Author Archive for plover

On The Bowery – Shalabi Effect

So you’re doing ads that try to get people to work in a munitions factory and suddenly you realize that what you’re doing will create a bombed out landscape full of flying lute thingies (plus the odd car, also flying).

But hidden in the ruins are Canadians playing really cool Middle Eastern influenced drone music. So crooning to a bomb doesn’t seem so bad. And did I mention flying lute thingies (they’re ouds)? They rotate too!

If only there were a way of getting the music without bombing stuff. Oh well.

Note: This is less than a third of the album version of the track. For anyone with a remotely compatible aesthetic, the extended instrumental bit is amazing stuff. The P-fork review for the album is about right.

Skullcrusher Mountain – Jonathan Coulton

Somehow this seemed like a song 3B inmates ought to be aware of. In fact, just about any song which includes the line “Isn’t it enough to know that I ruined a pony making a gift for you?” probably falls in that category.

Comfy in Nautica – Panda Bear

Part of me thinks that in order for this song to be as good as it ought to be, it should be in some language I don’t understand. I don’t want to know what he’s saying. Anything linguistically comprehensible is just a distraction from the sonic experience.

Why do I have a sudden craving for bamboo?

These Few Presidents – Why?

1) Unlike the one in my last post, this song actually features a sock. And embroidered towels.

2) In the first verse, this guy reminds me of Stephen Merritt; in the second verse, he reminds me of someone else but I can’t figure out who. Or possibly the other way around.

3) Well, why?

4) Those who actually want some video in their video could do worse than this live version.

5) This track is not necessarily representative of Why? since there’s often a significant level of hip-hop influence in their songs.

6) The secret subtext of this song is that wrapping things in cloth doesn’t necessarily accomplish what you expect. Or possibly that airport security will never protect us until it detects wasps.

Continue reading ‘These Few Presidents – Why?’

Woodcat – Tunng

Another band that popped out for me. It’s too bad the video isn’t clearer. More videos here.

Presuming he’s never heard them before, Pinko thinks this will set UC’s socks on fire or something. Presuming UC has socks. And they’re flammable. And having them be on fire can be interpreted in a positive sense. I mean Pinko didn’t actually say, “this will set UC’s socks on fire”, that was just all so-to-speak like, and seemed more interesting than “very UC”, which is what Pinko actually did say.

Though, maybe UC actually conducts ritual sock burnings on moonless nights, and takes the burning of socks rather seriously. In which case, I’ve probably ruined everything by my frivolous pyrohosean comment. He’s probably the Grand Gizzard of the Secret Order of the Flaming Legging. Everyone says that there couldn’t possibly be a secret society devoted to the mystical properties of burning socks, but then everyone says that oxygen is necessary to stay alive (also to burn socks) and I’ve never actually seen any of that either. So you see my problem here — I’m surprised there isn’t a trail of smoke going up from my sock drawer already.

Burning socks might be sort of a useful ritual really. Because of sockivorous laundering devices and such like, many socks die lonely deaths far from their life partners. So there are lots of random extra socks lying around, acting pathetic in that way that socks have, and since mismatched socks seems to be a fashion trend whose time never comes, and since all attempts to mate a sock with a chameleon have failed despite much encouragement, there are many socks that would not be missed available for burnt offering duties. “Raise a pleasant odor for our Argyll overlords” or whatever it is the crazed sock-torching cultist set is saying these days. I suppose since they are crazed sock-torching cultists, they might insist that only matched pairs will do for ritual purposes, that a sock without its fellow traveler is fallen and unclean and not fit to stink up a gym bag. Though one would have to assume that there was probably a schism between the single-sock sock burners and paired-sock sock burners at some point (not to speak of the “who cares, any sock will do” faction, but then nobody likes to speak of them anyway). Unfortunately, UC probably won’t admit which faction he belongs to, since he will probably insist he has no idea what I’m talking about — but just how uncanny could he be if he didn’t actually belong to a centuries old secret society (sartorially obsessed or otherwise)?

Of course, now you’re asking yourself, “Is it a good idea for plover to be taunting Happy Fun Sock Cultist?” or “Why does plover know so much about sock-burning cults?” or “Is this all a ruse to distract from shoe-burning cults?” And I, of course, have no answers for you. I can not risk any further disclosures and, the moment the distinct odor of burnt wool drifts in through my window, will deny having written any of this. There are no short cuts. You must knit (and purl) your own tale from the clues scattered across the floors of Lemony and the annals of history. I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time.

Music for a Found Harmonium – Penguin Cafe Orchestra

This has been used a number of times in movies and movie trailers, but, as far as I’m aware, the first use was in a 1986 Australian comedy called Malcolm, about a reclusive, tram-obsessed inventor who ends up with a couple of bank robbers as boarders. It’s sort of like a cross between A Fish Called Wanda and The Wrong Trousers.

For those who aren’t familiar with the film (and for all I know everyone here already is), it’s one that I expect most 3B readers would enjoy. (And it’s been too long since I’ve seen it. I also can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned in any other blog discussions.) It’s charming, low-key, and contains probably the most unusual heist scene ever filmed — with possibly (but only possibly) the exception of The Wrong Trousers. It’s also the sort of movie that seems like the less you know before seeing it, the better. I’ll provide a couple of links, but, really, you should just go see it without any preview.

The American trailer is on YouTube, but it’s kind of annoying and reveals a couple of the best lines. There’s also a clip of one of the good scenes (dubbed in Spanish though) — this is a little better as it at least shows things in context.

Bonus Penguin Cafe Orchestra track: “Telephone and Rubber Band” which has also been used in movies (including Malcolm) and ads and such and was sampled by a 90s indy band. According to Wikipedia: “The tape loop was recorded when [PCO founder Simon] Jeffes was making a phone call, and discovered that he was hearing a combination of a ring tone and an engaged signal at the same time, due to a fault in the system. He recorded it on an answering machine.”

the enemy guns — DeVotchKa

Listening to DeVotchKa’s album How It Ends is like wandering through the malestrom of strum with horns and fiddles piled on. The description from Wikipedia says they “fuse Romani, Greek, Slavic, Bolero, and Mariachi music with American punk and folk roots”. Sounds about right — it’s like Tijuana on the Aegean.

I’m not sure either of the YouTube videos for this track really do either the song or the performances justice, but you will like it.

And if you don’t Pinko will swear off pork for a month.

Why She Swallows Bullets And Stones – Esmerine

Post rock chamber music — akin to Rachel’s. Esmerine is one of the horde of side projects by members of Godspeed You Black Emperor.

Get your piano/cello minimalist (somewhat brooding) bliss out on.

(Note: video not work safe, though the song is)

Insomnia – Electric President

This song popped out of It’s got a Postal Service-y kind of goodness going on. (Or are we in a Postal Service backlash epoch? Even if we were I think everyone still would secretly like “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”.) It’s also true that this track is the kind of thing that I can’t tell after just a couple of listens whether I’ll later find it to have the creeping mehs. Except for the ending — which is definitely cool.

Your Postal Service bonus track (a more than adequate home made video for “District”, embedding was disabled)

Raise What’s Left Of The Flag & Screaming At The Wailing Wall – Flogging Molly

Ten pounds of Irish folk/punk in a five pound bag. If Shane McGowan were actually as dead as the press has long insisted he’s supposed to be, no doubt his shade would be looking on in whiskey-soaked approval.

Offical video for “Raise What’s Left Of The Flag”

Live version of “Raise What’s Left Of The Flag”

Fan video for “Screaming At The Wailing Wall” using a time-lapse sequence of the Wailing Wall combined with pretty graphic Iraq war footage.

Bonus track: “Kilburn High Road” – live. Sound quality here is a bit soggy, but this is probably my favorite tune by these folks.

Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun – M83

Cuz your lyin on this hillside at the end of the movie and it’s like the last green hillside around because the nanobots excaped from Glenn Reynold’s sinuses and made stuff all infected and melty y’know but then you like saved the Earth cuz yur all in tune with like Gaia force or somethin and you like speeded up evolution of numatoads and dopypods to combat the nanoboogers and even a few humans survived includin you (cuz the ending where you sacrificed yourself by throwing yourself into the tide of nanogoo like totally bummed the focus group) and now there’s like all these helicopter shots of you lyin on this hill with the all chorus-y music goin real loud.

You know — like that.

Sharky’s Day – Laurie Anderson

Deep in the heart
Of darkest America
Home of the brave
Hah hAh Haaah
You’ve already paid for this Listen to my heart beat

One of those utterly necessary recordings (the original anyway, the video edit is rather truncated and feels somewhat choppy). All the details are pieced together, large and small, from the *pwhict* as the sun comes up over the grocery store to Adrian Belew’s landscape gone to seed. (In an interview, Anderson said something to the effect that Belew wasn’t playing a guitar, “I think it’s some sort of animal”.)

I don’t think I’m likely to say anything coherent here, this one is too much in my bloodstream.

Phantom Limb – The Shins

It’s shew shinny Nines! Er, shinny new Shines! Damnit… It’s The Shins! It’s new! It’s… um…


Well, it is The Shins.


But, well, it sounds kind of like an out-take from their first album.

And that’s a bad thing?

No! Well… no… well, it’s not quite…

Not quite…?

It is The Shins, though.

The new album—
  Yay! New Shins album! Shew Nins album! Where?
    comes out January 23rd.

Oh… that’s…

Several weeks, yes.

And… this is… all we get until then?

Remember, it is The Shins.

Think shiny!


Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division / performed by June Tabor & Oysterband

Both June Tabor and Oysterband are mostly known for (British) folk music. However, they often seem to do things from other genres when they get together. There’s a cracking version of Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties” on the album they did together — said joint album actually being the only thing I knew by either of them until recently.

It looks like Oysterband is now putting on these “Big Session” concerts every year, with this video being taken from the 2006 one. A live album was released of the first of these concerts which also includes this song. Sadly, it’s never been released in the US — I’d love to hear this with better sound quality.

First Circle – Pat Metheny

[Update: Found a second, more characteristic performance.]

Metheny’s best compositions (and “First Circle” is quite definitely in that category) often have a sense of joy to them that is rarely matched. I’m not sure the piece is best served by the big band sound in the later sections in this performance, but awesome all the same.

(And any ECM haytahz left out there can bite my lutefisk.)

Deportee – Woody Guthrie

Lyrics by Woody Guthrie; music by Martin Hoffman.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”

The crash on January 29, 1948 killed 28 Mexican farm workers who were being deported, and 4 Americans who were flight crew and security. News coverage gave the names of the Americans, but never identified any of the Mexicans.

The performance is by Arlo Guthrie & Emmylou Harris, and was recorded for the 1988 Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly tribute video A Vision Shared.

Another version by Joan Baez & Bob Dylan (1976).

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.” — Copyright notice on a songbook Guthrie distributed in the 1930s (see).