Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "FOLKCORE"

Considering it's been a while since I posted a mixtape...

F/O/L/K/C/O/R/E/

1. Grizzly Bear - August March (2006)
2. Morgan Orion - Pocket Ear (2008)
3. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Music Arcade (1996)
4. Iron & Wine - Muddy Hymnal (2002)
5. Birdengine - And Accidents Fell From the Sky (2009)
6. Grand Salvo - Just Woken (2005)
7. Johnny West - Skeleton Blues (2004)
8. Great Lake Swimmers - Everything Is Moving So Fast (2009)
9. The Innocence Mission - Pioneering (2009)
10. Akron/Family - The Alps & Their Orange Evergreen (2009)
11. Aadrian Aardvark - Alone, Pt. 2 (2008)
12. Cyané - Boom Boom (2008)
13. Sun Kil Moon - Lucky Man (2008)
14. The Cave Singers - Royal Lawns (2007)

keep a good look out for some new stuff from me within the next little while

Billboard Thursday: Mario Feat. Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett - "Break Up"

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"Let Me Love You" made me HATE Mario. With such burning passion. It was just such a shitty Usher rip-off, and everyone ate it right up. Thankfully, as far as I can remember, he didn't have another hit after that. I could be wrong, feel free to correct me; I havn't exactly been watching the career of Mario too closely.

Well now he's grown up a little bit, and suddenly...his songs don't suck. I guess that's what happens when you get a spectacular beat from Bangladesh and a superb guest spot from Gucci Mane. "Break Up" is a slow jam sent walking through a house of mirrors. Where normally a track like this should let the beat ride, Bangladesh adds an unsettling keyboard line that sets everything off kilter. Where normally your token-slow-jam-singer would be saying how much he loves his girl, Mario explains how much he's loving his girl...through buying her sweet shit. And then talks to her like she's some dumbass for wanting to break up with him when he thinks she's hot, he's buying her things, and she gets laid often. It's all rather logical.

There's just something so twistedly awesome about this song. Mario's response to his girl wanting to leave him is, "Tonight we're gonna get a little tipsy," and then we're going to have sex. That's just HILARIOUS. It's so cocky and so disgusting that it goes full circle and becomes wonderful.

Check the song below, and enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Video Of The Week: Islands - "Rough Gem"

In an effort to eradicate world fleas in our lifetime, this week's video isn't new at all. "Rough Gem" by Islands from their 2006 album Return to the Sea. Check it out to the right or by clicking this shiny little link. For the moment I like this stuff more than Arm's Way, but only time will tell if the newer stuff ends up growing on me like a pile of dirty moss.

Islands - "Rough Gem"
from Return to the Sea

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Show Stopper: Hillside Festival (Saturday)

Saturday was an interesting day. My volunteer shift was set to start at 8 a.m., and yet there I was, waking up in a tent that was not my own at 8:30. Luckily, I was able to sneak in and not get noticed (I think) for being late. Wildly hungover, I sat and looked through a program while Sunni and I shared breakfast ("For my three choices, am I allowed to order home fries, home fries, and home fries?").

Our shift was over by noon. Our original plan was to head and see Green Go, but we decided that a nap was absolutely necessary if our day was to continue properly. We ended up laying in our adjacent tents for two hours discussing randomness ("What was that from last night? MDM..." "Uh...A.") before forcing ourselves up to see Ohbijou at three. Sadly, due to lateness we were only able to sit outside and listen to their performance, as the area was completely packed.

After what was dubbed Nap 2.0, we managed to see a brief bit of the Timber Timbre set before heading out for dinner. We decided that we should position ourselves at the Island Stage around eight o'clock to get up front for Woodhands at nine. This meant we'd catch some band called Library Voices beforehand, who we had never heard of. And am I glad we did.

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<3 Library Voices <3


This was my favourite surprise of the weekend. Library Voices play Los Campesinos! style pop, and anyone who knows me knows I ADORE Los Campesinos! style pop. I loved how it was clear how much fun they were having and that they really enjoyed playing together. I kept turning to Sunni and saying, "I can't believe how amazing these guys are!" Truly wonderful.


Library Voices - "Love In The Age Of Absurdity" (Download)


And then came the dance party.

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Woodhands from behind.


Woodhands was absolutely unbelievable. They had us dancing from the first drum beat, and what followed was a delirious mess of synths, drums, and epic bass. Everything was danceable. People went crazy.


Woodhands - "Dancer" (Download)


After an encore was demanded by the crowd, Woodhands left and were replaced with The Arkells, the closing act.

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Rock rock rock.


Now, to be completely honest, The Arkells aren't exactly my cup of tea. They're a bit too bar-rock-oriented for my tastes. However, they did put on a great live show. I was worried after the collective crowd orgasm that was Woodhands that there may be a letdown, but to the band's credit they managed to keep the energy going throughout the show and even got called out for an encore themselves.


The Arkells - "Oh The Boss Is Coming" (Download)


And that's it for Saturday. My Sunday post should be up tomorrow, which involves more naps, poor volunteering, and potentially the most amazing live performance I've ever seen.

Video Premiere: The Sun Didn't Rise, Oh No!

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Born On A Day The Sun Didn't Rise from memphis industries on Vimeo.

Video premiere to one of the best tracks off of BMSR's Eating Us, directed by Team Tobaxxxo.

If you haven't already checked out their latest release, do so right here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Show Stopper: Hillside Festival (Friday)

The Hillside Festival in Guelph was...unreal. So many great shows, so many great people. Because there's so much to cover here, I'm going to make my posts day-by-day. These posts will be filled with commentary, poorly lit photos, and shaky video footage. But if these things can make you feel even a remote portion of the joy I felt this past weekend, then it will all be well worth it.

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The Grates rock out.


Friday was a whirlwind of a day. After arriving at the volunteer campgrounds with my partner in crime Sunni, we quickly tried to assemble our tents before our first shift as food vendor assistants. Sadly, this quickness led to some tent difficulties, pinnacling in my inability to find a hole for the final rod to go into. After approximately half an hour of searching for this hole, we both gave up, shoved the rod in somewhere that looked decent, and ran off to our shift.

Four hours of guarding freezer trucks and running around with dishes passed before we were finished and finally able to go to our first show. Our one and only conflict of interest happened at this point. I was gung-ho on seeing The Grates, whereas Sunni had her heart set on Coeur de Pirate. After agreeing to split the shows (which unfortunately ended in us missing all of the Coeur show besides the tail end of an "Umbrella" cover), we literally ran to the necessary stage.

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More rocking.


The Grates were wonderful despite getting an awful time slot (they would've been far better utilized a bit later in the night). They managed to get a bunch of us dancing, which was no easy feat considering the fairly tame crowd. Lead singer Patience Hodgson was energetic and lovely. They split the set between debut album Gravity Won't Get You High and their latest release Teeth Lost, Hearts Won.


The Grates - "Burn Bridges" (Download)


At nine o'clock we had to make a tough decision: go see Rock Plaza Central or get drunk for the sure-to-be-dance-party USS show at ten. We settled on the drunk plan, and quickly headed back to our tents for some quick wine consumption. During this we did manage to hear Divine Brown belting it out from a nearby stage, including a moment in which she held a note for what must have been at least a minute. Sufficiently intoxicated, we headed over to the Island Stage for USS.

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Yes, that is Einstein on stage.


This was fun. Their live show was very reliant on theatrics and energy. Such theatrics included playing the turntables with everything from someone's head to someone's foot while said someone was perched on the DJ's shoulders. At one point they brought out a giant cardboard cutout of Obama and threw it to the crowd, which promptly ripped it to shreds out of pure joy. I ended up with a part of his leg, which I unfortunately later lost.

USS - "Laces Out" (Download)


Satisfied, we returned to Volunteer Village for a night of drinking, dancing, and new-friendmaking.

Saturday will be up soon, which will include discussion of waking up in a random tent, my favourite band discovery of the weekend, and a show that became the most epic dirty dance party I've attended in a while.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hillside = Slightly Less YE-LID

This is me right now.

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This is how I'm going to be for approximately 99% of this weekend.

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To recap: prolonged drunkenness + great shows + lack of Internet access = half of our staff on hiatus. Hillside Festival is going to take over some of our lives this weekend, meaning if there are fewer posts around these parts over the next few days, you know why.

But don't fret! In a perfect world, my camera with its infamously poor battery life will hopefully capture some of the action which I can then bring back to you! Let us hope.

In the meantime, party tracks abound.

Super Mash Bros. - "Bruce Willis Was Dead The Whole Time" (Download)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Video Of The Week: Laura Veirs - "Spelunking"

I'm unsure if this is the official video for Laura Veirs' "Spelunking" or not, but in any case, it is very suiting to my mood at the moment, both the visuals and the music. Check it out to the right or by clicking this link. Oh, I love her lyrics.

Laura Veirs - "Spelunking"
posted on YouTube by nicebicycle

Monday, July 20, 2009

Worth A Quick Mention: Ready, Able on Letterman

I debated whether or not I should post this because my posts are predominantly about Grizzly Bear and I don't post too often as is. But if not I, who else?

"Ready, Able" played beautifully by the band accompanied by the ACME Quartet on Letterman.

Just Listen: "14th St. Break"

Perfect weather outside tonight, yes.
2007, yes.
Beastie Boys, yes.
Mix it up, yes.
Waiting for Hot Sauce Committee, yes.
14th St. Break, hell yes.

Beastie Boys - "14th St. Break" (download)

A semi-forgotten gem and proof of the undisputed greatness of the Beastie Boys.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Album Review: My favourite album of 2009 (so far)

Even though The Burning Hell’s third album has been out for several months now, it was just recently that I found a record store that stocked it; Weewerk, the label that that distributes Baby, makes Arts & Crafts look like Sony BMG.

However, the old adage that good things come to those who wait rings true for my long-awaited rendezvous with this CD, the best that I have heard in a very long time. This is the masterpiece that the previous two albums from this Peterborough collective have hinted at, refining their unique formula that never grows old into a batch of songs that, if there was any justice in the world, turn them into indie darlings overnight.

The classic Burning Hell elements are all here; agoraphobic substitute history teacher Mathias Kom’s baritone voice, his lyrics of death, fear, disappointment and apocalypse, and the music which incorporates an array of influences, from twee to klezmer to chamber-pop, with occasional hints of Arabic and Romani inspiration. However, the Burning Hell have one-upped themselves by seemingly attempting to write songs for a wider audience without sacrificing their sound. The songs are cleaner and more propulsive, and Kom’s lyricism and witticisms have been pushed to new heights to the point where each song on the album is a highlight.

Whether it’s the eccentric (and vaguely kinky) role-playing of “The Things That People Make Pt. 2”, the sordid tale of love, suicide and damnation that caps of the “Grave Situations” trilogy or a newborn’s post-partum disappointment in “Old World”, each song gives the listener something to chew on (and laugh about) even after repeat listens, lyrically and melodically. There’s even a hidden track tacked on to the end of the album that cheekily critiques the pessimistic tone of the album while simultaneously rhyming “slowly”, “Holy moly” and “ravioli”. Awesome.

I may be gushing, but that’s only because I’m confident that you will too after you (hopefully) acquire this album, which you can do at the Weewerk website or from one of their legendary live shows (check their myspace page for tour dates). Meanwhile, dig the streaming audio and download below of “Precious Island”, a song with a catchy-as-sin chorus about sailors bordering on psychosis who want to run ashore so bad that they “don’t care if it’s Hamilton”.

A small-scale classic.

The Burning Hell - “Precious Island” (download)

Worth A Quick Mention: The Present Tense

New song. Dinga dinga dong dong dong.



This kind of makes me excited.

I Bought My First Vinyl Record Yesterday

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As a music enthusiast, the aesthetic qualities of an old vinyl record have never been lost on me. It's just, I've never owned a record player with which to play them, nor have I ever had the money to go out and purchase them.

Yesterday morning I was going garage saling with my mom, and I came across a box full of records, twenty-five cents each. I began to look through them for kicks, and suddenly discovered that whoever was giving them away obviously had decent taste back in the day. If you ignore their John Mellencamp fetish, there was a ton of Prince, New Order, and Billy Idol records, among other things.

The one that caught my eye the most and caused me to buy a bunch of them was the Pet Shop Boys' 1987 release Actually. The cover is stunning, and now that I've gotten into it, the album is unbelievable as well. So now I can officially say I own vinyl, and I can thank the Pet Shop Boys. This album's going to become very special for me. I can feel it.

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "HILLSIDE"

Guelph, Ontario's Hillside Festival is arriving in one week's time, and I'm so excited that I'm doing the only thing I know how to do in times of such excitement: blog. Here's a mixtape to get you just as amped.

H/I/L/L/S/I/D/E/

1. Attack In Black - I'm A Rock (2009)
2. Woodhands - Dancer (2008)
3. Green Go - Brains For Breakfast (2009)
4. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Don't Haunt This Place (2009)
5. Gentleman Reg - You Can't Get It Back (2009)
6. Ohbijou - St. Francis (2006)
7. Julie Doiron - Life Of Dreams (2007)
8. Coeur de Pirate - Comme des Enfants (2008)
9. Rock Plaza Central - Oh I Can (2009)
10. Final Fantasy - I'm Afraid Of Japan (2006)
11. The Grates - Burn Bridges (2008)
12. Winter Gloves - Let Me Drive (2008)
13. USS - Laces Out (2008)
14. Tokyo Police Club - Your English Is Good (2008)

stoked

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stop! Collaborate & Mixtape: "SHOWERTIME"

Whoa! It's raining frogs out, where did the sun go?
Oh well, here's a mixtape for you all.

S/H/O/W/E/R/T/I/M/E/
(feat. A Reminder)

1. Dirty Projectors - Two Doves (2009)
2. Andrew Bird - Lull (2003)
3. Why? - Fatalist Palmistry (2008)
4. The Arcade Fire - Goodnight Boy (2003)
5. Elliott Smith - Say Yes (1997)
6. Pulco - Choppy Seas (2007)
7. Radiohead - Planet Telex (1995)
8. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Born on a Day The Sun Didn't Rise (2009)
9. M83 - Skin of the Night (2008)
10. Fleeting Joys - Lovely Crawl (2006)
11. Björk - In The Musicals (2000)
12. Aphex Twin - Girl/Boy Song (1996)
13. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - (David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six [1996]
14. Madagascar - All That Spring You Could See Hailey's Comet (2005)

familiarity everywhere

Track Review: No Time

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It's the most joyous song I've heard this summer since "Surprise Hotel". And I just don't have time to talk about it: I have to keep spreading this joy.

Atlas Sound - "Walkabout (Feat. Panda Bear)" (Download)

Track Review: Waves Of Sound

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Listening to Pictureplane's Fleetwood Mac sampling track "Goth Star", it's pretty hard not to have some kind of emotional response. I was walking to work half-drunk the other day with it on repeat, and I realized: I wish I lived in a world where everyone stayed that kind of almost drunk where you're completely aware of everything going on around you but you just kind of lose all sense of restraint. And I wish "Goth Star" soundtracked every day in that world.

It's propulsive, with its electro backbone that pushes you forward only to bring you back moments later, like a wave. It's also super addictive; the vocal samples get in your head, and fast. It's hard to describe the other facets of this song. It's meant to be listened to and experienced, not written about. So go ahead, check the mp3 below, and let it all just wash over you.

Pictureplane - "Goth Star" (Download)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Worth A Quick Mention: Music From a Tree

"In the garden of my house there's a tree with lots of randomly grown twigs. It looks odd and nice at the same time. One day I asked myself if I could create a piece of music with it.

To tune the tree I picked a fundamental note and tuned the twigs by trimming them with a pencil sharpener. I used two Røde NT6 and a NTG-2 as microphones, combined with a customized stethoscope.

I recorded the tracks live on a Pro Tools LE system. I didn't use any synthesizer or sampler to create or modify the sounds. All the sounds come from playing the tree, by bowing the twigs, shaking the leaves, playing rhythms on the cortex and so on.
" - Diego Stocco

Diego Stocco - Music From A Tree from Diego Stocco on Vimeo.

Download the track here

Track Review: FINALLY

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Nothing represents how I feel right now more than the picture above. I've been obsessing over Kid Sis for a while now, but to be honest, she had never released that truly BOMB single that was going to vault her into stardom. "Pro Nails" came close, but wasn't quite there.

And now it's finally happened.

This is the single I've been waiting for, a track that mixes "Pro Nails" squiggly bassline with the electro niche that Kid Sister fills so well. It's a banger, the sound of a young emcee finally putting it all together. She's got everything to be a star: the looks, the personality, and a very unique flow. And like 50 told me: let her switch the style up, and if they hate then let 'em hate and watch the money pile up. You go girl.

Kid Sister - "Right Hand Hi" (Download)

Billboard Thursday: Mariah Carey - "Obsessed"

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"I can see right through you like you bathin' in Windex."

That line alone is really enough to sell me on this song, Mariah's new single "Obsessed". Outside of that though, "Obsessed" is endlessly catchy in all it's "Blame It"-ness, and a nice change up from the "Touch My Body"'s of the Mariah world. Not that this is some kind of uptempo party jam, but Carey sounds like she's having fun here. Most of the material on E=MC2 was pretty robotic, but this sounds pretty free.

It's presumably some Eminem diss track, and while I'm not quite sure where it's coming from, Mariah hasn't sounded this in charge for a while. This is her attempting to climb back into the ranks of chart Queendom, and at least with "Obsessed" it seems to be working. Do I think she'll manage to stand up against the Lady Gaga's of the world? I don't really know. But this feels like a good enough start.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Listen: Wildlife

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Chromeo fans, eat your heart out. Brooklyn-based Wildlife are a fun electronic group that are perfect for your 2009 summer, however little left there may be of it. Per the press release:

"Composed of Gabriel Cohen-DeVries, Tomek Gross, & Andrew Doga, Wildlife have crafted a solid set of songs with their debut project. The group takes electronica on with a singular perspective as they blend live instrumentation, sly humor, and killer craftsmanship."

What I love about Wildlife is that while their sound is very clean, they've also tinged their lyrics with a bit of a wink. Their influences aren't solely electronic, either; there's clearly bits of hip-hop at work here, and their music is all the better for it. To put it frankly, these are smart musicians.

Their International Girl EP is due later this summer, so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, here's the killer title track.

Wildlife - "International Girl" (Download)

Just Listen: Beirutando

Brazilian Beirut cover band. No way!

Postcards from Italy



and an awesome version of Cliquot


Something about the percussion in their version of Cliquot, gives me the shivers, in an oh so good way.

Video Of The Week: Sour - "Hibi no Neiro"

This week's video is from Japan's Sour for their song "Hibi no Neiro" off of their debut EP Water Flavor. It was compiled using webcam footage sent in from their fans all around the world. Clever concept and very nice execution. The song is rather catchy, to boot. Check it out here, or to your right.

Sour - "Hibi no Neiro"
Directed by: Masashi Kawamura, Hal Kirkland, Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Listen: Mayer Hawthorne

Seriously. Just listen.



Now apparently Mayer Hawthorne's debut album is coming out this fall. Tell me you aren't looking forward to this one. Tell me.

MySpace
Pre-Order Hawthorne's "A Strange Arrangement"

YE-LID News: Why? Returns, Continues To Aggravate My Proper Punctuation Obsession

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Why? took our number two slot in our best albums of 2008 list with Alopecia, mostly because Yoni Wolf and co. are masters of the intensely personal sing-rap lyric. And now they're back and more acoustic than ever! No, seriously, early release "This Blackest Purse" is a slow piano ballad where Wolf is mostly to the left of the sing-rap spectrum. And it...works. These guys can do no wrong, apparently.

Eskimo Snow is due September 22. Be stoked.

Why? - "This Blackest Purse" (Download)


P.S. (from Matt): Oh my! Yesssssss!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Track Review: Wherein Darren Educates On The Two Kinds Of Sex Appeal

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In my opinion, sexiness comes in two different forms: the blatant and the subtle. Sex appeal is a completely arbitrary concept, but the art of how it's presented is pretty much universal.

Amanda Blank is as blatant as they come. It's like she's driving the bus of her hotness, and she hits you with it every time you listen to her. "Might Like You Better" is the engine of said bus, an ass-shaking firecracker of epic proportions. There is no denying: this is baby-making music, or rather accident-baby-making music. Lines like, "Just get inside me / Like you better if you just ride me," don't leave much room for interpretation. Blank is hot and horny, and she beats you over the head with it. This could turn some off from her sound. To my ears, it's fucking catchy as hell.

Amanda Blank - "Might Like You Better" (Download)


Blog princess La Roux goes another route. "Tigerlily" is a subtle come-on, the girl slyly inviting us into her dark, sexy underworld. "Tonight out on the streets I'm gonna follow you," she sings, and from her mouth it sounds less creepy and more intriguing. It's the musical equivalent of softcore porn: in contrast with Blank's XXX, La Roux hints at what's going on without giving it all away up front. "You're burning with desire for a kiss," she coos. She's toying with us. It's just as hot as "Might Like You Better", just in a wholly different way.

La Roux - "Tigerlily" (Download)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just Listen: Now, Now Every Children

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I'm very tired today. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I didn't get to sleep until 5:30. Poor decision making? Partly. Now, Now Every Children not letting me out of their grasp long enough to allow me to shut off my iTunes? Mostly.

They're a two-piece who rely a lot on tight, lovely melodies and soaring choruses that aim straight for the heart, and I know that was the worst possible way to describe them, but like I said, five-fucking-thirty. Screw it, just accept that they are wonderful, listen to the mp3, buy the album, and watch yourself stay up way too late.

Now, Now Every Children - "Everyone You Know" (Download)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stop! Collaborate & Mixtape: "CLOUD SHAPES"

Bonjour fellow blogeurs et blogettes.
I've decided to introduce a fresh take on our "not-so-daily mixtapes" and bring something new to the table. The following mixtape was created in a very different way. I choose a song, my collaborator chooses a song that they believe it should lead into, and so on and so forth.

C/L/O/U/D_S/H/A/P/E/S/
(feat. WXYZebra)

1. Stereolab - Vodiak (2006)
2. School of Seven Bells - Face to Face on High Places (2008)
3. Dirty Projectors - Fluorescent Half-Dome (2009)
4. World's End Girlfriend - Birthday Resistance (2007)
5. Yeasayer - Tightrope (2009)
6. The Mountain Goats & Kaki King - Thank You Mario, but Our Princess is in Another Castle (2008)
7. Manipulator Alligator - Safety (2005)
8. Ryland Bouchard - Part Four: Awake All Night (2008)
9. M. Ward - Four Hours in Washington (2005)
10. Abe Vigoda - Animal Ghosts (2008)
11. Brian Eno - The Great Pretender (1974)
12. Alex Mauer - blast (First Level) [2006]
13. Todosantos - Acid Boys & Acid Girls (2007)
14. E*vax - The Process of Leaving (2001)

what do you see in the clouds?

Billboard Thursday: Green Day - "21 Guns"

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Yay, it's the acoustic version of "Holiday"! Wait, this is a new song? In that case, fuck "21 Guns". Demi Lovato already did this in 2009, and did it better I might add.

I'm sick of Green Day's faux-political anti-war sentiments that have enough gloss on them to make Lil Mama proud. "21 Guns" is the sound of Billie Joe and co. phoning it in. They've realized that their fans will literally buy anything no matter how shitty it is as long as they leave some sort of "war is bad!" sentiment involved to make them sound like they're going against the establishment. Newsflash: no one likes war. It is generally accepted that war is bad, even by the new President. Move the fuck on and say something unique or meaningful for once.

Now, I realize that "21 Guns" isn't really about war, and is more about the war with oneself. The war metaphor is stlll there, though, and it's lazy. The lyrics really are awful if you read them. It's like they said, "Hey, those Simple Plan guys are still kind of popular. And they don't even have to work for it! Lets try that." And thus we get lines like, "When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul," and other such shit.

This song makes me visibly angry. Yes, Green Day, American Idiot was successful. Excellent at times, even. But "21 Guns" is just an awful retread, the kind of track that makes you hate that such music exists and is purchased for actual money from actual retailers who take the time to ship in actual physical copies. I beg of you: no more.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Track Review: Joy

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It's a beautiful sunny day outside, at least where I am. It's not too hot. There's a light breeze that washes over you right when you think you're getting a bit too warm, as if on cue. A few clouds are in the sky, but they're the nice, fluffy clouds that make you want to roll around in them. Surrounding them is a perfect shade of blue.

Here to soundtrack such a day is Fool's Gold. "Surprise Hotel" is warm, fuzzy, joyous, luscious, delectable, hyperbolic. It's the kind of song that causes you to forget that you're a music critic and just enjoy it. While Vampire Weekend makes afro-pop for the kids, "Surprise Hotel" is afro-pop for everyone. It's worldly, danceable, and most importantly, universally enjoyable. A fan of the genre or not, it's impossible to deny how infectious this song is.

Whether or not it's sunny or pouring rain in your part of the world, let this song transport you to a better place. Because it has that power, which is a special, special thing.

Fool's Gold - "Surprise Hotel" (Download)

Video Of The Week: Sin Fang Bous - "Clangour and Flutes"

This week's video is of a song off of Clangour, debut-solo release by Sin Fang Bous (Sindri Már Sigfússon of lovable Icelandic band, Seabear). The video for "Clangour and Flutes" shows a great intergration of drawings and live footage and the clapping hands are so cheerful. Beautiful song, wonderful video. Check it to the right or by clicking here.

Sin Fang Bous - "Clangour and Flutes" (download)

----
P.S. Upon walking around the city tonight with a few friends, the shuffle feature on my iPod decided to remind me of a catchy little gem by The Unicorns, "Child Star". The drumming and lyrics really popped out at me, as they did upon first listen. Especially around 1:42, when the lo-fi drum beat and worn-out synth comes in. Therefore, enjoy.

The Unicorns - "Child Star" (download)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just Listen: Reverie Sound Revue

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Radio Free Roscoe, a.k.a. what I believe to be the greatest unwatched teen dramedy of all time, impacted my life in two major ways.

1. It gave me something to look forward to at 7:30 and 10:30 of every weekday.
2. It introduced me to Reverie Sound Revue.

You see, the premise was that four high school kids start their own underground radio station (under secret identities!) to combat the oh-so-mainstream voice of their high school station. What made the show interesting was not only did it have some compelling - albeit cliched - teen storylines, but it also integrated some pretty decent music into the program, with a focus on undiscovered Canadian pop talent. One such pop talent RFR showcased was Reverie Sound Revue.

In the four or five years since RFR was cancelled, I've been waiting for a full-length release from this group. And suddenly I have it: their self-titled debut, available as of June 23.

Gorgeousness. No other word can describe the music of Reverie Sound Revue, a band that relies on soft electro-pop and the unparalleled vocal stylings of lead singer (and touring Broken Social Scene member) Lisa Lobsinger. There's nothing groundbreaking in the mix - easy melodies, solid drumming, electronic flourishes - but it's Lobsinger's showstopping vocal chords that make every song special to listen to. Some may call it a bit sleepy, I call it beautiful. Because sometimes you just don't want to listen to Animal Collective.

Go pick up the album, and check out new single "Arrows" below.

Reverie Sound Revue - "Arrows" (Download)

Track Review: Scottish Emo Flying Devices, Or A Lack Thereof

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Coming to you from the same label that brought you Frightened Rabbit (owners of the best album of 2008, at least in our humble opinion) is We Were Promised Jetpacks, a young foursome out of Glasgow. Based on the level of emotional dismay on display on debut album These Four Walls, these Scots are fucking pissed that they never received those jetpacks.

Most of the discussion around this band revolves around whether or not they should be considered that-genre-which-shalt-not-be-named. Oh, alright, I'll say it: emo. I felt you shudder there. I, for one, would opine that no, they wouldn't fall under that umbrella. As proof, I present "Conductor", a five-and-a-half-minute long monster that starts at a whisper and ends with waves of delicious drone and harmonies.

I will admit that at times on the album the lead vocalist can drift off into some emo histrionics. On "Conductor", though, he stays restrained, allowing the melody to let his aching lyrics soar without pushing too hard. The aforementioned melody is simple but perfect, propelled on by the insistent drumming.

No, these guys are nowhere near as refined as Frightened Rabbit. They too often try and make each song a grandiose statement. But what we see in "Conductor" is the potential of what this band could be if they could strike a balance between the minimal and the maximal. As it is, These Four Walls is one of the more confident debuts of 2009. With a little growth, mentioning them and Frightened Rabbit in the same sentence might not just be as lip service to the fact that they're both from Glasgow and on the same label. Expect great things.

We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Conductor" (Download)

We're Hiring!

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Yes, hiring! Ever wanted to write for a music blog, but just too lazy to start your own? Then we don't want you, because you probably have no initiative. But if you are motivated, we're looking for new writers to add to our staff! We've noticed over the past couple weeks that posts get sparse when our lives get hectic, so to fight the realities of not having enough time, we have made the decision to increase our writing constituency. If you can use words like "constituency" in a properly formed sentence, then you are likely a good candidate.

To express interest, please e-mail us with some information about yourself and a sample of your work. There's no length or topic requirement. All we ask is that you give us something that best represents your writing style. If you can't find our e-mail on this page, you need not apply.

There is no compensation for writing for YE-LID, but you do get sent a bunch of music from artists who represent all different genres. And hell, it's also a lot of fun. We're not completely sure how many writers we're going to add at this point, but I'm guessing the quality of the applications will dictate that.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Dears - "Dream Job" (Download)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Album Review: Charles Spearin's Happiness Project

Charles Spearin, contributing member of Broken Social Scene and one of the founding members of Do Make Say Think, has no trouble with bringing something new to the world of music. His latest solo release aptly titled, The Happiness Project, brings such freshness to heart. He sat down and interviewed a group of friends and acquaintances around his neighbourhood in Toronto and composed frighteningly original Jazz tracks out of the melodic progressions and tones of his friends and acquaintances.

Charles Spearin explains the album in his liner notes, quoted below.
“These are my neighbours. My wife and I have two little kids and live in downtown Toronto.”
Spearin explains, “In the summertime, all the kids in the neighbourhood play outside together and everyone is out on their porch enjoying each other’s company, telling stories and sharing thoughts. A year or so ago I began inviting some of them over to the house for a casual interview vaguely centered around the subject of happiness. In some cases we never broached the subject directly but none-the-less my friends began to call it my “Happiness Project”.

From start to finish, the use of flutes, birds, trumpet, piano, harp, bass guitar, and drums, this album just makes you smile all over and takes you on quite a delightful little journey. Easily one of my favourite albums of the year, The Happiness Project, really helps you to pay attention to the very unique way that different people carry themselves and express themselves.

1. "Mrs. Morris" (download)
2. "Anna"
3. "Vittoria"
4. "Vanessa"
5. "Marisa"
6. "Ondine"
7. "Mr. Gowrie"
8. "Mrs. Morris (Reprise)"

I absolutely and indefinitely recommend that you check out this album and buy it here. It's extremely touching and a reminder of two very important things. The tingly jitters that Jazz music gives you on the inside, and how unique each human being is once you get to know them.

Just Listen: Blane Fonda

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The name Blane Fonda confused me. I assumed that this was a singular performer who's parents were at fault for the kind of name that conjures up images of cheesy 80s workout videos. Luckily for me, Blane Fonda is actually a post-punk (I like to use these terms at random without truly knowing what they mean) five-piece out of Chicago and I love cheesy 80s workout videos.

Their sound his very high energy, with hooks galore and a vocalist who is kind of a marriage between Patrick Wolf and Reggie Youngblood of Black Kids. Black Kids may be a pretty good reference point, come to think of it, with Blane Fonda being the jaded older cousin who scoffs at the squeaky cleanliness of Black Kids' sound. I say this because Blane Fonda's songs cram a lot of noise into them, which, in my opinion, adds to their appeal.

I feel like these guys would be excellent live, so if you're in the Chicago area do try and check them out. And if you're like most of the world and not in the Chicago area, just view the video below.




Blane Fonda - "Opportunity Rocks" (Download)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not-So-Daily Mixtape: "ARE WE SAVAGE YET?"

Are we savage yet?
No.
Are we savage yet?
No.

A/R/E_W/E_S/A/V/A/G/E_Y/E/T?

1. Awt - Tidig VÃ¥r (2004)
2. Sigur Rós - Gobbledigook (2008)
3. Radiohead - Where Bluebirds Fly (2004)
4. Chad VanGaalen - Red Hot Drops (2006)
5. Bubble Shield - A Calgary Flame (2009)
6. Lo-Fi-Fnk - City (2006)
7. Bran Van 3000 - Drinking in L.A. (1998)
8. Why? - Our Neighbour's Daughter (2003)
9. Portishead - Magic Doors (2008)
10. Friend - What Is It? (2009)
11. High Places - Universe (2008)
12. DM Stith - Spirit Parade (2009)
13. Animal Collective - Bluish (2009)
14. Volcano - $40,000 Plus Interest (2005)

No.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Billboard Thursday: Jay-Z - "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)"

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This Thursday is an interesting one for me. "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)" isn't supposed to be a hit song - Jay-Z says as much - and yet here it is, zooming up the charts. I view "D.O.A." as more of a mission statement. It's the king of rap stepping down from his throne for a moment to wave his finger like a disappointed father.

He's sleepwalking through most of the verses here. Because honestly, "I know we facin' a recession / But the music y'all makin gonna make it the great depression," is a lame ass line. But like he says, this ain't meant for iTunes. This is a public service announcement. He's pretty much saying, "Hey guys. Grow a pair." And I can respect that.

There's not much else to say about "D.O.A.", really. It serves it's purpose by making it known that auto-tune is over and Jay-Z still exists. Whether or not this actually does kill auto-tune is an interesting question, but frankly, if I had Jay-Z calling me out on my lack of balls, I'd probably shut the fuck up and start rapping again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Video Of The Week: Dirty Projectors / Animal Collective

Ever since Dirty Projectors released their most recent album, Bitte Orca, it has been rubbing me all kinds of good. This week's music video is the official video for "Stillness Is The Move" which you can check out to the right, or by clicking here. If you haven't already heard the album, please go out and buy a copy. Support the band, they deserve it.

Dirty Projectors - "Stillness Is The Move"
by Matthew Lessner

...and for all of you who haven't yet seen it. The official video to Summertime Clothes resides here and awaits your arrival. Mmm.. two good videos
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P.S. Happy Canada Day