under construction! Don't be alarmed, new layout coming soon...yeah right

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mp3 of the Week: "I Hope..." by James Eric

James Eric is the kind of guy who still sings about things I wish I could, but sadly do not have to the spirit to.

And despite all the things James has gone through he always sings with a level of energy and passion that startles me from time to time. On his much overlooked Fire In The Mountains from this year the song "I Hope..." is an anthem that has a great marching rhythm, stomping piano and is full of that classic James Eric sincerity that I so dearly adore.

This song's message is simple, but born out of a life of complications. It is so steadfast I can't help but wish to sing it aloud. And it's the kind of song that must be sung that way and even if you don't believe its message, the more and more you sing it you will eventually.

James Eric-"I Hope..."

James Eric on Myspace!
Download Fire In The Mountains on CLLCT!

YouTube Video of the Week: "Pork And Beans" and "Violet Hill" Videos

Speaking of Postmodernism...

I would say I am a big fan of music videos, but lately I haven't seen any that have really impressed me terribly especially from the mainstream artists, but this week I have seen two pretty awesome videos that have restored my faith in the music video format.

First up is Weezer's "Pork And Beans." It's a song that I was sort of meh about yet slowly it became catchier and catchier. With this new video doing the pastiche thing by incorporating a bunch the YouTube "classic" characters interacting with Rivers and the gang I couldn't help but smile. It's funny because YouTube has created a whole new level of celebrity and this video for "Pork And Beans" is by no means the first video to capture this phenomenon, but it does it with enough charm and sincerity.

Secondly, and more hilariously and more seriously, is the alternate video for Coldplay's new single "Violet Hill." Why this is the "alternate" video is beyond me. Recycling a bunch of clips of old leaders, current leaders and maybe soon to be leaders and other footage of war and politics the video recontextualizes these images for darkly humorous purposes. It's an incredibly moving video really and was left stunned the first time I saw it.

Both videos make those songs even better then when I first heard them and it gives me hope for the music video, and they have re-inspired me to take a shot at doing my own once more.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Feel Like A Kid Again In Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)

I must admit I was not an Indiana Jones fan as a kid. With Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Legos, Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Transformers toys and more (Lord Of The Rings and The Matrix as I got older) there wasn’t enough room (literally and mentally) for Indy and his archaeological adventures. And yet, sitting in The Embassy (The same theatre where The Return of The King premiere took place) as the lights went down I could not help but feel extremely giddy.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a damn fun movie that hits a lot more than it misses and the misses are things that no one should be upset about. Again, not being an Indiana Jones fanatic (only saw the three previous films twice) I did not come with that particular depth of knowledge, but I don’t think it mattered. The images from those films are ingrained in our collective consciousness and even if the context is lost, the icons remain.

I want to say a few things about the fans' worries (or the what seems to be the fans' worries). Shia is great, he was the BEST thing about Transformers and holds his own here. Him and Ford have great chemistry together. Cate Blanchett who I absolutely adore and admire is wonderful and a lot less over the top than she appears in the trailers. She finds the right balance between 50s B-Movie acting and dramatic subtly. Ford brings it here two hundred percent and I never knew how much I missed him until now. Yes there is more CGI than the previous outings, but its still less than any other Blockbuster today.

Steven Spielberg was my hero as a kid and this movie recaptures the awe, that classic Steven-fucking-Spielberg awe and I didn’t feel a single slow moment. The exposition relating to the historical aspects of the Crystal Skull, Mayans, etc. wasn’t clunky in the least. It made perfect sense in a story like this. I know that this final script was David Koepp’s hodgepodge of all the previous drafts, but honestly there was only one instance where I could tell. But overall I was laughing (even at jokes I know ‘ol Georgie suggested) and jumping in my seat with excitement. The action was dynamic and never lost its dramatic edge. I don’t know why people have to feel relieved when they say they enjoyed this film, did the Prequels really do that much damage? I guess maybe I’m not as desperate, but this film isn’t just a relief, it’s damn good cinema.

This review is a bit scattershot because it’s only been a half an hour since I experienced Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It’s probably the best way to review this film though. And no it isn’t about turning off your brain and having fun, it’s more like flipping on a different set of lenses and leaving your cynicism at the door.

As I walked home in downtown Wellington I found myself whistling the theme and seriously looking forward to renting the original three films and maybe catching up on a lost childhood opportunity. I certainly feel like a kid now and it feels really good.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on IMDB
Harry Knowles joyous review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at AICN

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Help Out Marc With A C!

So Florida's resident blogger and rocker has run into some troubles and he needs YOUR HELP!

Go read the details for yourself on Marc's personal blog, but basically you guys should pre-order his forthcoming album Linda Lovelace For President (Comes out July 1st if we work together) because not only is it a damn fine record, but if you pre-order, you will you get the awesomely cool DVD (that will melt your face off), and other rare goodies as well.

Here is the trailer:

And here is a Marc With A C cover courtesy of yours truly:

The details straight from Marc
Pre-Order Linda Lovelace For President and get all kinds of goodness!
My review of Linda Lovelace For President

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Interview With Russ Woods Of Tinyfolk + Mix!

In anticipation of Tinyfolk's new album Sic Semper Equis, Russ (one half of Tinyfolk, the other half Meghan Lamb) was kind enough to answer my questions about his past, present and future. Now It's no secret I am a big fan, but I hope you can read his words and maybe get a greater sense of one of music's most inspiring and intriguing bands propelling us into the future.

Taken by Adam Zolkover

Foggy: What do you think of the term Lo-Fi and where do you think Lo-Fi music is going to go in the next couple of years?

Russ: I actually like the term lo-fi, unlike most genre terms that could have been used to describe any of my music. I think the problem comes when the term becomes something more than just a way to describe an act who uses a certain method of recording. I think lo-fi music is something that, for the majority of music listeners, will never be anything that they really hear any of, outside of perhaps a moldy peaches song on the Juno soundtrack (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I think lo-fi is important to the larger musical world in that it is a wonderful influence in challenging artists to think outside of the box. I don't think The Mountain Goats would have been able to make the studio albums they're making now if John Darnielle hadn't gotten his chops recording loads of hissy tape demos and selling them. I think the Mount Eerie is especially interesting, as basically he's gone from making lo-fi folk music to making something that is a somewhere between folk and Sunn O)))-style stoner metal. The only other band I can think of that's doing anything like that is someone like Lightning Paw. I think lo-fi itself will very likely stay where it is, but I think we'll see a lot of lo-fi musicians branch into very different genres and incorporate a lot of new things, many of which will push them out of the catagory of "lo-fi," for better or for worse.

Foggy: What stereotypes do you think go along with the term Lo-Fi?

Russ: I think the neat thing about the word lo-fi is because it's tied to a specific method of recording, there can be many different things that lo-fi can exist as. I've heard lo-fi country and lo-fi noise. I can't think of many other descriptors that can encompass both country and noise performers and not be seen as a stretch. I think it's cool. I don't think what I do is lo-fi anymore. Perhaps home-recorded (as I do record at home), but I think ever since I started using a condenser mic (basically Bill-and-after), I have wandered outside of the realm of lo-fi, except when I'll occasionally record something with some hiss on it. I think Tinyfolk's music is still very lo-fi influence, though, as there always has existed an element of sloppiness that I'll never quite be able to clean up, and I can't see that changing, no matter how hard I want it to sometimes. Hopefully it's endearing or something.

Foggy: What do you think of Twee? It is a category some would say a few your earlier albums fit into. Freak Folk?

Russ: I like twee. I think it's fascinating, and I love hearing all the different ways it exists/has existed. I'm not sure that many of my albums would fall under a strict definition of twee (i.e. one that is based around Sarah Records and Black Tambourine and full bands with drummers and jangly electric guitars), though I know some include Beat Happening (who kind of did both sometimes) and all the American lo-fi acoustic acts they influenced. There are loads of cutesy bedroom pop projects being created at any one time, and the word "twee" is definitely something that's being used to describe them, whether you think that's accurate or not. I'm not really in a place to say. Either way, I like lots of music of this type, though lately I've just been listening to other stuff, I still quite enjoy musicians like Dennis Driscoll and Rose Melberg and (of course) Watercolor Paintings. Not to mention stuff like The Sugargliders and Eggstone and the Television Personalities.

As for "freak folk," it's a descriptor I dislike enough to put quotes around it whenever I have to use it. I really dislike the emphasis on weirdsybeardsyness that the genre name implies, because I feel like it deifies the whole artist-as-madman trope but not in a way that seems aware of what it's doing. Maybe that's a lot of agency to put upon some sort of vague category. Probably I'm being somewhat unfair and generalizing. I like some music that people could call "freak folk." I like Little Wings. I like the Jeweled Antler Collective a lot (I'd been listening to The Birdtree a whole bunch when I first wrote the song "Antlers"). I guess there are a few Tinyfolk songs someone could call "freak folk" if they wanted to.

Foggy: Do you think promotion is a necessary evil or do you embrace the challenges?

Russ: Promotion has presented interesting challenges for me, and is really kind of fun in a lot of ways, mainly because I am so adverse to the way a lot of people advertise their music, and I think a lot of people are with me on that. I don't think the answer is to not advertise, because everyone advertises, they just do it in ways that don't always seem like advertising. And that in itself is probably one of the most interesting challenges. To come up with ways to make your music available to be found without seeming preachy about it in the least. I think the most common answer is to let a label do it for you, then it no longer becomes "Look how great this thing I made is!" but rather "Look how great these people are! I'm putting out their album, you should listen to it!" Which in itself is a lot more palatable to people. But smaller labels are usually run by one person, maybe two if they're lucky. There aren't usually people whose job it is to focus on just promotion, and there isn't usually any money to actually do any type of promotion that would cost. It certainly presents an interesting problem, and one that isn't easily solved, but I think in the long run its just going to make us creative people have to be creative not only in making music but also in how we present it to people.

A young Russ (and Meghan!), playing in a Lo-Fi stadium aka living room.

Foggy: Where did you come up with the name Tinyfolk?

Russ: It's a dumb story. Basically I was at a Mirah show and there was this girl that I had a crush on who was a friend of a friend. We were all there together and I was sitting next to her. She was a fairly small person, as am I, and someone else wanted to sit on the bench and I said, 'you can probably fit, we're tiny folk.'" I liked the phrase, so I made it an instant messenger screen name, and then a livejournal, and then it was my username all over the internet. When I got sick of playing music under the name "a pilgrimage to save this human race," I decided I needed something new. Tinyfolk was the first thing I thought of. I remember asking my friend Zeb if she thought it would be a good idea if I changed my band name and she said, "No!!!!! I love "A Pilgrimage to Save This Human Race." Then she said, "What would you change it to?" and I said "Tinyfolk" and she said, "Ooh! Yes! Do it!" So I did.

Foggy: Did you have any goals when creating Tinyfolk and if so have they changed? Do you have goals now as opposed to before or vice versa?

Russ: My goal when writing my very first pilgrimage song was basically to create something that could exist as a song in the universe. At the time I was compiling songs with the word "supergirl" in the title, as that was my nickname for my girlfriend at the time. I got the idea to record my own supergirl song, so I did. And that was my first song: "My Supergirl." No, you can't hear it.

After that, basically I was just so excited about making anything at all that it was just an experiment to see what I could pull off. And that's what it's been ever since. So, I don't really feel like I've had any goals with the project other than to follow my impulses. Which is why I switch up the way I do things a lot, to keep myself interested.

Foggy: Bill and Valley Forge were very experimental and purposely busy aesthetically, any reason for why you pushed away from the simple ukulele albums of before?

Russ: Basically I wanted to see what else I could do. When I was recording Love Doesn't Grow on Trees, the guy who ran the label that wanted to put it out, Erik from Agriculture Records, said I should add lots of things to the recordings rather than just singing and playing the song like I would live. He said "make it a masterpiece." Ever since then I've basically been doing the same thing, adding things, trying to make it a "masterpiece." Bill was the first time when I had the capability (thanks to PJ) to add a significant amount of things and make it sound okay. Valley Forge was the first time I had that capability without anyone else helping me. Sic Semper Equis is basically me stepping back and saying, "Well, I can do all these things. Now what do I want to do?"

Foggy: Why no ukulele on Jack's Broth your latest (CLLCT exclusive) EP?

Russ: It's amazing how perfect a classical guitar sounds after having played a cheap baritone ukulele for years. It's like they're made of magic silk sound fluid.

Foggy: So you have a new album coming out called Sic Semper Equis. Besides the fact that it will be entirely recorded in Apple's Garage Band is there anything else different about it compared to everything else you've done? In what ways is it the same?

Russ: Well, basically the fact that (apart from one song) I never touched an instrument making this album makes it hugely different. Also, the fact that I came up with the concept after having written one song and then wrote all the others after the concept makes it different from all the albums except the Cat Album. It's also much longer. The longest release I've done up until now is probably about thirty minutes, and this one's around forty-five minutes. That feels really good, especially because I don't feel like I'm someone who tends to stretch songs out and make them long, so when I write a five minute song, I feel like it's got a lot smashed into those five minutes. Probably just because I'm not totally used to writing five minute songs yet. There are more long songs on this album. Four of the tracks are over four minutes long, and one is just about fifteen seconds short of that mark. That makes it way different from any album I've written, except maybe Valley Forge, which had two longer ones. Doing the same vocal effect, drum machines, and generally keeping everything made in pretty much the same way made this album a lot different to make, though its stylistically all over the place more than anything I've ever made. Because I was using drum machines I could let my love of hip-hop shine through a lot more than I ever have before. This is probably the first Tinyfolk album that will rattle your subwoofer. And it will rattle your subwoofer. The first time I burned some of the tracks to cd to hear how it sounded in a car, I had to turn the volume way down because the bass was so loud. It was embarrassing. I guess that's what I get for making bass-heavy recordings on a laptop, where I can't get a good idea of how the bass even sounds. I had to go back and turn it down a bit in the mix.

This album is the same in that it's still me singing about animals, and that's really comfortable. It's the same in that I'm still a pretty silly guy, and that shows in my lyrics and some of the choices I made musically as well. I want people to laugh sometimes when listening to this stuff, but I also want it to be the kind of thing that doesn't get old after the joke gets old.
Also, I heard that Erykah Badu's new album was recorded in GarageBand. So, I'm in good company.

Foggy: If you could say one thing about Sic Semper Equis to prepare listeners for when it comes out what would it be?"

Russ: Here's the album's tagline: "Y2K was hard on us all. Goats, Deer, Horses. Centaurs. Everybody."

Foggy: favorite online community, social network or website (besides CLLCT of course)?

Russ: Catbook.

Taken by Adam Zolkover

So there you have it folks I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to Russ for taking the time to answer my questions. I am saving a few extra questions & the responses to go along with my review of Sic Semper Equis. It is coming out soon so keep your ears posted. Learn Tinyfolk's music so everything you know will be deconstructed when Sic Semper Equis drops.

...AND SO I finally got my ass in gear and present to you a SUPER MIX. Not only am I presenting to you a ten song retrospective on the music of Tinyfolk, but a silly song I wrote and recorded about them and a collection of songs that showcase Russ and Meghan’s various (side) projects, collaborations and more.

Tinyfolk Retrospective:
"If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" From Thirty-Six Cat Songs By Tinyfolk
"Millions Of Leaves" From Love Doesn't Grow On Trees
"Love Is A Thing" From Little Mice And Other Things That Go Skitter Skitter
"If I Were An Owl" From "Platapeasawallaland": A Rainy-Day Owlbum
"Really, Really Blue: A Tale Of Unrequited (Perhaps) Romance And Lizardry" From Bill
"Do Animals Get Lonely Late At Night?" From Pizza Under The Sea on Wee Pop! Records
"Stay Poor" From Life Is Easy: A Real Live Tigers Tribute
"Valley Forge" From Valley Forge on Sanitory Records
"Duke Of Earl" From Jack's Broth
"Thus Always Horses" From the forthcoming album Sic Semper Equis

My Ode To Tinyfolk on a super-secret EP coming soon!
Existential Hero-"Hey Russ, Why You Singin' 'Bout All Those Animals?"

Various (Side) Projects, Collaborations And More:
A Pilgrimage To Save This Human Race (The first incarnation of Tinyfolk with just Russ)-"Were You Dating Me Just For The Mix CDs?"
Bikeweather (A band featuring Russ from Tinyfolk, Isaac from Blanketarms and Adam from Jenny Is A Boy)-"And We Can Read Emma Goldman At The Top Of Our Lungs To The Tunes Of Car Alarms (Original Version)"
The Spooky Ghosts (A Lo-Fi Pop Duo With Isaac from Blanketarms and Russ)-"Solitaire is a Two-Person Game. You've Just Been Playing It Wrong"
Tinyfolk and Secret Owl Society (Secret Folk Collaboration)-"We Are Hedgehogs"
Iron Like Nylon (Meghan Lamb's solo outing, a must listen!)-"The Tolling"
Forever Wolf (Russ and Meghan's "serious" side)-"It's All Coming Back to Me (Celine Dion Cover)"
Dead Dead Meat (Russ's Horror Rap Project)-"Braaaaiiiinnnnsss"

Tinyfolk on Myspace!
Download Tinyfolk's entire Discography if you please on CLLCT!
Articles/Reviews of Tinyfolk on Foggy Ruins Of Time
Buy Valley Forge Split with Manipulator Alligator on Sanitary Records!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

4th Poll Closed, Vote In The New Poll, More Updates

So is it safe for me to presume you cats out there like music? It makes me happy to see that many people feel that music is everything. I certainly feel that way. If you couldn’t tell…

VOTE in the new poll and...

I would check below for two reviews of two solid and catchy albums (Marc With A C and Lauren Elle). Believe me their music will get stuck in your heads quite easily.

Also there is a large surge of mainstream and indie albums coming out soon that I am anticipating (Coldplay, Weezer, etc.). Even though there have been some great Lo-Fi records released so far this year (Patrick Ripoll and Chris Zabriskie), I think that the big guys have also been contributing something meaningful and great. Keep your ears open to everything.

Look forward to reviews of records by Tissø Lake, Alan Wilkis, Everyone Except Me and more!

I will also be conducting an interview with Russ Woods from Tinyfolk about his forthcoming album Siq Semper Equis and more.

Here is a video of a new song of mine (It can be taken seriously or not):

My Latest VLOGS from New Zealand

Lauren Elle: I Prefer The Element Of Surprise (2008)

Hailing from Grand Rapids Michigan, Lauren Elle’s debut album on ACOSM Records, I Prefer The Element Of Surprise reminds me of the wonderful simplicity of music that so often gets lost today. Most of Lauren’s album is comprised of her trusty acoustic guitar and her voice. Now I am a sucker for female singing voices and although Lauren’s voice isn’t terribly unique she sounds like she has a wonderful handle on it and uses it to every possible advantage.

Take for example the first song, “I Wish My Heart Was A Stone,” it is probably the catchiest and sweetest songs I’ve heard in a long time. Pulling out as much humble sweetness in her voice she sings, “I/ Wish my heart was a stone/I/Hate making decisions/I/Am better off alone/Cuz I/Don’t trust myself.” No Lauren! Don’t wish these things because you sound too lovely to be so lonely. The stretch of the “I” is wrenching and beautiful.

Elsewhere on I Prefer The Element Of Surprise Lauren utters familiar hooks, but sings with such emotion and honesty, she really does make them all her own. On “H.O.M.E.S.” perhaps her most lyrically dense, she still manages to make lines like, “Smile like the sun does/Or my poor little heart might break/Or be sad and cry yourself a set of/Your very own great lakes,” into a chorus that is strangely catchy, but very moving. This song also contains one of my favorite lines on the album: “Sometimes I am criticized when my head is in the clouds/But to be honest I’m not partial to the solid ground.” That’s something I could definitely be criticized for as well.

Now I don’t know why “Bike Tickets” is listed as a bonus track on this album, but it is perhaps my favorite song here. Featuring a Lo-Fi sounding keyboard and drum track instead of her usual acoustic guitar, this angelic dirge is extremely haunting and beautiful. Her voice takes on an almost operatic manner, as she sings, “Won’t you be my sunflower,” over and over as if it was a mantra.

My only complaint about Lauren is that she sings The Moldy Peaches song, “Anyone Else But You,” alone. I don’t know if it was to transform it into a sad exercise on loneliness, but it unnerves me just a bit.

With that said, the rest of I Prefer The Element Of Surprise is utterly infectious for its strict simplicity and low-key manner with which it presents itself. Don’t let that fool you, Lauren Elle is making songs that are not to be missed. You may not know it, but the tugging in your heart is the lack of these songs going into your ears.

Lauren Elle-"I Wish My Heart Was A Stone"

Lauren Elle on Myspace!
Get I Prefer The Element Of Surprise on ACOSM Records!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Death Cab For Cutie: Narrow Stairs (2008)

I’ll start off with such heresy (is it really?) and say that I prefer Death Cab For Cutie’s later albums to their earlier ones (although their cover of Morrissey’s “This Charming Man” off of You Can Play These Songs With Chords is so bad it’s endearing). But how does the band’s 7th album stack up against such monoliths as Transatlanticism and uhh…Transatlanticism?

The first seven songs off of Narrow Stairs are very nicely sequenced. “Bixby Canyon Bridge,” fools us into Plans-esque territory before exploding into a chaotic thunderstorm all buoyed by Ben Gibbard’s “vibrato-less” voice. I am particularly keen on the long opening to “I Will Possess Your Heart.” Do I think it adds to the actual “song” portion of this track? Not really, but it’s moody and groovy. “No Sunlight” and “Cath…” are both more upbeat numbers and although I prefer Death Cab's mellower songs, they are getting stuck in my head regardless.

“You Can Do Better Than Me” is probably the most melodramatic song in the Death Cab For Cutie catalogue but I LOVE IT. Sleigh bells and timpani march along while Gibbard sings viciously and immaturely, “But it's times I think of leaving/But it's something I'll never do/'Cause you can do better than me/But I can't do better than you.” And yet, I bet you can find thousands of live journals echoing the same sentiment. Powerful words indeed.

After “You Can Do Better Than Me” the record becomes pretty forgettable, but “Grapevine Fires” deserves special mention because it was written during all the fires in Southern California last summer. Taking classes in Santa Barbara I awoke one morning to see my entire kitchen was covered in ash (we left the windows open). I would bike to my catering job and see the sun blood red. Gibbard captures the sentiment quite differently then I would have imagined, singing about it with a resigned level of soul.

The one thing about Narrow Stairs that disappoints me is the non-presence of Chris Walla. Plans and Transatlanticism were equally his records as much as they were Gibbard’s (...and the other guys too). I don’t hear his “voice” at all really. This album is less of a headphones record and one more meant for the road.

Since I have begun this blog my music vocabulary has broadened a bit and even if I don’t hold Ben Gibbard and crew as gods of lyrical and musical subtly anymore, Narrow Stairs is a solid, memorable effort that fits nicely along with everything else they’ve done.

Death Cab For Cutie-"You Can Do Better Than Me"

Death Cab For Cutie on Myspace!
Narrow Stairs review on Pitchfork
Narrow Stairs review in Rolling Stone

Foreign Loren/Kapiano: Sea Faced/Home Is Where Your Heart Breaks (2008)

Foreign Loren and Kapiano face off...yeah

This'll be the first split review for Foggy Ruins Of Time. It’s a format that still lingers in the Lo-Fi world, and for good reason. Real Love Records (Candle, Iamb) has provided me with this lovely little split featuring San Diego’s Foreign Loren and Paso Robles’s Kapiano.

I’ll jump right out of the gate and say this; stylistically, Foreign Loren sound like Beirut with a female vocalist on Sea Faced. Allison Barnes voice floats sweetly above the melody each time, but an issue I have with their half of the split (and an issue I have with Beirut) is that every song is a waltz. Maybe it is my unfamiliarity with this particular form of music, and although Foreign Loren have it down pat, I can’t help but wonder what else they have up their sleeve.

And yet I can’t help but love the first track “The Waltz of Dear Hector the Ghost,” where lush harmonies and a single trumpet surge like waves in the choruses. The phrase, “Sailing Away...” has never quite been this vividly poetic.

On the last track of Sea Faced, “Seaside, We Collide,” Foreign Loren get a bit rougher, more passionate, and I like it. The ukulele sounds aggressive and Allison’s lyrics take a huge bite when she sings, “We still hide in our hearts and in our minds/We still love all the facts we left behind/I smile like a child, curse like a saint/We haven’t lost, we've taken off.” The slow build up crescendos off the side of a cliff as the guitar and trumpet collide with the accordion and ukulele mimicking the beautiful chaos of the sea.

I can tell Foreign Loren are just getting their feet wet with Sea Faced. They have all the chops necessary, the experience is what’ll propel them forward next time and I look forward to it.

Foreign Loren-"Seaside, We Collide"

I had the pleasure of seeing Kapiano with Iamb in Santa Barbara about a year ago and although they put on an entertaining show I wasn’t compelled then to further explore their music. Still I was interested to dive into their half of the split, Home Is Where Your Heart Breaks.

Kapiano, get things started off real strong on “Six Years Of Sleep.” I don’t know what it is about this combination of chords but when they sing, “This ship will take me somewhere/No one will dare to follow/ I don’t know what I’ll find/But I need to find it alone," it is positively enrapturing and heartbreaking. This is a heavy song, but it’s lush and Andrea's and Patrick’s vocals work in tandem to become an expressive whole.

The rest of Home Is Where Your Heart Break suffers a bit from the songs going on a tad bit too long as in “Animals,” which also gets a bit melodramatic. “Saltwater” has a nifty guitar riff and interesting interplay between the Patrick's and Andrea's vocals, but it never really goes anywhere.

The final track, “An Oklahoma Song For You” plays a bit with percussion (ala “Lay Lady Lay”), Patrick adds a drunken swagger to his voice and Andrea sounds like she’s singing through a radio. It meanders sweetly without a sense of purpose, but when the piano jumps in everything starts to make sense and Kapiano wander off comfortably into this new world they have created.

Home Is Where Your Heart Break has some startling moments of emotion and truth, but contains moments that require a bit of patience. However all of Kapiano’s moments require listening and they will make themselves heard to all lovers out there.

Kapiano-"Six Years Of Sleep"

I don’t know if I approached reviewing a split correctly, but Sea Faced/Home Is Where Your Heart Breaks contains lots of promise from Foreign Loren and Kapiano. It isn't without its natural missteps, but this is the type of record you’ll put on to relax only to have it quietly hit you when you least expect it.

Foreign Loren on Myspace!
Kapiano on Myspace!
Order the specially handmade split from Real Love Records now!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

I don't know if all my readers know this, but I had moved to New Zealand to study abroad for a year, but 4 months in, it hasn't worked out as I had hoped so I am moving back to Santa Barbara, CA in July to end this lovely, but ultimately unfruitful vacation.

Thank you readers for being patient with all the changes going on at Foggy Ruins Of Time and I have been happy to keep this blog going through of this and this change won't interrupt the blog anymore than the other changes have. If you are thinking of sending me something to review I'd contact me first before sending due to more address changing confusion, but just contact me beforehand and something will be worked out.

I look forward to writing more and being closer to everyone again. Even you UK kids. =D

Bob Dylan-"Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"

Detailed notes as to why I am leaving New Zealand

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Holy Crap Another New Nine Inch Nails Album? And It's Free?

The Slip

"Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one’s on me"

So says Trent Reznor on the Nine Inch Nails blog. With the recently released Ghosts I–IV and its unorthodox release strategy ala Radiohead's In Rainbows I guess Trent wanted something cool to say thanks with. Now I'm not much of a Nine Inch Nails fan (grew up with the singles on KROQ and remember his "appearance" on Celebrity Death Match quite well), but I still think this is pretty awesome of him, giving away a full album, called The Slip for FREE! That's right kids get yer FREE copy today in the links below in a variety of formats from standard Mp3 to FLAC!

Nine Inch Nails-"Echoplex"

Reznor's message
Download The Slip here!
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3rd Poll Closed, Lots of New Stuff, Vote In The New Poll

So it seems if you guys really like me! That poll was a vanity project, but vote in the new poll which will be more focused from now on (as far as I can tell) on more interesting questions that do NOT pertain to blog maintenance. If you have any poll ideas write a comment on this post!

I would check below for some great articles on We Heart Arts & ACOSM Records, reviews of the Prince Edward Island EP Lies To Tell Tourists and the new Flight Of The Conchords record and the Mp3 of the Week “I Will Not Apologize” by The Roots.

Stay tuned for reviews of the Foreign Loren/Kapiano split from Real Love Records, ACOSM Records artists Lauren Elle and Everyone Except Me and more!

See my fotos taken in the South Island of New Zealand

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mp3 of the Week: “I Will Not Apologize (Feat. Porn and Dice Raw)” by The Roots

“I Will Not Apologize” is a primary example of the grimy, dirty, enthralling and engaging sound on The Roots new album Rising Down.

Featuring taught and stuttered drumming from ?uestlove, an ultra-addicting bassline, sputtering horns and analog synth lines that frighten and soar, MC Black Thought and guests P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw let loose and get fierce.

I’ll just copy my favorite verse here that focuses mostly on suburban peoples’ absurdly warped perceptions of African-Americans and how this view is perpetrated:

For the statements I’m about to make I will not apologize niggaz talk a lot of shit really need to stop the lies jewels rented cars rented homie that aint authentic
actin tough on TV but to me you seem a little timid
don’t blame the nigga blame America its all business
actin like a monkey is the only way to sell tickets shit I can dig it, niggas gossip silly digits
white kids buy it its a riot When we talking about pimpin
or sippin on old English brew or whatever they think we do Spraying double Uzis cause you know they think we live in zoos
the problem is with this everyone seems to be real confused the niggaz on the streets to the old people that watch the news
and watch BET and the crazy shit they see
they associate with you do the same shit to me
when you look at me you see just a nigga from the projects but cant understand this niggaz mind set still

The hook, "I will not apologize its is for all of my peoples who understand and truly recognize/Some wont get it for that I wont apologize," is simple and addictive, but it’s the intensity of the music and lyrical dexterity and focus of MCs Black Thought, P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw that makes “I Will Not Apologize” one of my favorite rap songs in a long time.

The Roots-“I Will Not Apologize (Feat. Porn and Dice Raw)”

The Roots on Myspace!
Pitchfork review of Rising Down

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Flight Of The Conchords: Flight Of The Conchords (2008)

Being In New Zealand right now you’d swear that the release of Flight Of The Conchords debut studio album on Sub Pop Records Flight Of The Conchords was the second coming. Every record store within the vicinity of me in Wellington is covered in posters and half the stores are devoted to copies of this record. But let’s get on it with it.

As a devoted Flight Of The Conchords fan I cannot help but feel a bit tired. I understand why they wanted to redo the songs from the show, but we’ve heard every song on Flight Of The Conchords (“Au Revior” is pretty much a coda to “Foux Du Fafa”). The songs on this album are essentially just higher quality versions of the ones on the show, but that isn’t to say everything is said and done.

“Inner City Pressure” probably receives the best upgrade as well as “Ladies Of The World.” Both these songs sound fresh and Bret and Jemaine still sound excited about performing them. The differences between these versions and their show counterparts are insignificant but those insignificant bits make all the difference (note: listen to to Jemaine’s falsetto near the end of “Ladies Of The World” plus the kick ass coda).

Elsewhere classics like “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rymenoceros” and “Robots” receive new upgrades. “Robots” is without a doubt done. I enjoy it still, but it’s lifeless. However on “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rymenoceros,” Bret and Jemaine manage to create an interesting meld between the live versions and the version on show. I applaud it for this hip-hop/acoustic hybrid, but it isn’t the best version out there.

I must not have noticed “Mutha'uckas” before because in another universe it’d be more popular than their “other” rap song. Using pretty much only a fat synth bassline and muted guitar, Bret raps “I’m gonna juice the mutha’ucka” and other various fruit related expletives while Jemaine lays down some woes about what else but money:

“Mutha’ucka charge a two buck transaction fee
Makes my payment short
My rent comes back to me
Minus a twenty-five dollar penalty
So you’ll see me ‘cause of your mutha’uckin’ fee
Read the words
On my ATM slip, it said
We’re all mutha’uckas
And we’re ‘uckin’ with your shi-“

Honestly how did we ignore this song for so long?

This album will probably be one of my favorites of 2008 and I know that they wanted these to be the versions for everyone to remember and yes they are as hilarious as ever, but really I just want Bret and Jemaine to be able to move on. I know they’ve still got plenty of funny left to say.

Flight Of The Conchords-“Mutha’uckas”

Flight Of The Conchords on Myspace!
Order the album from Sub Pop Records!
Plenty of FOTC for all Kiwis

Friday, May 2, 2008

Prince Edward Island: Lies To Tell Tourists (2008)

Prince Edward Island is a six-piece pop band from the UK, you know the part where they have those sexy Scottish-esque sounding accents. Regardless I had never heard of them until I received their newly released EP, Lies To Tell Tourists in the mail. Yet, this four song EP is one of the most lush and intricate pop albums I have heard in awhile, and it's fantastic.

This album starts off with two solid numbers “It’s All Over The Bar Shouting” and “Take Your Breath Away,” both songs trading off male/female vocals while maintaining an intensity that isn’t so common in boy/girl set-ups. Credit must also be given to the rest of the band for propelling the intensity on these songs (note: check out the drumming on the latter part of “Take Your Breath Away”).

On “I’ve Been To A City,” things jump from solid to phenomenal and it is easily one of my favorite songs I’ve heard this year. Living in a city at the moment, there is something so right about this song and it captures the feeling quite beautifully. And did I mention it’s lush? It has all these different elements from the drums, guitar, bass, keyboard lines, harmonies, horns, etc. that all stand alone but come together in a way that makes Arcade Fire songs seem flat by comparison.

They round things off quite nicely with my other favorite track on the EP, “I Am A Pig And You Are A Cow.” It may be the quietest song on here but it is still brimming with finger snaps, cymbals, horns, etc. And is that theremin I hear? (Or musical saw?)

Lies To Tell Tourists is one quick EP brimming with life, intensity and enough sexy accents to knock you on your ass. Prince Edward Island is a band that I need to investigate more of, but this is a damn fine start.

Prince Edward Island-"I've Been To A City"

Prince Edward Island on Myspace!
Order the EP now on BabyBoom Records!

We Heart Arts & ACOSM Records Doing The Good Stuff

Is that Shelby Sifers hiding behind that sign?

We Heart Arts is a truly wonderful organization that every Lo-Fi musician or anyone who believes in the power of creativity should get behind. It is non-profit and seeks to raise money for kid’s creative arts programs across the globe. Here are their tenants:

i. Creative arts teaches young people the value of lifelong active personal expressionism
ii. Creative arts teaches young people to question the world they live in
iii. Creative arts teaches young people that thinking outside of the box is an important mental function in life
iv. Creative arts teaches young people to engage in a social network of proactive young people invested in a community built on meaningful, sustained ideas and expressionism
v. Creative arts open up a world of opportunities for young people to grow and help others through arts therapy
vi. Creative arts can open up an avenue of communication for children with learning difficulties
vii. Creative arts can help children process and work through traumatic experiences
viii. Creative arts can provide peer interaction and a sense of community, independence and feelings of control

I for one agree whole-heartedly with these and in today’s world it is a whole lot harder to express yourself freely in the public sphere and kids shouldn’t be ashamed of what they create and love to do.

So if you want to support We Heart Arts in some way now is your chance. Write about it, make posters and take photos, make videos talking about it and buy the digital splits featuring so far Shelby Sifers, Eyes For Volume, Secret Owl Society and Fire Island, AK!

Here your chance to use your creativity to make a difference, and not just awareness either, but the more people take part the more things get done. Go!

My video for We Heart Arts:

In conjunction with We Heart Arts, ACOSM Records is a label that ya'll are going to hear a lot about in the near future. Also started by Tony Cannings, he says this about ACOSM’s ideals; “Music is about passion, drive and the need to free you creatively from the monotony of everyday life. It's about being flag bearers of a new cultural revolution, about having a voice and knowing how to use it, sometimes the quietest of voices can make the loudest noise!”

With recent closures or hiatuses of labels like Pop Monster and Valiant Death, we need labels like ACOSM to take up the new mantle of supporting the unbridled creativity of the Lo-Fi world. Like I said, big things will be happening soon, just you wait. But for now check out the likes of Lauren Elle and Everyone Except Me who are already on ACOSM getting the whole thing started.

Lauren Elle-“I Wish My Heart Was A Stone”
Everyone Except Me-“50,000 Screaming Adolescents Can't Be Wrong”

We Heart Arts on Myspace!
Buy The Digital Splits Here!
ACSOM Records
ACOSM Records on Myspace!
Lauren Elle on Myspace!
Everyone Except Me on Myspace!