6.18.2005

Crooked Fingers

Crooked Fingers


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Better Propaganda is becoming more and more useful every day. As I looked around for some new music the other day I stumbled upon these guys. Formed from the remains of Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers excels at creating somber indie rock. Singer Eric Bachman's voice immediately reminded me of a combination of Neil Diamond's and Bob Dylan's, but trust me, that isn't a band thing. Their newest release. Dignity and Shame is somewhat different then their past releases, as the songs have taken on a more positive tone. While their past albums were tales of abuse and alcoholism, Dignity and Shame emits a solemn hopefulness about love and life. The songs are beautiful and simple and when combined with Bachman's bluesy voice, create an amazing feeling of listening to honest folk/indie/rock. Check them out if you like M. Ward or the aforementioned Bob Dylan.

From 2005's Dignity and Shame
Image hosted by Photobucket.comDignity and Shame"

From 2003's Red Devil Dawn
Image hosted by Photobucket.comYou Can Never Leave

Buy their music here and visit their website.
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Odds and Ends

Awww... FUCK!

The new partnership between Apple and Intel is starting to look pretty good.

The Reviews for Batman Begins keep getting better and better.

Perhaps my favorite non-music blog to visit over the last week or two has been Crooks and Liars. It's politics and humor all rolled into one.

I won't say this very often, but Pitchfork has an accurate(??) review of the Foo Fighter's new double record, In You Honor.
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Daily Torrents

Tears for Fears - The Best Of (Remixes)
Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds _ Let Love In
Late Night with Conan O'Brian (6/16/05) w/ Heather Locklear, Paul Giamatti, and Caesers
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Random Downloads

Andrew Bird - "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" (from The Mysterious Production of Eggs)
Damien Jurado - "Paperwings" (from I Break Chairs)

6.17.2005

Three Short Reviews

I keep trying to think of things to do for this thing, so I've decided that every Friday, I'm going to write a couple of reviews of recently released CDs.

Coldplay - X & Y


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I know I mentioned it before, but this album just bores me. I appreciate Coldplay and everything, but I just can't seem to get into X & Y. The single, "Speed of Sound," is easily one of the more average songs on the album and doesn't really give a very accurate outlook on the album. There are a few highlights, however, such as "Fix You" and "What If?" The latter is singer Chris Martin's beautiful ballad addressed to his daughter, Apple. In fact, I think the best song on the album, wasn't even included on the U.S. release. "How You See The World" is one of their best songs in years, yet only made it onto the Japanese release as a bonus track. Most of the songs, however, don't do anything for me. I feel like I've heard it all before. Seems like a good band has finally leveled out musically.

RATING: 6/10

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHow You See The World (Japanese Bonus Track)

Buy it here.

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Common - Be


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It's rare that a hip/hop album will get any playtime from me. The genre has become too watered down and focused on the "bling" aspect of urban culture. However, the occasional artist or album will catch my ear. Common's politically and emotionally charged album, Be, is easily the best hip/hop album I've heard this year. The albums title song is as catchy as any pop or rock song, which peaks with the inciteful: "I looked into my daughters eyes/And realized I'm gonna learn through her/The messiah might even return through her/If I'm gonna do it/I'll have to change the world through her." Featured contributions from Kanye West, John Mayer, John Legend, and more, Be is one of those rare hip/hop albums that actually can grab and keep my attention with it's postive and powerful message. Worth a listen if you're into 2Pac, Talib Kweli, or Kanye West.

RATING: 8/10

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBe

Buy it here.

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Paul Anka - Rock Swings


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As some of you know, I'm a huge fan of big band/lounge music. It just tickles me inside. Old Blue Eyes and Deano can put a smile on my face no matter what is going on. So enter Paul Anka. His newest studio album, Rock Swings, is a collection of modern pop/rock covers. These aren't Richard Cheese-esque, mind you, but very well done big band/lounge versions of very memorable songs. The arrangements are really well done and not rushed in order to just sell some records. Standouts include "Everybody Hurts," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and "Tears in Heaven." The fact that he covers Eric Clapton's most famous track and does it well says a lot about the record itself. Definitely a nice pick up for any fans of lounge/big band music.

RATING: 8/10

Image hosted by Photobucket.comTears in Heaven (Eric Clapton Cover)

Buy it here.

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Odds and Ends

Damn you Tom, for proposing to my woman.

I've been wondering the same thing for a long time.

It looks like Dell is keen on Apple's OS.

6.16.2005

Windsor for the Derby

Today's update will be somewhat smaller then past ones as I work a nice 7 hr shift today. But here ya go:

FEATURED: Windsor for the Derby


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A few nights ago as I was scowering Secretly Canadian's website for information and pictures on Antony and the Johnsons, I checked out a few of the other bands the label had to offer. The one that stood out was Windsor for the Derby. I guess the best way to describe their music would be to call it "slighty skewed indie/pop." While not as upbeat and "poppy" as say Belle & Sebastian their sound still maintains the kind of charm that the indie/pop genre is known to produce. Their songs come off somewhat awkward, but not in a way that doesn't feel intentional. Definitely worth checking out. Their 6th full length Giving Up The Ghost is out August 16th on Secretly Canadian.

From 2004's We Fight Till Death
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMelody of A Fallen Tree
Image hosted by Photobucket.comA Spring Like Sixty

Check out their page here and buy their music while you're there. Also, there's a nice fan site with photos, tour info, and more mp3's here.

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Odds and Ends

VH1 has a very well done summary of last weekend's Bonnaroo Festival (via Stereogum).

Big Brother really is getting out of control. Although it is nice to see this happening.

Don't get me wrong, Coldplay's new album, X & Y, is very well done, but I just find it kind of boring. I guess the 730,000+ who bought it the first week don't though.

The reviews for Batman Begins just keep getting better and better.

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Daily Torrents

Paul Anka - Rock Swings
Miles Davis - Live in Berlin 10-29-1983**

(**=Requires Registration)
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Random Downloads

Volcano, I'm Still Excited! - "In Green"
The Elected - "Greetings in Braille"
Iron and Wine - "Woman King"

6.15.2005

Sufjan Stevens

FEATURED: Sufjan Stevens


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No musician has in recent memory has grabbed my attention like Mr. Stevens has. Over the last few weeks I've searched out almost every recording he's participated in (yes, even those elusive Marzuki ones). His songs are as eclectic as they are beautiful, acting like poetry to your ears (call it cliche', but it's the truth). Stevens' use of vocal melody is absolutely incredible, in that his voice alone almost pushes along every one his songs (although he does have nice accompaniment from the Illinoise Makers! (formerly the Michigan Militia)), giving them each a sense of hushed sincerity reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith. His new album (out July 5, unless you pre-ordered it and got it in the mail already) Come On! Feel the Illinoise! is an aural masterpiece, churning out beautifully rendered folk songs ("Casimir Pulaski Day") along side indie/pop gems ("Chicago") and wonderfully charming instrumental interludes ("To The Workers Of The Rockford River Valley Region, I Have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament, And It Involves Shoe String, A Lavender Garland, And Twelve Strong Women"). As the second chapter of his ambitious 50 States Project (in which he will release a record for each of the 50 States over the next fifty years or so), it doesn't seem like Ilinois can ever be topped. His first entry in the 50 States series, 2003's Greetings From Michigan!, is almost equally outstanding, portraying everything from the sorrow and hopelessness of those living in run down urban regions like Flint ("Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)") to the quirky stereotypes applied to "Yuppers" ("The Upper Peninsula"). Last years Seven Swans, while a brief tangent from his abitious project, is just as beautiful. Dealing directly with the stories of the bible and his youth, Seven Swans is a lot more subtle and personal then Illinois or Michigan, but just as well done. It's not often you find such a personal and yet universal record dealing with religion. But Stevens' biblical folk masterpiece does just that. It moves you in a way that doesn't make you think about his faith and his beliefs, but it makes you look at your own through his elegant and often metaphor-filled songs. He puts himself into each of his songs and it really does show. Sufjan Stevens is one of the premier song writers of the day. Hands down. His music is worth every moment of your time.

From 2003's Greetings From Michigan!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comHolland
Image hosted by Photobucket.comRomulus

From 2004's Seven Swans
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe Dress Looks Nice On You

From 2005's Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comCasimir Pulaski Day
Image hosted by Photobucket.comChicago

From 2000's 8.21 A Blue Bunny Compilation
Image hosted by Photobucket.comWoman at the Well

From an unknown live performance
Image hosted by Photobucket.comChicago (Banjo Only) (Live)

Please, buy his music here or here. Also, check out his website.
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Odds and Ends


Tom Cruise just keeps getting creepier and creepier (via Pink is the New Blog).

Maybe this will stop some of the Terry Shiavo controversy. Then again, maybe not.

Al Franken's Radio Show + iTunes Music Store?

Borrowed Tunes has a review of the new White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan. I agree whole-heartedly.

Sufjan Stevens has expanded his Illinois Tour. Pitchfork has the dates. I already have my tickets to the 9/14 show in Newport, KY. It's only June and I can't wait.

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Daily Torrents

The Arcade Fire - The Arcade Fire EP
Sin City OST
Mastodon - 9 Song Demo [FLAC]**
Morrissey - Live in London (1991)**

(**Requires Registration)
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Random Downloads

Say Hi To Your Mom - 'The Twenty-Second Century"(from Ferocious Mopes)
Dressy Bessy - "Side 2" (from Electrified)
Camera Obscura - "I Love My Jean" (from I Love My Jean Single)

6.14.2005

Antony and the Johnsons

I was saving this for tomorrow, but it's done, so what the hell....

FEATURED: Antony and the Johnsons


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Androgyny never was my favorite topic (besides SNL's Pat), but I guess I can ignore it in this case. Yea, yea I know I'm way late on this one, but Antony and the Johnsons deserve all the attention they can get. Antony's quivering voice gives me chills everytime I listen to them. It's rare that something can seem so fresh and new, but feel so established and perfectly aged at the same time. But Antony and Co. do just that. I Am A Bird Now feels like a great soul/blues album from the 40's, but still sets itself apart. Featuring Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Devandra Bernhart, Boy George, and more, the album pays great homage to the great blues/soul albums of the past. Definitely worth a listen.

From 2005's I Am A Bird Now
Image hosted by Photobucket.comHope There's Someone
Image hosted by Photobucket.comHope There's Someone (Video)

From Live at the Knitting Factory NYC, Jan. 2001
Image hosted by Photobucket.comGod With No Tear

Check out their website and buy their music here or here.
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Odds and Ends

It looks like Phil Jackson is coaching the Lakers again. It doesn't matter, I still think Kobe is overrated.

After all the courtroom drama, I guess Michael Jackson really is a "Smooth Criminal."

The L.A. Times has interesting article on Morgan Spurlock's (of Super Size Me fame) new televison show 30 Days.

Tom Cruise has really lost it.

He be fast.. Man.

The New York Times has a review of last weekends Bonaroo Festival here.

This had me laughing harder than anything in recent memory. (Give it a few minutes to load, it's a pretty big file)

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Daily Torrents

The Number Twelve Looks Like You - Nuclear. Sad Nuclear
Drive-By Truckers - Live @ Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC 10/10/2003**
Neutral Milk Hotel - Live @ Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC 3/4/1998**
Doug: Complete Season 1**

(**=Requires Registration)
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Random Downloads

Random Family Guy Music
Rivers and Matt (of Weezer) - Undone/The Sweater Song (Live) (VIDEO)

Shearwater

FEATURED: Shearwater


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"Ambient/Folk/Pop/Country" is the best way for me to describe Shearwater. Beautiful and longing, their most recent release, Winged Life, is eclectic and somber, but doesn't bring you down in a way that you might expect. Lyrically, it's very honest and simple; not pushing too far, or coming up too short. With Winged Life Shearwater has created a record that is truly just very nice to the ears. Jim Sheff's somber voice (think Ben Folds having a really bad day) is perfect for delivering their mopy, Neutral Milk Hotel-esque songs about life, the great outdoors, and change. This is definitely the kind of album you could listen to while stuck inside the house on a rainy day. Just charming and beautiful. Worth the listen if you're into Sufjan Stevens or the aforementioned Neutral Milk Hotel and Ben Folds.

From 2004's Winged Life
Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhipping Boy
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe World in 1984

From Thieves
Image hosted by Photobucket.comLet The Bomb's Fall (I Can't Wait)

**NOTE: These are not hosted by me.**

Check out more songs at their website. And buy their music here.
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Odds and Ends

Apparently, I'm not the only one sick of Apple's iPod Commercials. Don't get me wrong, I love Apple (although I'm still skeptical of their recent move to Intel chips) and my iPod, but those commercials just get on my nerves.

It looks like my poor Katie has been brainwashed. What a shame.

If this is any indication of how the new Batman movie is, color me excited.

The L.A. Times has a nice article about Sleater-Kinney.

I'm going with Firefox.

Some good new releases today including Dressy Bessy, Bear Vs. Shark, Brian Eno, and Aesop Rock (all links to Amazon.com via Largeheartedboy).
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Daily Torrents

Rocky Votolato - Burning My Travels Clean
Doves - Some Cities**
The Decemberists - Live @ The World Cafe, 6/9/2004**
Pete and Pete: Season 1**

(**=Requires Registration)
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Random Downloads

Half-Handed Cloud - "Animals Are Cut In Two" (from Thy Is A Word and Feet Need Lamps)
The Mountain Goats - "Two-Headed Boy" (Neutral Milk Hotel Cover)
The National - "Wasp Nest" (from Cherry Tree)
Iron & Wine - "Southern Anthem" (from The Creek Drank the Cradle)
Antony and the Johnsons - "River of Sorrow" (from Antony and the Johnsons)

6.13.2005

Monday Mix #1

Monday Mix #1

So here's the mix for the week. Get the zipped file here (via yousendit).
Tracklist:
1. The Most Serene Republic - "Content Was Always My Favorite Colour"
2. Math & Physics Club - "Weekends Away"
3. The Mountain Goats - "Up The Wolves"
4. Sufjan Stevens - "Rake"
5. Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek"
6. Iron & Wine - "Teeth in the Grass"
7. Joseph Arthur - "In The Sun"
8. Four Tet - "Iron Man"
9. Joanna Newsom - "Sadie"
10. The White Stripes - "Take, Take, Take"

All 10 songs are MP3s. If the link exceeds it's limits, let me know and I'll re-upload it.
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Odds and Ends

So the big news of the day is that Michael Jackson was aquitted of all charges. Can't say I'm suprised.

MySpleen has been my go to for Torrents this last week. Where else will you find entire seasons of Pete and Pete, Rocko's Modern Life, and the most up to date episodes of Robot Chicken?

So, aparently, Pink Floyd is getting back together to perform at Live 8.

Um... does this scare anyone else? Just wondering...

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Daily Torrents

Family Guy, Season 3, Episode 5
American Dad, Season 1, Episode 6
Belle & Sebastian - Tiger Milk
Doves - Some Cities Ben Folds - Live @ WXPN, World Cafe (11/03/1995)**
Bob Dylan - Live in Atlanta (6/9/1984)**

(**=Requires Registration)

6.12.2005

Snow Machine

Here we go, post #2.

FEATURE: Snow Machine

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Maybe it's my love for peppy pop music or maybe it's Katherine McElroy's beautiful voice, but Snow Machine makes me feel all warm inside. Elroy's foray into pop music has resulted in a combination of musically upbeat, yet lyrically dark, pop ballads about love, and well, love. The combination results is something that not only gets your foot tappingly good, but also quite introspective. Elroy sings on "Birmingham:" Your eyes are tired/You're not the boy I knew/Birmingham is slowly killing you/So tell her I'm the one you left behind/And I'll be hear in case you change your mind/Goodbye, showing that this is definitely not a collection of feel-good pop songs; rather, this is a collection of well-made and honest piano-driven ballads.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comBirmingham
Image hosted by Photobucket.comCamel Lights

Buy it here.
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Odds and Ends

The Russian Futurists were recently held up at the U.S./Canadian border while on their tour with Caribou and The Junior Boys, causing them to miss a few shows. Apparently the mix up was caused by some miscommunication when it came to their work visas. Pitchfork has the full story here.

Speaking of Pitchfork, they have an interesting article on video game music here called "John Cage's XBox."

I've always known Joe Simpson (the Father/Manager of his daughters Ashlee and Jessica) was creepy, but this just kind of scares me.

In my late-night blog browsing last night, I stumbled upon an awesome video of Matt and Rivers of (early) Weezer performing a version of "Undone/The Sweater Song." So what makes it so special? Matt lays down some fly gangsta rap during the verses. You Ain't No Picasso has the video here.
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Daily Torrents

Kanye West - Freshman Adjustment
Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan

Here we go again...

So I've decided to try this again. I'm strangely motivated in all aspects of my life lately, so hopefully I can keep this going. I usually have a good amount of free time and maybe this will become a good use of it.

Just a quick post for now.

You Ain't No Picasso pointed out to me yesterday that the amazing (and my current favorite) Sufjan Stevens is coming to Newport, KY in September; his only stop in the next few months anywhere near me. Needless to say, I've already bought tickets. $12 advance tickets are definitely worth it. Interested? Get them here (scroll about halfway down... but also take note of some damn good shows coming up including Travis Morrison, Brendon Benson, and Xiu Xiu). The Southgate House is one of the few things that makes me actually wish I still lived in Cincinnati.

The new White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan is actually pretty good. But you didn't hear me say that. Want to hear it? It's here and here (the password is tws).

Common's new album, Be is the first hip/hop album I've listened to in a long, long time. The title song is one of my favorite songs in the last month or so. Get it here if you want.

Death Cab for Cutie is aparently close to finishing their major label debut, Plans. Stereogum has a tenative (and out of order) tracklisting and a live track. Check it here.

Since I'm off work tom., I'll most likely have another entry. More then.