March 6, 2006


Over the weekend (a splendid weekend spent in Duluth, getting into all sorts of trouble with all sorts of good friends) a few people suggested that they have some degree of respect for my taste in music. Apparently I have influence in this regard. In the interest of social conditioning, I shall now use this public forum to shape and mold your listening habits, by discussing my own of recent.

We’ll start with the indie stuff, cuz those guys work their asses off and don’t get nearly as much play as they deserve. As mentioned earlier, I saw matt pond PA a few weeks ago at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. Certainly I am biased, as these guys have been one of my favorite bands for five years running, and anyone who has any history with this blog knows that I plug them at least once a month. But I’ll do it again. Their new album Several Arrows Later is wonderful and you should buy it.

I also got of Montreal’s The Sunlandic Twins album, which is pretty stellar. It’s great for music nerds and English majors, what with song lyrics that discuss twelve-tone compositions and use words like sanguinary. Also, non-music nerds may get a kick out of such lines as we made love like a pair of black wizards.

It’s easier to just hear their music than to explain it, but it’s happy, bouncy and playful. If the sad-eyed literary geek in your life has been slouching under the weight that is emo, of Montreal could certainly help in rounding out his/her music collection.

download “So Begins Our Alabee” from The Sunlandic Twins (3.9mb mp3)

I’ve been digging on Headlights lately, and their The Enemies EP is pretty rad. They’ve got a vibraphone. And songs, too. Songs with music in them.

download “Tokyo” from The Enemies EP (3.3mb mp3)

A friend introduced me to a local band called Digitata, which spins some odd electronic stuff that is unlike anything in my music collection. And for that I love it.

download “Death and the Beach” from Sexually Transmitted Emotions (3.7mb mp3)

I saw Feist open for Broken Social Scene a couple months ago, and while she wasn’t quite what I expected, recent forays into the world of Feist may indicate that I was hasty in my dismissal. I have friends who absolutely rave about Feist, so I may just be slow to board the train on this one. The Postal Service did a remix of her song Mushaboom, and I must say that it has certainly been on high-rotation lately. Seriously wow.

download “Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix)” (4.6mb mp3)

(originally gleaned from Good Weather for Airstrikes)

Mates of State have a new album coming out, and if their preview track is any indication, prepare yourself for a good ass-kicking this round. Bring it Back comes out on March 21st, but if you pre-order a copy from Polyvinyl it’ll ship out to ya on March 14th. Just so ya know.

download “Fraud in the ’80s” from Bring it Back (4.0mb mp3)

As far as bigger gigs go, I’ve been totally obsessed with Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys, which keeps getting better every time I listen to it. The riffs they’re laying down in there are so freakin’ tight it blows my mind. The album has a phat 20 tracks with no duds, and every single minute is worth a listen.

Also, Throwing Copper by Live. You heard half this album on the radio when you were in high school, but you never dug into it until Erik the Great loaned you his copy. The music on Throwing Copper is thick, thick and deep, and while I originally got it for nostalgia, I’ve since realized that the other tracks on this album are great as well.

Note: Apologies on any of the album links to Polyvinyl Records. I love those guys to death but their website sucks ass and uses frames, so it’s difficult to link to anything other than the home page. When you do (which I did) link to the innards, their site doesn’t load the outer frame and thus the shopping cart doesn’t work. Navigation doesn’t load either, but we’re not so concerned about that, now, are we?

Hey Dane,
I have a musical dilemma on my hands. Mates of State and Matt Pond PA are both in Dallas this weekend — the same night, different places… who do I see? I’m feeling Matt Pond PA, but in your opinion who puts on a worthier live show? Thanks!

Whoa, a musical dilemma indeed!
I would say matt pond PA. They are totally on fire this tour, I can attest to that, and they have a freak-load of energy. Like, they won’t be jumping off amps and stuff, but you can tell that they’re totally into the music.
Dana is spectacular on the cello, even more so now than when I saw them in Madison back in November. Matt’s banter between songs is pretty funny, too. He kept remarking about how oddly polite we midwesterners were, to the point where people weren’t even talking between songs.
Also, mpPA had most of their gear stolen out of their van a couple weeks ago. I talked to Brian about this before their show, and fortunately everything was insured. He said when their tour hit Los Angeles they were going to pick up a pile of new guitars and such from Les Paul, and it just so happens that they’re in L.A. tonight.
So! New instruments! That’s exciting.
Mates of State tour like crazy, so there’s a good chance they’ll be back in your neighborhood again before too long. They’re a total riot to see live, two people making such a great racket, so I’d definitely recommend hitting them up when you can.
Heh. It also just so happens that I’ll be in Austin this weekend for the SXSW design conference. Matt Pond is playing there on the 11th, but there’s a good chance that I’ve already booked some other crazy shenanigans that evening.
Have fun!

Dane! I had the best of luck Friday night in Dallas — Mates of State and Matt Pond PA were both at the Gypsy Tea Room – one in the Tea Room, one in the Ballroom – so after mpPA played (which was amazing!) I went around and managed to get into the Mates of State show for free. I missed the opening bands and just a little bit of the M of S show, but they were amazing too. It was perhaps one of my top favorite weekends in Dallas. I hope your Austin trip was good, maybe a few more cowboy sightings to round it out. Thanks for your help – Mary Ann