Take Five

Finds of the Week

  • Last night, I spent some quality time with iTunes. I seem to have a lot of difficulty keeping my iPod synced to my iTunes, and I am always having to take stuff of the iPod to make room for new music. Well, I’d neglected this task for a while, so I decided to make an evening of it, popping open a Woodchuck pear cider, turning on the Sox and getting to work. The fun part about this task, however, is newly discovering stuff I downloaded or bought weeks ago and either never listened to properly or never listened to at all. Such as…
    • The latest gem churned up by the blog surf is Galapaghost, a uke-wielding, upstate New York-dwelling one man band named Casey Chandler. Find him on MySpace or read what Music for Kids Who Can’t Read Good had to say about him.
    • The Swedesplease blog has long been a favorite of mine, as befitting my fixation on Swedish pop. I also have a fixation on bears. So imagine my delight when a track by a band called Bear Pilot pops up on that blog, and it’s labeled “the best pop song of the year.” We’ll see if that holds up or not, but either way, “The Bravest Year” is definitely a keeper. Here is an older post with Bear Pilot tracks that I had missed, as well.
    • I would say that this song is possibly the best pop song of the year, but apparently I am a year too late. I just discovered Hey Marseilles, by virtue of the fact that their album “To Trunks and Travels” is being re-released on June 29. But a quick spin of my Google Reader reveals that people like debcha were onto their lush pop way before me (probably because they’re from Seattle and she was there, but hey). Anyways, you can download “Rio” for free from their website, and I strongly urge you to do so. Right now. It’s OK, I know you’ll come back here when you’re done.

Live Music

I know I said last week that I was going to be hitting Record Store Day, seeing the New Collisions/Morning Benders and having a grand ol’ time. Well, Saturday turned out to be an epic fail kind of a day, and I didn’t step foot inside a Newbury Comics until 3:30PM, by which time most if not all of the limited edition 7″s and CDs were gone and the New Collisions/Morning Benders had long since broken down their gear. I still grabbed some fun promo discs and, accidentally, saw Mary Gauthier‘s live set at the Harvard Sq. Newbury Comics.

I don’t generally gravitate toward her brand of haunting folk, but I did appreciate seeing her live. She has a gift for narrative in song, performing with her heart on her sleeve and grit in her teeth. There wasn’t as huge a crowd assembled for her set as I’m sure there was for the Morning Benders, but I took great pleasure in seeing these two older couples — late 50s, Cambridge, ex-hippie types — who you could tell were probably on her mailing list and made the trek to Newbury just to see her play a free half-hour set. It was an unexpectedly fun time.

So, while I didn’t have the Record Store Day experience I’d intended to have, I did make it to the Independent on Tuesday night for the New Pornographers listening party, co-hosted by Brad Searles. Since I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t stay long, but I did hang out long enough to hear the new album, pick up a limited edition mix CD crafted by Carl Newman himself (as well as a fun new poster) and make a new friend. There were other giveaways, included posters, 7″s and tickets to the June concert (plus, for the Twitter-inclined, a hashtag-driven contest to win the entire New Pornographers catalog on vinyl). So I would consider that an hour well spent. And even though I had to filter it through the din of a chatty, busy bar, I could tell that “Together” is a special album. May 4 can’t come soon enough. (Also coming out May 4: the new Hold Steady album, which you can stream in its entirety via NPR.org.)

RIYL…

I am absolutely in love with Auto-Tune the News. The Gregory Brothers take unintentionally hilarious political clips from network/broadcast news, C-SPAN and elsewhere, applying a healthy dose of Auto-Tune and their own songwriting to create warped, wonderful musical medleys on current events. This one is my favorite:

And the good news? You can download the Auto-Tune the News songs from Amie Street. Sure, it’s not the same as watching the videos, but if you’ve watched them as often as I have, they’ll be playing in your head as you listen. So, if you like politics, pop culture and parody, you’ll love this.

Bonus? The Gregory Brothers are really talented, both vocally and musically. When they’re not auto-tuning the news, they are in a band they describe as “Country & Soul, Folk & Roll.” Have a listen on MySpace. They’re quite good.

New Releases

I follow Amie Street on Twitter, and the other day I saw that they had a deal for 50% off music credit. They were also plugging the new releases by Local Natives and Surfer Blood. So I put two and two together, grabbed some discounted credits and applied them toward those albums. I also, since it was still pretty darned cheap, snagged the new Kissaway Trail album.

At Record Store Day, the only thing I bought was Nada Surf‘s new covers album, “If I Had a Hifi,” but I am still colossally backed up on my music listening. So I don’t have a whole lot to report on these albums. But I will.

Second Thoughts

The other night, I found myself downloading another Animal Collective song. “Summertime Clothes.” Goddamnit.

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