Friday, December 26, 2008

Alexander Ovechkin

I really like Onion videos. This is probably the best one.
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sufjan says, "Merry Christmas!"



OMG!!! NEW SUFJAN STEVENS!!!


Christmas carols, of course. Every year, the wonderful and attractive Sufjan Stevens gives a Christmas album to his family. This year, we are part of Sufjan's family! Woo-pee!


Enjoy! (click here for free download)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ben DeHaven's MUSC0200: "Computers and Music" Final Project


I helped out my roommate, Ben DeHaven, with the vocals on this one. He did a really good job of putting this minimalistic song together. It manages to be full and empty at the same time... I think.


The vocal effect in the beginning and end of the song comes from me singing into the pickup on my banjo.


Anyway, enjoy!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Andrew Bird + Yo-Yo Ma on MTV





I have to take a chem final in an hour, but this deserves sharing: Yo-Yo Ma invites Andrew Bird to jam on MTV. I like it.

Enjoy!

Thanks to You Ain't No Picasso for the tip.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sea Monsters = Real; Mermaids, Too, I Hope




This is the most frightening thing I've seen in a long time, but not in a grotesque, disturbed way.


It's frightening in the way that a tornado is beautiful.


Thanks to Marginal Revolution for the tip.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Wilde Is on My Side


Here are some good bits from Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan. I recommend it:



"CECIL GRAHAM. What is a cynic? [Sitting on the back of the sofa.]
LORD DARLINGTON. A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
CECIL GRAHAM. And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn't know the market price of any single thing."


"DUMBY. I congratulate you, my dear fellow. In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst; the last is a real tragedy!"


"LORD WINDERMERE. What is the difference between scandal and gossip?
CECIL GRAHAM. Oh! gossip is charming! History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality. Now, I never moralise. A man who moralises is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralises is invariably plain. There is nothing in the whole world so unbecoming to a woman as a Nonconformist conscience. And most women know it, I'm glad to say."



Sunday, November 23, 2008

FIGHT

Kevin Coopman, member of the Brown University Club Hockey team played Juniors in Canada. Needless to say, this happened:





Luckily, someone was there to get it on film.

Hockey is the best sport in the world.

Art Brut - Fight (Bang Bang Rock and Roll, 2005)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From: Grace, To: The Bass



Grace Pescatello wrote and recorded an a cappella love song a few days ago. It is called "Song for Chris" and it is very, very good. The repeated, overlapping lyrics call to mind The Fiery Furnaces in minute ten of "Quay Cur," and Grace's pronunciation of "glass" evokes that of legendary German fashion model Christa Päffgen (aka Nico).


The song lays a simple and memorable melody over 3-part harmony. It is earnest, calm, and heavenly.


Bravo, my Grace!


Monday, November 10, 2008

What have I been doing?



What have I been doing? I don't think I realize the implications of my slacking here at Pablo Bunny. I have left everyone in the dark about my views of what I consider the most important day of the century thus far:

TOMORROW! NOVEMBER 11, 2008

Why, you ask?

It is tomorrow that The Flaming Lips are finally releasing their movie, Christmas on Mars, on DVD! Christmas on Mars was originally slated for a Christmas 2003 release date, so I've pretty much been unable to sleep for 5 years.

ALSO: The direct sequel to Ender's Game, Ender in Exile, is released tomorrow. Orson Scott Card will finally bridge the 3000 years between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. FINALLY!

Change is here! Woo hoo!

Go march the Capitol! It's the science fiction event of the year!

The Flaming Lips - Suddenly Everything Has Changed (The Soft Bulletin, 1999)

BUY Christmas on Mars

BUY Ender in Exile

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Islands @ practically in my dorm, Fri. Nov. 7

Yeah, so Islands (formerly the Unicorns) is coming to Brown! Yippee! So come visit me! November 7th! Friday! Let me know soon so I can buy you a ticket!

Islands is a goofy, Canadian band that is not afraid of violins. It is a band that makes music that makes you want to get up and dance like a crazy person (see video above). Islands makes you feel vulnerable yet invincible. They like to sing about death.

Oh yeah, and they're playing with Man Man.

Check out their new album, Arm's Way. It's excellent.

Islands - Creeper (Arm's Way, 2008)

Islands - Kids Don't Know Shit (Arm's Way, 2008)

BUY Arm's Way

Saturday, October 18, 2008

FREDRIK


Sweden is bitchin':

Jens Lekman.

El Perro del Mar.

I'm From Barcelona.

Säkert!

Frida Hyvönen

Montt Mardié


The LK

And now:



Their music is wintry and feels like Christmas carols. Fredrik fits neatly into the list of bands above: their music is simple and declarative. It is feel good music that is not afraid of percussion.


Oh, and Fredrik is coming to a venue NEAR YOU!



Nov 5 2008
9:00P
DC9
Washington, Washington DC

Nov 6 2008
9:00P
Metro Gallery
Baltimore, Maryland


Nov 7 2008
8:00P
Cake shop
New York City, New York

Nov 8 2008
8:00P
Union Hall
Brooklyn, New York

Nov 9 2008
8:00P
Brillobox
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Nov 12 2008
9:00P
TT the Bear’s
Boston, Massachusetts

Nov 13 2008
8:00P
Space 538
Portland, Maine

Nov 15 2008
8:00P
Pianos
New York City, New York


So, please, check it:


Fredrik - Black Fur (Na Na Ni, 2008)


Fredrik - Alina's Place (Na Na Ni, 2008)


PRE-ORDER Na Na Ni

Friday, October 17, 2008

Houdini


Ummm.... yeah.... sorry about the lack of posts of recent. I have been *gulp* busy.


BUT! Good music abounds.


For instance, the new I'm From Barcelona album, Who Killed Harry Houdini?, came out this past Tuesday. It is a more intricate album than Let Me Introduce My Friends, and it's not quite as snappy. It is more even-tempered and more cleanly enunciates the melancholy presented in "Barcelona Loves You." It is a more delicate and cohesive album than their debut, which is not necessarily a good thing. I'm From Barcelona is a band that makes singles. It's hard for a full album not to get tiring. Also, part of the band's novelty is its overwhelming hugeness. Songs like "Gunhild," though beautiful, lack the sheer size of their previous album.


Still, get this album. It's I'm From Barcelona like you've never heard them.


I'm From Barcelona - Gunhild (feat. Soko) (Who Killed Harry Houdini?, 2008)


I'm From Barcelona - Mingus (Who Killed Harry Houdini?, 2008)
Soko -I'll Kill Her (EP 1, 2007)
BUY Who Killed Harry Houdini?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Good News from the Blogosphere


3 NEW TRACKS ON MYSPACE


Tomorrow!


I haven't blogged in a while. What is college doing to me?


(Priorities, Chris. Priorities.)


Big news brings me back to the ole' Lappy:


Antony and the Johnsons' new EP, Another World, comes out TOMORROW! It should be amazing.


Nothing compares to Antony and the Johnsons. Like Sigur Rós and Mount Eerie, they are a singular band: incredibly unique, incredibly good.


"Shake That Devil" shows Antony and the Johnsons moving in a direction that was hinted at in "Fistful of Love" on I Am a Bird Now. It is jazzy, funky, and sinister. Abuse is becoming a dominant theme in Antony's music...






PRE-ORDER Another World

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nantuh


Beirut's "Nantes" is one of the best songs of 2007.


Unlike other best songs of 2007 (*cou-"Paper Planes"-gh*), it has not been getting the cover/remix treatment it deserves.


UNTIL NOW!!!


Sepanta Mohseni brings together a cohesive a cappella version of the song with some sweet beat-boxing and distorted vocals. Doing it a cappella brings out the overwhelmingly vocal quality of Beirut's music, from Zach Condon's warbling vocals to the melodic sustain of the accordion and horns.


So give it a listen!




Sunday, September 28, 2008

There and Back Again


Ben and I finally made it to see Mount Eerie last night. It was quite the evening.


We caught at 5:20 pm Amtrak to Boston from Providence. Then we went to Cambridge, where Dave introduced us to the ghost of Henry David Thoreau. Then we went with Dave and Justin to a Chinese place with super-good/greasy kung pao chicken.



Next, it was to Mount Eerie. Dave, Ben and I found our way to the Massachusetts School of Art and Design via the Green Line, and found our way to the Pozen Center with the help of a few signs. The Pozen Center was essentially a ballroom. The stage was not used, and the floor-level set up forced everyone else to sit down on the ground. It was not crowded, so there was no issue.


Speaking of which, everyone was super-duper quiet. It was the most respectful audience I've ever been a part of. Oh, no, wait, Sigur Rós concert. Nevermind.






Calm Down, It's Sunday -- Fred Squire singing, guitar and Julie Doiron, drums -- and Julie Doiron -- Julie Doiron singing, guitar and Fred Squire, drums -- opened for Phil Elverum aka Mount Eerie aka The Microphones. Fred Squire was alright, albeit a bit high. Julie Doiron had a very pretty voice and overall kicked ass.



But Mount Eerie took the cake. Phil (as he introduced himself) is a nice guy. I bought a CD from him directly, which was cool.






He, Doiron, and Squire played through their new release, Lost Wisdom. It was stunning. The sound is very primitive and mature. There is something about how Elverum plucks a guitar that is special. Part of it might be the way his acoustic was amplified; rather than opt for a pick-up, he mic-ed it. You could really hear his fingers stroke the strings.


Julie Doiron's voice mixed beautifully with Elverum's, and Squire's reserved electric guitar did much to intensify the music and deepen the sound.



Cathartic. It was very cathartic to be in that room. Elverum's lyrics were beautiful, and his new songs possess a maturity that can't be found as much in his Microphones releases. Mount Eerie is something new.


Thanks to Rachel Gaudette for boarding Ben and me for the night at the last minute! You are best.




Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mount Eerie/Julie Doiron


Phil Elverum, aka Mount Eerie, formerly known as The Microphones, came to Providence with Julie Doiron on Monday night.


I had a paper to write and couldn't go. Damn.


But there is still hope! He is performing at Mass Art on Saturday night at 7:30! Woo hoo! Tickets are only 10 bucks, too!


Mount Eerie/The Microphones are really weird. Their music is stirring, percussive, and primitive. It is unlike any other. It is violent. It is sweet. It is thought-provoking and philosophical. And to use a vague, unhelpful word, it is plain interesting.



Julie Doiron is beautiful.

I'll see you on Saturday.





Julie Doiron - Tell You Again (Loneliest in the Morning, 1997)






BUY No Flashlight


BUY Woke Myself Up

Monday, September 22, 2008

Citizen Hurricane


New Japanese Technology's new album, Strobe Lights and Hurricanes, is a significant improvement from June's California Blue LP.


It begins with a delicate, 7-minute acoustic guitar ballad, "Pianos Filled with Flames," which smartly alludes to Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945".


It then gives way to my favorite track on the album, "Citizen Hurricane". "Citizen Hurricane" takes off at a high clip and stays there. It's the type of song that Elliott Smith would have put out if he had been alive to collaborate with the Flaming Lips in 2004. So, basically, it's effing awesome.


Enjoy:


New Japanese Technology - Citizen Hurricane (Strobe Lights and Hurricanes, 2008)


Head to Purevolume to download most of Strobe Lights and Hurricanes for FREE

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chemistry



This makes me happy. (Click image to enlarge)


I had my first chem lab today, and it sure was lonely with out Mr. Crisanti (and Dave Sawicki, of course).


A strangely fitting song ("come on, chemicals!"):




PRE-ORDER Skeletal Lamping (due October 7th)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lots of "Heartbeats"


I had no idea that I had so many versions of the song "Heartbeats," originally performed/written by The Knife. Since it was released on Deep Cuts in 2002, it has been made a smash hit in the UK by Swede José González (#1 ringtone download!) and remade through a huge number of remixes. Here is a small sampling. (I would like to especially draw your attention to the Scala & Kolacny Brothers version, which is done by a female choir. It is as beautiful as the Sirens.) So get your beeswax ready:












FREE DOWNLOAD OF NEW SCALA AND KOLACNY BROS. ALBUM HERE

Monday, September 15, 2008

7 Years


Well, it's been slightly more than that since 9/11/01. It is hard to believe. It does not seem like I was in sixth grade when the WTC fell and the Pentagon was hit and all of those other horrible traumatic things happened.

But we are seven years out, and it is interesting to look back and observe to what extent the ideas, images, and language of "9/11" have been incorporated into American culture.

Just last Thursday, I went to the Avon Cinema on Thayer St. to see Man on Wire, a documentary film about a French tight-rope walker who crossed between the Twin Towers in 1974. It was in many ways a comedy, and we chuckled and smiled in our old, red theater seats. But when the image of those towers flashed on the screen -- their construction, their monolithic presence, the view from the top -- a hush fell over the audience, and we were connected by the like-minded stress of the past. This memory is one that all American adults share.

In 2006, I had the honor of performing "Immigrants Still," a choral piece that connects to and comments on this memory, with the Connecticut All-State Chorus (under the director of Peter Bagley) and in the presence of its composer, Kenneth Fuchs. The piece is a setting of a poem by Richard Wilbur, poet laureate of the United States. It begins with soft vocal bells that chime to the word, "still," and ends with the same cadence. In between, the music describes the immigrants' journey through the centuries, the Statue of Liberty, and American solidarity. Look for onomatopoeia throughout, especially in the water section. It's really cool.

CT All-State Chorus, 2006 - Immigrants Still

************************************************************************************

Also of interest:
Here is what Jon Stewart had to say on his first show following the attacks:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Barack's Got It Covered

Democrats are really worrying. They think Obama has lost the race. They are thinking catastrophe.



Peggy Noonan corrects them:




This race is not over. Everyone I know thinks it is, but I don't buy it.
Mr. Obama just suffered a catastrophe, his first. Mr. McCain just enjoyed a
triumph, maybe not his last. GOP strategists are experiencing premature
triumphalism; they're puffing up like blowfish, emitting great bubbles of
self-regard. Democrats, be encouraged by this! They make mistakes when
they're winning. They always start to think they're the
reason. Democratic strategists have their heads in their hands, knowing
they took a bad hit but not understanding exactly how, or why. Republicans,
be inspired by this! They can't come up with the right cure if they can't
diagnose the illness. Here's why it's not over: We are a more or less 50/50 nation experiencing 80% wrong-track numbers, alarming economic challenges and two continuing wars. New voters are about to flood to the polls. There are more than 50 days to go. The media environment is volatile. The Obama campaign has some experience in turning inevitable candidacies into evitable ones. Sen. Obama himself is talented, resourceful and compelling.More important, obviously, the race shouldn't be over. The nation deserves—and requires—a real debate, a real and spirited
presenting of fact and argument. It won't get that if the election is over. The
candidates must argue this thing out or it means nothing. And the day after
the election, for the winner in this tempestuous nation, it better mean
something, or he won't be able to govern.


Yay, Peggy Noonan! Voice of reason. If you didn't feel like reading that, here's basically what it means:


Ah. That feels good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Dawn of Grace


Sixpence None the Richer is a one-hit wonder. That's why I am so psyched for their October 14th release, The Dawn of Grace. It is a collection of Christmas carols, and Christmas carols are put out almost exclusively by one-hit wonders. For instance, guess who set the English text of "Angels We Have Heard on High?" Why, Edward Shippen Barnes, of course! Ever heard of him? I didn't think so.


This is perfect, since Sixpence None the Richer just posted their rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High" on their MySpace page for download. And it is pretty good.


It's never too early to get in the Christmas spirit! Ho ho ho.


Sixpence None the Richer - Angels We Have Heard on High (Edward Shippen Barnes cover) (The Dawn of Grace, 2008)




PRE-ORDER The Dawn of Grace

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I've pictured you in coffins


Clinic is a hard band to love. A lot of their music sounds the same. They have a few gems here and there, but since purchasing their 2002 LP, Walking with Thee, I have found that their music is not adaptable to many moods. In other words, if it's a hot day and you want to feel as cold as ice, or if you want to avenge the assassination of your husband-to-be, Clinic is the band for you.


But "Distortions," off of 2000's Internal Wrangler, comes out of nowhere. It is one of the few tracks that does the oft-made Clinic/Radiohead comparison any justice. Ade Blackburn's voice approaches Thom Yorke's in emotiveness and expresses a similar cringing pain. Strangely enough, the instrumentals could come straight from a Postal Service song. This is a pretty decent crying song:


Clinic - Distortions (Internal Wrangler, 2000)


Clinic - Harvest (Within You) (Visitations, 2006)


P.S. Thanks to Hipster Doucheblog for linking to Pablo Bunny! You guys are just so generous!


BUY Visitations

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paper Planes!


No, not THAT "Paper Planes!"


The new I'm From Barcelona single from their forthcoming Who Killed Harry Houdini? is entitled "Paper Planes" and is NOT an M.I.A. cover, however cool that would be.


"Paper Planes" has whet my appetite for this new album, which is due for release on October 14th. It is generally more restrained than equally catchy songs on 2006's Let Me Introduce My Friends. It's energy is still there, but the tone is a little more jaded -- a little less tirelessly optimistic -- than their super-mega-poppy debut. This less happy mood is hinted at by the dark and inquisitive album title.


I am excited. I have a feeling that this album won't suck as much as The Polyphonic Spree's sophomore effort.


And it has more banjo! Woo hoo!


I'm From Barcelona - Paper Planes (Who Killed Harry Houdini?, 2008)


BONO!!!:


I'm From Barcelona - Music Killed Me (Who Killed Harry Houdini?, 2008)


PRE-ORDER Who Killed Harry Houdini?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Song I La La Love


I know that I have been doing these kind of random awesome not-new song posts recently, but what can I say? The random awesome not-new songs have been grabbing my attention recently.


This song, "Brightest" by Copeland, has had my attention for a while, and I thought I would share it. This may be the prettiest song in my library. It is remarkably earnest. When I listen to it, I feel a bit like a voyeur, staring deep into and under a private matter that I have no business looking into. It has a quality that is reminscent of an aria: plot-driven, but understandable on an emotional and musical basis alone.


Please enjoy these two versions of one of my favorite songs:




Copeland - Brightest (Beneath Medicine Tree, 2003)


BUY Beneath Medicine Tree

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Asleep at the Wheel


"Asleep at the Wheel" by Casey Dienel is the song that Radiohead's "Videotape" should have been. The songs have definite similarities: a simple repeating piano line, a gorgeously emotive voice, and drums that enter about halfway through the song.


They have their differences as well. "Videotape" is a dark and brooding album closer. "Asleep at the Wheel" is lighter and more like Regina Spektor.


"Videotape" is disappointing, though. It doesn't go anywhere. The drums are without purpose. It pales in comparison to the Kid A album closer, "Motion Picture Soundtrack," which swells with organ, strings, and emotion.


Where "Videotape" stagnates, "Asleep at the Wheel" rises and falls in beautiful melismatic passages. Each phrase has a natural rise and fall. The drums enter to intensify an already intensifying mood. Casey Dienel seems to be singing about something meaningful; Thom Yorke doesn't seem to be singing about anything important.


So check out both songs. I am interested to hear what you think. Please leave comments! Challenge me.




Friday, September 5, 2008

Gobbledigood


Sigur Rós has developed a taste for competition. They have just started the "Gobbledigook Competition" which challenges fans to create their own version of "Gobbledigook" from the song's instrumental track (which is provided here, along with further contest details). The band says they will award "a signed copy of the Special Edition of 'Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust' to the most gratifying entry - that's not necessarily the best, just the one the band like the most. Ok, do your worst...."


EXCITING!!!


Bryant Kitching, you have no excuse not to win this competition. Or at least participate.


If any Pablo Bunny reader enters into this contest, I will gladly post the song on this blog.


Go do awesomeness!!!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dog of the Sea


El Perro del Mar sounds like 60's doo-wop + sadness + Sweden.


El Perro del Mar is Sarah Assbring (tee hee).


El Perro del Mar sounds like It's a Wonderful Life if Jimmy Stewart had danced with Donna Reed at the prom and never saw her again. And then jumped off a bridge.


El Perro del Mar is the foil to The Pipettes.


El Perro del Mar just came out with a new album entitled From the Valley to the Stars.


Check it:


El Perro del Mar - People (El Perro del Mar, 2006)


El Perro del Mar - I Found a Reason (Velvet Underground cover, live)


BUY From the Valley to the Stars

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where There's A Will...


Grace Pescatello pointed me to this article in today's Wall Street Journal. Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, who works with Iceland's only licensed whale company, is attempting to reinvigorate the whale meat industry since the 20-year ban on commercial whaling was overturned in 2006. And who would be the market for this carnivore's renaissance?


You guessed it: THE HIPSTER!!!


As WSJ writes, "In a bid to entice urban hipsters, Mr. Jonsson started selling marinated whale meat, vacuum-sealed and ready for cooking." (I wonder what kind of marinade hipsters like?) It seems to me that this is not a good plan, considering that, at least in the states, most hipsters are vegans, or at least adamantly opposed to things like commercial whaling.


But whatever works. The home of Bjork and Sigur Rós is still largely a mystery to me.




Monday, September 1, 2008

Idlewild


Idlewild is not a popular band, nor should they be. They have released a small handful of albums, none of which are particularly notable or spectacular.


HOWEVER, "American English" is a fantastic song. It is interesting thing for a British rock band to write songs about American English, and the song is strangely titled. The lyrics to the song relate to the ideas of separation, dreams, and disconnect: "Constantly searching to find something new/But what will you find when you think that nothing's true?/ Maybe it's that nothing is new." The song is about the invisible and the spaces in between people -- like the space between Americans and Englishmen: same language, but different. I typically do not like when singers sing about songs, but Idlewild does it eloquently.


So give it a listen and sink into the blissful melancholy:


Idlewild - American English (The Remote Part, 2002)


BUY The Remote Part

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Underrated Song of the Day


Now, I understand that people often overrate things when they call them "underrated." But, considering that this song just simply isn't rated at all, it should not fall to this fate. The song is "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate" by The Flaming Lips, the best live band ever. This track, taken from their 1999 masterpiece, The Soft Bulletin, perfectly sums up everything I love about the band: cosmic humility and introspection, desperate love, minimalistic but powerful guitar, pervasive synths, a forceful base line, a nonconstant drumbeat, and studio tricks (i.e. a looped brrrrrapppping human percussion line). It is a good song to cry to, especially when you are lonely.


Enjoy:




BUY The Soft Bulletin

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain/Fox Ticket = Sure Bet

That's right, folks. Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, is/was very attractive.


The Alaskan governor was once a beauty queen and is now a self-proclaimed hockey mom. I would totally have a crush on her if she didn't remind me of both Julia Louis-Dreyfus' character in Arrested Development and Michael Palin as Sir Galahad. Now I just laugh when I think about her.


Anyway, what does this VP selection mean for this November's election? Not sure. Maybe it'll determine whether America is more misogynistic or racist.


Here's to you, Sarah Palin.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Farewell to Eric Morrisexxx; NEW FINAL FANTASY


Two big stories today: Eric Morrissey, loyal Pablo Bunny reader, left for Tufts University today. The Pablo Bunny community wishes him the best of luck at college -- not that he needs it. After all, Eric Morrissey is on Chuck Norris's pajamas.


In his honor, here is the song he allegedly listened to as he pulled out of his driveway today, probably in that big green car of his:




Oh, and this, too. (Pssst! That's Eric singing!):


Inequity - Car-Jacked (One of the best tracks I've posted so far!!!!)



*********************************************

In other news, Stereogum premieres two new Final Fantasy tracks from two forthcoming He Poos Clouds EPs, entitled Spectrum, 14th Century (on which he collaborated w/ Beirut) and Plays to Please (on which he pays tribute to Alex Lukashevsky and Deep Dark United). For those of you who don't know Final Fantasy, he is a violinist who churns out catchy and intersting classically-tinted pop songs. GO DOWNLOAD THEM!



BUY Good Arrows by Tunng

BUY the Polaris Prize-winning He Poos Clouds by Final Fantasy

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Flaming Lips Make Me Happy


The Flaming Lips make me happy. Their earnestness and ambition, well-grounded sensibility and sheer nonsensibility, irreverence and humility, all combine to create music that resonates with a hopeful but confused human species. This has been the unifying theme of the band's work, from "She Don't Use Jelly" to "The W.A.N.D." Thus, it only makes sense that the Lips would be obsessed with the idea of Christmas, which incorporates the emotion of hope unfiltered by confusion.


I can't wait to see their film, Christmas on Mars, when it is released on DVD in October, packaged with a soundtrack.


But to get the saliva going, here are a couple of Christmas-y Lips tracks:




Monday, August 25, 2008

NEW Parenthetical Girls: September 9th


*Loud, high-pitched siren noise*


Yikes! I guess the Parenthetical Girls are finally coming out with a new album! This is good news, I assure you.


I have never gotten into the Parenthetical Girls. It has been one of those forgotten leads in my iTunes library. I've downloaded about 10 of their songs from blogs, loved one, but forgotten the rest. This has been a mistake.


The Parenthetical Girls, as Said the Gramophone describes, are "unbearably sexy," and not just that, "but also just 'relating to the body'." You only have to listen to one of their songs to understand what is meant by this. For example, "Love Connection," from their 2006 album, (((GRRRLS))), begins with uncommonly overt sexual imagery: "Chapped lips, tongue kiss - insert expletive/Fluids of a summer night." It then proceeds to describe those fluids as "a delicate blend of sweat and menstrual blood seeping into trampled grass."


So, yes, The Parenthetical Girls are worth getting excited about. (Maybe that's why a siren went off in my head when I heard the news...)


The forthcoming album is to be entitled, Entanglements. Perfect. According to Insound, Entanglements is "an eleven song linear narrative of moral ambiguities," whatever the hell that means. I'm psyched.






PRE-ORDER Entanglements from Insound!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back Home


Hello readership. I'm back from New Hampshire, which means blogging as usual.


As friends have been leaving for college, I've been getting very into my music -- particularly, music that expresses nostalgia with an energetic mood. Here are three such songs:





UPDATE: The glitch has been fixed. You can actually download these files now. Sorry about that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Okkervil River Leak!!!

Well, well, well... what have we here? It seems as though Okkervil River managed to leak their new album, The Stand-Ins, which is due for early September. The result?

I haven't listened to the whole thing -- ok, let me rephrase, I haven't listened to more than one track -- but it is promising. The folks at The Rawking Refuses to Stop wrote quite the review. If the new album can stir up so much emotion and introspection in that guy, it must be something to behold.

The track I have heard, "Lost Coastlines," suggests just that. Okkervil River paves the way for a new "soul" genre, I believe. The Stage Names, and then this song, both summon swooping strings, (multiple) teary male voices, bold and simple melodies, and an unabashed and honest lyrics. Okkervil River, like Jens Lekman, is not afraid of focused themes or cheesiness. They fearlessly embrace lyrics involving the overused metaphors of maps, stars, light, and the sea to create something fresh and original. Sheff's voice is stirring and passionate and bodes well for this latest effort.

So here's a sample, along with a lesser-known Okkervil River selection that is equally good, in many of the same ways. Raw emotion:

Okkervil River - Lost Coastlines (The Stand-Ins, 2008)

Okkervil River - The President Is Dead (The President's Dead 12", 2006)

BUY The Stage Names and pre-order The Stand-Ins, etc.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's about time for a Jens Lekman post


Well, I've put it off for long enough. It's time for Jens Lekman.

Lekman, from Sweden, is a modern day minstrel. He is a romantic, in every sense of the world. When I saw him in Boston this April, he reminded me of a royal renaissance entertainer more than a 21st century pop musician. The love and melancholy inherent in his songs bring to mind madrigal tunes, and his affable sense of humor recalls a court jester. Even his clothing -- the old, generic key dangling around his neck and his shiny white slipper shoes -- evoked that of a Shakespeare contemporary.

Jens is primarily a story-teller. He has the rare talent, perhaps shared only by The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, of being not only concise and lyrical, but of making a point in his songs. His live performance of story songs like "A Postcard to Nina" and "Black Cab" only confirm this assertion. "Don't let anyone stand in your way!" he cries at the end of the former.

The music is rich, and Jens is dreamy, so listen up!

Jens Lekman - Shirin (Night Falls over Kortedala, 2008)

Jens Lekman - Black Cab (Oh You're So Silent, Jens, 2005)

BUY Night Falls over Kortedala

Go here for Jens Lekman guitar tabs and his fan site

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P.S. I will be away on vacation this week, trying not to be sad. So, I may not be posting as frequently as I have. If you want some really juicy stuff to read, head over to the Hipster Doucheblog. They are experiencing a momentous revival.

(The pressure's on, BK and Jesse!)

Or, you could just read the consistently good Blogged Drainpipe.

Or, you could go to the best site ever.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bunny's Got a Crush On: Woodpigeon


My, oh my... Woodpigeon is a good band. They have been called "Canada's best-kept secret" -- though one can only assume that this reviewer hadn't heard of The Consumer Goods.


But Woodpigeon is damn good. The Canadian collective makes lush pop songs that make for pretty easy listening. They are not at all afraid of horns and acoustic guitars, which is a very good thing. On their MySpace page, they aliken their sound to "madonna 45's played at 1/2 speed," which is pretty good. I would say, however, that they sound more like Montt Mardié trying to sound like Sufjan Stevens, but using only instruments readily available to Okkervil River. The result is consistently excellent and worth checking out.


Woodpigeon has been very busy, too. They released a new album, Treasury Library Canada, on August 1st of this year, and are planning on releasing a new one, Die Stadt Muzikanten, in early 2009. They recently released a mini-album entitled Houndstooth that can be downloaded free of charge from their MySpace page. Their debut album, Songbook, is terrific as well.


Oh, and did I mention? Treasury Library Canada is being sold online here as a "pay what you want" .zip mp3 file! The album is also available for $12 in its physical, packaged form. To my understanding, the package includes Pixie Children Crying, a bonus disc. Hooray, internet!


Listen to these:




Woodpigeon - Matty John Chyzyk (Pixie Children Crying, 2008)


BUY Treasury Library Canada!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Andrew Bird rocks my socks


Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha was Pablo Bunny's favorite album of 2007. Now, Bird is back at work on a new album, doing some recording in Wilco's Loft studio and at The Beach House in Nashville.


Fortunately for us, the New York Times has asked whistling and violin-playing minstrel to write occasional articles on the songwriting process for their blog, Measure for Measure. So far he has written 4 posts, each of which tracks the development of songs for the new album. It makes for good reading and is a must for fans of Andrew Bird.


I wonder if Andrew Bird has a liberal bias...




Andrew Bird - Self-Torture (Armchair Apocrypha b-side)


BUY the Soldier On EP and Armchair Apocrypha

HAPPY 1 MONTH ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!!


Huzzah! Pablo Bunny is one month old! .....



I can't believe I stayed up for this!!!


I'm going to bed.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Consumer Goods: LIVE


For those of us not indulging in the Massachusetts Grizzly Bear/Radiohead show on Wednesday night, it is still possible to salvage your evening. At 10 pm tomorrow night, go to http://www.chry.fm/. There, you'll catch a live acoustic set performed by The Consumer Goods, "the next medium-sized thing in Canadian indie pop."


Yeah, that's right. Who needs Radiohead, anyway?






BUY The Anti-Imperial Cabaret

Grimm's Fairy Tales


The January, Bill Clinton spoke of Barack Obama's campaign for president, saying, "This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen!"


If Bill Clinton were telling the truth -- as he always is -- then Hillary will have her eyes picked out by birds at the Democratic National Convention and Bill will dance in red-hot iron shoes until he dies. At least, according to The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales, which arrived on my doorstep from Amazon just this morning. At 864 pages, it is truly the best/only collection of fairy tales I have ever purchased. It is full of the gruesome details and splendid illustrations that make the original Grimm's tales so damn good.


I was inspired to buy it by Guillermo del Toro's excellent modern fairy tale, Pan's Labyrinth, which follows the "Little Red Riding Hood" archetype. I'm excited to see what del Toro does with The Hobbit.





BUY Grimm's Fairy Tales


BUY Pan's Labyrinth
P.S. Check this out for a laugh.

Monday, August 11, 2008

An Island Never Cries


Everyone enjoys a good Simon & Garfunkel tune. I am very familiar with "The Sound of Silence" and "Mrs. Robinson" from The Graduate, countless a cappella versions of "Scarborough Fair" and "Homeward Bound," and "The Only Living Boy in New York" from Garden State. Somehow, however, "I Am a Rock" escaped my attention -- that is, until last week, when David Sawicki lent me The Best of Simon & Garfunkel.


"I Am a Rock" has everything one could ask for in a pop song: a catchy guitar riff; singable vocal harmonies; a perky, "Like a Rolling Stone"-type electric organ; metaphors; and perfectly melancholic self-pity. Beautiful.




BUY The Best of Simon & Garfunkel

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kite Flying Society


Lots of bands have risen to greatness since I first tapped the indie music scene in 8th grade, and a few have fallen from grace. Very few, however, have done both in that time frame. One of those bands is Kite Flying Society, whose name is derived from one of Max Fischer's many clubs in Wes Anderson's film, Rushmore.


In 2005, Kite Flying Society made its performance debut opening for Rogue Wave. In 2006, the San Diego band released its first album, Where Is the Glow?, and was met with great acclaim. And in February of this year, they broke up. Wow.


Where Is the Glow? remains, though, along with some tracks from the unfinished sophomore album, The Aviary. Songs like "If I Could Split" and "Groundflower" are quiet indie pop masterpieces that shouldn't be forgotten but probably will be. Pablo Bunny will do what it can to prevent this from happening.


Enjoy this complimentary sample!






BUY Where Is the Glow?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Funny Sentence

I don't know why, but this sentence just tickles me:

The House voted this week to apologize for slavery.


See the rest of the article here.

Thanks to big sister for the tip.

UPDATE: Also, from the same article:

Obama said he would be willing to talk to American Indian leaders about an
apology for the nation's treatment of their people.

Friday, August 8, 2008

WAAAAHHHH!!!


Pop quiz: What highly anticipated event takes place in early November 2008? No, it's not Dave Sawicki's 18th birthday. It's the release of the NEW INSTALLMENT IN THE ENDER SERIES BY ORSON SCOTT CARD! WAAAAAHHHHH!!!


Entitled Ender in Exile, Card's new novel is a direct sequel to Ender's Game. That is, it takes place between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. According to the Amazon.com "Product Description," the new book delves further into the histories of Ender, Jane, and Valentine. It sounds very promising and is bound to shatter previously suggested orders in which to read the Ender and Bean books. Also, it's cover kicks ass.


WARNING to all who haven't read Ender's Game: don't read Amazon's "Product Description." (Not that you would.) It's a spoiler.


ALSO: Marvel plans on adapting the Ender books as comics. Additionally, the report praises Card for his attention to detail in the creation of the Ender's Game movie and indicates that the comic will serve as the "small screen" preview of the big screen edition of the book. I'm getting goosebumps.


Here's a song that should be in the movie:


Pre-order Ender in Exile

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How to Become a Psychiatrist


Recently, Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, my favorite non-music blog, posted a link to this article discussing a paper in the Australian Psychiatry journal. The study analyzes the (non-causal) connection between the type of music a teen listens to and in what ways the kid is effed up. Pretty simple. I'm skeptical of the results, but, as Cowen wrote, "in my view you want your kid to like indie rock." Hell yes, Mr. Cowen. Hell yes.


Here's a quick summary of the paper's findings:



WHAT STUDIES SAY ABOUT YOUR SOUNDS:

POP: Conformists, overly responsible, role-conscious, struggling with
sexuality or peer acceptance.

HEAVY METAL: Higher levels of suicidal ideation, depression, drug use,
self-harm, shoplifting, vandalism, unprotected sex.

DANCE: Higher levels of drug use regardless of socio-economic
background.

JAZZ/RHYTHM & BLUES: Introverted misfits, loners.

RAP: Higher levels of theft, violence, anger, street gang membership, drug
use and misogyny.


Interestingly enough, I think the description for pop pretty accurately describes issues faced by Rob Gordon -- John Cusack's character -- in High Fidelity.


What I want to know is what it means if you listen to this kind of music:




BUY the High Fidelity soundtrack