It was yesterday evening that my 8 year-old brother and I went to the movies to see Over The Hedge starring a star studded voice cast. For those of you that think Steve Carell can’t be funny as a computer generated squirrel with A.D.D., you’re completely wrong. I still haven’t decided if it’s worse to “LOL” at an AIM conversation or a computer generated movie. Needless to say, I laughed a lot during that flick.

I’m not here to rant about how good of a movie it is but, rather, how good the music is! Ben Folds has one of those voices that is automatically recognizable. Within the first 20 minutes of the movie a song started to play that was Ben Folds and I kind of grinned and was like, “Hey, its Ben Folds!” Then another Ben Folds song was used. And another. AND ANOTHER.

Pretty soon there were four Ben Folds songs at separate times in the movie, all of which I had never heard before (save for one). Going into the movie I had no idea that Folds had contributed five unreleased tracks to the official soundtrack – all of which are perfectly written for the current scenes and themes in the movie. Three new songs, one Clash cover, and a rewrite to “Rockin’ The Suburbs.” A testament to his great songwriting abilities? A favor guaranteed to friend and Over The Hedge voice actor William Shatner? Folds’ love for computer generated movies? Although I say “yes” to all of the above.. We may never really know the answer, but what I do know is that these songs are pretty damn good. Check out “Still (Reprise)” especially – it’s really good.

[MP3] Ben FoldsFamily Of Me
[MP3] Ben FoldsHeist
[MP3] Ben FoldsStill
[MP3] Ben FoldsLost In The Supermarket (The Clash Cover)
[MP3] Ben FoldsStill (Reprise)
[MP3] Ben FoldsRockin’ The Suburbs (Over The Hedge Version)

He did a cool blog entry on his MySpace talking about the production and energy that went into working on a major motion picture soundtrack. Going to see Hedge is not a bad idea – at all. Better yet, for those without a little sibling/child or those that can’t stomach a kiddy flick… BUY the soundtrack! I’m just glad they didn’t ask Avril to do the soundtrack.

One of the most anticipated releases of the year (at least for me) came out today: Tunng‘s Comments Of The Inner Chorus, a crazy, neo-folk/electronica mish mash that sounds like the result of a Four Tet and Elliott Smith collab. Funny, too, because as with FT, Tunng also uses a mix of real, acoustic instruments and electronic blips and effects…and as with ES, they took the layered vocals approach…ok, ok, you get my drift.

Tunng had a spot of brilliance, both musically and entrepreneurially, as they decided to release a cover of the more-popular-than-jesus Bloc Party as a single (see below). What a perfect P.R. move for a band that few had heard of up until then. Anyway, take a listen to a few of these tracks taken from today’s release:

[MP3] TunngJenny Again (for AL)
[MP3] TunngThe Wind Up Bird

Grab more Sung Tongs…err…Tunng songs over at the Hype Machine
Get off your asses and buy this record!
Stylus gave it a B+

Bonus MP3 #1:

[MP3] TunngThe Pioneers (Bloc Party Cover) (great cover)

Bonus MP3 #2:

[MP3] The Arcade FireMaps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs Cover)
Didn’t even know this existed until yesterday, figured maybe a few of you hipsters might be outta the loop too. I don’t really know how I feel about the song yet though…don’t be expecting Funeral, that’s for sure.

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!