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“FourFiveSeconds”, the polarizing new single from Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney, has been playing in my head incessantly for over a week now. I can’t get it out of there! And that’s so weird! Because the song sounds pretty much like a glorified Colbie Caillat demo.

At least, that’s what I thought when I first heard it anyway. I scratched my head a bit (I think everyone did)… I didn’t not like it – I just thought, “that doesn’t sound totally finished”, and I thought that was that. But that wasn’t that. Because I kept playing it. And when I wasn’t playing it, I kept humming it. And when I wasn’t humming it… well you get it.

But it still just sounds like a demo to me. A demo that happens to have a (frankly) stunning vocal turn by Rihanna and a simple-but-somehow-brilliant chorus that just won’t let up.

And now it has this video. Which looks kind of like a Gap ad.

So what I’m trying to say is, this whole thing confuses me. But I like it. A lot.

(Also, that bass slide sounds SO MUCH like RX-FT500-era Mountain Goats to me. So maybe that’s why I’ve got some serious positive associations going on here…)

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FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m good friends with everyone in Mad Diving Barons. In fact we used to play in sundry bands together in college, and I’ve even covered bass for them once in recent years. Because of all that I’ve never written about them here, even though they’re making some pretty great music. Maybe it’s because it feels like some kind of music-blogging nepotism or something. I don’t know.

But you know what? These two songs they just posted as impromptu music videos to promote a local show are too good not to post. Friends or no, you should be listening to the Mad Diving Barons. And if you live in Provo, UT, you should go to their show this Thursday at the Velour. Because watch:

So good right? I know. So here are some more MDB jams for you to chew on:

mp3: Mad Diving Barons – Tubularadical

mp3: Mad Diving Barons – You’re Not Around


MOKB Presents recently brought Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. to Indy’s White Rabbit Cabaret, and it was hands-down one of the funnest shows we’ve been to in recent memory – so much love from the band, so much love from the crowd, so much “Higher Love” from Steve Winwood. I’ve been meaning to write a summary of the show, but this video sums it up much better than I could ever hope to, so here you go: (thanks MOKB!)

Did you see me and Kristin in there anywhere? Because we were so there. And we were so loving it. You can also check out Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s performance of “Vocal Chords” over at MOKB.

mp3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Morning Thought
from the album It’s A Corporate World (buy it here)

mp3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Nothing But Our Love
from the album It’s A Corporate World (buy it here)

PS: D.E.Jr.Jr.’s new record is kind of great and you should be listening to it. Just FYI. Also, I’ve included the setlist from their Indy show after the jump. Just for kicks.

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So I’m still not quite out of my forced finals isolation. Soon though, so very soon.

But until then, check out this video by Yellowbirds.
They’ll be touring with Josh Ritter in late July. So if you like this video and Josh Ritter, well I think I’ve just planned a fun summertime activity for you.


Last Friday me and a friend made the short jaunt down to Cincinnati for the first night of their annual MusicNOW festival, featuring ymusic, Shara Worden, and a resurrected performance of “Sounds of the South” by Megafaun, Fight The Big Bull, Justin Vernon and Sharon Van Etten. For those who aren’t familiar with the festival, it’s curated every year by The National’s Bryce Dessner, and is dedicated to unique collaborations between various artists – and usually consists of new or original music, sometimes never even having been performed before. In fact, in introducing the night’s itinerary, Bryce said it best by saying, “nothing you hear tonight has been recorded and released, currently no-one can download any of it on mp3”. Hopefully that changes soon, because I cannot remember a more moving night of live music than what we were treated to that night.

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I think I speak for all of us when I ask Chris, “Where is the review for the Arcade Fire / The National show you went to this weekend?”
While we all wait for that, enjoy some video samples from a forthcoming Portugal. The Man album due out sometime near the close of summer.

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I’m completely adoring the new Cut Copy record. I wrote awhile ago about how much I love “Where I’m Going”, but there are so many other highlights – like the Men At Work-winking “Take Me Over”, the twinkling “Pharaohs and Pyramids”, and the 15-minute-long closing epic “Sun God”. My favorite song though, is still the mind-blowing opener “Need You Now”. Whenever I listen to it I feel like I could conquer the world or win an Olympic medal or something equally incredible – so its video, directed by Keith Schofield and released a few weeks ago, is pretty appropriate. Listen and watch and enjoy:

mp3: Cut Copy – Need You Now
from the album Zonoscope (buy it here)


For the record, I follow only two Twitter accounts, Gabe Delahaye (editor and primary contributor to my favorite non-music blog Videogum) and his dog, Birdie.

This morning Gabe ‘tweeted’ a link to The New Pornographers’ music video for ‘Move’ and its pretty great. (Gabe himself makes an appearance at minute 1:52)(Also, other funny people make their appearance at minute 0:00 – 4:20)

I actually wanted to write about Together ever since it came out last May, but finals, summer, etc, seemed to get in the way. Together was an album that seemed to get swallowed up amidst a sea of just fantastic albums being released at that time. (Remember how great 2010 was?) However, I was able to spend a good nine-hour drive with it on a trip to Utah and genuinely loved it. Its absolutely solid and with the amount of talent within The New Pornographers, you really shouldn’t expect anything less than a fantastically constructed album. So now, while I wait for The Animal Years to arrive in the mail, I’m determined to give Together the attention it deserved.

mp3: The New Pornographers – Moves
from the album Together (buy it here)


I love this so much.

(via NPR)

I’ve been really enjoying the bonus material on The National’s recently released expanded version of High Violet. This song in particular is a gem, giving a little glimpse at what that “happy record” might have sounded like if they’d made it. It’s bouncier than any of its live iterations I’ve heard, what with that twinkling keys/horn interplay, and it’s got a swagger and style that few other National songs do (there are hand-snaps for goodness sake!).

mp3: The National – Wake Up Your Saints
from the album High Violet [Expanded Edition] (buy it here)

Also, the alternate version of “Terrible Love” is fast becoming my version-of-choice. So good, these guys.


Two funny videos in two days? I know! And I’m sorry! But this is too good to not share:

If you need some context, here’s the original song by a one Willow Smith.

Can we all agree that Jimmy Fallon is easily the coolest person on TV today? With a close second going to ?uestlove? (Okay, ?uestlove’s probably cooler, sure, but how ’bout that Neil Young impression?! Wow.)

(via stereogum)

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