Aug 21, 2006

Aug 18, 2006

Phonogram and Pelican

In the prologue to Phonogram #1, Kieron Gillen writes, “Automythology . . . is reaching for the iconic in our lives – both good and bad – and transubstantiating it into the immortal.” He goes on to explain that what makes he and his friends so special (and, in turn, all of us) so special is nothing more than a pop song turns us into “gods on the dance floor,” or in my case, in the bedroom mirror.

With Phonogram, Gillen has captured our shared religions. While our myspace profiles proclaim us both as atheists, we worship at the throne of the perfectly placed note, the careful turn of phrase, and the art of a great mix.

Main character and narrator David Kohl is a misogynist bastard, but he’s so sincere, witty, and informative about it that I’m forced to love him off the bat. I’m forced to love the comic for reasons already mentioned, plus there’s a Huggy Bear reference and McKelvie’s (Long Hot Summer) restrained brilliance. Appearing on the letters page doesn’t hurt either.

My original Phonogram post
Phonogram official site
Kieron’s blog
David Kohl’s myspace page
Image comics


Post-metal-sludge-instrumental act Pelican are going back on tour in September and their first date is right in the heart of America, St. Louis. The quartet (which is primarily composed of former members of Tusk) play music on the Oxes-side of Mogwai. They’re subtlety-devastating tunes can be found on their most recent release The Fire in our Throats Beckons the Thaw, the classic Australasia, and their eponymous EP. If you’re in the U.S., here’s where you can catch ‘em:

9/18/06 in Saint Louis, MO @ the Creepy Crawl
9/20/06 in Denton, TX @ Hailey's
9/21/06 in Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
9/23/06 in Tempe, AZ @ The Sets
9/25/06 in Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
9/26/06 in Hollywood, CA @ the Knitting Factory
9/27/06 in San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
9/29/06 in Portland, OR @ The Satyricon
9/30/06 in Seattle, WA @ Neumo's

Pelican’s homepage
Pelican on insound
Pelican on amazon


This week’s minimix

Summer at Shatter Creek “Your Ever Changing Moods”
Huggy Bear “Her Jazz”
Pelican “Australasia”
Magnolia Electric Co. “Leave the City”
Liars “It Fit When I Was a Kid”

“Your Ever Changing Moods” was one of those songs that got lost in the bulge of my iTunes library. The way it’s set up, single tracks are easy to ignore among full albums and Elliott Smith bootlegs. The Huggy Bear track is reposted in honor of Phonogram #1. “Australasia” is the title track and closer from the band’s first full length.
I’ve been thinking about Jason Molina a lot lately. His new album, Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go, releases Aug.22, and Fading Trails by his band Magnolia Electric Co. will be out Sept.12, both on Secretly Canadian.
I finally got around to watching the videos for Drum’s Not Dead, and band-member Julian Gross’s video for “It Fit When I Was a Kid” from Drum’s Not Bread is by far the best.

As always, I don’t wish to promote piracy. If you enjoy any of these tracks, please invest a little cash in the artist. Buy an album or download, or go to a show.

Aug 10, 2006

It's Tricky

Back in my early teen years, my step-mother bought me a subscription to Spin magazine on her daughter’s recommendation. It was a blessing, and not because my mother hated it so much. Living in small-town nowhere allowed little exposure to the alternative music I so loved, and Spin was one of my windows into that world.

I cringe to think that were I an adolescent now, M2 and Spin would be feeding My Chemical Romance and Sugarcult. In the mid-90s—amidst the alleged post-Kobain drought—I got Cornershop, Beck, Atari Teenage Riot, and Tricky. I can also vividly remember seeing the video for “For Real” on M2 back when it had no commercials and played different genres for each day.

In my nostalgic mind, Tricky represents a brief time in the 90s when no scene or style really dominated alternative music. One could make an argument that post-grunge schlock like Matchbox 20 and 7 Mary 3 or electronica (primarily big beat), lead by acts such as Prodigy and the Crystal Method, held sway, but from my chair, plurality ruled the day.

Now, it seems that faux-garage dance rock, 80s revivalism, and emo-pop punk are your only choices. I realize that’s short changing the contemporary music culture. With mix CDs and iPods, people’s tastes are as varied as ever. However a part of me wonders if Tricky could make it as a new artist today.

The answer is probably yes. Just look at acts like TV on the Radio, M.I.A., and the Streets, who owe at least a small debt to Adrian “Tricky Kid” Thaws, who was brought to us from the Wild Bunch via Massive Attack. I think we may have missed out on ATR, but some might count that as a good thing.


Tricky – “Bad Things” from Pre-Millennium Tension, his moodiest album and my fav.

Tricky (featuring P.J. Harvey) – “Broken Homes” from Angels With Dirty Faces, his most experimental work and a critical darling in its day.

Tricky (featuring Hawkman) – “Diss Never (Dig We Up History)” from 2001’s Blowback, Tricky’s big commercial effort guest-starring Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ed Kowlczyk (Live), and a Nirvana cover (“Something in the Way”). The album was roughly as successful as his previous releases and played a role in introducing the mainstream to dancehall. So you can blame Tricky for Sean Paul.


Tricky on insound
Trikcy on amazon
Tricky on iTunes

Aug 7, 2006

Sounds Alike, Vol 2: Man Man

When I first heard Man Man back in late 2004, I knew it was just the thing for those people who love catchy weirdo music, like Faust and Captain Beefheart. They even have wacko names like Chang Wang and Pow Pow. Unlike many artists in the pseudo-genre, Man Man isn’t shockingly original or painfully unconventional. They do sound like a drunken barbershop pirate quartet got lost in Tom Wait’s basement.
Download “10 lbs moustache” from their debut, The Man in a Blue Turban with a Face
Download “Vanhelsing boombox” from Six Demon Bag, one of this year’s best albums
You can download an mp3 of their concert with Fiery Furnaces at
their site.

Man Man is the Jim Carey to the Black Heart Procession’s Sean Penn. While both bands craft lush, sea-soaked melodies, Black Heart is more interested in wallowing in the shadows and storms. Remove singer Honus Honus’s gravel and Man Man’s “Skin Tension” could easily fit into BHP’s catalog. BHP’s “The Old King of Summer,” from their self-titled album, seems to be the inspiration for “Feathers,” the opener to
Six Demon Bag.

Download “Tropics of Love” from the Black Heart Procession’s fourth album, Amore del Tropico

One of the most instant references of Man Man’s music is Tom Wait’s unique brand of junkyard rock, specifically 92’s
Bone Machine. Man Man may be more tongue-in-check, poppier, and less pluralistic, but the attention to detail remains.

Download “Goin’ Out West” from Bone Machine, which was also featured in Fight Club.

Michael Jackson. You heard me. And not in the same way that “the Beatles influenced everyone, man.” Listen to “Smooth Criminal,” then go to
Man Man’s myspace and listen to “Black Mission Goggles.” Surely I’m not the only one who hears this . . .

Man Man on insound
The Black Heart Procession on insound
Bone Machine on insound

*Sounds Alike, Vol 1