Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wild Flag - "Something Came Over Me"

Wild Flag - "Something Came Over Me": "It's got the right melodic elements of classic Helium, but it's sweeter than anything Helium ever did. I love Helium deeply, but it always felt sad, heavy, angry, strange...not light, like this. It still feels like the Helium I missed, but back in a newly structured environment (to its advantage) and not as a 90s retread. A belated welcome back Mary Timony. I'm happy this is also my New Year's Eve post - it's a look back, a look ahead, a mix of old and new, nostalgia mixing with wanting something fresh - which is kind of how I feel today as well. Hope everyone is sending 2011 out in style tonight."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best Coast - "The End"

Best Coast - "The End": "I still haven't gotten over this record. I remember being in a London hotel, soaking in a bathtub (I so rarely find a tub that truly fits me, I have to take advantage of them when I find them), right after picking up the album, and listening to the whole thing all the way through. It had been cold and grey outside, plus I was loopy from jetlag, and I just lay there, losing myself in the tunes. It's hard for me not to think of that time when I play these songs back now."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LCD Soundsystem - "I Can Change"

LCD Soundsystem - "I Can Change": "It's a song that's kind of long, particularly for as little as it changes, but its appeal is in its musical simplicity, supporting the directness of the lyrics. I don't want to believe this band is technically done, but I am keeping my hopes up for whatever James Murphy brings us next."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Duran Duran - "Girl Panic!"

Duran Duran - "Girl Panic!": "I was pretty ambivalent to the new DD when I heard it earlier this year, but this song popped back into my head this week and I haven't been able to forget it since. They're definitely stealing from themselves, musically, but it's so much fun, with crazy Simon lyrics to match, that it doesn't matter."

Friday, December 02, 2011

Modest Mouse - "Convenient Parking"

Modest Mouse - "Convenient Parking": "This song reminds me of driving around in LA, listening to this album (The Lonesome Crowded West) over and over. Hearing it now makes me remember and appreciate those simpler times, but I still enjoy this record in its own right."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Phantogram - "16 Years"

Phantogram - "16 Years": "It's appropriate that I first saw these guys opening for School of Seven Bells, since there is a commonality in the pretty female vocals + spacey new wave synths approach, but they each do it so well. I've had this song in my head for a week."

Monday, November 07, 2011

Cults - "Oh My God"

Cults - "Oh My God": "This popped into my head this morning and I realized I had never blogged about it, even though I heard it months ago. Good luck not getting this stuck in your head too, but it's got such a nice, low-key bounce, you shouldn't mind!"

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Idlewild - "Love Steals Us From Loneliness"

Idlewild - "Love Steals Us From Loneliness": "I need to apologize for being a neglectful blogger - this last Tuesday (11.1.11) was the 6th anniversary of my Song of The Day blog, which had already passed 1,000 posts this September. I was going to do a song blowout this week, but I got too busy with work. It made me question if I should just put the blog on hiatus at this point, but at the end of the day - even if I may go too long between posts - I need this outlet to share music with folks I too often don't get to otherwise, so I'm not giving it up. Please enjoy this Idlewild song for the occasion instead - it has a birthday reference, a bit of melancholy that reflects my disappointment at missing my own anniversary of sorts, and a it's great song in sum, as always."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Class Actress - "Keep You"

Class Actress - "Keep You": "After obsessing over their debut EP for some time now, Class Actress' full-length is finally here! This track opens the album and, while it's technically just more 80s keyboard synth-pop like on their EP, it's really well done and based around very catchy core tunes, no matter how they're arranged. If you dig this, the whole record will be a worthwhile listen too."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aphex Twin - "Come to Daddy - (Little Lord Faulteroy mix)"

Aphex Twin - "Come to Daddy - (Little Lord Faulteroy mix)": "This could sound just light and playful but, since it's also Aphex Twin, there's a slightly unsettling element to the track."

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Breeders - "Glorious"

The Breeders - "Glorious": "Kim Deal, Tanya Donelly and Josephine Wiggs are kind of a holy trinity for me. I wish I could hang out with them and they would play cool songs like this for effortless cool, at that. Or they could protect me in a Charlie's Angels kind of way, but also with their coolness and music prowess."

Friday, October 07, 2011

Mahogany - "The View From The People Wall"

Mahogany - "The View From The People Wall": "So wonderfully bouncy, what a great way to end the week. I should play this every morning I come to work, it's such a non-saccharine good mood song."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Superchunk - "The First Part"

Superchunk - "The First Part": "Yay for Merge's re-issue of Superchunk's Foolish, remastered so it does sound a touch better, even if it always sounded good. I may love this record as much as I did when I first heard it. As drummer Jon Wurster notes in the liner notes, there is a darker shade to this record, compared to the other Superchunk releases, and maybe that's why it's one of my favorites. There's certainly a hard (if not dark) edge to this tune, which absolutely is as rocking now as it first was. So happy to have an excuse to listen to it all again."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Death Lurks - "Some Days It's Dark"

Death Lurks - "Some Days It's Dark": "Please enjoy the faux-metal number from Kids In The Hall's 'Brain Candy' - I know I do. (How can you deny lyrics like 'Some days it's dark / some days I work / I work alone / I walk alone' delivered with Danzig-level seriousness? Plus the song does kind of rock.) Bonus points for the track including the 'horse tranquilizers' introduction."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Monarchy - "Love Get Out of My Way"

Monarchy - "Love Get Out of My Way": "Saw them last night in SF and they were just as awesome as they were at Coachella - if not perhaps more, since I actually know the music now. They have tremendous presence for a masked four-person band and, man, they have amazing pop songs but with depth. They clearly live in the same alternate pop universe as Robyn, where they should be ruling the airwaves, but somehow find themselves left of center here."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nada Surf - "Do It Again"

Nada Surf - "Do It Again": "Funny that they deliver what could have been a 90s radio mainstream alt-rock smash single after they got dropped by a major label. The tune's probably still a little too left-of-center structurally to have that impact, but the melody is strong and forceful in the best of ways."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kent - "Elvis"

Kent - "Elvis": "Maybe the vocals are a little too Placebo high for American tastes, but it seems like this band just didn't work in America. A Swedish band working in Brit rock mode, but hitting all the right notes, they're ripe for rediscovery like Muse was - after all, America had passed on them the first time around too."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Charlotte Gainsbourg - "Terrible Angels"

Charlotte Gainsbourg - "Terrible Angels": "Charlotte tosses out the live and largely organic sound of her last record for...well, Goldfrapp. It's hard not to hear the influence, but Charlotte cops the same bad-ass angle that works so well in those Goldfrapp songs, so she can get away with it."

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Morning Jacket - "Steam Engine" (solo)

My Morning Jacket - "Steam Engine" (solo): "From the vaults - back when we were taping original performances jointly for Rhapsody and, MMJ's Jim James came in and did this amazing solo set. I wasn't a MMJ fan before this performance (circa It Still Moves, btw) but I sure as hell was afterwards. It's one man and one guitar, but it's completely mesmerizing."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Metronomy - "The Bay"

Metronomy - "The Bay": "Kind of dorky but endearing combo of new wave and dance grooves, kind of like Stars covering ABC, though probably not sounding like that at all."

Monday, September 12, 2011

LCD Soundsystem - "Live Alone"

LCD Soundsystem - "Live Alone": "What may be the last 'new' LCD song - a cover of Franz Ferdinand's 'Live Alone'. Here, LCD puts FF through a Bowie filter: the song starts with Mike Garson-esque piano rambles, but moves into the Bowie/Eno vocals of his late 70s work, along with some new wave disco styling from the same period. A curious but intriguing workout. (Also worth noting: LCD may be returning the cover favor to FF, who previously covered LCD's 'All My Friends' for one of their EPs some years back. I love worth mutual admiration societies like this one.)"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tahiti 80 - "1,000 Times"

Tahiti 80 - "1,000 Times": "Apparently this is my 1,000th post! That's a lot of writing about music, even if it proves it's hardly a song for every day. Here's an appropriately-titled song to commemorate the milestone."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Twin Shadow - "Castles In The Snow"

Twin Shadow - "Castles In The Snow": "The crisp percussion sounds tough, but the mood is kind of pensive and moody. I hate to make the comparison, but it reminds me of some tracks from the first Kenna record, which I still really like."

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fleetwood Mac - "Second Hand News"

Fleetwood Mac - "Second Hand News": "It's kind of amazing how joyous so much of this record sounds when it's really toxic, emotionally, if you take a second to listen to the lyrics. It's the kind of sweet-and-sour duality that I also appreciate in Steely Dan, like a Trojan Horse of inappropriate in your mom's FM gold..."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Horrors - "Moving Further Away"

The Horrors - "Moving Further Away": "It's still funny to me that a band who I started out not liking at all - maybe the Chris Cunningham-directed first video led me to expect too much - have now delivered solid second and third records. I also think it's interesting that people find this new record so melancholy, since I actually find it to be far more upbeat and much less dark than its predecessor, Primary Colours, which is certainly not a bad thing. I still like the droney/spacey qualities carried over from that record, as easily evidenced on this track."

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Throwing Muses - "Ellen West"

Throwing Muses - "Ellen West": "I love how strong Kristin sounds and the always wonderful Kristin-and-Tanya duel vocals and guitars. I wish those two could have stayed together forever, but I guess you can't keep magic like that bottled up. I remember seeing the Muses live, years ago, and when Kristin got to the line 'my house is full of demons / I swear to God', she delivered it with such unblinking power, I wouldn't have questioned her."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Death Cab For Cutie - "Army Corps of Architects"

Death Cab For Cutie - "Army Corps of Architects": "It's a simple melody, but a wonderfully sad one. It provides the core of the song, slowly building new musical parts on top of it as it repeats, subtly becoming more powerful as it moves along. I can't seem to stop listening to it today."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wink - "Simple Man" (featuring The Interpreters)

Wink - "Simple Man" (featuring The Interpreters): "Late 90s electronica DJ meets a British pop-punk-influenced US trio for a relatively pop version of drum'n'bass with vocal sneers. Still sounds like 1999 to me, but I really enjoy it. (Also, this one's for you James Cole.)"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deerhunter - "Desire Lines" (Rhapsody Original)

Deerhunter - "Desire Lines" (Rhapsody Original): "In this exclusive, live version, Deerhunter's solid slice of indie rock becomes even more epic, if with some heavy spacey/droning sections, but at least you get the power of their live set, whether you were there in Austin (where this was recorded) or not."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

T Rex - "The Street and Babe Shadow"

T Rex - "The Street and Babe Shadow": "It's a song that kind of goes nowhere, a looping shuffle of a sort, but Marc Bolan's 'Babe...I do mean, Babe...' always makes it feel like it's about to. At least Bolan's come hither vibe still makes it feel worthwhile."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Miguel - "Strawberry Amazing"

Miguel - "Strawberry Amazing": "Not quite slow enough to be a 'slow jam', but kinda sexy anyway, this track percolates along a minimal groove, powered by Miguel's cocky-but-earnest vocals (often falsetto, no less). This is some hot, modern R&B. (Thanks to Josh F for getting this for us.)"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Robyn - "Don't F****** Tell Me What To Do"

Robyn - "Don't F****** Tell Me What To Do": "This week is killing me. This song totally speaks to me right now."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Decemberists - "Human Behavior" (yes, the Bjork song)

The Decemberists - "Human Behavior" (yes, the Bjork song): "It's awesome to hear such an electronic song worked in a much more acoustic - but entirely analog - fashion, while still preserving all the musical elements of the original. Colin's vocal in place of Bjork's takes a bit getting used to, but the musical arrangement is great. Well done, Decemberists - definitely worth a listen for both Bjork and Decemberists fans."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Telekinesis - "Foreign Room"

Telekinesis - "Foreign Room": "Easily one of the best songs I've heard all year, even though it's already been out for a while. It starts out quiet, but when the pounding drums kick in with their simple but powerful beat, it's a complete rush of woozy excitement and confused emotions, like a rollercoaster that's both terrifying and exhilarating. There's so much energy, but it doesn't feel happy like you'd expect, all creating a brilliantly complex power-pop song. Amazing."

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Small Black - "Photojournalist (live)"

Small Black - "Photojournalist (live)": "Live from this year's Rhapsody Rocks Austin party, it's a more party-ready version of SB's gauzy new wave, particularly with the (dare I say it?) funky bass part and the faster tempo. Curious to see if their new music will wind up being more in this direction..."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Shea Seger - "Clutch"

Shea Seger -"Clutch": "A little too mainstream to be alternative, a little too edgy to be pop and not quite fast enough to be danceable, this tune is a bit of a misfit, but is carried along by an infectious chorus and lots of great little instrumental touches."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hazel - "Ringing In My Ears"

Hazel - "Ringing In My Ears": "I had a great time out in SF this weekend, particularly at Honey Soundsystem last night. The only downside is the music was so loud that my ears still haven't stopped ringing - thus this as my song of the day, even if it's a little cheeky to use this great, sad Hazel song just for the title alone."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Damnwells - "She Goes Around"

The Damnwells - "She Goes Around": "I don't love this band like I used to, but I do like this track from their new album - more of the straight forward melodic rock they do so well, but it's the backing vocal countermelody in the chorus and the guitar instrumental between choruses that really sell the track."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spoon - "The Book I Write"

Spoon - "The Book I Write": "An understated (and underknown) Spoon track from the Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack, with Britt's vocals (particularly his falsetto) making it worth noting. I also really like the piano and percussion opening - it's got a great sound."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monarchy - "The Phoenix Alive"

Monarchy - "The Phoenix Alive": "I'm usually a bit wary of this kind of slick synth-pop, but there's good, non-gaudy hooks here plus a bit of drama and presence - something they easily demonstrated at Coachella, where I saw them without having even heard of them before and was won over by their subtle but powerful command of the stage and some really great if stylized dance tracks."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Afghan Whigs - "I'm Her Slave"

Afghan Whigs - "I'm Her Slave": "Wonderful co-dependent darkness that feels kind of sick to like."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Depeche Mode - "Suffer Well" (M83 Remix)

Depeche Mode - "Suffer Well" (M83 Remix): "Two reasons to like this track: 1) It's better than the original (but keeps the best parts of the original) and 2) it's so heavily re-recorded that it's more of a M83 reinterpretation than a remix - and given how long I've been waiting for a new M83 album, I'll take new M83 where I can get it."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vijay Benedict - "Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki"

Vijay Benedict - "Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki": "More awesome Bollywood disco funk, from the same soundtrack that brough you yesterday's slinky 'Come Closer'."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Salma Agha - "Come Closer"

Salma Agha - "Come Closer": "So good - minimalist bedroom funk, not unlike a Mary Jane Girls demo, in a Bollywood wrapping. You can't fake this kind of awesome."

Monday, June 06, 2011

Twin Shadow - "Tyrant Destroyed"

Twin Shadow - "Tyrant Destroyed": "Talk about a slow burn - I saw Twin Shadow at South By Southwest and thought they were ok. I wasn't really won over, but was intrigued enough to check out their record. First listen, second listen, still okay...but something made me come back to it again. Slowly, their songs have started to pop into my head. The songs may not be that flashy or obviously hooky, but there's something intriguing to their modern reworking of 80s new wave elements - not enough for me to get it out of the gate, but enough to have me coming back until I did."

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Sugar - "A Good Idea"

Sugar - "A Good Idea": "Why haven't I listened to this more recently? This song is awesome! I miss when radio would play stuff like this...although I don't listen to radio anymore, so I guess it doesn't really matter."

Friday, June 03, 2011

Death Cab For Cutie - "Doors Unlocked and Open"

Death Cab For Cutie - "Doors Unlocked and Open": "From their new record, Codes and Keys. At first, it's the same kind of driving rhythm section that recalls 'I Will Possess Your Heart' from their previous album...which initially led me to think, 'Oh, this again?' But then the song pivots to a different groove, still driving, but the vocals play more of a counterpart, mostly in the high range. Nice, but it's really the chorus that blends some of the more classic DCFC melodies with the new, more agressive rock backing - and it really works together. (Thanks, Nick!)"

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Royal Bangs - "Back Then It Was Different"

Royal Bangs - "Back Then It Was Different": "Imagine a more earnest MGMT trying to sound like Quasi (at least in terms of a driving organ-and-drum tune) and you get this quirkily uptempo but slightly sad tune."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ringo Deathstarr - "Chloe"

Ringo Deathstarr - "Chloe": "It's so shoegaze by numbers that everyone from Jesus and Mary Chain to the Swirlies should probably get a songwriting credit, but I continue to be a sucker for it anyway. When the "oooh / next to you" chorus kicks in, with the predictably hushed vocals over a wall of distorted noise, I'm already sold. This song is also an excuse for me to point out to everyone that it's (almost) Mem-orial Day:"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Soft Cell - "Chips On My Shoulder"

Soft Cell - "Chips On My Shoulder": "Another great song from a band who should be known for more than 'Tainted Love'. I could dedicate this song to a bunch of folks today, but I'm going to be nice instead..."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Curtis Mayfield - "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go"

Curtis Mayfield - "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go": "Putting aside my obvious (tongue-in-cheek) reason for posting the track today, let's talk about the reasons this song is amazing: the fuzz bass intro (one of my favorite bass lines ever), the contrast of the girl talking about the Bible with Curtis' incendiary call-outs in the intro section, the drama of the orchestra strings and horns, the inherent funkiness of the rhythm section...ok, really, everything in this song is great, as is Curtis for having the guts to put it out in the first place. A great song should make you think and illicit a clear reaction, whatever it may be."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Urge Overkill - "Effigy"

Urge Overkill - "Effigy": "The grit is closer to Exit The Dragon than Saturation and Eddie 'King' Roeser's vocals have become even more sandpapered than before, but this is a tight, rocking number from their new album, their first in 16 years, and much better than one would expect."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Psychedelic Furs - "In My Head"

The Psychedelic Furs - "In My Head": "Apparently, there's not a lot of love for the final Psych Furs record - it's out of print physically and only available digitally - but it's an undervalued blend of melancholy rockers (like this one), ballads, electro-tinged snarled tunes and more. It's perhaps still a bit polished like their middle-period records, but balances the energy of earlier works (if not as outright punky) with a certain maturity in viewpoint and songwriting."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Suede - "Animal Nitrate"

Suede - "Animal Nitrate": "Definitely one of my Coachella highlights. I was wary of what present-day Suede would be like, but Brett worked the stage like his life depended on it, belting out classics like this one like it was still 1992. As fey as he may be, he had massive stage presence and the only thing that made me sad was that there weren't enough people there to see it, because it was magic.
[Coachella - Saturday 3/16]"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Soul Coughing - "How Many Cans?"

Soul Coughing - "How Many Cans?": "I hadn't listened to Soul Coughing's Irresistible Bliss in quite a while but, after a re-listen last week, I realize it's a tighter, more solid listen than I remember it being - to the point that it's over much too fast. But since it does have to end, this is a great closing number - all late night rattle and atmosphere, kicking in a bit harder near the end after a subtle build, and then fading away. It's slightly ominous in an intriguing way, almost presaging the darkness to follow on much of the follow-up, El Oso."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Peter Bjorn and John - "Tomorrow Has To Wait"

Peter Bjorn and John - "Tomorrow Has To Wait": "The great opening track from their new Gimme Some, which sounded equally great live in S.F. on Friday night at Great American Music Hall. I was expecting a quick 1 hour show or less, but got an epic 1 hour 45 minutes instead. I was impressed with how PB&J streamlined their need for loops and backing tracks by reworking the tunes either slightly ('Nothing To Worry About') or completely ('It Don't Move Me') to make the show more raw, more rock and less studio recreation. Certainly a lot of bang for the buck."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Spinanes - "Lines and Lines"

The Spinanes - "Lines and Lines": "I don't even know where to start: Not only did Rebecca Gates just play in S.F., but she did this amazing Spinanes song (which sounded great solo acoustic), but she also did new songs and a cover of 'St. Ides Heaven' (which is sort of not a cover, since she was on the original), but she also talked about her band and new music perhaps even maybe this year, but she also talked about coming back to S.F. in a couple of months with her band, but she also made me realize that Ted Leo was in her Arches & Aisles band before I knew who he was, but she also gave me a hug!!!! [HEAD EXPLODES DUE TO EXCESS OF AWESOMENESS]"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lamb - "Trans Fatty Acid"

Lamb - "Trans Fatty Acid": "This was supposed to be a post from the other night, as a great 'late in the night' track...except, as I was listening to it - late in the night! - I was too tired to make the post. So here it is. (Sam - for you and, technically, from NARM, one of the 'exotic places' you seem to think my SOTD comes from.)"

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Smiths - "Hand In Glove"

The Smiths - "Hand In Glove": "This is a slightly belated post in honor of The Eagle, my favorite bar in SF that is very sadly (and very recently) no more. Putting aside the great staff, great rock'n'roll DJs, an amazing patio and lots of other great features, there was an electic mix of live music every Thursday night that is hard to duplicate, even in SF. You could get up and coming bands, you could get drag torch singers, you could get hardcore could be anything. On The Eagle's last live music night, this song played between bands and the thrice-repeated line 'I'll probably never see you again' suddenly, sadly jumped out at me. There is indeed a void now left in my SF lifestyle that I don't know how to fill. I realize something unexpected may surprise me and pick up where The Eagle left off - but, for now, I'm just sad."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Drums - "I Need Fun In My Life"

The Drums - "I Need Fun In My Life": "I know a lot of people who love this album and lots who love them live. I don't think either is bad, but I have to say I don't quite 'get' them either. Something just hasn't clicked with me yet. But I will admit that this track does have a nice lo-fi charm and is catchy in the same way similar lo-fi ditties grabbed me in the 90s. And I agree with the song's message too!
[Coachella - Friday 4/15]"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Interpol - "Success"

Interpol - "Success": "Was their Coachella set a good one? No, not really - something was just kind of off with them (although I've since heard that their drummer had faulty monitors for the whole show, so that would explain a lot) and their pre-hyped multi-media display was rather tepid. That said, the set list would have had a nice slow build, had it been able to keep the intensity that I'm sure they expected to bring. I heard a lot of folks were not happy with this as their opener track (probably expecting 'PDA' instead?), but it made me remember this as an overlooked track from their recent, self-titled release and it's been popping in and out of my head that was one win from their set for me.
[Coachella - Friday 4/15]"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Arcade Fire - "Wake Up"

Arcade Fire - "Wake Up": "Okay, so everyone knows by now about the amazing AF Coachella show and the synchronized LED light-up balloons they dropped over the crowd, but it really was just epic to see, especially in tandem with the huge swell of emotion coming back from the huge crowd at the same time. A really great show overall with an inventive climax.
[Coachella - Saturday 3/16]"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Duran Duran - "A View To A Kill"

Duran Duran - "A View To A Kill": "Where to begin - how awesome this song is? The great James Bond movie opening title sequence that features it? The extra-cheesy video at the Eiffel Tower with 'Bon, Simon le Bon' and telescopes that turn into guns? Any one of those would have been enough of a reason to send me into a full froth when I finally got to see Duran Duran perform it live this last weekend... BUT when DD added a live orchestra introduction, joining a white-tux'ed Simon in a bravado vocal performance, in tribute to 'View' co-writer (and legendary Bond composer) John Barry...well, I pretty much damn melted.
[Coachella - Sunday 4/17]"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Kills - "Future Starts Slow"

The Kills - "Future Starts Slow": "A little sad, a little gritty, a little sexy - it's pretty classic Kills in that respect, not to mention that it's pretty much their stripped-down core of Alison, Jamie, a guitar and a drum machine. Is it wrong to consider this a (slightly downer) rough indie bump'n'grind tune?"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Urge Overkill - "Sister Havana"

Urge Overkill - "Sister Havana": "So excited this is finally in Rhapsody. I have a pretty large soft spot for this record, certainly more than most it seems. I don't care who 'actually' played on the record or if their Touch and Go records are 'better' - I just care that this record ROCKS...and, man, it does."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Telekinesis - "Coast of Carolina"

Telekinesis - "Coast of Carolina": "It's been less than a month since I saw them live at SXSW and I've become a full-fledged fan already. After John A. pointed me at their self-titled debut this weekend - I had only been listening to their 2nd and most recent album - I've now fallen in love with that too. The songs, particularly this one, are sing-along-chorus catchy but still with a nice emotional underpinning. It's kind of what I first loved about Superchunk (even if they don't sound the same), so no surprise they're on Merge.
(Should also thank Bob M. for first playing them at Distortion+ some months ago and putting John and I on their trail in the first place.)"

Saturday, April 09, 2011

R.E.M. - "Circus Envy"

R.E.M. - "Circus Envy": "I like Monster. While more maligned R.E.M. records followed this one (Up, anyone?), at the time Monster came out, it certainly felt like a release that longtime R.E.M. fans greeted with a bit of 'WTF?'...which is probably why I feel like it's still a bit of a statement to say I like it. It's not pretty or jangly or whatever R.E.M. was 'supposed' to be, but it still has moments that are intimate ("Tongue"), touching ("Strange Currencies") or angry - like this track - that are worth embracing. Maybe it's the angry Michael Stipe that frightened people off, but I don't mind it one bit."

Friday, April 08, 2011

True Widow - "Skull Eyes"

True Widow - "Skull Eyes": "Even putting the band name and song title aside, the song still sounds like a metal tune at first, all low and heavy. That continues through the song, but more as as a base under a swirl of dark dream pop, cresting with overlapping boy-girl vocals leading into a pleasantly disorienting swoon. Yeah, you've heard a lot of these elements before, but this song puts them together pretty well."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

TV On The Radio - "Second Song"

TV On The Radio - "Second Song": "I don't know how a song that starts off sounding so aimless manages to slowly compose itself at the end of the first minute, kicking into an increasingly urgent groove, moving into a bouncing, joyous chorus. I guess it's just more of the strange balancing act of art rock and pop that TVOTR seem to do most of the time."

Friday, April 01, 2011

Peter Bjorn and John - "Second Chance"

Peter Bjorn and John - "Second Chance": "'Young Folks' aside, I liked both of the last two PB&J albums, although I admittedly liked Writer's Block a bit more. So it's not shocking to me to hear them come up with more awesome songs, like this one - even if the wordless "oohs" are the catchiest part and will definitely invite some comparison to 'Young Folks' for that reason alone."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Superchunk - "Untied"

Superchunk - "Untied": "This popped into my head tonight as I was cleaning up after dinner, although I'm not sure why. I'm almost more distracted by Mac's Hemingway-strength use of "and" in the first verses than when I first heard the song, but the guitar melody deserves to be in the Indie Rock Hall of Fame - it's that classic - and the simple sentiment of the song is about as complicated as it really needs to be. I love it and I still can't imagine my life without Superchunk."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Naked and Famous - "Eyes"

The Naked and Famous - "Eyes": "Overlooking some moments that veer into synth-led 80s rock territory, I prefer the majority of the song, which resembles a more aggressive version of M83's 'Kim and Jessie' (also recontextualized here via joint male/female lead vocals) - which is just fine by me.
(I missed them at SXSW too, so I'm not giving this post the 'SXSW 2011 Recap' tag. Also, thank you Nick.)"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Toro Y Moi - "Light Black"

Toro Y Moi - "Light Black": "I have to admit that, when I saw them live, it was hard not to be struck primarily by the breezy 70s quality of the music - enjoyable if with obvious influences. (I kind of pictured them knife-fighting with Phoenix over the retro-swinging vibe.) Still, I like how they can mix it up with tunes like this, which echoes Stereolab with an extra touch of psychedelia and chaos.
[3.18 @ Klub Krucial / SXSW]"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DOM - "Living In America"

DOM - "Living In America": "Lo-fi electropop, blending fuzz with bouncy keys, plus a catchy (if probably tongue-in-cheek) chorus. I'm bummed that I missed these guys at SXSW - despite them playing 8 times, I swear - but hope to make up for that at some point."

Friday, March 25, 2011

BONUS SONG: Starflyer 59 - "The Big Idea"

BONUS SONG: Starflyer 59 - "The Big Idea": "I already did a song of the day today, so consider this the song of the afternoon. It's rocking and a little abrasive (if not a little mean: 'you come on like a feeling that I never wanted') - from the harder side of SF59 - but it's where I am right now."

Washed Out - "Feel It All Around"

Washed Out - "Feel It All Around": "What would you call this - a new wave dream pop slow jam? That kind of does sum it up. Their sound and their set kick out the new wave space jams - plus this song is the theme to IFC's 'Portlandia', for those of you who have seen that.
[3.12 @ The Mohawk - Ning Party / SXSWi]"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Telekinesis - "Car Crash"

Telekinesis - "Car Crash": "Music so energetic you'd never know their frontman wasn't pogo-ing around with his guitar if you never saw them; but he's actually the drummer. I don't know if the album captures the energy of the live show (though it's still very good), but the blend of power pop with new wave elements is solid and the 'whoa-aooh's in songs like this make it irresistible.
[3.18 @ The Parish - Merge Night / SXSW]"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

James Blake - "To Care (Like You)"

James Blake - "To Care (Like You)" - "One of the buzz artists at SXSW this year. Vocals that start out in the vicinity of Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons), except often digitally processed and pitch shifted, accompanied by piano and skittery drums - all things that wouldn't seem to work live - but, in the intimate setting of a church at 1 A.M. (!), it not just worked - surprisingly - but it was hypnotic.
[3.17 @ Central Presbyterian Church / SXSW]"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Small Black - "Search Party"

Small Black - "Search Party": "I already loved their tune "Photojournalist" going into SXSW this year, but when they played our Rhapsody Rocks Austin party (and totally RULED), I fell in love with this song too - and I haven't been able to stop listening to it since. It's bouncy without being saccharine and it's been putting me in a damn fine mood.
[3.18 @ Club De Ville - Rhapsody Rocks Austin / SXSW]"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Starflyer 59 - "When I Learn To Sing"

Starflyer 59 - "When I Learn To Sing": "Wistfully hopeful or perhaps just wishful - another gem from the softer side of SF59."

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Bloody Valentine - "Sometimes"

My Bloody Valentine - "Sometimes": "For the times where I want to say this album is overrated, no matter how much I love it, I come back to songs like this in the middle of the night and I am overwhelmed by their simple elements, translated into waves of sound, yet washing out as a plaintive, emotional tune. Wow."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ringo Deathstarr - "Kaleidoscope"

Ringo Deathstarr - "Kaleidoscope": "RD continues to be a chameleon of shoegaze-inspired bands from days of yore. If the abrasive roughness wasn't so relatively dialed down, I'd swear this was from the first, self-titled Starflyer 59 record - which is not a bad thing, it's just surprising to hear."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Calla - "Play Dead"

Calla - "Play Dead": "Nice dramatic flow coming from a subtle start-and-stop groove paired with a bit of brooding and it's no surprise why these guys used to play shows with Interpol (mostly in NYC) some years back."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Soho - "Hippychick"

Soho - "Hippychick": "I see dirty hippies in SF all the time, so who knows why this song popped into my head this time. Points if you actually remember this song, or just the "no hippychick!" chorus."

Monday, March 07, 2011

On - "When The World Is Running Down"

On - "When The World Is Running Down": "Failure's Ken Andrews (under his On moniker) takes on the bouncy Police tune, spinning it into something subtly darker, slinkier and certainly edgier. Arguably, it now sounds closer to a Gary Numan paranoia track than Sting, but such is the magic of Ken Andrews."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Superchunk - "Like A Fool"

Superchunk - "Like A Fool": "Sometimes it would be nice to turn the clock back..."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Afghan Whigs - "Conjure Me"

Afghan Whigs - "Conjure Me": "I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but I am really feeling the Afghan Whigs right now. This song is one of their finest - even though I like their whole body of work, this track lacks the pretension of their later work, leaving their bile more raw and very immediate."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Longwave - "I Don't Dare"

Longwave - "I Don't Dare": "I love the bass and drums on this song in particular - the drums, so militant, and the bass, so muscular. It helps give a nice contrast to the chime-y guitars floating in the high range of the mix. My favorite song on this record."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Monkees - "Sweet Young Thing"

The Monkees - "Sweet Young Thing": "I've been reading a book on the Monkees (Monkee Business) that my friend Stephanie gave me - and also helped lay out - so I've had a lot of their songs in my head recently. This is one of the great early ones - agressively rocking yet somehow slightly country, all in under two minutes, making it more complex than they usually get credit for."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Placebo - "Slave To The Wage"

Placebo - "Slave To The Wage": "'Spite & Malice' first popped into my head this morning and was originally going to be the topic of today's post. Unfortunately, as much as I like the song, the 'rap' part doesn't hold up so well now and I realized this song was the better pick, especially since I'm posting from work right now! :)
[And, as I mentioned long ago, this may be the best (if only) song to sample Pavement, and one of the best Pavement songs at that.]"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Elliott Smith - "Alphabet Town"

Elliott Smith - "Alphabet Town": "Nick inspired this post with his own Elliott Smith post and totally agree with the late-night quality of it. Some of the lyrics seem determined, but they feel broken. Is it weird that it's my favorite Elliott Smith song when it feels so strangely hopeless?"

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I Was a King - "The Wylde Boys"

I Was a King - "The Wylde Boys": "The intro could be Rocket From The Crypt, with the horns and the full on rock drumming, but suddenly the chaos breaks and it's 60s style pop somewhere between Lilys (in their own 60s pop phase) and Olivia Tremor Control. The chorus is pure money and my only complaint is that the song ends too soon."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Bang"

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Bang": "Like yesterday's song equation, but switching the handclaps for drums...and it gets a lot messier, but it gets a lot more electric too. It's a rough and tumble number, but really the first thing anyone heard from the YYYs, so it's funny to think about how big they got down the line."

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Kills - "At The Back Of The Shell"

The Kills - "At The Back Of The Shell": "So minimal that it could be a demo, but I really don't see what you would want to add to this song. It's simple boy, girl, guitar and handclaps and that's all it needs."

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Spinanes - "Valency"

The Spinanes - "Valency": "Hearing songs like this, I am instantly reminded of my near-obsessive love for this band (and frontwoman Rebecca Gates) in the mid/late-90s. They could rock like this, but Rebecca always sounded so laid back and - dare I say it - sultry, or at least casually welcoming. I miss them so much."

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Momus - "Nikon 2"

Momus - "Nikon 2": "This song kept popping into my head in France, when I meant to post it, so I'm just catching up now. If you don't know Momus, you should catch up too."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Nine Inch Nails - "The Only Time"

Nine Inch Nails - "The Only Time": "I haven't listened to this in of course it makes me flash back to when I first heard it. I always loved the drum part around 02:42 - and, in fact, often used my time on a real kit at drum lessons to figure out the part for myself. Kind of funny to think back that far, to remember I ever played the drums (sorta)...and realize how (sadly) old this record is. At the time it felt edgy, but it's so much lighter than anything that followed from NIN - but who would have known that at the time?"

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Nancy Sinatra - "You Only Live Twice"

Nancy Sinatra - "You Only Live Twice": "One of my favorite James Bond movie themes and for a solid Bond movie at that. R.I.P. Bond composer (and co-composer of this theme) John Barry."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Queens of the Stone Age - "Auto Pilot"

Queens of the Stone Age - "Auto Pilot": " in: I am, today, given the degree of jetlag I'm working with, not because I want to be."

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Heart In Your Heartbreak"

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Heart In Your Heartbreak": "The last few songs I heard from TPOBPAH, released after their last album, seemed to suggest the band was going in a lighter, twee-er that I wasn't particularly excited about. This new single is a welcome pivot - still very airy and sweet in parts, but a little more guitar and drums to give the song a a touch more punch, a little tartness in the saccharine. Very nice."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Small Black - "Photojournalist"

Small Black - "Photojournalist": "Subtly catchy within it's synth-powered wall of sound, this is the kind of textured dreampop that's admittedly my catnip."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lene Lovich - "New Toy"

Lene Lovich - "New Toy": "Arty but poppy, classic new wave without sounding totally dated...but, really, it's just fun. And they used to play it on the radio! Guess all those (new) cool songs like this find their exposure out on the internet now..."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wire - "A Flat Tent"

Wire - "A Flat Tent": "33+ years in, Wire really have no business sounding this good. This track (from their brand new album, Red Barked Tree) certainly recalls Pink Flag, their debut, but blends in fresh elements to create a fully modern interpretation of their original sound. And, have no fear, the whole album has an array of sounds and moods, so they're no one trick pony here, nor a simple rehash of their older selves."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tina Turner & Barry White - "In Your Wildest Dreams"

Tina Turner & Barry White - "In Your Wildest Dreams": "Listen to Tina and Barry try to out-sex each other with suggested panting and thrusting in this a/c slow jam. It's a little too radio-polished and borders on cheesy in moments, but it is nice to hear two legends having some fun...and, for the most part, it works. For some reason, Tina also says 'hearts' as one would say 'Chassidic', with the hard 'ch', which has amused me ever since the first time I heard this song."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Class Actress - "Journal of Ardency"

Class Actress - "Journal of Ardency": "80s synth shuffle updated with a more modern aesthetic. Simple, but it's what's been helping me get through the last few days."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Those Bastard Souls - "Spaced Out" (demo)

Those Bastard Souls - "Spaced Out" (Demo - Darla 100 Version): "I was trying to find a song to end 2010 and kick off 2011 and I just couldn't find anything that summed things up, other than songs I've already posted (i.e. Breeders "New Year" or Walkmen "In The New Year"). So, instead, here's a mostly-solo rendition of "Spaced Out" (as otherwise performed by both The Grifters and Those Bastard Souls, full band). It's perhaps a little rough, but it has a certain naked straightforwardness to it."