Jens Lekman Solo Radio Performance

Is Jens Lekman too quirky to break into the mainstream? His smooth crooning can sooth even the most jaded listener, and it's easy to see how his romantic sounds could appeal to a wider, older, less "hip" audience. He has called himself (here in the interview below) the "indie Frank Sinatra", although I have two arguments against that: 1. Jens's swagger doesn't have the tough streak of Sinatra's 2. Sinatra would probably never, even if the technology were available at the time, sing over a loop of his own beat-boxing as Jens does here. His newest, Night Falls Over Kortedala, is appearing on many year-end best-of lists, and also sees him exploring where he can take "crooner" music, encorporating various styles and offbeat musical elements. The combination of quirkiness (especially with lyrics) with pure pleasantness has won over much of the indie community, and it won't be long before a more mainstream crowd knows his name.

Jens Lekman
KEXP Seattle Nov. 6, 2007

01 The Opposite of Hallelujah
02 Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig
03 Interview
04 Your Arms Around Me
05 Shirin
06 Interview

Night Falls Over Kortedala would be an excellent gift idea for someone you wouldn't think would normally listen to indie music, and the cheapest price I found was directly from the label Secretly Canadian, 11 bucks for CD or vinyl.

Thanks also to your friend laura for the great photo of Jens, taken at an in-store he played the same day as the set above and a full show later that night.


of Montreal Cover 2 More Prince Songs

of Montreal are a band known for their great covers, both performance-wise and selection-wise, but I don't think before this year's tour that they ever covered more than one song from the same artist. First there was "Moonage Daydream" (*bows*), then came a slew of other David Bowie covers. Then earlier this year they covered "Raspberry Beret" and lately they started playing "Purple Rain" (which I saw in Austin), and have now gone even further into the Prince catalog. Both Bowie and Prince seem to be huge influences on the newer of Montreal sounds, so it's good to see Kevin Barnes acknowledging that fact outright and firmly by playing so many of their songs. The show these following tracks are from was in St. Louis on November 19, the second-to-last stop of this American leg on their massive tour, and were the opening two songs of the concert.


Karlheinz Stockhausen

Karlheinz Stockhausen died Wednesday (obit.). I had heard him mentioned several times as an electronic pioneer and an avant-garde composer who influenced popular music from the Beatles (he was on the Sgt. Pepper cover collage) to Sonic Youth, yet I admittedly (like most I presume) had heard little of his music. Like any kind of music, if you're interested in it, look to the pioneers and heavyweights, and if you missed their contributions while they were alive, a wake is an appropriate time to take a moment to examine somebody's work, so for the last couple days I've been diving in. I learned that Stockhausen (wiki) did much more than tinker with electronics, he was a quixotic visionary who (along with John Cage) pioneered the use of chance in music, even having musical scores which could be read by the performer upside down or begun at a random page. Stockhausen also experimented with atonal music, which even today sounds challenging, and probably much more so to audiences of the fifties and sixties. He was always looking for new possibilities in sound, and the music I've heard from him has very different styles, from noise to abstract choral arrangements to strange silence>note cluster collages. He is most influentially noted, though, for his electronic experiments, incorporating new musical equipment with his atonality and serialism experiments, like in his Kontakte, recorded from 1958-1960 in his studio in Cologne:

Below is an intriguing later example (early 90's) of his exploratory composing enititled "Helikopter String Quartet" (part of his LICHT [light] cycle of operas), featuring four classical instrumentalists matching dizzying tremolos to the rotary sound of the four helicopters they are riding in while performing. Here is a more in-depth description.

Karlheinz Stockhausen "Helikopter String Quartet" (edit)

If you take the time to explore Karlheinz Stockhausen, you'll inevitably come upon many internet opinions regarding him as everything from " unparalleled genius" to "unlistenable". As with virtually any artist, there is talk about how the later stuff is not as good as the earlier stuff. As with any music that is new (to you), try to ignore all of the words and focus on the sounds. They can be difficult piece to listen through, but good or bad, it brings up a quote I saw in an interview with Stockhausen, where he said that all music and sound effects you. You are different after listening to anything. Certainly the "Helikopter String Quartet" will, at least unconsciously, make you more aware of the interplay between what you think of as music and what you think of as daily noise.

Don't miss the multimedia page at the official Stockhausen site for more audio.

Amazon has a wide selection of interesting-looking Stockhausen CDs


The Joggers Cover Deerhoof, Grateful Dead

On The Joggers myspace page, they now link to a new Joggers blog. It's been going on for a month now, and has lots of info - I didn't realize Dan and Jake also play in a band called Pseudosix, which I will be checking out immediately, and Daryl the bassist is out for a while with a hockey injury. But the big news comes in the form of a link to PRA radio - Portland Radio Authority, which is a treasure-trove of Portland area recordings, including TWO shows from the Joggers, plus an interview, as well as a Damo Suzuki (Can) tribute featuring Dan and Jake from the Joggers. One of the Joggers' shows is the cover-laden set from NYE last year featuring the below songs, and, oh, Led Zeppelin. The links at PRA are working weirdly right now, though, to get to the Joggers shows you first have to go to the PRA homepage and then to the link for PODCAST - PRA Events. When I went to that link yesterday it showed me a page full of concerts including the above mentioned Joggers' sets, but now it seems to be directing to a Yahoo page to "add events to my Yahoo". It wouldn't be as fun if you didn't have to work to uncover it, would it?