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!!!!)



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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

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sad and Simple Song


The Field Mice's "Emma's House" is among my favorite songs. I love it for its simplicity and its unapologetic melancholy. It inspires images of overcast seasides, brisk winds, and the painful passage of time. How romantic!


Of course, all of this gushing begs the reasonable question, "If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?" And my answer is that I would, if it were legal. But, as of now, I can only marry men and women (and possibly chimpanzees in Spain).


But in all seriousness:


If you were to marry an album, which would it be? Leave your answers as comments below!

(Ex: I would marry Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, because I think we're compatible for the long term. It really understands what's "goin' on.")


Here's "Emma's House:"


The Field Mice - Emma's House (Snowball, dated to some time in the late 80's or early 90's)
BUY Snowball

Monday, August 4, 2008

THIRD


When Portishead released Third in April of this year, I was not immediately impressed. I had a hard time warming up to the relentless percussive blasts of "Machine Gun" or Beth Gibbons' dreary vocals, which never quite seem to lock into a proper melody or harmony.


I forgot about it until Radiohead covered Portishead's "The Rip" earlier this summer. I checked out the original version to find that Portishead's was actually better. From there, I looked into Third with fresh ears and listened to the whole thing from start to finish (while stuck in miles of traffic just outside of Long Island).


What I found is that Third is, like many other great albums, highly textural. My snippet listenings were not doing the music justice, because it must be listened to as one cohesive work in order to be fully appreciated. Gibbons provides lead vocals unlike those featured in almost any other band. Her voice leaks into Geoff Barrow's dense arrangements of strings and drums and becomes no more or less important than the other components. The music is smooth, rich, and unmelodic, yet it somehow invokes the mood of a 50's nightclub ballad. Weird.


Here's a sampling, but buy the whole album. Really:




Sunday, August 3, 2008

Concert Recap: Wolf Parade @ Terminal 5, NYC




video

Wolf Parade was intense. Really intense. If I had seen the concert from the lower level rather than upper-most level of Terminal 5, it is probable that my brain would have exploded. Wolf Parade has never been my fave, but they proved to be talented showmen on Friday night. Perfectly timed lightwork (almost as good as that displayed by Dave Sawicki at Girl Talk Dance Party pt II), terrific segues between songs, and simple, pure, rocking out all went into making the concert memorable. While their new stuff was good, their Apologies to the Queen Mary material really set things on fire. (Silent video above)


The highlight of the concert was the classic "You are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son," which flowed seamlessly into the energetic "Fancy Claps." Pure power. "This Heart's on Fire," with Dan Broeckner on lead vocals (I think), was also very good.


In other news, I got to watch my big sister scratch up a rat's brain at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island. Fun stuff.
Here are some pictures:

My sister scientist (and chaperone)





WOLF PARADE

Mad scientists/Pablo Bunny readership

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wolf Parade Tonight!


Hey, I'm going to see Wolf Parade tonight @ Terminal 5 in NYC! Then I will blog about it. That's pretty much how it's been going these days.


I'm looking forward to some serious shreddage. And cannon duels, of course. Overall, I hope to be thoroughly entertained by these gallant Québécois.


Here's some sample entertainment for you!


Wolf Parade - Language City (At Mount Zoomer, 2008)


BUY At Mount Zoomer