Archive | April, 2010

Whosawhatsits: talking piano

22 Apr

Still not sure what to make of this but it sure is damned interesting… and more than a little creepy. A team of german scientists (I believe) designed this contraption for the World Venice Forum. The text that its reciting is the proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court which, possibly just makes it more creepy.

I can’t help but think about how this relates to our common interaction with music itself. It’s generally believed that music says what words cant. So what happens when music can in fact say words? Thoughts?

Favorite Things: Justin Ringle of Horse Feathers

20 Apr

Dear readers, you may remember that one of my grabs on record store day was “House With No Home” by Horse Feathers.  Well, it’s been all of three days and already I’m behind in my collection, as today marks the release of the band’s eagerly anticipated third album “Thistled Spring“.  In a happy coincidence the wonderfully-talented heart of the band, Justin Ringle, recently took the time to fill us in on some of his favorite things, which easily made my day.  Enjoy all!

(PS – I highly encourage running to your favorite record store after reading this for a copy of the new album.  Trust me, it’ll be worth it)

BandBeatles
BookWise Blood [by Flannery O’Connor]
Fictional CharacterMan with no name
Colorgreen
AnimalMallard
ArtistAndrew Wyeth
MusicianAaron Copland
PoetJames Wright
President/Prime MinisterFDR
FoodMexican
Wordreticent
Article of Clothinglong sleeve buttondown shirt
Musical Termpizzicato
Childhood Toylegos
Quote” I hire people to look into my eyes and the have them kick me,” interviewer asks that’s how you get your kicks? “no, then I forgive them that’s where my kicks come in.” – Bob Dylan

Sleater Kinney is for Lovers

18 Apr

Hello out there music lovers!  If anyone has been reading the music blogs lately you may already be aware that there has been a flurry of activity with the former members of Sleater-Kinney, and more than a few rumors.  It’s been 4 years since Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss announced the indefinite hiatus.  While drummer extraordinaire Janet Weiss has hardly put down her sticks since then, there has been scare a note from the two founding members of the influential punk-rock band.  Until now.  Believe you me, there is much to be excited about and more than a few mistruths to dispel so stay with me…

Carrie Brownstein got a bulk of the rumors flying a few weeks ago when an interview with IFC had her quoted as saying: “I just started a new band after taking many much-needed years off from playing.”  and then added that Janet was also in the band.   She later clarified her comments in an interview with pitchfork (which is brilliant and worth a read) that they weren’t in a new band, but that they had in fact recorded music together with production help from Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Thao, Laura Viers) for a documentary to be released hopefully sometime this year.  Which, while not a new band with records and touring and the like, is still terribly exciting.  Ever since the hiatus I have been eagerly anticipating the musical projects that Carrie would endeavor on, and I have to say, the theme song to ThunderAnt, while great, just isn’t enough.

In addition Carrie has been hard at work writing a whip-smart blog MonitorMix on NPR.org and contributing to the iconic radio show “All Songs Considered.”  Last year she was published in the anthology “State by State: a Panoramic Portrait of America” edited by Matt Weiland and Scott Wilsey, and more recently had four of her essays included in 2009 edition of the “Best Music Writing” anthology edited by Greil Marcus.

As if that weren’t enough Ms. Brownstein has a starring role in the feature film “Some Days Are Better Than Others” directed by Matt McCormick (who also directed the Jumpers music video).  The film, which also stars former Shins member James Mercer, premeired at SXSW and it’s largely as a result of promotional interviews for this film that most of the reunion rumors started.

Corin Tucker announced earlier this week that she is currently recording a solo album to be released later this year on Kill Rock Stars.  Largely inspired by a short preformance at a benefit show in portland last year, the project is being recorded at Little Golden Book Studio in portland with fellow musicians Seth Lorinczi of Golden Bears and Sara Lund of Hungry Ghost.  Theres a great interview with her over at the Portland Mercury’s website in which she talks about what it feels like to record music again, the tone of the album, and how the new Quasi album has upped the ante.

As for specific talk of getting back together there really isn’t a ton, most of it was the indie rumor mill spinning away.  However, the few quotes that we do have are far more hopeful than they have been previously.  When asked specifically about the possibility of a SK reunion in the Mercury interview Corin responded:

“The door is open. We ended things on a hiatus so that it was always something that could happen in the future.”

Janet is quoted by CNN saying:

“Maybe someday. I’m prepared to wait awhile — when those million-dollar offers come in (smiles). It’s not going to be this polished, moneymaking machine. We’ve never been that. The reunion will be just as out of control as it always was. [But] we’re all happy where we are at the moment.”

Carrie adds to IFC:

“To get back into it we have to be in that place where we can immerse ourselves fully. I think it will happen. We have to loop around, and we’re at the far end of the circle, away from the band, but I think we will come back and revisit it. And hopefully that record will be sometime in the next five years.”

So nothing yet.  But far closer than it has seemed before.  And that, dear readers, is something.

New Crush: Foals

18 Apr

After going down the rabbit hole of the interwebs yesterday I stumbled upon a video for the new single off the forthcoming Foals album “Total Life Forever“, due out stateside on SubPop records digitally in May and fully pressed on CD and LP in June.

Now, Foals is a band that I am largely unfamiliar with.  I had heard of them before or course – it was kind of hard to fully miss the success of their debut Antidotes- though despite seeing it everywhere I somehow managed to avoid listening to it all together. Until last night.

The video for “Spanish Sahara” took me by surprise in the best possible way. First of all, it is without question a gorgeous clip, shot beautifully by the talented Dave Ma.  It’s a wonderfully understated and devastating landscape – the photographer in me just couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Plus, the music is REALLY good. I immediately found Antidotes and have been listening to it since.  Very Battles-esque, and very cerebral all peppered with those soprano guitar sounds that I can’t help but be a sucker for.  Though I have to say, what I have so far heard off of the new record is more exciting.  It seems looser, more daring.  I’m very curious to hear the whole thing, so stay tuned for the full-length review that is sure to follow it’s release.

In the meantime, enjoy the video that is responsible for this little love fest.

Record Store Day!

17 Apr

As many of you may know, today was the third annual Record Store Day.  A celebration of indie record stores everywhere and the vital role they play in the spread of both good tunes and good cheer as well as a show of appreciation for their place within the community.  For most music lovers, the record stores of our youth continue to hold a special place in our hearts.  For me Albums on the Hill, a small shop near the college campus of my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, will forever be “my store.”  The owner Andy, saw my love of music and would set me up with a pair of headphones and a rare recording or a band he thought I should hear and and was quick to put in a special order if my musical fascinations went outside the inventory of his small shop.  Shy teenager that I was I was rarely spotted around town without my heaphones on, yet everytime I walked into Andy’s shop I would dutifully pause my music and remove the apparatus from my ears, a humble sign of respect and a willingness to hear what was already playing in that musty basement.

Growing up in Boulder, a fiercely independent town, there were numerous record stores, headshops and local hangouts like coffee shops.  I think the word plethora would in fact be an accurate description.  But by the time I graduated high school there list was shrinking drastically, and today – of all those great record stores I would run off to after school – only Albums on the Hill remains. Every time I go back I get worried it’ll be the last time I get to visit that shop.

Here in NYC, I went to Generation Records, a smallish shop on thompson street with a penchant for hardcore and wonderfully snobby clerks, the store was packed as I had never seen it before.  It was a pretty great feeling.  Beer was served in plastic cups, a rotating lineup of bands were playing downstairs and it was nearly impossible to move around.  I managed to get away with a small but mighty haul of vinyl that I am currently in the process of listening to.

If you missed this day of thanks don’t fret.  The record stores participating this year will (almost) all be open tomorrow, and I would highly encourage a visit to them while you still can.  The world of digital music is not one to fear, but we would be remiss if we lost these amazing places of community and discovery.

Happy Record Store Day!

My picks of the day in case you’re curious, were:

Play, Pause, Repeat: It’s a Musical

13 Apr

Sweedish/German based band It’s a Musical are new to me but after having recently written a review of their debut record for Wears The Trousers, I have been happily humming along. Their music is enjoyable pop-twee and comes complete with a barrage of cute, lo-fi videos like this one. Fun times.

The album is called “The Music Makes Me Sick” and was released on Morr Music, those interested can read my review here.

Gleeks For Life!

12 Apr

ummm…. whoa…

That’s roughly 800 people proving once again that flash mobs are always a good time. Watch out for the guy in the blue button up and red tie. He’s my favorite.