back again

I’m so sorry to the five or so of you that haven’t given up checking on my blog every week. I’ve dropped the ball, but I’m picking it up and I’m ready to play kickball with you and all the neighborhood kids, so make sure you invite them. As much as I’d be up for it everyday, I think I’ll only dust off the bases once a week or so, maybe twice. Along with the weekly frequency I’m promising you right now, I’ll also promise that posts (or kickball games, if you are still running with that) will be of substance and include 3 or so bands/songs/news items/albums/whatever I feel like talking about. So see you around … On with the post.

Wincing The Night Away leaked about 2 weeks ago. That’s the new Shins album for those of you that think you’re cool enough to not keep track of those sort of things. But everyone is desperately in love with The Shins and has no reason for you to not have new album within your clutches, actually due from Sub Pop January 23. I listened to this record every waking minute for the entire week after I got it, and promptly got extremely sick of it. I actually started telling myself it was so bad that it was probably something thrown together just to leak to the material hungry fans and then make fun of those fans when they thought their new record was so great. I mean face it, The Shins take forever to release new material. But, then I gave the record a rest and forgot all that nonsense and it is great, fantastic, phenomenal, and amazing beyond belief again. I was debating on whether to share the first or second song with you, since they are both so good, and I really can’t think of a better way to start the record than with those two songs … well, “Austrailia” won out against “Sleeping Lessons” and there you have it.

[mp3] The Shins - Australia

Yo La Tengo wants to be your favorite band ever. I feel like I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass sounds loosely reminiscent of older material from the ranks of Belle & Sebastian, Broken Social Scene, The Magnetic Fields, and of course Yo La Tengo themselves. It’s no Summer Sun, and no Nuclear War EP (my introduction to YLT, which turned me off to them at first until I really figured them out), but it lays somewhere beautifully and gracefully balanced between their flat-out weird material and the spaced out days of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (my favorite YLT record). I just got the record this week after having some older YLT records heavy in my rotation and realizing the idiocy in my ways … so I tracked it down. Nothing has sunk in too much, and the 10+ minute bookends on either end of the album are a little bit of a turn-off, otherwise I really love the album. My favorite song so far has to be “Daphnia,” mostly because it reminds me of And Then Nothing… It’s not really characteristic of the rest of the album; sorry to those looking to find that song. Noting this fact to myself after I typed that and intended to upload “Daphnia,” here’s more representative “Beanbag Chair" instead. .

[mp3] Yo La Tengo - Beanbag Chair

It’s usually your instinct to ignore those friend requests on myspace that look like they are just lame bands employing some stupid scripts to increase their exposure and friends counts. I thought Glassacre was one of those bands, but damn was I wrong. They call new Australia-based web label Hidden Shoal Recordings home. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the other artists on Hidden Shoal but I’m sure I’ll be pleased when I get around to it. The songs they have on their myspace are atmospheric and spacey while still retaining enough of a pop element to catch your ear. I’m keeping an eye on them, you should too.

[link] Glassacre's Myspace

There was some blog buzz surrounding Tokyo Police Club maybe as far back as the spring. And since that buzz, their EP A Lesson In Crime, has sat very lonely in my itunes begging for a listen. Well I finally did a couple weeks ago, and I really enjoy it. I call it Bloc Party meets Ted Leo and that seems to work while not being too accurate whatsoever. See what you think.

[mp3] Tokyo Police Club - Citizens of Tomorrow

And as far as me and making music, there is new material coming. Where There Is Fire We Will Carry Gasoline is a little dormant, but the awesome remix of “Something About Maps” featuring samples from The Joseph Albers Experiment “4” is still up on the myspace. Neal and I have tentative plans to record an EP and do some brief touring this winter and hopefully that will pan out, but I am still saying tentative in front of plans. We did record something about a month ago … nothing formal, but something. We did a collaboration, improvisational piece with Brendan Sullivan under Neal’s temporary solo moniker of Windows, but it’s 45 minutes long. We might burn a bunch to CD-R’s sometime in the future, throw them in some creative home-made packaging, and sell them for a couple bucks. For now, you’ll just have to wait for me to have the motivation to take 2 minutes to make a clip of the piece and throw it on our myspace. There’s another up and coming project I just heard about. A good friend of mine, currently living in Southern California, has asked me if I would like to write some music to back a CD of his poetry. I have no idea what direction this is going, but I’ll keep you posted. I’m currently working on chopping up, sampling, and using a couple little songs Neal recorded himself in his Windows project. One of these finished products will most likely be the first thing you’ll here from me via the Where There Is Fire We Will Carry Gasoline myspace.