Saturday, December 31, 2011

Aggregatibacter's 17 Favorite Records of 2011

Here they are, in no particular order, the new records I have enjoyed most this year. Why 17? I made a list of over 70 records that I really liked this year and my goal was to make it as short as possible. I just started crossing stuff off until it started to make me uncomfortable. There just so happened to be 17 records left at that point. The only criterion to make the first list was that the record had to come out in 2011 and I had to like it enough to own it. I still felt bad crossing off a lot of the records on my list, so I made a mix of some of my favorite songs off of all the records in this post and one each from all the records I crossed off. I'll post that after a while. Happy new nuttin!

The War on Drugs--Slave Ambient Try Buy

WU LYF--Go Tell Fire To The Mountain Try Buy

tUnE-yArDs--W H O K I L L Try Buy

Handsome Furs--Sound Kapital Try Buy

Timber Timbre--Creep On Creepin' On Try Buy

Dirty Beaches--Badlands Try Buy

Girls--Father, Son, Holy Ghost Try Buy

M83--Hurry Up We're Dreaming Try Buy

The Rapture--In the Grace of Your Love Try Buy

Youth Lagoon--The Year of Hibernation Try Buy

Destroyer--Kaputt Try Buy

Tom Waits--Bad As Me Try Buy

Josh T. Pearson--Last of the Country Gentleman Try Buy

Fucked Up--David Comes to Life Try Buy

Drive--Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Try Buy

Disappears--Guider Try Buy

Ty Segall--Goodbye Bread Try Buy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Long Live Rock, Rock is Dead--An Aggregatibacter Video Mixtape

It's been a while since I did one of these Mixtapes. I've been listening to The Who all morning and want to start this with "Eminence Front." It's a risky way to start and this has the potential to become very corny, very fast. Let's just see where it goes...

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Who--Quadrophenia

Something I've always historically done staying up late nights on holiday weekends was to sit in my parent's living room with my big clunky headphones listening to my father's copy of Quadrophenia. It was one of his favorite albums, by his favorite band. I can still see him walking around our house in his Maximum R&B T-shirt and his tighty whiteys coming downstairs after a night's rest as I'm sliding his Quadrophenia records back into their sleeves and preparing to finally go to sleep. I always wished I would have stayed up another hour or two and listened to the record one more time with him. I was a stupid teenager though and somehow, even though I was listening to his record and he was wearing a Who shirt for pajamas I never did, at the time, think of him as cool enough to hang out with. Have you ever seen that Louie episode where Louis CK rocks out to "Who are You?" in the car with his kids? Well, I've had that exact experience with my dad about a thousand times. I thought he was such a nerd. Now I'd give anything to rock out with him like that to "The Rock," or "The Real Me," or "I've Had Enough," or "Love, Reign O'er Me." Or to just sit and talk to him at dawn about which of Jimmy's four split personalities he liked best or what it was like to hear those waves rolling in for the first time on "I Am the Sea," or about the significance of water as a symbol in the greatest rock opera of all time. This one's for my dad.

"On a dry and dusty road/The nights we spent apart, alone/I need to get back home/ To cool, cool rain...I can't sleep and I lay and I think/The night is hot and black as ink/Oh god, I need a drink/Of cool, cool rain."

Pearl Jam--PJ20 OST

I've been so busy with school that I haven't even thought about posting here in a while. I've got some time off for Thanksgiving though and am wide awake at 2 in the morning. I spent the day napping and the night watching Netflix. Over the last few weeks, my only entertainment has been reading Everybody Loves Our Town: The Oral History of Grunge on the bus back and forth from school/work. I should start by saying I've never been a fan of grunge. I love Nirvana, but I think they transcend that Seattle scene that happened to spring up around them and never personally related them with grunge, as erroneous as that may be. To me, it's like saying the Beatles are rock and roll. The Beatles are The Beatles and Nirvana are Nirvana. The Who is The Who. You can't put bands like those into categories. So anyway, I bought the Oral History more as a tourist than a fan. It was basically research. And I downloaded a lot of records to listen to while reading on the bus--again, more research. I pretty much stuck to my guns though, and as much as I've enjoyed reading the book, I haven't come much closer to loving this music. I have happened upon an appreciation for the more Stooges-esque Mudhoney stuff, the heavy drone of The Melvins, and developed sort of a fascination with Mark Lanegan. But I still can't really say I like any of this music. As for Pearl Jam, I have never taken them seriously and even after reading the book, I still didn't think too highly of them. I have to say the book, kind of unfairly, paints them in a bit of a negative light. And I bought into it, cause I never really liked their music anyway. Tonight, though, I'm up late and I can't sleep and I just watched Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam 20 on Netflix. I have to admit I was kind of blown away. There aren't many bands with their level of integrity and work ethic that are also, yes I will finally admit it, kind of awesome. Say what you will about me, but I am a convert. I like Pearl Jam. Warts and all. Pearl Jam's not Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam is grunge, but they're OK. First U2, now Pearl Jam. What next, Lady Gaga?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Johnny Thunders-Que Sera, Sera

I need to get back to work, but I really wanted to post this too. I will have to let it speak for itself and just say it's great music to chill out to while riding alone in the back of a NYC cab on a cold, dark autumn night.

Rain Parade--Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

I've also been listening to a lot of Paisley Underground (The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, etc.) records to help me cope with the stress of school. If Girls were the downer to help me unwind at the end of each long day then The Rain Parade are the stuff that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. In case you've forgotten about this group, they were the best of the shimmering, jangly pop-psych that came out of the LA music scene in the early 80s. They didn't sell as many records as The Bangles (the most popular Paisley Undergound group), but I'd say they had the most talent and stand up better today than any of the other groups including The Dream Syndicate. If you haven't heard of The Rain Parade, think Nuggets, Seeds, Byrds, Syd Barrett-era Floyd, Revolver-era Beatles inspired "neo-psych" of the early 80s. I think this is a fitting description the Paisley Underground movement in general, but The Rain Parade were the best example of this sound. I couldn't decide which of their albums to post, because they're all so good, but frankly, I really like the cover of this one so that's how I decided. I highly recommend tracking down Explosions in the Glass Palace if you're into this record. Especially if you like the darker, VU inspired "No Easy Way Down" video below. Stand outs include "I Look Around", the "She Said She Said" inspired song that was probably their only hit. I'd say I wish these guys were still together, but Steve Roback left the band to form Opal which eventually morphed into Mazzy Star and what would the world be without Mazzy Star? This may be weird to hear, but Hope Sandoval is probably one of my top 5 favorite vocalists, songwriters, frontmen/women of all time. I don't think I've gone two days without hearing her voice for at least 3 minutes in years. If you don't agree, you should track down some of her solo records or some Mazzy Star records and give her a second chance. Or just wait...I'm sure some of them will pop up here eventually. Anyway, Rain Parade is quite good too. Enjoy.

Girls--Father, Son, Holy Ghost

The first time I heard Girls' debut record, Album I was driving, alone, from my gravely ill grandmother's house to the wedding of one of the best friends I've ever had. I was really anxious about going solo to this wedding attended mainly by strangers and a few people I knew well, but who I haven't seen in a really long. Plus, I had to drive back to my grandmother's house after the reception, so I even couldn't drink to take the edge off. I don't often get overwhelmed by both depression and anxiety simultaneously, but between the awkardness of the wedding and the imminent loss of someone I loved very much, I was having a pretty strange night. I happened to put on Album on the ride over to the wedding, because I had just gotten it and I wanted to listen to something I didn't care about or know very well so I could just fade out and get numb on the drive. I didn't want to arrive at this wedding a complete basket-case. From the first note of Album, though, I started to feel a lot better. It was just this cool, laid back, sunny music that moves with the highway underneath you. This was early fall, about the same time of year as it is now, but last year. It was perfect music for the weather. Well, I got to the wedding, and I was a total basket case. But every time things got be too overwhelming I would go back to the car and listen to "Lauren Marie" or "Summertime." So, it's fall again. And I'm a basket case again. And there's a a fairly new Girls record out--Father, Son, Holy Ghost. And it's great. And it totally calms me down. It's so wonderful when a band you like comes out with a new record and it's a hundred times better than their last one. To see that these kids are for real and they are gonna be around for a while to keep making you feel that way they make you feel. This group makes me feel grounded. They're feet on the ground music. They're take a deep breath, the day is finally finished music. This record is perfect for getting on the bus (or, if you're luckier than me, behind the wheel of an automobile), pressing play and decompressing for a while. Its deep, chilled-out, soulful gospel and early rock inspired psych/space rock that gets your breathing back in rhythm. Like just about everything I seem to post here, there's a little Spiritualized in the ancestry of these songs (see "Vomit" and "Forgiveness" especially for examples of this). You may also notice reflections of Jellyfish, Elvis Costello, Deep Purple, Sinead O'Connor, Elliott Smith, and on and on...Other stand out tracks include, "My Ma," "Honey Bunny," "Saying I Love You," "Magic," and "Jamie Marie."

Try. Link removed by request.

Tom Waits--Kentucky Ave. Video

It's one of those beautiful Fall mornings that makes me want to be a kid playing hookie. I've been way to busy with school these past few weeks to keep up with this blog so I'm gonna take advantage of this feeling and blow of my work for an hour and post some records here. Maybe I'll even go for a walk and break some laws. Tip a porta potty or something.

By the way, Tom Waits' new record drops in exactly 18 days.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Killing Yourself To Live Soundtrack: 85% Of An Aggregatibacter Mixtape

I was pretty sick for most of this month and one of the books I read while laying in bed bored out of my mind was Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live: 85% Of A True Story. It's a tough book to put down. It's the story of a cross-country road trip Klosterman took while writing an article for Spin magazine about why death is often the best career move musicians can make. Along the way he meets up with, and contemplates his relationships with, the main loves of his life, snorts coke on the site of the Station fire where about a hundred rockers where killed by Great White's pyrotechnics, listens to all the KISS solo records, and recalls a story in which his brother broke a deer's neck with his bare hands. This is all while traveling to various sights where rock stars have kicked the bucket: Kurt Cobain's greenhouse, the farm where Lynrd Skynrd's plane crashed, the apartment where Replacement's guitarist Bob Stinson drank himself to death, etc. As a rock critic and record nerd, he talks about and listens to a lot of music along the way. He brought 600 records on the 2 week trip. What I like about rock critics is their ability to give the reader an idea of what a record will sound like by comparing the band's sound to a conglomeration of different culture artifacts that are simultaneouely important, well-known, and oddly related to this new work they are describing. I can't do this, which is why all my posts here have links to the records themselves and videos of songs from the records I talk about. Anyway, Killing Yourself To Live, shows cirtics not only do that with the records they review, but with every aspect of their lives. They compare girlfriends to certain songs or members of KISS, sum up the entirety of major terrorist attacks by going track-by-track through an album released before said terrorist attack occurs, compare their relationship to a town to Ozzy Osborne's relationship to Randy Rhodes. They see the world through music, often making very deep, truthful realizations by making absurd comparisons. To make this point, I've chosen some of the more ridiculous songs referenced in the book. Klosterman writes about hundreds of songs, albums, and recording artists in the book. I chose one song that was specifically mentioned in each chapter to make this "soundtrack" to the book. I usually picked the silliest track mentioned, but not exclusively. Sometimes I picked a song that really summed up the events of the chapter, or that effectively created an image, or that I just liked a whole lot. Oddly, as I look over the track list, very few of these songs were written by the dead artists who were the subject of the article he was researching as the events chronicled in the book take place. Many are songs he used to describe ex-girlfrends and most are just off-the-wall references that paint a perfect picture of whatever it is he's trying to describe at the time. If you decide to read the book while you read this, you may find yourself comparing it to High Fidelity, but KYTL is a much better book with a much stranger soundtrack.

Chapter 1: Bodies--The Sex Pistols
Chapter 2: I Can't Explain--The Scorpions
Chapter 3: Jolene--Dolly Parton
Chapter 4: Chantilly Lace--The Big Bopper
Chapter 5: My Drug Buddy--The Lemonheads
Chapter 6: Crazy in Love--Beyonce (feat. Jay-Z)
Chapter 7: Downtown--Petula Clark
Chapter 8: Sit Down, Stand Up--Radiohead
Chapter 9: Hollywood Nights--Bob Seger
Chapter 10: Rock Me Amadeus--Falco
Chapter 11: Camel Walk--Southern Culture On The Skids
Chapter 12: More Than Words--Extreme
Chapter 13: I Don't Want To Know--Fleetwood Mac
Chapter 14: Bastards of Young--The Replacements
Chapter 15: Dancefloors--My Morning Jacket
Chapter 16: Stay With Me--Faces
Chapter 17: Trampled Under Foot--Led Zeppelin
Chapter 18: New York Groove--KISS (Ace Freehley Solo Album)
Chapter 19: Lithium--Nirvana
Chapter 20: Something in the Way--Nirvana

The Music Tapes--For Clouds and Tornadoes

There are a few things that I find more beautiful than words can explain. They are all natural phenomena that tend to be the only things in this world I can just stare at and immediately feel calm. One is flocks of birds, particularly the rapidly changing, perfectly choreographed smoke-like flocks of starlings. Another is water flowing over stones. And the last is clouds drifting behind buildings, trees, mountains, air traffic control towers--doesn't matter what, just moving behind something. There are only two days of elementary school I remember distinctly. One of those was the day we learned the names of the different types of clouds. It was one of the best days of my life. The very idea that someone had the job of looking up at the sky and naming the clouds just made me so happy. To this day, I still could not tell you which cloud is a cummulonimbus, which is a cirrus, which is a stratus, but I could tell you what my teacher was wearing when she taught me (a purple dress), where I was sitting (third row, fourth seat), even what belt I was wearing (Superman). I couldn't even tell you what grade I was in. So, The Memory Tapes's For Clouds and Tornadoes remains my favorite Non-Mangum Elephant 6 endeavor. Not only does Julian Koster recall this bit of nostalgia by shouting, "NIMBUS! CIRRUS! STRATUS!" throughout the record, but his singing saw, toy pianos, accordion, banjo, and his otherworldly voice sound more like a memory than song. This must be why I always mistakenly refer to this project as The Memory Tapes instead of The Music Tapes causing much confusion every time I try to put on this record and wind up listening to the first 2 minutes of Seek Magic before I figure out what the hell is going on. I always say I remember things better when I write them down. The purpose of this post is to help be remember The Music Tapes are the cloud band created by Neutral Milk Hotel's Julian Koster and the Memory Tapes are the electronic "chillwave" band with the bicycle pump and sneakers on a basketball court sounds on their record (also some nostalgic feelings associated with that one...). And I'd also like to share this Music Tapes record (and hopefully this feeling) with you. I love this record and the way it makes me feel. Enjoy.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks--Mirror Traffic

A Beck produced Jicks record, do you really need me to explain why it's essential for you to have this? It's even better than you might expect...

Okkervil River--Overboard & Down

Named for and featuring an excellent cover of one of my favorite songs off the focus of my last post, Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers, this tour EP is just one of countless records that were influenced by that Big Star Record. Just a few minutes on YouTube will reveal covers of Sister Lovers songs by Bat for Lashes, Elliott Smith, This Mortal Coil, Mike Mills, Jody Stephens, Evan Dando, Yo La Tengo and a bunch more. This Okkervil River cover is one of my favorites and the rest of the EP is pretty amazing as well.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Big Star--Third/Sister Lovers (1992 Rykodisc Edition)

Big Star never really received the commercial attention they deserved. Championed by the critics (and later The Replacements), Stax Records just wasn't up to the task of promoting their acts by the time Big Star came along. It didn't help that there were only two original members of the band left during the recording of their third record and that Alex Chilton was pretty much falling apart during most of the recording of the record. No one even agreed that this was a Big Star record. The group that recorded these songs went by Sister Lovers, not Big Star. That name, which later became the record name, came about because Chilton and drummer, Jody Stephens, happened to be dating two sister at the time. Cousins of my favorite photographer, William Eggleston, the sisters also contributed some of the backing vocals, but were later erased following the break up that must have led to the creation of songs like "Holocaust" and "Kangaroo." The rest of the band was made up of Stax session musicians with producer Jim Dickinson trying to keep some sort of order. I have to say that despite all of the emotional ups and downs and the eclectic mix of songs on Third/Sister Lovers (or perhaps because of them...), this is my favorite of all the records Alex Chilton created in his career. Stand out tracks include "Thank You Friends," "O, Dana," "Stroke It, Noel," "Holocaust," "Kangaroo," "Femme Fatale," and one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Jesus Christ."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The War On Drugs--Wagonwheel Blues

I'm a sucker for bands from Philadelphia, and this is one of the best ones touring right now. They're latest record, Slave Ambient, has been playing through my headphones a lot lately and keeps reminding me how great their debut record was. The lineup in the group has changed quite a lot between Wagonwheel Blues and Slave Ambient. The most notable change being the departure of Kurt Vile who went on to pursue his stuff with The Violators. He figures prominently on this album though and while Adam Granduciel's atmospheric sonic arrangements on Slave Ambient are mind bogglingly good, I think Wagonwheel Blues will get more play on my various electronic devices. With songwriting and vocal style that's been compared to Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen played by a bunch of guys who grew up listening to Spacemen 3, Neu!, Suicide, and My Bloody Valentine, this is road music with deeply layered, drug-addled, space rock ambience. Listening to both records my mind flashes back and forth between images of convertible '59 Chevys driving along the California coast, horses galloping across the desert, sports cars flying down the autobahn and rocket ships blasting through outer space. These records are about moving quickly through space and time without putting down too many roots down in any one place. Oh hell, I should just post both records...

Jeff Mangum--Toronto, August 13, 2011 & New Zealand, April, 2 2001

Jeff Mangum's first tour in 1o years sounds like it's off to a good start. He'll be in New York and New Jersey pretty soon. I can't wait for November 6. Here are the links to a few songs to the August 13th show in Toronto. These songs sound even better than they did 10 years ago. It's like he never took a break.

Just click on each link and it should automatically download right to your computer.

Just for comparison's sake, I'm also including a link to the "final NMH concert." This is mainly just Jeff Mangum though. The last time they performed together as a band was probably 2 years before this recording. This was a show Chris Knox convinced him to play shortly after his breakdown that they called The World of Wild Beards. Apart from a few guest spots here and there, this was the last time Mangum has performed before this month. I just can't get over the growth that occurred over this hiatus. Not that this 2001 show isn't amazing, but I think he's a much better singer today than he was when the this was recorded.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For the Birds--An Aggregatibacter Mixtape

Love-->Building on Fire--Talking Heads
Nice Weather for Ducks--Lemon Jelly
Battered Old Bird--Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Details of the War--Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
More Yellow Birds--Sparklehorse
Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days--Sunset Rubdown
Birdie Hop--Sid Barrett
Surfin' Bird--The Trashmen
Birdfeed--The Cramps
Blue Bird--The Rosebuds
Guess I'm Doin' Fine--Beck
Story of Isaac--Leonard Cohen
Blackbird--Magnolia Electric Co.
His Eye Is On The Sparrow--Fred Lowery
Chicken Yiamas--Von Sudenfed
Chin Chin & Muck Muck--Devendra Banhart
You're A Big Girl Now--Bob Dylan
Old Black Crow--Michael Hurley
Get Together--The Youngbloods
When Doves Cry--Prince
Big Bird In A Small Cage--Patrick Watson
Trembling Peacock--Destroyer
Pigeon--Maps & Atlases
Lonesome Hunter--Timber Timbre
Little Bird--Eels
Journey of the Featherless--Cloud Cult
Doves--The Black Angels
Blue Bird--Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
Leaving The Nest (It's A long Way Down)--Benjy Ferree
Birdland-Patti Smith
Jockey Full Of Bourbon--Tom Waits
April 13th, 2007--Paleo
Flamingo Baby--Violent Femmes
Gather, Form and Fly--Megafaun
Swan, Swan, H--R.E.M.
If You Want To Be A Bird (Bird Song)--Holy Modal Rounders

Unknown Mortal Orchestra--Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I had my urethra swabbed today. It was about 1000 times more painful and traumatic than it sounds. Just awful. This record's been helping me through the day a bit. The band describes the LP as "Captain Beefheart, Sly Stone, and RZA jamming on some kids' TV theme too dark to ever be broadcast."

Jangly psychedelia to help take your mind off what ails you. Enjoy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Charlotte Gainsbourg--Heaven Can Wait Video

I just read Beck produced the new Stephen Malkmus record that's coming out in a couple of weeks. This got me thinking about some of the other records Beck has contributed to as a producer lately (the new Thurston Moore is especially good by the way) which got me thinking about Gainsbourg's IRM which reminded me of this amazing video I had completely forgotten about.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rowland S. Howard Mega-Post

Rowland S. Howard figured prominently in my last post, the video mix tape. There was a video of him performing "She Cried," A Horrors video that quotes the same song, and then a video of, probably, his best known song song "Shivers" sung by his pal Nick Cave with their band The Boys Next Door. Since he's been so deep in my subconscious lately by directing the progress of my mixes and popping up repeatedly every time I hit shuffle on my phone lately, I thought it would be cool to post one of his records to share his genius with anyone out there who isn't as familiar with him as they should be. The problem is, Howard has had such a long career of putting out incredible music with some of the most innovative artists in the music industry that I had a really hard time picking just one record to post. What follows is, by no means, a comprehensive list of all of his work, but this post includes some of my favorite records that feature Howard in a prominent role, including his two solo albums, Teenage Snuff Film and Pop Crimes which are, in my opinion, his finest works. Best known as the discordant guitarist in The Birthday Party, and highly influential as such, Rowland S. Howard has played guitar, sung, and wrote songs with numerous bands and has had a pretty brilliant career as a solo artist as well. Starting out in The Boys Next Door, the band he started with Nick Cave and later transforming into The Birthday Party, Howard and Cave have had a long, albeit tumultuous relationship. Howard occasionally recorded as a Bad Seed (some backing vocals, namely on Let Love In), but by then I don't think they were speaking much. I'm not really sure about their personal history, to be honest. Anyway, they also worked together on the Lydia Lunch album, Honeymoon in Red which was later re-worked with some contributions from Thurston Moore. I'm gonna let the music speak for itself here. Rowland S. Howard died in 2009.

The Boys Next Door--Door, Door (1979)
The Birthday Party--Junkyard (1982)
The Birthday Party--Live, 1981-1982
Honeymoon in Red--Honeymoon in Red (1983)
Crime and The City Solution--Room of Lights (1986)
These Immortal Souls--Get Lost (Don't Lie) (1987)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds--Let Love In (1994)
Rowland S. Howard--Teenage Snuff Film (2000)
Rowland S. Howard--Pop Crimes (2009)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Youtubes & The Tweetsters--An Aggregatibacter Viral Video Mixtape

I should me doing homework, so of course I'm wandering around on an endless chain of related (and not quite related) YouTube videos. Here are some of the highlights of my trip. It starts with a top hat and a harmonica and it ends with a top hat, a harmonica, and a gun.

Friday, August 5, 2011

WU LYF--Go Tell Fire To The Mountain

This album's been kicking my ass lately so thought I'd share it here. In case you haven't come across this band yet, WU LYF is an acronym that stands for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation. Believe it or not, the music is even better than that name. This might be my favorite album of the year, so far. I can't stop listening to it. They are a "Heavy Pop" outfit (see Track 10), whatever that means. The vocalist has a kind of a gruff voice, so I've been seeing a lot of the obligatory Tom Waits references, but that and their propensity to evade the media are really the only similarities to that particular genius. They sound a bit more like a more interesting Modest Mouse or a more serious Man Man, two other bands that are constantly (though not quite accurately) compared to Tom Waits. I think if I had to compare them to anyone though, I'd say they remind me a lot of a ballsier, catchier Future Islands with even a little bit of Porno for Pyros and Wolf Parade mixed in...and it might just be the bandanas and acronyms but there's something about them that keeps reminding me of Odd Future, Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWKTA). This record is entirely self produced, the band does not deal with record labels. I highly encourage you to purchase the record at the "Buy" link below. I'm having trouble picking stand out tracks. They're all incredible.

Michael Kiwanuka--Tell Me A Tale Video

If Richie Havens adopted Marvin Gaye's love child, he might grow up sounding like Michael Kiwanuka. He's still recording his full length LP on the Isle of Wight, but you can buy this single at iTunes if you just can't wait.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Shakes

I don't know anything about this band. They're a young soul group from Athens, Alabama. I just saw them raved about over on the Aquarium Drunkard blog and have listened to the 5 songs they have on Reverb Nation over and over again all morning. Not sure how a band this good could be too young to have a record out on some label somewhere, but if this is what they sound like just getting started then they're going to blow a lot of minds.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Feelies--Crazy Rhythms & Live at CBGB 1977

I'm sure most people probably have this record already. It's the band's first and most popular record. I just watched The Feelies tear Prospect Park apart. I wish I could post a bootleg of the performance I just watched because it was mind blowing. They even covered "I Wanna Be Your Dog." I was unsure the energy of the record would carry over to the stage (especially since it was recorded 35 years ago) but they seriously destroyed tonight. It was amazing. Check this record out if you don't already have it. If you already do have it, you should go listen to it for a while. Stand out tracks include "Crazy Rhythms," Fa Ce-La," "Raised Eyebrows," and "The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness."

Bonus: Since I couldn't post tonight's show here is one I'm sure would have been better if I was allowed to go to concerts when I was 9 months old...

And a movie clip from an unknown time and place...

Amy Winehouse--Back to Black & The 27 Club

I've always really liked Amy Winehouse. Today she is the newest member of The 27 Club. I'm sad she's gone. RIP.

Other notable musicians who died at 27...
Jimi Hendrix
Brian Jones
D. Boone
Kurt Cobain
Jim Morrison
Janis Joplin
Robert Johnson
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan
Jean-Michel Basquiat (He counts...he was in Gray)

Try. Link removed by request.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Washed Out--Within & Without

I'm studying for mid-terms and don't have a lot of time to write about this. I'll just say it lives up to the hype and should be acquired via one of the links below at your earliest convenience. It is definitely Ernest Greene's best work yet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eddie Vedder--Ukulele Songs

I was never a big fan of Pearl Jam, so when I picked this up in a record shop in California the other day I did so as kind of a joke. It was a novelty record I thought I'd listen to once or twice out of curiosity and then forget about. Oddly enough, I haven't really listened to anything else for the last week. I never thought I would be this excited about Eddie Vedder playing songs on solo ukulele. I never even thought I would utter a sentence as bizarre as that last one. Somehow it works though. Don't expect the lost Iz Kamakawiwo'ole album (that's not something you wanted anyway, right?) or anything like what Vedder's done with Pearl Jam. This is a pretty original take on ukulele music, and I really like it. I admit the lyrics are decidedly Vedder-esque at times (see "Longing to Belong" and "Can't Keep" for reminders that this is still the singer for Pearl Jam), but for the most part they're often pretty sweet lamentations on being alone when you don't really want to be. Stand out tracks include "Sleeping Alone," "More Than You Know," "Goodbye," and "Sleepless Nights."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shannon and the Clams--Sleep Talk

I have no recollection of ever purchasing or downloading this record. It's as if it were sent to my iPhone directly from heaven. I can't figure out where it came from, but it just keeps coming up on shuffle pretty much every day. Each one of these songs comes up I think it's some old Crickets record or a Darlene Love track I overlooked on the Phil Spector box set. Although it's far too stripped down to have anything to do with Phil Spector. Nonetheless, every time this mystery music comes on my phone I am both blown away by and completely confused about what I'm listening to. It even has the vintage production that makes me wonder just exactly when it was recorded. This is just really great garage rock stripped down to drums bass and one guitar with too of the strongest vocalists I have heard in this genre of contemporary garage rock. Half of the vox come from one of Hunx and His Punx's punkettes, Shannon Shaw, the other vocalist Cody Blanchard provides some equally impressive singing and songwriting. This is great beach music just in time for summer. I don't know where it came from or why, but I'm so happy the gods bestowed this gift upon me. Stand out tracks include "You Will Always Bring Me Flowers," "Done with You," "Oh Louie," "Half Rat," and "Sleep Talk."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Across America: 50 Songs about 50 States -- An Aggregatibacter Mixtape

This is a cross-country musical road trip for anyone who wishes they were on the road, but is stuck in front of a computer instead. Or for those lucky people who really are on the road with a iPhone wired up to the car stereo. There are also two talking tracks I couldn't help but add. Track list below.

Alabama-It's Hard to be Humble (When You're from Alabama)-Phosphorescent
Alaska-Anchorage-The Church
Arizona-Yuma-Justin Townes Earle
Arkansas-Arkansas-Damien Jurado
California-California Zephyr-Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar (Lyrics by Jack Kerouac)
Colorado-Denver-Clem Snide
Connecticut-Kylie from Connecticut-Ben Folds
Florida-Florida-Vic Chesnutt
Georgia-West of Rome-Sparklehorse (Vic Chesnutt cover)
Hawaii-Rock-A-Hula Baby-Elvis Presley
Idaho-Idaho-Inara George and Van Dyke Parks
Illinois-The Giant of Illinois-The Handsome Family
Indiana-Indiana-Cymbals Eat Guitars
Iowa-Sioux City-The Jayhawks
Kansas-Kansas City-Wilbert Harrison
Kentucky-Kentucky Bourbon-Murder By Death
Louisiana-Mardi Gras in New Orleans-Professor Longhair
Maine-Maine Island Lovers-Okkervil River
Maryland-Baltimore-The Tamlins
Massachusetts-Girlfriend-The Modern Lovers
Michigan-Motor City is Burning-MC5
Minnesota-News from Central Minnesota-The State
Minnesota-X-Mas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
Mississippi-Tupelo-Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Missouri-Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey-Little Richard
Montana-The Red Headed Stranger-Willie Nelson
Nebraska-Nebraska-Bruce Springsteen
Nevada-Viva Las Vegas-Dead Kennedys
New Hampshire-New Hampshire-Sonic Youth
New Jersey-Jersey's Where it's At-Belle & Sebastian
New Jersey-A More Perfect Union-Titus Andronicus
New Mexico-Albuquerque-Neil Young
New York-Shattered-The Rolling Stones
North Carolina-Nirvana-Tom Waits (Lyrics by Charles Bukowski)
North Dakota-Hard Travelin'-Woody Guthrie
Oklahoma-Oklahoma, USA-The Kinks
Oregon-Portland-The Replacements
Pennsylvania-Allentown-Billy Joel
Rhode Island-RI is Famous for You-Blossom Dearie
South Carolina-Carolina Drama-The Raconteurs
South Dakota-Reno Dakota-The Magnetic Fields
Tennessee-Memphis in June-Nina Simone
Texas-Dallas-Silver Jews
Utah-The History of Utah-Camper Van Beethoven
Vermont-Moonlight in Vermont-Captain Beefheart
Virginia-East Virginia Blues-Gob Iron
Washington-Seattle, Washington-Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
West Virginia-I Wanna Go Back to West Virginia-Spike Jones & His City Slickers
Wisconsin-Wisconsin-Bon Iver
Wyoming-Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans-Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sun-Drenched Weekend -- An Aggregatibacter Mixtape

I really should be sleeping or doing homework, but instead I've wasted the evening making this mix tape. I hope somebody out there enjoys it. Just a few sunny (and not-so-sunny) songs to go with this beautiful weather.

Leave a comment if you like it...or even if you hate there anybody out there?

Tracklist below...

You Can Never Hold Back Spring-Tom Waits
Lovely Day-Alex Chilton
Fat Old Sun-Pink Floyd
Hello Sunshine-Damien Jurado & Richard Swift
Rainbows-Dennis Wilson
Maui Chimes-Mike Hanapi
Lay Back In The Sun-Spiritualized Electric Mainline
Bustin' Surfboards-The Tornadoes
Surf City (Revisited)-The Black Angels
Sad Vacation-Johnny Thunders
The Mermaid Parade-Phosphorescent
Gulf Shores-Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Summersong-Roy Orbison
Deadbeat Summer-Neon Indian
Beach Foam-Future Islands
Sunday Beach Mambo-Charles Iwebue & His Archibogs
Secret Picnic Spot-Beat Happening
Seasonal Delicacies-Andrew Graham & Swarming Branch
Ice Cream Man-The Modern Lovers
Melted-Ty Segall
Kauoha Mai-Sol Hoopi
Blue Corolla-Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
County Fair-Bruce Springsteen
Saints-The Breeders

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Talking Heads -- True Stories

...and here's the full True Stories record. This is the soundtrack to Byrne's "completely cool multi-purpose movie" of the same name starring a young John Goodman, Spalding Gray, Pops Staples, and Byrne himself. It's based on "true" stories he read in tabloid papers like The National Enquirer and so are all the songs on this "soundtrack". I put soundtrack in quotes because these aren't the same recordings that are in the movie. Where we see Goodman, Staples, and choirs of small children singing these songs in the movie, this record is all(thankfully) David Byrne and the Talking Heads. Not that the versions of the songs in the movie aren't any good, quite the contrary, but it's just really amazing to hear these songs performed by the Talking Heads too. This is also the record the band Radiohead owes their name to. Stand outs include "Dream Operator," "Radio Head," "Love for Sale," "Puzzlin' Evidence," "People Like Us," and, of course, "Wild, Wild Life."

Elvis Perkins in Dearland -- Doomsday EP

Looks like Mr. Camping was wrong and we're all still here (save for one Mr. Randy "Macho Man" Savage), safe from earthquakes. That's no reason you shouldn't enjoy more doomsday music though. As promised, here is more Elvis Perkins. If you didn't already know, Elvis is the son of Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame. Mr. Perkins the senior died of AIDS and his mother was killed during the 9/11 attacks the day before the ninth anniversary of his father's death. Elvis Perkins music is understandably bleak, but always contains a hint of hope and optimism. This EP features some alternate versions oftracks off Perkins's eponymous second album, Elvis Perkins in Dearland as well as a few unreleased tracks. There's a slowed down version of Doomsday that is great, but by no means superior to the uplifting, New Orleans, funeral march of the album version. You'll also find a rocking version of "Stay, Zombie, Stay" that I prefer to the album version as well a nice cover of folk standard "Gypsy Davy," and "Weeping Mary," an original spiritual that could easily pass as a cover considering it was written and performed by a bunch of thirty year old white guys. Truly a great complement to Elvis Perkins in Dearland.

Friday, May 20, 2011


"...of course nowadays not everyone's having kids, what with the end of the world coming and all. would you?"

I'll post each of these albums if I don't accidentally get raptured tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Josh T. Pearson -- Daytrotter Session

Loyal followers of this blog (haha. thanks dr. nick, I think it might be just you and me here...) May have noticed there was no Mediafire link in my post about his sublime Last of the Country Gentlemen. Well, check below. It's here as a bonus to this post on his Daytrotter session. I still recommend you buy it though as it is worth every penny. Anyway, Daytrotter posted a session he recorded during SXSW yesterday that serves as a nice introduction to what we should expect from the live performances from Pearson that are likely to hit the US this summer. He's in NYC in June and I wouldn't miss this show for anything. I have to say this session lacks the haunting elegance of the studio recordings what with the absence of Warren Ellis and the pitch perfect production. The passion from the album persists though and the sped up "Sorry with a Song" seems even more arresting and tragic than the studio track. All in all, a pretty great session though. The "Rivers of Babylon" cover is a welcome addition to the LotCG tracks and actually sounds more like that album then a lot of the other tracks that actually were on the record. I can't wait to see the whole set in June.

Try LotCG

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band -- Clear Spot

It took me a long time to "get" Beefheart. I've persisted for years. I knew there was something about this music and I just couldn't get into it. I kept hearing this guy who I could tell was the link between Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits, but Trout Mask Replica just kept coming up on my iPod and I'd find myself skipping it every time. Then I came across this record about two years ago. It's considered by most people to be Beefheart's most accessible album and, as such, is often frowned upon by hardcore fans. I love it though. And it's opened my eyes and ears to the genius that is Beefheart. All of his records just blow my mind now. Finally. After over 30 years of trying to get into this music...I can't believe what I've been missing. But it's awesome to be able to find a "new" artist with such an enormous back catalog at this point in my life. It would wrong of me not to post this and deprive another soul of some of the best music ever recorded. If you're one of those people who doesn't get Captain Beefheart, take a listen to this album (it wouldn't hurt to play it very loud) and a guarantee you you'll be blasting the experimental stuff like "Tropical Hot Dog Night" through your headphones in weeks wondering why you've waited so long to let yourself love this...Stand outs are "Nowadays a Woman's Got to Hit a Man," "Bottle Neck Blues," "Circumstances," and "My Head is My Only House Unless it Rains."

Try. (w/ The Spotlight Kid!)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

David Bowie on the Dinah Shore Show

A couple of amazing videos of the Thin White Duke. A super funky version of "Stay" complete with some pretty impressive disco dancing and Bowie's first Karate lesson!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

David Bowie -- Heroes

Listening to Casiotone for thePainfully Alone's "Killers" while writing the last post naturally got me in the mood for this record, so I figured I'd post it too in case my legions of followers (all 6 of you!) felt the same way.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- Daytrotter Sessions

Here's some keyboard heavy music of a much different nature than the last two posts. Owen Ashworth may be my favorite songwriter of all time. Equal parts Raymond Carver, Willy Vlautin, Denis Johnson, Tom Waits, William Eggleston, William Carlos Williams, Jim Jarmush, Todd Hido, Charles Bukowski...notice only one of these people is another lyricist. Ashworth is a literary lyricist whose songs are these minimal modernist short stories about various characters who are generally down are the luck set to music composed mainly by Ashworth alone with preprogrammed beats and cheap electronic keyboards. The best thing about these songs is that you could see yourself or someone you know as the protagonist to all of them. They range in subject from everything such as robbing banks, getting abortions, dropping out of school, various old toyotas and volkswagens, and enjoying a little bit of Creedence Clearwater Revival to losing a grandmother's necklace, going to a party full of "friends you lost in [a] break-up," sleeping on couches, and getting killed by jelly fish. So, needless to say, I was devastated when I heard he was hanging up the CFTPA moniker and, I thought, quitting music entirely. While dreams of a novel kept me checking his website, I was delighted a few minutes ago when I went by the old CFTPA page and there was a post two days ago informing us loyal followers that his new project Advance Base is underway and they already have a few tracks up on myspace. Check them out here. CFTPA may hold the record for the most Daytrotter sessions recorded. He has 5 of them, each one better than the last. Links are below. If you don't already have an account with Daytrotter you should get one. It's free and you get a lot of free music with it. Just sign up and you can download these 5 sessions and more (they also have a sweet iPhone app). These 5 sessions alone are more than worth the time it takes you to sign up. Stand out tracks from the below sessions include "Blue Corolla," "Bobby Malone Moves Home," "Jeanne, if You're Ever in Portland," "Killers," "Tom Justice...," "Traveling Salesman...," "White Corolla," "Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm," and "Tonight was a Disaster."

Also, if you like what you hear, please go to the CFTPA website and support Owen. He's still got a lot of great shirts and records for sale. Or buy his most recent record vs. Children here. It's amazing.

2011 Session (Last CFTPA Daytrotter Session ever)

The Screamers -- Complete Works

I couldn't post that Units album without also posting this. If the video below doesn't convince you you need this record, then nothing I can say here will.

Buy...I can't find this for sale anywhere, but you might like this.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Units -- History of the Units (The Early Years 1977-1983)

"Obviously people with as little taste as yourself would become ecstatic over such average talent." That's how this record starts and I must have no taste at all because I love this record. Who says you need guitars to punch people in the face with hard charging punk rock music? Synth punk at its greatest. Or maybe this is New Wave? Aside from maybe The Screamers, there's really nothing else like this. I know you might be thinking, have you forgotten about Devo? No. There's really nothing else like this. Except, maybe The Screamers. All I can say is after a week without music studying for exams, this is the record I was missing the most. Of course I did just discover it right before I took a hiatus from anything with words. This stuff is beyond belief. Stand outs include "Cannibals," "Bug Boy," "Contemporary Emotions," "Warm Moving Bodies," and "Run."

The Builders and The Butchers--The Builders and The Butchers

This is the first (and my favorite) from the dark folk group from Portland, The Builders and The Butchers. There's a lot of really catchy stuff on here that's been running through my head while studying all week and it was the first record I put on after I finished taking my last exam today. The sound they get from what they call "deconstructed drumming" in which they split one drum kit between two drummers (one on snare the other on bass drum) makes their first name The Funeral Band seem especially appropriate. This record sounds like a parade band just kicked in your door and started wailing. There's only 5 guys in this band, but the sound is really big with lots of big choral numbers with the whole group responding to the singer, Ryan Solle's calls. All the guys are originally from Alaska and you can smell the camp smoke in their songs. I used to live up there myself and this is exactly the kind of music I used to hear up there drinking around bonfires under the northern lights and that I haven't heard much of since. There's definitely a certain sound that hasn't been tapped in to too much down here in the lower 48. One day some record producer's gonna go up there and sign a whole of bonfire tribes and start some whole new grunge scene. You can tell they're living in Portland now and can hear a bit of the Decembrists in the instrumentation and their penchant for narrative songs about murder and betrayal. But The Builders and The Butchers seem much more authentic to me than that band and a lot more ballsy. Stand outs include "Spanish Death Song," "Black Dresses," "The Gallows," "Slowed Down Trip to Hell," and "Find Me in the Air."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Santo & Johnny-- The Best of Santo & Johnny

...and one more pedal steel record before I get back to my books. This fits in more with my Timber Timbre post than the Lanois posts. Eerie, '50s rock for driving off a cliff to. I'll be back with some records that have words after all my tests are taken...

John Fahey -- God, Time and Causality

There's really no better soundtrack to studying the deepest recesses of the human brain than a record that contemplates god, time, and causality. If you happen to be studying for a neuroscience final, this record is for you! A later album from American Primitivist, John Fahey.

Daniel Lanois -- Belladonna

Been pretty busy studying for finals. Listening only to instrumental records since I can't concentrate when people are singing. Here's more stuff along the lines of the Apollo post. Lanois's pedal steel. It sounds like you're drifting through some outer space desert. Maybe on a trip to Mercury. Enjoy.