Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Octopus Project - Tuxedo Hat

The Octopus Project's One Ten Hundred Thousand Million just might be the best album I've heard so far this year. Too bad it was actually released way back in 2004. Word on the street is that these guys put on an amazing live show and left quite an impression at SXSW this year. Their music is sort of an avante-garde instrumental rock with some electronic elements thrown in for weirdness. Songs range from driving rock tunes in a Trans Am or Don Caballero vein, to glitchy electronic pieces similar to Prefuse 73. Fans of Battles would probably dig. They have a new album in the works, and it's going to be a split with Black Moth Super Rainbow (who are more electro-focused but equally as intriguing). I'm not sure if it's a collaboration or just a handful of songs from each band, but either way I'll be all over this when it comes out later this summer.

» Bonus Track: The Adjustor
» Bonus Track: Music is Happiness
» Buy it on Amazon

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Polysics - Rain Rain Rain

Well I'm back from my week in Greece and I have a bunch of good stuff I'm going to try to post over the next couple of days. I see Zak has been keeping things going here in the meantime. (I am also trying out a new file host since SaveFile has been acting up again lately... we'll see how this one goes.) To start with, here are a couple new Polysics tracks from the U.K. edition of Now Is The Time! I don't know how they manage to write so many new songs in such a short period of time. Granted, not every track is a winner but most are decent if not downright stupendous. I also located an MP3 of the MSTRKRFT remix for "Ceolakanth Is Android" somewhere along the line so I will pass this along to you as well! Enjoy.

» Bonus Track: Metal Coconuts
» Bonus Track: Ceolakanth Is Android (MSTRKRFT Remix)
» Buy it on Amazon

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Think About Life - Money

Adding to the ever-growing list of bands borne out of Montreal, Think About Life had the unfortunate handicap of having their debut album released the same day as another Montreal based band Mobile, who are probably the shittiest thing to ever come out of Canada. Oh wait, I think Sean's Canadian (just kidding, I love you man). While Mobile seems to have gathered up some press with Telus so that you get a big cell phone deal with the purchase of their album, Think About Life have suffered from some serious lack of exposure (they are released on the Montreal based Alien 8 Recordings), which is unfortunate because this album's cup is brimming with noteworthy songs. Even selecting one song to post here was difficult since the album requires a full listen to understand what's really going down here. It's chock full of dance, rap, electro, no-wave, post-punk; really all you could ask for. Yet you're still wondering: will it make you think about life? Perhaps that's the one area they need to work on.

Bonus Track - Serious Chords
Bonus Track - Commander Riker's Party

Teddy Thompson - Everybody Move It

I've been sitting on this song for quite some time. I'm still not even sure if this song will appeal to anyone else; it's too traditional folky to be indie. Perhaps I've been absorbing too much adult contemporary radio at work lately, but this song, this album are the only things that keep me going through the day. The song's cheesily ironic lyrics ("Bump and grind/Have a good time"), and completely retro sound only aid my enjoyment of the song, bringing a smile to my face. Supposedly Teddy is the son of famed British folk legend Richard Thompson, though I've never heard of him, so I won't expand on how Teddy carries on his father's brilliant folk legacy. No, I'll leave it just at that. Rather, I'll let you absorb Teddy on his own without all that baggage. I'm pretty sure you'll like him all on your own.

Bonus Track - Shine So Bright

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pere Ubu - Birdies

First off, I have to give credit to Carl at Zoilus for introducing this video to me. Zoilus is probably one of the smartest, and creative music blogs on the net right. If he were ever to start posting mp3s, I seriously might consider quitting. Everything.

That said, I've never been a huge fan of Pere Ubu. They've always been of those bands who are too big, and too productive to become a fan of so late in the game. If only I had grown up a decade earlier. This video showcases a fascinating view of the band performing live from the documentary Urgh! A Music War. It's amazing how David Thomas is able to look like a disgruntled accountant, a madman, and a comedian at the same time. His performance alone has driven me to search out this documentary, or see them live in concert. Alas, Pere Ubu are releasing a new album next month. Live dates? Who knows? Word on the street: no.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Madonna - Hung Up (Diplo Remix)

Anyone who knows me, and I mean truly knows me, knows that I think everything Diplo has ever done is brilliant. Well, everything from 2004 on. err...2005. So of course when I heard that he created a remix of Madonna's "Hung Up" - probably the best single of the year - I had to hear it. Unfortunately, the song is somewhat redundant, borrowing a very similar beat as his remix of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" (see below), and probably not as good as the original, but it's interesting to hear what Diplo does with the song. Other than the first chorus, the song is largely lacking Madonna's voice as the song slowly fades into the Baile sound that Diplo is most famous for. So while I can't say I love it as much as the orig, the song definitely highlights Diplo's incredible talent at mixing. I consider this track less of a remix and more of a mix stolen from one of his many mix tapes, and that alone makes this song worth the price of admission and then some.

Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl (Diplo Remix)

Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland - Promiscuous Girl

In Nick Hornby's Songbook he includes Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like A Bird" as one of his current favourite songs, saying that it is one of the most infectious songs he's ever heard despite its completely simplistic nature. I would tend to agree with Hornby and I would even highlight her new single "Promiscuous Girl" with the same description. Almost completely absent are Furtado's trademark weird, somewhat annoying vocals, with this new single sounding more like M.I.A. if she was produced by Timbaland. In fact, I never would have guessed that this was a Nelly Furtado song, but that's probably a good thing. For all the song's cheesy lyrics, simple beats and Furtado's pseudo-rapping (did she just name drop Steve Nash??), I can't help but be mesmerized by the song's completely overwhelmingly addictive sound. If you're just beginning to get sick of "I'm Like a Bird" you might want to check this song out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jim Guthrie - Hands in my Pocket

If you haven't heard at least part of this song yet you're in for a real treat. Some of you however may have heard the song's chorus on a recent Capital One commercial. Originally, Guthrie was commissioned to write just the 30 second chorus that appears in the commercial. After receiving such ecstatic response towards the song, Guthrie created an entire song out of what he had already written. This song was posted on his website in January, but the link has been dead since a week after its release. It's taken me all this time to lurk out this song, only to discover that there's a website created specifically for the advertising campaign of this song, where you can travel a place called Pocket Town (and presumably use your credit card to purchase sushi. Actually, I don't understand this site. It doesn't really do anything.) I'm assuming this campaign and song are exclusive to Canada, which would explain why this song isn't bigger than it is, at least popularity-wise, because sonically it's huge.

Mono - Are You There?

Fans of Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky and other bands in that genre (oh, let's just call it "apocalyptic instrumental post-rock" for the sake of convenience), should definitely get to know their long-lost Japanese relatives in Mono as well. This band is starting to make a name for themselves over here in North America, and their latest album was just released on Temporary Residence last month. You Are There was recorded by noise master Steve Albini, and although some may accuse them of being derivative of Mogwai, I think such accusations are unfounded. They bring their own style to the table... particularly with the addition of a string quartet a la Godspeed You Black Emperor. These songs are primarily long, epic and alternate between dream-like bliss and earth-shattering fury. You can currently catch Mono on tour throughout North America with Pelican.

» Bonus Track: The Flames Beyond The Cold Mountain
» Buy it on Amazon

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Whirlwind Heat - My Electric Underwear

The first thing you usually hear about Whirlwind Heat is the fact that they are "Jack White proteges" (he produced and released their debut album Do Rabbits Wonder?) , but that doesn't really tell you what to expect from their music. In fact, they don't have more than a passing resemblance to The White Stripes, instead offering something a bit edgier and more chaotic. Their songs are short bursts of energy driven by dirty bass lines, and supplanted with moog keyboards and fuzzy garage guitar riffs. Types of Wood is their second full-length album, and it sounds similar although perhaps a little less spastic than their first. The manic Causey Way-esque vocals of frontman David Swanson have morphed into a Thurston Moore, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have only heard a couple tracks so far, but I'm looking forward to hearing more on May 16th when the album hits stores.

» Bonus Track: Reagan
» Bonus Track: Orange (from Do Rabbits Wonder?)
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Sufjan Stevens - No Man's Land

The output of Christian indie folk superstar Sufjan Stevens has been nothing short of prolific over the past few years. It's like he's been knocking out new songs in his sleep, and just to prove it he decided to release a whole new album of b-sides and outtakes from his last album Illinois. The first thing I was surprised about was the fact that these all appear to be totally new, unreleased songs (with the exception of title track "The Avalanche", which was on the vinyl release of Illinois, and a couple alternate versions of the song "Chicago"). Even more surprising, however, is how good all the songs are. These are not just tablescraps; almost all 21 tracks are fully produced, fully realized songs, equally as deserving of your attention as anything else he has done. With the sheer quantity of material he's been writing lately, I was among the so-called naysayers who thought Sufjan may have been overexposing himself. And yet, still he manages to deliver something truly special. Gotta love him. The Avalanche will be released on July 11th on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

» Bonus Track: Chicago (Multiple Personality Disorder version)

Friday, May 12, 2006

MSTRKRFT - She's Bad For Business

The trouble with stumbling across songs on Soulseek is that sometimes you're not sure exactly what you're listening to. As far as I can tell, this track is a new song from elite electronic remix duo MSTRKRFT (pronounced "masterkraft") featuring Jesse of Death From Above 1979. After building a name for themselves by releasing solid remixes of everyone from Bloc Party to Annie, they set their sights on releasing an entire album of original material. The Looks was originally scheduled for release on Last Gang Records in May... then June... and now it looks like it was pushed back to July 18th. According to an old track listing that was posted online, this particular song was at one point entitled "She's Good For Business". Not sure what changed their mind, but either way I'm digging the song and looking forward to the album. You can also hear their most recent remix of the Polysics over at the MSTRKRFT MySpace page now. (If anyone has an MP3 of this please let me know!)

» Pre-order The Looks on Amazon

Final Fantasy - Fantasy (Mariah Carey Cover)

Here's the crucial link of the week that everyone will be talking about for the next couple days. This video was culled from Final Fantasy's recent tour with Grizzly Bear, and features a guest appearance by Ed from Grizzly Bear, as they join together for a violin-based rendition of "Fantasy" by Mariah. Looks like a good show, I'm just upset that no one tried to sing ODB's part (RIP).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

jayprideparade - boat vs. whale

You all know him and love him (or you should at least.) The mysterio mastermind known as jayprideparade has finally unvealed a new track after five years of seclusion after a manslaughter charge several years ago. Being a MySpace friend of mine, the man humbly said of his new song:

"I had the day off and finished a song."

Combining the post-human drumming of Animal Collective and the folky multi-instrumentation of Sufjan Stevens, jayprideparade creates a song of biblical proportions (actually the story of the song may have been lifted from the Bible) in a sing-along, clap-along, dance-along trapeze party.

Of course you can add him to your ever-increasing MySpace friends list here

Grizzly Bear - On a Neck, On a Spit

Okay, I'll admit that I stole this from Pitchfork after reading their review of this song, having giving it only 2.5 stars. However, I can't disagree with them enough. I saw them in concert last week and they performed this as their closing song, and I left thinking I needed to hear that song again. And now I have. Yay.
"On a Neck, On a Spit," is more like two songs mixed together; it begins with their trademark atmospheric folk before bending into one of the most traditional folk songs I've heard them make. With the full band, there sound is definitely changing, blurring the boundaries between more traditional folk and post-rock, giving them a much fuller and experimental sound.
I've also included an optimal cover of Yes' 'Owner of a Broken Heart' that appears on their upcoming Demos EP being released shortly.

» Bonus Track: Owner of Lonely Heart

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Franz Ferdinand - What You Waiting For? (Gwen Stefani cover)

I just found this track over at Kofi's Hat, but it's so much fun that I couldn't help reposting it here. Q Magazine included a CD with next month's issue that features current bands doing covers of classic tunes from the past 20 years. Among them, an exclusive Franz Ferdinand rendition of Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For?". Apparently they are known to play this song live on occasion, and I personally love the original... it's just so damn addictive. The rhythm translates quite well to their style of angular dance-rock, although Alex Kapranos' flat vocals certainly have nothing on Gwen's. (I do also wish the recording quality was a little crisper.) Head over to Kofi's Hat to check out more of the covers including The Editors doing R.E.M.'s "Orange Crush".

the Soft Drugs - the Pitch

Anyone who is familiar with Pedro the Lion has probably come across his good friend T.W. Walsh (an example from PTL's song 'Bands With Managers' talking about falling asleep while driving on tour: "but I trust T. William Walsh and I'm not afraid to die.") As well as being a regular touring member of PTL, Walsh has recorded with PTL and originally wrote 'Start Without Me' which appeared on Achilles Heel (the original is available for download at the Soft Drugs website). Since then, Walsh has quit the band to devote more time to his family. So much so, that it seems he can't leave the house, and has started recording himself singing in front of a video camera. A fairly innovative idea, he has several videos available on YouTube. Since quitting PTL, Walsh has gone back to recording solo under the name the Soft Drugs. He has an EP being released next month which is available for preorder through his website, which also includes several exclusive downloads available here

» Bonus Track: Don't Sweat It

The Walkmen - Emma, Get Me A Lemon

The Walkmen have never really blown me away with anything I've heard by them, and A Hundred Miles Off is no different in that regard. However, this new album is at least consistently decent -- the keyword there being consistent. It's hard not to think of The Strokes when listening to a lot of these songs, although strangely there also seems to be a lot of Bob Dylan running through their music as well (mostly due to Hamilton Leithauser's vocals). Unfortunately this album doesn't have any stand out tracks like "The Rat" from Bows + Arrows, nothing that is really likely to turn heads. It's too bad for The Walkmen that they're constantly going to be measured against that song from here on in, but hey... that's what you get for writing a killer song. A Hundred Miles Off will be released via The Record Collection on May 23rd.

» Bonus Track: Lost in Boston
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Pipettes - I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)

I hope you'll excuse my sappiness for a moment, but I just gotta say I love the springtime. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and there's a cool breeze on your face. The only thing missing from this picture is some catchy, bubbly, carefree music blaring from your car stereo (or portable MP3 player of choice). Well you've come to the right place, because today I've got you covered on that last point... let me introduce you to The Pipettes. They are a female pop band from Brighton, drawing influences from 50's and 60's R&B, doo wop and rock n roll. The buzz generated from their first few limited edition vinyl releases was enough to get them signed to Memphis Industries, the same label as The Go! Team. Since then they have released a couple of singles, the most recent of which was "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me", a song so addictive it's making instant fans of everyone all across the blogosphere. If you're like me, you'll be impatiently awaiting the release of their first full-length album We Are The Pipettes, due on July 17th.

» Bonus Track: Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
» Bonus Track: Dirty Mind
» Buy it on Amazon

The Detachment Kit - Mr. Dash Dash

When I first heard of The Detachment Kit it was right after the release of their album They Raging. Quiet Army, which drew comparisons to such bands as Les Savy Fav, The Pixies and The Dismemberment Plan. As luck would have it, they ended up on Les Savy Fav's label French Kiss Records for the release of their second album, Of This Blood. That was about 2 years ago, so I recently did some checking to see what they're currently up to and found some interesting new demos up on their website. The song "Mr. Dash Dash" in particular really grabbed me, it has a Beatle-esque quality to it, and reminds me of a slightly more angular Spoon. Now I'm hyped to hear a new album from these guys, hopefully we'll get more details soon.

» Bonus Track: Sitting Still, Talking About Jets
» Bonus Track: Ricochet
» Buy Of This Blood on Amazon

Group Sounds - Business Before Pleasure

I'd heard a couple things from NYC's Group Sounds before, and thought they sounded promising, so when I found another MP3 from them in my inbox the other day I was eager to give it a listen. It's hard to put a finger on their sound, but there's an 80's new-wave influence in there with the vocal harmonies, keyboards and danceable rhythms; "Business Before Pleasure" definitely captures this. Talking Heads and Devo comparisons wouldn't be out of the question (and as it turns out, they also did a Devo cover on their debut album). They've released one full-length album and an EP so far, with more new material currently in the works. Give these songs a listen and see what you think.

» Bonus Track: Things Fall Apart
» Bonus Track: Uncontrollable Urge (Devo cover)
» Buy it on Amazon

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Coke Dares - Rocking All the Time

Adding to the ever-growing list of bands who play short, one to two minute songs, the Coke Dares, play fast, sloppy classic rock and roll, usually not even making a minute in length. Throwing a bit of punk into classic rock, the Coke Dares are completely unserious, almost always singing about drinking and, well... rocking (which are basically synonymous). Comprised of three members, they are almost a supergroup: two of the three members play in indie darlings the Impossible Shapes, while the other plays in the ever-revolving Panoply Academy (Legionnaires, Glee Club), and all three members play as the Magnolia Electric Co. backing band. As well, I remember reading recently that a member of the now defunct 90 Day Men has joined the band, though this may not have happened. But don't let these other 'serious' bands let you think otherwise, the Coke Dares play completely stupid rock and roll.

» Bonus Track: I Won't Start Drinkin' Without You
» Bonus Track: Black Beauties

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Zach Hill and Mick Barr - Desert Glass Bubbles

Does Zach Hill ever take vacations? The hyperkinetic drummer with a thousand projects is back with yet another record, this time teaming up with avante-metal guitarist Mick Barr (Octis/Orthrelm) to release Shred Earthship. On paper it sounds like a match made in heaven... I mean hell... and Zach Hill was quoted as saying the collaboration "tops any level of playing I've ever done on a record, physically and spiritually". Listening to the songs, however, I personally had trouble finding the genius in them. The album was conceived and captured in a whirlwind recording session over a weekend in Sacramento, and that's exactly what it sounds like. There's no question that these guys are talented beyond belief, but the songs just feel a lot more aimless than Hella or even some of Zach Hill's own solo stuff. Have a listen and see what you think... the album's out now on 5RC.

» Bonus Track: Note Swarm Hive Builders
» Buy it on Amazon