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.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Second El Perro Del Mar album swims ashore

So CMJ has officially been over for two days, which means the slow, agonizing process of reconstruction has only just begun. I'm getting all my ducks in a row and will have a rundown of the standout bands soon enough, but there's one thing that couldn't wait: a mention of El Perro Del Mar's record-release party last week at Esopus Space, a gallery in Greenwich Village.

El Perro is Sarah Assbring, a velvet-voiced Swedish chanteuse who also writes and records all of her own music. Her second album, Love Is Not Pop, is a simple, elegant collection of ballads about heartbreak and disappointment -- and it sounds all the more spare and devastatingly beautiful when it's just Sarah and her twelve-string in front of a room of about twenty-five people. Add to that the revelation that she wrote the songs on Love Is Not Pop a year ago in this very city, immediately following (shocker alert) a soul-crushing breakup, and you've got a recipe for one of the most memorable shows of the CMJ lineup. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure this was an official CMJ show, but what the heck -- this post is already written.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Simpsons book hits shelves; Fox gets egg on its face (again)

Former Vanity Fair staffer John Ortved has written an unauthorized, iconoclastic, and -- if his recent article in The Daily Beast is any indication -- up-chuckingly funny history of the best TV show ever created. No, you don't get to ask what the best TV show ever created is. You see, being a hardcore Simpsons fan is like being a 'Nam vet -- if you weren't there you wouldn't get it, and if you were there you don't need to talk about it. (Except maybe to reminisce about the scene where Bart breaks a chair over Homer's back while he's in the tub. *Tear.*)

Anyway, go buy a copy -- apparently it makes Matt Groening look like a complete putz, which on the Controversy Index is just a notch below this. Fox doesn't come off that well, either, although that's slightly less of a shocker.

Public libraries: "People can spend hours and hours in these dens of socialism without having to buy so much as a cappuccino."

So the San Francisco Chronicle just ran one of the nuttiest polemics since . . . well, actually, I can't really think of a precedent for it, although the "burn your library card" does remind me a bit of a certain fad that swept through Munich back in '33. (Ok, I'm sure M.C. Blakeman would protest being called a biblioclast, but please -- if public libraries were to close, do you think all those pinko librarians would sell their books? Heavens, no.)

Anyway, the gist of the article is that "Amazon and Barnes & Noble struggle valiantly each day to sell books, these communistic cabals known as libraries undercut the hard work of good corporate citizens by letting people read their books for free." That's the nut in a nutshell, but I'd encourage you to read along -- it's good, O'Reilly-style fun. Unless people actually start believing it, in which case I'm heading to the NYPL Humanities and Social Sciences brance with an arc-welder and a twelve-gauge.

That's an abandoned library in Russia, by the way. Because books and communism are totally compatible and everything.

Getting excited for CMJ

Also, terrified, tired, and nauseous. All in anticipation of next week's incredible concert series -- hey, it never hurts to be prepared. Preemptive weariness aside, though, it's hard not to feel chills of anticipation at the thought of all these great bands (many of which have been, or are soon to be, tapped for this blog) assembled in one city: Rubik, Deastro, Choir of Young Believers, Little Girls, Bing and Ruth, The Golden Filter, Bang Bang Eche, Electric Tickle Machine, Gordon Voidwell-- the list goes on and on.

Before you lock in your concert schedule, here's another band to add to it: Darlings, an unpretentious Brooklyn outfit whose grungy-yet-crystalline melodies and world-weary sound belie the tweeness of their name. I was reminded of their awesomeness by a nice writeup of their new album, Yeah I Know (there's that world-weariness!), on Impose. Go check them out -- they're at Cake Shop and Glasslands on Wednesday the 21st. If Wednesday aren't your thing, they're also storming Silent Barn on the 30th. Ten hut!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Donut-sandwich love

For some reason decided that donut sandwiches fit into their "live well every day" rubric (okay, I can sort of see why), and they've just run a feature on the concoctions. I'm proud to say that my pal Ian's photo of our version is included:

Brooklyn-based food blogger Alex Littlefield threw watermelon and sliced glazed donuts on the grill before adding fresh mint leaves (and later bacon) to create this breakfast treat.

So I guess I'm a food blogger now. Holler.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One more reason to love Swedes

They managed to keep a tree around for nearly 10,000 years without bulldozing it to make way for a strip mall. Bravo! (That's Swedish for "bravo," by the way.)

Linguistic credit goes to Språkrådet -- which, eerily, is not in its own dictionary. Well, no one's infallible. Except maybe the Danes.