30 May 2008

EAR FARM's Muxtape #10: MARS!

With the recent (successful) landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander all up in the news, I've had Mars on the brain tons lately. In fact, I nerded out and downloaded an animation (from here) of the entry, descent and landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander and added a Black Moth Super Rainbow song to it. It's pretty sweet. Check it out over on EARF... Mars fever! Let's get people on that planet already. "Come on, Cohaagen! You got what you want. Give those people air!"

You can listen to this week's EAR FARM muxtape HERE.

EAR FARM's Muxtape #10: MARS!
1. "Tip Your Hat To Whitey (Mars)" by Chris Rock
2. "Mars Loves Venus" by The Brunettes
3. "Mars Needs Women" by Mylo
4. "The Stars Our Destination" by Stereolab
5. "Mars Sparkles Down On Me" by The Wedding Present
6. "Woodpecker from Mars" by Faith No More
7. "Red Planet" by NRBQ
8. "Teenagers From Mars" by The Misfits
9. "Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars)" by Grinderman
10. "I Married A Martian" by Sparks
11. "Holst: Mars, The Bringer Of War" by London Symphony Orchestra
12. "Life On Mars?" by Seu Jorge

*above picture found HERE.

See also:
EAR FARM's Muxtape #1: 12 Songs For A Cat Named Joe
EAR FARM's Muxtape #2: April Fools Edition!
EAR FARM's Muxtape #3: Fank Fod it's Friday and Finally Fpring!
EAR FARM's Muxtape #4: Rock Band Setlist
EAR FARM's Muxtape #5: 2:42
EAR FARM's Muxtape #6: Songs that used to live in my TV set
EAR FARM's Muxtape #7: Happy Muxther's Day!
EAR FAM's Muxtape #8: I Broke My Arm Playing Wiffle Ball
EAR FARM's Muxtape #9: Pulled From My "On-The-Go" Playlist
A Muxtape is a simple way to create and share mixtapes. That's all there is to it. Feel free to share your own mix in the comments.

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LOST: Theoretical Answers to 10 Questions Posed in Last Night's Finale "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3"

Last night ABC aired the season finale of their hit show LOST. Per usual, fans of the series were given answers to many long-standing questions and then, ultimately, were left with a slew of new questions to ponder in the months leading up to the first episode of Season 5. One thing, however, is certain: the producers dig some late '80/early '90s rock. Check out the Pixies song that featured prominently in last night's finale posted below/after the jump.

In addition, click through to read my postulations about some of the big unknowns currently perplexing LOST fans and please post your own theories and thoughts in the comments. However, be warned: SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN: don't read this post if you haven't seen the episode. Forward at your own risk...

10. The manchild: Walt is still very important. And in his late 40's. Will he use his superpowers to revive a dead animal (or person, or "philosopher") or two next season??
9. The whisper: I'm guessing that Sawyer asked Kate to deliver something (a message?) to his daughter.
8. The bomb: Michael is dead. Jin is not: he'll be found (alive) by Daniel in his raft.
7. The Redhead: Miles knows that Charlotte has been to the island before. Then she realizes it's true... but who is she? A prior Dharma girl? Ben's childhood girlfriend? Ben's biological daughter he previously thought dead who was raised by someone connected to Jin/Sun? (she speaks Korean remember) She's definitely someone important... wonder how many toes she has on each foot?
6. The time machine: I'm thinking Daniel is going to do some time travel experiments in the Orchid ("Desmond is my constant"). Desmond already has time traveled. Ben seems to do the same by moving the island and waking up in Tunisia. Who else time travels? Everyone. Including the polar bear that ended up in the desert but used to push that cold-ass donkey wheel back in the day when moving of the island was needed.
5. The dream: Kate had a dream. There was a phone call (that, when played backwards, says "The Island needs you. You have to go back before it's too late.") and Claire showed up. But why did Claire explicitly say not to take Aaron back to the island? Isn't she supposed to raise him? And, is Claire still alive? I say yes. But as to the mixed signals between her and Ben about coming back to the island - who knows. (Also, was it just me, or did Claire look pregnant in that dream?)
4. The Widmores: Penny and Desmond are going to work against her father, something tells me Sun isn't really wanting to work "with" Charles Widmore either... but ultimately, who is he? Dharma Initiative? What's this thing he has going on with Ben?
3. The island: Poof! Island is gone. To where? Or, rather, when... I have no answer for this save the fact that temporal displacement is (clearly) very central to this entire story. Also, I'm back to thinking that this island could be Atlantis and that all of our main characters are descendants of the original inhabitants... or something.
2. The dead philosopher: (aka, Schrödinger's coffin) John Locke is Jeremy Bentham is... dead in the coffin. Did he kill himself? I'm thinking yes, in a very Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode IV kind of way. ("If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.") Speaking of Bentham, his Panopticon is worth reading about in regards to LOST. Big time.
1. The return: Season 5 is shaping up to be about how/when/why Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley, Sun, Aaron, Locke, Walt, et al. get back to the island. Big lol potentials lie ahead of us as the Oceanic 6 (plus) have to Weekend at Bernie's Locke's ass back to the island. I can't wait.

Listen: "Gouge Away" by The Pixies

*above picture from HERE.

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Scripps National Spelling Bee Finalists Beware: EAR FARM's Surefire Stumbling Blocks

Look at poor Akshay Buddiga faint. This infamous clip from the Ghost of Scripps National Spelling Bees Past should be a warning to the precocious youngsters battling it out in Washington D.C. today (the Semifinals are on NOW on ESPN and the Finals are on tonight on ABC at 8:00pm): this competition is INTENSE.

Pitfalls and perils await kiddies; best to train hard and be prepared for ANY situation that may face you this afternoon. Like when the judges start throwing curveballs and present those deceptive words whose pronunciations bear little to no bearing on their actual spelling, stuff like that.

The disconnect between pronunciation and spelling is harsh. That's why EF is here to give you a quick primer while you refuel on juice boxes and cookies in the Comfort Room. So in the off chance they hit you with a tricky band name during the Finals tonight, we've got you covered.

The Top 8 Potential Stumbling Blocks. Beware!

8. The judge says a word that sounds like "oh nye duh"; correct spelling is O-N-E-I-D-A: Oneida

7. The next word sounds like "bohn eevair"; correct spelling is B-O-N I-V-E-R: Bon Iver

6. The next one sounds like "luckily"; too easy right? Right. The correct spelling is L-Y-K-K-E L-I: Lykke Li

Congratulations, you're down to the final 5. Grab another Capri Sun and continue your training after the jump...

5. This word sounds like "soof-yan stevens"; it's one of the most mispronounced names in indie rock. That's right, the correct spelling is S-U-F-J-A-N S-T-E-V-E-N-S: Sufjan Stevens

4. The next word sounds like "shoe shoe"; correct spelling is X-I-U X-I-U: Xiu Xiu

3. The final three. Okay, this word sounds like "lay sah vee fahv"; correct spelling is L-E-S S-A-V-Y F-A-V: Les Savy Fav

2. The judge says this one very quickly and it sounds like "sih ur rose"; correct spelling is S-I-G-U-R R-Ó-S: Sigur Rós

1. Your last challenge. The judge adjusts his glasses and says this word has a few different pronunciations. He first says something that sounds like "chik chik chik" and then "pow pow pow" before following those up with three clicking noises made with his tongue on the roof of his mouth. Tricky. The correct spelling is !-!-!: !!!

So there you go, you're all set to dominate the competition today and tonight. Go forth and...wait, what's that you say? The judges pick actual words and not band names for the bee? Oh....you may be screwed then. Sorry about that.

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Swap out your boring strum bar with a real guitar string via this Rock Band mod kit

Watch Beach House play a song they just wrote while on a train in Norway

Yahoo! Music considers the 25 Most Rockin' Guitar Riffs of all time

Steven Tyler went to rehab to find a "safe environment" where he could recover from foot surgery

David Cook has a record-breaking 11 new songs debuting on America's Hot 100 singles chart

My Morning Jacket
confirmed to play Toronto's North By Northeast festival

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett commissioned to do the two-minute title sequences for BBC's broadcast of the Olympics

Sammy Hagar thinks his new band Chickenfoot - which also includes Chad Smith, Michael Anthony, and Joe Satriani - is as good as Led Zeppelin

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29 May 2008


"Bucky Little Wing" by Islands which clocks in at 9:38

"Bucky Little Wing" is a hidden track on the first Islands album Return to the Sea. Hidden in the puzzle above are 15 words pulled directly from the lyrics to the song. The words can be positioned forwards/backwards, up/down, and diagonally. If you'd like a hint, click HERE for a list of all 15 words you are looking for. Good luck!

*answer key located HERE.
**above puzzle created using Puzzlemaker at DiscoveryEducation.com.

Buy Return to the Sea 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+:
Grandaddy - "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot"
Broken Social Scene - "Backyards"
Oingo Boingo - "Change"
Count Basie - "Blues For The Barbecue"
The Besnard Lakes - "You've Got to Want to Be a Star"
M83 - "Couleurs"
David Byrne - "Happy Suicide"
Fleetwood Mac - "Oh Well"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

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Dead Confederate & All the Saints LIVE tonight @ Pianos, NYC

EAR FARM favorites Dead Confederate and All the Saints are finally in New York City tonight playing a show together at Pianos! Be sure to check out both bands as they're undoubtedly going to blow the roof clean off that mother. For a preview of what to expect, check out the video (above) that we grabbed in Austin of Dead Confederate opening for R.E.M. during South by Southwest. Seriously, watch it. You get to see that at Pianos! Unreal.

More goodies after the jump...

"Tortured Artist Saint" live @ Stubb's - 12 March 2008 (QuickTime, higher quality than YouTube)

"The Rat" by Dead Confederate
"Sheffield" by All the Saints

Buy: Dead Confederate [EP]

See Dead Confederate/All the Saints live: dates HERE

See also:
- R.E.M. @ Stubb's BBQ - 12 March 2008 (SXSW Day 1, pics, live video/mp3)
- EF Band of the Week: Dead Confederate
- EF Band of the Week: All the Saints

Visit All the Saints & Dead Confederate on MySpace.

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NME investigates the worst album covers ever

Sunset Rubdown do a Black Cab Session

Wired takes a look at some of the best new animated videos out there

Malawi court approves Madonna adoption

Cracked has 7 reasons why the new Kid Rock song may be the worst tune ever

R. Kelly's defense claiming music critic Jim DeRogatis is guilty of child pornography for handing over Kelly's sex tape to the cops????

Sony Music taps into its photo archive as a resource to use during hard times

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28 May 2008

Band of the Week: These United States

Band: These United States
From: Washington, D.C.
Sound: Delicately dense portraits and hyper-literate lullabies to the American soul and spirit
Similar Artists: M. Ward, Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver
Listen Now: "First Sight"

You could define These United States most simply as a musical project helmed by D.C.-based wordsmith Jesse Elliott. You could then broaden this definition to include his fantastic collaboration with David Strackany (aka Paleo, the force behind last year's epic 365 songs in 365 days Song Diary project) that resulted in These United States' debut album A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden. While you're at it, you may as well also include the 30 other musicians who all got their paws on Elliott's muse and wouldn't let go during recording, until we're left with a revised understanding that goes something like this: These United States appears to be a pack of musical gypsies, a life-affirming ethos of goodwill and tall tales, proof of Johnny Appleseed's enduring legacy in 21st century America (don't worry, more on this later), and an all around kick ass band.

Don't take my word for it though. It wouldn't be fair. After all, I was the one dense enough to completely neglect that they were in town two weeks ago AND on the same bill as Plants and Animals at Union Hall*. And now that I come groveling after the fact, reeling from the spellbinding portraits Elliott spins and conjures throughout A Picture of the Three of Us... and demanding more, it's just too damn late. See, the band is off to tour Europe in a few weeks, and any chance of seeing them unfurl their tents, shake the dust off their boots, and set up camp in our neighborhood anytime soon is unlikely.

But there is a silver lining. Elliott took some time out of his Memorial Day weekend to converse with EF via the medium he so enthusiastically commands throughout his music, the written word (fancy talk for email). Check out our exclusive Q&A after the jump...

EF: I was first hoping you could describe the collaborative process between you and David Strackany. For example, were these all songs that you had previously written that he had then taken and added arrangements to or was there more give and take involved?

JE: a little more give and take than that, but that was the basic Idea. I was plunking around on acoustic and electric guitars, worried mostly about Words and Rhythm. Strackany was toying with the thought of becoming a producer - he's got a real ear for sonic landscapes. the two of us together were lookin' to get out beyond the land of folksong, wanted something richer and weirder, but still organic. just started making sounds and layering them on top of these simple tunes I'd written.

EF: I understand there were upwards of 30 musicians contributing to the album. How did you manage to kind of keep the original vision of your songs with so many "cooks in the kitchen"? Or was surrendering and letting go just another element of the songwriting process?

JE: surrendering to people who are better and smarter than me is one of the only things I'm interested in, musically. I'm not really a musician, just kind of a writer in wolf's sheepskin. it's great, cause I don't have to have TOO much vested interest in whatever the original idea behind a song was. things evolve or die. the world's wicked and lovely like that.

EF: At the risk of this sounding like a job interview, your bio states that before These Unites States you were a gonzo journalist. What were the sorts of things that interested you as a writer and what would you report about?

JE: everything. I'd mostly just rant. hence the Gonzo. a polite word for mad dumb hilarious rambles, I think. life, death, current events, game shows. I did a series of pieces on September 11, 2001 - drove out to NYC from Iowa, got there Sept 12 at 4 am in the morning, spent a week walking around the streets talking to people. people are magical. people are really the only thing I ever wrote about. god bless em. so damn strange, what they do and don't to the world.

EF: I bring up the journalism background primarily because listening to your words, it's obvious you're a gifted writer. You paint some incredibly vivid scenes and portraits through the use of some very literate lyrics. How is the songwriting and lyrical process informed or influenced by your background?

JE: thank you kindly, Mike - means a lot to me. I've got panned for using too many words in a lotta places, always nice to hear that a few people out there like words as much as I do. I think I'm going for something that's more purely aesthetic than what people like right now. there are all these amazing emotional and personal songwriters out there right now, the Bon Iver kinda model. and I love that stuff and it's beautiful and it cuts right to my heart the same as it does for so many people, obviously. but songwriting for me is more like collage, or like shooting one frame, 1/24 of a second, of 16 mm film for a week, on a road to Florida, clicking that button once every 30 seconds, say, and then going back months after that week and seeing what transpired, rapid-fire, something overwhelming and nonsensical and yet perfectly a part of its very own warp-speed narrative. I did that once, with film, I mean - and I think it stuck with me in writing. I like words and rhythm and sentences and cadence and phrasing and all that junk more than emotion. does that make me a horrible person?

EF: If forced to choose one (indulge me here), would you identify yourself as a writer, musician, or performer?

JE: I write. that's not to say that I'm the best of the three at that particular task (or even that I'm very good at any of them, really) - that's just what sets my heart racing - that sentence you can really set sail on.

EF: In terms of music, what other current artists and bands have really been clicking you with lately?

JE: we just played a few shows with Plants and Animals, and they really blew my mind. love them kids. there's a great kinda psych-folk-desert-dirge scene in DC right now, as embodied by The Federal Reserve, a collective some of us started, and also Gypsy Eyes Records, a really good local label. I think you're always influenced most by your immediate peers, so for me it's those folks and other random bands like The Great White Jenkins from Richmond or The Cotton Jones Basket Ride from up the road in Maryland.

EF: What about some of your all time favorites?

JE: Beck. Andrew Bird. too obvious to mention Dylan? again, a lot of the more Aesthetic Experimentalists, in my book. number one of all time, of course, would have to be Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. there's prolly no person in this world I've loved more or longer than I loved Jim Henson.

EF: Now, on the literary side of things, what writers or works have you been into these days and what have been some of the most influential in your own development?

JE: I've been reading this really wonderful book of poems by a guy named August Kleinzahler, called Sleeping It Off in Rapid City. I spent the last week out in the rolling Mississippi River valley of northeast Iowa, seeing old friends and family, and it just fit perfectly with the curve of every hill, and even of the whole entire earth, I think.

EF: The concept of America and the legacy of this country seems to be deeply intertwined with your musical identity. From your band's name and its honoring of American folk to where you currently live (Washington D.C.) and the fact that your ancestor was Johnny Appleseed (and as an aside, is that really true?), what do you make of this connection to the United States that runs throughout your own history at a time when it seems cooler to travel Europe with a Canadian patch on our backpacks?

JE: John Chapman, in the family bible in Fort Wayne, IN, I kid you not. I was surprised as you, but my cousin did this genealogical roots thing a few years back, and it checks out, and I guess it makes Good Solid Sense - would certainly explain (in that wonderfully mythological, this-may-have-absolutely-nothing-to-do with-real-life but-isn't-it-a-fun-way-to-explain-phenomena-in-the-world we-will-never-fully-comprehend-anyway kind of a way, y'know?) my love of land and geography and walking and humming (and apples? I guess I sort of like apples. I definitely like seeds.) and, damn it can be hard to say it sometimes, but, yes, still, America. it's the psychological and the physical geography that does it for me, all the beautiful castles of Europe and the easily defensible stances of Canada aside. there's nothing easy about America. John Chapman went crazy. I'll be damned if I'm not gonna try and get every long mile down under my feet before the whole thing explodes in a big old thrilling supernova, though.

EF: And speaking of Europe, you guys are about to head over there for a fairly extensive tour. How are you feeling about that and what's next for These United States afterwards?

JE: we love the UK. the further from Home you are, the kinder Strangers become. I can't wait to tour Indonesia some day. people are wonderful everywhere. there so much of the world encompassed just in that tiny little island strip between Brighton and Aberdeen. probably even more than we'll ever know, even further, up north, down to Plymouth, out to the westernmost of Wales. we get a wonderful warmth off those Brits. they drink like skilled fish. after the UK, back up north, hopefully finally to Canada, which we've not hit up yet somehow in the last 350 shows we've played. then out West again, touch the Pacific, breathe some of that into us, we always need that, the West. into autumn, who knows - a new album out maybe? we are the skilled fish of our own destiny!

*belated thanks to those who brought the fact that These United States had played that Union Hall show to my attention after the fact. Alas.

Listen: "First Sight"

Watch: These United States go on a quest for tequila in Tijuana during SXSW HERE

See These United States Live:
18 Jun - Washington, D.C. @ Rock and Roll Hotel
20 Jun - London, UK @ The Vortex
21 Jun - Norwich, UK @ B2
22 Jun - Newcastle, UK @ Head of Steam
23 Jun - Nottingham, UK @ Bodega Social Club
24 Jun - Cardiff, UK @ UWIC (Tommy’s Bar)
25 Jun - Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana
26 Jun - Bath, UK @ The Porter (Moles Club)
27 Jun - Glastonbury, UK @ GLASTONBURY Festival (Croissant Neuf Stage)
28 Jun - Glastonbury, UK @ GLASTONBURY Festival (Bandstand Stage)
29 Jun - Swindon, UK @ The Vic
01 Jul - Manchester, UK @ The Ruby Lounge
02 Jul - Glasgow, UK @ Oran Mor
03 Jul - Edinburgh, UK @ Cabaret Voltaire
04 Jul - Oxford, UK @ The Cellar
05 Jul - London UK @ The Troubador

Visit These United States on MySpace.
In the recent past, the following bands have been featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week:
Kelley Polar
Plants and Animals
All the Saints
I'm From Barcelona
Tapes 'n Tapes
White Hinterland
Man Man

See the entire list of bands featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week HERE.

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TV News Producer Cheatsheet: Offbeat News Stories (with accompanying bumper music)

Peru, Chile fight over potato's origin: The historic rivalry between Chile and Peru has taken a new form as the two countries argue over the origin of the potato. Read more/above photo from HERE.

Listen: "Mashed Potato Time" by Dee Dee Sharp

Liquor store owner told to stop taking shoplifters' shoes: Tired of losing $1,000 worth of merchandise a month in thefts, Gabe Fidanque started telling shoplifters he caught that they had two choices: Give him one of their shoes or he'd call the police. Read more HERE/photo from HERE.

Listen: "No More Shoes" by Stephen Malkmus

Maine town selling old jail for $200,000: If you're in the market for a roomy brick-and-stone house - complete with some pretty impressive security features - look no further. The Somerset County Jail in downtown Skowhegan is for sale. Read more HERE/photo from HERE.

Listen: "In The Jailhouse Now" by The Soggy Bottom Boys

View more offbeat news/bumper music matches after the jump...

Duo tries to break world handshaking record: Kevin Whittaker and Cory Jens shook hands with one another Monday for 9 1/2 hours, trying to beat a handshaking record of about nine hours set by two Germans. Read more HERE/photo from HERE.

Listen: "The Handshake" by MGMT

Girl stung by scorpion in Wal-Mart watermelon: A 12-year-old girl picking up a seedless watermelon from a bin was stung Sunday by a tan, inch-long scorpion that had apparently stowed away in a shipment from Mexico. Read more HERE/photo from HERE.

Listen: "The Scorpion" by Megadeth

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Stereogum does a premature evaluation of Weezer's forthcoming Red Album

Pick the song that will be inescapable by this time next month over at Idolator's 2008 Summer Jam Tournament

A Brooklyn man convicted of music piracy may face five years in prison

Smashing Pumpkins to celebrate their 20th anniversary with a tour and DVD

Check out Rainn Wilson's Sasquatch blog over at Rolling Stone

announce small tour with a stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg July 15th

MuxFind lets you search and discover on Muxtape

Rock Band stage kit - complete with fog machine and stage lights - to come out this August for Xbox 360

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27 May 2008

I Want My MTV - new videos from Kanye West, El Jezel, Black Kids, and Cut Copy

So, Kanye is being all Kanyey and has just released a second eog-flippin' video for "Flashing Lights"... the first one was directed by Spike Jonze. It was pretty raw. I think I like this one directed by Bill Pollock a lot more. Check it out below, as well as a few other brand new vids from El Jezel, Black Kids, and Cut Copy...

"Flashing Lights" by Kanye West (above)

"Champagne & Cold Coffee" by El Jezel (above)

"Hurricane Jane" by Black Kids (above)

"Hearts On Fire" by Cut Copy (above)

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Three for Free - Pomegranates, Caverns, The Dark Romantics

EAR FARM's Three for Free: three EF approved, free and legal MP3s posted each week. This week - three songs from artists on Lujo Records. Click on the artist name to go to their site, click on the song name to listen to the song.

Pomegranates - “Whom/Who”

Caverns - "This Are Syntax"

The Dark Romantics - "Is This Really Happening"

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Islands @ Webster Hall - 24 May 2008

Islands made their second appearance - and first as headliner - at Webster Hall this past Saturday evening and filled the cavernous space with an appropriately large-sounding set. From the muscular opening riff of the show (and album) opener "The Arm" onwards, they seemed intent on channeling the darker, muscular rhythms and arrangements that dominate Arm's Way while explicitly turning their noses at the lighter fare that comprised much of 2006's Return to the Sea.

Personally, I enjoyed the attention and detail paid to Arm's Way; it's an involved affair that really benefits from the added openness and urgency found in the live setting. "Vertigo", the album's 11 minute closer, absolutely devastated as the perfect set closer, revealing layers upon layers of intertwined strings and rhythms that the band expertly allowed to breathe and evolve into a composition that transcended the sum of its parts. It was amazing. Same goes for "J'aime Vous Voir Quitter" and "Pieces of You", though the subversive moment of the night would have to go to Nick Thorburn crooning "Kids Don't Know Shit" to a blissfully unaware all-ages crowd. And it was this crowd that seemed to want more Return To The Sea, cheering wildly every time the band would launch into one of its selections while Thorburn deadpanned and downplayed their earlier material, telling them they should be more excited for the new songs.

Old, new, it doesn't really matter when seeing Islands live, and while some youngsters bristled at consecutive 8+'s to end the set and begin the encore ("Vertigo" followed by "Swans"), such sequencing decisions are just the tip of the eccentric iceberg when it comes to seeing Thorburn live (here I'm thinking back to a Unicorns show when they stopped "I Was Born A Unicorn" halfway through to close the set before finishing it during the encore). Better to go with it kids, because according to Thorburn you don't know shit anyway. Check out more pics and tour dates after the jump...

*photos by Peter Beer

Listen: "The Arm"

See also:
- Islands @ Cedar St. Courtyard - 13 March 2008 (SXSW Day 2, pics, live video/mp3)
- Spam Filter: Islands are a comin'
- Islands @ R Bar - 19 October 2007

See Islands Live:
27 May - Ottawa, Ontario @ Babylon
28 May - Montreal, Quebec @ Le National
29 May - Toronto, Ontario @ The Phoenix
30 May - London, Ontario @ Call the Office
31 May - Waterloo, Ontario @ The Starlight
01 Jun - Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot
02 Jun - Chicago, Ill @ Logan Square Auditorium
03 Jun - Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave.
04 Jun - Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
05 Jun - Winnipeg, Manitoba @ West End Cultural Centre
06 Jun - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan @ Amigo's
07 Jun - Edmonton, Alberta @ Starlite
08 Jun - Calgary, Alberta @ Warehouse
10 Jun - Vancouver, British Columbia @ Plaza Club
12 Jun - Seattle, Washington @ Neumo's
13 Jun - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
14 Jun - Eugene, OR @ Broadway Block Party
16 Jun - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo's 365
17 Jun - Los Angeles, California @ Henry Fonda Theatre
19 Jun - San Diego, CA @ Epicentre
20 Jun - Tuscon, Arizona @ Club Congress
21 Jun - Tempe, Arizona @ Clubhouse
23 Jun - Austin, TX @ Emo’s Outside
24 Jun - Dallas, TX @ Granada Theatre
25 Jun - Houston, TX @ Walter's
26 Jun - Baton Rouge, LA @ Chelsea's
27 Jun - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
28 Jun - Charlotte, NC @ Neighbourhood Theatre

Visit Islands on MySpace.

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Today's NEW Releases

Feels like a Monday but it's already Tuesday, here are today's new releases:

Hmm, not so much a huge week for releases it appears. What else is there?

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Prefix has a 3-part "illustrated review" of the recent Black Moth Super Rainbow/Subtle show at the Rock & Roll Hotel in D.C.

The Streets play first UK show in over a year

KEXP has a review of Day 2 of Sasquatch, and so does the A.V. Club

Yale gives Paul McCartney honorary music degree

Build your own mini music publication with Idiomag's new widget

MuchMusic counts down the 12 most powerful musicians of today

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26 May 2008

Hit-or-miss: "Music To Watch Girls By" by Andy Williams

"Music To Watch Girls By" by Andy Williams from 16 Biggest Hits

Image search results for Music To Watch Girls By - above image is from the sixth page of results (and was originally from HERE).
In the recent past these songs were featured in Hit-or-miss posts:
"String Bean Jean" by Belle & Sebastian
"Buzz Fledderjohn" by Tom Waits
"Pump up the Bass" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
"Jet City Woman" by Queensrÿche
"II. In Taberna: Estuans Interius" by Carl Orff
"Dangerous" by Frente!
"Keep Their Heads Ringing" by Dr. Dre
"At It Again" by Sublime
EAR FARM's Hit-or-miss is a weekly feature (every Monday) wherein the EF music library is put on shuffle, the song that plays is then searched (using the song title) on Google images and a resulting photo (plus an MP3 of the song) is posted. You can see all of EAR FARM's Hit-or-miss posts thus far right HERE.

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EAR FARM Mini-mix: Memorial Day

Below is a selection of three songs in honor of Memorial Day. As well, in response to a recent comment and some emails I've received, I'd like to give a brief update about my situation... basically, last Wednesday I had to have reconstructive surgery on my shoulder/arm that I injured a few weeks ago. It's been extra-debilitating (but I'm doing fine and recovering), so my posts will not be the most wordy/frequent over the next many days. However, I'll be back to normal action as soon as I can. You betcha.

In the meantime, have a happy Memorial Day!

"The Ballad Of The Green Berets" by SSgt. Barry Sadler
"Battle Cry Of Freedom" by 2nd South Carolina String Band
"Battle Hymn Of The Republic" by Eef Barzelay

*above photo of Arlington National Cemetery from HERE.

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KEXP has a review of Day One of Sasquatch

Is Blender going out of business?

Does music belong in humor? The A.V. Club rounds up 15 novelty songs from prominent funnymen

The Chicago Tribune has a piece about the effect of gas prices on touring musicians

And somewhat on topic, details emerge about Radiohead's green touring techniques

Check out the Mountain Goats Daytrotter session

Watch the video for the new Ratatat song "Mirando"

Peruse Pitchfork's guide to summer festivals

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23 May 2008

EAR FARM's Muxtape #9: Pulled From My "On-The-Go" Playlist

I'm a mover and a shaker. I won't wear sweatpants outside the house and I'm not above walking down the wrong side of the subway stairs to get where I need to be. I like to constantly make "On-The-Go" playlists to alleviate the boredom between points A and B. Thus, this mux is plain and simple; it's basically just my most current "On-The-Go" playlist. Boom bam. You can listen HERE.

EAR FARM's Muxtape #9: Pulled From My "On-The-Go" Playlist
1. "Let's Talk About It" by White Denim
2. "J'aime Vous Voir Quitter" by Islands
3. "Don't Sell Me Now" by Hey Hey My My
4. "Hold It In" by Jukebox The Ghost
5. "Slowly Typed" by Pavement
6. "Navajo" by The Black Lips
7. "One Wink At A Time" by The Replacements
8. "Sea Shanty" by Plants and Animals
9. "Science Killer" by The Black Angels
10. "Deep Water" by Portishead
11. "Angelo (4-Track") by Sublime
12. "Hugs On Soil" by Windy & Destiny

*above picture found HERE

See also:
EAR FARM's Muxtape #1: 12 Songs For A Cat Named Joe
EAR FARM's Muxtape #2: April Fools Edition!
EAR FARM's Muxtape #3: Fank Fod it's Friday and Finally Fpring!
EAR FARM's Muxtape #4: Rock Band Setlist
EAR FARM's Muxtape #5: 2:42
EAR FARM's Muxtape #6: Songs that used to live in my TV set
EAR FARM's Muxtape #7: Happy Muxther's Day!
EAR FAM's Muxtape #8: I Broke My Arm Playing Wiffle Ball
A Muxtape is a simple way to create and share mixtapes. That's all there is to it. Feel free to share your own mix in the comments.

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Top 10 (Musical) Things To Do in New York This Weekend (Memorial Day Edition)

We figured we'd spend another Friday looking at the weekend's musical offerings. And why not? Though it's a holiday weekend and many of you may be fleeing the city (we don't blame you), some among us will be stranded. For those unable to Escape From New York, may we suggest the following (again in semi-particular order):

10. Stay in, be a hermit, and watch Neil Diamond on Jimmy Kimmel Live TONIGHT or R.E.M. on Austin City Limits SATURDAY
9. Expand your mind at the Knitting Factory TONIGHT with the psychedelic jams of Black Moth Super Rainbow (with Subtle)
8. Head back to the Knitting Factory (Tap Bar) SUNDAY for the Muggabears, Salt & Samovar, Forest Fire, and a Grizzly Bear DJ set
7. Go wish the Brooklyn Bridge a happy birthday and take in the array of performances there throughout the weekend
6. Like Ringo with your eggs? Go to B.B. King's SATURDAY for their Beatles Brunch
5. Enjoy the good weather (finally) at the opening of The Yard SATURDAY
4. Watch more than 30 bands all day SATURDAY and SUNDAY at the 2nd Olive Juice Music Festival at Cake Shop
3. See Van Halen at Madison Square Garden TONIGHT...hurry, go now before they reschedule again!
2. Go to Webster Hall (earlyish) on SATURDAY to see Islands
1. Celebrate Bob Dylan's 67th Birthday Bash with an awesome lineup of guest performers at Rehab TONIGHT

As always, this doesn't pretend to be a comprehensive roundup of everything under the sun, so please let us know what YOU are most looking forward to and enjoy the holiday weekend!

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ARC Summer Record & CD Sale

You may recall us having talked up a rather large record sale in Tribeca back around the holidays. For 10 glorious days the folks at ARC rolled out all their vinyl duplicates and sold them for absurdly reasonable prices, and we were able to walk out of there with a treasure trove of near-mint condition records ranging from Graceland to David Lee Roth's Skyscraper for about 3 bucks a pop. Well guess what? They're having another sale next month.

For those who need a refresher, ARC is the ARChive of Contemporary Music, a not-for-profit archive and research center and the world's largest collection of popular music. Board members include David Bowie, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Lou Reed, Martin Scorsese, Keith Richards, Paul Simon, and Fred Schneider.
From Saturday June 7th through Sunday June 17th, ARC will be open to the general public from 11am to 6pm for a summer sale. Their press release states the following:

Admission is free! New items daily. Over 20,000 items for sale

CDs are NEW donations from record companies, NOT used, returns or defects!
Mostly pop and rock recordings. Collectible LPs are priced below book value.
Hundreds of CDs are priced at $1 to $5 each. Cassettes are 2 for $1.00
Just released NEW & HOT CDs are $5 - $10.

The most + BEST 7" singles we've ever offered! o many desirable and hard to find
Shelves of new music books o 100s of sealed/unopened LPs
African, Reggae & world-music releases o
Classical LPs 50¢ or LESS o laserdiscs o videos
For the dis-en-vinyled our Astroturf Yardsale of 50s kitchen stuff and clothing!!!

Location: Ground Floor, 54 White St. Three short blocks south of Canal, between Broadway & Church in Tribeca. Take the 1 train to Franklin, or any train to Canal.
As before, EAR FARM will definitely be checking this out. Will you?

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Donewaiting sits down with Oneida for a great interview

Looks like Muxtape went down yesterday in a "perfect storm of elements", and EF lost our latest mux as a result

Head over to Daytrotter and listen to a recent set from Grand Archives

Augusten Burroughs is the latest author to contribute to Largehearted Boy's Book Notes column

Okkervil River plan new album, The Stand Ins, to be released September 9th

The Seattle Times has a preview of this weekend's Sasquatch Festival....from the perspective of the Sasquatch?

PopMatters reviews The National's new film A Skin, A Night

Mastodon taps producer Brendan O'Brien for their next album

Death Cab For Cutie scores their first number one album with Narrow Stairs

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22 May 2008


"He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot" by Grandaddy which clocks in at 8:53

In which we examine the role of airplanes in rock and roll mythology....

At the risk of sounding like a Jerry Seinfeld bit, what's the deal with airlines lately?

Recent headlines have utterly swelled with a surplus of negatively angled aviation tales and tidbits, and some of them are even unrelated to the obscene price of gas and oil. Amongst the latest and greatest:

16 May - USA Today updates a story on how JetBlue forced a New York man to sit on the toilet for more than three hours on a flight from California.

20 May - An annual survey from the University of Michigan shows passengers find airlines "dismal", giving them their worst marks in customer service since 2001

20 May - Due to mechanical problems, The San Antonio Spurs have to spend the night on an airplane scheduled for Los Angeles after eliminating the Hornets from the playoffs earlier in the evening.

21 May - American Airlines announces it will begin charging fifteen dollars for passengers' first checked bags. Public outcry results.

Note the dates here, these headlines were all within the past week! Factor in the rise in public conscience and near-universal impulse to reduce carbon footprints - last we checked Radiohead wouldn't even get on a plane to play Conan O'Brien - and it appears airlines and planes are about as popular and likable as Lisa from Top Chef.

And surely we've all undoubtedly had our own personal horror stories when flying. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of past flights in which I've experienced/witnessed episodes of vomiting, being projectile vomited upon, emergency landings in Finland, emergency landings in Raleigh, panic attacks, heart attacks, merciless hangovers and more, and I certainly don't even consider myself an extensive traveler.

Yet, a wholesale dismissal of airplanes for the sake of personal vendettas, inconveniences, and ecological considerations would prevent us from examining one of the more profound sidebars in rock and roll history: the airplane's intriguing place in rock mythology (top 5 list alert). Come fly away with me....

Given the bum rap that planes, pilots, and airlines have gotten over the years, it's no surprise that most of the phenomena on this list carry negative associations. In any case, we present for your consideration a smattering of aviation-related rock and roll watershed themes and moments:

5. The Scene of the Crime - What is it about airports and planes that make musicians go bonkers and get arrested? It almost seems to be a rock and roll rite of passage: at one point in your career you will get unrepentantly shit-canned and cause a scene or try to smuggle something illegal on a plane or in an airport. Past alumni include Paul McCartney (smuggling marijuana), Keith Richards (passport problems), Axl Rose (threatening airport security), Courtney Love (air rage), Peter Buck (assaulting staff on plane), Liam Gallagher (drunkenness on plane), Ian Brown (threatening pilot), Snoop Dogg (THREE separate airport arrests), and Scott Stapp (public drunkenness, see mugshot below):

Scott Stapp's Mugshot, taken from HERE

4. The Sign of Excess - What says "I've arrived" more than an enormous jet with your band's logo on it? Exactly. In Almost Famous, the scene where fictional band Stillwater upgrades from a bus to the plane symbolizes their absolute apex of popularity. Likewise, Led Zeppelin's ultimate flexing of their rock omnipotence came through the unveiling of THE STARSHIP (also seen in lead photo):

Zeppelin doing their best Beatles imitation while deplaning from the Starship, HERE

This behemoth was THE singular representation of rock excess in the 70s (check the plane's inner schematics HERE to get a better idea). Nowadays, with the record industry in shambles and most musicians adopting a more ecologically responsible ethos, such extravagance has become all but extinct. The Starship can remind us all of better days though.

3. The Idol Killer - Apart from overdoses and STDs, it seems the greatest occupational hazard facing musicians is plane crashes. The number of talented lives that airplanes have claimed is staggering. Blender actually ran a piece about this a few years ago entitled "The 10 Worst Rock Star Plane Crashes". Among the unfortunate are Otis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughn, half of Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Denver, Aaliyah, and Ozzy's BFF Randy Rhoads.

Randy Rhoads' gravesite on the 25th anniversary of his death, from HERE

2. The Invasion Vessel - Every generation from my grandparents to Miley Cyrus can no doubt identify the iconic images of the Beatles arriving stateside for the first time in 1964. In an elaborately staged press event, the Fab Four posed and mugged amidst the enormous backdrop of the Pan Am plane that had brought them to the States, heralding the arrival of the British Invasion and beginning of drastic (and awesome) changes to the landscape of rock and roll.

The Beatles arriving at JFK in February 1964, from HERE

1. The Day the Music Died - Not to privilege certain rock deaths over others, but this particular tragedy is worth noting as THE defining intersection between aviation and rock if for no other reason than the relative magnitude and future influence of the musicians involved. On February 3, 1959, a plane carrying three rock and roll pioneers - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson - crashed en route to Fargo, ND, instantly killing all three. As Don McLean would later immortalize in "American Pie", this was THE day the music died.

a photo from the crash scene, found HERE

Wow, I'm a bit depressed now. Come to think of it, airplanes kind of deserve the public's scorn....with the exception of The Starship of course.

*above image from HERE.

Buy The Sophtware Slump 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+:
Broken Social Scene - "Backyards"
Oingo Boingo - "Change"
Count Basie - "Blues For The Barbecue"
The Besnard Lakes - "You've Got to Want to Be a Star"
M83 - "Couleurs"
David Byrne - "Happy Suicide"
Fleetwood Mac - "Oh Well"
Phish - "You Enjoy Myself"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

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The Brooklyn Bridge Turns 125: The Musical Legacy

Today marks the beginning of a five-day celebration commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge. According to the Associated Press, thousands of people are expected to gather for the bridge's birthday blowout later today, with festivities including a performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, a fireworks display, a Navy flyover, the unveiling of a colorful new lighting scheme and even the debut of a tribute song written in the structure's honor.

The party continues throughout Memorial Day weekend with a staggeringly diverse array of activities, events and performances scheduled to honor the bridge. Like what? Well, for example, on Saturday you can head to the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park and play a round of mini-golf at a course specially designed for this occasion that features little replicas of some of Brooklyn's most famous sites, including the bridge (of course), Grand Army Plaza, and Keyspan Park. The recession can't be too bad if we're building impromptu mini-golf tribute courses, right?

There are also a variety of dance and musical performances lined up throughout the weekend, check out the full schedule HERE.

Now, given the celebratory vibe of the weekend - and seeing that the bridge is getting its very own tribute song - it's only fitting to briefly highlight the Brooklyn Bridge's musical legacy as well (after the jump)...

Of course, there's Frank Sinatra's classic 1947 musical It Happened in Brooklyn in which the bridge features prominently (as the film's most famous song "The Brooklyn Bridge" suggests). And who can forget the Rolling Stones' press conference and kickoff for their massive 1997 Bridges To Babylon tour held under the Brooklyn Bridge? Certainly not U2, who staged a similar spectacle in 2004 and recorded a live EP for iTunes in the process, Live From Under the Brooklyn Bridge.

And if we're really to nitpick, couldn't we even make the argument that the Brooklyn Bridge was the very catalyst for opening up Brooklyn and making it more accessible for future generations to live, work, and create the amazing music scene that dominates the borough today? As the AP piece states:

Historians note its role in shaping the city: It linked Manhattan with what was then a largely rural Brooklyn, helping spur a Brooklyn growth spurt, Schweiger said. Brooklyn's population grew by 42 percent between 1880 and 1890, while Manhattan's grew by about 26 percent, census figures show.

Happy Birthday Brooklyn Bridge, here's hoping Dave Sitek gets to produce your new tribute song when you decide to record it.

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'N Sync svengali Lou Pearlman sentenced to 25 years in prison

Sam Champion is Rolling Stone's Breaking Artist this week!

Red Hot Chili Peppers disband (for a year or so)

Steven Tyler checks into rehab after two decades of sobriety

And the winner is.....David Cook wins American Idol in a landslide

Sonic Youth reveal the details of their Starbucks hits compilation album

The National and Yeasayer confirmed for Summerstage

Weezer is on the June cover of Spin

Watch the trailer for Heavy Metal in Baghdad

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21 May 2008

Band of the Week: Kelley Polar

Band: Kelley Polar
From: Sullivan, New Hampshire
Sound: Body-movin' zero gravity pop filtered through the '80s... the 2080s
Similar Artists: Isolée, Human League, Thomas Dolby, Daft Punk, Junior Boys
Listen Now: "Entropy Reigns (In The Celestial City)" (live on "Fair Game")

Imagine music that delivers on the promise of both '70s krautrock and '80s synth-pop at once while managing to highlight the warmth of the human voice in a manner that's as comforting as it is danceable. Music that feels at home alongside The Human League and New Order that isn't strictly derivative of such New Wave landmarks in a way that a band like Cut Copy is - music that's not blown out Zoo TV-style like Daft Punk but still enlivens in a similar manner - and, frankly, music that delivers a jolt of originality and fresh life into a genre (dance) that's most often about predictability, re-hashed ideas, and conformity. As proven on 2005's Love Songs Of The Hanging Gardens, and again on this year's standout album I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling, the music of Kelley Polar is an expanding universe unto itself in which one "could spend a thousand years just drifting through the atmosphere." Welcome.

Kelley Polar, née Mike Kelley, first showed interest in music at the age of three playing DJ to his disco-loving older sister (musician Blevin Blectum) on a plastic Fisher-Price turntable. Not long after that he was schooled in piano and violin before moving on to his passion: the viola. Adventures playing the Green Kangaroo of the violin family led to awards, an infamous tenure at Oberlin Conservatory, and eventually Juilliard. It's during this time that Mike Kelley met Morgan Geist, he of Metro Area and Environ Records, and assembled a group of Juilliard players (dubbed the "Kelley Polar Quartet") who would soon be heard on some of Metro Area’s biggest tracks. Kelley's stay at the illustrious NYC School would, however, be cut short: he was expelled from Juilliard for the "riot" during his Master's Recital. Consider this misfortune a stroke of good luck for listeners the world over...

After leaving Juilliard, Mike Kelley retreated from his self-destructive city lifestyle by returning to the countryside of his youth in rural New Hampshire where he began work on the songs that would become his universally adored debut album Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens (the Chicago Reader and Stylus both had the record on their respective "Best of" lists, Pitchfork predictably undervalued and ignored it). Live shows and touring ensued and Polar gradually built a devoted fan base who egerly anticipated his next move. They'd end up waiting three long years for the follow-up record, but would be well-rewarded a mere eighty seconds into the first listen of I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling when Polar lets the beat DRRROP.

While Kelley's first album was admittedly full of hints about his desire to get away from the planet Earth ("Subtle or not-so-subtle messages...I have a planetary claustrophobia that I would appreciate having addressed."), his second album blasts the listener far beyond the reaches of our atmosphere without as much as a single pause. It's an entire galaxy of disconnected fantasia, one that listeners are likely to either adore or detest in a matter of minutes. Polarizing: equally prog-y, disco-y, electro pop-y, heady, sexy, risky, and unique, I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling just might be the best album released in 2008 this side of the Kuiper belt. With a robotic whisper and double servings of Faltermeyer in the synthesizers, it's the lush organic strings and lovingly placed human vocals that will keep you grounded as the dark energy of Kelley Polar lifts you up; up out of our solar system, into the Oort cloud, and beyond. For God's sake, strap yourselves down!

Preview snippets of nine songs from I Need You to Hold on While the Sky Is Falling HERE, listen to a live version of one of the album's standout tracks below.

Listen: "Entropy Reigns (In The Celestial City)" (live on "Fair Game")

Watch: music video for "Chrysanthemum" over on EARF

Visit Kelley Polar on MySpace.
In the recent past, the following bands have been featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week:
Plants and Animals
All the Saints
I'm From Barcelona
Tapes 'n Tapes
White Hinterland
Man Man
We Barbarians

See the entire list of bands featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week HERE.

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R.E.M. on Austin City Limits this Saturday - Watch Clips

While we were busy rubber necking backstage at Stubb's at the sight of Michael Stipe, Michael Stipe was busy making the most of R.E.M.'s stay in Austin. The band made their first ever appearance on Austin City Limits during SXSW and PBS is set to air the hour-long show this Saturday, May 24th (for Time Warner Cable subscribers here in New York, this means WLIW channel 21 at midnight). Here's the setlist from the show:

* Living Well's the Best Revenge
* Mansize Wreath
* Drive
* Accelerate
* Hollow Man
* Electrolite
* Houston
* Supernatural Superserious
* Bad Day
* Losing My Religion
* I'm Gonna DJ
* Horse to Water
* Until the Day is Done
* Man on the Moon

Nice. In the meantime, check out ACL's exclusive interview with the band HERE and watch them perform "Supernatural Superserious" either HERE or below:

AND, if that's not enough, we also have a nice QuickTime video of the band performing "Hollow Man" from this show.

Watch: "Hollow Man" (QT)

*above photo taken by Matt during R.E.M.'s SXSW Stubbs show - 12 March 2008

Visit R.E.M. on MySpace

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Listen to the new Silver Jews song from the forthcoming Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat"

The Chicago Tribune looks at groupies through the years

R. Kelly's defense team wants Jim DeRogatis to testify

Death By Audio Records launches

The two Davids battle to become the 7th American Idol

Built to Spill plots new album, fall tour

Led Zeppelin will allegedly play four shows at the Toronto Skydome this August

NERD to make their own Hard Day's Night movie?

Witness a Kraft salad dressing commercial use a Flaming Lips song to sell their wares

Crawdaddy: Why the album isn't dead just yet

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20 May 2008

I Want My MTV - Elbo.ws top videos (White Williams, The Cure, Ladytron, and more)

Below are five of my favorites of the videos that are currently charting in the Elbo.ws top videos...

"Violator" by White Williams (above)

"The Only One" by The Cure (above)

"Ghosts" by Ladytron (above)

"Space and The Woods" by Late of The Pier (above)

"Bill O'Reilly Flips Out" (dance remix) by Lucian Piane & Torrey Meeks

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Three for Free - Windsor for the Derby, French Kicks, El Madmo

EAR FARM's Three for Free: three EF approved, free and legal MP3s posted each week. This week - three songs from artists with new records out today. Click on the artist name to go to their site, click on the song name to listen to the song.

Windsor for the Derby - "Hold On"

French Kicks - "Abandon"

El Madmo - "Vampire Guy"

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Spam Filter: Ben Sollee

Arriving early for the Plants and Animals show at Mercury on a very wet Friday evening, I was fortunate to catch the majority of opener Ben Sollee's solo set. A "folk cellist" (my term, hence the quotation marks) from Louisville, KY who also performs with the Sparrow Quartet alongside Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn and Casey Driessen, Sollee's plaintive and heartfelt performance was the perfect antidote to having just been pummeled by near-tsunami conditions. Besides, he absolutely shreds on the cello (and I'm jello baby).

Well it turns out Sollee just released a digital only EP this past week in advance of his solo full-length album Learning To Bend (out June 10th). The EP - If You're Gonna Lead My Country - premiered at #2 on eMusic behind In Rainbows and is also now available on iTunes and Amazon. As the title suggests, the subject matter is pretty much overtly political, and Sollee's caustic indictment of the Bush administration is nicely tempered by his honeyed delivery and dulcet cello work. However, listening to the recorded version I would have to say that the simple, unadorned live version I witnessed sans accompaniment (and particularly sans the sax I hear on the single which tips the scales slightly towards a Dave Matthews vibe) was far more effective and ethereal. So that being said, if you have a chance to catch Sollee and his cello live - and if you're planning on heading to Bonnaroo this applies to you - definitely do it.

Listen: "A Change Is Gonna Come"

Visit Ben Sollee on MySpace

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