Monday, August 28, 2006

The Preakness - Demos

I noticed a few people got here by searching et al for The Preakness. Here's their demo (posted with the band's permission and their qualifier that this was recorded "in the basement.")

If you dug what was coming out of Boston in 1989, D.C. in '93, or Madison in '97, this is for you.

My new Rock Crush (because I know you're interested) is Preakness bassist Kelly Clark, who now pulls double-duty in Silent Kids.

MP3: The Preakness ~ What They're Saying
MP3: The Preakness ~ Air Traffic
MP3: The Preakness ~ This Drive
MP3: The Preakness ~ I Thought I Was In Control

Rainbows And Unicorns

[Image via Where is the hotel?, highly recommended as a place to spend some of your disposable time.]

MP3: Centro-Matic ~ Love Has Found Me Somehow
[from the 2000 Centro-Matic/Tripping Daisy split single]

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lucero - "San Francisco"

[Photo by Adam Smith]

Four Things I Heard On Saturday That Made Me Smile, In The Order Reverse Of Which They Actually Happened:

1. "Don't worry, you're at the Yacht Club now, everything is going to be okay." (About 15 minutes later, a guy got coldcocked right behind me).
2. A cab driver, who I'm pretty sure was Nigerian, singing "In Bloom" at the top of his lungs, windows open, along with K.C.
3. "Hi, we're Magnapop."
4. This song:

MP3: Lucero ~ San Francisco
[From their forthcoming Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Bothers LP]

Bonus MP3: Lucero ~ That Much Further West (Instrumental Demo)

[both tracks via Macktronic, who appears to be getting his jollies in Europe at the moment]

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cat Power - "The Greatest" Live On Jools Holland

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

Quoth Sasha Frere-Jones:
How many people have turned around their performing game like this, a full 180? To those who bet on Chan early—good look.

Daniel Hutchens - "The Last Living Member Of The Last Rock & Roll Band"

As many of you know, Justin over at Aquarium Drunkard is making his American dream reality by starting a record label, called Autumn Tone. The label's first release was a re-issue of Daniel Hutchens' album Lesser. Its second release will be Hutchens' new album Lovesongs For Losers, recorded in Athens with David Barbe earlier this summer and due out in October. This tune didn't make the cut for the album; if that speaks to the quality of the songs that did, then holy shit.

MP3: Daniel Hutchens ~ The Last Living Member Of The Last Rock & Roll Band

Seely: I Missed Out, Apparently

Yeah, so "it's funny how things work out" and "it really is a small world." The day after I post about Magnapop, I head to an intimate gathering at my new next-door neighbor's place. It's a nice collection of well variegated folks, and it just so happens that one of them is the kick-ass bass player/vocalist for Atlanta's Seely (she's in the foreground above, and she has a family now so don't get any ideas). I'm pretty sure I saw Seely live exactly one time, and that was an opening gig for Magnapop.

Anyway, I'm ashamed at myself for not giving this band more attention at the time. But, hey, I was just a kid. The fact that they were the first American band ever signed to the Too Pure label should give some of you reason to pause. I'm off to try to correct some of my youthful indiscretions; here are a few tracks to help you out with yours (make sure you get "Planes Circle Do"--you can thank me later):

MP3: Seely ~ Meteor Shower
MP3: Seely ~ Exploring The Planets
[From the 1996/1998 (re-release) Julie Only LP]

MP3: Seely ~ Planes Circle Do
[From the 2000 Winter Birds LP]

Buy Seely: [eMusic]

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Magnapop: Rare-ish Tracks

If you happen to be in Atlanta this weekend, Grant Park should be calling your name. I've never been to the Summershade Festival, but it looks like they've arranged for a pretty impressive roster of music acts this year, especially on Saturday, when The Preakness, Silent Kids, and The Jupiter Watts play back-to back-to back on the Rock Stage.

Headlining the day's festivities is Magnapop, a band near-and-dear to my heart. I'm pretty certain I saw them live more times in the '90s than I did any other band, often making the drive from school in North Carolina to catch a gig in Athens. Calling Watkinsville, GA (a town that neighbors Athens) their home, Magnapop is one of those bands that just got away (from the American public, at least--they enjoyed something approaching superstardom in Northern Europe). They had it all: a charismatic frontwoman with vocals that dripped sex and danger (Linda Hopper), a smoking hot (in all senses of the phrase) lead guitarist (Ruthie Morris) and a rhythm section that was tighter than Dick's hat band. And, oh yeah, both Michael Stipe and Bob Mould were fans who ended up producing songs for them.

What went wrong? Hell if I know. In 1993 I famously predicted that they would be the next Nirvana. The band had a song featured on the soundtrack to the 1995 movie Mad Love (anyone remember that one?) and enjoyed a modicum of radio success with "Open The Door" (later covered by Eels) off 1996's Rubbing Doesn't Help, but never truly broke through.

I'm not sure why I'm talking about them in the past tense. The rhythm section has changed, but Linda and Ruthie are back in the game. With a solid 2005 release, Mouthfeel, and a new album apparently on the way, the book on Magnapop is still being written. By all means find copies of their excellent first two albums, Magnapop (songs produced by Stipe and Mould) and Hot Boxing (produced by Mould). In the meantime, you might spend some quality time with these OOP non-album cuts:

MP3: Magnapop ~ Texas
MP3: Magnapop ~ Nowhere
[From the 1993 Kiss My Mouth EP]

MP3: Magnapop ~ Here It Comes (Niceley Version)
MP3: Magnapop ~ Song #1 (Fugazi Cover)
MP3: Magnapop ~ Puff
[From the 1994 Slowly, Slowly EP]

MP3: Magnapop ~ Voice Without A Sound
[From the 1996 Fire All Your Guns At Once EP]

Bonus MP3: Fugazi ~ Song #1
[From the 1990 Repeater + 3 Songs LP]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cold War Kids - The Daytrotter Session

The Aquarium Drunk kindly dropped me a note today to point out that Daytrotter has posted a Cold War Kids set, including two unreleased songs. If you're not yet familiar with Daytrotter, here's the skinny straight from the horse's mouth:

We’re giving you exclusive, re-worked, alternate versions of old songs and unreleased tracks by some of your favorite bands and by a lot of your next favorite bands...These fine people – as they’re traveling through America’s heartland – take two hours out of their travels between shows to stop in for a Daytrotter Session at Futureappletree Studio One in downtown Rock Island, Ill. The name of the city is not ironic. They use borrowed instruments, play with their touring mates, utilize a often unkempt toilet, eat some food and then cram back into their vans for the last half of the drive. What they leave behind is a pile of ashes, sometimes a forgotten stocking hat and four absolutely collectible songs that often impart on whomever listens to them the true intensity that these musicians put into their art, sometimes with more clarity than they do when they have months to tinker with overdubs and experiments. These songs are them as they are on that particular day, on that particular tour – dirty and alive. We want you to make this your new home as it is ours. We promise that you will love it here.

Um, have I mentioned how much I love these guys?

Snowden - Anti-Anti

(That's David Payne on the right. Some of you know him.)

Big ups to Atlanta's own Snowden for their overwhelmingly positive review and 7.2 rating in Pitchfork <spit> today. Great songs; if you like The Walkmen or any of the British rock bands from the last 20-or-so years that actually have balls, you should love these guys. I'll be picking up the album tomorrow.

MP3: Snowden ~ Anti-Anti [from the new album]
MP3: Snowden ~ Victim Card [from the Snowden EP]
MP3: Snowden ~ Time Of The Season (Zombies cover) [unreleased]

Snowden - Anti-Anti: [Buy from Jade Tree] [Buy from eMusic] [Buy from Amazon]

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jimmie Dale Gilmore w/ Mudhoney - "Buckskin Stallion Blues" (Townes Van Zandt Cover)

I'm going to Ohio for a few days and they don't have the Internet there yet so I probably won't be posting again until Tuesday. I guess I've got buckeyes on my mind, 'cause this song's been stuck in my head all day. Buckskins, buckeyes...close enough for this addled brain. Anyway, it's a nice, breezy interpretation of a fine Townes song by an unlikely pairing of talents. Enjoy.

MP3: Jimmie Dale Gilmore w/ Mudhoney ~ Buckskin Stallion Blues (Townes Van Zandt cover)

[From the 1994 Mudhoney/Jimmie Dale Gilmore split EP on Sub Pop]
Buy: [Amazon]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Wrens - "She Sends Kisses" Video

This one was done by a (very talented) fan as a labor of love, with the band's blessing. Gorgeous and heartbreaking, just like the song.

MP3: The Wrens ~ She Sends Kisses [from their 2003 release The Meadowlands]
Bonus MP3: The Wrens ~ They'll Need A Crane [from the recently released Hello Radio - The Songs of They Might Be Giants]

Site: The Wrens

The Doleful Lions - "Motel Swim"

I just realized that I haven't posted anything musical in a while (I'm putting Rufus Harley in the 'cultural' column, since, sadly, I can't claim to have been a fan). I think maybe I should start a separate MP3 blog. Or maybe this should be that and the other should be the 'random' outlet. I guess I'm thinking the mix of music and other pop culture detritus may be a little disconcerting. If anyone has a strong opinion, I'd welcome it.

In any case, here's an older song that certainly deserves a wider audience:

MP3: The Doleful Lions ~ Motel Swim
[From their 1998 release of the same name, produced by Mitch Easter]

Yeah, it kind of sounds like Yo La Tengo at that band's more tender moments. There's not a whole lot to it, but therein lies the beauty. Namechecks Sam Phillips. Mixtape gold.
Buy: [eMusic]

Bonus MP3: The Doleful Lions ~ The Sound of Cologne
[also off Motel Swim]

Proof that it is possible to write a really good song about being a music geek. Wait. Recursion--what?

Great Moments In TV Journalism History: "If You Absolutely Had To?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Science News You Can't Use: Who Would Win In A Fight Between A Penguin And A Lemur


This guy got an A+ on his research project. I probably would have just gone ahead and given him tenure.

In case you have any doubts about the outcome, a quote:

Dave Houston, an Antarctic researcher who was once attacked by a penguin, says that “the closest thing to being beaten up by a penguin is being grabbed with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and beaten with sandals!”

Monday, August 14, 2006

R.I.P. Rufus Harley, Jazz Bagpiper

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't think I'd heard of Mr. Harley before today, when I ran across his obituary. From Harley's Wikipedia entry:

Harley became inspired to learn the bagpipe after seeing the Black Watch perform in John F. Kennedy's funeral procession in November 1963. Then a maintenance worker for the Philadelphia's housing authority, Harley began searching the city for a set of bagpipes. Failing to find one, he traveled to New York City where he found a set in a Jewish-operated pawn shop. He purchased the instrument for US$120, quickly adapting it to the idioms of jazz, blues, and funk. On several occasions, when a neighbor called the police to complain about Harley's practicing in his apartment, he would quickly put away his bagpipes and feign ignorance, asking the officers, "Do I look like I'm Irish or Scottish to you?"

MP3: Sonny Rollins (feat. Rufus Harley) ~ Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (from Rollins' 1974 release The Cutting Edge)

Amazon: Rufus Harley--Re-Creation of the Gods

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Say Hello To My Little Friend

With the revelation that he has a midget named 'Farney' living in his head, Ryan Freel has become one of my new favorite baseball players (scroll down to "Hearing voices").

[via Pete Van Wieren on the radio]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How To Eat Fried Worms: The Movie

Holy crap, why did no one tell me about this sooner?

You can register for a free advance screening here.

Amazon: How To Eat Fried Worms

[via Thighs Wide Shut]

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Turn To Bitch About Pitchfork

(Cold War Kids live at the Fillmore 8/7/06 -- Photo by LZ)

Cold War Kids
“Hospital Beds”


Pitchfork (somehow?) missed the boat on Cold War Kids, denying them (Pitchfork) the chance to play tastemaker as the band unleashed itself on an unsuspecting--yet grateful--nation. In a play for revenge/to get the backlash underway, the site assigned its one contributing writer whose entire CD collection consists of selections from the BMG Music Club to review a CWK single for its "Track Reviews" section. As I'm sure the band is far too classy to sink to the level of rebutting this tripe, I'll do it for them:

Pitchfork reviewer Adam Moerder's words are in italics.
Mine are in, um, untalics.

Like so many Facebook profiles, this Californian four-piece probably likes just about anything but country.

Your next sentence contradicts this [the Dylan influence e.g.].

Recently signed to Downtown Records,

Jealous much?

they cite an exhausting list of influences-- everything from Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and U2, to, several paragraphs later, Belle and Sebastian and Nirvana.

So liking all of these artists--let alone simply citing them as influences--implies some inherent problem with the band? Any artist who submits a list of influences that is anything less than exhaustive is being less than truthful.

In particular, frontman Nathan Willett needs to realize he can't be every singer he idolizes at once, because no matter how good the rest of the band sounds, his pompous delivery makes every song sound like a Jeff Buckley cover band playing a wedding while drunk.

Now I'm lost. He's trying to sound like every singer he idolizes at once? You didn't say he's mimicing anyone in particular (and clearly he's not, since your ultimate assessment is that he sounds like a "drunk" Jeff Buckley). Given the "exhaustive" list of influences, shouldn't this result in something awesome, much as a spun color wheel miraculously renders whiteness? And, man, I know you're not going to be happy with me after this, but is there *any* way I can get an invitation to that wedding?

Here, what could've been a nice mixtape number snuggled in between humble Voxtrot and Antony and the Johnsons ballads blows a gasket, at times stretching for soulful Black Crowes heights à la "She Talks to Angels".

Ok, admittedly I own a total of zero records by the three bands you namecheck in this sentence. But I've heard Antony songs and, sorry, no, that would just be poor sequencing. So I'm guessing you had to buy the Voxtrot disc and I Am A Bird Now to get Shake Your Money Maker for a penny? Dude, I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here. But you might want to check the PF styleguide for the definition of 'ballad.'

I suppose hidden somewhere in between Dylan and Cobain there was a Crowes shout-out, but they could at least have paid homage to their heroes by writing a damn chorus.

"Put out the fire, boys."

Pitchfork seems so be everyone's whipping boy lately, and I've done my share of defending them. This, however, is just silly. I'm done.

MP3: Cold War Kids ~ Hospital Beds
Site: Cold War Kids

Update: Here's a site handicapping future Pitchfork reviews. Brilliant!
[via Tim O'Thompson]

Monday, August 07, 2006

Krog Street

My friend Ginger got a really nice shot of what surely is one of the finest pro bono pieces of public art ever. (Here's another, earlier view.) More about Atlanta graffiti artists here and here.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

She's Fantastic, Made Of Plastic, Microchips Here And There

I hung out with my family today and, as it is wont to do, the conversation degenerated. We ended up talking about "Small Wonder," which my soon-to-be-60-year-old father proclaimed to be "a great show." I'm sure you're just as curious about whatever happened to Tiffany Brissette (she played Vicky/V.I.C.I) as we were, so I've already done the work for you.


"...rates horseback riding as her #1 favorite pastime."

is "a real seafood addict and puts away a bucket of shrimp, oysters and scallops at one shot -- and it doesn't show one gram on her fabulous frame" and is "interested in science and...visits the Boston Computer Museum whenever she's in town."

has competed in "several marathons."

Now figure out how to get that stupid song out of your head.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Page France

Between the occasional shout-outs to God and the relatively limited lyrical content ("love," "stars, "sky" and, oh yeah, "God") there's not a whole lot for me to love about Page France-- except the really great songs.

MP3: No One Likes A Bleeder (from the accidental Sister Pinecone EP)
MP3: Spine (from their 1995 release Come, I'm A Lion)

Page France

In Other Mind-Boggling News...

Johnny Marr to be a full-on Modest Mouser. Will the circle be unbroken?