Rapture Leaks

the rapture
I came across these leaks from the Rapture's new album a few hours ago, and that made me excited. I haven't seen these around (save for maybe one of them ... can't remember), so maybe you'll be getting something new here, too.
I ... like these tracks. They're honestly much better than what I was expecting. I was afraid that the Rapture would just drop the whole dancey side of their music since their whole dance/punk style disappeared pretty soon after 2004 hit ...
But that ain't so! These songs are just as pumped up as anything from Echoes, yet they've all got a different song structure ... a different sort of flow to them. Which I appreciate. A bit poppier, sure, but certainly not sloppy or softer or less impacting than the first record ...
So ... enjoy!
the Rapture - Pieces Of the People We Love
the Rapture - Don't Go Do It
the Rapture - Whoo! Alright - Yeah ... Uh Huh

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Yes yes yes!

islands live
This is not the post that I was planning on writing. But I was gettin' itchy, yet I knew I wouldn't have time to write something lengthy. So I'll save that for tomorrow or something ...
Anyway, I'm very excited right now, as I just bought tickets to see Islands at the Wiltern on November 11. Yeah, it's really early, I know, and believe me ... I don't usually buy tickets this friggin' early! But I so want a general admission ticket, and I feel like something unlucky will happen and they'll all sell out next week.
Okay, maybe not ...
Anyway, I was listening to some bootlegs I found, and love these two songs. Can't wait to hear them ... enjoy!
Islands - Quittez (live)
Islands - Pieces of You (live)

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Four Is Unlucky

(And it is for that very reason that it's my lucky number.)
I've got four bands here ... I'm about to write 'em all down, so you guys can check them out!
Oh, and depending on how annoyed I get after writing this, I will most likely also include a cool new track ... by who?! (You'll have to read on!)

I love it when a band comes out of a city that I don't necessarily associated with being cool. Like Cleveland (my hometown) ... or in the case of Beach House, Baltimore. This band is so smooth and sweet. Some Stereolab vocals there, some shoegaze synth washes, and some jazz drumming. They've got something, and I enjoy it quite a bit ...

I was looking at some concert listings, and came across a band I've never heard of before ... the Besnard Lakes. They're also a pretty slow band: one that grows on you as it wraps around and trances you out. It's the backbone of shoegaze ... it's minimalistic in nature, and I think that's cool, but all of these songs have so much going on. Really interesting stuff to really listen to.

And what's up with all this awesome/so-weird-and-crazy-it's-my-new-favorite stuff that's coming out of France?! They've -- in my book, at least -- gone through some pretty big changes in terms of image. I now see French musicians and artists and bands as a more appropriate representation of what music in France should be: sexy, seductive, energetic, and maybe lacking in regards to depth and substance.
But fun nonetheless, right? So listen to some stuff by Yelle. She'll give Uffie a run for her money ... (?) Oh, and she has (of course) a MySpace page.

Ach, skip the forth band -- I've begun to tire of this all. I'll get to them (you'll have to wait for it!) later on ... today, perhaps? Instead, while you wait, how about checking out this awesome/new Clinic song I've posted?
Beach House - Master of None
the Besnard Lakes - Skyscraper Girls
the Besnard Lakes - For Spy Turned Musician
the Besnard Lakes - You've Got to Want to Be A Star
Yelle - Dans ta vraie vie (dirty version)
Clinic - Animal House

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Wolf Parade, the Wiltern

wolf parade
My God. This show was spectacular. A feat. Amazing. I could not have asked to have seen a more inspiring and plain amazing band than Wolf Parade.

But I'll start off with Frog Eyes -- the opening band. I was not a Frog Eyes fan before last night. Every one of their songs was heart wrenching and almost too emotional. Every note was dripping with feeling, every screwy, brash drum beat soggy with sincerity. Carey Mercer showed that he is not only one of the most inspired live vocalists around (I'd put him up there with Ian Curtis in terms of pure emotion and how much he gets into every part of every single piece of his), but he also has one hell of a lot of stamina. He was strumming the distortion and noise and feedback out of his guitar from start to finish. Truly a great performer. The thing that was so fascinating about their set was that the vocals didn't match with the heart-warming and sentimental melodies (and nor did the My Bloody Valentine-esque guitar distortion and feedback). Counter-intuitively, it all worked perfectly ... in tandem, though. I've never heard anything like this ... it was undeniably beautiful, but also so undeniable loud and a bit sloppy at times.
wolf parade
Wolf Parade, though, was the huge shocker here. What an amazing show.
I was sucked in from their first note. Often times at concerts, I'll go in and out of interest with a band. One song will be great, but the next a bomb ... or they'll start out crummy and end on a high note. Wolf Parade gave their performance their all for the entire hour or so during which they were on. A few new songs were played (including "Things I Don't Know"), but not a single one of the pieces remained unchanged from its album form. They played around with every aspect of every piece ... took it apart, figured out what elements made up the thing as a whole, improved on each minute detail, and ended up with something truly amazing.
Each of the musicians had his own thing going on ... each one was tremendously unique in his own way, but somehow it all came together in a completely harmonious way. The fact that their independence of style and talent relied so heavily on the co-dependent nature of their music was the greatest things to hear live.
Man were they on. Holy Smokes.
Oh, and remember ... my flickr photoset of concert can be found here.
Wolf Parade - Things I Don't Know

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Bustin' It Out

first nation
Coherence has never been my forte.
Tough luck ... I've been writing this blog for about two years with a hit-or-miss mantra. Maybe you'll find something here. Maybe you'll dig it all -- or maybe just some of it -- but I'm hoping that you'll never leave empty handed.

That being said ... here I go dolling out the new music again.
First Nation is this cute, yet so eerily creepy band from NYC. People have been saying that they're like Gang Gang Dance's take on Animal Collective. Which is, for the most part, true. They've got little sense of song structure, love noise and bizarre, far-from-perfect instrumentation, but are definitely good at pulling it all together. Their stuff is much warmer and accessible than you'd think.

Remember that surprise band from Nashville, De Novo Dahl? They're back, and loaded with more pop hooks than ever before. The new sound is a bit heavier (as in TMBG heavy ... it's still fun and bouncy), the vocals are more confident and stronger, the harmonies are all over the place (and good!), and the arrangements are just so awesome. Perfect pop blending of all those "key" elements (guitar, synth, keyboard, wicked awesome vocals and harmonies ... ) So exciting! (Oh, and they have cool new, uh ... costumes?)

Wolf Eyes is back back back! Their new album (out soon!) is called Human Animal, and that's such a fantastic name for it. I dug Wolf Eyes when they were purely hardcore and loud and crazed and maniacal, but they've added a more human element to their sound now. Granted, it's not a huge step -- there's still tons of screaming and wailing -- but their songs are more structured. They're more interested in experimentation and playing around with the subtler side of distortion and noise. Tre cool.

FIrst Nation - Female Trance
First Nation - Cave Jam
De Novo Dahl - The Kill
De Novo Dahl - Shout
De Novo Dahl - Market Place
Wolf Eyes - The Driller

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Going to Work

I'm lame and don't update enough, I know.
But I think you all may find this sort of cool ...
I should definitely not be calling this the Arcade Fire of summer mixes, but I just did. And that isn't saying all that much, anyway (no one actually lives to make summer mixes -- I hope).
DJ Never Forget recently came out with a summer mix, and it's a great way to cap off the summer (see? this is where the Arcade Fire connection comes in ... "great way to cap off 2004").
Okay, so check it out ... it'll get you going (which is what I need now). Fun, exciting, well mixed, energetic, but definitely with a general feeling of closure. How nice ...
DJ Never Forget - Going to Work Mix

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Night of Concerts

hot hot heat
I absolutely cannot complain about last night in any way, shape, or form (unless we're talking about someone in the shape of a stupid fat man that kept falling into me or retarded mosh pit dudes). Hot Hot Heat flew in from Canada just to play a concert at USC for Welcome Week. Their set was well over an hour long and completely inspired, totally energetic, 100% on the ball ... just a great live show. The lights were fabulous, the crowd gave [too much] feedback, and the band just refused to mess up.
Their openers sucked. Do not listen to Big City Rock (they want to be U2 and/or Coldplay and/or Keane ... avoid!), and do not listen to Katy Perry (even though she dug my bag). She's crass for no reason, sings about high school crushes while well into her 20s, and just likes to throw swears out there because she can. Yep, really sticking it to the man there, but dropping an F-bomb during Welcome Week. That worked ...

giant drag
After that was over, we headed on over to the Echo to see the end of the F*?k Yeah Fest (hey, I'm trying to keep it PG as well!) ... that was great. Silversun Pickups was nosier and awesomer than I remember them being. Like noise-rock shoegaze or something. Eerie and definitely a tad creepy, but invigorating and unique as well.
Giant Drag was amazing. Awesome. Too cool.
Annie was a bit honked off last night, though. Some jerk in the front kept harassing her, I guess, and that upset her quite a bit. Her pre-amp was sounding like "the Loch Ness Monster with diarrhea" and she threatened to beat the crap out of several concert goers.
The profanities and threats aside, though, she was right on. And Micah, the drummer/synth player, was brilliant ... he somehow kept time and played synth at the same time ... blew my mind. Indeed.
What an inspiring night. Check out the flickr set here.
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Cornelius, "Music"

I recently got a comment on the blog (thank you!) requesting that I remember to put up some more Japanese music. And you guys are right ... I've sort of stopped posting about weird or underground or independent Japanese stuff. And I should ...

So, to start stuff off (I'm sorry, but I don't know how long I'll be able to carry on!), I'll point you all in the direction of Cornelius -- the godfather -- sort of -- of Shibuya-kei. He's got a new album coming out, and he's just released a single called "Music." I think it's ... okay. It took him too damn long to get around to doing something, and I would have expected a bit better than this for the amount of time he spent on it.

Whatever ... he's got kids. Maybe that's a good enough excuse ...
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... And A Few More

international falls I totally forgot to write about some of my recent "find" ... stuff that I'm not seeing all over the place (but I hope that I soon will be)!

International Falls is a great band from Langley BC ... really spectacular indie-pop with a twinge of Of Montreal or something. Sparse songwriting, but really great production values. A great layering of guitar lines, as well ... really sugary stuff here, but worthwhile.

Shout Out Out Out Out is ... a mouthful! Okay, the long name aside, they really are a cool band. Read this ... maybe you'll get a good picture of what to expect before listening!

Shout out out out out = two drummers + four bass players + two samplers + five synthesizers + one vocoder. volatile dance music.

And lastly, I've got Friska Viljor, a band that's getting at least a bit of play in its home country of Sweden. The band as a whole is very unique ... bizarre, yet not alien or overly-strange instruments (is that a mandolin?), young Neil Young-esque vocals, and a slightly pop-grunge sort of songwriting aesthetic. These guys are close, yet far from anything you've heard. You will enjoy them.

International Falls - Old Inhabitants
International Falls - A Place To Flea
International Falls - On A Roll
International Falls - Ghouls 'n' Ghosts
Friska Viljor - Gold
Friska Viljor - Oh No

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This Is Fun!

howling bells

Okay, so this is exciting for me! Today, I am testing out Windows Live Writer, and so far, it seems like it's going to be great for me, and everyone else in the world of blogs! It's easy to use, easy to understand ... it's got a nice, smooth layout ... everything! But perhaps I should hold some reservations here ... you never know. I'll keep you posted!

So, a few bands here.

Kings & Queens is a pretty cool Nevada City (!) band. Every song is a "layer cake" ... old vox and Hammond organs, delayed guitars and some hot vocal harmony. That diversity makes them interesting. But I think the band put it best when they wrote, "[our sound is] so bright, so dark." Don't miss these guys.

And man am I feeling this group, the Howling Bells ... but they're hard for me to define aptly. We'll start with location! They're from Sydney, and that's a hot place to be from these days! As for their sound ... I guess I'd say that at points it edges on shoegaze, but often they've got this post-punk, Siouxsie-and-the-Banshees-inspired sort of thing going on. Crisp (my favorite), mellow (another favorite), and full of sharp edges. I like these guys a lot a lot.

And since it's all over the place, I'll post it, too ... "We're From Barcelona" by "I'm From Barcelona." This is indeed a great pop song. Who would have thought that something as annoying (sorry) as a sing along could be so fun and light and addictive.

"Love is a feeling that we don't understand/but we're gonna give it to ya."

"And we'll bring you love/you'll be one of us when the night comes."

Too sweet. Listen to it if you haven't already, and if you have, work on memorizing those lyrics, or something ...

Kings & Queens - Slow Motion
Kings & Queens - King's Theme
Kings & Queens - Coming Apart
the Howling Bells - Velvet Girl
the Howling Bells - Low Happening
I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona

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For Your Listening Pleasure ... !

the panda band
So when I went to San Francisco, I dropped by Amoeba Records ... such a great record store. I picked up some stuff that's a bit harder to find as well as a few singles. So now I've got some Camera Obscura b-sides to share with you all.
Also, have you heard of this Australian band the Panda Band yet? They're great ... and they describe their sound better than I can ...
It sounds like our scoutmasters Nick Cave, The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd finally collaborating after all those dreams theyve had about each other. Giving each other confidence to lace up their hiking boots and hit some unfamiliar trails. What could these dreams mean?

Its choral beams, glorious exploding synthesizers and guitars, ricochets and rattles. It creeps up behind you and youve been talking to it for hours. Its tidal and vibrates through you like a sun-drunk full moon.

Check out their MySpace page to hear additional tracks!
I finally got around to seeing The Matador which, while not that great of a movie (good idea, though), did have an intriguing soundtrack. It included the Jam and ... Titan. I still don't know anything about Titan, but I'm not too compelled to dig any deeper than the track I got off the soundtrack ... hope you enjoy it, too! (Digging the Latin vibe ... tre cool).
the Panda Band - Sleepy Little Deathtoll Town
the Panda Band - High In Your Saddle
Camera Obscura - Phil and Don
Camera Obscura - Roman Holiday
Titan - 1, 2, 3, 4

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Just For Fun

professor murder
The DFA continues to fascinate and stump me. At first, they signed bands that all held similar characteristics. That dance/punk thing, groups that idealized Liquid Liquid ... that sort of thing. But then they introduced Shit Robot (a very cool guy, but not what I expected), and now ... Prinzhorn Dance School. The group is supposed to be sort of like the Fall, but with that characteristic DFA sound in the mix. There's one song, "Monsters," by the group that's floating around the net ... check it out!

I should have updated earlier. Now I can't distinguish what's new and what just recent, so in an attempt to not sound dated here, I'll just give you all two other songs that you may have not heard yet ...
Prinzhorn Dance School - Monsters
Islands - Graceland (Paul Simon cover)
Professor Murder - Camron's New Color (Pt. 3)

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emily haines
Many things on my plate, but since I haven't posted for a bit, some of them have been brushed aside. I have a feeling that this post will be slightly unfulfilling, but believe me, it should be better!
Emily Haines, the singer from Metric (one of my favorites!), is finally releasing her debut solo album. This record has been four years (!) in the making, and there have been live tracks and rumors floating around for ages. Now we've finally got some stuff!

When I was at the Pitchfork Music Festival, I stumbled upon the Minty Fresh table. They were selling some good stuff -- mostly older things I'd already heard -- but there was one CD in particular that stood out ... the Prototypes. They're a French electro-punk band, and they're pretty damn good. I guess one reason I like them is simply because French music doesn't really leave the country! But we all love to hear French girls screaming God-knows-what at the top of their lungs.
Emily Haines - Our Hell
Emily Haines - The Lottery
the Prototypes - Ici Ou Peut-Etre Demain

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