31 March 2006

EAR FARM's March '06 mixtape

It's that time again, EAR FARM mixtape time. Seriously, though these posts are meant to remind you of all of the great bands given their own little feature on the site this past month, this list of songs also works well when downloaded and listened to in the following order. Clicking the song title will give you the song, the band name will take you to the band's site, and the (+) will take you to a previous EAR FARM post about that band.

1. "Point of Pride" by The Unsacred Hearts (+)
2. "Sleeping" by Man in Gray (+)
3. "Glad To Be Scattered" by Track a Tiger (+)
4. "It Wuz Worth It" by Black Nasty (+)
5. "Priest" by Beangrowers (+)
6. "In The Valley" by The Lovely Feathers (+)
7. "Moody Woman" by The Alright Ma's (+)
8. "Better Half" by The Pine Club (+)
9. "Jamaica Beer Eyes" by The Heights (+)
10. "Shut Us Down" by Brakes (+)
11. "The Funnest Game" by Katharine Whalen (+)
12. "Windows" by Noah Harrison (+)
13. "Bush War Blues" by Johnny Clash (aka Billy Bragg) (+)
14. "Black Hole" by The Vorstand Circus (+)


Previously:

  • EAR FARM's October '05 mixtape
  • EAR FARM's November '05 mixtape
  • EAR FARM's December '05 mixtape
  • EAR FARM's January '06 mixtape
  • EAR FARM's February '06 mixtape
  • Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road

    Here's a reminder of a few things...EAR FARM welcomes all kinds of submissions of music, bands, films, info, gossip, ANYthing that relates to good music. BUT, EF is still just a one-man operation. Everything sent my way will get looked at/listened to, and some of it will find its way into a post on this site. Sometimes it just takes a while to get to things.

    The following was sent to me two weeks ago in an email:

    "My name is Amy and I directed a film on the former lead singer of Squeeze called "Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road". It's out on DVD now (to really good reviews in the UK. for some reason the US mainstream press don't want to know. But it got good write ups in Paste and there's a story on it in MAGNET this month apparently.) and it's going to appear on VH1Classic on March 22...

    I'm an indie filmmaker and met Glenn through my local music video show that I ran from the age of 16-23 and I interviewed all the bands that would come through Ohio-Squeeze being one of them! (This Squeeze interview is included in the special features of my DVD.) My film follows Glenn on his first solo acoustic tour of America in an old beat up, rickety RV and it shows him staying in KOA Campgrounds rather than fancy hotels. It features many amazing acoustic versions of the Squeeze songs we know and love! The message of the film is about doing what you love and loving what you do-even when it seems the world isn't listening."
    It's a shame I filed this email under the 'get to later' heading because the film is really great. You should've heard about it sooner rather than later. What I'd wanted was to have seen it before I posted about it - okay, well...check. Done and done.

    That means I can now say that you too should check out Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road because it's an excellent glimpse into the world of touring, into the life of a lifelong musician. If you're a fan of Squeeze, you'll love it. If you're not a fan of Squeeze there's still so much to see. To watch a man living his dream, to see the way Glenn takes on life and the hardships of the road. It's truly a tale of "doing what you love and loving what you do-even when it seems the world isn't listening". Amen to that.

    Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road official site
    Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road on IMDB
    BUY Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road

    Watch Glenn Tilbrook: One For The Road on VH1 Classic this Saturday (April 1st) and Sunday (April 2nd)

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    30 March 2006

    8+

    "Countdown" by Pulp which clocks in at 8:04

    "Hush. Keep very still, for the strangest things are about to happen."

    So begins the single version (radio edit) of Pulp's largely ignored pop-rock dance opus. Strange, but strange things don't happen within the song. All that happens is a little bit of groove, some jam, some words most people can relate to, and some disco. In other words, Pulp by numbers. This is where the male Brit-pop version of Gloria Gaynor first showed his face; in this song. This song, the song that gave birth to the Pulp that could've taken over the world. It was the start of His 'n Hers/Different Class Pulp and it's one of my favorite songs longer than eight minutes. You will fall in love with this song because it's already in love with you.

    The day I first discovered this CD single for sale, brought it home, and listened to it...my private headline/lede that day would've read:

    The miserable musings of Morrissey crash into Cocker's "Countdown" and the world is reborn - Trapped in the humdrum capital city of some random state, a 17 year old American boy finds himself in the words and music of Pulp. Dancing and laughing and finally living? TBD.
    You can buy that very same CD single on EBay HERE (for £40!) or BUY Countdown 1992-1983 HERE.

    EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
    British Sea Power - "Lately"
    Islands - "Swans"
    Isolée - "Pillowtalk"
    Animal Collective - "Banshee Beat"
    Wilderness - "Post Plethoric Rhetoric"
    The Wedding Present - "Interstate 5"
    Sleater-Kinney - "Let's Call It Love"
    My Morning Jacket - "Dondante"
    Wilco - "Spiders (Kidsmoke)"
    Isis - "From Sinking"
    Lemon Jelly - "A Tune For Jack"
    Herbie Hancock - "Sly"
    New Order - "Temptation"
    Polvo - "El Rocio"

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    I Want my MTV

    Liars video 'blog ring' edition:

    Want even MORE videos? search "I want my MTV" on this site for past music video related EAR FARM postings.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    29 March 2006

    Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #25

    K by Kula Shaker

    You know this album right? You heard it at some party back in the day and liked it so much you went out and bought it...or, your roommate had it because he was so into English music at the time that he'd buy ANYthing that came from the UK and you guys used to hang out and smoke weed and listen to it thinking "damn, so this is what the 60's sounded like". Right? No? You got it because it was the next logical step after your Oasis infatuation subsided? Or you mean to tell me you never actually listened to this album before...?

    Whatever your own personal history with Kula Shaker is, I'll bet you ultimately fall into one of two categories: you either haven't heard K before, or you gave it up for dead years ago. I'm telling you that it's about time to give this album a(nother) listen. The 60's inspired psychedelic guitar jams will get you movin' and a groovin' in a way that seems strangely refreshing now that the entire music world takes its inspiration from 1979-85.

    AllMusic gives the album 3 stars:

    "By the mid-'90s, most bands had abandoned the sounds and sensibilities of late-'60s psychedelia, which is what makes Kula Shaker's debut album, K, such a weird, bracing listen. The band doesn't simply revive the swirling guitar and organ riffs of psychedelia, it embraces the mysticism and Eastern spirituality that informed the music. On both "Tattva" and "Govinda," lead singer Crispian Mills has adapted portions of Sanskrit text for the lyrics, chanting Indian mantras without a hint of embarrassment. Similarly, Kula Shaker are unashamed about their devotion to Hendrix, Traffic, and the Beatles, cutting their traditionalist tendencies with an onslaught of volume, overdriven guitars, and catchy melodies -- though they have a song called "Grateful When You're Dead," all of their psychedelic sensibilities derive from British rock, not the more experimental American counterpart. Kula Shaker may play well -- they have a powerful rush that makes you temporarily forget how classicist their music actually is -- but they still have trouble coming up with hooks. About half the record ("Hey Dude," "Tattva," "Govinda," "Grateful When You're Dead") has strong melodies, while the rest just rides by on the band's instrumental skills. Consequently, much of K doesn't stick around once the record is finished, but the singles remain excellent blasts of colorful neo-psychedelia."
    And I'd agree with most of what is said there. Hey dude, not every album in this feature is/was 100% certified classic - far from it in fact. The (unstated) mission of the feature was to remind myself, and others, of albums from the 90's that aren't currently given the attention they're due. Be they largely unknown albums or albums that sold a relatively large number of copies...hopefully you'll find that a wide range of albums are ultimately covered here once the list is finally concluded. (When will that actually happen? Nobody knows for sure, but we've got at least another 15 to go before it's time to consider what happens next. Anyway, back to Kula Shaker.)

    With a few songs that are of 5 star quality and a few that are more worthy of 2 star ratings, I'd give the album around a 3.5/5. The beauty is, K achieves something special when listened to in its entirity and makes for some damn near perfect warm weather music. Sure, the warm weather has not yet begun to really warm up but I'm anxious for it to happen. Play these songs loud and bring on Spring!

    Listen:Previous Overlooked Albums from the 90's:
    #1 - Saturnalia by The Wedding Present
    #2 - The Inevitable by Squirrel Nut Zippers
    #3 - This is Our Music by Galaxie 500
    #4 - Dusk by The The
    #5 - Fantasma by Cornelius
    #6 - New Wave by The Auteurs
    #7 - I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman
    #8 - Futureworld by Trans Am
    #9 - Harmacy by Sebadoh
    #10 - Cure For Pain by Morphine
    #11 - God Fodder by Ned's Atomic Dustbin
    #12 - Seven by James
    #13 - Why Do Birds Sing? by Violent Femmes
    #14 - Blank-Wave Arcade by The Faint
    #15 - Dog Man Star by Suede
    #16 - Beatsongs by The Blue Aeroplanes
    #17 - Don't Try This At Home by Billy Bragg
    #18 - 1992: The Love Album by Carter USM
    #19 - Time Was Gigantic...When We Were Kids by The Durutti Column
    #20 - Psalm 69 by Ministry
    #21 - The Dirtchamber Sessions, Vol. 1 by The Prodigy
    #22 - Going Blank Again by Ride
    #23 - Love At Absolute Zero by My Favorite
    #24 - Placebo by Placebo

    if you'd like...
    Pitchfork's top albums of the 90's
    1st version of their list

    Another site does their own "Overlooked of the 90's":
    Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Moog Little Phatty™ Analog Synthesizer

    Being the synthesizer nut that I am, I was very excited to see the email from Moog Music announcing a new member of the Moog family. It's a brand new design: a smaller synth at a lower price point...its name - The Little Phatty™.

    Some details:

    The Little Phatty boasts a 100 percent analog signal path, 100 user editable presets and a 37-note keyboard with +/-2 Octave Transpose. Additional features include:

    - 2 Ultra-stable Oscillators
    - 1 Low Pass Filter (Patented Moog Ladder Filter)
    - 4-Stage Analog Envelope Generators
    - RAC™ Real Analog Control is a proprietary technology enabling the performer to directly interface with the analog circuitry via the knobs on the control panel, without any digital processing.

    From studio to stage, the Little Phatty is a musician’s dream. Moog’s innovative engineering and tried-and-true manufacturing mean you can have the sound you want at a price that’s well within reach.
    Suggested price: $1475.00 in US dollars.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    OPP

    Heartonastick has a great recap of the New York Dolls show at CBGB

    Information Leafblower on the Billy Bragg show at the Birchmere

    Coolfer's Tips for Labels and Publicists

    Gorilla vs. Bear with some new stuff by The Streets

    So Much Silence has some Tapes 'n Tapes for download

    Marathonpacks on the video for "Rockit"

    One Louder has an interesting mix - On the Road, Part One: From Tucson to Chicago

    The Perm & The Skullet has a great Dylan bootleg

    RBally has a great Replacements bootleg

    For some reason, this post at The Underrated Blog entertained me

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Art Brut Contest

    EAR FARM has two tickets to give away to the sold out Art Brut concert at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday April 5th.

    Here's the deal:
    You can win TWO tickets to the sold out Art Brut show...to enter, email earfarm@hotmail.com (subject CONTEST) and tell me your favorite concert venue in the NYC area.

    The contest will end Monday April 3rd, 2006 @ NOON EST. A winner will be chosen at RANDOM from everyone who sends in an email - the concert venue thing is out of pure curiosity and will not impact who gets these tickets. EAR FARM will NOT share your email address with anyone and you will not be put on a mailing list.

    UPDATE - the contest has ended and a winner has been notified, check back for future EF ticket giveaways.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    28 March 2006

    The Vorstand Circus

    The Vorstand Circus deserve attention...lots of attention, and fans, and critical praise. I'm not going to be able get the point across properly because The Vorstand Circus really should be discovered by listening to Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries in its entirety, and all you're going to get here are the first two songs from this outstanding album. These songs should give you an idea of what lies within Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries much the same way that watching Iron Chef might leave you wanting to eat at Morimoto; but trust me - spend some money to get the full experience and you'll find something very rare and special.

    From the bio:

    The Vorstand Circus are the band project of Melbourne, Australia-based musician Jason Allen. Currently the only member, Jason is seeking musicians to complete the line-up. The Vorstand Circus's first album, Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries was written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by Jason on a PC in the second bedroom of a small apartment in Bern, Switzerland.
    I've actually got a lot more information about the story behind the album Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries and the guy behind The Vorstand Circus but I'll save all of that for some other time. I think it's better to go into listening to a band/album like this fresh and without any pre-conceived notions. Wait, that's a lie. Allow me to give you a few notions...

    The Vorstand Circus remind me of XTC, They Might Be Giants, and early REM. Or, in terms of mood and the manner in which the subject matter of the songs is dealt with, The Vorstand Circus have quite a bit in common with Arcade Fire. Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries strikes that most perfect balance of clever production and songwriting coupled with smart melodies and blissful harmonies that guide you through personal lyrics. If you're thinking this is all typical blogger hyperbole, think again. Had I heard Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries last year when it was released, it would've made it into EAR FARM's Top 15 albums of 2005. That this is all the work of one guy is something to be recognized as genius. Now that Jason is finding a band to tour with, it won't be long before all of your neighbors also know of The Vorstand Circus. Listen to this music, buy the album, and tell the world how much you love it.

    Listen:
    "All Truth Now"
    "Black Hole"

    BUY Sworn In On A Stack Of Dictionaries on Cafe Press HERE.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Music Blogger NCAA Pool

    The tourney may not be over yet, but our little Music Blogger NCAA Pool is, given that none of us picked ANY of the final four teams. The winner is The DIY Rockstar who certainly rules at things such as picking the winners of basketball games and interviewing members of The Subways.

    Here are the final standings:
    1. The DIY Rockstar
    2. Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
    3. BurningOak.com
    4. tmwsiy*
    5. Glassheads.org
    6. The Face Of Today
    7. I Rock Cleveland
    8. Clever Titles Are So Last Summer
    8. EAR FARM
    10. Bows + Arrows
    10. Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
    12. Yeti Don't Dance
    13. Audio For Drinking
    14. Take Your Medicine

    Look for a post about "Free Bird" from Mike at Take Your Medicine in the near future.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Today's NEW releases

    This week, these have caught my eye:

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Billy Bragg

    Billy Bragg just recently recorded a new song and released it into the vastness of the internet...

    "In 1938, Leadbelly recorded "Bourgeois Blues" to protest the racism he encountered in Washington, D.C. Seven decades later, England's premiere folk-punk-poet-bard Billy Bragg noticed a few things going on in the U.S. capital that rubbed him the wrong way. On his current sold-out American tour, Billy has been performing his own version of "Bourgeois Blues" with a modern twist.

    Being a man of action, Billy ducked into Big Sky Recordings in Ann Arbor, Mich., on March 22 and laid down "Bush War Blues," with lyrics adapted to express his condemnation of the war in Iraq. His voice husky from his hefty touring schedule, Billy originally attributed the song to a newly-created alter ego, Johnny Clash."
    Read the rest HERE.

    Listen:
    "Bush War Blues"

    The song was originally found HERE...thanks to Eric for pointing it out. Not too long ago I picked up the Billy Bragg boxset Vol. 1 and it's well worth owning if you're a fan...you can BUY it HERE.

    Billy Bragg played the New York Society for Ethical Culture this past Friday and Newsday has a review. Check HERE to see future tour dates.

    (attached photo taken by Bruce Gilbert and is from HERE)

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    27 March 2006

    Animal Collective @ Bowery Ballroom - 25 March 2006

    I couldn't go see Animal Collective at Bowery Ballroom this past weekend because I had to go out of town. This saddened me because I really like this band and have yet to see them live. Thankfully, Mike (who has contributed to EAR FARM once or twice in the past) went and offered up some thoughts on the show in addition to the picture you see posted here.

    He said:
    "I hate myself for never going to an Animal Collective show before Saturday. Seriously, I feel gross about it, so many opportunities over the last three years and I just let them pass me by. Luckily, I was able to finally see them at Bowery on Saturday and it was a sublime experience. Though I've been bitching lately about how I thought the sound at the Bowery had fallen off, I have to say the sound on Saturday was amazing, completely drew everyone in. And the Geologist, the sound manipulator with the mining light front and center, is really responsible for creating much of the sound of the band. It's such a warm, inviting, primal thing seeing them play, I was truly blown away.

    I ran into the Geologist's girlfriend before the show and she explained that the band does things in reverse of most other bands, meaning they write loads of new material, then play it on the road, then record it. That being the case, much of Saturday's set was culled from new material, and it was truly a pleasure hearing it for the first time. They also played some songs from Feels and (as far as I can remember) only one song from Sung Tongs. I think they played for two hours or maybe even slightly longer (again speculation as a bit of alcohol made precise details a bit fuzzy), making me remember how great it is to see a show that's NOT at Webster Hall on a weekend and thus is not guaranteed to have to wrap by 10 p.m. All in all, an amazing show from a truly innovative band."

    Animal Collective has been featured in EAR FARM's 8+ series and put out one of EAR FARM's favorite albums of 2005.

    UPDATE - Alias Pail has some MP3s from the show - go listen to them NOW!

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    snip·pets

    Morrissey boycotts Canada

    Stylus on The Diggin' in the Crates Crew

    Salon's got one of my favorite Billy Bragg songs as a free download

    PJ Harvey Readies First Live DVD

    MTV's VMAs Return to NYC

    The Best: Sci-Fi Concept Albums according to Wired

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Contrast Podcast

    Is it possible to have a crush on a Podcast? It must be, because five songs into the Contrast Podcast I'm totally enamored with what I'm hearing. The concept was simple enough - Tim from The Face of Today asked a bunch of music bloggers to submit an intro and a track for inclusion in a new podcast he was putting together. The only guidline was a theme of 'one'. The result is a podcast everyone reading this site will totally enjoy. Oh, and I'm one of the bloggers that submitted a track, so go HERE and check it out.

    PS - somebody should've told me my track was coming after Nas. I'da been all "Yo...'to take it back to africa, I did it with Biggie, me and 2pac were soldiers of the same struggle'..."

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    24 March 2006

    Weekend Live Music

    Islands Live @ First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA - 5 December 2005
    (photo taken by me at the recent Islands show here in NY)

    1. "Tsuxiit"
    2. "Humans"
    3. "I Feel Evil (Creeping In)"
    4. "Jogging Gorgeous Summer"
    5. "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby"
    6. "Rough Gem"
    7. "Where There's A Will, There's A Whalebone"
    8. "I Wanna Love That Little Child"
    9. "Volcanoes"
    10. "If"
    11. "Swans"
    12. "Graceland"

    This post is one day early this week. Deal with it.

    Also, sorry but EF can't offer the whole show as a .zip due to issues in the past when bandwidth was exceeded.

    Past EAR FARM Weekend Live Music has included live songs/sets by Sublime, Spoon, Ween, The Unicorns, My Bloody Valentine, New Order, Sufjan Stevens, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sonic Youth, Explosions in the Sky, The Smiths, Morphine, Talking Heads, The Stone Roses, The Cure, PJ Harvey, Pulp, The Decemberists, Blur, Nine Inch Nails, Johnny Cash, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Led Zeppelin.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    NYC live shows this weekend

    I'll be going out of town, thus you'll get your EAR FARM Weekend Live Music fix a day early this week. Also, this means I won't be able to go to any of these excellent shows. Doesn't mean you have to miss out. Here's a rundown of the bands I'm familiar with who are playing this weekend (in New York City) and are well worth checking out.

    Friday March 24th

    Saturday March 25thSunday March 26th

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Stream these albums

    You can hear a few great new albums by streaming them on either AOL Music or MySpace. The ones I've been digging:

    Go HERE to stream Morrissey's new album Ringleader of the Tormentors.

    Go HERE to stream Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new album Show Your Bones.

    Go HERE to stream some other albums like the new one from Liars, Editors, and a bunch more.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    23 March 2006

    8+

    "El Rocio" by Polvo which clocks in at 12:41

    In the past few entries for this 8+ feature I've gotten a bit wordy. For your sake, and mine, I'ma change that this week. A very brief story - in Feb 1998 I saw Polvo's final show at the Cat's Cradle. For the ride home, back to Raleigh, I put on Shapes and ended up listening to this song on repeat. In all, it was 3.5 or 4 times in a row that I heard "El Rocio" that night. A perfect cooldown from the live show I'd just seen. Ah the romance of it all...

    I actually hadn't listened to this song even once since that night. Man, that's eight years. Well, last night I changed all that and checked out "El Rocio" again. If you know Polvo, rock on. If not, enjoy the song and this introduction to one of the 90's better bands.

    BUY Shapes HERE.

    EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
    British Sea Power - "Lately"
    Islands - "Swans"
    Isolée - "Pillowtalk"
    Animal Collective - "Banshee Beat"
    Wilderness - "Post Plethoric Rhetoric"
    The Wedding Present - "Interstate 5"
    Sleater-Kinney - "Let's Call It Love"
    My Morning Jacket - "Dondante"
    Wilco - "Spiders (Kidsmoke)"
    Isis - "From Sinking"
    Lemon Jelly - "A Tune For Jack"
    Herbie Hancock - "Sly"
    New Order - "Temptation"

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Noah Harrison

    Last night I listened to a particular playlist while going to sleep. It's one I listen to rather often when I feel a certain way as the songs on it are especially moody and introspective. I named it 'That summer feeling' after the Jonathan Richman song of the same name. Don't know that one? Well you can read the lyrics to get an idea of what the song is about, but you should really just listen to it. My point is, I recently put two songs by Noah Harrison on this playlist of mine and they define the overall feeling of the mix better than some of the songs I've always loved.

    Noah Harrison contacted me and sent me a copy of his EP Songs For a Long Night after I told him that I really liked what I'd heard on his MySpace site. Go there and listen. You'll get an idea of the certain kind of fantastic that Noah's been able to tap into. Atmosphere, mood, longing, reflection...it's hard to not keep coming back to how contemplative and introspective his songs are and it's hard not to be reminded of Nick Drake when listening to Noah Harrison. There's a lot of soul that's been poured into his music and I almost feel lucky for the fact that he's recorded and shared such personal writing with the world. As you listen and connect, it's songs like these that creep into your life and stay with you becoming almost like memories of your own.

    The track posted here is the first track from the EP and the first song I really liked by Noah. Now my two favorites, the two songs I put on my mix that I mentioned before, are "Pater" and "MotherBrother". You're going to have to BUY Songs For a Long Night to hear those. If you like what you hear in "Windows", I promise it'll be well worth the money.

    Listen:
    "Windows"

    BUY Songs For a Long Night on CD Baby or on iTunes.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    I Want my MTV

    Bands from NYC edition:

    Want even MORE videos? search "I want my MTV" on this site for past music video related EAR FARM postings.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    22 March 2006

    Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #24

    Placebo by Placebo

    I keep doubting myself on a few of the albums I've considered for this feature. Not any of the ones that have been covered yet, but some that I've thought of for the future. Allow me to present the first of them: Placebo's self titled debut. Why do I doubt myself? Well, Placebo isn't the best band in the world, and they're certainly not overlooked. They're not this gem of an unknown band that should be uncovered and shown to the world. I get the feeling that their devoted fan base is precisely the appropriate size given their particular brand of nouveaux-glam / Smashing Pumpkins rehash music. That being the case, I do feel like this album is better than anyone gives it credit for AND there was a time when it didn't leave my car CD player for months.

    The first time I heard Placebo was when I saw the video for "Pure Morning" on MTV. I instantly liked the song and wanted to get the CD. Was this because the song was made up of strutting guitars and lyrics that included words such as 'weed' and 'breasts' and all the rest? Potentially. I could also tell that this was going to be a nicely polarizing band. The kind of band that my American friends would never listen to because they are too damn androgynous and European. The kind of band that my European friends wouldn't like because they're not a hip band from America. Perfect. So imagine how distressed I was when I went to Schoolkids and couldn't get Without You I'm Nothing. All they had was the debut album Placebo. But then I knew that starting with a band's first album is never a bad way to be introduced to them, so off I went. Rocking ensued in my car the moment the first song ("Come Home") began.

    So, the question then is - why this album? Critics have tended to not like Placebo at all. Listeners tend to either love or hate the band. They've said things to me before like "the lyrics are stupid" or "the music is boring". That's just it though. Simple lyrics, simple song structures, and yet I just can't get enough of Placebo's first two albums. I love their fast songs, I love their slow songs. I love the singles and the b-sides and I totally love their willingness to play some kick ass cover songs. Fuck it, check out these songs from this album because one thing's for sure: Placebo is a hell of a lot better than other rock albums from the 90's that sold millions more copies.

    Listen:

    Previous Overlooked Albums from the 90's:
    #1 - Saturnalia by The Wedding Present
    #2 - The Inevitable by Squirrel Nut Zippers
    #3 - This is Our Music by Galaxie 500
    #4 - Dusk by The The
    #5 - Fantasma by Cornelius
    #6 - New Wave by The Auteurs
    #7 - I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman
    #8 - Futureworld by Trans Am
    #9 - Harmacy by Sebadoh
    #10 - Cure For Pain by Morphine
    #11 - God Fodder by Ned's Atomic Dustbin
    #12 - Seven by James
    #13 - Why Do Birds Sing? by Violent Femmes
    #14 - Blank-Wave Arcade by The Faint
    #15 - Dog Man Star by Suede
    #16 - Beatsongs by The Blue Aeroplanes
    #17 - Don't Try This At Home by Billy Bragg
    #18 - 1992: The Love Album by Carter USM
    #19 - Time Was Gigantic...When We Were Kids by The Durutti Column
    #20 - Psalm 69 by Ministry
    #21 - The Dirtchamber Sessions, Vol. 1 by The Prodigy
    #22 - Going Blank Again by Ride
    #23 - Love At Absolute Zero by My Favorite

    if you'd like...
    Pitchfork's top albums of the 90's
    1st version of their list

    Another site does their own "Overlooked of the 90's":
    Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Katharine Whalen

    Let it be known: I love Katharine Whalen. Always have always will. At least, I've adored her and her music since the first time I ever heard Squirrel Nut Zippers back in 1995; so, having loved and listened to her for more than a decade it now seems like I've been a fan forever. You might have noticed that the first Squirrel Nut Zippers album appeared on EAR FARM's Overlooked of the 90's feature back when the feature, and this site, was in its infancy. Well, I think I may need to revisit those early posts from that feature because the one on The Inevitable doesn't quite get the message across the way it should, but that's neither here nor there. All that matters is for you to know that half of the reason that album, that band, is such a classic is because of Katharine.

    So imagine my excitement when I got a MySpace message from her asking to be added as a friend. Sure, the message was from whoever runs her MySpace page (most likely not her of course) but the reason for my excitement wasn't a personal connection. It was because Katharine is making music again! She's got new songs on her MySpace page, a a new website in the works, and an album coming out on June 6th!! You can hear three songs on her MySpace page...one I don't care much for (the commercial ready "You Who") and two that've gotten me plenty excited to hear the new album. They're jazzy lounge with a bit of Moroccan club influence and her voice sounds heavenly, as usual. Go and listen to "Want You Back" on MySpace and grab "The Funnest Game" here - I don't see how you couldn't love her voice.

    Listen:
    "The Funnest Game"

    Katharine Whalen on MySpace

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    OPP

    Heartonastick has a great recap of the show at Bowery Ballroom last night (gore alert)

    Chromewaves has a nice collection of SxSW photos

    Fluxblog covers SxSW

    Gorilla vs. Bear also covers SxSW

    Marathonpacks posts on Jon Glaser at "Invite Them Up"

    Torr links to where you can download a new Morrissey b-side

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    21 March 2006

    Live From London event @ Virgin Megastore Union Square - 21 March 2006

    Brakes are in town, Brakes are in town!! That's right peoples, time for me to again wonder why bands like Editors come here and stir up hipster tornadoes while the superior Brakes are stuck playing at 3:30pm at Virgin Megastore and then at 12:30am at The Annex. I'll keep saying it though. They kicked serious ass in October with their two shows at Pianos, did the same again today in the middle of the day at a retail store, and I stand by my pick of their debut album as EAR FARM's #2 album released in 2005. More on Brakes in a bit. First, there were two bands that played before them as part of this Live From London showcase....

    The Young Knives
    The Young Knives got things started with a bang. They're a three piece from Oxford and are of the same mold as many other current UK bands, meaning that they bring an obvious love of post-punk/new wave to the table. The planet has become so overly saturated with his kind of material that I generally don't even give bands that wear such influences on their sleeve much of a chance. That's right, for an extremely open-minded music listener I can be pretty close-minded. Well, lucky for me, live shows can change all of that. The Young Knives have a certain something that I find lacking in other current music. Something that kept me interested and very much liking their music. Three things I loved about them: Henry's (guitar) vocals, that they all seemed rather nerdy, and the fact that the bassist goes by the name The House of Lords. Hey, they must be doing something right - they've had Andy Gill record and produce some of their music.

    Click HERE to stream some of their songs and HERE to watch two of their videos.

    Go see The Young Knives at The Annex (152 Orchard St.) tonight at 1:30am.

    The Heights
    From North Wales, The Heights were up next. Interestingly the entire cafe area cleared out and new shoppers found their way towards the stage when the second band began so most of my fellow audience for The Heights were newcomers. While they were setting their levels I could tell that The Heights were going to be bringing something totally different from what The Young Knives played. Two guitars, bass and drums - right from the start of the first song they ripped into some excellent classic rock inspired indie music. The kind of stuff you heard more of in the 90's, the kind of stuff that makes for some great beer drinking music. Rock.

    Listen:
    "Jamaica Beer Eyes"

    Visit The Heights on MySpace or see them live tomorrow night at Pianos.

    Brakes
    Okay, here we are. Back to the reason I found myself skipping out of work to go hang out at Virgin for two hours on a Tuesday. Brakes! They took the stage not long after The Heights ended and another new set of audience members found their way into the cafe area. I wondered how many new fans would be made today. Just as they were the last time I saw them, Brakes were on fire. Of course, their songs kind of demand to be played with energy and a sense of urgency but Brakes really shred. They play loud punk-rock indie-pop that had two people with gray hair dancing in front of me and had two kids behind me throwing their heads around. If you are still unfamiliar, consider that Brakes sound a bit like Pixies sometimes and maybe a bit like Camper Van Beethoven at other times. In fact, they did a great cover version of "Shut Us Down" by Camper Van Beethoven which you can hear below. Go see them tonight if you can, and BUY Give Blood for crying out loud!

    Listen:
    "Shut Us Down"

    Visit Brakes on MySpace or see them live at The Annex (152 Orchard St.) tonight at 12:30am.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Don't You (Forget About Me)

    The following list covers all of the bands featured on EAR FARM through the end of February 2006. Each has gotten stamped with the EF seal of approval as a band worth checking out so let this post be a reminder to do so, if you haven't already. Click the (+) to visit a previous EF posting about any of these bands and click the band name to go to their site.

    New York based bands:
    Apse (+)
    The Art of Shooting (+)
    Bastion (+)
    Bishop Allen (+)
    Die Romantik (+)
    The Diggs (+)
    Fanuelle (+)
    Goes Cube (+)
    The Isles (+)
    Limbs (+)
    Man in Gray (+)
    Mancino (+)
    Mobius Band (+)
    The Nailbiters (+)
    Nous Non Plus (+)
    Other Passengers (+)
    The Secret Life of Sofia (+)
    Split Over Drapes (+)
    Susu (+)

    Bands from elsewhere:
    The Apparitions (+)
    Ash Tree (+)
    Birdmonster (+)
    Cloud Cult (+)
    Happycasio! (+)
    Richard Hawley (+)
    John & Jehn (+)
    Kelley Stoltz (+)
    Kim Novak (+)
    Machine Go Boom (+)
    Man Man (+)
    The Melody Function (+)
    Mull Historical Society (+)
    Peasant (+)
    People in Planes (+)
    Pleasant (+)
    Pretty Girls Make Graves (+)
    The Sames (+)
    Schooner (+)
    Strip Squad (+)
    Tapes 'n Tapes (+)
    We Versus the Shark (+)
    Wilderness (+)

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Today's NEW releases

    Here are a few that might be something I'll be checking out:

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    20 March 2006

    Nate Harrison's Can I Get An Amen?

    "A society free to borrow and build on the past is culturally richer than a controlled one." - Laurence Lessig

    I meant to post about Nate Harrison's Can I Get An Amen? weeks ago when I first saw the post about it on Some Velvet Blog. I wanted to share it because it's something everyone who visits this site will enjoy listening to. In fact, listening to it got me thinking about copyrights in a completely different manner than before.

    First, a bit about it:

    "Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break. It begins with the pop track Amen Brother by 60's soul band The Winstons, and traces the transformation of their drum solo from its original context as part of a 'B' side vinyl single into its use as a key aural ingredient in contemporary cultural expression. The work attempts to bring into scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that 'information wants to be free'- it questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent. This as well as other issues are foregrounded through a history of the Amen Break and its peculiar relationship to current copyright law."
    You can view the main page for this installation HERE.

    Click HERE to watch and listen to Can I Get An Amen? (total running time 17 minutes, 46 seconds).

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    snip·pets

    Second U.S. Beatles set due

    The Who Not Rushing First New Album Since 1982

    Dre, Em Team With Embattled Busta

    Stylus Mag Non-Definitive Guide to Artist Run Labels

    B.I.G. album pulled from market

    NY Times reviews Stereolab's recent show at Town Hall

    Archaic Sounds Caress Modern Ears

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    18 March 2006

    Weekend Live Music

    Led Zeppelin Live @ The Fillmore West, San Francisco, California - 11 January 1969
    (photo, from a different show in 1969, from HERE)

    1. "I Can't Quit You"
    2. "Dazed and Confused"
    3. "You Shook Me"
    4. "How Many More Times"
    5. "Communication Breakdown"

    Sorry, EF can't offer the whole show as a .zip due to issues in the past when bandwidth was exceeded.

    Past EAR FARM Weekend Live Music has included live songs/sets by Sublime, Spoon, Ween, The Unicorns, My Bloody Valentine, New Order, Sufjan Stevens, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sonic Youth, Explosions in the Sky, The Smiths, Morphine, Talking Heads, The Stone Roses, The Cure, PJ Harvey, Pulp, The Decemberists, Blur, Nine Inch Nails, Johnny Cash, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    CRIA's Own Study Counters P2P Claims

    This is exactly what I've always believed and worth taking a look at. Here are a few excerpts:

    "Consistent with many other studies, people who download music from P2P services frequently buy that same music. The study found that only 25% of respondents said they never bought music after listening to it as a P2P downloaded track. That obviously leaves nearly 75% as future purchasers, including 21% who have bought music ten times or more."

    "In summary, CRIA's own research now concludes that P2P downloading constitutes less than one-third of the music on downloaders' computers, that P2P users frequently try music on P2P services before they buy, that the largest P2P downloader demographic is also the largest music buying demographic, and that reduced purchasing has little to do with the availability of music on P2P services."
    Read the rest of the article HERE.

    Thanks to Cameron Deyhle for pointing me in the direction of this.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Silver Jews @ Webster Hall - 17 March 2006

    I never thought I'd see Silver Jews play a live show as they just haven't been a band that tours at all. Given that fact, I was excited when this current tour was announced but then also considered that they might not be the tightest band I've ever seen. Turns out they were a bit better than I expected but still clearly haven't worked out all of the kinks in their live show. David Berman was clearly a bit nervous at first and he had a music stand with a light on it which he used to read his lyrics as he was singing. It struck me as funny that many people in the audience probably know his writing better than (apparently) he does. However, it did seem that they were getting more comfortable towards the end of the show and I'd imagine the show tonight will be even better than last night.

    Once again the sound was an issue but I'm starting to expect such problems at Webster Hall. Overall it could have been louder, and any kind of simple mix would've been nice, but whatever. I get the feeling that the crappy sound in Webster Hall really differs depending upon where you're standing. Since we got to the show slightly late we were stuck towards the back and underneath some JBL speaker that was putting out ONLY the vocal tracks. Fact is, there are plenty of other venues in the city better suited for Silver Jews to play and I found myself wishing I could've seen them at some really sweet outdoor venue on a summer night.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    17 March 2006

    The Smiths rejected $5 million offer to reunite for Coachella

    Morrissey revealed the details during his Q&A at SxSW:

    Pioneering U.K. modern rock band the Smiths turned down a $5 million offer to reunite at the upcoming Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival in southern California, former frontman Morrissey said Thursday.

    His revelation, during a public interview at the South By Southwest Music & Media Conference in Austin, triggered gasps from the audience. When journalist David Fricke asked if he had considered it, Morrissey replied, "No, because money doesn't come into it," a response that drew applause from the crowd.

    Of the critically adored act, whic broke up ine the late 1980s, Morrissey said, "It was a fantastic journey. And then it ended. I didn't feel we should have ended. I wanted to continue. (Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr) wanted to end it. And that was that."
    Read the rest HERE.

    While that doesn't surprise me in the least, for some reason, I still have a feeling that we'll be hearing Morrissey and Marr together again someday.

    UPDATE
    Read more about the interview elsewhere:

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    16 March 2006

    8+

    "Temptation" by New Order which clocks in at 8:42

    I used to be a manager at a pizza restaurant when I was in college in Raleigh, NC...or, more correctly, during the few years I took off from college. Unfortunately this involved working until midnight or later on weeknights because our restaurant stayed open until 11pm. Let me take a moment to remind you that in Raleigh, 11pm on your average weeknight is not exactly high volume time for delivering pizzas. In fact, you could pretty much count on the fact that there would be nobody ordering pizza after nine, nine-thirty at the latest. Given that I tended towards the "I'm your friend" school of management, I generally would let the person who was on the clock as the delivery driver go home early on slow nights. It was just better for everyone involved if they got to leave early and I got to start closing up shop. If an order ever came in after 10pm, which probably happened only 5 times during my two years there, I'd just lock up, make the order and deliver it myself. One time when I did just that, I heard New Order's "Temptation" playing as I walked up to the customer's apartment.

    I got the call at about 10:45pm. Fifteen minutes before closing. This is a big restaurant customer faux pas, to push the boundaries of the hours of operation by placing an order so close to the closing time on a random Wednesday night, but I was actually in a good mood and didn't mind getting the call. Of course my delivery driver was gone and, of course, the guy calling and trying to get a pizza was slightly, to fully, drunk. Good moods quickly turn to bad when you're at the end of your work day dealing with drunken customers. Turns out this guy also lived outside of our delivery zone. Still, feeling sorry for him after hearing about how no other restaurants would deliver to him I took the order and set off on the delivery mission.

    As I was saying, I could hear New Order playing when I was walking up to his apartment. It was "Temptation", a song I've always loved. One of the first New Order songs I ever fell in love with in fact. I rang the doorbell and he showed up at the door spilling wine as he greeted me. He was a short guy in his early thirties, well dressed with a big smile. "Nice music", I said. "What?" he replied, unable to hear me over his own stereo. "I love this song, New Order is great" I explained again. "Oh yeah, I just got this CD from a friend today" he said, now smiling an even wider smile and looking at me all sloppily, "my friend said I should start with this song in particular". "He's right," I thought. Then the drunken customer handed me $30 and said to keep the change. He seemed proud that he was giving me such a large tip and I walked away happy and ready to get home.

    Once back at the restaurant I heard the phone ringing as I unlocked the front door. We were well 'officially' closed by this point and my only intent when answering the phone was to say just that. What I heard when I answered the phone took me off-guard. "Hey, this is the guy you just delivered pizza to..." I readied for a drunken complaint, "I wanted to know if you wanted to come over for a drink" the voice on the phone slurred. As naturally as I could, I replied "Oh, no thanks, I actually already have plans". Without saying anything back to me, he hung up. I was still a bit taken a back and the phone rang again. Still in work mode I answered, "I'm sorry we're cl..." the drunken voice interrupted as he sang along with "Temptation" playing in the background, "I nevler mmet anyone quitelike youb eef oar". Without saying anything else he hung up the phone, never to call back. Not that night, or ever again. I was definitely creeped out, but ultimately he seemed harmless. At least, it wasn't the scariest late night call I got while working the pizza job. No, that honor belongs to the screaming redneck lady. Of course, that's for another time, another song. Still, trust me, "Temptation" is a great way to be introduced to New Order if, by some magical twist of fate, you've never listened to them. Makes for good music when you're drunk too.

    This version is from the New Order box set - BUY Retro HERE.

    EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
    British Sea Power - "Lately"
    Islands - "Swans"
    Isolée - "Pillowtalk"
    Animal Collective - "Banshee Beat"
    Wilderness - "Post Plethoric Rhetoric"
    The Wedding Present - "Interstate 5"
    Sleater-Kinney - "Let's Call It Love"
    My Morning Jacket - "Dondante"
    Wilco - "Spiders (Kidsmoke)"
    Isis - "From Sinking"
    Lemon Jelly - "A Tune For Jack"
    Herbie Hancock - "Sly"

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    OPP

    A Reminder has a Radiohead update with some MP3s for you to hear

    Bradley's Almanac has MP3s of The Wedding Present live in Boston

    Chromewaves runs down his first day of SxSW

    The Face of Today has a rare-ish Pulp track

    Muruch offers up some thoughts on American Idol

    Torr talks about the recent Morrissey show in Oklahoma City

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    I Want my MTV

    My Favorite edition:

    Want even MORE videos? search "I want my MTV" on this site for past music video related EAR FARM postings.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    15 March 2006

    Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #23

    Love At Absolute Zero by My Favorite

    My obsession with music from the 80's started in the 80's and hasn't stopped yet. I love all kinds of stuff from that glorious decade, from the cheesy and popular to the obscure and eclectic. As a kid growing up in the 80's I favored pop, hair metal, and rap and once I found myself (musically) in the 90's, I started looking seriously at the more alternative stuff. It is this music that formed the basis for so much of what I love and inspired me to try to make music of my own in the late 90's. Granted I've been in bands on and off since the late 80's but sometime around 1998 I had the fantastic idea of taking inspiration from 80's music and trying to write some songs based on that stuff. History has proven I wasn't the only one with such a great idea but if you really want to know why I've never been totally wowed by bands like Interpol or Franz Ferdinand it's because of three particular albums from the late 90's that covered just about everything I loved about 80's music better than anything since. You'll find that two of them have already been talked about in this series - HERE and HERE. The third is Love At Absolute Zero by My Favorite.

    This album flat out dominates. From the very first time I heard it I was completely in love. In a world where looking back, artistically, is often the preferred manner of moving forward, I honestly have no clue why there aren't more people who are crazy about this band/album. Every time that I saw these guys here in the city people seemed nonplused. I don't remember that many folks heaping praise on them (though the reviews I've found are favorable) and they never really moved past playing places like Rothko and Mercury Lounge. For a band that so clearly wears their influences on their sleeve I'll take these guys over most of that other crap any day.

    Checking in with some of those reviews...Pitchfork says:

    "...7 out of 7 aging ex- Wavers agree: My Favorite is the shit.

    Like the best of the recent new wave revivalists, My Favorite makes blatantly '80s- influenced pop with no trace of irony or simple- minded retro posturing. But these guys offer something that, say, Orange Cake Mix doesn't: you can really dance to My Favorite. I mean, maybe even break a sweat. You could pogo all over your living room with 'em, and then maybe do a little of that weird, flowy arm waving, and then do that one move where you're bent over and sweeping one arm and leg back and forth like you're looking for a contact lens. And then go back to the table for a little while and catch your breath and just lip- sync."
    AllMusic says:
    "My Favorite's superb debut translates palpable pre-millennial tension into neon-lit synthesizer drama -- recalling the heyday of the New Wave with none of the irony which sinks like-minded retro-futurists from Romania to the Rentals, Love at Absolute Zero is the soundtrack to a youth rebellion that never was, vividly conjuring a teen underworld as romantic as it is claustrophobic. The album is wonderfully sleek and cinematic -- songs like "Absolute Beginners Again" and the remarkable "17 Berlin" unspool like music videos -- and although My Favorite bring to mind the chrome-plated aesthetics of the synth-pop era with uncanny accuracy, their songs capture a passion and immediacy which the remote robotics of their antecedents lacked. It's quite simply the best album of 1983, delivered sixteen years after the fact."
    Okay, so there you have it. It's that last line that really resonates with me. "It's quite simply the best album of 1983, delivered sixteen years after the fact." I agree with that completely. This record has so much of everything that I love about the 80's packed into it it makes me feel like I'm in high school and 'laying in awe on my bedroom floor' all over again. Except this time, it's My Favorite bringing me the music to save my life. If any of what I've said here resonates with you, if you ever loved The Smiths, The Human League, Duran Duran or any of the others like them...look no further.

    Listen:
    • "Absolute Beginners Again"
    • "The Truth About Lake Ronkonkama"
    • "Working Class Jacket"
    Previous Overlooked Albums from the 90's:
    #1 - Saturnalia by The Wedding Present
    #2 - The Inevitable by Squirrel Nut Zippers
    #3 - This is Our Music by Galaxie 500
    #4 - Dusk by The The
    #5 - Fantasma by Cornelius
    #6 - New Wave by The Auteurs
    #7 - I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman
    #8 - Futureworld by Trans Am
    #9 - Harmacy by Sebadoh
    #10 - Cure For Pain by Morphine
    #11 - God Fodder by Ned's Atomic Dustbin
    #12 - Seven by James
    #13 - Why Do Birds Sing? by Violent Femmes
    #14 - Blank-Wave Arcade by The Faint
    #15 - Dog Man Star by Suede
    #16 - Beatsongs by The Blue Aeroplanes
    #17 - Don't Try This At Home by Billy Bragg
    #18 - 1992: The Love Album by Carter USM
    #19 - Time Was Gigantic...When We Were Kids by The Durutti Column
    #20 - Psalm 69 by Ministry
    #21 - The Dirtchamber Sessions, Vol. 1 by The Prodigy
    #22 - Going Blank Again by Ride

    if you'd like...
    Pitchfork's top albums of the 90's
    1st version of their list

    Another site does their own "Overlooked of the 90's":
    Top 30 'Other' Albums of the '90s

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...