Wednesday, May 31, 2006

He's Single and Ready to Mingle

Why, oh why, did I stop reading Buddyhead gossip regularly? Maybe it's because they post 3 times a year? Whatever. I'm still upset I missed this post from January.

Courtesy of Buddyhead, check out James Brown being interviewed on CNN (late 80s? early 90s?) and very, very clearly being out of his mind on cocaine.

My apologies to JB if he was not on coke at the time, but, seriously, he can't be this much of an idiot, can he?

Cordalene, The Star Ledger

As I've mentioned previously, Philadelphia's Cordalene have a new album coming out on June 13th on Dalloway Records called The Star Ledger.

If you haven't heard Cordalene yet, now's your chance -- The Star Ledger is now streaming at the band's site.

And I gotta tell ya -- it's fantastic, and easily one of my favorite albums of the year. As much as I liked the band's two early Blue and Red EPs, this blows them out of the water. It's a much more mature, expansive effort than those early EPs, yet at the same time it retains the band's traditional energy and charm. Seriously, do yourself a solid and go take a listen.

And if you're in Philly, be sure to catch the band's CD release show at Spirit Wind Studio next Saturday, June 10th. Hopefully they'll be coming to NYC soon...

Birdmonster Live on WOXY

Not sure if this is new or not, but I just noticed that Birdmonster is scheduled to do a live in-studio set at on Friday, June 16th at 4pm. Very cool.

I'm really enjoying the band's new album, No Midnight, and looking forward to seeing them (twice?) in New York at the end of the month. If you still haven't heard them, do yourself a favor and check out some songs at their sites:

"Resurrection Song" is at their main page

"Cause You Can," "No Midnight," and "Bar in the Back" are all streaming at their MySpace page.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quick Roundup

Despite most bloggers' downtime over the weekend, including my own, there was surprisingly little of interest around the web today. Maybe things will pick up as the week goes on. Then again, this is my first summer as a blogger -- maybe summer's as slow for bloggers as it (usually) is for lawyers?

The good stuff:

Bradley's Almanac provides the best exception to the rule, posting two great live sets today, one from The Twilight Singers and one from The Wedding Present in 1988. I've liked this site quite a bit for a while, but it's been on a fantastic tear lately with good live shows, and it's near the top of my list right now.

Torr has several b-sides from the latest Delays album. Still no word when it's coming out here, but if you liked Faded Seaside Glamour, I suggest you go order the new disc from Amazon UK.

Following up on my ACL Fest 2004 pics from before, one of my favorite sets that weekend was from My Morning Jacket. Captain's Dead has another MMJ set from Austin, but this time on the Austin City Limits tv show,

Moroccan Role has another new Long Winters song called "Teaspoon." Don't love it, but I'll keep listening. Apparently promo CDs are showing up in mailboxes now. If you or anyone you love knows the Long Winters, tell 'em to send a copy my way!

So Much Silence has the recent Walkmen show from NPR up in individual MP3s.

And, on a sad (but not entirely unexpected) note, official word comes from Colin Meloy that Petra Haden has left The Decemberists. Too bad. She's damn cute, has a hell of a voice, and plays a mean violin. The word from Colin:

"it's an amicable thing; we still are friends. For one thing, we initially had asked her to come aboard as a touring musician for just the Picaresque tours. We hadn't really expected to take her on as a full-time part of the band. There was some talk about that happening, but in the end, after the tours were over and we were back in the comforts of our homes it didn't necessarily still make sense".
PS: I didn't see it, but apparently The Learning Channel (or someone) did a show about "The Man Whose Arms Exploded." I believe that's him in the picture. I need to see that show.

Yacht Rock Returns!

After a one-month break, the kids at Channel 101 return with a whole new slew of shows this month, including the now-legendary Yacht Rock.

This month's ep isn't quite up there with their best, but they definitely needed to start trying some new things, so I can't blame them too much. Plus, there's one line that may be the funniest thing they've ever done.

Though I do have to say, Eddie and Dave look a little too similar to Hall and Oates. Can't believe I never noticed that before. Go check it out.

The Magic of the Internet

Not too much time for a full update right now, but I wanted to share some pictures that I just found stowed away in my "Sent" mail at GMail. These are all from the 2004 Austin City Limits festival. I originally had over 100 pictures, but lost them all when my hard drive died last year. I just discovered that, apparently, I'd emailed 13 of them to a friend back in 2004, and they were still in my mailbox. Score.

Check out a few. The rest will be up at the Flickr account later today.

My Morning Jacket

Old 97's



Monday, May 29, 2006

Last GNR Update (For Now)

AOL is now streaming the entire Guns n' Roses set from Saturday at Rock in Rio. Check it out.

Quick Update

Still out of town, but wanted to make sure folks knew about this --

New has some incredible video and audio from Guns n' Roses' performance at Rock in Rio yesterday. I just watched the video for "Nighttrain", and Axl and the band sounded incredible. Go here to check it out.

And, yes, I do realize that this here little indie blog is verging on becoming a GNR blog. Deal with it. :^)

Friday, May 26, 2006

This Man Wants to Kiss You... or Have a Good Cry (He's Not Quite Sure)

I don't know whether or not I'm ashamed of this fact, but I was once a fan of Dashboard Confessional.

You see, there was a time about 5 or 6 years ago when I was a huge emo fan, in all its variations. Alkaline Trio, Braid, Chamberlain, Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, Mineral, Small Brown Bike, Sunny Day Real Estate, etc. etc. It wasn't the only thing I was listening to, but it was close. I liked emo's catharsis -- emotion through power chords and catchy songs. I was young and boy did I feel.

Dashboard Confessional's first album, The Swiss Army Romance, was a little different that the emo I was listening to. The album was essentially just Chris Carraba and an acoustic guitar, with a bunch of sad songs with big choruses. And although it was different from the other emo bands -- DC was one of the first emo bands I listened to that I couldn't pretend was "post-punk", whatever that meant -- it still had the whole catharsis thing. And, fuck me, I liked it. (In my defense, I'd just broken up with a somewhat long-term girlfriend, and mid-20's sad boys were, after all, the original key emo demographic.)

Anyway, it wasn't much later that I soured on emo. In large part, it was Dashboard Confessional's fault. The band got huge, and emo got huge with it. Almost overnight, the median age at an emo show went from 23 to 17. And don't even get me started on the sing-a-longs. I had no idea that 17-year old girls could sing so loudly at the same time they were crying. So my music listening shifted to other genres, and I haven't really listened to much emo since. Luckily, though, most of the bands playing emo these days suck donkey testicles. I'm looking at you, Fall Out Boy.

So, when Stereogum linked to a new AOL Sessions performance by the band today, I decided to give it a shot and see how I felt about the band 5 years later. The verdict? Not awful. Well, let me amend that. The band's 2 original songs aren't awful, but their cover of "In a Big Country" is.

And then I decided to check out the band's MySpace page to see if any other new songs are floating around. There aren't. But it did have one of the most mind-blowing statistics that I've ever seen. The band has had 51,000 plays TODAY alone. Their new song, "Don't Wait", has been played more than 241,000 times. And their two older songs have been played more than 1 and 2 million times, respectively.

These are astounding numbers. If there was any doubt that this album is going to be huge, well, that doubt should now be gone. I don't keep up with MySpace stats, but these are the biggest numbers I've ever seen for a band. Like I said, it's astounding. Rich Egan must be shitting himself right now about how lucky he is that Carraba didn't jump to a major.

Gone Fishin'

Took the day off from work today, and I'm headed out of town in the morning for the long weekend. Soooo, don't expect too much in the way of updates until Tuesday. If I find something special, I'll try to post it, but otherwise, it'll be radio silence.

Until then, Go Pistons! And enjoy the last installment of the 5/15 Guns n' Roses show:


"You Could Be Mine"
"November Rain"
Richard Fortus solo
"Chinese Democracy"
Robin Finck solo
"Paradise City"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Have No Title for This Post

Other folks have good stuff to check out, so I will rely on them..

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends posts the fourth in a series of five Ryan Adams "Bedhead" sets. Lots of good stuff. Go listen.

Stereogum points out that there's another new song, "Bus Named Desire", up at Soul Asylum's MySpace page. I wish I could say that's it's better than it is... it doesn't even really sound like Pirner.

If you're like me, the idea of subliminal messages and backmasking in songs has always been intriguing. From hints of Paul McCartney's death to messages about the everlasting majesty of Satan, there have been no end of theories and rumors over the years. Well, someone -- Jeff Milner, apparently -- has now digitally recorded some of the more controversial songs and made the backwards tracks available for anyone to hear. Very cool. Check it out.

I stopped shopping at IKEA when the very first thing I bought there, a short 3-drawer dresser, fell apart within a month of when I bought it. I've never really regretted the decision. Until now, that is. Apparently, if you take the free shuttle from Penn Station to IKEA in Jersey, you get to watch Sondre Lerche write new songs. I suppose I could just ride the train and not actually buy any of that crap...

I skipped seeing Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos at Mercury Lounge the other night. Had a long day and just wasn't in the mood to trek down to Houston St. I kinda wish I'd gone, but, luckily, Bradley's Almanac has posted audio from the band's show in Boston the night before. Excellent stuff.

Plagiarism or not? There's growing talk that the new song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Dani California", which sucks, by the way, is ripped off from Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance". That song wasn't so good, either, and I had to listen to it 3,482 times in my freshman year of college. Are there similarities? Sure. Plagiarism? I'm not convinced... Compare for yourself.

Finally, new discovery Music Glob has a great cover of Bloc Party's "Pioneers" by Mystery Jets. I'm loving the Jets' new album, Making Dens, and they really take possession of this song and make it their own. Be sure to check it out, especially if you like the original. You may not really recognize it.

Your Day of Rockening is Here

Ohio State Fans are Violent Perverts

Seriously, watch the whole thing. These 4 minutes of television pack 20 times the drama of 2 hours of that 24 finale.

Go Blue!

GNR @ Hammerstein, Part 2

The part where Robin gets his due..


"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
Robin Finck solo
"Sweet Child O' Mine"
"Something" (piano solo)
"The Blues"
"Out Ta Get Me"
Richard Fortus/Robin Finck solo
"Rocket Queen"
"My Michelle" (w/ Sebastian Bach)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Eric Bachmann's Fingers Now Appear to Be Straight

CMJ (yes, they do still exist) reports that Eric Bachmann is set to release his debut "solo" album, To The Races, on August 22nd on Saddle Creek Records. You can hit CMJ for the full 10-song tracklist.

No explanation is given for why Bachmann has decided to ditch the Crooked Fingers moniker this time out, although CMJ does cryptically state that the new album "is to be a departure from his 2005 LP, Dignity And Shame..."

Does that mean it's closer to the slower, more dirge-y songs on the first few CF discs, or is this something altogether different? If they know, CMJ ain't telling. I suppose you could take a guess, though, based on the tidbits that:

(a) Bachmann wrote the album while living in the back of his touring van; and
(b) He'll be doing a co-headlining tour in the fall with Richard Buckner.

Survey says... it's wrist-slittin' music.

Personally, I'm still waiting for him to do an album of Neil Diamond covers.

Guns n' Roses @ Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC [5/15/06]

As I mentioned the other day, I've come into possession of a live recording of last Monday's Guns n' Roses show from last Monday, May 15th. I was at the show, and discussed it last week. All in all, I thought it was an excellent show and a good sign of things to come for the band.

Now you can hear for yourself. Due to the size, I'll be posting this in several installments, and I won't be leaving the links up for long. I haven't heard any complaints from the band's management about the live audio and video which can be found all across the web, so I have no reason to believe that they'd have a problem with this, but I do know that the band is very protective of its music, so I'm proceeding carefully. If anyone with decisionmaking power wants this removed, contact me at the email address on the left.

And I'll also implore you to purchase Chinese Democracy when it comes out in, err, December. I'd link to a pre-order page, but, well, you understand. They don't exist.

This first installment is a short one, designed mainly to see the effect on my bandwidth:


"Welcome to the Jungle"
"It's So Easy"
"Mr. Brownstone"
"Live and Let Die"
Ron Thal (Bumblefoot) solo

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Someone Please Silence the Monster

Song of the day: The best song I heard today comes via Said the Gramophone -- "What We Did Wrong" by Duels. I need to do some research to find out more about them, and I'll update when I do. I can't really put a finger on it, but this song has so many reference points, yet it takes them all and turns them into a wonderful and unique little jubilee of a song. Parts make me think of "Mr. Blue Sky", while parts make me think of the Polyphonic Spree (if they didn't suck). All of it makes me happy. Check it out.

Other good stuff:

KEXP Blog features a Washington band called Slender Means. The band's site is streaming 5 songs, and while the first song is just so-so, each song gets better and better. Another band worth learning more about.

Stereogum has a cover of the Smiths song "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" by The Magic Numbers.

You Ain't No Picasso spotlights a nice song by Headlights called "TV".

And, finally, Stereogum (again) links to a new, umm, Meatloaf song leaked from his forthcoming album. The song, "The Monster Is Loose", sounds like a cover of a Linkin Park song, and makes me question the future of the human race. Just awful. And I'd almost forgiven the man for his musical past based on his bitch tits performance in Fight Club. Oh well.

EDITED TO ADD: The Gramophone strikes again. They have a guest post from none other than Will Butler of The Arcade Fire. Score. Check it out.

The What Four

While listening (as usual) to last week, I heard an interesting song from a band called What Four.

The song, entitled "Prelude No. 1 in D Minor", was all over the place, with piano, strings and soaring guitars all coming together into very pretty sections which would, on a dime, turn into complete freak-outs, and just as quickly switch back into prettiness.

I finally had a chance to look into the band today, and it turns out that all the glorious noise of that song was made by a group of high school seniors from outside of Chicago. Unbelievable. When I was in high school, all my friends' bands played were covers of Guns n' Roses, Metallica and Rush. Needless to say, these kids are a little more talented than my friends. (Sorry, Adam and Charlie.)

They have three other songs at their MySpace page, all of which show a lot of promise too, but I keep coming back to "Prelude".

"Prelude No. 1 in D Minor"

I can't wait to hear what they sound like when they're 19.

Brief Thoughts On The WGA

Forgive me if I'm a little incredulous right now, but can someone tell me why there was so much panic when the WGA [Writer's Guild of America] was threatening to strike a year or two ago?

Exactly what was the threat implied in the strike talk -- that America would be denied quality television and movie entertainment?

Because, I gotta tell ya, I'm hard pressed to find quality these days. I just set aside my Monday night to watch four hours of television that I will never get back. And lord do I wish I could get it back. I wish that the writers on Alias had actually written a coherent television episode that tied up loose ends and explained, or at least attempted to explain, 5 years of mythology. I wish that the writers on 24 hadn't wrapped up the "suspense" 24 minutes into the 2 hour episode. I wish that the writers on 24 provided at least a modicum of an explanation as to how the Chinese knew exactly where to find Jack Bauer.

Fuck, I wish that both of those shows hadn't used a "kidnapped and stuck on an ocean freighter where no one will ever find me" trick within weeks of each other.

The absolutely only saving grace? We can now call President Logan "quick draw McGraw." Or maybe he's one of the "Minutemen." Because, yes, the writers expect us to believe that the First Lady seduced the President and had sex with him during the time between 6:01am and 6:05am.

Like I said, why was anyone concerned about a WGA strike?

Monday, May 22, 2006

This Monday Hasn't Sucked

For the first time in weeks, this Monday hasn't completely sucked at work. And it's also been a pretty good music day around the web, with a lot of interesting things floating around -- not least of which is a .zip of last Monday's Guns n' Roses show that I managed to snag. (Thanks for the head's up, Brooklyn Vegan!) I'll post that baby soon, unless Axl asks me not to, in which case I'll trade him my not posting it for an advance copy of Chinese Democracy.

Today's News

Indie Blog Heaven points out a fascinating little article. Apparently Lucero, the best alt-country/rock/get drunk and sing band going right now, is preparing to record a new album with David Lowery of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker fame. Cool.

Torr points out an article in The Independent -- Babyshambles has been dropped by Rough Trade, even though they've sold 110,000 copies of their debut album. (Is that in the UK, or worldwide?) That amazes me, and gives me a lot of respect for Rough Trade. Kicking an idiot off your roster who's nothing but bad news, even though he sells records. U.S. labels could learn a lesson from this.

Today's Music

If you haven't downloaded it yet, the new Sonic Youth album, Rather Ripped, is now streaming for FREE at the band's website. Regardless how you hear it, be sure to go pre-order it. It's a fantastic record. (Link via Can You See The Sunset From The Southside?)

All the other blogs beat me to it, but AOL has an exclusive session with one of my current favorite new bands, Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos. I'm seeing them open for Film School tomorrow night. Can't wait.


#1: Music For Robots links to an amazingly off-beat song (yet wonderful) song by Skittish called "Carousel". Go check it out.

#2: Six Eyes points out a British band called The Sleeping Years who I need to hear more from. Go check out "Islands", and if you like that (you better), go to their MySpace page.

#3: While listening to today, I heard a song -- as I often do -- that I immediately fell in love with called "The Sky is Falling" by The Oktober People.

#4: Finally, Ear Farm spotlights Tennis and the Mennonites (great name), and pretty accurately compares them to Bright Eyes. The first song, "Delayed" is ok, but the second one, "Modern Eye", is pretty dang good. Go listen.

Silversun Pickups, The Media Club, Vancouver, BC [4/29/06]

As I've mentioned, as much as I like the Silversun Pickups, I still haven't had the opportunity to see them in person. I'm looking forward to that changing with the release of the new album in a couple months.

Until then, I can thank Large Hearted Boy for pointing out last week that the band's recent show in Vancouver was up at Dimeadozen. If you haven't been convinced yet, this set should prove once and for all that this band is for real.

"Rusted Wheel -> Well Thought Out Twinkles"
"Future for Scenarios"
"Waste It On"
"Kissing Families -> Comeback Kid"
"Lazy Eye"
"Creation Lake"
Redneck Chatter
"All the Go Inbetweens"

The National @ Webster Hall, NYC [5/21/06]

I like being pleasantly surprised at shows. It doesn't happen often.

And it certainly didn't happen during the opening set at last night's National show at Webster Hall. I had heard opener Baby Dayliner described as an indie "karaoke" act, but I really didn't expect that to be a literal description. Unfortunately, it was. For 45 minutes we were forced to endure one dude on stage, putting on the best Morrissey impersonation he could, from vocal affectation to hairdo to poofy white shirt, singing along to a freaking tape of wanna-be Morrissey songs, without an instrument in sight (except for The National's setup). And, guess what? It was 10 times worse than it sounds.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised by the set put on by The National. Although I've been listening to their latest CD, Alligator, pretty religiously for most of the last year, I had never caught The National in concert before, and I was somewhat worried how their primarily low-key, late night and a pack of cigarettes music would translate.

Well, I needn't have worried. The band was excellent. And while not every song made the live transition as well others (particularly in a large room like Webster), I was amazed just how tight the band was and how good the songs sounded. What also amazed me was how big the songs sounded at times -- I actually found myself comparing them to The Frames on one or two occasions. And, in case you haven't figured out yet, that's a great comparison coming from me. When they played "Abel", I thought the place was going to explode. Great stuff. Can't wait to see them again.

A few pictures with very poor lighting:

AOL Roundup (Week of May 23)

Worst. week. ever.

Michael Bolton, Bolton Swings Sinatra [I'll be honest with you, I love his music, I do, I'm a Michael Bolton fan.]
Phoenix, It's Never Been Like That

Among the, err, less good things you can hear are:

The Dixies Chicks
Angels and Airwaves (new project from Blink-182 dick and fart joke guy)
The Wreckers (the Michelle Branch country album that we were all waiting for)
Def Leppard (a vital and exciting album of 70's covers, including the 172nd cover of the worst song of all time, "Rock On")
Less Than Jake

I refuse to link to those, though. If you really must listen to one or more of them, go here. And be sure never to mention this to me again.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

New Wilco!

For someone who swears by his TiVo, I tend to forget to tape pretty much everything. The most recent thing I forgot to tape was Wilco's appearance on Conan O'Brien last Friday night. And, of course, they played a new song called "We Can Make It Better" (or "Is That The Thanks I Get?" -- no one seems to be sure).

Luckily, The Best Songs Will Never Get Sung... managed to get a great quality rip of the song. Great stuff, check it out:

"Is That The Thanks I Get?" [I like that title better]

Additionally, What Would Jesus Blog? has video of the performance AND audio of Jeff performing it solo.

The Return of the New York Dolls

A bit of disclosure -- I don't know a whole hell of a lot about the Dolls. I've never owned any of their cd's, haven't heard much of their music, and will forever be scarred by frontman David Johansen's whole "Buster Poindexter" stage. Seriously, I was only 11 at the time, and exposing me to the torture that was "Hot Hot Hot" was just cruel. (Link via the wonderful Badminton Stamps.)

That said, when I heard that the surviving members of the band had reformed a couple of years back for some live shows, including Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival, I was intrigued. I didn't make that show, as I was out in Jones Beach that day seeing The Dead butcher several Jerry songs, nor did I see the band's other gigs, even though one of my current favorite rock drummers -- Gary Powell of The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things -- was playing with them. In fact, the closest I got was seeing Johansen standing in front of Slimelight Avalon a couple of months ago as I walked by.

The shows apparently went well, though, and the band has now recorded a new album entitled One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, which comes out on July 25th on Roadrunner Records.

Roadrunner has posted a couple songs off the new album, and, surprisingly, they have me thinking about picking up the album when it comes out. The first song, "Take A Good Look At My Good Looks", is nothing like what I expected, and sounds quite a bit like mid-period Rolling Stones. The second song, "Dance Like A Monkey", is closer to what I was expecting, and is a pretty decent dirty little ass-shaker. And by ass-shaker I do not mean Popozao.

Take a listen to the songs for yourself over at Roadrunner's site.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Friday Afternoon Dump

Not that type of dump. The other type. The type where I make up for a couple of days of sporadic posting by throwing as much stuff at you as possible. The type that will take you a day or two just to listen to everything in. The type that covers my ass until I can post some of the interesting stuff I've gotten this week.

That type.

Jefitoblog continues to be one my favorite recent finds in the world of blogs. Today he brings us The Posies', err, "farewell show" from San Francisco in September of 1998. For those that don't know, the band did indeed break up back in 1998, but I think that lasted for about 6 months. Jon and Ken ended up doing an acoustic tour together in 2000, which was spectacular, and where two of my friends ended up meeting, falling in love, and eventually getting married. Luckily for them, "farewell" only meant "see you in a few months." The Posies are now officially rebanded.

Continuing on the live show front, Bradley's Almanac posts a recent Mogwai show from Boston here. Never been a huge fan of the band, but I've liked what I've heard from their latest disc, Mr. Beast.

New Yo La Tengo! The album's not out until September, but you can go hear "Beanbag Chair" over at You Ain't No Picasso.

Go check out a few interesting non-album tracks from Desaperecidos over at Another Form of Relief. If you don't know who Desaperecidos is, it is (was?) a band fronted by Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst which explored Conor's rockier, political side. I liked the album when it came out a few years ago, but honestly haven't listened to it since.

So Much Silence has two great recent posts of live in-studio performances from WOXY and KEXP. Go listen to Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, and the previously-gushed-over Silversun Pickups.

Interesting. A Tribe Called Quest is reforming. I always kinda liked them, especially "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo". to reform. (Via Kingblind.)

Finally, a few videos to ease you off into the weekend. Not music videos, but instead old-school clips of Gene Siskel (RIP) and Roger Ebert doing promo clips for their show in the late 80's. Interesting stuff. They're not all as dark as the first one, so if you have a chance, watch all three.

Guns n' Roses Play Surprise NYC Acoustic Show

And I didn't know about it. Fuckers.

From, your favorite source for daily heavy metal news:

A BLABBERMOUTH.NET visitor by the name of Matt Goldenberg has submitted the following report:

"Okay... I can't really tell you how I found out or how I got on the list without betraying a friend's confidence, but I got a call around 6 p.m. [on Thursday, May 18] that Rosario Dawson, the actress from 'Rent', 'Alexander', etc., was having a birthday party tonight at a small club near my apartment [in New York City] that I'm told is called Plum (I feel like an idiot but I honestly have never seen a name on the marquee and now I can't find a club called Plum on, so I apologize if that's not right) and that GUNS N' ROSES WERE GOING TO PLAY. Some of my co-workers and I were able to get our names on the list. I was told to keep my mouth shut because it was all supposed to be a secret.

"Anyways, I have been here once or twice before, and it's a pretty small, chic nightclub. It has two floors and holds maybe 800, 900 people tops — someone told me capacity is actually around 500 people, I don't know how accurate that is and tonight, it was definately filled wwwaaaayyyy beyond capacity. I don't mean to make light of a tragedy but if God forbid there had been a fire, it would have been The Station x10.

"So doors are at 11 p.m. and we show up around 12:30 a.m. and... we're told we can't go in. Allegedly Axl [Rose, GUNS N' ROSES frontman] got into a fight with a clubgoer (I can't verify this) and they subsequently shut down the doors. Of the dozen or so people I was with, all but my friend Ken split. It was at that point that Ken had the brilliant idea that maybe now they would let us in since there was just two of us. We pleaded with a bouncer who verified that we were actually on the list and — yes! — we were in.

"Like I said, the place was packed, but we managed to find another good friend who had a table up front near the stage. The joint was crawling with celebrities: Kid Rock, Mickey Rourke, Eric Balfour, and God knows who else. On the way up I heard buzz first that the original band was there (which I knew was B.S.), and then buzz that it was just Axl and Izzy [Stradlin] and Matt Sorum (which seemed feasible in light of Axl's recently making-nice with both former Gunners). I saw Dizzy [Reed, GNR keyboardist] wandering around before we took our spot upfront, maybe five or ten feet from where the band was and right next to Del James [Axl's longtime friend/assistant].

"The band finally came a little after 1 a.m. I think. The stage was incredibly small and everyone surged forward to the point where tables were knocked over; my legs and feet are currently soaked in champagne and God knows what else. Anyway, Izzy and Matt were NOT there (or if they were, they didn't play), and if Brain [drummer] was there, I didn't see him, either.

"But Axl, Robin [Finck], Richard [Fortus], Tommy [Stinson], Bumblefoot, Dizzy and Chris [Pittman] all took the stage. Everyone played acoustically except Robinwho played a semi-hollow Gibson, and Tommy, who played his usual bass; for 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door', Robin and Richard switched instruments. Chris and Dizzy played maracas, congos, tambourines, and occasionally the keyboard, which was crammed in the corner. Axl introduced the show as the 'karaoke version' of GN'R as a movie screen-sized monitor with all his lyrics was behind him.

"Everyone seemed to be in a great mood; they played some old tunes from 'Lies' that they haven't done since Slash was in the band, and Axl said they had learned the songs just 20 minutes before arriving at the club.

"Before 'I.R.S.', Axl asked the band if they felt like trying it even though they hadn't rehearsed it, and Tommy screamed out 'I'm fucking fearless, I'll try anything!' The three solos in 'November Rain' were handled as they have been (Richard Fortus does the first one, Robin Finck does the second one, and Bumblefoot does the big closing one) except that Richard and Bumblefoot played their solos acoustically, which sounded pretty awesome.

"Needless to say, the whole place went apeshit... it was a really intimate, really amazing show and a nice way to close out the week after the four Hammerstein gigs. I don't remember the precise order of the set list but here is what they played:

01. Used To Love Her
02. Mr. Brownstone
03. Welcome To The Jungle
04. You're Crazy ('Lies' version, not the 'Appetite' version)
05. Patience
06. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
07. The Blues
08. I.R.S.
09. Sweet Child O' Mine
10. November Rain (Axl on keyboards)
11. Paradise City

"I don't think I missed any songs; the whole show lasted a little over an hour, maybe. At the end, Axl came back out and said, 'I forgot to do something because I'm a fucking idiot,' before bringing Rosario Dawson out on stage and leading the audience in a rendition of 'Happy Birthday.' Then Rosario grabbed the mike and went nuts — 'THEY'VE NEVER PLAYED ALL ACOUSTIC, THIS IS HISTORY IN THE MAKING, HOW MUCH DOES THIS MAN FUCKING ROCK,' etc."
And, by the way, someone should point Rosario in the direction of the band's 1987 CBGB acoustic set that's floating around YouTube.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Robert Pollard Invades Your Ears

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, indie rock legend Robert Pollard has been an extremely busy man since closing up shop with Guided by Voices seventeen months ago. He released the 4-song Zoom EP last spring, an EP soundtrack to Steven Soderburgh's 'day and date' digital movie Bubble, a second GBV "suitcase" of 100 unreleased songs, albums under the Moping Swans and Circus Devils monikers, and, earlier this year, his "debut" post-GBV album, From A Compound Eye. Plus, he's already finished another solo album, entitled Normal Happiness, which comes out on Merge Records on October 10th.

Impressive, eh? In that same 17-month span, my creative output amounts to the schlock I've written on this blog and a couple cartoons I drew in court about a judge I didn't like.

Anyway, if it wasn't enough, Bob is releasing three more albums this month as part of his ongoing Fading Captain Series. My pre-orders showed up last week, and I've finally gotten to the point where I'm comfortable putting my thoughts down in words. My impression (now)? Two of them are damn good, and the third has its moments. As an inexplicably popular fat man once said, two out of three ain't bad.

The Keene Brothers, Blues and Boogie Shoes: This was the first disc I listened to, and I haven't stopped listening to it yet. My notes from the first time I listened to the disc read -- "possibly my favorite Bob-related release since Isolation Drills." High praise, indeed. The album's chock full of great, Bob Pollard melodies, and sounds at times like it could be a lost GBV album, except, unlike most GBV albums, I don't think there's a bad song in the bunch. Simply put, Bob and Tommy need to keep working together.

"Death of the Party" [As highly recommended as possible]
"Heaven's Gate"

The Takeovers, Turn to Red: As I said, Bob releases a lot of music, and as a result, there's times you really have to be patient with his albums, spend some time wading through his more experimental and/or less interesting songs, and wait for it to reveal its hidden gems. That's exactly what I had to do with this Takeovers disc over the last week, and finally, this afternoon, I stopped skipping around and let the disc just play, and I finally discovered the gems. I also discovered that most of the album wasn't as unlistenable as I first thought (though "Sweet Jelly" and "Wig Stomper" are close). The aforementioned gems:

"First Spill is Free"
"Be It Not For The Serpentine Rain Dodger" [Highly recommended]

Psycho and the Birds, All That is Holy: This is the one I thought I'd like the least. Maybe it's the silly band name. Maybe it's that I haven't been a fan of Bob's previous Circus Devils collaborations with Todd Tobias. Maybe it's just that it was the last of the three I finally listened to. Regardless, I didn't even listen to the disc until last night, after having it for a week.

And now I'm starting to think that this might be my favorite of the three. Why? The disc comes about as close as anything I've heard from Bob in close to a decade that recaptures all the magic of pre-1997 Guided By Voices. In other words, despite it's low quality production, almost every song has this incredible melody to it, and you find yourself imagining just how great these songs would sound with better production. That's the exact thing I used to think every time I listened to Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes. And while I loved the more-produced GBV albums at the end of the band's career, it's nice to recapture what drew me to Bob's music in the first place. And it's nice to know that, at the end of the day, these songs are perfect just as they are.

"Father is Good"
"Jesus the Clockwork" [Highly recommended]

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Next, Best Album of the Year?

The more I hear, the more I'm convinced that the new Silversun Pickups album is going to be one of my favorite albums of the year.

I already linked to the new songs at their MySpace site, including "Lazy Eye", "Dream in Tempo 119" and "Sample in Retrograde". Now our friends over at I Rock Cleveland (with all due hardness) bring us another new song called "Melatonin".

I'm serious when I say this -- GO NOW. Holy crap what a great song.

Their new album, Carnavas, is out on July 25th, but I seriously need to find myself a copy before then.

My Decision Just Got a Little Harder

The official ACL Fest lineup can be found here.

Notable new additions? Stars, The Long Winters, The Stills, and Sparta.

Decisions, decisions. Chicago?

The Stew Social Calendar

Please turn your browsers to a new feature here at the Stew, The Stew Social Calendar.

Many of you are often asking me what shows I'm going to, or what shows are coming up, and I figured the easiest way to answer the question -- rather than CC'ing you on every Ticketmaster or Ticketweb confirmation I get -- is to find a central place to list everything.

Here you go.

There will be a permanent link on the sidebar soon.

Now you can stalk me. Exciting, eh?

The Frames, "It's Just a Band"

Reader Ronan was kind enough to send me a link to a fantastic documentary about The Frames. It mixes live performances, interviews, and all kinds on interesting little bits. Watch it here. Be warned, it's 56 minutes long, so be sure to set aside some time on this one.

Again, kids, if you're not listening to them, the Frames are, in my own opinion, the best band around right now. Go pick up a couple of their cds on their website and find out for yourselves.

Thanks Ronan!

Shows on Sale Today

Not a huge list, but there are a couple indie-type shows worth noting today.. Unless noted otherwise, all tix are on sale at Ticketweb at noon.

Mon., 6/5: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Bowery Ballroom ($20)

Thurs., 6/29: Fiery Furnaces with Man Man at Webster Hall ($20)

Sat., 7/8: Lifetime at Bowery Ballroom ($15)

Thurs., 7/13: Weakerthans, New Amsterdams and Greg Graffin (of Bad Religion) at Bowery Ballroom ($14)

And there's one show out there already on sale which, amazingly, I haven't noticed on the blogs -- Beirut at Northsix on Tuesday, June 20th. Tickets are on sale now. I just bought one.

Music Festival Smackdown

The slightly underwhelming ACL Fest lineup has left me pondering the possibility of skipping ACL in favor of Lollapalooza in Chicago. There's a lot of cross-over between the lineups, but, to me at least, Lollapalooza gets the better of ACL in terms of non-cross-over bands. Take a look:

(Italics signifies act only at that show)

ACL Fest
Aimee Mann
Ben Kweller
Cat Power and the Memphis Rhythm Band
Damien Rice
Explosions in the Sky
Flaming Lips
Jose Gonzales
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness…
Iron & Wine
New Pornographers
Okkervil River
Secret Machines
Son Volt
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Wolf Parade

Andrew Bird
Broken Social Scene
Built to Spill
Flaming Lips
The Frames
Hold Steady
Iron & Wine
Jeremy Enigk
The M's
New Pornographers
Ryan Adams
Secret Machines
Sonic Youth

So what's the final analysis? I'm still not sure. Maybe the "official" ACL list tomorrow will include a surprise or two. Maybe one of the fests will add Dirty Pretty Things or The Brokedown or The Whigs.

Maybe it all comes down to the question: Hot dog or BBQ?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ACL Fest Lineup Leaks!

ACL Fest Rumors has revealed the bulk of the ACL Fest lineup for this year. My thoughts? Pretty good, but it's missing that spark of previous years. Go to the site to see the full list, but the leaked acts that interest me are:

Van Morrison
Jose Gonzales
The Raconteurs
Cat Power and the Memphis Rhythm Band
Secret Machines
Wolf Parade
Damien Rice (thank god I can see him this year without having to listen to Fiona Apple)
Aimee Mann
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness…
Okkervil River (didn't we establish that Shearwater are in NYC that weekend?)
Explosions in the Sky (my brother will be jealous about this one)

Add to that the previously confirmed Flaming Lips, Shins, Iron & Wine, Calexico, New Pornographers, Ted Leo, Son Volt, Centro-matic, Ben Kweller, Marah, and you've got a pretty nice lineup.

Still, though, if the grid causes any serious conflicts, then the list starts to narrow, and things get a little dicey. So, unless there's still some more surprises, personally, count me only as a probably maybe [Especially now that I don't have to go to Austin for good BBQ]. Keep your eye on this space when the grids come out for possible tickets for sale.

GNR Part Two

The only bad part of the show? No dudes in KFC hats doing "the robot" and playing with numchucks.

Guns n' Roses @ Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC [5/15/06]

Lots of thoughts after last night's GNR show here in New York.

First, I no longer want Slash back in the band. Well, I wouldn't turn it down, but I no longer really want it to happen. Why? Because Axl's finally found his new muse -- Robin Finck. Seriously, Robin impressed the living f**k out of me last night. For a guy who was in Nine Inch Nails, he's got serious chops and plays with a ton of soul. No offense to Tommy Stinson or the other guys, but he's the heart and soul of this current band. The new songs revolve around his playing, and he makes the old songs sound legitimate (see #6 below).

Second, Axl gave us as good a show as anyone had a right to expect. He sounded fantastic, and showed great vocal range (and not just for a dude in his 40's). He was also in a good mood, joking with the crowd, and thanking us repeatedly for coming out and supporting the band. A nice touch.

Third, they seriously, seriously need to change that setlist. It was almost the exact same setlist from when I saw them at the Garden in 2002, and pretty much identical to the first two nights of this run. I know that the fans want to hear certain songs every night, but how they have so many songs to choose from that it doesn't make sense to stick with the same songs every night. How about "Think About You", "Anything Goes", "Civil War", "Estranged", "Dead Horse" or "Breakdown"? I'd love to hear any of these songs.

Fourth, the pacing of the show was a little off. Maybe it's that they're still early in the tour, but several times during the show they managed to go from spectacular to so-so in the space of a song, and then back again. No real noticable flubs from anybody, but there were times when songs just seemed to lose their energy 1/2 way through. Weird.

Fifth, I really like the new songs. Of course, the best of the bunch is "Better", which, according to Axl, was written by Finck. "The Blues" is a cool tune which sounded great. "Madagascar" sounds like it was going to be an incredible song but then Axl decided he was too tired to write a melody. As for "Chinese Democracy" (the song), I think I'll need to hear it on disc before I can really say anything about it. It sounds like it has potential, but it was hard to tell. Plus, I think I like the other songs more because I've listened to the leaks over and over again. I don't have a leak for "Chinese Democracy".

Sixth, as much as I enjoyed the show, and as much as I liked the new songs, there was a real, palpable feeling at times that this just wasn't GNR. I didn't have that feeling in 2002, and I've tried not to feel that way, because, after all, anyone can pretty much play anyone else's part. But I can't deny that on a couple of occasions it just rang a little hollow, and it looked like Axl simply running around out there with a bunch of hired guns. It's not fair, but it did occur to me. And, despite that, I think that if the old lineup ever does get back together, Robin should stay in the band. That dude pwned.

AOL Update (Week of May 15th)

Wow, it feels like I haven't posted in a week. Sorry about that. Been a busy couple of days.. Until I'm totally back on my game, sate yourself with some streaming music over at AOL. There ain't much this week, but that's not AOL's fault. Just a slow week for releases. But why no Twilight Singers?

Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers
Radio 4, Enemies Like This
Eels, Live
Dinosaur Jr., Green Mind (remaster/reissue)
Dinosaur Jr., Where You Been (remaster/reissue) [one of my favorite albums ever]
Tim Easton, Ammunition

Monday, May 15, 2006

Blogging In 5 Words or Less

Busy day. Rushing for GNR tonight. Few links. Enjoy.

Wilco live during Leroy period. Leroy = bad.

Springsteen live on BBC Radio.

Scrubs is back next year! And Andy Richter's televised again! Yay!

Punk Norah Jones? I'd do her. Wouldn't pay to see her.

MMJ do Elvis. Cool.

BBC fucks up, hilarity ensues. [Check this out.]

Chris Koza = interesting tune.

These chickens know my soul.

Time saved. TTFN.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

One More Day..

Can't freakin' wait. And, yeah, I'll probably end up going on Wednesday too, as the word is there's a "surprise" that night. Maybe that's when Izzy will show. Maybe someone else.. we'll see.


Get this video and more at

November Rain (partial)

Get this video and more at

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Jon Auer, The Whigs @ Mercury Lounge, 5/12/06

Yesterday, class, we discussed my quandary, and the very difficult choice I had to make last night.

I'm pleased to say that I made the 100% correct decision by choosing go see Jon Auer and The Whigs rather than Guns n' Roses, though I hear that that show was excellent too.

Where to begin? Jon's show was unique. He sounded great, and, as I've mentioned previously, the songs from his new solo album, Songs From The Year of Our Demise, are excellent. [Listen to "My Sweet Unknown" and BUY] The problem, though, was the crowd. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I felt like I was at a frat party. The crowd was 75% Southern sorority girls and frat guys (presumably University of Georgia grads). And while most of the Southern sorority girls were fuckin' smoking, they wouldn't shut up. It pissed me off, and it really pissed Jon off.

After he came into the crowd a couple of times and asked people to keep the noise down, Jon eventually gave up and invited those of us who were listening to join him and his guitar in the hallway by the fire door. Jon's mood seemed to brighten a bit, and he played a couple of songs, including a great Ween cover, before the Mercury folks shut it down as a "fire hazard". Jon went back onstage, played a Joe Jackson tune, and called it a night.

I spoke to Jon briefly after The Whigs played, and he seemed to be in a better mood. I think he realized it was just a bad crowd for a dude and a guitar, no matter how good the dude and guitar. And luckily a bunch of people stuck around to talk to him, so hopefully he realized he had a decent number of people there to see him. Luckily, He also said he'd be coming back to NYC in the near future to play a proper show. Can't wait.

I almost felt like a traitor to Jon by sticking around to see The Whigs, but I knew it wasn't their fault that the crowd wouldn't be quiet. I also knew that crowd noise was not going to be a problem during their set, as The Whigs are the second loudest band I've ever seen (next to Jon's other band, The Posies).

So I stayed, and I'm glad I did. Simply put, The Whigs are one of the best live acts going right now. The best way I can describe them? They fucking rip shit up. I have no idea how long they've been playing together, but it sounds like they've been playing together all their lives. And they play as if their lives depended on it. Pure, visceral, exciting rock and roll. It doesn't get much better. See them when they're in your town, and buy their album.

Lots more pics at my Flickr site (look left).

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Tunes Tuesday... on Friday

There's a bunch of interesting new tunage floating around the ether right now. Take thyself a listen.

The Keene Brothers: I mentioned a few weeks back that Robert Pollard and Tommy Keene - together, the Keene Brothers - have an album coming out this month called Blues and Boogie Shoes. The first full tracks from the album have leaked, and holy crap are they good. Go to Obscure Sound to check out "Death of a Party" and "Island of Lost Lucys", then go order the disc at Luna Records.

Radiohead: A number of sites have been posting audio from some recent Radiohead shows, including some new tracks the band has been playing. I finally took a listen to a couple - "4 Minute Warning" and "15 Step" - at The Rawking Refuses to Stop today, and I'm glad I did. I like the first song quite a bit, and the second one doesn't suck. So they're already way ahead of Kid A in my book. Rumors are abound that the band will be making an ACL Fest appearance. We'll see.

Silversun Pickups: Another in the growing list of my favorite young bands, the Silversun Pickups have a new album coming out on July 25th called Carnavas. They've started streaming a few new songs at their MySpace page, and they're great. Be sure to check them out.

Tim Easton: There was a period of time a few years back when Tim Easton was getting a ton of buzz as the next big thing in alt-country singer-songwriter-dom. I bought his album The Truth About Us mainly because his backing band on the song was Jay Bennett, John Stirratt and Ken Coomer of Wilco, but never really got into it. Then I kinda forgot about him. Well, he's back, and he's starting to pick up some buzz again. And, I'll be damned, I really like his new song, "Dear Old Song and Dance". (Link via Large Hearted Boy.)

You can also listen to two more songs off his new album, Ammunition, at New West Records' website.

Ashford Breaks, TONIGHT @ The Delancey, 11pm

Not sure if I've ever mentioned them on the blog or not, but one of my favorite "new" bands is a New York band called the Ashford Breaks. I call them "new" because, in fact, the band has been playing around New York for several years now, but have so far only released a four-song EP back in 2003 or so.

Over that time, the band's sound (and their name) has had some tweaks here and there, but I'm still comfortable calling them intelligent, Glasgow-inspired rock. Check out a couple songs from their website:

"High and Low"
"Click Click"

The band has a new EP in the can, though I haven't seen a release date yet. Hopefully someone can put some legitimate support behind the EP, though, because I'm tired of being one of only 15 people at their shows.

Anyway, the band is playing TONIGHT at the Delancey, 168 Delancey St., between Clinton and Attorney, Lower East Side style. I can't make it due to my previously discussed quandary, but you should definitely head down and check them out. You won't be sorry.

Decisions, Decisions

Tonight's quandary? Go see Jon Auer and The Whigs at Mercury Lounge, or scalp a ticket to see Guns n' Roses at Hammerstein? I'm seeing GNR on Monday too, but if there's a surprise or two, I'd like to be there when it's unveiled.. tough call.

Speaking of shows, a ton of news the last day or so:

(1) Recent favorites The Little Ones have announced a show opening for Matt Costa and Elvis Perkins (who and who?) at Bowery Ballroom on [July 1st.

My plan? Catch the Little Ones early, and then run over to Knitting Factory to see Birdmonster.

(2) How's this for advance notice? Magnolia Electric Co., Shearwater and Bottomless Pit are playing Knitting Factory on Saturday, September 16th.

Shearwater, as you know, features members of Okkervil River. Bottomless Pit is the new band from Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen of Silkworm. Still can't believe Michael's gone...

Anyway, I bought a ticket before I realized this is the same weekend as ACL Fest in Austin. Crap. Guess this also means no Magnolia or Okkervil at ACL. Oh well. Guess if I end up having to bail on ACL again due to work, I've got a backup.

(3) Speaking of ACL, Ted Leo has been added to the lineup. This show is finally starting to shape up into something special. Flaming Lips, Shins, Iron and Wine, New Pornographers, Son Volt, Centro-matic, Calexico, Marah... still needs a few more quality adds, but this is twice the show it was just earlier this week.

(4) And, finally, Bloc Party have announced two NYC-area shows in July. Go read Brooklyn Vegan for more info.

Lots more coming later in the day... It's Friday and I'm in a bloggin' mood.

It's No Fun Being an Illegal Alien

That maxim is just as true today as it was 23 years ago... the proof is in the video:

Now I'm about as big of a Genesis fan as there is in this day and age, but jesus, what the fuck were they thinking?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Don't Do Crack, Kids

Quiet Day

Sorry if things have been slower than usual around here the last day or so... Aside from some things picking up at work, I've been spending most of my spare time working on a business plan for a new venture I'm starting with a couple of friends, as well as working on pre-drafting a patent application. If you thought doing your taxes was a pain in the ass, you've clearly never seen a patent application. What a ridiculous process.

Anyway, while I'm here I figured I'd drop a couple quick things on you:

Heather at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends stays on her recent tear with links to a great Nirvana show from 1991.

An Aquarium Drunkard spotlights an artist named Ben Weaver with three unmastered songs from his forthcoming album. AD refers to him as a "low-fi Steve Earle," and I tend to agree with that analysis.

Good news for me -- ACL Fest Rumors reports that five more bands have confirmed for September's Austin City Limits festival, including Marah, Calexico, Kings of Leon, Nada Surf and Phoenix. I'm thrilled about Marah and Calexico. And while I don't count myself a fan of the other three, all are good catches for the festival and worth checking out. Oh, and word is that the official "full" lineup will now be released next Thursday, May 18th. A few acts I'd like to see added? Wilco, Ryan Adams, Long Winters, Lucero, Serena Maneesh, The Brokedown, The Whigs and Band of Horses. All would fit the ACL mold, and would be great additions.

More soon, I promise, including a live Teenage Fanclub show from 1991.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Long Winters, Putting the Days to Bed

From Indie Blog Heaven comes word that the new Long Winters album will be released on Barsuk Records on my birthday, July 25th. I can't tell you how excited this makes me. The band's last full length LP, When I Pretend To Fall, is one of my favorite albums of the past few years, and still gets a ton of play on my iPod. Simply put, it's one of the happiest, poppiest, most perfect albums I have in my collection, and just listening to it puts me in a good mood.

If you've never heard the band before, or even if you have, go listen to some tracks at Barsuk's website, including a brand new song:

"Pushover" (from the forthcoming Putting the Days to Bed)
"Ultimatum" (from Ultimatum EP)
"Stupid" (from When I Pretend To Fall)
"Car Parts" (from The Worst You Can Do Is Harm)

And check out the in-studio session the band did for

RIP: Ben Huff, Michigan Wolverine, 1975-2006

Sad news from MGoBlog -- Ben Huff, a member of Michigan's National Championship football team in 1997, died on Sunday. No cause is yet known.
Benjamin John Huff

Mr. Huff, 31, of Charlotte, NC, died suddenly at his home on May 7, 2006. He was born on February 21, 1975 in Charlotte
Ben started playing football at Quail Hollow in Junior High. He went on to excel in both Football and Track and Field at Providence High School. In football, he was a 3 year varsity letterman and 3 year starter on offense and defense, and was 1992 All Conference Southwestern 4A, playing both tight end and linebacker; and played in the 1993 North Carolina East/West All Star Game.

In Track and Field he was a 3 year varsity letterman in shot put and discus; he held school records in discus at 182' and in the shot put at 56'8", he was NC State Champion in discus, and received 4th place in shot put at the same meet. In 1993 he was NC State Champion in discus at 182', a state meet record which still stands, and was awarded 2nd place in shot put.

He is considered one of the All Time Top 25 North Carolina Track and Field performers, and was the 1993 Southwest Athlete of the Year.

Ben earned a scholarship in 1993 to the University of Michigan. After red shirting his first year, he played the next 4 years before an injury prior to his senior season sidelined him. He became the 'twelfth man' on the 1997 National Championship Big Ten team.

After graduation he played in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, also in the CFL, XFL and most recently 4 seasons in the AFL for Dallas.

Survivors include his mother, Martha Currie, of Charlotte, and his father, Marty Huff, of Temperance, MI, sister, Lisa Huff Rainey and her children John and Kayla, of Charlotte; brother, Jason Huff and wife, Jennifer, and their children Peyton and Bo, of Mt. Pleasant, SC; grandmother, Josephine Meyers; Ben's fiance, Tabitha Christy Payne; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is also survived by his stepfather, Rod Currie, and stepmother, Bridget Huff.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM Thursday, May 11, 2006 at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte, with the Reverend Carmen Malacari, Celebrant. Interment will be private. The family will receive friends from 6 until 9 PM Wednesday evening at the Pineville Chapel of McEwen Funeral Service, 10500 Park Rd., Charlotte.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Michigan Athletic Department, and can be mailed to 1000 So. State St., Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, attn: Jo Parker, c/o the Ben Huff Memorial Scholarship.
Arrangements by McEwen Funeral Service, Pineville Chapel.
(Obituary via The Charlotte Observer.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Random News and Notes

All the notable stuff from around the web today:

As touched on several other places, David Bowie will be curating a new music festival in New York next May. It will be called The High Line Festival, a reference to the defunct elevated rail line along Manhattan's lower West Side which is currently, after decades of neglect, being turned into a park. Exactly where they're going to find space for this festival eludes me, but it certainly sounds interesting. At least it can't be as big a disaster as that Across The Narrows joke from last year. This time no one has to travel to Staten Island.

More streaming albums... AOL Music has added the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, Stadium Arcadium, to its offerings this week. Go listen. Also, NME Radio is streaming the new !Forward, Russia! album that everyone's talking about, as well as the new Dirty Pretty Things album and a video for a new Mystery Jets song called "Inside Four Walls". Can't say I love the !Forward, Russia! album, though if you listen long enough it does have a couple good moments. The new Dirty Pretty Things, on the other hand, is going to make a strong run for my Top 5 of the year. Great disc.

I hadn't noticed this on Ticketweb, but apparently Tommy Keene is playing Maxwells in Hoboken on June 16th. For those that don't know Tommy, read more here. Not included in that bio is the fact that Tommy is currently playing guitar and keyboards with Bob Pollard.

Gorilla vs. Bear and several other sites point the way to a new Outkast song. I'm not a huge fan, but I tend to like their stuff a bit. This song is... fine. Nothing great, nothing bad. I'll always like their voices, though. Especially Andre.

Awesome, awesome, awesome: Short Term MP3 Loss posts a tribute to Post-Punk including a ton of great songs.

Go listen to some live Radiohead, including some new songs, here. (Via Yeti Don't Dance.)

And, finally, Indie Blog Heaven links to an interesting piece in Paste Magazine detailing the reason for Grandaddy's breakup. Can you say "cash money", boys and girls? I knew you could. Now go kill the white people, but buy Grandaddy's record first.

Edited to add: Just noticed that The Torture Garden links to a cool cover of Kraftwerk's "The Model" by your favorite band and mine, The Frames. Listen.

PS3 Makes Its Debut

The PlayStation 3 is being unveiled at E3 this week, and damn does it look cool. Even better? It plays Blu-Ray discs in 1080p. Meaning I will be using this puppy both for games and as my new Blu-Ray DVD player. Kick ass.

(Photos via Akihabara News.)

Clem Snide/Eef Barzelay, Part Dos

EZArchive is finally back up, so take a listen to some Clem Snide and Eef Barzelay solo stuff. If you like what you hear, be sure to go pick something up from their current label, SpinART Records.

"End of Love" [from Clem Snide's End of Love]
"Jews for Jesus Blues" [from Clem Snide's End of Love]
"Ballad of Bitter Honey" [from Eef Barzelay's Bitter Honey]
"I Wasn't Really Drunk" [from Eef Barzelay's Bitter Honey]
"Nick Drake Tape" [from Clem Snide's You Were A Diamond]

And, speaking of SpinART, I'm hearing that one of my favorite new bands, Birdmonster, has signed with the label, and that the band's No Midnight album will be re-released in August. Hope it works out for all involved. If you can't wait until August, you can buy their album here.

Eef Barzelay @ Mercury Lounge, NYC [5/6/06]

After a ridiculously crazy month in April, the last week or two have been relatively slow in terms of concerts (although it's about to pick up again). I unfortunately missed Le Firm at the Knitting Factory on Saturday -- though I swear I'll make their next show on June 21st at Pianos -- but I did manage to catch Eef Barzelay at Mercury Lounge.

There's a good chance that you've never heard of Eef Barzelay or his band, Clem Snide. That's unfortunate. In my opinion, they're one of the best so-called "Americana" bands around today. Their strength, for me at least, lies in their ability to meld a great, heartbreaking melody with some of the most clever, interesting lyrics I've ever heard. The band's last album, End of Love, was one of my favorites of 2005.

The band's lead singer, Eef Barzelay, is currently touring in support of his recent, excellent solo album, Bitter Honey, and hit Mercury Lounge this past weekend. I'd never seen either the band or Eef in concert before, and I was happy to see that Eef has a great stage presence. He was both charming and funny, and able to keep the audience alert and interested despite the length of the show (close to 2 hours!). And the songs -- both solo and Clem Snide songs -- sounded great. Personally, I thought the show went about 20 minutes longer than necessary, but I think Eef was just happy to have such a large, supportive audience, and didn't want the show to end. I can't blame him for that.

NOTE: I was going to insert some Clem Snide and Eef songs links here, but EZArchive is being a little bitch again today. I'll post them when the site decides to cooperate.

Onto the pics:

PS: This is apparently already my 200th post on this here blog. Well woopadeedoo!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just A Couple Things

While I was listening to last week, I heard what I can only describe as the happiest little pop song I'd heard in months. I checked out the station's playlist and saw that it was a song called "Kate" by a band called Sambassadeur.
I meant to look around and find out what I could about them , but I never got around to it.

Then, over the last few days, I started seeing the band's name popping up all over the place. As of this afternoon, the band is up to #7 on, which is pretty impressive for a band I'd never heard of a week ago. [Beirut is currently #1, by the way.]

So before I fall even further behind the rest of the kids, I figured it was about time I posted some songs. I know nothing about the band other than that they're from Sweden. Based on that fact, I would deduce that they're influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen and Joey Tempest. Check 'em out:

"Between the Lines"
"One Last Remark"
"New Moon"

They also have another song at their MySpace page.

And while I have you, go check out an incredibly interesting Beatles post over at Marathon Packs. As I mentioned to a friend, this is the type of thing that MP3 Blogs exist for.

AOL Roundup (Week of May 8th)

Decent options this week. Check it:

Paul Simon, Surprises
Grandaddy, Just Like the Fambly Cat
The Stills, Without Feathers
Matmos, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast [err, ok]
Elf Power, Back to the Web
Black Heart Procession, The Spell

There's several other rock options to be found this week too, though I can't vouch for any of them. Oh, and there's also Nick Lachey's What's Left of Me. I can totally vouch for that one.

Cincinnati -- Indie Music Mecca?

Yeah, not likely, I know... But word comes this morning that the greatest radio station in the land -- WOXY.COM -- is sponsoring a 3-day indie rock festival which, for one weekend at least, might live up to those words.

On the weekend of June 23rd through June 25th, WOXY is sponsoring the Desdemona Festival in Cincinnati's Sawyer Point. Tickets are a ridiculously low $24 for a three-day pass [BUY TICKETS]. And, as you can see from this picture of Sawyer Point, when you're done at Desdemona on Saturday, you can walk right over to US Bank Arena to see Pearl Jam and Robert Pollard.

The incomplete lineup for the Desdemona Festival is:


If they add Wussy, Twilight Singers or Staggering Statistics, I'm gonna be hard to keep away.