Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Magnetic Fields - Love is Lighter than Air

In the matter of minutes I'm off to NY for a family reunion.... so no blurb for this entry. Besides, the Magnetic Fields need no introduction.

The Magnetic Fields - Love is Lighter than Air

"Summer, summer, summer
Slowly turned into fall
Me and my baby doll
Never went to the beach
Somewhere, somewhere, somewhere
Was a place we could run
On the sand with the sun
Always just out of reach
Somewhere sunny summer's
Marching to a different drummer, singing
"Summer, summer summer's
Gonna turn into fall
You and your baby doll
Better go to the beach cause

Love is lighter than air
It floats away if you let go
Love is lighter than air
It rises through the falling snow."

A crime, crime, crime
Sin and illness is time
Neither reason nor rhyme
Can obstruct his bad dance
The nasty little swine
Slipped us mickeys in wine
Wove his hair into twine
And then tied our hands
We're forced to watch him wriggle
And endure his folsome giggle and his
Mime, mime, mime
Unforgivable mime
Our one chance is to climb
Into blimps of romance cause

Love is lighter than air
It floats away if you let go
Love is lighter than air
It rises through the falling snow"

The Magnetic Fields @Merge Records

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Polaris - Summerbaby

Last night was such a bummer- Morrissey went out on stage to play six songs, only to have his voice crack and end the show early. Throughout all of today the disappoint still lingered on. However if there's one thing that always elevates my mood it's The Adventures of Pete and Pete. I know I reference this show all the time in this blog- it's well deserved though. I could bring it up more, as it still quite doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Maybe I'll do an entire Pete & Pete week in the future. I like that idea. Late August I could see that happening.

Yesterday I commented on "Summertime" and the thousands of times that song has been covered. In terms of band names, "Polaris" has to be one of the most duplicated, with at least 6, yet for me and many others, there is and will forever be only one Polaris. The thing is though Polaris isn't even a real band per se, as they were conceived and existed solely for the purpose of playing the opening credits on Pete and Pete. They were of course real musicians though, featuring Mark Mulcahy and others members of the mid 80's Connecticut based band jangle pop band Miracle Legion. Polaris also wrote an entire album for the show, but the only times we ever actually saw the band was the opening credits and, get this transition- the episode "Hard Day's Pete" where Little Pete sees Polaris playing "Summerbaby" in a garage on the way to school yet when he returns to the site he finds no sign that the band nor the song even existed, apart from a mere guitar pick. This then guides the rest of the episode with Pete forming his own band The Blowholes (featuring Marshall Crenshaw!) to try to find his fleeting favorite song. It's absolutely fantastic, especially for those with the experience of playing guitar and being in a band. Definitely one of my favorites from the series.

Polaris - Summerbaby

"Summerbaby, come on baby, show me the town
I didn't know that you'd be such a short visit
Once a year I noticed that you're not around
Mama says you went when you were exquisite

If you seen all I done
I'm alone I do things nobody knows

We were all wondering where you came from
Last night we were hypothesizing that you were an angel
Sometimes it feels like you're looking down
From a place up where angels are from

If you seen all I done
When I'm alone I do things that nobody knows
Every drop of sex, every little mess I've made
I was around, I was around

I was around
(nobody knows, nobody knows)

Do you see a lot of angels up there like you?
Wolfgang and Vincent van Gogh
Have you seen Josephine?
Someone from town like Marshall Brown?
Or someone you know?

Here's "Hard Day's Pete" in its entirety for your viewing pleasure-

Music From the Adventures of Pete & Pete

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Zombies - Summertime

Though I wasn't aware then, yesterday was the 100th entry. Nothing special is planned. No lengthy extravaganza of a post, no sentimental recap of the boner blog's life so far- things will continue on as normal. However tonight I'm going to see Morrissey, so for me, that's a pretty damn good reward.

This summer song entry will be what is inarguably the most well-known song about the summer, "Summertime." It was originally written for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. Most people aren't aware of that. Yes, it was not written by Sublime. That said, it's one of the most covered songs ever, with about 2,600 recorded versions and 18,985 live performances. Everyone from Janis Joplin to Devendra Banhart to Scarlett Johansson had their own version. There's even popular site among the "Summertime" devotees, as it lists a couple thousand of the known versions.

Now of the versions I've personally heard, my favorite is by far the one the Zombies do.

The Zombies - Summertime

"It’s summertime
And the living is easy
The bees are jumping
And the cotton is high
Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good looking
Would you hush pretty baby
Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re going to wake up singing
There you’re going to spread wings
And take to the sky
But till that morning
Ain’t nothing, nothing going to harm you
With your mommy and daddy
There standing by

It’s summertime
And the living is easy
The bees are jumping
And the cotton is high
Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good looking
Would you hush pretty baby
Don’t you cry"

The Zombies

Monday, June 25, 2007

Islands - Jogging Gorgeous Summer

Islands. Though they're technically just strayed chunks of land or volcanic aftermath we tend to think of them rather as what they can do for us, rather than what they scientifically are. There's of course the inescapable ocean, and ever present sand, somehow tropical drinks and steel drums also make it into our definitions.

Then there's Islands the band. Somewhat like the land masses, rather than what they are (normal people, some unicorns, who eat, sleep and engage in the same activities we do) we think of them in terms of what we can get from them. In this case it's very enjoyable and fun music. Their debut album Return to the Sea was my second favorite record of last year, falling just behind Joanna Newsom's Ys. It still gets plently of regular plays from me, especially lately as I managed to snag a copy of it on white vinyl (limited to 500 copies!) All of it sounds great this time of year, but as this one song had "summer" in its title, it just needed to be chosen for this entry. Plus it literally sounds like an island.

Islands - Jogging Gorgeous Summer

"Woke up with rain on my head
I can’t dry off so what should I do instead?
Swim to the biggest flower bed
Pick one for you and kiss you my love

So when the storm clouds dissolved into thin air
Like when my hands got lost in your thick hair
Dogs bark, long days, not dark
The sky’s blue so what should we do?
We can do anything we want to

Millions of sunsets but the one I'll remember
Is the one where you told me you’ll love me forever

Took a long walk into the woods
Climbing the world’s biggest tree
And then they tried to cut it down
But we didn’t make a sound
The sun blinded them, they couldn’t see

Woke up next to you in your bed
Another day to do it all again
Creeped out into the sun
Another day to give you all my love

Millions of sunsets but the one I remember
Is the one where you told me you’d love me forever"

Live performance in a record store:

Islands - Return to the Sea

Friday, June 22, 2007

Chad and Jeremy - A Summer Song

Now for a classic to end the week with. This is such a lovely song- absolutely gorgeous. Chad & Jeremy were an acoustic folk duo from the early 60's, and part of the original British Invasion in 1964. That year "A Summer Song" marked their first single on the American charts, reaching #7. Oh how I wish a song of this nature could still chart that well today.

Chad & Jeremy - A Summer Song

"Trees swayin' in the summer breeze
Showin' off their silver leaves
As we walked by

Soft kisses on a summer's day
Laughing all our cares away
Just you and I

Sweet sleepy warmth of summer nights
Gazing at the distant lights
In the starry sky

They say that all good things must end some day
Autumn leaves must fall
But don't you know that it hurts me so
To say goodbye to you
Wish you didn't have to go
No no no no

And when the rain
Beats against my window pane
I'll think of summer days again
And dream of you

They say that all good things must end some day
Autumn leaves must fall
But don't you know that it hurts me so
To say goodbye to you
Wish you didn't have to go
No no no no

And when the rain
Beats against my window pane
I'll think of summer days again
And dream of you
And dream of you"

Like many of their younger audiences I actually discovered the band through the Rushmore soundtrack, which is my opinion one of the greatest soundtracks (and films) ever. The disc is primarily British Invasion artists, notables include The Who, The Kinks, John Lennon, The Faces, and Cat Stevens. Mark Mothersbaugh's score is also fantastic and perfect for the tone of the film.

Returning to Chad & Jeremy, here's a recent interview in which they reminisce old times, as well as discuss their reunion, the stage of the music industry and perform "A Summer Song."

The Very Best of Chad & Jeremy

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - That Summer Feeling

The first day of Summer is finally upon us! Now on this significant date a song only marginally pertaining to the season simply wouldn't do. It has to be one that fully encapsulates the everything that makes the summer what it is. That is the weather, the activities, the friends, the memories, and most of all the feeling. That summer feeling... you win Jonathan Richman.

Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers - That Summer Feeling

"That summer feeling

When there's things to do not because you gotta
When you run for love not because you oughta
When you trust your friends with no reason notta
The joy I've named shall not be tamed

And that summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life

When the cool of the pond makes you drop down on it
When the smell of the lawn makes you flop down on it
When the teenage car gets the cop down on it
That time is here for one more year

And that summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life

If you've forgotten what I'm naming
You're gonna long to reclaim it one day
Because that summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life
And if you wait until your older
A sad resentment will smolder one day
And then that summer feeling is gonna haunt you
And that summer feeling's gonna taunt you
And then that summer feeling is gonna hurt you one day in your life

When even fourth grade starts looking good
Which you hated
And first grade's looking good too
And you boys long for some little girl that you dated
Do you long for her or for the way you were?
That summer feeling is gonna haunt you the rest of your life

When the Oldsmobile has got the top down on it
When the catamaran has got the drop down on it
When the flat of the land has got the crop down on it
Some things look good before and some things never were
But that summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life

Well when your friends are in town and they got time for you
When you and them are hanging around and they don't ignore you
When you say what you will
And they still adore you
If thats not appealing, its that summer feeling
That summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life

It's gonna haunt you
It's gonna taunt you
You're gonna want this feeling inside one more time
It's gonna haunt you
It's gonna taunt you
You're gonna want this feeling inside one more time

When you're hangin around the park with the water fountain
And there's the little girl with the dirty ankles
But she's on the swings where all the dust is kickin up
And you remember the ankle locket
And the way she flirted with you
For all this time how come?
Well that summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life

You'll throw away everything for it

When the playground that just was all dirt comes hauntin
And that little girl that called you a flirt
Memory comes tauntin
You pick these things apart they're not that appealin
You put them together and you'll get a certain feeling
That summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life"

The Best of Jonathan Richman @

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Cure - Snow in Summer

The Cure have had some great b-sides. Some are frusturatingly excellent that they really should have been album tracks. "Snow in Summer" is one of these exceptional b-sides. The song originated on the "Just Like Heaven" 7" single, released in October of 1987. In case you've been living under a musical rock, "Just Like Heaven" is arguably the definitive Cure song (though some might say "Boys Don't Cry") and in my opinion the epitiome of a perfect pop song, a masterpiece on every level.

Though Robert Smith feels "Just Like Heaven" was one of his finest achievements, he was less satisfied with "Snow in Summer" particularly with the lyrics. I think he's crazy. There's something seriously wrong with "Icing Sugar" making its way onto Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, but "Snow in Summer" being ommitted on the basis of spotty lyrics.
Spotty lyrics!? Robert, might I remind you that "Why Can't I Be You" also made the record and the song featured these lyrics:

"I'll run around in circles
'Til I run out of breath
I'll eat you all up
Or I'll just hug you to death"

Oh Robert Smith. Robert, Robert, Robert Smith. Nowadays he's still truckin' along with the Cure and the questionable decisions. As of recently he performed a melody of Korn's "Make Me Bad" and "In Between Days" on MTV's Korn Unplugged. Any other time I would do a text link of the video, but this is like the musical equivlant of a train crashing into truck carrying hundreds of adorable puppies, which then somehow sets fire into a nuclear power plant demolishing and mutating the DNA on an entire city and its inhabitants. I really wish I could erase it from memory, but unfortunately it's embedded somewhere in the natural disaster category. He's also apparently guesting on the next Ashlee Simpson record, and keeps putting out Cure albums that the world doesn't want or need. There's proof of this when I saw the Cure live in 2004. Robert introduced the last song as a track they've played live only a few times before. This of course made the audience giddy with anticipation... would it be an obscure track from Three Imaginary Boys.. "Foxy Lady?" or maybe the title track on Pornography! Instead it was some bullshit acoustic b-side from the self-titled album they released that year. Perphaps the least climatic ending to a show I've ever seen, especially considering how the second to last song was "A Forest." Goddammit Robert. You're so frusturating, but at the same time so amazing.

The Cure - Snow in Summer

"High up on this mountain
The whole world looks so small
And all the rivers
Run away
Slipping in your deep green heart
I drink you as I swim
And I'm sliding
And I'm sliding with you
Slide beneath my skin

Sleek and deep
And salty sweet
You open up in me
Just like the snow in summer

High up on this mountain
The whole world looks so small
And all the rivers
Run away
Slipping in your soft white heart
I drink you as I swim
And I'm falling
And I'm falling with you
Fall beneath my skin

Sleek and deep
And salty sweet
You come
And close in me
Just like the snow in summer

Just like the snow in summer
As it melts
Into the sea"

The Cure - Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities 1978 -2001 @

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Of Montreal - Oslo in the Summertime

Summer in Norway. That's something I have no experience with. Kevin Barnes however has had plenty, as some of this album The Sunlandic Twins was recorded there, and its where he was married to wife Nina, who is Norwegian herself. They lived there as a couple for a while where they conceived and began to raise their first child, a girl they named Alabee. Then there's of course the story how their relationship soured, they split, and Kevin returned to the States deeply depressed, getting prescribed antidepressants and even writing a dark introspective album about the experience (this years' Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?) That's another story though, as this song comes from a different period in Kevin's life. For information's sake, nowadays Kevin and Nina are back together and happy, and Nina along with Alabee joined the band for some of their current tour. At the show I went to earlier in the year I could see three-year-old Alabee dancing at the side of the stage for a few songs.

Now "Oslo in the Summertime" is a catchy little number, one of my favorites off of The Sunlandic Twins. There's not much to say about the lyrics, as they're mostly made up of observations while in the summertime. I like how Kevin's lyrics are of either two types, fantastic stories about fictional characters (present mostly on his earlier records, specifically The Gay Parade) or various personal experiences. With this song you really get a sense for what it must be like to visit Norway during the Summer, with the personal little tidbits of information here bringing home the often odd but always engaging sensation of being in a foreign land. You can also dance to it.

Of Montreal - Oslo in the Summertime

"Oslo in the summertime nobody can fall asleep
I’m staring out the window from my bed
At 4 a.m. the sun is up
look the sky is peppered with sea birds and with crows all cackling

Up in tre ten Heimdalsgate
me and Nina making fun of footballers in Rudolph Neilson Plass
I practice my Norwegian on poor beffudeled waitresses
who shake their heads completely at a loss
Oslo in the summertime the streets are strangely quite ’cause
everyone’s away on holiday

Oslo in the summertime Pakistani children play locked inside of the courtyard all day
Pretty people everywhere sun lamp tans and flaxen hair
Just tell the American not to stare"

Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins @Polyvinyl Records

Monday, June 18, 2007

Red House Painters - Summer Dress

"Summer Dress" is a short, sparse yet beautiful Red House Painters song. It's a little vague lyrically, and we're unable to form a clear sense of what the song is about. It's told from the perspective of an outside narrator who sees beauty in this isolated and insecure girl, one who wears an apparently stunning dress though she steers away from the outside world. This could be what strikes the narrator as beautiful, how she dresses up solely for herself, as typically when one stays in their home they dress casually, as no one else is there to judge or make an impression upon. The last few lines then switch suddenly to different setting and tone, giving the song an ambiguous ending. Is she finally outdoors, enjoying a summers day on the beach? Or is something more sinister at hand, such as a self-inflicted drowning? Perhaps it's all in her mind and she's simply imagining what it must be like to see the ocean.

Red House Painters - Summer Dress

"Summer dress makes you more beautiful than the rest
Loveliest girl that I know, and the sweetest
Spends her life inside, she thinks she isn't blessed

Summer dress separates you from the rest
Easiest days of her life have been spent
Wonders if she is loved, if she is missed

Says a prayer as she's kissed by ocean mist
Takes herself to the sand and dreams"

The song comes from the Red House Painters' 1995 album Ocean Beach.

Red House Painters - Ocean Beach

Friday, June 15, 2007

Apples in Stereo - Tidal Wave

Fear not- though the word "summer" is absent in this song's title, it is still very much a summer song. It could be even more of a summer song than the past entries, as you can have summer in a title but musically it can feel nothing like the season. While lyrically this song occasionally delves into surrealism, even absurdism, it very much feels like summer. They recorded this song using Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" method which generates natural reverb by playing the same musical section on multiple instruments, transferring the sound to an echo chamber where it is then recorded. Though as we all know Spector's not the type of person we'd like to invite over for a drink, his innovative and influential production methods cannot be denied. On this song in particular, the Apples have ten guitars playing simultaneously, something that as you'll hear gives the song a real entrancing effect. I love the way this entire album, Fun Trick Noisemaker is produced, something that they've moved away from with subsequent releases, in a favor of a more polished approach. That said, this is by far my favorite record of theirs, as well as "Tidal Wave" being my favorite song. An interesting note about "Tidal Wave" is that its April 1993 issue on 7" marked the first ever release on Elephant Six records. The song has also been featured on the Adventures of Pete and Pete during the episode "Allnighters" where Little Pete and his friends attempt to beat the world record for longest period without sleep, 11 days.

Apples in Stereo - Tidal Wave

"A foot in the street and a foot in the gutter
That's one foot in the morning rain
Just 'round the corner a hole full of water
Hot dog, it's a holiday

Splish splash in a pool or puddle
Don't trip up on a tidal wave
You'll crash in a murky muddle and,
And you'll know how it feels
To know you're not real

I went for a walk and I climbed up the tower
It seemed like a thousand years
'Til I reached the top, oh, and I picked a flower
That grew through the stratosphere

Drop down to a cloud or jetstream
Don't trip up on a weathervane
You'll drown in a world of wet dreams and,
And you'll know how it feels
To know you're not real

I wrote a letter and I gave it to Jenny
I hoped for some return
The next time I saw her she gave me a penny
Wrapped up in a gummy worm

Run 'round in a field or meadow
Don't trip up on a sugar cane
Fall down in a lazy shadow and,
And you'll know how it feels
To know you're not real"

While I couldn't find that specific Pete & Pete episode on google video, here's the episode "Splashdown" a particularly Summer-y episode from the third season.

Apples in Stereo - Fun Trick Noisemaker

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Modest Mouse - Summer

I think this Modest Mouse picture is very suiting for this entry. For one it's an older photo of the band, as this song by them is one of their earlier ones. It's also warm, sunny and though their stances are rather stoic- fun. I get the feeling the band members were enjoying themselves on the day of this shoot, even though they're doing the prototypical 'we don't give a shit' band stance.

"Summer" comes from Modest Mouse's The Fruit that Ate Itself EP, released between their 'official' debut This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About (1996) and fan favorite The Lonesome Crowded West (1997.) The EP was recorded in Calvin Johnson's Dub Narcotic studios, and was also produced by him. Beat Happening of course have another renowned summer song, one that would have easily been covered by now if I hadn't done an entry on it earlier in the year. Who knows- maybe I'll get a re-run.

Lyrically this song should sound familiar to everyone. It's just about being young, carefree with pleantly of life still ahead of you, and how summer is the optimum time to do whatever it is that makes you happiest. There's lots of classic summer images here - parties with friends, staying out late, frequent stops at convenience stores, Slip-n-Slide, swimming... rather than the warm weather this is really what summers are made of. Though we all deviate slightly from Brock's experience (I for one was born in a time of Crocodile Mile rather than Slip-N-Slide, and never found myself at a swimming hole) the theme is universal. We love Summer.

Modest Mouse - Summer

"1996 1997 1998- We're all waiting for the year 2000
Just the smell of the summer can make me fall in love
We go to the parties listen to the DJ's
Dance dance dance and go crazy

She's a party queen an she's in party heaven
Her clock is stuck on late
Got a first name basis at 7-11
Hold the slip slide taste the sweat it's salty
Irrigation ditch and a swimming hole
Nation-wide loved the movie

Just the smell of the summer can make me fall in love"

Modest Mouse - The Fruit that Ate Itself @ K Records

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Belle & Sebastian - I Know Where the Summer Goes

Back to the summer songs! This Belle & Sebastian track is a lovely one, one of the many overlooked gems in their catalog. They're the type of band that has such a consistently good repertoire, practically any song they've written as fair game for "favorite song" status. To be fair, they have had their share of missteps, primary in the early 2000's with the less than spectacular Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, and Storytelling. Like most If You're Feeling Sinister is my favorite record by them, but for the second I'd place their Push Barman to Open Old Wounds compilation. It consists of 4 EPs released from 1997 through 2001, and many of my favorite Belle & Sebastian songs are on it. I never understand the logic of bands releasing fantastic songs on EPs rather than saving them for a record, except maybe it's the bands equivlent of a waiter bringing out some complementary desert for a dear friend. A special treat for those non-casual fans who check out all of a band's releases. This way it won't be disappointing when an obsessee shells out a small fortune for an import only release and discovers the songs are throwaways at best.

This song, though lacking in songmeanings comments and scrobs, is far from a throwaway. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what it's about, as with a lot of B&S lyrics they are like personal tales that we can only guess to the implications. With this one I'm getting the underachiever gets off his ass, suddenly becomes driven for success and much to everyone's surprise becomes a hometown hero vibe. That and it's summer when it all happens.

Belle & Sebastian - I Know Where the Summer Goes

"I know where the summer goes

When you're having no fun
When you're under the thumb
I know where the summer dwells
If your underarm smells
And your kitchen looks like hell

I know where the summer goes
If you're scraping a pot, and your head is hot
Put your head down, put your thumbs up girl
With the smell of hot desk
And the glitter of your step
He was right, he's the upcoming guru of the city
No one told the city councillors

I know, you can tell me again
I've got my mobile phone
Full of silicon chips
No one likes a smart arse
But I've seen a pattern emerge
I will race you up the hill
Where the boy who made records out of postcard messages
And flowering cherries rain on kids like you

Look twice at the kid with the crimped
And overheated hair
They ran a book on his looks
Odds on was the noble pose and
The denim hard riff of the Irish Troubadour
But the boy came from nowhere to
Steal the hearts of lassies in the lavvies of the club tonight"

Belle & Sebastian @ Matador Records

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grizzly Bear - Knife

As I mentioned yesterday I saw Grizzly Bear play with Feist, but I didn't saw much else about them or how good they are (though there was a clear implication.) Well, they were good to say the least. The crowd was pretty much blown away by them. It was one of the best reactions I've ever seen in the history of my concert going experience towards an opening act. Before the show I was only somewhat familiar with the band. I had given their 2006 album Yellow House a download after hearing good things about it. However it wasn't until the other day where I bought the physical album and their previous one at the show that I gave it a complete listen. Now that I think of it, I'm a bit surprised I didn't give them a listen earlier as I had grown to love their singles "Deep Sea Diver," and the subject of this entry "Knife." I was also taken aback at how impressive the music videos were for each of those songs, especially considering how they're not a band who would have a video budget in the Puff Daddy (I refuse to call him Diddy. I can't change my name with the snap of a finger, so he shouldn't be able to either) digits.

Their performance was both technically impressive as well as by their experimentation and unorthodox song structures. They all have very solid singing vocals and with a penchant for harmonizing together. They frequently used various looping effects on the vocals, so they could have a particular phrase continue while they sang live over it. They also incorporated this for a flute and occasionally their tremolo heavy guitar tones. "Knife" was definitely the highlight of their set. When glancing around at the song's end smiles of approval were abound and clapping hands were raised high in favor. The song is really a fantastic one. It's probably the most instantly melodic song in the band's catalog, faintly recalling Motown music of the early 60's. You can pinpoint some of the band's influences, the Beach Boys and My Bloody Valentine being two obvious ones, but apart from being a guiding force Grizzly Bear's sound is undeniably their own. This is definitely one of the best songs from last year, no contest. I'd even say there's a good chance it could make a best songs of the decade list. Every listen is severely impressive.

Grizzly Bear - Knife

"I want you to know
when I look in your eyes
with every blow
comes another lie

you think its alright
you think its alright
you think its alright
you think its alright

can't you feel the knife?
can't you feel the knife?
can't you feel the knife?
can't you feel the knife?"

Rather than embedding the youtube video instead I'll link to a quicktime version with impeccable quality. You get so used to watching videos on youtube that when a high definition video comes along, or even one that reflects the source quality, it's shocking. How unfortunate. Like eating so much at McDonald's that an average burger becomes gourmet. We take convenience over quality...that's what it all boils down to.

"Knife" music video

Grizzly Bear - Yellow House

Monday, June 11, 2007

Feist - Phantoms

Over the weekend I was able to catch Feist/ Grizzly Bear at the Berklee Performance Hall in Boston. It's a show that almost slipped through my fingers as somehow I wasn't aware of it until it was already on sale. Now this situation may not seem abnormal in life, but for me, a person who wakes up earlier than he wishes to on the Saturday mornings when tickets go on sale, parking myself in front of not one but two computers (via desktop and laptop), briskly refreshing the Ticketmaster site until the fateful moment where the Tickets Unavailable page transforms into Purchase Now. It wasn't until 6pm that I got tickets, not late by any means in life's standards, but for me it was like as if I let by a whole fleet of nuclear weaponry at a security check. How could this have happened? Tickets were already on eBay advertising them as for a Sold Out show (those shady scalpers...) but fortunately I could score two tickets about maybe 15 rows from the back. Still, for a small theater that had only 33 rows in front of us, not terrible. But dammit, who doesn't want to be closer to Leslie Feist!

Though there were out iffy seats and badly designed rows where the chairs were spaced one in front of the other instead of a preferable ABAB irregular placement. This would give an unobstructed view through the shoulders of those ahead of you rather than than having the silhouette of a head smack-dab in the center of your vision. Practically everyone in the theater needed to lean over to the side to get a good view. It was a bit awkward. Regardless, the show was of such a high caliber, that these inconveniences were easily forgotten about. Grizzly Bear played first to a theater that was maybe 2/3 filled. Before their show the band was running their own merch table and it was being almost universally ignored in favor of Feist's. In a good gauge to how they were received, the tables were completely turned after their set and Grizzly Bear's table was the hot spot to be. That and in the bathroom line. The Men's room only had one urinal and one stall which made for quite a wait. The women's line on the other hand was about three times as long... doing nothing to dispel the stereotype that women take forever to do their business. Then again the male process is pretty much grab and go, if you get what I mean. I'm digressing... Tomorrow I think I'll do a full entry about Grizzly Bear so I'll cover their performance there.

Now at last- Feist! She didn't disappoint. After a little shaky start where her band was onstage for a couple of minutes playing by themselves. Rather than a means to accentuate her arrival, it was more confusing and resulted in persistent chatter rather than hype. When she took stage the audience was more polite than enthused, but it certainly was a response. The event had more of a formal event quality than most other shows I've been to recently. Lots of couples seemed to be there and many were well-dressed. I think Leslie caught onto this, after the first song asking the audience how they'd respond if they were seeing the show at the Middle East or T.T the Bear's and they standing up against a wall. She was very involved with the audience, often saying hi between songs and offering little bits of banter, one of which involved setting up a microphone on stage for the ghost of vaudeville. The first heckle of the night was a surprise, something Leslie herself commented on, wishing to know what could have possibly been said. It was "Now at Last!" and the fan furthered that she didn't play it last night. Feist responded with "A double-nighter! I live in fear of the double-nighters" (which got a big laugh.) "But I mean...thanks for coming to see the show again. We'll see what we can do about the song." Now this heckle was a very-worthwhile one in my opinion, as "Now at Last" is my personal favorite song that Feist has recorded. To everyone's surprise during a two song stint where it was just her and an acoustic guitar on stage she played a playful arrangement of the song, midway through inviting a friend on to tap dance a percussion section. For me this impromptu moment was the highlight of the night. Her setlist was great, with many songs from her new record, including "1234," "I Feel it All," "The Park," "My Moon My Man," "So Sorry," "Sea Lion," "Past in Present," "The Water," and "Intuition." This is just from memory though, so I may be skipping some. We also got "Mushaboom," "Gatekeeper," "Let it Die," "When I Was a Young Girl," and the aforementioned "Now at Last." She also played a few unreleased songs, including one which I'm posting in this entry.

Feist -

This song got a huge response, especially considering that the majority of the venue probably never heard it before. It comes from a radio aired concert Feist played in Chicago last year.

I was hoping to meet Feist after the show but unfortunately that could not be. However I did get a personalized autographed copy of Let it Die on vinyl. It's a funny story. So I was waiting outside the venue by Feist's tourbus, record in hand like a complete fanboy. The bus was pretty well hidden as you had to hike around the venue and down an alley to get to it. Probably why so few people were there. There was one wishful kid and his friends who put his band's demo in the bus' windshield but and for a while it was just me and that intrusive prick. Finally someone came along who had the setlist and was looking for her to sign it. We got to talking a bit and I found out she was actually 37 and a teacher of Classics at a college that I had looked at in my original school search during high school. It then began to rain, which I then feared could made the hopefully impending Feist meeting into a mere Feist encounter. We asked the security guard if he knew anything about her coming out, but all he could tell us was that the bus was scheduled to leave at 1AM. It was then 10:30. Soon the guitarist came out and I asked if he knew anything about the situation inside. He told us that Leslie would be out at 11:30 at earliest. The guy however was incredibly nice and made us the offer of taking in an item for her to sign, as she was busy at the moment. When he emerged with this after about 3 minutes, my I was aghast. Not only did she sign my LP but she drew me a Matt sailboat!! I graciously thanked the guitarist and to preserve the moment got a picture with him and the teacher I met while waiting. awesome.

When I made that "if you find me a better video this year..." remark in that AIH post I completely forgot about this clip for "1 2 3 4." I guess that means I found myself a better video this year. Should I believe myself?

Feist - The Reminder (for $7.49!)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Architecture in Helsinki/ Santogold/ Black Moth Super Rainbow

Wow. What an incredibly fun show. The first opening band, Black Moth Super Rainbow weren't so much really my thing, but the background video they projected during their performance was really entertaining. The lead singer sat on the stage using a vocal decoder to continuously modify his voice throughout, adjusting from one robotic tone to another. The rest of the band stood behind him, playing a style of full band electronica that could be compared to a more psychedelic Kid A era Radiohead. Don't get me wrong though, they certainly weren't that good. I think they might be interesting on record, so I'm going to give that a chance. I skimmed through some of their songs before the show, and one that stuck out was "Sun Lips." I'm listening again now and it's very good. I like how there's a strange sense of life in the vocals, a contrast to how dead and empty effect-laden can be. It's pretty catchy too.

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Sun Lips

The next act Santogold was a great warm-up for AIH. It's practically impossible to describe her without bringing up comparisons to M.I.A. Frankly, she's a lot like M.I.A. 90% of her set was with a band and was less electonic based, but the last two songs which were beat heavy were still the highlights. It was one of those experiences where the majority of the crowd is unfamiliar with the artist, yet there's 5 or so hardcore fans there who know practially all the lyrics. During her last song "Creator" (which was easily her best of the night) she invited two fans that were really into the performance on stage. A security guard who was either a) didn't see the "invite" part or b) was just a dickbag swarmed the two and literally threw them outside. Half of Architecture in Helsinki who were watching the set from the side of the stage rushed outside to help relieve the situation. The two were let back in and were allowed to hang backstage with Santogold. I think they were back there for AIH's entire set. She was very gracious regarding their return as was the crowd. Happiness was abound.

Santogold - Creator

Architecture in Helsinki were fantastic. Their energy was remarkable and apart from the two drummers, each member switched instruments a number of times. The setlist was a good mix between their upcoming album and In Case we Die, though they did do "Spring 2008" from their first album Fingers Crossed, a song which has had a recent commercial affair. All the heavyweights on In Case we Die were played, including "Neverevereverdid," "It's 5," "Maybe You Can Owe Me," "Do the Whirlwind," "The Cemetery, " "Frenchy, I'm Faking" and my personal favorite "Wishbone." I would have liked to hear "Tiny Paintings" and more from Fingers Crossed, but you can't have it all. The new material was fantastic live, with the new single "Heart it Races" closing the show and also providing the biggest crowd reaction of all.

The crowd could not have been better for this show. They were into the music, but not too into it, responsive but not heckling and best of all were all smiley and having a great time. Seriously...I'm a huge fan of these 18+ shows. The band was a fan of us as well, and Kellie sincerely said "It's shows like this that make us want to play forever." After the show the band headed over to their merch table to personally sell shirts, cds and records. I was pleasantly surprised by this, as while this is common practice by smaller opening bands it's a rare sight for headliners. Maybe you'll sometimes get the headlining band's drummer at the table, but the full band is next to never. I bought a "Heat it Races" 7-inch and various members signed it for me. They were all very cheerful and gracious, just the way you'd hope they'd be, even granting us a friendly "See you guys later!" as we left. Thanks Architecture in Helsinki. I now love your band more than ever. Don't miss these guys if you have an opportunity to see them.

More AIH Pictures

The AIH song I'll use for this entry is alternate version of "It's 5" from last years limited edition Tour EP that they sold while on the road with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Takka Takka. Clap's drummer was actually at our show, as the band played a city festival yesterday. This version of the song is more subdued than the album take (without handclaps and drums.) Instrument wise there's actually only keyboard, acoustic guitar and what sounds like it might be a recorder though I could be wrong. Still it's fun to hear the song presented in a manner where the vocals carry it more so than than instruments.

Architecture in Helsinki - It's 5! (Alt. Version)

I'll finish this entry with the music video for "Heart it Races." If you can find me a better music video this year, I won't believe you.

And now a very very unoffical video for "It's 5." Oh jeez... you'll laugh, feel a little bad for laughing and then laugh even harder than you were before. These guys can bust a serious move.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Fiery Furnaces - Here Comes the Summer

This will be a quick entry, as I'm about to head to Boston to see Architecture in Helsinki. This song is a great one. It's from my favorite Fiery Furnaces release, EP. It's actually a b-side/ singles compilation, but I find it more satisfying than any of their actual albums. When I'm in the mood though, Blueberry Boat is a stunning listen. It's not an easy album to swallow at first, but like all great albums with an open mind and plently of listens it reveals its greatness to you.

This EP though is just one great pop song after another, something that I feel even the most epic concept album can never beat. A great melody is what holds up in the end. Each song on that album, floats on from one to another, so the beginning of this song sounds a little sudden and the ending a bit impatient. It also may be a little late in the year for this song, as it's about longing for the summer, but whatever. Actually though Memorial Day weekend seems to be the unofficial start of the season, we still have technically until June 21st . I like how the month in which the singer would prefer it to be June
gets earlier in the previous year until it's back at last July...where there's still desire for June. Oh quit yer bitchin'... July is a blast.

The Fiery Furnaces - Here Comes the Summer

"Last day in May the afternoon
Black marks of charcoal from the dune
I thought it wouldn't be too soon
We'll wait at least until it's June

The twenty-ninth of March it rained
You'd look so sad that I explain
You knew it wouldn't be too soon
We'll have to wait until it's June

I've been waiting since I don't know when
And now it finally seems about to start
I swear I swear that I will do my part

December dark at six o'clock
The freezing wind gives you a shock
You knew it wouldn't be too soon
We'll have to wait until it's June

October damp on down the street
The sodden leaves stuck to your feet
You knew it wouldn't be too soon
We'll have to wait until it's June

I've been waiting since I don't know when
And now it finally seems about to start
I swear I swear that I will do my part

July the third we stayed up late
And thought how long we'd have to wait
It'll be so long until it's soon
It'll be so long until it's June"

The Fiery Furnaces - EP

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Future Bible Heroes - Real Summer

Though the Future Bible Heroes are as of now my least favorite of the Stephin Merritt projects, I wouldn't be surprised if that changed in the future. I mean, the Gothic Archies are pretty novelty based. Though the Future Bible Heroes would be regarded as synth-pop, as the Magnetic Fields are, the sound of the two bands is very different. Merritt is the mastermind behind the Magnetic Fields, as he writes all the songs, plays a good majority of the instruments as well as produces the albums. The creative process for the Future Bible Heroes in contrast is more band oriented, as in addition to Stephin Merritt, Chris Ewen has significant involvement in the arrangement process. Stephin doesn't produce the albums in case, so rather than the lo-fi sound of the Merge-era Magnetic Fields albums, it's more polished sounding and more like that of commercial pop. Another aspect which puts this band apart from the other Merritt side projects is the involvement of Claudia Gonson, best known as the female voice for the Magnetic Fields. Another claim to fame can be that she originally tried out for the Pixies as drummer. That didn't work out of course, and I'm glad it didn't. We wouldn't have the Magnetic Fields otherwise!

Okay, so this entry's Future Bible Heroes song is sung by Claudia, and it's my favorite song by them.

Future Bible Heroes - Real Summer

"I loll on the porch swing
tall mint julep in hand
listening to the beach boys
- why don't they understand?
this is not what I call summer
summer it's infinitely less than

we get one real summer
only one in our time
full of wine and wonder
- you were mine
we get one real summer
ridiculous and sublime
before we go under
- you were mine

I may drive my woody
down to sandcastle beach
with my brave new boyfriend
but love is out of reach
who lives in these crumbling castles?
summer's promise honored in the breach

so lost without you
haven't a clue what to do

octagons fall from the sun
as we run through the grass
let weathermen blether
this forecast is o'ercast
and the beach boys?
hell, they might as well play "winter wonderland"
summer, my ass"

I love those last few lines so much. When I was just searching for the lyrics, I found an interesting post regarding an interpretation of the lyrics. I never paid that close attention to this song before, and was under the basis that this song was just about a disappointing summer, but this post changed that. It's a very thoughtful and inquisitive interpretation, so I'm going to repost it here. Nice job delial-

"to me this song represents the aftermath of something ending that touched the narrator so deeply that it came to represent a time of year: in this case, summer. now that summer as she knows it is purely in the past, every summer afterwards is but a shell of what summer came to represent.

summer will always be the person she spent so many summers with. summer will always be spending time with that person and the love that they shared. every summer afterwards will forever pale in comparison to the beauty they found together.

she's moved on as well as possible, tries finding new summer fun with somebody else, but inside she's thinking: "this is a mockery of what summer should be."

i've yet to find a song that describes this feeling as perfectly as this one does".


Future Bible Heroes - Memories of Love

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Ladybug Transistor - Like a Summer Rain

Here's a more fitting summer song for the recent conditions. Not really for today though, as things have really cleared up. Nice call with the isolated thunderstorms, weather guy.

Now the phrase "Elephant Six" and "awesome" go pretty much hand in hand. When someone familiar with this collective thinks about it, four names usually come to mind- Neutral Milk Hotel, The Olivia Tremor Control, Of Montreal, and the Apples in Stereo. That's the big four. I'd then say there's a pillar below that, held by two other respectable bands, Beulah and Elf Power. Below these are all the other elephant six name a few, The Musical Tapes, The Essex Green, Dressy Bessy, and the Ladybug Transistor.

I've only heard one Ladybug Transistor album, 1999's The Albemarle Sound, but it's an album I love. Like you'd expect, it's very influenced by 60's pop, so much so that if it wasn't for the production you can imagine hearing this album in 1968. However while influenced, it never seems derivative of that era. Rather than trying to sound like the Beach Boys or the Zombies or Love, they seem to transform into the form and existance of the period itself and just simply make music. This song "Like a Summer Rain" is the only song on the record that's a cover. The original was a minor single by surf group Jan & Dean in 1966. I've never heard it so I can't compare them. But 'tis good.

The Ladybug Transistor - Like a Summer Rain

Live on some Spanish tv show

Ladybug Transistor @ Merge Records

Monday, June 4, 2007

Semi-Gloss - The Sunburn Song

Though the weather here for the past few days hasn't been what one generally considers the prime summer conditions, I'm still going to use the theme of "Summer" for this week's entries. I have to say though, I'm not who will pout around and complain endlessly about some water leaking from the clouds. I'm actually a fan of rain during this time of the year when the pollen count is high and I need to buy boxes of tissues by the dozen. Hell, if it wasn't for Allegra, I'd probably just lock myself in a room from May through late June, ordering delivery all the day, slipping the money under the door. Thank you scientists who discovered Fexofenadine hydrochloride.

Now the band I'm featuring here today for entry one of this summer week is a band that next to no one has heard of. I really mean that...their has 356 plays. Your shitty local high school screamo band who plays shows at the YMCA probably has more listens than that. This track"The Sunburn Song" is one of those overlooked gems that is so great, I feel violent over the thought that only those in a selective group have ever heard this track. That selective group would be the obsessive fans of the masterpiece which is "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" as this song has been played during various episodes of the show. On the contrary, while it's frusturating that the vast majority of the world has never heard this song, I feel privileged to be one that has.

Semi-Gloss -
The Sunburn Song

"The sun is strong and we still haven't learned
Your skin is pale and it's gonna burn
Little white flakes falling down to the ground
Dead and gone without a sound
New skin cells being born together
Trying to live in this nasty weather
Fighting hard just to say alive
But in this bright sun it's hard to survive

Oh the sol
goes down
So slow
on the western coast

A little trip to the beach for the day
You've got your shades and her bain de solei
You look so nice in the waves together
You wish this moment would last forever
Well don't look now but there's that other fella
Long sleeved shirt and a beach umbrella
They can't say that you never tried
But now your skin is red and you heart is fried

Don't be afraid to get burned
Everybody has their turn
It's gonna hurt
You're gonna peel and scratch
But sooner or later you'll be back"

It's difficult to find information on the band, but fortunately their official site is still active. The story behind their demise is a little depressing. It states on the site: "They last worked on a CD in Los Angeles called "The Falling Kind". The distribution was supposed to go nationwide in the summer of 2000, but Dirt Records never released it. The band decided to take a break after this disappointment and never got back together".

I've only heard their self-titled album, but it's very good. has 5 copies up right now for a penny- that's a bargain if I ever saw one. Also, the product image there is brought to you by me. :)

Semi-Gloss - Semi-Gloss @

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Hondells/ The Beach Boys/ Yo La Tengo - Little Honda

Today's a cover entry, however rather than being the original and a cover, it'll be the original and two covers. However in this case it's debatable to which is actually the original. You see, the song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love in 1964, however it was given to the fake studio incarnate band The Hondells to record. According to Beach Boys expert David Elliott, the Hondells even contained a few of the Boys' session men. When the Hondells' version of "Little Honda" cracked the top 10, the Beach Boys took them on tour as the opening band.

Now the Beach Boys went and recorded a version of the song for their All Summer Long album the same year. As you can hear, their version isn't particuarly different from the Hondells,' so it's no surprise the song wasn't a smash hit.

The Hondells - Little Honda

The Beach Boys - Little Honda

"I'm gonna wake you up early cause I'm gonna take a ride with you
We're going down to the auto shop, I'll tell you what we're gonna do
Get on the ride, no sweat, sure we'll take you anywhere you want me to

First gear, it's all right
Second gear, hang on tight
Third gear, ain't I right
Faster, it's all right

It's not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motorbike
It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys, that two-wheel ride
We'll go on into the hills or anywhere you wanna decide

We'll ride some hills like a champ because my Honda's built really light
When I go into the turn, lean with me, hang on tight
I think I'll put on the lights, so I can ride mine under the night"

Jump ahead 33 years. Thirteen years in their music career Yo La Tengo release what is arguably their best album, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One in 1997. Their cover of "Little Honda" from the album is probably one of the coolest covers I've ever heard. It's very Jesus and Mary Chain-esque, a band that was a significant influence on Yo La Tengo. On the counterpart, second to the Velvet Underground, the Beach Boys were JAMC's biggest influence. If you pay attention to the structure of their songs, specifically Psychocandy era, their song structures, chord progressions and melodies are all very reminisent of the Beach Boys. People look at the Jesus and Mary Chain and see what they accomplished with feedback and guitar noise, but the pop songwriting they had underneath all that I feel should get more praise. But Yo La Tengo...yeah. They're cool too.

Yo La Tengo - Little Honda

And the videos! First up is the Hondells promo. It's pretty dated and cornball, with simulated honda bike riding that looks more along the lines of dry humping than off road action.

Next up is the Beach Boys video. This one has a little introduction scene featuring a battle for the dial between two brothers with a significant age gap. You see, the younger lad thinks the Beach Boys are "boss!" yet his brother "doesn't like that surfin' shit." In this case I'm not siding with either. Now with the performance section of the video, everyone's least favorite Beach Boy, Mike Love chooses to rather hold his hands out midair rather than faking playing an instrument. You can assume he wants us to believe he's pretenting to drive a honda while singing a song about his little honda. Mike was never one for subtlety. The way he's doing it though looks like he's holding onto an invisible hula hoop. You know he think's he's the hottest shit ever. Not surprising from a guy who currently sports the fashions popular at Florida retirement homes during 1986.

Now I can't find a good video of Yo La Tengo's version so instead here's a video called "Petite Honda." Nothing I can say will prepare you for this... Why do the French fail so badly at music?!

Oh and the recently released Beach Boys compilation, The Warmth of the Sun features "Little Honda." Pick it's got all the great but lesser known singles that couldn't fit on the Sounds of Summer disc. There's some good rather obscure stuff too.

The Beach Boys - The Warmth of the Sun
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One