Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Buzzcocks - Credit

Flat-Pack Philosophy is being touted as the best Buzzcocks album since 1979's A Different Kind of Tension. But then again, isn't that what they said about the last one too? Like most late 70's punk rock bands that are still around today, The Buzzcocks are way past their prime... but unlike some of their peers, they aren't quite out of their element yet. Their pop-punk sound still fits today, even if they've lost most of their edge and creative spark. I do think the last Buzzcocks album that was passable as a whole was Trade Test Transmissions, but there are a enough decent tracks here to make it sound more natural than their last s/t release on Merge. Have a listen and see what you think. Flat-Pack Philosophy will be released on Cooking Vinyl on March 7th.

» Bonus Track: I've Had Enough
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Monday, January 30, 2006

Omar Rodriguez - Spookrijden op het fietspad

Fans of The Mars Volta may be interested in the latest solo effort from the band's guitarist and all around creative dynamo, Omar Rodriguez. It's all instrumental and of course, very avante-garde, jazzy and prog-influenced stuff. If you enjoyed his A Manual Dexterity Soundtrack, Vol. 1, you'll probably like this too. To be honest it's a bit much for me... I'd much rather hear his experimentation when reined in by a producer and a full band as opposed to here, where he is able to just completely run wild. Still, you've gotta give Rodriguez credit; after going from At The Drive-In to something like this, it's been quite an amazing journey of musical exploration. This EP was recorded in Amsterdam, which I guess explains the Dutch song titles. I think this one is translated to mean "Drunk Driving on the Bicycle Path".

» Buy it on Amazon

Friday, January 27, 2006

Of Montreal - More Noir Blues and Tinnitus

Of Montreal are out on tour starting this month, and they're bringing with them a limited edition tour EP featuring 2 previously released tracks and 2 new ones. The EP is called Deflated Chime, Foals Slightly Flower Sibylline.... The new tunes are sort of ho-hum; to be honest, the other one posted over at You Ain't No Picasso is more interesting than "More Noir Blues and Tinnitus". What I'm really excited about, however, is the remix album they are releasing in the spring featuring bands like !!!, Supersystem, Grizzly Bear, and I am The World Trade Center. Polyvinyl will also be re-issuing 3 of their older albums on March 7th. The bonus track linked below is from their 2002 tour CD, Then Who Will Protect Big Oil, Our Children?. For even more Of Montreal goodies, check out their Elephant 6 band page which has MP3s of a Velvet Underground cover and an entire 2001 live set!

» Bonus Track: Friends of Mine
» Buy Deflated Chime... from Polyvinyl Records

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Helmet - Out of Nowhere

The undisputed heavyweights of drop-D tuning returned last year with a new album called Size Matters, and although it definitely fell short of their early 90's glory days, there was still something familiar and reassuring about it to me. Unfortunately, Helmet's comeback seemed to fall short of expectations for Interscope Records as well, and now Helmet find themselves in search of a new label. They still hope to have a new album out in the summer, but in the meantime (ha, get it... "in the meantime") here's a new non-LP track from the Size Matters sessions (it appeared on the 2005 Sundance Sampler compilation). To compliment that, I've included one of my all-time favourite Helmet b-sides, taken from the Johnny Mnemonic soundtrack and recorded back when John Stanier and Henry Bogdan were still in the band. Helmet really need to put out another b-side collection as they have so many good songs that aren't on any of their albums.

» Bonus Track: Complete
» Buy Size Matters on Amazon

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nina Simone - Little Girl Blue (Postal Service Remix)

In the 3 years since the release of The Postal Service's debut album "Give Up", we've been held over by an endless array of remixes mainly done by Jimmy Tamborello while Ben Gibbard busied himself with his other full-time gig, Death Cab For Cutie. Not that some of these extraneous tracks aren't enjoyable, but I can't help wondering if The Postal Service are destined to remain a one-off project for good. In the meantime, here are a few Postal Service b-sides that are new to me at least. First up, a remix of jazz legend Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue", taken from the Verve Remixed Vol. 3 compilation which also features such artists as The Album Leaf, Junior Boys and Danger Mouse "reinventing" jazz classics. Next, a remix of the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize?" that appeared on their Ego Tripping At The Gates of Hell EP. Many people (myself included) overlooked this one because it was labelled only as "T.P.S. Mix" on the track listing. I also threw in a Postal Service cover of The Flaming Lips, taken from The District Sleeps Alone Tonight EP.

» Bonus Track: Do You Realize? (Postal Service Mix)
» Bonus Track: Suddenly Everything Has Changed
» Buy Verve Remixed Vol. 3 on Amazon
» Buy The District Sleeps Alone Tonight EP on Amazon

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stereolab - I Was A Sunny Rainphase

Stereolab are touring this March in support of a new album called Fab Four Suture. The album collects songs from a series of six 7"s, 3 of which they released back in October, and 3 of which will be released on March 7th at the same time as the CD. I was a big fan of their last album, but for the most part they seem to be reverting back to their patented laidback electro-lounge grooves as opposed to the more dynamic beats of Margerine Eclipse. Still, I can't say I'm disappointed... there seem to be some great songs here as well.

» Bonus Track: Plastic Mile
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Sunset Rubdown - Three Colours II

I've been looking forward to hearing more from Spencer Krug's side project Sunset Rubdown, especially now that it has evolved into a full line-up featuring bandmates Mike Doerkson, Jordan Robson Cramer and Camilla Wynn Ingr (also of Pony Up). The first Sunset Rubdown album Snake's Got A Leg had its moments (including a superior rendition of Wolf Parade song "I'll Believe In Anything You'll Believe In Anything") but more often than not it was just a little too snoozey for me. A new 5 song EP is now available from Global Symphonic, and will serve as a teaser for their upcoming full-length coming in May on Absolutely Kosher. The only thing I've heard from this EP is a song floating around the web called "Three Colours II" (originally posted at Popsheep I believe). Krug's Bowie-esque vocals are as haunting and demented as ever despite being a little distant, and the more I listen to it, the more I dig it.

» Bonus Track: I'll Believe In Anything, You'll Believe In Anything
» Buy it from Global Symphonic

Friday, January 20, 2006

Party Ben - Pump Up The Doorbell

While the "American Edit" and "Q Unit" projects make news, mashups seem to be somewhat dead lately. Thankfully Party Ben hasn't quit, and it's always great to hear a new one from him. "Pump Up The Doorbell" puts in my opinion, a superior spin on the White Stripes single by adding old school rappers Eric B. and Rakim. Mixing their "Pump Up the Volume" seems an easy choice, but don't let that get in the way of enjoying this dancefloor smash.

Bonus track: Party Ben - Insane Medicated Hand (NIN vs. QOTSA)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Meligrove Band - Grasshoppers in Honey

I remember back when The Meligrove Band released their first album on the (now defunct?) Toronto-based label Ductape Records. They were a lone group of young hippies stuck in an endless sea of snotty punk kids, playing catchy pop songs that went over everyone's heads. Now, a few years later, their sound has developed and their time has come. They have just released Planets Conspire, their 3rd full-length album and first for V2 Records. I fully expect it to turn some heads. This is great 70's retro rock, highlighted by wistful vocals, piano and authentic old school production. The album's out this week in Canada, and later this year in the U.S. and Europe. Check out more songs over at www.meligroveband.com.

Lupe Fiasco - Gorilla

Ever since his appearance on Kanye's "Touch the Sky", Lupe Fiasco's been creating quite a buzz. Bloggers all over the interweb can't stop talking about the kid and his upcoming album, Food & Liquor. He even made the cover of the lastest issue of Fader. Forget the wicked-producer-who-can't-rap-worth-ish known as Kanye West. We got ourselves the new face of Chi-town.


Roy - Reno I'm Coming Home

Some time last week I talked about my love for Lujo Records. Well, shortly after doing so, I ordered a few CDs from their website, which I've already received in the mail. One of those CDs was Roy, who I can't recommend enough. The band features members of Botch and These Arms Are Snakes but sound almost nothing like any of them. The band reminds me of early 90s indie rock bands like Pavement, or the Flaming Lips, or even the famous local stars hHead, with their sloppy guitars, mid to lo-fi production, and catchy lyrics. Maybe I'm just in a nostalgic, sappy mood this week, but I've been listening to this album on repeat since I got it. If you go to the Lujo Records site, you can download another song by them. However, I've also included a third song here.

» Bonus Track: So Alive

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Flaming Lips - The W.A.N.D.

The Flaming Lips will release their next album At War With The Mystics on April 4th, and I don't know about you, but this one is up there with my most anticipated albums of 2006. Slowly we're starting to get a sense of what it will sound like, and it seems to be a slightly mellower but still lush album full of psychadelic soundscapes. They will be releasing a single for "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song" on March 27th in the U.K., a song that (according to Pitchfork) was inspired by their cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". My guess is there's a lot more stuff on this album that was also inspired by Queen, as witnessed by this new track "The W.A.N.D.". The bonus track below is another new song they've already released a great video for, "You've Got To Hold On". In the meantime, look for their album The Soft Bulletin to be re-released on 5.1 surround sound DVD on January 31st.

» Bonus Track: You've Got To Hold On
» Pre-order The Soft Bulletin 5.1 on Amazon

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Thermals - Ballad of Big Nothing (Elliott Smith cover)

I have a confession to make... I don't know much about Elliott Smith, and haven't heard much of his music beyond the obligatory "Needle in the Hay". Now that I've completely blown all my indie cred, let me tell you what I thought about this tribute album, To: Elliott, From: Portland. It's a little more personal and less of a cash grab than most tribute albums since the songs are done by bands from Portland who all knew him prior to his death. In addition to the Decemberists track that's been posted in a few places, Sub Pop's The Thermals give us a surprisingly stripped-down "Ballad of Big Nothing" with the help of Smith's ex-girlfriend Joanna Bolme. Swords also have an interesting almost Flaming Lips-esque take on "I Didn't Understand". The tribute album is out on February 7th from Expunged Records.

» Bonus Track: Swords - I Didn't Understand
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - According to Plan

The famous band with the infamous name is just about to release their debut album for Secretly Canadian records. Even though I had always read their name, I had never heard any music by them until now, and I have to say I'm quite impressed. This song sounds like some of the darker, shoegazer music emerging in the late 1980s. The album was produced by Paul Barker who has previously worked with Ministry and Revolting Cocks, while their first album was produced by Britt Daniel, so perhaps the gloominess of the track can be attributed to him. Regardless, the song really strongly showcases the beginnings of an exciting young band.

Bloc Party - Hero

In honour of the upcoming Bloc Party DVD, God Bless Bloc Party (in stores tomorrow), I thought I'd post a couple Bloc Party b-sides. None of these are actually on the DVD that I'm aware of... but they're decent songs nonetheless. I wouldn't be surprised if they turned up on their new album. "Hero" is the b-side to the digital single for "Two More Years", while "Skeleton" can be found on the bonus disc for Silent Alarm Remixed. You can watch a trailer for the DVD here [via Stereogum].

» Bonus Track: Skeleton
» Buy God Bless Bloc Party on Amazon

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Advantage - Gradius/Solar Jetman Live

Nintendo cover band The Advantage have posted a pair of live MP3s to their eye-melting website in anticipation of their upcoming album Elf-Titled. The sound quality of these live tracks is certainly not the greatest (so what else is new with these guys), but one of the MP3s features music from the space shoot-em-up classic "Gradius", a song that they have yet to release on an album. A studio recording of "Solar Jetman - Braveheart Level", on the other hand, will be available on Elf-Titled when it is released through 5RC on January 24th.

» Bonus Track: Solar Jetman - Braveheart Level
» Pre-order Elf-Titled on Amazon

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pretty Girls Make Graves - The Nocturnal House

Matador Records have released a new MP3 from the upcoming Pretty Girls Make Graves album, Elan Vital. When I first heard this band a couple years ago they were a little too "screamy" for me, but they have since matured and grown into a more interesting musical dynamic. On this song they resemble the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (mainly due to the enveloping vocals of Andrea Zollo), but also with some reverby guitar work that would make Les Savy Fav proud. I might have to check out this new album when it gets released in April.

» Buy The New Romance on Amazon

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Joy Electric - The Fifth Point of the Compass

Here's another band I'm sometimes surprised doesn't get more attention. Joy Electric is the music of Ronnie Martin (brother of Jason Martin from Starflyer 59), and it's straight up synth-pop to the max. Maybe some of it is a little too poppy for people, and maybe some people get discouraged when they see it is on Christian label Tooth & Nail, but the more I hear of his work the more I enjoy it. His most recent EP is called Montgolfier and the Romantic Balloons. It includes a new version of one of my favourite songs from his last album, The Ministry of Archers, remixed by "The Duke" of Freezepop fame.

» Bonus Track: Quite Quieter Than Spiders (Charlotte's Remix)
» Buy The Ministry of Archers on Amazon

Cadence Weapon - Black Hand

Edmonton native Rollie Pemberton AKA Cadence Weapon has received a lot of praise in a lot of Canadian year ends lists with the album "Breaking Kayfabe" (a reference to breaking the fourth wall in pro wrestling), which I just picked up and am currently enjoying. Known for his remixing artists such as Death From Above 1979, as well as for being one of the writers at pitchforkmedia.com , Cadence Weapon is definitely a step above the same-old same-old rap music we're used to in North America these days, and that has more to do with the quality of his backing music than his flow or lyrics.

»Bonus Track:Cadence Weapon - Sharks (from the Upper Canada web site)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Carter Ferris - Homewrecked

Carter Ferris is a recent addition to the Lujo Records line-up, a label that is quickly becoming one of the best indie labels out there. Though Ferris does not have an album out yet, the label has a few unreleased songs available for download on their website. Details on Ferris' are pretty sketchy: his profile says he only performs wearing a mask, he got in a fight with a rep from A&R scout for RCA records, went to prison and eventually become a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. If his history doesn't draw attention to him, then his music will surely give him the attention he deserves. On this song he combines elements of electronica, shoegazer, hip-hop. It's surprisingly better and more cohesive than one would think and I look forward to hearing a lot more from him.

» Bonus Track: EXS

Half-Handed Cloud - I Got A Letter

The music of Half-Handed Cloud (aka John Ringhofer) is about the closest thing I've heard to the youthful, spastic, multi-instrumental folk twanging of The Danielson Famile. And let's face it, they are a band whose sound is not easily imitated. It should come as no surprise, then, that he is also on Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label and writes songs with a Christian bent. Recently Asthmatic Kitty released an EP of 5 recordings that Ringhofer did with Sujfan over at Daniel Smith's recording facility. The result is the What's The Remedy? 7", a quick burst of joyful little songs accented by toy piano and flute sounds. Check out this charming track offered on the AK website now.

Randy - Red Banner Rockers

Swedish punk rockers Randy have their new album released in North America this week via Fat Wreck Chords (it was out a few months ago in Europe on Burning Heart). Randy The Band is a bit of a return to form for these guys who have run the gamut from skate punk to classic rock-inspired riffage to trashy rock n roll and back again. At times this album reminds me why I liked Randy so much in the first place, the anthemic sing-along choruses that I missed on their last album. Other times it sounds a bit overproduced and bland. For the most part I've given up on punk rock but every now and then I still have a soft spot for songs like these.

» Bonus Track: I Raise My Fist
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No Comment?

My apologies to the people who have been leaving comments on the site. Somehow I didn't realize that I had changed our blog settings to require moderation for each and every comment left. We haven't been purposely censoring anyone, I promise! Here at Muzak for Cybernetics we believe in freedom of speech, non-moderated commenting, and conserving our planet's fossil fuels. Please go forth and continue to discuss.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Schmoof - Sweet Child O' Mine

It might seem like a cheap ploy to take a classic tune like "Sweet Child O' Mine" and turn it into a gimmicky electro-pop send up, but I was impressed with how Schmoof were able to use precise beats and warm synths to revamp the song instead of just making it a joke. It sure beats the hell out of Sheryl Crow's rendition at any rate. The other song that they have posted on their website probably deserves more attention however. "Chocolate Boyfriend" sounds kind of like Ladytron with the deadpan vocals of Nicola Kuperus from Adult. From what I gather they are a British duo on an Austrian label... head over to the Angelika Koehlerman website to order their album Bedroom Disco.

» Bonus Track: Chocolate Boyfriend

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Robert Pollard - All Men Are Freezing

I've always been somewhat lukewarm on the music of Guided By Voices; some of their stuff is great, but a lot of it simply fails to move me one way or the other. Although they played their final show on New Year's Eve last year, GBV frontman Robert Pollard has been keeping busy with his solo material and will release a new double-disc solo album on Merge Records this month entitled From A Compound Eye. What I was more interested in hearing, however, was the EP of music he did for the Steven Soderbergh's new movie Bubble. Check out a couple of those songs here, one of which is an instrumental. Good stuff.

» Bonus Track: Search-Light Pickups
» Buy it on Amazon
» Pre-order From A Compound Eye on Amazon

Andrew W.K. - You Will Remember Tonight

And now for something completely different... how about a new track from everyone's favourite motivational metalhead, Andrew W.K.? Sure the guy may have a few screws loose, but the sheer energy and optimism of his live performances can bring a smile to anyone's face. I guess he's releasing a new live DVD called Who Knows? this month and you can watch a preview over at AndrewWK.com. (Of course you'll have to click through like 30 ridiculous pictures of him first to get there... I could link you directly but really, you've gotta see them.) "You Will Remember Tonight" is a new track taken from the Masters of Horror soundtrack. Without a doubt, another anthemic beer commercial in the making.

» Buy Masters of Horror soundtrack on Amazon
» Pre-order Who Knows? DVD on Amazon

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

We Are Scientists - Worth The Wait

Here we have the first buzz band of 2006, California's We Are Scientists, who will release their debut album With Love And Squalor in stores next Tuesday. Their music is a sugary sweet mixture of Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and Hot Hot Heat, or something to that effect. I can see this album catching on with the MTV crowd in a big way, but hey, if I have to hear stuff like this on the radio every 5 minutes I still wouldn't mind. Highly addictive.

» Bonus Track: This Scene Is Dead
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Armalite - When Nice People Think Dumb Things, Attack, and Vote

Say what you will about Adam Goren, but I still think he wrote some damn catchy (and funny) songs with his one man band, Atom and His Package. Of course, the novelty of the whole thing kind of wore off by the time he started incorporating guitar and other instruments into the songs, but he still has the equivalent of a solid greatest hits album in there somewhere amongst his discography. (Perhaps the closest we'll come to that is the live CD/DVD of his final show Hair: Debatable, released on Hopeless Records.) Anyways, more to the point, Adam/Atom is back with a new band called Armalite that also features ex-members of Lifetime, Kid Dynamite and Paint It Black. Yes, the "package" has been retired and replaced with gritty post-punk in the vein of Fugazi. Goren's nasally voice and sense of humour are still prominent, however... or at least they are in this particular song. Look for Armalite's self-titled album to be released on No Idea Records on February 14th.

» Bonus Track: Atom and His Package - Happy Birthday Ralph
» Buy Hair: Debatable on Amazon