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HARK! FINALLY! New Joanna Newsom album out Feb. 23

27 Jan

The latest Joanna Newsom album Have One on Me will be released next month…

…and…

we now know it will be a TRIPLE ALBUM!

Das right — three discs and/or three LPs depending on how you roll. This be some highly anticipated shit.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Newsom, here is all you need to know: She is exquisitely beautiful (see photos above and below), prodigiously talented (she plays the harp and piano, and sings with medieval dexterity), incredibly articulate (she writes stanzas in archaic lingo), and she is the same age as me (this impresses me all the more).

Also, her voice sounds like a delightful mixture of girly girl and kitty cat.

Mmmmm!

If this piques your interest, her first track “81” is now available online.  The track is mellow yet evocative; it solely consists of Newsom’s idiosyncratic voice and fingers plucking away like mad on the harp.

In other words, the perfect tease to excite the fans.

And if you don’t like my “pretty-kitty lady” analogy, Pitchfork writer Brian Howe describes her as such:

“After seeing her perform, it’s clear that she is… a sort of Prometheus, bringing an elite musical tradition down from the mountain and into the lowlands of indie rock, where attitude-not-training is the rule, and a certain spiritual posture is more important that traditional musicianship. She’s been punished accordingly by the gods (in this extended metaphor, a cynical press) for her efforts to cross that divide.”

Indeed Newsom is criticized for being too sincere. In an indie culture that is so suspicious of pretentiousness and posturing, the road through Newsom’s music is forked. One path is for those who love her brainy, classical style for its enviable honesty; the other is for those who despise her wavering voice and complex language for the same reason. (Obviously you can make out the path I followed…)

And isn’t pretentiousness in the eye of the beholder anyway? I’m certain it’s not always, but in this case I think it’s a relevant idea to ponder.

Speaking of pondering, after the stratospheric success of her last album Ys in 2006,  Newsom stepped out of the spotlight and retreated to her native California to work on new material. Thank goodness she came out of hiding last fall and posed for Giorgio Armani’s United Artists Campaign though.

Gorgeous.

For those fashion-obsessed out there, she’s wearing Giorgio Armani’s beaded black and blue silk blouse and sequined black silk shorts; Emporio Armani hat; and Carolina Amato gloves.

To add to the fun, see below for a playlist of my fave Joanna Newsom tracks:

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Iconic!

Photos courtesy of Dragcity.com and W Magazine.

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NOW HEAR THIS: The Knife’s new opera track “Colouring of Pigeons”

13 Jan

OMG.

The Knife!

Charles Darwin-based opera soundtrack!

If you haven’t heard this yet, you are in for one crazy auditory ride.

If you’d rather not listen to an opera lady’s haunting vocals interspersed with male “oohs and ahhs” to the beat of tribal drums followed by the hyper-female vocals of my idol Karin Dreijer Andersson, you might not like it.

However, if you dig the sound of some of the most experimental pop artists out there, you should listen to this 11-minute track called “Colouring of Pigeons” RIGHT NOW.

It’s easy. It’s even streaming on The Knife’s website (click link above).

It’s waiting just for you!

Back in ’09, the Swedish electro-pop duo recorded a soundtrack to an experimental opera based on Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species called Tomorrow, In a Year.

Berlin dance-rock artists Mt. Sims, Danish performance art group Hotel Pro Forma, and experimentalist act Planningtorock also added their special touch to the sounds.

The soundtrack will hit the web on February 2. It will be available in hard copy internationally on March 1, and in the U.S. on March 9. Performances of this “avant-electro-opera” are available for those alternative-art fans in Greece, Sweden, and Budapest. More information here.

You can also check out part of the opera below:

I gotta be honest, I’m not the hugest opera fan. Something about the brazen theatricality of it all. It just seems so… put on, and based on the clip above, Tomorrow, In a Year is no exception.

But anything involving The Knife strikes the deepest chords of obsession from within.

Their sound was in my head before I’d ever heard it, tinkering and clanging against the growing threads of my early twenties emotions. (Speaking of brazen theatricality, I’m just now understanding the apt pairing of opera and The Knife: it all begins with love!)

“Dear The Knife,

To hear you is so dear to me.

I would compose an ode were it not so onerous…

…but I would do it for a simple fee.

To see you is my dime spent three.

I lively live for lovely thee!”

Introspective dreams tonight!

Photo courtesy of seattleweekly.com.

FUN AND WONDERFUL: New Animal Collective video for “Brothersport”

10 Jan

Hi…

Animal Collective has a new video!

Directed by Jack Kubizne, the video for “Brothersport” features two primitive kids and a dog on a joyous romp. Interspersed are psychedelic animations of amoebas, detached eyeballs, and odd, Japanese-inspired monsters.

Then someone cracks eggs into paint to create a deliciously childlike soupy mixture.

After this, a cascade of multicolored black-lit eggs fall from the sky and explode when they hit the ground. (Very Dr. Mario.)

Next the kids find an empty room where they make huge mess with paint, smearing it all over the rug and walls after painting eggs — Easter style.

Then! They start their tribal dancing.

Awesommmmme.

This video has a joyous wildness that is very àpropos. Reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are on an acid trip.

If you want to escape the winter doldrums, do so with this:

Photo by Rez Avissar courtesy of pitchfork.com.

HIGH ROTATION 2009: My best of the year mix

16 Dec

So, here ’tis! My best-of-2009 mix!

In other words, this is a tracklist of my highest played that just squeaks in under 80 mins. Keep in mind these are my fave tracks of the year. For fave albums, see below High Rotation under “Top 10 Albums of 2009.”

High Rotation 2009 – By Lena

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And here’s what I have to deal with when I’m listening to/writing/reading/watching stuff online:

Cat steals chair!

Huff…

Anyway, Top Ten Albums of 2009 – According to me:

(And yes, they are in a specific order)

1.) Fever Ray Fever Ray

In a word: Magic

Perfect for: Creating art/self expression. This album is a glimpse into the mind of a true artist. I always put together a great outfit if Fever Ray is playing while I’m choosing clothes. Karin Dreijer Andersson, you make me amazing!

2.) Grizzly Bear Veckatimest

In a word: Brilliant

Perfect for: Listening/writing. The organic, enveloping nature of this album makes it a completely faultless listening experience. Gets the creative juices flowing.

3.) Yeah Yeah YeahsIt’s Blitz! (Deluxe Edition)

In a word: Emotional

Perfect for: Experiencing all the highs and lows of love. I laughed, I cried, I hurled.

4.) BibioAmbivalence Avenue

In a word: Optimistic

Perfect for: Thinking/nodding head. The mixture of folk and electronic is stimulating to the mind. I’m excited about the future of music based on this album.

5.) Memory Tapes Seek Magic

In a word: Kinetic

Perfect for: Transportation, either forward or backward. Drive, bike, bus, walk, think with this on. Mentally transport yourself back to times you were happiest/saddest and live there for a bit.

6.) Sunset RubdownDragonslayer

In a word: Warm

Perfect for: Analog time. Sitting in a sunbeam wrapped up in a blanket; toasting in front of a fire with good book/magazine; generally feeling fuzzy towards oneself.

7.) Junior BoysBegone Dull Care

In a word: Playful

Perfect for: Getting ready to go out! Or, simply staying in and singing and dancing in front of the mirror (if you’re into that). Have fun with it.

8.) The xxxx

In a word: Sexual

Perfect for: Sexy times/daydreaming on bus about sexy times. Not that I’ve done this, ever.

9.) Atlas SoundLogos

In a word: Shy

Perfect for: Walking around all dreamy and introspective-like; being watched from afar.

10.) Major Lazer Guns Don’t Kill People … Lazers Do

In a word: Manic

Perfect for: Twisting and jerking yourself awake on dark, freezing winter mornings – oh, and shakin’ what yer mamma gave ya on the dance floor, too. Commagain!

In four words: GO BUY THESE PLEEZ!

All photos by me.

LOVE LOVE: Atlas Sound “Walkabout”

23 Nov

A little beam of sunshine has landed on my iPod!

I cannot stop listening to this new Atlas Sound track “Walkabout.” (THREE smileys!)

Since it’s been raining pretty heavily here in Vancouver, for something to quell my shrieking internal rants about steamy bus rides, dripping faux fur collars, leaky boots and wet jean cuffs is no small miracle.

The tunes I’ve been favouring lately have been amplifying these rants, actually. Too much heavy guitar or dance/electronic amplified mood music to get me up and out the door to work.

There’s always a time and a place for manic experimental dancehall, but maybe not while I’m digging craters in my mushy raisin bran while looking despondently out a rain-patterned window.

Bradford Cox (of Deerhunter fame) wrote and recorded “Walkabout” with Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear of Animal Collective) after meeting him on tour last year. The ensuing meld of minds and musical styles has created an chirping, glittery pop track that packs a punch similar to Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks”, but with a much-needed absence of gloss.

This song is for little triumphs and fledgling dreams. While listening, it’s easy to imagine a group of little kids discovering the seaside for the first time: creating marvels of architecture with sand and sticks; turning over rocks and squealing at the creatures beneath; dusting sand off of one another…

Adorable.

Download Atlas Sound – Logos from iTunes. (The rest of the album is amazing as well.)

Photo courtesy of Spinner.com

LIKING: Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson and Jay-Z “Rumours”

20 Nov

Despite what the critics are saying (Pitchfork, New Music Reviews, Mixtape Maestro), I’m diggin’ this new Timbaland song Rumors!

It has one of those great abrasive synth-drum loops you gotta get down with on the dance floor or at the gym: basically any place where being stared at is something you hope to get out of the evening.

Yes, I know the lyrics are bad: “See what it look like not what it look like, might what it look like but you’re whom I don’t like.”

Ya, I’m pretty sure even a monkey would fling poo at those lyrics, if it could.

I mean c’mon, nobody listens to club tracks for the lyrics.

Also, Timbaland is hot, not fat. See photo.

Whatever, I’m downloading this track from Shock Value Vol. 2 when it comes out on November 23, 09 on Blackground.

Ninety nine cents never made my ass look so good!

Photo courtesy of People

NEW: Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck Video “Heaven Can Wait.” Meh?

19 Nov

I thought Charlotte Gainsbourg could do no wrong. I mean, she’s incredibly hip without seeming pretentious, and her triple-threat persona as a singer/actress/style icon appears well earned.

Check this track to seewhatImean.

But her new collaboration with Beck (this is when you start to get excited) left me feeling cold; clammy eighth grade heavy petting in the park kind of cold. You want it to feel good, but… those sticky hands are just so cold!

The video, directed by Keith Schofield and dubbed “incredible” by Pitchfork, features a bizarre combo of images set to a very Beck-ish dreamy, heavy-handed piano tune.

Let’s see, there’s a man with a giant walnut, a shirtless dancing fat kid, a skateboard on hamburgers, a cop taking down a guy in a SpongeBob costume, an astronaut with a head of pancakes, a robot taking some chick to the prom, and a dude with half a beard.

Wait, did I just say half a beard?

I don’t know why, but that half-beard dude was just about the weirdest thing in there. I can not stop thinking about that image. Why only half a beard? Did he get in a freak gasoline fight accident? Is it an unfortunate half-face hair loss gene? Perhaps he’d entered a hall of mirrors and accidentally banged into one and it shattered into a million pieces and then one of the pieces flew through the air and sliced off half his beard.

Geez.

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Beck-produced LP, IRM, is set to come out on January 26, 2010 via Because/Elektra. “Heaven Can Wait” is now available on iTunes.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think. The song’s aiiiight, not great, and the video is mildly entertaining. Even so, should Pitchfork really have used the words “incredible” and “Dada brainfuck” for the video?

Meh, think not.

Photo courtesy of Photobucket