Monday, March 31, 2008

Music Videos: Elbow

Welcome to the song that I'm currently obsessed with. "Grounds For Divorce" is the new single from Elbow and it's pure garage-soul paradise. The video adds a new layer of cool to the song, with the bar setting and cool flashes of special effects give this Black Keys-like song a Flogging Molly-type feel, an amazingly effective combination that no one thought possible.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Music Videos: "E-E-E-E-ECSTASY!!!"

Brace yourself for the funniest semi-fake music video that you will ever see in your entire existence, in this lifetime, in previous lifetimes, and any lifetimes that you have yet to experience. "Summer Heights High" was a brilliant 8-part Australian comedy that will air on HBO in the near future, and you can watch it in its entirety on One of the show's main plots is the story of a narcissistic drama teacher, Mr. G., and how he produces an obliviously tasteless high school musical based on the story of a Summer Heights High student who dies of a drug overdose in the third (or fourth?) episode. This musical that he writes and directs includes the hilarious song "Naughty Girl", about what a tragically slutty girl the ODer was. Since the show ended, a music video of "Naughty Girl" has shown up on Youtube and Myspace, and it's lolz all around.

Mr G - Naughty Girl

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Covers: David Cook isn't that fucking original

Last night on "American Idol", David Cook did a nice job of performing Chris Cornell's arrangement of "Billie Jean". Ryan Seacrest even introduced him by saying "Performing Chris Cornell's version of "Billie Jean"...", but the judges still went on and on raving about how brilliant, brave, and original it was, even though this idea has already been done before and was already proven to have worked. Chris Cornell put this cover on his last solo album, and several brilliant live performances of him doing the song have gone viral on Youtube. This performance from a cover in Sweden alone has 710,000+ hits. And yet, David still took credit for being the innovator behind the whole thing. By the way, David's version is completely soulless compared to Chris's live versions.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Music: The Raconteurs

The Raconteurs ambushed us with a new album this week. As an experiment, Jack White and Co thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if they threw an album on the store shelves less than a month after the album was finished (With no warning). They just wanted to see how people would react to the album with zero marketing and zero hype. It's too soon to tell how well this worked out for them, but we can still talk about the album itself. It's called "Consolers of the Lonely". It's a couple notches below "Icky Thump" and "Broken Boy Soldiers", but still an enjoyable record that's more interesting than most of what's out there right now. Here's "Attention", which I promise you will grow to love after a few listens.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Remixes: Yael Naim kidnaps Feist's Video

Someone smart re-edited Yael Naim's "New Soul" to fit as the audio for Feist's "1234" music video. The jumps in audio are crazy-obvious, but the fluent parts are so entertaining that it doesn't matter. It's sychronized so that Feist's mouth moves as Yael sings, the shifts in the video align with shifts in the song, and the choreography is on beat with the track. It's a fun way to end anyone's Monday-from-hell:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Live Covers: Damien Rice (Hallelujah cover 1443)

Is it possible to have too many covers of "Hallelujah"? It's a brilliant song and all, but yes, it's definitely possible. We overdosed on post-Cohen artists wailing about how love is not a victory march years ago, but every once in a while a cover is good enough to make us reconsider. Witness Damien Rice's amazing cover at Leonard Cohen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. It's the best post-Buckley cover that we've heard so far (Rufus Wainwright's version being his only real competition for the title), because he understands the song so much better than most musicians that attempt it. Most singers try to pump up the big notes as much as possible and make the song sound forced, but people loved Buckley's because of the way he took his time and let the song flow organically. Damien Rice follows this approach as much as he can given his time restraints, and delivers one of the most genuine performances of the song to date.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Trainwreck Covers: Iggy Pop covers Madonna

God, this is painful to watch, but I feel like I need to post it. I found some videos from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction a couple weeks ago, and my soul hurt when I saw the video title "Iggy Pop - Burning Up - Ray of Light". I knew there was no way that that was going to end well, but I watched it anyway, and now I'm sharing this trainwreck with all of you. The band sounds as good as ever, but Iggy looks and sounds so worn down that it's just depressing to watch. Picking Iggy to do Madonna's tribute set seemed so random at first, but after watching this, it's clear that Iggy is the male punk version of Madonna-- he should have stopped a decade ago, but still insists on pretending to be 24 even though he's convincing no one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Remixes: DJ Emergency takes on Alicia Keys

This is one of the best remixes I've heard in months. DJ Emergency remixed "No One" in a way that I would never have expected to work: he strips away all the acoustic instruments and replaces them with a synth-loaded beat more or less inspired by "The Way I Are", and then instead of speeding it up into a full-on dance track, he slows it down even further. The whole thing adds up to a surreal, euphoric effect that's possibly better than the original.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Music: Gnarls Barkley

After weeks of leaks, the new Gnarls Barkley album is finally here. In my opinion, it's better than the first. It's more consistant, more experimental, more unpredictable, and more exciting all around. The clear standouts are "Run", "Who's Gonna Save My Soul", "Charity Case", and "Open Book", but we're just gonna link you to a stream of the whole album:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Live Music: Dropkick Murphys

Happy St Patrick's Day, yall. To celebrate, here's some Dropkick Murphys playing "Rocky Road to Dublin" live and kicking ass every step of the way. Phenomenal performance. Irish pride, bitches.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Playlist: Kill Rock Stars at SXSW

Here's a playlist of artists playing at the Kill Rock Stars showcase tomorrow night. It's the most indie-sounding music you've heard in weeks, but it grows on you quickly. The playlist begins with a Jeff Hanson song that is still one of my all-time favorite indie tracks even five years after I first heard it. Also worth mentioning: "These Two Trees" and "Noise Won't Stop".

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Playlists: Sansa Playground at South by Southwest

South by Southwest is finally here! Unfortunately, those of us stuck outside of Austin will have to settle for the camera phone videos of the shows that will inevitably surface in the next few weeks. Until those start to pop up, you can enjoy some of the iMeem playlists dedicated to the roster of talent playling at the show this year. Here's a playlist of artists playing at the Sansa Playground event, an eclectic set of music that ranges from indie electro to to indie rock to indie blues. Especially notable: "Please Please Man" by Von Bondies and "Lay Down the Law" by Switches.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Covers: Brandi Carlile's "Hallelujah"

Something strange is happening: On iTunes' Top 100 Downloads chart, a 14-year-old classic is kicking the ass of several shitty '08 Top 40 songs. Jeff Buckley's brilliant cover of "Hallelujah" has miraculously become the most downloaded song in all of iTunes, thanks to its recent exposure on American Idol. I personally think Jason Castro's version of the song was completely worthless (whispered, lifeless, breathless), so I decided to post a cover of the song that's actually awesome and hasn't had much exposure yet. It's one of Brandi Carlile's acoustic covers if the song, and it's one of the Top 5 best versions of "Hallelujah" you'll ever hear.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Live Music: Rilo Kiley Boston Avalan show, Pt. 2

The Rilo party continues...

"It's A Hit":

"With Arms Outstretched", which is a hug in indie pop form:

"A Man/Then Me/Then Jim":

"The Moneymaker":

"Spectacular Views" ("IT'S SO FUCKING BEAUTIFUL!"... One of my favorite lyrics of all time, and probably the best use of "fuck" ever in music:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Live Music: Rilo Kiley's Boston Avalon show, Part 1

This Boston Avalon show is the best that I've ever seen Rilo Kiley perform. The show was last September. Every video from the event is a gem at some point or another, so I'm just going to post a few thousand of them. By the way, it never occured to me how many RK songs that I know EVERY SINGLE WORD of until I watched this clips and heard the audience singing along.

"Close Call" and "Portions For Foxes":


"Does He Love You" (Great performance, but shut up audience, it's not that kind of song):

"Breakin Up":

"I Never":

"Silver Lining":

Part 2 one of the best live show bootleg collections that I've ever found on Youtube will be posted on Monday.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Music Videos: Santogold

New Santogold video! "L.E.S. Artistes" is one of my favorite alt-pop songs in months, and I couldn't have been more excited to see a video get released for it. The biggest concern about her when she first surfaced was that she was riding on M.I.A.'s coattails, but everything Santogold puts out proves that she's her own person. Her work is wild and crazy in it's own unique way, and hopefully we'll a lot more from her in '08.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Music Videos: Gnarls Barkley

I'm going to go ahead and declare this as my favorite music video of the year. I really don't care if there are still 10 months left in '08. I really can't imagine what could possibly top this. It's the video for "Run", the lead single from Gnarls Barkley's upcoming second album ("The Odd Couple"). The song itself is fantastic; it's unmistakably Gnarls-sounding, but doesn't come close to mimicking "Crazy". It's wild, fun, different, and smart, and I would be shocked if this song doesn't explode on the radio. Yay for talent in the mainstream!

By the way, in case you haven't heard the story yet, you won't be seeing this mindblowing video on TV. This edit got banned because it ran the risk of giving epileptics seisures. An edited version will air instead, but this crazy-ass "Seven Nation Army"-on-crack version will probably live on as a viral smash hit on Youtube for months and months to come.

Monday, March 3, 2008

New Music: Free Nine Inch Nails Instrumental Album

Following Radiohead and Saul Williams, Nine Inch Nails is now the latest artist to digitally release an album for free. This case is much more interesting than the others, though, because Trent is using the platform to share his most experimental work ever. The full four-part album (entitiled "Ghosts I-IV") contains 36 avant-garde instrumentals (and, believe it or not, "avant-garde" is NOT a euphemism for nonsensical crap in this case) that were composed and produced by Trent and a few other collaborators over ten weeks. "Ghost I", the first nine tracks, is available for free download on NIN's website and the others are available for five dollars. I downloaded the first nine, it was glad I took the time to do it. Most of it's not at all recognizable as NIN, but fans of Saul Williams' Trent-produced last album will instantly recognize Trent's wild production style. He takes the craziest noises he can find and makes wild, complex beats out of them, and layers miles of noise-damaged riffs on top of it to form surprising new sounds. This album will probably mean nothing to a lot of people, but producers, DJs, and fans of experimental music will love it. Here's tracks 6-8 (All tracks are untitled) for a sample.