Friday, June 30, 2006

Virtually not music related...

It'll be quiet around here for about 1 week. I'm off on vacation and have no intention of posting while i'm gone. I know you'll miss me terribly, but be patient for my return and we'll have lots of music to talk about I'm sure. A few things to think about in my absence:

1) Midlake. As I said The Trials of Van Occupanther is a fantastic album. I'll add one other reference point. Bread and America. Sounds cheesy, but don't let it put you off. I personally had a terrible soft spot for the easy listening pop of those bands. Still do. Midlake does something similar but better. Figure it out.

2) So the Warriors took another project. I'm sure Patrick O'Bryant will be a fine center in a few years, but he ain't gettin' us to the playoffs next year. Another draft with no impact player. Let's hope Mullin has a genius trade in the works that lands us Kevin Garnett.

3) I while back I wrote about a band called Office and their record Q&A. Guess what. That record is still great. My taste is impeccable. Give it a listen.

4) I have yet to hear an Arctic Monkey's song. I consider this to be an accomplishment on the order of the fact that I haven't seen the movie "Titanic' yet.

5) The Doc Octagon is pretty good. By that I mean some of it sleeps and some of it is great. Therefore = pretty good. "Ants" kills it.

Have a great 4th of July and try not to burn any hair of your body with ill advised run ins with Bottle Rockets. See you in a week.


Thursday, June 29, 2006


I got the advance for the new Midlake record The Trials of Van Occupanther and HOLY SHIT this thing is amazing. I can't do it credit. I certainly tried in my review for Popmatters but the more you listen to this disc the deeper it gets. Unfortunately you can't write a book length record review no matter how much one would like to. There are a couple of songs that have been available via blogs and Bella Union for a while. Those songs, "Roscue" and "Young Bride", are excellent but only scratch the surface. Somehow or another Tim Smith and the rest of Midlake have miraculously channeled everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Dire Straits while at the same time updating those bands finest moments. At the risk of getting hyperbolic I've really gotta say that The Trials of Van Occupantherd is the clear front runner for best of 2006. Seriously, it's that good.

The album is a concept album or a rock opera or whatever you want to call it. It follows the trials of a character named Van Occupanther (bet you couldn't have guessed that), a garrulous fellow who lived around 1891 and has some serious trouble getting hitched. But really the whole narrative of the story is secondary to the songs. The songs steal the show to such a degree that any overriding idea of a narrative is completely overcome. The songs rock and weep and dance around your head like so many pixies on bicycles (whatever that means). The release date is July 25th and you must get it on that date. Must. Get. It.

1 from The Trials of Van Occupanther:

Head Home

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Strugglers...

A little bit of music to help you cry the day away. Broken hearted and sad, touches of melancholy Americana and rock a la Magnolia Electric Co. You Win by The Strugglers is a lovely piece of music. The album alternately reminds of Richmond Fontaine and Howe Gelb. Very pretty shades of sad.

2 songs from You Win:

The Cascade Range

The Rejection Letter

Friday, June 23, 2006

Usual Friday Randomness...

It's recently been brought to my attention that I was completely wrong about The Dallas Mavericks. In this rare case you are correct. But who knew Dwayne Wade was such a badass? I guess I should've realized that his aggressive to the basket style would be supremely complimented by the fact that the new NBA rules require that you only play defense like a flatulent matador or be called for a foul. This is wussy ball. I also didn't realize the D Wade had such a consistent jumper. I'll play the fool on that one. Really, when you think about it, this series came down to about 4 plays taking up about 7 minutes time that swayed the series to The Heat. Such is professional sports. For me, it's back to thinking about what mistakes the Warriors are going to make in the draft.

On to something music related:

Here's a cool video for El Perro Del Mar's God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get). I am enjoying the album way too much.

I just finished reviewing Irving's Death In The Garden, Blood On The Flowers for Popmatters. I've grown to like it. Great summer music. Here's the video for Situation

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mr. Tube...

Ok, once again I've been suckered by a CD sent by a PR firm. Boy that sounds high falutin' don't it. The band is Mr. Tube And The Flying Objects the album is Listen Up. If you poke around the website a bit you'll find a very rich back story. Only I can't figure out if it's true or, well, a very well imagined back story. What I do know is that the band involves Paulo Zappoli from Black Heart Procession and some great bass work by Jovi Butz. Aside from those facts the whole thing is up in the air. I won't even try to sum up the story, which if true gives serious legs to the old adage "truth is stranger than fiction".

The music is kind of a mix of vintage Tom Waits mixed with some Stax-Volt soul. The songs are filled with bleeding horns that just sort of fall out of the speakers, distracted vocals, and a certain Cuban flavor that I can't put my finger on. It's a surprisingly engaging listen and fits well with late nights and too much cold beer. I find myself alternately confused and thoroughly won over by the funky stumbling quality of the record. Give it a go.

1 song from Listen Up:


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Where did I first hear about this band? It was definitely one of the fine blogs you'll probably spend some time reading today. I think it was My Old Kentucky Blog but I could be mistaken. There are so many. Anyway, whoever it was I owe a debt of gratitude to because Eagle*Seagull is a special band. Think about all the epic multi-membered (hey, get your mind out of the gutter) Canadian bands that have being coronated as the next big thing over the last three years. We're talking about Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Frog Eyes, etc. etc. Now imagine an American band, having listened to fore mentioned bands a lot, integrates them as influences along with a slew of 80's new wave, the Velvet Underground and David Bowie and you get Eagle*Seagull. Aside from an unfortunate name which they're probably stuck with now, Eagle*Seagull's self titled debut album pretty much kicks ass. Don't fear it, embrace it. At times they sound like a more intelligent and adventuresome Coldplay which sounds like a back handed compliment but really isn't. Other times I find myself thinking about Sunset Rubdown. Despite forming in Lincoln, Nebraska they never make me think of Bright Eyes or The Faint. It can be argued that this is a good thing. I won't attempt to dissect the sonic pallette Eagle*Seagull, I'll just say that if you've ever considered trusting one of my recommendations make it this one.

From Eagle*Seagull:


Heal It/Feel It

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Randomness...

I'll tell ya what it's far too beautiful day here in the SF Bay Area to be writing lengthy blog posts, so you're gonna get a random selection of songs I've been digging. Have a good listen and a good weekend.

In other random comments: I still think the Mavs are going to win it, but I'm glad it's a series. Anybody believe the US it going to rally against a hardened Italy team? Yeah, I'm a little skeptical myself but it won't stop me from rooting like a rabid jingoist.

If you're in or around SF check this show out tonight. It's gonna be very very good:

The Music:

Party - El Perro Del Mar

Tapes 'n' Tapes - Crazy Eights

Kind of Like Spitting - Holding Patterns

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kyle Andrews...

I love it when I get a CD in the mail that catches me off guard, sneaks up behind me and pops me a good one right behind the ear. That's what Kyle Andrews did to me with Amos In Ohio. The CD arrived with a couple of others from the good folks at Badman Recording Co.. I made sure I had my jaudiced and cynical attitude fixed in place, put the CD into the computer and hit play. My usual stance of suspicion and distrust gave way as the albums first track "Amos in Ohio" trundled out of the speakers. For starters Mr. Andrews may well be more battled hardened than I am. When the song hits the chorus and Andrews sings, "everything's fine but I think I'm losing my mind in cleveland", it's the way he drawls over the word Cleveland with a perfect combination of weariness and confusion. It's not like he's dissing Cleveland so much as the narrator can't figure out how the fuck he got there. Andrews' voice is a whiny creak that could be a distant cousin to John Darnielle if not for a closer kinship to Soupy Sales, it fits the songs just perfectly. The one sheet keeps citing The Postal Service as a reasonable starting point for comparisons but that's just a load of shit. The Postal Service is overtly electronic there's no pretension to organic sounds. While Andrews uses programmed drums and some humming synths those elements play second fiddle to his voice and guitar. While Badman probably likes the Postal Service connection for commercial reasons the truth is that Amos in Ohio is a singer/songwriter record full of well written lyrical tales of resentful heartbreak set to first class upbeat pop rock. Very much enjoying this one.

2 songs from Amos in Ohio:

Amos In Ohio

Lake Erie Lament

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Back...

I never thought I'd say: Boy it's good to be back to the sunny world of the San Francisco Bay Area because San Diego was overcast and gross. But here I am saying those very things. There's no accounting for the weather. I'm hardly prepared to give a strong dutiful reporting on the current musical state of my head, but I do have some good stuff to talk about as the week rolls around. In the meantime check out the video from the forthcoming album from Midlake. Go HERE and then click on video. Very nice. New records called The Trials of Van Occupanther. I believe it will delight and amaze, but I've been wrong before.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

See Ya Next Week...

Again that's not a band name, it's a fact. I'm out of town until next week. Here's a couple of items for your listening pleasure.

1 song from Minmae's new one Le Grand Essor de la Maison du Monstre :

Cash Out Or Spin - Much heavier than anything on their last record, dense, distorted, I like it.

A little YouTube action of Will Sheff playing A Stone. Video's a little dark but the song sounds great.

I don't usually stray too far from my indie rock comfort zone but I was so intrigued by all the good reviews of Herbert's Scale and the fact that I used to work with his sweety Dani Siciliano way back when. It's really good.

I think I'm going to root for The Mavericks. Let's keep it west coast. Aiight, I'm going to Disneyland, see you next week.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This record is old (like totally 2005, brah) but like so many things in life I'm just getting around to digging into Winterpills. Their self titled album is gorgeous. There just isn't any other way to describe it. Gorgeous harmonies, delicate melodies, folk rock without a bunch of cheese. This band is what Hem would sound like if they dispensed with the country leanings. It's an album of smart, literate songs, well written and, um,. gorgeous.

from Winterpills:

Threshing Machine

This is kind of random but here's a video for The Jealous Sound's The Fold Out. A song I've always rather liked.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Here And There...

Welcome to June. That's not a band it's a declaration. First of all if you've neglected my repeated calls to check out Enablers Output Negative Space you should proceed immediately to the idiot box and begin to eat sand. I mean c'mon this record is fantastic and you're missing out. How many records will you hear this year that can easily be claimed by the post rock crowd, the indie rockers, and literary cafe huggers alike? It's damn good and you should have it.

In other news I recently received the new record by Dirty on Purpose Hallelujah Sirens. It's got a distinctly poppier edge to it than their EP Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow. There's still that echoey chiming Edge-esque guitar going on but there's more harmony, keyboard and horn than on the EP. Not a bad listen by any means but it's not going to reach out grab you, shake you by the collar. It's more mannered than that. Still, good songs and I don't feel insulted listening to it which is really something considering that I'm a terrible cynic.

1 from Hallelujah Sirens:

Your Summer Dress