Friday, July 17, 2009

Today's post is brought to you by the letter "B".

ut seriously, has anyone noticed how many fantastic bands have monikers beginning with the letter "B"? Beastie Boys, Belle and Sebastian, Bad Brains, Black Kids, Blood Brothers, Bad Religion, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Badly Drawn Boy, Bright Eyes, Beta Band, Bon Iver, Black Francis, Broken Social Scene, Bush, Built to Spill, Blur, The Blow, The Builders and The Butchers.
Who, by the by, are playing Larimer Lounge this Tuesday. The Builders and The Butchers, that is. I don't think all those other bands would fit.
Anyways, if you aren't too busy to come get your face rocked off and maybe even play a little tambourine, you should swing by.
In the meantime, ponder this: Second in line doesn't always mean second-best.
The Builders and The Butchers

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Portland Cello Project

I don’t think playing in the orchestra has ever been the cool thing to do. I know this because I played the violin in the fifth grade, and no one thought me cool for it. Neither has the string thing been a terribly stand-out pursuit; I’d go so far as to say that it’s the always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride of dance and musical theatre—always supporting but never the star. So it makes sense that the minority cellos would have a want for their own gig. Enter the Portland Cello Project. This self-described independent orchestra, a group of eight to twelve rockstar cellists, performs everything from Outkast’s “Hey Ya” and Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” to their own, lyrical collaborations with Portland locals Laura Gibson and The Builders and The Butchers. This time singer-songwriters Thao Nguyen and Justin Power teamed with the cello crew for PCP’s June release of The Thao & Justin Power Sessions. Album notables include “Beat (Health, Life and Fire)” and “Tallymarks”—both made lovely by Nguyen’s sweetly splintered vocals. My only regret is that the Nintendo theme song, certainly on the Portland Cello rep, isn’t on the album. Fifth grade or not, playing the Nintendo theme song on the cello is a very cool thing to do.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MTV Dinner

My box of heat-and-eat vegetable curry came with a cd. Yes, my navratan korma came with accompaniment. A quick-cook dinner and music? I have to admit that that’s a selling point, even if we are talking traditional Indian music with wood flutes and hand drums. It’s true that the difecta of music and food, used as it was in this case for consumerism, is one that works on me. In part, it’s the cereal box effect: I will buy that because I will get a prize. But it’s also that I will buy this because I want the twinkling of chimes and reed instruments to make this curry food packet taste better. It’s something Chef Boyardee and Betty Crocker could learn from; after all, I had purchased an Indian equivalent of the boxed meal. In this vein, here’s a list of nonsensical pairings—read, nothing new here—but it is a short list of the more humorous convenience meals and their partner albums.

Salisbury Hamburger Helper and the Decemberists’ The Crane Wife
It seems a stretch I know, but to be fair, this entire post is a stretch. A quick search on the world’s most favored and simultaneously misguided search engine shows that hamburger dishes are popular in Japan. In fact, they date back to the Meiji period, which is a detail that brims with Asian authenticity and wiki-accuracy. And The Crane Wife? The same site explains this more obvious connection to a Japanese folktale.

Tuna Noodle Casserole Tuna Helper and Gregory Alan Isakov’s That Sea, The Gambler
Sing about the sea, eat the chicken of the sea. All is well. What’s more, eating anything with “tuna” and “helper” in the name is going to be a gamble, I don’t care how reassuring that gloved, four-fingered “helping hand” mascot claims to be.

SpaghettiOs and Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Both so silly. Both could be better! One comes in a can and one feels quite canned, but both are still so fun! And while I’m not entirely sure where the band’s name comes from, it seems to befit a meal with circular pasta, sodium-y tomato soup, and the occasional sliced frank. Hurray for the “underdog” of the canned meal!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nerd Bird Field Trip: Westword Music Showcase

That's right, kiddos, the Nerd Birds are flying the coop! We're headed off to Westword Music Showcase, there to revel in the wonders of lots and lots and lots of cheap music. You can follow the debauchery on Twitter:

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Raincoats, a Post-Punk Masterpiece

Dear Jesus, why haven’t you listened to the debut album by the Raincoats??? It’s out of print, you say? It’s full of jarring vocals and equally jarring electric violins, you say? Well, I’m just hearing a bunch of excuses for passing up on one of the most underappreciated post-punk albums of the 70’s.

The Raincoats self-titled is full of fantastic vocal arrangements and the kind of ire and derision that apparently only the British were capable of in the late ‘70’s. Tune in for the fantastic, gender bending cover of the Kinks classic “Lola” and stick around for the anthemic blasts of “No Side to Fall In”, “Fairytale in the Supermarket” and “No Looking”. There are few songs that capture the joy and confusion of falling for someone quite like “In Love”. The fact that is in fact out of print (despite a reissue back in 2006) is really a crime against music lovers. The Raincoats are still touring and put out new music well into the 90’s, but I’ve never heard anything that quite matched the exuberance of this first release. Seriously, it’s out there so check it out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rock-a-bye Lullaby

Here's a top ten, short and listy, of the best songs to fall asleep to.

1. "Wildfires," The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, Josh Ritter. Most of Ritter's music reminds of saloon-style piano and whiskeyed lyrics, but "Wildfires" does stand as a subtle hush to the album's close.

2. "Green Gloves," Boxer, The National. Representing the best of rainy day sets, this one has great cadence balanced by the deepness of Matt Berninger's vocals, who let's not forget, is himself dreamy.

3. "Postures Bent," Beasts of Seasons, Laura Gibson. Gentle strumming and slightly crooked vocals make this a believable lullaby. Next thing we know Gibson will swaddle us and place a crown of daisies on our sweet little heads.

4. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," Volume One, She & Him. Traditional? Yes. But any of this crew will tell you that Zooey Deschanel's version is well placed, well done, and sure to calm even the chirpiest of nerd birds into a restful mood.

5. "On Ho!," Noble Beast, Andrew Bird. No whistling or vocals in this one, just pure Suzuki method greatness. What's more, Bird's strong strides on the violin are known to transmit sleep spells.

6. "Only Four Seasons," You Can Tell Georgia, Joe Purdy. Purdy's melodic quality with piano accompaniment will make you wish there were more than four seasons either to sleep or to be sad--Purdy's got the blues.

7. "My Dear Acquaintance," My Dear Acquaintance, Regina Spektor. Sure it's a New Year's song, but I rarely stay awake for the ball drop anyway. Thanks to Regina Spektor, you won't either.

8. "Oscar Wilde (Acoustic)," Ordinary Riches, Company of Thieves. A contrast to the album's earlier and much zippier track, this one allows frontwoman Genevieve Schatz's voice to quietly break through the Oscar Wilde confrontation. Sounds like a fun dream.

9. "Marry Song," Cease to Begin, Band of Horses. This song just begs for a slow dance, or in this case, a slow slumber.

10. "Ignorant Boy," Citadel Band, Loney, Dear. You'll never feel more formally hummed to. Plus, Loney, Dear (aka Emil Svanangen) is from Sweden, and this fact has nothing to do with the degree to which the song makes us sleepy. Nevertheless, sweet dreams from Stockholm.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Record Store Day is tomorrow!

Record Store Day is an annual international celebration of independent record retailers. This year's festivities will take place April 18th at hundeds of stores across the country and dozens of stores in Colorado. Your favorite local record slingers will also be offering discounts, giveaways, DJ sets, in-store performances, and exclusive Record Store Day CD/DVD/Vinyl releases. It's a record store-lover's carnival. For an inside scoop on the action in D-Town, check out our quick run-down below:

Independent Records Denver
Live performances:
11am - DB & The Catastrophe
12pm - The Repercussions
1pm - Speakeasy Tiger
2pm - Heart Start Hero
3pm - Drew Danburry w/Desert Noises
4pm - Like Pianos Crashing
5pm - Mr. Verbal
6pm - Icarus Thump
7pm - Gloam
8pm - Improv

KTCL will be broadcasting live from the store 12-2 pm and Indie 101.5 will there from 6-8 pm.

The best part: Free food. Delicious Mezcal goodies, gelato samples and more.

Twist and Shout

20% off all used CDs, LPs and DVDs! Twist has invited a bunch of local organizations and business, like The Shoppe, Swallow Hill, The Tattered Cover, Denver Film Society, Dumb Friends League, Chipotle and others to join the party. KGNU, KUVO, Radio 1190, DJ A-What, and guest DJs from Meese will be spinning records throughout the day. Oh yeah, and Great Divide Brewery donated a keg.

Wax Trax

Well, I have no idea what Wax Trax is doing, because they don't have anything posted on their site and I am too lazy to call them. You should stop by and see for yourself.

Bart's CD Cellar (Boulder)
Bart's will be holding a sidewalk sale (a very wet and snowy one, I assume) with bargains like 2 for $4.18 CDs and buy 2 get 1 free used CDs and vinyl. They will also be having live performances:

1:00pm -
Pete Wernick & Flexigrass
2:00pm -
Alice Peacock
3:00pm -
Giddyup Kitty
4:00pm -
Radical Knitting Circle
5:00pm -
The Culhanes
6:00pm -
DJ Jens Irish

Take 10% off any $10+ purchase during record store day. Local rapper Julox will be performing at the Aurora store and both Aurora and Littleton will be giving out free tea. Yes, tea.

Don't miss out.