A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: El Xicano

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. And now, a very special holiday/Friday/holiday Friday treat: a new song from my favorite international man of mystery El Xicano. This one is called I Mostri (Monsters), and it’s a little bit more mellow than La Grande Pauro, but no less lovely. The rest of the EP will surface next year, but in the mean … Continue reading

Video: J. Tex and the Volunteers, This Old Banjo

Photo by Hans Ole Madsen

This video for This Old Banjo by J. Tex and the Volunteers of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a masterful piece of minimalism – it’s just him and a guitar – and it feels, for lack of a better term, organic. Unfussy, unforced, like he’s just walking around thinking with his guitar. The only thing that could have made it better would be the appearance of an actual banjo.

Late Night Listening: Industrial Love, Casper Cult

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Industrial Love from Domesticated by Casper Cult is, I think, the aural equivalent of sitting inside a Zen rock garden with a rain-noises machine and a warm fuzzy sweater. Some part of me thinks something called “Industrial Love” should be louder, clangier, with more screech and holler, but a larger part thinks no, this perfect, this is sitting in an empty warehouse and communing with the silence and the stillness of machines not in use.

Late Night Listening: Eyreton Hall, Featherstitch

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Featherstitch is the first single and title track from Featherstitch by Eyreton Hall (Toni Randle and Andrew Keegan) of Auckland, New Zealand. It’s sweet, lovely and lovingly-crafted folk music, spare and delicate and sad and beautiful. I may or may not have listened to it three times in a row after the first time I heard it. And three more times while putting this post together. It’s kind of seductive, this tune. You can listen to the rest of the record (and, you know, buy it) at their bandcamp.

Video: INXS, Need You Tonight

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In honor of Michael Hutchence, who left us much too soon, and 17 years ago today: the video for Need You Tonight, by INXS, one that I watched every time it came up on MTV – which was a lot – and showcases him (them) at his finest. And, also, okay, yes, I totally had a middle-school crush on Michael Hutchence, fueled by this song, and this video. It was specific, but yet also somehow abstract; I was, I think, daydreaming of someone sidling up to me and informing me I was his kind. If that someone was as smoking hot as Michael Hutchence, all the better.

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Militia Vox

MV BAIT COVER HI REZ

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. For anyone who missed it earlier this month, Militia Vox recently released an all-covers album called Bait. On it she takes aim – with amazing results – at a number of hard rock icons, including Ozzy Osbourne. This is her take on PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me: And now, I will turn the floor over … Continue reading

frnkiero andthe cellabration, stomachaches

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I touched on this briefly back in August, but: Frank Iero (Death Spells, Leathermouth, My Chemical Romance) and his new band (frnkiero andthe cellabration) have recently released a record, called Stomachaches. My feelings, the short version: It’s awesome and I love it. I return to it when I am feeling abraded by life, and wish to use Iero’s voice as a honey-and-gravel blanket. Or when I want to shuffle dance on street corners. Whatever you may have thought of My Chem: if you like vigorous punk rock with fuzzy accents and the occasional delicate melody, give this a shot. My feelings, the long version: I’ve been listening to this and Gerard Way’s Hesitant Alien as point-counterpoint, and while I like what Gerard Way has been up to – more on that later – Iero’s work is more musically interesting to me. I find I’m re-listening to songs not only because they feel like they fall directly into a pre-cut groove in my head and heart but because I’m actively trying to track what he’s doing with feedback and drums and/or listen more closely to the lyrics. Basically, I’m super into the way he’s playing with elements of dissonance in the … Continue reading

Two Songs From: Johanna Glaza

Photo by Agne Monti

The first polar vortex of the season arrived in New York yesterday, bringing with it icy temperatures and blustery winds. Like it or not, winter is here. And in the spirit of all things frosty and beautiful, here are two songs from Johanna Glaza: Paper Widow and Winter Song, due out at the end of November, which embody, in sound, all of the best parts of the season: windows full of delicate frost fronds, the smell of fresh pine, the crunch of new snow.