To The Maxx

video: caribou “melody day”
August 30, 2007, 3:01 pm
Filed under: film, music

i posted this track a few months back, but just saw the video on my friend julia’s blog and i had to steal it because it is excellent. thanks, julia.

if you go to her blog now you can see a picture of a very young robert francis with a pre-scandalous oj. simpson. i shit you not.


one man band
August 25, 2007, 3:39 pm
Filed under: music

liam finn and me, cosmic beard brothers

i recently got a chance to see LIAM FINN play a show opening for Crowded House. Liam is, of course, the son of Neil Finn of Crowded House and Split Enz fame. though his opening slot on his dad’s band’s reunion tour initially sounds like some convenient nepotism at work, once you hear the guy’s music, the truth instantly becomes pretty damn clear.

because this guy, this Liam Finn guy… the guy is a mad genius.

young Liam was born in Australia, reared in New Zealand and now resides in London. he is the frontman of a group called Betchadupa.

so this year he put out his solo album “I’ll Be Lightning” in Australia and New Zealand. despite the fact that it is an analog one-man-band affair, the record feels fully fleshed out. playing live, Finn is able to replicate this thick layered aesthetic in his stage show by using loop pedals (much like the great Jon Brion). he will start a song off on electric guitar, then loop some riffs, then stomp an octavizer to make his guitar sound like a bass, then he’ll sing a bit, then he’ll jump behind the drum kit and pound it out. sometimes he throws in some theremin squeals. it makes for an engaging show. watching him is like watching a scientist in his lab or a kid surrounded by toys.

to demonstrate, here’s a video from his show at spaceland in silverlake earlier this year. the song is called “lead balloon”:

that’s just a taste of how dynamic his live show is. i think that this guy is really something special. his sense of melody is just insane. listen for yourself… these are some wild songwriting chops. here’s the manic studio version of “Lead Balloon” along with a killer track that reminds me of Elliott Smith, called “This Place Is Killing Me.”



(four more songs on myspace)

“I’ll Be Lightning” is out in the US (on Yep Roc Records), UK and the rest of Europe in January of 2008, at which point you will be able to buy it here. Or you can buy the Australian import now.

And go see the guy! he’s in the states now (all dates are with Crowded House and Pete Yorn):

Tour Dates:

Aug 25 2007 Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, California
Aug 26 2007 Paramount theatre of the Arts, Oakland, California
Aug 28 2007 Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, California
Aug 29 2007 The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, California
Aug 30 2007 The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, California
Sep 2 2007 Arlene Schnitzer, Portland, Oregon
Sep 3 2007 Orpheaum Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia
Sep 5 2007 Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, Alberta
Sep 6 2007 Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta
Sep 8 2007 Winnipeg Concert Hall, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sep 9 2007 Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 11 2007 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Sep 12 2007 Tabernacle, Atlanta, Georgia

rhymes with f*ck
August 22, 2007, 7:56 am
Filed under: film, music

when i was a young max, i used to spend the bulk of my allowance on compact discs. i liked all sorts of music, but i was particularly fond of soundtracks… especially those of the “songs from the motion picture” variety. the most exciting ones were the compilations that were full of unreleased stuff, even songs written especially for the movie… like, remember the soundtrack to “batman forever”? it had so many good bands on it (pj harvey, u2, massive attack, mazzy star, nick cave, method man, the flaming lips… seal) doing a bunch of songs that weren’t available anywhere else.

that era of huge “songs from the movie” albums has kind of died out, but every once in a while you get a bunch of bands doing a bunch of new songs. and one band that keeps popping up on these soundtracks is the wonderfully prolific FLAMING LIPS. from the aforementioned “batman forever” to “suburbia” to “austin powers: the spy who shagged me” to “spiderman 3,” the lips always seem down to contribute an original jam.

the latest film to add to the list is the upcoming Dane Cook/Jessica Alba sex comedy Good Luck Chuck. director Mark Helfrich (who a few years back released the awesome photographic memoir Naked Pictures Of MY Ex-Girlfriends) has commissioned some new original tunes from the lips, the dandy warhols and the honorary title, as well as a solid batch of previously released tunes from sharon jones and the dap-kings, bauhaus, shout out louds, art brut and others.

here’s the new flaming lips track:


Good Luck Chuck comes out September 21st.
The soundtrack comes out September 18th. (link to preorder)

hot summer, what a bummer
August 15, 2007, 8:26 am
Filed under: music


people of the interworld, it is the middle of august.
it is hot, it is sticky, it is wet, it is wild.

it is that time of month. time for a most bitchin’, super dancetastic MIX FOR THE END OF THE SUMMER!

so yeah, it’s an hourlong mp3. download it or listen to it online. have fun.

DOWNLOAD MP3: SSSSUMMERRRR MIX, AUGUST 2007 (59:42/192 kbps/82.1 MB)

1. Best Fwends “Zwzzt” (Non) idiotic four track pump-up music from Texas. I like to start a mix with an instrumental track as a sort of prologue, is that okay?

2. The Young Knives “Weekends and Bleak Days (Hot Summer)” This is something of a personal anthem right now, as i am covered in my own sweat on a regular basis these days. This band is a trio from Oxford and one of them goes by the stage name The House of Lords. The other two have regular type “name” names.

3. M.I.A. “Paper Planes” A song based around a sample of “Straight To Hell” by The Clash with a chorus that is a straight up homage to (and subversion of) the chorus from Wrecks-n-Effect’s “Rump Shaker.” Listen and you will catch on… “just shake your rump!”

4. Darkel “Beautiful Woman” This solo project by Jean-Benoit Dunckel (one half of Air) came out 11 months ago and got a bit of buzz but then many just kind of forgot about it. Regardless, to my ears, this song is a lot more fun (and offers more instant gratification) than the new Air record.

5. The Go! Team “Fake ID” “Jock Jams” for cool kids.

6. The Black Ghosts “Face” So there was once Simian, a most excellent band I loved while I was in college. They broke up a few years back, splintering into some other groups. Simian Mobile Disco is one you may have heard of. But the frontman and head crazyman of Simian, Simon Lord, started this band, The Black Ghosts. I think that this song of theirs may possibly rip your face off.

7. Tokyo Police Club “Citizens Of Tomorrow” More awesome Canadians. Could you just die? I know. I know.

8. Charlotte Gainsbourg “5:55 (Black Ghosts remix)” A song by the lovely daughter of Serge G., a song originally co-written by Air (see 4 above), here beautifully remixed by The Black Ghosts (see 6 above).

9. Kevin Drew “Back Out On The…” The ringleader of Broken Social Scene goes solo, with a little help from his friends? I’m confused. How does that work?

10. Travis Morrison “As We Proceed” The former ringleader of The Dismemberment Plan goes solo again and, if this song is any indication, this time around it should get a better Pitchfork review than did his previous effort.

11. Joakim “Lonely Hearts” More delightful French music? What the hell is going on in there?

12. Super Furry Animals “Run-Away” This is a pitch-perfect dramatic pop song, reaffirming that the Super Furry’s (not Catherine Zeta-Jones) are the best Welsh export since Tom Jones.

13. The Spinto Band “Crack The Whip” I kind of missed the boat on these guys. I love their song “Oh Mandy,” but I’d never heard the rest of their last album. Long story short, they played a gig last month with my pals Miniature Tigers and they were totally awesome. This song was a standout of their set.

14. The Boggs “Poor Things” I bought the first Boggs album and saw the guy do a real ramshackle set last year at some point. I dig this song just for the repetitious, circular stuff… it’s awkwardly meditative.

15. White Williams “New Violence” Cleveland dude is bored, turns on laptop, makes good with the world.

16. The Fiery Furnaces “My Egyptian Grammar”I have a love/hate relationship with this band. When listening to this song… I’m in love, y’all. Fo real.

17. Throw Me The Statue “Lolita” Another one-man band. Such a good trend right now.

18. Dirty Projectors “Rise Above” Dave Longstreth found an empty audio cassette box with no tape inside while he helped his parents move. It was a tape he loved as a kid, the Black Flag album “Damaged.” He hadn’t heard the album in many years, so he set out to recreate it from memory. The end result is much more interesting than an album full of cover songs. This is a record of reimaginings and reawakenings.

the men of minibar
August 10, 2007, 10:55 pm
Filed under: music

hello there. it’s been a while.

i am living in new york for a month-ish, and it’s going well…. just been working a little too hard to blog about anything. but i finally have a moment to breathe, and thought i’d share two nice ditties by two nice men.

so, many moons ago i was on tour with pete yorn.
as you may or may not know, the great minibar play in pete’s backing band.

minibar have a long and interesting history… they came to california from england in the late 90s and cut a record for a major-label. said record was well-received but didn’t sell. the band was dropped and had to pick themselves off, dust themselves off and push forward. their sound makes perfect sense considering their backstory. englishmen move to the west coast: imagine the byrds at a pub with teenage fanclub.

minibar have put out three albums thus far, but in the last year, 2 of the band’s four members self-released two very different solo projects.

solomon’s seal is a plant… a member of the lily family, used to mend broken bones. it is also the name of the solo project by minibar’s frontman simon petty. the record is called “the sea, the sea.”

simon’s songwriting is center stage here, as producer seth rothschild strips away all embellishments, all tricks. it is a focused record of moody folk music, somber tales for a grey day. to my ear, simon’s songs often recall the elegance and emotional resonance of nick drake‘s work. but simon is his own songwriter and his songs have their own lives. they fit together splendidly, creating what becomes, upon repeated listens, a thoroughly cohesive record… so much so that it was very difficult for me to choose the right one to share…. i finally decided on a powerful and deceptively simple track called “golden haze.”



the video for solomon’s seal: “sleeping in the car,” directed by jim wright.

and now for something completely different.

malcolm cross is minibar’s (and pete yorn’s) wildman drummer, and he recently put out his second record as morello. everyone knows that mal can drum, but i don’t think it’s common knowledge that he is a skilled pianist and songwriter in his own right. and mal’s compositions are far away from the vibe of minibar.

morello‘s new record, “handheld,” sounds like stevie wonder playing video games with phoenix and daft punk. it’s super fun, vocoder-ed out, danceable technicolor popmusik! mal’s partner in crime, Em C, lends her pipes to the record as well, pumping up the playful coed duet jams. this is one of my favorite morello tracks, a dramatic relationship as video game allegory par excellence.


BONUS: click HERE for a video for the morello song “exchange student” that i edited for mal.

Buy “Handheld” CD or iTunes