30 April 2006

28 April 2006

FUN day!

Main Entry: fun
1 : what provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically : playful often boisterous action or speech

Woo hooo! It's Friday, it's Spring, you ain't got shit to do but you're thirsty for some musics...that means it's FUN time! FUN time, FUN day. You're going to get a bunch of music here all at once that you can listen to and absorb throughout the weekend as you wang chung and stuff.

A Brief Smile
A Brief Smile just finished up their April residency at Fat Baby last night. Did I make it to any of their shows? Nope. I'm a jerk. But the music they make is not a jerk. It's fresh and current in a way that won't make you go "hmm, Gang of Four". So don't take my word for it, listen to what Underrated Magazine said:

"They have a way of combining the epic and intimate in their stage show, it really causes you to pay attention...A lot of times young bands stumble though their early days of trying to be creative, but not A Brief Smile. They have a vision."
Listen:
“Kitchen Floor”
“Pretty Mess” (rough mix)

A Passing Feeling
A Passing Feeling sent me their self-titled EP weeks ago and it's taken me this long to finally feature their music? Shame on me. This music has a sense of urgency to it. It sounds like Jeep Wranglers and bikinis. It screams FUN day. It needs to be played, needs to be heard, needs to be loud...shit, I'm not the only one who thinks so - Music For Robots said:
"This is the sound of the young and hungry...the sound of a great fucking record. A Passing Feeling...reminds me a ton of the Exploding Hearts -- a band that put out one of the most fun records in recent memory. It's so great to hear a band picking up that torch and running with it. Just listen to the urgency!"
Listen:
“Book of Matches”
“Probably”


Royal Arms
Royal Arms is another Brooklyn band, but no, not just another Brooklyn band. They bring reverb vocals, organ/synth, guitars, and drums in a manner that's slightly more interesting than your average rock band from Brooklyn. The bio they've got up on their MySpace page calls out Tom Petty and Spoon. Okay, I can definitely hear it (with a little bit of The Cars in there too). You've got some Mike Campbell in the guitar work, a pinch of Greg Hawkes in the keys, and an overall Spoon-ness to the Royal Arms' sound. There's just something very American about the music they're making - I suggest you check out all threee songs available on their site.

Listen:
“Streetlights”
“Gulf South”

At Dusk
At Dusk is from Portland, OR. Lots of good bands come from Portland and At Dusk is a good band. Wait, this gets better. I want to say that they're even more good than that, more better than good/sweet and tasty like candy canes, but frankly that'd be irresponsible (and far fetched) given how little I know about them at this point. It'd also probably perpetuate the notion that bloggers go about twisting language to suit their funny linguistic fetishes, but that's neither here nor there. Look, based solely upon how many times I've listened to "Wish I Was Younger” already (and the two other songs I've gotten so far from their new album) I'm hoping they'll be back to the East Coast sometime soon. At the very least, the sounds they've recorded will make you happy you've got ears - look what they've done to me. Oh, and the fact that they've made all of their music available for free download just kicks ass.

Listen:
“Wish I Was Younger”
“Oh, It's Way Too Late”

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27 April 2006

8+

"A Quick One, While He's Away" by The Who which clocks in at 9:11

This is probably the only time you'll see The Who on EAR FARM but as far as lengthy songs go, this one is a rather unheralded classic. It's a good solid six songs rolled up into one and was written back when bands like The Beatles could only figure out how to fit two (maybe three) songs into one. So why didn't "A Quick One, While He's Away" ever become a well known classic like so many other Who songs?

Look, I can't answer that. I can tell you that it's a song that was WELL ahead of its time and the version of it that you'll find on The Rolling Stones - Rock and Roll Circus is about as good as it gets. Sadly, for you, I couldn't find that version in my own library so you've got to get by with the studio version that's posted here.

And if The Who just isn't your thing, check out THIS MySpace profile instead. Monstrass is the new black.

(photo is the cover of the album this song is from - buy it 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"
Pulp - "Countdown"
Morrissey - "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils"
Dungen - "Du är för fin för mig"
Loose Fur - "Wreckroom"

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Man in Gray - The Delancey, 26 April, 2006

Three cheers for me! I finally got to see Man in Gray last night at The Delancey! Hooray! Really it's been a long time now that I'd been meaning to catch their live show but they had to go and play on dates when I couldn't make it AND they had to go on tour and stuff. Hey, Man in Gray - whilst spreading your great music all across the land, could you have been any less concerned about my schedule and my needs?

All I'm saying is that after seeing them last night, I now totally know for sure that I've got to get more Man in Gray going on in my life. I forgot just how much I love a band with two guitars, forgot how much I love a great female lead vocalist, and somehow forgot how awesome it is to see a band as good as Man in Gray in small crap basement venues. I did not forget, however, how dope some of their songs are. In fact, I was there because I love their songwriting so much but how awesome was it when they finished with a roaring cover of "Twentieth Century Boy" by T. Rex? Fucking hot shit is what it was.

I guess it should be mentioned that there was a slight problem with the pedal on the bass drum at one point, which caused a bit of a false start to one song, and the audience as a whole didn't seem to be rocking out like they should've been (except at the end when Tina jumped down into the audience while singing "Twentieth Century Boy"...pictured here), but the new songs sounded excellent and it was a joy to finally hear the old ones in a live setting. Even if I could barely make out what the guitarists were playing at points due to sound mud...

Look, forget about the fact that the sound system at The Delancey still sucks as much ass as it always has and know this: if you were at the show, you know what I'm talking about...and if you weren't at the Man in Gray show last night, you really missed out. Either way, below you'll find some Man in Gray stuff that was previously posted on EF.

Trust me, go see them live and buy their music.

Listen:
"Sleeping"

Watch:
"Thirty-Six"

Visit:
Man in Gray on MySpace

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26 April 2006

Tapes 'n Tapes announce record label signing (UPDATED)

Word is, Tapes 'n Tapes is set to sign with a label and all will be announced at some point on the 27th of April has signed with XL. I was asked to not reveal the label until today but Chris over at GvB was (expectedly) all over the story and posted about it last night too. Awesome news for Tapes 'n Tapes!

At this point, THIS POST is kinda fun to revisit (in an historical kinda way) and you can see other EF postings about the band HERE and HERE.

See them live why don't you:


Fri 04/28/06 Chicago, IL Subterranean
Sat 04/29/06 Chicago, IL Schubas
Fri 05/05/06 Minneapolis 7th St Entry
Sun 05/07/06 Minneapolis Women's Club Theater
Thu 05/18/06 London, UK Metro
Fri 05/19/06 Nottingham, UK The Social
Sat 05/20/06 Brighton, UK Great Escape
Mon 05/22/06 London, UK Barfly
Tue 05/23/06 Leeds, UK Faversham
Wed 05/24/06 Glasgow, UK Nice 'N' Sleazy
Thu 05/25/06 Manchester, UK Music Box
Thu 06/01/06 Madison, WI The Journey
Fri 06/02/06 Chicago, IL Abbey Pub
Sun 06/04/06 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Mon 06/05/06 Cambridge, MA Middle East Club
Tue 06/06/06 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Wed 06/07/06 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church
Thu 06/08/06 Baltimore, MD Fletcher's
Sat 06/10/06 Nashville, TN The Basement
Mon 06/12/06 Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Room / Ballroom
Tue 06/13/06 Austin, TX Stubb's Barbeque
Thu 06/15/06 Tucson, AZ Solar Culture
Fri 06/16/06 Los Angeles, CA Echo
Sat 06/17/06 San Francisco, CA Cafe Du Nord <– fuck yeah!
Sun 06/18/06 Portland, OR Berbati's Pan
Mon 06/19/06 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe
Thu 06/22/06 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
Look for an update to this post tomorrow once things are made public.

Sing along with me now...
"I think I'm makin' my mooooove..."

UPDATE #2 - a heads up from LHB, seems Pioneer Press broke the story yesterday

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Overlooked Albums from the '90s - #29

Songs and Music From She's the One by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Some posts are diamonds, some posts are rocks...

My computer just crashed and I lost the post for this album that I was VERY close to finishing. I can't even begin to explain how angry I am about that. I was actually thinking that it was one of the better posts I'd yet written for this series. Now I have neither the time nor desire to recreate it. Instead, we're going to take things in a different direction. YOU are going to write this post. Got it? I'm sure you guys have something to say about this album...it's Tom Petty for crying out loud. He's like huge famous and stuff. His music litters countless craptastic radio stations across the country.

A question to consider - can an album of his possibly be 'overlooked'? My premise is that this very album is indeed rather criminally overlooked. It's overlooked by Tom Petty fans, overlooked by classic rock fans, and overlooked by everyone else. It's full of some of the best straight forward rock songs that were released in the '90s and it's about ten times better than the film it was written for. What do YOU think? Help me write this sucker by leaving a comment or two - me, I'm off to see the wizard.

As a frame of reference, AllMusic says:

"She's the One is one of Petty's most relaxed efforts -- several of the songs feel like they were written and performed quickly, almost as if they were throwaways, but that ramshackle feeling actually works in the album's favor. With its loose ends, repeated songs, covers, brief instrumental bridges, and direct production, She's the One is a ragged listen, but it's a comfortable, engaging, and surprisingly eclectic one. Petty goes for a number of different moods, from the circular harmonies of "Walls (Circus)" (which features guest vocals from Lindsey Buckingham) and the hard-rocking "Zero From Outer Space" to the melancholy ruminations of "Grew Up Fast." Along the way, he tosses in two excellent covers of contemporary songwriters -- Lucinda Williams' slyly sneering "Change the Locks" and Beck's stark, sad "Asshole" -- which are performed with affection and vigor. In fact, that vigor is what makes She's the One so charming -- Petty sounds like he's having a good time throughout the album. "
I realize that many readers of EAR FARM aren't going to be super-familiar with artists like Tom Petty (maybe you guys have even tried to avoid listening to bands like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers?) and that was partially the reason that I wanted to include this album in this feature, so don't cry for me if there's not a bunch of commenting going on here. There will be more fun posts with great enthusiasm and zeal tomorrow!

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
#25 - K by Kula Shaker
#26 - Kill Uncle by Morrissey
#27 - Manhattan Melodies by Eric Reed
#28 - Dare To Be Surprised by Folk Implosion

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

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

Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

Olga Borodina, Ildar Abdrazakov, Dmitri Yefimov - Carnegie Hall, 25 April, 2006

This is not a joke, and yes, you're tuned to the correct channel. For the time being, indie rock begone...we gonna get our opera on! Now, you'll never hear me claiming to know tons about certain styles of music but I really do love a very broad spectrum and I intend for EAR FARM to reflect that fact. Sure, I've touched on jazz before (HERE and HERE) but I hope to continue broadening the music featured on this site as much as possible while still maintaining a solid focus on the music that takes up most of my time.

Lately, I've found myself more than slightly in love with classical music and opera so it should come as no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to go see Olga Borodina at Carnegie Hall for free. That's right, and it was my first time ever seeing ANYthing at Carnegie Hall...happy me, happy me.

If you don't know who Olga Borodina is, don't worry. I didn't either before I got those tickets and started to do a little research. Come to find out, she's been known as one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos in the world for over a decade. Last night's performance was to be...

"The rich world of Russian opera and art song (or romance, as it is called in Russia)...a combination of a few familiar works (such as Marfa’s Divination from the second scene of Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina) and many obscure ones (such as romances by Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Balakire; Glinka’s duet; or an aria from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko)."
All obscure to me, but of no matter as I was there just to immerse myself in music. The program was split in two: before the intermission was a series of quiet (and shorter) love songs, after the intermission came songs from Russian operas, and for the encore, a few of opera's greatest hits. Olga first sang five songs before giving way to her husband, bass singer Ildar Abdrazakov. This first part of the performance, before the intermission, was my favorite. The songs were so quietly full of desperation and love and the lyrics truly beautiful. Yes, it was all sung in Russian, but they (thankfully) provided us with full translation in the program. The singers then alternated songs as the night moved into selections from operas, the entire time accompanied wonderfully by pianist Dmitri Yefimov. My favorite single performance of the evening came during the second half of the show when Olga sang Marfa's Divination from Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina which featured fantastic skill and touch on piano from Dmitri and downright explosive passion in Olga's vocals. I'm no opera critic but the phrasing and emotive nature of her vocals, throughout the night, were breathtaking.

Is it fair to say that Carnegie Hall puts all other concert venues I've been to to shame? Is it fair to even compare the venue and musicians I saw last night with those I'm more accustomed to seeing in rock clubs downtown? Hell no. Different worlds all together, which is what made last night such an enjoyable experience. Perhaps tonight more rock and roll and then on Thursday more classical? Perhaps. The self-inflicted music education continues...

Further reading:Listen:

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25 April 2006

Don't You (Forget About Me)

The following list covers all of the artists/bands featured on EAR FARM through the end of March 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.

"Jump in the line, rock your body in time...OK, I believe you!"

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 (+)
The Unsacred Hearts (+)

Bands from elsewhere:
The Alright Ma's (+)
The Apparitions (+)
Ash Tree (+)
Beangrowers (+)
Birdmonster (+)
Black Nasty (+)
Billy Bragg (+)
Brakes (+)
Cloud Cult (+)
Happycasio! (+)
Noah Harrison (+)
Richard Hawley (+)
The Heights (+)
John & Jehn (+)
Kelley Stoltz (+)
Kim Novak (+)
The Lovely Feathers (+)
Machine Go Boom (+)
Man Man (+)
The Melody Function (+)
Mull Historical Society (+)
Peasant (+)
People in Planes (+)
The Pine Club (+)
Pleasant (+)
Pretty Girls Make Graves (+)
The Sames (+)
Schooner (+)
Strip Squad (+)
Tapes 'n Tapes (+)
Track A Tiger (+)
The Vorstand Circus (+)
We Versus the Shark (+)
Katharine Whalen (+)
Wilderness (+)

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Contrast Podcast #4

Tim from The Face of Today has done it again. Done what? Put together another Contrast Podcast. These things are lots of fun to take part in (I've contributed each week thus far) but they're more fun to listen to. Theme this week: quadrupeds. Go get you some Contrast Podcast #4!

Previously:
Contrast Podcast #1
Contrast Podcast #2
Contrast Podcast #3

(image from HERE)

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Today's NEW releases

Here are the releases that interest me this week:

Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

21 April 2006

Bella

Bella got in touch with EAR FARM via MySpace. They're from Vancouver and remind me (a little bit) of Imperial Teen. Not to say they sound exactly like that, but Bella has the same dynamic of male/female vocals and a similar groovy synth/guitar indie pop-rock sound that begs you to just have fun.

Their MySpace contact was the first I'd ever even heard of the band, but it appears that Bella have seen a bit of success already (from HERE):

"Bella’s debut has New Music Canada calling them "Vancouver's newest sensation". The album climbed the Top 40 on both Exclaim and Chart magazines' campus radio charts, landing them the 18th spot in only their second week. The bands live show is equally as charming with multiple instrument swaps, synchronised dance moves and hip-shaking antics from Cameron, reminiscent of early Mick Jagger."
It goes on to say that Bella has played with a few bands I've seen live before (including the already mentioned Imperial Teen) which gives me hope that they'll soon make it out of the Pacific Northwest and into some clubs in NYC. The track posted here, "Go", is the first song from their debut album Pretty Mess. It's full of synth goodness and lovely female vocals. There's a certain warmth to the overall sound that serves as a refreshing reminder that not everything must be so choppy. Angular. Male. And British.

Listen:
"Go"

More songs on the Bella Music Player

Visit Bella on MySpace or GO HERE to buy Bella's first album Pretty Mess.

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Pants-Off Dance-Off / free beers

EAR FARM regularly gets sent emails from PR folk trying to sell things. For this reason I always try to let you guys know how new bands come to my attention and, though not often/almost never, sometimes the PR people win. In this case, I couldn't not post about free beer and naked people...directly quoted from what was sent to me:

Fuse will pay you $200 to get naked to the beat of your favorite video. For me I guess it would have to be the main theme from Last of the Mohicans (No, NOT Rhythm is Gonna Get You). What about you? Wait. Who cares. Hot chicks and fat guys are dancing naked on FUSE. This email is over. (We wanna see your privates. Sign up here)

For more videos, behind the scenes clips and contests visit FUSEDAY TUESDAY.

"Hey New Yorkers," said the moviefone guy, "Fuseday Launch Party at Happy Ending (302 Broome St) 4/25 with Free Heineken Premium Light 10-12 (while supplies last)"
There you have it. Get naked for Fuse for $200 and get some free beers on Tuesday night, if you live in the city.

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Tapes 'n Tapes sells out Bowery, adds 2nd show

This just in...

Tapes 'n Tapes sold out their first show in June at the Bowery Ballroom and have added a 2nd. I kind of anticipated this happening but thought they might just move the show to Webster Hall. Thank goodness that didn't happen. Yet.

well kids, you went and did it, you bought up all the tickets to our 6/6/06 show at Bowery Ballroom (devil be damned!). so we went and added a second show on 6/4/06. Tickets for this show go on sale tomorrow at noon (eastern). You can buy them here: http://www.boweryballroom.com/

thanks to all the folks who bought tickets to the first show! see you soon,
tapes 'n tapes
Get your tickets while you can!

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20 April 2006

8+

"Wreckroom" by Loose Fur which clocks in at 8:36

The 20th of April (or 4/20 here in the States) is known for a few different things to many people. Infamously, it's Hitler's birthday and the day that two students went on a killing spree at Columbine High School. This year it happens to land on the third Thursday of April, so it's National High Five Day. To me, April 20th is about something else. It's...well, it's a day to celebrate smokin' and tokin' and chillin'. I mean, come on man, it's like four-twenty today. And stuff. Don't go thinking the hippies I've known didn't teach me a thing or two... Well, almost as important to today's celebration (as what's pictured here in this post) is to have some goood tunes to listen to. How about this: I'll supply the music, you just make with the fun. Got it?

Rather than go for something you might expect (like some Dead, Phish, or Widespread or something) I've decided on the song "Wreckroom" by Loose Fur. The album came to me weeks ago, with a suggestion, via my hippie friend Mike. His suggestion? Post this very song in EF's 8+ feature. Given how much this album kicks ass, given how much I adore this song, and given that it's going to sound really nice on today of all days, well, going with "Wreckroom" was a no-brainer. It starts a bit Steely Dan-ish and then grooves into a little Neil Young kinda thing before evolving into some right-on heady shit. Yet, you're always aware that you're listening to Jim O'Rourke mixed in with two guys (you got me - not just any two guys) from Wilco. A perfect contemporary song for today's festivities? Fuckin' a right (high five).

BUY Born Again In The USA HERE.

(photo is from 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"
Pulp - "Countdown"
Morrissey - "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils"
Dungen - "Du är för fin för mig"

Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

OPP

Torr has Editors covering Gorillaz

Stereogum compares recent Pitchfork reviews to those of Sarah The Schoolteacher's fourth grade students

Said The Gramophone posted two Beirut songs

Productshop is getting a bunch of ex-Spin folk together to read stuff at Rothko

The Oak Room has a few tracks from The Rosebuds live at King's in Raleigh!

Muzzle of Bees tells us that today is National High Five Day

Clever Titles... is having a fun theme week called "Ask Bethanne"

(funny aside: when you type "you down with opp?" into Google, EAR FARM is the 6th result)

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19 April 2006

Overlooked Albums from the '90s - #28

Dare To Be Surprised by Folk Implosion

One of the unwritten rules I decided upon when I started the EAR FARM Overlooked Albums from the '90s feature was that artists could only be included once in the list. Given how much I love many of the bands that have been listed thus far in the feature, it makes perfect sense. After all, I could easily point to at least one more album by each of these guys that I think deserves more attention than it's gotten to this point. But where's the fun in that? Variety is the spice of lists, and the aim was for this feature to be full of spice. That's a semi-long way of saying get ready for the only repeat artist.

Who's the one person that is a creative force behind more than one album in this esteemed feature? Why it's Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and (of course) Folk Implosion fame. Dinosaur Jr. won't be showing up in this list and Sebadoh already had their moment, so this time it's all about Folk Implosion.

Background info:

  • Folk Implosion was started as a side project to Sebadoh
  • the original members were John Davis and Lou Barlow
  • you're probably familiar with the band as a result of the 'hit' single "Natural One" (which peaked at number 29 on the pop charts in early 1996) from the soundtrack to the film Kids
AllMusic says:
"...Folk Implosion remains an indie rock band, recording on cheap equipment, and layering brittle guitars for the basic tracks, but the guys write impossibly catchy hooks, such as the amazing single "Pole Position." At its best, Dare to Be Surprised is spare, tuneful, and infectious, and at its worst, it's merely underwritten. Nevertheless, Barlow has rarely been as succinct and consistent as he is here, and Davis' songs are uniformly strong as well, making Dare to Be Surprised one of the finest items in their respective catalogs."
Pitchfork says:
"Their complex opuses range from undeniably poppy to downright non-musical, but are always fresh, unlike the stale and moldy cottage cheese being kicked out by mainstream alternative bands. The opening track, "Pole Position", is a perfect example. It opens in such a way that you're almost totally lost in a tangled-up guitar mess that makes no sense before it blasts you into oblivion with chords as catchy as a goddamn baseball glove, while other songs manage to conjure up images of indie rock versions of Peter Gabriel and INXS. Weird enough? No, it actually works."
Dare To Be Surprised was Folk Implosion's follow-up to the surprise success of "Natural One" and, rather than aiming to replicate the sound that had given them pop chart exposure, the band opted to return to what they do best. The album builds off of everything that made Take a look inside... one of the top EPs of the '90s and firmly entrenches Barlow as the king of low-fi rock. All of the extra noise, basement room ambience, blips, analog fuzz, and crunchy guitars you'd expect are perfectly in line as Barlow and Davis re-work your notion of what makes songs catchy. The beauty is, you can listen to this album over and over. Wait until the weather makes for good chilling outside then grab yourself a rocking chair, this album, and a beer...you'll see what I mean.

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
#25 - K by Kula Shaker
#26 - Kill Uncle by Morrissey
#27 - Manhattan Melodies by Eric Reed

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

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

Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

I Want my MTV

This edition features videos found at the new (and really excellent) video music blog Videoteque:

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

Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

18 April 2006

Limbs, Proton Proton, Susu - Cake Shop, 15 April 2006

I was well excited to go see all of the bands that were playing this past Saturday at Cake Shop because I already really liked two of them (Limbs and SUSU) and had been wanting to see the other two (Print and Proton Proton) for a few months now. Sadly Print had to cancel, but everyone else rocked the shit out of that tiny, slanted-floor having, basement bar/sweat box.

Limbs
Limbs played first and we'll get to that in one sec. Before Limbs came on there was an art show of sorts upstairs at Cake Shop. It was an opening of art done by Margaret Farmer and the pieces were really great. I'm going to make sure to head back down there sometime when my mind isn't just on live music, and Saturday night drinks, so I can check her stuff out more thoroughly. I suggest you stop by there as well and have a look, you'll enjoy it. Back to Limbs...

Having just gotten their new EP, I've been listening to Limbs a bit frequently of late. You may remember that I just posted about them a week or two ago? Well if you live in the city I sure hope you read that post and were able to make it out to see them this past Saturday because they were straight up fresh. Actually, they were much better than when I last saw them live, and they weren't exactly shabby that day I tell you. But that's one of the beauty things about not seeing a local band for months at a time. I could totally tell that Limbs has been working and learning how to fit together better as a band, and the show this past Saturday had the feel of being one of their better shows. That's not something I can say for certain, given that I've only seen them twice, but the vibe that was in the air was that of something very good. Maybe it was the fact that everyone seemed to be enamored with (and rocking out to) Limbs and their take on dischorded indie rock.

Listen - "Silver Fetters" by Limbs

Proton Proton
Proton Proton in one simple word - awesome. Frankly that word is used far too frequently, but it fully applies in this case. Did the fact that I liked Proton Proton so much surprise me? Yep, but it shouldn't have. Before they went on, Jeff from Limbs told me I'd love them. I checked out the Proton Proton MySpace page before I left my apartment that night and loved what I heard there. Still, none of those things properly readied me for having my socks rocked off by Proton Proton in a live setting.

What's so great about them? The music they make is interesting. I don't mean interesting like "goo! it's interesting that Sufjan is writing albums about lots of different US States!!" No no. Interesting as in "holy shit, these guys are really excellent and they make me want to dance and they make me want to wreck shit and they make me want to go 'la la la la'...how do they do it?!" They bring the music right up to your face, slap you around a little bit, and make you like it. Before you know it you're moving and bopping along to the grooves of Aron's (homemade?) guitar/bass, Paul's voice and (homemade?) toy piano, and Jarrod's skillful use of a drum kit. Proton Proton is spontaneous and inventive in ways I never before imagined - they're equal parts experimental and post-punk and dip from minimalism to full-fledged rock-out with great ease. Think Fugazi meets Deerhoof and you'll be approaching their musical neighborhood. Imagine seeing those bands in tiny clubs like Cake Shop and you'll know why you need to check out Proton Proton as soon as possible.

Listen - "Lock Picker" by Proton Proton

Susu
You gotta know Susu by now, right? I posted about them HERE and HERE, I'd place them as one of the top unsigned bands in Brooklyn, and more than one musician I've talked to has mentioned them as a band to check out. Why do so many people think they're a great band? Well, they bring a unique kind of raw power to the stage by combining Andrea's guitar and vocal skills with a rock solid rhythm section made up of Mike (who also sings and plays bass) and Justin (drums). Plus, there's enough fuel in one of their live sets to burn the hair clean off of your head.

Susu sometimes sounds like they've learned a thing or two from Sonic Youth, and a bit of research turns up an interesting fact relating to that notion. Fact is, they've been recording with producer Martin Bisi! Go figure, and well played by Susu. I was only able to stay for their first three songs on Saturday night but what I got to hear was exactly what I've quickly come to expect from a Susu show. A performance both loud and amazing filled with joy and professionalism that makes me wonder when, not if, these guys will be headlining a full-fledged US tour.

Listen - "Get Hip" by Susu

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Today's NEW releases

A slightly less inspiring week:

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14 April 2006

The Lost Art Of Sexy Album Covers

Ever buy an album strictly based on the merits of its cover art? For those of us old enough to remember a time before CDs it wasn't that strange of a concept. After all, records offer over 144 square inches worth of space for artwork while CDs have around 25. Still, well into the age of the CD (and beyond) I've found myself buying albums because of artwork. It's a fun game to play next time you're at a record store with some extra cash. Go to the used, or bargain, section and pick out one album to buy based on the artwork and one album based on the name of the band. I've definitely wasted money this way, but gems can be unearthed and it's fun. Fun for dorks like me. Hey look, this game is how I first decided to buy Cure For Pain (because Morphine sounded like a cool band name) and Country Life (because of the nearly naked girls on the cover...of course). I wonder what will come of the album cover...

This isn't some revolutionary query, I know. Lots of people have considered the question since CDs came into being and even more so now that digital downloads have become so popular. How long is it before CDs are rendered useless by the ability to transfer and store more data via faster internet connections and larger hard drives? What will come of artwork then? What has come of it so far this decade, and what are the greatest album covers of the last six years?

I already find myself stumped sometimes when I'm in a store; unable to recognize the album covers of certain recordings that I'm otherwise very familiar with. Ultimately I don't think that people will stop making custom artwork to accompany recordings. The great albums will continue to have great artwork associated with them. What we're losing, however, is something of greater importance than The Greatest Album Covers of All Time . We're losing the great covers created for sub-par recordings. Those sexy, silly, crazy, goofy covers full of schtick that were often cultural time capsules. I miss album covers like those you see here in this post, and thankfully Mike Cade has collected some of the best.

Go HERE to see 288 of the sexiest (and funniest) album covers ever.

(Of course, some of them are not entirely safe for work)

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13 April 2006

8+

"Du är för fin för mig" by Dungen which clocks in at 8:28

Funny that it's taken many months of this 8+ feature to finally get to some prog-rock. After all, prog-rock is king when it comes to songs longer than eight minutes, right? Well, this isn't Rush or anything but it's prog-ish...

What you'll find here is a special kind of progishness, progitude, and progability. Why, because it's Swedish prog-rock? Yes, there's that...but it's modern and old school, and mellow and complex, and melodic and psychedelic...it's so many things to so many people! I once heard that listening to this song 5 times in a row caused an 80 year old nun in Guatemala to have violent LSD flashbacks. Thing is, she never even took acid before. But that's how damn good this band is. Dungen is that special kinda good: crazy drug good.

Dungen harkens back to Jethro Tull and the sound of the late 60's/70's but somehow does so with complete sincerity. Watching this band play live (at Siren) I felt as if I were seeing a band at some festival in the 70's. No amount of lame recounting is going to be able to properly convey that fact, but trust me - once they started playing "Du är för fin för mig" it was transcendent. The mellow groove of the Swedish folk in the beginning of the song gave way to a kick-ass live guitar solo and man oh man. I felt like I was a nun back in Guatemala...

Hey, speaking of which, "Du är för fin för mig" is a completely fantastic song to rock out to while you're enjoying the beautiful Spring weather that is upon us. Oh, and with about three minutes remaining in the song, the shit starts hitting the fan. Be sure to pump up the volume and enjoy.

BUY Ta Det Lugnt 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"
Pulp - "Countdown"
Morrissey - "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils"

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Low Lustre

Low Lustre got in touch with EAR FARM via MySpace. They're an indie-rock band out of Minneapolis with soaring vocals and guitars that remind me of the things The Walkmen obviously liked about early U2. Their song "Dancing Blind" opens with a guitar riff that reels you in as sweet raspy vocals take you away to the land of aural goodness. Listen to it. Love it.

More good things are to be heard from these guys in the future for sure. Hey, according to their MySpace page, it looks like they're working on lining up a week of shows here in NYC this summer. Remember what happened last time a hot band from Minnesota played a week of shows in NYC? I'm just sayin...

Listen:
"Dancing Blind"
"Vampire"

Visit Low Lustre on MySpace.

GO HERE to buy Low Lustre's EP.

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OPP

The Camera As Pen posted some Morrissey tracks from the new album

One Louder has Thurston Moore Thursday night appearance on Air America

Torr has Morrissey doing a Magazine song

Central Village tells us how to get into the 'secret' Franz Ferdinand show tomorrow

Music For Robots has a nice 2nd birthday mix

Motel de Moka has a sweet post that includes songs from 80's movies

Riff Market is Nick Sylvester's new blog

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12 April 2006

Overlooked Albums from the 90's - #27

Manhattan Melodies by Eric Reed

The distance that tends to exist between fans of indie-rock and jazz music fans confuses me. In terms of devotion to the music for music's sake, the DIY aesthetic, and the knowledgeable fans, the two genres seem more similar than different. I can understand fans of jazz not liking (very much) the sound of most indie-rock, but the other way around? How come? Speaking for myself, I always enjoy good jazz. I dig hearing it on record, cd, or the radio whenever I happen across it and I love good live jazz. But to actually get into it, to dive in and find out which artists and styles I really enjoy, seems very daunting. Much the same with classical music in fact, and much the same way I imagine many indie-rock novices feel when they consider trying to go about knowing what's what in the current indie-rock music scene. Given that this is the case, I present for you a fairly good introduction into the world of jazz. The world of jazz that's not just the famous names of Miles, Satchmo, Coltrane, etc., but rather some jazz that is recent by an artist still recording and releasing new albums.

The first time I heard this album I took note immediately. I was in the CD section of my local Barnes & Noble and Manhattan Melodies was playing throughout the store. Usually, someone more concerned with The Faint and Trans Am (as I was at the time) wouldn't even notice music like Eric Reed's. But how could I help it? The first song I remember taking note of was "Blues Five Spot". It's a song originally done by Thelonius Monk, but I wasn't aware of that at the time (even though Monk was one of the few jazz artists whose material I actually owned)...all I knew was that the song kicked. Then the album went right into Reed's take on the classic song "Puttin' On The Ritz" and I was sold. I picked up the album that day and bought it once again after my first copy got too scratched due to excessive listens.

Let's look to All Music for a bit more info:

"On this basic piano trio CD, Reed is quite assertive on many different levels. His piano playing is maturing, growing stronger and deeper, stripping himself of cliches and past influences. He's chosen to take established songs and standards and modify them to his liking. A fine rhythm section of bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Gregory Hutchinson moves the music forward, and, as you might expect, the songs are based on his New York, New York experience.

You'd be hard pressed, upon hearing his take of the old Harper's Bizarre Merseybeat Top 40 hit "59th St. Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" to recognize it from the original. Reed has re-harmonized it beautifully into a modern jazz vehicle for his own melodic trappings. The title track has some McCoy Tyner-like strength, but it's coming from the sinewy fingers of Reed, and he tosses in some stride piano during his take on Thelonious Monk's "Five Spot Blues," a neat idea. His "NYC Blues" is elegant, soulful and swinging. He changes up "Puttin' On The Ritz" in an Afro-Cuban mode, helped by percussionist Renato Thomas, and goes tender and serene on "Englishman In New York." For "A Letter To Betty Carter" the trio is joined by vocalist Dianne Reeves. There are two medleys; one "Harlemania" has a more modernistic Duke Ellington flavor, while "NYC Medley" includes a witty 5/4 run through of "Autumn In New York," a pensive "Skating In Central Park" and a meditative "Central Park West."

Reed's playing is quite attractive. He knows no bounds and touches on all of the aspects of the tradition on this, perhaps his best of the several CD's he's released. If you like quality and quantity in your jazz piano players, Eric Reed is your man these days."
Having Manhattan Melodies exist alongside some of the other albums on this list might seem a little strange, and it is. But I don't want there to be boundaries here. This is just a list of some of my favorite albums from the 90's that don't seem to be getting enough love elsewhere. And hey, you know what? Odds are Manhattan Melodies is going to make some of the best Sunday brunch-at-home music (or the best album to listen to with a bottle of wine) you've ever come across. Bonus points for the fact that Eric Reed can play piano like nobody's business.

Buy Manhattan Melodies on iTunes HERE.

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
#25 - K by Kula Shaker
#26 - Kill Uncle by Morrissey

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

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