James has got a brand new shiny trombone

Sean at STG (who's taste in music matches mine quite well) posted this song by The Pendulums as part of his 2006 list. I'm not sure what you'd even call it (my ID3 genre is "Eccentric Whimsy) - it's loopy and wonderful and cheery and gay. I don't think i've ever listened to this song and NOT ended up with a big cheesy grin on my face.
The Pendulums "Brand New Song"

Bleep ($)



Boxes, boxes, boxes, boxes, boxes...

This video represents almost a half an hour of painting squashed down to 1:10. Music this time is "Vladimir's Blues" by Max Richter.

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No one's about to shout

I first heard of Elliott Smith by reading about his upcoming LP in the Kill Rock Stars mail order catalog. I liked the description and ordered the 7" for "Needle in the Hay." When that self-titled record came out I bought it and listened COUNTLESS times. I have a distinct memory of laying in my loft bed at ISU (old RCA dorm room) with the windows open, feeling a spring breeze on my shirtless chest, revelling in this song. The softness and hardness and intensity of it all.
Elliott Smith "Southern Belle"

iTunes ($)


Laying down the 3rd wash

 Art making in progress

More art progress - this time the music is a song I made in 1996 called "blue bird stamp."

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Laying down the 1st wash

 Art making in progress

Not a music related post, really. BUT - the music track behind the video is by The ARE via FWMJ's Rappers I Know.

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Please don't take him just because you can

Did anybody besides me write off Dolly as just a set of ridiculously large breasts, 9 to 5, and appalachian theme parks? Luckily, by chance encounter with this song on a hip-hop mixtape, I've had my perception redefined. This song is an all-out country JAM.
Dolly Parton "Jolene" - iTunes ($)

I also had NO IDEA that she was the originator of "I Will Always Love You" - a song that is tied forever to over-the-top Whitney Houston. Mr. Viking Moses does an excellent version of it here that i'm able to enjoy (though Dolly's version isn't bad).
Viking Moses "I Will Always Love You"

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Back on the block again

If you're one of my coworkers it won't be a surprise to see "Alright" posted here. I've been fairly addicted and obsessed with this tune and nearly every other Ratatat remix i can find from their forthcoming Remixes Vol. II (tour only LP?). Aside from choosing great material to start from, they've made some significant changes (and improvements) to the originals. Would you believe that the Memphis Bleek album version of this song is a laid back introspective downtempo number? I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on the rest of this record. Run the hype machine on "ratatat remix" for more - don't miss Slim Thug's "3 Kings" if you end up trollin'.

Memphis Bleek "Alright (Ratatat remix)"

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Chicago at Night

I've been wandering out at night to take long exposure photos of big industrial looking stuff just south of downtown. It's been fun - and it got me in the mood to post a few songs with "Chicago" in their title. Each is a favorite of mine for different reasons. I can't help but enjoy a song that makes reference to my city - is that so wrong?

Spoon "Chicago at Night" - iTunes ($)

Low "Hey Chicago" - iTunes ($)

Ben Husmann "Silent Chicago"

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You're cheering me up and I'm thanking you

I first heard New Buffalo on a 5-hour mix of music that Dave Fischoff put together for a party that he was DJ-ing back in 2001. This song is from the forthcoming album "Somewhere, Anywhere", a signed copy of which you can order from Australia for $30+. In the meantime, just listen to these silky smooth layers of gorgeous female vocals floating on top a sea laden with acoustic guitar - dodging raindrops of staccato piano and the mingling with the soaring wings of atmospheric strings.
New Buffalo "Cheer Me Up Thank You"

Pre-order ($$$$$$$)

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Through the wheels on the interstate

Here's another song that *just* missed getting into my 2006 list. In retrospect, it probably should have bumped something out. The Bowerbirds are from Raleigh, Carolina and this song sounds like winding country roads and makeshift gypsy carts selling candles and twig sculptures.
The Bowerbirds "In Our Talons"

Order ($)

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There's a weight that's pressing down

Since my last Arcade Fire post i've listened to Neon Bible about 15 times. I can now say without hesitation that it's a phenomenal record - my favorite since TV On The Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain. I'm completely addicted to it and find myself humming and whistling not just one, but nearly all of the songs. I've decided to post an additional track - a more uptempo one called "Keep The Car Running." There's a small part of this song where his vocal flow reminds me of Bruce Springsteen, a phenomena that also occurs (more prominently) in "(Antichrist Television Blues)." There are moments too where a chorus of voices back the lead vocal in a way that gives me the shivers.

The Arcade Fire "Keep The Car Running"


Another follow-up note: The entire Fulton Lights record is really, really good. It's well worth the $12 I spent on it, if only for the excellent atmospheric productions. You should buy this record too!



An agent as well as a patient

Now, in the clear light of an accepted duty, he felt fear indeed, but with it a sober sense of confidence in himself and in the world, and even an element of pleasure. It was the difference between a landsman in a sinking ship and a horseman on a bolting horse: either may be killed, but the horseman is an agent as well as a patient.
 - C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Greg tipped me off to Bohren und der Club of Gore a couple of years ago. Horror jazz, it's been called - i can't help but think of Twin Peaks when i listen to this song.
Bohren und der Club of Gore "Constant Fear"

Amazon ($$)

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We'll be like bugs when they break through a cocoon

This was a glaring omission from my 2006 list, but it just so happened that i didn't fall in love with this song until right after christmas. Like the year 2007, it gripped me with the tightening fervor of a silly-happy-dimwitted giant's hand and hasn't let go. Giant takes Herman Düne back into the realm of stereo recordings - a place i hope they never leave again.
Herman Düne "I Wish That I Could See You Soon"

Amazon ($$)

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Now who here among us still believes in choice?

I kinda feel like a big loser, posting an Arcade Fire song. I haven't checked hype machine, but i'm pretty sure that every track off of Neon Bible has been blogged about more than twenty times. BUT - it just so happens that i bought the record last week and while i'm not about to offer any kind of sweeping acclaim, i will say that it has a great sound. This is the song that's connecting with me right now. It's a bit more low-key than others on the record, but it's got some great atmospherics and neat arrangements when it gets going. Mainly, it captures an aspect of my current mood - and does it really well.
The Arcade Fire "Ocean of Noise"

iTunes ($)



And for now, sianara

I discovered The Books in 2004, and was fairly addicted to the record this song comes from, The Lemon of Pink. Basically, i overlistened to it. A couple of weeks ago i dug out the CD and listened in the car again - surprised at how fresh the record sounded. I found that songs i was barely interested in 2+ years ago - like this one - leaped forward as the MOST interesting. Just listen!
The Books "Tokyo"

iTunes ($)



And if you please I may escort you all the way

I never really got into Guided by Voices, but this particular Robert Pollard song has been a personal favorite of mine since i downloaded it from an mp3 blog in early 2005. It's straightforward pop rock, and it get's extremely good at around 1:30. Inevitably, the song fades to an end and i say to myself, "one more time wouldn't hurt!" and hit the back button.
Robert Pollard "Dancing Girls and Dancing Men"

iTunes ($)

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It doesn't have to be so hard

Last night i was at an indoor waterpark in rockford illinois when zion got beaned in the face by a ball. Of course it was past his bedtime and i found myself consoling a 3-year-old screaming child in the middle of wet chaos. After a few minutes of holding him, stroking his head, and singing the chorus of this song over and over he was calmed and ready for another swim. Fulton Lights is the cinematic music of Andrew Spencer Goldman.
Fulton Lights "Breathe In, Breathe Out"

iTunes ($)

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Beer for breakfast, who's gonna scold?

Etiquette, by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is fast becoming my favorite album of 2007. It was released in 2006, but i didn't get it untill just after Christmas. It's hard to describe what exactly i LOVE about the music. The arrangements are basic/simple and the instrumentation is often keyboard crap sounds, but something about the mood of the lyrics - lazy cynicism, forlorn but complacent, gleeful regret? This song wasn't my favorite at first, but it's grown on me in a big way. Perhaps because of all the snow and cold and public transit i've been taking this last month. FYI - this isn't a Christmas song. I'll shut up now.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone "Cold White Christmas"

iTunes ($)



Sometimes you don't got no room

Billing themselves as "the world's only pop-ragtime duo," these two guys from NYC know how to make a ruckus! The New Rags remind me of a much tighter, more playful version of a band i saw open for John Spencer Blues Explosion in Iowa City many many many years ago (g.nelson just reminded me - the band was Doo Rag but now that i listen i'm not sure why i made that connection). I love the gritty dirty keyboard sound and garage feel, but my favorite part of this song are the "WHOO!" moments - i can imagine playing this song and spontaneously shouting out like that.
The New Rags "Your Room"

iTunes ($)