July 6, 2010
It’s summertime. Let’s sing about it!
The Beach Boys | “Don’t Go Near The Water” (from Surf’s Up)
No American band has said more about the importance of catching waves and spending time at the beach than the oft-underrated/overrated/underrated again Beach Boys. In 1971, the Boys kicked off their Surf’s Up album by imploring folks to stay out of the water because of – you guessed it! – all that gross pollution. “Toothpaste and soap will make our oceans a bubble bath,” Al Jardine and Mike Love lament over an upbeat whiteboy funk groove typical of this era of the Boys’ work. Sure, they sound as naïve as they did just a few years before extolling the virtues of a surfin’ safari, but the song is damn catchy. And it’s maybe more than a little appropriate for the folks on the Gulf Coast right about now.
The Morningsides | “Summer Song” (Single)
A kind of New York supergroup, featuring members of the retro-rock band The Wowz and singer-songwriter Chris Maher, The Morningsides only have one single from 2004 to their credit, but it’s a keeper. The A-side, “Summer Song,” features the soap opera-like antics of a star-crossed couple in the verses while the chorus pays tribute to summer radio anthems, the kind that have choruses as catchy as the one featured here. The band’s sound has the same ‘60s garage rock crunch you find on a lot of Wowz songs, but the vibe is notably looser and noisier, bringing to mind Pavement. Maher’s slightly strained vocals similarly recall Stephen Malkmus but not in a way that seems slavishly copied.
April 18, 2010
Yesterday marked the third momentous Record Store Day, and for those scratching your heads trying to remember what a record store even is, it’s one of those long-standing places of business being destroyed by this internet thing (no, not those places). Many people have gotten touchy about the demise of local record stores and for three years running have reserved April 17th to do the unthinkable: going out to buy music they could easily get for free from their computer. Because sometimes to keep something you love, you have to do irrational things like getting married or respecting copyright laws.
Since many musicians grew up in such boutiques and, not to mention, appreciate the idea of people paying for their music, tons of big names help out with the festivities by issuing special vinyl records; this year is no exception, and there is a ton of great wax to collect. A few of the highlights include: a double LP of Pavement’s recent Quarantine the Past compilation that even has a different track listing (now Pavement psychos can argue which is better), a sea foam green vinyl of the Flaming Lips cover of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, a vinyl reissue of Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antarctica, the Hold Steady’s new LP Heaven is Whenever, a 12” of LCD Soundsystem’s new single “Pow Wow,” and get this, a 7” of Blur’s new single “Fool’s Day.”
All of this is pretty cool stuff, but Blur’s choice to premier “Fool’s Day” as a vinyl on Record Day is a hell of a gesture. This is the first song that the full band (including the brilliant Graham Coxon) has made in seven years, and it happens to not suck. A gritty little minor-chord chugger, it has that Blur charm of being simultaneously melancholy, a bit ragged, and damn catchy. Sure, the melody sounds a bit like the Cutting Crew’s “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight,” but hearing Coxon kick out a sweet riff at the end will make any Blur fan happy. Sadly for us Yanks, the single is only being sold in record stores in the UK, so you will have to stick to the loads of other special records made available yesterday. But if really want to hear ‘Fool’s Day’ you could always find it on, well, the internet. Yeah… that’s a little awkward…. Happy Record Day everybody!
For a list of even more special releases here’s Pitchfork’s list.
by Geoff Anstey
Watch New Video From the Twilight Sad for “Seven Years of Letters,” In Which the Band Commits a Fairly Grizzly Murder, Which I’m Not Convinced Is Entirely Fictional. Remember When the Band Was Robbed a Few Weeks Back? Could Be Revenge; Just Sayin’ [Pitchfork]
Jason Molina Feeling Worse Than Usual, Cancels Tour With Will Johnson (Which Was Supposed to Promote Their Album Together, Descriptively Titled Molina & Johnson…Now How Will Anyone Know About It? Even Molina’s Extremely Outdated Fan Site Has Nothing to Say About the Album) [Brooklyn Vegan]
Lily Allen Quitting Music For Two Years After Returning to Music After Quitting Music After Quitting Twitter After Threatening to Quit Music After Starting a Blog About Not Wanting to Do Music if People are Going to Steal Her Music; Elsewhere, I Just Downloaded a Ton of Lily Allen Illegally…Listening Party at My Place [Idolator]
Stream New Shearwater Song, “Castaways,” Which is Painfully Boring, and Much Too Vibrato-ed, Even For a Shearwater Track (But Does Feature a Daintily Keyed Piano…It’s Really Cute!); The Golden Archipelago Released February 23 [Stereogum]
Scott Kannberg, AKA Pavement’s Spiral Stairs, Negates His Own Statement That Pavement Would Never Record Another Song, Claims that New Songs Inevitable if Band Chemistry is Good; Chemical Composition of Pavement Unclear…Most Likely Includes Carbon [The Age]
Smiths Guitarist/Indie Vagabond Johnny Marr to Write Score for Film Starring Antonio Banderas and Snoop Dogg About Strippers; With a Cast Like That, How Could the Film Be Worse Than the Cribs’ Last Album? [NME]
L.A. Fuzzy Girl Pop Band Dum Dum Girls Announce Debut LP, I Will Be; Released March 30 (And Features a Track Called “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” – Who Wouldn’t Be Psyched on That) [Pitchfork]
Billboard Says New Arcade Fire Album Due Out in May; Will Most Likely Feature Veiled References to Haiti, Religion, Family…Possibly Feature Inspiration From the Boss [Billboard]
compiled by Max Sebela
November 14, 2009
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 1992, Pavement sticking their heads out of the sand for the first time, Sinead O’Connor tearing up a picture of the pope, and John Frusciante’s love of herion. For earlier installments, go here.
All eyes on Seattle in 1992, right? Warrant lead singer Jani Lane commented (after the dust had settled) that in August 1991, Warrant had stepped into the offices of Columbia Records to their hit, “Cherry Pie,” blasting from every speaker in the house, giant posters of the iconic album cover all over the place. By the time Lane and Co. made their way back into the Columbia office in Spring 1992, they were practically persona non grata: their posters had been eschewed for an equally large, but bleak poster for the new Alice in Chains album, and that band’s specific, dour sounds were pouring out of the stereo, in place of Warrant’s party rock. Times had changed, and fun dumb stuff was out. Intellectual (or at least faux-intellectual, in the case of Alice in Chains) sounds, ushered in by the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind in September 1991, were in. American pop culture had changed for the good, and things would never be the same.
It couldn’t last, though. Within just a couple of years, all of the avenues that had been opened to forward-thinking, eclectic rock groups were closed again. Prefab music came back into vogue. The watershed of rock bands who had benefited from the early 90s boom mostly failed to capitalize on their initial momentum (Sonic Youth being particularly notorious for making a slew of bad albums in the 90s), sinking back into relative obscurity. But many still remained firmly enough planted in the public consciousness to make it impossible for any new upstart scenes to come up.
More on #9: 1992
Fiery Furnaces Will Release an Album of Covers. The Covers Will All Be Covering Fiery Furnaces Songs, Meaning Fiery Furnaces Remain the Most Despicably Annoying Band in All of New York [Pitchfork]
!!!, Maserati, and Holy Ghost! Drummer Gerhardt Fuchs Passes Away, Falling to the Bottom of a Brooklyn Elevator Shaft [NY Times]
Stream L.A. Girly Girls Best Coast’s New Single “When I’m With You,” Which Could Honestly Pass For the Vivian Girls, Only More Jangly, and Less Jersey (Also, Contains Simpler Chorus Than “Be My Baby” — “When I’m With You, I Have Fun”) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Pavement Will Headline the Sasquatch! Festival in Washington; I Make Vow to Not Create Headlines Out of Pavement Headlining Festivals, as They Will Obviously Be Playing Almost Every One…Let This Sasquatch! Headline Blanket All Other Headlines [Pitchfork]
Watch Video For Blakroc (The Black Keys + MCs) Single “Ain’t Nothing Like You,” Which Is Appropriate to the Name, If the “You” They’re Referencing is a Remotely Entertaining Music Video; Also, C’mon Guys, Double Negatives Are So Not In [Prefix]
The Stooges Are Set to Record Unrecorded Material From the 70s, Which is Awesome Because Uhh…The Stooges, Fun House, and Raw Power Are Really Good Albums (Like REALLY Good!) [NME]
Thom Yorke Posts Blog Entry Against British Government’s Proposal For More Nuclear Power Plants, Under Extremely Inane Headline “Nuclear Power No Thanks;” Elsewhere, Remember When Thom Was Super Vague and Strange, and Consumed With Cartoon Cubes?…I Miss That Thom [Radiohead]
Watch the Pixies Perform Doolittle’s “Here Comes Your Man” on The Tonight Show, Which Sounds Exactly Like the Version on Doolittle, Except With Some Adult Contemporary Flourish; Speaking of the Pixies, Here’s a Free Pixies EP [NBC]
compiled by Max Sebela
Watch Oberst/Ward/James/Mogis Folk Supergroup Monsters of olk Perform With the Roots on Late Night; Experience Shock as the Four of Those Guys Approach Some Level of Danceability for the First Time in their Lives; See Oberst Hear Bass for the First Time [Prefix]
The Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew Friedberger Calls Out Radiohead for Releasing Song About WWI Veteran Harry Patch, Claiming They “Brazenly Associate” With Things Others Find “Cool;” Meanwhile, Friedberger Thought Radiohead Released the Song About Music Innovator Harry Partch, and the Fiery Furnaces Are Releasing an Album that Contains Absolutely No Music [NME]
Scottish Post-Rockers Mogwai to Release Live Album, Special Moves and Live Documentary, Burning; Expect Them to Be Abrasive, Angry, Angular, and Contain Very Little Alliteration [Pitchfork]
Sufjan Stevens Calls the “50 State Project” a Joke, Implies It Will Never Happen, Confirming What All Intelligent Fans Realized When he Didn’t Release Another Album Two Weeks After Illinois [Paste]
Strap on Your Petticoats and Climb the Parapets! The Decemberists’ Antiquated and Verbose Frontman Colin Meloy is Writing a Children’s Book, More than Appropriately Called The Unfortunate Demise of Whitley Rackham; If the Book is Anything Like the Decemberists Career, Kids Will Find it Full of Promise, But Ultimately Just Kinda Shitty [Pitchfork]
Vivian Girls Launch Record Label, World Wide Records – Begin by Releasing a Compilation by Yellow Fever, and the Debut Single from Woods/Vivian Girls Super (Only in Extremely Scenester Circles) Group Babies [Brooklyn Vegan]
Pavement to Release Collection of Radio Sessions and Outtakes “Sometime;” NME Runs Story With Headline “Pavement Planning New Album Release.” NME Remains Hotspot for Facetious, Hyperbolic, and Counterfactual Headlines, Journalism Cries [NME]
compiled by Max Sebela
UK Long-Retired, Now-Active UK Songstress Vashti Bunyan To Play One NightAt 92nd Street Y in Tribeca Tonight; Screening Her Documentary Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before Both Tonight and Tomorrow Night [Brooklyn Vegan]
Stream New Brooklyn Duo Coasting’s First Song “Coasting” (It’s Solid Garage Fuzz, With More Sprawling Guitar Than Wavves); Hopefully Their Album Will Also Be Called Coasting, And They Just Make Videos of Them Skimboarding on the Atlantic Coast [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Vampire Weekend Play a Bunch of Songs off Upcoming LP Contra (Released January 12) at London Show; NME Gives No Indication of Whether Songs Were Good or Bad, Or What They Sounded Like…I Create Vendetta Against NME For Lacking Such Opinions [NME]
The Flaming Lips To Record Track by Track Cover of Dark Side of the Moon; Only One Appropriate Joke For the Occasion: Fucking Hippies. [Pitchfork]
Ticketmaster Prints “Free Denny’s Hamburger” Coupon on Morrissey Ticket; Morrissey Vegetarian (If Meat is Murder Wasn’t Convincing Enough For You); This Writer Laughs, Animal Ethicist Peter Singer Cries (Probably; I Do Not Know The Man) [Idolator]
Jack White’s Other Garage Rock Band Dead Weather Already Halfway Through Follow-Up To This Year’s Horehound; Expecting Release Before End of 2009…I Convinced Jack White’s Business Proof That Sleeping = Optional For Human Beings [Spin]
compiled by Max Sebela
Grizzly Bear Multi-Instrumentalist (Isn’t That How You’d Have To Describe Every Member Of Grizzly Bear?) Chris Taylor Releases First Solo Single As CANT, Called “Ghosts;” Stream It Here – Sounds Like Yellow House [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Pavement Drummer Bob Nastovich Says There Will Be No New Material During Next Year’s Reunion Tour; Somehow, Nastovich Manages To Come Off As Apathetic As a 15 Year Old Pavement Fan Circa 1996 [The Quietus]
Broken Social Scene and Stars To Play 2010 Vancouver Olympics; International Musicians Like Wilco (HA!) and Iron & Wine (HAHA!) Also On the Bill – U.S. and Canada Being Independent Nations Realized For First Time; In Canada, Wilco = Exotic [Stereogum]
Tom Waits Announces Live Album Documenting Last Year’s “Glitter and Doom” Tour; First Disc: 16 Tracks. Second Disc: An Hour of Edited Together “Between Song” Banter, Which, Knowing Waits, Will Be Incredibly Unsettling; Released November 24 [NME]
Pete Doherty Hospitalized With Breathing Problems; Cancels Irish tour – Coincidentally, Heroin Causes Physical Damage [Prefix]
So You Already Own Some of Elvis’s Hair, But Want To Complete The “King of…” Collection? Well, Have a Single £1,000 Strand of Michael Jackson’s Hair. Elsewhere, I Stalk “King of Country” George Strait Around With a Pair of Scissors, Hoping to Retire Early [Idolator]
Stream Outkast’s (Better?) Hal Big Boi’s “Shine Blockas;” The Uber-Anticipated Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty To Be Released Sometime This Year (Will Detox Be The Only Uber-Anticpated Rap Album Left Standing By the End of 2009? (Yes)) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
compiled by Max Sebela