Thursday, December 28, 2006

Off to Argentina

OK, so I've pretty much fallen off the face of the earth lately. Work still sucks, what can I say. But the good news is that I'm headed out of town tomorrow - and away from the office - for 10 days in Argentina. And when I get back, I'll be back and bloggin' with the rest of 'em (I think).

So, until then, have a great New Year, and be sure to pour out a sip of your New Years champagne for James Brown.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Paul Westerberg Gets Screwed

NEW YORK (Billboard) -- Paul Westerberg severely injured his left hand and could be sidelined for a year, according to a blog posting from Jim Walsh, a Minneapolis writer and friend of the former Replacements lead singer.

"A week or so again he put a screwdriver through his left hand trying to get some wax out of a candle and cut some nerves and ripped some cartilage and hurt himself pretty bad," Walsh reported. "He's in a cast. He's seen a couple of doctors who say he won't be able to play guitar for a year."

A spokesperson for Vagrant, for which Westerberg records, did not respond to a request for comment.

The injury comes on the heels of a very productive 2006 for Westerberg. Aside from scoring and providing the soundtrack to the animated film "Open Season," he also reunited with his Replacements colleagues Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars for the first time in 15 years to record two new songs for the Rhino retrospective "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of the Replacements."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Superchunk and Aqua Teen - Perfect Together

Just like New Jersey and Wilco.

Thanks to Matt for pointing out this recent post over at the Portastatic blog. I don't know which I'm looking forward to more - the Aqua Teen movie or new Superchunk.

yesterday Superchunk went into the studio to record a new song for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film & soundtrack (film out March 16)...we wrote the song specifically for Aqua Teens and recorded & mixed it in a day at Overdub Lane with John Plymale (Indoor Living, Laughter Guns EP, Summer of the Shark, Be Still Please). the working title of the song was in fact "Meatwad's Lament" but in the end the song became something called "Misfits and Mistakes" and i'd say it's a real toe-tapper, except none of the Aqua Teens have toes. I speak about the show as if i know about it, but only recently did i get around to seeing it and while in general cartoons don't hold my attention i gotta say it's some funny stuff.

anyway, working on the song had me thinking of past soundtrack experiences and the
Suburbia soundtrack cd to which we contributed "Does Your Hometown Care" (which is a total Versus ripoff btw, and later collected on Cup of Sand ) was on the wall of the studio yesterday and we were looking at it. i'd forgotten that it's a cavalcade of stars! Flaming Lips, Malkmus with Elastica, etc... i've never actually seen the film and what do you know i pick up Entertainment Weekly in the office today and there's a little article about how the DVD isn't on the way anytime soon and Eric Bogosian's not too happy about it! (he wrote it) maybe i'll see it when i can Netflix it.

also, while we were in the studio we recorded a demo of "Learned to Surf" (we played that at Irving Plaza a couple weeks ago) so we don't forget how it goes...


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Top Albums of 2006

Rather than put this off any longer, I figured I'd go ahead and post my Top Albums of 2006 list. I've been meaning to do it up nice and pretty like, but I just don't have the time. Besides, I've talked about most of these albums numerous times already, as have all the other music blogs around the net.

So, without further ado, so I don't tinker with it anymore, here is the list:

#25: Pink Nasty, Mold the Gold
#24: Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
#23: The 101, Numbers
#22: Asobi Seksu, Citrus
#21: Mystery Jets, Making Dens
#20: The Whigs, Give 'Em All A Big Fat Lip
#19: Eric Bachmann, To The Races
#18: The Keene Brothers, Blues and Boogie Shoes
#17: The Hiders, Valentine
#16: Golden Smog, Another Fine Day
#15: Built to Spill, You In Reverse
#14: La Rocca, The Truth
#13: Dirty Pretty Things, Waterloo to Anywhere
#12: The Frames, The Cost
#11: Forget Cassettes, Salt
#10: Shearwater, Palo Santo
#9: The Thermals, The Body, The Blood, The Machine
#8: Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, The Swell Season
#7: The Twilight Singers, Powder Burns
#6: Jon Auer, Songs From The Year of Our Demise
#5: Birdmonster, No Midnight
#4: Silversun Pickups, Carnavas
#3: Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos, The Dust of Retreat
#2: The Dears, Gang of Losers
#1: The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America

Hooray, that's the list hooray.

Oh, and yeah, I know #3 technically came out in 2005, but I didn't buy it until it was rereleased this year, so it counts for me.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Workin' For A Livin'

Hey kids.. just a quick post to assure you that I am, in fact, alive. I've just gotten swamped at work this week, and barely have time to eat let alone blog. So don't expect much in the next few days. My top 25 album list is done, but I still need to add some links, songs and a little commentary, so maybe that'll kick in this weekend.

Until then, screw the BCS!


Friday, December 08, 2006

New Son Volt Album, The Search

Word comes from the Son Volt camp that the band's fifth album, entitled The Search, is due to be released on Transmit Sound/Legacy on March 6, 2007.

According to the band's newsletter, the album is "by far the band's most daring and diverse album yet ... [and] a startlingly powerful and inspiring departure from the band's alt-country laden records, employing an exceptional variety of sounds, melodies, and arrangements."

The album features Jay Farrar (obviously) along with Dave Bryson (drums), Derry DeBorja (keyboards), Andrew Duplantis (bass, backing vocals) and Brad Rice (guitar).

The band will start a nationwide tour in support of the album in March. Wonder if we'll get a SXSW appearance?.


"Slow Hearse"
"The Picture"
"Underground Dream"
"Circadian Rhythm"
"Beacon Soul"
"The Search"
"Adrenaline and Heresy"
"Automatic Society"
"L Train"
"Highways and Cigarettes"
"Phosphate Skin"

WOXY Update

Two big holiday announcements from the good folks over at

First, they've announced that the twenty-third consecutive 97 Best Countdown will take place starting on Thursday, December 21st at 10am. I've been listening to these shows since the early 90's, and they're always a good time. In fact, back in high school I used to use their list (which was reprinted in Cincinnati's weekly Everybody's News paper) as a guide for what I needed to buy. Be sure to head over and hear some music you might have missed this year.

Second, they've announced that the new, second WOXY stream is finally up and running. I assume it will eventually be used for the WOXY Vintage channel, but from now until Christmas, you can go here and listen to the WOXY Holiday Mixer. The Holiday Mixer will be playing "vintage renditions of your holiday favorites by modern rockers from around the globe," including Sufjan Stevens, Aimee Mann, Over The Rhine, The Teenage Prayers and, of course, Spinal Tap. Can't say I need to hear much more in the way of holiday songs this year, but if I do, this will be the place I do it.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Best of 2006 - The EP Edition

When I started putting my Best of 2006 list together, I had initially planned to include both LPs and EPs in the same list. But by the time I was done with my preliminary list, I realized that I had way too many to fit onto one list. While I appreciate the folks who put together annual Top 50 or Top 97 lists, that's just way too many for me. I have a hard enough time ranking 20 discs in relation to one another, and have no objective way to justify saying that, say, there were 42 albums this year better than the new Decemberists disc. (There's a little hint as to what's not on my album list.)

So when I saw Chris at the Battering Room do a Top 5 EPs list, I figured I'd do the same. So here it is:

#5: Le Firm, Flugsport [BUY]

When the first year lawyer who sits down the hall from me told me earlier this year that he was the singer in a rock band, I didn't take him that seriously. And when he told me that another first year lawyer was the band's bassist, well, I kinda figured they'd play 3 shows and that would be that. But when I listened to their demos, I realized that they just might be for real. Their debut Flugsport EP proves that they are.


#4: The Twilight Singers, A Stitch In Time

I make no secret of the fact that I'm a huge Afghan Whigs/Greg Dulli fan. I seriously doubt that Greg could put out an album that I wouldn't love. 2006 has done nothing to change this. In fact, parts of A Stitch In Time sound as close to the Afghan Whigs as anything Greg has done. Maybe that's why he stuck them on an EP. And maybe that's why I like this disc so much.

"They Ride"

#3: Bishop Allen, February [BUY]

Let me start off by saying that, despite my repeated promises to buy all of Bishop Allen's "month" EPs, the only ones I have in their entirety are January and February. (Because those are the only ones on eMusic!) So it's very possible that one of the band's other EPs is better. I find that hard to believe, though. All four songs on this disc are great, and never fail to leave a smile on my face.

"The News From Your Bed"

#2: Bottomless Pit, EP [Sold Out]

One of my favorite musical moments of the year was having the chance to catch Bottomless Pit play at the Knitting Factory here in New York. While I would have understood if Andy and Tim had decided not to keep making music after the death of their former bandmate, Michael Dahlquist, last year, I'm glad that they decided to move forward. While Michael's drumming is noticably absent from the Bottomless Pit EP, the songs are still up to (or above) the standard set by Silkworm. Can't wait for their full-length.

Listen to the full EP HERE.

TIE #1: The Broken West, The Dutchman's Gold [BUY]

This is kinda cheating, I know. The Broken West's debut EP actually came out in 2005 (or was it 2004?), however I didn't hear it until 2006. It's probably the CD I listened to most this year, so I feel pretty comfortable putting it in this list. And anyway, I make the rules here, so deal with it. Expect to see the band's debut LP, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, on my Best Album list next year.

"Down In The Valley"

TIE #1: The Little Ones, Sing Song [BUY]

If I listened to The Dutchman's Gold more than any other disc this year, the debut EP from The Little Ones was probably a close second. Moreover, the band was one of my favorite stories of the year, given that two of its members were previously in one of my favorite underappreciated bands of the last decade, Sunday's Best. It's always great to see musicians get a shot at a second act, and even better when the second act is this good.

"High on a Hill"

And, no, I will not be doing commentary and songs for my full album list. It takes forever. I might do it for a select few albums, though. We'll see.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals @ Town Hall, NYC [12/6/06]

OK, so when I posted about Robert Pollard's recent show at Bowery Ballroom, I was kinda vague about what I thought about the show. I guess I learned at an early age that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. (NOTE: Very few of my colleagues in the legal profession ever learned this lesson.)

What I would have said, had I been so inclined, was that Bob seemed tired on stage. And kind of sad. And resigned. The energy of Guided by Voices' shows wasn't there. Hell, even the energy of Bob's show at Irving Plaza earlier this year wasn't there. Instead, we were treated to a by-the-numbers, professional presentation of Bob's songs. The show wasn't bad, mind you, but it wasn't what I go to a Bob Pollard show for. Rather than exuding rock and roll excitement, Bob seemed content to do his job and get off the stage. Not surprisingly, just a few days after the Bowery show, Bob cancelled the rest of the tour, and has since announced that he is retiring from touring.

Given these events, it saddens me to think that another of my favorite artists may be reaching his own "breaking point". But there it is. Ryan Adams' show tonight was the least essential performance I've ever seen him give. While Ryan and his band were technically excellent, there wasn't an ounce of excitement coming from the stage. Just the opposite, Ryan made it clear pretty early that he was annoyed with the crowd, and his famous between-song banter was reduced to a lot of mumbling and repeating himself. When the first set ended after only about 30 minutes, something seemed off. Somehow, the band came out even less enthused for the second set. At one point during the second set we heard Ryan angrily yell at someone "just hit the fucking button". Then, again about 30 or so minutes into the second set, Ryan abruptly said goodnight and walked off stage. After a couple of seconds, the band followed, and about a minute later the house lights came on.

Maybe Ryan just had a bad night. I hope that's the case. But, to me, Ryan's demeanor was strikingly similar to that of Bob Pollard last month. He lacked the passion that I've come to expect from seeing him live for nearly 10 years. Rather than the typical Ryan Adams "fighting spirit", he seemed resigned tonight. Resigned to cutting off a show early. Resigned to disappointing his crowd. Resigned to giving up.

As a longtime fan, I obviously hope he doesn't give up. More than just about any other musician I've ever seen, Ryan has the ability to make a certain type of magic on stage. I just hope I get to see that magic again.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Onion's Annual Obligatory Holiday Charity Party

Not sure if this has made the rounds or not, but Sal points out that The Onion is hosting its annual holiday party at Union Hall on Saturday, December 16th. The show will feature Sloan, David Cross, Whitest Kids 'U Know and Jessica Rose & The Hi-Life.

For more information, go here. The show is free, but you need to RSVP to by December 13th, and there is a suggested donation of $10-$15 (donations go to 826NYC). And by "suggested" they mean mandatory:

There is a $10-$15 suggested donation at the door. Proceeds from donations go to benefit 826NYC, the kids writing and arts program in Brooklyn. And by suggested, we mean, don't be cheap, support the kids, $10-$15 won't kill you. We already told the kids that you would donate, and if you didn't, it meant that you hated children, especially the kids at 826NYC. Your donation gets you beer from Bass, food, and entry into the raffle for some very nice prizes.
Hmm.. Sloan, David Cross, free beer and raffles. I'm in.

Shows of Note

Forgot today was Wednesday. Oops.

Wed., 12/13: REMINDER: Bound Stems, Ra Ra Riot, Muggabears at Sin-e (on sale)

Thurs., 12/28: Fishbone (!!!!!) at Knitting Factory (on sale)

Sat., 12/30: Spoon at Webster Hall (on sale) [wish I were gonna be in town for this one]

Fri., 2/9: Midlake at Bowery Ballroom (not on sale yet - thanks to The Battering Room for the heads up!)

Sat., 2/17: Kevin Devine, Jennifer O'Connor, Pablo, Koufax (on sale)

Mon., 3/20: Explosions in the Sky at Webster Hall (on sale)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are set to release their second album, Some Loud Thunder, on January 30th. The band will once again be self-releasing the album, and will also be making it available for MP3 download via two weeks early, on January 16th.

In anticipation of the album's release, the band has released two tracks from the forthcoming disc. Check 'em out:

"Love Song No. 7"
"Underwater (You and Me)"

A third song, "Satan Said Dance", can also be heard at the band's MySpace page. If you've seen the band live, you're surely familiar with this song. You know, it's the one that goes "Satan... Satan... Satan... Satan... Satan... Satan..." Or something like that. Not exactly the band's finest hour.

That song aside, though, I'm looking forward to the new disc. "Underwater (You and Me)" is pretty fantastic, if not about 45 seconds too long. "Love Song No. 7" is a kinda odd little number, but shows the band taking some serious stylistic chances, which is a good thing.

Track list for Some Loud Thunder:

1. Some Loud Thunder
2. Emily Jean Stock
3. Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?
4. Love Song No. 7
5. Satan Said Dance
6. Upon Encountering the Crippled Elephant
7. Goodbye to Mother and the Cove
8. Arm and Hammer
9. Yankee Go Home
10. Underwater (You and Me)
11. Five Easy Pieces

Edited to add: If the links aren't working for you, you can download the tracks directly from the band's website.

Them's Some Powerful Beans

BREAKING NEWS: Passenger's flatulence causes plane to make emergency landing

Merge Records Charity Auction

If you're a fan of Merge Records, you should check out this auction. The label is auctioning off a copy of every CD it released in 2006, with each disc being signed by the respective artist. All proceeds go to OXFAM America and TROSA.

Albums included in the deal:

East River Pipe, What are you on?
Robert Pollard, From a Compound Eye
Destroyer, Destroyer's Rubies
The Essex Green, Cannibal Sea
Lambchop, The Decline of Country & Western Civilization Part II: The Woodwind Years
Camera Obscura, Let's Get Out of this Country
Camera Obscura, Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken
Portastatic, Who Loves the Sun
White Whale, WWI
Spoon, Telephono/Soft Effects
M. Ward, Post-War
Lambchop, Damaged
Richard Buckner, Meadow
Portastatic, Be Still Please
Robert Pollard, Normal Happiness

The bidding is only at $375 right now. That's only about $25 per disc, which isn't a whole lot more than you'd pay at your local store. So if you're a Merge fan, and want to help out a good cause, go bid!

Hot IQs

So has led me to yet another discovery - Denver's Hot IQs. I just heard the band's song "Duck and Cover" minutes ago, and I think I've already found another favorite new band.

"Duck and Cover" can be heard at the band's MySpace page

You should also check out the song "Retromuff"

The band's new Dangling Modifier EP can be purchased here. In addition to those two songs, the EP also includes a cover of the Archers of Loaf's "Web In Front". Oh, and apparently the band's last full-length, An Argument Between Brain and Feet, was released on spinART. Who knew?

Video Roundup

Still trying to get caught up here at work after being out sick and then out in Vegas. For now, help yourself to some videos.

Damien Rice, "Nine Crimes"
Real Video
Windows Media

The Isles, "Summer Loans" (via Torr)

The Dykeenies, "Waiting For Go" (via Torr)

Teenage Fanclub, "I Don't Want Control of You"

Crooked Fingers, "New Drink for the Old Drunk"

Mystery Jets, "You Can't Fool Me Dennis"

(I ran this one a while ago, but wanted to make sure to remind folks to think about this band on their top-of-2006 lists...)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Silversun Pickups on Letterman

I unfortunately missed the Silversun Pickups' national television debut while I was off gambling in Las Vegas last weekend. Thank god for YouTube. Check out the kids playing themselves a little "Lazy Eye":

I'm finishing up my Best of 2006 list this week, and SP are gonna be pretty damn high up there.

Ted Leo News

Billboard is reporting that Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will be releasing their next album, entitled Living With The Living, on March 20th via Touch and Go Records. The album, which was produced by Fugazi's Brendan Canty, will feature 15 tracks, including several that the band has been playing at shows throughout 2006.

The full tracklisting reads as follows:

"Fourth World War"
"The Sons of Cain"
"Army Bound"
"Who Do You Love?"
"A Bottle of Buckie"
"La Costa Brava'
"Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day"
"The Unwanted Things"
"The Lost Brigade"
"The World Stops Turning"
"Some Beginner's Mind"
"The Toro and the Toreador"

Bob Pollard Retires From Touring... Kinda

After a week of speculation following the cancellation of several live dates, Robert Pollard has announced that he is officially retiring from touring. Apparently Bob is disappointed in declining crowds on the road, especially at a time when he feels that he's been putting on even better shows than he did with Guided By Voices:
"With Guided By Voices, it didn't matter what day it was. What I'm doing now, in my opinion, is not only the same thing, I think it's a step up, even," he says. "But you get tired of beating your head against the wall."
Personally, I can't say I'm particularly surprised . Whereas I thought Bob put on an excellent show at Irving Plaza earlier in the year, I was pretty underwhelmed by the recent Bowery Ballroom show. It lacked the energy of a typical Pollard show , and it seemed that everyone in the band (aside from drummer Jon Wurster) were kind of phoning it in.

The good news in all of this? Bob will continue putting out new music, as always, and has both completed his next album, entitled Silverfish Trivia, as well as demos for his next album after that. And, even better, Bob hints that he still may have some more live shows in him at some point in his future. Maybe now we can finally have that Bob / Tobin Sprout tour we've been wanting for 10 years...

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