Thursday, May 31, 2007

Monolith Music Festival Adds Acts

If you hadn't heard already, is sponsoring (along with some other, less important sponsors) the inaugural Monolith Music Festival at Red Rocks Ampitheatre outside Denver on the weekend of September 14-15. While the initial lineup was good, but not great, they've been adding a number of new bands and I am now seriously thinking about a trip out west.

The highlights (to me, at least):

The Flaming Lips
The Decemberists
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Art Brut
The Broken West
Forget Cassettes
Mason Proper
De Novo Dahl
Minus Story
Ra Ra Riot

You can find a day-by-day schedule of bands here. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, June 2nd at 12pm Eastern via Ticketmaster. Single day tickets are $42.50, a two-day pass is $79.70, and a VIP Gold Pass is $175. Oh, and there are only 9,000 tickets available, so this sucker is going to sell out. Fast.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Future of Music

Two very interesting pieces of news today that might (or might not) have a pretty big impact on the way we listen to music in the future.

First, CBS Corp. is buying for $280 million. As a founder of a new Web 2.0 startup, this is pretty heartening news. As a music fan, though, I'm not sure how much of an impact this will have on my life. is an interesting concept, but I tend to use it (when I use it at all) solely for its indexing function - i.e., the tool that records what you listen to and keeps a record of the number of times you listened to a particular song or band. It's a pretty cool feature, and you can also use it to have match you with other people with similar music taste.

That said, I've used's streaming music service exactly once, and wasn't that impressed. My recollection is that you don't have any real choice in what you hear, and instead their player plays random songs from bands you've listened to or other "similar" bands. This is similar to Pandora's streams, and doesn't interest me. I can put my iTunes on Shuffle and do the same thing. Or I can listen to and hear a lot of the same music, plus new music from new artists, with a knowledgeable, down-to-earth DJ. I know what I'll choose.

The second piece of news is that (WOXY's parent company) will be launching its own music streams. Why is this interesting? Because apparently LaLa will allow you to choose what you listen to, including individual songs or entire albums. While the streams won't be of particularly high quality, they'll be FREE, and give you the freedom to listen to what you want to. Then, if you like what you hear, you can use LaLa to buy the physical (and soon, the digital) copy of the album at a discounted rate. Now this is something I can get behind.

I'm no expert in this market, but it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that the bulk of the music listening audience wants choice in what they hear, an easy way to hear what the songs they want, and they don't want to spend a lot of money. While my own sense is that the future of the music industry lies with micro-payments and/or individual-based licensing, I like LaLa's model more than just about anything else out there right now.

New Bob Pollard

I clearly don't get over to Bob Pollard's website enough, because if I did, I would have realized before now that Bob had another album under the Takeovers name coming out on June 12th. Not that anyone should be surprised by the fact that that most prolific songwriter in the recorded history of time has a new album, but still.

You may or may not recall that The Takeovers are actually Bob and former Guided by Voices bassist Chris Slusarenko. They're joined on the new album, entitled Bad Football, by none other than Stephen Malkmus, Tad Doyle (of Tad), Dan Peters (of Mudhoney) and John Moen (of the Decemberists).

"Father's Favorite Temperature" (strongly recommended)

Two more tracks are available here, and you can order the album here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ryan Adams Summer Tour

The first dates of Ryan's summer tour in support of his new album Easy Tiger are out:

18 Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
19 Chicago, IL - The Black Orchid
20 Detroit, MI - Gem Theater
22 Toronto, ON - Enwave Theater
24 Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
28 Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore
29 Boston, MA - Somerville Theater

I don't know much about most of these venues, but I find it pretty cool that he's playing The Fillmore, i.e. TLA, in Philly. From what I recall, TLA only holds about 800 people. Does that mean we'll get either an Irving show or, perchance to dream, two nights at the Bowery? (Or maybe a show at the still-mythical 1000 person capacity Music Hall of Williamsburg?)

Who Is Cody Gillette?

I have no idea, but I'm absolutely loving the two songs (demos?) on his MySpace page. "Russian Inn" is flat out stunning. Extremely highly recommended.

Whigs News and Videos

I guess I would have discovered this if I'd managed to catch The Whigs at South By Southwest like I wanted to, but apparently bassist/keyboardist Hank Sullivant left the band at the end of last year and has been replaced - at least temporarily - by Sam Gunn of the band Iron Hero. (Via Wikipedia.) That's too bad, as I found Hank to be a pretty damn good bassist with a ton of energy.

Nonetheless, from what I can tell from these videos of the band from SXSW (from Rolling Stone), their live show doesn't seem to have lost a step:


"Violet Furs"

"Nothing is Easy"

"Half the World Away"

If you're going to Bonnaroo next week, be sure to check them out!

The National @ Bowery Ballroom [5/28/07]

Tonight was the first night of The National's sold out 5-night stand at Bowery Ballroom here in New York, and it was spectacular. There were no surprise guests, and the setlist stuck primarily to Boxer and Alligator, with the exception of "Murder Me Rachael" (and one more?), but the band was in incredible form and sounded great. And, in what is becoming a really impressive tradition, the crowd was respectful during the quiet parts and an overall pleasure to be a part of, much like last year's show at Webster Hall. Why can't every crowd be like this??

Some pics:

For those going the next few nights, take note that the opener went on right around 9, and The National went on just a couple minutes after 10pm (and played until about 11:35pm or so). I don't have tickets for any of the other Bowery shows, but I am seeing them in their "old" hometown of Cincinnati in a couple weeks. Can't wait.

And, as for the openers, The Broken West, I'm sorry if you missed them. I've seen them live about 7 times now, and this was by and far the best set I've seen from them. I may need to catch them on Thursday at Maxwell's with The Comas.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Figgs @ Jen and Dave's House, NJ [5/26/07]

The Figgs, "Jumping Again" (from 2006's Follow Jean Through the Sea) [BUY]

So I've decided what I want to do when I grow up. I want to own a house with a decent-sized living room (or basement, or whatever) and throw a series of house concerts.

Last night we were lucky enough to catch The Figgs - one of the best live bands around - at the home of a very nice couple named Jen and Dave just outside of Philadelphia. Jen and Dave have been doing this for years, hosting musicians such as Graham Parker, John Wesley Harding, The Silos and more. It's not a fancy setup, with about 50 folding chairs set up in a living room and a small setup of food and soda in the kitchen. But it was a lot of fun, and an opportunity to see a great band in a fascinating new environment. If you're in the area, check out Jen and Dave's website for info on their coming shows, and those of their friends.

As for the Figgs, they were, as usual, fantastic.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Greatest Bird of All Time

The Thanks We Get

As a "thank you" to their fans for making Sky Blue Sky the #4 album in America last week (and #7 in Norway, #9 in Canada, and top 40 in Sweden, Germany, Spain, Ireland and the UK), Wilco has released the studio version of their song "The Thanks I Get". The song has been a live staple for the past few years, and the band even played in on their Tonight Show appearance last year. I was surprised it didn't make it onto SBS, but the band has explained that the song was actually written for use by Solomon Burke on his forthcoming album. Either way, I'm glad to finally have a studio version from Wilco.

Wilco, "The Thanks I Get"

Edited to add: Well, links to this site from both Brooklyn Vegan and New York Magazine (thanks, guys!) did a bit of a number on my bandwidth. I think I've fixed it now, but if you have a problem downloading the song, your best bet is to click on the song title (not the play button) and then hit Refresh on your browser. The play button still isn't working for some reason, though...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baby, You Got a Stew Goin'!

Don't think I've ever posted this before. The dearly departed basis for the name of this blog.

Phil Butchers His Own Song

I've been feeling guilty for the last few months that I didn't buy tickets for the Genesis reunion tour. More than any other band, Genesis was the band I grew up hearing at home (thanks Dad!), and in many ways was the reason I became as big of a music fan as I am today. When the band announced that they'd be reuniting for a string of shows in Europe and the U.S. this year, I had every intention of going. Then two things hit me: (1) tickets are ridiculously expensive; and (2) the shows are in the fall, at a time when I have no idea where I'll be living. (New York? DC? Chicago? San Francisco?) So I reluctantly opted not to buy tickets for any of the shows.

Holy hell am I glad I didn't get a ticket. Here's a clip of the band performing "Turn It On Again" on the VH1 Rock Honors show that's airing tonight (I think).

Phil completely and utterly destroys this song. His vocals are lazy. It's like he's been singing adult contemporary crap for so long that he's completely forgotten how to sing in a way that isn't pandering to the listener. Seriously, take a listen to the original below. Granted, Phil was close to 30 years younger, but his vocals are so much more alive and urgent. Phil was still in the stage where he was trying to justify himself as a singer (let alone the replacement for Peter Gabriel), and he really threw himself into his performances. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way he lost this, and we're left with the bland, sputtering spectacle that he's giving us today. Sad.

"Turn It On Again" (from Duke) [BUY]

Two New Ryan Adams Songs!

Before you get your hopes up too high, I just discovered these are only "partial" MP3s, both running about 2 minutes and then fading out. Still, though, they're worth checking out.

Everybody Knows"

Both songs are from Ryan's new album entitled Easy Tiger, which comes out on Lost Highway on June 26th. The pre-release buzz is pretty good so far, with people calling it his most-realized album to date. We'll see if that's true or whether it's just PR-bull. If these songs are indicative of the album as a whole, though, I'm pretty hopeful.

Just a note, though -- I normally am not a fan of posting "teaser" MP3s. I think they're a waste of time. Sure, I can tell from these two-minute snippets that I like the general feel of both songs, but I have no idea if their full versions are 3 or 4 minute, concise songs, or if they turn into 16-minute Dead-lite jams. And, frankly, that's important to know before dropping money on the album. I think it's a much smarter, fan-friendly practice to release one full MP3 to blogs, websites, etc. ahead of an album. If people like it, presumably the fact that they already "own" one song won't keep them from buying the album. Plus, it builds goodwill, showing that artists trust their fans. Wilco trusts their fans, and that just scored them 87,000 units sold in their first week and a string of sold-out dates this summer. The model works, folks. Stop burying your head in the sand and pretending you can avoid the realities of the Internet.

(That said, I'm posting these snippets anyway because Ryan's one of my favorite musicians, and I'm excited for the album.)

New Okkervil River

Not sure how I missed this earlier... oh, yeah I am -- I don't read Pitchfork much anymore. Well, it turns out they debuted the lead track from Okkervil River's new album, Stage Names, more than two months before its August release.

My quick thoughts after one listen? Pretty good. Not sure I like the production (sorry, Jim Eno), though - Will's voice is a little too clean and 80's-sounding to me.

Okkervil River, "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe"

Definitely need to let this one settle a bit, though. Can't wait to hear the album.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Most Important Movie Ever Made

This ain't it, but it looks like it should be a gory mess-o-fun nonetheless.

I won't be satisfied unless there's at least 14 beheadings.

The Antlers Added to Rachael's Birthday Bash

If you hadn't heard, Rachael of The Underrated Blog is turning 23 (!!), and her friends are throwing her a party. Specifically, a rock show party.

Admittedly, I haven't heard of most of these acts, but I'm psyched to see that The Antlers have been added to the lineup. Their recent In the Attic of the Universe EP is one of the best things I've heard all year. [Get it here!] Plus, this is the first time they've played live as a full band. Count me in.

The Antlers, "In The Attic"

(Thanks to The Battering Room for the heads up!)


I've got a music post up over at my other blog with some great tracks by The Broken West, The Makes Nice, The Manhattan Love Suicides, Reigning Sound and You Am I. Check it out!

New Little Ones Video, "Lovers Who Uncover"

One year on and I'm still loving the Little Ones' debut Sing Song EP, although I am getting a little antsy for some new tunes. However, it looks like they're gonna keep trying to see what type of growth they can get from the EP. Guess I can't blame 'em, given how good the EP is, but still...

That said, the band has released one new song as part of the British single for "Lovers Who Uncover". The song, entitled "There's a Pot Brewin'", is streaming at the band's MySpace page. You can also check out the new video for "Lovers Who Uncover" here:

Lovers Who Uncover

Add to My Profile | More Videos

The band is touring throughout England for the next few weeks, and will also be appearing at Bonnaroo on June 14th.

Wilco Debuts at #4

This just in from Billboard:
Wilco earns its biggest charting and sales week yet, as "Sky Blue Sky" (Nonesuch) bows at No. 4 with 87,000 copies. It's the Chicago-based rock group's second top 10 album and surpasses the No. 8 entry that greeted 2004's "A Ghost Is Born," which sold 81,000. Nearly a quarter of its sales this week were snapped up via digital retailers.
Well done, fellas. Of course, Linkin freaking Park sold 680,000 copies of its new album, but still, I'll take it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No Iha, No D'arcy

Guess we shouldn't be surprised, but it's official -- neither James Iha nor D'arcy Wretsky are involved in the Smashing Pumpkins "reunion". Instead, it's looking a lot more like Zwan 2.0, minus Pajo, Sweeney and Paz. Specifically, Billboard is reporting this as the official lineup at tonight's show in Paris:

Billy Corgan (duh)
Jimmy Chamberlin (drums)
Jeff Schroeder (guitar)
Ginger Reyes (bass)
Lisa Harriton (keyboards)

And just to prove that Billy wishes the 90's had never ended, the band apparently played an somewhat lengthy acoustic set in the middle of the show. MTV Unplugged in the house, yo.

Buy Music, Save Money

Not sure if I've pointed this out before or not, but you should definitely be buying CDs from Besides offering their fantastic CD trading program, LaLa also offers a ton of great new CDs at extremely low prices. Por exemplo:

The National, Boxer - $9.29
Voxtrot, Voxtrot, - $9.29
Wilco, Sky Blue Sky - $10.99
Amy Winehouse, Back to Black - $9.83 ($9 more than it's worth, but still)
Fishbone, Still Stuck In Your Throat - $8.59.

So if you still buy physical CDs, this is definitely the way to go. Admittedly I've become a little too reliant on eMusic and other, ahem, less expensive online outlets lately, but these prices will definitely get me back into the CD-buying game.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Spinner Roundup (May 22 Releases)

Relatively slow week of releases this week, although the new National album, Boxer, is out. It took a few weeks to sink in for me, but I'm really loving the album now. Alternatively, you can also check out the highly-blogged Battles, who Spinner describes as having "a fresh sound that combines math rock, dance, and avant garde electronica." I just listened to the first song and, honestly, I'd rather hold my face up against my George Foreman grill (on high) for the next hour than listen to the rest of this disc.

Battles, Mirrored
The National, Boxed
Jeff Buckley, So Real (seriously, guys, enough)
The Bravery, The Sun and the Moon
The Maccabees, Colour It In

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I had hoped I was just being pessimistic when I mentioned to my friend Matt the other day that, given their show in Chicago on June 20th, it was likely that Superchunk's McCarren Park Pool Party show would be the following Sunday, June 24th - i.e., a clear conflict with our tickets to see Wilco in Massachusetts that day.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn Vegan has confirmed my fears. Crap on a stick.

In related news, the Blonde Redhead show is Sunday, August 5th, and the Ted Leo / Thermals show is Sunday, August 12th.

Greatest 911 Call Ever

I don't even know where to begin with this one, other than to say that this may be the greatest thing I've ever heard. It would be pretty amazing standing alone, but two things really make it stand out for me - first, the fact that this is a cop calling, and second, the fact that, even though he thinks he's dying, he asks for the Red Wings score.

As a long-time Wings fan and one-time Michigan resident, I can say that this is pretty much par for the course. There's life, there's death, and there's the Red Wings. From September to January you can substitute University of Michigan football.

(Thanks to JoVa for pointing this out, Michigan-hater that he is.)

Ryan Adams, "Halloween Head"

Head over to Idolator to hear a new leak from Ryan Adams' forthcoming album, Easy Tiger. The track is called "Halloween Head", and it sounds like something that would have been on AOR radio in 1981 - i.e., not exactly a good thing.

At least we'll always have Heartbreaker and Strangers Almanac.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is There Anything Bruce Campbell Can't Do?

Random Thoughts at 2:24am

When they say that the Creation Museum (right outside my hometown of Cincinnati, woo-hoo!) will present a "walk through history", yet at the same time have "dinosaur animatronics", does that mean that their position is that dinosaurs lived within the last 6,000 years?

Personally, they had me with "misty sea breezes and rumbling seats".

Random Thoughts at 2:16am

If the point is to get me to spend money to buy your steaks, this ain't the picture to use, fellas. (if it doesn't come up right away, wait a second - it's a rotating picture.)

Is there anything that this man won't put his name on and call the "greatest"?

Random Thoughts at 2:13am

After watching the new Wilco DVD, Shake It Off, I've decided that I'm going to buy the band an Ionic Breeze.

Why I Love Politics, Reason #722

If you haven't seen it, Senator Fred Thompson's new video response to Michael Moore is pretty hilarious. Check it out.

Silversun Pickups @ Webster Hall, NYC [5/15/07]

The meatheads have arrived.

I knew they were coming. When I heard the first seconds of "Melatonin", I knew they were coming. When the band's two shows at Mercury Lounge last fall sold out right away, and one got moved to Bowery Ballroom and still sold out, I knew they were coming. When I saw the band on The Tonight Show, I knew they were coming. And when I saw that, nearly nine months after it's release, Carnavas was on the Billboard album chart, I knew they were coming.

And come they did.

Although, at first, it didn't seem like it. When I showed up at Webster Hall around 9pm, the room was still only about 30% full, and most of the people I saw were your typical NYC indie rock show concert-goers. Lots of indie dudes with their arms crossed and their neck-beards at a good 3-weeks' of growth. Then the openers, Sea Wolf, came on, and kept the extremely-indie vibe going with a set that was much, much better than I ever expected it to be. Seriously - while I haven't seen as many shows so far this year as I normally do, Sea Wolf were, by far, the pleasant-est surprise I've had with an opening act all year. Their name sucks - deal with it. Their music doesn't. I liked them enough to pick up their debut EP, Get To The River Before It Runs Too Low, which I just listened to and highly recommend (it's co-produced by Phil Ek, who also mixed it - if that ain't a badge of legitimacy, I don't know what is). So, all in all, by 10pm, I was in a pretty good mood.

Sea Wolf, "Ses Monuments" [BUY]

And then they came. First it was the two meatheads who pushed their way to the front, stood directly in front of a group of short girls, and drunkenly congratulated each other over how great their "seats" were. They then spent the next 15 minutes yelling for the "beer guy" to come back. Then, about 5 minutes into the Silversun Pickups' set, three or four other meatheads near the front decided that it was time to start a mosh pit. It didn't seem to matter to them that no one else wanted to mosh - all they cared about was that they did. Now, I like to mosh with the best of them when the circumstances warrant. Granted, it's been a while, but I'm certainly not one to get upset by a mosh pit. But there's no need for a mosh pit when only 4 people seem to want it, and the other 996 people in attendance don't.

Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for the four moshers to piss people off, and guess what? We got ourselves an old-fashioned indie rock fight. (That's sarcasm, kids... there are no fights at indie rocks shows. Or at least there shouldn't be. There are only roof collapses.) Then, after things settled down a bit, several more meatheads pushed up from the back so that they could get in on the mosh action up front. Sadly, the pit pretty much disappeared, and the meatheads were forced to pogo. And no, I didn't take a picture. I was afraid that it would have broken my camera.

So, anyway, how were the Silversun Pickups? They were great, as usual. I've loved this band for 2 years now, and a few stupid idiots aren't going to change that. Nor will the crappy acoustics at Webster Hall. They're a great band and they deserve all the success they're having. It's just too bad that success in the music world brings out the meatheads. Although I am glad that I had the chance to see the band at Mercury Lounge (twice) and Pianos (once) before they blew up.

The pics:

Edited to add: Head over to Daytrotter to hear some more Sea Wolf. I'm quickly becoming a very big fan.

Siren Lineup Is Out

The initial lineup for this year's Siren Festival is out:

New York Dolls
We Are Scientists
Matt and Kim
The Black Lips
Dr. Dog
Lavender Diamond
The Detroit Cobras
Elvis Perkins
The Twilight Sad

Interesting... not great, but not bad either. I always like seeing the Dolls, and Elvis Perkins and his band put on an excellent show. I'd also like to check out The Twilight Sad and The Black Lips live. I'm kinda so-so on everyone else, except for Lavender Diamond, who I really, really don't like.

The good news is that Siren always adds more bands as it gets closer (they have 2 stages to fill for 8 hours or so each). Assuming that one or two more interesting bands get added, this just might be the year that I return to Siren. (I haven't been since the inaugural show with Guided By Voices and Superchunk.)

In case you don't have it in your calendar yet, the seventh annual Siren Festival will be held on Saturday, July 21st at Coney Island, NYC. You can get more info here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wilco News

As I'm sure you know, Wilco's excellent new album, Sky Blue Sky, is in records stores today. Be sure to pick it up. And don't forget to buy it from an indie record shop so that you can get the free 2-song bonus disc. If you can wait a few days, I suggest picking it up from Newbury Comics for $12.88 - the lowest price I've seen so far. (Or only $17.99 for the DVD/CD version with 8 live videos of the band performing songs from the disc.)

Another bonus that comes with the enhanced DVD/CD is that you get to listen to Wilco's show this Saturday, May 20th at Shepherds Bush Empire in London for free. That said, the band is also streaming its Sunday, May 21st show (also as Shepherds Bush Empire) for free to everyone, so I'm not sure how necessary it is to listen to both.

Finally, you can now listen to the band's performance on A Prairie Home Companion last weekend here. The band played "Sky Blue Sky", "Muzzle of Bees", "What Light", "When the Roses Bloom Again" and "Hesitating Beauty".

Superchunk Playing McCarren Pool

Brooklyn Vegan is reporting that Superchunk is playing a free show at McCarren Park in Brooklyn this summer. The date is still TBA.

Awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome.

That is all.

Monday, May 14, 2007

To the Wilco Bandwagoneers

Matt has written one of the most impassioned, intelligent pieces I've read in a long time. It's about Wilco's incredible Sky Blue Sky album, and describes all the ways that the album is, despite what the reviewers are saying, a beautiful, wonderful album, and all the ways that the folks who jumped on board with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot can go fornicate themselves. In a word, Pitchfork just got pwned.

Celebrate Brooklyn with The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady, The Big Sleep and The Teenage Prayers are playing at the Prospect Park Bandshell on Thursday, August 9th at 7pm. I could be wrong, but I think this is another of the $3 suggested donation (i.e., no tickets) shows that they hold every summer. Consider my white ass there.

(Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the heads up.)

The O.J. Simpsons

Yet another object-lesson in how not to accomplish your goals. 20th Century Fox is apparently up in arms about a recent series of internet shorts called "The O.J. Simpsons." The shorts are, of course, a parody of "The Simpsons." FOX, obviously concerned about the image of its show in the lead-up to the Simpsons movie, as well as it's lingering unease about the whole If I Did It mess, has gone on the attack.

Yet, by going public and crying "copyright infringement," what exactly has FOX accomplished? It made an even bigger deal out of this thing. I'd never heard of "The O.J. Simpsons" before, but the very first thing I did after reading the article was search it out. And guess what? It's not even particularly funny. It's certainly no House of Cosbys. See for yourself:

The rest of the shorts are available here.

Well played, FOX, well played.

Edited to add: Looks like Broadcaster pulled the video. Weak.

Spinner Roundup (May 15 Releases)

Decent week over at Spinner. Aside from Wilco (a holdover from last week), they've got another of my favorite albums of the year - The National's Boxer. This album has grown on me in a big way since the first time I heard it. Still not sure if it's as good as Alligator, but it's close.

The National, Boxer (highly recommended)
Hot Chip, DJ Kicks
Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
Rufus Wainwright, Release the Stars
The Horrors, Strange House
Dunger, Tio Bitar (Can't stand these guys)
Balkan Beat Box, Nu Med

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bishop Allen, "Rain"

The lead track from Bishop Allen's new album, The Broken String, is making the rounds. Unsurprisingly, it's damn good.


The Broken String comes out on the Dead Oceans label on July 24th. Really looking forward to it.

Lucero Goes Cruising... Again

Just saw that Lucero is scheduled to play the Rocks Off Concert Cruise again this year on Friday, June 22nd. Tickets are on sale now. I will unfortunately be in Red Bank seeing Wilco that night. Not sure what it is, but there are a few bands whose shows in New York always conflict with something else. Lucero is one of those bands (along with Cursive and the dearly departed Hot Water Music).

The band then plays again the next day at the School of Rock Festival in Asbury Park, NJ with Bad Brains, The Bouncing Souls and Adrian Belew. Yeah, that lineup makes sense. Buy tickets here.

The Posies Played in Seattle Friday Night

And damn do I wish I could have been there.

"Golden Blunders" and "Ontario"

"Everyone Moves Away"

"What Little Remains"

You can find a couple more videos from last night, plus a number of other Posies-related videos, here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

And the Summer Shall Rock

Some big news over at The Battering Room today - the summer's outdoor show in New York is starting to heat up. The highlights?

Snowden and Ra Ra Riot at the Seaport on Fri. 6/29.
Bishop Allen and Rock Plaza Central (ehh) at the Seaport on Fri. 7/20 (the night before Siren).
THE NATIONAL with Takka Takka and The Forms at the Seaport on Fri. 8/17.
Camera Obscura at the Seaport on Fri. 8/24.

(Other Seaport bands include Animal Collective, Fujiya & Miyagi, Menomena, Junior Boys and Deerhunter).

Also, the (still free?) McCarren Park Pool Parties will feature Blonde Redhead, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and The Thermals. (Other Pool Party bands include Illinois, Ghostland Observatory, and Gerard Cosloy's favorite band, Man Man.)

Weekend Videos

Haven't done this in a while... a mix of old and new videos that I've never seen. I really ought to start watching Subterranean again, especially since that idiot host of theirs is gone now.

The Decemberists, "O Valenica"

You can also watch the 9-minute "Director's Cut" here.

The Frames, "Star Star"

The National, "Mistaken for Strangers"

Eugenius, "Bed In"

Blonde Redhead, "23"

Low, "Breaker"

Sondre Lerche, "Phantom Punch"

Friday, May 11, 2007

Meet Rogomo

I still can't say a whole lot about what I'm doing now that I'm not a law firm lawyer, but I can direct you to our company's new blog. My partners and I will be keeping this as an interesting Web 2.0 news blog, plus adding updates about our business (which we think a lot of people will like). Check it out.

The Great Lost Glaswegian Band

Glasgow has long been known for its contributions to the indie rock scene. Well-known, influential bands such as Belle and Sebastian, the BMX Bandits, the Delgados, Eugenius, the Pastels, Orange Juice, and Teenage Fanclub have all called Glasgow home (and that's just scratching the surface). More recently, Franz Ferdinand and the Fratellis have emerged from Glasgow as well.

But one very important Glaswegian band has, until now, been lost to the annals of history. Meet the Diamonds.

(Thanks to Brian for finding this.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Battle Royale For My Soul

Decisions, decisions. Much, but not all, of the "rumored" ACL list that was floating around last week came true. The noticable absences are The New Pornographers, Explosions in the Sky, The Hold Steady, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder and Stevie Wonder. As a result, my choice isn't as clear cut as it would otherwise be. In fact, as of now, the two festivals are just about neck-and-neck for me. A big part of the reason is how much cross-over there is this year between ACL Fest and Lollapalooza.

Here's a quick comparison of lineups, with key differences (for me, at least) in bold.

Austin City Limits Festival
Bob Dylan, Wilco, Arcade Fire, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Bloc Party, Damien Rice, Lucinda Williams, Spoon, Decemberists, Crowded House, Steve Earle, Ben Kweller, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Andrew Bird, Butch Walker, Peter Bjorn & John, Yo La Tengo, Blonde Redhead, Heartless Bastards, The National, Midlake, The Little Ones, Patterson Hood, The Broken West.

(Plus other big names I'm not all that excited about: Bjork, White Stripes, Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys)

Pearl Jam, Muse, Iggy and the Stooges, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, Patti Smith, Spoon, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo, The Hold Steady, Blonde Redhead, Son Volt, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Peter Bjorn and John, Silversun Pickups, Heartless Bastards, The View, Tokyo Police Club, Cold War Kids, Annuals, Elvis Perkins, David Vandervelde

(Plus other big names I'm not all that excited about: Daft Punk, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Leon, LCD Soundsystem)

So, at the end of the day, where does this leave me? No idea.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Black Crowes Playing Summerstage

The Black Crowes are playing Central Park's Summerstage on Thursday, August 9th. Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 11am for the low, low price of $45.

After my less-than-stellar experience seeing the band in New Jersey last summer, I'm not sure about this one yet. I'm tempted, but that's a lot of benjamins to pay just to be subjected to wanna-be jam band wankery. On the other hand, if they bring their Stones-ey, southern-fried R&B playbook, I'm all in.

[Photo via danfun.]

ACL Fest Lineup Comes Out Tonight

According to their website, the lineup for this year's Austin City Limits Festival is being released tonight (err, tomorrow) at 12:01am. No idea if that's EDT or CDT, but I'm guessing the latter given that we're talking about Austin.

We're just a short 14 or 15 hours away from figuring out just how many major festivals I'm going to this year. Speaking of which, this week's Village Voice has a "Save the Date" for this year's Siren Festival -- Saturday, July 21. Let's all say it together now...

"Don't suck this year"
"Don't suck this year"
"Don't suck this year"

That is all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hands Down The Funniest Movie of the Year

Go see it. Now.

Monday, May 07, 2007

More GNR Leaks

Idolator has what are apparently two "final" or "near final" leaks of new Guns n' Roses songs - "There Was A Time" and "Chinese Democracy". Gotta say - both tunes are great. Both suffer from a bit of overproduction (especially T.W.A.T.), but god does "Chinese Democracy" kick ass.

New Bottomless Pit Songs

I'm only about 2 months late on this one, but I just noticed that Bottomless Pit - i.e., the band featuring Andy and Tim from the dearly departed Silkworm - has three new songs streaming at their MySpace page. The three new songs are called "Leave The Light On", "Repossession" and "Winterwind". They are, unsurprisingly, great.

Can't wait to get a new album from these guys, and hopefully a tour too.

Spinner Roundup (May 8 Releases)

Spinner's got an eclectic bunch of CDs to listen to this week, including my favorite album of the year so far - Wilco's Sky Blue Sky.

Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
Lavender Diamond, Imagine Our Love
Maximo Park, Our Earthly Pleasures
Travis, The Boy With No Name
Sage Francis, Human the Death Dance
Fields, Everything Last Winter
The Brakes, The Beatific Visions
The View, Hats Off To The Buskers
Page France, ...And The Family Telephone
DJ Jazzy Jeff (seriously), Return of the Magnificent
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Stength & Loyalty

Sunday, May 06, 2007

God Bless the Irish

Back in 2003 or so I heard about a series being run on Irish television (RTE) called "Other Voices". The show, which was hosted in its first season by Glen Hansard of the Frames, was originally designed to showcase Irish musicians. When I learned that both The Frames and Damien Rice had performed sets during the show's first season, I wrote an email to RTE asking if they were selling DVDs of the series. Unfortunately, they weren't. That's when I pretty much forgot about the show.

Well, unbeknownst to me, it turns out that RTE has been archiving the show for the past couple of years. Even better, they've expanded their focus beyond Ireland and had a ton of great artists from around the world perform live. Here are a few of the cooler sets I've found so far:

Damien Rice
Jose Gonzalez
Josh Ritter
Laura Cantrell
Lisa Hannigan
Mark Lanegan
Peter, Bjorn & John
Steve Earle
Teenage Fanclub
The Waterboys

There's a bunch more to be found on RTE's site, so be sure to check it out.

Arcade Fire and The National @ Tower Theater, Philadelphia, PA [5/5/07]

In an effort to avoid the craziness of trying to get tickets for the Arcade Fire's New York shows this week, my friend Matt and I opted instead to get tickets to see the band in Philadelphia. Philly is, after all, a short 90-minute drive away from New York, so it's not too much of a hike, and, given how quickly tickets for the band's three NYC shows sold out, there's a decent chance that we wouldn't have gotten tickets even if we'd wanted to. So Philly it was.

This was the first time I've seen the band since their show at the Bowery in late 2004. That show, and their show earlier that year at the Knitting Factory, was as intense and exciting as just about any concert that I've seen in recent years.

Somewhere along the way since then, however, I've cooled substantially on the band. I'm not a huge fan of Neon Bible -- it's not bad, by any means, but for the most part it doesn't really grab me like Funeral. And, more importantly, I'm a little put off by the fact that the band is being treated like they're the new Beatles or something. I think they're an excellent band, without question, but I really don't see what all of the incredible fuss is about. If I had to put together a list of the most talented, interesting rock bands in the world right now, I doubt that Arcade Fire would even make my top 20. (Hmm, maybe I ought to actually put that to a test...)

So I wasn't particularly surprised to find myself enjoy, but not love, the band's show at the Tower Theater tonight. While I was hoping that hearing the songs from Neon Bible live would get me to like them more, that didn't really happen. Even the older songs didn't grab me like they did when I saw the band in the past. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it was seeing them in a huge theater (where, admittedly, I was in only so-so seats in the balcony). And maybe it's because I always tend to react poorly when I'm at a concert surrounded by hundreds (or thousands) of people who are freaking out over a band that I just can't get that into. I guess being surrounded by so many people going nuts just serves to remind me that I'm not enjoying the show all that much. Either way, I'm glad I saw them, but it's unlikely that I'll rush to see them again before the next album comes out.

The National, on the other hand, impressed the hell out of me. While I was only lukewarm on their new album, Boxer, at first, it's really grown on me (like all of their albums) in subsequent listens and is now one of my favorite albums of the year. The new songs sounded great live, and I can't wait to catch the band in the much cozier confines of Bowery Ballroom in a few weeks.

Pics, such as they are from the balcony:

The National

The Arcade Fire

Friday, May 04, 2007

Early ACL Fest Lineup Rumors

The official Austin City Limits lineup is supposed to be coming out in the next couple of weeks, but the leaks are already starting. Fifteen bands were semi-officially leaked through the ACL Crossword Puzzle. Those bands include:

White Stripes
Peter, Bjorn and John
Joss Stone
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Rose Hill Drive
Andrew Bird
Robert Earl Keen
Beau Soleil
Gotan Project
Indigo Girls
Heartless Bastards
Andy Palacio

Can't say these excite me too much, other than The Decemberists, who I haven't seen in a few years now. That said, the RUMORED list has me practically wetting myself with excitement. The rumors include:

The Arcade Fire
The New Pornographers
Explosions In The Sky
My Morning Jacket
The Hold Steady
Yo La Tengo
The National
The Broken West
Steve Earle
Yusuf Islam (seriously?!?)
Bob Dylan
The Little Ones
Neil Young
Eddie Vedder (solo)
Stevie Wonder (that would be awesome)

Gotta say... if this turns out to be correct, I'm gonna have a hard time picking Lollapalooza over ACL Fest. Then again, my ass is unemployed, so maybe I'll go to both.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blind Melon Reforms - Bee Girls Everywhere Rejoice

From Talent Filter comes news that 90's alt-rock mainstays (and friends of Axl) Blind Melon have reformed and are recording a new album.

No, they didn't "magically" find hundreds of lost hours of Shannon Hoon vocals to put music over, like your favorite rappers of yore. Instead, they're going the INXS route and bringing on a new singer. Despite his appearance at right, word is that Shannon's corpse is none too amused.

Wanna hear what the new version of the band sounds like? Of course you do. Go here. (Ed: Honestly, it's not at all bad.)

Or you can skip it and simply add Talent Filter to your Blogroll. It's a cool new blog focused on unsigned artists from around the world. Check it out.

[Photo source.]

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


So I just got back from a screening of the new movie Once starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. What a wonderful little movie. And I don't mean "little" in a pejorative manner. Rather, in many ways I think the word embodies what is so good about the movie -- it doesn't purport to be anything grand, anything capital-I Important. Instead, it tells the very lovely story of two people who, over the course of one week, come together through the magic of music. And what music...

The movie, which is essentially half-music and half-dialogue, centers on the songs that the two characters write and record together over the course of one week. They get to know each other through their music, and in turn their music comes to define their relationship. Thus, the creative process of the characters is front and center, and the movie shows the evolution of both the music and the musicians.

Is Once a perfect movie? No, of course not. There's one major decision that a character makes towards the end that I simply don't understand, and I don't think was explained particularly well. Additionally, there are some very strong parallels in this movie to another recent movie about two people who spend a week together and build a special, difficult relationship. At least this time we can figure out the "secret" dialogue between the characters -- if, of course, you speak Czech. Since I'm stuck with English and a smattering of Spanish, French and Japanese curse words, I'm pretty much out of luck. Guess I'll have to wait for the inevitable Wikipedia page explanation.

If you like Glen and Marketa's music, you have to see this movie. Or if you like small, personal love stories which might not tie everything in a pretty little bow, be sure to check it out. If neither of these applies to you, Hood of Horror comes out this Friday.

Tuesday Odds and Ends

A few interesting things from around the web this afternoon:

Wilco's recent set from Sydney, Australia is now available for streaming over at the band's website. Additionally, the band has made its new album, Sky Blue Sky, available for streaming again. Go here and click on the bird. Sky Blue Sky comes out on May 15th and is available for pre-order.

Bob Dylan is playing Jones Beach on Friday, June 29th. There's a pre-sale going on now, and the regular on-sale date is Saturday at 10am. After my last Dylan experience at Hammerstein, where I didn't see the man's face once during the entire show, and was lucky to see his hair a couple of times, due to the ridiculously low level of the stage, I think I'm sitting this one out. Besides, I'm unemployed now -- I gotta show some kind of financial restraint.

Vandaveer played a fantastic Lounge Act over at today. Check it out. If you haven't heard them yet, I recommend you check them out -- their new Grace and Speed album is one of my favorites of the year so far.

Vandaveer, "However Many Takes It Takes"

Empyrean Records is now shipping the new Wheat album, entitled Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Ince Square. You can order it here. The album is officially released on May 22nd.

That's all I got right now. About to head out to catch a preview of Glen Hansard's new movie, Once. Will report back later.