Saturday, January 31, 2009

I have the Lou Reed, the Lou Reed for Speed...

Apart from what is absolutely my most pun-fueled, disgustingly over the top post headline ever, if you don't recognize the Andy Warhol painting above, consider yourself fortunate to have stumbled upon a legitimate classic rock gem. [Yes, this was the actual album cover for the Velvet Underground's debut LP.]

It's somewhat of a little known analogy that, (and please excuse the SAT format style,) in the late 1960s:

The Velvet Underground : New York ::: The Grateful Dead : San Francisco

What became known as the San Francisco sound, comprising bands as diverse as the aforementioned Dead, Quiksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane (later the Starship, or should I say, Starshit,) etc... definitely holds a big spot in my heart. Nevertheless, New York in the late 1960s was a much darker place musically. The NY psychedelic rock was much more "Helter Skelter" than it was "Maxwell Silver Hammer." Lou Reed wrote songs about deviant behavior; "love" is not a prominent lyrical theme; "heroin," however, is.

This album is supplanted by model/Andy Warhol wunderkind Nico. Here's a photo of her with the band in 1967. Lou Reed in the lower right:

She had an interesting look but I don't think she was on the album for her quote unquote singing talent though I would argue that she sounds great. She's listed in the liner notes as "chanteuse." Andy Warhol was the Velvet Underground's manager and the official producer of this album and hence responsible for Nico's inclusion. It failed commercially so Lou Reed fired him shortly after its release. I've never seen an original vinyl pressing of this album, but apparently the reason it says "Peel slowly and see" on the album cover is because the yellow bananas were printed as peelable stickers, under which was a supposed "nude" banana. Pretty cool stuff.

This album is a perfect Sunday morning wake-up record. Keep up the good funk; that shit makes me dance, embarassing though that may be...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Da Funk - Budos Band, El Michels Affair, & Menahan Street Band

Here's a bunch of funk albums I've been meaning to post - Brynna kind of beat me to it - you should listen to them all, and then buy them or see a show, because these bands are all poor dudes living in Brooklyn who deserve your money.

First up is Budos Band - very James Browny, rhythmic, and African-influenced. Their take on "My Girl" by the Temptations pretty much sums it up:

Budos Band - II

El Michel Affair have more of a laidback R&B/Soul slant, like 60's film music. Their collaboration with Wu-Tang was SICK (youtube it), so they've got some street cred too. Here's "Too Late To Turn Back":

El Michels Affair - Sounding Out The City

Finally, the biggest funk band that nobody's heard of. Menahan Street Band brought you those sweet horn lines from "Roc Boys", but actually the rest of this album is pretty lowkey, pleasant even. There's also something about how these songs sound - dubby, like it was mixed by a reggae producer - that gives it this awesome worn-in vibe. I really, really can't wait to see these guys live. Here's "Home Again":

Menahan Street Band - Make The Road By Walking

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lest you think I've forgotten you

I think I'd be fairly safe in assuming that virtually everyone who reads this blog regularly has not only heard of, but in fact listens to the Talking Heads with some frequency. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the band's recorded output is often reduced by those in our generation (myself included to some extent) to their outstanding greatest hits record, aptly titled the Best of Once in a Lifetime.

Remain in Light is arguably the band's most memorable LP, though some might make a strong case for Fear of Music (I might agree, but it'd really depend on the time of day, season, mood, etc...) This album has Once in a Lifetime on it, but it's a little known trivia fact that the song actually flopped upon initial release as a single. It only passed into the mainstream as the years progressed, particularly, as I just learned, from its inclusion in the film Down and Out in Beverly Hills. [I do not recommend you rent this film.] The music video, which eventually caught on in this newfangled MTV-amajig, didn't hurt either...

Remain in Light was also the first album where the Talking Heads really cut loose from an Afro-rhythmic standpoint. I guess they sort of did that on Fear of Music, but this album is almost exclusively and entirely supported with intricate and cross-sweeping percussion. On an earthy note, it was also covered in its entirety by Phish on Halloween, 1996. The whole album really sounds great in its order and context, but my personal favorite is probably "Crosseyed and Painless."

This album
is almost 30 years old.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Remix Artist Collective - RAC Vol. 1

RAC (Remix Artist Collective) is basically just a 23-year old dude named Andre from Portugal who apparently owns a lot of keyboards. He did a few Bloc Party remixes in 2007 that caught fire and has had pretty steady remix work ever since, from bands like Chromeo, CSS, and The Shins. Stereogum has put together a compilation of some of his best work which you can listen to below and download here. All the songs have a similar M83/Ratatat/Klaxons vibe to them, making them perfect for your next indietastic party.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Animal Collective

Describing Animal Collective's sound is tough, but probably the closest I can get is this: remember when you used to roll down a hill as a kid, and instantly bounce back up dizzy as hell, the world swirling and bouncing around? AC is that feeling - that bizarre, disorienting, fleeting euphoria - made into music. Crowned by pretty much everybody as the new kings of psychedelia, they've released 3 albums and a few solo ones, each a little more unhinged and astounding than the last. And each time they've come out, I've listened, admired, and promptly forgotten about them - satisfied that some people are exploring the farthest reaches of the musicverse, I returned to my Lil Wayne and Vampire Weekend.

That pattern somewhat changes with "Merriweather Post Pavilion", their latest, most accessible LP. MPP is already being called Animal Collective's "sellout" album (as much as a drone-ambient/spacerock/afro-electro freakshow of a band can sellout), but to me it's just conventional enough to be listenable beyond its sonic novelty. There's a distinct "Beach Boys drop acid" feel to the whole thing, with the vocal harmonies smoothing over the often chaotic backdrop of pulsating percussion and feral synths. What's incredible is how organic everything sounds - there's no guitars, and few acoustic instruments of any kind - yet you'd never call this's a vibe completely it's own. Which is why, when listening to MPP, it's hard not to think that this is the future of pop music, with its seamless meld of old and new, African and European, natural and artificial, reassurance and dissonance.

Marinate on it:

Animal Collective - MPP

If you're digging this, I would also highly suggest you go back and check out Brynna's post on Gang Gang Dance, a similar band that also sounds a lot like the future of music

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Paper Route

I saw Paper Route open for Innerpartysystem the other day at Merc Lounge. They were one of those opening acts where your like, "Damn this doesn't suck. Who are these guys again?" They remind me of high school, in a good way. Reminicent of old Death Cab, Band Of Horses, and a bit of Explosions in the Sky (but more poppy and with Lyrics and with songs under half hour). Its Post-rock with a taste of new wave synth. Check em out. Im particularly partial to You Kill Me.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Early Live Radiohead

I know there are a shit ton of Radiohead fans on here. This is a bootleg I bought at an independent music store called the Music Arcade on Long Island back in the late 1990s. Remember when bootlegs used to cost $25-$30 and were like finding a needle in the haystack? This was one such case. The artwork's pretty awesome but I didn't really see a need to scan it in. Aside from this one, I have some other cool boots in my CD archives, so let me know if you enjoy this one...

The first 8 tracks are from a live show in Glastonbury in 1997. The last 8 tracks are from Roma in 1995. There are a few repeats, but considering that Radiohead hasn't performed "Creep" live, to the best of my knowledge, in almost a decade, you'll have to just make do with two versions of it.

Hopefully this makes someone's day...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Tallest Man on Earth

Can't lie I found this while scowering the best of lists of '08 (can't lie a fairly shit year for music minus a few great gems, heres to 09!). I wish I caught it earlier, a nice humble folk album with catchy tunes and nice everyday man lyrics. What Ryan Adams and Connor Oberst wish they were and try so very very hard to be, but dont let that turn you off, the shits official. Truely in the vein of the great Bob Dylan and Nick Drake. I know everyone says that about everyone but this record just has a certain authenticity, trust me... it just feels... right. Its gonna be so nice in the park on a sunny day and there is no doubt I'll still be giving it spins for months to come.

The Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Graves

The Tallest Man on Earth: Where Do My Bluebird Fly from on Vimeo.

Just who is this Daddy Fat Saxxx?

If you cant figure it out your dumb or you don't know me and it doesn't matter. But I'm an O.G. have no fear. For my first post I would like to hook you guys up with my new dream girl Lykke Li. Not my usual Hip-Hop or introspective male sung indie fair. She is a pop (phrase used loosely) singer from Sweden with a beautiful voice, oddly wise though frequently sophomoric lyrics, and really awesome melodies for days. She wears her heart on her sleave but in a I'm so sexy and self aware it's hot kind of way. She stole my heart and my i-pod over the past few days. I invite you all to partake, but don't forget I got dibs.

Lykke Li - Youth Novel

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lone - Lemurian

Judging by the cover, probably the last thing you would expect this album to be is a bunch of blunted rap beats, but that's exactly what it is. Building on the success of dudes like Flying Lotus - who finally made hip-hop instrumentals obtuse enough that hipsters could feel comfortable bragging about liking them - Lone drops a debut full of shiny, kaleidoscopic, 80's-inspired jams that sound exactly like Madlib remixing Boards of Canada. Every track is so weirdly evocative - track names like "Sea Spray" and "Lens Flare Lagoon" capture the vibe perfectly - that you feel like you're part of some infinitely looping Baywatch episode. True, as a standalone album it does get a bit repetitive, but perfect when I'm jamming at work and need a bit of sunshine in my life. Merry 2009 everybody...

Lone - Lemurian

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Goodbye, 2008; Hello, 2009!

Earlier today, I was with a friend at a cafe in the village when a song came on while we were enjoying our breakfast. Truthfully, I wasn't sure what it was, but they had played a nice combination of Motown oldies and modern indy's that I was eagerly anticipating each forthcoming track. When the song came on, I (embarrassingly) admitted to my female (albeit hippy) friend that I didn't know who it was. She laughed. And continued to laugh some more. Her words: "You listen to Radiohead, you listen to the Killers. How do you not know who the Muse is?"

For those that don't know me, I don't take criticism well. There was only one way to solve this problem: get familiar. I immediately went and picked up the 4 studio Muse albums and fell in love with their most recent album, Black Holes and Revelations. This 2006 album not only fell under my radar, but under the radar of our beloved lead-blogger (part of me breathed a sigh of relief). All you need to know is what Village Voice columnist Garret Kamps said of this record: "[it] sounds like someone put a gun to Radiohead's, er, head and forced Thom and co. to rock—no dystopian arty shit, just rock—for 72 hours straight."


To make things a bit more exciting, the lead track 'Take a Bow' was used in the most recent trailer for the upcoming Warner Brothers live action film The Watchmen. Check it here

Ladies and gentlemen, the album I will be playing every day for the next month....