This past week I found out that the Decemberists are coming to town in November, no word yet on when tickets go on sale. If that wasn't enough, Dave Chappelle is coming to town in August for a one-night only show. Tickets for Chappelle go on sale Monday. Judging by the various people who emailed me about the show, interest for Dave is extremely high.
Random Song 1: Tom Scott - Today
Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
A few weeks ago I received a copy of Final Fantasy's new album He Poos Clouds (thanks again, Min). After listening to the album a few times two things instantly came to mind: 1) awful title for an album, and 2) what a difference a year makes. Last year Owen Pallett's Final Fantasy project merely consisted of himself, a violin, and a looping machine. The result of those three elements was his debut album ...Has A Good Home. Recorded in just six days, it was a minimalist indie pop album with several classical elements. The album gave Final Fantasy is own distinct musical identity. He was no longer viewed as that guy who plays violin on other peoples albums (e.g. The Hidden Camera's, Arcade Fire, etc...). Fast-forward a year and things have changed for the better for Mr. Pallett. Every aspect of the production has improved greatly from the first album. The new album sounds like he finally acquired a full backing band when recording. Everything is much bigger on this record. Just listening to tracks like This Lamb Sells Condos and Song Song Song you immediately see how much he has grown as an artist. The inaudible scream that were used in the background of a few tracks on the first album, are back again on this album. Yet there is more force behind them and they are better used this time around. Despite the awful album title, Final Fantasy has avoided the sophomore jinx with this solid follow-up.
Let it be known that Little Red Riding Hood is easily the worst waitress ever. Judging by the flying unicorn, I think she may also be smoking that wacky tabacky. Anyways, keep an eye out for Owen Pallett's cameo as the dishwasher in "This is The Dream of Win and Regine" from ...Has A Good Home.
When I saw Final Fantasy a few years back he covered Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" with the help of some friends. He flies solo in this clip:
Random Song 2: Sufjan Stevens - The Henney Buggy Band
Black Sheep - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
Nostalgia is a tricky thing as our minds often make memories seem greater then they really were. Such is the case with Black Sheep's 1991 debut album A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing. I came across this album at the mall the other day; and immediately started reminiscing about how great this group was "back in the day". I was even shocked how well several of the tracks held up today. The one thing I seemed to have forgotten though was how one-dimensional this group actually was. Besides a few poignant tracks about the state of society, half of the album focuses on sex. At the time, they probably thought they were being edgy. Yet 15 years later these tracks come off as rather juvenile. The exceptions to this include standout tracks like "Flavor of the Month" and "Strobelite Honey". While you may not remember the group’s brief moment in the spotlight, you have surely heard their material. If you have been to any bar and/or club in the past 10 years, odds are you have unknowingly danced to part of their song. The simple verse that starts "engine engine number 9/ on the New York transit line/ if my train goes off the track..." from Black Sheep's massive hit "The Choice Is Yours" is frequently sampled by most DJs today.
Why the air trumpet wasn't as successful as the air guitar beats me. "Flavor of the Month from the A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing LP:
Random Song 3: Ice T - I'm Your Pusher
Can a band be too smart for their own good? That always seems to be the question when it comes to The Decemberists. All three of their previous albums (Castaways and Cutouts, Her Majesty the Decemberists, and 2005's Picaresque) have received enormous critical praise. Yet the one negative comment I often hear is that their music is too literary. Which is funny considering that those same people constantly complain about the lack of intelligence in music nowadays. The beauty of The Decemberists is that their songs are narrative driven. They have fully realized characters, and plots that cover: forbidden love, struggling actors, cursed orphans (the somber "Leslie Ann Levine"), lost love, sea shanties, 18th century chimbly sweeps, the absence of testosterone (the amusing "The Sporting Life"), the lure of Los Angeles, etc.… Although I have seen The Decemberists perform twice already, I am really looking forward to the November show. I cannot wait to hear the new material live. The groups first major label release, The Crane Wife, is set to hit store in October. Tour dates are listed on the bands myspace page.
Worried that The Decemberists only talk about centuries past? Trust me, they know their current events as well. Here is "16 Military Wives" from Picaresque:
Keeping with the war theme, sort of, here is the "The Soldiering Life" from Her Majesty:
Ipod Workout Plan: Black Eyed Peas - Pump it from the Monkey Business album. Not a fan of B.E.P but this song is a guilty pleasure. Plus this fan made video is more entertaining than the official video for the song: