Thursday, August 26, 2010


Last week dude released a 60-minute "EP," which you can stream below fo free, or buy for $5. Today Stevens announced the release date for his first proper full length since 2000s touchstone "Illinois."

"The Age of Adz," will be released by Asthmatic Kitty on October 12.
Preorder that shit here.

<a href="">All Delighted People (Original Version) by Sufjan Stevens</a>

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free MP3 download: Deer Tick "Piece By Piece, Frame By Frame"

Stream or download this stripped-down track by the circle-saw voiced Deer Tick, from the new-ish record "The Black Dirt Sessions."

Deer Tick "Piece By Piece, Frame By Frame"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2009 — the year in film — belated edition.

I've finally seen almost everything I wanted to from 2009, eight months after the fact. Some of these I saw more than a year ago, and some last week, so the frail memory is making this task difficult ... here is my much-belated, best-of 2009 movie list. Discuss.

1. District 9
2. The Hurt Locker
3. The Informant
4. Inglorious Basterds
5. Moon
6. The White Ribbon
7. A Serious Man
8. Gomorrah
9. Big Fan
10. Up in the Air
11. The Hangover
12. An Education
13. Bad Lieutenant: Port Call of New Orleans

14. Zombieland
15. In the Loop
16. Drag Me to Hell
17. Star Trek
18. Funny People
19. The Road
20. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
21. Fantastic Mr. Fox 

Meh :
Whatever Works
Observe and Report
The Strangers
Where the Wild Things Are
The Men Who Stare at Goats

Terminator Salvation
Transformers: Rise of the Fallen
Crank 2
The Box
Year One
Invention of Lying
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I Love You Man
Friday the 13th
Sherlock Holmes
Angels and Demons

Public Enemies
35 Shots of Rum

and hundreds more ...

Wasted Postage: Reports from the Netflix Theater

The White Ribbon (2009)
In the early 20th century, parents sometimes tied a white ribbon on a boy's arm or in a girl's hair, to remind of them of purity, innocence and most of all, obedience. It was one of the less oppressive physical acts of parenting imposed by the families eking out an existence in pre-WWI Germany's lingering feudal system. Michael Haneke's latest film explores the roots of extremism — how it festers in over-worked, envious and hungry communities that grasp at any straw within reach. The Germany, 1913 setting has obvious implications for the religiously and emotionally oppressed children in the film, who will reach adulthood by the time of Auschwitz. But the central story has been, and will be, repeated throughout cultures world wide, and currently presents itself in the Arab world, as Haneke has said in interviews. Still, the German setting adds more gravity to the events captured in stark black-and-white, as we begin to see the unintended consequences of the childrens' upbringing, and the parental denial.

The White Ribbon opens with a doctor returning home on his horse, only to be be thrown from his ride and nearly killed by a wire strung between two trees. The attempted murder is the first in several heinous and unsolved crimes, including the torture of the land baron's young son, that slowly undue the small farm town's sense of prosperity and unity. A meek yet competent school teacher is the first to sense and admit to the growing sense of horror and its true roots, but as with all unspoken truths, it's too much for the supposed leaders of the community to admit. B+

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
With a name as irreverent as Hot Tub Time Machine, you'd think the film makers would ditch more than just titular conventions. Instead, the 99 minutes following the title card are about as conventional as the '80s sex comedies and time travel flicks it occasionally tries to lampoon, but more often than not limply follows. You've got the ski-bum bully in the Zabka mold (just not quite as blond), and a plot that hinges on moments from the protagonists' past that set them into a lifelong pattern of loserdom, with time travel as an opportunity to change the course of their lives. And, of course, one nerdy character who insists in a responsibility to avoid the dreaded "butterfly effect." Rob Corddry is the most reliably funny as HTTM's Stifler, known here as "The Violator." Overall it's pretty funny — several '80s sight gags work as well as always, but the running jokes that get better with each reiteration are canceled out by an equal amount that don't, and the whole thing is hindered by regularly desperate grasps for hipness. B-

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Free MP3 download: Cloud Nothings "Hey Cool Kid"

This shows potential, but it's pretty rough right now.

Cloud Nothings is 18-year-old Cleveland resident Dylan Baldi.  Since recording songs in his parents basement in 2009, he's released a bunch of shit-quality tapes and vinyl singles this year.

Cloud Nothings is gonna tour with Fucked Up for a few dates and then release a proper full-length this winter on Car Park.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Free MP3 Download: Colleen Green "Worship You"

This song rules.

Lo-fi guitar gravel, by the shovel full.

Colleen Green "Worship You"

Via 20 Jazz Funk Greats

September: the best month in music since May

I've yet to settle my party line on music 2010: is it a year of mediocre workmanlike releases by older, established indie acts? Is it the year when millennials (ugh) finally gave up on the future and turned towards a half-remembered past via navel-gazing, stomach-turning nostalgia, manifested as self-indulgent bedroom-brat pop? Whatever it is, it surely can't be summarized in either of those sentences, or anything else that reductive. Hopefully several upcoming releases help fill in my Swiss-cheese best of list for 2010.

The Walkmen "Lisbon"
Sept. 14 (Fat Possum)
The classiest gents in the early 2000s NY rock revival, The Walkmen were largely an afterthought to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes, but Hamilton Leithauser and crew steadily refined their waltzing post-punk-meets-Dylan sound until releasing career defining effort "You & Me" 2008.
"Lisbon," due Sept. 14, promises to continue that hot streak with more sad trombones, warbly organs, dusty heartbreak and reverb-drenched guitars. I got his pre-ordered a vinyl, I urge everyone else to do the same.

Hear "Stranded" here.

Deerhunter "Halcyon Digest"
Sept. 28 (4AD)
Bradford Cox' first band has a restless ambition. Each album digs into more accessible regions of the record crate than the last for inspiration, meaning that Deerhunter's noisy, dissonant shoe-gaze of yore is slowly sounding more like his solo project's (Atlas Sound) sampled psychedelia. If "Revival," the first single from "Halcyon Days," is any indication of the record as a whole, Deerhunter's gone into full-blown '60s pop mode (with some subversive fuzz under the surface, natch). If the rest is anywhere near as strong, it could be an album of the year contender.

Deerhunter "Revival"

The Thermals "Personal Life"
Sept. 7 (Kill Rock Stars)
They wont ever make another album as incendiary as 2006's punk masterpiece "The Body, the Blood, the Machine," but not many others will either. That record still kicks my ass. Hutch has said in interviews that Cathy wrote songs for this record, a first for the Thermals, so we'll see where that takes them.

The Thermals "I Don't Believe You"

Other notable September releases:
Sept. 7
The Clientele "Minotaur"
Interpol "Interpol"

Sept. 14
Superchunk "Majesty Shredding"
Black Mountain "Wilderness Heart"
The Black Angles "Phosphene Dream"
Bear in Heaven "Beast Rest Forth Mouth"
Fucked Up "Year of the Ox" (single)
The Vaselines "Sex With an X"
Justin Townes Earle "Harlem River Blues"

Sept. 28
No Age "Everything in Between" 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Free MP3 Download: Ducktails "Hamilton Road"

One-man bedroom pop/psychedelia project (because we don't already have enough of those) Ducktails is Matthew Mondanile. He's gonna drop his latest, "Ducktails III," this fall on Woodsist. Here's a free sample. It's actually got a melody, hooray! I dig the cheap crackle of the recording, which is lofi for sure but not to the point where his voice sounds like Times New Viking.

Ducktails "Hamilton Road"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wasted Postage: Reports from the Netflix Theater: books to film addition

The Road (2009)
I still haven't finished Cormac McCarthy's source work for The Road, despite that it falls into one of my favorite genres — post-apocalyptic dystopian futures. But judging from the half I did read, John Hillcoat's film adaptation is about as faithful as they come. A nameless father and son wander a desolate landscape void of plant or animal life and dotted by dead treas. They push a shopping cart filled with their few remaining possessions — some crayons, paper, blankets, a few morsels of food, and a handgun with two bullets saved for the worst. They dodge cannibalistic drifters, stumble into a house of human livestock, and experience all other sorts of inhumane survival. It's nihilistic, grim stuff without an ounce of relief. Hillcoat was definitely the right man to bring McCarthy's hard-as-nails survival story to the big screen (everyone should check out Hillcoat's equally grim Australian western The Proposition). Despite reaching an unexpectedly emotional apex before concluding, when most of a film involves its main characters contemplating suicide, you're left wondering "What's the point?" B

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) This one also begs the question, what's the point? Not because it's a bad movie, it's actually pretty good, but because I already read the book. What's the point of watching a thriller/mystery when you already know where and when all the thrills end? It kind of kills the suspense. And as fun as it is seeing the pages realized on film, I kind of like my brain's version more. Of course, all of this can be said for any film adaptation. There's almost no way to judge it on its own merits, but I will try. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is perfectly cast, especially Lisbeth Salander, the emotionally disturbed hacker punk/private investigator who helps journalist Mikael Blomkvist look into corporate corruption, an ugly family secret and a series of brutal serial murders. I would even say that in its effort to translate the 600-page novel in to 2.5 hours of film, the required plot streamlining even improves upon some of the book. But again, knowing all the twists, red herrings and surprises ahead of time, I was bored at a few junctures. I'm guessing someone who doesn't know how it ends would like this quite a bit, so it's gonna get a B+. (An American remake staring Daniel Craig and a bunch of other people better looking than the Euro actors here is currently in pre-production, with David Fincher ("Se7en," "Zodiac") directing.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No Age album art revealed

"Everything in Between" will be out Sept. 28 on Sub Pop.

Like "Nouns," the artwork is striking, and designed by Brian Roettinger.

I think I dig "Nouns" artwork a bit more, but this will do.

Free MP3 Download: The Vaselines "Sex with an X"

The newly reformed seminal twee duo have returned, and here's a free download of their new song, "Sex with an X."

Best Coast - Crazy For You

Best Coast's much buzzed debut has been out for a few weeks, my buddy over at Esoteria wrote a great review here praising Bethany Cosentino's teen-dream songwriting and general weed-gauze (I think "noise-pop" is the critically fashionable term, but it's really not that noisy) aesthetic. I still haven't decided if this is for me, but I can't stop giving it second chances, so maybe there is something here. For those in the same boat, below is a full stream of the record.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Actual supergroups suck anyways.
That's it. The word "supergroup" has got to go, forever.
Everyone in every band was in a band of some sort before their current band. Unless your bandmates' previous groups were Wham!, B2K and Jet, your band is not a supergroup (jokes!). This rant was inspired by's description of the Thermals:

"A Portland-based supergroup of sorts, the Thermals originally featured Kind of Like Spitting's Ben Barnett, the Operacycle's Jordan Hudson, and Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster of the twee/folk-pop duo Hutch and Kathy and the All Girl Summer Fun Band."

I'm sorry, but pulling members from those bands does not make you a supergroup, it makes you every other fucking band on the planet. This phenomenon of pretending we know about every obscure bedroom recording artist on the planet before they make it (relatively big) with a different but just slightly less obscure indie act has got to stop. Saying this, I love the Thermals. This is not aimed at them. Calling every band a supergroup because its members were in bands before is just a not-so-sly way for writers to sound more knowledgeable than they really are, while at the same time making readers feel ignorant: "Wow, I've never heard of BooBooKittyFuck, and now its former members are in a SUPERGROUP?!?!? Wow, I'm really out of it."