April 29, 2005

The Inbreds- Any Sense Of Time

I neither know nor care much about the Inbreds; I think they’re Canadian, but this is all I’ve ever heard from them. And it’s very good—a solid, stomping backbeat, nicely distorted guitar and a murmur-and-yell chorus that is one of my favorites. That the song is so cryptic works for me on these days; in the middle eight when they slow down and sing “you just laugh and you call him a man” it fits perfectly, even though you have no idea what they’re talking about. The song is sad, hints at dark truths and is vaguely contemptuous. Perfect.

[buy it here]

Tindersticks- No Man In The World

There are moments on Tindersticks’ Can Our Love… album that pick up the pace, crib some tricks from soul and R’n’B, and see some tentative sunshine poking through the dourness. Not “No Man In The World.” The music is oh-so gentle as Stuart Staples mutters a soliloquy on a doomed relationship, one too fiery, “Never understood what we had / Never knew how to deal with it,” and then he suddenly starts the chorus in the middle, his rich sob choking out “Wanted you” before starting again at the beginning: “Make you feel like no man in the world wanted you / Make me feel like no woman in the world wanted me.” Dickon Hinchliffe handles the asides after a while so Staples can concentrate his inhuman voice on the raw heart of the matter. Think Darren Hayes’ “Unlovable,” but worse.

[buy it here]

Stars- Heart

After I’ve listened to music for a while, I’ve got my appetite for a great chorus back. And “Heart” has an incredible one. But I’m not forgetting what I’ve been listening to all day; the resignation in Amy Millan’s voice as she sings “All right, I can say what you want me to… I’m still in love with you,” the catch that almost halts Torquil Campbell on “You tilt your head and turn it to the setting sun,” the muted trumpet, the way “He held the flame I wasn’t born to carry / I’ll leave the dying young stuff up to you” is neither bitter nor mocking, and most of all, the utterly crushed way Campbell, near the end, starts singing “I want more / Give me more” under the chorus. Resignation and the refusal to settle in the same breath. Stars made one of the most uplifting songs I’ve heard elsewhere on this album (“Look Up”), and here on the title track they make the most comforting sad one I’m likely to hear. After this, it’s the perfect time for a nap.

[buy it here]

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (1)

April 28, 2005

Today’s mp3s are all four-minute excerpts from 12”’s from this week’s Rubber Room column, as it seemed a bit unfair to the artists to give you ˝ of their product for free. Complaints about specific tracks only being available as excerpts? E-mail me.

Golden Red- Falling Sickness

“Falling Sickness” gets the sound it’s looking for about two minutes in when it enters its second portion and the bottom falls out, only to reveal another more massive layer. I wasn’t entirely sold on how the original track is grafted back on top, until the off-beat anchors locked into place and the bass started to get even heavier. It’s not quite electro-house, but it’s damn close.

[buy things here]

Jeff Samuel- Endpoint

Let’s get straight to the point: Jeff Samuel gets straight to the emotional point with “Endpoint.” A rotating rhythmic sample and a bass drum are merely pedestrians amid the stunningly simple and stunningly evocative melody that unfolds throughout. It’s destined to be a low-key classic.

[buy things here]

Undo and Vicknoise- Sonambula

“Falling Sickness” gets the sound it’s looking for about two minutes in when it enters its second portion and the bottom falls out, only to reveal another more massive layer. I wasn’t entirely sold on how the original track is grafted back on top, until the off-beat anchors locked into place and the bass started to get even heavier. It’s not quite electro-house, but it’s damn close.

[buy things here]

Todd Burns | 8:00 am | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

Jessica Hopper is editor-in-chief of Hit It Or Quit It, a publicist, and a freelance writer. Totes visit her blog here.

Catfish Haven- Too Hungover to Headbang

Catfish Haven are local to Chicago and quietly blowing it off the framework. They are hirsute and at least one of them is at the local Kinkos pert near every time I roll up. They just signed to Fat Possum, and recorded a new EP. I like them because you can hear the Kentucky Trailer Park in George’s voice, and in person it’s more like a cross between the live version of The Band’s “the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ with this black ash touch of In Utero era Cobain howl—a ravaged weariness that a lot people pimp, but for everyone else it’s affect—with this band it’s a by-product of a Hoosier holler.

[buy things here]

Brother Reade- Friday

Brother Reade are a hip-hop duo from North Carolina that half live in LA and are on my friends seven inch label. I like them because they sound like they are from nowhere. I like that they actually rhyme and I like the production. Indie hip hop usually sounds like ass when turned up loud—my theory is it all mixed for headphones and computer speakers, cos no one bumps the shit in their car. (OK, I know one person that bumps the shit in their car) but BR sound rich and enchanting up loud, and it sounds like summer.

[buy things here]

Vitapup- Dragonfly

Vitapup, poor Vitapup. They put out one record (though I have about 6 awzum singles) on some itty bitty queer label outta upstate NY that otherwise only put out mainstream queer folk LIVE tapes. The band stuttered into the dust some time mid-late nineties and while Melissa York, the drummer, is in the Butchies, I looked and looked and could not find anything really, at all, about them. Maybe I should have been googling “ex-vitapup.” Anyhow, I saw them live once in about 1995, in a mirrorballed LA bar I had snuck into with a crappy fake ID that said I was 26 and fat, and since then, “Dragonfly” is one of my top fave songs of all time.

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (1)

April 26, 2005

Nina Simone- To Love Somebody

This month’s national anthem, courtesy of the late High Priestess of Soul. While I hold the Bee Gees’ original dear, Ms. Simone trumps them here by parsing the maudlin from the heartwrenching, filtering the latter through a strident strip of Philly soul. The result: pure magic. Ms. Simone’s smoky rhinal doesn’t dwell overlong on her words, opting instead for a literal reading that falls between anguished and regretful. And the production suits her mightily. Check out that ringing, two-note bass figure after the chorus!

[buy it here]

Yma Sumac- Shou Condor (Giant Condor)

In my household, exotica is just that, an alien style. I picked up a Mexican Yma Sumac comp for a buck at Half Price Books, having just read her name in the liners to 69 Love Songs as a singer “with a gimmick” that Stephin Merritt admired. I’m still digesting the disc, but this 1957 song made the most immediate impression. Very tastefully arranged and sung in an unusually low register for a woman who could sound like a theremin when the situation called for it. There are some really neat moments here, including Sumac’s vocal restatement of the flute theme at about the 1:18 mark and a vocal leap that sounds, for all the world, like Crass’ Eve Libertine. You can find out more here; I tried to link to the “Shou Condor” review, but the site’s creators have prevented that. Hunt for it.

[buy it here]

Scritti Politti- Absolute

After ten listens, I consider Cupid & Psyche 85 to be a quite listenable album with a couple transcendent singles. Sort of like the Adverts’ Crossing the Red Sea or Mariah Carey’s #1’s. But “Absolute”! I want to build a skating rink for this song alone. Everything hits right; from the crisp, propulsive production courtesy of Arif Mardin and SC evil genius Green Gartside, to the shiny backup singers, who get more mileage out of the words “love you” than anyone else in the history of recorded music. Sure, they’re a bit on the polished side, but that just provides the cool underline to Gartside’s “principle:/To make your heart invincible/To love.” Plus, he coins the phrase “vodka-clear”. Do you hear this too? Is this slice of crystallized New Wave magnificence the greatest song ever?

[buy it here]

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Luminfire- Ants In My Trance Vol. II

The premises for this series are simple. First off, its entries have gotta be rooted in this thing we’ve come to call “dance-punk.” Secondly, it’s meant to be very trendy and of-the-moment. Upon first hearing this set, you should dispose of it exactly one week after doing so. If you keep it around any longer, its unhip last-weekedness will start to take over and erode your stereo equipment. So handle with care. It has nothing to do with trance, per se, but it tends to maintain a steady four-on-the-floor.

01. Hell (w/ James Murphy & Tommie Sunshine) - “Tragic Picture Show” (Motor, 2003)
02. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - “Y Control (Tommie Sunshine’s ‘Brooklyn Fire’ Retouch)” (Interscope, 2005)
03. Die Fantastischen Vier - “Troy (Turntablerocker Remix)” (Four, 2004)
04. Trick Daddy (w/ Ludacris & Cee-Lo) - “Sugar (Gimme Some) (Justus Köhncke Mash by Luminfire)” (Slip-Slide, 2004; Kompakt, 2005)*
05. Supersystem - “Born Into the World” (Touch and Go, 2005)
06. Out Hud - “One Life to Leave (A Requiem)” (Kranky, 2005)
07. Roots Manuva - “Colossal Insight (Soft Pink Truth Remix)” (Big Dada, 2005)
08. Franz Ferdinand - “Dark of the Matinee (Headman Vocal Remix)” (Domino, 2004)
09. M.I.A. - “Sunshowers (Mylo Mash by Luminfire)” (XL, 2004; Breastfed, 2004)**
10. Kaos (w/ Matt Safer) - “Feel Like I Feel (Sing Along)” (!K7, 2005)
11. Daft Punk - “Robot Rock (Maximum Overdrive)” (Virgin, 2005)
12. Fannypack - “Nu Nu (Tussle Mash by Luminfire)” (Tommy Boy, 2005; Rong, 2004)***
13. Gold Chains & Sue Cie - “California Nites” (Kill Rock Stars, 2004)
14. Munk (w/ Princess Superstar & MC Seven) - “Mein Schatzi” (Gomma, 2003)
15. Annie - “Heartbeat (Phones Maximo Remix)” (679, 2005)
16. Bloc Party - “Banquet (Phones Disco Edit)” (Dim Mak, 2004)
17. Spectrum 311 - “Lying Eyes (Simian Mobile Disco Remix)” (162A, 2003)

Instrumental Sources:
* - Justus Köhncke - “Timecode (Edit)”
** - Mylo - “Otto’s Journey”
*** - Tussle - “Disco D’Oro (Radio Mix)”

[visit the website here]

Will Simmons | 8:00 am | Comments (3)

April 22, 2005

As promised, here are three tracks to serve as accompanying samplers to our Top Ten Australian Artists You Need To Hear Now. Hopefully they’ll inspire you to seek out further songs, singles and albums, or—in the case of Dallas Crane and Bird Blobs—check them out on their next OS jaunt (Mia Dyson is planning to tour at the end of the year). If swamp blues, country-tinged roots or soaring rock’n’roll are your thing, you might find a new favourite artist here. If great music is your thing, you’re sure to.

Dallas Crane- Wrong Party

Having hit a brick-wall when it came to choosing the definitive Dallas Crane song, I canvassed a cross-section of friends, fans and music experts. The results? It’s impossible to pick just one song out of their grab-bag of gems; each person seemingly settling on one favourite… Then remembering five others. But when it comes to a currently definitive track, “Wrong Party” is hard to ignore. Currently the band’s preferred set-closer, its aching build and final explosive climax brings the house down every time. It’s one of those songs that constantly reminds you why you love this particular band quite so much; there’s nothing quite like seeing a room—or a festival—full of ecstatic bodies flinging themselves around yelling, “I’ll see you in hell” as merrily as “Happy Birthday”. See you in heaven, more like.

[buy things here]

Bird Blobs- My Last Gold Dollar

The lascivious stomp of “My Last Gold Dollar” showcases the Bird Blobs in a relatively “mellow” mood, built upon layers of otherworldly guitar skronk and Jordan’s almost dub-ish bassline and rich with foreboding and portent. Never forsaking their murderous intent and love of atmosphere in favour of easier melodies or catchy choruses, Bird Blobs make “uncompromising” their middle name and create an aural fug that leaves you seemingly coated in scum, itching all over - and ready to do it all again.

[buy things here]

Mia Dyson- Parking Lots

The title track from her stunning sophomore album, “Parking Lots” is Mia Dyson at her battered, beleaguered best. Serving up her tale of a fiery relationship with a weariness that belies her youth and betrays a good-humoured knowingness, Dyson weaves a sleepily sexy mood—helped, as usual, by her near horizontal guitar-slinging that recalls everyone from Keith Richards to Bonnie Raitt and Ry Cooder (she’s a fan of them all) but, most importantly, comes out sounding just like Mia Dyson.

[buy things here]

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

Stuart Heritage is co-founder and editor of Heckler Spray, an entertainment news website with anger management issues. He is currently unsuccessfully trying to grow a beard.

You Americans have got it right. David Alexrod and Quincy Jones have produced some breathtaking work that manages to be as symphonic as it is funky. And you love them for it. Back in Britain, similar music was being recorded, but its composers are mostly celebrated by stinky-fingered record fetishists who want to spend a month’s wages on ebay trying to buy their stuff.

Roy Budd- Get Carter

Long, long ago, before Michael Caine became everyone’s favorite uncle, there was Get Carter. A nasty, dark story about revenge played out in the bleak northeast of England, it’s also Mike’s best film by quite a long way. The soundtrack helps. Roy Budd, who died in 1993, fused jazz, pop, soul and any instrument he could get his hands on to make some of the most iconic noises film has ever seen. No track proves this as much as the brooding theme tune. And yes, Sylvester Stallone did remake the movie. It was crap.

[buy things here]

The Mohawks- The Champ

Alan Hawkshaw has worked with Dusty Springfield, Serge Gainsbourg, Tom Jones and Barbara Streisand (but please don’t hold that against him). He now makes dodgy panpipe albums and theme tunes for teatime game shows for the elderly, but he used to be the daddy. He was responsible for songs like The Champ. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The whole world has sampled it. And if it’s good enough for the whole world…

[buy things here]

Syd Dale- Number One Spy

In these times of Air and Zero 7, it’s incredible that a tune like this can age so well. This could have been released yesterday, and it would be soundtracking a thousand posh chocolate bar commercials. Six Feet Under have already plundered Syd’s catalogue. Not bad for an old guy that looks like a friendly milkman.

[buy things here]

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (1)

April 20, 2005

Eddie Carlton- It Will Be Done

“I guess the climax came when Elvis showed up at our trailer one night; it was 2:00 A.M. and pouring down rain, and he’s standing in the doorway, looking like an old cowboy, rain pouring off his hat, just standing there with a loaf of bread in his hands! He told me he needed to go somewhere. ‘I need you to go with me.’ We ended up going to the house of this pharmacist back in Whitehaven that we knew.”

One of those rare tracks where the background singers are having as much fun as the lead.

[buy things here]

Hüsker Dü - I Apologize

“[Jackie Wilson] showed us a large bottle of salt tablets and then revealed his secret. Each night before a show, he’d swallow a handful of tablets, guzzle a few quarts of water, then go onstage. Once he got moving, the sweat would wash off him like rain. Soon Elvis started incorporating this trick… it depleted potassium and overtaxed the heart, but it produced one of Elvis’ favorite things: an instant result with minimal effort.”

My brother Jeff and I hold this song to be self-evident. This and “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes” by the Supremes are my favorite songs with the word “apologize” in them. Holy.

[buy things here]

Lift to Experience- Just As Was Told

“‘Yeah, all right,’ said a subdued Elvis, in Sergeant Jones’ account, and he led the soldiers in song. At the end everybody else stopped as he performed ‘Silent Night,’ singing ‘as if in a trance, totally oblivious’ to his surroundings. ‘Those going on pass didn’t interrupt. They simply walked silently by Elvis, touched his shoulder, and walked out the door. Not another word was spoken after the song until Elvis broke the spell. ‘Merry Christmas, everyone,’ he said. ‘Merry Christmas, Elvis!’ they replied in unison.’”

I guess the theme today was backing vocals, even though I get LtE’s backing vox confused with the Leslie cabinet. You still ought to hear it, despite my cloudiness.

[buy things here]

All excerpts from The Unmaking of Elvis Presley: Careless Love by Peter Guralnick.

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005

Microdisney- Singer’s Hampstead Home

From 1988’s 39 Minutes LP, which sadly was their last, on which they foresaw a slippery slide into commercialism and vapidity. Cathal Coughlan (soon to be lead singer of the much more vitriolic pope baiting Fatima Mansions) sings just the right side of a pisstake of a lazy fat blank verse singing prick while the music has that classic crisp modern 80s production that you found on Scritti Politti or Aztec Camera album tracks. Geniuses at work from Hello Rascals to here.

[buy things here]

Raekwon- Ice Cream (Instrumental)

A classic RZA beat (remember those days when you could actually say that?) from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… which like much hip-hop on inspection is just a big looped piece of smaller loops. But much more the sum of its parts the track shifts blocks of sound to the foreground while you aurally explore the background layers.

Sampled vinyl detritus provides a barely perceptible off kilter beat under RZA’s standard rhythm pattern while that shaky melody (what it is a harp or a piano? Both?) that you never tire of rolls around the rims of the track like a pacing psychopath. Unfortunately whilst this is labeled an instrumental it still contains Method Man’s silly ‘ode to the ladies’ soliloquy wrapping up the song.

[visit the website here, buy things here]

Young Tiger- I Was There (At The Coronation)

Despite the weirdness of a young Trinidadian man singing a happy song about the coronation of a Queen of an Empire that did them a lot more harm than good, this is resolutely cheery. Speaking as someone who wouldn’t bat an eye if the whole rotten British monarchy were shipped out to work on a shit shovelling farm I don’t enjoy doing a cross between a skank and the Charleston every time I hear this track.

[visit the website here, buy things here]

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005

Danko Jones and his eponymous band have a sound driven by sex, aggression, and metal that’s had success in Europe and in the burgeoning Canadian metal scene. It’s no surprise that Jones has been listening to music with some primitive power. The band’s first US release, We Sweat Blood, comes out on April 19 on Razor & Tie, and then they’ll get out on the road to show the States what they’ve been missing.

Brant Bjork- You’re Alright

If rock and roll was indeed a high school and all band members were just students in its halls, then Brant Bjork would be the coolest kid in school. From drumming in the classic “Sky Valley” and “Blues For The Red Sun” Kyuss line-ups to Fu-Manchu, Bjork has only recently started carving out a name for himself as frontman. His recent records have left people like me wondering why the hell he didn’t do this sooner. “Local Angel” is a bottle of rock pills and “You’re Alright” the ultimate rock sedative. This song relaxes the muscles, calms the nerves and soothes the soul.

[visit the website here, buy things here]

Cursed- Head Of The Baptist

You can’t describe this Hamilton/Toronto metal-core five piece without saying the F-Word and using a big exclamation mark for emphasis so…FUCK! You want heavy? This album defines the word but “Head Of The Baptist” is so heavy it’ll act like a sonic laxative, so watch what you eat before you put this on the stereo.

[visit the website here, buy things here]

Mclusky- To Hell With Good Intentions

They just broke up, but their music remains. I have to admit I didn’t really know too much about this Welsh trio until we kinda played alongside them at the Leeds and Reading festivals last year. Heavy tirades over heavy bass and drums with delicate guitar ala The Jesus Lizard. Track 8 on Mclusky Do Dallas is what Eminem would sound like if he hooked up with Rowland S. Howard and Tracy Pew.

[visit the website here, buy things here]

The styPod | 8:00 am | Comments (0)

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