Monday, March 31, 2008



all this caribou talk has gotten me hot and bothered, and i've spent the better part of the last hour and a half rewatching the marino videos, all of which are happily found on youtube. the videos, all designed by irish collective delicious 9, were originally backdrop visuals, but were so good (no joke) that they were collection for dvd production, and bundled with 4 songs from the milk of human kindness's sessions.

i think delicious 9 have really captured a beautiful part of caribou's essence - "jacknuggeted" and "pelican narrows" especially capture the music's optimism and naivete, that sense of everything feeling new and rather exciting. one of my favorite features common to most of the videos is their thematic link - the characters all belong in a conjured world with dancing canaries, organ-pounding grandmas, and xylophone-rocking teddy bears, a world i could certainly use a lot more of. the videos, of nearly every song on both the milk of human kindness and up in flames, are almost without fault. "hello hammerheads" and "a final warning" shade in the darker parts of caribou's music, the latter an animated rollercoaster ride to the other side, the former a redemptive, if mischievous, look at sacrifice. "hendrix with ko" is, as one commenter puts it, "muppet slander," and is one of my favorite videos, along with the adorably-animated "skunks."

i feel it's a shame that the best praise i can give marino that it's worth your money. i think these videos are an important part of caribou's overall aesthetic, and super fucking cute at the same time. this feels a lot more like art than just music videos or projections.

watch them all here, and marvel, marvel at their awesomeness!

buy marino from the leaf label. (do it, cheapskates!)


caribou & fuck buttons @ bowery ballroom, 3/28/08

even a casual reader of this blog will be aware of the fact that i am a superhuge caribou fan. they won the inaugural "band i blogged about most" title, clocking in with six individual posts, and though this is their first '08 entry, i've lost none of my rabid fervor for dan snaith's psychedelic electronica, which is why i returned to see them yet again. they have been on tour pretty incessantly since andorra's release last fall, and i've seen them three times since then, so i didn't think they'd have much new work to bring to the table, just their plain old awesomeness. but i was wrong - dead wrong. in their downtime (what downtime?), snaith and one of caribou's touring members have reworked all of their projections, and refashioned many of their songs - necessary changes when you hit the same cities twice in six months, but still pleasantly surprising. but the best change caribou could've made for this tour is the inclusion of the peerless fuck buttons, for whom, i wager, more than a couple people were there to see.

music aside, fuck buttons have been able to wring an extrraordinary amount of press from their name alone, a verbal vortex that no reviewer can resist (myself included). it's good that their name invites such controversy, because they don't offer much in the way of lyrical bones to pick - whatever it is that comes out of benjamin john power's mouth is definitely not distinguishably verbal. their name is as much a part of their enigmatic musical persona as much as their cosmic distorto-jams, and everyone has weighed in on fuck buttons's nomenclature (it sounds almost regal, doesn't it?) without coming to much in the way of concrete conclusions. well, there was no way the twinkly knob-twisters were going to explain themselves, especially without a microphone of their own. yet fuck buttons spoke in volume, creating staggering, deafening swaths of melody and static from itsy-bitsy instruments, subjugating the crowd (and making them dig for their earplugs) right after the first climax of "sweet love for planet earth." as far as i could tell (considering i don't have street horrrsing memorized), they played that album in its entirety, if slightly compacted. no breaks, no stops, all fucking awesome. as their set progressed, power and bandmate andrew hung became more and more involved in their admittedly limited show, their movements taking on a semblance of ritual, fierce and deliberate head-banging and body-waving, the music coursing through their bodies as it did ours. honestly, if you haven't bought a copy of street horrrsing yet, it's really time to do so, and go out and see the band: 40 glorious minutes of cataclysmic triumph in decibels; since mogwai isn't making anyone's ears bleed lately, maybe fuck buttons are taking up the reins. more power (and volume) to them.

caribou: awesome. the surprises (new projections and a couple drastic song reworkings) didn't really affect the show as a whole - they were exciting little morsels, making the show richer as a whole, but not really any different than previous caribou shows. however, that doesn't make it boring - it's not like i've been dragged to see them, caribou fucking rocks live, and they delivered an excellent show once again. the unison drumming is always exciting, and "skunks" especially benefited from it. "bees," as always, blew the place apart, and encore "every time she turns round it's her birthday" was, appropriately, the best part of the night. what set this show apart from previous caribou experiences was twofold, i think. they were blessed with a great soundman who really understood the band's nuances, but i think the most potent element of caribou's set was the influence of fuck buttons. interestingly enough, i felt like caribou was pushing themselves extra hard as a response to fuck buttons's egregious volume, and that energy was overwhelming. it could've also been that dan snaith celebrated his 30th birthday that night (technically, during "every time," as the clock ticked over to 3/29), but caribou were at the most jubilant, their most wildly exuberant, and the show was fantastic.

i went to four concerts last week - why?, crystal castles, del, and caribou - and the one i was least excited about was also, hands down, the best one. i expected the usual from snaith & co., and something cool from fuck buttons, but we were treated to a great night (all the better, from my perspective, with the loss of dan friel. parts & labor = gag). don't ever pass up the chance to see caribou.

"melody day" (from the pink room sessions)
pick up the new she's the one single from merge.

buy street horrrsing from atp.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

it's been a long time since i rock and rolled

i just needed to take some time off.

if all goes according to plan, i hope to return to rocking and rolling your lifestyle by the end of the week.

seriously though, will someone please explain what, exactly, is so compelling about noise rock? i so don't get it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

yeasayer's take away show

heads up, y'all.

awesome song day! - "back burner"

awesome song day! is a spontaneous feature, when i am moved by a song's singular awesomeosity and feel the urge to share its awesomeness with all of you. the song below is awesome.

isobel campbell & mark lanegan - "back burner"
sunday at devil dirt will be released may 5 on v2 records.

this song makes me want to be a heavy drinker.

anticon. offers up unreleased son lux track!

anticon. have been busy boys. in addition to the superfabulous alopecia they dropped yesterday, awesome mr. mammoth fave son lux released his at war with walls and mazes through the collective as well. i'm still digesting the record, but at first blush, it is spectral, slightly haunting, and idiosyncratic, and very very good. to celebrate its release, anticon. is offering the unreleased track "do" for download. grab it below and see son lux at his multiple sxsw dates or opening for why? on march 22 in nyc.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


if you're a sensible person, you downloaded alopecia back when it leaked in january, and if you're a smart person, you've been absolutely floored by it since then. it's deft, snide, totally off the wall, and super super good.

here are some reasons why?

1. "the vowels pt. 2" - i'm not a ladies man, i'm a landmine

2. "good friday" - sucking dick for drinks tickets at the free bar at my cousin's bat mitzvah

3. "these few presidents" - i thought 'there is no paved street worthy of your perfect scandanavian feet'

4. "the hollows" - i curse the last six months i've been hiding behind a mustache

5. "song of the sad assassin" - i feel like a loop of the last eight frames of film, before a slow-motion lee harvey oswald gets shot in the gut and killed

6. "gnashville" - sometimes i claim to know a guy but can't tell you what his hands look like

7. "fatalist palmistry" - you countin' blessings cuz your net worth oughtta be less cream than your best dream

8. "the fall of mr. fifths" - i'm unavoidable like death this christmas, is this twisted?

9. "brook & waxing" - if some divine simon spoke, or came down to find us caught here in a our labcoats but without a science, would we see light?

10. "a sky for shoeing horses under" - rain goes perfect with a nosdam mixtape

11. "twenty eight" - tell me, are you single yet? my heart's as big as texas

12. "simeon's dilemma" - you're the only proper noun i need

13. "by torpedo or crohn's" - today after lunch, i got sick and blew chunks all over my new shoes in the lot behind whole foods, this is a new kind of blues

14. "exegesis" - "no stack of yoga mats or foamcore cushion pads, to lessen the pressure of the phone cord choking my neck

"the hollows" & "the fall of mr. fifths"

buy alopecia from

stream their cover of "close to me" at their myspace.

Friday, March 7, 2008

songs i'm sent: from LA SCALA

songs i'm sent will now be a semi-often feature about songs that appear in my inbox. the feature's full name is: songs i'm sent that are okay, probably kinda catchy, but not really deserving of the kind of thought and energy that goes into a full album review, but more than just an awesome song day! because they probably have more than one good song, so it's gonna be real informative and light on the opinion. you can figure out for yourself why i'm going with songs i'm sent.

alright, let's get this party started. the band with the honor of deflowering my latest inspirational brainwave is la scala, a chicago band that plays music that has nothing to do with their namesake. a pretty decent mix of post-punk, continental gutter pop, and shoegaze-worthy guitar lines, the harlequin, la scala's debut ep, has just been released on hometown highwheel records. in my ever-growing list of people whose names i wish i had (you'll remember the last two were finbar mallon and slim moon) is la scala's frontman, balthazar de ley. ley spent his formative years shuttling between paris and illinois, and it shows. inspired by both french crime fiction and street busquers, ley's lyrics are 3 minute neo-gothic dumas novels accompanied by soaring, off-kilter waltzes. of the five songs on the harlequin, which was produced by brian deck, "parallel lives" is the clear hit, a dance number with soaring guitar, but every song is pretty effing catchy. actually, i pretty highly recommend this.

"parallel lives" & "the harlequin"

buy the harlequin from highwheel records.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

don't delay! act now! this limited-time offer is only available for limited time!

i am in a mad dash out the door, and don't really have the time to remind you how good efterklang's parades was, or to tell you that, to celebrate their 5th year of being a live band, efterklang is giving away a sweet fucking live mp3 of their new song, "mirror mirror" on their website.

soo, yeah, that's what's up.

if you live in europe, you have no excuse to not see efterklang when they play in your respective city in the next month or so.

if you live in america, all i know is that they're playing new york in may, and i will fucking be there.

don't you just want to be friends with these guys?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

mike house's house

congratulations to mike house, bassist of superawesome team robespierre, for devirginizing the village voice's cribz spinoff, indie cribz (you know, it's like, ironic, but still semi-serious...). mike takes us into his now-legal apartment building, a ex-squat house that guiliani sold to a housing nonprofit, the urban homesteading assistance board, which mike and his friends run (and will someday own). we see his bathroom, his roof (fucking awesome view, man), his inexplicable tupperware full of rotten crabs. mike also looks like he hasn't slept in 2 weeks, so mike, if you're out there, go to bed!

team robespierre is currently on a tour of the south east (richmond on wednesday), and play ten (count 'em, ten) shows at south by southwest. surely you can find at least six opportunities to see them.

watch the video here.

thanks to reader mike lawson for the tip!

leak of the week - attack & release

in an environment where innovation is often valued above competence and inspiration trumps talent, the black keys are bold iconoclasts, sticking to the same guns on attack & release that they first displayed on the big come up, an album that, in itself, bucked the trend of ingenuity above genius with its intensely throwback, medium-fidelity blues. no great lover of the blues myself, i picked up the band's third LP, rubber factory in 2004 mainly from peer pressure, and found it to be a well-written album, if not particularly tailored to my tastes. i listened to it time and time again, trying to become obsessed with their magic, but it wasn't an album i turned to for pleasure, and in time i gave up on the black keys and rubber factory. in 2006, i had no reason to feel differently about magic potion or chulahoma, yet, i (unsurprisingly) find myself drawn to, and a pleasurable listener of, the keys's most recent album, the leak of the week, attack & release. (incidentally, i'm listening to rubber factory at this very moment, and am very much enjoying it. maybe this is a new era for me and the black keys.)

there's no secret about my motivation for reevaluating the black keys at this point: it's not because dan auerbach has a new, bigger beard, or because attack & release is their first studio lp (don't ask me where the others were recorded), but because a man with platinum in his fingers was manning the helm on this new ship with an old sound. that man is brian burton, a.k.a. danger mouse, who, rather singlehandedly, has been behind some of the most innovative musical project in recent years. since redefining mashups with the grey album to inventing cyber soul as gnarls barkley, danger mouse has had his fingers in many pies. i had totally forgotten he produced the good, the bad, & the queen or a couple rapture songs, to say nothing of sparklehorse...i don't even know what that's all about. despite danger mouse's musical flexibility, the news that the black keys were going to be collaborating with brian burton for their fifth lp was met with both widespread shock and incredulity, especially with the news that ike turner would be involved. as the 'fork noted, his passing precludes his appearing on the album, but it didn't stop the project. and so, here we are, attack & release blasting, a generational bridge between a defiantly retro band and an unstoppably futuristic producer (have you heard "run" yet? that shit belongs in the 22nd century!), an album that has already changed my feelings towards this band after only a week.

it is worth noting that, despite the immediately obvious contributions of danger mouse, every song on attack & release was written by the keys themselves, patrick carney and dan auerbach. this knowledge tidbit is important for two reasons: firstly, it soothes the possible fear of a black keys traditionalist who worries that danger mouse may awkwardly reworked the band's sound, and secondly, because it relegates danger mouse to a nearly new role - after all, there are worlds of difference between producing hip hop and producing rock. yet in every instance on attack & release, danger mouse's touch is light but completely intrinsic to the song's overall effect. still, there is a division, at least at the top of the album, between songs that carry danger mouse's noticeable touch, and it's worth remembering that danger mouse is not the only contributor to this album. both marc ribot and ralph carney (patrick's uncle) joined the band in the studio, and attack & release has a tangible sense of depth (and not just because most tracks have bass in them). danger mouse's overall influence is felt, rather than heard, and the result is forceful and charismatic.

in many respects, the black keys are doing what they've always done, write kick ass blues songs with fire and grit - the only difference this time around is that more imaginations are in the mix. their influences mold the album differently, but don't forget that this is still a black keys record. unsurprisingly, however, the best songs on attack & release are the ones that were imagined by everyone. what the black keys lacked earlier was a real appreciation for details, and their intensely lo-fi sound didn't have any space for them. though they carried the blues into the 21st century, there wasn't much of the 21st century in their sound. this time things are different.

"strange times" & "oceans & streams"

attack & release comes out on nonesuch records on april 1.

note: a full review of attack & release will be prepared for its release date.

Monday, March 3, 2008

cadence weapon @ mercury lounge, 3/2/08

note: born ruffians headlined. don't like 'em, didn't see 'em, have nothing to say about 'em.

poor cadence weapon. the guy puts out two brilliant albums, nearly wins the inaugural polaris prize, and is pitchfork's favorite son, and he still can't buy a break (though i understand he does good business in beats). currently on tour in support of afterparty babies (due out on tuesday), the crowd that received him last night in new york was appreciative, if somewhat confused. i made a fuss about "limp-wristed hipsters" when he opened for final fantasy in november, but seeing him a second time makes me realize how silly that statement was. cadence weapon's whole aesthetic is an attempt to promote a new style of rap, dance-rap, or party-rap, or whatever, and shopping it to effete indie rock fans (for example, the people who were there for born ruffians, the night's headliners), is just not going to be successful.

the crowd last night made a few valiant attempts to show their appreciation for cadence weapon, but my overall feeling was that i'd rather watch him (he's a great performer), than get involved and miss something. he tried time and again, without real success, to encourage people to get dancing, jumping into the crowd and using his body language to goad us into actual movement. personally, however, i like just listening to cadence weapon, not dancing to him. the dude has killer beats and a preposterous flow, but neither brings out the dancer in me. unfortunately, i think he took our lack of dancing as disinterest or dislike, and busted out only a handful of songs, four or five from afterparty babies and three from breaking kayfabe. i really hope he wasn't bummed out because no one was dancing, because i thought his set was fantastic! "real estate" opened, and everything after it was a highlight. hell, there were no highlights because all the songs were great. often i don't grasp a song's whole message when i listen to it by myself (i tend to listen to vocal rhythms and individual words, without focusing on the overarching lyrical message), and hearing cadence weapon in person really gave me new scope on his lyrical abilities. "black hand" and "oliver square" were great, but i would've really loved to have heard "juliann wilding" or more of his new stuff. my favorite song might have been "messages matter." "in search of the youth crew" was solid, and single "house music" closed the set, but where was "limited edition of oj slammer" or "tattoos and what they really feel like"?

"real estate"

afterparty babies comes out tomorrow on anti- records.

"unsuccessful club nights"