The Social Network

The film The Social Network opens tomorrow to general release. It’s the dramatic story of the early years in the development of Facebook that has forever changed the way that we interact.

I had the opportunity to explore Facebook in its nascent incarnation. In 2004 a neighbor who was attending Harvard University asked if he could produce a short documentary about me for his film class. During the course of the filming, he and his partner told me about this new website that had become overwhelming popular at their school and that was spreading to other college campuses. Membership was restricted to students but they gave me their login information and password. The website revealed many risqué and revealing photographs and much of the content was of a student body unleashed. Facebook then was the wild west that has since been settled and has conquered the world.

The movie has received rave advance reviews. The soundtrack was scored by Trent Reznor and his frequent collaborator, the English composer, Atticus Ross. The soundtrack will be available in later October. Here is a free download of a five song sampler from the album.

“Pieces Form the Whole”

Warpaint

Quoting from the band’s website, “Warpaint is an all-girl quartet from Los Angeles. They weave intricate guitar lines, hypnotic vocals, and driving post-punk rhythms into gorgeous, sprawling songs that skirt the line between the soundscapes of psychedelia and intimacy.” Their debut album, The Fool, is due in later October. The lovely song “Undertow” is available as a free download and is the Song of the Day.

The Thermals

The Thermals

The Thermals are a trio out of Portland, Oregon who have gone through various personnel changes since they formed in 2002, but Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster have remained together as the core of the band. Personal Life is the fifth album from the group and the very catchy bouncy “Never Listen To Me” is the Song of the Day.

“Never Listen to Me” by The Thermals

The Black Angels

The Black Angels out of Austin have the distinction of not only being a searing psychedelic rock band but also of having briefly backed up the legendary Roky Erickson when he performed a few select dates in 2008. Now their third album, Phosphene Dream, has just been released on Blue Horizons (a label recently reestablished by three notable record executives: Seymour Stein, Richard Gottehrer and Mike Vernon). Hear the contemporary garage sounds of the Black Angels on “Telephone”, the Song of the Day.

“Telephone” by The Black Angels

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian have been making richly colourful music since 1996. The lush pop sounds from this band from Glasgow create such a sweet aura and for years have enlivened my home filled with guests.
Belle & Sebastian curated the Bowlie Weekender in 1999, a sponsorship-free music festival, conceived as an alternative to the larger corporate festivals, that eventually evolved into All Tomorrow’s Parties. This December the band will curate Bowlie 2 in the English countryside and the line-up includes: Belle & Sebastian, Frightened Rabbit, Julian Cope, The Vaselines, Teenage Fanclub, The New Pornographers, Isobel Campbell with Mark Lanegan, Foals, Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500, Dirty Projectors, Field Music, Howlin’ Rain, Crystal Castles, Jenny and Johnny, Best Coast, The Zombies and many more.

Soon we will have a new Belle & Sebastian record. Here is the title track “Write About Love”.

Deerhunter

Deerhunter

Halcyon Digest, the fifth album from Deerhunter, will be released next week. Known for their intense and peculiar live shows fronted by singer/guitarist Bradford Cox, this four-piece from Atlanta offers us a dreamy elegance in “Helicopter” which is the Song of the Day.

“Helicopter” by Deerhunter

The Walkmen

The Walkmen

The Walkmen emerged out of the ashes of Jonathan Fire*Eater (a Washington D.C. band) The Recoys (from Boston), but they all knew each other from their youth in the D.C. area. Re-establishing themselves in Harlem at the turn of the century, The Walkmen began experimenting with different recording techniques and syncopations while incorporating vintage musical instruments. They just released their sixth album Lisbon, a tribute to the city that they visited a couple of times while recording. The marvelous “Angela Surf City” from the album is the Song of the Day.

“Angela Surf City” by The Walkmen

Matt & Kim

Matt & Kim

From Seattle to Athens, Orange County to Montreal, certain areas of North America morph into hotbeds of new exciting music. Currently it now appears to emanate from Brooklyn, NY. MGMT, The National, The Drums, Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors, only to name a few, all base themselves in this NYC borough. Matt & Kim, the duo of Matt Johnson (vocals, keyboards) and Kim Schifino (drums, vocals) are yet another Brooklyn-based band, perhaps best known for their award-winning video “Lessons Learned”. Their third album, Sidewalks, is coming out in November. “Cameras” is the first release from that album and is the Song of the Day.

“Cameras” by Matt & Kim

Tennis

Tennis

Tennis is a husband/wife duo (Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore) out of Denver who sailed the east coast for eight months and wrote and sang of their experiences. They are currently recording their first album, Cape Dory.

They released a three-song EP earlier this summer. “Marathon” is from that recording session.

“Marathon” by Tennis

Azure Ray

Azure Ray

It’s been a long seven years since we last heard from Azure Ray. The duo of Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink pursued solo and collaborative projects during the interim. Part of the Saddle Creek collective out of Omaha, NE, these two women return with their gorgeous harmonies on their 4th album, Drawing Down the Moon. From this recording “Don’t Leave My Mind” is the Song of the Day.

“Don’t Leave My Mind” by Azure Ray

Fistful of Mercy: Free download

Fistful of Mercy:  Free download

There’s a new supergroup on the block and they are Fistful of Mercy. Consisting of Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur and Dhani Harrison, the group recorded an album earlier this year and enlisted drummer Jim Keltner to overdub percussion. (Of the three, I only know Ben Harper personally and besides being a phenomenal guitarist, he is one of the true gentlemen of rock.) The album As I Call You Down is due later this month. The band is offering a free download of their namesake track from their website. Here though is another track from the album entitled “Father’s Son” and is the Song of the Day.

“Father’s Son” by Fistful of Mercy

The Drums

The Drums

Earlier this summer we featured “Let’s Go Surfing” from the debut album by the Brooklyn-based band The Drums. The album was originally released in the UK and online. Today the physical release of the disc is available in the U.S. The bonus track on the album “When I Come Home” is now a free download and is the Song of the Day.

“When I Come Home” by The Drums

Ray LaMontagne

Ray LaMontagne

Singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne resides in the hinterlands of Maine and lives a very private life. He’s reclusive and shies from the spotlight. But his voice is powerful and commanding in the vein of Van Morrison and Tim Buckley and he has recently released his 4th album God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise. (n.b. this phrase was first uttered by Benjamin Hawkins, a statesman from North Carolina and a member of the first U.S. Senate. Spike Lee used these words for the title of his recent documentary on New Orleans and legendary radio morning man Charles Laquidara from Boston signed off with these words after every show.) One of my favorite tracks from the album is “Beg Steal or Borrow”. Here exclusively is an acoustic version of that song.

“Beg Steal or Borrow” by Ray LaMontagne

Matthew Dear

Matthew Dear is a Detroit-based DJ/producer expanding the bounds of electronic music. Depending on the sound that he is exploring he operates under different monikers (Audion, False, Jabberjaw). His latest album, Black City, under his given name has hints of Berlin-period Bowie and ambient Eno. From this current release, “Little People (Black City)” clocking in at 9:21 takes us to unexpected places and is the Song of the Day.

“Little People (Black City)” by Matthew Dear

Dear New Orleans

Dear New Orleans

No city in the country should have such bad luck as New Orleans. First Katrina and then the oil spill. Even though both can be traced to human incompetence and greed, tragedies such as these tend to be compartmentalized if not downright forgotten as they cease to be headline news. New Orleans five years later has still just barely recovered from the hurricane and the recent devastation to the wetlands and to the Gulf from oil and dispersants will be felt for years. Thankfully there are artists, such as Spike Lee (his documentaries When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and “If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise”) and numerous musicians who will not let us place New Orleans in the scrapheap of forgotten historical disasters. The album Dear New Orleans has just been released (produced by Air Traffic Control, a nonprofit organization that works with Future of Music Coalition for social change and artist activism) to benefit the region’s unique musical heritage and to protect and restore the environment. With 31 New Orleans-inspired tracks from a very diverse range of musicians from Mike Mills and Wayne Kramer to My Morning Jacket and OK Go, from Jill Sobule and Tom Morello to Steve Earle and Laura Veirs, these artists express their gratitude to the city and make certain that we will never forget. From that album here is song “NOLA” performed by Mirah featuring Thao Nguyen and a poem from 2nd Chief David Montana entitled “The Change of Heart Man”.

Dear New Orleans

Mirah featuring Thao Nguyen-“NOLA”

2nd Chief David Montana-“The Change of Heart Man”

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