Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Physics of Meaning - Why Can't We Fall in Love Forever? (Anything is Possible)

I don't think the kid's in the band...

The Physics of Meaning hail from Chapel Hill, NC, a cool college town. I enjoyed seeing local bands at the Cat's Cradle (technically in Carrboro, I know!) when I lived in "the Triangle" 1989-1990. The Physics of Meaning is fronted by violinist Daniel Hart who also plays with John Vanderslice, St. Vincent, and Pattern is Movement. Because there's a violin, the music is considered "chamber pop" or "baroque pop."

MP3 The Physics of Meaning - Why Can't We Fall in Love Forever? (Anything is Possible) (from 2008's Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight)

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Soft Pack - Parasites

There seems to be a lot of controversy over whether this San Diego outfit is a "real" or "manufactured" band. They used to call themselves The Muslims and just changed their name which has aroused suspicions. The old name was admittedly problematic (it was all anybody ever talked about, and made them impossible to Google) but the general consensus is that the new name sucks. Pitchfork was not particularly impressed with their 2008 self-titled debut. Whatever!

They may be a flash in the pan but this new single is one crank-it-up tune with a mad sexy bassline. Right now they're opening for Franz Ferdinand, who are touring their fine new record all over. I'd go see that. Speaking of Franz I see a cut-and-paste version of the ridiculously catchy No You Girls is already an iPod commercial--those Apple folk know how to pick 'em.

MP3 The Soft Pack - Parasites
(2009 single)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon - This is a Low

Albarn & Coxon in younger days

If you follow British pop at all, you have been hoping for the day when the two principals of Blur would finally grace a stage together again. That actually happened last night at the NME awards, when Damon Albarn (40) and Graham Coxon (39) played the gorgeous This is a Low from their 1994 Britpop masterpiece Parklife. Click here to see the performance. Apparently it was supposed to be the full band but Dave and Alex were late...though it seems fitting that Graham's return would be just him and Damon. Also interesting is this interview done immediately afterward with the childhood pals, who seem very relaxed in each other's company after about a decade of not speaking. Lovely to see! And now Pitchfork's reporting they're booking a whole bunch of reunion shows in the UK...hope they make it over here, I saw them in 2003 without Coxon and would love to see them again WITH.

MP3 Blur - This is a Low (from 1994's Parklife)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The White Stripes - We're Going to be Friends

The White Stripes played one of Conan's favorite songs for him on the last night of his show after 15 years (he's taking over for Leno at the Tonight Show, who knew? I don't really follow TV...)

Some hostile comments on brooklynvegan about this clip, directed at Meg. Thing is, whether YOU think she's good or not, Jack White needs her in some way or really gets something out of having her up there with him. When I saw them play for a small crowd for free in Union Square Park in September 2002, I was amazed at how dependent Jack seems on Meg. He stood way in the back near her drum kit and faced her a lot of the time. OK that was six and a half years ago, maybe it's different now, but I think there is just something Jack gets out of playing with Meg, even if his fans don't necessarily feel it.

MP3 The White Stripes - We're Going to be Friends (from 2002's White Blood Cells)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Contender

Yes, it's another great new band from Brooklyn! The borough where rocks bands grow on trees, or between cracks in the sidewalk. These guys-and-gal might actually have the debut of the year here with their very appealing self-titled record. Almost every song sounds like a hit to me--catchy pop with affecting melodies and vocals. Pitchfork interviews the band here and Aural States has another good interview here.

MP3 The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Contender (from 2009's The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)

UPDATE: nice video of the band doing Young Adult Friction (great song title)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bruce Springsteen - The Wrestler

The Wrestler is a heartbreaking movie and this is Bruce's excellent title song, written for and donated to the film at the request of his friend Mickey Rourke, who should have won the Oscar for this role. It plays over the closing credits and the night I was there, no one left the theater till the song finished.

Charlie Rose interviews Mickey Rourke here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Wrens - Marked Up

The best band in New Jersey, and certainly the best band anywhere in which all the members have actual day jobs. It's been a LONG TIME (almost six years!) since their masterpiece The Meadowlands and I am jonesing for some new Wrens. This is a good start. Nice interview with the band on Stereogum here.

The Wrens - Marked Up
(from a hopefully forthcoming new album!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beirut - A Sunday Smile live on Letterman

22-year-old pheenom Zach Condon's Brooklyn-based band Beirut made its television debut Friday night on Letterman. They did A Sunday Smile, a very sweet oom-pah-pah off 2007's The Flying Club Cup. As with many of today's bands, it is tough to clarify exactly what makes this rock music, lush as it is with fleugelhorns, cello, violins, and accordion, and with nary a guitar or bass in sight.

MP3 Beirut - My Night with the Prostitute from Marseilles (from 2009's March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland)

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood with the USC Marching Band - 15 Step

Well it's NOT really Radiohead, it's just Thom and Jonny with the entire USC marching band doing 15 Step, the opener off In Rainbows, which went on to win Alternative Album of the Year at this year's Grammy awards. The kids are wearing Radiohead t-shirts and having a blast. They'll probably rip this down in a couple days but enjoy, it was a million times better than anything else at the Grammy's (though Paul McCartney singing I Saw Her Standing Here with Dave Grohl on drums was good).

The USC Trojan Marching band has a cool clip of rehearsals for the event on their YouTube channel here. You also see the mic check prior to the Grammy performance, with Thom bopping around to the band's famous version of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.

"You used to be all right--what happened?"

MP3 Radiohead (i.e. Thom and Jonny) and the USC Trojan Marching Band - 15 Step (live at the 2009 Grammys)