Sunday, August 31, 2008

Video: Kings of Leon - "Sex on Fire"


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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tonight: Military Special CD Release Party

Friday, August 29, 2008

Top Ten Songs on Elbo.Ws Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: 8/15/08-8/31/08



1. Peter, Bjorn and John - "Inland Empire"

Download: Peter Bjorn and John - "Inland Empire"

In stark contrast to their past material's hook-saturated ebullience, "Inland Empire" is a noir instrumental driven by hi-hat hits, atmospheric sound, and quirky instrumentation. The guitar and horn cliches strain a bit, but those brief mistakes don't take away from a fascinating departure that shows PB&J are more than effervescent pop-smiths.

Grade: B+

2. School of Seven Bells - "Conjur"

Download: School of Seven Bells - "Conjur"

Two-parts On!Air!Library!, one-part Secret Machines, this newly formed trio recalls the airy vocals of High Places, and the ethereal, but still beat-heavy, shoegazer of Blonde Redhead. "Conjur" does exactly that: listeners will be reminded of greats past and present, while they float on a cloud of feelings evoking content, loveliness and transcendence.

Grade: A-

3. Ra Ra Riot - "Dying is Fine"

Download: Ra Ra Riot - "Dying is Fine"

The latest line in New York-based blog favorites, the quintet contemplate life's big questions (Sadly, they've credibility on the subject) while playing competent indie-rock that touches on many pop-heavy references (Death Cab guitar riff here, Billy Joel-style chorus there). Catchy, certainly, but there's a time and place for this kind of thing. It's called college.

Grade: C+

4. The Broken West - "Auctioneer"

Download: The Broken West - "Auctioneer"

Again, fine musicianship, and catchy melodies. But listeners have heard this particular brand of modern power-pop before. And they'll hopefully hear it done with more inspiration later (possibly by this very band).

Grade: C

5. Los Campesinos - "How I Taught Myself To Scream"

Download: Los Campesinos - "How I Taught Myself To Scream"

The international tweexcore underground writes another joyously extroverted pop song, with slight orchestral touches, and some nods Irish folk and the melodic noise usually coming from multi-instrumentalist collectives in Canada. Familiar, yes, but Los Campesinos also show how much you can do with infectious energy and a triumphant sense of youthful optimism.

Grade: B+

6. The Chemical Brothers - "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" (Soulwax Remix)

Download: The Chemical Brothers - "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" (Soulwax Remix)

Did a spaceship just land in my apartment? Well, at least their tunes are alright.

Grade: B

7. Department of Eagles - "No One Does It Like You"

Download: Department of Eagles - "No One Does It Like You"

3/4ths of shimmering indie harmonists Grizzly Bear can't be wrong, can they? Not when they repeat the successful formulas of past songs (doo-wop-tinged melodies, soaking the production in reverb, brisket-style). The problem? Why don't listeners simply go back and listen to "Knife"?

Grade: B-

8. Of Montreal - "Nonpariel of Favor"

Download: Of Montreal - "Nonpariel of Favor"

Beginning with classical motifs that briefly quote classic-rock camp, "Nonpariel of Favor" delivers on its creators' promise to make pop music that's unpredictable, let logical. By borrowing from pop's great psychedelic progenitors, and by evoking its contemporaries, Of Montreal given us a glance at what is sure to be another masterful album.

Grade: A

9. TV On The Radio - "Golden Age"

Download: TV On The Radio - "Golden Age"

With a bass line tuning into Michael Jackson, these famous experimentalists don't so much flip the script of the ghostly, horn-driven Cookie Mountain, as creak it open more to see what's there. Turns out, it makes a brother wanna dance. Also, a whole hell of a lot of great music.

Grade: A-

10. The Walkmen - "In The New Year"

Download: The Walkmen - "In The New Year"

The vocal Dylan-isms hit the nail on the head way too much, but The Walkmen successfully create a punch-drunk atmosphere conducive to the most warm and open of sing-alongs. That echo-heavy guitar sound certainly helps a lot. With any luck, "In The New Year" will be the anthem of yours.

Grade: A-

(Jonathan Graef)

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This Weekend: Liberty Parade

Stereolab - Chemical Chords

Neon Beanbag


Stereolab
Chemical Chords (Elektra, 2008)
Grade: B+

Download: Stereolab - "Three Women"

Summer is starting to wane on us Midwesterners, and as the last warm weeks start to fade into autumn we’re all trying to squeeze in one of those last trips to a lake (known to Minnesotans specifically as “goin’ to da cabin”) or an outdoor show before we have to start piling on the layers of clothing, eventually falling into the bleak abyss of winter.

Lucky for us, there’s still some good, fun-time albums being released that let us hold onto those sunny, carefree times just a little while longer. Stereolab’s latest effort, Chemical Chords, brings us bright and shiny psychedelic pop sing-songs that are bold, but lighthearted. Stereolab have been together since 1990, and after fluctuating with various sounds as well as a multitude of band members, they have proven that their eclectic, revived sound has given them real staying power.

Known for being an experimental pop band, Stereolab has been working for years on creating their own little indescribable niche in the ever-expanding world of musical genres. Although far less alternative-pop-based than 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup, the songs from Chemical Chords still sounds like the band's essential material, but perhaps more organized and more mature. "Neon Beanbag" hits the ground running with a chipper, retro beat that speaks volumes about the sound of the entire album. The songs are simple, yet incredibly complex in terms of instrumental stylings, arrangements which aren’t blatantly obvious upon first listen. Initially, the sound can seem somewhat dull and repetitive; an old TV sitcom theme that never ends. Before too long, thanks to the lust, soft sound of vocalist Laetitia Sadier, I realized I needed to stop trying so hard and just tune out and listen.

Each track rolls effortlessly to the next, and though the songs individually aren’t real attention-grabbers, they provide a mellow mood thanks to clean, Motown-esque musical arrangements and delicate electric guitar. Songs like "Fractal Dream of a Thing" are beautifully orchestrated, with plenty of Moogs and xylophones, which help create an atmosphere that's trippy and hypnotic. Much of Chemical Chords is like a time capsule into the late 1960s, and it’s hard not to hear reverberations of songs like Strawberry Alarm Clock’s "Incense and Peppermint."

These songs aren’t meant to be terribly serious; they’re enjoyable on a completely different level. Chemical Chords plays like a swansong to hot summer nights filled with beer and laughter and reminiscing about good times. Leave your expectations at the door; Stereolab knows what they’re doing.

Stereolab Myspace Page

(Tara Rogan)

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Of Montreal - "Nonpariel of Favor"


Download: Of Montreal - "Nonpareil of Favor"

But hey! Enough with beatings and protests. It's time for something nice and poppy, yes? Well, the new Of Montreal song, "Nonpariel of Favor", the second leaked track from Skeletal Lamping, and the song that happens to kick off the record, certainly starts that way, with a harpsichord giving the song a dainty, glam-pop feel. Strangely enough, the multi-tracked harmonies remind me of Queen-disciples The Darkness. Except that The Darkness never did the time-signature warp by unexpectedly launching into a Beatles-esque bridge. And, while I've spent more than enough time with Permission to Land, I'm also pretty sure that Justin Hawkins and company didn't slip into a dreampop noise-drone k-hole toward the end of their songs. Unlike "Id Engager", which had traces of funk and disco, "Nonpariel of Favor" is an amalgamation of experimental pop-music, with non-traditional song structures ruling the day. Based on "Nonpariel of Favor", we can expect Skeletal Lamping to be another strange, immensely impressive pop masterpiece.

Listen to it at the top of the post.

Of Montreal MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Fuck No: Founders of Fuck Yeah Fest Allege Security Beating After Radiohead Concert

This account is simply unbelievable. Here's the lede of the piece in the LA Weekly Blog:

Monday night along the tree-lined walkway entrance to the Hollywood Bowl, as Radiohead was closing the second of their two sold-out nights at the venue, Sean Carlson and Phil Hoelting, promoters of this weekend's annual F Yeah Fest, were handing out flyers to exiting fans. Their friend Michael Reich, creator of the popular music video site Videothing.com, was recording the two for an upcoming documentary. As Reich shot, he noticed a scuffle occurring within his frame; in the background four security guards could be seen restraining a crowd member as they were ejecting him...

“The guy was screaming,” remembers Reich, “and trying to tell them that he would leave peacefully if they let him go.”

“The guard walked up to [Reich] and said, 'What the fuck do you think you're filming?' and grabbed at the camera,” says one eyewitness who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.


From there, it gets much worse:

Reich and Carlson began to leave the premises, says Reich, certain he had captured the use of extreme force on tape. Hoelting, who had stayed behind, then overheard a guard say, "That shit's going to be on YouTube. We gotta get that tape."

Carlson and Reich turned around to see the men running toward them. “Three giant security guards were barreling after me,” recalls Reich, so he and Carlson started to run along Highland. As the guards gave chase, Reich ran into traffic to try and elude the guards, who were grabbing at his backpack.

“He's running through traffic, dodging cars, on people's hoods as two guards are chasing him,” recalls the eyewitness. “He's saying, 'Please help me, please help me' with two or three security guards running through traffic trying to catch him.”


At this point, the story becomes even more remarkable, with Reich and Carlson being allegedly assaulted and threatened by security guards for the fest, and nearby police refusing to intervene. Read the rest here.

Frankly, I find the whole thing unbelievable. I mean, its not like security figures in Los Angeles have a history of using unnecessary...




(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Video: Rage Against The Machine - "Bombtrack" and "Guerilla Radio" (Live at the Democratic National Convention Protest Concert)


(Rage Against The Machine - "Guerilla Radio" - Live in Denver)


(Rage Against The Machine - "Bombtrack" - Live in Denver)

I had just finished listening to NPR's coverage (because, while CNN and Fox News are good for a larf, you have to be serious every now and again), when I was inadvertently reminded that, yes, Rage Against The Machine would rage against the Democratic National Convention in the Mile High City. And, since this is the internet, video of that performance has turned up on YouTube. God bless, ye merry internet. If you can stand a little bit of buzz coming into your stereo speakers, then I'd undoubtedly recommend watching "Guerilla Radio", as it contains the band's military-style entrance and salute to the audience. Who, of course, eat it up. Next up for the band will be raging against the machine-in-chief in St. Paul. After all, Rage is nothing if not fair and balanced.

Watch performances of "Guerilla Radio" and "Bombtrack" at the top of the post.

See more Rage in Denver clips here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Reminder: Eight is Enough Benefit Concert



Times via More Cowbell:

SKOAL KODIAK (1:15AM)
STNNNG (12:30AM)
POS (11:45PM)
LOW (10:30PM)
DOSH (9:30PM)
KILL THE VULTURES (8:45PM)
TAPE N TAPE (JOSH GRIER AND JEREMY HANSEN OF TAPES N TAPES) (8:00PM)

Tickets are sold-out, but if you bumrush the show, you might be able to get them at the door.

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New Big Quarters - "Barter System" (Prod. By Medium Zach



Download: Big Quarters - "Barter System" (Prod. by Medium Zach) (via)

In honor of their new subscription service (the first cover of which is at the top of the post), in which the Minneapolis hip-hop duo allow you access to new, unreleased material in exchange for 5 clams, Big Quarters have generously released a new track on their blog. The song, titled "Barter System", a low-key, trip-hop and keyboard-heavy diary of life on the road, and the status of the industry itself. "Why buy the cash cow?/if you gon get this for free?" goes the main refrain. Hmm. Sounds like a challenge to me, and one that couldn't be set to a beat more conducive to a hip, late-night lounge atmosphere.

Rebut them by subscribing to Big Quarters Direct here.

Listen to "Barter System" at the top of the post.

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New Music: Horse Feathers, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Woodhands


(You Say Party! We Say Die!)

Download: Woodhands - "I Wasn't Made For Fighting"
Download: Horse Feathers - "Curs in the Weeds"
Download: You Say Party! We Say Die! - "Opportunity" (Montag Remix)

Three new tracks: one a remix, one a straightforward dance anthem, and the other being the kind of slow, whisper-in-a-dream folk music that Iron and Wine made his stake on before experimenting with Afro-Caribbean accentuation. The first is Montag's remix of excitable dance-punk group's You Say Party! We Say Die!'s "Opportunity". This remix nicks a little bit the melody to The Cure's "Close To Me", which itself was given a memorable remix treatment some years back. The 8-bit synth sounds here are wonderfully catchy. Next up is Woodlands, a Toronto-based electronic twosome whose track "I Wasn't Made For Fighting" stays more toward conventional dance music territory.

In other words, uh-tiss-uh-tiss-uh-tiss-uh-tiss ad infinitum. The track's got a lot of energy, and no doubt will induce many a hipster Heart Attack on the dance floor. It would surely sound better were I not typing this in my pajamas. Speaking of emerging from sleep, the new song from Horse Feathers sounds like music to help you do that exact thing. The Portland, Oregon-based folker will put out his newest release, House With No Home on Kill Rock Stars in September. Even though there's a strong current of Americana in here, the sweet, sad acoustic guitar part reminds me a lot of Big Star. In fact, there's a lot here that reminds me of other artists, and not in a good way. Nice violin part, though.

Listen to all three songs at the top of the post.

(Jonathan Graef)

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The Hold Steady "Stay Positive" On "Late Night With Conan O'Brien"



Stopping by the veritably self-deprecating (who's red-headed friend to night owl viewers everywhere) late night host's show this past Monday, the perennially-described "America's Best Bar Band" took time off from startin' some shit with Radiohead to play the title track from their fourth album, Stay Positive. I'm not sure about the array of handclaps The Hold Steady start off the song with, but by the time that Youth of Today get name-dropped, and the wordless harmonies in the chorus come around, even the most strident skeptic cannot resist singing along. "We gotta stay positive": a message sorely needed in 2008.

Or, you know, just watch some people rocking the fuck out at the top of the post.

The Hold Steady MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Kitten Forever - "Slam Dunk"



Spotted at the band's MySpace Page. Yay DIY! From the band themselves:

we made it in our van on tour while playing musical chairs with unicorn basement participating in reckless driving and there was some mention of hawthorne heights and you can witness some nice cleavage and all around goofiness


Watch the all-around goofiness at the top of the post.

Kitten Forever MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Glorious Monster Interviewed By Cove Magazine



Recently, non-for-profit arts publication Cove Magazine interviewed Minneapolis-based ambient-pop duo Glorious Monster. The interview touches on subjects like the twosome's "progression as artists, our progression a song-writing duo, our day jobs as humble jinglesmiths, the next Glorious Monster record, and the conception of our yet-to-be-released neo-disco-electro-dance band, Man is Doomed".

That same blog post the quote comes from (note to self: steal "neo-disco-electro-dance band") mentions that Man is Doomed will start to play around the area in the next month or so. When dates are announced, MFR will let you know.

Download the Cove Magazine issue with the Glorious Monster interview here.
Man is Doomed MySpace Page

Glorious Monster MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Erykah Badu and My Morning Jacket - "Tyrone"

Lykke Li - Youth Novels



Lykke Li
Youth Novels (LL Recordings, 2008)
Grade: B

Download: Lykke Li - "Breaking it Up"

The blogosphere is a harsh and bitter mistress. Go ask Tapes N' Tapes if you don't believe it. So, naturally, it is understandable that both excitement and skepticism would arise in the face of Swedish electro-pop songstress Lykke Li's released material, which has been praised frequently and in hyperbolic nature by most, if not all, of the blogosphere. The Little Bit EP, released stateside in May, focused on the softer side of Li's lyrical and musical personality. The arrangements of songs like "Time Flies" and "Little Bit consisted of bare, but still lush-sounding, electronic minimalism embellished with the occasional percussive quirk. Lyrically, Li played the role of doe-eyed school-girl in love, which proved to be both cloying and cute.

The good news with Youth Novels, Li's recently released debut album (stateside, at least) is that the tracks are fuller sounding (check out the warm orchestral glow of "Melodies and Desires" and "This Trumpet In My Head") in part, and Li is more the aggressor lyrically, which makes her sound more grown-up on songs like album standouts "Breaking it Up" and "I'm Good, I'm Gone", which both shine with a robotic cool. The bad news? Saddoes McBreathes-heavy is still around. ("Tonight"). But with that said, nothing here is ever less than listenable, due to the successful production of Björn Yttling and Li's gifts as a songwriter. Hopefully, she'll keep using those gifts to assert successfully, rather than to pine in an somewhat unconvincing manner.

Lykke Li MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

(Jonathan Graef)

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The Hood Internet Releases Atmosphere Vs. Silversun Pickups Track



Download: Atmosphere Vs. Silversun Pickups - "Edie Booksmart" (via)

The Hood Internet has created innovative and intriguing mixtapes mashing up the best of Chicago, Swedish electro-pop star Lykke Li, and even put together a track overlapping pop diva Mariah Carey with Minneapolis-based soundscape collage wizard Dosh. In keeping with the Minneapolis theme, the Hood Internet just released yesterday a track mashing up hip-hop heroes Atmosphere and L.A-based indie-rockers Silversun Pickups. What inspired the pairings? Let's let The Hood Internet do the talking:

On September 13 & 14 we're gonna be at Red Rocks for the 2008 Monolith Festival, so we went and made a bunch of tracks comprised of artists that are playing. The plan as of right now is to post a track every day this week, so stay tuned.

Atmosphere plays the New Belgium stage on Saturday at 9:45pm; Silversun Pickups play the main stage on Saturday at 8:45pm; The Hood Internet plays the woxy.com stage on Saturday at 4:40pm.


So what does the Hood Internet have in store for us today? Find out by clicking here.

In other Atmosphere news, the duo announced yesterday afternoon that they'll be stopping by Jimmy Kimmel Live for a live performance on September 23rd, and also giving a mini-concert beforehand. Details about how you can get free tix to the showing (assuming you'll be where the show tapes, of course) here.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

New Tom Schraeder And His Ego - "Needle Will Bite"


Download: Tom Schraeder - "Needle Will Bite"

If brevity is the soul of wit, then Tom Schraeder's got to be the savviest motherfucker around. The first track from his upcoming Lying Through Dinner clocks in at a minute-and-a-half, but manages to accomplish quite a lot in that time. Guided By Voices had short songs. Why shouldn't Tom and His Ego get right with the hit-it-and-quit-it spirit? Inspired by comparisons of himself to Ryan Adams (which, uh, I haven't really helped to rebut), Schraeder wrote this alt-country ode to frustration—"somethin's gotta give/or the needle will bite"—and it just happens to stand up to some of Ryan Adams' best. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Details about the Tom Schraeder CD release show here.

Tom Schraeder & His Ego MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

This post was previously published on Chicago is Mildly Interesting

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Jaguar Love - Take Me To The Sea



Jaguar Love
Take Me To The Sea (Matador, 2008)
Grade: C+

Download: Jaguar Love - "Highways Of Gold"

While it may be utterly superfluous to grade Jaguar Love's Take Me to the Sea, I'm required to, since distilling a complex opinion down to a single letter or number - and for all the good its done our public schools - is all the rage. So let's get it out of the way. I'm giving the album a C+ on the infectious nature of opening track "Highways of Gold" and the fact that the album is a respectable experiment, even if nigh-unlistenable. It's a polarizing album, as seen by reactions in the comments on other blogs. People either love it (A) or they hate it (F). I'm straddling the middle ground based mostly on artistic interest.

If you don't know, Jaguar love is put together of former Pretty Girls Make Graves and Blood Brothers members. Other members of the Blood Brothers went on to form the vastly-superior Past Lives, who, in what I think we can assume is a fit of passive-aggression, dropped an E.P. two weeks before the release of Take Me to the Sea.

Jaguar Love is comparable to the Hold Steady. Not at all in quality or how much I like them, but in audience response. Reading comments on blogs in response to posted tracks, their seems to be a mix of interest and absolute and total horror at Johnny Whitney's singing. Much like Craig Finn's voice, it's something you either can deal with or you can't. At first, I thought his wails – which have not to be helium induced, right? – almost pierced my ear drums. Halfway through the album, I'd either lost the ability to hear ultra-high frequency sounds or I'd gotten used to it.

In contrast, I think the instrumental parts of the band work really well. On "Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers," crunchy, drawling guitar drives the song, matching the aggressively whiney prose of the lyrics, eventually giving way into a rhythmic breakdown. It's not really my thing, but I have to give props to Jaguar Love for really nailing the atmosphere of the lyrics.

Other parts of the album mix up moderate rock with elements more pop rock than badass. Opening track "Highways of Gold" pairs snarling guitar with pogoing synth and a deceptively pleasant keyboard break. It all comes off a bit cartoonish, which I think is fine, considering as Whitney sounds like Minnie Mouse. On "Georgia," the band goes straight-up melodic, with some Hold Steady-inspired organ-over-piano action going on. In sharp contrast, Whitney sings sweetly, then busts out in parrotish sqwaks. It's a little weird and disorienting, but I think the sincerity of the track makes it flow.

Overall, I think Jaguar Love is a really interesting experiment. I'm genuinely surprised by how well the band is able to blend with Johnny Whitney's voice to make it not sound like 40 minutes of fingernails on a chalkboard. There's some really interesting instrumental work on the album. But like I said towards the beginning, it's either something you're going to really dig or you won't. Attached up top are "Highways of Gold" and "Georgia." The two songs capture a lot of the polarity of the album. If you're into them, you'll probably like the whole album. If you spend the whole time contemplating long-term helium exposure on the human body, you might not.

Jaguar Love MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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New Schools of Seven Bells - "Conjur"


Download: School of Seven Bells - "Conjur"

Not unlike High Places, this Brooklyn-based trio craft ethereal tapestries of sound that's given a rock solid foundation based upon electronically-composed beats and rich, dual female harmonies. There's less of a hip-hop and world influence here, but those who are taken with Mary Pearson's vocals in High Places should go ga-ga over the twin Deheza sisters (making the whole enterprise reminiscent of Blonde Redhead). Schools of Seven Bells consist of Ben Curtis from Secret Machines and the aforementioned sisters from On! Air! Library!. They've got an album coming out called Alpinisms, and "Conjur" is the first, non-Stereogum exclusive, track to leak from it. It's a doozy of an electro-pop number.

Listen to it at the top of the post.

School of Seven Bells MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Maps of Norway - "The Runout" and "Strict Ritual" (Plus: CD Release Party at the Turf Club)



Download: Maps of Norway - "Strict Ritual" (live)
Download: Maps of Norway - "The Runout"

Just last week, it looked like Minneapolis-based proto-serious post-punkers Maps of Norway weren't going to be doing much of anything, what with having to drop out of the Nomo show due to drummer Jeff Ball's recent injury. However, in terms of album and music announcements, the band still has lots of activity left in them.

Via a MySpace Blog Post, Maps of Norway announced that they had posted two new songs on their page. These two songs, "The Runout" and "Strict Ritual", are from their new, upcoming record titled Die Off Songbird, which will be released by Guilt Ridden Pop on October 10th. A CD Release Party will take place at Turf Club.

As far as the tracks themselves go, "The Runout" begins with a series of rim shot clicks not unlike The Dodos great song from this year, "Fools" and a bassline that's pure joy (Division). However, instead of multi-culti prog-folk, Maps of Norway opt for more New Wave friendly territory, with singer Rebecca Leigh sounding quite a lot like Blondie's Debbie Harry. Chiming guitar chords and a mournful vocal help give "The Runout" a romantic vibe, while the aforementioned bassline keeps things moving before the explosive chorus. The band's nu-new-wave-isms are not new, but the group writes engagingly melodic music that's hard to resist.

Speaking of which, have you checked out the beat to "Strict Ritual"?

Listen to songs here, or listen to a live version of "Strict Ritual" up at the top of the post. Check out an MP3 of "The Runout" at the top of the post as well.

Die Off Songbird is out October 10th.

Maps of Norway MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Brother Ali Headlines "Explode The Vote" Concert



Download: Brother Ali - "Truth Is"
Download: Big Quarters - "Everyday"

Taken directly from the Brother Ali MySpace Blog:

Explode The Vote is about getting the youth voice out to the polls in record numbers this November so we can make this year's victories ring loud and clear throughout the district: WE WANT CHANGE!

The show is featuring performances by:

Brother Ali
Big Quarters
Usual Suspects
Illuminous 3
Green Sketch Crew


We've all certainly heard about "rocking the vote", (or, as I once wrote about a St. Olaf-related political event, "smooth jazzing the vote") but this is ridiculous. Still, could you think of anyone you'd rather have "Explode The Vote"--or anyone who would be more capable of engaging in democratic explosiveness--than Minneapolis rapper Brother Ali? What's that you ask? Fellow Rhymesayers act I Self Devine? Why, he happens to be hosting the whole shebang.

The event is being presented by Congressman Keith Ellison, who, unlike some other senators, was sworn in on a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. So the next time you receive an email from your Limbaugh-loving older relatives stating that Obama was sworn in on the Koran, forward them the information stated above, and then kindly, respectfully inform that they're ignorant sluts.

Actually, it would probably be a much more constructive use of time just to buy tickets.

18+
Coffman Great Hall - U of M Campus
$12/$15
State ID Required

(Jonathan Graef)

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Friday, August 22, 2008

New Jeff Hanson Video - "If Only I Knew"


Download: Jeff Hanson - "If Only I Knew"

Yesterday, Stereogum debuted the new claymation-tastic video from St.Paul-based singer-songwriter Jeff Hanson. The video is directed by the same gent who worked for Thao and the Get Down Stay Down by helming their "Swimming Pool" video. Watch the vid for "If I Only Knew" here.

The CD release party for Hanson's new album, Madam Owl, is tomorrow at the Triple Rock. Read more here.

Jeff Hanson MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Electric Touch - "Love in Our Hearts"


Download: Electric Touch - "Love in our Hearts"

This Austin-based electro-rawk quartet is set to play First Avenue (nice website re-design, BTW) on Sept. 11th. They are also set to release their debut album, which is self-titled, next week. Here's the first single, "Love in Our Hearts". Tell us what you think! I'll save the blah-ditty-blah for another day.

Electric Touch MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Eclipse Records Grand Re-Opening



Text and image via More Cowbell:

Friday August 22nd
Dosh
Jindra
Alpha Consumer
Ghostband

Saturday, August 23rd
Crossing Guards
Magic Castles
To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie
Lazer Forever
Communist Daughter

All shows All Ages, starting around 7pm, $4 or $5 cover.

Wrapping Paper Write Songs About The People Who Buy Their Music

Download: Wrapping Paper - "Hold Up The Neon Sign"

Like The Beach Boys wrapped in a warm blanket of fuzzed-out, lo-fi distortion (which means "pay attention!", you Magnetic Fields and Times New Viking), Wrapping Paper, a group from St. Paul, seem to have a quirky, yet thoroughly melodic, sensibility. The more whimsical side has definitely come up in the group's latest series of songs, the subject matter of which is "you". Or, more accurately, "you" who have bought their latest EP, Hold Up The Neon Sign (the title track can be downloaded at the top of this here post). As part of a deal, if you buy the EP, and send them a message about what you want the song to be about (at this email address: WRAPPINGPAPERSTON@GMAIL.COM), then Wrapping Paper will write said song. The band website explains in greater detail:

"(The song) could be for a significant other, or to commemorate a graduation, it could be about your favorite color or your ideas on the best way to approach a
wild animal without getting hurt. The songs will be acoustic and I can GUARANTEE they will make you happier than you've ever been (not a guarantee)"


If you want to hear some examples of songs the band has written, then head on over to the recently created MySpace page created for the occasion. My favorite? "Mary's Gonna Have A Great Time", about wishing the titular person a great time at Burning Man. Most of these tracks have the stripped-down quality of some of the lonelier moments from Radio City. Very melodic and harmonious. Listen here.

Buy the EP here.

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New The Cool Kids - "Delivery Man"


Download: The Cool Kids - "Delivery Man"

Jiminy Christmas, how many tracks can the Cool Kids release? On the heels of the NBA nostalgia of "Pennies" comes "Delivery Man", a track revolving around what sounds like an accordian sample. Pretty dope. The song comes from a business collaboration with Mountain Dew. Read about it here. And remember to throw your "hands in the air/even if your arms don't work".

Spotted at Fake Shore.

The Cool Kids MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published at CIMI

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rock for Democracy Block Party

Just Announced:



BLB Block Party - Rock for Democracy
Saturday, September 13, 4-10pm
Free! Rain or Shine

4:00-4:40 Brass Messengers
4:55-5:30 First Communion Afterparty
5:45-6:20 Now Now Every Children
6:35-7:10 Prairie Sons
7:25-8:00 Revolver Modele
8:15-8:50 Maria Isa
9:10-10:00 Surprise Headliner

(Ian Anderson)

Labels:

Jennifer O'Connor - Here With Me



Jennifer O'Connor
Here With Me (Matador, 2008)
Grade: B+

Download: Jennifer O'Connor - "Here With Me"

Emotionally speaking, Jennifer O’Connor had nowhere to go but up after her last effort, Over The Mountain, Across The Valley and Back To The Stars. That 2006 release was inspired by events in O’Connor’s personal life that would make even the most strident believer in Murphy’s Law chagrined. Based on the mournful opening snare hits of "The Church and The River", it would seem like her latest album is another meditation on loss. Instead, "River" is a solemn, but sweet, love song. Based on the cover art, depicting O’Connor and her girlfriend in an embrace, as well as the lyrical contents of "River", it should be no surprise that the rest of Here With Me is an intimate affair, perfect for low-key cuddle sessions. In fact, the record might be a little too low-key. Folk-indebted numbers like “End of the Hall” and “Highway Miles” are generic singer-songwriter. Later on, the country-tinged “Days Become Months” drags the momentum built by more mid-tempo songs like the sweetly staccato title track and “Daylight Out”, which unexpectedly invokes, to great effect, the easy-going classic-rock defiance of Tom Petty.

That said, these complaints become more and more moot over subsequent listens. Here With Me works well as an amalgam of laid-back singer-songwriter influences. There’s the sardonic indie-rock confessions of Liz Phair on “Xmas Party”, Cat Power’s smoky, sensual seduction on haunting “Valley Road ‘86”, and even a little bit of Automatic For The People-era R.E.M on folk-rocker “Credit in The Cost”. The best song, however, is the slowly-building “Landmines”, which begins humbly with O'Connor by herself, and then soars to a full-band crescendo, with canyon-wide slide guitar playing, and a rhythm section swooping in like its a huge gust of Mountain air. The effect is thrilling, and demonstrates effectively that O'Connor can drift outside her comfort zone. Ultimately, Here With Me shows that O'Connor does well with what she knows inside and out, and tantalizes the listener with the possibilities of what she'll discover next.

Jennifer O'Connor MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Magic Castles Do Radio K Session



Magic Castles - "Emory's Memories" (via)

The Minneapolis-based quintet, who at times recall a psychedelic version of Belle & Sebastian, Magic Castles, who recently released The Lore of Mysticore (read Reveille's review here) recently stopped by the studios of Radio K to conduct a live session. The band recorded 5 songs, 4 of which you can stream over at the K's multimedia page. The fifth, "Emory Memories", has been made available for download. Either download it at the Multimedia page, or listen to it at the top of the post.

In other Castles news, the band will be playing an all-ages show at Eclipse Records. The band states that they'll play Mysticore live for those who weren't able to come to the release party in June.



Magic Castles MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Music Streams: Bloc Party, TV on The Radio, Annuals


(Bloc Party)

Download: Bloc Party - "Trojan Horse"
Download: Bloc Party - "Mercury" (CSS Remix)

Yesterday, it seemed like there was an explosion of music streams happening. First off, on the heels of the very-sudden, Radiohead-esque announcement that their third album, Intimacy, is out TOMORROW, Bloc Party put up a stream of a new song called "Trojan Horse". Listen to it at the band's MySpace page, or stream a copy of it above. Next up is TV on The Radio. Their new album arrives late September, and it is called Dear Science,. Late yesterday afternoon, the band put up the first song from Science. It's called "Golden Age", and it is a notably departure in many ways, but still excellent. Listen to it here.

Sticking to what they know best (sunny psychedelia with quirky song-structures and luminescent harmonies) blog pet band Annuals put up a song from their upcoming sophomore album, Such Fun. The song is called "Confessor", and you can listen to it here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tours: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down


(Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - "Swimming Pools")

YouTube Link

Even though the name is Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, the backup band will be doing both the former and the latter when Thao Nguyen, formidable as a performer on her own terms, plays several solo shows in the fall as part of the Hotel Cafe Tour. One of those stops is in MPLS. But before all that occurs, she's got a few one-off festival dates with the Get Down Stay Down. See the rest of the tour dates below:

August 2008
23 - Tallahassee, FL @ Florida State University
30 - Seattle, WA @ Ex Hall Stage - Bumbershoot
September 2008
6 - Portland, OR @ Holocene - Music Fest NW KRS Showcase w/ The Shaky Hands, Panther, Horse Feathers
17 - Ames, IA @ Maintenance Shop
19 - Champaign, IL @ Krannery Art Museum
20 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater
22 - Upland, IN @ Taylor University
25 - New Haven, CT @ Yale @ Ezra Stiles Master's House - solo
26 - Bronxille, NY @ Blue Room @ Sarah Lawrence College
27 - Bennington, VT @ Bennington College Student Center
October 2008
27 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat's Cradle - Hotel Cafe Tour - solo
28 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club - Hotel Cafe Tour - solo
29 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
30 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
31 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
November 2008
1 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
3 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
5 - Chicago, IL @ Park West - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
6 - Minneapolis, MN @ The Varsity - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
7 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
8 - St Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
9 - Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
11 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
12 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Avalon Theater - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
13 - Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
14 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
15 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
17 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo
18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theater - Hotel Cafe Tour- solo

(via)

Download: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - "Bag of Hammers"

Thao MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

This post was cross-published on Chicago is Mildly Interesting.

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Show Announcement: Solid Gold at the Hexagon



Deets via More Cowbell:

Solid Gold
+ “Secret Special Guests”*
Saturday, August 23
Hexagon Bar
Minneapolis, MN
10 pm | FREE | 21

In order to celebrate the release of issue #25 (considering how the print business is floundering these days, any issue successfully printed is cause of celebration), Rift Magazine is holding a party that doubles as a birthday get-together for Robyn, who is turning the big 30. Sounds like "All My Friends" will be on the playlist for this one. The details for the event are above. As to who the surprise guests are? (Well, you probably know this already, but just play along. It's Wednesday.) If you're doomed to know, then you've figured out that this event won't be a P.O.S.. It's in the hands of Vampires.

Did you see what I did there?

In other Vamp Hands news, the experimental quartet will be playing before a screening of Bits, a local independent film. The viewing takes place at the Uptown on Friday, August 22nd. Doors are at 11:30 pm, with the band playing from 11:45-12:30. Then the film screens.

Check out more here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

David Byrne and Brian Eno - "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today"



David Byrne and Brian Eno - "Strange Overtones"

The collaboration from David Byrne and Brian Eno is out today online. It is really quite fantastic.

Buy it HERE.

(Ian Anderson)

Labels:

Death Cab for Cutie To Open For Neil Young in St. Paul



Download: Death Cab for Cutie - "I Will Possess Your Heart"

Taken directly from the Death Cab MySpace Blog:

Death Cab for Cutie is excited to announce their fall North American and European tour which will include the band's first performance at the legendary Radio City Music Hall, a bunch of US and Canadian shows with Neil Young and lots of new European tour dates. This tour will also feature the band's first time through quite a few US cities since the release of their new album "Narrow Stairs".

For full tour information and ticket links please visit:

Death Cab for Cutie North America / Europe Fall Tour:

October 3 - Agganis Arena - Boston, MA

October 4 - Chevrolet Theater - Wallingford, CT

October 5 - House of Blues at The Showboat - Atlantic City, NJ

October 6 - Radio City Music Hall - New York, NY

October 8 - LC Outdoor Amphitheater - Columbus, OH

October 12 - University of Illinois - Assembly Champaign, IL

October 13 - Fox Theatre - St. Louis, MO


Opening for Neil Young:

October 14 - Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, MN

October 16 - MTS Centre - Winnipeg, MB

October 18 - Brandt Centre - Regina, SK

October 19 - Pengrowth Saddledone - Calgary, AB

October 21 - Comcast Arena at Everett - Everett, WA

October 22 - General Motors Place - Vancouver, BC


October 29 - Cox Arena - San Diego, CA

October 30 - The Forum, Inglewood, CA

November 1 - Reno Events Center - Reno, NV

November 4 - Sprint Center - Kansas City, MO

November 5 - Qwest Center - Omaha, NE



Europe:

November 12 - St. Georges Market - Belfast, Northern Ireland

November 13 - Ambassador Theatre - Dublin, Ireland

November 14 - Corn Exchange - Edinburgh, Scotland
.
November 15 - Rock City - Nottingham, England
.
November 16 - Colston Hall - Bristol, England

November 17 - Carling Academy - Sheffield, England
.

November 19 - Alexandra Palace - London England
.

November 20 - Crossing Border Festival - The Hague, The Netherlands
More information available at the Crossing Border Festival website: http://www.crossingborder.nl/home_en.php

November 21 - Muffathalle - Munich, Germany
Tickets on-sale date TBA

November 22 - Les Halles - Brussels, Belgium
Tickets on-sale August 20th

November 23 - Paris, France - Bataclan
Tickets on-sale August 19

November 24 - Ringlokschuppen - Bielfeld, Germany
Tickets on-sale date TBA

November 25 - Admiralspalast - Berlin, Germany

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby Guts - The Kissing Disease



Baby Guts
The Kissing Disease (Guilt Ridden Pop, 2008)
Grade: B

Download: Baby Guts - "Drag"

Even though it's Laura Larson, the larynx-shredding singer of punk trio Baby Guts, who won Best Vocalist (Female) from City Pages Best-of poll last year, her bandmate, bassist Taylor Motari proves that he's no slouch when it comes to a scream either. His raspy, spazzcore-style vocals help stamp the more raucous gunshots of punk adrenaline like "Hampster Bite and "Shark Teeth" (something about this dude and animals) with a visceral snarl.

Those are but two examples of the kind of Riot-Grrl informed punk rawk that can be found on The Kissing Disease, the band's second full-length album. Most of the songs on Disease fall into two categories. There's the short, spastic bursts of energy and mayhem that characterized most classic hardcore bands; and the slightly longer, more melodic, but still brief, tracks that skew closer to punk influences both vintage ("Asbestos/Esophagus" is Milo's college sweetheart and also nicks the chord progression to "Sonic Reducer") and contemporary ("Meat & Gesture" has a sludge-slow breakdown common in most modern-day hardcore bands). There are, of course, songs that successfully split the difference ("Tiny Cuts", an early album highlight) and a feedback-laden slow-crawl of a segue track ("Medusa, Stomach Acid, and Brain Cancer").

Most of the blistering tracks at the beginning ofThe Kissing Disease have a certain visceral appeal (i.e., they rock hard), but when so many songs of a similar fast-placed, fuzz-heavy ilk ("Firetruck Vagina", "Bedsheets" "Rum & Coke"), they tend to blend into one big outburst. Baby Guts are better when they find a nice, big riff for their formidable rhythm section to sink their teeth into. "Dispelled" and "Drag", two awesome tracks, succeed greatly because the slower tempos allow the Guts to explore a greater depth of emotion and musical dynamics.

"Dispelled", a cover originally done by Hangun Man, is unexpectedly poignant, a song that goes from self-lament to anthemic burst of anger and self-triumph of the course of two-and-half-minutes; "Drag" does anything but. Baby Guts prove themselves to be quite the songwriters when they give themselves the chance to develop. Everyone loves a good thrash, and The Kissing Disease has many. But it's the more fully-formed songs that have true staying power. Based on the contents of Disease, listeners can hope that the more, varied, melodic songs take prevalence in future releases.

Buy The Kissing Disease here.

Baby Guts MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Show Announcement: Yo! The Movement 7th Anniversary Celebration

New Minneapolis Hip-Hop: Young Son and St. Paul Slim


Two of Minneapolis' most promising emcees posted new material on their respective MySpace Pages. First off is Young Son, whose upcoming album Dreamer's Poetry, is set for release this fall. The song is called "Heavy Soul", and it features Adrien Lindsey. It's a slow jam, lamenting the lack of funding in schools, and other plights in urban society today, including how "you kill a man/you get life in prison/cop kill a man/he gets flags and ribbons". A heavy soul, indeed. Listen to the track here.

St. Paul Slim, however, is in a less reflective state of mind. Indeed, it seems as he's got so much trouble on his mind, blasting people he dubs as being insecure (In Alex Trebek voice: What's with the homophobic slurs?). Distasteful element aside, "Watch Out", the new song on Slim's MySpace Page is a club banger if there ever was one, with Slim making many entertaining boasts, and spitting out some furious rhymes with a highly concentrated flow. Check it out here.

In other St. Paul Slim news, you can hear him do a guest rap on "Don't Fight The Feelin'" on modern soul singer Yvette Iris MySpace Page. The rap details Slim's love of hip-hop (gotta dig the LL Cool J quotes) and delves deeply into his life story, including growing up in Minneapolis. Simply put, this is a great song. Listen to it here.

Yvette Iris MySpace Page
St. Paul Slim MySpace Page
Young Son MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Oh Noes!: The Hold Steady Disses Radiohead

What kind of motherfuckery is this? The motherfuckery that says I have to choose between two of my favorite groups, that's what. In a recent interview, Hold Steady guitarist Tad Kubler dissed Radiohead and their music. Regarding In Rainbows, the Kub says:

I think they've lost the plot. What are they doing? Where are they going? What's happening? I don't get it any more. They lost me. I still appreciate what they're doing, or what they're trying to do. But I think they're trying too hard not to be Radiohead. That seems a little ridiculous to me.


Strange assessment, considering that, in the context of Radiohead's oeuvre, In Rainbows, while not exactly conventional, is certainly their warmest and most optimistic-sounding album they've put out in quite some time. As far as the music is concerned, Kubler says this:

I like them as a rock band, all the buttons and sequencing and stuff like that I don't really care for. I'm a fan of rock music and what they're doing now I don't think is very good. When you have that kind of money, you can put on a great performance regardless of what you do. If you can't go out and pick up your instruments and play a good show, that doesn't do it for me. I don't have any interest in that


Now, I'm sure the man's been quite busy holding steady for various people's in various nations. But, couldn't he at least make the time to listen to "Reckoner"? Or the Beatles-aping "Faust Arp"? Certainly, he'd have heard something more "rock" in that material. Even the contemplative "House of Cards" is pretty straightforward.

Here's where it gets really strange:

The guitarist has been exclusively talking to BBC 6 Music about his thoughts on the UK music industry, and in the interview he didn't hold back when it came to the 'Creep' artists.

Muse also came under fire, but he couldn't speak highly enough about Mancunian rockers Oasis.


(head explodes)

So, whose side are you on?

Radiohead MySpace Page
The Hold Steady MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Peter Bjorn and John - "Inland Empire"


Download: Peter Bjorn & John - "Inland Empire" (via)

Considering the feast of harmonization that was their 2006 release Writer's Block, an entirely instrumental album from Swedish pop trio Peter, Bjorn and John might seem like complete and utter sacrilege. Like the Pixies making an album entirely of LOUD-LOUD-quiet, or Motorhead not kicking ass. So it's quite the excellent surprise that the new PB&J (teehee) song, "Inland Empire" from their upcoming transitional LP, Seaside Rock, is abstract and menacing. Quite the opposite from the happy sing-alongs that got their material on TV and in advertisements. Also, it seems very fitting in the week that Isaac Hayes passes on into the funky afterlife, a track opening with a relentless hi-hat debuts online. Everything that's old is new again.

Listen to "Inland Empire" at the top of the post.

Peter Bjorn and John MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Atlas Sound - "Holiday" (Plus: Some Hoser Raids Brandon Cox's Mediafire Folder)


Download: Atlas Sound - "Holiday

Brandon Cox is nothing if not prolific. And, lucky for us listeners, he also happens to be very generous, giving away countless amounts of non-album material on his Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza blog. Of these many tracks, the especially noteworthy ones come in the form of Virtual 7-inches, in which Cox updates the concept of the single to the 21st-century.

Number 4 in the series is "Holiday", a track that sounds like an Elvis ballad as produced by an unusually focused Kevin Shields. In other words, "Holiday" takes a classic pop chord progression and puts it through a house of shoegazer mirrors. Download it here. End of story, yes? Actually, no. Apparently, Cox left his Mediafire folder "unprotected and in plain view." The mistake unfortunately resulted in the folder raided, and the many demos, including ones for a new Atlas Sound LP titled Logos, contained therein being leaked. Cox responded with few despondent blog posts that have since been removed. The first one involved Cox calling the raider a C U Next Tuesday. (Bet you can figure that one by yourself).

Here's what Cox wrote subsequently:
Fuck this shit. I can just make another album. It's not finished and now it never will be. It was also going to have a rad cover. i would describe it to you but that would be stupid. P.S. there are no vocals on Quick Canal. I never got the chance to record them. This record was not free to record, so if you'd like to pay for hearing it send a paypal donation to lastdeerhunteronearth@yahoo.com. I am not a fucking opportunist so don't think I expect it.


And, in a follow-up post:
I have no idea what people want me to do. I'm not trying to be a cunt to anyone. I will finish the fucking album and stop bitching. I honestly really truly do not want attention from this. Sincerely. I wish none of this shit would have happened. I was just trying to give away another virtual 7". Now everyone that reads this thing is going to think i'm a fucking lunatic. I just have nothing to do. I guess I'll go clean my room.


Yikes. (On a personal note, just because someone puts themselves in a situation where they can be taken advantage of doesn't actually give you the right to take advantage of them in the first place.)

Pity. The song is actually pretty great, like most of Cox's material. Listen to it at the top of the post. The B-side is "S.S.C", a reggae-tinged number.

Download the 7-inch here.

Atlas Sound MySpace Page

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Top Ten Tracks on Elbo.ws Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: 8/01/8--8/15/08


(Bat for Lashes)

1. Bat for Lashes - "A Forest"

Download: Bat for Lashes - "A Forest"

Bats for Lashes cover of an early Cure staple trades the original's stark, goth-infused minimalism for a similarly moody, folk trip-hop pastiche. A solid example of how to retain the essentials of an original while adding your own defining characteristics.

Grade: B

2. Kings of Leon - "Sex on Fire"

Download:Kings of Leon - "Sex On Fire"

If you're trying to write a passionate, libidinous rock anthem, it's probably for the best that you don't invoke a dude known for cheeseball power ballads. Also, not a good idea to have a song title whose immediate reaction is "ouch".

Grade: D

3. Of Montreal - "Id Engager"

Download:Of Montreal - "Id Engager"

Speaking of uncontentious desires, this Parliament-and-ABBA-referencing disco-funk freak-out seeks to liberate listeners from phallocentric tyranny or, more likely, the confines of the dance floor. Odd transitions aren't as special as the band thinks they are, but this song is almost as engaging as anything from Fauna.

Grade: B+

4. Kings of Leon - "Crawl"

Download: Kings of Leon - "Crawl"

This unofficial re-write of The Who's "The Seeker" propels itself nicely on a thick, distortion heavy bass line and Townshend-esque power chords. At the very least, it burns the memory of "Sex on Fire" from my musical palette.

Grade: B

5. John Legend - "Green Light" (feat. Andre 3000) (MSTRKFT Remix)

Download: John Legend (feat. Andre 3000) - "Green Light" (MSTRKRFT Remix)

A ballad-cum-club-anthem in the vein of Usher's "Love in this Club", the blend of soul seduction and rap come-on gets a full-on dance makeover by MSTRKFT. The melody proves to be still irresistible, but the remix kings are re-using their bag tricks.

Grade: B-

6. The Kills - "Cheap and Cheerful"

Download: The Kills - "Cheap and Cheerful" (SebastiAn Remix)

"I want you to be crazy/cuz you're bored, baby/when you're sane". I know exactly what you mean.

Grade: C+

7. The Vivian Girls - "Where Do You Run To?"

Download: Vivian Girls - "Where Do You Run To"

The Raveonettes.

Grade: C

8. Franz Ferdinand - "Lucid Dreams"

Download: Franz Ferdinand - "Lucid Dreams"

A new non-album track surfaces, and finds the dance-punk revivalist staying solid and consistent, with their love of hi-hats, sharp downstrokes, and tongue-in-cheek humor intact. The continuation of Beatles-esque harmonies from their last LP is still a pleasant surprise

Grade: B

9. Conor Oberst - "Danny Callahan"

Download: Conor Oberst - "Danny Callahan"

The Bright Eyes frontman creates a carefree, swaying honky-tonk ode to an unfortunate, but resilient soul. Simply put, this is a song that makes me smile.

Grade: B+

10. Bark Hide and Horn - "Treasure of the Everglades"

Download: Bark Hide and Horn - "Treasure of the Everglades"

Umm...I don't know how to tell you this but, (Conor Oberst is right above you). It's probably not a good idea to bite his shit. Just a thought. Nice French Horn, though.

Grade: C+

(Jonathan Graef)

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Atmosphere Announce More "Paint The Nation" Tour Dates



10.13 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
10.14 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
10.15 - Providence, RI @ Lupo's
10.17 - Portland, ME @ The Station
10.18 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
10.20 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls
10.21 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
10.22 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
10.24 - Cincinnati, OH @ Scribble Jam/Annie's
10.25 - Nashville, TN @ Wildhorse Saloon
10.27 - Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Theatre
10.28 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection
10.29 - Urbana, IL @ Canopy Club
10.31 - Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theatre
11.01 - Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater
11.02 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
11.05 - Iowa City, IA @ Englert Theatre
11.06 - Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
11.07 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom
11.08 - Austin, TX @ FFF Festival/Waterloo Park*
11.09 - Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
11.11 - El Paso, TX @ Club 101
11.12 - Albuquerque, NM @ Convention Center
11.15 - Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
11.16 - Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre

The last time we updated you about Atmosphere's tour plans, a commenter noted about how Minneapolis got gyped. I responded that Atmosphere usually announce a hometown date later on. Turns out Bill's got nothing to fear. The November 11th date at First Ave is but one of many of of the new dates added for the rap duo's "Paint The Nation" tour. Check all of them out at the top of the post. Fan sale for the dates start on August 20th.

Read more here.

Atmosphere MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Everybody Else Is Posting It, So Why Shouldn't We?: Oasis - "The Shock of The Lightning"


Download:Oasis - "The Shock Of The Lightning"

A recurring feature in which MFR gives in to blog peer pressure and post a track that's been ravenously consumed by fellow MP3 blogs, regardless of how good it is. Last time, it was Bloc Part's "Mercury". This time, it's a fellow UK act, Oasis.

As of this writing, not one, not two, but four of the hot posts on Elbo.ws are devoted to this song. Surely, more will come. But for now, we'll take a listen to "The Shock of the Lightning", the second leaked single from the British quartet's forthcoming seventh album, Dig Out Your Soul. And how is the track?

Surprisingly listenable. "Lightning" is, like their last few albums, a throwback to their straight-ahead rock sounds on Definitely Maybe, but with the tempo a little faster. In fact, the song sounds not unlike Oasis member Andy Bell's old band, a face-meltingly awesome shoegazer band called Ride. If you can get past the inane nature of the lyrics ("love is a time machine"?), this is more than a little bit of alright.

Dig Out Your Soul (Oasis love those directives, don't they?) is out on October 7th.

Oasis MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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