It’s Halloween: Tracks or Treat!

While I only have about 10 hours to decide on a Halloween costume, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a sweet soundtrack while I do it. Here are some of the finest tunes of the season!

Your Costume
The most important part of Halloween. Here they range from Ted “I’m a Ghost” Leo to Robert Schneider’s glam-and-glitz Dracula.

MP3: Ted Leo – I’m a Ghost
MP3: The Microphones – Witch Doctor
MP3: Marbles – Dracula
MP3: Daniel Johnston – Casper the Friendly Ghost
MP3: Elliott the Letter Ostrich – Pink Dracula
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – They Are Night Zombies!!

Mood Music
Soundtrack your toilet papering runs or just unwind when you’re feeling a little…evil.

MP3: Islands – I Feel Evil (Creeping In)
MP3: Man Man – Against the Peruvian Monster
MP3: The Boy Least Likely To – Monsters
MP3: Ladytron – Evil
MP3: The Postmarks – Every Day is Halloween (Ministry cover)
MP3: Television – See No Evil
MP3: The Evangelicals – Halloween Song
MP3: The Gothic Archies – The World is a Very Scary Place
MP3: Elliott the Letter Ostrich – Do the Reign in Blood

The Place
Where’s the party going down?

MP3: The Unicorns – Haunted House
MP3: Shonen Knife – Devil House

Which of your favorite songs did I somehow overlook? And while we’re at it, what’re you going as for Halloween?

Green Day Slapped With Lawsuit

From NME:

Green Day have been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit over the title track of their massive-selling 2004 album ‘American Idiot’.

Paul McPike from Oregon claimed he wrote the lyrics and melodies to the song in 1992.

He filed a two-page complaint in the US District Court. As evidence, he has submitted a copy of ‘American Idiot’ and a claim that the words Green Day vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong sings on the album don’t match those printed in the liner notes.

McPike told Oregon’s Mail Tribune paper: “It was just disbelief every time I heard it on the radio.”

He claims that he has written several letters to the band and their label Warner Bros Records, but never received a reply to his allegations.

Read the rest of the article.

I’ve heard friends complain about Green Day ripping off chord progressions or other things from Minor Threat, the Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, the Living End or whoever, but I think this is the first time it’s ever been official.

What’s your guess? Crazy fan or just a copy-cat band finally getting their due?

The Long Distants: “We Meet By Accident”

You know the story. One of your favorite bands is playing and you have no idea who the opener is. Another boring set to sit through, right? Well not this past Friday. The Long Distants opened for Oh No! Oh My! and I could not have been happier. I’ve listened to their EP almost nonstop since getting back to Lexington and I’d love to share it with you.

MP3: The Long Distants – We Meet By Accident
MP3: The Long Distants – Acorn Eyes
All great loves can be seen as a product of collsions. Your path intersecting with theirs, emotions tumbling together: it’s a very violent thing. Only with “We Meet By Accident,” The Long Distants take that one step further and tell the story of a girl meeting the man of her dreams after he comes crashing into both her life, and her car. It’s delightfully lo-fi indie pop that’s sure to delight you with its simplicity. Yet more proof that you can do more than just get by with some superb songwriting.

The Long Distants on Myspace

Last night’s Bishop Allen show was one of the best that I’ve been to in a long while. Photos and review to follow shortly!

Stay Hungry: The Story of Bishop Allen

Christian Rudder and Justin Rice

It all started with a piano.

Late last year Christian Rudder and Justin Rice, the main songwriting duo behind the band Bishop Allen, discovered a discarded piano and unknowingly entered the next chapter of their young band’s life.

“We found a piano on the street that had been discarded by a school that was abandoning its music program,” Rice said in a telephone interview. “Once I started playing the piano, Christian Rudder and I sat down and started coming up with a tremendous amount of new material.”

MP3: Bishop Allen – Corazon (from “January”)

From there the duo decided to flex their songwriting muscles and see what, and how fast, they could create. In mid-January the band posted on its Web site that they would be writing, recording and releasing an EP every month of 2006 as a prelude to the release of their second album, tentatively and questionably titled Clementines.

The first EP, aptly titled “January,” was largely lead in direction by their new acquisition, the piano which had come to be known as “Corazon” (which also spawned a song by the same title). And though the new instrument shaped their sound, not even its addition could mask Bishop Allen’s trademark narrative style. Their first album, Charm School, was a triumph in creating a wandering, wondering narrator with whom the listener immediately feels a connection; the EP projects revived that feeling like an unexpected phone call from an old friend.

“I guess I feel like there’s a more diverse group of people that we’re writing about,” Justin said. “Charm School, I felt like, was a narrative that was all about one narrator having a series of very similar experiences. Now I feel like there are still songs that still feature that narrator and songs that deal with other people that I’ve met and places that I’ve been or books that I’ve read.”

MP3: Bishop Allen – Little Black Ache (from Charm School)

Christian Rudder explained the narrative maturity as a product of personal growth: “I think Justin as a lyricist has gotten absolutely great,” he said. “There’s more depth and span to his experience and his personality that he can bring to bare.”

But no matter what outside factors you consider, the fact remains that Bishop Allen spend a tremendous amount of time working on their craft. Writing and recording four new songs every month means that in order to interview them, I had to catch both halves of the duo between band practices and songwriting sessions: Rice while still at his piano, and Rudder while running around the City. The band keeps so busy that you might begin to question what drives their compulsion towards creation.

“If you decide that you want to do something, then it’s natural to want to put everything that you have into doing it,” Rice explained. “For me, somewhat arbitrarily, it’s music. This idea that I want to continue to make better and better songs drives me. It’s not even a choice of being idle. When I try to go on vacation, I always end up working on songs.”

MP3: Bishop Allen – Butterfly Nets (from “May”)

It should be no surprise then, that Bishop Allen are quickly gathering a following of devoted music afficionados. Earlier this year, the online edition of Jane Magazine went so far as to question how these “supremely talented rockers”” are still without a record contract–a question that even the band members have undoubtably asked themselves at some point. “There are definitely moments where I feel frustration,” Rice said. “I just feel that we’re a bit out in the cold–that we’re outsiders…. You sort of have to learn to put that out of your mind, because if you obsess too much about if you’re going to sign to a label, it will stop you from working.”

And while it seems that they’re far from a drop in productivity, Rudder pointed out that they’re still searching for a way to release Clementines. “…We definitely expect that any album like Clementines will come out on a label and be promoted properly,” he said, adding “I know there’s someone who will do that.”

MP3: Bishop Allen – Vain (from “February”)

But for Rudder, and all of Bishop Allen, the biggest success on the horizon comes at the end of the calendar. The completion of their monthly EP project will mark not only the culmination of a year’s worth of musical output equivalent to four full-length albums, but also a major triumph for the band.

“I’m really looking forward to January 1st, 2007 and saying we did it,” Rudder said. He then paused and added “Then it’s time to go back through everything and improve again on what we’ve done.”

Rudder’s devotion makes perfect sense, considering that Bishop Allen are building a legacy by keeping busy. And though they’re over three-quarters of the way through a very ambitious project, for them that isn’t enough.

“Sometimes when you finish a song and listen to it, it’ll feel great…but not for very long,” said Rice. “I feel kinda hungry. What I want to get done absolutely overshadows whatever feeling of accomplishment I have.”

Bishop Allen’s next album is due out in Summer 07 on a “label that isn’t technically a label yet.” Until then, you can order some of their EPs or catch them on tour.

The Late B.P. Helium: “Woven and Webbed”

Why yes, I am aware that the new Apples in Stereo album leaked. And yes, I’m in love with it. More on this later (just don’t expect MP3s from me–I’ve promised not to). But now, it’s time to more historic things.

The following is a song by the Late B.P. Helium from 1996 that features a gaggle of Elephant 6 members. Featured on it are Will Cullen Hart (OTC), Bill Doss (OTC), Andrew Rieger (Elf Power), and some others choice friends. Poole said it was considered for release on Elf Power’s When the Red King Comes, but has never seen the light of day until now.

MP3: The Late B.P. Helium – Woven and Webbed
The Late BP Helium that you’ll find on this song is not the man currently touring today. Now he’s a glorious blend of Television, late T Rex and any others that follow the school of smart guitar rawk. But then? Then he was at ground zero for what is arguably the most important musical movement of the past decade and a half. And as such, you’ll hear a lot more trippy far-East/Olivia Tremor Control feel to it.

BONUS MP3: The Late BP Helium – Lightning Never Strikes Twice (Move cover)

And if you’re feeling frisky, BP is going out on a mini tour right now. I’m sure he’d love to see you at a show almost as much as I’d love to see you at today’s Bishop Allen/B.P show in Lexington!

The Late B.P. Helium Tour Dates
10-29 – Lexington, KY – Mecca AA ^
10-30 – Pittsburgh, PA – Garfield Artworks AA
11-1 – Brooklyn, NY – Northsix (CMJ Festival) 12AM 16+? *
11-3 – Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant Street 18+
11-4 – Mount Pleasant, SC – Village Tavern – 18+ $?

^ with Bishop Allen
* with Magnolia Electric Co

De Novo Dahl @ The Dame 10.26.06

Waiting to see what costumes De Novo Dahl wear at their shows is like waiting to open your presents on Christmas morning–only this time around, the anticipation had a lot more in common with that analogy that usual.

MP3: De Novo Dahl – Shout

I’ve never seen an audience at the Dame clap for a band’s clothes, but that’s just what we did when De Novo Dahl strolled on to the stage wearing Christmas oufits: four reindeer and a Santa drummer. What really topped it all off, though, was that they had used christmas tree lights as reins to go from Santa’s drum set to each of his reindeer.

New songs once again dominated the setlist (with fan-favs like “The Funk” and “Be Your Man” rounding it out), but don’t take that in the way it usually means. De Novo Dahl’s new tunes are strong enough to overcome the uncomfortable I-don’t-know-the-words period of debuting new material at a show. We ate it up.

MP3: De Novo Dahl – Subject of the Kill

De Novo Dahl Tour Dates

10/29 – Philadelphia @ The Fire
10/31 – NYC @ Piano’s
11/1 – Grantham @ Messian College
11/4 – NYC @ Arlene’s Grocery
11/9 – Nashville @ The Mercy Lounge
11/10 – Athens @ 40 Watt
11/11 – Atlanta @ Lenny’s Bar

Lovely Feathers Tour Dates

The Lovely Feathers, creators of one of the year’s best albums, are going out on tour. Fortunately for me, it looks like I’ll finally be able to catch them live in Cincinatti. I’ve heard they’re electric live.

MP3: The Lovely Feathers – Pope John Paul

Lovely Feathers Tour Dates

Oct 29 – Toronto ON Drake Hotel All Ages (Tickets)
Nov 2 – Edmonton AB TBA
Nov 3 – Calgary AB Broken City
Nov 5 – Vancouver BC The Media Club, w/The Slip Tix @ Zulu, Scratch, RedCat
Nov 7 – Seattle WA Crocodile Cafe, w/The Slip
Nov 9 – Portland OR Dante’s, w/The Slip
Nov 10 – Ashland OR Mobius, w/The Slip
Nov 11 – San Francisco CA Independent, w/The Slip
Nov 12 – EARLY SHOW Los Angeles CA The Echo, w/Tokyo Police Club & 120 Days
Nov 12 – LATE SHOW Los Angeles CA Knitting Factory, w/The Slip
Nov 15 – Boulder CO Fox Theatre, w/The Slip
Nov 16 – Denver CO Bluebird Theatre, w/The Slip
Nov 17 – Fort Collins CO Aggie Theatre, w/The Slip
Nov 18 – Omaha NE Sokol Underground, w/The Slip
Nov 20 – Milwaukee WI Shank Hall, w/The Slip
Nov 21 – Madison WI Cafe Monmarte, w/The Slip
Nov 22 – Minneapolis MN 7th Street Entry, w/The Slip
Nov 24 – Chicago IL Schuba’s
Nov 25 – Indianapolis IN Radio Radio
Nov 26 – Cincinnati OH Alchemize
Nov 27 – Cleveland OH Beachland Tavern
Nov 29 – Brooklyn NY Union Hall
Nov 30 – Boston MA PA’s Lounge
Dec 1 – Philadelphia PA Johnny Brenda’s
Dec 2 – New York NY Piano’s
Dec 7 – Guelph ON TBA
Dec 8 – Hamilton ON TBA
Dec 9 – Montreal QC Cabaret Music Hall, w/Harlem Shakes & Jetplanes of Abraham
Dec 14 – Burlington VT TBA
Dec 16 – Ottawa ON TBA

Andy Partridge: “Sonic Boom”

Andy Partridge of XTC has been slowly releasing volumes of unreleased material in collections called Fuzzy Warbles. Now it’s time for the release of the 8th in the series, and man what a treat it is.

MP3: Andy Partridge – Sonic Boom
I needed this song when I was 17. Around that time I would always have to wait until my parents were at work to turn my guitar up and rock out. Once I discovered the best way to learn the Cars’ songs was at full volume, it was all over. So as such, I wound up just like Andy in “Sonic Boom:” enjoying one of the few times where your home feels like yours. Now if only I’d had this song back then, I would have known that I wasn’t alone. Kids finding refuge in music is nothing new, but you’d never know it from “Sonic Boom.” Partridge perfectly captures the ‘dreaming teenage heart’ at its simultaneous highest and lowest.

Buy the complete Fuzzy Warbles Collector’s Album
Buy Fuzzy Warbles Vol. 8