Friday, January 30, 2009

Black Cab Session: Jens Lekman

Seeing Jens last year at SXSW, at Emo's, was a highlight of last year's trip to Austin. And I've been keeping an eye out for all things Jens. And I'm sure you are just DYING to see/hear him sing "Black Cab". In the back of a cab. That's black. So here, you're welcome, it is really my pleasure.

What you are not a fan? Well how about Ryan Adams? Death Cab? Bon Iver? The National? To each, his or her own, I say. But please do check it out. There are plenty more to suit your tastes. I love the idea of this site, take an artist, put them in the back of a black cab, and let them sing a song as the world rolls by.

One day, I too will come up with an idea so ridiculously simple that all the world will bow before my genius. Until then, well, at least we have each other.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Buck 65: Coming To SXSW?

That may end up being the tipping point for me, although he was scheduled to appear last year and stood me up. Here's "Shutterbuggin'"

And "Wicked and Weird"

Austin, your call is strong. The owl building, Stubbs, Chuy's, you haunt me. We shall see.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Decemberists: The Rake's Song

The Decemberists have a new full-length release coming out March 24. To whet your appetite, and to hold you over until then, they have been kind enough to offer Old Skool an non-exclusive offer to download "The Rake's Song" for free!. And since it is a non-exclusive offer, even you can download this wonderful musically example of 1's and 0's, play it on your MP3 player of choice, and amaze your friends and frenemies with your musical insider knowledge! Go to their site to download. All they ask for is your email and zip code. A small price to pay, no?

The new album is a concept album (how prog), about a story that I'm sure we've all heard before: A woman, Margaret, is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal. It also stars her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake. Guests include Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock and the Spinanes' Rebecca Gates. It's like the rock opera Tommy for the 20-somethings of today. who is playing the role of Elton John?! My vote goes to Robyn.


1. Prelude
2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
3. A Bower Scene
4. Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
6. The Queen’s Approach
7. Isn’t it a Lovely Night?
8. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
9. An Interlude
10. The Rake’s Song
11. The Abduction of Margaret
12. The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
13. Annan Water
14. Margaret in Captivity
15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mark Gormley: Without You

Something for your Friday. Check out how he rocks the leg shift. The subtle nuances of his movement speak volumes:

Throw up the devil horns, my rock brethren!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tomorrow Night: AC/DC

Wonder if this kid will be there?

I know these guys will be:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Gray Kid "Soothsayer"

This song: good. Girls in lingerie: good. Girls in lingerie wearing gorilla masks: not cool, man.

Black Strobe "I'm A Man"

Came across this very nice song from '07. It's in the new Guy Ritchie movie, Rocknrolla. Like Nick Cave singing with one of those old-skool industrial bands. Check it:

I'm posting because I think it's a pretty good song, it's in an upcoming movie. Also because of the comments that are one the Youtube page. It's cracking me up that the posters are trying to figure out why the song sounds so familiar to them. One guesses George Thorogood's "Bad To The Bone", another suggests ZZ Top's "La Grange". That seems to satisfy them, "you are absolutely right", etc.

I understand the confusion. But it's a Bo Diddley cover. One of his biggest hits, other than "Bo Diddley". Now you and I know.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

BMG Music Club No Longer Taking New Members

You may be saying to yourself "Self, I didn't even realize that this club was still around!" --or-- "People still buy CDs?!?" --or-- "What's that?" But still, this is an inevitable passing, and I feel somewhat nostalgic about it. At one time I had a Columbia House membership AND BMG membership, all inn an effort to hoard as many mainstream CDs as possible. If anyone remembers the history of these clubs, at one time they truly served a great purpose: to get music to as many people as possible. You may not believe this if you were born in the last 15-25 years, but at one time there was NO INTERNET. and many smaller towns didn't have any way for a music fan to score the latest B-52's album. Radio played 40 crappy songs over and over. Enter these clubs. All of a sudden, some kid in rural Iowa (or in my case, central Illinois) could have a big cardboard box of free music delivered to his or her door, whatever sounded interesting to him/her.

Actually I had these memberships, and you could get more free CDs if you signed up a friend. So I also had a membership at work. At my grandma's house. At my girlfriend's house. Fulfill your membership, cancel, wait for the "We want you back" cards, "We'll give you more free CDs if you come back" mailer, sign back up, start the game all over again. It's called working the system, folks. Hell, I'm surprised I did not personally run these companies out of business.

But I am truly grateful for the clubs. Many times when ordering my 15 free CDs I only wanted a couple of the ones listed, and then I would try a bunch more, based on title, something I had read about, or a cool cover. This was the way I experienced Hank Williams, George Jones, the Allman Brothers, and many, many more for the first time. I wasn't hearing many of the artists I tried on the radio, or on MTV (once it was on the air). Each release, when it was good, was a kaleidoscope of sound that surprised and delighted. And if it sucked, eh. It was practically free. I remember wondering how many others even knew about some of these bands, as crazy as it sounds.

BMG, Columbia House, I salute you. Your time has passed, but once upon a time you were like an Amish Internet to me, a cornucopia of unknown thrills. Rather than mourn your passing, I delight in the memories you gave me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an old Tom Waits "Heart of Saturday Night" CD to play. An old friend sent it to me, even though I had never heard it before, and all it cost me was $3.95 shipping and handling.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Daft Punk Plus The Charleston= Awesome

Something for your Monday. Old meets new, made me smile.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Old Skool Year In Review

Well, happy '09 to each and every one of you. Here are some releases that made me all tingly in '08, starting with full-length releases. Let's begin, shall we?

These are in no particular order:
Hot Chip "Made In The Dark"- alternating between dance and contemplation, this release sounded fresh and reassuring all at once. Looks like they could be fun live, also:

Raconteurs "Consolers Of The Lonely"- Bringing the full-on rock, taking the stuff from the 70's, throwing it into a Jack White-Brendan Benson blender, and turning it up to 11. Here they are doing the title track, my favorite, on the Jools Holland Show:

Aimee Mann "@#%&*! Smilers"- Here's a little quote from Mark Eitzel (American Music Club): "Fuck craft, and fuck songwriters who think craft matters. Genius is somebody who tells the truth." Ah, Mark, I agree. But what happens when you find someone who combines craft with genius? You get somebody who has a lot more staying power than you, buddy. See "Freeway" and "31 Today" as examples. I don't think Aimee is going to be putting out a hip hop album any time soon, and that's OK with me. Keep practicing that craft, girl.

The Cool Kids "The Bake Sale"- Old skool rap sounding bright and fresh, with plenty of contemporary asides, truly fun.

Flight Of The Conchords- It's business time.

Gentleman Auction House "Alphabet Graveyard"- Along with So Many Dynamos, one of the best indie rock outfits of St. Louis. Critical acclaim has followed this group's latest release, and I predict that they will keep getting bigger. Fun live, also.

MGMT "Oracular Spectacular"- I'm not sure what to say about these guys, except that I listened to this a little when I got it, and then couldn't live without it. It's a grower. Watch a video here or here.

Blitzen Trapper "Furr"- My favorite by far this year, like Neil Young, CSN&Y, Gram Parsons, and Pavement all rolled into one. Beautiful.

And here are some of the Old Skool Institute's favorite songs from the year that was 2008'
Raconteurs "Consoler of the Lonely"
Atmosphere "Shoulda Known"

Nick Cave "Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!"

Blitzen Trapper "Furr" (Of course)
Yeasayer "Sunrise"

Death Cab For Cutie "I Will Possess Your Heart"

MGMT "Time To Pretend"
The Rapture "No Sex For Ben"

So Many Dynamos "New Bones" Coming to Vagrant Records in April 2009!
AA Bondy "Vice Rag" OSR does not endorse drug use, but sometimes songs about drugs and addictions (See the Atmosphere song above) are good.

There you go, folks. Hug your dog, go see live music, and if you like anything you hear, buy it so you can support musicians.