Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vile But Sweet

Don't let Kurt Vile's name scare you - it's the guy's real name, and his specialty is a soft, twangy, classic rock meets indie sound; likewise, 'Jesus Fever 182,' our Song of the Week, isn't concerned much with religion and and over its mid-tempo guitar strains, it means to be contemplative, not provocative.

Kurt Vile (pictured right) is a lanky, boyish singer-songwriter-guitarist from Pennsylvania, who went solo after a stint with the highly respective Phillie-based indie band War On Drugs. Kurt records on the legendary Matador label, revered throughout indie-dom for acts such as Yo La Tengo and Pavement.

Tomorrow I replace my computer for the first time since I launched SOTW back in September 2007! Another milestone!

Enjoy the modest clip for 'Jesus Fever 182':

More Vile-ness: Kurt's follow-up single is the drony but somehow ethereal 'Baby's Arms..'

Kurt live on Q Friday Live performing 'Overnite Religion' - mellow but with maracas!

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ever Bigger, Ever Pinker

The Big Pink is bag with their Big Followup! Submitted for your Song of the Week pleasure: 'Stay Gold,'

The Pinksters, pictured left, are London-based duo Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell, who are both multi-instrumentalists and produced, trippy, rock-edged pop. Their debut won (to my surprise) the NME Radar award for Best New Act of 2009; 'Dominos' also won best track... Their sophomore effort, 'Future This,' is less of a surprise, but still quite tuneful. Big Pink, incidentally, is also the nickname of Portland, Oregon's tallest building, the 536-foot, 42 story US Bancorp Tower, pictured right.

I like their artsy video style as much their artsy audio style: enjoy the clip for 'Stay Gold:'

The Pinksters' debut single was 'Dominos,' and its video is a very artsy and cinematic take on a live studio rendition..

Big Pink's other big single, 'Velvet,' is two parts shoegazing, and one part each psychedelia (the video) and electro-rock. Artsy but simple black-and-white clip riffs on camera angles and images..

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Viña del Mar, Chile

When I was 14, 38 years ago (!!!), I was an exchange student in Chile, and I spent a few weekends two hours northwest of Santiago, in the beachside resort town of Viña del Mar. The city's symbol is this flower clock! I have a black-and-white picture of it somewhere in my closet.
My dear friend Christi is in Chile on business, and is doing a bicycle tour around Santiago and the vineyards nearby. Tomorrow, she'll see Viña and adjacent seaport Valparaiso.

This afternoon, JP and I are going to see 'Titanic' in 3-D. I've only seen it once, 15 years ago in its original 2-D release. JP hasn't seen it at all.. On Thursday night I saw a 76-minute Norwegian indie comedy with John Wiske. More about that later....

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brutalism Around The Block

A few years back my friend Thomas described a building as 'brutalist' and I assumed that this was his own humorous turn-of-phrase. Not so, I later discoverd, Brutalism is a bona fide architectural movement...

Says Wikipedia: It 'flourished from the 1950s to the mid 1970s. Examples are typically very linear, fortresslike and blockish, often with a predominance of concrete construction. Critics of the style find it unappealing due to its "cold" appearance, projecting an atmosphere of totalitarianism or socialism, as well as the association of the buildings with urban decay due to materials weathering poorly in certain climates and the surfaces being prone to vandalization by graffiti. '

I don't have to look far for an example. A few blocks away is the Fashion Institute of Technology (which, by the way, always struck me as a truly moronic title to shoe-horn the initials into spelling 'FIT' - 'Institute,' of course, should only be modified by a place name.)

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Sunday, April 08, 2012


I love hard-to-categorize musical acts, and M83 fits the bill. It's a one-man act disguised as a quintet, it's the crossroads between pretty ambient, poppy hooks, and fuzzy shoegazing sheen. Electropop? Indie-tronica? What's in a name.

M83, whose lovely 'Steve McQueen' rises and falls around its shimmering chorale of a chorus, is the brainchild of Spanish-French musician Anthony Gonzalez, who named the band after a spiral galaxy, Messier 83.

Based in Antibes, France, snuggled between Cannes and Nice on the riviera, M83 formed in 2001 and has released five increasingly endearing albums to widespread critical acclaim. 'Steve McQueen,' is from it's latest, 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming...'

Here they are on Carson Daly performing 'Steve McQueen':

The official single is actually 'Midnight City,' which comes with this trippy video:

Back to the egg: M83's debut single from 2001, 'Run Into Flowers'..

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Monday, April 02, 2012

Time Flies!

Hey all, greetings from sunny Buenos Aires. I may be short on time, but I'm still long on great music! I thought I'd better share some, before Song of the Week becomes Song of the Month!

Up today:'It's Real,' imbued with the jangly, soft-rock sound of indie quintet Real Estate, Brooklyn-based but hailing from Ridgewood NJ. Despite their nearly Google-proof generic band name, these guys received critical acclaim for both their 2009 debut and their even stronger late-2011 followup, 'Days'..

Lots of continuity in this band, which includes Martin Courtney IV and Matthew Mondanile III.

Enjoy the very 'homey', 70s-outtake quality video for 'It's Real', directed by Wierd Days:

Their follow-up, 'Easy,' is equally lovely, but sunnier. I could have easily gone with this track, but stuck with 'It's Real,' which has been in my head for weeks..

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Still in Argentina on business, but can't I let my Mom's birthday pass, unsaluted. Last year I surprised Mom for her 75th, in Arizona, by showing up unannounced! But, this year, I really, really, really am in Argentina!! Here's to you, Mom! Love you very much...

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