Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's Citrus-tastic, Citrus-alicious even

Asobi Seksu -- CitrusSo as promised here is a taste of the forthcoming Asobi Seksu record, which is threatening to assume the title of "my favorite record of the year so far" with each passing listen. Incidentally, just Friday we received the remastered version of Meneguar's triumphant tour de force I Was Born At Night, and if it wasn't disqualified from contention due to its release and our excessive fawning over it in the 2005, that would be at the top of our list. But that's not why you called... Asobi Seksu's Citrus is at turns delicate and powerful, dreamy and forthright. It's hands-down the best shoegaze record of the last 10 years. If you are into that sort of thing. Which clearly we are. The guitar-heavy and melodic set is a series of spine-tingling moments, not the least of which is the seven-minute epic "Red Sea," whose pummelling conclusion you will be sure to play over and over again. Have a listen. Citrus streets May 30 on Friendly Fire, but you may as well pre-order it because all the cool kids will be talking about it all summer.

Asobi Seksu -- "Red Sea" -- Citrus
[Pre-order Citrus from Friendly Fire here]

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I'm so glad to be back.

I know, I know. You missed me. A couple of things I learned while I was gone:

1. On-board delay effects on your average coffee shop mixer are not things to which you should tether your professional future.

2. I don't look jewish by the standards of a sampling of Lubavitcher Hacidim.

3. Fastbacker prefers to go oldies-heavy at the karaoke.

4. Keith Sweat goes over surprisingly well at the karaoke.

Onward. I have long been gone. As a special gift, upon my return, I've decided to give you this track from the new Appleseed Cast record, Peregrine (as if it were mine to give). Appleseed have long been one of the few indie bands that the wife and I can agree upon. So let's consider this post a tribute to meeting in the middle. Without further ado, all three of the indie rock bands, present and past, that my wife listens to with some regularity:

The Appleseed Cast - February from Peregrine
Buy it!
The Appleseed Cast - Innocent Vigilant Ordinary from Two Conversations
Buy it!
The Appleseed Cast - A Place in Line from Low Level Owl Vol. II
Buy it!

Pedro the Lion - A Mind of Her Own from Winners Never Quit
Buy it!
Pedro the Lion - I am Always the One Who Calls from The Only Reason I Feel Secure
Buy it!

Knapsack - Hummingbirds from This Conversation is Ending Starting Right Now
Buy it!
Knapsack -Casanova from Silver Sweepstakes
Buy it!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Undersung Indie Pop 2006

Okay PaddyThere are a couple acts I think people have been sort of sleeping on in the 2006 so far, namely Okay Paddy and The Five Mod Four. Okay Paddy's record The Cactus Has A Point is particularly strong, and besides a following among certain Philly-area cognoscenti it seems the act isn't getting enough attention out there on the Internets. Yes, they sorta have a Weez-ment/Pav-er thing going on, but no one has ever convinced me that is a bad thing. Feast your ears on the track "Where's The Taste," a mid-tempo jam that should be inciting in-car sing-alongs the nation over.

And then there's The Five Mod Four. If I had to quibble I'd say that the band's recently issued set Whiskers probably isn't as strong song to song as Okay Paddy's, but there is still plenty of great stuff to be heard. The track "There Will Be No More Cahoots," besides having a great title that reminds me of some high school Model U.N. sloganeering ("There will be no linkage!"), is one of the more lo-fi numbers on the record. I like the quiet handclaps and maracas, and the way the song sort of dangles the possibility of something big around the corner until it peters out.

Okay Paddy -- "Where's The Taste" -- The Cactus Has A Point
[Buy The Cactus Has A Point from Insound]

The Five Mod Four -- "There Will Be No More Cahoots" -- Whiskers
[Buy Whiskers from B&N]

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Know It Looks Bad But Believe Me I'm Innocent

McLuskyThere is one track in particular whose name escapes me on Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Extra Width during which a guitar solo is laid in too hot to tape, mixed up way too high, and the whole thing is so rock and roll it hurts. We think it might be the album opener "Afro," come to think of it. Anyway, this whole McLusky track is like that ridiculously boffo guitar solo. It rocks so hard it makes me want to take off my sneaker and smack myself in the head like Jeff Spicoli ("Do you hear that? That's my skull!"). We suspect you'll feel the same way. Batten down the hatches, this one is a barnburner.

McLusky -- Light Sabre Cock Sucking Blues -- McLuskism
[Buy McLuskyism from Insound]

Monday, April 17, 2006

I'll Never Love You

Dresden DollsTo mark the release tomorrow of the Dresden Dolls' third full-length Yes, Virginia [which you can stream here] we thought we'd dredge up our favorite Dolls track, the live version of "Coin-Operated Boy" from the band's debut, the live set A Is For Accident. We've expounded at length on this track previously for Junkmedia back in 2003, so we'll reiterate that the song "mashes together a nursery-rhymed verse and an anthemic bridge [and] offers a case study of the key components of the Dolls' work: clever wordplay, alternately clobbered and caressed 88s and jerky drums. The number also features an intelligent, pulsing 5/4 section that suggests a skipping record. And its melodic and forlorn bridge alone (which asks "will you persist even after I bet you a million dollars that I'll never love you?") is worth the price of mail-ordering the record."

To re-reiterate, the bridge to this song is the kind of thing that will stick with you. Permanently. We weren't as fond of the studio version found on the self-titled joint, and in fact that record probably ranks last in our ranking of the duo's three records. On the other hand, Yes, Virginia at first listen is clearly strong enough to vie for first place. Anyway, here's the download.

The Dresden Dolls -- "Coin-Operated Boy (Live)" -- A Is For Accident
[Buy A Is For Accident from the band here]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

You Keep Me Coming Home Again

Sonic Youth -- Rather RippedWe suspect many of you are partaking of the same Easter celebration we are: listening to some rock and roll music. Started off the morning with coffee and a little Here Come The Warm Jets, and then moved on to the forthcoming Sonic Youth set Rather Ripped, which streets in June. In the spirit of the holidays (Passover too), we thought we'd share a little bit of the Sonic Youth with you.

Judging from the sudden swamping of the :: clicky clicky :: hit logs with searches for it, the venerable indie act's forthcoming record leaked about a week ago. We are pleased to say the record is a really nice listen. At first blush Rather Ripped comes off less arty and dissonant than earlier records, even the relatively straightforward but thoroughly excellent 2004 set Sonic Nurse. Here is one surprise: The verse of album opener "Reena" is reminiscent of Unrest, which we know is sort of putting the cart before the horse in terms of who probably influenced whom initially. But still, it sounds like an Unrest track, albeit more dense, until the heavy jam in the middle of the song. This song will only be up for 24 hours -- get it while it's hot:

Sonic Youth -- "Reena" -- Rather Ripped
[Buy Sonic Youth records, and eventually pre-order Rather Ripped, from Insound]

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hiatu Temporare

I'm on temporary sabbatical from the bacon, but will return in the month of May or sooner with renewed vigor and cherry-red pvc trousers.

In the meantime, j may or may not drop by on occasion, and fastbacker and enemy lemon may or may not do the same.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Greatest Rock And Roll Band. Period.

The ReplacementsNews that a Replacements best-of and box set are in the offing made us dial up The Replacements on our IPod this morning and listen through the entire catalog in one stretch throughout our workday (alphabetically by album title, if you must know). And goldang it, if there is a single rock song better than "Left Of The Dial" I defy anyone to name it. Considering what gems might make it onto the box set is a pleasant way to spend some time. The wealth of Mats live bootlegs out there is pretty evident from a simple search of the blogosphere, especially recently. As far as the population of Twin/Tone-era non-album tracks kicking around, which would be the really exciting stuff, it's anybody's guess. Actually, I know a guy who could give me the definitive answer, but that's not the point of this post.

Anyway, here is "Lookin' For Ya," a Twin/Tone era non-album track that fans will recognize as a ballsier version of Hootenanny's "Lovelines" with real lyrics. The story as best as we can remember it, is the band wrote the tune to be considered for use in a Miller beer commercial. Of course, The Mats couldn't help but intentionally hamstring their effort, and as such Paul closes out the track by hollering "Keep your riches, get me a BUDWEISER!" We just did a Google and found this recent Record Robot post that gives bit more color on the genesis of the track and its release history, as it is. So maybe this cut isn't as rare as I had thought, not anymore. But what the hell, I took the trouble to write it, you took the trouble to read it, so here it is.

The Replacements -- Lookin' For Ya

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bit o' honey

Some new-ish pop confections to tide you over, although i know how one jelly bean can sometimes seem barely to hit bottom.

York-ish Tales of Jenny make pleasantly off-kilter bashy B&S-inflected pippity pop.
Tales of Jenny - Trotsky of our Time

Stockholm's The Happy People (pictured) bring us this new demo, one of three you can enjoy for free from their site.
The Happy People - Quiet One

J. W. Hindle is newly installed in London, where one hopes his sun-tinged pop can strike the mist just so, making things nice for a spell. Sigh.
James William Hindle - Silence

Sunday, April 02, 2006

More odds and ends, 1993

I haven't had the time over the last week to formulate my usual super-tight, pointed style of blog post. But in the interest of keeping things...interesting, I'll just keep throwing up random tracks from the party shuffle, nineties edition.

1. Versus - Let's Electrify!
Versus busting onto the scene like Mission of Burma with delusions of grandeur.
Buy it!

2.Chisel - Sunburn
Ted Leo, just on the cusp of the Weller/Bragg infusion. Just goes to show some people were good even before they were good.
Buy it!

3.Madder Rose - Beautiful John
Just a perfect piece of '93.
Buy it!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Baltimore, The City That Breeds

This is not the album art to the compAnother post about why I love the Internet. In the Fall of 1993 I was minding my own business in Mr. Obb's dorm room when he hipped me to a comp of Baltimore indie bands. I taped a few hits that I've listened to often in the intervening years. I had no recollection of the title of the comp, which included songs by Candy Machine and a slew of other acts likely unknown to many, but have always been interested in hearing it again since my musical tastes have developed a lot, and there may have in fact been more gold in the set than I first realized. Anyway, a quick post the other night to a certain cr(u)cial message board, and 24 hours later someone posted the goods for me. Yes, I love the Internet.

I learned that the comp is called Baltimore, The City That Breeds. There is virtually no information about it on the Interweb. I think it had a red cover, for whatever that is worth. Below are my three favorite cuts from the disc. I don't know anything about the bands below, except that Sun Of Earth had somebody's brother in it that Mr. Obb knew from his Baltimore days. I can tell you that Pedge's "Lesa," which we've also seen referred to as "Lisa," is a moody rocker; S.Q.U.I.D.'s "On And On" presaged a similar aggressive sound that was big with Chicago band in the mid-'90s and has an awesome opening line; and Sun of Earth's "Zero" is the sort of emo that would have fared well on a club bill with Sunny Day Real Estate. All of these cuts sound amazingly better in 160Kbps MP3 than they do on the crappy MP3s I've ripped from my aged cassette dub of the original comp. Hooray.

Pedge -- Lesa -- Baltimore, The City That Breeds
S.Q.U.I.D. -- On And On -- Baltimore, The City That Breeds
Sun Of Earth -- Zero -- Baltimore, The City That Breeds

[photo lifted from site of Baltimore punk act Thee Katatonix, who only existed in the early '80s and do not appear on Baltimore, The City That Breeds]