Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jaga Jazzist

Jaga Jazzist - "Oslo Skyline"

I'm seriously convinced that I'm a complete sucker for any band that has more than 6 or 7 members in it.
Case in point: Do Make Say Think, Broken Social Scene, Architecture in Helsinki, The Polyphonic Spree, The Arcade Fire, Out Hud - am I forgetting any here? - Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Hank, etc. Now I can add the Norwegian collective known as Jaga Jazzist to that list.

This band comes recommended for fans of hugeness, all vast and expansive and everything. It's sort of a bombastic fusion of space-rock, free jazz, post-rock and electronic experimentation. With ten members (3 are siblings) in the mix, it's really no surprise that any attempts to attach one single label to Jaga are utterly useless.

Anyway, I don't know what else to say about them that you can't find out by heading over to their site and reading in their press page or in their glowing reviews. Another reason to visit their website: If you're still not sure about them after hearing "Oslo Skyline", there's a few more full mp3 samples from their previous albums over there. So, seriously, make sure you go by it (the site). And make sure you go buy it (the newest album, What We Must, which I am totally loving right now). I'm absolutely mystified as to how this group slid under my radar for so long (they released their first recordings in 1994).

Update: Borrowed Tunes just posted something about Jaga Jazzist shortly after I put this up, except that they have 2 other tracks from What We Must for you to hear. I lose, you people win.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Russian Futurists

The Russian Futurists - "Paul Simon"
The Russian Futurists - "Our Pen's Out of Ink"
The Russian Futurists - "Still Life"
The Russian Futurists - "Hurtin 4 Certain"

Lots of pounding beats, banging keyboards, blasting horns, and incredibly endearing vocals. Loads of fun, in other words.
So much has been said already about the Russian Futurists and these songs have been spread around on countless other mp3 blogs, like, months ago. But I couldn't just let it all go by without giving it some mention here. I just enjoy Matthew Hart's music way too much to not post a sampling of some of his tunes. Hopefully, these songs here will find some ears that haven't already heard them. In that event, I can rest easy that someone's week was just made a little shinier.
All four songs above are off of Hart's latest album, Our Thickness. It was released by Upper Class recordings, a great little label out of Toronto who represent another highly enjoyable band, as well: The Cansecos. Follow both of the links I've included in this post. There are more mp3 samples to be had from the Russian Futurists' previous 2 albums. I'd really just recommend buying both Our Thickness and Let's Get Ready to Crumble, though. It's well worth your money.
Trust me, dude. I know from experience.


Sanso-Xtro - "The Last Leaf"
Sanso-Xtro - "Unsentimental"
Sanso-Xtro - "Blue Signal"
Sanso-Xtro - "Misplaced Feather"

Here are four songs from Melissa Agate, who goes by the codename Sanso-Xtro. Last year, Type Records released a sensational album by the young wunderkind Khonnor. Sanso-Xtro appears to be their baby this year, quickly scooping her up after receiving a gorgeously packaged 6-song demo from this talented multi-instrumentalist.

Hailing from Australia, Agate came to Type with some experience already under her belt, having previously played drums and guitar for aussie bands Salt and Sin Dog Jellyroll. Venturing out from behind the drumkit and moving to London, she picked up the ukelele, kalimba (an African 'thumb piano'), analog synthesizers, and a small array of other instruments. Add all this together and multiply by a laptop computer and thus is born the digital soup that is Sanso-Xtro's Sentimentalist.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Great Lake Swimmers

Great Lake Swimmers - "Moving Pictures, Silent Films"
Great Lake Swimmers - "I Will Never See the Sun"
Great Lake Swimmers - "Bodies & Minds"

The first two songs there are from the Great Lake Swimmers' self-titled debut album, which was released back in 2003. GLS just released a new batch of song - an album entitled Bodies & Minds - back in March. The third track available above is from that record, obviously (it's the title track). It's the only one I could find. And it's notably "rockier" than anything off their debut. You can listen to four more tracks off of Bodies & Minds - if your system supports Real Audio formatted files - over at Weewerk Records. If you like these songs, you can and should purchase either one of the GLS albums or both of them, for that matter.

I like what Misra Records has to say about them:
"With subtle colorings of acoustic guitar and piano, lap steel and accordion, it's Toronto-based songwriter Dekker's voice that carries the Great Lake Swimmers. The reverby echo of Dekker's vocals is the perfect accompaniment for a dark night on a moonlit porch or a long drive through the wide open, only lit by the dim glow of headlights. Addictive like the finest narcotics, this debut is an emotional, stirring album that is not meant to just be listened to. It's meant to be soaked in."
(read more)

Damien Jurado

Damien Jurado - "White Center"
Damien Jurado - "Lion Tamer"
Damien Jurado - "Black Boys"

Damien Jurado is easily one of my favorite songwriters out there. He's up there right alongside the likes of Sufjan Stevens, David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones), Sam Beam (Iron&Wine), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco). I think anyone who likes any of those guys would have a real easy time getting into Jurado's stuff. However, his music is more akin to that of some other elder statesmen - Springsteen, Dylan, Nick Cave - than to that of any of his contemporaries.
The first two songs can be found on his latest work, On My Way to Abscence. The third is an outtake from the recording sessions for that album.
Watch the video for "Lion Tamer" over at Jurado's website.