Indie Fantasy

March 26, 2009

With Fantasy Football a long ways away, and with Fantasy everything else sucking, we have created the obvious next step in “fantasy gaming”…. Fantasy Indie Rock.

Is there any better way to monitor the commodity that has become “indie” than by drafting artists as properties and tallying points?  I don’t think so.  It’s a simple formula:  Their name gets mentioned on Pitchfork or Stereogum news, you get a point. Simple as that.

So me, Curran, Kenny, Matt and Rob sat down and did our inaugural “Indie Rock Draft” this week, and began tallying points.  The scoreboard is on a Google cloud spreadsheet so everyone can make changes and update their rosters as need be.

I’ll keep you updated on it’s progress, but for your enjoyment (and so I can tag the shit out of this post), here’s how the draft went (please note, Matt came late):

Round 1

  1. Curran    Kanye West
  2. Kenny    Wilco
  3. Rob    Animal Collective
  4. Brian    Colin Meloy

Round 2

  1. Brian    M.I.A.
  2. Rob    Lily Allen
  3. Kenny    Radiohead
  4. Curran    The Decemberists

Round 3

  1. Curran    Neko Case
  2. Kenny    U2
  3. Kroll    Conor Oberst
  4. Rob    Girltalk
  5. Brian    Death Cab For Cutie

Round 4

  1. Brian    Peter, Bjorn & John
  2. Rob    Sigur Ros
  3. Kroll    Ladyhawke
  4. Kenny    Andrew Bird
  5. Curran    Grizzly Bear

Round 5

  1. Curran    Jane’s Addiction
  2. Kenny    Bruce Springsteen
  3. Matt   Jesus Lizard
  4. Rob    Dangermouse
  5. Brian    No Age

Supplemental Draft

  1. Matt    Crystal Stilts
  2. Matt    Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The strategies were interesting… do you draft small-time bands with their SXSW stock rising, do you try to take a big guess on who’s going to be announced at Lollapalooza (or the billion of other festivals doing press releases),  do you risk taking the frontman of a band in the hopes you can double-up on points for their solo AND group material, or pick-up a producer who has his hands in a LOT of recordings but sometimes isn’t mentioned in shorter news articles.  Ohhhh, strategery.

If you’re curious, here are the top-5 scorers as of yesterday, 3/25:

1. Animal Collective – 6
2. Dinosaur Jr – 5
3. Death Cab For Cutie (tie) – 4
3. Passion Pit (tie) – 4
5. *13 bands tied with 3 points each* Beach House, Billy Corrigan, Black Lips, Conor Oberst, Department of Eagles, Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, Jimmy Chamberlin, Kanye West, No Age, Soundgarden, Vivian Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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Boys & Girls Mix

August 28, 2008

For a while I’ve been wanting to make a mix of bands that swap vocals between guys and gals, but, as I really like that sound, I feel like I have too many songs that fall under that category. Like, ya know, Belle & Sebastian, Stars and half of my itunes.

 

So, for this ‘lil boy/girl mix I was trying to avoid some of the obvious tracks, but they pretty much seeped in anyway. I also tried to stay in the folk/pop vein so you’re going to miss some of those great hip-hop/electro girl/boy vocals, namely: Positive K’s “I Gotta Man”, Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”, Postal Service’s “Nothing Better”, Streets’ “Get Out of My House”.

 

Because of the inherent drama of boys and girls harmonizing, most of the songs have some “relationship” content, be it lovey-dovey or breakup-y. Also, it makes for a pretty even-keeled, laid-back type mix and one which you should be careful while listening to if you’re driving and feeling a bit sleepy. So, after all that, enjoy!

 

  1. Intro – The Pixies
  2. Handle with Care – Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins
  3. Two Ways – The 1900s
  4. Honey Child What Can I Do? – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
  5. Who Were You Thinkin’ Of? – Biirdie
  6. Secretly Minnesotan – Tullycraft
  7. Death to Los Campesinos! – Los Campesinos!
  8. Say Yes if You Love Me –  Acid House Kings
  9. PS (Interlude) – The Books
  10. Happy New Year – Camera Obscura
  11. Can’t Ever Sleep – Saturday Looks Good To Me
  12. Friday Night – Elephant Parade
  13. Jorge Regula – The Moldy Peaches
  14. Come Back From San Francisco – The Magnetic Fields
  15. Souvenirs – Architecture in Helsinki
  16. You Really Gotta Hold On Me – She & Him
  17. All You Need Is Hate – The Delgados
  18. Know-How – Kings of Convenience
  19. Les Etoiles Secretes – Ida
  20. Ghosts Are Good Company – Bishop Allen
  21. Ice Storn, Big Gust, and You – Tilly & The Wall

The Zipped File & Album Art can be found on Mediafire here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=992c799b40f3f811dfbd00fb952479db185df0bdeae2cf0b  

 


Conor Oberst, Christian Rudder: A Comparison

August 23, 2008

I’ve never considered any commonalities between Conor “Bright Eyes” Oberst and Christian “Bishop Allen” Rudder, but now, after growns-up Conor has cultivated a striking resemblance to Rudder (in his new video for “Souled Out” (<– clever spelling!), I may have to re-think things. A quick breakdown:

Name:

  • CR: Christian Rudder
  • CO: Conor Oberst

Hails From:

  • CR: Little Rock, Arkansas
  • CO: Omaha, Nebraska

Current Location:

  • CR: Brooklyn, New York
  • CO: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation:

  • CR: Guitarist / songwriter for Bishop Allen
  • CO: Singer/songwriter who collaborates often, most recently with the Mystic Valley Band but notably with his collective, Bright Eyes, among many other projects.

Bands played in during adolescence:

Secondary Education:

  • CR: Bachelor of Arts, Harvard
  • CO: English Major, University of Nebraska (left to tour with Bright Eyes)

Current Label:

  • CR: Charm School (co-owns)
  • CO: Merge

Former Label(s):

  • CR: Polyvinyl
  • CO: Team Love (owns), Saddle Creek, Barsuk, among others

Indie Film Connections


Did you know…:

  • CR: Writer for now-defunct comedy site TheSpark.com, co-creator of dating site OKCupid.com
  • CO: Sorta smiled in his Jr. High School yearbook picture

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – “Souled Out”

Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”


Coldplay: Follow-up Thoughts

June 16, 2008

Really good comments from my pals Chuck and Tim, and also in a few drunken bar conversations this week. A few more points, and clarifications on my Coldplay rant below:

Bombastic, challenging albums will always exist, thank God. I have nothing against broad experimentalism (even when it is unsuccessful), and quite frankly would hope every artist continually pushes themselves to create, and challenge their own fans in the process.

Songs like Deathcab For Cutie’s new “I Will Possess Your Heart,” the soaring Sam’s Town, even Green Day’s concept-y American Idiot are all good examples of this … and all good albums. I’d also throw out there Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Half the Radiohead catalog, and as you guys mentioned: Pet Sounds and Sgt Pepper, irrefutably yes; incredible albums that redefined pop music. Also, the failures … Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, Bob Dylan’s Street Legal, these are bold movements, sometimes embraced, sometimes disregarded.

A lot of those albums and songs we’ve listed above challenge the rules of rock music, be it in content or sonically, and prove you can create (and succeed?) outside “the formula”, and ultimately push what people consider popular music.

I think Coldplay’s A Rush of Blood to the Head is an incredible album, a completely unexpected jump, and rightly heralded as one of the best albums of 2000. Rush… could be added to those albums listed above — an LP that changed the way you think about a band and their capability to expess. For Coldplay, that album was sonically daring, revolutionary, even confrontational, but this success exists completely outside the realm of injecting yourself in socio-political conflicts.

I’m now referring directly to the “Violet Hill” video (released virally-only). It opens up with Department of Defense test colorbars, a rocket missle launch with Bush overdubbed with monkey sound effects. The rest of the video focuses on various political figures dancing, bomb/firework footage, and George Dubbs conducting a “war orchestra” while Tony Blair plays backup guitar.

Here’s the thing: This is very “safe” criticism. They’re taking potshots at Blair, who stepped down from being the British PM more than a year ago, and a lame-duck President who is already the most universally-loathed man to ever hold the position. This is easy, safe, empty criticism.

Mind you, criticizing these two was not always okay to do, and had this focused outrage came out 2+ years ago, I would be a lot more impressed and receptive to the message. For instance the Dixie Chicks (of all bands) who saw massive radio station boycotts, their records burned, and received death threats after expressing their displeasure with the Texas-born Prez.

Or, when Conor Oberst sang “When The President Talks to God,” live on The Tonight Show, asking the middle American crowd if they think George Bush “ever smells his own bullshit,” live on national television; three years ago. At that point, as I mentioned before, Chris Martin was more concerned about making trade fair.

Coldplay alt video for “Violet Hill” 5/20/08:

Bright Eyes, Live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno ~5/04/05: