Friday, April 28, 2006

More tracks from The Avalanche

It's a known law of nature, if I don't keep up with my blog reading for a few days somebody will post something great. Case in point: Stereogum has posted two new songs from Sufjan's The Avalanche. Head over there to hear The Henney Buggy Band and Dear Mr. Supercomputer.

I prefer "Henney Buggy Band" to "Supercomputer" as the high-pitched "1,2,3,4,5,6,7...all computers go to heaven" in "Supercomputer" starts to annoy me a tad after a time. I felt the same way about the chanting of "I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S" in "They Are Night Zombies!" the first few times I heard it even though I love the rest of the song.

It's hard to believe that these songs are outtakes from Illinois. The man is certainly prolific, but unlike some other musicians (*coughryanadamscough*) it's all quality. Why didn't they release Illinois as a double CD from the beginning?

Postscript to Neil Young post

I was saving this Neko Case cover of "Dreaming Man" for a big covers blog, but it seems more appropriate to post it now.

Neko Case - Dreaming Man

Neil Young - Living with War

Goooooood afternoon, friends; lovers!

This is a quickie to remind you that Neil Young's Living with War--written and recorded in nine days--can be streamed in its entirety here, lovelies.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Leaks are springing up all over...

Some upcoming spring and early summer releases worth checking out:

1. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open, May 9
Eyes Open sounds like Final Straw II: Hey, That Camel's Back Can Take a Few More! but I still like it. "Hands Open" is also known as the Sufjan shout-out song.
Snow Patrol - Hands Open
Snow Patrol - Shut Your Eyes
Snow Patrol - Headlights on Dark Roads

2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere, May 9
The much anticipated union of Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse is a little slice of hip-hop soul heaven. "Crazy" is already a huge hit in the UK and it made the rounds on many a music blog when it leaked a few months ago. After hearing the whole album, I can definitely say that St. Elsewhere will be getting some major play from me. "Go Go Gadget Gospel" makes me think of Andre 3000 playing choir director in a big gospel church where everyone is on speed.
Gnarls has a sample of "Crazy" available for downloading on their site.
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy

3. The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off, May 23
Mariachi horns on a Walkmen song?! I wasn't expecting that. I'm not in love with this song, perhaps it will grow on me.
The Walkmen - Louisiana

4. Zero 7 - The Garden, June 6
Expect more laid-back pop and languid melodies from Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns, who have been dubbed the "British Air." Sia (of "Breathe Me" fame) returns on vocals along with new guest vocalist Jose Gonzalez (btw, check out his CD, Veneer).
Zero 7 - Futures (featuring Jose Gonzalez)
Zero 7 - Throw It All Away

5. Dirty on Purpose - Hallelujah Sirens, June 13
Dirty on Purpose - Light Pollution
Another song, "No Radio," from their first full-length can be found on myspace.

6. Amy Millan - Honey from the Tombs, August 29
Amy Millan of Stars is set to release her solo debut on Arts & Crafts. "Skinny Boy" is reminiscent of Maria Taylor.
Amy Millan - Skinny Boy
Her myspace has another track.

Preorder some of these albums at Insound.

Which yet-to-be-released albums have got you in a tizzy?

Monday, April 24, 2006

love you like a ferocious, bubbling stone named jack

Friday night Red Blondehead pulled into the chain link, fenced-in parking lot of the Acme Meyers Building, a run-down looking warehouse on the north side of Birmingham. We dodged the rain on our way into the building through a loading dock and saw approximately 10-15 people in the dimly lit space. There was a gated area of Vespas, an army truck, a lime green plastic sofa with chairs, and a parachute tarp covering a foosball table. In the far, bottom left side of the building, there was a small stage set up in front of a dartboard that hung on an exposed brick wall. There were Christmas lights sectoring off the "stage" and a wire rope across the front that dangled lamps emitting a dark yellow light. Close to the stage but slightly hidden on the other side of the parachute tarp was a Volvo station wagon with a canoe or storage bin fastened to the top, which we would later discover belongs to Stone Jack Jones, himself.

Attendance was noticeably sparse, with many of the audience members congregating by the loading dock instead of listening to the music, but those of us who partook of the show couldn't help but feel like we'd been let in on a secret.

LYLAS, sans bass player, performed a quiet set, acknowledging that they'd had to leave a band member or two in Nashville for the night. Our friends described the show in different ways; "twee," "precious," and "original" were some of the comments floating about during and after the set. Comparisons between lead singer Kyle Hamlett and Norway's Sondre Lerche are bound to crop up at some point, especially after LYLAS's new record Lessons for Lovers gains some critical attention.

Shortly after LYLAS, fans were treated to a rousing set by Stone Jack Jones, another Nashville band beginning to ride a burgeoning wave of critical approval. Stone Jack Jones' indie, Appalachian folk-style music and image have earned him a creepy mystique that really emanates from his newest record, Bluefolk. Onstage, some of this mysteriousness is depleted by Jones' antics; he teases the crowd by introducing every song as "one you're going to hate," throwing his signature black hat out into the crowd, giving away a copy of his wife's new book about a lap dancer in Nashville, and pointing his guitar at the crowd as if it were a gun. Every song is followed by such things; the audience laughed appreciatively, and one girl yelled out, "you're hot! Do you know you're hot?!"

Closing the night was Birmingham's own Ferocious Bubbles, fronted by Pete Szelenbaum, also of Trees with Bells. Despite the relatively late hour, Ferocious Bubbles were, as one friend said, "thick as pea soup." Their set consisted of several songs from their new album Save Yourself and Run Away, which is a fine indie-rock record, noisy in places but filled with delicate melodies. We've included a few tracks off of it here to catch you up a bit.

Three very different bands, three great sets; if you had been there, chances are that you would've been hard-pressed to find at least something you didn't like.

Ferocious Bubbles - Airport
Ferocious Bubbles - Skywaves

Scope out the band and buy their record here.

Finally, here are a few photos we took Friday night.

*A creepy polaroid we took of Stone Jack Jones. It really captures the mood of the night as well as the "stage" portion of the Acme Meyers Building:

*SJJ and guitarist Luke Schneider

*SJJ and drummer Ben Smythe

*Kyle Hamlett of LYLAS

*Kyle and Luke Schneider

*Kyle wearing Stone Jack Jones' ominous hat, plus Pete Szelenbaum of Ferocious Bubbles

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Return to Cookie Mountain

I remember when I first heard TV on the Radio a couple of years ago. I was listening to KEXP and when I heard "Staring at the Sun," it felt like a revelation. I immediately found the song online, downloaded it, and spent the rest of the day listening to it.

TV on the Radio - Staring at the Sun
You can buy the album Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes here.

Return to Cookie Mountain is the rumored title for TV on the Radio's upcoming sophomore album. And of course it has leaked. This is the internet, after all. But I think people are a little confused about song titles because I have seen other blogs putting up mp3 links for "Playhouses" and "Wolf Like Me" and when you download both of them, they are the same song. After some investigation, I'm fairly confident that I have the mp3's with the correct song titles (unless TVotR changes them before the release).

I was superexcited that TV on the Radio is coming to Birmingham, until I saw the cost of the tickets. It ends up being over $45 with Ticketmaster fees. That's what happens when you open for Nine Inch Nails. Honestly I don't care about seeing NIN, so I'm having a hard time justifying paying that much for an opener. In an act of desperation, I wrote to the band on myspace in hopes that they would take pity upon me. So far there's been no response, so please let me know if you have an extra ticket that you would like to give to me.

Okay, enough with the begging...I know you just want the mp3's.
TV on the Radio - Playhouses
TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
TV on the Radio - I Was a Lover

If you just download one, I recommend "Playhouses."

Monday, April 17, 2006

urban decay

Before I deleted my sound card driver earlier this weekend, I was listening to October Language, the debut album by the New Orleans-based duo Belong. Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones recorded this record in New Orleans, pre-Katrina, and with any critical attention it's bound to be blamed for premonition, similar to Wilco and Dream Theater's post-911 material that was written slightly pre-911.

It is easy to read post-Katrina destruction into this record's overwhelmingly sad sonic landscapes, particularly in the opening track. The slowly moving songs, which truly make up the whole of the album, are shades of distorted sounds with droning white noise and traces of crackly, warbly melodies, reminiscent of something lost. The title track is the record's most beautiful--slowly crescendoing washes of sound build up to a majestic slide guitar melody before the climax fades into static and feedback.

Musically Belong isn't going anywhere Fennesz, Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine, etc. haven't gone before--and maybe they don't go as far--but these are beautifully expressive tracks nonetheless and are well worth a listen.

Belong - I Never Lose. Really Really
Belong - October Language


If you haven't heard the Grandmaster, Christian Fennesz, before, here's my favorite song from his record Endless Summer, "Caecilia."

Friday, April 14, 2006

New Sufjan mp3

It's been too long since we've posted a Sufjan mp3. But the famine is coming to an end. Here's a track that he reworked for The Avalanche. The version that will be on the album is reportedly very different from this particular version. Regardless, it's lovely.

Sufjan Stevens - Adlai Stevenson

Venice is Sinking

I don't know much about this band other than they are from Athens, GA and they will be playing at Cave 9 this Saturday with Through the Sparks and The Saturdays. But what I've heard so far is good (especially Pulaski Heights) with the rockin' fiddles and the lowkey singer that sounds like someone I can't recall at the moment. So if you like what you hear, come out to the show on Saturday at 8 pm. Even if you don't like what you've heard, come anyway because I designed the poster for this show and if no one shows up they might not hire me again. :)

Venice is Sinking - Pulaski Heights
Venice is Sinking - Esther C

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Even better than David Hasselhoff.

One might ask: What do Josh Ritter and David Hasselhoff have in common?

First, they're both freaking nazz. Second, they are both more famous in other countries than they are here. For Hasselhoff, that's great because we get to see all the goofy things he does for German TV (c'mon, tell me you don't remember that "Hooked on a Feeling" video--yeah, priceless). For Josh Ritter it's a real shame! Golden Age of Radio is folk-based, singer-songwriterly gold in the vein of Townes van Zandt and Nick Drake. The Animal Years, debuting at your local record store today, is good, too.

I love the album art:

It reminds me of how my man took me to the zoo this weekend and how we didn't see any horses with chomped out backs but how if we did it would have been cool because a) it would look neat and 2) it would be easier to ride than a horse with a non-chomped-out back. I did see a llama, though, and that was almost as neat (though not quite as).

Josh Ritter - Girl in the War
Josh Ritter - Monster Ballads
Buy The Animal Years.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Avalanche

I just had to post this artwork for Sufjan's The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album which will hit shelves on July 25, 2006. I hope this is the real album cover because I love it.

In other happy news, Rosie Thomas is not having Sufjan's baby as Pitchfork reported last week. I can still keep the dream alive. ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Night at the Crabby Patty

I don't really feel like writing anything right now. There's always that pressure to be clever (or as my compatriot says, "clevericious"). However, maybe I can amuse you slightly by listing a few of the search terms that have resulted in various web surfers visiting Red Blondehead.

Some of you come to us in search of answers to such pressing questions such as, "Does Gary Oldman play guitar?" Now when this person googled this and then visited our site, we didn't have an answer for him/her. But now I will answer your question, Mystery Visitor. Gary Oldman did take bass guitar lessons when he played Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy but it was more to learn how to hold the guitar than to actually play it. Red Blondehead: Always Here to Help.

Howdy to the person that was searching for "pyschic Leah" [sic]. If our Leah has any psychic powers, I am unaware of them. But if you contact her personally, perhaps she will divine your future. "I see a deep need that needs to be addressed in your future....a need for spell check. This will bring you great fulfillment."

But I've saved the best for last. Someone out there is looking for Spongebob Squarepants pornos. I'm not sure what led this person into thinking that Red Blondehead is the place to find film clips of a sponge in compromising positions with a crabby patty. I am tempted to do a search to discover if such a thing actually exists, but I am too afraid of the possible results. If any kind readers want to take on such a search and let me know the answer, leave a comment. Thanks.

And now for some mp3s that I've been enjoying recently.

The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
The Little Ones - Cha Cha Cha
The Little Ones - High on a Hill

All three are good, but the first two are among some of the best stuff I have heard in recent memory.

Tracks from Tapes 'n Tapes new release, The Loon:
Tapes 'n Tapes - Cowbell
Tapes 'n Tapes - Insistor
Tapes 'n Tapes - Omaha

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's a Fiestalexico party!

Isn't that redundant? Like saying "it's a party party!" only with part of the name "Calexico" shoved in there cleverly? That's me, folks. I'm clever. Clevericious. Stop stalling, you say? Alright.

Next week, Tex-Mex, alt-country rockers Calexico will release Garden Ruin. If 'ere there was a reliably solid Tex-Mex, alt-country rocking band in existence, Calexico would that band, even though this record is a bit poppier. Now I'm just not making sense. I think I shall continue not making sense for the remainder of this blog entry. I've got candle wax on my car. What? Set the depth charges to ten meters. I almost had a BINGO, but I never got the "N." If you have taken a turkey which is unfit for consumption, authorized DEC staff may issue a special permit to take another. You will have to surrender the carcass. Surrender the carcass. Surrender the carcass. What?

Calexico - Bisbee Blue
Calexico - All Systems Red

PS--Making sense now: if you only have time to d'ld one, check out "All Systems Red." It's one of the best new songs I've heard so far this year.