Friday, August 19, 2005

Like A Threat To Point Blank Eyes As Proof

Everyone's alway's prattling on and on about how great The New Pornographers are. And I agree. They are a great band. But you know what? I like lead Pornographer A.C. (Carl) Newman's solo album The Slow Wonder more than anything TNP has put out. Released in 2004, Wonder is just one of those great pop albums you can put on and listen to without skipping a track. I don't know of too many albums that can boast that claim. Many of the lyrics have an intimate feel and there is also a wider range of emotions than on a New Pornographers' disc & having made the case for how different this record is from his other work, now let it be said that the record is very much like his other work. Maybe even better. It certainly contains some of his catchiest, most exuberant songs like the crashing opener "Miracle Drug," and weariness on the aching "Drink to Me, Babe, Then." In a better world, Slow Wonder would be on everyone's iPod, rotating on radio hourly, and his name would be on the lips of everyone from aged Royalty to teen-aged girls. Hmm, don't hold your breath, just sing along and be glad you discovered him. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

A.C. Newman: Drink To Me Babe Then

A.C. Newman: Miracle Drug

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Remember The Weight Of The World Was A Sound That We Used To Buy. On Cassette And 45.

I never really mentioned it before, but I got a chance to see Spoon recently at Street Scene here in SD. God what a great show. They were one of the first acts to take the stage at 4:30 pm in the blazing hot sun and rawked our non-Texan asses. Seeing as how I'm moving to the Dallas area next week, I thought I'd get things rolling in the right direction, Austin stylee. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Live At Street Scene
July 30, 2005
San Diego, CA

Spoon: The Beast And Dragon, Adored

Spoon: Me & The Bean

Spoon: Someone Something

Spoon: Fitted Shirt

Spoon: I Turn My Camera On

Spoon: Sister Jack

Spoon: Paper Tiger

Spoon: Small Stakes

Spoon: They Never Got You

Spoon: I Summon You

Spoon: The Way We Get By

Spoon: My Mathematical Mind

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I've Been Watching Your World From Afar. I've Been Trying To Be Where You Are. And I've Been Secretly Falling Apart.

If anyone can claim to have had their career choice in some way chosen for them, it's Aqualung's Matt Hales; born above his parents Southampton independent record store, with a piano dominating the front room, he was writing songs by the age of 4. By 11 he'd been commissioned to compose his school Song (the melody stolen, he confesses without a hint of shame, from Howard Jones' “Humans Lib” album), by 14 he was co-writing with his brother a clutch of “songs about road safety”. Awarded a scholarship at 16 to study composition in Winchester, by 17 he'd had his first symphony “Life Cycle” performed by a 60-piece orchestra, with Matt himself conducting. No ordinary childhood. No ordinary child. I had stumbled upon Aqualung playing on VH1 one day and immediately dismissed what I'd heard. Sounded like Coldplay crossed with Travis. Yaaaaaawn. It wasn't until I heard Strange And Beautiful that I completely fell out of my tree. A simple haunting melody that has been on repeat on the stereo for at least 2 weeks now. It might've been the wine but I swear I shed a tear the other night. This guy is THAT good. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Aqualung: Strange And Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)

Aqualung: Brighter Than Sunshine

Bonus track:

Aqualung: Falling Out Of Love (live at Shepard's Bush)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

So Let's Go To Barcelona. We Will Be Noted For Our Absence. Deep In Ocean Blues Of Absinthe. Making Love In Our Coronas.

Recorded in just four days with an all star backing band of Nashville session giants Anton Fig, Steve Cropper, & Spooner Oldham; Honeycomb is one of Frank Black's most intimate collections of songs, and the closest he's come to a traditional singer/songwriter solo album. On paper, Black might not seem like the likeliest fit with Cropper, Fig, et al., but the early-rock roots of the Pixies' mutated surf-punk-pop and the country and roots rock flirtations of his later career suggest otherwise. Honeycomb's songs feel tailored to the experience of recording in Nashville with these musicians, and have a sophistication that Black might not have been able to get with another group of players. For your listening (dis)pleasure, here a re some of my favorite tracks off of Honeycomb:

Frank Black: My Life Is In Storage

Frank Black: Honeycomb

Frank Black: Violet

Frank Black: Strange Goodbye

Monday, August 15, 2005

And Every Angry Word Is Like A Cigarette

I was never really the biggest fan of Toad The Wet Sprocket. I mean honestly. How could anyone admit they liked a band with a name as horrible as that? That's like saying you're Hoobastank's #1 fan. I did however, get a chance to see lead singer Glen Phillips perform a solo show last year in Los Angeles. And I realized something that night. This guy can write a great song. And without a full band to overpower him, his voice became this sort of mellow comfort for me. I dunno. Something just clicked that night I guess. Anyway, for your listening (dis)pleasure, here are some select tracks from a solo show he did at a club in LA called Largo this past February. Enjoy!

Glen Phillips
Live @ Largo
February 9th, 2005
Los Angeles, CA

Glen Phillips: Marigolds

Glen Phillips: Everything Matters

Glen Phillips: Released

Glen Phillips: Tender Blue (Everything But The Girl cover)

Glen Phillips: Hyper Ballad (Bjork cover)

Glen Phillips: All I Want

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Digs In Dallas

Dear fans of Indoor Fireworks:

No I haven't forgotten about all of you...I've just been busy in Dallas taking care of the above. Swanky eh? Yup, The Vicar is moving to Texas ya'll. Chris & I are sure to cause some havoc whenever we eventually meet. I'm thinking Gorrila Vs. Bear/Indoor Fireworks karaoke nights! YES!!! I will return to normal posting on Monday. Have a great weekend!


Friday, August 05, 2005

Let's Have A Nice Clean Cut. Like A Bag We Buy And Divvy Up

Right off the bat I'll admit that I'm not the biggest Conor Oberst fan. He's whiny. He's tempermental. He's a little bitch. Basically, all the things that comprise a true talent. But man can he write a song. I say this after having purchased, listened to, and damned near wore out Bright Eyes' last release Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. What a brilliant fucking album. The dual release of DAIADU and I'm Wide Awake It's Morning was intended to showcase Oberst's "prolific" songwriting and styles. Whatever. Digital Ash was the true winner for me. It showed me that there was indeed a willingness in Oberst's music to push himself; to write and arrange music differently than he had in the past. And that's what makes an artist great: not being satisfied with putting out retreaded bullshit every other year (yes, I'm talking to you Bono!). For your listening (dis)pleasure, one of my favorite tracks off a truly exceptional album:

Bright Eyes: Gold Mine Gutted

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The City Sun Sets Over Me

I don't know what it is about Polly Jean Harvey that gets me so wound up. I swear there hasn't been a sexier voice in rock since Chrissie Hynde strutted & pouted her way through "Brass In Pocket." Seriously. This woman just oozes lust. Wanton lust. Unrequeited lust. Dirty lust. Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea is my favorite PJ Harvey album, & the album cover's stylish, subtly sexy image suggests what its songs confirm: PJ Harvey has grown up. Direct, vulnerable lyrics replace the allegories and metaphors of her previous work, and the album's production polishes the songs instead of obscuring them in noise or studio tricks. Aiding Miss Harvey on several songs is Radiohead's Thom Yorke, who in addition to playing keys, provides his ethereal voice to several tracks; spotlighted on the album's duet "This Mess We're In." So sit back, turn the lights down low, & pour yourself a glass of scotch. For your listening (dis)pleasure, 3 tracks from a stunner of an album:

PJ Harvey: This Mess We're In (feat. Thom Yorke)

PJ Harvey: You Said Something

PJ Harvey: We Float

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"You're Losing, You're Losing, You're Losing Your Vitt-ah-min C..."

I have to admit, I'm not as cool as you all think I am. Yeah I know: SHOCKER! ;) But in all honesty I sometimes am slightly behind the ball when it comes to the uber-hip quotient and all that shizz. Case in point: Can & Autechre. The only reason I found out about these two groups was that I had read an interview several years back where Thom Yorke cited them as direct influences during the writing and recording of Radiohead's Kid A. After that, my thought process went something like zis: "Hmmm. I love Kid A. So why wouldn't I love these two groups?" Was I right? Sorta. Did I foster an instant obsessive love for all things Can? You betcha. Did I find it hard to sit still and listen to what sounded like two men in straight jackets and laptops throw themselves around a junkyard for an hour? Sorta. But I still dug some of Authechre's stuff. Here, for you listening (dis)pleasure, are two tracks currently in heavy rotation:

Autechre: Bike

Can: Vitamin C

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I'll Hold Onto This Gift We Share. It Is Slippery As It Is Rare.

Hailing from Toronto, Ontario via my hometown of Montreal, Quebec the Cowboy Junkies musical mix of traditional country, blues,folk, and later a sleepy, narcotic haze that clearly bore the stamp of the Velvet Underground has garnered them fans around the world since their inception in 1985. The vast majority of their songs are spare and quiet, taken at lethargic tempos and filled with languid guitars and detached, ethereal vocals courtesy of Michael Timmins & sister Margo Timmins (respectively). Here are six tracks culled from a live show circa 2000. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Cowboy Junkies
Live at The Riviera
Chicago, IL
February 2000

Cowboy Junkies: Come Calling

Cowboy Junkies: Misguided Angel

Cowboy Junkies: Hold Onto Me

Cowboy Junkies: Carmelita

Cowboy Junkies: Anniversary Song

Cowboy Junkies: Sweet Jane

You can catch Cowboy Junkies in San Diego:

Cowboy Junkies
August 15th, 2005
Humphrey's By The Bay
7:30 pm