Friday, December 31, 2010

Beach House- Devotion (2008) MP3 & FLAC

"Something in the way your heart is nailed upon a hand, swimming in the cold waters, head above the sand."

Many many years ago, I heard The Velvet Underground's eponymous third album for the first time, and I've had a weakness for dreamy Psych-Rock ever since. Luckily, I spent my formative years in L.A. during the eighties, which was home base for a music scene called the Paisley Underground. Bands such as The Dream Syndicate, The Gun Club, Green on Red, and Opal were all, in their own ways, masterful interpreters of the VU sound. In the years since, I've listened to a lot of attempts by bands trying to approximate this sound, but they've always seemed like little more than Mazzy Star tribute bands. Beach House is an exception, however. This is largely due to Victoria Legrand's distinctively haunted vocals (something like Jesse Sykes in a drug-induced torpor) and the fact that this Baltimore duo takes the sound somewhere slightly new. Devotion sits nicely between their less-adorned debut and their more accessible recent Sub-Pop release, Teen Dream.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Robert Zimmerman- George Jackson EP (1971) MP3

"I woke up this morning. There were tears in my bed. They killed a man I really loved. Shot him through the head."

The song "George Jackson" is a little-known Gospel-style folk gem relegated to a dusty corner of Dylan's immense discography. Released as a single in late 1971, it is somewhat dated lyrically (in a way Dylan's work rarely is) but a great, memorable song just the same. I first heard the Band Version of the song on the Australian compilation Masterpieces and was never able to find it anthologized anywhere else. I suspect that Dylan might not be eager to resurrect this song for one of the Official Bootleg compilations because it is very uncharacteristic of his post-Folk career. Rarely did Dylan make political statements this straightforward after 1964 and certainly not this topical. In addition, the subject of the song was a Black Panther accused of murdering a prison guard at Soledad Prison in 1970; Jackson had become something of a "cause célèbre" at the time, attracting the attention of many artists and celebrities. The single contained two versions of the song: an Acoustic Version (which is amazing) and the Band Version (complete with Gospel back-up singers). These MP3s are a rip (unfortunately not my own) of the original vinyl single.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Chameleons- John Peel Sessions (1990) MP3 & FLAC

"I think someone set my soul alight. Don't know what happened, but I don't think I got home tonight."

It is common to hear The Chameleons described as the greatest band of the eighties no one knows about. While it is true that they never found a level of success matching the quality of their work, such descriptions seem to attempt to mythologize them as something like the Big Star of the eighties, a band tragically ignored and thus sent down a path of self-destruction. What such revisionism overlooks is how consistently distinctive and uncompromising The Chameleons were. Unlike other purveyors of Post-Punk who took a decidedly commercial turn in the mid-eighties, The Chameleons traveled into even darker territory. Many consider their three studio albums over-produced, though truth be told, compared to other early to mid-eighties recordings, they don't sound dated at all. John Peel sessions, recorded live during several sessions for the BBC, presents the band in stripped down form (well, relatively speaking) and what the songs lose in aesthetic grandeur (compared to the studio versions), they gain in power, which makes this album easily their most direct and thus one of their best.

Beach House- "Walk in the Park" Video (2010) Pitchfork Session

Question: what if Nico hadn't died on a bicycle and had instead become David Roback's next muse?  Here's some nice dark contemporary Psych-Rock from the ironically named Beach House:

The Case Against COICA (Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act)

Here's a more detailed analysis of this corporate-backed government attempt to establish broad censorship powers over the way we engage with the internet. This is from Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The Case Against COICA

Bash the Fash

Bauhaus- "Telegram Sam" Video (1980)

Here's a blistering T-Rex cover by Bauhaus- one of the best tracks they ever recorded:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Echo & the Bunnymen- Ocean Rain (1984) MP3 & FLAC

"The pleasure of pain endured to purify our misfit ways and magnify our crystal days."

Ocean Rain stands as Echo & the Bunnymen's undisputed masterpiece and is one of the most distinctive albums of the 1980's. Four years after Crocodiles, McCulloch & co. had moved beyond the familiar trappings of Post-Punk toward the more lush, orchestrated sound that makes Ocean Rain so singular. I remember thinking, after I heard it for the first time, that it sounded like it was recorded at the bottom of the ocean in an empty submarine. Plucked orchestral strings and a heavy dose of reverb provide a strange aquatic foundation for McCulloch's brooding vocals and the rest of the band is in typical fine form. Never again would the Bunnymen sound this inventive. Their next (and final) album wouldn't appear until three years later, and when it did, they had traded these memorable Post-Punk sea shanties for odes to the Doors and a Jangle-Pop fetish. Ocean Rain is as essential as it gets.

Mariee Sioux- Faces in the Rocks (2007) MP3 & FLAC -For Ana-

"Like bitter spirits and sweet wine, like two tongues at one time, at one time."

The term "ethereal" doesn't begin to describe the sound of Faces in the Rocks. While mostly comprised of Sioux's haunting voice and deft acoustic fingerpicking, the occasional addition of flute by Native American flautist Gentle Thunder adds an eerie thread through the album that, along with the cryptic natural imagery of Sioux's poetic lyrics, gives Faces in the Rocks a creepy fairytale effect. Sure, the ghost of late 60's Joni Mitchell presides over many of the songs, but you could do a lot worse than Joni as a spirit-guide.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Leonard Cohen- "Stranger Song" (Julie Felix Show 1967)

Words fail me in trying to describe how amazing this is....Lenny, you're the best:

The Messenger- Dir. Oren Moverman (2009) Film Recommendation

"We walk into these people's lives; we don't know shit."

Some say great art is universal, but I've always suspected it has more to do with the particular. What I mean is that great art invites us to step outside of ourselves in order to see the world (or a tiny fragment of it) from the unique, subjective perspective of another person (artist, narrator, character, etc.). Not only is this an inherently empathetic act, but it allows us to gain a new perspective on our own experiences, perhaps a realization that our little corner of "reality" may not be the only corner out there. The Messenger is a film that explores this idea on a number of levels.

The film focuses on Sgt. Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) who has just returned to the States after serving a tour of duty in Iraq, where he was injured by an IED while trying to save a fellow soldier. Soon, Will is assigned to the "Casualty Notification Team" commanded by Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson). Their "sacred" mission is to notify N.O.K.s (next of kin) that their loved ones have been killed in combat. What becomes clear after the film's dramatization of a few of these notifications is that Will and Tony bear witness, over and over again, to a form of violence just as devastating as what Will faced in Iraq: the irreparable emotional destruction of the families they provide their "services" to.

Will and Tony deal with their mission differently, and this is where, I feel, the movie is at its most profound.  While Tony unwaveringly sticks to the official "script" and follows procedure to the letter, even refusing to engage in any bodily contact with the N.O.K.s, Will seems to feel a deeper responsibility toward them. He looks them in the eyes and does not turn away from the devastation that follows, even when it results in grief-stricken abuse toward Tony and himself. The second half of the film focuses on Will and Tony's developing friendship and Will's complicated attraction to a widow (Samantha Morton) whom he meets while delivering the news of her husband's death. While these story lines serve to develop the main characters in more emotional detail, the film seems to move away slightly from what makes it so original in the first place: a glimpse of the world from the perspective of people facing a very different "reality" from what most of us face day-to-day. This small criticism aside, the film crackles with a first-rate script and fine acting from Foster, Harrelson, and Morton- well worth seeing!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mariee Sioux- "Swimming Through Stones": Live, Studio Brussel (2009)

Here's an enigma wrapped in an amazing voice with a very envy-worthy guitar. More on Mariee Sioux soon...

Deerhunter- Halcyon Digest (2010) Japanese Edition (Bonus Tracks) MP3 & FLAC

"When there is no law, you've done nothing wrong. You can't take too long making up songs."

I loved the earlier abstract Noise-Rock incarnation of this Atlanta band's sound; however, nothing prepared me for Halcyon Digest. Their first album for 4AD seems to represent a move away from the Lo-Fi aesthetic of their earlier work, replacing it, at least to some degree, with a more produced, more sparsely constructed sound. While their experimental tendencies are still evident, these songs work their magic in ways not evident in Deerhunter's earlier work, such as song-craft (particularly lyrics) and in Bradford Cox's vocal contributions. Halcyon Digest is easily one of the best albums of 2010.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

FLACs Up & Going

All the album posts now have links for FLAC downloads in addition to MP3 downloads, except Kevin Coyne, Case History, which, unfortunately, I can't find in lossless at the moment. I haven't been feeling well today, which explains the dearth of posts, but I plan to post some new content tomorrow. Please let me know if you have any requests.     -voixautre

Gary Numan- "Cars" Video (1979)

One of the fathers of New Wave synth-pop, who clearly learned a thing or three from Kraftwerk. This is from Numan's best album, The Pleasure Principle. My favorite part is when a bunch of Numans drive invisible cars over the keys of his Moog Synth:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Various Artists- Dead Man's Shoes Soundtrack (2004) MP3 & FLAC -Repost-

I originally posted this amazing soundtrack a week ago, but I want to give you a "heads up" that I've added a FLAC (lossless) download option in addition to MP3 because it's otherwise unavailable in lossless format. To the best of my knowledge, this is isn't available in lossless on any other blogs at the moment.

"God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that."

The Kinks- "Village Green Preservation Society" (1973) Live, TV

What's more cool than early Kinks? This is the title track of their vastly underrated classic 1968 album of the same name:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dead Man's Bones- "Dead Hearts" Video (2009)

Great Gothic Americana from one of my favorite albums of 2009, the eponymously titled Dead Man's Bones. More on Ryan Gosling's band coming soon...

Aren't we all just machines with wishbones?

Welcome to the World of Lossless (FLAC 101)

I will be posting download links for both MP3 and FLAC files (when available). Since some readers might not be familiar with FLAC as a file format, I thought I would offer a brief primer. While the MP3 files I post are high quality (usually either 256 or 320 kbps), they are, nevertheless, "lossy," meaning they leave out some of the digital information of a recording due to being compressed into a smaller-sized file. The advantage to this is that if you have high quality lossy files, the sound depreciation is negligible (though audiophiles passionately dispute this), and because the files are significantly smaller, you can house more music on your harddrive.

The advantage of having lossless files such as FLAC is that they are CD quality. While lossless files are significantly larger, there is no loss of digital information, so they are sonically superior to lossy files such as MP3. Also, in many cases, there is no way to purchase a physical copy of a recording, which usually means the recording is entirely out of print or only lossy formats are available in the form of digital downloads. In such cases, FLAC downloads offer a much needed lossless option.

Having said this, there are a few things you should know about FLAC, especially if you are an iTunes user. First, FLAC files will not upload into iTunes because Apple has its own lossless format, ALAC, and I guess they don't want the competition. What this means for those using iTunes is that you need to convert FLAC files to another lossless file format that is compatible with iTunes, such as ALAC or WAV. To do so, you need to download a file converter such as:


xrecode II

These are both free downloads. Another thing you should know is that after uploading lossless files to iTunes, you will need to write in all the tags. REMEMBER: if you have limited harddrive space and are happy with high quality MP3s, then stick with them. I'm offering FLAC for audiophiles and for those who prefer to choose what lossy file format to convert to.

Four Tet- Rounds (2003) MP3 & FLAC -Links Sadly Removed-

There is something ironically organic about Kieran Hebden's laptop excursions into sound manipulation. For example, unlike many of his "bedroom composer" peers, Hebden has a gift for composing songs built around memorable melodies, which gives Rounds the outward sheen of accessibility, but fear not, paradox awaits just below the surface for those with ears to hear. Part of this has to do the role acoustic instruments and sounds play in the compositions; so much so that Four Tet is sometimes saddled with the awkward label, "Folktronica." Such labels are symptomatic of a music that defies labels. Yes, this is Electronic, and I guess it could be called experimental (whatever this is supposed to mean), but there is something so much more going on here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eels- "Novocaine for the Soul" Video (1996)

Okay, before I sputter out tonight, this is from Eels' debut album, Beautiful Freak:

Kevin Coyne- Marjory Razorblade (1973) MP3 & FLAC

"Well I'm going to the house on the hill, the place where they give you pills."

Marjory Razorblade is Coyne's masterpiece- mind you, a huge, sprawling, disheveled mess of a masterpiece. Songs such as "Eastbourne Ladies," "Marlene," and "House on the Hill" are unforgettable due to their mixture of scathing social satire, beautiful imagery and lovely acoustic-based arrangements, and Coyne mixes in a few bluesy rockers for good measure. However, as with his previous album Case History, it is Coyne's singular voice that breathes life into these character sketches. Much like Bob Dylan, Coyne's voice will be considered technically flawed by many, but also like Dylan, his voice is all-the-more revelatory for being so. It is a voice emanating from of the margins, warts and all.

John Grant (w/ Midlake)- "I Wanna Go to Marz" Video (2010)

Here's a sweetly dour confection from the former (?) frontman of Denver-area legend The Czars. Grant's solo album is titled Queen of Denmark, which is out on Bella Union. More on The Czars to come...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Four Tet- "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth" Video (2003)

Here is an amazing video by an amazing Electronic artist. Four Tet post coming soon:

Catherine Wheel- Ferment (1992) MP3 & FLAC

"Dashed aside and torn apart. Apologizing as I write."

I must confess, Catherine Wheel is a "two-album wonder" for me. Yes, they recorded several other albums before finally falling silent in 2001, but Ferment (1992) and Chrome (1993) represent, to my ears, their true legacy. Ferment was their debut album, and situated them securely in the Shoegaze movement of the time, though, like most of the bands associated with this scene/genre, they reportedly disowned the moniker. Ferment (what an odd name for an album) was produced by Tim Friese-Greene, fresh from making the holy grail of Post-Rock to come, Talk Talk's Laughing Stock. While it's easy to focus on Ferment's obvious classic, "Black Metallic," it is overall a very consistent album, which offers some powerful Shoegaze Shimmer.

Holy Fuck- "Red Lights" Video (2010)

Just indulging my feline Electronica fetish. This is from Holy Fuck's latest, Latin- they're from Canada...

Monday, December 20, 2010

NoahJohn- "Rabbit Is Asleep" Video (2001)

NoahJohn, a hidden gem of an Alt. Country band that tragically sank beneath the waves mid-"noughties," hailed from Madison, WI, a great music town by all accounts. Their sound is something like Gram Parsons fronting the Silver Jews playing songs inspired by the Velvet Underground. Stay tuned:

A bowed saw and a handlebar mustache- WTF?

Warpaint- The Fool (2010) MP3 & FLAC

"Your brown eyes are my blue skies. They light up the river that the birds fly over."

This is the new album out on Rough Trade, even better than the E.P. and easily one of the best albums of 2010. Now go support this great band; they deserve it!

Warpaint- Exquisite Corpse E.P. (2009) MP3 & FLAC -For Rosa-

"Just like the stars upon your ceiling that put you to sleep after."

Warpaint is an L.A.-based band who have a knack for creating sexy, gauzy, psychedelic-tinged songs that haunt you long after listening to them. In my opinion, the vocal arrangements (three vocalists) and guitar playing set this band apart in terms of sound. They are equal parts Post-Punk, Paisley Underground, Shoegaze, and something entirely original. I'm looking forward to hearing how this all works itself out on future recordings. Warpaint is comprised of: Emily Kokal (vocals, guitar), Theresa Wayman (vocals, guitar), Jenny Lee Lindberg (vocals, bass), and Stella Mozgawa (drums, keyboards). 

Warpaint- "Elephants" Video (2009)

Great L.A. band with a stellar new album out on Rough Trade. This is from their 2009 debut  Exquisite Corpse EP :

Catherine Wheel- "Black Metallic" Video (1992)

Here's a trip down Shoegaze memory lane. More Catherine Wheel in the nights to come:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kevin Coyne- Case History (1972) MP3 & FLAC

"It's starting to rain.  It's starting to pour. Reckon I'll hide in some fat old rich man's door."

After art school, Kevin Coyne spent three years working with patients at a psychiatric facility in Lancashire, and six years later, for his debut record as a solo artist, he created the musical equivalent of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a bleak, uncompromising, and beautiful testament to the people he came in contact with during those years. The album is comprised of Coyne's distinctive blues-inflected vocals (sort of like an unhinged Joe Cocker or an untethered Van Morrison) and his memorable acoustic guitar playing. This is a hard one to find, so enjoy the darkness! 

Kevin Coyne- "House on the Hill" (1973) Live

Obscure as shit eccentric genius British singer-songwriter that you need to know about.  More on Kevin Coyne coming soon...

Okkervil River- "Lost Coastlines" Video (2008)

An amazing Austin band that I just cannot get enough of. This is from their last album, The Stand Ins:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Echo & The Bunnymen- Crocodiles (1980) MP3 & FLAC

"Stars are stars and they shine so hard."

Fuck, can this really be 30 years old?!? This is the debut album from the original incarnation of Echo & the Bunnymen (that "other" band from Liverpool). If your only reference to Echo & the Bunnymen is "Bring on the Dancing Horses," then Crocodiles, a dark, brooding Post-Punk masterpiece, will be something of a revelation. While lead vocalist Ian McCulloch and the rhythm section comprised of the late Pete De Freitas (drums) and Les Pattinson (Bass) are in fine form here, Crocodiles is perhaps lead guitarist Will Sergeant's finest hour, a tour de force of Post-Punk guitar textures. Yes, the lyrics are a bit cryptic at times, and for some, it may seem an overly gloomy affair, but it is never anything less than original, and in my opinion, this is essential listening.

The Rise of Web Censorship Courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

The following is quoted from

"On Thursday, the 25th of November 2010, the Torrent Finder domain ( ), registered with Godaddy, was seized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without any prior takedown notice or specific allegations of infringing activity. The Domain IP was suddenly changed without the registrar's knowledge and the system displayed a "Pending Registry Action" message on the domain's status. No contact was given until Wednesday, the 1st of December, when Godaddy replied to my inquiries, giving a contact for an ICE agent. On Thursday, the 2nd of December, David Snead who is representing Torrent Finder contacted the ICE agent in charge who told him that "the orders are under seal, but that the seal will be lifted today or tomorrow". However, we have not heard from them until writing this post. Another email from Godaddy clarified that the action was taken by VeriSign: "please understand that these actions were taken by Verisign at the Registry level; and not by Go Daddy". The story was first reported on TorrentFreak and"

Show Support for Torrent-Finder

Bash the Fash

Friday, December 17, 2010

R.I.P. Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart- dead at 69 *sigh*

Here's "Sure 'nuff 'n Yes I Do" live at Cannes Beach, 1968

Deerhunter- "Helicopter" Video 4AD (2010)

I love this band: psychedelic, shoegazing genius. More on Deerhunter and related bands Atlas Sound & Lotus Plaza to follow soon. This is from their latest album Halcyon Digest :

Dead Man's Shoes- Dir. Shane Meadows (2004) MP3 & FLAC

"God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that."

Here's a film recommendation: Dead Man's Shoes (2004).  A fine, gritty piece of British Cinema directed by Shane Meadows and starring Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, and Toby Kebbell. Lots of jittery hand-held camera stuff, which I'll admit, I'm a sucker for. Considine plays Richard, who has returned, after a stint in the military, to his small Midlands village to exact revenge on a group of small time drug dealers and thugs who (as revealed in a series of flashback sequences) abused and exploited Richard's mentally impaired younger brother Anthony (Kebbell in his first film role) while Richard was away.

Throughout most of the film, Richard's brand of revenge seems obsessive, hyper-violent and exceedingly cruel; however, this is all complicated by what is revealed toward the end of the film. It reminded me in many ways of Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, but with more emotional depth and insight, and as a bonus, a lot of dark humor. Great acting all around, especially Considine, Kebbell, and Stuart Wolfenden as Herbie; mind you, however, this is dark stuff! The film also has a great soundtrack featuring Calexico, Smog, Richard Hawley, Aphex Twin, M. Ward, and others, though they somehow didn't include the amazing song by Bonnie "Prince" Billy on the soundtrack album.

A Plea for Patience

Downloads are coming; however I'm caught in an end-of-semester deluge of paper grading at the moment. I will post an album or two this weekend. I promise!  -voixautre

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stop the Spread of COICA! (no, it's not an STD)

The U.S. Senate is mulling over a piece of legislation titled "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" (COICA). If passed, this law will allow the U.S. government, as a proxy for the media companies, to censor the internet as it sees fit, much like the governments in China and Iran do; however, there is a troubling difference: the websites the U.S. government decides to censor will be completely removed from the internet and not just in the U.S.  The following is a Huffington Post article containing more specific info:

David Segal- "Stop the Internet Blacklist"

The following link is a petition to alert the Senate that we "masses" will not stand for this hand-in-glove attempt by media corporations and the U.S. government to legitimize censorship of the internet in the name of greed and small-mindedness:

Demand Progress petition to stop internet censorship

Bash the Fash

Birth of the Cool: Phase II (German Style)

 Here's some Electronic circa 1978:  Kraftwerk, "The Robots"...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Namesake

Our inaugural post should honor the song that gives this blog its title (if not its inspiration).  More on Echo & The Bunnymen to follow soon...