I am Polar Bear

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

M.I.A. - Galang

I know, how typical. I have been skeptic about M.I.A. until I heard "Galang" and its glorious chorus of Mayas singing along incantations for what seems to be a revolution leading to better sex for all females. It sounds good in crowded nightclubs.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Smog - Rock Bottom Riser

A River Ain't Too Much to Love has been playing in this wonderful apartment for quite a while now and I have yet to grow bored of it. It's brilliant, a masterpiece, easily one of Smog's best records. And while "The Well" seems to get all the praise, "Rock Bottom Riser" is the album's true jewel, something you can't escape, shutting its sharp claws tight on your guts. It's one of the best songs i have heard this year. Bill Callahan should be you hero.


Sufjan Stevens - Casimir Pulaski Day

I'm not American so I don't know much about the historical or geographical references in Sufjan Stevens' Illinois, which happens to be about Illinois. My girlfriend went to Chicago for what would be a hectic month on this side of the atlantic so i find it funny. She told me there was a Pulaski street in Chicago but i had no idea who Casimir Pulaski was until i googled the hell out of him. He was a Polish who fought Russians and Prussians and ended up meeting Benjamin Franklin in Paris and then led the fight against the English army in the then quite young USA.
I'm guessing Casimir Pulaski Day's point is: even though you have a funny name, and if you manage to live through highschool, you can end up being someone so important that, a couple of centuries after your death, some guy will write a song about you. Or maybe it's about being Polish. Either way, Illinois is an awesome record.


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Animal Collective ft. Vashti Bunyan - Prospect Hummer

Animal Collective's Prospect Hummer ep is a lovely companion to last year's sun-heavy Sung Tongs. For this ep they kept some of their favourite songs from the Sung Tongs sessions and brought them to London in order to have forgotten folk singer Vashti Bunyan sing on them. The result is just perfect. "Prospect Hummer" makes me want to take a nap under my grandma's oak tree.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fountains of Wayne - Maureen

I've been away for a few days, stayed in a hotel, living the studying life. And now my exams are over, this is actually Summer, what Fountains of Wayne have always been about. This is their new single, taken from their forthcoming 2xcd b-side collection Out of State Plates. uh-uh-uh-uh.


Queens of the Stone Age - In the Fade

This song, sung by Mark "my voice makes you want to fuck me" Lanegan, is an exerpt from Queens of the Stone Age's perfect Rated R, one of the 20th century's last great records. Smells like hot gasoline, damp nights and blinding sun.


Friday, May 20, 2005

Deerhoof - Spiral Golden Town

"Spiral Golden Town" is an exerpt from Deerhoof's great new ep Green Cosmos. It sounds like a bridge between their love for destroying structure and Blonde Redhead's cravings for lush European pop. It's epic and kitsch. It sounds like the Star Wars theme, your favourite 70s French song, a listenable Kazu and that highly underrated genre from the former French colonies called "zouk."


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Vitalic - My Friend Dario

Hey it will be Summer in exactly six days when my exams are over. Summer = disco rock anthems, sweet folk and some fun tigerbeat tunes. Here's Vitalic's "My Friend Dario," a song you already know.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

David Pajo - High Lonesome Moan

David Pajo never stops changing names, bands and genres. PAJO, his forthcoming record out late june on Drag City and Domino, has him playing under his own name for a change. It's gorgeous folk reminiscent of the best 60s recordings, including Brian Wilson. "High Lonesome Moan" is a softly sad yet sunny song that reminds me of Elliott Smith and the ones he reminded me of. It's a song you want to keep with you for rainy days.


Monday, May 16, 2005

13 & God - Tin Strong

I didn't think I would be disappointed by a collaboration record between the Notwist and Themselves and i was right. Both bands put out their best and bring equal amount of ideas and structures throughout the record, even though the balance eventually shifts from song to song. "Tin Strong" is one of the most Themselves-esque tracks on 13 & God and the Notwist bring a big lump of melody to the clever boys' hip hop soup.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Tom Waits - Tango Til They're Sore

This is the first Tom Waits song I remember hearing and liking, in one of my friends' dump of a room years ago. We were drinking beer trying not to see how it was 11pm on a Saturday night and how bored we were when I heard this song, or more exactly a poorly-recorded bootleg version of it. The night didn't really get wilder after that.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Low - I Remember

Now it's official : Alan Sparhawk is insane. He doesn't sing on "I Remember", a forgotten jewel, found on last year's A Lifetime of Temporary Relief, which is an incredible name for a Low box-set. It's basically a bass guitar, a drum machine, keyboards and Mimi Parker. It sounds as good as that.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Chet Baker - Deep in a Dream

I was at work today, reading a book by a famous and very good japanese writer, and at some point, I don't know how, I came to think of how Jazz songs have affected my love life. Chet, Louis, Ella and Billie don't sing about compromises and daily stuff. They sing about total, violent love. Something you can't fight, something that beats you down and lifts you up. It took me quite a while to realize that it couldn't be. "Deep in a Dream" is one of my favourite Chet Baker tracks, a jewel lost among Chet Baker with Fifty Italian Strings's mediocrity.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Calexico - Sonic Wind (instrumental mix)

I had trouble finding a Calexico song i wanted to share, and when I choose one I surprisingly pick one without Joey Burns' warm, softly moving voice. I pick the instrumental version of Hot Rail's "Sonic Wind" that opens the pretty good Even My Sure Things Fall Through ep. That's what nightshifts do to you.


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Xiu Xiu - Brooklyn Dodgers (Fag Patrol version)

Xiu Xiu's Fag Patrol is one of the darkest records I own (along with those scary Nico LPs). It's songs that were already released on other Xiu Xiu releases, apart from a cover of The Smiths' "Asleep," only hauntingly bare. There are no drum machines and wild saws, just Jamie Stewart, an acoustic guitar and sometimes an harmonium. The original version of "Brooklyn Dodgers", on the quite disturbing A Promise, is a mean, nausea-inducing piece of a song. This one is just disarming.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Lou Barlow - On Fire (acoustic)

This track, a long with a couple of other live/acoustic Sebadoh songs, has been sitting on my hard drive for a while. It's labelled as a Peel Session track but i can't find no evidence whatsoever that Sebadoh or Lou Barlow ever recorded a peel session. Anyway, it sounds great like the great song you tried to play in your bedroom after class in 1996.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Walkmen - New Year's Eve

I have been listening to The Walkmen's Bows and Arrows a lot lately and sometimes i tell myself i need Hamilton Leithauser's sharp tongue coldly depicting love affairs with a bitter smile. "New Year's Eve" smells of drunk nostalgia.

the_walkmen_-_new years eve.mp3

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Black Heart Procession - The Old Kind of Summer

This was the soundtrack to last year. I wouldn't advise listening to all Black Heart Procession records in a row and yet i did it for months. "The Old Kind of Summer" is an exerpt from their first record, conveniently titled One. It's haunting and dark but also very fragile, softly lit by broken pieces of hope left on the bar's wooden floor.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Chairmen of The Board - Give Me Just a Little More Time

This was the soundtrack to last Summer, which was about feeling ok after one hell of a year. It's one of the greatest songs i have ever heard, part of that awesome Can You Dig It? box-set about 70s soul. I can't help but dance and sing along. "Give Me Just a Little More Time" -Chairmen of the Board's first single- reached number three on the pop charts back then in 1970. If you're American you have already heard it. If you're not...


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Patrick Wolf - A Boy Like Me

Yesterday I walked into a record shop which never carries anything good and i stumbled upon a mint and quite cheap copy of Patrick Wolf's debut ep. It has "Bloodbeat" and "A Boy Like Me", which ended up on last year's wonderful Lycanthropy, as well as two less interesting b-sides. I hadn't listened to him in a while, and it struck me again how impressive this boy can be.