Archive for January, 2009

Fight Like Apes, Ida Maria, Frank Turner

Here’s a band (or at least a song) that has been stuck in my head since the first hearing.

“Jake Summers” by Fight Like Apes (MySpace) is the earworm of which I speak. It begins like so many female-vocal-led songs you’ve gotten from me, but then, almost exactly a minute in, singer MayKay ushers in the tempo change with Toni Basil-like squeals of passionate glee! The song throws an F-bomb or two into a stew rich with pop culture references from Driving Miss Daisy to Kentucky Fried Chicken. The Dublin quartet has been around for a while, as I found blog posts as far back as May 2007 (irishtimes.com, where MayKay is described as “vocals like Karen O stealing James Browns’ strut”), but “Jake Summers” is new to the playlist at BBC6, where I assume they’re playing the F-less version in this video (which trades the language for vicious violence….oh well…)

Ida Maria was on my compilation 13 last month with “Louie”, and Passport Approved is not content to spin just the one cut, having also aired “Oh My God” and “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” on recent shows (hey readers: tell me which of those two songs YOU like better by commenting the blog below. You can hear them at the MySpace page)

Ida is the vocalist of the eponymous quartet from Norway, and while there’s a bit of Bjork in her voice, she can rock with an intensity that evokes Nena Hagen, or at least Lena Lovitch. The pics of her range from sexy to scary, which, to me, is a good sign! For those that prefer videos, here are both:

Frank Turner is an Eton-educated former punk rocker (Kneejerk) with wit, melody, and variety.

His new release, Love Ire & Song, is full of great, folky songs, strummed and sung in a style reminiscent of Jens Lekman, Billy Bragg, or, dare I say, Jonathan Richman. I downloaded the whole thing somewhere, and, while it’s all great, my favorite is “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot”, now playing on BBC6 (but curiously NOT on his MySpace page). The video is below.

A warning to the wise: MusicWebTown, which is the site that hosts my many compilation sets, has announced that they’re switching to a “pay to play” model, so you’ll very soon find yourself unable to access those old sets (‘cuz I ain’t payin’). If you haven’t already, I suggest you trudge through the old djeddieo posts and find the links to any of the 13+ compilations you might be missing and download while you still can. I’m looking for another host in the meantime. Any tips?

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Telekinesis, A.C. Newman, Coconot and more…….

telekinesisWhen I defend my distaste for Top 40 popular music, I might often site a negativity towards the predictability of formulaic songs and production.  But I have to admit sometimes formulas work.  For example, Seattle’s Telekinesis (primarily a one-man show from Michael Benjamin Lerner)  has a perfectly formulated pop-rock gem with Coast of Carolina.  Nice melody with simple acoustic guitar intro, then punch in with some catchy electric guitar and drums at the 30 second mark and never look back.  The other demos found on their MySpace page also offer high hopes for this album, due out in April on Merge Records.

Stretching for a segue… Merge was founded and run by Mac McCaughan who fronted the legendary Superchunk.  Their drummer, Jon Wurster, plays on a majority of songs on…

tnp-acbeltsA.C. Newman’s new release Get Guilty is another solid outing from the primary New PornographerThere are Maybe Ten or Twelve is the song featured on his site, and it is a good one.  But digging deeper into the album, Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer is my immediate favorite.  It follows a percussive march like many of his songs, but with a little more exaggerated phrasing, and a fun drum fill from Wurster.

If you like his sound, and haven’t heard his 2004 release, don’t miss Miracle Drug (weirdly listed as Hello There) on his MySpace player.

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Changing gears, I’m still trying to figure out exactly why I’m going to talk about Coconot.  Spanish alt-tropicalia-pop (is there such a thing, or does it need to be Brazilian to be considered tropicalia at all?) isn’t generally in my wheel-house, but something about this band has caught my interest.  My self-analysis provides the following possible reasons for mentioning them:

  1. As a service to the readers of this blog, who might be more ‘worldly’ than I am.
  2. I’m currently reading Roberto Bolano’s Savage Detectives, which is about a group of Mexican poets in the 70’s.  This kind of fits the mood… not to mention some of the book takes place in Barcelona, where Coconot is from.
  3. Barcelona is one of my favorite cities.
  4. I’m playing catch-up.  Last year I kept running across El Guincho reviews, but never followed up.  El Guincho is the solo project from Coconot leader Pablo Díaz-Reixa.
  5. It sets a tone for my upcoming trip to the Caribbean.  Okay, it isn’t Caribbean music, and I’m going to Jamaica so I should really be focusing on reggae or ska.  Guilty as charged… so here’s a quick ska link, The Night Doctors.
  6. They just sound pretty cool.  I suggest starting with the song Tao.

Finally, nothing new, but in the interest of ironic covers the Constantines, who showed up on my Cream of Eight comp paired up last year with Feist (who I’m sure could be found an old eddieo volume) to do Islands in the Stream.

New Girl: “Tomorrow Knows”; new VV Brown; Slumdog mania

Alright, since Amy Winehouse  hit the scene (April 2007 for me, and I was late to the party!), there’s been plenty of room for many other of her ilk: Duffy, Adele, Gin Wigmore, etc. I don’t understand how New Girl could still be “unsigned” (listen/download “Tomorrow Knows” HERE). I heard it on Passport Approved in December, but Googling finds them ONLY on Passport Approved! (maybe now djeddieo.com will come up too) Searching their old playlists over there, listeners started buzzing about them in September yet still: no MySpace page or other website, no photos, no blog mentions….how can that be? I invite comments from my thousands of readers!!!*

*You think I’m kidding about that, but in just over a year on the web, djeddieo.com has over 12,000 hits (no, my own aren’t counted!) Sure, they really started ramping up once Buzz Biscuits joined the staff, but I still get to bask in the (LCD) glow!

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VV Brown (speaking of the Amy Winehouse clones….and I mean that in the most complimentary way) has a new single, “Leave”.

It’s a lot like “Crying Blood”, so you’ll either like ’em both or not. I find it painlessly entertaining and look forward to more. Not crazy about the hairdo she sports in the video and elsewhere, as she’s much easier on the eyes in the photo above, but I generally enjoy my tunes ears-only anyway! Nice video, though:

If you’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire, you’ve likely become an evangelist for the film, as I have. Everyone I know that’s seen it tells everyone who hasn’t “you MUST see this film” (even Meredith Vieira on the Today Show, who’s been nuts about the movie since October). For me, it’s made me a little obsessive about all things Indian. Sure, I was already digging a little yoga, and I had enjoyed some Trader Joe’s tika masala simmer sauce, but now I’m searching out bhangra tunes (I even watched The Darjeerling Limited on OnDemand…not bad actually)! Never one to just go to a store and buy something, I searched the movie soundtrack online and found this great website, 8Tracks.com, where I plan to set up an outpost soon. Supposedly, it allows users to “create a mix”, but it’s just a mix-tape/compilation thing: no blends or beat-matching like a DJ mix. Still, I found it pretty easy to just search genres and come up with some bhangra to listen to while working (shoutout to Bally Sagoo)….FYI, there’s all types of music there:  I just slapped together this “mix” of my fave females, introduced by my fave New Zealand lunatics, Flight Of The Conchords. check it HERE.

Cream of Eight

Enter Cream of Eight, available here thanks to djeddieo.  As I work on my year end comps I simply try to include songs and bands that have struck me over the past year.   I’m not sure if this technically qualifies any of them as ‘best of’.   More accurately they are my favorites that I think are worth sharing.  In some cases it’s just a great song off an okay album, in others it could an entree into a whole new favorite album or band.  Regardless, I just hope there’s something to pique the interest of anyone who listens.
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Heart From Us All – White Denim.  I could have picked any number of songs from this album (which, if pushed, I would probably give my #1 pick to).   The double-vocal at the end, and a cool lead in which is imperative to any of my comps, helped win this one the leadoff spot.

Gardenia – Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.  No surprise here, another quality body of work from Malkmus and the Jicks.  With my other favorites from this album tracking in at over 6 minutes, I went with this super-sweet shorter offering.  Is that guitar crescendo leading into the refrain a rip off of something… some 70’s tv show maybe??  I can’t place it, but it sounds familiar – in a good way.

Nothing Ever Happened – Deerhunter.  So I was wrong, Pitchfork gave it #5.

Top Drawer – Man Man.  I’m surprised their album Rabbit Habits hasn’t appeared on more top lists.  It relies heavily on Tom Waits meets a band of gypsies (the Eastern European kind, not the Hendrix kind).  But with an analog that unique, I think there’s room for them at the party.

(disclaimer: the following 3 songs are actually from 2007 or earlier, but they were new to me this year!)

Stop – The Jackson Analogue.  From their album And Then, Nothing. This and one other song, Day is Done, are the easy standouts from this Isle of Wight outfit.  Beyond that it falls into a somewhat predictable R&B Rock album.  Fine enough, but not as strong as hoped for.

Veni Vidi Vici – The Black Lips.  This album ranked so high on a lot of 2007 lists I picked it up in January and wasn’t disappointed.  Especially this song with it’s slinky underwater garage vibe.

Starting Five – Dios Malos.  Actually from 2004!  I blogged about these guys in October and I’m still happy I found ’em… even this late.

I Don’t Know What You’re Saying – Ladyhawk.  Not to be confused with Ladyhawke (with an ‘e’), the dancier New Zealand singer that’s starting to get more notice.  This Ladyhawk hails from Vancouver and if you like this tune the rest of their 2008 release, titled Shots, shouldn’t disappoint.

Love Me Anyway – Steve Wynn.  On the other hand, I was a bit disappointed with the latest album from the former Dream Syndicate frontman.  I wish more of it had the same feel as this song.

Chains – Sons & Daughters.  All year I think I’ve had Scotland’s Sons & Daughters confused with Austin’s Brothers & Sisters.  Everytime I heard reference to the latter, I would dismiss as something I already knew about the former.  Make sense?  Either way… the Glaswegian offspring really know how to bring the power pop.  I need to do more research on the sibling variant.

Headshock – Tapes ‘n Tapes.  This album, although not as strong as 2007’s The Loon, has been a grower.  I particularly like the Peggy Sue-style guitar breakdown in the middle of this track.

Jaguar Pirates – Jaguar Love.  Love ’em or hate ’em, they do have their own sound – or at least one shared with the lead singer Johnny Whitney’s former band, Blood Brothers.

All Parts of Me – Love as Laughter.  One of my top indie pop albums of the year.  Although not in my normal wheelhouse, this is the song that drew me in.

Set In Stone – Catfish Haven.  I hoped for a little more from this album.  Similar to Jackson Analogue I feel like I’m at an ’08 (..errr ’09?) version of an Animal House frat party.

Dickshaker’s Union – Surf City.  My most recent find/post.  I’m looking forward to more from them in ’09.

Dig, Lazarus, Dig – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  Seemingly a mainstay on my comps… if he puts out an album each year, it will surely be represented.

Hard Feelings – The Constantines.  Is it wrong that I have nothing to say other than these guys are from Toronto!?  Although they do have a new entry in the ironic covers department: a duet with Feist of Islands in the Stream, which you can stream here.

Which Way to Go – Eddy Current Suppression Ring.  Another album of the year contender with it’s straight up, no pretense, pub punk.

All You Ever Wanted – The Black Keys.  Despite being produced by Danger Mouse, their album Attack and Release stays true to the minimal blues their foundation is based on.  This song is the album’s opener, but I think it works equally as well as an outro.

Happy New Year, and all the new music it will hopefully bring.