Friday, September 29, 2006

Swan Lake - The Freedom

I can pretty much write anything about this album and people will pretty much eat it up. I know everyone wants to hear the album, especially because of the secrecy which has surrounded it so far. You've no doubt heard all the big name Canucks attached to this product: Dan Bejar, Spencer Krug, Casey Mercer. As you can imagine when three incredibly talented artists come together, they are going to create art. While the album does carry much of the same feeling as their other bands (these two songs definitely reflect Bejar's writing skills) the album isn't as accessible as I'm sure everyone's expecting it to be. Much of it is difficult, much of it is brilliant, but you need to hear it regardless. Give in to your desires and take a listen!

Bonus Track - Widow's Walk

Chad Vangaalen - Flower Gardens

"Flower Gardens" is to Skelliconnection as "Clinically Dead" was to Infiniheart: it is the song that makes Chad seem less like a traditional singer-songwriter and more like the rock-god that we all know he is. I know I'm late on posting some of his new material, but it's only because I love him so much, and my lowly writing could never do him justice. Of course this is just typical fanboy appreciation. It took me a few listens, but his new album is becoming one of my favourites of the year, and this song is probably the best thing I've heard him do. This is the only song I'm offering so you'll go out and buy this one. It'll definitely get you hooked.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

M. Ward - Poison Cup

Everyone who talks about the new M. Ward album Post-War seems to dwell on the political intentions in this new album. Upon a few fairly intense listening seshes I'm less convinced about the political commentary in the album, yet I'm completely reminded of why I love M. Ward. I think dwelling on the political associations totally detracts from Ward's incredible songwriting talent and voice. Even from the album's lead off track "Poison Cup," Ward manages to pull you in with just a simple guitar riff and violins. This song could very well be my favourite song of the past two weeks, and everytime I listen to it I appreciate it a little bit more. His deep, nasal, southern voice has no comparison in music. I love it! If only we could all have it. Definitely check out his cover of Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home" below as well.

Bonus Track - To Go Home

Catfish Haven - I Don't Worry

When Catfish Haven released their debut EP earlier this year, nearly everyone seemed to hail them as an amazing new talent and live band. You'd think that by releasing their full-length Tell Me only a few months later the band could ride the same success, but it seems this newer album hasn't struck quite as many chords as I assumed. Honestly, I'm quite shocked, cus I think this new album is even better than their EP. I especially love "I Don't Worry." It features one of the best choruses I've heard in a while, and the ending to the song is simply amazing, with its 60s style rock/soul/rockabilly feel. There's something about the singer's raspy yet soulful, smooth vocals that leave me on my knees the way I thought only Marvin could do.

Bonus Track - Crazy For Leaving
Bonus Track - Tell Me

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the Pussycat Dolls - I Don't Need a Man

We all know that "Don't Cha" was shit. But then "Beep" was basically the shit. And then of course there was "Buttons." MFing "Buttons." I swear I totally underestimated these girls (though we know it's all about Nicole). I had initially pegged this album as a poorly conceived, not quite one-hit-wonder, but each single gets better and better. This is easily the best of the four. So what if we don't really believe them when they say they don't need a man to make them happy. It's not about the lyrics, its about the beat, the melodies, and the video. This album could be the sleeper hit of the year.

Jay-Z is the Devil!

I always had a sneaking suspicion about him, but finally the facts are out. At the beginning the preacher simply goes over the standard fare: his name is HOVA, he has a clothing line. But wait till he plays one of his songs in reverse. You'll be shocked at what he discovers.

Pilot Scott Tracy - Run, Run, Run

Although the lead-up to its release has been pretty low-key so far, Pilot Scott Tracy will return with their 3rd full-length album next month on Alternative Tentacles. It remains a mystery to me why more bloggers haven't picked up on this band or their previous incarnation, The Causey Way. Not only do they offer shades of The Pixies, The B-52's and Stereolab all in one shot, but they also dress up as flight attendants on stage. You can't beat a band in costume, right?

On their last album, Any City, it did start to feel a bit like they were running out of inspiration and ideas, but I'm happy to say that We Cut Loose may very well be the best thing they've done since The Causey Way. There hasn't been any drastic change or progression in style, but they just sound re-energized and full of life again. Frantic vocals, swirling synths, and they even throw in a cover of The Smiths for good measure. Who knows, maybe last time they were just suffering from jet lag?

» Bonus Track: 21 Years
» Bonus Track: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths cover)
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tha Dogg Pound ft. David Banner - Faknass Hoes


I could've just tacked this onto the Banner post I did yesterday, but shit, this song deserves a post all of its own. If I was ever presented with a "either never listen to Faknass Hoes again or delete half of your music collection"... well, I don't know what I'd do. I probably have a lot of ass songs in my collection, so I think I'd go with Faknass Hoes. But even if I didn't have so many ass songs, I'd still have to think about it long and hard. It's just that good. When those synths come in

The song is hidden on Tha Dogg Pound's relatively boring Cali Iz Active, which came out this past summer. But with David Banner producing the beat and him all over the song, it's a misnomer to say that this song is a DPGC song. It's really all Banner. And that's part of what makes this song sound so great. When I think of it as David Banner's, a song called Faknass Hoes sounds a lot less dumb, or just that much smarter. I always hear about how rap music contains so much social commentary and I have never know what to do with that. I'm not a SOC major, but it always sounds like some bullshit to me. However, when this kind of stuff comes out of David Banner it's hard to dismiss it as simply a reflection of society. He brings this socio-intellectual spirit to the song that couldn't've been had without him, ex: read sample of lyrics below.

"Pimpin like a muthafuckin triiiiiiiiiiick!"

"Go 'n' get yo money/fuck them faknass hoes!"

"You know that I know that you that I know that you a biiiitch!
You know that I know that you that I know that you a hoooe!"

"What can a bitch do for a young nigga?/hit the stage young hoe/bring a nigga six figgas."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

David Banner ft. Yola Da Great - Get Money Nigga


David Banner is like the male Missy Elliot. He may not know how to make good albums, but the man has got it locked down when it comes to making songs. And this is most definitely one of those songs. I think it came out earlier this summer, but I hadn't heard it until just a few days ago. I happened upon it when I was d/l'ing some of Yola Da Great's stuff (which I've actually been meaning to post, so more on him later).

The beat kind of surprised me at first. It's produced by Banner, but not what you'd expect. I usually find that when he goes in that Mississippi-is-one-scary-nightmare direction, it's much more overt in its aggression. Instead, Get Money Nigga has got this caloused fatigue in its violence. It's hollow clangs and empty claps sound like an exhaustion that only hustling on the streets could bring about. Like when you're playing Banner's character in Def Jam: Fight For NY and you're beat the shit out of guys with a lead pipe in some back alley, only your health is really low and your thumbs feel tired from playing for hours.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jaheim - The Chosen One


It's been a while since I've posted here at MFC. If you've been with us from the beginning, you might remember me. Then again, you might not, cause I only posted a good handful of songs. I ended up fazing myself out of the regular cycle of MFC after I realized that blogging wasn't as glamorous as I thought it was. Sean and Zak make it look easy. It's not. It's motherfucking hard and tiring. Who knew posting a song could be such a real pain in the ass? Maybe I'm just lazy.

Anyways, so after a year-long abscence I'm finally rested up and ready to take another stab at this "blogging" thing. After much thought, I've decided to mark return with a song from Jaheim, the smoother than margarine singer you might remember from some of Cam's songs. Obviously I'm not trying to impress. Just a plain old good song. Hopefully you keep this one around for next summer, cause it's perfect for a Sunday drive on your way to a picnic with your loved one.

Of Montreal - The Outback Steakhouse Song

Well as Zak mentioned on this week's Mixtape podcast, indie faves Of Montreal recently decided to license out one of their songs for use in an Outback Steakhouse TV commercial. While hearing indie music used in TV commercials is always a little strange for fans, the bizarre thing that people have been noticing about this one is the fact that the song's lyrics have been completely changed around to become a jingle for Outback Steakhouse. The song being used is "Wraith Pinned To The Mist and Other Games" off of The Sunlandic Twins, and in the commercial it almost sounds like Kevin Barnes himself singing it (according to Pitchfork, it's not). Although it's certainly nothing new at this point, rarely has selling out been quite so amusing! The original song is linked below for comparision purposes. Enjoy!

» Bonus Track: Of Montreal - Wraith Pinned To the Mist and Other Games

Man or Astro-man? - Interstellar Harddrive (Peel Session)

We probably haven't mentioned it before, but we're big fans of the extra-terrestrial instrumentalists Man... or Astro-man? here at Muzak For Cybernetics. So big, in fact, that we named the whole damn website after one of their songs (okay, Zak can plead ignorance on that one since he probably wasn't aware at the time). The sad thing is, the band has been on hiatus for a couple of years now and it was starting to seem like they were content to make that arrangement a permanent one.

Drummer Birdstuff was moonlighting with various bands including The Polyphonic Spree, ex-guitarist Starcrunch was busy running Warm Records, and bassist Coco was creating his own brand of biodiesel. (No, seriously.) But then, just a few weeks ago, the band's original line-up re-united to play the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary celebration! Could there be plans for more shows and future recordings in the works? Let us hope so. They've been talking for a long time about putting out a DVD too. That would be just swell!

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few of these tracks from their last Peel Session. Not the most precise playing, but it definitely gets across the energy and mayhem that goes into their live performances. You can also watch some clips of the reunion show over on YouTube, and hear some other Peel Session recordings at their MySpace page.

» Bonus Track: Television Fission (Peel Session)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Muzak For Cybernetics Mixtape #4

Sorry to keep everyone waiting... the past week or so has been really hectic with Sean moving and Zak busy chillaxing but we finally have our 4th Muzak For Cybernetics Mixtape online and ready for you to enjoy! We're going to do our best to make this a bi-weekly podcast from here on in. As always, all feedback is welcome... and don't forget to tell your friends!



Playlist:

OOIOO - Uma
Of Montreal - No Bunny Ain't No Kind Of Rider
Annuals - Bleary Eyed
Polyphonic Spree - I'm Calling
Starflyer 59 - Mic The Mic
Teddybears Sthlm - Yours To Keep feat. Neneh Cherry
The Octopus Project and Black Moth Super Rainbow - Psychic Swelling
Supersystem - The Lake
Out Hud - JGNDG
The Lemonheads - No Backbone
The Constantines - Why I Didn't Like August '93
Eric's Trip - Anytime You Want
The Thermals - St. Rosa and the Swallows
Man or Astro-man? - Calling Hong Kong

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Of Montreal - Suffer for Fashion

I didn't realize it until today, but these past few days I've been battling a small cold. I've been sleeping all day, and crying all night (though that may be unrelated). Yet, there's something about Of Montreal that completely makes me forget about my illness, especially listening to these songs from their new album Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer? Everyone who knows them knows the incredible amount of energy that the band has. This album is no different. Though I think the album has a slightly more chill vibe, it continues along the same vein as their last two albums, with perhaps even with a little more disco. The album isn't scheduled for a release until January 23, 2007. It's so far off my radar that I didn't even realize they had an album coming out. Sorry to ruin for you if you were patiently waiting for the new album, but it's worth it.

Bonus Track - A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger

Monday, September 11, 2006

Professor Murder- Champion

Everyone once in a while, I miss out on all the hype some bands receive. Who even listens to what all these fanboy bloggers have to say NEways? Trust me, don't waste your time. But this song is amazing, and I regret missing out on it. Professor Murder have an impeccable taste for creating melodies (just check out the short, accapella song "Pedigree" on the album). "Champion" is like an experiment in pop music. It has at least four completely different verses (I guarantee they're fans of Girls Aloud), and each one is completely solid. This comes from their debut EP, Professor Murder Rides the Subway. Definitely awaiting that full-length.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Lemonheads - Pittsburgh (link removed)

When I first heard that The Lemonheads were putting out a new album for Vagrant Records this year, my initial reaction was, "You mean Evan Dando hasn't O.D.'d yet?" To be honest, back in the day I didn't listen to The Lemonheads all that much so I wasn't particularly moved one way or another by the idea. Still, I was curious to see what collaborators Dando would bring along this time, and whether or not a younger generation might be willing to embrace a veteran 90's rocker.

Now that some of the songs from this album are starting to leak out though, I gotta say, I am totally hooked. Part of it may be just the authentic 90's feel of the whole thing, but more than that, these songs are simply some of the catchiest pop songs I've heard all year. The involvement of drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez of The Descendents helps explain some of the pep and melancholy yet melodic hooks in the music. Hell, they even namedrop The Jam and The Buzzcocks in their artist bio... not that I necessarily hear the influence, but regardless, I am pretty much sold. The new Lemonheads self-titled album hits stores on September 26th.

» Pre-order it on Amazon

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Candy Bars - Violet

It's sometimes painful when bands who deserve tons of credit struggle, while much worse bands prosper. But then, some bands like Candy Bars and their label New Granada Records have been working hard to remain somewhat unknown. Together, they have been trying to rebuild the independent music community in Tampa, Florida, rather than become world famous amongst crappy bloggers. Indeed, there is something organic, open-mic sounding, in their debut album "On Cutting Ti-gers in Half and Understanding Narravation" that is really refreshing without even mentioning their incredible songwriting skillz. Their sound reminds of the folky, raspy-vocalled, psychedelica, dreamy debut album by Akron/Family. There is something about them that reminds me of when I was younger and would go to small pubs and hear indie bands play. Even their music reminds me of a time when I was less pessimistic and more level-headed, when folk music wasn't about drinking and lost loves. Oh! the memories.

Bonus Track - The Flood in Your Old Town

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fujiya & Miyagi - Ankle Injuries

* LINK UPDATED *

If you mistake Fujiya & Miyagi for a Japanese experimental duo, don't worry. A) I made the same mistake, and B) on the song "Photocopier" they even sing "We are just pretending to be Japanese." So, don't even try to call them on it, they already beat you to it.

You might be surprised to find out that their sound is something more like Neu! mixed with Hot Chip. Eeeek! It's like a sonic overload! Damn this infectious song with its addictive bassline, subtle harmonies and wicked chorus ("Fu-Jiyi Mi-yagi"). It'll have you chanting "Fujiyi Miyagi" all day long. Or you can start singing along while studying the human anatomy on "Collarbone." The album was released back in May in Britain, but still does not have a North American distributor. Come on guys, what are you wait for? Get on them before you don't.

Bonus Track - Collarbone

Annuals - Brother

For a band fronted by a 19 year old, Annuals shows an incredibly maturity and focus. Citing typical indie rock influences like the Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Sufjan Stevens, Annuals is actually able to combine them without sounding derivative. I would say they combine the atmospherics of Animal Collective, with what's that? I think I definitely hear a little emo influence. While I know they're name-dropping these bands as fodder for the indie crowd, they have a little emo peeking through. Though, I degrade emo kids till the sun goes down, I still have a soft spot for emo. Come on guys, don't be ashamed, embrace it! (I have). For these are the moments that make them surpass their influences: the moments of honesty and power that emerge on "Brother" that make you wanna break out your air guitar and strum along. Definitely an album I'm looking forward to hearing more of when it's released this fall.

Bonus Track - Bleary-Eyed

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Joanna Newsom - Sawdust & Diamonds

Sure, you've probably heard more about it than you've heard of it. Everyone's talking about how great it is, but is speechless about why it's so great. You've heard the producing specs: Steve Albini recording the harp and vocals, Van Dyke Parks arranging the orchestral parts, and all of it mixed by Jim O'Rourke. Therefore, of course, I have to say it's amazing. Sure, it may be one of those difficult second albums, but it'll take more than a few listens to appreciate.

Honestly, I don't want to jump on the band wagon, but I do really like the album, especially this song. It's definitely one of the more poppy songs on the album, much more upbeat. You need to listen, I can't explain it, but it's quite an experience.

I also really encourage you to check out these amazing live video performances from a concert in Birmingham here

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Polyphonic Spree - Lithium (Nirvana cover)

Posting 2 cover songs in one night... I should be ashamed of myself. But seriously this one could not wait... (uh... pun intended?). The Polyphonic Spree have decided to tide over fans with a new EP to be released next week called simply Wait. It features a handful of covers and a couple new tracks. I've been really looking forward to hearing their next album, The Fragile Army, which is being produced by Jon Brion, but in the meantime, I suppose this will do. The choice of covers were pretty interesting; among them are a Psychadelic Furs track, a Tripping Daisy song (Tim DeLaughter's old band), and this Nirvana cover. I gotta say, after watching Rock Star Supernova for the past couple of months, hearing another rendition of this song seems even cheesier than usual. But in the end they totally rocked it!

You can also currently hear the new Polyphonic Spree song "Mental Cabaret" streaming over at their official website now.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Diamond Sea (Sonic Youth cover)

First The Go! Team decide to record a wonderful rendition of "Bull In The Heather", and now the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have given us this sparse acoustic cover of "Diamond Sea". What's with all the sudden interest in paying homage to Sonic Youth? I guess I can't complain. Ironically, "Diamond Sea" was from Sonic Youth's Washing Machine album, which is about the time when I sort of stopped paying attention to them (right up until 2002's Murray Street). I really should go back and give some of those late 90's Sonic Youth records a chance, but regardless, the YYY's do a good job putting their own twist on it. Is it sexist of me to be surprised that Karen O. didn't choose a tune that Kim Gordon sings on? But then again, let's face it, all the true Sonic Youth highlights are Thurston Moore songs ("Kool Thing" and "Bull In The Heather" notwithstanding).

While we're on the topic of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs I figured I'd also throw in this sweet remix of "Y Control" that was done by The Faint a while back. Enjoy.

» Bonus Track: Y Control (The Faint Remix)