Monthly Archives: May 2009

Metric – Fantasies

PURCHASE: iTunes ($9.99) | AmazonMP3 ($5.00)

I’m a little ashamed to say I’d never heard Metric until just a couple of weeks ago.  The name of the band gets thrown around in conversation all the time, although never by me, and it’s generally thrown in my direction along with other bands I pretend to have heard.  Like Placebo.  Go ahead and laugh at the jerk who never heard Metric.  When you’re done laughing, I’m going to punch you in the face and tell you how rich I am.  It will be a soft punch and I’m actually quite poor.

In 1992 I was 14 years old and attending high school in the small town of Oakland, NJ.  I will refer to this time as “back in my day” when describing it to my grandchildren.  At this point in my life, I was freebasing cassette tapes.  There was a small group of kids in my school that were immersed in the alternative rock scene and, in retrospect, were probably one or two genes away from shooting up the place.  It was during this phase that I first heard Pod by The Breeders, which was recommended to me by a female alterna-friend who made her own miniature pottery and sold it to kids at school.  Yes, the kids actually paid for this pottery.

There was something about Kim Deal’s voice and her lyrics on the Pod record that interested me.  I needed to know what she looked like, who she was and where she came from.  Since this was before the internet was widely in use, I had to find pictures and information by visiting record stores to thumb through the magazines.  At one point I made a visit to the library to search their archives and find out as  much as I could.  Needless to say, the Oakland Public Library didn’t have much.

The first time I heard Metric’s new album Fantasies, I decided not to look at the band.  I resisted the urge to Google them, and have avoided reading articles with detailed information or photos.  It’s become so easy to get information about a band and a lot of the mystique is gone.  There’s something about Metric that makes me want to file their record along with the cassettes and CDs from my high school days, and I’d like to keep the information overload at bay so I can be left alone with the music.

Watch the video for “Sick Mise” below:

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Team Up For New Album

Stream | Purchase (sans music)

What do you get when you mix songs written and recorded by Danger Mouse & Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, topped with guest spots from The Flaming Lips, Frank Black, Jason Lytle and Iggy Pop and accompanied by breathtaking visuals by David Lynch? You get a record that might not ever be released due to a legal battle with EMI.

The incredibly ambitious album Dark Night of The Soul may or may not see the light of day, but that isn’t stopping Danger Mouse from making a powerful statement that one can’t help but support. Continue reading

Joel Dobbins – Investment


Joel Dobbins’ free online release Investment is almost astonishingly well produced. And Dobbins certainly has an ear for the grand, but this album is too epic for its own good.

From the first track Tears of Joy – an impressive sonic accomplishment – you can’t help but feel that Dobbins is walking a tightrope over mindless pop oblivion. And you can’t help but cover your eyes for fear that he won’t make it to the other side. He doesn’t make it. But Dobbins doesn’t die in the fall, either.

In Investment, at least, Dobbins comes across as a young man who seems to instinctively know that that good writing and catchy melodies are all that matter. But he hasn’t yet reconciled that truth with his amazing technical proficiency. Conserving the pop gadgetry for when he really needs it would do Investment wonders.

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Tortured Soul Gently Rocks You, Your Mom

by Zach Huff – A&SB Contributor
Smooth jazz doesn’t get nearly as much props as it deserves.

Enter Tortured Soul to save the day and gently rock you and your mother.

The band cleverly maintains a soft jazz edge on their album Did You Miss Me while merging it with dance and elevator music. A lot of funk and groove is laced in the bass lines and keyboard riffs, but it’s never anything too hectic or sweat-inducing; you’ll find yourself tapping your toes and swaying with the beat, but not grinding up against the crotch of an adjacent person who also feels the groove.

The vocals are a pretty awesome amalgamation of things that probably don’t belong in the same sentence. They’re Hall and Oats meets Prince meets Stevie Wonder, with the songwriting sensibilities of Erasure.

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Chase Pagan – Bells & Whistles [Review]

Sumptuous - The adjective that comes to mind when Chase Pagan’s upcoming album Bells & Whistles comes whirring to life on your CD player.

But instead of asking why the hell I still use CD players, you should ask yourself why you’ve never heard of Chase Pagan. His second release is a fun, bouncy pop rock wonder that shows off Pagan’s tremendous range without, well, showing off. What makes Bells & Whistles a truly special work is that Pagan’s range is so broad that the listener never even considers whether he is reaching too far.

While he can hardly contain his affinity for instrumental flourish in this 13-track album, Pagan always has the good sense to break each song down to the bare-bones melodies and sing-songy rhyme patterns that form the base of any good rock album. Even better, his lyrics are interesting.

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Galactic's Infinite Tour

Galactic makes Frenchies scream with listenable rap

You know what I was doing last night? (Besides watching totally awesome episodes of House and 24 [Pay me later, papa Rupert, I'm busy]) Listening to Galactic.

Then I got to thinking ‘.. shit.. I haven’t listened to these guys in waaay too long.’ All that thinkin’ reminded me of an interview I did with the band in 2007 while I was in Rennes. I am still tired from that trip, but right now, Galactic is touring South America.

Here’s the article I did about that interview back then. Just imagine them about a year more awesome.

by Bassey Etim
RENNES, France — Stanton Moore wiped his eyes with the back of his wrist, Rich Vogel stared downward expressionless and an interpreter struggled to translate a stupid question into English. Tonight, Galactic is out-of-this-world bored or tired — good money would go on both. Last week, I caught up with jazz-infused, hip-hop ensemble Galactic at the Trans Music Festival in France’s Brittany province. Trans is known as one of the most raucous musical events on earth — hell, it’s housed in a network of airplane hangers. But for hip-hop journeymen Galactic, it was just a step on their way to Japan.

“This is the ultimate harshest schedule that we’ve ever had,” Galactic bassist Robert Mercurio said in an interview with The Badger Herald following their press conference.

Let’s face it, most rap groups don’t have to tour this often. But when your loyalty is to your music and your aim to hone an endlessly diverse art rather than sell 10 million records to kids who think Eminem reinvented rap, it’s the only way to put food on the table and mics in the studio.

“We try not to mix artisticness with business,” Mercurio said when asked whether they’ve ever considered searching for ways to gain more commercial appeal. “Like, ‘Oh! We got a hot chick, this’ll make us more popular.’ If we really wanted to sell albums, there’s a couple different decisions we would have made to get Fergilicious.”

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Neil Halstead's Video For "Elevenses"

A lovelorn ghost seeking companionship receives solid advice from a mysterious waiter at a cafe. “Elevenses” is from Neil’s second solo record Oh! Mighty Engine, released by Brushfire Records.

Check out this video from our buddies @ $99 Music Videos. Not only is the video a crafty creation that demands your attention, but this song will get branded into your head and you’ll be humming it’s melody in the shower tomorrow morning – be warned.

And I should know: See the guy in the background of the Cafe scenes at Nita Nita in Brooklyn wearing a long black coat and enjoying what seems to be a delicious meal and hilarious conversation? It’s me. And I had never heard the song before becoming an extra for that day, but it was at least a week before I went back to my normal routine of absently humming Jock Jams.(Don’t judge me)

Anyways, now that I have this insider knowledge, I feel the need to let you know two very important things about this video you can’t appreciate just watching.

1. It was cold as hell out there, and I wasn’t actually bouncing around because of the lovely conversation (and it was lovely, ladies). It was actually hypothermia-induced insanity.

2. The heater outside the cafe broke, and it got colder. But it was totally worth it.

Afterward, I had a few words with Neil in the bar – I can’t remember what about because, quite frankly, I was a bit tipsy at the time. But he is awesome, and we will interview him about musical-type things soon, I swear. But for now, just watch this video, and appreciate that they somehow did it all for $99.