Friday, August 31, 2007

Stay Calm

A track off of Kanye West's forthcoming Graduation LP, titled "Drunk and Hot Girls," samples and features quite prominently Can's "Sing Swan Song" from 1972's Ege Bamyasi. No joke.

The Smiths? Just a Band.

I guess this video by Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip (awesome name) is over 6 months old, but I never saw it because I thought it was a Matisyahu video. It's a pretty good song, too. The beat and lyrics sound like something James Murphy would put out, specifically calling back to his "Losing My Edge" hit, only with a Mike Skinner delivery. I'm willing to bet that there's someone offscreen catching the vinyl LPs MC Scroobius Pip is chucking to preserve their resale value.

Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip - "Thou Shalt Always Kill"

from their "Thou Shalt Always Kill" 7" put out on Lex Records

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pick Up Sticks

New release Tuesday and three great bands with three great albums:

Ben Harper - Lifeline
Northern State - Can I Keep This Pen?
Joe Cocker - Classic Joe Cocker

Don't you dare buy those. That's a joke. Instead, get these:

Liars - Liars

No Age - Weirdo Rippers

Prinzhorn Dance School - Prinzhorn Dance School

We've had Liars at the station for several weeks now and I wasn't too keen on it at first. There are a lot of great individual tracks, but overall it feels a bit disjointed. Theme and sonic continuity have always been the one standard in their full-length releases, despite the varying sound themes they go for with each release. After several listens I've warmed up to it considerably. There's the absolutely killer middle section of tracks 6 through 8 which dip into Liars gone cock-rock ("Cycle Time"), Jesus and Mary Chain garage rock ("Freak Out") and the bands wonderfully sincere, spacey take on a ballad ("Pure Unevil"). Any three-piece band that feels two of the members need to play drums and let the third bash out noise on a unusually tuned guitar (low to high DFFCBB) is AOK by me.

Apparently Sanctuary is quietly reissuing the Modern Lovers self-titled today, complete with 8 bonus tracks. The reissue sticks to the original vinyl LP 9-track running order, so several of the 12-track version CD release crop up as bonus tracks. Maybe it's because M.I.A. used some of the "Roadrunner" lyrics in "Bamboo Banga." If you don't have this by now, seems like a good of a time as any to pick it up. Absolutely essential, especially for the Massachusetts sect of the readership as Jonathan Richman was a Natick son, "Roadrunner" should be the unofficial Massachusetts rock anthem and there's a track called "Government Center." It's the kind of album that could make you start a band.

Also, below is a link to an article published in the UK's Guardian Unlimited detailing the author's roadtrip through the famed "Roadrunner" lyric locations, including stops at places mentioned in other versions of the song, including UMass.

The Car, the Radio, the Night - and Rock's Most Thrilling Song

Thursday, August 23, 2007


For the vinyl freaks-

Les Savy Fav's forthcoming album Let's Stay Friends is getting a limited edition vinyl LP release through the always reliable Chunklet. It's clear vinyl splattered with red and green. Just in time for Christmas! And while you're over there make sure to read or reread those archived issues of Chunklet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Regarding Utah Mine Safety

A new Parts & Labor music vid!

Parts & Labor - "The Gold We're Digging"

from their flippin' awesome 2007 LP Mapmaker put out by Jagjaguwar/Brah

Friday, August 17, 2007


In addition to the Prinzhorn Dance School album that Eric rightfully raved about last time, there's another highly kick-ass record that came out recently that you'd be a fool to let fly under your radar. It's by a little band called No Age, who take their name from an old SST Records compilation, which alone would probably be reason enough for me to get behind them. But beyond that, No Age is Dean Spunt & Randy Randall, who were both formerly in the amazing & short-lived art/noise/hardcore band Wives (hence the horrendously punned title of this post), which is what initially gave me ants in my pants over hearing their new project. You owe it to yourself to track down "Weirdo Rippers", the CD just released by Fat Cat Records that compiles a series of vinyl-only No Age EPs in one handy digital package. Start with the "Lightning Bolt meets Black Flag" DIY punk craziness of Wives, strip it down to just guitar & drums, bury it in lo-fi fuzz & add some Deerhunter/Liars-ish experimental feedback drone. And you can thank me later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What is the Horn?

Hi there. Have a seat with me next to the fireplace. I'll wear a santa costume and you dress up as a lion.

Are you comfortable? Great. I wanted to tell you about this band called Prinzhorn Dance School. "Gee, Santa, that sure is a weird name for a band to call themselves," you might ask. To which I'll reply, "Hey lion, SHUT UP! I'm talking here! Ho ho ho!" After a lot of consoling with you about daddy problems, where he may or may not have touched you, body issues and so on, I resume talking about Prinzhorn Dance School.

Prinzhorn are a guy and a girl from Brighton, England. The guy's last name is Prinz and girl's last name is Horn. When they combine rings they become- CAPTAIN PLANET!

Or the Prinzhorn Dance School. Their debut album is coming out in the states August 28th on DFA Records, and it's worth checking out. If you're versed in the DFA label, you'll know that they're not putting out the most immediately accessible or simple music, but Prinzhorn appears to be a step in a slightly different direction. Here's what you get: songs focused on repetition anchored by simple and funky grooves. The music usually consists of just bass and drums with the occasional guitar line popping in. The closest DFA peer I'd put them with is J.O.Y., who released a single that also appeared on the classic DFA Records Compilation #2. And with such primitive arrangements, dancefloor-ready DFA Remixes will hopefully be off of the factory line soon. And lot's of repetition in the vocals, sung by Mr. Prinz with backing cries carried out by Ms. Horn. Mr. Prinz sounds like a follower of the Mark E. Smith vocal delivery, although one that sounds like he's not singing with a mouthful of cotton balls. Lovechild of ESG and The Fall?

If you need more convincing, reader in a lion suit, check out these two excellent music videos for two songs featured on their self-titled debut. Like their music, they keep it simple.

"Up! Up! Up!"

"Crackerjack Docker"

both from Prinzhorn Dance School's Prinzhorn Dance School LP out August 28th on DFA Records

There's a band documentary avaiable at DFA's Myspace AND one-of-a-kind purses made by Ms. Horn available at the DFA Record Webstore (earn cool points, ladies). Unrelated, but DFA related, LCD Soundsystem will be releasing the amazing 45:33 on November 12th. It was comissioned by Nike and has only been available through iTunes. It's one track, 45+ minutes long and it fucking works. Had I heard it last year it would have easily been in my top 5. If you've heard the new LCD Soundsystem album, part of "45:33" is used in "Someone Great."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Help the Flywheel!

Here's an announcement from the people over at Flywheel Arts Collective, one of the best independent art/music venues in the area. They've recently located and are looking for some financial love. Make us proud!

Dear Friends of Flywheel,

It's hard to believe but it's been 9 years since Flywheel was born. Since then thousands of musicians and artists have taken part in Flywheel's mission to "provide a space in which artists of all kinds can craft and present their work in an environment that values creativity over profit."

From concerts to film nights to children's programs, Flywheel has filled an essential need for the arts community of the Pioneer Valley by not just "providing a space," but nurturing forms of creativity and community that exist nowhere else in the area.

As an entirely volunteer run and consensus driven organization, it's no wonder that Flywheel has also experienced quite a few changes and challenges in these 9 years. But, perhaps none are as exciting, or as challenging, as those we face now. Flywheel is moving to a larger space from its cramped quarters at 2 Holyoke St. in Easthampton to the historic old Easthampton Town Hall on Main St.

The new space that Flywheel will inhabit is considerably larger, with high tin ceilings and beautiful big windows; in short, a big improvement. This move will also allow Flywheel to expand our current programming and truly become a "Community Arts Space," where our events more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities in Easthampton and around the region.

However, there are two big challenges before us as we make this big transition:

  • We will be incurring a number of large one-time costs associated with making the new space the kind of place that can accommodate these events/upgrades to the sound system, lighting, renovating, etc, and

  • We will need to hire a staff person who can both coordinate this expanded programming and do outreach to those communities who don’t yet know about Flywheel.

We're asking you to consider a generous donation now to help Flywheel meet these challenges and grow into a stronger, more sustainable organization for years to come.

One look at the shrinking pool of viable spaces for music, visual, and performance arts tells us that Flywheel is needed now more than ever. Nine years is an incredible achievement; now let's go for 99 more!


The Flywheel "Hub"

Chris Cooper, President

Chris Dooley, Vice President

Jeremy Smith, Treasurer

Lila Wolan, Secretary

James Fiore

Rick Pierik

David Banigan-White

P.S. In addition to your generous contribution, please also accept our offer to be a part of the new Flywheel by volunteering, and/or attending performances and art shows.

Flywheel is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Cover-Up 1.0

This is the inaugural edition of The Cover-Up, the poorly punned* section devoted to the bad album art out there. We're keeping it well-known today, but certainly expect lesser-knowns to crop up for offending your eyeballs.

Prince - Planet Earth

Insulting a Prince album cover is like shooting fish in a barrel. While you can't assume the quality of the music he's going to put out with each full-length, you can always assume atrocious cover art. Can someone actually defend Dirty Mind or Lovesexy and not be a pompous pooshovel? What sets this release apart from past releases is that the cover looks like a tribute to all of the bad hip hop mixtape covers out there. Maybe it's parody, but I doubt it.

Common - Finding Forever

Common decides to bounce back from his classic throwback Be with this and oh boy is it a doozy. Be played it safe, but sometimes playing it safe is the way to go. And if you're going to release a classic hip hop album, a cover like Be's is a surefire way to start things off. That cover had Marvin Gaye written all over it.

So back to Finding Forever's cover. Where does it go wrong? Inappropriate headgear to hide Common's cueball head? Check. Monk hoodie. Random shit popping up all over? Check. You've got a hodgepodge of things just dropped in there, including the Chicago skyline, astral shit, a bird and the sun. Remove Common's head and you'd probably have an album cover that would crop up on a Rooney album.

Korn - Untitled

Two things are brought to mind when looking at this. The first is Magic: The Gathering artwork.

The second is the artwork from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series.

Hopefully, that was the first and last time Korn will be mentioned in this blog. This concludes the first Cover-Up. Suggestions are welcomed.

*or penned! GROAN

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Letter to Justice

Dear Justice,

How's it going? I'm guessing that you're pretty busy, considering the accolades of praise you're getting for your debut, . No doubt it's well-deserved. Who wouldn't like a sunny Jackson 5/Go Team! type throwback track like "D.A.N.C.E." for his or her summer mix? On top of that you've managed to help the effort to suck deeper in the metal/punk head-types that already fell for Death From Above 1979. Judas Priest + Daft Punk = success. Who knew?

But for all the comparisons that you've gotten to Daft Punk, you, my good men, are no Daft Punk. Daft Punk is for everybody. Justice is ultra-snobbish Daft Punk. Now this isn't to imply that you two gents are snobs, which I doubt very much. But there is a too-cool-veneer that encapsulates your music (it doesn't help that you let Uffie rap on the album). And that's amusing, because Daft Punk are pseudo-robots that have made us believe that only they are making the warmest, most all-embracing dance music today. Just go out and look at the reaction and excitement that's been produced with their current tour. Look at that picture of you compared to Daft Punk. Are you goin to sit back and let the robots remain unchallenged?

Unfortunately, this is a problem I see with all of these dancetronica types. Everyone appears cooler than everyone else. Ketamine house over dub. I-F over Sebastian. Ricardo Villalobos over Paul Kalkbrenner. And why is it that none of these artists are as successful as Daft Punk? It's because they've been pigeonholed or pigeonholed themselves into silly sub genres, which only Daft Punk have been able to evade.

So how is it that Daft Punk became above all that? It can't be all James Murphy's doing (though it couldn't hurt). It's because they're not part of any scene. They're not Warp glitch-toadies or Kompakt microhousemaids. You've elected to be Ed Banger minions. They decided they're just going to be Daft Punk. Nobody owns them.

Respeck knuckles,


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Reissue Mania.

It seems like every album of any remote significance is getting the reissue treatment lately, some more deservedly than others (the second Foo Fighters album? Alright, whatever). Yeah, there's the new tricked-out versions of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation or a good chunk of the early Sebadoh discography, but there's also been some other reissues popping up that that aren't Western Mass-centric & are also not nearly as overhyped.

Mint Records has just re-released two albums by the wonderful early/mid-90s Canadian all-girl twee pop band Cub, Betti-Cola (a collection of early singles alongside a batch of new songs) & the proper 1995 album Come Out Come Out. If you're at all interested in the old school K Records/Kill Rock Stars cuddlecore scene (Beat Happening, Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, The Softies, All Girl Summer Fun Band, et al), this is pretty much essential listening. Pure jangly, melodic pop-punk goodness. Bonus points for the awesome Archie Comics-style cover art on Betti-Cola.

The Young Marble Giants' excellent 1980 album Colossal Youth has just be reissued as well, this time by Domino Records, bursting with extra tracks & even a Peel Sessions disc. Cold, detached, almost Nico-esque female vocals backed by minimal post-punk styled guitar, bass, organ & drum machine (vaguely like a less dramatic Joy Division, but not really) leads to a recipe for greatness. You could even trace the art-damaged pop minimalism of this record to the kind of stuff K Records (see above) would be putting out a few years later, but regardless, these folks were one of the weirdest & most original bands to get slapped with the unfortunate "post-punk" tag.

Be a good consumer & pick up these jams instead of further pumping up Lou Barlow's ego.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Tough to Be a Baby

This comes courtesy of my Boston youtube f[r]iends.

So here's Hurricane Chris's music video for summer-jam contender "A Bay Bay".

Personally, it's nothing interesting, until you learn that it takes a sample of a past French sensation known as Jordy. Jordy Lemoine has the distinction of being the youngest person ever to have a #1 single. And from one look of his hit song "Dur dur d'être bébé" ("It's Tough to Be a Baby"), it's clearly obvious*.

As an added bonus, here's Jordy performing it live, and it's arguably better than the music video. Check the spot-on lip-synching.

*Maximum hilarity ensues if you're under a substance, which I highly recommend.