Monthly Archives: August 2010

Taking Sufjan to Record School

Remember the days when late ’90s britpop bands would release all sorts of B-sides on their CD singles, but they’d be inexplicably split into three CDs? Turns out it wasn’t just an attempt to squeeze money from desperate Radiohead-ites. Back in the days when vinyl laid the roost, it was not uncommon to see “Maxi singles” with several extra tracks on the B-side. Even more if it was were [took myself to subjunctive school] a 12″ rather than a 7″ single.

At first, CDs followed suit and featured several tracks, but in 1998, after complaints from non-remixing dance acts, the UK Chart Supervisory Committee reduced the maximum running time from forty minutes to twenty, though vinyl was still allowed forty minutes. The result, for bands that still wanted to release large number of B-sides with their singles, was the multiple CD morass, with a single being released multiple time. In 2003, they changed the rules again to allow forty mintues, but at that point, who was buying CDs anymore?

The likely Masonic-linked (lie) UK Chart Supervisory Committee also has rules about EPs. Anything longer than 25 minutes or four tracks (excluding multiple versions) is an LP.

Which brings us to Sufjan Stevens, who dropped his All Delighted People EP on an unexpecting world on Friday. Sure, it’s great. Beautiful and familiar, yet taking his music to new sonic places. For instance, the overlapping guitars beauty of “Heirloom,” with its haunting promise that “when you walk inside I feel the door.” But EP? C’mon, now: 8 tracks, 60+ minutes? Fess up, Mr. Stevens, your five-year silence is over: this is a follow up to Illinois, an LP. And a good one. So sayeth the Holy Society of the UK Chart.

Sufjan Stevens, “Heirloom”

Stream All Delighted People FREE at Bandcamp or buy it for an EP-priced $5.

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Keep MGMT Weird: New Video for "Congratulations"

My opinion of MGMT and Congratulations has continued to rise since I fell for it (via the radio!) in June. And their tender scifi beast of burden video for titular and album-ending “Congratulations” continues to make me forget their saccharine debut.

[Buy Congratulations]

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New Lupe Fiasco, without comment

Okay one comment: awesome.

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Nina Simone answers with a rich girl

On Thursday, I made the claim that Nina Simone, despite her unwavering brilliance, would not be a wise choice for Hot Tub Rock Show time machine shows.

Nina Simone? You’re gonna take a chance on one of her notorious flipouts?

And then I run across this live version of Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl.” Which destroys the version from Baltimore in every way.

Yum yum yum. Crow sandwich. So delicious. Thanks for bringing it back to Philly, Nina.

Nina Simone, “Rich Girl (live, London, UK, 12/1972) [via Asian Dan via Philebrity]

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"Yeah, go on and run tell your li'l buoyfreen…"

I hereby submit to MinuteMusic Cee-Lo Green’s forthcoming single, “Fuck You.”

It seems the entire internet started bumping this today.  And surely the radio will soon follow, just as soon as they can figure out how to deal with the lyrics.  However, I think this record will get most of its spins as this fall’s ubiquitous club banger.  (Hey Ya much?)  Indeed, whatever pop music conjurer was behind the production managed to combine classic soul tropes just so, ruthlessly tickling our pleasure centers and triggering our replay instincts (and rendering those troublesome lyrics even more inessential).

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This Weekend's Weather: Pack your Thermal Earmuffs

In Philly, we celebrate New Years with a culturally subversive, Saturnalia- (yay) and black face- rooted (ugh), men-in-feathers celebration called the Mummers. It involves day drinking, a parade, lots of music and noise, and looks like this:

Back when I lived right on Broad Street, I woke up slightly under the weather horribly hungover horribly hungover and still drunk to my alarm going off at some ungodly hour (in the AM even). After five minutes of trying to figure out what was wrong with my off switch, I realized that my alarm was in fact not going off. That the noise was the Mummers strolling down Broad Street and straight into my pounding head.

So I know exactly how ex-Sleater Kinney member Carrie Brownstein feels in this new The Thermals video, “I Don’t Believe You,” from their forthcoming Personal Life, out September 7th. (Also, they play Philly’s First Uni on 10/12).

And for good measure, their classic “A Pillar of Salt” from 2006’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine:

The Thermals, “Pillar of Salt” [Buy]

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Hot Tub Rock Show: Top 5 in Their Prime

Ever since I found out Pavement was reuniting for a tour and I realized I’d never again rue missing them live, I’ve had a favorite bar question: name the top five acts you’d waste a time machine trip on seeing in their prime. It gets a passionate response, if only because there are so many ways to qualify what counts as a bad answer. “The Beatles?!? You gotta be kidding me: screaming girls in giant stadiums.” “Nina Simone? You’re gonna take a chance on one of her notorious flipouts?” “ZZ Top? Okay. That’s a great answer.”

So in honor of bar questions everywhere, in the upcoming weeks starting August 30th, with some help with some friends we’ll be releasing our desert island Hot Tub Rock Show* picks for live shows. And since I’ll be seeing them in September, you can bet I won’t waste one of my slots on Pavement. And, I’m gonna bet that, despite her recent lack of Nina Simone-level flipouts, no one will choose Cat Power either.

Pavement, “Stop Breathing (Live, Hollywood, CA 4/24/1994)” [via Cause=Time] [Buy]

Cat Power, “Lived in Bars (Live, Berlin, 6/11/2006)” [via Captain’s Dead] [Buy]

* No relation to the movie. Especially that laugh-free second half.

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To the One True God Above

Shellac, 1000 Hurts

Still working through my forgotten “revisit” list from Pitchfork Top 500 of the 2000s, I rediscovered this gem from Steve Albini’s Shellac, “A Prayer to God.” A song that makes you jealous of people that truly, deeply hate someone. Cuz it would make this song even better.

Shellac, “Prayer to God” [Buy 1000 Hurts]

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Unforgotten unread: Welfare Bread

They haunt me. I can’t see them, but their spectral presence persists. A number floats in reminder, a blip on the radar: One. Two. Three. Four. Numbered as the stars. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Emails that I’ve marked as unread. Emails that I should have taken action on. Emails that I should have responded to. Friendships that I’ve left to rust. Not out of lack of care, but out of too much: they all wait until I have the fullness of time to respond. Which. Never. Comes.

And yet, they lay waiting. Like a sick and abandoned dog. Like an impregnated fling. Like all broken promises.

In September of 2009, I slogged through Pitchfork’s Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s, making note of all the songs that I enjoyed that were either new to or surprised me. Thinking that I’d go back to listen again, I sent an email to myself. And marked it unread.

Also in September of 2009, my friend Anastasia from our study abroad days in Leeds and I warmed up our dormant correspondence after I thought of her after falling for Leeds’ Wild Beasts. A totally worthy correspondence, since she’s whip-smart and whip-funny and even after not having seen her in something like eight years, I can still hear the cadence of her jokes and laugh. And because she introduced me to John Lennon’s matchless Plastic Ono Band. And because she lives in Oakland, and I’m going to cash in my friendship with Californian friends for couch crashing and bar guidance someday soon.

After trading meaningless pleasantries (like where we were living, status of significant others, attempts to fool the other to visit their respective cities, and what we were doing with our lives), we got down to brass tacks: music. She recommended King Khan. And I excitedly told her how only days before I had obsessively on-repeat-listened to their “Welfare Bread” after I found it on Pitchfork’s list. And that they were playing in Philly and that I’d go. She responded. I marked it as unread.

I never went to that show. Both emails went unread. Almost a year lapsed. And today, after trying to figure out why I thought that I had liked Woods’ Songs of Shame (I don’t), I remembered Pitchfork’s list. And “Welfare Bread.” And Anastasia’s email. So I queued up my selections from the top 500 on MOG. And I wrote this post. And marked both emails read. How’s your couch, Anastasia?

King Khan, “Welfare Bread”

[Buy King Khan and the Shrine’s What It Is!?]

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My Bieber-y Valentine

You want to hear something really scary?  Soundcloud user Shamantis has scored a lot of listens by timestretching Justin Bieber’s “U Smile” by 800%.  The result is 35 minutes of the shoegaze-y bliss Canadians hear when they get to heaven.

J. BIEBZ – U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

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