Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Reach out and touch your soul. Advice from The Temptations in their 8+ minute song Take A Stroll Through Your Mind. It starts with one of the five gentleman singing a soul ballad alongside a groovy bass. Then that loud funky guitar comes in with a new gentleman's voice. Then you get that big, booming, deep-voiced gentleman before a final heavy guitar riff that trots back to the sneaky bass with our first voice, but not before the song closes with a gong. What a sweet track. Go, Temptations, Go. You're hip as ever.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Michael Brook, inventor of the iiiiiiiiiiinnnnnfiinite guitar, did a little number called Lakbossa on his famoso album Cobalt Blue. Listen to the live version, which sounds better than the album version (how is it live?!). Well anyway, es muy bueno. ¡Viva ambiente!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
These two songs by Au (I'm guessing pronounced like ow! [?]) are a wee bit out there, but I like going out there and if you do too, you won't be let down. Both off the album Verbs in 2008, the band is headed by Luke Wyland. Created on the east coast, Wyland moved it to Portland in 2005 where they've been making waves ever since. Au, Charlie bit me.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Ah, 311. The sound of their bubbly guitars and steel drums transports me to the packed backseat of somebody's car taking hits from a pipe. It was perfect for those hot valley summer nights when everyone had just gotten their driver's license. So you'd blast 311, drive to the beach and pray for the day when you could get a fake i.d. and buy some Champagne.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Frank Sinatra, what a beeyoutiful name. Even more beautiful is that voice. The Voice. Yeah, Frank Sinatra is actually called "The Voice" as in "the voice of the 20th century." And what have you done lately? Well, Frank is drinking scotch in heaven somewhere and I can't think of anything better he should be doing. What's New is a gorgeously romantic song. Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry is still one of the saddest songs I've ever heard (my watery eyes must be wiped every time). And One For My Baby (And One More For the Road) is about the coolest thing you've ever heard. Think Casablanca meets The Godfather as sung by Old Blue Eyes. All of these classics appear on the 1958 record Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. Do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Nick Drake was one of those sad cases of "undiscovered in his time." Throughout his music career he became a bit of a Howard Hughes-type recluse, refusing to cut his hair and nails while all the while smoking "unbelievable amounts of marijuana." He lived with his parents most of his life, never venturing far from them, and never far from a bottle of anti-depressants. Still, his lyrically driven, beautifully sombre music is the work of a man throwing everything he was into a creation. Here are Northern Sky and Black Eyed Dog.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I found Pantha Du Prince! His new album Black Noise came out today. It's bliss. Stream it here. Stereogum always comes through. I particularly like the first track and the song Stick to My Side. German-born Hendrick Weber will gladly accompany you on your rainy day (along with his collaborators Noah Lennox and James Murphy).
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Now, I've never been one to watch football or even give two shits about it, but championships are undoubtedly exciting and even more so when a city has so much riding on it. New Orleans deserved the win as a stimulus, a boost, an uplifting of spirits. So congratulations, black & gold, you did your town proud. Tip your hat to New Orleans' own Louis Armstrong while he toasts The Saints Go Marching In.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Some hands are bigger than others. These Hands in particular are generating some serious buzz on the interweb. They were recently the highlight of a blog called Knoxroad AND they're releasing a single called Hold on innovative German label, Headphonica. Along with the soundscape that is their myspace, read an exclusive interview I had with the band. I'll let them do the rest of the talking:
Where are your favorite venues to play in LA?
Ryan James Sweeney: HM157 and Echo Curio were very awesome. Echo Curio brings a crowd itself.
Geoffrey Halliday: I really liked Spaceland, obviously, but HM157, for live shows. And Echo Curio is like its own crazy art gallery.
How has your music evolved since you guys have been together?
GH: It’s more of a monkey now than it was. No, I think we use more computers now.
RS: On Cities we had a lot more acoustic guitar.
GH:It sounded much more like a songwriter. My first approach to it was an album as an artistic expression, but it was also an excersie in learning to write a song.
RS:Now we’re back to the digital computer base. That’s how we seem to have been starting our most recent stuff. We sample this or that and then we’ll write a song over that with an acoustic guitar, like a songwriter would.
GH: There’s a lot of creating stuff to inspire something else, where the original thing that inspired a song doesn’t even get used.
What’s your biggest challenge as a band?
RS: Finishing songs. Working together.
GH: Having a block of time, finding the time it takes to work hard on something.
RS: Living in LA, you have to work a lot to make a decent living.
GH: When we lived in Philadelphia we just simply didn’t have to work as much. The expense of living is way more out here. Cheap living here is like medium living on the east coast.
RS: Having to work, keep a day job and try to be a band member is a big challenge.
So what are you guys working on right now?
Besides your porn videos.
RS: For the past year we’ve been working on a new album.
GH: Yeah we thought about doing an EP just to get something out there sooner, but it’s more of a question of like, where is my block of time to sit and think about something? The idea of sleeping on something is great, but to me it’s the idea of waking on something. Living a day and not really thinking about much else but revisiting that idea consistently. Pondering and giving deep thought in your waking life to something like music when you’re sitting in front of a computer all day is really hard to do. Crunching numbers and all that shit. At the end of the day I could say I’m making excuses and it’s about not stopping, just keeping doing it, because nothings unattainable.
RS: It’s not that we come home from work and are couch potatoes. But being able to record is hard. Every day we get home one of us has a guitar in our hand and we say let’s work on this. But living in an apartment in LA and you try recording at 7 oclock, there’s sirens and screams and “hey buddy fuck you’s” out the window.
GH: But yeah, I think in the end, the fun will be in the struggle of it all. But at the same time, as soon as we’re done with this, we’ll want to move on to something else. It’s rejuvenating to purge music, get it out, and start over almost.
On your myspace it says you sound like Power Rangers and Skip-it, can you elaborate on that?
GH: (to Ryan) Do we sound like that?
RS: It’s definitely experimental.
GH: I mean, we’re songwriters at the heart of it, but we’re also into big, maybe not big, but beats. Sweeney and I come to each other with beats a lot. Not exactly like hip-hop, but like beats with chords and progressions and all that crap.
RS: Yeah, that’s why I would say it’s definitely experimental because we don’t sit down together and write the songs all at once. We’ll come back to each other, like (to Geoff) remember that thing you played a year ago? And we’ll try to work it out. There will be times we’ll write something on a guitar, but we’ll choose to play it on a synth just to try something different and I think that’s why I like to tell people it’s experimental.
GH: Nah, it’s just classic rock.
So you guys made music for a film. How was it making music for someone else’s art and trying to put your own process into that?
RS: It’s very cool but very hard at first.
How did you do that compared to what you normally do?
GH: The process of getting the gig was our first experience ever of composing for a film. The audition was like, write us a song for this trailer and send it to us and maybe we’ll use you. That was tough. Then getting that song to where they wanted it, that was really weird. During an audition they were already giving us new versions of what they wanted.
RS: I felt like the music for us was the frame. We already had a painting, the movie, all we sort of had to do was make the frame.
GH: In that sense I think it does make it easier, but it almost makes it harder because you don’t want to ruin it and you’re always wondering “was that the right sound for right there?” There were a lot of times where I changed what instrument the note was played on to sound right. Piano ended up feeling like a pretty good fit for a lot of it.
RS: But that’s not to say that for a different movie we would have still used piano. It’s different because you have somebody else’s art to think about. Not just us.
GH: Yeah, it’s more of a team effort with film, I think. Film is like the baseball of art.
Yes, team effort indeed. So, what’s the origin of the band name?
GH: (Ryan points to Geoff) My baby! The music started as a side project to a band I was working with in Philly. It was like all of those first songs. But Hands came from, I don’t know, it’s what we use a lot, it’s what we use the most. I think I saw a Discovery channel thing about somebody getting a hand reattached.
So what instruments do you guys use?
GH: Let’s see, Banjo, guitar, bowflex, echoplex. If you’re gonna talk about one thing, I’d say it’s the echoplex. And our amps. And Ryan’s homemade guitar. Anything we feel is necessary when we come up with an idea. Sometimes Sweeney will tell me an idea for a song with an instrument we don’t even have yet.
RS: You know, live we use samplers for our drums. And that’s pretty much all of it.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Otherwise known as Caribou, Snaith is another great thing to come out of Canada (along with Michael Cera). He also released stuff under the name Manitoba a while ago, but got sued. He decided to go with Caribou permanently while on an acid trip. So here is the song Odessa.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I wish I could find a song by Pantha Du Prince online, but alas, I cannot. So I'm sharing a track from Pussy Cats by Harry Nilsson. The album was produced by John Lennon in 1974 during his "Lost Weekend" period in which he separated from Yoko and moved to California to get reckless, rowdy and drunk. The song is called Turn Out the Light. In between recording songs, Nilsson was going outside to vomit blood. Also notice the hidden message on the album cover- two block letters on either side of a rug. And here is a brief studio session between maniacs John Lennon and Phil Spector in Los Angeles. Their second day in the studio, Phil showed up dressed as a doctor complete with stethoscope, lab coat, and pistol. Nilsson was there to help with a gallon bottle of Smirnoff.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I've been sans internet and quite busy the last two days, so I've got to play catch up. I could do three songs, or I could do one really long song. It's not unreasonably long, but it could also equal three short songs. Alright enough fooling around. I've got to get back to lounging around. Here is the sprawling Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts by Bob Dylan. The omniscient wikipedia explains that "the song is known for it's complex plot and long list of characters," which is accurate. So enjoy it. If you're not satisfied, I suggest checking out Four Tet's new album There Is Love In You.