional feel, though still with some pretty heavy jazz influences. Both great tracks.
Akoko Ba - Gyedu-blay Ambolley & His Creations
Kai Wawa - The Mercury Dance Band
(I stress again that these mp3s are for sampling only, if you like it, please support the guys who tracking down and then digging through mountains of rare vinyl to bring this to you)

What was I thinking? (Easy - Pure Ecstasy)

Pure Ecstasy - Easy [part 1 of 3] from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Wow, talk about chance missed. Friday night, I was at a house show downtown. The first act finished, and I decided to head home, I'm not really sure why. The next act? These guys. Needless to say, after seeing that, I seriously regret leaving. I think the smoke filled garage that the concert was in would have been the perfect venue for this kind of spacey jamming, and it would have been a hell of an experience. Oh well. Check out the video and MP3, it's damn good stuff.
Easy - Pure Ecstasy

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Returning Readers?

I'm beginning to distrust the statistics program I'm using. It shows that I haven't had any returning visitors, and yet, it tells me that several IP addresses have had "several visits spread over multiple days". So if you're a returning reader, do you think you could put down a quick comment, just so I know? Thanks. Also, if you have the time, any thoughts on the new header?

Next Stop... Soweto

(Strut Records)

More posts from my African music exploration.

For someone like myself who is on an intermittent quest to find good South African jive music, the news that Strut Records is releasing a "three-part series exploring underground South African music during the late ‘60s and ‘70s" is very good news. Having recently read "Kaffir Boy", an account of life in apartheid South Africa right around that time period, I was disappointed to find a lack of availability of this kind of music. Major kudos to Duncan Brooker and Francis Goodling for providing "several years of painstaking research and vinyl archaeology in South Africa" so that we may reap in the results. Volume 1, which highlights the Mbaqanga (township jive) scene comes out February 1st for CD and digital download, with a volume 2 and 3 covering more "SA soul, funk & Hammond R&B and the country’s rich jazz scene" to follow later this spring and summer. Count me in for all 3.
Here's the opening track of volume 1:
I Sivenoe - Melotone Sisters with Amagola Band

(News and mp3 via GvB, info and quotes via Strut Records.)

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Jack White Related News!

(Picture: MTV)

As anyone who knows me knows very well, I worship Jack White and everything he does (including The Dead Weather, which I know a lot of Jack White fans didn't like). For that reason, I was thrilled to see on You Ain't No Picasso that Jack White had told Rolling Stone that he would be most likely putting out a solo record "Eventually, yeah, for sure." With anyone else, I think that would be too vague to excite me, but with him, even the slightest hint of new material is enough to get me worked up. When asked whether a solo album would mean he was playing all the instruments, he replied
"Maybe so. I've never done that. I thought about that. That might be the challenge — to differentiate from anything else that I've done....That would be the thing for me to do... think about a solo record. I wouldn't know until I get there."

Personally, I think that would be pretty sweet.
Whole Interview
You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do as Your Told) - The White Stripes
Ball and a Biscuit (live VH1) - The White Stripes (Youtube link)
Level (Video version) - Raconteurs (Youtube)
Treat Me Like Your Mother - The Dead Weather
Will There Be Enough Water (live at Outside Lands) - The Dead Weather (Youtube, I was like 10 feet away from this guy! Awesome show, and this was for sure the highlight)

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mean Everything To Nothing

I know that this too is kinda old news, but I feel like I have to catch up on some of the really cool stuff that happened before I started the blog.

So, Mean Everything To Nothing was the album released last year by Manchester Orchestra, and definitely one of my favorite albums of the year. Not only is the music great, but they had the fantastic idea to film a series of short films, one for each song, which when viewed in order form a very loose narrative. I watched it, and it is extremely well done. The story follows the character "Elaine". It begins with her escaping from a mental hospital, and follows her journey, interspersed with occasional footage of the band.

At the beginning of the first video, the words "past present and future, they are all the same" appear on screen. This is very telling of the tone of the videos, where reality, imagination, past, present, future, all blend together. The filmmakers did a very good job of making the music and the video mesh together very well, and all her "memories" are so well done, they manage to make me nostalgic for a world and time I never experienced.

As for the actual music, it's a very solid album, good indie rock, at times venturing into some screamo territory. Normally I hate screamo, but it's not too overt, and very well done, so it's not a problem. One of the ways I like to judge music is by how much it makes me feel, and this music definitely does well in that area. The emotion is very intense, and very well conveyed by the songwriting. Sometimes you wish it would let up a bit more often, as it does with "I Can Feel a Hot One", but that's not a major concern.

I've read complaints about the singer's voice, and I can definitely see how some people could find it annoying, as it does have a kind of whiny, high pitched quality to it, but I have no problems.

Overall verdict, very solid album. It starts out very well, drags a bit in the middle, but then picks up again towards the end. The films are definitely meant to go with the music, they wouldn't have a whole lot of value without it. Together, the videos really heighten the experience of listening to the album, and add a very unique dimension that wouldn't have been there otherwise. I highly recommend both the album and the videos.

Two places to watch. On this website, they have all 11 videos with comments from the directors under each one explaining whats going on, which is really cool. However, there's occasional Sony ads, as well as other videos on the page which automatically start playing, both of which are very annoying.
As an alternative, they have all the videos on this Youtube playlist, which I'm pretty sure is ad free.

Also, in a fantastic coincidence, today's daily deal on Amazong MP3 is this very album, so for today only, head here to download the whole album for $2.99.
Update: It's over, but the album is still only $7.99, not bad at all.
And finally, if you don't want to sit through the videos, here are a few musical highlights from the album:
The Only One - Manchester Orchestra
I Can Feel a Hot One - Manchester Orhcestra
I've Got Friends - Manchester Orchestra

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quick Post: Zion I and some more Blakroc

Heavy homework load tonight, so just a couple quick MP3s.

A fantastic track from Zion I, the band I almost got to see play this coming Sunday (damn 18+ concerts). They're performing with a full live band too, which I totally love, so I'm very sad to miss it.
Don't Lose Your Head - Zion I

And just because I love Blakroc so much, here is another track.
Done Did It (feat. NOE and Nicole Wray) - Blakroc

Monday, January 4, 2010

One week until Contra, two weeks until Transference

There are some great Tuesdays coming up. Next Tuesday, 1/12, we get the release of Vampire Weekends sophomore album, Contra! (XL Recordings) As an extra treat, the band is already streaming the entire album on their Myspace. I haven't listened to it yet, since I don't want to hear the album until I can have it. However, I have heard "Cousins", "Horchata", and "White Sky", and I've definitely liked all of them, so I'm expecting good things.
Horchata - Vampire Weekend
White Sky - Vampire Weekend
Where to pre-order:
Amazon MP3
CD or Vinyl

As if that wasn't enough, the Tuesday after that (1/19) brings us the new Spoon album, Transference!! (Merge Records) Spoon has a very special place in my heart, as they, more than any other band, are responsible for bringing me out of my classic rock shell. They showed me that there is good contemporary music, and it's called indie, so I've got a lot to thank them for. That, combined with the fact that Spoon is unfailingly excellent has me very excited for Transference. Even further, 2009's "Got Nuffin-EP" was amazing, and I noticed that "Got Nuffin" has shown up on the album. There's another track from the album bouncing around the internets, called "Written In Reverse". I gave it a listen, and I'm not terribly intrigued by it, but I'm not letting that dampen my expectations of the album as a whole. I'm very psyched.
Written in Reverse - Spoon
Got Nuffin' - Spoon
Where to pre-order:
CD or Vinyl
Nothing on Amazon MP3

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jessica - Avi Buffalo

The Avi Buffalo single "What's In It For?" got quite a bit of buzz a while back, so I figured I'd give it a listen. Personally, I'd have to say I prefer the B-side, Jessica. It is a beautiful melody, and very well sung. The sparse instrumentation really helps convey the emotion, and the background noise that runs through the whole song gives it a very unique feel. There's something about it that is extremely powerful, in a very understated way.
Stream it on their Ilike page, but you really should just buy it. If you must have a free download, here's the version they played on Daytrotter, which isn't really quite as good as the one on the single.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy

I know this is pretty much old news, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Bonnie “Prince” Billy and absolutely loving it. Will Oldham is the man behind the pseudonym, and he has been making music since the early 90s.

It was brought to my attention by the posting of “Death to Everyone”, a track from his live album, Funtown Comedown, on Aquarium Drunkard , a favorite blog of mine. I loved it, and fairly quickly proceeded to download the album Superwolf, a collaboration with Matt Sweeney. It is an absolutely superb album, and if you are at all a fan of folk music, you pretty much need it. I'm a big fan of the sparse way they use electric guitar in a lot of the tracks, and I'm always a sucker for good vocal harmonies.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy is an amazing songwriter, fantastic lyricist, and above all has a voice that is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Check him out.
Death to Everyone (live) - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Beware Your Only Friend - Bonnie "Prince" Billy (from his 2009 release, Beware
Amazon Mp3

Saturday, January 2, 2010


My first stab at making a mixtape, and I think it turned out pretty well. There's no theme, just a bunch of good songs I thought flowed well.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

For now it will take the form of a playlist, but let me know if you would like to download it. Also, comment if the embedded player is annoying, and would rather I just post a link.

Flagrant omission from my best of the year list

Young Hearts Spark Fire - Japandroids
When I'm feeling tired and apathetic, this song speaks to me in a way that no other song can. The driving fuzzy guitar and surreal sounding fuzzy vocals draw you into a kind of numb state of mind, along with the pounding drums and soaring screams. The lyric "we used to dream/now we worry about dying/I don't want to worry about dying/I just want to worry about sunshine girls" completes it. Can't believe I forgot about it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Local Boy - Nat Lefkoff

I present to you DHS's very own Nat Lefkoff. I know him pretty well from lacrosse, and I found out a little while back that he is an amazing folk singer-songwriter. I'm completely obsessed, and I've already been to a show (he's just as good live). His guitar is rock-solid, the songwriting is fantastic, and his voice is amazing. The level of emotion that is in his music uncommon, and elevates it far beyond just his technical skills. I will say without a doubt he is the most talented musician attending DHS. He is gonna go places.
Rained In - Nat Lefkoff
Redlights - Nat Lefkoff
Maggie's Song - Nat Lefkoff
Dances (Live at KDVS) - Nat Lefkoff

Update: Yeah, he goes to Da Vinci, not DHS. All other points stand.

Check out his Myspace for even more awesome songs.

Free Energy - Free Energy

I cannot stop listening to this song. One of the catchiest songs I've heard in a while. The combo of the guitar riff and cowbell at the beginning sucks you right in, and the song holds you the whole way. And I always love it when bands use their name as a song title.
Free Energy - Free Energy

Some Upcoming concerts

Firstly, tomorrow, some Davis bands (HS kids) are playing over in Mace Ranch.
I'm definitely gonna try to get out there, but I'm not sure how my day is gonna shape up yet.

Second, next Friday, 1/8.
Looks like it's gonna be a good show, some folk/alt-country, and some spacey shoegazy type stuff.

Saturday, 1/23. Great sounding shoegaze.
Dum Dum Girls
Venue and other bands are still pending, so hopefully it gets pulled off. I'll make further mention of that one.

Saturday, 2/13. Aaron Godwater (decent, folk guy) and Nat Lefkoff (he doesnt know it, but I'm his groupie, thats how good he is).
Aaron Godwater
Nat Lefkoff

Last, Friday, 2/19. Jazz show. TCS Building (UC Davis), 8pm.
Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway.