Friday, April 23, 2010

Singled Out - Young Mother's Living In The Graveyard

Since James over at Ft Lowell Records first told us about Young Mothers, with that awesome little living room performance video on YouTube, we've been firmly in their corner.

So when we got our FLR001 7 inch this week, we were pleased to find some Young Mothers' bonus material in there, a little four song EP. And though all four songs are great (I Just Wanna Know! is as perfect as lemonade in summer), it's the closing "Living In The Graveyard" that really brings it. Zachary Bennet-Toporek is singing his heart out, but the band sounds very tight. Very polished production goes a long way.

The guys were kind enough to give us permission to post the song, so we'll keep it up here for two weeks or so. We definitely recommend checking them out.

And if you haven't purchased the 7 inch, then why not? Both of those tracks are great as well.

Listen to Young Mothers' 'Living in The Graveyard.'

Buy 'Come On, The Cross' from Ft Lowell Records

Preorder 'Come On, The Cross 7 Inch' from Amazon

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Apps We're Playing With - Cardinal by assn

Last week I went to this conference, essentially a learning session/have fun meetup for iPhone and other mobile platform developers (but mostly iPhone).

If you go to conferences, you should almost always follow the associated Twitter hashtag. Because you'll probably won't get to interact with everyone there, and since these things and Twitter are all about self promotion and sharing ideas, they work really well together.

As was such the case with @smixx and @assn_ca, a Calgary developer. I was reading over some tweets, and I came across one where he said he was giving away his Cardinal app in the iTunes store.

Cardinal is a TERRIFFIC app for sharing what you're listening to with your Twitter or Facebook followers. Starting the app up shows what's currently pumping in your earphones, even a bit of cover art. Another tap and you're sending on a little pregenerated tweet. Or if you're like me, you're editing it up a bit. And it does it all with an iTunes link so you can buy it. it's all very seamless and very smooth.

I use a lot, but I always found it kinda cumbersome. I had to search for what I was listening to, then pick it, then generate some text. Cardinal is like, but better. Not because it's native, but because it's much more intuitive, much more tied into the entire iPhone experience.

Now, I know some of you have beef with iTunes, and that's totally fair and understood. But consider this. It's an iPhone app. I would LOVE to have links to Amazon or eMusic, or AmieStreet or CD BABY orinsound, but I can't buy music on my iPhone from any of those sites.

And since a majority of iPhone users purchase music on their devices as opposed to in the store (and that iTunes is still the biggest digital music retailer on the block), it's a tighter and better intergration. Linking to iTunes in this case is a great idea. There's a greater chance that people will buy music this way, compensating artists and labels (even shitty arti$ts and labels).

assn has the app for free for the next four days (normally $2, a very small price for something very cool). Pick it up and show us what you're listening to.

Check out Cardinal in the iTunes App Store (this should just open a web page)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Favorite Spoon Song...

I think I love Black Like Me more than any other Spoon song. I always think this band's at its best when it's at its most tender.

And that lyric - "Street tar in summer will do a job on your sole/soul". It makes me want to fucking weep.

I'm pretty sure Britt Daniel is speaking gibberish most of the time. But that song reaches into my soul and grabs me.

Thanks a bunch.


Spoon's philosophy on pianos. When you think you have enough, you totally need at least one more. I count three.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Un billet...

Well, this is a helluva problem to have.

The nice people at Merge Records blessed us with two tickets to the sold out Spoon concert tonight in Oakland at the Fox Theatre.

I'm out in the SF Bay area for work so one of the tickets is claimed for. But if you're a reader of this blog and want to meet up with me tonight for the show and a beer, send me an email.

Much love to Lindsey at Merge for picking us to win the tickets (and also Mirla and Christina and everyone else there cos you all are the AWESOME).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What We're Listening To - Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings' I Learned The Hard Way

When I listen to Sharon Jones, one of the questions I always myself is, "Exactly how deep is the well of spurned love?"

Apparently pretty fucking deep.

Sharon Jones and Dap Kings don't grow so much as polish and evolve with their latest release, "I Learned The Hard Way." I almost like this album more than 100 Days, and I absolutely LOVED that album.

It's almost as if Sharon's mellowed a bit. Not so much in the lyrics ("I've got better things to do than remember you") but more in the vocal intensity. Before it was almost as if she was channeling so much of that feeling through her voice, it felt aggressive. But songs like "Give It Back" and the title track are calm, though sharp and pointed. Listen to that plaintive call in "Mama Don't Like My Man." assisted by only a guitar and some backup vocals, she births a classic as good as anything coming off of Motown or Stax in the 70s. Her voice is an instrument every bit as integral as those Dap Kings horns.

And whoa. The Dap Kings sound tighter than ever. There isn't a horn out of place, a drum beat off time, or a guitar lick out of sync. "The Reason" a 2 1/2 minute instrumental track is proof of how amazing this band is.

if you've ever wondered what the fuss is about, now is the time to discover Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

2010 First Quarter Review

With 25 percent of the year come and gone, I've listened to some pretty solid music (even stuff I haven't taken the time to memorialize on here, which I should do, because it helps keep me sharp on the writing and gives you all something to mock me over).

So in no particular order, here's a list (with some minor commentary) of some of the better music I've picked up from January 1 to March 31, 2010. For the most part, these are new releases. But I'll denote those that aren't (not that it matters, but it does for EoY lists and things like that).
  • Surfer Blood's Astro Coast - I'm still not sold that this album is the second coming of whatever. It's good, and the more I listen to it the more I like it. But it kinda grinds on me afterwhile. But it's happy and poppy enough, so that's worth something.

  • Ted Leo and The Pharmacists' The Brutalists Bricks - Anthems and energy galore. Start your day here

  • Young Mothers Come On, The Cross 7"

  • Vampire Weekend's Contra - I'm officially a full on lover of this album. And I've also started dropping the redic term Contra into conversation to describe a hottie.

  • The Rosebuds' Daytrotter Session

  • Shearwater's The Golden Archipelago

  • The Bird and The Bee's Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1 (A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates)

  • Aziz Ansari's Intimate Moments For A Sensual Evening - A comedy album shouldn't count. But geez, if he isn't HYSTERICAL.

  • The Soft Pack's s/t album - Of all the shitty surf music that seems to be leaking onto the indie scene right now, I'm in love with this band. Punk, not too aggressive, fun.

  • Spoon's Transference - I was lukewarm to this album, but it's definitely hooked me. A sparse classic as always.

  • Shout Out Louds' Work - This will come up and I'll go, who is that? And I'm always surprised at how good it is.

And here are the previous releases:
  • Asobi Seksu's Citrus

  • Spoon's Girls Can Tell

  • Kid Sister's Super High Shine EP

  • Various Artists' Sub Pop Cybersex Digital Sampler v. 2.10

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What We're Listening To - She & Him's Volume 2

For the past two weeks, I've been listening to what easily is my album of the year.

I may not have gotten into the groove that was Vol 1, but Vol 2 has me hooked.

Zooey's sweet, sugary, candy coated piercing vocals. Her cooing on Thieves can only be matched by her indomitable songwriting prowess.

Coupled with M. Ward's fuzzy, Phil Spector lite production values. Yes, he's pining for a time on the musical spectrum that literally existed for half a second. But just because your mark of perfection is tiny doesn't mean you shouldn't try to aim for it. Because my friend, he hit it.

What I'm saying is this. I'm a convert. They've done it for me. I looked at my iTunes playlist count and I can only imagine that to hit such a number over the past two weeks I must've been listening to this album on repeat in my bed while I sleep.

She & Him are rocking my ears, my heart and my soul. Thank you.