Archive for December, 2011

One for tonight

(Photo Spapax)

“New Year’s Kiss” by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone:

From Etiquette.


Now that Gibbard’s out of the picture…

This is far too adorable for words. Just look at those dimples! Gah.
I’m not really into She & Him, but this… I can’t say no, and I can’t turn away.


A new demo from The xx? Yes, please.

One for the wind and rain:

I was afraid they’d lose the sparse simplicity of their debut album with the follow-up, but it sounds like it will be just fine. Looking forward to hearing more.

Playing catchup: What you might have missed in 2011

Well, it’s that time again. The end of the year rush wherein I try to listen to as many albums as possible, in search of my top picks of the year. I definitely don’t have it figured out yet, but here are some of the things that have my attention this week:

The Middle East, I Want That You Are Always Happy

The Middle East

Where many artists embraced bombast this year, it’s kind of nice to hear an album that doesn’t seem to be apologizing for being more sparse and organic. I loved “Blood” when I heard it a couple of years ago and though this album didn’t get the praise The Recordings of the Middle East got, I’m more than happy to give it some time.

“Jesus Came to My Birthday Party”


CANT, Dreams Come True

Chris Taylor of CANT

I am now kicking myself for not checking out CANT at CMJ a couple of months ago. In case you haven’t heard, CANT is the solo project of Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, which is to say that it had cred before the first note was even recorded. I’ll even excuse the missing apostrophe and all caps (which kind of drive me crazy for the record, Chris).

“Too Late, Too Far”


Sin Fang, Summer Echoes

Sin Fang

Morr Music has proven to be one of my favorite labels, largely because of Sindri Már Sigfússon and his associated bands. We’ve got Sea Bear, Sóley, Múm… the list continues to grow. Recent studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the number of accents in an artist’s name and my satisfaction with their music. (Publicists take note!)



Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., It’s A Corporate World

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

I know, I know. I couldn’t take these guys seriously when I saw them play at CMJ last year. Sure, it was kind of a nice change, the unapologetic absurdity of grown men wearing zip up race car driver suites, but I didn’t exactly find myself going out of the way to hear more. But you know? It’s actually not bad, right?

“Morning Thought”


So, will they make the cut? Stay tuned to find out!

And as always, please leave comments with recommendations for your top picks!
I’d love to hear them.

The Casiotone lives on

Advance Base – Shea Stadium – December 2nd

Last December, Owen Ashworth played his last show as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, a musical project he had been working on for over ten years. Now, about a year later, he’s starting to build back up a repertoire, and stopped by Shea Stadium last night to showcase some new tunes with Jody Weinmann.

Sure, it was a little sad to not here songs like “New Years Kiss” and “Bobby Malone,” but at the heart of it, there’s a lot about Advance Base that is reminiscent of his previous project. Owen still sings deeply personal, confession-filled songs about various episodes in his life, and of course, he’s still surrounded by a mass of wires and keyboards. Only now, a bunch of the songs are duets and include the auto harp – nice additions, if you ask me.

Here’s “David Allen”

And here’s “Christmas in Oakland”

According to Owen, Advance Base will be back in New York in a couple of months with a debut album. Until then, we’ve at least got some 7″s. (I’m pretty pumped about my selection – a square-shaped 7″!)

No B sides here

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to albums front to back in an attempt to figure out what will make my end-of-the-year list, but if I’m being honest here, one of the things I’ve spent the most time with is actually a 7″ that features two Canadian artists: (the unfortunately named) His Clancyness and Shimmering Stars.

What a match! No B sides here. One of my favorite things about the 7″ is we get a side A and a side AA. Looking for a small dose of hazy, beach (Shimmering Stars)/bedroom (His Clancyness) dream pop?

Here you go.

A video from His Clancyness:

And here’s “Not Growing Up” by Shimmering Stars:

"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being