my radio show on now, playlist

July 22nd, 2008

cred: me

My radio show, “I once was Canadian”, starts now on 90.1FM KZSU (or listen online). It’s on KZSU from 3-5pm Pacific on Tuesdays.

Check out my playlist. I’m updating it in more-or-less real time.

links links links (and a couple videos)

July 22nd, 2008

Daytrotter posted their Bon Iver session yesterday. The version of “Lump Sum” is magnificent. “Flume” and “Re: Stacks” are really good. And I’m going to pretend that version of “Creature Fear” doesn’t exist.

Gorilla vs Bear posted one of my more favorite hip hop tracks in a while: “The Prayer” by Cleveland-based Kid Cudi. It’s off of a mixtape and the sample he raps over is from those sometimes Walmart-loving Seattlites Band of Horses.

In case you missed it, John Vanderslice posted a teaser video of recording from his next album a couple weeks ago:

The Bay Bridged announced the Rock Make Music and Craft Street Festival they’re organizing with Whizbang Fabrics and Best Bay Area indie band Tartufi. The same day as the last day of Outside Lands, this will be DIY where that is corporate and free where that is really expensive.

Anyone’s Guess posted this really funny video called “Everyday Normal Guy Rap Song”. Watch out! Explicit lyrics! (Audio NSFW.) It’s got some pretty quotable lines: “I’m pretty good at making spaghetti sauce, motherfucker!”

Did you know there was such a thing as the Bay Area Indie Festival? Hard Rock Chick pointed to an SF Weekly article that accuses the promoter, 3 Udders, for being a disservice to the local scene for still not having paid bands from last year’s festival. The promoter says the article is not fair, but admits that he hasn’t paid bands. I don’t know, I think if you’re not paying bands then you’re not exactly helping things. (Also, I find it funny that he accuses the writer of having “very little knowledge about how the music industry works” and then complains that the SF Weekly ran the article while he dilly-dallied on getting them more info. Here’s how the print publication industry works: deadlines.) The promoter also cites this rebuttal if you want a different biased opinion.

Slate has an interesting piece about Jay-Z weaponizing Oasis’ “Wonderwall” when he covered it at Glastonbury (which was a response to the fracas that ensued when Noam Gallagher said that Glastonbury was for guitar-based music.) It also dives into all the subtle and not-so-subtle things people are saying with cross-genre covers. Is Ben Gibbard being serious, like he says, when he covers Avril Lavine’s “Complicated”? Read on.

maus haus, 60 watt kid and andy tisdall @ el rio

July 21st, 2008

On Saturday afternoon, I saw Andy Tisdall’s CD release party with Maus Haus, 60 Watt Kid (myspace), and the Plagiarists (myspace) at El Rio.

60 Watt Kid

There’s something about afternoon shows, especially outdoor ones, like on the back patio of the El Rio. Especially summer afternoons. Put the same bands on the same bill in the afternoon and at night and the afternoon will just feel more relaxed, more communal. At least that’s how it feels to me.

I only caught a couple songs of the Plagiarists set. I liked what I heard but I didn’t really hear that much.

Next up was 60 Watt Kid (who apparently is about to become non-local). I last saw them–in fact, the only time so far–at SxSW. One one thing that I remember from that set was that they were crazy and that was my strongest reaction to this set as well.

While some songs were just slightly experimental pop, others had leadman Kevin popping or narrating a complex dream story in the middle of the audience (while, it should be noted, some audience members were intertwined doing interpretive dance/ yoga). One moment he was playing some heavily echoed keyboards and the next he was thrusting his fist into the air and screaming or on his knee and head on the ground.


Honestly, I didn’t get all of it.

Maus Haus

Maus Haus came up after setting up the small stage with their extensive collection of instruments. My recollection had at least four synths, electric piano, an omni chord, kaoss pad, baritone and alto saxophones, flute, and drums (and spare percussion).

Last time I saw them, their first show ever, I had the feeling the audience was “collectively experiencing something special” and I got a certain vibe this time as well, like we were witnessing something that ought to be bigger than what it was.

Overall, my sentiments were pretty similar to last time. I’m not sure why I like Maus Haus (as I don’t like some similar sounding bands or some of their influences) but I do. They put on an energetic set of their experimental pop tunes, each of which has a way of coming across as spontaneous and new, even when I know the band has played it before.

The main reason behind the show as Andy Tisdall’s CD release. He started out solo on guitar and banjo before four members of Maus Haus joined him on stage as his backing band. Tisdall’s songs and presentation didn’t do it for me and I decided to leave about halfway through his set.

john roderick tests song recognition software; hilarity ensues

July 20th, 2008

Here’s a funny video posted by the internet famous Merlin Mann testing out the Midomi iPhone application, which takes singing or humming and attempts to tell you what the song is. The test subject for the software is the Long Winters’ singer, songwriter and guitarist, John Roderick and the test song is the Long Winters’ own “Pushover”.

Midomi Test: Featuring John Roderick of The Long Winters from Merlin Mann on Vimeo.

Besides being internet famous and running some sites dealing with productivity, Mann also happens to be the Long Winters’ webmaster. As part of the fairly short-lived Merlin Mann show, he also put together a pretty entertaining interview with John Roderick which you can see here in four parts.

B*O*A*T, pope of yes and alright class @ the knockout

July 20th, 2008

Alright Class

On Tuesday, I saw B*O*A*T (myspace), Pope of Yes! and Alright Class (myspace) at the Knockout.

I heard a new Boat tune about baseball cards on Monday that I liked. I had liked their Songs You Might Not Like and played it on my radio show last year but the band had sort of fallen off my radar. After I heard the new catchyness, I went to check out their webpage to see if they were on tour–sure, enough, they were going to be at the Knockout the next day.

Arriving at the club at 10:30pm, the second of four bands was still setting up. They had also changed the order from what was published so that Boat was last. I had questions whether I’d make it through to see the band I came to see.

Alright Class is not a particularly flashy band, but I liked their music. They had a pretty interesting way of using melody, drone and rhythm. In those ways, I was reminded at times of American Analog Set, though you wouldn’t mistake the two.

There was a significant change-over period before Pope of Yes! came on. Their music was loopy and experimental and filled with many different instruments. On the whole, I found the music pretty intriguing. On the other hand, the set was also peppered with some heavy handed politics–probably not a surprise from a band whose name references the pontiff–that I didn’t care for.


With a thinned crowd and one o’clock rapidly approaching, Boat went on stage. Obviously a couple drinks, in the band launched into their brand of catchy garage pop. It was a fun set that was enjoyed by the remaining patrons. The night ended a few minutes shy of two with a clap-along with everyone from the floor on the stage with the band.

little jackie makes catchy retro soul (plus some)

July 19th, 2008

As you probably know I’m no stranger to retro soul sounds, so when Soul Sides wrote (twice) about Little Jackie–a group made of Imani Coppola as songwriter and Adam Pallin as producer–I paid attention.

What I found when I listened to some songs and eventually the album, the Stoop, was catchy melodies over some retro soul music–akin to some of the girl group production from the 60s but undeniably updated. There re also some hip hopish vocals and some other quirks to it. Though this is undoubtedly a mainstream release, it is far from being generic or stamped out by a hit factory. It’s got a lot of style to it.

In a way, the Stoop overall reminds me a Sean Kingston ditty you may remember from last year. Both have retro charms. And both are extremely catchy and fun, and are suitable for light summertime listening. It’s yet to be seen but I feel like the Stoop has more depth than the Kingston song and will stand up to more listens.

“One Love” has got some great production and melodies at every turn. The part that I find really intriguing is the vocals in the 3rd verse, where Imani doesn’t really sing (but isn’t quite rapping in a conventional sense either). They have a heavy swing and lots of style to them.

Little Jackie – One Love (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

For a few more days, you can stream the whole album at Spinner (update: you can still stream the album, but it’s been moved to here. You can pick the record up at insound.

the morning benders’ bedroom covers LP

July 17th, 2008

bedroom covers

As announced on the band’s blog, local pop wunderkinds the Morning Benders (myspace) are releasing an LP worth of cover called Bedroom Covers and appropriately recorded in a bedroom with one mic and often in one take with minimal overdubs.

In writing about the project, leadman Chris Chu says:

you’re always fighting a losing battle when you’re recording covers, because 99.99% of the time the cover isn’t going to be as good the original. well, for the record, let it be known that none of our covers are as good as the originals.

but then he adds:

disclaimer aside: if you want to hear some kids having a lot of fun playing some of their favorite songs ever, check these out.

The first few are being debuted on various blogs around the web, and here’s one of them. It’s a cover of a Talking Heads tune. Like good Talking Heads tunes, this song has both slightly jarring, angular rhythmic elements and melodic elements. I like how the Morning Benders version embraces both of these.

the Morning Benders – Pull Up the Roots (Talking Heads Cover) (mp3, buy the original)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Next Tuesday you’ll be able to download the whole LP from the Morning Benders’ website. In the meantime, here’s where you can find the blog-debuted ones that have been released so far:

  • Mother & Child Reunion (Paul Simon) (My Old Kentucky Blog)
  • He’s A Rebel (The Crystals) (3Hive)
  • Pull Up The Roots (Talking Heads) (right here! see above)
  • Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)
  • Lovefool (The Cardigans) (I am Fuel, You are Friends)
  • Marie (Randy Newman)
  • Temptation Inside Your Heart (Velvet Underground)

the morning benders again
the Morning Benders @ Virgin Megastore; credit: me

Also, Daytrotter just posted the Morning Benders session. It’s got a version of their “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love” cover (which they released previously), interesting versions of a couple of their songs (“Waiting for a War” with silky organ, for instance), and a new song called “Excuses” that I first heard at that Puma in-store.

Finally, the Benders are playing in town on Sunday (and they’ve got a whole tour, the dates of which you can find on their myspace page):

7/20 Morning Benders, Mumlers @ 111 Minna Gallery, 1pm, $20[1], a/a(?)

[1] This is the Good Magazine block party and it’s free if you get a subscription (which costs $20).

song obsession friday! (for the week ending july 18)

July 17th, 2008

Song obsessions are those songs that we listen to on repeat. I noticed that my obsessions are often a week long. I also thought that other people might have similar obsessions. I’ve collected a panel of a few like-minded individuals and gotten their “song obsessions of the week.” Quite often it’s easy to explain why the song is good; it’s much hard to explain why we’re obsessed. Maybe you’ll become obsessed with one of these.

Adrian (me):
BOAT – Topps (mp3) (buy)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’m already a sucker for a baseball song. With that and the crunchy keys and catchy melodies, I’ve had this song on repeat this week.

Blind Pilot – Oviedo (mp3) (buy)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’m obsessed with all of 3 Rounds and a Sound but it all started with the first track, “Oviedo.” It’s just easy going indie music.

Arms – Tiger Tamer (mp3) (buy at etunes)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I usually don’t play a new release more than twice on my show … there’s simply too much good stuff to feature! So when a song gets into three spin territory that’s also obsession territory, hence the selection of this tune by Brooklyn band Arms. Of special interest is the part where he wearily says “here we go” before the song breaks into another gallop.

on sale soon (07.17.08 edition)

July 17th, 2008

Posted every Thursday, On Sale Soon is a weekly series of the tickets going on sale that weekend.

Where to get tickets: The Independent, Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, Fillmore, Warfield, and other Livenation venues. Another Planet booked venues like Greek Theatre @ Berkeley, Palace of Fine Arts, etc. Bimbo’s.

On sale Friday July 18:
10/1 dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, B. Dolan @ Cafe du Nord

On sale Saturday July 19:
9/19 Henry Rollins @ Zellerbach Auditorium

On sale Sunday July 20:
8/21 David Olney & Sergio Webb, Buddy Zapata @ Slim’s

8/23 Garage A Trois @ The Independent

9/16 Toadies @ Slim’s
9/17 Stereophonics @ Great American
9/18 Tartufi, Built For The Sea, Low Red Land @ Slim’s
9/27 BLVD & MC Souleye, Random Rab, DJ James Christopher @ Slim’s
9/30 Sloan @ The Independent

10/3 Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, Belphegor, The Absence @ Slim’s
10/6, 10/7 The Black Lips, Grand Ole Party @ Great American
10/15 Jolie Holland @ Bimbo’s
10/28 The Damned @ Slim’s

11/9 Glen Phillips, Jonathan Brooke @ Slim’s

Double check all information as venues and promoters often change on-sale times and days up until the last minute.

radio show yesterday, playlist

July 16th, 2008

cred: me

I did my radio show, “I once was Canadian”, yesterday. It’s on KZSU from 3-5pm Pacific on Tuesdays.

Check out my playlist. I felt like it was a pretty good show. I enjoyed doing the oldies/ soul sets particularly. It’d been a few weeks since I did any of that stuff.