The Perfect Beat is an article by The New Yorker's music critic Sasha Frere Jones where he lays out the reasoning behind his "Perfect Recordings" project, essentially a list of 200 songs that fit his personal criteria for perfection. The lists are available as Twitter timelines (volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5), Spotify playlists (volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) or as one 200 song Rdio playlist. Frere-Jones answered some questions about the project and spoke about a few individual songs in The Guardian.
Alt-J (∆) are a British art rock band who play low-key but ambitious music and have done well lately, been nominated for the Mercury Prize and broken into the UK top 20, while remaining somewhat anonymous and now they're starting to get noticed in the US. But you don't have to take my word for them being quite good, they've put their whole debut album, An Awesome Wave, up on their SoundCloud page, along with a bunch of other music, or you can check out their videos. You can also watch an entire concert in high definition and good sound quality recorded by KEXP in Seattle.
You're a Monk, I'm a Monk, We're All Monks is a short video introduction to The Monks, a band founded in 1964 by five American soldiers in Germany. They put out only one album, the abrasive, noisy, minimalistic Black Monk Time in 1965, that sounded like nothing else at the time. They also dressed in all-black, shaved monkish tonsures in their hair and wore bits of rope as neckties. In 1966 they appeared on German TV shows Beat-Club and Beat, Beat, Beat, and played three songs on each, Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice, Monk Chant, Oh, How to Do Now, Complication, I Can't Get Over You and Cuckoo. Aaron Poehler interviewed The Monks and wrote about their history back in 1999. That same year they got back together to play at the Cavestomp festival. And here The Monks are being interviewed by a hand-puppet on public access television in Chicago. [The Monks previously on MetaFilter]
Back in Town is a song by Izia, a French rock band fronted by and named for Izïa Higelin. Even though she comes from a showbiz family, the band initially found little favor on French radio. But after a string of blistering live performances all over France, the self-titled first album became a hit and won a couple of awards at the prestigious Victoire de la Musique ceremony, where Izia performed the song Let Me Alone. There are a bunch of live performances online, including of Life is Going Down, a cover of AC/DC's Touch Too Much and a duet with Iggy Pop. This past November, sophomore album So Much Trouble was released, featuring such songs as the title track, On Top of the World, and my favorite, Baby.
Modest Mouse play a 25 minute set in September 2001 in front of Criminal Records in Atlanta. The songs they play are Paper Thin Walls, Third Planet, Trailer Trash, Lives, Diggin' Holes (later released as an Ugly Casanova track) and I Came as a Rat.
My Beat Club has a whole ton of classic rock perfomance videos, mostly from old German TV shows Musikladen and Beat Club. Among the videos on offer are Small Faces' Tin Soldier, Chuck Berry's School Days, Ike & Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High, The Who's My Generation, Country Joe McDonald's I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag, The Everly Brothers' All I Have to Do is Dream, The Ramones' Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Mungo Jerry's In the Summertime, T. Rex's 20th Century Boy, New York Dolls' Looking for a Kiss, The Byrds' So You Want to Be a Rock n' Roll Star, Thin Lizzy's Whiskey in the Jar, Slade's We'll Bring the House Down, The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Purple Haze and so much, much more!
100 Best Icelandic Pop & Rock Albums all streamable in full for free. Icelandic state broadcaster RÚV and Icelandic subscription music website tónlist.is have published what they, their team of experts and the Icelandic public consider to be the 100 best Icelandic rock and pop albums of all time. Björk, Sigur Rós, Múm and The Sugarcubes don't need much introduction but below the cut there are short description of the other artists. [via RÚV] [more inside]
Punkcast is a long running series of videos of live underground music in NYC shot by Joly MacFie. Each video is usually one song. The Internet Archive hosts its videos and offers downloads in a variety of formats. MacFie also has a YouTube channel with 480 videos and a video podcast [iTunes link, feedburner link]. Here are a few bands that caught my fancy: The Icicles and The Besties, The Slits (1, 2 ), Andrew W. K., Oneida (1, 2), The Long Blondes, The Gossip, Acid Mothers Temple & Cosmic Inferno, Art Brut, Be Your Own Pet, Cansei de Ser Sexy, Lesbians on Ecstasy, The Fall, Fred Frith, Rose Melberg and Jennifer O'Connor, The Horrors, The Homosexuals, Bat for Lashes, Radio 4 and Teddybears, Kimya Dawson and Tiny Masters of Today, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nikki Sudden.
Concert promoter LiveDaily has an acoustic live sessions program (video starts playing). It's been running since March of this year and so far 33 artists have performed: Priscilla Ahn, The Raveonettes, Black Lips, Paddy Casey, Dawn Landes, Lykke Li, The Duke Spirit, Frightened Rabbit, Foreign Born, The Dodos, The Virgins, Radar Bros., Langhorne Slim, Shwayze, Joseph Arthur, Missy Higgins, Wild Sweet Orange, Le Switch, Deadly Syndrome, Steve Poltz, Weather Underground, Imaad Wasif, Rogue Wave, David Ford, Takka Takka, Black Ghosts, The Airborne Toxic Event, Tally Hall, Lionel Loueke, Calico Horse, Rademacher, Judith Owen and Carrie Rodriguez
For Those Who Tried To Rock is a blog about the bands that never went anywhere, for example. Urbicide, The Tribulations and Only One. The band photos are usually accompanied by mp3s and short testimonies, such as this one about Soft Option: "Flock of Seagulls owned Liverpool when we came together but we were really Depeche Mode fans. Trouble was, we only had one Synth – the Roland pictured above – so on the more complicated songs we covered like Everything Counts (see cassette below) I had to play parts on a Melodica – the small keyboard you blow into. It was my Mother's idea. We went to an all boys school, so the gigs were boys only, which meant we did not get laid but the nights we played were some of the greatest of my adolescence." [via Carrie Brownstein's Monitor Mix]
BBC Introducing is an excellent way to keep tabs on what's fresh in the British popular music scene without having to live in a rainsoaked armpit. There are four podcasts for you to download, the flagship Best of Unsigned Podcast, Homegrown Mix with Ras Kwame, Scotland Introducing and BBC Radio Northampton's Weekender. All feature bands that are either unsigned or just recently signed and the music ranges from hip hop to punk rock to what sounds awfully like the soundtrack for a NES game with half-hearted chanting over it. This is an excellent resource whether you're casual searcher for new songs or the kind of anorak who knows which British indie band was first to use an 808.
A Collection of 'All Time' Best Albums Charts from the US, UK, Netherlands & Belgium. Guess which chart has 3 dEUS albums in the top 20?