POP your heart out.

James Rabbit-Wardrobe

Like you hear explosive, hyper but catchy war-like dancy hip pop/rock about clothes every day, this is a fresh injection of insanity into your otherwise boring routine of read and download, listen and disregard or love. James Rabbit is just the sort of over active, over working, over clever (but in a really good way!) artist you need to start off the week. The bounce and insistence of those instruments and drums, the hipster friendly crisp whtie leather jacket almost visible through the layering echos of superspeed, almost maniac chanting of the importance of the right wardrobe...the hook of the keyboard and guitars, the effects dancing underneath, flickering and adding to the happytastic, hypertastic, fashiontastic fireworks and booms of the most fun, colorful variety. And, don't forget! If you like what you hear, go to his blog where you can still email him for a free copy of the awesome record.

It's a wonderful way to kick off a week...and actually it is the dreaded finals week, which means that you might have to bear with a little time off while I try not to smash my head against the textbook...sigh.

Book 5: American Gods-Neil Gaiman
Verdict: Read read read!

Neil Gaiman has to be another one of those writers I keep hearing about and finally got to check out. He blends everything I adore--like Stephen King meets Terry Pratchett meets Chuck Palahniuk meets mythology, which I always found rather interesting but not interesting enough to actually look into. The non-traditional horror-fantasy novel is of the battle of the Gods, the Gods brought overseas and abandoned in America, and the Gods of modern day--the TV, the Internet, the car, fearful of being replaced, and at the center of it...some ex-prisoner named Shadow with some mysterious God type friends.

I finished this book a couple of days ago and just haven't go taround to blogging it, and as a result I've forgotten mostly what happened in it except that it had great writing and a great story. It's not that it's a forgettable book--it's just that I"m a forgettable person. I can tell you, though, that the characters--Gods, humans, and dead humans alike--are personalized and jumping alive wtih witty dialogues and wonderful plot points. Plenty of fantasy worlds to mull over, dark and realistic, rich and detailed descriptions without the "classic" boring fantasy images of trees and pebbles on the ground, and a great read. I have a feeling that Neil Gaiman will be added on to my lists of favorite authors very soon.

Of Montreal @ Epicentre, San Diego--1/26/06
Of Montreal-Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and other games)
Watch new video: Requiem for O.M.M.2 (via Antville)

San Diego isn't exactly known for its indie pop gems (especially not bordering twee hyper indie pop), and the Epicentre isn't exactly known for attracting intellectual hipsters, but when Of Montreal and friends go all out in sunny San Diego, you still can't keep away the cigarettes, tight jeans and battered Conversers from rushing the party.

Opening band, classic indie dance pop MGMT strolled on stage in skinny, pale, neon shirt wearing style and tried their hardest to get the crowd moving without using any apparent instruments. The crowd stared and didn't clap as instructed...although it was still early in the evening and forgivable. The band walked off stage halfway during the last song (a fun, dancable little number) and...never returned. Or maybe they did, in full on winter hunting gear...hmm.

Next up, weird, insane, most likely drugged out dancey hip hop group Grand Buffet. Interesting lyrics, caught the crowd's attention, and the energy level in the venue shifted up a notch. People were beginning to display their weird dance moves, and the witty banter from the band praising the likes of Satan and some parady of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah managed to draw out a few chuckles.

Then we had to wait through unfasinating DJ set until Of Montreal...finally...took the stage.

With the lead singer in a bridal gown and veil. Shiny, flashy blue glitter around his eyes, a golden ring in his hands, he proposed to the audience.

And, of course, they accepted.

Rocking through classics and newer indie pop pieces, and one strange experienmental piece where the lead singer gathered a red cape and performed magic on the keyboardist (who did seem a little unenthusiastic most of the show), blinding her and setting her on the drums with Xtream background noies and feedback, various neon colored costume changes, non-stop dance action from a girl in a wheelchair by the stage, one attempt at being like a "real rock band" and jumping right into a song without a spoke word intro first, they managed to move most of the crowd, especially as they finished with "The Party's Crashing Us Now", the one song that many seemed to have come especially to experience (myself included, maybe...) and extract plenty, plenty of claps.

Although some of their cutesy vocals and twinkling melodies didn't translate so well to the soundsystem more suited for screamocore and punkxcore (or maybe it was because I was standing about two feet behind the left stereo), they pulled off a great performance and an encore afterwards. They never did play "Art Snob Solutions", but their whimsy and happiness still made it worth it.

A side note about hipsters: most of them do dance. In fact, many of them seemed to live and go to shows only to dance, whether the music calls for it or not. Maybe it sets them apart...or maybe they just have too much energy not to work off. Whatever.

Also, quite a few people climbed on the beams above the stage (inspired by Grand Buffet's actions) and some idiots tried to start a mosh pit...I can't even think of how to respond to that. So I stayed to the side and glared at them under my breath. Hmm.

Cat Power-Dreams

This Chan Marshall girl's got a beautiful voice and really nice instrumentals and melodies, and her voice is pretty damned powerful and attention pulling (but as in this song, often fragile and desperate, in the best ways)...but not so much that I would turn to her all the time. Enough so that I can appreciate songs like this one now and then, though, and enough to be slightly excited for her new album, which I mentioned yesterday. This song is a haunting, melancholy journey to...piano driven dreamy heart of country soul, I guess...

Okay, so the truth is I can just about appreciate the beauty of what Cat Power's doing, but personally I'm not feeling it. I don't know. There's no emotional punch to my brain or extreme fun pop sensibilites attached, and sure it's a hard to get cover (read: Japanese bonus track) of an Everly Brothers song, but sometimes obscurity and this sort of soothing melody just doesn't do it. For a day like this, though, when the cold sneaks onto the tips of my fingers and the slowness of the day settles down, it does seem rather perfect.

And yes, I know--I just contradicted myself about seven times.

First, OMG! Stephen King has a new novel out! It's called Cell
and you can view an exclusive interview with the master of horror himself there. A small rant about Stephen King: just because he's a prolific writer and a best selling writer as well doesn't mean he lacks literary merit. The critics who group him with the likes of Anne Rice are obviously out of their minds--or just dead jealous of his success/so pretencious that they can't recognize good story tellers even if it's slapped in front of them--there needs to be emotional distress and family problems for it to be a true work of art! Seriously, I would rather read a hundred different versions of any horror story by a good writer than a hundred versions of the same family tie story by an utterly boring writer.

Second, today's a major CD release date--but I'm sure you already know that. It's like Rilo Kiley domination, what with Jenny Lewis's solo album and The Elected's album, not to mention Cat Power, The Gossip, Tortoise + Bonnie "Prince" Billy...Robert Poland, and many, many others. Check the boy for the list and wonderful things like that.

Third...you know, I can't seem to remember. Something about the the Bloggies and how you should vote for the likes of Post Secret and Said the Gramophone...hmm.

Straiht Wikid Crew-Get Down On to the Beat

See, I don't even know what I'm supposed to say at this point. First of all, I have enough trouble spelling his name (yup, it's one guy), in fact, I'm not even going to try anymore. Second:

I'm flabbergasted. Really. He describes his music as rap music for people who don't like rap. Sounds like every single one of Pitchfork's favorite uber obscure underground hip hop artist! Okay, I'm being unfair here. Pitchfork does bother me though, but I think you already know that. I'm off track again. See? This is what this guy does to your mind set. Insanity, of the really really catchy type. Like Eminem, but with surf beats. I bet that made no sense whatsoever. I'm not sure it's supposed to...

I can't trust myself to write anymore. Check out:
His website

Lali Puna-Past Machine

I've been on an electronica pop spree lately. My head is spinning non stop with the likes of Annie and Goldfrapp. So then, to balance all that out, I've also been listening to a lot of Imogen Heap and the light. Electronica pop, as always, but with this darker, deeper feel to it. And now, it's also all about Lali Puna, a (take a wild guess) electronica pop band from Germany.

This is the sort of lush, soothing dark atmosphere with unfaltering effects and rings in the background to have you turning on the very edge of your stereo, with the pumping wavelengths of sound and vocals, the guitar always underlaying the trance like music on top, balancing the dark and the pop, the doubt and uncertainty of life with the truth of art. The ringing feedback swirling long after the song's end...an echo of an echo of an echo. Hey, um, does anyone else notice my obvious problems with ending posts?

Buy: I Thought I Was Over That: Rare, Remixed and B-Sides-Lali Puna


Guess the good news.

I'll give you a hint, it has to do with me, not having dial-up.

Okay? Okay!

So, things of note:

The most freaking adorable/clever/awesome pixel site ever (okay, so far...) goes to Flip Flop Flying, which has an amazing collection of Mini Pops, which are mini pixels of celebrities and interesting characters, and a bunch of bands that you've probably heard of...i.e, Mr.Tortured Artist/Indie God, or, you know, the kids who killed radio . Or whatever. Go see it.

And, furthermore, this can be like an update/book talk (X2) update.

Book 3: Girl, Interrupted-Susanna Kaysen
Verdict: Maybe

This was a really short read, and since I liked the movie, I thought I'd check it out. Plotwise, the movie turns the story around, adds drama and friendship and adventure, all the stuff you'd expect Hollywood to do, and Angelina Jolie really perfected that role, and it does make a better story, but the book present a whole other view. The flash scenes are effective, although some of the medical talk could have been spared. It's an interesting take on insanity and what not, and the writing is simple but rather charming.

Book 4: How to Be Good-Nick Hornby
Verdict: try it

See, after hearing all these amazing things about Nick Hornby, this ends up being the first book I read by him--and it ends of being one of the not so good ones, according to the wonderful reviewers on Amazon. But, if this is his worst book, and if I liked it, already--mostly the veils and veils of irony and funny moments, classic Hornby moments that I guess are found more often in his other books--then I must adore evyerthing else he writes. I shall need to check more out. Anyway, this is an interesting perspective to take on, the boring middle aged woman who's "good", and her ex-sarcastic/angry husband. Interesting ideas about being "good". And really, the book was "good". I can't see another way to describe it, as mostly it's...you know what, just pretend you didn't read this whole paragraph...

Chris Price-Charge Me Up

Chris Price makes instantly catchy, fogged up ambient electro pop bouncing with vocals that reminds me of a lot of 90's pop, especially the chorus and a lot of the lyrics, with splashes of heavy synths and drums reminescent of the 80's. The effect is a dreamy, spaced out electronica pop delight. The fogged up atmosphere suits the love-sick lyrics and the vague hint of danceable, classic pop hit hiding behind the ambient exterior. In other words: intense electronica popness meets confusing, puppy eyed vocals and merge for a one of a kind electro pop experience.

Saturday Looks Good to Me-Lift Me Up

The thing about indie pop is that either you love it, or you're indifferent. I happen to love it--but only if it's really quality. I don't think it can be that difficult to conjure up a few catchy and sparkly sounding melodies, get a female vocalist and play your lo-fi pop in your basement 24/7. But still, there are all these totally mediocore and unoriginal bands out there, and then you're stuck trying to find an explaination for all those popular indie pop bands differ from those totally obscure bands.

Actually, that barely has anything to do with Saturday Looks Good to Me (just look at the name!), which is really rather wonderful--indie pop, of the really rather more underrated than they should be type. They've got the whole cutesy twee thing going on, and the pretty art thing, and the pretty female vocal thing, and the keyboards and claps thing, but then, then they've got that innocent charming thing going on with their name, and then you pop on the horns and swish it together--and suddenly, what appears to be characteristic indie pop becomes a whole indie pop experience. One that, I think, is not easily forgotten.

Book 2: House of Leaves-Mark Z. Danielewski
Verdict: Try it

So I've heard a lot of good things about this book--mostly people constantly recommending it and noting that it's "difficult, but really good". So in my attempt to familiarize myself with various good books that I should have read at some point or another, I checked it out.

This is a totally insane experimental post-modern pseudo horror novel complete with 435345 footnotes and bizarre layouts and interesting printing in various languages, as well as a story inside a story inside a story. The camera behind the camera behind the camera, as Chuck Palahniuk would put it (Read ). The story of a living monsterous house is nothing new, but the format of the novel and the references to all sorts of fake articles and photographs, and rather hilarious interviews with the likes of Stephen King and Anne Rice about the movie that inspired the writer of one half of the book to comment and the (self admitted unreliable fiction) writer of the other half to assemble the book and apparently publish it, makes it all worth it.

A week wasn't nearly enough to fully soak in the book, though, and hopefully some time in the future I can check out all the passages untranslated in other languages, and the holding the book upside down and reading from the mirror thing...

Okay, so what happened was, our phone line broke--for like the third time, and I couldn't get online for the past few days. Which was good, in a way, since I'm currently rushing to finish editing that novel I wrote to take advantage of that Lulu free book offer. So apologies for the down time...regular posting and music and such will resume on Monday.

And in case you're wondering about that daily post thing, as luck would have it, other difficulties have risen in the face of getting rid of that dial-up connection, so until I can upload songs in less than half an hour, we'll have to live with what we have. Maybe I'll just make my posts better. Yeah? Sure hope so...

The National-Lit Up

I think in the face of all this CYHSY/Wolf Parade craze The National is really one of the more underrated bands from 2005. Alligator is a great indie pop/rock record with plenty of similarities to classic indie bands as well as plenty of new and improved influences. This is what I imagine Interpol and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's child would sound like on a Monday morning, forced to get up hours early for a school day if it kept its optimism and those crazy wonderful guitars. In fact, their repetition of "bad blood" kind of reminds me a lot of that "young blood" thing. But more likely, that's because the two bands have been tourmates and one either loves and/or hate one and/or the other.

Did that make sense at all? It's probably the rush of those aching riffs and that dusty, dark but hyper in the most fitting way possible instruments and the wonderful thumping of the drums messing with my mind. With that class-A indie rock exhibit-A type chorus and vaguely uneasy lyrics, those constant soars and flashes proving just how talented and creative these guys can be without resorting to the Clap Hands hype to back up anything at all.

...Kind of ironic, isn't it, that while CYHSY opened for The National on tour, it seems like a helluva lot more people are familiar with them than The National?

Book one: Martin Sloane by Michael Redhill
Verdict: Skip it

I don't know what is it with me and literary books that other people seem to adore. Maybe I'm just not deep enough to understand it, maybe I was hoping for too much, maybe the real value of a book isn't in how entertaining it is but how important and thought provoking its lessons are--or maybe, I just don't care.

That's the case with Martin Sloane. The plot consists entirely of a young woman, Jolene, who falls in love with this older artist named Martin Sloane. They meet and go on dates and all that wonderful stuff, and one day he disapppears, and she goes out to find him ten years later with the help of her old friend, and discover flashes in his past that supposedly reveals why he leaves the people he loves behind.

But then, of course, the writer's so preoccupied with those little details and descriptions that there is no pace, there's nothing that makes me want to find out what happens next. At some point, I just want to scream, GET IT DONE AND GET IT OUT ALREADY! But, of course, I read on, because there are plot turns and the character keeps me rather curious. This seems to get worse as the book progresses, especially with the flashbacks to Martin's past. I'm sure there's special meaning and symbolism behind everything, but it's not presented in an interesting matter. As in, at all.

In fact, many instances, the random flashbacks and musings about life and love gets to be rather pretencious. This even feels verified as except for a small section half-way in the book, Redhill never uses quotes, not even for dialogue, which makes things rather confusing--or should I say, innovative and creative and adding to the atmosphere of the story?

Too bad this exploration of human relationships doesn't also explore the joys of giving enjoyment to the reader. Or, really, again, maybe I'm just not cut out for this sort of exploration.

Reverie Sound Revue-Walking Around Waiting Downtown

I have a feeling that it's impossible to be in an indie pop band without having some sort of connections with Stars. Aside from Emily Haines, whose talent can be heard in Broken Social Scene, Metric and probably a few others, there's also Lisa Lobsinger, who's in this band called Reverie Sound Revue, which reminds me of the Postal Service and Stars with all the catchy, free and beautiful guitars and harmonies, the keyboards and the pretty vocals, and all the pop mastery you'll ever need, minus the hazy, draped layers of Stars and all the electronica beeps and boops of The Postal Service.

Although the band broke up in 2004, this sort of wonderful indie pop is too much to pass on by. And, luckily, many of their songs are available for download right here.

Point Juncture, WA-Happy Ending

There is just something about almost twee like poppidy female vocals layered on top of guitars and drums scratched out to their full potential, with the sharp melody raging in the background and the full effect of the whole thing hitting you from all directions at once. This, ladies and gents, is the sort of indie rockdom you'd expect (or be totally shocked by) from a band named after a place. A band from Portland, no less. Really, that intro and that bridge, with the insistent bassline and the echos in the background creeping together for an explosion of dream/indie/pop splash that'll hang around even after the sigh of the end, and did I mention the instrumentals picked up from your favorite Broken Social Scene song, but with more drive and assorted trinkets to keep you entertained. Check out their new record, Mama Auto Boss, streamable at the website.

So it is 2006, and the easy way out would be to post something really obvious like "The New Year" by Death Cab for Cutie, but I have this strange feeling most of you already know this song and won't care much to hear it again.

This is going to be a really interesting year, I know that for a fact. For one thing, if things goes as planned, next week I shall be free of dial-up and able to upload songs at a much easier fashion. Yay! For another, inspired by Largehearted Boy, and being a huge reader of everything and anything good myself, I think I'll try the a book a week thing, although I can't promise to be on time since there are weeks (last week, for one) where I can get through two or three books and some weeks where everything stacks up, and I'm stuck. Also, I'm a fiction person, although I'm open to all sorts of reading material, stories are what makes me happiest. Suggestions are always welcome, and I think I'll try to post a little blurb about whatever I finished reading. Although, I'm pretty sure I'm not that good of a book critic.

Also (yeah, I'm not done yet), I'm open minded to all sorts of new features and ideas, but I probably can't keep up anything too fancy. I'll promise to improve my writing, though. If you ever catch a post that sounds as if it belongs on Pitchfork, feel free to alert me and I shall go kill all pretencious and pointless adjectives immediately. Because, it's just so much more fun when things have a little variety. Am I right?

Okay...maybe not. I am really looking forward to making everything better, and apologies if I do ramble on a bit, because I have a good feeling about this.

And! Last thing, I am going to try daily posts without screwing up the entertainment value (um. That exists, right? Right?) of things. And! I am finished. For today, at lesat.


I like it when you talk to me
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