Everybody likes Missy Elliott

Last night, I was smoking a cigarette in Harvard Square with my good friend Mark, who happens to work with Mission of Burma. Over veggie burgers, he revealed to me that Roger Miller is a HUGE Missy Elliott fan, and happened to spin a few of her songs in a very short DJ set in Cambridge last week. (He also provided me with an advanced copy of The Obliterati, more on that later.)

Today, in a completely unrelated manner, I stumbled upon David Byrne's archived radio shows. In the month of October of last year, the Talking Head only spun Missy Elliott songs. I shit you not. Fact check me here.

So then, I just started googling "Missy Elliott" and "Indie". What came up surprised me a lot:
1) Interview with Bonnie "Prince" Billy- "I always buy Missy Elliott records on the first day they’re out."
2) Jarvis Cocker Talks Bono, Missy Elliott
3) Zutons cover Missy Elliott

Should it surprise me? I mean...Missy Elliott is a fantastic pop star. I respect anybody who has the balls to dress in an extra large garbage bag and do the Freddie. Or, in general, be a woman in the atrociously sexist hip-hop scene. I'm thinking of finding a couple of tracks and shimmying. If David Byrne can like her and still know more about Latvian techno than any human being alive, I can too.

Four Tet set to release DJ-Kicks compilation

As if doing some serious rocking out with James Brown's drummer and releasing two live albums wasn't enough for 2006, Four Tet wunderkind Kieran Hebden is the next in line to contribute to !K7 Records legendary DJ-Kicks series. The twenty-one track mixtape is slated for a June 26th release, and will feature everything from 60s soul to French pop to straight up drum n' bass. Gangsta.


1. David Behrman - Leapday night (scene 1)
2. Syclops - Mom, the video broke
3. Curtis Mayfield - If I were only a child again
4. Heiner Stadler - Out-rock
5. Gary Davis - The Professor Here
6. Heldon - Les soucoupes volantes vertes
7. Stereolab - Les yper sound
8. So Solid Crew - Dilemma
9. Akufen - Psychometry 3.2
10. Animal Collective - Baby day
11. Madvillain - Figaro (st101 remix)
12. Julian Priester + Pepo Mtoto - Love, love
13. Four Tet - Pockets
14. Model 500 - Psychosomatic
15. Shona People of Rhodesia - Taireva
16. Quickspace Supersport - Superplus
17. Cabaret Voltaire - Kneel to the boss
18. Gong - Love is how y make it
19. Showbiz & AG - Represent
20. Group Home - Up against the wall (getaway car mix)
21. Autechre - Flutter

Not only will we get to hear Kieran somehow mix Curtis Mayfield with Animal Collective, we'll also get "Pockets" - the first new Four Tet song since 2005's Everything Ecstatic. If you aren't into the whole mixtape thing, but still want to hear "Pockets", Domino is planning to release it is a 12" sometime this August. Kieran promises that this is "the only new Four Tet material this year", so treasure it.


Adem - Love and Other Planets (Domino)

It's a rare and unique occurence when I feel genuinely safe with a record, though that was the case with Adem Ilhan's 2004 release Homesongs. The album was a sprawling opus, malleable in form and texture, gentle and bewildering without sacrificing power. I listened to "Gone Away" so much that the words started blurring together and meaning nothing. It was the sound I desired, the cooing of the melodica, the aura of safety.

Two years later, not much has changed. A step farther from his experimentalist role in Fridge, Love and Other Planets shows Adem working with a full-time percussionist -- adding a depth that Homesongs never truly achieved. But Adem never lets percussion overshadow the brilliant songwriting. "Launch Yourself" buzzes into a frenzy of handclaps and delicate harmonies before a driving 4/4 beat even enters. "Spirals", on the other hand, is classic Adem territory...just him and an acoustic guitar, gently picked arpeggios, singin' about love...ah. I don't think I breathed once through the whole song.

Love and Other Planets was released on April 24th in the UK, but a stateside release date has yet to be announced or planned. In fact, Adem's name is no longer on Domino's US roster (did they drop him?). But, hey, if you're willing to spend high import costs to hear one of the best albums of the year, more power to you.

Am I always going to brag about how I played tambourine for him at the Avalon? Until the day I die.

Adem - "Warning Call"
Adem - "You and Moon"
Adem - "Launch Yourself"


This just in: two people in Great Britain don't like Arctic Monkeys, record sales slump 0.0006%

When the Arctic Monkeys debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest selling record in UK history, I was really happy. Granted, I was pretty indifferent about their music, but I was excited to know that there was a band of young, passionate kids out there getting a lot of media attention. It doesn't happen that often, you know? We need more of 'em.

Recently, there have been a few stabs taken at the band, through British hipster bible NME, namely by Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell (wtf?) and, everyone's favorite lazy-eyed intellegensia, Thom Yorke. Let's see 'em:

NME: Are you better than the Arctic Monkeys?
Borrell: What? Of course we fucking are...If you'd ask me if I felt like a genius compared to them, then yeah, I do.

NME: Why do you think the Arctic Monkeys are selling so many records?
Yorke: The fact that poor Arctic Monkeys are getting so much attention is purely based on the fact that the mainstream music business is such a bunch of fucking retards as far as I'm concerned.

Since Yorke's comments, the band's sales have not stopped skyrocketing. As of May 1st, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not had sold over a million copies in the UK alone. Not bad for a bunch of college kids, even if the music industry sucks. I don't think there's any denying that, Mr. Yorke, but we're taking one step at a time. K?

Beirut to make Boston debut on July 1st

Beirut, a.k.a. 19 year-old Zachary Condon, is set to make his debut performance in Boston on July 1st at P.A.'s Lounge in Somerville, and come back again in August. See my review of his new record. I'm not joking, it really does sound like Tim Buckley fronting a fucking Balkan orchestra.

07/01 - Somerville, MA - P.A.'s Lounge
08/26 - Somerville, MA - P.A.'s Lounge

If you aren't crazy like I am, and haven't been rabidly following Beirut's every move since he entered the blogosphere, check him out and listen to a song or two here.


Jens Lekman contemplates LG lawsuit, preps live DVD/EP

According to Jens Lekman's blog, cell phone giant LG (you know, the phones you get for free when you buy Cingular's cheapest plan) has used a song in their latest ad campaign that sounds curiously similar to Jens's "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill". And what does Jens have to say about this?

"If you live in the United States of America you might see a washing machine commercial with a song that apparently sounds a lot like one of my songs. It is not one of my songs but here's the story. I was approached about a month ago by this company , represented by a myriad of producers. They wanted my song, I said no. Yesterday I saw a comment on my Myspace site "Holy crap, this LG commercial just featured a Sweet Summernight on Hammer Hill". I got worried , I contacted my recordlabels. Today I got the verdict: It's not your song, but it's something very similar. I havent heard it yet so I can't tell if I've been totally ripped off or not. If I have then I'm the total loser - my song gets associated with a washing machine and I get paid nothing for it.

Take a listen: LG Washing Machine Commercial Audio

And then this: Jens Lekman - "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill"

However, Jens has announced no legislative action in his defense. Come on, it sounds really similar. It even has the clapping and trumpet and everything! Oh well.

Meanwhile, Jens continues to work on the follow up to last year's gorgeous Oh You're So Silent Jens in Goethenburg. As a teaser, Jens is planning to release a DVD/EP entitled Kullaberg, which features five new songs supposedly recorded in a hollowed-out volcano. Right.

There is no confirmed release date, but I have the tracklist for you. Does that help at all?

The Death of My Parents
Happy Birthday to Shame
The Rain Has Got to Fall
Your Arms Around Me

Jens Lekman: Official Website


David Thomas Broughton/Doveman trek across America, reverb pedal stock soars

David Thomas Broughton has the tape loop skills of Thurston Moore and the croon of a young Antony. His latest record, The Complete Guide to Insufficiency, has already gotten near the top of some early year-end lists, and many consider it to be one of the most creative records of the year. Doveman continues to be greatly underappreciated, and despite the brief success of last year's The Acrobat, still can't manage to headline anywhere that merits promotion. Still, the pair have decided to take their show on the road, with a stop in Boston.

7/8 - Somerville, MA - P.A.'s Lounge

Last year I had the chance to see Doveman and The Robot Ate Me in some dude's basement in Jamaica Plain. I'm regretting that now.

Toumani Diabate finishes Boulevard without Ali Farka Toure

On June 20th, 2006, Malian kora legend Toumani Diabate will release Boulevard de l'Independence on Nonesuch Records. Though it will be Diabate's first solo album since 1999's New Ancient Strings, many will recognize the name and sound from Ali Farka Toure's final recording, 2005's critically acclaimed In the Heart of the Moon. Diabate had planned to record Boulevard de l'Independence with Farka Toure until his death in Bamako on March 7th, but chose to continue the project without him.

Instead, Diabate decided to work with the Symmetic Orchestra, a collective of session musicians from Mali. According to the BBC, "Boulevard exhibits a balance between tradition and innovation, youth and maturity, electric and acoustic, quiet interludes and rocking dance numbers." Sound like one guy with a kora? Didn't think so. Tracklisting:

1. Toumani
2. Boulevard de l'Independence
3. Ya Fama
4. Mali Sadio
5. Africa Challenge
6. Wasso
7. Mamadou Diaby
8. Tapha Niang
9. Single

Montreal Jazz Fest, 6/28 - 7/9

For a mere couple thousand dollars a person, you can not only stay in the most beautiful city in North America for two weeks, you can also spend every night sipping martinis and seeing some of the classiest music the world has to offer. The annual Montreal Jazz Festival will be held from June 28th through July 9th this year, and it will feature performances from a laundry list of great entertainers, just a few of which are listed here.

Do I see the Commodores?:

Amadou & Mariam, B.B. King, Brad Melhdau, Cab Calloway, Calexico, Cat Power, DJ Shadow, Daniel Lanois, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Elvis Costello & the Imposters feat. Allen Toussaint, David Sanchez, Emmylou Harris, Etta James, Gomez, Jamie Cullum, Jamie Lidell, Joe Lovano, John Pizzarelli, John Zorn, Kenny Garrett Quartet, Konono No. 1, Maceo Parker, Martha Wainwright, McCoy Tyner, Pat Martino Quartet, Pharaoh Sanders Quartet, Ravi Coltrane, Salif Keita, Seu Jorge, The Bad Plus, The Belle Orchestre, The Commodores, The Dears, The Juan MacLean, The Roots, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Yann Tiersen

I would go just to have the chance to hang out with Tony Bennett, jesus christ. What are you waiting for? Sell all your belongings and go here:

Montreal Jazz Festival: Tickets and Information

Ben Chasny tours, records a lot

Ben Chasny, the freewheeling guitar lord behind free-folk juggernaut Six Organs of Admittance, is planning on spending most of the spring and summer releasing records and touring the United States. On May 23rd, we get his collaboration with Joe McPhee session drummer Chris Corsano and TVBC guitarist Paul Metzger, titled Split. The only thing record label Roaratorio will offer us about this release is that it's "short and sharp." Thanks.

On June 13th, Chasny offers us his first full length since last year's superb School of the Flower. This one's called The Sun Awakens, and, according to an interview with Everything is Fire, is "more relaxing and rich than its predecessor." As usual, the record will be released by Drag City in the US. Tracklisting:

1. Torn By Wolves
2. Bless Your Blood
3. Black Wall
4. The Desert Circle
5. Attar
6. Wolves Pup
7. River of Transfiguration

Lastly, Chasny will launch his first American tour that will play somewhere that isn't an art gallery. On July 7th, Chasny will be coming to the Middle East Upstairs, a place where we've come to expect high school bands to warm up in, and occassionally Matt Pryor. Ah well. Better than the Zeitgeist.

07/07 - Boston, MA - The Middle East Upstairs

Antonio Carlos Jobim gets reissued

Antonio Carlos Jobim, the self-proclaimed "Brazilian Gershwin," will finally get the reissue treatment for his early work, via experimental jazz/soul label DBK Works on June 27th. The albums in question, The Wonderful World of Antonio Carlos Jobim (1965), Love, Strings, and Jobim (1966), and A Certain Mr. Jobim (1967), have all been long out of print, and never available on compact disc. Thankfully, the digital-savvy world will able to get their fix of the king of bossanova. Dig:

The Wonderful World of Antonio Carlos Jobim
1. She's a Carioca
2. Agua de Beber
3. Surfboard
4. Useless Landscape
5. So' Tinha de Ser Com Voce
6. A Felicidade
7. Bonita
8. Favela
9. Valsa de Porto das Caixas
10. Samba do Aviao
11. Por Toda a Minha Vida
12. Dindi

Love, Strings, and Jobim
1. Eu Preciso de Voce
2. Preciso Aprender a Ser So
3. Seu Encanto
4. Tristeza de Nos Dois
5. Razao de Viver
6. Berimbau
7. Samba Torto
8. Chuva
9. You
10. Imagem
11. Morrer de Amor
12. A Morte de Um Deus de Sal

A Certain Mr. Jobim
1. Bonita
2. Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Voce
3. Off-Key
4. Photography
5. Surfboard
6. Outra Vez
7. I Was Just One More for You
8. Estrada do Sol
9. Por Causa de Voce
10. Zingaro

With all the hubbub recently around other important Brazilian artists such as Os Mutantes, Tom Ze and Joao Gilberto, it really surprises me that Jobim's name hasn't come up. His contributions to the country's musical landscape is unparalleled, and probably will never be matched.

Antonio Carlos Jobim: Clube do Tom


Gnarls Barkley tops UK charts, plays Conan

Need another reason why pretty much any other country is better than the United States? Take England. Last week ended with indie hip-hop sensation Gnarls Barkley (Danger Mouse/Cee-Lo) atop the UK charts, with their song "Crazy". Meanwhile, back in the United States, Daniel Powter's banal teen pop anthem "Bad Day" spent its third week at #1. 'Nuff said.

In other news, following the release of their debut St. Elsewhere, Gnarls Barkley will grace the presence of everyone's favorite short red-headed talk show host, Conan O'Brien, on his May 24th show. For us American folk, it will be our first glimpse at the duo's supposedly bombastic live show. Could anyone miss Cee-Lo in Alice in Wonderland garb?

Gnarls Barkley: Crazy

William Parker/Kidd Jordan to release Palm of Soul

After spending most of last year gathering live material for what would become 2005's free-jazz masterpiece Sound Unity, Parker returns on June 13th with his first proper full length of 2006 (let's not count the hit-or-miss "Long Hidden" sessions). Recorded in Brooklyn in September, Palm of Soul is a Afrobeat-inspired free improvisation composed and arranged by tenor sax virtuoso Kidd Jordan. According to the tracklisting, nobody better touch his chicken wings:

1. Peppermint Falls
2. Forever
3. Living Peace
4. Unity Call
5. So Often
6. Resolution
7. Last of the Chicken Wings

As he usually does, Parker is going to be playing the bass and other assorted percussion instruments, and will be accompanied by the wonderful Hamid Drake, who also produced the record. When it comes to all-out rhythmic domination, not much comes close to the Drake/Parker tag team.

Check it out:
William Parker / Hamid Drake / Kidd Jordan

Flying - Just-One-Second-Ago Broken Eggshell (Mill Pond)

With the whole free-folk explosion in full swing, I'm always confused when I discover genuinely original indie folk going completely unnoticed. As was the case with the guys of Akron/Family, Brooklyn-based collective Flying has slipped almost entirely under the hipster radar. The four-piece's debut album was just released on Mill Pond Records, and boy is it a party. Unlike other bearded boys like Animal Collective and Devendra Banhart, Flying find themselves more based in pop song structure and strongly influenced by South American/European psychedelia (read: Os Mutantes, Brigitte Fontaine). And a lot of times I find it refreshing to hear female vocals at least once in a genre. Yeah.

Flying: Last Trick

Go to New York and see this:

6/10 - New York, NY - Northsix

And, hey, while you're in New York, buy me a shirt.

Thom Yorke releases The Eraser, Radiohead doesn't break up

After many years of anxiously awaiting new Radiohead material, I can now announce...a new Thom Yorke album. Eh. It's not Radiohead, but it's close enough. The record is titled The Eraser and will be out on British-based XL Recordings on July 11th. More from the man:

this is just a note to say that something has been kicking around in the background that i have not told you about.
its called The Eraser.
nigel produced & arranged it .
i wrote and played it.
the elements have been kicking round now for a few years and needed to be finished & i have been itching to do something like this for ages.
it was fun and quick to do.
inevitably it is more beats & electronics.
but its songs.
stanley did the cover.
yes its a record!
no its not a radiohead record.
as you know the band are now touring and writing new stuff and getting to a good space so i want no crap about me being a traitor or whatever splitting up blah blah...
this was all done with their blessing. and i don't wanna hear that word solo. doesnt sound right.
ok then thats that.

i think its out in july and im pretty certain XL are going to put it out.
love thom

If you're like me, and you weren't clicking refresh on a Ticketmaster site at 10:01 last Saturday morning, you won't be seeing Radiohead anywhere this summer. Whatever, this will be nice. Mark the date!

Silver Mt. Zion tour, plan Fuck You Drakulas

Silver Mt. Zion, everyone's favorite apocalyptics, are finally planning to launch a North American tour that actually includes the United States. Their tour will take them across the great states and Canada with labelmates and klezmerkore aficionados Black Ox Orkestar, who recently released their sophomore effort on Constellation. They are even playing a date at a real venue in Boston! Funny, I thought they hated us.

7-26 - Boston, MA - Middle East Downstairs

According to the official Silver Mt. Zion site, a new album is expected to be finished by the end of summer and released some time this fall. The record, which the band worked on this winter, is tentatively titled Fuck You Drakulas and will feature live recordings. I hope there's some new stuff on there too...as usual, I can't wait.

Danielson - Ships (Secretly Canadian)

I was a little skeptical about the new Danielson record when people started praising it. I know he was Sufjan's mentor and everything, and, as a fan of indie folk, I'm supposed to want to rub myself in anything Mr. Stevens is vaguely related to, but I still wasn't ever that psyched about Daniel Smith. Until now. Ships is Daniel Smith's most unique record so far, featuring an impressive cast of players: members of Why?, Deerhoof, Serena Maneesh all contribute. Plus, I can actually listen to it without getting a headache! It's wonderful and catchy! I like it a lot, I think.

I'm going to recommend this record to anyone who likes indie pop, especially Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or the New Pornographers or anything else that sings about strange things. It's fun, and definitely worth your time. It even got a resounding thumbs up from Jens Lekman.

Danielson: Did I Step On Your Trumpet?

His ridiculous live show will also be visiting every city in New England even remotely populated, so keep your ears open:

7-19 - Boston, MA - The Middle East
7-20 - Portland, ME - Space Gallery
7-21 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
7-22 - Providence, RI - AS 220