Citrus-y Goodness

A couple years ago, I had purchased the first Asobi Seksu album on the strength of some of the descriptions; shoegazer, swirling guitars, ethereal female vocals, lyrics sung sometimes in Japanese. You get the idea, and I'm a sucker for that stuff. Well, the album had it's moments and it showed promise, but, to me, a lot of it sounded either unfinished or underdeveloped.

Last spring, I saw an ad for a new AS album ("Citrus") but I didn't think much of it. About a week before it's release (at the end of May), I happened to click on a myspace link where I could preview a couple of their new songs, "New Years" and "Thursday". Stunning. I eventually picked up a copy of the album and I feel that I can say it's consistently great from start to finish. The production is better, the songs are better, the whole thing is a huge step forward, and I can't stop listening to this album. Seriously, if you're into the whole swirly guitar dream pop thing, click the links and listen, then do yourself a favor and get it. Also, they have the coolest gig posters (scroll to the bottom).
Red Sea


Frida Kahlo

I'm not schooled in art and I don't really know much about Frida Kahlo except the little excerpts and bios I've run across from time to time. She certainly sounds like an interesting character. Please add a comment if you studied her art or anything like that, I'd be interested in hearing about it. I also keep meaning to check out the movie that has Salma Hayek playing Frida, I've had a few people recommend it to me.

The reason I'm typing this out is because I've been on a Rachel's listening spree lately and the track, "Frida Kahlo" (from the "Handwriting" album) is one of my favorites. It's pretty and sweet, with a little dose of melancholy. I think Rachel's mostly get lumped into the post-rock category, but they're kinda like classical music with modern touches. I really hate all these labels, so let's just say their music is very good and worth seeking out.

Listen: Rachel's > Frida Kahlo


Tip Taps Tip

Another insanely catchy song by Halcali. It's been stuck in my head all week long, sugary sweet bubblegum. This track dropped at the end of last year. I'm late to the party, as usual, but I'm catching up.

Listen: Tip Taps Tip (or watch the video)


Best use of a squeaky toy in a song

And the winner is: Four Tet > Slow Jam

Bonus points to anyone who can figure out what the girl is saying at the beginning of the song. I sure can't.
You can also check this out on the "Rounds" album, which I like quite a bit. The Four Tet website is here.

It's been a long week around here, I've been playing host to two Scots and a Spaniard. I've been hanging out and drinking excessively at night and propping myself up at my desk during the day. They took off this morning, so it's sorta back to normal. I think there are one or two guest posts coming, perhaps in the coming weeks. I'll have to bug some peeps.


You bring out the best in me, so there.

I've seen Malcolm Middleton before. It was a couple years ago at the Great American Music Hall in downtown San Francisco. His set was first, then The Magnolia Electric Co, then Arab Strap closed the joint down. I remember arriving right as MM was starting up. We headed straight for the bar to get a couple drinks and settle in. My friends (Chris, an old housemate, and his brother Michael) were really big fans of Arab Strap, and that was who they wanted to see. We talked, drank, and smoked. I don't smoke, but I went outside with them to hang out. We missed part of MM's set due to our vices, but we watched all of Magnolia and Arab Strap, both of whom were very good.

Later, we discovered that Middleton was basically the other half of Arab Strap. The thing I don't understand is how Chris and Michael, being fans and all, didn't know this. I mean, if I were going to see one of my favorite bands and one of the members was doing their own set beforehand, I'd most likely want to check it out. I have an excuse; I'm not a huge fan and I didn't know. This is probably to my detriment.

Fast forward to yesterday, I'm chatting with Ms. Berry. Usually, I'm the one sending her music that she doesn't like but she's too polite to tell me how awful it is. I mean, just read my previous posts on this page and you'll see how inconsistent my tastes are. Except for The Field Mice, that's Jen's post and it's probably the best post on this blog (I really hate that word. Hate.) Okay, back to the story. So we're chatting and she sends me this song (among others), "Best In Me" by Malcolm Middleton, and it's like I'm transported to another world. I stop everything I'm doing, I just sit there and absorb it and it's so heartachingly gorgeous. The lyrics, his voice, the music, the female backup singer's voice, the strings...everything. Give it a listen and tell me I'm wrong.

Malcolm Middleton > Best In Me


The Field Mice – I truly do love everything about you

**by String Bean Jen (whom you can find over at bowlie.com)

Have you ever wished that your life was really tragic or so romantic (or both, as one inevitably leads to the other) that it inspired mass numbers of beautiful pop songs? To me, the aching, wistful songs of the Field Mice embody this longing to not only be someone’s muse, but to return the favor, and create little mementos of times so lovingly spent.

I feel like I came to the Field Mice late, about three years ago when I received a burned copy of the two-disc retrospective, ”Where’d you Learn to Kiss that Way?” I knew I’d probably like it because they are a much-revered band in indie pop circles, and I was starting to go backwards in learning about, and consuming indie pop.

I once read a quote that said the Field Mice were the link between The Smiths and New Order. As ridiculous an example of simple-minded music journo categorizing as that sentence is, it’s not too far off, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge fan of both bands. Robert Wratten writes lyrics that can affect the sensitive, yearning soul just as much as Morrissey’s have affected hordes of bedsit romantics. In fact, they are more affecting because they are much more transparent and so very personal. I don’t know the full history of their relationship, but Robert wrote many of the Field Mice’s songs for his girlfriend Annemarie, who was also in the band, though they did break up while the band were still together. Though many of the band’s most heartbreaking songs may be for Annemarie, it is easy to insert yourself into the songs. Falling in love is so perfected in “Everything About You,” where even hearing the other person’s name on someone else gives you shivers. When I was in a long distance relationship, “September’s Not So Far Away” was a glimmer of hope for me, a heavy sigh, but still a light at the end of the tunnel. On that note, “Coach Station Reunion” is such a rush, with call and response boy-girl vocals that elatedly sing about the kisses they’ll receive tomorrow. It’s not just about your lover/girl/partner/boy, though, who doesn’t get butterflies in their stomach when meeting a friend or family member at the airport or bus terminal after time spent apart?

On that New Order comparison, the Field Mice started with Robert and his friend Michael and a drum machine. That drum machine was persistent throughout the beginning of their time, and slightly faded away as years passed. The juxtaposition between Bobby’s (can I call him Bobby?) soft, fey voice and the myriad of 80s-style beats that they used is, in my opinion, very, very cool and set them apart from any of their contemporaries. They also bathed some songs in vast swathes of synths which often set a bittersweet, melancholy mood. Some of my favorite songs where this worked really well are “Let’s Kiss and Makeup,” “This Love is Not Wrong,” and “Missing the Moon.”

The mighty LTM re-released all three Field Mice albums with attached singles last year. As far as I’m concerned – nevermind snobby music critics - they are all must haves, and are collections that you will return to over and over again.

Everything About You
Emma’s House
Fabulous Friend


Attack of the 70s

This song totally reminds me of when I was a kid. Yeah, I'm old school. That electric piano at the beginning reminds me of a little music box. I used to get such a rush when it would come on the radio, I liked singing along to it. It would conjure up these visions people dancing around a bonfire on a beach in the middle of the night. I grabbed the track from Rhino's box set called "Have A Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box", which has seven discs worth of 70s pop goodness and one-hit wonders. I could probably get a lot of posting mileage out of this box, but I won't subject anyone to that. I myself can't even listen to much of it in one sitting. A little bit once in a while is okay. Anyways...Listen: King Harvest > Dancing In The Moonlight

***I'm hoping to get a guest article (or at least a couple of paragraphs) from a friend. It'd be nice to get a different perspective and take a little break from my own infatuations and obsessions, although
I enjoy doing this and I pretty much do it whenever I feel like it.


I love this Sigur Ros track. It starts off sorta randomly and just turns into this absolute loveliness. It makes me think of how the beginning of a gorgeous summer day would sound. It's on the "Saeglopur" EP (I don't have the keyboard to get the characters correct, that's the best approximation), which is apparently a Japanese release, but I picked it up in London. I've read that there will be a US release of this next week (July 11th). It's really worth getting, if you're so inclined.

Listen: Kafari


Tokyo, I'm On My Way

Last PUFFY post for a while, I promise! At least until the new album comes out. Here's the vid for "Tokyo, I'm On My Way".



Call me obsessed, here's another vid from the new PUFFY album. I like the mole dance moves. Soooo cute.