malleus&incus

The Gospel of the Coen Brothers

Posted in Gospel by Sam on August 29, 2010

The Coen Brothers are my current thing (along with Scrabble). I spent the summer scouring the public library’s DVD collection for any of their movies I could find. I was even willing to shell out a few bucks for the ones that weren’t readily available by means of a library card. One thing that always interested me about them is how music seems to play a larger role in their films than in most. Along with the uniformly-superb scores of Carter Burwell, they like to utilize musical genres to firmly plant their movies in a certain place or time (e.g. O Brother, Where Art Thou? with its folk music or A Serious Man with Jefferson Airplane). What I’m posting are two of my favorite movie-music moments of all time. While The Ladykillers isn’t generally considered to be one of the Coens’ best efforts, it holds a special place in my heart for two reasons: it was my first Coen Brothers film, and the music is amazing. Here we go: (more…)

A Plea For Duets

Posted in Indie, Singer-Songwiter by jurbanik on August 28, 2010

One thing I have noticed in the past couple years is the lack of duets between male and female songwriters. I can count on my hands how many memorable ones I’ve heard – there is the sickeningly cute and horribly overplayed ‘Lucky‘ by Colbie Caillat & Jason Mraz, the aptly name ‘Duet‘ featuring Rachael Yamagata and Ray LaMontagne (I still want to review his new album…), the perfectly harmonized ‘Paperweight‘ by Schuyler Fisk & Joshua Radin, the catchy but anti-romantic ‘You Don’t Know me‘  by Regina Spektor and Ben Folds, the heartfelt ‘I Don’t Feel it Anymore‘ by Priscilla Ahn & William Fitzsimmons, and the previously mentioned ‘Train Song‘ by Feist & Ben Gibbard.

Of course this doesn’t include the few artists (like She and Him or Arcade Fire) that have both male and female vocalists, but that is six whole collaborations. I’m not saying there aren’t other good ones out there, but those are the only ones that have been particularly memorable for me. I really can’t understand why: male-female duets seem one of the promising musical possibilities out there. They appeal to audiences that like male and female vocalists, the multiple main voices gives the potential for more narrative lyrics, the male and female tonal ranges are typically different and a good match can create great harmonies, they’ve got the potential for extreme romanticism… the list goes on and on. I can understand that it might be hard to find artists that interface well in terms of rhythmic, vocal, stylistic, and lyrical tendencies, but I would think more artists would at least try to capitalize on this potentially vast marketability. Certainly Hip Hop and R&B artists seem to have no problem executing collaborations… I can’t understand why it is so different for singer-songwriters. (more…)

sleeper

Posted in Electronic, Female Vocalist, Pop by Giri Nathan on August 26, 2010

In an album chock full of gold, the coolest track often lies unnoticed. Amidst all the perfect pop songs on Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach, and amidst all the high-profile cameos — from Snoop Dogg to Lou Reed — it’s easy to lose sight of the best one.

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Heartbreaks

Posted in Funk, Hip Hop, Indie by dc3 on August 23, 2010

No one is immune to the pain of heartbreak, especially when its hands reach viciously into your chest and suffocate your soul until you’re left a bitter and heartless shell. Today, my heart was broken by a 16-year-old androgynous pop star. A friend told me today that Bieber now wants to date Emma Watson. Bieber, you’re a bitch for stealing my woman.

But music heals all wounds. A few words from me to Emma via the Cee-lo Green (of Gnarls Barkley fame):

Cee-Lo Courtesty Stereogum

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whooping throngs

Posted in Indie, Live Music by Giri Nathan on August 23, 2010

Epic songs call to mind epic scenes: rolling meadows, endless sea, snowy peaks (like you could almost see the hobbits trudging in the distance). Also, multi-million dollar stadiums. And when you find yourself in Madison Square Garden, like Arcade Fire did a few weeks ago, you play the venue to your advantage. The epic space was already there; they just needed to stuff it with sound. By chugging through a solid, stolid set, stowing away their not-so-secret weapon in the encore, they kept us writhing in our seats just waiting for the arena to erupt. Then they delivered.

obligatory crappy iPhone picture

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What Have We Done? (Old Ke$ha Demo)

Posted in Pop by jurbanik on August 23, 2010

Quick post to compensate for my way too verbose Djohariah analysis (though linking to Sufjan from this post just feels somewhat wrong).

I just happened across a track from a younger Ke$ha on my friend’s tumblr and I’m still in shock. The act responsible for my ‘Tik Tok’ and ‘Blah Blah Blah’ themed nightmares actually has a voice under all the glitzy synths, vocoders, and autotune.

Goodbye// Untitled Demo

In the words of my friend Leana (or as she’d like to be known, Leana the Great), “I don’t even understand. She doesn’t even sound like a scary gangster woman!” In fact, she has a pretty good voice, and was at one point capable of some natural vocal embellishments. Keep in mind this is Kesha Sebert seven years ago – don’t hope for this kind of material to come back. The song is still barely passable in the lyrics department, but the fact that she actually is able to sing made my jaw drop. (more…)

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Djohariah Stevens

Posted in Folk, Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwiter by jurbanik on August 22, 2010

It seems that the final Stevens sibling has finally gotten her 15 (or more precisely, 17:02) minutes of fame. The morning of August 20, Sufjan released a new EP entitled ‘All Delighted People.’ The last track on this sprawling 60 minute EP is titled Djohariah, the name of Sufjan’s little known sister. The Stevens brothers have made big names for themselves – Sufjan has essentially indie god status while Marzuki is a marathoner who qualified for the 2008 Olympic trials after finishing 20th overall in the 2006 Boston Marathon.

As if this wasn’t enough, it seems as though the Stevens brothers are very close. Whether it be recording things in their tape recorder at a young age, as in the clip Godzuki from Sufjan below, appearing in press photos together, Sufjan recording some of his early albums at the school Marzuki worked at, or Sufjan naming the band he was part of at Hope College after his older brother (more on this after the jump), it seems the brothers are good friends. As for Djohariah, it is very hard to know.

Godzuki// A Sun Came!

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A Little Heart to Heart Music Group

Posted in Experimental, Glitch, Indie, Lo-fi by jurbanik on August 20, 2010

I’m pretty late with this, but I think everybody could use a reminder about Heart Music Group. The music management company is a recent project by Joshua Fisher that is attempting to help promote some smaller bands, and has acts like Baths, Kárin Tatoyan, and Fol Chen under its arms. I’m not going to claim that I completely understand how the project works, but if you want to check it out, the LA Times Blog is a start. Heart Music Group (HMG) put on a warehouse concert tuesday night (8/17), but I haven’t heard how it went. With the talent and energy that HMG brings, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t great.

However, of more relevance to this post (since I was nowhere near LA for the show) is the recently released EP ‘<3.’ It has tracks by Baths, Teen Daze, Light Pollution, Blackbird Blackbird, Gobble Gobble, and Kites Sail High. A lot of you would probably be interested to know that it is available completely free at HMG’s bandcamp (I love that website more and more every day). Because it is free, I’ll just embed the player, and link to some other tracks by each artist (gotta save some storage sometimes). (more…)

In Honor of the 2010 ICM

Posted in A Cappella by Sam on August 19, 2010

I haven’t talked about math much on this blog yet, probably because it’s a music blog. However, the 2010 winners of the Fields Medal were announced last night. One of them is former Princeton professor Elon Lindenstrauss, who many will remember from MAT 215 Fall 2009. For those not in the loop, the Fields Medal is a huge deal. Like…massive. Surprisingly, however, the award was not given for his formulation of analysis in terms of goblins giving you epsilons, but instead for his work in ergodic theory. In Dr. Lindenstrauss’ honor, and because this is Princeton and we fucking love a cappella, I now present the greatest math love song of all time, Finite Simple Group (of Order 2) by the Klein Four Group (with video!), after the jump.
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Summer Mixtape

Posted in Hip Hop, Playlists by jawillisetc on August 19, 2010

Summer may be over for students at southern schools, but I still have almost a month to go, and Prefix Magazine and Potholes In My Blog are making sure that I have a soundtrack to those final aimless days. August 24, Summer Sampler drops, featuring new releases from Big K.R.I.T., DaVinci, Slum Village, Smoke DZA and numerous artists that I can’t wait to get acquainted with. Check it out on Prefix. The album art is too pretty to make black and white.


Two tracks have already leaked from the mixtape, including a track from Big K.R.I.T., who’s crispy southern rhymes were a fixture on my iPod this summer. This latest track, titled “My Interpretation”, shows K.R.I.T. in peak form, spitting over another smooth, self produced beat. The lush production’s classic soul elements make it ideal for slow summer driving; the subtle but powerful bass and brushed drumbeat could make anybody feel badass. Lyrically K.R.I.T. doesn’t break any new conceptual ground, but he spits the standard up-from-nothing cliches with creativity and passion. Although it doesn’t soar to the anthemic heights that “Country Shit” did, “My Interpretation” gives me high hopes for “Summer Sampler”.

Big Krit // My Interpretation

Tracklist after the jump: (more…)

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