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Friday, October 17, 2008

Artsweek Review: Religulous (2008)

This week I wrote a review of the Larry Charles directed documentary "Religulous" starring Bill Maher and a host of religious fools.

Check it out here

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morgan Enos: Lucky Stars (2008)

Atascadero’s Morgan Enos sounds exactly like a boy who listens to too much Bob Dylan and Neutral Milk Hotel and it ain’t a bad thing in the slightest. Lyrically, Morgan is further ahead of the game than the rest of us. I think in high school I was writing Blink-182 style couplets. On his true blue debut album Lucky Stars, Morgan culls the best tracks from some older EPs and a couple new gems.

Inherently this creates a problem because Lucky Stars ultimately feels like a collection of songs rather than an actual album and I almost wish he could have written a few more new tracks. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad that more people will get exposed to tracks like “A Bird And A Wire” and “Seventeen Flowers.” The former track is especially startling and quite possibly the best song Morgan has written. I’m just going to post a sample of the lyrics for you all to bask in:

Oh girl left behind in a canopy/I’m picking off my worries from cherry tree/You’re the only thing that makes any sense to me/You’re the only thing that makes sense to me

But tonight I think of all I missed/while the spring time bends down for a kiss/ And she shudders and sputters and sparks in the night/ when there’s nobody there to set her right

I’m a cloudy crazy weather in the front of the room/ You’re a seasick sunbeam and up high you loom/Just out of reach and out of touch/On my boney wings I send my prayers up

Morgan’s punky/nasally/raspy voice provides a cool contrast to the straight acoustic material and often is serviced better to faster tempo numbers. On slower songs such as “Climb Aboard” and “Jupiter,” things can get a little ponderous.

Lucky Stars is primarily and introduction record meant for everyone to get a good glimpse at what Morgan Enos is all about. Sometimes he still stays a bit too close to his influences, but if anything it’s giving him the confidence necessary to expand his horizons. He’s doing some great things and really it’s only up from here.

Morgan Enos-"A Bird And A Wire"

Morgan Enos on Myspace!

Oh Sanders: The Death of Nature (2008)

Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, Oh Sanders has released their debut The Death of Nature at a time when that sentiment is pretty much fact, not conjecture. So it seems fitting that lead singer, Stella Leung, is a woman given all those Mother Nature stereotypes thrown around for the last couple thousand years.

So what does all of this really add up to? Well, The Death Of Nature is heavy on the synths, slinky guitar riffs and features a confident and commanding vocalist and band whose mission seems to get a bit funky in the face of the chaos at hand.

This especially comes to mind on “Season For Sleeping,” a ska-like number (in it’s blippy synth line and head-bobbing bass) that would rather get you dancing than ponder its message of the fear of change…I think that’s the message anyway.

Oh Sanders have the ability to make subtle changes to certain artistic formulas and make them exciting again. On “You Should Have Been Nicer,” the band uses the guitar washes of My Bloody Valentine, but breaks them down into stop-start drumming and keyboard arpeggios so that when the guitar washes return for chorus, it feels really like a wave ebbing and flowing and ultimately super satisfying.

Sometimes the band gets a little too silly lyrically for my taste like on “Underwater Voyeur” (the science metaphor is stretched too thin) and maybe a little bit on “Conspiracy To Commit Arson,” but on the latter the Faint-like synth line and genuine sentiment win me over in the end.

Oh Sanders’ The Death Of Nature is a solid debut and something I listen to more than I realize. Its message may not be as clear as it could be, but I think I feel it more than anything else and that’s probably more important anyway.

Oh Sanders-“You Should Have Been Nicer"

Oh Sanders on Myspace!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

MIX FIVE: Mp3 of the Week, Catching Up!

As this site has progressed over the year or so I am disappointed that some of the weekly smaller segments have completely dropped off. That’s why in the midst of everything I need to do I bring to you all, this “catch up” mix of some of the single songs that have caught my ear in the last month or two.

Tinyfolk-“Bubble Guns”
A cover of a Hello Shark song, this song kind of picks up for Sic Semper Equis left off. It’s marvelous and downtrodden; the darkest techno song ever. I used it in a short film I made over the summer.

Jon Crocker-“Lap Dog”
I’ve had the pleasure of spending more time with Jon Crocker as of late and I think I understand his music a lot more. On this tune from the recent The Dust Will Settle the cynicism strangely fits the style and this soaring sing along has just enough vitriol to almost taste sweet.

Jellybean!-“Love In This Club”
Featuring a bit of auto-tune vocals and keyboard on this Usher cover, Kelly adds a touch of melancholy to make this silly song into something romantic.

Pomona City Rydaz-“T.R.U.E. Crimes (Ft. Tray-Dee)”
A slightly unknown rap group featured in the True Crime: Streets Of LA videogame soundtrack, the MCs here display unique forms of flow that are downright astonishing. Straight up gangsta.

They Might Be Giants-“They’ll Need A Crane”
I’m kind of embarrassed for just discovering They Might Be Giants, but on Lincoln, this song continually floors me over and over again. The video is hilariously sad as well. John Linell’s hair and dance moves reinforce the sort of awkward confidence on display here.

More Smashing Pumpkins than The Smittens, J Isaac Gadient (formally the man behind Lo-Fi Twee sensation Blanketarms) has started a new, more rocking band. This is just an acoustic demo, but it tears me apart inside. It’s a downer in the best possible sense.

Dustin And The Furniture-“Falling Apart”
This song is a rerecorded version, sparser and more intimate, on Dustin’s new album No Living In The Living Room. I suggest you buy a hard copy because the album comes with a book featuring commentary, footnotes and all kinds of important information and resources on how to prepare for the paradigm shift in our world that’s coming sooner than you think.

The Bad Spellers-“The Ungrateful Sojourn Of Nomadic Follicles”
The keyboard line, handclaps and the earnest vocals kill me every time. This album, Keep On Shining, was the house music for a show I played in Hachoji City, Japan and I desperately needed to find a copy. I suggest you track it down too.

Watercolor Paintings-“Shower”
A solo number by Rebecca, the lyrics are boldly frank but equally mysterious. More than anything the effect is more than the sum of its parts. The ending is quite sweet, but really sad and over before you want to be.

M.I.A.-“Paper Planes”
I discovered Kala in a vacuum and immediately became fixated on this startling song. I had no idea how popular it was until I heard it blaring from the frat house across the street a week or two ago. It doesn’t matter; this song is too good to let them have it.

Tinyfolk on Myspace!
Jon Crocker on Myspace!
Jellybean! on Myspace!
Pomona City Rydaz on Myspace!
They Might Be Giants on Myspace!
Withershins on Myspace!
The Bad Spellers on Myspace!
Watercolor Paintings on Myspace!
M.I.A. on Myspace!
Until The Very Last Moment: Ground Zero featuring "Bubble Guns"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Artsweek Articles: Stars Interview & Concert Review

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a phone interview with Torquil Campbell of Stars.

You can read the transcript here.

or listen to the interview in its entirety here.

Stars played at UCSB last Friday and my review for the show can be found here.

Stars-"14 Forever"

Stars on Myspace!
Sad Robots EP available now!
Embarassing Music Video I made for "Going, Going, Gone"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Video Interview with The Elated Sob Story

Without Further Ado I present, in five movements, the first Foggy Ruins Of Time video interview. About a month and a half ago I was lucky to meet with Star Dell'Era, leader and ruler of The Elated Sob Story and we chatted about all sorts of music and non-music related topics (Cats too!).

The Elated Sob Story is an alternative, twee, pop, rock musical jubilee where everything is played fast, loose and just a little bit sad.

I apologize for the quality, the interview was conducted with two canon digital cameras.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

The Elated Sob Story-"Wish You Had A Mind"

The Elated Sob Story on Myspace!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Artsweek Review: Don Hertzfeldt's I Am So Proud Of You

Q&A after the show

My second article for Artsweek, I covered the premiere of Don Hertzfeldt's new film I Am So Proud Of You. Don is a film studies graduate of UCSB so it's cool that he comes back often to show us something special like this before anyone else.

Don Hertzfeldt and I Am So Proud Of You

oh and I also wrote an article on the Beach House show in Santa Barbara but it isn't online yet.