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Owen Pallett Added To Arcade Fire’s MSG Shows

By Will Oliver, July 12th 2010

According to Exclaim, Owen Pallett has been added to both Arcade Fire shows at Madison Square Garden in August. Spoon is playing both as well. I paid around 50 bucks for my GA ticket. I’d say it was well worth it with just Spoon as the opener. Now, it’s close to a bargain.

You can also grab a free Lewis Takes Off His Shirt EP from Domino for the price of an e-mail address. It features 5 various remixes, including one by Dan Deacon. “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” was #17 on my list for best songs of the year so far.

For the rest of Owen’s tour dates, hit read more:

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Dirty Projectors – I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Bob Dylan cover)

By Will Oliver, June 7th 2010 — with 1 comment

Check out the Dirty Projectors cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”. They did it for Levi’s Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings single project where new bands tackle old classics.

[mp3]: Dirty Projectors – I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Bob Dylan cover)

Nas and She & Him are some of the other artists that Levi’s already posted. Check out the full list over at their site.

The Best Songs Of 2009 : #100-51

By Will Oliver, January 13th 2010 — with 16 comments

NOTE: I didn’t include singles for 2010 albums like “Cousins” and “Norway” because in my mind they are 2010 songs. So that’s why they are not in the list. Also, I considered Local Natives a 2009 release since I was following them since last year and heard their album via the UK release. Similarly, that is why an album like the Rural Alberta Advantage has no songs on here. Because I included them in my list last year!

Without further a do, here are my favorite (or the best!) songs of 2009 in my mind! :

100 . John Frusciante – Song To The Siren

– The (newly) ex-Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist delivers a gorgeous ballad with his cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren”. What a voice he has! The Chili’s never let him shine like this, but looking back he always did provide great backup vocals. Everyone ignored this album, but here’s to hoping that I get someone else hooked! He takes Tim’s song and gives it his own special touch, and what a touch it is!

99. Islands – Vapours

– The song shares the name of the Island 3rd album, and just like the album, it is the Islands letting lose having fun. Nick Thorburn and company sound like they had fun making this song. It resonates through his votes, and through a true “island’ sound. This song is easy to listen to listen to with it’s funky bass groove, and savvy chorus. Total fun!

98. The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song

– Many people were not too fond of The Decemberists new “heavy-metal (ish)” sound that they took on with The Hazards Of Love. However, they find a middle ground with “The Rake’s Song” where they successfully incorporate their folky chorus over a catchy guitar riff and brutal drums. This song slays!

97. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Wind Phoenix

– Cymbals Eat Guitars are an interesting band that makes music that is emotional, raw, and sonically interesting. Don’t believe me? Listen to “Wind Phoenix” five times, then sit down, and shut up! Your welcome.

96. Hungry Villagers – Tree Full Of Ghosts

-They are extremely talented kids who have a knock for writing beautiful songs epic enough to swoon a club, with the possibility to rock out an arena someday. I have really high hopes for these guys for this new decade!

95. Basement Jaxx – Raindrops

– Basement Jaxx dropped out of the sky like a Raindrop splashing in onto the blog scene with a huge splash on blogs, just like they would have 10 years ago on the radio. Different decade, different medium of exposure, same result.

94. Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness (Feat. MGMT & Ratatat)

– A Kid Cudi song guest featuring the trippy guitar work of Ratatat and a chorus sung by MGMT? A strange combination at first glance, but it works perfectly. Epic!

93. Glasvegas – It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry

– James Allen’s thick Scottish accent flourishes with this powerful mega tune that is strong enough to make a grown man cry. It is a display of a guilty mans conscience that will make anyone whose ever cheated, fell like absolute shit. Pretty powerful Glasvegas, I tip my hat to you!

92. The Rocketboys – Like Ice In Water

– The Rocketboys deliver a beauitful and haunting song with “Like Ice In Water” that is well written, well constructed, and memorable. This is the type of song that deserves to be played during a dramatic end to a romantic movie. It sounds like a rush of love, collapsing at the foot of a sunrise. With a tune like this, you would have expected Grey Anatomy to pick up on it already!

91. Maxïmo Park – The Kids Are Sick Again

– Although Maxïmo Park’s new album was disappointing for the most part, there were gems like “The Kids Are Sick Again” to save the day. I discover something new about it every time I listen, and it secretly builds up to a pretty powerful chorus. When Maxïmo Park are on, they are on. Most people missed this song, but I hope you don’t second guess this band anymore. They still got it!

90. Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys)

– It may be the fact that this was the Yankees World Series victory song, or that I am from New York. But this Jay-Z song was just on fire for months, and it just rocked. Every time it was on, I was singing alone, proud to be a New Yorker. Alicia Keys kills it. This song is the closest thing I have to a hometown anthem, so I will take it! Plus, every time I hear this I am reminded of the glorious 2009 New York Yankees. Good enough for me!

89. Vetiver – Everyday

– My girlfriend introduced this song to me as a way to describe the pain of being away from one another for an extended period of time. Vetiver perfectly convey the feelings of what makes a person special to you. This is love.

88. Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision

– Everyone from Ed Droste to Sufjan Stevens pimped this guy. You don’t get recommended by guys like that for ill reasons. Tunnelvision is a great track where Luke Temple shows of his magical voice and keen ear for uncharted melody.

87. Wavves – So Bored

– Say what you want about this kid, but this song is good. The lo-fi does infact help make the song what it is, so back off. This song wouldn’t sound the same all shined up and glassy. This is a real slackers, slacker anthem!

86. Sufjan Stevens – You Are The Blood

– Sufjan Stevens pulls a KID A on us? Could this be a sign of what the new Sufjan Stevens sounds like in the new decade? I’m all for experimental avant garde music from Sufjan. He basically melts the mind with this exceptionally good cover of The Castanets song. It doesn’t take it to a different level, rather, a different dimension.

85. The Whitest Boy Alive – Island

– The Whitest Boy Alive are the epitome of cool. The ideal listening setting for “Island” would be on a beach, wearing cool shades, sipping on a Corona. This song just makes summer come alive!

84. U2 – Moment Of Surrender

– I don’t care about anyone’s hatrid for U2, so don’t bother with me. “Moment Of Surrender” is one of U2’s finest moments in a long time. Very beautiful, very passionate, and very U2. The song builds and builds to an ecstasy filled high brought to you by 4 genius irish-men.

83. Sleep Whale – We Were Dripping

– Sleep Whale deliver a dense track filled with beautiful instrumentals, vocals drenched in reverb, which result in a real beauty.

82. Neon Indian – Local Joke

– A song that deserves it’s place in the chillwave genre. An irrestistable piece that shines and colors your speakers with its delightful electronic sounds.

81. Sharon Van Etten – Much More Than That

– All that I have to say is : heartbreaking.

80. Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fire

– Japandroids sure do make a lot of noise for just two dudes. It’s raw garage rock fueled by passionate men who are having fun doing what they love!

79. Dan Deacon – Snookered

– Dan Deacon amazes me with what he can do with live instruments, and electronic effects. This is eight minutes of awesome!

78. Lily Allen – Fuck You

– Lily delevers a pretty straightforward message through her glamorous pop that we can’t get enough of!

77. Muse – Uprising

– Muse deliver a rocking track featuring a big chorus, a riff ready to fill 5 Wembleys, and plenty of reasons to continue to call Muse one of the biggest bands in the world.

76. The Thermals – Now We Can See

– The Thermals continue to do their thing with one of their catchiest tunes ever. It shares the same title as the album, and rightfully so, as it is the best song on the album by a mile!

75. Washed Out – Belong

– Washed Out came out of nowhere and caught the attention of many people with his delicious EP full of chill electronic songs such as “Belong”. He is able to create a dirty sound while still sounding fresh.

74. Wilco – You & I

– Jeff Tweedy duets with the wonderful Feist on this heartbreaking beauty. Wilco has a knack for delivering some of the most earnest moments, and it was only proper that they ended the decade with another one.

73. Blind Man’s Colour – Jimmy Dove

– This is what you would get if you mixed Animal Collective with MGMT. Trippy beyond belief.

72. Discovery – Osaka Loop Line

– This is not the only Discovery song on this list. This song is just pop/r&b done right. The electronic work is true bliss. So much fun to listen to! They captured the sound of summer and poured it right into our ears.

71. Camera Obscura – French Navy

– Camera Obscura have a knack for making retro-sounding indie rock that is simply irresistible. You can’t help but smile when you hear a Camera Obscura song like “French Navy”. It’s too good to do anything else!

70. Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is the Move

“Stillness Is The Move” features an odd time signature that only the Dirty Projectors could make. It is not like anything else out there, and that is why I love it!

69. Harlem Shakes – Strictly Game

– Harlem Shakes devliver an excellent opener to their excellent debut album. The band sings “This Will Be A Better Year”. I guess they knew what was coming.

68. Röyksopp – Happy Up Here

– The song title says it all, this song just makes you sound fucking happy in the head. Musical ecstasy! Hit play, and try not to smile!

67. The Antlers – Kettering

– Try not to cry. This song is just emotionally crushing. Totally beautiful. The tears will start to fall. Just you wait!

66. Taken By Trees – My Boys

– A tropical cover of one of the best songs of the year. Her voice is sexy as hell too! A total winner!

65. Miike Snow – Black & Blue

– Miike Snow showed their ability to write incredible pop songs with their debut album, and this was just one of my favorites!

64. Bon Iver – Blood Bank

– Bon Iver is one of a kind. He followed up one of the decades finest albums with a great EP that delivered this spine tingling song. God bless Bon Iver!

63. Woods – Rain On

– A beautiful song that may draw many comparisons to artists like Neil Young. And for good reason, this song is well written, and has a nice message. I adore this song!

62. Cass McCombs – Dreams Come True Girl

– Sounds like it was taken right from the 50’s/60’s. It just has a really redeeming quality about it, making you want to find your true love and hold onto her tighter than ever!

61. St. Vincent – Actor Out Of Work

– St. Vincent finds a middle ground between beautiful earnest songs, and rock n’ roll guitar riffs, and she chooses the latter here. With that said, her lovely vocals still grace the song and make it very St. Vincent.

60. Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love (XX remix)

– I am not sure if you should call this a remix of Florence + The Machine, or a cover by The XX. Either way, this remix/cover came out of nowhere and became one of my favorite songs of the year. They give the song their dark, subtle kiss allowing it to become sexier than any r&b artists that is on the radio today.

59. Julian Casablancas – Out Of The Blue

– Julian channels his inner-Stroke and delivers the best track that the Strokes never did! A perfect opening song that act as a transition from The Strokes to his solo record.

58. Dirty Projectors – Two Doves

– If two doves could make a sound, it would probably sound like this. Alright maybe not, but you get the idea. This is one of the most restrained Dirty Projecters song on Bitte Orca, and it moved me with it’s natural beauty and warmth. You begin to understand that the female vocalists in Dirty Projecters play such a crucial role in their sound. One of 2009’s most genuine beauty’s.

57. Real Estate – Beach Comber

– Real Estate created a song that really lives by it’s name. “Beach Comber” sounds like a perfect summer song. Everything sounds appropriate, and I don’t think that they could have written a better song.

56. The Doves – Kingdom Of Rust

– One of the best acts in the UK, that deserve Coldplay like acclaim. Don’t believe me? Try not to get moved by “Kingdom Of Rust”. Truly outstanding vocals, precise percussion, and guitar/bass work that speaks to each other. It all adds up a mighty tune that deserves a proper stadium singalong. The U.S. needs to hop on the Doves already.

55. The Antlers – Bear

– A really personal song. The Antlers use the thrashing rocking 2nd half to further display the feelings at hand. What a powerful song.

54. JJ – Ecstasy

– JJ came out of no where and got noticed by doing an outer worldly cover of Lil Wayne smash hit “Lilipop”. So ethereal and mystical! Lil Wayne would have no idea what is going on!

53. Here We Go Magic – Fangela

– This is top notch songwriting. Luke creates a lo-fi beauty that is equally as catchy as it is sophisticated. When they opened for Grizzly Bear at Town Hall, this song got all the hipsters moving!

52. The Very Best – Warm Heart Of Africa (Feat. Ezra Koenig)

– Luis from Pretty Much Amazing asked me to write the blurb for this excellent song for his best songs of 2009 list (which he put at #6!). Here is what I had to say:

– Back in 2008, Vampire Weekend were able to take African/World music influences and blend it effortlessly into energetic indie rock to create a juggernaut of an album. It is no surprise, then, that African music influenced bands have risen since. Vampire Weekend made it a lot easier for bands such as The Very Best to have a very good 2009. Songs like “Warm Heart Of Africa” are unlike anything we have ever heard before, yet they manage to stay perfectly accessible at the same time. It helps to have Ezra Koenig, the face of Vampire Weekend, as the featured vocalist. Ezra is able to deliver his warm familiar vocals over the smooth tropical beat, bringing two worlds together. This is the type of song that is meant for the summer, but it is great enough to sound just as good as we are bundled up in our winter coats. “Warm Heart Of Africa” is undoubtedly one of 2009’s finest moments that both indie fans, and world music fans can smile about.

51. The Sweet Serenades – Mona Lee

– God damn the Swedes really know how to make addictive pop songs! I was just talking about this with my friend Alex over a cup of coffee at dunkin donuts last night. They always produce the finest pop music. Add The Sweet Serenades to that list. For some reason they didn’t blow up in 2009, which is mind boggling after listening to how good “Mona Lee” is. From start to finish, this song is just pop rock done right!

As a bonus, here is a zip of #100-51 of my best songs of 2009 : ZIP


By Will Oliver, October 20th 2008

So New York Press has posted their top 20 list of bands currently playing in NYC. Here is what they had to say:

Behold, the NYPress’ definitive list of the 20 best bands currently playing. You can disagree, but you’d be wrong.

There are thousands of bands in NYC, and new acts are forming or moving here every day. But there are only so many that are worth your (or our) precious time. Behold, the NYPress’ definitive list of the 20 best bands currently playing. You can disagree, but you’d be wrong.

1. Animal Collective
Mixing Brian Wilson–style production with a psychedelic freak-folk sound, Animal Collective has created the perfect mix of experimentation and pop and become the most talked-about band in New York.
Essential track: Fireworks
[MP3] : Animal Collective – Fireworks | (ysi)

2. The Walkmen

Originally overlooked when bands like The Strokes and Interpol were getting all of the attention, The Walkmen, who rose from the ashes of the late, great Jonathan Fire*Eater, are finally getting the praise they deserve with the best album of the year.
Essential track: In The New Year
[MP3] : The Walkmen – In The New Year | (ysi)

3. TV on the Radio
The band everyone loves, or loves to hate, has emerged as perhaps the greatest hometown draw around for live shows, and is topping everyone’s playlist with its latest record, Dear Science.
Essential track: Stork and Owl
[MP3] : TV On The Radio – Crying | (ysi)

4. Sonic Youth
For over 25 years, Sonic Youth has ruled NYC’s independent music scene, maintaining relevancy and continuing to release great albums. What other middle-aged band could have two members move to Massachusetts and still be cooler than anyone else in town?
Essential track: Teenage Riot

[MP3] : Sonic Youth – Candle | (ysi)

5. Gogol Bordello
A true band of gypsies, their concerts are as crazy as a carnival and ten times as much fun.
Essential track: Wonderlust King

[MP3] : Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple | (ysi)

6. Department of Eagles/Grizzly Bear
Sure, the New York Times gave DoE a big, sloppy kiss last month, and Grizzly Bear is the most important thing in Williamsburg since multi-colored Ray-Ban knockoffs, but sometimes there’s a good reason for that sort of adoration. In fact, these are two of the only bands in town we would brave a sold-out crowd to see.
Essential track: Teenagers by Department of Eagles, Little Brother by Grizzly Bear

[MP3] : Department Of Eagles – Teenagers |(ysi)

[MP3] : Grizzly Bear – Little Brother (Electric) |(ysi)

7. Marnie Stern
Not only does Marnie Stern play guitar like a fucking tornado, but her second album, the much lauded This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That, despite its Miranda July–like name, might be the best thing we’ve heard all year.
Essential track: Transformer

[MP3] : Marnie Stern – Transformer | (ysi)

8. Battles
Even if it didn’t feature an all-star cast, Battles would still be one of the most popular bands around thanks to frenzied live shows and last year’s Mirrored, the smartest-sounding rock record since Unwound stopped recording. Stay in school kids, if only to learn your math rock.
Essential track: Atlas

[MP3] : Battles – Atlas| (ysi)

9. Dirty Projectors
After releasing Rise Above, a re-imagining of Black Flag’s essential Damaged, The Dirty Projectors went from being totally unknown to being one of Brooklyn’s hottest bands.
Essential track: Fucked for Life

[MP3] : Dirty Projectors – No More | (ysi)

10. El-P
Since the early days of Company Flow, El-P has been one of the major forces in hip-hop. Between running hip-hop’s best label, Definitive Jux, with acts like Cage, Aesop Rock and Del The Funky Homosapien, and putting out his own brilliant 2007 record I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, there’s no better name in NYC hip-hop. Sorry, Kanye.
Essential track: Up All Night

[MP3] : El-P -Fuck The Law | (ysi)

11. Yeasayer
Sounding like they’ve come from another world, Yeasayer blends Eastern and African music styles with a contemporary indie sensibility, creating an authentic colorful sound all its own.
Essential track: No Need to Worry

[MP3] : Yeasayer – No Need To Worry | (ysi)

12. Parts & Labor
A major force in the noise-rock scene, Parts & Labor’s music is far more than just noise: It’s anthemic, often evoking an experimental Hüsker Dü.
Essential track: Ghosts Will Burn

[MP3] : Parts & Labor – Nowhere’s Nigh | (ysi)

13. Obits
Sub Pop knows just how good Rick Froberg’s (Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu) new project is—they just signed ‘em—and pretty soon so will all of NYC.
Essential track: Widow of My Dreams

[MP3] : Obits – Widow Of My Dreams (Live) | (ysi)

14. Les Savy Fav
Behind the greatest beard since ZZ Top and frontman Tim Harrington’s outrageous stage antics you’ll find the best post-punk band around.
Essential track: Patty Lee

[MP3] : Les Savy Fav – Patty Lee | (ysi)

15. LCD Soundsystem
Over the years, dance-punk has been given a bad name, but LCD Soundsystem is out to change that. James Murphy & Co. put their all into shows and records—hell, they’ve got three Grammy nominations behind them—and it pays off: nobody gets jaded New Yorkers dancing like this crew.
Essential track: All My Friends

[MP3] : LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends | (ysi)

16. The National
Even if you didn’t fall prey to the charms of Boxer, the record that, along with lots of whiskey, made last winter tolerable, you can’t deny the band’s power. The two sets of brothers (and one other dude) give great show, and even though they hang out with Sufjan Stevens, they don’t seem like assholes.
Essential track: Apartment Story

[MP3] : The National – All The Wine | (ysi)

17. Apes & Androids
At once futuristic and a throwback, A&A are fun to listen to and put on a great live show (who doesn’t love props?) that mixes robotic sensibility with classic rock riffs. Besides, who doesn’t love operatic vocals á la Freddie Mercury or Ian Svenonius.
Essential track: Hot Kathy

[MP3] : Apes & Androids – We Don’t Understand You | (ysi)

18. Motel Motel
The debut record New Denver clocks in at an ambitious 72 minutes, and every single one of them is necessary listening. This is NYC’s best debut record of 2008.
Essential track: Coffee

[MP3] : Motel Motel – Coffee | (ysi)

19. Danger Mouse
There’s a good reason that people like Beck, Damon Albarn and The Black Keys have chosen to work with him. There may be no better producer in music right now.
Essential track: “The Mask” by Dangerdoom

[MP3] : Dangerdoom – A.T.H.F. | (ysi)

20. Magnetic Fields
Stephen Merritt’s rotating combo of music nerds still manage to stay relevant due to forays into experimental territory (the letter “I”?) while maintaining a consistently oddball perspective.
Essential track: Take Ecstasy With Me

[MP3] : Magnetic Fields – Too Drunk To Dream | (ysi)

**What do you think of this list? Is the order right? Do these bands even belong here? Who was forgotten? cough Vampire Weekend cough????

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