Friday, April 28, 2006


So today's edition highlights yet another band out of Arkansas. However, unlike the other "new" bands I've been posting, this one has been around for a while. Ho-Hum, based out of Little Rock, plays a straightforward blend of rock and pop. It's like the love child of The Wrens and Coldplay or something. Their latest release (titled "Losty") can be ordered from their label through the website. Here are a couple tracks off of that release:

::: Ho-Hum - The Ax (long but good!)
::: Ho-Hum - Senator Meet Kid
::: Ho-Hum - The Mirror Song

Getting dangerously close to a political commentary, I think it's worty of mentioning here that one of the members of Ho-Hum, Rod Bryan, is in the process of running for Governor of Arkansas. He recently obtained enough signatures to get on the ballot. His platform is extremely progressive and features alot of environmentally-friendly proposals, which is kind of groundbreaking in the state of Arkansas. Cruise on over to his website and check out his blog, both of which are totally excellent. His "Why I'm Running" and "Vision of Arkansas" essays are fantastic......

[photo credit goes to an interesting online journal also from little rock. good web design to boot.]

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MUSIC: Christopher Denny

So, I don't quite know how you guys will respond to this musical selection but I came upon this guy, Christopher Denny, last Saturday night at Whitewater Tavern in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sort of a throwback kind of fella, with his musical tastes firmly planted in the origins of country, folk, and Southern Americana. Not usually my bag, admittedly, but I was immediately impressed with the age someone so young could convey. Here's a couple tracks from his myspace page.

::: Christopher Denny - Hearts On Fire
::: Christopher Denny - All Burned Up
::: Christopher Denny - Time

You can pick his album up from his label, Tomato House Records. (I don't like their website at all, though)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MUSIC: Les Savy Fav

Here's another band that makes frequent stops here on Macktronic. Every show of theirs which I've gone to falls in my all-time Top 10 Live Shows list. Really. If you ever have a chance to soak in the pure awesome-ness of a Les Savy Fav show, I promise you'll have a good time. Who knows, you might get your head rubbed by Tim's crotch, if you're lucky. Word on the street is that Rococo Records will soon be releasing (vinyl only) the Australian Tour EP the band originally released only down under. There's no pre-order link yet for the limited edition (7", I believe). Here's a taste of that.

::: Les Savy Fav - Hit By Car

Here's a couple extraneous LSF links for your enjoyment.
Frenchkiss Records - Syd Butler's label in NY with many fantastic bands
Deadly Squire - Time Harrington and his wife operate this pattern/design company
Branch Gallery - art gallery in North Caroline opened by LSF drummer Harrison Haynes
Anyhow, enjoy, and leave some comments because comments are awesome.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

MUSIC: Calexico to Band Of Horses

So, you ask, what is the connection between Calexcio and Band of Horses? Well, the answer is Sam Beam my friends. Calexico did a recent album with Iron & Wine, which is Sam Beam's band. Sam did a song with Carissa's Wierd, the previous incarnation of Band of Horses. See for yourself.

::: Calexico - Cruel (Live @ KEXP)
::: Calexico / Iron & Wine - Red Dust
::: Carissa's Wierd with Sam Beam - Chelsea Hotel No.2
::: Band of Horses -The Funeral (Live @ KEXP)

There are actually a couple reasons I wanted to do this post. and here they are:
1. It's a good opportunity to point you in the direction of So Much Silence, the original destination for live radio session recordings and many other fantastic musings. Both the Calexico and Band of Horses live tracks above originated there, so show them some love.
2. I think the Red Dust song off the "In The Reins" collaboration is the best on the whole album. It's just my favorite and I was looking for an excuse to post it.
3. Also, you gotta love KEXP, out of Seattle. Just what radio should be in my opinion. I listen to their stream daily, which I'm sure annoys the IT guys in my department.

As always, you can buy album by the above artists here.

ART: Kaz Oshiro

Typically I'm not a huge fan of sculpture, and I don't know if I would actually qualify myself as a huge fan of Kaz Oshiro's work, but it is damn entertaining. The piece above (Small Fridge #5) was being shown at Steven Wolf Fine Arts in SF a little bit ago (the show closed on March 25) and it was just a fantastic representation of a college dorm room fridge; complete with coke stains and surface scratches. The mindblowing thing is that it's sculpted out of canvas and wood and paint and assorted other materials. I couldn't find a picture of the back side of the piece, but it's cool to see the hollow shell. There's another piece which is an old Fender amp, and it is awesome as well. Just thought you might be interested....

Monday, April 17, 2006

MUSIC: Cee-Lo / Gnarls Barkley

In lieu of the upcoming Gnarls Barkley release ("St. Elsewhere"), I thought I'd connect a couple of the most recent dots on the duo's catalog (sorry, no Goodie Mob). Seems like a match made in heaven since both Cee-Lo's "Cee-Lo Green is the Soul Machine" and DJ Danger Mouse's collaboration with MF Doom ("Dangerdoom") got a ton of play in my world over the last year. Publicly, the first single (Crazy) is absolutely tearing up the charts (not to mention the noise all over the internet). Anyhow, here are a couple tracks that'll give some of you a sample of the previous work by these fine fellows.

::: Gnarls Barkley - Storm Coming [removed, copyright]
::: Cee-Lo - The Art of Noise (feat. Pharrell)
::: Jay-Z and DJ Danger Mouse - Dirt Off Your Shoulder
::: DangerDoom - Benzie Box (feat. Cee-Lo)

There's also a good Wikipedia page on Danger Mouse (I'm a big Wikipedia fan, it's such a time suck). As always, you can buy all these albums here, with the Gnarls Barkley release slated for May 9. Enjoy.

Friday, April 14, 2006

MUSIC: Lucero

Another favorite of this here site is Lucero. Looks like they're doing a reissue of the early album titled "The Attic Tapes", you can pre-order a copy from the band's website. Alternative Press named The Attic Tapes, the band’s 4-track debut EP, one of the “top 5 home recordings of all time.” Now that says alot. Here are the first three tracks from the original release (the reissue has some bonus tracks!).

::: Lucero - Into Your Eyes
::: Lucero - Diamond State Heartbreak
::: Lucero - Hello Sadness

And just for good measure, here's one of my favorite tracks off their self-titled release which you can pick up here (along with the rest of their excellent albums).

::: Lucero - Little Silver Heart

And, if you get a chance to ever check them out live, make it happen because they're incredible. Ben (the lead singer) really pours his heart out on stage.

[Shout out to Clever Titles Are So Last Summer who got this post rolling]

MUSIC: Envelopes (Perfect Friday Music)

In what I see as a recurring theme, I'd like to present the first edition of "Perfect Friday Music". You know the kind of music I'm talking about, stuff that encompasses that feeling of freedom and bliss and all that Friday goodness. Anyhow, the new Envelopes album is excellent, but I keep coming back to an older track which you can listen to below.

::: Envelopes - Pink Christmas

You can buy their newest album (called "Demon") here. Here's to the weekend.

[The above image was found in a random box at a thrift store. It is titled "Bat Flight, Carlsbad Canyon, 1980]

Thursday, April 13, 2006

MUSIC: Sufjan Stevens

So apparently Sufjan Stevens is releasing the rest of the songs he had originally worked up for his Illinois album. A couple of other excellent blogs, Good Weather for Airstrikes and I Guess I'm Floating have some tracks up from that plus a good discussion about the motivation behind a whole new album for Illinoise-esque material. Cruise on over to see what all the noise is about.

This is also as good a moment as any to post the song Sufjan did for NPR during the middle of last year (Excellent article on the NPR website). The short end of it is that he wrote a song about a rare bird found in Brinkley, Arkansas, allowing NPR to follow him throughout the songwriting process. Here's the track and the NPR story.

::: Sufjan Stevens - Lord God Bird
::: Sufjan Stevens - Lord God Bird (NPR Story)

Since we all know of his lofty goal to record an album for each of the 50 states in the USA, I figure the next one might as well be Arkansas since he's already got one song out of the way. Plenty of good material available (Little Rock race riots, Bill Clinton, etc.) and it would be interesting to see how Sufjan handles a state out of the midwest. Just a thought, I'd be interested in hearing what all you guys are thinking (or hoping) as well.......

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ART: Alexandre Orion

OK, so I'm also a sucker for integrating of mediums. Alexandre Orion, currently showing at 111 Minna in SF, does some pretty amazing grafitti-esque paintings in public places and then takes photographs of how people interact with them. Here's an article about him from the San Francisco Chronicle. Luckily, they had a digital copy of my favorite piece (seen above). This old lady rocks.

Monday, April 10, 2006

MUSIC: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

With all of the (well-deserved) attention the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are getting these days due to their excellent sophomore release (titled Show Your Bones), I thought it might be appropriate to share an older track of theirs. This track comes from a Kill Rock Stars compilation called "Fields and Streams" released in 2002. I think it shows their early energy but has the feel of a song some of their new fans might immediately embrace.

::: Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Modern Things

Also, for those of you who missed it, YYY guitarist Nick Zinner released a book of photography in the fall titled "I Hope You Are All Happy Now" which is also excellent. It's a trip to see through the eyes of a rock star (or artist, or musician, whatever you prefer), even for a brief moment. Here's a sample.

You can score a cheap used copy from Strand Bookstore here. (I love Strand, I really really do). Pick up releases from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

MUSIC: American Princes

In the same vein as my previous posts exalting the music of White Whale, The Good Fear, and Kings of New England, I bring to you another Arkansas band ready to make a splash on the national level. Little Rock's American Princes are a fantastic rock band (you may have heard their "Rock n Roll Singer" track previously) with a couple releases on YepRoc records. Definitely check them out. Here are a couple tracks (courtesy of their MySpace page).

::: American Princes - Never Grow Old
::: American Princes - Stolen Blues
::: American Princes - Providence RI

You can purchase their albums here.

Friday, April 07, 2006

MUSIC: Wolf Parade

Reaching yet again into The Believer magazine vault, this is a Wolf Parade cover of a Frog Eyes song titled "Claxxon's Lament". Most certainly my favorite track off the 2005 music compilation in the June-July issue of the mag, it's a wonderful complement to the Parade's "Apologies to the Queen Mary" album. I'm a huge fan of the dueling lead singers, which is actually kind of surprising since it doesn't always come off so well.

::: Wolf Parade - Claxxon's Lament (Frog Eyes cover)

For those of you who don't know, one of the Wolf Parade lead singers (Spencer Krug) started a side project called Sunset Rubdown. I bought their EP and am anxiously awaiting their debut full-lenth album. For now, you can get these four tracks from their Myspace Page.

::: Sunset Rubdown - I'll Believe in Anything...
::: Sunset Rubdown - Hope You Don't Stoop to Dirty Words
::: Sunset Rubdown - I Know the Weight of Your Throat
::: Sunset Rubdown - Snake's Got a Leg II

You can pick up albums by all artists here. Buy it if you like it.....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

ART: Ben Olson

Another artist I've been following for a couple years now is Minnesota's Ben Olson. He's got a large selection of work on his website, so check that out. I'm a sucker for expressive brushstrokes, and a real sucker for figure studies. It seems that the only subject matter than Ben approaches are self-portraits and that of a single female (his girlfriend). He definitely has an approach which has evolved slowly since I've been paying attention; it's interesting to see how his color palette shifts. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see a show in person, but I'm hoping he comes out towards the Bay Area sometime soon.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

MUSIC: Two Gallants

Coming on strong with a new release on Saddle Creek records, these Two troubadors (nay, Gallants) from the Bay Area are finally getting some national attention. Oft-described as the confluence between folk and punk, their dirty love child is full of energy and passion and sadness and beer and all the other good/bad things in life. For your sampling pleasure, I present to you a track off last year's Believe Magazine Music Issue compilation (a cover of a Blear song).

::: Two Gallants - Anna's Sweater (Blear Cover)

Tracks from their latest release (titled What the Toll Tells) are all over the internet these days (may I recommend Las Cruces Jail as a good place to start). You can buy the album here.
I actually haven't embraced this album as much as their debut release (The Throes) but I believe it's the case of nostalgia.

Believer magazine is quite awesome as well, their compilation CD featured songs by Wolf Parade, The Decemberists, The Shings, Devendra Banhart, Spoon, and others. Their website also says they have some back issues of the Music issue available so order yours here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

ART: Jesse Reno

In my world, Jesse Reno is to art what Band of Horses is to music these days...... Meaning, it's the hottest game in it's world. Go ahead and cruise on over to his website which is huge, it's amazing how prolific this guy is. The most amazing thing is that his stuff is incredibly affordable (you can get a 20x20 piece for around $200), so if you're into it you gotta make it happen. I bought a piece a couple days after I ran into his stuff in a SF gallery.

Stylistically, he's extremely expressive (in both his brushwork and color selection). His subject matter centers around a particular kind of figure study or a world inhabited by half-animal, half-human, all-imaginative beings. His use of negative space is fantastic (which is good, since he doesn't ground his figures in any kind of setting).

Let me know what you think, and get a slice of original art while you can.