Monday, July 31, 2006

Birdmonster Triple Up on New York

In addition to the Mercury Lounge show I mentioned last week, it turns out Birdmonster is playing two more NY-area shows next month. To wit:

Wed., Sept. 6 - Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ
Thurs., Sept. 7 - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY
Fri., Sept. 8 - (To Be Announced) - Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn show should be announced soon. I may have to hit that one...

New York Enters the 21st Century

From New York One:
New Law Allows Earlier Beer Sales On Sundays

July 30, 2006

A new state law is in effect Sunday that allows stores to start selling beer at 8 a.m., instead of waiting until noon.

The old rule was part of the state's so-called blue laws.

Lawmakers say the change will make it easier for those who are traveling, among others.

Before 2003 stores couldn't sell liquor on Sundays at all.
More importantly, this makes it possible to buy beer before Sunday football games, and to get wasted in time for Meet the Press.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Golden Smog Post

So I skipped both Bishop Allen and Bloc Party this weekend. Not thrilled about the first, but after hearing about how short Bloc Party's set was, how crowded the venue was, and how hard it was to get a beer, I'm kinda glad I bailed.

Anyway, since I don't have new concert photos for you this weekend, I figured I should play catch-up on a couple Golden Smog reviews that I've been meaning to do. Nothing fancy, of course, because we all know I'm no Kelefa Sanneh, but just some general thoughts and impressions.

I should start by saying that I'm a pretty big alt-country fan, and that I've been a fan of Golden Smog and the bandmembers' other projects (Wilco, The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, Big Star) for a lot of years. So I'm predisposed to like pretty much anything this band releases. What I love about Golden Smog is that, no matter whether their songs are good, bad, or somewhere in between, what comes through their songs is the sound of a band having fun. For me at least, Golden Smog is about the joy of making music, and in particular the joy of making rock music. Just listen to "V", "Red Headed Stepchild" (from Down By the Old Mainstream), "Until You Came Along" or "Reflections on Me" (Weird Tales), or, even better, their cover of Bad Company's "Shooting Star" (On Golden Smog). To me, all of these songs are the sound of a bunch of friends having a great time doing what they do best - making music. Even the band's slower, lower-key songs still sound to me like a band loving what they're doing.

So I was a little worried when I first heard the lead single "5-22-02" from the band's new album, Another Fine Day. While by no means a bad song, it just didn't grab me in the way that a Golden Smog song usually does. Luckily, though, it's my least favorite song on the album. By far. In fact, Another Fine Day is very quickly becoming my favorite Golden Smog album. And the song "Hurricane" may be one of my favorite Golden Smog songs ever, encapsulating everything that I love about the band. (And "Long Time Ago" may be my favorite Tweedy song since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.) Excellent stuff, highly recommended.

As for their show at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, well, it was good, if not great. Early on Dan Murphy remarked that the band was "criminally under-rehearsed", and boy did it show at times. There were times it wasn't even clear that the band were all playing the same song. Nonetheless, the band seemed to come together towards the end of the set, and showed how good a live band they have the potential to be. There's rumors of a full tour, so maybe next time they're through they'll be as tight as the ought to be. And even if they're not, it'll still be a fun show anyway.

Check out a few of my favorite Golden Smog songs, one from each of their LPs:

"Hurricane" [from Another Fine Day]
"Please Tell My Brother" [from Weird Tales]
"V" [from Down By the Old Mainstream]

Friday, July 28, 2006

When Local News Goes Horribly Wrong

Somehow I think Robin Scherbatsky would have handled this a little better than Jodi Applegate. I'd like this better if the dude has been able to keep a straight (or, even better, pained) face when he was on the ground.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Birdmonster Return to NYC

One of my current favorite bands, Birdmonster, who recently rocked NYC at Sin-e and the Knitting Factory, are coming back in September to headline the Mercury Lounge. The show is Thursday, September 7th, and tickets are available now. Among the openers is the much-blogged-about Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

Golden Smog @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC [7/26/06]

Damn good show last night, with a couple of surprise guests (Mike Mills, Craig Finn). Rushing to get to work, so I'll give a fuller account a bit later. Until then, peep the pics. As always, there's more at Flickr.




Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kevin Smith, Jason Lee Officially Out of Fletch Movie

Maybe it's old news that Kevin Smith's planned effort to revive the Fletch series, with Jason Lee as the titular character, has died. What is news, however, is that the project is apparently now going forward under the guidance of Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence. And, wouldn't you guess it, but Bill wants Zach Braff to star.

Not sure how I feel about this. I always though Jason Lee would be perfect as Fletch, and as much as I like Scrubs, I'm just not sure that Zach Braff has the right level of smugness/smarminess for the role. His characters tend to err on the goofy side, and Fletch should be a bit more of a man's man (with goofiness thrown in). Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

(From The Hollywood Reporter East.)

Human Television Makes a Video

Pitchfork has a link up to a new video by Human Television for their excellent song "In Front Of The House". The video itself? Not excellent, but maybe not as bad as Pitchfork makes it out to be. That said, was the 20-second, achingly long shot of the bassist, at about the 60% mark of the song, really necessary? I think not.

Watch the video here.

The Whigs Return to NYC

I just can't get enough of The Whigs. And, thankfully, it seems like they can't get enough of New York, because they're coming back to NYC for the fourth time this year.

The details:

Saturday, September 16th at Mercury Lounge
Tickets on sale today at noon via Ticketweb.

The show is the same night at the Magnolia Electric Co., Shearwater and Bottomless Pit show at Knitting Factory, but the KF site says that that show is an early 7pm show, and that there's a different event starting at 11pm. So, assuming the Whigs play after 11pm (and they did last week), I should be able to do both... fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Odds and Ends

Here again is my patented "find and dump" post where I link to all the interesting stuff of the last few days... enjoy:

The Rich Girls Are Weeping, a blog that I don't read nearly enough, has the new Wrens song from the long-rumored They Might Be Giants tribute album. Check out "They'll Need a Crane". Sounds like a Wrens song to me (even though it's not), and I likes a lot.

If you didn't like Kill Bill, it looks like you might be out of luck. Apparently Quentin announced at Comic Con that he's set to do two full-length animated movies based on the Kill Bill universe, one a prequel and one a sequel. I loved the second movie, but thought the first one was a tad slow. (Link via Kingblind.)

Harp Magazine has a great article about Golden Smog and the making of the band's new album. I'll be posting my notes on the album soon, but my nutshell review is this -- good on first listen, better with each additional listen, now I love it. (Link via Joel, who I urge you to vote for at some future date.)

If you missed it, tickets for Eric Bachmann and Richard Buckner at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, September 20th are on sale.

Lots and lots of live music:

Your favorite and mine, RBally has two great new sets. First is a 5-part set of Guided by Voices, a/k/a, the great rock band of all time, from the 40 Watt in Athens, GA on January 22, 2000. Two parts are up so far.

Second is a short set from The Cure from Sydney, Australia on August 17, 1981.

Sweet Oblivion has a 7-song set of live Catherine Wheel from 1995. (Link via Torr.

And Captain's Dead has a 5-song live set from Jeremy Enigk from his 1996 solo tour. (Also via Torr.) Can't wait to catch Jeremy at Bowery next month in support of his forthcoming followup solo LP.

From Wussy's website comes news that the band will be recording a new record after their east coast tour this fall. Still no dates on the tour, but that's great news about the album.

Finally, check out a song from Lambchop's forthcoming disc, Album Damaged, called "Crackers". The album is out on August 22nd on Merge Records. (Link via Coolfer.)

Lucero, Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers Available NOW

Even though Lucero's new album, Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, isn't due to hit record stores until September 25th, you can get it NOW through the band's website.

Here's the deal:

(1) Go to the band's website and pre-order the album for $13.98 + shipping.

(2) Within 2-4 days, a digital download of the new album will be sent to you.

(3) The physical CD will then be shipped one week prior to the album's September 25th release date. There's also some free pins or something in the deal, but really, I'm 31, I don't need no pins.

Oh, you can also find four tracks from the album streaming on the website too. And excuse my French, but fuckin-a is "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight" an awesome song.

New Damien Rice (Finally!)

Head over to I Am Fuel, You Are Friends to hear some new Damien Rice songs which may or may not be on his new album. Yep, you heard that right - he apparently has a new album entitled Childish coming out in December. About friggin' time!

Hold Steady Pre-Sale for NYC and LA

From the all-knowing Brooklyn Vegan comes news that the Hold Steady have announced a month-long tour of the U.S. in October in conjunction with the release of the third LP, Boys and Girls in America, on Vagrant Records on October 3rd.

The band's shows in New York (Irving Plaza, Sunday 10/3) and Los Angeles (Troubadour, Monday, 10/16) are available via pre-sale now.

The Hiders @ Pianos, NYC [7/24/06]

If I were to put together a list of my favorite musical "discoveries" of 2006 so far, Cincinnati's The Hiders would be near the top of the list. If you don't know them, the Hiders are the latest project of Bill Alletzhauser of the legendary (to me, at least) Ass Ponys. Their album, Valentine, is one of the best alt-country-ish discs I've heard in a while. Or maybe it's the best Neil Young album that Neil never made. Either way, it's fantastic, and I can't recommend it enough.

Check out a couple songs:

"Everything I Wanted"
"Into the Sun" (live)

I didn't expect to actually have the chance to see the band live anytime soon, so I was pretty thrilled to notice a few weeks ago that they'd added a date here in town following a big festival they played in Philly yesterday. They didn't disappoint. The band sounded great. They played pretty much the entirety of Valentine, and I think one or two new songs which were both excellent as well. My pictures kinda suck, since I tried going without a flash, and it didn't work all that well:




Listen to some more songs at the band's website or at its MySpace page.
And if you like what you hear, pick up a copy of Valentine at Miles of Music.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Decemberists To Play Hammerstein (Dammit)

So I've pretty much come to accept the fact that the Decemberists are freakin' huge these days, and that they're only going to get bigger with the release of their new album, The Crane Wife, on Capitol on October 3rd.

(That's not to say I understand why they're so big. I love them and all, but how did a dorky band that writes dorky songs that aren't about teenage angst get so popular??)

What I can't get over, though, is that they've decided that their popularity requires them to play New York's Hammerstein Ballroom - i.e., the worst venue I've ever been to. For those of you unfamiliar, Hammerstein has a humungous general admission floor and two or three large balconies, giving it a total capacity of around 5,500, I think. The room has several key flaws, not least of which is that the stage is too low, meaning that unless you're at the front of the floor (a near impossibility unless you're the first person in the door), you can barely see the band. I saw Dylan there a couple of years back and was lucky to see his hair sticking above the crowd for about 5 minutes. The second major problem is that the sound sucks on the floor. Just awful. So if you want to hear anything, you need to be in a balcony, where, of course, you can't see a freakin' thing. And, considering that one of the Decemberists' calling cards is their connection with their concert crowd, this is going to absolutely kill their live dynamic. I'd much rather see them do 2 nights at Roseland, as bad as that place is.

Anyway, the show is November 3rd (thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the heads up), and Ticketmaster has no indication of an onsale date yet. Personally, I may skip Hammerstein and go to one of the following shows at much better venues:

Sunday, October 29th, 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.
Monday, October 30th, 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.
Wednesday, November 1st, Electric Factory, Philadelphia

A Non-Music Interlude

Word has leaked on a crucial plot point for the upcoming sixth season of 24, and it's the identity of the person playing the President. No, it's not Kim Bauer (that'll be season seven), but it's nearly as implausible.

If you don't want to know, don't read this.

I should've stopped watching after Season 3.

AOL Roundup (Week of July 24th)

AOL Roundup (Week of July 24th)

Pretty good week from our favorite soon to be going-out-of-business media company, AOL. Personally, my first stop is going to be the new Mew album, which I've been hearing great things about. Am I the only one who's thrilled that moody, shoegazer-ish rock is making a comeback?

Tom Petty, Highway Companion
Jurassic 5, Feedback
Tapes n' Tapes, The Loon [if you're reading this blog, my guess is you've heard this]
Mew, And the Glass Handed Kites
Sammy Hagar, Livin' it Up
New York Dolls, One Day We'll Be Pleased With Even This
Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
The Long Winters, Putting the Days to Bed

Friday, July 21, 2006

Son Volt Update

From the most recent Son Volt email newsletter:

In October, Transmit Sound/Legacy will release Gob Iron, a collaboration between Jay Farrar and Anders Parker. This collection features traditional songs which Jay and Anders re-worked by adding lyrics and/or music. We hope to have touring dates confirmed for Jay and Anders in November.
Additionally, as previously noted here, the newsletter mentions again that recording on the next Son Volt album is complete, mixing should be done soon, and the album is slated for a Spring 2007 release.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Priestess Lose Last Bit of Credibility

Now, let me preface this post by saying that I've only heard one song from Priestess. While it certainly wasn't good - to my ears, at least - it wasn't the worst thing in the world. Yet, for some reason, the band has recently become my favorite butt of all jokes. (Before them it was Wolfmother, and before them Morningwood.) I simply can't give you a reason, but they are now my favorite band to make fun of.

So I was pretty thrilled when I looked over at Brooklyn Vegan and saw this article. Yes, folks, Priestess are going on tour with Gwar.

I love it when I'm right.

Human Television NOT on WOXY Tomorrow

Mike from WOXY was kind enough to drop by and tell us that, sadly, the Human Television Lounge Act scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled. So, if you want to catch the band live, check them out at one of the following dates:

7/22: Schubas Tavern, Chicago
7/23: Grog Shop, Cleveland
7/24: Sneaky Dees, Toronto
7/25: Zoo Bizarre, Montreal
7/26: Great Scott, Allston
7/27: Mercury Lounge w/Pela, New York City
7/28: The Khyber, Philadelphia
8/27: McCarren Park Pool w/The Walkmen & Dr. Dog

As you probably know if you read this blog with any regularity, one of my favorite young bands right now is Human Television. If you haven't had a chance to hear them yet, or even if you have, be sure to check out their live in-studio performance tomorrow at 3pm EST on WOXY.com (i.e., the country's best radio station).

Human Television on MySpace
Human Television releases at Insound

Support WOXY and help independent radio!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dulli, Petty and JJ Abrams

A few things I've been meaning to share...

Stereogum has a new song from Ben Kweller entitled "Penny on the Train Track". It's pretty fantastic. Ben's new album, with the snazzy title Ben Kweller, arrives in stores on September 19th.

My Old Kentucky Blog has MP3s of the Twilight Singers' recent in-studio performance on KEXP.

If you watched any of the NBA Finals, you've probably found yourself with an inexplicable desire to hear Tom Petty lately. (They played him incessantly in the intros and outros.) Good news - his new album, Highway Companion, is now streaming here. (Link via Coolfer.)

Also from Coolfer comes news that the next Sparklehorse album will be released by Astralwerks on September 26th, and will boast guest appearances from Danger Mouse, Tom Waits, Stephen Drodz and Christian Fennesz.

Kwaya Na Kisser has a quality Shoegazer Mix for you to listen to.

Finally, in non-music news, according to The Hollywood Reporter the third season of Lost might not suck. Apparently JJ Abrams is working closer to the show this year than last year (when he was directing the wholly unnecessary but not awful Mission Impossible III), and is expected both to direct several episodes and be in the writing room all season. Here's hoping he uses a line-item veto to take out every time another writer has Michael say "They took my son!"

Spectacular Fantastic Offers Free New EP

The Spectacular Fantastic are a really great, not-too-well-known band from the midwest (Louisville? Indianapolis?) that I discovered through WOXY.com a year or so. The band released the excellent I Love You free EP last summer, and have just released another free EP entitled, I think, Free EP 2006. If you're a fan of great, catchy songs with a California-country/Gram Parsons type of feel, be sure to check them out.

"60 Cycles" (from the I Love You EP)

"California" (from Free EP 2006)

"UFOs" (from Free EP 2006)

You can get the rest of the new Free EP 2006 here, and the rest of the I Love You EP here. And, of course, if you like what you hear, pick up a couple of the band's full length LPs at Ionik Records or on iTunes.

A Snippet of Damien Rice News

No, I unfortunately don't have news about the album that he's supposedly been working on for two years. (Sidenote: Was anyone else at that 9:30 Club show in late '03/early '04 where he said they were about to go in the studio? I think it was the one where he was sick and Lisa did all the singing. Cool show.)

Anyway, for those of you, like me, wondering as to the status of the band, worry no more. Even though it looks like 3/5 of the band (Lisa, Tomo, Vivienne) will not be joining Damien on his U.S. tour in support of, ahem, Fiona Apple, they will be playing with him at several upcoming European shows.

And, for our friends in Ireland, Damien and band have just announced two upcoming shows at Vicar St. on August 29th and 30th. From the mailing list:
Along with the full band - Lisa Hannigan, Tom Osander, Vyvienne Long & Shane Fitzsimons, 2 additional musican's will be peforming with the band on the night - Joel Shearer on guitar and Cora Venus Lunny on viola/violin.

Special guests on the night will be Fionn Regan & Pedestrian.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, 22nd July at 10am. Tickets are available from Road Records and Sound Cellar in Dublin and from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide - www.ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719 300.
There's also a pre-sale for folks on the mailing list, but I ain't gonna be the guy who spreads it. Especially since I may try to go to the show if I can find a cheap flight. Besides, I still have a token for a free Guinness at the Guinness Brewery from the last time I was there, and it's high time I collected on that debt.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Prepare to Be Fascinated by Minutiae

The ever-cranky yet amazingly bright Bob Lefsetz has a great post today detailing a bunch of recent concerts, from big to small, and how many tickets they sold. There's some pretty surprising (and depressing) stats in there. Springsteen barely sold out half the venue at the DTE Energy Music Center (i.e., Pine Knob) outside Detroit.

Bob's best line?
"Hate to tell you this, but Bruce Springsteen is a B-level artist."
Bob's second best line? When talking about a recent Tom Petty/Trey Anastasio show:
"Believe me, Trey didn’t sell one ticket to this show. Hell, Trey’s fans no longer believe in him. They just don’t know what he believes IN! They feel he sold them out, just like he did the members of Phish. Shit, isn’t there any loyalty?"
Speaking a former HUGE Phish fan, I could care less about Trey's solo career. Story over, done, kaput.

Lucero, "San Francisco"

Head over to Macktronic to check out another new song from Lucero's forthcoming Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers entitled "San Francisco".

OK, it's time for someone to hook me up with a copy of this album.
Hint, not-so-subtle hint. :^)

Portastatic Back With Be Still Please

From the Portastatic blog comes word that the band will be doing some opening dates for M Ward in September. The shows will be a warmup for the band's full tour later in the year in support of their new album, Be Still Please.

Tracklisting for Be Still Please:

1. Sour Shores (MP3 via Pitchfork)
2. Black Buttons
3. I'm in Love (with Arthur Dove)
4. Sweetness and Light
5. Getting Saved
6. You Blanks
7. Like a Pearl
8. Cheers and Applause
9. Song for a Clock

Live dates:

9/18: Charlottesville VA, Satellite Ballroom
9/19: Carrboro NC, Cat's Cradle (also with Lambchop)
9/20: Nashville TN, The Belcourt Theatre
9/22: Denton TX, Hailey's
9/23: Austin TX, The Parish Room

Death of the Record Store

Apologies if you've already seen it, but I missed this article a couple days ago: The New York Times discusses the death of the record store, and mentions one of my favorite record stores on Earth, Cincinnati's Shake It Records, as an innovating survivor.

New Bright Eyes Coming (Kinda)

One more update from my visit last night to the Saddle Creek website.

On October 24th, the label will be issuing an album from Bright Eyes entitled Noise Floor: (Rarities: 1998-2005). No word yet exactly what's included. There once was a time I was a Bright Eyes completist (let's call that time 2001), so I'm hoping that there's some stuff on this that I don't already have.

New Pernice Brothers - "Somerville"

The Pernice Brothers have posted a song from their forthcoming Live a Little album (due in October) called "Somerville", as well as a video to boot. They make you sign up for their email newsletter to listen, but they promise not to send too many emails. If they do, don't blame me. :^)

You could call this a drastic departure from the band's sound, but you'd be an idiot.

More New Wilco

Chromewaves, one of my favorite music blogs, has audio of a new Wilco song called "There's A Light" from the band's performance in Toronto on July 7th. Good tune, and it certainly seems to fit with the band's other new songs, i.e., it's more traditional, stripped-down sounding than the last few albums.

And be sure to check out the rest of the Chromewaves post that this song is taken from. It includes some additional thoughts on that stupid New York Times "alt-country" article, as well as some MP3s from Golden Smog and the new Sadies live disc (including their version of "Tailspin" with Gary Louris).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Is It 1992 All Over Again?

The deals keep on comin'. Last week was The Whigs to ATO. Rumor this week is that Cold War Kids may have signed a deal, though no word on with whom, and that the Little Ones show in L.A. last week was filled with A&R folk.

These blogs sure are a powerful thing these days, eh?

New Eric Bachmann and Cursive

Chromewaves points out that Saddle Creek records is now offering up two MP3s from the forthcoming Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers, Archers of Loaf ) album, To The Races:

Eric Bachmann, "Carrboro Woman"

Eric Bachmann, "Lonesome Warrior"

To The Races is out on August 22nd, and is available for pre-order now.

While on Saddle Creek's site, I also noticed that they've put up two songs from Cursive's new album, Happy Hollow:

Cursive, "Dorothy at Forty"

Cursive, "Bad Sects"

Happy Hollow is also out on August 22nd, and is available for pre-order now.

Should be a good month for one of my favorite labels.

It's Not Irony... It's Asia

So The 40-Year Old Virgin has been on cable a lot lately, and given the heat and the amount of time I've been stuck indoors working on a business plan for "the business that will save my soul from practicing law" - as I like to call it - I've had the distinct pleasure of hearing Asia's "Heat of the Moment" several times lately. (It's played toward the end of the movie.)

And guess what? I like the song as much now as I did in the early 80's. And it's not just the ironic hipster in me talking. It's a legitimately decent song. Don't pretend you don't like it.

Asia, "Heat of the Moment"

Keane & Razorlight in NYC

For those who care, and I'm not one of you, Keane and Razorlight are playing Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on September 14th. Tickets are on sale tomorrow at noon.

Truth be told, Razorlight isn't awful, but if I were to see them it would have to be at Mercury or Bowery or the like.

The Rbally Post

Jennings has been on a roll the last few days. Go listen to the music that's going to be the soundtrack of my afternoon:

Live Sleater-Kinney [2/26/05 in Vancouver]

Live Wilco [Jay Bennett's last show, 7/4/01 -- listen for the thinly-disguised venom between Jeff and Jay]

Live Paul Westerberg [from a radio performance on KCRW on 4/25/02]

New Hold Steady Album Gets Title, Street Date

Apologies if this has already made the rounds, but I hadn't noticed if it had:

Mammoth Press reports that Brooklyn's The Hold Steady will be releasing their new album, entitled Boys and Girls in America, on October 3rd via Vagrant Records. Guess that's why that casting call went out for a bunch of early 20's hipster kids to be in a cover art photoshoot?

Between this and the new Decemberists disc, October 3rd is shaping up to be a pretty good day.

Streaming Music (Week of July 17th)

I've broadened the scope of this weekly post from AOL this week, in part because AOL doesn't have much of interest (with one key exception), and in part because Mammoth Press is streaming the new Long Winters disc, Putting the Days to Bed, here.

Coincidentally, I just got the album today and am currently giving it my first full listen-though. First impression? I like it, a lot. Not sure if I like it as much as When I Pretend to Fall, though it's probably too early to tell, but it's excellent nonetheless.

AOL's slim pickins:

Golden Smog, Another Fine Day

Helmet, Monochrome [i.e., the Jim McIlvaine of rock bands]
The Bronx, The Bronx [I know nothing about them, but Eric at Can You See the Sunset from the Southside? has spotlighted them a couple of times, so it's worth a listen.]

PS: I'm having problems with the Golden Smog stream. Hopefully AOL will fix it soon.
PPS: My favorite song on the Long Winters disc may be "Hindsight". A close second is "Teaspoon".

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The New York Times Asks, Wither Alt-Country?

Another Large Hearted Boy find:

The Gray Lady wants to know why alt-country has "died", and they ask several Jayhawks all about it. Not interviewed for the story were Lucero, the Hiders, the Drive-By Truckers, Ryan Adams (they conveniently focus on the breadth of Ryan's solo output, rather than his ridiculously alt-country leaning, in a good way, last three albums), Jason Molina, Steve Earle or any act sold through the wonderful Miles of Music. Oh, and for some reason Son Volt registers only as "austere heartland rock," whatever that means, and not alt-country.

What's my point? Shit, I dunno. Maybe that it's just as annoying and shallow when mainstream media try to define a musical "movement" when that supposed "movement" is in a supposed "downturn" rather than when it's in a supposed "upswing". Maybe I just don't like it when journalists, in an effort to write an eye-grabbing article, make sweeping generalizations about music that are both wrong and degrading to the thousands of musicians who continue to play that type of music and the many fans who still listen to it.

Dante and Randal Speak

Via Large Hearted Boy, check out an interview with Brian O'Hallorana (Dante) and Jeff Anderson (Randal) in the Arizona Republic.

Needless to say, I'm pretty psyched for this movie. No time for love, Dr. Jones.

Sign of the Apocalypse

No, I'm not talking about this situation, where George Bush has decided to sit by and let the Israelis, Hizbollah and Hamas (and their alleged financiers) set the world on fire to herald the coming of Jesus Christ... I'm talking about the end of music as we know it.

Gorilla vs. Bear spotlights two innovative bands whose music transcends normal rock to become something greater than us all, something that is as much part of nature as it is a reflection of nature itself. Music whose truth transcends our human reality and threatens to destroy the fabric of everything we know. For lack of a better term, I will call this amazing new music Pet Metal.

Hatebeak, "God of Empty Nest" (with a parrot on vocals)

Caninus, "Human Rawhide" (with two pitbulls on vocals)

I can only imagine Thom Yorke sitting in a studio somewhere right now trying to figure out how to add animal vocals onto the next Radiohead "masterpiece".

Sunday Info Dump

I've had a lot of interesting stuff building up over the last few days but haven't had a chance to post it yet. Here 'tis.

Ryspace has audio from this past week's Okkervil River show at Castle Clinton. Sometimes I wish I worked downtown.

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends links to a pretty funny, though not-as-good-as-it-could-have-been, video of Aziz Ansari walking around NYC listening to the world's shittiest mixtape.

This can't be real, can it? The Flaming Lips want to get you off. (Via You Ain't No Picasso.)

Page France have been announced as openers for the Silversun Pickups show at the Mercury Lounge on August 3rd. Still haven't really heard them yet, and I may or may not make it downtown in time from seeing the Frames at Summerstage that night.

Speaking of the Frames, Can You See The Sunset from the Southside has audio of them covering Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

There's a new Sparta song on the band's MySpace page called "Taking Back Control". Is it me or is that not Jim Ward singing? (Link also via You See The Sunset from the Southside.) The band's new album, Threes, is due out on October 10th.

Stereogum has a pretty long snippet of another new Yo La Tengo song. Apparently Matador has released a promo version of the band's new album which has every song fade-out about 80% of the way through, so you get the gist of the song, but keep people from going crazy on P2P sharing.

The Wrens have a redesigned website. Now we just need a new album. :^) (Link via Large Hearted Boy.)

Also via Large Hearted Boy, the Big Takeover apparently now has a message board.

Gator Around with the National.

Torr spotlights a new British band called I Like Trains. I like what I hear. Check out their MySpace page.

Finally, Muzzle of Bees spotlights a band called Drag The River, a band that will be playing with Lucero this December. Good stuff:

Drag the River, "Me and Joe Drove out to California"

Drag the River @ MySpace

The Whigs @ Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ [7/15/06]

What can I say about The Whigs that I haven't said already? Simply put, they're one of the best live acts you can see right now, and their debut album, Give 'Em All A Big Fat Lip, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

While I wish I'd seen them last night in the city (where I'm sure they pulled a great crowd), I was thrilled to be able to jump on the PATH and catch them across the river in Hoboken. Although the crowd wasn't quite what I would have hoped, they still put on a spectacular, and spectacularly loud, set, and made a believer out of my friend Matt and hopefully everyone else in the room.

Can a tour opening for label-mates My Morning Jacket be far behind? What a great show that would (will?) be...

All I can say is, SEE THIS BAND NOW.



Saturday, July 15, 2006

iPod on Shuffle

Since I can never find a full album that I want to listen to while I'm in the gym, I tend to throw the iPod on shuffle and jump from song to song. Today I managed to hear 5 great songs (among others) that I hadn't heard in a while, and figured I would share for your listening pleasure. Enjoy.

Eugenius, "The Moon's a Balloon" [BUY]
Soul Asylum, "Veil of Tears" [BUY]
The Gloria Record, "Good Morning, Providence" [BUY]
Guns n' Roses, "Don't Damn Me" [BUY]
Shudder to Think, "Beauty Strike" [BUY]

Two Shows Seen, One Skipped

Managed to catch both Le Firm and Ashford Breaks tonight, but unfortunately the latter ran late so I missed The Whigs. Don't worry, though, I'll see them in Jersey tomorrow.

Le Firm sounded better tonight than any time I've seen them so far. This was still only their fifth or sixth show, yet they're really starting to come together. Do yourself a favor and catch them at The Delancey on August 5th or The Annex on August 30th. An EP is coming very soon. By the way, this was the first setlist I've ever written for a band!




From Sin-e I ran down to The Delancey to catch New York's Ashford Breaks. If you don't know them, the Ashford Breaks have been playing around New York for four or five years now, playing some of the catchiest, coolest power pop you've heard in years. (The lead singer, Lawrence, used to play with the infamous BMX Bandits.) Their sound has evolved of late, and they've added a garage-ier sound, but they still sound great. And while I knew they had an EP coming out, they mentioned tonight that the EP is apparently already out. Who knew? I'll pick it up and post something soon.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Hooray for Customer Service

Yeah, ignore this post. While they agreed to ship me my order, I got an email today telling me that they're suddenly out of what I ordered and it's on "back-order". So despite that I ordered from them -- and paid -- weeks ago, there's no telling when I'm getting my stuff. And when I called to speak with customer service, they refused to do anything other than refund my money. Not good.

So, yeah, whatever goodwill they gained is now gone. Guess I'm going to start using Petsmart.com or PetFoodDirect.com.

Just a quick non-music, non-pop culture note. In a world where customer service has pretty much disappeared, or at least the concept of polite customer service - I'm lookin' at you, AOL - good customer service deserves attention.

For that reason I just wanted to throw out some quick props to Petco. I got stuck with a couple pets several years ago from an old girlfriend, and every day has been a struggle not to throw them out the window onto 6th Avenue. We've kind of reached a bit of a detente, where I don't bother them and they don't bother me. Except when they do.

Anyway, I ordered some food from Petco last week, and only about 1/2 of it showed up in the mail. So I called their 1-877 number, and guess what? I waited on hold for all of 2 minutes, and the customer service person immediately promised to send the missing part of the order. Then, 30 seconds after getting off the phone, I got an email confirmation that the food would be shipping shortly.

Kids, this is the way you earn customers' loyalty. If you, like me, are afflicted with the scourge of pets, be sure to use Petco.


And if you want two cats, drop me a line.

The Whigs are Rich, Beoch!

Coolfer reports that The Whigs, formerly known as the best unsigned act in America, are now, in fact, signed. To ATO Records, home of My Morning Jacket. Congrats to all!

If you've followed my coverage at all, you'll know that I think these guys are one of the best bands out there right now. So do yourself a favor and join me TONIGHT at the Mercury Lounge to see them play. Or tomorrow at Maxwell's. You shan't be sorry.

Full Whigs Schedule

07-13-06: Northampton, MA. - Iron Horse
07-14-06: New York, NY. - Mercury Lounge
07-15-06: Hoboken, NJ. - Maxwells
07-17-06: Pittsburgh, PA. - Club Cafe (7:45 PM)
07-18-06: Columbus, OH. - The Basement (7:45 PM)
07-19-06: Cincinnati, OH. - Madhatter's (8:30 PM)
07-21-06: Knoxville, TN. - Corner Cafe
07-22-06: Atlanta, GA. - Starfest
07-23-06: Nashville, TN. - 3rd and Lindsley WRLT Nashville Live Broadcast
07-25-06: St. Louis, MI. - Vintage Vinyl in Store Perfomance (7:30 p.m)
07-27-06: Chicago, ILL. - Beat Kitchen
07-28-06: Milwaukee, WI. - Rave Bar
07-29-06: Twin Lakes, WI. - Hedgpeth Festival Mainstage (3:45 p.m)
07-31-06: Indianapolis, IN. - Birdy's
08-02-06: Memphis, TN. - HiTone
08-03-06: Little Rock, AR. - Sticky Fingerz
08-04-06: Dallas, TX. - Gypsy Tea Room
08-05-06: Austin, TX. - Stubb's BBQ
08-06-06: San Antonio, TX. - The Limelight
08-09-06: Cleveland, OH. - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Outdoor Series
08-17-06: Columbus, GA. - SoHo
08-18-06: Athens, GA. - 40 Watt Club w/ the Pendletons and Workouts
08-19-06: Atlanta, GA. - Smith's Olde Bar
08-22-06: Birmingham, AL. - The Nick
08-24-06: Greenville, SC. - Greenville Summer Series w/ the Sammies
08-26-06: Augusta, GA. - Soul Bar
08-29-06: Tallahassee, FL. - Beta Bar
08-30-06: Gainesville, FL. - Side Bar
08-31-06: Orlando, FL. - Social
09-01-06: Jacksonville, FL. - Jack Rabbits
09-02-06: Tampa, FL. - Orpheum

Mojave 3 Playing at Bowery Twice

From Mojave 3's web page:

Mojave 3 will be touring the USA and Canada later this year and the first dates have now been confirmed:

9/24 - Vancouver at the Plaza
9/25 - Seattle at Neumo’s
9/26 - Portland at Aladdin
10/11 - Chicago at Park West
10/19 - Boston at Paradise
10/20 & 10/21 - NYC at Bowery Ballroom

More dates to follow soon!
No word yet as to on-sale dates.

(Thanks to Matt for the heads up!)

More New La Rocca

La Rocca have put a couple more new songs up at their MySpace site, including a free MP3 download of the song "This Life".

La Rocca, "This Life" (Highly recommended!)

The band's debut album, The Truth, is out on Dangerbird Records on August 8th.

Mr. T's Words To Live By

Link via Stereogum:

Go Listen to Golden Smog

Well, parts.. go listen to decent-length snippets of Golden Smog's new album, Another Fine Day, at Lost Highway. (Link via Chromewaves.) With the exception of the lead single, I really like everything I'm hearing. The album is out next Tuesday.

EDITED TO ADD: While we're at it, take a listen to the lead single,
"5-22-02", and decide for yourself. It's not bad, but from listening to those clips over at Lost Highway, there are sooooo many stronger songs on the album.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lollapalooza After-Shows

A number of "official" Lollapalooza after-shows have been announced for next month, including Mates of State, Lake Trout, Of Montreal, and, most important to me, The Frames. A full list can be found here.

Frames tickets are on sale.

This will be my first show at the Metro since the final Guided by Voices show a couple years back.

Mudhoney Doing Two Nights at Knitting Factory

Seattle's finest, Mudhoney, are doing two nights at the Knitting Factory - Friday, November 17th and Saturday, November 18th. Tickets are on sale now. Count me in. The last time I saw these guys was in Spring of 1993 at Bogarts in Cincinnati. Good times.

And, ahem, Body Count (yep, that Body Count), is playing Knitting Factory on Saturday, August 5th. I got my black shirt on. I got my black gloves on. I got my ski mask on. This shit's been too long.



Ah, CBGBs...

TV News Roundup

While the primary purpose of this blog is to discuss and/or link to music, I've made no attempt to hide the fact that I am, in every sense of the word, enthralled with all aspects of pop culture and media. (Then why, you might ask, am I a corporate litigator? Good question.)

Anyway, in reading today's Hollywood Reporter, I came across a bunch of interesting news, and figured I'd pass it along.

The final set of Sopranos episodes has been pushed back. They were originally slated to start airing in January, but due to James Gandolfini's recent knee surgery, and a desire not to go head-to-head with the NFL playoffs, the show will now return in March 2007.

The Wire (IMO, the best show on TV) is back for its fourth season in September. Interestingly, while the show will still air on Sundays at 10pm, it will debut 6 days earlier, i.e., on Mondays, on HBO In-Demand, to avoid forcing its heavily-male audience to choose between football and Jimmy McNulty.

Larry David is close to signing on for a seventh and final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which would air sometime in 2007.

The second season of Ricky Gervais' Extras, which I believe will air soon in the UK, will return to HBO in January.

In non-HBO news, Rescue Me (IMO, the best summer show on TV) has been renewed for a fourth season.

And, finally, The Office is premiering the first 2 of 10 original "webisodes" today on NBC.com. The episodes supposedly revolve around a whodunit in amongst the accounting staff. Er-kay.

Robert Pollard News

There are some people in life that you just wish would go away - George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Carrot Top, C. Thomas Howell, etc. Similarly, there are those people who mysteriously disappear that you wish would come back, like Jeff Mangum or Snow. Then, of course, there's Bob Pollard, who, god-willing, will never leave us. Thankfully, he shows no signs of ever doing so.

As you likely know, Bob's second official (and fifth actual) album of 2006, Normal Happiness, is set for an October 10th release date on Merge Records. Like From A Compound Eye, all instruments are played by Bob and Todd Tobias. Bob's website has the tracklisting:

Accidental Texas Who
Whispering Whip
Supernatural Car Lover
Boxing About
Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)
Get A Faceful
Towers And Landslides
I Feel Gone Again
Gasoline Ragtime
Rhoda Rhoda
Give Up The Grape
Pegasus Glue Factory
Top Of My Game
Tomorrow Will Not Be Another Day
Join the Eagles
Full Sun (Dig the Slowness)

If this weren't enough, now comes news from Rich Turiel on the Strong Lions mailing list that:

(1) Two one week tours will follow the release of Normal Happiness, one in October and one in November, with The Ascended Masters (Tommy Keene, Jon Wurster, et al) as his band again.

(2) Side-project Psycho and the Birds will soon be releasing an EP entitled Check Your Zoo.

(3) AND, amazingly, Bob has already finished his next album, i.e., the followup to Normal Happiness, and he'll be playing songs from that album on the fall tours.

Personally, I'm hoping Rich is leaving something out, because I'm not sure that seven releases in one year is enough.

Bishop Allen on eMusic

So, as I mentioned, I made the decision the other day to invest in the whole "month EP" series that Bishop Allen has been doing this year. On a lark, I decided to check eMusic (which I'd checked before, to no avail) to see if they had any of the EPs online. Guess what? They do. Both January and February.

To be honest, January doesn't do much for me (and "The Rabbit" didn't download correctly, either), but February is spectacular. Do yourself a favor and check it out, either via eMusic or from the band's website.

"The News From Your Bed" (from February)

I'm hoping that the rest of the EPs start showing up on eMusic soon, so I'll hold off on buying anything else for right now. But if they're not online by the time of the band's show at Pianos at the end of the month [7/28], I'll buy the rest then. (Yours truly is in a bit of a money-saving/hoping to quit his job soon mode.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Today's Info Dump

Methinks the title speaks for itself.

Coolfer has the big news of the day - Twisted Sister has signed on with Razor & Tie for a Christmas album titled A Twisted Chrismas, due out October 17th. I guess that's what happens when lawyers start record labels.

Babyshambles apparently haven't broken up, and Pete apparently still hasn't died. In fact, to the contrary, the band has a new song on the MySpace page for Britain's Get Loaded in the Park festival. Copies of the single will be available only at the concert. It's not terrible.

Muzzle of Bees, a great blog that I don't read regularly enough, has an MP3 of the new Golden Smog song, "5-22-02". I really wish I liked this song more than I do.

Jefitoblog is continuing its series of live performances from KBCO Studio C. I highly recommend getting over there and poring through what's posted. My favorite tracks so far?

Damien Rice, "Cannonball"
R.E.M., "Losing My Religon"
Ryan Adams, "New York, New York"

Kill Your Coworkers has live Stone Roses from 1995 which he claims to be of great quality (I haven't listened to it yet).

The new Mars Volta song, "Viscera Eyes", is up on the band's MySpace page. I keep hoping to hear something from them that reminds me about what I loved in At The Drive In. Maybe I should give up.

You Ain't No Picasso has two songs from the forthcoming Mountain Goats album. I really need to become more familiar with this band.

YANP also has a live set from Colin Meloy from last year.

And, if you're in the mood for dancing Stormtroopers, Need Coffee links to video of last year's AFI Lifetime Achievement award ceremony where the brilliant William Shatner did a song and dance number for George Lucas. It's completely worth your time just to see the number of aging Star Wars actors in the audience, and for confirmation that, yes, Billy Dee Williams is still alive. Seriously, can't Colt 45 start making ads with him again? Please?

An Oldie But a Goodie

Hadn't seen this in a couple years before Need Coffee reminded me how good it is: Chris Rock's guide to not getting your ass kicked by the police.

Okkervil River Doing 2 Nights at Bowery

Tickets for Okkervil River at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, October 14th and Sunday, October 15th go on sale in 20 minutes. I'm on this like white on rice. I'll take Saturday, personally.

Golden Smog Tickets Back on Sale

Tickets for Golden Smog's July 26th show at Bowery Ballroom are back on sale at Ticketweb after being listed as sold out for the past few weeks. Get a move on - I'm sure these will disappear fast.

Sufjan Stevens to Perform Solo Acoustic

Matt points out that an odd little show is going down at the Beacon on Wednesday, August 23rd. Billed as "Revenge of the Book Eaters", the show will include appearances by several well-known authors, commentators and musicians, including a stand-up performance by Jon Stewart and the aforementioned solo acoustic performance by Sufjan Stevens.

Ticketmaster descibes the show as:

826NYC and The Bowery Presents present REVENGE OF THE BOOK-EATERS, a star-studded night featuring some of today's most recognized names in indie-rock, literature, and comedy, including SUFJAN STEVENS (in a rare solo acoustic performance), JON STEWART (in an equally-as-rare stand-up performance), DAVE EGGERS (best-selling author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), SARAH VOWELL (best-selling author and This American Life contributor), JOHN HODGMAN (Daily Show regular and author of The Areas of My Expertise) and JOHN RODERICK (songwriter and frontman for The Long Winters) in an evening that promises once and for all to settle the debate: words or music - which is better?
With tickets ranging from $38 to $53, I'm going to have to let you folks debate this one among yourselves. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Thurs. 7/13) at noon.

UPDATE: Brooklyn Vegan reports that David Byrne has been added to the show.

Weezer Done??!?

Rolling Stone reports (yeah, I'm as surprised as you) that dork-rock kings Weezer may be hanging it up. According to RS:

Cuomo has announced that Weezer are “done for now,” with no plans to record again. But Cuomo’s stayed busy: Currently living in Japan, he’s working on a batch of songs “for no one in particular,” including one about his favorite records, and – how’s this for random? – one about the U.S. World Cup soccer team.
I can't say this really upsets me. While I still consider myself a fan of the band, I absolutely abhorred the last album, and didn't get much out of Maladroit either. That said, I'm one of the few people who really liked the Green Album.

Too bad Rivers wasn't living in Japan last year -- we coulda hung out drank us some Suntory Malts.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Long Winters' New Album Available for Pre-Sale

FYI, the new album from the Long Winters, entitled Putting the Days to Bed, is now available for pre-order through Barsuk Records. All pre-orders come with 4 free issues of Paste Magazine. I sure hope this isn't one of those Best Buy "free" subscriptions that are impossible stop and that keep billing you.

If you're hesitant about the "free" magazines, the CD is available nationwide on July 25th, the greatest day of the year (and not just because the Silversun Pickups disc is out that day too).

The Long Winters - "Pushover" (from Putting the Days to Bed)

The Hiders Come Out Of Hiding

Yeah, stupid title, sorry. Anyway, Cincinnati's Hiders are hitting Pianos on Monday, July 24th. Doesn't look like advance tickets will be sold, but you can count on seeing me there.

If you missed my earlier post about the band a few weeks ago, head over to the band's website to check out some tunes. If you like the neo-Neil Young stylings that you hear - and you should - pick up their recent Valentine disc and join me at Pianos.

Tuesday Wrapup

A few interesting things to take note of around the web today...

Is there a new NYC music venue in the offing? A tipster over at Curbed.com reports:
I was walking by the Gramercy Theater just off the corner of 23rd St and Lex, which has been closed for about a year or so. This time I noticed an 8"x11" piece of paper taped to the door through the iron gates. At closer look it appeared to be a work certificate for the site. Basically it said that a music venue would be opening up and that the proprietors would be Delsener/Slater Enterprises, the concert promoters, and Live Nation, the recently spun concert production side of Clear Channel. The notice also referenced that liquor will be served there.
Torr.org links to a diary entry at the official Idlewild site which mentions that the band is beginning work on their next album. In the meantime, singer Roddy's solo album is finally coming out in the UK at the end of the month (not sure of a US release date, if any), and the song "My Secret Is My Silence" is posted at his MySpace page. Great tune, check it out.

Torr also points out a place to find MP3s of The Fire Theft's in-studio performances at KEXP from a couple of years ago.

Someone made a "fan video" for Midlake's "Roscoe", i.e., the song that makes me think I'm listening to a modern day Fleetwood Mac. (Link via Gorilla vs. Bear.)

I missed it last week, but Bishop Allen has posted a song from their recent June EP called "The Same Fire". I've put this off long enough -- I'm buying everything these guys have done.

Music (for Robots) links to a song called Quiet Babies by Danava. Can't say I like it, but it's interesting to see the floodgates begin to open in the stoner-prog-Sabbath-metal now that Wolfmother has arrived.

Finally, for those of you, like me, stuck in NYC without a car for the summer, check out 10 things to do in the city this summer.

New Lucero!!

Drop what you are doing and get your ass over to My Old Kentucky Blog to hear a new Lucero song called "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight". Great song, though it's a little more cleanly produced than I'm used to with Lucero. I guarantee I'll get used to it.

New Ashford Breaks

Just noticed that the Ashford Breaks have posted a couple of songs from their forthcoming Traitor EP on their MySpace page. Both songs are damn good, even if parts of "traitordowntraitor" do make me think of Wolfmother.

You can catch the band this Friday downstairs at The Delancey at 11pm.

I won't be in attendance this time around, unfortunately, as I'll be seeing Le Firm at Sin-e at 10pm, and then The Whigs at Mercury Lounge at 11:30pm.

And You Thought Roseanne Was Bad

While catching up on my backlog on unread feeds on Feedburner, I came across this little gem over at Every Day Should Be Saturday. I'd call it the single greatest rendition of the American National Anthem ever, but I was lucky enough to see the old Real World episode where David sang it at some minor league hockey game. Zoo bee dee doo wa!

God Bless Adam Carolla

Finally, finally, finally someone gives Ann Coulter the tiniest of well-deserved bitch-slaps. Who'da thunk it would have been Adam Carolla? Check it out. (Link via Torr.)

Syd Barrett Dies

According to the NME, the legendary Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd died last Friday, July 7th, at age 60 from complications related to diabetes. Full story.

Thanks to Matt for pointing this out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Flaming Lips Pre-Sale Tuesday Morning

Tickets for The Flaming Lips' September 24th and 25th shows at the crappy Hammerstein Ballroom are available for PRESALE starting tomorrow, Tuesday, July 11th at 10am.

Password is "TheWand"

For Sunday, September 24th: Go here

For Monday, September 25th: Go here

Who's in for Monday?

Stand Up For America

Who knew that Yo La Tengo were such staunch American patriots? Head over to their website to add your name to a petition they're putting together to send to Congress. Anyone who doesn't sign this clearly supports Al Qaida.

AOL Roundup (Week of July 10th)

Best AOL week ever? It's certainly close..

Thom Yorke, The Eraser
Sufjan Stevens, The Avalanche
Phish, Live in Brooklyn
Muse, Black Holes and Revelations
Soul Asylum, The Silver Lining
The Early November, The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path
James Figurine, Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes, Mistakes
Greg Graffin, Cold as the Clay
The Jesus & Mary Chain, Rereleases Sampler
Cut Chemist, The Audience's Listening
The Format, Dog Provlems

Playing Catch-Up

I've been a little lax in my posting the last few days. Music news has been pretty slow, and I've been kinda busy with some other things. Anyway, I'm back, I'm bad, I'm white, I'm mad. Or something like that.

Good news! Lollapalooza's Friday "Special Guest" has been announced as My Morning Jacket. Now I definitely will not be seeing the Raconteurs. Phew!

Two Boston blogs, RBally and Bradley's Almanac have been schooling us all the last few months when it comes to posting new live music. They're at it again: Bradley's Almanac has live Beirut from Cambridge last month, while RBally has both the recent "Broken Mascis Scene" collaboration and a live Stephen Malkmus radio gig.

Large Hearted Boy links to an interesting piece on Wilco and the recording of their new album.

Speaking of Wilco, the band's show from Duluth, MN last week is now streaming in all of its glory at the band's website. I'm gonna check it out now.

I missed this when it happened, but it's all pretty silly to me. Pitchfork apparently gave a less-than-stellar review to the new Sound Team album, and someone claiming to be the band responded in kind. Check it out. Real or not, it's pretty funny.

Finally, go listen to some live Neko Case, Mogwai, Drive-By Truckers and Sonic Youth over at Kingblind.

More later..

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Birdmonster on SpinArt

Has no one reported this yet, or did I just miss it? Turns out that the rumor I heard a while back is true - Birdmonster has some sort of a deal with New York's spinART Records. Not sure if this is simply a distribution deal for No Midnight, or if it's a longer-term deal. Either way, best of luck to everyone involved! Can't wait for album #2 (and another NYC appearance).

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Silkworm Album

As you know, Michael Dahlquist, drummer for the incredible Silkworm, was killed in an automobile accident (I use that term loosely) last year. Sad to say, next week is actually the one year anniversary of that incident.

Following Michael's death, the other members of the band, Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett, announced that they would retire Silkworm. What they didn't mention, however, was that in the weeks prior to Michael's death, the band had apparently started tracking several songs for a new album. Well, Tim recently announced on the band's website that those tracks have been completed with the help of some friends, and will be released by the 12XU record label in October.

The album's tentative title is Chokes, and will include the following songs:

"Bar Ice" (new)
"Low Blow" (new)
"Internat'l Harbor of Grace" (new)
"Lilly White and Cherry Red" (new)
"Wrote a Song for Everyone" (CCR cover)
"Spanish Harlem Incident" (Dylan cover)

Good stuff. In related news, Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett have formed a new band called Bottomless Pit, and will be venturing out for a short tour in September with Magnolia Electric Co. and Shearwater. Tour dates are as follows:

9/15: Boston (Middle East)*
9/16: NYC (Knitting Factory)*
9/17: Philly (First Unitarian Church)*
9/28: Houston (TBA)**
9/29: Austin (Emo's)**
9/30: Dallas (TBA)**

* = with Magnolia Electric Co. and Shearwater
**= with Magnolia Electric Co.

PS: Check out this great photo of the band by Jim Newberry.

(Thanks to Matt for the head's up on this news!)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wilco Sells Photos

If it were any other band, I'd be a little leery about all the "special edition" stuff that Wilco has been hawking on its website lately, from concert posters to dog clothing to Adult Head. But since the band has always been great to its fans, including streaming its albums for fans months before their release, I'm not too concerned.

Now, the band is selling limited editions of several concert photos taken by Zoran Orlic and Charles Harris, and I'll be damned if they're not great. I just wish they were a bit cheaper (between $60-195, depending on framing), and that I didn't have two framed Wilco posters already.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sonic Youth on Letterman

Kingblind points out that a clip of Sonic Youth performing "Incinerate" on Letterman a few weeks ago is up on YouTube. Check it out:



And if you haven't gotten it yet, be sure to pick up Rather Ripped. It's great.

Tim O'Reagan at Mercury Lounge

Just noticed that Tim O'Reagan, formerly of the Jayhawks, is scheduled for two nights at Mercury Lounge next month with Greg Laswell. The shows are Thursday, August 17th and Saturday, August 19th. Doesn't look like there will be advance tickets.

I forgot to listen to his album on AOL last week. Anybody heard it? Thoughts?

Coincidence or Not?

I'm pretty much the last person to buy into the endless number of conspiracy theories out there in the world, but this one's pretty interesting:

Last week, I read this article, in which the wife of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi alleged that Al Qaida had "sold out" her husband to the U.S., and turned over information about his location, in return for a promise by the U.S. to pull back in its efforts to hunt down Osama Bin Laden.

I didn't pay much attention to the article, and kinda forgot about it.

Then, yesterday, I read this article. Apparently, the U.S. is disbanding (or has disbanded) the CIA unit whose sole job it has been to hunt down Osama Bin Laden.

Seriously, is it just me, or is this all just a little odd?

Oh, and Ken Lay "died" today while awaiting sentencing in the Enron case. Hope Tupac and Elvis make some room for him on whatever island they're all going to be living on.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hail to the Captain

Steve Yzerman announced his retirement today. The Captain is dead, long live the Captain. Thanks for everything, Stevie Y.

Jeremy Enigk Album Details

Although we've known for some time that Jeremy Enigk, formerly of Sunny Day Real Estate and currently of The Fire Theft, was releasing his second solo album this fall, that was pretty much the extent of information that could be found for the past few months. Well, we now have a couple more details.

Aversion.com reports that the album, entitled World Waits, will be released on October 17th via Enigk's own label, Lewis Hollow Records. And while the album picks up where his first disc, Return of the Frog Queen left off, it "evolves into a completely more mature thing as the new music slowly unfolds." Err, ok.

The album's tracklisting:

A New Beginning
Been Here Before
River To Sea
City Tonight
Cannons
Damien Dreams
Wayward Love
Dare A Smile
World Waits
Burn

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The West Coast is the Best Coast

Finally got a chance tonight to see two of my favorite new bands of 2006 -- The Little Ones and Birdmonster.

Los Angeles' The Little Ones were the first of three bands at Bowery Ballroom and, amazingly, the room was pretty full for their 8:30pm set. I'm not sure if people were specifically there to see them, or whether it was a matter of the crowd being largely teenage girls who assumed the 7:30 doors meant that's when they were supposed to show up. (Who exactly were they there for? Are Elvis Perkins or Matt Costa big in the high school set?) Either way, the crowd was pretty receptive, and the band seemed to appreciate it. And while the band started slowly, by the second half of their set they sounded fantastic. If memory serves, they played pretty much the entirety of their EP, and two other songs. Hope they come back to NYC soon.

From Bowery I walked across town to catch Birdmonster at the Knitting Factory. If I thought there were a lot of teenagers at the Bowery, there were twice as many at Knitting Factory. When I asked the guy at the door why there were so many kids, he angrily muttered "Battle of the Bands" and proceeded to yell at several 16 year olds trying to take a lit cigarette into the club. Thankfully, the kids pretty much stayed in the upstairs stage area, meaning the Tap Room downstairs, where Birdmonster were playing, was almost entirely a 21 and over affair.

The kids didn't know what they were missing. Birdmonster tore it up. I still think the Whigs are my favorite new live band of 2006, but Birdmonster are this close. I'd love to see them play a show together sometime. Check out some pictures below. There's a lot more at my Flickr account (see Flickr badge in the left-hand column). Now I'm off to D.C. in the morning for the rest of the weekend, so don't expect any updates until Wednesday..

The Little Ones




Birdmonster