Cryptacize – “Tail and Mane” [MP3]

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Cryptacize“Tail and Mane”

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There’s something irresistibly charming about Cryptacize. They’re just a little off and quirky in all the right ways.  Their sound is future forward and a throwback all at the same time – the purveyors of ‘smart rock’. One of my favorite covers of all time – ever – is their version of Steely Dan’s “Peg.”  It’s perfection.  “Tail and Mane” is a track off their second album, Mythomania, out now on Asthmatic Kitty.  The band has announced a tour, beginning with Sufjan Stevens and ending with The Fiery Furnaces. And their tour will literally end in San Francisco, November 20, at Slim’s with Dent May and The Fiery Furnaces rounding out the bill.

Stuck In My Head: The Sweet Serenades – “On My Way”

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The Sweet Serenades“On My Way

Those Swedes have done it again with more infectious powerpop to get your booty moving.  They’ve got the formula for catchy indie pop down cold.  And this Stockholm-based duo, The Sweet Serenades, are no exception. Their new album, Balcony Cigarettes, is out now on iTunes.  I’d tell ya more about the band, if I could read Swedish. So for now we’ll let their music do the talking.

Thom Yorke Starts A New Band….With Flea

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This hot off Dead Air Space, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has formed a new band – yet to be named – that features Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Beck/R.E.M. drummer Joey Waronker, percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Mauro Refosco, and Flea. They have two shows scheduled already, October 4 and 5, at The Orpheum Theater in LA. Interesting news indeed.

J. Tillman – “Though I Have Wronged You” + “Barter Blues”

I’ve been meaning to post this live footage of J. Tillman at Cafe du Nord recently performing a track from his latest album “Though I Have Wronged You” and one of my favorites from Vacalindo Territory Blues, “Barter Blues” for a while now. This show was the quintessential ‘slow jam’.  I just love the way they roll into ‘Barter Blues’ during the set, and the pedal guitar playing….awww, it’s like religion.  Watch it through to see J. Tillman worship it.

Trendspotting: Solo, Side Projects and Collaborations – Part 1

2009 seems to be the year of artists embarking on new solo efforts, side projects and collaborations.  It’s become quite a task to keep up with it all.  So much so I’ve actually created an Excel spreadsheet to track it. (But hey, I’m OCMD like that.) The proliferation of new projects and good music being put forth this year is astounding. And it’s a good thing.  It points to the positive – and much needed – evolution of the music industry.  This multi-part series will try to make some sense of it all by laying out the notable artists and projects released this year in all of their various incarnations. Enjoy.

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Artist: Volcano Choir
Album: Unmap
Type: Collaboration
Who’s Involved: Justin Vernon of Bon Iver with Collections of Colonies of Bees
Featured Track: Island, IS

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Artist: Lightning Dust
Album:Infinite Light
Type: Side Project
Who’s Involved: Joshua Wells and Amber Webber of Black Mountain
Tour Dates: October 6 @ The Independent in SF with The Cave Singers
Featured Track: “Never Seen”

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Artist: Julian Plenti
Album:Skyscraper
Type: Solo Project
Who’s Involved: Paul Banks of Interpol
Featured Track:”Fun That We Had”

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Artist: Brendan Benson
Album: My Old, Familiar Friend
Type: Solo Project
Who’s Involved: Brendan Benson of The Raconteurs (tho his solo work preceded it)
Featured Track: “Feel Like Taking You Home”

From the Vault: The The – “The Whisperers”

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The The“The Whisperers”

Good God there are some bands I crave sometimes and The The is one of them. Can anyone compare to Matt Johnson?  Why yes. After listening to the latest Thom Yorke 12 “, I was suddenly struck by the comparisons. Just listen to this track, ‘The Whisperer“,  from The The’s Naked Self 2000 album (their final studio album) and tell me if you don’t hear a little Thom Yorke wailing in there.

It makes sense though.  The UK band who formed in the late 70’s rose to prominence in the late 80s/early 90s with the release of Soul Mining (1983) and Dusk (1992), were quite the underground sensation. They even recruited ex-Smith’s band member Johnny Marr for a stint. So if you’re not hip to the sound, be sure and check it out. A wise man once said, ‘true happiness this way lies’.

New Thom Yorke: “Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses”

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Thom Yorke - “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses”

Thom Yorke has just released a new 12″ this week featuring two tracks, “Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses” and “The Hollow Earth”.  I was particularly drawn to this track and it’s back story of apparently being the predecessor to one of my favorite Radiohead tracks, “Reckoner”.  You can definitely hear it. Enjoy.

She & He…She & Him, It’s All She-at to Me

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Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson, “Break Up”

Oh my god.  The Hollywood egomaniacs are at it again. This inane celebrity combination features ScarJo with folk hero Pete Yorn. One might easily assume they were inspired by Zooey Deschanel and M.Ward’s She & Him.  But no, the duo drew inspiration from the famous ‘60s recordings of French chanteur Serge Gainsbourg and Bridget Bardot. Oh Pete, why’d you have to do it? Another victim of the muse. This is just getting tiresome really. But who knew something could make She & Him be so….credible.

The Purrs – “Sister”

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The Purrs – “Sister

Anyone with a penchant for that UK brand of paisley psychedelic rock will dig this unsigned Seattle-based band.  It’s the kind of sound I never get tired of.  And The Purrs fourth full length album, Amused, Confused & More Bad News, is full of those iconic UK influences – from Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, Oasis, and The Verve. It’s a well-worn and familiar path, but it feels really good. Slip it on and see for yourself.