sand is overrated

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

Friday, September 29, 2006

m. ward : the music box at henry fonda, september 28, 2006

i like m. ward better as a solo performer.

first off though, i have to say that i do really, really like the full band sound he's got going on, especially as it sounds on the album. it's a much fuller, expansive sound, and when those drums kick the live band is first rate as well--adam selzer and mike coykendall are both very capable on the bass and guitar, jordan hudson provides a second set of percussion, and rachel blumberg just flat out kicks vast quantities of ass on the drums. she ripped that kit to shreds last night. another part of the reason why this show wasn't quite as thrilling as i'd hoped probably has nothing to do with the band at all--the acoustics at the henry fonda were atrocious and the lighting was just bizarre, with no real spotlight to illuminate the otherwise too-dark stage. but mainly the reason why i think m. ward is better solo is because he is just too good to not be the sole focus of our attention. the man is a stone-cold killer--a golden god--on the guitar. previous to post-war, he has always had instrumental pieces to bookend his albums. and while they were almost always comfortably relaxed and full of warmth, they were for me among the most thrilling moments on each disc. when i saw him perform solo last year, that spectacular talent had nowhere to hide, and he's got a style and a flair that just has to be seen to be believed. this time, with the full backing band, he would a lot of times pass off the guitar parts to selzer and coykendall, which while great and all, just did not have the same presence and effect that his own guitar-playing does. granted there were a few moments where he was able to showcase his talent, but it wasn't until the first song of the encore that he came out solo with his acoustic guitar and showed us his stuff, on "duet for guitars #3". i just could not help shaking my head, in amazement but also in regret over the performance that could have been. and sadly for me, that one song was the extent of his solo set. perhaps i'm just spoiled by having seen him perform alone in the best venue in LA (the outdoor but small and intimate john anson ford amphitheatre) last year. but i miss my solo m. ward...

my favorite m. ward songs all happen to be non-instrumentals, but just to make the point, here's a taste of his instrumental guitar pieces:

m. ward : "duet for guitars #2" (mp3)
m. ward : "duet for guitars #1" (mp3)
from the (out of print) album duet for guitars #2 (ow om records, 2000)
[if somebody has the japanese import version of this album (linked above), could you let me know? i've been trying to get a hold of the two exclusive tracks on this version, "waiting years vol. 1" and "waiting years vol. 2". i own the australian import version, which has two exclusive tracks of its own, a previous version of "i'll be yr bird" and "not a gang". i'd be glad to exchange if someone has those other two...]

m. ward : "silverline" (mp3)
m. ward : "o'brien's nocturne" (mp3)
from the album end of amnesia (future farmer recordings, 2001)

m. ward : "transfiguration #1" (mp3)
m. ward : "duet for guitars #3" (mp3)
from the album transfiguration of vincent (merge records, 2003)

m. ward : "you still believe in me" (mp3)
m. ward : "well-tempered clavier" (mp3)
from the album transistor radio (merge records, 2005)

m. ward : "neptune's net" (mp3)
from the album post-war (merge records, 2006)

m. ward : "bean vine blues" (mp3)
from the compilation i am the resurrection: a tribute to john fahey (vanguard records, 2006)

also got this up on youtube last night:

m. ward : "chinese translation"
from the late late show with craig ferguson (september 29, 2006)


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

all m. ward, all day long

i think i have made it pretty clear how much i love m. ward (here, here, and here), so i am understandably excited for tomorrow, thursday, september 28th. in the morning he is making an appearance on kcrw's morning becomes eclectic. point your browser in that direction for live audio and, hopefully, live video, at 11:15am. then in the evening is the concert i've been waiting for since i last saw mr. ward last august. this time he's performing at the music box at henry fonda up in hollywood, showtime at 9pm. then, late in the evening, turd ferguson will have him as a musical guest on that show, the late late show with craig ferguson (how can anyone actually tolerate watching that man?). tune in to cbs at about 1:25am. that's quite a lot of m. ward, but if you still need more (i know you do) here's a few rarities.

m. ward : "fearless" (mp3)
from the compilation come on beautiful: the songs of american music club (glitterhouse records, 2000)

m. ward : "let my love open the door" (mp3)
from the compilation sweetheart 2005: love songs (live more musically, 2005)

m. ward : "bean vine blues" (mp3)
from the compilation i am the resurrection: a tribute to john fahey (vanguard records, 2006)

and if that's still not enough m. ward, check out mtvu's backstage pass feature for a short interview. also, come back in a few days and i'll have matt's performance on turd ferguson uploaded for your pleasure. and just in case you missed it, here's his performance on letterman from last month:

m. ward : "chinese translation"
from the late show with david letterman (august 24, 2006)


Sunday, September 24, 2006


i had a nice surprise in my inbox the other week when i received an invitation from ryan carrol to check out the music of his new band from the pacific northwest, called saturna. of course i am always up for hearing new music, especially when they cite influences like the jesus and mary chain, silversun pickups, and the dandy warhols. and i was quite pleasantly surprised to find that these guys are quite good. i especially like the first song, "springboard", with its spacey art-rock feel that places me in my car, night driving on a long deserted road, with the light of a million stars illuminating the darkness and the windows down inviting in the warm summer breeze... to that list of influences i would add the smashing pumpkins, as the catchy bass hook, lighter-than-air guitar, and stuttering drums remind me of one of my very favorite pumpkins songs, "set the ray to jerry". well done. very well done.

saturna : "springboard" (mp3)
from the ep ...all night (nexus underground, 2006)

the smashing pumpkins : "set the ray to jerry" (mp3)
from the box set the aeroplane flies high (virgin records, 1996)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

andrew bird

i'm very excited for the next three weeks because i've got a bit of a singer-songwriter concert trifecta: andrew bird tomorrow 9/21, m. ward 9/28, and sufjan stevens 10/9. the only way i think that could possibly be any better is if somehow jeff tweedy was involved. and if all the shows were at the john anson ford amphitheatre. but i'll take what i can get, and this promises to be a LOT.

first up is andrew bird, who i became aware of only last year when his album, the mysterious production of eggs, was one of the highest rated cds on metacritic. from there, it was on to kcrw to check out a studio performance and interview and i was set. bird is a multi-instrumentalist, though classically trained on the violin. well, i'll just let his website do the talking (i know, lazy, but it's my third day in a row and i'm fried):

"Bird is a masterful and intuitive singer / songwriter, and what he does while performing—alternately plucking and bowing his violin, then immediately sampling the results, layering the sounds with guitar, whistling, glockenspiel and vocals—bears little resemblance to what most people might expect. It’s only one of several devices in his arsenal of instruments, melodies, and imaginative wordplay.

"On to 2005 and The Mysterious Production of Eggs, an album title as intriguing as the music inside. Parts of the new disc, like Weather Systems before it, were recorded in Bird’s barn-turned-home-studio a few hours outside Chicago, while the rest came together in studios in L.A. and Chicago. Bird plays almost everything you hear on the record. Contributions come from longtime collaborators Kevin O’Donnell on drums and beats and Nora O’Connor singing harmonies here and there. More punch than the punch-drunk past and reminiscent of nothing else, really, The Mysterious Production of Eggs distills Bird’s estimable repertoire into songs that aspire to rhyme “formaldehyde” six different ways. And that, folks, is energy."

my two favorite songs off his latest album

andrew bird : "masterfade" (mp3)
andrew bird : "tables and chairs" (mp3)
from the album the mysterious production of eggs (righteous babe records, 2005)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

the science of sleep

unfortunately i'm a little late for this idea, as i know a few other blogs have done it already. but hey, i think having a blog named for a line in another michel gondry movie gives me a little authority right? so anyway, michel gondry's new movie the science of sleep is getting limited release this friday and i could not be happier. this will be his third feature-length flick, after 2001's human nature and my favorite movie, 2004's eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. i'm a big fan of gondry's work, not just from eternal sunshine, but from his more well-known work in music videos. i've been sitting on the trailer for the science of sleep for a few months now and just can't get over how wonderful it looks--the wild imagination and visual devices that gondry uses seem to be in glorious effect. and if the songs in the trailer (the velvet underground's "after hours", the strokes' "fear of sleep", and death cab for cutie's "your heart is an empty room") are any indication, the music in this film will be perfectly suited. in that vein, here's a few more sleep-related songs (you knew that was coming):

pretenders : "i go to sleep" (mp3)
from the album pretenders II (1981)

madder rose : "sleep, forever" (mp3)
from the album panic on (1994)

cornershop : "sleep on the left side" (mp3)
from the album when i was born for the 7th time (1997)

R.E.M. : "daysleeper" (mp3)
from the album up (1998)

check out the website and trailer for the science of sleep...

...and what i consider to be his best music videos, in order

gary jules : "mad world"

the white stripes : "fell in love with a girl"

the chemical brothers : "star guitar"

also check this one out--the science of sleep seems to resemble this world
steriogram : "walkie-talkie man"

*****as a final note, gondry is now filming a new movie, entitled be kind rewind, starring none other than jack black. i just wet myself.*****

Monday, September 18, 2006

we're back, and ready for round 2!

it's been a few days, but i'm back. back with a new toy--a nice shiny new macbook. woo hoo! i've been spending all my time the past few days getting it all set up and haven't had a chance to think about blogging. but today i did add a nice new feature...on the right bar is a cool little player that will play the most recent songs that i have posted on here. you don't have to download anything or leave the site, just press play if there's something you want to hear. of course, if you do still want to save the files on your computer, just right-click on the actual links and "save as"--just as usual. anyway, the player is courtesy of streampad and was a no-brainer to set up. just input your url and it spits out the code for everything. nice. highly recommended. it even updates the song list automatically when new songs are posted on the site. just to test it out, here's a couple songs from the soundtrack to the film "magnolia", for your aural pleasure. hopefully i'll get back to some more meaningful posts in the next few days.

aimee mann : "one" (mp3)
supertramp : "goodbye stranger" (mp3)

from the album music from the motion picture magnolia (1999)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

male/female vocal...

so i finally got my wish and was added to the very excellent hype machine (thanks anthony) the other day, providing me with a nice little bump in hits. my listing on the hype machine goes back a little way, but not all the way (mostly because i've removed a lot of those links). so, in light of that, here's an earlier post of mine that hopefully a lot more people will see this time around. it's one that i really liked--short, simple, themed, not to mention some of my favorite songs. (if you're coming from hype, say hello!)

(originally posted 08.16.06)
what can i say, i'm a sucker for songs about relationships, especially when they involve male/female vocal duets where the verses alternate as if it is perfectly normal to have a conversation in song. here are three of my favorite recent such songs, along with what is probably my very favorite, from way back in 1994.

john dragnetti and blake hazard
the submarines : "peace and hate" (mp3)
from the album declare a new state! (2006)

torquil campbell and amy millan
stars : "your ex-lover is dead" (mp3)
from the album set yourself on fire (2004)

ben gibbard and jen wood
the postal service : "nothing better" (mp3)
from the album give up (2003)

(my favorite and just rereleased!)
jim reid and hope sandoval
the jesus and mary chain : "sometimes always" (mp3)
from the album stoned & dethroned (1994)

anything else?

Monday, September 11, 2006

nine eleven

it's difficult to even know how to start a post on a day like today. the emotions that are stirred up by those two numbers are overwhelming even to me--i cannot imagine what it must be like for those directly affected by the events of that day. maybe it's the blessing of distance from the situation that allows me to feel this way, but i think it's important for us--as americans rightfully touched by a sense of patriotism in the memory of those who have fallen--to remember that there is a difference between pride and hubris. we are blessed to live in the place that we do and it's all well and good to be happy and proud of that fact. but in the end, regardless of gender, race, color or creed, we are all human beings, and to be an american should afford us no more earthly privileges than even those who wish us harm. i hope that we can all appreciate that the tragedy of that awful day five years ago can still be an opportunity for unification and growth, not just for america, but for all of our brothers and sisters. i leave you with a wilco song that seems especially appropriate for today. it's a faithful rendition of a 1969 song by charles wright & the watts 103rd street rhythm band (you can find the original here)

wilco : "comment (if all men are truly brothers)" (mp3)
from the album kicking television : live in chicago (2005)
a child was born yesterday
nothing but an innocent babe
someone sowed a bitter seed
oh how could he grow but a bitter weed?
society how can you teach
if you don't practice what you preach?
if all men are truly brothers
why then can't we love one another?
love, and peace, from ocean to ocean
somebody please, second my emotion
if all men were born to be free
what about you? what about me?
this world is filled with hate
there's nothing left
if you enslave me, you'll only hurt yourself

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

the soundtrack of my life : i'm wide awake it's morning

every so often--once every couple years i'd say--an album comes out that represents everything i love about music. it may not necessarily be the best album, nor even a great album, but it strikes a chord in me in just such a way that it is perfect to me. one of last year's releases by bright eyes, i'm wide awake, it's morning, was one of those albums for me.

in many ways, october 2004 to may 2005 was one of the most difficult times of my life. it saw the end of a long relationship that for many years was everything to me. as a result of that i moved...twice. five years after finishing my undergraduate education, i returned to school as a graduate student, somehow voluntarily thrusting myself back into the stress, busy-ness, and misery of the school environment. i was unhappy for so long, and yet it was never something i wanted any of my new classmates to see. holding everything inside has a way of making you feel lonely, as if this sort of forced reticence was because i didn't think anyone else would understand. in hindsight it's easy to see that that couldn't have been true, but during those moments of bleakness and solitude, reason was not a friend of mine.

and such was the state i was in when, in january 2005, i picked up i'm wide awake, it's morning. i found myself in it from the very first listen--lyrically, topically, musically. in a year of life, love, and loss, it hit me where it counts and never seemed to let go. "landlocked blues" seemed a perfect description of the desperation and hopelessness i felt about the disintegration of the relationship i had just left. i can't count the number of times i listened to "at the bottom of everything" to help remind myself of the true gravity of certain circumstances, to help me put things into their proper perspective. and in "first day of my life" i found a love song that reminded me of what it was i was looking for. and that's not even to mention "lua", a song so starkly beautiful and destructive that it makes you want to become a crack head so that maybe, just maybe, you could find a moment of such pure genius. in the end, i'm wide awake it's morning helped me to realize that the things i was going through were nothing new, that trials and tribulations are part and parcel with the experiences of life. and even if it didn't necessarily cause me to feel comfortable in sharing them with the world (i think it was just a matter of time), simply knowing that i was never really alone was enough to help me sleep at night.

bright eyes : "landlocked blues" (mp3)
from the album i'm wide awake, it's morning (2005)
so i'm up at dawn
putting on my shoes
i just want to make a clean escape
i'm leaving, but i don't know where to

bright eyes : "at the bottom of everything" (mp3)
from the album i'm wide awake, it's morning (2005)
oh, my morning's coming back
the whole world’s waking up
all the city buses swimming past
i'm happy just because
i found out i am really no one

bright eyes : "first day of my life" (mp3)
from their performance at the 9:30 club in washington d.c. (2005)
this is the first day of my life
swear i was born right in the doorway
i went out in the rain, suddenly everything changed there
spreading blankets on the beach

bright eyes : "lua"
from the coachella dvd (2006)
and i know you have a heavy heart
i can feel it when we kiss
so many men stronger than me
have thrown their backs out trying to lift it
but me, i'm not a gamble
you can count on me to split
the love i sell you in the evening
by the morning won't exist


Monday, September 04, 2006

coachella, rilo kiley, jenny lewis

did a major update of my ipod today, including the addition of a bunch of the performances off the coachella dvd that came out earlier this year. i've never been to the coachella valley music and arts festival and honestly i'm not sure if i would mind not ever going, due mostly to the heat and the logistics of the festival concerts. having grown up in indio, i know that heat all too well and would do (or not do, as the case may be) most anything to avoid it. but anyway, the dvd is a good way to see some of the performances (though feeling the performances is really what going to concerts is all about), and there are some great ones--arcade fire, belle and sebastian, bright eyes, the mars volta, flaming lips (the origin of the giant human hamster ball), and of course radiohead. i've already posted the pixies reunion performance of "where is my mind", but if anyone who wanders by here would like to see more just leave a comment. disc 2 of this dvd set is pretty disappointing--there's not much of anything on it except for one or two good interviews. for my friends at, here's the short interview with jenny lewis of rilo kiley, along with a song that was available off the 7" split ep that team love records included with orders of rabbit fur coat.

jenny lewis with the watson twins : "paradise" (mp3)
from the album rabbit fur coat (2006)

jenny lewis interview
from the dvd coachella (2006)

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

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