Archive for August 2008

I am a jolly good twee: Benji Cossa

31 August 2008

Who? Benji Cossa

What? A Sixties lo-fi pop singer-songwriter

Sounds Like? Sixties boysbands but on his own. 

It’s kinda hard to come up with good comparisons for Benji Cossa. I first thought of The Beatles, but on second thought, it’s maybe more Beach Boys. But even that comparison sucks. The thing with Cossa is that he sounds so familiar, that it’s hard to describe. Well, not that hard, cause he surely he is twee, lo-fi, pop and a singer-songwriter (actually this is proving my point)

He used to be on the fabulous Magik Marker records, also home of the Pavementesque indie band Boat (you will learn more about them on this blog someday) , but his latest album ‘Vault Volume II, Jewels and Gems’ is released on Serious Business Records, of which i haven’t really heard before. Anyway, you can go there to buy his latest album.

On his website there are a few tunes, including ‘Volcano’, a less lo-fi song which he recorded for a soundtrack for a movie I have never heard of. The other song is of ‘Benji Cossa’s Vault 1’

Benji Cossa – Volcano

Benji Cossa – Four Wheels

Advertisements

Wir sind stolze Deutscher!: Harald Sack Ziegler

28 August 2008

Who? Harald Sack Ziegler

What? Lo-fi crazy pop in German

Sounds Like? a German with too much time

I must warn you: this is probably something most people won’t like. First of all, it’s in German (You mean, that Nazi language? Damn!) and secondly it’s quite freaky at times (although the really freaky stuff in my music collection will be reserved for later, you can already look forward to that)

I’m going to Berlin tomorrow and Saturday (so already can’t keep my promise of a daily update), and thought a German artist would be well in place. I used to study German (and yes, it sucks as hard as my English does..), even graduated in it. I’m quite fond of the language of Goethe and can’t wait hearing it again.

Harald Sack Ziegler normally makes electronic music (with Sack & Blumm and in collaborations with Mouse on Mars), but on his album ‘Punkt’ (a compilation of old cassette recordings he made) he really is the typical lo-fi hero: making songs in his bedroom which are witty (well, for the people who don’t speak german: they are) and a bit childish.  If there’s one genre (if you can call it a genre that is) that defines me in my music listening habits, then it’s lofi. So this really cheers me up, and the song ‘aquarium’ is in my top 20 of funniest songs (not that i really have such a list, but it would be if such list were to exist).. I had a really hard time choosing which songs i would upload (cause he’s got quite a lot of good ones), so this time i’ve uploaded 3 songs… but this is an exception (and you all go out & buy his album, do you hear me?)

Harald Sack Ziegler – Aquarium

Harald Sack Ziegler – Meine Oma

Harald Sack Ziegler – Sterntaler

You can buy his album at his label Staubgold, Boomkat, and other music selling sites.

Tradin’ books in a global bookshop: Bookmooch

27 August 2008

Two posts in one day? Wow, really keepin’ up the pace here.

Because it’s bookworm wednesday i just wanna let you know about Bookmooch, a great site I discovered a few weeks ago. It’s a site where you can trade in your old unwanted books for books you really were dying to read for a long time.

How does it work? You go to the site, register yourself and make all your unwanted books available for people to “mooch”. That means that if they want one of your books, they’ll ask you for it. For adding books to your inventory, you get 0.10 points per book, for sending a book you get 2 or 3 points (depending on whether you send it nationally or internationally)

Off course you want books in return, so on your wishlist you put all the books you want (or you just browse on the site in other people’s collections). If you see something you like, you mooch them, which costs you points,  1 point nationally, 2 points internationally.

I really works.. all you have to pay is shipping costs, but if you don’t wanna send a heavy book to the U.S or Canada, or any other country that isn’t yours, you can just let the moocher know. I’ve so far sent 2 books, and got 3 in return!  and a 4th one is in the queue… you can see my profile here. But it would be cool if everyone started mooching, cause it’s just so cool to get rid of your old books like that and getting cool new ones in return.

Bookworm Wednesday: A book about Giraffes

27 August 2008

What? Giraffes? Giraffes!

Eh? A “scientific” book about giraffes for children

Publisher? McSweeney’s

It’s been all about music so far, but I’ll try to tell something about books every wednesday. Music is more direct and easier to blog about, but it’s books that i’m really in love with.

A few years ago, I discovered McSweeney’s, an american publisher founded by Dave Eggers, who wrote brilliant novels like ‘What is the What?’ and ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’. They publish a literary magazine every four months, and it always looks great. It’s always over 100 pages (lots more mostly) and it has an artistic concept. you’ve got e.g. McSweeney’s 13 which was edited by Chris Ware and is all about graphic novels and the evolution of the american comic. But it can also be that there are just some really cool drawings in it, or other stuff… You name it (the coolest one is the one where the magazine looks like a bunch of mail with in every envelope a different story)

They however also publish novels, works of non-fiction and especially nonsense books.  Those include the the Haggis-on-Whey books, a series of 377 (!) scientific books for children. Only two of them have been published up until now, with a third one one the way. The first one is about giraffes, the other on’e about the ‘animals in the sea, in particular the giant Squid’.

What’s so funny about the book, is that all the information inside is pure nonsense. Or do giraffes really come from outer space and do they really travel by means of a conveyor belt? It’s pretty obvious that there isn’t a single word true, but it’s really funny to read, especially because the whole book looks like these old children encyclopedias.

Really recommended if you wanna give your children a proper education.

you can buy it here.

For the Belgian readers i would recommend buying it on Proxis.be, cause it’s quite cheap there (that’s where i bought it)

Don’t forget to take a look on The McSweeneys-site for the other books they have to got to offer, including a series of children books so they can learn to fix a car and mix a cocktail, and a catalogue of all the metal bands in the world.

I found an AM-radio in the basement: Misophone

26 August 2008

Who? Misophone

What? An indiefolk album you find in the woods and which takes you on a balloon flight over the ocean.

Sounds Like? Beirut,  Sufjan Stevens, a pinch of Midlake, Matt Elliott, Yann Tiersen (Amelie Poulain soundtrack) and there’s gipsy in there somewhere too

I’ve said it to a lot of people the last couple of months, and i’ll say it here again: Misophone is a must-know. They have it all: good orchestrated songs, wonderful voices and this small pinch of nostalgia. The band consists of M.A Welsh and S. Herbert.

‘Where has it gone, the beautiful music of our grandparents? It died with them, that’s where it went’ (Kningdisk, 2007) is the 13th album of Misophone. At least that’s what the bio says. The other 12 albums can’t be found anywhere online, but i guess that these guys have a whole box of home tapes (release them now).

I’ve never read that many Jules Verne books, except for 10,000 miles under the sea. But we’ve got this old collection of his books at home, and it seems as if Misophone makes the perfect soundtrack for the drawings in those books.  I just can’t describe how good this is. You just have to listen for yourself. I’ve uploaded a quiet song (White Waves) and a more uptempo one (Turning Hay in The Fields)

Misophone – White Waves

Misophone – Turning Hay in The Fields

If you wanna have the next big thing, before it’s even the next big thing, you can buy it here. This should have been my number one of 2007, and it’s slowly tumbling into my top 50 of all-time favourites. this is fuckin’ awesome (listening it to it while i type.. i’ve got goosebumps)

(The songs on their MySpace are all new ones, and the songs on the album are even better than those ones!)

Doomsday Device: Miss Autopsy

25 August 2008

Who? Miss Autopsy

What? A lonely, lonely guy who makes minimalist eerie music

Sounds Like? BARR, acoustic Sonic Youth (or well, sort of), Daniel Johnston but even more depressed

I write reviews for the excellent underground culture magazine Gonzo Circus (in Dutch), and sometimes get albums of bands I’ve never heard of. Even better: I sometimes get albums of bands NO ONE has ever heard of. Say hello to Miss Autopsy, who has got only 7 listeners on Last.fm.

Steve Beyerink, the only real member of Miss Autopsy (next to Jason Garner, the drummer of The Paper Chase), appears to be really lonely. He used to perform with a guitar and a drum machine, but for his new album ‘The Hill’ he’s going for an even more minimalist approach. Some of the songs are no more than just Beyerink’s voice and a monotonous guitar. Ever heard BARR’s record ‘Summary’? It’s sort of spoken word, but not really. Miss Autopsy is his evil twin brother.

‘The Hill’ contains ten songs that probably were recorded during nights when Beyerink was thinking of killing himself. I’ve heard this strange mood only on two albums before, on ‘1990’ by Daniel Johnston and ‘Animal Rights’ by Moby. If you know these two albums, you probably know what i’m talking about. You can listen to two songs. ‘The Telephone song’ is the loudest song on the album, but also the most direct one, with its in your face lyrics. ‘The Doctor’ sounds more like the other songs on the album, which means creepy scary and quite suicidal.

Miss Autopsy – The Telephone Song

Miss Autopsy – The Doctor

You can buy ‘The Hill’ here, highly recommended!

More info about Miss Autopsy on his website.

Bring out the confetti and the balloons: Mount Righteous

24 August 2008

Who? Mount Righteous

What? an indie-sounding marching band

Sounds like: The Polyphonic Spree, The Flaming Lips and other fun fun fun bands

Most of the bands I will tell about here, are stolen from other musical blogs. I would like to give them credit for that, but most of the time i can’t remember where I found a certain great band. I however still remember where i found Mount Righteous, on the great blog Said the Gramophone.

So, that’s settled. Let’s talk about music. Mount righteous is a 11-piece band that makes marching band songs. You could just see the confetti fly around if you close your eyes. Handclaps, multi-singing. It’s like the happy (even happier!) version of the Polyphonic Spree. They also have their own label, Righteous Records, which seems to have released a whole series of songs by the band members. Lovely! They even have someone who sows wallets. So that’s pretty awesome.

Anyway, my favourite song kinda ‘Licorice Night’ reminds me of this old-time classic ‘Lollipop’. Which reminds me of good old time childhood, which reminds me of happiness. Thank you Mount Righteous!

Mount Righteous – Licorice Night

You can buy the album ‘When The Music Starts’ here. In the booklet you get the chords to each song, so you can play along. Must admit it doesn’t sound as good when you play this songs acoustically on your own, without the handclaps and backing vocals.