Friday, December 28, 2007

Wussy East Coast Dates!!

Was about to shut down the computer to head to the airport when I did my weekly check of Wussy's MySpace page and what do you know? The East Coast tour dates are up!

Wussy Tour Dates
1/19: Newport, KY (Southgate House)
1/25: Lexington, KY (The Dame)
1/26: Asheville, NC (New French Bar)
3/14: Austin, TX (SXSW - TBA)
3/21: Pittsburgh, PA (Bloomfield Bridge Tavern)
3/22: Washington, DC (The Red and the Black)
3/24: Baltimore, MD (Talking Head)
3/25: Philadelphia, PA (TBA)
3/27: New York, NY (TBA)
3/28: Boston, MA (TBA)
3/29: Providence, RI (TBA)

Also, the band is going to be putting out a short EP around the time of the tour. Awesome.

Quick Thought

Packing for Ireland and listening to WOXY and they're playing "The Equestrian" by Les Savy Fav.

Does John Reis know they stole his song?

Checking In

Yep, I'm still here. Just got back into town last night and leave tomorrow for Dublin to see The Frames on New Year's Eve. Can't wait.

Figured since I've been remiss in updating, the least I could do is give you a song in my absence. I discovered a short set of demos from The National's Boxer LP floating around on the internet today. Very interesting stuff. Most interesting, to me at least, is a radically different version of "Slow Show". The album version is my favorite song on the CD, but there's something about this version that I really like too (maybe it's simply just a great song, no matter how they play it).

The National, "Slow Show" (demo)

Have a great New Years, and see you in 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ricky Gervais Returns to the US

Yet another reason I should be in New York.

Sat., 7/12: Hollywood, CA (Kodak Theatre)
Mon., 7/14: New York, NY (Theatre at MSG)
Tue., 7/15: New York, NY (Theatre at MSG)

(Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the heads up.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Show Alert -- Beanstalk Library

One of the DC-area bands that I've discovered since moving to town, but have yet to see live, is The Beanstalk Library. The band's debut LP, America At Night (which you can stream here), reminds me a lot of early Wilco and the Broken West -- i.e., Americana-oriented with solid songwriting.

The band is playing the Black Cat tomorrow night (Wednesday) with John Wayne Hero. I get back into town around 5pm, and as long as I feel OK, I plan on trying to catch them. If you're around town, you should too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Short Break

Taking a short break from the blog due to a death in the family and the impending Christmas holiday (always a good combo).

So no full "DC Show Update" this week, though you should note that 9:30 Club tix for Marah, Jason Isbell, The Pogues and Liars (separate shows, of course) went on sale today. Also Vandaveer has a January 15th show at the Black Cat, and Jens Lenkman has an April 2nd Black Cat show (both on sale tomorrow).

Finally, I think I was a bit premature in posting my "Best Books" list -- I finished Cormac McCarthy's The Road today, and it was spectacular. Depressing and scary as hell, but spectacular. And contrary to my earlier position, I started my 4th Haruki Murakami book, Norwegian Wood. I'm gonna run out of books of his to read soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wilco Playing 2 Nights at 9:30 Club

Matt just pointed out to me that Wilco's tour page now lists two shows at the 9:30 Club in DC on February 26th and 27th (a Tuesday and Wednesday).

Pre-sale starts on Wednesday, January 8th, and public on-sale is listed as Thursday, January 10th. This isn't the first time the band's site has had, err, inconsistent dates. I'm guessing they mean that the public on-sale is Friday, January 10th.

Anyway, now I'm conflicted as hell. I have a ticket to see them in Chicago for one of their big "we're playing our whole catalog" shows, and then another ticket to see them in Philly a week later. I think I may be selling the latter now. I saw them 5 times in 2007 -- do I need to see them 4 times in the space of a month in 2008?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bob Mould Tour Dates

I figured I may as well post Bob's entire tour schedule rather than just mentioning the DC show. He's gotta do more touring later in the year, right?

Tour (and Record Release) Dates
Tue., 2/5: District Line released on Anti Records
Wed., 3/5: Minneapolis, MN (First Avenue)
Thu., 3/6: Milwaukee, WI (Shank Hall)
Fri., 3/7: Chicago, IL (Metro)
Mon., 3/10: Toronto, ON (Mod Club Theatre)
Wed., 3/12: Boston, MA (Paradise Rock Club)
Thu., 3/13: New York, NY (Irving Plaza)
Sat., 3/15: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)

Gotta assume there may be second nights added in Chicago and New York based on the empty dates on the schedule.

Edited to add: Spinner has a preview track from Bob's new album called "The Distance Between Us". It pretty much kicks ass (esp. the chorus). Really looking forward to this album.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bob Mould @ 9:30 Club

I'd heard he was touring in the Spring, and just noticed that tickets have gone on sale for Bob Mould's show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, March 15th.

Sadly, I'll miss the show because I'll be in Austin at South By Southwest (coincidentally, the last place I saw Mould perform).

Tickets are $20 before service fees. I'd imagine this one will sell out being his adoptive hometown and all.

New Key Party EP!

(My apologies: I drafted this post a couple of weeks ago but completely forgot to put it up.)

You may remember Darren Gaines of The Key Party from his days in the criminally underrated The Great Shakes. Or you may have caught my post last year about The Key Party's excellent debut LP.

Well, I just discovered that Darren and the gang have released a brand new 5-song Demo EP. All of the songs are available for stream and free download at MySpace.

I gotta say -- this is a great bunch of songs. And my favorite of the bunch, "Hallelujahville", has quickly become one of my favorite songs of the year (then again, I've always been a sucker for a slide guitar).

Darren Gaines and the Key Party, "Hallelujahville"

Here's hoping that this EP gets Darren et al. the attention they deserve.

My Best of 2007 (Wrapup)

In case you don't want to have to sift through all five of my posts, here's my Top 25 albums in one easy bunch.

My Top 25 of 2007

25. Shout Out Louds, Our Ill Wills
24. Bottomless Pit, Hammer of the Gods
23. Thurston Moore, Trees Outside the Academy
22. The Mendoza Line, 30 Year Low
21. Wheat, Every Day I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square
20. Jason Isbell, Sirens of the Ditch
19. Blonde Redhead, 23
18. You Am I, Convicts
17. Dinosaur Jr., Beyond
16. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
15. Josh Ritter, The Historical Conquests of...
14. The National Lights, The Dead Will Walk, Dear
13. Babyshambles, Shotter's Nation
12. The Apples In Stereo, New Magnetic Wonder
11. Vandaveer, Grace and Speed
10. Okkervil River, The Stage Names
9. Parts and Labor, Mapmaker
8. Rogue Wave, Asleep at Heaven's Gate
7. Dead Confederate, Dead Confederate EP
6. The Broken West, I Can't Go On I'll Go On
5. Wussy, Left For Dead
4. Earlimart, Mentor Tormentor
3. Nothington, All In
2. The Antlers, In the Attic of the Universe
1. The National, Boxer

My Best of 2007 (1-5)

Sorry for the delay between ##6-10 and this post. Things have been a tad hectic.

Anyway, if you've been reading the blog this year (and watching the "What I'm Listening To" feature in the sidebar), you probably won't be too surprised by my top five. That said, if you haven't had a chance to listen to buy any of these albums yet, I can't recommend strongly enough that you do so now.

5. Wussy, Left For Dead
Another unbelievable album from the most underrated band in the country. If there's any fairness in the world, these guys are gonna be a hit at SXSW in March and make a lot of fans on their East Coast tour. If there's only a modicum of fairness in the world, then at minimum I'll have a chance to see them do a show this tour that's longer than 20 minutes.

4. Earlimart, Mentor Tormentor
I've liked Earlimart's earlier albums, but prior to Mentor Tormentor I would never really have labeled myself a "fan" of the band. That has changed, drastically. I mentioned the other day that I've been reading a lot of Haruki Murakami this year. This album has been the perfect soundtrack to his books -- beautiful, dreamlike, yet with an undercurrent of dislocation and alienation. I haven't stopped listening to it for the last 6 months.

3. Nothington, All In
I'd never heard of Nothington before Eric at Can You See The Sunset From The Southside? posted about them a few months ago. There have been few days since then that I haven't listened to at least one song from this album. Easily the most visceral, powerful, sing-along, pure rock and roll album that I've heard this year. I can't wait to finally have a chance to see them play live.

2. The Antlers, In the Attic of the Universe
I listen to a lot of music, and make an effort to continually find new music and new bands. Yet I can't remember the last time I discovered a band that left me so speechless, so amazed and so in awe as The Antlers' In the Attic of the Universe. The fact that this album was made by a 21-year old makes it even more astounding. While only #2 on my list, this may in my opinion be the most important release of the year, as it marks the arrival of what could be a truly great American band. My neverending thanks to Chris for turning me onto this album.

1. The National, Boxer
What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said by everyone else in the world? This album was the definitive "grower" for me -- I didn't love it the first few times I listened to it. But with each listen I noticed something different about the album; on each listen a different song, or a different melody, or a different passage would sink its hooks into me. Before I knew it Boxer had become not only my favorite National album, but my favorite album of the year. And their live performances this year were phenomenal. Truly a band at the absolute peak of its powers.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

I For One Welcome Our New Football Overlord

Go Blue!

Edited to add: As Brian at MGoBlog correctly points out, it is indeed Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Year in Books

I know I still need to post my Top 5 albums of the year... the list itself is done, but I haven't had a chance to finish the post yet. It should come on Monday.

Until then, I figured now was as good as any to do a quick book post. There are a few of you out there that I've spoken to on occasion about books. While 2007 wasn't as heavy of a reading year for me as usual, by and large I did a pretty good job of finding books that I liked. In fact, I don't think there was a single book that I read that I disliked this year. That makes me pretty happy - there are fews things I hate more than a bad book that I waste weeks (or sometimes months) on.

So, without further ado, the books I read in 2007, in order of how much I liked them.

1. The Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem
2. Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
4. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
5. After Dark, Haruki Murakami
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
7. The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace
8. The Night Gardener, George Pelecanos
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
10. East, West, Salman Rushdie

One note -- I had never read Murakami before The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and I enjoyed that book so much that I ended up reading it, Kafka on the Shore and After Dark in just over a two month period. I'm tempted to keep reading more of his, but I'm also worried about running out of his books to read. So I'm taking a short Murakami break.

I actually just started Cormac McCarthy's The Road yesterday, so I very well may finish that before the end of the year too (there's only so much I can do in Ohio over the holidays), so I'll have to wait and see where it fits on this list.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More New Shows

Big night over on the Black Cat website. To save time, I'll just cut and paste:

Thu Jan 31- NINA NASTASIA $10 Backstage 9:00 (on sale 12/21)

Thu Mar 6- STRIKE ANYWHERE, PAINT IT BLACK $12 Mainstage 8:00 (on sale 12/21)

Sat Mar 15- BLACK LIPS, QUINTRON MISS PUSSYCAT $13 Mainstage 9:00 (on sale 12/21)

Wed Mar 19- THE CRIBS $15 Mainstage 8:00 (on sale 12/21)

Fri Mar 21- LE LOUP, BODIES OF WATER $10 Mainstage 9:00 (on sale 12/21)

Sat Mar 29- THE RAVEONETTES $15 Mainstage 9:00 (on sale 12/21)

Drug Rug

Next to Vampire Weekend, the band with the most blog buzz these days may very well be Boston's Drug Rug. I haven't heard much from the band yet, though what I've heard I seem to remember liking. I'm gonna have to spend some time with the songs on the band's MySpace page.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that the band (along with Carol Bui) has been announced as an opener for The Rosebuds' show at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Thursday, January 17th.

I've been waiting to see who was announced as the opener before buying tickets for this show. Guess I'll be buying tickets now.

Vampire Weekend in DC - On Sale Now

It's not often that a show gets announced for D.C. and goes on sale the same day. But that's exactly what happened with the Vampire Weekend show at Rock and Roll Hotel scheduled for Wednesday, February 6th. The site has been on the band's website for a few weeks (or so I'm told), but there has been no mention of it on the Rock and Roll Hotel site before today. Then, suddenly, it popped up, and it's on sale.

Go here to buy a ticket.

I'm not as big of a fan of the band as a lot of people, but I'm definitely going to this. It's sort of an unwritten rule for bloggers. Thou must see Vampire Weekend, Tapes n' Tapes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I haven't seen TnT yet, so I need to go to this one to keep my blogger credentials.

PS: There's no question in my mind that this will sell out, so if you're thinking of going, you really ought to buy a ticket now.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reminder #2: Get Thee To Staten Island!

Another reminder about the the show you're going to this Saturday. Stop pretending you're not. Because you are. Do it.

The Figgs and The In Crowd
One Night Only at The Cargo Cafe
Saturday, December 15th - 10pm showtime
120 Bay St., Staten Island, NY [MAP]
(718) 867-0539

Three more reasons you should go:

(1) The In Crowd rock. Musical proof #2: "Details"
(2) The Figgs rock.
(3) The Figgs will be selling the BRAND NEW Continue to Enjoy The Figgs, Volume 2 live disc.

If those aren't enough reasons, you just aren't paying attention.

Beach House and Papercuts, Redux

They played together at the Rock and Roll Hotel back in August, and according to Product Shop, they'll do it again on April 4th. They're also playing in Baltimore at Gspot on February 28th for those of you in the DC-area who can't wait until April. I can wait.

The bands are actually doing a 5-week long national tour together, but for those dates (and a couple of new MP3s) you should hear over to Product Shop.

D.C. Show Update

[Updates in italics]

Lots of new stuff this week, but not much that jumps out to me. That said, I'm thrilled to see that Chuck Ragan is coming back with Ben Nichols of Lucero in January, despite the fact that he was just here last week. Maybe this time I'll actually make the show.

9:30 Club
Fri., 1/11: The Silver Beats (an AWESOME Japanese Beatles tribute band that I saw several times when I lived in Tokyo)
Thu., 1/24: DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist
Sun., 1/27: Super Furry Animals
Wed., 1/30: Lupe Fiasco, Reemstarr
Sun., 2/24: Silverstein, The Devil Wears Prada, A Day to Remember
Thu., 2/28: moe.
Thu., 3/6: All That Remains, Chimaira, Five Finger Death Punch, Light

Tickets for 9:30 Club shows go on sale via tomorrow (Thurs.) morning at 10am.

Black Cat
Wed. 1/2: Nunchucks, Prabir & the Substitutes, Butane Variations
Sun., 1/6: Girl Loves Distortion, Shame Girl
Sat. 1/19: Teedra Moses
Wed., 2/23: Chuck Ragan, Ben Nichols, Joshua English
Tue. 2/5: Sole & the Skyrider Band, Telephone Jim Jesus
Thu. 2/21: Atlas Sound, White Rainbow, Valet
Sun. 2/24: Bowerbirds, Deleted Scenes, Kitty Hawk

All of the Black Cat shows go on sale this Friday at 5pm via Ticketmaster, except the Girl Loves Distortion show, which goes on sale next Friday, 12/21.

The Red and the Black
Mon., 1/14: Wisely, You Tube (starring Jenna Fischer of The Office), Tom McBride

Ah, Jenna Fischer. How I love thee.

Tickets for shows at The Red and The Black are sold at the door.

Rock and Roll Hotel
Fri., 1/11: Olympia, Nihilitia
Tue., 3/18: Tilly and the Wall, Capgun Coup

Tickets for Rock and Roll Hotel shows go on sale via Ticket Alternative on Friday at 10am.

More New Whigs, "Sleep Sunshine"

There's yet another new Whigs song over at the band's MySpace page. Mission Control comes out on January 22nd on ATO Records. I can't get my hands on this album fast enough.

Oh, and if you're in (or around) Georgia, I implore you... catch the Whigs and Dead Confederate together in Macon on January 4th (at the Hummingbird) and/or in Augusta on January 5th (at the Soul Bar). You're not gonna find a better combo.

Miracle Fortress

Well crap. I knew I'd regret posting my Best of 2007 early this year. I'm always behind on music I want to listen to, and I always, always find an album to add to my Best of... lists in the final weeks of the year.

This year's honor goes to Miracle Fortress. I've been hearing the name here and there over the last few months, but I didn't get around to checking them out until I saw their album, Five Roses, on Chromewaves' Class of 2007 list. The song that Frank posted, "Have You Seen In Your Dreams", is stunning, and sent me rushing over to eMusic to download the entire album.

Wow, am I glad I did. It's stunning. It's Brian Wilson making some of the prettiest (and at times catchiest) dream pop you've ever heard. Don't take my word for it:

Miracle Fortress, "Little Trees"

If you like this, then run, don't walk, and go buy the album right now. There's a good chance this album isn't getting off repeat for me for a long, long time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jackass 2.5

Lord only knows why I love Jackass so much, but there's no denying it -- I love me some adolescent macho stupidity.

So I was thrilled to see in The Hollywood Reporter that a new Jackass movie is due out next Wednesday.

But don't go rushing to your local theater to start lining up for tickets just yet. The new movie, which runs for a svelte 64 minutes, is being offered online for free for two weeks starting on Wed., December 19th at After the initial two week period, the movie will move to pay-per-view platforms, including iTunes and DVD. I know what I'll be doing at home over Christmas.

And, if that weren't enough, the Jackass gang are going to be using the new site as a permanent home for new content going forward.

I guess the failure of The Dukes of Hazzard, The Ringer, and Johnny Knoxville's other "acting" gigs is our gain.

Catching Up: Ted Leo, Margot, Nuclear So and Sos

So I keep forgetting to do a proper write-up for this past Saturday's Ted Leo show at the 9:30 Club, as well as Monday night's Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos show at the Black Cat (I skipped Le Loup who were headlining that night).

At this point it's all pretty moot, so I'll just say this -- Ted's show was excellent. Not the best I've seen from him, but still very good. The Margot show, on the other hand, kinda underwhelmed me. This is the second (third?) time I've seen them, and they always seem to be in a bad mood. The extent of frontman Richard Edwards' between song banter was to announce how many more songs they had, and to complain about how he wasn't accustomed to playing at "5 in the afternoon" (n.b., they went on stage at 8:45pm). The band actually sounded pretty damn good, but they didn't play with a whole lot of life, and, worst of all, I can't say I was terribly impressed with the new songs they played. I'm hoping it was just an off night for the new material, because I absolutely adored The Dust of Retreat.

Ike Turner, RIP

Just saw over at MSNBC that Ike Turner has died. He was 76.

Guess we'll never get clarification as to exactly how he justified this gem to himself:
Sure, I've slapped Tina... There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I never beat her.
(Photo source.)

Tim Rogers (You Am I) Solo Dates!

Tim Rogers of You Am I, who put out my #18 album of the year, is headed to the U.S. for a bunch of solo shows early next year. I can't wait.

Tim Rogers Tour Dates
2/11: Seattle (Crocodile Cafe)
2/12: Portland (Doug Fir)
2/14: San Francisco (Cafe Du Nord)
2/15: Los Angeles (Spaceland)
2/16: San Diego (Cashbah)
2/19: Austin (Emos)
2/20: Dallas (Cavern Club)
2/22: St. Louis (Off Broadway)
2/23: Chicago (Schubas)
2/24: Detroit (Pike Room)
2/25: Cleveland (Beachland Ballroom)
2/27: Washington, DC (Black Cat)
2/28: Philadelphia (Johnny Brendas)
2/29: Cambridge, MA (TT the Bears)
3/1: New York, NY (Mercury Lounge)
3/2: New York, NY (Mercury Lounge)

Thanks to Sal C of The In Crowd for the heads up!

My Best of 2007 (6-10)

(My apologies if it looks like I'm moving things around. I forgot to make a couple of last minute changes before I put this post up. Shows just how malleable these lists are, I guess.)

10. Okkervil River, The Stage Names
I didn't really connect with The Stage Names until I caught the band live at the Rock and Roll Hotel a couple of months ago. It still doesn't reach the levels of the band's earlier work for me (my favorite of their albums is still Down The River of Golden Dreams), but it's clearly the album that "grew on" me the most this year. And you gotta love an album that seamlessly incorporates "Sloop John B" into a song.

9. Parts and Labor, Mapmaker
Easily the most brutal and pummeling (in a good way) album I heard this year. There are few albums that can reach of point of pure ferocity but still remain tuneful, but this album manages it in spades. Quite possibly the best driving album of the year (as long as you're not driving in speed-trap crazy Virginia). Sadly, the band's longtime drummer recently left the band, and his drumwork is absolutely vital to the sound of this album, so I'm curious how the band will sound going forward.

8. Rogue Wave, Asleep at Heaven's Gate
I'm not sure why some people have come down so hard on this album (other than the fact that they're on Jack Johnson's label now). To me, this is the logical extension of Descended Like Vultures, which began the process of taking the band's quirky, catchy songs and turning them into more complicated, powerful compositions. For the first time, the band produced an album that really connects (with me at least) on an emotional level. But for a couple of clunkers toward the end of the album, this album could have been a serious contender for my #1.

7. Dead Confederate, Dead Confederate EP
I went from not knowing these guys at all to having them at #7 on my list in the space of about two weeks. Their live show with Dinosaur Jr. last month absolutely blew me away, and I haven't stopped listening to their EP since. I don't really agree with the numerous Cobain references they're getting, but there's no question that there's a healthy grunge influence in the band's music. I'd call it a mix of shoegaze and grunge (shoegrunge? grungegaze?). Whatever you call it, it absolutely kicks ass.

6. The Broken West, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
A wonderful debut from one the most promising young bands in America. In my mind, this album picks up where Wilco left off after A.M. -- an upbeat mixture of pop, rock and country influences and a serious focus on songcraft. From start to finish the album is just one great song after another. And, from what I've heard of the new songs the band is playing live, there's a good bet that album #2 will be even better.

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My Best of 2007 (Odds and Ends)

Before I post the remainder of my Top 25, I figure now is as good a time to post my miscellaneous other thoughts on my "Best of 2007" list.

Honorable Mention - great albums that didn't quite make my list

Bishop Allen, The Broken String (with different production, could have been a Top 25 album)
David Vandervelde, The Moonstation House Band (fantastic, but too short)
Future Clouds and Radar, Future Clouds and Radar (just got recently - had I spent more time with it, it might have made my Top 25)
Pela, Anytown Graffiti (one of the year's most underrated albums)
Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (I'm still waiting for their "great" album)
Steve Earle, Washington Square Serenade (a nice return to form)
Super Furry Animals, Hey Venus! (half is incredible, half I skip)
Voxtrot, Voxtrot (not as good as it should have been, but still very good)

Lost in a Time Warp - great albums not technically released in 2007
Eef Barzelay, Eef Barzelay (coming out in 2008 - deserves to finally break Eef big)
Elvis Perkins, Ash Wednesday (fantastic - get it ASAP if you don't have it)
The Frames, The Cost (made my 2006 list, but released in US this year)
Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova, Once (almost identical to The Swell Season, which made my 2006 list)

Biggest Disappointments - not bad, just not as good as I'd have liked
The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
Bloc Party, A Weekend In The City
Bright Eyes, Cassadaga
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Some Loud Thunder
The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
Josh Rouse, Country Mouse City House
The New Pornographers, Challengers
Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger
The Shins, Wincing the Night Away
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Living With The Living

The Only Reunion I'd Like To See

Other than these guys, of course.

And this one, which won't embed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Best of 2007 (11-15)

15. Josh Ritter, The Historical Conquests of...
Consistency, thine name is Josh Ritter. Four albums in seven years, each one better than the last. Of all of the people that the media has dubbed "the new Dylan" over the past few years, Ritter may the most deserving, both for the quality of his songwriting, his musicianship, and the adventurousness of his albums. I'm still kicking myself for missing his show at the 9:30 Club a few months ago.

14. The National Lights, The Dead Will Walk, Dear
I discovered this one on eMusic a few months back, and it was probably my best accidental discovery of the year. The album is an amazing contradiction -- its songs are as beautiful as anything I've heard this year, yet its lyrics are unbelievably dark, covering topics such as murder and statutory rape. As the band describes on its website, the album "roughly documents the passions, trials, and regrets of a Midwestern murder." Don't let the subject matter scare you off though -- it's a fantastic album, and I can't wait for the band's followup (due next year).

13. Babyshambles, Shotter's Nation
Finally, Pete Doherty gives us reason to believe that he really is the "fallen genius" that the British press like to portray him as. While Shotter's Nation isn't as consistent as his former bandmates' (Dirty Pretty Things) debut CD last year, the best songs on this album are as good (if not better) than anything that DPT or even the Libertines ever did. Now if Pete can only keep his shit together and keep making music of this quality, he may finally start truly living up to his billing.

12. Apples in Stereo, New Magnetic Wonder
Pretty damn close to a perfect pop album. Song after song of head-bopping, singalong fun. And they even created a whole new musical scale for the album (although that effort, as well as several other songs at the end of the disc, probably should have been jettisoned before release). It's great to have these guys back in business, although given the strength of her contributions to the album, Hilary will definitely be missed.

11. Vandaveer, Grace and Speed
If you haven't heard of Mark Charles Heidinger yet, it's a pretty safe bet that you will before long. Between his quasi-solo work as Vandaveer and his work as frontman of The Apparitions, Mark has been responsible for some of my favorite music over the last year or so. (Many, many thanks to for introducing me to both bands.) That said, though, Vandaveer's debut album showcased a depth to Mark's songwriting that I had no idea existed. If I were doing a "top songs" list this year, "However Many Takes It Takes" would certainly be near the top.

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Adam Franklin Webcast Tomorrow!

This should be awesome - Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin is doing a free webcast tomorrow (Wed.) afternoon at 3pm EST at Franklin will be performing songs from his recent solo album, Bolts of Melody, as well as songs from throughout his career. He'll also be discussing the highly anticipated (for me, at least) 2008 Swervedriver reunion.

If you can't listen tomorrow, don't worry - the show will be archived for streaming here.

Can't wait.

ProTools for Your iPhone


Now I just need to learn to play an instrument. Or, should I say, I need to learn to play an instrument better.


For more audio and video from last night's show, head over to Nargo the Bort's Deviant Subculture.

Stairway to Heaven (live 12/10/07)

I'll withhold judgment until the DVD comes out next year, or until they come to the U.S., but none of the audio I've heard so far really seems that compelling. It seems kinda stiff and lifeless. Then again, I'm listening to poor quality recordings from an arena setting, so it's hard to expect much more...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Reminder! The Figgs and The In Crowd in NYC This Saturday!

This is the first of several reminders about a GREAT show in New York this weekend. Don't pass this one up -- it's gonna kick your ass. And I'll even be making my way up from DC for this one, so if you see me, say hi and maybe I'll buy you a drink.

The Figgs and The In Crowd
One Night Only at The Cargo Cafe
Saturday, December 15th
120 Bay St., Staten Island, NY [MAP]
(718) 867-0539

The In Crowd goes on at 10pm, and the Figgs at 11pm.

If you need convincing as to why you should come to the show, just take a listen to these tunes:

The Figgs, "Jumping Again" (from Follow Jean Through the Sea [BUY])
The In Crowd, "Cargo"

Hope to see you there!

Edited to add: Per Sal C's email, take note that Cargo Cafe is only a short five minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry terminal. No excuses, people. No excuses.

My Best of 2007 (16-20)

Here's my ##16-20 albums of 2007. Again, sample songs for each album can be found in the widget at bottom.

20. Jason Isbell, Sirens of the Ditch
As I mentioned recently, this is an album that I've just started to really get into. I liked it when I first got it but it kinda got buried in with a lot of other stuff I got around that time. Then I heard the song "Chicago Promenade" somewhere (WOXY?), and it was clear that I had to give the album another listen. For those wondering who the next great "alt-country/Americana" is, this album just may give you your answer.

19. Blonde Redhead, 23
This one kinda came from out of nowhere for me. I've never been a huge Blonde Redhead fan in the past, though, to be fair, I hadn't heard a ton of their stuff. So I was amazed at how much I absolutely loved 23 on my very first listen. In a year where it seems like everyone's trying to revive the whole "shoegazer" thing, this album pretty much puts everyone else to shame. It's powerful, ethereal, and haunting, and was pretty much on repeat on my iPod for much of the spring.

18. You Am I, Convicts
How had I never heard of You Am I before this year? They've been around forever, and are apparently huge-mungous in their homeland of Australia. This album is essentially the album we've (I've?) been waiting for Paul Westerberg (or a reunited Replacements) to make for the past 15 years. Raw, snotty, catchy and loud. And their live shows are even better.

17. Dinosaur Jr., Beyond
This is the way reunion albums should be done. Although it doesn't sound much like the band's early albums, it fits snugly into the sound that the band was making throughout much of the 1990's, but thankfully never sounds like a re-tread. In fact, the album opener "Almost Ready" is already one of my favorite tracks the band has ever done (I just wish they didn't play it in double time live), and the rest of the album holds its own as well. As long as J Mascis is making music somewhere, the world is a wonderful place.

16. Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
The album that Volkswagen killed. Would have been much higher on my list had it not been for those ads. And before anyone points out that the band's decision to use the ads in a commercial doesn't affect the quality of the music itself - you're right. But it definitely affected how I related to the music. Hearing 30 second snippets of many of the songs from the album every 5 minutes during commercials for 4 months this year simply wore me down on the songs, and sapped any interest I had in listening to the disc. It's an excellent album, but one that I just couldn't bring myself to listen to (or connect with) like I would have wanted.

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Steve Earle Pre-Sale

Steve Earle is hitting the road this spring in support of his excellent new album, Washington Square Serenade [BUY]. Sadly, there's no DC-area show on the schedule right now (or NYC, for that matter).

If you happen to be in one of the cities listed below, be sure to log onto Steve's site on Wednesday, December 12th for an exclusive pre-sale. The specific times for the pre-sales are listed below.

Steve Earle Spring 2008 Tour Dates
2/28: Northampton, MA (Calvin Theatre) - 10am EST presale
2/29: Somerville, MA (Somerville Theatre) - 10am EST
3/1: Montreal, Quebec (Outremont Theatre) - 10:30am EST
3/3: Ottawa, Ontario (Bronson Centre) - 10:30am EST
3/4: Toronto (Massey Hall) - 10:30 EST
3/5: Ann Arbor, MI (Michigan Theater) - 11am EST
3/7: Chicago (Vic Theatre) - 10am CST
3/8: Madison, WI (Barrymore Theatre) - 10:30am CST
3/9: Minneapolis, MN (Historic Pantages Theatre) - 10:30am CST
3/10: Winnipeg, Manitoba (Burton Cummings Theatre) - 10:30am CST
3/12: Edmonton, Alberta (Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium) - 10am MST
3/13: Banff, Alberta (Eric Harvie Theatre) - 10am MST
3/15: Vancouver, BC (The Centre) - 9:30am PST
3/16: Victoria, BC (Royal Theatre) - 9:30am PST
3/18: Seattle, WA (Moore Theatre) - 10am PST
3/19: Portland, OR (Aladdin Theater) - 10am PST
3/21: San Francisco (Palace of Fine Arts) - 10:30am PST
3/25: Los Angeles (Royce Hall) - 10:30am PST

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Cure For The Winter Cold

It's been 98 days since evil defeated the forces of good, and I'm finally able to watch this again with a bit of a smile.

Don't Stop Believin'

Not sure why this intrigues me so much. Never was a Journey fan, though I liked 'em enough as a kid growing up in the 80's. Then again, I wasn't a huge Judas Priest either, but I did manage to see them live with Ripper Owens eighteen times.

(No, not really, but I did see Rock Star.)

Anyway, Journey has hired a new lead singer named Arnel Pineda, who was previously the lead singer in a Filipino cover band named The Zoo. The band apparently discovered Pineda through... wait for it... YouTube. Man I love the Internet.

Truth be told, the guy's got a damn good voice, and does a pretty faithful version of Steve Perry. I'm surprisingly intrigued to hear what their new material sounds like.

The Zoo, "Don't Stop Believin'"

The Zoo, "Faithfully"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Best of 2007 (21-25)

I usually wait until the very end of the year (or after) to do my "Best Of", but between the activities surrounding the launch of my business' website, a trip home for the holidays, and then a trip to Ireland to see The Frames for New Years, I figured now is as good a time as any.

So, without further ado, here's the first installment of my Best of 2007 list. I'm also including a Seeqpod widget at the bottom of the post so that you can sample some songs from each of the artists. My thanks to the sites that originally posted the songs (each of which you should be able to see in the widget).

Oh, and one last note -- this list is, pure and simple, my subjective opinion as to my favorite albums of the year. I'm sure there are a bunch of great albums that didn't make my list, but to the extent there are, I either didn't hear them or didn't like 'em enough.

25. Shout Out Louds, Our Ill Wills
This one is a very late entrant onto my list. I've had it on my hard drive for months, but literally just started listening to it in the last week or so. You were right, Matt -- these guys owe The Cure some major royalty checks. But in a good way.

24. Bottomless Pit, Hammer of the Gods
Had this album had more than four new songs on it, I guarantee it would have been much higher on my list. But since I put already put their EP from last year (which had 4 of the 8 songs on this album on it) on my Best of 2006 list, I just couldn't bring myself to put it much higher. Still, though, the disc has some killer songs, and is well worth your time.

23. Thurston Moore, Trees Outside the Academy
I didn't expect this album to be anywhere near as good as it is. After three Sonic Youth albums in a row of semi-accessible, catchy songs, I expected this to be a Ghosts & Flowers-like experimental snoozefest. It's anything but, and may be my favorite music from Thurston in a decade.

22. Mendoza Line, 30 Year Low
This is another album that probably would have been higher if it had more songs on it (not counting the second disc of B-sides and rarities). Many of the songs ooze pain, anger and resignation -- all things you would expect from a band whose two songwriters were going through a divorce at the time -- and almost make you feel like you're intruding on the band's personal lives. My only real complaint? They should have included the original version of "Aspect of an Old Maid" with Tim Bracy on vocals on the album. The Will Sheff version on the album is good, but not nearly as raw.

21. Wheat, Every Day I Said a Prayer For Kathy...
Did anyone else listen to this album? The band played a grand total of about 6 shows in support of its first new LP since 2003, and sadly got just about as much blog attention. Personally, I think the first half of the album may be the best thing they've ever done (though the second half does get a tad boring at times). I can only hope they don't disappear for another four years before we get another album.

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

DC Show Update

Lots of stuff this week. Nothing earth-shattering, but a few interesting things. Yeasayer have been getting all kinds of buzz over the last couple of months, so that might be the biggest show of those listed below. The only problem is that it's the same night as Blonde Redhead at the 9:30 Club.

9:30 Club
Wed., 12/26: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (I would have loved this in 1998)
Sat., 1/5: Tittsworth, Codebreaker, Will Eastman, Metropolitan (sponsored by Brightest Young Things)

9:30 Club tickets went on sale this morning via

Black Cat
Thu., 12/20: The Hold Up, Brandon Butler (Backstage)
Wed., 12/26: The Beanstalk Library, John Wayne Hero (Backstage)
Thu., 12/27: Meredith Bragg (CD release), Paul Michel, Ed Donohue (Backstage)
Wed., 1/2: Nunchucks, Prabir & The Substitutes, Butane Variations (Backstage)
Wed., 1/16: Yeasayer, MGMT (Backstage)
Sun., 2/10: The Cassettes, Beat Circus (Backstage)
Thu., 2/21: Atlas Sound, White Rainbow, Valet (Backstage)
Sun., 2/24: Bowerbirds, Deleted Scenes, Kitty Hawk (Backstage)

All Black Cat tickets are sold via Ticketmaster. Some shows listed above go on sale this Friday (12/7), some next Friday (12/14).

Mon., 12/31: New Years Eve show with Last Train Home and Vandaveer

Tickets for NYE Show at Iota can be purchased ahead of time in person at Iota. Call 703-522-2868 for dinner reservations.

Rock and Roll Hotel
Fri., 1/25: Justin Jones and the Driving Rain
Tue., 2/12: Paul Green School of Rock with Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers
Tue., 2/26: St. Vincent, Foreign Born

Tickets for Rock and Roll Hotel shows go on sale via Ticket Alternative this Friday at 10am.

At Least Evanescence Didn't Get Nominated

So Grammy nominations came out. Yawn. Lots of stuff that I don't listen to and don't understand how people do (Beyonce, Foo Fighters, Rihanna, etc.). And while there are a few nods to the "indie" world this year, I can't say that I like any of the artists involved. In fact, I pretty much despise the music of Feist and Amy Winehouse.

There, I said it.

No offense intended, as I know a lot of the folks in the indie community love these two. But man... listening to them just pains me.

Here are the nominees in the main categories I care about. As long as Daughtry wins Best Rock Album, though, I'll be a happy boy.

Record of the year
Irreplaceable, Beyonce
The Pretender, Foo Fighters
Umbrella, Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
What Goes Around ... Comes Around, Justin Timberlake
Rehab, Amy Winehouse

Album of the year
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Foo Fighters
These Days, Vince Gill
River: The Joni Letters, Herbie Hancock
Graduation, Kanye West
Back to Black, Amy Winehouse

Best new artist
Taylor Swift
Amy Winehouse

Best rock album
Daughtry, Daughtry
Revival, John Fogerty
Echos, Silence, Patience & Grace, Foo Fighters
Magic, Bruce Springsteen
Sky Blue Sky, Wilco

Best alternative album
Alright, Still, Lily Allen
Neon Bible, Arcade Fire
Volta, Bjork
Wincing the Night Away, The Shins
Icky Thump, The White Stripes

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ween Presale (DC)

Not a huge fan myself, but just saw that Ween is scheduled to play D.A.R. Constitution Hall here in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, January 23rd. Regular tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10am, but there's also a presale starting Thursday morning at 10am. Password is "cockroach" (their new album is entitled La Cucaracha).

(Photo via Dystopian Optimist)

New Little Ones Video

As a followup to my post yesterday, I just noticed over at Rock Insider that The Little Ones have a video for their new single, "Ordinary Song". Notably, the band is also providing a link to a free download of the song "Face the Facts" here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tim and Eric Awesome Show (Great Job!)

If you're not watching Tim and Eric Awesome Show (Great Job!), you're missing one of the most bizarre, nonsensical, hilarious shows ever to air on TV. The show just recently started its second season on Adult Swim and may legitimately be my favorite thing on TV right now (until The Wire comes back). Do yourself a favor and check it out (Adult Swim, Sunday nights at 12:15am).

Here's a few of my favorite bits from the show, including three very important "Brules Rules" from Dr. Steve Brule himself (John C. Reilly).

What Do Jeff Tweedy and Oprah Have In Common?

No, Tweedy didn't run off with Stedman Graham. Instead, according to the Rock Daily blog, he'll be performing this Friday at "Change Rocks", a concert/fundraiser for presidential candidate Barack Obama. Also appearing are the Cool Kids (not to be confused with the Black Kids, Get Up Kids, or the Pinehurst Kids), Jill Sobule and, um, Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind.

I knew there was a reason I liked Tweedy.

Jay Farrar Solo Dates

Just saw that Jay Farrar (of Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo fame) has a couple of live dates scheduled in the New York area in February. No idea if he'll be adding dates anywhere else, but I'll keep my eyes open.

Jay Farrar dates
Fri., 2/22: Maxwell's, Hoboken NJ (on sale now)
Sat., 2/23: Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (on sale now)

Man, I completely forgot that Son Volt put out an album this year. I liked it, too, but completely forgot about it. I'll have to listen to it again.

Rogomo's Beta Has Launched!

Hey kids... just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that the project I've been working on for last year or so, Rogomo, is finally up and running! Well, technically we're in Beta, but still...

If you have a spare minute or two, please go check it out! Thanks!

New Little Ones, "Ordinary Song"

Head over to The Little Ones' MySpace page to hear their new song, "Ordinary Song". The song will be the lead single from the band's debut full-length album, entitled Morning Tide, which is due out in April on Astralwerks.

I like the song, but it's definitely got a different vibe than anything I've heard from the band so far. It's got a more layered and laid-back feel, as opposed to the upbeat, giddy melodies of the songs on the Sing Song EP. Different, but still quite good. (And better on each successive listen.)

Definitely looking forward to hearing the rest of the disc.

Merge Holiday Auction

If you haven't seen it yet, Merge Records is auctioning off a number of autographed silk-screen posters from The Arcade Fire, Robert Pollard, M. Ward and others, with all proceeds going to Oxfam America and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

If you're looking for a great holiday gift for that music fan in your life, click your browser here and start bidding. They're doing two posters at a time, so if you don't see something you want, check back in a day or so and see what's been added.

(Thanks to the Futurist blog for the heads up.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

New Thermals Video, "Returning to the Fold"

Not sure how I missed this one last week. The Thermals just put out a video for "Returning to the Fold" - one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums from 2006.

As for my 2007 list, I'm pretty sure I know the 25 albums on the list, now I just need to settle on an order. All I know is that this one is gonna be somewhere in my top 5.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Jason Isbell Coming Back to DC (and Everywhere Else)

Great news... Jason Isbell is headed back out on the road right after Christmas for two straight months of shows with Will Hoge. The tour will hit just about everywhere in the U.S., including a February 22nd show here in DC at the 9:30 Club.

I somehow missed seeing Jason in either NYC or DC this year, so there's no way I'm missing this. His solo debut, Sirens of the Ditch, will definitely be on my year-end list, and keeps moving up every time I listen to it.

Jason Isbell / Will Hoge Tour Dates
12/27: Huntville, AL (Crossroads)
12/28: Birmingham, AL (Workplay)
12/29: Chattanooga, TN (Rhythm and Brews)
12/30: Raleign, NC (Lincoln Theatre)
12/31: Charleston, SC (Music Farm)
1/12: NY, NY ("Royal Albert Hall" Project)
1/16: Memphis, TN (Hi-Tone)
1/17: Little Rock, AR (Sticky Fingers)
1/18: Dallas, TX (Granada Theater)
1/19: Austin, TX (Antone's)
1/22: Tuscon, AZ (Club Congress)
1/23: San Diego (Casbah)
1/24: Long Beach, CA (Vault)
1/25: Los Angeles (Spaceland)
1/26: San Francisco (Slim's)
1/28: Sacramento, CA (Harlow's)
1/30: Portland, OR (Mission Theater)
1/31: Seattle, WA (Tractor Tavern)
2/1: Boise, ID (Neurolux)
2/2: Park City, UT (Suede)
2/4: Boulder, CO (Fox Theatre)
2/6: Minneapolis, MN (Varsity Theater)
2/7: Madison, WI (High Noon Saloon)
2/8: Chicago (Double Door)
2/9: Indianapolis, IN (Music Mill)
2/20: Boston, MA (Paradise)
2/21: NYC (Bowery Ballroom)
2/22: Washington, DC (9:30 Club)
2/24: Wilmington, NC (Soapbox)
2/26: Columbia, SC (Headliner's)
2/27: Athens, GA (Georgia Theatre)
2/28: Knoxville, TN (Bluecat's)
3/1: Nashville, TN (Cannery Ballroom)

Ryan Adams Video, "Follow the Lights"

While I'm hesitant to post a video which is, in essence, little more than a commercial for a TV show (October Road! Mondays! 10pm! ABC!), the fact remains that this is a pretty nice little song from Ryan. So I'm posting it anyway. Enjoy.