Archive for May, 2007

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!

THE 5 BEST COVERS, REMIXES, AND RESISSUES OF ’07 . . . SO FAR

1. You Know That I’m No Good-Arctic Monkeys. If they were gonna do Amy Winehouse, I think they should have covered, “Rehab.” But whatever. This is hot. A rare cover that is as good and vibrant and original as the original. The last time I felt this strong about a cover released at the same time as a current hit was when I heard Rilo Kiley’s cover of “Such Great Heights.”

Plus: The Arctic Monkeys are making a play for best coverband, giving us an awesome version of The Strokes’ “Take It Or Leave It” as well…What’ll they do next?

You Know That I’m No Good-The Arctic Monkeys.

Bonus:
Take it or Leave it-The Arctic Monkeys

2. My Humps-Alanis Morisette. Okay, I just wrote that it’s rare to find a cover that is as good and vibrant and original as the original. Here’s one that’s better. Will.I.Am, what hast happened to thee, since the advent of lame Fergie? (Note: As far as I know, this single has not been officially released, thus making it independent even if the artist is on a label. Nevertheless, I’m sure someday it’ll be an official release. It’s too good to sit on mixtapes and bootlegs.)

3. DJ MUGGS VS. GZA-Grandmasters Remix Album.

I expect that most of who you heard of 2004’s Grandmasters Album, credited as being done by “DJ Muggs vs. GZA.” The album was largely slept on by all but the truest Hip Hop Headz, and that’s sad, really, because it’s so different from everything else being produce nowadays: No chipmunk soul, no blends, no guest spots thrown hastily in to market a new product. It was true hip hop: The DJ and the rapper clearly working out a concept and driving it home on each track. (The conceit is that street life is a chess game, and the tales are told through that analogy.) The remix album is equally powerful: It updates the ’04 originals, adding some of the more modern elements without sacrificing the honesty and truth of the original. The original album is one of those that changes for me each time I hear it, and this remix promises to do the same.

Queen’s Gambit-DJ Muggs vs. GZA (remix)

Full review here.

4. FINEST WORKSONGS: ATHENS BANDS PLAY THE MUSIC OF R.E.M.

Wanna hear what it would sound like if Patterson Hood, the muscle and main engine of the fabulous Drive-By Truckers, replaced Michael Stipe? Well, this is as close as you’re gonna get. With contributions from x, y, z, and covers of great songs like Pilgrimage, Circle, and Don’t Go Back To Rockville, this “tribute” album is really a live concert showing how great the old, I.R.S. R.E.M. songs have withstood the test of time. Now all we need is nice indie celebration of the songs of Leo Sayers. (Long Tall Glasses by Jack White, anyone?)

Belong (REM cover)-Patterson Hood

5. PETER BJORN AND JOHN-“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”

At first blush, it sounds not-all-that-different from the original. Same pace, same beat. But the lower octave and the upright bass give this song a folkier–and darker–feel. I had no idea what this song was about when Paul Simon sang it, but it made me feel hopeful. This version seems cynical. Love the whistle-break, too.

Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

5 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2007 (SO FAR)

1. MARK RONSON’S “Version” and VARIOUS-“Bridging the Distance.”

To quote a wise old lady, “Where the beef?” Sure, Lily Allen doing The Kaiser Chief is great, and I think updating Pat Benetar’s “Invincible” is a great idea, too (I have all Pat’s albums—my first rock-gal crush). But soooooo much filler. On the “Distance” collection, there’s simply no excuse to make this a double-album. There’s enough material for one solid disc here, though, which is more than I can say for “Version.” When “Version” is good, it’s a lot of fun (and it is worth buying for the times that it does succeed, by the way). But when it’s lame, it’s Kasabian doing a horn-infused remix of “L.S.F.” How many versions of that song can K release before they officially turn themselves into one-hit wonders?

2. KAISER CHIEFS-Yours Truly, Angry Mob

“Ruby,” the first single, was promising: A chanting, fist-pumping chorus and a postpunk hook a la Franz Ferdinand, even it was almost identical to that Na Na Na Na one they did last time around. But the rest of the album brought absolutely nothing to the table. “I Predict a Riot” was one of the greatest singles of its year, on an overall solid debut. This must be the sophomore slump.

3. TIMBALAND

To quote The Clipse: Eghk. Not one great song on the album, and most of it is derivative and unlistenable. And I’m a huge fan of the first five Missy E albums–even “So . . . Addictive”–so you can’t accuse me of just hatin’ for no reason. I admit that I seem to be the only person in the world who didn’t find Sexyback catchy. I mean, Justin has a great voice—so whose genius idea was it to have him sing with distortion, burying his ability in a mix of fuzz??? Oh, wait, it was Timbaland’s idea. Also, I can’t stand that Nelly Furtado single. I think the mighty have fallen.

4. DEMOCRATS

POTUS’ ratings are lower than whale poop—the lowest in recent history. Real people, more and more of them, are getting hit by the AMT, and there’s no respite in sight. In order to pay for his tax cuts, key Administration officials intentionally misstated their budgetary requirements, some in the neighborhood of a billion dollars, which leads to begging, bowing and scraping before Congress. Career Federal Employees’ morale couldn’t be worse, with politicals forcing agencies to change their fundamental agendae to suit temporary right-wing goals. And all the Republicans throw up is a guy whose opinion flip flops more than Kerry (McCain was against the war before he was for the war before he would have managed the war differently) and a man with mob ties (Guilliani’s solution to what ails the middle class is to repeal an estate tax that affects less than 2% of the country). The next generation is obese and is looking at a world where America is hated, there’s no health care, and there’s no social security. So what great plan do the Dems come up with?

None.

5. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE QUEEN

With a pedigree including Verve, The Clash, Fela Kuti, Blur, and the Gorillaz, not to mention production by Dangermouse, I never expected something boring. R.I.P. Gorillaz. You’re sorely missed.

MEA CULPA (Ben Gibbard 5.13.07)

Posted: May 22, 2007 by dillion in Uncategorized

Yesterday, I hastily threw up Ben Gibbard covering Billy Bragg. Only I didn’t. That’ll teach me to post on the fly. Turns out the show I received was badly tagged. They didn’t do Bragg, but they did do a new song. A really good new song. That sounds nothing like Billy Bragg.

Sorry.

To make up for it, the tags are fixed, here’s the whole show. It’s pretty good quality, if you don’t mind a little bass. And you’ll have to figure out for yourself what order he played the tunes in.

Ben Gibbard–5/13/07

To Sing For You (Donovan) / Brand New Colony

Title And Registration

Photobooth

We Will Become Silhouettes

Why You’d Want To Live Here

Casino Blues

Crooked Teeth

Passenger Seat

You Remind Me Of Home

405

The Ice Was Getting Thinner (new song!)

Soul Meets Body

Harvest Moon (Neil Young cover)

A Lack of Color

All Apologies (Nirvana cover)

I Will Follow You Into The Dark.

Recyled Air

Such Great Heights

Continuing in my guest post week, which is mirrored at Break Thru Radio (just go there and click on “articles”), with another list assessing the year thus far.

THE BEST INDIE SINGLES OF ’07, SO FAR . . .

1. THE CHILD BALLADS-Cheekbone Hollows

This January release begins with a strum and a chkachkachk. Cool. Then it goes on to tell of . . . Of . . . Actually, I have no idea what the song is about. But it mentions the comfort of a George Jones album and features a vocal track that recalls the best of Mark Bolan and old Stones. Fantastic.

Cheekbone Hollows.

2. SATURNA-Pop Rocks

It’s not Oasis. It’s not even British. It’s a shoegazey anthem that’s neither pretentious, nor dull, and that real musical chops and hot licks, to boot. It’s a single off of Saturna’s long awaited (by me, at least) full-length, Some Delicious Enemy. It’s great.

Saturna: Pop Rocks.

3. BIG BUILDINGS-Alaska

The slow grind of the Replacements used with Americana sensibilities. This is a demo, and sounds a little like it was recorded through gauze, but it’s still fantastic. Big Buildings are probably my favorite band you’ve never heard of, but you can get some of their stuff on emusic so you no longer have any excuses.

Breaking news: The band just lost a founding member. That sucks. Hope they can find a replacement and keep it going.

4. BLOC PARTY-Sunday

I wanted not to list the same band twice during this week of guest posting, but this song compels me to. (You can guess what list BP will also appear on, later this week). Just this once. Musically, it’s standard Bloc Party—crawling drums, distant background vocals, and a chorus that kicks up both the volume and the energy. But the lyrics are affecting on a personal level, not something I usually get out of BP. “I love you in the morning, when you’re still hung over. I love you in the morning, when you’re still strung out.” It’s the kind of song that makes you wish you could be loved that much. And all that goes double for the acoustic version, which breaks me.

Sunday (acoustic version).

5. PHONTE FEATURING CARLITTA DURAND-Take on Me.

Who would expect one of the members of North Carolina’s rap ensemble, Little Brother, to do what is basically a retooling, revamping, remaking (and improving) of an ‘80s pop song? It’s so beyond the original that it can’t even be called a cover. But the true genius is in the last 30 seconds where he eschews the typical rap break in favor of a fade out ramble justifying what he’s just done. Brilliant.

Take On Me.