Friday, March 30, 2007

Lollapalooza

Just noticed that early-bird Lollapalooza tickets go on sale on Tuesday (April 3rd). No price listed, but they say it's "about a buck a band." Considering that last year's lineup had 130 bands, that suggests to this finely-tuned legal mind that we could be looking at a ticket price of around $130. Which begs the question -- this is "early bird" pricing? How high do they plan on going? $200?

The initial lineup comes out on Thursday, April 12th, so I suppose you could wait a week to buy your tickets, but the cynic in me says that ticket prices will jump by at least $20 when the lineup comes out.

That said, I'm going.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Ted Leo Video

I'm a little surprised that Ted decided to go with "Bomb.Repeat.Bomb" as the lead video from Living With The Living. It's not my favorite song on the album -- by a longshot -- and it's definitely not the song to win him a larger audience. "Sons of Cain" would have been the obvious song to go with, or "Bottle of Buckie", which has been getting a good amount of play over at WOXY.

But that raises the question -- is Ted really the type of artist who's going to grow his audience through a video? Indeed, aside from the gimmicky ones (ahem, OK Go), does anyone really pay much attention to videos these days, other than me?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WOXY Done Got a Blog

All I can say is... finally!

Check out The Futurist.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Maps of Hell

Epitaph has announced details about Bad Religion's forthcoming album, New Maps of Hell. The album -- the band's 14th full-length release -- is out on July 10th, and will sport a seventeen song tracklist:

"New Dark Ages"
"Grains of Wrath"
"Fields of Mars"
"Germs of Perfection"
"Requiem"
"Submission Complete"
"The Grand Delusion"
"Honest Goodbye"
"Prodigal Son"
"Before You Die"
"Lost Pilgrim"
"Heroes and Martyrs"
"Dearly Beloved"
"New Chapter"
"Murder"
"52 Seconds"
"Scrutiny"

I just hope I can finally catch them on tour this time around. There's no other band that I've had tickets to as many times as BR and still managed not to have seen once. Hell, at this point I'll even go to a Van's Warped Tour show to catch them. (Well, maybe not.)

(Thanks to Aversion for the heads up!)

Why Do You Think The Call Him Ronnie Ray-Gun?

Haven't seen this in years. Soooo good.

The Makes Nice

Sometimes I wonder how I'd survive without WOXY.com. Aside from playing great music 24/7 (hell, they just played a 764-HERO song -- how cool is that?!), they're always introducing me to great new bands.

My latest WOXY discovery is a band called The Makes Nice from San Francisco. For lack of a better term, I'd call the band's sound that of pure, unadulterated lo-fi garage-y power-pop bliss. Never said I was a musicologist, folks.

I wish I could tell you more, but the band doesn't seem to have a website, and the only somewhat useful thing that their label, Frenetic Records, has to say is that the lead singer used to be in The Fucking Champs. The label's page for the band also has this unbelievably useful description of the band:
The Makes Nice fucking explode with music. Do you like Freakbeat Nuggets2 Kinda Stuff? Fuck off, of course you do!! LesFleurs de Lys, Creation, Small Faces, Pretty Things, The Who, Cindermen, Light, Tomorrow, Idle Race, Powder, SRC.

Yeah oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah. Psychedelic Pop Power's blinding assault of Massive Pop Power. Soaring,Wilson-esque vocal harmony. Bashing Keith- Moon-on-11 drums. Giant Jeff Beck fuzz shred solos. Power, power, power trio.
So, err, yeah. Check out the four great songs at the band's MySpace page. I'll be downloading the band's album, Candy Wrapper and 12 Other Songs on eMusic tonight, and will hopefully have more to report soon.

Edited to add: You can stream the entire album here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

How Awesome Is This Poster

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Catching Up With Le Firm

Been a while since I talked about Le Firm here on the blog. The band took some time off from shows around the holidays to focus on some new songs, and are now back and rarin' to go.

Their next show is Thursday, April 5th, at The Annex. The band is actually between drummers right now, and will be joined on stage by none other than Bryan Devendorf of The National! Don't miss it!

Oh, and be sure to head over and listen to Le Firm on the latest Next Big Hit podcast. While you're there, be sure to vote for them on the right-hand side of the page!

Edited to add: Looks like circumstances have changed, and the April 5th show may be off. The good news, though, is that there may a show on the horizon at a higher profile club. And no, it's not The Fillmore East at Irving Plaza.

SXSW Replay

Just noticed that a ton of shows from SXSW (hosted by KEXP, KUT, WXPN, etc.) are available for streaming over at NPR. Thank Joboo for the magic of the internets.

Andrew Bird
The Apples In Stereo
Beirut
The Early Years
Future Clouds and Radar
Ghostland Observatory
Mew
Okkervil River
Peter, Bjorn and John
The Ponys
Sondre Lerche
Steve Earle
The Stooges
Under Byen

Weekend Videos

Twenty-six days until I retire to become a man of leisure. Here's some videos to pass some of that time.

The Hold Steady, "Stuck Between Stations"



Grand Champeen, "The Sound That Made My Year"


The Eames Era, "Watson On Your Side"


Mew, "Special"


The Afghan Whigs, "You My Flower"


Wussy, "Rigor Mortis" (Live)


Ass Ponys, "Little Bastard"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Final SXSW Thoughts

So this was my first time heading down to SXSW. And while I plan to go again (and again, and again), I have to say -- it's not quite what I expected. I guess there were three big things that disappointed me:

(1) I didn't really discover anyone new. Part of that was my fault, given that I tended to see shows by bands I had already heard. Part of it was also that I wasn't that impressed by any of the bands I was hearing for the first time (the only exceptions to this rule were You Am I and Grand Champeen, who I had heard (thanks Sal!) but not seen prior to SXSW.) Finally, and most importantly, there's just too many bands. When you have 1,000+ bands to choose from, the only way to try to make sense out of it is to go with what you know. And, given that there really wasn't much in the way of buzz for any new bands, I ended up playing it safe.

(2) Austin's venues are disappointing. Outside of Stubb's, I don't think I went to a single club that I'd ever want to go back to again. Emo's is a complete and utter hell-hole, with the CBGB's-esque bathroom to boot. Antone's acoustics were terrible, and the room has zero personality. The Mohawk? The locals say the space is cursed, and I see why -- small, cramped, and it feels like a ski lodge. And then there's the Dirty Dog. Ah, yes, the Dirty Dog. The classy sports bar whose logo is a scantily-clad lady with a dog humping her leg. Worst venue ever? Close.

(3) Disappointing performances. Unlike CMJ, where a lot of the bands I saw put on incredible performances (Silversun Pickups, Birdmonster, Apples In Stereo acoustic, Figgs, Asobi Seksu, Thermals, etc.), there were very few performances that really blew me away. The few exceptions would be the Buzzcocks, You Am I and the second Figgs set (and the full-band Clem Snide was pretty cool too). Everyone else? Just ok. Birdmonster, The Little Ones, Asobi Seksu, and The Broken West, who I've seen put on excellent shows, were all kinda average this time out.

At the end of the day, I just didn't see that much memorable music. My memories of SXSW will be Smitty's BBQ, the Buzzcocks (and Matt's brilliant job getting us in), meeting Mike from WOXY, and the incredibly unfriendly night manager of the hotel we were staying at. (Indeed, the same jackass who got a Walkman arrested.) Hopefully next year my memories will be a lot more focused on the music.

That said, waking up, eating BBQ, drinking beer and watching bands from 1pm to 1am is pretty hard to screw up. So, yeah, I'm goin' back next year.

SXSW Pics (Saturday)

Last set of SXSW photos:

Frog Eyes (I think)


Page France (through the side of the bar)


The Ponys


Asobi Seksu


Grand Champeen


The Buzzcocks


The Capitol Years


The Figgs (again!)

SXSW Pics (Friday)

Sorry I've been pretty quiet the last few days. Still have a bit of a SXSW hangover. Add to that the fact that I gave notice at my job on Monday, and you can probably imagine that I haven't had a whole lot of free time the last few days. Once April 20th rolls around, though, I'll have all the time in the world. (Sorta.) Woo hoo!

Anyway, pics from Friday at SXSW:

The Figgs


Graham Parker (w/ The Figgs)



The Hoodoo Gurus


WOXY Day Party - Zach Galifinakis, Broken West, Alexi Murdoch, Bob Mould






Rock Plaza Central


Robyn Hitchcock & Peter Buck


You Am I


Sloan

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SXSW Pics (Thursday)

Here's some pics from last Thursday's festivities at SXSW. I'm still annoyed at myself for forgetting to take my camera to shows on Wednesday night, but what can you do. My full set of Thursday pics can be found here.

Prototypes


David Vandervelde


Clem Snide


Maritime


Ra Ra Riot


Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos


Birdmonster


Small Sins


Sondre Lerche


The Little Ones


Voxtrot

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Key Party @ Gershwin Hotel

I still owe you folks a recap of the recent Key Party album -- it's excellent, btw -- but for now you'll have to settle for catch the band for yourself at the living room at The Gershwin Hotel next Tuesday, March 27th at 8pm (sharp).

The Gershwin Hotel
7 East 27th St.
NYC

If you don't remember my earlier posts, the Key Party is the new project of Darren Gaines of the dearly departed Great Shakes. Check them out at their MySpace page.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

RBally Returns

As the old saying goes, you can't keep a good (nay, great) blogger down... RBally is back in business, this time with a Sonic Youth set from last summer. Fantastic news. Not sure if this is a full-time return, part-time, or just tying up loose ends. Either way, I'll take it while it lasts. Welcome back!

Saturday @ SXSW

Bands seen: Malajube, Page France, The Ponys, Asobi Seksu, Grand Champeen, Buzzcocks, Meat Puppets (2 songs), The Capitol Years, The Figgs.

Best food of the day: The Salt Lick.

Best moment of the day: After the Figgs' 11:30pm set, knowing that tomorrow I get to go home, get some sleep, and quit my job on Monday. Seeya suckers.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday @ SXSW

Another quickie. Need sleep.

Bands seen: The Figgs, Graham Parker, unnamed Australian band, Hoodoo Gurus, The Broken West, Alexi...... sorry, fell asleep just thinking about him... Murdoch, Bob Mould, Cities, Rock Plaza Central, Robyn Hitchcock and Peter Buck, You Am I, Sloan.

Skipped out of the Yep Roc party after Sloan and before Apples In Stereo. Would have liked to have seen them but way too tired to stay out.

Interesting sightings: David Cross and Jon Benjamin @ Yep Rock party, Daniel Johnston @ Frank and Angie's Pizza.

Highlight of the day:



(That's Mike and Bryan Jay from WOXY.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Silversun Pickups Playing Webster Hall

Glad I decided to check my mail before I went to bed. Just discovered that the Silversun Pickups are hitting Webster Hall (argh) on Tuesday, May 15th. Tickets are on sale now.

Thursday @ SXSW

Reviews and pics will have to wait... tired beyond belief.

Bands seen (in order): Prototypes, David Vandervelde, Clem Snide, Maritime (1 song), Ra Ra Riot (2 songs), Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos, Birdmonster, Small Sins, Sondre Lerche, The Little Ones, Voxtrot

Best food of the day: Lunch here. Photographic proof of my impending heart-attack:



More when I can keep my eyes open...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Checking In From SXSW

Holy crap am I tired, so I'll keep this short. I'll keep it even shorter because I forgot my camera in my hotel room. Oh well.

8pm: I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House @ Room 710 - Think Lucero and Steve Earle but a harder edge and songs that aren't quite as good. Good set, though. Especially the song "Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church." Awesome.

9pm: Emma Pollock @ Emo's - First time I've seen Emma perform. Never caught The Delgados before they broke up, though I did have tickets to see them in Tokyo when I lived there, but had to cancel due to work. And the fact that shows start at 7pm in Tokyo for some reason. Emma and band were ok tonight, not great, but the songs all seem to be up to the quality of what I'd expect from the Delgados. Her album comes out this summer, and it should be pretty good.

10pm: Grand Champeen @ Room 710 - Recently discovered these guys. Very Replacements-esque, Figgs-ish, bar band, blah blah blah. Simply put, they pretty much kick ass. Plan on seeing them again this week.

11pm: Rosebuds @ Antone's - I really wanted to like the new material. I did. But a combination of awful, awful acoustics and what felt like forced enthusiasm from the band pretty much killed it for me. They have added a second guitarist, a bassist, and Mac McCaughan's brother on drums, so they have that going for them. And Kelly's still pretty hot.

12am: The Broken West @ Antone's - The sound still sucked at Antone's, but holy hell were The Broken West good. They've been touring a lot, and it shows. They seem to have gotten a new keyboardist since CMJ, and I didn't recognize the drummer either, but maybe he just grew a beard in the interim. I wish they'd play more songs off the old EP.

1am: I crapped out and skipped Spoon. I suck. Had the acoustics at Antone's not been so bad, I would have made an effort to stay. But between being tired and not being able to really hear what was going on on stage (at least not the way I wanted to), I called it a night. They'll be in New York soon enough.

Now to sleep. Promise better updates and photos tomorrow. Bye now.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pitchfork Music Festival Announced

So the first few bands have been announced for this year's Pitchfork Music Festival, and, well, it's not my thing so far. This should only be about 1/3 or so of the overall lineup, given that they've expanded to a three-day festival, so maybe it will get better.

Cat Power
Of Montreal
Clipse
Iron and Wine
Grizzly Bear
Jamie Lidell
Girl Talk
Professor Murder

Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 1pm EST.

(Word to Gorilla vs. Bear for the heads up.)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Weekend Stew Notice Board

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wheat Playing Mercury Lounge

Wheat are playing Mercury Lounge here in NYC on Sunday, April 29th. Tickets are on sale for $10. They also have dates scheduled in Boston (3/31 @ TT The Bears) and Philadelphia (4/28 @ North Star).

The band's new album, Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square comes out on Empyrean Records on May 22nd.

Birdmonster Tour Starts Tonight!

If you crave the rock, be sure to get out and catch Birdmonster on their latest nationwide jaunt, starting tonight in Tuscon. You'll be glad you did, and your hunger for rock will be sated, at least for a while.

3.08.07 Phoenix, Modified Arts (all ages)
3.09.07 Tucson, Plush
3.12.07 Dallas, Ellum Festival
3.13.07 San Antonio, Limelight
3.14.07 SXSW / Habana Calle Six
3.15.07 SXSW / Hell Ya at the Apple Bar
3.16.07 SXSW
3.17.07 Dallas, The Cavern (18+)
3.20.07 Oklahoma City, The Conservatory (all ages)
3.23.07 Minneapolis, Varsity Theater (18+)
3.24.07 Chicago, Subterranean (18+)
3.25.06, Madhatter, Covington, KY (all ages)
3.26.07 Indianapolis, Spin
3.27.07 Detroit, Lager House
3.28.07 Toronto, Horseshoe Tavern (19+)
3.29.07 Syracuse, Mezzanotte
3.30.07 Boston, Middle East (18+)
3.31.07 New York, Gramercy Theatre (all ages)
4.03.07 Washington D.C., Black Cat (all ages)
4.4.06, The Wounded Bookshop, Fredericksburg, VA
4.05.07 Norfolk, The Boot (18+)
4.06.07 Wadesboro, TVCC
4.07.07 Charolotte, Visulite (18+)
4.08.07 Knoxville, Pilot Light
4.10.07 Lawrence, Bottleneck (18+)
4.12.07 Denver, Hi Dive (all ages)
4.14.06, Beauty Bar, Las Vegas, NV

Birdmonster's WOXY Lounge Act from last year.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Afternoon Dump

I've had a bunch of things adding up for a while that I've been meaning to post but keep forgetting. Figured now was as good a time as ever.

Actually, the thing that spurred the post was the fact that Heather at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends has a new track from Fountains of Wayne entitled "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim". She has good things to say about the new album (Traffic and Weather, due April 3rd), but this song does not bode well. Can you say boooooooring? I knew you could.

In other news, You Ain't No Picasso is reporting that Bishop Allen has signed to the new Dead Oceans label, which is somehow related to both Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar. Congrats, fellas!

Stew favorite Pink Nasty is playing Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn on April 18th. Unfortunately, I'm seeing Son Volt that night.

Just in time to ride the wave of "big media" adoration, Bradley's Almanac re-posts an Arcade Fire show from several years back.

Or, for a more recent Arcade Fire show, head over to NPR.

You can also download a live show from My Morning Jacket (1/9/07) over at Archive.org.

Spinner premiered the new video by Bright Eyes last week. Great song, interesting idea for a video. Absolutely no need for the audience noise in the video, though. It distracts from the song.

Don't throw away your spandex just yet -- Aversion.com is reporting that The Darkness is continuing without lead singer Justin Hawkins. Guess the bassist needs money to keep up his moustache-wax expenses.

Edited to add: This just made my day. Yeah, I'm easy to please. Solo!

SAVE INTERNET RADIO!

If you haven't heard yet, the federal Copyright Royalty Board recently announced new royalty rules for Internet radio broadcasters. In a move that should surprise no one familiar with the Bush Administration or the United State Government, the CRB chose to adopt the "per play" rate proposal set forth by SoundExchange, the digital music fee collection body created by your friend and mine, the RIAA.

As described by Kurt Hanson in his Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN), this has the potential to destroy Internet radio. Even worse, it's retroactive to the beginning of 2006, meaning that not only do Internet radio stations have to pay the higher rates going forward, they need to find a way to dig up enough money to pay them for the past 15 months. Given how little most Internet stations make in the first place, this alone could put many of them out of business.

RAIN has learned the rates that the Board has decided on, effective retroactively through the beginning of 2006. They are as follows:

2006 $.0008 per performance
2007 $.0011 per performance
2008 $.0014 per performance
2009 $.0018 per performance
2010 $.0019 per performance

A "performance" is defined as the streaming of one song to one listener; thus a station that has an average audience of 500 listeners racks up 500 "performances" for each song it plays.

The minimum fee is $500 per channel per year. There is no clear definition of what a 'channel' is for services that make up individualized playlists for listeners.
For noncommercial webcasters, the fee will be $500 per channel, for up to 159,140 ATH (aggregate tuning hours) per month. They would pay the commercial rate for all transmissions above that number.
Applying these new rates to Pandora, one of the bigger players in the field, RAIN estimates that: "If Pandora has to pay the annual $500 minimum for each channel ... its sound-recording royalty bill for 2006 alone would be capped at about $2 billion (based on the service's 300 million registered users, each of whom gets to create up to 100 unique channels)."

Amazing, BROADCAST RADIO IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY THESE SOUND RECORDING ROYALTIES, AND SATELLITE RADIO PAYS RATES ONLY ABOUT 20% AS HIGH. Thus, as Pandora's CEO, Joe Kennedy, points out, "[i]f these rates are left standing, satellite and broadcast may be all that are left."

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound particularly appealing to me.

If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, go sign this petition, and head over to Save the Streams to learn more. (And check out their excellent, well-laid-out FAQ.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Ra Ra Riot, "Each Year"

One of the more promising young bands I've heard over the last 6 months or so is Syracuse, New York's Ra Ra Riot.

I caught them at the Underrated showcase at CMJ last year and thought they were great. I was already looking forward to seeing them at SXSW next week, and just learned that they have a brand new 6-song EP available. Here's the lead single:

"Each Year"

Good stuff. You can buy the EP here for $10. I assume they'll also have it at their shows next week. Speaking of which, you can catch the band in Austin three times:

Thurs., 3/15, 12pm: HELL YA! (Rock Insider) @ The Apple Street Bar (w/ Birdmonster, Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos, and others)

Thurs., 3/15, 7:30pm: Oyafestival/Oh My Rockness @ Emo's Jr.

Fri., 3/16, 12pm: High Noon @ Cedar Street

Bright Eyes Playing 7 (!!!) Nights At Town Hall

Holy crikey.

05-25 New York, NY - Town Hall
05-26 New York, NY - Town Hall
05-28 New York, NY - Town Hall
05-29 New York, NY - Town Hall
05-30 New York, NY - Town Hall
05-31 New York, NY - Town Hall
06-01 New York, NY - Town Hall

He's also playing all kinds of other places too. Check Bitchpork Pitchfork for a location nearest thou.

No word as to on sale yet for NYC. Why is everyone doing Memorial Day shows in New York this year?

Recent WOXY Lounge Acts

Thanks to Chris at The Battering Room for pointing out that WOXY's recent Noise Pop performances are now available for streaming.

You can go here and use Lala's Quicktime player to listen both to the Lounge Acts (Ted Leo, Jolie Holland, Love Like Fire, Georgie James) as well as all of the live performances the station streamed from the festival (Midlake, Earlimart, Clinic, etc.).

Alternatively, if Lala's player doesn't work for you -- it doesn't work on my work computer -- you can download just the Lounge Acts from WOXY directly:

Ted Leo
Jolie Holland
Love Like Fire
Georgie James

WOXY's SXSW Schedule

I can't even tell you how flummoxed I am trying to put together my schedule for next week in SXSW. Here's another monkey in my wrench (you know what I mean). I've bolded the shows I hope to catch.

WOXY.COM @ SXSW 2007 [confirmed sessions (times listed EST)]

Mon March 12
She, Sir @ 6pm (MySpace)

Tues March 13
Peel @ Noon, Via Audio @ 4pm (3 songs)
The Little Ones @ 6pm (NEW! "Face the Facts" NEW!)

Wed March 14
Sara Culler @ Noon ("Jupiter and I" - recommended)
Age Rings @ 2pm (MySpace)
120 Days @ 4pm (MySpace)
Land Of Talk @ 6pm (MySpace)

Thurs March 15
Snowden @ Noon (MySpace)
Calla @ 4pm (MySpace)
The Rumble Strips @ 6pm (MySpace - recommended, Mystery Jets-ish)

Fri March 16 -- WOXY.COM/lala/Noise Pop day party @ Emo's Annex
Bob Mould (MySpace)
The Little Ones
The Broken West
(MySpace)
Alexi Murdoch (MySpace)
Aqueduct (MySpace - rec. "As You Wish")
Snowden
host Zack Galifinakis

Sat March 17
Foals @ Noon (MySpace)
65DaysOfStatic @ 2pm (MySpace - recommended)
Cloud Cult @ 4pm (MySpace)
The Manhattan Love Suicides @ 6pm ("Suzy Jones")

There's still a couple more sessions still to be TDB too. Can't freakin' wait.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Finally, Some AOL Streaming Goodness!

It's been a few weeks, but AOL/Spinner is back with a vengeance.

Son Volt, The Search

Bright Eyes, Four Winds EP

Air, Pocket Symphony

The Stooges, The Weirdness

Maria Taylor, Lynn Teeter Flower

Antibalas, Security

The Cinematics, A Strange Education

!!!, Myth Takes

Monday Videos

First time I've done this in a while... enjoy.

Idlewild - "No Emotion" (via Torr)

From the band's really boring forthcoming album.



Grand Champeen, "The Sound That Made My Year"

One of the bands I'm most looking forward to seeing at SXSW.



Son Volt, "The Picture" (live on Conan last week)



Albert Hammond, Jr. "Back to the 101"

Surprisingly good song from a surprisingly good CD.



Sunshine Underground - "Borders" (via Torr)

Borders

Add to My Profile | More Videos

The Long Winters, "Blue Diamonds"



Olivia Newton-John, "Physical"

Through With Love

Check out a 10-minute preview of the new Long Winters documentary Through With Love coming out from Dorsia Films. Looks interesting.

Anybody know when it comes out? The Dorsia Films website has the answer -- not soon. They're still in post-production. Hope it's out before the next album.

Another Genius In His Own Mind

Like uber-shmuck Brandon Flowers before him, Coldplay's Chris Martin appears to be buying his own bullshit. In an interview with the AP yesterday, Gwynnie's husband had this to say about his band's new pile of streaming crap album:
"In order for us to get excited about a new album, we have to have one song that we feel like everybody has to hear ... before we die, otherwise we'll be terribly depressed," Martin said. "So luckily with this new record we're going to make, we have that one song."

"I can't tell you about it, but it's basically genius."
Wow. It looks like Chris and the gang are having the same problem as most of our youth -- an overinflated sense of self-worth. Face it, Chris, we're all unimportant in the grand scheme of things. And you're less important that most. Now please go away.

(Photo source.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Another Actor Directs an Indie Video

Hot on the heels of Elijah Wood's, err, masterpiece of direction, Rolling Stone is reporting that actor Matt Dillon is directing the new Dinosaur Jr. video, "Been There All The Time", from the band's forthcoming LP entitled Beyond.

I guess this kinda makes sense. I did stand near Matt at the band's show in Central Park a couple of years ago, so I guess he's legitimately a fan. And he has directed before, although I don't personally know anyone who saw his movie.

Rolling Stone has photographic proof of Matt's new directorial endeavor. Let's hope that it only looks like he's pissing on the band's legacy.

New Olson/Louris

Well, kinda... head over to Marc Olson's MySpace page to hear "Poor Michael's Boat", a song from his forthcoming album, The Salvation Blues, featuring former bandmate Gary Louris on backing vocals. (They apparently co-wrote the song years ago but never recorded it.) You can also listen to two other songs from the album (sans Louris) entitled "My Carol" and "Clifton Bridge".

The Salvation Blues, due out on June 15th via Hacktone Records, is Olson's first album following his divorce from Victoria Williams, and is being heralded as "a deeply personal album, documenting as it does two profound years in the life of an equally profound artist." Yeah, that's label PR for ya. Here's some more:
Produced by Ben Vaughn (Los Straitjackets, Ween), [the album] lays bare Olson's painful break-up with wife/musical partner Victoria Williams, the loss of his home, and the eventual reclamation of his very spirit. It's a collection whose overriding sentiment Olson sums up (every bit as eloquently as you'd expect) in the first verse of the title track: "There's such joy and sweet moments to be found in this world/We know they'll come to an end/Just how makes our hearts hurt/Salvation blues/And these blues will help us all."
I really like the songs I'm hearing so far. Looking forward to hearing the whole thing. Marc is playing 4 shows here in New York in April:

April 17: Mo Pitkins
April 19: Mo Pitkins
April 24: Mo Pitkins
April 26: Mo Pitkins

Tickets are available now for only $8. I just got a ticket for Thursday the 19th.

Good Music That's Not Wilco

So, yeah, I never did get back to my work after the Wilco disc started streaming. Instead, I decided to spend some time catching up with some of the blogs on my Blogroll that I've been neglecting lately. Good thing, too.

First, I discovered that Gorilla vs. Bear has the first song from the forthcoming Rosebuds album. All I can say is... WTF? The band has gone the way of ABBA. But it's surprisingly pretty good.

Second, I Rock Cleveland introduced me to the best 1990's Chapel Hill band to come out of Toronto this decade. They describe them as a mixture of Sebadoh, Pavement, and Archers of Loaf, and they're right. Meet Germans.

"I Am The Teacher"
"Tiger Vacuum Bottle"

And check out the band's very cool video for "I Am The Teacher":



Germans on MySpace

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Liveblogging Sky Blue Sky

Aside from a brief attempt at the beginning of the Oscars, this is my real try at live-blogging. Don't expect much of real substance. Just thought it would be an interesting way to record my initial thoughts on the record. I'm sure I'll be able to look back on these comments and laugh one day. That day is probably tomorrow.

"Either Way"

Have heard this one about 30 times since it leaker earlier in the week. Great way to start the CD. Very pretty, laid back. Love the organ in the background, and Nels' understated playing. I still think his solo is very Trey Anastasio-ish. Jeff's vocal coming out the solo is fantastic.

"You Are My Face"

My favorite of the three leaks. This would have made a nice opener as well. More of the laid back vibe. This is gonna make a great summer CD, and an even better "driving in the summer" CD. Love where the song gets kinda funky in the middle. Great, great tune. Is it me, or are Jeff's vocal incredible on this disc so far? Soulful is the word I'd use.

"Impossible Germany"

Loved this song when I saw it live last year. First impression is that Jeff's vocal sounds a little more Yankee Hotel-era on this one (which is, of course, just fine). Is it me, or did Nels cut back on the solo a bit for the album? I still like it, but I remember it just absolutely kicking my ass live. Love the multiple guitar attack. OK, forget it -- here's the asskicking part.

Just a thought -- can't wait to see these songs played outdoors live this summer.

"Sky Blue Sky"

First time hearing this one, I think. Very, very quickly becoming my favorite so far. Some strong hints of the band's alt-country past, and I like it. Very simple, very good. Not much more to say.

"Side with the Seeds"

Wow. Jeff truly goes soul on us. Not loving the song yet, but Jeff's vocals continue to amaze. Ah, here we go -- the guitar comes in, the full band picks up... nice. Have I mentioned yet that Nels kicks ass? Well, consider it mentioned. What older song does this make me think of? The melody really seems familiar. And more Nels... bless him. OK, I officially like this song now. Great quick ending.

"Shake it Off"

Hmm... kinda slow start to this one. Something is making me think of Steely Dan for some reason. Wow, listen to that organ. Is this 1978? And a brief moment of cowbell. Not sure what I think of this one. A little hint of Pink Floyd there for a few seconds. It's got that whole "Spiders" soft/loud/soft/loud dynamic going for it, but it's easily my least favorite of the bunch so far.

"Please Be Patient"

Love the acoustic guitar -- beautiful. Another contender for my favorite of the album so far. Maybe I'm not listening for anyone else on this record, but it's my impression so far that this is really Jeff and Nels' album. And I like it. What a great song.

"I Hate it Here"

More soul from Jeff. Love the organ. And here's more Nels. Damn. What am I gonna do when I run out of shirts to fold? Wow -- a little nod to the Beatles here, cool. I don't typically listen to lyrics, but I'm really like them on this song so far. I've been saying this a lot, but another contender for song of the album. Absolutely love the two "mini-solos" towards the end of the song.

"Leave Me (Like You Found Me)"

Kinda slight, but not in a bad way. Breezy. Nothing spectacular, but a nice song. Kinda wish they'd left this off and put "Is That The Thanks I Get" on instead. Not much more to say.

"Walken" (or is it "Walkin'", as the media viewer says??)

The song I'm most familiar with from the last couple tours. Really, really like it. I mentioned to my friend Matt the other day that I didn't love the song, but thought it would grow on me based on the placement on the album. I was right. It fits perfectly towards the end of the album, after a bunch of more mellow songs. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure it's true. Love the break-down about 2/3 into the song, and love the ending.

"What Light"

Another song I'm pretty sure I've seen live. Great, great melody. More steel pedal. OK, I'm changing my mind again -- this is my favorite song on the album. Reminds me of Dylan at times. Or maybe The Band. Wow, amazing song.

"On and On and On"

And so it ends... fantastic opening sequence. More Beatles allusions, at least to my ear. Crap, am I gonna have to change my favorite song again? Cannot wait to see this one live. Wow, what a way to end.


OK, so, a wrapup. This is the best "first listen" I've had to a Wilco album since Being There, and, while things could certainly change, this has the makings to be my favorite Wilco album yet. By and large it eschews the "rock", but I love the fact that the band takes major, major challenges with each album, and grows its sound.

Congrats, fellas, you keep amazing me. Just a fantastic album.

Edited to add: OK, I've had a chance to listen to the album a few more times. (Some kind soul managed to capture the stream.) I'm happy to say, it's holding up quite well. I'm not head over heels for "Side With The Seeds", "Shake It Off" or "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)", but the rest of the album is spectacular, and those songs are fine -- nothing earthshattering, but OK. I'm kind of surprised at how vehement some of the backlash to the album is already. And, honestly, I'm kind of happy about it. Seriously, there are few people in the world I'd rather smack in the head, aside from the members of our current Administration, than the frat boy/Dave Matthews Band crowd who jumped on board the Wilco train with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That sound you're hearing when you listen to the album? That's your signal to get off the train.

Testing.. Testing..

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting as many MP3s lately. Part of that has to do with the fact that I've been a lot busier at work the last few months. It also has to do with the fact that, since EZArchive went to shit, I kinda got lazy and didn't look around that hard for a replacement file host. Well, I'm gonna try to remedy that. Here's a test of File Den. Let's see how it works. And to test it out, let's use a fantastic song that I somehow never owned until earlier this week when I got it off of eMusic:

The Kinks, "Twentieth Century Man"

And while I'm procrastinating from doing work (on a Saturday night, no less), check out one of my favorite songs of the year so far. They're apparently a "discovery" of Pete Doherty, so it comes as no surprise that their U.S. tour was just canceled due to the singer's arrest on drug charges.

Sky Blue Sky Streaming Tonight!!

Rumor has it that the new Wilco album, Sky Blue Sky, will be streaming from the band's website tonight at 11:00 EST. This isn't listed on the site as of now, so I can't guarantee voracity, but it does make sense. The band has always been open about streaming their albums ahead of the release date. Plus, given the fact that the album has started to leak (albeit slowly, song by song), I kinda figured this would happen sooner rather than later.

Good thing I've got stock offering documents to draft tonight.

Go here to listen.

(Thanks to Brian for the initial heads up!)

Edited to add: Stereogum is confirming. Not sure why I didn't get my Wilco update -- I've been on that mailing list for years.

The Caribbean Is Full of Tropical Islands

We all know most college athletes aren't the sharpest tools in the shed. Rarely, though, do we get actual, tangible proof as to just how dull they actually are. Check out this term paper from a member of the University of Michigan's 2006 football team. It's bad enough that this was a term paper for any collegiate class -- even worse, though, is that it was a 400-level course.

Space, bitches!

The 101 Is Dead... Long Live The 101

I've told you about Brooklyn's The 101 before. The band, which featured Eric Richter from 90's emo legends Christie Front Drive, released two excellent albums which didn't receive nearly enough attention. I still listen to their debut LP, Green Street, all the time.

Sadly, The 101 are no more. However, according to a post over at the Christie Front Drive message boards, Eric already has a new band:
it's happening as we speak. we're planning on recording a demo this summer. i'm really, really happy with it thus far. i just can't do the three piece thing anymore. the 101 is dead.
He also stated that the new band's music "actually sounds more like cfd than anything i've done since."

One band ends, but it sounds like a great new one is born. Can't wait to hear new music from these guys.

Bright Eyes @ Bowery Ballroom [3/2/07]

I'm not sure, but last night might have been the first time I've seen Bright Eyes since 2004. My memory isn't too good with these types of things, but I'm fairly sure that I missed both the Digital Ash and I'm Wide Awake tours in 2005 when I was living in Tokyo. I might have caught one of the Loews Theatre shows since then, but I'm really not sure.

Why does this matter? Because, regardless of how long it's been since I've seen them, it feels like Conor has matured by a factor of ten years. It's been obvious for a decade now that Conor was an amazingly talented musician, but he managed to get himself pigeonholed in many circles as merely an "emo" artist. And while his last few albums have marked a clear move away from that genre, it was hard to tell just how serious Conor was about his new sounds. Digital Ash was, of course, a (good but not great) attempt at Postal Service-style alt-electro. I'm Wide Awake was his alt-country album. And his single, "When The President Talks To God", hinted at a move towards a more political sound (as did his participation in the 2004 MoveOn tour). Take it all together, and it was hard to tell exactly where Conor was going. While there was no reason to believe that his next steps wouldn't be good, I think it's fair to say there was a legitimate fear of a Ryan Adams-type of career schizophrenia.

After last night's show at the Bowery Ballroom, I feel safe in saying that Conor has found his path. The band that I saw last night completely and utterly blew me away. Since the last time I saw them, they've gone from merely being an important young band to a capital-I Important band. At various times throughout the show I felt as if I were watching Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue -- that's how good this band is right now. (And, to be fair, the new material is very Dylan-esque.) I see a lot of shows, but very rarely do I see a band this tight and professional yet unbelievably powerful (see: Wilco). If you consider yourself a true music fan, be sure to catch them ASAP.

Check the pics. Yep, that's M Ward in a couple. He came out for a couple songs during the main set and the entirety of the encore.