Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jazz and Grunge? You Bet.

I love jazz. I have mixed feelings about Nirvana.

Check out this instrumental jazz version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by The Bad Plus. I found this a few months ago and listened to it about ten times in a row. It's good and also fascinating to think that there could be any middle ground between that early 90s world of Kurt Cobain's crew and classy cool jazz.

This isn't The Bad Plus's first foray into unconventional covers, either. Apparently they've covered the Pixies, David Bowie, Blondie, and Black Sabbath to name a few.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The National to Release New Album

Time has been tight around here, but I did just want to post this quickly-- The National is officially coming out with a new album in May. No other details as of yet, but stay tuned. I think one of the last things we heard of the band was when they announced that they would be heading to the studio in the Spring of '09.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Your Life in an Album Title"

NPR's Robin Hilton blogged on the All Songs Considered site, posing the question, "what album name best sums up your life?" I was in a mildly goofy mood, so I took a stroll through my iTunes collection and pulled some album titles that could be used to sum up various lives. Giggle away (maybe?).

For a life sprinkled with regret:

What Have I Done - Anna Ternheim
A Hangover You Don't Deserve - Bowling for Soup
Yeah I Know - Darlings
What is All This Sweet Work Worth? - Milton & The Devils Party

For a life that was... wild, shall we say?:

Maybe You Should Drive - Barenaked Ladies
Joy Ride - Bob James
Nothing Left to Lose - Mat Kearney
Caught in the Trees - Damien Jurado

For a life that was just plain crazy:

Short Bus - Filter
Waiting For My Rocket to Come - Jason Mraz
Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel - Sleeping in the Aviary
Some People Have Real Problems - Sia

And maybe tinged with aggression:

Evil Urges- My Morning Jacket
Beauty & Crime - Suzanne Vega
Cut You - Penelope Houston

For the life of optimism and/or ease:

Some Mad Hope - Matt Nathanson
Roll On - The Living End
You Can Have What You Want - Papercuts
Life of Leisure - Washed Out
All Good Things - Pacha Massive

But maybe life has been hard:

Survival - Forest Fire
Everything Goes Wrong - Vivian Girls (isn't that depressing?)

For the driven:

In Motion - Copeland
Plans - Death Cab for Cutie
Something to Be - Rob Thomas

For the not so driven:

Ambivalence Avenue - Bibio

And as for me?:

Paste Sampler 52. It's poetic, I know.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Streaming Albums-- A Good Idea!

Somewhere Chris Anderson is cackling about the value of "free" and congratulating himself for writing a book about it. Dude can have it. Free is the greatest tactic these days in appealing to a generation that gets whatever it wants, when it wants it.

I'm listening to Vampire Weekend's Contra right now. When it hits stores on Tuesday, I will probably buy it. It's good and investing $9.99 in it presents zero risk because I know exactly what I'm getting ahead of time.

That's a level of convenience you can hardly believe. In the past few months alone, hearing albums streamed in their entirety has lead to me buying Noah and the Whale's First Days of Spring, and the previously blogged about Ben Gibbard/Jay Farrar Jack Kerouac project One Fast Move or I'm Gone.

The flip side is that when The Hold Steady streamed Stay Positive on their MySpace a few years ago, I decided not to buy it.

In the long run though, that risk minimization has opened the door to discover even more music. Maybe you find something you feel like you can't live without-- that's another album purchased. That's also priceless.

*NPR's All Songs Considered is pretty much the greatest for hearing cool albums streamed, partly because they bring albums to your attention that are usually worth the time. You can find Spoon's latest, Transference here on the 11th.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home : Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Oh man. Have you heard this song? It popped up a couple places over the past few weeks and then I discovered that I had it on my iPod courtesy of Urban Outfitters. You'd think it was made a few decades ago, which adds to the appeal of the song's raw, western, country rock sound. Also, the female singer Jade Castrinos has a killer pioneer woman voice. Talk about starting your year off right. Check out the music video.