Monday, March 29, 2010

Brainiac - I Am A Cracked Machine

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13 I Am A Cracked Machine.mp3 (10730 KB)

I was attracted to Brainiac because of their album covers. From the first time I saw the covers for Hissing Prigs in Static Couture and Electro-Shock for President, something said, "You need me."

Brainiac was a rock and roll band, experimenting with the aural gusto of The Residents, Primus and Sonic Youth, but all turned sideways. Often, it adds up to a noisy punkish sound that simplified everything that went into it. (This was true until Electro-Shock, which veered off into stellar electronic experimentation.)

The band ceased to exist in 1997 when vocalist Tim Taylor died in a car accident, which especially sucks because this is one band that could have been interesting to watch in the last decade. Not that guitarist John Schmersal's band Enon hasn't satisfied, but they're not exactly Brainiac.

Anyway, I know only a handful of people who've actually heard the band, but I'm sure they'd agree that the sound is timeless. As would every band who sounds like them then and now.

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This was recommended by Thom Yorke.

I stand by his recommendation and will be hunting down the rest of the album from The Gaslamp Killer, My Troubled Mind.


Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blackalicious - Swan Lake

Swan Lake by Blackalicious  
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1-10 Swan Lake.mp3 (6677 KB)

I was going to offer a lot of words on what makes this track, well, perfect. I think it speaks for itself though: beats, samples and lyrics. Got it?

If you've never heard of Blackalicious or Solesides (or DJ Shadow), here's your introduction. The only thing that Gift of Gab is bragging on here is his brains. There's nothing about bitches or money. 

This is a smooth track. I've been listening to it for years and it's one of the best ways to ease into the week. For most of you, you'll hear this on Tuesday morning. That's a good thing, for both you and the song, because all that bitter Monday garbage will be out of the way.

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pretty Lights - Total Fascination

Total Fascination by Pretty Lights  
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05 Total Fascination.mp3 (9401 KB)

It's not my Stupid Mop day, but I couldn't hold this back until Monday. Pretty Lights latest EP, Making Up A Changing Mind, may have blown the dust off my love of techno in the last 12 hours.

Crashing through the roof like the bastard child of early Prefuse 73 and wreckless big beat abandon of Lunatic Calm and Monkey Mafia, Pretty Lights is poised to stomp a mudhole up your back. From the Timbaland-meets-Isaac Hayes stutter-stepping soul of "Still Rockin'" to straight pounding hip hop of "I Can See It In Your Face" to the acid-tinged bounce of "Easy Way Out," Making Up A Changing Mind does not stop. 

This is slash and burn, blow your headphones, is-this-DJ-for-real-? kind of stuff. It's almost like somebody was paying attention to the promise of the late 90s. You're going to recognize some big-name samples on here too which only makes the bouncing beats that much more effective.

The brains behind Pretty Lights, Derek Vincent Smith, is offering up the EP for free (just as each of his previous albums has been) at his website as the intended first of a three EP series to be released this year. 

Go grab it now - this thing might change your plans for the weekend.

Pretty Lights official website (Making Up A Changing Mind is on the downloads page)
Bio at Wikipedia, which I'm guessing was written by Smith himself. Just a shot in the dark there.

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pink Floyd make a good point while sounding a little hypocritical. And old.

The best way to enjoy pretty much all of Pink Floyd's catalog is to listen to albums from start to finish - they were written and recorded that way and make a lot more sense when listened to the way they were intended. This is a mostly inarguable fact. Deal with it.

The members of Pink Floyd have joined a small chorus of artists who complain about their albums being available one track at a time on iTunes and Amazon, and have filed suit against their record label as a result. Fine, I've listened to Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here and The Wall and Animals and The Final Cut enough to see where they're coming from. 

There's just one thing though. More than one, actually: Relics, A Collection of Great Dance Songs, Works, and Echoes. Those are all greatest hits albums. They are carefully selected and sequenced, but each takes songs out of its originally intended place the same way. Look, "Money" means something different when not heard as part of Dark Side of The Moon. But "Have A Cigar" works whether it's on Wish You Were Here or all by its lonesome. 

The members of Pink Floyd knew years ago that not everybody freaks out about the album. For many, they don't want the entire artistic cycle. All they're looking for is the hook they heard on the radio. (Or on the tv/commercial/youtube video as it works now.)

I can respect that this is all about money. The problem is that it's not 1970 or 1980 or 1990 any more. Once you put out an album, whether the artist is the sole distributor or you're signed to one of the massive dying worldwide record labels, you lose control over how people consume it.

When it comes to Floyd, lots of people still buy the album. Look at how Green Day did with their last two albums in this new, faux, misrepresented "era of the single." Or look at Sade, who has blown the industry away by selling lots of records to lots of people without any sort of convoluted or clever marketing plan because people just want her sexy, sexy tuneage.

Artists are finding new ways to engage fans. Many have found ways to get them to buy a full album. For most, however, the days of selling an entire album to anybody who wants your stuff are over though.

Welcome to the 21st century boys. You make the art, and we'll take it from there.

Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Gimme The Wire

Gimme The Wire by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists  
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12 Gimme The Wire.mp3 (4125 KB)

With The Brutalist Bricks, Ted Leo is bringing the anger. I mean, it's more melodic than it is growling and spitting, but it's still sort of angry, you know? Frankly, I like Ted Leo when he's angry because the albums are that much better.

Leo and his Pharmacists lean punk the way the Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer did - with good songs. They are/were punk in spirit. Doing their own thing and shit. Ted rocks so hard he's shut down almost every label he's been on. I know, that's pretty punk rock, right?

Ted Leo is expressing the frustrations of people in the 20s and 30s, much as he has for the last decade or so. Unlike Living with the Living, which Leo must have purposely been aiming for specifics politically, The Brutalist Bricks is more about frustration with everything. We've all got a little of that.

I think he knows we're all just trying to get by without getting screwed by the man or having to totally sell everything out to get there. This album, with this song toward the end, is 14 tracks that make it a little easier.

Full disclosure: I've been listening to this nonstop since it leaked because it's just that good. I'm going to buy it on principle tomorrow. And it is without a doubt going to be on my top 15 for the year. That's right, I'm already planning on it being a top 15. The Surfer Blood album is also on this list. Just saying.

Listen to The Brutalist Bricks in full on MySpace.
Buy The Brutalist Bricks at Amazon.
Join up with eMusic and then use some credits on The Brutalist Bricks here.

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I reflexively hated this Dylan remix by Mark Ronson but it popped up on a blog I read yesterday and now I can't stop.

Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (Mark Ronson Remix) by Bob Dylan  
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19 Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) (Mark Ronson Remix).mp3 (6456 KB)

I first heard this butchering of one of Dylan's best songs at Baby Gap. It's self-explanatory, right. The Gap homogenized fashioned so perfectly for so much of society so it makes sense and that's what I get for shopping there. Eat me.

There's something I couldn't resist in the store - maybe it was the lack of things to really hold my attention as I chased my children around the store - and couldn't resist when I came across it online yesterday, that makes me want to keep playing it. Maybe it's the absurd juxtaposition of pop noise, a sampled horn and the old man that keeps me coming back.

Likely, it's just like The Gap: It's so damn easy to swallow and it's something I already know and love. Where's the harm?

Posted via email from Stephen Feller

Monday, March 1, 2010

RVIVR - Derailer

Derailer by Rvivr  
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01 Derailer.mp3 (8559 KB)

A teen anthem, screaming out for the city to let the punks do their thing because they just want to, like, be. "Derailer" is one side of RVIVR's second 7" and hopefully will lead to something more. I mean, half this band is Long Island, NY's Latterman, which was a decent band in it's day and put out four decent full length albums. I don't think I'm asking for too much here.

I thought at first that this was about the Republican Party's entertaining and frightening purging of their own. Then I figured it was an obnoxious teen hate anthem. Much like the first theory, all I heard was "Get out Get out" in the chorus. Then I focused on two lines: "The city tries to take it away" - which led to my actually paying attention and figuring out what the song is about - and the line that I think is really good but doesn't belong here: "You've got to scream when nobody's listening." It's just a good line and statement on life.

Nobody is listening to RVIVR but this is the kind of band I used to go see at small places in Gainesville, drink PBRs in the back and nod my head to because I'm a lazy, conceited, writerly puss who doesn't do the pit. The world could use more bands like this. I'll be satisfied if this band can write 11 more songs that are this good and release them somewhere.

RVIVR's record label

*Bonus subtext: I'm glad I wrote this last night because the subject matter and rocking song is a nice way to kick off another week of community news coverage! I hope it's not wrong to reference the day job in terms of rock and roll here...

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop