Monday, May 28, 2007

Whatever gets you on the radio

I would like to apologize to Paddy Casey. It's my fault, I'm the one to blame. You should have been huge in America (much like I guess you are in Ireland, or at least that's what your official site says...) I should have paid more attention to you and your music when I was hosting a show on the local college station in San Bernardino, CA. Had I noticed how good your music was and how pasionate you were about your messages in your lyrics maybe I would have played you more than once. Maybe the promo copy of the CD you sent with the above mentioned clever title wouldn't have been shoved behind the ten DAVE MATTHEWS BAND cd's I own. So I'm here to make amends. I'm writing to you to say I'm sorry and I hope the new album works out. I'm posting these songs as a tribute to all the singer songwriter's I ignored when I was searching around for music that was cooler. I should have just played the hell out of your record. you should have been famous instead of the SMASHING PUMPKINS. God knows you're a better singer!

So dear readers join in my quest to allow PADDY CASEY'S music to be heard. Here are a couple of acoustic tracks from his debut album, Amen (So Be It), released in 2000. And if anyone knows Paddy tell him I'm sorry.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bring That Beat Back Part Two

Back in college (and still today) I became fascinated with the whole dance/rave culture. Now, one would assume that this also meant that I hung out at a lot of clubs and took a fair share of mind bending substances (which outside of the occasional binge on rum and coke, would be false). But I was intrigued by the sounds of rave/house/dub music of the time. I discovered many of the big bands of the scene (Chemical Brothers, The Orb, Orbital) to be widly original and wildly different in their approach to making dance music. Then I got my hands on the first UNDERWORLD album.

DUBNOBASSWITHMYHEADMAN was unlike anything I had heard. The back story on these guys is actually pretty interesting (read it here). What struck me about these guys was the more pop centered approach to their sound. Whereas, the Chemical Brothers had a hip-hop influence and the Orb and Orbital were more straight forward dance (with hints of Dub), UNDERWORLD took a pop approach to dance music. "Dirty Epic", even at 9:00 and change, is still a pretty traditional pop song. "Cowgirl" is a full on rave-up anthem, (just close your eyes and you can practically see the glow sticks). Other parts of the record seem more Dub and dance oriented but there is still some song structure that was absent in other dance music. I still find myself gravitating to this record when I look for dance music in my collection.

With subsequent releases the band dove into more dance style production (most notably their signature tune "Born Slippy" which was featured in the film Trainspotting) and are said to be releasing a new record this year.
(m4a) Underworld -- Dirty Epic (from DUBNOBASSWITHMYHEADMAN)
(m4a) Underworld -- Cowgirl (from DUBNOBASSWITHMYHEADMAN)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Songs for Doing Dishes

I find myself letting my Ipod randomly play while I work. Normally I have playlists for any and all occasions but when it comes to simple household chores I just let the shuffle take control (kind of a bastardization of the Ipod Roulette game many people play). Anyway, while doing dishes this evening I came across a couple of songs I just had forgotten about:
The Editors -- Bullets
I really liked this album. I'm not entirely sure why. They sound a lot like INTERPOL and all the other pseudo-JOY DIVISION bands out there. But this song really struck me. It has such as sense of unrgency to it.

Ever buy an album striclty because of the record label? Well I got this one simply because they were on Astralwerks and I was looking for something very dancy at the time. Boy was I wrong. Still, after initially resenting being lied to by a reliable label, I settled into this nice piece of brit-rock. Kinda spacy...but still very enjoyable.

When I was in college there were two cities arm wrestling for the title of "next big indie scene" following the Seattle explosion. One was Portland, Oregon; the other was Raleigh, North Carolina. Each had a ton of bands and a relatively unique setting. Out of Raleigh came Polvo (who seemed to mesh Sonic Youth and Pavement into a new, yet familair sound.) A while back I hunted this album down and listened to it again. Although not as impressed as I was the first time I heard it (my tastes have changed a bit since college), it still reminds me of when indie music took chances.

So go do some chores around the house and discover long lost gems on your MP3 player.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Are Greatest Hits Evil?

My friend Dan and I have had this running debate for awhile now. Is buying the greatest hits of a band a cop out or a smart investment? On one hand true fans of a band should already have all the songs on the greatest hits so the purchase is somewhat redundant. On the other, if you never bought any of the bands records then the greatest hits might be a good bet to get all the necessary material in one place. Also, if you are a fan of said band wouldn't the greatest hits be a handy collection to have so you don't have to fill your Ipod with all the records? (come on people this is a profoundly important question that is begging for discussion...)

Take 21 SINGLES by THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN. This is a great example of the pros and cons of a greatest hits record. JAMC are no doubt a very influential band (one worthy of a much deeper post then this). But if you are trying to introduce someone to their particular brand of brilliance then wouldn't a career retrospective be a better way then say trying to identify the one record that would be a good start? (again, this is a philosophical argument, not a debate on whether PSYCOCANDY is better than HONEYS DEAD). On the other hand, are you robbing the new listener of the subtleties of the band by stripping away the album tracks and opting for the safer, more commerical material?

I tend to fall to the Greatest Hits are good side of the arguement (but I have changed my mind back and forth depending on the band and the realitve quality of the collection). The tipping point in reference to this album was because it made me revisit some material that I had not really given a fair shake, namely the last two JAMC records. I completely dismissed STONED AND DETHRONED when it came out because it was such a departure from the traditional Jesus and Mary Chain sound. Some might even call it their acoustic, grown up record (complete with a radio friendly duet with Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval). But reviewing the two songs on 21 SINGLES (the aforementioned "Sometimes Always" and the mellow, full on Beach Boys vibe of "Come On") made me realize that that record was pretty damn good. The last three songs are from their last album MUNKI. Which, although more in line with the older sound, was crucified by the press and sold very poorly (at least here in the States). Again, thanks to the greatest hits fomula, what we hear now is a band that is trying to recapture some of the original attitude but with the benefit of age. In this case it makes them seem almost defiant, as if to say that regardless of age we still kick ass over all those that try to sound like us. Would this be the case without the earlier material to compare so readily available?

Anyway, the debate will rage on with no clear answer to the question. I welcome any thoughts...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sort of Breaking News

Maybe you've already seen this or maybe not (I got it from Indie mp3 who got it from XFM UK). Apparently New Order bassist Peter Hook confimed that he and lead singer Bernard Sumner are no longer working together. Sumber posted his response saying that New Order will continue on without Hook. (How that is possible is beyond me). Anyway, since the last two albums have been less than inspiring, maybe it's for the best. But with Johnny Marr running around with Modest Mouse, what will Sumner do if both New Order and Electronic no longer exsist?

Couple of links

Indie MP3 has the whole story and links to Peter Hooks blog (where all the hoopla started)

In a weird coincidence The Vinyl Villian just posted an excellent review of Technique that you should read.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Holy Crap...This is Brilliant

So a quick post (proper one tomorrow I promise).
I'm sure by now many of you have heard some if not all of the new THE NATIONAL record BOXER. All I can say is that "Fake Empire" might just be one of the greatest songs in the last five years (I'm trying to not to dive too far into hyperbole here because that would be very un-zenlike) If you haven't heard it yet then by all means grab this song (and any others you can find even though the record comes out May 22nd.) It's is absolutely amazing. Forget for a moment that THE NATIONAL have already made a completely original and fabulous record with their last, ALLIGATOR, the guys seemed to have really pushed themselves into a whole new sonic realm. Anyway, give this a won't be disappointed.
The National -- Fake Empire (Thanks to Stereogum for the link)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers out there (especially my wife who has double the pleasure with 16 month old twin boys)...

We should always be Momma's boys. I could never understand why being called a Momma's Boy on the playground growing up was such a bad thing. After all, wasn't that who you ran home to when things went really good or really bad? Aren't will still seeking out our mother's opinion (even if we outwaordly reject it as medddling) on major decisions? Quite simply, Mom's make the world go round. I am very glad my two boys have such a great mom and I hope all of you take a moment today to call your mom...

(mp3) Votxtrot -- Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, and Wives

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


My wife has been complaining about our computer for months now. (Since she reads this right know she probably has a huge smirk of I TOLD YOU SO on her face right now...) Since it has never got me I have had no real reason to be concerned. Until tonight. After working on a new post for about half an hour... my damn computer crashed. Post Gone. Lost. Forever forgotten. So I have yet another reason to want to scream at the heaven's and curse all the known gods of all the known religions. I thought technology was designed to make life easier, not more frustrating. Screw it, I'm going back to using the big lined paper and extra wide pencils we used back in first grade. At least they were reliable...
In the meantime.

(mp3) Bloc Party -- Storm and Stress