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Belle and Sebastian – Dog on Wheels

16 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 15

Even though Belle and Sebastian EPs are not albums, I just had to include them. I love almost every Belle and Sebastian song, so the opportunity to hear them all as part of the project motivated me to cheat a little.

I don’t know what it is about it that makes it so great, but the reverbed lighter-strike intro has to be the coolest sound to ever start a song. The bass is also great on all four of the songs.

I have always wondered about the lyrics to String Bean Jean – did her trousers really say 7 to 8 years old or just 7/8? Because those are two different things, and knowing how illogical women’s sizes are, I could see how a guy would get confused. I have no earthly idea how a normally developing female, even a really skinny one, could fit into clothes designed for a normal 8-year-old. At the very least they’d be too short.

But maybe no one else has taken their Belle and Sebastian lyric critique to this insane a level before…

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Shantel – Disko Partizani

16 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 15

If you like the gypsy-chic music that has become popular in the last couple years (see Beirut and Gogol Bordello) you will like Shantel.

All the crazy gypsy horn and guitar sounds are here, plus vocals half in English and half Slavic languages, mixed into what is essentially dance music, though the electro beats are kept to a minimum. More great work music, good for keeping the concentration train going with unique sound stimulation to keep it interesting.





Underworld – Dirty Epic/Cowgirl

16 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 15

Dirty Epic/Cowgirl is an early single from Underworld. I love listening to their singles as a whole disc, since they tend to really mix up all the remixes well, such that you barely know you are listening to what is technically the same song 3 times.

This single also has one of their more famous early songs, the very minimalist “Rez”, which was my first introduction to Underworld via a mix tape someone made for me years ago.

At least at work, the more Underworld, the better, as should be obvious from my last.fm.





Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche À Bamako

16 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 15

Amadou and Mariam are two married blind musicians from Mali who play African-flavored blues-rock and sing in French. I found out about them at Coachella. Their performance several years ago in the smallest tent at the festival is one of my very memorable moments from all the Coachellas I’ve been to.

Everyone in that tent were shaking their asses to the beat and smiling at friends and strangers. The love and appreciation for this music from half a world away was palpable. Several times I thought to myself – where else is a better place to be right now than here, in the Mojave desert, experiencing this African music, surrounded by happy people of many races and nationalities?





Bright Eyes – Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

16 06 2010

Listened: Monday June 14

Digital Ash in a Digital Urn was the first Bright Eyes albums I acquired, which is odd because it’s much more electronic-instrument-based than any of his other albums. Now, knowing what “regular Bright Eyes” sounds like, I still really like the electronic instrumentation too.

Bright Eyes is one of those guys who you can only deal with when you’re young. His lyrics capture a young person’s angst quite well, but the whiny singing hasn’t aged well for me. Though maybe some years ago someone said the same thing about Bob Dylan!





Pulp – Different Class

16 06 2010

Listened: Monday June 14

Ah Different Class, the album that started it all for me. Maybe it’s because I still regularly listen to this, but I don’t think it sounds badly dated, despite being 15 years old, probably because they are already so sixties-sounding with their instrumentation. I don’t recall getting heavily into this album until college, though it might have been late high school. In college I did have this poster in my room, which is one of my favorite posters ever in the history of the universe.

They used to play Underwear on Live 105 back in 1995 or so, before I was a big fan, and I remember thinking it was a totally bizarre song (which it is – “How the hell did you get here? Semi-naked in somebody else’s room”). I’m kind of surprised they even got played on the radio, since Pulp was never very big at all in this country (they never toured here). But I think that was during the Britpop era, when if you ran in the British music circles you could get played.

This album is Pulp at the height of their disco-singalongs. Common People, Disco 2000, Sorted for E’s and Wizz. I also love that they are so very British. Jarvis Cocker doesn’t try to hide his accent one bit. You know you are listening to a British person; it can’t be denied.

I think Jarvis was already preparing for This is Hardcore with Common People – almost every song is about sex. I have concluded that Jarvis is one of the few straight men in rock who can sing straightforwardly about sex and make it sound like a really good idea. Even ill-advised, possibly life-sabotaging sex.