DIO – In Memoriam

Posted in 2010 Music, podcasts on May 18, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Hey there, everyone.

Well, as some of you might have heard, legendary metal maestro Ronnie James Dio passed away on Monday of stomach cancer. He was 67 years old. Considering the man’s astounding influence in the metal scene (and that his remarkable career spanned five decades), I thought I’d take some time and collect some of his songs for you to listen to. I’ve selected songs from most of the band’s he’s performed in, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell.

You can grab the podcast here. Listen and enjoy. RIP Dio – you will be missed.

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NEWEEK – Vol. V

Posted in 2010 Music, podcasts on May 14, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Hey everyone!

I did it! Got this podcast to you before the weekend. What’s on it, you say? Well, new music from The National, Foals, Sage Francis, UNKLE (with Autolux!), and more! You can download it here. Enjoy!

THE RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE – Drain The Blood (7″)

Posted in 2010 Music on May 13, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Whilst purchasing my new albums for the week at Reckless Records, I decided to browse through the 7″ section, as it had been a little while since I last did, and I wanted to see what untold treasures might await me there. Well, I didn’t find much, but I did come across this curious little 7″ from The Rural Alberta Advantage, a Canadian band who’s 2009 debut Hometowns (okay, well, technically 2008 – it was reissued on Saddle Creek in 2009) has grown on me tremendously since I picked it up last year; the song Drain The Blood from that album is my favorite, and the B-side of this 7″ was a cover of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger – for $4, how could I not buy this?

One of the things that keeps drawing me back in to Hometowns as an album is that The Rural Alberta Advantage’s sound is pretty difficult to pin down; I’m trying to think of the best way to describe it now, and I came up with this: take Sam Beam from Iron & Wine, Les Savy Fav, The Postal Service and a handful of organ/string/horn flourishes, and toss them all into a blender set to the lightest mode possible. Then start blending. The problem is, of course, that any time one makes a musical “X +Y = Z” argument, you only get further from the truth the more variables you toss in to the mix. So my blender analogy doesn’t really work, as far as illustrative mechanisms go. Still, it does paint an intriguing picture of a band who’s sound is (as I mentioned earlier) delightfully unique and refined.

Now, Drain The Blood is the A-side of this release. It’s an absolutely perfect song, no question about it. It’s got a great hook, a great sense of energy and presence, and the perfect mixture of pleading and resignation in the lyrics. It’s intense. It’s brooding. It’s a song you want to play again as soon as it’s finished. This I knew going in to the purchase. What I didn’t know was what the Eye of the Tiger cover was going to be like. Was the band going match the energy of Drain The Blood with it, or no? Well, as it turns out, the answer was no. The cover is entirely acoustic, just guitar and Nils Edenloff’s vocals. It’s not what I was expecting, but as a part of a whole, this is really the perfect cover; it’s the calm yin to Drain The Blood’s ferocious yang. Eye of the Tiger, as it is presented here, is extraordinarily subdued, almost sad in its bareness. You can’t say the same about the original – I mean, it was written for Rocky III, for Christ’s sake.

The Drain The Blood 7″ has been out for awhile (January, via Saddle Creek), and if you want to get a good gauge of what this band is capable of (and you have a working vinyl player), I’d recommend picking it up if you can find a copy somewhere. And if you can’t, that’s what online stores are for. So what are you waiting for?

NEWEEK – Vol. IV + plus some general news

Posted in 2010 Music, General, podcasts on May 12, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Hey everyone!

Well, first off, Neweek vol. IV is done, and ready for your listening pleasure. It features new music from The Hold Steady. Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers, Minus The Bear, The Fall, and more. PLUS: if you ever wondered what it might sound like if The Flaming Lips, Stardeath and The White Dwarfs and Henry Rollins all pitched in their efforts to cover Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage, well, wonder no more. It’s here on volume IV of Neweek, which you can download here.

Beyond that, I have two other quick things for you: first off, a group of Titus Andronicus fans have pooled together a bunch of rare odds and ends from the band, and have created an e-bootleg, if you will. It’s called Feats of Strength, and you can download it here; it features lots of the band’s earliest recordings, most of which are kind of hard to come by now. I’ve listened to it a few times yesterday, and it’s quite awesome; the band’s power and drive is as clear as day here, even in these early ultra lo-fi recordings. Plus, there’s a couple of great covers, to boot. And seeing as how The Monitor is the album to beat for 2010, you kind of owe it to yourself to get this.

Second, on the local music front, Coach House Sounds recently revamped their website, and have put up three new sessions. And one of these sessions is of my friend Brian’s band, Names. It’s a great session, and I highly recommend you take a listen to it, especially if you’re into to droning music like Lichens or Esmerine. Oh, and you should also check out the sessions from BBU and Dick Prall, too. And if you’re in the Chicagoland area, Coach House Sounds will be presenting a showcase at Schuba’s on May 22nd. Check it out!

Well, that about does it for now. Thanks everyone – Neweek vol. V is coming, so stay tuned!

Neweek Volumes IV and V – a delay

Posted in General on May 7, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Hey everyone,

So I’ve been super busy here the past couple of weeks, and I just wanted to give you a quick update on some things. First off, Neweek Volume IV, which covers releases from May 4th, 2010, will be posted early next week. And Neweek Volume V, which will cover releases from May 11th, 2010, will be up (God willing) by Friday of next week.

I hate to fall behind on things, but sometimes, it’s inevitable. So stay tuned – there’s great stuff coming, I promise you!

NEWEEK – Vol. III (+ archive)

Posted in 2010 Music, podcasts on May 3, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Alrighty everyone, so – here’s the much delayed Neweek Vol. III. It features new music from 65daysofstatic, Frog Eyes, Gogol Bordello, Caribou, Rufus Wainwright, and more. PLUS: hear Japandroids cover Big Black’s Racer-X.

Additionally, the previous Neweek podcasts can be found here:

Neweek Vol. I
Neweek Vol. II

That’s all for now. Happy Monday!

EMPYREAN TWILIGHT – Archive

Posted in 2010 Music, podcasts on May 2, 2010 by monopolyphonic

Hey all,

So, I finally purchased that space upgrade. You can now grab the first two Empyrean Twilight shows at the following locations:

Empyrean Twilight – Vol. I
Empyrean Twilight – Vol. II

A Neweek Archive will be up soon, as well as the long-delayed Neweek Vol. III. Stay tuned!