Jun 30, 2006

The Comfort of a Persuasive Placebo

Sohui Won - Weird Objects For Weird Users? (2006)
Sohui Won offers some innovative products to help with Autophobic lonliness including a tactile texturized comfort phone, a mechanism for talking to and receiving responses from trees, and a device to make talking to yourself more efficient. You can see them closer at the Royal College of Art's exhibition website. Very little can rival the comfort of a persuasive placebo.

Psapp (yes, a silent P) is a UK melody machine you may find suprisingly comfortable if you remember the theme song from the popular television show Grey's Anatomy. Apparently following in the rhinestoned shoes of the OC, curators of new TV soundtracks are forging a unique outlet for hearing original, independent music... ironically in a medium known largely for its lack of artistic experimentation and consistent perpetuation of mainstream corporate norms. Regardless, Psapp is an interesting airy delight. The beginning of "Tricycle" even has me humming Whimaway Whimaway from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".

Psapp - Tricycle (mp3)

Psapp - Words (mp3)

Psapp - Make (mp3)

If the Grey's Anatomy theme song is what you're looking for, it's called "Cosy In the Rocket" and is available from the Psapp myspace. Oh, Meredith.

Jun 29, 2006

Pore-Popping Polish Pride

The Polish Ambassador - Devo (2006)
Just when the indie summer's spastically bleeping remixes seemed to be taking their first premature wane towards a more relaxed chill, The Polish Ambassador has landed to remind the locals that synths transcend temperature trends by remaining simultaneously hot and cool. David's alter ego lays bustling tracks that plug into the energy built by recent dynamic electronic releases from Hot Chip and Girl Talk. Hot Chip has already equipped the threat anthem switchblades for this summer's pale-hipster-gang dance brawls (West Side Story meets Krumping) and Girl Talk is evolving the party mix to replace fading Gnarls Barkley and Lady Sov manias... leaving The Polish Ambassador to refine an ethereal soundtrack as a less-expensive alternative to fuel our summer missions into video games, space, or the United Nations. Individually the efforts excel, but collectively they comprise a playlist so hot it makes my pores pop.

Polish Ambassador - Infiltrating the UN (mp3) [many more available here]

Girl Talk - Bounce That (mp3)

Girl Talk - Hold Up (mp3)

Hot Chip - The Warning (mp3)

A few fun new tracks (including Mos Def, Kovas, Lady Sov, Ghislain Poirier, and Vast Aire ft MF Doom) are being offered for FREE download through an innovative media compilation called "Chocolate Swim" courtesy of Chocolate Industries and Adult Swim. These sort of pervasive corporate sponsorships and brandings are something to keep your eyes on within the evolving outlets for digital music.

Jun 26, 2006

For Sammy Davis Junior Junior

Maria Friberg - Aware, But Still There [1] (2002)

I spent last week in DC and in transition: finishing up some projects and birthing some more, negotiating strategic power dynamics and personality traits, and adding new friends to my timeless cabinet of finely pedicured blessings and blossoming rockstars... all the while neglecting to deposit inspiring arts here for your pleasure. In the spirit of my pet crabs' new room-sized shrine and my unending struggle with structured reality, I assemble the following arrangement of musical offerings among Maria Friberg's dissections of power. Please comment with your thoughts so I know that you exist.

Victor Scott - Gotta Go (mp3)

Mates of State - Halves and Have Nots (mp3)

Sunset Rubdown - Stadiums and Shrines II (mp3)

We Are Scientists - Inaction (mp3)

Richard Swift - Lady Day (mp3)

The Unsacred Hearts - Somewhere Deep in NYC (mp3)

Jun 20, 2006

Madison Favorites

Vote "I'm Just Sayin Is All..." for your Favorite Local Content Blog in Isthmus' 2006 Madison Favorites Competition... as well as voting for your favorite local DJs and rock, country, and folk bands! But, all votes must be submitted by June 22nd!

And while you're voting, here is Imogen Heap's beautifully inspiring version of the classic ballad Hallelujah.
The same strateic, understated vocal electronics that made Hide & Seek one of the best songs of 2005 contributes to Hallelujah's emotional delayed tempo towards a fresh cover.

Imogen Heap - Hallelujah (mp3)

Jun 15, 2006

Jolie Holland: Accessible Elegance

Tyler Peterson & Kristof Wickman - Makeover [Ironworks] (2004)

Jolie Holland could be the indie musical equivalent of the centerfold in an all-natural issue of Playboy. In male chavenist terms, it doesn't matter much to me what she says because I remain in complete awe of the gorgeous manner in which she will say it. Draped in a style characteristic of raspy female jazz vocals, Jolie manages to be simultaneously accessible and embody an untouchable elegance. This ability is rivaled only by centerfolds whose photos are staged to convince everyman that she is the friendly girl-next-door, while remaining too beautiful for him to ever really meet. Fortunately the death of this metaphor comes quickly with Jolie using her medium with an artistic depth capable of speaking beautiful truths, like the one found amidst the lazy hi-hat in title track from her new album called "Springtime Can Kill You".

Jolie Holland - Springtime Can Kill You (mp3)

Jolie Holland - All the Morning Birds (mp3)

Jun 13, 2006

The Seventies Are The New Twenties!

Terry Allen - China Night (1985)

Shearwater would make sense flowing naturally from the rusty spigots of the north woods, much like rugged natural beauty seems to flow from the pipes of Jonathan Meiburg on the new release "Palo Santo". His quiet ramblings seem to sit contently on the grass whilst banjo-picked rocks are thrown melodically into a bumbling percussive river and an occasional falsetto swoops down to join the call and response. The subtle Okkervil River overlap is comforting, but not threatening because the group is able to retain an assured confidence in its ability to just be. Each progressive track manages to cast the scene in a slightly different light as sun makes its way over the tops of the trees... sometimes illuminating a majestic piano and others the motivating discomfort of an electric guitar. At the end of the trip, the adventurousness of "Palo Santo" is rivaled only by its consistency as a solid piece of new country-twanged indie rock. And the band's success only by my talent for dragging on extended metaphors.

Shearwater - Seventy-four Seventy-five (mp3) [myspace]

Jun 10, 2006

Love Songs

Banksy - Street Graffiti [Girl With Bomb] (2004)

Banksy is currently wallpapering his spray-paint-stenciled social commentaries within the pens of the caged, namely the streets of the modern UK. His characteristic rodents and confrontational politics are sprayed to directly confront literal pillars of power and those that regularly scurry around them.

Today I need a love song like an American CEO needs another dollar. Here are a couple recent tragically obsessive loves... including May's Bishop Allen track and a piece of fantastic new UK synth-driven jagged rock from Pink Grease's new 7" release out this week. The third is a pleasant number from a noobish Canadian outfit called The Paper Cranes whose young EP is currently being spread via a Canadian tour.

Bishop Allen - Butterfly Nets (mp3)

Pink Grease - Ordinary Girl (mp3)

The Paper Cranes - I'll Love You Til My Veins Explode (mp3)

Jun 9, 2006

The Daily Envelope

Nina Saunders - Autum Leaves (2006)

I have managed to make myself completely nocturnal and tragically undesirable to the corporate world. You can find me curled up in the shadowed womb of my closet, huffing spray paint and floating towards the solacing freedom of 4 o'clock in the morning. I don't remember how I ever lived without the envelope of witnessing both the sunset and the sunrise in one day.

The culmination of my last three weeks of consciousness is a surrealist mathematical formula I invented to counteract the debt that has recently consumed the last bits of my savings account. It sums all my unprofitable artistic efforts and philosophical commitments and multiplies the total by an unwavering egoist entitlement. If the majority of conflicts and personal unhappiness are caused by financial concerns, there must be a market for a psychologically-empowering creative accounting practice. Beautifully reassuring surreal solutions for the financially hopeless. I could do that for a living.

I've tried to sculpt the aforementioned daily trials into a mini-playlist that follows. Caroline captures the ethereal sunrise with her airy, timid beauty; Maritime shoots the day star across the sky with the manic activity of an aerobic summer afternoon; Rebekah del Rio tucks it into bed under a familiar blanket of unresolved loneliness; and Sunset Rubdown hides in its dreams.

Caroline - Sunrise (mp3)

Maritime - Tearing Up The Oxygen (mp3)

Rebekah del Rio - Llorando (mp3)

Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up, I'm Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings (mp3)

Jun 3, 2006

Antony & Our Robot Friend

Jeff Koons - Girl With a Dolphin and a Monkey (2006)

Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons is one of the most purely original male vocalists in recent music. Though his style has been pigeonholed as best suited to plodding emotional ballads about gender transcendance, a recent collaboration with My Robot Friend demonstrates an exciting potential for broadening his already dynamic repetoire. Although a glam disco track may not be the farthest leap from his persona, the electric upbeats are uniquely dancible and the screaming synths shade Antony's vocals with an even greater mania than usual.

My Robot Friend (featuring Antony Hegarty) - One More Try (mp3)

Antony & The Johnsons - Bird Gehrl (mp3)

Jun 2, 2006

Cold War Kids: Dusty Passion

Cold War Kids [more here]

The Cold War Kids knocked Tapes n Tapes off the stage last night with a stellar performance at the Annex that literally SCREAMED with passion. In the first performance of their new US tour, the Kids bounced from instrument to instrument yelping collectively from the gut about being wrung out and hung up to dry. More inspiring than the audio output was the group's genuine excitement, dusty folk style, and the piling of quirky individual dynamics towards a surprising synergy. Overall, The Cold War Kids could be the Southern equivalent of a chemically-sedated, early Modest Mouse fronted by Jack White. And I suppose that would have made my friend Beth and I the Wisconsin equivalent of a chemically-impaired, college-aged Mates of State fronted by Courtney Love.

Cold War Kids - Hospital Beds (mp3)

Cold War Kids - Heavy Boots (mp3)

Cold War Kids - Soloist in the Living Room (mp3)

I'm Just Sayin Is All... is represented again this week on Contrast Podcast. My submission to Podcast #9: Local is blog favourite Giddings For Love Who from Madison,WI. Check it out here!