Monday, January 31, 2011
DC is a pretty transient place, with people moving to and moving from around here all the time. This revolving door even extends to our bands, and one of my most dearly departed, DC-rooted bands is Dead Meadow. Their latest offering, Three Kings, gives you all the Dead Meadow you can handle, what with all that crushing, swirling guitar and intoxicating velvet curtain of rich, heavy psych lushness. The record is actually the soundtrack for the band's DVD of the same name, making it feel slightly indulgent and extravagant. Quite possibly mind-altering.
mp3: I'm Gone (bonus track) (Dead Meadow from Three Kings)
Sunday, January 30, 2011
As with many a Mogwai song, "San Pedro" is brutal, cruel, and relentlessly noisy. A wall of merciless loudness comes at you from all sides, and it hurts so very good.
mp3: San Pedro (Mogwai from the forthcoming Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will)
Saturday, January 29, 2011
The tango. Doubles tennis. Making a thing go right. Two can be just about perfect for any number of things. For instance, as dastardly duo Viva Voce, Kevin & Anita Robinson proved you only need two to make some pretty fantastic music. But the Alabama transplants aren’t resting on their twosome laurels. Oh no. They’ve decided to try expansion on for size, in their new band Blue Giant. And I think you’ll find, as I did, that sometimes, in music as in other things, bigger can sometimes be pretty darn good. Fellow fans of Viva Voce, rejoice. If you’ve been missing the family Robinson, this is your lucky day. I probably still lean a bit more towards Viva Voce, but Blue Giant is a welcome addition to the Robinsonian oeuvre. (SEE MORE)
mp3: Gone For Good (f/ Corin Tucker) (Blue Giant from Blue Giant)
mp3: Catcher In The Rye (DATAROCK from Catcher In The Rye)
Friday, January 28, 2011
mp3: Surrounded By Your Friends (Hooray for Earth from Momo)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Listening to The Chaos reminds me a whole lot of how it felt and sounded when I first listened to the self-titled LP back six long years ago. The songs are so very good, so very catchy, and so very addictive. And while I’d hate to spoil all the frivolous fun, but in a way The Chaos seems a bit, well, mature. It’s like the band has grown up…maybe just a touch. Maturity or no, it’s a well-played return to form for The Futureheads, and I’m certainly impressed with this latest offering. (More here)
mp3: Struck Dumb (The Futureheads from The Chaos)
Hail, hail rock & roll. These little movers and shakers and rattlers and rollers from Philly known as Blood Feathers have delivered a record full of rock & roll reverence and sass, and damned if it's not oh so mighty fine. They've studied the beautiful beginnings of rock & roll quite well, and their forefathers would be so very proud. It's as though they want nothing more than to get your blood pumping and your shimmy shaking, and listening to this record it's hard not to fall victim to their delightful master plan. Surrender now, my friends, because resistance is quite futile.
mp3: Don't Know You At All (Blood Feathers from Goodness Gracious)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
While you're doing that, why not catch up with Mister Kevin Murphy? The mouthpiece and guitarist for The Moondoggies took a little time out from touring activities to answer these here questions. Read on for some sage advice, and also to find out what the official best dinosaur ever is. Or was, rather. And speaking of that Moondoggies tour, it rolls through this area this very Friday (1/28), making a stop at the friendly confines of Iota. See y'all there, I would think/hope/expect.
Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Kevin Murphy: Sitting in the Solar Culture venue in Tucson, AZ. Just had a good meal, which is rare on tour.
LET: Playing music is:
LET: What album most made you realize you wanted to make music?
KM: Meet the Beatles or Nevermind...they both had the same effect.
LET: Beatles or Stones?
KM: John Lennon playing YER BLUES on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.
LET: Top 5 albums (of now, of this month, or of ever):
-strategically left blank-
LET: Favorite music-related movie?
KM: D200 Motels.
LET: Half-full or half-empty?
LET: Which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
KM: I don't think of it as "best." I think a lot of my peers are doing great things.
LET: What’s the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
KM: Need more sleep.
LET: Little-known Moondoggies fact?
KM: Carl didn't play drums when we started.
LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
KM: I haven't traveled the whole world but Easy Street Records in Seattle is my favorite local shop.
LET: Shaken or stirred?
KM: Whiskey and 7.
LET: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
KM: You better be lining them up and knocking them down, not knocking them up and lining them down.
LET: If you weren’t in a band you’d be:
KM: A paleontologist.
LET: Best dinosaur ever?
KM: Utah Raptor.
LET: What do you find most comforting/most disconcerting about going out on tour?
Meeting people and meeting people.
LET: If you were so inclined, whom would you form a tribute band in honor of?
KM: Ted Lucas. This changes daily.
LET: Best song ever written?
KM: This also changes daily. Today? “Tonight Will Be Fine” -Leonard Cohen.
mp3: What Took So Long (The Moondoggies from Tidelands)
Few people on my list are actual, bona fide legends, but this man certainly is. Brian Eno is responsible for one of my favorite records of EVER (Here Come The Warm Jets, if you're wondering), so it's only natural, nay necessary, for me to include him on this here list. Small Craft on a Milk Sea is very, very different, reminding me of, if anything, Eno's Ambient projects (such as Ambient 1: Music for Airports). It's disorienting at times, very often confounding to the senses, and seemingly in possession of time-shifting and bending capabilities. Lovely, yet just a little eerie and subtlely ominous. In short, it's another Eno triumph. Perhaps, my lovelies, this is what the future sounds like.
mp3: Written Forgotten (Brian Eno from Small Craft on a Milk Sea) (thanks, Electric Adolescence! You're the cat's meow)
Who needs traditional song structure when there are epic, almost unfathomable fifteen-minute opuses to be created? Certainly not Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, that's for dang sure. Kollaps Tradixionales is a rich, complex, and demanding of your undivided, reverential attention. The payoff for your due diligence is immense, mind-bending sonic beauty and noisy confoundation that will quite possibly mess with your mind. Do Canadians do the whole experimental changeling sonic sprawl thing better than anyone? There are times, such as while listening to this record, that I'd be inclined to say yes.
mp3: I Built Myself a Metal Bird (Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra from Kollaps Tradixionales) (Thanks, Draw Us Lines! You're awesome)
Ah, the simple joys of the two man band. San Franciscans Daniel Aguilar and Francisco Fernandez unleashed Juices on the world earlier this year, and for that bloody mess of tawdry, filthy, gritty, noisy, punch-you-in-the-gut-and-break-a-beer-bottle-over-your-head rock the world offered grateful thanks. Between the almost possessed, honey-coated rocky howl of Fernandez and the tortuous, have mercy on the drum kit style of Aguilar, The Ferocious Few and their Juices take no prisoners.
mp3: Gasoline & Cocaine (The Ferocious Few from Juices)
mp3: Lord Save My Soul (The Ferocious Few)
Monday, January 24, 2011
There is often beauty to be found in even the most mundane of subject matter, a concept Meridene is most definitely acquainted with. This Wisconsin band tackles those everyday moments and adds solidly arranged, solidly played hooks and harmonies to their take on modern life and modern love. Bell-clear vocals tell stories with a honest appeal, and help makes Meridene a band to keep an eye on.
mp3: Gone Baby Gone (Meridene from Something Like Blood)
Seeing Twin Tigers on their tour with Interpol this past Summer was a rather eye-opening experience. Their sound was dynamic, savage and beautiful, and their record Gray Waves is all of that and then some. Dark shadows and sharp guitars run rampant through blissful sonic sieges like "Red Fox Fun," a behemoth of a song where slicing angularity and grimy fuzz collide with ferocity and explode into something fiery and completely wonderful. The more I listen to this LP, the better it gets.
mp3: Red Fox Run (Twin Tigers from Gray Waves)
You know me, I'm a sucker for anything that's even the slightest bit over the top. And starting with their ridiculously campy album cover, Sensual Harassment is nothing if not over the top. Alpha Draconis bubbles and fizzes its way from silly, synthy dancefloor dreamland to some harder, darker, deadlier nightmarishly wicked and wacky moments of dancerock sass. Whatever angle they happen to take, Sensual Harassment knows how to show a gal a damn good time. Put this on when those good times need to get themselves rollin'.
mp3: Russian Dolls (Sensual Harassment from Alpha Draconis)
Sunday, January 23, 2011
I've been a fan since seeing them play one heck of a show with The Woggles a little while ago. These two dudes (brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall) beat the hell out of their respective instruments, and their sludgy, swampy hazy-crazy rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrock never fails to bring a smile to my face. And for you kids in the UK and Ireland, the dudes are finishing up a tour. Make sure you get out to see them. You won't be disappointed.
mp3: The Tropics (JEFF The Brotherhood from Heavy Days)
Seeing Bellflur at this past Summer's BIMA festival was a rather pleasant surprise, seeing as I'd always meant to yet never quite managed to see them live before that point. This DC ensemble crafts some fine swirly, cinematic dreamscapes, as fine as just about any you're likely to hear. "Insect Politics" has been a recurring song in my rotation for many months now, all shimmery, slinky sophistication. I like to think of asleep. asleep. as pure DC escapism, the perfect record to fend off a mean case of road rage to while sitting in traffic on 495. Or 395. Or 95. Or 66. Or 14th Street...
mp3: Insect Politics (Bellflur from asleep. asleep.)
You might be wondering why I went with 70. It's quite simple, really. Having lived in Richmond, and spent many many many hours driving up and down I-95, I was pleasantly surprised to notice on one of my trips back down that way, that a portion of 95 had been granted 5 extra mph under the law. As anyone who's ever been in a car with me knows, I have quite a hard time going the speed limit. So this extra boost of legal speeding made me rather happy. As do the 70 records I've chosen as my favorites of the fabulous year that was 2010.
As I'm sure you know, we here at LET don't really go for "best" when we're making our lists. So there's a lot you might see on other lists that isn't on my list. I went with what moved me the most. As for what's not on this list, I either didn't hear it (out of simple time constraints or on purpose), or didn't find it quite fit in my 70 record cap. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this here mammoth list. No license or registration needed.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I'm beginning to think Roanoke, VA, might be a magical place, y'all. Every band I know of from there is dynamite. Eternal Summers is yet another offshoot of the Magic Twig Community, and features two of my favorite Young Sinclairs (Eternal Summers recently welcoming Sinclairs drummer John Thompson to the fold as bassist). After this set, I'm jumping firmly on the Eternal Summers bandwagon, and am hereby dubbing them my most favorite of the Roanoke & Rollers.
The set, as I had been alerted to beforehand, was peppered with new songs the band was trying out. "Prisoner," "Cog," "Pure Affection," and "Child's Mind" should be on the new Eternal Summers EP (due out Marchish), and there were a couple untitled jams to boot. Each and every song, new or not-so-new, was delectable. Their sound, which to me falls in some delightful ether between 80s synthpop and 60s psych revivalism, with a sprinkling of that trendy surf thing, translated ever so well to the Red Palace stage. Even with a bit of a sore throat, Nicole Yun's voice was adorably enchanting, and Daniel Cundiff's rapidfire, thoroughbred drumming was deliriously good. The addition of Thompson to the group added immeasurably, adding another level of awesome to the songs. When they launched into my favorite track from the Silver record, "Silver," I think I might have gotten a chill. They proved to be kicky, fizzy, and rather sassy up there on the stage, and as they played I got the feeling that I was seeing a rather special band.
And there you have it, dearest loves. Eternal Summers have my stamp of approval as one of the rootin'-est, tootin'-est, good time-est bands around. You will, without a shadow of a doubt, be infinitely happier once you've let Eternal Summers into your life.
mp3: Pogo (Eternal Summers from Silver)
Friday, January 21, 2011
Bit of a Blur was even better than I could have hoped. Over the course of two days I only put it down to go to work and go to sleep (and fell asleep while reading). James proves a charming, captivating host, clever as you like and engaging as can be. His words are light, but earnest. I immediately was struck at how perfect it was to have such an enthusiastic musician write such an enthusiastic tribute to life as a rock star. In a sense, James is like a kid on Christmas morning while writing about his life with Blur, and it's endearing beyond belief.
Events happen chronologically, and most of the book is, as you would expect, devoted to the Blur years. Along the way you'll pick up many an unexpected nugget of James trivia (unless of course you're a total superfan, in which case you'll already know everything) such as where he met ace Blur axeman Graham Coxon, his most debaucherous, excessively scandalous evening (hint: it involves five ladies and some champers), and the fact that James has been known to fly a plane every now and again. That whole messy feud with Oasis? James barely acknowledges it, glossing over it with a scant mention hither and thither, which for some reason makes me like him even more. Prone to moments of insightful reflection, don't be surprised to come across a thought-provoking sentiment or two, though of course one is always sure that James has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
James is a terribly good spinner of yarns, and gives his recollections with a carefree panache. Even while describing the darker side of success, he remains always likeable, always the hero. Bit of a Blur is, without question, one of the best things I've read in quite a long time. There is so much good to be had within the pages of this book, I can't recommend it enough.
mp3: Country House (Blur from The Great Escape)
Thursday, January 20, 2011
"Baby Don't You Cry" is deliciously addictive, deceptively simple, deliriously delightful, and it can be all yours right this very minute.
mp3: Baby Don't You Cry (Fergus & Geronimo from Unlearn)
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
My apologies for the sporadic posts of late. Damn real job, getting in the way of the glamorous life of an unpaid music blogger. If one of you readers wouldn't mind telling my clients to slow the fuck down so that you can get your daily dose of Terribleness, well, that would be just swell.
We start things off with a bit of futuristic funk from Bradford, England. Hourglass Sea combines ass wobbling synths and pounding drums with 8-bit goodness. Is that Mario copping some coins as i get my groove on? It just might be, sir.
Speaking of futuristic funk, i can think of no more apt description for the work of the Philly/LA crew, Bossasaurus. I suppose i could point out that they're boss, which certainly would be better than calling them a bunch of sore asses, but i may be losing my point here. Let me sum it up this way--if George Clinton's Mothership needed a group to play their interstellar, designer drug fuelled space raves, Bossasaurus could have the gig on the strength of their latest, Lacerta, alone.
Ye olde submission inbox has not disappointed since our last Beat Meet. Yet another case in point comes from Mantis Power. Potomac, Maryland's own sent us a track, which got me digging around on his Band Camp, which led me to this beast he did sampling Lil' Wayne's "A Milli." By utilizing a slower, less frantic beat, MP showcases both his skills as a producer and sheds new light on the lyrics. Well done, son.
While we're on the topic of kick ass production making use of existing vocals, how about this Aaliyah remix by Jus' Like Music's Klaar? The groove is slowed and chilled to almost witchhouse proportions, and the end result is syrupy good, assuming, of course, you like syrup.
And as a Prince junkie, i would be remiss if i did not include this pretty stellar set by DJ Dredd. Dredd hosts regular Prince parties in DC, and this is in recognition of that. Some nice gems to be heard in this hour-long mix.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Listen closely and you'll hear the icicles melt, feel the sun warm just a touch, and see the last piles of snow melt away. Between the fuzzy repetition and the lovely lady vocals, "Devils Hearts Grow Cold" is a winner.
mp3: Devils Hearts Grow Cold (La Sera from Devils Hearts Grow Cold)
Now, some of you might go out this much all the time and think nothing of it, but for the rest of us, think of it thus: Over the course of ten months, I went out once every three nights on average. Yeah, it turned out to be a little crazy. But I tell you what, friends, I wouldn’t change a thing. I saw more ridiculously good live music than I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Of the shows I came and saw and reviewed, there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. Not bad for 100 shows, eh?
So then I thought, well, now that it’s all done and dusted, I really should pick my favorite shows. The ladies and gentlemen will want to know. It was a torment to pick just ten from my hundred, but below are my most favorite shows of the entire project. They’re in no particular order, and stood out not necessarily as the best shows, but just the ones that I loved the most.
#56: A Place To Bury Strangers @ Rittenhouse Square (Philadelphia), 8/25/2010
#65: The Charlatans @ Black Cat, 9/9/2010
#88: The Dandy Warhols & Hopewell @ Ram’s Head Live (Baltimore), 11/9/2010
#13: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ 9:30 Club, 4/5/2010
#86: The Black Angels @ Theatre of Living Arts (Philadelphia), 11/6/2010
#32: The Brian Jonestown Massacre/The Young Sinclairs @ Theatre of Living Arts (Philadelphia), 6/8/2010
#71: James & Ed Harcourt @ 9:30 Club, 9/27/2010
#38: Ceremony @ U Street Music Hall, 6/17/2010
#84: The Phantom Band @ 9:30 Club, 11/1/2010
#79: Gary Numan @ Black Cat, 10/20/2010
I met some great people, saw a whole lot of great music, and have one heckadoo of a great time. In closing, I want to send out massive thanks to all the bands, PR folks, label folks, and management that have been so very open and supportive of this gargantuan little undertaking of mine. Y’all are the bestest, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Sloppy kisses to all, and to all a good night.
mp3: Telephone (live) (The Black Angels from Phosphene Dream)