Thursday, January 31, 2008

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

I highly recommend this film about one of my heroes, Clash frontman Joe Strummer. It's an exceptionally well done documentary about a fascinatingly complex guy. Strummer himself narrates as if from beyond the grave, via archival tape recordings. Note to the Vermonters, it's playing at the Green Mountain Film Festival in Montpelier in March. The movie's official site is here. Watch the trailer and see if you're not intrigued!

MP3 The Clash - This is Radio Clash (1981 single)

Vampire Weekend and Interpol,
or uptown and down

Vampire Weekend in button-down shirts, V-neck pullovers and Docksiders with no socks

Congratulations to the little boys of Vampire Weekend (seriously, they're like 21 and 22). This week their debut full-length managed to knock In Rainbows out of the #1 album spot on Sirius Radio's Left of Center (channel 26), where the Radiohead record had been resident for two whole months.

About half the songs were already well known from last year's EP, but Vampire Weekend still sounds fresh and exciting. Look at the reviews for this thing. If you don't like this, you must not have liked Graceland 22 years ago either, and how is that possible? I wish they wouldn't dress so preppy though, it's a bit silly, they're like the prototypical Upper West Siders while Interpol are the quintessential NYU downtowners.

Interpol in black suits, leather and dark sunglasses

MP3 Vampire Weekend - Bryn (from 2008's Vampire Weekend)
MP3 Interpol - Stella was a diver and she was always down (from 2002's Turn on the Bright Lights)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

RIP Heath Ledger 1979-2008

An excellent actor, perhaps as good as Brando but now we'll never know. Here he is stepping out in the city with 62-year-old Debbie Harry of Blondie fame. It's quite interesting to see all the coverage of his death. Everybody seems to have noticed he was the real deal. He apparently also had the letters "KAOS" tattooed across one wrist. It stood for Kate, Ashleigh, Olivia and Sally, the names of his mom and three sisters.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper

Looks like another worthy band from Glasglow has arrived. Two brothers on guitars and a friend on drums. Excellent lyrics. First US album, The Midnight Organ Fight, will be out in March, produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Mercury Rev).

MP3 Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper

Monday, January 21, 2008

Vampire Weekend -
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (August 30th)

The highly anticipated debut album from this band of Columbia graduates who describe their sound as "Upper West Side Soweto" comes out next month (and yes, it's heavily influenced by Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel).

This song is from last year's self-titled EP and references Congolese kwassa kwassa or soukous music, but is otherwise about college kids hooking up down the shore in the late summer (and Peter Gabriel). Extremely catchy and this band has more where that came from. The video version is acoustic, done for MTV.

MP3 Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (August 30th) - from 2006's Vampire Weekend EP

Saturday, January 19, 2008

LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum

While I'm posting some great dance tracks I can't leave this one out, my favorite from last year's extremely strong Sound of Silver. The video version from Letterman is a bit faster and Paul's band helps out with handclaps and horns on the chorus. James throws in a nod to guitarist Al Doyle (also from Hot Chip) when he changes the lyric slightly: "And for those of you who still think we're from England / we're the exception of Al."

The more I think about it the more the distinction between rock and electronica is rather silly. Radiohead's Kid A (2000) was the wake-up call: the world's best rock band gave us an album all but devoid of guitars and dared us not to call it rock (as with all its dares, Radiohead won).

So why is LCDS still considered a "dance" band and not just a rock band? Beats me...

MP3 LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
(from 2007's Sound of Silver)

Cansei de Ser Sexy - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above

Another fusion of pop and dance, and sounding nothing like typical "Brazilian" music, Sao Paolo's Cansei de Ser Sexy (Tired of Being Sexy) pays homage to LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy's DJ persona, Death from Above.

MP3 Cansei de Ser Sexy - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above
from 2007's CSS.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hot Chip - Sexual Healing (Marvin Gaye cover)

It takes major balls to try to cover this song but London-based Hot Chip pulls it off with a very modern and yes, sexy, rendition. Wake up, wake up.

MP3 Hot Chip - Sexual Healing
(Marvin Gaye cover)
MP3 Marvin Gaye - Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) from 1971's What's Going On

RIP Marvin 1939-1984

Noah and the Whale - Five Years Time

My new favorite song! Debut single by this British neo-folk group (they recently opened for Broken Social Scene in England). Apparently there's not much neo-folk happening in the UK--nothing like our fantastic scene with Sufjan, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), John Darnielle (Mountain Goats), Andrew Bird, Will Oldham (Bonnie "Prince" Billy), Elvis Perkins, and old-timers like Springsteen, John Doe and Peter Case.

MP3 Noah and the Whale - Five Years Time

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Philly Mayor Michael Nutter featuring ?uestlove - Rapper's Delight
(Live at the Inaugural Ball)

I almost never post hip-hop but this is too cool, and my aunt, uncle and cousins were there! Lifted directly from Pitchfork:
Michael Nutter, Philadelphia's newly-elected Democratic mayor, was born in 1957, which means he was 22 years old when the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" became a hit in 1979. As you can see from this video of him performing the song at his inaugural ball, the Mayor has listened to the record many, many times. He even leaves in some of the dirty parts. With his constituent ?uestlove on turntables (looks like he has a laptop going as well), Mayor Nutter only does about four minutes of the tune, but you get the feeling he could go for the full 14 if he needed to.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Radiohead - Scotch Mist webcast

Happy New Year from the best band in the world. Jigsaw is just Thom and Jonny (and Ed in another room doing something inexplicable with his guitar). All I Need is insanely good even without the cellos...though you can see them doing it, you just don't know how they do it.