Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Future of Philadelphia

I mentioned a few weeks ago that this post was coming, and it's finally here. I have a tendency to overthink things, try to make them perfect, and that's the reason for the ridiculous delay on making a short, simple post. With a topic so close to my heart, Philadelphia and its future, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I'd try to make this perfect. I've come to my senses and decided to just do it, and get this new part of Pound for Pound rolling.

It's should be obvious to anyone who knows me or reads this blog that Philadelphia, cities and urban life are the most important things to me. Why this post, why now, why so serious? It wasn't one thing, it was more like a lot of things building up. The death of Jane Jacobs was one such moment, as losing her focused me more on the issues that she thought and fought over. Another would be my growing desire to go back to school to study this further, to get involved in the battle of ideas. Likewise, the knowledge that I will be moving from Philly in the near future has left me a little shook to be honest, a little more critical of the city, a little more nostalgic, a lot more interested in being engaged with the city even if I'm not physically there.

Most of all, it was two conversations I had, one with EC a few months ago and one with my bol MM at the end of last summer. Both work in the legal community, and both (in a few months) will have moved from Philly. Both conversations stressed the reasons this city is losing people that it wants to be keeping here. These are brilliant, funny, attractive, witty, creative people. Both have different stories, different reasons for leaving. I won't get into the specifics, but those conversations will inform some of my criticisms of the city and things that need to change.

I'm not really sure what posts under this topic will look like or consist of. I will label them, so everyone can skip over them and get to the ass 'n' titties portion of the blog. I love my city so much and feel like we are finally moving forward and becoming the 21st Century city I know we can become. That love will hopefully make me a strong critic of our problems, as everyone knows that I'm not some dilettante, NYC/LA snob who has about as much sense of a great city as they do a good bar. I also hope to further the idea that the people of Philly need to acknowledge how great the city has become, stop with the hating and negativity. If you can't deal with the present, you sure won't be much help in the future, so please stay out of the fucking way.

I hope that none of this comes off as pretentious or stupid or boring. If anything, I hope that it can start a conversation about Philadelphia or any of the great cities of the world like New York, Paris, Prague, you know the list. Cities are a passion and source of inspiration for Pound for Pound, hopefully my support for them can pay back all that they have given me.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Shit Robot

Shit Robot, "The Wrong Galaxy"

Shit Robot, "Triumph"

I hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and that you missed Pound for Pound as much as I missed you. Your bol is back after having a wonderful weekend in NYC, spent with friends in the LES and Brooklyn. One second I was at the top of the Coney Island ferris wheel, holding on for dear life, the next having dinner at Anthony Bourdain's restaurant on Park Avenue. I'm totally refreshed now, ready to simply destroy people with music for the remainder of the summer.

The weather is starting to heat up, which means it time to get back to our focus, booty music and its various adherents. Rather than start dropping Miami bass heaters, I figured that we would take a look at some of the best music today that takes both the dancefloor and iPod into consideration.

The label that excites me the most still is DFA Records, James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy's inimitable label. In fact, I spent most of the weekend listening to the LCD Soundsystem, including the nearly-hour long subway trip to Coney Island. I know what you're thinking, DFA is not putting out booty music. You're right, they're not per se. But, they are making indie music that is meant for the dance floor, staying true to its roots in house music (which has a ghetto variant that is not far removed from ghettotech. So there!) and unashamed to make dance music.

The most recent single to drop on the label is the one above by German-based artist Shit Robot, a.k.a. Marcus Lambkin. For those familiar with DFA Records, you will have a good sense of where this one comes from. It's right in step with The Juan MacLean, working that area in between house/disco and techno. "The Wrong Galaxy" starts up right away, with a 909 that won't quit. Ironically, my favorite part comes around the midway point when everything drops out and the song takes an intermission. It then builds back up, providing that flexibility and unpredictability that dance music often lacks. "Triumph" seems like a little less obvious choice for the dancefloor, using a repeated, Reichian rhythm to build the song up to its peak. It's synthesizer heaven, as that 80s favorite provides an amazing flourish to top it all off. Amazing stuff, reminds me a little of Aphex Twin or Autechre if they weren't such prudes. DJs, grab your vinyl copy at Turntable Lab.

-How fucked up is Iraq? They're killing people for wearing shorts. SHORTS! I can understand arresting dudes for wearing mandals or a banana hammock on the beach, but this is too far. Too damn far.

Seriously though, this situation seems to be getting worse by the day, from the death of two CBS News crew to the reports of a massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha including men, women and children to the violence today. This is such a sad situation, one can only think and pray for those truly affected from the war widows to Iraqi citizens living in terror to the brave soldiers fighting there to the courageous journalists trying to cover the story.

-On a much happier note, congrats to The Capitol Years for being signed to Park The Van Records this past week. Yes, the same Park The Van that has already signed Philly band's Dr. Dog, The Teeth and The National Eye. For real, why is the lwabel not based here? Schwenksville? Are you kidding me? Anyway, Philebrity broke the news and has some nice Capitol Years mp3s for your enjoyment. Our next entry in the Philly Music focus at Pound for Pound is Mazarin. If you're a band or DJ living in Philly, get in touch. I'll provide the hype.

-Happy birthday to LM, as it was so great to have a chance to celebrate her birth after not seeing each other for too long. Also, a happy to KM, part of the joint Pisces gala.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Dinosaur Jr - Green Mind

Dinosaur Jr, "The Wagon"

Dinosaur Jr, "Turnip Farm"

With all of this talk of Tapes 'n Tapes and Sunset Rubdown and whatnot, it's way past time to talk about one of the godfathers of this scene, Dinosaur Jr. It's also a good precursor to the future selections at Pound for Pound, as I think that I'm going to make a concerted effort to take a look back with the music here. I'm itchin' to get back to Booty Week, as I need Miami bass and ghettotech to reestablish their dominance here. I also want to get into that whole period when music was up in the here, the No Wave, post-punk, electro, hip hop days, end of disco, birth of house, etc.. I keep coming back to that, keep finding inspiration in the 80s, it's time to share my thoughts and the music. Next week, I'm going to focus on artists today who are updating these sounds such Mylo, Tiga, the DFA bols, some snap rap. It's gonna be good, make sure to come back.

Right now, though, the focus is on Dinosaur Jr and their first major label release, Green Mind. This is one of the seminal bands, a key link from post-punk to grunge/alt-rock. I only know this from doing a little research, as I can't say that I was rocking out to this shit when I was a kid. I actually did listen to Green Mind's follow-up, Where You Been At, back then, but I'm not sure that it was able to gain much traction in those Nirvana days. Anyway, the band went through a tumultuous existence, as its original leader Lou Barlow split to form Sebadoh when he felt like things were getting to commerical. These first two major labels see the band moving away from its fuzzy, more experimental independent releases on SST. To put it simply, it went from being Barlow's band to J. Mascis'. This meant a more polished, more riff-y band.

What did I miss by not being up on these guys back in the day? A lot, at least from what I can tell with this album. It's very good, kinda like hearing another sound that everyone's trying to copy and you didn't know it. It's interesting to hear the punk references, as I don't really hear that. It's very guitar centric, as Mascis plays riffs and dominates the band's sound on each track. There's much more of a pop sensibility at work, as there's more attention in writing catchy songs. It makes me really curious to hear the SST-era band, as I feel like that might be more to my liking. Pitchfork takes a look at all three of the band's recently remastered Rhino Records re-released major label albums from Sire Records. Go here to buy Green Mind or any of the band's albums. For more info, Just Like Heaven and Freak Scene seem like the best starting places.

-The good folks at The BM Rant sat down with The Walkmen's bassist Peter Bauer for this two part interview. Great stuff, Matt and Brian taking things to the next level. While you're there, might as well stop and watch some of the cool videos that they have made available. Personal favorite is the one of Secretariat's victory at the Belmont Stakes. I'm not a horse racing fan or a bettor, but I did get to catch one of those ESPN Sports Century jawns a few years ago on Secretariat. For real, your bol was bawling at the end, as the horse got older and passed away. When his owner was talking about how much he was loved, how people came to say goodbye to him, I was 8 years old again, losing my dog. Watching him destroy the competition at the Belmont, the longest of the Triple Crown races, is awe-inspiring. If you don't get goosebumps, you're a communist. Oh wait, I mean, you're a fascist.

-My ankle is feeling better, looking forward to spending some time with MC, that's about it. Sorry for being so lame about shouting out cool events, but I haven't been going on out and haven't been staying up on those things. 51:51 has put together a nice itinerary for all my Philly people this weekend, stick to that plan and you'll be good to go. The rest of y'all are on your own, make sure to enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend.

-Feel free to holler at me on myspace, as my bol BD put that link up for me at the top right. Or just watch this hilarious Daily Show piece on myspace by Demetri Martin.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Philly Music: Beanie Sigel - Public Enemy #1

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DJ Green Lantern and Beanie Sigel, Public Enemy #1

Everyone knows now that Beanie Sigel was shot early Thursday in an attempted robbery. Sigel was treated at UPenn Hospital and released quickly, sustaining a superficial wound out of the incident. So much to say about this, nothing really good or profound. It's sad that this is the first I've heard of Beanie in a while, sad that we were all close to having to write obituaries of the man, saddest of all that it happened in his old neighborhood.

I'm not sure it's appropriate to feature Beanie and his music in the wake of his shooting, but we'll see. It's hard to delink the man's music with the trials and tribulations of his real life. They seem so intertwined, for better or worse, moreso than any one else in rap today. This mixtape is the perfect example, made following his acquittal on murder charges. The intro is Kurt Loder announcing the news on MTV and what follows is an entire CD of murder tales, redemption, freedom, crime, North Philly and paranoia. There's no sense of a "Beanie Sigel", playing a role or telling stories about his past. This is Beans here and now, take him or leave him. While I wish that he would disengage so that he could get away from trouble, I'm not sure that he would be able to be as effective an artist if he did.

I've got so much to say about this guy, one of my favorites, that I'm gonna save it for a seperate post on his last album, The B. Coming. In the meantime, check out this mixtape, Public Enemy #1, which Beanie did with DJ Green Lantern a few years ago. It's one of the best mixtapes I've ever heard, something that I still turn to after all these years, an almost unheardof thing in the mixtape world. Anyway, go to mixtapeunit and cop other Beanie mixtapes, as you can't really go wrong.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"

Bob Dylan, "Cocaine"

Jeez, I almost let this day pass without making a big deal out of it. As the subject says, today is Bob Dylan's birthday. The man turns 65 today, and Pound for Pound has to pay tribute. Y'all already know how important the man's music is to this blog, so I won't bore you with more pretentious words.

You're probably still working over that radio show I posted up on Sunday, so I wanted to keep this one short and sweet. These tracks come from a recent archive release, Live at the Gaslight 1962. This was a bootleg for many years, which got an official release just this year. In fact, it was on sale at Starbucks for awhile, not sure what the deal was with that or why I was supporting a corporate, bland coffee place. The CD sounds amazing, despite being more than 40 years old. I think that the music might appeal to a much bigger audience than his later stuff, as this is Dylan, his guitar and his harmonica. It's the iconic image of the man, on stage by himself, singing his folk songs and protest songs. In essence, the very image that I think demeans the man's career.

In spite of that, it's hard to deny the power of this music, as his voice and songs are captivating. This show came right before his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, and you get two of the classic tracks from it, "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright". The "Hard Rain" is essential listening, a great version of one of his greatest songs. It's an early version of the song, with the extra lyric, "I heard the sound of one person crying, he as human." It's especially cool to hear the sounds of the audience at The Gaslight, singing along at the end of the song, glasses tinkling, taking the listener back to those early days in Greenwich Village.

The rest of the songs are new to me, old traditionals that played such an important role in the formation of Dylan's music. Gorgeous, powerful music from the man at the very outset of his career. It's an amazing testament on his birthday, a chance to consider how amazing his music was at the beginning, how long he has been a source of interest and how wonderful it is to have him still making music today. Buy the album here, as it is highly recommended.

Make sure to check out this great essay in Slate by David Yaffe called "The State of the Dylan Address." A wonderful piece, which marvels at the radio show as I did and looks forward to the future with the man. So today, wish the man a happy 65th birthday, take a listen to some songs from the past and prepare for what is still to come.

Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado, "Maneater"

Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland, "Promiscuous Girl"

Nelly Furtado, "No Hay Igua" (instrumental)

Mang, I am so excited to hear Nelly Furtado's new album, Loose, which is supposed to drop June 20th. To tide everyone over, here are the first singles that have leaked. They should quench one's Furtado thirst, for the time being. "Promiscuous Girl" is the one to watch out for, as she teams up with Timbaland for a Middle Eastern tinged, boy-girl club banger. "Maneater" is even filthier, with a squelching bass line and dirty lyrics. Well, just as dirty as the other one, which is surprising considering the title. Not hard to imagine these being summer jams at Pound for Pound, as you know I love dirty lyrics, Timbo beats and homages to Hall & Oates. I've also upped the beat for the other Timbo collab, "No Hay Igua", which everyone has probably already heard a month or two ago.

I do have to add that I totally love Nelly. I really hope that this album and these singles can take her to the next level. She's so beautiful, talented, willing to experiment, willing to take a chance. There's been a growing respect and appreciation for female pop stars in the last few years, but Nelly doesn't get anywhere near enough respect, imo. Her first album was great pop music, but it may have come a little too soon. In the wake of Annie and M.I.A., let alone Karen O and Jenny Lewis and Goldfrapp, this should be her time. These singles above are a good first step, can't wait for the full album to take her to her rightful place alongside those women. It's especially nice to see her working with the best producer in the business, and acknowledging hip hop more explicitly on these songs.

-The terrorists won last night. How could people vote against my Katharine McPhee for that talentless ass clown? I mean, really people! What is wrong with you? Why the hell isn't Joe Cocker the biggest selling artist alive, since you clearly love his clone? Well, darling, you may have lost the American Idol final, but you just need to holler to finalize the deal for a spot in the calendar. I'm thinking November with Splack Pack's "Scrub Da Ground", real nice. Oh, and what the fuck happened to Clay Aiken? Or should I say k.d. lang's more feminine brother?

-Go and vote for Discobelle for the Swedish podcast prize now running. Support good people. While you're there, grab the new Dizzee Rascal track from the upcoming album, Maths and English. This might be my most anticipated album of the year, can't wait to hear what Dizzee's cooked up since Showtime. Yes, yes, I know that I have a new most anticpated album each week, whatever. Deal with it.

-Irony is dead and Tom Delay killed it. Everyone knows that he has been indicted in Texas and is under investigation at the federal level for corruption and money laundering and all sorts of sundry activities. Robert Greenwald has made a film, The Big Buy: Tom Delay's Stolen Congress, documenting all of this. Searching for a critique of the director and his movie, the Tom Delay Defense Fund finally found that man, a man called Stephen Colbert. I shit you not, the Defense Fund is saluting Colbert for his hard-hitting interview with Greenwald and exposing the lies of the man. Hell, they have the video at the top of the site! How can these people run this country? How can the Democrats lose to these fucking idiots ever? [Via Think Progress]

-Finally, here's another picture of our Nelly, which might be her submission for the Pound for Pound calendar.

What do you think? Miss June? Or is she too classy for this blog? Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for potential models, as I'd like to have this calendar done by the end of the summer and on the shelves of Spencer's throughout suburbia by the Fall. Remember, we like bangs and freakishly large boobs. Holler.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Philly Music: The Walkmen - Hundred Miles Off

The Walkmen, "Louisiana"

The Walkmen, "Another One Goes By"

I have decided to make the focus on the Philadelphia music scene a permanent part of Pound for Pound, as opposed to a one-week tryst. I hope to do at least one artist/band per week, maybe more. I can't think of a bigger act calling the city home right now than The Walkmen, whose new album Hundred Miles Off drops today. That's right, the Walkmen are Philly bols now. In case you missed it, they've made the brilliant decision to move from NYC to the "Sixth Borough", Philadelphia, the greatest city on Earth, and nothing makes me happier.

The new album Hundred Miles Off, continues to take the band into similar territory as their previous albums, a wild, frenetic sound, anchored by the amazing drummingb and the near-shrieking lead vocals of Hamilton Leithauser. I feel like more than any other band, except maybe Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Walkmen divide people down the middle. You either love 'em or hate 'em, as their sound is not easy or catchy, the vocals aren't "great" or "accomplished", shit, you can't really dance to it like with CYHSY.

This album is an interesting one, as my review has changed over the course of a few listens. I initially had more negative one written, lamenting the lack of diversity on the album. They didn't come up with a devastating single like they did on Bows and Arrows with "The Rat" and "Little House of Savages." I'm a whore for that kinda single, so they started a few steps behind with this reviewer. However, the more I listened to it, the more I liked. First off, you know I love a unique voice that doesn't fit the definition of a "good" voice. The drumming is still magnificent, so much more active and noticeable than any other indie guitar band I can think of off the top of my head. The songs come across as relatively uniform on first listen, but with each listen I noticed something a little different. The horns on opener "Louisiana", the organ on "All Hands On The Cook", the punk-y blast of "This Job Is Killing Me." There's a lot more there than one expects or gives them credit for. I recommend this album, probably won't be in my top 10 list, but who knows? Each new listen moves it a little higher up.

Lots of people have been discussing the new album, which you can purchase here. Fluxblog, Pocket|Trax, The Sound of Indie (with a live track), the CAMERA as PEN, No Frontin' Just Music, Badminton Stamps, stereogum, SKATTERBRAIN, Villains Always Blink and The Rich Girls Are Weeping.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cam'ron - Killa Season

Cam'ron, "Wet Wipes"

Cam'ron, "I.B.S."

Ahh, one of Pound for Pound's most anticipated albums of the year has finally dropped. The leader of the Dip Set, Cam'ron, has come out with his latest album to bide the time between shootings, mixtapes and beefs with Jay-Z. Killa Season is the next movement in the Takeover, as the Dipset Empire attempts to run the NYC game with the retirement of Jay-Z and the weak recent product of Mr. Kelis, Nas.

Unfortunately, this is not gonna seal the deal. I can't really put my finger on it yet, after a few listens, it just never really gets to the level of his past albums. There is a sense that this is a mixtape with better distribution, especially when the first few minutes of the "Intro" feature a freestyle from 40 Cal, B-list Dipsetter. I mean, this is Cam's album, the head guy, the star of the group and he's opening the album with someone else's rhymes. What? But, I think that the biggest problem is that there isn't a killer single, something that can get the club or blogs going nuts. Cam's voice and lyrics can carry a lot for me, I love it. However, on this album, he doesn't get the beats to make a banger, and that means that the album drags, it's completely reliant on Cam's lyrics. And that's just not gonna cut it, especially on a full LP.

Okay, I don't want to sound like this is a piece of shit. Far from of it; I just have very high expectations for Killa. Above are my favorites from the album, really great songs. "I.B.S." especially is amazing, backed by a tinkling piano beat that sounds so g-ddamned good. This is an Alchemist beat, maybe this relationship should be expanded. Other favorites, like "Get Em Daddy (remix)" and "You Gotta Love It" (the Jay-Z dis), have circulated, but still sound great to my ears. More attacks on Jigga please. Go and get Killa Season, as it's a good album. Don't go expectin' no classic, but it can never hurt to know what's up in the Dip Set world. The great Joey at Straight Bangin' clearly does not have the same high regards for Cam and the Dip Set, so make sure to check his post out for the other side of the coin.

-Check out this great TV Funhouse segment from Saturday Night Live. As much as I love "The Ambiguously Gay Duo", it's great to see Robert Smigel and Matt O'Brien doing more political stuff. Crooks and Liars has the video, as always.

-Want more laughs? Here's my favorite Stephen Colbert clip that I have come up with, as there is nothing I like more than uncontrollable laughter. The piece is funny to begin with, as Colbert attempts to discuss rumors that Prince Charles is gay without actually saying it.

-Caught two great games last night, as the two Western Conference semifinals finished up with Game 7s. Can I just say how happy I am that the Suns and Mavs are going to be going at it in the next round? Two of my favorite teams, they both play the game the way I wanna see it played, uptempo, offensive, up and down, old-school steez. Check out The Daily Dime for your NBA Playoffs needs. For Philly fans, Phil Jasner has an incredibly depressing, but honest, piece on the Sixers in today's Daily News.

-While we're talking sports, I have to point out my favorite sports site on the Internets, Deadspin. It's everything that ESPN's Page 2 wishes it was, informative and funny, taking on all sports, showing the right level of love and scorn for the fucked-up world of sports. Especially love how they call out some of the douches of the "journalism" world like Matt Drudge and Jay Mariotti. Make this a daily read, as it doesn't get much better or entertaining.

-Thanks to a few good folks who have sent their readers this way recently: My bol ventilatorblues at Cosmic Elevator, Torr, the Dallas Observer's blog Unfair Park, Expecting Rain. A real honor, I hope that everyone will continue to check in and see what's popping off at Pound for Pound. We are gonna crack our all-time high for one-day visits, more than 2000. Just the beginning, I hope. Holler.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Smiths - The Complete Peel Sessions (Happy Birthday Moz! Part 2)

The Smiths, The Complete Peel Sessions (unlimited downloads)

Ahh, now the real heat. It's hard to discuss Morrissey without discussing The Smiths, although I'm sure that Moz hates that fact and hates me for succombing. But, I came to the man through The Queen Is Dead and without that album I never would have come to the genius whose birthday we celebrate today. As much as I try to stay on the newest rap and indie shit coming out, the mixtapes and blog hype bands, I honestly come back to The Smiths music as much as anything else. I love it all, from the first album to the bootleg concerts.

This above CD is a real treat for Smiths fans, a compilation of all of the appearances the band made on the BBC radio show of the legendary John Peel. Peel was an integral part of the band's history, helping to bring them to a wider audience and giving them a chance to develop their music. Blog Critics have a nice piece on Peel and his influence, including the great tidbit that he loved the Smiths' music so much because he couldn't tell who their influences were.

Check out Ask Me Ask Me Ask Me, Passions Just Like Mine, Cemetary Gates and Shoplifters Union for all of your Smiths fanboy/girl needs. Go and buy all of their CDs, as they are all worth your time and money. Pick up The Queen Is Dead right now, if you don't have it for real. If you are just coming to the band's music, head over to jefitoblog for The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Smiths, a real amazing document. The mp3s are down, but the info is top-rate.

Thanks you Steven, Johnny, Andy and Mike (and Dale & Craig) for all of the great music. Now, get the band back together and play my birthday party this summer. Happy birthday Moz, we'll do this again next year.

Happy Birthday Moz!

Morrissey, "Human Being"

Morrissey, "Good Looking Man Around Town"

Morrissey, "I Knew I Was Next"

There are important days every year, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, holidays. However, none is as important as today, the day 47 years ago that Steven Patrick Morrissey was brought into this world. My favorite performer, the leader of my favorite band The Smiths, the father of my children, Morrissey, Moz, Pound for Pound's patron saint. I hope that everyone is having a nice celebration of the day, that you've bought your gifts for the man, got the cake, invited your friends over.

My contribution to the celebration comes in the form of this post and the next one, which will hopefully give everyone a nice soundtrack for the night. I assume that everyone has all of the Smiths and solo albums already, so need to dig into them. Above are the B-sides to the first single, "You Have Killed Me", off the new album, Ringleader of the Tormentors. For those that don't know, Moz takes these B-sides real serious, always putting non-album stuff on to reward the fans. In this case, he has given us two unreleased tracks and a cover of the New York Dolls. "I Knew I Was Next" is classic Moz, dark lyrics sung with his perfect voice, nice, fuzzy guitar sound. The NY Dolls cover, "I Knew I Was Next" confirms the man's love for the seminal NYC pre-punk band. "Human Being" is a great choice for Morrissey, he's got a little of that sneer that we all love on this one. Love the backup vocals on this one, yeah! The other track, "Good Looking Man About Town", suffers from a lo-fi sound, but it's still better than most stuff I hear.

Good looking man around town, indeed.

A few other gifts are out there in the blogosphere. Kwaya Na Kisser has the outtakes from the Viva Hate session, one of the best Morrissey solo albums. Pierre also has put together a fictional farewell show to the people of Canada, in wake of their decision to allow seal hunting, with appropriate songs for the occasion. EAR FARM has an entire concert available from 2004, a great chance to hear the man in the live setting. Not just any live setting, but Radio City Music Hall. If you don't own one or all of the solo albums, make sure to go buy them all, no excuses.

, if you read this, can you please do concerts in Philly and NYC for my birthday? I'm not asking for The Smiths to get back, I will wait until the second post to do that. I know that you have done some UK shows, please come across the Atlantic for me. Anyway, happy birthday, Moz, we love you here at Pound for Pound.

The Futureheads - The Futureheads

The Futureheads, "Robot"

The Futureheads, "Decent Days and Nights"

The Futureheads, "He Knows"

Since I mentioned it yesterday, I couldn't not post some highlights from the Futureheads' first album that I talked so highly of. The Futureheads is a great pop-punk album, combining punk's energy with pop's catchiness. Again, don't expect anything original, as you will get the feeling that you've heard this before. There are some clear influences like XTC, The Clash, maybe some early Elvis Costello & the Attractions and The Ramones. The best comparison I can give is to imagine a punk band that moonlights as a doo-wop group, as the music comes fast and hard but the vocals feature four-part harmonies and "Woo woo woos" and other classic touches. The Futureheads follow in the path of those bands, opening up the punk sound by using harmonies and a real emphasis on the early peroiod of rock 'n' roll.

It really works, as this is one of the better albums you are going to here straighthrough. Very little chaff, mostly wheat. There were 11 songs that I considered uploading, which shows the consistency of the album and the quality of the songs. You could argue that it's a problem of sameness, but with 17 tracks clocking at 35 minutes, I would say it's more of a quick, great trip. Not a lot of need for diversity. Oh, and shout out to the band for naming a track for the legendary photographic artist Man Ray, nee Emmanuel Radnitzky, born in Philadelphia (!!!). Great song as well, the only one that seemed to deserve the post-punk label.

Kwaya Na Kisser and nialler9 have one of the best tracks from this self-titled debut, "Hounds of Love." That's right, the lads take on a Kate Bush cover and outdo the original. Make sure to check out that song, then go and cop this album. It's highly recommended. Don't worry about all of the comparisons and names bandied about, this is just good, exciting music.

-Part 2 of the Kwaya Na Kisser tribute begins with Futureheads-influncer The Clash, live in Jamaica from 1982. I'm not the biggest Clash fan to be honest, but this is a cool set from the Bob Marley Center, which I'm sure made this a special show for the group. Next up, Iron & Wine and Calexico from their tour last year in support of their album. Then, there is the Artic Monkeys set from January of this year, a great chance to hear a Futureheads-influenced band. Finally, peep the Bonnie "Prince" Billy (Will Oldham) John Peel session. Then, go here and leave a comment voting for what John Peel Session you would like Pierre to up next. I'm gonna vote for Cat Power, or maybe PJ Harvey, or Pulp, or Yo La Tengo.

-In looking around for info on the TV on the Radio/Voxtrot show in Prospect Park June 30 (free!), I came across this not-too secret vault of Voxtrot mp3s. I'm still waiting on their 2 EPs, but this is a great chance for everyone to get up on this band that is getting tons of hype and most importantly, comparisons to Morrissey, The Cure and Joy Division. Yum.

-Yeti Don't Dance has a track from !Forward Russia!, considered essential listening for 2006. Having listened to "Sixteen" on a Saturday night alone, it was so good it almost made me forget about my pathetic condition. Holy shit, it's a keeper! The last few minutes are so intense, with the music and vocals getting louder and faster in an almost-hypnotic.

-Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes has the first single, "The Mighty O" from the upcoming Outkast album, Idlewild.

-Congrats to Naeem and XXXchange a.k.a Spank Rock, who've been chosen to open for Gnarls Barkley at their sold-out Webster Hall show tonight. So proud of those guys, so proud.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dylan Sunday - XFM Radio Show #1

Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Show (XFM Radio Show #1) (unlimited downloads)

[Update: This is a new, working link. Sorry for the confusion, but sendspace was being wack.]

[Here is an extra, limited yousendit link, just in case]

I told ya I was gonna bring the heat with the next Dylan Sunday. Per request, here is the complete broadcast of Bob Dylan's first radio show for satellite radio station XFM. News that Bob would be hosting his own radio show came out a few months ago, and I was filled with excitement. The only fear that I had was that this would be a gimmick, something with Bob's name on it but little of his time or effort.

All I can say is that I was gloriously wrong on that front, as this is Bob all the way. For real, this is one of the best things I've heard in a long time, a chance to have Bob Dylan DJ for the listener. It's an amazing chance to get into the tastes and knowledge of a man who clearly lives and breathes music, schooling us on a wide range of musics from the past. The show is done according to theme, with Bob choosing the songs to coincide with said theme. On this first episode, the theme is weather, so we get lots of great rainy day songs, evocations of sunshine, you get the idea. Right from the get-go, Bob takes everyone to school and it doesn't really let up for the next 50 minutes or so. I hadn't heard most of the songs on here, or hadn't known the original version. Personal favorites are The Prisonaires' "Just Walking In The Rain", Irma Thomas' "It's Raining" and Fats Domino's "Let The Four Winds Blow."

In case you are wondering, Bob does speak a decent amount on the show. Like any good radio DJ, he knows that the listener wants to hear music, not talking, so usually you get about 30 seconds of Bob between songs. Ironically, I actually would want to hear him ramble on a bit more, as he is so funny and witty on the short intervals he speaks. I think my favorite part comes after the Muddy Waters songs at the beginning, when Dylan discusses the fallacy of Chicago as "The Windy City." Or when he discusses the different types of clouds before playing The Consolers' "After the Clouds Roll Away." Oh, and for those who don't like Dylan's voice today, I'll say that it is made for radio, so deep, gravelly and real. Maybe it'll help people get a better handle on the way the man now sounds.

Okay, enough of my blabbing. Go and download the show above and take this rainy, windy Sunday to listen to Bob Dylan talk and play lots of songs about rain, wind and snow. Let me know what you think, curious if people are as excited as I am about this. Now, if we can just get Dylan to spin at 700 Club or The Khyber upstairs.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Futureheads-News and Tributes

The Futureheads, "Yes/No"

The Futureheads, "Worry About It Later"

Next up is the Tapes 'n Tapes tourmates later this summer, The Futureheads. These guys made a big splash a few years ago with their self-titled debut and a tour with Franz Ferdinand. This new album, News and Tributes, is a big moment, as the first album, which we will look back at next, was such an intense burst of energy from four young guys getting their big break. Can they sustain it? Can they top it?

Well, I would say yes and no, respectively, to those two questions. The album doesn't do it for me as much as the last one, as the band calms down on this one. For me, I like the wilder, tighter Futureheads of the first album. Here, the songs are longer, which takes away some of the immediacy and energy. But, the band has taken this opportunity to do some new things, writing some different things, slowing down a little, showing that they don't have to go 100 miles per hour all the time. It works to amazing effect on "Worry About It Later", where even the lyrics showcase this newfound maturity. "Skip To The End" is the lead single from the album, a good example of what the band can still do in terms of a concise pop song, beautiful, jangly sound to this one. Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite part of the band's sound: four-part harmonies, motherfuckers! I love it, always a good look in my book.

The blogs are starting to talk about this one, as blogs are for dogs, a PLAGUE of ANGELS, Kill Your Co-Workers, Largehearted Boy, Who Needs Radio? and I Rock Cleveland all have songs up. Fluxblog thinks "Skip To The End" might be the summer jam, indie-style, and I like that thought. Once their tour gets rolling, I feel like more people might start talking about this. You can pre-order this one now (it's official release is June 13), and get the jump on everyone. They will be stopping by the Starlight Ballroom with Tapes 'n Tapes on July 11th, get your tickets here.

-I'm staying in this weekend, so I'm gonna focus on things to do on your computer this weekend. First, go to Kwaya Na Kisser for an amazing wealth of music. For real, you could spend a weekend downloading and enjoying all the great music that Pierre has put up in the past few weeks. I'm gonna do this in two parts, so that I don't overdo it. I have to highlight the live Deerhoof set from May 10, 2005 at the Soundlab in Buffalo, NY. I love Deerhoof, so nice to see another fan and to get the chance to hear the band do their thang live. After that, you should cop another of Pound for Pound's favorites, a Ladytron set from KCRW's Morning Eclectic a few weeks ago. Last but not least, get a little weirder with an Animal Collective concert from March 19, 2006 in Atlanta, GA. Whew, that's so much and there's still more to highlight.

-Next up, grab the lemon-red monthly mix, featuring DJ Gorky this month. Never heard of him? Well, he is a member of Bonde de Role, the first band signed to Mad Decent, the label that Diplo has set up. This month, he does the DJ thing with Electro Pancada and wrecks it, giving that much needed baile funk for the summer.

-In honor of the English lads in The Futureheads, my own obsession with YouTube and the upcoming World Cup, check out this video compilation of the best goals ever scored in the English Premier League. If this doesn't give you goosebumps, I feel sorry for you. The first goal on the tape (scored by the great Tony Yeboah), which I actually saw on a weekly EPL highlights show right after it happened, is still the greatest one I've ever seen.

-Happy birthday to MF, whose blog birthday present will come soon. One of the great people around, I hope that she gets all that she asks for and has wonderful day in celebrating her birth.

-I just wanted to let everyone know that the special Saturday post will be moved back to Monday, as I had the wrong date for this man's birthday. Sorry for the convenience, but I hope that the wait will prove worth it. Check that, I know it will be worth it.

Give Me Television or Death

Saving Jane, "Girl Next Door"

The Afters, "Beautiful Love"

Having been cooped up the past few days, possibly a result of twisting my ankle grotesquely at the end of Saturday's drunken atrocity, I have had the chance to watch a g-dforsaken amount of TV. I figured this would be a good time to discuss everyone's favorite topic, mother, friend, lover and therapist, television. The networks are bringing their series to a wrap with all sorts of farewells I don't give a shit about (That 70s Show, why didn't you go out a few years ago on top?) and cliffhangers I do (Grey's Anatomy, well done, and House, I don't know what that crazy bol has in store for us, but I'm sure he does it his way.)

The songs above come from two of my favorite shows today, Tiara Girls and 8th & Ocean, further proof that MTV is a network Einstein or something. It's hard to believe that it took this long to get a show like Tiara Girls on the air, a behind-the-scenes look at pageant girls, their families and their lives. This shit is gold, if by gold one means nauseating and uncomfortable. It's shocking to see how fucked up and terrible some parents are, pressuring their daughters to participate in these pointless contests. My personal favorite so far has to be the mother who recommends her daughter get Botox in her lips at the age of 16, pressures her to get lipo and assures that this girl will pay for some psychiatrist's vacation home in a few years. I love it all, every painful second, as it adheres to my number one aesthetic rule with TV: it makes me feel better about myself and my own childhood.

What can I say about 8th & Ocean? I can say that it is one of my favorite shows, my guiltiest pleasures and the inspiration for the upcoming Pound for Pound calender. When I heard that MTV was bringing out a show about models and their lives, I scoffed at such a vapid concept. But, once I sat down and watched an episode, I was hooked like Whitney. It has won my allegiance with the opposite aesthetic of Tiara Girls: the one that makes me feel ugly and hate myself and wish I were someone else. This is the governing principle of my life, which means that it's not my first choice for my free time, but what can you do?

The picture above is of the most beautiful girl on the show, Briana Hicks. She's not one of the stars, and really doesn't get much air time, to be honest. But, without a doubt, she puts the other girls to shame looks and stylewise, imo. I am in negotiations to have her as Miss June in the Pound for Pound 2007 calender, a real classy shot posing with one of my 12 favorite Miami Bass 12". Holler at your bol, Briana, let's do this thing, we can negotiate on what song you represent.

Since I can already picture MC writing a comment or email to me now, let me just add that MC is much more beautiful than anyone in this show. It amazes me that she is not a model, with her beauty, looks and style. But, I'm glad she isn't, because she would end up dating some guy like Teddy, all good-looking and hot and not my ugly ass. MC will not be in the calender, sorry fellas, I'm just a jealous guy.

-Congragulations America, pat yourself on the back for voting this woman into the American Idol finals:

Katherine McPhee is the only possible winner of this year's contest, especially since Taylor Hicks is the other finalist. Dude is all schtick, the whole Joe Cocker, white-guy soul thing is horrendous. She's talented with an amazing voice, especially given the right song, and the only one I can see having a chance to have a hit or career. And no, I'm not supporting Katharine because she has big boobs and is attractive. Give me some credit, do you really think I'm think that I'm that shallow?

Wait, don't answer that.

-One of the two shows I try to watch every night of the week is The Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. It's like a beacon in the darkness of cable news, an actual show that criticizes Bush and the Republican Congress for the mess this country is in. Most importantly, he has a war with one of the worst human beings on Earth, Bill O'Reilly. Enemy of your enemy is a friend, right? For real, Olbermann is witty, funny, intelligent and a rare voice from the Left on cable. You also know he's cool cos he has a blog, nuff said, alright?

-Speaking of the other show, The Colbert Report, check out this great clip from an old Daily Show with Colbert looking at the new "colored people" being discriminated against. Hilarious, or did he just blow your mind?

-One more Briana picture.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tapes 'N Tapes - The Loon

Tapes 'n Tapes, "Just Drums"

Tapes 'n Tapes, "Omaha"

I've been meaning to take a look at Tapes 'n Tapes for a few weeks now, months behind the rest of the blogworld. I'm sure that everyone has heard these guys mentioned at places like gorilla vs. bear and music (for robots), as I sure did. All of the attention piqued my interest immediately, as I don't hate on blog hype. Maybe some of the bands don't sound as good to me, but there's been a lot of shit that has the hipster stamp approval that is essential listening for me.

Anyway, Tapes 'n Tapes are a band out of Minneapolis that has an enormous buzz, getting their independent album released on a label this summer, already selling out its two shows at the Bowery Ballroom, a staple of blogs and magazines despite a relatively short existence (2003). On first listen, I didn't get it. I mean, it all sounded fine and dandy, but hype. Why? It didn't sound new or different or unforgettable. You could hear the various infleuences from Pavement to The Strokes to the Pixies, something that would seem to elimate you from "the next big thing" hype.

Before I get into this whole hype thing, let me say that this is one of the better indie albums I have heard this year. Way better than the stuff put out by bigger names like Built To Spill, Flaming Lips and Mogwai. It's got a little bit of the swagger that you don't often associate with bearded indie guys with guitars, a driving, propulsive sound, best evidenced on "Just Drums." There's a feeling that this band loves what it's doing, is so excited to play music, filled with ideas and riffs and sounds that they want to get out. It's all been done before, but not always this passionately and with this much skill. "Omaha" gives a much slower, almost ballad-y feel, showing that this band can change paces and do different things, which should make for a bright future.

However, I keep coming back to why this band is so hyped. Why is a band whose supporters even acknowledge copies the sounds of a lot of bands before it so popular and championed? I mean, Pitchfork, the cynical journalists who love to rain on parades and seem to have no real aesthetic other than cynicism, gives the album an 8.2 and defends its "neoclassicism." What? It seems like such a far cry from times past when Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine or Pavement came and changed the way we hear music, did something new and different. Or am I just being too nostalgic? Was it the same back then, just bands tinkering? The reason I mention this is because I feel like indie music is so stagnant right now, losing even the energy of a few years ago when many "discovered" dance music. It seems unwilling to try anything new and there is little hype for those doing just that. This is not a good condition for a healthy scene, imo.

None of this is to blame Tapes 'n Tapes, as I highly recommend the band's music. Go here and cop their album, as it is going to be on a lot of Top 1o lists. Check out their website and their myspace page for tour info, news, more songs and merchw. They're playing at the Church on June 11, so Philly will get its first chance to see the band. Let me know what you think of the music, curious people's opinions.

-For those that automatically tune out any hype band, I will warn you that you can miss some great stuff. think tank has a great post on one such band, Bloc Party, uploading their entire set at Coachella for your convenience. Great blog, btw, lots of variety from MF Doom/Grimm and Cadence Weapon to The National and The Televangelist & the Architect.

-I've gotta agree with Dan Wetzel that this has been the best NBA Playoffs in ages. I've been paying close attention to the Suns-Clippers series, which has been back and forth and now comes down to Game 7. I think Wetzel's May Madness concept works best though, as the fact that unheralded teams are on the verge of beating the superpowers makes this so special. Who thought the Cavs could beat the Pistons? I hope that this is the start of a new golden age in the NBA, for real.

-Pedro Almodovar discusses why he has never done a Hollywood movie. The good news is that one of the great living directors has a new movie out, the "bitter-sweet comedy" Volver, which premiered at Cannes. Can't wait to see it, as MC and I are both huge fans of his work.

-A quick site update: I hope to have a dedicated server this weekend. I also will have a very special weekend of posts, to make up for the disaster that was last weekend. We will have a special birthday celebration tomorrow (hint: our favorite band of all-time's lead singer celebrates tomorrow), then Dylan Sunday. After that, we will get back into the Philly Music stuff and a new special focus. It's about to go down.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Antennas, "Always On My Mind"

Antennas, "Adapt!"

I tend to be a minute behind on most music and bands, with occasional exceptions. I hope that this Swedish band Antennas can be another chance to prove my hype credibility. This trio is just starting to get things rolling, with the release of their new album, Sins, and a growing tour schedule that is taking them out of their home country. What do you get with Antennas? Possibly some of the best new music you'll hear this year, one of those out-of-nowhere sounds that you feel like you've been waiting to hear for years.

The best description I have is that the music is at once completely timeless, that perfect pop sound that you associate with the Beach Boys and Burt Bacharach up through Natasha Bedingfield and Rihanna. Y'know, the kinda tunes that make you tap your foot and sing out loud. There's also a very classical, lush sound that conjures up images of the past, heard in the strings and horns and orchestra sound on the two songs above. At the same time, you can hear the glitches and distortions, the skittering drum beat that wouldn't sound out of place on a Warp Records release. Put together, it leads to something special. The closest comparison I can come up with is Bloc Party, which you know is a high compliment at Pound for Pound. Both have a sound that is both recognizable and new, clearly influenced but not derivative, and most importantly, write great songs that may make them the timeless sounds of the future. "Always On My Mind" and "Adapt!" don't just sound cool; they have dark, searching, heartbroken lyrics, that one does not always find a place in pop music.

Check out their website and myspace page for more info. You can download their new album as mp3s here or buy the actual CD here at their label Novoton's store. Now, we need to work on getting them to play Philly and get this CD a US release, and everyone can say that they first heard them here and girls with bangs will stop me in bars and thank me and Sway from MTV will interview me while we walk around North Philly and grad schools will accept me despite my grades and the Flyers will win the Stanley Cup and Arrested Development will return on HBO. I can see it now, I can see it now.

-Since we are looking at Europe with this post, it only makes sense to discuss football (soccer to you Ugly Americans). I had the good fortune of catching the UEFA Cup Final yesterday afternoon on ESPN2, as Barcelona defeated Arsenal 2-1 to become the champs of the Continent. Amazing game, as Barca made a late comeback, scoring two goals in the final 10 minutes of action.

-World Cup in less than a month! Nike has created a myspace-like site for soccer fans called Joga. Read this article on the intense rivalry between Adidas and Nike for soccer supremacy. I wore Adidas for my entire 15 year career, an endorsement worth more than 50 billboards.

-I've been spending way too much time on YouTube lately, but occasionally one comes across a treasure. The treasure, in this case, is Wes Anderson's My Life, My Card commerical for American Express. I'm sure you've seen the M. Night Shymalan one in the restaurant or Robert De Niro's New York City one. This one is so cool and witty and easy, a behind-the-scenes look at the "magical" filmmaking process. [Via Dance Hall Hips] Armond White has a great essay in Slate on this commerical and the dearth of movies by the young creative directors we love so much like Anderson, Spike Jones and David O. Russell. It's appropriately titled "Why does it take Wes Anderson so long to make a movie?"

-I totally missed this Band of Horses live set on Seattle's KEXP from April 13, 2006 over at So Much Silence, thought it would interest some people. Kevin seems to be the source for in-studio radio performances, so make sure to pick up the Editors set from KEXP at SXSW and the three part Neko Case NPR broadcast. Awesome stuff, great site.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time

Band of Horses, "The Funeral"

Band of Horses, "The Great Salt Lake"

Let's keep on going into the heart of darkness of indie music, this time with another band getting lots of attention, Band of Horses. Their debut album, Everything All The Time, has everyone very excited, and for good reason. Again, like so much of indie rock, this isn't anything new or original, just good writing and an interesting sound.

The band has gone through the indie gauntlet, being name-checked left and right. The Shins, Built to Spill and The Flaming Lips sound the closest to me, especially when it comes to the distorted, reverb vocals. My Morning Jacket is mentioned quite a bit on the amazon review, but I've never heard them, so you'll have to be the judge of that one. This is not the best music I've heard this year, but it's finest moments are quite good. What did it for me was the sad, elegaic songs, the band's willingness to deal with the dark ideas and issues. There are a few poppier songs, but for the most part, you hear a relaxed, heartbreaking music, with lyrics unafraid to reflect this darker sound. Make sure to download "The Funeral", which is supposedly getting some radio-play. It's the best song on the album, quite haunting in the oft-repeated refrain, sung in a

Lots of people have already taken a look at this album, most seeming to like it more than I did. Villains Always Blink, i guess i'm floating, Kwaya Na Kisser, girlpants, out the other..., The Stypod and Dichotomy of Epiphany have some more tracks and thoughts, and should help you better decide if this album is worth purchasing. Go here to get your copy at a nice price.

-It appears that a few long-serving incumbents from the Pennsylvania State Senate and House were defeated, a tremendous shock. It appears that the anger over last year's pay raise fueled much of this protest, looking forward to seeing some new blood at the state level.

-Closer to home, the ethics referendum on yesterday's ballot passed, with more than 80% of voters approving an independent ethics board for Philadelphia government. This means that the mayor-appointed, impotent board of the past is gone, replaced by "an independently funded, five-member board whose members can be removed only for cause, and only after a public hearing and a City Council vote." This is another huge step for the city, bringing our government closer to the 21st Century.

-My drunken excess caused me to miss this past Saturday's Making Time in Philadelphia, but thanks to aquariumdrinker2000 and YapSnaps, I can pretend I was there through their photos. [Via Philebrity] Badminton Stamps has a nice review of the night, some mp3s and more importantly hints at who the next guests at Making Time could be. !!!??? Yes, yes yes!!! With openers Lansing-Dreiden? Wow, circle the date, June 1oth and hope that this one isn't just wishful thinking.

-In other exciting Philly news, Shouk takes another big leap this Friday night, starting up a late night, weekend jawn, Shouk After Dark, that is going to be another exciting addition to Philly life. For those that don't know, Shouk is an restaurant/lounge opened by my friend YT and his partners at 622 S. 6th Street (between South and Bainbridge). It's got an Israeli menu, amazing food, hookah lounge and a cool decor. In another words, it's going to be Philly's next great spot. Paper Street is helping get the word out about Shouk After Dark's opening party, where Dan the Swede will spin and pomegranate martinis are free from 10-11. Joey Blanco of Soul Travellin' and DJ Rashaan will spin on Saturdays and Sundays, respectively, which means that there is no excuse for people to not check this out. Support some more Philadelphians doing real big things, especially my bol.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sunset Rubdown

Sunset Rubdown, "Three Colours"

Hello, hello, sorry for going missing for a few days, but in the aftermath of my most drunken, embarrassing night in my entire life, I didn't have much to say on much of anything. Self-loathing is a 24 hour a day pursuit, no time for diversions. Apologies to anyone who saw Pound for Pound that night, I'm a much better person than I showed.

What better way to celebrate these self-loathing, dark times than with some self-loathing, dark indie music? Exactly, no better way. Sunset Rubdown is the brainchild of Wolf Eyes singer and keyboardist Spencer Krug, a moniker Krug used for any solo project he had going. It appears that in the past year or two, he has expanded the concept, adding some more members and taking this group out on tour. For those in Philly, make sure to catch their show at the Church next Tuesday, as Sunset Rubdown plays with Frog Eyes for a mega hype band smackdown. New Yorkers should be grabbing tickets to their joint show at the Mercury Lounge, with the added hype of Beirut. The place might collapse under the weight of so much

A new full EP has just been released, but I've yet to grab a copy. The song above comes from the self-titled EP, Sunset Rubdown, from earlier this year, a 15 minute or so opus that left me wanting a lot more. It's really amazing, not as lo-fi as his prior work. It's drone-y at times, kinda psychedelic, the lyrics are morose and sad, Krug's voice reminds me a lot of one of my favorites, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah fame. The music is stuffed to the gills, filled with tons of different instruments from organs to guitars to pianos to much more. However, most impressively, it never sounds forced or too busy, at least to my ears. It actually has a baroque kinda feel to it, almost ancient in instrumentation and pace, again in the CYHSY vein, less dance-y and melodic than those guys, but similar.

Bows + Arrows, The BM Rant, The Catbirdseat, I Rock Cleveland, i (heart) music, i guess i'm floating and Motel de Moka have some older and newer tracks. I hope to have the new CD in the near-future, will try to up some of the newer, bigger band material. Go here to cop the EP for a great price.

-Gotta give props to Grey's Anatomy for a killer final two episodes of the season. I've been lukewarm on this show all year, despite MC's love for it, but the ending totally had me with the shooting of one of the doctors, the resumption of an affair with the two main characters and a bizarre heart transplant. It looks like ABC thinks just as highly of the show, as they have decided to move it to Thursday night to compete against CSI at 9 PM. Check out Grey's Anatomy Online to get your fan on (and dudes, don't think you're too much of a dude to do that.)

-George W. Bush: Words Speak Louder Than Actions. This is an amazing video that should have made it clear to anyone that Stephen Colbert is a national treasure, possessing bigger balls than every single member of the media. Sit back and enjoy this one, as scathing and hilarious an indictment of the President and the fact-challenged world they live in.

-For those who are interested in getting more involved in politics and can't stand the direction of the country, check out this book by Markos Moulitsas of dailykos and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD called Crashing the Gate. They are speaking in Philly Wednesday night at Drinker's Tavern (is this a joke?) in Old City, 123 Market Street. [Via Atrios]

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pretty Girls Make Graves - Elan Vital

[Photo courtesy of Matador Records]

Pretty Girls Make Graves, "Pyrite Pedestal"

Pretty Girls Make Graves, "Parade"

I'm going to resume the Philly music stuff over the weekend, so in the meantime, here is a look at a band playing in town this weekend. Pretty Girls Make Graves have a buzz going, big enough to get my lame attention. This is the their most recent album, Elan Vital, a departure sound-wise for the Washington state group. The main spark for this change in direction probably relates to the new keyboardist in the band, Leona Marrs, as the band has a looser, more groove-oriented focus.

It's frustrating, as I don't have any prior knowledge of this band. I haven't heard their first two albums, which seem to get better reviews. I feel like I will definitely lose some blogger points, or perhaps won't be allowed in Johnny Brenda's or something, but I will try to remedy this condition of ignorance. I don't mind this album at all, unlike Pitchfork's Sam Obi, possibly because I didn't have any expectations coming in. You know I love female-fronted bands (I notice more and more of this, a great sign imo), so I am a bit biased. Occasionally, this looseness leads to excess, like the interminable guitar solo during "Domino." It's a shame, because this song is so good for the first 3 minutes, achieving that rock band-in-a-disco sound that they're striving to achieve. I really really like the above two tracks, two of the best songs I have heard in a minute. The rest never quite does it for me, almost like indie-lite music, made for The OC or some WB teen show that I secretly watch but won't acknowledge in public.

Bows + Arrows has a review
of Elan Vital and a few more tracks from the new album, as does Dance Hall Hips, You Ain't No Picasso, and When Apes Rule The Earth!. Act Up and All Things Go have some older tracks, which seem like a good starting point to know if looking back is worth it. Buy the album here, and maybe pick up something else from their discography.

-What's happening in Philly: crit favorites Danielson play at the Kensington South Forum tonight, Making Time tomorrow night at Transit with White Rose Movement, a Baltimore Invasion at the Pop Off Shack as Aaron LaCrate and Debonair Samir join Low Budget and Brendan Bring'em at the Metro Lounge, the historic Dad Vail regatta kicks off Friday and lasts through the weekend, Pound for Pound's mom hangs out with her failure of a son on Sunday.

-New York City, White Rose Movement play the Bowery tonight (afterparty at Don Hill's), a release party for Team Shadetek's newest 12" "Brooklyn Anthem" goes down at Galapagos in Williamsburg, Danielson plays at North Six nearby and Dafnis Prieto is playing at the Jazz Standard all weekend.

-Kudu plays Saturday at Love for the Return of Jaxx party, then get back to business with a midnight show at home base Nublu.

-Finally, for the film lovers, both cities have amazing events to get into. In Philly, head to the International House tonight at 7:30 for a screening of the Brian DePalma classic, Blow Out, set in our great city during the 80s. See what it was like to be in the city when most of y'all were growing up in suburban wastelands, act like you know. Best of all, it's a benefit for the Friends of the Boyd, the group that has been behind the saving and restoration of the amazing movie palace on Chestnut Street. In New York City, the B Noir Festival continues, the single greatest event ever done. We shall speak of this fest soon, but get a jump on my pretentious musings by attending the Nicholas Ray double feature tonight or tomorrow.

-Finally, head to Berkeley Place and check out Ted Leo A-Z. A simply amazing post from BP, looking at one of the best. It's funny to see everyone jerking off to Neil Young and Pearl Jam getting political, when Ted's been doing this all along, even when it wasn't easy and the polls were in favor of the bad guys. Dedicated to TA, who first turned me on to his music and has taken a huge step in her life recently that takes just as much courage. Yeah!

-Sunday is Bob Dylan Sunday, 'nuf said.