Virginia Omnivore
The Flaming Lips - Thunder Up! aka Racing For The Prize
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I get that the Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma City and that the OKC Thunder are now “racing to the prize” in the NBA Finals, but this song is just terrible. Written with words submitted by fans, sung by Wayne in a weak, raspy voice. All in the span of about 24 hours in the new spirit of the Flaming Lips’ Heady Fwends album, the 24-hour song, gummy fetuses and skulls, etc.

My one-word review: Yuck (the exclamation, not the band).

Still, if this is your kind of thing, it’s a free download. So, download away. And Thunder Up…or something.

Birds and Batteries - Epic Fail

How appropriate that this is the single from the new Birds and Batteries EP. As I mentioned earlier this week, my intention this week was to post a mix every built from CDs I made during my tenure at college radio. Imagine my embarrassment when I discovered I only had two in my library… EPIC FAIL.

But, alas, this post also relates to my time at college radio via a lengthy anecdote. Back in 2004 (?), Birds and Batteries singer/guitarist Mike Sempert was in a band called Dusky Silo. We received a copy of their sole EP, The Floods of Summer before I joined the station and, as I was wont to do, I blindly dug it out of the library in an attempt to introduce myself and my listeners to new music. It had a sort of Wilco feel, (A Ghost Is Born era), with a slight electronic tinge. I played the whole thing from start to finish and it became a staple of my show. I really enjoyed the EP and wanted a copy for myself. I couldn’t find any website or ordering info online, but I did find an e-mail address. I shot off a quick e-mail and a few days later received an e-mail from Mike saying that Dusky Silo had parted ways. He was glad I’d heard of them and was pretty sure he had a few copies of the EP laying around. Before he signed off, he made note that he was forming a new band called Birds and Batteries and that he hoped I’d check them out.

And now we’ve come full circle. Birds and Batteries have just released a new EP, Unfold, which you can check out on their Bandcamp page. Meanwhile, Dusky Silo’s The Floods of Summer is either out-of-print or incredibly hard to track down.

Mystery Jets - Greatest Hits

"Greatest Hits" is the sound of a break-up set to music. Not just literally, but figuratively as well. Set against a Stealer’s Wheel-inspired acoustic guitar line and a "sha-la-la" chorus, a couple argues over who gets to keep what album that formed their now-defunct relationship, be it Double Nickels On The Dime, Band on the Run, or Village Green Preservation Society.

"But, Mystery Jets," you say, "music is intangible now. This isn’t a problem anymore! Why don’t they just burn it to an MP3? Or pull it up on Spotify?"

To which they reply with, “Does that mean you won’t buy our new album, Radlands, when it comes out on June 5th?

Attack on Memory Artwork

I remember seeing Cloud Nothings at Carpark’s CMJ showcase back in October and being surprised. The first time I heard Dylan Baldi’s voice, I pictured him being some awkward guy wearing oversized cardigan sweaters, flannel shirts, and torn jeans. Maybe his hair would be in his eyes and he’d be hunched over his microphone. Then I remembered: this was 2011, not 1991. And I was in New York, not Seattle.

Instead, I saw a fully confident, bespectacled, twenty-something that was putting his all into music from an album coming out next year. On “Stay Useless” it seemed as if the two biggest rock bands of the past twenty years had mated, mixing the jangling guitars of The Strokes and throat-shredding vocals of Nirvana. And songs like “No Future, No Past”, “Wasted Days”, and “No Sentiment” made me want to scramble onstage just to throw myself off. “Wasted Days” especially left me with flashbacks to all the “angst-filled alternative rock” music I heard growing up, with its scrawling guitars and Baldi’s declarations that:

I know my life’s not gonna change/and I live through all these wasted days/Never thought that I’d end up this way/And I know it’s gonna stay the same

The album featuring these songs (and more), Attack On Memory, will be released on January 24th by Carpark Records. In the meantime, click the link above to stream the full album via Complex. 

This one goes out to Lily Crouton Duval.

Leonard Cohen - Darkness
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Ever wanted to hear what it sounds like when Leonard Cohen records new music out of necessity?

Maybe you heard that he had officially retired from recording and touring. That was his official decision until back in 2005, when it came to light that his manager had pilfered $5 million from his retirement fund, leaving him with only $150,000 to his name. He went back on the road, releasing tour CDs/DVDs and re-issuing old concert films. I had one of those new albums and it quickly became evident that, aside from some stage banter and flourishes from the band, not much was changing. You went to see Leonard Cohen to say, “I can’t believe I saw Leonard Cohen!” To see him again was no different than going to see an old, washed-up Vegas act. He played his hits, encored with “Suzanne”, said goodnight. He even cracked a few jokes from time-to-time.
But all that’s changed, as a new album, Old Ideas, comes out on January 31. Here’s the second cut to be released from the album, “Darkness”. If you close your eyes, you can imagine that the 70-plus year old Cohen is the one playing that guitar, just like he did in the 60’s.

I hope mine defies the laws of gravity with as much ease as this one! So mysterious!

Also, a new Tetrafol-enhanced track, “Back on Kent” is available at Souncloud via The Fader


Here is another new song. This one is called “Don’t Let it Get to You” best • Rostam

As if the musical references to Graceland weren’t enough, now Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend is sampling the drumline from “The Obvious Child” from Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints.

Yuck - Natsu Nandesu
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Oh great, now I have to go and buy another copy of my favorite album of 2011. Usually, I skip re-issues, but with Yuck I’m willing to make an exception… Click to hear them perform a cover of the Japanese folk-rock band Happy End’s “Natsu Nandesu”. This comes from the Japanese bonus track edition. There is also a deluxe 2 CD re-issue out now on Fat Possum.