June 2, 2009

Choice Downloads - May

A whole lotta inactivity on the blog this last month. Sorry about that. I guess you could say Slopey Seconds has been going through a silent transition. You won't see (m)any food posts on here anymore; I'm going to focus all of my attention on music. In the process, I'm considering rebranding. Any ideas?

On to the music...
This past month, I downloaded/purchased/received over 4 gigs of new music, more than twice my total in April. That's 1.7 days or 555 songs. It was no small task listening to and rating that much music, let alone whittling it down to a manageable list, but I think I did a fairly good job. What about you?

There are two songs on the list titled "Revenge." Why? I have no idea. I'm not feeling particularly vengeful this month or anything. The second "Revenge" is off of Dangermouse's new project Dark Night of the Soul. If you haven't downloaded that album yet, stop what you're doing right now and snag it; if you can't find it, shoot me a line or leave me a comment and I'll point you in the right direction. David Lynch has his hand in this work which explains why I've watched Mullholland Drive and the first season of Twin Peaks in the last week.

Other albums represented on this list that you should purchase immediately include I Think We Need a Bigger Boat, Norman Cook's (aka Fatboy Slim) recent collaborative album released under the name Brighton Port Authority, Passion Pit's much anticipated Manners (if you like to dance), Steve Earle's Townes (if you like Country/Blues) and Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest (if you like listening to good music).

There are also two 80's remixes on list. That wasn't intentional. For the record, I've never been a fan of Hall & Oates but I got hooked on this Streetlab remix. Speaking of stuff I thought I didn't like, my cuz-in-law, Bryan, sent me the new Japandroids and I ended up liking a few of their tunes after hating on them last month. Alright, enough talk...

He's Frank (Slight Return) feat. Iggy Pop - Brighton Port Authority
Casablanca - So Cow
Electric Avenue - Woodhands
Belated Promise Ring - Iron & Wine
Hold Up f. Masta Ace & Sean Price - Marco Polo & Torae
Revenge (Russ Chimes Remix) - Justin Faust
Ambivalence Avenue - Bibio
The Boys Are Leaving Town - Japandroids
Revenge (feat. Wayne Coyne) - Dangermouse/Sparklehorse
Ladies - Lee Fields & The Expressions
Little Secrets - Passion Pit
The Bitch Went Nutz - Ben Folds
White Freightliner Blues - Steve Earle
Director's Cut (feat. Uncle Murda) - Busta Rhymes
Stay Famous - Cougar
Get On Down - Louis La Roche
Cheerleader - Grizzly Bear
Vermillion Plaza - Deastro
A Pipe Dream And A Promise - Finale
Hold The Line (DJ Edit w/Santigold) - Major Lazer
Waiting for My Night - Katie Herzig
Days Go On - Greg Laswell
J'aime Vous Voire Quitter - Islands
Magdalena - Josh Rouse
I Can't Go For That (Streetlab mix) - Streetlab vs Hall & Oates
Narita - Lymbyc Systym

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May 19, 2009

New Passion Pit Album "Manners" Released Today

Just wanted to remind you that the new Passion Pit album is available for consumption. I'm in the process of downloading it as I type and will offer a review sometime later this week. Read Full Entry

May 12, 2009

Bjork and the Dirty Projectors @ Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

Last Friday, I took MB to see Björk and the Dirty Projectors at the Housing Works Bookstore for her birthday. After a lobster roll at the Mermaid Inn, we headed to the venue to get a good spot in line. Tickets for this super-exclusive event were pretty pricey - $100 for our standing-room tickets, $400 for reserved seats and, according to an employee standing near us, between $800-$950 for the auctioned front row tables - but all of the proceeds went to a great cause and we were witness to the premier of a brand new suite of music written by Mr. Longstreth specifically for his group and Ms. Guðmundsdóttir.

The whole evening was the brainchild of Brandon Stosuy, a writer for Stereogum. Before introducing the performers, he explained how he worked with the Dirty Projectors on a cover of Björk's "Hyperballad" and, a few weeks later, had an interview with Björk who happened to mention her admiration for the Dirty Projectors and their vocal arrangements. Although both parties were eager to collaborate, it took Mr. Stosuy some doing to find a time when all of the performers were both available and in the same location.

To start the evening, the Dirty Projectors and Björk each chose an opening act. Nat Baldwin, bassist for the Dirty Projectors, introduced the first opener, Kurt Weisman. According to his myspace page, Mr. Weisman describes his music as experimental and apparently most often works with electronics; for this event, he simply played guitar and sang. Unfortunately, the combination of his soft, ethereal voice and the two-and-a-half feet that separated his mouth from the microphone made it nearly impossible to hear him even though we were standing less than 15 yards away.

Next up, we got our first glimpse of Björk as she introduced Ólöf Arnalds, a fellow Icelander and vibrant folk singer. Ms. Arnald's set was much easier to hear and the audience fed off her youthful energy. In a nod to the main attraction, she performed the only Björk cover of the evening, a solo version of "Unravel" with Ólöf singing and accompanying herself on violin. Later, she was joined by two other musicians and at one point, pulled out a small, 10-string guitar-like instrument with a body made from an armadillo.

After Ólöf's set, and a break that felt like an eternity, the Dirty Projectors finally took the stage, performing 4 songs off of their upcoming album, Bitte Orca, which is due out in early June. When these were done, we were finally ready to hear the main event. The pain we were feeling in our legs from the 45 minutes spent standing outside the venue and another three hours inside quickly melted away as the collaborators premiered an impressive six-song suite which told the tale of a woman standing on a mountain, looking out at a whale in the ocean and the whale, in turn, looking back.

Like the Andrew Bird show at Carnegie Hall earlier this year, I decided to record the event on my iPhone for my own personal listening pleasure. I'm very reluctant to post any of it here as the event was professionally recorded, filmed and photographed, suggesting the entire performance will be available sometime in the not-so-distant future. However, the second song in the suite was so vocally impressive, no amount of explanation is going to do it justice. In an effort to satisfy your curiosity without offending the performers, I've decided to make this 20 second clip available. Over the the pulse of the bass and guitar, you're hearing the alternating voices of two women. Even as I watched them do it, I couldn't really fathom how it was possible. Not only are they singing every other note in a difficult rhythmic pattern, there making ridiculous jumps in their range. Absolutely breathtaking.

Six-songs and roughly 18 minutes later, the show was over. As the performers walked past me, I turned to applaud and plead with the rest of the audience for an encore, which sadly never came, but once I was facing away from the stage, I realized the man with the shock of white hair standing directly behind me was David Byrne. According to other attendees, M.I.A., Fourtet, members of The National and Vampire Weekend were also in attendance. Now, I've heard a lot of people complain that the show was far too short for the price of admission, and I have to admit, I feel the promoters could have done a better job setting appropriate expectations - instead of "Björk and the Dirty Projectors," the show should have been billed as "The Dirty Projectors with a special appearance by Björk" - but the excitement of watching these performers debut brand new material in such an intimate setting cannot be overstated.
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May 4, 2009

Choice Downloads - April

Just like March, I felt like this list was weak compared to the previous month. It's been growing on me, after a few listens, so i hope you find it worth our (re. my) time, at least as far as new music.

I'm not saying I didn't dredge up some oldies. Take Phoenix's "Napoleon Says." The band's latest - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - was officially released this month but I posted "1901" back in February. Rather than upload a B-side from their latest, I think it's better to show off this gem from one of their older albums (It's Never Been Like That). On the flip-side, I posted an old Metric tune - Monster Hospital - because I downloaded their latest - Fantasies - and didn't find much worth mentioning.

I also relied on a number of recommendations from friends and readers. White Denim, for instance. My cousin-in-law, Bryan, gave me Workout Holiday several few months ago. I gotta admit, when I came across Mirrored and Reverse, I didn't think much of the band, but thanks to Bryan, I had a backlog to catch up on. I much prefer their older stuff but I thought you'd like to see both ends of that band's spectrum. Ms. Benisch also deserves mention - she gave the The Morning Benders album for my 29th birthday.

There were also a few obvious bands that didn't make this month's cut. Dinosaur Jr.'s latest single was a major disappointment. I felt like I was listening to an Eddie Vedder impersonator who lack a decent Jeff Ament facsimile. If that description sounds like a good time to you, let me know and I'll send you "I Want You to Know."

If you're headed to Manchester, TN in June, stay tuned for my May list. I'll give you a rundown of my favorite tunes from the bands playing this year's Bonnaroo Music Festival. In the meantime, take a listen and let me know what you think...
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April 27, 2009

Upcoming Events

Aside from a few food posts I still need to write, there hasn't been much blog-worthy activity in my life recently. The event horizon is jam packed, however, so I figured I'd post what the future of this blog will tackle in the coming months. Have any ideas of other shows/food events I should attend in the greater NYC area this summer? Hit me up in the comments.

5.8 - Bjork with the Dirty Projectors
??? - MB's Bday Dinner @ Candle 79
5.22 - Dinner @ Gramercy Tavern
5.30 - Tortoise
6.7 - Dosh
6.8 David Byrne
6.11-6.14 - Bonnaroo
6.18 - Anniversary Dinner, potentially @ Modern
6.19 - Phoenix
6.20 - Passion Pit
7.8 - Juana Molina
7.13 - Wilco
7.31-8.2 - APW Festival
8.4 - Depeche Mode
8.7 Casiokids
8.16 - Phish Read Full Entry

April 19, 2009

Trimming the Fat

For some reason, every year I forget how much easier it is to eat well once it's nice outside. Walking to the market is much easier, grilling is once again a viable option and fresh produce abounds. After months of being lazy and ordering in or eating out on a near nightly basis, MB and I have completely switched gears and in just 2 days, I feel like a different person.

Yesterday, with the temperature clearing 70 for the first time this year, MB and I walked down to Union Market to grab food for the week. Our mantra lately has been lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and nuts. Other than an occasional cheese plate or ridiculous hamburger, we're what we like to consider part-time vegans.

Although our house is stocked to the brim, we still wanted to visit the new Le Bagel Delight's, conveniently located just down two avenues down 7th street from our apartment. But rather than grab a pair of bagel's covered in cream cheese, we decided to get a fresh whole wheat bagel and bring it home to make a panini using avocado, vine-ripened tomatoes and Oaxacan cheese. The result? A delicious bagel without the food coma.

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April 14, 2009

Choice Downloads - March

It's time once again for some delectable downloads from yours truly. This month, I sorted through 14.3 hours of music, or 186 songs, to bring you 23 tunes for your listening pleasure. At first, I wasn't as happy with this month's collection as I was with last month, but after listening to the playlist for the past 2 weeks, I think they're on par with February.

As usual, most of the set is comprised of brand new music but there are a few older goodies as well. If you're a fan of Rodrigo y Gabriela (and how could you not be), check out the live version of Diablo Rojo. I've seen them twice, once at Bonnaroo and once in the rain at APW; it's mind bending how well two individuals with acoustic instruments can command the stage. I also really like Bob Dylan's latest, Beyond Here Lies Nothin', probably because it reminds me of Tom Waits' Way Down in the Hole which was used as the theme song for The Wire.

Gabriela at APW 2008

After lots of people told me they liked the Passion Pit song, Sleepyhead, from last month's list, I decided to include a remix of the song. I also posted another Emiliana Torrini tune to coincide with my blog post earlier this month. The rest is an eclectic mix ranging from country to house to hip hop to indie (whatever the hell that even means). After you take a listen, drop a comment and let me know what you like and what you hate.

Like last month, I'm going to post songs on drop.io. I was going to zip everything together but I realized you can listen to the songs directly from the site before you decide whether or not you want to download. I'd also be interested to hear if you take advantage of that feature or if you'd rather just download everything in a bundle.

Happy listening!

Lakeside - Blk Jks
Diablo Rojo - Rodrigo y Gabriela
Cupid - Amy WInehouse
Beyond Here Lies Nothin' - Bob Dylan
Proper Rock - The Chap
Turn Cold - Cut Off Your Hands
The Angst - DJ Hell
Mirador - Efterklang
Me and Armini - Emiliana Torrini
Welcome, Ghosts - Explosions in the Sky
Automobile - The Fumes
My Beach - Human Highway
Seven-Mile Island - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Day 'N' Nite (Crookers Remix) - Kid Cudi
Volume - Libretto
Your Love - Pacha Massive
Golden Phone - Micachu
Sleepyhead (Wallpaper, Dio Remix) - Passion Pit
Tracy's Waters - Patrick Watson
Slow Club - Slow Club
Drumming, Pt. 4 - Steve Reisch/So Percussion
Bag of Hammers - Thao With The Get Down Stay Down
On a Neck, On a Spit - Grizzly Bear
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