when i started this blog back on july 24th, i asked my sister morgan if she would add my link to her ridiculously popular blog...

'matt,' she said, 'i only have links to craft blogs.'

i guess blood doesn't run thicker than hot glue. but no matter! fall is here and that can only mean one thing: i start making my quickly-becoming-famous pumpkin cookies. i usually make a half dozen batches during the fall and winter months. there's really no better autumnal cookie than this one. cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, chocolate, craberry. so many wonderful flavors! it's thanksgiving in a cookie. so i figured, hey, next batch i make i'll post the recipe, take some pictures, and then maybe my humble little blog will be deemed 'crafty' enough to appear on her glorious blog. so, sis, help a brother out, yeah?

matt's pumpkin cookies
[yields about 56 cookies, depending on size]

1 cup butter, softened [that's two cubes, if you're wondering]
2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cup solid pack pumpkin puree
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package dried cranberries
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg [i usually add a little bit more because i love it]
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup chopped walnuts [optional]
1 package butterscotch chips
1 package white chocolate chips
1 package chocolate almond bark [or any other type of melting chocolate]

preheat the oven to 375. cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. add the eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin and mix. it will look a little bit grainy. that's ok. in a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together and then gradually mix the wet and dry ingredients together. the finished dough is very gooey. it's supposed to be. i always just use my hands to pull out the dough and drop it on the cookie sheet. if you want to use a tablespoon or anything else, it might be a good idea to have a cup of water nearby you can dip the tablespoon in to keep the dough from sticking. but it's kind of fun to use your hands. when you drop the dough on the cookie sheet [i recommend using a silpat -- it makes life significantly easier], don't shape it, form it, or push it down. just drop it and let it be. bake for 11 minutes.

once the cookies have completely cooled, melt your almond bark or dipping chocolate. i usually put it in a bowl and microwave it for about 45 seconds, take it out, stir it, pop it back in for another 45 seconds. if it's still not all the way melted, just repeat this process until it's melted. i like dip the cookies half way in chocolate. my mom likes to drizzle the chocolate over the top [i think she also likes to use semi-sweet chocolate. use whatever you like best]. once they're dipped, wipe off any excess chocolate on the bottom of the cookie with the lip of the bowl your chocolate's in and place the finished product on a wax paper or aluminum foil. once the chocolate and cooled and hardened, be sure to cover them. they'll stay soft and chewy for days and days and days! seriously, they're soft. it's like eating a pumpkin flavored cloud.

last night i took a bunch to my sister's salon in salt lake city [aerolab salon on 217 e. 300 s -- tell her matt sent you] and they were a hit. they always are. how can you deny the explosion of flavors in your mouth?! you simply cannot. and being a lohrke, it's never enough to just put 'em on a plate. oh, no. cellophane bags and ribbon are curled ribbon are required [i think this kind of stuff is hardwired into my d.n.a.]. i lack my mom's and my sisters' presentation skills [and an office cubicle isn't exactly the best backdrop, but hey], but you can still do something like this:

they make easy, cute, crowd-pleasing gifts! [i tried really hard to do that little trick where the background is blurry. i don't know how morgan does it, but that's my pale imitation.]

i want to come up with a better name than 'matt's pumpkin cookies,' but i've got nothing. if you have a better name, let me know. i will even bake you a batch. scout's honor. well, considering i never made it past 'life,' maybe you shouldn't put too much trust in that. but i will bake a batch of these bad boys to the person who comes up with the best name. i'll even ship stateside.

here's some music to go with the theme:

lamb: sweet
kevin tihista's red terror: yummy
tv on the radio: i was a lover [from the 'return to cookie mountain' l.p.']
halloween alaska: you're it


'baby i'm yours,' by math and physics club

i once accused, i mean 'referred to,' math & physics club of being a poor man's belle & sebastian. a friend told a friend and that friend evidently took umbrage with my assertion, as though it were a slam on the band [we audiophiles are silly lot]. oh, contraire! i was just sayin' they sound like belle & sebastian. no harm in that, right? after all, isn't music basically the next band aping the previous band going all the way back to john and paul? [at least that what the music uber overlords want us to think, right?]. it's rare you get a truly unique band without any immediate reference points. i can think of, like, two this decade. so i got nothing but love for math & physics club even if not drinking the kool-aid. i still maintain they sound just like belle & sebastian, but hey, if you're going to ape a band, b&s is as good a place to start as any.

so, anyway, math & physics club released a new e.p. ['baby, i'm yours'] sometime in the last couple of weeks, i think. i'm not exactly sure. i'm too lazy to look it up. the four tracks on said e.p. sound exactly like every other song they've written, but in their case, it's not a bad thing, 'cos math & physics club songs are like putting on a pair old jeans: comfy and reliable. and who doesn't need a little comfort and reliability? i dare say we all do.

math & physics club: baby, i'm yours
math & physics club: nothing really happened


'more than this,' by division day (roxy music cover)

judging from the picture there at the left, you'd assume division day are bunch of ruffians. or vikings. well, i don't know if they are ruffians [or vikings] or not, but i do know they made a pleasant and serviceable, if unremarkable, version of roxy music's classic, 'more than this.' while it sure does sound nice, it begs the question whether or not it's advisable to throw a cover song [or in the case of division day, and entire e.p] out there when you're still an emerging artist. maybe it's a way to get your name out there, but i really wonder whether or not it's the right thing to do on an artistic level. or it could just be i think about it way too much. anyway...

roxy music is one of those bands i always obligated to like. i mean, c'mon, bryan ferry and brian eno? what's not to like, right? but try as i might, i never really could get into them. i liked the occasional song, like 'love is the drug,' but i think that was mainly due to the fact that dave gahan was singing it while playing pinball in the depeche mode '101' documentary. the only other song i really, really loved was 'more than this.' bryan ferry, he of the majestic croon, delivers one of his best vocals on this song, i think. it's really a beautiful thing and even the stingiest of audiophiles would be hard pressed to find fault with it.

division day, for their part, strip it down and do the basics: piano / percussion / background noise. it ends up kind of sounding like it could be an aqualung song [just like that dood who covered 'umbrella,' which really makes me want someone to do speed/death metal version of a 'classic.' these 'pretty' covers are getting old and cliched]. but maybe you'll like the cover version. in fact, i'm sure you will. and hey, all the power in the world to you.

but for the sake of comparisons, i offer both the cover and the original. enjoy.

division day: more than this
roxy music: more than this / video


'perfect timing [this morning],' by obra squara

or: the song in that iphone commercial.

when the iphone commercials started running with that snazzy little acousticky song, i figured it was a snazzy little jingle from the pens of some snazzy professional jingle writers. but when i was listening to some new stuff the other day and i came across this song and i was like, 'hey, wait a minute here. it's that iphone song. i thought it was written by professional jingle writers!' [i should've known better -- all music in advertising these days is licensed]. so whoever said you learn something new everyday was right.

confession: of all the genres within the so-called 'indie' genre, the 'acoustic guitar dood with fey, barely-there, i'm-so-sensitive vocals' ranks about dead last in what i like to listen to. and it's even worse if it's got the obligatory xylophone. blegh. 99% of it could easily double as a soporific. talk about a snooze fest. i'd rather listen to muzak for 24 hours straight.

but orba squara, despite the vocals and obligatory xylophone, ain't half bad. it's kind of cute and all. and maybe it's just me, but this song's melody vaguely reminds of kool & the gang's 'celebration.' i swear, it's there. c'mon, trying singing 'everyone around the world c'mon!' over the guitar. it works. i ain't lyin'. it's kind of like playing 'dark side of the moon' while watching 'the wizard of oz. or something.

orba squara: perfect timing [this morning]
orba squara: my favorite song

Free Taco!

because jacoby ellsbury [left] made a run for second base during last night's game 2 of the world series, every american can make a run for their nearest taco bell october 30th between 2 pm and 5 pm for a free, crunchy beef taco. talk about a supersized yum!

yes, in one of the single greatest promotions of all time, taco bell's 'steal a base, steal a taco' giveaway had baseball fans sitting on the edge of their seats all the way to the 4th inning last night. and let's face it, with david ortiz, kevin youkalis, jason veritek, manny ramirez, mike lowell, matt holliday, garrett atkins, brad hawpe, yorvit torrealba, and todd helton out there, there was a legitimate chance america wouldn't get to the chance to sink its teeth into that spicy, beefed goodness.

hats off to you, jacoby ellsbury [you and willy taveras were really the only true hopes for swiping a bag], for answering duty's call. because of you, we all get a 77 taco for free.

if you want to hit seven taco bells in an hour, here's what you do:

1. start with the taco bell off the 500 w. offramp in american fork
2. head sount to lindon and hit the taco bell at 25 s. state street.
3. head south and hit the taco bell at 97 w. center in orem [next to target]
4. state state street in orem down into provo and hit the taco bell at the corner of freedom and bulldog blvd.
5. head towards byu and hit the taco bell on 400 n. and 900 e.
6. head over to east bay and hit the taco bell on the south side of the railroad track overpass
7. take the old state road towards springville and hit the the taco bell just before you hit downtown.

or do it in reverse.

is america great or what?

viva el taco!


'right where i want you,' by blondfire

...or the band formerly known as astaire. i guess fred's peeps weren't to keen on the brazilian-american, brother-sister act bruce and erica driscoll using the dancing man's name as their band name. but when you're as hot as these two are [and i'm not strictly talking about their musical abilities] ain't no little name change gonna make a difference.

the sibs released the 'don't whisper lies' e.p. back in '04, but they've not released a thing since. erica, it appears, aside from making occassional appearances in my fantas...er, dreams, co-wrote a song for jessica simpson [or was it with jessica simpson?]. bruce, well, who knows what he's been doing. i've been hearing rumors about a full on blondfire album for a couple of years now. i hope they get on that pony soon, 'cos judging by the quality of 'l-l-love' and 'right where i want you [mixed by ivy axeman andy chase], these two have the world at their fingertips.

blondfire: right where i want you


'postcard,' by afternoon naps

so i'm still basking in the glow of the boston massacre last night. josh beckett was filthy. dusting pedroia and youk are still caliente. even j.d. drew and julio lugo decided to show up. sorry, colorado, all good things must come to an end and that end began last night. there's always next year...

a friend of mine tipped me off to afternoon naps last week. it's kind of suprising to hear they come from the mistake by the lake [a.k.a. cleveland]. i've always assumed cleveland to be the land of butt rockers, but hey, i'm willing to admit it when i'm wrong. sure, afternoon naps sound a lot like belle & sebastian, but that's not to say they don't do what they do well. in fact, they do it a lot better than well. 'sunbeamed' is a great little record [and i say little 'cos it's only got eight songs, count 'em, eight]. yeah, it's borderline twee and at times a bit too precious, but the songs are solid, the melodies first rate, and i'm a sucker for just about anything with a brass section. so go check out 'em out. 'sunbeamed' is available at your usual mp3 buying locations.

afternoon naps: postcard
afternoon naps: the sun ain't the same


'[lack of love] will tear us apart,' by the honeydrips f. hanna

i don't know if mikael carlsson is a bitter man, but according to his myspace page, his last show 'for awhile' was october 5th 'cos he's 'got better things to do.' um, no you don't. what better things can you possibly do other than churn excellent pop tunes? mikael, come back. you're too young to be a sad, miserable man. we love you...

i've been meaning to post this one for awhile, but with 'control' out in limited release now, and given the song's title, it seems now's as good a time as any to throw it out there [not that this song has anything to do with the joy division song other than the titular lyric]. that was a totally pointless paragraph. sorry about that. next.

so, mikael carlsson: obviously a swede. apparently 9/10 of all swedes are excellent musicians. maybe it's the d.n.a. i'm just sayin'. yeah. he used to be in a band called dorotea, then struck out on his own. i don't know how he stumbled on the name 'the honeydrips,' but i love it. it's a great band name. the album's called 'here comes the future' [although if he's already hung it up, i guess the future already came and went]. mikael, a lack of killer tunes will keep us apart. who needs love? we need tunes. your tunes. come back to us...please??

the honeydrips: [lack of love] will tear us apart / video
the honeydrips: [lack of love] will tear us apart [lack of love tore us apart - dreams end remix]
the honeydrips: try something new


'to fill the void,' by leerone

so about a month ago i got an email from leerone via the good old myspace. she said she thought i had great taste in music [tell me something i don't know -- totally kidding] and that she wanted to send me a sampler cd. i, being no fool, glady accepted. 'sure,' i said. 'hook a brother up.' who in their right mind turns down free music?

so one day a little over a week ago i opened the mail box to find a black bubble mailer from leerone. i admit i was expecting a chintzy little cd-r in a slimline jewel case. so i took it inside, opened it, and discovered a veritible cornucopia of goodness. we're talking goodies galore:

1 3-track cd sampler
2 stickers
1 greeting card with personalized note inside
1 button [very cool!]

honestly, i think this surpasses all previously known levels of adorableness. i mean, really, who does this? i don't know of anyone else, do you? the best part, of course, is that she loves me [witness the button and the sticker] and as the inside the card reads, i'm a member of the band. 'me + you = the band.' i've not been in a band for like three years. it's nice to be back in one. i've missed it.

thankfully, leerone isn't just about the adorableness. she's one heckuva a musician. i'm not much into comparisons, but if you like you like your regina, tori, and pianotrixes [it's a word, so shut it] of that vein, leerone is for you. there's absolutely nothing to dislike here, kids. it's so easy overproduce piano-based music, but leerone shows the right amount of restrait both in instrumentation and in her vocals. she's also got a very keen sense of melody and a strong sense of songcraft. and for an audiophile like myself, it's neat to hear all the little bleeps and blips going on in the background. if you listen closely enough, you'll hear it. :::sigh:::

now i don't want to speak for her, but she said if i wanted some more samplers, she'd send 'em. so i'm thinking she'd send one to you, too. maybe all you have to do is ask. shoot, who doesn't want a free button? buttons are rad. so are stickers.

leerone, for all her talent and unpretentious generosity, not only deserves your attention, she demands your allegiance.

i think i'm in love.

leerone: to fill the void


'an anniversary away,' by reverie sound revue

somewhere between stars and au revoir simone is the reverie sound revue. yes, yes, it's a pretty tasty little dish. i don't know much about these kids [as i'm hearing them for the first time this weekend], but what i've gleaned so far is this: they're canucks. they got together in 2002. they released a six-track e.p. in 2003, then released an enhanced version of the same e.p. with two additional tracks later that year. the good folks over at mewzique posted the e.p. recently. it's totally out of print ergo it can't be purchased anywhere, so i don't see the harm in posting it for others to enjoy. if you like what you hear [and i'm confident you will], head on over to mewzique and download it.

AND reverie sound revue vocalist lisa lobsinger has also lent her pipes on occasion for broken social scene's 'anthems for a seventeen year old girl' [as have feist, emily haines from metric, and amy millan from stars], which probably makes my 'top ten favorite all-time songs' list. i also thought it would've fit in perfectly during the first season of 'veronica mars,' but don't get me started on that 'cos i just get upset. [and thanks to honora for introducing me to the song!] so they get like a thousand extra cool points just for that.

and it looks like they're putting the finishing touches on their new album, too. they posted this song as a freebie on their website. according to the band, this isn't even the final mix of the song. if this is the demo, i can hardly wait to hear the 'official' version 'cos, wow, what a great little song this is. all signs point to a great future for the reverie sound revue. so you best get on the bandwagon now.

reverie sound revue: an anniversary away / video
reverie sound revue: walking around downtown
reverie sound revue: it's all the same
broken social scene: anthems for a seventeen year old girl / video


'brighton girls,' by celestial

judging from the sound of celestial's jangly brand of guitar pop, you'd think they were raised on fish & chips, mash, and earl grey tea. ah, you'd think so, but you'd be wrong. hmm. that's quite a conundrum. so, if music of the this quality doesn't come from england, there's really only one other option. and you know what that option is: sweden.

holy meatballs! the swedes have done it again. this time it's celestial, or rather, a man name andreas hagman. from what i gather he is the band. hey, if you can do it all yourself, why not? you don't have to worry about 'artistic differences,' the drummer's heroin addiction, or splitting royalties, right? yep.

celestial, to me, is a pinch of ride, a teaspoon of early stone roses, two cups of belle and sebastian, and about a pint of the field mice. in other words, it rocks mightily. and not only does it rock mightily, mr. hagman is also a generous soul. head over to http://www.musicismygirlfriend.com/ and you can download a remix e.p. for $0.00. yeah, that's free!

celestial: brighton girls
celestial: saving my presence

A Happy Day for Joe Torre

it's official. joe torre is out at yankees manager. today joe torre turned down what was little more than a cursory one-year offer to manage the yankees next year. now, those of you who know me know i how i feel about the yankees and their 'fans.' to me the yankees represent everything that's wrong with baseball: the sense of entitlement, george steinbrenner's meddling, the ridiculous contracts, a-fraud, and especially derek jeter's hair. they are the evil empire and george steinbrenner is baseball equivalent of darth sidious. i wish they'd just go away. they're bad for the game.

but despite my disdain for the yankees, i love joe torre. i think even the most ardent of yankee haters loves joe torre. why? he's never buckled under the pressure. he's always handled himself with class and grace, no matter how bright the spotlight, how ridiculous the charge, how insensitive the question. he's never lost his temper. he respects and applauds his opponents in defeat. his players love him. even derek jeter's hair loves joe torrie. and that's saying something.

i guess four world series titles and eleven division titles in twelve years aren't enough. shoot, the dodgers have won one playoff game in since 1988. one. it just goes to show what kind of crappy organization the yankees are. newsflash: you can't win the world series every year.

maybe joe saw the writing on the wall and after twelve years of dealing with bozo-the-steinbrenner and the notorious new york media, i'm sure joe wanted to keep what little hair he has left and politely refused a low ball offer from a man who's literally paid billions in mercenary-esque contracts over the last decade.

and you now what? good for joe. i wish him nothing but the best. he'll be in the hall of fame. will george steinbrenner? probably not. he's too cantakerous. too egotistical. in other words, he's everything joe torre isn't.

memo to the sox: hire joe. now. torre as tito's bench coach would be awesome. boston would welcome him with open arms.


'obscurity knocks,' by the trash can sinatras

the trash can sinatras were always a popular band in the lohrke household. my sister, morgan, was probably even a bigger fan than i was. these were days when KOHS [orem high school's student-run radio station] was easily the best radio station in the state and riding down to will's pitt stop on our beach cruisers for a 32 oz beverage was a integral part of a typical summer afternoon. i even remember riding my bike up to crandall audio back when it was on the bottom floor of an old house on 800 n. in orem and buying the sinatras debut album, 'cake.' this was, what, 1990? man, i'm old.

so yeah, my love affair with the sinatras goes back almost twenty years. but it's funny 'cos even when i listen to them now i never have the feeling of nostalgia i get when i listen to other bands from that period. maybe it's because there's a timelessness about the sinatra's songs. they sound just as great and relevant now as they did then, particularly 'obscurity knocks.' it was the sinatra's first hit and it's easy to see why [it's also where i first learned the Amaj7 chord!]. aside from the perfectly chimy guitars, melodies, and harmonies, it established francis reader as a ridicuously clever lyricist. if you don't believe me, check out the lyrics to 'obscurity knocks' [talk about great word play, unusual rhyming patterns, and stupid good imagery]:

always at the foot of the photograph -that's me there
snug as a thug in a mugshot pose, a foul-mouthed rogue
owner of this corner and not much more
still these days i'm better placed to get my just rewards
i'll pound out a tune and very soon
i'll have too much to say and a dead stupid name
though i ought to be learning i feel like a veteran
of "oh i like your poetry but I hate your poems"
calendars crumble i'm knee deep in numbers
i've turned 21, i've twist, i'm bust and wrong again
rubbing shoulders with the sheets till two
looking at my watch and i'm half-past caring [probably my favorite line. ever. in any song.]
in the lap of luxury it comes to mind
is this headboard hard? am i a lap behind?
but to face doom in a sock-stenched room all by myself
is the kind of fate i never contemplate
lots of people would cry though none spring to mind
though i ought to be learning i feel like a veteran
of "oh i like your poetry but I hate your poems"
calendars crumble i'm knee deep in numbers
i've turned 21, i've twist, i'm bust and wrong again
know what it's like to sigh at the sight of the first quarter of life?
ever stopped to think and found out nothing was there?

they laugh to see such fun
i'm playing blind man's bluff all by myself
and they're chanting a line from a nursery rhyme
"ba ba bleary eyes - have you any idea?"
years of learning i must be a veteran
of "oh i like your poetry but I hate your poems"
and the calendar's cluttered with days that are numbered
i've turned 21, i've twist, i'm bust and wrong again
ought to be learning, twist, i'm bust and wrong again
i feel like a veteran, twist, i'm bust and wrong again
calendar's cluttered with days that are numbered
and i know what it's liketo sigh at the sight
of the first quarter of life.

amazing stuff, that.

though the sinatras' output has been sporadic at best, they've released three incredible albums. i checked out their website this morning and it turns out they're in studio working on their fifth studio album. 'cake' has long since been deleted, but if you're interested, you can snag it here [it's the japanese version with shloads of b-sides]. i was lucky enough to see them when they strolled through town in october of '04. here's hoping they come back.

i promise you'll love the trash can sinatras. your satisfaction's guaranteed.

the trash can sinatras: obscurity knocks / video
the trash can sinatras: only tongue can tell
the trash can sinatras: got carried away [from 'weightlifting,' 2004]
the trash can sinatras: hayfever [from 'i've seen everything,' 1993]


'vaporous,' by elsiane

so when your music's a blend of electronica, classical, jazz, pop, various eastern influences, and pretty much everything else, naturally you're going to title your debut 'hybrid.' of course you are. you just can't sneak anything past them now, can you? i jest...

obvious album titles aside, 'hybrid' is an album that in lesser hands probably would come off as simple patische. sure, the nods to their influences [massive attack, portishead, morcheeba, among others], are just as obvious as the album title, but vocalist elsianne caplette and drummer stephane sotto manage to take the melange of sounds and shape into a cohesive whole. 'hybrid' certainly isn't anything new or original, but it is an accomplished record. for her part, elsianne is a pretty distinctive vocalist. she's got a lot skye edwards same vocal tics, but she's very much her own vocalist and you'd be hard pressed to find a more distinctive voice, especially in a genre of music in which vocalists seem to be hired purely for the airy quality of their voices. she buries the songs in reality while keeping the mystery intact. that, my friends, is no small feat.

elsiane's debut, 'hybrid,' is available at all the usual outlets. will it set the world on fire? no. will you enjoy it nonetheless? absolutely. check it out.

elsiane: vaporous / video
elsiane: morphing
elsiane: across the stream

Morrissey @ Thanksgiving Point

when he walked on stage last night and the first few notes of 'stop me if you think you've heard this one before' began to bleed out the speakers, it was a clear signal that the mozfather has lost none of his ironic wit. in fact, for a man who spent the better part of his gladioli-in-back-pocket career advancing his self-adoring, lonely poet image, this new found self-depricating humor was almost revelatory. oh, moz, you contradictory old git.

monday night's show @ thanksgiving was my fourth morrissey concert, but the first since 1998 [the other's being park west in 1990, the huntsman center in 1992, and san diego in 1998]. i've passed on other local morrissey shows in recent years, but when i heard this was likely his last u.s. tour for quite some time, i didn't want to miss out on the opportunity. after all, i don't know i would have made it out of my adolescence were it not for the smiths. so, plopping down 45 clams plus ticketmassah's service charges was an insignificant price to pay.

it was as classic a moz show as one might expect. moz appeared from the darkness to rousing applause, trailed by his band who were all dressed in mtaching white pants, brown shirts, and light brown/white[?] bowties. it's nice to see boz boorer is still playing with moz, but i wonder what happened to alain whyte. anyone know? i might have to look that one up. the rest of the band, for their part, looked about five days outta high school, but what they lack in age they more than made up for with their superb musianship.

the set itself was a nice mix of old and new, with equal chunks coming from 'ringleader of the tormenters,' 'you are the quarry,' and 'vauxhall and i.' conspicuously absent were tracks from 'viva hate,' 'your arsenal,' 'maladjusted,' and 'southpaw grammar' [he didn't play anything from 'kill uncle,' but that's ok 'cos that album's a big, fat turkey]. the biggest surprise to me was 'sister i'm poet.' not only is it my favorite moz song, i think it's one of his most underappreciated. i went nuts when i heard it and i might've given barbie whiplash after giving her a good shake and screaming, 'this is my favorite morrissey song!!' 'jack the ripper,' which moz referred to as 'the thoughts of jack the ripper' was also another pleasant surprise. i would've loved to hear 'suedehead' or 'everyday is like sunday,' but i've heard them live before, so i'll have to suffice myself with that. the stars of the show, as they usually are, were the smiths' songs: 'how soon is now,' 'stop me if you think you've heard this one before,' 'stretch out and wait,' and an incredible performance of 'death of a disco dancer.' for me it was the highlight of the show. the night ended with a one-song encore, 'the first of the gang to die.'

between songs moz was downright chatty, offering a few thoughts on 'the munchkin' [george bush] and tony blair, taking a few barbs at rolling stone magazine ['it's not even a music magazine!'], giving the mic to a couple of people in the front row and asking for 'wise' words, and spilling out a few more self-depricating one-liners. [i thought i was going to have to administer cpr to barbie both times he shed his shirt. he is one good-looking and distinguished sonuvagun]. it's always nice when a performer interacts with the crowd instead of remaining essentially a two-dimensional figure.

through it all, however, i couldn't help but feel that mozzer is sensing that his own bright, shining star is begining to fade. i don't think that's necessarily true, but he expressed some surprise with someone in the front row who 'knew all the words.' we all know all the words, moz. we really do!

he may not be the icon he once was, but given the number of kids under the age of twelve i saw there, i don't think his legacy is an any danger. things are just different now. we've all grown up a bit, that's all [there were plenty of thirty- and forty-somethings in attendance]. the once rabid cult-of-moz, instead of storming the stage with reckless abandon and draping its collective arm around his neck, now treats its hero with quiet reverance and respect, and above all, appreciation.

you have nothing to worry about, stephen. everyday is like sunday...

morrissey: sister i'm a poet ['everyday is like sunday' b-side] / video
morrissey: a good looking man about town ['you have killed me' b-side]
the smiths: death of a disco dancer


'over the bridge,' by the superimposers

i love this band. let me just get that out of the way. ok.

the superimposers [dan warden and miles copeland] first surfaced in 2003 with a 7" single of 'over the bridge.' it's one of those songs so beautiful and so deceptively simple that it's easy to overlook the strong compositional skills and the intricate arrangements informed by the likes of brian wilson and phil 'the green mile' spector. but as tired and overdone as references to those two titans of production are, it doesn't lessen or diminish warden's and copeland's considerable studio chops, for they are considerable. it's easy to hear the tremendous attention to detail and care put into these songs and the payoff for the careful listener is tremendous.

the three songs i've posted all come from their self-titled debut, which is actually a collection of singles, e.p.'s and various whatnuts that sound like the soundtrack to a golden autumn where the past becomes the present and the present becomes the past. highly recommended.

tick tock, living in a clock, if i could only bend the time...

the superimposers: over the bridge
the superimposers: seeing is believing
the superimposers: rainbow


'death's door' and 'dangerous,' by depeche mode

it's friday. my office today could easily be mistaken for a tomb. it's quiet, it's dead. i'd rather be at the gym. i'm counting down the last two hours [which seem to passing very, very slowly]. what else could i do beside post some depeche mode tunes? zip.

'death's door' and 'dangerous' are two of my favorite depeche songs. given the quality of the songs, it's a bit surprising they didn't make it onto any 'official' depeche album; but at the same time, i don't think either song would've fit on a depeche album. that's the beauty of a b-side. it stand alone. it doesn't need to be framed in the context of an album--especially a band like depeche whose records are meant to be listened to as a whole.

'death's door' originally appeared on the soundtrack to the wim wender film, 'until the end of the world' back in 1991. i think it's one of martin's best ballads, right up there with 'home' [sorry, but i can't listen to 'somebody' and 'question of lust' anymore]. 'dangerous,' on the other hand, was the b-side to 'personal jesus,' and was one of three incredible b-sides from the violator singles ['sea of sin' and 'the happiest girl' being the other two]. 'dangerous' is so good, in fact, it might be my favorite song from the entire violator-era. i remember being stunned at the time that it wasn't on the album. how could this be? i thought. this song is great! but in looking back, while it does fit violator thematically, it doesn't really fit tonally.

last spring i bought 'the complete depeche mode' off iTunes. it's hardly complete, but it is pretty exhaustive. in scrolling through the zillions of tracks, i'd guestimate 80% are remixes. i love remixes. especially depeche remixes. i don't think you could name a band for whom remixes are more tailor made. and i don't think it's a stretch to suggest depeche are responsible for the whole idea of remixes. pick up just about any depeche single going back to the early 80s and you're bound to find four or five [or more] remixes of said single. i now have nearly 30 versions of 'enjoy the silence.' sure, there are some clunkers, but there are some really great ones to be heard, too.

what you don't find from depeche are a lot of b-sides and non-album tracks, which sometimes prove to be among a band's better songs. given depeche's incredible longevity, you'd think they have a treasure trove of stuff. but they don't. vince had a few. they were great ['ice machine,' and 'shout']. a lot of martin's early b-sides were instrumental [as were the few alan threw out there]. you might get one or two songs per album, maybe, that qualified as true b-sides [unlike, say, suede, who'd give you half a dozen b-sides or more per album]. this could be due to the fact that depeche didn't need b-sides to sell singles, or it could be that martin and co. simply didn't have a lot left over after finishing an album. i think it points points to martin's succinctity as a songwriter. he writes for the album and that's it. there's no fat to trim because there isn't any fat to begin with.

whatever the case may be, these two non-album tracks are some of depeche's best. if you've heard them, you know what i'm talking about. if you haven't, here are some new faves to add to your list.

one hour to go.....

depeche mode: dangerous [m4a]
depeche mode: dangerous [sensual mix] [m4a]
depeche mode: death's door [mp3]
→ depeche mode: death's door [jazz remix] [m4a]


'i woke up,' by dibidim

i've been meaning to post these guys for ages -- at least since last february -- but for whatever reason or other, i just never got around to it. as i'm listening to it again this morning, i'm feeling guilty about not writing this post sooner, for it is supremely excellent music!

the first time i heard 'i woke up' i thought, 'wow, this is what a-ha would sound like were they recording in 2007 instead of 1985.' [a-ha is still around, but you konw what i mean]. the synth lines are simple, yet emotive and the vocals so pristine and pure that i could've sworn it was the second coming of morten harket. so it came as little surprise that dibidim doods jonas raabe and jeron gunderson both hail from norway [oslo & bergen, respectively]. however, they met in liverpool and it was there dibidim was born.

'riders,' their second release [so far as i can gather], is a great little late-night album--moody and sexy, playful and nostalgic. if you like your synthpop with a dose of retro-cool, dibidim's the band for you. a warning: good luck finding the album. i have no idea where my friend who gave it to me got it. i can't find it on sale anywhere [even the 'buy' links are their website are dead], so if you like what you hear, let me know...

dibidim: i woke up
dibidim: she turns to gold
dibidim: sailor


'all i need,' by radiohead

as most of you know by now, radiohead made their new album, 'in rainbows' available for download today. in an unprecedented move, they've decided to let the buyer decide what he or she wants to pay for the album. if you want to a pay a dollar, you can. if you want to pay f'ity cents, you can. if you want to buy it, head on over to http://www.inrainbows.com/.

let me preface what i'm about to say by saying this first: i'm no radiohead die-hard. i don't think 'ok computer' was the best album of the 1990s. i don't think 'kid a' and 'amnesiac' were the. best. albums. ever. i've listened to those albums several times and i've never really understood what all the fuss was about. decent? sure. great? ummm... thom york suddenly thinking his meandering yodelling was a sufficient substitute for melody and that the band's pre-programmed rhythms/percussion and navel-gazing knob twiddling were adequate substitutes for songcraft left a bitter taste and a lot to be desired.

it's all been downhill for radiohead since 'the bends,' [and i know i'm hardly the only person who thinks so] which, for me, is the bands' most impressive album and biggest statement. i think too many music fans have been conned into the unrealistic opinions of and allegiances to radiohead simply because a few critics trip all over themselves continually declaring radiohead's brilliance. because, you know, whatever critics say is gospel, right? [and don't get me started on music 'fans' [snobs] who decide what's great and what isn't based on a completely arbitrary 'score' from some website, i.e. pitchfork. decide for yourselves, people. don't let a 'score' dictate your choices]. i never subscribed to the 'it's radiohead, ergo it's brilliant' mentality. i even had a friend once say to me, 'ok computer is the best album of the last twenty years. just admit it.' i'm not making that up. sure, radiohead is a great band, but the best band on the planet? well...

so having said that, i've listened to 'in rainbows' twice this morning and all i can say is that it rocks the friggin' world. i'm on my third listen now and 'in rainbows' is the sound of a band completely and wholly reinvigorated, full of purpose, intent, and direction. the songs are focused and restrained and thom yorke's finally rediscovered melody. and the band's finally rediscovered organics. are those live, acoustic drums i hear? you betcha.

is it radiohead's best album? i guess it depends on your criteria for 'best' [and since it's impossible to prove that one album is better than another]. all i know is that i've not enjoyed a radiohead album this much since i first heard 'the bends' some 12 years ago. really, it's a wonderful album. and since you can pretty much pay whatever you want for it, there's no reason not to buy it. if you want to pay $9.99 for it, at today's exchange rate, enter 4.89 british pounds at the check out. do it. it's a great achievement.

radiohead: all i need
radiohead: bodysnatchers


'crying's what you need,' by future conditional

not only did glen johnson and cedric (both members of piano magic--a great band in its own right) name their band after a verb tense, they are both also headless.

future conditional's debut, 'we don't just disappear' (hence the ironic photo to the left. apparently the do just disappear) is a pretty deliberate homage to the likes of early-era o.m.d., new order, and kreftwerk. it's full of smart synthpop songs and great hooks. and not only are the songs great, but they've got a pretty great roster of guest vocalists including melanie pain from nouvelle vague, angele david-guillou from klima, and the man who never met a sad song he didn't like, bob wratten from the field mice and trembling blue stars. (angele does vocals for 'crying's what you need' and melanie does vocals for 'switchboard girl').

i just love 'crying's what you need.' not only does it completely [it's almost funny, actually, how identical they are] ape the melody to belle and sebastian's 'the boy with the arab strap,' but it's also got one of the best intro verses i've heard in a while. to wit:

somebody told me you never got over
the last girl that kissed you, though she was much older
she'd lived through the smiths and she knew how to kiss
she was in libraries and you were in college
she stacked up the shelves whilst you wracked up your knowledge
she archived her brains as you drank with your mates...

great. 'we don't just disappear' is out now and available at the usual outlets.

future conditional: crying's what you need
future conditional: the switchboard girl


'as we fight,' by alsace lorraine

named for a notoriously disputed territory between france and germany (the history of which i let you research on your own), alsace lorraine began as the brainchild of hewson chen from vitesse and paul francke. their output has been sporadic at best, but what they have done is so great that you hardly mind the six year hiatus between their debut, 'through small windows,' and their newest, 'the dark one,' that came out earlier this year.

caitlin brice handled vocal duties on the debut, but isol, the fantastic [former?] lead singer of the argentine indietronic band, entre rios [and an incredible illustrator and children's book author], took the mic for six tracks on 'the dark one.' and as you might suspect, the album is an exercise is perfect pop, highlighted by isol's endearing english-as-a-second-language vocals. 'as we fight' is but one of many gems sprinkled throughout the album.

isol and paul (now a duo) are currently in the studio working on their third album with ian catt [the unofficial fourth member of saint etienne-my all-time faves-so you can imagine i'm pretty stoked about the implications of such a union] and all signs point to a stellar third l.p.

you can also check out isol's blog, and her incredible dibujitos, here. [it'll help if you speak ye olde espanol, but if you don't, you can still appreciate her great illustrations]. what a talent. enjoy...

alsace-lorraine: as we fight [from 'the dark one,' 2007)
alsace-lorraine: swing low, constellation [from 'through small windows,' 2001]
entre rios: odisea [from 'onda,' 2005]


'cheater's armoury,' by hanne hukkelberg

all the way from konsberg, norway comes hanne hukkelberg. she released a new album, 'rykestrasse 68' this year, the follow up to her great debut, 'little things.'

she's a tough one to peg, that hanne; but in her case it's totally fantastic. she's part cabaret singer, part torch singer, part jazz musician, part tin pan alley purveyor, part indie snow goddess. add it all up and you get a pretty unique and eclectic sound [take 'little girl,' for example. it sounds like a video game with a banjo accompaniment. as odd as it sounds, it works]. i can't really think of anyone off the top of my head that she sounds like, and in this day in age of recycled musical genres, copy-cat 'artists,' and generic songwriting, it's nothing short of spectacular. 'cheater's armoury,' aside from being a terrific song title, is a terrific little song that'll the charm the pants right off ya. or shirt. or socks. or whatever you happened to be wearing. there's a lot more going on in this song than is immediately apparent. i'm pretty sure there's a cowbell buried in there somewhere, which is, of course, awesome.

if you like the cardigans and regina spektor [that's about as close as i can come to comparisons, but they really aren't that valid], i'm pretty sure dig hanne, too. here are two samples from her newest album and one from her first. i dare you not to fall for her. double dog dare.

happy weekend, all...

hanne hukkelberg: cheater's armoury / video
hanne hukkelberg: the pirate
hanne hukkelberg: little girl


'your song,' by the streets [elton john cover]

my friend stuart tipped me off to a pretty cool new compilation of covers the other day. it's called 'radio 1: established 1967' and features a pretty wild and varied collection of contemporary artists covering songs going back to 1967. as with any compilation, there are hits and there are misses. it's pretty cool, though, to hear lily allen's take on the pretender's 'don't get me wrong,' keane's version of 'under pressure,' and hard-fi's fuzzy, amped up version of britney's 'toxic'; but as fun as those songs are, there's one song that stands miles above the rest. it's the crown jewel of the entire collection: the streets' version of elton john's and bernie taupin's classic, 'your song.'

'your song' is one of elton john's finest [if not the finest] melodies and mike skinner is probably the least likely person to cover sir elton's classic, but this version is so many kinds of awesome that i can't even count them all, but there's at least 34 or 35. maybe 36. i was expecting a two-steppy, dancy sound a la 'weak become heroes' or 'fit but you know it,' so it's a bit surprising that mike stays fairly faithful to the original, musically speaking. i would've loved to hear a two-step version of it, but the fact that he didn't makes it all the more brilliant and unpredictable. mike skinner's marlboro-man, staccati vocals are an excellent counterpoint to the flawless melody and the fact he pronounces 'live' in such a way that it could rhyme with 'spliff' is extraordinary. that mike's version of 'your song' works as well as it does speaks to the song's transcendence and trans-generational appeal. some might cry foul or make claims of heresy [indielondon says mike 'murders' it--that's precisely why it's so great], but in this dood's opinion, it's a revelation.

the streets: your song
ewan mcgregor: your song [from the 'moulin rouge' soundtrack

Arcade Fire's Cryptic Message

the nme is reporting...

'arcade fire have posted a cryptic message online. on their neonbible site visitors click on a closed eye to see it opening and revealing a message. the message reads: "Be oNline B October 6th.' [BNBO? what does it mean?]. clicking the message, visitors are sent to beonlineb.com. the website features the words 'october 6' eleven times.

so on saturday, make sure you go here: http://www.beonlineb.com/

what could it be? a new song? a live album available for free download? it's gotta be something big if they built a website for it.

let the speculation begin. post your theories below.


'don't let him waste your time,' by jarvis cocker

during the last 20 years there is perhaps no other front man in british music more iconic than jarvis cocker [except the mozfather, of course]. with his black-rimmed coke-bottle glasses, foppish hair and biting wit, jarvis was the perfect anti-hero, the pied piper of mis-shapes, mistakes and misfits, the voice of the disillusions, disheartened and disenfrachised. and, of course, there was the incident at the 1996 brits. [anyone who moons the king of pop is a-ok in my book]. man, i love jarvis.

sadly, we haven't heard any new pulp for several years now. i sincerely hope we haven't seen the last of them. i never got to see them live and that's my biggest concert regret. ever. so in lieu of a proper pulp album, jarvis released an excellent solo album last year in the UK and this year in the US. though age seems to have mellowed the man just a tad, he's lost none of his wit. with song titles 'fat children,' 'disney time,' and 'i will kill again,' jarvis shows that nothing is off-limits. if you haven't heard pulp or jarvis yet, you've got quite a back catalogue to dive into. here's a taste.

jarvis cocker: don't let him waste your time / video [and what a video!]
richard x featuring jarvis cocker: into you [mazzy star 'cover'/'mashup']
william shatner: common people [pulp cover]


'journey from a to b,' by badly drawn boy

damon gough [a.k.a badly drawn boy] is one of the most, if not the most perplexing artists working today; a man capable of moments of pure rapture and others of pure frustration. case in point: after back-to-back classic albums [the mercury prize winner 'hour of the bewilderbeat' and the soundtrack to 'about a boy'], badly drawn boy took a step backwards with his next two albums, 'have you fed the fish' and 'one plus one is one.' sure, they were fine albums with occassionally great moments, but they were bloated, over-produced affairs [not to mention excessively long gigs -- 2 and 1/2 hour gig at DV8 a while back] with overwrought arragements in which gough seemed to want to be everyone but himself. i was hesitant to give his newest album, 'born in the u.k.' a listen simply because i was afraid to see him slip any futher.

thankfully, 'born in the uk,' while not matching the strength of his first two, is certainly a welcome return to form. 'journey from a to b' carries a lot of the same winsome charm of badly drawn boy classics, 'a minor incident' and 'silent sigh.' the go! team remix is, per usual, outstanding and actually ends up sounding more like a go! team song than a badly drawn boy song. here's hoping 'born in the u.k.' serves as a springboard and launches damon back into the ranks of england's finest songwriters.

badly drawn boy: journey from a to b
badly drawn boy: journey from a to b [go! team remix]