Animal bands.

May 13, 2008

I’ve been on a big music kick lately.  So, I’ve been listening to bands outside of my standard go-tos (Stars, TMSR, LC!, to name a few).  It was only recently, though, that I noticed that the bands I’ve been drawn to lately all have one thing in common: they have animals in their titles.  Examples!

  • Andrew Bird
  • Elefant
  • Foals
  • Frightened Rabbit
  • Grizzly Bear
  • New Buffalo
  • The Redlands Palomino Co.
  • Swan Lake
  • The Unicorns
  • Wolf Parade

And those are just the bands I have on my iPod.  I wholeheartedly recommend all of them, especially Frightened Rabbit, who I got into only recently.  Their most recent album, The Midnight Organ Fight, is my favorite album of the year so far, which says something.  I have one of their songs on my muxtape, so give it a listen.  You’ll be glad you did.

Muxtape.

April 23, 2008

Thanks to Lianna, who sent it to me, gave me a theme idea, and really did everything but pick the songs, I now have a muxtape.

http://stepliana.muxtape.com/

 I’m not really sure how, or if, it’s legal, but I’ll make the most out of it before it a) gets taken down, or b) becomes too way too hipster for me.  Although it looks like option b is already all too true for some people.  Either way, I’m enjoying it for now.  It combines everything I love –  music, finding new music, mixes (I love mixes), and to quote Los Campesinos!, trying to find the perfect match between pretentious and pop.  What could be better?  The answer: nothing.

The songs I listened to on my morning commute: a mix between the new Submarines album, Honeysuckle Weeks, Challengers, by The New Pornographers, and Hold On Now, Youngster…, by Los Campesinos!.  (I needed a dance party in my ears, the weather is awful.)  Honeysuckle Weeks leaked about a week ago, right around the time I received the new Blondfire album from CDBaby.  Sad to say, I’ve been neglecting Blondfire ever since.   But Honeysuckle Weeks is just so good – and I’ve been waiting for new Submarines almost as long as I’ve been waiting for new Antlerand (and we all know that’s never going to happen.)

I’ve noticed that ever since I got my iPod touch, I’ve been listening to more complete albums, rather than creating playlists, which is something I used to put enormous amounts of time into.  It’s just easier to turn the iPod on its side, flick through the album art, and pick a CD.  Playlists?  Far too much work.  I’ll have to start doing it again, though.  There’s nothing like listening to a stream of songs, and never having to hit ‘next’.

There isn’t much of a point to this post, other than ‘This is the music I listened to today’, and ‘Oh, I don’t make playlists anymore’, so I’ll continue with not having a point, and end this post with ‘Things people have said about this blog’.

Leah: oh, i’m addicted to your bloghilarious 

Jeff: YOU? have a blog?  its not creepy and introspective is it?

Francesca: This is why I love your blog.  It’s the one shiny constant in a world full of chaos

It’s inspiring, isn’t it?  I thought so.  In addition, I’ve also inspired two people to try Old Bay.  I’m telling you, you should trust my taste in things.  You can’t lose.  And with that, I leave you all for a week.  See you next Sunday, post-Office return, but pre-Lost.  I just can’t win.

Blondfire

March 27, 2008

Blondfire

I won’t lie, for a very long while I had given up on ever hearing new Blondfire (formerly known as Astaire) music again. But! Then, with the release of My Someday, their first full-length LP, it all changed.

I first was introduced to Blondfire (then Astaire) at a concert at the Paradise in May of 2004. This concert was also notable in that it was the first time I ever saw Stars (my favorite band, ever) in concert – as the second opener, even! Now they’re selling out Berklee. But that’s another post altogether. Back to Blondfire! The Driscolls, a brother-sister duo with Brazilian and some UK influences, they make airy pop that’s just right for spring.  And you know, all the other seasons too.  Here’s some proof.

Blondfire – Pretty Young Thing

The first single off of My Someday, Pretty Young Thing is classic Blondfire – and, apparently, has been bought by Nike for use on the Nike Women website.  Either way, it’s a good song, and for the first taste of I’ve had of Blondfire in years, a welcome addition to my iTunes.  All of My Someday is available to listen to (and purchase) on CDBaby, and will be up on the iTunes store fairly soon.  Give it a listen, buy it if you want, and enjoy the band that survived a name change after threats from Fred Astaire’s estate.  If that doesn’t inspire you to listen to them, what will?

I’ve heard exactly two variations on the news coming from SXSW. The first is, Vampire Weekend, highlight of the festival. Los Campesinos!, though? Awesome. But more prevalent is: Vampire Weekend, kind of disappointing. Los Campesinos!, though? Awesome. So, it’s unanimous. Los Campesinos! = awesome.

Los Campesinos!

I first encountered Los Campesinos! on the A&C sampler, which I received in the mail with my signed copy of Population. (Believe me, there will be a Most Serene Republic post at some point in the future. Along with Stars. I won’t neglect our Canadian friends.) First songs listened to: You! Me! Dancing!, and It Started With A Mixx – auspicious beginnings. (They sure do love their punctuation marks, much like that other band.)

Listening to LC! is like a having a dance party in your headphones. There are handclaps! (You can never go wrong with handclaps.) Occasionally they can get a little too shouty, and maybe a little too twee, but step away for a day or two, and you can then reembrace Los Campesinos! as the shouty, twee kids that they are. (Despite the name, they’re a bunch of hipster British kids, not Spanish peasants. Sorry.) Their first EP, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets was promising, but their as-yet-to-be-released-but-it-leaked-like-two-months-ago LP, Hold On Now, Youngster… is one of those albums that you can listen to over and over and still find something new to like each time.

I actually saw LC! when they came to Boston at the end of their first US tour, and I can truly saw it was one of the more fun shows I’ve been to by myself. We all know that white people like standing still at concerts, but this is not the type of band to do this at. Go stand still at an Iron & Wine show. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of white people at this show, so it was basically me and some girl in the front row singing along and well, not standing still. But! So very high energy, so very fun, and Great Scott has Strongbow on tap. How can you go wrong? Plus, the night ended with Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks, which is by far their most fun and crowd engaging song. What better way to end a show? There is no better way.

Los Campesinos! – Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks

This is actually not the version on Hold On Now, Youngster… but it’s far superior in my opinion. It’s less frenetic, and strangely, more polished. The LP version has its plusses (faster, but they seem to be doing that to all their songs), but in a pinch, I’ll go to the pre-LP version each time. They’ll be playing The Paradise in May, so if you like them, go see them with me, so I don’t have to be the only (half-white) person not standing still. It’ll be awesome, I swear.

News Stories For Today

March 14, 2008

  • Jericho canceled… again.  Honestly, they got seven more episodes than they should have had, and managed to convince legions of fans that sending tons of [insert item of choice that is significant to the show in question] to a television network will guarantee a pickup for another season, that’s more than most cancellations can claim.  Expect to see shows where the main character has a fondness for caviar, cigars, and expensive limited-edition, signed baseball memorabilia in the 2008-2009 season.
  • Christian Slater to star in NBC drama.  I.. don’t get it.  Jekyll and Hyde meets The Bourne Identity?  Also… Christian Slater?  Ben Silverman, there are so many things I could say to you right now.  But go ahead and give season pickups to shows without a pilot, go right ahead.  The fact that this show isn’t an adaptation of previously existing material (despite the aforementioned Jekyll and Hyde meets The Bourne Identity) is more than you can say for the rest of your development slate.  And good luck with Robinson Crusoe!
  • Britney has apparently wrapped on HIMYM.  You know, I can’t say anything bad.  If it gets more people to watch the show (including at least 20,000 more in the Boston area, according to the Nielsen ratings) then kudos to Brit.  Although the cast should really stop using the word ‘great’ to describe her… sounds a little forced, guys.
  • Lost was ridiculous last night.  I’M JUST SAYING. 

In other news, Does It Offend You, Yeah? performs at SXSW tonight.  After some drama with American Airlines losing their sampler, it’s nice to know that they’ll be able to perform after all.  And with Los Campesinos! performing today (apparently comparisons overheard include: “a happier Cursive!” and “a less precious Mates of State!” and “Arcade Fire, but not famous yet!”), it’s enough to make me wish I lived in Texas.  Or was at least visiting for the week.  I’m off to listen to Epic Last Song for the 61st time (2:38 in is especially awesome).