Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Muxtape

I’m putting this up at, and also there’s a download link in the comments if you want to listen to the songs over an over until you’re sick of them. (IMO, it will take a while.) Anyway, as usual, it gets a little weird at the end. If you’re squeamish, you might want to stop after Shearwater.

Elvis Costello, “American Gangster Time”
During the MOG strike, I had a fairly extended conversation with Cody about this album, the gist of which ran like this. Momofuku is fun because it sounds just like Elvis Costello, even down to the keyboard parts (check the Vox on this track and see if it doesn’t take you back, say, 25 years), but especially the voice. However, even the first three tracks, which are quite good, are probably not as good as classic EC, or even the better songs off When I Was Cruel. None of these tracks would stop you cold like the first time you heard “Watching the Detectives” or “Mystery Dance” or “Alison”or “Red Shoes” They just remind you of them…so really what we’re buying here is nostalgia, good nostalgia but still.

Thalia Zedek, “Do You Remember”
This is the 9/11 song off Thalia Zedek’s fantastic new album “Liars & Prayers.” I just finished writing up an interview with her for PW, which gives the background on the 9/11 experiences that inspired this song…suffice to say that she arrived in NYC that morning without any idea of what was going on. The cool thing about this record is that Thalia has a full band, so it’s a very strong, very rock, very guitar-oriented sound, and I like it a lot.

Lights, “Break, Run, Fly”
Another in a string of very cool, female-centric, rock-leaning freak folk records from Greg Weeks’ label Language of Stone. This one reminds me of PF’s “Interstellar Overdrive,” but with pretty harmonies added.

The War on Drugs, “Taking the Farm”
I went to see these guys about a week ago, and they blew their monitor about five minutes into the show, so kind of disappointing…but I do really like this song.

Julie Ocean, “#1 Song”
Really good power pop, a la Big Star or, ahem, the Undertones (from whence the band name) or even Jim Spellman’s old outfit, Velocity Girl.

The Church, “Hotel Womb”
I was writing a show preview for Marty Willson-Piper’s solo gig in Philly, and ended up listening to Starfish again a couple of times, and man, what a great album.

Shearwater, “Century Eyes”
Also went to see Shearwater a few weeks ago, and they were selling the new CD Rook that night for the first time ever…so of course I bought one, and it’s rather lovely. This is the rocking-est song.

Sun City Girls, “Mr. Lonely Viola”
From the Mr. Lonely soundtrack to Harmony Korine’s new movie. Sun City Girls, who have as much claim to inventing freak folk as anyone, did half the tracks. J. Spacemen (from Spacemen 3) contributed the other half. And there are some clips from the movie, a nun declaring her faith as she drops out the window, Werner Herzog decrying man’s filthy nature…good stuff, but this cut is my favorite. Isn’t it lovely? (Oh, and we have entered into the weird part of the mix, hang on.)

Stars Like Fleas, “I Was Only Dancing”
This band sits at the intersection of organic and electronic, improvisation and melody…sort of like Akron/Family’s first album and very, very beautiful. It’s from the album The Ken Burns Effect, so you might want to look at old photos while it’s on.

Make a Rising, “Your Karmic Obstacle”
Another freaky, multi-instrumented extravaganza…typically performed in costume. (See the video from a couple of days ago

Nalle, “Alice’s Ladder”
Extremely left-of-center improvisatory folk from a Scottish trio, led by a Finnish singer and kantele player (apparently it’s like a zither).

Charlemagne Palestine, “Tritone Octave 1/2: Part 3”
This is cool…minimalist composer Charlemagne Palestine discovered a one-of-a-kind instrument called the doppio borgato, a kind of double piano with the lower 37 keys repeated on a ground-level keyboard played with the foot, and recorded a double CD set on it.