winter break, etc.

This was my Christmas present ... I love it. The Leica lens is amazing - 12x optical zoom and it's capable of keeping an f value of 2.8 all the way through that range. It's got a 5 megapixel CCD and optical image stablilazation. I'm really excited to get to a show with this thing and see how well it does. When I do, some of the pictures are definitely going up on here (maybe some video too ... I'll have to see how well that feature works).

In other news, my friend Neal and I are back to working on some new material under our old moniker Where There Is Fire We Will Carry Gasoline. Obviously that line is also the namesake for this blog and comes from a line in the movie Waking Life which is one of my favorite movies. Once we've done some recording I'll put some stuff up on a myspace so keep your eyes open for that. If you've heard us play before (I doubt you have since we've only played about 5 times) expect more post-rock ambient goodness. I'm working with a lot of samples from some songs Neal recorded over the summer and it's looking very promising. We've set up sort of a makeshift practice studio in my newly finished basement and hopefully I/he can be very productive down there in the next couple days.

I have a video of the first time we played that I may upload at some point. I just need to find the miniDV tape ... I have no idea where it is. It's just one song, but it is one we are planning on recording a version of. In addition to the Korg Triton, guitar, and cello we used in our previous stuff, we're adding my laptop with fruityloops, the casio SK-1 (with it's prehistoric, but still really sweet, sampling abilities), a bowed psaltery, bass, and possibly some acoustic guitar action. So it should be pretty eclectic.

In other news, both Neal and I are excited to get our hands on the new(er) Castanets album First Lights Freeze but sadly enough neither of us have yet. I also have completely re-fallen in love with The Notwist's Neon Golden all over again. This is an album I used to listen to every once and a while but seriously neglected for the past year. I am foolish for doing so. It is an amazing album that truly stands apart from anything else.

[mp3] Castanets - All That I Know


more ideas, less music

So it's been a while since I last posted, let alone take part in some of my usual semi-daily rituals like scouring others blogs for new music and downloading albums off rapidshare. Sorry if I let anyone down ... there won't be too much downloadable music in this post, merely an anecdote. "Home" has transferred itself from State College back to York for about a month as of last week, and I've been finding quite a bit to occupy myself with, hence the lack of posting.

On with the anecdote ... A bunch of friends gathered in this one kid's basement for nostalgia's sake (since we spent quite a bit of time down there on weekends in high school). We were playing pool, sitting around, catching up, and spinning some vinyl. I believe someone threw Demon Days on and then the next person in line for choice of tunes pulled out The Black Keys 10 AM Automatic 7" and forgets to switch the speed to 45. So it's playing slow and we're all confused, I yell at him to switch it up, and it slides up to speed. Commotion ensues and then someone asks what 33 1/3 record we'd want to hear at 45. Somehow, 3 of us simultaneously responded with Sigur Ros - ( ). Then we started listening to a bunch of stuff sped up and slowed down... Things like Iron and Wine - Woman King (faster) and The Secret Machine - Girl from the North Country (slower). It was a night of novelty. You should try it too - or just speed up and slow down the mp3s with the software of your choice.

[mp3] Sigur Ros - Untitled 4 (njosnavelin)

Maybe if I get bored later this week I'll upload a sped up version.


best of 2005

There aren't many days left in 2005 and it seemed to me it was time for the list. This isn't the sort of thing you can procrastinate on ... so I devoted many hours of thinking to this today and arrived at my conclusions (the studying for finals can go on hold for a bit, it's not like I haven't started or anything). There are quite a few albums that did not make the cut and those that did I absolutely adore. And I'm going to keep reminding you about the winter mix(es).

01 || Saxon Shore || The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore

[mp3] Saxon Shore - The Revolution Will Be Streaming

Buy at Insound || Amazon

02 || Broken Social Scene || S/T

[mp3] Broken Social Scene - 7/4 Shoreline

Buy at Insound || Amazon

03 || Sufjan Stevens || Illinos

[mp3] Sufjan Stevens - Chicago

Buy at Insound || Amazon

04 || Sigur Rós || Takk

[mp3] Sigur Rós - Hoppipolla

Buy at Insound || Amazon

05 || Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah || S/T

[mp3] Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah - Lost and Found

Buy at Insound || Amazon

06 || American Analog Set || Set Free

[mp3] American Analog Set - Immaculate Heart 1

Buy at Insound || Amazon

07 || Mount Eerie || No Flashlight

[mp3] Mount Eerie - I Hold Nothing

Buy at Insound || Amazon

08 || Animal Collective || Feels

[video] Animal Collective - Grass

Buy at Insound || Amazon

09 || Doves || Some Cities

[ecard] Doves - Black and White Town / Snowden / Walk in Fire / Sky Starts Falling

Buy at Insound || Amazon

10 || Sun Kil Moon || Tiny Cities

[mp3] Sun Kil Moon - Convenient Parking

Buy at Insound || Amazon


forget indie kids, emo kids - i'm a post rock kid

When The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore was released back in October, It was all I talked about and listened to for weeks. Seeing Saxon Shore live over the summer was such a mindblowing experience - they have progressed and matured so much in their sound while never losing their signature. If I had an mp3 blog in October, it's probably safe to say that every single post I would have made in that month would have been on Saxon Shore. They have been slowly expanding their arsenal of instruments and soundmakes of all sorts over the past few years and it is completely for the better. The quartet that once utilized just guitars, bass, and drums on Be A Bright Blue has now come to master anything and everything that can make a sound and incorporate it into their sprawling soundscapes. Every song on the new record is no dense, completely filled out with sound, and beautiful. Some people accuse them of jumping on the post rock train and following the likes of Mogwai (new album forthcoming, I'm excited about that), Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Sigur Rós, or just somewhere in the midst of all that. I see no imitation here whatsoever.

Saxon Shore has truly found the niche of where their perfect sound is and they're running with it. I hope in gets them somewhere ... the new album has been charting in the top 200 on CMJ since its release and it would be really awesome for them to take off for their own sake and Burnt Toast Vinyl's. BTV is one of my favorite indie labels and Scotch Hatch who runs it seems like such a great guy from the couple times I've talked to him and the all quality releases he's put out. I bought the Luck Will Not Save Us From A Jackpot Of Nothing EP over the summer which only made me more anxious for the release of Exquisite Death... . There was a slight chance that Scott would be selling the new album then if the duplication and priniting company was running on schedule but it unfortunately was not, so I sadly had to wait until October.

Give Saxon Shore a listen and hopefully you'll completely fall in love with all their just as I have. Please support them and buy the new cd from Insound. And at this point I think I'll name it as the album of the year. I'll round out the top 10 some time before the years end and post the other 9, but for now ...

[BEST RELEASE OF 2005] Saxon Shore - The Exquisite Death Of Saxon Shore

[mp3] Saxon Shore - The Revolution Will Be Streaming
[mp3] Saxon Shore - April 14
[mp3] Saxon Shore - Amber, Ember, Glow
[mp3] Saxon Shore - Replacement Driver
[mp3] Saxon Shore - Live on 8/23/03

-- more mp3s + tour dates @ Saxon Shore's Myspace

Don't forget about the winter mixes ... I'm going to keep posting reminders at the bottom of every post from now on.

[post] winter mix(es)


another forgotten song

[post] winter mix(es)

Josh (who writes The Infinite Pet -- highly reccommended) reminded me of Sufjan Steven's "The Avalanche," a bouns track off Illinois. It totally slipped my mind to go in with the obviously winter-theme titled songs. So add this one to the end of mix 2. I used megaupload again since it's easy, efficient, fast, and convenient; I hope you don't mind.

[aac] Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

... and what I titled this post (without much thinking) is completely, inadvertantly related to my last post. There is an album of reworked, lyrics added Six Parts Seven songs called Lost Notes From Forgotten Songs. Sam Beam of Iron & Wine does a beautiful remake of "Sleeping Diagonally."

[mp3] Sam Beam - Sleeping Diagonally



I'm kind of dissappointed in myself. I did not include any Six Parts Seven songs in my winter mix when Everywhere and Right Here is probably one of my favorite, if not my top, winter albums. So here's a song ... tack it on the end of the first mix as the 17th song and it will then be the perfect winter mix. But perfect is a high goal to aspire to, oh well, I tried. (It will also work in the third one.)

[mp3] The Six Parts Seven - This One Or That One?

I didn't mean to bump the winter mixes from the top. They are still there, keep looking and listening... download them!

v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v


winter mix(es)

I had a request to make and upload a winter mix from a friend and I went a little overboard. I started to put songs on a playlist and there were just way too many so I ended up with 3 seperate mixes. The first will remain untitled and is simply songs that I personally associate with winter. There are stories/events behind some of them, others make me feel wintery, and others are just inexplicable. If you have a problem with a song not being wintery enough, take it up with my left temporal lobe or something like that - I don't remember too much from psych. Second is songs that actually containing winter, snow, ice, or something wintery in the title. Third is more winter titled songs, but they are all instumental. The Do Make Say Think song doesn't have the title attributes but it is from Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn so I guess I could have included the whole album, but I picked one. Most of the the songs are mp3s but some are AAC, so if you don't use iTunes, get it. The zips are on megaupload as usual, so pardon the ads, but it's fast for uploading and downloading. So...

[zip] winter1 - (winter mix)

01 | Devendra Banhart - At the Hop
02 | Copeland - Coffee (Connect Sessions Acoustic)
03 | Trail of Dead - Counting Off the Days
04 | Sufjan Stevens - Dumb I Sound
05 | The Album Leaf - Over the Pond
06 | American Analog Set - The Postman (Remix)
07 | Ben Harper - The Drugs Don't Work (Live, Verve cover)
08 | Red House Painters - Trailways
09 | The Shins - The Past and the Pending
10 | Lewis and Clarke - Bare Bones and Branches
11 | Denison Witmer - Chestnut Hill
12 | Coldplay - Careful Where You Stand
13 | Elliott - Believe
14 | Explosions in the Sky - Your Hand in Min (w/Strings)
15 | Death Cab for Cutie - Passenger Seat
16 | Iron and Wine - Communion Cups and Someone's Coat

[zip] winter2 - winter, obviously: snow, ice, winter

01 | Stars - What the Snowman Learned About Love (Remix)
02 | Anathallo - Snowman
03 | Pedro the Lion - The Longest Winter
04 | Bob Dylan - Winterlude
05 | Kerith Ravine - A Lament for the Snowtunnel
06 | Belle and Sebastian - Winter Wooksie
07 | Aireline - Winter Song
08 | Damien Rice - Eskimo
09 | Doves - Snowden
10 | Modest Mouse - Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice On Ice, Alright
11 | Eisley - The Winter Song
12 | Foxhole - A Lion in Winter / Long Live the King
13 | Havalina Rail Co. - Winter
14 | The Mountain Goats - Snow Owl
15 | Clap Your Hands - In This Home on Ice
16 | Elliott Smith - Angel in the Snow

[zip] winter3 - winter, instrumental

01 | Explosions in the Sky - Snow and Lights
02 | Kinski - The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia
03 | Unwed Sailor - Snowcaps
04 | Mono - Lost Snow
05 | Do Make Say Think - Outer Inner and Secret
06 | Pelican - Last Day of Winter


rip ibl

Earlier last month, Imaginary Baseball League called it quits. The good news is they now have their 3 releases posted for download on their site. This is yet another band that should have made it big but never did. They have such a commanding presence in their songs that rings with talent and (should have been) success. I found them about two years ago in a links section of some other band's website that I had stumbled upon through yet another links section. But right now you are probably asking yourself a more important question like, "Why don't I know this band if he's talking about them like I should." Consider yourself introduced. Beautifully crafty songs, catchy upbeat ones, and quieter others, just listen for yourself. For the longest time, I listened to the 4 songs they had posted for download off their newest album, Revive, and really wished I could motivate myself to buy the cd, but I never did. I guess good things come to those who wait. "Fat Boys are not Athletes" and "Statistics" are two of my favorites. Download away ...

-- mp3s (Revive is a zip) of all IBL's material @ IBL's website


my favorite ep ever

Anathallo's Holiday at the Sea EP is probably my favorite EP ever. It is seriously verging upon the best 18 minutes of music ... ever. I took the picture I posted at Purpledoor 2004. At this year's festival they played a cover of The Book's "Smell Like Content." I think they are about the only only band ever pull off a Books cover. They can't even play the song I'm posting live because there are parts that are too high. Matt(?) had not fully become a man when they recorded it. Keep your heads up ... they have a split with Javelins that came out November 18 and only 300 were pressed. If you see one, get your hands on it.

[mp3] Anathallo - Don't Kid Yourself, You Need A Physician

[mp3] Javelins - I Was Raised As A Polar Bear

[mp3] The Books - Smells Like Content

-- more mp3s @ Anathallo's Purevolume

I started this post last night and didn't get around to publishing it today. I'll try to keep the entries coming this week ... but it's the two weeks before finals - then home!


home, turkey, shows

I'm home in York for the long Thanksgiving weekend and I didn't think I'd get to update ... but I'm forcing myself. I went to see a local favorite, Kingsfoil, at a local coffee favorite, Sparky and Clarks. This duo (+2 sometimes) is really something to talk about. I'm talking good in just general terms of all there is to listen to out there, not just local terms. Definitely listen to the songs they have on their Purevolume page (and fall in love with their sound).

-- mp3s @ Kingsfoil's Purevolume

Ryan Asher opened for Kingsfoil and I must say I was impressed. He is an excellent guitar player, has a voice with both presence and warmth, and played memorable songs, both his own and covers (ala Coldplay, Radiohead... which seem cliche but he pulled them off extremely well). He was giving out the last couple of his EP's in exchange for signing up for his mailing list since he's anxiously awaiting the finishing and release of his forthcoming album. I have yet to listen to the EP, but I'm sure it's good. I'm going to post a zip; I hope you appreciate the publicity, Ryan.

[zip] Ryan Asher - Conscious Universe

The record I am listening to at the moment is The Old Canes - Early Morning Hymns. I downloaded the two songs they have on their site almost immediately after hearing about the Appleseed Cast sideproject. I fell in love with "Face It" and "Taxi on Vermont," but I couldn't find the cd anywhere and I wasn't so desperate as to order it online. Finally on a trip to Soundgarden in Baltimore, I happened upon it. Amazing cd ... highly recommended.

[mp3] The Old Canes - Face It

[mp3] The Old Canes - Taxi on Vermont


eits... and r2

Explosions in the Sky everyone should already know. Everything they have put out is amazing and if you can't just jump right into these sprawling post-rock symphonies often verging on 10 minutes try the Friday Night Lights soundtrack which is a little is another band that more accessible and largely original music they composed strictly for the movie. Their most recent release has been The Rescue EP, a part of the Travels in Constants EP series on Temporary Residence. The EP was only available to subscribers to the series and EITS took a limited amount on their European tour to sell. So obviously eBay is an option for obtaining an actual copy but that might get pretty expensive. EITS has said on their website that since The Rescue was such a limited release, it's fine with them if you want to download it. So I uploaded it to the same place I used for the bss. It's pretty fast, I like it, and I think it's going to be what I use whenever I upload anything to link in this blog. Pardon the ads; that is what's paying for your ability to download.

[zip] Explosions in the Sky - The Rescue

Also, to steal from Sixeyes, I really like the stuff he posted by The Vertical Struts. I'm not exactly sure if there is some unwritten blog etiquette stating that it is an absolutely indignity to step on someone else's blog-turf; I'm going to try and see if I don't get smitten or anything. Anyway, it has kind of the same vibe/idea (being a guitar/drum two-piece) as the Black Keys, but a little more modern and accessible I think - less bluesy, a little more straight up rock and roll.

[mp3] The Vertical Struts - Stab, Stab, Stab

[mp3] The Vertical Struts - Girlfriend Boyfriend

[mp3] The Vertical Struts - Sh!

And by the way, R2D2 is a complete jerk. I was watching Revenge of the Sith last night and I realized it. C3PO's memory gets wiped but not R2. He knows Darth Vader is Luke's paternal figure and he never tells him! What an ass!


i hate pitchfork

Pitchfork gave Sun Kil Moon Tiny Cities a 3.0. I was enraged when I saw this. People like those damn writers are exactly what is wrong with indie right now. They think their taste in music is absolute and if they says it sucks than it's truly terrible and vice versa. Fuck Pitchfork, Mark Kozelek is an amazing musician that crafts both his own and others songs into subtle, hushed, beautiful soundscapes.

Pitchfork Review of Tiny Cities

[mp3] Sun Kil Moon - Ocean Breathes Salty

more collectivism

James McAlister (middle) has been busy with things other than Ester Drang lately. He's been on tour with Sufjan Stevens (right) for quite a while as the percussion section of the Illinoisemakers. He also played drums on Denison Witmer's (left) cd Are You a Dreamer? released this summer on Militia Group. To further the connections both Denison and Ester Drang have made numerous releases on Burnt Toast Vinyl out of Phili, which happens to be an amazing label run by an amazing guy, Scott Hatch. Technically McAlister is in Ester Drang who I thought was all but dead for quite a while after not really updating their website. I was going to be sad if Pleasure Themes and Get Rich Schemes was their last release I heard in a while. I bought the Circle of Birds ep over the summer and that held me over for a bit since Ester Drang contributed largely to that along with Unwed Sailor, David Bazan, and others . But Ester Drang is alive and well and announced at the begining of October that they will release their new album, Rocinate, January 24 on their most recent home - Jade Tree. That's so long to wait for more Ester Drang. Come Back Alive is the first track off the forthcoming cd and Repeating the Procedure is song off one of my favorite albums ever, Goldenwest, but the version I have posted is slightly different than the album version and is off of a 7" split with Antenna Lodge.

[mp3] Ester Drang - Come Back Alive

[mp3] Ester Drang - Repeating the Procedure

[mp3] Denison Witmer - The 80's

[mp3] Denison Witmer - California Brown and Blue

[mp3] Sufjan Stevens - Casmir Pulaski Day

[mp3] Circle of Birds - Old Ironsides


we hate your hate

Brendan Caming, Kevin Drew, Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Andres Whiteman, Jason Collett, David Newfeld, Feist, Emily Haines, James Shaw, Evan Cranley, Amy Millan, Ohad Berchetrit, Martin Davis Kinack, Jo-ann Goldsmith, Torquil Campbell, John Crossingham + guests Julie Penner, Jason Tait, K-OS, and Murray Lightburn. If you and roughly 20 of your closest friends got together and made some music, no matter how talented you are, I'm sure it wouldn't even compare to Broken Social Scene. Of course, if you consider yourself at all indie you already know and love BSS. I just felt like putting a song or two up since I've been on quite a BSS kick for a while. First, I love the version of Major Label Debut off the ep that came with the new album [mld (fast)] and second is a song off of Beehives which is a b-sides collection of some sort. I swear that nearly half of the people that have ever contributed to any Arts & Crafts release are on the new BSS in some form...

[mp3] Broken Social Scene - MLD (Fast)

[mp3] Broken Social Scene - Backyards


indie and pop are getting along today

I had seen some plugs on a few different blogs for Voxtrot, but didn't pay too much attention to them since I usually find most indie pop thrown at me just too infectious or boring for repeated listens. This is different; way different. A friend told me to find the EP my first listen consisted of 3 consecutive listens. I cannot wait for an album.

[mp3] Voxtrot - The Start of Something

I'm not the first one to rave about Suburban Kids with Biblical Names, but it was just yesterday that I decided that I should probably at least hear them frist before writing them off. I was pleased with my decision. All the songs of both EP's are catchy without verging on obnoxious and the sound isn't anything all that new, but it's a little unique/diferent ... you'll just have to hear it. Hopefully whoever's server I found this on doesn't mind me linking to it although I have 0 readers at the moment ...

[mp3] Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - Teenage Poetry