Thursday, March 30, 2006

NME C86: Side A

Casey Dorrell

I've talked about C86 (and I suggest you search around google for more C86 information, as there's no agreement to what the term means), and put up four songs considered to be the biggest C86 songs. Now it's time to explore the album itself. Haven't heard of many of these bands? Well, indie kids 20 years from now will be wondering who the hell LCD Soundsystem was.

Side A is of note for the intro track in particular which is, if there is such a thing, the definitive C86 song.



1. Primal Scream - Velocity Girl [MP3]
Bobby Gillespie founded the Scottish band, sometimes referred to as a "Supergroup", in 1984 yet the band he drummed for at the time, The Jesus and Mary Chain, remains far better known. As does original touring guitarist Kevin Shield's band, My Bloody Valentine, and bassist Gary Mounfield's band, Stone Roses. Still, Primal Scream were undoubtedly the biggest band attached to the C86 moniker and proved to be one of the few long-lasting C86 groups. While Primal Scream continues to make music today, their only really successful album came in 1991, by which point they'd already abandoned the C86 sound. And their last album? Well, I'd stick to 1991's Screamadelica.

2. The Mighty Lemon Drops - Happy Head [MP3]
The Sherbert Monsters was really such a silly name, so in late 1985, less than a year after their inception, the band chose the remarkably more serious title of The Mighty Lemon Drops. Indeed. This band lasted just under a decade, breaking up in 1992, but they were popular on the college charts while they were around. There's one thing that simply can't go unsaid when discussing Mighty Lemon Drops, but I won't stoop to that level. No sir. On an unrelated note, have you heard the latest Echo and the Bunnymen album?

3. The Soup Dragons - Pleasantly Surprised [MP3]
Like most bands under the C86 banner, The Soup Dragons formed in late 1985, early 1986, and disbanded in the first half of the 90's. If you like your rock infused with funk and reggae and you can stifle the ethnocentric giggles at the notion of nerdy white guys delivering it, this is your music. Or at least, at times it will be. The Soup Dragons were a lot of things, but one thing they weren't was sonically consistent.

4. The Wolfhounds - Feeling So Strange Again [MP3]
Ah, the Wolfhounds. A nicely named band, but about 20 years too early to really cash in on the indie wolf craze. Even on this compilation, they were out of place. Wolfhounds were one of the bands on the C86 tape that really weren't C86 - meaning they were neither jangly nor twee.



5. The Bodines - Therese [MP3]
The Bodines were short-lived, releasing only one album; It broke 100 in the charts (#94) in 1987. Oh, and they were on some C86 compilation that I've been told is pretty influential. They probably meant a lot to many people when they were around, but like most of the indie bands we love right now, no one's going to care about them, much less know who they are, in twenty years. I should know. I work in music retail, and most people still don't even know indie posterboy Sufjan Stevens in the real world. Arctic who?

6. Mighty Mighty - Law [MP3]
This band was often referred to as being "less lemon, more mighty" in reference to C86-mates, The Mighty Lemon Drops. Although a play on the literal differences in the bands' names, it was more a commentary on the stylistic differences. Where The Mighty Lemon Drops were "twee as fuck", The Mighty Mighty were simply hard as hell. What they were doing on the C86 compilation is anyone's guess. Actually, I made that whole thing up, but most of you were going for it, weren't you? Mighty Mighty were mighty jangly, and broke up shortly after forming in 1986. Despite this, they somehow had a resurgence in popularity at the turn of the century, in Japan of all places. A B-Side collection was released there in 2001.

7. Stump - Buffalo [MP3]
Forming in late 1983 (no doubt in celebration of my birth), this band was one of the more established groups of the C86 lot. Founding member, Kev Hopper, has since declared that this track "was the worst recorded track on the tape at the time". They broke up in 1988, but not before becoming one of the best received bands on compilation.

8. Bogshed - Run to the Temple [MP3]
Forget the fans, forget the fact that John Peel was hugely enamoured with them, remember only that Bogshed singer Phil Hartley's stated aim was to "sing like Doris Day". Afterall, that's all any of us have ever wanted, isn't it?

9. A Witness - Sharps And Sticks [MP3]
This band, like most of the original C86s, disbanded shortly after the release of the seminal compilation (and I made it so far without saying seminal). In their case, though, the impetus for disbanding was the untimely death of one of the three band members, guitarist Rick Aitken, in an accidental climbing death in 1989. They recorded a cover of the Doors' classic "Break on Through" shortly before breaking up for which they received some attention.



10. The Pastels - Breaking Lines [MP3]
This band may be one of the few bands you recognize on the compilation if you're not already familiar with it. That might be due to the fact that they're is actually still around. But more likely it's because you've heard Kurt Cobain reference them as an influence (not to be confused with the Vaselines who grew out of the C86 scene and garnered far more Cobain-love). The Pastels continue to record infrequent but critically enjoyed albums featuring former members of C86-mates, The Shop Assistants (Answering the oft asked question, "What the hell happened to The Shop Assistants?")


11. The Age of Chance - From Now On This Will Be Your God [MP3]
What was I saying about forgotten bands? This band is deserving of that fate. For their sophomore album, they actually opted to bow to their label's demands, and replace their lead singer for someone less "distinct", more mainstream friendly. How punk rock.

Download:
1. Primal Scream - Velocity Girl
2. The Mighty Lemon Drops - Happy Head
3. The Soup Dragons - Pleasantly Surprised
4. The Wolfhounds - Feeling So Strange Again
5. The Bodines - Therese
6. Mighty Mighty - Law
7. Stump - Buffalo
8. Bogshed - Run to the Temple
9. A Witness - Sharps And Sticks
10. The Pastels - Breaking Lines
11. The Age of Chance - From Now On This Will Be Your God

Related:
C86: Genre, Movement, or Nonsense?

Buy:
Sealed NME C86 Tape
NME C86 Vinyl (DJ)
190 comments

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

NME C86: Genre, Movement, or Nonsense?

Casey Dorrell

Last summer, just before disappearing into netherland of obscurity that is unupdated blogs, we posted about C86. That article quickly became our most popular one ever, and remains so today. It was also routinely slagged for falsely identifying a genre where none existed. So be it. In a multi-part post we return again to C86, first with a revised version of my original:


Isn't C86 last year's Epson Stylus printer? Well yes, but also . . .

c86

C86 is a type of music, but what it describes is a contentious point. Its original meaning can be agreed upon at least. What it began as was a free cassette that came with issues of the British magazine NME in 1986 (hence, cassette 1986), later available for purchase as an LP through Rough Trade. Like its predecessor, C81, it featured a slew of up and coming indie acts. Unlike C81, this cassette's indie acts were far more indie and less established.

The cassette featured exclusively independent artists, most of whom had been playing together for less than a year at the time. While C86 came to be a genre rather than a literal tape, some of the bands on the original compilation were neither janglepop nor twee (ie. not all the bands on C86 were C86). Examples being Primal Scream's Velocity Girl or Stump's "Buffalo". Regardless, C86 was the cassette that launched a genre (rather than just recognizing one).

Says NME's website,

"We [tried] to invent an alternative scene - our own version of punk you could say - by forcing a coterie of new bands onto a cassette called C86. It's not entirely convincing and you should get out more if you remember The Shop Assistants - but it nails our colours to the mast. We, it said, for better or worse, are indie."

Of course, NME is no longer indie, but twenty years of popularity will do that. Were C86 a cassette alone, it wouldn't merit much note now. But it became more than that. Although not all the bands featured on the compilation were stylistically similar, enough of them shared the same shambolic sound for C86 to quickly become identified as a particular genre, a movement, in independent rock. That sound is arguably twee, and definitively Jangly. Although many tweepop groups do grow from C86, the genre is, strictly speaking, jangle pop. Some have argued that, like Krautrock, C86 is more a time and place thing: late 80's British DIY indie, rather than a genre, but listen to the compilation, or any of the bands that became linked to C86 afterward, and you'll find that most of the artists have a shared, distinct sound (i.e. discordant feed-back laden guitars mixed with almost child-like vocalization of mostly cheery, sometimes political lyrics).

Though this was a British movement, and even contemporary C86 artists tend to be Brits, there were many American and Canadian bands that also grew from C86 in the following years. Velocity Girl, for example, not only followed the genre's style, they also took their name from an original C86 track, Primal Scream's "Velocity Girl". Jale is another example. The original movement is now almost as old as a lot of the people reading this, yet it still holds a place of importance in contemporary music beyond being mere reference fodder for indie elitists. Its pop-culture relevance has only become more apparent in the last year. Look for the influences of all those bands you or your little brother is rocking out to on the OC, and, when you don't find yourself back at C81, you'll find yourself back at C86.


The Forgotten Shop Assistant
No one Remembers The Shop Assistants


uau of Freeway Jam explains, "C-86 was an extraordinary release; most of the bands had been unknown prior to its issuance, but taken together they resembled a scene. Almost every one of the groups that appeared on C-86 were short-lived, but in their wake, newer indie bands on both sides of the Atlantic began experimenting with this airy, tuneful style."

Tom of Indie-mp3 whose tag-line is "Keeping the c86 alive" points out another distinction between the current twee pop and indie music scene and the c86 scene: politics. Unlike many of the C86 groups, indie music right now is rarely political beyond the requisite "Fuck Bush" reference. Personally, I prefer my music sans politik. Politics and music make for sloganeering, good protest chants, and propaganda, but not intelligent debate. That said, music remains the perfect visceral outlet for frustration, anger, or apathy born of perceived political disenfranchisement. "At this time, the NME was a socialist music paper in all but name," Tom explains in his C86 overview. He goes on to further link the politicization to Thatcherism, but I'd argue that there are as many, if not more, reasons for a band to be political today. Though that's likely every generation's claim.

The Famous C-86
Like Vinyl, Cassettes Featured Great Art Work

Of course, I wasn't there. The late internet zine, Muse, was. I'll let them say succinctly what I was ineptly trying to articulate throughout:

"C86 was a subculture and a fanzine culture (Kvatch, Sha-la-la and Are You Scared To Get Happy?). It spoke to alienated teenagers bored with mainstream culture and hooked on DIY lo-fi sensibilities, an almost asexual child-like affectation, Sixties pop and girl groups, seven-inch singles, bedsit socialism and a romantic, pastoral, holding-hands vision of England."

Next time, NME C86: Side A.

Download:
Primal Scream - Velocity Girl
The Pastels - Breaking Lines
Another Sunny Day - Anorak City
Talulah Gosh - Testcard Girl
16 comments

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kepler Are No More

Jonathan Migneault



Today is a sad day for many in Ottawa's indie community. Kepler, the city's long-standing anchor of indie post-rock/pop rock has broken up. Over the past eight years, Kepler released three LPs, one EP and a six-song demo cassette.

The band's website tells a story of an "undignified and blubbering slow demise". It reads like any good novel. First, there's the exposition: Three friends, Jon Georgekish-Watt, Samir Khan and Mike Sheridan made a demo cassette called Kepler in December of 1997. They probably had modest expectations and created music together because, well, they liked it.

Next, there's the rising action, then the climax. Jeremy Gara joined the band and helped them produce three excellent albums. Those were This Heart is Painted On (November 1999), Fuck Fight Fail (October 2000) and Missionless Days (March 2002). The band garnered positive attention in indie media circles as it toured the United States, Europe, and Canada.

After the good times came the falling action and the band's eventual demise. Sheridan left the band as the other three coped with an ever-changing line-up. Then, through a long, difficult process, they recorded their final album, Attic Salt (July 2005). Soon thereafter Gara became the drummer for a little indie band called the Arcade Fire. Kepler's frustrations grew as they recorded a demo that they will now likely never release. Cue the band's end.

Now that the band's called it quits, there is one upside: They're in "clean-up" mode, and that means good things for their fans. They're practically giving away their back-catalogue in order to move on. As I write this, fans can obtain Kepler's entire discography from their website for a measly $10 [Cdn]. It comes highly recommended.

As one of Ottawa, nay Canada's, finest move on, many will miss them, but their presence will continue in indie music for quite some time. Their influence on Ottawa's indie scene (yes, there is such a thing) has been immense. The Hilotrons (whose Michael Dubue briefly played with Kepler), The Acorn, As the Poets Affirm… and many more owe a huge debt of gratitude to the band.

No doubt, each band member will pursue his own projects, and I, along with many, look forward to that.

Download:
Kepler - Reward and Respite
Kepler - The Changing Light at Sandover
Kepler - My Other

Buy:
Kepler's Full Discography
10 comments

Sunday, March 26, 2006

2006 Superhero Marathon

Geoff Trainor

It's time again for Mockng Music to spend ridiculous amounts of time watching movies, drinking beer and making fools of ourselves. This is the fourth installment of Mocking Music's marathon series.

As always, we have made a special blog for the occasion and will be posting on it all day. Check at the marathon blog for our movie analysis' and constant bickering among one another. We'll be there all day, so feel free to leave a comment.


Enter The 2006 Superhero Marathon


Download:
Weird Al Yankovich - Ode to a Superhero
Mogwai - Superheroes of BMX
Daft Punk - Superheroes
Dismemberment Plan - Superpowers
Mini-Thins - Punk Rock Superhero
4 comments

Full Album Friday 9 (Sunday Edition):
Emm Gryner Live @ The Point


Casey Dorrell

Earlier this week, I was pretty negative in regards to the new band Emm Gryner is in. I stick by that, but I don't want to give the impression that my negativity stemmed from the fact that the band didn't sound like Emm Gryner. This isn't the case. My negativity was predicated on the gap between the way in which the band was presented and its actual sonic output, of which Gryner was not responisble for.

But I will go to bat for Emm Gryner. Gryner runs her own label that she started in 1996, Dead Daisy Records, which is primarily a method of getting her own material out. She did make a short and unfortunate leap to the major labels with her 1998 release, Public. Short because she opted out of her contract and unfortunate because it means that when people do know Gryner, they usually know her for one song only: 'Summerlong', which littered the AM airwaves at the turn of the century. The song isn't bad, but it's overproduced, and far from the best song on the album.

Her best album, on the other hand, is the first she made after returning to her own independent label in 1999, Science Fair. Its production value is minimal, having been recorded via 8-track. This gives her piano playing skills and lyrical strength their deserved spotlight without being lost in overproduction. It has the sort of sound that might appeal to both staunch indie music fans and fans of more mainstream acts like Sarah McLachlan. The difference being that her music is more lyrically relatable, hints at a sense of humour not present in McLachlan's work, and her arrangements tend to be a lot more interesting.

Despite the fact that her lyrics are, perhaps, the central component to her piano and guitar based songs, she's also released two excellent cover albums: 2001's Girl Versions and 2005's Songs of Love and Death. The former was akin to a less produced version of Tori Amos's cover album, featuring covers of decidely male songs (although its lineage predates Amos); the latter was an album of all Irish covers (but not traditional songs).

Gryner's last release, AsianBlue, was a somewhat disapointing affair for those, like myself, that prefer her stripped down songs. It was the most produced album since she left Mercury. Still, were still remarkable, just catering to a different audience, perhaps. The songs underneath the production values would appeal to fans of Science Fair. I know this because I've seen her perform many of them live (set to the backdrop of a Chantal Kreviazuk covering busker out in the street, mind you).

Here's an excellent live show (April 6th, 2002: Bryn Mawr, PA) captured by the good people at this Emm Gryner fan site. The recorder makes appologies for the quality, but I think it's one of the best I've heard.

Download:
Emm Gryner - Starcraft Camper Blues
Emm Gryner - The End
Emm Gryner - Waiting Room (Fugazi)
Emm Gryner - Northern Holiday
Emm Gryner - Disco Lights
Emm Gryner - Jameson
Emm Gryner - Green
Emm Gryner - Revenge
Emm Gryner - Idaho
Emm Gryner - Stereochrome
Emm Gryner - Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
Emm Gryner - July
Emm Gryner - Big Bang Baby (Stone Temple Pilots)
Emm Gryner - Case of Tornados
Emm Gryner - Acid
Emm Gryner - Pour Some Sugar On Me (Deff Leppard)

Buy:
Emm Gryner - Public
Emm Gryner - AsianBlue

Related:
Full Album Friday 8: Wolf Parade on CBC Radio 3
Full Album Friday 7: Catholic Gaydar
Full Album Friday 6 (Sunday Edition): Hole Unglued, Unbootlegged
Full Album Friday 5 (Monday Edition): Illegal Art
Full Album Friday 4 (Sunday Edition): American Edit
Full Album Friday 3 (Saturday Edition): Thrush Hermit - Nobody Famous
Full Album Friday 2 (Saturday Edition): The 8Bits of Christmas
Full Album Friday 1 (Saturday Edition): Sufjan Christmas
13 comments

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The O.C. - Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails

Casey Dorrell

What is there to say about the O.C.? I used to argue that the show had it's merits, despite being generally bad. This season I can argue that one of the characters (Seth) is usually funny, though perhaps this is mostly a "comparative to the humourless co-stars" thing, and that they usually play good, if predictable, music.

Thursday's episode featured the Bright Eyes' song, 'Lover I Don't Have to Love', from his landmark album, "Lifted . . .". Sort of. What it actually featured was Bettie Serveert's cover of the song.

Bettie Serveert isn't a girl named Bettie, rather they're a Dutch band named after a Dutch tennis player from the 70's . . . clearly. They've actually been around since indie's C86 days, forming in 1986, though they're not particularly twee, they've got the requisite jangle. They went through a bit of a slump in the mid to late 90's but have released a trio of solid albums since 2000. This cover comes off their latest album, 2005's "Attagirl".

Download:
Bettie Serveert - Lover I Don't Have to Love (Bright Eyes)
Bettie Serveert - Lover I Don't Have to Love (Grooveblaster Mix)

Buy:
Bettie Serveert - Attagirl
Bright Eyes - Lifted, or, The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ears to the Ground
21 comments

Friday, March 24, 2006

All Hands on Hot One: Gryner disappoints

Casey Dorrell

An artist I've yet to discuss here, along with so many others, is Emm Gryner. She is, and long has been, one of my favourite artists. This is probably why I've avoided writing about her. The same can be said for my lack of commentary on all things Eels. But I digress.

Emm Gryner is indie in a time when so many "indie" artists really aren't indie at all. Without the necessary component of not belonging to a major label, it's not at all clear what commonality so-called indie artists now share. That they have been, or will be, on the O.C.? That they haven't been? That people outside the insular scene bubbles will never hear about these bands regardless of how big we think they are? Maybe I'll drop the indie label for the time-being, then, and simply call Gryner a "D.I.Y." artist.

Gryner has released four "studio" albums, a B-sides album, and two cover albums in the last decade - all on her own label, Dead Daisy Records, save for one. Her own material is typically introspective and lyrically commanding, while her cover material showcases her impressive skill for wild reinterpretation. It was with quite a bit of excitement, then, that I greeted the news that she'd formed a band.

Her new band is called Hot One and, while she plays bass and sings apparent back-up, she's joined by Nathan Larson (guitar, vocals), Kevin March (drums), and Jordan Kern (guitar). The members have been in an impressive roster of past bands, including Guided By Voices and Shudder to Think. Looking into any of the band-driven press reveals that Larson, who's made music for several movies, is the one that's spear-heading the project.

The band is overtly political, but what they're saying is unclear. I gather that they are upset with the Western world for being too fascist and not sexy enough. It comes off as vapid pseudo-politics set to glam rock infused with indie experimentation. Maybe there's an element of irony that I'm missing. Probably not. Regardless, it's amazing how so many talented individuals can combine to create such mediocre music. Their faux-military/messiah manifesto of a website should have tipped me off. Here's an excerpt from their equally absurd myspace:

"I think rock (and art in general if you want to extend the argument) has to be reclaimed. It's OURS. If it's not challenging, what is it doing? Is it the background to your dinner party? Of course this is a perfectly viable usage of music-as-furniture, it has a purpose. But rock has always been about rising up, about saying look at me! We can plug our intellects into rock, we can use it's potential kick-you-in-the-gut power to start to turn the tables on the forces that would oppress us and oppress others in our name."




Sure, fine. But suggesting that political rock or inventive rock is somehow absent right now is inane. Implying that Hot One lyrics like, "You a’re going straight to hell, Exxon and Shell" are apt to inspire political discussion is equally ridiculous. Regardless of whether one feels rock is in need of "saving", Hot One are not in any position to take on that task. One way to describe the band would be political experimental glam, but the best way to describe the band would be disappointing.

Update: They've competely overhauled their website today, and it is actually pretty funny. But then, being ironic about being political is hardly a new approach to rock.

Update 2: I've since realized that much of this article is a bit over-the-top in its negativity. It's really only the evangical presentation of the music that bothered me. The music itself, I don't particularly like, but it's well-played and as Frank (Chromewaves) asserts, "it sounds like they're having fun".

Download:
Emm Gryner - Dearg Doom
Hot One - Fuckin'
Hot One - Sexy Soldier

Buy:
Dead Daisy Records


5 comments

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Brief Introduction To Krautrock

Calum Marsh



The term "krautrock" gets thrown around a lot in relation to indie music; bloggers looking to show off their knowledge of music history often label experimental indie rock groups as having "krautrock sensibilities", "a distinct krautrock sound", and so on. But the meaning of the term is worth exploring beyond its connotations as an adjective, so I'd like to spend a little time talking about its original meaning.

"I was there in 1968", James Murphy brags on 'Losing My Edge', "I was there at the first Can show in Cologne". The line refers to the emergence of a series of bands in Germany in the late sixties and early seventies, many of which went on to record groundbreaking albums that are now among some of the most important ever made. Though Cologne was generally recognized as the locality of the scene, the 1968 concert series James is probably nodding his hat to actually took place in nearby Essen; there, numerous experimental rock bands came together to perform at the first major German rock festival, which was a incredible success with German youth.

Two music producers from Cologne, Dieter Dierks and Conny Plank, became wildly popular all across Germany. Many of the bands who became instant successes as a result of the Essen concerts worked closely with Dierks and Plank, producing albums which sounded like nothing before. A great deal of American and British groups were experimenting with their sound, too, but where the hippie culture of the sixties revolved largely around hallucinogenic drugs and strictly psychedelic sounds, the artists of the German experimental scene were more interested in serious artistic expression and creative freedom. The people of Germany, especially the youth who were the primary audience for this music, were in dire need of recreating their own tired post-war image, typically meaning a movement away from American pop culture. The radical sound of the Cologne groups happened to be the perfect venue for such a culture revolution - the people embraced the work and the scene was thereby established. The American and British music critics, though, didn't care for the Cologne crowd, dismissing it as worthless; the press dubbed the new genre "krautrock", a play on the slang term for a German, a "kraut".

Though the term "krautrock" is usually talked about as a particular genre, it is more accurately a heading for a specific group of bands from a specific time and place: 1968-1978 in Cologne. Krautrock bands share ideological and artistic values, but stylistically they're not so much the same. Consider two major groups from the movement: the Murphy-mentioned Can, who were among the first of the krautrock groups (who remain one of the most influential), and Faust, a seven-member band formed in 1971. The latter have become one of the most widely appreciated krautrock groups, and were, at the time, considered the most radical and challenging of the movement. Both groups were experimenting primarily with tape edits and electronic noise, but where Can were known for their Jazz-like improvisations and wild tantrums (the vocal tracks are largely comprised of chaotic yelling and screaming), Faust was more interested in bending genre conventions with experimental editing and electronics now heard in Noise music.

Other Krautrock groups of importance are Neu! and Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk were the most commercially successful group, breaking into the mainstream both in their native Germany and abroad. Their music was more explicitly electronic than other krautrock groups, and as a result had a more lasting impact on music in the digital age. Neu!, on the other hand, achieved very little notoriety when active, even in their homeland of Germany. Still, their work is very highly regarded - their debut self-titled LP is frequently cited as one of the most influential albums of the past few decades - and recent artists as famous as Thom Yorke and David Bowie have declared Neu! as a major influence.

Perhaps krautrock's most consistent stylistic convention is the use of repetition, usually for excessive lengths of time. Most krautrock songs clock in it at over fifteen minutes, and are rumoured to have been edited down from much longer demos (Can recorded a six hour improvisation, which later was cut down to the 20 minute 'Yoo Doo Right'). The problem with using "krautrock" as a description or as genre is the degree to which its most common conventions are a part of other contemporary genres; tape edits and distorted sound are commonplace in most electronica and all noise music, and the extended repetitions can be found in most ambient work and even post-rock. The mistake many music critics make is associating the sound of a specific krautrock group with the sound of krautrock as a whole. Though there are some abstract notions tying the bands together, they just don't share enough aesthetically to form a genre, with its implication of overarching convention commonality.

By defining "krautrock" as the use of repetition and sporadic editing instead of as a musical movement in Germany in the 60s, it becomes all too easy to let the meaning of the word slip away. In the same way that "alternative" stopped meaning "music outside the norm" in the 90s and "indie" stopped meaning "independent" recently, "krautrock" fell into the trap of becoming an empty descriptor that hardly means anything at all.

Download:
Can - Mushroom
Faust - It's A Bit Of A Pain
Neu! - Sonderangerbot
Kraftwerk - Mitternacht

Buy:
Can - Tago Mago
Faust - Faust IV
Neu! - Neu!
Kraftwerk - Computer World
25 comments

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Back Tomorrow

Casey Dorrell



Download:
Plunk - They're Waiting For You (Early Tegan and Sara band)
Martin Youth Auxilery - You Went Away (Chris Walla of Death Cab)
Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People (B-Side)
Ted Leo - Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson)
Tom Vek - I Ain't Saying Goodbyes
4 comments

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mozart of the Mushroom Kingdom

Geoff Trainor

This story starts a long time ago... When, I'm not quite sure. Kelis had just released her Milkshake song. Luckily, I had never actually heard the song, but I did hear all the teeny bopper girls at work with questionable taste in music singing the song.

Somone at work told me I should go to eBaums World to check out the "Milkshake" video. At the time, I had never heard of the site, so I prodded for more information and he told me that it was a site that had funny videos. Yep, great description. But I couldn't resist, and took a look. Warning to others, do NOT go to eBaums World and look at the Milkshake video. But I did look around at some of the other videos, which was my first introduction to ... The Video Game Pianist.

Martin Leung was born in Hong Kong, and later moved to Irvine, Califorinia where he started playing piano at the age of four. Like a lot of us, Martin spent a lot of wasted hours in his youth in front of a TV with a controller in his hands on a quest to save Princess Peach. This love for videogames combined with some top notch piano skills is what brought The Video Game Pianist (which is what he prefers to be called, I guess) to life.


Since being featured on eBaums World, The VGP has been featured on different wesbites, performed at E3, and has even appeared on MTV. I think all this exposure may have clouded his mind a bit, as evidenced by his Mission Statement.

In short, he has three goals:

Popularize Video Game Music: This is all well and good, but he must realize the only people that wil really care about his music are those that already enjoy video game music.

Popularize Piano As Mainstream Instrument: He wants to raise awareness of mainstream music fans. Obviously, no mainstream artists use the piano. Countless unknown artists like Elton John, Alicia Keys, Ben Folds, or Ray Charles, have toiled away in obscurity, and Martin and I suspect it has to do with their excessive use of the piano. It's his sincere hope to help struggling artists like these.

Popularize Classical Music: He plans on doing this by playing video game music. Again, like the first, his main fans wil be those that already listen to the genre. But alas...

Ignoring his Mission Statement, Martin Leung is an incredibly talented individual, and if you've spent too much of your youth playing video games, then he is definately worth checking out.

Download:
Video Game Pianist - Super Mario Bros. Medley
Video Game Pianist - Super Mario World Medley
Video Game Pianist - The Legend of Zelda Medley
Video Game Pianist - Zelda 64 Medley
Video Game Pianist - Sonic the Hedgehog Medley
Video Game Pianist - Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Medley
Video Game Pianist - Final Fantasy VI (Kefka's Theme)
Video Game Pianist - Final Fantasy VI (Celes' Theme)
Video Game Pianist - Final Fantasy VIII (Balamb Garden)
Video Game Pianist - Final Fantasy IX (Melodies of Life)
10 comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

Full Album Friday 8: Wolf Parade on CBC Radio 3

Casey Dorrell

I'm not dead. Geoff didn't beat me to death in a jealous rage when I proclaimed him absent and implied him lazy in my last post. No, instead, I've been dealing with an absurdly persistent sickness which, although now relenting, is merely making room for a weekend of frantic school catch-up. Hooraw, St. Patty's?

And so we come to this week's full album, Wolf Parade's short set for CBC Radio 3. Which, I suppose, is neither an album nor full. But it could make a nice EP, so I'm going to let it slide.



Now, I'm not actually a fan of Wolf Parade, nor do I claim to be. I find the singing to be more often aggravating than pleasant. Still, it seemed fitting to have given that it's recorded the year prior to their 2005 debut and that one of our most recent posts, by Jonathan, concerned the Wolf Parade side-project, Sunset Rubdown. Besides, while I don't care for Wolf Parade, I do enjoy CBC Radio.

If you're a regular visitor here, you probably have fairly defined musical taste that leans toward independent acts. And that means you should probably be listening to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), more specifically CBC Radio 3. Although severely out of date, the latest playlist shows that a "recent" set list from the show included acts such as Final Fantasy, Hot Hot Heat, Destroyer, We Are Wolves, Chad VanGaalen, and P:ano, among others. And the others are actually what makes the station more interesting; you'll hear a lot of great Canadian indie bands that have yet to get any attention.

This is nicely complimented by regular features such as one where bands get called out for aping other bands' songs. A recent one admonished the band Pilate, I believe, for mimicking a Mogwai song. Also interspersed in the show are exclusive live studio performances (like the Wolf Parade set here) and live concerts. Host Grant Lawrence employs a god mix of sarcasm and enthusiasm, while members of the Canadian band, Sloan, host later on in the night with mixed results.

Of course, Americans can't get it on FM, but it's also available on Sirius satellite. What you should be looking for is CBC Radio 3, which is on channel 94. If, like myself, you have no intention of ever paying for your radio, you can hear CBC radio 3 on Saturday nights here, by clicking on CBC radio 2 (don't ask). There's also a podcast available here.

And now, on with the show.

Download:
Wolf Parade - Lousy Pictures (Live CBC Radio 3, 2004)
Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything . . . (Same)
Wolf Parade - Same Ghost Every Night (Same)
Wolf Parade - I am my Father's Son (Same)
Wolf Parade - Shine a Light (Same)

Buy:
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

Related:
Full Album Friday 7: Catholic Gaydar
Full Album Friday 6 (Sunday Edition): Hole Unglued, Unbootlegged
Full Album Friday 5 (Monday Edition): Illegal Art
Full Album Friday 4 (Sunday Edition): American Edit
Full Album Friday 3 (Saturday Edition): Thrush Hermit - Nobody Famous
Full Album Friday 2 (Saturday Edition): The 8Bits of Christmas
Full Album Friday 1 (Saturday Edition): Sufjan Christmas
8 comments

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Shirley Manson Is Cleaning Up Her Act

Geoff Trainor

It was (aparently) reported last year that Garbage were going on hiatus. This news broke the hearts of fans, who took the news as a break up. Well rest assured that they are still together. Shirley Manson says so, so that makes it true. If you still don't believe it, then Mocking Music is telling you, and you know that we don't lie (unless the subject is music related).


Manson Finally Takes Out The Trash

"We're still together, absolutely. We all feel like we want to go off and do a variety of things. Butch (Vig) is going back into production and some other guys are working on film soundtracks."

Not that it should really matter much, as the last two albums have really lived up to the name of the group. Well, that isn't fair for me to say, as I haven't really personally heard the last one. Just going by the word of the people, and the people say nay.

Since the band is on some sort of hiatus, Shirley Manson is bored out of her mind, so she's going forward with a solo album. Despite past transgressions, I am looking forward to seeing how the album pans out. She is working with David Arnold on this one, whom she has previously worked with on the title track for the Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. Manson describe's her super solo album, with a lot of awesome adjectives.

"I just went to London last week and we wrote a song together. It was really quick and fast and it was really good fun." Adding that writing with another person is "scary and really exciting and super-freaky. It feels really weird to talk about it!."

By the time I finished writing this I managed to get myself exciting over the prospect. Could it have been my love for the song The World Is Not Enough? perhaps it was how exciting Shirley Manson sounds about it. I think it has something to do with the fact that it is past 4 in the morning.

Download:
Garbage - The World Is Not Enough
Garbage - Only Happy When It Rains
Garbage - When I Grow Up
Bjork & David Arnold - Play Dead (7 Inch Remix)
David Arnold - Jolly Roger

Buy:
Garbage - Version 2.o
David Arnold - Shaken & Stirred
18 comments

Don't Leave Home Without a Sunset Rubdown

Jonathan Migneault

Calum's recent post about Absolutely Kosher Records inspired me to write up a little something about one of that label's newest additions: Sunset Rubdown.



The band is the side project of Wolf Parade's co-front man Spencer Krug. They released an LP, Snake's Got a Leg, last year and a self-titled EP earlier this year. Both albums came out under the banner of a small label called Global Symphonic. Sunset Rubdown's upcoming album, Shut Up I am Dreaming, will hit stores on May 2nd, this time on Absolutely Kosher.

You're probably thinking, "That’s all well and good but what the hell do these guys actually sound like?" Good question - Sunset Rubdown is to Wolf Parade as the Bell Orchestre is to the Arcade Fire. In other words, they are an interesting side project that's far less accessible than the original band. The one obvious thing Sunset Rubdown and Wolf Parade have in common is Krug's voice. Here, though, not having a co-vocatlist in the band means Krug lends his distinctive voice to all the songs, save for the occasional instrumental track.

The production quality here is not nearly as polished as that found in Wolf Parade's Apologies to Queen Mary. Yet, because of this, Sunset Rubdown's music has an energetic raw feel, sometimes absent in Wolf Parade, that is likely to grow on a listener through repeat listens. Perhaps the best point of comparison is Sunset Rubdown's early version of the Wolf Parade song, "I'll Believe in Anything" (found on Snake's Got a Leg). This version relies much more heavily on the guitar than Wolf Parade’s more 'refined' song. It may sound a little harsh on first listen, but it does offer a certain distinctive appeal. Think Lou Barlow's lo-fi recordings of the early 90's.

All in all, Sunset Rubdown makes great music for those quiet times in the day; those times when you just want to lie on your bedroom floor and let the music's atmosphere take you away. Or maybe that's just me . . .

Download:
Sunset Rubdown - Three Colours
Sunset Rubdown - A Day in the Graveyeard II
Sunset Rubdown - I'll Believe in Anything, You'll Believe in Anything

Buy:
Sunset Rubdown - Snake's Got a Leg
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

Related:
Oi Vey! Absolutely Kosher Records
5 comments

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Music Has The Right To Education

Calum Marsh

Dear Faithful Readers and Lovers Of Our Site,

Mocking Music needs your help. Upon scanning my iTunes library this very morn, I made a disturbing and disheartening discovery: Indie artists are completely illiterate.

Yes, it's true - the musicians we love and care for are so poorly educated that they struggle to even spell song and album titles correctly; frequently artists bypass the whole mucky matter by enlisting crews of writers to work on titles for them, but others are unable to afford such luxuries and must fend for themselves - the result is often embarrassment and ridicule from former English teachers and keenly literate fans. The real problems are behind the scenes, though: with artists unable to properly write or type out their lyrics, words are typically scribbled unintelligibly with crayons on colorful construction paper; in the end, though, singers often can't even read their own messy penmanship and resort to improvisation while at the mic - fortunately most singers just so happen to be really, really good at that sort of thing. Who knew?

That's why we're asking for you, the loyal listener, to help these poor artists by showing your support. "This isn't a serious problem", you, the well-read listener, may scoff, "I shall never lend a helping hand - nay, not even a finger will be lifted with regard to this non-issue". But I pray you, dear intellectuals, look deep within your hearts for sympathy!

We, the indifferent and coolly detached fans, gleefully devour the work of these artists without a second thought about their personal well being: while we sit on the bus with our iPods, bobbing our heads to the delightful sounds of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy sits at home, alone, struggling to make it through a second-hand copy of Green Eggs And Ham. "I will not eat...", James speaks aloud, slowly, "your green eggs and h-" - but he chokes on the last word, unable to spit it out; the work is all too much, but James perserveres - he must know whether Sam I Am would eat the Green Eggs And Ham were it served to him on a boat. Will he ever find out? Without your help, perhaps not...

I present to you, dear readers, a thorough list of musical offenders. Some of these artists have broken complicated grammatical rules - these musicians can easily be taught - but others have made flagrant errors that break the most basic rules of spelling and grammar, and these are the artists who we most desperately need to assist.

Daft Punk's method of remembering how to spell their own name

I Can't Write Good: 10 Illiterate Artists

10. The Unicorns - Tuff Luff
Spelling your titles phonetically is not good enough, Unicorns - just because it sounds right doesn't mean it is right - maybe next time.

9. Mates Of State - Like U Crazy
A lot of musicians try and get away with shortening their words to one letter (read: any hip-hop artist ever), but it isn't excusable just because kids on the internet do it. It's only two letters shorter, guys - are you really saving that much time? If you're that desperate to beat the clock, I'm left thinking that maybe you don't have the time to make good music. Ever think about that?

8. Interpol - C'Mere
As common as it is, it's just not an appropriate contraction. Sorry guys.

7. Animal Collective - Whaddit I Done?
Sure, your music evokes childhood - but that doesn't mean you have to spell like a five year old talks, does it?

6. The Dears - Expect The Worse 'Cos She's A Tourist
At least they didn't use end 'Cos' with a 'z'. Still, this one needs work.

5. Daft Punk - Da Funk
'Da' instead of 'The'? Please, guys. What do you think this is, 1997?

4. !!! - When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Gets Karazee / There's No Fucking Rules, Dude
Not even a real word! Don't try it.

The second is slightly more understandable - simple grammatical error. "There's" should be "There are" (because the "fucking rules" are plural, meaning "is" should be"are").

3. The Blood Brothers - Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck
No it doesn't.

2. LCD Soundsystem - Yr City's A Sucker
This isn't even a creative contraction. Come on, James! You might as well be using "lol". Mind you, he isn't the only one using it...

1. Le Tigre - Dude, Yr So Crazy! /What's Yr Take On Cassavetes?
Two 'Yr' contractions make Le Tigre our most needy case. These two error-laden songs are even from the same album! Oh, Le Tigre - for shame.

Download:
The Unicorns - Tuff Luff
Mates Of State - Like U Crazy
Interpol - C'mere
Animal Collective - Whaddit I Done?
The Dears - Expect The Worst Cos She's A Tourist
Daft Punk - Da Funk
!!! - There's No Fucking Rules, Dude
The Blood Brothers - Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck
LCD Soundsystem - Yr City's A Sucker
Le Tigre - Dude, Yr So Crazy!
Le Tigre - What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?

Buy:
Le Tigre - Le Tigre
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
Animal Collective - Sung Tongs

18 comments

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ryan Adams Is On The Prowl

Geoff Trainor

If you are like me, you might consider yourself lucky to not be a fan of Ryan Adams. It isn't that his music is bad, but I can't get over the connection his name has with that other Canadian guy. Believe me, you are better off not being one of his fans, if he treats them all in this manner.

Robert Thomas (Wisconsin) and Jared Bowser (Florida) have been indicted by a federal grand jury for leaking tracks for Adams', Jacksonville City Nights, last August. Each are facing up to 11 years in prison for violating the FECA (Family Entertainment & Copyright Act). The section violated states that media not be made available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.


Ryan Adams Marches Out Against MP3 Blogs Like Ours

Some say that the punishment is a bit severe given that neither were in it for monitary gain, but RIAA chairman Mitch Bainwol (obviously) disagrees,

"Prerelease piracy is a particularly damaging and onerous form of theft. It robs artists of the chance to sell their music before it even hits the streets or becomes legally available online. The message here is clear:

Significant crimes bring significant consequences."


Weird, I thought the line was "With Great Power, Comes Great Resposibility."

Download:
Distillers - Spiderman

Buy:
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Jacksonville City Nights
The Distillers - Sing Sing Death House
6 comments

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Woman Who Sold The Rights

Geoff Trainor

All I can say is, it's about time. Courtney Love, widow of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and ex-Hole frontwoman, has recently said that she plans to sell a share of her rights to Nirvana's back catalogue. Does this mean that the rights might get to where (this humble mocker thinks) they belong, into the hands of band members Grohl and Novoselic? Sorry, to get you excited, but it isn't likely.

Love told NME,

"I have decided that I need some co-management and a strategic partner (to help me]) as it's such a huge responsibility. This is the right thing to do for my family...whoever I do this deal with, I really have to like."



I really have to like? Well, that takes Grohl out of the picture. The two have been feuding over the rights ever since Cobain's death in 1994. Both appearing on radio talks shows like Howard Stern and speaking openly about their dislike for one another.

It does seem like a step in the right direction. Still, what are the motives behind this sudden change oh heart? I guess Love's debut solo adventure, America's Sweetheart, didn't do as well as she had hoped.

The March 12th edition of The Sunday Mirror reports that she's thinking of selling "25 per cent of the catalogue for quite a lot of money."

Download:
Nirvana - Aneurysm (Demo Version)
Nirvana - Return of the Rat (Outtake)
Foo Fighters - My Hero (Acoustic on Howard Stern)
Foo Fighters - Stacked Actors (Inspired by Courtney Love)

Buy:
Nirvana - With The Lights Out
Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
6 comments

Week End Blog Wrap Up #6

Casey Dorrell

This week, Mocking Music was sick. Or at least Calum and I were. Geoff was just continuing his audition for Freelance Mocker or something. While we were off feeling sorry for ourselves, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's newest was leaked (not linked here, it's everywhere - find it if you must) and . . . the blog community somehow carried on without us. How? I'm really not sure, but I imagine with a lot of tears and a noted absense of party hats.

This week's blog review is dedicated to my mother, who lamented the lack of kittens on the new site design:



1. Eddie (Another Form of Relief) introduced readers to a collection of cover songs by indie artists. Kind of. Deathcab covering Deathcab, Pavement covering Pavement? Not covers in the "technical sense" as Eddie suggests, but alternative versions and commentary worth checking out, as long as you can forgive Eddie's misuse of the word, technical. [Link]

2. Mike (Obscure Sound) is guilty of having a blog that no one should read. Not because it's a bad blog. In fact, the new mp3 blog (while inherently redundant for the simple reason that it's a new blog in an oversaturated market) is actually quite good. But, his name is Mike, and we already have too many Mikes with mp3 blogs. No, until he changes his name, I suggest you stay here with Calum, Geoff, and Casey. [Link]

3. Jesus (What Would Jesus Blog?) touches on the racey topic of race relations and the true color of Himself. Well, not really. But he does mention these issues briefly as a bit of a forced segue to a pretty great mix album: White people covering music that was originally by Black people, for good reason. There's a touch of irony in most of these, but the ones that really work are those that are self-mocking or all-mocking, rather than implicitly making fun of those being covered. [Link]

4. Jon Harrison (Little Hits) has a song up that deserved to be a bigger hit. It's The Plugz's "Achin'" and it's good. Very good. [Link]

5. Matt (You Ain't No Picasso) is busy uploading Yo La Tengo's most recent of their annual cover request show to raise money for WMFU. Covered songs include the Batman Theme, Bob Dylan's "Girl of North Country", Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device", and The Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun". Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" is next to be uploaded. Unlike when I posted their last show, Matt's actually taking the time to divide up the songs. If my blog numbering had a purpose, this would top the list. [Link]

6. Satisfied '75 (Aquirium Drunkard) has another full Neil Young concert up for download. This one is from a 1971 show in London. What makes it particularly interesting is that many of the now-classic songs that he plays weren't yet classics, or even studio songs. [Link]

7. Michael (Dreams of Horses) told his readers about Imaad Wasif. He told them he was touring with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, that he had a solo record out with Kill Rock Stars, and that he used to be in the band, alaska! What he didn't mention (and the picture makes this perfectly clear) is that Wasif is what they used to call a "strongman". This unassuming man can balance huge objects far heavier than himself atop his head, as if nothing at all. Be in awe, people. [Link]

8. rgsc (B(oo)tlog) has a New Pornographers concert from a few weeks ago up for download (via Rapidshare, unfortunately). My favourite song, "Bleeding Heart Show", off their latest release, Twin Cinema, was not played. Alas. A good show regardless. Meanwhile, Michael (For the Records) and Frank (Chromewaves) both provide some post-show commentary. [Link] [2] [3]

9. Kevin (So Much Silence) divied up NPR's massive mp3 of last week's New Pornographers set at the 9:30 Club in Washington. Yes, that makes two New Pornographers concerts in this week's review. But, this one does include the excellent song, "Bleeding Heart Show" and it's not on rapidshare, a definate boon if you're lazy like myself. Finally, these songs don't feature usual second vocalist, Neko Case (given that she just released her own well-recieved album), which is disapointing, but actually makes the set a bit more interesting than it might have otherwise been. [Link] [2]

10. Matthew (I [Heart] Music) has a short review for the indie children's compilation, See You on the Moon! The exclamation point here being part of the album title and not denoting my excitement. Not that the album doesn't look good, I just don't get excited quite that easily. What might merit some extra exclamation marks is that among artists like Hot Chip, Great Lake Swimmers, and the Broken Social Scene is . . . Sufjan Stevens. It seems lately that if you're going to make a tribute album or compilation with any big indie names, it's gotta have Sufjan. Not that I'm complaining. [Link]

11. Styeiles (Neiles Life) has a confusing disconnect between his name and blog title, but I'm probably the only one that's curious about that. What's more important is that his latest post offers a nice segue from number ten: a collection of Sufjan Stevens' B-sides and rarities. Odds are, you're missing at least a few of these. [Link]

Download:
Plugs - Achin'
Belaire - Through the Wire (Kayne West)
R.E.M. - I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
Nina Gordon - Straight Outta Compton (NWA)
Neil Young - Nowadays, Clancy Can't Even Sing (Live, 1971)
Yo La Tengo - Batman Theme
Yo La Tengo - Suspect Device (Stiff Little Fingers)
Yo La Tengo - Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes)
Yo La Tengo - Girl of the North Country (Bob Dylan)
The New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show (Live)
The New Pornographers - Slow Descent into Alcoholism (Live)
Sufjan Stevens - The Friendly Beasts
Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People
Sufjan Stevens - I Can't Even Lift My Head

Related:
Week End Blog Wrap Up #5
Week End Blog Wrap Up #4
Week End Blog Wrap Up #3
Week End Blog Wrap Up #2
Week End Blog Wrap Up #1
5 comments

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Oi Vey! Absolutely Kosher Records

Calum Marsh

This morning in my mailbox, I was greeted by a lovely little sampler CD from the good people over at Absolutely Kosher Records - a label I (and you, too, probably) know solely for their two biggest acts: much adored indie-pop dandies The Hidden Cameras and - my personal favourite - the delightfully scary Xiu Xiu. But on closer inspection, Absolutely Kosher is offering a whole lot more than gay choir-rock and suicide soundtracks: we're talking, of course, about a label that is also home to fine acts such as Goblin Cock - indeed.

As if monstrous phalluses weren't enticing enough, Absolutely Kosher dishes out a whole bunch more intriguing outfits. Some of their more notable minions include: Frog Eyes (featuring Casey's cousin, no less), The Dead Science, Sunset Rubdown, Rob Crow, Okay, and The Court And Spark. These guys are all pretty bizarre, too (but what did you expect from a label that parades Goblin Cock - nothing against those fine chaps, of course), but they're all of surprisingly high quality. The Dead Science is perhaps my top pick of that bunch, their track 'The Future, Forever (Until U Die)' being one of the sampler's highlights.

All indie labels have their weak spots, of course (well, except the DFA, but that's another story), and Kosher is obviously no exception - but for the most part, this is a label of surprising consistency; they're not all great, but damn it if they aren't interesting - and often that's enough. These are fringe artists doing weird things, and with an open mind you're sure to find much to get excited about. Will you like it all? Probably not. Only a handful of albums in the Kosher catalogue are particularly strong, and some are outright worthless - but where most labels' weaker material is completely forgettable, Kosher's entire library of music is deservingly infamous and, in the very least, worth talking about afterward.



Ah, but what about the apprehensive indie rockers? Listeners who fear the unusual will be relieved to know that Absolutely Kosher still has them in mind too, kind of. The Wrens are comparatively normal - as well as fairly well-known in the indie world - and are, if you're unfamiliar, pretty terrific. The label's newest act, Ex-Boyfriends, too, are a huge departure from the weird-and-scary territory that Kosher's known for: they're indie-pop, plain and simple (think Hidden Cameras, if you strip away the weirdness and tone down the gay just a tad), and they're actually rather good. They might not be as "interesting" as some of Kosher's more, um, infamous artists, but they're nevertheless worth checking out.

Wading the waters of Absolutely Kosher was an interesting musical adventure, to be sure. And though the image of demonic private parts may be permenantly etched into my brain, I'll surely remember my label exploration fondly.

Download:
The Dead Science - The Future, Forever (Until U Die)
Ex-Boyfriends - Him For Me
The Hidden Cameras - In The Union Of Wine
Frog Eyes - One In Six Children...
Okay - Now

Buy:
The Dead Science - Frost Giant
Goblin Cock - Bagged And Boarded
Ex-Boyfriends - Dear John
Frog Eyes - The Golden River
Xiu Xiu - A Promise

Related:
The Life and Times of Dependent Music
3 comments

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mocking Music Makes Me Sick...

Casey Dorrell



We are Sick. In the meantime, here's some interesting things we posted in the past:

Interview: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Mocking the Married
Duck and Cover (Covers and Remixes, Pt. 1)
Undercover: Covers and Remixes, Pt. 2

If you're bored of us, check out our bloglist to the right.

Be back shortly.
2 comments

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mocking Review: S - Puking and Crying

Casey Dorrell

S
Puking and Crying


Casey pukes, cries, and writes a review in this fourth installment of Mocking Music's overwritten, unqualifiedly pretentious collection of reviews. This time we venture on a meandering exploration of depressing electro-indie pop courtesy of former Carissa's Wierd member, Jenn Ghetto. Come get your freak nerosis on. [Read Full Review]


Download:
S - The Last Song
S - I'm So Board, I'm Going to Sleep

8 comments

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

In Rapture With Post-Punk No More?

Calum Marsh

I've got an atrocious stomach ache and an essay due tomorrow afternoon (which I've not yet started), so you'll have to forgive me for not being enthusiastic about writing much of anything today. Still, I'm excited enough about this news item that I'll attempt to push the pain out of my mind for long enough to get this out: The Rapture are back in the studio. What a glorious day it is, my friends.

So what are the details? Scanning the internet led me nowhere, since the details are being kept very heavily under wraps, but I did manage to stumble upon one item of interest: a leaked MP3. Apparently the track was pieced together by a dedicated fan using several live recordings and an expensive mastering program on a home computer - and as shady as that sounds, I assure you that the result is surprisingly solid (and band approved: "the mix is tight", says keyboardist Gabriel Andruzzi).

I'm not entirely sure yet how I feel about the song. It seems like the band might be taking a new direction yet again, moving more solidly into dance music and moving away from the post-punk sound they used to revel in - but who knows. Echoes moved so fluidly through different genres that a track on its own wouldn't have been any kind of indication of the album's sound as a whole; this track, then, probably isn't the most accurate measure of the sound of things to come. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Also, I'd like to take a minute to apologize for how infrequently we've been posting lately. We really want to be writing more, but you know how it is - you have plans, you forget about it - but I promise that'll all change. As a way of making it up to you all and to thank you for being such swell pals about the whole thing, here are a couple of Mocking Music rarities that you might enjoy.

Download:
The Rapture - Leaked MP3 (Untitled, from their upcoming LP)
Bright Eyes - Cremation (Rare B-Side)
The Arcade Fire - Five Years (David Bowie Cover)

Buy:
The Rapture - Echoes

Related:
No Updates Today, Kids
6 comments