Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dark Was the Night

Going off of my recent Dirty Projectors obsession, I must shed some light on the newly released "Dark Was the Night" compilation. The Dessner brothers of the National joined forces with the Red Hot Organization who promotes HIV and AIDS awareness. Huge names are involved with the tracklisting of this album in cluding the following:

"Knotty Pine" - Dirty Projectors and David Byrne – 2:23 (mp3)
"'Cello Song" (Nick Drake) - The Books featuring José González – 3:54
"Train Song" (Vashti Bunyan) - Feist and Ben Gibbard – 3:02
"Brackett, WI" - Bon Iver – 4:03
"Deep Blue Sea" - Grizzly Bear – 3:46
"So Far Around the Bend" - The National and Nico Muhly – 3:43
"Tightrope" - Yeasayer – 3:18
"Feeling Good" (Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse) - My Brightest Diamond – 3:54
"Dark Was the Night" (Blind Willie Johnson) - Kronos Quartet – 3:51
"I Was Young When I Left Home" (Bob Dylan) - Antony Hegarty with Bryce Dessner – 4:55
"Big Red Machine" - Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner – 4:39
"Sleepless" - The Decemberists – 7:54
"Stolen Houses (Die)" - Iron & Wine – 1:07
"Service Bell" - Grizzly Bear and Feist – 2:23
"You Are the Blood" (Castanets) - Sufjan Stevens – 10:14

"Well-Alright" - Spoon – 2:46
"Lenin" - Arcade Fire – 4:06
"Mimizan" - Beirut – 2:43
"El Caporal" - My Morning Jacket – 3:33
"Inspiration Information" (Shuggie Otis) - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – 4:06
"With a Girl Like You" (The Troggs) - Dave Sitek – 3:27
"Blood Pt. 2" (Castanets) - Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti) – 3:36
"Hey, Snow White" (Destroyer) - The New Pornographers – 4:26
"Gentle Hour" (Snapper) - Yo La Tengo – 5:31
"Another Saturday" - Stuart Murdoch – 2:56
"Happiness" - Riceboy Sleeps – 8:37
"Amazing Grace" - Cat Power with Dirty Delta Blues – 3:34
"The Giant of Illinois" (The Handsome Family) - Andrew Bird – 4:45
"Lua" (Bright Eyes) - Conor Oberst with Gillian Welch – 5:54
"When the Road Runs Out" - Blonde Redhead with Devastations – 3:28
"Love Vs. Porn" - Kevin Drew – 3:57

This compilation is exceptional to say the least. The incessant acoustic guitar on the first track featuring David Byrne and Dirty Projectors is amazingly simple. While TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek does a tremendous job with his Trogg's cover. This album is truly a jem in the pile of releases from this year already. The album was recenlty performed in its entirety at Radio City Music Hall.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Arnold Palmer: Great American Hero

As quite possibly one of the best deals on the market today, Arizona Ice Tea 24 oz. beverages are convienent and satisfying. They're perfect for hangovers or just for casual companion during a meal. With such a wide array of flavors they have so much to offer and are consistent with their types of teas, lemonades, and juices. For me, the hands down winner is the Arnold Palmer series. With the mixture of half lemonade and half iced tea, they have truly come up with a winner. These drinks are available at most corner stores and thankfully for UML students, at the campus book store. The greatest thing about these drinks are their 99 cent price tags. How could you lose?

Top 3 favorite Flavors:

1. Arnold Palmer Half & Half Green Tea

2. Mucho Mango

3. Green Tea Red Apple

Get into it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dirty Projectors

This is a band that initially I heard about and made an awful face because I thought their name was pretentious and that they probably were not that good. However, I was firmly mistaken. Dave Longstreth is one of the most ingenious arrangers and songwriters that I have heard in the last couple of years. Channeling some David Byrne is his quirky deliveries and vocal styling, Longstreth has made his band known with their compelling and versatile live performances.

The first time I realized how incredibly talented the Dirty Projectors are was when I saw the live video for the title track off of their album Rise Above. Their harmonies were frighteningly clear and their presence was subtle, yet intense. Longstreth along side Angel Deradoorian and Amber Coffman keep you listening with their offbeat rhythmic harmonies and delightfully contrasting vocal styles. Stillness is the Move EP has just recently come out as a prelude to their upcoming LP, Bitte Orca. The title track is something worth sitting down for. They are also touring with TV on the Radio this summer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Metric's new release, Fantasies, is not necessarily a let down but certainly a bit disappointing for the almost 4 year wait. Some songs were released during the fall via the Myspace show they played. However, some versions of those songs did make their way on to the final cut of the album. The song "Twilight" was performed with a full band performance originally, but on the album it became a solo Emily Haines and keyboard track. Haines, who most recently found some more success with her own album and tour in between albums seems to be channeling those same feelings with the rearranged "Twilight Galaxy." I found this to be most unfortunate.

Anyway, this album does not lack the typical Metric hooks that may not grab you initially, but over time begin to replay themselves in your head. Three tracks that were played at summer shows like All Points West and Coachella, include "Satellite Mind," "Gimme Sympathy," and "Stadium Love," remained in their original form on Fantasies. With my first listen, I felt like the melodies were redundant and lyrics were kind of empty, which was kind of ridiculous because they posted a video just before the album's release explaining how Emily needed to escape in order to write "better" lyrics.

They didn't let me down though. It is definitely not their best by any means, but it is a Metric album. It plays a cohesive united blending elements from both of their previous releases Live it Out and Old World Underground.
The first single "Help I'm Alive" I thought was a dud when I heard it on the myspace stream before the album even came out. After a few listens on the album, I changed my opinion and it is now one of my favorites on the album. I guess I'm a sucker for some electro-acoustic grooves once in a while.

That is what Metric is good at, for the most part. They don't write songs that pull you in close right away. The songs that I have loved by Metric over the years take many listens to fully appreciate them, for me anyway. "The Police and the Private" off of Live It Out is tucked away into that record, but it was another reason for me to keep listening to them even after I thought that "Glass Ceilings" would be the only song I would like.

So when you start listening to Fantasies, don't sit down hoping for your new favorite album. Instead, just keep a close ear to find some hidden jems that may be your new guilty pleasure. It isn't one of my favorites of 2009, but it is a dance-pop record.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hipster Mecca of the Summer

The All Points West Festival was held at Liberty State Park last year as one of the new three day summer concerts. The line up last year included Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Animal Collective, Metric, Chromeo, CSS, The Roots, Jack Johnson, and Duffy. 

The line up this year has one upped itself. They include an excellent variety of old classics and promising new talent. The first day consists of the Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Vampire Weekend for the mainstage headliners. Tool, My Bloody Valentine, and Gogol Bordello are the bigger names for day two. For a third day, they round out the schedule with Coldplay, Echo and the Bunnymen, and MGMT. 

This show is one of the few summer multi-day events where the bro and hipster community can join forces in harmony. Though I was not present for some "Banana Pancakes" last year on day three, I did become aware of Radiohead's unfortunate draw from bro culture. The tickets are $199 for a 3 day pass, and a single day will cost you $89. However, you will need to not only buy your ticket for the concert, but a ferry pass for each day is necessary as well, which will run you about $30.