Tuesday, December 30, 2008

f/k Top Ten Albums of '08!

two-thou-sand-eight - \'tü-'thau'-zən(d)-'āt\ n.
  1. full of spine-tingling debuts
  2. containing or related to marvelous follow-ups
  3. full of/pertaining to change or unexpected twists and turns

As we welcome the new year, we here at fork/knife can't help but reflect upon the great music that 2008 gave us. The following list was compiled by the four of us with minimal fist-fights and utmost respect for one another's musical taste. One must remember that this is a list of our favorite albums of 2008, and we understand that some people may disagree. We invite you to leave a list of your favorite albums of 2008 in the comment section at the end of this post, so we know how you feel. But, without further adieu we present to you, our top ten albums of 2008.

10. Deerhunter - Microcastle/ Weird Era Cont.

Bradford Cox is the man behind Deerhunter, and he looks weird. Now that that's out of the way, let's agree that the music is quite good. Channeling their best Pavement impression, Deerhunter turns in a washy, rockin' double album. Though Microcastle is stronger than Weird Era Cont., they serve as a fantastic one-two-punch for those looking for this kind of rock that is seldom seen this day and age in indie music.

Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened

9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

We've seen a ton of hype surrounding this upcoming group. Some people were bold enough to claim Oracular Spectacular as the best album of 2008. Here at f/k, we don't quite agree. Sure, this is a great album, and it holds some of the best singles of the year without a doubt. Where this record falls short is that it isn't a cohesive unit, it seems more like a collection of songs thrown together. That being said, this is a quality effort. Definitely worth listening to.

MGMT - Time To Pretend

8. The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead

The Helio Sequence just keep getting better and better. They've had multiple albums, each with it's own space-rock sound. You could never tell from their music that its made by just two guys. Using samplers and programmed bass lines, The Helio Sequence are known for putting on a loud and entertaining live show. Look out for more from this Portland duo in the future.

The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead

7. Grand Archives - Grand Archives

Outside of Seattle, no one knew that ex-Band of Horses frontman, Mat Brooke, was starting up a new project, but all Seattleites alike were awaiting his new release for months. Grand Archives have lived up to the local hype and then some. Even though Brooke wants to keep this band on the smaller side and focus on running his bar, Grand Archives have released an album that combines the driving guitar parts from Band of Horses and the great vocal harmonies of Fleet Foxes; We all know that that sound can't be quarantined in Seattle. Look out for Grand Archives in 2009 also as they have been in the studio recently recording, and lets hope that this risk of releasing two albums in two years doesn't back-fire on them.

Grand Archives - Torn Blue Foam Couch

6. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair

It's hard to imagine a better genre revival than this album. One listen to this album will thrust you into the disco halls of the 70's instantaneously. It's probably the most exuberunt album of the year, taking the listener on a ride that twists and turns through a bizarre amalgamation of funky beats and tragic heartbreaks. The star of the album is clearly "Blind", a six minute epic disco journey, sung by Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. This album really accomplishes a feat that could have been considered previously impossible, it brings back disco in a fantastic and completely unpredictable manner. This is truly an album you have to hear to believe.

Hercules And Love Affair - Blind

5. Sigur Rós - Með suð I eyrum við spilum endalaust

While supplying the world with one of 2008's best albums, the Icelandic group Sigur Ros also provided us with one of the worst interviews ever recorded. They were on an NPR music segment, and offered almost no worthwhile commentary on their musical process in what has become an infamous interview across the internet. Nevertheless, Sigur Ros puts out unique music, and this album may be their best. It's joyous and bright, unlike some of the more somber and quiet music of their past. Listen to Sigur Ros. Don't ever try to interview them.

Sigur Rós - Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

4. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

We know this was initially self-released in '07, but it reached the masses this year, so it belongs on this list. Bon Iver's frontman, Justin Vernon, made this in three months as he tried to hide from the world in a cabin in Wisconsin. The raw emotion shines through in every track in a way that can't be avoided. More of a headphone album than a speaker album by a long shot, this is a great choice for you when you bunker down to hide from the winter.

Bon Iver - Skinny Love

3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

A great album and great follow-up, Dear Science is an example of a band experimenting with their sound and getting it right. TVOTR burst into the mainstream scene with this album, topping numerous end of the year lists, and deservedly so. This is their most accessible album due to the change in sound the band went through. Great hooks, great lyrics, and a great sound altogether lands TVOTR a high spot on our list.

TV On The Radio - Golden Age

2. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

This album is one of the most hauntingly beautiful creations in recent musical memory. And this band is certainly one of the most talented bands on the music scene today. That is the scope of this album, to convert someone who hasn't listened into lifelong fan in one listen. This album will undoubtedly be remembered as the starting point for one of the most powerful indie acts of all time. And given time, that's exactly what they will become. No one who has heard this album doubts this, the simple fact is that so few have heard it that they are a phenomenon in the smallest sense. Their greatness is measured not yet by the scope of their influence, but by the immense and unmistakable air of quality that surrounds every second of this recording. Nils Edenloff's vocals are harrowing, reminiscent of Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel, but fresh and distinct at the same time. His vocals are accompanied occasionally by the gorgeous vocals of Amy Cole. And while both of them may be the most immediately accessible members of the band, the true standout of the group is the drummer, Paul Banwatt. The performance is almost too impressive to try and describe, it's simply something that must be experienced through hearing the record to understand. His drumming is a perfect part to a near perfect album. And there's only one album impressive enough to beat it.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Don't Haunt This Place

1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

There was no discussion at fork/knife that this would be the best album of the year. No other album was as beautiful as the transcendent harmonies and magical melodies from this Seattle band. Lead Singer Robin Pecknold, awarded "Voice of the Year" by Spin Magazine, gives one of the most captivating vocal performances we've ever heard. Pecknold's voice is so stunningly brilliant, it's impossible to describe with words. The album shows surprising depth, always holding true to its genre while pushing its boundaries. The album's real standout is "White Winter Hymnal," a gorgeous harmonic baroque pop jam. This album was the soundtrack of the summer for us, later turning into soundtrack of the year. In addition to the Sun Giant EP, also released this year, there really was no real competition for Fleet Foxes for album of the year or band of the year for that matter. It's just too good.

Fleet Foxes- Blue Ridge Mountains
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Honorable Mentions:

Foals - Antidotes
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
M83 - Satudays=Youth
She & Him - Volume One
Dr. Dog - Fate
Department Of Eagles - In Ear Park
Why? - Alopecia
Starfucker - Starfucker
Forest Fire - Forest Fire
Son Lux - At War With Walls & Mazes
Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds And A Sound
Sun Kil Moon - April
Kaki King- Dreaming of Revenge
Metronomy- Nights Out
Plants and Animals- Parc Avenue


December 30th

Because it's been a while since any of us have posted anything, mainly due to us enjoying all of our holiday presents, I decided I'd break our silence instead of watching Frasier re-runs. It's December 30th, which means two things. First, we're only a day away from My Morning Jacket's concert at Madison Square Garden, which you all will get amazing coverage of. And two, it's the late Lester Patrick's birthday. Born in 1883, Lester was my fifth favorite Canadian hockey coach. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947, Lester was a fantastic player and a great Canadian icon. He's such an inspiration to so many, he even got a trophy named after him!

So in case you haven't caught on yet, Lester was just an excuse to get a post up, even if that trophy is something else. It is, however, a good enough segue into good things that come out of Canada. One of my favorite bands, which happens to be from Canada, is Arcade Fire. Because you've heard all of their songs, or at least should have, here's one you probably haven't heard that's taken from their 7" with LCD Soundsystem. It's French, it's upbeat, and I like it.

Arcade Fire- Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son (Serge Gainsbourg cover)


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Song o' the Week #3

With all the commotion of the holidays I forgot to post the song o' the week yesterday, but I figure it won't make much of a difference to post it a day late.

Before this year, I knew The Walkmen as the band that was responsible for the song "The Rat." This year, I know them as the band that made a good cd that grows on you, and as an absolutely terrible live act. I'm amazed to hear the sparkling reviews for these guys live because everyone with me agreed that it just was not good. In any event, their LP You & Me released earlier this year has been getting more and more play over time.

This weeks song comes from that album and may not be the best song from it, but it's certainly good. It features a calming guitar to start off, and then explodes and falls back down at the perfect times. Hamilton Leithauser's voice sounds much better in studio than in concert, and he belts out some great lyrics throughout. Anyway, enjoy "Dónde Está la Playa," or "Where is the Beach" for those who didn't take six years of useless Spanish classes.

The Walkmen- Dónde Está la Playa


Merriweather Leak!

At least to me, Animal Collective's next LP Merriweather Post Pavilion was the most anticipated album release of next year. I say "was" because the holidays were made sweeter this year when it leaked on Christmas day. Upon listening through for the first time, there are a couple of remarks that need to be made.

1: This is the most easily accessible Animal Collective album. They were criticized somewhat last year because Strawberry Jam was considered by hardcore fans to be too much pop and too accessible to the public. Well, in many ways, I think Merriweather is easier to pick up than Strawberry Jam, and will undoubtedly garner more fans because of it. If you're not a fan or haven't heard of Animal Collective, this is the cd to pick up to change your mind.

2: This is the best Animal Collective album. Period. Yeah, I said it. I need to give it some time to sink in, but from start to finish this is their best effort yet. The melodies, harmonies, lyrics, and overall flow of the album is just breath-taking. They start the album sounding like Feels-era Animal Collective in "In the Flowers" until it explodes into something completely new, but not before Avey belts out "If I could just leave my body for a night." After that, the old sound of Animal Collective shows up a bit more in other songs, but for the most part is left in the past. All the way to the blissful repetition of "Brothersport," there's not a song on here that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. What else can I say? I'm in awe.

3: There's not a chance I'm posting anything from this album, what with all the hullabaloo concerning it's leak. If you download it early, make sure you do what I do and go out and buy it later. These guys more than deserve it. This is the first of the '09 albums that I've heard, so naturally, this is the best album of '09 so far. But someone's going to have to put out something equally amazing to top this, and greatness like this is hard to match.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy 38th birthday to James Mercer, frontman of the one of the most famous indie music acts in history, The Shins. Mercer and his band released Wincing the Night Away in 2007 to the most successful indie release in history. Mercer and his band are not currently touring, which could mean a plethora of things, but he is and has been a pioneer of indie music, and is partially responsible for the indie explosion we've seen in the music world today. I leave you with two Shins' classics, off their debut album Oh, Inverted World.

Caring Is Creepy - The Shins

New Slang - The Shins


Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Present To You

2008 has been all about debut albums, from the Fleet Foxes to Bon Iver to Grand Archives. So as we at fork/knife get ready to post our top albums of 2008, I am beginning to look forward to 2009, and the great music that will be released. Now we all know about the major releases of 2009, from Animal Collective to Wilco, but I'm trying to find those bands that will shock all of us.

After imerging myself in the world of music the past few months, I have decided that the band to look out for in 2009 is Local Natives, an indie band from Silver Lake, California. The Local Natives have only released two original songs, and one of them is a christmas song. Despite this I have had these two songs, and their cover of the classic Simon & Garfunkel tune, Cecilia, on repeat for the past week. This band flawlessly combines the broken R&B piano of the Cold War Kids, the energtic playfullness of Ra Ra Riot, the drumming that rings a familiar tune with Animal Collective or Grizzly Bear at moments, the great vocal harmonies of Fleet Foxes, and the huge choruses of Arcade Fire into one fantstic genre of music.

The Local Natives have been living and recording together in a two bedroom house in California for the past six months and have set the release of their debut album, Gorilla Manor (coming from their living situation), for early '09. All five members of the band share duties on multiple instruments along with three of them sharing vocal assignments. They are also know to put on one hell of a live show; Their bio states "Local Natives is one of those rare bands who is defined by their ability to deliver live. In fact, it has been more of a challenge for the group to translate the vibrant and exciting nature of their performances to a recording than vice versa."

So give them a listen and tell me that they are not the shit.

Local Natives - Airplanes
Local Natives - We Come Back (Christmas Original)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Early Present!

While I still have time, I figured I'd post a song that I've been listening to as an early Christmas present. Because, why not?

Now, I know Chris is our remix guy, but I'm our Passion Pit guy. This remix of the fantastic "Sleepyhead" has been getting a good deal of play on the ol' iTunes. For some reason I picture the start of it being performed in the Middle Ages, with trumpets and other brass hanging out of castle windows, and then I guess a bunch of modern equipment being controlled by peasants and other townsfolk as it goes on. Anyways, I really like what The Mummers have done in this one because they changed many aspects while keeping the ones that make it great, which I guess is exactly the formula for a good remix.

Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (Mummers Remix)

And as an added bonus, if you're looking for another "Sleepyhead" remix, check this one out. It's a lot more techno-ish, but I highly recommend it as well. Maybe not as innovative as the above one, but still super-cool.

Passion Pit- Sleepyhead (Wallpaper Dio Remix)


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 12)

The last one! There's so many songs I wanted to fit in this segment that I won't be able to get in, so I guess they'll just have to wait until next year. Anywho, today's song is by a band that I have a weird relationship with. It's not that I dislike them, it's just their most recent LP Narrow Stairs was a disappointment for me, as is their gain of popularity. It might be that I'm just getting tired of Ben Gibbard's voice, and I just don't know why. Regardless, Death Cab for Cutie covered this great Christmas track, much like many, many other bands. So enjoy the last of the Christmas posts for now, and we'll be sure to do the same thing next year. By the way, I think there's a conspiracy that Ben Gibbard and Colin Meloy are the same person. You make the call.

Death Cab for Cutie- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 11)

So fellow fork/knifer Chris first introduced me to this group when they covered Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song", and since then I've been trying to listen to as much of them as I can find. The band consists of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, and both have remarkably good voices. They recently signed with Wichita Recordings and only have one EP out. But the future looks bright for this Swedish duo, so I think we all agree you should keep your eye out for them. So enjoy this nice version of a Christmas classic, and/or take a peek at their Foxes' cover.

First Aid Kit- Blue Christmas


Monday, December 22, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 10)

When it comes to Christmas, no one does it quite like Bing Crosby. So here's another classic by the late great that does a great job at getting you in the Christmas spirit.

Bing Crosby- Mele Kalikimaka


Remix 3

I had never heard of Nina Simone before my friend AJ introduced me to Remixed and Reimagined, an album full of Nina Simone songs remixed by various artists. I have to say, it's a badass album that is worth getting your hands on. I digress. My favorite track on the record is a remix of "Here Comes the Sun," done by Francois K. Whoever that is, he did a good job. The song is over eight minutes long, but it doesn't seem that long because of the hypnotic beat. Perfect for a late drive or as background music for homework, this is a fantastically moody song. Enjoy.


Here Comes the Sun (Francois K Remix) - Nina Simone: mp3

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cruisin' Song of the Week #2

This is song is the epitome of 90s cruising music, but it still retains its relevance on today's highways almost as much as it did back in the day. It was also immortalized in this very fashion in the movie Billy Madison, when Billy shows up to his to his first day of high school. No wonder Billy was the coolest kid in school when he attended.

The Stroke - Billy Squier


Radiohead song made better!?

I have recently run across a great new a artist by the name of Son Lux. NPR's All Songs Considered have named this kid, Ryan Lott, their best new artist of 2008, and I am beginning to see why. I have had his CD, At War With Walls & Mazes, on repeat for the past few days and this undefininable music has stirred emotions that I didn't even know existed.

After searching Hype for more of his stuff, I ran across his remix of Radiohead's Nude. I have never really been a big fan of remixes for several reasons, but a Radiohead remix is even more unsettling to me because how can you make it any better? Son Lux has proven me wrong. His take on Nude is timeless, it keeps all the great elements of the original while sprinkling some of his own brilliant ideas on top. Give it a listen.

Radiohead - Nude (Son Lux Remix)


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 9)

This song is quickly becoming one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I heard it for the first time this year. I don't know how he found it, but my Psych professor Dr. Eric Lundquist (pictured below) introduced my class to this holiday classic. He not only played it for us on the last day of classes, but also before our final. I know nothing about this song or who sings it, I just know that it's awesome. As Eric puts it, "Just genius."

mikedrums.com- Oh, Holy Night


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 8)

Today I not only have yesterday's song, but a song that contains no real lyrics also. So I guess it may not be a Christmas song in a sense of the phrase, but it has Christmas in the title, so that's close enough. Wikipedia describes 65daysofstatic as "an instrumental post-rock band." But instead, think of them kind of like Mogwai with an occasional keyboard, and a cooler name. The name is supposedly a reference to the fact that any animal (including human) that listens to 65 days straight of static or white noise becomes insane. Cool, right? Anyway, I wouldn't suggest listening to a lot of them at once, but they're quite good in small doses. So enjoy this "Christmas" song, maybe check out their MySpace, and try not to listen to them on repeat for the next 64 days.

65daysofstatic- I'm Dreaming of a White Noise Christmas


Friday, December 19, 2008

Vibraphone Rock

I remember running into the band Point Juncture, WA (a fictional city the band created) a few months back and enjoying their sound, but I never got the chance to sit down and really listen to them until recently.

As the first song I chose came to an end I was stunned by how many elements they had thrown into one song, and so flawlessly. Their music includes smashing female/male vocal harmonies, a propulsive rhythm section, nifty production elements and song structures, swirling rainbows of guitar feedback, and not to mention the ultimate use of vibraphone. Their songs tend to meander and end miles above the beginnings, leaving the listener on his/her toes. I still have a lot of listening to do, but from what I can tell, this band is the real deal. They have two full-length albums out at the moment, Mama Auto Boss, and Heart to Elk, and from what I've heard they both are magical.

Point Juncture, WA - Cello
Point Juncture, WA - Melon Bird


Song o' the Week #2

So because I'm in the holiday spirit, I though I'd give you an extra song, because I'm that kind of guy. The first one is by an artist I have a strange affinity towards, Lightspeed Champion. Devonte Hynes, formerly of the Test Icicles, now works as Lightspeed Champion, and released his debut LP Falling Off the Lavender Bridge this year. He is known for making sweet acoustic indie songs with great lyrics, as well as performing with that ridiculous hat. I've loved this song since I first heard it, and I've played it numerous times throughout the week as I got reacquainted with how good it is. I'm throwing in the Daytrotter version, which I may like better than the original, depending on what mood I'm in.

Lightspeed Champion- Dry Lips

Lightspeed Champion- Dry Lips (Daytrotter Version)

The second is a song that I again, forgot how good it was until I heard it long after it's last play. Spencer Krug fronts both Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, and I love them both. You'll know instantly if you like his voice, or if you think it's just really annoying. Wolf Parade's latest LP At Mount Zoomer didn't get as much praise this year as I thought it should, but oh well. Shut Up I Am Dreaming came out in '06, and I think this gem was the best song off it. It starts with a great little acoustic riff, and then meanders into a bit of piercing guitar before settling back down a little. It also takes claim to one of the better song titles that I've heard. As a side note that I think my fellow fork/knifers would agree on, try to avoid Wolf Parade live. Not too good.

Sunset Rubdown- Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 7)

So today I give you one of my favorites, a nice indie Christmas song. Jason NeSmith used to be in the band Of Montreal, but now fronts a great little gathering named Casper and The Cookies. Like most of the lesser known bands I've heard of, I first heard these guys when they did a Daytrotter session with Poison Control Center last year. This was really the standout track for me, just because it gets stuck in my head whenever I hear it. I've included the Daytrotter version below, which contains a bit more vulgar lyrics. But if you're liking this, head over to their other Daytrotter session (yup, they did two), and/or their MySpace.

Casper and The Cookies- Kiss Me Beneath the Christmas Tree

Casper and The Cookies/Poison Control Center- Fuck Me Beneath the Christmas Tree


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Remix 2

After recently escaping from the dark abyss, I've decided to brush the decaying moths off of my computer and return to fork/knife. And so now for the second weekly REMIX POST! This is a great one. Chances are, you may have heard of Jose Gonzalez, the talented singer/songwriter from Sweden. His string-plucking skills are extraordinary; he is truly a master of the nylon. Although he's had more recent release, his 2005 album Veneer, features a fantastic remix of a song called "Heartbeats" which is originally by electronic superstars, The Knife. These two versions really demonstrate the power of the remix at its best. They are total opposites. I'm sure one of the two will strike your fancy.


Heartbeats (Cover) - Jose Gonzalez: mp3

Heartbeats - The Knife: mp3

Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 6)

Okay, okay, this isn't technically a Christmas Song. But it deals with winter, it's a great song, and it's an excuse to post a pic of Zooey Deschanel.
UPDATE: Congrats goes to Zooey on her engagement! And I suppose a "Sorry" should go to Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard for using his fiancée as eye candy.

When I first saw "Elf", I thought Zooey was simply an actress. With She and Him's LP this year, she changed that quite a bit, pairing with M.Ward rather flawlessly. I really like her voice, and I am anxious to see what other surprises she has in store for us. In addition, I'm including the Dino version of the song. Because, c'mon. It's the Dino.

Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone- Baby, It's Cold Outside

Dean Martin- Baby, It's Cold Outside


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stream FOTC Premiere!

Apparently I'm the only one posting anymore, seeing as I'm responsible for four of the last five posts. But I digress. Here at fork/knife, we absolutely love Flight of the Conchords. They're a great band, it's the best show on TV, and they're quoted by us far more than any other form of entertainment. The new season starts in January, but my friend recently sent me the link to stream the entire season premiere episode over at Funny or Die. And the boys start right where they left off. The storyline continues right from the finale last year, and the episode is filled with their kind of humor. The songs are a little weak, but the episode as a whole is extremely funny. If you're a fan of the series or if you've never seen or heard of them, it's definitely worth your time. Hurry up in case HBO decides they need to take it down. And enjoy one of our favorite songs from the first season.

Second Season Premiere Episode
(US only, so sorry to all our international readers)

Flight of the Conchords- Leggy Blonde


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 5)

Upon viewing "Christmas Vacation" last night, I thought it would be a good idea to post this holiday gem. Mavis Staples recorded it as the theme song of the movie, and it does a fantastic job of getting the audience into the holiday spirit. I can't say too much about Mavis or her music, so I'll leave you with a quality pic of Chevy instead.

Mavis Staples- Christmas Vacation


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


As if you need a good reason to watch Conan tonight, let me give you two. First, the number one slot goes to actress Eva Mendes. Hoochie mama. Anyway, the two spot is Ken Mink. That's not an argument to watch, that's just being informative. But the musical guest is none other than fork/knife heroes Fleet Foxes! So make sure you tune in. Maybe get a snack during Ken's time, 'cause I'm sure you don't want to miss something like this:

Or, I guess something like this:


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 4)

Well today's song is an oldy but goody. I have to be in the right mood for the Beach Boys, but when that mood strikes, I thoroughly enjoy them. I don't really think an introduction is necessary here like my previous posts, so I'll just throw the song at you. Enjoy.

The Beach Boys- Merry Christmas, Baby


Monday, December 15, 2008

Kanye West.

"I realize that my place and position in history is that I will go down as the voice of this generation, of this decade, I will be the loudest voice...[I'm] settling into that position of just really accepting that it's one thing to say you want to do it and it's another thing to really end up being like Michael Jordan."

These are the words of Kanye West, describing...himself. It's becoming clear to us at fork/knife that Kanye West will go down as the clown of this generation. On multiple occasions, he has compared himself to such greats as James Brown and...well...Jesus, even. The worst part about this egomaniacal rapper is that his music is garbage. His newest album, released this year, is called 808s & Heartbreak. During the making, Mr. West apparently decided that he is so great that he doesn't even need to rap anymore. Instead, he made an album with him singing. Let me take a second to remind you that Kanye West is not a singer. But that's not even the worst part. Every song is topped off with the most auto-tune possible, covering every fault in Kanye's singing. Somehow he thought this was a good idea. It wasn't. Someone should tell this self-centered idiot how much he sucks.


I felt I should weigh in on the subject and add to what my fellow fork/knifer previously posted. Now, I've listened to Mr. West's songs, I've listened to him interviewed, hell, I've seen him perform. The fact of the matter is, he actually is not the next Jim Morrison, Michael Jordan, or whoever else he claims to be. Listening to his new album 808s & Heartbreaks is simliar to eating a poop papaya. If you can listen to it and enjoy it, you're a better person than I. The problem is, people keep telling him it's good, so he keeps thinking he's doing a great job by making the same music. I really can't stress how egotistical this guy is, it's better if you just witness it yourself:

"People have their own forms of Bibles now." Sure Kanye, whatever. Look, just stop making music, stop performing, and stop talking in public too. And stay away from Daft Punk.


Inspired by both previous posts, I felt I should chime in on this matter. My primary problem with this guy is not that he has no talent, which sure as he was born, he does not. The endless depths of this man's narcissism are truly astounding. The previous two posts do an excellent job of establishing that, and I personally think the Bible quote is the most insightful into his true thoughts. The fact of the matter is, no one in the future is going to remember Kanye, and that's the way it should be. I leave you with video of his recent performance on SNL. If you like it, you may have problems with masochism.


I HATE KANYE WEST! It's as simple as that.

There is so much I could go on about this vainglorious dilhole, from watching him sit down on the side of the stage at Lollapalooza as his band performed "Don't Stop Believin'", or him appearing on stage two hours late at Bonnaroo. There are honestly no words that could sum up my hatred for this man. I wish I could live to see how people 100 years from now laugh at the mere mention of his name. Kanye, if you're reading this, please do us all a favor and join the Witness Protection Program. Pretty please?


A Party That is Grand, But Not Too Old

I first heard Grand Ole Party on Daytrotter, when they recorded one of the better sessions I've heard on the site, which you can find here. They sounded like a funkier Yeah Yeah Yeahs, just a lot cooler also. I then bought their debut LP Humanimals to see what they sounded like in studio. To my delight, I wasn't disappointed, as the cd is quite good. At times, some songs seem repetitive, but the amazing potential this band has shines throughout. The trio from San Diego creates an interesting and fresh sound, due mainly to lead singer Kristen Gundred's over-the-top voice. I also have to give her props for belting out the way she does, while playing drums. Not easy. The reason I'm posting this now? Well, it's always a good time to discover new music, and if you haven't heard of these guys yet, you definitely want to put them on your radar. Humanimals was released in mid '07, so hopefully we'll see some new material from them soon. 'Til then, enjoy what you can get for free, visit their MySpace page, and buy their cd if you're liking what you're hearing.

Grand Ole Party- INSANE


Andrew Bird and Yo-Yo Ma

So I have three finals today, and I am between the first and second, so this is going to be a quick post. I just stumbled across an MTV video (yes, MTV) that has Andrew Bird and Yo-Yo Ma having a "mini jam session". I was lucky enough to witness the genius that is Andrew Bird when he came through Ithaca a few months back and even though I was a fan before, he blew my mind live and I have been obsessed ever since. After the show, I got to talk with him, and I must say that he is a shy, modest man when not performing, and it seems to me that his vulnerability seeps through a bit in this video.

Bird's newest album will be released in January, but you can get a sneak peek at his site, by streaming a few of his new songs.


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 3)

So far, I don't think I've heard a bad song from Rogue Wave. Then again, I haven't put much effort into listening to more of them, simply because I don't have enough time. If you don't recognize the name, you'd probably recognize one or two of their singles. In any event, this song adds to the collection of quality songs by them, as well as providing the Christmas song of the day.

Rogue Wave- Christmas


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cruisin' Song of the Week #1

Ever out on the open road without that kickass feeling of superiority? If your drives are lacking in style, you can make up for it by lowering those windows, turning up the speakers. and blasting that authoritative song that lets the world know you're the boss. Starting up a tradition here at fork/knife, I'm going to post the inaugural Crusin' Song of the Week. This one's delivered from the Black Keys.

Just Couldn't Tie Me Down - The Black Keys


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 2)

Today I have a short but sweet Christmas song for you. Although there was another band named Fire Flies, which actually is no longer a band, this Fireflies is a one man band from Chicago. While the song is only two minutes long, I think that somehow it manages to get you in the holiday spirit. Lisle creates a nice lush sound in all of his songs, and if you want to hear more of him, visit his MySpace page.

Fireflies- X-mas Song


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Ok, so anybody who is reading this has probably heard of La Blogotheque, and should know that it is absolutely fantastic. This site houses some of my favorite online videos, and one of them I would probably consider my absolute favorite. Which one you ask? Yeasayer 2080/Tightrope. This video encompasses what music is all about - getting together and making something that is fun and everybody enjoys. It is absolutely impossible not to get a rush of adrenaline when the entire room bursts out into singing, there is nothing else like it, it just makes you get up sing and dance.

Another question you may be, Why are you posting this now Ryan? Well I'll tell you why. Last night, after spending numerous hours locked in my room studying the terrible subject of biology I found myself in the shitiest of moods. I asked myslelf, what could cheer me up? I had a revelation, this video! I hope you enjoy it half as much as I do. It lifted me up like nothing else last night, and every time I watch it.


The Rural Alberta Advantage

Every once in a while, you hear a band that truly captivates you from the first second you start listening. One band that most certainly falls neatly into this category is The Rural Alberta Advantage. Hailing from Alberta, this Canadian band is currently so under the radar their myspace page has 58,000 views. Compare that number to 3,425,000 views for Fleet Foxes and The Shins with 6,773,000 views. The band's debut LP, Hometowns, was released early this year and enthralls from start to finish. Lead singer Nils Edenloff channels Jeff Magnum throughout the entire album, and while the similarity is something the band will probably try to avoid, but is undeniable. The band sounds like Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire combined, if that's possible. The real star of the show is Paul Banwatt, whose drumming may be among the most amazing performances I've ever heard on an album. His precision and energy is fantastic on every song, the standout being "Don't Haunt This Place." The RAA is unsigned, which is insane given not only their potential, but the actual material they've produced. If there's any justice in the world, this band is going to become huge, but for right now, consider them the best band nobody's heard of.

Don't Haunt This Place - The Rural Alberta Advantage

Frank AB - The Rural Alberta Advantage


Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 1)

First, let me say how excited I am that I'm done with finals! Enjoy a Beirut cover that I think really captures my emotions about the matter.

Beirut- Hallelujah

Now, on to real business. For the next twelve days leading up to Christmas, I'm going to post a Christmas song, because it's just too gimmicky to let pass by. We'll start off with a fantastic song by Sufjan Stevens. While he may be falling off schedule on his whole "Album for Every State" project, in '06 he released a box of five EP's featuring only Christmas songs. So you may see another of Mr. Stevens songs in the future, because they're all quite good. Enjoy, and start getting in the holiday cheer.

Sufjan Stevens- Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!


Trailer for Arcade Fire's Miroir Noir

As many people may know, on Monday Arcade Fire will be releasing their documentary on the planning and recording of their latest album, Neon Bible. It will include footage from the band in their Montreal studio, live clips, and even clips from the road.

The documentary was directed by Vincent Morisset and shot by the famous Vincent Moon from La Blogotheque (whom we all are a fan of). The video will available for download on Monday and will be released on DVD early next year. Enjoy!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Song o' the Week #1

Every Friday I'm going to try and post a song that's been either stuck in my head, or stuck on repeat.

This weeks song comes from B. Fleichsmann's most recent LP Angst Is Not A Weltanschauung! and is entitled "24.12." It starts off sounding like a mix between The National and the Postal Service, and keeps that vibe throughout, despite the introduction of a female singer. While the ambiance is nice, what makes this song great are the lyrics, focusing on what else; a guy meeting a girl. I think the interaction just seems so real and genuine, and if you're liking it head over to Spinner where you can stream the entire album for free.

B. Fleichsmann- 24.12.


Hip. Hop. Drop.

Cornelius is a ground-breaking artist from Tokyo. Classified by some as avant-pop, he challenges the conventional ideas of what pop music is supposed to sound like. He uses a plethora of instruments on his most recent album, Sensuous. The album is aptly named, a somewhat experimental record full of lush sound. Accompanying the album is a set of gorgeous video counterparts to each song which seriously enhance the musical experience. Here is one of my favorites, a song called "Fit Song". Enjoy.


L'autre bout du monde de musique

Oftentimes I get the feeling that a majority of people are mainly interested in American and UK bands. While I will concede that these bands do make up a majority of any well versed listener, astute people realize that there is more to the picture. One of these artists would most certainly be Emily Loizeau, whose debut album L'autre bout de monde is almost completely unknown here in the US. Which is a real shame, because it contains some of the most infectious pop gems I've ever heard, and also some truly touching songs as well. Emily is set for an '09 release with Je suis jalouse, and I hope that it will garner more attention than its predecessor. I'll leave you with one of those pop gems, as well as a duet with Andrew Bird that is the album's penultimate track.

Boby Chéri - Emily Loizeau

London Town - Emily Loizeau, Andrew Bird


Dealin' With the Ladys

Two "Lady" artists have been getting a good deal of play lately on my iPod, and I thought I'd share the wealth. The first is Ladyhawke, who released her debut self-titled LP in late September of this year. A New Zealand native, Philipa Brown creates quirky electropop, the kind Molly Ringwald would dance to in her room. You know what I mean. Granted, too much of it will make your eyes roll and your head explode. But in small doses, it can be exactly what you're looking for to brighten your day a little. The second is Ladytron, a four piece band from Liverpool, who released their fourth studio LP Velocifero in June of this year. Much like Ladyhawke, the four piece creates synth-based electropop that tries hard to get you tapping your feet, and usually succeeds. The "Ladys" might not be for everyone, but they might be just the thing to offer something different if you find yourself in a musical rut. They also provide me with an excuse to show a picture of cute Molly Ringwald, before she fell off the face of the entertainment industry and became bloated.

Ladyhawke- Back of the Van

Ladytron- Black Cat


Postal Service's Sophomore Album?

Postal Service's 2003 Give Up was a huge success, but music listeners have been anxiously awaiting another album from the nifty duo.

Death Cab For Cutie front-man and Postal Service co-founder Ben Gibbard sat down with Rolling Stone yesterday to talk about his music, political views and everything in between. And yes, they asked the question everybody has been wanting to ask. "Any updates with your side-project the Postal Service? Are there plans to follow-up with your 2003 debut Give Up?" Gibbard's response was ambiguous yet hopeful. "It’s the record that never seems to want to come out. It’s also just never been a priority for either Jimmy [Tamborello, Postal Service co-founder] or myself. The anticipation of the second record has been a far bigger deal for everybody except the two of us." We can only hope.

The entire interview can be seen here.


Bon Iver -Blood Bank [EP]

I think everybody here at fork/knife will agree with me when I say that Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, is one of the best albums of 2008, which makes us all excited to hear their new EP, Blood Bank coming out on January 20th. Bon Iver continue their winter cabin atmosphere (which I was afraid they were going to lose, to be honest) which was adored by music lovers and critics alike this year.

The two songs that I have heard from Blood Bank aren't quite as captivating as songs from For Emma, Forever Ago, which is understandable due to the circumstances under which their debut album was written. After being dumped by his girlfriend and leaving his prior band, Justin Vernon spent several months isolated in his father's cabin in Minnesota intending on taking a break from music. But For Emma, Forever Ago was running through his veins, he had to get it out of him, so Vernon wrote and recorded the entire album in that cabin by himself. This album could haven't been written at any other time or by any other person.

So, when you listen to the two tracks that I've provided below, remember that they're not For Emma, Forever Ago, but they are still gorgeous, intimate songs that provide that perfect soundtrack for when you take that wintry night walk.

Bon Iver - Blood Bank
Bon Iver - Beach Baby


Fleet Foxes Backstage Sessions

I love everything about the Fleet Foxes. I just had to put that out there. Anyways, I just arrived home after a week of finals and eight hours of travel, and I couldn't be in a better mood. In this spirit, I thought I'd share with you a fantastic video of Robin Pecknold singing a song called Katie Cruel backstage in Nashville. This video gets me everytime. I've posted the mp3 of this magical performance for you as well. Enjoy!
PS isn't Vimeo great??


Fleet Foxes - Katie Cruel: mp3

Backstage Sessions : Fleet Foxes - Katie Cruel (Cover) from Hard to Find a Friend on Vimeo.

Crazy Antony

Antony & The Johnsons have released the cover art for their third studio album and upcoming LP The Crying Light set to drop in '09. If you're not familiar with their material, which I can't say I'm too versed in (despite them winning the Mercury Prize in '05), you may recognize his voice on the song "Blind" by Hercules and Love Affair. Anyway, I saw this cover art and almost pooped my pants, so I thought I'd post it here as well. Have a look:

It just gives me the jeebies. If you can get adjusted to his voice, enjoy a song off their Another World EP that was released earlier this year.

Antony & The Johnsons- Another World


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Walrus Plays the Saxophone!

What else is there to say?

I am the Walrus - The Beatles


Pitchfork...What's the Deal?

So a week ago, Pitchfork reviewed The Very Best, an effort by Radioclit and Esau Mwamwaya, and gave it an 8.6. You can find that review here. Let's get one thing straight: this is one of those times when Pitchfork gets over zealous and gives something they think is way too unknown a great score so they can keep up their hipster vibe, because this is not an 8.6 performance. The entire album can be downloaded for free here, but unless you want to clutter your hard drive with turd tomotoes, you should avoid it like the bubonic plague. On the record you can find remixes of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" and "Boyz", both worse than the originals and given that African vibe feeling, as well as a couple other songs that sound incredibly similar to each other. It's mind-boggling that they have the audacity to give this such a high score, and give amazing albums lower scores (anyone remember the review for Z?). After listening to this thing all the way through, or at least trying, I have to wonder what would possess them to even waste their time with it. Anyway, I felt I needed to post this just to give a giant wag-of-the-finger to Pitchfork. 'Cause they'll probably read this, right? Try to enjoy a remix of the "True Romance" theme (?) and a remix of Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, brought to you in stunning African Vision!

The Very Best- Chikondi
, which I assume is African for "Our Album is Shit Salad!"

The Very Best- Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa