Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Languidity is awesome Stu, absolutely. Sometime Sun Ra gets marginalized unfairly for being "weird" though I have (almost) always found him to be very musical and, damn it, joyous.
losing data like that ...ouch... i felt a cool shadow pass over me....
Kyle, I forgot to include Basia Bulat's first album on my best of lists... I loved it much,, a great summer cottage cd....I just picked up the new one a few weeks back and I dont think its quite as good, though it has a more produced fleshed out sound... If you like it definately get the first one two, as some of songs are real gems..
I think I also have you to thank, (but maybe I have the yearend lists wrong) for the Panics.... love them, kind of like a less ironic Luna to my ears....
Also Brian the perfect 70s jazz-spring driving with rooftop open on a beautiful sunny day- I have found.... Sun Ra Langudity, avail at emusic, absolute late 70's gem...the first track is the only weak track so first time out start the album from track 2 on with the windows LOUD, all the way up to "leven" (said with cockney accent)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Adam - deepest sympathies. I lost my hard drive last year (almost exactly the same amount of music, gonzo...) and about 9 months later I'm still only about 2/3 of where I was. It's just bloody boring downloading stuff 24/7.

The Mountain Goats record from last year somewhat escaped my notice - like other very prolific bands, they end up being overlooked by yours truly on an individual-release basis (think Bob Pollard) - though I do enjoy the music. I recall a song - Genesis I believe, with it's catchy refrain "I used to live here" so I guess I (or one of you lot) picked up a song or two, but I'll go back to it; given, after all, that it's the first record of the rest of your life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

110 gb of music lost? a tear came to my own eye when i read that, reaching for my backup drive. not fun. hoping that, through the magic of torrents and download sites, you're able to reconstruct most of the collection.
thanks for the overview of recent listens, bri, and glad you're enjoying ola p. recent pickups for me include the new basia bulat, she and him, and besnard likes, none of which i've heard yet, as well as pantha du prince, one of my requisite 10 or so electronica picks per year, which is starting to grow on me, two or three listens in. also digging surfer blood, a mix of sunny beach boys-like 60s pop with jesus and mary chain-like distortion, which seems to be big with the indie kids these days (see: real estate, gauntlet hair, pearl harbor, cults - pressed for time, i'll add links later, for now, use the google).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hey there, Adam here. Thanks for the inclusion into this blog. I have been lurking in the background reading through the archives. Though my active contribution has been stunted by the fact that I had the not so good fortune of losing a hard drive which led to the loss of my entire music library. 110 GBs worth. My seven year old bore witness to a less than polite introduction to some rather strong language. After crying in my beer for days I am ready to re-build and this site will help me start over. My first album to re-populate my collection is "The Life of the World to Come" by The Mountain Goats. Step 1.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Boys - we haven't got together to play new music for a while (what with the Clash of the Decades as our last get together, and the next one now scheduled to be a follow-on "Unheralded Below-The-Radar Nugget-Gems of the 80's and 90's".......I tried to think of more metaphors to mix in there but ran out of inspiration), so I feel I've lost the thread of what everyone's listening to and liking in the past few months.

Before I list out a few recent faves of mine, I wanted to mention that I believe we may have a couple of new posters out there, sitting on the sidelines - Adam and Dave. If so, don't be shy - just put it out there, and let the group tear your favourite music to pieces.

So, carrying on then, nothing earth shattering in my corner, though I've enjoyed the follow up releases from Headlights - which is more of the same but with a bit more complexity in the songs (slower, more arranged); Midlake - a big shift toward finding inspiration in the late 60's English folk movement, dirge-like at times but melodic and complex; and Laura Veirs - more great moody singing/song-writing. Another I'm enjoying (from the "Lit Rock" category) is Throw Me the Statue's latest. Odd, difficult-to-get-a-handle-on-songs, but man can that guy can write a lyric.

Bands that are new (or new to me), because there are older releases in here....Rosebuds, this record from 2008 is interesting, it gets under my skin a bit, a couple of songs like Life Like and Another Way In are immediately appealing, while others feel a bit slick and empty. The new Quasi seems pretty strong - more "Rock" than their previous records , and Broken Bells (the new "band" with the Shins singer) is great - not quite as peppy or indy-band-focused as a Shins release, but with great songs and interesting sometimes-synthy arrangements. Sold at Starbucks which is insulting. Ola Podrida's record (merci Kyle) has a great collection of alt-folk-indy-not-quite-country songs which I really enjoy. Also really enjoyable the quirky edgy pop of Pomegranates from their record from last year.

Haven't spend much time with the new Besnard Lakes but I didn't fasten onto it too much on the first listen. Anyone else listen and like it?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Don't think there's any need for me to pile on the praise for Pavement (ooh alliteration), as everyone knows how much I love 'em. I do like your point Derek that they are perhaps the quintessential nineties band. They are certainly the first band I think of when I am asked to describe why I thought the 90's were so great. And you really brought that home at the big Clash of the Decades when you showcased what is arguably their greatest song.....oh wait....

Anyway, moving away from bad memories for my favourite Scotsman, I would say (also not a surprise I'm sure) that I'm more warm and less luke about Big Star. If you ignore the hyperbole and just listen to the first two records (and only those two) you'll find some very appealing, melodic guitar pop. It's not groundbreaking, but they sure had their influence on the power pop movement that much came later in the decade. And they were sure swimming in a blue ocean at the time. If you know what I mean. Though not too dissimilar from Badfinger (whom I also love) just a little less poppy. Three good songs to start with are September Gurls, Thirteen, and the Ballad of El Goodo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm not sure I buy the main premise of the Slate article that the boomers and all their cultural baggage are about to sail off in to the sunset, unfortunately. I'm also not sure how he makes his tenuous connection with this premise and Pavement. Anything for an article I suppose.

Still nice to be reminded, with the appearance of their greatest hits (oxymoron of course), of how much the 90's and Pavement went hand in hand. There aren't too many great bands whose artistic output spans almost exactly a 10 year period we like to call a decade, and get out while they still sound fresh and before new musical trends pass them by. Other than the obvious are there any other significant bands that would fit nicely into a 10 year frame.

As for Alex Chilton I fall in to the indifferent category. He first came to my attention when I picked up the Replacement's "Pleased to Meet Me" on vinyl almost a quarter of a century ago. Track 2 is "Alex Chilton" and is a terrific track and until I heard the song I hadn't the foggiest who this referred to. I did delve very lightly into some Big Star music but it never really made a mark with me. Early 1970's pop/rock isn't exactly in my wheelhouse so perhaps I should make an effort to dig deeper. Any recommendations from some of you older farts?
More Pavement. Plus, I'm a snot-nosed philistine so tell me more about this Alex Chilton fellow. Were you fans? Indifferent? Slavish devotees?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gotta love the score given the Pavement compilation by Pitchfork. No Texas Never Whispers? Seems an oversight, imo, though I think they nail the track selections from Slanted & Enchanted. Probably a good compilation for those who inexplicably may not own all of their albums.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I tend to agree Mike, and made the point to Stuart and Kyle last night. Let the record show I was peremptorily shouted down by Mr. Watson, who wouldn't believe (a) that PF - whoever that may be at this stage - was capable of anything so crass, or (b) that it was a good economic strategy on their part. I think we need someone in the media to track this in a year and see whether PF won or lost the game.
Did you notice the followup article on the page? It appears that Pink Floyd won the case. I suspect that this suit may have been prompted by commercial reasons, rather than artistic ones. If you allow listeners to download individual tracks, you might sell only a couple from a given album, generating only a couple of dollars revenue. If you force them to buy the whole album, you can charge ten bucks or so. Sure there are some who will choose to buy nothing rather than buy the whole thing, but in the case of a well-established group like Pink Floyd, it may be that they would make more money by insisting on a larger packaging.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Interesting issue Kyle, though I'm surprised the Floyd'ers seem to be in as good a spot, legally speaking, as they are. I say that only because traditionally artists have tended to lose power over the distribution and selling of their music in dealing with record companies. Sounds like they had a savvy lawyer throwing in that clause to protect them, even if this circumstance per se was unforeseen - ie ipods and their evil power to commoditize music.

Not to play both sides of the fence, but I do feel like PF (or their lawyer) is being a little holier than thou in trying to stop the selling / downloading of individual songs. I love the band but there are certainly numerous songs that are not part of a bigger whole, that stand alone perfectly well, and are no less brilliant because of it. Arguably there greatest records are made up of great songs - Piper, Dark Side, Wish You Were Here. And it's not like they were the only band making concept music in the late sixties, seventies / eighties - I mean, the Who, Led Zeppelin, in fact almost every self-respecting rock band and most embarrassing imitations were doing the same thing at that time - I think of the Sweet, for example (who for the record I actually kind of dig). And, final point now, if you can download individual tracks from a Mahler symphony, or a Mozart opera, than surely Us and Them can't be sacred?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Interesting court case intiated by Pink Floyd against EMI, to prevent the label from selling their songs as individual downloads instead of as an entire album. Apart from the legal merits of either side (though it seems to me that EMI's on shaky ground when it contends that an album is something physical so downloads don't count) there's a broader question of whether you believe the artist or the music fan who gets to decide how a work is experienced. Do you think it's reasonable for a band to stipulate that its fans have to buy the whole work, because each song is part of that greater whole and can't really be understood or appreciated on its own? Or do fans have a legitimate right to pick and choose from the works of an artist they admire?

Perhaps I'm not framing the questions correctly but I think you get the gist of what I'm asking. Interested in getting your thoughts.

My take is that technology and file sharing renders the question academic anyway, given that I can easily download any individual Floyd tracks I want within seconds, and actually did so back in January in order to have a digital copy of "Fearless" to share during one of my better rounds in the Clash of the Decades. But I can appreciate where Pink Floyd is coming from; if any band is an 'album' band, it's them. Just wondering if it's reasonable, given that people are able to access pieces of the whole, that they insist on only selling the whole. Not sure.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Second the shoutout on Willis, Bri. A great use of 6 of my 9 remaining emusic credits this month. And a bonus badass mofo cover ; Samuel L. has nothing on this guy.

Update: Actually, the more I look at the cover, the more I'm reminded of a certain member of TV on the Radio.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

well you guys have blunted what I had hoped to be a really funny self deprecating blog about Newsome... Notwithstanding my comments last week I actually bought the dam thing that same day... It was at soundscapes and I loved it on first listen, totally different from the last one, not to mention the racy photos inside...dam it really is worth the 2 1 bucks just for that...
Very accessible, she tones down the warble considerable, even has some good uptempo songs and its still growing on me as an album....
thanks for the larry willis tip Bri

Thursday, March 04, 2010

No classical recs but I did locate another site where you can download new interesting music legally at

As for Newsom, I'm one listen in and I tend to agree with Mike. It's much better than the previous album, both in terms of what she's doing, and maybe not doing, with her voice, and the strength of the songs, which stand on their own, as well as being part of the bigger whole. The songs on her previous disc tended to frustratingly meander all over the place. For those who really dig/dug Kate Bush, I'm thinking this is a home run. Not sure that I fall into this category. I appreciate what she's doing but I'm not sure if I'm terribly into it. Will give it a few more spins. Have closed my office door with the hopes of getting some work done on an important RFP and will try this as background music, which sometimes helps me focus on writing, not sure if others find this to be the case.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Ah the power of's got us all chasing and really working hard to understand an artist whom none of us (Derek = possible exception) really like.

Still looking for some classical recommendations...or have you all been too busy listening to Joanna Newsom.
"Have One on Me" is also available on Grooveshark, where you can listen to it as many times as you want. I've listened to some of it, but I'm still sorting out my opinion of it. I like it better than her previous material (which I've only sampled briefly) - both the voice and the lyrics are more mature here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

You don't have to resist. You can listen to the whole album here.

I gave it a listen in its entirety, as the Slate article suggests you do, on Friday evening and on first listen thought it was at the very least a good disc. Will obviously need to listen to it more often to really sink my teeth into it and that will require a purchase of the CD I suppose as they won't stream it for free indefinitely. So go ahead and give it a spin.

The new Gorillaz disc which I listened to on the Guardian's website (but is also available at the NPR site) also has some pretty good moments. Stick with it as I found the first 2 or 3 tracks the weaker ones on this album.
Continued praise for Newsom. Can you resist?