Thursday, July 31, 2008

Irmin Schmidt & Kumo

"So we finish up as we began, in the studio, artificially making the unplayable a reality, or on stage making the studio into a performance."
-Kumo, from the liner notes to Axolotl Eyes

"Already as a five year old I would often sit quietly in the corner of a room and simply listen to my surroundings. All sounds, noises, voices became a deep and constantly transforming world; nothing else existed anymore - I was 'all ears.' "
-Irmin Schmidt, from the liner notes to Axolotl Eyes


Irmin Schmidt, founding member of the legendary experimental German krautrock group Can, has once again teamed up with breakbeat pioneer and producer Kumo (aka Jono Podmore) to release another joint effort titled Axolotl Eyes. Unlike 2001's Masters of Confusion, which was taken from three live sets, this album is a product of the studio. The project started with Kumo recording improvised pieces of music which the pair then edited into the seven tracks on the album.

As with Schmidt's earlier work with Can, the result defies attempts to place it in a particular genre. You certainly still feel the German avante-garde overtones here, but it certainly goes beyond that. While much of the album was produced and manipulated digitally, you still find the offsetting horn or piano to provide balance. You'll also encounter long stretches of hazy being - unknown noises protracted until the main line of the song comes into being. And then you'll be jarred by an electric guitar before a solitary horn pipes up. To wrap it up is an unearthly waltz. It's really tough to completely desribe all of the elements that the pair work into these songs.

Also included in the package is a bonus DVD of the sound installation Flies, Guys and Choirs, an artistic presentation first assembled for London's Barbican Centre in 2001.






Visit their website, their label Mute Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

There You Are


i always wonder where you came from
and you always say mars
i noticed one day my life was missing something
and then there you are
in your shiny martian suit
with a ship by your side

and i was wearing my heart on my sleeve
you were wearing a star
i can't help but feel the luckiest
of anyone here
was it so beautiful on your planet
that you wanted me there

and before you know it
we're in it one year deep
and tell me why do you want to go out
living in disguise
you always show me love with open arms
and i always give in

i would have charmed you back from china
or from the pisces' fin
and how i am swept away by your mission
to change the world
and i know that you've changed one world here for sure

and before you know it
we're in it two years deep
and i know that you've changed one world here for sure









Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

Tuning in to STS9

Nearly three years after their last release, STS9 (or the artists formerly known as Sound Tribe Sector 9) have returned with their fourth studio album, Peaceblaster.

There are lots of layers here: chords and samples developing over bass and drums to make complex statements that return in later tracks, tweaked here and there to make brand new musical statements. It's ambient, it's techno, it's electronica, it's all of them laced together in a futuristic jam band sort of way. One track you feel things are getting loud and strong, and next thing you know they've eased off the throttle to give you a breather. And they take their time doing it. The album's fifteen tracks churn and glide for over an hour with a handful of them running six plus minutes. The band uses that time to develop the currents the tracks take along the journey.

There's nothing to sing along with here, but if you're looking for an album to spin while lying on your back, staring up into the stars, and contemplating why male sea horses give birth, this is it.





Visit their website, their label 1320 Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Day As A Lion


they say that in war that truth be the first casualty so i
dig in selector i the resurrector
fly my shit sever your neck wider than ever with my
tongue dipped in funk arsenic
burn this illusion this lie with straight arson shit
your arsenal stripped
power ain't full jackets and clips
its my ability to define phenomena

In case you haven't heard by now, last week the self-titled One Day As A Lion EP dropped last week. The band is comprised of Rage Against the Machine's frontman Zack de la Rocha on vocals and keyboard and Jon Theodore, formerly of The Mars Volta, on drums, and as the lyrics above from the lead off track Wild International indicate, it sounds exactly like you'd expect any project Zack involves himself with: acidicly angry, political infused, thickly heavy rap/metal amalgam. How long the pair will collaborate remains to be seen, but the EP contains five tracks for posterity's sake.






Visit their website, their label Anti-, and become their friend on MySpace.

Tagaq's Blood

"Traditional throat singing is a game between two women that is an emulation of the sounds from the land. It is a very complicated game where you are making two sounds and you have to go back and forth alternating the sounds. The leader can change the song to the next verse anytime they want to, so you have to be able to follow them. It is not emotional, although it may sound that way. It is a game, you giggle afterwards."
-Tanya Tagaq Gillis


If the offbeat vocalistic style of Bjork appeals to you, you haven't heard anything yet. Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq Gillis, or Tagaq for short, has to be one of, if not the, most singular singers I have ever listened to. Hailing from Victoria Island, Canada, which lies north of the Arctic Circle, Tanya took up the traditional musical form of throat singing while in college, and has since adapted it to her own particular style, sometimes singing alone, and other times with others.

Her first album, Sinaa, was one that featured mainly Tagaq. Auk (which translates to blood), her second album, features more collaboration with some other singers and musicians. Take for example Fire - Ikuma, the second track off the album (listen to it below), which features Mike Patton (another unique vocalist best known as frontman for Faith No More). The entire album is simply awe inspiring. There's really no way to neatly fit this album into any niche that's been created in popular music. The before mentioned Bjork would most likely be the closest, but Tagaq goes way outside the circle formed by Bjork's music. It's hauntingly ethereal, primeval, basic yet complex. I would describe it as primitive but that would not do it justice, as instead of the negative connotations associated with the word, I would use it to convey the natural and elemental aspects of it.

The album is out today. Experience the following two tracks to catch a glimpse of the world Tagaq's music will take you into.




Visit her website, her label Jericho Beach Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

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Faith No More - Epic : Who Cares A Lot? The Greatest Hits

Monday, July 28, 2008

Go Marko Go!

Still going strong on the Eastern European sound? Want to listen to some genuine Serbian music that Devotchka, Beirut, and others try to emulate? Check out the Boban I Marko Markovic Orkestar. Boban, trumpeter and leader of the orchestra, is considered the "King of Balkan Brass," and helping him out on the album is Marko, who I guess you'd call the "Prince of Balkan Brass" as he's Boban's son. The band has played around the world, and were actually just at the Pitchfork Music Festival.

Although the group is called an orchestra, they're not what you'd find if you went to symphony hall. This orchestra is all about the horns. They're big, brash, and boisterous, and the entire album revolves around them (perhaps the cover gives it away). Various horn players bounce off one another, playfully one-uping each other while building the tracks. Of course they've got that old world feel to them that's inspired and been modernized by some newer indie groups. Most of the album is comprised of instrumentals, although a few tracks have some vocals sung in Serbian (listen to Bori below and have your translator handy).

It's not one to sing along with, but the album will put a little zing in your step and might make you included to march around a bit. Give the following tracks a spin.




Visit their label Piranha Records and become their friend on MySpace.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Soul - 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years of Love)



look at the little kids playing
and having fun
aren't they happy
now don't that remind you of us
we were young
5 -10 -15 - 20 - 25 - 30 years ago
weren't we happy

and we have so much to be thankful for
we have
5 -10 -15 - 20 - 25 - 30 years of love
aren't we happy
holding hands and walking in the park
aren't we happy

oh, watching the kids play
girl, bring memories back to our hearts
aren't we happy
and again I cry out
please thank you for giving me
5 -10 -15 - 20 - 25 - 30 years of love


The Presidents - 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years of Love) : 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years of Love) 7"

The Presidents - I'm Still Dancing : 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years of Love) 7" B-side


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jihae

Korean born singer Jihae (pronounced "Jee-heh") was not on my radar until I listened to her latest release, a digital, five track EP titled Afterthought. It contains a new song from her, Simple Man (listen below), and four remixes of tracks from her first full length release, My Heart Is An Elephant. Although the music's got an electronic tint to it, her vocals provide a striking contrast, emotionally packed and ethereally haunting at times.

Probably my favorite track of the five here is a remix of her cover of Nina Simone's song Do I Move You?. While Nina's original rendition was full of spunk and attitude making it clear who was boss, Jihae changes the perspective, turning the tables to a sultry and seductive slowly cadenced affair that will leave you feeling hot and sticky.






Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Two Sheds

Sometimes the most unassuming packages hide untold treasures. So it is when a promo EP showed up in my mailbox by Two Sheds. I've never heard them, never heard of them, never seen one of their albums. It hung out in my "to listen to" pile for a week or so, and then I listened to it two days ago. Then listened to it again. And listened to it again. Then I searched around, found more tracks from them online, and listened some more (ipickmynose seems to be way ahead of everyone else on this one - go here for some exclusive live tracks while they last). Then I loaded it onto the iPod and listened to it while I went to sleep. Then I listened to it yeasterday. You get the picture.

It's only five tracks, which makes it ideal for repeat. And it's good. Real good. It's so spare, and raw, and emotional, and unglossified. It's bitingly morose. There's nary an upbeat note to be found. And yet, it's beautiful. You know when you find that album or song that matches your mood perfectly - this does it for me in this snapshot of time.

TO BE ALIVE

Pile of leaves color the ground, hollow wind chimes breathe beautiful sounds
Roads bleed with cars stuck in drive
And it breaks my heart to be alive

Having a mind that is always the same, beating through days in a solid refrain
It knows how all it loves will survive
But it breaks my heart to be alive

I know my soul is an infinite chain, weather will go while flowers remain
I hold the one who mirrors me best, and the happiest birds make the sturdiest nests
The sound of these things tell me Honey, it's alright.
But it breaks my heart to be alive
Sometimes
It breaks my heart to be alive







Visit their website, their label Filter U.S. Recordings, and become their friend on MySpace.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

An EP for FREE?

What does 60 Watt Kid like to do when not down at the local arcade bullying kids for tokens and playing shoot'em up games to save the world? Why make free EPs for listeners like you, me, and those kids they persuaded to share their tokens. That's right, head over to their label Absolutely Kosher, and you can share in on the free fun. What does it sound you, you ask? It sounds like FREE, so you've got no excuse not to check it out. Here's a tasty sample to give you a push towards some electro-bloopy grooves.






Visit their label Absolutely Kosher and become their friend on MySpace.


Diggin' with Kon & Amir

Legendary crate diggers Kon & Amir are back with the second volume of their Off Track series. This one's titled Off Track Volume Two: Queens, and it picks up right where the last one left off: gathering together juicy cuts of soul, funk, and disco that are so rare and far off your radar they might as well be from Makemake. Frankly, if you have all these tracks in your collection already, your name's got to be Kon or Amir. Try finding anything about the artists that they've gathered here and about all you're going to find is that they're included on these discs.

As they did with the first go-around, the collection is cut into two discs. The first is all about Kon piecing together some American flavored disco and some light funk. No, we're not talking about Saturday Night Fever or the Bee Gees, these are some honest to goodness tracks of dance floor delight. The second disc from Amir heads around the globe for some world-flavored cuts that will knock your socks off! Put the two together and you've got a one-two punch that's dynamite.




Visit their label BBE Music and become their friend on MySpace.

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and a couple from the first volume so you know what you've been missing...



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Genius!


Today I had my iPod on shuffle and I came across this song:

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde - Genius Rap : Hip Hop Essentials 1979-1991 Volume One

which of course got me thinking about this song:

Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love
: Tom Tom Club

It's really hard to believe that these two cuts are over twenty five years old and just as infectious as ever. Of course the Tom Tom Club version is the original, which ended up getting covered and sampled by numerous people (including Jeckyll and Hyde, who were among the first). Although many would say their self-titled debut was the highlight of their career, the Club stuck together and released a Christmas single as recently as last year.

Jeckyll and Hyde broke up in 1987, but Andre Harrell (a.k.a Jekyll) went on to found Uptown Records and then later headed Motown.

I'll leave you with this last version, another old skool cut:



Deca - 10 Years of Hush Records!

Over the last year or two, I've found some quality music coming out of Portland, Oregon via Hush Records. Unbeknownst to me, they've been around for quite a while, ten years to be exact, and to help celebrate, they've put together a twenty-eight track, two CD (digital), compilation, complete with a thirty-six page liner notes booklet, appropriately titled DECA: A HUSH 10th Anniversary Compilation. Some of the names in the track listing (which you can view in its entirety below) are ones that I've become familiar with (Laura Gibson, Nick Jaina, Loch Lomond, and Shelley Short for example) and others are new faces that I'll be looking into, time permitting.

The whole kit-n-caboodle is yours to download at the cost of $____. It's blank because you get to name the price - that's right, they're pulling an In Rainbows. But that's not the best part of the deal. Whatever you and everyone else who downloads it pays goes to a vacation retreat for all the bands involved. So pony up, download, and send these musicians on some R&R so they can make some more R&R.

ALBUM I

"Hollow Notes" - Novi Split
"Refining" - Peter Broderick
"Come By Storm" - Laura Gibson
"The Afterlife Pt. I" - Run On Sentence
"Winding Sheet" - Nick Jaina
"Coo Coo Bird" - Shelley Short
"Hiding Home" - Norfolk & Western
"Spring Bird" - Rauelsson
"Space And All Dead Things" - Corrina Repp
"Elephants & Little Girls" - Loch Lomond
"Sharra" - Kaitlyn Ni Donovan
"Wii Oui" - Podington Bear
"Broke Down" - Amy Annelle
"The Wagoner's Lad" - Colin Meloy

ALBUM II

"Song # 4" - Fun With Friends
"Petting Zoo" - Graves
"Your Smile" - Fancie
"Ridin' For A Fall" (Young Dub) - Bobby Birdman
"These Blues" - Super XX Man
"Egg Hunt" - Reclinerland
"Asleep At The Wheel" - Casey Dienel
"The Bane Of Progress" - Jeff London
"Flight Cub" - Velella Velella
"Oh Darlin" - Blanket Music
"Big Eye City" - Operacycle
"Elysian Fields (We're Dead, We're Dead)" - Parks & Recreation
"Humm-na" - Dat'r
"Sleep At Last!" (Live) - Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble

Here are a couple of my favorites (so far). Get the collection for yourself and then drop a comment sharing which ones spin your propeller.






Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black Kids finally here

So after what seems like forever and a bag of chips, the Black Kids finally released their debut full length Partie Traumatic today. Yea, their debut. With their name coming out of every in-the-know music listener's mouth for almost a year now it seems like this should be their sophomore effort. Time will tell if all the hype will turn fickle listeners off and declare these guys so last year. Catch them on Letterman Thursday night, and see some additional dates below.





Visit their website, their label Columbia Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

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Thursday 07/24/08 The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
Friday 07/25/08 NYC, NY @ Santo’s Party House
Monday 07/28/08 Morning Becomes Eclectic (KCRW)
Tuesday 07/29/08 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
Sunday 8/3/08 Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza

Many Lessons

(click on image to see a larger version)

While technically speaking one could argue that hip-hop originated as a musical genre in NYC in the late 70's, the truth of the matter is that its roots go back further in time as well as farther in distance. Check out the image above for a little history lesson. If you click on the image it will take you to a larger version that you can actually read. Trace the line back, and you end up in Africa, which is where today's CD takes us.

In some ways, this music has come full circle, with hip-hop traveling back across the Atlantic and finding a place with its ancestors. Many Lessons is a collection of West African artists who have taken hip-hop and re-integrated it back into its deeper, original roots - the ones that are so far below the surface that they're often ignored. You'll probably not recognize any of the names here (the only one I did was Gokh Bi System, and that's because they were at the Green River Festival I went to last weekend), but that doesn't mean you're not going to like what you hear.

This new breed of African hip-hop artists have integrated their Muslim beliefs into the music, creating music that focuses on faith instead of the materialism that is so prevalent in American rap. Much of the album is not in English (about two thirds of it - with an occasional English word or phrase mixed in here and there), which, depending on your listening style, might hamper your efforts to appreciate how these musicians are claiming hip-hop as their own. Even without getting all the lyrics though, you can still appreciate the beat.





Visit the Piranha Records website and visit the compilation's MySpace page.


Monday, July 21, 2008

NOMO

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Ave.To, and mentioned how hard it was to spin an instrumental album that didn't spin your attention right out into space and what you're going to have for dinner that night. Well, lo and behold, what came across my eardrum but NOMO. Although it's the first time I've been acquainted with the group, Ghost Rock (the album I encountered) is actually their second. The band hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan, but sports some funky Afro-beat and world music chops that are out of this world. And when I say out of this world, I mean imagine Fela incorporating some loops and delving into electronica, creating an Afro-beat of the future.

This percussive creation doesn't just root itself in Nigeria though. While Fela might be the beginning, NOMO takes it into the future right off the bat with the opening track Brainwave. You can sense the jazz influence here as well, with a synthetic improvisation feel to the tracks. They're built on some looping beats that are expanded, contracted, taken up by new instruments, continue, and then fade. You'll also find some soul here as well. Try Rings below, the fourth track from the album, and tell me the horn work doesn't remind you of something Bill Withers would lay down on you.

This album is 100% about what a band can do playing off one another, and in this case, NOMO does a phenomenal job. Put it this way, after listening to this album for a couple of days, I went right out and got their first AND ordered a 12" single from the Ubiquity Records website. I've been listening to the three of them since, and I would say that the new album is the stronger of the full lengths, but both are worth your coin. Check 'em out.




Visit their website, their label Ubiquity Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

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Bill Withers - Better Off Dead (live) : Live at Carnegie Hall

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Soul - I Aim to Please


satisfaction
means the world to me
i don't deal in half-way measures
it's got to be completely
i want to love you
show you
make you believe
i aim to please

i aim to please


The Sylvers - I Aim to Please : I Aim to Please 7"



Sunday Spotlight - Alyssa Graham

I know, I know, it's been a while since the spotlight has shown brightly in these parts. Forgive me and I'll make it up to you somehow, starting with an interview with singer/songwriter Alyssa Graham. Alyssa first studied piano, saxophone and guitar before even graduating from high school, after which she co-founded a jazz/rock band named Blindman's Holiday which toured extensively. She later went on on her own and recorded her debut self-titled album in 2005. At the end of this month (the 29th to be precise), she'll be releasing her second album, Echo on Sunnyside Records. Alyssa was kind enough to take some time to tell me about her musical adventures, her personal travels, the love of her life, and the second track from the album, Pictures of You. As always, questions in black are mine, text in red is hers.


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Pictures of You was the first song written for Echo. My long-time love and creative partner Doug Graham co-wrote the song with Jon Cowherd. Doug wrote the lyrics one night around 3 a.m. in our apartment. He and I were overwhelmed at the time, and desperately wanted to get away and disappear together on one of our journeys. I grew up traveling, as my parents were very adamant about exposing me to the world and different cultures. When Doug and I started dating, we made a pact that if we were going to spend our lives together, we had to explore the world together. We’ve been to dozens of countries, including Nepal, China, Argentina, Morocco, and Mexico, where we lived for six months. In Peru, we hiked four excruciating days through the Andes to see Machu Picchu at sunrise, and in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, we were lucky enough to be granted a private "meeting" with His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Of course there were musical highlights along the way as well, like the Naxi Orchestra in Southern China, the Gamelan in Indonesia, Fado clubs in Portugal, the Tibetan ritual orchestras and chants, and seeing Rosa Passos and Doris Monteiro perform in a small record store in Rio de Janeiro.


These are of course the “big moments” that make for great stories, but the "little moments" are often the ones that I think about the most—that special romance and friendship we share out on the road. I think that's what Doug and I were longing for when he came in and sat on our bed with his guitar that night, woke me up, and played this incredible tribute to our love and life together. We brought Jon in to compose the music, and he was able to capture the essence of the lyrics and create a song that truly took us around the world. Though it’s in the style of Bossa Nova, it really allows the listener to be wherever he or she wishes at that moment. Our video of "Pictures of You" showcases some of the photos we've taken everywhere we go. We take our old Minolta and lots of lenses, and the photo albums that detail our travels are our most valuable possessions.

And three questions for Alyssa:

1.) You tackle some classic, yet diverse, covers on this album. You lead off with Simon and Garfunkel's America, later Sting's I Burn For You, Joao Gilberto's Izaura to close the album (which he also chose to close his), and finally your interpretation of the Billie Holiday track Involved Again that never was until you brought it to life on this album. How do you approach classic songs like this to add your own touch? When you recorded these, were you at all nervous that fans of the originals would be overly critical of your work?

First of all, let me compliment you on knowing your Joao albums. I just put a list together of “Music You Should Hear” for Amazon.com and Joao’s 1973 album Joao Gilberto, featuring Izaura, is certainly on my short list. He is my musical hero.

Each cover song on “'Echo' is part of the overall story I had to tell. I grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkel. I didn’t choose “America,” it chose me. It was the only way to begin the journey that eventually became 'Echo.' While recording “America,” I was able to jump on that Greyhound bus, I was counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike (where I grew up), and I certainly was whispering to Doug, “Douglas, I’m lost…” though indeed I knew he was sleeping. The great Paul Simon wrote this exquisite song, but for those 6 minutes, the story was my story. This is often how each track develops. Of course you want people to have a positive and emotional reaction to music you write or interpret. However, I have to create in a vacuum, be true to myself, serve the music, and hope that people connect to it. Each song on 'Echo' is filled with a sense of hope, as am I. Literally, Hope is my middle name.


2.) In writing about your own life, you mentioned all of the wonderful world music that you've experienced around the globe. How have you taken this wide ranging influences and incorporated them into your own music?

The musicians from around the world (including the U.S.) that have influenced me are not necessarily recognizable in my own music. They are artists that I think have been groundbreakers in their own way (including numerous musicians I don’t know by name, but witnessed their playing on my travels.) They are musicians like Joao Gilberto, Bob Dylan, Amália Rodrigues, and Ali Farka Touré that give me permission in my own music to do whatever I want. Musicians like Bob Marley, Elis Regina, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Ravi Shankar who allow me to break the rules, to explore and experiment, and find new ways to communicate my story through music. Musicians like Milton Nascimento, Bjork, and Miriam Makeba, who are fearless, whose stories erupt with each song. Like all of these musicians, I have my influences and I want to credit them for a lifetime of inspiration. However, when people hear my music I want them to feel like they’ve heard something new and unique - something only I could have offered.


3.) I can't get over that you had a personal meeting with His Holiness! I had a chance to hear him speak in Boston at what's now called the TDF North Garden (a huge arena), and even in there his magnetism, wisdom, and aura were tangible. I can't imagine interacting with him face to face. What words of wisdom did he share with you?

From left, Alyssa's brother Andrew, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Alyssa, and Doug Graham

I can’t get over it either! In 1995 my brother Andrew, Doug, and I journeyed to India. I had been working at Snow Lion Publications (Tibetan Buddhist Publisher) all through college and I was very involved in Ithaca with the Namgyal Monastery (the North American Seat of the Personal Monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama). Dharamsala was high on my list of places to visit. We spent several weeks in the beautiful small hill town of McLeod Ganj in Northern India, where His Holiness currently lives in exile. When I got word from our Tibetan friend and host that we were granted a private meeting with His Holiness, I was speechless… so was she! We met with him in his private residence in what can only be described as a large “living room.” It was just the four of us and his translator (though he speaks perfect English). He sat with me on the couch holding my hand (tight) for about 30 minutes while we spoke about politics, spirituality, and humanity. As you so eloquently put it, his magnetism, wisdom, and aura are incomparable. As I was/am very concerned with the plight of the Tibetan people, I wanted to know how young Americans could help. His message was simple; WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. LOVE, BE TRUE, and BE KIND. My life certainly changed that day and I am so grateful for the time we spent together. (see photo)

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At this point, I'll put aside my jealousy (both at her world travels and especially her time with His Holiness) and comment on the album as a whole. Simply put, it's elegant, simple, and refined. It's the kind of classy that doesn't need to have to make lots of noise or draw attention to itself to convey it's sophistication. You can sense Alyssa's musical experience and experiences without them hitting you over your head. As mentioned above, there are a handful of covers here, recognizable, but personalized as well. The track that Alyssa talked about, Pictures of You, is really a beautiful love song that would be an appreciated addition to any love mix for your significant other. Enjoy the following, then look for the album on the 29th.






Visit her website, her label Sunnyside Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

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Simon & Garfunkel - America : Bookends

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lenka from Down Under

Today, I have a little sneak peak at the latest Australian vixen to hop the Pacific, Lenka. She's been hard at work recording her debut solo album (she previously was a member of the Australian group Decoder Ring), and I've a few songs that have been let loose to build up some hype for the release in September.

The first is a cover of the Modest Mouse song Gravity Rides Everything. As MM songs go, it's a fairly even keeled track, and Lenka stays pretty close to the original form, although she mellows it out a little bit, dropping all instrumentation except a guitar and some strings that glide in and out unobtrusively.

The second track is a Lenka original titled Like A Song. It's got a hauntingly beautiful faux-vintage phonograph sound mixed with a cathedralesque echo to it that makes her voice feel like it's coming from miles away.

Check out the tracks and keep your eyes and ears open for more from her as I'm sure you'll be seeing loads more in the near future.


Lenka - Gravity Rides Everything (Modest Mouse cover) : The Woodstock Sessions

Lenka - Like A Song
: The Woodstock Sessions


Visit her label Epic Records and become her friend on MySpace.

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Modest Mouse - Gravity Rides Everything
: The Moon & Antarctica

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moby Loves to Move

Earlier this year Moby dropped his latest album, Last Night, an album that in many ways was a return to some of his old ways that we love so much (read about it here). As Moby loves to do, he's recently released a single for the second track, probably my favorite from the album, I Love to Move In Here. It starts off with the shorter radio version and then kicks into high gear with ELEVEN remixes of the track. Yea, you read that right. While only the most die-hard of Moby fans might want to invest in all of the cuts, you'll find some damn good re-workings within the single. Listen to the original first (if you don't already have it), and then listen to a couple of my favorites.

Moby - I Love to Move In Here : Last Night

and now stream:

I Love To Move In Here - Seamus Haji Remix

I Love To Move In Here - Popof Remix

I Love To Move In Here - Crookers Bass In Here Mix

Find these, and the rest of the remixes, on the I Love To Move In Here single.


Visit his website, his label Mute Records, and become his friend on MySpace.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cory Chisel

I often tend to think that how a performer comes across live is the true test of his or her metal. That being said, When I realized that four of the six tracks on Cabin Ghosts (the first two and last two) are live recordings in front of an honest to goodness audience, I figured I would get an accurate gauge of Cory Chisel and his backing band The Wandering Sons.

My first urge is to compare Cory's voice, and style to a certain extent, to Bruce Springsteen, but I'm not going to take that any farther. He's got a pared down folk-rock Americana sound that feels a little down home, but not back hills of the Ozarks down home. His lyrics feel warm and genuine, and his vocals are beautifully shadowed at points by Adriel Harris, the sole sister in the Wandering Sons. The live tracks hit me the best and leave me wishing that Cory and his crew were touring up here in New England, but Pennsylvania is the closest they get. Once you listen to the following song, if you enjoy, check out tour dates that might be coming closer to you below.





Visit his website, his label Black Seal Records, and become his friend on MySpace.


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Upcoming Tour Dates

July 17 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
July 18 - Radio Radio - Indianapolis, Indiana
July 19 - Beat Kitchen - Chicago, Illinois
July 20 - The Ark - Ann Arbor, Michigan
July 22 - Shank Hal - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
July 23 - Varsity Theater - Minneapolis, Minnesota
July 24 - Waiting Room - Omaha, Nebraska
July 25 - The Record Bar - Kansas City, Missouri
July 30 - Toad Tavern - Denver, Colorado
July 31 - Belly Up - Aspen, Colorado
Aug 1 - Club Sound - Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 3 - The Triple Door - Seattle, Washington
Aug 4 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, Oregon
Aug 5 - Boardwalk - Orangevale, California
Aug 6 - Hotel Utah Saloon - San Francisco, California
Aug 8 - Casbah - San Diego, California
Aug 9 - Hotel Cafe - Los Angeles, California
Aug 10 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, Arizona
Sep 13 - Red Rocks Amphitheater - Morrison, Colorado

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The mind of Alu

There's a buzzin' in my brain
I really can't explain
I think about it before they make me go to bed
There's a dream inside my soul
Don't wanna let it go
I talk about it to the friends inside my head
I wear my straitjacket at night
so someone can hold me tight
the blue one makes me sleepy
and then I feel alright
That's how Alu's newest album Lobotomy Sessions starts out. Yea, kind of creepy, isn't it? The next track is about falling in love with a casket salesman. Then there's the song about metrosexuals. File this one under...ummm...you've got me.

Beyond the odd choice of muses, looking at the music beneath the bizarrely offbeat lyrics reveals delicately crafted songs which touch upon classical, jazz, and goth influences. On top of that, it's got a middle-eastern exoticness to it as well. I guess the closest comparison I could make would be possibly to Tori Amos (especially her vocal qualities and the delicate precision of the notes) or Bjork, but honestly, this album goes beyond anything either of those women have produced. It's got a fantastical element to it that will transport you someplace quite unusual.

The album comes out today, and is the second from Alu. Did I mention how peculiar it is yet? Try listening to the following track, and if it kindles a stare at the circus side-show freak kind of fascination in you, check out the album.




Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks






Going Green with Crooked Still

A little while back I mentioned getting passes for the Green River Festival. At the time, the main reason I made plans to attend a show a few months in the future was the chance to see legendary soul musician Mavis Staples. After buying the tickets though, I checked out the complete line-up and recognized a few bands that I was interested in also seeing (Lucinda Williams, Eilen Jewel, and Forro in the Dark), and a few others that I was prompted to look into (Gokh-Bi System and Crooked Still).

Come to find out, Crooked Still just released a new album (their third) at the end of last month titled Still Crooked. Also interesting to note is that they're based out of Boston, so semi-local. I can't compare it to their previous work, but from what I've found out, this album features a new line-up with the departure of cellist and founding member Rushad Eggleston. They've gone from being a quartet to being a quintet with two new musicians taking his place. Although from Boston, the group plays some really traditional feeling folk / bluegrass music - some of it interpretations of iconic folk songs passed on in some cases well over four hundred years, and some original songs that miraculously keep pace with their ancestors, retaining the same texture and spirit.

There's really some quite lovely string work displayed on this album, and in fact the album really highlights strings in multiple forms (cello, banjo, guitar) from beginning to end. After listening to the album, I'm certainly planning on checking them out at the festival. A lot of the string work is rather quiet and delicate, relying on subtleties and nuances. It will be interesting to see how it comes across at a wide open venue. They're on tour for much of the summer, check out dates below to see if they'll be near you, and listen to the following tracks to experience their classic sound.




Visit their website, their label Signature Sounds, and become their friend on MySpace.

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Other Upcoming Tour Dates

July 15 : Philadelphia, PA : World Café Live
July 16 : New York, NY : The Bowery Ballroom
July 17-18 : Cambridge, MA : Club Passim
July 19 : Greenfield, MA : Green River Festival
July 20 : Brownfield, ME : Stone Mountain Arts Center
July 22 : East Burke, VT : The Tamarack
July 23 : Portsmouth, NH : Prescott Park Arts Festival
July 24 : Hillsdale, NY : Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
July 26-27 : Floyd, VA : Floyd Fest
Aug 1 : Seattle, WA : Occidental Park
Aug. 2 : Portland, OR : Pickathon
Aug. 3 : Bend, OR : Les Schwab Amphitheater
Aug. 5 : Bellingham, WA : Green Frog Cafe
Aug. 30-31 : Pagosa Springs, CO : Four Corners Folk Festival
Sep. 6-7 : Remus, MI : Wheatland Music Festival
Sep. 13-14 : Canton, MA : ICONS
Sep. 19 : Berryville, VA : Watermelon Park
Oct. 17 : Middletown, CT : Crowell Concert Hall

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Soul - Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get


You know some people
Are made of lies to bring you down
And shame your name
But baby, I have good intentions
Cause breaking hearts just ain't my game
All I want to do is love you
And sugar I won't pin you with regret
If what you're looking for is real loving
Then what you see is what you get

What you see is what you get


The Dramatics - Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get : Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get 7"

The Dramatics - Thank You For Your Love : Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get 7" B-side