May 31, 2008

I Don't Really Know What To Think...

Here I am about to turn off my computer and pack it up, and what happens? I find that sometime in April of this year, a book came out called Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet. Main character's name? Luke goddam Hunter. Luke Hunter people... that's my name. That, my friends, is the most awkward thing to ever happen to me. Well, maybe. It ranks up there.

"At The Ladybug's Picnic"

So I've got one more post to do before the small move (I'm essentially only moving about 6 blocks). A project created for the local artists in and around called Denver Show and Tell has been started up by Denverite Lindsay. Earlier this month she prompted Denver artists to focus their efforts on a theme, and, after a month, show what they came up with. 1/2 way through the month, she revealed that this month's theme was "Kid's Song." Here is what those who had time to work on the project came up with:

1. faithful family and friends- Divorce Can Happen to the Nicest People
2. susan susan- Sliding Down Your Stairs
3. nervesandgel- Mary's Face
4. Greenery- All the Rain Drops
5. BDRMPPL- Kid's Song
6. The Tickler- Kidscape
7. Littles Paia- My Baby & I

Lots of variation, and certainly interesting no matter your tastes. Lindsay will be posting the late submissions at some point (because we're all still interested in hearing the songs regardless of whether or not it's late). Now that we've gotten over this first month, I'm sure that next month's Show and Tell will be much more interesting with more than this small sampling of Denver's very eclectic artist community. Let's hear it for Lindsay for starting this up! :)

May 29, 2008

3 New Additions to the Mile High Fest. Line Up

Thought I'd break the silence by telling you about the newest additions to the Mile High Music Festival line up:

Gavin Degraw - Marvin Gaye Medley
Pinback - Chaos Engine
Alberta Cross - Leave Us or Forgive Us

This festival is gathering more and more of my attention with each addition. Granted, I'm not a Degraw fan by any means, but Pinback and Alberta Cross? sign me up.

oh, and I'm moving, and won't have internet until the 2nd, which is when regular posting will resume.

May 26, 2008

1 Week Summer Break

So I only had one week until my classes started again (this last monday) because for some unforeseen reason I thought it would be a good idea to, oh, I don't know, catch up on school work. That's a lie, I know why I'm doing it: it'd be nice to graduate at some point. This unfortunately means I won't be able to go to a million shows this summer like I have the past few summers. But that's okay, because there is so much new music coming out that is so good that it almost makes up for that. What's been coming out? well lemme just start out by mentioning a few things:

Fischerspooner's new song is all right. I'm not saying that I anticipate a bad release, but that I'm going to be a little cautious:

Fischerspooner - The Best Revenge

I stumbled upon this band called The Atomica Project who have two stunning, electro england-in-the-90's-style R&B/melodramatic 90's pop tunes that I think you should check out:

The Atomica Project - Gravity

The Atomica Project - Forecast

Russian Red - I Love Your Glasses
Verdict: Love More (<3)+
A mix between Joanna Newsom and every one of those sweet new-pop indie divas (Regina, Leslie, etc.), Russian Red's Vicky (I think that's her name) sounds so good and comfortable with her songs that you just wanna get groovy and feel awesome about feeling awesome and bad. Wow, that's a terrible sentence, but it stays. Either way, I loved this album, simply because it's really good. period.
Russian Red - Cigarette
Russian Red - They Don't Believe
Russian Red - Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Mindless Self Indulgence - If
Verdict: Hate (-) [note: this is the first time I've given this rating]
That's right... Hated it. I used to love MSI. Maybe that's because back when they came out with their second album, I was right there with them as far as being an immature teenager in heart and mind, so now when I listen to Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy, the main reason I enjoy it is because it's nostalgic. But even then, FGWSSS is still way more inventive than this drivel. After FGWSSS (and the EP Despierta Los Niños, which I think is their best work), they got kind of pop ... and I only say kind of because when they released the next album, You'll Rebel to Anything, they redefined what "pop" currently meant, and all of a sudden they could help but be loved by everyone. I'll admit it, I really did, and still do, enjoy YRTA. But then, after that album, came a slew of terrible and unnecessary EP's and remix CDs, all of which were, unfortunately, not surprising, considering the sound of YRTA. But I held out faith that they would turn it around again and really shock everyone by coming out with either a completely non-new-pop album, or a pop-redefining album again. But no. They just dumbed down their sound and made an album that sounds like MSI on morphine, dumb and not doing anything of real interest. The best song off this album is a studio version of a song on their live album Alienating Our Audience, but, instead of having a just studio version, they had to, for some unforeseen reason, an intro that brings it right back down into Highschool territory. But, I guess, that's their target audience. Either way, I down right hated what they did to themselves, and this album, more than anything, represents that self mutilation. Mindless Self Indulgence, you should be ashamed of yourself. Where did the inventive and controversial band I loved go? Here are the only things of any remote interest:
Mindless Self Indulgence - Revenge
Mindless Self Indulgence - Prescription
Mindless Self Indulgence - Mastermind

Various - Punk Goes Crunk
Verdict: Like ()
An enjoyable album, there's no doubt to that, but one thing that I kept thinking while listening to the album (other than, every once and a while, "oh man this is an awful cover") was "where are the covers of Crunk songs?" Rap song covers we've got, but crunk, not so much. Maybe they should have just called it "Take a Bite Out of Rhyme 2."
Say Anything - Got Your Money (Ol' Dirty Bastard cover)
My American Heart - California Love (Tupac cover)
Scary Kids Scaring Kids - Notorious Thugs (Notorious BIG cover)
Wigwam - A Movie About Drug Dealers
Verdict: Love (<)
There are about 4 bands by this name. This one I'm pretty sure only released this album. I think it's really clever and damn good. All over the place, but definitely not so much to not soudn cohesive. Some tracks have talking, but most are instrumental. I really enjoyed it. Fake sound tracks ... who'd'a thought?
Wigwam - Bobby's first assignment
Wigwam - Little Jimmy's new suit
Wigwam - Agent Throckmorten taps the phones
David Ford - Songs For The Road
Verdict: Love (<)
First off, I'd just like to say I'd love to post more songs off of this album, because so many are just astonishingly well done, but I've been asked not to, so I will respect that. Second, I'd like to say that this album is, so far, the feel good album of the year, but only because it's so good that it makes that phrase un-clichéd because it's so good. Granted, it's not the album of the year ... yet. It's been growing on me for a few days now, which is amazing because the first time I heard it I was thoroughly impressed. He's like Tom Waits and Damien Rice mixed with a twist of Colin Oberst. I just missed my chance to see him last Saturday, and I'm pretty bummed about that, especially after having fallen so hard for this album. Make sure to check out his videos, which are all amazingly done in one shot.
David Ford - Go To Hell
David Ford - Go To Hell Video
David Ford - I'm Alright Now Video
David Ford - State of The Union Video
David Ford - I Don't Care What You Call Me
The Fairline Parkway - A Memory of Open Spaces
Verdict: Love More (<3)
Soft and forgiving, this album comes at you slowly, like a koala bear ready for a hug-a-thon followed by a nap. You don't even really notice how wonderful it is the first time, but, regardless, you find yourself drawn to it again and again. It's like what the people who live in the land of make-believe would listen to when they just wanted to get away from it all, but only when they were feeling particularly sassy and deviant.
The Fairline Parkway - Robbed Blind
The Fairline Parkway - Westward Bound
The Fairline Parkway - A Given Day
The Tiger Lillies - Seven Deadly Sins
Verdict: Like ()
I've always, on some level, enjoyed the Tiger Lillies. Maybe it's because they're unabashedly evil sometimes. Maybe it's because it seems like they've got a deeper message when they sing about terrible things. Maybe it's because I absolutely love ugly sounds, and they've got some very ugly qualities to them (their choice of instruments and their voices turn some people off). All in all, this album was all right. I feel as though their songwriting could have been more inventive is all.
The Tiger Lillies - Adam and Steve
The Tiger Lillies - Pride
The Tiger Lillies - Know What It Means
Current 93 - Birth Canal Blues
Verdict: Love (<)
This is an ... interesting album. There are some strange groups out there, and this is definitely one of them. People call their music Apocalyptic Folk, and not without reason. They sound like the voices of the four horse men, slowly stalking across the world singing their haunting tunes, much like a drunkard around 2:15AM. Tunes written before time was given shape. Tunes that didn't used to even have words. These songs are creepy. The song I'm hosting is going to be the most accessible song on this EP, but I encourage you, if you are thoroughly intrigued by this song, check out the rest of the album, then go from there.
Current 93 - I Looked to the South Side of the Door
Dark Meat - Universal Indians
Verdict: Like ()
Crazy psychedelic music that has brains and a sense of humor.
Dark Meat - Well Fuck You Then
Dark Meat - One More Trip
Dark Meat - Assholes For Eyeballs
Antony and the Johnsons - I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy EP
Verdict: Love More (<3)
I have trouble ratting this EP so high, but then I think about how amazing the songs on it are, and don't have that trouble anymore. Antony should go down in history as one of the greatest musicians of all time, but I'm afraid that he won't, and I have trouble with that thought. Make the world a better place and listen to Antony and the Johnsons:
Antony and the Johnsons - I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy
The Accidental - There Were Wolves
Verdict: Love (<)
Kind of a mix between Le Loup and Devendra Banhart. Sweet homey sounds that just makes every day seem like a summer evening on the ranch.
The Accidental - Knock Knock
The Accidental - I Can Hear Your Voice
The Accidental - Illuminated Red
The Gaslamp Killer - I Spit On Your Grave
Verdict: Like ()
The full thing was 1 track, so I sectioned off some good parts, thought, truthfully, that was hard to do, because the whole thing really needs to be heard to understand the album.
The Gaslamp Killer - Sample 1
The Gaslamp Killer - Sample 2
The Gaslamp Killer - Sample 3
Moby - Last Night
Verdict: Like ()
Mega chill out record. what did you expect?
Moby - Disco Lies
Moby - The Stars
Moby - Alice
Camille - Music Hole
Verdict: Love (<)
I can't help but say that Music Hole is one of the best album titles I've ever heard. The album has a lot of A Capella stuff, which is really cool, and, every once and a while, it has piano driven songs, which are also pretty cool. Over all I can't say I was blown away by the album, but I did think it was interesting and had a lot of good songs on it. It has one of my favorite songs of the year on it too:
Camille - Home is Where It Hurts
Camille - Cats and Dogs
Camille - Winter's Child
Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
Verdict: Love (<)
Repetition can be fun an invigorating. I don't know why this album doesn't get on my nerves or get old, but it doesn't.
Fuck Buttons - Okay, Let's Talk About Magic
Fuck Buttons - Race You To My Bedroom/Spirit Rise
The Chapin Sisters - Lake Bottom
Verdict: Like ()
It's like what Kittie would be like if they grew up like the Watson Twins. Amazing voices, dark lyrics, but, unfortunately, not everything is as spot on as you might hope it is. Still, talented group of gals.
The Chapin Sisters - Let Me Go
The Chapin Sisters - Kill Me Now
The Chapin Sisters - Can't We Please
The Billionaires - Really Real for Forever
Verdict: Like ()
Super cute sound, with awkwardly uncute lyrics "Lets go out and get fucked up, lets go out and get fucked up to forget." only a few stunning songs on the album, but the ones that are good are actually really good. Some are reminiscent of old Phantom Planet, some remind you of Kimya Dawson.
The Billionaires - The End of the Summer Song
The Billionaires - Butterflies
The Billionaires - Trophy Home
Phantom Planet - Raise the Dead
Verdict: Love (<)
Come, let's be honest for a minute, if you didn't get into the band because of the "California" song, you got into them because Jason Shwartzman was in the band. Well, okay, there were probably a few people who didn't jump on the bandwagon because of those things, but I know I did because of the Shwartzman thing. That said, I was honestly impressed with this new release, even though it is, much like most of the PP albums, Shwartzman-less. I think that this album has the potential to help them jump past the "California" thing and make the songs they're currently writing count for more than pop drivel. If that makes any sense at all...
Phantom Planet - Dropped
Phantom Planet - Leader
Phantom Planet - Too Much Too Often
Adele - 19
Verdict: Love (<)
At first I thought this album was just an Amy Whinehouse twin, one which wasn't as out of control and in your face. But on second listen, I discovered that Adele is actually so full of heart and soul that, even on the folky songs, she can't help but sound a little Whinehouseish, because when you feel that way, that's the sound you make. It's like what Feist would sound like if Leslie were Amy, but taught how to talk by Regina.
Adele - Cold Shoulder
Adele - Crazy For You
Adele - Melt My Heart To Stone

"Punk’s not dead, fuck you, Cause I’m still a punk"

Jacob Borshard - Songs For A Small Stereo
Verdict: Love (<)
Get all the songs on this album here, for free, and legit-ly too!
Jacob Borshard - 6 Million Dead Punks Can't Be Wrong (Punk's Not Dead)
Jacob Borshard - White Amplifier, 1956
Jacob Borshard - You're In Love Again
Ladytron - Velocifero
Verdict: Indifferent (~)
It didn't hold my interest for more than about 30 seconds per track.
Ladytron - Black Cat
Chris Dooks - The Aesthetic Animals Album
Verdict: Like ()
Experimental, which I always like, but not really the most interesting thing ever.
Chris Dooks - The Swan
Chris Dooks - The Salamander
Chris Dooks - The Manatee

"I Woke Up Today, In A Very Simple Way"

Port O'Brien - The Wind and the Swell
Verdict: Love More (<3)
This one took a while for it to grow on me, but now I'm convinced of it's greatness. After a while I found myself singing along to it as though it were an album from my distant past. I think the charm is in the sincerity of the vocals, guitar playing, and lyrics. It's just a really genuine sound. It reminds me a lot of the local stuff I love. I had a hard time narrowing it down to 3 songs I wanted to post.
Port O'Brien - Five and Dime
Port O'Brien - A Bird Flies By
Port O'Brien - Anchor

"This loney exsistence may use the way For the hard of hearts must beat be brave"

Flogging Molly - Float
Verdict: Indifferent (~)
Maybe I just don't think that the sound is all that interesting any more. Maybe it's that they've gotten stale. I don't really know if I can tell the difference. Either way, I probably won't listen to this album again.
Flogging Molly - Lightning Storm
Aleister Crowley - The Great Beast Speaks
Verdict: Indifferent (~)
That's right. Aleister Crowley. I got this just to see what it was, and it really isn't interesting past the novelty of hearing Crowley's voice.
Aleister Crowley - The Call of the First Aethyr (Enochian version)
Aleister Crowley - Hymn to the American People
Aleister Crowley - Vive La French Republic
Crispin Hellion Glover - The Big Problem ? The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be.
Verdict: Love More (<3)
So this is basically the strangest album ever. 1/2 spoken word, 1/2 strange outsider alt. rock folk stuff. If anything, I loved it because it was the weirdest thing that I never saw coming. Seriously, Crispin Glover ... making an album? I never would have thought such a thing possible.
Crispin Hellion Glover - Selected Readings From Rat Catching
Crispin Hellion Glover - Auto-Manipulator
Crispin Hellion Glover - Clowny Clown Clown
Crispin Hellion Glover - These Boots Are Made For Walking

"Like a sky stretched out before me"

Spock's Beard - Snow
Verdict: Indifferent (~)
Now, something you need to know about me is that I love me some metal, mostly because of nostalgic reasons, but also because sometimes those cats make some rad music. I'd forgotten until recently that I wanted to listen to this album, Snow, for a long time (probably since around 2002 :) ), so when I finally got a chance to do so, I jumped on it. Well as it turns out, it's just a bunch of garbled boring-ness that thinks that because it's complicated, it's good. Wrong.
Spock's Beard - Wind At My Back

May 25, 2008

"I Am Very Happy, So Please Hit Me"

First, lemme just say I've been slacking on the blog thing because I've been busy with school and practicing with the band and reading comics ... okay ... so the last thing kind of makes it a lame excuse, but I'll have you know ... well ... nevermind, I'll be back here in a few days. for now:

So, I know that this album is old, but I've only just discovered it for myself about a month ago. I've been listening to it almost every day since, and I sing when I'm not listening to it. The whole thing is just a gorgeous, triumph of an album, and I've finally decided how to rate it.

Antony and the Johnsons - Antony and the Johnsons
Verdict: Love More Than Music (<3>)
This album will go down in (my) history as one of the freaking best albums ever. It's slow and sad and just makes you want to cry, or, at least, cry out. Each soul shattering song is ripe with themes of self discovery and self loathing, beautifully alliterated and articulated. There are few better albums than this one. As is with everything I give the "Love More Than Music" rating, I think this album makes other albums that call themselves "music" feel ashamed. Sometimes I'm a man of few words, this time I am because Antony has taken my breath away. Here's how:

Antony and the Johnsons - The Cripple and The Starfish
Antony and the Johnsons - Hitler in My Heart
Antony and the Johnsons - River Of Sorrow

May 21, 2008

"Life is Like ... Mario Brothers 1 ... Because You Can't Go Back"

(I've discovered I prefer the way blurry pictures look over how regular pictures look.)

I love Denver during the beginning of the summer, which is possibly caused by the fact that I love both Denver and the beginning of the summer, regardless of whether or not the two are attached. Why do I love the beginning of the summer? because it's hot, and after all that cold, one yearns for some heat. The only thing that could've made this trip I took to Denver, during the beginning of the summer, better would be if I had gone to a show. Well shoot, I happened to have done just that.

Down at the Larimer Lounge 3 bands were fixin to make this night quite the evening (especially since they had to compete with M.I.A. at the Fillmore [which, in my mind, was no competition, because I hate the sound system the Fillmore has]). Between each act (and during the first one), a spoken word artist, Ken Arkind, said a SLAM poem or two, and I personally think it was a nice addition. He and I actually talked for a little bit, but seeming how I'm hella awkward when I'm alone at shows, it was like a 2 seconds encounter ... haha ... yeah ... anyway...

Local act Achille Lauro started off the night. Now, one must understand that I have a certain affinity towards local bands (granted, sometimes this affinity stretches to bands that are local to places where I don't live, but that's beside the current point). That said, I liked Achille Lauro. Sometimes I think the guitar was a little too loud, sometimes the vocals were nearly imperceivable, sometimes the only thing one could truly make out was the drums. Maybe this was the sound they were going for, maybe the sound man didn't understand what the band would have wanted to sound like, I don't know. When the band did shine through, I caught glimpses of The Fray, which scared me, because I hate the Fray, and I didn't want to hate these guys. Achille Lauro did however play some fairly interesting instrumentals and did, a few times, remind me a bit of Explosions in the Sky, which certainly did not scare me, because I love me some Explosions in the sky. Over all, I don't think I'd pay to just see them, but I would see their presence on a lineup of other bands that I would pay to see as a good thing, and listen hopefully. I think they're on their way to making a good sound. (drop the fray sound though).

Up next was Kid Dakota, the band I was most anxious to see. Ian Prince, drummer, and I talked for a little while prior to Achille Lauro taking the stage, and from that short conversation I can tell you he's a rad, genuine person. This got me even more stoked for their performance. I'd only ever heard their studio recordings, so I was anxious to see how it translated into live material, and, truthfully, I was a little ... not bored ... not let down ... just ... mediocre-d. The first two or so songs were really light with the drumming and for some reason Darren Jackson's voice didn't reach through my sternum and shake me up like it did on the albums. I began to think that maybe this was just how they were live. I didn't give up hope that it was going to be stupendous though. And, after a little bit, I was rewarded for my faith. The powers that be must have been sleeping for a moment, but they were certainly on top of things by the 3rd or so song, because the energy shot from the duo like nerve gas (what am I even babbling on about?). What I mean to say is that they really kicked it up a notch, and from then on in it was just magnificent. No, not the loudest duo, not the fastest or most distorted or most dancy, but certainly being full of soul and talent makes up for those things. I think it does. I find it interesting, and non-coincidental, that Ian is a Battles fan (he was wearing one of their shirts), because his drumming reminded me a lot of the intelligent but well fitting beats that Battles' drummer, John Stanier, tends to throw at us (we're talking Hi-Lo here, not Atlas). Darren actually reminded me a lot of Jeff Mangum during the last half of the set. Granted, only because of how he sounded, because I've not been lucky enough to actually see Jeff Mangum perform. Anyway, I have to say these guys, for me, stole the show.

How could they steal the show when Cloud Cult played after them? I have to start here: When I saw Cloud Cult at the Monolith Music festival last year, it was the first time I'd seen them. Having fallen in love with their album The Meaning of 8 just 8 or 9 months prior, I was rather stoked to see them. So when they took the stage and played and I didn't feel as overcome with pure unadulterated joy as I had hoped I would (regardless of what I may or may not have said in my post on their performance), I made excuses. I told myself it was because the Flaming Lips were playing at the same time and the sound was just mixing very awkwardly. I told myself that it was because it was an outside performance on a huge stage, 2 things I've very much not used to when it comes to seeing bands. I had hoped that was true. This night, after they took the stage, I could tell things weren't going to be as good as I hoped. Cloud Cult played their freaking hearts and souls out, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Larimer Lounge is not known for their epic sound system. There are just so many things to think about and consider when I remember this show. All I can say is that I love their music. LOVE it. And they perform their songs well. I just know that I didn't leave with the feeling I was hoping for. See them live though, I really do encourage it, because everyone else was just doubled over in bliss.

I was not too upset though, because I was to see them again the next day. I'll tell you how that went in a few days. In the mean time, here is the live recording of the show:

Artist: Ken Arkind, Kid Dakota, and Cloud Cult
Date: 2008-05-17
Venue: Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO

Ken Arkind - Maggie
Kid Dakota - Smokestack
Kid Dakota - (why do you think we need)
Kid Dakota - Crossin' Fingers
Kid Dakota - Winterkill
Kid Dakota - Transfusion
Kid Dakota - So Pretty
Kid Dakota - Lungs That Try To Breathe
Kid Dakota - Ivan
Kid Dakota - Pilgrim
Ken Arkind - (A Love Poem)
Ken Arkind - (A Short Pop Song About Videogames)
Cloud Cult - intro
Cloud Cult - Hope
Cloud Cult - No One Said It Would Be Easy
Cloud Cult - Pretty Voice
Cloud Cult - We Made Up Your Mind For You
Cloud Cult - Please Remain Calm
Cloud Cult - Chain Reaction
Cloud Cult - Story of the Grandson of Jesus
Cloud Cult - Happy Hippo
Cloud Cult - The Ghost Inside Our House
Cloud Cult - A Girl Underground
Cloud Cult - Hurricane and Fire Survival Guide
Cloud Cult - Everybody Here Is a Cloud
Cloud Cult - Take Your Medicine
Cloud Cult - Chemicals Collide
Cloud Cult - (Instrumental)
Cloud Cult - The Tornado Lessons
Cloud Cult - Love You All (encore)