Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ataxia - II Release Date


From JohnFrusciante.com:

"Ataxia II is due out on March 6th!

"ATAXIA was a band for about two weeks in February 2004. It’s members are Joe Lally of Fugazi, Josh Klinghoffer and John Frusciante. The word ‘Ataxia’ is Greek for ‘disorder’. We were unaware at the time that it also has a meaning in English which is: total or partial inability to coordinate voluntary bodily movements, as in walking. In keeping with our names’ Greek meaning (quite unintentionally), the sections of our songs never had an arranged order. All our songs’ foundations are the bass which always plays one part throughout. The drums and guitar move about and generally use the vocal as their guide. The vocals and words were written, but the order the vocal sections occurred in, and how long the spaces between were, was different every time. So we would all stay on our toes to stay together for dynamics, changes in groove, switches to new sections, etc. We played two shows and recorded two records. The first record was released in August 2004. It was named after the surrealist activity called Automatic Writing. That was where people like Andre Breton and Max Ernst would write words in the form of sentences and paragraphs, but with absolutely no conscious attempt at meaning. They would observe the structure of their subconscious and it’s peculiar methods of organization (or the lack thereof) this way. And if there is one sure answer I can give to the question, “How did you write and record two albums in a week and a half?”, it is that we gave absolutely no thought to what we were doing, whatsoever. This music is unblemished by any expectations of a specific result, on our part. The three of us simply got together to hear what music had to say that week. We had fun together and this is the record of that fun. - John Frusciante"

Peter Bjorn and John @ Bowery, 1/30/07

I need to keep this short because work is a bit busy. I rolled out of Bowery last night at midnight to surprisingly find a steady snowfall. It's nice to know THAT still happens on the East Coast. For those keeping track at home, that's Peter on guitar and vocals, Bjorn on bass, and John on drums. John did vocals on "Start to Melt" and Bjorn attempted vocals on "Amsterdam." I say attempted because he had no clue what the lyrics were. They stopped the song 3 times and I don't think they even finished it. The audience was singing along better than him. The live version of "Chills" was incredible and very different from the studio version. Hearing "Young Folks" with Victoria Bergsman was, of course, a highlight and it sounded and felt much better than their Conan performance of two days ago. There was a bit of a disappointing (for me at least) Ashlee Simpson moment when it became plainly obvious that the whistling was a sampler as Peter was clearly not at the mic at times. The bongos more than made up for it. Overall, the show was a lot of fun although it may not have quite lived up to hype of the previous two nights - from what I read and apparently BV agrees. With just the three of them on stage, their range of guitar-driven rock and Beattles-esque pop looked effortless. Works for me.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Additional Headlines Cont'd w/Klaxons, Deerhunter, and PB&J

I wanted to take a quick moment to recognize the debut Klaxons album Myths of the Near Future. I haven't quite figured out if this album should be considered a guilty pleasure but I am sure that you can throw throw this NME-loving term "new rave" out the window. I have no clue what that means but damn is this album fantastic. I've read some grumblings that there isn't a lot of new material beyond the 4 pre-released singles but for someone who didn't follow them previously, this album surprised me in more ways than I can remember. It reminds me a lot of when I listened to Silent Alarm for the first time. It's not as good, mind you, but I keep asking myself how each song can be so catchy and it's the only thing pulling me away from Cloud Cult right now. As InMyTree mentioned this morning, the album will be released in the States in late April. However, it's out now in the UK and you can stream the full album now at NME. After an altogether down year in music in 2006, it's hard to complain with the music I've heard in the first month of 2007 alone.

Klaxons Album Stream

The writing has been on the wall for the Best New Music tag for the Deerhunter album. I've managed to collect 6 songs off the album from various Hype Machine sources as Ryan Schreiber has been pimping these guys for awhile now. I'm not quite convinced this deserves an 8.9 but I think I need to hear the album in full before passing judgement.

Going to see Peter Bjorn and John tonight at Bowery. After reading the gushing reviews from BV (night 1, night 2), I can't fucking wait. There is currently an interview with the band on Pitchfork. This is my vote for the second best song on the album.

MP3: Peter Bjorn and John - "The Chills"

Clipse Tour Dates

From Pitchfork...

02-27 Cambridge, MA - Middle East *
02-28 Baltimore, MD - Sonar *
03-01 Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theatre
03-02 Chicago, IL - Metro *
03-03 Minneapolis, MN - Myth
03-04 Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig
03-05 Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre
03-06 Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
03-07 Jackson Hole, WY - Mangy Moose
03-08 Colorado Springs, CO - The Black Sheep
03-10 Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Center
03-11 Bellingham, WA - Nightlight Lounge
03-12 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey
03-13 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
03-14 San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine *
03-15 Santa Cruz, CA - Catalyst *
03-16 Los Angeles, CA - Key Club *
03-17 San Diego, CA - Belly Up
03-18 Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
03-19 Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
03-21 Austin, TX - Emo's
03-23 Miami, FL - I/O
03-24 Orlando, FL - The Club at Firestone
03-25 Atlanta, GA - The Loft
03-26 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
03-27 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
03-28 Richmond, VA - TBA
03-29 Baltimore, MD - TBA
04-26 New York, NY - B.B. King's

* with Low Budget

Additional headlines:

- Klaxons Send Myths Stateside via Rinse/DGC
- Modest Mouse Unveil Dead Tracklist, Release Date

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cloud Cult's Meaning of 8 (buy now, tour dates) v. The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible

I'm fully aware that Neon Bible leaked this past weekend and I'm not touching it. At least not yet. I think I'll give it a serious look before seeing them on 2/15 in NYC which I think seems fair since I'd rather be familiar with the new material. Of course, under normal circumstances I'd jump right into it but I am fully immersed in the new Cloud Cult album, The Meaning of 8. I've often told friends of indie music that Cloud Cult are absolutely the best band that you've never heard of. Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus is a masterpiece in all of it's 25-song glory and should be anyone's first stop before getting into the rest of their back catalog. The Meaning of 8 is equally amazing in so many ways - the first 10 songs alone are enough to make it one of best albums of the past 12 months. The prevalent themes of Happy Hippo are back again but 8 is a much tighter collection of songs. "Take Your Medicine" is already in the early running for song of the year. You can stream that and two others here. It may be January 29th but I can safely say that this will be one of, if not the, best releases of the year. Their days of being an underground indie band are likely over - assuming they even want that.

The album hits stores on April 10th but after checking out their site this morning, the album is available NOW for purchase. If you are in any way considering purchasing this album, I strongly recommend going through the Cloud Cult site rather than an outside retailer (as anyone who follows this band will almost certainly understand). To make it more enticing, they're offering 5 different purchase packages ranging from $10 - $100 with inclusion of past albums, t-shirts, downloads, etc.

More details - go here to BUY. Trust me on this one.

They've also released the first round of tour dates.

2/10: Ashland, WI- Northland College Alvord Theater (all ages)
3/3: Middlebury, VT - Middlebury College McCullough Social Space (all ages)
3/14-3/17: Austin, TX - SXSW (showcase on 3/15 at 10pm Emo's)
3/30: Minneapolis, MN - "Meaning of 8" CD Release and tour kickoff
4/4: Athens, GA - Tasty World
4/5: Atlanta, GA - Smith's Old Bar
4/7: Elkins, WV
4/14: New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
4/24: Bozeman, MT
4/25: Missoula, MT - The Loft (18+) $8
4/26: Portland, OR - Fez Ballroom (21+) $10
4/27: Seattle, WA - Neumos (all ages) $10

Friday, January 26, 2007

TOOL Tour Dates and Rumors

TOOL has confirmed the first leg of their next North American tour. They're currently in Australia before making their way over to Japan in February. Confirmed dates below. Man I hope they hit up Madison Square Garden this time around.

3/15 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl (on-sale Feb. 3)
3/16 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl (on-sale Feb. 3)
3/18 - Reno, NV @ Reno Events Center (on-sale Jan. 27)
3/20 - San Diego, CA @ Cox Arena (on-sale Feb. 2)
3/21 - Tucson, AZ @ TCC Arena (on-sale Jan. 27)
3/23 - Albuquerque, NM @ Tingley Coliseum (on-sale Jan. 27)
3/24 - El Paso, TX @ Don Haskins Center (on-sale Feb. 3)
3/26 - San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center (make-up show from last tour)
3/27 - Corpus Christi, TX @ American Bank Center (on-sale Feb. 3)

As reported by Harddrive, there are rumors that the band will use recordings from this tour for a live CD and DVD. Supposedly production will be far more intense than the previous tour with more CGI animation and props. I think anyone who has seen this band live knows just how great this would be. InMyTree's review from last year's Verizon Center show is evidence A. Danny Carey was quoted as saying:

Danny Carey told Launch that the band doesn’t want to release each one as groups like PEARL JAM have done. “I doubt if we’ll go that far with it, but we’ll definitely be releasing some live DVDs and specific concerts that we feel strongly about,” he said. “I think that’s just a cooler way to do it. Pick the best stuff instead of just flood the market with a bunch of mediocre crap (laughs). [source]

Rumor also has it that MJK will be picking the supporting band this time around. In his recent A.V. Club interview, he mentioned the likes of Autolux, Peaches, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as bands he would like to have as openers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Verizon Center, 01.25.07

Setlist
Intro
"Can't Stop"
"Dani California"
"Scar Tissue"
Jam > "Charlie"
Jam > "Havana Affair"
Jam > "21st Century"
Jam > "Throw Away your Television"
"C'mon Girl"
"Snow (Hey Oh)"
"How Can I Tell You" (John solo)
"Nobody Weird Like Me"
"Don't Forget Me"
"London Calling" (Intro) > "Right on Time"
"Hey"
Jam > "Californication"
"By the Way"

Encore
Drum Solo
"I Could Have Lied"
"Give It Away"
Exit Jam

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Preparing for Coachella

I don't know if InMyTree is planning this year's Coachella trip but last year's on-site drunken Blackberry posts were instant classics. If you're considering the trip, our friend in bloggerdom, Ultra2801, has gone above and beyond with MySpace links to every band performing. Check it out, there are bound to be some hidden gems in here. He's done the work so you don't have to.

The Kooks Aren't Messing Around This Time

More UK band tour news. After taking on the Coachella crowd, The Kooks will be travelling across the country with a series of tour stops. This time expanding their outreach and hitting up DC. Somewhat surprisingly, they're skipping over the Black Cat entirely and heading straight to the 930 Club. I saw them during their first trip to the States and they're worth seeing for the right price. Tickets are on sale for the New York show but I haven't' seen any information on who the openers will be. At $20/per, I need more details.

04.29.07 - Indio, CA (Coachella)
04.30.07 - San Francisco, CA (Slim's)
05.02.07 - Portland, OR (Doug Fir Lounge)
05.03.07 - Seattle, WA (Crocodile Cafe)
05.05.07 - Chicago, IL (Metro)
05.07.07 - Columbus, OH (The Basement)
05.08.07 - Toronto, ON (Lee's Palace)
05.10.07 - New York, NY (Irving Plaza)
05.12.07 - Washington DC (9:30 Club)
05.13.07 - Boston, MA (Paradise Rock Club)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What Thom Yorke is Listening To

Glancing over the iTunes Store home page today, I noticed that the latest Celebrity Playlist is courtesy of Thom Yorke. As you might expect, it contains some weird shit. 10 songs include Madvillain, the Dears, Malkmus, Liars, and a bunch of stuff I've never heard of. Check it out here.

Kaiser Chiefs NA Tour Confirmed

As reported by NME, the Kaiser Chiefs have confirmed additional dates for their April tour first mentioned a month ago. For those of you on the fence about attending, this thing just got a hell of a lot more intersting with the announcement of the opening bands. The Walkmen will be supporting on ALL shows and the Annuals, who really impressed me during the BV CMJ show, will open on all dates from Philly to Toronto. Another solid, up-and-coming band, The Little Ones will open the remaing dates.

Philadelphia Electric Factory (April 6)
Washington 9:30 Club (7)
Boston Avalon Ballroom (9)
New York Roseland Ballroom (12)
Montreal Spectrum (17)
Toronto Kool Haus (18)
Chicago Vic Theatre (20)
Minneapolis Trocaderos (21)
Vancouver Commodore Ballroom (24)
Seattle Showbox Theatre (25)
Portland Crystal Ballroom (26)
San Francisco Warfield Theatre (27)

I'm not sure yet but it looks like tickets go on sale this Saturday. There is a pre-sale at NME beginning tomorrow.

The link.

Oscar Nominations

Get the entire list here.

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Leonardo DiCaprio - BLOOD DIAMOND
Ryan Gosling - HALF NELSON
Peter O'Toole - VENUS
Will Smith - THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
Forest Whitaker - THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Alan Arkin - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Jackie Earle Haley - LITTLE CHILDREN
Djimon Hounsou - BLOOD DIAMOND
Eddie Murphy - DREAMGIRLS
Mark Wahlberg - THE DEPARTED

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Penélope Cruz - VOLVER
Judi Dench - NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Helen Mirren - THE QUEEN
Meryl Streep - THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
Kate Winslet - LITTLE CHILDREN

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Adriana Barraza - BABEL
Cate Blanchett - NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Abigail Breslin - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Jennifer Hudson - DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi - BABEL

Achievement in directing
BABEL
THE DEPARTED
LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
THE QUEEN
UNITED 93

Best documentary feature
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS
JESUS CAMP
MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY

Best foreign language film of the year
AFTER THE WEDDING
DAYS OF GLORY (INDIGÈNES)
THE LIVES OF OTHERS
PAN'S LABYRINTH
WATER

Best motion picture of the year
BABEL
THE DEPARTED
LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
THE QUEEN

2006: A (Tardy and) Somewhat Chronological History of Music and the Like Through the Eyes of a Soldier of Love, Arlington Chapter, Metro Distortion

The Albums
10. The Hold Steady - Boys & Girls In America
 It's surprising that The Hold Steady have such a stranglehold on the indie scene. There's a real frat boy aspect to all of it. The vocals aren't anything special, the songs are stories about kids getting hammered, going to the track, going back to the bar and (trying to) getting laid. They are a beautiful mess. Far from perfect. Getting by. Straining. They are a powerhouse bar band that won't wow you with their fashion sense or their looks. But they are going to bring some killer hooks to the party. And they are going to turn it upside down.

9. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
 In the summer after I graduated college, the rap scene was dead. It was slowly turning into a schtick. It seemed heartless and soulless and I struggled to find value in the majority of hip hop's output. Mos Def was turning to film, Talib Kweli's Quality wouldn't come out until November, ditto The Roots' Phrenology. Then August came and with it, Scarface's The Fix and Clipse's Lord Willin', both top to bottom monsters. They brought me back. They gave me hope. And I still throw them on to this day. Clipse did again this year. It was a tumultuous and well documented experience for Clipse. At some points it seemed like the album wouldn't see the light of day. But they're hustlers and they're hungry and the rest of their genre can take note. The quality, veracity and sheer lyrical violence of their sharp cadence is what hip-hop is all about.

8. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
 I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love a band that can be attacked from an array of different angles. Drums ("Hand of Stone"), guitar work, vocals and lyrics. It is all here. Some might be put off by the three headed wolf-deer on the cover or the terse lyricism that circles around seemingly mythic and cryptic subject matter. But it is special, unique and well-crafted. Drawing on guest vocals from Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (The Mars Volta) and keyboard work from Ikey Owens (The Mars Volta) Mastodon excels at delivering a heavy punch in every song. The gear changes in the first minute of "Hunters of the Sky" harkens early Metallica. And that is a good thing. Harmonies and thrashing guitars collide on epic tracks like "Colony of Birchmen" and "Capillarian Crest" and while I am breathless by the end, I am begging for more and wondering why more metal bands don't deliver like this. It's not to say that it's easy, just that there is a void in metal music. But, Mastodon is filling it. Expertly.

7. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
 When I came home for Christmas, I was thrilled at the thought of throwing this album on for the moms. My mother is a wonderful pianist whose musical tastes are as varied as the drug-induced Beatles work (from Revolver on) to Mozart to Norah Jones to the Eagles to Joan Baez. OK, so they aren't that varied. But, she knows a great song when she hears it. The lasting image of this album will be getting cocked at around 10:00 in the morning on Thanksgiving while it blasted from my parents Sound Dock. OK, so it didn't blast. But, they're fifty-plus and rock iPods. Thats solid. My mom loved it. Dug it. Wanted a copy. Wanted to start a blog and find more stuff like it. Well, it didn't get that far. But we must have listened to it four times through before meat thermometers were popping and guests were arriving.

What can be said about Neko that hasn't already been said. While there is beautiful instrumentation behind her, the real beauty lies in the stories woven by her beautifully sung lyrics. The tracks are driven by the power of her voice along with the power of the stories that she tells. Ironic, funny, and, at points, heartbreaking, her words create a world that you can escape to. Perhaps there is no greater praise you can give an album, the praise that it made you disappear, and that you leave different than the way you came.

6. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
 Sometimes it just takes a little time. The Crane Wife took a little time. When JQ was down several months ago we were fortunate enough to see the Decemberists at the 9:30 Club. It was much, much more than expected. Unfortunately we were rolling the dice on a Jeff Mangum sighting and bolted early for the Apples In Stereo show at Black Cat. We were also completely oblivious to Beck's presence in the District. JQ later regretted our move to Apples In Stereo instead of the second half of the show with Colin Meloy and the crew. So did I. I especially came to regret it about a month ago when I found myself in Other Desert Cities for reasons far beyond my control. I wasn't in the best place mentally and emotionally and I craved something outside of myself for help. I had a jones to disappear and escape, something not to uncommon recently, and working on the persistent advice of JQ I dove headlong into The Crane Wife. It was both a powerful and rewarding return. I found myself completely immersed in the delicate lyricism. And then the melodies. Perhaps the album's strongest asset are those melodies. Vivid, piercing melodies all balanced on sweeping guitar work and galloping drums. Where had I been? Where was all of this before? Had I made this list on time, The Crane Wife might not have made the cut. But during those days in the desert, while I was adrift in Colin Melloy's dreamscape, his fears, mysteries and social commentary, the album completely grabbed me and turned me inside out. I couldn't listen to one track without listening to the next and then, naturally, let it repeat on itself. It should come as no surprise that JQ has introduced me to another great album. This is the kid that pushed OK Computer on me in my youth, and later the soundtrack to She's the One and In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. I'm not expecting an outpouring of of support on the second one, but the validity and power of the other two is undisputable. JQ and I have a tendency to throw ITAOTS on after the bars, late late night. It has brought some of the best conversations he and I have ever had. Hopefully, when he returns from the Other Desert, we can nightcap with a discussion of The Crane Wife.

5. The Mars Volta - Amputechture
 Upon first listen my mouth was agape:

3 or 4 of the best songs this year are found inside TMV's "Tetragrammaton." Am I saying that because I am a huge fan? No. It is simply ridiculous. A 16 minute epic that bats second in TMV's 9 song lineup that absolutely slays. Jesus. Mary. And Omar. Unreal. I am getting hopped up on some hops getting ready to crash into Band of Horses at the Black Cat but all I am thinking about is this fucking album. Currently a 69 at Metacritic.com and a 100 at the Metro D hovel. October 21 cannot come soon enough. Nobody on the planet plays guitar like this. Nobody. [The First Listen]
TMV is one of my favorite bands. I have seen them three times now and they continue to impress me. This album came quickly on the heels on what I believed to be a huge step in their musical careers, Frances the Mute, and later, ScabDates. But nothing could have prepared me for the development in Cedric's vocals. Nothing. Out of the blue he floats into songs with the most beautiful harmonies. To look back, to look at the beginning, to investigate what made At the Drive-In so spectacular and then to listen to the most recent Cedric and Omar collaboration, is a long, strange trip to begin with. But here they are. Pumping out nine-minute radio-ready prog-rock bombs tracks like "Viscera Eyes" in the same breath that they drop seven-minute gorgeous vocal and jazz-fuzed explorations like "Vicarious Atonement". But as soon as those jazz trumpets fly in we are taking on another journey, in a different direction, in the epic "Tetragrammaton". Shifting between a union of Cedric's vocals with Omar's meandering guitar work and the classic Volta sequence (an assault of Cedric screaming over Omar's unpredictable and perfectly executed nastiness), it is what every TMV fan longs for: a balance between reality and the dream. The ethereal peak of "Tetragrammaton", arrives with Cedric's haunting vocals just shy of seven minutes in. It is the calm before the storm. In less than a minute we are at Omar's disposal, in the throes of his ability and imagination. Soon Cedric returns to deliver some of his classic vocals to the incessantly roaming guitarwork and the album never looks back.

4. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
 The most overlooked album come the end of the year because it came out so early. Well, Metro D says fuck that. This was the first album I fell in love with. The fact that Ben Bridwell's voice actually sounds like that live is just icing on the cake. Their is a endearing softness to it, but you are always aware of the pounding beast that lies within. Their standout track, "The Funeral," encompasses the full range of Band of Horses' power: textured, subtle, delicate and unpredictable. But this album is more than one song.

This fall, as I recovered from a booze-soaked haze from the Band of Horses live experience I called friend of Metro D and friend of you, too, JQ. I told him that they played "The Funeral" second or third and never looked back. His response was "good, get that shit out of the way, they got too much more to their scene than building to that finale." He was right. While "The Funeral" busted the blogosphere wide open and is without a doubt one of the best songs of this milennium the rest of the album is just as impressive. On the way up you traverse Bridwell's hovering vocals in "The First Song", As you come down from chaotic finish of "The Funeral" you are welcomed with heartfelt harmonies and throbbing guitar-work in "The Great Salt Lake," bouncing guitar-pop nostalgia in "Weed Party" and some of the most soulful vocal work of the year in "I Go to the Barn Because I Like the". It clocks in just under 40 minutes, but it will linger for far longer than that.

3. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
 The Thermals' economic style doesn't mean that their latest effort - a departure from their previously fuzzy, lo-fi sound - doesn't pack a punch. This album packs a whallop. From the opening lines ("god reached his hand down from the sky/he flooded the land, then he set it afire/he said 'fear me again, know I'm your father/remember that no one can breathe underwater.'") thick with disdain for religious fundamentalism to the closing song that echoes sentiments of isolation, doom and dying hope. The Thermals achieve what few bands can: a seamless album focused on a singular idea. It is raw, edgy and ripe with catchy hooks (including an inverted "Wild Thing" riff in "I Might Need You To Kill") and pulsepounding riffs. It is as ambitious in goal as it is simple in form, as complex in thought as it is carefully executed.

It reminds me of Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over the Sea. Relax, take a deep breath. I draw the comparison to the Jeff Mangum juggernaut of indie-lore because both have a unifying theme that runs the length of the album. Both are basic in instrumentation (ITAOS is almost entirely in first position, TB,TB,TM is "three chords and the truth" to the core) and covered in fragile, desperate - and, at points, off-key - vocals. Both albums flow from one song into the next with an eerie ease. And both are extremely difficult to let go of once they have their hooks in. And they have hooks to last for days...

2. Boris - Pink
 The Japanese trio open by saying goodbye. "Farewell" drones and spirals out of control to the point of making you wonder if you are at the beginning or the end. By the time "Woman On The Screen", "Pink", "Nothing Special" and "Electric" hit you in the chest and take the wind out of you the drone masterpieces that dot the rest of their sonic landscape (which was released in Japan last year) are welcome respites from their complete and total assault. There are rich layers, razor-sharp solos and the movements either have you lying on the floor watching your ceiling spin or banging your head until it whips off. The drumming that kicks off "Nothing Special" and continues to its furious finish reminds of some of Grohl's finest work for Nevermind. And as for Wata's chops, well, they speak for themself.

Boris is one of those bands, and Pink is one of those albums that continues to get better with each listen. They create a dense sound that rewards listeners because there are so many layers to peel back, so many angles to approach from. Pink is a truly unique, genre-bending achievement that had me rocking, thinking and awestruck from the spring to the winter. The fact that I had the opportunity to catch them live, made this album resonate even more. This album and the live experience that Boris provides are two things that you cannot underestimate, pass up or overlook. They are simply mindblowing.

1. TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
 Moment #1: JK e-mails me a bootleg of "Wolf Like Me" titled "Playhouses" in early 2006. Before we started the blog. Before I knew much of anything about TV On The Radio. The quality sucked. It was misnamed. And I loved every pulse-pounding minute of it.
Moment #2: Other desert cities, April, 2006. I'm at Coachella. By now I have every TVOTR release to date. I am hooked. I am an addict and I have to choose between My Morning Jacket and TVOTR. Dr. Beckett and I part ways. TV On The Radio blow my mind. I am in tears by the end of the show. Emotionally derailed and spent. I crave more. I need the new album.
Moment #3: I drop close to $30 to buy the import of Return to Cookie Mountain. I simply couldn't wait any longer. It's worth every penny. And then some. Soaring vocals. Amazing nuances to each song. Unmatched lyrical quality. They could stand alone without music as amazing works of free verse. The album is an instant classic. By the end of the year they are featured on MTV2 and selling out dates across the States. The word, if it wasn't already. Is out.
Moment #4: Three new tracks are announced for the US Version of Return to Cookie Mountain. Naturally, I buy that too.
Moment #5: I caught them at the 9:30 Club on a Sunday night. They were amazing. The memories of the Coachella performance came flooding back. The songs were beautiful. The experience indescribable. My girlfriend is blown away. His voice really sounds like that. Later that same week I catch them in Baltimore. We hang out after the show and meet the entire band. They are humble, smart, well-spoken, beautiful people. I am in love with a band.

The Short Bus: EPs and the like
5. The Little Ones - Sing Song [EP]
4. Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson In Crime [EP]
3. Cold War Kids - Up In Rags [EP]
2. The Shins - Phantom Limb [EP]
1. Witch - Witch

The Tracks
25. "And I Was A Boy From School" - Hot Chip
24. "Tonight" - TV On The Radio
23. "The Clock" - Thom Yorke
22. "Map of the Problematique" - Muse
21. "Nature of the Experiment" - Tokyo Police Club
20. "Mardy Bum" - Arctic Monkeys
19. "Pillar of Salt" - The Thermals
18. "Viscera Eyes" - The Mars Volta
17. "We Used to Vacation" - Cold War Kids
16. "Colossal" - Wolfmother
15. "Turn Into" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. "So Many Miles" - Viva Voce
13. "When the War Came" - The Decemberists
12. "The Pot" - Tool
11. "Heart in a Cage" - The Strokes
10. "Hot Soft Light" - The Hold Steady
9. "Hold On Hold On" - Neko Case
8. "0" - John Frusciante & Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
7. "Comatose" - Pearl Jam
6. "Seer" - Witch
5. "Wet Sand" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. "Returning to the Fold" - The Thermals
3. "Psuedo-Bread" - Boris
2 (t). "Wolf Like Me" - TV On The Radio
2 (t). "Tetragrammaton" - The Mars Volta
1. "The Funeral" - Band of Horses

The Stupidest Shit I Read All Year
"The idea that My Chemical Romance is this generation's Nirvana is ridiculous to them. It's probably ridiculous to most of the people who read this blog, but to the average 16 year old kid, Nirvana is irrelevant in comparison to My Chem." [Ultragrrrl]

Pitchfork Is As Pitchfork Does
3. Hotlinking to one of Metro D's favorite blogs, rbally and giving no credit.
[rbally.net]
2. Taking the time to thoughtfully analyze and interpret the new Jet album.
[Monkeys Love Monkey Piss]
1. Announcing PLUG Awards. Telling everyone not to vote for Silversun Pickups.
[D-bag Move]

The Shows
Not including Coachella. That just wouldn't be fair.
15 (t). The Vacation @ Black Cat
15 (t). Tokyo Police Club @ Warehouse Next Door [MD]
14. Birdmonster @ Black Cat (Backstage) [MD]
13. Silversun Pickups @ Mercury Lounge [MD]
12. Muse @ Hammerstein Ballroom [MD]
11. Tool @ Verizon Center [MD]
10. Wolfmother @ Northsix [MD]
9. The Mars Volta/RHCP @ Pepsi Arena [TMV | RHCP]
8. Cloud Cult @ IOTA [MD]
7. The Strokes @ D.A.R. Constitution Hall
6. Cold War Kids @ Black Cat (Backstage) [MD]
5. Pearl Jam @ Verizon Center [Pics | Setlist]
4. The National @ Black Cat [MD]
3. Boris @ Ottobar [MD]
2. TV On The Radio @ 9:30 Club [MD]
1. Radiohead @ Tower Theater [MD]

The Movies
I never got around to The Queen, Pan's Labyrinth, Last King of Scotland, Letters From Iwo Jima, Inland Empire or Notes on a Scandal so take that as you may.
5. Little Miss Sunshine [IMDB.com | Official Site]

4. Babel [IMDB.com | Official Site]

3. Volver [IMDB.com | Official Site]

2. Children of Men [IMDB.com | Official Site]

1. The Fountain [IMDB.com | Official Site]


Better Late Then Never
This is all the stuff that I got around to late in the game and it came full circle in 2006. Sometimes you just get bogged down in one CD for too long. You know how it is.
Jose Gonzalez - Veneer
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
The Decemberists - Picaresque
Amores Perros
The Proposition
Y Tu Mama Tambien

G.L.O.W.: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrock
These are my favorite ladies that I caught in concert this year. There were a couple of conditions: I had to see them live and they had to rock. Not to be confused with the other G.L.O.W.: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
Nicki Monninger (Silversun Pickups)
Karen O. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)Wata (Boris)
Corrinne Lee (Snowden)
Amanda Tannen (stellastar*)
Most Comments (And Fun) On a Post
John Shaved His Head
I wasn't even trying to push anyone's buttons. That's the funny thing. More often than not I am trying to reach one or two people with my posts. This post was essentially an e-mail to Frat with a picture on it. It's that easy. I found out John shaved his head. I knew Frat would care. He did. And laughter ensued. The fact that a picture with a title sparked all the discussion (between all of about five different people) still cracks me up. I just noticed that "lovely scarf" brought some positive reinforcement later on. Much love. Frat, John and I will all link up again this Thursday night at the Verizon Center and I can't wait.

Best Night
This is hard. I won't even count Coachella. That was probably the three best nights of the year as music went. As for a single show, though, it had to be Silversun Pickups at Piano's after Silversun Pickups at Mercury Lounge following the Muse show at Hammerstein Ballroom. Everything worked perfectly from getting up to NYC cheap, to linking up with JK, getting some good eats, having time to kill some beers at Hammerstein, a perfect setlist from the Brighton bunch, JQ rolling in at the end of the SSPU show at Merc Lounge, charging my camera batts for two terrible shots at Piano's and a completely unnecessary tour of the city courtesy of JQ's older brother. I woke up three hours later and went to a wedding. I felt like dogshit, but it was the happiest lump of dogshit you'd ever find. Or step in.

Worst Night/Biggest Comeback
While meeting David Sitek, Tunde, and Kyp following the TV On The Radio show in Baltimore was the moment of moments this year, the streetfight that I wanted nothing to do with later on that night was the complete lowlight of an otherwise peaceful year of concert-going. Let's hope my first fight was my last. The poetic justice of Baltimore getting ranked in the top ten for the most dangerous cities within a month of what transpired in Federal Hill stung me more than humored me. That said, forget what the Colts did to the Pats on Sunday night, the fact that we pulled Top out of the hospital and drove to Albany for TMV and RHCP the following day was the Biggest Comeback of the Year.

The "Missed" List: Shows I Should Have Attended But Didn't
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ 9:30 Club - I drove up to Brooklyn on a Sunday, caught Wolfmother at Northsix with JK, drove back to work in DC on Monday, and then had zero energy to catch this show.
My Morning Jacket @ 9:30 Club - Grad school applications.
The Hold Steady @ Black Cat - Thanksgiving.
Robert Randolph & the Family Band @ 9:30 Club - Thanksgiving.
Cloud Cult @ DC9 - Grad school applications, exhaustion. No excuse.
Daft Punk @ Coachella - I really don't know. This was just an error in judgment. I think I went and watched She Wants Revenge (or passed out in the grass for a stretch). What the fuck kind of move is that?
Beck @ Black Cat - There was absolutely no chance I could have caught this. I also didn't know about it.
The Wrens @ Black Cat - Grad school applications.

And yes this is about a month late. But, I put a little bit of thought into it. Kind of.

Coachella 2007 Lineup

[Official Site]
[Ticketbastard]

Stuff

[Metro D Archive: Snowden & Forward Russia @ Black Cat]

*11 intriguing "lost albums" at the A.V. Club.

*Interesting read on environmentalist John Francis.

*Interview with Guillermo del Toro at the A.V. Club. His latest movie, Pan's Labyrinth, is getting rave reviews and popping a 98 at Metacritic. It is currently showing at the E Street Theater. I have been trying to get there for the last three weeks and I haven't made it yet.

*"How cinema lost its soul" at the Independent.

*Off-beat subject matter abounds at Sundance: Alzheimer's | Beastiality.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Maxïmo Park New Album Details and Tracklisting

Maxïmo Park tend to get lost in the onslaught that is the British music scene. It's probably because they're not claiming to take over the world or recording the greatest album of all-time. I like that they're humble. I also think that their debut A Certain Trigger is second in quality only to Bloc Party's Silent Alarm since this craze begain in '04. Hell, even Pitchfork agrees.

From their Web site: Our Earthly Pleasures will be released on 2nd April 2006 (May 1 in the U.S.) on Warp Records. The album will be preceded by the single "Our Velocity" in March (19th), and the formats will include exclusive b-sides. More information on this soon.

This is a terrible album cover. Tracklisting below.

Album Tracklisting:
Girls Who Play Guitars
Our Velocity
Books From Boxes
Russian Literature
Karaoke Plays
Your Urge
The Unshockable
By The Monument
Nosebleed
A Fortnight’s Time
Sandblasted And Set Free
Parisian Skies

Rage Against the Machine: Coachella Primer

If you can't tell. I'm a little bit excited. Tool last year. Rage this year. Just a little bit pumped. Just a touch. Trying to figure out some logistics. Formalities. You know the deal.

"Bulls on Parade"

"Bombtrack"

"Renegades of Funk"

"Testify"

"Guerilla Radio"

"Freedom"

"People of the Sun"

"Calm Like a Bomb"

"War Within a Breath"

Rage Against the Machine Expected to Re-Unite @ This Year's Coachella

Los Angeles Times
"Rage Against the Machine, the seminal L.A. band that made heavy music into political manifesto, will reunite after a seven-year lull for one show as the headliners at the 2007 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

"Sources say Rage, which played the main stage at the first Coachella in 1999, will be joined by other familiar faces for the eighth edition of the festival, which covers three days this year and begins April 27: Red Hot Chili Peppers, which headlined in 2003, are back, as is Björk, who topped the bill in 2002.

"Organizers were mum this weekend and it was not clear which day Rage or the other acts were slotted to play; that announcement is expected in the next few days. Other acts expected in the eclectic lineup: Arcade Fire, Interpol, Willie Nelson, the Roots, Manu Chao, the Decemberists, Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, Crowded House, Air, Tiësto and Kings of Leon.

"Tickets go on sale Saturday, via Ticketmaster. Three-day passes will cost about $250 and there will be a limited number of single-day passes available." [LA Times]

Pitchfork
"OK folks, stay calm. CALM LIKE A BOMB that is, because the only rap-rock band we actually remember (somewhat) fondly is back. That's right, as reported by the Los Angeles Times and confirmed by the festival's organizers, Rage Against the Machine will come out of retirement to play the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, taking place April 27-29 at Empire Polo Field in Indio, California.

"Rage will headline the festival's final night, April 29, while Björk will headline on Friday, April 27 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday, April 28. (Ugh, why do the Red Hot Chili Peppers always have to come around and ruin these sorts of things?)

"Other awesome artists confirmed to play Coachella: the Arcade Fire, Interpol, Willie Nelson, the Roots, Manu Chao, the Decemberists, Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, and Air. Other debatably awesome artists confirmed to play Coachella: Crowded House, Tiësto, and Kings of Leon.

"And although the festival hasn't officially announced it yet, !!!, LCD Soundsystem, and Lupe Fiasco are also playing Coachella, as we've gathered from previous news stories."
[Pitchfork: Amy Phillips Is Still Useless]

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Boris Heavy Rocks

Exactly 2:00 in to this song it's going to hit you. Like a brick. It is an out of body experience. A rush. It is the way it should be.

I wasn't tracking another Boris collaboration. But here they are. Again. Endless touring. Endless releases. Do we really want it any other way? Pitchfork was on it and they liked it (8.2). In fact, it re-energized their Boris love. I don't need re-energizing. They were easily one of the best shows last year and they are beginning to hit that phase in my brain where I track their every move like a hawk (see TV On The Radio, Pearl Jam, John Frusciante, The Mars Volta).

This track is something else. It's probably because it's a union of epic proportions with acclaimed guitarist Michio Kurihara entering the fold with one of the most respected psychedelic drone rock outfits on the scene today. The track is a little more refined then the stuff you will find on Pink, but it still has that raw edge.

I, for one, am busting out the checkbook and dropping $35.00 on this two disc album because, well, no one else is making music like this. You can join me over at Amp Camp.

Boris, along with These Arms Are Snakes, is helping Isis wreak havoc throughout Japan in late January. In May they are doing 5 dates in Japan with Sunn o))). If they bring it back this way this spring or summer I pray my ears are ready for the beating.

Thanks to Fluxblog for always keeping me in the know. Without Fluxblog, BrooklynVegan, and some others I'd be still be signing up for 12 free CDs for the price of 1 at BMG every three months (using different names and addresses) and still finding very little that I liked.

MP3: Boris w. Michio Kurihara - "Starship Narrator"

Favorite. Sox Player. Ever.

[9th inning, Game 6, 2003 ALCS, Sox up 7-6, 1 out, 1 on]

What wasn't to like? Yankee slayer. Gamer. The original "dirt dog". Played for one organization. Our organization. For his whole career. Put more pine-tar on his hat and helmet than any other player in the majors. Ever. Including the dead ball era. Game winning homerun in the Clemens-Pedro epic at Yankee Stadium in 2000. Eat it, Rocket. The guy was getting tossed out of games when he was on the DL. Batted .357 in the 2004 World Series. Batted .333 with 3 HR and 5 RBIs in the "oh so close" 2003 ALCS against the damn Yankees. Played hurt and his stats suffered. Played for the Sox. Loved the fans. And we loved him.

Farewell Trot. Goodbye number 7. Thanks for the memories.

After his final game in a Sox uniform:

"I heard so many great things, I can't thank those fans enough," Nixon said after his last game playing for the Red Sox last October. "Tipping the hat, blowing kisses here or there, that's not me. But maybe they pick up the paper tomorrow and read the fact it truly means a lot to me what they've done for me the eight years I've been here.

"I did care about this organization and did care about this town. This town has been unbelievable for my family and I, absolutely unbelievable." [Boston.com: Extra Bases]
I am ashamed that there hasn't been more outrage. Or at least something nice. They gave Johnny Damon a photo gallery of memories when he rolled out to the Yankees. But no more than a whimper for the Yankee killer? Nothing for the guy with dirt on his shirt, pine-tar on his hat, and you can't see the "B" on his helmet because there's a pound of pinetar on it? Nothing for him? Say it ain't so. The Herald had a nice article, but The Soxaholix were prepared for the blow. I guess we all were.

And now Trot, one of eight guys still on in Boston from the 2004 Championship team, is gone. Another byline on the Red Sox blog. An AP article at ESPN. Sure the writing was on the wall. We knew it was coming as early as late summer of last year. But it still stings. It still hurts.

Someone shoot me an email or give me a ring when Wily Mo Pena/J.D. Drew hits a pinch-hit homerun to save a postseason series. I'll be at the bar. Wondering what happened to that Championship team.

[An Open Letter to Trot | 2004: The Trot Nixon Show]

MP3: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Love Song No. 7"
MP3: Forward, Russia - "Seven"
MP3: Interpol - "Song Seven"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cosmo Baker, Take Us Into the Weekend

[Photo Credit: Is The Rub]

Found this number while I was hanging out at Brooklyn Vegan clicking on links. They post so much stuff over there that it is nearly impossible to keep up. Here's the abbreviated bio on Cosmo Baker, courtesy of his site, CosmoBaker.com:

Either
A: "I'm from the old school, I love P-Funk, But now rap music is all that they want, So when I'm in my car, I play Clinton, And when I'm on the stage I start pimping."

or

B: "Now I'm hiding in Honduras, I'm a desperate man, Send lawyers, guns and money, The shit has hit the fan..."
Gotta love the Warren Zevon reference, and the Bloc Party/Outkast mashup. More tracks, mixes and setlists here and here. Don't confuse this battle with their previous encounter.

DUNZO: Outkast v. Bloc Party - "She's Hearing Bombs"
MP3: Outkast v. Bloc Party - "She's Hearing Bombs"

State of the 'Gum

InMyTree and I have had many conversations regarding Stereogum's place in the online music world to the point that we finally just pulled it off our blogroll. This, of course, really has nothing to do with driving traffic off of our site but more as a mini-statement. I haven't followed the 'Gum for nearly as long as others but I've noticed the downward trend in the quality of posts. I've also noticed that the backlash is starting to grow in size from the comment threads on the site to rumblings from other blogs. Idolator's post yesterday caught my attention because while it's almost like the pot calling the kettle black, I thought it pretty well sums up the current state of the 'Gum. This line in particular:

"Stereogum seems to be turning more and more into a radio station: You can check in for some new music, but you'd better be prepared for a lot of boneheaded chatter."

Compare this to Brooklyn Vegan, which for my money, is the best music blog out there (present company excluded, of course) and while he has brought in some contributors for interviews or Hip Hop Round-ups, etc., the site has grown in stature but continues to remain true to its roots.

I guess that's just the nature of World Wide Web, there's a fine line between what's "indie cred" and "selling out" for what Scott probably considers some hard-earned dollars. I don't really care either way, if the site frustrates you, move on. Stereogum is still one of my daily reads because it attracts a wide forum of music fans and I can weed out the junk for things that appeal to me. If anything, what bothers me most is this anonymous "we" concept that some of these sites, Stereogum and Idolator in particular, incorporate. I have a hard time believing that everyone writing has the same opinion on the music? "We love this band..." or "we're psyched about blah blah" There are two of us here at Metro D and while InMyTree and I have very similar musical tastes, we sure as hell don't agree on EVERYTHING (read: I'm not a fan of DFA 1979...sorry dude).

Ok, I'm rambling but this is just something I find interesting.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Life From Below 2007

[Sebastien Grainger: MySpace]

Yeah, its not Death From Above 1979, but its the brainchild of a man that was 50% of that epic and sorely missed bass and drums noise-rock outfit. If this track is any indication of the things to follow from Sebastian then I am along for the ride. MSTRKRFT is great, but this is a little more my speed. No album date yet. Just a split 7". But, he's helping out Bloc Party on a couple of their dates, so I'm sure that more goodies will be explored at those shows. I won't be there. Salt on my fucking wounds. Oh, and uh, sweet shirts, guy.

Bloc Party Dates w. Sebastien Grainger support:
23.03.07 Chicago, IL - Congress Theatre
24.03.07 Detroit, MI - Royal Oak Theatre
25.03.07 Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus
27.03.07 Montreal, Ontario - Metropolis
28.03.07 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
30.03.07 New York, NY - United Palace Theatre
31.03.07 New York, NY - United Palace Theatre

MP3: Sebastien Grainger - "When You Go Out"

Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Cuckoo Canoe & Why We Never Judge a Book By Its Cover

It didn't help that the best freebie I have heard in a long time was handed to me in the middle of my Dexter binge two days ago. Dexter, for those of you out of the loop, is American Psycho television and one of the highest rated shows at Metacritic from this past fall season. It has everything I love: dark humor, subversive themes, great writing and sharp direction. Plotline: serial killer by night, forensic blood analyst for the Miami Police by day. Bottom line: I consumed the whole season in two days. It is phenomenal in the sickest possible way. Without straying too far from the purpose of this post, watch an episode of Dexter as fast as humanly possible.

As I was saying, I was knee-deep in the aforementioned psychological black comedy thrill ride when the First Lady handed me an unmarked package from an unidentified name at an apartment in Brooklyn. Timing is everything. Without opening and fearing I am about to get cut the fuck up by the Ice Truck Killer, I call JK and ask if he corresponded with anyone lately about sending us some music (JK is better about the e-mails than I). He had nothing for me, so I put on some latex gloves, put my shirt over my nose and opened the package. The cover of the CD has a couple of kids holding hands as they fly on lemons in the clouds. I'm thinking it is a Cloud Cult promotional CD. I almost shit my pants. I open it up and it says Cuckoo Canoe - Basketball Freedom Overdrive. Oh boy. Not a good start. But, never, never judge a book by its cover.

The next day I am driving into work and I throw the CD into the Silver Bullet. 4 tracks in and I love it. I can't keep myself from throwing "Aderol" and "Alaska Wolf Slay" on repeat. These guys are going to get endless comparisons to The Strokes and it isn't because of their NYC home, it is because they have some ferocious hooks in their songs. I'm still working towards the second half of the CD and trying to figure out more about these guys, but for now just listen to these tracks. Beast.

UPDATE: The "Country" label (next to "Rock and "Grunge") on their MySpace page isn't a misnomer. There some hints of country in here, and its a departure from what makes "Aderol", "Alaska Wolf Slay" and "Coat Me Mister" great, but its solid. The majority of the second half of the CD doesn't pack the whallop of the first half, but its good. The vocals still have Julian Casablancas written all over them. For me, that's a good thing.

MP3: Cuckoo Canoe - "Aderol"
MP3: Cuckoo Canoe - "Alaska Wolf Slay"

Black '47 Back in the Day

One of my favorite bands playing one of their best songs ("Maria's Wedding") on Letterman. I wish I was in Connolly's dancing to it with a girl with no teeth...as I was the first time I heard it. Come to think of it, that girl had teeth, they were just rotten. Dr. Beckett, your thoughts? Your memory might be better than mine.

Larry & Co. have news about their next trip to the motherland (Ireland), some new tour dates and info on Larry Kirwan's Sirius radio show at Black47.com.


UPDATE: In regards to the good Doctor's thoughts circa Comment #1, here's Black '47 doing "Downtown Baghdad Blues".

Random Thoughts

* The buzz from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!'s s/t and self-released debut in 2005 is still fresh in my mind and I think it will go down as one of the best music stories of the decade - one that lead to 120,000 sales without a label. So it's been pretty hard to ignore their upcoming release, Some Loud Thunder. They've got a nice spot on the MySpace home page to promote the album stream, all pre-sale buyers at Insound (it comes out on 1/30) received a link to download the album, and countless blog mentions. A savvy web user will also be able to find the download floating around the blogosphere. I think their debut was very good but not quite excellent. However, I'm having a real hard time figuring out what the hell is going on with this one. It just doesn't seem like these are songs. The music is fine but what are these lyrics? It's definitely a step in a different direction, I just think it's the wrong direction. I love their DIY approach but I have doubts as to whether this will bring in any new fans.

* Is it just me or does it seem like the prices have gone up at Insound? I had a really hard time justifying paying 16 bucks for the new Bloc Party. Not to mention that the free shipping is up to $50. I'm trying something new and going with Amp Camp. Their prices are cheaper on tons of new releases and they have a wider selection of pre-sales. We'll see if their delivery process holds up.

* Caught up on a couple recent DVD releases - The Illusionists and United 93. Both are excellent films and the latter definitely deserves mention as one of the best of last year. I still need to see Pan's Labrynth, The Last King of Scotland, and Babel.

* I went for an upgrade on my ipod headphones and ended up trying out 3 pairs until I settled on something I was happy with. I stayed in the $100 price range. I started with the new Bose in-ear headphones. Great sound, terrible fit. I then tried the JBL Reference 220 - great fit but the sound left a lot to be desired. I finally ended on the V-MODA Vibes. The fit is far better than the Bose and the sound quality is excellent, at least to my untrained ears.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

BRIT Award Nominations

Nominees for the 2006 BRIT awards were announced yesterday. This is yet another chance to award the same artists across the British music scene. Muse, Lily Allen, and Gnarls Barkley all gathered 3 nominations. Here are some notables (and the pick I'd like to see win). Full list here.

British Group
Arctic Monkeys
Kasabian
Muse (My Pick)
Razorlight
Snow Patrol

Mastercard British Album
Amy Winehouse - 'Back To Black'
Arctic Monkeys - 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'
Lily Allen - 'Alright, Still'
Muse - 'Black Holes And Revelations' (My Pick)
Snow Patrol - 'Eyes Open'

British Breakthrough Act

Corinne Bailey Rae
The Fratellis (My Pick)
James Morrison
The Kooks
Lily Allen

British Live Act
George Michael
Guillemots
Kasabian
Muse (My Pick)
Robbie Williams

International Male Solo Artist

Beck (My Pick)
Bob Dylan
Damien Rice
Jack Johnson
Justin Timberlake

International Group

The Flaming Lips
Gnarls Barkley
The Killers
Red Hot Chili Peppers (My Pick)
Scissor Sisters

International Album
Bob Dylan - 'Modern Times' (My Pick)
Gnarls Barkley - 'St Elsewhere'
Justin Timberlake - 'FutureSex/LoveSounds'
The Killers - 'Sam's Town'
Scissor Sisters - 'Ta-Dah'

International Breakthrough Act

Gnarls Barkley
Orson
The Raconteurs
Ray Lamontagne
Wolfmother (My Pick)

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Want What Paula's Drinking

8 Track: Friday Night Fever

You can't stop looking up at the clock. The flourescence in the cubicle is burning you. Lunch divides the day. But then there's still another four hours until you can get the fuck out of Dodge. Three day weekend. Friday is taking too long. These fucking computer speakers suck. I just want to dance. Kick down the dividers in this shitty little office. Tell off the boss. Get to happy hour early. Leave late. And get this party started. Well, here's your mixtape. 5 o'clock will be here before you know it.


The perfect soundtrack to the decompression, shedding your Monday to Friday skin and getting ready for heavier beats and the grittier tracks that follow. That Hot Chip is so hot right now.
MP3: Hot Chip - "Just Like We (Breakdown)" [DFA Remix]


This is the B-side to "Munich" from the import CD-Single. I am still trying to figure out why they left this track off of The Back Room. Grabbed this little nugget when Tower Records fell. Gold. UPDATE: It's a Stereolab cover.
MP3: Editors - "French Disko"


I can't say much for the recording quality of this track, but if you turn the speakers up high enough it doesn't even matter. This is the "Processed Beats" B-side and has a much more aggressive feel than most of Kasabian's other stuff.
MP3: Kasabian - "The Nightworker's"


This is hands-down one of the best remixes I have heard all year (like a give a fuck that we're only 12 days into it). Of course, it doesn't hurt that these guys impressed the shit out of me in the live setting. If the head doesn't start bobbing, if you aren't inclined to turn the volume up, or if you don't feel the urge to dance then check your pulse.
MP3: Snowden - "Black Eyes" (Le Castle Vania Remix)


From the EP that started it all. Show me your (Karen) O(.) face.
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Art Star"


Spoon has been pretty busy since Gimme Fiction reinforced our beliefs in their greatness in 2005. They brought the heat to Webster Hall in NYC on New Year's Eve's Eve, frontman Britt Daniel teamed with Brian Reitzel to provide the score to Stranger Than Fiction and they are currently working on their 6th LP tentatively titled It's Frightening. This is one of the B-Sides to "Sister Jack". Another Tower Records special.
MP3: Spoon - "Monkey Feelings"


Ladytron was pitted against Sigur Ros at Coachella this past year and fresh off our initiation to Return to Cookie Mountain with Tunde & Company, we went with Sigur Ros. I heard nothing but good things about Ladytron's high voltage, electronic laced assault.
MP3: Ladytron - "Sugar"


A fucking classic.
MP3: Joy Division - "Love Will Tear Us Apart"

The Fratellis - TV debut and Pitchfork

The Fratellis will get a nice introduction to the US with the new iPod/iTunes ad featuring "Flathead." The inclusion of this song is somewhat surprising since they have yet to release anything in the States. Although their debut album Costello Music has been out in the UK for 5 months, our first taste is the Flathead EP out on 1/23 (and only 4 bucks at Amazon). If there is a release date for the full-length, I haven't seen it yet. Pitchfork has taken notice with their review of the single this morning and not surprisingly, given it two stars. I've been listening to the album for some time now (we've talked about these guys before) and while it's possible that people are just burned out from the NME onslaught of "up-and-coming bands" - Pitchfork has been in backlash mode for months now - unlike The View, I'm still supporting them. This album deserves a look whenever it gets a proper release. (UPDATE: the album will be out on March 13th)

MP3: The Fratellis - "Flathead"

Much better version on Apple's site here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kaiser Chiefs, Arcade Fire, and Bobby McFerrin Raped My Grandmother

New Kaiser Chiefs at Neiles Life if you can brave the Grey's Anatomy discussion.

New Arcade Fire at I Guess I'm Floating. Cream yourself with the masses in the Comments section: "epic", "so solid", and "awesome". There was also a reference to Celine Dion in there to even things out...

Rough Trade All Up In This Mutha...

From Filter Magazine:

"UK indie record label Rough Trade Records has hooked-up with World's Fair Label Group to license and market select titles for North American release. The deal will once again give Rough Trade direct access to the U.S. market which it has been without due to the financial troubles of part owner Sanctuary Records.

"Initial Rough Trade/World's Fair offerings include the latest albums from Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, Brakes, British Sea Power, The Veils and 1990s. A spokesperson for World's Fair says release dates have not yet been set, but the company is looking to get its first batch of albums out in April or May.

"Founded in 1978, Rough Trade has been home to such acts as The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian, The Strokes and The Libertines. In linking with World's Fair, Rough Trade joins a label group that already includes Bella Union Records, which is home to Midlake."
More info on Rough Trade at Pitchfork.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

DFA 1979 - "Romantic Rights" on Conan

I fucking miss this band so much. Max Weinberg hops on the kit at the end enabling Sebastian Grainger to get after it. Conan at the end: "Good job, guys. Best name for a band ever."

Happiness Is...

...watching Duke lose their first two ACC games of the season.

Bloc Party - "I Still Remember" Video

From P4K. Directed by Aggressive. Sidetrack: there was a summer when the word aggressive was used everytime I headed out. Or maybe it was my entire last year in college. I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat sometimes with visions of Thomas Beckett standing over me stanking of beer, good times and aggressivity. He's dressed like Hunter S. Thompson a retarded cowboy and he's got a shotgun in one hand and sixer of Bud Heavy tall boys in the other smiling, "let's focking get agghressive." I still remember.

Dispatch

[Zimbabwe | MySpace (Photo Credit) | Official Site]

Tickets for a Dispatch reunion gig at - get ready - Madison Square Garden will go onsale at 12:00 EST today (ticket info, presale password here in Bulletin and Blog). This only five days after the benefit for Zimbabwe news was released.

Now some of you might ask one of any number of things: who the fuck is Dispatch? do they really intend on selling out The Garden? or when is Britney going to put some fucking undergarments? I can't help with number three, but I can lend some information on the first two.

Judging from my Ben Harper/early Dave Matthews (at least I fucking admit it) roots when it came to seeing artists live in my youth, it is only natural that at some point Dispatch's Bang Bang hit my headspace in college. I still believe that it is a fantastic album from top to bottom, and find myself letting it spin whenever I am in the mood. It came from a group of guys that coalesced in Middlebury, Vermont under early names like One Fell Swoop and The Longfellow Frenzy. Without relying on a label - c'mon we had fucking Napster back then - Dispatch soon established a respectable following outside of New England with their jam-rock, acoustic, folk, reggae and funk fusion. Depending on your definition of respectable you will be surprised to know that, in July of 2004, Dispatch took the estimates of 10,000 to 30,000 fans for their final, farewell show and raised them 70,000.

Covered in the documentary film The Last Dispatch, the show, according to some, set the record for the largest show in independent music history (some estimates top 110,000 in attendance). It also had the BoPo spinning, the Hatch Shell bumping and probably more than a few fans leaving in tears. The show was later released a two-disc CD titled All Points Bulletin. And then they were gone. Solo careers were created and other bands were formed, notably (and locally) State Radio. Until now.

So, about that second question, my money's on this thing selling out - not at Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Spiceworld Tour speed - but, eventually, the Garden will be packed, blunts will be passed and a sing-along memory for a great cause will be born.

MP3: Dispatch - "The General"
MP3: Dispatch - "Two Coins"

The Walkmen 2007 Tour

I initially got turned on to The Walkmen back in my John Frusciante binge of 2004. John was releasing 6 solo albums in 6 months and I was consuming his riffs faster than Pete Doherty on a bag of China White. In the afterglow of my sonic buzz I would traverse the Internet wild for all things John Frusciante. Inevitably I ended up at Record Collection, home of Frusciante and his project Ataxia, as well as MURS, Hot Hot Heat, Polyphonic Spree and Jason Schwartzman from Rushmore and Phantom Planet track "California" (title song for recently canceled The OC) fame.

Without getting too far off track - although an OC reference remains on track due to the fact that three tracks off of Bows + Arrows were featured in '04 - I was formally introduced to The Walkmen in late 2004 via Bows + Arrows. It was an auspicious beginning, because I bought it based purely on the band name and the cover of the album, not to mention the fact that it was on the same label as John. Looking back the album cover wasn't anything special, but for whatever reason, I loved the name The Walkmen enough to give them a shot. The album turned out to be stellar, and, looking back, one of my favorites from 2004. I have only ever gone for an album based on cover art one other time, for The Music's The Music, and that move was rewarded as well.

With a lukewarm reception to their re-make of Harry Nilsson's Pussy Cats late last year, and, earlier, a solid follow-up effort to Bows + Arrows in A Hundred Miles Off in the rearviewmirror, The Walkmen are road testing some of the new stuff on 11 dates in March. Lucky for us, one of those dates is in DC, at the Rock 'N Roll Hotel. We caught them when they rocked the 9:30 Club in May of last year and it was fantastic.

Tour Dates
Mar 9 Ottobar Baltimore, Maryland
Mar 10 Little Brother's Columbus, Ohio
Mar 11 Schuba's Chicago, Illinois
Mar 12 Southgate House Newport, Kentucky
Mar 13 Headliners Louisville, Kentucky
Mar 18 The Parish @ HOB New Orleans, Louisiana
Mar 19 Beta Bar Tallahassee, Florida
Mar 20 40 Watt Athens, Georgia
Mar 21 Grey Eagle Asheville, North Carolina
Mar 22 Local 506 Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Mar 23 Rock and Roll Hotel Washington, DC

   

MP3: The Walkmen - "Don't Get Me Down (Come On Over Here)"