The best of Beychella. More »
Two icons of the ’90s, Alicia Silverstone and Alanis Morrissette, have teamed up for a cause that affects all of us (especially knowledge-worker types who have extra time on their hands to read blogs): Movies with no discernible purpose other than throwing a bunch of highly bloggable artists on the soundtrack and using those songs to score long stretches of dialogue-free “pondering” about “life.” (Oh, and their cutesy credit sequences give work to animators, I guess.) They teamed up to make a trailer for a movie called MY Mother’s Red Hat (you can already figure out the “plot,” right?), complete with soundtrack almost as long as its script—and Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk” soundtracking the commercial’s requisite “music crazily stopping to portray a crazy scene in the movie” bit. Clip after the jump. More »
Robin Pecknold, the lead singer of the harmonizin’ indie outfit Fleet Foxes, thinks that we live in the best of all possible musical worlds–and it’s all because of the invention of Napster 10 years ago! The Peck thinks that the download-happy music landscape of today will only make musicians grow more, and not result in people being overwhelmed by the choices they’re presented and burrowing into safe havens where they’re only confronted by things they know they like: “As much music as musicians can hear, that will only make music richer as an artform… I think we’re seeing that now with tons of new bands that are amazing, and are doing way better music now than was being made pre-Napster.” Yes, that’s right: Fleet Foxes are so, so over the whole “music from years ago” thing. They’re all about the now, man! So what records helped the 23-year-old Pecknold come to this earth-shattering conclusion? More »
I was all set to take Robin Pecknold of CSNoozY Seattle outfit Fleet Foxes to task for getting his stream-washed knickers in a twist and somewhat erroneously declaring on his band’s blog that “Fleet Foxes will never, ever, under no circumstances, from now until the world chokes on gas fumes, sign to a major label. This includes all subsidiaries or permutations thereunder. Till we die.” (Alas, no pinky swear.) But I guess a member of his drum circle who appreciates technology that was birthed after the 1970s tipped him off to Google, which could tell him that his current benefactor Sub Pop is 49% owned by Warner Music Group at present, as The Peck has since taken MySpace’s “you can delete whatever you post” suggestion to heart. (So let’s not even mention that his little band of brothers benefited greatly last week from exposure on Saturday Night Live, which airs on NBC, which just so happens to be owned by the big, bad behemoth known as General Electric! But I guess 30 Rock is funny enough for it to be OK?)
“Joining [Rosario] Dawson is the five-piece… More »
In case you were wondering what acts to watch for… More »
This is what you’ve all been waiting for, right?
THE GOOD: Nos. 50-41 would have made an awesome alternate-universe top 10, what with Marnie Stern, Ponytail, High Places, and Beach House all being within. Alas.
THE BAD: I will not quibble with the No. 1 choice and the reasons for its placement being wholly attributed to its comforting throwback nature (“The threads of Brian Wilson’s intricate coastal pop, Appalachian folk, modern indie rock, Grateful Dead jams, and other influences are masterfully synthesized in the band’s harmonies and simply orchestrated but constantly shifting instrumental arrangements”… “pastoral tendencies”); instead, I will just chalk its absurdly high placement up to “yet another reason why this year needs to be put out to pasture ASAP.”
THE WHAAA? Those who “follow” Pitchfork as a hobby probably won’t be surprised by any of the picks for the top 10—the fake ‘Fork top 10 posted by the NME earlier this week, which was reportedly based off the site’s highest-numbered reviews of the year, had a remarkable overlap with the real one. It even got No Age’s No. 3 ranking right! (The only album from the proposed top 10 that didn’t make the real one: Fucked Up’s The Chemistry Of Common Life, which came in at No. 17.)
If you enjoy baseless festival lineup… More »
It’s still a little strange to see top 10 lists now, but if it’s not too early for the onslaught of Christmas music to invade every public space I seem to go to, I suppose it’s OK to start trying to wrap 2008 in a cute bow. Which brings us to what’s apparently British music mag list day, with the once-entertaining Q and the real-rock bible Mojo battling it out to see, once and for all, which publication has better taste in American music.
THE GOOD: Both lists feature titles I assumed would have been on more lists already (Coldplay, Hercules & Love Affair, Drive-By Truckers, Portishead), so it’s nice to be validated a bit. Personally, I was happy to seerecent Pitchfork discovery The Gaslight Anthem on the Q list (No. 20), although the violent involuntary headshaking that ensued upon seeing Razorlight a spot below erased that brief moment of joy. Also, the Mojo list has a good number of British acts I’ve never heard of that I can proceed to champion for a few weeks to my unsuspecting friends on the basis of their American obscurity alone.
THE BAD: I suppose this is going to be a trend, but seeing the Fleet Foxes disc ranked near the top on both lists (Q, No. 2; Mojo, No. 1) makes me think that at some point in the near future I’m going to refer to 2008 as “The Year of the Bland.” I don’t mind the Fleet Foxes as much as some around here, but it’s hard for me to swallow the idea that this is the shining example of what’s great, exciting, and/or wonderful about music in 2008. When Rough Trade (the store) called the band “Seattle’s answer to CSNY,” they hit on an appropriate and damning description. (Even if the store’s list had Fleet Foxes at No. 2 as well.) I’m not someone who expects every bit of music I listen to be challenging aesthetically, but at very least, I expect it to be sorta moving. (See also Bon Iver: Mojo, No. 4; Q, No. 34.)
THE WHAAAA?:I say this as someone who actually enjoyed both of their previous releases to differing degrees, but having Keane’s Perfect Symmetry place as high as No. 12 seems like Q is trying to ham-fistedly apologize to British musicians for the deluge of American acts surrounding them. Speaking of Q and American musicians: John Mellencamp (No. 41)? Huh.