This is the first song I ever heard from MMJ and maybe still my favorite. I remember it making my limited workout playlist back in 2002, when I had a pre-iPod mp3 player made by some company that I'm sure is long out of business. I liked Songs: Ohia more back then, preferring Jason Molina's plaintive yelps to Jim James's country yelps, or I hadn't really heard much Jim James. They've both been kind of left behind in my recent musical interests, but this song made it to my new iPhone and I heard it on the drive home from Maryland last night. It still works. And it's even better live.
Song: "O is the One that is Real" Artist: My Morning Jacket Year: 2002 Album: My Morning Jacket / Songs: Ohia Split EP
Absolutely in love with the new M83 album - or double album, a 22-song hunk of ebbs and flows that goes everywhere and nowhere, all at once, and together. It's a pretty amazing record for the first four tracks - the "Intro" that features Zola Jesus on vocals and the truly inspiring "Midnight City" that is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks of the year, then into the '80s era throwback "Reunion" (appropriately titled) and the short instrumental "Where the Boats Go." But it's the next song, the somber, seductive, heart wrenching "Wait" that really starts to elevate this album to greatness status. And then the next song is a little kid, or a girl sounding like a little kid, talking about frogs that kind of throws you at first but maybe even kind of works, I'm not sure, but it doesn't detract from the brilliance of the album, which just feels like a soundtrack to the night, to a party, to an adventure in a city that doesn't stop for sleep or dreaming but hearkens back to a time of yearning, of wanting, of hoping. Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. Check it out.
New Grimes from an album I don't think is coming out until next year. But hey, I guess that's just around the corner. Did I really hear the NY local news mention the word "snow" in their forecast for this week (higher elevations only)? Really? Really? Wait, when did summer end? Shit. Just enjoy some Grimes and let's move on. Visions is due in January.
The Good: Everything The Bad: No turn by turn voice directions on GPS included.
That pretty much sums up the amazing new phone from Apple.
I finally at long last became an iPhone owner last week, after years of waiting for Verizon to get a contract to sell the iPhone and then another 18 months of waiting for my Droid to be eligible for an upgrade. But I took the plunge, finally, and after the first day my only thought was how did I live so long with such inferior phones. Seriously, I know I'm coming pretty late to the show here but this is pretty much the greatest phone invented since Bell first invented a phone and pretty much one of the greatest inventions ever. Why? It's just so damned intuitive. Everything is in exactly the right place and everything just works. I know that's been Apple's motto for years but as someone still living in a PC world where nothing on my computer ever really works exactly as I'd like it's just an amazing feeling when a piece of technology is so easy to set up, so easy to use, and just blends so flawlessly into everything you want a smartphone to do -- and about a million things you never thought of it to do. I was pretty satisfied with my Droid and for the most part, it sort of has similar functionality as the iPhone and a boatload of apps but there were times, many times, where the Droid would just stop working for some reason and I'd have to remove the battery to reboot or it would lose signal to the GPS while I'm at some dangerous intersection in Manhattan or the Sirius XM app would just stop working right as Howard Stern was about to do something awesome. Little things that you just expect to have happen when you use technology today but that frustrate the hell out of you. Or at least me. The iPhone just feels and acts so much better made that I can't imagine that sort of frustration. I've had it less than a week so maybe it will start crashing a bunch and do stupid shit but I can't imagine that to be true. Everything -- so far -- has just worked.
There's something wrong with our democracy when a majority of voters support something so strongly but the petulant few who are running the government will not vote for what the majority wants. Even as our economy continues to flounder and Republican elected officials who were elected for the specific purpose of creating jobs in the economy but have not offered a single jobs bill in 10 months of "leadership", the following was the result of the Senate vote to simply debate a centrist jobs bill that vast majorities of citizens and voters (including majorities of Republican voters) support: 50 Democrats Yes, 47 Republicans + 2 Democrats No. That should have been enough to pass the bill but with the filibuster that the GOP has used to stymie all legislation that might have helped our economy over the past 3 years, they needed 60 votes. So it didn't even come to debate. And obviously it didn't come up in the GOP-controlled House. Again, something needs to be done with our political system to correct this. Thank god for the young people across the nation and world who are trying to get their voices heard via Occupy Wall Street. This chart below shows CNN poll results for each of the key provisions within Obama's jobs bill. The continued inaction by those in power on the jobs problem is fucking ridiculous. #ows
M83's first new album since 2008's throwback collection Saturdays = Youth comes out today and it's been eagerly awaited by much of the music world including me. I never found a leak of Hurry Up, We're Dreaming so I had to get my copy in physical form, which is sort of odd, it's been a long time since the first time I heard a new album on the actual release date. I kind of miss that I think. Of course, since I haven't actually heard the album before I wrote this post, I can't offer any kind of review. Here's the video for "Midnight City", though. It's got a cool "what if the Children of the Corn were X-Men?" vibe going on. Perfect for Halloween. Enjoy.
Canadian indie rocker Dan Mangan was in New York on Tuesday night for the early show at the Mercury Lounge and despite the time constraints (he could only play an hour show because another band would be coming on for the late show), it was an excellent concert, highlighted by the closing performance of "Robots" in the middle of the crowd, right next to me in fact, which was pretty damn incredible. Mangan as an artist caught my attention with the release of full-length debut Nice, Nice, Very Nice in 2009, an album that I kind of liked at the time -- particularly the singles "Robots" and "Road Regrets" -- but in the time that followed, I became even more impressed, as it has lasted on my playlists long after most albums released at the time faded from my memory. He's now touring in support of his 2nd album, the equally impressive Oh, Fortune, and his appearance at the small-ish Mercury Lounge might be his last NYC appearance at a venue so small, so I'm glad I got a chance to catch him. He said he'd played there a few times before but this was by far the largest crowd (the place was packed) and it was a very enthusiastic crowd indeed, with at least a dozen native Canadians in attendance around me cheering hard for their countryman. Mangan played mostly songs from the new album -- 6 of the first 7 tracks were off of Oh, Fortune, and they sounded quite good. I've had the album for a while -- in a physical copy, yes I still buy CDs -- so I knew all the new songs and I was glad to hear them. But I will admit that the performance of "Road Regrets" was probably my favorite of the show, at least until the close. Mangan shared the stage with another guitarist, a drummer, a bass guitarist who had a stand-up bass as well as an electric, and a guy playing the trumpet. He brought up a female saxophonist who he met at a northwest Canadian festival (I forget which city he said) where it's light out for 3 days and things get crazy. They threw her into "Some People", which she never heard before, but she did great and they really rocked out all kinds of crazy on that song, which was really cool because that was by far my least favorite track of his from his first album and yet it sounded great live. At the close of the show, though, Mangan decided to do what apparently he does frequently at the end of his shows (or maybe just for great crowds like us lol) and he climbed down from the stage with his guitar and the rest of the band and moved to the center of the floor (where I happened to be standing) to play his final song. One of the Canadian guys next to me got him a chair to stand upon, but it was a swivel chair, so he kept rotating him throughout the setup, which was really cool and funny, and then Dan said something like "We're going to do 'Robots' so sing along as much as you want, if you want to do it at the start that's fine." And that's what we did. An entire audience of -- I don't know -- 150 people standing in a circle around the band singing every word to the song in unison. And Dan was standing/rotating literally above me, playing his guitar and singing along. It was amazing. Great job, Dan and the rest of the band. Robots need love too.
About As Helpful as You Can Be Without Being Any Help at All
The Rural Alberta Advantage was the first concert I saw in 2011, back in March at the Bowery Ballroom with Pepper Rabbit and another band whose name I can't remember. It was an incredibly good show, perhaps the best I've seen this year -- and there is a ton of competition -- and they went on to tour the rest of the country and Canada (and maybe Europe too, I'm not sure -- as you can see I'm not doing any research for this post). Anyway, while I loved Departing before the concert, I fell even more in love with it after, finding semi-hidden gems like "North Star" that will be in my top 10 songs of the year, and the song stuck between my two favorite tracks on the album "Tornado '87". I had a tumultuous few weeks after that concert in my personal life and I was on a plane to Virginia for work at the worst possible time, stuck on multi-leg trip to get somewhere that takes less 7 hours to drive, and I was miserable, stressed, and angry at the world on the plane after a layover in Philly (don't ask) and when the pilot finally flicked on the "you can use your portable devices" alarm, I turned on my Droid to a show I was obsessed with at the time, United States of Tara, catching up on previous seasons' episodes I hadn't seen, and I watched "Torando", the season 2 episode of the now-cancelled series in which a tornado hits their Kansas neighborhood and the family and friends end up in the basement of the neighbor's house, a house that ends up being more significant as the season continues. The name of the episode comes from Marshall's obsession in the midst of all this nightmare with the misspelling of the storm on the local news channel, which ends in his calling the station to yell, clearly displacing his anger with his mother and his family and his "girlfriend" on the station's spell-checkers, in a funny turn on an otherwise serious episode. I don't know what it was or why, but the episode made me happy and although the stress of my life didn't dissipate exactly, or become displaced, I dealt a little better than before that plane ride, before "Torando".