Sunday, April 30, 2006

Animal Collective - The Purple Bottle (Planet Claire Session)

I saw the Animal Collective a few years ago right after they released Sung Tongs and I was blown away even though I didn't know any of the songs they played, since on tour they play almost exclusively new and unreleased songs. That's what makes hearing this song so great, since it's the first time I've heard a recognizable AC song live. These songs come from a live radio session, but I'm not sure what Planet Claire is. "The Purple Bottle" has just an acoustic guitar and a little piano, but the real emphasis is on the vocals. If you're a fan of the original, you'll love this version, giving you a whole new perspective on the original if not on life. I've also included two other songs from this radio session, including the amazing "I've Got Mine," which may or may not be a new song.

» Bonus Track: Flesh Canoe
» Bonus Track: I've Got Mine

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Smoosh - Find A Way

I've read a lot of mixed opinions about Smoosh over the past little while, who have turned heads because the band is comprised of 2 young sisters, aged 12 and 14 years old respectively. Some people feel that they are a bit overhyped mainly because of the age gimmick. Personally I had been kind of on the fence with their music so far. I mean, I thought it was amazing that they were this young and writing songs at all, but the stuff I had heard from them was hit and miss. Now that I've heard this new song from their upcoming album Free To Stay, I think I am finally sold. Their music has an amazing Mates of State quality to it; I guess it's the dirty keyboard sound and poppy vocal harmonies that really do it for me. I hope this album finally silences their critics, because I think the music speaks for itself. You can catch Smoosh on tour with Eels this summer, and pick up their new album on June 20th from Barsuk Records.

» Pre-order it on Amazon

Friday, April 28, 2006

Text Adventure - Let's Get Us Wrong Tonight

Text Adventure released a great little digital EP back in 2004 called Fantastic Disaster, and I was excited to hear that they finally have released their first full-length album on Skylab Operations. This two-piece folktronic shoegazer outfit from Glasgow mix vintage electronic sounds with mellow guitars and soothing vocals. Gentle and hypnotic yet poppy, they could be likened to a lo-fi version of The Postal Service. "Let's Get Us Wrong Tonight" is an instrumental song, something more along the lines of Swedish electro band Pluxus or Iceland's Mum, but if you need to hear some singing, check out the songs from Fantastic Distaster over at the Internet Archive.

» Bonus Track: Kill Meow

Monday, April 24, 2006

Spinto Band - Baby Nerd (Part 1)

A little while ago, this site posted the magnificent "Oh Mandy" by the Spinto Band. At the time, I thought they were a new, young, pop-rock band. Only recently I discovered that their recently released Nice and Nicely Done was their seventh release since the bands formation in 1996. As far as I can tell, all of these releases are unavailable and out of print. Now, all that remains, at least in digital format, are these two songs. At least, they're all I have been able to find. It's interesting hearing these songs to see how the band has progressed from their origins. This song is particularly interesting, using cut and paste style sampling, much different from their current sound. The bonus track below doesn't too dissimilar from their most recent album, and is just as noteworthy as most of the tracks on that album.

» Bonus Track: Tractor

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Futureheads - Skip To The End

A brand new Futureheads song has been floating around the web for the past couple of weeks now and I must say, it's simple but yet oh so sweet. Not quite as frantic or fast-paced as some people were hoping I guess, but hey what did you expect... it's the radio single! Their self-titled album was one of my favourite albums of 2004, and now I'm getting all tingly thinking about News and Tributes, the new album which hits stores on June 13th (May 29th in the U.K.). In an unexpected twist, it will be released here through Vagrant Records... I guess emo really is dead. Also, good news for those of us who didn't bother trying to import their Area EP that was released late last year: all 3 songs from this EP will be included on the North American version of News and Tributes. That's what I call... BONUS. I've included one of these tracks below.

You can also watch the new video for "Skip To The End" in Windows Media or Realvideo now.

» Bonus Track: Help Us Out
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Guillemots - Trains to Brazil

Since I'm really a sucker for a good bargain, I was encouraged to buy this album by Guillemots for only $7.99. It's called a mini-LP, meaning it's only seven tracks long, but cracks the 47 minute mark. I think I truly walked away with a bargain because so far, this CD has become my most listened to album released so far this year (my iTunes playlist count is already at 14). These multi-instrumentalists have created one of the most infectious and contagious albums I've heard in a long time. Combining such odd sounds as Fisher Price toys and jazz-infected trumpets, these jangle-poppers made an album, equally quirky, poppy and original.

» Bonus Track: Made Up Lovesong #43
» Buy it on Amazon

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gnarls Barkley - Go Go Gadget Gospel

Danger Mouse, after his successful team up with MF Doom, as well as still being known for the infamous "Grey Album" returns again this year, collaborating with Cee-Lo Green on an 'indie soul' record thats already gaining a lot of attention for its single "Crazy" (see video here) . It really is one of the better songs I've heard in a long time, a great single if there ever was one, with a soaringly beautiful vocal and nice backing arrangements. I must say it feels a bit like one of Moby's "I found an old blues record!" style songs, but done in a way that seems beyone the bald one's reach. Be also sure to check out Gnarls' myspace site for more tracks. The album, "St. Elsewhere", drops early in May.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gruff Rhys - Y Gwybodusion

The last two Super Furry Animals albums left me more than a little unsatisfied, so when I heard that frontman Gruff Rhys was working on a solo album I was anxious to hear what it might sound like. While initially the songs exceeded my expectations, I think overall it still falls somewhere within the realm of the other recent SFA stuff in terms of quality. There are a few stand out tracks, along with a handful of tunes that don't quite go anywhere. At least the good stuff is really good, and the straightforward Beach Boys-esque harmonies remind me of earlier SFA albums like Radiator. The songs are all in Welsh, similar to the Super Furry album Mwng, but Rhys has provided some rough translations on his website. The album itself is called Yr Atal Genhedlaeth (The Stuttering Generation).

» Bonus Track: Ni Yw Y Byd
» Bonus Track: Pwdin Wy 1
» Buy it on Amazon

Air Cock Thrust!

We caught Spank Rock's performance this past weekend in the Hammer and it was quite a show. Not only did they turn the place into an all-out dance party, but live they also proved to be a rather cerebral experience, making the crowd stop and think with provocative lyrics such as "Shake it til' my dick turns racist". It seems that they are also pioneers of a bold new dance move: the A.C.T., better known as the "Air Cock Thrust". They have even gone so far as to create a website where you can rate videos of people performing the complicated maneuver. Get the scoop on this hot new trend that's sweeping the nation over at www.aircockthrust.com.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Serena-Maneesh - Sapphire Eyes High

When a band has a name like Serena-Maneesh and hails from Norway, under normal circumstances you'd probably assume you were in for some good ol' Scandinavian black metal. But when it turns out that they toured with The Dandy Warhols and are good friends with Daniel Smith and Sujfan Stevens, you know there's something strange going on -- Christian folk music and black metal typically don't go hand in hand. It turns out Serena-Maneesh are a noise-pop band that may remind you of My Bloody Valentine or ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, alternating between ethereal melodies and a wall of distorted guitars. Smith and Stevens actually appeared on their self-titled album, and then S-M returned the favour on the Danielson Famile's latest album Ships. The Serena-Maneesh album is available now on Honeymilk Records in Norway, and will be re-released through Beggars Group in North America on May 9th. Seriously, check out these guys out, they will blow you away.

» Bonus Track: Selina's Melodie Fountain
» Buy it on Amazon

Muzak Video Roundup: Wolf Parade, The Flaming Lips, Islands, Morrissey and more

Here's a little feature we used to have over at Spacejunk.org, but ever since the site became "Film Junk" it didn't really seem to fit anymore. So expect to see more of these music video posts here in the coming weeks. Tons of cool videos came out recently including one from The Flaming Lips involving fat men and donuts, an awesome stop motion one from Wolf Parade, and Islands... in space.

» The Flaming Lips - The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (Dir. Traktor)
» Wolf Parade - Modern World (Dir. Adam Bizanski)
» Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything... (Live)
» Morrissey - You Have Killed Me (Dir. Bucky Fukumoto)
» Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline) -- (Dir. Micah Meisner)
» Islands - Rough Gem
» The Strokes - Heart in a Cage (Dir. Sam Bayer)
» New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno (Dir. Michael Palmieri)
» Jamie Lidell - You Got Me Up (Dir. Konx-Om-Pax)
» Gorillaz - El Manana (Dir. Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland)
» Spank Rock - Sweet Talk

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kanye West ft. Twista/Keyshia Cole - Impossible

When I first heard that Kanye West was doing the theme song to the Mission: Impossible 3 movie, I figured it we were in for quite a ride. Topping Limp Bizkit's theme from M:I2 is surely no easy task, but yet Mr. West seems to have done it in style here. The one thing I don't quite understand is... how does this song have anything to do with the Mission: Impossible theme? Leave it to Kanye to dig up an old funk/soul classic called "It's Impossible", and play on that instead. (You can listen to the original over at XXL Mag.) I can't wait to hear how these beats translate to the movie... I am already picturing Tom Cruise all sweaty and diffusing a bomb while listening to this on his iPod. Unfortunately the only version of this song I've been able to find so far is the clean version -- that is, the one with bongo drums over top of the curse words. If anyone locates the "unclean" version, please do give me a heads up since I would much prefer it.

» Pre-order it on Amazon

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shapes and Sizes - Island's Gone Bad

A few days ago, this four-piece pop band from Victoria, B.C. stopped by a neighbourhood bar near my house in St. Catharines. But a few days ago I hadn't heard of this band, and hadn't heard anything by them. More importantly, I hadn't heard that this band had recently signed to Asthmatic Kitty Records. If I had known Sufjan liked them, I definitely would've attended the concert. That is why I'm telling you all now, in case they come by your house, which is likely since they are during all over Canada as we speak. Regardless, Shapes and Sizes are a quirky, poppy, multi-instrumentalist band who change sounds and tempos mid-song. As well as combining multiple vocals, odd sounds, whistles, claps, creaks, yelps, the band is like a compendium of of everything good in music right now, never predictable but always fun to listen to. Their album will be released on July 25th through Asthmatic Kitty.

Bonus Track - Wilderness

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Les Savy Fav - Raging in the Plague Age

Looks like Les Savy Fav's "indefinite hiatus" is finally over, and it couldn't come at a better time. They've just released a new digital EP via EMusic called Plagues & Snakes, featuring 2 brand new songs recorded in late 2005 and it seems to pick up right where Go Forth left off. They are apparently writing even more new material as we speak, and will be re-releasing their debut album 3/5 on French Kiss Records in July, in addition to putting out a new 7" on Rococo Records later this month. "Raging In The Plague Age" is a manic scorcher in the classic LSF style, sure to get your blood pumpin'. You can grab the other new song " When You Wake Up A Snake", a quieter, piano-tinged tune with appropriately cryptic lyrics, by signing up for a free trial with EMusic (or by snooping around a few other blogs). "Hit By A Car" is (I believe) one of the songs from the forthcoming 7".

» Bonus Track: Hit By A Car
» Download from EMusic

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Don Caballero - I Agree... No!... I Disagree

The new Don Caballero album had me a little hesitant for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the only original member left in the band is now drummer Damon Che. Of course, many people would probably argue that Che is the most important member of the band, that the intricate layers of experimental and jazzy guitar noodling only provided a context for his almost superhuman percussive skills. However, on World Class Listening Problem (the band's first release on Relapse Records) we come to understand exactly how much of a role guitarist Ian Williams played in shaping their sound, and how mediocre they can be without his sonic creativity. Che is now fronted by former members of tech metal band Creta Bourzia, and while the music is not nearly as dark and jagged as I was expecting it to be, it's still a little too... straightforward. Instead of Williams' unique fret tapping, we have repetitive riffs and random digital pedal effects. But who knows -- maybe it's a grower. I've included an oldie but a goodie from What Burns Never Returns for comparitive purposes.

» Bonus Track: Palm Trees In The Fecking Bahamas
» Bonus Track: In The Absence Of Strong Evidence To The Contrary/One May Step Out Of The Way Of The Charging Bull

Monday, April 03, 2006

the Like Young - Dead Eyes

If you're getting sick of all these bands that also happen to be married couples, you may not like the Like Young. However, the Like Young probably don't sound like what you expect. With their punk rock/power pop guitars, this duo nicely accentuate each other with their duelling vocals. While bands like Mates of State are out there trying to make you fall in love or cry, the Like Young are here to prove that they are the most punk rock couple since Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. Forget all these other pussy couples, the Like Young deserve a listen. Their debut album on Polyvinyl Records is scheduled for release on May 9th.

Bonus Track - For Love or Money

Holy Fuck - Tone Bank Jungle

I know people think that the Canadian music scene is really blowing up now, but I say it already past its prime in the late 90s with bands like hHead, or the Gandharvas. It's unfortunate that these bands only exist in our memories now, even as their songs have faded, and very few outside of Canada have ever heard of them. I'm sure everyone growing up in the 90s in the Toronto area remembers King Cobb Steelie and By Divine Right, even if you can't recall what songs they wrote. Well now these well-past-their-prime bands have combined forces to create Holy Fuck, a band remarkably better than the sum of their parts. I would describe their sound as being akin to something by a DJ like Boom Bip but recorded on live instruments. Not surprisingly they have toured with hip-hop artists like Beans as well as acting as his backing band. More recently they have just started touring with Wolf Parade.

Bonus Track - K. Rhythm Pt. 1