Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Heartbroken I've been for you..."

I am a bad Emily Haines fan.

I had no clue that she released the EP follow up to Knives Don't Have Your Back last week!

So yeah. Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton are back with the understated, quiet, melodic, piano driven music her solo work is known for. Apparently, the tracks off this EP were recorded during the same sessions as Knives Don't Have Your Back but I think they hold their own as a separate piece while tying into the previous work. Though I insanely adore Metric, I appreciate her solo music. I find that it seems sadder, grittier, and a bit less potentially pretentious. I saw Emily Haines in September or October, performing with just a piano and it was phenomenal and dark. This type of material made her appear more down to earth, instead of coolly above it all. It also creates a good divide for me, I can rock out, get ready for parties, or dance to Metric, and I can relax and read to Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton.

Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton - Bottom of the World from What is Free to a Good Home?

And just for fun: Metric - Dead Disco (Encore Version). I remember seeing them in Boston, and though they did a different middle interlude portion, it was still amazing.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"And you think you've seen the best of me..."

These aren't necessarily new, they're just what I happen to be listening to today. Enjoy!

The Coathangers - Parking Lot. I missed this group at one of my favorite venues, Maxwell's, earlier this month. Their self titled debut comes out September 4th. In the meantime, you can purchase select tracks off their myspace page here. I think they have an amazing energy and are very kickass gals.

The Most Serene Republic - Sherry and Her Butterfly Net. The Most Serene Republic's album comes out October 2nd. Like other bands on the Arts & Crafts label, they're kind enough to open up some songs for download. I was about to rejoice in the fact that this band might be the one act that has nothing to do with Broken Social Scene and any members that comprise that collective, but alas, I just noticed that The Most Serene Republic did a remix of the Stars song "Ageless Beauty." This leads me to conclude all awesome Canadian bands simply chill out together.

You Say Party! We Say Die! - Monster (RAC Remix) The day I started this blog, a friend had sent me the video to Monster. I like this version better than the original. The electronic tinges soften out the vocals (although come off as a bit stark in the beginning), and the chorus is better layered.

1990s - You Made Me Like It. They're opening for Voxtrot in October.

Really odd sidenote, I just logged into Amazon, and the recommended things to buy/explore for me were Patrick Wolf's The Magic Position, Feist's The Reminder, and Corrine Bailey Rae's debut album. Haha, been there done that, amazon.com.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Something's telling me this time it will be different..."

I've only recently (two days ago) discovered Girl Happy, and I wonder why I hadn't found these Norwegians sooner. This band is delightful. Their pop-rock music is accessible and has a distinct Beck-like alternative influence on some of their guitaring. I'm not sure to whom to compare them. For some reason, I feel like they'd fit in with a Stroke 9, Marvelous 3, Sugarcult late 90's rock crowd. I haven't been able to gather much information about them from the internet. They, luckily, have a myspace page here. Apparently, the drummer in the band is a friend of the group a-ha and stepped in during a Spanish broadcast. And then they went on to tour with them as an opening act.

I wonder if their band name comes from the Elvis Presley movie?

Girl Happy - Je T'aime from Take it to the Mountains

Girl Happy - Remind Me Tomorrow of Today (I think this video is funny)

Here's Girl Happy opening for A-Ha

Friday, July 27, 2007

"In this town, they don't sleep..."

I've been having nonstop fun these days. I haven't had a completely sober day for a while, come to think of it. This is hilarious to me because I am by no means an alcoholic and if you were to catch me during the daytime, sitting at a Starbucks sipping my frappucino and feverishly reading books while waiting for friends, you wouldn't be able to tell that I love going out as much as I do. Occasionally, said partying overwhelms concert attendance. Here are some songs from concerts I've missed due to drinking with friends. We always intended to go, but cocktails were far more entertaining. I don't regret a second of it, really. There's nothing, say, Patrick Wolf could do that would be funnier than searching for trannies on 10th Ave, taking photos in an ATM lobby, or getting bitten and literally shoved aside so your friends can talk to foreign kids.

Patrick Wolf - Overture from The Magic Position Fun story: When Patrick Wolf was in Boston, he kissed my friend Bruce. Most people could care less, but I adore Patrick Wolf's music, so I immediately squealed upon hearing the news and texted all the fans I knew. Anyway, I had intended to see him in New York, but had a crazy dinner with friends (which included sitting next to an Oz actor making out with a hot pink mesh adorned Asian transsexual hookerish looking person, and wondering why the people at the table behind us were obviously exchanging coke) at Vynl. Later, we wound up taking photos in the aforementioned ATM lobby, and Jonathan bought something like $20 worth of cookies from Duane Reade and lugged them around in the plastic DR bag. How very trendy.

Dangerous Muse - In This Town
I think Patrick and I were supposed to see Dangerous Muse on the day that we both happened to quit our jobs. Instead we went out to Maracas drown our non-sorrows and took a million photos of our default faces (model pout and fiery, respectively). After winning another free brunch at Lips, we wandered to Lit later and talked people's ears off and danced til our feet were tired. I remember waking up the next morning and feeling like utter death. It was wonderful.

Die Romantik - La Belle Musique de Chambre from Narcissist's Waltz which can be purchased from their Myspace page. It was too rainy and icky of a day to go see Die Romantik, so we all went to Therapy and had happy hour drinks and gave a verbal tour of what's hot in New York to a visiting Londoner.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"It's not the storm before the calm..."

Yesterday, I caught the James Morrison - Ben Folds - John Mayer show with Alison and Michelle (who are like my sisters). We sat on the front edge of the lawn at PNC Bank Arts Center and had a great view of the show and entertaining company including your standard pothead surfer types, a middle aged mom with green hair, and overly cuddly couples.

Having seen Ben Folds earlier this year, I can wholeheartedly say that he put on a better show (the best show) at Muhlenberg College. However, he still performed wonderfully, though it seemed that not enough of the crowd knew the words to his songs. They did appreciate his $8,000 keytar synthesizer instrument thing that he uses to play the cover of Such Great Heights, which, along with Jesusland was one of the highlights of his set. He strayed away from things that absolutely everyone would know (Rockin the Suburbs, Brick) and a lot of his material was from his more recent albums. I was holding out for "Learn to Live with What You Are," being that he was doing a lot of music from Songs for Silverman, but alas, it never came. However, Ben Folds attacked each song fearlessly, and even led the crowd in sing alongs while standing atop his piano, and that's just plain fun.

Ben Folds - Jesusland from Songs for Silverman

John Mayer did a really great mix of songs, both old and new, that carried over well to the crowd. I know he's a talented artist, and have respected his career course in doing pop stuff and then branching out with the John Mayer Trio, but his guitaring was a sight to behold/amazing to hear. He went into a four minute solo riff at some point and created some grooves that invariably justified the presence of the holdover hippies we witnessed swaying in their tie-dyed t-shirts, jean shorts, and fanny packs. He thanked his fans after every song and didn't stray away from making the guitar face. I'm a fan of the slower John Mayer work, but in a massive concert setting those aren't bound to be played. I was surprised that he busted out with songs from the John Mayer Trio and was just overall impressed and awed by his technical ability.

John Mayer - Clarity (Acoustic) from Heavier Things (Bonus Disc)

John Mayer - Slow Dancing in a Burning Room from Continuum

Monday, July 23, 2007

"My kind's your kind..."

I've returned from Boston. I missed the last day or two of Boston-related blogging, so I figured I'd just finish it out right now.

Dani has a signature style. Band t-shirts, jeans, and comfy sneakers comprise the majority of what I see her wear, and if there's anyone to have a collection of emo-band t-shirts... but that emo label says nothing about her and the type of person she is. She's not melodramatic, her hair isn't asymmetrical, and she's one of the most direct people I know.

She's like that glasses wearing kid in SLC Punk. You don't realize what or who he is and then *bam* he knocks out some folks in a mosh pit.

I remember one night when she had just met someone right off the street and tried to prevent him from getting into a jeep with strangers. Or the time we went to Six Flags, we tried to determine which seat on the circular white water rafting tube would get the rider least wet. When we boarded the ride, she switched seats with me so that way I wouldn't get soaked. Awww.

Though he could not come to Boston due to other obligations, I figured I'd throw an anecdote about my friend Patrick into the mix. He is a large portion of Boston to me, and our stories are endless. There were always days that passed like minutes. We would have three or four hour dinners and just talk incessantly about anything and everything (though some people believed we only discussed the finer points of fashion). We are those kids who are so into hanging out that we do ridiculous things. One day (and probably more), we were talking online, decided to meet up, and after signing offline immediately called eachother and then talked on the phone while walking til we got to our destination, and then spent the day and evening having fun, and probably called eachother late at night after hanging out too.

I wanted to put up some Ben Lee music, but then I remembered a day when we were supposed to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio do a free show in Government Center. We had already spent the entire day having tea, shopping, going to the museum to see the Americans in Paris exhibit, eating food, etc. Instead of making the show, we decided to have a cozy evening and propped ourselves up on pillows to watch two movies we rented (Bright Young Things, and The White Countess) before heading out that night.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Down Boy from their upcoming EP (whose release date is tomorrow) The Is Is.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Ain't no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed..."

Rosa and Noah would wake up on weekends after drinking and make Bailey's pancakes for brunch while they sang along to classic songs. I tried making alkapudding once, but it totally backfired. Turns out, you can't add alcohol to everything. The two songs that stood out most in memory were their renditions of "The House of the Rising Sun" and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

Then they would film Noah's fingers attacking one another in various comedic situations or take picture of their shoes.

Meat Loaf - Paradise by the Dashboard Light from Bat Out of Hell

The Animals - House of the Rising Sun

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Oh that starry night, lost my sense of time..."

Alexander Wolf is no mere mortal. I remember on particular evening when he came over to hang out in Beacon Hill. I think he missed the T home that night, so the lot of us decided to chill and talk. He was the last man standing. I consider myself a dedicated insomniac, but that particular evening, I was ready to fall asleep, which was already no easy feat as the the daylight was steadily shining through the windows in my room. Alexander? He merely shrugged, bid us a good day, and walked out into Boston to take the T home. I imagine he had quite a full day afterwards.

Roisin Murphy - Night of a Dancing Flame from Ruby Blue

Chris Hallenbeck probably hates you. Actually, I'm just kidding. He's never done anything to suggest that this statement would be true, and he's quite a lovely and caring fellow, but one day his dark core may overcome his genius and then you may need to watch out. Until then, he'll just out-obscure you on books and music and will throw your Killers albums out the window without thinking twice or even asking. Then he'll disinfect his hand.

In the winter once, we were bundled up outside, waiting for someone on the corner of Boylston St. and Tremont St. in front of the LB and we started singing Kenna songs to pass the time.

Kenna - Sunday After You from New Sacred Cow

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Look at that sky, life's begun. Nights are warm and the days are young..."

I'm in Boston for the week!

I've written all these anecdotal posts in advance, so that I way I can just bug Bruce to use his laptop for less than 30 seconds each day and click "Publish Post!" and you'll have something new to read and hear.

I have an infinite number of fun memories of Boston and the time in which I lived there. However, it was the people that made the place for me, and it would be an empty place without them. My heart will be immeasurably full in going to visit and though there are many of you whom I shall see and continue to miss when I leave, I can only fit a handful of you into this theme. Apologies and hugs go out to the rest.

Once when I lived in a dorm on 6 Arlington Street, my roommate Bryn decided to cover up our big mirror with a poster of Bowie circa Aladdin Sane. Because of the way our room was organized, every morning when I'd start the day, it would be to Bowie's face, and if I ever woke up in the middle of the night, the poster would freak me out because I would forget it was there and really, you should try sleeping with a darkened glam rock alien legend staring down at you. Eventually, I think the poster fell, or we just peeled it off and put it elsewhere during one of our massive redecoration fits, but I still remember David Bowie haunting me both pleasantly and weirdly.

David Bowie - It's Hard to be a Saint in the City from The Platinum Collection

David Bowie - Golden Years from Station to Station

There are times while living at 51 Anderson when I don't remember where other people were or what they were up to. Little moments, like staying up late and talking to Bruce while he worked in the kitchen on his design/architecture projects, eating samosas bought from Whole Foods afterwards, or when we walked to Cold Stone and he got a sundae the size of his head.

We went and saw World Inferno once, and I had a really fun time. Perhaps the next time we go to a concert, I will actually be able to finish one full can of beer.

The World/Inferno Friendship Society - The Models and the Mannequins from East Coast Super Sound Punk of Today!

The World/Inferno Friendship Society - The Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Damn, they don't make 'em like this anymore..."

Last night, I went to my friend James' house party. It was, musically, a trip. I was suddenly in 4th grade again, listening to Notorious BIG and hanging out with the same kids with whom I grew up. Outside, during the beer pong tournament, I felt a collective pause when Kanye's "Stronger" came on and someone mentioned that it doesn't matter where you are, people will dance to that song.

Being that I haven't yet copied my Notorious BIG cds and various 90s rap albums to my computer, here's Kanye West.

Kanye West - Stronger from Graduation.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Your eyes make a circle..."

Last night, I went out with my friend Cher to celebrate my current freedom from academic stress. We stopped by Trash for a bit to have some drinks, and proceeded to have a blast. Sometimes, when I go out, I will say, "I love this song!" (What can I say, I enjoy a ton of music) and no one will get out and dance. But last night, whenever I said "I love this song," Cher's immediate response was "Well then we have to dance!"

When I woke up today, I was still very cheery and bouncy. So here are some tunes which made us inexplicably happy to which we shook our tailfeathers.

Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict a Riot from Employment. This is such a great song, made better by the fact that Bryn and I used to play it all the time when we had a radio show in Boston. (I'm also mentioning this because the following week's music posts will all be Boston related).

U2 - I Will Follow from Boy

The Knack - My Sharona

The Cure - In Between Days from The Head on the Door.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"In science and the human heart, there is no limit..."

"...There is no failure here, sweetheart, just when you quit." - U2

Today, I'm listening to some music to motivate me for tomorrow's science heavy test (hence the above quote) and keep me chill. Regardless of how I do, I'm happy with my progress, and test scores will show me if I need to make more of it (which I will do if I have to. I refuse to give up on my dreams) or if I'm ready to move on to medical school. Here are two tracks from my mix.

U2 - Miracle Drug from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. This song includes another line that I firmly believe in: "love and logic keep us clear."

Iron and Wine - Boy With a Coin. It's the latest single, which is a bit less intense the previously released work and feels more airy. Iron and Wine's new album, The Shepherd's Dog, comes out September 25th (which seems to be the major date for fall releases).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"I've got love for you if you were born in the 80's..."

I have no idea what to make of Calvin Harris.

Quite honestly, he's thrown me for a loop.

I was introduced to his work through three songs in the following order:
1) The Girls

2) Acceptable in the 80's
3) Merrymaking at My Place.

As a result, I started out hating him because of "The Girls." For me, the great background beat and composition could not gloss over the seemingly atrocious lyrics (If you want a song about being attracted to different kinds of girls, just listen to "Finding Out True Love is Blind" by Louis XIV). I cut him some slack mentally because, really, that beat's pretty awesome and very catchy. But then, upon listening to "Acceptable in the 80's," I considered the option that he might've been trying to play it cool with sparse, purposely shallow lyrics and loading up on the seeming redundancies to accelerate the danceability of the song and cause people to go with the flow. And when I saw the video for "Merrymaking at My Place," I thought, you know, this could be a guy I'd party with. Maybe, just maybe, Calvin Harris was not the jerk that he seemed, but a Scotsman who wanted to be the new LCD Soundsystem and who could honestly throw on some electronic jams that will make you dance. And then I noticed his album was titled "I Created Disco," and my mouth dropped open.

So is it an act? Quite possibly. I'm not sure. Is he going to be played at every synthesizer-friendly place this side of the Atlantic? Jury's still out. And yet, I sort of want to knock back some booze with my friends to "Merrymaking at My Place."

Judge for yourself.
Calvin Harris - Acceptable in the 80's from I Created Disco
Calvin Harris - Colours from I Created Disco