Saturday, February 24, 2007


I've spent the last four hours in frantic overload, discovering or rediscovering the following little pieces of heaven on earth:

Internet Archive :: NetLabels



And I'm finding the Blogger "New Post" procedure to be far too cumbersome to post the hundred thousand sweetnesses I've found this morning. I'm going to go breathe now and I will return later to share the finds...

Meanwhile, enjoy the links...

Thursday, February 22, 2007


So here's an interesting find I came across while making a "world" music mix for my friend Boone. (It's a protest mix against the label "world" being used to encompass literally (no pun) a world of music)...

Anyway, from Hawaii, I bring you the (late) Israel Kamikawiwo'ole, playing a "Somewhere Over The Rainbow + What A Wonderful World" medley live...

Israel Kamikawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow (medley)

Sunday, February 18, 2007


I don't care what the fags say... There ain't nothing like a banjo. Unless it's a mandolin... But we'll save Chris Thile for a later post. I think these guys are awfully listen-able... Classic instrumentation, good vocal harmonies. And refrains penned by Dylan.

Plus they're trés cute...

Check them out at La Zona Rosa in Austin next Saturday, if you're so inclined...

To avoid any confusion, Mr. Thile is definitely trés cute, too...

Friday, February 16, 2007


Fair warning, fair readers: if you're the owner of a BlogSpot blog, "upgrading your template" when prompted is easy. So easy, in fact, it's easy to make very hard. Especially at 4AM, before you've finished your first cup of coffee. It might make some...of us...want to cry.

This is true, even if your coffee has an extra jolt, like the morning dew currently in my pot.

Fair warning...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

i'm (back) from barcelona...

Here's the song, provided to you from the arguably more controlled environment of their album, Let Me Introduce My Friends...

I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona

We're From Barcelona

I'm gonna sing this song with all of my friends
and we're I'm from Barcelona
Love is a feeling that we don't understand
but we're gonna give it to ya

We'll aim for the stars
We'll aim for your heart when the night comes
And we'll bring you love
You'll be one of us when the night comes

This band is further evidence supporting my theory that the Swedes, Seasonal Affective Disorder notwithstanding, know how to make chirpy, feel-good pop like nobody else...

i'm from barcelona...

Well, I'm not, and neither are they. But that's what they're called. (They're actually a 29-person "supergroup" from Sweden...) I've been digging their sound for a while now, but I hadn't bothered to check out the band. Then, in an inspired-yet-ultimately unsatisfactory search of Belgian blogs for an explanation of an elusively-titled album in my collection ("Presents", in a folder entitled "Adrian Boult") I found this live acoustic session.

This is one of the coolest little videos I've run across yet...try to see for yourself exactly what they're using to create this Up With People sound and be amazed! SCISSORS PLAY A PART FOR CHRISTSAKES! How awesome...?

Here's I'm From Barcelona, performing "We're From Barcelona"...

And by the way, it was really "Adrian Bouldt" and you'd be scandalized to discover how unhelpful Google is in finding a missing 'd'...

Video shamelessly un-embedded and imported here to the States from a certain podcaster Vox...

jeff mangum

Here's a little clip I stumbled across on YouTube. It's Jeff Mangum singing his outfit's (Neutral Milk Hotel) album's title track (In The Aeroplane Over The Sea), solo. Hella lyrics, y'all, hella lyrics.

Neutral Milk Hotel
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be
In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me

What a curious life we have found here tonight
There is music that sounds from the street
There are lights in the clouds
Anna's ghost all around
Hear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees

Now how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through
Your mouth to make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
And now we keep where we don't know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
With one you loved so long ago
Now he don't even know his name

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I'll be laughing out loud
I'll be laughing with everyone I see
Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

Here's to hoping the re-unite...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's day!

I hope everyone is enjoying the Hallmark Holiday today. I have a little treat to post, but unfortunately it's a blogging transgression which is unprecedented in this most formal of online music review houses. (tongue firmly planted in cheek...)

So the last song I posted - the "mood" song - was by Andrew Bird. So is today's track. But I just stumbled upon a pre-release single from his upcoming new album, Armchair Apocrypha. And it's really good! Do check it out, and go be Valentine-y!

Andrew Bird - Heretics

Props to Pitchfork. They're good for something, at least.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Here's a mood song because it's past my bed time...

Andrew Bird - Don't Be Scared

Don't Be Scared
by Andrew Bird

whenever paul thinks of rain, swallows fall in a wave and tap on his window with their beaks. whenever paul thinks of snow, soft winds blow round his head and his phone rings just once late at night-like a bird calling out, "wake up, paul. don't be scared. don't believe you're all alone."
"wake up, paul," whisper clouds rolling by and the seeds falling softly from the branches of the trees.

Sleep tight, fair readers...

Friday, February 09, 2007

you decide, part ii

I'm excited about this morning's comparison. What a great song! We're comparing, of course, Tim Buckley's original version of Song to the Siren with the 1984 version that perhaps made it (very) famous. That one was released by This Mortal Coil, which featured vocals by Liz Fraser from the Cocteau Twins.

Also, just because you're good, I'm going to throw in a version of the song released by The Czars.

Strange thing? When I was preparing my uploads for this post, I decided to give the Czars' version another whirl, since I hadn't heard it in over a year. I think I never gave it a chance last time, because I think it might be my favorite so far. That's saying something, given how much I respect Tim Buckley, and how much I obsessed over TMC's version in the past...

Tim Buckley - Song To The Siren

This Mortal Coil - Song To The Siren

The Czars - Song To The Siren

As always, fair readers, vote in the comments...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

twee redux

The post about Voxtrot earlier in the week left the taste of Twee in my ...ears... and I think I need to do it up right. So here's your dose of that catchy, pop-y music with lyrics-just-a-little-too-smart -for-their-own-good goodness.

Before we begin, I will divulge that I have the entire collection of Sarah Records singles, 001-099...

Yes, ladies and gentlmen: you never knew it, but we are TWEE AS FUCK around here. (And no comments questioning the validity of Belle & Sebastian or The Cardigans as TweePop... I've heard far too much Ska being slid under the covers for a little "mainstreamness" to get in the way of technical definitions...)

Beulah - Popular Mechanics For Lovers

The Cardigans - Lovefool

Belle & Sebastian - Seeing Other People

~and the grand finale~

Tullycraft - Twee

what choice??

What choice do I have but to post about this great band? First of all, their name is Romance of Young Tigers....


How great is that? If you are a fan of Explosions in the Sky or GY!BE, you should check out this little trio. It's worth noting that there is not a percussionist in the band or in the sound, but it's still melodic and full...

Romance of Young Tigers - Long Withdrawing Roar

bishop allen

Bishop Allen is a band of a different stripe. They have a pretty diverse sound, to begin with. But the real novelty to me is the way they chose to release their songs this past year: they released a 4-song EP every month. This departure from the usual approach of saving and honing songs for months or even years had some pretty cool results. For my part, I think it kept them fresh and gave a more direct insight into the evolution of their art. At the end of the day (year) they have a nice collection of 48 very different songs. Here's a snippet from September EP:

Bishop Allen - Fireflies

They have a bunch of songs, as well as their 12 EPs and their full album release, Charm School, available for download and purchase, respectively, at their web site.

Monday, February 05, 2007

a pb&j video

Yeah, that's right: Peter, Bjorn & John ... They've got a sweet video out, which I shall embed for your viewing plezhah:

The chick singing co-lead vocals is Victoria Bergsman, formerly (as in, last week) of The Concretes. Just FYI...

autumn shade...

Check out Autumn Shade, a quiet folk duo from Oklahoma. The site streams some great music, and there's a downloadable track at MySpace. Very nice, especially if you like female vocalists. I recommend "Home".

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I thought I'd just post a song that's simply happy. I've been addicted to the beat of this little number since I first heard it last year. I wish I could find a whole album of this... Voxtrot - straight from Austin, by the way!

Voxtrot - The Start of Something

And the lyrics (the best rendition I could find, at least):

The Start Of Something
by Voxtrot

This time of night I could call you up
I'd get angry with athletic ease, break common laws in twos and threes
If I die clutching your photograph
Don't call me boring, It's just 'cause I like you
Take me on back... take me back
To the place where I could feel your heart
Is this the end or just the start of
Something really, really beautiful
Wrapped up and disguised as something really, really ugly,

Won't you...
Come by and see me, I'm a love letter away
I'd break your name before I'd say, "I really love you, love you, "
I don't care if you saw, I watched every inch of film
Flash across your Roman features,
And I loved it, loved it; I don't care if

You think I'm eager to shut your eyes, well
I'm sorry-everybody knows you can't break me with your gutter prose
Would you believe it, she sent me a letter,
The ring, it nearly weighs her down, she's got another boy, oh boy
Steady your ears... read my lips
Poetry is not a luxury, it's how I'll break this home
And when I'm really ill, won't you cradle me?
Man is not a noble animal, but maybe woman is, remember,

I heard you...
Inside your room, you said, "You never really live
Until your back's against the wall, " oh did you really mean it?
I never break my gaze, if just to see this scar remain reflected in your eyes
I think it's time to go home

Oh, tell me your thoughts, tell me your thoughts on liberty,
See there's a place where I sink to sleeping
Oh, my vote is as red as my blood
Will you join me for another round? I haven't had the chance to speak yet

God speed...
I break the law once every week to feel your touch,
What's a book to you in bed, Do you feel better, older?
This just makes me ill, your name is dripping from my pen
Still you're not around to curse,
I'll drop the gun now, I'm still under you...

Marianne, let the ghosts sleep tonight.
Marianne, let the ghosts sleep, just shut your eyes and burn the past away.

you decide, part 1

I think I'll start a series of posts comparing two versions of the same song. I don't know, it just feels novel enough to be fun. Not to take a page from Coverville's playbook; I won't be nearly so purist about it... ;-) Anyway, this morning's contest is between old classic and new awesome:

Nina Simone - Feeling Good

Muse - Feeling Good

I hope that neither needs much introduction, so listen, enjoy, and vote in the comments!


That felt so good (har!) that I thought I'd add another version, just for grins. A little bit different stripe, but it's the same song...

The Pussycat Dolls - Feeling Good

Saturday, February 03, 2007

because the tiger part is absent

I'm going to post something I think would make him very excited. (He is very excitable, after all...) Antony ~of Antony & The Johnsons fame~ has provided all of the vocals for the latest 5-song EP from composer Michael Cashmore, The Snow Abides. (Check it out on MySpace...) Also, Antony & The Johnsons is allegedly recording another album right now... So, that's pretty cool. Despite the rather morose approach to song-writing employed, I think few can deny the beauty of the orchestral arrangements or the striking (if Boy George-esque) vocals.

Samples from older albums, in release order and the order in which they attracted my attention... Be careful not to drown in the pathos:

From the self-titled album:

Antony & The Johnsons - Cripple & The Starfish

Lyrical highlights:
I am very happy
So please hit me
I am very very happy
So come on hurt me

From I Am A Bird Now:

Antony & The Johnsons - Fistful of Love

Lyrical highlights:
I feel your fists
And I know it's out of love
And I feel the whip
And I know it's out of love

iron & wine

I looked back and realized I hadn't really posted about Iron & Wine yet, not since this blog began. This is an oversight for which I should not be readily excused. Make protest, plucky readers! Well, I hope to begin penance with this post.

So, Iron & Wine is just one dude. One freakin'-ass amazing dude (Sam Beam). I can honestly say he's among my top 5 favorite artists of all time. 3. He's lo-fi. He's folk. And his lyrics getcha right here. Those of you who know my tastes know this is the trifecta of OMG!!1! I <3 THIS!! music for me.

So, here's the ZIP of his full performance on NPR, which is a good primer for Iron & Wine. It includes as the last track a toned-down (yes, toned-down...) version of his song "The Trapeze Swinger", which is amazingly awe-mazing even though he sorta fucks it up. It's also not released on any of his albums that I can find...only on the In Good Company soundtrack. So, without further ado...

Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger

The Trapeze Swinger
by Iron & Wine

please remember me, happily
by the rosebush laughing
with bruises on my chin, the time when
we counted every black car passing
your house beneath the hill, and up until
someone caught us in the kitchen
with maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
a vision too removed to mention

but please remember me, fondly
i heard from someone you're still pretty
and then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates
had some eloquent graffiti
like: "we'll meet again" and "fuck the Man"
and "tell my mother not to worry"
and angels with their great handshakes
but always done in such a hurry

and please remember me, at Halloween
making fools of all the neighbors
our faces painted white, by midnight
we'd forgotten one another
and when the morning came i was ashamed
only now it seems so silly
that season left the world and then returned
and now you're lit up by the city

so please remember me, mistakenly
in the window of the tallest tower
call, then pass us by, but much too high
to see the empty road at happy hour
gleam and resonate just like the gates
around the Holy Kingdom
with words like: "lost and found" and "don't look down"
and "someone save temptation"

and please remember me as in the dream
we had as rug-burned babies
among the fallen trees and fast asleep
beside the lions and the ladies
that called you what you like and even might
give a gift for your behavior:
a fleeting chance to see a trapeze-
swinger high as any savior

but please remember me, my misery
and how it lost me all i wanted
those dogs that love the rain, and chasing trains
the colored birds above there running
in circles round the well, and where it spells
on the wall behind St. Peter's
so bright with cinder gray in spray paint:
"who the hell can see forever?"

and please remember me, seldomly
in the car behind the carnival
my hand between your knees, you turn from me
and said the trapeze act was wonderful
but never meant to last, the clowns that passed
saw me just come up with anger
when it filled the circus dogs, the parking lot
had an element of danger

so please remember me, finally
and all my uphill clawing
my dear, but if i make the Pearly Gates
i'll do my best to make a drawing
of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
an angel kissin' on a sinner
a monkey and a man, a marching band
all around the frightened trapeze-swinger

nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah...