Monday, December 29, 2008

Have Conor Oberst returned to his roots?

Some voices have stated that Conor Oberst returned to his roots with his solo project with the Mystic Valley Band (Taylor Hollingsworth, Nik Freitas, Macey Taylor, Nate Walcott, Jason Boesel). In general a crazy statement. In my opinion he have just taken a turn towards exploring the country fundament a bit closer.

Either way, it is a solid and wonderful acquaintance with a prominent member of the country-rock scene, even though country-rock may have had its height as the ruler of folk-rock. Hopefully country-rock is disolving and floating towards a more complex folk-rock seeking syntheses with other aspects of folk and world music. Looking forward to the time when you for example are taking your turn with Celtic music, Conor. Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 24th - Pavement

So here we are at the final day of our christmas/pitchfork countdown. The big question is who deserves the extremely prestigious role of ending this long, fine list of artists. Sometimes the answer just falls right into your lap. I always favoured Pavement as a strong candidate and when I saw this video there was just no better way to wish all our treasured Indie Laundry readers a merry christmas.

'Gold Soundz' is one of the best songs of one of the very best albums of the 1990's -'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain' (1994). It is also the second single from Pavement's second release. And the video shows the five guys roaming around somewhere in California, almost like Beasties Boys in the legendary Sabotage video. Only, Stephen Malkmus & Co. are all dressed out as Santa Clauses and seem more confused. Along the way, they shoot a chicken and tumble down a hill. It doesn't make too much sense but hey... it's christmas. Have a good one!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 23rd - Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays have always managed to carve a smile on my face. So I'll light this little Xmas day up with the Happy Mondays. Challenging the Pitchfork list.

I had one live-experience with Shaun Ryder and Bez. In 1995 where they did a terrible - slash - really awesome disturbed show with Black Grape at Roskilde Festival. Shaun Ryder was piss drunk and tumbled about on stage doing his mental stuff. Well. Before that time, they were the Happy Mondays. And just as badass crazy with ecstasy and manic obsessions.

Anyone who know their brit-rock trivia OR have seen 24 Hour Party People would be aware of that Mr. Manchester - Tony Wilson - found these guys. Quality was a trademark for Mr. Manchester, who pushed acts like Joy Division and Sex Pistols into the limelight.

Well 'nuff said. The Pitchfork 500 single with Happy Mondays is 'Kinky Afro' from album Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches. That single hit the #1 spot in US. The songs chorus paraphrases the Labelle song "Lady Marmalade".

The challenge is that on the same album you'll find 'Step On'. That song didn't make the number one position in the US, but performed just as good back home in England.
To me this song is much more Happy Monday'ish, more bizare and freaky. Also this track is completely stolen from John Kongos' "He's Gonna Step On You Again" showing only that the Happy Mondays can steal anything claiming it their own.

But the real shit about this classic is the intro. Shaun Ryder on E or something singing 'You are twisting ma mellons maaaaaaaan'.

Either way. These two tracks are the most popular from Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches. That album is a masterpiece and reminds me of good times in the 90's.

First: Step On

Second: Kinky Afro

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 22nd - Brian Eno

Only two days till christmas. The race is heating up, people are stressed out. You know the drill. If you feel the strain yourself, Indie Laundry now provides you with an absolute perfect antidote in the shape of Brian Eno's ambient masterpiece, 'Ambient 1: Music for Airports' (1978). 

In fact, this album was the first to define the term 'ambient music'. It contains just four songs, rationally named 1/1, 2/1, 1/2 and 2/2. Pitchfork chooses the first and you cannot really argue with that. It is a stunning, gentle, ultra-slow piano driven piece of music. It is the musical parallel to a spa massage!

Eno came up with the idea for the record while being stuck at the Cologne Bonn Airport and being annoyed with the boring music there. Since then the album has been used in the LaGuardia Airport in New York. In fact, this can be seen as Eno's crusade against mindless muzak; to reestablish the power of music to create an interesting surrounding influence or atmosphere. You can only describe his project as extremely succesful. No matter your level of attention to it, 1/1 is a highly pleasurable experience.   

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 21th - Sufjan Stevens

Casimir Pulaski Day is not really a hidden gem. It's a genuine Sufjan Stevens gem that always hits me like a ton of bricks.

I don't really know why, but the lyrics are really sad and the simple guitar-picking is perfectly mellow.

Casimir Pulaski Day is on his album Illinois. If you want to learn more about the Casimir Pulaski Day as it's observed in Illionis, read this article! :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 20th - The Clash

Play some Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill Gang for the members of The Clash and this single is what you'll get. Far from bad and close to brilliant.

The Magnificent Seven was inspired by old skool hip hop and build around a pretty funky bass loop originally issued by The Blockheads. The Magnificent Seven is the first major rap record by a white band and one of the earliest examples of hiphop with social and political content.

The song deals with consumerism, popular media, historical figures. In a funny way too! The first verses of the song deals with this nameless worker as he wakes up and goes to work, only to buy his girlfriend consumer goods.


Keith Richards tells the stories behind his 10 all-time-favorite Rolling Stones riffs.

Keith Richards, who turned 65 thursday, reveals his favorite Rolling Stones songs. It's not really a groundbreaking piece, but fun to hear his own words on some of the more wellknown Stones songs.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 19th - Elliott Smith

Connecting to the earlier post today, we continue our Pitchfork 500 adventure with the late Elliott Smith. Steven Paul Smith - his real name - was a genius and besides that, heavily influenced by The Beatles. So often you cannot help thinking of the more moody and introspective Beatles songs, like 'Blackbird' or 'While my guitar gently weeps' when listening to Elliott Smith. Yet, Smith's music is not just moody, it is almost tragic, like loneliness put to sound. Compine this with his ability to write very strong, timeless melodies and you end up with a haunting cocktail that will get you hooked. 

Of course, his tragic death in 2003 only strengthens this perception. If you are in the right kind of mood, prepare to get moved when you hear 'Between The Bars'. The song featured in Gus van Sant's movie 'Good Will Hunting' which marked somewhat of a breakthrough for Smith. Originally, it is taken from his 1997 release 'Either/Or' - named after Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard's milestone book. No more bonus info - instead, enjoy Smith's chilling performance of the song, sitting in a kitchen (I think).

Beatles Remastered

2009 will be a year of some very noticeable re-issues. The other day I anticipated the upcoming Neil Young 'Archives' release and today I give a shout out to The Beatles. The only cd-versions of their studio albums that exist, are the ones from 1987. That will change next year- about bloody time - when long overdue remastered versions will see the light of day. There are not too many details about how and when it will happen but it WILL happen. 

Anyways, it gives me the opportunity to give you this über-cool video of one of the fab four's lesser known, yet totally brilliant tracks. If you think you have grown apart from The Beatles, watch this and you will think again! 'Hey Bulldog'!

NB: Stay tuned for the continuation of our Pitchfork Christmas Special in a few hours...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 18th - The Pretenders

This is such a badass track. Powerful, with sad sad lyrics and even today with a bitterly rueful sound. It's from The Pretenders. Take it for a few spins.

At the time of release of the single 'Back on the Chain Gang' the band had been fractured by the drugrelated death of lead-guitarist and style-inventor James Honeyman-Scott.

The Prentenders only consistent member and songwriter Chrissie Hynde decided to go on and do this track with another line-up as a tribute to Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon, who were dumped earlier that year. He succumbed to an OD in April 1983. Such awful tragedy in that band!

The track was put on the the album 'Learning to Crawl' from '84, which is among the finest work The Pretenders ever did.

The single marked a new level of musical sophistication for the band, who formed during the tail end of the original British punk movement. In 1978.

The bass-walk on this song is just sooo fokkin' brilliant, and that whole swinging pop-style part and chorus just sticks in your head instantly.

Bonusinfo: Chrissie Hynde has teamed up with Morrissey for vocalwork on his new release.

The Prentenders - Back on the Chain Gang

Got into the house like a pigeon from hell...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 17th - Orange Juice

Short post today... Now for some Scottish music. It is 1980 and Orange Juice is part of a string of new exciting post-punk bands from Glasgow also counting Josef K, Simple Minds and Aztec Camera. Orange Juice was fronted by Edwyn Collins (of later 'A girl like you' fame) and the song chosen by Pitchfork is their second single 'Blue boy'. And here is a video showing a gramophone playing it. Action-packed, huh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Neil Young Archives Vol. 1. trailer

After countless delays it seems that this motherload of pure light and love is not far away. Call me a subject to clever advertising, if you like. I just want to get my hands on this a.s.a.p!

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 16th - Yo La Tengo

One of my friends once told me that everything released by Matador Records is awesome. No more, no less! If there ever were an archetypical Matador band, it would have to be Yo La Tengo so they ought to something, right? Too dynamic to be shoegazing, too silky to be grouped with noise-rockers like Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo carves their own niche in alternative rock and has done so since 1984. So if you find that they may sound similar to many other bands, you probably have to blame the other bands...

Yo La Tengo was formed by Ira Kaplin and Georgia Hubley; a married couple from Hoboken, New York. In 1993 they released the album Painful from which we give you 'From a Motel 6'. 


Monday, December 15, 2008

Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 15th - R.E.M

A whole different look, but a punk ass solid sense of rhythm! Todays choice of song had a lasting legacy when it was released in 1984 — it put R.E.M on the American rock map once and for all. Why? Check out below.

R.E.M has got it all on todays video from Late Night with David Letterman in june 1983. R.E.M here shows off what was soon to come. This their first television performance on national tv ever.

The song is 'So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)' and was first released on Reckoning (1984) and didn't have a name when R.E.M played it on Letterman.

What I love about this video is the totally cool and relaxed atmosphere in the studio. Letterman talking with Buck & Mills about their music, while a shy Michael Stipe hides in the background. And their looks. It's brilliant. Mike Mills looks nerdy as a young Bill Gates and Stipe just looks amazingly cool and Godlike, with his hair and young and haunted attitude. Their style is almost grungy!

The music is superb as well. Sounds pretty campfire-simple, but changes a hell of a lot of chords and keys three times. I don't have a clue about the lyrics, but they are sung with so much emotional insight, that I don't even care.

  • R.E.M - So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry) (The Black Sessions 2001)

  • Sunday, December 14, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 14th - Television

    For this Sunday we will treat you with a true classic. It was in 1977 that Television released the perhaps single most important album of the New Wave, erhh... wave. The title track 'Marquee Moon' is 10 minutes of duelling guitars. The track was done in one take but nobody told drummer Billy Ficca that. He thought they were only rehearsing! 

    On top of Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine's guitar extravaganza, Verlaine delivers a haunted vocal. This a quite phenomenal stuff and it is easy to hear the spirit of Television roaming in much newer indie music, not least their fellow New Yorkers from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I can't believe I haven't bought this album yet, but I promise to fix that shortly!  

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 13th - Siouxsie & The Banshees

    It's saturday so why bother with small problems. This song is about city of Pompeii, destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 79 CE. Besides that it's a cool little postpunk song with dark lyrics but a really poppy hook.

    Siouxsie & the Banshees released Cities in dust as a single and was a cut on Tinderbox from 1986.

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 12th - Hüsker Dü

    Bob Mould is a legend and this song is Pink to Blue as played by Hüsker Dü.

    The song is from the album Zen Arcade from 1984. The lyrics of Zen Arcade are usually interpreted as telling the story, in the first person, of an adolescent who runs away to escape an unfulfilling home life. In this song he tries drugs.

    Rolling Stones writer David Fricke described Zen Arcade as "the closest hardcore will ever get to an opera ... a kind of thrash Quadrophenia."

    Check it out. It has huge levels of energy.

    Everything that happens will happen today

    Art-rock legends David Byrne and Brian Eno has taken up their old partnership and released a new album 'Everything that happens will happen today'. Byrne is currently streaming it in its entirety. I definitely liked what I heard so I thought you should know about it too.

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 11th - Osymyso

    Osymyso is an English mash-up DJ. Not really a genre I usually spend any time on but I couldn't help being fascinated by his 'Intro-Inspection'; a 12-minute collage of hooks from an extremely long and diverse list of hits. This is pure dj-wizardry. To make it even better, some kind soul has gone through the huge trouble of putting together a video showing all the songs involved.

    Intro-Inspection Part 1:

    Intro-Inspection Part 2:

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 10th - Super Furry Animals

    Today we will lift the mood a notch or two. There was no way I was gonna ignore my favorite Welsh guys (aside from Ian Rush, of course) in the wonderful, spaced-out pack of Super Furry Animals. They have penned so many brilliant songs but Pitchfork have managed to choose one I did not know - well, I may have heard it once or twice but 'Ice Hockey Hair' only came out as an EP. As it doesn't figure on any of the Animals' regular albums, it is not to be found on my cd shelves (yes, I am very much a sucker for the good old album format).

    Super Furry Animals have always produced excellent music videos that reflect their humoristic approach to their art. I challenge you to sit this one out without getting a smile on your face. Prepare for a vocoder soaked murder story, complete with sing-a-long choruses and some passive table tennis playing.

    NB: In a strange way, both the use of vocoder and the video's stage scenario seems to quote Daft Punk's 'Around the world' which is from 1997. As 'Ice Hockey Hair' is from 1998, it could be the case. Judge for yourself. (the music kicks off after 20 seconds, so be patient)

    Tuesday, December 09, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 9th - The Clientele

    London's The Clientele is very much the story of the forgotten band. Having existed since 1991 it was not until 2000 they released their debut album "Suburban Light' which collected a series of underground singles and EP's made between´97 and´00. 'Reflections after Jane' is taken from the debut and demonstrates the band's oozing and easy style. The music is perfectly matched by singer Alasdair MacLean's breathy, slightly nasal voice - not unlike Michael Penn or Scritti Politti's Gren Gartside.

    The Clientele still spread their laid back vibes to this day and are slowly getting more and more recognition, as exemplified by Pitchfork's endorsement and also by the adoration of young folks like Peter, Bjorn & John. Enjoy and relaaaaax...

    Monday, December 08, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 8th - Suicide - Dream baby Dream

    Today it's Suicide-time! Some thinks this duo were just as influential as The Clash. Nontheless they are phat! And can easily compete even today. Their raw-cool-doomsday electro is just perfectly depressing.

    I bet that Sigur Rós has taken this song for a few spins before doing some of their kling-klang tracks. Listen on the mp3-version of "Dream Baby Dream" below.

    By the way Bruce Springsteen has also used a solo keyboard version of "Dream Baby Dream" on his Devil & Dust Tour 2005.

  • Suicide - Dream baby dream

  • Carter USM revisited

    There no good reason for this post. It's just one of those memories that pops in to your head during drifting. And it's a good memory from the late 1980's. It's Carter USM, it's electro-punk, it's Sheriff Fatman

    Sunday, December 07, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 7th - Althea & Donna

    I'm the only guy in the Indie Laundry-village who has a soft spot for sweet laidback reggae-rhytms. Or maybe dare to be honest about it?

    While the other guys today are enjoying themselves in such different parts of the world as Paris and in the magnificent and colorful village of Stjær, Jutland I get to decide. So i thought: Let's play with girls with really rad hair-do's.

    This sundays treat is a one hit wonder from jamaican reggae singing duo Althea & Donna. The song is 'Uptown Top Ranking' and has a sweet and simple riddim pumping.
    30 years ago Althea & Donna reached number one in UK with 'Uptown Top Ranking' and disappeared forever. And has never been seen since. No where. Even their hair might be lost.

    It's a cute little tuney-thingy. View a take from a BBC show below...

    See mi in mi Benz and ting
    Drivin' through Constant Spring...

    Friday, December 05, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 6th - Billy Bragg

    In 1985, his song "A New England" became an instant top ten hit in the UK. Billy Bragg blends folk music, punk rock and protest songs. I know not at lot about this dudes carrier, but I know he collaborated with Johnny Marr, R.E.M and not at least, Wilco. I kind of like this song.

    This video is 'A New England' and Billy Bragg performes together with a damn smoking hot object - Kate Nash - at NME Awards 2007. Enjoy this protesty and now super commercialized song. Honestly I don't know why the fuck I picked this song. But it touched me. Or Kate Nash did. My eyes fell on it on the list. Or I am to busy. Have your own opinion ready. Helmets on!

    Delayed Thanksgiving from Ryan Adams

    One of our alltime favorites here at the Indie Laundry-office. Ryan Adams playing it heartfelt.

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 5th - Wire

    Today we'll take you back again. It's 1978 and the place is London, England. The band is Wire.

    Wire was inspired by the burgeoning U.K. punk scene. Wire expanded their sonic boundaries in the 1970s of not just punkt, but rock music in general. Wire can be described as art punk or a post-punk ensemble. Read more about Wire.

    In 1978 they released the album 'Chairs Missing' (as in 'that guy has a few chairs missing in his front room.' ;-) ) giving their rockpunk a more complex, structured sound involving increased use of guitar effects and synthesizers. (UH!)

    Check out this beautiful little New Wave song 'Outdoor Miner' from that album. It's more poppy than the stuff they done before (except from 'I Am The Fly' from that same album). Also this single was for some reason deleted from the charts in 1978, which meant it didn't meet the criterias of the BBC chart-list, which was the shit back then, meaning no commercial career for the band.
  • Download Outdoor Miner by Wire

    The resemblance with the indie-sound anno 2005 or so is striking. Also remember to check out a quite unique - but way cool - ukulele-version of that song!

    Thursday, December 04, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 4th - Slowdive

    Today we make a minor jump forward in time to the early 90's. Slowdive was part of the English shoegaze scene alongside the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins. In ´93 they released the album Souvlaki which contained the breezy tune 'Alison'. It cannot be because of this that Slowdive was dropped by their label Creation two years later. Parts of the band was not ready to take the dive, though and went on to form another well-respected band, Mojave 3.

    Wednesday, December 03, 2008

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 3rd - Mission of Burma

    'That's when I reach for my revolver', Mission of Burma singer, Clint Conley, hollers - and that's when the last shadow of christmas spirit is blown away, you might add. Nevertheless, this is a very intense song with the mark of an indie classic written all over it. It has been covered by many, including Graham Coxon (of Blur) and Moby. However, the latter chose to change the lyrics to "That's when I realize it's over" in order to not to promote gun violence... Yeeeeees, Moby.

    Unfortunalety, I have not been able to find any official video for the song, so this still image video will have to suffice. But it's the sound that counts, right?

    Tuesday, December 02, 2008

    Fuck homophobes in the asshole!

    Fuckin hell. Everytime I listen to the wonderfull and absolutely weird Devendra Banhart I just feel like smokin joints and go to Califonia to party for a couple of months. I have blogged about the new side-project Megapuss before, but there's a video you gotta see and a song you gotta hear - because the lyrics in the song are so beatiful and the video is som funny. Sorry but I couldn't find a mp3 working so check out this link, and listen carefully to the song 'A Gun On His Hip and a Rose On His Chest'. It also contains a very ... original solo!!

    Pitchfork 500 - Dec. 2nd - Talking Heads

    Next up is Talking Heads. Admittedly, not exactly an unknown band. I'm a big, big fan but somehow this one has avaded me. 'This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)' of their ´83 album 'Speaking in Tongues' differs from the Heads' usual quirky, white afrofunk. This is simply a lovely and joyful song. Perhaps their first love song on what were their fifth album.

    Monday, December 01, 2008

    X-special at Indie Laundry

    Ok... so it has been awfully quiet here at Indie Laundry for the past few months. We really apologize for that but I will not bore you with stupid explanations. Instead, we'll try to come good by handing you a nice little christmas treat.

    Pitchfork recently released a book compiling the 500 best songs since punk emerged, i.e. we are talking about the period 1977-2006. The list is as diverse as it is inspiring - in one word: brilliant!! We have scrutinized the list and this has inspired us to - as a tribute - present some of the unknown, or at least forgotten, gems of 'The Pitchfork 500'. 

    Starting today and going on all the way till christmas, you can expect a daily, carefully chosen treat from this vast collection. Enjoy!

    Dec. 1st takes you back to 1985 and the English post-punk band Felt's thrilling 'Primitive Painters'. This was back when music videoes really did not need to show anthing else than the band playing... Kind of nice, actually.