Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Songs About the Creepiness of Space

I think Space is creepy. Always have. Let's just get that out of the way. It's big, dark and there's no sure way home. There's something entirely tragic about a one-way trip.

That's why when I saw Gizmodo's post about a new childrens book version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," my reaction was "Why would you read that to a child?!" Spoiler alert: Major Tom doesn't come home. That stuff just bothers me. Great song, don't get me wrong. The illustrations looks great too.

The whole creepy-space-song-thing reminded me of a tune by the Papercuts that was out a few years ago. The whole album had an unsettlingly calm, dream-like quality to it, but it was "A Peculiar Hallelujah" that took the cake in that department. In an interview, the frontman said it was about a religious group that went into space and jumped out of the ship without suits in some kind of religious fervor. Also, a pretty good song, but one I avoid listening to.

Of course, there's always "Rocket Man" by Elton John. Not really unsettling, but still picks up on that lonely space vibe.

Anyway. Space is creepy. I leave you with that. And this:

Monday, August 29, 2011

This Exists: Bluegrass Cover of "New Slang"

A quick hit. Every now and then I have one of those "This exists??" moments. I present to you a bluegrass version of The Shins's "New Slang" by some sort of bluegrass tribute group called Iron Horse.

It's pretty cool. And the best part is that I did not go looking for this sucker. You can thank the weird realm that is for this little discovery.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time Spent in Los Angeles : Dawes

File this one under "Song Crushes." I've got a few days off and I'm spending some time catching up on music I've been meaning to listen to over the past month or so. Recently, I downloaded the Dawes/Blizten Trapper tour sampler from Noisetrade and this evening I discovered "Time Spent in Los Angeles by Dawes off their 2011 record Nothing is Wrong.

Dawes is from LA and the song is about being gone. I really love the melody, but the lyrics are what really get me because they fit very well with my current state of being far from home.

Ex 1: "When people aks me where I come from, to see what that says about a man, I only end up giving bad directions that never lead them there at all."

You know how it is trying to explain where you're from. You never do it justice, and more you describe it, the less real it feels.

Ex 2: Now I know what I've been missing and I'm going home to make it mine. And I'll be battening the hatches and pulling in the sails.

Definitely want to get back to Nashvegas and pull in the sails. I love that the song talks about placing such great importance on leaving and going to a million different places, only to figure out the most important thing is home.

The chorus is great too. That's where they get to talking about LA. And being originally from Los Angeles myself, I love it all the more.

Lead singer Taylor Goldsmith has a relatable, everyman kind of voice. It's clear and familiar, like someone you went to school with.

Check it out! And really listen to the lyrics. And to the guitars. The whole thing's good.

Weather of a Killing Kind : The Tallest Man on Earth

Back to the serious posting. Here's something I ran across the other day. It's a new tune from The Tallest Man on Earth. If you're unfamiliar, The Tallest Man on Earth is this little guy from Sweden named Kristian Matsson who's voice sounds like it's been dragged over a cheese grater. Wonderful stuff. Great guitar. In fact, Matsson made The Musically Inclined's Top 10 Discoveries of 2010 for his song "King of Spain" off his album The Wild Hunt.

Anyway, you can download "Weather of a Killing Kind," and I strongly suggest you do.

I would also recommend checking out the Tiny Desk Concert Matsson did with All Songs Considered a while back.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Know, Enough with The Muppets

Now I just feel compelled to continue my Muppets beat.

Two things: Ok Go released a video this week for their cover of the Muppet Show Theme Song. It is inexplicable. It reminded me of an old envy for the world where humans and Muppets co-exist in harmony.

Some inspired individual made a video of Cookie Monster clips synced up with Tom Waits's "God's Away on Business." It feels twisted, and yet you've got to see it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Word on Bon Iver-ness

Man. Bon Iver. That guy. Check out the new video for his single "Holocene." Watch it and come back.

BON IVER "Holocene" from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Got it? Ok. I like Justin Vernon as much as the next kid with vague hipster tendencies, but sometimes I'm overwhelmed by his Bon Iver-ness. It's the way he manages to be earthy and ethereal all at the same time. He's like a mountain spring so friggin' clean and crisp it melts your mouth off.

Case in point: "Holocene." You've got a pretty little blonde nordic boy who apparently lives in a hobbit hole and spends his day frolicking in pristine landscapes. He is clearly the only human able to not spoil these scenic terrains because he's nature boy, one with the falcons.

I like Bon Iver. I really do. I can't handle that video. Everything from the kid's sweater to him sweetly falling asleep on some rocks is just too much Bon Iver-ness to handle. It's the pinacle of Bon Iver-ness– perfect and pure and gorgeous. Lock your average person up in a cabin to write an album and you'd find them sitting in the rafters half crazy after a few weeks. It's just such a concentration of the (I don't know, aesthetic?) that it'll knock you out.

Phew. Anyway. Enjoy the video, nevertheless. P.S. Here's a link to a 36-inch Sumac Root walking stick from Amazon, if you're feeling it. Mmm. Rustic.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wedding Day : Dent May

Dent May. What would the world be without you? Check out his latest track "Wedding Day." It's all kinds of synth-drenched, and really not that great.... or at least as good as "Fun" was from a month or so back, but hey. It's good old Dent and in TMI's book, he can do just about anything he wants and we'll still listen. Why? The dude has some audacity. Yeah. We'll call it audacity.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Brian Covers Buddy

Buddy Holly covers seem to be in season. Check out Brian Wilson's new rendition of "Listen to Me," courtesy of Rolling Stone. Right now you can stream or download it, but in the future it will live on another Buddy Holly tribute album called, you guessed it, Listen to Me (out Sept. 6). Of course, the Buddy Holly tribute album Rave on Buddy Holly just came out as well.

Someone needs to tell me what's going on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wilco is Such a Tease

Tidings from the Wilco camp this morning. The band released a tease for its upcoming album, The Whole Love, out September 27.

In the video, you hear/see them working on the song "Almost." That's some intense guitar work going on there. Check it out.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Muppets and Puppets

I couldn't have planned this post any better myself.

If you remember, a little while ago TMI brought you news of the Muppets tribute album, The Green Album. NPR's got it on First Listen this week, which is very exciting. The actual release date is Aug. 23.

Also in the felt and cloth world, the National's new video for "Exile Vilify" stars the most melancholic sock puppet you've ever seen. That's just a whole lot of emotion for something made of cotton. Check out the video above and the story behind it here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Night News Round Up

The last time TMI did a news round up, it involved Photoshopping a Santa hat on Bob Dylan, so I figure it's about time to do another one.

- Coldplay announced the name of their new album, but sadly did not include a pronunciation guide. [Editor's note: It's my-lo zy-letoe, according to the Coldplay newsletter] Mylo Xyloto is out October 25. There's not a track listing out yet, but you can count on "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" to be on there. Rolling Stone is reporting that other songs might include "Us Against the World," "Hurts Like Heaven," "Charlie Brown" and "Major Minus," which Coldplay have been playing at shows as of late.

- Louisiana songwriter dude Marc Broussard has a new video out. It's for "Cruel," a song off his new self-titled album. It's pretty amusing and Broussard is as soulful as ever. Check it out.

- Radiohead's going to be on Saturday Night Live September 24. I know. I'm trying to picture the uber complicated and layered sonic textures of Radiohead coming out of whatever miserable sound system SNL uses. We shall see! Maybe they'll get the USC marching band to play with them like they did at the Grammys a few years ago. Also, Alec Baldwin will be hosting.

- If you're interested in more Noah and the Whale, Pretty Much Amazing posted an MP3 of the Brit indie folk rockers playing a cover of Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" for BBC Radio 1. Even better, you can download it.

- And finally, Feist debut her new single today. It's "How Come You Never Go There" and it will live on her forthcoming album Metals, out October 4.

Well, that's all I've got. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Noah and the Whale Play NPR

It was happy news from my Google Reader this morning when I saw that the London-based indie band Noah and the Whale stopped by the NPR All Songs Considered office to play a Tiny Desk Concert. In reality, it was only a part of the group, frontman Charlie Fink and violinist Tom Hebden, but they played a great set anyway.

If you never picked up a copy of this past spring's Last Night on Earth, definitely do when you get a chance, and even more so than that, pick up First Days of Spring, which came out in 2009. Absolutely lovely, probably the prettiest break up album you'll ever hear. Not sure if there's something ironic about falling in love with a break up album, but you will. Embrace the irony.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Music From Frightened Rabbit

Seems like the Scottish rockers of Frightened Rabbit are keeping occupied these days. They're out on tour with Death Cab for Cutie and they just released two tracks from a tour EP, available only at their merch table. (Sorry.)

But the good news is that those tracks, plus one more, are just below for your listening pleasure. Also note the guest spots on the songs, including Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura. (In my opinion, that's the best track of the bunch.) Three cheers for Frabbit.

Catch Beirut's 'Rip Tide' Streaming

I don't know what it's like where you are, but in Syracuse, NY it's rainy and gray. What better use of time could there be than taking Beirut's new album The Riptide for a test run? (And polishing up a final project for my grad program.... but that's my deal.)

NPR has The Riptide streaming as an Exclusive First Listen. So far so good. The title "Riptide" is probably a more forceful thought than anything on the album, which is mostly slower-paced and horn-ladden as usual. It's Beirut's third full-length album. For those of you keeping track at home, you might remember the name from 2009's Top Ten Discoveries list. The band's contribution to the Dessner brother-backed (from The National) charity album Dark was the Night, fit right in with the gypsy rock (or Balkan folk, if you prefer) kick I was apparently on at the time.

Anyway, check it out.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Alexander Hamilton, Hip-Hop Hero

This morning I flipped to the first page of an old reporters notebook and saw scribbled in pencil on the first line "The Hamilton Mixtape -> Lin-Manuel Miranda." Also, apparently I had an advising session that Friday at 10 a.m.

Anyway, in case that line doesn't mean anything to you, let me clue you in. Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of the most talented figures in current-day literary/arts culture. He's a rapper, an actor and a playwrite from New York. He wrote the music and lyrics for broadway musical In Heights, which was nominated for thirteen Tonys. Miranda also worked on a revival of West Side Story that actually featured Spanish in the dialogue between the Puerto Rican characters as well as in the songs they sing.

He's into a million different things these days. If you were paying attention, you might have spotted him on Modern Family a few months ago.

But the Hamilton Mixtape part? I'd forgotten hearing on NPR that he was working on an album about Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's life, because Hamilton was– and you may not know this – a true embodiment of hip-hop.

I'll let Miranda explain it. Check out his 2009 performance at the White House's Poetry Jam. No word on a release date, but you better believe when that thing drops, I'm going to be the first in line. I have great respect for people that can string together words, especially the way he can. (That's why I hang out with writers.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Plea From A Cat Named Virtue : The Weakerthans

This week's message from the universe is brought to you by The Weakerthans. It's "Plea from a Cat Named Virtue" and it popped into my world twice in a very shot time frame. First, from a friend, and second, from NPR's always fan-friggin-tastic All Songs Considered podcast.

If you haven't heard it, the song is written from the perspective of a cat (stay with me) whose owner is in a funk. It's sort of sweet and definitely clever in a non groan-inducing way.

My favorite line is "I don't know who you're talking to, I made a search through every room, but all I found was dust that moved and shadows of the afternoon." The song is written in a way that's strangely believable when you think about what pets must witness from their owners.

Anyway. Give it a listen. Oh, and meet the official cat of The Musically Inclined.

(Like the Paul McCartney song, but with an extra "t" for balance.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Shins Sell Out

I am totally kidding. Couldn't be happier that the long-silent New Mexico indie pop band signed to Columbia Records and is hitting the road this fall.

Look for a new album next year on Aural Apothecary, which is a Columbia imprint run by frontman James Mercer. The band split from SubPop in 2008.

Here's the tour schedule.

8/8 – Eugene, Oreg. : W.O.W. Hall
8/9 – Bend, Oreg. : The Domino Room
8/10 – Portland, Oreg. : The Doug Fir Lounge
8/12 – San Francisco, Calif. : Outside Lands Festival

9/22 – Toronto, Ontario : Phoenix Concert Theatre
9/23 – Philadelphia, Penn. : Popped! Festival
9/24 – Boston, Mass. : Paradise Rock Club

10/15 – Pensacola, Fla. : DeLuna Festival

And if they're not coming to a city near you, please enjoy my personal favorite song of theirs (above), also known as the 2nd most played song on my iTunes.