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Posts Tagged ‘indie’

Oak and Gorski must raise $10,000 by this week (Oct. 1st).

They’re at around $9000. It’s pretty much an all or nothing deal. Please help them not fail. Thanks.

Oak and Gorski Album/Music Video/Press/Tour KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN.

After you make your “contribution,” watch Ed shave his luscious locks and donate it to a charity of your choice. And/or have Ken come to your place during their tour and give you a private cello lesson. (No innuendo. It’s an actual cello lesson.) Hell…BUY Ken’s cello off him if you can. These guys have. no. limits. Nor shame for that matter.

Help them out if you can. Please. It’s for a good cause. =)

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Originally published in the Daily Trojan. (No longer archived on the DT website.) This is also the unedited version I originally submitted. I didn’t have any problems with the changes my editors made…except for them altering the entire perspective of the article by changing it from present tense to past tense. (Also, they asked for 1000 words. I gave them 1900…so yeah…cuts/edits obviously had to be made somewhere.) But yeah…this is how it originally felt.

Ken Oak, in a white long-sleeve shirt, jeans, and slightly messy hair that covers his face a bit, sits in a dimly lit, small, cozy Los Angeles cafe near Koreatown, nervously fidgeting just a bit. Ed Gorski, his bandmate, dressed in a moderately wrinkled grey button-down, cargo shorts, and a scruffy beard, leans back casually in his seat, one arm hanging loosely behind his chair. Both have faint but noticeable bags under their eyes — effects of the successful release of their new album at the Hotel Cafe in downtown Los Angeles earlier this month.

They are waiting for this interview, and this article, to get started as the cafe barista very slowly prepares the three mochas. The drinks arrive, Oak sits up, Gorski remains in his casual pose, and the interview gets underway.

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You should like Coldplay because they jump around in boxes just like you do. Oh you don’t? Oh…well they do. So like them.

Say what you want about Coldplay, but no matter what you say, they do have legitimate song-crafting talent.

It’s almost a given that the cool indie kids all bash Coldplay. In fact, it’s become so ubiquitous that I think it’s come full circle; you’re now cool and hip if you’re brave enough to admit that Coldplay is actually pretty good…with qualifications, of course. One mustn’t forget the qualifications.

Whatever, without further ado, here is the reason for my post. It’s 3:25 AM and just before heading off to sleep, I stumbled upon the FREE new single from Coldplay’s upcoming album, “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.” Yes, I thought of Ricky Martin too.

I’m likin’ the song and I’m hoping the new album lives up to my expectations.

Song of the Day:

Go get the FREE single! It’s called “Violet Hill.”

Well, it looks like it’s no longer available for free. You can go listen to it though. Sorry if you, like me, didn’t know about this a week ago, and missed out (I got it last minute). I could just upload it, but I’m not testing the RIAA gods on this one. I’m sure they’re out like hawks. Hungry ones.

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I got this cassette tape image at http://says-it.com/cassette/. It’s pretty cool. You put what you want on the label.

I like songs with multiple parts or nice, abrupt but well executed shifts. It’s like getting two or more songs for the price of one. And while going through my music library to make a playlist of my favorite “medley” type songs, I decided I had more than enough to make a nice mixtape out of it. It’s been a while since I made my last mixtape (BDJ Volume 2 is nearly ready!), and I’m long overdue for another one.

So I am pleased to present to you all the first volume of the Melodious Medlies compilation mixtapes. This inaugural volume is culled from music mostly made in this millennium (there were a couple favorites I had to include). All of the tracks are filled with smooth and exciting transitions and bridges that connect their various parts. These multi-faceted songs will make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and they’ll make you want to hug your loved ones — then dance with them.

As I usually do with mixtapes, I tried my best to arrange the songs so they flow together as smoothly as possible. This one proved difficult because I didn’t know it was going to be a mixtape while I was compiling the songs in a playlist. But I’ll make no excuses. This mixtape is still bloody brilliant. I’m a pretty stingy guy when it comes to my iTunes song-rating system…but ALL of these songs are no less than 4 out of 5 stars…yeah…these songs are gooood.

Update: I just realized that the program I used to calculate the run-time of this mixtape is a piece of crap. The whole thing doesn’t fit on a CD (by about a minute)…which was a big disappointment to me. So, of course, I had to re-work the songs and make it fit. I eliminated a track (to be sneaked into a later volume) to make it fit on one CD, then I decided to take this opportunity to adopt the true cassette tape limit of 12 songs by making the last 2 songs bonus tracks that fit on the “B-Side.”  Those of you who downloaded the first, now discontinued, edition of Melodious Medlies – Volume 1 have a real gem in your hands. I’m sure 20 years down the road, it will be worth thousands, maybe millions, of dollars.

So from now on, Melodious Medlies will be made up of 12 main “A-Side” tracks with a “B-Side” of a couple bonus tracks. Both A and B-sides combined will still fit on a regular burned CD.

Now, wouldn’t it be awesome to make a mixtape with both the A and B sides filled to the brim? I agree…so I’m going to make my bigger “Bomb Diggity Jams” mixtapes 24 tracks, split evenly into A and B sides. A more relevant question would be: Does anyone but me care about all this? In a word, no. But I’m excited about it.

Tracklist for Melodious Medlies – Vol. 1

A-side:
1. The Beatles – “You Never Give Me Your Money”
2. The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show”
3. The Postal Service – “Brand New Colony”
4. The Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
5. The Format – “Dog Problems”
6. Sufjan Stevens – “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!”
7. Belle and Sebastian – “Your Cover’s Blown”
8. The Decemberists – “The Crane Wife 1 & 2”
9. Radiohead – “My Iron Lung”
10. Anathallo – “Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash)”
11. The Polyphonic Spree – “Section 24: The Fragile Army”
12. The Beatles – “The End”

Bonus B-Side:
13. Franz Ferdinand – “I’m Your Villain”
14. Silverchair – “Those Thieving Birds”

Download them all in a .zip file by going to the Divshare download page.

If you can’t download at the moment, or are too lazy and/or want to hear a sample first, here are the first 12 tracks streamed at my Muxtape page.

Why not stream the whole thing at Muxtape? ‘Cos 12 is the maximum number of tracks allowed on Muxtape — that being, more or less, the limit for one side of an actual cassette tape. I made my compilation with the CD-limit in mind…but I kind of like the retro cassette literal mix-tape concept. I might consider that for my future volumes…to pay homage to the mighty cassette tape.

Bonus Songs:

And just so no one rolls over in their graves or anything, I guess I have to give some representation to the O.G. experts at this multi-part song business:

Ludwig Van Beethoven – “Symphony #5 In C Minor, Op. 67 – 1. Allegro Con Brio”
Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky – “Piano Concerto #1 In B Flat Minor, Op. 23”

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Looking back on 2007 with the distance and perspective a few months provide, there are of course the bright spots and good memories that pop up. But it’s oftentimes the regrets and mistakes that we end up dwelling on. And I will share with you two of mine: Loney, Dear and Delta Spirit.

I missed out on these two bands for my fairly lengthy “Top 28 Albums of 2007” list.

Emil Svanangen, aka Loney, Dear (Photo by Peter Beste)
Emil Svanagen, aka “Loney, Dear” (photo by Peter Beste)

I’ll start off with Loney, Dear, which is the performing/artist name for Swedish singer-songwriter, Emil Svanangen. His music is a swirling mixture of light electronic lo-fi rock, each song built on layer upon layer of itself with things like tambourines, bells, xylophone, horns, accordion, harmonica, hand-claps(!), and other happy-endorphin arousing sounds. And his airy, endearingly (and not annoyingly) earnest voice floats in and out of the music throughout, accompanied by his team of back-up singers and musicians. Independent label Sub Pop have signed him and is distributing his back catalog as well. The current album is Loney, Noir and he is working on a new one as I write this. You can get Loney, Noir straight from Sub Pop.

I found out about Delta Spirit in a most unexpected way. Cruising through blogs one day, I came upon one of life’s biggest pieces of crap: auto-start music/video/anything on blogs. I clicked onto this obnoxious person’s blog and the music started up within seconds (luckily I didn’t have my volume turned up nor was I listening to any music of my own). So I reacted how I normally do, immediately moving my cursor to ‘x’ out of the blog…but I kind of liked the song. So I let it play out. Then I googled the lyrics which landed me on the band’s Myspace. I listened to a couple more of their tracks, then I took out my credit card to place an order for their album, Ode to Sunshine, which was released last year.

Soon after, I found out they were the touring mates of the Cold War Kids, who I enjoy quite a bit. It wasn’t too surprising as their sounds are somewhat similar: bluesy and stripped down yet still loud, with a raw, bare rock sound. But Delta Spirit have more of a country-folk twang (I think it’s the “twang” that sets them apart) to many of their songs, which adds a certain rustic, somewhat timeless quality to their music. They can certainly get you up and dancing too. The sample tracks I’ve chosen are the more upbeat songs, ‘cos I like them the most. You’re going to have to get the album to get the quieter, more folksy songs. Buy Ode to Sunshine from the band and receive a free poster!

Songs of the Day:

Loney, Dear – “I am John”
Loney, Dear – “I Won’t Cause Anything at All” /  (album link)

Delta Spirit – “Tomorrow Goes Away” – the song I heard on that blog
Delta Spirit – “People C’mon” /  (album link)

Delta Spirit – “Streetwalker”, off the I Think I’ve Found It EP, which is strangely unavailable anywhere except iTunes. So I don’t have the complete EP yet. I’d be willing to buy it off anyone willing to sell it.

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I have to get something off my chest and my conscience won’t be cleared until I set this right. I have been selfish…blatantly, wickedly, and immorally selfish. You see, there is this band that I adore and cherish very dearly.

First, let me introduce you to the band. You may have already heard of them, since the debut was released back in 2006. They’re called Quiet Company and they hail from the great musical mecca of Austin, Texas. The band’s actually comprised of just singer-songwriter Taylor Muse and a sort of revolving door of guitarists, drummers, bassists, etc that surround him (sort of like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, except Muse isn’t as “solo,” I guess).

Quiet Company
From left to right: Thomas Blank, Taylor Muse, Michael Delaney. Oh, Mrs. Taylor Muse, aka Leah, who took this and many other photos, happens to be a pretty good photographer.

After the first release, which Muse recorded almost every facet of all by his lonesome, there seemed to be a set, stable band lineup for tours and future releases. But from what I’ve read, they’ve been looking for a new drummer as well as a bassist. I think the guy on the left in the picture above, Thomas Blank, has been in the band a while though. (Going off their Myspace, the guy on the right, Michael Delaney, is that new drummer.)

But yes, Taylor Glen Muse writes well-crafted, soaring, complex-yet-pure pop music that leaves you smiling and feeling all kinds of elevated emotions. Yet, I’ve pretty much kept it all to myself ever since discovering him two years ago. I don’t know why I did it; I’m usually very open to share and discuss music with anyone.

The songs on the debut just draw you in. When I first heard the record, I hadn’t felt such a connection with an album for a while. It was sort of like my Precious… Well, I guess it wasn’t that I was being selfish…it was more me being very selective with who I shared this music with. I didn’t want to let just anyone know about the band only to have them simply disregard and forget about them, not loving/appreciating their music as much as I do. But that was stupid.

Now I am repenting of my wayward ways, and I am letting anyone who has been so unlucky as to be unaware of Quiet Company to find out about them. Here are some tracks from the 2006 debut album, Shine Honesty:

“Fashionabel”The build-up intro for this song is really nice.
“The Emasculated Man And The City That Swallowed Him”A coming-of-age anthem.
“Love is a Shotgun”This will be a small litmus test for my future relationships. I’m almost 100% sure that my future wife (if marriage is in my future that is) will love this song.

They are supposed to release a new album titled “Everyone You Love Will Be Happy.” I don’t know much more about it, but here are a couple of unreleased tracks I’ve found floating around the Internets that may or may not be on the album:

“Golden (master 12)”May be just a working title.
“It’s Better to Spend Money Like There’s No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There’s No Money”Long title, fun song.
“Our Sun Is Always Rising”I like how the most sentimental, mushy lyrics are masked by loud guitars and drums in the beginning…like they’re balancing it out. I found it a little funny, because I imagined that it was them almost sneaking the lines through to whoever the song was written for.

I remember reading on the band blog, back in November of 2006, that Taylor hated his day-job — especially the fact that he had to “stock dogfood and clean rodent shit.” I don’t know what the job was/is (pet store employee/exterminator?) but this is a travesty to me. Someone who made one of my favorite albums in recent memory should not have to “stock dogfood and clean rodent shit” while guys like Soulja Boy, Ashlee Simpson, or K-Fed make all the music they want and live it up like crazy.

You can buy the album HERE — I guarantee it will be one of the best investments you’ll make. You can also check out their Myspace to listen to more songs and find out tour dates and stuff. I leave you with the music video for “Fashionabel,” directed by Cameron McCasland:

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cans

Now THIS Is What I Call Music.

I was sort of getting tired of listening to the new Radiohead album (I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to it about 60-70 times now), so I decided to make a little mix-tape for my car (I left my cd’s in my non-rental car, which is being repaired at a shop that is kinda far away…and I’m lazy). I went through my iTunes library and put about 60 songs that I felt were “bomb-diggity” and put them in a playlist. Then I whittled that down until I felt I couldn’t cut anymore. Then for the final stage, I took those songs and rearranged and forced myself to cut a handful more of them so the compilation would resemble some form of “flow.” I did this until I had a group of 20 songs that would fit onto one audio cd (mp3 cd’s don’t work in the car). This got me the most select of the bomb-diggity jams I’m feelin’ at the moment. And then I was done and saw that it was good.

But I decided it was so good that it would be a sin not to share it. Hence, this post on my blog. (The download link is at the end of the entry, for you lazy people.)

Here’s a breakdown of the compilation:

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