Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mates of State - Now

As much as it can be a disappointment when some musicians refuse to evolve or progress their sound over time, I find that there are always certain bands that I simply don't want to see change. I'd much rather have them continue doing the same thing that they've been doing since day one. For me, Mates of State are one of those bands. This husband and wife duo have been writing cute and catchy pop songs for over 10 years now, using primarily a piano/organ and drums combination.

It seems like an unwritten rule that most two piece bands must eventually give in and add more members and instruments to vary their sound, but Mates of State have resisted this kind of progression and I'm totally okay with that. Their new album Re-Arrange Us may not be the strongest material they've ever written, but it definitely won't alienate any fans, and I can tell you with some certainty that I'm probably going to be listening to it all summer long. Re-Arrange Us hits stores this Tuesday (May 20th).

» Bonus Track: The Re-Arranger
» Buy it on Amazon

The Shins - Wipe My Butt

So I just finished watching Season One of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have nightmares for the next few weeks. In case you haven't heard of it, it's a non-animated Adult Swim series that serves up some of the weirdest comedy sketches ever created, drawing inspiration from the awkward and lo-fi brilliance of public access TV and YouTube.

For those who have already watched Season Two as well and find that they still want more, the clever marketing team over at Adult Swim have cooked up a little something extra for you. Tim and Eric Awesome Record, Great Songs! Volume One is a two-disc compilation that features all of the music from the show, including a few moderately amusing covers -- such as this version of "Wipe My Butt" performed by The Shins! Some of the songs stand on their own quite well, although for most of them, the accompanying visuals are essential for the full experience.

P.S. You can also find some additional tracks for free download on Tim and Eric's website.

» Bonus Track: Pizza Boy (feat. David Cross)
» Bonus Track: Sports!
» Buy it from Williams Street

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Muzak For Cybernetics... Muxtape?

I know it's already been another two months since I posted the last Muzak For Cybernetics Mixtape, but in the meantime I thought I would offer a compromise of sorts. is a cool new web service that allows you to upload MP3s to create an online mixtape that you can share with friends. A lot of people are predicting that it's only a matter of time before the site is either (a) shut down by the RIAA, or (b) deemed uncool by the hipster elite. The way things are going, it appears that (b) may actually happen first, but whatever... there's something about the simplicity and the spirit of the site that I really dig. I have chosen 12 tracks that are sort of loosely inspired by my recent trip to California... loosely being the key word. Enjoy.

» Listen to the Muzak For Cybernetics Muxtape

Ramblin Ambassadors - Camino Real
Spinto Band - Summer Grof
Mates of State - California
The Futureheads - Walking Backwards
Elvis Costello - American Gangster Time
The Dodos - Eyelids
Flight of the Conchords - Mutha'uckas
Beck - Hollywood Freaks
Yea Big + Kid Static - The Life Here
Vampire Weekend - Arrows
The High Dials - Morning's White Vibration
America - Ventura Highway

Les Savy Fav - Debaser (Live)

I have to admit, I'm usually not a big fan of the live recordings that I stumble across on the blogosphere from time to time, mainly because the sound quality is reliably horrendous. However, when a band that I like decides to release an official live album, I find it hard to resist checking it out. Sure, even officially sanctioned live albums are a mixed bag at best, but with a band like Les Savy Fav, who are known for their unpredictable and sweat-soaked stage show, a live record should be a worthy addition to their discography.

Indeed, this particular show, recorded on New Year's Eve 2007 at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC is sizzling with energy, and if the playing sounds a little bit sloppy and chaotic at times, the album is all the better for it. Tim Harrington and Co. even threw in a stream of fun covers at the end that included everyone from Nirvana to CCR to The Misfits (!), and this half-drunk version of The Pixies' "Debaser". After The Balls Drop is available now exclusively as a digital download on iTunes and Amazon, and offers audio proof that LSF definitively rocks the party anytime, anywhere.

» Buy it on Amazon