Monday, December 31, 2007

The New Pornographers -
Joseph, Who Understood

OK I'm a little late for this year's holiday but this is truly one of the loveliest Christmas songs ever! (thanks for the heads-up, Tiny Mix Tapes) It's a duet between Carl Newman and Neko Case (the redheads front L & R in this photo) telling the story of the immaculate conception from Joseph's point of view. Baby, you're asking me to believe in too many things...

The New Pornographers - Joseph, Who Understood
(from 2007's The Spirit of Giving EP)

Monday, December 17, 2007

RIP Dan Fogelberg, 1951-2007

I definitely had me a Dan Fogelberg period in the mid-70s. Here's his breakthrough single, Part of the Plan, from his second album, produced by Joe Walsh.

MP3 Dan Fogelberg - Part of the Plan (from 1974's Souvenirs)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven and Kashmir (live in London, 12-10-2007)

Well you can't find the clips on youtube anymore but I guess Warner Brothers hasn't heard of DailyMotion yet. A 63-year-old Jimmy Page with snow white hair cranking out that most famous guitar solo after all these years, wow.

And here's a song that used to SCARE me when I was a teenager, Kashmir, with bassist John Paul Jones (of one rock's greatest arrangers, never forget he did the strings on Automatic for the People) again on the keyboards.

MP3 Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven (from 1971's Led Zeppelin IV)
MP3 Led Zeppelin - Kashmir (from 1975's Physical Graffiti)

Monday, December 10, 2007

2007 Best Of Lists

I have finished my end-of-year lists! Enjoy. For quick reference, here's the Top 10 albums:

1. The National - Boxer

We played it to death but that's only because it was so damn good. I'm very happy for these guys, I'm not the only one who's got them at #1 this year.

MP3 The National - Slow Show

2. Radiohead - In Rainbows

Listen to Jonny Greenwood tell the New York Times how they created the awesome white noise that just completely covers the last minute of this song. It's a thrill to hear it every time.

MP3 Radiohead - All I Need

3. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

21-year-old Zach Condon channels Jacques Brel.

MP3 Beirut - Guyamas Sonora (Anneliese's favorite!)

4. Burial - Untrue

Like nothing you've ever heard. Nobody knows who this guy is, either.

MP3 Burial - Archangel

5. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

No, it was not and never will be Funeral. Still, I predict these folks will be around for awhile.

MP3 Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running

6. Okkervil River - The Stage Names

MP3 Okkervil River - Plus Ones

Will Sheff is one of the best lyricists ever and here's a great example. Check out the incredibly clever lyrics to this song, which Sheff always writes out in prose style--how many references do you get?

7. Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals

A thoroughy unique sound, the best debut of the year.

MP3 Yeasayer - 2080

8. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin

The entire lyric to this song: I could sleep when I lived alone/Is there a ghost in my house?

MP3 Band of Horses - Is there a Ghost

9. New Pornographers - Challengers

MP3 New Pornographers - Myriad Harbour

it's a love song to NYC from these crazy Canadians

10. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Boy

MP3 Iron and Wine - Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car

album opener introduces new kick-ass band, far cry from just Sam and his guitar

These will print out nicely:

Deb's Top 20 Albums of 2007
Honorable Mention
Favorite Songs
Sorry, Did Not Like
Probably good but I didn't get to listen enough

Iron & Wine - Boy with a Coin

NOT the video you would expect to accompany this gorgeous song, this features flamenco dancers and somehow it works.

MP3 Iron & Wine - Boy with a Coin
(from 2007's The Shepherd's Dog)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere

Well this is the first youtube video I've seen that they won't let me embed, but still you need to click and watch it. Bruce's new single, Radio Nowhere, a return to his form of 30 years ago, is just tremendous. I love you Bruce. Also check out the absolutely lovely Girls in Their Summer Clothes, both off the new album, Magic. This is Bruce's 15th studio album in his 34-year career and his best rock album since Born in the USA. He's now 58 but you'd never know it...also don't miss this month's Spin with Bruce and Win Butler of Arcade Fire on the cover and giving a joint interview inside.

Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere video (unembeddable)

MP3 Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere

MP3 Bruce Springsteen - Girls in Their Summer Clothes (both from 2007's Magic)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Radiohead - All I Need fan video

This is a fantastic fan-made video for my second-favorite song on the new album, All I Need.

Made by one J. Tyler Helms, with footage from the 1996 French film Microcosmos. Audio clip below is of Jonny Greenwood describing how the band created the white noise that dominates the last minute of this incredible song.

MP3 Jonny Greenwood discusses the end of All I Need

Saturday, November 10, 2007

PJ Harvey - Silence, White Chalk, Down by the Water, Desperate Kingdom of Love

On her new album White Chalk, Polly Jean throws everyone for a loop by abandoning her trademark noisy guitar and deep vocals for piano and her upper register.

MP3 PJ Harvey - The Mountain (the amazing closer from White Chalk, 2007)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Radiohead - Unravel (Björk cover)

Yesterday and today Radiohead have been giving us little glimpses of themselves fooling around in their studio in Oxfordshire, spinning very cool records like DJs and giving up this beautiful cover of Björk's Unravel from 1997's Homogenic. Thom has called this his favorite song of all time. The ending is especially lovely.

MP3 Radiohead - Unravel (Björk cover, live in studio, 11-08-07)
MP3 Björk - Unravel (from 1997's Homogenic)

And here's the mighty Reckoner all stripped down:

Pitchfork has the whole thing on video here, including the guys' DJ sets (Thom played Heart of Hearts!) and covers of The Smiths' The Headmaster Ritual ("a song about when we were younger, but we didn't write it," explains Thom) and Joy Division/New Order's Ceremony. Here's everything as MP3s. Thanks much, guys.

MP3 Radiohead - Faust Arp (just Thom & Jonny live in a field 11-09-07)
MP3 Radiohead - Bodysnatchers (live in studio 11-09-07)
MP3 Radiohead - Reckoner (live in studio 11-09-07)

MP3 Radiohead - I Might be Wrong (live in studio 11-09-07)

MP3 Radiohead - The Headmaster Ritual (Smiths cover, live in studio 11-09-07)
MP3 The Smiths - The Headmaster Ritual (from 1985's Meat is Murder)

MP3 Radiohead - Ceremony (Joy Division/New Order cover, live in studio 11-09-07)
MP3 New Order - Ceremony (1981 debut single, written by Ian Curtis of Joy Division)

And some lovely pictures of Jonny working on the string arrangements for In Rainbows:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

St. Vincent - These Days (Jackson Browne cover)

The lovely Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, formerly of the Polyphonic Spree, covers Jackson Browne last month in Forth Worth, Texas. She's 25 and originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also listen to Now, Now from her solo debut released this year, Marry Me.

MP3 St. Vincent - These Days (Jackson Browne cover)
MP3 St. Vincent - Now, Now (from 2007's Marry Me)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bluegrass version of The Shins' Kissing the Lipless

This is great! A bluegrass version of The Shins' classic Kissing the Lipless from 2004's beloved Chutes Too Narrow. There's actually a whole album of these Shins bluegrass covers.

Bluegrass Tribute to the Shins - Kissing the Lipless
The Shins - Kissing the Lipless (from 2004's Chutes Too Narrow)

Nada Surf - See these bones

I love this song, the lead single off the band's upcoming (February 2008) fifth album, Lucky. Nada Surf is YET ANOTHER Brooklyn band (they met at Le Lycée Français de New York, Mur!) that's been around for 15 years, has had only one bonafide hit (1996's Popular), but always writes beautiful melodies and dreamy, romantic lyrics. For more examples here's Your Legs Grow off 2005's The Weight is a Gift (produced by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla) and Blizzard of "77 off 2003's Let Go.

MP3 Nada Surf - See these bones
from 2008's Lucky
MP3 Nada Surf - Your legs grow from 2005's The Weight is a Gift
MP3 Nada Surf - Blizzard of '77 from 2003's Let Go

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Pornographers - Challengers

Emotionally touching and visually interesting video for The New Pornographers' new single, the title track off Challengers. Neko Case is singing lead on this one and as usual her voice is just magnificent.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bruce Springsteen with Win Butler
and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire

See, this is the kind of thing I LOVE. Sunday night in Ottawa, not normally one of the hippest towns in Canada, the folks at Bruce's show got real lucky when Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the married couple at the core of that little local act called the Arcade Fire, took the stage and did a killer version of Bruce's State Trooper followed by their own Keep the Car Running. Win and Régine look very relaxed playing with Bruce and the E-Street Band and the crowd is completely amazed they're getting to see this.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pitchfork reviews Radiohead's In Rainbows

Very cute, you must click on the review to see what they did. You need to have visited the In Rainbows download page to get the joke...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Radiohead - In Rainbows is here

And it's ridiculously good. Won't be listening to anything else today, that's for sure. Don't even know how to pick out just a couple tracks, but here's Tim's favorite (Nude), Liese's (15 Step) and mine (Jigsaw). Other really good ones: perhaps their first true dance track, Bodysnatchers, and the stunning All I Need.

Radiohead have made it a very special day by essentially leaking this album themselves, thus ensuring that everyone is hearing a record for the first time at the same time since Napster burst on the scene in 2000 and made leaking possible. Folks younger than I stayed up all night to grab it when it first became available in the wee hours of the morning.

Radiohead are so cool. And happy birthday Thom! He was 39 this week.

MP3 Radiohead - Nude (used to be called Big Ideas)
MP3 Radiohead - 15 Step
MP3 Radiohead - Jigsaw falling into place (used to be called Open Pick)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Beirut - A Sunday Smile

21-year-old Zach Condon's follow-up to last year's magnificent debut, The Gulag Orkestar, is The Flying Club Cup, just released today to an 8.0 from Pitchfork and many other good reviews. Zach is a high school dropout from Santa Fe (now living in Brooklyn, natch) who plays beautiful trumpet as well as French horn, mandolin, piano, accordion, glockenspiel and ukulele. It's not exactly rock. Here's one of the lovely waltzes from the album.

MP3 Beirut - A Sunday Smile

Monday, October 8, 2007

Flight of the Conchords - Business Time

Absolutely hilarious. They're comedians from New Zealand using music as their medium.

MP3 Flight of the Conchords - Business Time

Arcade Fire in NYC - Neighborhood #3
(Power Out) & Rebellion (Lies)

I know, I know, two AF posts in a row? But here are the last two songs they played in the regular set Saturday night. Witness the back-to-back knockout punch of these fan faves from their beloved debut. It looks like people thought it was over after Power Out; they go crazy when they realize the noise afterward is turning into Lies, one of the band's best sing-a-longs.

Last AF show in the city for a while, Will says so...ah well, they deserve a rest. They played nine shows in NY this year and I'm very happy I got to see the one at Radio City in May (with The National).

MP3 Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) - from Funeral
MP3 Rebellion (Lies) - from Funeral

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Arcade Fire in NYC - Wake Up and Kiss Off

Arcade Fire's first encore last night at Randall's Island, NYC, Wake Up

MP3 Arcade Fire - Wake Up (from 2004's Funeral)
Second encore, in the crowd, a cover of the Violent Femmes' Kiss Off

MP3 Violent Femmes - Kiss Off
(from their eponymous 1982 debut album)

Music Snobbery was there and has a great review with excellent photos.

The Frames - Falling Slowly

Very pretty song from the Irish band's latest.

MP3 The Frames - Falling Slowly (from 2006's The Cost)

Tony Bennett and Judy Garland -
I Left My Heart in San Francisco

TB was on Colbert last week and he was great as usual. This is from Judy's TV show, 1963.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The National cover Bruce's Mansion on the Hill

Here are The National performing Mansion on the Hill as part of the Nebraska Project, an event celebrating the album held last year as part of the NY Guitar Festival. As I mentioned last month, this cover is the B-side of their new single Apartment Story.

MP3 Bruce Springsteen - Mansion on the Hill (from 1982's Nebraska)

Sigur Rós - Heima trailer

After a couple years of near-constant touring, Sigur Rós felt like going home to Iceland. There they played fifteen free concerts at various outdoor locations in their ultra-scenic country, and the movie Heima ("At Home") is the result. The trailer is mind-boggling. The song is Hoppípolla from 2005's Takk (Thanks).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel -
last live performance

I just downloaded (from eMusic, where I get most of my tunes) the last-ever live performance by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, an essentially solo show he did in New Zealand in 2001, and the last time anyone has ever heard him sing his beautiful songs. I am just blown away by this set. He is a such a great songwriter and an extremely evocative singer. If you like Mountain Goats, Okkervil River or Beirut (and you should!), listen to NMH to hear where they got a lot of their ideas...

MP3 In the aeroplane, over the sea (live in New Zealand, 2001)
MP3 In the aeroplane, over the sea (title song from 1998 album, one of Pitchfork's rare 10.0s and deservedly so, features gorgeous brass and musical saw)
MP3 Holland, 1945 (from In the aeroplane, over the sea)

It's a concept album about Anne Frank. It's gorgeous. Guy only made two records, this was the second. Then he had some kind of breakdown and since then, nothing...but he lives in NY and sometimes appears onstage to sing a song with old Elephant 6 friends like Elf Power and Olivia Tremor Control.

Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

REM's Automatic for the People re-imagined

Stereogum has done it again, re-creating a modern classic with interesting covers by talented artists. Last time it was Radiohead's OK Computer. This time it's my beloved Automatic for the People, REM's 1992 masterpiece. Download the whole thing here and read notes by the cover artists as well as the loquacious Mike Mills. And whose idea was it to have Nightswimming done by the Wrens? Brilliant.

MP3 The Wrens - Nightswimming (REM cover)
MP3 The Wrens - Ex-Girl Collection (from 2003's The Meadowlands)

Monday, October 1, 2007

New Radiohead album In Rainbows October 10th!

There is no bigger music news for this girl than word of a new Radiohead album. Without a record company, they managed to keep In Rainbows under wraps and announce its release only 10 days in advance. Register at the site to get a download code and here's the beauty part--you can pay whatever you like for the record! This is a real test--does a band used to debuting at #1 or #2 need a record label?

I am so in love with Radiohead and I'm not the only one. Read people's ecstatic comments on stereogum and brooklynvegan. This story has also been picked up by all the major media (click here and here). It's a whole new paradigm and everybody agrees Radiohead are the band to pull it off. Here's an especially good take on the big news.

MP3 Jigsaw Falling Into Place (then called Open Pick, live at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia, June 2006)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Midlake - Roscoe

Acoustic version of the fine single Roscoe from Texas band Midlake's 2006 album The Trials of Van Occupanther. These guys are great harmonizers.

MP3 Midlake - Roscoe (acoustic)
MP3 Midlake - Roscoe (from 2006's The Trials of Van Occupanther)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Kevin Barnes covers Neil Young

Lovely! Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal covers Neil Young's Harvest Moon. Note rare shot of Barnes wearing men's clothing and no makeup!

MP3 Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal) - Harvest Moon (Neil Young cover)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

!!! - Heart of Hearts
The Knife - Silent Shout
The Rapture - Get Myself Into It

I am not a huge follower of dance music but every year there are a few things I like. Here are three great recent dance tracks.

MP3 The Knife - Silent Shout
(brother-sister act from Sweden)

MP3 !!! - Heart of Hearts
(pronounced Chk Chk Chk)

The Rapture - Get Myself Into It
From NYC! They and !!! are considered "dance punk."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Black Kids - I'm not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You

Super-catchy song by unsigned band from Jacksonville, FL named Black Kids. Lifted right from Pitchfork.

MP3 Black Kids - I'm not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You (from 2007's self-released Wizard of Ahhhs)

Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear - Graceland

Wow, I love this! Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear (yet ANOTHER great band from Brooklyn) gives Paul Simon's Graceland a very different treatment.

MP3 Daniel Rossen - Graceland (Paul Simon cover)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sigur Rós - Glósóli video

Another all-time favorite video, the single off 2005's the best band ever from Iceland. Children, nature and magic always figure in Sigur Rós videos. Watch till the end!

Elvis Perkins - All the Night Without Love

Speaking of Daytrotter, here's Elvis Perkins doing a fantastic version of this beautiful song off Ash Wednesday earlier this year in the Daytrotter studios. It's the new folk, folks. (And yes, this is Tony Perkins' son.)

MP3 Elvis Perkins - All the Night Without Love (acoustic from Daytrotter session)
MP3 Elvis Perkins - All the Night Without Love (from 2007's Ash Wednesday)

Johnny Cash - Hurt video

Time for another video. I'm just putting this up because it needs to be here. Best music video ever. Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails' Hurt.

If you've never heard Trent Reznor's original, it's way different.

MP3 Nine Inch Nails - Hurt
(from 1994's The Downward Spiral)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Doveman does Radiohead

OK, gotta get off my National kick that's lasted all summer. So here's Doveman, another Brooklynite who plays piano on a couple songs on Boxer (the ones where it's not Sufjan) and joined the boys for part of the set in Philly (he opened).

MP3 Doveman - Airbag, from Stereogum's OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer on its 10th anniversary. Doveman took the first song off the record and did a splendid job.

MP3 Doveman - Honey (so you can hear what his own stuff sounds like, it's not Radiohead)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The National - Lucky You, 2007

From the Daytrotter Session, 2007. Original version ends 2003's Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers. This just might be my favorite National song ever. They almost never play this live anymore, but Daytrotter got it out of them.

MP3 The National - Lucky You
MP3 The National - Lucky You (from 2003's Sad songs for Dirty Lovers, without piano)

The National - Apartment Story video

The video for The National's new single, Apartment Story, is basically an expansion of the album cover, though that was real and this is staged. The B-side to the single will be a live cover of Springsteen's Mansion on the Hill which makes me so happy.

Tired and wired we ruin too easy...