Monday, March 24, 2008

Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple

Gnarls Barkley's new album dropped two weeks ago, and I've been listening to it constantly...but I haven't blogged about it yet. Why not, you ask? Only because I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say about it. First off, Gnarls Barkley's music--a blend of rap, funk, radio-friendly pop and dance-friendly disco--is pretty hard to describe. But secondly, it's because listening to Gnarls Barkley makes me feel like a different person altogether--seriously, the effect of listening to this unusual music is...unusual.

Another thing I note is how often Cee-Lo (the rapping half of Gnarls Barkley, produced by duomate Danger Mouse) is singing or rapping with a positive vibe to his lyrics, which is a little weird in hip-hop these days. For instance the first track, "Charity Case," features these great lyrics: "Oh can't you see / if I help somebody / maybe there's mercy for me." When was the last time somebody not named Leonard Cohen or Marvin Gaye sang about mercy? And the song features a beat that's been stuck in my head for three straight days, too.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Duke Spirit...

Is the band I want to introduce to everyone these days. Wikipedia tells us they are "an English rock band, whose sound has an allegiance with the early noise rock and grunge bands of the late '80s and early '90s such as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and the Pixies," but we all know that Wikipedia is a bastion of skullduggery and malicious lies, so I'll bet the Duke Spirit is really a band of plumbers from Cleveland who started out by clinking their wrenches against some pipes, discovered they were good at it, and added in guitars and drums only much later. Sounds obvious, really.

Here's a video for their song "Love is an Unfamiliar Name," off Neptune:

Here's "Lassoo":

You can also hear "The Step and the Walk" over at the right ~~~>


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Andrew Bird, "Plasticities"

Sunday morning: drinking coffee, watching basketball, and wasting time by buying music on the Internet--all while I'm supposed to be writing. Is this how Milan Kundera does it, I wonder? Did James Joyce smoke 20 cigarettes and flip through adult magazines before actually getting down to work? I bet he did, the old perv.

In other news, here's Andrew Bird doing "Plasticities," from his 2007 album Armchair Apocrypha, live on Dave Letterman. Jacqueline (and others) will beat me for saying this, but I'm not sure how crazy I am about this song. It is 75% beautiful, but the other 25% (the chorus) sounds kind of like garbage to me. Then again I've only listened to it twice, so my judgment may be slightly premature.

Update: Okay, one day later, and now I like it 94.333 (repeating) percent, so I guess it's officially "good." What other tracks by this guy am I going to love, people?


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lust for Life

So, I have been spending this sunday morning in my room, listening to beautiful music on Minneapolis' The Current, which is streamable at It's a great station that plays great music (I don't know what else to say about it); my brother introduced me to it when I was there over Christmas. This mix is about half stuff I listened to there, and half that I found on my own recently. Anyways, you can listen to all of these tracks at the right:

1. "Before I Knew," Basia Bulat: Another "Chanteuse Canadienne," apparently, hailing from Toronto. She's got three tracks on this mix; I love her already.
2. "Foundations," Kate Nash: This is so when I give it to Rowan she'll have something to love. I love it, too, and it's got the energy I wanted for this mix (it's spring, so we need our energy!)
3. "The Passenger," Iggy Pop: What a fucking good song! More energy, more loving life, more wanting to be in the city, more drug-enduced euphoria!
4. "Breathless," Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Cat Power covers this song on her latest album, but--no offense to my darling Chan--she doesn't do the track justice. This song will change our lives if we let it, folks. Here's the cute-ass video, but the sound isn't super and, seriously, get this in your stereo and turn it up...I'm pretty sure this song is going to end up as a standard at the level of Leonard Cohen's "Halleluljah":

5. "Serious," Richard Hawley: A Brit who kind of sounds like Buddy Holly to me. Good song, more energy..."Never Be Afraid!"
6. "So It Goes," Nick Lowe: Now this is fun--the Current hooked me up with another great track from the guy who gave us "Cruel to be Kind." This song is from an album called Jesus of Cool and, God, Lowe might just have had it pulled off in 1977. This is known as "Pub Rock," apparently.
7. "The Step and the Walk," The Duke Spirit: We'll all be buying albums by these guys soon. I predict Shayna and Dan will be first. Kind of like White Stripes if Meg was really the singer???
8. "Hold On," KT Tunstall: Who says they don't play good songs on the radio?
9. "In the Night," Basia Bulat: She's a lot like Natalie Merchant...
10. "For Emma," Bon Iver: This song is pretty amazing and is probably my second-favorite on this mix at this early moment. I would have posted a video of it but, surprisingly, there are none. Just go spend the 99 cents, folks.
11. "Starfish and Coffee," Prince: I've had Prince on the brain lately, thinking I needed to buy more of his stuff. But when I went shopping on iTunes, I couldn't find anything I absolutely needed...until I remembered this track from Sign O' the Times. This reminds me of being ten.
12. "Little Waltz," Basia Bulat: For some reason I'm always impressed by and enamoured of modern pop waltzes.
13. "Here's Where the Story Ends," The Sundays: Thanks Marnie...I think this is actually an autumn song, but sometimes spring can feel pretty autumn-y.
14. "How It Ends," DeVotchKa: Seven minutes of heaven (oh snap, I know something else that's often seven-minutes long and heavenly! Oh, wait...come on, that's like way longer than average...)
15. "Breathless," Cat Power: Cat Power's version. Which do you like better?


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Some Stuff to Listen to...

Quick fix of what I've been listening to:

DeVotchKa, "Till the End of Time"--DeVotchKa, people. A popular band that somehow never presented itself to me until just now. Now everyone is telling me to listen to them.

Here's a live version of their song "How It Ends"--I like the studio version the best out of all I've heard of it. I just bought it on

Arcade Fire, "Intervention"

Paul Simon, "Mother and Child Reunion"--Set to Gilmore Girls??? What??? I woke up this morning wanting to hear this song, for some reason.

Metric, "Between the Bars"--This is a cover of probably my favorite Elliot Smith song ever by Canadian dance/pop outfit Metric. The lead singer of Metric is actually/also Emily Haines (who I've previously blogged), so I really love this version.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

My Weekend Was Better Than Your Weekend

Not really. But I did get to play bingo, and I won two tickets to an upcoming beer tasting at the Pub (well, I won one and Amanda won the other and gave it to me), so that's pretty sweet. And I did Yoga, and I watched The Darjeeling Limited (not bad), and this morning I came home to discover that for some reason the heat had gone out at our house and it's like 45 degrees in here. But I've got my decaf americano and a muffin and basketball on TV, so it's all good.

I wanted to make a mix this weekend, but I never got around to it. So here again are some songs I listened to, during this Weekend of the Glory of Our Lord of Awesomeness:

"Strangers," The Kinks--It's on the Darjeeling soundtrack, and it's really an amazing song. This fan-made video lays out the lyrics for you, which are as truthful and inspirational as anything ever written. The Kinks--more than just "Lola."

"When Doves Cry," Prince--I think the sound quality is pretty bad here, but the video is good even without the sound...this is totally how I remember 1984. This song has gotten me through a few rough days at work lately, too, since it is upbeat and catchy but not so much that it makes me hate my desk. Sometimes I wish I could fade into a reflection of myself, too.

"Fraud in the 80s," Mates of State--This song gave me some energy as I was dragging last night. Pretty interesting video, too. We could all surely try to be more alive!!!

"Sundown," Gordon Lightfoot--Light that thing up and let's do this, bitches.

Bonus: If you haven't already been clobbered over the head by these clips from Jimmy Kimmel Live, you should check these out.

Sarah Silverman is...

Jimmy Kimmel is...