the old 97s

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Random songs:

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

01. the Indigo Girls — Down By the River [from 1200 Curfews]

02. Tokyo Police Club — The Baskervilles (Amplive remix ft. Aesop Rock)

03. Crystal Castles — Air War [from Crystal Castles]

04. The Old 97s — Bird in a Cage [from Satellite Rides]

05. Telefon Tel Aviv — Fahrenheit Fair Enough [Fahrenheit Fair Enough]

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Video Hookup

Time to clean out the ol’ starred items list.

01. Via BoingBoing, someone laid down “Smooth Criminal” over Fred Astaire dancing. The result goes to prove what we already knew — that Astaire really was as smooth as a waxed glass floor.

02. At MoB, some video of Weinland doing “Curse of the Sea.” I’m rather fond of Weinland and their super laid back music.

03. Via Fabulist!, Florence and the Machine’s video for “Kiss With A Fist.” It reminded me of how my husband always says a woman can hit a man without there being much of an outcry.

04. At Fuel, Captain Sexyhair shakes his groove thing in Denver (live video for “Barrier Reef”). Nothing much to say about that because I’m too busy writing his name in my Trapper Keeper.

05. And speaking of Cpt. Sexyhair, the Music Slut notes that you can catch a nice performance on the Spinner. Just fancy me, telling you to visit AOL.

06. Culture Bully points us to the video for Goldfrapp’s new song “Caravan Girl.” Not much happens in said video but somehow I’m okay with that.

07. Brooklynvegan has video of Emmylou Harris on Letterman. I love & worship Ms. Harris but the fact that she looks shiny & plastic is very sad to me. *sigh* Grace is dead, long live botox.

08. Cute Overload has a very, um, cute video titled “An Eye for Annai.” A one-eyed creature goes out looking for his extra eye. This has nothing to do with anything but I liked it.

09. Fabulist! also had video for a Belgian band called Fixkes and this adorable video entitled “Lievelingsdier.” I have no idea what it’s about, obviously, but honestly, I do not care, I could watch it all day. [ed note: a nice reader named Ward explains what the song’s about in his comment.]

10. And La Onda Tropical has video from Colombian band Choc Quib Town — I like that the music is political and promotes solidarity but is also awesome. American bands, please take note.

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The Old 97s

…finally, finally. The first new stuff since 2004’s “Drag It Up,” excluding Miller’s solo album. If you like your country electric, if you like it with punch and verve and (usually) a happy ending, then you’re in the right place. I think over the years, Miller has kept his style fairly even-keeled; “Blame It On Gravity” has the ballads, the fight songs, the nicely crafted pieces that are a cut above his mournful solo work.

I’m loving just about everything, from the bluesy, amped-up “Early Morning” to the wistful “She Loves the Sunset” and points between. How do I know what the songs sound like? Hah, I don’t have people sending me awesome promo copies, but I do have a Rhapsody player, and if you do too, you can listen to the whole album at Rhapsody. Or you can watch Miller sex it up on Leno and shake his pretty pretty hair.

The Old 97s — Site | Myspace | Label (New West)

[ed. note — tracks removed]

The Old 97s — Dance With Me
The Old 97s — Just Like California (from “Too Far To Care”)

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For all you skinny jeans wearing folks out there — you know who you are, but you’re probably over at Catbirdseat right now — Threadless has reprinted your shirt. I know, true coolness doesn’t advertise, but if you don’t apprise the hoi polloi, no one will be able to figure it out. Xref the Simpsons:

Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool, not caring, right?
Bart & Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?
[Homerpalooza]

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Being pretty hoi in the polloi myself, I’m gonna just talk about some things I like.

01. According to La Onda Tropical, my faithful reference for what’s cool on the Latin front, the new hot beat is called New Cumbia (aka Kumbia), and it’s based on Colombian folk dance. Me, I was still grooving to reggaeton, but I like the cumbia too; faithful readers will know I’m a sucker for anything with a good beat. You can preview the nueva cumbia at La Onda or check out some stuff I snagged off the Hype Machine:

MIA — Paper Planes (Sonido Martines Guacharaca remix)
El Trip Selector — Cumbiancherita
Oro 11 — Que Calor (Pibes Chorros vs DJ Unh)

02. Gvs.B had a link to this Swedish dude who emanates a serious folk sound á la Donovan or similar — The Tallest Man On Earth. I can’t vouch for the veracity of his tallness, but the music is a major throwback to a certain time when American music was in thrall to a certain kinky-haired folk poet whose name shall go unmentioned. With a nice Swedish twist. Me likey.

The Tallest Man On Earth — I Won’t Be Found

03. Did I mention there was this disc out called “Heretic Pride”? I must have mentioned it. Ahaha. Well, so, yes. I like it very much, although what’s coming out later this year is stiff competition for best album. I am truly amazed by the jewelboxes of stories that Darnielle weaves — you open them up and look inside and it’s this itty bitty story with these amazing facets. One of the best and most detailed is the song “So Desperate,” which contains the best couplet on the whole album: We were parked near some trees; and the moonlight soaked the branches in ever-deepening degrees.

Not to mention (as many have already, so let me be brief) the song “Autoclave,” which presents love in a whole new scientifically toxic way. An autoclave is a sterilizing pressurizing unit, and Darnielle manages to put an entirely new twist on an age-old genre by simply saying, “My heart is an autoclave.” Talk about defeating anxiety of influence, folks. The song is kind of a love song (Darnielle said so at the gig I attended) but it’s also about being so toxic that no one can get near you: direct your attention, if you please, to the final stanza of the song.

I dreamt that I was perched atop a throne of human skulls
on a cliff above the ocean; howling wind and shrieking seagulls.
And the dream went on forever, one single static frame —
sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Gorgeous use of a pop culture phrase to mean its exact opposite. In “Cheers,” they meant that you go to where your friends are. This guy in this song, though, he goes to notoriety a whole different way. If you’re sitting on a throne made of human skulls, you can be sure that everyone knows your name.

I shan’t go on. Suffice to say, I’m in love all over again.

The Mountain Goats — Autoclave

04. New Old 97s album coming out in May! I have such a girly crush on these guys and their sound — proof that alt-country is still kicking its heels up somewhere in Texas, so ha ha, Aquarium Drunkard, take that. And the new song sounds great; I’m really excited to hear the rest.

The Old 97s — Dance With Me

05. Another great record that will be out in 8 short days is DeVotchKa’s “A Mad & Faithful Telling.” It continues DeVotchKa’s gypsy rock folk tradition; and though I can’t say that I’m their biggest fan, in small doses I really love the brass-and-dance sound. DeVotchKa is also going on tour in Europe and the US.

DeVotchKa — Comrade Z

06. And something I’ve forgotten to mention for a month, but it’s still awesome: The Rich Girls Are Weeping has returned to us. Frabjuous day! Calloo callay! (I’m chortling in my joy, all right? Geez.)

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I feel like I really ought to say something profound and interesting. But, having gorged on an entire bag of TJ’s chocolate pretzels, my brain can only say, “BZZZZZZZZ.”

So! I was at the gym the other day, and listening to the Mountain Goats while watching an insanely thin girl doing her workout. The super duper thing about gyms in L.A. is that there is a very high percentage of Beautiful People, doing their crunches and whatnot while you sweat through your workout, grind your teeth, and hate them.

Therefore, I present our first mix: songs referencing body parts in their titles. Make no mistake about it, I have more songs than this. However, I thought I’d spare you the live VH-1 version I have of Kelly Clarkson singing “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” Oddly enough, this mix referenced mostly the top half of the body. Why do I have so many songs about teeth? Freaky.

Welcome to Bon Ton! BZZZZZZZZ

Twin High Maintenance Machines: A Bon Ton Mix

[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you’d like a copy.]

1. Neutral Milk Hotel – Two Headed Boy
2. Ryan Adams – Expressway To Yr Skull
3. Mountain Goats – Lion’s Teeth
4. Tarkio – Devil’s Elbow
5. the New Amsterdams – All Ears
6. Rocky Votolato – Without Eyes Still Seeing
7. Iron & Wine – Teeth In the Grass
8. The Format – Sore Thumb
9. the Decemberists – Red Right Ankle ( Live at the Quad in London 11/15/2004)
10. The Old 97’s – Big Brown Eyes
11. Flogging Molly – Rebels of the Sacred Heart
12. Blanche – Redhead
13. Air – Dead Bodies
14. Bishop Allen – Corazon
15. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth

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