Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Got enough rounds to wipe out this place?

It's kind of disheartening to hear a song about the military in Afghanistan that was recorded over three decades ago and is still incredibly relevant. Though, I suspect as long as we're spending a weirdly disproportionate amount on the military, and not funding education at the same levels, songs like this are going to ring true.

Sure it makes our country violent and dumb (or is at least is symptomatic of BEING violent and dumb), but at least the songs rock.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I consoled myself with rudimentary thoughts

Bill Callahan (née Smog) is somehow able to craft music that sounds simultaneously compulsively arranged and don't-give-a-shit slapdash, complexly orchestrated and barebones, subtle and epic. As Callahan speak-sings thought-up-just-now lyrics like "America! What a Navy! What an Army! What an Air Force! What a Marines! America!" (exclamation points included on the lyric sheet), his backing band sounds like they're in a clinically sterile room crafting as precise and crisp a rhythm as possible. And as the album fades out with beautiful, praise-band piano, Callahan just sings the catalog number of the album (DC450). Granted, he makes it sound like country-gospel, but it's still just near-meaningless letters and numbers. I feel like this is the sound of a musician playing hard to get. Craft a beautiful album for your listeners, but give them just enough emotion to hook them, and then fill the rest with aloofness and inside jokes so they feel like if only they could work just a little harder, they'll be let into the album's magical little lyrical world. But this makes the album electrifying. Playing hard to get creates obsession, and this album definitely locked in a spot on my best-of-2011 list last year. And, in fact, is all I've really listened to for the last week. And I suspect it'll pop up fairly frequently in the future. Reveal your secrets, Bill Callahan. Love us like we love you.

Feel free to pick it up at the record label's site, or on Amazon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ils mourraient sous le poids des siecles...

This is going to be another one of those breaks from indie pop to listen to something much heavier and darker. In this case: black metal from France. We all love a catchy love song, but sometimes you need something brutal and atmospheric that, because the lyrics are largely buried/shrieked/in a language you may not understand, you have to let the band show, rather than tell. Blut Aus Nord fills that niche nicely.

The album this track comes off of is the first of BAN's "777" trilogy of albums. 777 being a number traditionally associated with God (if man is five, and the Devil is six...), and black metal traditionally not being the most religion-friendly genre in the world, you can probably see where these albums are going to go, lyrically. What IS refreshing, though, is where the album goes sonically. Unlike so much black metal which starts and ends with a pummeling blast-beat, this album has no problem slowing things down a bit and creating a mood. This track being a chief example of that. No one is about to accuse this track of being weak, but it measures out its heaviness with some Krautrock from France's germanic neighbors. This could be something of a gateway album for people not into metal's cookie monster vocals or never-ending brutality. It's still a heavy listen, but it isn't as exhausting as many of it's genre-mates.

Playlist for 5-24-12 (all ladies edition!)

Hey folks,

So last night, we took a break from our regularly scheduled program of Pavement and awkward jokes to do a show featuring nothing but female vocalists. I think we all had a good time. least I had a good time. And I'm the only person I can be sure listened to the whole show, so I guess my opinion counts the most. Anyway, here's all the sweet lady-sung tunes we played:

Things that Are Square 5-24-12

(*) = New release

Big Mama Thornton - Life Goes On - Live with the Muddy Waters Blues Band 1966

Nouvelle Vague - I Melt with You - Nouvelle Vague
Blonde Redhead - Slogan - Mélodie Citronique (For Ivy in Westminster, CA)
France Gall - Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son - Poupée de Son
Françoise Hardy - Susanne - Comment Te Dire Adieu

Grimes - Circumambient - Visions
The Blow - "Come On Petunia" - Poor Aim: Love Songs
Young Marble Giants - Searching for Mr. Right - Colossal Youth
Le Tigre - Eau d'Bedroom Dancing - Le Tigre

(*) Allo Darlin' - The Letter - Europe
The Magnetic Fields - Washington, D.C. - 69 Love Songs
Talulah Gosh - The Girl with the Strawberry Hair - Backwash
Bratmobile - Eating Toothpaste - Ladies, Women and Girls

(*) Best Coast - Why I Cry - The Only Place
Best Friends Forever - Eisenhower Is the Father - Romance Conflict Adventure
Deerhoof - Panda Panda Panda - Apple O'
(*) Black Tambourine - I Want You Around - OneTwoThreeFour

(*) Grass Widow - Disappearing Industries - Internal Logic
Kimya Dawson - I Like Giants - Remember that I Love You
Nellie McKay - Mother of Pearl - Obligatory Villagers
Amanda Palmer - Fake Plastic Trees - Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele

Beat Happening - Fortune Cookie Prize - Dreamy
Mirah - Monument - Advisory Committee
Joanna Newsom - Soft As Chalk - Have One on Me (For Marissa in Yorba Linda, CA)
Shannon and The Clams - Sleep Talk - Sleep Talk

OOIOO - Mountain Book - Gold and Green
Ponytail - Beg Waves - Ice Cream Spiritual
Yo La Tengo - Moby Octopad - I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One (For Brian in Huntington Beach, CA)

(*) Screaming Females - Rotten Apple - Ugly

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Someone will kill you for a secret kiss

Mi Ami's Steal Your Face was one of those albums that immediately clicked for this listener. The sweaty, passionate junkyard danceparty they put down hit musical buttons on more levels than anything I'd heard in a while. That level of interest causes the listener to investigate the band more deeply. And since Mi Ami only had one other album, further exploration was needed. Turns out 2/3 of Mi Ami used to be in another band, Black Eyes. On Dischord. With an album produced by Ian MacKaye. Sold.

And you can hear the Mi Ami DNA in genetics of this band. While obviously punk-er (with the vitality of youth), Daniel Martin-McCormick's nasal keening and slashing guitar-scraping are present, as is the presence of bass-loving dub influence. It makes sense that such a combination would find a home on the Fugazi label. Granted, for this listener, Black Eyes is only a methadone to Mi Ami's heroin (and, sadly, Mi Ami's new electro stuff is like ditch-weed). But this is still a real strong album, and I regret not getting the opportunity to see it live where I know the energy almost-but-not-quite-captured on this album would have blown faces to the back of the room.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I play a losing game but life goes on just the same

I picked up a Big Mama Thornton album because of my friend Kathlyn. Looking for some more blues albums after picking up Muddy Waters's classic live album, I knew one of Kathlyn's most-listened-to artists on was Big Mama Thornton. And you don't forget a name like that. That name alone draws your attention. And BMT had an album with Muddy Waters. Sold. And the album is as big as the name. These tracks are powerful. Big slabs of soulful blues delivered with a conviction and passion that categorizes the best music in the world. And this album is always going to remind me of Kathlyn, who unfortunately passed away a couple years ago. She, too, was strong and passionate and I had a very big affection for her. I hope that somehow she knows that her nerdy friend Kyle is still having his life enriched by her, and that even though I understand why she did what she did, I really wish she was around to share these things with.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Playlist for 5-17-12

Hey folks!

Last night was another lovely evening of radio, had an intern who brought plenty of good stuff, there was free pizza at the station, I found and wore the worst/best airbrushed reggae t-shirt in the world, and we all had a real good time. Get in on this action. We listen to songs like these:

Things that Are Square 5-17-12 

(*) = New release

The Divine Comedy - Mother Dear - Victory for the Comic Muse

(*) Spiritualized - Life Is a Problem - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
(*) Zammuto - F U C-3PO - Zammuto
Arthur Russell - Calling Out of Context - Calling Out of Context
Peaking Lights - All the Sun that Shines - 936

(*) Black Tambourine - I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend - OneTwoThreeFour
(*) Grass Widow - Milo Minute - Internal Logic
Ghost Mice - Critical Hit - Andrew Jackson Jihad/Ghost Mice Split
(*) King Tuff - Bad Thing - King Tuff

(*) Violens - Totally True - True
The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 - The Glow Pt. 2
Lullabye Arkestra - All I Can Give Ya - Ampgrave
The Mummies - I'm Gonna Kill My Baby Tonight - Death By Unga Bunga!!

Fucked Up - Anorak City - Year of the Pig
****Intern Daniel takes over****
(*) Screaming Females - It All Means Nothing - Ugly
(*) OFF! - Feelings Are Meant To Hurt - OFF!
Toys That Kill - Brave Kids Jump - Flys EP
(*) Beach Fossils - Shallow - Shallow/Lessons EP
(*) Beach Fossils - Lessons- Shallow/Lessons EP 

(*) races - Walk Through the Fire - Year of the Witch
(*) Lee Ranaldo - Lost - Between the Times and the Tides
The Psychic Paramount - N5 - II
Woods & Amps for Christ - Form Oatmeal to Buttermilk - Woods/Amps for Christ
(*) Xiu Xiu - I Luv Abortion - Always

(*) Allo Darlin' - Neil Armstrong - Europe
(*) Best Coast - Better Girl - THe Only Place
(*) Imperial Teen - In over his head - Feel the Sound
(*) Dan P. and the Bricks - Watch Where You Walk - Watch Where You Walk
(*) The Submarines - Shoelaces - Shoelaces EP
(*) Hunx - Always Forever - Hairdresser Blues

Friday, May 11, 2012

Playlist for 5-10-12

Hey folks!

I did a radio show! I had an intern! We played music! The music consisted of these songs!:

Things that Are Square 5-10-12 

(*) = New release

The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio - High Violet

The Wedding Present - Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft - George Best Plus
When I Was 12 - Explicit Content - Dear Eskimo
Woods - Military Madness - Songs of Shame
(*) Allo Darlin' - Tallulah - Europe

(*) Evans The Death - A Small Child Punched Me in the Face - Evans the Death
Brian Eno - King's Lead Hat - Before and After Science
(*) Grimes - Genesis - Visions (For April and Diana in Irvine, CA)
Khaira Arby - Sourgou - Live on KEXP

(*) OFF! - King Kong Brigade - Off!
Shannon and The Clams - Toxic Revenge - Sleep Talk
Sex Bob-Omb - We Are Sex Bob-Omb - Scott Pilgrim vs the World (For Todd in Tustin, CA)
(*) Guantanamo Baywatch - Boomerenga - Chest Crawl

(*) Advance Base - My Sister's Birthday - A Shut-In's Prayer
(*) Spiritualized - Too Late - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
****Intern Michael Takes Over****
Foot Foot - Trumpet - Trumpet
Japanther - 1-10 - Wolfenswan

Jason Webley - Icarus - Only Just Beginning 
Old Monk - Skullsplitter - Birds of Belize
These New Puritans - Attack Music - Hidden
The Deep Dark Woods - The Place I Left Behind - The Place I left Behind

The Blue Van - Love Shot - Love shot
The Open House Collective - Chars and Cinders - Calavaras
South Sea Island Magic - Waves Will Crash - Death To Winter

Voltaire Twins - Animalia - Animalia
I Like Japanese Hardcore- Do Do Do - Live 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Playlist for 5-2-12

Hey folks,

Thanks to everyone who donated during the Fund Drive this year. If you still want to float us a couple bucks in order to keep a non-commercial, volunteer-run station going, call 949-824-5824 sometime before May 6th to donate. We'd appreciate it.

Here's the kind of music you'd be supporting:

Things that Are Square 5-3-12 

(*) = New release

(*) Spiritualized - Get What You Deserve - Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

(*) Xiu Xiu - Honey-Suckle - Always
(*) Perfume Genius - Dark Parts - Put Your Back N 2 It
(*) Advance Base - Summer Music - A Shut-In's Prayer

Tom Waits - Last Leaf - Bad As Me
Emperor X - Sig Alert - Western Teleport
(*) Allo Darlin' - Wonderland - Europe

(*) Best Coast - The Only Place - The Only Place
Shannon and The Clams - You Will Always Bring Me Flowers - Sleep Talk
3 1/2 - Green Leaf - First Recordings

(*) Blasted Canyons - Holy Geometry - 2nd Place
Mi Ami - Echonoecho - Watersports
Fugazi - Cashout - The Argument

Silver Jews - Friday Night Fever - Bright Flight
The Louvin Brothers - The River of Jordon - Satan Is Real
Yo La Tengo - Griselda - Fakebook
This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb - A Hundred Dollars - Front Seat Solidarity

Big Black - Heartbeat - The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape
Half Japanese - Stripping for Cash - Greatest Hits
The Sonics - Money - Here Are the Sonics!!!
Dios - Fifty Cents - dios

Jens Lekman - Pocketful of Money - Oh You're So Silent Jens
Gang Gang Dance - God's Money V - God's Money

Chain and the Gang - What Is a Dollar? - Down with Liberty...Up with Chains!

And just as a bit of self-promotion, our band Moon Pearl is playing a show on Saturday at Pehrspace with Heller Keller, 3 1/2, and Le Cos. Come get sweaty with us on Cinco de Mayo.