Archive for May, 2007

10 REASONS MY BLOG LOVES COVER VERSIONS!

Posted: May 26, 2007 by dillion in Uncategorized

Preliminarily, I don’t suppose I could convince some of you to go take this survey and write us in as your favorite blog?

1. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (Prince cover)-My Morning Jacket

This is Prince with his High School Basketball team. Can you figure out which one is him? (Answer at the end of this post.)

2. Bad Boy for Life (P Diddy cover)-Clem Snide

3. Sympathy for the Devil-Blood Sweat and Tears (Rolling Stones cover)

4. Crazy for You (Madonna)-Counting Crows

5. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [The Band]-And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead

6. GET THE LED OUT!!!

That’s the Way-Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Communication Breakdown/How Many More Times-Rose Hill Drive

Immigrant Song-Rose Hill Drive

Good Times Bad Times-Rose Hill Drive

You Shook Me-Rose Hill Drive

I Can’t Quite You Baby-Rose Hill Drive

Dazed and Confused-Rose Hill Drive

Farther On Down The Road (You Will Accompany Me); Even After All; Ramble On -Jack Johnson

Zeppelin Medley/You Got the Touch-Buckethead

7. GET THE PINK FLOYD OUT!

Arnold Layne-Robyn Hitchcock

Bike-Robyn Hitchcock

Chapter 24-Robyn Hitchcock

Lucifer Sam-Robyn Hitchcock

Flaming-Robyn Hitchcock

Gnome-Robyn Hitchcock

Interstellar Overdrive-Robyn Hitchcock

Astronimy Domine-Robyn Hitchcock

Pow R Toc-Robyn Hitchcock

See Emily Play-Robyn Hitchcock

pink floyd zip file

8. Wait (Secret Stars cover)-Death Cab for Cutie

9. Trouble (Cat Stevens)-Elliot Smith

10.

La Grange (zz top cover)-the eels

ANSWER: Prince is the fabulous one in the bottom right corner, with that too-cool-for-school smirk.

I hate to call any of these “the best” because there are other great ones out there. These just made the deepest impressions on me. In no particular order.

1. ALBERT HAMMOND, JR.-Yours to Keep.

I’m gonna commit a blogger sin and admit that I’m not a fan of The Strokes. I like some of their singles, but none of their albums hold together for me. That said, Albert Hammond, Jr.’s solo release, “Yours To Keep,” is a really solid rock album. Ballads like “Back to the 101” could easily be transformed, live, into wave-the-lighter anthems, and toe-tappers like “Everyone Gets a Star” and standards like “It’s Hard to Live In the City” keep the record going without ever urging one to hit the skip button. Like his work with The Strokes, there’s nothing new here—it’s all stuff that’s been created before, but here it’s honed to a fine edge. Albert is a well-skilled songcrafter, and this is his best work yet. I love Arcade Fire, Amy Winehouse, Modest Mouse, and all the other great stuff that’s come out this year, and yet I find myself turning more often to Mr. Hammond. Here’s why:

A few live tracks, from June 3 of this year:

In Transit-Albert Hammond, Jr. (live)

Everyone Gets a Star-Albert Hammond, Jr. (live)

Back to the 101-Albert Hammond, Jr. (live)

And a couple more, since you’ve been such a swell audience…

Postal Blowfish-Albert Hammond, Jr. (live GBV cover)

Old Black Dawning (Frank Black)-Albert Hammond, Jr. (live)

2. PELA-Anytown Graffiti

The explosive cut, “Lost to the Lonesome” is the most catchy single on the record, but the entire LP holds together well. It sounds original and important, even if the mpassioned, sometimes straining vocals fall somewhere between Arcade Fire and Bloc Party, and music does about the same.

Lost to the Lonesome-Pela

Stream the album here.

Full review here.

3. THE FEATURES-Contrast.

If I hadn’t picked this album for this list, “I Will Wander” would definitely have made it on the best cuts of the year list. Phenomenally catchy, with it’s ELO vibe and ’80s vocal track, Wander is one of the best pop songs this year (or any year, perhaps). And the great news is there’s a bunch more to hear! I thought when they were dropped by their label, the band would fold, but instead they’re better than ever. You can buy it at e-music or at their own site. It’s just 6 bucks, and it’s well worth it.

P.S.: I know this is just an EP, but giving us five extremely excellent songs is more than most albums can muster, so it’s on this list. Deal with it.

Commotion-The Features

Full review here.

4. ARCTIC MONKEYS-Favourite Worst Nightmare

The biggest act on Domino, and likely one of the biggest indie acts of this modern era, the first Arctic Monkeys sold truckloads, even after most of it was already available for free for download from the band’s own site and even after the rest of it had already leaked. If that’s not a refutation of the argument that it’s downloading that’s killing music, then…Well, then here’s another one: The Grateful Dead had special sections in their audience for tapers. They let tapers freely distribute their shows. Never hurt their sales. Ahem. Somehow this review became a political discourse. I’m known to ramble that way. Like the other day, when I was talking with-.

I’m rambling again.

Most of what I’ve read about the Arctic Monkeys’ second album, “Favourite Worst Nightmare,” was that the riffs were still good but the lyrics were not. I don’t know about that—I’m too busy bobbing my head and shaking my arms about wildly (that’s how geeky bloggers dance) to pay overmuch attention to the words. And most of the AM’s wit consists of funny one-liners, anyway. I think “Favourite Worst Nightmare” is as good—or better—than “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.” How do ya like that? It’s much more experimental, allowing Alex Turner and Jamie Cook to duel not just on fast numbers but on some intricate midtempo ones as well. Lyrically, the content expands from gals and booze to more philosophical musings about the industry and media, as well as the struggle to be fulfilled as an artist. (And there’s still plenty about bad broads, too.) Plus, it clocks in at under 40 minutes. The boys know to hit once, hit hard, and get out while you still want more. How many other bands can say that these days?

Here’s cuts from a show from earlier this year.

This House is a Circus

Teddy Picker

D is for Dangerous

5. BRAD SWEITZER-”Stove and Taker”


“I don’t care, ’cause we burned our underwear in Canada.” Where else can you hear a lyric like that? Or like this: “When Frankie saw the photograph he knew just how fat he was, he said Drinking beer always made me think clear, now he’s doin’ sit ups on the floor.”

Wittiest album of the year. From the great Me and the Machine Records.

Your Sister

Full review here.

6. BROTHER ALI-The Undisputed Truth.

I just posted on this albino African American rapper last week, and just got the album a few days before that. I’ve already listened to it six times.

Best hip hop album of the year so far–indie or otherwise–and one of the greatest rap records in recent history. Believe that.

Go to my recent review for a few mp3s.

7. BLOC PARTY- Weekend in the City

Silent Alarm introduced a band who could do one type of song well. They did “Like Eating Glass” great as a rock song, great slowed down a little bit, and even remixed it well. Weekend in the City is clearly an attempt to break out a little, and take more risks, but where The Killers did that and failed miserably, Bloc Party is able to add a more serious, darker tone to their otherwise bouncy postpunk sound. Perhaps it’s because although they’ve clearly grown as a group, they don’t stray too far from their roots.

Silent Alarm’s political themes were clear, the music was so raw and powerful that heavy lyrics couldn’t slow the record down. You have to think more about this one. Kele Okereke especially seems willing to fail, stretching his voice in ways he hasn’t before (at least not on any of the band’s studio efforts). Check out “I Still Remember,” for example, where he dominates in a way he didn’t on the band’s last effort. But don’t worry, it’s also got plenty of the band’s signature hard drums, turn-on-a-dime changes, and muscular, stadium-rock riffs. And they can still do both romantic music and conscious music, sometimes at the same time.

8. MARNIE STERN-IN ADVANCE OF THE BROKEN ARM

Easily the best indie metal album of the year, and perhaps the only album this year to pay tribute to Rush, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, ACDC, and all the other cock rockers of yore. Dissonant, aggressive, fast, hard, and raw.

Precious Metal

Full review here.

9. THE ARCADE FIRE-Neon Bible.

An anti-war album from the kings of modern indie rock. If you find it disappointing, it’s probably just because Funeral changed the landscape of rock so completely. This album in no way falls short.

10. THE BROKEN WEST- I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On

Broken West surprised me by taking a relatively tired genre (Americana/indie country) and reviving the standard formula with a new energy you just can’t find in the latest WilcoRyanAdamsSunVolt release.

Full review and a complete live show here!

Well, we’re done. Thanks to all of you who read this far down on the page. Please come by my blog and say hi!

CARTOON NETWORK’S ADULT SWIM GIVEAWAY!

Posted: May 25, 2007 by dillion in Uncategorized

albumartwork.jpg

Okay, so I’ve already posted on the cool “warm and scratchy mix” Cartoon Network is offering here.

Now, we’re giving a way a cool grab bag to a lucky reader. I’ve got a list of all the (many) items in it:

1. Warm & Scratchy on CD.

2. An ATHF koozie.

3. An adult swim postcard book.

4. A meatwad stressball. (One of my fave items.)

5. Adult swim button set.

6. Adult swim sticker set.

7. A williams street t-shirt

8. ATHF movie mix CD

9. Adult swim belt

10. Assy keychain

11. Adult swim notebook

12. Williams street button

“But Ekko . . . What do I have to do to win this fabulous prize package?”

Simple. Drop me a comment or send me an e-mail with these two things:

CONTEST IS CLOSED–THE ANSWER WAS TIM AND ERIC’S AWESOME SHOW GREAT JOB!
And in case you’re too lazy to click the link to find this out, here’s the songs that are available, free for download now, on the Warm & Scratchy mix.

01. Me-I – TV On The Radio
02. Dead Sound – The Ravenettes
03. The Equestrian – Les Savy Fav
04. Crimson Red – The Rapture
05. Justine – 120 Days
06. Canada Vs. America – Broken Social Scene
07. Color of the love You Have – SOUND Team
08. The Bunting Song (acoustic version) – The Good, The Bad and The Queen
09. Half Century – The Brother Kite
10. Silver (Original Beats) – Jesu
11. Back to Flash – Amusement Parks on Fire
12. Stay Awake – Asobi Seksu
13. Winter – Fennesz
14. Sunset Rodeo – Liars

10 REASONS OTHER BLOGS ARE COOL, TOO

Posted: May 24, 2007 by dillion in Uncategorized

1.

The Hood Internet offers Spoon vs. Ghostface. Not sure how well this works, but mad points for the concept.

2. Copy, Right? has the Kaiser Chiefs covering “What Time is Love?” (KLF) and Len (remember them? “Steal My Sunshine”?) covering New Edition! It can’t get syrupier than that. If syrupier is a word, of course.

3. Aquarium Drunkard has some Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown rarities up for the taking. I used to like Ryan a lot, but lately he leaves me cold.

4. Ryan has some covers, too. Like that cool Jessie’s Girl cover by the treadmill band.

5. The Plugg offers Greg Laswell’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. And it’s supergood.

6. Okay. This is a reason this blog was cool months ago. But anyway . . .

We posted on the great Mooney Suzuki’s new album a while back. Did you buy it yet? No, you didn’t. It’s not out until June 9th! The date got pushed back or something. But you should check out our old post and check out the album, too. It’s hot. As evidenced by this track:

99%-Mooney Suzuki.

Proof that some bands never stop being great. Plus, if you get it off iTunes you get 4 bonus tracks. And while I’m plugging these guys, I’ll give you some dates:

The Mooney Suzuki Summer ‘07
w/ The Photo Atlas
Jun 22 Oklahoma City , OK @ The Conservatory
Jun 23 Dallas , TX @ House of Blues
Jun 25 Tempe , AZ @ The Sets
Jun 26 Las Vegas , NV @ The Dive Bar
Jun 27 San Diego , CA @ Casbah
Jun 28 Los Angeles , CA @ Spaceland
Jun 29 San Francisco , CA @ Rickshaw Stop
Jul 1 Portland , OR @ Dante�s
Jul 2 Seattle , WA @ El Corazon

w/ The Dark Romantics
Jul 4 Chicago , IL @ Subterranean
Jul 5 Cleveland , OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Jul 6 Philadelphia , PA @ The Khyber
Jul 7 Hoboken , NJ @ Maxwells
Jul 8 Washington D.C. @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Jul 12 Boston , MA @ Harpers Ferry
Jul 13 Providence , RI @ The Living Room
Jul 14 Albany , NY @ Valentines

7. Covert Curiousity offers a great run-down on Spoon, in honor of the new release, including some cool and rare mp3s. This post is what blogging is all about. The only criticism I have of it is that I didn’t write it.

8. This picture:


is from Motel de Moka, where you can always find cool, eclectic mixes. Another great blogger.

9. Cable and Tweed offers some live Laura Veirs. I’m on the fence with her, but go and make up your own mind.

10. And finally . . . Check out Passion of the Weiss’ review of The Boxer. He thinks it’s The National’s best album yet.

EVERYBODY LIKES CAKE

Posted: May 24, 2007 by dillion in Uncategorized


Cake have been around for over a decade, and they’ve been popular at many of the blogs I frequent, perhaps because their bouncy, light-funk swing has always been just to the left of mainstream and sounds independent, even if Cake was on a major label. That’s right. WAS. Cake as you know it, has changed. They’ve finally come from the dark side to the light. (No, I don’t mean they moved from Sacramento to SF.) The band has left their home on [generic major label] and have signed themselves to their own label, Upbeat Records.

Congratulations!

I’m hoping this will enable them to move away from hitpop like Never There and grow owards the more edgy, intellectual oddball rock they’ve proven themselves capable on so many B sides.

And speaking of B sides . . . They’ve released B Sides and Rarities, a collection of the band’s more interesting work including covers like The Muppets’ Mahna Mahna; Black Sabbath’s, War Pigs; and Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, once made famous by Kenny Rogers. It’s also got originals you might not have heard, but should have because they’re much more likely to get you into this band than the band’s big label hit, The Distance.

I’m told that the future will bring a live album, Live At The Crystal Palace, and a new studio album. The group is great live (and to prove it, the B Sides collection includes a live version of War Pigs performed with Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips).

To encourage store-buying over digital-downloading, the album has a scratch and sniff CD package with five different color/scent variations (including red/fresh cut roses, yellow/banana, brown/leather, green/fresh) . . . Okay, that’s just weird.

Check out some flava from the album, get in the mood, and go getchaself a slice a cake here!

Never, Never Gonna Give You Up-Cake.

Excuse Me, I Think I’ve Got a Heartache

War Pigs.

You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m going to save my “Best Albums” list until last. I’m like Casey Kasem that way.

But this week, I’ll post my runner ups!

1. !!!: Myth Takes.

Hitting my ears at about the same time the first LCD Soundsystem and Rapture albums came out, along with tons of sound-alikes, Chk x 3’s Louden Up Now just didn’t move me. It sounded common, for the most part, with a few exceptional numbers stuck between a bunch of sound-the-same tracks. I’ve listened to it a few times since then, just to give the band another chance, but I still wasn’t impressed.

Then along came this year’s Myth Takes. If Louden was punk-dance, this one is dance-punk. Heavy on the beat, this is a geek-chic disco masterpiece. Although the real star is the percussion, they use brass and strings as rhythm instruments, just like James Brown, sprinkling in quick toots and beeps for extra flavor. (Ignore the lyrics, and consider the vocals an afterthought.) Songs like “A New Name” recall Studio 54, while “Sweet Life” is anthemic. Most surprising is “Infinifold,” the free-form ballad that wraps up the CD. Yes indeed, the band is finally showing range.

I’m not saying Myth Takes is a work of genius, or even that it will have a lot of staying power. What I’m saying is that it’s the band’s strongest release so far, tighter and denser, and it’s not like anything else I’ve reviewed this year. For now, at least, I thoroughly enjoy it.

2. THE TEETH-You’re My Lover Now

For fans of The White Stripes, Pela, Robbers and Cowards, The Walkmen, and The Cold War Kids . . . Groundbreaking music as familiar as it is unlike anything you’ve heard before. Every time I hear this album it’s like hearing it for the first time.

Full review here.

3. CHRISOPHER BLUE-“Room Tones.”

A radioheady blues collection of very well-written mellow rock. Complex, catchy, and thought-provoking. I was this close (makes small space between fingers) to knocking !!! off and putting this record on my best-records-of-the-year-so-far list. It’s just that good.

(Oooops! I just gave something away about tomorrow’s post!)

E-card.

Ghost in the Night-Chrisopher Blue

These Thoughts-Chrisopher Blue

Full review here.

4. MF DOOM Meets Clutchy Hopkins.

Anything with MF DOOM on it is worth a listen, but this is just a mash up of the Masked Man with underground legend Clutchy Hopkins. The six raw cuts, untitled and leaked to the web, show potential. But without original material, it just whets the appetite. And where’s that confounded DOOM/Ghostface team up, anyway? Anyway, this was an unofficial release but if you can track it down, it might keep you cool while you wait for GFK and MF to get their shit together.

5. LIL’ WAYNE-Da Drought 3

This mixtape was probably more anticipated than most records, based on the sheer power of last year’s Dedication 2 (and the sheer crap that the record industry–particularly hip hop producers–put out on major labels). Da Drought is mostly meat, less filler. Spitting over beats like “This is Why I’m Hot” and “Black Republicans,” Weezy again proves how much better he can do other people’s songs. You gotta hand it to hip hop: Mixtapes were basically the first blogs. Places where fans and artists could release edgy stuff without the restrictions of a label or the need to be commercial. And Weezy puts all his best stuff out this way, anyway.

This also seems like a perfect opportunity to point out how much Weezy

looks like Cassandra, from Survivor.

Black Republicans-Lil’ Wayne with Juelz Santanna.

Black Republicans-Lil’ Wayne with Juelz Santanna (alternate link)

That’s all for today. Tomorrow: The Best of ’07 So Far . . . The Albums!