July 2007

Okkervil River, a longtime favourite round here, will be releasing their fourth full length album on Aug. 7th via Jagjaguwar (one of the most consistent labels around). The Stage Names trundles along the trail that the Texans started building on previous records.

The record contains a variety of melancholy folk and upbeat hand-clap-a-longs that leader & songwriter Will Sheff has been getting pretty darn good at. Album opener Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe builds up with Sheff’s voice and tick tick tick guitar and comes crashing in with awesome woo woos a couple of minutes in. Lengthy in title only You Can’t Hold The Hand of A Rock And Roll Man punches up the twang with the aforementioned hand claps.

This album contains no overall literary theme like Black Sheep Boy but it does seem to contain a little bit more sheen that we’ve seen from the boys. It was great how raw (sorry) previous work was. Shudders still arrive when listening to the line in For Real (from Black Sheep Boy) when you can actually hear Sheff spit the ‘F’ in the line ‘cause I like this way just fine.‘ Those little unpolished anomalies seem absent on Stage Names. However with lyrics like this from album highlight John Allyn Smith Sails Okkervil River are hardly aiming for a John Mayer level of smooth fm adult contemporary are they :

He’s breaking in a case of suds at the Brass Rail fall down drunk,

with his tongue torn out and his balls removed.

Album comes out Aug 7th from Jagjaguwar. You can preorder from the website now. I already did.

Link – Okkervil River – The Stage Names


I can say without a shred of doubt that this is the most amazing thing I have seen since I woke up this morning.

1500 + inmates at a prison on Cebu island in the Phillipines perform, in its entirety, the Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ video. If you only watch one thing in the next week please please please make it this.

The lady boy who ‘plays’ the girlfriend is both horrifying and mesmerizing, don’t you think?

Back in the day alternative was big and so was country so they put them together and made alternative country. Remember those times? The late 90’s early 00’s? Those were good times when I loved bands like Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo, The Jayhawks etc etc. I think my love rubbed off a little, not much but a little, on a few friends.

I have this friend. For privacy’s sake, lets call him Kenny B…Wait that’s to obvious. How about K Britton. One day he walked into a record store and started chatting up the girl behind the counter. He was asking about just this type of music but for some reason he decided to ask her “so whats new in the alt cunt scene”. I think we may have jokingly, to ourselves shortened alternative country to alt cunt but he blew it out in the open.

That takes us to The Roadside Graves. A band that is pretty happy where it is now but reminds me of those halcyon days of alt cunt. Musical nods go back to Springsteen, Dylan and others that led the revitalization. It’s great road music full of harmonized vocals, rollicking guitars and piano.

This year they’ve released their second album called No One Will Know Where You’ve Been and it’s been a favourite around here all year long. Here’s what’s new and great in the alt cunt scene.

Head on over to Kill Buffalo, their label’s website, for a sample .mp3 of the song West Coast.


Guys and Dolls is a 46 minute documentary about men and their dolls. Specifically their Real Dolls. If you don’t know about the world of Real Dolls already then you’re in for some amazing watching. Even if you do know about them it is interesting.

The easy road here is to paint the owners of the dolls as creepy dudes. So I give the documenters some credit for attempting to humanize them and introduce us to the lives of a Real Doll owner. However, I just can’t get over the hump on this one and find the whole thing jaw droppingly creepy.

I think it would’ve been better to send Louis Theroux in there instead.

Check it out at google video. Link .

Edit – Link now works!

The band is called Vampire Weekend and for all intents and purposes I feel like I should hate them. Yet there I am last Friday night dancing around the kitchen with my better half (better in every way except dancing) to “A-Punk”, a track off this Vampire Weekend CD-R called Blue.

Let’s go through the list as to why they are blowin’ up da internets…

-Slight Kooky Name

-From NYC

-Unsigned band

-Self Released Album

-Young guys who have cute shaggy hair

All perfectly good reasons to love (or hate) them for them. However I keep putting on this album because the music is loads of fun. The above mentioned “A-Punk” starts out with jaunty guitars and rolls along with a bouncy baseline but look out for that tom tom and swirling cutesy organ coming at you 45 seconds in. Play while you get drunk on summertime coolers or white wine or whatever you drink when its hot and you too will find yourself dancing in your kitchen.

“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” sounds like a Paul Simon cover song. On first listen you expect Ladysmith Black Mombazo to jump in on the chorus. Instead of an african choir the song wraps up with some kinda renaissance synth. Wait, what?

But if you wanna listen to just one song because you’re too lazy to do much else. Please check out “Walcott” where a perfectly pounded piano propels this song where for some reason this Walcott guy has to get the hell out of Cape Cod and back to New Jersey. Doesn’t make sense to me either but I’m not one to question.

Vampire Weekend – Blue CD-R

In some circles, Steve Albini is considered a God. He is a very influential musician and recording engineer who has worked with an incredibly long list of bands and artists over the years. A small sampling of the stuff he’s worked on:

Pixies – Surfer Rosa

Nirvana – In Utero

Palace Brothers – Viva Last Blues

Jon Spenser Blues Explosion – JSBX, Acme

McLusky – McLusky Do Dallas

For interest sake a full list can be found here.

One thing most people don’t know about Steve Albini is that he is a big online poker player. So I guess in his spare time he hangs out on poker message boards. Well on 2+2 Forums he outed himself and decided to take any questions from the crowd. The result is 20 pages and growing of a great read if you want some amazing insights into his techniques and opinions on all things. Can you say time waster? Some gems:


Pro tools or logic? explain plz.

I don’t use computers to make records. I use tape machines, like nature intended. I use computers for correspondence, arguments, poker and porn.


What do you think of The Mars Volta?

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of the Mars Volta.


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