Friday, August 29, 2008

My First Earthquake and Bob Dylan

So on this past week's Contrast Podcast, we had our ninth Musicians Introduce Their Own Songs episode (you can find them grouped together here) which had a band on it called My First Earthquake, based in San Francisco. First of all, the intro cracked me up. Rebecca, the singer comes on with this robot voice and, well I'm not going to make it sound cool enough. Go listen to it yourself! They just seemed like such a fun-loving group of people, based on a 30 second intro (some intro times claimed in this blog may not be completely accurate or double-checked at all) and so I was very pleased when their song "Teleprompt" was really catchy and had an interesting story. So I went on their website and looked around and they ARE a really, fun, fun-loving group of people. Maybe that's just the San Franciscan air (isn't Greer from SF? She's a fun-loving gal, am I right?)

Anywho, here's a couple of tunes that I've been digging by them! And all of these are available at places like iTunes except the remix, which I believe is only available through their website.

My First Earthquake - Teleprompt from Tremors EP (the song that started the craze)
My First Earthquake - Teleprompt (Poles & Zeros Remix) (for maximum contrast)
My First Earthquake - Cradle the Ladle from Tremors EP (It's about soup. Mmm mmm good!)

Also, Bob Dylan is going to be releasing another CD in the Bootleg Series. It's going to cover the period of time between Oh Mercy! and Modern Times (aka the present). And I'm pretty excited! So his website was giving away this free song which is an released song that he recorded when he was recording Time Out of Mind. I think it's pretty clear why it wasn't included on the album. It's just too damn upbeat!

Bob Dylan - Dreamin' of You

Happy Labor Day everyone! And I'll try to update more often! That seems to be something of an epidemic 'round the blogs I've been reading. I think school's starting for a bunch of people and people are maybe trying to get in some hardcore relaxation in during these last days of summer.

I'm excited about autumn! I can't wait until all the music geeks that I love to read hunker down for the winter and pontificate on all my future favorite songs!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Shout outs and 1988!

Ok, so I often assign myself epic projects. I've assigned myself the task of listening to, watching, and reading all of the Albums of the Year, Best Pictures, and Pultizer Prize for Fiction winners, respectively from the year I was born on, for instance.

Well the most recent epic project I've assigned myself is to collect all of the songs that have reached Number One on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart. When I started, I had about half, and I'm well on my way, through the use of iTunes and friends and family.

But the Internet is a wonderful wonderful place where you can, with a little effort, find almost anything. I couldn't find a particular song (posted below) on iTunes and I didn't know anyone that would have it. So I went on The Hype Machine and searched the track and I saw a blog that I've seen many places before on various blogs I read: The Vinyl District. Not only is this a fantastic blog where the merits and wonders of Vinyl Music are shouted from the rooftops, but they also happen to be based out of Washington D.C., a short drive from where I live! Please check them out. You won't be disappointed! So, I'd like to whole-heartedly thank Jon from The Vinyl District for his generous and speedy aid in my randomly assigned, all-consuming, epic project! There may be other songs that I just can't find. And you can bet that I'll be scouring the Internet to find them. In fact, does anyone have "Dirty Blvd." by Lou Reed? iTunes only has live versions.

Julian Cope - Charlotte Anne from My Nation Underground (It's from 1988. That's why the title.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Passenger + Ruut in Annapolis with Andy! (8/3/08)

Ok, so while you are all losing sleep trying to decide which votes to cast on the current round of the BOTB (see previous post's first section), I'll tell you a little story.

Last night, Andy and I went to Annapolis, where I lived when I was in 5th and 6th grades. We were going there to see a band called Passenger. Passenger are from the UK. Andy tells me that they're from Brighton and after a little confusion involving a perceived mispronunciation of the word "Britain", I understand that he means a specific place in the UK. But everyone isn't from Brighton, because the lead singer said the lead guitarist is Irish. Which I suppose doesn't mean he isn't from Brighton. And I'm rambling.

So anyways, after almost making it to the club and finding that the very street we're looking for is blocked off for some reason, and then realizing that two pre-driving years of residence don't make for a very good mental layout of a town, we found parking and made our way to the Ram's Head Tavern. This place is far bigger than it looks and it has lots and lots of routes to get from point A to point B. Only our point B seems to not be there. What we didn't realize is that the Tavern had a seperate part of it that was a stage area. So then we waited around for the doors to open. Andy was on the list. It was so cool. Except for the ticket guy immediately said "Um, there is no guest list." After talking to the aforementioned Irish/Brightish lead guitar player and Passenger's manager, we were in and sitting. I had a Diet Coke and Andy had a Yuengling. Is this too detailed? (We were at table 304.)

The first act was Ruut, a local. She played piano and was backed by cello and electric guitar. She was absolutely gorgeous and then she started singing and it didn't even matter. She has, in my opinion, a very distinct voice and the band's sound had sort of a soulful country folky sound. You know that Ben Folds Five song "Lullaby"?

Ben Folds Five - Lullaby from The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

You do? Ok, so I kept thinking of that during their set. It was absolutely breathtaking and I bought the ep, which you can also purchase at iTunes, and she signed it for me and I was all flustered and speechless like I always am in the presence of great talent.

Here are two songs that they played that I really loved

Ruut - Nothing is Right from Ruut EP
Ruut - Sweetest Thing from Ruut EP

And then Passenger came on. Andy gives a really great description of the show (with a lot less rambling) here. When they were playing, I felt like I was a part of the beginning of something. Whenever I'm reading people's blogs and they're like "Yeah, I was at the first Smiths show" (I think that was JC, but I could be mistaken. Maybe Dirk? Same difference, really ;-)), I'm always envious and want to know what that feels like. And I really felt like that last night. Passenger are so passionate about what they do and Mike (lead singer) has a great voice. They played songs I knew of their album Wicked Man's Rest which Andy gave me for Christmas. The US version is in stores tomorrow. You can get it at amazon. And they also played other songs that were just fantastic. I think my favorite was The Stupidest Song which Mike played as an encore. Despite the name, it's freakin' brilliant.
Here were two highlights:

Passenger - Walk You Home aka Night Vision Binoculars (UK title changed for US release) from Wicked Man's Rest
Passenger - Stray Dog from Wicked Man's Rest

It was a great night.