Download a bunch of free music for your holiday season.
Sorry to have waited so long to provide you, noble OKSee reader, with quality tunes for your Christmahannukwanzika season, but I figured that the Blackwatch Studios and Nice People compilations would tide you over until I could find a spare couple of minutes to compile all the festive stuff that’s filled up my inbox like a stocking since about mid-November.
Highlighting this little collection is a pleasant surprise that The Nghiems’ front man, David Nghiem, just sent, called “Holiday in the OK.” He recorded it at Blackwatch with Will Hunt, James Nghiem (also from The Nghiems), Tyler Hopkins (The Nghiems, Black Canyon), Chad Copelin (Blackwatch) and Gazette contributor Becky Carman. It sounds like a lazy, perfect holiday spent with your family. Love it.
I don’t give two snowballs about anything else in this song, it’s by Guided by Voices and opens with the lyrics “Start off the day with a Krispy Kreme doughnut / Sweet as life can get.” New favorite for the holidays.
I really, really, really want to hear Tom Waits take a stab at this one. I suppose Red Wanting Blue will have to do.
Merge Records — “Winter Sampler” OK, none of these songs appear to have anything to do with the holidays, but they’re from Eleanor Friedberger, The Mountain Goats, Superchunk, Wild Flag, Archers of Loaf and the rest of the usual Merge suspects. And oh, lookie there — you can nab free Christmas tunes from She & Him and Julian Koster down at the bottom of the page!
My OKSee predecessor, Stephen Carradini, and I received hundreds of physical copies submitted to our little cubicle in the back of the Gazette offices this year, in addition to the hundreds of digital solicitations from PR companies, in addition to the occasional, much-appreciated, personal hand-changing of musical media, be that CD, vinyl or yes, even cassette tape.
It’s a ton of music to listen to, but we were up to the task. The sonic wheat’s now sorted from the chaff, and not in any particular order. So peruse our list for those quality albums you may have missed, recall a few you’ve forgotten and hopefully even find a new artist to love in the process. Let’s get started.
When I took charge of OKSee from Stephen Carradini (who’s currently crashing with me on his first vacation from graduate school at Auburn), the main change I instituted was posting a music video of the day, almost every day.
I’ve spent the last couple days going back through the archives to tabulate the VOTDs you noble OKSee readers watched the most, and the following are the results. Glad to see you all skewed heavily in favor of locals! So we’re going to celebrate by naming our Video of the Day of the Year (VOTDOTY)!
While digging around, I also found some of Stephen’s most-trafficked video posts from earlier in the year and selected a few choice clips from those, as well as a few of my own favorites I felt deserved some recognition, for better or worse. Somebody went to the trouble of re-imagining LCD Soundsystem's greatest song in Lego form, for crying out loud. pictured, clip from The Nghiems' "Dum Dum Dah Dah"
2011, we’re gonna miss you dearly, so we’re celebrating you all week long with a commemorative series that counts down all the way to OKSee’s Favorite Albums of 2011, compiled by myself, Mr. Carradini and Gazette regular Joshua Boydston.
So stay tuned — tomorrow we’ll look back at the year in photos; Wednesday, we’ll be playing with playlists; and Thursday, we’ll have our list of OKSee Honorable Mention albums before the big reveal on Friday.
The dudes at Delo Creative really nailed this one. Broncho’s pop-punk songs inspire crowds to act more like hardcore-punk freaks, as evidenced by this summer show at the Crystal Pistol in Tulsa. Funny story: I went to this show — suit, tie and all — after attending my freshman-year roommate’s wedding. Don’t regret it (the sartorial choice) in the slightest.
Spoiler: Even after stripping down a Maybach and letting the sparks fly, the hip-hop superstars didn’t generate as much traffic as when a certain local singer/songwriter hopped in the back of a van and covered Otis Redding truer. More on that later.
Y’all got really excited when Paul Simon came to town last month. So excited that you watched YouTube user OkieSully’s video of Rhymin’ Simon entertaining a Civic Center lobby-full of fans a couple hundred times.
Tulsa’s Ol’ Savior hasn’t released an album, but thanks to your efforts, it may well soon. Drummer Nathan Price told me a few months ago that he and Ben King (his Broncho co-conspirator) planned to take a bunch more Ol’ Savior songs into the studio, thanks to all the positive feedback they heard when these two leaked. Huzzah!
The day this stop-motion gem premiered, I was afraid all my social-media platforms had been hijacked by Okie video guy Kyle Roberts — not that that’s a bad thing. Gah, re-watching this video just helps reinforce how eternally catchy and perfect this little song is.
Technically, this one wasn’t even a VOTD. But I asked you if you preferred Tulsa singer Ben Kilgore’s Otis Redding cover to Hov and Ye’s “Try a Little Tenderness” sample, and you responded by clicking on this Nathan Poppe-shot video 500+ times. Good work, Oklahoma.
Also I think my favorite part of this video is how Kilgore, just after nearly bursting his awesome pipes on this classic, finishes it by declaring, “Sweet cheese!”
Everybody and their dogs’ imaginary friends absolutely freaked out when Axe Body Spray announced it was sponsoring a Girl Talk show inside Opolis earlier this month. You guys clicked on this ambitious bit of fan art more than any other video on this blog this year, and lucky for us, the fun’s far from over. “Girl Walk // All Day” is currently going strong on its sixth installment. Click through at risk to your work today.
Carradini and I agree this is probably one of the best songs in the last 10 years. I’ve always loved the video that originally went with it, and this Lego rendition really just sends it over the top for me. The little yellow, face-painted James Murphy communicates all the song’s sentiment almost as well as the real guy.
Mastodon — “Deathbound”
Mastodon was really on a roll there for a while, what with completely absurd album and song titles, and this Muppets-from-hell video. It’s too bad I didn’t get a reviewer’s copy of the album, as I probably would really loved all the campiness.
This comedy star-studded clip for a new song celebrates everything the Beastie Boys were about … a decade and a half ago. Love how they actually got Ted Danson in a restaurant for the line about opening up a restaurant with Ted Danson.
This is literally the creepiest thing I’ve ever watched on the Internet. I was so weirded out. Thankfully, Gazette managing editor Rod Lott is unafraid of such things, and posted it over at Rod & Reel.
Thunderbird Casino — “Casino Lady”
Sorry. I really shouldn’t have put this here. Oklahoma, people!
Photos from Lil' Wayne's visit to the WinStar World Casino.
It’s half a mile from one end of the WinStarWorld Casino to the other, and that 800 meters consists mostly of slot machines. It really is a sight to behold – the overwhelming rings and buzzing of winners and losers, and enough neon flashes to rival Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” music video. It’s all so distracting that, while leaving, I overheard one older patron ask “Why are there so many damn kids in here all of a sudden?” apparently unaware that one of the planet’s most prolific rappers had just performed less than 500 feet from her for about an hour and a half.
I’m a miserable sucker for big-budget pop hip-hop, and the opportunity to shoot a major player like Drake’s boss proved too irresistible to ignore the two-hour drive to Thackerville. Unfortunately I found out when I got there that house rules prevented entry to the security pit near the stage, so I had to compete with a mongrel horde of iPhone-wielding nutjobs, but I think I got a few decent shots of the rapper.
First things first, Weezy, who makes me think he’s a gremlin who won an all-expenses-paid trip to Hot Topic whenever I see him, was sporting a cartoonish hoodie advocating Odd Future’s most mysterious member, Earl Sweatshirt when he came out onstage. He pulled “Tha Carter III” staples “Got Money” and “A Milli” out pretty early, as well as “Swag Surfin” off the excellent “No Ceilings” mixtape, all of which drove people into a frenzy. Unfortunately the mostly-Dallas crowd’s collective energy waned over the course of the show, as Wayne snuck away from his best material and into his newer, less interesting catalogue.
It’s been a good year for guest spots from the New Orleans emcee (arguably even better than most of the verses on his own “Tha Carter IV” album), and his contributions to Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” (gah, how awesome would it have been if he'd have pulled out that Busta Rhymes verse, too?) and Drake’s “HYFR” were sandwiched into the middle of the set with his own “John,” which is basically a Rick Ross cover anyway. A predictably lewd, comical R&B suite followed, punctuated by a cheeseball version of “Lollipop” complete with acoustic guitar and maracas, and his most recently regrettable song, “How to Love.”
And for the big, clumsy rock-and-roll near-closer Wayne strapped on an unplugged guitar and strummed it a few times for “Prom Queen,” which was really unfortunate considering much of “Tha Carter III” and the mixtapes immediately before it constitute serious low-culture art. But the people all around raged their faces off to the trumped-up tunes anyway
“6 Foot, 7 Foot” was the true final song of the night, and the dude just unleashed a deranged ferociousness that even extended to Cory Gunz’s hair-singeing speed verse that made me wish he’d attacked every song like that. Oh, well. I suppose there’s a price to becoming one of the world’s biggest pop stars, and only Kanye knows how to pay it without souring his musical output.
Photos from the second night of the Flaming Lips' two-night NYE stand.
Jeez, what a weekend.
By the time Denton, Tex.'s Neon Indian took the stage at the Coca-Cola Center in Bricktown Sunday night, only about half as many people were in attendance as the night before. Much of the place's atmosphere seemed diminished for this, and the fact that ringing in 2012 was day-old news.
Nobody told Wayne or Yoko Ono, though, and each celebrated the stroke of midnight for January 2, 2012 with as much fervor as January 1. That ineffable enthusiasm seemed to stoke fans' fire more than any single piece of music possibly could, but Alan Palomo of Neon Indian really gave them a run for their money with the "Hex Girlfriend," "Deadbeat Summer," and "Polish Girl"'s disco beats, splotchy synths and catchy choruses. And dance moves. He's pretty well set in that department.
Another Plastic Ono Band set featured the previous evening's murderer's row of talent, fronted by Yoko's indecipherable but enthusiastic yowling.
"Race for the Prize," "Drug Chart," and a Palomo-assisted version of "Is David Bowie Dying?" all made the Lips' cut tonight. I swear, "Sweet Leaf," "Worm Mountain" and "Race for the Prize" all in a row is just enough gets me so amped up I could go run four or five marathons. It was the usual mess of ephemeral chest-beating and affection. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hibernate the rest of Monday away.
Check out photos from last night's Flaming Lips-hosted and Plastic Ono Band-assisted New Year's Eve Freakout #5.
Best Freakout yet?
With Plastic Ono Band, Phantogram, a proclamation from the mayor, Beatles covers, and the Flaming Lips' usual giant laser hand-firing, space bubble surfing, psychedelic face-melting antics, it's hard to argue against it.
A few highlights:
-Phantogram played an excellently trippy, dark-toned set.
-A very cool 15-ish-minute intro video for Plastic Ono Band that featured a ton of old home footage of Yoko with John Lennon, and shortly, but beautifully, captured her life dedicated to art and activism for peace.
-The NYE countdown when Lips manager and ACM@UCO CEO Scott Booker presented Yoko the official proclamation, on behalf of the mayor. Read it here.
-A full-on, everybody-hugging-and-holding-hands rendition of John Lennon's "Merry Christmas (War is Over)."
-A monstrous 15-minute Lips cover of The Beatles' "She's So Heavy" that included a hypnotic, dissonant Nels Cline guitar solo.
-Seeing Sean Lennon snag my friend Tate's camera to shoot video of Wayne addressing the crowd before the set. Lennon basically just asked him about the camera, then asked if he could try it out. When he did, Tate just sorta shrugged and looked at me, like "What am I gonna do? He's Sean Lennon."
-Always-ecstatic Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tweeted the set list about two hours before they even took the stage. The new song "Drug Chart" unfortunately got scratched.
Check out the rest of my photos and my friend Nathan Poppe's below.
Have some NYE Freakout leftovers, Iron & Wine, Craig Finn and Youth Lagoon, won’t you?
Youth Lagoon — “July” Youth Lagoon proved 2011’s most fragile new sound, and this song’s a textbook example. Watch a sad, bloody teenage drama unfold here. Also note the car driving on the wrong side of the highway near the video’s end.
Iron & Wine — “Godless Brother in Love” Less fragile than delicate, this Iron & Wine video supporting the very-good 2011 album “Kiss Each Other Clean” goes camping. This one’s much more into celebrating youth than mourning it. Warning: chicks with armpit hair abound.
Craig Finn — “Jackson” Here, The Hold Steady front man (who plays The Conservatory on Feb. 2!) plays a reminiscent, kinda downtrodden song off his forthcoming album, “Clear Heart, Full Eyes,” due out Jan. 24 on Vagrant Records. “It’s good” is all I have to say about it.
Phantogram — “Running from the Cops” live in OKC I actively decided not to listen to dark-toned New York indie-synth act Phantogram prior to its NYE Freakout opening set, just to be surprised. Turns out I was overwhelmed. Here’s a trippy, strobed-out video I helped Nathan Poppe shoot on night one of the festivities. Nathan says he’ll have a video from Neon Indian’s night-two opening set by the end of the week.
“My Lover” alternates between silly sped-up and rewound shots of them dousing each other with water and what appears to be bags of flour; swirling, psychedelic food dye in what appears to be a toilet (for tripping on a budget!); and a cool, throwback film treatment that definitely doesn’t appear to be your typical DSLR fare. Nice work for matching your sound, gents!
And yeah, if Junebug Spade had a signature track, this one might just be it, all lazy licks and sexual angst before it kicks into a catchy, noisy chorus. Watch:
Gentle Ghost’s continuing collaboration with Delo Creative on the “Be Nice to Your Kids” video series has yielded not one, but two (!) visual accompaniments for new songs. Check out “Dark Parts,” a nuanced, five-minute track that changes pace a couple different times and has a cool “cut out the heart” lyric, apropos for all the dried blood that’s all over the place.
This one doesn’t include a keyboard and is a little less urgent than “Spearherder,” which we first heard last week, but the songwriting has a bit stronger, more present narrative to it, I think. Watch:
New local tunes, info on that Polyphonic Spree show, and a free Flaming Lips documentary.
OKSee got sick last week — the doctor said it was a sinus infection, although I was hoping for “Cat Scratch Fever”— and in so doing, fell woefully behind the times. So here I am catching back up with Oklahoma music-centric news and notes from the last week. Let’s get to it.
First up, we’ve got a couple of hip-hop mixtapes — both from Tulsa rappers, sure enough — that you can cop for free on these here Internets. First is P.D.A.’s “Occupy Hollywood” ...
... and next is aDDLib’s “99% of My Fans Wear High Heels.”
Secondly, Other Lives, now a major thing outside our humble borders, are playing shows in Oklahoma City and Tulsa before month’s end. The Stillwater indie band graces the Blue Note on the 27th, so be sure to snag your tickets ($12) as far in advance as possible. As in, right now.
Coincidentally, they also recently announced a headlining date at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City and Coachella Music Festival in Indio, Calif. Awesomesauce.
Thirdly, it appears that Pitchfork has inaugurated a new video series titled “Classic,” with a documentary about our own balloon-busting, psychedelic-rocking, jelly-not-using Flaming Lips. Specifically, it’s about their 1999 opus, “The Soft Bulletin,” and I can personally say it’s pretty compelling stuff, especially if you still think that “The Spiderbite Song” isn’t about mainlining heroin. Watch the 45-minute doc over at Pitchfork.
Fourthly, The Polyphonic Spree is returning to Norman! The last time the group was here, it headlined the inaugural Norman Music Festival on an adequately sized stage. This time, at 8 p.m. Feb. 7, the Tim DeLaughter-led band’s 20-plus members intend to pack Opolis. I think at this point, if Girl Talk can play a show there, anybody can.
Here are a few details: • New Fumes are opening. • Only 150 tickets are available. • The first set of tickets goes on sale tomorrow at all three Guestroom Records locations. • Tickets are $25 each, cash only. • Fifteen pairs of tickets will be given away from The Spy FM Spywagon at various locations throughout the OKC/Norman area on Friday, Jan. 13. Follow @fowlervw on Twitter to find out when and where.