Friday, June 20, 2008

Gotta Have You

I first randomly came across Deb Talans' intensely unique voice four or five years back...I have no idea how, but I remember listening to some tunes on her website and really liking them. But, I soon forgot the website and then her name, and she seemed to become lost in the sands of time. Then, earlier this spring, her voice came back to me in a daydream, and I made a concerted effort to track her down...and boy oh boy I'm glad I did.

Since last I met Deb, she done got hitched and formed a duo: The Weepies. Their music is beautiful. You should listen to it.

One song of theirs that I listened to over and over again off of their MySpace page (b/c I'm a poor bastard that can't afford to buy albums right now) was "Stars". I'm not sure why...there's just something about it. Much to my chagrin, they then took the song off of MySpace, and, after not being able to find it anywhere else on the interweb, I found this video on YouTube. It is not made or sponsored by the group...just a homemade video by some dude. I admit that the first multiple times I played the video I didn't even watch it -- just listened. But then, seeing bits and pieces of it started to intrigue me, and after watching it in full, the impact of this amazing piece of art really affected me. This is one emotional and heartbreaking won't fully hit you until the end, when you realize what the whole thing's about. I've watched it over and over, taking in Deb's voice, and appreciating again the beautiful song, story, and message.

Watch it once and then click on the 'comments' below for the story behind the video, from the creator. It'll make you Weepie.

Below: The Weepies - "Stars" [video]

And another lovely song:

The Weepies - "Gotta Have You" [MP3 (in new window)]

Official Band Site | Buy the Album (Say I Am You)
MySpace (listen to "World Spins Madly On" first)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Random YouTube Fun: Daft Bodies

This just makes me smile, and not only because of the partial nudity. Fun song, fun heads, and any video that has the robot dance in it is a winner in my book. Over 1.5 million people have enjoyed this already, and now you can too! The action gets down to it around the 45 second mark, and just gets better as the music gets faster and funkier. I admit, I'm slightly obsessed with this. Daft Punk est good times!

That was inspired by the original "Daft Hands" video, which is also great fun to watch.

Daft Punk - "Harder Better Faster Stronger" [MP3 (in new window)]

Friday, January 18, 2008

Smile Like You Mean It

So it's become obvious to me and perhaps you that amidst the still-newish-job, the other jobs, the school, the basement remodeling, the family, and, perhaps most significantly as it relates to this blog, the breakup of the band, that I'm not very good at focusing on the music of I had hoped when I first set forth on this mildly interesting blog journey. I blame Dan Beahm in many ways, since his move to Boulder from Champaign in July abruptly ended my rock star days just months into them, just as we hit our stride with a (brief but legendary) mainstage performance at the Canopy Club. With his departure went my valid excuse for leaving my family and responsibilities a few times a month to attend and/or perform a late-night local music rock spectacle. Since then, my ties to the "scene" have become tenuous at best, and I haven't been able to devote the time I need to research the bands I want to highlight. Thus, my blog has consisted mostly of random but (hopefully) fun links to non-local goodness. I'm writing now to simply state that, for at least the next few months until my medic class ends, this blog will continue along the lines of what I've been doing recently, without the C-U focus that I'd like to hit on. I do have partially-written posts on the Andrew Bird concert that was at Krannert back in September and a couple of bands like The Beauty Shop that I'll trot out here one of these days...

BUT, in the meantime, I eagerly invite you to visit Smile Politely, a rather-new blog/website focusing on all things Champaign-Urbana that I mentioned briefly a few posts ago. The rag-tag band of all-Chambana writers includes local music guru Seth Fein, local music superstar Larry Gates, local omnipresent film critic guy Chuck Koplinski, and the former founder and publisher of alt-weekly The Octopus, Paul Young, among many other interesting blokes. They've had very interesting local music updates recently, along with food, theatre, sports, gossip, and everything else, so I invite y'all to point your browsers that'away!

Just for kicks and related to nothing, I'll add here for your listening pleasure an **unfinished demo** of my favorite Dan Beahm & the Invisible Three song, as yet unreleased. There is a chance that I may receive a cease-and-desist letter from Dan for this, but he's skiing in Vail right now, so whatever. Again, this is a low-quality DEMO. When performed live, I was the dude on tambourine, who very successfully annoyed all with my overbearing ching-chinging. This is all Dan on the recording, and I invite you, as I have before, to visit his website to listen to all of his most recent album (written, produced, and recorded in a spare bedroom in a house on the corner of Washington & Elm in Champaign) for free. This song is the first of a new genre of music Dan has deemed "swank rock"... rock music with a loungey-hipster flair. Enjoy.

Dan Beahm & the Invisible Three -- "By the By" [MP3 (in a new window)]

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Man for Me

My friend Maddy Wyatt is becoming quite the NYC songstress, having released her debut album, Backdive, last summer, and playing gigs throughout the five boroughs and beyond. But, more on her at a later date. She's written an ode to the man who will be our next president, and she has the song as a free download on her website, here.

I've known that I'm going to vote for Barack since long before he ever announced that he was running. Back during his state senator days, he gave the closing keynote address at an April 2004 conference I helped organize in celebration of the anniversary of the Brown vs. Board decision, held at the College of Law at the University of Illinois. It was a pretty amazing conference, with speakers including Julian Bond, the chairman of the NAACP, and Neville Alexander, the co-founder of South Africa's National Liberation Front and prisoner with Nelson Mandela on Robbin Island, among many others. Obama spoke to a small audience of maybe 50-75 people, and was highly impressive on every level. I was instantly drawn to him. I could go on waxing poetically about the experience, but it's all been said before by many others, including Maddy in this song! I got his autograph and shook his hand, which I knew was special even back then.

Here's Maddy's video. Click the link above to download the song and spread the love! 'Tis all the rage in NYC!

Below: Maddy Wyatt - "Man for Me (Ode to Barack)" [music video]

On a related note, here's some pretty trippy Barack fun!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Uncle Sam Goddamn

To offset my recent postings of Barbara Streisand and children's christmas specials, I figured I should bust out some "manlier" beats, if you will.

Thanks to a new-ish Chambana arts and entertainment website that I'm quite fond of, Smile Politely, I've discovered a new holmes to add to my list of kickass white boy rappers. How I love white boy rappers.

I introduce you now to Brother Ali, a "six foot tall, legally blind albino Muslim" from Minneapolis. Dude can flow! And he raps about politics and world events and race and America as the evil empire! Hot damn!

Below: Brother Ali - "Uncle Sam Goddamn" [official music video]

Here's a great bluesy-funky tune that I will be offended if you don't like:

Brother Ali
- "Take Me Home" [MP3 (in new window)]

And an interesting interview with the man himself.

Official Band Site | Buy the Album