Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Video: Alla on "Chic-a-go-go"

Indeed, as the intro notes, one of the coolest, most eclectic sounding bands in Chicago recently stopped by the "Chic-a-go-go" studios to "play" a song from its most recent release, the Record Store Day exclusive Digs, a mostly covers EP (save for one new song, "Si, Se Puede"). The band is interviewed, and there some pretty hilarious results when the Chic host asks about the origins of the band's name ("So, the next time you're in Tijuana," "The State department says you don't want to go there"). Watch the video at the top of the post. Digs is out now.

Alla MySpace Page

Monday, April 20, 2009

42 songs for 4/20

(Abstraction - "Nuff' Fire")

Jarvis Cocker - "Angela"
Download: Fleet Foxes - "Mykonos"
Download: The Vaselines - "Son of a Gun"
Download: Fucked Up - "No Epiphany" (No Age Remix)
Download: St. Vincent - "The Strangers"
Download: Vacations - "Hassle with Real"
Download: Black Blondie - "Dirty Ashes" (feat. Muja Messiah)
Download: Deerhunter - "Rainwater Cassette Exchange"
Download: Abstract Rude - "Rejuvenation"
Download: Big Quarters - "Barter System"
Download: Bon Iver - "Blood Bank"
Download: Antony and the Johnsons - "Another World"
Download: Vampire Hands - "Safe Word"
Download: New Ruins - "Symptoms"
Download: The 1900s - "Age of Metals"
Download: Pontiak - "Honey"
Download: Winter Gloves - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Download: The Evening Rig - "The Hilltop Pines"
Download: Woodhands - "Electric Avenue"
Download: The Present - "Love Melody"
Download: Witch - "Sweet Sue"
Download: Black Math Horsemen - "Origin of Savagery"
Download: Gospel Gossip - "Pre-Med"
Download: Wye Oak - "Take It In"

Well, technically, 41 songs and a video. But I'm sure that you're not counting. Hope you enjoy this playlist, the 3rd of its kind.

For more songs, go here.

(Jon Graef)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: The Whip

Download: The Whip - "Trash"
Download: The Whip - "Dubsex"

Chicago is Mildly Interesting is giving away not one, not two, not three, not five, but FOUR pairs of tickets to tomorrow's show with The Whip at the Congress Theatre. We realize its at the last minute, but that's how we roll. BY THE SEAT OF OUR PANTALOONS! First four people to email will get tix that they can pick-up at will call.

The Whip MySpace Page

Monday, April 6, 2009

Michael Zapruder - "Ads for Feelings"

Download: Michael Zapruder - "Ads for Feelings"

Like an electro-pop Leonard Cohen, but with prog-rock breakdowns, Michael Zapruder combines a mellow, almost sing-speak vocal with a whole host of other nifty production and songwriting tricks to create an engaging, crisp song about the implications of consumerism. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Michael Zapruder MySpace Page

New Music: Vacations - "Hassle With Real"

Download: Vacations - "Hassle With Real

Read my write-up of Vacations' debut "album" (it's a combo of a 7" and an 8-song EP) over at Decider Chicago. Rising out of the ashes of Chin Up Chin Up, the recently broken up indie-rock quartet from these here parts, must have been a difficult challenge, but this album is quite fantastic.

The record release party is tonight at the Bottle. Here are the deets:

Empty Bottle
1035 N Western Ave
Chicago IL 60622

Vacations MySpace Page

Paul Haig - "Reason"

Download: Paul Haig - "Reason"

I got a notice from Tarty Tart after she saw that Blogger took down my post about how, today, April 6th, would be Paul Haig day. Why a specific day devoted to this specific songwriter?

Bloggers have come under increasing attack in recent times, thanks to many in the music industry using the draconian measures of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), an American piece of legislation signed by President Clinton in 1998 which insists that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must remove material that appears to constitute copyright infringement.

So, if a music industry lawyer discovers a blogger has posted an mp3 of a song without permission, they can contact the ISP, claim they represent the individual or organisation with the copyright and demand the offending material be removed. Fair enough you might say…

But, the law is such that anyone can use DMCA to demand a takedown without having to prove that they have ownership of the copyright, and the ISP have no option but to comply - it has even been proven that where musicians have expressly given support for their song to be highlighted on a blog, an anonymous DMCA request has seen the mp3 removed.

Such was the case last month when ‘The Vinyl Villain’ blog, one that has been running since September 2006 and almost exclusively looks back to music of the 80s and 90s, featured ‘Blue For You’, one of the early solo singles by Paul Haig. The blogger had been in touch with the singer who didn’t object at all to featuring the song and was given a few words by Paul Haig to add to the story behind its recording in Edinburgh back in 1982.

Within 48 hours of publication, the piece was removed by the ISP, although no-one associated with the copyright had made such a request.

In response, Paul Haig immediately decided to make his 2007 single ‘Reason’ available through ‘The Vinyl Villain’ blog on the basis that music fans who downloaded the song and decided that they liked it were more than likely to subsequently purchase a copy. So far, after just more than a week, no-one has asked the ISP to remove the mp3….

And so, in response, U.K. bloggers, and those across the pond, have decided to all post "Reason" in solidarity. To read a great, in-depth summation of Paul Haig's career, check out this post over at The Vinyl Villian. Additionally, take a listen to "Reason" at the top of the post.

Paul Haig MySpace Page

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 03/15/09--03/31/09

**The original post was deleted by the IFPI and Blogger. Here it is reposted with label and band approved mp3s and Hype Machine links (4/04/09 8:30 am).

My concession to April fools is that this list consists of 11 tracks, and not ten. That's how awesome I've become in my late 20s. With that, have at!

1. Grizzly Bear - "Cheerleader"

Download: Grizzly Bear - "Cheerleader"

After a rhythmical, bluesy beginning, Grizzly Bear forge the baroque elements of their musical persona (mellotron, youth choir, torrents of harmonies) into a mash of modern psychedelia and soul. The pleasure lies more in discovering the creatively arranged harmonic layers rather than in the ultimate song destination (fancy talk for an anti-climatic end).

Grade: B+

2. Bill Callahan - "Eid Ma Clack Shaw"

Download: Bill Callahan - "Eid Ma Clack Shaw"

"Love is the king of the beasts/and when it gets hungry/it must kill to eat." Wow. Lyrically, If Callahan = Richard Thompson as a troubled, sing-speaky troubadour with a Beatles-esque sense of melody and Newsom = Linda, then fans of everywhere can rejoice. Wait a minute, that's kind of sick.

Grade: B

3. Harlem Shakes - "Strictly Game"

Download: Harlem Shakes - "Strictly Game"

It's been said before, and it'll be said it again: "Strictly Game" is the track that Gen Y will listen to after they lose their jobs, and it will be this song's exhilarating, but subtle, blend of pops electro, afro and indie that will lift their spirits throughout the recession.

Grade: A

4. Voxtrot - "Trepanation Party"

Download: Voxtrot - "Trepanation Party"

The Austin-based blog-poppers add some synth-goth minimalism and new wave doom-and-gloom to their effervescent brand of melodic rock. If Death Cab for Cutie wrote a rap song (or at least a song with a more rhythmic vocal), it might sound like this. Nothing to drill a hole into your head about, but a solid change in direction all the same.

Grade: B

5. Passion Pit - "The Reeling"

*MP3: Passion Pit - "The Reeling"

Suitable for a laptop discotheque, the dormroom-born electro-pop quintet throws a bevy of post-pro tricks (synths, The Go! Team-style chants, airy vocals and snare-hi-hat hits) up the flagpole of dance and disco to see who salutes. Upbeat, but strangely inert.

Grade: C

6. The Felice Brothers - "Run Chicken Run"

Download: The Felice Brothers - "Run Chicken Run"

The first and probably only hoedown to appear on the charts. The sub-Dylan/Westerberg-isms (smoky, throaty vocals, ramshackle rock tempo and arrangements) are catchy, but commonplace. "Chickens don't get no life after death." So true. But hey, chickens are good people. At least they don't beat the shit out of their hens.

Grade: C

7. CFCF - "You Hear Colours"

Download: CFCF - "You Hear Colours"

Booming drum sounds give way to a keyboard line somewhere between Mark Snow and Harold Faltermeyer, along with a clear, ringing splash of guitar for texture, make for a cool, but somewhat detached, instrumental track.

Grade: B-

8. The Virgins - "Rich Girls (Le Castle Vania's Spring Break No Parents Remix)"

Download: The Virgins - "Rich Girls (Le Castle Vania's Spring Break No Parents Remix)"

The new wave of neo-post-punk arrived with the original, but this remix brings out the funk and rollerdisco inherent in the song, with solid, head-bopping results

Grade: B

9. The Prodigy - "Take Me To The Hospital (Hostage Remix)"

Download: The Prodigy - "Take Me To The Hospital (Hostage Remix)"

Techno remix of the 90s breakbeaters song straightens things out a bit beat-wise while retaining some of the original's nasty loops. The Prodigy's more syncopated rhythms are more intriguing on the whole, the remix as a simple, visceral appeal set to get movers on the dancefloor.

Grade: B-

10. The Decemberists - "The Rake's Song"

Download: The Decemberists - "The Rake's Song"

A macabre tale of familial murder, The Decemberists take a menacing two-chord vamp, and spin it into a darkly funny dirge with an unrepentant narrator. The shift from prog-rock majesty to hard-rock muscle doesn't quite suit the band's past strengths, but "Rake" is good for a wry laugh.

Grade: B

11. The Mary Onettes - "Dare"

Download: The Mary Onettes - "Dare"

I have absolutely no problem with this C86/Smiths revivalism that's going on right now, just as long as it keeps producing songs as singularly great as this one. The pains of being pure of heart have once again been transformed into beautiful pop catharsis.

Grade: A