The Stills :: "Being Here" and "Rooibos/Palm Wine Drinkard"

The Stills are back with a third record, the ominously titled Oceans Will Rise, some bad-ass cover art (above), and a killer first single. We first heard "Being Here" last summer in Prospect Park. Its chorus was so inspired by the arena-rock sound of U2 (later force fed paint-thinner and called Angels and Airwaves) that my friend Chuck sent me a text that read: "who the fuck do they think they are? U2?" It was close approximation but it wasn't meant as insult. I think.

"Being Here" is big. It won't crack radio but you can still spin it in your car/iPod/life this summer and appreciate the fact that The Stills have taken another step in their development. They've done a post-punk record, Logic Will Break Your Heart and killed it. They've done an Americana-inspired, seemingly private second album, Without Feathers. And it was good. And now they're moving on and up. When we saw them this winter, they weren't using stage lights - just bare florescent bulbs. They were wearing all black on stage. It seemed to say, "yeah, so we're not going to fuck around anymore." I guess if you take enough shit for your second album, eventually you get angry and decide to level people on your third try. This is a band ready to play bigger venues. This is a band sick of hearing about their line-up changes. This a band on a mission.

Record drops August 19 but you can hear these two songs until then:

Listen ::
The Stills - "Being Here"
The Stills - "Rooibos/Palm Wine Drinkard"


New Wolf Parade :: totally, totally, totally not affiliated with Issac Brock

The new Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer is spreading through the Internet like mononucleosis at an sexually-active college or university. That is to say, it's a little lethargic but it's definitely going to get you if you stick in the right circles. Now, the communicability of mono is not on trial here but the catchiness of this record is. Some things to remember: 1) Wolf Parade released one of the best albums of 2005 with Apologies to the Queen Mary. And that record, fortunately or unfortunately, was produced by Issac Brock of Modest Mouse. It seemed like natural relationship, a heavy-hitter from the indie rock world mentoring an up-and-coming band. 2) Wolf Parade would like you to know that this record, At Mount Zoomer had NOTHING to do with Issac Brock. People have different theories how this whole thing fell apart but suffice it to say, Wolf Parade is no longer using Mr. Float On as their producer/mentor/father-figure.

All this taken into consideration, At Mount Zoomer isn't bad. In places, the record seems to claim autonomy for autonomy's sake. The first cut "Call It A Ritual" sounds like what would happen if you turned The Walkmen loose on a White Rabbits song. Wait. I hate the White Rabbits. It sounds like what would happen if Wolf Parade doubled the BPMs on a Walkmen song and acted like they cared. The second song leaking out of the album is arguably (and by this I mean, definitely) the better of the two. "Language City" starts a little slow but it finds itself at the 2.54 mark and takes off into a sing-along, chanting finish. Put yourself in the front-row as this song rockets itself down the stretch. It might be a little whiskey and water but as Wolf Parade kills the last 45-seconds with the repeating "we are not at home/we are not at home" there's a level of disenfranchisement that almost feels inclusive. The soaring synths don't hurt either. If there's an anthem off this record, "Language City" is surely it.

Leave the jury out for a minute and enjoy these two tracks. Sometimes life's ok.

Listen :: Wolf Parade - "Language City"
Listen :: Wolf Parade - "Call It A Ritual"


Tonight, Tonight: Frightened Rabbit and The Brother Kite @ Piano's

Remember last week when I mentioned that part of this crazy blog experiment would be (wait for it) actually going to shows? Well, that time has come. 32ft/second will be making a triumphant/debut appearance at Piano's this evening for some beers and two great bands. These two aren't going to break your iTunes down only to rebuild your music collection in their image - but they are great, very different, and great. Did I say great twice? Great.

Up at 10pm (and remember, this is Piano's so it's going to be on-time), we've got The Brother Kite. They blew up out of Providence, RI and despite playing a brand of indie rock that smashes the delicacy of Teenage Fanclub and the sunshine of a Brian Wilson record, no one seems to know them. This is vaguely criminal. I first got wind of the band from a VP at Virgin Records who spits their gospel to anyone who will listen. Which, in this case was me and now it's you. Their record is one of the most unique and complicated releases of last year and deserves your time, money, attention.

At 11, we've got Frightened Rabbit, all the way from Scotland to break your heart and melt your brain. For people given easily to the art of comparison, they sound like a take-no-prisoners version of Snow Patrol. Or they are a far more put together version of The Twilight Sad. Luckily, I wouldn't do these bands the disservice of being compared to one another. The point is, Frightened Rabbit is one of those indie bands that has a real chance to crossover. They had a song featured on a prominent television show and their record is good enough to crush people when they hear it. They sound big. They sound sad. They are what to make of the broken-hearted. To pull from the song posted below: "well, you're not ill and i'm not dead/doesn't that make us a perfect pair?" If you're scoring at home, that's a metaphor. And we're not ill and Frightened Rabbit is just alive enough to rip through their set tonight.

Like Mr. fucking Rogers: join us, won't you?

Listen:: Frightened Rabbit - "The Modern Leper"
The Brother Kite - "Waiting For The Time To Be Right (sample)"


The Motion Sick :: "30 Lives"

Back in the fall of 2005, my friend Noah and I were running a website. We sort of planned to figure things out as we went along but, simply put, we had no clue what we were doing. During this period of time, we were contacted by a band out of Boston called The Motion Sick. They sent us their record which, along with the first Birdmonster EP, were the first promo albums we ever received (check down to 11.13.05). For a long time I saved the envelope it came in because I thought this was the beginning of something important. Perhaps, I was correct.

The Motion Sick's first album Her Brilliant Fifteen, the one they sent me in 2005, was entirely forgettable and I was entirely disappointed. It showed flashes of being something else but in the end, it was just okay. More than that, it might even have been a little bad. The Motion Sick became another footnote in a brain full of bands and songs that are less than great. And what could you expect, anyhow? After all, there were from Boston not New York.

Fast-forward. It is three weeks ago and I am listening to The Motion Sick's latest single, "30 Lives." I am enjoying it. I don't want it to be good because they sent me their album. I know it's good because there's a pulsating keyboard-riff and a sing-a-long chorus that's creeping its way into my brain. Then they hit the bridge and the chant begins. "Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start." Like an old Nintendo code (because that's exactly what it is) they're bringing the metaphor home. If life were a video game and you were in love, wouldn't you want to enter a code to spend 30 more lives with the object of your affection. Now, the code is borrowed from the Contra "Konami Code" and Contra wasn't so much about love as it was about destroying rebel governments in Central America but this is all, in the end, semantics.

The important part is as "30 Lives" tumbles toward the finish with a synth-riff that steps up and down stairs, the "up, up, down, down" chant from the bridge bangs on and the chorus pumps it's rhymes into your cortex. If you don't catch the chorus, the Konami chant will infect your brain until all your thoughts are rendered in 8-bit graphics. You'll think about Mario Brothers, California Games, Zelda, and maybe even that girl you loved who you'd like 30 more tries with. Or 30 lifetimes. Back when things were simple and Central America was evil and video games only had four buttons and indie rock was just Pavement. Well, things are more complicated now but this isn't. It's just good.

Listen :: The Motion Sick - "30 Lives"
Learn :: myspace :: website
Buy :: Order


Math and Physics Club :: "Darling, Please Come Home"

If you live in Seattle or the surrounding areas or have a working knowledge of bands like Tullycraft, Acid House Kings, and The Lucksmiths, you already know Math and Physics Club. If you live anywhere else or if your music collection's depth ends with Barsuk, Sub Pop, and Merge artists, you probably don't. This isn't (wink wink) indie music, actually backed by a massive publicity and hype machine. This is (staring unblinking) indie music. Math and Physics Club mostly plays shows in the Pacific Northwest and they're on a real, small independent label. And, most importantly, they're worthy of your time.

"Darling, Please Come Home" is perhaps their most approachable cut off their debut LP. It's little and it's cute and it kind of breaks your heart. Put simply, it's acoustic twee music. This is the kind of song that is meant for a hushed, little mixtape for your girlfriend. This is the kind of thing you would never tell your take-no-prisoners male friends that you listen to. This is the kind of song that could get your ass kicked at most average American high schools. Which makes it great.

Band has a new EP due in September and one of their members just finished work on a series of vampire books for children. You can't make this up.

Learn :: myspace :: website


The Rules

1) I will only post music I like. This seems obvious but it doesn't always end up that way. Feel free to follow the discussion (read: destruction) of the new Coldplay record on Stereogum, Pitchfork, Idolator. It seems the bigger you get, the less you get to write about the things you actually care about and the more you're forced to rip things you can't stand. Luckily, I don't think we'll be pulling 40,000 pageviews-a-day around here any time soon. I am Geoff's unbiased outsider.

2) I will never post blog-hop. You will never hear the names Danger Mouse, MF Doom, The Jedi Mind Tricks (especially), Aesop Rock (even when featuring John Darnielle), Atmosphere, Dizzy Rascal, (fuck, even) The Streets, Mr. Lif, Clipse, etc. It's not that these are bad artists. It's not even that they "aren't rap." They are both good and rap. I just don't care. This isn't music that sets anyone's world on fire. It is music that makes over-educated white people feel a little more relevant and a little less bad. Which makes me a less-relevant, bad-feeling person. I can live with this.

3) If I tell you something is going to be big, just listen. I won't always say it's going to be big. I might just say something like, "hey, you might find this interesting" or "on the whole, this isn't terrible." But if we rewound to the spring of 2007 and I was spitting the Vampire Weekend gospel at you. Just listen. You don't even have to like it. Just hear what I'm saying. It'll make you feel less bad later. If you promise to listen and tell everyone you know immediately, I will promise not to be wrong.

4) This isn't going to be five posts-a-day type of thing. I'll be lucky to get something up every two or three days. Check in a couple times a week. I don't ask for constant contact. I am not particularly needy.

5) I may be more needy than I let on.

6) I will not simply post the press releases that get fed into everyone's inboxes. Yeah, so there are these people called "publicists" who send out hundreds of emails every week. Many of them inexplicably represent godawful artists. Everyone is just trying to get paid. This is fine. This part is actually understandable. The few publicists who actually represent good bands get to have their press releases paraphrased and posted by people like me about ten minutes after they're sent out. This is why all the music/album/single/band news breaks at the same time. There is no scoop. There is no inside source. There is a digital trough of information that everyone drinks out of. I am not promising not to drink from the trough. Everyone gets thirsty and it's delivered to your front door. I'm just promising not to spit that trough water back in your face. You're better than that.

7) I will go to good live shows and tell you about them. I will encourage you to come with me beforehand. We will make invisible friends. Music is a social project. New York is a great city. We are idiots if we don't end up in the same places at the same time. Even if we never speak to one another, this is about a coming together - our centralizing purpose.

8) The name is about gravity. I hate to explain it. It might not even make sense. We're fucking falling out of nowhere and into nothing. It would almost be a relief to hit the ground. Bands and artists are multiplying at something exponential. No one can keep up. Everything just. keeps. dropping. Labels fail yet "DIY" leaves us empowered and often alone. Bands go unheard. Great singles never make your Top 25 Most Played. Frankly, either your musical taste isn't good enough or you don't have the time for it to get good enough. It either means something to you or it doesn't. I hope it will mean something to you.

9) I'll end with an anecdote. There is a fairly amazing version of Ace of Base's "The Sign" that John Darnielle does once in a while on tour. It mostly ends up with him ad-libbing lyrics and encouraging the audience to sing along. At one of these live performances, Darnielle noticed no one in audience was singing loud enough for his liking. He closed with these words before going into the last chorus. "So you didn't dance and you didn't sing. Well, no one is gonna tell and there's no film in that camera. So when we get to the chorus, if there's a one of you that doesn't sing, I personally will open fire." Then he counted to four and the audience screamed every word.

No one's gonna tell and there's no film in that camera. Remember that.


Welcome to 32ft/second. It's a blog dedicated to music. And it's going to go a little something like this:

1) I will start strong. I will get a hosting account and start posting a ton of new tracks. Idealism will abound and I will spend a lot of time building up a readership. I will email my friends. I will even take risks posting cuts off albums repped by major labels. I will host tracks off leaked albums and label legal teams will send me emails. I will act like I don't care but secretly I will be a little concerned that some professional hitman from Universal Music Group will be waiting for me next time I go to the bathroom. I will fear for my safety. I will be sued into submission.

2) Over the period of a couple of months the web-stats will level off. My idealism and energy will also level off. The posts will start coming less and less often. The music will be less and less good. I will be reaching. I will start posting live shows of bands you already know (Hey Guys! Check out this live session The National played on ___________). I'll talk more and more about "how much music ends up in my inbox" and "how little of it I actually get to listen to." About once a week, the preceding two statements will be followed by "but this band really jumped out at me. So check out (fill in the blank track) from (fill in the blank forgettable band).

3) Once during this period of malaise, I will find an undocumented, empirically excellent band. I will flip out. I will remember why I started doing this in the first place. I will make comparisons to Vampire Weekend and Voxtrot (both of whom will be completely forgotten by this point in late 2008). You will also get excited. The band will get bigger and I will feel important. Readership will briefly spike and I will briefly resume placing emotional energy into this project.

4) Posts will stop coming for a period of three weeks.

5) I will apologize. I will make promises. I am back. I had things to do. I really didn't mean it.

6) Posts will come sporadically and with no rhyme or reason. I will speak about things I've had to do (work, vacations, seeing old friends). These will be the superficial (and yet profound) barriers to our communication. I will even share personal details with a largely anonymous readership in the hopes of explaining my absence. This will be too much information.

7) The blog will slowly fall into disrepair and eventual silence. It will remain hosted by blogger.com into infinity (or at least until the machines become self-aware in 2012). We will have begun with optimism and ended in oblivion. We will have fallen like a rock dropped from absurd height and crushed with furious impact. We are falling. We fell. We are a crater.

And it all began at 32-feet per second.