Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!
Tim has a new
Contrast Podcast up featuring 16 ghoulish tracks running the gamut from the Ramones to Bert Convy.
Ooo la la!
Syd Matters is French. Really. Notwithstanding that he sounds like he's busking on a street corner somewhere to be able to afford a ticket to see Calexico at Emo's in Austin. But look at him and you can see the Frenchness just kind of seething off of him, can't you?And he's actually not one guy, but a whole band of Frenchmen, who have approximated an amazingly relaxed and gentle luminescence just right for the soundtrack of the O.C.

Black and White Eyes

American Girls live (Listen to everyone sing along)

Syd Matters MySpace
YouTube videos

Buy Syd Matters at Amazon

Friday, October 27, 2006

Way way back, Lady Sovereign was SOD, but as she's poised to bust out huge, with a new record on Jay-Z's label released on Halloween, I figured it was a good moment to reintroduce you to this 20 year old "vertically challenged" grime MC from North-West London. Feisty, aggressive, and great!


Videos on YouTube

A live video, you can't see much, but I love the energy!

Buy Lady Sovereign at Amazon

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Marcy at Lost in Your Inbox has a great post of live Cloud Cult.

Cloud Cult "Chemicals Collide" Live at the Knitting Factory

Buy Cloud Cult at Amazon
Picture This
Another odd amalgamation, Sarah Gillespie is a country-tinged singer/songwriter from South London. She's toured with both Bob Dylan's band and Ian Dury and the Blockheads. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to describe her music, so you'll just have to have a listen.

Actually I just had a thought, it's like Dolly Parton meets Shirley Manson. What could be more appealing than that?

Raging Glory
Her website

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sweetly folky, but with a clanking pots and pans and beautiful/grating harmonies underpinning, Mia and Jonah are from Oakland, California (well Mia is from Hawaii and Jonah from Pittsburgh, but now they are.) And they do have some of that "I was on my way to Berkeley, but I got lost" spaceyness feeling about them. But it sticks in your head nicely like Hem.

Bird on the Wind

Their website
Their MySpace

Buy Mia and Jonah at Amazon
I'm so annoying sometimes...
There's a new
Contrast Podcast. It's quite interesting, but I seem to have caused Tim a fair bit of consternation. For your amusement, here's the correspondence:

Dear Tim:
Here is a somewhat odd submission for the CP. This is so fun! Thanks! Best regards, Fraser

Hi Fraser,
Hmm .. so how do I put links up for this on the blog? Where did it come from? Tim

Dear Tim:
That's the thing, I have no idea where it came from or who it is. The details as I sent it to you are all I have. So to my mind, it is "Audio Track 01" by "No Artist." Best regards, Fraser

Hmm. That worries me because I’m not sure it fits in with the theme .. it should be a song by a band you hate but if you don’t know who the band is how can you hate them? Tim

Dear Tim:
Exactly! That is my existential dilemma! I hate this band because I love this song, but I don't know who they are and so I can't go and buy their record, so I hate them... But then I guess that raises your point that if I did hear more of their music then it might turn out that I liked their music, then I wouldn't hate them anymore and then it would be a band that I liked and just one more good song. But on the other hand, what if I did hate all of the rest of their music (which I feel like I'm likely to do at this point) then it would be exactly what your concept called for. Though then again, there's always the vague possibility that they actually are a band called "No Artist" and this is in fact, a song called "Audio Track 01." In which case again I would hate them just for being so darn pretentious and it would fit the spirit of the podcast perfectly. Got it? Fraser

Um .. yes I see your thinking .. I’m just worried because the links to the bands sites are quite an important part of the podcast for me .. it’s hard not to have one there! Where did the track come from? Tim

Dear Tim:
You do? Wow! I had confused myself... It seemed to me that one day the song appeared unbegotten on my IPod. Maybe one of your fine listeners will be able to provide the provenance. Best regards, Fraser

Hmm. Okay. I bet someone says what it is right away .. and it’s probably someone famous that we should both know … this could be embarrassing!

Dear Tim:
You're a good sport! I promise I won't cause this much trouble in the future! Best, Fraser OK! :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Be Your Own Pet
There is a great live show by Nashville's Be Your Own Pet over at
rbally. Love them!

Bicycle Bicycle Music Video

Their MySpace
Their website

Buy Be Your Own Pet at Amazon
There's a War Going On
Originally from Nigeria, Wale Oyejide cites Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, and Radiohead as influences. He's worked with well-known rappers like Nas and J Dilla and he makes a hip-hop that seems quite off the mainstream, with echoes for me of Tricky, yet totally listenable and exciting.


His MySpace
His website, with lots of music

There's A War Going On Video

Buy Wale Oyejide at Amazon

Monday, October 23, 2006

Real Women Rock
All of a sudden everybody hates Morningwood. Not me! Big and funny and angry, Chantal Claret makes it proud and confrontational and way catchy, reminding me a lot of Deborah Iyall of Romeo Void who was up on the blog recently. They can have a big pop sound and they are now on a major label, but they are also messy and experimental and funny in a strangely transgressive way.

New York Girls

Jetsetter video

Morningwood is on David Letterman on Halloween and playing at the Roxy after.

Their website
Their MySpace
Videos on YouTube

Buy Morningwood at Amazon
Where's the Housing?
There is a story in AM New York today on the Food Van (t
hanks Lance for pointing it out.) It amazes me that the City continues to imply that if people on the street would just accept supportive housing, it is there waiting for them. It's not.
By Popular Demand

So easily 50% of all of you find your way here looking for Jamie T. So for all of you, here are two very good videos that really highlight just how compelling a performer he is.

If You've Got the Money (Acoustic)

So lonely Was the Ballad

Jamie T's MySpace

More videos on YouTube

Buy Jamie T at Amazon

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Let's Have A War!
John Belushi's favorite band, Fear was a blistering momentary star of the punk world. Fierce, yet fiercely funny, I find them endlessly fresh. They made one record of note called "The Record," then they proceeded to meltdown, though oddly then Flea of The Chili Peppers played bass with them for three years.

Let's Have a War

Videos on

The famous TV performance
(Watch This!)
Buy Fear at Amazon

Friday, October 20, 2006

Aye lads 'n lassies!
Glaswegians all, The Fratellis are th' band of the moment--I almos' feel bad tha' I'm postin' them a'tall. (Y'should 'ear how grea' m' Sco'ish accent soun's in m'own 'ead!) Cheeky, bawdy, and ridiculously catchy, if there's any joostice in th' world, in three weeks they'll be everywhere.

Henrietta (Dirty Version)

Their MySpace
Their website
Videos at YouTube

Henrietta Live

Buy the Fratellis at Amazon

Thursday, October 19, 2006

LIVE SHOW this Saturday! Bob is playing at Union Hall in Park Slope this Saturday at 8:30 with his new band The Exotic Profiles. Should be good!
Changing Directions
Lewis Taylor is one of those crazy Prince/Jamie Lidell/Maxwell play/sing everything on the record control freaks. That said, similar quality, though if you don't like or even hate any or all of the above, not for you. He's from North London and put out an immaculate '60s soul record two years ago that was so influential it inspired a tribute album Lewis by the Numbers the following year. He recently released a truly strange follow-up called The Lost Album that jettisons much of the soul feel for a cranky and slightly morbid Appalachian blues.

Moonlight on Vermount

His website
His record company's MySpace
KCRW has a live set to listen to

Stoned Pt. 1 (feat. Esthero)

Buy Lewis Taylor at Amazon

New Lloyd Cole Rrecord!
You can hear the whole new Lloyd Cole record here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In Memory
Tina asked me to post something in honor of her Grandmother Thelma who passed away yesterday. What struck me as the right thing is Midlake, an odd little band from Denton, Texas. They hit it big in Europe when the bass player of the Cocteau Twins, who has a record label, took a shine to them. Beyond the obviously gorgeous harmonies, there is something quite unique and wonderful about them, something very nostalgic and (and I don't mean this pejoratively) Midwestern.

Young Bride

Midlake's website
Their MySpace
Their Record Label
Videos at YouTube

Midlake "Bandits" video

Buy Midlake at Amazon
A New Contender--Quite Cheery Really
The contest I've been bugging people about has been updated with the somewhat odd addition of "Glory Box" by Portishead. I know, I know, but for some reason someone thinks it's a sad song.

BKLYN on the Contrast Podcast
Head on across the pond to check out what a bunch of blogger music nerds think are the best songs of 2006. There you will find me and my opinion. I am, of course, correct.

Arjan Writes has a great cut from Mika for those of you who love the Scissor Sisters (Tina.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rainy Day Again...
Don't know if I'm playing into it or against it with this. Rachael Yamagata comes out of Chicago with a fierce and raging voice and a firm hand on the piano. I've always found Tori Amos unlistenable and Fiona Apple listenable, though verging on self-parody, many of those self-absorbed and earnest qualities work for me here and I couldn't say why (though the complete lack of hype probably does help--quick show of hands--how many of you besides Liz and Meg and Thom have heard of her?) This is a cover of a classic Joni Mitchell tune that is quite striking.


She has a very good website--one of the best I've seen--with a bunch of b-sides and live tracks
Her MySpace
Videos at YouTube

"Worn Me Down" Music Video

Buy Rachael Yamagata at Amazon
Ja tak!
BookStud has posted "The Quiz" by Hello Saferide. Very excellent!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Maybe Old Maybe New
The Trudy are a four-piece from somewhere in England. They appear to have a history with many members over the years and then a hiatus that ended earlier this year. Or maybe it's all made up--hard to tell. They also seem to have some links to a very weird band called the Cardiacs.
And they are not The Trudys who seem to be a little-known Ca. punk band (I'm sure Ashkan can place them.)

This is "What She Wants." Tom at Indie MP3-Keeping C86 Alive
didn't like at all, but I do. And then below is the video for their
quite choice new single, "Lost Summer of Love."

What She Wants

Their website
Their MySpace

Buy The Trudy at TuneTribe

No No No
By request from Nickie, here is a magnificent acoustic track from Brooklyn's own Yeah Yeah Yeahs. With an incredibly pure shriek/scream, Karen O is most often compared to PJ Harvey and Chrissie Hynde. These acoustic tracks will certainly bring to mind the latter, though in much of their plugged material, does anyone besides me also think a lot of Mates of State? Now phenomenally successful for an indie band, they've been nominated for Grammys and Moonmen, but they really maintain a ragged and raffish charm.

Diamond Sea (Live Acoustic)

Four Songs on their MySpace
A bunch of videos at their website
Lots more video at YouTube

Buy Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Amazon

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It Just Goes to Show How Wrong You Can Be

The Dream Syndicate were a funny mix of deadpan Velvets diy simplicity and country-tinged psychedelic blues. Five points to anyone besides Thom Campbell for the source of the "The Days of Wine and Roses" (and no it's not simply the title of the great Jack Lemmon/Lee Remick movie.) Like their contemporaries The Gun Club, X, and Fear, The Dream Syndicate made a desperate and blistering contrast to the reigning blasé commercial peaceful easy feeling of bands like the Eagles.

The Days of Wine and Roses

Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate's

Dream Syndicate in Spain, 1984

Buy Dream Syndicate at Amazon

Friday, October 13, 2006

Every Laptop in Park Slope Was There
Let me tell you about my evening. First all props to Brenda who generously offered to drive the Food Van back to the parking lot so that I could go catch the end of Debbie Deane's show in Brooklyn. Unfortunately then I proceeded happily to Brooklyn with the keys in my pocket, leaving Brenda in the unmovable van double-parked on 33rd St. with a dying cell phone. So double all props to Brenda and to our hero Juan, who swooped down from the Bronx to the rescue. Now I wish I could say that that was the first time I walked off with the key, but it is in fact the second and I certainly hope the last... So today's song goes out in the spirit of extreme contrition to Brenda and Juan.

Debbie's show was just fabulous. She has an amazing voice and live she is wonderfully warm and charming and brave. Her encore "Poseidon" from her new album, was gorgeous--shivery and delicious (or as BookStud would say "new Batman-underwear good"--it's a long story.) I missed much of the new material at the beginning of the first set, but the band jammed through a couple of rousing covers, like a fierce "Meet Me in the Morning," and several songs off Hit the Rewind.

Piece of Your Heart

Go check out her website or MySpace.

Buy Debbie Deane at Amazon

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Live Show Tonight!
Debbie Deane is playing tonight
at 9 and at 10:30 at the Tea Lounge on Union St. in Park Slope.

Go see her!

Jennifer Hudson was on American Idol. I know some of you probably stopped reading right there, but for those of you still with me, listen to this song. It's great! Smoldering and passionate, her voice is huge and immensely listenable. She doesn't seem to have recorded much, but she is in the film version of Dreamgirls that stars Jamie Foxx and Beyonce. And if you believe the LA Times, gave an Oscartm-worthy performance.

Love Me or Let Me Leave

Some songs on her MySpace
A gazillion videos on YouTube

Buy Jennifer Hudson at Amazon
Such a good mashup here

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

You have the right to listen
Joan as Policewoman is Joan Wasser who has played violin and/or sang with The Dambuilders, Antony and the Johnsons, Scissor Sisters, Lou Reed, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright, and many others. Smokey voiced and quirky, she has an interesting '60s soul sound going on. She just played last night at Tonic, and I'd love to say I was there and it was a great show, but the truth is I only heard of her this morning and I haven't seen a live show since my friend Bob played at Bar 4 probably a year ago.


Another song and some videos at her website.
Some more very good songs at her MySpace.
A Beautiful Day

Lost in Your Inbox had the same reaction to yesterday and posted an alternate slate of misery. Interesting choices, especially the Andrew Bird.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The long-lost younger sisters of Jackie from Work Out
For today, thanks to BookStud, here are Tegan & Sara. They are Canadian of course and make incredibly fun '70s-tinged pop that is overwhelmingly infectious. They have toured with Neil Young, The Killers, and were in Lilith Fair and they have almost two million plays on their top MySpace song, so I think you will be hearing much more from them.

Where Does the Good Go?

Their website
Their MySpace
A contest of sorts

So I was considering spreading this out over a week, but thought it's best to get it over with. Here are my five contenders for the most miserable song ever. Not miserable in the sense of bad, quite the opposite, these are really some of my most favorite songs ever, but miserable in the sense of evoking a misanthropic--yet quite aesthetically pleasing--sense of despair. Are you with me?

The Smiths traveled a wide terrain from misery to melancholy, nowhere more effectively than on their last record: Strangeways Here We Come (Strangeways being a famously grim prison in Manchester.) Morrissey is certainly one of the few to challenge for that title of cleverest songwriter--one song I thought about putting up goes: "Hector was the first of the gang with a gun in his hand/ The first to do time/ The first of the gang to die/ Oh my..." essentially twee gangsta rap. So anyway here we have a supremely epic and lushly self-pitying example of what Morrissey continues to do so well.

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

Morrissey's website and MySpace

Buy The Smiths at Amazon

People forget that, despite being a trainwreck as a person and personality, Courtney Love is a ferociously talented musician, especially as a live performer. Live Through This was a great record, and "Miss World" a great, and miserable song (though with perhaps too much spunk and Gloria Gaynor-ish keep on keeping on sentiment to win this thing.)

Miss World

Courtney Love's website

Buy Hole at Amazon

If you've ever heard it, you had to know that "Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)" by Tom Waits was going to be on this list. Astoundingly raw and despairing, it turns out to have surprisingly literal roots. Tom Waits was apparently in Denmark in 1976 and fell for Mathilde Bondo, the (married) violinist of the duo Lasse & Bondo. They apparently spent a night out carousing and waltzing and Waits wrote this tormented paean to unattainable love. At other times he's said the song is about drinking too much and throwing up on your shoes. I prefer the former.

Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)

Tom Waits new single at Anti Records

Buy Tom Waits at Amazon

Another tale of a love triangle, Ani DiFranco's "Untouchable Face" is eternally startling in that unique Ani way. Also take note that this is probably the only of these five songs that is bombast-free. Another fabulous live performer, here is a live version I ran across which I think is different than the one on Living in Clip.

Untouchable Face

She's playing the Beacon Theater November 18th

Ani DiFranco's MySpace
Her record company Righteous Babe Records
Streaming Ani radio station

Buy Ani Difranco at Amazon

Poised to win hands down, I think, is Micah P. Hinson's "The Day Texas Sank to the Bottom of the Sea." Maybe you might lean towards the Waits with its poetic vigor and richness of imagery, but for pure and simple morose misery (not just the regular kind) the central image of this song is unmatched. Micah P. Hinson is well worth checking out and by chance his new album comes out today!

The Day Texas Sank to the Bottom of the Sea

Micah P. Hinson's MySpace
Hear the new record at Sketchbook Records

Buy Micah P. Hinson at Amazon

Out of the blue comes a new contender that I have to admit leaves me a bit startled. Portishead does have a rep for being gloomy, but I always thought that "Glory Box" was really, well, sexy. And thus, it doesn't seem sad to me in the slightest, but apparently others differ. Though I have to ask, what in this song is remotely as gloomy as:

Here's all that I have to give
I'll admit it's not a lot,
but it's all that I've got
to hang myself with,
in hopes that you'll take notice of me
I've been waiting so long
up in these trees
trying to hang myself with
thoughts of you
thoughts of me
I've been wishing so long, why can't you see me?

Well that's what makes horseraces right? So with a new contender, does that change anyone's mind?


Portishead MySpace
Their website
Videos on YouTube

Buy Portishead at Amazon

So tell me what you think! Let me know if you have any other contenders. Comment below!