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Friday, July 29, 2005

Okay

Every once in a while, Pitchfork will drop an exclusive bit of news that reminds me why I still read Pitchfork:

the wu
Wu Tang

Pitchfork reports that Babygrande and the Think Differently Music Group will release material from "an unprecedented pairing of Wu-Tang artists, producers, and affiliates with some of independent hip-hop's East and West Coast elite".

mf doom
MF Doom

Apparently, the "elite" includes "the RZA, MF Doom, GZA, Aesop Rock, Del the Funky Homosapien, and many more artists, producers, and even award winning filmmaker Jim Jarmusch", who have all "come together for what will be a historic moment in hip-hop." Holy shit.

del
Del

According to Pitchfork, Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture will "be in stores on October 18, and the first single, "Biochemical Equation" featuring the RZA and MF Doom, will make its premiere on iTunes in August." Not much hip hop gets me excited these days, but I can't wait for this.


aesop rock
aesop rock

If you don't know:

mp3s

(I'm back to using Savefile for now, I know it's a pain in the ass, but if you don't have these, trust me, it's worth it)

Aesop Rock Cook It Up
Gza Shadowboxin'(ft. Method Man)
Madvillain (MF Doom) All Caps
Deltron 3030 Mastermind
Wu Tang Triumph
Gza 4th Chamber (ft. Meth, Raekwon, Ghostface, etc.)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Huge Lollapalooza Recap: Part II (w/ pics)

grant park

As I mentioned before, this weekend was amazing...here are some pics of the weekend and some random observations and highlights from Lollapalooza...Dodge got a lot more pics than me, and they're a lot better, so be sure to check for his:

When I arrived at O'Hare, as I was waiting for my ride into the city, I got to meet this Austin band you might've heard of, and they even put on an impromptu pre-Lollapalooza show right there at the airport:

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...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

This is our ghetto fabulous hotel...and not all of the sheets were bloody, only mine. But Dee hooked me up w/ a clean sheet. Thanks Dee! Plus it was great to be right across the street from Grant Park.

Congress Hotel

One of the highlights of the weekend was the B-Boy battle royale breakdown thing they had, where crews of break dancers battled each other, "You Got Served" style...here's one of the dancers warming up, the guy w/ the mohawk on the right actually opened up for Digable Planets.

damn girl

This duo from Akron, OH, was awesome. It was the first time I had seen them live, and they were amazing.

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The Black Keys

Here's Kazu from Blonde Redhead walking her dog after their set. I only caught a couple songs, but they were good.

Kazu and puppy

Okay, now for me, the two biggest highlights of the weekend were the Digable Planets performance, and the Arcade Fire's unbelievable set. Dodge and I were up close for both, and trust me, both acts made TONS of new fans. And if you watched the bands that were playing opposite these two (Weezer or G. Love), I feel sorry for you.

ladybug
Ladybug Mecca, looking as hot as ever

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Regine and Will sound-checking

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Regine and Will show the crowd their better sides

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the band absolutely kills "Laika"

Other highlights:

The Dead 60s, who I had never heard, were great and if you get the chance to see them live, do it.

Watching this guy dance...I swear he was on the stage for every single performance we saw all weekend...we met him and Dodge's wife MJ got a picture w/ him.

During Tegan & Sara's abbreviated set, the heat almost knocked out Sara, who had to sit down. Tegan said, "All my dreams have come true, Sara has left the band". Pretty funny, but they had to cut the set short, when after a couple of valiant efforts, Sara couldn't continue. The heat was pretty brutal.

Listening to Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre absolutely rip Dashboard Confessional, who were playing opposite them. He said something along the lines of "I wish Bon Jovi over there would shut the fu** up", and something about how a Dashboard poster above your bed would be the most effective form of birth control.

Listening to The Walkmen's set while watching the Digable Planets soundcheck, and finding out Butterfly is a fan of the band...he sang along and knew every word.

Watching ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's drummer trash not one, but two drum sets at the end of their set. Most enthusiastic and destructful instrument thrashing I've ever seen.

Cracking up at what a douchebag The Bravery's lead singer is. This guy is way less important/talented than he thinks he is. I watched one song and I couldn't take anymore.

Other bands I saw and really enjoyed: Death Cab For Cutie, Spoon, The Killers, Ben Kweller, and a bunch more I can't remember right now. I'm pretty sure Dodge got a bunch of pics of all of these so be sure to check them out as soon as he gets around to posting them.

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Lollapalooza Photos: Part I

Well, this weekend was pretty much f-ing amazing. Dodge, his wife, and all of their friends were the coolest people, the bands at Lollapalooza didn't disappoint (holy shit the Arcade Fire gets better every time I see them), and we all had a great time.

However, I didn't get a chance to prepare a full post w/ all the pictures I took (hopefully later today or tomorrow), because I ended up spending all day yesterday at the O'Hare Airport thanks to a cancelled flight. But it turns out even that was awesome: I wasn't the only one having airline issues. I saw these guys, and I was like, "Hey guys, my fu**ing flight got cancelled", and they were like, "Yeah, ours too, this sucks, we just want to get back to Seattle."

Death Cab at O'Hare
Death Cab For Cutie Says Hi

Then as I was waiting endlessly to try to get on a standby flight, I ran into this guy, who happens to be one of my favorite rappers and part of one of the best hip hop groups of all time (check my previous post), not to mention one of the highlights of Lollapalooza:

what up Ish
me w/ Ish aka Butterfly

Anyway, he was probably the nicest musician I've ever met. We talked for about 15 minutes while we waited for our flight (we were on the same fu**ing flight!) about the group, Lollapalooza, the new Digable Planets album, and he even asked to see the pictures I had on my camera...he saw the Death Cab airport photo, and was like "Yo, is that Def Cab?? Where they at?". Then he looked at a few of the pics Dodge and I took of Digable's Lollapalooza performance, and he claims he remembers posing for this one for us:

Ish at Lollapalooza

I got some more pretty great pics that I'll hopefully post later today, and Dodge got some even better ones, so make sure to hit up his blog (like you don't already). And a huge thanks has to go out to Dodge and his crew (MJ, J-Bo, Annie, Dee, Tara, Melinda, and Dirk) for making my trip so great. You guys are the shit.

Check back later for a more complete weekend wrap-up and more pics: in the meantime, here's a couple joints for you:

Death Cab Love Song (cure cover)
Digable Planets Nickel Bags

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Franz Ferdinand

scotland

Two new unreleased Franz Ferdinand tracks from their upcoming album:

Do You Want It (first single--live)
I'm Your Villain (demo)

Bonus:

Scissor Sisters Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand cover)

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Jon Brion--Stairway To Heaven

Jon Brion
photo from Blunt Review

You probably know uber-producer Jon Brion from his work on movie soundtracks (Eternal Sunshine, Punch Drunk Love, I Heart Huckabees, etc.) and his production work on albums from Fiona Apple and Kanye West. But he also does his own solo thing, and this 14 minute long cover of Stairway To Heaven is from a set he did at Tonic in NYC on April 27. (i found this over at the prefix.com message board--always lots of good stuff over there).

mp3 (follow link to download)

Jon Brion Stairway To Heaven (live)

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"Bedroom Genius"

Chad VanGaalen

It's an absolute (indie-rock) travesty that more people haven't heard of Chad VanGaalen. His debut LP, Infiniheart, was one of the best albums of 2004, yet it wasn't formally released in the U.S. (I happened to get a copy because I live by one of the best record stores ever and it was playing one day when I went in, so I immediately bought it) But hopefully that's all going to change, because he recently signed to SubPop, and I assume Infiniheart will see a wider release soon.

"Infiniheart finds melody in complex selections of notes and sounds, a la Sufjan Stevens's Greetings From Michigan, and the experimentation is undoubtedly a success, as VanGaalen proves that we haven't yet exhausted the chord combinations that will yield an enjoyable tune...this is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius."

-- from Prefixmag's Review

mp3:
(recommended for fans of Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Modest Mouse, or just good music in general)

1000 Pound Eyelids
Clinically Dead
Kill Me In My Sleep

Get a couple more tracks from the Flemish Eye website.
Check out Chad VanGaalen's SubPop site.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New Nada Surf

Nada Surf
Poster by The Small Stakes

From the upcoming album "the weight is a gift" out Sept. 13 on Barsuk:

Nada Surf Do It Again mp3

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This Weekend

chicago

So I'm flying to Chicago on Friday morning to meet up w/ Dodge and his harem crew of hot girls for Lollapalooza, and I'm really excited. Even despite the fact that Dodge booked us in this hotel. Haha. Check out this glowing review of the place we'll be staying:

"There was even blood stains on the sheets which I did not see until I woke up in the morning. I couldn't get out fast enough. Then I had to climb up 8 flights of stairs after waiting 20 minutes for an elevator. Water was shut off to our room. People were passed out in the hallways. Glass was breaking from all areas of the hotel. Mayor Daley should stay here like Mayor Jane Byrne did with Cabrini Green [public housing projects]. I believe he would not like it, and would not like people coming to sightsee in Chicago to sleep in a place of such quality. Chicago is wonderful city with lots of beautiful places to see. UNFORTUNATELY NOT THE CONGRESS HOTEL."

Karen Brownlow
Chicago, IL
1/01/04

Blood on the sheets? People passed out in the hallways? Broken glass everywhere? Kick Ass! Sounds like my kinda place. Oh well, as Dodge's girl Dee reminded me, we won't be spending much time there anyway.

Anyway, if you're going, you should holler at us and maybe hang out for a while. This is my tentative itinerary, I know I'm leaving something out, but I'll probably just be running around Grant Park trying to catch as much of as many bands as possible:

the arcade fire

Saturday
M83
Ambulance Ltd.
Kaiser Chiefs Every Day I Love You Less and Less mp3
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Blonde Redhead
The Black Keys
Z-Trip
The Walkmen or The Pixies (or both)
Digable Planets
Weezer

Sunday
OK Go
The Ponys
Dinosaur, Jr.
Tegan & Sara
Ben Kweller
The Arcade Fire
Spoon
The Killers Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself (Morrissey cover)
Death Cab

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Vashti Bunyan

Vashti Bunyan

Most of you that listen to "New Weird America" or "freak-folk" artists like Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective, and Joanna Newsom have probably at least heard the name, if not the music, of Vashti Bunyan. She is a legendary British psych-folk artist that all of the previously mentioned artists have named as not only an influence, but an inspiration. If you've never heard her, think of a female Nick Drake, and you're getting close. I know what you're thinking...yeah, sounds good, but what does Pitchfork have to say about her?

Just Another Diamond Day is, in its own humble way, nearly a thing of perfection...it's unlikely that you'll encounter another album as charming or transporting. . .any time soon.

Vashti Bunyan recently signed w/ FatCat Records (home of Sigur Ros & Animal Collective, among others) and will likely release an album of new material in late 2005.

Vashti Bunyan

Listen:

Vashti Bunyan Diamond Day
Vashti Bunyan Winter Is Blue
Devendra Banhart w/ Vashti Bunyan Rejoicing in the Hands
Animal Collective w/ Vashti Bunyan Prospect Hummer (i know i posted this song recently, but here it is again in case you missed it)

Buy "Just Another Diamond Day"

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Cover Song Monday

Hopefully this will make your Monday a little more bearable...

TV on the Radio

A well done cover song is one of my favorite things, and today I chose some covers that are absolutely NOT direct rehashes of the originals. But direct rehashes never make great covers anyway. These covers are all, umm, interesting takes on classic songs, in which the artist appears to make an attempt to claim the song as their own, or at least put their unique spin on it. Some work really well, in my opinion, while others I'm not so sure of. Let's start w/ two kickass covers by one of my favorite new(ish) bands, TV on the Radio:

TV On The Radio Mr. Grieves (Pixies cover-- acapella doo wop style)
TV On The Radio Modern Romance (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)

More covers:

chan marshall

Cat Power Wonderwall (Oasis cover)
Ada Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Hyperballad (Bjork cover)
Vitaminsforyou No Cars Go (Arcade Fire cover)
M Ward Let's Dance (Bowie cover)
Sonic Youth Superstar (Carpenters cover)
Built To Spill Linus And Lucy (Vince Guaraldi cover)
(this song probably deserves it's own post)

Elsewhere...

Speaking of TV on The Radio, they have a blog (w/ cool candid shots of the band). On it, they unveiled the tracklist for their upcoming LP. I think. Here it is:

TVOTR LP tracklist

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Greatest Motion Picture Of All Time

Okay, I have no idea what this movie is about (i think it takes place in an ocean), no clue who's in it (except Jessica Alba), hell, i barely even know the title of the movie ("blue" something). But based on these promotional photos alone, I think it's safe to say it will be the greatest movie ever. (man it's good no one reads this shit on the weekends, or else i might lose that last shred of credibility i'm clinging to)

alba looking hot while swimming

alba looking hot while standing there

alba looking hot with hand on waist

alba looking like she had lip transplant surgery yet somehow still hot

mp3: Spiritualized I Think I'm In Love

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Friday, July 15, 2005

New Animal Collective Cover Art

feels
Animal Collective--"Feels"

This gets my early vote for album cover of the year, w/ the new Devendra Banhart coming in a close second. The "Cripple Crow" cover is so awesome, yet it really fu**ing creeps me out for some reason (what is up w/ those ghostly images in the trees?). I'm convinced Devendra is either absolutely insane, fu**ing brilliant, or both. What do you guys think?

cripple crow
Devendra Banhart--"Cripple Crow"

mp3:

Animal Collective & Vashti Bunyan Prospect Hummer

"Feels" comes out Oct. 18.
"Cripple Crow" comes out Sept. 13.

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Slicker This Year

Digable Planets

You've probably checked out Funtime OK's Intonation Previews, and Dreams of Horses is promising a series of ACL previews, but I'm too lazy to profile the bands from the festival I'm going to next weekend: Lollapalooza. Plus the good bands playing at Lollapalooza (the Arcade Fire, The Pixies, Spoon, Death Cab, etc.) probably don't really need any more profiling. But I figured I'd feature at least one, and it's the one i'm most excited to see: the Digable Planets.

Butterfly
Ish

Now this makes me feel really old, but I haven't seen these guys perform in over 10 years (since I was 16...I'm 27 now), and as far as I'm concerned (despite having only released two LPs), Butterfly (Ish), Ladybug Mecca, and Doodglebug rank right up there w/ my favorite hip hop acts of all time along w/ A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, etc. Plus I had a huge crush on Ladybug Mecca:

ladybug mecca
ladybug

The group broke up after releasing only two full-lengths, the jazzy, upbeat, grammy-award winning "Reachin' (A New Refutation Of Time and Space", and the more militant, blacker (?), and therefore not as widely embraced "Blowout Comb" (which is just as good as, if not better than, "Reachin").

digable
Digable Planets 2005

But the group has reunited in 2005 (check out Brooklyn Vegan's photos, NPR's story on the reunion, or Kevin's show review for the Arizona Republic), and hopefully they'll be around a little longer this time. I can't wait for a new release, but in the meantime, have a listen:

MP3s

Digable Planets May 4th Movement
Digable Planets Where I'm From (Aural G Ride 12" Version)
Digable Planets 9th Wonder (Live from LA 2005)
Digable Planets Califlower (Spiddyocks Go West) (courtesy of Kevin from So Much Silence)

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Random Stuff

sufjan
Katrina Kerns (and Sufjan)

Sufjan is on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic today at 11:15 PST. Listen/watch here. When he's done, head over to Welcome To The Midwest to get some mp3s of the performance.

The Go! Team, most likely on the strength of my blog post about them yesterday, have signed to a major label and a new version of Thunder, Lightning, Strike will see a U.S. release in October.

Be sure to check out the final installment of Funtime OK's Intonation previews. They saved the best for last: Broken Social Scene.

MP3s

Enjoy some of the highlights from Bliss Pop's newest playlist...there's some more really good stuff at their site:

Okkervil River The Latest Toughs
Shout Out Louds The Comeback (Big Slippa remix by Ratatat)
The Dix Here Comes The Dix
PAS/CAL What Happened To the Sands
The Cribs Hey Scenesters

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The Shins--Rarities & B-Sides

the shins
Poster by Print Mafia

These two b-sides represent a slightly less accessible style that I wish the band would explore a little more. Both beautiful songs that wouldn't have fit (at all) on either LP:

Sphagnum Esplanade mp3 ("Know Your Onion" b-side)
Mild Child mp3 ("So Says I" b-side)

We now resume our ultra-catchy, "Garden State" Shins fan-approved songs:

garden state

We Will Become Silhouettes mp3 (Postal Service cover)
When I Goosestep mp3 (Wicker Park Soundtrack)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Devendra Banhart

cripple crow

Here are a couple tracks from the new Devendra Banhart album, "Cripple Crow". I've listened to most of the album, and it marks a slight departure from his previous work, and it's all over the place stylistically. Devendra is one weird dude, and I'm really digging it so far.

Little Boys mp3

This song is catchy as hell, but the lyrical content is, shall we say, questionable?:

I see so many
little boys I want to marry
I see plenty
little kids i've yet to have


umm, wtf?

Now That I Know mp3

Beautiful song. Devendra redeems himself w/ these lyrics:

I may not know
how to treat or give you what you need
but i am a gentle man who says what he means


sample more songs from "Cripple Crow" here

Other recommended tracks: "Long Haired Child"; "Chinese Children"

If Devendra ain't your thing, head over to Think Tank and dl two tracks from the upcoming Danger Mouse/MF Doom project, appropriately titled Dangerdoom. "Sofa King" is especially ridiculous. Highly recommended.

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Apparently Sarcasm Doesn't Translate Well on Blogs

no requests, please

So here we go:

the Go! Team

Did I tell ever you guys about the time at SXSW 2005 when the Go! Team were supposed to play the Fader Party? Well it was a private industry party, so I slid the doorman a few ($30) bucks and he let us in. Then, The Go! Team cancelled and we were all mad at them. But then we got all the free Red Stripe we could drink, Elijah Wood was there...

Cut Copy was DJ'ing...

cut copy at sxsw '05
Cut Copy at SXSW '05 drinking free Red Stripe too

and Feist played in the Go! Team's slot (she was awesome) and was nearly killed when a huge thunderstorm almost collapsed the tent, but she was all like "fu** that, i'm still playing"...

Feist at sxsw '05
Leslie Feist almost getting killed

So anyway, I forgive you, the Go! Team:

The Go! Team Huddle Formation
The Go! Team Bottle Rocket

Bonus:

Cut Copy Saturdays
Feist Nothin' In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' Bout That Girl
(live--The Kinks cover)

By the way, you might've noticed my new ads under my blog links...free penis pills?? you guys should totally take advantage of that. you're welcome.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rocking the iPod

these tracks have been helping me get through the day at work lately. Regardless of what some people think, it's not all Sufjan all the time. (if you like these, buy the records)

emiliana
emiliana torrini

Emiliana Torrini Today Has Been Okay (live)
All The Ghosts This Connection (via South of Mainstream)
The Boy Least Likely To Be Gentle With Me (via Dodge)
Brendan Benson What I'm Looking For
Sufjan Stevens The Great God Bird
Spiritualized Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space (one of my favorite songs ever)
Wilco I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (live)
Radiohead Fake Plastic Trees (live)
Sufjan Stevens Casimir Pulaski Day
Wolf Parade You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son
The New Pornographers The Bleeding Heart Show

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Last Sufjan post until at least Thursday

best movie ever?

Okay, this is my last Sufjan post for a few days, I promise. Seriously though, what am I supposed to do when people keep hooking me up w/ awesome new stuff? (Thanks Tik!) Anyway, even if you don't like Sufjan (i'm looking at you, Dodge), you'd have to be a cold-hearted bastard or at least a big fat jerk not to like Christmas, so here are some songs from Sufjan's unreleased (i think??) Christmas album, Hark! Songs For Christmas (you can't NOT love these songs):

Sufjan Stevens That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!
Sufjan Stevens The Friendly Beasts (Featuring Denison Witmer as the Donkey, Laura Myers as the Cow, Shara Worden as the Sheep, Vito & Monique as the Doves, and Sufjan Stevens as Jesus)
Sufjan Stevens Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!

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Sufjan--"Illinoise" B-Side and Katrina Kerns

So by now I've posted just about all there is to post on Sufjan, save for one thing. His glockenspiel player/backup vocalist/model Katrina Kerns. Wow is she hot. So this post is dedicated to her...thanks to the new Sufjan messageboard "All Good Naysayers, Speak Up!" (which has been around for like, a day, and is already one of the best boards ever) for the photos and info on her.

katrina kerns
Katrina is a Ford Model

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The Michigan Militia and Joanna Newsom

katrina
Photo via Stereogum

Oh yeah, here's that "Illinoise" b-side:

Sufjan Stevens The Avalanche

check out "Illinoise" on metacritic

Update: South Of Mainstream points us in the direction of more pics of Katrina, this time modeling some hot eyewear. Here's a sample: (thanks, SoM Mallie!)

katrina

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