Saturday, December 05, 2009

Most Elevato-nous Tracks of 2009

Elevato 2009 was very quiet. Anxiety over the future has been overwhelming. The majority of my internet output has been in 140 characters or less (see upper-left side of this blog).

So, I thought I'd bring it back to old bloggy and make some comments in an area that I am not qualified to speak on with any authority. Music. Then again, who needs authority when I can just say here's my favorite music of 2009! Warning: it's very poppy.

Also, I know people can't be bothered to read these things so I'll start at the top. After that, it's not really in any order. Enjoy!

1. Dirty Projectors: "Stillness is the Move"

I started using Twitter this year and I was advised to follow Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste. During SXSW he started going crazy about the new Dirty Projectors songs he was hearing, in particular this track. Through fuzzy youtube uploads, I was able to gleam what he was going on about. It just made perfect sense, melding minimal repetitive guitar noodling, sounding vaguely like an African mbira thumb piano, and the fact that people around my age grew up listening to folks like Mariah Carey and other R&B jams since we were kids. The simple lyrics play up the latter angle, making it a sweet indie rock r&b slow jam that is not as obnoxious-sounding as this sentence sounds.

Also worth checking out is this excellent cover version by Solange Knowles (Beyonce's sister) check out sources and pitchfork review here.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "Heads Will Roll"

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "Zero"

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs never do what I think they'll do, but whatever they do, they manage to make it sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Always fun, slightly abrasive and affirming. Karen O mesmerizing.

Lady Gaga: "Bad Romance"

In my circles, Lady Gaga is one of those folks that immediately got a raised eyebrow because she's mixed in with the regular pop trash that get immediate eyebrow raises once they get popular enough that non-teenagers hear about them. However, that eyebrow was eventually beat down by this song. People joke nervously over the weird opening "roma ma"s but then start to realize that this is going to be one particularly strange roller coaster of a song. It runs perfectly with swelling synths which become subdued (in a way that reminds me of Depeche Mode) when reaching the bridge ("you know that I want you"), all to explode in the hook of the chorus. There are some by-now-familiar sensationalist Lady Gaga bait lines in the lyrics (the "vertigo stick" "I'm a freak bitch, baby"), but rather than sounding like someone without a grasp of writing skills, it sounds like a commitment to her embrace of pop trash culture.

The video highlights this with pop cues suggesting everything from Christina Aguilera to anime girls to Britney Spears to Amy Winehouse. In general, she goes out of her way to give the appearance of Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond. It's pretty obvious she loves the stuff and is not unaware of what she's referencing. Of course this has caused your average mainstream fuckface to speculate whether she's a man. So in a sense, mission accomplished for accurately portraying the "fame monster" she's going for. But any idiot who just dismisses her because of these tangents is missing out and missing the point.

Camera Obscura: "French Navy"

I feel like at this point Camera Obscura can just turn on their Motown/Bacharach pop hooks like a switch. "French Navy" sounds effortless with big hooks and swelling strings.

Lily Allen: "Not Fair" (official video)
One of my favorite clips of the year was her performance at V Festival.

Lily Allen: "The Fear"

The Lily Allen single of the year has been universally "The Fear". It's a somber affair about succumbing to the trappings of celebrity and fame told with mock sincerity. The music doesn't really convey the "mock", but is still quite listenable due to its subtle hooks and grandeur. My favorite thing about the song that is not talked about in other reviews that I've seen is her line "I'll look at the sun and I'll look at the mirror / I'm on the right track, yeah I'm on to a winner" which are definitely a reference to two London trash tabloids: The Sun and The Daily Mirror (hard to catch when yr not British). Two tabloids from which you should definitely not be getting life advice from. Kudos, Lily.

My favorite track of hers this year is "Not Fair". I'm actually surprised that it didn't seem to make as much of a dent in the music sphere. It's a pretty biting critique of her bedroom-challenged boyfriend with excellent lyrics peppered throughout. I thought it was a lot of fun, extremely listenable, and full of the Lily wit. What was the problem? For some, the country music was a bit of a novelty. Maybe it was the fact that if she was serious about solving her problem, she should've talked to the dude instead of skewering him in song. That's probably why the dude had a problem in the first place.

The above performance from V Festival 2009 was amazing with an outro added on that sounds like it was enhanced by "What is Love?". And Lily looked amazing. Just saying.

Royksopp ft Robyn: "The Girl and the Robot"

Röyksopp - The Girl And The Robot from moho on Vimeo.

Synthpop perfection.

Alphabeat: "The Spell"

I wasn't really sure whether this belongs on this year's list. It's the first single of the pop-tastic Alphabeat's new album due for release next year. Their previous album provided excellent singles for 2008 with an 80s sheen (see my list for last year). Now it would seem that we're getting to early 90s dance: Snap!, C&C Music Factory, Deee-lite. Acts that made me optimistic for a dance-filled future full of idealism. "The Spell" definitely conjures up Deee-lite for me with Stine B taking the role of Lady Miss Kier. As reductive as that sounds, it totally isn't. The song shines, only stumbling when Anders SG sings his part to provide his half of the slight story of the lyrics. He's weaving magic, she's falling for it. An ancient and slight pop convention, but it works for this song.

An aside: One thing that I find hilarious in songs like this are lyrics like "Your magic / Has got me where I want to be". It's fixing a lyrical convention of the past where one person (usually the man) is working the magic that puts the other (usually the woman) under a spell that makes her do what he wants. But now we ensure that the thing that magician wants is helping the other person do something that they already want to do. Very beneficial for both parties.

Crookers: "Il Cattivo PLUS THUNDER"

What was already a great house track is enhanced by AC/DC's "Thunderstruck". "I WAS SHAKIN' SHAKIN' SHAKIN' SHAKIN' SHAKIN'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Future of the Left: "Arming Eritrea"

I miss McLusky. But I was heartened to hear this screed against Rick. Fuck Rick.

Best Coast: "When I'm With You"

(unofficial video)
A great garage pop track. Lyrically it stays simple until the haunting end. It's haunting to me because I don't know if it calls the lyrics of the first portion of the song into question. Also: KEXP's review.

Shakira: "She Wolf"

I love this track, I love the "awoo"s. You go, loba.

Phoenix: "1901"

Phoenix: "Lisztomania"

Dizzee Rascal wanted to party. I was totally with him.
The critical community was not.
Dizzee Rascal: "Bonkers" featuring Armand Van Helden

I thought "Bonkers" was perfect. It's insane and catchy. It just didn't showcase his lyrical skills. Still, so much fun! This V Festival crowd agrees.

Dizzee Rascal: "Holiday" feat. Chrome

Dizzee Rascal: "Dance Wiv Me"

Lonely Island was upliftingly hilarious

Lonely Island: "I'm on a Boat"

I can sing this entire song. Before the song came out, and I heard they were putting out a song called "I'm on a Boat", I had a feeling the song would be like this, but it was so much more.

Lonely Island: "Like a Boss"

Anytime someone wants to skewer a self-congratulating concept like Slim Thug's "Like a Boss", I'm on board.

Pardon for the poor editing. I'm too tired to deal with it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Comedian Aziz Ansari played RAAAAAAAANDY (with eight 'A's) in the movie Funny People. It was a great movie, but somehow I missed the fact that Aziz was playing that character. There was a lot going on in the movie. In any case, Ria had me look at Aziz's tumblr page to see his debut of Jay-Z's BP3 track "Hate" presented in mixtape DJ form with obnoxious yelling. The difference being it was him commenting on things like how he's making a turkey sandwich in mixtape DJ style. Hilarious.

Then I saw some clips called RAAAAAAAANDY on the side and was intrigued. They were promoting Funny People and had Aziz playing the character in short clips, MTV style, and doing live standup at clubs. It was so stupid, it was hilarious. He also had a DJ bolstering his punchlines with air horns and "RAAAAAAAANDY!" samples.

Watch! Though, it's not really safe for work. But it's worth the wait.

I'm only putting the first two. The third is ok.

As a debriefing, here is a clip of Aziz on Kimmel. He talks about RAAAAAAAANDY, Kanye, pudgy Indian kids. There's a great bit about him getting asked about being excited about the success of Slumdog Millionaire. Even though he's not in it, but there's Indian people in it. Which means that white people must be excited about the critical success of productions starring white people all the time. Hilarity. His impressions of his little cousins somewhat confirm what I immediately thought about the RAAAAAAAANDY character; that it reminds me a lot of young male cousins that I have. Not incredibly deep.


PS: Also, Parks and Recreation starring Aziz got picked up for another season (which I know is not news considering the season starts tonight) which is awesome. It felt like kismet when I am about to finish grad school in urban policy/planning and a show starring talented funny people comes out about it.

Update: Apparently I'm just pop culture-deficient. He described the character several times as Soulja Boy pursuing a comedy career. After finally hearing Soulja Boy, it makes perfect sense. Likely the lovechild of Dane Cook and Soulja Boy.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Better Off Ted

A cute and funny clip from Better Off Ted:

maw maw

Another great moment was when the legal department was coming up with explanations for hornets attacking a small percentage of women testing out a new cosmetic product. On a whiteboard was a list of possible explanations including "their pockets were stuffed w/ hornet chow". I laughed for a whole minute after catching that:

Initially I just wanted to post this clip because I love it. But I figure I might as well gab a bit about the show.

When the new ABC comedy Better Off Ted started its run this year, it was initially a difficult show for me to judge.

I like comedies with a bit of weird and the show was a bit non-traditional in that the setting is in a surreal corporate environment more detached from reality than other prime time shows. Other shows have surreal occurrences happening in real-to-life environments. Better Off Ted has surreal events happening in a surreal environment. I thought this would scare the salt-of-the-earth folks who give shows Nielsen ratings. Especially since a lot of jokes slip in through the dialogue or in the background. This was a plus.

The problem (for me) is that the show has a lot of narration from Ted, the lead character. He has to explain EVERYTHING. I can see this being a smart device to keep simple people from getting confused, but I can keep up with 23 minutes of light comedy. A lot of jokes were also (needlessly) explained away in the show, but I feel this is starting to come down a bit.

The writing is still pretty strong. Like I said before, it's a light comedy. It's not out there to completely weird you out or punch you in the stomach or otherwise test your limits like a cutting edge British comedy. It's still funny. In spite of the constant narration, the writers and actors really try and pack in the limited time with quality. In place of an opening title, there is a Veridian Dynamic (the corporation that is the background of the show) commercial; a parody of commercials from corporations selling themselves on a virtue when they don't seem to mean it.

Another plus is the strained friendship between Ted and Linda. You know they're going to get together but you won't know how or when. Linda is also a bit weird which makes her character compelling. Portia de Rossi plays her caricature-like boss character very stiff but in a surreal and comedic way. The hapless scientist duo, Phil and Lem, also have their moments as a bickering nerd couple.

As the season has moved on, I've grown to really like the show. It's almost like it had a chance to catch its breath. It's a bit more confident.

It has been renewed for another season which I think is great. The show's ratings seem to have declined over the summer after it was given a month off. I think TV needs a well-written comedy like this on the air.

Better Off Ted will be finishing its first season in August. Tuesday nights 9/8c.

Update: My vision of Hornet Chow (thanks to MS Paint).

Friday, July 03, 2009

CSS: Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above [Sub Pop]

Easily one of the best songs of all time.

"You're so talented
I'm in love
let's make love
and listen to Death from Above"

CSS: Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above [Sub Pop]

Sleater - Kinney: Entertain [Sub Pop]

Part of the "Let's watch decent quality videos on the PS3 and not crash the browser" Series.

Sleater - Kinney: Entertain [Sub Pop]

Madvillain: Rhinestone Cowboy [Stones Throw]

Part of the "Let's watch decent quality videos on the PS3 and not crash the browser" Series.

Madvillain: Rhinestone Cowboy [Stones Throw]

Camera Obscura: Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken [Merge]

Camera Obscura: Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken [Merge]

Camera Obscura: French Navy [4AD]

Camera Obscura: French Navy [4AD]

Mika Miko: I Got A Lot (New New New) [PPM]

Mika Miko: I Got A Lot (New New New) [PPM]

Röyksopp: The Girl and the Robot [ft. Robyn] [Astralwerks]

Even girls and robots have their problems. I love Robyn, she is made of charm.

Röyksopp: The Girl and the Robot [ft. Robyn] [Astralwerks]

Mos Def: Casa Bey

Mos Def recapturing the Greatness. Worry less about acting, keep doing this.

Mos Def: Casa Bey

Lily Allen: Not Fair [Capitol]

Singing a topical song over a random upbeat country-western track may seem like a "Whose Line is it Anyway?" routine, but yet again she has co-written a very catchy song.

Lily Allen: Not Fair [Capitol]

Future of the Left: The Hope That House Built [4AD]

Future of the Left continues and expands on McLusky's job of contributing the most biting and funny titles and lyrics in rock. "The Hope that House Built" continues in this proud tradition. I don't even need a song, just that title.

Future of the Left: The Hope That House Built [4AD]

Dinosaur Jr.: Over It

Dinosaur is awesome and cannot stop. They do not have the ability to stop being awesome.

Dinosaur Jr.: Over It

Major Lazer: Zumbi

Who's my favorite survivor of the secret zombie wars with lasers for hands? Major Lazer.

Major Lazer: Zumbi

Dirty Projectors: Stillness is the Move

Still one of the biggest surprises (to me anyway) of 2009. It's kinda like growing up on Mariah Carey and being in an indie rock band suddenly merged. A beautiful child of mixed parentage.

Dirty Projectors: Stillness is the Move

Major Lazer: Hold the Line

With Santigold and Mr. Lex. Exactly how I imagined it would be.

Major Lazer: Hold the Line

Wavves: No Hope Kids

Ah Wavves. Lots of talent which he uses to make lo-fi pop and terrible over-drugged live performances (leading to silly indie rock scandal). He's like a kid who gets in trouble at an expensive private school. All smoking in his school uniform where the headmistress can't see.

Wavves: No Hope Kids

SOnic Youth: ADD: Antenna

Sonic Youth on one of's shows, ADD. Good stuff.

SOnic Youth: ADD: Antenna

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson, "hearty condolences"

The impact is widespread. From the front webpage of Kerala's Malayalam Manorama. Who had to spread the news to grieving Malayalees. But more on that later.

MJ was pretty important to me, my youth was heavily shaped by his music. My first tape was a copy of Thriller that I stole from an uncle in Kottayam (Kerala) when I was about 5. He didn't really want to part with it, but I was a really obnoxious kid.

I was introduced to MJ around 1984 when I was really little and we were living in The Bronx. I'd stay at a neighbor's apartment who ran a sort of unofficial day care while my mom went to work. All the other kids were flipping through the channels on TV until they flipped out. They kept yelling about "Michaeljackson!" and I was confused. I sat down and saw a series of videos including "Thriller" and "Beat It". It was so frikkin cool.

Getting back to Kerala, I wanted to share some comments from Manorama's obit article. The purpose isn't really to make fun of the typos and grammatical errors (which is meaningless these days since all the comments below pretty much rival the internet language of most Americans on the internet for whom English is their first language). There's something very honest about what messages come through the linguistic and cultural divide. And I've been half-asleep copying and pasting them. The most repeated saying reflects the British English that Indians learn: "Hearty Condolences" (sometimes spelled "controlance", which I plan to use from now on).

So here's a tiny cross section of Kerala. From Thiruvananthapuram to Thrissur, from Kochi to Kozhikode, from Dubai to Dallas, TX and everywhere else.

Hareendran, Tamilnadu,
A legendary icon in the field of dance and song the world has ever seen. He won the hearts of people in the entire planet earth. He will be remembered ever. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Harikrishnan, Thiruvananthapuram
my dear jackson your deth is a big lost in the world and my hertly bless and we have last a great pop, u ralways in my mind until my deth!HAARRYS BEAUTY PARLOUR ,TRIVANDRUM,PATTOM

Anil, Kochi,
My heartly condolenc. I never forget his song about world inveronment. it is so buitifull.

Shyam, Alleppey, are the only best...The way you make me feel,you are not 'Bad'..your life is a 'Thriller',always you may 'Rock my world'....

Rajesh, Cochin
My heartly condolenc. Its very BIG loss of our world MUSIC. and i am deeply feared about his tragedy.

Sujan, dallas usa,
HOMAGE TO THE GREAT SON OF MUSIC Dallas Malayalee Association

Anish, Tijo ,Prajith, Kochi Infopark,
My Dearest , Michle Jakson My Herty Controlence. By Wipro Guest Block Staff

Arun, Kattappana,
Hearty Condolance dear Jackson... U still moon walking through our heart.


iam very sad in this morning becs of this shock . iam a big fan of MIC . I love you MIC....

Saheer, CALICUT,
we have lost a great artist.but i cant belive his death


Babee, Kottayam
My heartfelt condolence to the king of music....we love you...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

What are some of your biggest fears?

A while ago, Blog Owner Jonathan Airport and I were watching a reality cop show.

Cops were engaged in a road chase with some bad guy and were trying slow the bad guy's momentum.

Then the bad guy decides to try his luck with a side swipe of a cop car.

The announcer tells us that the cop's "worst fear was realized, when [The Bad Guy] rams him" with his car.

Now I know that this is a situation it would suck to be in. But we thought it was strange that the cop's "worst fear" was to be rammed by this particular man's car.

Did they meet before? With the bad guy saying to the cop, "I'm totally going to ram you with my car" and the cop is like, "that is my greatest fear, but only if you do it".

We puzzled over this. Wouldn't your worst fear be something like those nightmares where you wake up naked in class? Or about to fall off a bridge? Or being chased by an axe murderer? Or, after a while going down this line of thought, "like a rabbit stealing your penis"?

The cop tracks the rabbit through the forest. Suddenly there is a fluffy white blur near the cop's midsection. And the cop looks down with terror, wants to do something but knows it's too late.

Scene closes with cop on ground, eyes unfocused, trembling, covering his crotch with his hands, violently sobbing.

"his worst fear was realized..."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

please don't stop emusic

The excellent music subscription service, emusic, is raising its rates and cutting the number of downloads in subscriptions. Me sad. Also, I haaaaaaate people who comment on things like this and say "BYE" to whatever thing changed something.

Full text:
As those who know me are aware, I'm an avid consumer of music. This has meant shelves of CDs that hog most of the usable wall space in my room. I've probably spent way too much (I like to think that it's nothing compared to what I would have spent on a car had I ever owned one). Partly due to the money/space issue, I've gotten over my aversion to buying mp3s and I've been an emusic subscriber for a while.

With their continuous lures of 30 day trials with 30 free downloads (of individual tracks) and a well stocked armory of records from independent labels, I couldn't resist. They use a monthly subscription model at different pricing tiers (kind of like a health club).

A big plus is these are REAL MP3s. No streaming, funky file types, or DRM. The music is paid for and the cord is cut; it is mine.

I had a wonderful thing going. 90 downloads a month for $19.99. Ridiculous. Around $0.23 a track. A 12 track album would cost $2.67. Plus, I was grandfathered in past a rate hike. Of course it couldn't last.

Then came news of the impending arrival of some of the back catalog of one of the big 4 mega labels Sony, with "labels like Arista, Columbia, Epic and RCA - that means artists including the Strokes, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen and The Clash to name a few" according to the blog post of emusic's CEO. Which is great, that would definitely lead to some pretty good gains for me.

Unfortunately, also announced was the hiking of prices and lowering of downloads per tier. No grandfather clause either. Most probably having to do with pressure from Sony wanting some real money from the deal. I'm also going to speculate that it's probably so that emusic can pad out its razor-thin profit margin.

My sweetheart deal will now be 50 downloads a month for $19.99. Around $0.40 a track. A 12 track album would cost around $4.80. Not bad at all really, but still a bummer.

What is really annoying is a classic problem I seem to have with the billing periods: making sure you get your money's worth. Since monthly accounts go by 30 days instead of the same date every month, it's harder if you are trying to make sure you are using as much of your monthly downloads as possible. Multiple times I've meant to download albums in what I thought was the end of a cycle, thus using up my remaining downloads. But sometimes I couldn't make it in time.

It's sort of like how Netflix works from the customer's perspective. You think you're getting a deal by paying $20 a month and having 3 DVDs cycling in and out. But if you hold onto the DVDs, which it seems most people do, it's not much of a deal for you (though there are no late fees). You get more bang for your buck if you use it as much as you can.

So there is the constant feeling of missed opportunity. Which I hate. A year ago emusic had the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from 1964 - 1970. I was excited and thought about what the best attack plan was going to be. Then it was gone because ABKCO, the label controlling the music, got freaked out and pulled everything. I had downloaded nothing and looked back wistfully.

Well, I hope at least that this means the artists will be paid a better share.

So now here I am. Faced with a download cut, I look back at how many albums I could have downloaded using all 90 downloads every month. Lives could have been changed, the world's colors made that much brighter.

In closing:
So, as you can see, I'm kinda pissed (mostly at losing a rate that I had been grandfathered) but I'll live. Emusic subscribers are still getting a HELL of a deal. If you like indie music (and soon music from at least one mega-label), you are getting music at a good to really good discount than what you can get from Amazon or iTunes (again, this is IF you are using your subscription).

But as with any announcement having to do with anything on the internet has been the chorus of groaners. It's hard to know if these haters are actually individuals who utilize or interact with the subject in question since trolling has long become its own brutalist art form on the internets. The thing to do in a reaction to change is to say "BYE" or something short and similarly stupid-sounding. Hard to argue with that.

Even when it concerns awesome things like Conan O'Brien hosting the Tonight Show (some idiot on twitter actually said "Conan? Goodbye Tonight Show... YOU LOST ME!" to which I say "great" and why don't you lose yourself from society?). Or free iced coffee with a sandwich at Dunkin Donuts (for which I imagine: "I LIKE PAYING FOR ICED COFFEE. NO LONGER. EPIC FAIL. BYE DD"). Ah the rank smell of haters.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Little Boots

(Photo: Tom Oxley)
Little Boots Kicks Ass

i was reading a post at regaling the masses about the South by Southwest (SXSW) (the yearly super mega media explosion in Austin, TX that allows you to see all kinds of up-and-coming unsigned bands, crowd favorites, Metallica performing at a large BBQ (kinda hilarious), and forums on new ways of communicating through whatever medium possible).

I checked out acts mentioned like Ebony Bones (myspace) (check out "We Know All About U" and let it build up, find some live performances on the web, it's insane!), the ridiculous charm, fashion sense and legs of the woman in Chairlift (they did the song featured when Apple rolled out the new ipod nano), Kid Cudi blowing people up when he added the Crookers remix to his performance of Day N Nite (featured here before), amongst others.

I came across a mention of Little Boots who apparently melted the heart of the Pfork reviewer, Tom Breihan:
"Her nervous between-song banter and goofy onstage dancing both completely won me over, but neither one competed with her songs. This lady knows how to put a tune together; every track is a deliriously catchy wub-wub dance-pop machine, none better than the set-closing monster single "Stuck on Repeat". She reminds me a bit of Cut Copy, a vaguely awkward and totally likable person making songs that build up and break down at the exact right moment, working a crowd until it's built up to total hands-in-air hysteria. She knows exactly what she's doing.

Toward the back of the venue, I saw Perez Hilton dumbing out with what sure looked like genuine joy, and it made me hate that guy just a little bit less."

That's a pretty big endorsement.

Little Boots is a 24 year-old lady from the UK whose chosen moniker does come from Caligula. She is a semi-self-made up-and-coming popstar that's been making the internets rounds for over a year now. She writes her own stuff using keyboards, synths, and now a Tenori-On (a ridiculously awesome synth machine that you'll see her use in the videos below), with a skill and ease that has made her very popular online.

She has been playing music for most of her life (she's 24) and had come into fame recently by performances at her house uploaded to youtube (Little Boots youtube). She does originals and covers and displays some pretty good pop chops, propelling her in youtube rankings and allowing her some publicity. A number of British media outlets named her a pop act to follow in 2009. Thus I did and was impressed.

She has a heartfelt love of pop music as you can see from her "funtimes" selection of covers and she can pull the tunes apart pretty well so that she puts her own signature on them with her keyboard and synth arrangements. Sometimes her little brother helps her with drums.

Her new album will hopefully drop by the middle of the year. (For the US) In the meantime there is a downloadable EP that's come out on emusic, iTunes, and AmazonMP3 (see details at the end).
As mentioned before, a huge single for her has been "Stuck on Repeat" (produced by the dude from Hot Chip) which to me sounds like all the wonderful electro bits of Kylie Minogue, Depeche Mode, and Saint Etienne blended together:
Listen here: Little Boots Myspace
and Live at SXSW 2009 or Live in Aberdeen

Another big song out is "Meddle" (the original version which you can also hear on her myspace page). A performance of this song in her room (see here) landed her on the front page of youtube. The producers of Later... with Jools Holland (preeminent UK music program) decided to put her on performing on a bill loaded with big name talent. What you get is this great and buzz-building performance that is less of the dancefloor but shows off her skills in a very effective way with a piano, Tenori-On, stylophone (what she uses a stylus on), and handclaps.

Little Boots "Meddle" live on Later... with Jools Holland

What finally possessed me to write this was seeing a youtube clip of her whipping out her Tenori-On and effortlessly doing a cover of Hot Chip's "Ready for the Floor". One of many excellent covers:
Little Boots "Ready for the Floor" (Hot Chip cover)

and for comparison if you didn't know, one of the best songs last year:
Hot Chip, "Ready for the Floor":

So, I like. Judging from whatever clippings I've amassed, she seems like a pretty cool person and I hope she gets some success and puts out her album soon.

Last Call with Carson Daly performance and interview via Perez Hilton

The FADER cover story

Pitchfork interview

BBC 6 Music Hub Session (Jan 2009)

MTV Spanking New Sessions

New York Magazine interview
Little Boots - Arecibo EP:

emusic: sample/buy (hint: you can get a trial membership and free downloads) (I recommend sticking with it. I'm a subscriber and it's an amazing and super affordable service if you enjoy indie music).

AmazonMP3: sample and buy here

iTunes: Little Boots - Arecibo - EP

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Nowhearmeout: Where's Me Jumper?

Because content requires effort, I present another rehashed old Now Hear Me Out post of mine. More poignant because the group seems to have died. Enjoy!

"It's alright to say things can only get better, YOU haven't lost your
brand new sweater.."

Now, hear me out,

Sultans of Ping FC: "Where's Me Jumper?"

Back when I was a happy-go-lucky admin working at the Joslin Diabetes
Center, I got to listen to music at my desk at a pretty loud volume.
It was awesome. I would tune in to BBC's online station 6 Music. It has a good mix of indie-
ish"alternative" music, old and new. It was miles and miles (or
kilometers and kilometers) better than the soul-sucking mainstream
rock radio here. It also clued me in to songs that were classic tunes
for the UK indie pop crowd. The station helped to prepare me for
visiting Carolyn in London and sounding knowledgeable with the cool
kids at her school.

It was through 6 Music that I became aware of an obscure Irish group
from the 80s-90s called Sultans of Ping FC (their name seemingly a
brilliant play on the Dire Straits song "Sultans of Swing") and their
big 1992 underground hit "Where's Me Jumper?" It is a song about a man
that loses his jumper at the disco. You could dismiss it as a novelty
comedy single, but I think that it is just part of the rich history of
Irish/British indie pop.

Primer for Americans:
a jumper is a sweater. i did not know that.

This song always makes me smile. Especially when I imagine how the
video would look if I directed it. Particularly when the singer is
listing the individuals who would be "so, so angry" at him losing his

The song has managed to stay in people's minds to this day. A few
years ago a renegade art and culture movement in the Irish city of
Cork had called itself "Where's Me Culture?". The website is gone and
I don't know if it still exists, but there's a t-shirt.

Well, that's it for me today. I'm just going to click this button...
wait, what's that noise? Its... its... no, it can't be! aaaaaaaagh!



Monday, February 02, 2009

Now Hear Me Out: Jan 26 2009

Some of my friends started a google group dedicated to shouting out our beloved songs, new and old. It's called Now Hear Me Out. It's not really public. Part of the its raison d'etre is to be able to show your love for a song or songs without judgment. Just an occasional thumbs up. While this may kind of limit discussion and people are forgetting to post because of the continual internet habit of starting things and forgetting about them (see my friend Elliott's KC Royals Super Fan blog which will soon be celebrating 3 months of inaction), it still has the ability to compel me to regularly post.

So I'll try to carry those posts here. Here's a recent one (I was a little tipsy when writing this):

Swedish pop. Name the Pet: "Get on the Bus"

Now hear me out,

Don't you wish getting on the bus was this much fun?

Super simple. Very danceable.

Very unlike the local bus the last time its service quality was

Damn Scandinavians. Always lookin out for their people.

while i'm on the subject of this Name the Pet, I want to also shout out her collaboration with The Sound of Arrows, "Falling"

You know, I'm a cynical jaded... cynic, but gosh i wish i had this kind of enthusiasm (esp as shown in the video).

I'm a Scandinavian in my heart. A Welfare State in my soul.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Personal Hilary Duff

Ok, so I'm months behind on this one, but what can i do?

Seriously? Even Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" is ready to go and be the background for a modern pop song? I know this isn't exactly an old or original fad, but I'm always amazed at how kids respond to music sampled from songs I liked when I was a kid.

What a job it must be to make hit songs from hit songs. Its like those people who make money from money. I wish I could.