Saturday, May 23, 2009

Roman Candle- still hating/loving modern radio

About three years ago, I blogged here about a song I loved by Roman Candle called "Why Modern Radio Is A-OK," where they gracefully explained that they love stations because the music there sucks now and they'll never get broken-hearted from the playlists as a result. Wotta brilliant conceit.

Well, now this Chapel Hill band has thoughtfully included that gem on their latest album, Oh Tall Tree in the Ear (Carnival Recordings). Admittedly, nothing on the album matches "Radio" but it's still a wonderful rootsy album that you can sink your teeth into and enjoy. Theme-wise, they yearn to roam but keep finding themselves lost but somehow, they never gets daunting to them, as if their trips were wonders in and of themselves to enjoy, which you can along with them. It's one of the best albums I've heard this year.

Visit RC's homepage and hear some of the new album at their MySpace page.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New York Rocker blog

For anyone that cares about Gotham music history, Andy Schwartz has started a blog after the fabled music magazine that he helmed, New York Rocker. In addition to the great pieces that he did for PSF on former music clubs in the city, he's chronicling other venues too, many of which are now sadly gone. He's also got show reviews, CD reviews and liner notes he's done. It's quite a cornocopia of music-releated things there. You can see it for yourself at

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mommy's Day- some songs

Yep, it's that time of year again when we honor our mommies. Far from being your average Hallmark holiday, Mother's Day actually has a long rich tradition.

In honor of that, here's some sites to find tunes about mama's (which also include weird oedipal dramas from John Lennon and Pink Floyd, plus some odes to pregnancy). To start things off, here's a nice old school classic, courtesy of the inimitable Mr. Fab Five Freddy:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Corrido (Mexican folk) for beginnners (like me!)

Wanna hear about a great use of your tax dollars at work? To try to discourage Mexican immigrants from illegally coming to the U.S.A., Homeland Security paid an ad agency to make an album of corrido music which included songs about the terrible things that happen in illegal border crossings. The album actually became a hit and they're planning to do another album of this music. You can hear it here.

Right now, I'm shamelessly hooked on this album: the sweet, plaintive vocals with nice harmonies, the jaunty, bouncy beat and the accordion flourishes are all just irresistible. But I also hear this record is a bad example of corrido music so I'm trying to find some better selections.

Among other online digging I've done, one good source I've found is Last FM, where I accesed a corrido station. So far, the best I've come up with is Los Morros Del Norte. These two aren't bad either: El Porto De Sinaloa and Los Tucanes De Tijuana (love their outfits and 'stashes- see photo above). And this guy's just plain weird: El Tigrillo Palma. As far as I know, no swine flu songs from these bands yet. And is it just me or does some of this great music sound like Doug Sahm or Los Lobos?

For any world music experts and Mexican music fans out there, are there other groups or compilations I should check out for good corrido music? Maybe there's a good album from one of the artists I mentioned above? Please share your info in the comments here. Thanks in advance, music fans!

Just please don't ask me to pronounce anything. As my SXSW running buddies can attest, my Spanish is sadly comical. I'm such a sad gringo...

UPDATE: Twitter smartie Alex Sherman correctly points out that corrido is a type of song and not a style per se. Also had a link to a good related site: Super Sonido (The Latin American culture reverb). Another recommendation he has is for this great band: Los Tigres del Norte

Plus... writer/author/blogger Ed Ward has some good recommendations too:
Arhoolie has tons of corridos out. One great collection is the soundtrack to Les Blank's film Chulas Fronteras, and there's also a collection called Tejano Roots. He's also got a killer best-of by Los Pinguinos del Norte, which includes the essential early narcocorrido"Contraband y Traicion," which I used to play on the jukebox in my fave Mexican place in SF back in the '70s. Elijah Wald also wrote a book on narcocorridos which was excellent and curated a CD from it which has all kinds of stuff, from Los Pinguinos to shit with beatboxes. Flaco Jiminez's stuff on Arhoolie also has a lot of good corridos mixed in with the polkas, including the famous "El Mojado Sin Licensia," the wetback without papers, which was a gargantuan hit.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Japandroids- not just another indie band from Vancouver

With the New Pornographers, Destroyer, Ladyhawk, You Say Party! We Say Die! and other performers putting Vancouver on the map in the new millennium, it's hard to ignore that there's an active indie scene going on there.

Listening to the third record (their first full-length) by Canadian duo Japandroids, you wonder why their name doesn't come up in this group. They're loud and sloppy but like the Replacements and more recently Titus Andronicus, they can make meaningful music out of it. They toast their town and chase after and leave their girls... you know, all the meaningful things that you'd want to hear about in a good rock song.

Hear Japandroids at MySpace & buy Post-Nothing at InSound on LP and you get the MP3's for it for free (it ain't available in CD format).