I’m a huge fan of a lot of the work that Conor Oberst has been doing in the past few years. And while I don’t always agree with the mans politics, I really admire what he’s trying to do with supporting immigration reform. I’m cynical about his chances for success, but I profoundly admire the effort.
Here’s his new single, “Coyote Song”. Whatever your feelings about the implied political message, I think it’s a damn fine tune:
Superchunk + John Darnielle = oh. Hells. Yesssssss.
(Via the inimitable Merlin Mann)
So lately, I’ve been really into the Mountain Goats. I’d always sort of liked what I’d heard (I, like any warm blooded creature, love singing along at the end of “Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton”), but for whatever reason hadn’t ever listened much past the singles and best-known Mountain Goats tunes. But recently, after seeing them play at Sasquatch, I started tracking down more of their stuff.
Easily my favorite of the tunes I’ve stumbled across is “Lovecraft in Brooklyn”, which is as good an expression of all-consuming terror as has ever been put into music. H. P. Lovecraft found himself out of work, separated from his beloved wife, and surrounded by strange, foreign cultures the likes of which his New England upbringing had not prepared him for. His sense of helplessness, fear, and xenophobia is often credited (probably rightly) with being a significant force in developing his unique writing style.
But for all of John Darnielle’s writing about fear and self-destruction (two topics he explores frequently), the man writes some of the most life-affirming songs I’ve ever heard. At his best, though, he manages to combine the two, and conjure strange joy out of some really dark places. Probably my favorite example of this is “This Year”:
And then there are some tunes that are just pure distillations of perfect little moments, as in “Jenny”. “We were the one thing in the galaxy God didn’t have his eyes on” is one of the most beautiful images I’ve ever heard. I also like the pure, simply joy Darnielle evokes when he says “900 ccs of raw, whining power, no outstanding warrants for my arrest”. Perfect.
Okay, I know I’ve not posted anything for two months. And I know it’s a total copout to say “hey, I’ll post more soon, here’s a video”. Does it help at all if the video includes the amazing Debbie Harry and the sickeningly awesome guitar work of Chris Stein?
I sure as hell hope so, because here’s Blondie doing “(I’m Always Touched) By Your Presence, Dear”:
So I have a few posts lined up, including reviews of the new HIM and the new Shondes. Alas, work’s got me on the ropes this week. So in the meantime, here’s a great cover of a Johnny Cash classic. This is Dr. Noise’s version of “Cocaine Blues”:
Need a break? Want a break? Neither need one nor want one but compulsively click on any hyperlink you come across? Great! Then check out this slick little step sequencer. The rows each represent a different note, the columns represent 16th notes in a measure.
You can also save any given one-measure frame by right-clicking on the sequencer and selecting copy. This pushes a comma-separated string to your clipboard. You can load them again by copying that same string, right clicking on the sequencer and selecting paste.
Here’s one of my favorites that I’ve bashed together in the way-too-long I’ve spent playing with this thing in the past couple of days:
On a somewhat related note (read: not really related at all), here’s a video of British artist Little Boots playing her single “Meddle”.
For a drum machine, she uses the coolest and most interesting sequencer on the market today, Yamaha’s Tenori-On. (The Tenori-On can also function as a synthesizer and a midi controller. I want one with a fierceness.) She also uses a Stylophone, which is another neat little instrument that I’m keen on getting my hands on.
So go have fun with that sequencer, make some awesome loops with it, and feel free to share them in the comments. And if anyone has an extra Tenori-On and/or Stylophone they want to give me, my birthday’s coming up in about a week.
…Just sayin’ is all.
Update: Apparently I fail at embedding YouTube videos. Video embed fixed.
Dear Hot Chip,
I love you, you crazy crazy bastards. The video for your new single is stunning. Easily one of the best I’ve seen in years. It’s a work of surreal, sardonic genius. If this doesn’t go down as one of the greatest videos of all time, then it will serve as a reflection of something deeply and terribly broken in both the music industry and in music culture.
Here’s a great tune written by Steve Martin, and performed by himself, Bela Fleck, and Tony Trischka. It’s called “The Crow”:
Okay, so I really don’t have any clue what this is, but I kind of like it. It appears to be a woman drumming and speaking/singing in Japanese while a man accompanies her on a bass. And by “accompanies” I mean “grinds the shit out of the post”.
I have to admit, I really kind of like it.