SM backstage at Town Hall

Thanks to Rich for sharing:

There are a few interesting things going on here, not the least of which is Stephin giggling to himself under his breath, which is a definite step up from the long awkward silences of most interviews that we've seen. I actually really liked the dynamic between him and the interviewer--they seemed to enjoy each other's company without treating the other too much like another species. The discussion about i was also pretty compelling, and confirmed what I have suspected all along (that it wasn't much but an accidental concept to which Stephin was not too attached but that he went along with it because he knew he could do it with elegance).


the universe is punishing me for using old technology

I got some new records today and one of them seems to be defective. It skips entire songs, and often skips to the next song in the middle of the previous one. There are no visible scratches and it is brand new.

I tried playing a few other (old and new records) and adjusting my record player a bit and the others were fine, leading me to believe that it is just this record.

Anyone have any idea what is going on? Google hasn't been of any help.


Athens Popfest or no Athens Popfest?

That is the question.

(I can't decide whether to go)



Native Korean Rock

Native Korean Rock is Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Her short, sweet songs are like lullabies on a 7", over before you get a chance to let them soak in, but explosive and haunting in their impact.

Make sure to listen to "indian summer" and "OOO."


TMF "Three Way" remix

As TMF's Myspace comment space would indicate, DJ Klumpfisk has remixed "Three Way," from The Magnetic Fields' album, Distortion. As far as I can tell, he just added a bunch more bass, and now it sounds like a good song for DDR.

Download here.


Gentleman Jesse and His Men

Gentleman Jesse and His Men is a dude from my 'hood. I am mildly amused by his music because it sounds like This Bike is a Pipe Bomb after the consumption of a large amount of pixie sticks, and because the band is on a label called Douchemaster. Jesse is also a member of the local punk rock band, The Carbonas. Check out their myspaces for some good clean fun (and also to marvel at the fact that this guy has a song that has been played on Myspace 20,000 times).

Stephin Merritt sings along with a hand puppet


SIRIUS Satellite Radio

Who uses it? My new internet package comes with it, which means I get to listen to Left of Center as much as I want. The coffee shop I used to frequent before my move played that channel quite a bit, and I found it to be decent work music. Some of the selections are a little typical (do they do market research for this stuff), but I really don't mind listening to the Shins so much.

At midnight, they have various music bloggers talking about music, and there is other programming like top 10 lists and live performances, too. Awesome? Yeah, I guess as awesome as radio can be. The feature it is really missing is the ability to go back and forward between songs--like an interactive playlist.

You can subscribe to listen to it online here.


Ratatat: LP3

Ratatat is my favorite band in my whole Work Rotation. Despite producing music that some people think desperately needs vocals, they manage to suck me in every time I am reading or writing and even thinking about listening to anything else. A few songs from LP3 had been circulating for awhile, and unlike others who think that all of these songs sound alike, I was actually heavily anticipating this album.

In Ratatat, they established a strong ability to produce good, melodic beats using little more than guitars. In Classics, they took these melodies even further, creating what was essentially a whole album of rhythmic guitar solos. When I saw them on that tour, I struck by how much they *looked* like some classic rock band, jamming on guitars. In fact, if one were to edit the montage to change out the music, that is very easily what it could have been.

Compared to LP3, the other two albums (and even the Remixes albums) are like quiet children doing their homework on a Sunday afternoon. A few people have commented that the album feels very hip hop, and at times, it certainly does. Most of the album, though, feels like a journey to some exotic, foreign place, in which one can sit and observe the mundane sounds of the street, and in them, find music.

LP3 is very middle-heavy in terms of the quality of songs. The best song is probably "Dura," for its stylistic range. Others, like "Imperials," feature inventive sound effects and clapping that definitely caught my auditory attention. IMO, clapping is still one of the best, cleanest ways to produce a beat, and collective clapping evokes an emotion that is unmatched by anything produced by a synthesizer (see Against Me!-"Those Anarchopunks are Mysterious"). "Shempi" is more traditional Ratatat, though it sounds like a superhero theme song.

Ratatat: Imperials
Ratatat: Mahalo
Ratatat: Shiller

Buy the album from the label or on Amazon.


The Magnetic Fields Tour the US East Coast

Best news of the year? Yes. This basically guarantees that today (and October 17) will be amazing days. It also means that TMF and I are not in a fight anymore for their earlier failure to come through the ATL.

From the House of Tomorrow:

The Magnetic Fields, back from their European tour, are happy to announce that they will be traveling stateside once again to play a short string of dates this October.

The shows kickoff Friday, October 10 in Minneapolis and end with a run up the East Coast that will include a return stop to the New York City area.

A limited number of pre-sale tickets for most shows will be available starting Tuesday, July 15 through Music Today:


General advance sales will start on or around July 18, with tickets available in most cases at the venue's box office as well as at Ticketmaster and some third-party outlets. Please visit the House of Tomorrow calendar for specific details on pricing, onsale dates, and ticket sellers:



Oct 10 (Fri)
Minneapolis, MN
The State Theater

Oct 11 (Sat)
Madison, WI
Capitol Theater at Overture Center for the Arts

Oct 13 (Mon)
Dallas, TX
The Majestic
** (Music Today pre-sale not available)

Oct 14 (Tue)
Austin, TX
The Paramount Theater
** (Music Today pre-sale not available)

Oct 15 (Wed)
Boulder, CO
The Boulder Theater

Oct 17 (Fri)
Atlanta, GA
Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center

Oct 18 (Sat)
Raleigh, NC
Meymandi Concert Hall at Progress Energy Center

Oct 23 (Thu)
Jersey City, NJ
Leows Jersey Theatre

Oct 24 (Fri)
Columbus, OH
The Southern Theatre

Oct 25 (Sat)
Philadelphia, PA
The Merriam Theater
** (Music Today pre-sales start August 4)

Oct 26 (Sun)
Washington, DC
Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University


The Rockafire Explosion

Sure, they have a female singer with a neckbeard, but if you don't think this is totally awesome (or somehow missed out on this in childhood), I am very sad for you. To be honest, my memories of The Rockafire Explosion are about 20 years old, so I remember a lot of awkwardly moving puppets and that there was some kind of theme song they sang at birthday parties. The other day, I watched one of these on Youtube (I think it was the Usher one) with the sound off, and it reminded me of why the whole thing made very little sense to me as a child (and explained my present distaste for neckbeards).

Both of these are pretty awesome, though:

MGMT: Electric Feel

Against Me: Born on the FM Waves of the Heart


Fun facts:

1. I am back after a little jaunt around the most beautiful place on earth. For two weeks, I listened to Stars of the Lid and took pictures of flowers and mountains. It was the best kind of vacation, with a lot of time for quiet reflection.

2. According to the July/August issue of Dwell, the Chinese government has acquired weather control technology to improve the air quality and prevent (acid) rain during the Olympics. If it ends up being successful, they are setting up a government department for weather control, which will continue to control the weater.

3. Mrs. Meyer's Lavender window spray works 10x better for killing and deterring spiders than Raid. And it's biodegradable and won't give you endocrine problems! Does anyone else use green cleaning products? If so, what do you prefer? So far, I've tried various things from Method, Burt's Bees, Mrs. Meyer's, and Ecover, all with very good results. My favorite thing is actually the Method O-Mop for hardwoods, which is way better than a Swiffer and has biodegradable and washable pad inserts.

4. Blueberries are in season. I just bought a giant container of them. You should go do the same. I am trying to eat more uncooked food to save energy and keep my apartment from getting too warm. My (gas) stove warms everything up, offsetting precious air conditioning, so far I've opted to eat blueberries and plain yogurt for multiple breakfasts instead. Delicious.

Hope everyone has been well. I will start writing more soon, I promise.