Jun 25, 2006

Sounds Alike, Vol. 1: RIYL BYOP

This is the first edition of what I hope to make a regular segment here on Stoplight Sleep. In "Sounds Alike," I discuss some new and/or popular group and artists I see as related to them. In volume one, I focus on Be Your Own Pet, those Nashville teenagers with the hot new album.

Comparisons to YYYs are thrown around by people who probably work for Rolling Stone, or at least read it like it's anything more than fluff. It's also rather brainless to mention VU, Stooges, and Television. It'd be much harder to name bands that aren't influenced by them. I'd like to dig slightly deeper.

The Ssion hail from Lewisport, KY by way of Kansas City, MO. Listening to tracks from the Be Your Own Pet singles and EPs, I never noticed the connection. However, the new album instantly recalled tracks from Opportunity Bless My Soul, the band's 2003 album. The Ssion is loud and obnoxious, but also wickedly catchy. Listen and marvel:

The Ssion - "I Think I Got Something to Prove"

While listening to BYOP's self-titled album, I occsionally have to remind myself that it's not Huggy Bear, Bikini Kill's British cousins. The mixture of bullet-train guitars and scrambled-soul female vocals are trademarks of both. I think you'll find BYOP missing the post-gender evangelism, however.

Huggy Bear - "Her Jazz"

The combination of driving bass lines and screeching guitars barely held together by a drummer fighting for attention, such as found on "We Will Vacation, You Can Be My Parasol," invokes the most accessible moments of the Liars's classic debut, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top.

Liars - "We Live NE of Compton"

Today's Links
Purchase Be Your Own Pet on insound.
Purchase Opportunity Bless My Soul by The Ssion from Version City Records.
Purchase Huggy Bear's Taking the Rough with the Smooch on Amazon.
Purchase the Liars They Threw Us All in a Trench . . . on insound.

Jun 23, 2006

The O.C., minus the Barton

In the newest issue of Spin, Misha Barton is listed #8 on their 25 under 25 list. The blurb begins, "Were it not for her character's penchant for lesbian flings, booze, and bad boys, The O.C. would have been all about comic books and indie rock. Thank you, Josh Schwartz.

Anyone who has watched The O.C. has been exposed to some great music. If you'd like to know just what, you can hop on over to the site and check out the soundtrack for each episode.

It's also been host to many, although inconsistent, comic book references. During season two, Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) and co-star/fellow-comic-lover Zack Stevens (Michael Cassidy) begin a comic book club and even create their own comic, which they unsuccessfully pitch to Wildstorm.

The show has featured at least two references to Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-winning comic-related novel about two young men creating a new comic character in the mid-twentieth century. One of the men is gay. In one episode of The O.C., Seth compares himself and adopted-brother Ryan to the main characters of the book. This, along with some other references and details I won't bore you with make for some pretty believable slash fiction material.

Next time, I'll have some serious music and comics goodness. Until then, enjoy this:

Rufus Wainwright - California

Jun 14, 2006

Podcast Alley

The Comics Podcasts Network contains some of the best podcasts you'll ever hear. Basically, the site compiles every episode post from it's members, which include some of my favorite podcasts.

Comic Geek speak is one of the oldest and most prolific podcasts of its type. Several times a week, Bryan "Um" Deemer, Peter "Stump the" Rios, Jamie "Shiznit Pimp" D., Kevin "I'll probably misspell this" Moyer, Kevin, and Matt (I don't remember their last names) get together to talk recent issues, classics, comic-related issues, do interviews, talk trivia, make fun of Rob Liefeld, and do interviews. Speaking of, I got to be on episode 75 because I named their letter column. You can sometimes find me on their message board as Cascade. WARNING: These guys are huge nerds!

I Read Comics is my new favorite comics-related podcast. Lene Taylor, the self-proclaimed "
only woman with a comics podcast," reviews comics, rants on comics, and does comic-related interviews with her own unique twist. She often discusses feminist views on the medium and indie comics that you won't hear discussed on other podcasts. It's got everything from Donna Troy to gay porn.

I started listening to Comics News Insider because they interviewed Patton Oswalt, but now I'm hooked. They're podcast is basically news and reviews focused. Imagine a weekly TV magazine on comics and related issues.

Indie Spinner Rack is probably the loosest of the four mentioned here. The show has an organic feel, with lots of silly jokes and distracting editing. Like I Read Comics, you're likely to hear about stuff here that you won't hear on the other two. These guys know there stuff and have some friends in the biz. Plus their site looks spiffy!

Today's Links:

Patton Oswalt
Comics Podcast Network
Podcast Alley

Jun 6, 2006

Revenge of the Spektor

The Venger from Ronin Press

Local artist Tim Baskin will be handling all the art duties on Venger #2. The book should be out very soon. Until then, here's a preview . . .

. . . and a pinup!

Regina Spektor

Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor's fourth album, comes out on June 13th. Until then, there are all sorts of previews and media floating around the net.

Hear "Fidelity" and "Better" on myspace.
Watch the video for "Better."
Listen to another new track, "Summer in the City."

If anyone needs a different/smaller format, let me know.

EDIT: Speak of the angel. As I was working on this post, I received another Spektor-related link. Watch the beautiful video for "Samson."
This is a new version of a song that originally appeared on Songs, which seems to be hard-to-find now. The new version is slightly cleaner, but otherwise the same. Most of her stuff is also available on iTunes and you can stream it all on her site.

Today's Links

Regina Spektor homepage
Regina Spektor on insound.com
Buy Songs by Regina Spektor on cdbaby

The Venger blog

Tim Baskin

Jun 1, 2006

World's Finest

Exciting news: Stoplight Sleep is now on Hype Machine!

In celebration, I'm finally releasing the first Stoplight Sleep mix.

In Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Strikes Back, two of the best Batman stories ever, Batman battles the Man of Steel. While Superman sees Batman as a rogue vigilante, he apparently believes himself the chosen protector of mankind (and fascism). I've always been bored by the Boy Scout, and enjoy him most when he is evil/ambiguous/at odds with Batman. See also: Kingdom Come, JSA: Liberty Files, Infinite Crisis, etc. (With the exception of IC, these stories are out of continuity.)

In honor of one my favorite heroes (Batman) and one of my least favorite (Superman), I've compiled a few of my favorite Superman/Batman related tracks. I've posted a few of them for your downloading enjoyment. If you'd like any of the others, let me know. Enjoy.

1. Donovan "Sunshine Superman"
2. Black Star "Respiration"
3. Stereophonics "Superman"
4. The Jam "Batman Theme"
5. Sufjan Stevens "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Heart"
6. Forget Cassettes "Bruce Wayne"
7. Braid "Collect from Clark Kent"
8. Danny Elfman "The Batman Theme" from Batman: The Animated Series (and Batman, the movie)
9. Our Lady Peace "Superman's Dead"
10. Mogwai "I'm Not Batman"

1. This is a classic. The song also mentions Green Lantern. Who knew Donovan was such a nerd? Oh, I guess everyone.
2. On Black Star, Mos Def and Talib Kweli make several references to Gotham, Batman, and Robin in there exploration of New York Culture. "Respiration," one of the album's best tracks, also contains a sample from a documentary on 80s street/hip-hop culture which I can't recall the name of. The young gentlemen are discussing the train they tagged the night before.
3. Thanks to Ben Young for giving me this track.
4. I'm also aware of The Who's version of this song. I prefer the Jam's.
5. Like most of Illinois, this track is amazing. We listened to this as we left Metropolis, IL several months ago. This album had to be re-released due to the image of Superman on the cover. See, told you he was evil.
6. Forget Cassettes is a great trio (a duo when this was recorded) from Nashville, TN. I'm not sure how much this track, from Instruments of Action, has to do with Batman, but it's still dynamic and emotional.
7. I really enjoy the lyrics to this one. Leave it to an emocore band to make me like Superman. For a couple minutes.
8. If you've seen the show, you know how good it is. I got this off some site, but can't remember where.
9. I know, I know. 90s post-grunge/modern radio rock sucks. Lets call Our Lady Peace a guilty pleasure. Although I still say Spiritual Machines was a great album.
10. Early Mogwai and its least accessible. Again, as they explained in the documentary accompanying Mr. Beast, their titles have no meaning.

Buy these albums on insound.com:
Donovan's Greatest Hits
Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star
Stereophonics's Language. Sex. Violence. Other?
The Jam's Direction Reaction Creation boxed set
Sufjan Steven's Illinois
Braid's Frame and Canvas
Our Lady Peace's Clumsy
Mogwai's Ten Rapid

Most of these tracks are also available on iTunes. I've made an iMix for the tracks and will update this post when it's available.

Edit: The iMix is now available.