Friday, August 31, 2007

Remixes: Bitter:Sweet's Blackjoy Remix

Damn you iMeem and your 30-second samples! I may not be able to find a place to embed the Blackjoy Remix of Bitter:Sweet's "The Mating Game", but I can link to where you can buy it. It's a 6-minute long remix, and not a second is wasted. Just as good as the original, if not better.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Acoustic: Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Gold Lion" (Sad version)

Here's one of those acoustic versions that completely turns the original song inside-out. "Gold Lion" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was an amazingly fun song that made you want to jump up and down with the "Ooh-ooh! Ooh-ooh! OOH-ooh!" (fans of the song know what I'm talking about). Then, they recorded an acoustic version for the iTunes store that turned it into a tragic ballad that sounds completely different, but still very recognizable. Amazing stuff. YYY's label banned their full songs from iMeem, but you can buy the whole song here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New music Tuesday: Aesop Rock and Collective Soul

Aesop Rock, definitely one of the most amazing artists in the Alt-Hip Hop world right now is back with new album "None Shall Pass". The title track has damn good lyrics, and I really have no idea how this guy is able to put words together the way he does. The distant, trip-hop-like beat also really adds a lot to the song. The best new song of the week:

By the way, "Float" is an amazing album, and you need to buy it right now.

Also in hip hop, Nelly's new single "Wadsyaname" was released yesterday. It's not bad. I won't spend too much space on it since you've probably already heard it on the radio by now:

Finally, Collective Soul's new album "Afterwords" is now available. I couldn't find anything from the album on iMeem or Odeo, but here's the iTunes link to check out what the album sounds like. It's pretty good, and isn't nearly as pop-sounding as its first single "Hollywood" made it seem.

Next week: Hard-Fi and Calvin Harris.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Random Track of the Day: Curve

If you're a fan of Garbage and want to hear the band that they borrowed their sound from, here's Curve. They had a lot of success in the UK during the 90s, but a lot of people I talk to hear in the states don't know much about them. "Gift" and "Come Clean" are two of my favorite albums, and here's "Gift"'s opening track, "Hell Above Water" on iMeem. It sounds like a really amazing B-Side right off of "Version 2.0".

Monday, August 27, 2007

Live Covers: Ben Folds covers Liz Phair

I actually don't know where this came from, but I found an audio recording of Ben Folds covering "Chopsticks", a song from Liz Phair's second album "Whip-Smart". It just makes me laugh when everyone in the audience screams and cheers with joy when he delivers the line "We can fuck amd watch TV..."

Friday, August 24, 2007

B-Sides: Nine Black Alps

Last year, before releasing "Everything Is", the Nine Black Alps put out a self-titled EP that caught a lot of peoples attention. Most of the EP later showed up on "Everything Is", the only modification being that "Cosmopolitan" was re-recorded in a different key. However, "Attraction", both the second best song on the EP (the original "Cosmopolitan" being the best) and the song introduced me to the band, was left off the album. It's as good as anything else on the album, but was probably held back because the tone was so different from everything else on the LP. In case you missed the EP, here's "Attraction" on iMeem:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Covers: Garbage does Ramones

Here's the thing about covers; to quote a wise man named Keith Malley,
"You can always make a song rock harder". That's what Garbage did when they covered "I Just Wanna Have Something to Do" at a Ramones tribute show. They took a simple mid-tempo punk song, pumped it up to 150 BPM, slapped some electric guitars on it, and made it a different song. A song that rocked harder. Your mileage may vary on whether you like this version better, depending on your tolerance for Shirley Manson, but if you like both Garbage and Ramones, you WILL love this. Just so you know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Random track of the day: Blaqk Audio

Blaqk Audio's album "Cexcells" was released last week, and I forgot about it. If you don't know about them, Blaqk Audio is an electro-rock band side project of some members of A.F.I., the only emo-looking band from the '00s that I really have no problem with. The vocals on "Cexcells" do nothing for me, but the production on the beats and instrumentals is amazing. I bought the entire album on iTunes just so I can pull the songs apart and use samples of the instrumentals. Check it out on iMeem.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New music Tuesday: Imperial Teen, Rilo Kiley, Imperial Teen, MIA, New Pornographers...

Lots of new stuff today. It's a big week for indie rock.

First of all, Rilo Kiley and MIA's new albums were released today. We told you about "Kala" last Wednesday and "Under the Blacklight" yesterday, so check out those posts for more info.

Imperial Teen is finally back after a five year hiatus with "The Hair, The TV, The Baby, and The Band", an album named after the projects that IT's members worked on during their hiatus. The album is more of the simple, happy-making indie rock we've come to expect from them. It's fun, but not much of a step forward for the band. It's probably the safest thing to do after coming off a long break, but hopefully their next album is a little more adventurous. Their website,, was relaunched today, and you can listen to four of their new songs. Here's the album's first single, "Shim Sham":

The New Pornographers new album "Challengers" is now available. It has the same problem as Imperial Teen's new record: entertaining, but more of the same from them. Here's the opening track, "My Right Versus Yours":

I'm pretty much ODed on indie rock now. Not much gets released until September 11 when Kanye and 50 face off with new albums, with only VHS or Beta, Calvin Harris, and a UK Hard-Fi release dropping until then.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Rilo Kiley: Best of "Under the Blacklight"

Rilo Kiley's new album, "Under the Blacklight", is now available for streaming on Myspace. It's a great album, and people who hated "The Moneymaker" will probably be relieved by how non-sellout the album is. The sound of the album is exactly halfway between "Moneymaker" and "More Adventurous", so their sound evolves without being completely changed. They also do a little experimenting with synths, which doesn't always work, but they pull it off a few times. And also, the lyrics are just as amazing as what you would expect from Jenny Lewis. Turns out that "Moneymaker" didn't mean that RK has given up on good lyrics; they just made a superficial song about a superficial industry (porn). In other words, I was right. The rest of the album has A+ songwriting. Most of the album is about the dark side of sex; porn in "Moneymaker", hookers in "Close Call", accidentally having sex with 15 year olds in "15", and probably other stuff I missed the first time. "Dreamworld" is easily my favorite song on the album, and will be on top of the Myspace playlist tomorrow. It's probably my favorite new song to come out since "The Way I Are" showed up in April. My only problem with it is that it's so hard to understand the lyrics. Blake's vocals are hushed and hypnotic, which totally works sonically, but you can't hear the amazing lyrics. They're the kind of lyrics that smart and tight, and you can't really completely understand what they're about, but they're intriguing enough to make you want to know. I googled up the lyrics, and they're at the bottom of this playlist. Here's three of the best songs on the album, uploaded to since hates me today. If all you see is a white box, click on "Launch Standalone player" and you'll see the working playlist in a popup window.



she was the girl with the string around her neck,
with the boy who could only give her less.
it could be more if she learned to never expect,
and now she's her and him and then a baby next.

the wedding bells won't ring, but she couldn't care less,
you exist, when you're living in a dreamworld.

he grew up drinking milk from the cow, from the farm.
he was the traitor's father's father's father.
his father made him go give back to his country.
he gave his both knees, his overseas to fight the disease.

it's spreading fast over maps and it don't look back,
when you're living in a dreamworld.

it is a lion's science fiction wings,
just like a jolly dizzy for zero, one, three times
the size of the people that came before.
me and you and what we'd do for money.

this greed and jealousy turn to need.
see, i'm a man with a plan to use my hands.
i'm touching yours, you're the girl who wanted more.
now baby, the story has faded from love to lie.

the clover under your feet is shooting stars in the night.
the people under your feet are shooting stars in the night.
the people, all that you meet, they're living in a dreamworld.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Covers: Maroon 5 does Oasis (surprisingly well)

I'm not really Maroon 5's biggest fan. Actually, I thought that their last album was soulless crap compared to what they proved to be capable of on "Songs About Jane". I just have a problem with bands settling for much less than what they're able to do. But sometimes I get reminded that they actually are a good band who's just been a little lazy the last year or two. They covered Oasis's "Don't Look Back in Anger", and did a surprisingly good job. It's acoustic and doesn't have the "big sound" of the original, but Adam Levine performs it well. Hopefully they can get some of this skill together for a better third album.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Album stream alert: MIA on Myspace

If you go to MIA's Myspace page, you'll notice that instead of listing a genre in the header, it just says "Other". MIA's the only artist I can think of (except Bjork, who I can't stand 99% of the time) who is so out there that you can't assign a genre to her. The only reason I even label MIA-related posts as "Pop" is because I have to call it something. Myspace is now streaming MIA's entire new album, "Kala", for the entire week before it's release next Tuesday. I didn't have much time to listen to it, but it sounds like it's the kind of fun insanity we've come to expect from her. The only thing holding it back is that doesn't have any clear standouts for singles like "Galang" or "Bucky Done Gun". The only Kala track I really didn't like was "Mango Pickle Down", which I really didn't get. You can listen to the whole album and judge for yourself at:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Music: Matt Nathanson, Wyclef Jean, and John Lennon

It's mostly a slow week for new music, but a few good things came out today. First, Matt Nathanson's sixth album, "Some New Hope", was officially released. It was leaked a few months ago, but you can officially buy the album at iTunes now. It's a good album, and he hasn't lost any energy after 6 records. You can listen to the entire album at VH1's website. For fans of: "Execution of All Things" by Rilo Kiley, "Under the Iron Sea" by Keane, and "Everyone's In Everyone" by Patrick Park. Best track: "Car Crash":

Also, Wyclef Jean has a new single featuring Akon, Lil Wayne, and Mia. It's called "Sweetest Girl", and it's better than I thought it was going to be. Nothing amazing, but it sounds good enough. If this gets sold right, it could easily be a hit single.

powered by ODEO

Also, just an alert that the John Lennon catalog has FINALLY been made available for online purchase.

This is really slow week, but next Tuesday the blog will explode when new albums by Imperial Teen, M.I.A., The Flaming Lips, Rilo Kiley, and The New Pornographers are released.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Live covers: Paolo Nutini covers Gnarls Barkley (Well)

"Crazy" is a difficult song to cover, mostly because musicians try to imitate Cee-Lo's voice/style and fail. Or they are too flat and put no emotion into it (See Nelly Furtado) or pussify it until the song is just annoying (See Justin Timberlake). Paolo Nutini covered this song last year and did a great job of avoiding that trap. He makes the song his own, and his version could have easily been a hit single off of "These Streets" if Gnarls Barkley hadn't come first. His cover is from a performance at the Zomerparkfeesten in Venlo, Holland, and he seems like an amazing live performer. His North American tour starts in September, and I'm willing to sell my first-born child to get a ticket to his St Louis show on October 14. He's hitting 30-something cities in the States and Canada, and you can find the full list at his Myspace page.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Remixes: Better Than Ezra

Yes, I know Better Than Ezra is very 10 years ago. But I'm not going to care for the next five minutes, and if you like remixes, you should do the same. "Juicy", from 2005's "Before the Robots", is so different and so far out of left field for BTE that it doesn't even sound like one of their songs, and that's even more true for the remix. It's the good kind of remix; it makes the song more exciting and dynamic without destroying it with reverb and effects. It came from an EP of four other remixes of this song. You can buy any of the remixes from that EP here.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Live Music: Jesus and Mary Chain

There aren't that many bands from 20 years ago that still sound amazing when they perform live in 2007. Fortunately, Jesus and Mary Chain is one of those bands. I found plenty of Youtube vids of their Coachella reunion earlier this year that had shit audio quality, but I finally found one that sounds clear. It's "Head On", and it sounds just as good as it was on the album recorded 18 YEARS AGO.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Music Videos: New M.I.A.

M.I.A. has a new single and video, and it's as insane as you would expect. I don't exactly get it, but the video is fun to stare at. I actually liked the first Kala single better, but I'm pretty sure I'm alone on that opinion. Here it is so you can judge for yourself.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Acoustic: Smashing Pumpkins

Unpopular opinion: I always thought Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" was boring and their most overrated song. Can't help it, I just never really cared about it. While I was going through someone's acoustic playlist on iMeem, I came across an acoustic version of "1979", and couldn't believe how much I loved the acoustic version. I don't know how stripping away all the extra instruments and production made the song seem less boring to me, but it really did. Something about the acoustic version is less distant and more genuine.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Covers: Mat Weddle Acoustifies "Hey Ya"

This might be my favorite cover ever. I loved the original "Hey Ya", but never heard a good cover of it. Razorlight's was hillarious, but embarassing. Supersuckers' version was fun but dumb. But Mat Weddle from the band Obadiah Parker did a cover that sounds like the complete opposite of the original, but it's still recognizable as "Hey Ya". It's a different kind of amazing. Actually, this is from a year ago, and I feel like an idiot for not knowing about it until last weekend, but at least I found it eventually. I don't know why hip-hop-to-acoustic-indie covers are the best covers, but they really are.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Random Track of The Day: Bitter:Sweet

Bitter:Sweet is probably the best electronic artist to come out in the last couple years. Probably because their music is synthesized without sounding like techno. They've developed their own unique sound, and they're proof that not all electronic music soulless crap. You've probably already heard "The Mating Game" on a couple of a commercials, even if you don't realize it. It was the title track for their 2006 debut album, a fun and diverse album that also includes "Dirty Laundry".

By the way, here's "The Mating Game" in case you don't recognize it by name:

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Live Remixed Covers: Smash-Up Derby

Yeah, you read that right. Smash-Up Derby, a band out of San Francisco, isn't like any other band; they take DJ's mashups and adapt them to perform them live with their own vocals. Their favorite mashups are the ones with classic rock or alt rock instrumentals under pop vocals. They uploaded a bunch of their videos to Youtube. The strangest one is the "Billie Jean"/"Smells Like Teen Spirit" mashup. I have no idea what I would think if I didn't know what was going on first.

Also, here's the original mashup on iMeem. The audio quality of the vocals is horrible and miles apart from the instrumental, but the concept is genius:

The other really cool mashup the Derby did was their version of the "Sweet Dreams" vs "Seven Nation Army" mashup. The video cuts it off halfway through, but what's there is pretty good:

I couldn't find an original version for that one, but it would be awesome if it existed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Live Music: Radiohead

Here's a video of Radiohead performing a Jools Holland show in 1997. The song is "Airbag", and it's more proof that Thom Yorke just doesn't know how to suck.