Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dirty On Purpose - Not So Dirty

Within 30 seconds of first putting on this album, the horn section on the first track, No Radio, made me think of Beulah, but don't pigeon-hole the group yet. I think the strongest characteristic of Dirty On Purpose's newest release, Hallelujah Sirens, is the wide spectrum of sound they lay down on it. From the horn section in the first track, to the soothing cello in the slower paced Lake Effect, even the varied instrumentation adds to the overall feel of the album.

The group puts out a dreamy, dynamic, shoegazey sound (I've always wanted to say that ever since I read my first shoegazing post (and saw my first shoegazing picture) on Mars Needs Guitars!) that fades in and out effortlessly. Listen closely and you'll hear several layers pouring out of your speakers at any one time with plenty of reverb to make your ears buzz.

Since releasing their freshman EP in 2005, Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow, a tight 5 track beauty that was a little popier, Dirty On Purpose has made a roster change. Erika Forster, who performed some of the vocals, is not present on their latest offering, leaving this Brooklyn group an all male quartet. This I think, in part, has something to do with the evolution of their sound. Not to say that I would judge either album as better than the other, but there is a definite difference between the two.

Dirty On Purpose - All New Friends : Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow

Dirty On Purpose - No Radio : Hallelujah Sirens

Dirty On Purpose - Your Summer Dress (live) : Live in Boston 10-1-05, Nemo Festival (Studio version on Hallelujah Sirens)

You can digitally purchase both of these albums from eMusic, or for those of you who like the real deal to hold in your grubby little hands, order them at the North Street Records site.

Interested in learning more?

Check out an older interview HERE.
Visit the band's official site HERE.
(where you can download the rest of the live set from Boston)
Become their friend in MySpace HERE.

BONUS Beulah Track with stirring horn section:

Beulah - If We Can Land A Man On The Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart : When Your Heartstrings Break

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Shoreline Dream - an ambient/techno group that isn't

I've gotten a whole bunch of new music to listen to lately, but by far Avoiding The Consequences, by A Shoreline Dream is certainly the most unique. As the post title suggests, upon first listen the album seems to be a guitar laden ambient/techno/electronic album, but it's not. Or should I say that not all of it is? Or should I say it's masquerading as one? Or should I admit I don't know what I'm talking about?

What does the group say about itself?
"The sound itself can be best described as symphonic layered dreamslides. Waves crashing repeatedly. . sending wakes of echoes far into the skies above. Encompanying this textural and emense soundtrack is a lyrical journey of a person looking for that one true dream. The dream of finding something beautiful. A life without the pain and suffering of the inner cities which have masked the true reason we are alive."
I'm sure that explains it all to 95% of you. For the other 5% (and for me), let me attempt to analyze it further.

The first few tracks are almost completely electronic / instrumental (including guitar) with repeating choruses in the background. Think Moby in his Animal Rights phase but not nearly as heavy. Track 4, Focus The Present, is when lyrics start becoming a more integral part of the music, but even here, at first listen, the lyrics are layered slightly lower than the instrumentation. Track 5 shifts back to a more electronic feel, but track 6, Love Is A Ghost In America, shifts attention once more to the lyrics, upon which is stays (kind of) for the rest of the album. I say kind of because even when listening carefully, it takes effort to grasp lyrics that are rather ethereal in nature and always feel as if they're hovering just below the surface. Which isn't to say the album is unlistenable, it's just an album that is made to be focused on when listened to for full appreciation.

A Shoreline Dream - Focus the Present : Avoiding the Consequences

A Shoreline Dream - Love Is A Ghost In American : Avoiding the Consequences

For more information on the band, check out the A Shoreline Dream website, although I warn you, it's artistically very creative (including the video for Love Is A Ghost In America), but there's not a whole lot of information about the band or lyrics (If you are a band member...I'd love to see them!), or check out their MySpace page.

Pre-order Avoiding the Consequences from the Filter store and they'll ship it to you the day it's released, September 19th.
Order a 4 track EP right now from Latenight Weeknight Records

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Grace Potter - Damn that Organ Sounds Good!

Not many acts sport an organ as a key instrument in their line-up, but Grace Potter and the Nocturnals manage to do it with real panache. Hailing from Vermont, this quartet pushes out a soulful / bluesy / rock and roll sound that is hard not to tap your toes to. The group is headed up by Grace Potter, whose voice, a well balanced blend of Aretha Franklin and Norah Jones, conveys more experience and wisdom than her 22 year of age would suggest. All of the songs on Nothing But the Water, the second album of the group's career, were written by Grace and display lyrics that are thoughtful and meaningful. Not content using a typical recording studio, the band decided to record this album at Goddard College's Haybarn theater while staying in a vacant building across from the barn. "Living so close allowed us to act upon our inspirations and over the course of the week we found plenty of time to forget our troubles and forget ourselves...sometimes we even forgot we were being recorded. We hope is sounds like it."

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Treat Me Right : Nothing But the Water

This first track does a nice job of showing how Grace intertwines her Hammond B-3 Organ below her lyrics. The song's a plaintive demand for some love and repect (R-E-S-P-E-C-T as Aretha would spell it out for us).

Aretha Franklin - Respect : I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Nothing But the Water (I) : Nothing But the Water

In my opinion, from an album of many good songs, this is the best. No other track does as wonderful a job at showcasing Grace's soulful voice. This song is 100% pure blues, no doubt about it. If you are wondering what the (I) is after the title, there is a (II) on the album with some funky 70's style R&B musical accompanymant to Grace's voice.

If you are a New Englander, Grace and company are touring in September. I'm hoping to see them on the 20th and will report back. Make sure to catch them when they visit your town.

September 3rd Shelburne, VT
September 10th Fall River, MA
September 12th World Cafe Live: Philadelphia, PA
September 13th New York, NY
September 14th Baltimore, MD
September 16th Telluride, CO
September 20th Northampton, MA
September 21st Woodstock, NY
September 27th New Haven, CT

For more information, visit:

BONUS Organ rocking tracks:

Led Zeppelin - Your Time Is Gonna Come : Led Zeppelin I

The Blues Brothers (with Ray Charles) - Shake a Tail Feather : Blues Brothers [Original Soundtrack]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

.99 cent CDs

Last week, before heading out to California, I stopped in a local music store that I usually don't frequent. At the front of the store, there were boxes and boxes of CDs that were being offered at .99 cents a piece or 6 for $5. Knowing that I would I have to sort through obscure bands and NSYNC garbage, I plowed ahead and spent almost an hour mining for gems. Here's what I found, all for only $5.75:

Nitzer Ebb originally started out in the English Industrial scene, but by the time this album was released, their sound had been watered down a bit to spin on a dance floor.

Nitzer Ebb - Godhead : Ebbhead

This single only has three songs (one being the album version of Maps), but it also includes the video as well. Not a terribly creative one, but fun to watch at least once.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Miles Away [John Peel Session] : Maps Single

I would go so far to say that Moby was the first pure techno artist who came close to making it into the mainstream conscious. I can still remember going through my techno phase, and although I listened to other groups (Aphex Twin, Orb, Sven Vaath), Moby was the artist who paved the way for people like Fatboy Slim, Prodigy and the Crystal Method.

Moby - We Are All Made Of Stars (Downtempo) : We Are All Made Of Stars Pt.2 (Remixes MCD)

Before James Blunt, before David Gray, there was James. With their hit song Laid, from the same titled album, James was propelled into the alternative scene and lasted for nearly 20 years until 2001 when they called it quits. I still can't figure out any possible reason for making these two CD singles separate. Each of them has the title track and only two additional tracks. Never-the-less, at .99 cents a piece, one can't complain too much I guess.

James - Imagine Ourselves : I Know What I'm Here For (CD Single 1)

James - Downstairs : I Know What I'm Here For (CD Single 2)

Although I do vaguely remember seeing the original TV show as re-runs, I'll proclaim loudly that I'm not old enough to remember seeing the Brady Bunch when it was still being produced. The first download is a sound byte from the movie, the second a song performed by the original members.

The Brady Bunch Movie (Jennifer Elise Cox) - "Marsha Did It Again..." (sound clip) : The Brady Bunch Movie [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Original Brady Bunch Kids - It's A Sunshine Day : The Brady Bunch Movie [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

This last album is the most recent of my finds, having been released in 2005. I've only lately been switched on to Tristan, but the cover she did of Just Like Heaven convinced me she was someone I should check out.

Tristan Prettyman - Always Feel This Way : Twentythree

Tristan Prettyman - Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover) : Live 02-28-03 Hennessey's Tavern

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Unwanted Vacation / Hard Goodbye

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days. Right now I'm in California on an unplanned fact, one of the most difficult trips of my life. One of my uncles just recently got diagnosed with cancer that is fairly advanced and very aggressive, and it's unclear how much longer he has. So, to sum it up, this trip is most likely the last time I will see him alive. It's one of the most difficult situations I've ever faced. How do you act around someone who's future is short? How do you say goodbye to someone you will never again meet in this life?

M. Ward - One More Goodbye : Old Enough To Know Better

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Home Cooked Chicago Music - The Interiors

That's right, Uno's isn't the only good thing to come out of Chicago! I've been sitting on these tracks for almost a week now and just wanted to share before they got buried under other new music.

I can't say I know much about the Interiors other than they're a Chicago based group that's looking for a label to start pushing their new music out to the masses (if you own your own label, drop these guys a line). They're started recording some songs (see below) for what will hopefully become they're first LP. I've been listening to these tracks off and on since I got them last week, and finally decided today to stop procrastinating and give you a chance to check them out for yourself. Enjoy

The Interiors - I'm So Happy

The Interiors - The Bug

The Interiors - You Should Have Known

Let the guys know what you think of their tunes via comments here, or go to their My Space Page. If you want to check out the lyrics to these songs, travel through internet space to HERE.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Some FEISTy Tunes

"At first I didn't really understand what remixes were. If I squinted into the air I knew I could hear old songs with added beats piping out of radios, but I didn't know why or how that happened...It was so bizarre and exciting to hear a song that we had so carefully dressed, be undressed and re-addressed, and put into clothes it would have never thought to wear on its own."
So Feist states in the liner notes to her latest album, Open Season, which I finally got around to picking up a physical copy of yesterday. Although it is a little Mushaboom heavy (not to say that I don't enjoy the song), there are plenty of other worthwhile mixes as well as some tracks not on Let It Die. Below are some of the tracks that have jumped out at me so far, along with the original versions.


So with everyone except my grandmother taking their hand and artistic vision to Mushaboom, K-os spins the best variation as far as I'm concerned. It's got some old-school flava mixed in with K adding a verse as well.

Feist - Mushaboom : Let It Die

Feist - Mushaboom (k-os Mix) : Open Season

As soon as I heard Inside and Out, I felt transported back to the 70's, and started looking for my disco outfit. And sure enough, it was written by Barry Gibb (of the Bee Gees), and was actually released by them under the title Love You Inside Out back in 1979. I prefer the Open Season version over the Let It Die version. Although even I love to get down and boogie ocasionally, the remix loses the 70's cheese-ability factor and sounds more sincere for it.

Feist - Inside and Out : Let It Die

Feist - Inside + Out (Apostle of Hustle UnMix Live at the BBC) : Open Season

Here's a song that is not remixed from Feist's last album. I know it's been floating around the blog-o-sphere for a while, but there's a reason for's a good song.

Feist - Lovertits (with Gonzales) : Open Season

The last musical selection for the day does not come from Open Season. This is another cover (of a Kinks' song) that was recorded live. I don't know the source, the date, or the place, so if anyone has more information on it, please share.

Feist - Nothin' in This World Can Stop me Worryin' 'bout That Girl (Kinks cover)

For a spectacular acoustic radio recording of Feist on KCRW, head over to rbally.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Tanya Donelly : A Rock-thology

While going through some old CD's the other day, I came across a copy of Tanya Donelly's Lovesongs for Underdogs, which I haven't played in quite some time. After listening to it, I remembered why I so thoroughly enjoyed Tanya's music in all of its incarnations (Throwing Muses, the Breeders, Belly, and solo work). It's unfortunate that Tanya hasn't weathered the years (or the popularity / marketing game) quite so well as other female rockers such as Liz Phair. She certainly has made some valuable contributions to the world of music, and never pigeon-holed herself in any one style or became stale. For those of you who don't recognize Tanya or any of the bands that I mentioned above, do yourself a favor and check out the songs below: sometimes it's just as good to find new music to listen to by looking back. And for those of you who are familiar with Tanya, forgive me for any errors or missing factoids, I'm just trying to spread the good works of Tanya.

Luckily for me, Tanya's most recent release (which isn't so recent - 2004), Whiskey Tango Ghosts, is available on eMusic so I've been able to enjoy some music new to my ears. According to the message board on Tanya's website, she will be releasing a new live album soon. Until then, here are some dusty gems unearthed for your listening pleasure.

Throwing Muses

In the beginning, Goddess (a.k.a. Tanya Donelly) formed Throwing Muses with Kristen Hersh at the ripe age of 15. Tanya worked as the lead guitarist and secondary vocalist behind Kristen throughout the 80's until she started refocusing her energies into a new band, the Breeders. This track is from The Real Ramona, the last album (released in 1991) Tanya contributed to before splitting.

Throwing Muses - Two Step
: The Real Ramona

The Breeders

Tanya and Kim Deal (of the Pixies, who incidentally made it to the big time by opening for Throwing Muses) first got together in 1990 and released Pod. The Breeders finally made it into the spotlight in 1993 with the release of Last Splash, but by that time Tanya had already moved onto her next project, Belly.

the Breeders - Happiness Is A Warm Gun : Pod


At the end of 1991, Tanya formed Belly around herself as the lead guitarist and vocalist, and released their first album in 1993, Star. Their single, Feed the Tree, was a huge hit, and the band seemed destined for success, but their stars didn't hold such a fortuitous future. Their second album, King (released in 1995), was a commercial failure, and the band soon disbanded.

Belly - Feed the Tree : Star

Belly - Are You Experienced (Hendrix cover) : Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi

Tanya Donelly

In 1996, Tanya once again gathered some musicians around her, but this time performed only under her name. She released an EP, Sliding & Diving, and some singles, but it wasn't until 1997 that she released an LP, Lovesongs for Underdogs. Since then she's released several other albums, but none have received the fanfare that her work with her previous bands.

Tanya Donelly - Pretty Deep : Lovesongs for Underdogs

Tanya Donelly - The Night You Saved My Life
: Beautysleep

Tanya Donelly - The Center : Whiskey Tango Ghosts

Tanya's work has clearly matured (2 children can do that to you), and her lyrical prowess and song writing ability have constantly evolved and remained fresh. Hopefully this timeline (by no means complete) has either taken you for a stroll through memory lane or introduced you to a founding member of the female "alt-rock" genre.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tag Sailors

The Price Is Right TV Theme : The Price Is Right

This last weekend, in hopes of clearing out much of the clutter in the basement, I held a tag sale (otherwise known as a yard sale). All I can say is that I'm sure a proposal could be put forth, and grant money found, for a study of those who peruse tage sales...let's call them Tag Sailors.

Styx - Come Sail Away : The Grand Illusion

Danielson - Cast It At The Setting Sail : Ships

The Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing : The Ultimate Collection

Tag Sailors are a unique breed to say the least. Our tag sale was listed in the newspaper to start at 9 AM. There were cars going past at 7. And I'm not talking about rusty 1973 Pintos...the majority of vehicles were cars like Lexuses or big shiny SUV's. Some of the Tag Sailors even recognized each other ... presumably from the last tag sale they were both at up the street. You can tell the seasoned tag sale veterans from the riff-raff, too. They are the ones that bargain over $1 items as if their life depended on it...right before getting back into their 2006 Lexus that is.

Although I can see the benefit of holding a tag sale, I'm not sure what you gain by going to tag sales. I suppose that you might chance upon a super deal on an original Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album with all the accompanying Sgt. Pepper dress-up pop-outs still intact...but you're more likely to find a set of 6 plastic cups that don't match each other, nevermind anything in your kitchen.

David Grey - Sell Sell Sell : Sell Sell Sell

Belle & Sebastian - For the Price of a Cup of Tea : The Life Pursuit

Eels - Old Shit/New Shit : Blinking Lights And Other Revelations [Disc 2]

Friday, August 04, 2006

Scandinavia - Not just for Vikings

The Del Vikings - Come Go With Me : Stand By Me Soundtrack

OK, so right up front I'll tell you that this post isn't about vikings. Hopefully most of you won't stop reading here. Instead, I'm going to talk about some musical exports that we can thank Scandinavia for.

More on a whim other than anything else, I picked up Ane Brun's semi-recent (released May 15th) album, titled
A Temporary Dive, at the local used music store. Although Ane (a Norwegian, but with no telling accent) has been around for a few years in Europe, this is her first release over here in the States. I had seen her name on a few blogs here and there but hadn't checked her out. I finally got around to seriously listening to it today and was impressed enough to start writing this post after getting out of work at 9:30 last night.

First off, let me warn you; this CD is not an album you throw on to crank in your car with the windows down, nor is it an album that will cheer you up if you are having a bad day. Were I to know nothing about Ane other than her songs, I would assume that her life is fairly miserable and gloomy.

Ane Brun - Rubber and Soul : A Temporary Dive

In my mind I`m crawling on your floor
Vomiting and defeated
Total absence of grace
Your reluctant voice
saying; you decide your own fate

The arrangements are sparse with just enough accompanying instrumental background to help the songs flow while not detracting from Ane's beautifully haunting voice. Here's what I find the most uplifting of the tracks from the album:

Ane Brun - Song No. 6 : A Temporary Dive

It would be so easy
To sing a song about you
It would be so easy to sing a
Sobby, pink song about you

Ane Brun - Humming One of Your Songs (live) : Song No. 6 Single

Check out an interview over at Culture Bully.


Another fellow from Sweden that I've been into lately is Jens Lekman. His song, A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill, was another track that I first heard on I Guess I'm Floating's summer mix. You have to listen to Jens' lyrics carefully to catch on to the witty lines he comes out with. His voice sounds like that of a crooner, but if you catch what he's saying, it's pretty entertaining. For example:

Jens Lekman - A Man Walks Into A Bar : Oh You're So Silent Jens

a man walks in to a bar
orders a beer and bowl of peanuts
but the bar turns into a spaceship
and the bartender gives him a haircut
I can't remember the end of that joke

Jens Lekman - Someone To Share My Life With : Oh You're So Silent Jens

If you're into Jens and would like to download some rare (and free) tracks, head over to his website, where he serves them up on a silver platter for you. Here's one that I've been enjoying:

Jens Lekman - How Much You Mean to Me


And the music doesn't stop there, all of the following musical acts hail from the Scandinavian peninsula. Some we can thank them for, others, decide.

a-Ha - Take On Me (live) : originally on Hunting High and Low

ABBA - Dancing Queen : Arrival

The Cardigans - If There Is a Chance : Live in Helsinki 2003-10-28 (originally on Long Gone Before Daylight)

Rednex - Cotton Eyed Joe : Sex & Violins

And before you say anything, yes I know Ace of Base also comes from Sweden, but unfortunately, all of my Ace of Base mp3's were accidentally deleted by my 2 year old daughter while she was practicing programming HTML.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Eddie's Cruisers

Please humor me for today while I take a trip down memory lane. Let me take you back somewhere between 15 and 20 years to when I was a kid in Junior High and High School who would go with my parents on Sundays when they went to a fairly large flea market. It was a good distance away; it took about 45 minutes to get there, and along the way, we would pass this used car lot named Eddie's Cruisers, which sold old cop cars, both marked and unmarked.

Inner Circle - Bad Boys (Theme From Cops) : Bad Boys

The Police - Message In A Bottle : The Police-Live (Disc 1)

The Fiery Furnaces - Police Sweater Blood Vow : Live on KEXP, NYC 4-6-05 (Original on Bitter Tea)

Who hasn't watched the Blues Brothers and dreamed of owning an old cop car that you could just run into the ground? I can still picture their car doing a back flip over the nazi's little puny car, barely making it to the County Assessor's Office, and then completely falling apart. The entire movie was a masterpiece, deftly integrating comedy with musical selections from such icons as Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, James Brown, and Ray Charles. It easily slots in my top 5 movies of all time.

The Blues Brothers - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love : The Blues Brothers Soundtrack

The Blues Brothers - Theme From Rawhide : The Blues Brothers Soundtrack

And the fact that Eddie's Cruisers used to sell old cop cars wasn't the only thing that made it stand out, even just the name itself was super cool in my book. I'm not sure if the owner's name was Eddie, but it brings back memories of the cult classic Eddie and the Cruisers. I can still remember when John Cafferty played at my high school as a reward for some anti-drug contest our school participated in. You just don't get any more apple pie, baseball, 2 cars in every garage American Rock-n-Roll than this.

John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band - On the Dark Side : Eddie and the Cruisers Soundtrack

Eddie Vedder - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away : I Am Sam Soundtrack

OK, fast-forward to yesterday, when I drove by the building that used to be Eddie's Cruisers. The sign is still there, the lot is empty and its been closed for many years, still manages to conjure up all these memories.

The Tossers - Memory
: Purgatory