Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Meet Memphis

Memphis is a Canadian band featuring members of Stars (lead singer Torquil Campbell), Metric and the Sam Roberts Band. Apparently they've been together a couple of years already, however I didn't hear about them until this morning. Better late than never, I guess. The band recently released its second album, A Little Place in the Wilderness, and what I've heard so far is fantastic.

Memphis, "I'll Do Whatever You Want"

The band is also streaming two other songs at its website, including my favorite of their songs so far, "I Dreamed We Fell Apart". Check it out.

The album is due for a release in the US in early 2007, hopefully with a US tour to follow. If you can't wait that long, you can order the album from Amazon Canada here. Highly recommended.

Colin Meloy Playing Pianos on Friday

Can't believe I hadn't heard this: Colin Meloy of the Decemberists is playing a "secret" solo show at Pianos on Friday at noon. Thanks to Stereogum for the head's up. The full band is also playing a sold-out show that night at Hammerstein Ballroom. I sold my ticket to the latter so I could hit the Merge Records showcase, and because I hate Hammerstein.

I guess this is just another reason for me to try to skip out of work on Friday. Seriously, this job bullshit is really a pain in the ass.

eMusic's Subscription Plans Changing

If you haven't signed up for eMusic yet (and seriously, why haven't you?), now is the time to do it. On November 21st, their subscription plans are changing, and you won't be getting as good a deal. If you join before November 21st, you get grandfathered in at the old rates. Check the comparison:

The current plans
$9.99 for 40 downloads/month
$14.99 for 65 downloads/month
$19.99 for 90 downloads/month

The new plans
$9.99 for 30 downloads/month
$14.99 for 50 downloads/month
$19.99 for 75 downloads/month

If you buy a lot of indie CDs, you should definitely consider joining. eMusic has a great back catalog, and continues to get new albums all the time. Even though I prefer having physical CDs, I gotta say that eMusic is making me more and more comfortable with the whole downloading thing. The amount of money I'm saving is amazing, and I'm legitimately purchasing the music and paying artists and songwriters their royalties. It's a win-win.

Be assured, I'm not getting any kickbacks for pushing eMusic. I just really like the service, and enjoy saving some money so I can go to more concerts.

WOXY's Lounge Act Archive Back in Business

WOXY.com is finally starting to post some MP3s of its recent (post-relaunch) Lounge Act performances in its archives. Good stuff:

Asobi Seksu
Ben Kweller

The two I'm still waiting for are The Wrens and yesterday's Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin set, both of which I somehow missed the first time around.

Oh, and don't forget that Frank Black is performing a Lounge Act this afternoon at 3:30pm.

CMJ-1 Day

It's two one day until the official start of the CMJ Music Marathon, and bands are already starting to arrive into town and play some shows. Tonight's most interesting show, to me at least, was at Pianos, with La Rocca and Division Day. [The Drones actually headlined, but I left before they came on, and a girl named Jaymay, who has a great voice but kinda boring songs, opened.]

La Rocca, "This Life"

This was the second time I've seen La Rocca this year, and it's clear that they've been doing a lot of touring in the interim. While I thought they put on a good show the last time they came through town, they were extremely tight tonight, and they sounded like a band destined to be playing much bigger rooms. They also played one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Cambodia", which they didn't play the last time around.

I definitely recommend catching La Rocca if you get the chance. They're playing two more CMJ shows, first on Thursday as part of the Dangerbird Records showcase at Pianos with Silversun Pickups (I'll be there), and on Saturday at Union Hall with Irving and Monsters Are Waiting.

Division Day, "Tap-Tap, Click-Click"
Division Day, "Tigers"

I was also excited to finally get a chance to see Los Angeles' Division Day. I'd been hearing the name all over the place for the better part of a year, but for some reason I'd never gotten around to listening to any of their music. This was the band's first ever show in New York, so I figured it was as good a time as any to introduce myself to their music.

I liked them, but didn't love them. They're clearly talented musicians, and put on a good show. However, most of the songs they played tonight were pretty heavy on rythym and texture and not a whole lot of melody. And while that works for Sonic Youth, it got a little boring at times. That said, their last couple songs were really good, and whatever the last song was that they played was incredible. A few more songs like that, and I'm a huge fan.

Haven't decided if I'm hitting any shows tomorrow or not. If I do, it'll probably be Birdmonster and Irving at Pianos.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Bush Administration Hates Us All

Which is good, because I hate it right back.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the only people who listen to indie rock are stoned-out poseurs. (Via Pitchfork.)

As a stoned-out non-poseur, I take unbelievable offense to this nonsense.

Edited to add: Reader Josh suggests that Pitchfork (who originally ran the piece) has been hoodwinked, and that this is merely an old PSA which someone dubbed the words "indie rock" into. God I hope so. Not because I care what the ONDCP thinks about indie rock, mind you, but because it's fun to fuck with Pitchfork.

Phil Lesh Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

You may not be able to tell from the indie-rock orientation of this blog, but I was (and remain) a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. So it saddens me to hear that Phil Lesh, just a few years removed from serious liver problems (and a liver transplant), has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. From his site:
What do I have in common with Rudy Giuliani, John Kerry, Bob Dole, Joe Torre, Nelson Mandela, Sean Connery, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Emperor Akihito of Japan, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, Quincy Jones, Roger Moore, Sydney Poitier, and Robert De Niro? Like them, and along with thousands of other men, I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Since my liver transplant, my health has been monitored by a crack team of doctors; in the course of this program, I have periodic blood tests and clinic visits. At my last clinic, my doctor noticed that my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels had increased over the last period. He recommended that I see a urologist, and a biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. I have decided to have it removed in early December with da Vinci robotic surgery. Since we’ve caught it very early, and it’s small and slow-growing, I fully expect to have a rapid and complete recovery.

I am feeling energetic as always, and all my scheduled appearances will occur as planned.

As you know, I urge everyone to become an organ donor to help save lives. Now, I am also urging all men: speak to your doctor about having periodic regular PSA screening for early detection of prostate cancer- you may save your own life.

Good luck with the fight, Phil. We're behind ya.

(Thanks to Live Music Blog for the head's up.)

Video Roundup

Robyn Hitchcock and The Venus Three, "Adventure Rocket Ship"
(via You Ain't No Picasso)

The Thermals, "Pillar of Salt"

The View, "Superstar Tradesman" (via Torr) [out-Strokes-ing the Strokes]

The Long Blondes, "Once and Never Again" (via Torr) [surprisingly not bad]

Division Day, "Hurricane"

Forward, Russia!, "Eighteen"

Spending CMJ With Brooklyn Vegan

You may have seen this already, but I wanted to re-post it because it's so damn impressive. There's a reason Brooklyn Vegan and Stereogum are the gold standard for music blogs.

I'll likely just be at the Saturday show. If I can cut out of work, I'm gonna try to catch The Thermals on Friday too, but it ain't likely.

Frank Black Playing WOXY Tomorrow!

This just in - Frank Black is playing a solo acoustic Lounge Act on WOXY.com tomorrow (Tues. 10/31) at 3:30pm EST. Awesome.

(Photo source)

AOL Roundup (Week of Oct. 31)

Slow week at AOL's Listening Parties this week, but seriously, what more could you want than K-Fed?

Kevin Federline, Playing With Fire
The Who, Endless Wire (week #2 at AOL)
The Deftones, Saturday Night Wrist
Meatloaf, Bat Out Of Hell III
Willie Nelson, Songbird (features collaborations w/ Ryan Adams)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Don't Forget About... Human Television

Been a while since anyone's talked about Human Television... Maybe they decided to take a break from New York after playing 322 (give or take 310) gigs here in the first half of the year.

Well, they're back for CMJ. Saturday night, Cake Shop, 9:45pm. Part of the Gigantic Records showcase. If I'm not seeing The Tyde at Mercury Lounge, I'll be there.

"Look At Who You're Talking To"

"Mars Red Rust"

Ben Kweller's "Sundress" Video

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Frames Update

Billboard has a nice article up about The Frames and their new album, The Cost. There's a bunch of new information that I hadn't heard, including that:

(1) The album new was recorded entirely live, meaning that any time someone screwed up, they had to start over again. Considering how great the band is live, I'm surprised they'd never done this before. And, personally, I think the album sounds fantastic.

(2) The band will have a DVD set available early next year, which will include a live performance from Dublin last fall, as well as a special recording of the band performing The Cost in its entirety. They're actually recording the latter part this weekend in their studio in Dublin.

(3) After the band's European tour next month, Glen will be returning to the U.S. to play a number of solo shows opening for Damien Rice. That's a show I'm gonna have to catch. Damien's new website launches on November 3rd, so I'm guessing we'll get those tour dates sometime soon. Hopefully Glen and Damien will play some of the songs they wrote together last year.

(4) The Frames will be playing SXSW. If I wasn't already planning on going, I am now.

A Taste of CMJ (and Storage Site Test #2)

One of the bands that I really want to catch during CMJ this year is Louisville's De Novo Dahl. I first heard them a couple years ago on, what else, WOXY. Based on the strength of the band's Lounge Act performance, I picked up a copy of their first album, Cats and Kittens. That album definitely had it's moments, but was way too long, and included a second disc of dance-y remixes which I pretty much hated.

Soon thereafter, the band pretty much disappeared off my radar (they apparently went through a pretty big lineup change). Recently, however, I've been seeing their name more and more, and things seem to be picking up for the band again. They even have three new songs streaming on their website, which are quite good. My favorite of the new songs:


And here's a couple of my favorite songs off of Cats and Kittens [BUY]. I'm trying yet another file storage site - this time, AOL's XDrive. Their user interface may be the best I've seen, and they give you 5GB of free space. As a comparison, EZArchive charged about $60/year for 5GB. (And BOX.net only gives you 1GB for free.) So that's a couple points in their favor. I'm not sure how the link setup will work, though, so give them a shot and let me know if you have any problems.

"All Over Town"

Edited to add: Looks like XDrive only lets you download the songs, and not stream them. That's too bad.

My CMJ Dance Card

Here's how I think I'll be spending my CMJ next week. It's a little aggressive at times, but hopefully doable.

2pm: The Broken West live set on KEXP @ Gigantic Studios
7pm: The Whigs @ Mercury Lounge
8pm: Steve Earle, Allison Moorer @ Southpaw

7pm: Reverb Nation showcase @ Crash Mansion
9pm: Dangerbird Records (Silversun Pickups and La Rocca) @ Pianos

12pm: Brooklyn Vegan (Thermals, Forward, Russia!) @ Fontanas
7pm: Merge Records (Portastatic, White Whale, The Broken West) @ Knitting Factory
10pm: Productshop (Birdmonster, Ra Ra Riot, Thermals) @ Studio B

12pm: Brooklyn Vegan (Silversun Pickups, Elvis Perkins, Annuals, White Whale) @ The Annex
10pm: The Tyde and Bobby Bare, Jr. @ Mercury Lounge
12am: Forget Cassettes, De Novo Dahl @ Arlene's Grocery

Farewell to EZArchive

You may have noticed over the last day or so that a number of blogs have been bemoaning the changes over at EZArchive. If you're not familiar with EZArchive, it is an online media storage site that essentially rents you server space to store songs, photos, or any other electronic media you'd want to store off-site. A bunch of blogs, including this one, have used EZArchive to store songs that we post for readers to listen to.

EZArchive has always been pretty shitty. It would go down for hours at a time, cancel uploads at the very end of a 30-minute transfer, and had what might have been the worst user interface on the internet.

Then, without notice, they announced a couple of days ago that they were "upgrading" to EZArchive 3.0. There's still no explanation as to what that means, except that: (a) the streaming audio quality is going to go down; and (b) all of the existing files that people have are being moved to new servers, and every single link being used by blogs is going to disappear. So if I want to keep a link from a post I did back in May active, so that people could still hear it if they went back to the old post, I would need to go onto EZArchive and search out the new link and then replace it in my original post. And I'd have to do this for every single song post I've done since starting the blog. Let me assure you, this would take forever.

So I, like many others, have decided to ditch EZArchive. Sure, if it turns out that EZArchive 3.0 is the greatest thing since the 3-in-1 raised toilet seat, maybe I'll give it a shot. But until then, I'm in the market for a new file storage site.

Right now, I'm thinking about using Box.net. The functionality is a little different than EZArchive, but it's got a much better user interface, and even allows you to stream songs in a separate player (meaning you can navigate your browser to a new page and the song will keep playing). I think the only negative is that the little play "button" won't come up anymore. Here's an example. Give it a shot and let me know your thoughts:

Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner, "Somehow You Could Always Tell" (from the excellent Chester EP)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Song of the Week - Port O'Brien

Without question, the best new song I've heard this week is a song called "Five and Dime" from Port O'Brien. I don't know much about the band other than that they're a folk-oriented band from the Oakland area, but I really really like what I'm hearing. Check 'em out:

"Five and Dime" (Highly recommended!)
"My Eyes Won't Shut"
"I Woke Up Today"

I'm gonna dig around and see what else I can find out about the band, and I'll probably end up picking up one or both of their albums here. Expect a more comprehensive post in the not-too-distant future.

New Internet Radio Offerings from AOL

You may have noticed that AOL's indie blog has been re-branded as Spinner.com. Seems like they're trying to bring all of their various music offerings to one centralized location. Makes sense, though I'm not sure it makes sense to use the Spinner brand, which AOL bought 7 years ago and never had much success with. Anyway, among numerous other offerings, Spinner has several radio stations of note, including:

Spinner Radio, which offers a "random mix" of indie-type music.

Indie 500, which offers indie old and new.

Misfits Overdose, which is all Danzig-era Misfits, all the time. Kick ass.

And, my favorite, the Yacht Rock-inspired Sailing Away, which will play all the hits from Christopher Cross, REO Speedwagon and The Doobie Brothers. This is not a joke.

For more information about Spinner and its various radio offerings, go here.

Truth be told, except for a little Misfits and Doobies here and there, I'll stick with WOXY.

Noel Gallagher on AOL's Interface

Head over to the AOL Interface to check out a new session from Noel Gallagher of Oasis. I've never been a huge fan of the band, but Noel's a pretty decent songwriter, so I'll definitely check it out.

And make sure to check out some of the other good sessions they've had at the Interface, which are all available as podcasts:

Cat Power
Jose Gonzalez
Josh Rouse
The Lemonheads
Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos
M Ward
Silversun Pickups
Small Sins

When Talentless Rock Stars Attack

Remember when the Towers of London were supposed to be the next big thing out of the UK? No? That's ok, I barely do either. All you need to know is that they're not particularly good, but they think they're the most important rock band on the planet. Kinda like The Killers, but with way more attitude.

How much attitude? On one occasion, they threw a mic stand at a girl in the crowd here in NYC, cut a huge gash in her head, and then told her it was her fault because she should "expect" that type of behavior at a Towers of London show. (Even though they were merely opening for The Rakes.)

Well, those bad boys are at it again (link via Popbitch):

Stay classy, Towers of London.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lollapalooza to Return to Chicago in 2007 and Beyond

According to Lollapalooza's website, the festival is confirmed for a return visit to Chicago's Grant Park the weekend of August 3-5, 2007. Moreover, the festival plans to keep going back to Chicago every year through at least 2011. Given how good this year's festival was, I'll likely be reserving myself a room for next year soon.

This is normally the point in the post where I'd tell you to go to Live Lollapalooza to download MP3s of performances from this year's show. However, they only have about 1/4 of the bands up, and a good chunk of those are only partial sets. Not sure why they're so chintzy about this. Maybe it's the bands, maybe it's the labels, who knows. Either way, it's not that impressive if they're only offering about 20% of the performances from the weekend.

That said, I may still pick up the Hold Steady set (which is a full set) and the Frames (half set). Or maybe not.

Stereogum Goes Corporate?

I thought I had read a very vague, odd post on Stereogum about this the other day, but now that I look on the site, I'm not finding anything.

Anyway, Idolator is reporting that Stereogum is either being purchased by or receiving serious funding from Bob Pittman's Pilot Group. You may remember Pittman as the guy who decided back in 2002 that AOL shouldn't focus on broadband, and instead re-dedicated AOL to its dial-up business. He also believed that the future of AOL was premium content - i.e., having people pay extra, even above their AOL membership, for certain content.

So, yeah, that didn't work out too well. I hope Pittman doesn't apply the same strategy to Stereogum. Next thing you know we'll all be getting CDs in the mail to install Stereogum onto our computers; article headlines will be free but we'll pay for every Stereogum post we open in its entirety; and we'll have people in the Stereogum call centers berating us for not spending enough time on the site.

I kid, I kid. If this rumor is true, congrats to Scott, and I look forward to bigger and better things from the already-great Stereogum.

Another WOXY Lounge Act

Wouldn't you know it, right after I post WOXY's lineup of upcoming Lounge Acts, they go and announce a new one - The Pernice Brothers will be stopping by the WOXY Lounge on Monday, November 6th at 3pm.

I've never been a huge fan of the Pernice Brothers, primarily due to Joe's breath-y voice, but I like the songs I've heard from the new album, Live a Little. The album is streaming at the band's website, so I guess I'll have to check it out.

NYC Good News/Bad News

In some non-music news, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission voted yesterday to raise cab fares again, this time doubling "wait time" from 20 cents per minute to 40 cents per minute. They say this should raise the cost of an average cab ride by $1. Not awful, but it sure does seem like transit costs keep going up around here.

The good news? The TLC voted to make the flat $45 fee for cabs from JFK into the city a rule in both directions. In other words, it's $45 between JFK and the city, regardless of which direction you're going. While this might result in a slight increase if you live on the East Side near a bridge or tunnel, it'll help those of us on the West Side, and will disincentivize cabbies from going "off the grid" in Brooklyn to jack your fare.

Ah, the joys of living in New York...

Upcoming WOXY Lounge Acts

Even though their archive isn't yet updating with new shows, WOXY.com has been hosting a bunch of great Lounge Acts since it came back on the air a couple of weeks ago. And they've got a lot more coming too. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks:

Oh No! Oh My! - Fri., 10/27 at 4pm (i.e., tomorrow!)
MySpace page
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Mon., 10/30 at 4pm
"Oregon Girl" (from Broom, BUY) (Highly recommended)
Charlotte Martin - Fri., 11/3 at 3pm
MySpace page
Chin Up Chin Up - Tues., 11/7 at 12:30pm
"This Harness Can't Ride Anything" (from This Harness Can't Ride Anything, BUY)
The Scourge of the Sea - Thurs., 11/30 at 1pm
"Out of the Trash" (from Make Me Armored, BUY)
PS: The fact that a couple artists only get MySpace references, rather than song links, is only because they don't seem to have MP3s available to link. When and if I find MP3s for them, I'll link 'em.

The Key Party Update

Just a quick followup to my post from the other day about The Key Party. It turns out that the band does, indeed, have a full-length LP available. The album is called The Kitchen Sink With Guitars, and is available at CD Baby and iTunes. I should be getting a copy soon, and will report back then...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another Reason Online Radio Rocks

I'm still waiting for WOXY to start archiving its Lounge Act performances again (soon, we're told), but in the meantime The Current at MPR and KEXP have a number of great recent in-studio shows available for streaming and/or download. The best of the best:

The Current at MPR

Grizzly Bear
The Hold Steady
TV On The Radio
Yo La Tengo


Jon Auer
The Little Ones
The Long Winters
Mojave 3
The Thermals

PS, I can't wait for WOXY to post the recent Wrens Lounge Act, since I didn't hear it when it aired...

24 Season 6 Trailer

Via Chromewaves comes news that the offical trailer for Season 6 of 24 is out. Go now. The lives of millions may rest on it.

Edited to add: Just watched it. You know, I was really hoping that the show would focus on Jack's escape from China. Instead, it sure looks like the whole China thing is swept under the rug pretty quickly, much like pretty much every other season-ending "cliffhanger" so far (remember Nina's phone call? the girl who gave the first President Palmer anthrax? the dude on the headset from last year?). I still foolishly trust that the writers are going to tie it all in at some point, but do we really need to wait until Season 17?

The 101 Play Around Town

The 101, "Dancing"

One of my favorite New York bands, The 101, have announced a series of shows around town over the next few weeks. I'll definitely be at the Annex show, as Le Firm is on the same bill, and might try to catch the Maxwell's show this weekend as well. I have, of course, banned Lit Lounge.

101 Dates

Saturday, October 28
1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ
w/ The Parlor Mob, The Loft, The Upwelling
(101 goes on at 10pm)

Friday, November 10
Lit Lounge
93 2nd Ave
(101 goes on at 11pm)

Wednesday, November 29
The Annex
152 Orchard Street
w/ Redflecks and Le Firm
(101 goes on at 10pm)

From All Over

As the title suggests, here's a bunch of interesting stuff I've found over the last few days around the internet. Enjoy:

  • RBally, on the verge of internet retirement, posts the first of at least four farewell posts. This one features The Smiths' Troy Tate sessions.

  • Said The Gramophone has an ancient live track from Pavement, "Secret Knowledge of Back Roads", live from the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill in 1992.

  • I've heard a lot of good things about Division Day, who are apparently pretty good friends with Birdmonster. Haven't had a chance to hear anything from them yet, though. Luckily, Largehearted Boy links to the band's song, "Tigers", and it's pretty damn good.

  • Bradley's Almanac has audio from Broken Social Scene's recent show at Brandeis University on October 16th. I'm not a big fan, but it would be a shame if all the rumors swirling around of a breakup are true.

  • The Hold Steady's website is streaming a live version of "Stuck Between Stations", from their excellent new album, Boys and Girls in America.

  • Stereogum has a live track of The Twilight Singers, together with Mark Lanegan, covering Massive Attack's "Live With Me".

  • Speaking of Greg Dulli, Berkeley Place has an awesome collection of Dulli/Twilight Singers/Afghan Whigs rarities.

  • An Aquarium Drunkard has a live set from My Morning Jacket live from 2000.

  • You Ain't No Picasso profiles an interesting new band called Middle Distance Runner.

  • Pound for Pound has a link to The Arcade Fire covering New Order's "Age of Consent". When did everyone in the world start covering this song?

  • Finally, Captain's Dead has a collection of great (and not-so-great) late 80's hair metal, including a couple songs to remind you how good Cinderella actually was ("Shake Me" and "Coming Home"). I could've done without the Winger, though.

Buzzcocks Rarities Tour?

Word is that the legendary Buzzcocks will be doing a short two-week tour next month featuring "songs you might not have heard played live before and songs you might not hear played live again." (Pete S.)

Unfortunately, the shows are only in the UK. Dammit. If you're in the UK, or willing and able to travel there, these sound like shows not to be missed.

Tour dates

11/28 St Albans, Alban Arena
11/29 Bristol, Anson Rooms
12/1 Manchester, Academy
12/2 London, Forum
12/4 Northampton, The Deco
12/5 Leicester, University
12/7 Gateshead, Sage
12/8 Glasgow, ABC
12/9 Warwick, Arts Centre

WFMU Record Fair = During CMJ

In what can only be described as a stupid, stupid move, this year's autumn WFMU Record and CD Fair will be held smack in the middle of CMJ. Maybe they think there will be a lot of people in town for CMJ who will also want to hit the fair? Doubtful. Speaking for myself, if I have an afternoon free during CMJ, I'm gonna go to an afternoon showcase rather than a used CD fair. I assume most people would think the same way, though maybe I'm wrong.


WFMU Record and CD Fair
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th St. (b/w 6th and 7th Aves.)
Fri., 11/3: 7pm-10pm
Sat., 11/4: 10am-7pm
Sun., 11/5: 10am-7pm

Tickets are $6 at the door, or if you are a "desperate collector" (their word, not mine), you can buy a $20 advance ticket to get in before the general public on Friday afternoon between 4pm-7pm.

Guess I could try to make it on Sat. morning... alternatively, they're showing the Minutemen documentary on Sunday afternoon, so that's a possibility too.

(Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the head's up.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chicks Dig Skid Row

Edited to add: Shhhhhh, it's a secret.

This guy may be the greatest album reviewer ever.

Ignore the fact that I was using Google to find reviews of the new Skid Row album, Revolutions Per Minute [out NOW!], and think about these facts:

(1) This website, Bella Online, calls itself "The Voice of Women".
(2) The "Voice of Women" has its own full-time Heavy Metal/Hard Rock editor.
(3) The "Voice of Women's" Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Editor is Tiger Woods' old caddie, Mike "Fluff" Cowan. (Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.)

Seriously, this is one of the greatest, most absurd things I've ever seen. It also confirms something I've suspected for years - chicks dig handlebar mustaches. Gonna start growing myself one right now.

Pixies to Record New Album!

After two year of rumors, Frank Black has confirmed to NME that The Pixies will extend their comeback to record a new album. From NME:

Singer Frank Black has confirmed the band will start work in January on their first record since 1991's 'Trompe Le Monde'.

Speaking about the album, Black explained that the band still have a lot of work to do before an album appears.

"We're rehearsing in January, if we can persuade Kim (Deal, bassist) to come out of her house," he told NME.COM. "We offered to go to her but we figured if we book the rehearsals she'll show up.

"Since we got back together we've played almost everywhere we can. I know we like playing and everyone likes touring together, so to keep doing that and not record anything is kind of like being a county fair band. We don't want to do that, so the only thing we can do is become a vital band again. So it's just a matter of doing it, I guess."
Let's pray it's better than "Bam Thwok", kids.

The First Four Minutes of Borat

Thanks to the fine folks at Yes But No But Yes for pointing this out:


Free copies of the EP for everyone who comes to see Le Firm this Thursday!

Meet The Key Party

One of the innumerable bands that WOXY.com has introduced me to over the years is a New York rock band called The Great Shakes. The band's song, "Americana Bebop", is one of my favorite rock songs of the past few years, and in my opinion might be the best Clash song that the Clash never wrote.

Unfortunately, about a year ago, the Great Shakes announced that they were going on hiatus to "dream it all up again," whatever that means. And, given the fast-paced nature of the music world, that's pretty much the last time I thought about them.

So I was pleasantly surprised last week when I was listening to WOXY and heard a song from lead singer Darren Gaines' new project, The Key Party. While Darren's voice is as distinctive as ever, he's added a folk-singer aesthetic (think Billy Bragg or Tom Waits) and a heck of a lot of new instruments (trumpets, xylophone, etc.) to his songs. And it works damn well. The band has four songs streaming (and available for download) on their MySpace page. These are my two favorites:

The Key Party, "Last Call"
The Key Party, "Look Like Hell"

The Key Party's website is under construction, so I can't tell if they're planning on releasing a CD or playing any shows in the near future. Hope so. Until then, check out the songs, and go listen to some more Great Shakes here.

Damien Rice Hitting LA and NY

Even though he likely won't embark on a full U.S. tour until 2007, Damien Rice has announced that he will be playing two shows next month to celebrate the release of his new album, 9:

11/13: Los Angeles (El Rey)
11/16: New York (Hiro Ballroom)

Tickets aren't on sale yet, but keep an eye on Damien's website over the next day or so for info.

Even though I haven't listened to it in a while, I was a huge fan of Damien's debut album, O, when it first came out, and I managed to see him live 5 or 6 times during 2003 and 2004. Damien and his band (including the lovely and talented Lisa Hannigan) put on an incredible live show. If you can go to either of these shows, I urge you to do so.

Unfortunately, I won't be at the show, given that 3 of my favorite artists in the world have all decided to play New York on the same night. The Twilight Singers are playing at Warsaw in Brooklyn. Damien's playing Hiro Ballroom. And a reunited Superchunk is playing Irving Plaza for the Daily Show 10th Anniversary show (with Clem Snide). That's where I'll be.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Biggest Show of 2007?

Not sure how the other blogs haven't posted about this show yet. This should be the biggest damn show of 2007, unless Chicago reunites with Peter Cetera.


So it turns out that WOXY is making an appearance at this year's CMJ after all. They're presenting Polyvinyl Records' showcase at Europa (Brooklyn) on Thursday, November 2nd. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now.


8:45pm: CALE PARKS (solo -- member of Aloha)
12:00am: ALOHA

Oh, and there are supposedly "goodie bags" for the first 50 people to show up. Doors are at 7:30pm.

Testing... Testing...

So for some reason my blog looks all fucked up when I log onto it from work. From home, it looked fine. Anyway, apologies if you're having problems. I'm working on fixing it.

OK. Pretty much fixed. A couple of things to work out still, but it's readable at least. Let me know if you catch any serious problems. Thanks!

RBally to Shut Down

Some unfortunate news this morning - Jennings has announced that he's shutting down RBally.net. As I've said here many times before, RBally has consistently been one of the best, and truly vital, music blogs on the net. It will be missed.

If there's anything on the site that you'd been meaning to listen to or download, do it now. RBally's website, including its archives, will only be up until October 28th, and then will likely disappear forever.

Thanks for the music, Jennings.

AOL Roundup (Week of October 24)

Good week at AOL, and a special surprise - the new Damien Rice album, 9. The album doesn't even come out until next month, so I was shocked to see it. I'm taking it as a sign that we can expect a hugemungous marketing push behind this puppy. I'm curious to see if I like it as much as I liked O.

Damien Rice, 9

The Who, Endless Wire
Bright Eyes, Noise Flor (Rarities)
Sparta, Threes
Paul Stanley, Live to Win
The Walkmen, Pussy Cats Starring the Walkmen (Harry Nilsson cover/tribute)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cordalene Finally Hitting NYC

I've been a fan of Cordalene since I accidentally caught their set at Luna Lounge several years ago. It didn't even take a full song for me to realize that they were an extremely talented band who, in a just world, could be huge.

Well, here it is three years later, and they're still trying to make a name for themselves outside of their native Philadelphia. Their recent album, The Star Ledger [STREAM], is a damn fine record that ought to help the band grow its audience. Strangely, though, they've only played a smattering of live dates in support of the album, and have yet to come to New York.

Thankfully, I just noticed on their website that the band is finally scheduled to hit NYC on Thursday, November 9th. Unfortunately, they're playing Lit Lounge. If you'll remember from last week, I kinda swore that I'd never go back there. Argh. I'm torn between my desire to see Cordalene and my loyalty to Wussy. Tough call.

If I end up going, maybe I'll go in disguise so no one can call me a hypocrite. If you see a dude in a set of fake glasses and moustache, come say hi.

Pernice Brothers Hitting the Road

Joe Pernice and company are set to hit the road next month for a 6-week nationwide tour. Locally, they're hitting Mercury Lounge on Friday, December 8th. Just checked Ticketweb, and tickets aren't yet on sale.

Tour dates

11/4: Pittsburgh (Club Cafe)
11/5: Dayton, OH (Canal Street Tavern)
11/6: Covington, KY (The Mad Hatter)
11/7: Detroit (The Lager House)
11/8: Grand Rapids, MI (The Intersection)
11/9: Chicago (Schubas)
11/10: Madison, WI (High Noon Saloon)
11/11: Minneapolis (7th Street Entry)
11/12: Des Moines, IA (Vaudeville Mews)
11/16: Seattle (Tractor Tavern)
11/17: Portland, OR (Doug Fir Lounge)
11/18: Eugene, OR (Sam Bond's Garage)
11/20: Sacramento (Old Ironsides)
11/21: San Francisco (Cafe du Nord)
11/22: Los Angeles (Spaceland)
11/24: San Diego (The Casbah)
11/25: Phoenix (Modified)
11/26: Albuquerque, NM (Launchpad)
11/28: Austin, TX (Cactus Cafe)
11/29: Denton, TX (Hailey's)
11/30: Baton Rouge, LA (Chelsea's Cafe)
12/1: Oxford, MS (Proud Larry's)
12/2: Birmingham, AL (Bottle Tree)
12/3: Atlanta (The Earl)
12/5: Chapel Hill, NC (Local 506)
12/6: Washington, DC (Black Cat)
12/7: Philadelphia, PA (Johnny Brenda's)
12/8: New York (Mercury Lounge)
12/9: Northampton, MA (Iron Horse Music Hall)
12/10: Cambridge, MA (T.T. the Bear's)

The band's new album, Live a Little, is streaming in its entirety here.

Sunday Odds and Ends

An assortment of interesting things I've found around the web this weekend:

+/-, "Steal the Blueprints" (via Sixeyes)

Arrah and the Ferns: head over to My Old Kentucky Blog to hear a couple interesting songs from this band.

Archer Avenue, "Lo Siento Bambino" (via My Old Kentucky Blog)

Archer Avenue was the previous band of Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos' lead singer, Richard Edwards. The band's full LP is available for free download here, and I strongly recommend that you download it.

Beat Radio, "Treetops" (via Sixeyes) (download the band's entire LP The Great Big Sea here)

Heather posted some interesting John Lennon covers last week for JL's birthday, including versions of "Nobody Told Me" by the Flaming Lips and Power to the People by the Minus 5.

Jeff Tweedy, "The Thanks I Get" (via Muzzle of Bees)

See also "Sunken Treasure"

New Sondre Lerche, "Phantom Punch"

Head over to The Yellow Stereo to hear Sondre Lerche's new single, "Phantom Punch", from his forthcoming album of the same name. Sondre has said for a while that his next album was going to be a rocker, and this song lives up to that billing. It's not my favorite song from him, but it has me interested to hear what the rest of the album sounds like.

Phantom Punch comes out in Europe on January 29th and America on February 6th. The album's tracklist:

1. Airport Taxi Reception
2. The Tape
3. Say It All
4. Phantom Punch
5. Tragic Mirror
6. Face The Blood
7. John, Let Me Go
8. Well Well Well
9. After All
10. She's Fantastic
11. Happy Birthday Girl

Le Firm EP Release Party This Thursday!

So I'm told that Le Firm's debut EP, Flugsport, just came in from the manufacturer and it is hot. If you'd like one for FREE, head over to the band's EP release party at The Annex this Thursday (10/26) at 10pm. Not only will you catch a great set from one of New York's most exciting young bands, but you'll walk out with what is sure to be a collector's item in the future. Plus, when the band gets huge and starts hiring Diane Warren to write hit ballads for them, you'll be able to say that you knew them from the very beginning.

The details:

The Annex
152 Orchard St. [MAP]

If you can't make it to the show but want the EP anyway, you can download it at eMusic or order it from the band.

Get a sneak peak of the EP at the band's page at Reverb Nation!

Taking Cookie Monster Metal to Ridiculous Extremes

This video's been making the rounds on a number of blogs, but I figured I'd post it here since it's so damn good. Two ten-year old kids (or thereabouts) covering Sepultura, and doing a pretty good job at it. The best part? The kid "singing" is wearing a Pokemon shirt. Awesome.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mojave 3 @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC [10/20/06]

Mojave 3, "Breaking the Ice" (from the new Puzzles Like You)
Mojave 3, "In Love With a View" (from Excuses for Travelers)

Before last night, I'd never been a huge fan of Mojave 3. Although several of my friends had raved about them for years, nothing I'd heard had ever impressed me that much. I'd even picked up their album, Excuses for Travelers, a few years back, and found it to be pretty boring.

My opinion of the band started to change a bit with the release of their new album, Puzzles Like You, earlier this year. I heard several songs from the album on WOXY.com that I really liked, and I ended up downloading the album from eMusic. It's a much more upbeat album than Excuses for Travelers, and I liked it quite a bit. Still, though, I probably only listened to it three or four times, as I'd been getting a lot of other CDs that I liked even more.

Anyway, even though I'd come to like them, I hadn't initially planned on going to see the band while they're in NYC for two nights. However, a friend was going, and it turned out there were still tickets available, so I made a last-minute decision and went.

I'm really glad I did. The songs that sounded boring to me on disc really come alive on stage. Even though most of their recent output doesn't fit the "shoegaze" category that their predecessor band (Slowdive) did, their live show adds a layer of loud swirling guitars and keyboards, as well as excellent, driving drumming, which make the songs much more sonically interesting and compelling. For a band who I had found boring for so long, I wasn't bored once last night. I walked out of the Bowery having decided to go buy anything from Mojave 3 and Slowdive I could find.

The band are playing Bowery again tonight. I'm not going, but you definitely should.

New Template

As you can see, I've made some changes around the blog... I was kinda bored with the old layout, and was tired of it automatically putting all my text into lower case bold type. Anyway, if you have a second, drop me a comment and let me know how it looks compared to the old template. I'm no graphic designer (unlike many commenters over at Stereogum), so I'm happy to take any other suggestions you may have.

Oh, and dig the new photo. The Brentmeister General will probably come back at some point, but I like this one too.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Go Hear New Shins

Go here to listen to two new Shins tracks entitled "Phantom Limb" and "Australia".

I'm listening to "Phantom Limb" now, and I have a feeling Pitchfork's gonna end up referring to it as "Phantom Limp", because it's kinda boring.

Edited to add: I actually just got the full album. It has its moments, but my initial impression is pretty bleh. Props to them for changing their sound a bit, but it's just a bit boring to me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Introducing Griddle

One of my favorite things about running this blog is that it gives me the opportunity to hear a lot of music that I otherwise wouldn't. Not only do I spend a decent amount of time digging around the internet looking for new music, but I've also had the good fortune of having a number of artists contact me directly with MP3s or CDs. And while I don't always have as much time as I'd like to listen to it all - and, to be honest, I don't love everything I get - every once in a while I find something that I really like.

One of the bands that I've really been liking lately is a band called Griddle from the San Francisco Bay-area. They've just released their third full-length LP, entitled Klimty Favela, and it's one of the more interesting albums I've heard all year. At times amazingly catchy, at times avant-garde jazzy, and at other times simply weird, Klimty Favela sounds to me like what Faith No More might have sounded like if Mike Patton had started working with John Zorn while that band was still active. At times the album also reminds me of Chicago's Oh My God and mid-period Genesis. (Good things, I assure you.)

Put it all together, and Klimty Favela is one of the most unique and interesting albums I've heard in a long time. And while I can't say I love every song on the album - I've never been a jazz guy - the majority of it is great, and it's a compelling listen from start to finish. Plus, you've got to respect a band that takes the types of chances that Griddle take on this album. I wish more bands would take these types of chances.

Check out my two favorite songs on the album:

"City Made of Teeth"
"Dr. Becky Bolanky"

(Both songs are limited-time downloads. Check them out while you can!)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Klimty Favela is a concept album. So much so that it comes with its own 20-page comic book which tracks the overall themes of the album. Admittedly it's kinda odd, but so's the album, so it all makes sense in a twisted sort of way. Highly recommended.

Learn more about Griddle at their website.
Hear more songs at Griddle's MySpace page (recommended - "Mutiny").

Jay Bennett Hitting NYC

Jay Bennett, former multi-instrumentalist/studio wizard for Wilco, has two shows scheduled for New York at the end of the month. Both shows feature special guests Death Ships.

First up is Union Hall in Brooklyn on Monday, October 30th. Tickets for this show are available now for $15.

Second is a show at Joe's Pub in Manhattan on Tuesday, October 31st. Tickets for this show are available now for $20.

Jay is touring in support of his new album, The Magnificent Defeat, which was released a few weeks ago [BUY]. I still need to get myself a copy of that puppy.

Deleted Scenes From Borat

Brooklyn Ski Club links to six deleted scenes from the forthcoming Borat movie. Check them out. My favorite?

Wussy Get Screwed by NYC, Lit Lounge

I've been raving about Wussy's debut album, Funeral Dress [BUY], since it came out last November. So have the critics. So it came as a bit of a surprise when months went by and the band failed to mount a tour of any kind outside of their native Ohio. When the band finally announced a couple months ago that they would play a short fall tour that would bring them out to New York for two shows (a free show at Sound Fix and a gig at Lit Lounge), needless to say I was pretty excited.

Unfortunately, Wussy's trip to New York didn't go as planned. First, their Tuesday night show at Soundfix was cancelled at the last minute due to some sort of health code (?) violation by the store. (I wasn't there, I'm just repeating the band's understanding.)

Then, last night at Lit Lounge, they were kicked off the stage after playing for 30 minutes. You read that right.

Why? Lit Lounge fucked up, badly. Lit Lounge has a 12:30 curfew. While that's kinda dumb in NYC, it's workable as long as the venue makes sure that the bands are keeping to schedule. That didn't happen. Despite the fact that the opener was scheduled to go on at 9, they didn't even start setting up until 10, and then played until close to 11. The next band then played until about 11:45. So that left Wussy with 45 minutes to set up and play. When it was all said and done, they got to play from about midnight to 12:30 before the club pulled the plug.

There's no other word for this other than unacceptable. The band drove from Ohio to play this gig. Yet Lit Lounge - a venue I've never been to in 10 years in NYC and one I will never step foot in again - didn't have the decency to keep an eye on the schedule and make sure they had time to play a full set. Instead, we got to spend an hour watching the shitty opening band set up and play. (The middle band, The Kyle Sowashes, were pretty good, and played a short set.)

As for Wussy's set, it was excellent. They've really continued to gel as a live band since I caught them in Cincinnati in April, and they sounded great. In addition to a couple of my favorite songs off of Funeral Dress ("Soak It Up", "Yellow Cotton Dress"), they also played two or three new songs from their forthcoming followup album (which they start recording next week). The songs were just as good as, if not better than, the older stuff. I can't wait to hear the new album. And hopefully one day I'll see them play a full, uninterrupted set.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Great Saturday Afternoon CMJ Show

My decision concerning the Saturday afternoon CMJ shows just got even harder. In addition to great shows being sponsored by Underrated Magazine and Brooklyn Vegan, now comes word of a BMI/PumpAudio show at the Living Room featuring:

The Broken West
Bound Stems
The Rosewood Thieves
Oh No! Oh My!

The show runs from noon to 3:30pm. I'm not sure if there will be tickets for this or if it's "media" only. I put "media" in quotation marks because if someone considers me "media", then the fourth estate is in serious trouble.

Personally, I'm leaning towards the Brooklyn Vegan show, since I'm seeing The Broken West both at their KEXP show and at the Merge showcase. And I just haven't gotten into the Bound Stems like everyone else I know.

Under the Radar Videos

As part of his weekly new release updates, Torr usually links to a sample song or video from each band with a new album coming out. He's got a ton of video links this week, and I figured I'd post some of the ones I liked. Enjoy.

The Dears - "Whites Only Party" (from the excellent Gang of Losers)

Heavens - "Patent Pending" (Side project from Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio)

My Latest Novel - "Pretty In A Panic"

The Rifles - "Peace and Quiet"

The Hold Steady Release Video for "Chips Ahoy!"

Go check it out over at the AOL indie blog. Good stuff from one of my favorite discs of the year.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Saturday CMJ Goodness

This is getting ridonkulous. On sale tonight at midnight:

Saturday, November 4 at 8:00 PM

Silversun Pickups
Oh No! Oh My!
Little Ones
Phoenix Foundation
DJ Franki Chan

Low Playing 2 Nights at Bowery Ballroom

Low are scheduled to play Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday, December 5th and Wednesday, December 6th. Tickets are $18 each and go on sale tomorrow (Weds.) at noon.

My Morning Jacket NYC Tix on Sale Friday

Tickets for My Morning Jacket at Roseland Ballroom in New York go on sale this Friday at 10am. Tickets are $30.

Roseland sucks, but it's better than Hammerstein (IMO). Still wish they'd play a couple nights at Irving or Webster Hall instead.

Support Internet Radio!

As you probably know by now, I'm a pretty big supporter of online radio. While I love my iPod, and enjoy surfing the blogs to find new music, I always come back to my favorite radio stations for the bulk of my listening during the day. Why? Because I know that I'm going to hear good music, played by interesting, intelligent DJs, and I'm not going to have to turn my attention away from work throughout the day to fiddle around and find something else to listen to.

So, in honor of my two favorite radio stations, WOXY.com and The Current at MPR, I've added permanent direct links to their streams in the left-hand of this page (about 1/2 way down the page). Give 'em a try. You'll be glad you did.

Reason #18 Why I Love Lala.com

In addition to the fact that it saved WOXY, I've actually become a pretty big fan of Lala.com in its own right. As I've mentioned before, Lala allows you to trade CDs with a huge community of people on the internet, getting rid of CDs you don't want anymore and getting ones you do. The total charge? $1.75 per CD, which includes all shipping costs and even a donation to the artist. Good stuff.

Anyway, I've managed to get a few gems on Lala so far, including two out-of-print and hard-to-find discs: Jawbox's For Your Own Special Sweetheart and Velvet Crush's Teenage Symphonies to God.

And I also managed to snag this puppy this morning. God bless the internet.
This is a system generated email - Please do not reply

Hello rogo2000,

Good news! The following CD on your Want List has been shipped to you!

To Hell With The Devil by Stryper
Shipped on 10/17/2006


By confirming, you give the shipper credit to receive more CDs. Click here to let us know your CD arrived or to report any problems with the CD or if you don't receive it within 14 days.

List CDs you Have

'la la' is working hard to get you the CDs you want for just $1 plus $0.75 standard shipping, so don't forget to keep listing CDs you have. There is never an obligation to ship or any cost to listing. Remember, the more CDs you ship the faster you will get ones you want!

Thanks for trading and for spreading the Lala love!
the Lala.com crew

Monday, October 16, 2006

Around the Web

It's been a while since I've done a nice big post linking to a bunch of interesting music streaming around the web (other than the AOL roundups, of course). I figure it's time to remedy that. Lots of good stuff. Enjoy.

The List

Beck with The Flaming Lips from 2002, via RBally.

Built to Spill at the 9:30 Club in DC recently, via NPR.

N.B., NPR is broadcasting Wilco from the 9:30 Club this Thursday night (10/19) at 10pm EST.

Cat Power from 1999, via RBally.

Cold War Kids played on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.

The Decemberists did too.

Jeff Tweedy from the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, via RBally.

Mojave 3 also played KCRW recently.

Portastatic live from Boston last week, via Bradley's Almanac.

The Secret Machines played an in-studio session for Minnesota Public Radio.

Smashing Pumpkins from an in-store acoustic in 1993, via RBally. (Who else?)

Whiskeytown rarities (not live), via An Aquarium Drunkard.

Ashford Breaks at the Delancey This Saturday

Local favorites Ashford Brakes have announced a show at the Delancey this Saturday, October 21st at 10pm. Also on the bill are Band of York, Botanica and El Jezel. Tickets are $7 at the door. Odds are I'll see you there...

If you didn't catch it, and I didn't, the band was named a "Breaking Band" by none other than NME last week. Congrats!

Ashford Brakes website
Ashford Brakes on MySpace

AOL Roundup (Week of October 17)

There's some excellent music to be found over at AOL this week. I'm headed to bed soon, but am looking forward to listening to these this week. Especially the Velvet Teddy Bear.

Ruben Studdard, The Return
Jeremy Enigk, World Waits
Badly Drawn Boy, Born in the U.K.
Gomez, Five Men in a Hut
The Cars, Unlocked: The Live Performances
Annuals, Be He Me

Glen Hansard @ Southpaw, Brooklyn [10/15/06]

Wow. I can't put into words how good a Glen Hansard show is. I tried once before, and I think I got about as close as possible, so I won't try to do it again. All I'll say is that Glen is an amazing performer, and you should go to whatever lengths you need to in order to catch him or his band, The Frames, live. In many ways, their music really does make the world a better place to be.

A few notes from the show. First, Glen seems to be suffering the beginning effects of either the flu, laryngytis, or something similar. While it didn't really affect the majority of his performance, he was having some problems hitting higher notes, and mentioned that if it keeps up, he might be forced to cancel the remainder of the current tour. I hope for his sake, and anyone with tickets to a show, that it clears up soon.

Second, after the show, the guy at the merch table (road manager?) mentioned that the new Frames album, The Cost, which is currently available in Ireland, will be seeing a US release in April, and we can expect a full U.S. tour at that time. And those of us in New York can expect to see them at Town Hall. Not sure whether that's a good thing or not. I love the fact that they're big enough to play Town Hall (capacity 1,500), but really, really dislike seeing bands there. The acoustics are good, but the seats are uncomfortable, and for some reason the crowd usually talks way too much.

Third, also for those of us in New York, we might just be seeing Glen a little more than usual in the next year or so. Glen mentioned that he's thinking about moving to NYC for a year. It's too bad Fez is gone - I'd have loved the chance to see him play impromptu gigs there like the ones Ryan Adams and Rhett Miller used to do.

Finally, seriously, do yourself a favor and go buy Glen and Marketa's (pictured above) album, The Swell Season. It's spectacular.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Portastatic @ Mercury Lounge, NYC [10/13/06]

Portastatic, "I'm In Love (With Arthur Dove)" (from Be Still Please, BUY)
Portastatic, "I Wanna Know Girls" (from Bright Ideas, BUY)

Great show from Portastatic last night. They played a bunch of songs from the new Be Still Please album, as well as a number of older songs ("Polaroid", "Naked Pilseners", "White Waves"), and even a cover of Guided by Voices' "Smothered in Hugs". I've never been disappointed by a Mac show, be it Portastatic or Superchunk, and last night was no exception. If I didn't have tickets to Okkervil River, I'd be at Portastatic's show at Maxwell's in Hoboken tonight. Tickets are still available, kids, so go!

Also, be sure to head over to Chromewaves ASAP to download their MP3 of the week - Portstatic covering GBV's "Echos Myron". Awesome. It comes down at the end of the week, so don't dilly dally.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Velvet Revolver Not Playing Snitch On Saturday?

First off, let me start by saying that this is pure speculation on my part, and is not based on anything firm. BUT, this week's email mailer from Impulse Productions, which works with Snitch, reads (in part) as follows:
If you show up early you will catch some great live music and if you show up after 11pm you will catch an amazing set of ROCK N' ROLL from one of the best DJ'S in NYC.
The picture accompanying the email? Velvet Revolver playing at Snitch (see above).

So take it as you will. I'm not a huge VR fan, but I'd certainly enjoy seeing Slash, Duff and Matt play live for the first time since I saw GNR back in 1992. That said, I'll be skipping this to see Okkervil River, Elvis Perkins and Jonathan Meiburg.

Edited to add: Reader Charlie points out that VR are scheduled to play a benefit show in LA tonight. Alas, no Snitch...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Saddle Creek Roundup

Doesn't look like we're gonna get a CMJ showcase from Saddle Creek this year, but the label and its artists are busy nonetheless.

Cursive is touring in support of its Happy Hollow disc. They played Bowery Ballroom last week, and I unfortunately missed it because it was the same night as The Hold Steady at Irving.

"Bad Sects" (from Happy Hollow)

Eric Bachmann is still touring behind his excellent To The Races disc. I was at his recent show at Bowery Ballroom. Check out Eric's new video for the song "Lonesome Warrior" here.

Eric Bachmann, "Carrboro Woman"

Now It's Overhead have a new album out entitled Day Light Daybreak. I've been hearing about these guys for years, but have never actually taken the time to listen to them. I'm liking the songs I'm hearing so far, and will have to see if I can get the album off of Emusic or Lala.

Now It's Overhead, "Let Up"

Finally, the label's biggest gun, Bright Eyes, has a rarities disc entitled Noise Floor coming out on October 24th. You can now stream and pre-order Noise Floor here. Alternatively, check out a couple of MP3s from the disc:

Bright Eyes, "I Will Be Grateful"
Bright Eyes, "Amy In The White Coat"

The Battle for My CMJ Soul

Or something like that...

While most of my CMJ schedule was pretty easy to decide this year (my only difficult choice was to skip The Decemberists at Hammerstein so I could catch the Merge Records showcase at Knitting Factory), a battle appears to be brewing for my Saturday afternoon affections.

First, a couple of days ago, Underrated Magazine announced its Saturday afternoon party at Sin-e featuring Ra Ra Riot, Birdmonster, Division Day and The Head Set.

Now comes word that Brooklyn Vegan's Saturday afternoon party at The Annex will feature Silversun Pickups, The Big Sleep, Tokyo Police Club, Elvis Perkins, Annuals, White Whale and Takaa Takka.

Holy crap. Which way to go? Underrated's party is $8, and Brooklyn Vegan is free. While free is good, it's also likely to lead to a veeeeeery crowded party.

Decisions, decisions...

Harp's 50 Most Essential Albums Since 2001

Each Note Secure points out that Harp Magazine has listed what it deems to be the 50 "most essential" albums since 2001. Harp started in 2001 and is celebrating its 5th anniversary, hence the list. The worthy 50:

50) Gillian Welch - (Time) The Revelator
49) The Roots - Phrenology
48) Queens of the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf
47) Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers
46) Guided by Voices - Isolation Drills
45) Neko Case - Blacklisted
44) Solomon Burke - Dont Give Up On Me
43) Kathleen Edwards - Failer
42) Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum
41) Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros - Streetcore
40) Lucinda Williams - World without tears
39) Missy Elliot - Miss E…So Addictive
38) Sparklehorse - Its a wonderful life
37) The Libertines - Up the Bracket
36) The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
35) Franz Ferdinand - S/T
34) Wolf Parade - Apologies to Queen Mary
33) Bob Dylan - Love and Theft
32) The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
31) Drive By Truckers - Decoration Day
30) Ryan Adams - Gold
29) Steve Earle - The Revolution Starts Now
28) Elvis Costello - The Delivery Man
27) The Strokes - Is This It?
26) The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
25) The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
24) The White Stripes - Elephant
23) Cat Power - You Are Free
22) Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
21) Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
20) My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
19) Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
18) Steve Earle - Jerusalem
17) Iron and Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
16) Wilco - A Ghost is Born
15) PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her
14) Kanye West - Late Registration
13) The New Pornographers - Electric Vision
12) The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
11) Sleater Kinney - The Woods
10) The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
9) MIA - Arular
8) Anthony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
7) Tom Waits - Real Gone
6) My Morning Jacket - Z
5) Tom Waits - Alice
4) Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
3) Brian Wilson - Smile
2) The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
1) The Arcade Fire - Funeral

Overall it's a pretty decent list, but there's several albums in there that I just don't agree with at all, including Franz Ferdinand, Devendra Banhart, Mars Volta, and, most of all, MIA.

Missing from the list? What about Bloc Party's Silent Alarm? The National's Alligator? The Hold Steady's Separation Sunday? The Delgados' Universal Audio?

I guess it's how you define "essential" - it might not necessarily mean "great" albums, but albums that have had an important impact on modern music in the last five years. If that's the standard, though, where's Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?

Le Firm and The 101 @ The Annex on 11/29

I know it's a bit early, but I wanted to let you know that a couple of my favorite NYC-area bands, Le Firm and The 101, are sharing a bill at the Annex next month. The show is Wednesday, November 29th.

Le Firm, "Technology" (from the Flugsport EP, BUY)
The 101, "Dancing" (from the new Numbers LP, BUY)

And don't forget about Le Firm's EP RELEASE PARTY at Pianos on Tuesday, October 24th! More info soon...

Listen to more from Le Firm at their ReverbNation page.
Listen to more from The 101 at their MySpace page.