Friday, May 14, 2010

Unn-tss unn-tss unn-tss

Thanks to Matt K. for this gem of a web comic. I love how perfectly it nails the sound of throbbing bass. I'll never listen to Daft Punk the same way again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beach House 12" to support retailers

Yes, Beach House has a brand-new track coming out. Yes, their indie-ness seems to extend to business models. Listen to the new track, "The Arrangement," via Line's blog. (Yes, this is an act of shameless cross-promotion. Sue me.) The new 12", Zebra, is out on April 17th. Go to your local mom-and-pop and kill two independent birds with one stone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Still kicking: Echo and the Bunnymen

Last I heard of Echo and the Bunnymen, they were providing the soundtrack for Jake Gyllenhaal's weird escapades in Donnie Darko. Turns out I've been living under a rock; the band released The Fountain, their third album of the 21st century, last fall. They're now giving out one of its tracks, "Proxy," as a free download to spread the buzz about their upcoming US tour. (They hit New York's Irving Plaza on May 1st.)

I have to say, "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo" holds a pretty high place in my mind (traumatic title notwithstanding), but I do like this track -- it has a Dandy Warhols feel to it that is refreshingly upbeat in this age of, well ... everything.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No, the other pesci

Rarely do I come up with a recipe that's exciting enough to share, but this weekend I found an exception to that rule: striped bass rubbed with herbs, draped in blanched leeks, and roasted in a moderately hot oven. That's about the extent of the instructions, I think, but for posterity's sake I've outlined some hard-and-fast details below. I've also decided this fish was special enough to merit a classy European name -- so without further ado, I present to you Pesci alla velare (roughly, "fish a la veil").
The Parts:
2 lbs fish fillet (bass, salmon, or tilapia would probably be best)
fresh herbs (to match the fish: dill for salmon, thyme for bass, etc.)
3 leeks, white bottoms chopped off
salt & pepper
olive oil
The Procedure:
Roughly chop the herbs, setting aside a few whole sprigs, and rub the chopped herbs on the tops of the fillets along with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top them with the whole sprigs and let the fish marinate for a bit while you blanch your leeks: bring a potful of water to a boil and cook the leek greens until they begin to look soft, then shock them (plunge them into a bowl of cold water to stop their cooking process). After the leeks have cooled, spread each leaf out to its fullest extent, and drape them over the fish so that they overlap. (The idea is to trap as much moisture under the leeks as possible, using a uniform layer of leeks.) When every inch of the fish is covered with the leeks, roast the fish in a 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Serve hot, with the leeks, a side of roasted vegetables, pilaf, or bread, and a dry white wine.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lines & Gold, Bing & Ruth

I've recently started curating the music blog over at the webzine Lines & Gold, and thought I'd break my long radio silence to share my most recent post on Brooklyn-based composer David Moore and his orchestral collective Bing and Ruth (shown above performing at Le Poisson Rouge for the Wordless Music Series). David's the real deal -- a minimalistic, classically inspired pianist who crafts serene, transcendant melodies. Give it a read, a listen, whatever -- and keep an eye out for the sophomore issue of Lines & Gold, which launches on March 25th.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Whatever

Via some wonderful music publicists (notably Jessi Hector at Goldest Egg), here are a few free downloads -- "gifts," if you will. Because even though you're regifting your dead grandma's used curling iron, you don't have to deprive yourself, for Pete's sake. (Notice the tactful abstention from the C-word in that last exclamation; even I have my scruples at this time of year.) Right-click on the links to download these songs.

Golden Shoulders, "Mountains": The first track from the California collective's May 2009 release Get Reasonable. A very solid album, filled with a toe-tapping, down-home indie aesthetic. Fitting, then, that Golden Shoulders' most recent tour was completed without mics, amps, or any other electrical appliance whatsoever. You can practically hear the thwap of the gut-bucket.
Real Ones, "Every Dog Has His Day": It may seem sacrilegious, but I really do think the lead singer of this Norwegian band sounds strikingly similar to David Byrne. The similarity ends there, though -- and by the time the banjo and weirdly political lyrics kick in, I start to regret the comparison. Still, it's got a fun, Afro-pop vibe to it.
Dragon Turtle, "Island of Broken Glass": Complexly layered instrumentation; drifting, ambient melodies; vaguely intelligible lyrics. Early Grizzly Bear, anyone?

Karin Park, "Ashes" (and other tracks): Another Norwegian-based musician, but this one's of Swedish extraction. I have a soft spot for Karin Park because she plays a keytar; if you're a fan of Lykke Li or The Knife, you'll find your own reasons to like her.

Little Girls, "Growing": I find this song title/band name juxtaposition a little weird, especially since Little Girls is an all-male band -- but whatever. The lo-fi Canadian group sounds a lot like Joy Division, but with more atmosphere and (slightly) less malaise. [To download this and the following tracks, follow the link and click 'download' under the embedded player.]

Surfer Blood, "Swim": A bunch of plaid-clad Floridian boys, Surfer Blood were the golden children of CMJ 2009. They're equal parts surf-soundtrack and late-nineties alt-rock, and are all-around perfect for forgetting this miserable wintry hole we seem to have found ourselves in.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Out in the cold, Rick Moody turns to music

I need to preface this by saying that I'm a big Ice Storm fan, and I have nothing but respect (and a little nomenclatural envy) for Rick Moody -- but I can't help but wondering if he didn't go and form a band because the literary world has become a little less than hospitable. I only recently learned that Moody sings and plays guitar in a old-timey Brooklyn-based group called the Wingdale Community Singers, but it's no secret that he has long been the most famous target of outspoken critic Dale Peck (in a 2002 New Republic column, and later the memorably hostile collection Hatchet Jobs).

That was back in 2004, but when I shared The Wingdale Singers' MySpace link with a few print-media colleagues earlier this week, they both shot back Peck's infamous dig: that Moody is "the worst writer of our generation." Now, I can't say I agree with them -- in fact, I'm a little scared to even be on the same page as Peck, as he's highly combustible -- but I also can't deny the convenient connection between the general hostility I'm sensing and Moody's creative lane-changing. (The fact that he put his blinker on around the time of Peck's suckerpunch only reinforces it -- the Wingdale Singers formed in 2002, the year of The Review.)

Speculation aside, though, I like what Moody's doing here; the music has an O Brother Where Art Thou vibe, he and his bandmates are on point, and Nina Katchadourian is their bassist. I'd be curious to hear Peck's opinion, but he's basically been pushed from the herd. (Maybe he'll start a band, too. Something like this.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Girl Talk is cheap ... free, even

Remember when Radiohead tried that whole pay-what-you-want model back in early 2008? Seems to have caught on; now the subversive indie label Illegal Art is giving away its entire back catalog, including Girl Talk albums Unstoppable (2003), Night Ripper (2006), and Feed the Animals (2008). His debut, Secret Diary (2002), will be available in early January.

None of these Girl Talk albums could have been all that costly to make (being basically, ahem, other people's music and all), so it's not like Greg Gillis is going to be putting himself in a hole by going this route. Still, you have to respect a guy who's willing to give his entire oeuvre away for free -- especially when he's simultaneously releasing one of the freebies (Night Ripper) as a $100 two-LP limited-edition vinyl set. All the proceeds are going to a clean-water charity but, good cause notwithstanding, methinks he'll have some trouble selling the cow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chuck Klosterman writes to Tori Amos

Also Steely Dan, The Replacements, and the Magnolia soundtrack. (Apparently he only listened to that last one while writing Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.) Klosterman's top ten writing-conducive albums are on Flavorwire today, and the list offers some unique insight into his writing process and his tastes in general.

I can't say I'm shocked that Amos's album Little Earthquakes made the list (the track "Winter" makes Klosterman "want to pet a cat," which seems writerly enough), but some of the louder albums make you rethink what sorts of sound stimulate creative thought. The quieter and more ambient selections -- Aimee Mann and My Bloody Valentine in particular -- seem totally writing-conducive. Black Sabbath ... not so much. Different strokes, I guess. I'll be sticking to my Erik Satie and CFCF until something better comes along.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yeasayer posts first single from new LP

So Yeasayer's got a new album, Odd Blood, coming out this February from Secretly Canadian. They're releasing the first single, "Amblin Alp," on Monday, but it's available as a free download today -- and if this track's any indication of what the rest of the album holds in store, then Yeasayer has given themselves a serious pop overhaul since All Hour Cymbals. Think less psychedelic Middle Eastern-flavored dirges and more Western European electronica -- sort of like Chris Keating singing over a Eurythemics cover of "Summertime Clothes," or something to that effect.

And speaking of Animal Collective, they've got a new EP, Fall Be Kind, coming out on December 8th. This is shaping up to be a good winter, folks.