The Covalent Bond

This site is dedicated to the sharing of ideas in the field of music, literature, and whatever else strikes my fancy. To play the music, you must have Rhapsody. I am just getting started. There will be more to come. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Song of the Day - October 31, 2006

The Melvins have been around for twenty some years and are one of the founding fathers of grunge. Diehard fans will know that Kurt Cobain once was a roadie for the band and that Shirley Temple Black's daughter was once a bassist for the group. On their latest album A Senile Animal, The Melvins employ a dual drummer attack, which enriches their heavy sound. One of my favorite tracks is "Civilized Worm," which shows off their dual drummers in a torrent of heavy pounding at the conclusion of the song. As it is Halloween, the most appropriate track for song of the day honors just happens to be "Blood Witch," which epitomizes the heavy, scorch the earth sound of The Melvins. Click here to listen.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday's Musical Melange

Here's an eclectic mix to start a Monday morning. In the eclectic vein flows Matmos, Captain Beefheart, and a few others. There are relatively new artists like Dan Sartain, The Cold War Kids, and the Envelopes intermixed with older artists like The Dead Milkmen and Nico. Enjoy and have an excellent Monday. Click here to listen.

1. Sister In Love - Envelopes
2. Big Lizard - The Dead Milkmen
3. Stickin' It To The Man - Tiny Masters Of Today
4. Gun VS. Knife - Dan Sartain
5. I Drive My Friend - Frida Hyvönen
6. We Do Not *uck Around - Viva Voce
7. For the Khakis and the Sweatshirts - Oxford Collapse
8. Tract for Valerie Solanas - Matmos
9. Hot Head - Captain Beefheart
10. Beanbag Chair - Yo La Tengo
11. C'est Ce La - Devotchka
12. Cast it at the Setting Sail - Danielson
13. Schizophrenia - Sonic Youth
14. Red Wine, Success! (Album) - Cold War Kids
15. I've Got Ninjas! - Boat
16. I'll Call You - Mecca Normal
17. Dirty Dustin Hoffman Needs A Bath - of Montreal
18. They Took A Vote And Said No - Sunset Rubdown
19. In The Union Of Wine - The Hidden Cameras
20. Vegas (7' Version) - Nico
21. Death Kit Train - Cul De Sac
22. Tonight - Sibylle Baier

Song of the Day - October 30, 2006

It is somewhat difficult to characterize Oxford Collapse's Remember the Night Parties. Employing a variety of influences ranging from Mission of Burma, Iggy Pop, Weezer, and Joy Division, I suppose it is the natural evolution of music given their previous influences. Despite the wide range of influences, this is a great fun listen. This is their first release for Sub Pop and the overall quality of this album is so good that picking a song of the day is extremely difficult and would probably vary on a daily basis due to my moods. Today, I give my vote to "Molasses" a jangly tune driven by bass and drums that reminded me of The Violent Femmes. It sounds as if they use a flute during one of the choruses, which I loved. Click here to listen.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Song of the Day - October 27, 2006

I must admit, I am not a Yo La Tengo expert, but after listening to their latest
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, I vow to learn more about their music. Though they seem to jump between various musical stylings, I love this album. It is just that trait that makes the album so appealing, you never know what the next track will bring. There is the poppish "Beanbag Chair," the spaced out and fuzzed out guitars of opening track "Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind," and the rockabilly rhythms of "Watch Out for Me Mr. Ronnie." The album is like a musical roadtrip, one never knows where one will stop next. My favorite track has to be the "The Room Got Heavy," the funky Farfisa organ and bongos of this track are irresistible. Click here to listen.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Song of the Day - October 26, 2006

Doom-folk is an apt descriptor for the band Flying Canyon. Flying Canyon is the work of Cayce Lindner backed by members of The Skygreen Leopards. The music on their self-titled debut is stark, desolate, and beautiful in the way one may view the desert. There are shades of Neil Young and David Crosby on this album, but with a handful of valium and a glass of bourbon. My favorite tune is opening track "In the Reflection," a lethargic ballad, with a lonesome chorus and very stark instrumentation that definitely reminds me of Neil Young. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Song of the Day - October 25, 2006

Beach House are a male/female duo from Baltimore. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have created a subdued, chillingly beautiful self-titled album that will reward repeated listening. This is not dance music, heavy metal, or emo. Victoria Legrand's vocals remind me slightly of Nico, while Beach House's music is of an ethereal, floating nature. The slow languid tempos of the music, combined with relatively simple keyboard accompaniment, create an illusion of calm. Yet, there is an underlying sense of anxiety in their music, that prevents it from becoming monotonous. My favorite track is "Tokyo Witch." The simple beats are augmented with a faint but distinct tambourine, adding a layer of organic sound to the synthetic keyboards, while Legrand's vocals are distant but exquisite. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Song of the Day - October 24, 2006

I love the name The Gothic Archies, which is the musical project of The Magnetic Field's Stephin Merritt. When I first listened to the album The Tragic Treasury, I had no idea that the album was based on the Lemony Snicket's books A Series of Unfortunate Events. Regardless of the source of inspiration, listeners irrespective of age will be delighted by this album. Each of the first thirteen tracks is based on books in the series. The album is full of great tunes that sound as if they came from some forgotten past. I especially liked "Dreary, Dreary," which is based on The Miserable Mill. However, my favorite was the happy, but sinister song "Shipwrecked," which was based on the thirteenth book in the series, The End. The Gothic Archies are currently touring the country performing with Lemony Snicket a reading from his books with musical accompaniment. Click here to listen.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Song of the Day - October 23, 2006

The Cold War Kids full-length debut Robbers & Cowards is a stunner. Nathan Willet's vocals are attention getting, having been compared by some to Jeff Buckley. This quartet gives me the impression that they are British, but actually they hail from California. Earlier this year, I heard a little bit of their show at Lollapalooza, and I very much liked what I heard. Unfortunately at Lollapalooza, I was like a kid with ADD. The musical riches were so great, I was running from one show to the other, not always catching the full act. This album is full of great tracks. "Hospital Beds" is a wonderful tune, that brings the piano to the forefront of the track, but the star of this track is Willet's vocals. "Red Wine, Success!" is another tune that just seems to burrow into my skull. It has a slight dissonant flavor from the guitars, which reminded me of Gang of Four. Song of the day honors go to "Hang Me Up to Dry," which has a distinctly British sound to it and some cool funky guitar sounds that could have come from The Talking Heads. Click here to listen.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Song of the Day - October 20, 2006

Xemu Records has reissued Dead Meadow's self-titled debut. One of the reigning kings of neo-psychedelica, Dead Meadow is a beloved anachronism to those that love the psychedelic sounds of the late 60's and early 70's. This album originally recorded in 2000, has been sorely missed by fans of the band, will also be followed by two additional recordings that have been long out of print. The band is currently touring with Wolfmother and Silversun Pickups and will be in Chicago at the Riviera next month on the 25th. Having seen Wolfmother earlier this year, this concert looks to be one hell of a show. For a taste of the spaced out, psychedelic jams of Dead Meadow, check out the track "Indian Bones." Click here to listen.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Song of the Day - October 19, 2006

The fourth album from four girls from Detroit is Musik. A delightful collection of electro-pop with occasional touches of psychedelica. These Kill Rock Star artists create a light almost 60's sound with their vocals, yet there is an 80's take with the synthesizer and drums, while the guitars have a more modern sound. I like it. This is not serious or contemplative music, rather it is fun music and is meant to be enjoyed. One of my favorite cuts is "10-9-8-7-6-5-4," which plays up the 80's sound with the keyboards and would be perfectly at home during the height of the new wave days. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Song of the Day - October 18, 2006

After a seven year hiatus, Two Ton Boa are back with Parasticide. Led by singer/songwriter/bassist Sherry Fraser, Two Ton Boa uses a two bass approach with the assistance of Brian Sparhawk. Their music is dark, ominous, and deliciously wicked. I wrestled with song of the day honors between "Porcelain Throne," which shows off the powerful vocals of Fraser accented with a particularly delightful chorus and "HERarchy" a song which simmers, sputters angst, and boils over in heavy beats interspersed with soaring vocals from Fraser. In the end, I selected "HERarchy" for the great childlike chanting intro to the song. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Song of the Day - October 17, 2006

Wow, where did this guy come from? Actually, Dan Sartain hails from Birmingham, Alabama, but he is making a name for himself in England. His music is strongly rooted in rockabilly, Johnny Cash, and a touch of The Clash. I love his most recent release Join Dan Sartain. The album is overflowing with great songs such as the jumping "Gun vs. Knife," the Latin influenced "Flight of the Finch," and the Clash-like "Indian Ink." The song "Replacement Man" was recently named record of the week by Colin Murray of BBC 1 and is my choice for song of the day. Click here to listen.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Song of the Day - October 16, 2006

The Decemberists have moved from the indies to the majors with the release of The Crane Wife. Originally on Kill Rock Stars, The Decemberists have moved to Capitol Records. Have they sold out? I was initially concerned, but one listen to their latest album, reveals no hint of a sell out. The album derives its name from a Japanese folk tale that deals with love, hard times, good times, and broken promises. Instead of explaining the details of this bittersweet story, I recommend that you listen to "The Crane Wife 1 and 2." I also especially liked the closing tune "Sons and Daughters," a beautiful tune. However, song of the day honors go to "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)," which deals with the separation of war; war being a common theme for The Decemberists. Yet, it is the interchange of choruses between Colin Meloy and Laura Veirs (thanks Drake)that gives this song a little something extra. Click here to listen.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Song of the Day - October 13, 2006

You have to love these young kids from Port Angeles, Washington. Finishing second in 2004's Experience Music Project's Sound Off, a battle of the bands for musicians 21 and under, The Lonely H used their studio time to record Kick Upstairs. The band's influences are clear: The Beach Boys, Weezer, Queen, and The Beatles. They specialize in harmonically appealing vocals with a clear pop sensibility. There is an overabundance of fun tunes including "Don't Worry," which has a definite Weezer feel; the piano drenched "Lullaby Lane," which evokes Beach Boys, Queen, and The Beatles; and "Family Friends," a song that sounds as if Freddie Mercury and Rivers Cuomo collaborated on this song. Song of the day honors go to album closer "Zelda." As you may have guessed, this song is about the video game, complete with piano, harmonizing chorus, and guitar solo. Click here to listen.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Song of the Day - October 12, 2006

Voted one of Portland's top ten new bands in The Willamette Week, Please Step Out of Your Vehicle create a beautiful blend of psychedelic pop on their debut release Sleeping Right and the Best In Homeopathic Magic. This sextet combine a wide variety of instrumentation such as farfisa, glockenspiel, trombone, flute, moog keyboards, and the usual assortment of bass, drum, and guitars to craft their tunes which tend to be more pop oriented than psychedelic. "Special Logic" is one of my favorite times. It has a melancholy feel, which is probably due to the faint trombone accompaniment. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Song of the Day - October 11, 2006

Akron/Family's latest album Meek Warrior is a cosmic treat. The album was recorded with special guest, renowned free jazz drummer, Hamid Drake, as well as contributions from Do Make Say Think and members of Broken Social Scene. The album for the most part leans toward the mellow side of the freak folk aesthetic, however there are two tracks which are definitely harder rocking. Opening track "Blessing Force" is a delicious almost ten minute freak out jam session, while "The Rider (Dolphin Song)" starts out innocently enough with a harp, until the song takes off for an extended eastern inspired jaunt of hippie happiness. However, it is the song "No Space in the Realm" that to me best embodies the spirit of the album. The song exudes a cosmic peace, with touches of jazz, over psych-folk guitars and exotic percussion. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Song of the Day - October 10, 2006

Les Georges Leningrad is an acquired taste. An open mind is required to appreciate their "petrochemical rock," an unusual blend of sounds incorporating tribal rhythms, disco beats, Flying Lizard influences, and gothic Bauhaus leanings. A unique melange of art punk stylings, their latest album Sangue Puro will definitely challenge you, but it is their absurd view of things that makes this album an intriguing listen. I particularly enjoyed the tribal beats of "Eli, eli, lamma sabacthani" and the hectic energy of "Mammal Beats" augmented by the roars of lions and elephants. However, it is The Flying Lizard influenced "Scissorhands," with its insistent beat and distant muffled vocals that satisfies my musical craving for the unusual. Click here to listen.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Columbus Day Dozen

On this beautiful Columbus Day in Chicago, I have collected some of my latest Rhapsody findings for your musical enjoyment. Just as Columbus discovered America, I hope you will discover a few musical gems to brighten your day. Click here to listen.

1. Indian Ink - Dan Sartain
2. Eli, eli, lamma sabacthani - Les Georges Leningrad
3. Lullaby Lane - The Lonely H
4. The Rider (Dolphin Song) - Akron/Family
5. Porcelain Throne - Two Ton Boa
6. Its a Beautiful Thing (I Like My Oranges Peeled for Me) - The USA Is A Monster
7. Dragonfly - Dead Meadow
8. Venison - Forget Cassettes
9. Sue Egypt - Captain Beefheart
10. The Breeze - Tall Firs
11. Sons and Daughters - The Decemberists
12. Thin Is Wide - Slumber Party

Song of the Day - October 9, 2006

I had never heard of The Asteroid No. 4 until very recently. I was surprised to find out that this Philadelphia based band has been around for ten years. With the release of An Amazing Dream, The Asteroid No. 4 have a total of four albums. They specialize in a brand of psychedelic pop that could have come straight out of the 60's. With a sound that at times reminds me of The Byrds, I find the album grows on me with repeated listens. In particular, I found the vocal harmonies very appealing. One of the best tracks that takes advantage of their great vocal harmonies is "Ask Me About Pittsburgh." The song is basically of a bipolar nature, in that the first half is a more traditional song, albeit in a psychedelic mode, while the second half features a more Syd Barrett influenced sound that sounds as if it was recorded at some great distance, perhaps in a cave. The song ends with a growing distorted rumble, that I believe is supposed to represent a train. Click here to listen.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Song of the Day - October 6, 2006

This was my first experience with The USA Is a Monster and this duo does not fit into any pre-existing box. The duo embraces a hippie aesthetic with their fascination with Native Americans and their philosophical vision of the world on Sunset at the End of the Industrial Age. Yet, their music combines elements as varied as Zappa, Man Man, Lightning Bolt, and Rush. Yes, I said Rush! Their total disregard for what is trendy, is what I find so attractive. Their album reminds me vaguely of Zappa's great Freak Out! a cult classic. Cult status may just be in the cards for this album. You will either love or hate this record. As for myself, I love it. For a glimpse into the world of The USA Is a Monster check out the epic title cut "Sunset at the End of the Industrial Age." Click here to listen.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Song of the Day - October 5, 2006

When I first cued up Uzeda's Stella on Rhapsody, I knew I was going to like it. Uzeda is an Italian quartet hailing from the island of Sicily. Led by the husband and wife team of guitarist Agostino Tilotta and vocalist Giovanna Cacciola, Uzeda have a hard edge to them that is tremendously appealing. Long time collaborator Steve Albini definitely has something to do with this, as one can detect the influence of his bands Shellac, Big Black, and Rapeman. However, this is not just someone screaming at you or just banging away at their guitars as fast as possible, rather their songs simmer, boil, and erupt with an Italian passion that one cannot escape. I am especially enamored with the opening track "Wailing," which starts out ominously with drums and bass, accented by Giovanna's vocals and Agostino's guitar in a particularly delightful Gang of Four mood. The song twist and turns with tasty guitar distortion that makes for a delicious antipasto for the remainder of the album. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Song of the Day - October 4, 2006

There will be no sleeping during The Big Sleep's Son of the Tiger. This New York based trio does not specialize in lullabies, rather they create a unique brand of psych-rock that blends elements of My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai, and a dash of early Joy Division. Though their music tends to be on the instrumental side, and the vocals are hazy at best, it is the track "Murder" which excites me the most. There is something about bassist Sonya Balchandani's vocals that vaguely reminds me of Joy Division, that I find extremely irresistible. It probably has to do with her very sedate delivery of the vocals, while the band creates a musical storm in counterbalance to the vocal track. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Song of the Day - October 3, 2006

Thurston Moore's label Ecstatic Peace! released the self-titled debut of psych-folk trio the Tall Firs. Led by Aaron Mullan, soundman and engineer for Sonic Youth, on guitar and vocals. The band features the interwoven guitars of Mullan and co-founder Dave Mies augmented by the drumming of Ryan Sawyer. I love the almost Brechtian "Breeze" and the harder psychedelic edge of "The Woods." Yet, it is the beautifully forlorn "Don't Complain," that really grabs my attention. Click here to listen.

Monday, October 02, 2006

September 2006 - Songs of the Day

September was a month of transition as we moved from summer to fall. The songs of the day could not have gone through more drastic of a transition than starting with the anger of The Thermals and ending in the disco influenced funk of Cansei De Ser Sexy. In between were many gems such as Electrelane, Darker My Love, and The Mountain Goats. As the weather cools, don't forget the unique music created on instruments of ice by Terje Isungset. Please enjoy the eclectic musical choices of September. Click here to listen.

1. Here's Your Future - The Thermals
2. Punishment Ride - Part Chimp
3. Maybe Sprout Wings - The Mountain Goats
4. I Do Dream You - Jennifer Gentle
5. I Love You My Farfisa - Electrelane
6. Fulwood Babylon - The Long Blondes
7. Sweething - Love Arcade
8. Idecide - What Made Milwaukee Famous
9. Claws & Paws - Darker My Love
10. Stop, I'm Already Dead - Deadboy & The Elephantman
11. Let It Come Down - Blood Meridian
12. All This Time - Heartless Bastards
13. Stadiums And Shrines II - Sunset Rubdown
14. Fire Down Below - Nick Cave
15. Quiero, Quieres - Forget Cassettes
16. Hyperventilationsystem - Daughters
17. Mammoth - Terje Isungset
18. Asimo's Naked Breakfast : Rice and Shrine - Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O
19. Bad Checks - Trashies
20. Down Beside Your Beauty - Favourite Sons
21. Let's Make Love and Listen Death From Above - CSS

Song of the Day - October 2, 2006

Jason Molina's latest, Fading Trails, from the Magnolia Electric Co. still worships at the alter of Neil Young's country tinged rock. He creates lonesome, desolate sounding tunes that go well with a double shot of bourbon. Warning - a full dose of Magnolia Electric Co.'s brand of music may result in a nasty hangover the next day, if you don't lock up the whiskey bottle. I especially enjoyed "Don't Fade on Me," which actually reminded me a little bit of Roy Orbison. The song starts very slowly, but picks up momentum, as the guitars echo reverb and Jason's vocals gather intensity during this heartfelt tune. Click here to listen.

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