Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Odds and Ends

A few notable things from around the web:

Good tickets are still available for The Decemberists' two shows at the Loews Landmark in Jersey City. Shows are on Wed. 3/21 and Thurs. 3/22, with My Brightest Diamond opening. Thanks to Matt for reminding me about this before all the good seats were gone.

The lead single from the new Stooges (!!!) album, The Weirdness, is making the rounds. Head over to Spinner to hear "My Idea of Fun". The album is out on March 6th.

The Shins sold 118,000 copies of Wincing the Night Away last week. Wow. Now you know why Fox 5, Comedy Central, and everyone else in the world is playing the crap out of Scrubs reruns.

The Mystery Jets have signed to Dim Mak in the United States. The band will be releasing the 4-song Diamonds in the Dark EP on April 10th, followed by a full-length EP entitled Zoo Time on May 8th. The LP is made up primarily of songs from last year's Making Dens LP, which wasn't released domestically. Does that mean we won't be getting a truly new album for another year or two? Hope not.

Lots of big new albums have leaked over the last couple of days: Apples in Stereo, Arcade Fire, Idlewild, Lifetime... I like the Apples and Arcade Fire discs so far. Idlewild nearly put me to sleep. Lifetime, well, just hasn't grabbed me like the old stuff yet.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Frames North American Tour Dates?

A poster over at the WOXY boards posted what appears to be a full North American tour for The Frames. I haven't found verification for any of the dates outside of Boise, Somerville and New York yet. Some of you may not be too happy:

Fri 04/06: Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern
Sat 04/07: San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
Mon 04/09: Portland, OR Aladdin Theater
Wed 04/11: Seattle, WA The Showbox
Thu 04/12: Vancouver, BC The Plaza Club
Fri 04/13: Boise, ID Egyptian Theatre
Sun 04/15: Boulder, CO Boulder Theater
Tue 04/17: Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center
Wed 04/18: Chicago, IL Metro / Smart Bar
Fri 04/20: Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
Sat 04/21: Montreal, QC National Cabaret
Sun 04/22: Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre
Tue 04/24: New York, NY Town Hall
Wed 04/25: Philadelphia, PA Theater Of Living Arts
Thu 04/26: Washington, DC 9:30 Club

Guess I should buy a ticket to the 9:30 Club show to be safe. And maybe a Metro ticket too.

Peter Bjorn & John on Conan

I like these guys fine enough, but really, how have they gotten so big so fast?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Revisiting 1992 (or Thereabouts)

For some reason I've been on an early-90's kick lately, including both "alternative" and non-"alternative" bands I was listening to at the time. It's pretty interesting to go back and hear some of those songs again after so long. For better or worse, they'll forever remind me of high school.

Dinosaur Jr.: "The Wagon"

Thelonius Monster: "Blood Is Thicker Than Water"

(Is there a more criminally-overlooked musician than Bob Forrest?)

Life, Sex and Death: "Tank"

Saigon Kick: "What You Say"

PM Dawn: "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss"

Color Me Badd: "I Wanna Sex You Up"

And perhaps the greatest song of the 90's....

Snow: "Informer"

SXSW Shows I Won't Be Seeing

At some point, I'm really going to need someone to explain the whole Menomena thing to me. If the name isn't bad enough, their live show just about put me in a coma.

Complimentary Rocktails, Anyone?

Consider me a maybe. And by maybe I mean there's no chance in hell.

AOL Roundup (Week of January 30th)

Only a few CDs worth checking out over at AOL this week. Personally, I'm gonna be spending some time with the new Arcade Fire album this week, which is now making the rounds. As penance for my download, I made sure to pre-order the disc from Merge Records.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Some Loud Thunder

Youth Group, Casino Twilight Dogs

Skinny Puppy, Mythmaker

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Two New Union Hall Shows

Thanks to a heads up from Chris, I went over to Ticketweb to check the details on the upcoming Long Winters / Broken West show. While I was there, I noticed an equally compelling, but even more surprising show:

Saturday, March 10 at 8:00 PM (8:00 PM doors)
Emma Pollock (from the Delgados) plus guests
On sale: Friday, January 26 at 12:00 PM Eastern (Tix)

So are we finally going to be hearing new music soon? Hope so. And, as for the Long Winters...

Monday, April 2 at 8:00 PM (8:00 PM doors)
The Long Winters with The Broken West
On sale: Friday, January 26 at 12:00 PM Eastern (Tix)

Gotta think on this one. Don't want to spend too much money on April shows if I ain't gonna live with 200 miles of the show.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

News From Nashville

Couple of interesting news items from Nashville's Theory 8 Records.

First, one of the more promising young bands I've heard in the past couple of years, De Novo Dahl, managed to flip their van on ice yesterday while driving home from a show in Washington D.C.. Everyone is OK, thankfully, but the band's van and various instrumentation were destroyed. No word yet on whether those silly outfits survived or not.

Second, Forget Cassettes has signed a European deal with One Little Indian Records and Tangled Up Recordings (home to Bjork, The Twilight Singers and The Pernice Brothers), and will be releasing their excellent Salt album in Europe on March 5th. The band will be touring Europe with And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead in February and March. The band is now a two-piece with Beth and former/now-current drummer Doni Schroader (who also drums for Trail of Dead). Former Bassist Jay Phillips is focusing more time on his band, Apollo Up!m and drummer Aaron Ford is touring with Bobby Bare Jr.

De Novo Dahl, "All Over Town"
Forget Cassettes, "The Catch"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Streaming Albums

Looks like AOL ain't the only game in town this week. Head over to Secretly Canadian Records to check out the new albums from David Vandervelde and The Earlies.

Vandervelde's album, The Moonstation House Band, is easily my second favorite album of the week. In any other week, it would be #1. Holy Beatles. Do yourself a favor and check it out. At minimum, be sure to check out this song:


Broken West Video

Who knew there was a Twister board on the wall backstage at the Bowery Knitting Factory? Not I.

New Releases on eMusic

In my recent drive to cut my personal expenses, one of the things I've managed to do pretty well is reduce the number of physical CDs I buy. There was a point not long ago that I was dropping, on average, $100 or more each week on new CDs. Luckily, eMusic and LaLa have made it pretty easy for me to get most of the CDs I want, and still make sure that the artist is getting its well-deserved royalty.

I didn't expect this to be the case, but it turns out that a lot of the CDs coming out today that I want are actually available on eMusic. I'll probably still pick up a couple of these at the store (I still have a Christmas gift card), but it's good to see how up-to-date eMusic is.

Today's interesting eMusic releases:

The Broken West, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
David Vandervelde, The Moonstation House Band
The Honeydogs, Amygdala (I think this came out today, but could be wrong)
You Am I, Convicts

A couple of these are "incomplete" at eMusic, but I'm sure that will be remedied soon.

Monday, January 22, 2007

AOL Roundup, Part Two (Spinner Strikes Back)

I spoke too soon about the quality of AOL's music offerings this week. It turns out that they're debuting a Spinner-branded album listening station this week, and all the stuff you (well, I) really want to hear is over there.

Check it out.

Current offerings include:

The Broken West, "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On"

The Shins, "Wincing The Night Away"

Mew, "Frengers"

The Good, The Bad & The Queen, "The Good, The Bad & The Queen"

Of Montreal, "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?"

America, "Here & Now" (why is everyone buying into this whole America-is-indie thing?)

Deerhoof, "Friend Opportunity"

AOL Roundup (Week of January 23rd)

I stopped doing my weekly AOL Roundups for a while because the new releases have been few and far between. There's still not a ton of stuff this week (and, in my opinion, AOL is missing the week's most important release), but I figured it's time to bring this sucker back into the lineup. So without further ado:

The Shins, Wincing the Night Away

The Grateful Dead, Live At The Cow Palace: New Years Eve 1976

Various Artists, Soundtrack to Catch and Release (feat. songs from The Magic Numbers, Death Cab For Cutie, The Lemonheads and others)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Farewell, JSpaceman

If you've spent any time over at the message boards, you are without a doubt familiar with Sean "JSpaceman", one of the biggest posters and biggest supporters of the station. Sean also ran the excellent Kill Your Coworkers music blog.

Sadly, I just heard that Sean died yesterday when his apartment building caught on fire. While his neighbors were thankfully able to escape in time, Sean was not. He was 34 years old.

Although I didn't know Sean personally, I've read hundreds of his posts on the WOXY boards and I've been a regular reader of his blog. He, like hundreds of other WOXY-ites, was a part of my musical family. He will be missed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Random Bits

Finally having a chance to bounce around the web and try to catch up on the world. Here's some of the highlights of my efforts:

Ain't It Cool News reviews the new movie starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Hope this one makes it to the States.

Bob Pollard's contract with Merge Records is up. Is he moving to Mike Patton's Ipecac label? The official line seems to be that this is just for his Circus Devils releases, but who knows...

The Broken West were SPIN's Band of the Day on Wednesday.

Portastatic played NPR's World Cafe this week.

I never did listen to Wilco's show at the 9:30 Club in November. Guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow. Odds are good I'll be seeing a lot more shows at the 9:30 Club in the near future.

KEXP has archived recent in-studio sets from Gob Iron, The Dears and The Lemonheads, among others.

More soon...

Shows of Note

I haven't been doing a very good job of staying on top of new shows recently. Here's three new shows that I didn't realize were happening.

Bishop Allen and +/-: Mercury Lounge, Fri. 3/30 (tix)

The Long Winters: Mercury Lounge, Sat. 3/31 and Sun. 4/1 (tix)

Due to bad planning on my part, I'm actually going to none of these. Instead, I'll be at the Long Winters' show at Maxwell's on Friday the 30th.

Frames at Town Hall on Sale

Talk about your quiet on-sales... Apparently tickets for the Frames' upcoming show at Town Hall went on sale yesterday morning at 10am. I had no idea, and apparently neither did anyone else, because great seats are still in abundance. Go get yourself some tix. You'll be glad you did.

New Mystery Jets... Kinda

Somehow I completely missed the fact that the Mystery Jets had posted a couple of new acoustic demo tracks on their website back in November. Not quite as catchy as the last album, but really interesting stuff nonetheless. Really looking forward to the second LP from these fellas, whenever that might be.



Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Wilco Album, Sky Blue Sky, Due May 15th

Matt wrote in this morning to pass along a nugget of news he picked up on the Via Chicago message board. Apparently, at Jeff Tweedy's solo show in Nashville last night, Jeff mentioned that Wilco's forthcoming sixth album will be entitled Sky Blue Sky and will released on May 15th. Can't wait.

Pre-Order The Arcade Fire

FYI, Merge Records is now offering the new Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible, for pre-sale in two configurations: $9.99 for the album alone, or $15 for the deluxe album package, which includes two 32-page flip books designed by the band. Worth the extra $6? You decide. Or you can also order the double LP for $17 (which comes with a free digital download). So I guess that would actually be three configurations.

Neon Bible comes out on March 6th.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

John and Ringo Come To Their Senses

If the rumors are true, then two of my long-standing gripes with The Beatles seem to be about to disappear. Mac Daily News is reporting that two very big announcements may be on the horizon:

First, it appears that the long-simmering legal battle between the band and Apple Computer is over. The lawsuit is reportedly just about settled, and the rumor is that Apple will be announcing via a commercial during the Super Bowl that the Beatles's catalog is finally coming to iTunes.

Second, and even more important, the band's catalog is finally being remastered. Seriously, the fact that the band milked its unmastered catalog for more than 20 years after the advent of the compact disc is really pretty ridiculous. While I'm sure a lot of people still buy the albums anyway, I know there are a lot of us out there who have refused to drop money on the older, lesser quality masters. Now I can finally feel good about spending $15 on a Beatles disc. Oh, and it looks like the remastered discs may be available exclusively on iTunes for a few months as well.

Good news all around. Just wish I hadn't sold all my Apple stock last year. Otherwise I might be able to just quit this job once and for all.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Ted Leo - "The Sons of Cain"

Get yourself over to Pitchfork to hear "The Sons of Cain", the lead single from Ted Leo's new album, Living With The Living. The album comes out on March 20th via Touch and Go Records. No word on an official pre-sale yet.


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

Sunday, January 14, 2007

V2's Loss Is SXSW's Gain?

As Billboard, Brooklyn Vegan and others are reporting, V2 Records has imploded. The label has dropped pretty much all of its bands, and going forward will focus on the White Stripes' catalog (but not new releases by the band) and, ahem, gospel.

I'm guessing that this means that many of the following (formerly) V2 acts will now be joining us at South By Southwest:

Alkaline Trio
Blood Brothers
Brendan Benson (maybe?)
The Icarus Line
Josh Ritter
Langhorne Slim
Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos
Mercury Rev
The Mooney Suzuki
The Rakes
Roman Candle
The Rosewood Thieves

Of course, this is pure guesswork, but I'd love the opportunity to catch just about any of these guys in March.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pre-Order The Broken West

After raving about the band for close to a year, I'm happy to announce that the debut album from Los Angeles' The Broken West, entitled I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, is now available for pre-order at Merge Records' website for the low, low price of $13. All pre-orders will receive a free poster and a temporary tattoo. If the tattoo doesn't convince you, you can pick up the album at your local recore retailer or e-tailer (first and last time I use that word) on January 23rd.

Tracklist for I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

1. On the Bubble
2. So It Goes
3. Down in the Valley
4. Shiftee
5. Brass Ring
6. Big City
7. You Can Build an Island
8. Hale Sunrise
9. Abigail
10. Slow
11. Baby on my Arm
12. Like a Light

As previously reported, the band has dates scheduled across the country over the next few months, including a March tour with The Walkmen and a stop at South By Southwest.

Friday, January 12, 2007

If I Don't Realize a Show Has Been Scheduled, Does It Actually Exist?

As you may have noticed, I've been pretty out-of-the-loop for last month and a half or so. Unfortunately, in my efforts to keep up with work and not get myself fired, I ended up leting several things slip -- missed phone calls from friends, missed concerts, and, worst of all, not spending time keeping up with my various duties to this here blog. The worst part about the whole thing is the fact that I somehow managed to completely stop looking at Ticketweb to see what new shows were being announced. (In normal circumstances, I check Ticketweb at least once a day.)

However, despite the fact that I went more than 3 weeks without buying a ticket to a concert, I only managed to completely miss out on one show -- Peter Bjorn and John. Every other new show of interest is, amazingly, not yet sold out. (Did the indie craze of late-2006 already end? Weren't all the indie shows selling out in like 30 minutes just a couple of months ago?) In some ways that's a good thing, and in others -- i.e., given than I'm trying to save money for my post-law career -- it's not so good that there are 20 different shows I want to buy tickets for.

So I've got some decisions to make. Here are the contenders:

Fri., 1/26: Deerhoof (Irving)
Wed., 1/31: Ra Ra Riot, Born Ruffians (Mercury)
Sat., 2/3: The Avengers, Hot One (feat. Nathan Larson and Kevin March) (Bowery)
Fri., 2/9: Midlake (Bowery)
Sat., 2/10: PLUG Awards - Stephen Malkmus, Silversun Pickups, Deerhoof, Tokyo Police Squad, David Cross (Irving)
Sat., 2/10: Lifetime (Bowery)
Fri., 2/16: Sonic Youth (Webster)
Wed., 2/21: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Chin Up Chin Up (Mercury)
Thurs., 2/22: Stellastarr (Gramery Theatre)
Fri., 2/23: Lemonheads (Southpaw)
Wed., 2/28: Sparklehorse, Jesse Sykes (Webster)
Tues., 3/6: Grizzly Bear (Bowery)
Wed., 3/7: Grizzly Bear (Bowery)
Tues., 3/20: Explosions in the Sky (Webster)
Tues., 3/27: Robyn Hitchcock (Knitting Factory)
Wed., 3/28: Robyn Hitchcock (KF)
Fri., 3/30: The Long Winters (Maxwell's)
Sat., 3/31: Sebadoh (Webster)
Fri., 4/6: Low (Webster)
Thurs., 4/19: Elvis Perkins (Union Hall)

In my younger days, I'd likely have bought tickets to just about all of these shows. At best I'll probably end up at 3 or 4 of these...

The Frames Hitting Town Hall on April 24th

I've been hoping for months that this was just a nasty rumor being floated by Glen's tour manager, but alas, it's not. The Frames are scheduled to play New York's worst "rock venue," Town Hall, on Tuesday, April 24th. No word yet as to when tickets go on sale.

I could use this post as an opportunity to regale you with stories of terrible acoustics and disappointing Town Hall shows (Ryan Adams, Wilco, Josh Rouse), or bellyache about missing the days of seeing the Frames at Joe's Pub or the Bowery, or even complain about the fact that the band is playing in arguably their biggest U.S. stronghold of fans on a Tuesday (?!?!) night.

But, no, I'll refrain from these things, and I will choose to focus on the fact that the best live band in the world in coming back to my hometown in just over three months' time. And God bless 'em for that.

Hold Steady at Northsix Next Thursday

If you hadn't already noticed, tickets are on sale now for next Thursday's Hold Steady show at North Six. They will be gone very soon, I assure you. See you there.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More New Broken West Songs

Two new songs at the band's MySpace page -- "Brass Ring" and "On The Bubble". Excellent stuff, as expected.

The band's debut album, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, comes out on January 23rd. Still no pre-sale info yet at the Merge site.

AOL and Haier Launch Ugliest iPod Competitor Ever

So you thought that the feces-brown Zune was the ugliest "iPod killer" out there? Well, you was wrong.

Meet the new joint offering from AOL and Haier. It looks like something my younger brother would have made in the basement when he was 9 from spare pieces of metal and plastic. What a hunk of garbage.

I want my iPhone now.

Initial SXSW Lineup Thoughts... Not So Good

If you didn't see it, Austinist has done some digging and put together a list of 160 bands that appear to be playing this year's SXSW. I gotta say, I'm not too impressed so far. I hope there are some additions to this list, or I may have to make 2008 the first year I go to SXSW instead...

This is the paltry list of bands I'd want to see at the moment:

Apollo Sunshine
Bloc Party
Cold War Kids
Hazey Janes
High Dials
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter
Kristoffer Ragnstam
Margot and the Nuclear So And Sos
My Latest Novel
Okkervil River
Scissor Sisters (kidding)
The Frames
The Stooges

I gotta assume that the Broken West will be on this list too, but still... Papa needs more bands.

Apples In Stereo Hitting Bowery

Thanks to Matt for the head's up -- Apples in Stereo are scheduled to play the Bowery Ballroom on Thursday, February 15th. Tickets are on sale now.

Thank goodness they're playing somewhere normal. I don't know about you, but I'm quickly tiring of this whole "we need to play at as obscure and small a place as possible" thing. I'm looking at you, Arcade Fire and Bloc Party. You're making it impossible for your fans to get tickets to see you, and to be able to get to your shows even if they do have tickets. Well done.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Two Recommendations

Yeah, things are still pretty ridiculous at work, even after my week-long vacation in Argentina. And while I may not be writing as much about music right now, I'm still listening to a ton of it. Here's two really interesting things I've discovered on the last couple of days:

David Vandervelde - recommended track "Nothin No" (with Jay Bennett on bass)

Also see: "Jacket"

65 Days of Static - recommended track "Radio Protector"

I've pretty much got nothing in terms of bio for these guys right now, but these are two really fantastic songs that you should be sure to check out. Hopefully I'll have time to delve into them a bit deeper this weekend.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Broken West Returning to NYC

As mentioned here previously, The Broken West are set to release my soon-to-be favorite album of 2007, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, via Merge Records on January 23rd. Even better, the band has now announced two months of live dates, including a March tour with The Walkmen that will bring them to the Bowery Ballroom on March 8th. Tickets for that show are on sale now. The band is also scheduled to play SXSW, which I plan to visit for the first time this year as well.

The band's full set of tour dates is as follows:

1/15: Spaceland, LA
1/22: Spaceland, LA
1/23: Sea Level Records, LA (Record Release show)
1/29: Spaceland, LA
2/5: Cafe Du Nord, SF
2/7: Sam Bond's Garage, Eugene, OR
2/8: Doug Firm, Portland, OR (w/ Quasi)
2/9: Sunset Tavern, Seattle
2/10: Ratskeller, Mt. Hood, OR
2/12: Kilby Court, Salt Lake City
2/13: Hi Dive, Denver
2/15: Modified (w/ The Autumn Defense - maybe a Wilco spot this fall??)
2/27: Emo's, Austin
2/28: The Cavern, Dallas
3/2: Mojo's, Columbia, MO
3/8: Bowery Ballroom, NYC (w/ The Walkmen)
3/9: Ottobar, Baltimore, MD (w/ The Walkmen)
3/10: Little Borthers, Columbus, OH (w/ The Walkmen)
3/11: Schubas, Chicago (w/ The Walkmen)
3/12: Southgate House, Newport, KY (w/ The Walkmen) (maybe a WOXY Lounge Act?)
3/13: Headliners, Louisville, KY (w/ The Walkmen)
3/14: SXSW
3/18: The Parish @ HOB, New Orleans (w/ The Walkmen)
3/19: Beta Bar, Tallahassee, FL (w/ The Walkmen)
3/20: 40 Watt, Atlanta (w/ The Walkmen)
3/21: Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC (w/ The Walkmen)
3/22: Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC (w/ The Walkmen)
3/23: Rock N Roll Hotel, Washington, DC (w/ The Walkmen) (where??!?!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Photo Update From Buenos Aires

The town isn't quite what I thought it would be, but I'm only halfway through the trip... here's hoping Part 2 is better. And if it's not, let's hope I end up getting sent to Dubai for work next month, and that I get to go skiing.

The Obelisk

This was Monday morning, January 1st. Nothing was open, and traffic was veeeery light.

New Years

New Years at a restaurant called Pizza Banana. Yep, it was as bad as it sounds. Let's never speak of this again. Thank god for Quilmes.

The Tango

Impressive. But an hour and a half of the tango? Way too much.

Recoleta Cemetery

Where Eva Peron and lots of other wealthy Argentinians are buried. I could care less about the Eva Peron aspect. It's just a really cool cemetary which would be awesome to get lost in at night.