31 May 2006

EAR FARM's May '06 mixtape

Below you'll find a mix made up of songs by the bands featured on EAR FARM in the month of May. MAYbe you'll love this mix and MAYbe you will. 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. "LDN" by Lily Allen (+)
2. "Thomas Window Paine" by DraculaZombieUSA (+)
3. "Think Of Me" by Murder Mystery (+)
4. "Modern Eyes" by Tennis and the Mennonites (+)
5. "Lion's Mouth" by Arthur & Yu (+)
6. "Harold Harvey" by Clementine Broadcast (+)
7. "Bourre" by Lesley Lane (+)
8. "Go Go's" by Captain of Industry (+)
9. "The Way We Have Chosen" by OMR (+)
10. "To No One" by Daylight's For The Birds (+)


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
  • EAR FARM's March '06 mixtape
  • EAR FARM's April '06 mixtape
  • Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Daylight's For The Birds

    More synth-infused indie-pop to get you feeling bright and summery? You got it. This here is Daylight's For The Birds. They're awesome. They remind me of that special wonderful spot where '80s and '90s 'alternative' music intersected and gave us bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Ride. But their sound is a step removed from that of the classic shoegaze sound. At times the music that Daylight's For The Birds makes will remind you very much of Mazzy Star or Cocteau Twins or any of the many other excellent early '90s female fronted bands, but that doesn't tell the story either. From what I can tell, they've just got that something though. The something that, when you hear unmixed demos on MySpace, makes you want to hear more. The best paraphrase of what their music sounds like might actually exist on the band's own MySpace page: "(sounds like)...the last thing you wanna hear before drifting off to sleep...and the first thing upon waking". To see them live? Yes. And to own a full album by them? Yes, yes.

    They were posted about in April on Gorilla vs. Bear but I didn't really take note then. Perhaps that happened for others too given the lack of comments on that post. Then again, who knows which way the comments blow?

    Two of their songs are below and there are two more on their MySpace page. The two songs here feature Amanda Garrett on vocals. They're really fantastic unmastered, rough mixes and Amanda's voice just soars. Do have a listen.

    Listen:
    "To No One"
    "Please"

    See them at Mercury Lounge on June 4th.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    OMR

    OMR is so very French. Are they? So very? No, maybe not. Well, I don't know. But their music is groovy and mellow and breathy and good and they are from France. So you see why I might say they're "so very franch". Actually it doesn't matter where they're from, I just needed a way to begin this write-up. Plus, knowing they're French you may hear their songs and say "ah yes, but of course". My guess is that you'll hear their Black Box Recorder-ish electro-pop songs and fall in love with them. Then you will want to own some music and see them live. Good luck with that. For starters, you can find one song below and three more on their MySpace page.

    Listen:
    "The Way We Have Chosen"

    Parlez-Vous Français? Go HERE to read what someone else has to say about OMR or HERE for another site that's in English.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    30 May 2006

    Contrast Podcast #9

    It's that time again...Contrast Podcast time! This week the theme is local music so I'm pretty excited to hear the contributions to learn of some new bands. I didn't contribute because of my hectic schedule this past week but that shouldn't stop you from checking out Contrast Podcast #9.

    You can download it HERE.

    If you're a music blogger, you can contribute too...go check it out.

    Previously:
    Contrast Podcast #1
    Contrast Podcast #2
    Contrast Podcast #3
    Contrast Podcast #4
    Contrast Podcast #5
    Contrast Podcast #6
    Contrast Podcast #7
    Contrast Podcast #8

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Islands are forever?

    Sadness. I've just read that J'aime Tambeur is leaving Islands. Where'd this info come from? I saw it on the official Islands site right here:

    "The long time collaboration that is Nick Diamonds and J'aime Tambeur has come to it's end. Main songwriter Nick Diamonds will continue on with the band as it's currently experiencing an impressive and fortunate peak. Tours will remain in tact, future recording will come.

    It is with sadness that I report Jamie has left Islands, but the band waltzes on! We wish Jamie the best in his new life. Islands are forever. -NICK DIAMONDS"
    That's not a very nice way to start the week. Let's hope for the best for J'aime, he's a great guy, and let's hope Islands don't go the way of The Unicorns. I've seen Islands a few times live (including the excellent show at Avalon that I didn't even write about) and thought they were amazing. Also, their debut album is one of the best of 2006. Buy it HERE. Scheduled tour dates below.
    July
    02-Belforth, France Eurockeennes
    03-Malmo, Sweden Accelerator
    05-Gothenborg, Sweden Accelerator
    06-Stockholm, Sweden Accelerator
    07-Borlande, Sweden Peace & Love Festival - Accelerator Stage
    08-Helsinki, Finland Klubb Gang
    10-Frankfurt, Germany Brotfabrik
    12-Munster, Germany Gleis 22
    14-Frankfurt, Germany ASTA Sommerfest
    15-Dour, Belgium Dour Festival
    16-Amsterdam, Netherlands Paradiso
    17-Nijmegen, Netherlands Valkhof Affaire
    18-Liege, Belgium L'Escalier
    19-Utrecht, Netherlands Tivoli (de Helling)
    22-London, England TBA
    23-Manchester, England Roadhouse
    24-Glasgow, Scotland ABC2
    25-Dublin, Ireland Sugar Club
    26-Birmingham, England Bar Academy
    27-London, England Bardens Boudoir

    August
    05-Haldern, Germany Haldern Festival
    11-St Malo, France Route du Rock
    17-Avenches, Switzerland Festival Rock'O Z'Arenes
    Previous Islands stuff on EAR FARM:Weekend Live Music - Islands Live @ First Unitarian Church, Review - Islands @ Webster Hall - 11 March 2006, Review - Islands @ Knitting Factory NY - 6 December 2005, 8+ Islands - "Swans (Life After Death)"

    UPDATE: Read a bit more about it on Pitchfork HERE.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Today's NEW releases

    Not the most exciting week:

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    27 May 2006

    Weekend Live Music

    Meat Puppets live @ The Warfield Theater, San Francisco 7 August, 1991
    (photo, from another show, from here)

    Well, here's an instance of when me being out of town for a wedding has an impact upon my capabilities to make the site function as usual. Without high speed access I can't exactly upload an entire live set. Instead, I'm going to send you to the best Meat Puppets live show resource out there. Also, below is my suggestion for the show you should grab first. Enjoy.

    Go get this show: Meat Puppets - The Warfield Theater, San Francisco 7 August, 1991

    Go now. Go get tons of great shows at The Meat Puppets Live Repository.

    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, Led Zeppelin, Islands, Echo and the Bunnymen, Morrissey, The Durutti Column, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Giant Drag, Tool, Polvo, and Mazzy Star.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    26 May 2006

    FUN day!

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

    Memorial Day weekend! That usually signals the start of summer fun so here's a few bands you might not know yet that you can listen to this weekend as you grill, chill, and make fun. FUN time, FUN day.

    Clementine Broadcast
    Clementine Broadcast is a band from Fairfield, Connecticut that draws from classic pop-rock influences like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Zombies. They make fun, melodic, upbeat music that's catchy and full of smart harmonies. Can music sound like a long weekend that kicks off the summer? It seems the answer is yes. The four songs posted on Clementine Broadcast's MySpace page are all a real gas, check out two of them below.

    Listen:
    “Boxstep”
    “Harold Harvey”


    Lesley Lane
    Lesley Lane is a Montreal band that was formed by The Dears guitarist Patrick Kriefgot. They got in touch with me via MySpace and I'm really liking what I've heard by the band so far. There's a hint of a connection to the sound that has made The Dears favorites of mine so it makes sense that I like them, but there's also great potential and that makes me rather excited for the release of their upcoming album. One song below and four more on their MySpace page.

    Listen:
    “Bourre”


    Captain of Industry
    Captain of Industry is a four piece band from Dayton, OH that's apparently already seen a moderate level of success in indie-rock circles. I remember seeing this mention of them on YANP but the music didn't really click with me then. Recently though I've been listening to their stuff on MySpace and have found the songs both pleasing to my ears and interesting. And, it looks like they're on tour right now too, so check 'em out when they come your way.

    Listen:
    “Go Go's”
    “The Great Divide”

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    25 May 2006

    8+

    "Fascination Street" (Extended Mix) by The Cure which clocks in at 8:48

    Cure people don't care for Mixed Up do they? Idiots. It's a really great disc of remixes in my opinion and a few of the versions on it are better than the originals. Gasp! That's right, I said it. And I've felt that way forever. Then again, I wouldn't call myself a Cure person. The first time I had to listen to The Cure was so I could sing the song "Three Imaginary Boys" in my high school band for our talent show. We used to rock the shit out of that song, and listening to it and "Boys Don't Cry" (our band covered both of them) over and over got me really loving my CD copy of the American version of The Cure's first album. From that point, I moved on to purchase Mixed Up, so the first time I heard classics such as "Pictures of You", "Close to Me", or "Fascination Street" was when I heard them on Mixed Up (don't fear, I did then go on to get all of the other albums by The Cure and Mixed Up is probably not one of my three favorites by them but it's still so much better than most fans will admit). Yes, I know that the probable reason I fell in love with many versions of the songs that are on the remix album is because I heard those versions first but come on, it actually IS pretty good. Hey, don't just take my word for it. See what Mallory O’Donnell from Stylus had to say about Mixed Up.

    The song though, this feature is about the SONG. And this song paints a picture. This...this is one helluva song. It starts like a child waking up in a meadow on a dewy spring morning. Everything is all light and airy and ethereal and then with a crash of a cymbal (about fifty seconds into the song) the sun sets and the landscape starts shifting towards urban. The well-known booming bass line comes in around 1:09 and slowly works its way deep into your being delivering a dark, urban, night-clubby vibe that excites the imagination and the senses. You could dance to the slow, driving beat but you'd probably do better to have drunken dirty anonymous sex to it. Actually, the song almost demands that from you.

    Robert Smith's vocals don't work their way into the mix until about 4:01 and by then they're like a welcome beacon of light in a far too dark alley. Somehow, there's extra reverb and delay on his vocals (no, I mean even more than usual) and it sounds glorious. It's the sound of anticipation. Of desperation. And yes, of course, of fascination. But don't go running for the comfort of your bed when the song fakes an ending moment around 6:40 because this is an 8+ yo. There's still stringed moments left to work themselves out. And that familiar light melody and the guitar riffs and more Robert Smith singing... It's such a classic Cure song in that the sum of the parts of the song are much greater than any one part would be on its own. The fun in this extended version is that these parts have been tweaked just perfectly to get the very most out of what was already a classic song. Sure, from time to time that prominent bass line from the original version (on Disintegration) drops into my head all "bud duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh..." but when I really want to listen to "Fascination Street" I find myself reaching for Mixed Up. Blasphemy!

    Buy Mixed Up HERE on Amazon.

    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"
    The Who - "A Quick One, While He's Away"
    Destroyer - "Rubies"
    Neu! - "Fuer Immer (forever)"
    Iggy Pop - "Mass Production"

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    MySpace wants to steal your songs (?)

    Have you guys seen this? I never respond to things like this as I just assume they're all hoaxes passed around by gullible people but there are some facts behind this one (maybe) and the ramifications of it could be rather far-reaching and disturbing. It's making the rounds via MySpace postings and given the impact it could have on bands I figured I'd post it up. If it turns out to be BS, I'll let you know. Check it:

    From a bulletin from Billy Bragg's MySpace Page (http://www.myspace.com/billybragg):

    Someone who we work with was bright enough to read the small print of the MySpace terms and conditions and found that once an artist posts up any content (including songs), it then belongs to My Space (AKA Rupert Murdoch) and they can do what they want with it, throughout the world without payng the artist. Because of this we've had to take all of Billy's songs down. I'm working on getting small clips put up instead, but in the meantime please visit www.billybragg.com to listen to and download songs.

    Below is the offending clause. We are hoping to start a small revolution (in true Bragg style) to try and put a stop to this. You can do your bit by posting out a bulletin to all your friends, esp artists, and badgering Tom with e-mails letting him know how unfair this clause is (not least because you can't hear Billy on here anymore!).

    Thanks for your help and support. The amazing thing about My Space is how fast we can all communicate so if we all do our bit we should be able to change this.

    Take Care

    Sarah, Bragg Office xx

    TERMS: (as of 17th March 2006)
    >
    > Quote:
    > By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text,
    > files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship,
    > or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the
    > Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-
    > paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to
    > sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy,
    > modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store,
    > reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the
    > Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such
    > Content from the Services. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a back-up
    > or residual copy of the Content posted by you may remain on the
    > MySpace.com servers after you have removed the Content from the
    > Services, and MySpace.com retains the rights to those copies.

    > Important Update - May 3rd,2006 It looks as if the terms have changed
    > yet again. New Terms dated 1st May 2006 have removed all reference to
    > their clause to retain back-up copies. I hope this is a step in the
    > right direction.
    Hmmm. Maybe it's just an ad campaign for Billy Bragg (doubtful). I really hope this doesn't hold true and thus cause artists to remove songs from MySpace.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    OPP

    It's been a while since one of these OPPs. Just as notice, I'll be out of town at a wedding from today until Monday. Not sure what that'll mean for the site but hopefully it'll be very normal around here. Posting from unusual locations, here I come.

    Take Your Medicine classifies MP3 blogs - if you read many music blogs check it out

    Brooklyn Vegan has Lou Reed @ Ground Zero pics & commentary

    Bradley has live Mogwai

    Just go read more Marathonpacks...seriously

    Heart on a stick on American Idol

    Will Butler from Arcade Fire guests on Said the Gramophone

    Can You See The Sunset... has podcast #2 posted

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    24 May 2006

    Arthur & Yu

    I like to be first. Who doesn't? I think it's the nature of lots of people to want to be the first to do something but it's most definitely in the nature of most music bloggers. I know a few who won't post about artists after someone else already has. It sounds silly perhaps, but it's the truth. Not here though. No sir, I just follow my nose and post about the music that I think is good. If I'm aware of a post elsewhere about the band I'll try to lead you in the direction of it. The only thing that ticks me off is when someone else posts about a band before me and uses the same words I was going to!

    Last night I was on a mission to play catch up with all of the people who have sent stuff via MySpace. There are a bunch that I've made note of, so get ready for some good stuff.

    First up, Arthur & Yu. They're from Seattle and, as best as I can tell, Grant Olsen & Sonya Westcott make up the core of the group and three other members (Bobby Wane, Ben Kersten, Scott Blue) round it out and play the other instruments. The very first thing I noticed about their music was its beauty. It's just that simple...beautiful music makes my ears happy. Well actually, Arthur & Yu's songs are both beautiful AND simple and they've got some of the best vocals I've heard anywhere in a while. They've given much attention to how their songs emote, and to the personality of the music they make, and to the space between the notes. That's the sweet spot of goodness that music by Arthur & Yu exists within. Someplace in the realm of certain songs by The Velvet Underground (w/ Nico), The Magnetic Fields, or Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra.

    See, that's where I was going with this write-up from the moment I first heard their songs. I opened the Arthur & Yu MySpace profile and my very first thought was "awesome, sounds like they have some nice early '60s influences". Then I looked - lo and behold they list some of the very same influences I would've expected. Except, well, it's not all that common for people (on MySpace) to have influences listed that make sense. "Perfect," I thought, "I'll talk about that when I mention them on my...crap!"

    That's when I looked to see if anyone else had written about Arthur & Yu. Indeed someone already had. And, leave it to Chris to say pretty much exactly what I was going to...and to post the same two songs...(from Gorilla vs. Bear HERE)

    "You know how on myspace bands always list their "influences", and as you listen to the songs, you can't help but think, "yeah, not really. at all."? Well that is refreshingly not the case with Seattle's Arthur & Yu, who recently befriended me on myspace. They've pretty much hit their influences right on: Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra, Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin, Nico-era Velvet Underground, etc."
    There you have it. So don't just take MY word for it, listen to Chris too. He knows his shit, and this my friends...this Arthur & Yu...is some good shit.

    Listen:
    "Lion's Mouth"
    "Afterglow"

    Visit Arthur & Yu on MySpace for more goodness.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    23 May 2006

    Deerhoof news

    Earlier today, I noticed on Pitchfork that bassist/guitarist Chris Cohen quit Deerhoof to focus more on his band The Curtains. That stinks because last time I saw Deerhoof it was a hella kick-ass show. Still, the band carries on and will proceed with their already planned tour:

    may 28 - Bend, OR - Les Schwab Ampitheater - with The Flaming Lips and Stephen Malkmus.
    jun 3 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Festival.
    jun 5 - Porto, Portugal - Porto Rio.
    jun 6 - Lisbon, Portugal - Lux.
    jun 23 - Berkeley, CA - Greek Theater - with Radiohead.
    jun 24 - Berkeley, CA - Greek Theater - with Radiohead.
    jun 26 - San Diego, CA - with Radiohead.
    jun 27 - San Diego, CA - with Radiohead.
    jun 29 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theater - with Radiohead.
    jun 30 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theater - with Radiohead.
    aug 10 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle.
    aug 11 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club.
    aug 13 - Brooklyn, NY - McCarren Park Pool
    aug 31 - Arcata, CA - Kate Buchanan Hall
    sep 2 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot Festival.
    oct 26 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center
    oct 27 - Pittsburgh, PA - Andy Warhol Museum
    Also, the most interesting bit of Deerhoof news (to me) is that they posted a new EP on their website! It has four covers (the Beatles, My Bloody Valentine, Canned Heat, and Herman's Hermits) and five live cuts.

    Download the new Deerhoof EP HERE.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Don't You (Forget About Me)

    The following list covers all of the artists/bands featured on EAR FARM through the end of April 2006. I do this so you can catch up on EAR FARM's past, if you're so inclined. See, none of these bands is really OF the past. Each one is a band worth checking out right NOW. So, do it. 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 (+)
    A Brief Smile (+)
    Die Romantik (+)
    The Diggs (+)
    Fanuelle (+)
    Goes Cube (+)
    The Isles (+)
    Limbs (+)
    Man in Gray (+)
    Mancino (+)
    Mobius Band (+)
    The Nailbiters (+)
    Nous Non Plus (+)
    Other Passengers (+)
    A Passing Feeling (+)
    Proton Proton (+)
    Royal Arms (+)
    The Secret Life of Sofia (+)
    Slowlands (+)
    Split Over Drapes (+)
    Susu (+)
    Tigercity (+)
    The Unsacred Hearts (+)

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

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Contrast Podcast #8

    A few weeks ago, Tim from Contrast Podcast contacted me and mentioned that he wanted to base the theme for week eight of Contrast Podcast on EAR FARM's 8+ feature. Sweet, right? So what happened was that a few bloggers picked some fantastic 8+ songs and Contrast Podcast #8 was born...
    You can download it HERE.

    Is it me, or is this Contrast Podcast getting better each week? And hey, if you're a music blogger, you can contribute too. Go check it out.

    Previously:
    Contrast Podcast #1
    Contrast Podcast #2
    Contrast Podcast #3
    Contrast Podcast #4
    Contrast Podcast #5
    Contrast Podcast #6
    Contrast Podcast #7

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Today's NEW releases

    Interesting releases according to me:

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    22 May 2006

    Tennis and the Mennonites

    Alright, back in the swing of things here for a few days at least. You may not have noticed, but I had an out of town wedding to attend this past weekend and there's another coming up this weekend. What that means is that I'm going to give you some more tasty new bands to check out in the next few days and then give you some of those out of town posts towards the end of the week, dig? Really, it should end up being business as usual I'm hoping. By the way, for the newer visitors, or those who don't pay attention, I've been living in New York City for five years now and I'm originally from Raleigh, NC. This is just to admit to any bias ahead of time - I happen to pay extra attention to NYC and NC based bands. But enough about me, on to what matters.

    Tennis and the Mennonites got in touch with EAR FARM via MySpace a while ago. They're (a seven piece, I think?) from Chapel Hill, NC and were featured on the NC based blog The Oak Room, so I definitely should've taken notice of them sooner. Heck, they opened for Rogue Wave at a show in Chapel Hill in December...I guess if I was still living down there I definitely would've already been listening to them six months ago. As it stands, the timing works out well because their blend of acoustic singer-songwriter pop stuff mixed with plugged in indie-rock sounds really nice in the early summer sun.

    Comparisons to Bright Eyes are too easy but wouldn't be far off mark. At the very least, if you're into Conor Oberst you'll probably thank yourself for checking out Tennis and the Mennonites, but what interests me more are the other bands I'm reminded of. I hear a bit of the acoustic pop sensibility of a band like The Cure in the song "Modern Eyes", some of the indie-rock tendencies of Folk Implosion in "Delayed", and the joie de vivre of Camper Van Beethoven throughout...among other things. As always, that's not to say that Tennis and the Mennonites are a carbon copy of any of these bands. No, they manage to sound like themselves at each moment and the two songs posted below attest to that fact. They're both worthy of multiple listens and should get you more than a bit excited for their new record that looks like it will be released soon. In the meantime, you should go see Tennis and the Mennonites live.

    Listen:
    "Delayed"
    "Modern Eyes"

    Visit Tennis and the Mennonites on MySpace

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    snip·pets

    Entertainment Weekly's top 25 music websites

    Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" began an eighth week at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart

    Wired movie review: Music in Exile

    Rolling Stone news on Billy Corgan, Wu-Tang, Nas, and more

    Foo Fighters Plot Intimate Theater Dates

    M.I.A. "Locked Out" of America

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    18 May 2006

    8+

    "Mass Production" by Iggy Pop which clocks in at 8:24

    Dark, ominous, fragmented, cerebral, paranoid...full of guilt and despair. These are the characteristics I assume were overwhelming Ian Curtis twenty-six years ago when he took his own life. I can't say for sure, I wasn't there, but I did read Touching From A Distance written by Ian's widow Deborah Curtis. She actually was there. She came home that day twenty-six years ago to find that Ian had hung himself. She tells in her book that Ian was plagued with depression, epilepsy, and was involved with another woman. This combination of factors may have had quite a bit to do with his decision to end his own life. Or, perhaps, it was Ian's fascination with the film Stroszek. It's impossible to say for sure, but a well documented fact is that Ian Curtis was a big fan of Iggy Pop. The influence came across in his music and the one well known fact surrounding Ian's death is that he was listening to Iggy Pop's 1977 album The Idiot when he killed himself. What exactly is The Idiot all about? It was Iggy's attempt to revive his slightly dormant career with the help of David Bowie. It was a move away from the guitar energy of The Stooges and towards something more dark, ominous, fragmented, cerebral, paranoid...

    The album contains a few fairly well-known songs like "Nightclubbing" and "Funtime" but it is the final track, "Mass Production", that fully sums up what was being attempted with the creation of The Idiot. "Mass Production" has all of the vision of the album put together perfectly in its eight plus minutes. It is an ominous drone, it is a fitting soundtrack to self-destruction, and it is this final track that I imagine was the last song Ian Curtis ever heard. How could I know that? I don't, but it just seems to make sense.

    Buy The Idiot HERE on Amazon.

    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"
    The Who - "A Quick One, While He's Away"
    Destroyer - "Rubies"
    Neu! - "Fuer Immer (forever)"

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Ian Curtis: July 15, 1956 – May 18, 1980

    "Guess the dreams always end
    They don't rise up just descend
    But I don't care anymore
    I've lost the will to want more
    I'm not afraid - not at all
    I watch them all as they fall
    But I remember when we were young"
    - from "Insight"

    What would Ian Curtis be like today at nearly fifty years old? What would music be like if Ian hadn't touched the world ever so briefly with his genius artistic vision? Can you even imagine?

    Twenty-six years ago today Ian Curtis committed suicide by hanging himself in the kitchen of his Macclesfield home. Ian was the lead singer of one of the most influential bands of the past thirty years, Joy Division. His suicide came on the eve of what was to be the band's first ever US tour. Their popularity would have surely changed immensely from such a tour. Their legacy perhaps would've been more immediate as well. Instead, Joy Division died with Ian (and was reborn later as New Order) and would eventually go on to impact countless musicians for decades, for they were a band well ahead of their time.

    Joy Division also happen to be one of my very very most favorite bands of all time. When I first started listening to them sometime in 1992 they'd been defunct for twelve years. Music that was over a decade old at the time and yet they seemed so much more vital than anything else I was hearing. They digested the punk ethos and spit it right back in the face of those mohawk wearing Malcolm Mclaren devotees. Theirs was a brand of moody, dark, visceral, post-punk that cut right to the core of emotion. I love the music they made so much that I could listen to Joy Division, and ONLY Joy Division, for months. Here's to Ian's voice, his words, and his ability to touch from a distance.

    Joy Division is dead. Long live Joy Division.

    Listen:
    "Shadowplay"
    "Transmission"
    "Insight"
    "Atmosphere"

    The songs above are available on the Joy Division box set Heart and Soul - buy it HERE.

    Here's the IMDB page for Control, the soon to be released movie about Ian's life.

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    17 May 2006

    The Walkmen new songs, new record next week, new show in Brooklyn added

    Yo. Can't wait for the new stuff from The Walkmen? Same here boy. Check it out...there's a new album coming out next week, some songs from it on MySpace, and then there's this:

    Due to overwhelming demand, The Walkmen are proud to announce an additional NY show on Tuesday, June 30th at The Warsaw in Brooklyn, NY. Presale tickets go on sale this Wednesday, May 17th at 1 PM Eastern Time.

    June 30 - Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw

    There are also presale tickets still available for several of the other shows. By buying tickets through our special presale, you'll be able to get your tickets first AND save money on service charges.

    To buy tickets: CLICK HERE

    For a full list of The Walkmen tour dates: CLICK HERE

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    EAR FARM Presents... at Sin-é

    I'm pleased to tell you that EAR FARM has set up a showcase at Sin-é here in New York City. The first show will be happening on Thursday the 29th of June and hopefully it'll become a monthly event. Right now, three out of the four slots are filled with some really great NYC bands and I'll be getting the fourth lined up very soon. Details below, click the (+) to go see a previous EF post about each band

    EAR FARM Presents... at Sin-é - 29 June, 2006

    Mancino (+)
    The Isles (+)
    The Secret Life of Sofia (+)
    Tickets for this show are on sale now - buy them on Ticketweb HERE.

    So go ahead and put the show on your calendar, look for more information about this event soon here on EAR FARM, and I hope to see everyone there. If you're a band or an artist that has been featured on EAR FARM and you'd like to be considered for a future slot in an EAR FARM Presents... show at Sin-é, get in touch with me. Email info HERE.

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    16 May 2006

    Guns N' Roses @ the Hammerstein Ballroom, 15 May 2006

    Guns N' Roses day three. That's not exactly what I signed up for when I bought my tickets - I was sure that I had just bought tickets to the first Guns N' Roses show since they played Madison Square Garden in 2002. But then, after checking out, I saw there were two more shows added before the one I got tickets to - Friday and Sunday. Bastards.

    Anyway, I was at that show back in 2002. It was one of the best concerts I've seen and it's completely the reason why I believed that buying tickets to see (nouveau) Guns N' Roses at Hammerstein was a good idea. Now, I'm not saying it was $65 wasted, but it wasn't the top 10 kind of show I had hoped for.

    Thanks to the reviews mentioned above I was aware that G N' R wouldn't be starting anytime before 10:30pm and that's right about the time we got there. Thankfully, we didn't have to stand around for hours like it seems most people did and that's a good thing because I really hate Hammerstein (more on that later). What I mean (about those standing for hours) is that the crowd was DRUNK. Not unexpected and definitely not a bad thing. After all, this was a fucking rock show. People were crowd surfing and moshing and the smell of cheap grass was in the air.

    All I kept thinking about was how the world needs concerts like this more than ever. Needs Guns N' Roses (whatever the lineup may be) to figure themselves out and get their shit together. Needs to be reminded how fucking awesome rock and roll can be. Frankly, the show reminded me how bad the audiences are sometimes at the shows I go to. Those jerks (me too, most times) who just stand there like they're looking at a painting in an art museum and not listening to a band play live music. No room for that at a G N' R show.

    The show started at about 11:05pm, lasted until 1:30am or so, and the setlist was very similar to the Sunday night setlist. My favorite moments were all about hearing the songs from Appetite for Destruction in a live setting but the new songs all sounded really good too. And Axl's voice was as good as I hoped it would be...at least most of the time it was.

    My complaints - the sound, the sound, THE SOUND. Every time I'm on the floor at Hammerstein the sound sucks. It's muddled and clearly points towards the balconies. It sounds like we were listening to poorly mixed stage monitors or something. And it really seemed (many times) like the sound guy was riding Axl's vocals and lowering it and raising it depending upon how strong his voice was at each moment. I will say, all in all, that the band seemed to keep getting better as the night went on and I think they showed promise (at times) that they might be able to work things out and actually become a vital stadium filling rock band.

    PS - yes, Sebastian Bach showed up again and sang with Axl on "My Michelle". It was way cool and he sounded great. Also, to the girls at Guns N' Roses concerts...if you're going to get up on your guy's shoulders and block the view of some 30 metal-heads behind you, the rules say that you have to take off your top. If they can't see the stage because of you, you must provide them with something else to look at. I didn't make up these rules, that's just how it is.

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    Contrast Podcast #7

    Contrast Podcast picks up this week where it left off last week, meaning the theme continues with "The best of 2006 so far". How about you go download Contrast Podcast #7 and enjoy it and then come back here and make fun of my intro to the song I picked. Go ahead.

    Previously:
    Contrast Podcast #1
    Contrast Podcast #2
    Contrast Podcast #3
    Contrast Podcast #4
    Contrast Podcast #5
    Contrast Podcast #6

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Today's NEW releases

    Here they is:

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    15 May 2006

    Giant Drag, Pretty Girls Make Graves @ Irving Plaza, 13 May 2006

    I must say, I didn't expect to miss all of the set by the first band, The Joggers, given that I was aiming to arrive right around 9pm but I did. It's a shame as I'd like to have had a chance to check them out live. Oh well, another time. Frankly, they were a complete afterthought anyway. I went to Irving Plaza on Saturday to see Giant Drag and Pretty Girls Make Graves.

    The last time Giant Drag (pictured above) was in town I had tickets but ended up not going. Why? Can't remember, which makes me think the decision to sell those tickets was totally not worth it. Thankfully, Annie (vocals, guitar) and Micah (drums, bass sounds via pedals) gave me another chance on Saturday. The show was everything I expected it would be, except sold out. What's that? No, I mean it definitely was not sold out. Nice for me, probably not so nice for the bands. Anyway, Annie was bringing the funny between songs as I expected. Or, as I'd already read about elsewhere. Though, somehow I was still not fully ready for what it'd be like to have her talking about having her heart (and hymen) broken by Chris Isaak when she was eight. Yep. She's got this wicked deadpan delivery paired with a voice that sounds even more baby-ish than that of Sarah Vowell, so the jokes are fully effective. The real kicker, though, is that she delivers with musical force. Throughout a Giant Drag set you're bound to be reminded of other '90s era female rockers like PJ Harvey, Mazzy Star, Liz Phair, Hole, Frente, etc. I highly recommend checking them out live or buying their album.

    After Giant Drag, there seemed to be a bit of an exodus. Obviously, some folks were there just for Giant Drag. Again, fine by me as I got to get a nice spot in the center of the room for Pretty Girls Make Graves (pictured to the right). Oh yeah, and they're the band I really wanted to see. It'd been a while since I last saw them live and since then they changed their sound a bit and added a keyboard player/lost a guitarist. Fact is, the new songs from Elan Vital sounded awesome live as did the old ones and I went home happy with a shirt and my fourth Pretty Girls Make Graves concert notch on my belt. I'd give you more, but I have to run to get ready for G n' R tonight.

    Read more about the show HERE and HERE.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    I Want my MTV

    Concert I saw this past weekend edition...meaning, videos from Giant Drag and Pretty Girls Make Graves:

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

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    snip·pets

    Does hating rock make you a music critic?

    BBC interviews wrong man about Internet music downloads

    Thom Yorke Solo Album Due In July

    OutKast Album, Film Penciled In For August

    Franz Ferdinand play shock set at Radio 1's Big Weekend

    Danger Doom to Release Free EP

    Wired - A Better Way to Podcast

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    12 May 2006

    Beg Yr Pardon?!

    What exactly IS Beg Yr Pardon?!

    Beg Yr Pardon is here to make rock shows for people. These should be shows where people want to stick around for all the bands, where the audience gets involved, where they feel comfortable losing their shit a little when they hear some new music that they’r really excited about. At Beg Yr Pardon, we are never too cool for school. Everybody is in class together. Learning. …About rock and roll. The point is:

    Once a fortnight, we’re putting together parties full of great bands from near and far. Bands your friends are in and bands you’ve never heard of. Between and after bands we’ll have a bunch of folks trading off DJ slots (does that sound dirty?). These will be cooperative, loving people who do their best to honor all reasonable requests. Want to play something for a room full of people? Bring a CD or your iPod and submit.
    Beg Yr Pardon is the brainchild of Christina, the lead singer of Man in Gray. The first Beg Yr Pardon will be held at The Delancey on June 6th!

    Here's a bit of a preview of what is lined up so far:
    June 6th @ the Delancy (lineup TBA)
    June 20th @ the Delancey (lineup TBA)
    - Planes for Spaces
    - Telenovela Star
    - Higgins
    June 29th @ Club Midway
    - 8:30 DraculaZombieUSA
    - 9:30 Apples Apples
    - 10:30 The Pussy Pirates
    - 11:30 Man in Gray
    - 12:30 Pinkmeat

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    11 May 2006

    8+

    "Fuer Immer (forever)" by Neu! which clocks in at 11:17

    Pop Quiz!
    (ten questions, answer T or F for each)

    1. 527,684 bands were influenced by Neu!.
    2. Some of the bigger bands influenced by Neu! include Tortoise, Sonic Youth, and Radiohead.
    3. It sounds as if Stereolab's entire career was based on this very song by Neu!
    4. The word "neu" is German for "electro-prog art-rock".
    5. This quiz was thought up after I scrapped my original post in an artistic tantrum and found myself with ten minutes left before quitting time at work.
    6. Neu! formed in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1971 after multi-instrumentalists Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger both split from Kraftwerk.
    7. Although recorded in 1971, their debut album wasn't widely known until it was remastered and re-released 20 years later.
    8. The guys from Neu! now work as chimney sweeps in Ecuador.
    9. Listening to Neu! while eating Pop Rocks will make your head explode.
    10. Neu! is essential listening for anyone serious about music.

    Buy Neu! 2 HERE on Amazon.

    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"
    The Who - "A Quick One, While He's Away"
    Destroyer - "Rubies"

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Ruined Music

    Ruined Music is a new website, and a fantastic idea methinks. From the site:

    A word about submissions: bring ‘em!

    Another word about submissions: many of you have asked us about the limits of our theme. Initially we asked for stories about songs that were ruined by bad memories of an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, but if you want to, you know, stretch the boundaries, go for it. Did your roommate, brother, neighbor, bandmate, mom, or pet hamster ruin a song you used to like? Tell us about it, in fewer than 1,000 witty words. While we’re partial to stories focusing on the aftermath of wrecked romances, we’re certainly open to other interpretations of “ruined music,” if that’s what you’ve got. But no matter what, we hope that by sharing your story with us - and with the internet public - you’ll experience a cathartic healing and be able to reclaim your record collection.
    There you have it. Very cool, I'm in.

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Katharine Whalen updates

    Katharine Whalen is the sexy female singer who brought so much to Squirrel Nut Zippers. She's got a new solo album, Dirty Little Secret, coming out on June 6th, 2006 and is playing a few shows in June. Excited? Me too! I also just got a note saying that she's got a new song up on her MySpace page so go check it out.

    See her live in NYC on the 21st of June at Makor

    Previous EF post on Katharine Whalen

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    OPP

    Marathonpacks lists favorite "Beatle Moments" - a must read

    Product Shop NYC on BEIRUT Live At The Knitting Factory

    Mocking Music has REM covers

    Indoor Fireworks has live Pearl Jam

    Crackers United on BEIRUT Live At The Knitting Factory

    Chromewaves explains why Shearwater is someone you should listen to

    Bows + Arrows has a nice farewell to Grandaddy post

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    Grand Street Block Party


    First Annual Grand Street Block Party featuring:

    "live music, skate vendor, food and beverage vendors, gourmet burger cook-off, and mural contest. Local retailers will be offering 20 percent off, local restaurants and bars will have drink specials throughout the day. Proceeds from vendor booths will benefit The American Diabetes Association."

    Bands: Vietnam, Whiteshoes and the Nightmares of Nashville, The Comas, Jeremy Yocum (Oceanographer), The Roulette Sisters

    Click HERE to continue reading/view comments...

    10 May 2006

    Overlooked Albums from the '90s

    One final post to put this feature to bed, that's all. See, I didn't give the thing much thought before I jumped right into it. All that was considered was that I knew of a lot of really great albums from the '90s that weren't getting much recognition anywhere else and I needed content for this new music blog I had just started. Therefore, the weekly Overlooked Album feature was born. You'll notice the write-ups evolve from the very first one, to more well thought out writings in the middle, to the point when I finally bought some online disk space to share music and actually settled on a format (more or less) for these weekly posts. I originally set out with no set list and no clue about how long I'd ultimately make the thing. The numbers you see next to each album are not any kind of ranking system but rather the order in which I decided to feature the albums. That's all. Just wanted to play it by ear and come up with a new album each weekend and then end the sucker when it felt like the right time. Last week turned out to be just the right time. What will replace the feature and when? Truth be told, I'm not sure yet (got a few ideas) but it'll be in a few weeks and hopefully it'll give both to you guys and to me, just like the Overlooked Albums From The '90s feature has done. In the meantime, you'll still be getting every thing else same as it ever was.

    Below is a short list of other albums I was thinking about including that didn't quite make it into the feature and below that, the final list of EAR FARM's Overlooked Albums From The '90s.

    The almosts (in no particular order):

    EAR FARM's Overlooked Albums From The '90s:

    #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
    #29 - Songs and Music From She's the One by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
    #30 - Blowout Comb by Digable Planets

    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

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