Friday, February 27, 2009

Worth Another Listen: Ennio Morricone – Theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)










Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking; this isn’t indie rock, pop, folk, or anything. Hell, it’s not even regular rock, pop or blues or electronic or whatever – this is a soundtrack. You may be absolutely right, but the reasons why this is one of my favourite pieces of music of the past 60 years is the same reason why I’m an indie music fan –this track combines an addictive melody, fantastic rhythm and most importantly, stunning innovation. It’s very likely that you know the main tune, but have you ever paid really close attention to the instrumentation? Morricone creates the iconic Western orchestra, and uses it to its full ability and diversity to pack what would normally be a very unassuming track with little nuances that reward with each listen. To merely be able to hum the tune to yourself in your head is to barely capture the slightest essence of this, the greatest theme of all time. Starting with the distant pound of a drum, the main melody breaks across the barren soundscape like a cold Western wind. Slowly, other elements creep in, almost unnoticed as you’re focusing on that unmistakable opening line. However, before you know it, the galloping beat kicks in, and so does the thunderous male choir, driving lead guitar (its use in a major picture soundtrack in front of classical instrumentation unheard of at this time,) a magnificent trumpet breakdown, and those terrifying androgynous vocals. Movie music had never sounded like this before, and hardly ever since. As this whole speeding locomotive of a soundtrack fades into the horizon, all you want to do is head down to the saloon and waste some baddies before the sheriff can even wake up from his afternoon nap. Truly, a masterpiece for the ages.



The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Theme Song (download)


Thursday, February 26, 2009

YE-LID News: Phoenix Album Details (And Apparently Posting A Free MP3 From A Band's Website Breaks The Law, Or Something)

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Je suis confuse.
Before I get to the really important part of this post (ZOMG PHOENIX), I wanted to take the opportunity to give a link to that French band's website so you can listen to the mp3 of my second favourite song of the year so far, "1901". We had a post about its awesomeness earlier, which for some reason got taken down for breaking American copyright law. Even though the band is giving it away for free. Whatever.
But yeah, we have some more Phoenix news for you: album release details! Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix will be available May 25 via Glassnote, and first single "Lisztomania" will be out sometime before then. Yeah, "1901" wasn't even a single. As in, they believe there are better songs for public consumption on this record. Holy fuck, I need this album.
Still nowhere to pre-order, but jump on that shit like a trampoline the second it appears.

Tracklist:

01 Lisztomania
02 1901
03 Fences
04 Love Like A Sunset Pt. 1
05 Love Like A Sunset Pt. 2
06 Lasso
07 Rome
08 Countdown
09 Girlfriend
10 Armistice

Just Listen: Action Painters

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Another one from the inbox, I will now present to you three reasons why you should fall in love with Action Painters. You can then do with them what you wish, but humour me for a moment and consider these three things.

Reason #1

No explanation necessary.

Reason #2
Their new album is being produced by Peter Wade, who has worked with the likes of LL Cool J and Jennifer Lopez. This excites me, because "Control Myself" was off the fucking CHAIN. Not only does it sample Afrika Bambaataa, but you can't deny J-Lo gasping out, "You know I know you like it / Let me hit you on your sidekick / Cause the afterparty is at my body / Meet me you're invited". That shit is poetry.

Reason #3
Sweet songs. They have great pop sensibilities, and really know how to nail a hook. Their music is catchy indie rock, but still has the grassroots feel that is inescapably New York. Between these guys and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, NY is having a pretty sweet year in my books.

Get some of their material here, and watch out for all the new stuff they've got going on in 2009.

Action Painters - "SuperMarket" (Download)

Just Listen: Pope Joan

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Well, would you look at this gem that fell into my inbox.
Pope Joan hail from Brighton, England. Their sound is alt-pop packed with nervous energy, synth squelches popping out everywhere like they just can't be contained. Their frantic pace is reminiscent of Les Savy Fav, and I can only imagine how much fun these guys would be live.
They've recorded some new songs, three of which are streaming on their MySpace (and one below, you greedy bastard). If those are any indication, I can't imagine Pope Joan staying under the radar for too long. It's bands like this that make me excited to write this blog, because I get introduced to such great new talent.
Buy their 2008 debut record here. We'll be keeping an eye out for them around here, and so should you.

Pope Joan - "Centurions" (Download)

Video Of The Week: Late Of The Pier - "Heartbeat"

Better late than never. Check this.

Late Of The Pier - "Heartbeat"

Director: Megaforce

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Worth A Listen: Junior Boys – “Hazel”


I have always had a soft spot for good electro-pop, and Junior Boys hit it hard. So you can imagine my excitement at the release of their third album, Begone Dull Care. It shall hit stores in Canada on March 28th, making this the first Junior Boys LP in nearly three years. The lead single is “Hazel” and it marks a tightening in Junior Boys’ sound while at the same time being basically more of everything that makes me love the Junior Boys. The track is more vocally dense, and they are more confidently and soulfully delivered but still breeze over the instrumentals like they should. The rhythm is a little more conventional than usual, but it gives the tune a more stable feel than that provided by some of the more skittery beats that they are sometimes fond of . The synths are sounding great on this song too, nice and sharp, and they really mesh into the beat well. My only complaint about some Junior Boys songs is their lengthiness, but a nice bridge-type arrangement at about 3:30 breaks it up nicely. Add a little bit more bottom end and increase the tempo slightly, and you’ve got yourself a dance remix, although this track could be itself considered more electro-dance than electro-pop. If a remix comes up (and it will,) I’ll be sure to pass it along.


The track list for the Begone Dull Care is as follows:

•Parallel Lines
•Work
•Bits And Pieces
•Dull To Pause
•Hazel
•Sneak A Picture
•The Animator
•What It's For

“Hazel” is not yet available as a download anywhere on the Internet, free or otherwise, so for now you’ll have to settle for checking it out on their myspace page. Happy listening!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Worth A Quick Mention: Classic Colin Greenwood

You know that little band that you hear about every so often? You know that one.. umm.. Radiohead? Yeah? Bassist Colin Greenwood has been noted as a little quirky at times. Add this to your notes.



Forward to about 3:47 and watch it in HD. I know, right?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Track Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Skeletons"

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As you may have noticed by now, the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album It's Blitz! has leaked. It's being heralded as their development to a new kind of sound that's supposed to be more dance-y in nature. While early leaks "Zero" and the killer "Heads Will Roll" seem to fit that description, my question for the new album has been what song is the new "Maps"? The new "Cheated Hearts"?
From what I can tell, the track that comes closest is slow burner "Skeletons". It centres around a spare background that builds steadily into an anthemic hum-along until it quietly fades away. Karen O gives a haunting vocal performance, delivering lyrics like, "Love, don't cry," with some serious power despite how reserved she sounds. Of all the new songs, this one holds the most emotional punch.
So is this the next "Cheated Hearts"? It's likely too early to tell. On first listen It's Blitz! feels heavily frontloaded, with everything after number four track "Skeletons" not matching the early highs. It could be a grower, however, and for now I'm going to savour those first four songs, which really are excellent.
The new album isn't ready for pre-order, but you can find other Yeah Yeah Yeahs material here.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Skeletons" (Download)

Worth A Quick Mention: Will Currie and The Country French

Close to two years ago, I went out to a little club to see then-nobodies Tokyo Police Club. While their set lasted scarcely longer than their 7-song debut A Lesson In Crime, everybody left the venue talking about the opening band, Will Currie And The Country French. The little stage was as full as I had ever seen, replete with an array of keyboards, guitars and assorted percussion. No less than six people slinked between the instruments and began to play. Highly melodious, sometimes rambunctious, and always fun and memorable, this is indie pop/rock owing an equally large debt to both The Meligrove Band and British indie pop (The Kaiser Chiefs et al.). The band is based at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario but is now starting to make waves abroad, playing shows with power-pop veterans Sloan and more recently a new rash of gigs with Tokyo Police Club. Check out their myspace page to listen to a few of their tracks and to keep updated on their new release Novels, due out sometime this spring. Also below is a link to download the single “Surprising Me” from their previous album A Great Stage. With a little luck, these guys could be pretty big. Happy listening!

”Surprising Me” (free download and video)

"Surprising Me "

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just Listen: Balmorhea


From Western Vinyl, the label that will soon bring us Here We Go Magic's debut, comes Balmorhea (pronounced bal-mor-ay). Fans of Bell Orchestre or This Will Destroy You will surely enjoy what this six-piece Austin, Texas band has to offer. They will be performing live later this year at the WV showcase at South By Southwest, alongwith Here We Go Magic, J. Tillman, Callers, and Mom. The song below won me over upon its first play-through, in what sounds like something straight out of a movie. It has just the right balance of downtime and climactic bursts of sound to move you in just the right way. "Harm & Boon" is a track off of their upcoming release, All is Wild, All is Silent which is set to be released on March 10th, this year. We'll surely be keeping ours eyes and ears on this group.

Balmorhea - "Harm & Boon" (Download)


Official
MySpace

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Worth A Quick Mention: Baby You Can Have An Interview With T.I. On Chelsea Lately

Personally, I'm not so into this "T.I." character but apparently a lot of people are. I have heard his most recent chart topper and I'm still no T.I. fan. But I came across this interview while I was floatin' around on YouTube and I couldn't resist sharing it. Check this out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just Listen: Middle Distance Runner

Middle Distance Runner

About three months ago I came across a website for a band from Washington, DC called "Middle Distance Runner". Alright, so what? Well they sound pretty sweet is what. Are you into that whole indie rock/pop sound? Do you consider yourself easily approachable? Does it scare you to think that you will be older than nineteen at some point in your life? Are you older than nineteen? Then you're going to love Middle Distance Runner. I'm such a weirdo right now.

Middle Distance Runner - "Naturally" (Download)


Official
MySpace

Track Review: edIT - "Battling Go-Go Yubari In Downtown L.A."


I'm about two years too late with this one, but edIT's 2007 album Certified Air Raid Material just made its way into my ears and they are definitely not complaining. The one track that stood out to me right away was "Battling Go-Go Yubari In Downtown L.A." Not only does it have a kickass song title, but the eerily-familiar glitchy synth coupled with the boomy drum beat make this song what it is and subtley reminiscent at times of artists like Burial and Amon Tobin. The vocals consist of samples from what sounds like a non-too-popular dance hit from '95, and a woman speaking in Japanese. edIT (Edward Ma) definitely knows his stuff and his album definitely will have a few tracks worth checking out for the Glitchtronica / Hip-Hop fan in us all.

edIT - "Battling Go-Go Yubari In Downtown L.A. (Download)"


MySpace
iTunes

Just Listen: Thunderheist

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Canadian club killers Thunderheist are so many different kinds of awesome. Their sound is like ghetto disco. Picture Lil' Kim rapping in the 70s and you might get the picture.
They don't belong anywhere but a dancefloor, but my god do they own that dancefloor. Their tracks are dirty and grimy, with heavy bass and synths backing up almost everything and lead rapper Isis giving you way too many reasons to work that booty.
Their self-titled debut album drops March 31st, and you can pre-order it here. In the meantime, check its lead single "Sweet 16" below.

Thunderheist - "Sweet 16" (Download)

Track Review: Say Hi - "Elouise"

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Straight outta Seattle, Say Hi (formerly known as Say Hi To Your Mom) has a new album coming out on March 3 entitiled Oohs And Aahs. I wasn't too familiar with their work outside of a couple songs, so I wasn't really sure what to expect when listening to the new material.
It's their first album since signing to Barsuk, and from what I can tell, Oohs And Aahs appears to be a more "mature" record; this sounds scary but actually plays quite well. "Elouise" is the perfect example; Say Hi is attempting to be anthemic, and for the most part it works, with a guitar-based hook and well-executed harmonies.
Say Hi isn't going to change your life, but I don't think they're trying to. "Elouise" is the kind of song you keep coming back to, because lets face it, sometimes you just don't want to listen to Animal Collective.
You can pre-order the album here.

Say Hi - "Elouise" (Download)

Worth A Quick Mention: Coeur De Pirate – Comme Des Enfants

Yes, this is a touch old, and yes, it’s French, but a good friend of mine showed this to me and I thought that it was just the bee’s knees. A fantastic example of how a great song can express emotion despite language barriers, you may pass this off as a generic cute-girl-playing-sadish-song-on-piano track, but I think that it’s really beautiful in a slightly juvenile, naive sort of way. This song would have about a million more hits if it was in English, I promise you. Apologies for not being able to find a link to download this fine tune for free (pirating Couer de Pirate?), but you can purchase it from iTunes here. Check out the surprisingly well-done video below. Bon ecoutant!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Track Review: Neko Case - "Middle Cyclone"

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If we're talking pure vocal talent, Neko Case has arguably...fuck that, hands down the best voice in indie music today. She hits notes that could make Whitney Houston jealous, and her tone is impeccable. Listening to her sing is an exercise of containing your disbelief at how amazing her voice his. Love her or hate her, you can't deny this.
Her new album, Middle Cyclone, comes out on March 3rd, and oddly enough, the best song on it is also one of her most understated vocal performances to date. Title track "Middle Cyclone" finds Ms. Case a little beaten down. "Can't scrape together quite enough / To ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love," she almost whispers, which is followed by a haunting music box in the background.
It's amazing to hear her letting the song do the heavy lifting for her rather than just belting it out. She doesn't try and hit any special notes, and her broken heart feels all the more real for it.
You can pre-order the album here.

Neko Case - "Middle Cyclone"

YE-LID News: Here We Go Magic - Here We Go Magic

Here We Go Magic

My high anticipation for the new Grizzly Bear album had lead me to the constant viewing of their own personal blog page. Thanks to this addiction, Grizzly Bear has turned me onto a band called, "Here We Go Magic". That was a bit over a month ago. But now they have an album out. Their debut album is self-titled and is currently available on iTunes for download. The physical copy won't be hitting store shelves until the 24th of this month. I haven't checked it all out yet, but I'm completely in love with "Tunnelvision".



Official
MySpace
iTunes

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

YE-LID News: Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

I know this is my first post in like... forever. But I just had to share the news. Ladies and gentlemen, yes, Grizzly Bear has officially announced the release date for their highly anticipated release of what has officially been named, "Veckatimest" which officially has a track list which I have officially posted on the official Your Ex-Lover Is Dead blog below. Officially.

Grizzly Bear

Track List:
  1. Southern Point
  2. Two Weeks
  3. All We Ask
  4. Fine for Now
  5. Cheerleader
  6. Dory
  7. Ready, Able
  8. About Face
  9. Hold Still
  10. While You Wait for the Others
  11. I Live With You
  12. Foreground
If you haven't already noticed, Veckatimest will be released on May 26th. Sweet? Sweeeeet!

Here's a recording of "Two Weeks" live on Letterman.



Official
MySpace

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "THE BLUES"

Every once and a while, we all get...

T/H/E_B/L/U/E/S/

1. Simon Joyner - My Side of The Blues (2006)
2. Pink Floyd - Jugband Blues (1968)
3. The Doors - Roadhouse Blues (1970)
4. El Ten Eleven - Living On Credit Blues (2007)
5. Band of Horses - Window Blues (2007)
6. Violent Femmes - Sweet Misery Blues (1984)
7. Bright Eyes - Landlocked Blues (2005)
8. The Allman Brothers Band - Statesboro Blues (1973)
9. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues (2004)
10. Belle and Sebastian - The Blues Are Still Blue (2006)
11. Phosphorescent - Worried Blues (2007)
12. The Beatles - Yer Blues (1968)
13. Koop - Koop Island Blues (2006)
14. Fire on Fire - Hartford Blues (2008)




but seriously
just cheer up :3

BUY "The Life Pursuit" HERE

Track Review: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - "Streets Of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen Cover)"

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Casiotone For The Painfully Alone is the ultimate listening experience when you're just having a shitty, shitty day. Owen Ashworth creates minimalistic songs about young adults having their hearts broken, getting used, and living dreary lives. We all have those days, and CFTPA exists to soundtrack them.
This Springsteen cover appears on Advance Base Battery Life, the first of two CFTPA records coming out this year, a compilation of rarities and unrelased tracks. "Streets Of Philadelphia" is trademark CFTPA, with a heavy drone in the background, a simple drum beat, and Ashworth's vocals that sound like he stopped crying just long enough to record them.
The song is a perfect fit for what Ashworth does. "Are you going to leave me, just wasting away / On the streets of Philadelphia," he says, barely enough strength in his voice to actually form a melody. It's incredible to hear the pieces come together so perfectly. His pain is our pleasure, I guess.
Advance Base Battery Life can be pre-ordered here, and his next proper full-length, Vs. Children, is supposed to be available the first week of April (though as far as I know, no release date has been confirmed).

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - "Streets Of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen Cover)"


BONUS: Ashworth's old band, Papercuts (who happen to have a new album on the way; no pre-order link from the label yet, but it will appear here, I imagine), made an awesome cover of one of my favourite CFTPA songs, "Baby It's You". If you're interested, check it out here.

Music Vid of the Week: "Everything With You"

Check it to the right, or click here.

"Everything With You"
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (2009)

Directed by Art Boonparn

(these guys really are slowly taking over the minds of Darren and I,
all we ask is you let them do the same to you. joooooiiinnn uuusssss.)

Track Review: Gentleman Reg – “You Can’t Get It Back”


The man known as Gentleman Reg (Reg Vermue) has been a player in the Ontario indie music scene for several years now, most notably in collaborations with The Hidden Cameras. However, he has also released three solo full-length albums, and his fourth, Jet Black, is due out on February 24th. This record marks a definite upswing in his career, as this is his first release with the remarkably consistent and respected Arts & Crafts label, which is supporting the international release of the record, another first. He is also to play at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas this March.

The lead single for this album is “You Can’t Get It Back”, and listening to the different elements of the song come into the track is like filling out a checklist of what makes for a fun pop tune. Catchy major-chord guitar rhythm? Check. Springy, danceable beat? Check. A bass line that fits so well you hardly know its there? Check. Delightfully simple but effective lead guitar? Check. Higher-range, wispy vocals that float over the whole arrangement? Check and check.

Nope, there aren’t too many bells and whistles here, but that’s part of the charm. One thing that did catch my attention was the use of the tom drums, especially going into the chorus, to give the percussion a fuller sound than you would normally hear on this kind of tune. I really dig the vibe that oozes out of this track’s every pore, and while it can grow tiresome very quickly, with careful execution and a little bit of variety, it can carry through an entire album. You can catch this song on his myspace page , and you can pre-order the album in anticipation of next Tuesday’s release here. I suggest that you check him out. Happy listening!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Track Review: The Mountains - "In the Land of the Corpses, Hidden Stories are Revealed, Retold & Relived"


I can't even remember how I came across this song, but oh how glad I am that I did. "In the Land of the Corpses, Hidden Stories are Revealed, Retold & Relived" by The Mountains (a band from California that I can find absolutely no information about online). The repeated pluck in the guitar melody really stands out, and I love it. The lyrics, the melody, everything about this song is great. The singer's voice is faintly reminiscent of Dolores O'Riordan, of The Cranberries. The chorus really stands out, the whole song has a dream-like feel to it, and the instrumentals tie together such a beautiful melody. The singer's voice picks you up and takes you a whisping little ride, it's great. The song concludes with what sounds like popcorn popping over a fire, at least that's what I think it is.

I absolutely want to hear more from this mystery band, The Mountains, if anyone has any information on them, please let me know.

"In the Land of the Corpses, Hidden Stories are Revealed, Retold & Relived"

Worth Another Listen: Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1972)


Hey remember that movie The Royal Tenenbaums? You haven’t seen it?! Okay, go out and grab a copy and watch it now, I’ll wait.

...

You’re back! Wasn’t it good? I know.

Okay, remember that part where Richie is getting on the bus after he escapes from the hospital, and there’s that song with the quiet guitar and cello and that slightly strange male vocal? That’s a track called “Fly” by Nick Drake, one of the most over-looked talents of the early 70’s. Criminally underappreciated in his time, Nick Drake’s career was cut short by his suicide after a battle with mental illness at age 26. Drake’s music experienced a surge of popularity in the 80’s, and in today’s age of musical discovery I certainly hope that a new generation of music listeners begin to stumble upon his beautiful music.

Pink Moon was the last of the three albums which he released, and I love it. It’s not at all pretentious to assume that he greatly influenced artists such as Elliot Smith and Conor Oberst, to whom he was truly a stylistic precursor.

The only instruments appearing on this album are guitar, vocals, and a touch of piano, but this is by no means an average songwriter and his acoustic. Drake was a guitar virtuoso who regularly used alternative tunings and chords, and whose guitar style is both delicate and very rhythmic, compensating for any lack of percussion. This is perhaps best demonstrated on “Which Will".

If you’re a fan of the aforementioned artists, you owe it to yourself to check out the man who redefined the singer-songwriter persona well ahead of his time. I found this album at the local CD store for a measly $9, but you can also buy it here.

"Which Will"

Track Review: Animal Collective - "My Girls (HATCHMATIK Disco Bootleg)"

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A blog just isn't a blog until it has digitally genuflected in the presence of Animal Collective, so here it goes: ever since I heard "My Girls" (a.k.a. the best song of 2009), I knew it was perfection. The only way to describe it is pure joy. No other adjective quite explains the high you can get just by listening to that song at high volume in headphones.
That said, there was one thing I knew it needed as its little sidekick: a killer dance remix. All the elements were already in place, and some smart deejay just had to do a little tweaking to make it blow up on dancefloors everywhere. A few have tried to do this, but it's taken a Canadian to finally succeed. Thank you, HATCHMATIK. You don't know how much it kills me to write your name in all caps like that, but because you've given me an early birthday present, I'll forgive you for now.
Here, the original "My Girls" is left mostly intact, with a couple major differences. The first is a four-to-the-floor drum pattern to give it that disco flavour. The second, and most important, is the addictive-as-sin techno hook he's added in to keep the entire piece as one. When all the parts are put together, it makes a simplistic yet excellent remix that I really want to sneak into a party setting so I can get a kick out of seeing my friends unknowingly dance to Animal Collective.
This isn't being released as a single, but you can buy AC's latest record, Merriweather Post Pavilion, here.

EDITED TO ADD: We criminally didn't include Hatchmatik's MySpace when we posted this. So there you go. Shit is bangin'.

"My Girls (HATCHMATIK Disco Bootleg)"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just Listen: Giantess



Buzz band alert: Giantess has released a grand total of four (!!!) songs via MySpace, but they're being labelled as ones to watch in 2009. I know it's early - they're realeasing their debut EP, Deceptive Man, in March apparently, though at the moment I can't find any hard evidence of that claim - but it's easy to see where the hype is coming from.
In 2007, Muscles put out one of my favourite records of the year. It was packed full of retro house and booming synths, each song ready for a dance floor. Giantess has a similar vibe, as if Dance Mix 95 was recreated in 2009 for an indie audience.
Who knows where these guys are headed, or if their sound can hold up over an entire album, but right now they're a hell of a lot of fun to listen to.

"You Were Young"

Just Listen: Caroline Smith And The Good Night Sleeps



I just found this group today, and I'm almost scared to write about them. I know that Caroline Smith is going to be a star by the end of 2009 if her recent debut Backyard Tent Set is any indication, but I don't want to speed up that process; all of her songs just feel so personal, I don't want to share her with the world.
But alas, it is my duty. Their MySpace can be found here, and I highly recommend you check it out; listening to Caroline Smith sing - I don't know 100%, but I'm sure the Jenny Lewis and Feist comparisons are running rampant - is like having your own personal heartbreak concert, where she sings sweetly into your ear and your ear alone. Try it out.

Buy Here!

"Clench My Teeth"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Album Review: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (2009)



Every once in a while, an album comes along that feels perfect with the emotions you are experiencing at that point in your life. Last year, Frightened Rabbit's The Midnight Organ Fight - our top album in 2008 - jumped out at me for that reason. In 2009, the first band to follow suit is The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart with their self-titled debut.
The melodies here are lush and gorgeous. Immediately, these are what draw you in. Every song is overflowing with hooks, with up-tempo guitars and a little distortion thrown in for good measure. It's reminiscent of Headlights at their best in how easy it is to become addicted to each song (it took me far too long to move past album opener "Contender"). On first listen, these melodies are the highlight.
However, it's on second listen that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart becomes an album of the year candidate. The songs are pretty to listen to, yes, but the lyrics are outstanding; every song has a feeling to grab onto. "Contender" talks about watching someone who, "Gave up books for film / Gave up film for time / Now that you've got none." The adorable "Come Saturday" exclaims, "Who cares if there's a party somewhere / We're going to stay in." If you've been waiting for the next great song about hooking up in a library, you've found it in "Young Adult Friction".
What really sold me on the greatness of this album, though, was closer "Gentle Sons". Here is where they fully embrace the shoegaze vibe they hint at throughout the first nine songs, and the results are magnificent. It's a combination of their hook-writing ability, My Bloody Valentine drone, and the most heartwrenching lyrics on TPOBPAH. "Now you say you need a friend / But we can't live again," lead singer Kip Berman chants as the drums propulse the song forward to its anthemic peak.
TPOBPAH is the sound of being a young adult. It's the sound of growing up, giving in, falling in love, having your heart broken, and all the feelings that fall into those spectrums. I hate saying things like this in February, but this is going to be near or at the top of many year-end lists, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that included mine.

1. Contender
2. Come Saturday
3. Young Adult Friction
4. This Love Is Fucking Right!
5. The Tenure Itch
6. Stay Alive
7. Everything With You
8. A Teenager In Love
9. Hey Paul
10. Gentle Sons

9.1/10

Buy Here!

"Gentle Sons"

Track Review: DM Stith – “Pity Dance”

Sufjan Stevens is one of the most respected names in indie music today, so perhaps it’s only fitting that the label he’s signed to (and for whom he is also the official Minister of Aesthetics), Asthmatic Kitty Records, possesses a similar reputation. Recent releases from new upstarts The Welcome Wagon and My Brightest Diamond only solidify the label’s image as a hotbed for high-quality indie folk and pop. It’s good to see that the trend is continuing with the new single “Pity Dance” from DM Stith, appearing on his new album Heavy Ghost, which drops on March 10th.

If you’re looking for something to shake your ass to, you’re miles away. “Pity Dance” starts off with a delicate, minor-key guitar and slowly builds momentum amid lyrics of self-loathing and depreciation. The climax swells into a creepy symphony replete with handclaps, wailing vocals, strings, horns, chimes, and probably more. The result is something that is satisfying yet eerily and subtly disturbing. Top 40, this ain’t.

All of the atmospheric background noises really add to the haunting ambience of this song, and it also hints at a staggering amount of hard work on the technical side of things. The intricacy of the mixing and production in this song is stunning, especially towards the end, where so much is going on without it ever feeling cluttered.

Fans of Sufjan Stevens and Department of Eagles will very much appreciate this tune. The video below is simple in concept, but like the song was almost certainly harder to pull off than it looks. On a lighter note, the actor in this clip looks like the lovechild of Robin Williams and Sean Penn. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just Listen: 24 Post-Rock Songs to Check Out

Here, in no particular order, songs to check out when you've got the time.

24 Post-Rock Songs, yum..

24. Sigur Ros - Starálfur [Staring Elf] (1999)
23. The Besnard Lakes - Ride the Rails (2007)
22. You May Die In The Desert - Interlude (2007)
21. The Brock Scott Quartet - Soldier With A Broken Name (2004)
20. El Ten Eleven - Sorry About Your Irony (2005)
19. múm - Green Grass of Tunnel (2002)
18. Mogwai - Acid Food (2006)
17. Explosions In The Sky - Remember Me as a Time of Day (2000)
16. Stereolab - "...Sudden Stars" (2003)*
15. The Hylozoists - Elementary Particles (2006)
14. The Cinematic Orchestra - To Build A Home (2007)
13. Implosion Quintet - Poppy Knows Soup (2007)
12. Japancakes - Soft n EZ (2007)
11. OOIOO - SAI (2006)
10. This Will Destroy You - The Mighty Rio Grande (2008)
9. Le Loup - Planes Like Vultures (2007)
8. Sigur Rós - Samskeyti [Attachment] (2007)
7. Do Make Say Think - A Tender History In Rust (2007)
6. Mogwai - The Sun Smells Too Loud (2008)
5. Le Loup - We Are Gods! We Are Wolves! (2007)
4. El Ten Eleven - Music for Staring at Ceilings (2007)
3. Explosions In The Sky - Your Hand In Mine (2003)
2. This Will Destroy You - Leather Wings (2008)
1. The Album Leaf - Thule (2004)

*some would argue that Stereolab doesn't fit under the Post-Rock genre. i would argue that those people are wrong :P

Friday, February 13, 2009

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "PERSONA"

Putting on different faces, becoming someone new, taking on a new..

P/E/R/S/O/N/A/

1. Midlake - Van Occupanther (2006)
2. Belle and Sebastian - Big John Shaft (2002)
3. Grizzly Bear - La Duchess Anne (2004)
4. Blur - Ernold Same (1995)
5. The Ventures - Lucille (1962)
6. Paul McCartney & Wings - Mrs. Vandebilt (1973)
7. Radiohead - Faithless the Wonderboy (1994)
8. Ween - Kim Smoltz (1997)
9. Boards of Canada - Melissa Juice (2002)
10. Ola Podrida - Jordanna (2007)
11. The Beatles - Doctor Robert (1966)
12. Fleet Foxes - Oliver James (2008)
13. Sufjan Stevens - Adlai Stevenson (2006)
14. Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky (1977)

I'd like to take a moment, just sit right there
to welcome Ken to the YELID family

yeah, i went there.

Track Review: Does It Offend You, Yeah? - "With A Heavy Heart"

I want to hate this song so much. More than you could possibly understand. My brain is screaming, "Turn this shit off. They're Justice clones, and only Justice is allowed to be Justice. Unless you're Daft Punk."
Whatever. While my conscience isn't letting me check out their entire debut album, I'm allowing myself to enjoy "With A Heavy Heart" because it's just so...fun. It's like some drunk frat boy made a Justice vs. The Rapture mash-up and it came out as this glorious mess. It's all guitar riffs and synth bleeps and hand claps and unintelligble vocals until it climaxes into one giant mindfuck of dirty dancefloor epic-ness.
It's gotten a lot of exposure as the track that closed the hot final scene in the most recent episode of Gossip Girl. It was the perfect song choice, really; "With A Heavy Heart" is steamy and sweaty, and as far as guilty pleasures go, Gossip Girl and this track rank quite highly.
Forget the caveats. Yes, this band probably does suck. Yes, you could remove the vocals, say this was by Justice, and no one would know the difference. Yes, it's biggest claim to fame right now is Gossip Girl. Just give a big middle finger to everything and shake your ass like I know you want to.

Track Review: “Work Day” by It Hugs Back

Usually, something that mentions work makes me pretty sad. However, “Work Day” by It Hugs Back makes me pretty glad.

Poorly-structured rhyming couplets aside, I do indeed find myself giving this trite little piece of indie ear-candy repeated listens. This jaunty tune comes to you from It Hugs Back’s full-length debut Inside Your Guitar, due out in April from esteemed English label 4AD.

This song has everything I’m looking for in a pleasant pop song; a springy beat, a nifty keyboard riff and a jangly guitar that blends right into the slightly fuzzed-out instrumental mix. Usually, the atmospheric treatment of the vocals would really bug me, but here it’d be hard to imagine them any other way. My only complaint would be that without the enthralling video to keep your attention, this song might overstay its welcome by a minute or so.

Unfortunately for It Hugs Back, there isn’t anything about this song that hasn’t been done before, and you probably won’t find this on any best-of lists 11 months from now. However, if you’re looking to take your mind off your work day, “Work Day” provides just under four minutes of salvation. If you’re a fan of Mojave 3 or ever wished that Miracle Fortress would take a more straight-forward approach, this track is for you.

Check out the video below, it’s about as neat as they come. Cheers!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Track Review: Eminem Feat. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent - "Crack A Bottle"

Eminem's first single in a while, "Crack A Bottle", jumped 77 spots to hit number one on the billboard charts today. Given that, I decided to try it out. My verdict: one giant, epic "meh".
Eminem really hasn't been relevant for a while, and this doesn't change anything in my mind. The hook is decent enough, but everyone involved here just seems bored. "Crack a bottle / Let your body waddle," starts Slim, as if rhyming "bottle" and "waddle" in one's chorus isn't the heinous crime that it actually is. Dre and Fifty sound half asleep throughout their verses. Even the beat sounds like its had one too many tonight and just wants to head to bed.
I feel like this song would sound so much better in a group of wildly drunk college students, so as a 19-year-old post-secondary student and frequent flyer of the booze plane I will probably be subjected to "Crack A Bottle" far more often than I want to. But that's really Eminem's appeal at this point, isn't it? People lose their minds when "Without Me" comes on, but mostly because it's like holy shit, remember when we loved Eminem? In 2009 he's a novelty item, which is why I suspect this song is having such immediate success on the charts.
"It disgusts me to see the game the way it looks / Its a must I redeem my name and haters get mushed," he raps, but the conviction is gone. In "Without Me" he sounded like the fresh young kid the rap game needed; seven years later, it sounds like he's seen hip-hop go to shit, and now feels obligated to come save it as one of its elder statesmen. Unfortunately, a lazy single with the equally irrelevant Dr. Dre and 50 Cent guest starring just isn't the way to go about doing that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Music Vid of the Week: "Hold Time"

Check it to the right, or click here.

"Hold Time"
M. Ward
Hold Time (2009)

Directed by M. Ward

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "AYDEES" / Bell Orchestre

blog readers of the world unite

A/Y/D/E/E/S/

1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart (1986)
2. Modern English - Melt With You (1982)
3. Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me (1984)
4. Talking Heads - Seen and Not Seen (1980)
5. A Foot in Cold Water - He's Always There (Watching You) [1983]
6. Pixies - Here Comes Your Man (1989)
7. Tears for Fears - Head Over Heels (1985)
8. Neil Young - We R In Control (1982)
9. Sonic Youth - Hey Joni (1988)
10. The Cure - Close to Me (1985)
11. Enya - Orinoco Flow (1988)
12. The Smiths - Shoplifters of the World Unite (1987)
13. Earth, Wind, & Fire - Lady Sun (1981)
14. Brian Eno and Harold Budd - The Chill Air (1980)

On a side note, this past Saturday I went to a music festival called Hillside Inside (definitely something worth checking out). I saw many great performances. STARS, Sam Roberts Band, Bedouin Soundclash, and a few more. One that stood out, and was very moving, was a sideproject of two Arcade Fire members, "Bell Orchestre" from Montreal, Quebec. Wonderful stuff, their performance blew me away. Below is a video (I will post more from the festival once I get them up on YouTube)






Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Track Review: The Cool Kids - "Black Mags" & "Pennies"

Holy shit.
What the fuck are black mags? I googled it, and I think it has something to do with BMX bikes, which explains the video. But seriously, who cares? Cool Kids are tearing up the planet (or at least are going to in the near future if first single "Pennies" from their debut album is any indication).
I completely missed out on their 2008 EP The Bake Sale, which makes me hate my life a little bit because "Black Mags" apparently was on it and it's currently blowing my mind. The beat is all old-school gangsterism, if that even existed, and if not Cool Kids are creating it.
"Pennies" is equally mindblowing, like "Drop It Like It's Hot" with more of a street vibe than a club vibe. You know a song has balls when it can legitimately stop the beat and play nothing but whistling for thirteen seconds. Oh, and that beat. The bass drowns you in its infinite badass-ness, and I feel fine creating all these words because these songs deserve more hyperbole than is currently offered by the English language.
Check the videos below. Their debut full-length has a title (When Fish Ride Bicycles) but no release date, so you know YE-LID will keep you updated on our new favourite rappers.



Track Review: Camera Obscura - "My Maudlin Career"

Camera Obscura's last album, Lets Get Out Of This Country, came out in 2006, and it was definitely a grower for me. But man, did that album grow. At first listen it resembled the usual Belle & Sebastian-inspired pop that a bunch of bands have tried recently. But after a few listens, the melodies just became broader, the hooks became more immediate, and Tracyanne Campbell's lyrics became more heartfelt.
Well, they're back, and in top form. They have one of their new songs, "My Maudlin Career", streaming on their website (and now on YE-LID; you're welcome). Their album of the same name is to be released on April 20, and this is the perfect prep for it.
"I don't wanna be sad again," Campbell cooes, as the inflections in her voice get washed over by the 60s girl group instrumentation. It most resembles Lets Get Out Of This Country's standout "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken", just slowed down and drawn out. If you've never listened to Camera Obscura, this is the perfect intro to what they're all about. And if this leak is any indication...well, lets just say my anticipation for the album just skyrocketed.


Track Review: Metric - "Help, I'm Alive"

Metric's new album, Fantasies, hits stores April 14 (and the Internet who knows when; hopefully sooner rather than later). In the meantime, we have first single "Help, I'm Alive" which doesn't disappoint.
Metric enjoy their big choruses - see: "Monster Hospital" - and this one's a doozy. The song starts off sounding pretty standard, maybe even a little boring...and then the chorus hits, and the tempo changes, and Emily Haines starts yelling something about her heart beating like a hammmmmmmmmer, and the crowd goes wild.
It's a solid first single that's going to please Metric fans, and I think the hook is catchy enough that it might even bring them in some new recruits. Haines is one of the most dynamic frontwomen - hell, one of the most dynamic frontpeople of any gender - in indie rock, and the song fits her vocal capabilities like a glove. Here's hoping for more of the same when the album drops.

Just Listen: Tegan & Sara - "Nineteen" (Interface Sessions)

This song is off Tegan & Sara's excellent 2007 album The Con, and while we're generally all about promoting new music around here at YE-LID, sometimes you see something that you just have to pass along to the general public. And that's what this is.
The song itself is one of the highlights of the album, but this performance done for a podcast in 2007 blows the original out of the water. I've never heard the girls sound so perfect together, as if this is how the song was really meant to be heard. The lyrics appear so much more poignant, so much more relevant. The album version is all crashing guitars for the soaring chorus, but in an acoustic setting, Tegan & Sara emote the shit out of this song. When they sing, "And I was yours...right?", you can almost hear them singing the ellipses, the quiver in Tegan's voice only emphasizing the uncertainty.
"Nineteen" is special to me, mostly because I'm currently nineteen and experiencing so many of the things this song describes. I've listened to it a million times before, but hearing this version makes me feel like it's the first time and I'm falling in love all over again.
Check the clip below.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "SEVENDEES"

se-se-se-se-seventiess...

S/E/V/E/N/D/E/E/S/

1. Elton John - Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (1973)
2. Pink Floyd - Empty Spaces (1979)
3. Nick Drake - From The Morning (1972)
4. Bob Marley - Jammin' (1977)
5. The Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein (1972)
6. The GTOs - Do Me In Once and I'll Be Sad, Do Me In Twice and I'll Know Better (1970)
7. Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights (1978)
8. Brian Eno - The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch (1973)
9. Cat Stevens - Maybe You're Right (1970)
10. The Doors - Peace Frog (1970)
11. Wire - Fragile (1977)
12. Paul McCartney & Wings - Bluebird (1973)
13. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Our House (1970)
14. Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky (1977)

Some great stuff from the 70s, (not to say that their weren't songs that were just as great that I could have included)

Right now, I'm listening to a cover of Magical Mystery Tour and it's totally make me laugh.

Track Review: Rich Boy Feat. Kardinal Offishall - "Drop"

The first time I heard this song, it made me visibly angry. It just sounded so much like "A Milli", which was the jam of 2008. The blatant plagiarism pissed me off. I had to text my brother immediately to express my intense hatred for it.
Then I got over myself, remembered that Polow Da Don is one of my favourite producers, and realized that if someone was going to plagiarize, it might as well be from the jam of 2008. Rich Boy murders this beat, even swiping his gravelly delivery from Lil Wayne. Kardinal's verse is more "Set It Off" than "Dangerous", which works since he's better when his flow is harder.
I'm not sure how this is gonna play on the radio, but Rich Boy has never sounded better. Check it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "EYELIDS"

No matter how long you stay awake, sooner or later, you'll need to shut those...

E/Y/E/L/I/D/S/

1. My Bloody Valentine - When You Sleep (1991)
2. The Doors - Awake (1978)
3. Ugly Casanova - Ice On The Sheets (2002)
4. Voxtrot - Fast Asleep (2006)
5. Chad VanGaalen - Kill Me in My Sleep (2005)
6. Shelby Sifers - Start Taking Naps (2007)
7. Dust From 1000 Yrs - Fever Dreams (2006)
8. Department of Eagles - Sailing By Night (2005)
9. The Microphones - Sweetheart Sleep Tight (1999)
10. Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - O' What A Nightmare! (2008)
11. Cut Copy - Eternity One Night Only (2008)
12. David Bowie - Moonage Daydream (1972)
13. The Zombies - Hung Up on a Dream (1968)
14. Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Reading In Bed (2006)

Don't fall asleep on us.
In fact, if you've got time, check out the Vid of the Week, to the left.
Yeasayer performing a new song, Tightrope, live. It's great.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "NINEDEES"

Another mixtape from a great era.

N/I/N/E/D/E/E/S/

1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Lucy (1990)
2. K.C. Accidental - Something For Chicago (1998)
3. Radiohead - Talk Show Host (1996)
4. The Innocence Mission - You Are The Light (1999)
5. Daft Punk - Teachers (1997)
6. Blur - I'm Just A Killer For Your Love (1997)
7. Grandaddy - Under the Western Freeway (1997)
8. Third Eye Blind - How's It Going To Be (1997)
9. Air - Talisman (1998)
10. Stereolab - Extension Trip (1998)
11. Boards of Canada - Triangles & Rhombuses (1998)
12. Sinead O'Connor - I Am Stretched on Your Grave (1990)
13. PJ Harvey - Legs (1993)
14. Simon Joyner - Petri-Dish (1993)

R.I.P. 90s
1990-1999