Thursday, September 08, 2005

Malkmus, etc.

The TV was on in the other room yesterday when I heard the familiar strains of Stephen Malkmus', "Phantasies." Puzzled, I stumbled in to be met by a advertisement for Sears. Yes, that's right--Malkmus has joined the legions of indie rockers cashing in on commercials. I get why artists do this. It's hard to make money on little independent records and small club tours. But jeez, doesn't it seem like if anyone's in a position to make money off the back catalogue it's SM?

Phantasies (mp3) - Stephen Malkmus

Help the guy out by buying his self-titled album--on which "Phantasies" appears. Better yet, buy the entire Pavement oeuvre.

Like SM's first band, Rademacher is from one of California's relative backwaters. (How's that for a transition, eh?) And like Pavement, they're way more sophisticated than you'd expect Fresno (or Stockton) to sound. These boys and girl have got well-constructed songs with loose, confident arrangements, intelligent lyrics and ballsy vocals. I'm particularly fond of this charming carnivalesque waltz from their newest Ice Age EP:

Playing For Fun (mp3) - Rademacher

Rademacher are scheduled to grace a couple California venues in October, so look for them.

If possible, I'm going to make yet another Malkmus connection, because the next track comes from a band that's toured with him. (I was actually saving this for Monday's No Hits feature, but it looks like we're going to have a guest--possibly new permanent--SYF blogger taking the reins next week. Be sure to tune in!). Portland-based The Standard has also toured with Wire and Clinic and the latter makes a good point of reference. Like Clinic, The Standard's sound is kind of jittery and ominous, if slightly less creepy. In "Ghosts For Hire," a pulsing, staccato lead and melancholy keyboards create an edginess, a real sense of dread and unease. In terms of atmosphere, this also reminds me of "The Entryway"--a track I posted a couple months ago by Foreign Born. If this is what the west coast is coming to, I may have to move back.

Ghosts For Hire (mp3) - The Standard

From Wire Post to Wire.

And from the almighty Clinic:

Welcome (mp3) - Clinic

From Walking With Thee.

Finally (and there's no Malkmus connection that I know of): A couple weeks ago

I posted something about Popstar Assassins, wondering aloud whether this was a one-man band. Main man Tim Thomas was kind enough to contact me and let me know that until recently they were a fully functioning live band, but these days he's more focused on studio work. However, Thomas says that Popstar Assassins--the whole band--might consider hitting the road if the climate was right. You can help make that happen by buying their latest album Moderne. To tempt you, here's another very cool track:

Close My Eyes (mp3) - Popstar Assassins


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