Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Curse the Traced Bird" by Spires That in the Sunset Rise

"Curse the Traced Bird" was released in 2008 on Secret Eye Records.
This album, for all intents and purposes, is just awful. I stumbled across the band while searching through Wikipedia pages about psychedelic folk. This album is not psychedelic folk. This album is more of a soundtrack to a peyote-fueled vision quest than a psychedelic folk album. It alternates between explosions of atonal racket, haunting vowely female voices with an occasionally identifiable song (with words and structure and stuff) thrown in for good measure, or at least to snap you back to reality before that dragon gets a hold of you.

From the 'Net: Awesome People Hanging Out Together

GZA and Bill Murray, image from APHOT
Awesome People Hanging Out Together is the best celebrity-gawker website around. It's not catching them with cocaine and hookers, or losing their minds any kind of super-public and career-ending way. It's pictures of them hanging out with their friends and colleagues. It was difficult to choose just one picture, as there are copious amounts of awesome shots, but the one at right with GZA and Bill Murray just about sums up the website. Moments of honesty and camaraderie where you would least expect it. One picture shows Michael Caine obviously having just told a successful joke to Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson at a bar, while another shows Trent Reznor, Jon Stewart and Marilyn Manson just hanging out. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you check this phenomenal website out.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Media News: The Sims 3 Announces Pets Expansion Pack

Earlier today, EA Play announced the latest addition to its Sims 3 Empire, the Sims 3 Pets expansion. It seems that in the new, open map style Sims 3, the Pets expansion has been upgraded to include horses. As with the previous similar expansion pack for the Sims 2, it seems you'll still be able to customize and create dog and cat breeds, or breed in game for other, unique results. The interactions, however, seem more intricate than before, but then again EVERYTHING about the Sims 3 is more intricate than the Sims 2. In any case, the expansion will be released Fall 2011 on all major consoles and yes, even PC and Mac. See the video below:

Media: Alec Baldwin's Political Campaign

On May 27th, Alec Baldwin became the latest in a long line of celebrities to jump on to Twitter. With his upcoming departure from 30 Rock now visible on the horizon and speculation of his political ambitions confirmed by even himself, it seems that now is a good a time as any to separate Jack Donaghy, the ultra-conservative cut-throat Reagan-ophile with the real Alec Baldwin, a leftist Hollywood-type that makes a lot more political sense than his character does. About two hours ago, he unleashed a fury of tweets clearly outlining his political stance.

"A Thousand Heys" by Mazes

A Thousand Heys was released April 12th on Fat Cat Records
Every now and then, a band comes along that occupies a space neatly between nostalgic and refreshing. Mazes is that band. Recalling the brash alt-rock of the 1990's, Mazes manage to adroitly sidestep the perils that befell 60's throwback band The Redwalls. That is to say, Mazes celebrate the 90's alt-rock without copying and pasting or confining themselves to song and rhythm structures that guide the genre. While calling it truly inventive would be a stretch, Mazes breath new life into the genre and in doing so create a highly-recommendable album.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Myxaroo: Myxem Goes To Bonnaroo; Walk the Moon

Let me start by plainly saying that I love Walk the Moon, so when I was perusing through the bands playing the other stages at Bonnaroo and found they were set to play not once, but twice on Saturday, I got super excited. Their music is the type of music that almost demands to be shouted back by a crowd as they bounce up and down. Every song just drips with pure energy, and with their tight world-music-esque beats, you can almost be certain that their live show will be one of my personal Bonnaroo highlights. What's more, to even further excite me about their live show, aHumanPerson Productions has been following Walk the Moon around lately to film some of their performances. You can check out the whole web series here, and aHumanPerson's twitter here, but one of my personal favorite songs from the album, The Liftaway, is performed live below:

Walk the Moon will be playing Friday, June 10th at 4:30pm at Cafe Where? and later at 7:15pm at the Sonic Stage. If you're going to Bonnaroo, I had better see you there, because this is certainly something I recommend you don't miss.

"When You Grow Up" by Priscilla Ahn

When You Grow Up was released by Blue Note on May 5th.
Female singer-songwriters typically have two directions: the brash, racy woman and the saccharin-sweet, adorable girl. That’s why Priscilla Ahn’s When You Grow Up is disarming; it is equal measures of both. A dash of sugary-sweetness with a pinch of lasciviousness delivered in immaculate style through jangling guitars and superb songcraft.
The album suffers, however, when departing too far from that style, and though I cannot say that there is a “bad” song on the album, there are certainly some that I enjoy more than others.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NC Natives Lost in the Trees Added to ATP Lineup

By request of Elephant Six's reclusive mastermind, Jeff Mangum, Chapel Hill, NC natives Lost in the Trees have been added to All Tomorrow's Parties already stellar lineup. Lost in the Trees have really blown up in popularity lately. After signing to Anti-, they played some excellent sets at SXSW that were picked up by NPR. It's great to see deserving bands getting respect, and when that respect comes from Jeff Mangum, it means even more.

From the 'Net: Literally Unbelievable

Every now and then, you happen upon a blog that really sums up the decay of western civilization. Sometimes, it is Regretsy, the ultimate DIY craft failblog, other times its something like Literally Unbelievable. The goal at LU is to collect overreactions to the latest news stories from The Onion, the fake newspaper. I don't know what it is most people miss about The Onion being a satirical newspaper, but after reading through Literally Unbelievable, it is certainly our gain and their loss. See example below:

From Literally Unbelievable

Moogfest 2011 Announces Initial Lineup

One of the most exciting new festivals of last year was Asheville, NC's Moogfest, a 3-day celebration of the spirit of legendary synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog. Last years festival brought acts such as Panda Bear, Girl Talk, and MGMT to a handful of Asheville's venues. Today, Moogfest has announced the initial lineup for their 2011 festival, and it's quite impressive: the Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, and Tangerine Dream gill the three headlining slots while the undercard includes other acts that owe a debt to Moog's innovations such as Chromeo, Crystal Castles, and influential electro-punk-rockers Suicide, performing their groundbreaking 1977 eponymous debut in its entirety. The festival takes place October 28-30, 2011 and ticket prices range from $149.50 to $379.50 and will be on sale starting Saturday, June 4th. Check out the lineup so far and get more details at

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Boardwalk Empire Season Two Behind-The-Scenes Trailer Released

HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, set in the world of Prohibition-Era Atlantic City was last year’s breakout success. After taking home a fistful of awards, from a Writers Guild nod for Writing in a New Series to Steve Buscemi’s Best Actor Golden Globe, the news of a renewal for a second season was not really news. Anyone who had seen this magnificent period drama revolving around Buscemi and crew’s vice-and-corruption style political machine knew that this would be the next big thing from HBO, who desperately needed a crime drama to fill the gaping hole left by the Sopranos. Aided by screenplays from Terence Winter, the Emmy Award-winning screenwriter from the aforementioned Sopranos, and a pilot directed by none other than Martin Scorsese himself, the show started with a bang and kept getting louder. Recently, HBO released a 2-minute-or-so glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work going on for Season 2. Via voiceover, they explain the plotlines they intend to follow while showing clips of dailies and some brief, dramatic dialogue from a few of the episodes. See the video below:

Coachella to expand 2012 festival to two weekends

Arcade Fire were just one of the headliners at Coachella 2011
In an effort to help prevent quick sell-outs like with the 2011 festival, Coachella has recently announced that in 2012 the festival will be expanding to two weekends.  That's right, Coachella is going to take the same lineup and reproduce it two weekends in a row.  With massive headliners like The Strokes, Arcade Fire and Kanye West playing in 2011 one can only imagine what kind of names the festival is going to be drawing in 2012 now that they've opened up another entire weekend of music.

"Dig Up The Dead" by Mansions

"Dig Up The Dead" by Mansions was released on
April 5, 2011 on Burning House Records/King Bones
Christopher Browder is the voice behind Mansions and it’s never rang out with more honesty and poignancy than on his latest release, “Dig Up The Dead”.  “Dig Up The Dead” clocks in at just over a half hour, but it’s filled from top to bottom with incredible lyricism and songs that are crafted into sonic rollercoasters that are usually driven with Browder’s acoustic guitar at the core of each piece.  Browder has broken the barriers that prevent songs from being both emotive and catchy, each song on this album is a brief glimpse into the reality of Browder and it’s a truly invigorating listen.

Media News: Dragon Tattoo, Don't Be Afraid Drop Trailers

So, word on the street is that the Americanized Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig, had a red-band trailer leak earlier today. I finally hunted down a YouTube copy and immediately became at least twice as excited for the movie as I was. I said I'd never support Americanized versions of anything after a string of real hack-job remakes, but Let Me In totally changed my mind about that. This trailer took it a step further and not only can I support Americanizing movies, I can now enthusiastically endorse them.

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Take Care, Take Care, Take Care" by Explosions in the Sky

Released on April 26, 2011 on Temporary Residence Limited

Post rock is a strange animal: hard to describe as a genre without making it sound like elevator music or the backdrop for a nature documentary, yet immediately recognizable whenever you hear it. For years, one of the biggest names in this bizarre little subgenre has been Explosions in the Sky, an instrumental quartet from Austin, TX known for their larger than life crescendos laced with searing effects-driven guitar work that speaks volumes by itself without vocal accompaniment. Explosions in the Sky have risen to prominence in recent years thanks to frequent use of their music in movies and television shows, the raw emotion and epic-minded melodies in their songs a natural fit for world of film scoring.

"i want! i want!" by Walk The Moon

i want! i want!, self-released November 26th, 2010
In the early days of summer, it is always encouraging to stumble across new music that will shape the tone of the remaining warm months. That’s why finding Walk the Moon has been an absolute delight. This album is, for all intents and purposes, one of the best summer records in recent memory. The lead track and first single, Anna Sun, actually made it to the top of Esquire Magazine’s summer songs list. Evoking the early-2000’s indie-pop breakthrough acts (Killers, Thrills, et. al.), Walk the Moon manages to one-up their influences with deftly written synth lines and polyrhythmic beats reminiscent of Vampire Weekend’s world-music bend.

This album grabs you from the beginning with an unassuming intro and then erupts into layers of pulsing bass lines, adroit synth work and the crisp, explosive crunch of guitars. While Anna Sun sets the bar high, this is the sort of album that consistently exceeds expectations.