Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gruff Rhys - Candylion

I'm beginning the slow descent from my Mars Co. induced rush. We already posted our Halloween mix, but here's a song for the comedown inspired by my son's lion costume. "Candylion" is the title track from the excellent solo album by the Super Furry Animal's Gruff Rhys. Mellower and more straightforward than his full-time gig, this one is certainly a contender for a high spot on 2007's best list.

Gruff Rhys - Candylion

Buy Candylion at

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Happy Halloween

To celebrate the oncoming sugar coma here's a collection of 13 spooktastic tracks. Enjoy!


Support these artists. Buy their music at,, or

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

Tomorrow we'll be bringing you a full Halloween-centric mix. In the meantime, here's a teaser with Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London."

"His hair was perfect..."

Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

Buy Excitable Boy at

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Billy Nicholls - Would You Believe

In 1968, while still in his late teens, Billy Nicholls recorded one of the finest albums of British psychedelia. Nicholls was clearly a product of his surrounding influences as traces of the Zombies, the Kinks, and Between the Buttons era Stones are blended to create lavishly produced pop. Harmonies drip from every corner and strings constantly rise and fall just as you would expect from the greats of the era. The title track would sound right at home on Odessey and Oracle and "London Social Degree" pays Nicholls' debt to Ray Davies.

Unfortunately the album did not see an original release date and only a few promotional copies made it into circulation. Though he would later go on to work with Pete Townshend and eventually recorded a follow up, its hard to imagine the greatness he may have achieved if success had given him the opportunity to shake the obviousness of his influences.
In 2006 Castle released an expanded 2-disc version of the album. If this is your cup of tea, snatch it up as this album tends to fall in and out of print.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

A Place To Bury Strangers

Sound Technician: “I’ve got your guitar running through three reverb, two crunch, and twelve fuzz pedals. The vocals are so wet, it sounds like you’re in a sunken, hollowed-out submarine. I’ve got fuzz pedals on the drums for Chrissake! Don’t you think this is all a bit much? Overkill, if you will?”

Oliver: “Great idea! Try adding the Overkill, between the Annihilator and the Discombobulator. And while you’re at, is it possible to get some reverb on the reverb?”


Not much else needs to be said. if the preceding dialogue doesn’t intrigue you, the music won’t either.

But I’ll make a few quick points anyhow. A Place To Bury Strangers is two things: 1) a band and 2) an album. The band is noisy. They made a noisy album. It is awesome.

Descriptors: The Jesus And Mary Chain plus shoegaze on steroids.


Buy it from Amazon or Emusic

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Joe Pernice - Guest Blogger at Powell's

One of my all-time favorite musicians, Joe Pernice, of Pernice Brothers and Scud Mountain Boys fame has written a guest blog post over at Powell's Books. In addition to creating perfectly crafted songs, Joe has written a novella based on the Smiths' Meat Is Murder for the 33 1/3 series.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Vampire Weekend - Mansard Roof

Sure the name is misleading a bit. Vampire Weekend play fantastic organic pop music, not pop punk or moribund pop music (see The Cure), as their name might suggest. Emusic just made available the Mansard Roof single in preparation for their upcoming LP, due out in January of '08.

The two songs featured are, Mansard Roof and Ladies of Cambridge. Both songs are in the vein of the Shins, with whom Vampire Weekend is off galavanting around Europe. However, Vampire Weekend seem to favor a more worldly beat; think Paul Simon circa Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, except less cheesy and self indulgent, but just as catchy. Alright, I'll stop rambling.

Usually we'd give you a few tracks to download, but since there are only two on this offering, I feel it unfair to give away the boys' tracks for free. However, I'll gladly point you to their site where they graciously let you sample and download a few cuts from the upcoming full length.

You can also download Mansard Roof at emusic.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wu Tang Clan - The Heart Gently Weeps

December 4th, 11th, or 17th can't come soon enough. One of those dates will be the release date for the new Wu album...hopefully. I've given up trying to keep track of it anymore.

On the bright side, thanks to and the good folks at Pitchfork, we have access to a new track from the upcoming 8 Diagrams LP.

I think from the title, you can probably gather where I'm going with this. No, it is not another Danger Mouse style mashup; this time it's for real, well sort of. It is actually an interpolation of the famous Beatles song, with George Harrison's son, Dhani, and John Frusciante (yes of Red Hot Chili Peppers) playing the guitar parts on the song.

Now for the less snobby version of what I just said. The song has most of the notable Wu members rapping and "singing" their own lyrics over top of While my Guitar Gently Weeps. For me the pinnacle is when Ghostface replaces Harrison's line "I don't know why, nobody told you..." with "This bitch is crazy, she brought her baby..."

From all accounts, 8 Diagrams is a return to form for the Wu, and this single shows why everyone is so hyped.

Check it out (ignore the few whispers of ""):
The Heart Gently Weeps

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Boo Radleys - Everything's Alright Forever

The Boo Radleys are often considered a footnote. Dismissed by critics as a minor band riding the coattails of My Bloody Valentine, they have not been written into history the way many of their contemporaries have. To top it all off, Everything's Alright Forever is considered one of their lesser albums. A prologue to their "better" more pop oriented material. Luckily, the digital era makes revisionism easy as this album certainly deserves a place on your shelf (or hard drive) alongside their more revered peers.

Dense fields of electric guitar, rhythmic acoustics, and distant pop melodies certainly recall MBV, but with the more immediate drive of early Stone Roses. Further proof that blissed out electrics and strong songwriting are always a lovely match.

The CD is out of print, but thankfully emusic recently rescued it.


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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Video: Elliott Smith - Between The Bars

As part of a short three song documentary/montage called Lucky Three filmed in 1996, Elliott Smith played an especially intimate version of Between The Bars (as if it could get much more intimate). I'm sure this video is realatively well known by the Elliott Smith faithful. But at the risk of retreading already well-worn steps, here it is again. It's a beautifull performance. This video is concrete evidence supporting my belief that greatness requires but three ingredients: a dude, a guitar, and a microphone.

I'll never get tired of the imagery evoked when he sings: "Drink up baby, look at the stars/I'll kiss you again between the bars/where i'm seeing you there with your hands in the air/waiting to finally be caught." Chills, I tell you! Chills!

You can find the entire film here.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover

At this point, if you told me that Spencer Krug was out fighting crime, I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, I don't know how he has the time and motivation to take on the projects that he does, so nothing would shock me.

That is precisely why I wasn't shocked that I enjoyed his latest offering, coming from his "solo" project. Perhaps I should be shocked though. The more I think about it, the harder a time I have coming up with names of people who are putting out music that keeps me interested on a consistent basis.

Upon first listen, this is another solid release that seems like it might fit in with the Swan Lake release, or perhaps the last Sunset Rubdown offering. I think that might be another unfair reaction, and one that is all too easy to have. Take the track Magic vs. Midas which starts with Krug soft and contemplative. All the while you know that something else has to be coming. It finally grows to include his signature warble over a more driving arrangement, only before softening again. This track single handedly shows you that Krug is certainly capable of, if not deft at, creating a wonderfully complex melody.

Just because this incarnation allows him to allow his wandering and amelodic urges, doesn't mean that it is singly devoid of melody. He embraces the more abstract in order to transform something you swore you've heard before into something completely new and interesting.

If nothing else Krug can grow one fantastic moo-stache.

Download Random Spirit Lover at Amazon.

or at emusic

Sunset Rubdown - Winged/Wicked Things
Sunset Rubdown - Up On Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days

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The Jam - Town Called Malice

The Jam were on the verge of impolding when they released this stomper. Paul Weller's mod revival had always hinted at his love for Northern Soul, but "Town Called Malice" was his tribute to the genre. Weller's tale of overcoming the struggles of life in an impoverished town is backed by Rick Buckler's pounding snare and Bruce Foxton's syrupy bass line (which bears a striking resemblance to "You Can't Hurry Love"). This has been a personal favorite for 10 years and never fails to put a smile on my face.

The song was also used to great effect in the film Billy Elliot.

Sadly our file host has gone down. So while I am in the process of securing a new home for our mp3's, enjoy the video for one of my all-time favorite joints.


Buy Cd's by the Jam at

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Jens Lekman - Swedish Radio P3 Session 10/10/07

I recently stumbled across this live radio broadcast thanks to Kwaya Na Kisser. Here's three tracks as a teaser (including my favorite track from 2004's When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, A Higher Power). Download the full show for a limited time here.

Jens Lekman - A Higher Power (Live)

A Postcard to Nina (Live)


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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Deer Tick – Ashamed

Here’s a quick fix for you sad saps in the alt. country crowd:

You get the feeling that John McCauley of Deer Tick wrote Ashamed from a perch, much like the one shown here. And whether or not that’s true, this song does a fine job of putting you there.

If McCauley doesn’t sound like a weathered and beaten old man, he certainly sounds a great deal older than the 21 years he actually is. A religious song masquerading as a love song (or vise versa, I can’t figure out which), Ashamed is an honest tale of heart-ache wrapped in warm, uplifting spiritual imagery. McCauley’s voice is so charismatic and convincing that I nearly recanted my agnosticism on the spot.

Unfortunately, Deer Tick’s first album, War Elephant, never comes close to living up to the promise of this opening track. But then again, there certainly is some promise, so I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys. Perhaps they just need a few more years’ experience under their belts.

Deer Tick - Ashamed

Support them:

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Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

After his first solo album (1972's Henry the Human Fly) was a commercial disaster, former Fairport Convention guitar virtuoso, Richard Thompson, set out to record his second album with new wife Linda. The resulting collection of songs, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, is 70's folk tinged rock at its finest. The Thompsons share vocal duties throughout the album, taking turns singing Richard's bleak character studies.

The title track offers a rare light-hearted lyrical moment as Linda sings the joys of weekend escapism. Put this one on loud for Saturday night.

Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

Buy I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight at

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

In February of 2005 I attended a Jens Lekman show at the University of Pittsburgh. Along with me were my soon-to-be-wife, my younger sister and her soon-to-be-fiance, and my youngest sister and her soon-to-be-ex. Lekman's music perfectly mirrors these bittersweet possibilities of love beginning as well as coming to a close. With lines like "If I had to choose a moment in time to take with me into eternity/I would choose this moment with you in my arms," he certainly believes in the notion of a true love. In fact, at times you can practically hear his heart overflowing with the wonder of it all. Through all of this open armed sincerity, he isn't afraid to acknowledge the difficulties love presents. However even a song titled "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You" can't help but show its sweeter side by ending with an apology, "I'm so sorry I couldn't love you enough/I'm so sorry."

Musically Lekman incorporates influences across the pop spectrum and blends them with his flat baritone and creative sampling. "Sipping On the Sweet Nectar" is straight up disco that would fit right in with those other Swedes. The driving stomp of "The Opposite of Hallelujah" sounds like a Motown single from some alternate universe. "Shirin" is a simple love letter to an under the table hairdresser with a truly transcendental falsetto chorus. "A Postcard to Nina" incorporates doo-wop backing vocals and toy xylophone chimes behind Lekman's tale of playing boyfriend for the overbearing family of a lesbian friend. His wry sense of humor and keen slice of life observations are fully let loose when he sings, "Your father's mailing me all the time/He says he just wants to say Hi/I send back Out of Office - Auto Replies."

Its easy to get caught up in Lekman's sentimentality, but that's missing the point. This is simply gorgeous pop music.

Jens Lekman - A Postcard to Nina

The Opposite of Hallelujah
Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo
Sipping On the Sweet Nectar (video)

Buy Night Falls Over Kortedala at

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Monday, October 8, 2007

The Church - Columbus

In celebration of the "holiday," here's a great song from the Church's Heyday album.


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Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Twilight Sad - Pittsburgh 10/2

On Tuesday, Sam and I ventured out to the somewhat renowned Gooski's in Polish Hill to check out The Twilight Sad. Before being treated to the boys from Scotland, we were pleasantly suprised by the local band, Life in Bed.

Life in Bed is similar to The Twilight Sad in that they teeter on that brink of shoegazer. However, Life in Bed brings a more technical, almost mathy sound, which we best compared to Minus the Bear. The relateively short set didn't give us the best sampling of their sound or ability, but it was enough for Sam to proclaim that there might be hope for the Pittsburgh scene yet. Our only beef, if you can call it that, is that we wish the singer would bring out more of the vocal range that he exhibited during the sound check where he unleashed an imperfectly perfect falsetto.

The Twilight Sad set was also somewhat short, but it delivered everything we could've asked for. They plowed through just about every track from the new record, starting off with Cold Days From the Birdhouse, with James Graham's powerful and endeering Scottish brogue drawing us in from the start. The other highlight for me was And She Would Darken the Memory of Youth. Andy MacFarlane wrapped us up in a blanket of reverb, fuzz and hidden melody, and Graham again delivered a compelling vocal that demanded our attention as he delivered the line "Head up dear, the rabbit may die." All in all it left us feeling as though we were party to something that is on the verge of becoming much bigger than the backroom stage of a somewhat forgotten Pittsburgh bar.

As a surprise we were then treated to a screening of the new biopic 'Control', that of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. If you're even a casual fan of Joy Division, New Order, or good music, you shoudl be excited for this looks great, just like the night that we had thanks to Life in Bed and The Twilight Sad.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Shocking Pinks - Shocking Pinks

In New Zealand the human population is outnumbered by sheep. As I chew this sentence over, I can't help but think of all of the great indie pop that has been produced by the residents of "middle earth." Specifically, Flying Nun records has gifted the world with classic records by the Bats, the Chills, and the Clean (all personal favs). I guess isolation lends itself well to heart on sleeve jangle.

After stints in various NZ bands (including playing the drums for the Brunettes), Nick Harte began writing and recording his own material. Inspired by the 1986 John Hughes dramedy Pretty In Pink, Harte named the project the Shocking Pinks. Taking the influences of the classic Flying Nun artists and merging them with the experimental aesthetic of My Bloody Valentine, Shocking Pinks are a welcome addition to the kiwi indie pop canon.

In 2005 Harte released two albums for Flying Nun, Mathematical Warfare and Infinity Land, which he wrote and recorded by himself. Full of shambolic guitars, walls of reverb, sleepy melodies and electronic flourishes, Shocking Pinks, cherry picks the best of these two releases.

Video: Shocking Pinks - End of the World

Listen to streams of the singles here.

Buy Shocking Pinks at

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Animal Collective on network TV

Just a little heads up for everyone, Animal Collective lets their freak flag fly on the Conan O'Brien program Friday night. Set those tivos.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Vic Godard & Subway Sect - What's the Matter Boy?

Still in the process of learning to play their instruments, Subway Sect debuted at the 100 Club Punk Festival on September 20th, 1976. Other bands on the bill included the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Buzzcocks. How's that for a lineup?

In 1978 while recording what was intended to be their debut album, the band's manager sacked everyone with the exception of songwriter Vic Godard. Working with unpaid musician friends, Godard eventually released What's the Matter Boy? in 1980. The songs on What's the Matter Boy? bear little resemblence to the snotty punk played by the other bands at the 100 Club Festival. Instead, Godard's songs have a romantic, world weary feel that blends French pop, Velvet Underground rave-ups, Northern Soul stompers, and Sinatra's swing.


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Monday, October 1, 2007

Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter, Vol. 3/Da Drought 3

Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time driving to and from my former roommates wedding. As a result I spent a lot of time catching up on new music. Most notably, I found, was that I need to devote more time to the latest Okkervill River album, and two, that there is a new Lil Wayne disc coming; though probably not until next year.

Lil Wayne has been trumpeting himself as the best rapper alive in the past year or so, which I tend to agree with. I'll give you a pass on not fully immersing yourself in Lil Wayne's catalog, especially since he's probably the 159th rapper to make the aforementioned claim.

Now the proper album might not be released until next year, but many of the tracks have been circulating the net as a mix tape of a similar name. One track that is gaining steam, and is a result of these seesions (not included on this edition of De Drought) is 'I Feel Like Dying', on which you'll find an honest, if not somewhat sinister account of Weezy's drug use. This isn't a typical durg anthem. Wayne doesn't go on about how much, or how good he somkes. If anything, the production and Kanye West-esque chorus communicate the feeling that many of us have had after coming down from a night mis-spent.

Download: Lil Wayne - I Feel Like Dying

Don't believe me, check out what the good folks at Pitchfork had to say.

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