Monday, December 27, 2004

Top Ten Music Videos of the Year!

So, putting together the lists for Album of the Year, Movie of the Year, and the very daunting Songs of the year is taking a lil' bit longer than I would have guessed, especially as I (and Calgore) have picked up a number of 2004 releases in the past week and a half, including Air, Stars, Death From Above 1979, MF Doom, Masta Killa, Dizzee Rascal, Interpol. But, I promise to work dilligently to make these lists happen. As it is, here is the easiest list I had to assemble.

I decided to keep these blurb-free, as there really isn't much I can possibly explain about each video without repeating myself. Your best bet is to just head on over to and watch all of them, b/c they're all definitely worth your time.

The 10 Best Music Videos of the Year!

10. Modest Mouse, Float On
09. m83, Run Into Flowers
08. Death Cab For Cutie, Sound of Settling
07. The Streets, Dry Your Eyes
06. Stars, Ageless Beauty
05. Snow Patrol, Run
04. Modest Mouse, Ocean Breathes Salty
03. Dizzee Rascal, Dream:
02. Kings of Convenience, I'd Rather Dance With You

and the winnah...

01. M83, America

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Has it been that long?

Boy, it's been much longer than I'd thought it had been, hasn't it? Wait, is anyone even waiting for another post? Somehow I doubt it.

Anyways, I saw the movie Closer, and it's a weird one. Well, it's not weird like David Lynch or Takashi Miike, but the structure of the movie is kind of weird in that you're always waiting for a climax or a big fight or something and it never quite happens. Anyways, I'll deal with the movie itself in the Throbbing Skank Ape 2004 Top Twenty Movies of the Year (coming soon, honest). The most important thing about the movie that is not Natalie Portman's ass is...

Damien Rice, The Blower's Daughter {link} (it's right at the top of the page, I felt guilty directly linking to it b/c I don't know how much bandwith they have, and, anyways, there's tons of other good Rice mp3s on the page)

This beautiful song opens, and closes Closer. I had never actually heard any Rice songs before, I only knew him as that guy who won the Shortlist Prize in 2003 whom I'd never heard of but beat The Streets, Cat Power, Cody Chesnutt, Interpol, Bright Eyes and Sigur Ros among others. Then i heard this song and it's just achingly beautiful, Rice's voice is great, sounding sometimes like David Gray, sometimes like Van Morrison, and other times like...someone else. When he repeats "I can't take my eyes off of you" you just know he's fallen hard and it just resonates with you if you've ever fallen that hard for anyone.

Frakkur, ? {link}

Frakkur is Jonsi Birgisson, the lead singer of Sigur Ros. I'm a huge Sigur Ros fan, owning everything of them I can get my hands on. Frakkur is amazing. Jonsi walks around in a sort of warped marching band outfit with butterfly wings strapped to his back (here) and playing a drum. A choir sings in the background, there are guitars, keyboards, and a guy banging on pots and pans. Everything just swells and shimmers for four and a half minutes before the keyboards quieten, and all you can hear is the drum, the pots and pans, and the choir and it goes on for almost eleven minutes. Sure there are problems, like an ear-piercing feedback in the middle and people holding conversations in the background, but that's what you get with live music. One of my favourite music moments of the year, I would love to have been there.

I'll try to be back sooner than later (especially if the rumored two week layoff from work begins this week, woo!). I got a massive Top 25 Albums of 2004 and a Top 100 Songs of 2004 to get to, I'm just wondering whether I should wait for Christmas and the albums I might be receiving then.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

So, these seem to be working for some people, although I can only seem to download the mp3s if I right-click on them, rather then left-click. Odd. I will keep trying to post mp3s where I can, but I will also always post the links, so even if the mp3 link works for you, you should try the link, as well, ‘cuz there’s often a whole lot more good music there, too.

Sunday’s Best “ When Is Pearl Harbor Day?” {LINK}
I’ve been racking my brains all day, at work, trying to think of something interesting to say about this song other then that it’s pretty and reminds me of summer, but came up completely empty. I thought about writing about how weird it is that the song is about Pearl Harbor Day (sort of, well, not really, but it is in the title) yet it reminds me of summer, and then it occurred to me that I couldn’t even remember when Pearl Harbor day is. So, I looked it up, and lo and behold, today, December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day. So, now you HAVE to download it, I’m probably not gonna stumble across another mp3 as a propos as today’s.

Sunday’s Best are a damn fine indie rock band, and the fact that their website is up for sale has me the least bit worried. They are one of those fine bands that never got the attention they deserved, aside from a weird repeated use of their song on the incomparable, but all too brief MTV series Clone High. Come back Sunday’s Best! I still love you.

The Appleseed Cast “Fight Song” {LINK}
There is no such magic at work with this one, just a perfect song, no crazy coincidences. The Appleseed Cast is a fine band (I should stop saying that) who are too often tossed in as another “emo” band. But The Appleseed Cast left the emo realm behind when they released the experimental Low Level Owl records and Pitchfork started to sing their praises, things seemed to be on the rise. Then, “Two Conversations” their most recent album came out and everyone jumped off the bandwagon. I guess it’s not cool to be “emotional” anymore. But the album is amazing, it seems to be almost like a scrapbook of a relationship on the downswing. This song is my highpoint of the album, aside from the closer “A Dream For Us”. The lyrics are terrific:
“So we’ll look out on the lake and we see the white light.
It should have been gold.
I said it was gold.
Then maybe all the crazy things you said would have some meaning”

This was my album of the year for 2003, you should go get it, now.

Oh yeah, and go on over to POP77 and download the Radio Dept. songs, especially if you’re into noisy ethereal music a la M83 or My Bloody Valentine. Then follow his links to download The Cardigans live KCRW set, as he says, if all you know about the Cardigans is "Love Fool" or "My Favourite Game", there is SO much more to them.

EDIT: It seems that the Appleseed Cast mp3 is not working, there is some kind of problem with Tiger Style records, so now, you're a gonna have to go to Insound, you can download it from there if you search for it, that works, honest.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Okay, it's official, I suck at this...

So, one out of two ain't great, sue me. The For Stars one sort of worked, the other takes a little more work. From now on, instead of this guessing game about whether or not they will work, I'll just give you some links to where the song SHOULD be. If it doesn't work, don't blame me, but please let me know, I'll see what I can do (most likely nothing). Anyways, onward we go... (And yes, I have gone back and amended the previous post).

The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up "Breakdown" {LINK}
I slept on this band for a while. I think the reason I didn't listen to them at first was because either (a) I thought Jim Yoshii was the lead singer and it was some kind of J-Pop thing. Not that I don't like J-Pop, just that a person can only handle so much J-Pop at once or (b) I confused them with Jim O'Rourke whom I was convinced I didn't like, but come to think of it, I've never heard Jim O'Rourke, so maybe I had him confused with P.J. O'Rourke who might be a writer I don't like, or might be someone I have confused with someone else. Anyways, one night I came across them when I was trying to find more songs by Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, I found out that Walla had produced an album by JYPU and downloaded "Breakdown" and WOW! I'm a big fan of sad music, sad movies, really, just sadness, itself. And this is sad, but good. It's very slow but builds to the loudness, kind of like a Mogwai song. My favourite part is when the lead singer (not named Jim Yoshii, there is no Jim Yoshii in the band) sings
"And often when I'm sitting in my room,
I stare at my poster of Prince,
and sometimes I think of you.
And I spit when I do."
Just so amazing. It's full of sadness, bitterness, anger, and disappointment. And the way he sings that last line of harsh guitar chords...amazing. You should go to their website, as well, there are more songs. I keep waiting for someone to stock their albums locally, I'm giving them to the end of the year before I hit the Net and order them all.

Antarctica "Absence" {LINK}

This is one of those songs that will always tie me to a specific memory of a specific time in a specific place. I was on a bus, coming back from Vancouver over the Connector through a veritable blizzard. I'd just found Antarctica's CD in the used bin at the awesome Zulu Records. I had heard this one before, and liked it. But, something about listening to it as the snow whirred past the windows fit it oh-so-well. Even if I'm playing this song on a car stereo, on a hot summer morn, with the windows down and a slurpee in my hand, it still reminds me of that winter, I think I repeated it somewhere in the neighbourhood of 8 times in a row.

The song, itself, is amazing. A breezy little electro weeper. I've never been able to understand the lyrics, or find them online, but they are quite plaintive, almost mournful. It's beautiful, and a friend told me the whole album was out of print and hard to find, luckily I'd found it before that became an issue.

Ah, what the hell, let's make it three!

Joanna Newsome "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" {LINK}

A while back, on my now stillborn first blog, I pronounced the most exhilirating moment of 2004 as being when Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley sings "You're bad news, but I don't care cuz I like you...I like you!" I might have been a bit premature.

By now everyone must have heard of Ms. Newsome, the girl with the elfish voice and the harp, and I had, as well. I really dug the song "Peach Plum Pear" but kind of dismissed her as a one-trick pony, a novelty. Once you got over the incomparable voice, it got real old real quick, I assumed. Now, recently, the spectacular Large Hearted Boy proclaimed Joaana Newsome's "The Milk-Eyed Mender" as his album of the year, so I thought I would give her another shot. And I discovered the above song "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie."

It's different from "Peach Plum Pear" in that "C.C.C.C." is much more of a ballad, a little sad, and a little hopeful, but quiet and ponderous. And when Joanna sings,
"And your skin is something I stir into my tea,
And I am watching you,
And you are starry, starry, starry"
she really belts the "starry, starry, starry," out so that it should be written "And you are Starry! STARRY! STARRY!" and I just melt. I've listened to this song, and had this part, in my head for a couple of days now. So, it looks like the race for most exhilirating musical moment of 2004 is down to:
-Rilo Kiley "Portions For Foxes" [The part where she sings "You're bad news, but I don't care cuz I like you...I like you!"
-Joanna Newsome "Clam Crab Cockle Cowrie" [When Joanna sings "Starry! STARRY! STARRY!"
-Wilco "At Least That's What You Said" [ The part when the electric guitar cuts in and the song gets LOUD]
-M83 "Run Into Flowers (Abstrackt Keal Agram Remix)" [The part when the wall of electric guitar comes in and the song explodes out of the initial downtempo hip-hop beat it had going on]
Let the voting begin...or not...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Yeah, we'll see how long this keeps up...

"It's nice to see you giving something back after taking so, so much."
-The Simpsons

I love mp3 blogs, love 'em. I'm too lazy and poor and unhip to ever get one going, but with some help from places that post great mp3s, maybe I can at least highlight some at a semi-regular pace.

Expect this to have ended by tomorrow, but for we go...

For Stars "How It Goes"

Do you ever have memories that are so great that you replay them in your mind over and over and over again? But, when you recall these particular memories, the soundtrack that went along with them was either highly inappropriate, or just annoying? So, in your memory you substitute another song for whatever was playing in the background, and in a way, modify the memory forever.

For me, the memory is staying a week with a friend who'd moved to Washington. On our last day there, we decided that to overcome the lure of cheap American prices to go and see the ocean. The only problem being that the quickest way to get to the ocean was a three to four, to maybe even five hour drive out of Washington and into Oregon. But, we did it anyways. And aside from the beautiful Seaside, itself (which is pretty much my favourite place on Earth right now), my favourite memory is driving there. The sun was shining, the roads weren't too busy as it was late September, and the road was surrounded by trees and bits of sunlight crept in and poked between the leaves to bathe the car in a kind of scattered light. At the time, we were listening to the only CD my friend owned at that point which was Linkin Park, but since then, I've replaced Linkin Park with thi song, and every time I hear it reminds me of warmer days, on my way to the beach.

Kyle Fischer "One More Day"
(I don't know how to properly link, so here is a link for the mp3 search page, just type in Kyle Fischer and you should find it).
I'm not sure why I never quite bought this album, finding this song on a mix tape at work this week reminded me of just how in love with this song I was.

Despite this being from the Kyle Fischer of Rainer Maria solo album, he actually gets Caithlin De Marrais to sing this one (and actually from reading it, he uses her and Mike Kinsella of Owen and American Football on mostly the entire album), and it is amazing. My biggest problem with Rainer Maria is the same one I have with Velocity Girl and that is that the singer's voice is often just way too powerful for the backing music and it just doesn't mesh. But, here, Caithlin's voice owns the song and the music doesn't intrude and try to take it away from her. I can't believe this song hasn't been played during a film when the sad leading guy/girl is pining for a relationship he/she screwed up/were screwed out of.