Stranded In Stereo: June 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

New Interpol Video: "The Heinrich Maneuver"

Definitely wetting our appetite even more for Our Love To Admire, here's the vid for the first single off Interpol's third amazing album, "The Heinrich Maneuver."

It's almost July 10th.

PS - New blog design, you dig?

Under Review: Music 2007, Part 2

We're rounding the month of June with a two-part blog showcasing the best releases of the first half of 2007. The idea is to list the albums that I think we'll be in my Top 10 at the end of the year, and see how many of them live to see that mark [Note: these are not in any order; I was going to alphabetize them but then i just became a lazy blogger.]

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
Definitely a record I have been spinning way too much since first hearing it at the tail end of 2006. I also give James Murphy and the rest of the band
props for actually making me dance when I saw them in May at their show at the Avalon. As for the album, though, talk about near perfect: the Eno tributes that go off throughout opener "Get Innocuous," to the soul searching, near tearjerker "Someone Great," to the 'crank it up it's Friday night, let's go driving with all of our friends' message of "All My Friends." The title track brings the album down (I think it's the vocals,) but beyond that, LCD is definitely not a novelty act. [Buy Here]

The National - Boxer
It's not just Matthew Berringer's distinctive voice that carries this band and keeps them interesting, it's also the musicianship of this Brooklyn by way of Ohio sextet. Songs like "Squalor Victoria" and "Mistaken For Strangers" are carried by the intricate drum patterns, while "Fake Empire" using piano and light brass to kick it off. The band use the same formula to concoct their breakthrough Alligator, and it's obvious it's a formula they should not stray far from. And "Start A War" still has that vibe of Sonic Youth jamming with the school band, coming off immaculate and controlled while testing listeners all at the same time. [Buy Here]

The Rosebuds - Night of The Furies
Sometimes bands reinvent their sound with every new record; Ivan and Kelly Rosebud instead have their own signatre sound and just build upon it. Over their first two albums and EP, this North Carolina couple threw beach party after beach party, next to nighttime drive music. With Furies, though, they again improve on their sound and take a stab at making a pulsing, dark 80s record. The toy piano on "I Better Run" is the best fit to go along with Kelly seductive vocal, while Ivan coos over the drum machine and acoustic guitars of "Hold On To This Coat." And as the six minutes of the closing title track go on in to obscurity, collecting everything the album stands for, it fades and the sun sets, making you wonder what they will do next to top themselves yet again. [Buy Here]

The Clientele - God Save The Clientele
Think if the Monkees hung out with The Byrds back in the day, you'd get the newest long player from this UK outfit. I initially saw them live in 2005 and wrote them off as a Luna/VU wannabe, but then was delighted with Strange Geometry. Their new album does not let the listener down in the least: recorded in Nashville and augmenting the record with several string arrangements and the addition of a new member in Mel Draisey, the band has never sounded better or tighter. Where the pop lies in opener "Here Comes The Phantom" or the standout "Bookshop Casanova," it's album closer "Dreams Of Leaving" that still makes me well up every single time. [Buy Here]

Peter, Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
Technically, this album initially came out around the world last year, but did not hit the US until this year, so it is open to argument. Needless to say, it is an album that cannot go ignored. We all still whistle "Writer's Block" in unison at the office, I still rock out during "Up Against The Wall," and "Roll The Credits" should be where the album ends, not that afterthought known better known as "Poor Cow." Every song on this album is gloriously catching and amazing, one that will always be a record revisited that I just play from the start. If you ever get a chance to see them live, please do: they recreate the songs and go off on stage like kids loaded on sugar. Pretty sweet if you ask me. [Buy Here]

MD Of The Week: Jess from WAIH

This week's MD of the week is Jess from WAIH at SUNY Potsdam. Besides Jess being one of the coolest MD's I ever encountered, she plays the role of Dr. Mitchell on 90.3's weekly throw down, The Sex Show. Luckily, our batch of questions did not turn the tables on the aspiring therapist, though maybe it would be a good idea for future editions of this beloved column.

1. How and/or why did you get involved with college radio?
I originally got into radio because I was competing with my roommate, whose boyfriend was the Chief Announcer. I fell in love with the broadcasting room and started training right away.

2. Name five bands you are currently in to at the moment
Um... I love the new Yacht album. I play it while I mop my floors. It's very effective.
I rediscovered Depeche Mode, which was great because in the reruns of the World Series of Pop Culture they asked a question about Violator.
What else... I'm listening to Maroon 5 because I saw them at the Bowery.

Flyleaf because their tour with Family Values is coming this Julyyyyy...
And MAYBE the new Interpol album :X

3. What kind of show do you do? When is it on? How can people listen to your shows (do you stream online, frequency, etc.?)
Errrr jesus. I've done the Monday Night Dance Party... surprisingly, every Monday night @ 8pm. We play awesomely bad music you can't help but dance to, and also awesomely good music you can't help but dance to.
The Sex Show, Thursdays @ 11pm because that's when the overzealous Christians go to bed. It's about sex and sexuality... again, not surprisingly.
Continuing on the trend of self-explanatory show titles, the Pop Show which will hopefully be on Wednesday @ 8pm...
OH and we stream over @

4. How does your station help the community?
We're into sharing a musical experience with the campus and community, and lend our support in keeping the culture live. We're constantly co-sponsoring mixers, local shows (we're partly a music school, so there's no better place to find fresh talent) and of course parties. We're also fabulously good-looking, proving that you can indeed have a face for radio that doesn't shock and horrify the masses.

5. Can you give some advice to other MD's out there?
Be patient and understanding... it's a tough job, and unfortunately you were elected to do it. Talk to promoters, don't ignore them... they're pretty swell. And always do your best to bring the rock. That was a corny line. Don't print it. Just do your job and look great doing it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Under Review: Music 2007, Part 1

We're rounding the month of June with a two-part blog showcasing the best releases of the first half of 2007. The idea is to list the albums that I think we'll be in my Top 10 at the end of the year, and see how many of them live to see that mark.

The Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
More sugar coated than a mouthful of cotton candy, Robert Schneider and the rest of the Elephant 6 collective created an album that wasn't just full of great hooks and classic pop songs, but also contained a new musical innovation. Dubbed The Non-Pythagorean Scale, Schneider used keyboards to create and entire new scale (discussed in much detail on the enhanced portion of the disc.) This scale helped create segues between the albums, balancing out such pop fare as "Same Old Drag" and "Sun Is Out." [
Buy Here]

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Easily the most anticipated album of (the first half of) 2007, this Canadian collective did not disappoint. Growing from their phenomenal debut, Funeral, the band relies on the huge pipe organ of "Intervention" to carry listeners throughout the "Ocean Of Noise." Hands down, though, "(Antichrist Television Blues)" takes the cake for its apparent portrayl of Joe Simpson and his management skills towards his famous daughters, Jessica and Ashlee. [Buy Here]

The Good, The Bad & The Queen - The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Coming together to form the greatest supergroup since the Traveling Wilburys,
Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz fame) teamed up with Paul Simonon of the Clash, Simon Tong of The Verve, and Tony Allen to make a phenomenal album. Rather than make some post-punk meets African beats record, the band (who technically claim not to have a name) craft their own sound. A very calm affair, songs like "80s Life" are nothing but voice and piano with hitns of Tong's guitar here and there, while "Herculean" is the best attempt at marking their territory, not only showcasing elements of all their past projects, but the work of producer Danger Mouse as well. [Buy Here]

Menomena - Friend And Foe
This album one was of the most pleasant surprises that came to me in the first quarter of the year. I was only familiar with the name of this Northwest band (and its obvious homage to the Muppets) before checking them out, and it's definitely still getting the most play on my iPod. (Fact: "Rotten Hell" is #1 on my Most Played playlist, knocking off Bob Pollard's "Zoom." Bloody Hell is more like it.) Even better is this trio's live show, where everyone shares vocal duties, the drummer beats the shit out of his set during the repetitive beats, and there's even a live saxophone. Ten points right there. [Buy Here]

Panda Bear - Person Pitch
I was never one who checked out Animal Collective, but maybe I should check out Strawberry Jam when it drops later this year. This is Noah Lennox's 3rd album as Panda Bear, and definitely not so far from the realm I've been dabbling in lately (really been getting in to lots of experimental/electronic/dub/dance stuff. Too much Hot Chip, but oh well.) "Bros" is the clutch centerpiece, a 10+ minute meditation that is equal parts Beach Boys (with the heavily reverberated vocals and harmonies) as it is Gang Gang Dance (everything else that is swirling around.) One would think you might fall in to a trance when listening to the album while staring at it's amazing album cover, but I haven't. Yet. [Buy Here]

To Be Continued.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Rentals Return (For Real This Time)

It's been almost 10 years since former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp released the amazing Seven More Minutes by his band, The Rentals. It looks like we have to wait no more, though: after a fantastic solo EP and album, Sharp reformed Rentals with a slightly different line-up, and will hit the road again this summer with Copeland supporting. And after the tour ends, Sharp and company will hit the studio to record a new album.

To tide fans over, though, the band will release
The Last Little Life EP on August 14th. Featuring three new songs and a brand new take on the classic "Sweetness And Tenderness" from their debut The Return Of The Rentals, it almost sounds as if the band has never really disbanded. Sharp takes the laid back and relaxed approach of his solo album, and applies it to The Rentals sound, and comes out swinging. "Last Romantic Day," the lead off track, starts with what sounds like a string quartet, before an acoustic guitar comes in underneath it all to mix with their healthy dose of synthesizers they always have plenty of in their songs.

For those of you who can't wait til August 14th, eMusic has the entire EP up for your pleasure. Right now.

Stream: "Last Romantic Day" [Here] /// [Buy Here]

Monday, June 25, 2007

U.N.K.L.E Has New Stories To Tell

In previous posts, I know I made it clear that The National (who I saw twice last week at the Middle East and was blown away each night by their stage presence, forgiving the packed like sardines scenario of Friday night) and their album Boxer might be taking the cake and winning my coveted trophy of Album of the Year. Right now, I'm not so sure.

In the opponent's corner comes
War Stories, the third album from U.N.K.L.E. More in the vein of the 1998 breakthrough Psyence Fiction then it's follow-up, Never, Never, Land, Stories finds James Lavelle collaborating with such awesome people like Autolux on "Weapons And Machinery" (PS - New Autolux. Where is it??) Matthew Caws of Nada Surf lends his guitar skills to "Broken" and Lavelle lets his voice be heard for the first time ever on the nothing below stellar "Hold My Hand."

What possibly is one of the more catchier tunes is "Restless." Featuring one of two contributions from Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age, "Restless" uses its catchy break beat and simple guitar to keep your feet moving. It's definitely my pick for club jam of the year, even though I don't frequent the clubs.

Download: "Restless" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thurston Grows "Trees" This Fall

It seems that this man never has a day to rest. Fresh on the heels of last week's reissue of Sonic Youth's masterpiece Daydream Nation, Thurston Moore has announced the details of his second solo LP. Due September 18 on his own Ecstatic Peace imprint, Trees Outside The Academy features a dozen new Moore compositions that are slightly varied from the loud explosions of feedback that we're normally used to hearing come from him. Using primarily acoustic guitar, bass, violin and drums (from Sonic drummer Steve Shelley,) Trees also features contributions from J Mascis (who graciously let friend Thurston track the album at his home studio with long time collaborator John Agnello) and Christina Carter, who lends her vocals to the uber minimal sparseness that is "Honest James."

Here's a vid where you'll here Thurston track
Tree songs "Never Day" and "The Shape Is In A Trance." Oh, and Thurston getting the hair trimmed and wife Kim Gordon approving:

Man .. that "Never Day" can be a huge hit.

A Word With Jose Fritz

This week, another pick from Jose Fritz and his bin of obscurity finds him checking out The Airborne Toxic Event.

The Airborne Toxic Event has taken some crap in print because lead vocalist Mikel Jolet used to write for Filter Magazine. Heaven forbid someone who loves music and is literate start a band. The problem is when promoters start bands, not when writers start bands Jeez. I thought everyone knew that. Mikel also does a little time at the mic for NPR so you may recognize those Chris Connelly-like pipes. [RevCo not MTV]

They had a 7-inch out last year on Franz Ferdinand’s boutique label. If you forgot, “boutique label” is hipster code for things-we-like-but-expect-to-lose-money. I’d normally forget a random 7-inch after a year but this I remembered. I really liked the song “Papillion” and I picked it up because of the Steve McQueen movie of the same name.

This EP does not remind me of Steve McQueen. It reminds me of Michael Caine, small British cars and smaller British bands; in particular, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. Even in Ned’s most blissful Britpop tunes, they sang about death, infidelity, loneliness and the dismemberment of family pets. A really polarized dichotomy like that is difficult to maintain without confronting absurdity or cuteness. Ned’s imploded. The Airborne Toxic Event appears to be courting cuteness.

But so did Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand as far as that goes and look where that got them. Start with the first single “Does This Mean You're Moving On” and go from there.

Video for "Does This Mean You're Moving On"

Buy: The Airborne Toxic Event EP [Here]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Formative Years: Special Edition

The following is an essay written after reacting to this week's episode of what was once known as The Alternaitve on VH1 Classic ...

Back in the mid 1990’s during what is best known as My Formative Years, it was the enthusiasm of a man named Matt Pinfield whose short stature and bald head bursted with knowledge and pure fandom equivalent to my 12, 13, and 14 year old self. Every Sunday night for two hours, 120 Minutes introduced me to some bands that are synonymous with my name. Bands like Eels, The Dandy Warhols, Yo La Tengo, Stabbing Westward, bands I never would’ve known they were around without this show. Long before they were anybody, I caught the video for a song called “The Frug” by a very unknown west coast collective named Rilo Kiley. When I met them on their first national tour in August 2001 opening for Nada Surf, Jenny Lewis and Pierre de Reeder got the biggest kick knowing that my 17-year old self recognized them from a music video. They were more awestruck than I was.

Last summer, I got to relive my youth from a decade ago through VH1 Classic’s The Alternative. While they showed videos of my youth I would’ve caught those late Sunday nights when I couldn’t sleep (“Parklife,” “Black Metallic,” “Los Angeles,”) the one or two hour program at odd times also introduced me to the quirkiness of Pete Shelley’s “Homosapien.” The Human League spinoff that was Heaven 17’s “Temptation.” Big Audio Dynamite’s “C’Mon Every Beatbox” (I never knew they had multiple albums!) The Jam’s “Start!” It was just song after song that I was soaking in, educating myself more and more on the period known as post-punk that would eventually segue in to new pop with the advent of some MTV channel. I was going nuts trying to find out info on some of these songs and artists, obsessing shall we say, while my girlfriend was not nearly amused in the least (she did have, but I don’t know if she’d admit it, a love for “Homosapien.”)

In April, The Alternative went back to its inspiration and became a two-hour block all the time, and rechristened the show VH1 Classic 120 Minutes. Though I have caught repeats of videos I saw last summer, and clips for Catherine Wheel’s “I Want To Touch You,” and Sonic Youth’s “100%” (which I remember seeing in the wee hours of the morning way back in 1992 when I would’ve been 8. Yes I shit you not,) there were also some videos that certainly did not belong.

This weekend’s playlist, the beginning hours of Monday, June 18th, started off with the U2 staple “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” WHAT. THE. HELL. I wasn’t around and aware of U2’s impact when they released their seminal album The Joshua Tree in 1987, but they were definitely one of the staples of MTV’s heyday from the beginning. I’m pretty certain when 120 Minutes was still in its infancy in 1987, they weren’t showing clips for this or “With Or Without You,” which were more than likely in MTV’s regular rotation throughout the days and nights. This then went in to their usual submission from The Smiths or Morrissey (this time around, it was “This Charming Man.” Don’t get me started if you know what’s good for you.) The first set was then closed with what I find the most problematic: No Doubt’s 1996 tale of heartbreak, “Don’t Speak.” Excuse me, but I think of the L.A.M.B creator and her Orange County boys as a more contemporary act than a classic one that is sharing blocks of time with The Mighty Lemon Drops and IRS era R.E.M. I don’t know if that submission was worse, or the inclusion of “Fire Woman” by The Cult. I think you’d see that on Metal Mania, but then again that ended the other night with “Panama” so who knows.

Why are they ruining my memories and chances of discovering something new? Why are they trying to feed other threads in to an already beautifully woven quilt? Another song that I’m certain was in heavy rotation and not on 120 Minutes in 1985 was that of the breakthrough single “What You Need.” I won’t lie: I love me some INXS. Two of my favorite cassettes growing up were their seminal 1987 album, Kick, and 1994’s The Greatest Hits. (This alone is worth owning for the exclusive track “Welcome To The Party (These Are The Times.)”) Why can’t they just stick to mission statement of that show and just stick to the correct classics, and not others? I’ll give them that INXS and U2 are classic, but No Doubt? The Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Not quite classic yet. At any rate, the show will do what it did for me a decade ago and keep me up til all hours of the morning to educate and introduce for now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Release Tuesday

For their sixth album, Icky Thump (which is like, slang for the slang phrase "ecky thump" or something,) one-time kissing cousins Jack and Meg of The White Stripes grabbed their peppermint sticks and headed to Nashville to track their first record for a major label. With the flourishing brass moments of "Conquest" and the introduction in to the repertoire, Thump is being hailed by critics and fans alike for the back to basics sound and approach of their first three albums. Filled with sludge-ridden guitars reminiscent of Zeppelin or Sabbath, they collide with what's either frantic keyboards or multilated organ on the title track. Like later Stripes albums, for me at least, the album has about two or three decent numbers and a bunch of filler, culminating in the closing track "Effect And Cause." Using only a simple acoustic riff and some barely there drum and percusson combo, the album ends on a better note than the entire album itself.

Download: "Effect And Cause" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]

An album I am surprised by this week is
The Fragile Army, the third album from Texas collective The Polyphonic Spree. Upon first listening to them, I didn't care that leader Tim DeLaughter was the man who gave us the mid-90's hit "I Got A Girl" and was now cavorting around the world with 30 or so people all dressed up as if they competing with Heaven's Gate in the Which Cult Dresses Better competition. This time around, though, the band is in black army fatigues but the songs are instantly catchy. When the band circulated a MP3 that mashed-up portions of every song on Army, I was blown away with the infectious loops of "Section 30 [Watch Us Explode/Justify]" and the lead single "Section 22 [Running Away]," even though it was similar to their minor hit singles of the past. Their live shows are said to be epic, and they'll be coming through here around the 4th of July. Maybe I'll be there if I can get over my fear of being brainwashed.

Download: "[Section 30] Watch us Explode (Justify)" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]

Monday, June 18, 2007

Admiring Interpol

It's a lame thing to admit, but I've been watching some of these Interpol promo clips for their new album, Our Love To Admire, out July 10th. Though each of them are only 30 seconds, and feature just excerpts of what we're gearing up to Admire (yeah yeah, the pun is intended,) it's definitely making me ponder what's in store.

The rollicking, shambled guitar heard in this excerpt of "The Lighthouse,"
Admire's final number, really has me going. Makes me wonder what Paul Banks will be singing about, or will that uneasy guitar be the only voice we hear? Ooh.

Here we find the opening moments of the album, and their current live sets, of the funeral procession "Pioneer To The Falls." What does this bear have to do? Was he a pioneer back in the day before he was stuffed?

In other news, I'm sure you all saw that Pitchfork noticed the resemblance between the art for
Admire and Ola Podrida's self-titled debut. Both are on Volume 6 of Stranded In Stereo, shipping soon, with no conflicts in artwork to be had.

Friday, June 15, 2007

MD Of The Week: Kevin from KCRX

Say hi to Kevin from KRCX in Denver, and when he is not skiing and mountain climbing, which is probably never, dude is listening to great new music. Jess sat down and talked to her favorite MD from Colorado this week.

1. How and/or why did you get involved with college radio?

On the first day of my speech class I said I always wanted to be on the radio and a kid in my class worked at the station, gave me a number to call and a day later I began my love affair with KRCX!

2. Name five bands you are currently in to at the moment
Cloud Cult, We All Have Hooks For Hands, always Bright Eyes, Scanners and KRS-ONE!

3. What kind of show do you do? When is it on? How can people listen to it?
I do a prime time heavy rotation show highlighting some of the best new artist in college radio along with some classics. On M, W, F 1-3pm MT, @

4. How does your station help the community?
We run free promos for campus and community events, have several faculty and local DJs and we also put on several free shows a semester.

5. Can you give some advice to other MD's out there?
Do your homework, listen to some of every album you get in and know who or what it sounds like, because if you can't tell people what it's like, then they won't listen.

A Word With Jose Fritz

Stranded In Stereo contributer of the obscure Jose Fritz hits our blog today, giving a brief missive to one of his amazing finds: a band by the name of Doses.

First I get an email from a guy apologizing for the lateness of a CD he says I ordered that I definitely didn’t order. A week later he emailed me again to tell me it was on the way. I kind of expected him to ask me to launder half a million yen through his banking exchange in Zimbabwe. I checked my PayPal account and in fact I never paid the man anything.

I am pretty forgetful about certain things, and sometimes have to resort to examining the scraps of paper in my pockets to piece together a night of events. They say the first losses of cognitive sharpness, the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s start in your mid to late 20s. If so, I should be well on my way.

The mystery heightens. The CD arrives in the mail covered in red electrical tape and illegible scribbling with black sharpie – sans track listing. The band Doses turns out to be brutally abrasive in the vein of Tractor, and Quitters Club. The three tracks even are reminiscent of an early and less obtuse Noxagt.

The opening track “Tap That Acid” was relentless and there was no respite to follow. This three-man noise-behemoth, despite all the feedback, line noise and distortion are pretty mathy. Frequent time changes pepper the songs instead of percussive and repetitive riffing. As low as the production values are, the technical competence and song structure here intimates to me that these guys have been around. If this was a side project of ex-members of Rapeman I’d not be surprised. The demo is clearly on the obscure side, but merits hunting up. Fans of pain, bloodshed and audible testosterone will not be disappointed.

Stream: Doses [Here]

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beastie Boys: The Mix-Up

I remember being slightly out of it when I came home from a show one evening, and got an e-mail with details about the new album from the Beastie Boys. I woke up in the morning, and had to double check that: a new Beasties album (yes!) that was instrumental (huh?) A day or so later, I heard "The Rat Cage." I was actually surprised by how good and catchy it was: came off as a song once heard in a film surrounded by espionage. Still wished there were some vocals attached to it, but what can you do?

Rather than be a bunch of jams you'd hear at the club, the legendary trio from Brooklyn has gone back to using live instrumentation, like on their classic albums
Check Your Head and Ill Communication. The songs remind me mostly of Head's instrumental contributions: a nice drum beat, some delicate bass, and relaxed guitar. "Off The Grid" starts with some keyboard contributions from Money Mark, before going all post-punk halfway through and almost coming off as a second class Wire. What I think I like the most is that in the album's liner notes, they go by their actual names; no Mike D, or Ad Rock at all.

The band will do some instrumental/not-so instrumental live band shows in August. Ch-ch-ch-check them out.

Video for "The Rat Cage" (it even looks like a spy movie!):

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Release Tuesday

This week, it's a bunch of classics getting the reissue treatment that I suggest you should be picking up.

Nearly a decade ago after getting a copy of Washing Machine, the next logical step for my obsession with Sonic Youth was the epic and important Daydream Nation (I got that one next cause it was the only one at the used CD store downtown I didn't have yet thus far.) The 12 (or, really, 14) songs that span all but the entire length of the disc were a perfect collection of songs by the New York quartet. After experimenting with noise and dabbling in the lo-fi schematics for several years before 1988, Daydream was something like its title: the first pristine Sonic Youth album. The band finally found their groove, and made a rather accessible record that would help them get signed to Geffen in 1990.

This deluxe edition of
Daydream Nation is the final in a series of three, that began with Dirty and continued with Goo. Unlike the demos, b-sides and outtakes that filled the latters, the former doesn't have much in the way of previously unissued tracks. Apart from a home demo of "Eric's Trip" closing out disc one, the second disc features the entire album in a live setting, and is rounded out with four covers which appeared on compilations and split singles back in the day. Oh well; I still suggest catching them this summer if you can as they play Daydream Nation in its entirety. I'm dying to here "Eliminator Jr." live.

Stream: Daydream Nation [Here] /// [Buy Here]

I might've once referred to The Good, The Bad & The Queen as a supergroup, and some people think
Audioslave were as well, but the term only exists because of one band of brothers from other mothers that came to fruition in the late 1980s: The Traveling Wilburys. What started as a session to record a b-side for a George Harrison single with friends Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison, became a full fledged project. The song that came from the session, "Handle With Care," was a smash hit and made the Wilburys a household name. After the release of Volume 1, Orbison passed away and the rest of the members lended a hand in Petty's Full Moon Fever, before releasing their second and final album, Volume 3. Long out of print, Rhino has taken both and packaged them together with bonus tracks, b-sides, and a DVD featuring studio footage, documentaries and music videos. Did you know John Candy was in the video for "Wilbury Twist"? Surprise, he was.

Buy: Traveling Wilburys [Here]

Long before they were "Popular," Nada Surf were another trio from Brooklyn striving to break in big. In 1995, they released the
Karmic, an EP that featured a raw version of High/Low single "Treehouse" and the gritty "Nothing." It's also the only release (save for a few songs on the North 6th Street set) to feature original Nada Surf drummer Aaron Conte. Another gem that's been long out of print, LA imprint Hi-Speed Soul (also the name of only the greatest Nada Surf song, from 2003's Let Go,) reissues Karmic this week with a bonus track, the High/Low b-side "Pressure Free." Originally on the "Deeper Well" 7", the wistful tune now is more readily available to Nada Surf fans everywhere. This "Treehouse" video was obviously post-"Popular." Is that Heather Matarazzo?

Buy: Karmic [Here]

Monday, June 11, 2007

New They Might Be Giants Video: "With The Dark"

Vote for Giant Squid. The Two Johns (in clay form) tied up and need to be rescued. In a song that features an intimidating brass section that could be straight out of last night's Sopranos finale, the video for "With The Dark" does gel with some slight underwater espionage and foreshadowing of our post-9/11 world. Rather than go the ole MTV route, They Might Be Giants unleash the video for "Dark" via the wonderful world of YouTube. It's my personal fave from The Else, the 12th studio album from these life long friends. You can decide for yourself right now and score the album off iTunes, or pick it up in stores July 10th.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My Formative Years: "I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One" by Yo La Tengo, 1997

I honestly don't remember when I got this album. Again, it was the bald head of Matt Pinfield and his Sunday night forum 120 Minutes that introduced me to the awesomeness of "Sugarcube" (greatest music video of all time. Period.) It's an anthem -- it's the theme song to my life (musically, even lyrically maybe?) I don't think I picked up I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One right away though. I'm almost thinking it wasn't until early 1998 that I bought this at Borders (I remember that much.)

The one thing I remember most about the first time I spun this record was the second "Autumn Sweater" came on. My friends Paul and Justin were spending the night and they had passed out on the couches in my basement living room, so at 1:30 in the morning I found myself not ready to rest. I grabbed my Aiwa discman and put on Heart for the first time. The sequencing is intense: for me, I blame this Hoboken trio for my love for mixtapes. Their albums, especially this and last year's tour de force, I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, floored me with how varied they were. On both of these albums, no two songs sound the same. It was as if they were mix tapes made by the great fictional charcater of literature and film, Rob Gordon. With Heart, the album opened with a swift instrumental overture, before tapping in to some jazz piano and simple bass and then launching in to "Sugarcube." The set of songs that hold up the first half of these 16 songs, the order just floors me:

Sugarcube (loud indie noise post-punk what have you)
Damage (muddled vocals, infectious bass line, and murky drums)
Deeper Into Movies (LOUD LOUD LOUD LOUD: if VU got back together, this is what it would come down to)
Shadows (jazzy snazz with Georgia crooning next to a great brass mid-section)
Stockholm Syndrome (acoustic lament pop song, right up there with "Make It With You")
Autumn Sweater

This is what I remember about the first I heard this record. "Sweater" comes on, and it's like a knock out of the ball park: it sounds nothing like any of the songs that preceded it. The drums were such a crucial part of the song, they were all up in the mix; and then, as opposed to several other songs on the album, it's all built around some maracas and organs and key bass. No guitar appears once in the five and a half minutes. It's the stand out track, the one that stands out more than any other. It's such a cute, quirky description of your typical high school party that Ira Kaplan laments about. The song ends with a flat-lining synth that almost brings a tear to the eye. It then launches in to their rendition of "Little Honda" and just continues to floor the listener up until you reach "My Little Corner Of The World."

Any Yo La Tengo album is like an organic experience. All the songs always go together so well, even though they're all of varying genres. Their follow-up, 2000's And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, which I might add is what I may actually dub my favorite Yo La Tengo album, is such a calm and reflective effort. If they'd take out their attempt at re-creating "Teen Age Riot" ("Cherry Chapstick,") the album would be the greatest album this decade. But this, for me, will always stand out as the album that really changed me. The album that just opened me up to so many other acts, past and present. It's a record that is influential, groundbreaking, and pristine without even trying.

"Sugarcube" (Bob Odenkirk never looked better as a Kiss wannabe):

Download: "Autumn Sweater" [mp3] /// [Buy Here]

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

New Release Tuesday: Seinfeld Season 8

In anticipation for the release of Seinfeld Season 8 on DVD this week, I spent the past few days watching Seasons 5 and 6 respectively. Why not 7? Because I watched 5, then 6, and just never got to it.

Being the huge fan of the "Show About Nothing" that I am, you can bet I'll be picking this up as soon as I can. Though it is the beginning of the decline of the show, with the departure of co-creator Larry David, the show still has some memorable episodes. While the main arc of the season involves with George dealing with the parents of his late fiancee Susan, it also features memorable moments easily described with words like Man Hands, Muffin Tops, and Yada Yada Yada, while also featuring my brother's all-time favorite episode. In "The Chicken Roaster," Kramer is kept awake late at night by the neon lights from the recently opened Kenny Rogers' Roasters across the street. Complaining to his neighbor Jerry, they switch apartments for the night, and it's as if the two have swapped personalities. It's definitely one of the funniest moments of the last two years, but I am personally waiting on Season 9 for "The Merv Griffin Show," which is due for release in time for the holidays.

Beyond the usual commentaries and other special features that delved further in to the plots of key episodes, the big special feature for this set is "Jerry Seinfeld: Submarine Captain," a behind the scenes doc that looks at how he was not just the star of the show anymore, but also the only creator left. It also features more of the classic Sein-imation sequences that document classic scenes in a more animated form.

Buy: Seinfeld Season 8 [Here]

Monday, June 4, 2007

Flight Of The Conchords Taking Off

One of these most memorable performances for me at SXSW in 2006 came from the self-proclaimed 4th most popular folk comedy duo of their native New Zealand, Flight Of The Conchords. At the Sub Pop showcase that Friday night in Austin, the duo of Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie took to the stage to sit on their stools. As they fiddled on their acoustic guitars and said hello, I had no idea what I was in for. Thinking it was going to some of the blandest folk music imaginable, I was instead rolling on the floor and in tears by the end of their set. Songs like "Jenny" and "Business Time" reminded me of Tenacious D, but it wasn't about the rock and being all vulgar. This time it was about making sandwiches and having two minutes in Heaven.

Well, a year and some change later, the Flight is following the way of the D by getting their own show on HBO. Premiering June 17th, Flight Of The Conchords tells the story of these funny men as they try to make it big in the music biz (and with the ladies) while shacking up in New York City. Sub Pop is finally getting around to releasing some material by them is well. The Distant Future! EP will be on store shelves August 7th, featuring "Business Time," a pair of live tracks, and this number from the upcoming premiere episode:

The Flight will be playing a handful of dates coming up next week here in the States, as they make their way to Bonnaroo. They're also slated to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman on June 11th. And better yet, if you can't wait to see the premiere of Flight Of The Conchords the show, HBO has built a MySpace for the show where you watch the episode, in its entirety, right now.

Tour Dates:
06/12 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia
06/13 - The Gramercy Theater - New York
06/14 - The Gramercy Theater - New York
06/16 - Bonnaroo - Manchester
06/17 - Bonnaroo - Manchester
06/30 - McCaw Hall - Seattle
07/11 - El Rey - Los Angeles