Thursday, May 29, 2008

(Almost) Totally Shameless Self Promotion

That is to say, it would be way more shameless if the event in question weren't for a good cause:

Yep, all five of those dollars that you spend to get into the Scene tonight will not only contribute to your personal enjoyment of some quite fun bands, it will also contribute to making sure kids get to go to college. A pretty amazing cause if you ask me, as all of the most recent reports I've seen on rising college tuition prices (even for non-private universities) are astounding!

And, as you might have guessed, the shameless self promotion part involves me hanging out at the venue and playing some records before, between, and after sets from all the bands. No squaregirl kristen for this show, I'm sad to say. I will do my best in spite of the sadness that comes with the lack of her awesome record collection, and even more awesome presence to make my contribution to the evening as enjoyable as possible. I've had a terribly fun morning sorting through records, and trying to figure out the best possible combinations of songs to play tonight. It seems very likely that it will involve Orange Juice, the Fire Engines, and probably more than a few Slumberland releases since those are the songs that are involving so much of my mental energy these days.

I really hope to see all of you tonight!

~sqg marion

And Every Conversation's STILL the Same...

It's almost as if I haven't stopped writing since this time yesterday, well, a brief interlude was taken to spend eight hours bringing people plates of food/making coffee beverages, but surely you know what I mean?

To pick up where I left off, there is exciting news on the Phil Wilson solo show front. For those of us that live in Southern California (or those of you that feel like taking a summer road trip) there is not only his appearance at the Echo on July 6 along with The Tyde, but there is also an appearance the day before at the Summershine Festival in Ventura. For this one he will be enlisting L.A. pop superheroes The Tartans to be his backing band for TWO songs.

And speaking of the Tartans, they are playing more shows in succession than they ever have before, and they have singles slated for release on two of the best indiepop labels in the country right now. YAY!, and Cloudberry for those of you keeping track at home.

However, as is often the case, the band in question explains the state of things far better than I ever could. This is from the Tartans' Myspace page:

"Hey friends,

We're finally gonna have some proper releases really soon. I know I mentioned a couple months back that we've got a single coming out on the esteemed Oxnard imprint, YAY!, which is available for pre-order through their website (yaylabel. com/shop) and will be on your turntables by early summer.

Not only that, there'll be another 7" out this summer on the great and prolific Florida label, Cloudberry. It'll feature "My Baby Doesn't Care For You" and "What About You". I believe it's off to the pressing plant this coming Tuesday.

In other news, check out our shows page, but unless you live in the greater LA area or Ventura County, you probably won't be catching us *too* soon. However, we could be tempted to push our way up the coast this summer, schedules and finances permitting.

There's gonna be an exciting festival in Ventura in early July called Summershine, where we'll have the pleasure and privilege of backing up Phil Wilson of the June Brides. He'll be coming to the states for some dates, and we're quite excited.

In other musical news that doesn't reek of self-promotion, there's been a lot of great new singles in the world, like Twig (on Cloudberry), the Vivian Girls and a new Cause Co-Motion single. Those are just a few of the things that have tickled my fancy lately, though as usual I've been tracking down old soul 45s (my favorite recent acquisition is Linda Griner's "Good-by Cruel Love", which is one of Motown's finest non-hits) and singing along to Felt. Also, most of the Tartans caught local heartthrob Jeremy Jay play a spectacular set a couple weeks back. He has a new LP out on K, which I've not yet heard but hope to acquire really soon.

Hopefully we'll see some of you this summer. And we'll come bearing badges with brand new designs!


This coupled with all of the Slumberland news that I posted yesterday promises that 2008 will be a very exciting year in our square little world.

Oh, and we're working on a few shows and projects that should hopefully have us back where we belong (or at least where we feel most comfortable,) spinning records once a month at a club near you! But more on that once it all comes together officially...

~squaregirl marion

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And Every Conversation's the Same

In desperate attempt to prove that this blog is more than just obsessing about old pop songs, how about some news about upcoming releases? And, well, one brief notation that deals with an old pop song.

I caught the Mezzanine Owls last night at Spaceland as their residency came to a close. They covered a Silver Jews song, "Trains Across the Sea" to be specific. Their amazing girl drummer Pauline Mu sang the song while drumming. It was awesome.

Then I've spent the majority of my morning watching/listening to this:

Knowing that an entire album full of songs like this is traveling towards me as I type this is almost too exciting to stand. Fortunately, I'm a tough girl because the new Lodger album Life is Sweet on which "The Good Old Days" appears is just the tip of the exciting Slumberland Records news iceberg.

The next installment of the Searching For the Now Series is heading our way on June 17. One side of one 7" will contain a song from Australian darlings Summer Cats. One of their band members is credited with sweet, sweet cowbell. How do you avoid absolutely adoring that credit?

The other 7" will contain a song from The Sunny Street. I'd not previously heard of them, but I think their about me on their Myspace page sums it up nicely:

"The Sunny Street is a Londonbased french popduo founded on a boring day by Delphine and Rémi. The songs are mostly about love."

Oh dear, I think I just might have a new crush...

Of course, if you've read this blog before you won't be surprised to learn that my heart nearly stopped when I discovered what the other side of the Sunny Street 7" would be. A Sunny Day in Glasgow covering the Pastels. They are offering their very specific take on "Sometimes I Think About You," I'm fortunate enough to have heard the song and I can say with certainty that it's dreamy. The vocals are lovely, and haunting, and the song will fill corners of your mind that you weren't aware existed.

The other side of the Summer Cats 7" will be provided by the ultra fantastic Pains of Being Pure at Heart. If you visit this page here, then click on the song entitled "Come Saturday" you can hear it for yourself! I strongly recommend that you do so too. The pace is frantic, the guitars are effected to be appropriately fuzzy and distorted, and it will get your day started right, or back on track, or whatever! Slumberland also revealed that they will be releasing a full length from the POBPAH closer to the end of the year. Swoon. They will also be releasing a full length from another Brooklyn band called Crystal Stilts who I've heard described (by the lead singer of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, actually, via Three Imaginary Girls) as what Joy Division might have sounded like if they were an indiepop band. I think it's quite acurate.

Slumberland will also release the debut 7" from Sexy Kids which is basically the follow up band to one of my favorite musical discoveries of last year (discovered after they were already no more) The Royal We. From the little that I've heard from Sexy Kids so far, it seems that they will fill the Royal We shaped hole in my heart nicely.

Then last but not least, the label is releasing a double 7" from Phil Wilson! If you're not familiar with Phil Wilson or The June Brides head over here immediately. I'll have much more exciting news for you West Coasters on the Phil Wilson front coming very soon. In the meantime, this is well worth watching:

~squaregirl marion

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Web In Front Podcast

So um, we got asked by the incredibly awesome new music news site, Web In Front to put together a couple of mixes for them to feature as Podcasts. I opted to create a mix of the types of songs/bands that I tend to play when we are out spinning at a rock show, squaregirl kristen has opted to put together a list of bands that played our showcases at the Scene Bar/bands that are playing for us in the future. From what I've heard of hers so far, it's going to be excellent. I can't wait for Friday to be here so that I can download it.

I also kind of wanted to do a brief explanation of each song that I picked for my podcast mix, and knowing that would be way too much to send over to the Web in Front page, I've decided to do it here. Because I can.

This is a wildly self indulgent move on my part, so if you just want to download some fun pop songs, and not deal with the back story, please head directly over here and disregard what is written on the rest of this post.

If you're like me however, and you love to get caught up in the minutiae of why other people love what exactly it is that they love, well, read on!

By the way, it should be noted that we are beyond flattered by the nice things that Web in Front said about us. We adore them and everything that they are doing so the fact that they regard us at all (let alone so apparently highly) is kind of amazing.

Here goes:

The Troggs - "With a Girl Like You"

Kristen has an amazing selection of garage and soul. Often when we're DJ - ing together it's slightly challenging for me to get from that into my girl group, and indiepop stuff. Needless to say I play this song a lot. It's an excellent garage track, but it also has enough classic pop elements to transition really nicely into a variety of other types of songs. I also love it when a writer can create a complete story, and have it take place within a single moment. This song does that. There is all of this incredibly involved obsessing, and by the end of the song you realize that everything the narrator has been singing about has just taken place withing (gasp) the span of a single dance, one pop song. Genius.

The Chiffons - "He's So Fine"

I'm a silly girl, and cited this as the Crystals on the tracklist for Web in Front, I was actually going back and forth between this track and The Crystals Da Doo Ron Ron, and the Ronettes "Be My Baby" all of which are on the Quadrophenia soundtrack, all of which are fabulous girl group songs. I think I really had the Crystals on the brain at the time of typing up the list. I guess "He's So Fine" won out at the last minute because it seemed to follow "With a Girl Like You," slightly better, pacing wise. Though most girl groups tended to be the product of the minds of male producers, and the lyrics often hardly represented a female empowerment theme. Incidentally one of the most disturbing examples actually came from the Crystals with the (ahem) Phil Spector penned "He Hit Me and it Felt Like a Kiss." Regardless this still ushered in an era where girls were beginning to headline shows, and sometimes play their own instruments, and deliver songs with such an excellent level of sassiness to heighten the pure pop enjoyment that was definitely a step in the right direction. In fact the hugely under appreciated Veleveletts actually did help to get the female empowerment lyric ball rolling with songs like "Needle in a Haystack," example lyric "Get yourself on the right track cause finding a good man, girls, is like finding a needle in a haystack." Even better was "I'm the exception to the Rule," with lines like "So it's useless for you to try and change me, rearrange me, baby because I won't give in." Even on a song like, "He Was Really Saying Something," our narrator becomes impressed with the boy that is trying to woo her not simply due to the way he looks, but because of the things he says to her though she maintains her cool unaffected exterior the entire time. Gosh, it's really starting to sound like I should have put the Velvelettes on this mix, and I probably should have. I'll forever stand by the giddiness inducing pop perfection of the Chiffons though.

Heavenly - "Our Love is Heavenly"

Post girl groups, post feminist movement, post punk, post etc. there was Heavenly. They certainly weren't the first band to apply the particular pop sensibility of the girl group sound to songs that were more punk rock in spirit and fuck around with gender roles. Most of Heavenly had previously comprised Talulah Gosh after all, but even before that the Smiths, Orange Juice, and the Pastels (amongst others) were all there combing these (and various other elements) to a somewhat similar effect. Heavenly just happened to come along and do it (arguably) better than almost anyone else, with an exceedingly clever girl front and center the entire time. Very few people can pull off a nonchalant kiss-off song quite like Amelia Fletcher, and this one might just be the ultimate example. Listen to how she coyly grins her way through lines like "Yes it's true, got a new boy who loves me, I love him too, and our love is heavenly," and "So don't cry honey you'll get over this (though it will take at least a day) after a time you will be feeling fine, and you'll be glad I walked away." Coupled with the breezy, bouncy pop melody that backs it, I think that it's nearly impossible to hear this song and not wish to be just like her.

Orange Juice - "Rip It Up"

I seem to be on a mission to see exactly how many times it will take for me to play this song at a club, or put it on a mix, or a playlist, or whatever before I get sick of it. The answer seems to be that I will never get sick of this song, ever. There's the bouncy slightly reggae influenced, definitely funky melody that provides the background to Edwyn Collins' wry lyrics, and wry-er vocal delivery. The long sax solo in the middle is downright polarizing (I happen to love it,) and this song also happens to contain one of my favorite musical traditions of pop songs referencing other pop songs. The chorus of the Buzzcocks' "Boredom is included as part of the bridge to this song, but instead of following the line "You know the scene is very humdrum with the original's rallying cry of "Boooredom, Boooreduuum, Boredom!" Collins slyly follows it up with, "And my favorite song's entitled Boredom." This will never ever fail to bring a giant grin to my face. I suppose ultimately it is impossible to become sick of "Rip it Up," because "Rip it Up" is perfect. How do you become tired of something that you can find no fault with?

The Spinners - "Rubberband Man"

I love the Spinners, such an enjoyable combination of the best pop elements with honest to goodness soul. All of their hits were hits for good reason you know? Though, when one thinks of the Spinners, even within the context of the hits, one's mind will probably go to a ballad like "I'll be Around." "Rubberband Man" is just pure, funky pop goodness though, and the vocal improvs near the end provide some of the most unintentionally hilarious (in the best possible way) one liners that you are likely to hear anywhere.

The Emotions - "Best of My Love"

Try to listen to this song without a giant smile on your face, just try.

The KLF - "Kylie Said to Jason"

Fascinating band, the KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front) they wrote a manual that served as a guide to creating number one singles, closed out an unexpectedly jarring award show performance by shooting at the crowd with blanks, then vowed to retire from the music industry until there was world peace, then they deleted their entire back catalouge to prove that this wasn't a stunt to sell more records, then they returned to the music industry under a different names first to release a single in Israel only to honor the treaty between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, a single for charity, and later a single on Mute Records called "***K the Millenium" credited to the artist 2K. Oh and they allegedly nailed one million pounds to a board and burned it to make an artistic statement. Apparently the single that made my playlist, "Kylie Said to Jason" was a bit of a flop so they directed their attention at that time to ambient music. But "Kylie Said to Jason" is campy, highly addictive, disco fun. I love it. It should also be noted that squareboy Chris has read the manual, and I am desparately trying to get him to write something about it for this site. Anyone that wants to join me in this petition, please leave your request in the coments section below!

Altered Images - "Bring Me Closer"

Yep, this is the full on disco segment of the program. Altered Images started as a much darker band (they had a single called "Dead Pop Stars") they passed through a phase of notable length that was definitely influential to the indiepop world, and then somehow ended up here. Highly sophisticated disco/dance pop. Not nearly as giddy and charming as say "I Could Be Happy," but I still adore this song and I cannot listen to it without wanting to dance whether it's appropriate to the situation that I'm in at the moment or not.

Saint Etienne - "Hug My Soul"

Music nerds pretty much always make fantastic records and/or singles. Often times, however, because the artists in question tend to know so much about the history of various aspects of the history of pop music (especially the obscure ones) the records that they make tend to be varying degrees of challenging. The former rock journalists that comprised Saint Etienne instead chose to focus all of this knowledge into a new blend of music that's every bit as enjoyable as the 60s pop, disco, and club music that inspired it. This song showed up on their last full length album Tiger Bay. I can't believe that this song is not a giant hit, or at the very least, I can't believe that it's not a song that one doesn't hear every single time one goes to an pop song based dance night.

The Bridal Shop - "Violation"

This song deserves to be played at more dance nights too, but it's perhaps still a bit new. I can only hope that more people will catch on to this eventually. I still maintain everything that I wrote about it a few weeks ago, except somehow in that time I've become more addicted to this small Swedish dance/indiepop masterpiece. How did they manage to record a song that is this good? How?

Felt - "Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow"

This song is really just too smart, AND too catchy for words. Not the most obvious combination for a pop song, but when it happens it's simply amazing. I still don't know how to write about, and disect Felt properly so I'll not try. Just listen to this one, it speaks (sings?) for itself.

Black Tambourine - "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge"

Almost the complete opposite to my feelings for Felt, I could probably say WAY too much about Black Tambourine, as all ten of their Complete Recordings are amongst my favorite songs of all time. From the jittery swagger of "For Ex-Lovers Only" (good enough to inspire a band to name themselves after it,) to the achingly slow (almost) build on the heartbreaker "Black Car," to my personal favorite the heavily doo-wop inspired "Drown" all of these songs are fuzzy pop perfection. "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge" is probably their most recognizable track, and the one that has the most suitable rhythm for dancing. "We Can't be Friends" fits the dancing criteria as well, but it's so short so one would have to be really on top of things to play it at a club night. Plus, "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge" has that device that we all hold so near and dear (don't we?) of pop songs that reference other pop songs or bands. Even if it is wishing a tragic fate to an artist so near and dear to so many. The fact that the girl who sang this song falls into that particular category (this interview that she did with BOTH Stephen and Aggi is a terribly fun read) somehow manages to turn it into a harmless inside joke. One that has a great beat, that you can dance to.

My Bloody Valentine - "Paint A Rainbow"

Gosh, where do I even begin with with this one? Until a week ago when I found a copy of the "Sunny Sundae Smile" 7" (of which this is the B-side) tale of My Bloody Valentine's excellent fuzzy jangle pop past sounded like something of a myth to me. All it takes is one listen of this, however, to make one a downright believer in such a thing, and to leave one completely awestruck I might add. Both sides of the single in question are probably the most exciting things going on in my musical world these days.

The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart - "The Orchard of My Eye"

O.k. so it wasn't much of a stretch of the imagination to follow "Paint a Rainbow" with anything from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The band in fact cites that song specifically as an influence. When a contemporary band is doing something that sounds SO good, and SO exciting though does it really matter if it falls into the category of a clever update on something that was recorded 20 years ago that not nearly enough people paid attention to the first time around? I maintain that there are far less exciting things that are being updated far less cleverly than this so I will happily accept anything that the Pains of Being Pure at Heart are willing to offer. Speaking of which, I have news on that front that should find its way to these parts very soon.

The Pastels - "Automatically Yours"

Probably my favorite song, from probably my favorite album from one of my favorite bands. So what can I say about it that will do it justice? There is often so much simple offhanded brilliance in Stephen McRobbie's lyrics. Lines like, "I can't describe this feeling, the camera is my brain/I can't deny this feeling, it drives me insane" from the song that made this list are baffling to me. Very few things impress me more than writers who can take little things that might cross one's mind on any given day, and work them effectively into songs where they heighten them without overstating them. Perhaps it's because this is something that very few song writers are able to pull off. And this is just one of the myriad of things that sets the Pastels so far ahead of other bands that thought they could achieve the same effect simply by playing sloppily, and singing off key. The Pastels also had so many seemingly rich musical references to draw from, and their limitations (at the time) as actual musicians (like most of the bands that DID manage pull off this sound) were probably able to help them achieve the particular sound that they were able to achieve. Plus just listen to the bells during the chorus of this song, and see if you are able to avoid falling head over heels in love.

Nancy Sinatra - "So Long Babe"

Lee Hazelwood's ultra sharp storytelling ability plus Nancy Sinatra's ultra refined sass. There just aren't many songwriter/singer combos in pop music history better than this one.

Buddy Holly - "You're So Square (Baby, I Don't Care)

Perhaps when we have a proper dance night I'll finally be able to turn this into an an honest to goodness, night closing, signature song. Until then, well, it's just really, really fun to listen to. Is it not?

~squaregirl marion

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Classic Art Has Had It's Day

There are few things more frustrating than actually having tons of stuff to potentially write about, the desire to write about them but absolutely none of the mental energy required to actually write anything worth reading.

For now, I will pose a question that has surely been posed many, many times. How were The Action not a more well known band? Not that I'm really the best person to pose this question as I've only heard this band for the first time today thanks to a very fortunate gamble during a recent record store trip. Though it is the kind of music that likely inspires the immediate thought, "This is something that didn't quite catch on?" I had the same reaction the first time that I heard The Creation. I'm actually still surprised that more people never really got into the Creation, but this is a tangent that I don't have time for tonight.

Here is the Action song that I'm currently marveling over. If they managed to somehow escape your radar until now, I think it's well worth checking out. If they've been on your radar for awhile, well it's still worth a listen don't you think?

~squaregirl marion

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Said Hey Kids (Hey Kids!) Tuesday 5/20

So I am working on a podcast for the super fantastic music news site Web In Front. Certainly this is an awesome project, and I am having an excellent time working on it. Unfortunately, this does involve me having to spend my entire day sitting on the floor converting vinyl to mp3 and cursing myself for not doing this to most of these records months ago. Of course the spending all day listening to records part isn't what makes my current situation unfortunate. The thing that makes my curent situation unfortunate is that I will still be hunched over my computer trying many different combinations within an hour of pop songs, until the perfect combination is achieved, while this is going on:

It's a bit difficult to read, but that is a flier for the latest installment of the always fab Radio Free Silver Lake presented Let's Independent night. You can actually read the details here. I've not heard any of the bands so I would have no idea what to expect from this sound wise. However I do know that Joe consistently puts on fantastic shows so whatever the sounds are, they are bound to be pleasing to your ears. Please go, and report back as to how it was if you are able!

~squaregirl marion

Monday, May 19, 2008

Such a Marvelous Time

Is it just me, or does having a good band/artist that matches your personal tastes send you a friend request on Myspace feel a little bit like receiving a thoughtful Christmas present in the middle of September from someone you don't know very well? It makes me personally very excited about the prospect of a more considerate humanity, but slightly worried about the inevitable upset to the balance of the Universe that this might cause. Not to say that all bands that seek you out on Myspace are bad, they just generally never take the time to consider the fact that their music will probably not appeal to everyone. The non-considerate folks are almost always the ones that you receive the random friend requests from. Therefore, generally when you see those emails alerting you to the fact that someone whose name is clearly that of a band your likely natural reaction should be to cringe.

On Sunday I noticed an email from Myspace alerting me to the fact that Strawberry Fair wanted to be my friend. I didn't cringe, I instead decided to remain optimistic as I traveled the short internet journey from Hotmail to Myspace. It has been my experience that most bands with the word strawberry in their name tend to be quite good and tend to produce some variation or other of the dreamy pop song. When I arrived at the Myspace page in question to find a picture of an adorable Swedish girl in pigtails staring at me, and the classic Phil Spector-esque sounds that accompanied it, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It didn't take long for the initial feeling of relief to transition into giddiness over the fact that I had a brand new pop group to fall in love with.

Strawberry Fair is the recording project of Jenny Franzen though the live show consists of a kind of supergroup of Swedish indiepop including one member of A Smile and a Ribbon making a contribution amongst others. Apparently she has two previous CDr singles to her name, but February of this year saw the release of her first EP entitled I Can't Do Anything. Imagine the sweet sounds of 60s girl groups walking down the street, brushing shoulders with 1980s indiepop, and creating an ever so slight (yet more than slightly exciting) electrical shock. You can pick up your very own copy of the EP right here.

~squaregirl marion

Here is a video of the full band in action at the Rip it Up Festival in 2006. It's almost impossible to not smile over a band that can make people dance outside, in broad daylight, in the midst of only maybe fifty other people who are not dancing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

About Your World, Your Summer World...

So here you are, going through the year thinking that you have all of your most anticipated releases completely mapped out, when a brief bout of Myspace searching informs you that you had no idea what you were most looking forward to at all. Cineplexx is primarily the project of Argentina raised/New York survivor/current Barcelona resident Sebastian Litmanovich. He has some help from family and friends of course (all the best ones do) though not all of the best ones are able to count such pop royalty as Duglas Stewart (BMX Bandits,) Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub,) and Jad Fair (Half Japanese,) amongst those helpful friends. All of these folks were contributors to the brand new Cineplex album Picnic, to say that it sounds as though it would make for lovely picnic music would be far to easy...

I will say that it's June 24 release date on Portia Records is fitting, as the record will likely inhabit your stereo for the entirety of the summer. In fact, this record will probably find it's way back to your radar summer after summer after summer for the purposes of mix CD creating, if nothing else. Based off of the songs that appear on the Myspace page, I am so far most enamored with the title track, a dreamy, yet slightly off kilter song whose vocals kind of make it sound as if it were recorded on an island inhabited by friendly ghosts. The carefree employment of xylophone helps this effect nicely. Also helping the beautiful oddness of this track is the presence of Jad Fair. All of the tracks make smart use of electronic elements as well as human elements (i.e. you can dance to most of them!) All maintain a sweet breezy pace. Most of the songs are sung in Spanish, the notable exception on the Myspace page being "Tiger Trap" (oh so deliciously twee in both the story detailed in the song, AND the likely reference to the band of the same name, um, and the fact that Duglas Stewart is singing it.) I simply can't wait until I am able to hear the entire thing. Until then, I will most likely be finding my way here, a lot.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When You Help Others, You Can't Help Helping Yourself...

I walked into the Dublab studio yesterday and was greeted with the sight of DJ Expo performing all manner of incredibly impressive DJ manouvers in a set of amazing sounding soul and funk tracks, as he faded out a 15 minute Isaac Hayes track in a way that I will never be able to properly describe (it involved using some sort of DJ program to loop the song on the spot, and in effect create a new ending to it,) then my friend Ale, and I took the mic to introduce the show we were about to begin. We then spent the next hour and a half playing nothing but Jesus & Mary Chain songs, including Ale performing a live cover of "You Trip Me Up" right in the middle of our set. Right now I'm listening to a set that began with a song from lesser known late 70s 4AD band Psychotik Tanks, and has unfolded into songs that are bit more in the shoegaze and/or space rock family. What I'm listening to now, I would not be surprised to find on a Che Records compilation. Naturally this set is provided by resident post punk expert Michael Stock.

If you've been listening to lately you may have noticed that there is a Proton Drive going on at the moment. If you haven't been listening, but what I described above sounds like just the kind of diverse, music geek fueled radio station you would like to keep alive please head over here, and donate any amount you might be able to donate. A little over $4,000 so far has been raised so far with the goal being to reach $20,000 by next Wednesday May 21st. This can absolutely happen, but only with your help! All the incentives to donate are listed here. Keep the uniquely wonderful entity that is alive!


~squaregirl marion

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Past is a Disater, and the Future's Coming Faster...

So, in the rare spaces these days when my ears aren't glued to Annie's DJ Kicks comp, I've been reaffirming my love for, um... Love Is All. In fact, as I was driving to work on Sunday morning (a whole day before I saw the article about the new Annie album) I began to wonder when exactly we might be treated to a new Love Is All album. If you never heard Love Is All, a few helpful things to know about them are the ones that follow. They are amazing. The lyrics are clever and self depricating at times/brilliantly self assured at others, the music is most often manic avd giddyness enducing with prominent use of the trumpet, and they once covered a Pastels song. Actually, they covered this Pastels song to be exact. In short, I adore this band.

Well, before I freaked out and posted a frantic, "When will Love is All release a new album?!?!" post; I decided to do a quick Google search on the subject. Turns out that Pitchfork posted this news in February, mere days before my birthday no less! Sigh, I already knew that I should be more actively involved in keeping up with the music news, but this discovery hit that particular nail over the head. Anyway, if you need me, I'll be off somewhere counting down the days to the currently non-existent release date for A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night...

~squaregirl marion

There Was a Time Everybody Was Around, and I Was Dancing With You...

So I heard from Three Imaginary Girls, who heard from Popjustice, who heard from, oh who knows where these super in the know people get their news... it's beside the point, with the point being that Popjustice reported news that Annie will be releasing a new album this year entitled Don't Stop. Also according to Popjustice, the album is amazing. You can read Three Imaginary Girls contributor Chris B's take on the whole thing right here.

This is of particular interest to me right now, as an exorbitant amount of my time this week and last week has been spent listening to Annie's installment of !k7's DJ Kicks Series. In the interest of full disclosure this particular installment is one of only three that I have from the entire series, all of which I have received through my volunteering at KCRW. That is to say, this is not a series that I have been an avid collector of. Still, I like the idea of it so very much; get a DJ and/or musician(s) to put together a well thought out, mixed compilation CD that will give you the feeling of listening to a club type DJ set at home. I like Annie's set a lot because I get the sense that she DJs the way I like to hear people DJ, there is a nice ratio of pop songs (Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy" makes an appearance,) to much more obscure dance specific tracks like Zongamin's excellent instrumental "Bongo Song,"which she segues very nicely into JD Twitch's Optimo edit of the Liquid Liquid track "Flextone." I haven't heard the original version of "Flextone," but I can certainly hear elements of the original version of "Optimo." That is another thing that makes this mix so strong, all of the remixes included are smart remixes, and feel like they have a purpose. The fact that she plays every song almost to it's entirety is yet another reason that I like her comp so much. As I said before, that is the way that I like to hear people DJ. She does manage to beat match everything pretty well, but that happens after you've been able to enjoy almost a whole song. Sure they aren't all perfect, but in a way that makes it almost better. I can listen to a mix like this one and think that with a bit more practice one of these days I will be able to do that!

The only thing that is sad about my current obsession with Annie's DJ Kick's is that the album has existed since 2005, and has been in my Ipod since December of last year. Oh well, it's found it's way to my ears now which is all that really matters. Now I am beyond excited to hear Don't Stop. If this mix, and of course her outstanding 2004 record Anniemal are any indication it will be one of the best records of 2008!

~squaregirl marion

AND, just in case you forgot exactly how good this stuff is...

Monday, May 5, 2008

She Says It's Going to Rain, She Says She's Only Playing...

Hello, I hope that everyone had a fantasic weekend, and saw fantastic shows, and /or got plenty of rest. I came to the conclusion yesterday that it is very difficult to keep up a blog whose primary purpose it is to write things about rock shows attended when the writer of said blog attends so few rock shows. Oh well, shameless self-promotion it is then. It's actually more promotion for Mezanine Owls so I feel completely o.k. about it. In case you've not yet heard them, Mezzanine Owls are kind of stunningly beautiful and you should see them live on every occasion that you have to do so. The fact that they have a residency at Spaceland starting tonight makes all of us very lucky. We're actually double blessed (sorry, please remember that on the rare occasions when I do write the writing will tend to include Pastels' quotes) with long time Squaregirls' super crush Le Switch having their residency going on at the Echo this month as well. The line-ups for every night of each bands'respective shows appear to be pretty incredible (check the links to the Myspace pages for each band for all of the details.) So, um, here is where the shameless part comes in, we are DJ- ing for Mezzanine Owls at Spaceland TONIGHT, and for Le Switch next Monday which is May 12th. Natuarally we'd love to see you at both shows. It's also worth noting that Mezzanine Owls will be celebrating Cinco De Mayo with two dollar Tecate all night! If Mezzanine Owls dreamy, distorted, and epic in all the right ways pop songs aren't incentive enough for you to come out tonight surely the extraordinarilly well priced booze will provide that last little push that you need...

AND I did manage to attend a rock show at the Echo last night. Blood On The Wall were exactly what I hoped they would be. The pull out pretty much every great trick in the indie rock handbook (most readily apparent are the ones they learned from the Pixies) then they execute them with absolute fucking perfection. Seeing them live is highly recommended, as is their 2005 album Awesomer.

AND AND AND most importantly, Dublab kicked off a Proton Drive just this morning so please head over to the site, add Dublab's stream to your Itunes if you haven't already done so, listen to the fantastic DJ's, and donate from your heart so that they can keep all of that fantasticness (actual word?) going!

We hope to see you tonight, and please feel free to tell us about all of the awesome shows that you saw over the weekend or last week in the comments!