30 July 2011

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

Sonny & the Sunsets - Tomorrow is Alright (Fat Possum, 2010)
"I'd be writing, then I'd take a break, pick up my guitar and play, go back to typing, and found myself singing while writing." -(Sonny Smith to the SF Weekly, May 9 2007)
The above quote was made well before this record arrived, but it still carries over. Stay up all night listening to Tomorrow is Alright, and the next day at work the songs come out. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty listens. It doesn't matter because these songs hang around. A good portion of this phenomenon can be attributed to the timelessness of these tracks. Similar to the work of fellow San Franciscans, Girls, minus the heartbreaking true story, Sonny & the Sunsets work in a space that cannot be defined as past, present, or future.
Now, are these straightforward songs? The short answer is no. At times, the lyrics are akin to something out of a comic book. Tubes of death cream, a planet full of women, its not exactly a tidy package of relatable material. However, that isn't to say that this joint isn't loaded with hits. This album has lots of "la, la, las," and "ooh, ooh, ohs", and even some whistling. "The Houris" has some "na, na, nas" coupled with a painted picture of crows, sparrows, and bees that go buzz buzz buzz. There are all these little touches and flourishes, that no matter how small it's still enough to compel one to take another sip, light up a smoke, and be willing to move forward.
Research shows that Sonny himself has been around for much longer than I, but there are parts of this album that I hear and just cannot deny. On "Too Young to Burn", there's talk about sitting by the window watching the sun go down. That occurs in my apartment each and every night after I've come home from work to a half-finished cup of coffee. The speaker on "Stranded" likens himself to a dog wandering aimlessly and tossing out never-returned smiles. Again, this may as well be me on a Saturday in the city. At the risk of bogging down this review with a whole bunch of "I know exactly what he means!" moments, the comparisons will stop but the idea should be left on the table. While I am not a singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, artist, or oversee-er of ambitious projects, I can listen to one and in the process understand that everything is not impossible. In short, I can believe that tomorrow will be alright. I've written before about having no direction home, but now I live by myself so I have a home but I still need simple songs like this one to remind me that I'm not done yet.
I'm always quick to point out that pop music used to mean something good as opposed to shit, and with this record an addendum needs to be made. Pop music isn't always wanting to hold your hand, or love love love you too. It can be held back. It can be shackled. It can place you on the edge of the cliff, but instead of dancing you may just sway and have a cigarette.

24 July 2011

Bleached - "Think of You"

Bleached is comprised of Jennifer and Jessie Clavin, formerly of Mika Miko. Their new 7", Carter, became available on July 19 on the internets and vinyl copies can also be ordered via Art Fag Recordings. The A-side is "Think of You" with "You Take Time" on the flip. Album art above.
Now with the specs out the way, let it be known that this is No Gift for the Gab's summer joint. This song has basically everything that I ever want. A mildly burnt out take on the past being delivered in the present. Women playing instruments. Vocals that mildly remind me of early Danzig/Misfits recordings. Really, it's all there.
Anyway, I've really been digging this song for the last month or so. Think of You by Art Fag Recordings

No Age x Black Flag= No Flag

On July 21st 2011 at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, the super rad duo known as No Age played a free show. Towards the close, former Black Flag members Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski appeared on stage. According to Newestra, they "slapped a set list with six BLACK FLAG song titles onto an amp and the crowd rushed back."This is how shows are supposed to end. (Writer's Note: The footage gets a little shaky a la Cloverfield at times, but imagine trying to keep a steady hand while you and everyone around you are losing your collective shit.)

( via p4k, CoS, newestra)

Fine Fine American Television

This has been rumored about for many internet centuries, and while it always seemed plausible it also seemed a little unlikely. However, this is actually happening. Behold, a preview for the new season of Beavis & Butthead. With Comic Con going on this weekend, MTV uploaded a taste of what is in store.
It's important to point out that in this new incarnation of the show, the music video commentary has been replaced with commentary on shitty MTV reality programming. Regardless, it's back.
(via p4k)

17 July 2011

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

St. Vincent - Actor (4AD, 2009)
I should point out that the album I purchased was an advanced copy. I picked it up at AKA Records, and it was just a plain case with no art and on the back all there was was a press release with some specs. It's my understanding that real writers receive these in the mail so that they can file their reviews in time for the record's official release date. Nonetheless, it was less than a pack of Mavericks and it works.
"I like when things come out of nowhere and blindside you a little bit. I think any person who gets panic attacks or has an anxiety disorder can understand how things can all of a sudden turn very quickly. I think I'm sublimating that into the music." (Annie Clark pka St. Vincent, excerpted from a newspaper interview.) Actor came out a few months after Merriweather Post Pavilion, Veckatimest, and Two Suns which explains its absence in this space. I could only handle so much those days, and upon further reflection it becomes more and more apparent that the only time and place this album could be honestly listened to is July 2011 in Philadelphia. Lately with this record spinning, I have been transfixed and enamored. The music brims through my headphones. Strings, bass, and a masterful voice. Its delicate enough to dismiss, but in doing so you miss the raw power of it.
As much as this album has been played in the last two weeks there's been a lot of Grinderman as well. Somehow, my twisted convoluted mind pictures Annie Clark and Nick Cave as these siblings in the same line of work. Obviously they are musicians, but in my head they are spies employed by some absurd government agency. They get sent out on these missions, and sometimes the powers that be send them out on the same mission without telling them just to see who does what when they encounter the other. They each have their own style and methodology, but its the same job title with the same hours. NC fills more of the badass role in the agency, and he's good at it but he has to work for every inch. AC, on the other hand, is kind of perfect. She does it even better, and she makes it all seem damn easy.
Research has unearthed that Clark attended the Berklee College of Music for a brief spell, and later on was a member first of the Polyphonic Spree and then joined Sufjan Stevens' touring band before forging ahead solo. This background is in the DNA of this record possibly, or maybe its merely an album that has nothing to do with the past. "I can't see the future, but I know its watching me," goes a line off of "Laughing with a Mouth of Blood" so maybe this is all only about the right now, the here and now. Today, but not tomorrow or yesterday. Shit has happened, and more shit will happen but presently is just happening no shit in the forecast yet.
One of the constants of this record is how well executed it is. She knows exactly what she's doing it seems. In some other interviews and articles out there, Ms. Clark has said that Actor was inspired in some ways by movies like Snow White and Wizard of Oz how she would watch them and try to imagine a new soundtrack for those films. Admittedly, this was something never really picked up by my ears. At times, a sense of wonder can be detected. On "Actor Out of Work", there's a kind of hustle and bustle birthed by a special mind. More than anything else, I hear a talented musician playing several instruments with a voice capable of making strong men melt.
At the risk of going on for too long, this is the last paragraph. Going for succinctness here. "Save Me from What I Want", "Black Rainbow", "Laughing with a Mouth of Blood", "The Party" are the standouts if there could only be a few but the whole record can make you feel ten feet tall.

video: Cults - "Go Outside"

In internet terms this song has been out forever, but it finally has an official moving picture show to accompany the song. I'm a sucker for this song, and this video kind of knocked me back on my heels. Dig.

(via gvsb)

07 July 2011

New Mastodon Album Art

The Hunter, release date still unknown.

New Girls Album

San Francisco stars of the slip stream, Girls, announced today that they will be releasing a new long-player in 2011. Entitled Father, Son, Holy Ghost it will arrive here in the states on the day before September 14th and the day after September 12th courtesy of True Panther.
"I'm still all the same. I still know I have to do it. I still love the songs and writing songs," said a quote from Christopher Owens in the press release. This will more than likely be tremendous on some levels.
Album art is featured prominently above, and the tracklist is as follows.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost:
1. Honey Bunny
2. Alex
3. Die
4. Saying I Love You
5. My Ma
6. Vomit
7. Just a Song
8. Magic
9. Forgiveness
10. Love Like a River
11. Jamie Marie

(i got an email of the press release this morning, but regardless via p4k)

New Dum Dum Girls Album

The date is September 27th, and the title is Only in Dreams. The announcement for those just joining us is that the Dum Dum Girls are releasing their sophomore effort this year via Sub Pop. The chances of this being real good are about the same odds as me smoking a cigarette in the next fifteen minutes. Go ahead and mark your calendars now, and check out the tracklist below.

Only in Dreams:
1. Always Looking
2. Bedroom Eyes
3. Just a Creep
4. In My Head
5. Heartbeat
6. Caught in One
7. Coming Down
8. Wasted Away
9. Teardrops on My Pillow
10. Hold Your Hand

(via p4k)

New Dum Dum Girls Project

This was news a thousand blog years ago, but the release date is right around the corner. Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls has teamed with Tamaryn, and they have single dropping on July 12. The project's moniker is Les Demoniaques, and the first track arriving is a cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain's "Teenage Lust".
The joint will be attainable digitally, and as a flexi disc but the flexi is capped off at 1000 copies and there are no plans for reprints after that. Album art is above, and pre-order business can be done over at True Panther.

(via p4k)