Moroccan Role: February 2006

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Obligatory Fiery Furnaces & Tapes 'n Tapes Post

Recently, there have been an abundance of posts on the music blogs about these two artists. With The Fiery Furnaces' forthcoming album leakier than an octogenarian's bladder and with Pitchfork finally getting around to reviewing Tapes 'n Tapes newest album today, nearly everyone has posted on these bands the past week or so.

The Fiery Furnaces

As anyone who reads this blog with regularity knows, I've never been the biggest Fiery Furnaces fan. Recently, I have started to come around a bit. About a week ago, I purchased a used copy of their early 2005 disc EP -- which I had never heard previously and is hardly an "EP" at all given it features 10 songs and clocks in at 41 minutes -- from my favorite local record shop, Shake-It Records, for only $2.99 and it hasn't left my vehicle's CD player.

I do not particularly care for their much-hyped 2004 effort Blueberry Boat, can't stomach 2005's Rehearsing My Choir, and have not listened to their debut Gallowsbird's Bark enough to form a legitimate opinion; but, I dig EP and have to say I'm enjoying the forthcoming album Bitter Tea quite a bit as well. It toes the line between their more accessible material ala EP and their more avant garde, polarizing Blueberry Boat-style tuneage nicely. Striking an intelligent and mature balance between melodic, hook driven pop and their more 'difficult'/experimental tendencies, Bitter Tea is the best FF album to date. Oh, you don't trust me...just wait until Pitchfork gives it a 9.0+ and other indie-ish publications drool all over it as well.

Bitter Tea will be released April 18. And, as with any good album, it is best enjoyed as a coherent whole. Below I have posted 3 of the best tracks from the forthcoming album that have been widely available on the blogs and a rare example of Matthew Friedberger handling lead vocal duties, "Sing for Me", a highlight from EP.

UPDATE: Here is the front cover artwork for Bitter Tea

From Bitter Tea:

The Fiery Furnaces - "Bitter Tea" *recommended*

The Fiery Furnaces - "Teach Me Sweetheart" *recommended*

The Fiery Furnaces - "Waiting to Know You"

From EP:

The Fiery Furnaces - "Sing for Me" *recommended*

Buy EP here.

Tapes 'n Tapes

As you most likely are already aware, P'Fork gave Tapes 'n Tapes most recent album (released Nov. 2005) The Loon an 8.3 and it became the latest entry in their 'Best New Music' section.

Although this album received quite a bit of attention from a number blogs (esp. You Ain't No Picasso, Gorilla vs. Bear, and My Old Kentucky Blog) leading up to and soon after its release, I have only recently started to give it some listens.

Tapes 'n Tapes has 3 strong tracks available for download via their website (and on every other blog in existence). Below I have posted these tracks, as well as one of my favorites from The Loon, album's closer "Jakov's Suite". What's up with my obsession with the final track on albums lately?? (see, e.g., my recent Liars post)

From The Loon:

Tapes 'n Tapes - "Insistor"

Tapes 'n Tapes - "Cowbell"

Tapes 'n Tapes - "Omaha"

Tapes 'n Tapes - "Jakov's Suite"

Buy the album here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sunset Rubdown: Self-titled EP & forthcoming full-length Shut Up I Am Dreaming

As many of you are already aware, Sunset Rubdown (side project from Wolf Parade's yodeler extraordinaire Spencer Krug) has been generating quite a buzz as of late. Pitchfork gave the EP a 7.8 on Friday and just today reviewed the opening track "Stadiums & Shrines II" from their highly-anticipated forthcoming LP, giving the tune 4 stars.

Your opinion of Krug's vocals will determine the level at which you will enjoy this material. I, like many others, prefer the Wolf Parade tracks with Krug supplying the vocals to those tracks on which bandmate Dan Boeckner sings. While affected yelping is hardly a rarity in modern indie rock, Krug's unique phrasing sets him apart from his contemporaries and makes him one of the genre's most interesting and compelling vocalists.

The tracks from the upcoming full-length seem to be more fleshed out and are not as lo-fi as the tracks from the EP and the band's first album, Snake's Got a Leg. Shut Up I Am Dreaming will be released May 2, 2006 on Absolutely Kosher Records. Pre-order the LP: Here. Buy the 5 song EP: Here.

Below I have posted 3 tracks from Shut Up I Am Dreaming and my favorite track from the self-titled EP. Enjoy!

From the upcoming full-length:

Sunset Rubdown - "Stadiums and Shrines II" *recommended*

Sunset Rubdown - "They Took a Vote and Said No"

Sunset Rubdown - "Us Ones in Between"

From the self-titled EP:

Sunset Rubdown - "A Day in the Graveyard II" *recommended*

Commercially Viable, Pre-Packaged Rebellion: Nine Inch Nails - US Bank Arena 2/25/06

I did not have the highest expectations going into Saturday's show at Cincinnati's US Bank Arena. I've never been a big fan of Nine Inch Nails, but -- as with any music nerd my age -- I am familiar with the majority of their catalog. However, I did enjoy the only albums I've owned by Reznor's troupe, Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral.

With the disclaimers out of the way, I'll share a few brief observations regarding Saturday's show here in Cincinnati.

The crowd:
Comprised almost exclusively of an interesting mix of 30ish nine-to-fivers a little to eager to disclose they saw NIN on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour in '91, "goth" teenagers with dyed hair (usually black, occasionally a more daring blue or green), dark clothing, eyeliner, and, most importantly, a decidedly "dark" persona cultivated by a painstakingly detailed MySpace profile, and finally, the generic 20-something mainstream rock radio dudes (if you listen to WEBN, i'm talking to you) with a distinct Kentucky redneck accent and an embarrassing $50 [NIN] tattoo prominently displayed via rolling up the sleeve of a Nine Inch Nails concert tee from a recent tour or, better yet, via taking the shirt off completely.

The music:
A pleasant mix of fan favorites and the hits, spanning the bands entire catalog. Clearly pros, Trent's band was pretty much amazing (esp. the drummer), with an abundance of on-stage energy. The sound and light show were top-notch and the midset video vignette featuring a parade of disturbing visuals was genuinely affecting. This was the first show I've seen in a venue this size since maybe the Pumkins on the Mellon Collie tour, but aside from the inevitable lack of intimacy, I cannot find fault with anything concerning the actual production. Well done.

Overall impressions:
I'm a people watcher and have to admit the characters present at this show supplied the most lasting impression. Fact: I actually did see "that guy" with his shirt off sporting the above-described, nearly jailhouse quality tattoo. At $40 and up, it was a little too pricey for all but the devoted. On a personal note, the show was an enjoyable send-off to my friends Tom & Andrea who moved to LA on Sunday (hopefully I can make it out for Coachella) and a pleasant evening overall.

Purported setlist: (via message board)
1. Pinion
2. Love Is Not Enough
3. You Know What You Are?
4. Terrible Lie
5. The Line Begins To Blur
6. March Of The Pigs
7. Something I Can Never Have
8. Closer
9. Burn
10. Gave Up
11. Eraser
12. Right Where It Belongs
13. Beside You In Time
14. With Teeth
15. Wish
16. Only
17. Every Day Is Exactly The Same
18. Getting Smaller
19. Dead Souls
20. Hurt
21. The Hand That Feeds
22. Head Like A Hole

Posted by: Matt

Friday, February 24, 2006

Animal Collective - "Fickle Cycle" (B-Side from "Grass" single)

So I purchased the "Grass" single earlier this evening and thought I'd share this cool B-Side. The track is stylistically similiar to the material on their great 2005 album Feels. While the UK edition of the single is the only one currently available, the US version arrives March 21. I may have to purchase the US version as well because it contains 4 videos in its CD/DVD format.

The "Grass" single:

01 "Grass" (MP3 via
02 "Must Be Treeman"
03 "Fickle Cycle"

DVD extras on the US version:

01 "Grass" (video directed by Superhate)
02 "Who Could Win a Rabbit?" (video directed by Danny Perez)
03 "Fickle Cycle" (recording session footage, directed by Scott Colburn)
04 "Lake Damage" (video/sound collage directed by Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance)

Buy the single here.

If you don't own it yet, do yourself a favor and buy Animal Collective's most recent album Feels: Here. It's simply great.

Posted by: Matt

Liars - Drum's Not Dead

To be sure, Drum's Not Dead is a 'difficult' album. Sonically, the album rests somewhere between the impressive confines of late-era Radiohead and Animal Collective's less pop-orientated material. In late 2004, the Brooklyn-based band packed up and moved to Berlin to record their third album and the resulting product proves the move and the wait were well worth it. Drum's Not Dead is a concept album focusing on two characters: Mt. Heart Attack and Drum. "Drum represents creative energy and production, it is Mt. Heart Attack who is the reaction to Drum; an embodiment of self doubt." -Amp Camp. Pitchfork gave this album a (thus far seemingly well-deserved) 9.0 yesterday and placed in their Best New Music section. Read P'fork's review here.

The album relies heavily on slow, pulsating drumming and the impressive falsetto of singer Angus Andrew. It is permeated by a droning, eerie tone. This piece is best enjoyed as a whole and is some pretty heady stuff. I'll need a few more listens to feel like I have a good grasp on the album. Below I have posted my early favorites, including perhaps my favorite song of 2006 thus far -- the album's majestic closer "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack". Drum's Not Dead will be released March 21st.


Liars - "A Visit From Drum"

Liars - "It Fit When I Was A Kid"

Liars - "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack" *recommended*

Funny tidbit: Online music retailer Amp Camp described the "Ideal Audience" for the album as Schizophrenics, Hipsters, and Art School Ex Students.

Buy the album here.

Posted by: Matt

Ben Gibbard & Andrew Kenny - Home EP Vol. V (2003)

On this popular installment of the "Home" series, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny each contribute 3 new songs and one cover of the other guy's band. Gibbard covers "Choir Vandals" from Know By Heart and Kenny covers "Line of Best Fit" from Something About Airplanes. Gibbard and Kenny recorded these songs themselves in their homes using only acoustic guitars and vocals. This EP was originally released on Post-Parlo Records in May 2003.

The "home" theme is subtly interwoven in every song and the tracks have a whispery, intimate vibe. This disc is not only for the devoted, even casual fans (like me) will enjoy these stripped-down acoustic numbers.

1. "You Remind Me of Home"(Gibbard)
2. "Carolina" (Gibbard)
3. "Farmer Chords" (Gibbard)
4. "Choir Vandals" (Kenny, performed by Gibbard)
5. "Hometown Fantasy" (Kenny)
6. "Secrets of the Heart" (Kenny)
7. "Churchmouse in the Churchhouse" (Kenny)
8. "Line of Best Fit" (Gibbard, performed by Kenny)

Buy the album here.

Posted by: Matt

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Built to Spill - You in Reverse (Who is Mike Jones? Remix)

My buddy Zach over at Touch That Dial commented on this phenomenon way back on 1/16, but I've been listening to the album quite a bit lately and cannot help but to mention it again. The entire upcoming Built to Spill album has leaked, but (at least on the early leaks) Mike Jones appears intermittently on each of the tracks shouting his catch phrase, "Who is Mike Jones?". You simply have to hear it to truly understand. After listening to this leak a few times, I now officially hate Mike Jones...and really wish I didn't know who he is.

You in Reverse sounds like it is going to be quite a strong album. Somewhat less straight-forwardly poppy than their previous work, the album features extended guitar figures and interludes but still contains the catchy hooks we have become accustomed to from Built to Spill. I am going to reserve an official opinion until I can enjoy the record without hearing Mike Jones interrupting every 30-45 seconds. The album hits stores April 11, 2006.

As most of you already have the Mike Jones-free MP3 of excellent opening track "Goin' Against Your Mind", I'll refrain from posting that song. In any event, the tracks posted below are still enjoyable despite the severely annoying "guest appearances" by the Houston MC.

Tunes: (PC: Right click, "save as" | Mac: Ctrl click, "download linked file")

Built to Spill - "Liar" (Who is Mike Jones? Remix)

Built to Spill - "Wherever You Go" (Who is Mike Jones? Remix)

Built to Spill - "Conventional Wisdom" (Who is Mike Jones? Remix)

Posted by: Matt

Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy Begins to Leak

I'll spare you this album's long-winded are already aware of the finer points anyway. These tracks have been floating around for a good week or so now, but I figured I'd post for any of you who've yet to hear them. Not overly terrible, but they are sorely missing Slash's guitar work and are not even slightly memorable after you stop listening. Just blah in my opinion. At least Axl's vocals sound better than they did when the new GNR played the MTV Music Video Awards a few years back. The unfortunately titled "T.W.A.T. (There Was A Time)" (how clever!) strives for the epic grandeur of GNR classics such as "November Rain", but falls far short. While Slash's guitar leads had an almost vocal quality and are as memorable as any of Axl's vocal melodies, the guitar leads on "T.W.A.T.", although certainly not lacking technical proficiency, are simply meandering wah-wah pedal wack-off sessions. The other tracks fare no better...but all are worth a listen, if for nothing more than a conversation piece.

Tunes: (PC: Right click, "save as" | Mac: Ctrl click, "download linked file")

Guns N' Roses - "T.W.A.T. (There Was A Time)"

Guns N' Roses - "The Blues" (Remix)

Guns N' Roses - "I.R.S." (Demo)

Guns N' Roses - "Better" (Demo Sample)

Posted by: Matt

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"A Crucial/Frivolous Omission"

My goal in writing this is to craft a drawn out work which in no way will apply our fifth building block of orthography, thus crafting a work orthographically void of such an orthographical factor. Though, to what point? A point is thus: to nonplus a glut of idiots and brainy individuals, and to occupy a lasting instant in my days, but apart from this goal and its prior cousin, I craft this manuscript in total futility.

Notwithstanding futility in my activity, I will try to impart a small amount of comical distraction to rally your typically boring days and nights, and with any luck you might gain an outstanding grasp on our silly world, or, if nothing truly important, you might laugh a bit at my whimsical rambling and its knavish pomposity. On what basis shall I start? This is a truly significant topic upon which to quiz. But I shan't throw away vigor on this solicitation. I'd more willingly start haphazardly and without aim, and thus I shall (as I did in launching this work).

Can I truly jot down a full work without using our fifth building block of orthography? It is outstandingly tricky, but I shall try with awful passion, fighting through all words until my product is total. I cannot maintain this analytical pitch; thus, a story will start forthwith…How should my story go?

I'm living for giving our Lord his owing tax, but only insofar as I uncaringly want to do so. Notwithstanding this audacity, I find it troubling that our Lord instills your author with a capacity for inquisition so highly distinct. Why, you might suitably ask? (Oh, irony!) I say, "Our lord fails to subsist! That's why!" Simply put, faith is tommyrot, and only fools fall into its alluring and comforting trap. But this philosophy is archaic, and similarly only fools broadcast it blindly and without caution. What, thus, is an apt philosophy to transmit, you might ask? A singular philosophy, intrinsic and important to you, is our only right form of thinking... .

Graciously submit solutions to this cryptogram in submittal communications apparatus infra this post.

*Mark you, photographs hint toward conundrum clarification.

Posted by: Gary

Torino: Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars

A Midpoint Review

Every 4 years, the Winter Olympics provide a welcome distraction to the customary garbage that permeates our TV screens: namely, American Idol. Since NBC decides to make itself an Olympic Network, armed with the Olympic rings under its technicolored peacock, you can tune into the events of Torino 24 hours a day on the Universal networks. Of course, NBC does pay $2.2 billion to show us spectacular moments in Cross-Country Skiing, so it might as well show Los Olympicos all day.

Remember, the ancient Greeks didn’t celebrate glorious spectacles such as Ice Dancing and Curling, but it is nonetheless the Olympics. It is tradition. It is a worldwide event. It celebrates homosexuality like no other event other than “Brokeback Mountain.” True to the original concept, the world has stopped all killing in observance of the Greatest Show on Ice and Snow (well, apart from the carnage in the name of evil cartoons.)

So, in case you missed NBC’s tear-jerking profiles of Our Olympians (USA! USA!) and all the intriguing drama of Curling, here is a review. For I am an Olympic expert. I even luged twice in Calgary and broke a scintillating 18 mph:

1. Hot-t-t-t Athletes
Have there ever been this many hotties at the Olympics? Tanith Belbin, Sasha Cohen, Gretchen Bleiler… all models. And some of those Russians look like they came straight out of the St. Petersburg “Ve Vant Amerikhan Husband” mail-order bride catalogue (probably three out of four did). Not to mention the Swede and Norweigian hotletes.

Did they pass out condoms again at the Olympic village? And if so, can I take a break from my Orthopedics rotation for some Gynecology research? The Flying Tomato, snowboarder Shaun White, has the right idea. He told Bob Costas he won the gold medal to win babes: “I’ll just be like.. hey baby.. and then, you know, flash this thing around my neck…yeah baby.”

*Edit: Per request, a visual aid to accompany the above described hot-ness:

2. The Whole World is Here
Yes, the entire world has gathered here in Torino. 87 nations have Winter Olympians (out of nearly 200 total), and more than 50% of Winter Olympians are from just 5 nations (Canada, USA, Finland, Norway, Russia). India, with 1.2 billion people, has 4 representatives, or approximately one for every 300 million people. The Winter Games are International!

3. Shani vs. Chad: High Noon on Ice
Shani Davis, Chitown Southsider, White Sox worshipper and fastest man on ice in 1000 meters, became the first gold Winter Olympian to win black…I mean, the first African American Winter Olympian to win gold. Seriously, all joking aside, huge accomplishment. He’s the Jackie Robinson of the Winter Olympics.

Now the controversy. Shani didn’t skate in the Team Relay. The US finished 5th. Chad Hendrick, the man on a quest to win 5 golds (one of those donut medals for each finger on his huge hand), is pissed that Shani didn't skate: “I was part of Team USA. I'm going to do whatever it takes to make my team as strong as it can be. I didn't care about how it was going to affect my individual race. I don't care about that. I care about being part of the team. And all the people who work hard with me on the team, I owe it to them.” Then, when he was asked about whether he was happy for Shani, Chad said he was happy for teammate Joey Cheek. (Joey, Shani, Chad… are these guys the Backstreet Boys?)

Shani said Chad would’ve done the same thing. He said he is here “as an individual.” Shani refused to talk to Big Shot Bob Costas. And Melissa Stark said Shani was “angry.” That’s it, no one offends Melissa!

Then there’s Shani’s mother, Shani’s biggest advocate. She accused the U.S. Speedskating Federation of racism. And she acts like she could’ve raised Venus and Serena and Jessica and Ashley both. But…like the good son he is, Shani said he wouldn’t be anywhere without his mom.

Shani vs. Chad in the 1500 meters. Coming to a TV near you Tuesday. Ahhhh, the gripping drama of speedskating.

4. Are You a Bodeist?
Bode Miller skis drunk! Hey, let’s put him on the cover of Time and Newsweek and
let’s say he’s going to win like a thousand gold medals. Yay! And let’s give him this big Nike campaign where he talks about his “religion.” Cool dude! And then let’s watch him finish fifth (or even fail to finish) in his races. Who cares, he’s so awesome. He skis drunk.

5. NBC’s Novices
I love that people that have never held a microphone in their lives are commentators for the Olympics because they are former Olympians. For example, during the Women’s Bronze Medal Hockey match, a former women's hockey player went mute for a full 5 seconds on air. Fantastic. And then you can’t beat commentary like this in Ice Dancing: “When you’re singing your national anthem, you want to be Whitney Houston, not Roseanne Barr. And they were Whitney right there.”

6. Snowboater… I mean Snowboarder
Lindsey Jacobellis all but won the gold in women’s snowboard cross… and then she decided to pull a Leon Lett on snow. Jacobellis was almost across the finish line when she pulled some crazy Tony Hawk stunt, and then didn’t land it. Faster than you can say “oh shit” she had to settle for Silver. And then faster than you can say “Leon Lett,” Jerry Jones signed her to be the Dallas Cowboys’ new defensive end.

By the way, The U.S.A. has R.O.C.K.’ed in snowboarding. Hannah Tetter and Gretchen Bleiler won gold and silver. Seth Wescott won gold in the very Playstation 2-esque snowboard cross (coolest event at the games). And Shaun White won gold and won a brand new gravity bong so he can sound even more baked when he talks.

7. Apolo Anton OH NO!
He was huge at Salt Lake in 2002. He made millions in endorsements. Then he lived in a closet for 4 years and trained his Anton ass off so he could top himself at the 2006 Games. And so far, he’s got one bronze to show for it. Damn Koreans.

8. The Terrible on Ice
Tied Latvia. Lost to Sweden. Lost to Slovakia. But hey, we beat BORAT and Kazakhstan! Do you like the hockey? I like the hockey. U, S. and A! U, S and A! In Kazakhstan, we have many hobbies: disco dancing, archery, raaaape and table tennis. High Five!

9. Canada: All Bets Off
Well at least the Canadians from Canadia suck too, and hockey is their national pastime. They lost to Finland. They lost to Switzerland. Janet Gretzky is to blame. Word is, she bet on the Fins so Wayne told ‘em to lose (not to start any conspiracy theories or anything).

10. To come… Women’s Figure Skating
Michelle Kwan had to run. Sad to see you go Michelle, but you’ve already been upstaged. For the savior of this year’s games is none other than Sasha Cohen. Thank you Sasha for being so hot.

Posted by: Gaurav*

*Editor's Note: Gaurav is a good friend of mine from undergrad at Vanderbilt University and he is a current 3rd year medical student. I've asked him to contribute whenever he gets free time in his hectic schedule. I'm sure everyone will enjoy his posts. -Matt

Monday, February 20, 2006

"When I'm at war I insist on slaughter and getting it on with the hangman’s daughter": Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

The seventh album from Dan Bejar's Destroyer will be released on Merge Records tomorrow Feb. 21st. Destoyer's Rubies receieved an 8.5 and was placed into Pitchfork's Best New Music section today. Many of you will recognize Bejar more from his involvement in the New Pornographers than from the previous Destroyer albums...and I have to admit I am neophyte to Bejar's work outside the confines of A.C. Newman's troupe. In his review for P'fork Matt Lemay said: "Dan Bejar's vocals are, like many of his indie contemporaries, yelpy and dramatic, and many of his lyrics seem preordained to serve as mp3 blog headers." Accordingly, I decided to nab the title for this very post from "European Oils". The lyrics are unquestionably the focal point of the album and they are often intricate, witty, and bare an apparent Dylan influence (esp. "Dangerous Woman Up To A Point, A").

I plan on downloading the remainder of the album (5 tracks) from Emusic tomorrow (i assume it will be available on the website on the official release date), but below I've posted my favorites of the tracks I've attained thus far.

For fans of The New Pornographers, The Decemberists, & The Shins.

1. "Rubies"
2. "In Your Blood"
3. "European Oils"
4. "Painter In Your Pocket"
5. "Looters' Follies"
6. "3000 Flowers"
7. "Dangerous Woman Up To A Point, A"
8. "Priest's Knees"
9. "Water Colours Into The Ocean"
10. "Sick Priest Learns To Last Forever"

Read Pitchfork's review of the album here.

Buy the album here.

Posted by: Matt

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Strokes Video: "Heart in a Cage"

The Strokes announced that "Heart in a Cage" will be the next single from First Impressions of Earth. Veteran music video director Sam Bayer (all of Green Day's videos from American Idiot and numerous others) directed the video for the single and it will premiere on on Friday. Does anyone else dig how the lead guitar figures on this track sound reminiscent of Ride the Lightning-era Metallica? Think: "For Whom the Bell Tolls".

Here's a sneak-peek:

For anyone who's interested, there are numerous photos of Julian from the video shoot: Here.

Posted by: Matt

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Music From the ole Inbox: Plajia

I received an email from Patrick of the Montreal-based band Plajia yesterday. They do not have the sound we have become accustomed to from Montreal indie bands like Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, and numerous others. Their sound is tough to accurately describe (always a good thing), primarily because the tracks I received showcase an impressive stylistic variety. From the (nearly) epic prog-rock of "The Party" to the restrained balladry of "Sleeping", the band seems unwilling to stick to particular formula. Their influences are evident but they do not sound overly derivative. With OK Computer-era Thom Yorke style vocals, atmospheric/ethereal guitar work, strong melodies, and tasteful arrangements, the band has quite an enjoyable sound. Give these guys a listen, Plajia demonstrate some serious potential on the three tracks below.

Constructive criticism: You guys probably need to re-record the guitar leads on "The Party"; it sounds like you used a 15-watt Crate amplifier w/ a DOD "Grunge" distortion pedal to get that tone...which is disappointing given the rest of the track is otherwise so sonically impressive.

Tunes: (right click, "save as" for all tracks)

Plajia - "Sleeping"

Plajia - "The Party"

Plajia - "Am I a Magician?"

Plajia's impressive website

Plajia on MySpace

Posted by: Matt

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pitchfork's Best New Music: The Knife - Silent Shout

Today Pitchfork gave the third record Silent Shout from Swedish electronic duo/siblings The Knife an 8.6 and placed the album in its coveted 'Best New Music' section. There are all the usual suspects of electronic music present here: synths, samplers, beeps, buzzes, and computers. So far, what makes this band sound refreshing are the vocals. While relying heavily on vocal effects is nothing new in electronic music, Karin Dreijer Andersson's vocal stylings are often so produced/manipulated they sound almost otherworldly.

P'Fork's Mark Pytlik referenced Kid A in his review when describing the widespread difficulty electronic musicians have with marrying electronic textures and vocals effectively: "only a handful of electronic full-lengths have navigated the vocal/textural divide as inventively as and refreshingly as Kid A. The latest is Silent Shout."

I have no problem admitting I am a complete idiot when it comes to electronic music. But, read the Pitchfork review--Pytlik does a great job of conveying the dark and forbidding feel of the album and the impressiveness of the vocals. He even offers up the new (to my knowledge) and quite apt term "haunted house" to describe the album. This type of music usually only holds my attention for 10-15 minutes tops and I have made it through the entire album on my initial listen. I would venture to say that anyone not completely thrown by the knee-jerk genre shock will find something they enjoy on this record.

Read Pitchfork's Review of the Album Here.

Online music retailer Amp Camp has this neat (albeit only marginally helpful) little "Degree of Difficulty" calculator for every album available on their site. Here is their breakdown of Silent Shout:

Vocal Idiosyncracy: 3.0
(1=Bing Crosby, 5=Gwar)

Unconventional Song Structue: 2.5
(1=Ramones, 5=Os Mutantes)

Unusual Instrumentation 2.0
(1=Buddy Holly, 5=the Polyphonic Spree)

Parental Approval: 3.2
(1=U2, 5=Twisted Sister)

Art School Factor: 3.0
(1=Limp Biscuit, 5=Velvet Underground)

Attention Required : 2.4
(1=Billy Ocean, 5=John Cage)

Hard to Dance to: 1.6
(1=Bananarama, 5=Elliott Smith)



The Knife - "We Share Our Mother's Health" *recommended*

The Knife - "Silent Shout"

The Knife - "Neverland"

The Knife - "Forest Families"

Pre-Order the Album Here.

*Bonus: Here is perhaps the group's most well known and poppy tune, "Heartbeats", which many of you will recognize from Jose Gonzalez' excellent cover.

The Knife - "Heartbeats"

Jose Gonzalez - "Heartbeats"

Posted by: Matt

Kurt Cobain Getting Blasted in the Head and Kicked by a Bouncer

I'm not exactly sure of the date when this video was shot, but based on bassist Kris' hair length it was pre-"End Times" (1994) era Nirvana-- I'm guessing around 1991-92. Edit: The audio is so shitty you cannot really tell what song they are even playing. If you listen closely to the beginning of the video you can hear Kurt sing (nearly unintelligibly) the last line of the refrain of "Love Buzz" from Bleach. Since Dave Grohl appears in the video, I stand by my estimate concerning the time frame of the video. An interesting video--esp. when the band and others immediately come to Kurt's aid following the assault.

*the video loads pretty slowly-- so after you press Play, press Pause to let it load up and then start it again.


Nirvana - "Love Buzz"

Posted by: Matt

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cursory MySpace Analysis

Well, after much alarm and debate, I have finally joined MySpace, and already I have a few observations concerning this website and its participants that I would like to consider. First, it has come to my attention that most members of MySpace fit rather agreeably into one or more of five categories, ranging generally from the absurdly plain to the absurdly flamboyant. Let’s begin with the first category, the unwilling participant.

The unwilling participant is one who has been forced by the sheer duress of constant begging of friends to join the website. This individual has posted one picture or less, and usually hasn’t been online in over a month. The total of friends never exceeds 4, and the life details of this enigmatic figure remain undisclosed, with the exception of the basics, e.g., gender, relationship status, location. This person is truly uninteresting for purposes of discussion (because they’re probably normal), so let’s jump right into the preposterous.

The next category up for discussion is the “look at me now” individual. This person utilizes the website as a vehicle for conveying to former friends and acquaintances that they are no longer the aesthetic garbage can they used to be. A few years have passed since high school, and these people have socially evolved into a more complex organism, trading in their Nancy Drew books, board games, and bibles for fake ids, cigarettes, thongs, and a decidedly sexy perspective on life. They are usually involved in a relationship, and prominently display pictures that expressly illustrate the current beauty of both themselves and their superficially enviable significant others. This person is typically a female, and enjoys going clubbing with her girls and spending cozy nights with her douche bag boyfriend, who is tragically unaware of her former life in the shadows of mediocrity. Intention: ignite envy and regret.

The next category is the poser, (also commonly referred to as the epitome of a douche bag) who is chiefly a college student (both university and community) and sometimes a 20 something male who likes to wear his hat sideways, flip his collar, and take pictures of himself with his shirt off (in the more tragic cases, the pictures are professionally done, and sometimes in an alluring black and white). This individual incessantly posts comments on girls’ pages in the vein of “Whaddup Girl! Just wanted to holla attcha!”, “Hey SEXY”, “Just showing some love”, et cetera. This offending individual usually has a headline taken directly from a rap song – offensive, sexy, confident, and definitely pimping. Undoubtedly this retard has a customized page with photos of models and Lamborghinis, suggesting to all the ladies out there that this is his lifestyle, knowing full well he’ll be working at Sound Waves and driving a civic with an offensively clamorous muffler the remainder of his life. But, hey, at least he’s getting laid by high school girls. Intention: Getting laid.

The next individual, who is a direct offshoot of the immediately prior category, is the scary 30 something male, typically a body builder of sorts, and undoubtedly without a shirt, and typically flexing. Even though this individual works at Gold’s Gym or is a “Sale’s Rep.”, and constantly says “bro”, he always earnes over $75,000 per year. To the keen observer, this is a sad case of a man desperately clinging to his glorious 20s, and one who is completely oblivious to the absurdity of his page. His confidence is reinforced, however, by the surfeit of gorgeous albeit mindless women who make suggestive public posts on his page, proclaiming him the “sexiest stud on MySpace.” This guy is clad in a striped shirt on the weekends and is always reaching toward a “goal”. Intention: Getting laid.

The final category I would like to discuss today is the soul-searching/confessing mystery girl. She is probably the most complex of the bunch, as her intentions are not exactly clear – although it probably boils down to a need for attention, even if it exclusively stems from the posers and 30 something males. This girl has Evanescence or some other garbage, post-grunge “rock” band as her background music. She wants to meet someone who is “real” and doesn’t like “mind games”. She can be a “great companion”, but she can also be a “real bitch” with her “no-nonsense” attitude and “expectations”. She doesn’t like “random messages from weird guys” even though she has photos of herself in her underwear. She is just waiting for the right guy to drift her way in this wearily dark world of “players” and “pimps” (see, e.g., Poser, supra). And although she purports to be endlessly insightful, she is far too stupid to appreciate the absurdity of her online soul confession.

That’s all for now. After all, I am new.

Posted by: Gary

Music From the ole Inbox: The Exit

So, I received an email about The Exit on Tuesday. The band is from New York and both the MP3s below are from their second album Home For An Island. The trio play a unique brand of political/socially aware rock 'n roll. Songwriting duties are undertaken by both Ben Brewer (guitar/vocals) and Jeff DaRosa (bass/vocals). Their tune "Soldier" is a traditional protest song, but thankfully does not veer into preachy "When the President Talks to God" territory. The band is currently out on tour with the most suspect of characters O.A.R...but, after initially writing them off upon hearing this blasphemy, I gave their tunes a chance and they are not bad at all. Give a listen to The Exit, I forgave them for touring with one of the lamest bands in the land, I suggest you do the same. That is, until they start covering "Crazy Game of Poker"--if this happens, all bets are off.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this story, and will not likely have another opportunity to do so--one of my friends told me about going to a Dave Matthews Band & O.A.R. concert and seeing a douche driving a car with a customized "DMB OAR" license plate. Though "my friend" attended the show simply in the hopes of getting laid, he took such personal offense to said license plate that he felt compelled to remove the plate from the vehicle prior to entering the concert. Moral of the story: Even though "my friend" stooped to an unacceptable level of douchebaggery for even being at the show, he was able to redeem himself by reprimanding the individual with the above described license plate for making the effort and spending the dough to pay homage to the most generic couple of bands EVER.

Tunes: (right click, "save as" to download all media in this post)

The Exit - "Soldier"

The Exit - "Don't Push"


"Don't Push"

EDIT: YouTube is Addicting...Here is their excellent video for "Don't Push":

Posted by: Matt

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Minus 5 - The Minus 5 [the gun album]

This album marks the seventh from Scott McCaughey's The Minus 5. The record was released Feb. 7th on Yep Roc Records and features appearances from the guys from Wilco, The Decemberists' Colin Meloy, The Long Winter's Sean Nelson, members of Ministry and the Posies, and frequent collaborator Peter Buck of R.E.M (who appears to handle much of the guitar work). The record runs the gamut of rock 'n roll styles, from garage rock ("Aw Shit Man") to alt-country ("With a Gun") to baroque singer-songwriter territory ("Cemetery Row W14"). Even upon a cursory listen, you get the distinct impression that McCaughey is rock classicist and is very well-versed in his chosen discipline.

As I just bought the album yesterday, I am unable to offer much more insight into the record at this point. But, as far as I can tell, Stephen Haag of PopMatters was able to sum up the record nicely: "Nobody else quite sounds like the Minus 5, and certainly nobody celebrates defeatism and life as a fuck-up with more energy and humor than Scott McCaughey."

Read what the critics have said about the album here.

The Minus 5 Tour Dates:

02/23/2006 Belly Up Tavern w/ Robyn Hitchcock - FM 94/9 Presents! San Diego, CA
02/24/2006 Coach House w/ Robyn Hitchcock - KCRW Presents! San Juan Capistrano, CA
02/25/2006 Key Club w/ Robyn Hitchcock - KCRW Presents! Los Angeles, CA
02/27/2006 Slim's w/ Robyn Hitchcock San Francisco, CA
03/02/2006 Sam Bond's w/ Robyn Hitchcock Eugene, OR
03/03/2006 Doug Fir Lounge w/ Robyn Hitchcock Portland, OR
03/04/2006 Crocodile Cafe w/ Robyn Hitchcock Seattle, WA
03/16/2006 Continental Club SxSW 2006 Showcase - w/ The Moaners, Ian Moore, Tres Chicas, Chatham County Line, Jake Brennan & The Confidence Men! Austin, TX
03/16/2006 Threadgill's WHQ Roky Erickson Ice Cream Social! Austin, TX
03/17/2006 The Parish New Orleans, LA
03/18/2006 Hi-Tone w/ The Silos Memphis, TN
03/19/2006 Mercy Lounge w/ The Silos Nashville, TN
03/21/2006 400 Bar w/ The Silos Minneapolis, MN
03/22/2006 The Abbey w/ The Silos Chicago, IL
03/23/2006 Beachland Ballroom w/ The Silos Cleveland, OH
03/24/2006 Club Cafe w/ The Silos Pittsburgh, PA
03/25/2006 The Iota Club and Cafe w/ The Silos Arlington, VA
03/26/2006 Southpaw w/ Richard Buckner Brooklyn, NY
03/28/2006 Mercury Lounge w/ The Silos New York, NY
03/29/2006 World Cafe Live w/ The Silos Philadelphia, PA
03/30/2006 Pour House Music Hallw/ The Silos Raleigh, NC
03/31/2006 Smith's Olde Bar w/ The Silos Atlanta, GA
04/01/2006 Georgia Theatre w/ Elf Power, The Silos Athens, GA


The Minus 5 - "Rifle Called Goodbye"

The Minus 5 - "With a Gun" (feat. Wilco)

The Minus 5 - "Cememetry Row W14" (feat. Colin Meloy)

The Minus 5 - "Twilight Distillery" (right click, "save as")

Buy the album here.

Posted by: Matt

Music From the ole Inbox: Division Day

Kevin from Division Day sent me a very gracious email today introducing himself and his band. As I have said before, I read every email sent by bands and always listen to their music as well...the quality of the material varies widely, but Division Day are quite solid. They are an unsigned band from LA and have thusfar completed one EP entitled The Mean Way In (recorded in 2003 at John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone studio) and are currently putting the finishing touches on their debut full-length album Beartrap Island. I recommend checking these guys out if you have yet to do so. I mean, any band whose bio contains this amazing quote-- "Truly, the band's reputation for debaucherous promiscuity is eclipsed only by their sordid and widely documented history of frenzied psychotropic drug abuse."-- deserves a listen, right? I thought so.

File Under: Intelligent West Coast indie-rock with strong melodies and tasteful arrangements.

They currently have two tunes available for download/streaming from The Mean Way In on their webpage.*

Division Day - "Bad Black Moon"

Division Day - "There is No Telling"

*right click, "save as" for both tracks.

They also have a few tunes from their upcoming full-length Beartrap Island available for download/steaming on their MySpace Page.

Division Day - "Colorguard" *recommended*

Division Day's MySpace Page

Division Day's Website

Posted by: Matt

Monday, February 06, 2006

Music Blog Woes & 1/31 - 2/06 Recap

Once in a while, updating this blog becomes a chore. I started this blog because I get excited when I hear good new music and I wanted to share this music with anyone who cares to experience it. A seemingly simple goal. But, somewhere along the way, I have developed a self-imposed goal (and the pressure that goes along with it) of trying to update nearly every day. This has had 2 distinct effects: the bands/music recommended on the blog sometimes being of questionable quality (but a free .Mp3 is easily deleted and thus this is not really a major concern) and, more importantly, I'm left trying to digest as music as I possibly can in an effort to recommend new stuff on a day to day basis. This makes it difficult to actually take the time to truly listen to the music I post.

I'm not exactly sure what's in store for this blog. There are a ton of other music blogs that offer much more in terms of the volume of music available for download...with these varying greatly in terms of how much of an effort they make in describing the music they post. From, "You should really check out X, they are just really great, and I really like them" to those who simply rip descriptions from press releases, record company bios, and other ridiculously overblown sources to those who make an effort to provide a somewhat objective portrait of the music while obviously coming from a fan's perspective (why else take the time to post about the band if you are not excited about the music). I have tried to make this blog fall into the third camp, but this has ensured that I will be physically unable to update 2 or 3 times daily.

There seems to be an epidemic of a "follow-the-leader" mentality in the music blogs...the leaders constantly updating and racing to be the first to post on the obscurest-of-the-obscure bands and countless others frantically trying to keep up. While everyone is obviously entitled to run their blogs how they see fit, there seems to be a lack of personality on the vast majority of music blogs. This is unfortunate because personality is what makes blogs interesting in the first place. It's sad but I have to admit that I find it increasingly fruitless to read the blurbs provided by music bloggers prior to downloading the tracks they post. They quite often say (nearly) exactly the same things and recommend almost identical artists. Why not simply use or some other .mp3 blog aggregator to locate all the tracks available from the particular artist and spare yourself the pedestrian dribble passed off as "insight" about the artist/song/album/whatever?

Now, I know I could be accused of "playa hating" and being unable to keep up with the most popular blogs. And, I concede--this very well may be the case. But, I guess the point of this diatribe is to put anyone who reads this blog on notice of a change in attitude for Moroccan Role. Updates may be more sporadic than before, but I will try to provide a bit more insight or at least make the blog more accurately reflect my opinions and personality.

With that out of the way, 40% (a plurality) of the lackluster 35 votes in the first ever Morccan Role Weekly Poll were for the Arctic Monkeys releasing the best album on 1/24 (to be fair the actual UK release date was 1/26 & the album doesn't see a US release until 2/21). And you guys were correct. While certainly not earth-shattering or in any way life-changing, it is a fun record with strong tunes throughout--40 very enjoyable minutes, perfect for hanging out and drinking with friends or to otherwise get your blood pumping. The studio polish on the album tracks in no way detracts from the quality of the tunes and no one besides those who are simply more accustomed to the demo versions would prefer these to the studio tracks. There is also a sense of urgency or excitement in their music...perhaps this is because these lads are actually excited about their music. In an indie scene plagued by ironic/disaffected posturing, shoegazing, and other crutches aimed at disguising the artists' insecurities, it is a breath of fresh air to hear actual (dare I say it) exuberence in modern indie rock.

Cat Power received 20% of the votes in the Poll and I'm somewhat confused by this. The record is more accurately described as "inoffensive" than a "Masterpiece" (Spin) or a "Triumph" (the Onion A.V. Club). It is coffee shop music for people who think they are too cool to listen to coffee shop music; Norah Jones (gasp!) for people who are too cool to listen to Norah Jones. Precisely the kind of music yupsters (hybrid: yuppie hipsters) will eat up like their Vitamin Water and Clif Bars.

Tunes from the blogs you may have missed last week:

Sufjan Stevens - "Opie's Funeral Song"
*from Mews Too: An Asthmatic Kitty Compliation (Sufjan's record label) due in stores tomorrow.

Morrissey - "I Will See You in Far Off Places"
*from the Moz's upcoming album Ringleader of the Tormentors.

The Secret Machines - "Alone, Jealous, & Stoned"
*from their upcoming album Ten Silver Drops.

Posted by: Matt