The process of Moving

Tomorrow I'll be packing all my things and closing the door to 3837 Lampl Ave for the last time and it makes me sad. Right now, I'm sitting amidst a room full of things piled about on every surface, the huge deconstruction before re-assembly into small boxes that represent my earthly possessions. I'm going to miss this place. We had some pretty amazing memories here.

Hayden - All In One Move
Ben Kweller - I Gotta Move
The Rocket Summer - Move to the Other Side of the Block


1. Grizzly Bear - Easier - Easily one of the best albums of 2006, this is a masterpiece of arrangement and beautiful psychedelia. This is the soundtrack for my favorite dream. [from Yellow House|buy]

2. The Morning Benders - I Was Wrong - Who says channeling the Shins is a bad thing? It sounds like a male-fronted Eames Era. It even reminds me instrumentally of one of the up-tempo gems on Elliott Smith's Figure 8 and XO. That means it's playful and immediately enjoyable. [from Loose Change|buy]

3. Stars of Track and Field - Movies of Antarctica - And now onto the epic, fringe-mainstream rock. The sound is big enough to be mistaken for Snow Patrol and hey, I like the cover art. [from Centuries Before Love and War|buy]

4. Foo Fighters - Walking After You - This entire live acoustic album is surprisingly strong, but I chose to run away from the obvious choices like Hero, Everlong, etc, and towards a song I always loved, but hadn't heard in years until last Friday night while sitting next to the most beautiful girl in the room. I thought it was fitting. [from Skin and Bones|buy]


Way to go Idaho!

Jeff Martin has been Idaho for quite some time. Since 1992 in fact. I was 10 years old when he started making this beautiful music with a few friends as a studio project. As surprising as Idaho's longevity is that they actually flirted with a few moments of fleeting fame over the time. Critics have loved this band since its inception: Pitchfork (1997), Alternative Press (1995), Billboard Magazine (2001), The New Yorker (2000), and Village Voice (2006). Along with Red House Painters (Mark Kozalek), Martin pioneered the slowcore movement of the early '90s and somehow remains, a dinosaur composing the same timeless pop and angst-tinged burners. He deserves a new wave of listeners.

Just Might Run [from The Lone Gunman]
Wandering the Fields [from Levitate]
To Be The One [from Vieux Carré]
[buy Idaho @ Retrophonic]


Thanksgiving with Sufjan

50 Things I'm Thankful For:
1. Amy Joy Bulgrien
2. Cottonwood Brewery (Boone, NC). Low Down Brown. Endo IPA. Scottish Style Ale. The Best Pumpkin Beer in America.
3. Jay's Delicatessen.
4. Magic Hat #9, the not-quite-pale-ale
5. I Love Lampl, I will miss you.
6. Sufjan Stevens

7. Wolverine [from the vinyl LP Greetings from Michigan...]
8. Borderline [from Comes with a Smile: Hope isn't a Word]
9. Sister Winter [from Peace: Vol. 5]
10. Chuck Palahniuk. For making it impossible to choose a favorite.
11. Hot Coffee on a cold morning
12. My brother, serving in Iraq.
13. The privilege of being American.
14. Sodoku. Curveball. Liquitex. New Addictions in General.
15. A Blank Canvas
16. Barsuk, Polyvinyl, and Sub Pop Records
17. Cogan's Pizza: It's a love/hate thing
18. Relative Theory Records.
19. My brothers in rock, The Editorial We
20. Alpha Music
21. Threadless.com
22. My amazing friends and family
23. Demo Jail
24. Mashed Potatoes
25. Whole Cranberry Sauce
26. Top 10 Lists
27. The Mix CD
28. Acoustic Instruments
29. Recycling
30. Living and Learning
31. American Football
32. Rivalry Games
33. Freedom of Speech
34. A good debate
35. Mutual Admiration Society
36. Seattle, Portland, Ghent.
37. High Fidelity, Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Kaufman.
38. Pro-tools, for allowing anyone to pursue what they love in music.
39. String Arrangements
40. 4-part Harmonies
41. Photo Albums
42. March Madness
43. linesthroughlines
44. fark.com
45. The tremendous blessings I've been given through no act of my own.
46. The evolution of the independent film.
47. Conspiracy Theories
48. Elbo.ws and the Hype Machine
49. The smell and feel of Fresh laundry
50. My sheets, my bed, my dreams.


Damien Rice - 9

When I listen to Damien Rice, a few things happen. One, I get a fierce desire to drink hot coffee in front of a huge bay window looking out on a garden that is being furiously rained on. And sometimes, I want to hug my knees to my chest and rock back and forth with my eyes closed, perhaps even with tears trickling hot down my face. There's something pained in his voice, intentional or not, and something wistful in his solitary piano that flashes snapshots of the sad and happy moments of my life back to back to back on the insides of my shut eyelids. Maybe you know what I'm talking about. Here's a reminder.

Accidental Babies
Me, My Yoke, and I
[from 9|buy]
*switched hosting so you don't fry my bandwidth for the month*


Listening Assignments 11.20.06!!

1. Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground - Hey Momma - Awww, this song is precious. I do adore me some whimsy! Muted trumpets, clarinets, and tacked pianos! I also find it humorous that it's only available on cassette even though it's brand new. So you could totally pop this in the '89 Escort and smile-bop down Colley Ave.[from s/t cassette EP|buy]

2. Gotye - Learnalilgivinanlovin - This soul swinging throwback is as infectious as ebola, but instead of liquefying your internal organs, it just might transform them into sunflowers. I couldn't be happier that music like this is still being made. [from Like Drawing Blood|buy]

3. Brand New - Sowing Season (Yeah) - This is home to one of the best rock guitar riffs of the year, but not until 1:05. Hey, no fast forwarding! It ebbs and flows like a living thing. Additionally, this is one of the most anticipated records of the year on the indie front. [from The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me|buy]

4. Jeff Buckley - Calling You - My heart weeps when I hear this song. His voice carries such amazing things, it's a shame he will never sing another note. I'm grateful songs like this were left behind. RIP. [from Live at Sin-E|buy]


Shapiro is not alone.

I'm a musician, talented in my own right. I like what I do, other people seem to as well, and it's honestly an honor when people clap their hands. But I can say this: I'm constantly in awe of the talent my friends possess. It blows me away that people like The House Floor, So Many Dynamos, Mae, The Rebel Yell, Far-Less, and today's band Shapiro know my name. The mutual admiration society is a blessed place. These boys hail from Harrisonburg, VA, but probably not for long. Their Ben Folds meets the Beatles meets The Postal Service meets the Flaming Lips style of rock is infectious and inspiring. I've seen entire audiences converted by their energy and chemistry. For you VA natives, they are playing with Anathallo in Charlottesville on Nov 29th.

I Do
[from You Are Alone EP|buy]


Scatteredtrees stand tall.

This post has been over a year in the making because this band is still criminally unknown and undistributed. Scatteredtrees, like many great bands these days (mae, the format), began as a studio project. Everything essentially boils down to the flaxen-voiced Nathan Eiesland, a native of tiny Brainerd, MN (made famous in Fargo). He wrote a song each month for 10 months of the year and enlisted some friends to help record it back in 2005. I caught wind of it and was immediately hooked. Alas, I tired of streaming the songs and the record wasn't (and still isn't) available in stores anywhere. Over time, the project would morph to include a live band, move their home base to Chicago and record their first serious full length album in Minneapolis, MN. The new songs would become Song for My Grandfather (released August 2006), a beautiful album of with lush acoustic guitars, female vocal accompaniment, and crammed full of pop hooks. RIYL: Jimmy Eat World, Copeland. Picking three songs to highlight was nigh-impossible, but here they are.

Most Beautiful Song
Where We've Already Gone
Hear You Say
[from Song for My Grandfather|buy $10, free shipping]



I love that picture. So classic.

1. For any regular blog-readers/Grey's Anatomy watchers, I feel extremely tickled that I correctly predicted Ingrid Michaelson's "Breakable" (from the 11.6 assignments) to appear on the show over two weeks before it happened. This is the least heterosexual statement I will make today.

2. I'm obsessed with this game. I have no idea why.

3. Easily one of the worst music videos of all time.

4. I'm not going to post any new music today because I'm getting IMs about The House Floor at record pace. Pass the good word.

5. This site will provide those of you with a cunning wit pretty much endless amounts of mirth and merriment.

6. Forgive me, but this one is for the boys.


Philip Uster and the House Floor

It is with great pleasure that I am privileged today to introduce to the world one of my favorite bands. Philip Uster and the House Floor, welcome to office. Part 3 of the noisepop series (dismemberment plan, so many dynamos) leads us to this Blacksburg, VA quintet poised to make some serious noise in the indie music community in the upcoming new year. Continuing the traditions of the late greats Q and Not U (but catchier) and Dismemberment Plan (but dancier), the House Floor step into a room all their own where they can shake it in the mirror like no one is watching. People are starting to watch, however. In 6 short weeks and despite playing outside of their hometown only a small handful of times, the boys have topped 10,000 plays on their myspace page. This music feels like the start of the fire. They've got the lighters. You're the fuel.

Rebel Eyes
Or Violence
[from The House Floor EP|be their friend on myspace]


Just Bust a Move (2 of 2)

3. Brand New School
Hip-hop is a living, breathing genre, always in flux. Every second, it's getting blingier, dirtier, more crunk, or all three. In music stores all across the country, there are young MC's in the keyboards section, hitting the demo buttons, and flowing along like pros. These three are a drop in the bucket, but a testament to the breadth of the genre.

El-P - Everything Must Go
The Game (feat. Kanye West) - Wouldn't Get Far
Nicolay - I Am The Man

4. The DJ
The DJ has always impressed me because unlike the orgy that can spring forth in modern rap/hiphop, their craft is very much one on one. They possess the innate ability to hear the beat in anything and crank it up. They are the epitome of the artist/producer, pulling double duty on stage without the aide of vocals or a band. Two turntables and a microphone. Word.

Kid Koala - Skanky Panky
RJD2 - Ghostwriter

Just Bust a Move (1 of 2)

1. Old Skool
Hip hop has always done the same thing because it works. Taking riffs from other people, adding beats and waxing poetic on any of a variety of subjects. We love hearing the old stuff, or stuff that sounds old anyway. These two gems are old enough that they're being sampled for new raps. I wish I could say "I loved this when...". Instead, I get to say "I love this now."

Souls of Mischief - 93 til Infinity
Goodie Mob - Soul Food

2. Mashups
To my knowledge, the mashup concept is pretty fresh. After Danger Mouse mixed together Jay-Z and the Beatles for the Grey Album, the genre leaped to the mainstream. It's everywhere now, an unfortunate side effect of popularity, but these two stand out. Car Stereo (Wars) are probably the most consistent of the mashup artists I've heard overall.

Fort Minor/Bloc Party - Apathy/Banquet
Car Stereo(Wars) - Ghostfaced Observatory

stay tuned tomorrow for part 2...the brand new school and dj action.


Monday! Assignments! 11.13!

1. Regina Spektor - Chemo Limo - Let's put it this way, there's not much I can say about Regina that I haven't before. She defies genre. I feel confident she spent some time trapped in a world of angels singing and writing poetry, but she stole ones songbook and escaped back to the world of the living and unleashed tracks like this one. [from Soviet Kitch|buy]

2. +/- {plus/minus} - One Day You'll Be There - This band keeps showing up because they keep bending the perception of acceptable indie rock. Somehow they manage to have an entire song where the guitars only exist in 2 second clips and only meet for about 20 seconds. Somehow this totally works for me. [from Let's Build a Fire|buy]

3. Jose Gonzalez - Hand on Your Heart - It's hard to be distinguishable from a thousand other musicians with only a voice and a classical guitar, but this gentleman consistently does it. His voice draws you in, his steady picking lulling you into a dream. [from Stay in the Shade EP|buy]

4. Nina Nastasia - Counting Up Your Bones - On the third listen to this, it really started hitting home. The melody builds and falls tinged with forlorn sighs. It sounds like a song written for right about now, when the leaves are all turned, the icy wind whipping around corners and whispering through the trees above your head. [from On Leaving|buy]


Dynamos Dynamos Dynamos Dynamos

Forwards and backwards, they are the same: So Many Dynamos. They aren't afraid to put their thangs down, flip them, and/or reverse them. Honestly, after reading their bio off their myspace page, I realize that anything I write will be completely put to shame. Regardless, I feel it necessary to proclaim that I saw Dynamos and Deathcab for Cutie in the same week and it made a lot of other weeks I've been alive seem pretty trivial. These St. Louis boys bring the angular dance pop like few others do. It's a little Dismemberment Plan, a little Minus the Bear, a little hiccup in your step. There are few bands I'd be as proud to say they've slept in my house, they've eaten my food, and they are truly righteous dudes.

When We Were Machines
Let's Laugh About it Later
[from When I Explode|buy]
Inventing Gears
[from Flashlights|buy]


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)


The Softer Side of Snow

I know a few people who heart this band quite a bit. Considering this acoustic EP has been out for 11 months, they might already have it, but since I've been listening to it pretty regularly recently I figured what the hey. I was first given a copy of Snow Patrol's Final Straw my junior year of college by a member of the Universal Records street team. It was alongside a bunch of really crappy CD's (Hoobastank, for one) but the logo looked kind of cool so I took it home. "How to be Dead" quickly made me love the record. The rest is history. It's nice when a major label can get something right.

Chocolate (acoustic)
Run (acoustic)
[from Live and Acoustic at Park Ave.|buy]


Walking in Memphis

Surprise! another Canadian musician making waves. This one isn't so new, however. After Stars collaborator Amy Millan put out a solo record a few months ago (the surprisingly tepid Honey from the Tombs|review] it was only natural for Torquil Campbell to follow suit with his side project Memphis. This one, however, really delivers. Joined by Metric's James Shaw (bass, trumpet, drums, mixing) and Josh Trager of the Sam Roberts Band (drums), this record brings the best parts of Torquil's contributions to Stars and adds mellow horns and strings. His voice is measured in silky breaths, the melody soaring over silky strings and other shimmering things.

I'll Do Whatever You Want
A Little Place in the Wilderness|buy (import only for now)]z


We Can Be Good

I'm a far cry from a one-trick pony, but if you serve me up a heaping plate of interesting melodic indiepop, I'm going to devour it. Such is the case with Via Audio, a Boston foursome that calls to mind Deathcab for Cutie, Rainer Maria, and Margot & The Nuclear So-and-So's. This band has heart as well: Modern Day Saint was written for a friend (Dan Lang-Gunn of The Modern Day Saint) after he suffered a brain injury during a show. The new record is wrapping up with Jim Eno of Spoon producing. Chris Walla loves this band. Maybe you should too?

We Can Be Good
Modern Day Saint
[myspace|Dan Lang-Gunn benefit CD]


Listen. 11.6. Assign.

1. The Slip - Children of December - This song inspires me. What a killer opening track from a killer album (out nov 7th). And the song is quite true, as anyone born in December will attest. Go listen to the blog on this band from a few days ago. I cannot wait to buy this CD. Just click it. [buy]

2. Ingrid Michaelson - Breakable - Yes, it sounds like an Enya song for the first 3 seconds, I'm sure you'll get over it, because this song is uplifting and beautiful enough to break free of the polished pop-friendly mold it inhabits. If you heard this on Grey's Anatomy (wouldn't surprise me, especially given the subject), you'd probably be sobbing tears of happiness. [buy]

3. Land of Talk - Seafoam - Why is everything from Canada awesome these days? It's like they are breeding top-flight female lead singers up there. Anyway, this band is new to me but highly appealing. Reminds me a lot of Broken Social Scene if Edie Brickell were singing. But way cooler than that sentence sounds. Way cooler. [buy]

4. Austin James Band - Underwater - This San Diego band is about as far under the radar as it gets, but definitely are poised to make some noise. It really reminds me of Jellyfish (one of my all-time faves), complete with queen/beach boy-esque harmonies, bouncing bass lines, and even traipsing into Flaming Lips-ish territory near the end. [go to a show?]


Finger-pickin' Good.

Thinking of Chris Thile, the word that most pops into my head is probably "wow" followed closely by "inspiration." His rap list is not brief: Mandolin prodigy at 12, the backbone of Nickel Creek, played every instrument on Deceiver (one of my top 20 favorite albums) with amazing result. I'm of the opinion that he can pretty much do anything he wants, both vocally and instrumentally, something very few people can say. His recent album is a throwback to old school bluegrass roots with some modern twists. For instance, covers of The White Stripes ("Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground") and The Strokes ("Heart in a Cage") mixed in with a motley of instrumentals and 8 part bluegrass harmonies. He sticks mostly with the mandolin on this one, a far cry from the previous album, but the spice added by the other musicians makes something fresh and so clean clean.

The Wrong Idea [from Deceiver|buy]
How to Grow a Woman from the Ground and Heart in a Cage [from How to Grow a Woman from the Ground|buy]


Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

There are a lot of things to like about Phoenix's The Format. From the early breakout success of their first single (aptly titled "The First Single") and album (Interventions and Lullabies), rampant handclaps, contributions of Jellyfish founder Roger Manning Jr, and Queen-esque powerballadry, this band has loads of goodness. After being dropped by their big label (Atlantic Records) for "not producing anything that sounded like a single"), the two young lads penned a summery record of revenge which gained rave reviews all over the country (Spin ****, All Music Guide****, LA Times ***). Dog Problems is packed with ooh-la-la sing alongs, insane amounts of harmony and melodies that should be illegal (and probably are somewhere). Here's to major records' loss and our gain.

Dog Problems
Time Bomb
Dead End
[from Dog Problems|buy]