Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Flaming Lips w/ Stardeath & White Dwarfs – Borderline (Madonna Cover)

This pre-Dark Side collaboration between the FLips and Stardeath was featured on Covered, A Revolution in Sound, a tribute album in honor of Warner Brothers Records' first 50 years.  Both bands contributed their elements to this cover, which seems wildly disparate when compared with the poppy, very Eighties original. Wayne’s signature vocals, wild changes in dynamic and tone, and a bombastic distorted guitar breakdown on much of the track make it their own, almost unrecognizable as a Madonna tune. We’ll do a Vintage Vinyl post on their cover LP of Dark Side of the Moon in the near future, but until then enjoy their take on “Borderline” embedded below.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Howdy and happy day to all the veterans, BOMB Fest attendees, and other folks glad to have the day off.  We'll be spending the afternoon grilling, drinking, and spinning our 40s era LP of Sousa marches.  Check out this vinyl rip of Sousa himself conducting "Stars and Stripes Forever" and raise a glass to those who serve either presently or in the past.  This one's for you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 (Today!) - Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa

With lyrics that would make Sir Smoke-a-Lot blush (or at least make his eyes bloodshot), Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa bring their herbal-infused hip hop to Sunday's edition of B.O.M.B. Fest.  While we'll be missing Wiz in favor of The Shpongletron Experience, he's almost certain to make a guest appearance during Snoop's set, possibly on "That Good", embedded below.  You can also find us at Dum Dum Girls, New Pornographers, Nosaj Thing, and more on this second day of B.O.M.B. Fest, which looks to be even more epic than yesterday.  See you there!

UPDATE: Quintron and Dum Dum Girls had to cancel in recent days. Sucks, but at least now we have time to tailgate and catch Small Black at 1.  Ready? break.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 (Today!) - Weezer

The long-expected party is finally upon us, B.O.M.B. Fest 2011 is here!  We'll be there from noon on (we wouldn't miss Free Energy for the world), so find us at Wavves, Best Coast, G-Eazy, Real Estate, or any of the other acts we've profiled.  We'll be partying hard all day long, and we hope you are too.  Feel free to use Weezer's anthem "Say It Ain't So" as your pregame music and take after a generation of drunken college Rock Band devotees by belting the chorus at the top of your lungs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 - Woods

Tweeted this song recently, but do yourself a favor and listen to “September with Pete” off Woods’ 2009 LP Songs of Shame. These eclectic psych-folk-rock masters are scheduled at 7 on Saturday, so we’ll be running out of their set to try and catch RJD2 and Best Coast, but they’re sure to entertain. Also check out their label, Woodsist, home (or former home) to like-minded artists such as Real Estate, Kurt Vile, Wavves, Crystal Stilts, and more.

BOMB Fest '011 - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

We’ve actually seen Alex Ebert live before, when his former full-time project Ima Robot opened for The All-American Rejects at UConn (I know, I know, but tickets were cheap and Freesia managed to get front-row seats. And yes, I am blaming Freesia for that show). Ima Robot was underwhelming to say the least. It was the first time I’d ever heard a crowd cheer at the lead singer saying they have “one last song”.

He now is touring with a new band and new persona. As Edward Sharpe, he comes off as a new age hippie-Jesus. His band, The Magnetic Zeros, plays throwback rock, lushly arranged tunes reminiscent of 60s pop. Pitchfork gave their debut album Up from Below a less than favorable review, but that seemed more like petulant hipsters being angry at a band’s success rather than an honest critique of the music. Car commercials and radio play aside, Up from Below is an fun, certainly enjoyable listen. The band is sure to translate that energy to the stage when they play Saturday at 8:50, and we’ll see you on the walk to P-Funk as soon as Edward and the gang wrap up.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Concert Preview - Mates of State @ The Space

Mates of State are coming back to The Space tomorrow, May 27, for what's sure to be a fun, close-to-home show - and a great way for us (and probably lots of other attendees) to ease into a whole weekend of concerts. (B.O.M.B. Fest is this weekend, too!)

Mates of State at I Am Fest 2010. Photo by Freesia.
We've seen this indie-pop married duo (and their musician friends that they bring along) a number of times live, usually at least once a summer the last few summers, and they never disappoint. Their head-bobbing, catchy tunes - heavy on the drums and synth - are addicting. At this show, we're sure to hear the catchiest of songs that get us dancing the most off their more recent albums, as well as some staples like the sound cloud clip below, "Ha Ha," from 2003's "Team Boo."

Mates Of State - Ha Ha by VanderMusie

The last time we saw Mates was at The Space was an afternoon show - where they were able to bring their kids and the kids got to bring their friends from school. It was adorable. The Space is really the perfect setting to see Mates of State. Just small and intimate enough. And it's on their home turf.

The last time we saw Mates of State in general, they already had some songs from their covers album that was released in 2010, "Crushes (The Covers Mixed Tape)," and they played some of those cover songs plus a lot of their originals from their 2008 album, "Rearrange Us." I'm looking forward to that mix again, and whatever surprises they have in store.

Here's the info for the show:

Friday, May 27, 7-11:30 p.m.
The Space - 295 Treadwell Street, Hamden, CT
$15/All Ages Show at The Space and 21+ to drink at The Outerspace

This will be our first time going to the Outer Space, where we'll probably stop before the show. Another thing to look forward to!

Opening for Mates of State are Bear Hands and The Lonely Forest.

Bear Hands has a pretty cool sound, from what I've heard so far. A band of Wesleyan alums, like the likes of MGMT, Das Racist, and Santigold, they have a unique psych rock sound with lots of echoes, solid drum beats and short and sweet guitar riffs. Plus catchy choruses.

The Lonely Forest kind of sounds like a lot of the power pop I listened to in high school and would see at Warped Tour late high school/early college (circa 2002-2006), but they also have a slight indie feel to their sound. I think it'll be a good show.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 - RJD2

Damn they’re making this hard.  Sandwiched between Woods and Best Coast, Saturday at 7:30, RJD2’s set might get overlooked by some, but we’ll try to show up for a few minutes before running to Best Coast.  Here’s hoping he leads off with “Ghostwriter”, arguably his signature track, embedded below.

BOMB Fest '011 - The New Pornographers

What a (non)controversial act to play BOMB Fest. If you ask me, being kicked out of a (overly) Christian college only adds to their street cred. Named for Jimmy Swaggart’s proclamation of rock and roll as “the new pornography”, the band’s star has consistently risen since we first saw them at All Points West in 2008. In fact, when we pieced together that they’d be playing before the lineup was even announced (Manic Mark can’t keep a secret), we were CERTAIN they’d be headlining. The rest of the lineup certainly didn’t let us down, bumping them to a late afternoon set, although scheduling Freelance Whales against the New Pornos is a crime against humanity. Any other time Freelance Whales would be a perfect opener, as their sound is complementary to the New Pornos, but I’ll get off my high horse and stop complaining.

Their latest LP Together has been their greatest chart success yet, however, my favorite albums will always be their last couple Twin Cinema and Challengers. Many a summer afternoon has been spent cruising Connecticut’s northwest hills blasting “Sing Me Spanish Techno” or “Unguided” or any of the superlative tracks off those LPs. That’s not to say Together is anything less than outstanding, but it suffers the same ‘problem’ as many artists’ newest albums, that I haven’t lived with the album as long. For your listening pleasure, check out the star-studded video for Together’s opener, “Moves”, as well as "Sing Me Spanish Techno" and their APW performance of "Challengers". This is a MUST see BOMB Fest performance (sorry Freelance Whales). Check them out Sunday at 5:10, see you there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

B.O.M.B. Fest '011 - Dum Dum Girls

Just 4 short days 'til B.O.M.B. Fest! And 5 days 'til the Dum Dum Girls set on Sunday!

I didn't start listening to the Dum Dum Girls very much until after the lineup announcement, and after I knew I'd be seeing them for sure. But in that short span of just a few months, I've fallen in love. (Some bands, I've purposely stopped listening to because I know I'll have to miss them because of scheduling, but that's another story, not for this quick profile of a band we we will be seeing.) I don't have anything to say about the other bands playing at the same time, but if you find a gap of time, or if you're not sure about what to catch at 12:50 on Sunday, I'm highly recommending the Dum Dum Girls - 12:50-1:35 p.m. on the pavilion stage. 

The Dum Dum Girls have been described as if the Bangles and the Cure mated in 1982 - which is most perfect description of a band I've ever heard. (Thank you, Kenneth Partridge from Spinner, and Wikipedia for noting it.) The Dum Dum Girls definitely have this 80s feel to their garage rock/indie pop music. It's the loud, guitar-bass-drum-heavy music you'd hear banging from the garage down the street - with a layer of sweetness from lead singer Dee Dee, who has this beautiful and feminine yet still grunge-y voice. There's a cover of The Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" on the Dum Dum Girls' 2011 EP, "He Gets Me High," which embodies their 80s vibe with just a faster pace than the original and a little bit of grunge on top.

Dum Dum Girls - "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" (The Smiths) by AwkwardSound

I don't want to limit the Dum Dum Girls to the 80s, though - they actually have a sound that's pretty timeless. Their album/EPs have a good mix of fast-paced songs you just want to dance to and slower songs that will make you swoon. It's what you'd imagine listening to while sitting on the hood of your car overlooking the beach at sunset, leaning back and enjoying the first - or final - days of summer.

The Dum Dum Girls have two EPs and a full-length album, "I Will Be," so this is one of those situations we like to call, "the perfect time to see them." The most recent EP has 4 songs, and their songs in general range from 2-4 minutes. We're bound to get a little of everything in that 45 minute set. That means we'll get an eclectic mix of songs we'll frantically bob our heads to, songs we'll dance around to, and songs we'll sway to. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 - State Radio

In September 2008, State Radio played a free show at UConn. Several student-led bands opened, and the show, which ran all afternoon, was a mini-festival outside the Student Union, a perfect end to the summer. This year, State Radio kicks off the summer season at a full-scale Connecticut festival, playing a set Sunday of B.O.M.B. Fest.

Nothing tops seeing these Massachusetts reggae-rockers outdoors. They fuse the twirler-friendly jam-band sound with a harder alt-rock edge, and have gained quite the reputation as a live act in the process. Fronted by the lead singer for Dispatch, Chad Stokes Urmston, they’ve gained as much notoriety for their politically charged lyrics and activism as they have for their music. Charitable causes and endeavors have included efforts to bring home the troops and aid in Zimbabwe relief efforts.

Over time, their sound has evolved somewhat, wavering between reggae and punk and even folk influences, but they retain their signature power-trio format of guitar, drums, and bass. Check out some tracks from across their career, and catch their B.O.M.B. Fest set, Sunday at 4. We’ll be running in after we see the better portion of Nosaj Thing, hopefully they save the Us Against the Crown cuts for the tail end of the set, like key tracks “People to People” and “Mr. Larkin” embedded below.

Also enjoy the catchy-as-hell track off Year of the Crow “CIA”, as well as a cut "Calling All Crows" from their most recent album Let It Go.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Benny Kalama - Kuu Ipo I Ka Hee Pue One

I can't stop playing this track off the LP Echoes of Hawaii, featuring classic Hawaiian guitars on an instrumental version of Princess Likelike's famous composition.  The scratchy vinyl rip makes it feel worlds away, and perfectly sets the tone for Dirty Beaches' Trans Pacific Radio Mixtape, recently featured on Aquarium Drunkard.  The mixtape places the listener adrift, floating in and out of different nations and genres of music bordering the Pacific.  It's still available on Mediafire, at http://www.mediafire.com/?bh9swhpqj2o5exc.  Give it a download, or check out Benny Kalama's lead-off track embedded below.

Kuu Ipo I Ka Hee Pue One by ZOO MUSIC

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Having an Average Weekend

In this late May week, we're looking forward to quite a bit.  Outdoor concerts, barbecues, B.O.M.B. Fest, fellwalking, the deck at Eli Cannon's, and picnicking at the Sleeping Giant are just a few of the things on this summer's docket.  Right now though, we're just hanging out and brushing up for upcoming shows, having an average weekend.  Time to pull out our Kids in the Hall DVDs and do it up right with their house band, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.  They claim to not be a surf rock band... but they're a surf rock band.  The truth hurts, but not this track.  Check it out, embedded below, and see you at B.O.M.B. Fest! One week to go.

Friday, May 20, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 - The Hood Internet

Production partners ABX (Aaron Brink) and STV SLV (Steve Sleeve, aka Steve Reidell) have been making hip-hop accessible to indie rock fans since 2007.  Or have they been making indie rock accessible to hip-hop fans?  Either way, The Hood Internet not only has served as a blog for their wildly divergent mash-ups, but also their live moniker.  Having recently brought their DJ sets to all three days of The Bamboozle festival in New Jersey, they will make their B.O.M.B. Fest debut Sunday at 3:25 (right before Nosaj Thing).  Check some recent favorites below, featuring B.O.M.B. Fest performers Free Energy and Dan Bejar's band Destroyer (Bejar will be there as a member of The New Pornographers).  Enjoy!

The Hood Internet - (This Shit Was) All I Know [Drake x Free Energy] by hoodinternet

The Hood Internet - Kaputting It Up (Raekwon x Destroyer) by hoodinternet

BONUS TRACK: This Public Enemy track mashed up with Nosaj Thing's Health remix was too good to pass up, not to mention Health and Nosaj Thing will also be playing B.O.M.B. Fest.

The Hood Internet - Bring The Tabloid Sores (Public Enemy x HEALTH x Nosaj Thing) by hoodinternet

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boney M. - Gotta Go Home

Max Rebo! That's the name.
Thirty years before Duck Sauce had one of the world's biggest singles in their manic track "Barbra Streisand", Boney M. was laying down the island-disco base for the house hit.  With tight vocals, steel drum accompaniment, and a keyboardist who looks like Jabba the Hutt's blue elephant (right at the beginning, you can't miss him), there's a lot to like about the song pre-Duck Sauce.  Enjoy the live performance, embedded below, and use the comments to let us know if there's someone who can make us ANY of the costumes.  Seriously, those are epic.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 - Quintron & Miss Pussycat

The Drum Buddy is your buddy.
We caught the husband-and-wife band Quintron & Miss Pussycat twice last year, thanks to B.O.M.B. Fest giving us a reason to skip 30 Seconds to Mars and Manic Productions' timely booking of them at Cafe Nine soon afterward.  Both shows were absolutely amazing, especially since they accomplish such a full sound with only two members and the Drum Buddy, a light activated drum machine/turntable invented by Quintron himself.  You have to see it live to appreciate it, which why we're bringing you three live cuts from three separate albums.  Embedded below is a highlight of their most recent Cafe Nine show, performing "Miniature Breakdown" off Are You Ready for an Organ Solo?.  Also check out live versions of Too Thirsty 4 Love standout "Waterfall" and the title track from their newest LP, Sucre du Sauvage.  Don't miss their B.O.M.B. Fest set, Sunday May 29th, 11:55-12:35.  It's early, we know, but it will be SO worth it.  Party it up in the morning with us, it's five o'clock somewhere.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pink Martini - Sympathique

I've been a big Pink Martini fan since high school, finally seeing them at UConn last fall, but today was the first time I'd stumbled on the video.  Enjoy some nutty Dadaist scenes and try to learn some French while Pink Martini brings you their signature form of chamber pop.  Et puis je fume.

Monday, May 16, 2011

B.O.M.B. Fest 2011 - Free Energy

"Free Energy," "Dream City," "Bang Pop" and "All I Know" are my top four most played songs on iTunes.

Maybe it's because these are the first four songs off "Stuck On Nothing" and I have a 20-minute drive to school. Maybe it's because I rarely drive more than 20 minutes anywhere. Maybe it's because Free Energy is the best way to get pumped for the day - or enjoy the rest of it after leaving work or school. I'm talking about some bright, indie pop rock mixed with classic rock guitar and plenty of cowbell - and wrapped in a vintage recording style that makes it feel like you're listening to a worn-out record or well played cassette tape. It's perfect on a sunny morning, or a cloudy afternoon. It's great for when you want your car ride to feel like, just for this moment with your windows down, you're alive, and that's all that matters. We write about things we like here on Merry Picnic, but this post right here is about something I really like. Clearly.

We're getting to B.O.M.B. Fest bright and early on Saturday, May 28 for Free Energy's set from 12:20-1:05 p.m. on the pavilion stage. I can't think of a better way to start our B.O.M.B. Fest weekend, honestly. It's hard to believe that our first Free Energy experience was nearly two years ago - at I Am Fest 2009. There we were in a sparse crowd out there on the New London pier. Some people were already fans. Some people, like us, were there early to get the most bang for our buck and check out some of these bands we'd heard of but hadn't listened to yet. In that case, we got a ton of bang for our buck because I Am Fest was free, and I was introduced to two of my new favorite bands, one of which being Free Energy. (The other being The Drums, in case you were wondering.) Free Energy is great live. They live up to their name.

B.O.M.B. Fest is May 28-29 at the Comcast (Meadows forever to me) Theater in Hartford. Tickets range from $60 for single day open air passes to $99 for 2-day GA pavilion passes and $349 for VIP 2-day passes. More info can be found at the B.O.M.B. Fest website: http://www.bombfest.com/.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vintage Vinyl #7" - Carl Sagan's Glorious Dawn

In honor of our seventh Vintage Vinyl post, we take this moment for one of our seven-inch records.  We'll work in some more singles over the next few posts.

John Boswell has been on a mission to "spread scientific knowledge and philosophy through musical remixes" since late 2009, when he released the first installment in his Symphony of Science project.  Carl Sagan, David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, and even Bill Nye The Science Guy have had their words on science and the universe Auto-Tuned to edu-techno perfection.  Highlights from the series include the third and fourth outings "Our Place in the Cosmos" and "The Unbroken Thread", which are currently only available in mp3.

However, for most fans, the sentimental favorite is the first Symphony of Science track "A Glorious Dawn" featuring remixed scenes from the venerable Carl Sagan series Cosmos along with Stephen Hawking.  In honor of Sagan's 75th birthday in 2009, Jack White's Third Man Records released a 7" edition of the track with a unique b-side, an etching emulating the figures included on the Voyager Golden Record.  The release is a great way to enjoy the song while commemorating Sagan's life and message that a "more glorious dawn awaits, not sunrise, but a galaxy rise".  Enjoy the track, embedded below, or check out the vinyl release, available through Third Man as well as Redscroll Records (recently featured as one of Rick's picks).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

B.O.M.B. Fest '011 - G-Eazy's Triumphant Return to CT

G-Eazy’s set was easily the funnest/funniest thing about last year’s B.O.M.B. Fest. Out of nowhere came this white kid in a basketball jersey, dropping classic lines like “I like to drink, I like to smoke, I like to chill and get high” and “my life is a party”. Most of what we heard that day would fit at the end of an episode of Entourage, playing over the end credits as Turtle moves to repack the bong. After the set he was giving out copies of his CD, Big, which has easily been our most-played free album in ages.

Digging deeper reveals a softer, more introspective G-Eazy. The album’s leadoff track, “This is Me” (embedded below), waxes on topics going beyond just “making it big” but touching on his (over?) reliance on substances to make it through the day and wanting to help his mom through his music and future success. You feel the depression, the hopelessness felt by so many people these days, bordering on desperation for something better. It’s truly a heartfelt moment to start off what is largely a party album.

This Is Me by g-eazy

His new mixtape, The Outsider, retains two of those key party tracks, the above quoted “California Culture” and the aptly named “My Life is a Party”, but shows off a higher rap IQ than one would have guessed based on those tracks. A diverse array of samples and collaborators make every track seem fresh, ranging from indie-rock darlings Vivian Girls and Tennis to the electronica master Dam-Funk (also playing B.O.M.B. Fest this year). What stands out most on The Outsider, however, is G-Eazy’s tight delivery and talent as a wordsmith, skillfully playing off his samples and collaborators rather than becoming second fiddle. Check out the title track from The Outsider, as well as his signature track “California Culture” featuring Dam-Funk, embedded below, and don’t miss his B.O.M.B. Fest set Saturday 4:00-4:30. We sure won’t.

The Outsider (ft. Vivian Girls) by g-eazy

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brian Eno - The Big Ship

For almost five decades, atmospheric, ambient music has been Brian Eno’s bread and butter. Whether simply calming background music or a sprawling experiential piece, Eno is the master of crafting electronically produced/manipulated soundscapes. Nowhere does Eno put his music’s transportative quality on greater display than 1975’s Another Green World, blending art rock sounds and abstract lyrics with airy instrumentals, literally putting the listener in another green world.

Close your eyes and play the track embedded below, “The Big Ship”. You’ll suddenly find yourself at sea, adrift on the tide, when something appears on the horizon. A silhouette appears, too foggy, too distant at first to discern, when finally a sail emerges. The wind quickens as it approaches, and waves begin to rise and fall from its wake in a crescendo of motion, fading just as quickly as it came, receding into the mist. Immersive. And amazing. One big ship.

Larry Miller's Five Levels of Drinking

Well said Mr. Hopper, and well-written by David Lynch, who's 1986 outing Blue Velvet served as something of a re-launching pad for Dennis Hopper's career.  So crack open a Pabst this weekend (the hell with Heineken) and see where the night takes you.  Level 4? Level 5?  Take it up with Larry Miller and make your choice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

BOMB Fest '011 - Real Estate

Real Estate music
Band with psychedelic sounds
Of becalmed surfing

Hmm, apparently today instead of a post there's just this haiku... bizarre.  In any case, enjoy the two tracks of Real Estate's summery debut LP embedded below.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Look Back @ Pete & Pete - Wendall Hyde

The Adventures of Pete & Pete captured something about our childhood.  Maybe it was the somewhat helpless feeling of being a kid, maybe it was Mark Mulcahy's Polaris output serving as a backdrop, or maybe it was the cast of memorable, but offbeat characters.  Artie, The Strongest Man in the World, Nona's father (played by Iggy Pop), or Michael Stipe's Sludgcicle salesman all helped create the quirky fantasy-reality in which the show exists.  So did one Wendall Hyde, a young man who harbored dreams of becoming a star on the bar mitzvah circuit.  His lounge-y song stylings provide the backdrop for field trip where the collected high schoolers slowly become unhinged (some not so slowly).  The combination of frayed nerves and psyches topped off with Wendall's overzealous belting make the episode, "Yellow Fever", a memorable classic.  Expect future "Look Back" posts to keep covering Pete & Pete, high school music choices, and other things we want to wax nostaglic on.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vintage Vinyl #6 - La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) OST

This LP almost had me doing a spit take upon finding it in Redscroll Records. I instantly knew I had to have it, the incredible soundtrack to French animated film La Planète Sauvage, released as Fantastic Planet here in the States. Rene Laloux’s 1973 adaptation of the 1957 Stefan Wul novel Oms en série is a visual feast, and stands out as the director’s signature film. Winning the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 1973, the film’s universe of miniature humans and blue-skinned, fin-eared giants stands starkly compared with other animated films of time, not only in terms of visuals and plot, but musically as well.

The movie’s dramatic arc is reflected in the soundtrack, echoing the fear and confusion at the film’s outset, painting a wider picture as it continues placing the viewer/listener in someplace that’s decidedly otherworldly. This world of the Oms and Draags is brought to life, with its washed out deserts, dynamic landscape, and psychedelic plant life. Composer Alain Goraguer’s atmospheric, space-jazz perfectly accompanies the film, featuring a continued motif that blends foreboding synthesizers with roughly twanged guitar. That theme of sorts is showcased in “Deshominisation (I)” (embedded below), as is the film’s imagery in the “Striptease” sequence (also embedded). Enjoy, and be sure to check out the film, available on DVD from Anchor Bay, or the soundtrack, available on LP and CD through D.C. Recordings.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day from Merry Picnic

Here's a couple cuts for all the mothers out there, this Mother's Day.  Are you doing something for your mom today to show her you care?  Your mother should know.  Oh, mother. Tell me more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Andrew W.K. - My Destiny

Described as "the song which earned me a juvenile restraining order", Andrew W.K. plumbs the depths of teenage affection and obsession through sinister vocals and haunting organ.  Apparently released to the object of his affection by an unsympathetic (i.e. dick) school administrator, the somewhat rightly frightened girl went to the police, resulting in the aforementioned restraining order.  In a way, Andrew W.K. is just expressing what most teenagers have felt at one point or another, with the hyperbole that only a 17 year old can wield.  Enjoy this sorta creepy sorta touching ode to unrequited love, and be super glad that you're not in high school any more.  (Dear current high school readers, we're sorry, but it gets better).

Friday, May 6, 2011

David Lynch - In Heaven

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t fully understand David Lynch’s Eraserhead. But who does? Isn’t that the point of such a film? No two viewers can give exactly the same interpretation. Even Lynch himself has been known to say that no interpretation of Eraserhead has precisely matched his own, and I’m sure that’s just the way he wanted it. Like the rest of his films, there is a backdrop of industry as well as mystery; of fire, metal, smoke and mirrors. Lynch gives a more dystopic view of the term progress, where not everything is squeaky, clean, and “keeping up with the Joneses”.

The depression and uncertainty felt by many of Lynch’s characters is reflected in the audio/visual nature of his work, maintained through the music, ostensibly a break from the overt symbolism of Eraserhead’s whirring machines and industrial noice. The Lady in the Radiator (a seemingly irradiated caricature of Betty Boop) sings the unforgettable “In Heaven”. Intoning “in Heaven… everything is fine”, she makes you unsure if she’s being facetious or just naïve, before descending back into the literal chaos of Lynch’s otherworldly industrial complex. Eraserhead set the tone and distinct visual style of what was to come from Mr. Lynch, a style that reached its zenith upon his musical collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti starting with the score for Blue Velvet. Expect future posts on Badalamenti’s film and television work, and enjoy “In Heaven” (and The Lady herself) embedded below.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Muppet Show - Something Missing

It's time to light the lights!
You can blame The Muppet Show for this blog.  The classic 70s series was in reruns on Nickelodeon throughout my childhood and taught me everything I needed to know about music, comedy, and entertainment.  I had a crush on Diana Ross back from before she looked like the Cryptkeeper and I thought Steve Martin and John Cleese were the funniest men alive (they still are).  Watching the Bug Band sing "She Loves You" (Meet the Beetles, you might say) or Elton John performing "Crocodile Rock" with a chorus made up of- you guessed it- crocodiles spurred my fandom of both artists that persists to this day.

Celebrities aside, the Muppet team could craft quite the song, as evidenced throughout their series, films, and other projects.  "Rainbow Connection", "Movin' Right Along", and "When the River Meets the Sea" have been classics since they were first released.  No less classic are a number of tunes that aren't sung by the marquis characters, and one that always stuck in my head was "Something Missing".  Blending jokey puns with poignant love song sensibilities, the song encapsulates everything that was great about The Muppet Show, even when the stars (both human and Muppet) were stripped away, leaving only the huge amount of heart present in each and every performance.  Enjoy "Something Missing", embedded below.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the Fourth be with you!

The title says it all, and I know I'll sure to celebrate this wonderful Star Wars Day.  Join in with the videos below, and maybe pour yourself a bowl of Admiral Ackbar cereal?

BOMB Fest '011 - Nosaj Thing

As B.O.M.B. Fest approaches, our artist profiles will be kicking into high gear, particularly for the new discoveries. There are a number of artists we would have never gotten into without the Bombacis forcing our hand, but we’re so glad they did.

This year’s lineup features quite a bit for experimental electronica fans, and L.A.-based Nosaj Thing certainly fits the bill. Jason Ford’s chopped up synth and percussion combines with a killer light show for one of the more captivating live experiences out there. Ranging from spacey and ambient to driving and manic, you’ll have a hard time picking a favorite track off either his Views/Octopus EP or debut full-length Drift (which might have the best album art in recent memory). Check out “Fog”, a key track off Drift, and part of a recent Brooklyn set at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, showcasing the visual experience. Be sure to catch his performance on Sunday of B.O.M.B. Fest in Hartford. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Love Language - Brittany's Back

One of these days I'll get around to a Vintage Vinyl post on North Carolina's The Love Language, but until then, I'm gonna kick back and blast the catchy-as-hell second track from Libraries, their sophomore LP.  Enjoy it below.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hulkamania (Osama's dead edition)

While we rarely get political, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say, we got 'im.  Many thanks to Hulk and the rest of the troops.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Heirlooms - Bloodstar

Quick pre-Daffodil Fest post before we head out to feast on more than just fried Oreo’s, steamed cheeseburgers, and kielbasa, but local music as well.

Join us today at Hubbard Park for Heirlooms (2:45), The McLovins (3:30), and more. Check out “Bloodstar” from Heirlooms’s recent Wadsworth set. For fans of Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, and good music in general, this performance is a must-see. See you there!