San Francisco must have some special blessing for being Brian Jonestown Massacre's city of origin. Despite the reels of film depicting Anton Newcombe as a tyrannical despot, and despite the numerous accounts of these events actually being true, it seems that every time the band is in town they simply deliver, and deliver in force.
Last time we saw them was about a year and a half ago. Despite a debacle involving a closed Bay Bridge, the band still managed to show up, play a massive, incredibly solid set, and hail the return of tambourineist extraordinaire Joel Gion. Well, this time around, things were no different: the band offered up an incredibly bulletproof and lengthy set, and Gion was still in attendance. Not only that, but we were in disbelief to witness the return of none other than Matt Hollywood!
Hollywood's departure from the band was a huge moment in the film Dig, and frankly was so dramatic that we were downright shocked to see him as the band took the stage. Nonetheless, it seems that bygones are truly bygones. Hollywood stuck to the stage throughout the show, singing on a huge number of tunes, and delivering a totally solid performance. We must say, having both Hollywood and Gion in the band really gives it a much more unified feel. Despite their high technical skill, the band's lineup was starting to seem something like a revolving door. It was nice to be able to watch the band and get the feel that they were truly a unit. Even more impressive was that Newcombe also seems to have buried the hatchet.
Besides giving Hollywood and Gion plenty of room, and introducing them personally, Newcombe's stage persona was toned down in general. Over the course of something like three hours (we forgot to check our watch), Newcombe kept himself firmly isolated to one side of the stage, often in the dark, and seemed intent to simply deliver a solid performance. Only at one point (to restart a song) did Newcombe seem to venture anywhere near the primadonna vibe that has so dogged him in the past. It was fantastic to see such a solid musician finally allowing himself to relax and play a fantastic set.
And the set was fantastic. From start to finish, it was an unrelenting exploration into the music that makes BJM such a renowned live act. The droney, layered guitars, the unabashedly Brit-aping vocals, and the catchiness of songs that in many ways seem like they really shouldn't be catchy: it's a marvel to behold.
Suffice it to say, it seems that BJM are finally managing to distance themselves from the self destructive behavior that made Dig such a tragedy. Even more spectacular is that as they do so, people are taking notice. Not only is the band opening for Primal Scream, but they're selling out venues on their own on the off days. There wasn't a ticket to be had at the Independent, and deservedly so - BJM is on the rebound. If they're coming round your way, we highly recommend you stop in. You won't be sorry.
mp3: Brian Jonestown Massacre - That Girl Suicide
Many more pictures at the HAD Archive
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
San Francisco must have some special blessing for being Brian Jonestown Massacre's city of origin. Despite the reels of film depicting Anton Newcombe as a tyrannical despot, and despite the numerous accounts of these events actually being true, it seems that every time the band is in town they simply deliver, and deliver in force.
Okay, we'll admit it. We're suckers for catchy guitar rock. The bottom line is that if you combine sweet riffs, snarky lyrics about love, and a solid dose of garage influence, it's pretty tough to go wrong. The thing is, it seems that it's inordinately difficult to get the right balance to make it work. There are lots of bands out there that are taking the pieces, putting them together, and yet it somehow doesn't add up. We're pleased to report that for The Takeover UK, it's adding up just about perfectly.
The Pittsburgh band just released their new record Running With The Wasters last week on Rykodisc records, and it's been in heavy rotation here at HAD all week. The record is just about as close as you can get to guitar pop perfection. Each song is full of painfully catchy riffs and choruses, and the album flows so continuously that it blows by before you know it. Even more impressive is that despite the catchy accessiblity and fast play time, the record begs for you to listen again as soon as it's finished. It's that good.
Now, it is worth saying that this record isn't exactly breaking any creative boundries. It's definitely a work of straight shooting rock and roll, and it wears its influences firmly on its sleeve. Between the handclaps, singalong choruses, and crunchy guitars its clearly the product of a band that is well schooled on the wonders of garage rock from both sides of the Atlantic. At various times the band recalls rock bands from the Stones to the Libertines, and everything in between. That being said, they manage to use these influences to their advantage to create a record that sounds immediately familiar, but also carves out its own distinct persona and sound.
We got hooked on this record listening to a free album stream at Spinner, and immediately went to go pick it up. Needless to say, we're pretty stoked for this band, and it's definitely our latest fave. Given that, we were psyched that the band is touring this spring in support of the record (along with Gliss), and that they'll be at Hotel Utah tonight! In all honesty, it's worth getting there for both bands. We've been digging the Gliss record, Devotion Implosion, as well. Although their heavy shoegazing vibe didn't rope us in quite as much, they've got a solid sound and it'll be interesting to hear how it plays out live.
mp3: The Takeover UK - Distant Shores
mp3: Gliss - Beauty
The Takeover UK / Gliss Spring Dates 2009
3/31/09 San Francisco CA Hotel Utah
4/02/09 Portland OR East End
4/04/09 Eugene OR Sam Bond's Garage
4/05/09 Seattle WA El Corazon
4/06/09 Spokane WA BLVD
4/07/09 Boise ID Bouquet
4/08/09 Denver CO Soiled Dove
4/09/09 Davenport IA Redstone Room
4/10/09 Lincoln NE Box Awesome
4/11/09 Chicago IL Beat Kitchen (early show)
4/13/09 Lawrence KS The Jackpot
4/14/09 St. Louis MO The Firebird
4/17/09 Pittsburgh PA Brillo Box
4/18/09 Nashville TN The French Quarter Cafe
4/20/09 Atlanta GA Drunken Unicorn
4/25/09 Hiram OH Hiram College *Takeover UK only
4/28/09 Chapel Hill NC Local 506
4/30/09 Richmond VA The Camel
5/1/09 Thomas WV The Purple Fiddle
5/4/09 NY NY Mercury Lounge
5/5/09 Philadelphia PA The Khyber
5/6/09 Brooklyn NY Union Hall
5/8/08 Hartford CT The Warehouse
Monday, March 30, 2009
We mentioned last month that we were really digging on Ben Kweller's new record, Changing Horses. As such, we were psyched to discover that Kweller has added a second leg to his US tour that will find him on the West coast in June. Among others, Kweller will be making a stop here in San Francisco at Slim's.
Having caught Kweller's show at the Fillmore a couple of years back, we can assure you that he delivers in a live setting. Granted, it's in the presence of many young women who are more than a little into Mr. Kweller. That doesn't change the fact that Kweller delivers a killer, super energetic set. We're even more curious given the country bent of his new record. Will it be a country band? Will Kweller play older material with new arrangements? All those questions and more can be answered on June 17th. Tickets are on-sale now.
mp3: Ben Kweller - On Her Own
Ben Kweller Summer 2009 Dates
Jun 13 Avalon Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 16 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, Oregon
Jun 17 Slims San Francisco, California
Jun 19 El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, California
Jun 22 Club Congress Tucson, Arizona
Jun 25 House Of Blues Houston, Texas
Jun 26 Granada Theater Dallas, Texas
Jun 27 Emos Austin, Texas
No, that's not a typo - the notorious Santogold has redubbed herself Santigold. While she hasn't confirmed the rationale, general speculation is that it was an effort to resolve a law suit that had been dogging the songstress. Still, all of that is terribly mundane news - Prince basically took the glamor out of name changes years ago. Far more important is that Santigold has planned a summer tour, and will be stopping by the Warfield on May 21st. Tickets have yet to go on-sale, so keep your eyes peeled.
We have to admit, it took us a little bit of time to warm up to Santigold's sound, and we weren't without our doubts the first time we listened to the artist's self titled record. That being said, it's an addictive little bugger, and over the past year it got under our skin to the point where it now sees regular rotation in our playlist. Combine that with the fact that Santigold apparently delivers a massive live show, and well, we highly recommend that you get yourself in the door.
mp3: Santigold - You'll Find A Way
Santigold Summer 2009 Dates
Mar 27 Ultra Music Festival Miami, Florida
Mar 28 Roxy’s Chicken Jam Mammoth, California
May 21 The Warfield San Francisco, California
May 22 Empire Sacramento, California
May 24 Cuthbert Amphitheatre Eugene, Oregon
May 25 Sasquatch! Festival @ The Gorge George, Washington
May 28 First Avenue Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 29 Peoples Court Des Moines, Iowa
May 31 Rams Head Live Baltimore, Maryland
Jun 1 House of Blues Boston, Massachusetts
Jun 3 Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto, Ontario
Jun 4 Metropolis Montreal, Quebec
Jun 6 The Roots Picnic @ Festival Pier Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 7 The Norva Norfolk, Virginia
Jun 9 Terminal 5 New York, New York
Jun 10 9:30 Club Washington DC, Washington DC
Jun 12 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival Manchester, Tennessee
Jun 13 2009 Barcardi B Live @ The Pageant St. Louis, Missouri
Jun 15 Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater Austin, Texas
Jun 17 House of Blues Houston, Texas
Jun 18 House of Blues Dallas, Texas
Jun 21 Hollywood Bowl Hollywood, California
Here at HAD we were first exposed to John Wesley Harding on the soundtrack to High Fidelity. "I'm Wrong About Everything" is a self-effacing tune that was perfect for the film's insecure protagonist. That was around 2000, and we didn't catch up with JWH again until the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in 2003. There Harding delivered a killer acoustic set that was just about as much of a classic singer-songwriter/troubadour effort as one could hope to muster. Over the past twenty years, Harding has shown himself to consistently fill those shoes. With witty lyrics, solid melodies, and a penchant for straightforward songwriting, Harding consistently represents for a breed of songsmith that is equal parts storyteller and songwriter.
Thankfully, none of that has changed on Harding's most recent release, Who was Changed And Who Was Dead. On the record (Harding's first in five years), Harding is joined by the notorious Minus 5, and delivers a set of thirteen songs that explore the ins and outs of his life since the last record. This includes the birth of a son, a shot at (and subsequent withdrawl from) "the bigtime", and of course Harding's requisite commentary on relationships. All in all, the work is a dead-solid effort, and reenforces the region that Harding has established for himself between the worlds of folk and rock, with all his various personas in attendance.
awesome Wes and Eugene's Cabinet Of Wonders is,
then do you really need any other reason?
In touring the US, we're psyched to see that Harding and Mirman decided to stop by San Francisco. This coming Sunday, April 5th, "Wes and Eugene's Cabinet of Wonders" will stop by the Independent. While there's no telling exactly will get delivered, we're guessing it'll be a pretty damn good time. And you really don't want to deny yourself a good time, now do you? We didn't think so.
Tickets are on-sale now.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It takes a fair amount of talent to get a crowd to stick around at midnight on a Sunday. It takes even more to get that same crowd to eagerly line up at the end of the show and dole out hard earned cash for test-pressing 7" vinyl. Last Sunday at Amnesia, Kurt Vile managed to do both those things and then some, delivering an awesome set of abstract rock and roll, with support from only one other musician (j turbo?).
The two took to the stage a little before 12, and immediately delved into Vile's signature sound: Dark, murky vocals, pedal-tweaked guitars, and undeniably accessible melody. Meanwhile, his compadre on stage broke out an array of instruments, ranging from harmonica, to saxophone, to electric guitar. The set was definitely tight, but we can imagine if you had no familiarity with Vile, perhaps a little difficult. Luckily, it seemed like almost the entire crowd was in for the long haul.
The most interesting aspect of Vile's performance was the almost effortless carelessness with which he tossed off the songs. Much of the most accessible material in his catalogue almost seemed to annoy him to the point where he would blow through them. By contrast, some of the most intricate and played out jams were on songs that Vile has yet to record. In short, he seemed to be suffering to some degree from the short attention span that often plagues prolific writers.
By the end of the set, we (along with the rest of the crowd) were thoroughly impressed by Vile's songwriting and performance. Perhaps the only downside was that the man never showed his face, and that he didn't play "My Best Friends". Still, as they say, there's always next time. We're pretty sure that "next time" be in a larger venue, and that Vile's popularity will be steadily climbing. In short, the guy is the real deal - and we expect that realization to keep growing across the music world in the coming months.
We have to admit, 2007's Wincing The Night Away left us a little cold. Given that The Shins' first two records were some of our favorites of the past ten years, we were surprised when their third didn't really grab hold, and sort of disappeared to the back of our playlist.
That being said, the band is certainly one of our faves (their first two records are amazing), so we're psyched to see that after an extended hiatus (and some side project work) the band is back in full swing and touring this spring. For those of you in the Bay Area, that means a May 9th show at Oakland's Fox Theater, with a presale that starts tomorrow morning at 10. Apparently the presale requires no password, just a click on the link.
It'll be interesting to see what the band has in store for the tour: we're guessing new material must be imminent, given their almost two years without a record. Then again, perhaps they're just getting things back on track and getting their touring chops up to snuff. Either way, The Shins put on a fantastic (if not a tad goofy) live show, so this should prove to be a treat.
Shins Spring 2009 Dates
May 2 2009 Red Square on Campus @ Western Washington University Bellingham, Washington
May 4 2009 Showbox Seattle, Washington
May 5 2009 Showbox Seattle, Washington
May 6 2009 Crystal Ballroom Portland, Oregon
May 7 2009 Crystal Ballroom Portland, Oregon
May 9 2009 The Fox Oakland, California
May 10 2009 Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, California
May 11 2009 SOMA San Diego, California
May 13 2009 The National Richmond, Virginia
May 14 2009 9:30 Club Washington DC, Washington DC
May 15 2009 Ram’s Head Live Baltimore, Maryland
May 16 2009 Electric Factory Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 17 2009 Wellmont Theater Wellmont, New Jersey
May 18 2009 Terminal 5 New York, New York
mp3: The Shins - Kissing The Lipless
While his solo work is a far cry from his musical endeavors with Wilco, Nels Cline certainly has a lot to offer on his own. For those who have taken the time to explore Cline's records, it's extremely clear that Jeff Tweedy handpicked him for a reason. His avant garde jazz material pushes many of the genre's boundries, and offers up some compelling insights into sonic experimentation.
This Spring (in addition to touring with Wilco) Cline has released a new solo record, Coward, and is touring in its support. Tomorrow night, Cline will be playing two shows at Yoshi's Oakland with his namesake band, The Nels Cline Singers. The show is a showcase for Cline's label, Cryptogramaphone Records, and will also include The Jeff Gautier Goatette. In our experience, Cline's live shows are something of a transcendent experience, and the night will definitely be do-not-miss. What's more, the new record is extremely acoustic-centric, so it'll be interesting to see how that works out in a live environment.
If that's not enough Cline for you, you're in luck! Nels' twin brother Alex will also be at Yoshi's as part of the Cryptogramaphone showcase. That show is tonight, and features the Alex Cline Continuation Quintet, with Alex on drums. What's more, you can hear the brothers talk a bit about their forays into jazz in this interview over at NPR.
mp3: Nels Cline - Epiphullum
You may remember that we raved about the live release of last year's Astral Weeks concert that Van Morrison delivered at the Hollywood Bowl. Well now Van is back to deliver the classic album at a few more venues, and San Francisco is one of the lucky picks. Morrison will be at the Greek Theater in Berkeley May 2nd and 3rd, which should be just about perfect weather for such a classic show.
There is a presale for the dates today at 10 AM, but it requires an American Express card. So, depending on your situation, that may help or hurt you. Public on-sale is this Sunday at 10 AM. We imagine for such a heavy-hitting artist there will be assigned seats, so ticket choice does actually matter. Good luck!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Let us start by saying this: Every time we see Plants and Animals we are even more impressed. Every time we tell someone to see Plants and Animals, they're impressed. Any time we give someone the band's record they're blown away. In short, this band is amazing. Both on the record and in a live environment, Plants and Animals are completely on the verge of breaking through even bigger than they already have. Last Saturday at Bottom Of The Hill was no exception.
The band has something of a musical trifecta in the live environment: their songs are ridiculously catchy, their technique and tightness as a band is completely expert, and their performance is balls-to-the-wall, heart-on-sleeve goodness. In short, the band are such a tight knit unit that the already impressive performance on record is enhanced significantly further in the live environment, which is saying a lot.
The band manages to demonstrate their technical aptitude with intricate instrumentation and song deliveries that border just on the right side of "jammy". Don't get us wrong, there's nothing that feels even remotely self indulgent about the extended tunage - on each and every song it feels just right, and gives each one enhanced depth and relevance. The fact of the matter is that the band knows just how to stretch their material (and the audience) to the outer limits, and then expertly pull things back in.
Saturday also saw three new songs make their way into the set, and all were totally fantastic. From the sound of things, the band is pushing a bit more into a straight ahead rock feel for the next record. That being said, it was still rock run through the Plants and Animals filter, and it yielded a sound that was simultaneously upbeat, exciting, and pushing creative boundries. In short, it left us psyched for the things to come.
It's a bit difficult to describe a band that you enjoy this much without starting to sound like some teenage fan who wants to have their babies. That being said, we're willing to take that risk because, frankly, we want to make sure that you don't miss this band the next time you have the opportunity. Their live show is simply so transcendent, ass kicking, and amazing, that it's really unparalleled.
What's more, we'll put a prediction on the table. The band has played San Francisco three times in the last year, at Rickshaw Stop, and Bottom of the Hill twice (once as opener, once headlining). We'd wager that the next year will be your last chance to catch these guys in small clubs. Once that second record drops and all hell breaks loose, it's gonna go bigger and bigger. We could be wrong, but don't say we didn't warn you.
Feedback In The Field
À L'orée Des Bois
New Kind Of Love
Bye Bye Bye
Many more pictures at the HAD Archive
For all our love of Broken Social Scene alumni projects here at HAD, Metric is probably the most neglected. We're not sure why that is exactly, except maybe that the Emily Haines-fronted band is probably lacking a big part of what we love about BSS. It's not that there's anything wrong with Metric (quite the contrary), but just that their sound is so accessible and electro that it's not really what we're looking for when our mind is driving towards that BSS sound.
That being said, we've definitely been in love with Haines' vocals since the BSS days, and we try to keep an eye on the band whenever they have something new coming down the wire. Such is the case these days, with their new record Fantasies. The band has released a full stream of the album, along with a video (above) for "Gimme Sympathy". The tunes (as you might guess) are pretty electro synthy, pretty catchy, and damn accessible. Not quite our cup of tea, but definitely worth giving a listen.
Stream: Metric - Fantasies
Monday, March 23, 2009
Now that Gorillaz have all but disbanded and Damon Albarn is firmly back with Blur, it seems like an opportune time to reminisce about the days gone by for the cartoon faux-band. As such, the online TV site Babelgum will be hosting a documentary about the band, entitled Gorillaz Go Bananaz.
The film will track the creation and proliferation of the band over the course of their albums and tours. From the looks of things, it will focus on Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett in the studio, on the road, and mucking about in general. Given the band's continuous insistence at their cartoon "identities", we have to admit that we're quite interested to catch a behind the scenes look. You can check out the trailer at Babelgum right now, with the full film debuting on April 20th.
Yes, for those of you watching at home, that's 4/20.
UPDATE: Now with embedded video trailer!
Last week, we stopped in at Bimbo's to catch a triple bill of Dan Auerbach, Hacienda, and Those Darlins. It proved to be a true triple bill in every sense of the word. The three bands combined to deliver a night of classic-tinged American rock and roll that definitely did not disappoint. What's more, the bill offered up full-on collaboration, with the bands joining in on each other's sets, and Hacienda playing backup for Auerbach's entire set.
Those Darlins started off the night with a rollicking set of country-rock. The girls were impressive, not only in their songwriting and performance, but also in their technical skill. They swapped instruments throughout the set, and each took her turn in the lead role of the group. What's more, their formidable performance managed to rope in an enthused crowd. They were far more attentive than any audience we've seen in quite a while.
Hacienda quickly followed up with an energetic set that felt like it was straight out of 1970's California. Put differently, it reminded us strongly of Being There era Wilco, minus Tweedy's droll delivery and lyrical wit. While the band wasn't exactly to our taste, we have to admit it was one of the tightest sets we've seen in a long time. Their instrumentation was dead solid, and they delivered their tunes with their hearts on their sleeve.
Given the tightness of Hacienda's playing, it shouldn't have really come as a surprise that the band returned to back Dan Auerbach. Auerbach's set had all the technique of Hacienda's, with the added bonus of Auerbach's blues guitar stylings, and a ton of exquisite lighting to boot. He delivered an unquestionably solid set of tunes from his solo record, but they seemed to lose a bit of their depth in the live environment. At the end of the day, it almost seemed as though the band (and Auerbach's) collective technical aptitude led to the songs being cleaned up and more uniform in their delivery.
As we headed home, the set left us a bit torn: on the one hand, all the bands were incredibly solid, and the show was unquestionably fun. Still, we had been expecting a set that departed a bit more from the Black Keys' material, and focused more on Auerbach's songwriting. Instead, we got a set that leaned strongly upon the players' blues, rock, and country backgrounds. Really, that's not a bad thing, just not necessarily what we expected. The fact of the matter is that if you're looking to catch a fantastic bluesy rock show, this is about as good as you're going to get.
Many more pictures at the HAD Archive
Word has just come over the wire that Elvis Costello is ramping up to release a new record, entitled Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, on June 2nd. The album, which is produced by T. Bone Burnett, is currently being billed as a largely acoustic affair, and given Costello's past output with Burnett, we're guessing that means a pretty big dose of country.
Costello has long been an advocate of the rock/country crossover, with albums such as Almost Blue and King Of America. What's more, he was already making his way back towards the country vibe with 2004's Delivery Man. We have to admit we're not terribly surprised to hear that he's decided to go whole hog with the acoustic/country vibe once more.
That being said, we're big fans of last year's Momofuku, and we had sort of been harboring this hope that Costello would continue (at least for a little while) to milk his garage rock roots. Then again, with Burnett's recent success at the Grammies, and his history with Costello (he produced King Of America and Spike), it probably seemed like the market was ripe to rev up the old country music show.
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane Tracklist:
Down Among The Wine And Spirits
I Felt The Chill
My All Time Doll
She Handed Me A Mirror
I Dreamed Of My Old Lover
How Deep Is The Red
She Was No Good"
Sulfur To Sugarcane
The Crooked Line
For those of you who had been hoping to catch The Moz this spring, but hadn't really gotten it together to check out his Friday night Coachella appearance, you're in luck. It's just been announced (okay, strongly rumored) that Morrissey will be playing Oakland's Paramount Theater on on April 18th.
That's the day after his big Coachella show (only Macca could keep the Moz from officially headlining...), and also the last day of his current North American tour. The tour is in support of his latest record Years Of Refusal, which we here at HAD have been digging quite a bit (more on that forthcoming). Needless to say, we're pretty stoked: it's looking to be an epic show at an epic venue.
No word on official ticket on sale as of yet, but we'll let you know as it arises.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Go forth! Explore! Enjoy!
Atlas Sound - Maybe Logic 7"
Atlas Sound - Holiday 7"
Atlas Sound - Amsterdam MIDI 7"
Atlas Sound - Things I'll Miss EP
Atlas Sound - Bored Dub 7"
Deerhunter - Fluorescent Grey Demos & Outtakes
Deerhunter - Cryptograms Mixtape
We're not usually much for EPs that cram themselves full of unneeded remixes and then try to bill themselves as being full of "new" material. That being said, we somehow find ourselves more than willing to accommodate the new Oasis EP and 12" for "Falling Down".
For one, you get the demo version of the title track, and for another you get the unreleased B-Side "Those Swollen Hand Blues". Typically, that alone would be enough to convince us of the purchase. Oasis demos and b-sides are, frankly, as good as their full records. However, the releases also contain a number of remixes, about one of which Noel Gallagher has indicated "All superlatives will apply". Frankly, that's enough to get us to listen.
Apparently not wanting to come off too strong as trying to make a buck, the band is also dropping some tasty free content as well. They've released a video for "Falling Down" (above), and released a free live album in the UK, featuring a whole bunch of live Noel solo tracks. We're a bit partial to Noel's vocals, so this one is must have for us as well.
If you're curious about the new B-Side, you can check out the link below. Stereogum name checked the Beatles on first listen, but we're a bit more inclined to reference solo Lennon. Sure, Oasis Beatles' love is always out there on their collective sleeves, but this track just seems a bit more stripped down in a way that reminds us far more of Plastic Ono Band. Give a listen, let us know what you think.
mp3: Oasis - Those Swollen Hand Blues (zShare, click through)
We mentioned a while back that Grand Lake is ramping up to a busy release week for their EP Nevermint. Well, next week the event will be upon us with three nights (3/26 - 3/28) of consecutive gigs at Amoeba, Lobot, and the Hemlock. It's a veritable Bay Area tour! We're really digging the EP, and it's having some definite staying power on our playlist. That being said, we're always psyched for new content.
We were glad to see that the band has shot another video for the record, this time for the lead off track "Concrete Blonde On Blonde". The video is something of a day-trip through the hills and highways of Oakland, and uses a combination of stop motion photography and tilt shift technique. Put differently: it's just a really cool video. Check it out (above) right now, and get yourself psyched up for next week!
mp3: Grand Lake - Concrete Blonde On Blonde (YouSendIt, click through)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We haven't heard from Vampire Weekend in a while, so we were psyched to see that they stopped in over at Jimmy Fallon's show to drop a new track on the unsuspecting masses. Frontman Ezra Koenig was all dolled up in red fleece, and conspicuously without guitar. Meanwhile, the band enlisted a string section for what seems to be becoming a standard addition to their live televnision appearances.
As for the song, well, we'd say that it's pretty par-for-the-course VW: Koenig breaks out some of the falsetto vocals, and the pseudo-African rhythms are in full effect. That being said, the song seems to lack something in the rock department, being far more of a lilting stroll through Koenig's melodic turns of fancy. Granted, it's easy on the ears, but we're hoping the band will dig up something a bit more edgy when their second record comes to fruition. Check out the video above.
That level of interest is pretty apparent in a new interview that surfaced yesterday. In it, the author asks Tweedy some pretty insightful questions, and gets a decent amount of information on the Seven Worlds Collide project ("a lot of cross pollination"), the upcoming Wilco album ("precise wilderness"), and the Ashes Of American Flags DVD ("the ways this band does and doesn’t fit into certain landscapes"). In a year that is looking to be pretty Wilco-heavy come summertime, we're psyched to get the ball rolling. Head over to GQ and check it out now.
Atlas Sound is the side project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, and we would argue that it's probably compelling enough to not even warrant the "side" moniker. While the band tends to be a bit more abstract and ambient than Deerhunter, the compositions are equally compelling in their capacity for creativity and the unique textures that Cox manages to generate in every tune.
Given that, we were psyched to discover on the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound/Lotus Plaza blog that Cox has just released a free Atlas Sound digital single entitled "Solo, Or The Square". The A-Side is an awesome synth driven number with a hypnotically repetitive lead line plinking away under Cox's layered vocals and handclaps. The B-Side, "Memorial Corridor", gives the impression of being a somewhat staticky/droney number until about half way through, when it breaks out into a painfully catchy acoustic-driven melody. Them's some tasty tunes.
You really can't get a better deal than free, and these tunes are awesome to boot! Check it out now...
mp3: Atlas Sound - Solo, Or The Square Digital Single (MediaFire, click through)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
If you happened to miss (like we, sadly, did) John Vanderslice's recent show at the Great American, you may still be able to get yourself a taste of the man's music in this calendar year. In short, it looks like it's going to be a busy spring for Mr.Vanderslice. The San Francisco native has a new record, Romanian Names, and a spring tour with the Mountain Goats. After the tour wraps up, Vanderslice will be returning home to San Francisco for a record release party for the new album at the Rickshaw Stop. The show will also apparently feature a "special guest" - any ideas? Tickets are on sale now
In the meantime, you can check out the video above for a new tune that was played at Great American, "Too Much Time", live with the Magick*Magick Orchestra. Once you're done with that, click below to see Romanian Names' title track played live at KEXP (we love the chorus on this one!).
Video: John Vanderslice - Romanian Names (Live On KEXP)
John Vanderslice Spring 2009 Dates:
Mar 18, 2009 - Ashville, NC The Grey Eagle *
Mar 19, 2009 - Durham, NC Duke Coffee House *
Mar 20, 2009 - Norfolk, VA Attucks Theater *
Mar 21, 2009 - Washington, DC Sixth and I Synagogue *
Mar 24, 2009 - Northampton, MA Pearl Street *
Mar 25, 2009 - Somerville, MA Somerville Theater *
Mar 26, 2009 - Hamilton, NY Donovan's Pub - Colgate University *
Mar 27, 2009 - New York, NY Society For Ethical Culture *
Mar 29, 2009 - Gambier, OH Kenyon College *
Mar 30, 2009 - Oberlin, OH Oberlin College *
Apr 1, 2009 - Chicago, IL Epiphany *
Apr 2, 2009 - Champaign, ILCourtyard Cafe - University of IL *
Apr 3, 2009 - Iowa City, LA The Mill *
Apr 4, 2009 - Richmond, IN Earlham College *
Apr 6, 2009 - Bloomington, IN Buskirk-Chumley Theater *
May 19, 2009 - San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop
May 21, 2009 - Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
May 22, 2009 - Seattle, WA Easy Street Records
May 24, 2009 - Quincy, WA Sasquatch Festival
May 27, 2009 - Provo, UT Velour
May 28, 2009 - Salt Lake City , UT Kilby Court
May 30, 2009 - Omaha, NE Slow Down
* with Mountain Goats
If you weren't prepared to shell out for a Fillmore show, or if St. Patrick's Day just won out on your priority list, well, you're in luck. Brian Jonestown Massacre, who are opening for Primal Scream at the Fillmore tonight, have added a date tomorrow night at the Independent. Tickets are on-sale now, and bound to go quickly. Get them while they're hot!
mp3: Brian Jonestown Massacre - Telegram
Lissy Trullie Spring 2009 Dates:
Mar 18 Wichita Showcase @ Red 7 (SXSW) Austin
Mar 19 Schubas Day Party @ Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery (SXSW) Austin
Mar 19 Levi’s/Fader Fort (SXSW) Austin
Mar 21 Anorak London/ Moshi Moshi Day Party @ Lamberts (SXSW) Austin
Mar 26 yOyO @ Notting Hill Arts Club London
Mar 27 Push @ Bar Rumba London
Mar 30 L’Elysee Montmartre Paris
Mar 31 MTV Staying Alive @ Hoxton B&K London
Apr 1 The Social London
Apr 7 Khyber Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 8 Rock n Roll Hotel Washington DC
Apr 9 Union Hall Brooklyn, New York
May 11 Bluebird Theater w/ The Virgins Denver, Colorado
May 12 Kilby Court Gallery w/ The Virgins Salt Lake City, Utah
May 14 Chop Suey w/ The Virgins Seattle, Washington
May 15 Biltmore Cabaret w/ The Virgins Vancouver, British Columbia
May 16 The Wonder Ballroom w/ The Virgins Portland, Oregon
May 18 Harlow’s w/ The Virgins Sacramento, California
May 20 Great American Music Hall w/ The Virgins San Francisco, California
May 21 El Rey Theatre w/ The Virgins Los Angeles, California
May 22 Belly Up Tavern w/ The Virgins Solana Beach, California
May 23 Beauty Bar w/ The Virgins Las Vegas, Nevada
May 26 The Loft w/ The Virgins Dallas, Texas
May 27 Emo’s Alternative Lounge w/ The Virgins Austin, Texas
May 28 Rudyards w/ The Virgins Houston, Texas
May 30 Alabama Music Box w/ The Virgins Mobile, Alabama
Jun 1 The Social w/ The Virgins Orlando, Florida
mp3: Lissy Trullie - Boy Boy
mp3: The Virgins - Rich Girls
Monday, March 16, 2009
Next week sees the release of the notorious Peter Doherty's first solo album, Grace/Wastelands. However, all things being equal, the event does beg the question, what exactly is a Peter Doherty "solo" record. After all, Doherty was a major (if not the major) force behind the Libertines, and Babyshambles are undoubtedly wholly and completely driven by Doherty's creative impulse. It would seem, to the casual observer, that Doherty's solo impulse has already been fulfilled and then some. Luckily for Doherty and his new record, such is not the case.
So what exactly does Grace/Wastelands offer up that Doherty's collaborative efforts have not? In short, intimacy. To those familiar with Doherty's demo recordings (which yielded some of the songs found here), the record's feel will be immediately recognizable. The songs have an immediacy and a lyrical focus that surpasses any of Doherty's previous group work. They are more about storytelling and narrative than they are about rock and roll chaos, more about the singer and the song than they are about the band.
That being said, it would be easy to make a record that was essentially a carbon copy of Doherty's demos, with nicer mics, and better mastering. This record is most certainly not that. Between Stephen Street's production and Graham Coxon additional guitar work, the record gains character and depth that gives new life to Doherty's demos. The album opener "Arcadie" is a foray into an country-folk vibe, all warm guitars and bouncy rhythms. "A Little Death Around" the eyes almost has the feel of a Doherty-penned Bond theme. "Sweet By And By" is reminiscent of McCartney's forays into honkytonk, and "Sheepskin Tearaway" is probably the sweetest ballad Doherty's ever written. In many ways, after many listens the album's most obvious rockers, "Last Of The English Roses" and "Through The Looking Glass", are arguably the record's least necessary tracks.
For the past few years, largely driven by press controversy and Doherty's own behavior, there has been a looming question about what Peter Doherty was offering to the world of music. Some found themselves proclaiming him a genius, while others saw him as the sprawling product of a media and fame obsessed British press. We're guessing that Grace/Wastelands will serve to silence the critics. The record is an expertly subtle exploration into Doherty's songwriting, and it offers up many artful moments of lyric and melody. What's more, the record solidifies Doherty as an artist: he delivers the songs with a practiced grace and control. Chaos is completely absent here, and instead we are delivered a fantastic bunch of songs that say without compromise that Peter Doherty is here to stay.
Grace/Wastelands drops on March 24th, and is streaming in full at Doherty's MySpace page.
Stream: Peter Doherty - Grace/Wastelands
mp3: The Blacks - Raincoat
We're huge fans of Dan Bejar's non-New Pornographers project, Destroyer, so we were more than a little psyched when we heard that Bejar would be doing a small solo tour this spring. We were even more psyched when we discovered that two of the tours four dates will be right here in San Francisco, at Cafe Du Nord and the Swedish American Music Hall.
While many of Bejar's arrangements can be sprawling and intricate, his songwriting also bears an intimacy and lyricality that certainly makes it an apt choice for the solo show format. Combine that with the fact that we've never seen a Bejar live performance and, well, you can bet we'll be there. Tickets are on-sale now here, and here.
Dan Bejar (Destroyer) Spring 2009 Dates
04.18.2009 Bloomington, IN Indiana University
05.06.2009 Seattle, WA Crocodile Cafe
05.08.2009 San Francisco, CA Cafe du Nord
05.09.2009 San Francisco, CA Swedish American Hall
mp3: Destroyer - Rubies
Friday, March 13, 2009
- Dan Auerbach (Black Keys), Hacienda, Those Darlins @ Bimbo's
- The Von Bondies @ Bottom Of The Hill
- Blow Up Dance Night @ The Rickshaw Stop
- Plants And Animals @ Bottom Of The Hill
- The Pretenders @ The Fillmore
- Bootie Dance Night @ DNA Lounge
- Kurt Vile @ Amnesia
- And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead... @ Slim's
- The Pretenders @ The Fillmore
- Simian Mobile Disco @ Mezzanine
We have to admit, we're a bit disappointed. Once you get to a stadium-level show, there is, to some extent, no way to make that show intimate. It might be a spectacle, it might be an amazing performance, but there's no way to get someone sitting a football field away from you (and then some) to feel that involved in the show.
Which is why we find ourselves secretly longing for the Spring of 2001, when U2 were at the low of their popularity, and were forced to do a North American arena tour. While arenas (generally basketball venues) are still large, they're just small enough that they managed to find U2's grandiose stage show become intimate enough to envelope the entire venue. Those shows were truly magical - to get a taste, check out Live From Boston - it really captures the vibe well.
Sadly (depending how you look at it), the band has unquestionably reestablished their popularity in the past eight years. As such, they are back on the stadium circuit that was the hallmark of the Zoo TV and Pop tours. Yes, we get it: there are more fans, and more money to be made, and all the other things that go along with being the "best band in the world", but we're still bummed. What can we say - we like our rock and roll up close and personal, not on a jumbotron.
That being said, we're not really ready to relinquish the U2 live experience. You can bet we'll be there, stadium or otherwise. The band has just announced their tour for No Line On The Horizone - entitled "The 360 Degree" tour. The tour features an innovative 360 degree visibility stage design, that apparently creates no obstructed views. That's something, at least.
They'll be summering in Europe, and then hitting the Eastern US in the Fall, with more dates to come. Stadiumtastic all the way, boys.
U2 2009 360 Degree Tour:
30-JUNE - BARCELONA, SP - NOU CAMP
07-JULY - MILAN, IT - SAN SIRO
11-JULY - PARIS, FR - STADE DE FRANCE
15-JULY - NICE, FR - PARC CHARLES EHRMANN
18-JULY - BERLIN, DE - OLYMPIC STADIUM
20-JULY - AMSTERDAM, NL - ArenA
24-JULY - DUBLIN, IE - CROKE PARK
31-JULY - GOTHENBURG, SE - ULLEVI
06-AUG. - CHORZOW, PL - SLASKI STADIUM
10-AUG. - ZAGREB, HR - MAKSIMIR STADIUM
14-AUG. - LONDON, UK - WEMBLEY STADIUM
18-AUG. - GLASGOW, UK - HAMPDEN PARK
20-AUG. - SHEFFIELD, UK - DON VALLEY STADIUM
22-AUG. - CARDIFF, UK - MILLENNIUM STADIUM
12-SEPT. - CHICAGO, IL - SOLDIER FIELD
16-SEPT. - TORONTO, ON - THE ROGERS CENTRE
20-SEPT. - BOSTON, MA - GILLETTE STADIUM
24-SEPT. - NEW YORK, NY - GIANTS STADIUM
It's no secret that we love live music around here, and a lot of times our perspective on a given band is almost entirely defined by the live experience. Sure, there's a lot to be said for making great records, but if you can't bring that greatness to the live environment, then it certainly loses something for us. That being said, the reverse can also be true. A record that might not grab us right away can really gain a new foothold after an amazing live experience. It's happened to us with Radiohead with Kid A and U2 with All That You Can't Leave Behind, just to name a couple. This week, it definitely happened with An Horse.
We had been marinating on the Australian duo's upcoming record Arrange Beds for a while here. While it certainly is an enjoyable record, it didn't manage to rope us in for the fully-addicted-to-this-record-and-cannot-stop level of interest. Still, it delivered enough that we had that innate vibe of "it's got potential". So on Tuesday, when we saw that the band was going to be on Letterman, we decided to stay up past our bedtimes and see what the band had to offer. We're extremely glad we did.
On the show, the band played the first track from their upcoming record, entitled "Camp Out". On the record, the track is a rocker with a steady beat, and an easy going vocal. In the live environment, however, the whole delivery is kicked up a notch. The drums were more aggressive and urgent, the guitar more chunky and distorted, and the vocals more stained with blatant vitriol. The performance was very, very good.
And therein lies the interesting part about live performance: now when we head back to the record, we can hear all those pieces that drew us into it. They were certainly always there, but it took the forthright live delivery to "wake up" the recognition in our brain. There can be little doubt that the live experience hold a huge amount of value, but it's always nice to see it validated in such a direct and real way.
So being that we were so stoked up by An Horse's live performance, you've got to be wondering when you can catch that live show, right? Well, you're in luck: the band is mounting a North American tour that started in Canada last night. Check the dates below - we'll be seeing you at Hotel Utah!
Meanwhile, you can check out the Letterman vid above.
An Horse Spring 2009 Dates:
12 Guelph, ONT University of Guelph
13 Toronto, ONT Canadian Music Week - Tranzac
15 Chicago, IL The Abbey
16 Covington, KY Mad Hatter
18 Austin, TX SXSW - Maggie Mae's (mindnight)
19 Austin, TX SXSW - Friends on 6th (1:30pm)
19 Austin, TX SXSW - Red River (4:30pm)
21 Austin, TX SXSW - Emo's JR. (9:00pm)
24 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex
25 San Francisco, CA Hotel Utah
26 Portland, OR Lola's
27 Seattle, WA The Vera Project
9 Nashville, TN The End
10 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
11 Orlando, FL Back Booth
12 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits
13 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
14 Washington, DC DC9
17 Poughkeepsie, NY The Polish Club
18 New York, NY The Mercury Lounge (7:00 PM)
18 New York, NY The Mercury Lounge (10:00 PM)
19 Hamden, CT The Space
20 Boston, MA Middle East
22 Mt. Pleasant, MI Rubbles
24 Columbia, MO Mojos
25 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
Rearrange Beds is out March 17th on Mom & Pop Music
Picture from the HAD Archive
Given all that, we were psyched to hear that the band has a new record entitled Eats Darkness set to drop on May 19th. What's more, the band has released an initial mp3 from the record for your listening pleasure. If there's a tour announcement, it'll be a musical awesomeness trifecta!
The mp3, entitled "Perfect Fit", is definitely one of the more abstract entries into the Apostle catalog - the vocals are more spoken than sung, and the arrangement is a sparse percussion/bass combo, with other blips and bloops weaving their way throughout the tune. To be frank, it reminds us more than a little of some Think Tank era Blur, and that's definitely a good thing. More than anything, it seems that Whiteman and crew are definitely pushing the artistic and creative envelope - we can't wait to hear what that means for the whole record!
mp3: Apostle Of Hustle - Perfect Fit
Thursday, March 12, 2009
David Byrne Continues "Songs Of David Byrne And Brian Eno" Tour, Greek Theater In June, Presale Today
We're pretty sure you already know our opinion on Byrne's live show, but just in case there's any uncertainty: it is completely and totally killer. The man simply commands an audience live, and in a venue like the Greek, well, we can't even really imagine. We'll just tell you this: make sure you get there. There's a presale starting at ten - and a full on-sale after that. The password is apparently either "today" or "overtones", so take your pick and see what works for you. Good luck!
David Byrne Summer 2009 US Dates:
June 1 Shelburne, VT The Green at Shelburne Museum
June 3 Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theatre
June 5 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center
June 12 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival
June 14 Dallas, TX The Majestic Theatre
June 18 Telluride, CO Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 20 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 24 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre
June 26 Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre-U.C. Berkeley
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
God Is Saying This To You...
Mexican Summer Records, 2009
We wait around for records like this; seriously, we do. Records that are so ridiculously organic and unified with their storytelling that they immediately become a part of your life. Records that have an innate sense of pop sensibility, yet still manage to push the boundries of sonic experimentation in a way that both challenges the ear, and creates something undeniably new at the same time. In short, records that define their creators as true innovators and disciples of the art of making music.
God Is Saying This To You... is a record that begs to be listened to in its entirety. Even though it's apparently cobbled together from various sources in Vile's past, the record's patches of ambient soundscape attach seamlessly to the more traditionally structured songs. At the same time, "traditional" is probably a bit of a stretch for even the most accessible bits of the record. The mixes are peppered with atmospheric sounds, and jump across the stereo spectrum. While some of the guitar work is rhythmic, and possibly even folky, it manages to fuel percussive elements that give the songs a flavor that transcends any possibility of folkiness as soon as it starts.
That flavor is furthered by Vile on the record's many instrumental tracks. His forays into electric guitar undoubtedly recall the qualities of artists that many would not hesitate to call experimental. The final track, "Frip Job", even name checks it's unquestionable influence. These tracks serve not only to illustrate the breadth of Vile's talent, but also to emphasize the subtlety with which Vile manages to inject his experimental bent into the album's non-instrumental tracks.
At the end of the day, it is truly that non-instrumental songwriting that manages to make this record so very, very enjoyable. While the experimental elements give the record an uncanny uniqueness and character, the songwriting allows that uniqueness to exist without seeming frivolous or empty. Vile has an unquestionable gift for melody, and delivers lyrics that convey a certain inherent melancholy. At the same time, they offer the sense of an individual who has transcended that melancholy and is observing from an objective perch.
Suffice it to say, God Is Saying This To You... has been steadfastly lodged in our playlist for the better part of a month, and isn't going anywhere soon. Vile's songwriting is not only innovative and fresh, it's also painfully addictive. It's one of those records that reaches the end, and you simply find yourself hitting play again, even when you feel like it would be far more sensible to do otherwise. What's more, we find ourselves more than a little eager to catch Vile live: his recordings have an intimacy that we imagine can only more pronounced in a live setting. Luckily, we only have a little less than a week to wait, and we'll be catching Vile here in San Francisco. We suggest you do the same.
God Is Saying This To You... is available as part of the Mexican Summer record club.
Kurt Vile Spring 2009 Dates:
Mar 11 2009 Kenton Club Portland, Oregon
Mar 12 2009 Sonic Boom Records Seattle, Washington
Mar 12 2009 the Josephine Seattle, Washington
Mar 15 2009 Amnesia San Francisco, California
Mar 16 2009 echo curio Los Angeles, California
Mar 19 2009 Club 1808 Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 House Show Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 the Moose Lodge Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 the Music Gym Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 Woodsist Austin, Texas
Mar 22 2009 beerland Austin, Texas