Category Archives: music

The Mae Shi

I visited Chicago this past weekend. I saw my friends Justin, Derek, Phil and Michael. I bought some tiny short shorts and rode around Lake Michigan. I also saw the Mae Shi at a new, non-profit and totally dope venue in the Chi called AV-Aerie. The Mae Shit completely owned it, of course, but that’s not what I’m really here to talk about

I was checking out Me Shi’s merch table when I saw this little gem:

It’s an 10″ EP from 2003 on Strictly Amateur Films called “To Hit Armor Class Zero”. Anything that references D&D gets a thumbs up from this dude. When I got back to the EL, I listened to it and it ruled. It’s the best Mae Shi release I’ve heard. The Mae Shit have the first two tracks from it up on their website, so I’m just going to jack those. They’re the best two anyway. Pure spastic punk/noise/rock fun time.

You Can’t Do That To An Axe
Summer in Gommorah

The Mae Shi’s current jam style is pretty different, and whenever their new album is released it will destroy all that came before it. Holla at their MySpace to get the hot new shit. They were on 5RC, which has gone under, so I don’t know what label it is coming out on. Some label better jump on this shit, as the Mae Shi’s time has come. They’ve brought more synthesizers and more hooks and now they sound like a cross between the noise-rock-goes-arena-anthem Parts & Labor and that positive young pop-noise scene in NYC (Matt & Kim, Aa, etc.)

Arthur Russell

American Athlete dug up this classic vintage Arthur Russell track. It’s a re-edit by Danny Krivit of Russell’s “In the Light of the Miracle” that stretches that classic track out to 14 minutes and doubles up on the funk. It was only released on a white label 12″ and has never been reissued.

And while I’m at it, here’s my favorite Arthur Russell song, “Little Lost”. It’s been a mix CD staple for me ever since I first heard it. This song (and the original version of “In the Light of the Miracle”) were originally released on the 1994 posthumous compilation Another Thought, which was recently reissued by Philip Glass’s label Orange Mountain Music

Little Lost (expired)

New Devendra Banhart single

So here’s the first “single” from Devendra Banhart’s upcoming album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Mountain. It’s called “Seahorse” and it’s 8 minutes long. I figured Devendra would be going in a more rock oriented direction on this album, but I had no idea that he would record a Doors song. He straight cops the organ line from “Waiting for the Sun” around the 3 minute mark and then starts singing like Jim Morrison near the end. But I love the Doors, and I love Devendra, and I love this song. I’ve often said that more people should rip off the Doors.

Seahorse

Javelin

I ain’t gonna lie. This is a revised version of a review that I wrote for a website that I used to write for. They never got back to me about it and, in fact, never got back to me about anything ever. I guess the review was just that bad. Or they didn’t like me raving about Justin Timberlake and My Chemical Romance in their end of the year review. Anyway.

One of my favorite things about the vinyl format is intentionally playing records at the wrong speed. The flipside of this is when I don’t know if a slab of vinyl is supposed to be at 33 or 45. When I first put on Javelin’s single “Oh! Centra” I tried it at 45, noticed some chipmunk vocals and then switched it 33 for the rest of the listen. I liked, flipped it over and listened to the b. A slowed down sample of M.I.A. saying “dit dit dit on your mobile phone” from her track “U.R.A.Q.T.” informed me that it was supposed to be 45. I flipped the disc, and listened to “Oh! Centra” at its intended 45RPM. And as good as it was on 33 it was better at 45.

Javelin are a duo from Providence, RI. They’re weird, naturally, but not in the usual Prov way. “Oh! Centra” is a chipmunk rapped ode to the winsome ways of a cat named Centra over an adorably bangin’ toy instrument beat. The obviousness/cleverness of flipping the usual hip-hop ode to pussy into an actual ode to a pussy cat is worked for every punchline and gag, both cute and faux-naughty, possible. Twee? Oh god yes. But twee that’ll make you sweat on the dancefloor, as Javelin seem to actually understand and appreciate the club side of hip-hop and (hopefully) not in the condescending white art school way.

On the flip is an untitled hip-hop workout of a post-DJ Shadow sample deconstruction sort. It’s not the indie pop/hip-hop gem that “Oh! Centra” is, but in reinforces my belief that these guys aren’t mere dilettantes.

Here’s their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/hotjamzofjavelin, where you can buy this 7″. Which you better do, because it’s fucking double rad.

here’s a hot jam:
Javelin – Oh! Centra (expired)

Travis Morrison

Travis Morrison and I have a very long history. The Dismemberment Plan were the band that got me into indie rock, which got me into college radio, which got me into a lot of things a lot more interesting than indie rock. In 2000, I was a college freshman and I saw a flyer that said the Dismemberment Plan were playing a local (Fayetteville, AR) venue called Clunk Music Hall. I had seen the name in the past month’s issue of Spin, so I fired up Napster and downloaded some tracks. I liked it. I ended up not going to the show and instead went to a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing on campus. But I kept listening to those tracks I got from Napster and became a huge D-Plan fan. I went to the local indie record store (Clunk Records) and bought Emergency and I and The Dismemberment Plan Is Terrified. I was in love.

Then, the D-Plan came back to town right after I had come back from school. My mildly interested brother and I drove up to see them. It was the first real “rock concert” of my life (I had seen a few lame local cover bands and a praise band or two in my tiny hometown, but this was the first proper concert). The opener was some lame band whose name I’ve forgotten, but Enon played next. They got the whole crowd dancing and churning and made an instant fan out of me. I didn’t know how the D-Plan could live up to that. But, of course, they did. And they did over and over again. I saw them seven times and each one was an amazing experience. And then they broke up, Travis Morrison went solo and things began to go downhill.

I was studying abroad in Japan when the Dismemberment Plan announced their breakup. I was worried I would never see them again, but they had a hefty “goodbye” tour scheduled and most of it would occur after I had gotten back to the States. Travis launched his solo website and the first thing of note he posted wasn’t a hot jam or even a lame jam. It was a defense of George W. Bush and his planned invasion of Iraq. It was then that I began to discover how Dylan fans felt after the motorcycle wreck.

Travis posted a few tracks on his website. The first, “Checkers and Chess” and “16 Types of People” were’t too impressive on first listen, but grew on me. Then he posted the atrocious “Song for the Orca” and followed that up with a downright unlistenable acoustic cover of “What’s Your Fantasy”. The frontman of one of my favorite bands, a man who had written lyrics that had pierced and broken my 19 & 20 year old heart in the most graceful and beautiful of ways, had reduced himself to jokey-frat-dude-with-an-acoustic-guitar-in-a-shitty-bar level covers of popular rap songs. It was Self Portrait, but it wasn’t on purpose.

I got back to the States and saw the D-Plan three times on their goodbye tour. Once in Cleveland (still one of the best shows of my life) and twice in NYC. And, despite the bad omens, I awaited Travis’s upcoming solo album. It came out, and it sucked five million dicks. It was bad. After I got over how bad it was, I stopped thinking or caring at all about Travis’s career.

Then, a year or so later, he played a bar in my town. I, and not too many other people, went. And in a shocking turn of events, it was really good. He had a new backing band that was great, but most importantly he had a bucket of new non-Travistan songs that were nearly as good as anything he had done with the Dismemberment Plan. He said he was working on a new solo album to be called All Y’All. I got really excited. But I never heard anything about it again. Every once in a while, it would come up in conversations with the friends of mine that went to that show. But that was it.

The Dismemberment Plan jumped back into my (and the Internet’s) consciousness with two shows done for charity. I downloaded the boots, they were great, but there was no new information about All Y’All. Then Pitchfork posted a news article about it and mentioned that Travis was streaming the new album on his website.

I listened and it was great! Not D-Plan good, but still really really good. Like, make the haters forget Travistan ever came out good. Like, career revitalizing good. Like, I won’t bring up your support for the Iraq war good. Yeah, that good.

I’d love to post and talk about one of the album cuts, but I’d feel guilty about releasing a stream-ripped mp3 into the wild only 2 weeks before the album drops and there will be plenty of error corrected 320s for everyone. So I’m just going to repost the digital single As We Proceed, which you can find all over that there internet. Lyrically, it is what you’d expect: personal anecdotes set to music, but with Travis’s cleverness always peeking around the corner. I’d like to say that it’s more mature, but Travis was never a immature songwriter to begin with.

As We Proceed
Stream All Y’all

Headed for the Ditch: A Michigan Tribute to Neil Young

Now that I’m not doing a radio show anymore, I’ve decided to turn this into an music blog. I’m not going in with any preconceived notions about what form of music blog it will take, I’m just going to post shit that catches my ear and take it from there.

Some facts about myself. The reason I no longer do a radio show is because I have left my home of 7 years, Fayetteville, AR, to go to grad school at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. I also count Neil Young as one of my top 3 favorite artists of all time (the other two being the Velvet Underground and Can).

So I moved to East Lansing a few days ago. And, after I’d gotten settled in a bit, I decided to check out the local hip record store, Flat Black and Circular. I’d heard good things and it didn’t disappoint. I was looking for some Harry Nilsson records when my eyes caught something on the “New” rack. It was this little number:

A Michigan tribute to Neil Young. I’d only heard of one of the bands on it (and I wasn’t really into them), but I didn’t care. It might very well have been awful, and I still wouldn’t have given a fuck. This was my new home state paying tribute to one of my heroes. It was like the whole state had just given me a welcoming gift and told me that they were happy to have me in the family.

I went home, set up my stereo system and put it on. And I was not disappointed. Every track was at least good, and a few were great. But it was the hand bound liner notes that really did it for me. The bands and artists told their Neil Young stories (every Neil Young fan has a Neil Young story). But the highlight was the story of how the comp came together, specifically this bit from the compiler John Krohn: “The second reason for making this record is to show the whole world how kick-ass Michigan bands are. Fuck New York, Portland, and Chicago. I’ve been to them all many times, and they’re cool enough. But I’m not trading Michigan for anything. Ask me about Michigan, I’d love to tell you.” Well, John, after listening to the amazing compilation you put together, I feel like you’ve already told me.

Here’s an mp3 of my favorite track off the album, “Southern Man” by the Casionauts. They have this track streaming from their myspace, but this mp3 is a vinyl rip. It’s not the best vinyl rip out there, as my laptop is kinda sketchy, but if it sounded too good, you might not buy the album. And speaking of buying the album, you should do that. It’s limited to 500 copies and they are on 180 gram vinyl and are in a nice gatefold cover. I bought mine at a store, but you should probably follow these directions and email lpvinyl@gmail.com.

The Casionauts – Southern Man (expired)
sample mp3 with selections from all tracks