Thursday, January 31, 2008

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

So, here's another MVP from 2007 - incredibly original songwriting and orchestration that blurs the lines between indie and classical music. A violinist by trade, Bird dropped his folk band a few years ago and went solo, and his total lack of regard for pop conventions on this album is really refreshing: he whistles all the time, plays his violin like a guitar, sings about black holes, throws in some harmonica, a musicbox, etc. - yet every song is crafted and intensely melodic. The obvious comparisons are Nick Drake and Arcade Fire, but fuck that, this man is a genre of his own.


"Scythian Empires"

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Calexico - Feast of Wire

This is an oldie but a goodie that I recently rediscovered and though you may already be familiar, if you aren't, you should be. I bought this back when it came out and lost it shortly thereafter, but remembered how fantastic it is when this band, Calexico, appeared on the I'm Not There soundtrack. There's really nothing like these guys. They've done an album with Iron & Wine as well which was impressive - they're natural partners. Mexicali with some native american, jazz and blues influences. The lead vocals are so damned sweet too, they sound like honey. Anyway, definitely worth a listen and good standby.

PS These songs are completely out of order - sorry I'm lazy

Food For Animals

I ran across these guys in a local DC blog and checked them out. They've apparently got a pretty heavy following in Europe and Pitchfork is a fan. These DC-based hip-hop/electronic artists are definitely doing something different. They kind of sound like the sky is falling - or at least the roof. Vocalist is reminiscent of Gift of Gab, both in sound and quality. But it's got some serious abstract noise J-Dilla style production. Crazy crazy mix of sounds - seemingly clashing and impossible to rhyme over, but they pull it off.
They just released Belly - which I am going to work on procuring.

But check out their page: Belly and Geek Down are both pretty impressive.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Old Crow Medicine Show... and some peeps they wouldnt wanna meet in a dark ally

So apparently Lev posted these guys a while ago, but he obviously didn't sell them very well(Say Uncle were in trouble), cause I ignored that smelly hippie. It was a mistake, these guys rule.They sound like an Old-timie bluegrass band thats an eclectic mix of ages and races. They are completely fake, but they kind of embrace that all being white, fairly young, and from upstate new york. Tevski the albums are great, old timie blue grass with a current subject matter ranging from sex and drugs to kisses and hugs. Some songs are covers of classic folk songs some are adapted covers and some are originals. Think Oh brother where art thou, and what Whiskeytown wishes it was... (Ryan Adams you flakey hack)

(seeing the video is jarring close your eyes and imagine them singing fifty years ago with a black bass player... as I did)

Old Crow Medicine Show- Big Iron World

Old Crow Medicine Show- OCMS

The more I find out about it the less cool I think it is so Im gonna leave it at this. Banging Dr. Dre-style production by Black Milk (Detroit (and some guests...eyes rolling and a pfffffsh, including Jake One and Oh No who are both bubbling)) and pretty ill raps from Bishop Lamont (California (and a bunch of pretty solid guest appearances highlighted by Royce, Busta and Rass Kass)). This shit bangs lots of machismo pussy and gun talk. Punchlines galore. Think good Xzibit albums, chronic 2001, and anything else from when aftermath actually was HOT. Seriously lick a shot if your down with armageddie. Highy advised you check it out, best thing out of Hip Hop in a minute (other then the Freeway cd. Ill post that up too haha).

Black Milk presents Bishop Lamont and Black Milk are Caltroit

Friday, January 25, 2008

Jonny Greenwood Is The Controller

Long story short: Trojan Records asks Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood to dig their crates and put together a compilation of his favorite songs. The resulting album is probably the best reggae compilation I've ever heard - not too spacey or obscure as one might expect from Radiohead, just 17 allstar tracks. Spark it.

VA - Jonny Greenwood Is The Controller

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer

Here's a few NYC bands that should be blowing up the spot in 2008:

So, if you've read a music blog in the past 3 months you've probably seen these guys being hailed as the Next Big NYC indie band, which sucks, because they deserve way more credit than that derivative label implies. Describing themselves as an "Upper West Side Soweto Band", Vampire Weekend integrate the sounds of reggae, surf rock, Afro-rock and Beatles-esque chamber arrangements in such a deceptively simple way that, on the surface, you could mistake them for a pop band. Actually, its a pretty sophisticated combination, merging the mutual good vibes of African/Island music and ragged indie-ness, like if Graceland had been made by The Shins. I'm completely addicted.

"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"

"The Kids Don't Stand A Chance"

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

In the same vein of whitey indie world music, Yeasayer sounds kind of like TV On The Radio if they took way more drugs and developed a hard-on for Porno For Pyros. Which is to say, they sound pretty awesome. There's a strong Middle Eastern influence to their music, which gives their songs a hard, almost funky edge, and many of their songs reach a Zeppelin-level of rocking out, yet its all grounded by folksy vocal harmonies that sound like drones, weaving their way around and through the noise. Some mezmerizing shit here.


"Wait For The Wintertime"

Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals

Monday, January 14, 2008

Burial - Untrue

Two weeks ago I had never heard of Burial. Then the best-of-the-year lists came out, and this album was on virtually every one of them. Soon after, a friend sent me a link to this album with a simple note: "this is some intense shit"

Throwing this on for the first time reminds me of the first time I heard DJ Shadow or Massive Attack, in the way that Endtroducing and Mezzanine didn't fit any genre but created an atmosphere entirely their own. While sounding completely different, this is also the update of that sound - dark, lonely, complex and beautiful music that beats the shit out of you in the way only great music can.

Burial - Untrue

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fancy Footwork

Some of you may already be familiar with Chromeo from their first album, She's In Control. This is their latest effort, Fancy Footwork, and it is pretty fancy indeed. They're definitely going for the Daft Punk vibe, with a little more 80s and glam than their French couterparts. Have a listen. I also posted their first album and a single they did with DJ Mehdi (dope).

P.S. Everyone keep your eyes peeled for those Radiohead tour dates, they just announced a bunch of US shows to be upcoming in the Spring or Summer.

Fancy Footwork

She's In Control

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tittsworth and Codebreaker

DJ Tittsworth (yes actually his name) headlined a show last weekend here in DC at the 9:30 Club that was well worth the $10 entrance fee. Codebreaker, a DJ backed, electro-funk band that is part Parliament, part Prince, came on before Tittsworth.

Though I was three gin and tonics down by the time they reached the stage, upon never hearing this band before, I declared that they are definitely going to blow up this year. They had everyone dancing by the end of the set (I myself worked in a bevy of high kicks and fist pumps). Very smooth, very funky, very danceable, very fun - I would post some, but it seems iTunes is the only place I can find it and I'm cheap.

Then Tittsworth came out - he's somewhere between Girl Talk-style mashup Djs and your more standard Kanye-style production. Incredible set - but he really killed it when he threw in "I Can't Go for That."

Press clip says it best: "Tonight's edition is the heaviest one yet: It's headlined by Tittsworth, the accomplished turntablist whose blend of Baltimore Club, hip-hop, '80s mashups and remixes drops jaws as well as booties...his upcoming tour includes stops in Canada, Thailand and China before four days in Australia with Kanye West, Thievery Corporation, A-Trak and Pharoahe Monch." –Washington Post


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Quantic Soul Orchestra

There's been a lot of throwback funk bands coming out of the woodwork these days, and QSO is one of the best of them. Led by a Brit named Will Holland aka Quantic (whose solo stuff is also the shit), QSO succeed in recreating a 70s funk vibe without ever sounding James Brown's band led by Questlove, or something. A few nuggets:

Quantic Soul Orchestra - Pushin On