Monday, February 27, 2006

Division Day
















Division Day is made up of Kevin Lenhart (drums), Ryan Wilson (guitar), Seb Bailey (bass/vocals), and Rohner Segnitz (vocals/keys). They have received a lot of love around the blogosphere, and for good reason. I'm always excited to hear new music; however, genuine niceness goes a long way. Kevin from Division Day has perfected the art of sending out the sweetest emails politely requesting people to listen to his band.

On Thursday I received Divison Day's EP The Mean Way In and it quickly became my weekend soundtrack. The EP hits the ground running with "Bad Black Moon." If songs could shimmer, then this one definitely would. It has a catchy, melodic chorus and a lush echoing effect. Rohner's voice is breathy and sweet and whispers over words that are anything but.
Division Day's full-length Beartrap Island is set to be released in March. Until then, check out the tracks below:
(right click, and "save as" for both above tracks)

Be Division Day's MySpace friend. They're nice guys.
Purchase the EP The Mean Way In here.

When the boys from Division Day make their way to New York, I'll be there to scream hello.

Don't forget...




Help WOXY.COM reach its fundraising goal. It was only two years ago when WOXY had its final broadcast on the FM station 97 X. My ex-boyfriend cried tears on that day in May. Honest. Help WOXY.COM stay on the Internet and sign up for a monthly membership for only $9.95 a month. Keep the music going... and my ex from crying again.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ciaran Flynn


















Ireland's Ciaran Flynn plays what he describes as "folky Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen." To me, that means Ciaran Flynn is a storyteller. "Stay the Night" is from his EP New York Sessions, and I think it represents Ciaran Flynn's ability to draw out the poignant parts of a simple situation.
You can also stream more tracks at Ciaran Flynn's MySpace page.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Great Day












I haven't had the chance to celebrate properly, but I found out last week that I was accepted into the University of Wisconsin-Madison's doctoral program in English. That's pretty hot stuff. So, today I had a "me day" and did a bunch of stuff that makes me feel good to be alive, good to be in New York, and good to be a prospective Wisconsin grad student. To that end, I had an overpriced lunch at Whole Foods, fed my coffee addiction at Ninth Street Espresso (my latest favorite coffee house in the city), and got lost in the Strand Bookstore. I felt very scholarly.

I also celebrated by (re)listening to some tunes that are currently rotating non-stop on iTunes. Here are some for you to enjoy at your leisure.

Madvillain: Great Day (Four Tet Remix)
Mainly because today was a great day, but also MF Doom has an amazing flow on this track. Four Tet did a fabulous job remixing "Great Day." It sounds so easy. So laid back. So great.... even if everything MF Doom's rapping about isn't so great.

Ciaran Flynn: Girl Living in New York City
Many thanks go to my new Last.fm friend smansmith (who uses real names nowadays?). He recommended Irish folk singer Ciaran Flynn to me just the other day, and now this song is quickly becoming a favorite. Maybe it's because "Girl Living in New York City" sums up how I feel about Manhattan in less than two minutes.

Jens Lekman: Maple Leaves
Jens Lekman makes me smile. I like how his easy, lounge-y voice trips over the layered beats and sampled tracks. Plus, the lyrics are simple and beautiful. "If you don't take my hand, I'll lose my mind completely..." Come on. How can you resist? This song has made its rounds throughout the blogosphere; however, I think it's meant to be enjoyed many times over.

Harlem Shakes: A Night
I think this song is pure shake your indie bum. It's catchy and infectious, and raw.

I'm going to cap off my day of celebration by eating tons of (Wisconsin) cheese at the French bistro Artisanal and (finally) seeing the Undisputed Heavyweights at Piano's.

If I see you there, we should toast to Wisconsin!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lupen Crook

"Whereas folk music is traditionally seen as a means to give voice to the ideas of everyday people, Crook takes those common ideas and shines his own metaphorical black light upon them, exposing what are oftentimes unsettling notions about things which have long been taken for granted." -- Under the Radar Magazine
















British singer-songwriter Lupen Crook is 3 parts disturbing and 7 parts intriguing. He writes folk music that definitely takes a walk on the dark side; topics such as suicide, rape, and dead animals aren't really first choice topics for pop music nowadays. However, I like Lupen Crook's simplistic style which is highly noticable in "Urban Fox Hunting." There's lots of guitar with an organ rounding out the sound at the end.
You can stream more songs at Lupen Crook's MySpace page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More Irving & McKean


















Here's another song from Irving's upcoming album Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers. Dig the indie dance-ability.
And because Finian's great & Patrick, too...























Finian McKean and Patrick Brennan are playing at the Cakeshop on Sunday, February 26th. It will be a nice way to put the weekend to bed.

True Love Weighs a Ton

















A tortured love song from the UK three-piece The Research. With its folky strings and softly, layered female vocals, "True Love" is like a secret roll in the hay.
Around the blogs...
Dreams of Horses has Petra Haden's cover of "Thriller."

Skatterbrain posted another Paper Airplanes track titled "Curious Phantasm."

Hello Gina has an amazing track from the Danish band Tiger Tunes titled "(Angry Kids of the World) Unite." This song will remind you why it is necessary to dance every day. Stop reading and go get it now.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

China's Indie Music Scene


Today I received an email from Ian Sherman of Tag Team Records. It was a PR email with a different twist: This record label promotes Chinese indie bands. Hmmm. The goal of Tag Team Records is to "broaden the scope of DIY/Independent music as the world knows it through releasing culturally relevant, like-minded artists from unlikely locations on an international scale." To that end, Tag Team Records features bands from Norway, Holland, and China. China. I guess China has a small, yet burgeoning indie music scene. I have to be honest and admit that I'm a sucker for lyrics, which makes it really difficult for me to get into the tracks posted on Tag Team's web site. Taking German and French in high school doesn't pay off when you're listening to songs in Mandarin. However, I do appreciate the atmospheric quality to the songs I selected for this post. Check out the mp3s from Tag Team's Lonely China Day and Du Yun. I especially like the Du Yun track.

Lonely China Day: Thou
Du Yun: Stay

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Irving

Irving is Alex Church (bass), Steven Scott (guitar), Brian Canning (guitar), Brent Turner (drums), and Aaron Burrows (keyboards). They have a critically eclaimed LP and EP under their belts and are about to release their second LP Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers. I think the boys of Irving are super talented and their EP I Hope You're Feeling Better Now is a personal favorite. Irving's music shows that indie pop can be intelligent, witty, and danceable.

Irving is currently on tour promoting their upcoming release. I'm looking forward to the album, and their bio definitely talks it up: "Death In The Garden, Blood On The Flowers is the result of five musicians and their distinct influences, bound by an uncanny knack for melody and harmony.... Irving corrals its many distinct influences into a clear vision. From the oblique percussive start of the title track, to the psych-pop chaos of "Situation" to the so-bizarre-it-works background breathing on "I Want To Love You In My Room," the band pulls unforgettable hooks out of the most unlikely places."

Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers will be released on April 4th; however, Eenie Meenie Records will have the upcoming album on presale soon.

From Blood in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers:Situation
From I Hope You're Feeling Better: I Can't Fall in Love
From Good Morning Beautiful: Turn of the Century

I can no longer make promises about seeing bands since my snotty loved ones like to foil my plans; however, you can promise to catch Irving on tour.

March 12: The Casbah (San Diego, CA)
March 13: Plush (Tucson, AZ)
March 15: SXSW - Velvet Spade Patio (Austin, TX)
March 17: SXSW - Moonshine (Austin, TX)
April1: Kilby Court w/ Jana Hunter (Salt Lake City, UT)
April 2: Hi Dive w/ Jana Hunter (Denver, CO)
April 7: MACRock Festival w/ Voxtrot (Harrisonburg, VA)
April 8: DC9 w/ Voxtrot (Washington, DC)
April 9: Mercury Lounge w/ Voxtrot (New York, NY)
April 10: Mercury Lounge w/ Voxtrot (New York, NY)
April 11: LuLu Wang Center w/ Voxtrot (Wellesley, MA)
April 12: La Sala Rossa w/ Voxtrot (Montreal, QC)
April 13: Sneaky Dee's w/ Voxtrot (Toronto, ON)
April 14: Lager House w/ Voxtrot (Detroit, MI)
April 22: Emo's w/ Voxtrot (Austin, TX)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Paper Airplanes & Emma Burgess & My Sister & the Box in the Basement

Paper Airplanes...


Dave likes to post and post about Paper Airplanes. I followed his advice and checked out some of the band's music. Now I also have to agree: Paper Airplanes is one of the best underrated bands out there. "The Fences" begins quietly and swells until it bursts into an arrangement of crashing symbols and competing guitars. It's lovely.
Buy their album Boyhood from Interpunk.

Emma Burgess...

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Emma Burgess writes pretty music. I don't know much about her, but I think these tracks are worth a listen... or two, or three.
Visit Emma Burgess's MySpace page.

My sister...
My sister and I have very different tastes in music, and rarely do we find a band let alone a song that we both like. However, she played the track "Unwritten" by British popstress Natasha Bedingfield, and I can't get out of my head. It's nothing but sugar. It makes your teeth hurt. But I find myself going back for more. I think it's the gospel choir at the end. Gospel choirs and cow bells are selling points. Who knows why.
Does he like butter tarts...
When I was home in December, I found a box of my old CDs from high school and college. Some albums were embarassingly bad and need to be destroyed (umm... Temple of the Dog, anyone?) , and others were just great... even if some border on embarassing and/or bad. I posted a few tracks from some the albums in the box.

New Radicals: Give What You Give
Len: Steal My Sunshine
Buffalo Tom: Soda JerkLetters to Cleo: Here and Now
Love Spit Love: Am I Wrong
Jeff Buckley: Last Kiss Goodbye
Jawbox: Cooling Card
Jayhawks: Blue
Superchunk: Unbelievable Things
Sunvolt: Drown
EMF: Unbelievable

having

As I explained to Wes the other day, my second graders are really fond of snot. They like to watch it dribble out of their noses. They stretch it, roll it, and clap it. They like to put it down, switch it, and reverse it. Because of this, I live in a constant state of sickness. Yesterday, I took the day off from work, which was a good thing since I lost my voice... again. Normally, I become a Cranky McCrankster when I'm holed up in my apartment all day. However, I devoted Friday to throwing myself a sicky pity party and listening to new music. I had some new albums that I hadn't had the chance to listen to truly and full-heartedly, and now I'm a much better person for it.


trespassers william is Matt Brown, Ross Simonini, Jamie Williams, and Anna-Lynne Williams. Together they create one of the most melancholy, dream-like landscapes with word and sound. Rock Sound describes Anna-Lynne's voice as: "immediately lovable and her inconsolable world-weariness completely convincing. Moving, even. Each song unfolds through a swathe of reverb and allows Anna-Lynne acres of space to express her woes with quiet dignity." trespassers williams remind me a bit of Aimee Mann. The songs are tender and painful; yet, the despair is presented in a way that makes dwelling in loneliness a lovely state in which to be.
trespassers william's third album having will be released on February 28th. While you wait, download their Live Session EP from iTunes, stream some songs from having, and be their MySpace friend.

A Brief Smile...


Rachael is on a mission to make A Brief Smile the biggest band ever. The band sent Rachael a few rough cuts from their upcoming album and she has them posted for our listening pleasure. Although the tracks are unmastered, I think they sound great: full of energy, dancey, and fun.

A Brief Smile is playing a sold out show at the Bowery Ballroom this month with the Fray and Cary Brothers. They are also playing a show in March at Rothko on March 8th with Say Hi to Your Mom and The Head Set.
Thanks again, Rachael, for the new tracks!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I got a letter from the government


Since it's a snow day in New York City, I've spent a good part of my day watching episodes of Sleeper Cell. I was officially sold on the show after episode 5, which closes with Tricky's remake of Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos." The opening line is a classic and needs to go down as one of the best in the cannon of musical history.

Tricky: Black Steel
Public Enemy: Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos

And just for good measure...
The Pharcyde: Officer

So, "Officer" is not as socially conscious as "Black Steel"; however, The Pharcyde does a hilarious reference back to the original.

Enjoy the snow!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lovesick

The Arrogants, who have provided the soundtrack for my non-existant love life, would like to provide the background music for yours. Their third full-length album You've Always Known Best When to Say Goodbye... is a 23-song love ballad. The songs vary from sweet, to poppy, to moody and mellow. One Chord described lead singer Jana Heller's voice as "a voice that lightens hearts and make the crews of icebreakers unemployed with it's melting power."

Purchase this CD from Tweekitten for only $7.50 plus shipping. You can also download the entire CD through Paypal.

I Want You
Wishing Well
Butterflies

Thursday: One step closer to Friday.

It's almost Friday, and that's celebration enough.


Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros: Mondo Bongo

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ultraviolet

I posted about Nest a few months ago; however, that was before I had the chance to listen to their EP Nest from beginning to end. I still think Ayana's lyrics are soul-crushing, but the EP takes the beginnings and endings of romance full circle.











Stream songs from their EP. Or better yet, buy a copy for yourself.

Odds and ends...

Chan Marshall cancelled her shows, but these New Yorkers are still going strong:

Finian Mckean: Black Hole
Saturday, February 11th at Mo Pitkins

Beat Radio: A Million Miles
Grand National: Drink to Moving On (not from NYC, but...)
Wednesday, February 15th at Hiro Ballroom

The Undisputed Heavyweights: Roll Your Windows Down
Thursday, February 16th at Southpaw

Dirty on Purpose: To Forget
Friday, February 17th at Northsix

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Renew Orleans


For those of you still looking for ways to help the city New Orleans rebuild after Hurricaine Katrina, considering giving to the New Orleans Musicians Hurracaine Relief Fund. The NOMHF is committed to aiding the city's musicians in rebuilding and perserving the city's rich musical history.

Members of Rebirth Brass Band

Last month, my friends Bill and Katie were married in New Orleans. While I was there, I saw inspiring signs of life amid the devestation. The French Quarter and the Garden District are in tact and businesses were open although with shortened hours and staff. The Rebirth Brass Band played at Bill and Katie's reception. For those of you not familiar with brass bands, this is the equivalent of coming home and saying, "Oh, Sufjan Stevens played at my friend's wedding." The night was amazing with everyone second lining around the reception hall and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. It was also great to see these musicians back at what they love: making music. Rebirth will be playing this summer at the Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival in Tennessee. Rebirth will be playing with the likes of Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, and Cat Power, to name a few. Make sure you check out Rebirth if you have the chance.

Photograph from the Ninth Ward

However, there is still a long way to go, and the city's residents still need support. The amount of debris and refuse that still remains to be hauled away is staggering, and some of the neighborhoods resemble ghost towns. I went with friends to visit the Ninth Ward, one of the hardest hit areas in the city. The level of destruction there is staggering, and literally leaves you speechless.




I also had the chance to visit Fisk-Howard Elementary, where I began my teaching career. Most of the schools are unlocked, and some have people who are squatting inside the buildings. However, the amount of toxic mold and water damage makes it unhealthy to be inside for too long. I was inside of Fisk-Howard for less than five minutes before breathing became difficult. The most unsettling part of touring my school was the feeling that time had stopped. Classrooms were obviously left with the intention of students and teachers returing on Monday morning. Chalkboards still showed weekend homework assignments, pencils were waiting to be sharpened, and textbooks were open on tables.

A hallway at Fisk-Howard Elementary

A classroom in Fisk-Howard Elementary
Notice the mold taking over the classroom

I have tremendous hopes for New Orleans and know that it can be renewed to be an even stronger and amazing city. I also know that part of the rebuilding involves perserving New Orleans' rich music history. Do what you can.

Other music relief organizations:
New Orleans Music Resources
Musicians are encouraged to post their contact information to stay connected to the New Orleans music community. Links to other available resources

Katrina's Piano Fund
A network of New Orleans music industry professionals working one-on-one to deliver instruments to musicians who need them

Musicares
Offers assistance to musicians and links to other available services

WWOZ
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage radio with internet broadcasts, a list of safe New Orleans musicians, and community news

Tipitina's Foundation
Finding housing, instruments, and gigs for New Orleans musicians

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Lock your doors

Today was turning out to be a bad day. It's raining and gross outside, and my socks are wet. I can't go home and change my socks because I've locked myself out of my apartment. This has all led up to a very difficult conversation with my super who doesn't understand why I need to get back in my apartment today, or tomorrow for that matter. However, he has grudgingly agreed to let me in... sometime... later... hopefully... tonight. To kill time, I'm currently holed up in a coffeehouse where two 10 year olds are playing the sitar and bongos. Being a teacher, I should probably be very supportive of their artistic endeavors. However, frankly put: they're not that good.


However, things are looking up after listening to the Lock Your Doors EP from the LA-band Tandemoro. Started by Mike Griffin and Mike Schanzlin, Tandemoro is dedicated to 1) free music and 2) getting people to dance at their live shows. See what you think...

Lock Your Doors

You can download Tandemoro's EPs Lock Your Doors and Drop Us a Line here.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Cassettes Won't Listen

Here's a new track from Cassettes Won't Listen, aka Jason Drake. It's a little teaser for more good things to come on the next EP. Maybe I'm a wee bit biased because he lived in New Orleans for a while, but I forsee more great music to come.

Tonight is Gone


If you haven't checked out Cassettes Won't Listen's EP Nobody's Moving, you can sample some tracks here. I like the Nobody's Moving EP. URB likes the EP. Garbageband.com likes the EP. Soon you'll like the EP and want to download it from iTunes.

And to all you New Yorkers: Cassettes Won't Listen is hosting a contest to win two tickets to his February 23rd at Piano's. All you have to do is sign up to be his MySpace friend. I guess you can bribe friends with candy.

Odds and ends...
Bears has a new and improved web site to go along with their first album, which will be released in March.

Laughter

Josh Rouse: Laughter.
During finals week of my senior year of college, I found myself lying on the dirty carpeted floor of my college radio station's office. The ceiling, with its water damage and holes, was very interesting at the moment. Maybe it was because I was drunk off of 46 hours of no sleep. Or maybe I was suddenly thinking on a much "higher and deeper level" and was experiencing the whole we're-never-going-to-see-each-other-again phenomenon that hits the average senior in college. Whatever it was, I remember the sounds of quiet feedback and a steady drumbeat filling the four corners of the room. I remember swinging my feet and keeping the beat with a steady tap on my legs. I remember Brendan freezing in his swivel chair, and Maureen shushing Shalini with a quiet hand on her knee. And then the words came: "I think I got it all figured out, I think I've got it made..." Again, it could have been the moment, the people, the place; however, "Laughter" reminded us that we've got it made. We have plans. We are safe.


Josh Rouse is set to release a new album on March 21st titled Subtitulo. This is all very good news.

From Subtitulo: Quiet Town

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thanks, Dan.

This is me.

This is my friend Dan.

Dan's Mandatory Indie Music Listening List: Part One
Aloha: You've Escaped
Iron and Wine: Naked as We Came
Saturday Looks Good to Me: Lift Me Up
The Ponys: Little Friends
Pinback: Fortress
Dirty on Purpose: Mind Blindness
Rogue Wave: Every Moment
Wolf Parade: Grounds for Divorce
Fausdots: The Extremists