Monday, February 27, 2006

The New Pornographers - High Art, Local News

The New Pornographers were in Toronto this past weekend opening for Belle & Sebastian, and when you think about it, they are a perfect fit considering the expanded pop direction that B&S have taken as of late. I wish I could have been in attendance, but I really dislike The Docks as a venue. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) Keeping with this theme, today's post is a b-side from the New Pornos; it was a bonus track on the Japanese release of Twin Cinema and will also appear on an upcoming CD compilation from the final issue of indie music mag Comes With A Smile. (It was also available on a limited edition one-sided 7" that some lucky people received for pre-ordering Twin Cinema, and if I'm not mistaken that is probably where this particular MP3 was captured from.) If the song has a fault (and I'm not saying it does), it would be that it sounds like just about every other New Pornographers song I've ever heard. But in my mind that's a good thing.

» Buy Twin Cinema on Amazon

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Constantines - Fuckin' Up (Neil Young cover)

Canadian working class rockers The Constantines are big fans of Neil Young, as evidenced by the limited edition split 12" they recently released with The Unintended (members of Blue Rodeo, The Sadies and Elevator). The Cons cover 4 Young songs and The Unintended cover 4 Gordon Lightfoot songs... why is it I am suddenly feeling so patriotic? As it turns out, I still have yet to hear the actual songs on the record since I am a bit of a vinyl-phobe, but here is one Neil Young cover that apparently got cut from the track listing at the last minute. Also included below is a Constantines live rendition of "Cinnamon Girl" that I found kickin' around the net somewhere. A word to the wise: members of The Constantines have been occasionally playing gigs under the name Horsey Craze and doing a complete Neil Young set, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for upcoming shows in the Toronto area.

» Bonus Track: Cinnamon Girl (Live)

Crystal Castles - xxzxczx

I am definitely a sucker for any electronic music that incorporates vintage video game sounds. The crunchy synth of the Commodore 64 SID chip and other 8-bit systems like the Game Boy and NES bring back pleasant childhood memories, but they also have this wonderfully unique texture to them that, when used properly, strike the perfect balance between retro and future. I haven't been able to dig up much info on Crystal Castles so far (yet another band settling for a MySpace page instead of a real website), but from what I gather they are a Toronto area duo and they will be releasing a 12" on Young Cubs Records and CD on Blood Of The Drash. "xxzxczx" is a manic song packed with overdriven bleeps with strangled female vocals, while "Air War" is a little more restrained but every bit as addictive.

» Bonus Track: Air War
» Bonus Track: Comic Book Fever - TV Babies (Crystal Castles Remix)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Morrissey - You Have Killed Me

Most of Morrissey's adoring fans have probably heard this new track by now, it's the song that's been streaming over at his MySpace page for the past month or so (which, incidentally, I find pretty amusing in itself -- can you imagine a recluse like the Mozzer sitting down at a computer and checking his MySpace messages?) Anyways, I've never been all that interested in Morrissey's solo material but I have to admit, "You Have Killed Me" really grabbed me. Maybe it's because it's not as depressing and mopey as most of his previous work (still "melancholy" though), or maybe it's because it's just a catchy, straightforward rock song. If Ringleader of the Tormentors happens to have a few more tunes like this on it, I just might be in line to buy it come April 4th.

» Pre-order it on Amazon

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Eef Barzelay - Ballad Of Bitter Honey

I have a feeling that Eef Barzelay's name might not be familiar to most of you. In fact, his band Clem Snide has always bridged on the borders of obscurity itself. While, I've liked the odd Clem Snide song, I never really paid too much attention to them. However, ever since I heard this solo song from Barzelay's first solo album Bitter Honey, I wished I had heard more by this band. While I found Clem Snide's work quite similar to a lot of other nerdish indie rock bands out there, Barzaley's solo work is a perfect combination of odd, quirky lyrics and a simple acoustic guitar. In this song, Barzelay sings about his ex-girlfriend being a music video with Ludacris, that is both sarcastic and emotional. Definitely don't let this solo album pass you by, and not this bonus song either.

» Bonus Track: Well
» Buy it on Amazon

Spank Rock - Top Billin' From Far Left

Far be it from me to be the one posting hip hop stuff on here, but what can I say... I'm just doing it for Zak to teach him about music. Actually, to be perfectly honest this is some killer shit, even to my untrained white ears. Spank Rock is coming straight off the crack-infested streets of Baltimore, and his debut album Yoyoyoyoyo hits this April on Big Dada Records. With the help of Diplo's remix of "Put That Pussy On Me", Spank Rock has been getting a lot of buzz in the cutting edge blog world and I guess I'm here to add to it. Lots of filthy language and a gritty texture composed of layered electronic noises and big ass beats... what's not to love? The album's first single is even called "Rick Rubin". Get on it.

» Bonus Track: Bump
» Bonus Track: Rick Rubin

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Killers - Somebody Told Me (Mylo Remix)

With all the bloggers hailing Mylo as the new Daft Punk, I guess I'll have to jump on the bandwagon. While I really love his new album Destroy Rock & Roll, I'll do you one better. Here's a remix he did of The Killers song Somebody Told Me. While I've never been a fan of the Killers, so I can't claim objectivity, Somebody Told Me has probably been one of the worst songs I've heard in the past year. However, this remix made me forget how awful the original sounded, which is definitely a positive thing, and for that I'll give Mylo props. So, for all of you who want to stay on top of the game, look no further...

» Buy Mylo's Destroy Rock & Roll on Amazon

Kaito - 2 Say (Artrocker Version)

Nothing solid to report yet on when Kaito may finish recording their next full length album, but they've had this new song up on their MySpace page for a couple months now and it's pretty good. "2 Say" is not quite as rambunctious as some of the other stuff we've heard from the spunky U.K. act, but I am loving the warm fuzz and mechanical texture of it all -- not to mention that short little funky breakdown that comes in the middle. If you're a fan of Deerhoof or bands that are just as cute as they are noisy, you should definitely check out Kaito's last two albums.

» Bonus Track: Trailous (Live)
» Buy Band Red on Amazon

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Essex Green - Don't Know Why (You Stay)

Here's a band that may interest fans of The Apples In Stereo, Of Montreal, The Shins and 60's pop and psychadelia in general. (Yes, apparently they are a part of the nebulous Elephant 6 Collective, so I suppose that explains the connection.) The Essex Green have a new album out on Merge Records next month called Cannibal Sea, and believe me when I say they look really sharp in peacoats. I'm not all that familiar with their previous 2 and a half records but this song has definitely got my interest piqued. Soaring vocal harmonies and crisp 60's production makes for some wonderful repeat listening... can't wait to hear more from this album.

» Pre-order it on Amazon

The New Amsterdams - Girl Why'd You Run Away (Reggie and the Full Effect Cover)

Matt Pryor and The New Amsterdams will be putting out their first post-Get Up Kids album in March called Story Like A Scar. I've never been all that moved by his mainly acoustic side project, and the new track "Turn Out The Light" doesn't do much to change my mind. I was more interested to hear that he is also writing children's songs with the New Ams line-up under an alternate name: The Terrible Twos. (Apparently writing music for kids is the new indie thing to do.) There are a couple MP3s on their website, and although the music is slightly more upbeat it's not nearly as quirky and fun as I was hoping it would be. I did, however, enjoy the New Amsterdams' stripped down cover of Reggie & The Full Effect. Just don't get me started on the last couple of Reggie albums...

» Bonus Track: The New Amsterdams - Turn Out The Light
» Bonus Track: The Terrible Twos - When I Get To Eleven

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Q And Not U - People Wonder (President Remix)

When Q And Not U played their final string of shows in fall of 2005, they also released a very limited edition 3-song EP featuring remixes of the song "Wonderful People" from their last album Power. Among these remixes is this track from President, guitarist Harris Klahr's new electronic project. Checking in with the other members of Q And Not U, we find that Christopher Richards has already released a solo album under the name Ris Paul Ric, and is working on a new band with DJ Dave Nada, while drummer John Davis has started a new two-piece collaboration with friend Laura Burhenn called Georgie James. (Follow all the links to hear music at their MySpace pages.) Linked below is another remix from the final EP and another great Q And Not U song available only on their On Play Patterns EP.

» Bonus Track: Wonderful People (Ova Looven Remix)
» Bonus Track: Ten Thousand Animal Calls
» Buy On Play Patterns on Amazon

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Cardigans - Losing A Friend

The Cardigans are still known by most for their massive 90s single "Lovefool", which is a pretty poor representation of what they've been about since those days. 1998 saw the electronic tinged "Gran Turismo" and 2004's more restrained "Long Gone Before Daylight", both somewhat dark, mopey releases - yet not in an annoying way. Nina Persson and co are back again with "Super Extra Gravity", which seems similar to "...Daylight" but after a couple listens is showing some subtle differences.

» Buy it on Amazon

Cat Power - Dreams

In celebration of Valentine's Day I'll post a somewhat sad, sappy song, unlike what I usually post. It was between this song and some old Dashboard Confessional, and I think I made a mistake. This comes from the Japanese import of Cat Power's recent album The Greatest, though it sounds more the stuff on her Covers Record than her new album. It's a cover of a song by the Everly Brothers, and has just Chan and a piano, as she completely changes the song's structure while still keeping the main piano progression of the original. It's simply beautiful, and it's why I love her. Plus, she's a big Bob Dylan fan, which makes her my dream. Why don't girls like this exist in the real world?
I've also included a live cover of "He Was a Friend of Mine," and "Wonderwall."

» Bonus Track: He Was A Friend of Mine
» Bonus Track: Wonderwall
» Buy The Greatest on Amazon

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Fever - Redhead

The Fever's 2004 album Red Bedroom seemed to fly under a lot of people's radars, but I can only guess that if more people heard it they would be enraptured by it. The band can be compared to a melding of The Faint and Hot Hot Heat; there's plenty of driving rhythms and keyboards but also a darker edge to their sound as well. From what I hear, on their upcoming album In The City Of Sleep they are branching out a bit, exploring their darker side further and also incorporating more classical noir elements. Whatever that means. This new track "Redhead" isn't necessarily a good example of that, but I like it nonetheless. "Gray Ghost" (linked below) is one of my favourites from Red Bedroom.

» Bonus Track: Gray Ghost
» Buy Red Bedroom on Amazon

Friday, February 10, 2006

Aloha - Weekend

Aloha are one of those bands that I had been meaning to check out for years, but I never really had the chance to sit down with one of their albums until now. Some Echoes is their 4th "long player", due out on April 11th on Polyvinyl Records. I can only assume it is a fairly good representation of their overall style, as it closely resembles the imagined soundscapes I already had in my head (and the established sounds of the Polyvinyl roster). That is to say, for the most part, dreamy pop songs with a hint of lounge flavour thanks to the unique use of marimba and vibraphone that they are known for. I had been expecting to hear a little more in the way of free-form experimentation, however, so perhaps this is an example of the band going in a slightly more concise and straightforward direction with their music.

» Bonus Track: Your Eyes
» Bonus Track: Big Morning

Kardinal Offishall - Whatchalike ft. Busta Rhymes

With DJ's like Diplo and Ghrislain Poirer giving the music their stamps of approval, the riddim of the West Indies has hit the indie scene pretty hard over the past year. If not hard, then at least it's bubbling, and we can anticipate a boil. Hopefully this'll call some more attention to the underexposed Toronto scene, the roots of which are firmly embedded in the West Indies. T.dot's star performer and most-known-unknown is Kardinal Offishall. His sophomore LP, Fire and Glory, had a Canadian release late last year, and it should hit American stores soon. He's also got that Kill Bloodclott Bill mixtape out too from a little ways back. Also way hot.

» Bonus Track: Everybody Gangsta ft. Vybz Kartel
» Bonus Track: Feel Alright
» Buy it on Amazon

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Maximo Park - A19

Maximo Park's A Certain Trigger was a pretty solid debut album; the only real problem I had with it was the fact that they were one of many other British bands doing the whole Gang of Four revival thing. But if you can get past that, there is a lot to like about these guys. With the angular guitars and tight rhythms, you can't help but think of The Futureheads minus the intricate vocal harmonizing. It's certainly not something you'd expect to hear on a primarily electronic label like Warp Records. To hold over their growing fan base, Maximo Park will release a b-side compilation on February 21st called Missing Songs. More of the same really, but some interesting surprises such as the xylophone on "Hammer Horror". Give it a listen.

» Bonus Track: Hammer Horror

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sin ft. Cam'ron, Bezel, & Tom Gist - Thanks To Me (Certified)

You think N.Y.C. is rough? L.A.? Detroit maybe? These places ain't got nothing on Serbia. Serbia is scary. No joke. Now imagine a gangsta rapper from Serbia and welcome to Sin, the Torontonian by way of Belgrade. I just came across his 2005 mixtape the other day, Sizzerb Vol. 1. Hosted by DJ Vlad and featuring the Dip Set and a bunch of Sizzerb affliates (which hail from Serbia, Canada and America), this is one emcee to get excited about. I realize that a Toronto/Belgrade rapper seems like the least likely thing to sound as awesome as it does, but as Sin raps on "If God Closes The Gates", "They make-believe/I make believers." Well, he's made a believer out of me.

» Bonus Track: If God Closes The Gates

Duckmandu - Holiday in Cambodia

Well I've heard of bands with gimmicks, but this guy just might take the cake. Aaron Seeman aka Duckmandu wears a funny duck hat while playing covers of the Dead Kennedys on accordion. And that's all you really need to know. The interesting thing is that the songs actually sound quite close to the originals (well... as close as you can get with an accordion). He re-recorded the entire DK album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables and released it under the title Fresh Duck for Rotting Accordionists. He even managed to get original Dead Kennedys bassist Klaus Fluoride to sing back-up vocals on 5 of the tracks. How's that for credibility? If that's not enough he throws in covers of Black Flag, D.R.I., and Devo... just because.

» Bonus Track: Girl U Want
» Buy it on CDBaby

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Kaiser Chiefs - Na Na Na Na Naa (Polysics Remix)

The Kaiser Chiefs just released an exclusive EP over in Japan called Lap of Honour. It features 5 new songs, a live track, and this remix right here by none other than Tokyo new wave cyborgs Polysics! It's not quite as interesting as their previous remix of "Luno" by Bloc Party, but it still brings a smile to my face. Basically it just takes the vocals from the original and floats them over top of mechanical beats and typically frantic Polysics guitars, only to distort and warp them further like a robot low on batteries. Polysics will embark on a U.S. tour in support of their new album Now Is The Time in March, followed by a U.K. tour opening for the Kaiser Chiefs in April.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Danielson - Did I Step On Your Trumpet

» (MP3 Link Removed)
Starting off the week with a bang, here's a couple tracks from an album that's easily one of the most anticipated of 2006 (next to K-Fed's of course). If all goes according to plan, 2006 should be a huge year for Daniel Smith and the Danielson Famile. Their new album Ships features members of Deerhoof as a backing band, not to mention contributions from honourary famile member Sujfan Stevens (who is now a bona fide indie rock superstar). What's more, Danielson: A Family Movie will also premiere this year at SXSW and a few other festivals. (Check out the trailer for this fascinating documentary here.) Smith's distinct childish falsetto is an acquired taste for some people, but with the multitude of beautiful instruments and the group sing alongs it's hard to see how anyone can resist some of these songs. Ships hits stores in May, but a number of limited edition 7"s will be available starting in March. (The other Danielson track below, "Nothing To Do" appeared on the Dimension Mix tribute CD last year.)

» Bonus Track: Time That Bald Sexton (MP3 Link Removed)
» Bonus Track: Nothing To Do (MP3 Link Removed)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Oneida - $50 Tea

This one is for Sean to teach him about music. This is another song I just came across recently. Oneida has always been one of those bands that I've heard of but never really listened to. That is, until I heard this song from their Secret Wars album released in 2004. So, most people probably consider this a classic album now. They play psychedelic-garage rock, though this album favours the keyboards a lot more than the other stuff I've heard, and has a bit more of a dance feel to it. The entire album is pretty amazing, I'm looking forward to picking it up soon. This entire album plays at least twice as loud as any other album I own. I take that to mean that the band desires the album to be played loudly. Obey them.

» Bonus Track: Caesar's Column

Band of Horses - The Funeral


I'm not sure where I found this song. I didn't know I had it until the other day when I found it on my iTunes list. I wish I knew where it came from because I'd really like to hear some more music by this band (of horses). I did a little bit of research and it turns out their album comes out on March 21. So, basically, it looks like I'm going to have to wait until then to hear anything else. This song is pretty amazing though, my early pick for fave of the year, so I have pretty high hopes for this album.

you can check out some demos at their website here.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Make Up - Born On The Floor (Live)

The Make Up broke up in 2000, but during their 5 year career they left an impression on a lot of people -- especially those who experienced their live show. Frontman Ian Svenonius, formerly of Nation of Ulysses and now of Weird War, is known for his blending of art and politics, and a career arc which is curiously similar to that of Dennis Lyxzén of Refused/The International Noise Conspiracy fame. With a sound that blended mod, punk, garage, soul and funk, The Make Up set out to make people dance... and dance they did. Untouchable Sound is their 3rd live album (I think) and serves as bit of an epilogue to their career; it was recorded at the Black Cat nightclub in Washington, D.C. in 2000 by Fugazi's Brendan Canty (brother of Make Up guitarist James Canty). It will be released on Drag City/Sea Note on Feb. 13th.

» Pre-order it on Amazon

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pilot Scott Tracy - Angel of Death

I'm still not sure what the whole story is behind the demise of The Causey Way, but it's unfortunate that such an exciting band had to come to an end just when they were about to blow up (popularity-wise that is). At any rate, it seems that Scott Stanton aka Causey himself is now once again "mentally stable" enough to write music, and so together with his wife Tracy they have started Pilot Scott Tracy. (Scott... Tracy... get it?) Their schtick this time around is slightly less provocative (an airline theme instead of a cult), but the music is pretty much the same. Alternating between the spasmodic rock of early Pixies and hypnotic synth-driven pop songs in the vein of Stereolab, they definitely deserve a listen. Their latest album, Any City was an overlooked gem from last year. The band hasn't been very active in recent months however, as Scott and Tracy have reportedly just had a baby.

» Bonus Track: Return To My Home
» Bonus Track: Love Is An Animal (from Flight 0713)
» Buy it on Amazon

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Go! Team - Huddle Formation (RJD2 Mix)

The Go! Team continue their conquest of the known world with the release of a new Ladyflash single in the U.K. this week. Over in Europe, where their debut album Thunder, Lightning, Strike has been out since 2004, people are no doubt jonesin' for something new. Luckily, the Ladyflash CD single contains a few brand new tracks including a handful of remixes. I know what you're thinking. More remixes? Yawn. These are pretty damn cool though. Check out the RJD2 remix of "Huddle Formation", which ups the tempo and brings the song to a new level of infectiousness. I've also included another previously unreleased Go! Team song from the Warchild compilation... it's an instrumental called "Phantom Broadcast".

» Bonus Track: Phantom Broadcast

Some Girls - Beautiful Rune

I'll admit that things have been pretty slow around here lately. Even though there has been a huge amount of albums lately, I haven't really come across much new good stuff. However, Some Girls is an album I got recently and hasn't talked about too much. The band contains members of the Locust and the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, and their sound is pretty evidently influence by the Locust, creating really short, tight punk/hardcore. The album as a whole is kind of lacking. However, they have some really amazing songs which I've tried to include here. They also have a cover of Public Image Ltd.'s 'Religion,' which is definitely worth hearing. I'm hoping these tracks will blow shit up in here and get it bouncing in here again. Or at least break some heads.

» Bonus Track: Ex Nuns/Dead Dogs
» Bonus Track: Warm Milk
» Bonus Track: Marry Mortuary
» Buy it on Amazon