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Video hookup

Before I start, the little elves at the Hype Machine have been working extra hard for their Jolly Ranchers, and they’ve compiled a long list of bloggers’ favorite albums of 2007. No surprise there; in fact Dave at the Rawkblog points out that Idolator’s poll, the Pazz & Jop poll, and the hype machine’s list all are about the same (via Heart On A Stick).

Sadly, my number one did not follow the crowd, and Josh was relegated to #40. I still love ya, Josh!

And now, more proof that music videos aren’t dead. They’re just back to being lo-fi.

0.5 Muzzle of Bees just posted a new video from What Made Milwaukee Famous — it’s got fencing! And math! And Lance Armstrong! And it’s awesome. Go check out “Sultan.”

01. At Stereogum, you can see Willie Nelson being adorable in “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore.” No no, I never did think he was funny. But he does get cuter as he ages (why is that?).

02. At Fabulist!, Olga digs up the video for PJ & Nick’s song “Henry Lee.” I was a big fan of “Murder Ballads,” but for some reason I never saw this video. And it fairly sizzles (though luckily for the 90s-greasy-haired protagonists, it never does catch fire).

03. Also at Fabulist!, an animated guy with no arms sings a sad, sweet indie song. The video is Levi Weaver’s “You Are Home.”

04. Did you think Ed Vedder couldn’t get any cuter? Well, when he sings 50s classics with a girl from Sleater-Kinney, he’s like an adorable, bearded, unintelligible puppy. (singing starts around 2 minutes in). [via YANP]

05. Take Away Shows profiles Sidi Toure in his hometown of Bamako. [via Gvs.B].

06. At Electroqueer, a thumping Taio Cruz video: “Come On Girl.”

07. I have been trying to like the Raveonettes for awhile and the only thing I have liked so far is this video at Idolator: “Candy.”

08. Jax profiles the very interesting Montreal singer Julie Doiron and features her video “No More.” Another song I want to like but haven’t quite managed yet.

09. I really love Lisa Hannigan, what little I’ve heard, and so I was excited to see a new video of hers on Stereogum — “My Pirate Disco (demo).” Hey, I’d go to a pirate disco.

10. I’ve never been as close to liking Magnetic Fields as when I saw this cute video of St Vincent & J. Vanderslice doing “Yeah! Oh, yeah!”. That song has awesome punctuation, I will say that.

11. Via the Music Slut, Travis has a new video for “New Amsterdam.” Great song.

12. Jax also links to video of Eli from Monolators and the Henry Clay People doing a fun cover of “Psycho Killer.” With the white pants and all, it’s very 80s.

13. And last but not least, spooky #13 is Miho Hatori (of Cibo Matto fame)’s video for the song “Barracuda,” from her solo album “Ecdysis.” (Aaaand wikipedia says that ecdysis is “the molting of the cuticula in arthropods and related groups.” Righteous.) [via Fabulist!]

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Video hookup

1. The Music Slut leads the pack, of course, with:

A) New Ry Ry video, entitled “Follow the Lights.” Ain’t half bad either. It really sounds like Ry is getting his groove back on. “There was never anywhere to go / but home.” (Home is apparently where Donna lives.)

B) The Who on Jools Holland. Completely unironically singing “hope I die / before I get old.” Psh, I knew they were lyin’. Generation X salutes you, baby boomers! Sic transit gloria mundi, except when you can capitalize on your nostalgia. Oh well, the music is still hawt.

C) Cold War Kids in the Black Cab. I can never decide if I’m totally in love with CWK, or whether they’re just totally pretentious. I call this the Decemberists Dilemma. Haha. The violin on this song is just stunning.

D) PJ Harvey on Leno, circa 93. This is the PJ I was talking about a couple days ago. That quick slip between begging her lover not to leave, to talking about tying him up till he wishes he’d never heard of her.

E) Bjork Unplugged, 1993, “One Day” acoustic. TOTALLY AWESOME.

F) The Cure in Amsterdam, “the Forest,” 1980. Robert Smith, pre-persona. Twelve years later, this song rocked my world, I’m not even kidding. Oh Robert, I miss the days when you weren’t a caricature of yourself.

G) Tori on The Current, doing Leather. Oh Tori, I miss the days … well, whatever.

2) Via LAist, an amusing misheard lyrics video, featuring one of my favorite workout songs: Sean Paul’s “Temperature.”

3) Via Stereogum, a fun video for Bishop Allen’s “Click Click Click Click.”

4) At Fabulist, Olga takes us back to the early days of Rilo Kiley with “The Frug.”

5) Via Skatterbrain, some good old fashioned pop from Lykke Li: “Little Bit.” Feel free to chair dance.

6) Muzzle of Bees revisits last years’s #3 awesome album. “So how do you feel about being dead?” “I don’t know … my neck hurts.” I LOVE YOU BLACK KEYS.

7) Since Bodies of Water and Stereogum are BFFS, you can see clips there from BoW’s “Takeaway Shows.”

8) Awesome vid from *my* new BFF, LoveLikeFire: “I
Will.”
(via Rock Insider).

9) ECEU finds one of my fave James Taylor songs, You Can Close Your Eyes, It’s Alright.

10) LAist notes that KT Tunstall turned up to support the WGA a couple weeks ago and someone took a video of her doing “I Want You Back”.

11) Idolator puts the spotlight on Melissa Auf der Maur’s “Followed the Wave.” *sigh* She’s so beautiful. If Foo Fighters had a girl twin, Auf der Maur would be it.

12) Via Electroqueer, Roisin Murphy at the Swarovski fashion awards doing “Overpowered.” I love that hair!

13) IGIF brings us back to the 10 year old video for UNKLE & Thom Yorke’s “Rabbit In Your Headlights,” which I had never seen, though I love the song. What a creepy video, but perfect for the song.

14) And last but not least, new Postmarks video via Stereogum. “Let Go,” all hazy and sunny and green, showcasing one of the best songs on a great album.

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Albums I Enjoyed in 2007 — 20 to 16

In handy table format!



20.
Essie Jain
We Made This Ourselves
Ba Da Bing
Disgrace

This year for me was all about harmony. I discarded almost everything that wasn’t in tune, and if there was a good harmony, I jumped on it with both feet. Which is not an appropriate metaphor for the delicate songs on an album with butterflies on it. But still.

Jain most closely resembles Dido without the beats; probably another reason I like her. But though her harmonies are sparing, they are transcendent. I’m not as fond of the lyrics, which are fairly ambiguous (perhaps punctuation would help), i.e. You’re a worthless thing / that is everything / but precisely / what I asked for. Still and all, the beauty of such songs as “Haze” tend to overshadow the weak lyrics.



19.
Angelique Kidjo
Djin Djin
Razor & Tie
Ae Ae

Representative of all the so-called world music that I picked up this year, but with celebrity status. Kidjo apparently toured with Josh Groban this year and gained legions of fans, so congrats to her. But I didn’t need Groban’s approbation to love the album, since it is gorgeous from the first chord of “Ae Ae” to the last clear note of “Lonlon,” Kidjo’s version of “Bolero.”

Readers of this blog will have already noticed that I wrote about Kidjo earlier in the year, so I won’t say more than, this is what Afropop is all about for me. I don’t understand the language so I can’t follow a message, and I’ll admit it; I’m just here for the sound, which Kidjo has in spades.



18.
Rocky Votolato
The Brag & Cuss
Barsuk
Whiskey Straight

You all know how I love me some Rocky. That said, I was not as enthused about this record as I was about “Makers.” Most of the songs sounded Rockyesque, but tired. Maybe all that tourin’ has been wearing him out a bit.

Standout tracks are “The Wrong Side of Reno,” which has a little bounce, and “Whiskey Straight,” which showcases his trademark stripped, straight-up lyric: Why do you keep running? The pace is hurried but you’re never closer to what it was you thought you wanted. It all keeps changing — and now something else is missing. Ain’t that the truth.



17.
The Bees (Band of Bees)
Octopus
Virgin
(This Is For the) Better Days

Half this album is so spot on with its poppy craziness. I chair-danced madly to “Who Cares What the Question Is,” probably about a thousand times. And when they stay in the footsteps of their predecessors, these guys hit the nail on the head. It took me two weeks and my husband to figure out what was nagging me about “Love In the Harbour” — it’s a dead ringer for something off of “On the Threshold Of A Dream.” Groovy! Not many people outside the Simpsons reference the Moody Blues anymore.

The Bees do a lot of genre switching, adding a sexy bass swing to “(This Is For the) Better Days” and a sitar (and a boingy-boingy thing, who knows what that is) to “The Ocularist.” And “End of the Street” is chock full of wicked weird noises. The album’s not perfect, and some of it fails, but honestly, it’s just so nice to hear a band having fun with music and all the genres that comprise it.



16.
PJ Harvey
White Chalk
Island
Silence

Everyone who’s anyone spent a lot of time with PJ in the 90s. She rang my earphones, growling even through my crummy walkman, and I growled right along with her. “Rid of Me” was my album of catharsis — I’m one fifty foot queenie; sheela-na-gig, you exhibitionist. So even though I couldn’t really expect the same of her, fourteen years later, I was still disappointed at the understatement of “White Chalk.” Excepting the heartbeat in “When Under Ether,” there is almost no beat, no growl. I missed the growl. Then I listened again to “White Chalk,” and I heard it.

I know these chalk hills will rot my bones, she says like a curse. Scratch my palms / there’s blood on my hands. It’s understated to the point of nonexistence, but it’s running through the songs just the same — the same loneliness, the same search for forgiveness and love. It’s the PJ I remember, docile perhaps on the outside in her white dress, but still growling.

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Video hookup

M. Perpetua from Fluxblog comments briefly on the hype; his point is well made, that the hype (and its bedfellow, backlash) has always existed in some form, but that in recent years its wheel has sped up, grinding everything even more exceeding fine. But interestingly enough, the article ends with a quote (and accompanying video) from Fall Out Boy. I had never heard a Fall Out Boy song before. But the video was darned amusing. Sort of like “Fight For Your Right To Party” in reverse. And thus your massive video hookup begins.

Not really video, but Culture Bully has three awesome Halloween mashup compilations going:
Son Of Monster Mashup
Mashing Pumpkins
Bride of Monster Mashup + Evil Twin of Monster Mashup

LAist has a bunch of Regina Spektor videos up in honor of her appearances in our neck of the woods this week. See you at the El Rey Wiltern if you’re going on Tuesday! Wooo!

Via Electroqueer, new video by Valeria. If you like a lot of leg, the French Revolution, and girls sneaking out with each other for smooches, this is the video for you.

Fabulist found an old video of Skip James from 1966 — Devil’s Got My Woman.

Muzzle of Bees proves that even in 2000, when Ry Ry wore very unfortunate sunglasses and looked like he was gonna fall over, he was still a musician right to his bones. MOB also has a very nice Q&A with the 1900s!

Stereogum has new video for Mary J Blige’s song “Just Fine.” Work it, girl!

Muzzle of Bees links to the Takeaway show concert of St Vincent singing “Paris Is Burning.” At the same time, GvsB links to video of Amanda Palmer covering “Marry Me.” Dude, I am so in love with Amanda Palmer’s voice. Who sings St Vincent better? I can’t decide!! So watch a video of Ms. Palmer covering “Patience,” via Muruch. And wave your lighters!

Via Fabulist, Sony paints the pyramids, sort of, in a crazy new Bravia ad.

And sweet Colin and friends put on a nice performance of “Yankee Bayonet” at ACL. Via Stereogum.

Ferraby Lionheart is growing on me, so I’m liking this video up at ECEU — “The Ballad of Gus and Sam.”

Here’s one for all you Icelandic hipsters (James, I’m looking at you) — “Rhubarbidoo,” by Múm, via Idolator. Er … not sure what’s going on … delicious rhubarb popping up all over the place! Is this a metaphor? Or is a rhubarb sometimes just a rhubarb?

Via Sixeyes, Feist plays drums for her opener, Bob Wiseman, and his song “You Don’t Love Me.”

Via ECEU, Okkervil River, “A Stone.” What really gets me about this is the complete silence of the crowd. No drunk guy screaming “I LOVE YOU WILL!” In the continuing saga of Do I Like Okkervil River, I think this song is too emo for me. But still, that silent crowd.

A ton of links from the Music Slut, a’course:

“Teardrop” (Massive Attack cover) by Jose Gonzalez. Moral of the story … er… don’t get on the wrong side of a guy with a crown?

Sea Wolf! Winter Windows! Video! Did I already link to this? Too bad! Watch it again!

Conor + M. Ward = OTP. At least on stage. No, I don’t want to hear from the Bright Eyes bandom writers. Check out Bright Eyes at the Hollywood Bowl.

And PJ Harvey on Leno — man, she makes younger folks look like mumbling amateurs. Oh, PJ, if only I could have afforded tickets to see you.

And if you got to the bottom, here’s a fun link from Freakonomics: “The Mythbusters Answer Your Questions.” What I wouldn’t give to be on an episode of Mythbusters.

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Two for the price of one. First the bad, then the good. Because that’s how my mother taught me to eat dinner.

I Don’t Like These Things:

1. Beirut’s new album. Holy boring cow. What is it with that Condon guy? Why does everyone like him so much? Let me suggest some alternatives. 1) Calexico. 2) Karsh Kale. 3) Cleaning your ears out with a toothpick — maybe you’re slowly going deaf and you don’t know it.

2. Music festivals. Because I can’t go to any of them. *shakes fist*

3. People that say that Indie Is Dead, and moan about how everyone listens to it. Boo freaking hoo, so what if indie is now mainstream? It’s a good thing! Instead of being forced to hear Rascal Flatts in a can, I have a huge resource base for bands who are still thinking out of the box and producing a quality listening experience. Lots of other people feel the same way. If you’re a big baby who can’t stand other people listening to your precious bands, don’t worry. You still have Xiu Xiu and Destroyer and CYHSY. No one else wants ’em, believe me.

4. “Liveblogging.” It’s like having to read people’s AIM conversations that they thought were soooo funny when they were writing them, but man, you had to be there, trust me. And it clogs up my RSS something fierce.

5. Album covers or videos that feature serious T&A (you know, not just a girl dancing, I can deal with that. You know what I’m talking about — Bangers & Cash, I’m looking at you). Guess what? It’s degrading. If you like that stuff, you’re just one of these people. Don’t fool yourself.

Awesome videos of Awesomeness:

01. Wyclef Jean featuring Akon and Lil Wayne (and Niia)- “Sweetest Girl.” I love the line, “High school, she the girl that make me do a hula-hoop around the gym.” Awww! (Via Culture Bully)

02. Via The Music Slut, we get “Kingdom,” Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode!)’s new song. Me likey.

03. PJ Harvey on French TV. She looks utterly beautiful, and so is the song (via Idolator).

04. The Music Slut also brings us Bat For Lashes performing at the Mercury Awards. Dang, way to hit those notes! I think she’s probably breaking glass in the theater somewhere. *nods approvingly*

05. From The Rawking Refuses To Stop!, a loud, punky British video from a band called Cut Off Your Hands. Which obviously they didn’t, because how are they playing guitar? Riddle me that. The song is called “You & I.”

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Heard the new Britney, huh? Yeah … me too. Yeah. Let’s change the subject.

[ed note: tracks removed. contact me for a copy.]

01 Neko Case – Make Your Bed
02 Bert Susanka – Onward Christian Slater
03 Josh Ritter – Rumors
04 Shaggy – Oh Carolina
05 PJ Harvey – When Under Ether

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In ninth grade, I had such a crush on this guy named Lee. I used to stare longingly at him during drama class — probably drove him crazy. Not that I would have known what to do with him if I’d gotten him — I didn’t want him, exactly. I just wanted someone to stare at.

So my best friend through this whole crush thing was Carrie. She came up to me one day with a tape (that’s a cassette, for you young’uns. We rolled like that, back then) that had this ugly, swirly cover.

“Try this,” she said, “you’ll love it.”

“‘Mixed Up’?” I said, very dubiously. You may remember from a previous post that I was still at this point coming out of my country music phase and just dipping a toe cautiously into REM. I judged tapes by album covers for some reason. “This doesn’t look very good.”

“But Laura,” said she, very slyly, because Carrie was sly like that, “Lee likes it. He told me in art class that the Cure was his favorite band.”

How could I refute that? She and Lee had art together, and I didn’t. Maybe they had regular conversations about music. So I took “Mixed Up” home, determined that I would like it. But I didn’t even have to try very hard — in fact, my love for Robert Smith lasted a lot longer than my love for Lee.

Carrie had longish, dark-brown curls and a beautiful smile. She was very thin, had brown eyes, and had a wonderful sense of humor. She drew cartoons, and when she wrote me letters, they were always at least ten pages of her intricate writing and her cartoons. She introduced me to Nirvana, to Pulp, to PJ Harvey, to Monty Python. She made beautiful mix tapes with handmade covers and funny titles. You kids today, you don’t know what a mix tape is anymore. Carrie was a mix tape artist. It’s been ten years since I last spoke to her, and I don’t even have a tape player anymore, but I still have some of her tapes packed away, because I can’t bear to throw them out.

Without her, my musical education would have stayed stuck in the ninth grade. We had no indie radio play to speak of (AFN did not count, folks). I was fond of “Kokomo,” Weird Al, and even taped an NKOTB album from another friend. I was a mainstream dweeb, and I probably would have hung around in the pop mainstream and today I’d be a big old Kelly Clarkson fan. And I’d probably be just fine. But Carrie developed my music taste into something outside of radio play, outside of MTV, something that appreciates the fine music that can be traded, ear to ear, on a well made mix tape. Maybe this whole blog thing is just my way of paying it forward.

So thanks, Ms. McNear, wherever you are now. I hope you’re happy. I hope you remember the times that we sat in your basement watching “The Cure In Orange” and writing dark poetry. This one’s for you.

Videos (for songs I don’t own).

1. Enigma — Sadeness
2. Information Society – Think
3. Bettie Serveert — Something So Wild

Music

[All tracks removed. Please contact me for a copy.]

01. Tori Amos — Raspberry Swirl (Lip Gloss version)
02. PJ Harvey — Sheela Na Gig (live at the Forum, London, 5/23/93)
03. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin — Kill Your Television

04. The Cure — Subway Song
05. Victoria Williams — Crazy Mary
06. Sinead O’Connor — Ode To Billy Joe

07. 50 Foot Wave — Your Ghost
08. Pet Shop Boys — Go West
09. The Violent Femmes — Gone Daddy Gone

10. Cream — White Room
11. Shakespears Sister — Stay
12. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — Straight To You

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