Friday, June 29, 2007

JK's Mid-Year Assessment

As we reach the mid-point of a year that seems to be flying by, I thought I'd throw out some selections for my favorites albums thus far in 2007. Six months in and the music is already far better than most of what I heard last year; and a Radiohead album is looming on the horizon. As solid as the albums have been this year, I've been equally disappointed by sophomore slumps from hyped UK bands that I've been following ever-so-closely across the past couple years. The guilty, in order of preference:

- Bloc Party: probably the best of the bunch only because they released a collection of 11 b-sides nearly as good as the album itself.
- Maximo Park: I think this is better than it gets credit for but definitely a step down from their debut. The last few songs represent a significant drop off from the opening 2/3rds of the album.
- Editors: It appears they've captured some of their live energy on this one and while there are several excellent songs ("An End Has a Start", "The Racing Rats", and "Escape the Nest") there is some filler on an already short album.
- Arctic Monkeys: Probably the best reviewed of the bunch but I never really got into it.
- Kaiser Chiefs: Just awful.

And with that, here are some JK-approved picks:

1. The National - Boxer
2. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
3. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
4. Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
Handsome Furs - Plague Park

Honorable mention to White Rabbits, Arbouretum, and Apostle of Hustle.

I've only listened to the new Interpol a few times. The first time I heard it, I was pretty sure it was terrible. Fortunately, it's getting marginally better with each listen. How far that goes, I'm not sure. No question that "Pioneer to the Falls" and "Mammoth" are both awesome songs. While it's still too early to pass judgement, I'm fairly certain it's going to provide some strong opinions one way or the other.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


InMyTree? Absent. JK? Absent. Sorry, things have been a bit hectic around here. Things should return to normal (whatever that is) soon enough.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Editors Announce Tour Dates

I was really hoping this wouldn't happen but it has. The Editors stop through NYC will occur while I'm on vacation. This is not a complaint, since I'll be in Croatia, but I'm definitely disappointed. Tour dates below. Presale begins here June 26th at 10:00 a.m.

Editors (Ra Ra Riot and Biffy Clyro supporting):
09.04.07 - Washington, DC (9:30 Club)
09.06.07 - Boston, MA (Paradise Rock Club)
09.07.07 - New York, NY (Webster Hall)
09.08.07 - Montreal, QC (Osheaga Festival)
09.09.07 - Toronto, ON (Virgin Festival)
09.11.07 - Chicago, IL (Park West)
09.12.07 - Minneapolis, MN (Fine Line Music Cafe)
09.14.07 - Denver, CO (Monolith Festival)
09.15.07 - Salt Lake City, UT (Club Sound)
09.17.07 - Vancouver, BC (Richard's On Richards)
09.18.07 - Seattle, WA (Chop Suey)
09.19.07 - Portland, OR (Berbati's Pan)
09.20.07 - San Francisco, CA (Fillmore)
09.23.07 - San Diego, CA (Streetscene)
09.24.07 - Los Angeles, CA (The Wiltern)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The National Live from 9:30, Tonight on NPR

Unfortunately, neither of us will be there tonight but the show will be broadcast live from the 9:30 Club tonight on NPR. Go here to listen in around 10 p.m. and stay satiated until InMyTree's rousing recap of their set from Bonnaroo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Stripes vs. Muse @ the Garden

I think a lot of people, including me, were taken aback when The White Stripes and Muse both announced headlining shows at Madison Square Garden. BV even had a great line in a post last month: "Are Muse as big as the White Stripes? Are the White Stripes as big as Muse?" I'll be attending both and while I've seen both bands live before, I think Muse may be a better fit on such a grand stage. But I also realize it would be foolish to count out The Stripes. Both shows went on sale on the same day and so out of curiousity this morning, I checked in with Ticketmaster to see how their respective shows were selling. Low and behold, as far as audiences are concerned they appear to be pretty damn equal (almost suspiciously).

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Radiohead Flirtation

Ed's "Yes I know its been a while...but we've been working on this album for a whle...BUT WE ARE NEARLY THERE..."

Now this: "...bits of tape which have been chopped out of the mixes when they were edited..."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stream the New Single from Nine Black Alps

The first single from the, apparently, still un-named second album from Nine Black Alps is called "Burn Faster" and now streaming on their MySpace page.

Can't say that I'm impressed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bonnaroo or Bust!

The weather out there could be let's get the mud out of the way tomorrow night...and brace for the heat on Sunday. The Silver Bullet is getting packed as we speak and we should be on the road by 8. We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Era Vulgaris on Metracritic, Alpine Valley

By the way, does anyone really know anything about the other guys in this photo? I think two of these dudes are new. Pretty solid reviews across the board on Metracritic (78) this morning. I actually think that score feels about right if not a bit short. Then again, some of the blame falls on Pitchfork for their not so surprisingly shitty review. It took me a couple listens to fully get into this one but I'm close to loving it. I think it admirably stands up with their first 3 albums and far succeeds their previous effort. "Suture Up Your Future" is the stand-out for me right now. One of the better songs I've heard this year and as far as the softer side of QOTSA goes, I'll take that one over "Make It Wit Chu" (the requisite Desert Sessions cross-over). Head over to Popmatters for a very solid, well-written review.

Below, another album worthy b-side, "Running Joke" from the UK release.

MP3: Queens of the Stone Age - "Running Joke"

In related news, now that the experts on the WWW have solved the mystery of the Rage countdown, has anyone noticed who's opening for Rage during this Alpine Valley show? None other than QOTSA. What a fucking show, holy shit. That's 60 bucks well spent.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Spoon: Dates, Tracklisting, Pre-Order


Updated US/Canada Spoon dates. We will miss them at Bonnaroo because of Ben Harper and his nastiness going down on another stage. But I will be in LA by the time they are rocking out in the Henry Fonda Theater. It's all good.

06-10 Chula Vista, CA - KZBT Independence Jam
06-16 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo
06-29 Calgary, Alberta - Sled Island Festival
07-04 Detroit, MI - Comerica CityFest
07-05 Milwaukee, WI - Summerfest
07-11 New York, NY - Rockefeller Park (River to River)
08-04 Chicago, IL - Grant Park (Lollapalooza)
08-05 Baltimore, MD - Virgin Festival
08-16 London, England - Cargo
08-17 Hasselt, Belgium - Pukkelpop Festival
09-07 Vancouver, British Columbia
09-10 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
09-11 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
09-14-16 Austin, TX - Zilker Park (ACL Festival)
10-10 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
10-15 Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix Concert Theatre
10-20 New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom
You can pre-order Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga at Spoon's store. It drops on July 10th. Here's the tracklisting:
1. "Don’t Make Me A Target"
2. "The Ghost Of You Lingers"
3. "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb"
4. "Don’t You Evah"
5. "Rhthm And Soul"
6. "Eddie’s Ragga"
7. "The Underdog"
8. "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case"
9. "Finer Feelings"
10. "Black Like Me"

MP3: Spoon - "It Took A Rumour to Make Me Wonder Now I'm Afraid I'm Going Under" [ALT]

Friday, June 08, 2007, Preview Era Vulgaris

You can check out the new Queens of the Stone Age website and preview the new album Era Vulgaris over here. Sounds great, looks great, can't wait. Dropping next Tuesday.

8 Track: Recent Addictions

"He lay listening to the water drip in the woods. Bedrock, this. The cold and the silence. The ashes of the late world carried on the bleak and temporal winds to and fro in the void. Carried forth and scattered and carried forth again. Everything uncoupled from its shoring. Unsupported in the ashen air. Sustained by a breath, trembling and brief. If only my heart were stone." Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Simple, haunting beauty.
MP3: Lightning Dust - "Listened On" [ALT]

Probably not the best track on this album, which says a lot. I can almost guarantee this album will be in my Top Five come year's end.
MP3: Dinosaur Jr. - "Pick Me Up" [ALT]

Everything a great cover should be.
MP3: Franz Ferdinand - "All My Friends" [ALT]

My favorite track on this album changes daily. Right now I'm grooving on "Slow Show". Thursday night. At the 'Roo.
MP3: The National - "Slow Show" [ALT]

It's hard to improve upon this track, but Diplo adds another dimension. The pieces that make it great are left in and then a killer beat and rhyme are dropped on top of the music. It's not better than the original (found on the CD above), but it's pretty fucking great.
MP3: TV On The Radio - "Staring at the Sun" (Diplo Hollertronix Remix) [ALT]

An unconventional leadoff track for an album, but an absolute beast of a song. A stumbling, drunken love song that weaves it's way right into the listener's heart and soul. I'm looking forward to catching Wilco (and Nels Cline) for the first time ever at Bonnaroo.
MP3: Wilco - "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" [ALT]

Still my favorite Pumpkins track.
MP3: Smashing Pumpkins - "Soma" [ALT]

Not their best album by any stretch of the imagination, but it has it's high points. "Not What You Wanted" is one of the peaks.
MP3: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - "Not What You Wanted" [ALT]

Dinosaur Jr @ Irving Plaza, 6/7/07

I'm fairly certain that this was the loudest show I've ever attended. I don't think I had a choice but to stand at the back of the venue in order to prevent my ears from bleeding. Much credit to those fans in the middle of it all. And to the crowd surfers last night, this post is for you!

There's a term far too frequently used by broadcasters in baseball - "professional hitter". It drives me crazy. Isn't every major league hitter, in fact, a professional hitter? I don't need idiots like Joe Morgan telling me that Aubrey Huff is a professional hitter, because I know what he's capable of. After watching these three old men rock out last night, I couldn't help but think that the term professional musician was, in this case, a perfect description. I certainly haven't seen many folks who play their respective instruments better than J, Murph, and Lou. J's on-stage "dance" moves reminded me a lot of a very uncoordinated friend from college - two feet stuck to the ground, swaying shoulders back and forth - so AL, if you're reading, you've got some competition bro.

As for the show itself, it's definitely not one of the best I've seen but as a first timer for a Dinosaur Jr show, I'm glad to have had the chance to see them. I just wouldn't go out of my way to see them again. Setlist stuck mainly to the insanely great Beyond and the hits compiled in Ear-Bleeding Country (including "Just Like Heaven" and my favorite, "Feel the Pain").

From their Message Board:

"Almost Ready"
"Just Like Heaven"
"Back to Your Heart"
(*from here it's out of order*)
"Been There All the Time"
"This is All..."
"Little Fury Things"
"Pick Me Up"
"Out There"
"Feel the Pain"


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bloc Party

[Photo Credit: Mark Cowan]

I have caught them before. So when push came to shove it wasn't that hard of a pill to swallow. That, and, well, it was my own damn fault. I spent the weekend in Tallahassee helping a friend out with a short film he was shooting for the Graduate Film Conservatory at Florida State. To say that it was a blast would be a gross understatement. I was on cloud nine from the time I stepped off of my plane in Jacksonville, until I got in the car to head back to Jacksonville on Sunday morning. Fucking exhausted and working on three hours sleep, I began my journey back to J-ville at around 9:30 AM. It's about a 2.5 hour ride, but I rocked my coffee, plugged in my iPod and began rolling through another listen of The National's Boxer.

If you're doing the math out there, you are probably wondering why I flew into Jacksonville instead of Tallahassee. For starters, it was kind of a last minute thing, I just finished my job here in DC and I start grad school in LA next fall. Everything was fairly hectic leading up to the end of my days at work and I didn't grab my ticket until late. Me being a veteran of Southwest I chose to rock out to Jacksonville, because it was cheaper, worked towards my Rapid Rewards and I would have to rent a car even if a flew to Tallahassee.

So there I am, "Brainy" creaping across the airwaves, when I make my fatal decision. I head West on I-10 instead of East, towards Jacksonville. No big deal. But, I don't notice it until I am about 80 miles in. Luckily I was on the phone with the First Lady when I realized my mistake. After yelling out "Fuck" about 10 times and U-turning at the nearest exit I had two choices: Go 120 miles an hour for the next 2 hours and hope of making it on time. Or resign myself to a later flight, which had a changeover in Nashville and still provided a window of opportunity to catch all of Bloc Party due to the fact that the Noisettes and the Maccabees were opening.

Plan B begins, I get on the later flight and all is well and good. I'm too tired to be pissed and there is too much road ahead of me to let my own doing unravel me. The iPod car jack shits the bed. I'm left to the radio. I can't buy a break. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is followed by "Only Wanna Be With You". Fucking Hootie. The perfect mix of yesterday's hits and today's favorites is melting my fucking skull. I drive by exit signs to Tallahassee and ponder, for a moment, driving back to set. The worst case scenario is missing the show and missing the shoot. The 'Hass was a sure bet, but there are very few opportunities that the First Lady and I have like this: Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, Birdmonster, TV on the Radio, etc. I seize every chance I get to take in a show with her. And she was pumped for Bloc Party. And I'm doing the best that I can. To get there.

The good news at 4:00PM Nashville Standard Time was that I was gripping and ripping a pulled pork sandwich from Whitt's Barbecue. The bad news was that the flight was pushed back. Then it was on time. Then it was pushed back. It was of no solace to me that Steve McNair reacted the same way I did every time an obstacle appeared. He was on my flight with his family and was going largely unnoticed in the airport of the city he used to play quarterback for. The city he helped bring within a yard of a Super Bowl Championship. But I'm sure he preferred it that way. The worst part? The plane was right there. The crew was ready to fly. When I finally boarded around 7:15 EST, I felt like a slow motion version of Kevin Dyson stretching that ball out. My Bloc Party is his Super Bowl ring. The light at the end of the tunnel dims. Time is running out.

Boxer sinks in at cruising altitude. I forget when exactly we landed at BWI, but I grabbed my shit and sprinted towards the Lot A Shuttle. Everyone else was late for a connecting flight and as I run a rather large lady sees me running and yells "Are you on the flight to Norfolk?". I don't think she heard the "No, ma'am" through my heavy breathing. The shuttle was closing it's doors as I got there. Timing could not have been better. Things are looking up. I find my car quickly and I am out of the lot in record time. The Noisettes are on stage. The First Lady is in her seat. The word is that Bloc Party gets on in 45 minutes. Doable. And then the Baltimore Washington Parkway - the last domino I needed to fall perfectly - rears it's Jekyll head and morphs before my eyes into the Baltimore Washington Parking lot. I slug my way through a traffic jam that costs me, easily, 40 minutes. All the while, the First Lady is shaking her money-maker wishing I was there and texting me the setlist. Alright, it wasn't a perfect setlist, but it was close enough. I knew that "absentminded" was "Positive Tension"...we're good like that.

When I finally burst into the District they've finished the initial set. By the time I was running past the White House (after locating her car and grabbing my ticket out of her glove compartment) I figured I had about a song left. I ran anyway. I didn't need the ticket and I definitely drew some odd looks from people that were sitting outside smoking (why is this fucktard running to this show when it will end in a song?), I burst in and find entrance #3 and there is the First Lady perfectly outlined in front of Bloc Party's lights as the boys rip through "Sunday". I thought this was it. Big hugs, a big kiss and we start dancing. But they aren't done. "Helicopter". And later, "The Pioneers". A moral victory of sorts.

Looking at the setlist the following morning was salt on my wounds. I missed a great set. They are building an incredible catalog that will only get bigger and better as the years go by. My one hang-up is that they have so many ridiculous B-sides...but they rarely play them. I look forward to the day that this band brings the pain in the same way Pearl Jam does: so many songs, you never know what you're going to get, but you know they are going to dip into everything. Here are my Top Five Bloc Party Rarities/B-Sides I Want to Hear Live. Eventually. Next time.

MP3: Bloc Party - "Staying Fat"
MP3: Bloc Party - "The Once & Future King"
MP3: Bloc Party - "Version 2.0"
MP3: Bloc Party - "Two More Years"
MP3: Bloc Party - "Secrets"

LaLa Back in the News

I've been using LaLa for a full year now to swap some of my older unwanted cds for older wanted cds and have been really happy with the service. Yesterday, LaLa was back in the news and in a big way. They've added online radio (WOXY among others), they've added an online store and now they're giving users a chance to listen to full albums FOR FREE. This is huge for obvious reasons. WSJ ran an article yesterday which also was the launch of this new service. I've included the notable news below. Almost sounds too good to be true.

"It's like a subscription music service, but without the monthly subscription fee. Lala is betting that in return for getting all that free access to music at home, listeners will pay to buy the songs they want to take with them on iPods and other music players. The prices will range from $6.50 to $13.50 for an album. (For now, Lala plans to sell music only by the album rather than song by song.)"

" Rhapsody and its competitors charge users $12 a month for "all you can eat streaming," will charge nothing. And where Rhapsody and its competitors require users to load special -- and occasionally glitchy -- programs to access their offerings, Lala will work through a normal Web browser. Users of Lala's Web-based service can create and save playlists, send them to friends and browse the virtual collections of other users -- all for free."

"More important still, the new service will work with Apple Inc.'s iPods -- something no iTunes competitor featuring major-label content has been able to do."

When a user plugs an iPod or music-enabled mobile phone into a PC, he or she will be given the option of loading music directly into the device -- for a fee. The service keeps tabs on a user's music collection -- even songs they acquired from iTunes or elsewhere -- so if someone's home hard drive contains a particular song, Lala will enable that customer to download the song to an iPod for free from any computer connected to the Web. The company believes its business model will succeed because the ubiquity of mobile phones and other gadgets that can play music provides such a growth market."


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rage Against The Machine Countdown

I don't have a clue what is all about...but I have the feeling it is really, really good news. August 24, 2007 hopefully marks the day that the renegades of funk drop another musical bomb on my ear canals.

MP3: Rage Against The Machine - "Renegades of Funk"

Smashing Pumpkins Residencies, Ginger Sling and the Scouts of St. Sebastian

Two residencies and two festivals stateside:

06-23 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
06-24 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
06-26 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
06-27 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
06-29 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
06-30 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
07-02 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
07-03 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
07-05 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
07-07 East Rutherford, NJ - Giants Stadium (Live Earth Festival)
07-22 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-24 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-25 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-27 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-28 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-30 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-31 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
08-01 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
08-05 Baltimore, MD - Pimlico Park (Virgin Festival)
I've been bouncing around the Interwebs trying to figure out who is playing in this band these days. I came across the name Ginger Reyes, aka Ginger Sling. She was (is) the bassist for the Halo Friendlies. They're pop-punk and are on hiatus for respective solo endeavors. Ginger Sling's MySpace page said "yes, it's true" which I assume means "yes, I am the bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins". Both her and the Halo Friendlies respective MySpace pages had a band called the Scouts of St. Sebastian on their friends list. I am really digging one of their songs, called "The Order of Things". A little bit Asobi Seksu, a little bit Silversun Pickups...female vocal, catchy, worth a look.

MP3: Scouts of St. Sebastian - "The Order of Things"

QOTSA: Random Midwest Dates, Covering Elliott Smith and Tom Waits

Era Vulgaris drops on June 12. You can pre-order it at Insound.

A European online retailer (Lo-Fi Merchandise) is releasing a digipack single for "Sick, Sick, Sick" that contains a remix of "Im Designer" and covers of Tom Waits' "Goin' Out West" and Elliott Smith's "Christian Brothers".

Initial US tour dates follow:

06-07 Fresno, CA - KFRR's Birthday Bash
06-08 Ventura, CA - KJEE's Seaside Beach Ball
06-09 Mountain View, CA - Live 105's BFD
07-22 Costa Mesa, CA - Orange County Fair
07-24 Chico, CA - Senator Theater
07-25 Eugene, OR - McDonald Theater
07-27 Boise, ID - The Big Easy
07-28 Missoula, MT - Wilma Theater
07-29 Billings, MT - Shire Auditorium
07-31 Fargo, ND - Playmaker's
08-01 Duluth, MN - DECC Arena
08-04 Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room
08-07 Memphis, TN - New Daisy Theater
08-08 Little Rock, AR - The Village
08-10 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
08-11 Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
09-16 Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival

Boris' Rainbow Now Available Stateside

Via Drag City. Drag City released it on May 22nd. I still don't know which is better, Rainbow, The National's Boxer or Dino Jr.'s Beyond. Boris is currently barnstorming through Europe.

Bloc Party @ DAR Constitution Hall, 6.3.07

The whole story of how I only caught the last 2 and a half songs after the commercial break:

"Song For Clay"
"Positive Tension"
"Blue Light"
"Hunting For Witches"
"Waiting For The 7.18"
"I Still Remember"
"This Modern Love"
"The Prayer"
"So Here We Are"
"Like Eating Glass"
"She's Hearing Voices"
"The Pioneers"

Cormac McCarthy. Oprah. Today.

The website is a little vague as to how long it will actually run, after all we have to talk about Michael Moore's new movie Sicko and Bono's spot as guest editor in next month's Vanity Fair. I'm betting that we get a five minute snippet with Mr. McCarthy (at the very end of the show) and then get directed to the website for the entire interview. Meh! JK just finished The Road and I think he liked it more than I did...if that is even possible. Oprah airs at 4 PM EST. And I don't recommend watching it after today.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Arcade Fire Interview on NPR

It wouldn't be a week without some mention of The Arcade Fire. Win and Regine were interviewed on today's Fresh Air.


Updated Muse Tour Dates and Presales

New shows added in Fairfax, VA and Denver.

8/1 Mississauga, ONT @ Arrow Hall
8/4 Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
8/6 New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
8/9 Fairfax, VA @ Patriot Center [Presale begins 6/12 @ 10am EST]
8/10 Philadelphia, PA @ Festival Pier at Penn's Landing
8/11 Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
9/12 Orem, UT @ McKay Events Center
9/15 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival
9/18 Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
9/22 San Diego, CA @ San Diego Street Scene