Happy New Year, peeps!

2008 is looking up, musically...at least. Hopefully some US dates will follow. Like Coachella, which is only a few hundred miles away from me, as opposed to a several thousand. Anyways, my fingers are crossed. More music here, for the uninitiated. Click the pic to check the official site. Also, check out To Here Knows Web.

My Bloody Valentine > Map Ref 41N 93W


Sometimes, love comes as a surprise

Well, after being unsure of whether I would post again in 2007, I have returned. I have all this time off, don't have to go back to work until the 2nd, and I've been contemplating a road trip, even if only for a couple days. You know, just to go somewhere, anywhere...get outta town. However, I am still here for the time being, and I've wanted to post this video. It consists of clips from Wong Kar Wai's 2046, set to Lali Puna's cover of Together In Electric Dreams, which was originally done by the Human League, I believe.

I think the song really fits with the movie. A line from the song seems to sum up everything the movie is about; we'll always be together/however far it seems/we'll always be together/together in electric dreams. I must admit that I am not familiar with the original HL version of the song (I should probably remedy that), but I really love the LP version. It's not cluttered up, her voice is barely above a whisper, the little electronic flourishes; it's a four-and-a-half minute slice of perfect.


Haven't had a kiss since Christmas

Hello, music lovers. Clickety click and celebrate Christmas in mopey style, with the gorgeous El Perro Del Mar! And in case you were wondering, El Perro Del Mar has a new album coming in 2008, and I quote...
El Perro del Mar's second full-length album titled 'From the Valley to the Stars' will be released on February 27th. The album will be preceded by the single 'How did we forget?' which will be released on 7" as well as a digital download on February 13th. More trivia on the album and things related can be found in the journal.
As usual, check out more tunes on her myspXXX page, or just buy the goddamn album, because it's that good. Also of interest is her blog (man, I hate that word, it sounds like a euphemism for vomiting or something; "Duuuuude, I just blogged!" Gross.), which you can find here. I may or may not post for the rest of 07 (not that anybody will miss it), but I hope anyone reading has cool cool holidays.

El Perro Del Mar > Oh What A Christmas



Wow! Who is KT Tunstall? I ran into this random pic today while doing some, uhh, research at work. I just read that she's Scottish, Irish and Chinese. Cuteness! I mean, I've heard her name before, but never listened to her music. Sadly, I'm checking her myspXXX page now and these songs seem kinda bland. I don't have anything of hers to share, maybe someone has some better examples (or recommendations) of her tunes.


Ho hum, another fucking list

I don't feel like I've listened to a lot of new stuff this year. I've mostly been rediscovering old albums and finding some old gems that have passed me by. As a result, this list pretty much contains established artists, peeps whose albums I'd buy almost without question, just because of the name on the sleeve. Even so, that doesn't always work out, but this is my list for better or for worse. For example, I sincerely doubt you'll find the Puffy album on any year end lists (outside of the hardcore Puffy fans, of course). So yeah, check it out.

11. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings > 100 Days, 100 Nights
I was late to the Sharon Jones party, but hey, at least I showed up. If you want an old school sound, this shit is great.

10. Arcade Fire > Neon Bible
A grower for me. I didn't like it much until I saw them live this past summer. They're only gonna get bigger, which may or may not be a good thing.

9. Explosions In The Sky > All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone
This album is kinda more of the same from these guys, but that doesn't mean it's not good. There are some really great moments on this album.

8. Ted Leo / Pharmacists > Living With The Living
Ted Leo is the man. Always thoughtful, always thinking, never preachy. It took a bit for me to get into it, but it's totally worth it once it gets under your skin.

7. The White Stripes > Icky Thump
Pure fun and rock n' roll. Rag & Bone cracks me up every time. I wish they had not canceled their tour this past summer, I was quite looking forward to seeing them.

6. Bjork > Volta
Bjork is always cool. For me, Dull Flame of Desire, the duet with Antony (from Antony and The Johnsons), is the centerpiece of this album and alone is possibly worth the price of admission.

5. Bat For Lashes > Fur and Gold
Very cool stuff. Ethereal and dreamy. Lazy comparison would be a cross between Kate Bush and Bjork, which is never a bad thing (the cross, not the lazy comparison).

4. Puffy > Honeycreeper
Pop princesses return with a pretty immediate and satisfying album. My favorite is Youkai Puffy, with its campfire ghost story (told in Japanese) at the beginning.

3. PJ Harvey > White Chalk
This album is great, so eloquent and understated. And then she throws in a touch of macabre. The song, White Chalk, is very haunting.

2. Radiohead > In Rainbows
I love this. It feels so warm and relaxed, like they didn't try to outdo themselves.

1. Grinderman > Grinderman
Awesome. I love the noise and fuzz, which only makes the slower stuff feel much stronger, because you know they can dial it up and absolutely destroy.


I'll break them down, no mercy shown

It's probably old news to everyone else, but it's new to me. It's a vid of Radiohead covering New Order's Ceremony. Pretty fucking cool.

Once upon a time in the west...

Check this fan video for the Arcade Fire's My Body Is A Cage, it's pretty great. The following is from the guy who created it, check out his website here. Nice work, dude.

(Unofficial) - WARNING: This will potentially spoil the end of the movie if you haven't seen it - Upon listening to the new Arcade Fire album, the last song in particular evoked an intense spaghetti western scenario in my mind. I created a music video for the song with edited clips from Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West"... my favorite western.


Passing the torch

Check it out, I bought Puffy CDs, Nice and HiHi Puffy AmiYumi, as Christmas gifts for my nephews (10 and 8 years old). I hope they get completely addicted. My sister is gonna kill me. Woo hoo!

Puffy > Urei

She's better built, that's how

One of my favorite Frank Black songs, Speedy Marie from Teenager of the Year. Man, this is a song and a half! Super catchy, super bouncy, and the word "juxtaposed" even appears in the lyrics. It's a great song to have on while you're driving. I used to think the song was about a car, but I was never really sure. The song came on over the weekend and I poked around a bit (it wasn't that hard to do a search) and discovered it's actually about his (now ex-) wife, who was something of an actress. The first letters of the last 14 lines of the song spell out the name, Jean Marie Walsh. Pretty neat, huh? I love the last couple lines, she is that most lovely art/happy are my mind and my soul and my heart; sounds like pure bliss. Check out the rest of the lyrics and the song.

Had a bit part
An endless reel
It always played in slo-mo
But now it's fast
A spinning wheel
I know the dynamo
My heart
Is cast

Speedy Marie
Ahead of the now
She's better built that's how
She's built for speed
Speedy Marie
Speedy Marie

Oh, yes indeed
I said to me
And so I sing this romaunt
It's not enough
My liberty
There is a thing I want
I need
I love

Speedy Marie
Ahead of the now
She's better built that's how
She's built for speed
Speedy Marie
Speedy Marie

Juxtaposed in each moment's sight
Everything that I ever saw
And my one delight
Nothing can strike me in such awe
Mouth intricate shapes the voice that speaks
Always it will soothe
Rarer none are the precious cheeks
Is the size of each sculpted tooth
Each lip and each eye

Wise is the tongue, wet of perfect thought
And softest neck where always do I
Lay my clumsy thoughts
She is that most lovely art
Happy are my mind and my soul and my heart

Frank Black > Speedy Marie


Gigs, gigs, gigs

Hello, my peeps. Seeing as how I don't have anything else lined up for the rest of this year, I thought I'd post my favorite gigs of the year. I was racking my brain trying to make sure I haven't forgotten anything, and even though I'm fairly confident that I haven't...I probably have. For better or for worse, here it is. Feel free to disagree and bitch me out, or praise my insight and impeccable taste. Also, check out the sites and listen to the sounds.

11. Aimee Mann @ Bimbo's 365 Club
There's a certain familiarity that comes with an Aimee Mann gig. Part of that is because I've seen her so many times since she started releasing records under her own name. Another part is her charm. She doesn't come off as a pretentious bore, and she makes fun of herself quite a bit. Her self-deprecation is sort of endearing, and not at all in a woe-is-me-I-am-so-emo-and-need-attention kinda way. I've heard a lot of people say that Aimee's music is sorta samey, but I think the strength of her songs lie in the lyrics. Most of them are about some kinda fucked up relationship, and then she'll laugh about it after singing it to you. She's very cool and I have never, ever been disappointed by a gig of hers.

10. Rage Against The Machine @ Coachella
I have to admit, I was more curious than anything else about seeing Rage Against The Machine. I used to love them way back when and I drifted away. Then they broke up. I was wondering how they would sound after 6-7 years of Audioslave or whatever. Sorry, I am not really impressed with Audioslave...but this is about RATM, and they brought the fucking noise with them from start to finish. I was really pleased to have seen their set. Looks like they're still doing the festival circuit, so I'd advise you to check them out if you used to like them.

9. Bjork @ Coachella
Bjork. Man, I'll never forget that performance of Declare Independence, with that trippy table instrument thingy. Freaking awesome. Remember what I said about big outdoor festivals? Well, Bjork transcends all that.

8. Morrissey @ The Fillmore
What can you say? Morrissey is the man. I had seen him once before, about 16 years ago-ish...right before Your Arsenal was released. That gig was at a much larger venue (The godawful Shoreline theater in Mountain View). He may be the elder statesman now and misconstrued as a racist, and maybe his albums are declining in quality, but his performance was pretty goddamn good.

7. The Arcade Fire @ The Greek Theater
I wasn't gonna go to this, but I ran into a co-worker's extra ticket, so I figured I may as well. I had seen them a few years ago at Coachella, but wasn't terribly impressed. Many bands get lost in the big outdoor festival translation. This was much, much better. The Greek Theater, in Berkeley, is sort of a bigger venue compared to The Fillmore or Bimbo's, but it's still cozy enough where the crowd can feel the band's energy. I'm not a huge AF fan, but they brought a lot of energy to this gig. Just as a side note, Electrelane opened up which was a good thing, as they've since decided to call it quits or go on hiatus or something.

6. Puffy AmiYumi @ Slim's
If you've talked to me during the past few years, you undoubtedly know of my undying love for Puffy. They did a small west coast tour this year and I got to see them and they fucking rocked. I love these girls, they can do no wrong by me.

5. The Jesus & Mary Chain @ The Fillmore
This was actually my second time seeing the JAMC this year, the first being at Coachella. The Coachella set was great, but way too short...plus there was that weird distraction with Scarlett Johansson showing up to sing background vox on Just Like Honey. I mean, why? The Fillmore set was longer and felt more complete.

4. The Pipettes @ The Rickshaw
These girls are cute, sassy, and pure fun. Do not hesitate to go see them!

3. Eluvium @ Slim's
One of my new favorites. Eluvium is just one guy and he was supporting Explosions In The Sky. I love the distorted instrumental tracks. It reminds me in a way (but doesn't sound like) Brian Eno. It's very cool music that sorta transports you to another world or universe when you listen.

2. Grinderman @ The Great American Music Hall
This is rock n' roll. Dirty. Sweaty. Raw. Sexy. Grinderman threw it down and tore it up. Added bonus was Blixa showing up to sing on The Weeping Song during the encore. Fucking awesome.

1. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings @ Bimbo's 365 Club
This gets the barest of nods over the Grinderman gig, simply because this dropped on my birthday. These guys are the real deal, and I don't think there was one person not bouncing along to the music. Superb, superb show. Go and see them if and when you can.



100 Days, 100 Nights

Oh, fuck yeah! I just scored a ticket for tomorrow night's sold-out performance of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (at the kick-ass Bimbo's 365 Club in north beach). I just started listening to her last week and I realized that she was about to play here. Some other plans I had got post-poned, so I thought I'd try hook up a ticket. The band is pretty tight, and some reviews have gone as far as to call Sharon Jones the "female James Brown". She is pretty goddamn good.

Her latest album is
100 Days, 100 Nights, which is what I've heard so far. I will definitely be making a purchase at the gig tomorrow night. Searching around the interweb, as I tend to do, I found this pretty cool cover of Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In). Apparently, this is only available on 7" at the gigs. Check it out.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings


And for once in your life, you have nothing to say...

So I just read that Stuart from Belle & Sebastian got married. I don't really listen to them any longer, but I was thinking that if it were not for Belle & Sebastian, I would not have met any of peeps I've encountered in the past five or six years. I've crashed on a lot of couches, downed a lot of alcohol with, and befriended people I might have no business even knowing. The world got a lot smaller because of a little Glaswegian indie pop band.

Here's the story of how I first got into Belle & Sebastian. I was living with my girlfriend and another couple. The guy had great taste in music, but him and his girlf were pretty lame. The girl was an obnoxious nag and the guy walked around the house in his boxers and wife-beater. Gross. But he happened to have a copy of If You're Feeling Sinister, which sounded pretty good to me.

Those guys moved out and I kinda forgot about Belle & Sebastian until I stumbled across a $5 promo copy of The Boy With The Arab Strap. A few months later, they were playing two nights at the Warfield theater. I found out too late about it and of course, it was sold out. I did a search and found a B&S message board, registered and pleaded for an extra ticket. The rest, apparently, is history. Or something.

Anyways, this was the first B&S track I really, really liked.

Belle & Sebastian > Sleep The Clock Around


I know I'm a fool for you, but I'm leaving and that's the truth

So I was trying to find out what Andy Sturmer was up to these days. You might know him, he used to be in the criminally underrated Jellyfish, and he also wrote/produced PUFFY for a while. So yeah, I was trying to find out if he had anything goin on lately, and that was how I found L.E.O. It's the project of someone called Bleu (who sounds like he's pretty badass in his own right), and it's kind of a study or homage on the production and songwriting techniques of Jeff Lynne, who used to front the great E.L.O. Kind of a weird circle, isn't it?

Anyways, back to the task at hand, which is the L.E.O. album, entitled Alpacas Orgling. If somebody listens to this and says "OMG WHAT A RIPOFF!", I think they're missing the point. Of course, they wanted to get the sound down, but it also seems like a fun project as well. One of the articles I read (linked on the myspXXX site), Bleu states that L.E.O. stands for "little email operas". All the people who collaborated on this pretty much did their work at home and the tracks would bounce around back and forth until they were done. Pretty cool, eh?

L.E.O. > Ya Had Me Goin