Commodities of the Abstract Sort

a hopefully-less-pretentious-than-other-pretentious-music-blogs music blog

Cataldo Interview Wednesday August 1, 2007

Filed under: local-ish — Kayla @ 10:12 pm



As previously mentioned Eric Anderson, the man behind Cataldo joined me at KUPS today for and on-air performance and interview followed by a bit of guest DJ-ing. By some miracle my attempt to record it did not fail and so now it will be preserved here for future generations. You can listen to 3 brand new songs off of his upcoming album along with an in-depth discussion of such fine topics as Justin Timberlake, dope beats, and killing puppies.


Listen online



(If at all possible please download instead of listening online and for the love of cupcakes please don’t download from the “listen online” link because that will cause my meager allotment of bandwidth to disappear like donuts at a…donut eating convention…or something.)


Really! Exciting! News! Monday July 30, 2007

Filed under: local-ish — Kayla @ 1:36 pm



Listen up, kids: Eric Anderson (aka Cataldo) is coming to do an in-studio with me on KUPS on Wednesday, August 1st at 5 pm. He will play some stuff (maybe some stuff off of his new record? Maybe a song about vampires? We’ll see if I can talk him into it) and then there may or may not be a bit of guest DJ-ing going on. Then, that very same night he will be playing a show in Seattle at the S.S. Marie Antoinette, which I did not know existed until just recently and which is apparently a boat warehouse (unfortunately, not an actual boat as I originally thought). It will be a fun-filled evening for the whole family. You can listen live on 90.1 FM if you are close to UPS, or on the internet. I’m also going to attempt to record this momentous occasion and put it up here sometime after Wednesday. Here are some mp3’s to get you pumped up:


[mp3] Cataldo-Wedding Cake

[mp3] Cataldo-Headed Back to Boston


Myspace | Official Website


Album Review: Saltbreakers by Laura Veirs Sunday April 29, 2007

Filed under: album review,Local,local-ish — Kayla @ 6:29 am

laura viers2

Yes, this album came out over a month ago. I started writing this at that time and it’s been languishing half-written in my drafts folder ever since, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Laura Veirs is a singer-songwriter who is originally from Seattle, but recently moved to Portland. She has previously performed solo, but is now working with a backing band. You may recognize her name from the duet of “Yankee Bayonet” that she did with Colin Meloy on the latest Decemberists album.

I relatively new fan of hers, I saw her open for a Colin Meloy solo show about a year and a half ago, and was not really impressed. Then one day I forgot to bring my CDs to my radio show and had to search through the thousands of CDs in the station for an hour worth of music, which ended up being pretty much everything in there that I had actually heard of, including Laura Veirs. I discovered that her music makes a lot more sense on CD, when she is not having to loop things to get her lush sound. Fast-forward a few weeks: I had to make an unplanned trip to North Dakota over Thanksgiving break and I found myself listening exclusively to her Year of Meteors and +/-‘s Let’s Build a Fire while fighting my way through airport-on-Thanksgiving insanity. Consequently these two albums have become two of my favorite albums of all time. A tough act to follow, and something that the holders of other albums on this list have not been doing so hot at (ahem…Modest Mouse, I’m looking at you), but Laura Veirs has managed to put out the first album in months that has lived up to its predecessor and I might even venture to say, eclipsed it.

Saltbreakers starts off sounding very similar to Year of Meteors with Veirs’ clear voice floating over guitar and some mild electronic beats. The third track, “Don’t Lose Yourself” is where the album really takes off. That track marks the first use of piano for Veirs and it’s a wonder it has taken her this long to realize that her music is made for piano, it fits seemlessly with the dense guitar and string sound prevalent in her music. There is also a children’s choir backing her on “To The Country”, which came off a little creepy the first time I heard it, but has definitely grown on me. “Phantom Mountain” takes a more rockin’ turn, only to be followed by the simple “Black Butterfly” with Veirs singing to a simple piano accompaniment. The concluding song, “Wrecking” includes the backing strings common to Year of Meteors and ends on a maddeningly unresolved chord, which seems an odd choice, but I guess she was going for the “leave them wanting more” effect.

In addition to being her best album yet, Saltbreakers is also Veirs’ most accessible. The songs have distinctive, catchy melodies and there are fewer lyrics about “trees and wind and rivers and fish and shit” as my music director at the radio station puts it than her previous albums. This is the perfect background music for reading boring textbooks because it is interesting enough that you break up the mundanity of reading yet another thinly veiled Russian analysis of religion absconding as a “novel” but not so manic that you can’t concentrate. If you’ve always wondered who this Laura Veirs person is, this is the album to use to find out.

[mp3] Laura Veirs-Pink Light

[mp3] Laura Veirs-Don’t Lose Yourself

Official Site | Myspace | Buy Saltbreakers



Here are some music videos Sunday April 15, 2007

Filed under: local-ish,misc. good non-local music,music videos — Kayla @ 5:48 pm

This is the video for The Thermals “Pillar of Salt.” I’m not a huge Thermals fan, but I love this video, it is just a simple “band playing song” video but they have managed to spruce it up with lots cuts to the band wearing ridiculous costumes and random guest appearances by members of other Portland bands (Colin Meloy is in there for like 3 seconds and I’m told that “that one girl from Wet Confetti” is too). I also love the contrast of the stark white box set with the crazy stuff happening in it. Here’s a fun interactive blogging experience: spot the arrested development reference and win…well nothing actually, maybe like some indie cred or something.

This is the video for Wolf Parade’s “Modern World.” I love everything about this video, the song is one of my favorite songs of all time and the video fits it perfectly. It is stop-motion animation and therefore must have taken a ridiculously long time to make, but the results are amazing.

I’ve linked to this before, but now that I’ve figured out how to imbed things here it is again. This is the video for All-Time Quarterback’s “Plans Get Complex.” All-Time Quarterback is Ben Gibbard of Death Cab circa 1999 and this video is overwhelming evidence that he should not quit his day job. Awkward fondling of tranny posters? Check. shifty eyes? Check. Awkward dancing/swaying like a nervous little girl? Check. Umbrella in the subway? Check. This one’s got it all, folks.

This isn’t so much a music video as using MS Paint as a weapon in the war against emo kids. It’s a subtitled version of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” with accompanying visuals. Warning: may not be suitable for people who are uptight slash at work. Also, this may not be funny to people who didn’t go to Emo Kid High (aka Mountain View Craphole, Bend, OR, USA, The World) or maybe it will be…only the omnipotent Pete Wentz knows….

And now we come to the obligatory cameo-appearances-by-indie-musicians-who-virtually-no-one-watching-the-show-will-actually-recognize

portion of the program.

First up: Britt Daniel of Spoon on Veronica Mars

I can just imagine the conversation that led to this happening: “hey, we should do a cameo of someone from one of those (finger quotes) ‘indie bands.'” Britt Daniel wouldn’t have been my first choice because he’s not recognizable enough (I didn’t recognize him the first time I saw this episode) but whatev….

Next up: Andrew Bird on a children’s show as “Dr. Stringz”

This one is without a doubt my favorite video in this post. The fact that Andrew Bird agreed to do this makes me love him even more than I already did. As someone in the youtube comments put it, “think of the indie cred those kids are going to have when they grow up.”


PS: Real content coming soon, I promise. School is kind of ruining my life again.



Oh How I Love Menomena Saturday March 10, 2007

Filed under: local-ish,music videos — Kayla @ 1:14 am


I know, I know, it’s kind of a cop out to just post another video…but cut me some slack: this week I took 2 midterms, wrote 3 papers, did a presentation, played the same concert 7 times, and spent 4 days on a bus WITH BAND KIDS. Plus, this is a good’n.

I didn’t think I liked Menomena until my friend/neighbor Caitlin called and requested them during my radio show every single day for like 3 weeks. After hearing “Wet and Rusting” approximately 12,000 times they kind of grew on me. For those of you living under a rock, Menomena are a trio out of Portland which has recently been getting a lot of attention. Their music regularly involves a bari sax and piano and that’s pretty much all you need to know. Their latest album Friend and Foe has the most ridiculous cover art I’ve ever seen. There is no track listing anywhere on the packaging and there are cryptic numbers and song titles on the actual CD. Only after much annoyance about having to look up title information on the obscenely slow radio station computer did I figure out that if you put the CD in the case and close the cover the song number and title show up through holes in the cover artwork. Genius.

Anyway, This video, for the aforementioned “Wet and Rusting”, is el oh el funny and it involves lots and lots of typewriters, so you really can’t go wrong.

“Wet and Rusting” video

Official Website | Myspace | Buy Friend and Foe


Podington Bear Sunday February 25, 2007

Filed under: local-ish — Kayla @ 5:30 pm


Podington Bear is an anonymous Portland artist who is putting out a new instrumental electronic song by podcast every Monday Wednesday and Friday of 2007. I’m usually not a fan of instrumental music, especially of the electronic variety, but I enjoy the vast majority of Podington’s stuff because he/she doesn’t try so hard to have every possible sound effect in every single song. I really admire someone who has the dedication to turn out consistently good music three times a week for an entire year. Recently on his/her blog Podington laid out a plan to save the slowly dying music industry through a system of patronage wherein an album would be released song by song for free with advertisements instead of album art. After all the songs had been released an advertisement-free version of the album would be available for purchase both in digital and CD format. These sounds like fightn’ words to me; people will see this system as another way for indie bands to “sell out” even though it is actually benefiting both them and the bands because they are getting free music legally and the bands are getting paid. Either way Podington is trying it out by soliciting patrons for the music he/she puts out from March on, it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

[mp3] Podington Bear-Caterpillar Brigade

[mp3] Podington Bear-Steppin’ In

You can get the podcast and all of the songs up to now through itunes for free.

Podington’s Blog | Myspace


This is why I want to be Colin Meloy when I grow up Wednesday February 21, 2007

Filed under: local-ish,music videos — Kayla @ 12:05 pm


The Decemberists have done it again: come up with a truly amazing, well thought out, and well performed music video. This one is for O Valencia! off of their most recent album The Crane Wife. It is more of a short movie than a music video (it’s 9 minutes long, the song is only 4 minutes of that) and definitely reflects the fact that they are now on a major label and thus have more money to make ridiculously awesome videos. It goes through an involved story with Colin Meloy and Lisa Molinaro as lovers on the run from something which is revealed throughout the course of the video. Here is just a small sample of what this video involves:

a) Colin Meloy sans trademark glasses and looking disheveled

b) Nate Query in a track suit and loading an AK-47

c) chimney sweeps

d) multiple murder scenes

Talking about it really can’t do it justice, you just have to see it.

Watch Online

[mpeg4] Download

Decemberists official site | Myspace | Buy The Crane Wife | Fresh Air interview with Colin Meloy