Saturday, March 31, 2007

Deerhoof - Spirit Ditties of No Tone

I LOVE Deerhoof. But before I go into this I'm going to announce how blogspot has been acting up on me for the last of the few days. The posting options it's giving me now is severely diminished and when I modify text here (bold, italics, or add a picture) all i see is the html rather than the result. Hopefully it's just a temporary thing as it's a total pain in the ass. I'll continue this boner blog though- regardless to how ugly this post looks.

Deerhoof! Yes! I cannot get enough of the hoof. I am a child of the hoof. "Spirit Ditties of No Tone" -one of their best! It's fun, catchy, and technically complex. All three?! Yes.

Deerhoof - Spirit Ditties of No Tone

Now two live performances: one with dancing children, one without.

Sans the kidz:

Deerhoof @ KillRockStars

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bright Eyes - Make a Plan to Love Me + Tourist Trap + Lava Monster

Today I received my copy of the new Bright Eyes record Cassadega in the mail 2 weeks early. I've given it one listen so far and I'm currently on my second. While I enjoyed the first listen when compared to his 2005 release I'm Wide Awake it's Morning I was a little disappointed. However I'm liking it a lot more with this second listen than I did initially. The theme of this entry will be one of those 10 year plus ones that I introduced a few entries back with Vashti Bunyan.

Normally you'd expect some variance in an artist's music over a period of ten years. You can expect the introduction of new instruments and influences, a different songwriting perspective, and perhaps a matured vocal style. However it's a rarer case where you hear a change in musical styling as a result of puberty. The song I'm posting was from Conor's 1994 album (when he was recording under his actual name) Here's To Special Treatment. He was 13 at the time of recording. The album was only released on cassette to a very limited amount. Copies nowadays go for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I love the song, but I'm not sure why. Actually as of being introduced to Daniel Johnston recently, this song reminds me a lot of his style. There's simple yet sincere and assertive lyrics as well as the presence of an imaginary creature, in this case a lava monster. The line "And if the lava monster came- I would block his flame from hurting you" is something I love so much. I've drawn a picture that illustrated the scene with Conor holding a gigantic shield to deflect the fiery breath, saving the damsel curled up at his feet. I forget what happened to that picture though. Oh, was in my Intro to Philosophy notebook. That's gone. Anyways, the song is a lot of fun.

Conor Oberst - Lave Monster

Cut to 13 years later. Conor now fronts one of the most popular indie-folk acts today, had dated Winona Ryder, performed on all the big late-night shows, recorded with Emmy Lou Harris and performed live with Neil Young, R.E.M, and Bruce Springsteen. Things have gone pretty well. "Make a Plan to Love Me" as of now is my favorite song off of the new record. With multiple female vocalists providing vocal harmonies and a driving string section it's a bit of a departure for Bright Eyes. A worthwhile one though as the song is very pretty. The second song I'm posting is from the Four Winds EP, the teaser to the album which features the title track (also on Cassadega) and 5 b-sides. The final track on it "Tourist Trap" is among my favorite Bright Eyes songs ever. It's quiet and sparse sounding piece yet there's a lot of things going on if you pay close attention. The song just grabs you and and you can't help but ignore all that's around you and just listen.

Bright Eyes - Make a Plan to Love Me

Bright Eyes - Tourist Trap

Lastly here's a video of Conor being interviewed by a sheep puppet and performing "True Blue" around an army of dancing little kids. It's as ridiculous as it sounds. Off the wall.

Bright Eyes - Cassadega @ (on sale for $7.99!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Daniel Johnston - Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances + Casper the Friendly Ghost

Yesterday I watched the documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston." Prior to then I was completely unfamiliar with the guy, but had frequently heard references to his name. It's interesting being introduced to an artist through a documentary. That format is optimum for Daniel Johnston as his music is so instantly unaccessible that from one listen you might be tempted to dismiss it forever. To get into a little background history, Daniel is severely bi-polar. Throughout his life he has been in an out of mental institutions, often thinking that many of the people around him were possessed by satan. At times he said the devil has taken over his body and he had no control over himself, which for a few cases led him to throw the ignition keys of a small passenger plane out of the window, enter the house of an old lady and frighten her to the extent that she jumped out of her top window, and hitting his best friend over the head with a lead pipe.

So to hear Daniel's music without this context can make it incredibly difficult. His songwriting is excellent, with extremely heartfelt lyrics and strong melodies but the presentation with his untrained (to say the least) vocals and primative guitar playing may put some people off. Because of this, there are countless covers of Daniel's material, though which his songwriting reaches the ears of a less selective group of the population. For example he's been covered by The Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, Sufjan Stevens, Bright Eyes, Tom Waits, Death Cab for Cutie, Calvin Johnston, Mike Watt, Beck, and Built to Spill to name a few. However with Daniel's originals there's such a naked sincerity to them it's hard not to listen and just simply feel for the guy. Now that I'm still a Daniel Johnston noob I've only heard one of his albums, Yip Jump Music: Summer 1983 but I'll post here some of my favorites from it.

Daniel Johnston - Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances

"Don't let the sun go down on your grievances
Respect love of the heart over lust of the flesh
Do yourself a favor: become your own savior
And don't let the sun go down on your grievances

And when you wake up in the morning
You'll have a brand new feeling
And you'll find yourself healing
So don't let the sun go down on your grievances

And yet if you find yourself in the dark
And you're left holding the bag
Then take care of it right away
And don't let the sun go down on your grievances again"

Daniel Johnston - Casper the Friendly Ghost

"He was smiling through his own personal hell
Dropped his last dime in a wishing well
But he was hoping to close and then he fell
Now he's Casper the Friendly Ghost

He was always polite to the people who'd tell him
That he was nothing but a lazy bum, but
Goodbye to them he had to go
Now he's Casper the Friendly Ghost

Nobody treated him nice while he was alive
You can't buy no respect like the librarian said, but
Everybody respects the dead, they
Love a friendly ghost

Daniel Johnston - Discovered Covered @

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Decemberists and My Brightest Diamond

Yesterday I saw the Decemberists play at the first of the two Boston shows. Everything about it was excellent- the setlist, the sound, the crowd, the opener...consistent all around. My Brightest Diamond opened the show. Though she's not well known now (currently she's best known as being one of Sufjan's Illinoise! cheerleaders) I'm sure she'll get much bigger soon. Her voice is simply amazing, both in a traditional sense and for the bizzare yet sometimes oddly beautiful sounds that she would occasionally make with it. For example she could do this really well controlled vocal roll while still perfectly in key. The song that got the biggest response was one of her louder more rock oriented songs, "Freak Out." I felt the song live was much better and fuller sounding than it does on the album version, but it's still good on the record. The second song I'm posting here (well actually linking as Asthmatic Kitty is hosting) "Something of an End" is slower and more atmospheric. It's actually a really excellent song It's definitely the better all around song of the two even though live "Freak Out' was optimum for the environment of a sold-out venue barely able to restrain their excitement over seeing the Decemberists within minutes.

My Brightest Diamond - Freak Out

My Brightest Diamond - Something of an End

Onto the Decemberists! Their set began with intro music and a pre-record
ed message that instructed us all to look to the person to the left and right of us and greet them. Mostly everyone proceeded to do that and I feel it was one of the elements that helped make the crowd so well behaved (as in no pushing, cutting, etc.) Then again, maybe it's just that Decemberists fans are naturally well behaved. After the announcement the Decemberists took stage to immense applause. They began their set with "The Crane Wife 3" the first track from their most recent album. I really enjoy when shows begin with an acoustic track and gradually bring the rest of the band in (best exemplified with Stop Making Sense) and this was no exception.

Here's the full setlist:

The Crane Wife 3

July, July!
The Soldiering Life
The Infanta

The Bachelor And The Bride
Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)

The Culling Of The Fold
On The Bus Mall
The Legionnaire's Lament
O, Valencia!
The Island
When The War Came

Eli, The Barrow Boy
Panic (brief Smiths sing-along)
The Mariner's Revenge Song

I thought they did a fantastic job with varying the setlist so it's representative of their entire catalog. That said it worked out to be two from Cataways and Cutouts, two from Her Majesty the Decemberists, four from Picaresque, five from The Crane Wife and one b-side off of the O, Valencia! single. I really have no compaints, though at first I was a little upset when they started "When the War Came" as i'm not too fond of it's form on the album. However live it was excellent- they extended it a bit and it was an intense and cathartic way to finish off their pre-encore set. I heard it's the first time they've ever played it live, so it's very cool to be a part of that history. "Yankee Bayonet" was another highlight as Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond joined Colin onstage to do the female portion of the duet.

The highlight of the show for me was easily the final song of the encore "The Mariner's Revenge Song." The encore as a whole was perfect actually, as that and "Eli, the Barrow Boy" are two of my absolute favorites by the band. The Mariner's Revenge though...the performance of that I'd rank among my top 5 concert moments ever. The song itself is an epic 9 minute narrative about a man who swears to satisfy his mother's dying wish- to get revenge on a man who deceived and abandoned her, a single incident that ruined the rest of her life. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm pretty sure it's my top Decemberists track. Musically, lyrically... aaah! I love it!! It's a piece of genius. You could even say it's a whale of a tale (groan here.) But yeah, it's seriously awesome.

The Decemberists - The Mariner's Revenge Song

So with it live, we the audience needed to scream like we were being devoured by a whale during a specific part of the song. I was then surprised by what happened next...a giant whale appeared on stage! I managed to catch the whole scene on video:

Unbelievable. Additionally, here's a clip from the brief "Panic" sing-a-long. The story behind it is that the venue began to turn on the disco lights for the club that the venue turns into once the show finishes while the Decemberists were still playing. Thus the Moz was busted out:

After the show finished we hung around the venue for a few minutes. Surprisingly it was no longer than 10 minutes we had to wait until the Colin and Chris came out. Colin was incredibly could see that there was a push to get going, yet Colin insisted to stick around for a few minutes to say hi to the fans. I exchanged a few words with him, and got a picture with him as will as him to sign a Castaways and Cutouts LP I bought after the show. It was obvious that the C-Funkmaster had a few drinks after the show as the first thing he said to me when I walked over was something along the lines of : "hey man, i got a big bag of beer." It was pretty much amazing. I was giddy for hours on end. Hell, I'm still giddy from it. Here's the goods:

The Decemberists @ Kill Rock Stars
My Brightest Diamond @ Asthmatic Kitty

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Devendra Banhart - Little Boys +This Beard is for Siobhán

Devendra Banhart is a character. He's one that while i'm not an obsessive fan over his music I read every interview I find by him. I just love his insights and the absurdities he comes up with. One of my favorites is an interview in a hotel featuring him and Linday Lohan, who just happens to be a fan of his music. That interview would be here. I had honestly forgotten about Linday's illfated jaunt into music. However after reading this interview she's now a total enigma to me. Devendra's story about his first song being about a Venezuelan tradition where family members get plastic surgery on their pets to make them look more like themselves is also...interesting. Before I get to the song i'm posting, i'm going to do a few more entertaining interview tidbits.

From the BBC:
Can you tell me about what you're performing tonight?

I'm playing a song called "The Guacamole Shakedown". It's about Del Taco and Taco Bell finally getting together and stopping this fighting that's been going down in East LA for the past ten years. I'm really proud I've written it and I'm really happy I'm been invited to come here and play it today.

And my personal favorite (yet this time something legitimate) from this source:
Can you tell the story about Sammy Hagar and the Sushi Bar?
My thing with Sammy goes back, it goes way back. I played a show at a sushi restaurant and Sammy was there. I'd play anywhere man. At that time I didn't like to play guitar as much. I'd play a capella and screech. I was doing my screech and people were trying to eat their spider rolls. So he had one of his people put on a Van Halen CD really loud to drown me out. I jumped on his table and kicked the spider roll in his face. He jumps up and tries to hit me with a tequila bottle. I dodged that and started pulling at the fucking weird cornrow on his face, pulling it back, and he's trying to stab me with his Ray-Bans. I'm elbowing him and trying to light him on fire. He's wearing this weird hemp thing that was pretty flammable. He got lightly seared. If you look at photos you can see the scarring. He had a chain wallet on, which I used to try to cut the circulation on his leg. But it's still going. There's more episodes to it, but that's the first episode. Other things have happened.

Did he get any shots in?
He punched me in the clavicle. It wasn't as hard as I was expecting. He did try to hit me in face with a bottle of tequila. I have nightmares now about tequila.

What brand of tequila was it?
Sammy Hagar's brand, Wabo Cabo. He carries that and Van Halen CDs around.

Amazing. The first song is from Devendra's last album Cripple Crow and has a funny story behind it. So in the middle of recording this album one of Devendra's friends said something like: Man...Starbucks is going to eat this album up. They're definitely going to play this in the stores. Now this frightened Devendra- the thought of his delicately crafted music being diminished to that of background noise for yuppies to talk over and sip on their overpriced blended coffee drinks to was a frightening one. He then proceeded to write a song that would guarantee that Starbucks wouldn't play it. Thus "Little Boys" was born. It's actually my favorite song off of Cripple Crow, as it works as a two part song with a laid back two and a half minute intro that perfectly segues into the almost Motown-esque second part via a fabulous bassline. The song is also unbelivably catchy with the "I see so many...Little boys I want to marry" chorus likely to awkwardly be floating through your head long after the song has finished.

Devendra Banhart - Little Boys

"Life is tough
And love is rough
For the men who just can't seem to ever get enough
The days go by
And the women come and go
So many that you decide to get rid of your front door

So you don't have to hear
Them all disappear
You just sit and you wait
Staring at your empty plate
And you can say, I'm a lonely sailor

Rocking gently on my dream
'Cause I can have it all
But I don't want it all
And live like I never, ever, ever tried
I just never been fully satisfied

Just to tie a little shoelace
And to share a sleeping bag
And I look ahead to the day
When I look back at all the fun that I've had

But still, but still, but still

I see so many
Little boys I want to marry
I see plenty
Little kids I'll get to have

Even when the moon goes out
Even when the sea dries out

I still see so many
Little boys I want to marry
I'll see plenty
Little kids I'll get to have now

Next comes "This Beard is for Siobhán" from his 2004 album Rejoicing in the Hands, a fantastic record. The song is a delight and just flies by. The more rocking end is a great touch. Like many Devendra songs, this one is quite addicting. I definitely put this one on repeat before.

Devendra Banhart - This Beard is for

"Now because my teeth don't bite
Ican take 'em out dancin'
I could take my little teeth out
and I could show them a real good time
A good time a good time
A real good time"

Live video of Little Boys featuring a little boy doll (hah!)

Amazing performance of This Beard... Live at Spin

Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow @
Devendra Banhart - Rejoicing in the Hands @

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sonic Youth - My New House (Fall cover)

This will be a quick entry since I'm having a busy night. Well it's Sonic Youth covering the Fall and it's awesome. "My New House." One of my favorites off of This Nation's Saving Grace which is generally considered the best Fall album out of their 80 thousand releases. Sonic Youth's version draws out the song a bit and makes it noisier, as expected. Yeah, think Sonic Youth + The Fall. That's what you'll get. The cover comes from a late 80's Peel session where Sonic Youth played entirely Fall covers, as they were John Peels favorite band ever.

Sonic Youth - My New House

The Fall - My New House

" My new house
You should see my house
My new house
You should see my new house

No rabbit hutch about it
I bought it off the baptists
I get the bills
And I get miffed
At the damn polyester fills
The interior is a prison unconscious

My new house
Keep away from my new house
Wash the drawers of pills
It's got window sills
With lead centred in the middle of them

My new house
Is no beatnik hang-out
That Halifax copter
Sure dropped me a cropper

Sometimes I think I'll ring Swine-Tax
And go back to my flat
But my new house
I do love the mad things about it

According to the postman
It's like the bleeding Bank of England
Creosote tar fence surrounds it
Those razor blades eject when I press eject

My new house
Could easily crack a mortal, it
The spare room is fine
Though a little haunted
By Mr. Reagan who had hung himself at number 13
Mr. Reagan hung himself at number 13

It'll be great when it's decorated
My new house

The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace @
Sonic Youth @

Monday, March 19, 2007

Vashti Bunyan - Diamond Day + Lately

I'm going to start a new themed series with this entry. It'll feature artists who have been recording music for 10+ years, and all the songs featured need to have a bare minimum span of 10 years between them. I'll start this theme with one extreme case.. a 35 year stretch between the release date of a debut album and the follow-up. This would be Vashti Bunyan, a formerly obscure British folk singer who initially began making music in the late 60's. Her life is an amazing story, something I will attempt to summarize here. When visiting New York in 1963 she heard the Bob Dylan album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan Vashti decided to persue a career in music. Two years later she was discovered by the Rolling Stones' manager and was signed to Columbia records. They released her first single "Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind" which was originally written by the Stones. The single didn't do particularly well however, and as a result Vashti decided to take an 2-year journey via horse-drawn wagon to the Isle of Skye in order to find Donovan and the creative folk colony he was apparently setting up there. While on the way there she penned what would eventually become her 1970 debut album Just Another Diamond Day. In her words these songs were "a way of keeping the dream alive." However upon arrival to the colony she found that the majority of other attendees had already left and returned back to their city lives, and Donovan was nowhere to be seen, which to a degree crushed her dream of the perfect peaceful sanctuary she was hoping it would be. She left after a day to return back to London.
As the Columbia deal had by now fallen through, Vashti was one day approached by Joe Boyd (who was currently producing Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left) and told her he'd like to put out her album. She recorded Just Another Diamond with him, yet when the album was released it was a complete failure commercially. Vashti then left the music industry and moved to an island off of Ireland for a country life where she remained for the following 30 years raising her children and animals.

Around 2000 things in her life musically began to look up. One day she curiosly did an eBay search and was taken aback when she saw original copies being sold at prices reaching $200. The same year Just Another Diamond Day was re-issued on CD and met with amazing critical acclaim this time. Then in 2001 Devendra Banhart who at the time was unknown and struggling wrote Vashti a letter asking whether she felt he should continue music when it becomes increasingly difficult to survive off of it. The reinforcement Vashti provided him kept him in the business. She states "I wrote back to say that he shouldn’t call himself a little tick because anyone who could get up on a stage and sing their songs in front of people had my greatest admiration." When she got around to hearing his music and really enjoyed it, they met up and she recorded backing vocals for the title track on his 2004 record Rejoicing in the Hands. Soon after she also guested on Animal Collective's Prospect Hummer EP. After all the collaborations, Vashti finally decided to record a follow up album in 2005 entitled Lookingaftering which also featured Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, and Adem. The album was very well received and made its way onto many critic year end charts.
Vashti then embarked on her first ever U.S. tour and was most recently featured at David Byrne "Welcome to Dreamland" presentation.

Whew. Oh happy ending. To now enter with my own voice, Lookingaftering is really a fantastic record. Vashti's voice sounds just as gorgeous as it did in 1970. It's as if she was musically cryogenically frozen and finally emerged today to make her second statement. The two songs I chose are the openers from each album. I decided to choose it this way to make things easier, as both records are so consistently beautiful.

Vashti Bunyan - Diamond Day

"Just another diamond day
Just a blade of grass
Just another bale of hay
Hope the horses pass.

Just another field to plough
Just a grain of wheat
Just a sack of seed to sow
And the children eat.

Just another life to live
Just a word to say
Just another love to give
And a diamond day

Vashti Bunyan - Lately

"Never was much given to prayer
But lately I'm pleading with the air
To keep you safe from harm my dears

The only things that you should keep in rows
Are your perfect teeth - and the rest you know
It's own sweet way will always go

Add your footsteps to the wear
For a tiny deny in every stair
Will let them know that you've been there"

Homemade "Diamond Day" Video:

Vashti Bunyan - Just Another Diamond Day @
Vashti Bunyan - Lookingaftering @

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Pleased - Don't Make Things

Ah, after a long computerless week the boner blog has returned. I learned that I severly missed having a computer in my close proximity, especially for the moments when a thought crosses my mind and I immeditely feel the need to look it up on wikipedia. Well, at least I walked more.

Okay, so today's entry will be a song by The Pleased, or better known as the band Joanna Newsom was a member of before she went solo. That's actually an unfortunate description, as Joanna's contribution (backing keyboards) is minimal and the band is pretty solid. They're different than you'd expect, especially if you go in thinking it'll be like Joanna's solo material but injected with a whole lot of rock. In reality there's more of an Interpol/Strokes NYC scene vibe. The song I chose is my favorite from their 2003 release Don't Make Things. Additionally it's the only song on the album where Joanna provides background vocals albeit brief.

The Pleased - Don't Make Things

The Pleased - Don't Make Things @

Monday, March 12, 2007

Of Montreal - Tropical Ice-Land/ And She Was (Fiery Furnaces/ Talking Heads cover)

Of Montreal last night was insane. They said they'd put the money from the Outback ad to good use on tour and they weren't lying. I've never seen so many costume changes in one show. Before I go into the show I first need to mention that I frustratingly forgot my laptop from home so I'm writing this entry in my school's library. What an inconvenience. A week without my computer...this feels like a social experiment testing whether the computer is something I own and use at my will or if it really controls me.
Back to the show. There were angels, a 10 foot tall Kevin Barnes ladder dress (see picture), Darth Vader, sperm people, apples, bananas, shoulder rides, art projection screens, a big lobster claw, a huge three headed wolf creature costume, projections of the audience on stage behind the band...I could keep going on but I wouldn't want to ruin every surprise you'd get at an Of Montreal show. One really cool thing I'll mention though is that David Barnes, Of Montreal's art designer was there and for a bit he was dancing with a sketch pad, doing spur of the moment drawing and tossing them out to the audience. While I couldn't nab one of the drawings I did get a piece of pre-made confetti that he threw out as well.
Their set list leaded heavily on Hissing Fauna, playing 92% of the album (they only skipped "The Past is a Grotesque Animal." lame.), then 6 tracks from The Sunlandic Twins ("Requiem for O.M.M.2," "I Was Never Young," "Forecast Fascist Future," "I was a Landscape in Your Dream", "The Party's Crashing Us," and "October is Eternal," (from the bonus EP) "Rapture Rapes the Muses" and "Vegan in Furs" from Satanic Panic in the Attic (i wish they played more from that) a David Bowie cover, and the cover mash-up I'm featuring here. I think I missed a few songs in that by memory setlist however though. To close their set, Kevin introduced the song as being a cover of one of their contemporaries, first saying "The Beatles!" which was met with roars of applause. He of course shot that down and stated a little more quietly that it was instead by the Fiery Furnaces, which was met with almost as much cheers and applause. The cover's source was from the Furnaces debut Gallowsbird's Bark. Halfway through they flawlessly segued into the Talking Heads' "And She Was" doing a verse before transitioning back into the original song. While it's a bit unorthodox to end a set with a cover, in this case it worked really well, ending their massively energetic set with a bang.

Of Montreal - Tropical Ice-Land/And She Was

The Fiery Furnaces - Tropical Ice-Land

The Talking Heads - And She Was (Early DemoVersion)

Picture taken from: (Lots of great shots here!)

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer @Polyvinyl
The Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird's Bark @
Talking Heads - Little Creatures (Dual Disc) @

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Of Montreal - My Favorite Boxer

In a matter of hours I will be leaving for Boston to see Of Montreal. Until then this entry will focus on an Of Montreal song they definitely won't be playing tonight. It comes from 1999's The Gay Parade, my favorite album by them during a time when Of Montreal were still a collective band and not just the Kevin Barnes supershow. You see, for the last three albums (Satanic Panic in the Attic, The Sunlandic Twins, and Hissing Fauna, are you the Destroyer?) Kevin Barnes wrote and played every single note you hear on the albums. The band you see live are practically a cover band. It's all good though as their last three albums are some of their best yet, especially Hissing Fauna.. which was released about two months ago. But for The Gay Parade, their third album it's a concept album about happiness featuring vignette songs about the many characters who are marching in the parade. It's a fantastic album- one that I can always look to when I need cheering up. I dig the part Jeff Mangum is credited to in the linear notes: "holding hands while jumping on the furnace." I also particually enjoy how the album ends with one of the characters thanking you for visiting them:

"Hello my name is Claude Robert
And I'd like to thank you for spending time with the gay parade
We hope you found it enjoyable
And that we will see you again very soon
Because we've grown quite fond of you
And all agree that you make very pleasant company

If you ever feel that in your life
The moments of gaiety
are too few
You can always come and visit us
Now that you know the way
And perhaps someday
You'll be able to stay with us
Forever inside the gay parade "

You can't help but smile during that and just think, why yes, I will visit again! It seems a little corny on paper but in the context it's one of the best album closers I have ever heard. The song for this entry is "My Favorite Boxer," a song about an obsessive fan of a boxer named Hector Ormano who on one day finally comes in contact with his hero. It's a nice mix of funny, sad and poignant yet also has as Aesop-esque moral on closer analysis.

Of Montreal - My Favorite Boxer

"Hector Ormano is my favorite boxer
He goes smasho and everyone cheers
He turns big men into whimpering cowards
He's so strong and how I adore him

But I'm so weak
So much so that I'm afraid
to walk alone down my street
I know I'll never be as brave as Hector Ormano

Hector Ormano is my favorite boxer
His smile is so white like elephant ivory
He's so handsome and all of his girlfriends
Are tall and blonde with hourglass curves

But I don't know many girls
And I certainly don't know any girls like that
Even if I did I wouldn't be as cool as Hector Ormano

One summer day I was sitting on the bridge
Looking at the water below
When I heard some laughter and a familiar voice
Coming from down the road
It was then that I saw and my heart nearly dropped
I saw Hector Ormano with some friends
And as they approached my mind went blank
As I struggled to find the words
I was dying to tell him

As Hector walked by he picked up a stick
And threw it at my head
His friends went quiet and Hector said to me
"What are you looking at wimp?"

Hector Ormano is my favorite boxer
Even though he was mean to me
My father says I'm a meaningless no one
Compared to the perfect Hector Ormano"

Of Montreal - The Gay Parade @

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Pipettes - Pull Shapes

Oh the Pipettes! I'm sorry I neglected you! You see- I feel as though I should have been listening to them since last year. I had heard of them through various blogs who were hyping them in great deals, yet I just put off listening them. I thought...Pipettes? Phh... What's next, the Erlenmeyer Flasks? But then my friend in college started talking about their awesomeness, and the wonder that is Rose Pipette (the one on the furthest right.) Contrary to my initial scoffing I reluctantly decided to check them out, thinking hey, they could maybe be a guilty pleasure. Now I realize that the Pipettes could very much be described as a guilty pleasure, but it would be blasphemous to do so as they're so much better than that. The Pipettes recall the early 1960's pre-British invasion era of pop, incredibly fun and undeniably danceable. However with song titles like "Sex," "Dirty Mind," "One Night Stand," and "Your Kisses are Wasted on Me," innuendo is less subtle than what you'd find on "And Then He Kissed Me" and "My Boyfriend's Back." Also there's much more female empowerment (girl power!) present here than in the 'when's he going to make the move?' Phil Spector era. My favorite Pipettes song is definitely "Pull Shapes" however. It's easily one of the catchiest, if not the catchiest song I've heard from 2006. The "Dance with me pretty boy tonight..." chorus is completely infectious. I'm pretty sure it's physically impossible to listen to this song while sitting still. Now that this song is in my life it makes perfect sense how the Pipettes can sell-out the few US club dates they play, with eBay prices reaching $100.00+. All this and their album isn't even available in the States yet. Oh the power of the internet.

The Pipettes - Pull Shapes

"Dance with me pretty boy tonight
Dance with me and we'll be alright
Theres a whole floor before us, just for you and me
So follow my lead and we'll one two three
Pull shapes!

I like to Disco
I like to Rock 'n' Roll
Well I like to Hip Hop

You can do it all
Just don't let the music fall
Pull shapes! "

Oh and the music video is pretty awesome too:

The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes (Import) @

Friday, March 9, 2007

Nico - Evening of Light + The Falconer

Today I checked out the recently released Nico compilation The Frozen Borderline which consists of Nico's second and third albums, The Marble Index and Desertshore, plus lots of outtakes and alternative versions. It was my first time hearing any Nico material that wasn't Chelsea Girl, and it's much different than I expected. For one the material is much more experimental than that of her debut, as well as darker. Unlike Chelsea Girl on The Marble Index and Desertshore, Nico had written all the songs, though John Cale composed the arrangements.

The first song I've selected, "Evening of Light," concludes The Marble Index in it's original order. I love how the track begins with just harmonium and Nico's vocals yet the background noise gradually increases and becomes more dissonant until the end where finally the songs seems to break it its hindges and disintegrates.

Nico - Evening of Light

"Midnight winds are landing at the end of time
A true story wants to be mine
The story is telling a true lie
Mandolins are ringing to his viol singing

Midnight winds are landing at the end of time
Dungeon's sinking to a slumber to the end of time
Petrel sings the domebells pound into the unended end of time

Midnight winds are landing at the end of time
In the morning of my winter
When my eyes are still asleep
A dragonfly laying in a coat of snow
I'll send to kiss your heart for me

Midnight winds are landing at the end of time
The children are jumping in the evening of light
A thousand sins are heavy in the evening of light"

From the first listen I like Desertshore better out of the two. However I consistently had the feeling that while I was enjoying the album and it sounded interesting, I felt that with a few more listens I could possibly prefer these releases over Chelsea Girl. "The Falconer" is a particularly haunting track, where its gloom is only momentarily broken around the 3 minute mark where a pleasant piano line fades in. It ends interestingly as you hear a *thunk* noise and the song instantly becomes silent. This is a difficult song to describe yet from some reason I really enjoy it.

Nico - The Falconer

"The falconer is sitting on
His summersand at dawn
Unlocking flooded silvercages
And with a silverdin arise
All the lovely faces
And the lovely silvertraces erase
My empty pages

The falconer is sitting on
His summersand at dawn
Beside his singing silverwaves
And his dancing rebelrace
That compose ahead of timeless time
A sound inside my candle light

Father child
Angels of the night
Silverframe my candlelight"

Nico - The Frozen Borderline

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Rockabye Baby! - Just Like Heaven + You Still Believe In Me

When you think the Beach Boys and the Cure you typically don't think of lulling infants to sleep. Well now you can! Rockabye Baby! (aka Michael Armstrong) records lullaby tribute albums for specific artists from Tool and Metallica to Bjork and the Smashing Pumpkins. In this entry I'll highlight the tributes he recorded for the Cure and the Beach Boys. The Cure tribute is my favorite out of all of the Rockabye Baby! records I have had the pleasure to hear (though that will likely change once the Pixies one comes out.) The tracks on it were very well selected as it covers all the Cure's biggest singles yet ends with a Disintegration hat-trick with "Homesick," "Lullaby," and "Plainsong." There's also the more obscure choice of "One More Time" from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me yet that addition transitions over to lullaby form perfectly and also shows that Michael definitely well researches all the artists he covers (or is just a big fan of them all.) I chose "Just Like Heaven" to highlight in this entry. In my opinion the Cure version is the epitome of a perfect pop song. It exceeds on every ground necessary. The lullaby version in turn is expectionally pretty and certainly does not disgrace the name. Instead of uploading the normal Cure version of the song (as most people should have it anyways) I'm posting an acoustic version recorded in 2001 for the two disc version of Greatest Hits, a completley unnecessary album considering how definitive Staring at the Sea and Galore are yet was a nice touch.

Rockabye Baby! - Just Like Heaven

The Cure - Just Like Heaven (Acoustic)

The Beach Boys tribute is well selected as well drawing about half of the songs from Pet Sounds, three from Smile and the rest being early singles. Gripes about no "Good Vibrations" aside, it's really solid. I think "You Still Believe in Me" is the best of them all though I may be a bit biased as that's my favorite Pet Sounds track as well. The "I wanna cry..." line gives me shivers no matter how many times I hear it. As with "Just Like Heaven" I won't be uploading the original as it should already be had by all. Frankly, if you don't own Pet Sounds, you know nothing about music. I'll be upping an alternative take of the song, apparently take 23. Brain Wilson certainly was a perfectionist. It's all instrumental as well, and though the vocals are the most beautiful aspect of the song it's interested to hear in it's stripped form.

Rockabye! Baby - You Still Believe in Me

Beach Boys - You Still Believe in Me (Take 23- Master Take)

Rockabye! Baby @ Baby Rock Records
The Cure @
The Beach Boys

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Decemberists- Bridges and Balloons (Joanna Newsom cover)

Oh the loveeee for Joanna Newsom. Due to the universal critical accalaim for her last record Ys, Joanna has won herself many new fans over the past few months. For one the number of listeners she has clocked in on has increased by a million since December of last year. Fellow musicians are approving as well, with covers being recorded by Final Fantasy, M.Ward and as featured in this entry, The Decemberists. Their cover of "Bridges and Balloons" was originally a b-side to their 2005 album Picaresque (which shows that Colin Meloy certainly wasn't a bandwagon fan) and was available on the vinyl edition of the album. Colin doesn't suddenly attempt to try his luck on the harp however...he transcribes the song over to acoustic guitar. While it in my opinion doesn't come close to the original, it's about as good as you're going to get for a cover on guitar.

Joanna's version is a fantastic colorful journey of a song. Pitchfork even gave it a coveted 5-star track review where they portray the song as piece of legitimate poetry. I couldn't agree more. The images Joanna uses in her lyrics bring you to this wonderful world in your mind where you may not always be able to get a coherent view of the songs' meaning yet just the same they seem to enter your heart and amazing feelings that you otherwise rarely feel emerge. However there's also the rewarding process of analying lyrics which when you do and work up your own interpretation the song succeeds on a new level. On that note on songmeanings the user "Annelise" has posted what could be an essay about the song's lyrics that's really a great read. She brings up themes of whimsical adventure and exploration which can be hinted at easily enough yet the examples she brings in involving childhood imagination and the need in our busy lives to occasionally stop and observe the world around us (and especially paying mind to the thimble-sized aspects) really bring her points home. Always look at the world like it's the first time you're seeing it. I especially like her line "Birds have wings, and should be flying in worlds much larger than themselves."

The Decemberists - Bridges and Balloons

Joanna Newsom - Bridges and Balloons

"We sailed away on a winter's day
With fate as malleable as clay
But ships are fallible, I say
And the nautical, like all things, fades
And I can recall our caravel
A little wicker beetle shell
With four fine maste and lateen sails
Its bearings on Cair Paravel

Oh my love
Oh it was a funny little thing
To be
The ones
To've seen

The sight of bridges and balloons
Makes calm canaries irritable
And they caw and claw all afternoon
Catenaries and dirigibles
Brace and bouoy the living room
A loom of metals warp woof wimble
And a thimblesworth of milky moon
Can touch hearts larger than a thimble"

"Bridges and Balloons" Live:

The Decemberists @ Kill Rock Stars
Joanna Newsom @ Drag City

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Pixies - In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator cover)

This cover rather than being from another artist instead originates from a character in a movie. One of Black Francis' biggest influences for his lyrics is from surrealist film with Un Chien Andalou (for Debaser) and this particular song from David Lynch's Eraserhead being the two most apparent examples. Supposedly in the early days of the band they all caught a screening of the film when it was playing in a town they happened to be in for a show. According to Charles (Black) himself he finds David Lynch films "Highly entertaining in the area of entertainment- a bit surreal, a bit humorous, a bit squirmy, kind of designed to entertain but also make the audience feel just slightly uncomfortable." I'd say that's an accurate depiction. I'm a big fan of David Lynch and while Mulholland Drive in my opinion comes close, Ereaserhead is my favorite film of his. I love the abstract nature and how without a coherent plot, its up to the viewer to make sense of what they're seeing, if they wish to that is. "In Heaven" during the film is sung by what is portrayed to us as a tiny woman with protruding puffy cheeks who lives inside of a radiator. The Pixies have four different versions of the song: the earliest from The Purple Tapes which has the roughest mix of them all, the second a live take that was included on the Complete B-sides compilation, the third (which I'm including here) from their BBC session and lastly the version from their reunion tour with Kim Deal taking the vocals. While the last version is a nice touch and is most similiar to the original, you can't help to feel that the reason they changed up the vocalists was that Charles' larynx couldn't quite handle it anymore. I don't blame him...the intensity of his screams on this track are at times frightening. Frighteningly awesome of course. After the mp3s I'll post videos of the original Ereaserhead scene as well as the Pixies 2004 live version.

The Pixies - In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)

The Lady in the Radiator - In Heaven

"In heaven, everything is fine
In heaven, everything is fine
In heaven, everything is fine
You've got your good thing, and I've got mine"

Pixies at the BBC @
Ereaserhead @

Monday, March 5, 2007

Iron Horse - Trailer Trash (Modest Mouse)

Today's cover is a real bizarre one, a bluegrass cover of Modest Mouse. The band is Iron Horse who hail from Alabama. As so far they've released cover albums for Modest Mouse, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, and the Shins. It sounds gimmicky at first, and frankly that'd be the best way to describe Metallica being played via a mandolin and banjo, yet the results are really great. I find it especially intersting as bluegrass is a genre of music that I'm almost completely unfamiliar with, so to hear a song I love played with that style is fascinating.

The original Modest Mouse song is amazing and definitely one of the best tracks off of The Lonesome Crowded West. Last night I actually had a disappointment involving that album. I've been trying to track down a vinyl copy for the longest time yet it's so difficult as it's been out of print after 1997's initial run. Many copies go for around $200 on ebay. I saw one up, 30 minutes left for just $40. As I began to bid I then noticed that it was only the second LP up for sale, not the 2xLP full album. Arg. I'd pay up to $75...that's it. Well "Trailer Trash" is an autobiographical narrative about Isaac's poor upbringing and relationship with his mother. Specifically the house he lived in with his mother (after a divorce) was flooded and his mother abandoned him to live in her new husband's trailor. Isaac remained in the flooded house on the second floor (as the water level was too high below) until he was forced out by the police. He then began to stay at various friends' houses until eventually taking residence in a small shed right next to his mother's trailer. It was then in that shed where Modest Mouse in its earliest incarnation (with Eric Judy and Jeremiah Green) was formed. They then hooked up with Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson to release an EP on K Records in 1994 and then the rest is history.

Iron Horse - Trailer Trash

Modest Mouse - Trailer Trash

"Eating snow flakes with plastic forks
And a paper plate of course, you think of everything
Short love with a long divorce
And a couple of kids of course
They don't mean anything
Live in trailers with no class
goddamn I hope I can pass high school means nothing
Taking heartache with hard work
Goddamn I am such a jerk, I can't do anything
And I shout that you're all fakes
And you should have seen the look on your face
And I guess that's what it takes
When comparing your bellyaches
And it's been a long time
Which agrees with this watch of mine
And I guess that I miss you, and I'm sorry
if I dissed you"

Iron Horse Official Website

Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West @

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Velvet Underground & Nico - Covers

Today's entry isn't just one cover...yet an entire album of covers. After quite a bit of searching I managed to find covers of every track from the Velvet Underground & Nico. I then assembled them in the same order as the orignal album and thus voila, a full album tribute. Plus it doesn't suck. You may have noticed my use of the peeled version of the cover art. You could say that the deconstruction of the banana can symbolize the deconstruction process there is when covering a song, yet you'd be looking to much into it. I'm just deviating from the norm. All the mp3s are grouped together below or in the picture via megaupload.

The Velvet Underground & Nico Covers

1. Belle & Sebastian - Sunday Morning
You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to find covers of this song. As the single from the album, I suspected cover versions would be everywhere, yet I was wrong. All I could find were this live Belle & Sebastian take and one by James, that band whose song "Laid" is in practically every movie trailer ever. I couldn't find their version so this bootleg quality version had to do.

2. David Bowie - I'm Waiting for the Man
Talk about a fantastic cover. It comes from 1972 and is also a live take, a BBC session to be specific. Many say that this is better than the original. I say...yeah, yeah it kinda is.

3. Owen - Femme Fatale
Everybody covers Femme Fatale. Teenage Fanclub, Tom Tom Club, Big Star, Duran Duran, R.E.M....yet I went for Owen. First off I knew I wanted a male vocalist for this cover to switch things up. This cover (released last year) is the most recent version of the song I could find, so I thought that was something to take note of. I really like the instrumentation in this one, as it keeps the same melodies yet adds many new touches to it. Good Stuff.

4. Smashing Pumpkins - Venus in Furs
This one is excellent and really hard to find. It's source is a radio show from 1988, their first year as a band. The vocal mixing may be up a little too high yet it shows just how tight this band was even in their earliest days. Say what you will about Billy Corgan nowadays...when he was on in the past, he was superb.

5. Echo and the Bunnymen - Run, Run, Run
This seems to be everyone's least favorite song on the album. Honestly this was the only version of the song I could find. It's live and pretty faithful to the original.

6. Calexico + Iron & Wine - All Tommorow's Parties
This one is exceptional. I've lost a little interest in Iron & Wine over the past year or so and Calexico never clicked with me, but this makes we want to whip out their albums again. The horn section on this is a great addition.

7. The String Quartet - Heroin
Okay, here's a bit of a cop off on my behalf. The String Quartet has covered everything. However between the horrible Billy Idol cover and the Echo and the Bunnymen one (who already were on the list) I really had no choice.

8. R.E.M - There She Goes Again
This is an early R.E.M b-side from Murmur. It's like the original but with an acoustic guitar. I don't pay much attention to R.E.M, sorry. I just have Murmur and that IRC compilation. Don't shun me.

9. Clem Snide - I'll Be Your Mirror
I have no idea who Clem Snide is. They pull off a great cover with this one though. It's a bit alt-country you could say, and they show down the tempo a little. Solid.

10. Bettie Serveert - The Black Angel's Death Song
I think I'll wikipedia this Bettie... Oh so Bettie Serveert is not a person, yet a band. I am also told that they formed in 1986, have had an entire Velvet Underground covers album and their most successful moment was a cover of Bright Eyes' "Lover I Don't Have to Love" that appeared on the OC. Hmm. Well, the cover is impressively loyal to the original which I guess is for better or worse. It's like a guy who paints amazingly accurature replications of the Mona have to appreciate their talents but it'd be more interesting if they put their own touches on it. She even does the "Psshhhhhhhh" thing that John Cale does.

11. The Olivia Tremor Control - European Son
I'm still surprised that this song was covered. However The Olivia Tremor Control is one of the few bands ambitious enought to take it on. Apart from that String Quartet that is. But with a Linkin Park tribute released, what won't they cover? This cover is just off the wall good. When you think European Son... covered? it doesn't make any sense. But they when you hear this version you'll hate yourself for questioning. Wowza

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Of Montreal - Friends of Mine (Zombies cover)

Of Montreal certainly loves the 60's pop. A few entires back I showcased their cover of the Velvet Underground's "She's My Best Friend," yet this time they do a cover of the Zombies' "Friends of Mine." Coincidence? Maybe. The original version comes from the Zombies unbelievable 1967 masterpiece Odessey & Oracle. I cannot stress enough how good of an album this is. Better than anything the Beatles ever put out. There, I've said it. The thing with "Friends of Mine," as great of a pop song as it is, it's probably the weakest track on the entire record. Of Montreal's cover is faithful to the original not really deviating from it at all. That version is from their iffy 2003 tour only release Then Who Will Protect Big Oil which is currently out of print.

Of Montreal - Friends of Mine

The Zombies - Friends of Mine

"They are friends of mine
(Joyce and Terry)
They are friends of mine
(Paul and Molly)
And they've got something
(Liz and Brian)
It's so hard to find
(Joy and David)
They are friends of mine
(Kim and Maggie)
They are friends of mine
(June and Daffy)
And they've got something
(Jean and Jim)
You don't often find
(And Jim and Christine)"

Of Montreal @ Polyvinyl Records
The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle

Friday, March 2, 2007

Feist - The Park + It's Cool to Love Your Family

First off, how beautiful is this picture? Leslie Feist is truly something else. Her new album The Reminder made its way onto the internet yesterday. It had been one of my most awaited releases this year, and after my first listen and the revisiting of a few I'm not disapointed. I found it incredibly difficult to narrow it down to one track to highlight in this post, yet at the moment "The Park" is sticking out for me. If my memory serves correctly, it's the most minimalistic song she's ever recorded with only her heavenly vocals and acoustic guitar throughout the most of it, with the occasional touches of brass low in the mix. Also in the mix is some background noise featuring the prominent chirping of birds, and what sounds like either the ocean or wind blowing. It seems almost as if they were recorded using a handheld device as sometimes you can hear faint tape hiss and clicks, especially within the last few seconds. The effect when combined is reminiscent of Cat Power's Speaking in Trees records, except that you don't need to watch a single camera shot her standing in front of a tree for two hours (Even for the most dedicated Chan worshippers that film can be a snooze.) I need to give the song a listen with headphones soon.

Feist - The Park

The second Feist song of this entry is an old one, "It's Cool to Love Your Family." It's the first track on her impossible to find, long out of print first album Monarch released in 1999. I have no idea why it hasn't been re-released, as it's a very solid album, especially for a debut. Odd how her label would but out a remix album, but no reissue that...

Feist - It's Cool to Love Your Family

Feist @

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Deerhoof - Lose Your Breath (My Bloody Valentine cover)

So Deerhoof... they're pretty cool. Only one of the best bands making music today! They keep putting out great album after great album at such a rate that you'd think they'd eventually run out of gas or have a period of creative exhaustion, but it never happens. For a band that's been around for 13 years and continues to expand on their sound, that's damn impressive.

Last year Deerhoof came out with a free online EP that featured a few covers (MBV, Beatles, Canned Heat, Herman's Hermits) as well as live versions of songs from their then newest album The Runners Four. While nice, it was rather annoyingly released as a long 20 something megabyte song rather than being split into individual mp3s. I'll upload the full 9 track EP that I've split up myself at the end of this entry. The EP was released as a tribute to the former member and guitarist Chris Cohen when he decided to leave the band to form The Curtains. That has to be one of the most pleasant member departure stories I've ever heard.

My favorite cover from the EP was one of My Bloody Valentine's "Lose Your Breath." MBV is a band that takes balls to cover and real talent to cover well. Thankfully Deerhoof have both. Their version while keeping the general structure of the song intact takes it from its inital peaceful shoegaze form and beef it up with a distortion foreign to the original as well as Greg Saunier's aggressive drumming which works suprisingly well with the dreamy cooing chorus. "Oo oo oo oooooooooo oo oo ooooo". Something like that. MBV's version is from their 1988 record Isn't Anything, or the album they had before Loveless that didn't suck (cough This Is Your Bloody Valentine.)

Deerhoof - Lose Your Breath

My Bloody Valentine - Lose Your Breath
"Weigh me down
And when the darkness comes around
Repeating heads
Remember nothing I have said
Where are you
Come back again I want you to
'Not now girl' you say
But I was born to lose my breath"

Deerhoof - Untitled EP

1. The Continuing Sage of Bungalo Bill (Beatles)
2. Desaparence [Live]
3. Wrong Time Capsule [Live]
4. Goin' Up the Country (Canned Heat)
5. Spirit Ditties of No Tone [Live]
6. Lose My Breath [My Bloody Valentine]
7. Dinner for Two [Live]
8. Lightning Rod, Run [Live]
9. There's a Kind of Hush (Herman's Hermits)

Pfork's Review

Deerhoof @ Kill Rock Stars (also features 8 free mp3s)
My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything @