Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I will solve your riddles!

The Splinters - "Mysterious" (Music Video) from The Splinters on Vimeo.

I don't know much about the Splinters. I know they're from the bay area and that they play rock and roll music with two guitars and no bass and one girl that only plays the tambourine. And I know I have a heart-tearing crush on one of their two guitarists (whose name I don't even know).

Look at her in the lower left-hand corner there, all adorable and bespectacled. If you happen to know her, you let her know that she's always welcome to stop by my radio show. I'll make sure there's a mic with her name on it (should I ever learn what that is).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New leaves

I'm making efforts to make my show a bit more energetic, as of late. Let this sing be a testimony to this switch: chronic sad-sack and eventual suicide Sparklehorse playing a balls-out rock song.

See, baby? I can change. Just give me a chance.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nerd alert!

I know I'm a couple years late to the game, but I beat Portal at work today, and was surprisingly treated to a wonderful little self-referential pop-song, sung by the game's sentient, evil, robotic antagonist. I wanted to immediately learn to play it on the ukulele. Dare to dream.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Playlist for 6-24-10

Hey folks,

Sorry for the delay in posting last week's playlist. I left very soon after my radio show to drive up to Berkeley to see Pavement played. The show was rad. It was entirely worth the 14 hour round trip. Hit me up. We'll discuss it. I will relive the magic.

Things that Are Square 6-24-10

(*) = New release

Pavement - Stereo - Brighen the Corners

Los Campesinos! - C Is the Heavenly Option - The International
Tweexcore Underground
The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride - Heretic Pride
Neutral Milk Hotel - Song Against Sex - On Avery Island
Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One

(*) Male Bonding - Year's Not Long - Nothing Hurts
Times New Viking - Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Score! 20 Years of
Merge Records: The Covers
The Fall - Hey! Luciani - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong
(*) Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Revolution's a Lie - Before Today

Brian Eno - Third Uncle - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers
Jay Reatard - See/Saw - Matador Singles '08
(*) Ty Seagall - Girlfriend - Melted

(*) Unnatural Helpers - Sunshine/Pretty Girls - Cracked Love & Other Drugs
Black Flag - Rise Above - Rise Above
Dead Kennedys - California Über Alles - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Tiger Trap - Puzzle Pieces - Tiger Trap

The Splinters - Mysterious - Kick
Treepeople - Big Mouth Strikes Again - Something Vicious for Tomorrow/Time Whore
The Gun Club - She's Like Heroin to Me - Fire of Love
The Blood Brothers - Set Fire to the Face on Fire - Young Machines

(*) Holy Fuck - Silva & Grimes - Latin
OOIOO - UMO - Taiga
Man Man - Black Mission Goggles - Six Demon Bag
(*) Mi Ami - Secrets - Steal Your Face

Akron/Family - Raising the Sparks - Akron/Family & The Angels of Light
Dark Meat - One More Trip - Universal Indians
King Khan & The Shrines - Land of the Freak - The Supreme Genius Of
King Khan & The Shrines
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Oh Lord - Tepid Peppermint Wonderland

Marnie Stern - Transformer - This Is It...

As a heads up, there's a healthy chance the next show is going to be fairly Pavement-heavy. Haha.

Check this

The Pavement show in Berkeley was extremely satisfying. For those folks attending the Hollywood Bowl show: prepare to hear all your favorite Pavement songs played. PREPARE.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oblique strategies

So, it's gotta be weird to be a dude that invented like, two or three genres, right?

The Civil War was awesome

Titus Andronicus' "The Monitor," a concept album about the Civil War is totally rad. Listening to the lyrics, it seems like the thing has more to do with living in/being from New Jersey than it does the Civil War, but I'm not going to question an album that I enjoy this much.

Bonus points for proper beards.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I guess I was punk once...

I know it's sort of pointless to say since everyone knows, but "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables" is a ridiculously good album. That is all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cosmopolitan and increasingly maudlin

I will nevet get the opportunity to see Vic Chesnutt live after his suicide last Christmas. So as I listen to his albums and make due with things like NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" to make up for it. I can only imagine how amazing his live collaborations with A Silver Mt. Zion would have been. Alas.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Playlist for 6-17-10

Happy friday, folks,

Heck. Yeah. My university job is totally chill because the students aren't around until the first summer session, and I plan on just watching X-Files in my office and shopping for bike handlebars online all morning. Sometimes having a job that you're way overqualified for can be a blessing.

But we're here to talk about music! My radio show, specifically, and the things I played last night:

Things that Are Square 6-17-10

(*) = New release

(*) Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Beverly Kills - Before Today

(*) Tame Impala - Alter Ego - Innerspeaker
Galaxie 500 - Snowstorm - On Fire
Built to Spill - You Were Right - Keep It Like a Secret
Pavement - Rattled By the Rush - Wowee Zowee

(*) Ty Segall - Caesar - Melted
The Feelies - Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except for Me and My Monkey) - Crazy Rhythms
The Vaselines - Sex Sux (Amen) - The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History
Wipers - Return of the Rat - Is This Real?

Ghost Mice - Oh Me, Oh Me - Andrew Jackson Jihad/Ghost Mice Split
Defiance, Ohio - Oh, Susquehanna! - The Great Depression
koalacaust - Nubian Ibex - Koalacaust
This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb - This Is What I Want - Front Seat Solidarity

(*) Thee Oh Sees - Mega-feast - Warm Slime
(*) moon pearl - Fake Blood - Pearl Jams
The Magnetic Fields - Yeah! Oh, Yeah! - 69 Love Songs
Spectrals - Leave Me Be - Spectrals (For Gabrielle in Costa Mesa, CA)

(*) Fela Kuti - Who're You? - Nigeria Afrobeat Special
Neu! - Hallogallo - Neu!

(*) The Wave Pictures - Nothing Can Change This Love - Instant Coffee Baby/If You Leave It Alone
St. Vincent and The National - Sleep All Summer - Score!: 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers!
(*) French Quarter - Wet Cloud - It's Not Just Kissing
Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - Broken Broken Broken Heart - 'Em Are I

Tullycraft - Secretly Minnesotan - Disenchanted Hearts Unite (ForEmily in Torrance, CA)
Jacob Borshard - Pigeon's Blood - A Glow in the Dark

Cause Co-Motion! - Only Fades Away - It's Time!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The world's largest group hug

Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson, two heavyweights in the "anti-folk" scene, teamed up way back when to release some songs, but finally put out an album's worth of material this year as The Bundles. It falls short of either of their catalogs, but they're both artists who are often uneven in their output (but when they're "on" they are mind-blowingly on). Anyway. Sample it. See what you think.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The only day Kurt Cobain was ever happy

Emily of the very-excellent-and-hopefully-not-over-now-that-she-graduated show Sweater Weather introduced me to a fun, generally poppy blog called Victorian Squid. And they had a totally rad bootleg of two of my all-time-favorite bands, The Vaselines and Beat Happening, playing together in 1988. Download it here.

It. Rules.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Playlist for 6-10-10

Howdy folks,

Another show for the record books. Great music, technical difficulties, and host retardation. Par for the course on Things that Are Square. Here's what I played:

Things that Are Square 6-10-10

(*) = New release

(*) The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio - High Violet

Danny Elfman - Main Titles - Beetlejuice Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Okkervil River - Lost Coastlines - The Stand Ins
The Splinters - Sea Salt Skin - Kick
(*) Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Round and Round - Before Today

Panda Bear - Take Pills - Person Pitch
The Velvet Underground - Ocean - VU
Jeffrey Lewis - Alphabet - It's The Ones Who've Cracked that the Light
Shines Through
The Olivia Tremor Control - NYC-25 - Dusk At Cubist Castle (For Doug
in Inglewood, CA)

(*) Woods - Suffering Season - At Echo Lake
(*) French Quarter - Bold With Fire Pt. 2 - It's Not Just Kissing
Beat Happening - Down at the Sea - 1983-1985
Wire - Sand in My Joints - Chairs Missing

(*) HEALTH - Before Tigers (CFCF Rmx) - Disco2
High Places - Sandy Feat (7" Version) - 3/07-9/07
The Blow - True Affection - Paper Television
The Endless Bummer - Rio Grande Sandbar, 2001 - Donald Fagen Mix Tape

(*) The Wave Pictures - Just Like a Drummer - Instant Coffee Baby/If
You Leave It Alone
Jonathan Richman - Rooming House on Venice Beach - I, Jonathan
Dent May - You Can't Force a Dance Party - The Good Feeling Music of
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
Red Pony Clock - My New Best Friends - God Made Dirt

Yo La Tengo - Blitzkrieg Bop - Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo
Akron/Family - I'll Be on the Water - Akron/Family
Little Wings - Sand Canyon - Discover Worlds of Wonder
Beulah - If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart
- When Your Heartstrings Break

Karl Blau - Crashing Waves - Beneath Waves

The Halo Benders - Don't Touch My Bikini - God Don't Make No Junk

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Self-loathing and optimism

So, does a song about optimism seem out of place on an album called "Dear God, I Hate Myself"?

Second, unrelated question: Is the cat in this video playing gameboy in the toilet?

The latest Xiu Xiu album is, as the kids say, "totally sick." Totally sick to the point where, when I read negative reviews about it, I wonder if they somehow got a copy of a different album than the one I'm listening to. I'm not sure it tops "Fabulous Muscles" or "A Promise," but it's still a high water mark.

If you are scared, if you are blue, I have prepared a small song for you.

I had the amazing fortune to see Joanna Newsom opening for Sufjan Stevens at the Troubadour right around the time "The Milk-Eyed Mender" came out. I was unfamiliar with her at the time, and was taken aback by her opening her set with an a capella appalachian folk song, unusual voice, and unusual subject matter. At first I thought it was comical. But as the set went on I realized they were some of the best songs I'd ever heard, and bought the album immediately.

The next time I saw her was after shelling out like, $75 to see her play with the LA Philharmonic at the massive Disney Concert Hall. The experience was obviously 1/10000th as intimate, but she still writes a damned good song.

I've finally gotten around to really absorbing her latest album, "Have One On Me," and while I think it could easily have trimmed a few songs (that are good, but make the 3-disk album a tad bloated), there are some completely amazing songs on there (this one included).

Moral of the story: Joanna Newsom is a good musician that I enjoy.

Addendum: Let's you and I start an American version of "Later with Jools Holland" and make a million dollars. Cool?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Master of covers is bowing your strings

Owen Pallett covers Guided By Voices

Owen Pallett picks some damned fine covers. I am not surprised he has done what may be my favorite of the AV Club's "Undercover" series thus far.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Learn it. Love it.

In my sappier moments, I often think of serenading romantic interests with various songs. This song ranks very, very high on that list of songs.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

And now for something completely different

I have a couple default musical settings:

1. Sad person (usually male) with acoustic guitar
2. Adorable group of folks playing songs about love (often involving a ukulele)
3. Dudes with electric guitars jamming out for extended periods of time

But every so often, the dial gets spun and something like this comes up. Just a little deathgrind to get you through the day. Enjoy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lovers at the end of the world

I Built Myself A Metal Bird - Thee Silver Mt. Zion from Constellation Records on Vimeo.

The new A Silver Mt. Zion album, "Kollaps Tradixionales," is a definite improvement on the uneven "13 Blues for Thirteen Moons" but still doesn't hit the band's high water marks. But, it's always good to have another album from these dudes. For me, it's one of those instances where so much of what I love, musically, is present in one place:
-long, guitar-laden tracks? (check)
-lyrical emotional content both morose and hopeful? (check)
-imperfect voices? (check)
-group vocals? (oh god, yes. check)
-smoking hot violinists? (check)
-beautiful music? (check)
-rocking out? (check)

Good work, ASMZ. I will continue to faithfully purchase your albums. Please continue making music that aurally resembles kissing while a nuclear bomb goes off.

Playlist for 6-3-10


I'm glad you made it. Everyone's already here. Beer's in the fridge, and they're making burgers outside (both veggie and traditional). The pool's warmed up. So go get your party on and listen to this fine music I've selected for you. I know you can't really get your crunk on to Low's "Sunflower," but let's pretend...

Things that Are Square 6-3-10

(*) = New release

Tom Waits - A Good Man Is Hard to Find - Blood Money

(*) French Quarter - It's Not Just Kissing - It's Not Just Kissing
The Microphones - Lanterns - Song Islands
Low - Sunflower - Things We Lost in the Fire
Vic Chesnutt - You Are Never Alone - North Star Deserter

The Field Mice - Willow - For Keeps
(*) Ceremony - Never Make You Cry - Rocket Fire
Yo La Tengo - Nothing to Hide - Popular Songs
Maritime - Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts - We, The Vehicles (ForPatrick in San Clemente, CA)

(*) The Depreciation Guild - Crucify You - Spirit Youth
Guided by Voices - Game of Pricks - Alien Lanes
(*) The National - Terrible Love - High Violet
(*) Moses Campbell - Swing Sets and Neighborhoods - Who Are You? Who Is Anyone?

(*) Dash Jacket - Very Fringe - Romance
(*) Artichoke - Newton, Isaac (1643-1727) - 26 Scientists Volume Two Newton-Zeno
The Diskettes - Art - The Diskettes
(*) The Wave Pictures - Kiss Me - Instant Coffee Baby/If You Leave It Alone

(*) Holy Fuck - Silva & Grimes - Latin
!!! - All My Heroes Are Weirdos - Myth Takes
Professor Murder - Free Stress Test - Professor Murder Rides the Subway
(*) Captain Ahab - The Calm Before the Sword - The End of Irony

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Graceland - Advance Base Battery Life
The Unicorns - I Was Born (A Unicorn) - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
The Drums - Saddest Summer - Summertime!

(*) Woods - Suffering Season - At Echo Lake
Real Estate - Suburban Beverage - Real Estate
Karl Blau - Into the Nada - Beneath Waves

(*) Avi Buffalo - Truth Sets In - Avi Buffalo

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Abortions = Bibles

More Vic Chesnutt appreciation. I wish I didn't have to use these like...home-made youtube videos, but the guy a) never made a "proper" video, b) all his live videos are pretty low-res/cameraphone-y, and c) he died last Christmas so there won't be any more chances for better footage. Bummer.

Anyway, this one's off his "North Star Deserter" album, out on Constellation. It marks the first of two albums where he used A Silver Mt. Zion as his backing band, which accounts for the melancholic campire singalong vibe. Elsewhere on the album, ASMZ gets into their "love at the end of the world" explosions, as well. All flavors of ASMZ are present.

Hope you dig it.