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Posts from April, 2009


Alphaville Chair and Music

By Roni Brunn | April 30, 2009 | Music downloads, News

organic-chair-angle

I love Eero Saarinen‘s work, and I love warm, natural materials.  So I don’t stand a chance against this chair, which renders Saarinen’s mid century curves in walnut and tweed.  It’s called Organic, but thankfully, I don’t think they don’t mean it in the faux-holistic sense.  This is not a chair for green tea and ommm and feng shui or whatever.

It’s made by Alphaville Design, a company that manufactures modern & contemporary furniture and lighting.  They also do modern classic furniture reproductions with attention to both cost and quality.

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The Flaming Lips & Stardeath and White Dwarfs – “Borderline”

By Roni Brunn | April 28, 2009 | Music downloads, News

The Flaming Lips and The Black Keys released a joint EP for Record Store Day.  The Lips contributed their cover of Madonna’s “Borderline,” a track they created with Stardeath and White Dwarfs for Warner Bros.’ 50th anniversary.  WB released an album of its artists covering their label mates.

The video was shot at the band’s warehouse space in Oklahoma, and Stardeath and White Dwarfs are Wayne Coyne’s nephew’s band.

The song reminds me of the music Gucci stores played during Tom Ford’s administration.  Cool, easy yet strangely unfamiliar indie covers make the perfect soundtrack to luxury shopping in darkly lit, decadently neo mod shops.

The Flaming Lips & Stardeath and White Dwarfs – “Borderline”

00-va-the_flaming_lips_and_the_black_keys-split-ep-2009-cover

Get it on Amazon as an MP3 single, an MP3 album, or a CD album

Visit The Flaming Lips at their site

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Luke Top – “Lord, Save Me From This Valley”

By Roni Brunn | April 27, 2009 | Music downloads, News

luketop_friends-sm

LA’s Luke Top makes warm, enveloping music that feels intimate while expansive.  The sounds can come from anywhere – are these birds?  Is the percussion here tiki or African or Western or Country-Western?  How many parts are in this harmony?  Trying to place the parts is fun.  At the same time, the songs’ hug-able friendliness keeps the exercise from being pure science.  On the first listen, you could swear these have been your favorites for ages.

Friends is an apt name for Luke’s debut album.  He’s been a prolific collaborator, touring and recording with such artists as Cass Mccombs, Papercuts, and Foreign Born.  With Foreign Born guitarist Lewis Pesacov, he co-founded the Afro-Hebrew dance band Fool’s Gold .  Naturally, his friends also contributed to the album.

Of course, I personally relate to Luke’s work on more levels than just the music.  I’ve been lucky to have worked with him as well; he engineered all of my recordings.  During sessions, we’d riff in terrible, dated Hebrew slang, which I take to be the sound of two expat Israelis procrastinating.

He’s such a talented writer, performer, and sound bro.  Go see him play, and stick around for Peter Björn and John.  I’m excited to see what’s next!

Luke Top – “Lord, Save Me From This Valley”

Tour Dates

4/27 – Echo Park – The Echo (free show as Fool’s Gold closing out the band’s April residency)
4/29 – NYC – Webster Hall w/ Peter Bjorn and John
4/30 – Brooklyn – Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Peter Bjorn and John
5/1- Philadelphia – World Cafe w/ Peter Bjorn and John

Friends will come out June 23, 2009 on Slow Death Records.

Visit Luke on MySpace, or visit Fool’s Gold on MySpace

luketop

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Twitter updates for the week ending on 2009-04-26

By Roni Brunn | April 26, 2009 | Twitter Updates

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Recommended Reading: Lady Gaga, HRO Analysis Blog, From Interview

By Roni Brunn | April 24, 2009 | News

gaga-nyerThe New Yorker on Lady Gaga

Sasha Frere-Jones is one of my favorite writers.  His pieces about music give context to the art and often sort out what an album/genre/phenomenon actually means.  In other words, his writing goes far beyond “good,” “bad,” and “relevant.”

I was so excited to read his piece about Lady Gaga.  It addresses the lazy one-hit-wonder dismissals, attests to Gaga’s smarts, and credits her songwriting talent.  Woo.  I totally agree.

Still, I’m tired of reading that Gaga isn’t as strange as she claims.  Yeah, her songs are straight-forward Euro dance, but they’re the only straight-forward Euro dance songs on mainstream radio.  That genre’s been missing from the US forever (a critic would cite how long).  I acknowledge the emergence of dance-inflected hip hop – but that’s not the same as actual straight-forward Euro dance music.  I would say that it is a big deal for Gaga to reach number one twice with such music.

It’s also a big deal that she has a hand in forming her image.  Pop stars tend to be positioned as sex symbols by a staff of image makers, and then we have Gaga in consistently weird, futuristic, unsexy get ups.  It’s brave, and it’s deliberate.  My only qualm is that it doesn’t always seem sincere.  Her videos betray tiny moments of cute normalcy – the girl can’t keep up the fierce attitude of her veneer.

So, yeah, Gaga is vulnerable and thus not as weird as she’d have us believe.  It’s not because her music isn’t a significant departure from the norm.

hro-epHipster Runoff Exegesis

I love Hipster Runoff.  It puts current youth culture into perspective, and it’s of course hilarious.  I could go on and on with compliments and still feel like I’m holding back.  I bring it up at parties, hoping someone else is a fan, but I have yet to have a fun conversation about it.

Hipster Runoff Exegesis goes farther with HRO analysis than I ever could.  It gets academically analytic (I think) with comp lit and maybe some philosophy.  If you like to feel stupid occassionally (I do), you’ll love this blog.

from-orange-alertOrange Alert’s From Interview

Wow, Jason from Orange Alert is a really smart guy.  He asked really engaging questions and wrote an excellent, insightful intro.  I’m hugely flattered to have From showcased in such an intelligent, fun forum.  We go into my potentially copyright infringing projects, or, as he writes, “What is fascinating is that her knowledge of marketing and zest for promotion is leading to interesting approaches to her music and to her product distribution. It shines through in her unique musical production, but also in her inventive videos.”  I’ll take it!

More about the “off-kilter pop collage she creates in her musical adventures” here.

It’s a great read.  Thanks, Jason!

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Robyn on The Daily Show

By Roni Brunn | April 23, 2009 | Music downloads, News

During a segment called The Stockholm Syndrome, Wyatt Cenac visits Sweden to rescue the locals from the misery of socialism.  Robyn gives him a tour of her apt:

Kidding aside, Robyn’s apartment is super nice for Stockholm.  That sounds condescending, but each city has its quirks.  Luxury isn’t much of a factor in Stockholm.  There’s a T.G.I.Friday’s across the street from Louis Vuitton.  Housing is pretty uniform, except for some small details: the floor, the fireplace, light.  And location, for which I cannot vouch because I don’t stalk Robyn.  (However, I did interview her in 2005 – wow, that was crazy early).

I love Sweden.  But it’s nuts that the most locals keep claiming it’s not a socialist country.  Yeah.  The black market for apartments works like a Soviet bread line.  And, yeah, there actually is a black market for apartments.  The legal queue for an apartment in downtown Stockholm runs about 20 years.  I wish someone rescued me from socialism when I lived in Stockholm!

Robyn – “Handle Me”

Get Robyn’s Robyn album on iTunes or Amazon

Visit Robyn at her site, MySpace, or Twitter

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Kamera – “Misfortune Strikes Again”

By Roni Brunn | April 22, 2009 | Music downloads, News

Thank you, Sweden!  Last month, I posted this on Twitter:

duran-tweetAnd Swedish band Kamera made it happen.  Sure, Kamera owes more to Depeche Mode than the Cure.  They’re on Nettwerk and not Service or Hyrbris.  But if all my tweets would materialize this way, I won’t be listing more detailed comparisons between wish and reality.

Bonus: they opened for my fav current band Mando Diao.

kamera-swingersI didn’t connect with their previous work, but I’m def psyched for their upcoming album Blank Expressions.

Kamera – “Misfortune Strikes Again”

Get Kamera’s music on iTunes or Amazon

Visit Kamera on their site (sorely dated) or MySpace

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Dynamikk Roller Duo – “Every Other Day”

By Roni Brunn | April 21, 2009 | Music downloads, News

dynamikk-roller-duo

Fans of Kleerup will love this single from Stockholm’s Dynamikk Roller Duo.  The band’s Peter Ahlholm and Nathalie Juhlén created a dreamy, bubbling song that sounds perfect now. The extended mix of “Every Other Day” is part of the electropop.2 compilation out April 24 on Conzoom Records.

Dynamikk Roller Duo – “Every Other Day”

Visit Dynamikk Roller Duo on MySpace.

Sorry, couldn’t find an official site or buy links for now.

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Twitter updates for the week ending on 2009-04-19

By Roni Brunn | April 19, 2009 | Twitter Updates

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Tea Kettle with Heat-Sensitive Graphics

By Roni Brunn | April 17, 2009 | News

The One tea kettle by Vessle won the 2009 Tea Off, a tea kettle design competition.  It looks like an updated Delft tile-style ceramic, and even cooler is that these graphics only appear when the water rises in temperature.  That’d be enough to win me over.  But there’s more: the kettle has a magnetic trivet that attaches to the base when the kettle is hot.  It goes from stove to table cleanly.  The trivet comes off once the kettle cools off.  Amazing functionality.

vessle-one

The One teak kettle was designed by Dan Chung, Tony Ruth, Steve Abueva, and Mike Serafin at Vessle Ideation, Chicago.

Visit Vessle

Via MoCo Loco

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