Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Regina Spektor --- The Genius Next Door (Random I-pod song)

At first, I was quite resistent to Ms. Spektor, thinking...just another singing/songwriting woman with a piano. But, after some time, she has grown on me. She seems to have a genuine combination of talent and truly unique song-writing sense. Many dismiss her as self-consciously quirky. I say...give me more quirkly and less normal....any day.

The Genius Next Door is a song off of her most recent album FAR. This song is quite mysterious...even strange, but still wonderful. Far is a bit quieter than her previous release...a bit more introspective. Many of the songs are about fairly heady issues...God...etc. But, the details she can include in a song are both specific and evocative. And, ultimately, just beautiful.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Deathray -- Deathray (2000)

Sacramento's Deathray's debut album is one of those albums I kept seeing over and over at the used record stores. I always just passed it by, thinking it was just another nondescript late-90's indie album. Come to my surprise, this is a solid, fuzzed out, and quite quirky pop album. Think Squeeze meets XTC meets Badfinger meets Big Star. Okay, enough of the crazy comparisons. Just check out a few songs here and see what you think.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Roky Erickson and the Aliens -- The Evil One (1980)

Roky, like Syd Barrett, is one of those musicians who came out of the 60's full of potential, drug-addled, and eventually institutionalized as virtually insane.

His original band, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, were noted as contemporaries to Janis Joplin and rival Texas band, The Moving Sidewalks (later ZZ top). Roky also boasts Willie Nelson as a long-time friend. So why is it that no one knows who he is? Becuase he's pretty much nuts.

Nevertheless, he has produced some truly original music that should be experienced by anyone who has a taste for something off the beaten path.

Verbena -- Into the Pink (1999)

This is one of those albums that I picked up almost totally on a whim. I was wandering through Sonic Boom records near Freemont, sampling various cd's, and for some reason this one really caught my attention. It's also one of those albums that I will forget about for a year or two, then a song will pop up on my I-pod, and I'm listening to it all over again.

Verbena is probably best described as Nirvana/Sonic Youth influenced rock by way of the deep South. Many of the songs are hooky enough to sing along with, yet heavy enough to rock your head. I also quite like the way the snotty male vocals of Scott Bondy are counter-balanced by the somewhat sweeter vocals of Anne Marie Griffin.

I've never felt a dying need to go out and find their other releases, but, after listening back to this album....I might just have to.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gooby Dooby Doo...

I know everyone claims to be afraid of clowns and annoyed by mimes, but this trailer will make you hate and fear teddy bears. Behold....Gooby!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Most anticipated movie of 2009 -- Where The Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)

This live-action version of Maurice Sendak's beloved children's book has been in limbo for most of the last year. It looked like it would either never be released or possibly go directly to dvd. But, it has been revived. This week, the first official trailer for the movie was released and...it looks very cool.

Jonze seems to have achieved the perfect balance of nostalgia and wonder, with mostly non-CGI effects. Sure, this is only a trailer and could be much better than the film itself, but for now, I choose to hope the film will be great. >

View the trailer here:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Killing Joke -- Killing Joke (1980)

Many remember Killing Joke for their one semi-hit, "The 80's," from their second album. By then they were well on their way to 80's synth-pop obscurity. Unlike their later output, this first Killing Joke album stands as music way ahead of its time. The music here is both post-punk, goth, and pre-industrial. It is not hard to envision Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Big Black, and Skinny Puppy all listening and taking notes to this album. Killing Joke combines tribal beats, punk guitars, and metallic/robotic vocal effects for a strangely danceable, yet apocalyptic album. This is one bit of music that has gone nearly forgotten in the last 15 years. Check out a couple of songs and see what you are missing.


The Wait