Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Heavy Rotation: The We Shot J.R. Playlist



Here is a short list of albums that we have been listening to lately, along with some MP3s we thought you might like:

1. Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band- Second Attention: You can say what you want about the "freakfolk" label that has been plastered on just about every dude with long hair, an acoustic guitar and a record contract over the past couple of years, but it is becoming clear that Wooden Wand (James Toth) is one of the most prolific and consistently excellent artists to have been lumped into that scene. Sure, Devendra has the star power (and some very good songs), Joanna Newsom has the wide eyed mystique (and some very good songs), and Ben Chasny has the amazing versatility (and some very good songs), but Wooden Wand has produced as many "wow" moments as any of the aforementioned artists while failing to gain nearly as much attention. The first song off his latest album with the Sky High Band is one of those moments, and it is truly one of the most immediately gripping songs of 2006. Its not as much freak as it is folk, but the bold guitar chords and haunting vocal reverb work so well that you won't really care that it isn't as risky as much of the rest of Wooden Wand's material. Its an emotionally mature and accessible classic that you will recognize as such almost immediately.

"Crucifixion, Pt.2" MP3

2. Young Marble Giants- Colossal Youth: You probably won't see any resurgence of bands that sound like Young Marble Giants here at the end of the great post punk revival, but the Welsh trio is certainly worth noting as one of the more charming and interesting bands of the late 70's/early 80's Rough Trade scene. Alison Statton's almost spoken word vocals are certainly the first thing you'll notice here, but the barren, minimal synth and guitar are the real mood setters, setting Young Marble Giants far apart from even their Rough Trade contemporaries by allowing the music so much room to breathe that you can almost hear the air. The Young Marble Giants certainly seem to have been a big influence on the lo fi bedroom sound that popped up in the United States in the early 90's, and also on mid 80's pre-twee British bands like Orange Juice, the Raincoats and the Pastels. This track is considered by many to be their best, and it is said that it took them as long to write it as it will for you to listen to it: just less than two minutes. I believe it was recorded during a Peel session.

"Final Day" MP3

3. Human League- Reproduction: Two songs from the band's 1979 debut. The first, "Being Boiled," was their first single, originally released in 1978. You can really hear the influence of Berlin era Bowie on this track, as well as hints of the more chart friendly dancepop direction that the band, albeit under a completely different lineup, would head in the early 80's. However, Bowie is said to have been consistently impressed with Human League's Kraftwerk influenced early material as well (once referring to the band as the "sound of 1980)," and it is apparent that he and the band fed off of one another quite a bit during this brief era. The second track, originally released as the first track on their Dignity of Labour concept EP, leans much more towards Krautrock and Brian Eno's production work on the second half of Bowie's Low and his own Another Green World. If you like it, you should get the rest of the Dignity of Labour EP, as this track is the first in a four movement piece. Fans of later Human League might be pleasantly surprise with these tracks, or might simply say "didn't they do that 'Don't You Want Me' song?"

"Being Boiled (fast version)" MP3

"The Dignity of Labour pt. 1" MP3

4. Oh No! Oh My!- s/t: I've lately developed a bad habit: I tend to discount many of the things I see on MP3 blogs simply because they are, um, on MP3 blogs. At first I thought that it was just because rock music has been sucking lately, but then I realized that it is logical to feel a bit skeptical when you're dealing with a thousand mini NMEs telling you about the next band to "save rock," only to find out that, um, they aren't going to. But I think I got this MP3 from Gorilla vs Bear, which in my opinion is becoming one of the better and more challenging MP3 blogs around, at least compared to the other indie blog powerhouses. I'm not sure that I care for this record as a whole, but I've really enjoyed this song all summer long, and if you're like me, I figure there is a good chance you haven't checked these guys out. You should.

"I Have No Sister" MP3

(If bands, labels or management would like us to take down these tracks, please email us at weshotjr@yahoo.com and we will do so immediately.)

9 Comments:

Anonymous Kirkpatrick said...

Early Human League rules! The second album 'Travelogue' is one of the most absurd and wonderful things.

Need to check out that new Wooden Wand. I have 'Gipsy Freedom' and its really good noise/free jazz/ folk stuff. The more straightforward folk stuff he does didn't appeal to me as much.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Justin said...

I really really really really liked The Flood by Wooden Wand. The new one is pretty great too.

Nice recommendations.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came after listening to Wooden Wand. Oh man...Good stuff.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hot nu indie mp3 blogs blow.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hot nu indie mp3 blogs blow.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

starch sucks!

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank god im not the only one who listens to the human league in heavy rotation.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

basically, chris cantalope is a fard. and he sharts all over the scenage.

4:49 PM  

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