Saturday, June 30, 2007

Interesting Pete Doherty Interview

Check out a couple interesting clips of a performance by, and interview of, Pete Doherty on Jonathan Ross' show. With all of the bad press he gets, it's interesting to actually hear him speak for himself. He's a bit of a space cadet, but definitely intelligent and pretty funny. And the new song he plays is pretty damn good. (Thanks to The Culture of Me for finding these!)



Yuck

Removed because I hate embedded video that starts automatically. You can watch the video here. It's a pretty gross video of a dude dipping himself into a vat of used restaurant grease.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Friday Afternoon Treat

Well, it's a treat for me, at least. Head over to Fab Channel to check out video of two full Frames shows. The first show is from the Paradiso in Amsterdam on 9/11/02, and the second is from the Melkweg Max in Amsterdam on 11/21/06.

Unfortunately the first video only seems to work on the Fab Channel site, and doesn't allow pausing, jumping between songs, etc. The more recent video, however, has all the bells and whistles, including an embed code. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Song

I don't find myself digging up the old Nirvana stuff much anymore. It's not that the music hasn't aged well - it's just that it all got so overplayed (by me and others) 15 years ago, and so many bands have copied the sound since, that it's hard to take a lot of the songs seriously anymore.

There are a few exceptions to this. Thankfully, the band's cover of The Vaselines "Son of a Gun" is one of those exceptions. Sounds as good to me today as it ever did.

Nirvana, "Son of a Gun" (from The Complete Radio Sessions)

Lewis Black Owns You

Make The Madness Stop, ABC

The show that won't go away. This idiot show gets 7 seasons, and Arrested Development struggled to get 2 1/2?

Frames Returning in September

Well, on the West Coast, that is.

9/3: Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA
9/5: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
9/6: Henry Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

I have to assume they'll add a few more dates as long as they're in the country. And how could they pass up two of their largest US fanbases in Chicago and New York? (I'll be living in one of those two cities come September.)

Regardless, I did just promise a friend that I'd travel out to San Francisco in the next few months to hang out. The first week of September sounds good to me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Old School

Many thanks to Totally Fuzzy for pointing out this very cool, old school clip of The Animals performing on Hullabaloo.

"It's My Life"

And here's a couple other good Animals clips from YouTube:

"We Gotta Get Out Of This Place"


"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

Bar Skanks Announce Plans To Kiss

Why the hell don't I read The Onion more often?

Meet Sonific

Hypebot, one of the best music industry blogs around, had an interesting post this afternoon about Sonific. Sonific provides a free widget that allows you to stream songs from more than 41,000 artists and labels and over 65,000 albums. Their widget is designed to work on just about any platform, from social networking sites to blogs and beyond, and has a growing library of songs to choose from.

While I'm not exactly sure how they're going to make money (a combination of advertising and bounties from track sales, I would guess), especially if they get hit with the new webcasting royalty rates, I'm always happy to see interesting new tools for discovering music.

Here's the Sonific widget, with a song by one of my favorite bands of recent years (and now sadly disbanded), Scotland's The Delgados.

Ryan Adams @ Hiro Ballroom, NYC [6/26/07]

The good about tonight's Ryan Adams show? Ryan's voice was excellent. Probably the best vocal performance from him I've seen in a while. The rest of the band was solid too. My favorite performances tonight, far and away, were "Let It Ride," "My Winding Wheel," "I See Monsters" (surprisingly good) and the spectacular encore of Alice In Chains' "Down In A Hole." (Seriously.)

The bad? Boooooooooring. To call tonight's set-list "mid-tempo" would be a disservice to R.E.O. Speedwagon. I don't have a full setlist, but what I recall are "Night Birds" and "Starlite Diner" from 29, "Dear John" from Jacksonville City Nights (thankfully no Norah Jones), "Blue Hotel" (from last year's Willie Nelson disc), "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.," "Rip Off," "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old," "Two" (thankfully no Sheryl Crow), "Halloweenhead" and "Goodnight Rose" (from the new Easy Tiger). Even "Halloweenhead," which is a damn fine rock song on the album, was slowed down. Had I been sitting, there's no question in my mind that I would have fallen asleep. The show actually reminded me of what I think was Ryan's final show at Fez back in 2001 or so, when he played from 12:45am to 3am -- slow, slow, slow, and I fell asleep.

Whatever. This is still the guy who almost singlehandedly (well, Elton John helped) woke me out of my post-9/11 stupor with an incredible show at Irving Plaza five years ago. I know he's got more shows like that in him, and I'll keep going until I see it.

Oh, and we learned tonight that Ryan doesn't have to be drunk/stoned/speed-balled to speak complete nonsense between songs. All it takes is 15 Diet Cokes, apparently.

Pics tonight stink. Lighting was very low. Ryan was going for the "torch singer" vibe.





You can hear Ryan's set from Philadelphia the other day here.

Wilco @ Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC [6/25/07]

Three Wilco shows in the space of eleven days may have been a bit much for me. All three shows were great, but the setlists just don't change enough to really warrant it. Doesn't mean I won't likely head to ACL Fest to see them again (and hopefully catch them do an evening show at Stubb's). Just means I need a few months off.





Monday, June 25, 2007

Internet Radio Goes Silent

Internet radio is going silent tomorrow to protest new royalty rates being put in place by the U.S. Copyright Board. Read more about it in my post at my other blog.

Unless something drastic happens tomorrow -- i.e., Chinese Democracy shows up in stores -- this blog will stand in solidarity and go silent all day Tuesday. You can thank me later. :^)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Superchunk @ McCarren Pool, Brooklyn, NY [6/24/07]

In a just world, Superchunk would have gotten huge in 1993 and would be playing McCarren Pool-sized venues all the time.

In a semi-just world, we'd still be getting albums from the band every year or two and the chance to see them regularly at Maxwell's and Bowery Ballroom.

In the real world, I'm just thankful for every time they come through town, and to know that they continue to rock like few others. Come back soon, kids.



Superchunk Set Time

If you're headed to McCarren Pool today to catch Superchunk, Oakley Hall and +/- as I am, you may be interested in knowing the bands' set times. For some reason JellyNYC, the sponsor of the show, has completely failed to provide any information about the show other than the fact it's happening on "Sunday". Awesome. Thankfully, Martin, the site admin over at the Merge Records forums, has come to the rescue:

3:45: +/-
4:45: Oakley Hall
5:45: Superchunk

See you there around 4-ish?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rock

Sometimes I just like to remind you what the word means.

Tocotronic?

Anybody know anything about the German band Tocotronic? Randomly came upon their new video today (below), and it's pretty decent. Then I listened to a couple of short clips of their earlier discs on eMusic, and those were pretty interesting too. Now I'm trying to decide if they're worth using eMusic credits or not, and if so, which album I should download. Any thoughts?

Tocotronic, "Kapilulation"

New Earlimart

So the new Earlimart album, Mentor Tormentor, has leaked, and it's fantastic. I've listened to it three times already today, and I like it more with each listen. The album is officially released on August 21st via Majordomo Records, an imprint formed as a partnership between the band and Shout! Factory (the fine folks who brought us the Freaks and Geeks DVD set). I'll post pre-order info as soon as it becomes available.

You can hear two songs from the album, "Nevermind the Phonecalls" and "Don't Think About Me", at the band's MySpace page. My personal favorite song on the album (so far) is "The Little Things". I don't feel comfortable posting pre-release MP3s, and certainly not this far in advance of the album, but if I see that the band is OK with it, I'll post it at some point.

The band currently has three dates on it's schedule.

8/23: San Francisco (Cafe Du Nord)
8/28: New York (Joe's Pub)
8/30: Chicago (Schuba's)

I'll either be at Joe's Pub or Schuba's.

Ryan Adams @ Hiro Ballroom on Tuesday

So the rumored Ryan Adams show at Hiro Ballroom on Tuesday is now an actuality. Tickets are $35 ($41.88 after fees). Password = Rose.

See you there.

(Thanks to Brian K. for the heads up!)

The Antlers Playing Union Hall on 7/16

I've now missed three different chances to catch The Antlers live (once solo, twice full-band) over the last month or so. Granted, I had tickets to see Silversun Pickups one night, and I was out of town for the most recent show, but still... I have no excuse for not catching this band yet. Their latest CD, In The Attic Of The Universe, is still in constant rotation here at the home office, and has even started making the rounds with my 18-year-old brother and his friends in Cincinnati. These guys are gonna be big. Hear me now and believe me later.

Anyway, I just saw on the band's website that they're playing at Union Hall in Brooklyn on Monday, July 16th with Je Suis France and Overlord. Consider me there.

Wilco @ Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ [6/22/07]

Tonight was the second of three times I'm seeing Wilco this month. The first was in Cincinnati, and the third is at Hammerstein on Monday.

Thanks to my friend Natalie, we had great seats tonight (4th row center). Made me glad I didn't sleep out or spend $200 for a Warsaw ticket. However, as good as our seats were, that didn't mean that I could avoid my life-long "tall guy curse". You know what I mean - the curse that ensures that no matter what show you're at, and no matter where you are, some ridiculously tall dude will park himself right in front of you. And, to make things worse, tonight's dude showed up with his girlfriend 6 songs into Wilco's set. Luckily he was pretty skinny, though, so I could see to either side of him pretty well.



As for the show itself, it was pretty great (again). The setlist was a little weaker than Cincinnati (no "Via Chicago", "Pot Kettle Black" or "Poor Places"), although we did get "Kamera" and "I'm Always In Love". And even better, when Jeff's mic inexplicably went out for 10 minutes, the rest of the band left the stage, Jeff grabbed an acoustic guitar and played us a great rendition of "Acuff Rose". Can't remember the last time I've seen that one live. Awesome.

The crowd was pretty good overall. I'm still a little shocked by the Wilco crowd these days. Not that it makes me cool or anything, but I remember seeing these guys in the mid-late 90's and basically recognizing everyone (well, not everyone) in the crowd from the various other alt-country shows in town (Son Volt, Jayhawks, Old 97's, Whiskeytown, etc.). The crowd starting trending more "hipster" with the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and over the last two or three years is adding a whole new element - the "suburban party people". Nope, it's not just Ohio. Now the crowd is a strange mix of the three, with me typically standing with arms crossed and nodding head, while some dude in the row in front of me drunkenly dances around miming the lyrics to every song. (I.e., pretending to smoke a joint during "Handshake Drugs", pretending to mow the lawn during "Hate It Here", tracing a tear down his cheek during "Jesus, Etc.") I don't want to be snobby about it, but seriously, that dude was a freaking moron.

The non-tall-dude-head-in-the-way pics:






The rest of the pics are at Flickr.

Edited to add: By request in the comments, the setlist can be found at the Via Chicago forum.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Upcoming WOXY Lounge Acts

Check out WOXY's incredible schedule of Lounge Act sessions coming up over the next month or so:

Mon., 6/25, 3pm: The Eames Era
Wed., 6/27, 3pm: Palomar
Mon., 7/2, 2pm: Hot IQs
Thurs., 7/5, 4pm: Tacks, The Boy Disaster
Fri., 7/20, 1:30pm: Dirty on Purpose
Wed., 7/25, 4pm: Ra Ra Riot
Fri., 7/27, 4:30pm: The Sharp Things
Fri., 8/3, 3pm: WUSSY
Fri., 8/17, 12:30pm: The Rentals

(BOLD shows are my personal top picks, but don't indicate that I won't be listening to the other bands as well!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Swell Season @ Gramercy Theater on 7/24

The Swell Season, a/k/a Glen Hansard of the Frames and Marketa Irglova, a/k/a the stars of Once, are playing the Gramercy Theater (I refuse to use the new name) on Tuesday, July 24th. Tickets are on sale now.

I was fortunate enough to catch this show twice last year, once at Pianos and once at Southpaw. All I can say at this point is DON'T MISS IT.

One last thought -- if the Glen/Marketa show is graduating from 100-150 person rooms to 500 person rooms, what effect will Once have on The Frames' popularity? Stay tuned...

(Thanks to Matt for the heads up!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

ACL Fest Schedule Is Out - Rife With Conflicts

Much like Lollapalooza before it, the lineup for this year's Austin City Limits Festival has a ton of problematic scheduling conflicts. Possibly enough so that I skip it too. Not happy.

Friday conflicts
Blonde Redhead vs. Heartless Bastards
(that's it for Friday - Friday's schedule actually is pretty boring to me)

Saturday conflicts
Kevin Devine vs. Willy Mason vs. Ike Reilly Assassination
Steve Earle vs. Andrew Bird vs. Midlake
Damien Rice vs. Butch Walker
Arctic Monkeys vs. Muse
Arcade Fire vs. White Stripes (what the fu*& are they smoking? putting their top 2 draws against each other? dumb dumb dumb. and I don't even like the White Stripes)

Sunday conflicts
Yo La Tengo vs. Broken West
Lucinda Williams vs. Bloc Party
Wilco vs. My Morning Jacket vs. Patterson Hood (again - what the fu*&???)

Seriously, guys, I know that putting this type of show together is extremely hard, and it's impossible to please everyone. That said, though, no one in their right mind, with an understanding of the bands performing and the fans paying $150-ish dollars to attend, would ever pit (a) Arctic Monkeys vs. Muse [you're killing your Brit-rock contingent], (b) Arcade Fire vs. White Stripes [basically depriving half of your audience of one of the main reasons they're coming] or (c) Wilco vs. MMJ [the two best "Americana" live bands in the U.S. today].

These decisions just reek.

Le Firm Tonight!

Edited to add: It's a secret.

If you're in New York, be sure to head over to Mercury Lounge tonight at 9:00pm to catch the return of Le Firm! The band has a new drummer, some new songs, and a mission to bring the rock.

Le Firm, "Your Unknown"
Le Firm, "Prove Your Big Heart"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Robot Chicken Does Star Wars

I missed this when it aired on Adult Swim. Thanks to the wonders of the internets, though, here it is:

Odds and Ends

A few interesting things that have been going on over the last few days:

While I'm still in Cincinnati, I ran over to the wonderful Shake It Records today. Picked up the recent Hold Steady live Fingerprints disc, the new Josh Rouse EP, and the new Wussy EP. Strangely enough, about 30 seconds after picking up the Wussy EP, I noticed that the store was playing some Wussy that I didn't recognize. I asked them if it was the band's new album, and in fact it was. And that's when I noticed Chuck Cleaver standing about 3 feet away from me. Very cool. The new album sounds fantastic. It should be available in August.

Speaking of Josh Rouse, his new full-length LP, Country Mouse, City House, comes out on July 31st. It can be pre-ordered here. The page also has 6 song snippets you can listen to. Sounds about like what you'd expect, which is fine by me.

I just discovered this morning that John Roderick of The Long Winters was blogging Bonnaroo for MSNBC. He has some interesting insights, but his entries are significantly shorter than last year.

Wheat has released a video for the excellent "Little White Dove" from its new album.

Finally, check out some live Dinosaur Jr.:

Bradley's Almanac has the band's performance at Urban Outfitters in Boston last week.

NYCTaper has audio from the band's first night at Irving Plaza a couple of weeks ago. (He's also going to be recording the Sonic Youth Daydream Nation show at McCarren, so keep your eyes on his site.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ryan Adams Update

In advance of his new album, Easy Tiger [PRE-ORDER], Ryan Adams seems to be everywhere these days. First, the New York Times has a large piece on him today, along with some detailed, disturbing admissions by Ryan about his drug use over the early part of the decade. (Link via The Modern Age)

Second, Rolling Stone's blog has more info on the Ryan box set coming out later in the year. Sounds like, between the albums I've never heard (Black Hole, Darkbreaker), the full-band versions of albums I've only heard acoustic (The Suicide Handbook, 48 Hours), and the rarities, there's going to be a ton of stuff worth getting.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The National @ The 20th Century Theater, Cincinnati, OH [6/15/07]

Dear Cincinnati:

I know you and I have a long and complicated history, but I wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you for being so accommodating to me this week. I come back once or twice a year, and generally try to make sure that there's at least one concert worth seeing while I'm in town. But this time you really went out of your way (with a little help from the nearby Bonnaroo) to make my visit worthwhile. Last night was Wilco, tonight was The National, and Monday is Voxtrot. Well done, my friend.

That said, I've noticed a few things over the last two nights that trouble me a bit, and I want to point them out to you. I'm not trying to be mean here - I'm just trying to help. After all, if I don't tell you these things, who will?

(1) First, you should be aware that not every song played by every band is a clap-along. In fact, most songs aren't clap-alongs. Especially "Ada" [BUY].

And, even if there are parts of songs that can be clapped to, that doesn't mean you should be clapping to the beat from the moment that song starts until the moment it ends. A lot of songs, especially songs by The National, have subtleties and nuances that make them what they are. I realize that subtlety is a bit of a foreign concept in a town where watered-down cinnamon-flavored chili is a delicacy, but still...

(2) Second, be aware that opening bands are not an excuse to talk, or worse, to talk about how bad the opening band is. In some cases, such as last night, when the opener is Low, the fact is that the band is actually excellent. They may not be playing their most upbeat material, and they might not translate well to a large auditorium, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us want to listen to you bitch about the fact that you don't like them. If you don't like them, go wait in the lobby and get a beer. Lord knows you drink enough at shows (see #3 below).

Indeed, even when the opener is truly abominable, such as Shapes and Sizes tonight, you really ought to just keep it to yourself until after the band's set is over. Sure, you can text-message your friend standing next to you about how bad they are - did I mention that Shapes and Sizes were awful? - but there's no reason to verbalize your distaste for the band if people around you are enjoying them.

(3) Finally, and this may be the most important point, not every concert is a reason to GET WASTED! and PARTY! After The National play "Lit Up", there's no need for you to spend the next 30 seconds yelling "I'm lit up! Woo-ya! Lit up! Drunk! Yeah!" When you pay $50 to see Wilco in a lovely, Broadway-class theater, it's kind of silly to spend more than half the show repeatedly leaving to get on line for another beer. And, at the end of that Wilco show in the lovely, Broadway-class theater, there's no reason to take your beer bottles and smash them into dozens of pieces on the floor.

Now, I like drinking as much as anyone, especially at concerts. But, Cincinnati, you seem to treat every concert as a reason to get uncontrollably drunk and make a fool out of yourself. In fact, I've noticed that you seem to think that just about any social event calls for large amounts of alcohol (as well as sleeveless tee shirts). I suppose if I lived here year-round, I might understand the desire to be constantly drunk, but really, what type of example are you setting for the younger cities like Dayton and Akron? Don't you think that they're going to want to be like you when they grow up? Be a role model, Cincinnati.

Despite everything, though, Cincinnati, you know I still love you. And I truly appreciate the fact that the town that never met a Jimmy Buffett show that it couldn't sell out in 5 minutes managed to sell out (or nearly sell out) shows by Wilco and The National. Now all we need is for you to start supporting some of the city's other great bands, like Wussy, The Hiders, and Heartless Bastards.




Friday, June 15, 2007

Wilco @ Aronoff Center, Cincinnati, OH [6/14/07]

Wilco fans, rest easy. If you're like me, you may have started to wonder over the past couple of years if the band had gotten stuck in a bit of a groove. While always technically excellent, it seemed like the band had been playing the same set of songs since about 2001, and several of the band's shows seemed a bit subdued and, dare I say, boring? (I'm looking at you, Starlight Ballroom.)

If tonight's show is any indication, however, there's no need to worry. While a few of the setlist "standards" continue to make appearances whether we want to hear them or not - "A Shot In The Arm", "I'm the Man Who Loves You", "Heavy Metal Drummer" - the rest of the setlist is new, improved and ready to kick some ass.  

Tonight's setlist, to the best of my recollection (and in no particular order): "Either Way", "Impossible Germany", "Sky Blue Sky", "Side With the Seeds", "Shake It Off", "Hate It Here", "Walken", "What Light", "Via Chicago", "War On War", "Jesus, Etc.", "Pot Kettle Black", "Poor Places", "Hummingbird" and "Handshake Drugs" (songs I haven't seen them do in a long, long time are in bold). Oh, and they also played what might have been the single best version of "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" that I've ever seen. Just amazing.

Jeff was also in good spirits, and funnier than he's been at the shows I've seen them do recently. All in all, a fantastic show. Can't wait to see them in New Jersey next week, and maybe at either Hammerstein or Warsaw.





Edited to add: Nels rules.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

You Am I Return to Bring the Rock

Australia's You Am I, one of the best rock bands going, is coming back to the U.S. in August for a string of shows.

Edited to add: Thanks to Sal C for the full set of dates:

07/18/07 San Francisco, CA Slim's
07/20/07 Seattle, WA The Showbox
07/21/07 Portland, OR Dante's
07/24/07 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
07/26/07 Minneapolis, MN 400 Bar
07/27/07 Chicago, IL Double Door
07/28/07 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
07/29/07 Detroit, MI The Magic Stick
07/31/07 Cambridge, MA Middle East
08/01/07 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda's
08/02/07 Washington, DC The Black Cat
08/03/07 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's
08/04/07 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom

Tickets for Philly and NJ are on sale now, and Bowery tickets go on sale this Friday at noon.

If you haven't heard them before, take a couple minutes to check them out. They're one of the true "rock and roll" bands going these days, if by "rock and roll" you mean loud guitar, driving rhythm, and snotty drunkenness. (That's right, kids - Animal Collective ain't rock and roll. Think Replacements.) They also put on one of my favorite sets at South By Southwest this year. Who knows when they'll be stateside again, so be sure to check them out.

You Am I, "Gunslingers" (from 2007's Convicts) [BUY]

You Am I at MySpace.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

No Lollapalooza For Me

So I think the decision has been made - I'm going to the Austin City Limits Festival this year. Why? Lollapalooza's schedule sucks. While ACL's lineup was already stronger, the number of conflicts in Lollapalooza's schedule between bands I'd want to see means that I'd be missing a lot of Lollapalooza's better bands. For example:

Friday (3 conflicts)

Elvis Perkins is slated for Friday at 11:45am-12:30pm, which is the exact same time as The Fratellis, and also conflicts with Illinois between 12 and 12:30.

Son Volt is scheduled for Friday at 1:30pm, the exact same time as Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Silversun Pickups are scheduled for Friday between 5pm and 6pm, whereas Blonde Redhead are playing between 5:30 and 6:30.

Saturday (3.5 conflicts)

Fields is scheduled from 12:30-1:30 and Tokyo Police Club is 12:45-1:30.

Tapes n' Tapes are scheduled 1:30-2:30, the Sam Roberts Band is scheduled from 2:15-3:00, and Aqueduct is 2:15-3:00.

Spoon is scheduled from 7:30-8:30, and so is Patti Smith.

Additionally, depending on the stage location there could be bigger problems. If the stages are located the same place as last year, then it will be easy to set up at the Southern-end of the park and bounce from Clap Your Hands to The Hold Steady to the Yeah Yeah Yeah to Spoon. BUT, if the stages have shifted, then it will be impossible to see all of these bands. Plus, after Spoon, it's a long, long walk to make it up to Interpol on the Northern-end of the park.

Sunday (2.5 conflicts)

David Vandervelde is scheduled from 1-1:45, and the Heartless Bastards are from 1:15-2:15.

Yo La Tengo's set from 5:15-6:15 conflicted with Bound Stems (5:30-6:15), Peter Bjorn and John (5-6) and !!! (5:15-6:15).

So, while I'm sure ACL will have conflicts as well, I can't imagine them being nearly this bad. Seriously, this is terrible. And it leaves too many holes where there's nothing I want to see (for example, on Sunday from 2:15-4:15, I would have to find the best place to set up so I wouldn't be able to hear Amy Winehouse, Lupe Fiasco, Paolo Nutini or Blue October. Not easy.)

Austin, here I come.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Long Blondes (and GBV-ishness) @ Bowery Ballroom (and Don Pedro's), NYC [6/9/07]

So you might be wondering what the hell that blog entry title means... well, in layman's terms, it means an evening-long dick tease.

First up tonight was the Guided by Voices 33 1/3 Karaoke Party at Don Pedro's in Williamsburg. The show was billed as a celebration of Guided by Voices' Bee Thousand album and Marc Woodworth's recent book on the album as part of Continuum's 33 1/3 series. Moreover, we were promised that Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout would be in attendance. Although Bob's website warned us that there would be no performance by Bob or Toby, I don't think any of us believed it, because the place was absolutely packed. We got there right at 8, when the show was scheduled to start, and stayed until 11.

What did we get? Some abominable "dramatic art", some even worse "musical art", and zero performances, let alone even a "hello" on the mic, by Bob or Toby. Granted, they might have played some songs after we left, but we walked out the door about 30 seconds after Bob left around 11, and it sure didn't look like he was coming back.

Here's a pic of Bob while he was still in the house:



The one good thing about the "show"? One of the most attractive blonde bartenders of all time. I repeatedly made a point of buying my beer from her for no reason other than having the opportunity to gaze at her. Holy crap. Hottest.. woman.. ever. It may be a 40 minute commute from my apartment, but I need to get my ass back to Don Pedro's soon.

After the (not quite) GBV-ishness, we headed to the Bowery Ballroom to check out the Long Blondes. Gotta admit, I've never been a huge fan of the band, despite the fact that WOXY loves 'em, but I figured it was worth a shot given the amount of good press they've been getting. Plus, I heard that their lead singer was really hot. Well, she was, but that didn't mean that their live show was anything special. It was pretty much exactly what I expected - so so.

The only good thing was that, encore included, the band played for a total of about 55 minutes. And it's hard to get bored when the lead singer is hot. (Not Don Pedros bartender hot, but still...)




So at the end of the night what did we learn? Guided By Voices still makes me drink a lot of beer. Hot bartenders make me drink even more. And mediocre live bands make me drink even more.

And now I need to sleep.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Listen to Challengers Now

Wanna hear the New Pornographers' new album, Challengers? The album comes out on August 21st, but Matador Records has made it possible for you to stream the album in its entirety NOW via Buy Early Get Now.

Basically, this is the deal: if you buy the album through one of Matador's partner record stores (including Shake It Records in Cincinnati and many other quality independent stores), you'll get a password that let's you listen to a stream of the album now, more than 2 months before the album comes out.

Oh, and they're offering two different versions of the album. For $14.98, you can buy the "Standard Edition", which gets you the album, the stream, 3 unreleased MP3s and early access to concert tickets. Or, for $19.98, you can buy the "Executive Edition", which gets you get the album, the stream, B-sides, a 3-CD box set including b-sides, demos, a live show and band photos, and even earlier access to concert tickets.

Ah, yes, the wonders of the "bundled content" age. I suppose if it gets people to buy CDs, it's a good thing. I'm about to order myself an Executive Edition. Yep, I'm a sucker, but I'm holding out hope that the band photos that come with the Executive Edition include those fabled Kutie magazine photos.

Edited to add: Doesn't look like any of the brick and mortar retailers are up and running with this yet. The album is available via Matador's site though, and the Executive Edition is a flat $18. I just ordered it, but haven't gotten my password for the stream yet. Hope it doesn't take too long.

Your Weekly Frames Update

This year's Bumbershoot Festival lineup is out, and boy is it boring. There's one exception, though - The Frames. And while that's not enough to convince me to buy a ticket to Seattle for the first weekend in September, it does give me hope that we'll get some more U.S. dates out of the band while they're over here. Pretty please?

In addition, it looks like Glen's movie, Once, is meeting or beating Fox Searchlight's goals, because the movie is finally going to open wide over the next few weeks. You can check here to see if and when it's coming to your town.

The Frames, "Ohio Riverboat Song" (Will Oldham cover) [out of print(?), but available at eMusic]

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Funniest Man in the World Coming to NYC

OK, maybe that's a stretch considering I've only seen his standup act once, but there's no doubt that Daniel Kitson's set at Gothamist's Laughable Hype show last year was just about the funniest thing I've ever seen. A lot of comedians are smart (see my one-time schoolmate Demetri Martin), but Kitson's comedy is genius-level type stuff.

So I was thrilled to see on his website that Kitson is bringing his new "Fireworks" show to New York for the last two weeks of July. I haven't seen any specifics yet, but I will be sure to post them when I do. And if anyone knows the details and wants to leave them in the comments, I'd be forever in your debt.

(Photo source.)

Decisions, Decisions

So it turns out that The National are playing an in-store show at my favorite record store, Shake It Records in Cincinnati, at 7:30pm the night of their show in Cincinnati next Friday. The problem? It's probably a 20-30 drive between Shake It and the 20th Century Theater where the band is slated to play that night. While I'm sure I could make it to the venue before the band gets there, I'm also pretty sure I'd miss one or both of the openers (Talkdemonic and Shapes and Sizes).

Hmm. I had been hoping to hit Dewey's for some pre-show pizza... Think it will be a game time decision.

(Thanks to Joe for the heads up!)

New Cody Gillette

My favorite MySpace discovery of the year, Cody Gillette, has another new track up on his MySpace page called "November". Very pretty tune. Hope Cody starts playing some shows around town soon...

Upcoming Shows of Note

It seems like a few good shows haved popped up on Ticketweb since I did my weekly Wednesday-morning checkup yesterday. Admittedly, I may just have forgotten to check Union Hall. Regardless:

June
Friday, 15th: Eames Era and Great Northern @ Union Hall (TIX)
Sat., 30th: Sarah Shannon (ex-Velocity Girl) @ Union Hall (TIX)

July
Fri., 6th: De Novo Dahl @ Union Hall (TIX)
Wed., 25th: David Vandervelde @ Mercury Lounge (TIX)

Oh, and one more -- on Tuesday, June 19th, the return of Le Firm! The band has taken some time off over the last few months while looking (successfully!) for a new drummer and, in at least one case, getting married and heading off to Greece for a 3-week honeymoon. (Yep, the tough life of a musician.) Anyway, they're scheduled to play Mercury Lounge on the 19th at 9pm. Be sure to check them out!

Dinosaur Jr. @ Irving Plaza, NYC [6/7/07]

Last night was the third time I've seen Dinosaur Jr. since the original lineup reunited two years ago. While I don't think I could ever be disappointed by a Dinosaur Jr. show, last night's show was definitely my least favorite of the three (Summerstage 2005 and Irving Plaza in Dec. 2005).

The show started out pretty sloppy, both in terms of the band's playing and the sound mix. They opened with the excellent "Almost Ready" from their new album, Beyond, and I can honestly say that it was awful. Thankfully, things picked up pretty quickly though.

The setlist focused primarily on Beyond and a handful of the "classic lineup" songs, though I was downright giddy when I heard Jay start playing the opening notes to "Out There" from Where You Been. That's the album that first turned me onto Dinosaur Jr. in high school, and is still one of my favorite discs of all time. I'd have killed to hear "Start Choppin'" too, but instead we got an interesting (if unnecessary) version of "Feel The Pain". Gotta say - I'm really surprised that they're playing that one. While Murph was at least on Where You Been, Jay had fired him by the time of Without a Sound, and I can't imagine any of them have particularly fond memories of the song (which may have been the band's biggest "hit") other than Jay.

For those going tonight, they went on around 10:15 and played a 1-hour set, and then came back out for a 15-minute encore. We were out on the sidewalk out front by 11:34.

Some pretty bad pics from further back in the crowd than I usually like to be:


A Republican I Could Vote For?

Don't know much about Ron Paul, but this clip certainly makes me interested in learning more.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ben Kweller, Paul Weller?

I'm surprised I haven't heard about this anywhere yet - Ben Kweller is scheduled to play 3 nights at Southpaw from July 30th through August 1st. Tickets are on sale now. Much like Paul Weller's shows here in New York earlier this year, each of the three nights will focus on a different part of Ben's career. Given than Ben's career isn't quite as long (or distinguished) as Paul's, instead of focusing on an "era" of music, each night will focus on one album:

Mon., July 30: Sha Sha
Tues., July 31: On My Way
Wed., Aug. 1: Ben Kweller

I like Ben, but don't really think that any of his albums are so monumental as to deserve their own show. He's a talented kid with a bunch of good songs, but each album has more than its share of unnecessary filler. As such, these shows seem geared for the super-fan only.

Interpol @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC [6/5/07]

Solid show from Interpol tonight. Nothing earth-shattering, but the band was tighter than I expected after nearly a two-year layoff from live shows (not including their Dallas show last week). However, with 3 albums of material to work from now, I would have expected something more than a 50 minute set. (Although they did play a 15 minute encore.)

I'll admit that I never really got all that into Antics, so there were a few times tonight that I wasn't sure whether the band was playing new songs or old songs. I don't think I was the only one - the crowd seemed about 3 times as loud during the songs off the band's debut album, Turn On The Bright Lights, than everything else. That said, hearing "The Heinrich Maneuver" from the band's forthcoming album live, made me like the song a lot more than I had after a few listens online.

Interpol, "The Heinrich Maneuver"

Some pics are attached below. I wish I'd gotten a picture of their keyboardist. He looked about as bored as anyone I've ever seen on stage.





By the way, it looks like the band's new album has a title (Our Love To Admire), and is available for pre-sale at Lala.com. Oh, and this appears to be the album cover:

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ryan Adams Boxed Set Finally Coming?

Despite originally being rumored back in 2003, Billboard is reporting that Ryan Adams' boxed set of odds and ends, including his excellent unreleased albums 48 Hours and The Suicide Handbook, will finally see a release this year. From Billboard:
According to a label spokesperson, the set may include live tracks, the fabled unreleased albums "48 Hours" and "The Suicide Handbook," the oft-bootlegged "Bedhead" series and leftover songs from the "Easy Tiger" sessions.

What won't be included, however, are the dozens of oddball tracks Adams released last year via his Web site under the monikers DJ Reggie, WereWolph, the Sh*t and others. "That wasn't meant to be anything more than just a laugh," Adams tells Billboard.com. "It was a thing to do after shows. It was like having garage band wars. It was for fun -- a chance experiment with rap stuff."
Frankly, I'm glad these songs won't be on the boxed set. They were cute to listen to, but I don't really need to own them on CD. On the other hand, I can't wait to finally have good copies of 48 Hours and The Suicide Handbook.

(Thanks to Matt for the heads up!)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Does It Make Me A Bad Person...

... because I find this video to be more funny than revolting? (Although it does have its fair share of revoltingness to it.)

More New Wilco

Before I go to bed, let me direct you over to I Am Fuel, You Are Friends for a great collection of Wilco B-sides and rarities. If you're like me, you have most of these already, although I think this is the first time I've heard the song "Let's Fight". I could be wrong, but I don't remember hearing it at any of the shows last year. Great tune.

Spinner Roundup (June 5 Releases)

Spinner has an odd collection of full discs streaming this week, including Tom Petty's Highway Companion, which I'm pretty sure came out in 2006 (yeah, it's an expanded edition, but still, I'm 99% certain AOL or Spinner linked the album last year), and the new album from Soundgarden Audioslave a solo Chris Cornell. According to Spinner, Chris apparently use his voice "like an instrument" on this album. Better than using it like a weapon, I suppose.

Paul McCartney, Memory Almost Full
The Long Blondes, Someone To Drive You Home
The Cinematic Orchestra, Ma Fleur
Chris Cornell, Carry On
Matthew Dear, Asa Breed
The Little Ones, Lovers Who Uncover EP

Wheat @ Mercury Lounge, NYC [6/3/07]

Wow. Seriously, wow.

I almost didn't go see Wheat tonight. There were a ton of reasons to stay home - it's a Sunday night, the weather is lousy, they weren't scheduled to go on until 10pm (which at Mercury tends to mean no earlier than 10:30pm), there were new episodes of The Sopranos and Entourage, and, well, I don't have particularly fond memories of their show in the same room from a few years ago.

Yet for some reason I decided to go anyway. Maybe I feel a little guilty about all the bad things I've said about their last album, Per Second, Per Second, Per Second, Every Second. Dunno.

Regardless, I can't really explain how happy I am that I went. The band's performance tonight was incredible, and may be the best set of live music I've seen all year. I don't say things like this lightly. I see a lot of shows, and I was seriously blown away tonight. And although I like the band's new album, Every Day I Made A Prayer for Kathy and Made A One Inch Square [BUY], a lot, I really didn't expect much out of their show. I was wrong, and I'm glad. See this band now.




Upcoming Wheat Dates

Tues., 6/5: Club 87, Middlefield, OH
Wed., 6/6: Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL
Thurs., 6/7: 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN
Fri., 6/8/07: The Bears, Bloomington, IN
Sun., 6/10/07: North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
Fri., 6/22/07: Middle East, Cambridge, MA

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Finally... an iPhone Release Date

June 29th it is. I can only imagine how much fun it's going to be trying to get one of these suckers, especially here in New York, where it seems like 50% of the world's Mac users are based. Still, though, I'm running on a 3 1/2 year old CDMA phone from LG which I would like nothing more than to set on fire and do a celebration dance around.

Sad News

In followup to my post from earlier today, it appears that the body of Ra Ra Riot drummer John Pike was found in Fairhaven, Massachusetts:
Body Found in Fairhaven

By Curt Brown
SouthCoastToday.com
June 03, 2007 5:17 PM

FAIRHAVEN — A police dive team today located what is believed to be the body of John Pike, a 23-year-old Hamilton man who has been missing since early Saturday.

The body was found about 4:10 p.m. off Wilbur’s Point in Buzzards Bay. The body was found in about 7 feet of water approximately 150 to 200 yards from where his cell phone was found.

Fire Chief Tim Francis said the clothing on the body matches what Mr. Pike was wearing when he was last seen Saturday about 3 a.m.

“It’s pretty clear it’s him,” Chief Francis said.

Mr. Pike is a 2006 magna cum laude graduate of Syracuse University, according to his aunt, Colleen Stone of Centerville.

“He’s the pride and joy of our family,” she said.
My thoughts and prayers go out to John's family, friends and bandmates.

Important

This note on Ra Ra Riot's MySpace page does not sound good at all:
Hey,
Last night our drummer John Pike went missing at 3 am. He was last seen in Fairhaven, MA wearing a yellow t-shirt and jeans. If you have any information on where he may be, know anyone in the Fairhaven area, or spoke with him after 2 am saturday morning, please contact Fairhaven police immediately as well as John's mother, Paula Pike - (978) 835 2140. We appreciate any information.
Hope this turns out OK.

Somewhere 11-Year Old Steve Is Smiling


Kick ass?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Odds and Ends

A few quick links before the weekend...

JAX over at Rock Insider is spotlighting an interesting L.A. band called The Front. She compares them to Mudhoney, Failure and Nirvana. I'll give the comparisons to her on the song "Social Bat", but the first song she posts, "Cavalier", sounds to me like a combination of Dramarama and Eugenius. Check it out.

The Torture Garden has a live track of Teenage Fanclub covering the Camper Van Beethoven classic "Take The Skinheads Bowling".

Idolator has a new track from Velvet Revolver called "She Builds Quick Machines". Not great. Edited to add: Crap, the MP3 link expired. Just watch the video:



And, finally, if you missed it earlier this week, Brooklyn Vegan (and others) had the new single from The New Pornographers called "My Rights Versus Yours" from their forthcoming album Challengers. I never love their lead singles.

Progenies of the Great Apocalypse

I have no idea what this is, but it entertains me.



(Thanks to David for the heads up.)

Stream the New Moviola Album

Columbus, Ohio's Moviola are releasing their seventh album, entitled Dead Knowledge, on Catbird Records next Tuesday. Moviola are one of those bands that I've been expecting to get "big" for about 10 years now, and for some reason things just haven't happened for them. From what I've heard of the new album, hopefully things will be changing for the band this year.

You can stream Dead Knowledge via imeem below (and you can order it here for $8). The song "Rudy" is the lead "single" from the album, and I highly recommend it. Very, very Band-esque.