Monday, April 30, 2007

AOL Roundup (May 1 Releases)

Not a whole lot of interest this week, with one very big exception -- Dinosaur Jr.. The album is fantastic, and makes me feel like it's 1990 (when I first heard them) all over again.

Tori Amos, American Doll Posse
Feist, The Reminder
Various, Spiderman 3 Soundtrack
Patrick Wolf, The Magic Position
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Baby 81
Dinosaur Jr., Beyond
Pela, Anytown Graffitti

Last Frames Post For A While

I didn't realize this, but Glen Hansard played an in-studio set for Minnesota Public Radio a couple of weeks ago. The show is archived on MPR, and you can listen to it here.

Set List
"Falling Slowly"
"Lay Me Down"
"Astral Weeks" (Van Morrison cover)

There's also video of "Astral Weeks" and a portion of the interview.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Best Live Band In The World

I haven't really made a habit of "following" bands for a number of years now. Sure, I spent a good chunk of the years 1993 to 1996 following either Phish or the Grateful Dead around the Midwest, but my days of sleeping in the car, "showering" in the rest-stop bathroom sink, and selling bottled water for gas money pretty much ended around the time I graduated college and moved to New York for grad school.

That said, in the past 11 years, there have been exactly three bands who have regularly inspired me to travel long distances to see them live. One of those bands was Guided By Voices, who may be my favorite band of all time, and who I followed with my friend Matt on their last tour from New York to Philadelpia to D.C. and eventually to their final shows in Chicago. The second band is Wilco, certainly a top 5 all-time band of mine, who I've traveled to Texas, Rhode Island and Ohio to see, and who I'll be seeing in Massachusetts in June.

The third band? The Frames. As I've said before, and as I'm sure I'll say many more times, they are, quite simply, the best live band in the world today. I'd see them pretty much anywhere. So when I saw that they were playing in DC just a couple of days after NYC, I knew I had to go. Good decision on my part. Tonight's show was among the best that I've seen from the band, and probably the best performance I've seen so far this year. And it reminded me how good a venue the 9:30 Club is. (I just wish they got better bands than, ahem, Third Eye Blind and Five For Fighting. That alone may veto any thought of my moving to DC.)

To hear for yourself how good the show was, direct your browser here. NPR recorded the show and should be adding it to their online archive any day now. For your sake, I hope they recorded the "Messy Room" (is that what Glen called it?) portion of the show, which included inspired covers of Will Oldham and The Osmonds. (Edited to add: It's up at NPR, and they have the whole set!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Catching Up With Something Gone

I've been pretty out of it musically for the last month or so, given that I was running around like crazy trying to tie things up at work before retiring to my current life of leisure. Today is actually the first day I've had since I quit last Friday to sit down and start catching up on the huge backlog of unread posts (more than 800) on my favorite blogs. It's not even 9am yet here in New York, and I've already found a ton of great stuff. God I love retirement.

Citizens Here and Abroad, "In The Dark". Just heard this band for the first time on WOXY about an hour ago. Good stuff. This tune is off their latest album, Waving, Not Drowning [BUY].

Eskimohunter, "Walking Tour Of Space". Heard this one over at Rock Insider a few weeks ago, but forgot to post it at the time. Definitely need to pick up their EP, Musical Snowglobe Machine [BUY].

Jay Bennett, Daytrotter Session. Thanks to Six Eyes for pointing this one out -- I always forget to keep up with Daytrotter. I never did get around to picking up Jay's last album, The Magnificent Defeat [BUY], but if "Fifth Grade" is any indication of how good the album is, I'll be getting it this afternoon.

Pela, "Lost To The Lonesome". WOXY started playing these guys a year or two ago, but I never got into their earlier stuff. This tune is off of their new album, Anytown Graffiti [BUY], and I'm really liking it.

I don't want to deep-link, but be sure to head over to Six Eyes to hear an excellent track from The Child Ballads, the current band of Stewart Lupton (former lead singer of Jonathan Fire*Eater).

Finally, if you're looking for something to listen to for the rest of the day, go hit up My Old Kentucky Blog's Blog Radio Sessions archive. For some reason I haven't been keeping up with MOKB lately, so I had no idea they'd been doing this. I've clearly been missing out.

David Vandervelde
The Whigs
The Broken West
Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos
Josh Rouse

The Frames @ Town Hall, NYC [4/24/07]

Way too tired to post much about tonight's Frames show right now, other than to say it was, as usual, excellent. That said, I hope that this whole Town Hall thing was a one-time event. I just don't like that room. It sucks the life out of even the best bands.

PS: Wow, has it really been a month since the last concert I went to? That sucks. No way do I let that happen again.

Once To See U.S. Release

Good news -- Once, the new movie starring Glen Hansard (of The Frames) and Marketa Irglova, is set for a limited U.S. release on May 18th. No word yet on what cities will get the movie, but I would assume New York and L.A. are safe bets.

In addition, Fox Searchlight has organized a three-week promotional tour where fans can catch a free screening of the movie followed by a discussion with the director and stars, capped off by a performance by Glen and Marketa. Unfortunately, no New York:

April 29th - Boston
May 2nd - Philadelphia
May 3rd - Washington D.C.
May 4th - Toronto
May 7th - Detroit
May 8th - Chicago
May 9th - St. Louis
May 10th - Memphis
May 11th - Dallas
May 12th - Austin
May 14th - Phoenix
May 16th - San Diego
May 17th - San Francisco
May 18th - Seattle

To RSVP, go here.

Finally, Glen is also scheduled to play two badge-holder only solo shows at the Tribeca Film festival next week -- Tuesday, May 1 and Wednesday, May 2 at 5pm at Canal Room. (Notably, Jon Auer is also doing shows on Thursday and Friday at 4:20pm.) I really freaking wish I had a badge. I may have to go try to beg my way into one or more of these sets.

Edited to add: Be sure to head over to the movie's website to hear the movie's soundtrack streaming in the background. If you're a Glen/Frames fan, you'll recognize a lot of it, but there's a few really good new songs on there, including the incredible "Trying To Pull Myself Away" and "All The Way Down".

Monday, April 23, 2007

AOL Roundup (Week of April 24)

Just a so-so selection over at AOL this week. They do have a number of high profile releases, but there's not a whole lot to tickle my own fancy. That said, it does give me a chance to finally hear more from Patrick Wolf, who everyone seems to be talking about right now.

Arctic Monkeys, Favourite Worst Nightmare
Patrick Wolf, The Magic Position
Patti Smith, Twelve
Dntel, Dumb Luck
Mando Diao, Ode to Ochrasy
The Veils, Nux Vomica
Cornelius, Sensuous

No Fishbone?? I'm not surprised, but I am really interested to see what this new album sounds like. Man I used to love that band.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bob Pollard, Man-Genius

One of the many things that I missed over the last month, as I was going crazy trying to wind down my affairs as a lawyer, was news of Robert Pollard's new mini-LP, Silverfish Trivia. The 7-track, 22 minute disc comes out this Tuesday, April 24th, and is available for pre-order now. The lead track, "Circle Saw Boys Club", is making the rounds, and it's damn good if I say so myself. Very late-period "mature" GBV sounding (think Isolation Drills' more subdued moments). Check it out:

"Circle Saw Boys Club"

Full tracklisting

Come Outside (instrumental)
Circle Saw Boys Club
Wickerman Smile
Touched To Be Sure
Waves, Etc.
Cats Love A Parade
Speak In Many Colors (instrumental)

Will we see Bob tour on this one? I know he made noises last year about being done with touring, but I'd really love to see him do some smaller, more intimate shows with just him and a guitarist. Tommy? Doug? Toby? I'd be happy with any of 'em. If Bob wants the fans to drop expectations of an old-time GBV show, he should change things up on stage a bit. If I see Bob on stage with two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer, I expect the rock.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm Outta Here

Fare thee well, Messieurs Bryan and Cave.

And now, back to a real life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Dinosaur Jr. Video

Thanks to Kingblind for the heads up on this one. If I remember correctly, I think Matt Dillon directed this, but I could be wrong.

I'm completely loving this album, by the way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Minus 5 (!!) Video

This may be the first Minus 5 video I've ever seen. Wouldn't it make sense to make a video for "Cemetery Row" or something, to bring in all the Decemberists fans?

Still, I'll take it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Crap crap crap crap

DC-Based Copyright Royalty Board Rejects Plea from Webcasters

Washington, DC -- The DC-based Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) on Monday denied motions submitted by various webcasters, who had asked the board to reconsider new, higher royalty rates for streaming music online. The CRB said that the motions, from groups including DC-based National Public Radio and the DC-based Digital Media Association (DiMA) -- which represents large webcasters like Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, RealNetworks and Live365 -- contained no new evidence, and denied them on procedural grounds. The CRB also declined to postpone enactment of the new rates beyond May 15. Webcasters will now likely seek relief from an appellate court, Congress and through possible new negotiations with the record industry. "The CRB's denial of a rehearing today is all but a nail in the coffin for Internet radio, and May 15 now looms as the day the music will die," said Jonathan Potter, the executive director of DiMA. A group of webcasters, web radio listeners, labels and artists has now launched the SaveNetRadio Coalition, which bills itself as "a national grassroots campaign aimed at preserving the future of Internet radio."

(Via Potomac Tech Wire)

ACL Fest Tickets on Sale

Early bird tickets are on sale for this year's Austin City Limits Festival in, err, Austin. The show runs from September 14th to September 16th, and you can assume that, as usual, there will be a number of "after-shows" around town (Stubb's, La Zona Rosa) in the evenings. Tickets are $120 right now, and will jump to $145 either when the early-bird allotment sells out, or when the lineup is released next month.

I'll probably be buying a ticket later in the day to cover my bases -- i.e., in case the lineup meets or beats Lollapalooza. What scares me though is that tickets won't be mailed until July, and I still have no idea where I'll be living then. And I really don't want to do to "print at home" option, because I know I'll friggin' lose that ticket.

Will Ferrell Invades the Internet

I removed the video because the damn thing starts playing automatically when you come to the page. Bad widget design, fellas. Fix that. If you want to see the video - and I strongly suggest you do - go here.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blood On The Slacks

Nearly a year after it was first announced, Golden Smog's Blood On The Slacks EP is finally set for release next Tuesday, April 24th. The disc includes six new songs, plus covers of David Bowie's "Starman" and Dinosaur Jr.'s "Tarpit". Hopefully we'll see some more live dates from the band this summer, though I'm pretty confident that, if they do tour, they will once again be sans Tweedy.

"Until You Came Along" (from Weird Tales [BUY])

Blood On The Slacks Tracklist

Can't Even Tie Her Own Shoes
Look At You Now
Scotch On Ice
Without A Struggle
Insecure/Morse Code

You can pre-order the EP here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Meet Grouper

I can't tell you exactly what it is, or what it hopes to accomplish other than being YouTube-ish, but check out They've got a ton of live video from SXSW up, as well as various non-music videos as well. Based on the few minutes I've been on it, I gotta say -- it's pretty user-unfriendly. And the SXSW video/audio quality isn't great. But it's free, so it's got that going for it.



The Little Ones

Lollapalooza Lineup Leaks

Thanks to Chris for pointing out that Brooklyn Social Ski Club (who I haven't read enough lately -- ed., point proven) has the official Lollapalooza lineup. The lineup, and my initial thoughts, below:
Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Ben Harper, Muse, Iggy & The Stooges, Modest Mouse, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, Satellite Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol, The Roots, Patti Smith, Kings Of Leon, The Black Keys, Regina Spektor, Spoon, Lupe Fiasco, TV On The Radio, Pete Yorn, G. Love, Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, LCD Soundsystem, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Silverchair, Femi Kuti, Yo La Tengo, Hold Steady, Jack's Mannequin, Stephen Marley, STS9, MIA, Slightly Stoopid, Blonde Redhead, Sparklehorse, Sean Lennon, !!!, Blue October, Son Volt, Motion City Soundtrack, Polyphonic Spree, Peter Bjorn & John, Silversun Pickups, CSS, The Rapture, The Wailers, Roky Erickson, Tapes N Tapes, Heartless Bastards, The View, The Cribs, The Fratellis, Ghostland Observatory, Tokyo Police Club, Rhymefest, Soulive, Cold War Kids, Annuals, Fields, Electric Six, Jim Noir, Elvis Perkins, Sam Roberts, Black Angels, Charlie Musselwhite, Aqueduct, Juliette & The Licks, Dios, Viva Voce, David Vandervelde, Los Campesinos!, Chin Up Chin Up, Ryan Shaw, Colour Revolt, Satin Peaches, Illinois, Arckid, Mickey Avalon, The 1900s, Bang Bang Bang, Bound Stems, High Class Elite Carey Ott
Bands that excite me: Pearl Jam (never seen them), Iggy and Stooges (awesome), Interpol, My Morning Jacket (one of the best live acts around), Patti Smith, Spoon, CYHSY, Yo La Tengo, Hold Steady, Blonde Redhead, Heartless Bastards, The View (yeah, right), Tokyo Police Club, Elvis Perkins, David Vandervelde, Son Volt, Silversun Pickups, Sparklehorse.

Decent but not great: Peter Bjorn and John, Muse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Roots, Black Keys, TVOTR, Fratellis

Smaller acts I'm looking forward to catching: Illinois, Bound Stems, Annuals, Sam Roberts, Aqueduct, Fields

Acts I will be running away from: Ben Harper, Satellite Party (Perry and Nuno), Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse, Paolo Nutini, MIA

Acts I'm glad are playing because they'll attract crowds away from me: Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, CSS, The Rapture (notice a trend?)

WTF?!?!: Silverchair, Juliet and the Licks

Can't they just go away now?: Polyphonic Spree

Edited to Add: The official list is out, and there's one more big name -- Ted Leo and the Pharmacists! Kick ass.

Monday, April 09, 2007

moe.down 8

There was a period between about 1996 and 1998 that I was a pretty big fan of the band moe. In fact, there was a period there where they were probably one of my favorite 5 or 6 bands. (That list in 1996 would probably have looked something like this: Phish, The Grateful Dead, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Afghan Whigs, Uncle Tupelo and .moe.)

Needless to say, I don't think I've listened to moe. since 1998. I'll still pull out some of the old jam-band CDs now again, but it's usually old Dead or Phish bootlegs, and occasionally some ekoostik Hookah. Not so much moe.

So I was surprised when I saw the lineup for this year's "moe.down." Festival and found myself considering actually going. Granted, I didn't think about it very long, but I did give it a half moment's thought. The lineup includes moe. (duh), Ryan Adams, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, Amos Lee and The Meat Puppets. Not bad at all. Not enough to get me to camp out with 40,000 patchouli-soaked teenagers, but still a pretty decent lineup.

The festival is the weekend of August 31 to September 2 up in Turin, New York. Early-bird tickets are available now for $89 (incl. fees). So if you don't mind patchouli, and you like really hot 20-year old hippie girls (and, really, who doesn't?), check it out. If you're lucky, Ryan will play his 40-minute version of "Wharf Rat".

AOL Roundup (Week of April 10th)

Pretty decent week of releases over at Spinner. I'm especially psyched to hear the new Hold Steady EP and Blonde Redhead's 23.

The Hold Steady, Live at Fingerprints EP
Bright Eyes, Cassadaga
The Comas, Spells
Blonde Redhead, 23
Grinderman, Grinderman

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Parting Words

So I mentioned previously that I gave notice at my job. Unless something drastic happens (like a settlement falls apart and I end up having to go to trial in my last week at work -- knock on wood), my last day will be next Friday, April 20th. And if things go like they usually do, I'll be having some sort of going-away party next week. Can't wait.

Anyway, it's traditional for the person leaving our firm to give a farewell speech. While you'd think that most people would keep things short, you'd be wrong. Don't forget, I'm a lawyer, and I work with other lawyers. We like to talk. So instead of a 1-2 minute speech, we tend to get really long speeches. In fact, we've twice been treated to parting words lasting more than 20 minutes -- one of which was hilarious, one of which was an unending, unbearable poem. And, for better or worse, ever since the neverending poem, it's almost become expected (in a joke-y way) for people to read poems.

I'm no poet, and I'm no fan of poetry. Just ask my high school English teachers. Yet I have every intention of reading a poem at my going-away party next week. Except, of course, it won't be a real poem... it will be song lyrics. I have a few ideas so far, but haven't decided on anything yet. I'm not looking for anything particularly good -- i.e., no Dylan lyrics, no moving songs about moving on and missing those you leave behind. No, I'm looking for something that's pretty off-the-wall, that the people I work with won't understand, and that will leave them trying to decide whether I'm serious or not.

Right now I've got two songs that I really like. The first, Guided By Voices' "Game of Pricks", is actually really appropriate (for many reasons), but if I'm going to be calling people pricks, I'd prefer to do it in a more veiled manner. For those who aren't familar with the song (and really, you shouldn't admit it if that's the case):
I've waited too long to have you
Hide in the back of me
I've cheated so long I wonder
How you keep track of me

You could never be strong
You can only be free
And I never asked for the truth
But you owe that to me

I've entered the game of pricks
With knives in the back of me
Can't call you or on you no more
When they're attacking me

I'll climb up on the house
Weep to water the trees
And when you come calling me down
I'll put on my disease

You could never be strong
You can only be free
And I never asked for the truth
But you owe that to me
And I never asked for the truth
But you owe that to me
And I never asked for the truth
But you owe that to me
The second song is one that I posted a link to just yesterday. And, while you wouldn't think that the theme song to the movie Cannonball Run would be an appropriate going-away sendoff, you'd be very surprised:
What do you say when there are no words?
Feel a song that's never been heard?
How do know when you hear the call?
What do you do when you've done it all?

It's not what you do
It's how you do it.
Be anything you want to be
It's not what you got
It's how you use it
You be you
And I'll be me
It's just a matter of style
You can't fake it
Mile after mile
Feeling free
If you got the soul
you can make it
Move-em out
Let 'em roll
From sea to shining sea

What do you do if a mountain is there?
Move it.
How do you answer to a challenge today?
Take it.
When your back's against the wall?
Fake it.
What do you do when you've done it all?
I'm still deciding. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. I also thought about using the lyrics to GBV's "A Salty Salute", but as Matt pointed out, I'd have to hold up a can of beer in a raised fist as I read it, and that might confuse people.

A Belated SXSW Discovery

Although I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was disappointed because I hadn't really "discovered" any new bands at SXSW this year, it turns out that I spoke too soon. While we were in Austin, part of our group spent the first couple of days talking about wanting to catch Mary Weiss and Reigning Sound. I had never heard of either (although I had, of course, heard of Mary's old group, The Shangri-Las), and unfortunately didn't make much of an effort to catch their show.

About a week after I got back from Austin, I discovered that Ross from The Broken West had posted a list of 16 of his favorite songs over at Discollective (a great list -- check it out). Coming in at #6 song was Reigning Sound's "Your Love Is A Fine Thing". This is how Ross described the song:
I missed out on—or more accurately, avoided—the whole garage-rock renaissance a few years ago. Though these guys were, from what I read, a touchstone for a lot of those clowns, they are rightly in a league of their own. The guitar at the beginning of the song will quite literally slice through your skull if you listen to it too loud. (Also, on a geeky production note, it’s so cool how, at the beginning, the electric guitar is miked both at the amp AND at the strings... anyway...)

This song sounds like it was written 40 years ago, which is to say it sounds timeless. The chorus sounds like it could have been from a Motown song, replete with tambourines and luscious female backing vocals. And Greg Cartwright sings with such intensity and conviction... not to be missed. (Plus, they’re from Memphis, and so am I.)
Needless to say, I ran over to eMusic and downloaded the album that the song is on, entitled Too Much Guitar. It's one of the best things I've heard all year. Ross is exactly right -- the album sounds like something that was written (and recorded) in the late 60's. But instead of just duplicating the sound of the era, the band writes incredible songs that would have dominated the airwaves had it come out at that time. In a just world, the band would be dominating airwaves today. But we all know that won't be happening anytime soon.

Here's a couple songs from Too Much Guitar [BUY], including the aforementioned "Your Love Is A Fine Thing":

"Your Love Is A Fine Thing"
"If You Can't Give Me Everything"

And here's a recent video of the band backing up Mary Weiss on her song "Don't Come Back":

For more information see:
Reigning Sound's MySpace page
Mary Weiss' website

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Who Knew Ray Stevens Was Indie?

When I'm wasting time at work or home -- and let's be honest here, that's a lot -- I bounce around a million music sites looking for interesting new music, news or the like. That's what led me to create this little blog last year (yeah, I pretty much ignored the one-year anniversary... woo hoo). And, aside from discovering a great new band, one of my favorite things to do is pick up on little things that might escape the average person.

So I was tickled pink today when I discovered a Glaswegian band called 1990's. Not because they're particularly good -- they're not. But because it's not often that you find a modern rock band with a guitar part that sounds like it was ripped directly from a Ray Stevens song. Let's go to the video:

Listen for the guitar part at the very beginning. You can hear it again, a little cleaner, at the 0:48 mark through about 1:03 (or, if your viewer counts down, go to 2:12), and again at the end starting at 2:42.

Then listen to this and tell me you don't hear the exact same damn guitar part ripped from the theme song to the greatest movie of all time.

Case closed.

Random Notes

Some interesting things around the internet the last day or so...

Jason Isbell is no longer in The Drive-By Truckers. Patterson says it's amicable. Jason... not so much. The now-Jason-less band is playing Castle Clinton in NYC on Thursday, July 19th. (Via Stereogum.)

ProductShop is undergoing renovations. The site's new design is unveiled on April 16th.

This past Monday's Long Winters show at Union Hall is available for free download at

Just discovered Some Bootlegs, a music blog dedicated to live boots. They've got a ton of stuff, including a 1985 Springsteen show from Paris and a 1982 Clash show from Jamaica. Check it out.

WOXY has posted the Manhattan Love Suicides' Lounge Act from SXSW. Go to their blog to check out photos and an unreleased song from the band.

Friday, April 06, 2007

More Videos From The Current

Low, "Murderer"

Low, "Breaker"

Yo La Tengo, "I Feel Like Going Home"

Yo La Tengo, "Mr. Tough"

Frank Black, "That Burn't Out Rock n' Roll"

Frank Black, "Black Rider"

Birdmonster Live Videos

Check out a couple of videos of Birdmonster performing live in the studios of the excellent The Current/Minnesota Public Radio.

"Only One"

"Mama Oooh"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

WOXY Presents Knockout Round 3

If you haven't noticed, Chris over at The Battering Room has become quite the rock show promoter in recent months. His latest show, Knockout Round 3, is this Saturday at Matchless in Brooklyn with Square Wave Punch, The Diggs, Benzos and Bridges and Powerlines.

Even cooler is the fact that has come aboard as a sponsor of the show (and future shows, I think). Guess that means it's about time that I hauled my ass out to Brooklyn for a show.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Independence Day in NYC

Brooklyn Vegan is reporting that the bands playing Battery Park on July 4th this year are The New Pornographers and Midlake.

Good stuff. Let's just hope that the process for getting in this year is closer to 2003's Ryan Adams show than to 2006's Belle & Sebastian show, which by all accounts was a complete and utter travesty.

The good news? Assuming I'm still in town, I'll be unemployed and able to get myself on line for tickets when they become available. So suck on that, employed suckers!

Wilco North American Dates Announced

And all I can say is F?!K HAMMERSTEIN. All on-sales are still TBA.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rumored Lollapalooza Lineup

Although Lollapalooza's official lineup isn't announced until next Thursday (4/12), the nameless hordes are already at work putting together a "rumored lineup" over at Wikipedia. We all know how trustworthy Wikipedia is, so take this list with a grain of salt. Especially that band that rhymes with Ravement.

Death by tire iron (who?)
Charlie Musselwhite
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
David Vandervelde
Ghostland Observatory
Jack's Mannequin
LCD Soundsystem
Lupe Fiasco
The New Amsterdams
Pearl Jam (confirmed Sunday night headliners)
Peter Bjorn and John
Peter DiStefano
The Roots
Satin Peaches
Son Volt

New York Shows of Note

A few interesting shows listed in this week's Bowery Presents email:

Thursday, May 24th: The Rosebuds at Bowery Ballroom
Friday, June 1st: The National at Bowery Ballroom (a 5th night!)
Saturday, June 2nd: The Mystery Jets at Bowery Ballroom

Rosebuds and National go on sale tomorrow (Weds.) at noon. Mystery Jets on Thursday at noon. I already have a ticket for night #1 of the National, and have no need to see the Rosebuds again so soon after SXSW, but I'll definitely be at the Mystery Jets.

Lollapalooza Tickets on Sale

And holy crap are they expensive. $165. If I remember correctly, that was the highest price they charged last year (in the weeks leading up to the show). Now it's their "early bird" price. The highest price this year? $195.

Yeah, I still bought a ticket, but I'm not real happy about it. The only bright spot is that there's no service charge, and you can print your ticket for free instead of paying for UPS 2-day delivery. Still, though, that's freakin' expensive. The lineup better kick my ass.

Monday, April 02, 2007

AOL Albums (April 1-7)

Not a great week, but at least now we can all hear just how bad the new Fountains of Wayne album is. I'm two songs in, and there's not a chance in hell that I ever buy this sucker.

Jarvis Cocker, Jarvis

Fountains of Wayne, Traffic and Weather

Kings of Leon, Because of the Times

Black Sabbath, The Dio Years

Idlewild, Make Another World

The Academy Is..., Santi (if only so we can all keep up on the latest emo trends)

Edited to add: Not all the direct links are working. Not sure why. They should at least get you to the right page to find each album. Best I can do, sorry.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Can You Feel It?

Three months on and I'm still lovin' this album.

(Thanks to Cable and Tweed for the heads up!)

Songs Are For Listening

And here's a few of my recent favorites:

The Antlers, "In The Attic"

Chris over at The Battering Room has mentioned these guys a number of times before, but for some reason I never went out of my way to listen to them. Quite possibly one of the biggest mistakes I've made in a while. The band's new album, In The Attic of the Universe, is spectacular (if a tad short). Listen for yourself -- it's available for free download at the band's website.

Preakness, "What They're Saying"

This one comes from the excellent Cable and Tweed blog, which I haven't been reading nearly enough lately. Very mid-90's sound, which always perks my ears.

Oh, and head over to Cable and Tweed to also hear some cool live Jeff Tweedy covers, including a version of Neutral Milk Hotel's "King of Carrot Flowers" (with Ken Coomer [!?] backing).

Voxtrot, "Kid Gloves"
Voxtrot, "Biggest Fan"

I'm a latecomer to the whole Voxtrot thing. While I bought the first two EPs when they came out last year, I never really spent a whole lot of time with them. Then, when the New York blogosphere went nuts over the band's Bowery Ballroom (?) shows last summer, I basically wrote them off the new Tapes n' Tapes, i.e., a blogger-fed phenomenon unsupported by any actual artistic merit. And while I still stand by that assessment with TNT, I've recently come around to Voxtrot. Strangely enough, I think it was the 3 songs I saw them play at Emo's at SXSW that did it for me. Something about seeing the songs live made them come alive for me in a way that I hadn't expected. (I'd have stayed for the whole set but my ride back to the hotel was leaving.)

The band's new album, entitled simply Voxtrot, is due out on May 22nd. [PREORDER] I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop for the last week, and am fairly certain it will end up somewhere in my top 10 or so for the year.

Calexico, "Ocean of Noise"

Via Stereogum via the Merge Blog comes a live cover of Arcade Fire's "Ocean of Noise" by Calexico. Good stuff. I didn't realize that the horns section from Calexico played on the AF version of the song. Don't hate me, but I think I like Calexico's version of the song better.

Birdmonster @ Gramercy Theater, NYC [3/31/07]

You may be looking at the only good thing about Live Nation's new Gramercy Theater -- the marquee. Aside from the bigger, more formal venues (Radio City, Beacon, etc.), none of New York's music venues have real marquees showing the names of the musicians performing. Maybe it's just me, but there's something cool about seeing the name of the band you're seeing on a marquee. Another cool thing about the Gramercy is its TLA-like (err, make that The Fillmore Philadelphia-like) sloping floor, which makes sight-lines much, much better. So, yeah, it's got two things going for it.

Unfortunately, everything else about the Gramercy reminds me of watching my friends' band (Mad Anthony represent, yo) play during a pep rally in our high school gym. (It was 1992 and they played "One" by Metallica, and the crazy suburban Ohio kids moshed. Oh did we mosh.) From the institutional-esque entryway, to the crappy cement floor, to the temporary bars along the sides of the room, to the laughable seating bleachers in the back, to the mediocre acoustics of the room, the whole room just screams "Battles of the Bands". It's essentially the Warsaw without the pierogis and the scary (yet authentic) Polish bouncers. If it weren't 3 blocks from my apartment, I might never go back.

That said, is it possible for Live Nation to make the Gramercy Theater a legitimate contender? Maybe. It needs a serious personality injection -- posters, paint, permanent bars. It also needs some acoustic refinements. If I had to guess, there were about 150-200 people in attendance last night. (Yeah, Birdmonster seems to have overshot its audience a bit, given that the room fits about 600). Whereas at Bowery Ballroom, which has a similar capacity, the ceiling is low enough that even 150-200 people can make a decent amount of noise, the 50' ceilings swallowed up the crowd's applause and made it sound as if 10 people were in the crowd. Awful and depressing.

Despite the problems with the venue, though, Birdmonster were as energetic and fun as always. Much like the set that I caught down in Austin, the band mixed old and new songs, playing either 5 or 6 new songs in total, all of which sound pretty damn good. The acoustics were pretty awful where I was standing about 10 feet from the stage -- you could barely make out Peter's vocals or guitar, Justin's bass was way too high in the mix, and the drum sound seemed to go in and out throughout the show. Still, I've never seen a band Birdmonster show, and last night didn't break that streak. Just hope that next time they're back at the Mercury (or even Bowery for that matter).

PS: Also managed to catch The Long Winters and The Broken West at Maxwell's on Friday night. Forgot my camera, hence they don't get their own post. Both bands were great as usual, but whoever was doing the mix seemed to have decided to turn everything up to 11. Waaaaay too loud. I've had that problem at Maxwell's before. It's almost as if they think they're doing sound for Irving Plaza (capacity 1000) rather than a tiny little backroom at a bar that holds 150.