Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Song of the day: East River Pipe/"Drug Life"

East River Pipe is a one-man dream pop machine fronted by one FM Cornog, a man whose backstory would make him a shoe-in for an Oscar if he were an actor instead of a man with a guitar, an 8-track recorder, and a sad voice that breaks your heart again and again.

In the early 1990s, Cornog was a homeless alcoholic who was taken in by a friend who helped him record the songs that comprised his debut album, Shining Hours in a Can. That album is full of wistful, pained but beautiful songs, especially the first song, "Make a Deal with the City," which is in my personal list of the top 20 songs of all time.

Cornog's initial singles under the East River Pipe moniker were released on much-loved UK indie label Sarah Records, then compiled and released domestically on NYC label Ajax Recordings. Cornog's later works were released on Merge Records, which in the late 1990s also reissued his first two albums.

While last fall's addition of the Merge catalogue was a godsend for Rhapsody subscribers, it didn't include Shining Hours or the follow-up, Poor Fricky (though I hear more Merge back catalogue releases are coming soon). Still, all is not lost -- we did get Cornog's latest East River Pipe album, What Are You On? While I can't recommend the whole album (file under "faded glory"), I do suggest you check out the song "Drug Life."

Song of the day

"Drug Life" - East River Pipe:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Song of the day: Voxtrot/"Wrecking Force"

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the band Voxtrot, an Austin, Texas-based combo who are garnering some serious buzz (bordering on hype) in indie circles.

I had the good fortune to catch them live just before SXSW this year on the tiny backroom stage of a bar in San Francisco, and they blew me away. I've described them to friends as the bastard children of Spoon and Belle and Sebastian -- less fey, more rock, if that means anything to you.

Anyway, we have the band's first EP, Raised By Wolves, available in Rhapsody, and if you do one thing for yourself this week, listening to it all the way through should be one of the contenders. Click here to check out the song "Wrecking Force" -- the payoff at 3:35 into the song gives me chills every time I listen, even after repeated plays. I've listened 3x writing this post (!)

Enjoy the music.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Imaad Wasif - Imaad Wasif

Play It! Former lowercase, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, alaska!, The New Folk Implosion member, Imaad Wasif, has released his first solo effort on the Kill Rock Stars label. It's quickly become one of my favorite releases of the year. I was not familiar with Imaad, so this album was truly mana from heaven. Solid songwriting collides with sparse yet creative production, and it's all sprinkled with flavors of Echo & The Bunnymen, Robyn Hitchcock, Red House Painters and even some Jim Morrison psychedelia. Highly recommended. (Via: Rhapsody Radish)

Song of the day: Kiss Me Deadly/"Dance 1"

I saw this Canadian quartet at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco just prior to SXSW. They were opening up for the band Voxtrot, and their live show blew me away -- so much so that I dragged my friends to see them again in Austin.

Kiss Me Deadly makes dreamy rock with breathy female vocals. We have their entire Misty Medley album in Rhapsody, and it's pretty good through and through; you should check out the songs "Dance 1," "Dance 2" or "Dance 4" for a taste.

If you absolutely can't live for another minute without their music on your iPod, you can also download songs for free via the web site of their label, Alien8 Recordings -- check it here ( and here (

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Song of the day: Headlights/"It Isn't Easy to Live That Well"

Headlights are a 5-piece indie pop band who I first ran across while researching shows to see at this year's SXSW music festival. They're from Champaign, Illinois, and in late 2004 released a limited-edition, mailorder-only EP (dubbed "The Enemies EP") that flew right under my radar.

Polyvinyl re-issued that EP late last year, and I'm glad to have discovered it, albeit belatedly. PopMatters says Headlights' sound falls "somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Rainer Maria," two of my favorite bands. So what's not to like?

Live, they were fun to watch and to hear, especially the songs "It Isn't Easy to Live That Well" and "Tokyo" (both on the Enemies EP, which is available in Rhapsody. If you like what you hear, you can also download the song "Tokyo" via the Polyvinyl web site.