Monthly Archive for August, 2008

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.”

Fleet Foxes – Quiet Houses

A perhaps more obscure track from the Foxes deservedly-accoladed s/t debut. The first 2.5 minutes sound like vintage My Morning Jacket, but maybe more hypnotic. Then the piece shifts into a classic Brian Wilson Smiles-era instrumental. Wonderful composition throughout. Even though Pinko Punko says that he doesn’t like the instrumental stuff, I know he secretly loves this.

Broken Social Scene Presents Brendan Canning – Hit the Wall and Churches Under the Stairs

Two new ones from the second album of the ‘Broken Social Scene Presents…’ series, following up on the first album from Kevin Drew. The first song is the album’s first single, and the second is my favorite song on the album so far, which is subject to change depending on how much I listen to it.

In the past, BSS has been kind of hit and miss for me. I really love their more traditional pop stuff, like “Stars and Sons” and “Cause = Time” from ‘You Forgot it in People’. But I’ve been kind lukewarm on the more instrumental/experimental stuff like “Shampoo Suicide” or “Looks Just Like the Sun”, from the same album. Their self titled album seemed to have more of the latter, and it’s not one of my favorites. Kevin Drew was responsible for a good portion of their earlier work, and somewhat as expected, his album was kind of all over the place.

Brendan Canning, has tended to be a little more subdued to this point, with “Stars and Sons” being a good example of his best work to this point. But he really steps up on the new album, with a lot of very interesting and very accessible pop. Both of these songs are good examples of that. He also delivers a fairly surprising dance track called “Love Is New”, which to me sounds like his own personal “I Turn My Camera On”.

In person, these guys deliver an excellent live set. I saw that at Intonation/Pitchfork a few years ago for the first time, and last Saturday, they hit the Metro for a two hour set following up on the set they played earlier in the day at Lollapalooza (which I did not attend). There are anywhere from 8 to 18 people on stage at all times, but it’s controlled chaos, and it sounds great.