The National on Letterman

The National made their network TV debut last week. They played my favorite song of 2007 so far. They brought horns. Holy God, yes.

An Aside

If you've noticed for the last two weeks, I'm in a pattern of "blog two days in a row, take a day off." I figured some kind of explanation would be sufficient, though maybe you didn't notice at all. Back when I did my post on The Thrills, I simultaneously upped my hosting bandwidth from 25GB to 50gb a month (I was already encroaching on 20GB of usage for the month). Coincidentally, someone somewhere ended up re-posting direct links to those songs and sucked up 20 GB of my new bandwidth in a single day. I took the links down to remedy this, but it's left me with precious little storage room for the rest of the month. So I've been forced to think long and hard about what I write about and what I've been hosting as to use that space the most efficiently. As a result, things might have been a little less consistent, but I think I've written a few of my favorite posts.

Some things of interest:
So Many Dynamos recording blog - thoroughly entertaining (start from the beginning) chronicle of their recording journey from Tiny Telephone in SF (John Vanderslice's studio) up to Chris Walla's house studio in Portland, OR, to a terrifying and death-defying van wreck on their way home, and continued near-daily.

The Darjeeling Unlimited
- trailer for Wes Anderson's new film.

myspacemp3.org - download any song from myspace, even the streaming ones.


Listening Assignments 7.30.07

1. Self - Cannon - If this doesn't scream mid-to-late '90s, I'll gladly hang 'em up. It screams that era for a reason. Matt Mahaffey has penned and produced a staggering amount of songs since 1995, this being one of them, one of his first. It blends the better parts of Hum and Toadies, but it's better. Manic, angular, and somehow entirely pretty. In that weird kind of way. [from Subliminal Plastic Motives|buy]

2. Bleu - You know, I know, You know - There's something to be said for blending pop perfection with background singers echoing "that don't mean dick" ten or twenty times. There, I said it. [from Redhead|buy]

3. Bowerbirds - Olive Hearts - This folk ditty puts a happy little skip in my step whenever I need it. Accordion tends to have that effect. Amish-sounding women as background singers is also key. I can practically hear them churning butter with footpedals while they keep time with raucous tamborines. And no, I can't prove any of that. [from Hymns for a Dark Horse|buy]

4. The Rocket Summer - All I Have - I've oozed enough fanboy blog love for Bryce Avary for you to catch my drift. Two words: Reckless Exuberance. [from Do You Feel?|buy]

Worst Band Name of the Week

The Clerestory

Congratulations! You win:
Myriad Mispronunciations
a blog mention
(this was it)


The Argument for Fall Out Boy

Today, I will attempt to give credit where I believe it is due. It's fairly easy to dislike Fall Out Boy. From the guyliner-wearing, trouser-snake-schlepping, post-nosejob-Ashlee-Simson-dating Pete Wentz, to the mob of much maligned Hot Topic acolytes following their every move, to the hoard of Fueled By Ramen copycats, to their relatively sudden and pervasive popularity. But over the last few weeks, I found myself reading this pleasant little interview with FOB's lead singer Patrick Stump (any interview by the Onion's AV Club is worth perusing) and I started thinking about my own conclusions about the band.

It never made sense that Patrick wasn't the "frontman", though it occurs to me that it may not have been their choice at all, sometimes fans just choose that kind of thing non-verbally. But I think if he had been annointed frontman instead of the aforementioned Wentz, we might be seeing them in a whole new light. Pete has become what any indie purist hates, or maybe any sane fan in general. Product whore, international playboy, unabashed douchebag. The way Patrick tells it, I get an entirely unexpected view of how he sees the band. It's disarmingly self-deprecating, to the point where I'm asking myself what I would do if I were playing the music I loved and someone important heard it and put it on the radio and the rest became history. And then people hated me for it. Or because my frontman/bassist/clothing designer is a tool.

All this pop drama does is drown out some really good music that ends up being easy to hate because it gets played so damn much. Patrick Stump has one of the best voices on the radio today; it's absolutely huge and diverse and does all the things you would ever want a voice to do. They worked their way onto a major label, they write all their own music (a lot more than can be said about many other major label radio acts), and after a huge breakout album in From Under the Cork Tree were under immense pressure to follow-up...and they did. With a better album. With some really great songs. So here's the credit. Fall Out Boy, you're in my blog. Even you, Pete. Even you.

"We're this little pop-punk accident that was really just four guys trying to delay going to college a little longer." -Patrick Stump

The Take Over, The Break's Over
[from Infinity On High|buy]


Patton Oswalt's Omnipresence

Patton Oswalt is everywhere these days, from the voice of Remy on Ratatouille, his recurring role in reruns of the now-finished series King of Queens, this and fifty+ other blogs, and his new comedy CD out on Sub Pop Records. Everyone loves Patton Oswalt! But unfortunately the album doesn't deliver quite as much as I hoped it would. It definitely has some bright spots with enough wit and pacing to carry the day, but most of the material, while fairly funny, just sounds like it was written with Madlibs. You know, the game where there's a vague context already filled in, like a story, but you have to fill in the various adjectives, nouns, and verbs seperately? Then you add them back in and it's random and occasionally outrageously relevant to the story? Patton seemingly wants to shock the audience into laugher, or maybe just be completely random enough as to appear to be saying funny things. Or just get really loud like "hey i'm obviously saying something funny here so I'm getting LOUDER!" or throwing his voice to talk like a troll, which is obviously just hilarious.

I think it's totally sweet that indie music labels are putting out indie comic records (David Cross), though the comics usually end up being much more famous than their labelmates. For all the crap Dane Cook gets for being famous (same as any band that was once small and breaks it big), I find him a consistently funny and talented storyteller. Sure, he's got some madlibs moments, but they're better spaced, less insane maybe? Most of all, I miss the comic wit of Mitch Hedberg. His hits and misses were sometimes equally funny. With no shocking necessary.

America has Spoken - "...but until you invent a lunchgun, I would like a failure pile in a sadness bowl."
The Miracle of Childbirth - "...which I will illustrate by pushing this uncooked cornish game-hen through these gray drapes."
[from Werewolves and Lollipops|buy]


Roger the Lodger

The Lodger is a sunny band from Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom with a healthy portion of Stars and the fresh enthusiasm of a gang of 19 year olds with sparkling new instruments. Guitars are a-janglin', the pop is a-bubblin', the '80s are a-...returnin'? Oh yeah and some trumpets. The drums have a comforting recorded-in-a-living-room sound, dry and immediate. It might have even been your living room, it sounds like. I even hear little bits of early Smiths, if only they'd been much happier and less concerned with politics, perhaps.

"Direct, intimate and almost wholly devoid of cynicism, The Lodger have created a record imbued with a cheering, if curious naivety. Let’s hope they never go growing up." -Drowned in Sound

Let Her Go
The Story's Over
[from Grown-Ups|buy]


the "Return" of "Silverchair"

I used to rock Silverchair on the way to basketball games in 7th grade. "Israel's Son" used to get my blood pumping as much as any 13 year old's blood could be pumped. "Suicidal Dream" was morbidly titled, but beautifully written and I would listen to it on repeat. This Australian three-piece was 15 at the time. Present day, a new album, 5 years after the release of Diorama, a sound entirely foreign to 1995's Frogstomp. It's been a gradual progression, led by Daniel Johns, as he's morphed the sound from immature heavy angst to mature electronic and symphonic melodic rock. His side project the Dissociatives (w/ electronic musician Paul Mac) released one of my absolute favorite records in 2005, one which was nominated for 6 ARIAs (Australian Grammies) including "Album of the Year." Transitioning back to Silverchair, Johns has retained the blissful pop of that project and refined it further. This is not the Silverchair you remember. So if you hated them then, you might want to give it another shot. Johns is a visionary who has been in the spotlight from when he was 14 and refused to wilt. The music just keeps pumping out of his mouth and fingertips.

Straight Lines
[from Young Modern|buy]
Across the Night
[from Diorama|buy]
The Dissociatives - Horror with Eyeballs
[from s/t|buy]


Listening Assignments 7.23.07

1. Iron and Wine - Carried Home - Virtually everything Sam Beam writes ends up as beautifully distinct and moving as this newly released b-side. It would be right at home among its brothers and sisters on the upcoming album, but it's a little more of the slow-roasting Our Endless Numbered Days-era i&w than the experimental Shepherd's Dog. The bearded one can do no wrong. [from Boy with a Coin Single|Buy]

2. Jeremy Enigk - Oh John - Barely a year removed from his previous solo effort (which was 10 years removed from his first), one of the living gods of indie rock will release another record when The Missing Link drops in August. This is the only song available at present, a dreamlike ballad that calls to mind acoustic renditions of Sunny Day Real Estate classics "Explain" and "How It Feels to be Something On" with slightly less edge. Jeremy resists, in this song at least, the urge to break his voice over his knee in a fit of emotion, resulting in this little fantasy-inspiring preview. [from The Missing Link (out 8.21)|pre-order and get an autographed booklet]

3. Sparta - Atlas - I had big expectations for this record when Engine Down's leader Keeley Davis joined up on guitar and backup vocals. It's finally growing on me, thanks to some of the mid-tempo offerings like this one that tie things together on the album. This comes right after [current single] "Erase it Again", a potent 1-2 punch indeed. [from Threes|buy]

4. Rocky Votolato - Postcard from Kentucky - This alt-country crooner has been spinning yarns such as this for years now. It sounds like Jack Daniels himself, or what I imagine he'd sound like, if he were a heartthrob acoustic indierocker singing a pretty song like this. Probably on an old porch in a dusty backyard somewhere in middle America. [from The Brag & Cuss|buy]

Beckham vs. Bush

In honor of David Beckham's debut in America this weekend, here's this totally flippin' sweet video of Becks and Reggie Bush trading sports and goofing off. I was riveted to that soccer game this weekend! A soccer game! There's hope for this yet....


The Chamber Strings Return

Chicago, IL Rivera Theatre 2001

After essentially disappearing from the planet after their 2001 modern classic Month of Sundays, Chicago's The Chamber Strings are finally priming a new LP for release this year. Critical acclaim for the band's first two releases was universal, but afterwards the band's founder/singer/core Kevin Junior fell into a deep depression and slunk below the public eye a-la Brian Wilson. The music itself is also not unrelated to the immensely talented/reclusive Beach Boy, mixing rainbow-sweet harmonies and piano with a flawless knowledge of timeless pop. This could have been just as big if it were released in 1970.

"A few heartstrings away from genius" -Uncut
"A comtemporary classic" -The Onion
"Heartwrenching! A melodic sing-along to everyone who's ever graced our lives. Not only outstanding sounds and pretty melodies, but genuine heart." -PopMatters

A Fool Sings Without Any Song
It's No Wonder
[from Month of Sundays|buy]


(Not So) Famous Amos

Amos the Transparent characterizes one of my favorite things about writing this blog: They're a complete unknown who surprised me on the first listen and brought me immediate glee. Attention bands who want me to write about them: WOW me and there won't have to be any debate. The facts on Amos are as follows: Canadian (aren't they all these days). 7-piece live band. Unknown in the blogosphere save for one. Male/female vocals. Awesome.

"Title Track" opens like a Field Music song, but soon after sweeps down into a bang-clicking folk melody, then come the horns. The beautiful oooh-filled bridge (2:41-) and the unexpectedly rocking re-entry take it to the coveted level of "this song goes to 11." Throw in a stirring duet with Stars' Amy Millan and remarkable dynamic rock sensibility throughout and you'll get an album threatening to be included in the end-of-year lists.

Title Track
After All That, It's Come to This (w/ Amy Millan)
[from Everything I've Forgotten to Forget (out 8.28)|info]


The Heartbreak List

The Heartbreak List is upon you! Run for the hills! I think you'll find a healthy smattering of the usual sad bastard songs, the defiance and resilience, the bittersweet memories, the quiet acknowledgement of fact, and everything in between.

1. The Damnwells - Heartbreak List - "You're on the heartbreak list/you're on the payroll." [mp3]
2. Stars - Your Ex-Lover is Dead - "I'm not sorry I met you/I'm not sorry it's over/I'm not sorry, there's nothing to say."
3. John Mayer - Slow Dancing in a Burning Room - "This is the deep and dying breath of this love that we've been working on."
4. David Condos - I Should Be Lost Without You - "I've lost your touch and I need to feel."
5. Slow Runner - Streamlined - "Now loneliness is so refined, it's streamlined."
6. Owen - In the Morning, Before Work - "Thought I'd be singing a different tune by now/but this song about you keeps coming out."
7. Some By Sea - Look What I Made Without Your Heart Getting in the Way - "Goodbye to the stolen kiss and the lusting hand on the back of my neck."
8. Ben Folds Five - Smoke - "those who say the past is not dead can stop and smell the smoke."
9. Clem Snide - Collapse - "When it finally collapsed all you heard was the radio static."
10. Fink - All Cried Out - "A whole lot of lovin' for a handful of nothin'."
11. Jonny Lang - Breakin Me - "the first time my heart was ever touched was the day I lost your love."
12. Elliott Smith - the Biggest Lie - "everything that you do makes me wanna die/oh I just told the biggest lie."
13. Bonnie Raitt - I Can't Make You Love Me - "I close my eyes/then I won't see/the love you don't feel/when you're holding me."
14. Madeleine Peyroux - Smile - "smile though your heart is aching/ smile even though it's breaking."
15. the Decemberists - Red Right Ankle - "whatever differences our lives have been/we together make a limb."
16. Ari Hest - Strangers Again - "long before we ever kissed/long before I ever missed you/I wish we were strangers again."
17. Peter Himmelman - Things to Say - "the telephone is useless when the threads begin to fray/it seems like we've grown short on things to say."
18. Red House Painters - Song For a Blue Guitar - "in a room/all I feel/is the cold that you left." [mp3]

[download all] (zip)


Stars: The Leak, The Industry, the New Album

Despite the fact that everyone else who blogs about the new Stars record will probably copy/paste the same statement here, I find it hard not to. My thoughts on the flipside...
Friends, fans and supporters of Stars ...
On September 25th, Arts&Crafts will release Stars' fourth studio album, In Our Bedroom After The War.
We love it and are excited and proud to be bringing it to the world.
We enlisted Joe Chiccarelli to mix the album. He finished in early June, passing the tapes along to Emily Lazar at the Lodge for mastering. Last Friday, July 6th, a final master was delivered to us.
Traditional music business practice says we are to begin sending out copies of this album now. We give advance copies to print publications in hopes of securing features that coincide with our September date. We meet with radio stations in hopes of securing airplay. etc, etc.
Inevitably someone will leak the album.
Throughout this process, the most important people in this value chain, the fans, are given only two options - wait until September 25th to legally purchase the new album or choose from a variety of sources and download the album for free, at any time.
We hope you'll choose to support the band, and choose to pay for their album. However we don't think it's fair you should have to wait until September 25th to do so.
We believe that the line between the media and the public is now completely grey.
What is the difference between a writer for a big glossy music magazine and a student writing about their favourite bands on their blog? What differentiates a commercial radio station from someone adding a song to their lastfm channel? or their myspace page?
As such, we are making the new Stars album available for legal download today, four days after it's completion. The CD and double vinyl versions of the album will still be released on our official release date, September 25th. We hope you will continue to support music retailers should a physical album in all it's packaged glory be your choice of format.
It's our hope that given a clear, legal alternative to downloading music for free, you will choose to support the creators.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Stars and Arts&Crafts
So Stars and their label leaked the album on purpose and I'm all for it. Finally some proactive thinking from the record industry instead of just reactive thinking followed by endless bitching about piracy and whining about how they are only making billions instead of tens of billions of dollars a year. Anyone familiar with successful business models knows that continuous adjustment to an unstable market is what makes or breaks you, but so far the recording industry refuses to put in the effort to stay ahead or even on top of the current trends that are sweeping them off their feet. Independently-minded and progressive labels and bands like Arts & Crafts and Stars are pioneering the new standard. And they're friggin' Canadian!

Climbing down from the soapbox, I just have to mention that this album is great. More often than not, anticipated albums are a letdown. It's just hard to stay on the cusp of relevance for a few years and only the best can pull it off. Stars are one of those unique bands. The perfectly balanced male/female vocals of Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell dance over melancholy piano and a swirling symphony. Just often enough, a throbbing bassline will carry the day until a perfectly eccentric and poppy chorus relieves it of its duty. This is indie-pop at its best, still as relevant as ever, still impossible to find in google image search. While I digress, this fantastic record does not.

Midnight Coward
[from In Our Bedroom After the War|buy it!]


Air Traffic Control

I first raved about Air Traffic back in February based on their pre-album EP and fingered them for possible future stardom here in the states. Now that the full length Fractured Life dropped on July 9th, it's time to reiterate. I don't know if this is good anymore, but most of this record sounds like an iPod commercial. If anything, the influences are too prominent on their sleeve. Air Traffic are right in the wheelhouse of dreamy indie pop when they channel the inner Keane (and tidbits of Muse) (Tracks 3-6), but their identity gets murky when they sound like the Dresden Dolls ("Just Abuse Me"), The Fratellis ("Charlotte"), Arctic Monkeys ("I Like That"), Billy Joel-meets-Incubus ("No One Even Told Me Her Name"), and Spoon ("Get In Line"), then yank a melody straight from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" in ("I Can't Understand"). Surprisingly, it's still a well-flowing, mostly cohesive offering despite these things. If anything, I value skill diversity and they never sound exactly like anyone else. They've got the chops and songs to make a splash somewhere, on a commercial, a tour. Or maybe the splash starts here.

No More Running Away
Shooting Star
[from Fractured Life|buy]


Listening Assignments 7.16.07

1. Jason Anderson - July 4th, 2004 - I can't describe how giddy this song makes me. The exuberance is palpable as Jason hips and haws like James Brown on a sugar high. Hand claps abound and sing-a-longs swell through an amazing bridge and outro. I don't know if I've ever believed anyone more than when he sings "I will wait for you and I always will" over and over. [from Tonight (out 8.21)|buy only $5!!]

2. Tegan and Sara - The Con - This duo has never been my bag, so to speak, but when I heard this song and found out the record is produced by one Chris Walla, my ears perked up a little. So its got a tight little bassline, well-panned acoustic guitars, and it just might finally be the breakthrough hit they've always lacked. [from the Con (out 7.24)|buy]

3. Broken Social Scene - Lover's Spit - I'm 90% positive that this song is about oral sex. That aside, it's a hypnotizing little number from the always beautifully-voiced Leslie Feist and Co. It's also deceptively long with a nice mood-and-reverb-riddled instrumental outro. [from Beehives|buy]

4. Travel By Sea - I Won't Let You Down - And here's the token acoustic ballad assignment. It sounds like a poor man's Josh Ritter crossed with Jonah Matranga and it's nothing more or less than a pretty bookend to a long, hard evening. [from Shadows Rise|buy]


Oh, It Is Love

This has been in the pipes for awhile, but I finally cranked out a final version of "Oh, it is Love." Give it to your crush and see what happens. Thank me later. "The Heartbreak List" will probably be the next mix, hopefully next week sometime. Give that one to your ex. What fun!

1. Field Music - Pretty
2. Ray LaMontagne - Hold You In My Arms
3. Hellogoodbye - Oh, It Is Love [mp3]
4. Hayden - All In One Move
5. Iron & Wine - Love and Some Verses
6. Chris Thile - The Wrong Idea
7. Tom Waits - I'm Crazy 'bout My Baby
8. Yann Tiersen - Guilty
9. Gregory Page - Love Made Me Drunk
10. Sam Cooke - Nothing Can Change This Love
11. The Beach Boys - I Was Made to Love Her
12. Gotye - Learnalilgivinanlovin
13. Stevie Wonder - Love Having You Around
14. Brett Dennen - She's Mine
15. Sondre Lerche - (I Wanna) Call it Love
16. Ross Rice - Miss July [mp3]
17. Beck - Girl
18. The Spill Canvas - This is for Keeps [mp3]
19. Copeland - Take My Breath Away
20. Gael Garcia Bernal - If You Rescue Me

[download] (zip)


Stereogum's OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer

Stereogum is one of my favorite blogs and I'm not alone in that adoration. They recently unveiled a grandiose and ballsy project any blogger would have killed to accomplish: A covers tribute to Radiohead's OK Computer, created to order by some of the blog's favorite artists (My Brightest Diamond, Cold War Kids, The Twilight Sad, Melissa Nadler, etc). It's cool enough that everyone should go check it out and read the story about how it all came together. OK Computer is my #2 favorite record of all time (If you're keeping score, Jellyfish's Spilt Milk is #1). The compilation itself is hit or miss, not so much for the lack of skills associated, but because we're talking about a very sacred album here. Re-interpretations of Radiohead will always be hit or miss. The hits are pleasant or at the least interesting. David Bazan's (of Pedro the Lion) "Let Down", Vanderslice's "Karma Police", Nadler's safe but beautiful version of "No Surprises", and even Cold War Kids' naked drums-and-vox "Electioneering" are the highlights in my opinion, but if you're the least bit intrigued, head over to Stereogum and download the whole thing for frizzle.

David Bazan - Let Down
John Vanderslice - Karma Police
[from OKX: a tribute to OK Computer|download]


Chasing Windmills

While no one was looking, Windmill (Matthew Thomas Dillon) has put together one of the most arrestingly beautiful albums of the year. It's essentially a fully-fleshed solo project with the maestro on piano and his friends filling in the rest. His unique voice is in love it or hate it territory on par with a lot of my other favorites: Eef Barzelay and Dan Greenwood of Cloud Cult. Obviously I'm erring on the side of love. His piano cries out epically, his accompaniment dancing around him gracefully. At times, it sounds like he's enlisted the help of the fragile army of the Polyphonic Spree, other times the bombastic percussions of {+/-}. Maybe I do like Matt Dillon after all.

"...timeless and graceful. Strings and percussion, ominous echoes and
soft, sweet choirs add richness to tales of asthmatics and fashion houses,
plastic pre-flight seats and boarding lounges that you can't help
returning to. ****4 Stars" - The Guardian

Tilting Trains
[from Puddle City Racing Lights|buy]


Teenage Thrills

If you haven't heard of Dublin's The Thrills until now, I implore you to listen to the tracks below and join the party of awesome. This is epic indie joy-pop. It makes you feel good, with its breaking, playfully wavering vocals and the interplay of banjo and piano at unexpected times. The voice reminds me a lot of someone who is escaping my brain at this instant but maybe you'll hear it too. Either way, you'll probably smile and feel a little thrill at this fun musical discovery we just made.

Nothing Changes Round Here
[from Teenager (out 7/30)|buy]


Listening Assignments 7.9.07

1. Poor Richard's Press - Seasons - Dodge pretty much nailed it when he said "the shins singing simon & garfunkel." Even more accurate might be "simon & garfunkel singing simon & garfunkel." It's happy. [from I have no clue. visit their myspace!]

2. Pseudosix - Under the Waves - I love brushes on snares. The music of this is very American Analog Set, full of cool and confidence. This song is dedicated to the AC in my apartment, totally kicking ass right now. [from Days of Delay|buy]

3. mewithoutYou - Son of a Widow - A smoky, smoldering tune unlike almost everything else the band has put out. [from Catch for Us the Foxes|buy]

4. Oh No! Oh My! - The Party Punch - My descriptions on the assignments from a year ago were so short and to the point. I'm full of air recently! In response to that: This is a picnic in musical form. Happy? [from Between the Devil and the Sea|buy]



I'm sure you were unaware, but today is totally-badass-music-video-day.

1. MuteMath - Typical

2. The Softlightes - Heart Made of Sound

3. the Damnwells - Sleepsinging

4. Andrew Bird - Imitosis

5. Sufjan Stevens - Lakes of Canada


The Ghost is Dancing

Just fyi, The Ghost is Dancing. The ghost is break-dancing on cardboard in the back alley. The ghost is kickin' it freestyle. The ghost is dancing with the stars. The ghost is doing the robot and is unashamed. The band's sound is equal parts Arcade Fire and Ghosts & Liars with the reckless exuberance of the Polyphonic Spree. There are 10 members playing fun things like trombone, accordian, and trumpet (in addition to your strats, peaveys, korgs, and tamas). Four of them sing. I'm guessing they all dance? I would too. I would too.

Shuttles and Planes
Arrivals (Are Never Enough)
[from the Darkest Spark|buy]


Psycho Killer/American Idol 1970

Giving credit where it is due, I never would have known a thing about Charles Manson's music if I hadn't read it on Music is Art ("Manson vs. Monroe"). Totally fascinating, partially because of the circumstances, partially because it's startlingly good. I swear Pharrell has sampled or copied "Look at Your Game Girl" to make one of his mega-hits, and rightly so: It's pop gold. In 1970, he was on the cover of Rolling Stone. I found this interview from its pages though another article also exists which may reference these recordings in some way. The interview is wholly interesting if these songs tickle your fancy. I have a feeling that if I were an adult in the early '70s when Manson was "the most dangerous man in the world," these words and music might make my skin crawl. But today he is a ghost to me, a spectre of a forgotten time, and a compelling case-study of music crossed with insanity. Since the Beatles were his biggest influence and impetus to learning music, I wonder if Mr. Manson thought he was bigger than Jesus too.

Look At Your Game Girl
Home Is Where You're Happy
[from Lie: The Love and Terror Cult|buy]


Wild Mountain Trapper

No blogs in two days! How did you even survive? Hopefully it just made you hungrier for the replenishing sustenance of "the rock 'n' roll."

We're back with a Portland band that was one of the first "blog bands" to catch my ear when I started this site last August. Blitzen Trapper are as scattered as they are melodically inclined, preaching the gospel of rollicking pop-infused alt-indie-rock across this Wild Mountain Nation. Toss some folk in there somewhere, too. Their music leads me to believe the six gentlemen responsible might be pretty sweet to befriend. They might be the kind of dudes that'll pick up their instruments in the middle of the night and bang out a fresh tune, or invite the neighborhood over for s'mores. I, for one, would never turn down a s'more from musicians like this. "Summertwin", "Jericho", and "Futures & Folly" sound like s'mores taste. Gooey, sticky, melty, and perfect. Put it in your ear.

Futures & Folly (fixed)
Wild Mountain Nation
[from Wild Mountain Nation|buy]

Previously on linesthroughlines:
Jericho [highly rec'd]
Cool Love #1
[Wild Mountain Nation outtakes]

Seattle WA Sat 6/23 @ Chop Suey (w/ Marnie Stern) ---- Portland OR Thu 6/28 @ Holocene (w/ Shaky Hands, Pseudosix) ----- San Francisco CA Wed 7/11 @ Bottom of the Hill * ---- Los Angeles CA Fri 7/13 @ Spaceland *
Tempe AZ Sat 7/14 @ Stinkweeds * ---- Austin TX Mon 7/16 @ Emo's Lounge * ------ Dallas TX Tue 7/17 @ The Loft * ---- Houston TX Wed 7/18 @ Walter's on Washington * ----- Hattiesburg MS Thu 7/19 @ Thirsty Hippo * ---- Atlanta GA Fri 7/20 @ Drunken Unicorn * ---- Wilmington NC Sat 7/21 @ Bella Festa * ---- Washington DC Sun 7/22 @ Rock and Roll Hotel * ----- Philadelphia PA Mon 7/23 @ Johnny Brenda’s * ---- Allston MA Tue 7/24 @ Great Scott *
New York NY Wed 7/25 @ Mercury Lounge * ---- Buffalo NY Thu 7/26 @ The Icon * ---- Ann Arbor MI Fri 7/27 @ Blind Pig * ---- Chicago IL Sat 7/28 @ Empty Bottle - ---- Minneapolis MN Sun 7/29 @ Triple Rock Social Club ---- Omaha NE Mon 7/30 @ The Slowdown ---- Denver CO Tue 7/31 @ Hi-Dive ---- Salt Lake City UT Wed 8/01 @ Kilby Court ----- Seattle WA Fri 08/03 @ The Crocodile Cafe (w/ Jennifer Gentle)


Listening Assignments 7.2.07

1. Cabin - I Was Here - I love this song, the feel of it. It's not a chart-topper or a life-changer, but it'd be perfectly at home on a mix-tape for your honey or a movie soundtrack. This band's got moxie, more than most. [from I Was Here EP|buy]

2. Nada Surf - Inside of Love - These guys are old school indie, still plugging away at it. I actually find their current stuff far superior to "Popular"-era Nada Surf. It's breezy and mature, focused and heartbreaking. [from Let Go|buy]

3. Arizona - Thimble - Don't give up on this one in the first :45, you might regret it. It's a little quirky, loopy, and possibly trippy. At the same time, it is sweet and innocent. A strange little keeper. [from Fameseeker and the Mono (out "soon"?)|myspace]

4. Chris Bathgate - Flash of Light - This folky, wandering song is exactly as it should be and has a really remarkable mood and build. It also contains one of my favorite lyrics in recent memory: "and the air got cold and the sky got dark/and i kissed your lips with the safety off." Rock. On. Chris. [from A Cork Tale Wake|buy]


Easy Ryan

Well, we're back to Mr. Ryan Adams again, half-because he produces more musical offspring than a coked-up rabbit and half-because his most recent effort is really. really. good. I've had my fair share of qualms with Ryan's identity/exploration issues over the years, but selfishly because I adored Heartbreaker so much and I was kind of pissed that he started chain-smoking and drinking whiskey like a fish. Or at least that's what his voice started sounding like and I thought he'd never get it back. As evidenced by the solid, beautiful Easy Tiger, he got it back. There are five 4-star songs ("Two", "Everybody Knows", "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc", "Off Broadway", and "The Sun Also Sets"), only one song I skip every time ("Halloweenhead"), and the remainder strong enough to glue everything together. This might be my favorite Ryan Adams record. Gasp.

Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.
Off Broadway
[from Easy Tiger|buy]