Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Songs of the week: 9/30/08

I don't know what it is, but I just can't get out of this jazz funk...I promise, only one jazz tune this week, courtesy of Miles Davis and the 6 hour Cellar Door Sessions.

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

songs of the week #6

1. Directions - Miles Davis
2. Soon We'll Be Found - Sia (I posted a link to this video last week, because I've really been digging it...check it out, son)
3. He Say, She Say - Lupe Fiasco (I'm still a bit sad that I missed him when he came to Albany, especially since my roommate says that he kills live. I guess I'll have to settle for Lupe on tape)
4. Trojan Horse - Bloc Party (Standout track from Bloc Party's standout new album - a review is in the works, I promise)
5. All That I Had - The Paper And The Plane (I started listening to these guys from Australia last year, and have been trying desperately to get my hands on their new album - wish me luck)

Friday, September 26, 2008


You are sitting on the steps in front of a tower of dormitories you've never seen before. It's cold, but not cold, the mercury settling at that temperate chill, not yet warranting a winter coat, but enough to rattle your bones. Your breath hangs in the air - or is that smoke?- as you inhale desperately on the butt of a cigar past its prime, gasping for dear tobacco, dear life. Half drunk and about to get stoned, your pockets empty but for the room keys on that hipster carabiner ring and the emergency condom in your wallet, you sit on those steps, waiting for your friend, waiting forever, waiting for warmth, waiting for death, waiting for something.

But suddenly, you realize, this might be the best night of your life. So now you ponder that, really allowing the significance of such an idea to steep, brew, simmer.

And then you begin to sob. There's nothing left for you to do, but sob.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

United Nations - United Nations

Eyeball Records
Buy (Amazon.com)


Supergroups are pretty hit or miss. The Sound Of Animals Fighting, miss. Broken Social Scene, hit. Asia, according to many, miss. United Nations, according to me, hit.

Where to begin, where to begin? For the Top 20 Albums Released Since 1970 feature, I had to do a brief write-up of Circle Takes The Square's 2004 masterpiece, As The Roots Undo. I think what I wrote there has a lot of application to United Nations' self-titled debut: You will probably hate this album, unless you enjoy loud, abrasive, challenging music. Geoff Rickly of Thursday fame, and Daryl Palumbo of the seminal post-hardcore band Glassjaw (along with some other people who can't be named due to crazy contract issues with large media conglomerates) have come together to make one of 2008's loudest, most abrasive, most challenging, and, above all, most enjoyable albums.

From its controversial cover (which has placed the band's label, Eyeball Records, in some legal hot water) playing off of The Beatles' iconic Abbey Road to songs riffing on Refused ("The Shape Of Punk That Never Came") and the aforementioned Beatles ("Resolution #9" declares that "We all live in a yellow submarine"), United Nations is a scathing critique of American culture and the "underground" music scene.

Loud, abrasive, challenging, sneering, flippant, defiant - you will probably hate this album. But clocking in at a mere 25 minutes, I think you can find enough time to decide for yourself.

Key Tracks: (Click to download)
The Shape Of Punk That Never Came

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sweet Music Video: Sia - Soon We'll Be Found

So I guess I missed the boat on pseudo-mainstream Australian pop music by a female vocalist, but I saw this video on mtvU (of all places) the other night, and was just blown away, as was my roommate. Hope you all enjoy:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Songs of the week: 9/23/08

This was a good weekend, and Jewish holidays assure two short (and hopefully memorable) weeks ahead. Here's hoping you're digging the music as much as I am.

Also, in case you couldn't tell, I'm in a bit of a jazz mood right now.

songs of the week #5
1. Perdido - Art Blakey & The Giants Of Jazz (I know I posted a song by these guys last week, but seriously, I can't get over this shit!)
2. Sanctuary - Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra (How did a band this talented evade my notice for so long? Thank god my roommate has excellent taste, or this Brookyln band might have remained a secret to me forever)
3. Sanctuary - Miles Davis (Another excellent track, bearing no resemblance to the afrobeat song of the same name - this is Miles Davis at the top of his game)
4. Clutch - Yoko Kanno & The Seatbelts (Lifted straight from the Cowboy Bebop OST...'nuff said)
5. Quick! To The Observatory - Minus Our Wings

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hors Sujet - Your Words Mean Nothing



Your music means nothing. Your words mean nothing. Sure as hell sounds cool, though...(Read more at The Silent Ballet)

Key Tracks:
And The Sky Became A Burden

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Songs of the week: 9/16/08

I feel much better this week, and now I get to play that fun little game called catch-up that comes along with the whole "missing class"...thing. Whatever. Here's hoping you had a nice weekend, I did.

songs of the week #4
1. Things Done Changed - The Notorious B.I.G. (Breast cancer, cookouts, and niggas getting "took out" - things done changed)
2. The Shape Of Punk That Never Came - United Nations (Grindcore? Yeah...grindcore)
3. 'Round Midnight - Art Blakey & The Giants Of Jazz (Clark Terry, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk on one stage? No fucking way)
4. Second Chance - Liam Finn (Yay pop)
5. The Quiet Screaming - The Legion Of Doom (Mash-ups are pretty old meme, I guess, but this face-off between Dashboard Confessional's "Screaming Infidelities" and "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" by Brand New still brings a smile to my face)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Tigermilks

I was on a Belle & Sebastian Livejournal community, and saw a link posted to the MySpace page for a Texas outfit dubbed The Tigermilks. They play B&S covers with a hard-rock edge, an idea that I myself (and countless others, I'd imagine) have toyed with.

At the very least, they're a novelty worth checking out, to tide you over until the release of the Belle & Sebastian BBC Sessions later this year.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Songs of the week: 9/9/08

I feel like ass, but I discovered/rediscovered some mad cool music, so it's okay.

P.S. How did it suddenly become September?

songs of the week #3
1. You Are My Sunshine - Kevin Devine (This is one of a handful of songs that induced the cliched "shiver down my spine" the first time I heard it - to be trite, it's a heartbreaking delivery of an old standard)
2. Holy Hot Flash Batman! - Loose Lips Sink Ships
3. Fok - Olafur Arnalds
4. Is And Of The - K.C. Accidental (K.C. Accidental, Kevin Drew's pre-Broken Social Scene band, is crazy post-rock jazz fun. You'll like it)
5. Burning Down The Nicotine Armoire Pt. 2 - Dance Gavin Dance (The best track off of DGD's largely disappointing self-titled effort)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Various Artists - Erased Tapes Collection 1

Erased Tapes Records


Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. Maybe this whole writing set-up is just a temp gig while I wait for Andy Rooney to die so that I may take his place – we share the same first name, maybe CBS won’t notice:

“Didn’t you ever wonder, Efrim Menuck, why good instrumental music has to be watered down with questionable vocals?”

Maybe curmudgeon’s the wrong word. I guess I’m just close-minded (an arguably undesirable trait in my line of work), but I’m really over the whole music with words…shtick. Generally speaking, words don’t do too much for me, and that’s nobody’s fault but my own...(Read more at The Silent Ballet)

Key Tracks
Distant Streetlights

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Songs of the week: 9/2/08

Yay for Labor Day weekend, yay for daytrips to New York City, yay for me being a lazy ass who can't find time to complete a proper review, yay for weekly features with songs you've probably already heard.

Oh well.

songs of the week #2
1. A Lack Of Color - Death Cab For Cutie (Ben Gibbard's dejected resignation to "slur a plea for you to come home" remains for me the highlight of Death Cab's seminal work, Transatlanticism.)
2. Clinical Features Of Rock Trauma - From Monument To Masses (Balls out political post-rock fury from FMTM's less known self-titled release.)
3. Smile, You've Won - Lydia (I like Lydia. I don't like that they came to my town within a week of me leaving for Albany. Do you like Lydia?)
4. Carly - The Capes (Before this British outfit broke up last year, they made manic pop music that induced urges to dance like a crazy person. Exhibit 1: anecdotes of a used-up model way past her prime.)
5. The Lawless Days Of Drinking Whisky In 10th Grade - Volta Do Mar