POP your heart out.

The book: You Shall Know Our Velocity-Dave Eggers
The song: Bright Eyes-Another Travelin' Song

I hate to post Bright Eyes. I really do. I would even go as far as to say I despise the fact that I'm posting Bright Eyes. I don't like Oberst much, and I probably never will. But it's either this, or no song, and since my posting will probably slide downhill in the next two weeks due to this AP testing shite, I feel the need to make things slightly better. And really--this song is too fitting for this amazing novel. Minus the quality level. I mean, the constant shifting, flickering attention, the lack of a destination, yet the readiness for action. The want, the need to find a place. Pretending, not to see the things before you and blowing it all off. Goaless destination and life at its most spontaneous. That's this song, that's this book.

This book, it's all shades of wonderful. The senselessness of spenting this $80,000 that the main character earned, and regretting the death of their friend. Forever wondering, wandering through the landscapes of the oddest countries. Mingling with prostitutes and Mafia like taxi-drivers, taping money to donkeys and leaping off trees...that sense of abandonment must be amazing. One of them comes up with an idea--any idea, and it happens. Yes, airlines might not have the right schedule. Time changes might conflict with their plans, but when it comes down to it, it's the adventure itself. Mental dialogues and the writing. Eggers is a brilliant writer. Sometimes, I think I've mentioned before, you get this sort of feeling reading great works, and you marvel at the words themselves as works of art...and this is one of those. The conversations are so realistic, the characters so believable that this book holds a place in my favorites list already.

Maritime-Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts

Melodic indie rock at its best, Maritime features ex-Promise Ring and Dismemberment Plan members with these simple but so catchy and fun hooks and effortless vocals. Everything bounces, but with such flow and smoothness that it doesn't stretch your nerves or energy on end. There's nothing super inventive at work here, but these classics--the sweeping riffs, the side by side drumlines, the basic vocals with those backing chorus and little fourishes, they are crafted so well that all that matters is the song itself, so enjoyable, and so suitable for the little repeat button hours on end.

Watch: John Vanderslice-Trance Manual

Simple and artsy, at a glance, with the near fuzzy quality of the video, the darkness a perfect setting, and the flash of a star or the strike of a match bright and glaring beauty in the darkness. The girl plays her slightly bewildered, curious part with wonders, and the song and the calming, knowing direction of the song makes it truly worthy. The video starts off a little slow, but the details and effects gather together, until the whole thing becomes something to appreciate.

The Dead Milkmen-Big Deal

This song echoes my sentiments currently with scary precision. The blah blah blah g-u-i-t-a-r-s and knowing, careless lyrics and all. Life sucks. Then you die. Big deal, indeed. There are several g-u-i-t-a-r solos, but not the heavy metal type but the melodic and fitting sort that serves both as background and attention snapping detail. It's soothing to listen to, despite its speedy rhythm, somehow, everything feels detached and slowed down. And then it gets reassuring--and I'm smiling and somehow it's all going to be alright.

I could have skipped the post today...but the more I have to do, the less I want to do it. Save this song. At some point in your life, it'll cheer you up more than Elliot Smith or sickening sweet twee pop or the Flaming Lips ever could. Yeah, even this sort of dusty pop-punk can have that effect. And it's...kind of a big deal.

Ambulance LTD-Primitive (The Way I Treat You)

It's been a slow day, like, terribly uneventful and lazy. And, there are AP exams and assorted tests gathered together in this week and the next two, which means I might have to post sparringly (or find guest bloggers...hey, imagine that!). So, here's this song. My slow, relaxed, lazy, arrogant, and oddly reassuring present for your week. The cool, cool tone, the repetative promise and simple request, the confident, commanding vocals beckoning you to...yes, relax, don't think about it, the way I treat you. And the drawn out guitars, the low key but prickling melody, the swaying quality of the song. Just listen, and trust me on it.

Say Anything @ Epicentre, San Diego--4/21/06
Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat (Previously...Admit it!!!)

The way I see it, there are only two groups of people at the show: the fans, all with various degrees of obsession with Say Anything, myself included, and the bystanders, who were mostly indifferent. And despite the half empty venue at the start of the night, it soon turned into an roaring experience.

Opener Slow Runner played catchy, melodic electronica-y indie pop sprinkled with keyboards and bells. Their cover of a They Might Be Giants song was rather great, and although most of the crowd were still asleep, their crystal sound set up an atmosphere more fitting for the (R.I.P.) Unicorns than Say Anything.

Local band Pistola stormed the stage, next. And this band was loud. As in, LOUD. Although they had plenty of energy and enthusiasm, their amps cranked up to a 13 covered most of their lyrics and even a discernable melody. Their screaming, pounding pop punky scene music didn't manage to stand out, but it was just as well to conserve our energy for Say Anything...who didn't go on until a little past nine.

"Wow, I Can Be Sexual Too" started them off on a slow note, but soon the songs off ...Is A Real Boy began to show off their talent and the crowd's fan boy/girl tendencies. They played every song off the CD except for "An Orgy of Critics" (which they probably should have switched out "Chia-Like, I Shall Grow" for) and a song off the re-release. The performance were incredible--every line strung with emotion and passion, and the obsessive fans attacked back with full engagement. They sounded just as the record did, but with ten times the intensity and power. While the beams above/in front of the stage is a favorite climbing place, tonight there were more taker than usual, and while many attempted a small mosh, the fans were mild and nice enough to keep it to the fun and atmospheric level.

"I Want to Know Your Plans" began with good natured conversations about love songs and gayness, it became a rather amazing experience. Some highlights included a guy who yelled "fuck me hard!" and the fan's chanted following of every line and chorus, which also happened on pretty much every other song. But the highlight of the night, for me, was "Admit It!!!", and especially the brilliant bridge. The frenzied incantations of a crowd of hipster hating on hipster is something unforgettable. It ended the show in an explosion, and although the encore of the sweet and emotion charged "A Walk Through Hell" mellowed things down, the energy of this show matched few others I've seen, and Say Anything climbs another step in my list of omg-favorite bands.

Say Anything-Yellow Cat (slash) Red Cat

You might (but probably don't) remember these guys from a while back, while they were all about the pop culture, hipster hating lyrics of the highest irony/wit caliber. Yes, they write some of the most engaging, culture conscious, laugh-out-loud amazing lyrics I've ever seen, especially for this type of faux punk/rock/emo music, but even without the novelty like song subjects, they are brilliant composers. This song is like the perfect representation of the diversity, composition and amazingness of Say Anything (and of course, the signiture lyrics!). The observance the band shows really sparkles and lifts them out of the general trendy we-want-to-be-emo bands.

They're one of my current favorite bands, and I'll be seeing them tonight, so look for the review tomorrow.

Watch: Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue-Where the Wild Roses Grow

This is one of the most beautiful videos I've ever seen. Brilliant execution, the imagery and setting is just flawless. The dreamy, melted lighting and Dior-like colors blend perfectly with the fantasy, epic and romantic atmosphere. The tiny details, the trembling of a hand, the nibbling of a curious bunny, lifts it into a whole other world. The song itself is beautiful and haunting, and the whole thing feels like a true story. This might be old news to some of you, but Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue are not two names I expected to see together, especially not in a video as delicate and classic as this one.

The novel: Prep-Curtis Sittenfeld
The song: Broken Social Scene-Anthems of a Seventeen Year Old Girl

A note about the song, first: This is like one of those real, real masterpieces. It's so choked full of layers of beautiful instrumentation and angst and hope and all the little doubts and nusiances of teenage, the swoops and fluttery feeling, the epic sense of accomplishment without really doing anything to start with...the song itself is mesmerizing, worth listening over and over again for long periods time without pause or feeling the repetition. This is how it's done. This is the soundtrack to every girl or boy at some point in their everyday lives. And it's only fitting for a book like this.

I thought I was going to hate this book. Everything pointed to it--the title, the trying too hard to be cute and clean cover with that infamous prep classic clean white, pink and green all in near sickening pastels and the title itself, even. A flip to the back cover shows more signs of a book I should be hating. Oh, a book about preps in a boarding school. I was expecting cliches at every corner. I was expecting terrible prose and barely convered condescending adult recollection.

In a way, a lot of that were in the book. The movie perfect characters--the outcast who only ever really wanted to be popular, the popular miss perfect, the hot and obsessed boy that the narrator will never be able to get...or so she thinks and doubts and ect. But it's not so much the plot of the book as the style itself that made me, somehow, like it. Finished it in two days, in fact.

Something about the constantly worrying, doubting, nervous, angsty actions of Lee, our famous I used to be real but now that I'm in boarding school all I want is to be accepted type character, it's her little swirling thoughts and details that really gave the book something outside its cliche storyline. Yes, she's a character that's easy to dislike, and often I found myself wishing she would gain some goddamned confidence and just GO FOR IT, in all caps and stop trying so damned hard and other annoyances, but in the end it's the little details that doesn't feel so unrealistic, the sort of thing I could imagine a high school girl somewhere worrying over...I guess that made it a worthy read. And what do you know? Some review even used the dreaded word "poignant" and I liked it.

Stars in Coma-A Lifetime of Pent-Up Sadness

I think I may have to get into Swedish music more often. It's almost always so damned sweet and innocent, and blissfully un-self conscious, and wonderfully pop. DIY indie pop may not be the most obscure thing you'll ever heard, but sometimes a jangling melody and fluttery lyrics, echoes and fading bells and longing acoustic guitar, sometimes that's all you need on a fresh spring morning. Add on the non-obstructing catchiness of the song, the general sense of happiness and evasive sorrow all crushed and blended together into a fluffy sort of track, and that's exactly what Stars in Coma fill you with. It's tough to hear that this is a solo project, and a wonderful, wonderful one at that.

Check out the Velvet Mountain EP, with all the songs available to download from Molokini Records. Too much, too good.

(Thanks, Hello! Surprise! for getting me all giddy about another country's crazy underrated stars...no pun intended ;) )

Ultra Electro Mini Mix (stream)

*Apologies for the late post. I had it all written out and though I pressed publish...but apparently I forgot about it until now. I can't even come up with a creative title this time.

This sort of mix compliation makes me all fuzzy and excited inside, and the mini mix sounds like endless dancing fun. The heavy synths go right with the dark undertones, but that sense of clubbing enthusiasm and endless dancing still shine through. Looking at the track listing is totally a pleasure by itself. Endless exclaimations after another--omg Goldfrapp! Ladytron! Röyksopp! Blended with lesser known bands on the second disk, and hearing it all together should be a delight.

Check out the tracklisting:

1. Gorillaz - DARE (Soulwax Remix)
2. Depeche Mode - A Pain That I'm Used To (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)
3. New Order - Waiting For The Sirens Call (Planet Funk Remix)
4. Röyksopp - What Else Is There? (Trentemoller Remix)
5. Ladytron - Sugar (Jagz Kooner Mix)
6. Tiefschwarz feat. Matty Safer - Warning Siren (Buick Project Remix)
7. Daft Punk - Technologic
8. Moby - Dream About Me (Sebastian Ingrosso Remix)
9. The Egg - Walking Away (Tocadisco’s Acid Walk Mix)
10. Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko (Tommie Sunshine’s Brooklyn Fire Retouch)
11. Goldfrapp - Ooh La La (Tiefschwarz Remix)
12. N.E.R.D. - She Wants To Move (DFA Remix)

1. Daisy Daisy - Michelle Plays Ping Pong
2. M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade - Body Language
3. Trick & Kubic feat. Valeska Easy
4. Armand Van Helden - Sugar (Paper Faces Remix)
5. Laid feat. Yota - Me
6. Freeform Five - No More Conversations (Mylo Remix)
7. Tonite Only Danger (The Bomb)
8. Alter Ego Rocker (Eric Prydz Remix)
9. Digitalism - Zdarlight
10. Tom Novy feat. Michael Marshall Your Body (Gianluca Motta Remix )
11. Till West & DJ Delicious - Same Man
12. Supermode Tell Me Why

And, I'm out.

So I'm reading a collection of essays by David Foster Wallace right now, and I think this is the first time I've ever read essays for enjoyment, but only because it's David Foster Wallace and I hear so many great things about him that I'll try something new, and I'm so glad I did because he's an amazing writer. And I'm not just saying that, like, you know, wow, he's an amazing writer. He makes me realize just how much I adore words and what he can do with them is inspirational. It's all these little details, the way he shapes figurative language and the style of his writing--anything from thought provoking formal critisms to hilarious travel logs, and (I'm going somewhere with this...I promise) I'm now very, very inspired to try my hand at some more of those pop culture nit picks I used to do (see: "Art of Femo" for an early example), except, better, right?

So...hopefully you guys won't mind. There will still be shiny MP3s and awesome music and the like (which, by the way, I need a little time to sort out and which I'm still totally open to recieving because the more, the better the selection, and better posts and ect.)

Watch: The Arctic Monkeys-The View from the Afternoon

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You're sick of hearing about the Arctic Monkeys. I know. Plus, I'm posting two whole videos today. So, why give them extra attention? Probably the great execution of this video, the brilliant snappy ending, the tone of the video. It's heavy. It's all in black and white. Only the drummer shows up in it--in fact, the whole premise is that the drummer is giving it all he's got in the middle of the street and being subjected to various mistreatments. The intensity of the video, the simple but effective characters flashing in and out...it's well worth it.

Watch: Tiga-Far From Home

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If you looked up "strut" in the dictionary, I think Tiga's little trip here should pop up in all its muddy-spring color palette glory. It's so carefree, and the concept so simple but cute. Watching it is a real delight. I love his little foot tapping moment little through the first verse, and other simple details makes it such a pleasant experience. Although the ending is a bit weak, the video is bouncy enough to keep you watching. In terms of demeanor and even looks, Tiga reminds me of Stephen Malkmus, which, of course, is always a wonderful thing.

MC Lars-Signing Emo

Take heed, dear readers, today's post is a monumental step toward the future. Today you'll get introduced to the (so far, or as far as I know) the world's only Post Punk Laptop rapper who raps about emo and Moby Dick and BMG's faults, and does it in such a ridiculously catchy/hilarious matter that it becomes mind boggling (yes, mind boggling, okay?). Despite the fact that this song isn't new, it's scary how much it still applies to the scene scene as of now. This is the sort of chorus that features the hate it to hell but goddamn it is it catchy of the Hawthorne Heights fame, and I'm not sure if Hearts that Hate, the singer of the chorus and whatnot is a real band, but it's probably the best representation of over cliched wannabe emo type bands in a while. Except, the real ones, of course. Although I doubt industrial will be the next come back--I'm thinking harmless "indie rock" in the vein of Death Cab, Sufjan, Bright Eyes and all, even more so than now--everything else just fits true to life and should present an interesting listening experience.

Oh, and on a sidenote, more ironies and hilarious incidences: MC Lars has a song called "Hot Topic (is Not Punk Rock)", and his CD is definitely carried in Hot Topic, plus he's toured with Simple Plan, and in fact his record is distributed by Song/BMG...

Tullycraft-Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid to Know About

Let's have some fun this week. What can you do about a pop song that name drops Green Day, Neutral Milk Hotel, pop songs, "swell", featuring lo-fi core guitars and super speed bass, with a repetative, undeniably catchy chorus featuring the song's title (and, hey, what a title!), a crazed, acoustic guitar solo that reminds me of NMH, sure, but also some of the insanity of the Violent Femmes, and the pop-punk echoes of the Dead Milkmen. Clever and fun. And it's like a non-stop tickling, giggling fit. Sure, you feel a slight, tiny amount of guilt enjoying it so damned much (but not that much...Tullycraft appears to be still hipster friendly),

The Fiery Furnaces-Nevers

I never bought into the Blueberry Boat crazy in '04, and I managed to stay away from Rehearsing My Choir due to every review beating on its experimental nature, but this time around, I can't really avoid the Fiery Furnaces anymore. And, so I went ahead and checked out a song (no, not the one I'm posting). And, it was, really, really, really amazing. Catchy in all the right places, with the right amount of unconventional effects and such to make it stand out, and suddenly I could understand what all the craze had been about.

So, now, I couldn't resist the new album. Which, although I have nothing to compare it to, sounds rather fantastic. It's the sort of off beat, out of world indie pop with the right amount of everything squeezed in, so that it becomes a splattered modern painting full of disturbances and pop sensibilites to match.

This song is such the perfect fairies jumping, wings in awkward shapes, neon lights in the backdrop fantasy fairy tale. The experimental touches only add to the charm of the band and their sound.

The novel: Cat's Cradle-Kurt Vonnegut
The song: Ladytron-Destroy Everything You Touch

Once again, I'm playing catch-up to some of the greatest, monumental novels of our time. Which is why I'm revisiting so many of the same writers...but, as usual, Vonnegut creates another masterpiece. Or, in this case, the masterpiece, really. The humor, the brilliance, the bizarre senario and wonderful characters...you see, the same man that had invented the atomic bomb has also created this wonderful species of "Ice Nine", which, basically, will end the world by freezing any form of liquid it comes in contact with, and then the liquid (or plant, dust particle, anything) is free to spread itself to other things. And he gave it to his three crazy kids. And um, craziness and amazing writing ensures. It's the hilarious, yet sad truth behind the story that makes it so worthwhile.

The song, of course, is one of the better pop songs of the past few years. It's also sort of an obvious choice--but damn it, it's amazing, and I need to post it, in case anyone's still unaware, and the keyboard, and the rush of energy, and the vocals with that thin layer of eeriness and darkness, yet the catchiness, the structure, and...and...and in other words, Ladytron is amazing, almost matching the brilliance of the book. And, that is all.

The Novel: Hunted Past Reason-Richard Matheson

This is a reread, but Richard Matheson is always nice to revisit. Although this novel is far from his best (the repetition, oh, god, the repetition! The morals! Values! Trying-too-hard to be good theme!), and the plot is a classic horror novel--trapped in the woods with a maniac type, its the writing itself that manages to make the novel the sort of stay-up-late must read. Of course, rereading it does spoil all the major plot twists, but as some of it would have been perdictable in the first place, it wasn't too much of a bad experience.

Watch: The Sad Little Stars-Don't Fuck With Love

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This is a brilliant, gorgeous pop-up book style video, featuring old fashioned, fuzzy paper doll cut out characters/band members (hey look! Another guy/girl duo!), swaying backgrounds, simple animations that flies beyond its usual limits. The dusty guitars and lazy sweet acoustic indie pop vocals are nothing out of the ordinary (pleasant enough, and cute enough), but with rather rough subject matter, and the presentation feels rather strange...nevertheless, beautiful, adorable video. It's very, very short (half the video are credits), but definitely worth the time to check it out.

Destroyer-European Oils

There is just something about this sort of indie rock that's so decidedly...classy? Mature? Artistic? Majestic? I think majestic is the word I'm looking for, although traces of all those others are present. Destroyer is pure art, brilliant pop songs wrapped in coats of instruments and rambling guitars, mystical-quality lyrics and genius arrangements. It's not quite the instant catchy, power pop of the New Pornographers, but the thick, layered wonders of this album is already warranting them comparisons to In An Aeroplane Over the Sea.

Lene-Paper Bag

The beat, snares, bass line, slithering keyboards and guitars, and general hotness of this song is amazing. And the oh-so-obvious yet playful lyrics, the taunting chorus and growling verses, that's both dancable, rock-outable and fake-stripable? Yeah, that's some wonderful pop music.

Big thanks to Abby for bringing Lene to my attention (who also apparently wrote a song for/with Girls Aloud and should be better known for being in Aqua. Lene, that is, not Abby).

And...testing out this new hosting service, that looks as if it allows direct linking, so you can try right-clicking save as now, and tell me if it's working out. Yay?!


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Listen, love, buy.
MP3s don't last forever.

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