In August of this year a young woman living in LA by the name of Lissie Maurus had put together a few songs and sent them to Fat Possum Records and the EP happened very quickly. There is a lot of buzz around this beautiful young singer songwriter and rightfully so with exquisite soulful songs sung with a voice that cuts like hers. The country/folk scene is burgeoning in LA and with music like this coming out of it you can see why its growing and making an impact. The first song "Little Lovin" may be the appropriate single off the EP and if you watch the second video there is a short interview with her. She has opened for people like Ray Lamontagne and will be at the 9:30 club January 7th opening for City and Colour.
The real story to watch here may be that of the movie’s stars. Teeny boppers Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning play the lead rolls of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, respectively, in their first films as sexy adults playing sexy adults for the enjoyment of adults. The obnoxiously popular Twilight series may inspire hipsters nationwide to protest the selection of Stewart to play the iconic Joan Jett. But the same hipsters need look no further than this summer’s Adventureland to see Kristen Stewart demonstrate her dramatic range, as well as her innate ability to inspire a hopeful hard-on in the oddest of oddballs. It’s easy to point fingers at the suddenly successful, but this Flocker is making a call, Kristen Stewart is as talented as she is hot, and the best candidate to helm a young Joan Jett’s “fuck me or fuck you” persona.
As for Dakota Fanning’s selection as lead singer, Cherie Currie, it’s tough to say how moviegoers will react. Love or hate the Twilight movies, Kristen Stewart enjoys the benefit of having entered the public arena as a love interest, teen or not. Fanning made her first impression on most of us as the adorable baby girl of a retard in I Am Sam, and despite her undeniable talent, most viewers will have trouble looking into that face and seeing anything other than that adorable little girl. Her success or failure relies on the aforementioned undeniable talent. Dakota Fanning’s selection of this role was no doubt a deliberate move to reintroduce herself to the world as an adult you don’t have to be a pedophile to find hot. It remains to be seen if the world is ready to see her that way.
Three things are certain to come of this film. For one, a fuckton of money. Stewart’s and Fanning’s last collaboration on Twilight: New Moon has brought in nearly $300 million in the past month alone, proving the two are financially viable, whether or not the movie sucks. Secondly, you can count on a lot more teenagers taking an interest in 70’s era rock and punk, which is probably a good thing for those of us old geezers sick of hearing the shallow crap that floods the airways these days. Third and most importantly, the trial by fire of two young ladies soon to find out if their acting careers have a future after high school.
Jay Z in this photo is keeping warm at the Inauguration of President of Barack Obama back in January. Here in DC with the Snowpocalypse this weekend I could have used his hat. He has also released a song this year that may just be the most likable song of the year and makes me miss my hometown of New York.
Surfer Blood's music fits conveniently into the coined term "beach music" and this year with bands like Ducktails and Real Estate has become one of the most overused terms of the year. If you are looking for a lengthy review please visit www.obscuresound . The song below is now what some are considering the hit.
Surfer Blood: Swim (to reach the end)
Bonus: The Grizz Weighs in on Surfer Blood. "Hold on Firenzi Imma let you finish but.." This band blew em back at last years CMJ festival in NYC and was declared "the winner" by way of the fact that they acheived the most press out of the event. My personal favorite jam off their forthcoming release "Astrocoast" is Floating Vibes, which mines the same powercords, song structure and basic style of Pavement (minus the self satisfied snark of Stephen Malkmus' pre-ironic self conscious posturing) and sticks to the subject matter of surfing before devolving into a facemelting guitar solo.
Surfer Blood: Floating Vibes
Red Fang is a sludgy hard rock band out of Portland. The music is loud and the battle between the nerds and the beer warriors is outstanding in this video of theirs. I especially enjoyed the intro with the line, "Hey...Gandalf nice dress." The video also has a very unlikely conclusion. Tell us what you think.
Foreign Born is the band responsible for one of the best albums of 2009 "Person to Person". Below is the new video for the song "Early Warning". The finger picking in the song has an almost african feel to it. This band has gone unnoticed for too long, even after their song appeared on NBC's sitcom "Chuck" in 2007. Also in 2006 they toured in a van that they called Dios Malos and it was powered by vegetable oil. They stole the vegetable oil from restaurants and lead man Matt Popieluch is quoted saying "We had special clothes, we had grease clothing that we used. It was a very messy process. And it’s methane free. We didn’t have any financial support, so we needed to do everything we could to save some dough. Also, politically it’s good, I guess."
Foreign Born - Vacationing People
Prince Klassen is a DJ out of texas who first came to my attention by re-editing classics by Arethra Franklin and Roxy Music. He stands out of the way of the tracks and accentuates the bounce of the original, retaining the flavor of the original while enhancing it's danceability. Many people have taken on Chromeo tracks, but Klassen is one of the few who manages to make them better.
Chromeo-My Girl is Calling Me a Liar (Prince Klassen Re-Edit)
It's Because of WBEA that I know all the words to "I want to Know what Love is", an absolutely epic power ballad from the multi-platinum selling British-American band Foreigner.
"I Want To Know What Love Is" builds to a soft rock climax with lead singer Mick Jones pouring his heart out as the New Jersey Mass Choir repeats the chorus over and over and over again while Foreigner's unintrusive synthesizers and drums color this fantastic vocal performance. It's timeless song, that absolutely everyone knows; and only the most hardened cynic can deny.
Mumford & Sons is a new folk rock band from London and have released their new single called "Little Lion Man". This tune is intense and very catchy with some great lyrics like "Its not your fault but mine/ It was your heart on the line/ I really fucked it up this time..didn't I my dear." This song is off their debut album with Island Records and these boys have already done some touring with another hot act out of London, The Maccabees.
Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys has teamed up with Dante Schwebel from the band Hacienda on this live performance done in the studio at Sirius radio. The first question asked by my friend when I forwarded it on was “is that a cover?” because it certainly sounds like an old folk song. But the song was written by Dan himself and is a good song to listen to before bed, a nice lullaby.
Barry White-I'm Gonna Love you a Little More, Baby
Watch this video!! He completely pulls off a white turtleneck, that's smooth.
Bradford Cox the lead singer from Deerhunter is working on some new solo recordings under his moniker Atlas Sound. He has recently posted a few songs on his blog for everyone. The first song "Doctor" sounds as if it were written in the 60's and recently has resurfaced in a Wes Anderson movie. "The Screens" is stripped down, idiosyncratic and makes my heart hurt a bit.
Atlas Sound - Doctors
Atlas Sound - The Screens
Vampire Weekend is comprised of some Upper West Side Columbia University students who apparently wear pink shorts on stage. They garnered much attention with their self titled debut album and have the same tour manager as The White Stripes, a testament to how big these guys are making it. They are on the verge of releasing their second album and have released their first video for the song "Cousins" off the new album. The new video is posted below but I am going to add another video, the movie short that lead singer Ezra Koeing put together and where the bands name derived from.
This seductive, gritty, driving sound from Oxford England is sometimes just the dose of music some need. Little Fish is a rock duo and this song Darling Dear is a shot of life. Comparisons may range from Patti Smith to Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. I cannot tell if that is her screaming at the end of the song or if its her guitar, but if its her screaming I am impressed. They will release their LP "Baffled and Beat" in 2010 but this this song was leaked early.
Little Fish - Darling Dear
Ox is a band from Sadbury, Ontario and they have released their second album called Burnout this year. They have made a few videos with a filmmaker John Alden Milne who is also from Sadbury and done videos for another Canadian band Great Lake swimmers. Below are the videos for two cuts off the album "Prom Queen" and "Unknown Legend". If you have not heard the first album American Lo-Fi I recomend checking that one out as well.
Menomena from Portland Oregon seem to have a knack for feeling like a kid again. They have produced an image which sits above that is a homage to The Never Ending Story, the children's movie that most people in my generation have an affinity for. Also in this video below for their song "Rotten Hell" they have recreated what many of us in our middle school years used to dream about at night, a food fight of this proportion. If you do not enjoy this you may be becoming too disjointed from the happiness of youth.
Luther Vandross-Never Too Much
Minnie Riperton-Les Fleurs
Elvis Perkins is the son of actor Anthony Perkins whose most notable role was in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Elvis's father was an expert in everything Elvis Presley and named his boy after him. Anthony lost his battle with Aids in 1992. Elvis’s mother was Berry Beneson a famous photographer; she died in the attacks on 9/11 aboard American Airlines 11 flight returning home from her vacation in Cape Cod. Elvis has lived a life with experiences of great loss and this is heard in his songs. His sound is sophisticated and there exists moments of hopefulness that shine through with elegance and grace. These songs are off his new album Elvis in Dearland which was released in March of this year.Elvis Perkin in Dearland - Shampoo
Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Slow Doomsday
Ryan Adams has dyed his hair blonde and married the pop singer and actress Mandy Moore. Some say that he has lost the alt country edge he once had in the epic band Whiskeytown and others have followed his prolific solo career closely. He has come out with a new song with some really goofy lyrics like the one “your in a time machine tripping on Robotussin and crack” This song put a smile on my face…hope it does the same for you.
Ryan Adams - Jimmy Whistlenut
One of the slower tracks from Grizzly Bear's delicate Veckatamist, Ready Able is a rewarding listen which halfway through picks up to a elegant waltz and sustains the promise of energy hinted at in the tense opening chords. The extraordinary visuals of the video gives you a reason to wait through the uneasy beginning and feel the climax of the track. Like the Knife video, Ready Able uses claymation in ways that would make Gumby sick.
Cole Medina-Love You Inside Out (The Pinches Mix)
Kashif-I Just Got To Have You (Lover Turn Me On)
Kurt Vile is a singer songwriter from Philly now touring with his band the violators. He has an approach to music that is certainly hard to define especially after seeing his live show last night at The Black Cat in DC. He has certain songs like “Freeway” that sound a little bit like they were inspired by classic rock and many have heard Tom Petty in it. This man’s music is very different and the show was at times disorienting but Vile’s creativity was something that was also comforting and for me sort of familiar. He started off the show with an acoustic song alone and the finger picking in this song was peaceful as he murmurs lyrics about tomboys and peeping toms. Ray Concepcion captured this song well in the video below.
"Be My Baby" not only features fantastic singing from the ladies, but also benefits from Spector's superb "Wall of Sound" production skills. The track kicks of with a thump and a clap from the rhythm section before the piano, horns and strings kick in. The highlight of the track though is the chorus, the girls harmonize together like very few can, and the melody carries it home.
The Ronnettes-Be My Baby
As a bonus I have to include this other standout from the Ronnettes
The Ronnettes-Do I Love You
As a bonus from the man who brought you the catchphrase "no homo" comes a mashup that Cam'ron actually participated in. Here's Killa's take on Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. Despite the fact the fact that his first line is "Her shoes straight was hooker" and the track contains an appropriate amount of braggadocio, his later narrative about commiserating with a female protagonist over her family problems reveals a sensitive side, that's otherwise absent from his musical output.
The Doobie Bros.-What A Fool Believes
Carly Simon-Why (12" Mix)
Tribe Called Quest-Bonita Applebum (Why Remix)
Tracks via: Longo
Bonus: Snippet of the original music video
Royal Bangs-My Car is Haunted
Royal Bangs-Waking Up Weird
Hit up their myspace to cop their new album: It Beeps
In a Den in Brooklyn called Monkeytown during the CMJ festival three women from Vermont who call themselves Mountain Man were filmed by Ray Concepion. I thoroughly enjoyed this video as it sounded like the voices of George Clooney and Holly Hunters girls from O Brother Where Art Thou, as if they had grown up and formed this band. Truly fascinating and dream like performance.
Fanfarlo - You are one of the few outsiders who really understands us
Fanfarlo - I am a Pilot
As a bonus, heres a really fun mashup from the Hood Internet of the Black Rob's classic "Woah" with Panda Bear's "Bro's". As far as mashups go, this is one of the best.
Hood Internet-Bro's Before Whoas
Jemina Pearl-I Hate People (featuring Iggy Pop)
Japandroids have released Post Nothing, a fantastically ironic album name and they are doing a lot of touring. They stopped in DC with a band called Real Estate and played the Rock and Roll Hotel. Real Estate is made up of some boys from New Jersey and they have a sound that encompasses a Jersey shore suburban kid vibe. They played around a lot with just instrumental stuff and may need some time to incubate as a band. What they are doing sounds nice though and their hit Beach Comber at the end is the final product of the types of songs that these boys are capable of.
Japandroids are from Vancouver and I swear recently Canada has been producing some musical talent that is absolutely ground breaking. This two -piece band creates a ginormous sound with a small drum kit and a guitar. Brian King has an enthralling energy on stage, dancing around and standing on his amp pumping out power chords. The microphone he uses has a large red sponge cover and this muffles his voice a little and when he sings loud it really comes across well.
Halfway through the set David Prowse revealed that they had to stop the tour bus for King to throw up on the side of the road and that in fact King was very ill. As they were pulled over the van got stuck in the mud, King said, “yeah start a band your life will be filled with puke and mud.” He being sick did not stop him from putting on a good show and this band, if you are listening to the album and you dig it you must see live. Prowse came out after the last song when we were expecting an encore and said “Sorry guys Brian is on the verge of death so we cannot come back out.” A fan then screamed “DRUM SOLO!!” to which Prowse said before leaving the stage “drum solos are so lame man, c’mon.”
Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire
Japandroids - Sovereignty
Photos by Gabby Bond
Together they've played roofs, porches, isolated islands off the coast of Maine, and the streets of Nashville; now theyre coming to the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn this sunday at 9:30. Hit up our friends Chester River Runoff on their myspace for more details, more music, more everything...
Chester River Runoff-Morning Song