Sunday, December 24, 2006

Arcade Fire: A Reason to Go to NYC

Like we fucking needed one. Anyways, five nights. Judson Memorial Church. Tickets on sale January 5th. From Billboard:

The Arcade Fire will play a Feb. 13-17 stand at Judson Memorial Church near New York's Washington Square in advance of the March release of its next Merge album, Neon Bible. Tickets go on sale Jan. 5 and are limited to two per person.[Billboard]

TV On The Radio Return to 9:30 Club

For two dates in April, TV On The Radio will be performing at the 9:30 Club. We will be at both shows because they are just that good. Here are their plans for the Spring:

Mar 1 Lupos Providence, Rhode Island
Mar 3 Olympia Theater Montreal, Quebec
Mar 4 Koolhaus Toronto, Ontario
Mar 6 Agora Ballroom Cleveland, Ohio
Mar 7 Newport Music Hall Columbus, Ohio
Mar 8 Vogue Indianapolis, Indiana
Mar 9 Browns Theatre Louisville, Kentucky
Mar 9 Firestone Orlando, Florida
Mar 10 Blue Note Columbia, Missouri
Mar 12 Metro Chicago, Illinois
Mar 13 Metro Chicago, Illinois
Mar 17 Harrah's Voodoo Lounge Kansas City, Missouri
Mar 19 Ogden Denver, Colorado
Mar 20 Urban Lounge Salt lake City, Utah
Mar 23 Roseland Portland, Oregon
Mar 24 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, British Columbia
Mar 25 Moore Theatre Seattle, Washington
Mar 28 Fillmore San Francisco, California
Mar 29 Fillmore San Francisco, California
Mar 30 Henry Fonda Hollywood, California
Mar 31 Henry Fonda Hollywood, California
Apr 1 Belly Up Solana Beach, California
Apr 4 Gypsy Ballroom Dallas, Texas
Apr 5 La Zona Rosa Austin, Texas
Apr 6 Meridian Houston, Texas
Apr 9 Firestone Orlando, Florida
Apr 10 Culture Room Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Apr 12 40 Watt Club Athens, Georgia
Apr 13 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, Georgia
Apr 17 Norva Norfolk, Virginia
Apr 18 930 Club Washington DC, Washington DC
Apr 19 930 Club Washington DC, Washington DC
Apr 21 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, New York

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Shows for '07; Best Shows of '06

I've been sulking over the last few weeks and it's because I've had no live shows on the calendar to look forward to in the new year. And then everything changed in the last 24 hours. I've just picked up tickets to see new UK buzz band, The View @ Mercury Lounge on 1/3. This is a DIY Scottish band that has been linked to ultimate fuck up Pete Doherty. They've since been getting a lot of play on BBC and their debut album comes out in the UK on January 22nd. I'll go in with low expectations and hopefully leave pleasantly surprised. Also on the books, Peter Bjorn and John, who are somewhat surprisingly doing two shows at Mercury Lounge on 1/29 and 1/30. By now, I hope you have all heard "Young Folks." It was on Grey's Anatomy after all...(that's intended to be sarcastic but seriously best pop song of the year?) Lastly, the best news of all, The Thermals will be doing two headlining dates on the East Coast (w/ the Big Sleep). Tickets go on sale Friday at noon (at least for NYC).

Mar 2 - Black Cat Washington, DC
Mar 4 - Bowery Ballroom New York, NY

And just like that, bands representing two of my favorite albums from '06 kicking things off right in '07.

With that, I thought I'd list my favorite shows of 2006:

1. Editors @ Mercury Lounge (Jan. 20): I don't know one person, blogger, etc. in attendance who wasn't floored by this performance. I had been listening to their album for quite some time but that's a different band. Simply, the most jaw dropping live performance I've probably ever seen and I shared that experience with about 200 people.

2. Muse @ Hammerstein / SSPU @ Mercury (Aug. 3): There are a collection of bands that can rightfully claim to be the best live band in the world today. Muse currently holds that title. Jumping in a cab and rushing to see SSPU at Mercury made the night that much more memorable.

3. Pearl Jam/MMJ @ Continental (Jun. 3): Any Pearl Jam live appearance is going to count as one of the best of the year. They're my favorite band and the benchmark for any rock band trying to make the jump to arenas. Oh and MMJ is no slouch, they get it.

4. Wolfmother @ Northsix (Feb. 19): Watching this band grow into something huge and knowing that InMyTree and I saw them before it all went down.

5. Radiohead/The Black Keys @ MSG Theater (Jun. 14): No need for explanation

JT is the Man: "A Special Christmas Box"

Funniest Digital Short since "Young Chuck Norris". I've watched this about ten times today. There is something about Andy Samberg channeling Color Me Badd on top of a basketball hoop that rips me up every time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bilal @ Black Cat in January

Bilal - "Fast Lane" (ft. Dr. Dre & Jadakiss)

Black Cat, DC
$22 Mainstage, 9:00 PM, Tickets

From Wikipedia:

"Bilal (born Bilal Sayeed Oliver on August 23, 1979, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) is a neo soul musician and member of the musical collective known as Soulquarians. In 2001, his debut album - 1st Born Second - was released on the Interscope record label."
I couldn't remember why I recognized this name when I saw it at the Black Cat's website. Then it hit me. "The 6th Sense". My favorite track off of one of my favorite albums of all time (he also appears on "Funky For You"): Common's Like Water for Chocolate. Turns out that Common's album wasn't the only place that Bilal was residing in my iPod. What a fucking voice. Jesus.


MP3: Clipse (ft. Bilal) - "Nightmares"
MP3: Common (ft. Bilal) - "The 6th Sense"
MP3: Pete Kuzma (ft. Bilal) - "High and Dry" (Radiohead Cover)

From the Bargain Bin @ Tower Records

The $85 photo. Get some. God only knows what retail would have been.

From The Knife's Silent Shout. $4.80.
MP3: The Knife - "Like A Pen"

From Film School's "On & On" CD-EP. $.50.
MP3: Film School - "February"

B-side from LCD Soundsystem's Disco Infiltrator CD-Single. $.50.
MP3: LCD Soundsystem - "Slowdive" (Xfm Session)

From Exit Music, a Radiohead tribute album. $3.80.
MP3: RJD2 - "Airbag" (Radiohead Cover)

B-side from TV On The Radio's Staring at the Sun CD-Single. $.80.
MP3: TV On The Radio - "Freeway"


!Forward, Russia!, Snowden @ Black Cat, 12.16.06

!Forward, Russia!


This past Saturday might have marked the last show of the Metro D calendar year. Snowden brought the melody and the beauty (Corinne Lee) while !Forward Russia! turned the energy up to 11 and never looked back.

Snowden had me at "Anti-Anti" (the first track I caught) and it wasn't because of the wire-tight melodies or Corinne Lee's show-stealing rock posture stage right. They just bring it. Great songs steeped in energy and conviction came to life throughout their set. Several songs took on new meaning for me and let's just say that JK wasn't lying when he said I would be digging the vibe. While I wasn't completely floored by the album on first listen months ago, they have definitely grown on me. The live performance brought some new perspective on previously avoided tracks and on repeat listens I am drawn into their fold, impressed and glad I made it out on Saturday. We were close to throwing in the towel after a stop at a Christmas party, but the effort proved fruitful. It didn't hurt that I slammed about five solo cups of holiday punch at aforementioned party. Delicious drink. Godforsaken hangover.

The danger with !Forward, Russia! lies in the comparisons they elicit. People start throwing bands like At the Drive-In and Bloc Party out there and it doesn't fit. Similar approach? Perhaps. Peers? Doubtful. While Tom Woodhead threatens to strangle himself with the mic cord throughout the set, I am never truly afraid of the possibility. Anyone who has seen Cedric Bixler-Zavala (of ATDI and The Mars Volta) live knows that anything is possible. If he ever wrapped a mic cord around his neck I would be afraid. Very, very afraid. His presence and stage activity is equal parts chaotic, disturbing and frightening. This isn't to say that !Forward Russia! doesn't bring the dance punk and bring it well. They do. The energy and furor they bring to each track is riveting and fun in its own right. But let's keep it in persective. None of the tracks echo Bloc Party's "Banquet" or even Franz Ferdinand's finest. But they do make you move and keep you wanting more. The matching t-shirts with the two lane highway of exclamation points is an added bonus, of course, as are the songs with actual names instead of numbers. At the end of the night, Snowden had stolen the show, but I left impressed and looking forward to a new album, which !Forward, Russia! gave us a taste of during their 50 minute set.


MP3: !Forward, Russia! - "Nine" (Moons of Neptune Remix)
MP3: Snowden - "Like Bullets"
MP3: Snowden - "Counterfeit Rules"

Video: U2 - "Window in the Skies"

The household is divided like this: Pearl Jam is my favorite band that I will love to the death and U2 is the First Lady's favorite band that she will love to the death. I make cracks about Bono wearing sunglasses all the time. First Lady defends his eye condition. First Lady cracks on me being all of 26 years old and being a member of Ten Club and I crack on Bono running around on a heart-shaped stage. So when we left the Verizon Center this year, following her indoctrination into the Pearl Jam live experience, and walked to a cab, I had to ask her. She saw U2 several months prior, at the same venue (in the owner's box no less) and loved it. But I had to know. In her opinion, who is better live? Maybe it was the rush of the show. Maybe it was the afterglow of being in the presence of greatness and seeing your loved one explode with other members of the Ten Club when the opening bars of "Release" kicked off the experience. Maybe that is what made it great for her. I can buy that. But there's no changing her answer: "Pearl Jam. By far." In Eddie we trust.

Last night we were in a similar afterglow. We had just purchased a new car, something we had been holding out on for a long time. I was happy because it was a Passat (a 2002 Passat saved my life and my friend's life about 4 years ago, and I still own it), and well, because the First Lady was happy. We settled down for some TV. Now, I am not a big TV guy, I have my shows and I stick to them, so it is a rare moment where I am flipping around. But we settle on some "Rob & Big" on MTV and well, I have to admit, that shit is pretty funny ("do work"). I notice during the ads that a new U2 video is premiering. The idea of a video premiere is slightly humorous to me, mainly because, as you can see, this shit was on YouTube three days ago. Premiere my ass. But it was the first time I was seeing it. I get pretty psyched during the previews because it looks like an extended version of that scene in Vanilla Sky where Cruise's life flashes before his eyes (starts around 2:50) only it is all music clips, no stills.

I start talking it up a little bit and the First Lady is laughing. "Why are you so excited about U2?" She's ribbing me, talking a little shit and I like that.

The video is what videos should aspire to be: an experience. They aren't changing the world with it, but it is something new. It is enjoyable with repeat views (I have watched it five times today). It goes to show you why U2 is still around today. They simply continue to adapt and morph and make great music that people can relate to. There is a touch of Johnny Cash's "Hurt" but it isn't a personal retrospective. It is an homage to musicians and legends, young and old. It closes with Frank Sinatra closing a song and walking towards the camera. I get goosebumps at that point, because I know the impact Sinatra has left on Edge and Bono.

In a recent taping of David Stewart's "Off the Record" on HBO, Bono related a great story about Sinatra. They were hanging out in New York during a recording session where Sinatra joined Bono on vocals. In between sessions, they were at a restaurant late one night drinking (Bono made a point to say that Sinatra drank them under the table) and during a lull in a conversation Sinatra looked down at his napkin and under his breath said "my eyes used to be that blue." Bono's description of that moment is beautiful, and to a certain extent the interview that night gave me a glipse into the heart of a guy that is often the butt of my jokes, and allowed me to understand him a little bit more and appreciate his work and vision. U2, whether you like them or not, are a special band and Bono is a special individual. This video - this homage to music in all its forms - is a remarkable trip. The way the lyrics blend with other people singing their songs, the way Bono and Edge and Adam Clayton find themselves mingling in the crowd is a beautiful reminder that they aren't just rock stars. They are fans, too. Give it a look...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kaiser Chiefs Coming Back to the States

Next in line for "[insert British buzz band] set to release second album," the Kaiser Chiefs will be returning to North America for a quick tour (more dates coming?) to once again prove their worthiness. Response to this band is always going to vary greatly but I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed their live performance last year.

Judging by the capacity of these venues (in parentheses), the band are confident that I'm not the only one awaiting their return.

April 13 - New York: Roseland Ballroom (3500)
April 18 - Toronto: Kool Haus (2200)
April 20 - Chicago: Vic Theatre (1300)
April 27 - San Francisco: Warfield Theatre (1500)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Last Days at Tower Records

For those of you with a Tower Records in a nearby vacinity, it may be worth stopping by for one last look. The one in my neighborhood is closing in less than a week and they're practically giving cds away at this point. The pickings may be slim but those with patience and some extra time on their hands will find some decent selections left. I picked up Rogue Wave's Descended Like Vultures, The Futureheads' News and Tributes ($2), and Sound Team's Work EP for a grand total of 8 bucks. As InMyTree would say, Get Some.

MP3: Rogue Wave - "Publish My Love"
MP3: The Futureheads - "Back to the Sea"
MP3: Sound Team - "It's Obvious What's Happening Here"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Grizzly Bear Tour: Black Cat, March 4

[Photo Credit]
Grizzly Bear is one of those bands that gets a ton of hype on blogs. The live show, apparently, continues to outdo itself. According to some, the album is 2006 Top Twenty material [nialler9 - #18, - Top Ten, Stylus - A-, Pitchfork - 8.7, Tapes 'N Tapes - #7]. I just caught up with these guys this year, so I am somewhat of a novice with their haunting, soft sound.

I also can't speak with much authority on the live show, although we were close. We were supposed to see them open up for TV On The Radio, something band-related happened to them, they weren't able to make it and Celebration took care of the opening slot.

I feel like I am cramming right now, because there are still about 5 or 6 albums that I need to listen to before this year is out. Yellow House, the second full-length album from Grizzly Bear is one of them. It has received too much critical praise for me to pass it up. That said, another opportunity to catch these guys live is coming up. Check out the dates below...


MP3: Grizzly Bear - "On a Neck, on a Spit"
MP3: Grizzly Bear - "Knife"
MP3: Grizzly Bear - "Deep Sea Diver"

2/1 - Philadelphia PA -- Johnny Brenda's*
2/2 - Boston, MA -- Museum Of Fine Arts*
2/3 - Northampton, MA -- Iron Horse*
2/4 - Montreal, QUE -- Main Hall*
2/5 - Ottawa, ON -- Barrymore's*
2/6 - Toronto, ON -- Lee's Palace*
2/8 - Ann Arbor, MI -- Blind Pig*
2/9 - Chicago, IL -- Subterranean*
2/10 - Minneapolis, MN -- 7th St Entry*
2/11 - Iowa City -- The Picador*
2/13 - Denver, CO -- Larimer Lounge
2/14 - Salt Lake City, UT-- Kilby Court
2/16 - Seattle, WA -- Neumo's^
2/17 - Vancouver, BC -- Plaza Club^
2/18 - Portland,OR -- Mission Theatre^
2/20 - San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall^
2/21 - Los Angeles, CA -- Troubadour^
2/23 - Tucson, AZ -- Plush^
2/24 - Marfa, TX -- Ballroom Marfa^
2/26 - Norman, OK -- Opolis^
2/27 - Dallas, TX -- Club Dada^
2/28 - Austin, TX -- Emo's Jr^
3/1 - Baton Rouge, LA -- Chelsea's^
3/2 - Atlanta, GA -- Drunken Unicorn^
3/3 - Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506^
3/4 - Washington DC -- Black Cat^
3/6 - New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom^

* with Dirty Projectors
^ with Papercuts

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Konichiwa, Mr. Matsuzaka

[Photo Credit]

Start dusting off your old Johnny Damon home jerseys. Provided, of course, that you didn't burn them in effigy last December. Or use them as toilet paper. Or shoot them. Or tape them to a claymore. That's right, 6 days off of the anniversary of JD's departure to the Evil Empire and we just signed the hottest thing outta Japan since Boris and he's gonna be rocking the 1-8. The up-to-date e-mails to JK at 6 AM, the hovering over's Extra Bases and the all-out fear of entering the season without a bona fide fifth starter is over. Dice, dice, baby. The Diceman cometh.

Konichiwa, Dice-K, welcome to the most rabid sports town in the world. I saw your stuff this past year at the World Baseball Classic and I was impressed. Buckling knees. Backwards K on Ichiro Suzuki. Tailing fastball. Gross. And did somebody say screwball? I haven't seen one of those since I was white knuckling the keyboard of the old Apple IIGS playing Hardball. It's going to be interesting to see what that nasty little number looks like in real life. I'm pretty sure it doesn't go from one side of the screen to the other and then circle into the catcher's mitt, but if it does, I'm OK with it.

I have to tip my hat to Theo Epstein and the brain trust at Red Sox Nation HQ who took a collective hot dump on Scott BorA$$. When I doubted them the most, they called his bluff, forced his hand and signed the Diceman at a bargain price. He is the purveyor of five pitches (all from the same the same delivery) and MVP from this years World Baseball Classic. He tops out at 96 mph, is a ripe 26 years old, isn't playing for the Yankees, isn't playing for the Yankees...

I have yet to hear him speak in my native tongue, but I like him already. In fact he reminds me of Pedro. He didn't waste a minute setting the stage. Among his incentives are "a massage therapist, physical therapist, interpreter and personal assistant, and 80-90 flights [provided by the Red Sox] over the course of the deal, along with special housing and transportation arrangements and accomodations for his wife" []. And, of course, the number 18.

Shit, if we win the AL East World Series, I'll be his massage therapist.

MP3: Boris - "Woman on the Screen"
MP3: Forward Russia - "Eighteen"
MP3: The Rolling Stones - "Tumbling Dice"
MP3: Pearl Jam - "God's Dice" (Live in Philly, 9.2.00)

Camera Obscura: Tour Dates, Disambiguation

[Ground Control Touring]

Disambiguated at the corner of Wikipedia Avenue and Camera Obscura Boulevard. Details follow.

The Object
"The camera obscura (Lat. dark chamber) was an optical device used in drawing, and one of the ancestral threads leading to the invention of photography. Photographic devices today are still known as 'cameras'.

"The principle of the camera obscura can be demonstrated with a rudimentary type, just a box (which may be room-size) with a hole in one side, (see pinhole camera for construction details). Light from only one part of a scene will pass through the hole and strike a specific part of the back wall. The projection is made on paper on which an artist can then copy the image. The advantage of this technique is that the perspective is right, thus greatly increasing the realism of the image (correct perspective in drawing can also be achieved by looking through a wire mesh and copying the view onto a canvas with a corresponding grid on it)."
[Wiki What?]

The Scotland Indie Pop [Official Site | MySpace]
"Camera Obscura is an indie pop band from Glasgow, Scotland, formed in 1996 by Tracyanne Campbell, John Henderson, and Gavin Dunbar. The band's latest album, Let's Get Out of This Country was released on June 6, 2006; the first single from the album, 'Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken,' is a response to Lloyd Cole's song 'Are you ready to be heartbroken'."
[Wiki Who?]

The San Diego Punk
"Camera Obscura is not pulling any punches: they're out to rock you so hard you fall onto the dance floor. The band launches its aural attack using an arsenal comprised of Michelle Maskovich's squealing keyboards, Duane Pitre's mountains of guitar squiggle, William Lamb's thunderous drums, and Russell White's urgent-yet-muffled vocals. Like a dance party during a tornado watch, Camera Obscura throws caution and moderation out the window in favor of thrilling, adventurous sound combinations.

"Camera Obscura formed in '98 in San Diego, incorporating members of The Shortwave Channel, The Interstate Ten, and Spanakorzo. The band self-released a seven-inch (now in its fourth pressing on Three One G Records) in October '98 and went on its first U.S. tour in January '99. More touring and recording followed, leading up to the release of their first full-length, 2000's To Change the Shape of an Envelope, on Troubleman Unlimited."
[Epi Where?]

Camera Obscura of the Scotland Indie Pop sort is touring the United States end o' Enero to mid o' Febrero of 2007. They have been topping a lot of blogger Top Tens [Daily Growl: #5 | Musicisnotdead: Top Ten | Chandler @ The Yellow Stereo: #2] and also made Grizzly Bear's Top Album list as well. They squeaked in to the Top 100 Sellers of 2006 over at Insound and popped a 7.8 from our homeboy Brian Howe at P4K.

I'm speaking on their behalf in kind of a round about way because I'm just getting around to it. I think it is definitely worth a $15-spot at the 9:30 Club. Someone out there made the Mazzy Star comparison in terms of the vocals and it is spot on. "Dory Previn" is a subtle bombshell of a track.


MP3: Camera Obscura - "Dory Previn"
MP3: Camera Obscura - "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken"

Upcoming Tour Dates
1/17 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
1/18 - Tallahassee, FL - The Club Downunder
1/19 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
1/20 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle *
1/21 - Charlottesville, NC - Satellite Ballroom *
1/22 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club * | Tickets
1/24 - New York, NY - Warsaw *
1/26 - Northampton, MA - Pearl Street *
1/27 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club *
1/29 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa *
1/30 - Ottawa, ON - Barrymore's Music Hall *
1/31 - Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace *
2/1 - Ann Arbor, MI - Bling Pig *
2/2 - Kalamazoo, MI - Kraftbrau Brewery *
2/3 - Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium *
2/5 - Columbia, MO - Mojo's
2/6 - Kansas City, MO - The Record Bar
2/8 - Denver, CO - The Bluebird Theater
2/10 - Mexico City, MX - City Hall
2/12 - Seattle, WA - Neumos ^
2/13 - Vancouver, BC - Richard's on Richards ^
2/14 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom ^
2/16 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's ^
2/17 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre ^

* with The Essex Green
^ with Portastatic

Asobi Seksu: Rock 'N Roll Hotel, January 19th

Fear not scurvy laden friends of Metro D. Come January your body will once again be able to synthesize collagen correctly.

Last Friday might have been a bust and we may never have located Baltimore, MA, but Asobi Seksu will be invading our ear canals come 2007. I'm finally getting into their first LP after being on Citrus overload the last few days. Is Citrus creeping in to my Top Ten from 200Seksu? We will have to wait and see. At this point anything is a possibility because I am having a really hard time narrowing the year in music down.

Each of Asobi Seksu's studio releases offers something different. You can see a nice growth from the self-titled debut to Citrus, they are two separate sounds, but they still share a common, heart-tugging thread that is filled to the brim with reverb nastiness and catchy choruses. Finally the '07 shows are popping up on the calendar...

Fri Jan 19: Washington DC, Rock 'N Roll Hotel
[Calendar | Tickets]
[Official Site: Asobi Seksu]


MP3: Asobi Seksu - "I'm Happy But You Don't Want Me"
MP3: Asobi Seksu - "New Years"
MP3: Asobi Seksu - "Thursday"

Agnostic-approved holiday bonus track:
MP3: Asobi Seksu - "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Beirut: Lon Gisland EP

Beirut's Zach Condon seems to be taking a page out of the Arctic Monkeys' playbook by striking while the iron is still hot. Arctic Monkeys released Who the Fuck are the Arctic Monkeys not 3 months after the release of their debut. The results were mixed to say the least (ok, it sucked). Beirut has at least chosen a different calendar year to release his new EP (with a band behind him this time), Lon Gisland, in stores although as GvB (not that GvB) noted yesterday, it's available now on eMusic, just 7 months after the release of Gulag Orkestar. "Elephant Gun" (download available at GvB) is sure to satiate his ardent fans but how they reacte to the remainder of the album remains to be scene. In addition to the new song above, the EP consists of two instrumental tracks, a new version of "Scenic World" which by the way, is far better than the album version, and another new tune: "Carousels." Listen below.

MP3: Beirut - "Carousels"
Pre-Order at Amazon, January 30, 2007 release

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Midlake: New 2007 Tour Dates

Midlake will be doing a headlining tour to kick off 2007 due in large part to the success of this year's The Trials of Van Occupanther. I wasn't able to make the much blogged about Cold War Kids/Midlake/Sound Team shows this year so I may need some advice as to whether this one is worth catching. Local dates below. The rest here.

2/7 - Washington DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
2/8 - Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar
2/9 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
2/10 - Boston, MA - Middle East Upstairs

Top 100 Songs of 2006 at RS

More on this later. Here's the Top Ten. This list gets pretty gross, quick.

10. Goldfrapp, "Ooh La La"
9. Wolfmother, "Dimension"
8. Clipse w. Slim Thug, "Wamp Wamp (What It Do)"
7. Lily Allen, "Smile"
6. Bob Dylan, "Thunder On The Mountain"
5. The Pack, "Vans"
4. T.I., "What You Know"
3. Chamillionaire, "Ridin'"
2. Raconteurs, "Steady As She Goes"
1. Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jason Reece (Trail of Dead) Interview; Samsung Spot

To some (perhaps fewer by the day), any Trail of Dead news is good news: Jason Reece did an interview with UK's Gigwise. Read the story here. It's not exactly groundbreaking but I'll take it. As mentioned to Pitchfork last month, the band has been in search of some altnernative means to making cash. Witness the following Samsung spot:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Omar + John = Instrumental Greatness

A lot of things went into me finding this track. My kitchen is a mess right now and I don't want to clean it. I don't even want to look at it. Chili, spinach dip and christmas cookies have all been created in there today and while it smells good, it is a fucking eyesore until I motivate to clean it all up.

I grab my beer, retreat to the Mac battlestation and look to see what's going on in the world. The Patriots are getting crushed. Fuck. Let's check music. Hype Machine, what's cracking? For whatever reason the trusty Hype Machine puts me on one of those time log pages, not the popular track page. I'm scrolling along and bump into a familiar name next to an unfamiliar track. I am intrigued and run down the rabbit hole to check out what Thepunkguy has to offer. He has the John-Omar Frusciante-Lopez madness I seek as well as a great tagline: "punk is the new blog." Love it.

I am sure that Frat told me about this at some point or another. As a matter of fact, I might have told him about it and then completely forgot about it. At any rate, Gold Standard Laboratories released their Special Twelve Singles Series in October of this year. On the CD are rarities from Xiu Xiu, Free Moral Agents, The Starlite Desperation, Kill Me Tomorrow, Alavaz Relxib Cirdec, and then two tracks from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and John Frusciante. "0" is one of them and it might have just creeped into my Top Ten Songs of 2006.

It is great to listen to it and try and figure out which parts are John and which parts are Omar. There are a couple of really distinct moments (John's slow solo style creeps in at one point towards the end and Omar's off-balanced trademark approach is clearly visible throughout). For the most part it seems to be John on rhythm and Omar leading the way. Whatever it is, it is some of the most gorgeous guitar work I have heard all year.

MP3: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & John Frusciante - "0"

[Buy it at eMusic | Gold Standard Labs]

Best Alternative Music Album; Pete

It's currently a battle between the Arctic Monkeys and Yeah Yeah Yeahs over at My vote was for Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Show Your Bones, which may or may not turn up on my Top Ten list for 2006 (ditto: Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not). I really expected Gnarls Barkley to be running away with that vote, but it turns out people love their frozen simians and Karen O.

Spin also has a piece about drug-addled Pete Doherty and the recent "children's book" that covers his escapades. One day prior to their piece on that book they covered Doherty's presence at a party where a man fell to his death:

"Pete Doherty has found himself in the spotlight again, but this time it concerns his involvement in death of a friend, actor Mark Blanco, 30, who fell to his death Sunday (Dec. 4) after being excused from a party at literary agent Paul Roundhill's East London apartment. According to reports, Roundhill, who represents Doherty, asked the victim to leave the party after he incessantly hounded the troubled rocker about his new play. Blanco was soon found lying face down with his legs around the base of a lamppost after apparently falling 30 ft."
[Read more]
Doherty puts the "shambles" in Babyshambles.

New Radiohead Tracks: December 18th

From From the Basement:

"From The Basement is a music series that features the most intimate live performances from the finest musicians on the planet.

"From The Basement sets a new standard for music TV production. The show is beautifully filmed in high-definition at Maida Vale studios in London with the live sound by producer Nigel Godrich. From The Basement has no host and no studio audience, instead the artist and their performance take centre stage.

"The first episode is very special. From The Basement launches with Thom Yorke on the piano exclusively performing songs from the new Radiohead album, alongside incredible performances from The White Stripes and an improvised collaboration between Four Tet's Kieran Hebden and genius drummer Steve Reid.

"Each episode's performances will be available via download only to allow repeated viewings. Downloads are available right here and from iTunes.

"From The Basement launches on the 18th December. Register to be kept abreast with the latest news and be the first to hear about the guests on forthcoming shows
Radiohead, Thom Yorke details:
"We present Thom Yorke playing exclusive new Radiohead material on the piano. The session features solo performances of 'Videotape' and 'Down Is The New Up' - two new tracks from the forthcoming Radiohead album, due to be released in 2007. Caught on camera before the release of his first solo album The Eraser, this recording features Yorke giving his most captivating and intimate solo performance to date.
Radiohead is in the studio as we speak. They recently took a daytrip to Somerset and posted the pics.


MP3: Radiohead - "Kinetic"
MP3: Radiohead - "Life in a Glasshouse (Full Length Version)"
MP3: Radiohead - "The Trickster"

Re-post: Shintillating

I don't know what was going on with our MP3s yesterday, but I fixed it (I think). I posted some other Shins tracks to make up for the dead links we tossed up yesterday. Our apologies, YouSendIt seems to be the only sure bet these days.

They of the McDonald's backlash, the Garden State plug and the Beach Boys-like harmonies are back at it. You knew this. Phantom Limb [EP] arrived this week and I haven't stopped listening to the Shins. At one point yesterday, the First Lady asked if we had been listening to the same three songs over and over for the last hour. We had, and it was the Phantom Limb [EP]. But she didn't notice or care until we had listen to each track about 20 or so times.

"Phantom Limb" is classic Shins: a catchy track, a gorgeous harmony and a bouncy-light feel with some addictive guitar fills and a hovering female vocal to boot. The other two tracks on the EP (more like CD-Single) are just as good. "Nothing At All" starts with a Springsteen riff of sorts (think "Glory Days" without overpowering drums) that is slowly overshadowed by the great vocals of frontman James Mercer. A keyboard riff winds its way into the picture, the pace picks up, the keyboard returns and your singing along by the end of it. "Split Needles (Alt Version)" gathers steam via an opening angular guitar riff and some steady drumming. Catchy lead guitar work and soothing lyrics equal more of the same from the New Mexicans. Catchy, addictive and everything that brought me into their Inverted World in the first place.

[DiS Interview | Official Site | SubPop | ShinSpace]


UPDATE: All of these links should be rocking now...

MP3: The Shins - "Split Needles (Alt Version)"
MP3: The Shins - "Gone For Good"
MP3: The Shins - "Saint Simon"