The Like Young

The Like Young are what Mates of State would sound like if they weren’t so darn cute. Cut out the organs and replace them with some guitar and you’re halfway there. This married couple (the similarities never end!) will be releasing their album entitled Last Secrets on Polyvinyl records on May 9th.

MP3: The Like Young – For Money or Love
Instrumentally, this song is pretty basic. It’s got some nonoffensive guitar and a simple bit of drumming. Nothing wrong with either of those things. After all, some of the best songs in the world are only a couple chords. My real problem, however, is that Joe tends to sound a little late-90s pop punk during the verses. I don’t know if it’s the melody or his vocal style, but it made me think of some bands that I’d rather not associate myself with. After managing to overlook this very minor detail, I found a good song buried underneath. Amanda’s vocals are a Godsend, and the song is pretty well put togther.

The Like Young on Myspace

All I’ll say about Sigur Ros until my review is that I’m pretty sure that’s the best concert I’ve ever attended. We couldn’t listen to music in the car on the ride home, because nothing could stand up to what we’d just experienced.

Bound Stems: “Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone”

So yeah, apparently Blogger ate my post about The Sunspots. Now I have to go find the link again and rewrite the whole thing. Thanks Blogger! So because I hadn’t planned on having another post today, I’ll tap into my reserves and use this great song from Bound Stems. Thanks to Matt from Skatterbrain for suggesting them to me a couple months ago. He’s been a big supporter of them and was probably the direct cause of them being voted Spin Magazine’s “Band of the Month” for March 06.

MP3: Bound Stems – Wake Up
This song kicks off like a cross between Arcade Fire (subtle, beautiful build-up) and any Saddle Creek band (talking, and random dialogue). But where Bound Stems set themselves apart from the other weirdo-rock at the moment is with their understanding of what makes a good song. “Wake Up…” has not only a good melody and instrumentation, but the little things as well. At the 1:35 mark, it enters into one of my favorite bridges in a new song. It enhances the song without breaking the flow.

EDIT: Found my Sunspots post! Thanks to some kind readers for sending me some info to help in my quest.

The Sunspots

So tired. Our plans to see Matt Pond PA fell through at the last minute. Thankfully Sigur Ros is still on for tonight. If you see a kid with shaggy hair and a big nose, who is taking photos every 10 seconds…that’s me.

MP3: The Sunspots – Carmen
Sadly, I’m tired and need to finish studying. That’s the one downside to be a 19-year-old blogger. Tests, tests, tests. On the plus side, there are the 19-year-old blogger groupies (HA!). But yeah, let me steal a common press kit tactic: the “recommended if you like”

RIYL: We Are Scientists, The Futureheads, Thunderbirds Are Now!

The Sunspots on Myspace

Dreams of Horses has a “new” Fiery Furnaces song.

New Of Montreal: “Micro-University”

This is the title track off Of Montreal’s new 7″, Micro-University. It’s better than their two new songs from the tour EP, but still quite weird. Thankfully weird works for Of Montreal.

MP3: Of Montreal – Micro-University
Whereas the other track on the 7″, “Christian Son,” is an acoustic tune that wouldn’t be out of place on Aldhils or Satanic Panic, it’s tough for me to place “Micro-University.” Maybe this is an indicator as to how the next album might sound? All I know is it’s partially a departure, and partially a return to form. It’s refreshing to know that Kevin’s not taking the band in a weird direction, like the tour EP might indicate. He is continuing to step out from his comfort zone, though. Luckily for us, he hasn’t lost his touch yet.

Buy Microuniversity for only $7

Obligatory Of Montreal Joke: Do you think The Miniature Philosopher teaches at the Micro-University?

Review: Velvet Redux: Live MCMXCIII

It is with slight trepidation that I present to you the first guest-review on You Aint No Picasso. I did this for two reasons: my Journalism professor suggested that I take a crack at being an editor, and also my friend Jordan is a huge VU fan.

A review of Velvet Redux: Live MCMXCIII by Jordan Rodgers

The reunion tour is at once the best and the worst possibility for the fan of a now defunct band. The trickiness of the situation is compounded even further for a band like the Velvet Underground, who have become almost mythical in the annals of rock music, as the historic godfathers of all that has been great in the last 30+ years of rock, from dream pop to no wave. Once a band has gained historical significance (and few bands have done this quite as thoroughly as have the Velvets), that significance takes on a life of its own. Suddenly, the music is not an immediate presence, here and relevant to us now, in this moment; rather, it becomes merely an object of historical interest. That this would happen to the Velvets, a band that made “now” music if ever there was such a thing, might seem incredibly ironic. The irony, however, lies not in the specific situation of VU, but in the very being of rock music – great rock music is “now” music, music that makes you forget time altogether, music to lose yourself in. And, ironically enough, the music that does this best is what gets remembered for long periods of time. The Velvet Underground are surely one of the best examples of this in all of rock history.

And so, a Velvet Underground reunion presents itself as something very problematic, because it’s hard to view the 1993 reunion concert that is documented on this new DVD as anything other than a historical event. And yet, what made VU historical in the first place was a brash indifference to anything so scholarly sounding as the “historical.” This was a group of people interested in experimenting, whether with drugs or music, and not being tied down by the music of the time. So, while it is a rock historian’s dream to see John Cale, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker together again, after 23 years of silence, it is only a true VU fan’s dream if the show is good, in the way VU used to be good. It’s only a dream if the music retains the urgency, the personality, and the openness that it had back in the late ‘60’s. And unfortunately, by these terms, “Velvet Redux: Live MCMXCIII” is no fan’s dream.

Lou Reed is largely responsible for this failure. Apparently, somewhere in the 23 years between the VU break-up and this reunion, Lou Reed decided that he was a rock star, and his performance in this show can really only be characterized as embarrassing. His guitar playing is solid, if not inspired, but his vocal performance is pitiful. He doesn’t even attempt to follow the melody of any of the songs, preferring rather to improvise his own melody over them. While half the time Reed doesn’t seem to care about following any melody at all, when he does care, he ends up with vocal flourishes and improvisations that sound completely out of place with the rest of the music. The genius of Reed’s sing-speak vocals in VU’s records was their immediacy and honesty – none of this magic translates to this reunion show. Reed sounds very much like he doesn’t care about these songs the way he used to – which is understandable, certainly, but one might hope that he would stop performing them if this is the case. Reed simply ruins beautiful, meaningful songs like “Beginning to See the Light,” “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” and “Some Kinda Love” with these vocal shortcomings.

Oddly enough, it’s quite a relief when John Cale takes the microphone for a very nice version of “Femme Fatale,” and even more surprisingly, a raucous “I’m Waiting for the Man.” Indeed, Cale seems to be the only member of the group that cares about what’s going on – Reed has lost interest in conveying any sort of meaning whatever in his vocals, and Morrison and Tucker look downright bored. This is an unforgivable sin. This is exciting music, and is in large part only good because it is so exciting. To say it once more: if it doesn’t excite you anymore, don’t play it. I hate to sound so critical of one of my favorite bands of all time, but this music must be held to a higher standard than most – it’s too damn good to be played this way.

This is not to say that the whole show is bad from start to finish. As I’ve already mentioned, Cale’s vocal performance on “Femme Fatale” and “I’m Waiting for the Man” is certainly a highlight. Particularly in the former, Cale’s Welsh accent replaces nicely the enigmatic tones of Nico that accompanied the original recording of the song. “I Heard Her Call My Name” is another highlight – a song rarely played live when the band was still together. The band interplay hits its high point here, and while Reed’s guitar solo won’t split your mind open as in the brilliant original, it is certainly one of the best solos of the night. Another exciting moment is the rather beautiful version of “Pale Blue Eyes.” While Reed’s vocals are as poor as ever, the addition of Cale’s viola to the piece creates another layer of beauty, and will make the VU fan wonder what VU might’ve become had Cale stuck around a little bit longer. And “Heroin” is such an amazing piece of music that it is perhaps impossible to ruin – despite Reed’s best attempts to maul the vocals, the song just refuses to be anything but absolutely compelling.

But ultimately, these few bright moments are not enough to make up for the overall feel of the performance, which is overwhelmingly one of boredom and apathy. The DVD itself contributes to this feel by presenting a bare minimum of content – a single page of liner notes, no commentary or interviews of the band members, nothing but the set itself from start to finish. The lack of care, of willingness to get excited about this music once again, is evident throughout the whole experience of watching this DVD. At one point, while watching John Cale sing the beautiful “Femme Fatale,” one can notice a sheet of paper hanging from his microphone stand – the lyrics of the song. Apparently he didn’t care enough about performing the song to memorize the lyrics… that he even had to rememorize them is telling: the song is nothing but history now for him. It’s a shame… I and thousands of other Velvets fans would have no problem remembering every word. This music is still alive for us, still “now” music, and it is depressing to see that the band that created it for us cannot share in this sentiment.

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Buy Velvet Redux for $15 at Amazon

Jason Forrest: “War Photographer”

Thanks to Blogger and Lexington’s ABC news network for linking to me/featuring me in the past day. I’ve seen a lot of new names pop up in the comments, and a lot of people emailing me for the first time. Hopefully I won’t drop the ball now that the pressure’s on. All I know is that, if I do drop it, it won’t be because of this song. I highly suggest it.

MP3: Jason Forrest – War Photographer
Say you like apples. They’re your favorite fruit by a fairly wide margin. You also like oranges a little bit, but not nearly as much as apples. So naturally you would always reach for the apple, right? Wrong. If you don’t have any varity, eventually you’ll get burned out on apples. One day you’ll wake up and not even want to see another apple. That’s when oranges start to look pretty good.

Jason Forrest is an orange. Not literally, of course. It’s just that after wading through a sea of Myspace bands, my ears embraced his uniqueness like he was the only citrus left in the bowl. “War Photographer” is a aural delight. It starts off deceptively, with jerky drumming and some clapping. But then we get the signal. Some far-off guitar in the right channel heralds one of the most rocking instrumentals that I’ve heard in a long time. Not only is it rocking, but it’s organic. It changes, it moves, it flows. The most incredible thing, though, is that it forms a picture without speaking even a single word. Can’t you just see it now? The guitars doing battle while trumpets blast a melody right in your ear. It’s almost like the Go Team! are having a fight with Four Tet.

I can’t highly suggest the music video for “War Photographer” enough. It’s something special.

STG’s new Said the Guests edition: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone

Yesterday Other Matt from Skatterbrain and I both posted things from the BBC. He did Mogwai. If you live in Kentucky, don’t forget that they’ll be at The Dame on March 3rd.

The trailer for Special looks okay. Guy takes a drug that he thinks gives him super powers, when in reality the only side-effect is that it makes him think that. Could be good, I guess.

I can’t stop listening to the Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Send help.

Two Gallants on BBC Radio 1 (inl. New Song)

Two Gallants have been tearing through the indie community lately. What with the release of their new album, What the Toll Tells, and a string of successful live shows, it seems like they won’t be stopping any time soon. One kind reader sent in a treat that I think you all might like. This is TG’s appearange on Steve Lamacq’s BBC radio show. For my US readers, think of him like a British version of Nick Harcourt. If you don’t feel like investing your bandwidth (it’s only 22mb), I uploaded their new song that they played on the show, “Reflection of the Marionette.”

MP3: Two Gallants – Reflection of the Marionette
What underrated lyricists. “I don’t want to see you fall / I just want to see you fail” That might very well be my favorite line written so far in 2006. My only complaint is that it sounds a bit close to a lot of their other material. Some of their verses kinda blend together from song to song. I guess it’s not all bad, though. I mean, if I had two dozen good songs that sounded similar, I’d still be pleased as punch.

ZIP: Two Gallants @ Lamacq Live, BBC Radio 1 (2/6/06)
01 Intro
02 Nothing To You
03 “First track tonight…”
04 Interview 1
05 Steady Rollin’
06 Interview 2
07 Reflection of the Marionette
08 Outro

Oh, so that news program thing. If you didn’t read earlier, I got interviewed by Lexington’s ABC news affiliate yesterday and they did a 3-4 minute segment on my website. It was very cool, but also pretty surreal. I mean really, YANP on the news? The only thing I learned (and my friends agree) is that I need a haircut (recent photo). The station did a pretty good job splicing and composing the feature. Though, they kicked it off with one of my weirder quotations: “A lot of people call me Mr. Picasso” Cute huh? Anyway, if you know me in real life and would like to see it, I taped it and would be glad to laugh at it with you. For the rest of you, here’s a link to their website mention of it.

Skatterbrain has a sweet artist discovery: Jenny Owen Youngs. I wish my initials spelled “JOY”

Are you a fan of Of Montreal? I thought so. If you’re like me, you’ll be quite excited by this sale. OM’s 7″, Microuniversity for only $7. After doing some quick math, I figured out that they’re only charging you one dollar per inch. Sounds like a good deal if I’ve ever heard one.

Are you still a fan of Of Montreal? Okay, seriously though So Much Silence has their very recent KCRW instudio performance.

The Duke Spirit have a great contest going on. You can enter to win a pair of tickets to see one of their shows. If you don’t particularly care, maybe you’d like to know that they’re opening for Ted Leo. If you love me, you won’t to win tickets for their Newport show (just kidding–enter away).

Valentines Day Mixes: Pro-Love

Sorry this is going up so much later than expected. Something weird came up. Anyway, here’s the Yin to the earlier mix’s Yang. The plus side is that I think my blog and I are going to be on tv (11pm news on ABC, for those of you in Lexington), but the downside is that I don’t have time to talk about each of these songs. Oh well, I’m sure you’re sick of my jabbering. On to the music!

(Oh, and because these mixes are taking up a lot of space on my server, they’ll most likely be down within the week.)

The Pro-Love Mix

01 MP3: Belle and Sebastian – If You Find Yourself Caught in Love
02 MP3: Boy Least Likely To – Be Gentle With Me
03 MP3: The Beatles – When I’m Sixty Four
04 MP3: Feist – Mushaboom
05 MP3: The Features – The Idea of Growing Old
06 MP3: Jesus and Mary Chain – My Girl
07 MP3: Jim Guthrie – You Are Far (Do You Exist?)
08 MP3: Jump Little Children – The Way They Dance
09 MP3: Magnetic Fields – Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing
01 MP3: Mountain Goats – Love Love Love
10 MP3: Page France – So Sweetly
11 MP3: Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
12 MP3: Postal Service – Such Great Heights
13 MP3: Sam and Dave – Hold On, I’m Coming
14 MP3: TMBG – Another First Kiss
15 MP3: Wilco – I’m the Man Who Loves You

Valentines Day Mixes: Anti-Love

If all goes as planned, I’ll be posting two Valentines-themed mixes today. The first is for all those folks who find themselves single on this day of love. I did my best to pick an album’s worth of songs that take a negative stance on the subject of love, but I’m sure that you all can do better. List your Anti-Love songs in the comments.

The Anti-Love Mix

MP3: Green Day – Don’t Wanna Fall In Love
While not the most musically complex song on the mix, Green Day’s angry anthem “Don’t Wanna Fall In Love” cuts out the frivolous words and gets right to the point. In traditional punk fasion, the chorus is repeated several times at the end. I thought this was a fitting way to introduce a mix which could have, by all rights, swiped its name from the title of this song.

MP3: XTC – I’m the Man Who Murdered Love
Love has been put in human form numerous times throughout history. In literature, it’s not uncommon for love to shoot arrows at people, inspire poets and even wreck lives. However, I’m fairly sure this is the first instance in which love has ever been murdered. And after listening to the song, you’ll know that XTC make it clear that they’re putting and end to love. “I put a bullet in his sugar head / he thanked me kindly then he laid down dead.” That’s the spirit, Andy.

MP3: Talking Heads – I’m Not In Love
In acting, “pregnant pauses” are when you give a little silence for emphasis. So it should be no surprise that there’s a nice one right after the most important question in this song: ‘do people really fall in love?’ With all the crazy stuff that happens in our society (Britney’s first day-long marriage), sometimes it seems like the answer is no.

MP3: Death From Above 1979 – You’ve Lovely (But You’ve Got Problems)
Every Anti-Love mix needs a little DFA1979. I’m sure everyone here has at least one heartbreaking story about a love that could have worked–if only the other person hadn’t been a complete psycho.

MP3: The Features – Me and the Skirts
Sometimes it seems pointless to even try, doesn’t it? I’m sure that we all know (or are!) someone who has the worst luck with the opposite sex. This is a song for them. Our protagonist just knows that everything will end in tears. Oh what a pity. Oh what a shame.

MP3: White Stripes – I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
This is an amazing post-breakup song. It touches on just about everything that you’re likely to feel. Not only do your regular haunts seem to have lost their luster, but you just seem lost in general. I tried to stay away from ‘I can’t believe I lost her’ songs on this mix, but one or two are unaviodable.

MP3: Violent Femmes – Add It Up
A lot of Violent Femmes songs seem to be written from the perspective of a teenager, and this song is no different. “Add it Up” is a an anxious, impatient stance on waiting for love. Sure, it’ll come one day–but why wait? It also begs a lot of questions that I’m sure a lot of the single YANP readers (please don’t turn the comments into are asking themselves. For example, why can’t I get just one kiss?

MP3: Bright Eyes – Perfect Sonnet
For the longest time I would have classified this as a love song. Whoa nelly was I wrong. This is Connor’s greatest F-you to the entire establishment of love. Now I can’t comment as to the genuine quality of his stance (give the fact that every girl from 13-35 are throwing themselves at him), but he puts it better than anyone else can. Haven’t there been days in which you wanted to hurl a cute couple into the ocean?

MP3: The Shins – Gone for Good
This is a unique song for this list. It’s not from view of someone who was left out of love and finds themselves looking in. Rather, “Gone for Good” finds James Mercer telling us about both his commitment issues and distrust for the entire idea of love. Also, saying “just leave the ring on the rail for the wheels to nullify” is quite possibly the best way to break off your engagement.

MP3: Jose Gonzalez – Love Will Tear Us Apart
This is, hands-down, the most amazing song ever written about a love that’s faded from a relationship. I picked Jose’s cover for two reasons: first, I think it focuses more on the lyrics than the original; and secondly because there’s always that chance that someone hasn’t heard it.

MP3: Magnetic Fields – I Don’t Believe in the Sun
The other ‘I can’t believe I lost her’ song on this mix. Stephen Merritt probably has more songs on the topic of love than any other musician. After all, this is the guy who released not one, but three albums written specifically about love. Even so, this song stands out above the rest. It’s a wonderful perspective that had to be represented on this mix. Ever tried to think of how great love is when you’re in the middle of heartbreak? It’s impossible. Stephen takes that a step further with his sun metaphor and it isn’t exactly a stretch. Taking love out of your life is like taking the sun out of the day.

MP3: Of Montreal – Eros’ Entropic Tundra
Don’t let the weird name fool you, this song is one of the most fitting for our Anti-Love mix. From the very start, Kevin Barnes paints a great picture of a young man in search of love. Sometimes it seems like the only thing that awaits you is more of the same: unrequited love. Also of interest is that he points out how bitter you can feel towards people who are in love. It’s a sad love indeed.

MP3: Weezer – I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams
Nothing like a little second guessing, huh? Rachel Haden provides the vocals in this song about how hard it is to get over a lost love–especially when you’re the one who did the leaving.

MP3: The 6ths – All Dressed Up In Dreams
When I told Kristine (longtime YANP readers will remember her as one of only two other people to be regular posters) that I would be making an Anti-Love mix, she insisted that I include this song. “All Dressed Up In Dreams” absolutely broke my heart today. This song, written by Stephin Merritt, tells the sad story of a girl who had her happiness shattered one evening when her prospective beau left her waiting. What makes it worse is that she was ‘all dressed up in dreams,’ meaning that it wasn’t just her evening that was ruined–it was everything she’d ever held dear.

MP3: The Smiths – Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
As a man who’s often been described as a “hopeless romantic,” I’d feel bad if I let this end on a song of dispair. Don’t get me wrong, “Please Please Please” is quite possibly the saddest song on here. With lyrics like “[I] haven’t had a dream in a long time” and “for once in my life, let me get what I want,” this is clearly the song of a broken man. But like most Smiths songs, Morrissey gets more than one point across. In this case, it’s that he might be broken, but he hasn’t given up.