EZ Archive can suck it right now. Seriously. I just spent 45 minutes fixing links and uploading new songs and the hotlinks they gave me to post on the blog are only for 4 seconds of the songs. WHAT THE CRAP. This weeks assignments continue to work (on my server), while the remainder of them say they're fixed, but they're not yet. Keep checking back. I have Halloween stuff to prepare for!


Hotsignments 10.30

1. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - I am Warm and Powerful - This band might change your life. Ok, maybe that's an overstatement. Or maybe it's not. Another in a long list of stellar acts on Polyvinyl Records, this entry is playful and melodic and mature and all the things I love in a song. [from Broom|buy]

2. Copeland - Love Affair - Plainly said, I love this song. I love the feel of it, the step-down of the chorus, the lyrics, the musicbox piano, the strings, the muted trumpet solo at the end. Just a swelling and beautiful song. [from Eat, Sleep, Repeat|buy]

3. Bowerbirds - In Our Talons - As both the band name and song title would suggest, this song is for the birds. And with the tapping and "dee-dee"ing, you might believe it. Beyond that is a mighty peculiar, yet entertaining song. Accordions are a-heaving. [from Danger at Sea|buy]

4. J.Tillman - Crooked Roof - This song is medicine for most any ailment I can come up with. It calls to mind the very best of Beck's soothing ballads, but mostly it's just a really well-conceived song sung by a very talented artist. [from Minor Works|buy]


A Slippery Slope

When I find a stellar band (like today's featured band The Slip) or artist (John Mayer, anyone?) who has dropped out of Boston's Berklee College of Music and succeeded anyway, I always have to wonder if anyone ever actually graduates that place. And if they do, what happens? If you actually finish there, does that mean you weren't good enough to drop out and get famous earlier? Food for thought I suppose. The Slip are another one of those loose-yet-cohesive bands with really inventive and lush music. "Airplane/Primitive" reminds me of The New Radicals (remember them? great band) in a good way. I hear slivers of the most approachable Dismemberment Plan and The Secret Machines in "Even Rats." Enjoy.

Even Rats
[from Eisenhower|buy]

*testing a new hosting option. let me know what you think*


+/- (plus/minus) builds a fire.

+/-(plus/minus)' record finally dropped in the US yesterday and it's really "the hot." I first heard of the band a few years ago thanks to 3hive.com's feature on them. "I've Been Lost" and "Ventriloquist" became two of my favorite songs of that year. They were quirky and abstract, but intensely interesting, listenable and filled with hooks. The dynamics just blew me away. Their followup just wasn't as impressive, however, and they fell off my map after contributing just those two songs to my musical family tree. With Let's Build a Fire (absolutely kosher records), this brooklyn indie rock trio is set to reclaim the promise of their debut. I usually decribe them as being similar to Deathcab for Cutie, but more experimental. Decide for yourself.

The Important Thing is Love
[from Let's Build a Fire|buy]

*links fixed 10.31*


the Leak: Damien Rice / The Shins

This is gonna be quick and dirty. How quick and dirty, you ask?

The Shins - Turn On Me [from Wincing the Night Away, out Jan 2007]
Damien Rice - The Rat Within the Grain [from 9 Crimes, out Nov 20th]

*DR link fixed 10.31*


Mondays make the world go 'round.

1. David Condos - The Ache - Suppose I told you that this polished Nashville singer sounded like Jeff Buckley and Chris Martin with a dash of John Mayer arrangement thrown in for kicks, is that something you'd be interested in? [from Smoking City|buy]

2. Annuals - Dry Clothes - I've saved this one for awhile. Today just felt like the day. It's loose and swelling, but somehow focused. Shades of Polyphonic Spree, weirder Sufjan, and Grizzly Bear. Really just a cool song in general. [from Be He Me|buy]

3. Beirut - The Canals of Our City - I love the melody to this song, as well as the ukelele and the horn arrangement that sounds ancient. It feels like the soundtrack to a gladiator awards ceremony or something. Not American Gladiator, Roman Gladiator. [from Gulag Orkestar|buy]

4. Woolly Leaves - People and the Planets - Will Kidman plays keyboards for the Constantines, and this is his acoustic side project. The first few seconds I heard sounded like it was recorded slightly out of tune, but I decided that I liked it eventually. The male/female vox just intoxicate me for some reason. Overall, just a lazy Monday afternoon kind of song. [from Quiet Waters]

*links fixed 10.31*


Chicks rock.

Kind of. These chicks rock in the figurative kind of way, not necessarily the rock hand sign in the air kind of way. They just bring different things to the table is all. There's something to be said about the female voice. It just has this air of difference, sometimes of vulnerability, sometimes of delicacy. It can run the gamut of course, but mostly it's just something special. These two female voices have something. I'm not sure what it is, but it's nice and I like it. Especially after 3 in the morning. Happy now? ;)

Lowood - Walking Dead
[from Klar Demos|buy]
Jennifer O'Connor - Tonight We Ride
[from Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars|buy]

*links fixed 10.31*


Hayden 1, Everyone Else 0.

Hayden was the first musician to reap the benefits of the blogosphere as it relates to myself. I started surfing, I saw a song by a guy I'd never heard of as he covered a band I'd never heard of and I loved it. So I bought the record. And it's really great. Tinged with acoustic, soothing falsettos, and the kind of lazy emotive vocals (a la Beck) that make for a unique calming experience.
Dynamite Walls
Bass Song
[from Skyscraper National Park|buy]


Albert Hammond makes good.

I'm nowhere near the first to blog about Albert Hammond Jr, nor will I be the last. That's what happens when you're a member of a larger-than-life hipster band like the Strokes. My friend Alex is a huge fan of the Strokes so I'm pretty sure he'll take issue with me when I say that I prefer Mr. Hammond Jr here. The Strokes may have had higher highs (back in the day), but this album is solid. It's immediately familiar, a little more approachable, like Is This It-era Strokes with more pleasant vocals. Do with that what you will.

In Transit
[from Yours to Keep (out Oct. 24)|buy]



1. The Decemberists - After the Bombs - I'll echo the sentiments of pretty much everyone I know who has heard this bonus track by saying "THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE RECORD." The most important reason being that it's probably one of the best things they've ever written and fits with the theme of the album to perfection. The second most important reason being the most incredible organ solo at about 3:17 to ...well, about 4:26. I could pretty much listen to that 1:09 on repeat from now until the day I die and be completely content. [from The Crane Wife | buy]

2. Pink Nasty - BTK Blues - This girl is just weird. Good weird, but definitely weird. This song is about the BTK killer. It's pretty, so there's that. And tongue-in-cheek about being afraid (and not afraid) of being killed by this killer. So there's also that. That and her brother Black Nasty is...weird on a whole nother level. But this song just sticks with me somehow. [from Mold the Gold | buy]

3. Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio - If you're unfamiliar with Mark Kozalek/The Red House Painters/ Sun Kil Moon, this will be an introduction. If you're in the know, you can just close your eyes and get taken someplace only you remember. It's a sad sounding memory, but reverent at the same time. Mark can't sing it any other way. [from Ghosts of the Great Highway | buy]

4. Jeremy Enigk - Burn - World Waits finally came out today and this song is the one that's hit me the most (so far). And since I've already blogged about his AOL interface session, I felt it unfair to highlight this album with its own blog so recent to the original posting. Therefore, this track gets assigned and that's the last you'll hear from me about Jeremy for awhile. Hopefully it'll make enough of an impression to tide you over. [from World Waits | buy]

*links fixed 10.31*


Athletic Ability

Some bands have a weird gift to combine a normal sounding chord progression and a normal sounding melody into this totally sparkling pop hook. Athlete is one of those bands. Sometimes they try too hard, contributing to their occasional downfall, but when they just go with it, they'll churn out a really great catchy tune. Tourist topped the British charts in only the second week of its release. They'll throw you some curveballs too. ie: yelling "chorus" before the chorus on "Westside", atonal feedback on "Tourist" and random sounds across both records. I like that.

Westside [from Vehicles and Animals| buy]
Tourist [from Tourist| buy]



This has 3 million views on youtube, so for all I know you have already seen this, but I found it fascinating.

Noah takes a picture of himself everyday for 6 years.

DCFC tonight; Ben Gibbard acoustic tracks

Forgive me for being ridiculously lubed to see Deathcab for Cutie tonight. I've got a hot date and I'm listening to Ben Gibbard acoustic gems to get in the mood. There's nothing new I could tell you about DCFC, so I won't attempt. Suffice it to say that unless you're seeing this tour, you should be very very jealous.

Title Track (live acoustic on KEXP)
A Lack of Color (live acoustic at the Bowery Ballroom 1.10.06)


Infinite Math

There are a lot of good things to say about MuteMath: they sound like the police, if the police could have existed post-radiohead and been inspired by that electronic element; the lead singer plays a keytar; an apparently incredible live show; cool name; etc. They know how to dress, their album art looks sweet, they're on Warner Bros. What's not to like? Well, honestly the lyrics can be a little bland. There are a few songs that are good, but just lack...it? I don't know. I'm sure it's just me. I finally picked up the full album yesterday (it was only available at shows for the last 7 months due to a dispute with their label, which is now resolved) and I'm glad I did. The great songs far outweigh the filler and there are some nice pace-breaking instrumentals that have enough legs to stand on their own. I'm highlighting one of each.

Break the Same
[buy MuteMath]


The Dismemberment Plan is terrified.

If all goes as planned, this will be the first of three in a mini themed series, though they probably won't be back to back to back. The Dismemberment Plan (RIP) was hugely instrumental (I made a pun!) in shaping my musical psyche. If everything I'd ever heard was inside a box, when I first heard the d-plan, the box tore at one of the seams. Despite inspiring a legion of followers, this equation hasn't quite been equalled. (The last two portions of this "series" will be two that come close in their own ways: So Many Dynamos and Philip Uster and the House Floor.)

This is avant garde, it's harmonic.
It's a memory, it's a dream, it's a seizure.
This is the Dismemberment Plan.

Following Through
The Other Side
[buy Change]

Other DP essentials: Time Bomb, The City, You Are Invited, Superpowers, The Face of the Earth.


10.9 Listening Assignments

1. Blitzen Trapper - Summertwin - Ah, blessed obscurity, you allow bands like this to make their noise with noone watching to the benefit of everyone. Apollo Sunshine would be proud of these Portland, OR boys who employ some beachboy-esque harmonies and some entirely weird sounds that end up working really well. Listen for what sounds like a coach's whistle high in the mix on multiple occasions. Cracks me up every time. [buy Field Rexx]

2. Badly Drawn Boy - Once Around the Block - If you have a pulse, this should have you swaying ever so slightly. This multi-instrumental Britpop gets arrangement comparisons to Elliott Smith, but oozes hope and creativity. Some really great guitar tones on this one. [buy The Hour of the Wilderbeast]

3. Josh Ritter - Harbortown - The perfect choice of vocal reverb on this one takes it to another, more intimate level. He's on stage, you're 5 feet away, but the entire place is empty otherwise. His voice bounces faintly around the corners of the room and you can tell he's singing without thinking. His eyes are closed and he's there, his mouth the door between the memory and the moment. [buy Girl in the War EP (itunes only)]

4. What Made Milwaukee Famous - The Jeopardy of Contentment - This isn't the first WMMF song to make the assignments and I can't promise it'll be the last, but I can promise if you like these songs, you'll love the record. 12 pop gems, for rizzle my brizzles. [buy Trying to Never Catch Up]


New Music: Beck/The Decemberists

beck | thedecemberists

1. Beck - The Information

Despite glowing reviews from noted Beck-heads about this album, I'm going to need more time with it before I come to a conclusion on my own. I will say this: some of it annoys me and some of it is same ol' same ol'. I will also say this: some of it is grand. That do anything for you? These two belong in the latter.

Soldier Jane
Think I'm In Love

[buy The Information]

2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

This one is definitely growing on me. I first got it maybe two months ago, gave it a once over, and shelved it until its official release so I could revisit it. I'm glad I took that time off. Because I'd listened to it before, I was already inoculated, the songs sound immediately familiar and new at the same time. In fact, I'm going to proffer that I like this better than Picaresque. It just seems more accessible (which makes sense for a major release) and I definitely view that as a good thing in this case. I don't know how well it will do commercially, but I think it'll clean up on the indie scene and gain a bunch of new fans. This is a good thing.

O Valencia

[buy The Crane Wife]


Let's go for #3: The Last Kiss

No, I don't plan on seeing The Last Kiss. Not in theatres anyway. Why? Because espn.com's Bill Simmons is one of my favorite writers and I agree with him about 90% of the time. His review of the movie (in comparison to the gawdawful 2006 Oakland Raiders) is really all I need to know. Here it is pasted in all its glory:

"Confession time: The Sports Gal dragged me to see "The Last Kiss" this week under the "you make me watch sports for 365 days a year, I ask you to take me to one movie per year" corollary. I didn't know anything about it other than it looked like "Garden State 2," which I wasn't sure was a good thing or a bad thing. Well, it turned out to be a profoundly unhappy movie that will leave you almost in disbelief the entire time that anyone would make a movie so depressing. It's about as uplifting as the sex scene from "Requiem For a Dream," only if you threw in Starbucks music, some intermittent screaming and Zach Braff looking secretly pissed off the director isn't listening to him.

Midway through the 20th straight scene where two people were yelling at one another, I pulled the straw out of the Sports Gal's soda, then pretended to start slitting my wrists with it. She started laughing and a couple of people turned around and gave us nasty looks, because God forbid we were interrupting such a powerfully crappy movie. That pissed me off -- that other people were pissed off, because there's no way in hell anyone should like this movie -- so I spent the rest of the movie mimicking various suicide attempts, with my favorite one being the "open a bottle of pills, turn them over, pour them out, then stuff a bunch of them in your mouth" routine. Let's see them put this blurb on the movie poster.

Here's why I'm telling you this: I'm not sure what will end up being a more depressing DVD release -- "The Last Kiss," or the Raiders' 2006 team video. Probably depends on the number of Imogen Heap songs. But I really don't want you to see the "Last Kiss," and I really, really, REALLY don't want you to wager on the 2006 Raiders. Not ever."

Amanda is apparently seeing it this weekend. Maybe she'll disagree so we can debate.

Who does #2 work for?

Two posts today! This is the fun one.

1. This clip is comedy gold, I'm telling you. I can't believe this show was ever cancelled and I can't believe John Mayer himself thought it was crap. Just listen for the "You'll get there when you sell out" quote. Classic.

2. If I could have anything I wanted in the world, this is probably in the top 3. A LEGO-ice tray!?? Sign me up!

3. In case you were ever curious, you can translate anything into "jive" at Gizoogle.com. Has to be seen to be believed.

4. Second only to the LEGO ice cubes, this is mankind's finest achievement of today. I could sure go for a duder* right now. Anytime, really.

*Lebowski for "white russian"

5. YESSSSSS. A new Christopher Guest [Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, etc] movie is coming out this November!!! For Your Consideration. Watch the amazing preview.

6. If one of your favorite breweries decided to cash in on an obvious pun, would you be as tempted to buy it as I am of this? You get one clue, the brewery is Magic Hat. Purely for novelty, I assure you.

The Frog Prince Returns: Jeremy Enigk

To anyone who's listened to independent music for any significant amount of time, Jeremy Enigk is a hallowed name. As the lead singer for Sunny Day Real Estate, he became a beacon in the movement towards a genre of music that combined emotion with an epic pop sensibility. The band's breakup left many in shock and many more with holes that might not even be filled to this day. That's how crazy people were for SDRE. In the meantime, he's released a solo album [Return of the Frog Queen, 1996] and an amazing album with The Fire Theft [s/t, 2003]. With fans chomping at the bit, he's finally set to release another solo album [World Waits, due October 17|buy]. As the album title suggests, the world has been waiting, but sometimes waiting makes the payoff just that much sweeter. There are some really great tracks on this one.

Recently, Jeremy stopped by AOL's The Interface to play 5 songs and do an interview (all of which is amazing). These two tracks are from that session.

World Waits
How it Feels to be Something On (SDRE cover)


Copeland Eats, Sleeps, Repeats.

Copeland's Beneath Medicine Tree is an album that changed the way I listened to music and therefore set impossibly high expectations for the followup In Motion. The latter, produced by Matt Goldman and mixed by Ken Andrews, was written off by many fans of BMT and I'm not really sure why. It's not as heartbroken, perhaps. There are definitely some soaring moments of awesome on In Motion. Still, some high profile touring and downtime has again ramped up the expectations of this Florida band. With Eat, Sleep, Repeat out October 31, I think they'll come through in a big way. Much of it is a more mature revisit of the style that made them famous in the first place. Beautiful ballads written from the heart and catchy hook-filled powerpop. Enjoy.

When You Thought You'd Never Stand Out
Eat, Sleep, Repeat
[from Eat, Sleep, Repeat|The Militia Group 2006|pre-order]


Isafari, yousafari, WESAFARI.

It's time to revisit Wesafari for the following reasons: 1. It's always time to revisit Wesafari. 2. It's been nearly 1.75 years since the release of this amazing record Alaska. 3. They are not yet a global phenomenon and should be.

Records like this one do not fall off trees. Unfortunately, they also do not fly off record store shelves (mostly because you can't find it on the East Coast, to my knowledge). Entirely self-produced and distributed, Wesafari is relatively unknown in their own hometown of Seattle, the natives distracted by other Pacific Northwest heavyweights like The Decemberists, Deathcab for Cutie, The Shins, etc. They are the underdogs with no expectations. In near obscurity, they crafted this stellar collection of sounds, samples, and hooks into an album that has easily breached my all-time top 20. Now all they need is a follow-up.

Listen: [from Alaska|OpAmp Records 2005|buy]
Shooting Stars
Whale Boy
From Glacier to Sea


Listening Assignments 10.2.06

1. Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers - Yo La Tengo is one of those "essential" "old school" "untouchable" indie rock bands that people in their late 20's/early 30's will swear by and refuse to listen to anything else. Truth be told, I was never sold on them. Could have been a case of always hearing the wrong song and losing interest. When I first heard this song, I didn't know who it was, I just knew it was really great. It sounds like the Polyphonic Spree if it were a little more focused (a good thing, I think). All in all, really strong and really pleasant. [buy]

2. William Elliott Whitmore - Dry - In my opinion, this song contains everything necessary to make a perfect blues-folk song. Banjo, a voice that sounds like it has lived everything it's singing, lots of verses, and great lyrics. This just feels real. This is what it's all about."..and the ground's so dry, the river's on its hands and knees."[buy]

3. The Postmarks - Goodbye - This song gets better every second it's playing, from the beginning to the end. I love when songs do that. This is more Belle then Sebastian and even has hints that remind me of early Smiths. It makes me look outside and notice how pretty the branches are as they blow in the breeze. [out January 2007]

4. Mark Martucci - Pin the Cat - I'm sure Mark would hate this because he probably gets it a lot, but this sounds like Figure 8-era Elliott Smith. The happy times. What that means, specifically, is that it rules.[visit]

a minor delay.

well, EZarchive is sucking right now so assignments will have to wait a few hours.



Happiness > Sleep

So I've gone back and forth on this a few times now. I caught Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep opening night in Richmond with the beautiful Amy. For those of you under a rock, Gondry directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Many visual similarities exist between the two. It really was a beautiful film, fresh, and at some points just awe-inspiring really. Likeable characters, off the wall humor that worked, multiple languages and fun with subtitles, a plinky and pleasant soundtrack (though nothing close to Eternal Sunshine-esque). My only issue was the continuity of the plot, as lines between fantasy and reality blur, it just ends up getting really muddied. It was really a beautiful film, I just find myself wishing it had been more cohesive at the end. If it had, this would have been a grand slam home run instead of a triple. Go see it.

Two songs today. The first is from the film score, an adaptation of an old Velvet Underground tune called "After Hours". It's been altered a little, sauced up with a hopswaying beat and multiple voices. It makes me smile.

"If You Rescue Me"

The second is a track by the movie's co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg (daughter of famed musician Serge Gainsbourg). She's a musician in her own right, this song co-written and produced by Air. It's tasty.

"The Song that We Sing"