Song of the Day

BLONDE REDHEAD
Here Sometimes


DOWNLOAD: Here Sometimes

I swear as God is my witness, it was just this morning as I was taking my shower, I was wondering, “When the Hell is Blonde Redhead gonna put out something new?!!”, and Voila!…a leak from their next album drops in my lap a few short hours later! The trio of Kazu Makino and the Pace twins (Simone and Amedeo) have been making music together since 1993 and have released seven full-length albums, but noting since 2007 and for dream-pop junkies like myself, that’s far too long. ‘Here Sometimes’ is apparently gonna be the first track on Penny Sparkle, due out September on 4AD, and if this is representative of the rest of the album, it’s far more synth-heavy than their previous effort, 23.

Sez Kazu…

“I am not sure what Penny Sparkle is but I hope I offered to them as much as they offered me. I know that we have never made a record this way and if I could go back in time, I would do it exactly the same way again…”

For more of Blonde Redhead, hit ’em on their website or over on MySpace or sit back and enjoy the video for ’23’…..

Song of the Day

SAY HI
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh


DOWNLOAD: Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh

Eric Elbogen will always hold the dubious distinction of being the first person to ever grace the pages of Damn Ugly Photography when the blog went live and I made the Say Hi song, ‘November Was White, December Was Grey’, the very first web-based Song of the Day. If it’s possible to wear out a CD, I must have come close ‘cuz I had his album ‘Oohs & Aahs’ on repeat for weeks. Apparently he took a break from working on the next Say Hi album and dropped by Daytrotter and did a live session a few weeks back. If you guys aren’t already following Daytrotter, I can only ask, “Why?!!”…they’ve had amazing acts come by since 2006 to record mini-sessions of their songs…and you can download it all for nuthin’! Anyway, that’s where I found todays song, but you should all do yourselves a favor and bookmark the site, then head over to Eric’s facebook page and hit the “LIKE” button.

And as a bonus, here’s the video for “One, Two…One”……

Song of the Day

SARAH JAFFE
Clementine


DOWNLOAD: Clementine

It’s shapin’ up to be ‘Singer/Songwriters Named Sarah Week’ here on The List. Sarah Jaffe wishes she could be a little more delicate. This song…from her debut album, ‘Suburban Nature’, that she recorded in an old funeral parlor…is drenched in regret and heartache and she tugs at your heartstrings and cuts to the bone by pairing her soulful voice with the deep bass moan from a sadder-than-sad cello, yet the song actually swings towards the upbeat with the inclusion of a well placed scratchy guitar and shuffling snare drum. A native of Red Oak Texas, she’s only 24 so I’m chalking up her World weary attitude to what is likely an old soul.

“…50 boys, 50 lies, 50 I’m gonna change my minds…..”

That’s some powerful stuff. Go on….make friends with Sarah Jaffe on MySpace

*UPDATE*

I don’t know if Dallas photographer David Wilson just has too much time on his hands or what, but for whatever reason he decided to cover “Clementine” using a ukulele and a room full of synthesizers! Jaffe wrote on her Facebook page, “I’m not sure who you are, David Wilson, but you are awesome and so is this! Thanks!”

Song of the Day

SARAH BLASKO
All I Want


DOWNLOAD: All I Want

I’ve been sitting here listening to this cut off of As Day Follows Night, the third album from Aussie singer/songwriter Sarah Blasko, and while I’m struck by the sheer beauty of her voice, I’m having a hard time describing how it makes me feel. It’s kinda like if Karin Bergquist from Over The Rhine rode in on horseback in a Spaghetti Western! The howling intro and sparse guitar carry her pleading vocals though a haunting, bleak landscape painted by her stirring lyrics…

I can’t even understand me
So don’t think that you can help
When I say things and see things
That’s no way on earth to tell

That kind of honesty takes my breath away…and then makes me sad. I guess it’s working then, huh?!!

As Day Follows Night was was recorded in Stockholm, produced by Björn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn and John fame) and was released a year ago everywhere but the States…that mistake is being corrected, ‘cuz it’s now scheduled for an August release, but until then, check out Sarah on her MySpace Page

Song of the Day

SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS
Babelonia


DOWNLOAD: Babelonia

We’re gonna do a musical about-face from last weeks ‘The Muscle & Charm’ with a leak off of the new album from School Of Seven Bells, due out next month. I love this Brooklyn-based trio and their psycho-hypnotic swirl of mesmerizing vocals, vibrant melodies and rhythmic noise. I was tossing out cuts from Alpinisms last year as fast as I could get them and I’m looking forward to hearing what the new record has to offer. On ‘Babelonia’, I’m instantly taken by the familiar Cocteau Twins-like chanting from twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza and carried along by Ben Curtis’ shoegazey wall of of chugging percussion, layered guitars and electro-atmospheric noise. Disconnect From Desire is set to drop July 13th, but in the meantime you can check SVIIB out on their MySpace Page

Song of the Day

ATLANTIC LINE
The Muscle & Charm


DOWNLOAD: The Muscle & Charm

If this little photography side-business I have going ever tanks and I had to find another gig, I don’t think I could ever be a real music reviewer because I have this nasty habit of always comparing any new music I hear to music I already know. I suppose it’s only human nature to think that way…I mean, when you tell somebody about a new band you’ve found they’ll invariably ask, “Who do they sound like?”…but real reviewers should have more arrows in their quiver than that. But then I’ve never professed to be a reviewer, but just an interested bystander. That hasn’t stopped millions of indie bands and tiny labels from sending me music from their latest Next Big Thing, which is exactly where today’s song came from. Henry Pope, the bass player for the Los Angeles based Atlantic Line, dropped me an e-mail offering their new album and would I mind get the word out to my cult-like followers? But it got me thinking, how did Henry know about my little corner of the musical interweb…and then I remembered that he also played with Lemonwilde and they were one of the first bands featured on the Song of the Day after I started the blog!

So now I’m gonna lean on my crutch of comparison and try to describe what I think of Atlantic Line…

I checked out their MySpace page and seeing the “Ambient/Live Electronics” tag these guys are describing themselves as, I was expecting a totally different listening experience from what I got hit with. Ambient?!! I spent yesterday with their album ‘Exit To Intro’ on ‘repeat’ and only one of the eight tracks (the Coldplay-like ballad, ‘Ghost In Daylight’) comes close to being described as ambient, so you rock fans needn’t be scared away by the thought of any frilly, loopy synthesizers and unintelligible lyrics! If you have to pigeonhole these guys in any category, Henry’s thumping basslines, William Oraha’s wall of fuzzy psychedelic guitar riffs and Noah Alexander’s power drumming is gonna be found in the arena rock section! And then there is lead singer Ray Silva’s voice…with his wailing and pleading and shouts, you come away feeling like you’ve just experienced a sort of weird mashup of Bono, Thom Yorke and Ian McCulloch. And since I mentioned Ian McCulloch (you can just feel another comparison coming on, right?!!), the first time I heard ‘The Muscle & Charm’ I couldn’t get the similarities to Echo & the Bunnymen’s ‘Bedbugs and Ballyhoo’ outta my head! Silva sings, “Who’s from the future, I’m from the future Honey…Do ya wanna see it, Do ya wanna see it Baby?”, but I’m hearing, “Buffalo and Bison…Bison and Buffalo…Ballyhoo and bedbugs…Bedbugs and ballyhoo”…! Go on…tell me I’m wrong!!!

Now here’s the best part….the boys are offering up the entire album on their website. It’s an honor system kinda thing and you can download it for nuthin’, but don’t be a cheap ass…if it gets you going, toss ’em a few bucks to show ’em how much you appreciate real music! (And yes…I kicked in!)

And then head on over and make friends on their MySpace Page

AOL Shoot for The Hollywood Reporter

Click on Images for Full-Size
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Through a wonderful bit of logrolling, I recently added The Hollywood Reporter as a new client when Alysia Lew of AOL (who I met on my BusinessWeek shoot of AOL executives last Fall) got me to shoot David Eun, the new president of AOL Media and Studios. Here’s a little of what we did…

Kaz sitting in for the main shot…note the hanging cable from the light we clamped up in the ceiling…

…and the resulting final image…..

A new graffiti mural in the reception area…

…and David getting ready to attack the photographer…..

The original test from the ‘Monster Wall’ shot at the top of this post…

And finally, here’s how the magazine opened the story…..