Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wussy @ Northside Tavern, Cincinnati, OH [4/28/06]

So it seems like I picked the right time to cut out of New York. Not too much in the way of news the past couple of days, unless you consider Wilco not playing Siren Fest to be news. Personally, I consider it a blessing. It makes it significantly less likely that I'll feel compelled to go sit out under the 90 degree sun in the overcrowded concrete playpen that is Siren Fest. And no 2 hour ride on the F train. Phew. Thank you Jeff.

Plus, I also timed my trip to Cincinnati so I could finally check out Wussy in concert. The band's stellar debut album, Funeral Dress [BUY], came out last fall, but, for various reasons, the band hasn't done a whole lot of touring in support of the album. When I saw that they were doing a hometown set last night, I figured it might be my only chance to see them for a while.

Interesting show. They played at a bar called the Northside Tavern, which, although it hosts live music most nights of the week, really is not particularly suited to hosting bands -- at least not in its current configuration. As you may be able to see in the photos below, the band setup is at the very front of the bar, right next to the bar's lone entrance. The bar takes up one half of the room, and the other half is filled with tables and chairs. That leaves about a 3 foot wide area to stand, which is constantly being filled with people (a) entering the bar, (b) leaving the bar, and (c) getting a drink at the bar. So, it doesn't leave a whole lot of room to stand and watch a band. I managed to find myself a safe spot at the back of the main room, on a small step so that I had a slightly better view of the band. Oh, and they have $2.50 beers, so that was good.

As for the band, it's pretty obvious that they haven't done a whole lot of touring recently. When they were on, they sounded great. But they're an easily distracted lot, talking with friends in the crowd, joking with one another, and while one song might be great, the next might devolve into a bit of a mess. That said, the messier songs were the newer ones which they still seem to be working out. The stuff from Funeral Dress, like

"Motorcycle" and
"Airborne"

sounded great. And the new songs, while a bit sloppy at times, sound like they're going to be great on album. A guy I was talking to in the crowd said that the band is either already recording their second album or about to. Awesome.

If you haven't checked them out before, be sure to try the links, and if you like what you hear, pick up the album. Onto the pics:



Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I Am Ohio Bound

So I'm leaving tomorrow for a long weekend to visit the family in Cincinnati. While I'm there, I'm gonna see Wussy at Northside Tavern. Amazingly, they do have broadband internet access in Ohio (running water too!), so I'll do my dangedest to keep up to date with the blog. At minimum I'll try to bring you some pics from the Wussy show..

Until then, I figured I'd leave you with some of the songs that have been getting a lot of play on my iPod lately. Odds are I'll be listening to these as I deal with the usual Laguardia delays tomorrow. Enjoy.

Birdmonster, "Cause You Can"
Glen Hansard, "Lies"
Jon Auer, "My Sweet Unknown"
Maritime, "Tearing Up The Oxygen"
Minus 5, "Cemetary Row"
Robert Pollard, "I Surround You Naked"

and one that someone else posted:

Islands, "Rough Gem" (via Can You See the Sunset From the South Side?)

Also, be sure to go check out the new band Hot One. Hot One features Nathan Larson from Shudder to Think, Kevin March from the Dambuilders and Guided By Voices, Jordan Kern from Escalate, and Emm Gryner from Canada. They've got a very odd theme/motif going for the band, but I quite like the songs on their MySpace site. Definitely has shades of late-era Shudder to Think, although obviously without Craig's vocals. (Link found via Chromewaves.)

Lemonheads Reform, Sign to Vagrant

In not-so-surprising news, The Lemonheads have reformed, and will be releasing an album on Vagrant Records.

I say not-so-surprising because it wasn't 20 minutes ago that I was on Ticketweb and noticed that Evan Dando's solo show at Southpaw next week still hasn't sold out. Considering that the Lemonheads show at Bowery sold out last year, and considering how good that show actually was, the thought occurred to me that, gee, maybe Evan should just officially re-form the band. Guess Evan had the same idea. Hope he also had the idea to not re-grow that hair.

From WOXY.com:

(April 26, 2006) – Vagrant Records is proud to announce that THE LEMONHEADS have signed to the label. The recently re-formed band is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on what will be their eighth studio album in a career that spans over two decades.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Evan Dando is co-producing the album with drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag), and the band is rounded out with bass player Karl Alvarez (Descendents). NYC-based Dando self-funded the project and has been recording in Stevenson’s Colorado studio off and on during the last year.

"The thing I remember most about Vagrant's first year is being locked up in my apartment, drinking coffee, stuffing 7"’s into envelopes and listening to It's A Shame About Ray on cassette all day, every day. If it wasn't for that record, we probably would've left the apartment eventually and given up the label. Nobody writes songs like Evan Dando, nobody sings likes him...the new songs are incredible. He is in top form." -- Rich Egan, Vagrant Records President

Prince @ First Avenue, Minneapolis [3/8/82]

Before I get to this show, I wanted to add one quick comment to my Clash post. One of you out there, who will remain nameless, but who I'm tickled pink has read my humble little blog, pointed out to me that the band's show at the Lochem Festival was the last show for drummer Topper Headon. And apparently he was completely fucked up on heroin for the show, though you wouldn't know it to listen to his playing. Very interesting stuff..

As for this show, I can't say I know much about it, or even about Prince. He's one of those guys that I've just never taken the time to get into. Can't really explain it. I don't own a single album of his, and really only know his hits from the Purple Rain era. So when I saw this on Dime a Dozen, I knew I'd have to check it out. While the quality isn't great, it's good enough to tell me that I need to hear more. Take a listen for yourself. The show also features the greatest band in the world, Morris Day and The Time, and Sue Ann Carwell. Enjoy:

"Bambi"
"All the Critics Love U in New York"
"When U were Mine"
"Sexy Dancer"
"Still Waiting"
"Head"
"Sexuality"
"Dance to the Beat"
"The Stick"
"Partyup"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

News and Notes

Slow news day on the music front. Unless you consider The Red Hot Chili Peppers playing Irving Plaza big news. There's no tickets, just a bunch of "lucky winners" who listen to Z100, Power 105 and Q104. I guess the Peppers weren't enthused by the turnout at that MySpace show that Franz Ferdinand did last week.

Legit News:

As previously noted around town, Central Park's Summerstage is hosting The New Pornographers, Calexico and The Frames on August 3rd (Thursday). Tickets on sale this Saturday at noon. (Via Brooklyn Vegan.)

Los Angeles' Silversun Pickups have announced that their debut full length LP, Carnavas, will be released on July 11th via Dangerbird Records. (Via Filter Magazine.) I loved their Pikul ep from last year [BUY], and can't wait to hear this one.

Plexifilm is releasing the DVD for We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen on June 27th. It's a 2-disc set with over 5 hours of material. Looking forward to seeing it -- it's supposed to be great. Pre-order it.

And, for the New Yorkers in the house, is the Second Avenue subway finally going to be built? I think Hell just froze over. Or Rumsfeld just got fired. Same thing either way. (Via Curbed.)

Legit Tunes

The Twilight Singers have added a couple more songs from their forthcoming Powder Burns album on their MySpace site. Also, for those of you so inclined, the LP is available NOW on iTunes, even though it doesn't come out on CD until mid-May. I still like owning the actual CD, so I'm gonna hold off (plus I pre-ordered it). I like what I'm hearing so far though.

The Rawking Refuses To Stop has a live Mark Kozelek show from 2000. Good stuff. Go listen.

Kwaya Na Kisser has a ton of great Jeff Buckley rarities up here. Buckley may be the only non-rapper to be more productive in death than in life. I can imagine him sitting on a beach in the Caribbean with Biggie and Tupac sippin' pina coladas and rollin' fat joints. Boat drinks, baby.

And, finally, if you're looking for some cool music and have some time to kill, head over to Chromewaves and check out their archive of previous "Songs of the Week." Lots of great stuff in there.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova Live On Irish Radio

Today at 5pm EST (10pm in Dublin), Ireland's RTE 2FM will be airing an in-studio acoustic performance by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. They'll be playing songs from Glen's new record, The Swell Season. Direct your browser here to check it out. You'll need RealPlayer to listen.

The session was actually recorded yesterday, which is why you're looking at a picture of the actual recording. Photo is from Rick O'Shea's (a DJ at RTE 2FM) blog.

Monday, April 24, 2006

When Libertines Attack

Dumb title, sorry, I'm tired. But the point is that today saw the release of more Libertines material than you ever knew you wanted to hear. And probably more than you actually did want to hear. As NME reports it, someone seems to have leaked the contents of Pete Doherty's laptop onto the internet, including countless Libertines demos, live tracks and unreleased songs. And by countless I mean 123. If you absolutely must, get yourself to this site and download all 123. Personally, as much as I consider myself a fan, it just ain't happening.

Also on the rarities tip, The Rich Girls Are Weeping has posted three very cool Wrens rarities. Go listen.

If you're looking for something new, I Rock Cleveland spotlights a new band called The Sky Drops who are the fourth or fifth band that I've heard this year that might be the new My Bloody Valentine. But that's a good thing. Listening to these songs makes me feel like I'm back in South Quad hittin' the bong. Check it out:

"Green to Red"
"Now Would Be"

In book news -- I refuse to call it literature -- Productshop tells us to expect a new Chuck Klosterman book in August entitled Chuck Klosterman IV : A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas. Don't get me wrong, Chuck is great. I loved Killing Yourself to Live, despite its flaws, because it was damn funny. And I related way too much to Fargo Rock City. So I'll definitely be reading this one. But I'll also admit that Chuck is about as close as you get to a male equivalent of chick lit. If you're the type that plans out what you're going to read 4 months ahead of time -- freak -- you can pre-order it here. Here's hoping it's funnier than his attempt at an April Fools joke.

And, finally, though pretty much everyone else that matters has already mentioned it, be sure to go check out Videoteque. It's a video MP3 blog, posting all kinds of videos in all kinds of formats, including the iPod Video-compatible MP4. Good stuff.

PS: Thanks to the awesome Gothamist for the picture of Roy and his tiger friend.

I Hope Someone Puts a Cap in Artie Bucco's Ass

It only took 10 years, but I think I've officially become a full-fledged jaded New Yorker. Why? Because I literally could not stop laughing last night when Christopher punched Lauren Bacall in the face on The Sopranos. I guess if you live in New York long enough, the idea of beating up little old ladies stops being disgusting and becomes a source of amusement. God bless this place.

And in other news:

Each Note Secure links to a new Colin Meloy song called "Lazy Little Ada". The song is off the new Kill Rock Stars compilation, Sound the Hare Heard, which also includes cuts from Devin Davis, Jeff Hanson, and Great Lake Swimmers.

Captain's Dead has a great live show from Cincinnati's own Afghan Whigs from Boston in 1994. Go check it out. The (Afghan) Whigs remain one of my favorite bands of all time. And while I luckily got to see them live three times, this is the first show of theirs that I have in my collection.

I had no idea, but there's a smorgasbord of cool live Posies songs, demos and videos to be found over at their web site. There's even a video for the song "Anything and Everything" from Every Kind of Light . I had no idea this existed. Very cool. (Thanks to Large Hearted Boy for the head's up!)

Ryspace is my kind of music dork. He's apparently doing a term paper comparing the acoustics of New York's Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom and Webster Hall. While Part One is a basic introduction, Part Two (and beyond?) promises to learn my ass as to the scientific explanation for why Webster Hall blows. I can only assume that, somewhere in his calculations, he's assigned a value for the fact that a bottle of Bud Lite costs $7.

I Rock Cleveland points the direction to a World Cafe set that the Flaming Lips did for NPR in which, among other things, Wayne explains the origins of the band's cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody."

And I'll leave you with a couple interesting things floating around the web:

Okay Paddy, "Where's the Taste" (via Two and 1/2 Pounds of Bacon). Decent power pop. Very Smithereens-ish, if anyone remembers them.

Think About Life, "Paul Cries" (via You Ain't No Picasso). Another Canadian band that sounds like Wolf Parade. Just what the world needs.

Director, a new (?) Dublin-based band with a few interesting songs. Worth listening to, though I don't plan on buying anything from them based on what I'm hearing (via Torr).

Part II: The Clash @ Lochem Festival, Holland [5/20/82]

Here's the rest of the Clash show from Holland. I forgot to mention this in the first post -- for the completists out there, I've seen this show listed as "Into the 80's." I'm not sure what this means. It could just be that this is from a bootleg CD, and that that's what the CD was marketed as. Dunno. Anyway, enjoy.

"Should I Stay or Should I Go?"
"Police and Thieves"
"Brand New Cadillac"
"Bank Robber"
"Complete Control"
"Career Opportunities"
"Clampdown"

AOL Roundup (Week of April 24)

AOL still hasn't been sold, spun off, or simply shut down for lack of paying customers yet, so that means you get a whole new week of free streaming albums. This week's offerings include:

Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
The Streets, Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
Mark Knopfler and Emmylu Harris, All the Roadrunning
Secret Marchine, Ten Silver Drops
Lewis Black, The Carnegie Hall Performance
Erasure, Union Street
The Terms, Small Town Computer Crash
Riverboat Gamblers, To the Confusion of Our Enemies

All in all, a pretty good week for the bastard child of Time Warner.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Clash @ Lochem Festival, Holland [5/20/82]

I first got into The Clash completely by accident on February 11, 1990. How do I remember the date? Well, a bunch of us were staying over at a friend's house, doing all the things that 14-year old boys in suburban Cincinnati do -- trying to steal beer from the basement refrigerator, even though none of us liked it; making prank phone calls; watching Steven Seagal movies and talking about how cool it would be to make our own Molotov cocktails (a feat I'm proud to say our stupid asses actually accomplished not long after); and listening to music as loud as possible. And we were also desperately trying to find out who won the Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas fight. Needless to say, we were pretty surprised when we found out.

Anyway, one of the tapes that someone put in that night was The Clash. I knew who The Clash were -- anyone with MTV in the 80's had seen "Rock the Casbah" -- but I'd never gone beyond that song. I was quite content to spend most of the 80's listening to the likes of, ahem, Poison, Whitesnake, Ratt, and the like. Yeah, teenage Steve was quite the white trash. All I was missing was the mullet.

Long story short, I fell in love with the band, and I've never stopped loving them. I'm sure this isn't particularly interesting to any of you, but until I downloaded the show I'm attaching here, I had completely forgotten about that night. And about my friend's somewhat-challenged cousin who liked to tell everyone that they "looked like Robocop." God I miss being young.

So without further ado, check out part 1 of The Clash at the Lochem Festival in Holland, May 20, 1982. I was probably at home watching this show that night.

"London Calling"
"Safe European Home"
"Guns of Brixton"
"Train in Vain"
"Clash City Rockers"
"Know Your Rights"
"The Magnificent Seven"
"Ghetto Defendant"

I Am The Decider

... and I've chosen to stay home and take it easy tonight after seeing 6 concerts in the space of 8 days. Luckily for you, though, I'm not too tired to blog, and I'm here to tell you about a nice little discovery I made tonight.

As you know by now, I love The Frames. I first discovered them at an amazing CMJ Festival show at Irving Plaza on November 1, 2002 (that's the internet talking, kids, not my memory). That show was headlined by Idlewild, and included another great opener I'd never heard before, Brendan Benson. I fell in love with the band right away, and immediately searched out all of their albums.

I soon discovered that The Frames weren't some new band trying to make a name for themselves. To the contrary, they were a very old band trying to make a name for themselves. By the time I found them, The Frames had been a band, in one form or another, for more than a decade. And while the bulk of their recorded output had been released after 1996, there was one very early album called Another Love Song that had been released way back in 1991. And I couldn't find it anywhere. I looked everywhere I could think of -- Amazon UK, Road Records in Dublin, etc. -- with no luck. I figured it was out of print and just gave up.

Then, about a year or so ago, I discovered that the band had put the album up for download on their website. I downloaded it right away. Unfortunately, I was in Japan at the time for a 4-month work project, and when we weren't working, we were generally drinking. A $130/day food and drink stipend goes pretty far to helping you achieve a permanent buzz, and to help you forget just about anything that wasn't in a Suntory Malts can (best beer in Japan). So I ended up completely forgetting about the album. And then my hard drive died. When I finally went back to The Frames' website to download it again, I couldn't find it anywhere. So, again, I gave up on ever hearing it.

This is all a very long-winded way of saying that I discovered tonight that the band has re-posted Another Love Song on their website. Go download it. I'm listening to it for the first time ever right now. It's definitely The Frames, but it's much, much rawer, and the production is very 1991. And there's strong, strong Madchester undertones. But it's also very good, and at times it's excellent. Just listen to "Picture of Love" or "Masquerade" for proof.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Wilco @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ [4/21/06]

So last night's Wilco show demonstrated a few things to me:

First: In the two years since A Ghost is Born, the band has not written a whole lot of new songs. Or, if they have, they don't particularly care for them. I'm leaning towards the former. I'm not blaming them -- they did a ton of touring behind that album, and since that time Jeff and/or Glen have been involved with new Loose Fur, Minus 5 and Golden Smog discs, Glen put out a solo album, and Jeff did his own solo tour.

But there's simply no getting around the fact that, with the exception of one or two songs, they're playing the exact same set of music in 2006 that they've been playing for years. (Yes, they're still playing "Kingpin.") Maybe it's just that I've been fortunate enough to see them a lot of times during this period, but it's starting to feel a little... by the numbers. Even without new songs, couldn't they at least have gone back and added in "Outtasite (Outta Mind)", "I Got You (At the End of the Century)", "ELT", "Nothing'severgonnastantinmyway (Again)", or anything off of A.M.? As my friend Matt pointed out, this band has a huge catalog of originals and covers to pull from. Why keep playing the same 15-20 songs?

Second: This is the strongest Wilco lineup ever, musically. I think we all realized this on the last tour, but what I learned last night was that this band can sound spectacular, and near-perfect, even when they're mailing it in.

And, yes, 60% of last night's show was mailed in. It wasn't until 2/3 of the way through the main set, when the band played "Spiders" (or was it "At Least That's What You Said"?), that the band really seemed to wake up and start playing with some excitement. Once they did, they were unstoppable. But for a while there, I wasn't sure whether the band wanted to be there, and I wasn't sure I did either.

[Maybe it was just that no one wanted to be in New Jersey. I know I didn't. ;^)]

Third: Speaking of New Jersey, I realized last night that serious bands shouldn't play there. Twice in the last couple of weeks I've attempted, without real success, to articulate my biggest gripe about the current "indie rock" music scene. I call it the Invasion of the Party People. You know these people. It's 80% of a Bruce Springsteen crowd. It's 90% of a U2 crowd. It's 95% of a Billy Joel crowd. It's 100% of a Bon Jovi, Jimmy Buffett or Lynyrd Skynyrd crowd. It's the people who view concert-going as a 3 or 4 time a year, get-your-beer-beer-on-and-PAR-TAY! kind of thing. In other words, indie rock shows have become places to be seen and to get drunk.

This scourge is happening all over the place, but it's even worse when a band decides to do a show in the heart of darkness itself (New Jersey). That's when you get idiots like the dude behind me and my friends who wouldn't stop yelling "Wilco and Jersey -- Perfect Together!" Or the 19 year-old girls to my right who literally screeched every time the band played a song they recognized. Or the dude who pissed Jeff Tweedy off so much that Tweedy stopped the show and, in a "I'm pretending to be joking" kind of way, told the guy to go to hell.

Not that every indie show should be full of toe-tapping, arms-crossed record store clerks. That's not fair to the band, who want excitement from the crowd, and who themselves often feed off of that excitement. But there's a difference between an excited, enthusiastic crowd and the Party People. A big one.

Fourth: Despite all of my bitching, they're still one of my favorite bands of all time.

Onto the pictures:






If you want to see more photos (good, bad and somewhere in between) from this show or any other I've attended recently, I've added a link on the left-hand side to my public Flickr account. Feel free to check it out!

Friday, April 21, 2006

T.G.I.W.

Thank god it's Wilco day! And thank god tonight's the last show I have for a few days, because I'm totally dragging ass after last night's Bob Pollard show. [Unless, of course, I end up going to see Islands at Avalon tomorrow.] I totally forgot what it felt like to wake up after a GBV show where I drank 10 or more beers at a show. Rough, to say the least.

On the bright side, there's a bunch of good stuff floating around the web today, so I can just point you in the right direction, put my head down and go to sleep.

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends has a bevy of unreleased Ray LaMontagne stuff to be found here. I like Ray a lot, even though I have this terrible feeling that he's going to get Norah Jones/AOR huge with his next album. Hell, GQ recently listed a Ray LaMontagne show as one of the 25 most romantic places in the world. Dumb, I know, but a sign that Ray won't be "indie" for much longer.

Who knew -- Stereogum is a really funny guy. From his post today about Guns n' Roses:

For music-minded New Yorkers, there are plenty of other ways you can relive 1993 on GN'R's opening night:

Glen Phillips (Of Toad The Wet Sprocket) @ The Canal Room
Ice Cube @ B.B. King's Blues Club
Jon Auer (Of The Posies) @ Mercury Lounge

And that new Jon Auer album is terrific. Never once did he consider hiring KFC bucket-wearing guitarist.
Funny stuff. The idea of Jon wearing a KFC hat is even better.

Two cool videos floating around today:

Okkervil River, "Ends With A Fall" (from Down The River of Golden Dreams] (via Chromewaves)

Calexico, "Cruel" (via indieblogheaven.typepad.com)

And two really nice songs over at You Ain't No Picasso:

Headlights, "Put Us Back Together"

Look Look, "Skipping Stones"

The Greatest Live Performer. Ever.

I've spent a lot of time on this blog extolling the virtues of a number of musicians, from the Frames to Wilco to The Whigs to Lucero to Guns n' Roses and beyond. But the one artist that I haven't given his due -- yet -- is Robert Pollard. The majority of you probably know who Bob is, but just in case you don't, Bob is the former leader of the legendary Guided by Voices, from Dayton, Ohio USA.

You may have heard someone (likely me) remark that GBV was the greatest rock and roll band of all time. Well, I was right (I usually am). But what you may not realize was that the magic that was GBV is, almost entirely, contained in the body and mind of Robert Pollard. Maybe we should have known that by the number of bassists and drummers that came and went in GBV. Maybe we should have known it by the number of solo or side project albums that Bob had while GBV was still around. But, speaking for myself, I simply didn't realize how great Bob could be with a completely different group of musicians.

Well, I learned a lesson tonight that I'll never forget. GBV played its final show (maybe?) on New Year's Eve of 2004-2005. My friend Matt and I were there. And while I knew I'd see Bob perform again, I didn't realize that I'd have another experience like a GBV show. Thankfully, tonight I did.

It may not have been GBV, but it was a set of incredible music written by Bob, played by an amazing group of musicians. And it was a crapload of fans jumping around, bumping into one another, having an amazing time singing along with the hits. And thank god for that. And, yes, folks, that's Kevin March on drums. All I can say now is this -- GBV! GBV! GBV! GBV! GBV!








Thursday, April 20, 2006

Late Afternoon Quickie

Rushing to get stuff done before the Bob Pollard show tonight at Irving, but wanted to be sure to throw out a post with a few interesting things for you...

Not sure if you managed to find the link to the new Dirty Pretty Things album that I posted last week or not. If you haven't heard it, it's excellent, and comes out in the UK on May 8th. [PRE-ORDER] The band has been doing some shows around the UK recently, and, lucky for us, Special Things, Special Songs links to one of those shows here.

In other buzz-band news, Rock Insider confirms that Tapes n' Tapes will be joined on its June tour by Cold War Kids and the Figurines. So, those of you who are too cool for school to see TNT (you know who you are), you may want to rethink that -- Cold War Kids are legit. (Although I don't love the Figurines song, "The Wonder," that everyone's playing now.)

Cold War Kids, "Hospital Beds" [re-post]
Figurines, "The Wonder"

The Knitting Factory (NYC) will play host to a blogger's wet dream -- Irving, Group Sounds and Beirut -- on May 10th. I just bought a ticket.

Then, on June 30th, you can see TV On The Radio, Matt Pond PA (yech) and the good but inexplicably huge Voxtrot in Prospect Park. (Via Brooklyn Vegan)

And to help you get ready for tomorrow night's Wilco show in lovely Sayreville, New Jersey, Sam Subjective links to the band covering the Byrds' "One Hundred Years From Now".

And On Those Rare Days, The Lord Smiles on You

Not to gloat, but I just have to share this -- I've been pretty much floating on air all morning. Some way, some how, I managed to snag 4 pre-sale tickets to see GUNS N' FUCKING ROSES at Hammerstein Ballroom here in NYC next month!! I may be an indie snob, but this is just about the greatest thing ever for me.

Thanks to the wonderful posters over at Brooklyn Vegan for sharing the password. Just because I'm not registered on a GNR message board doesn't mean I don't deserve pre-sale tickets!

Add to this the fact that I found out this morning that we won one of the biggest pain-in-the-ass cases I've ever had before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and I'm in a pretty damn good mood. Plus I'm seeing Bob Pollard tonight, and Wilco tomorrow. Haven't had a good day like this since that random girl in Japan stuck her fist up my ass. [That's a joke.]

I think I might just have to play the Lotto. Or go to Score's.

Lucero @ Northsix, Brooklyn, NY

I finally got to see Lucero tonight. Since I discovered them last spring -- late, I know -- I haven't stopped listening to them. I first heard them do a live set on WOXY.com, and immediately went out and picked up their most recent album, Nobody's Darlings. It wasn't long until I filled out the rest of their collection, and, amazingly, each album I bought was better than the last.

So after a year of listening to the albums, I was pretty psyched to finally see them live. I gotta say, though... I'm a little disappointed. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the sound at Northsix, which was pretty poor. Maybe it was the crowd, which, at least where I was standing, was pretty drunk and obnoxious. Maybe it's that I wasn't drunk too. Maybe it's that the band never really seemed into it, and that the bassist was actually in a pretty pissy mood during the show. Likely, it was all of these things.

Regardless, I'm still happy I went. The band has some excellent songs, and it was good to finally hear them live. And while the crowd was pretty rowdy, it was good to see just how rabid a fanbase they have. The crowd knew the lyrics to pretty much every song. Oh, and the new songs they played were great. So here's hoping that this was just an off-night, and the next time I see them kicks ass.

Some pictures:





Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Chaz Lamborghini in Da Hizzie!

Great news: the first season DVD of Charles in Charge is out this week! I just added it to my Amazon WishList. Feel free to send me gifts anytime you want.

In less exciting news...

(1) The National show here in NYC next month has been moved from Bowery Ballroom to Webster Hall. Arg. NOTE TO BANDS: Webster sucks. The sound sucks. They charge $7 for a Coors Lite. It gets too crowded. So, yeah, please stop playing there. Besides, The National lives here -- why not just do two nights at Bowery?

(2) Have the Jayhawks officially disbanded? I thought they were just on "hiatus"? Large Hearted Boy points to an article about the new West Coast Gary Louris/Marc Olson tour at Billboard.com which refers to the band as having been disbanded in 2003. Really? Oh, and Gary's apparently 51. Who knew?

(3) Do you miss Ride? Go listen to Languis' new song, "In the Field of (Lonely Fences)" and tell me someone hasn't been listening to a little Nowhere lately. They have more songs at their MySpace site. Is shoegaze coming back into style?

(4) I Rock Cleveland links to a video that I haven't seen in over a decade -- "Web In Front" by the Archers of Loaf. Check it:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two New Ones..

While I was getting my ass handed to me at work today, I managed to stay relatively sane by listening primarily to two bands: Birdmonster and The Little Ones.


Birdmonster is an L.A. band that, if you haven't noticed, has been getting quite a bit of buzz around the better websites. I pre-ordered their new CD, No Midnight, and finally got it the other day. I haven't decided exactly what I think about the album yet. I like it, but it hasn't clicked with me [certainly not like these guys]. Maybe it's because the album is a little all over the place. At times it's very, very emo-ish -- there are a couple places I have flashbacks to Christie Front Drive. At other times its dancey. And at others it borders on alt-country. At the end of the day, I find myself skipping around. But that could change with more listens. I get the sense that once I see them live, it will all make sense. Check out a couple songs:

"Resurrection Song"
"Skeleton Suit" (via Neiles Life) [Recommended]

And go to the band's MySpace site and/or Neiles Life for more.


As for The Little Ones, I really don't know anything about them other than that they too are from The Town That Killed the Boston Sports Guy. I'm not even sure when or where I first found their songs to put them on my iPod. I'm glad I did, though, because the band is really good, and these songs are great.

"Lovers Who Uncover" [Recommended]
"Cha Cha Cha"
"High on a Hill

Am I the only one who thinks their singer sounds a little like Mike Muir, without the whole punk/metal thing going on?

From the What The Fucking Hell? Department

From RobertPollard.net:

JUNE

Friday June 23
Pittsburgh, PA - Mellen Arena
Opening for Pearl Jam

Saturday June 24
Cincinnati, OH - US Bank Arena
Opening for Pearl Jam

Bob finally gets to play an arena (other than Hara). Good for him. Bad for Doug, Mitch, Tobey, Nate, Tim, Kevin, Kevin, Greg, Jim, and Trader Vic (and all the rest) who didn't get the chance. I may have to fly home to Cincy just to hear what "Glad Girls" sounds like in an arena.

You Can Tell a Lot About a Woman By the Way She Scrubs a Cauldron

Notes from all over:

Stereogum points out that a new ACL Fest blog is keeping an up-to-date list of confirmed bands for the ACL Fest in September. Confirmed so far? The New Pornographers, The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Iron and Wine and Son Volt. Hmmm... if Wilco makes it's 3rd straight appearance...

[Will we ever stop dreaming?]

Everyone's favorite Colorado blogger, I Am Fuel, You Are Friends, has two cuts from last Friday's Black Crowes acoustic show in NYC. Both songs are NEW. Go check it out. She also has part two of her Ryan Adams "Bedhead" series. Great stuff.

Neither rain nor snow nor blackout nor Star Jones can keep him from playing. Ted Leo returns to South Street Seaport for a free show on August 25th at 7pm! Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the head's up! He's also got the rest of the River to River lineup too!

Yeti Don't Dance is periodically updating his "State of the Year in Songs" series. Edition 3 is out today, and he links songs from Belle & Sebastian, Neko Case, and Midlake, among others. Check it out.

Bradley's Almanac has audio from the entire New Pornographers show in Boston last week here.

And, finally, do yourself a favor and go listen to some stuff over at Stereolaffs' MySpace site. If you don't know them, Stereolaffs are Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster (of Superchunk fame), doing some of the funniest damn fake radio interviews I've ever heard.

Glen Hansard, 9/29/01, Leap, County Cork, Ireland (Pt. 2)

Another ridiculously busy day, another ready-to-go post. Awesome.
Here's part two of the Glen Hansard show, where Damien and Lisa get their due.

"Blame"
"Let it Burn"
"A Caution to the Birds"
"Face"
"Cheers Darlin'"
"Volcano"
"Headlong"
"Always on My Mind"
"Outto-Goodbye to Dear Old Skibbereen"

Monday, April 17, 2006

Glen Hansard, 9/29/01, Leap, County Cork, Ireland (Pt. 1)

If you can't tell, I'm starting to get excited about getting my hands on Glen Hansard's new solo disc, The Swell Season, and the new Frames disc in a few months. Almost as excited as I am that Glen has added me as a friend over at MySpace!

Anyway, I discovered this little gem of a show on Dime a Dozen last night. It's a Glen solo show with guest spots by none other than Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan. Excellent stuff. You have to wait for Part 2 for Damien and Lisa, though.

"Ohio River Boat Song" (Will Oldham cover)
"Races"
"Seven Day Mile"
"Buzzin' Fly" (Jeff Buckley cover)
"Monument"
"What Happens When The Heart Just Stops"
"Star Star"
"Lay Me Down"
"Look Back Now"
"Santa Maria"
"Your Face"

Aside from reminding me just how good Damien and Lisa are (it's been a while since I've listened to O), it makes me realize how long it's been since Damien's written (and played publicly) new music. This is from 5 1/2 years ago! Come on, Damo!

P.S. Yes, that's a picture of Glen from his moment in the sun, playing guitarist Outspan Foster in The Commitments.

Illusions Shattered

Well, not really, but I can pretty much guarantee you I didn't enjoy seeing Alkaline Trio tonight as much as I would have 5 years ago. This is the first show since the last Phish show I went to (Coney Island, night 1) that I seriously felt like I was from a different generation than most of the crowd. Hell, maybe I am. It was cool that they played the entire Goddamnit! album, and The Avalon's acoustics didn't suck as bad as I feared. But still... a little underwhelmed. I left early. [Hey, Chipotle closes at 11!]





And in other news, with fewer crying 16-year old girls:

The entire new Bruce Springsteen album is streaming here. The link is via the all-knowing, all-seeing Brooklyn Vegan, who also warns that the radio station hosting the feed throws in a decent number of annoying plugs. Oh, and he also warns that that supposed Wilco show in Prospect Park might not be happening after all.

Who else is going to ACL Fest? I gots my show ticket, hotel and Delta ticket (strike free since '93), and if work tries to stop me, I'm burning the building down. [That's a joke, people.] Gorilla vs. Bear points out that ACL is having some fun revealing the festival lineup. Apparently they're having a "scavenger hunt" of some type for people to guess the lineup and win wonderful prizes (free Salt Lick BBQ?). Anyway, the only confirmed band I've seen so far is New Pornographers. Please, please, please, Neko, come to ACL! [If I were a betting man, we're getting both solo Neko and Destroyer at the Fest...]

That's it for now. Cool post coming in a few..

Who's Down Wit' O.P.P.?

Some quick hits from around the 'net. A word of warning, though -- our good friends at EZArchive seem to be having some problems this afternoon, so not all of the song links are working right now. If you can't get them to work, try again in an hour or two when, hopefully, the problem is resolved.

You know, it's been 30 years, and I still don't get where all the Springsteen-worship comes from. He's got some good songs, yes, but I've just never connected with his music. Maybe I'll like him better playing someone else's songs. Indie Blog Heaven links to a song off Springsteen's new Pete Seeger tribute disc called "Pay Me My Money Down".

Chromewaves links to a nice new song (demo?) from Mojave 3 called "Big Star Baby". M3's new album, Puzzles of You, comes out June 20th.

The new Elf Power album can be found at the usual place for downloading albums before they come out. You'd have to be blind not to realize which site is the king at posting new albums.

So Much Silence links to a live performance by Calexico on KEXP.org.

Gorilla vs. Bear links to a couple live Jose Gonzalez performances. Never listened to him before, but I will now.

"Heartbeats"

"Love Will Tear Us Apart"

Some Velvet Blog links to the Flaming Lips covering "Death Valley '69" by Sonic Youth.

And, finally, a story from the L.A. Times about the dangerous world of midget KISS cover bands.

Jon Miller Presents!

While nothing earth-shattering, AOL plays host this week to a bunch of albums that are, at minimum, worth checking out. Go listen to something and pretend you're stealing from AOL.

The Dresden Dolls, Yes, Virginia [if Vietnam flashbacks had a soundtrack, this might be it]

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Under the Covers, Vol. 1

Ladytron, Extended Play

Drive-By Truckers, A Blessing and a Curse [Highly recommended!]

Richard Butler, Richard Butler

Elefant, Black Magic Show [go find out why Pitchfork gave it a whopping 3.6]

Maritime, We the Vehicles

Cities, Cities [no idea who they are, but their description as "moody epics... melancholic, yet delightfully catchy, indie-rock ... throwback to mid-90's organic guitar rock" has so many words that I'm mesmerized.. and.. must.. listen.. now]

Calexico, Garden Ruin [why don't you own this yet?]

Various, Exit Music [i.e., the Radiohead covers album]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Glen Hansard, The Swell Season

As I mentioned last month, Glen Hansard of the incredible, wonderful, life-affirming The Frames has a new "solo" album coming out called The Swell Season. I call it a "solo" album because, while it is putatively a solo disc, Glen's partner on the album is Marketa Irglova, a lovely young Czech who I hope to hear more from, and see more of, in the future.

The Swell Season comes out in Ireland this on Friday, and is available for pre-order through Dublin's excellent Road Records here. All told I think it comes out to about 18 Euros, which is approx. $22. Well worth it, considering that the album likely won't surface in the U.S. until this summer sometime.

Whether you go buy it or not -- do it -- go listen to a few songs -- do it -- at Glen and Marketa's MySpace site. If these songs don't make you pre-order -- do it -- nothing will.

Track listing for The Swell Season:

1.In The Arms Of This Low
2.Sleeping
3.Falling Slowly
4.Drown Out
5.Lies
6.When Your Minds Made Up
7.The Swell Season
8.Leave
9.The Moon
10.Alone Apart

Do it.

Edited to add: Not to give him short shrift, but I just discovered that The Frames' guitarist, Rob Bochnik, has his own MySpace site with a couple excellent new songs on it. Go check it out.

Pearl Jam on SNL

I know there's a lot of skepticism about Pearl Jam among some of you out there, but I will reiterate my earlier statement -- the new album, Pearl Jam, is excellent. And it kicks some ass. Want proof? Check out their performances from Saturday Night Light last night (via YouTube).

"Worldwide Suicide"

(Originally found via Stereogum)

"Severed Hand"

Sunday Morning Laziness

A very, very brief update on this Sunday morning. Fighting the temptation to go back to sleep for another 3-4 hours.

Staying on the topic of The Posies from my last post, I discovered that they made a video for the song "Conversations" from the last LP, Every Kind of Light. It's up and streaming at their MySpace site. Who knew? It's pretty funny, too.

Also, if I haven't mentioned it before, Jon Auer of The Posies is set to release his debut solo album, Songs From the Year of Our Demise, on May 2nd [PRE-ORDER]. Two songs are currently streaming at his MySpace site, and I like them a lot. They sound about as close to The Posies as Ken Stringfellow's solo stuff has -- i.e., not so much, but I like them just the same. Jon will be in NYC supporting the album on May 12th at the Mercury Lounge with, shhhhhhhh, The Whigs.

In non-Posies news, there's some good stuff floating around the other music blogs today, including...

Two and 1/2 Pounds of Bacon posts a song from the new Sonic Youth album, Rather Ripped, called "Reena". Go listen. I'm really, really liking this album. Hurry over, because he's keeping it up for 24 hours and then its gone.

RBally, he of the Who/Kiss/Cher/Celine Dion school of "retirement" [;^)], links to a great live performance by Josh Ritter earlier this year in Berlin.

And, finally, An Aquarium Drunkard has the famed 5/8/77 Grateful Dead show from Cornell University. I had this on tape for many years and pretty much wore it out. Haven't heard it since I ditched my tape deck back in 1998-ish. Great find, great quality. Those of you who know me personally know just how big a Dead (and Phish) fan I was back in the day. This one brings back some serious memories.

Slowly But Surely..

I'm learning how to do this blog thing, and trying to get a little more sophisticated..

Some, but not all, of you have been having problems downloading the links from the new beta version of Yousendit. For some reason, it's downloading only text files. Weird. Not sure why.

So I took the easy way out and joined EZArchive like many of the other bloggers out there. I'm slowly going back and replacing the old links, in reverse order. Therefore, if there's something you weren't able to download, try it again. Hopefully it'll work this time. And if not... well, we'll look for option #3.

Fingers crossed...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Posies, Live Acoustic In-Store NYC, 9/29/05

I haven't talked about them much on this site before, but one of my favorite bands of all time is The Posies. They're also, in my opinion, one of the true unrecognized great artists of the last 15 years, both on record and live. It's not an overstatement to call their live shows an onslaught. I mentioned last week that The Whigs are loud in concert. Well, The Posies are louder. Without fail, my ears are ringing for a day after an electric Posies show. (Not necessarily healthy, but a true sign of the rock.)

In recent years, the band has been interspersing it's full-band electric shows with acoustic shows by its two key songwriters/vocalists, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer. They even did an tour a few years back, and released the excellent (though too short) live disc, In Case You Didn't Feel Like Plugging In [BUY].

The last time the band was in New York for a show at the Bowery Ballroom (another ear-ringer), they did an in-store gig at a store somewhere in town (I forget exactly where). I was supposed to go, but got stuck at work. Luckily for me, I discovered that someone taped the show and put it up on Dime a Dozen. Now you can listen to it too. Be warned, though -- it's a very loose, sloppy, fun little set. If you're looking for an introduction to the band, start with either the live disc or their classic Frosting on the Beater [BUY for only $6.98!].

Without further ado, take a listen:

Introduction
"Conversations"
"I Guess You're Right
"Suddenly Mary"
"My Big Mouth"
"Apology"
"Any Other Way"
"Sad to Be Aware" [Highly recommended]
Stage Banter
"Solar Sister"

Night o' Music

And so the eight days of music begins... Last night was Human Television and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Still to come this week is the Alkaline Trio, Lucero, Bob Pollard and Wilco, and maybe the Black Crowes/Robinson Brothers show tonight.

I can't say enough about Human Television, although I am looking forward to a time when they can play a somewhat larger place with better acoustics and mixing. At the last couple of shows, the vocals have been waaaaaay too low in the mix and very muddy. That said, the songs are great, and it's still fun to see them live. Be sure to pick up their debut LP when it comes out on May 2nd.

CYHSY, on the other hand, put on a close-to-impeccable show at Bowery. It was my first time seeing them, and I walked away very impressed. True, they should be tight after touring as much as they do, but it was still a pleasant surprise to see just how good a live show they do this early into their career. And the new songs (4?) were pretty good too, especially the first two that they played. My only advice? Better song selection in the encore.

Onto the pics. There's only a couple because, honestly, I had a bad picture night. I promise better quality next time!

Human Television [only one, the others kinda sucked]


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah




Friday, April 14, 2006

I Look Away for Two Hours...

And holy shit.

Guns 'n FUCKING Roses is doing two nights at Hammerstein next month, on Monday the 15th and Wednesday the 17th. Tickets are on sale next Friday. I better fucking get tickets to this. In fact, I'd sell my first, second and third-born for these tickets. Now if I just knew where they were, or who their mothers were.

-AND-

Wilco is playing a free show (with Yo La Tengo) at the Prospect Park Bandshell on July 13th. Maybe I don't need to go to Lollapalooza now.

And some non-concert stuff:

The new Mission of Burma is streaming in all its glory at their wiki website. (Via Brooklyn Vegan.)

Edited to add: CORRECTION -- the whole album isn't streaming. Yet. It looks like they're slowly releasing it song by song every day (?) or every so many hours. Weird. Three of the album's eight songs are streaming right now.

I refuse to link to any Gnarls Barkley for the simple reason that they have the stupidest name ever, but I will link to Ray LaMontagne covering their song "Crazy". (Via Stereogum.)

So Much Silence links to a live performance by Band of Horses from KEXP.

And Large Hearted Boy links to "An Old Familiar Scene" from the new Elf Power disc.

I swear to never do two hours of real work in a row again. In fact, I may go hand in my resignation right now.