27 April 2009

liechtenstein full-length!

Liechtenstein - "Everything's For Sale" (Live in Glasgow)

It’s what we’ve been waiting for since, what, 2006? After a full two years to get Apathy, Liechtenstein quickly followed with Everything’s For Sale. But now, just a few short months later, Liechtenstein will finally release its first full-length (well, nearly full-length, since there are only 23 minutes on that 10-inch) called Survival Strategies in a Modern World on May 26 on Fraction Discs in Sweden and on Slumberland here in the US!

Liechtenstein is definitely one of the bands I am more excited to see at NYC Popfest this year (after Cats on Fire and now Suburban Kids, of course). Their 80s post-punk girl-group sound has enthralled me since I first heard “Stalking Skills,” but this new single, “Roses in the Park,” shows the band at a whole new level. Taking the three-part garage-girl harmonies of The Vivian Girls and mixing it with the catchiness and snottiness of classic girl-groups like The Mo-Dettes, they prove pop in Göteborg will never be the same!

Here’s the tracklist:
1. All At Once
2. Postcard
3. Sophistication
4. By Staying Here (We Will Slowly Disappear)
5. Wallpaper Stripes
6. Roses In The Park (Download!—a must-listen)
7. Reflections
8. White Dress
9. The End

Get excited!!

21 April 2009

on colin clary and buying music

The Smittens - Gumdrops (Live at Indietracks 2008)

Up until a few years ago, I think I spent every available dollar to my name on buying records and going to concerts. Once in college, however, I didn’t even have time to shop for records, much less want to spend the money on them, and most of the shows I go are free from WHPK or the bands themselves. There is something, though, that I will never get over about buying really well packaged records.

I first fell in love with the now defunct Asaurus Records several years ago, for their super cheap CD-Rs in charming packages with fun pop music. That was how I first heard Colin Clary’s solo material (also of The Smittens, Let's Whisper, and Colin Clary and the Magogs), after ordering his Sweater Weather or Not These are the Songs I Got in a super cute felt sweater and paper shirt packaging combination. I fell in love with all of those songs, annoying my friends by leaving the record on repeat in my car for a good two months, to only be repeated with Apocalypse Yow!, packaged in an origami fortune teller.

Recently, I’ve started buying music again, realizing how nice it is to have a collection of tangible records and CDs, not to mention how hard it is to find releases by some of my favorite bands online. I can’t help but love having WeePOP’s hand-packaged 3-inch CD-Rs or beautiful collections like Magic Marker’s new anniversary 5x7-inch collection Uncapped: Magic Marker Records 10 Years Later.

Having all these 3-inch CDs and 7-inches is both a blessing and a curse, since I don’t really have a stereo system to play them on, my turntable just broke, and my Mac refuses to accept such tiny media. But using my shitty CD player (or my DVD player hooked up to my TV), it is great to hear Colin’s new EP, Every Little Thing Counts, while holding the impossibly tiny case with hand-glued construction paper artwork. The songs are as cute and witty and catchy as ever. I particularly love “Really Rooting for Ya (And It Could Be Awesome)” and “You Tell Me Now” for their upbeat charm and for helping me finish my BA during the final hours.

Plus I’m sure everyone who ever rides in my car is grateful I can’t keep this new EP on repeat…

Colin Clary – “Phone Me, Phone Me”

20 April 2009

listen to QWEE! today

QWEE! Now every other Monday except sometimes not!

The remaining dates for this quarter are TODAY 4/20, 5/4, 5/25, and 6/1. It’s likely I will have a summer show too, but that will perhaps be the FINAL SEASON OF QWEE! EVER.

Today I will be bidding farewell to Jennifer of Colour Me Pop, who has been such an encouraging fan of my show, so I will try to make it a really really good set.

Make sure to tune in! 10am–12pm CDT on WHPK.ORG/STREAM or WHPK 88.5fm CHICAGO.

18 April 2009

god help the girl - new stuart murdoch project

God Help the Girl - An Introduction

I bought my first Belle and Sebastian record when I was in eighth grade. If You’re Feeling Sinister came to define what good pop music sounded like, even before I knew there was such a thing called “twee.” Now I listen back to all those songs from the first few Belle & Sebastian albums with such fondness, that it is impossible to imagine liking a band any more than that.

But, quite honestly, I felt a little let down with Dear Catastrophe Waitress, and downright disappointed with The Life Pursuit. It wasn’t until the recent BBC Sessions were released that I remembered why I loved B&S so much, without all the oppressive Elephant 6 style freak-outs that have characterized the last two records.

God Help the Girl is Stuart Murdoch’s new project, and from what I’ve heard so far, I am reminded of some of my favorite B&S songs of times past, of simple pop music with beautiful instrumentation and even more beautiful melodies. The songs are from three different “characters” created by Murdoch (how Stephin Merritt of him), who solicited a few female singers through an ad in the paper (and, more accurately, through friends of friends) to sing in the style of 60s girl groups and classic pop, all backed by members of B&S.

I’m very excited to hear the rest of the songs from this new project. The single for “Come Monday Night” is due out May 11, and the rest of the album is set to release on June 22.

God Help the Girl - "Come Monday Night"

08 April 2009


(This has nothing to do with the post, but my mind seems to have split—I just love the puns.)

Okay, so I totally lied about updating the blog more, but quite frankly all I can think about is my thesis. So unless you want to hear all about phenomenological experience, the production of spectacle, and the turn in presence in art after 1960, there’s not much I can do.

But to get back on track (and to procrastinate writing the last six pages): NEW YORK CITY POPFEST!!

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of music festivals—they are usually in the summer in the scorching sun as I sweat buckets and get to watch mediocre bands from a distance. I mean, at least The Pains and The Vivian Girls are playing Pitchfork here in Chicago this year, but that is barely a consolation.

New York City Popfest is definitely something I can get behind, though. Pop shows at night, scattered around New York, what could be better? Oh, the fact that Cats on Fire, Liechtenstein, The Radio Dept., The Tartans, The Smittens, Eux Autres, The Ballet, and Very Truly Yours are all playing? Well… I guess.

I must admit, San Francisco Popfest is just as tempting, maybe even more given this will be a rare stateside appearance for some of my favorite Scandinavian bands: Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Champagne Riot, Northern Portrait, Pelle Carlberg, and Springfactory, not to mention what will possibly be TULLYCRAFT’S LAST EVER LIVE PERFORMANCE, but San Francisco is four hours away, and tickets to New York were just so cheap…

Bought my plane tickets, hotel reserved, Popfest tickets all secured, I am totally ready.

Now I just need for this stupid thesis to finish itself…