Feb 292008

"I hear my needle hit the groove"

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Some Stone Roses for your Friday night listening/viewing pleasure. “She Bangs the Drums”, off of their self-titled debut:

Feb 282008

"She spent a lifetime beside him"

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Just listening to the Clash’s brilliant Combat Rock album. I honestly think that “slamdance cosmopolis” is one of my favorite phrases in the English language. Why? Can’t totally tell you. I just think it sounds awesome.

At any rate, here’s a cool little video I came across: it’s a fan homage to bassist Paul Simonon, set to “Guns of Brixton”, off of London Calling. Lots of good shots of the band. Enjoy!

Feb 282008

Okay, this is NSFW and likely to offend a lot of people, so caution before you hit play: sexual themes, foul language, and antitheism abound.

But I laughed my ass off.

Feb 272008

Plug

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Hey folks, just wanted to give a quick, off-topic plug: my mom’s got a poem posted over at Washington Poets Association website. It’s called “Sylvia Plath at 70” and I think it’s pretty damn cool. If you’re into the whole poetry thing, should head on over and check it out.

Feb 272008

Okay . . . I have to confess, I don’t get it. Interesting video and a groovy song, though. Minuit, “I Hate Guns” with animation by Dylan Mercer and Tim Murphy.

Feb 272008

"D’yer wanna be a spaceman and live in the sky?"

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Okay, two awesome things before I go to bed. First, courtesy of Neatorama, graphical representations of songs. (I especially like this one. And this one. (Though there is something of a case to be made for the whole song being ironic.) . . . Okay, and this one.)

Second, Noel Gallagher portrait tattoo. (Courtesy of ModBlog)

Feb 272008

International Make up a Word Day

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The great Scalzi has declared today to be International Make up a Word Day. Far be it from me to resist such a decree, my contribution is “pitchforkate”. It means to write about music in a bloviating and self-congratulatory manner.

In a sentence: “Man, that guy totally pitchforkated his way through that review of the new Radiohead album.”

Of course, other forms (e.g. the noun “pitchforkation” or the adverbial “pitchforkatingly”) are also acceptable.

Feb 272008

Well praise the deity or cosmological principle of your choice, I actually got a review posted on time. I will also soon set about acquiring next week’s album, Lust Lust Lust, by the Raveonettes. No, no, don’t thank me good citizen, I’m just doing my job.

And now it’s time to do yours. (Segues for the win!) The voting this week’s chock full of excellent artists, with new releases from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Bauhaus, The Black Crowes, Flogging Molly, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. So a tough field with some stiff competition. It’s your job to narrow it down to just one, so get your votes in.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig! (LINK)
Bauhaus, Go Away White (LINK)
The Black Crowes, Warpaint (LINK)
Flogging Molly, Float (LINK)
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash (LINK)

Feb 262008

Speakeasy, All Your New Favorite Songs

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Artist: Speakeasy
Album: All Your New Favorite Songs
Label: Zarr Records
Release Date: Tuesday, 2008.2.12
Score: 8/10

All Your Favorite Songs, the debut studio LP from Springfield, Missouri quartet Speakeasy, is a funky, busy affair. All of the tracks (which each come individually labeled “explicit” from the Amazon download store, despite fairly inoffensive contents) are energetic and groovy, displaying bold Funk and Rock and Roll roots. Combine this rollocking style with the stellar production work of Pete Matthews and some serious musical talent and the result is a fun, boisterous record.

I have to admit that Speakeasy play in a groove that I have a lot of affection for. They have a rock/funk fusion sound not unlike Steely Dan or The Slip, two bands of which I am a rather devoted fan. That being said, Speakeasy eschew the West Coast Jazz trappings of Steely Dan and the bright, ethereal guitars of The Slip and replace them with crunchy, overdriven melodies and thick, thundering bass lines. The classic fusion energy remains, with all of its attendant complex, driving melodies and funky rhythms. “Already Wanted You”, for instance, features catchy blues/funk bass and guitar lines, with some especially groovy hooks coming from the strings of bassist Reed Herron. Another good example is “Dirty Dishes”, which is a funky, if lyrically semi-sensical (an extended metaphor comparing a lover to a dirty dish), tune with more great bass work, a great guitar solo, and some exceptionally groovy drumming.

Speakeasy’s lyrics tend to be both personal and a bit eccentric. They’re very evocative and direct, largely foregoing cleverness in favor of simple expression. While I have to confess I’m normally a sucker for the glib and the clever, I am charmed by the to-the-point honesty coupled of the lyrics. Especially so when coupled with the passionate, though often rough vocals of singer Shawn Eckels. From the simple sincerity of “cheers to you my friends” (“Bad Apples”) to the honest hyperbole of “Atlas ain’t got shit on you” (“Jimmy”) (which is, by the way, quickly becoming one of my new favorite compliments), Eckels gives the distinct impression of saying not only just what he means but, more importantly, just what he feels.

One thing with which I was impressed was how clean a sound Speakeasy managed to attain, despite the relative busyness of many of their songs. A lot of bands try for the sorts of complex three-part harmonies that Speakeasy uses and wind up just sounding muddled or overly chaotic. Speakeasy, on the other hand, sound tight and professional. This is due largely to the obvious musical talent of the band members, I would imagine, but also partly due to the production work of Pete Matthews. Between the two, the complex, intertwining parts wind up sounding clean and precise, lending a lot of power to what could otherwise be a jumbled mess.

If you like Groove Rock or and of the various genres of Rock Fusion, then All Your New Favorite Songs should definitely be on your list of albums to hear. It probably won’t rewrite the genre, but it’s a sterling example of it. It packs a lot of energy and some truly awesome grooves into a very listenable package.

Feb 262008

"It’s not a slow-dance, this modern romance"

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I put this song on a mix for someone special recently and had it stuck in my head ever since.

Ben Lee, “Into the Dark” (audio on this video is pretty quiet, and the song is remarkably groovy, so be sure to turn up your speakers.)