Hot Chip DJs, OOIOO Still Pounding it Out

Hot Chip's latest effort is a contribution to the DJ Kicks series, with one exclusive track from the band themselves, a remix of "My Piano". I admittedly don't have enough dance music in my collection, but like any kind of music you want to explore, look to the artists you really like and see what they talk about, or in this case spin. This is a superb mix, each song flowing from one to the next, the kind of thing you need to listen to the whole album to appreciate. It's heavy on dance beats, at times a couple of tracks are too repetitious for my tastes, but on a whole it provides a wide variety of great electronic and urban artists I've never heard of, and a few I have. There's a mix of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" that's pretty faithful and the whole thing ends with Joe Jackson's "Steppin Out" which except for the intro dance beat coming out of the previous song is all the original, and then some classic boogy from Ray Charles. This is tracks 2 and 3, a great example of mixing the old and new:

Check out Covert Curiosity for some recent live Hot Chip, too. They also stopped by to talk to the Guardian Music's podcast about the new compilation, here's the link for that.

If you prefer a more tribal, hallucinatory kind of pounding dance vibe, pick up the new OOIOO EP - Yoshimi's (from the Boredoms) side project has been around for a dozen years now, but the energy is still intense, and this time they're remixed by fellow Boredom bandmate Yamatsuka Eye. There's two Eye mixes, plus two B-sides, art designed by Eye himself, and it's available for less than three bucks at Amazon.


There's Something About Jonathan

Most younger readers know of Jonathan Richman because of his appearance as the guy doing the musical interludes in the movie "There's Something About Mary". Most of his solo stuff is not too dissimilar from that - the words "naive" and "childlike" are often used to describe his playful lyrics and tunes. But before that he slept on the couch of the Velvet Underground's manager and worked with John Cale and had a bit more grit and backbeat to his sound. Listen to "Astral Plane" and the take on "Roadrunner" on the Original Modern Lovers LP and hear that screaming organ and manic energy and know there was a reason the Sex Pistols performed that song during soundchecks. "Roadrunner" actually went to #1 in the UK, ironic considering it's the best song ever written about cruising around in the car in suburban USA. But the first s/t Modern Lovers LP wasn't released for a while after it was recorded, and by the time the follow up arrived, more years had passed than people realized and his songs had that much more time to get... what's the word - nicer? This progressed throughout his solo career - although he plays almost 50's style rock-n-roll chords he doesn't really seem interested in rocking you anymore. The batch of songs here are certainly, well, nice. They may not rock, but they roll. They follow 1983's "Jonathan Sings!" which followed his several-year hiatus from playing, and also feature then-wife Gail accompanying him. They are classic, honest, timeless tunes that somehow seem like they should have always existed, yet it took Jonathan Richman to take a determined stand away from popular music trends to bring them to life. If you're not that familiar with Richman or the Modern Lovers, you need to add some to your collection, even if it's a greatest hits package - in twenty more years you'll be playing it more than anything else you buy this year. Check out Insound for the Jonathan Richman and Modern Lovers albums you need to be adding to your collection and check out Jojoblog for news and links and good stuff.

"The Beach" is especially nice and will hopefully appear on a few of y'all's own summer mixes! Much thanks to the taper of this show, DimeADozen user lolive, who recorded it for for Radio-Bellevue, and who has tons of other high-quality shows upped on Dime, search "Lyon Tapes" and if you don't have an account keep trying and if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the white BitTorrent how-to on the right sidebar.


Some nice new indie

Here's three very recent albums that are very worth your time and money. On the one day I went up to Austin for SXSW, the first two "free" shows my wife and I tried to go to ended up being pass or invite-only, and I hadn't heard Apostle of Hustle, only of them, and didn't know what to expect, but seemed like a safe first bet from the great things I had read online. I couldn't have been more happily surprised. What I ended up walking into was one of the albums of the year played live. Apostle of Hustle is led by guitarist/songwriter/singer Andrew Whiteman, best known as lead guitarist of Toronto super-group Broken Social Scene, but in his own setting he shines even brighter, great songs, many of them tinged with Spanish that Whiteman has picked up staying in Cuba. There's lots of odd percussion and instrumental flourishes on "National Anthem of Nowhere", and even when the music strays into Spanish territory it is never water and oil but rather oil and fire - Whiteman and the rest of his bandmates are clearly talented players, and the layers of delay and intricate picking and organ and unique percussive additions help unify and make their sound unique and contemporary. I videoed the SXSW set, and if it turns out alright my next post will be the audio capture from that. These two songs should give you an idea of the variety found on this album, I could not recommend it more highly, this one will end up on many best-of lists at the end of the year for sure. Listen to "Rafaga" to the end.

Also see B(oot)log for a couple of radio sessions, I particularly like the very first version of "Animal Fat", it's quite nice. When you're thouroughly convinced of their greatness, head over to Insound and put your money where your ears are.

The Sea And Cake are well-known to the middle-aged alternative buffs among us. Hailing from the venerable Chicago post-rock scene that spawned Tortoise and which some may say has passed it's prime, they continue to put out timeless music with their own breezy sound despite whatever trends may be prevailing. Some say the Sea And Cake are boring - they are certainly more mellow in their later years, but boring would be to ignore the intricacies they bring. Sea and Cake drummer John McEntire (also of Tortoise) is also a producer of grand repute. He's got the beats and the tinkering to make anything sound nice. According to the Sea and Cake's website, the new album "Everybody" "finds the band continuing to perfect their singular brand of dreamlike, hot-buttered pop music that sounds delicately handcrafted, yet effortless all the same."

Ladybug Transistor hail from New York and like The Sea and Cake have been around for a while. They've undergone some changes, including the unfortunate passing of drummer San Fadyl on April 25. Their newest album is "Can't Wait Another Day" and does have Fadyl playing, along with a lot of guests, though Fadyl's Essex Green bandmate Sasha Bell is gone. The indie greats playing include Alicia Vanden Heuvel from the Aislers Set (check their mp3s in "media"), Jens Lekman, and Heather McIntosh, whose credits include of Montreal albums and the Circulatory System. The Optical Atlas has more info and music.

And while we're doing brand-new indie with a nice, soft, laid-back feel, I'll throw this one in, too, from a band with the odd moniker of Vampire Weekend (myspace). I found it over at Stereogum, who's calling them "A Band To Watch". I absolutely love it, even after a month of repeated plays, and agree that you should watch out for them, this is the best brand new thing I've heard and they sound to me like they have talent to stick around. There's another track at Stereogum, too.

Their site says they'll have an EP and 7" this month, that's how new they are. You'll probably have an easier time finding one of the three above albums, which you are encouraged to actually go out and buy.


The Smiths' 25th

Two events have profoundly impacted my life. Meeting my beautiful wife, and sitting in a friend's bedroom in 1987, summer before high school started, and hearing "Frankly Mr. Shankly" come over the speakers. I had never heard anything like it, and it blew the lid off a world of music I didn't know existed. The album I had bought previous to the Queen Is Dead (familiar colors?) was Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet". If you asked virtually any kid what alternative music was back then, the answer would have been Run DMC. Can the uniqueness of the Smiths be appreciated by those too young to remember the mid-eighties? Could an internet-ready world where you can hear as many new bands as you can possibly click on understand the magnitude of finding something like this in a sea of 80's mediocrity? I hope. Until 120 Minutes started coming on MTV around that time, there was simply no way for a kid with no cool connections to find non-mainstream music. Sean O'Hagan (not the musician) writes in Guardian Music:

"To put the extent of their achievement into context, you need only remember that they arrived at a time in the early-to-mid Eighties when punk's rupture had long been papered over, when the new synthesised pop of Boy George and Wham! ruled the charts, and, more importantly, when sample-based dance music first began crossing into the mainstream and rock music seemed to be fighting a desperate rearguard action. ...the Smiths almost single-handedly reclaimed and revitalised the ailing tradition of the guitar-driven, four-piece rock group"

The article highlights the fact that it was twenty-five years ago that Morrissey and Marr first met. And twenty years since they caused my musical awakening. This show is from a bootleg called "Reel Around The Fountain", it's their ninth ever show and first outside Manchester or London. I have untracked, remastered, and tracked it (for smoother transitions between songs), here's how it sounded before and this is how it sounds now. This was a month after their very first single, "Hand In Glove", and still six months from their first album. Enjoy.


of Montreal @ Popfest '05

While the lineup is still being worked on for Athens Popfest 2007, the Booty Patrol is satiating the thirst for live psychedelic-tinged indie with of Montreal's performance as headliners for the 2005 Popfest. The recording was provided by HHBTM, which has a fantastic singles club and helps put on the Popfest. Here's a couple of standout tracks (the whole show is available at the Booty Patrol site):

"False Accusations"
I swear that when I heard of Montreal play this in Austin Kevin Barnes said it was a B-side of some boy band like Backstreet Boys. I googled as long as I cared to and didn't find anything. anybody know?

"A Sentence of Sorts In Kongsvinger"
One of two songs from this year's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer" album that make an early 2005 appearance.

"Jennifer Louise"
The only song besides "False Accusations" that hasn't been released within of Montreal's last three albums, this one is on one of my favorite albums, 2002's Aldhils Arboretum

There's also a rare performance of "Family Nouveau", too, just head over to the Booty Patrol and scroll down to their Downloads section. And head over to Polyvinyl to buy some of the meticulously crafted albums they have for your purchasing pleasure.