Seeing Red!

My wireless router has not been kind to me over the past few days. Not kind at all. In between my immortal battle with the router known as Satan, I had to go get a “day job.” Yep, now I’ll be serving at this sweet restaurant. If you’re in the area – come in and buy lots of expensive items and tip me. Thank you.

Back to business.

Regina Spektor is terrific at making music. She is also a Red aka Russian (which acts as an odd turn on). Quite simply put, she is a Bronx girl by way of Moscow who writes songs for the piano, voice, drum stick, and guitar (sort of). She draws her influences from the classics. Classics that range from Mozart and Chopin to The Beatles and Tom Waits. She has a new album, Begin to Hope, that is due out June 13. So far, I am loving the songs that I have heard off the new record. It’s the type of addicting music that seems so simple to create but gets more and more complicated with each listen. I’m not lying when I say this new CD is surreal. If smooth vocal melodies were a weapon, you can more than assume Spektor would be the best assassin out there.

[MP3] Regina SpektorFidelity
[MP3] Regina SpektorBetter
[MP3] Regina SpektorOn the Radio

I’m not sure how many of you know about Cincinnati’s professional sports history, or lack-thereof, but over the past year our teams have been doing pretty damn awesome. The Bengals were considered the breakout team and a true threat, so Dodge and all of you Indy bastards better watch out. And don’t even get me started about Pittsburgh. Hey, wait. What about the Reds? Second in the division!? Starting pitchers with above .500 records?! Color me happy.

As if that wasn’t enough red happiness for you, today marks the day that the (future) American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton. In short, Barton is considered one of America’s greatest heroines — a true patriot and philanthropist who, when she saw a practical need, gave every ounce of her strength to address it. She remains the most decorated woman in American history. I think she deserved it. So, I think we deserve some red songs!

[MP3] David PoeLove Is Red
[MP3] ChevelleThe Red
[MP3] Sufjan StevensRedford (For Yia-Yia and Pappou)
[MP3] UB40Red Red Wine
[MP3] Unwritten LawSeein’ Red
[MP3] Devendra BanhartThe Good Red Road
[MP3] Arctic MonkeysRed Light Indicate Doors Are Secure
[MP3] The White StripesRed Rain
[MP3] LovedrugIn Red
[MP3] Third Eye BlindThe Red Summer Sun
[MP3] The StrokesRed Light
[MP3] Chad VanGaalenRed Blood

Do something red!
Catch Regina playing her piano in Europe or buy one of her albums.
See the Reds play at home or vote to make a Red an All-Star.
Give to the American Red Cross or volunteer your time.

SHAMELESS: Yes…I’m recycling this post for two reasons: 1. It’s really good music worthy of a repost, and 2. I’m lazy and in the middle of a kid-life crisis (somebody shoot me for not only punning that, but for devaluing myself to such a critical extent)

Here’s one that Pitchfork missed: Office

I don’t know if any of you hipsters saw Office at SXSW, but you should have. While most of you punkasses were trying to squeeze your way into one of about 539 Tapes ‘n Tapes performances, a select few decided to separate themselves, at least once, from the Pitchfork-induced hysteria (and rightfully so) to check out this gem from Chicago. Don’t get me wrong, I love TnT just as much as anyone. The point here is that while many people were simply adhering to their own laminated copies of the bands’ schedules that PF wanted them to see, an air of brilliance was slowly but confidently wafting over from across the street.

If you did happen to catch them at the Dirty Dog (a la Tripwire), you were probably impressed enough to buy their CD, Q & A, which came out last year. I wish I had discovered this album then…it probably would have made my year end list, but such is the dilemma of many DIY-type bands. So for some catchy new-wave type pop in the vein of some reaaalllyy gooooooood shit, check out these songs:

[MP3] OfficeThe Big Bang Jump!
[MP3] OfficeDominos
[MP3] OfficeQ & A

You can find more from Office here!
Check out more info and an interview over at Blogcritics!

Posted By Connor at

FILED: Office

I was lucky enough to catch a Modest Mouse show in Chicago last year that featured the opening act of Mason Jennings. It was probably the best show that I’ve seen Modest Mouse play to date and having Jennings open up the night was the perfect precursor.

About 6 months ago the frontman of Modest Mouse, Isaac Brock, started his own record label under the supervision of Epic Records. Naming his label Glacial Pace, the first act that he signed was Mason Jennings. Straight from the lisp slinging mouth of Brock:

I’m going to answer some simple questions that I am sure are going to come up about my initial interest in Mason Jennings. How do I know they’re going to come up? It already did, I was given a list of questions and I’ll do my damndest to relay the information without sounding like a guy answering a list of questions.

Like most scenarios which involve hearing a band for the first time, I heard about Mason in February 2005 from someone whose taste I trust and was passionate about his music and excited enough to play it for other people in hopes that they’d share the excitement with them. In this case I heard it from Naheed Simjee, who currently co-runs Glacial Pace with me. She had described Mason’s music to me as best as possible, but descriptions aren’t easy and fall short when it comes to music (this is one of the reasons I’ve long since abandoned reading reviews to make decisions on buying records). After a few attempts to find, and I apologize but I’m shit when it comes to remembering titles, but it was the one that has the songs “Nothing” and “Godless” on it, a record that she felt was the definitive Mason Jennings c.d. We downloaded some of the songs, and before I get any shit for it, don’t worry, I paid for the songs I downloaded. I was completely blown away with Mason’s unashamed and incredibly sincere voice and lyrics. I can be a real shit head critic when it comes to music so I have to tell you how nice it felt to instantly want to compliment instead of criticize the music. Eventually I bought all his albums and shortly after I was on tour with Modest Mouse and decided while on the road that I would ask Mason and his band to play some of the tour with us. Despite the lack of advance notice, they were able to meet up for some shows. At about the same time I was touring with Mason, some Epic folks were speaking with me about starting my own label. It’s pretty easy to fill in the blanks of the steps between being granted the label and signing an artist whose music I love, so I’ll spare you the boring details.

Fast forward to September 2005. I just heard some of the new songs Mason is recording in Minnesota for Glacial Pace and am thinking that even if this was the only thing that Glacial Pace released, how I am just so goddamned proud to play a part in the release of this record. I hope that every time a record comes out on Glacial Pace I feel this good about it.

No speculations, no expectations

isaaC brocK

[MP3] Mason JenningsIf You Need A Reason
[MP3] Mason JenningsJesus Are You Real (This song is brilliant.)

Jennings’ major label jump has been extremely successful. His music hasn’t been overproduced and sounds just as real and intimate as his past works. Brock’s ear for good music has a 2/2 track record so far, seeing how he was also responsible for getting breakout band Wolf Parade signed to Sub Pop.

Wanna be an awesome/well respected musical act? Make sure to open for Modest Mouse at some point – Jennings and Wolf Parade did. C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it!

There are a lot of albums releasing now and/or soon that I am pretty stoked about. This won’t be the last post you’ll see about new albums by some of my favorite artists. Now, I know “with great power comes great responsibility!” The main responsibility of a blog is to get the new music/bands out there, right? Every now and again I like posting about some of the established artists I (thoroughly) enjoy, especially when they have new material.

I like The Format a lot. They’ve had a ton of time between a debut LP and their sophomore release, Dog Problems. From what I’ve heard they’ve become pretty keen on the idea of adding more instruments and vocals to their songs. There isn’t a trumpet anywhere to be found on Interventions & Lullabies, but now they’re making appearances all over the album. Along with flutes, acordions, violins, and xylophones. Frankly, I’m just fine with that. Also, pay attention to all the backing vocals and emphasis on piano melodies (all new to The Format sound).

[MP3] The FormatTime Bomb
[MP3] The FormatDog Problems

Does “Time Bomb” have a sort of Queen feel at all?! The beginning had me thinking of the hierarchy of vocal melodies. If you like these two tracks or the acoustic ones, be sure to head over here where you can get the album right now! You shoudl feel special since it’s not slated for release until July 11. I did, when I downloaded it.

There are just so many covers out there.. I have to post a few of them today. Plus it’s been raining for the past week, which just screams “post covers Nathaniel!” in this demonic yet sexy voice. Who knew that Kentucky had a monsoon season? Regardless, I’m sensing a theme of: solo artist covering amazing bands.

[MP3] Ray LaMontageCrazy
We all know that the Gnarls Barkley song is awesome, but so is this cover. I like Ray so much that he could probably have just hummed the words to this song and I would’ve loved it. We’ve posted this song once before a month or so back, and I still can’t get enough of one of my favorite artists going “crazy”. (No pun?!)

[MP3] Ben FoldsShe Don’t Use Jelly
This is quite simply regarded as the first “official hit” for The Flaming Lips. Whether you agree or not, this is probably one of the best songs they’ve ever made. Sure, The Lips’ catalogue of great music is rather extensive but this song was amazing the first time I heard it and remains just as amazing today. Ben Folds does a damn good job on this one.

[MP3] Mark KozelekSpace Travel Is Boring
Not many covers of Modest Mouse floating around, so Kozelek (aka Sun Kil Moon) decided to make an entire album full of them. There are some gems and there are some he flat out butchers, this is one of the gems. No doubt. I would love to see someone like Devendra Banhart cover Modest Mouse.

Hey. The sun is coming out! See, posting covers can control the weather!