Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Evidently, bands already booked for the Arts Fest are inelligible, which removes some good talent from the pool right out of the gates. That said, there are some fine bands left in there, the majority being spanking new to me. I can’t remember where I heard Beware Fashionable Women before, but I’m pretty sure I have, and I really dig the song they entered. Low Water’s in there, they’re always solid. Carolina Shine I’ve never heard of, but those guys really know how to get a groove going.
But who am I but some idiot with a weblog? Go decide for yourselves. You’re all individuals.
Also, while we’re linking the P-G, here’s a pretty sweet article from Thursday: Scott Mervis’ 20 most memorable moments at Star Lake (I still insist on calling it that).
or re-write words that Witkó said?
I could make the dough myself
or stack old tomes upon a shelf
or plant some trees across the land
with seeds thrown from my leftern hand
while waving with my right appendage
to folks from Folsom up to Grenwich.
Or maybe I could build some desks
for men who like to produce texts
of legalese and legal lies
on furniture mahogonized.
I’ll chop the trees I’ve sown and soaked
and saw down cherries, maples, oaks,
and sycamores, but not the pears,
for those give shade to iron chairs
and reddish stones and bluish tiles
which recently have traveled miles
from Mexico to patio
though I still need to set them so
with mortar and some elbow grease
but I might rather speak my peace:
I’ll kick back in an old lawn chair
and grow my ‘stache and cut my hair
and read of Crocketts, Bills, and Boones.
Or maybe I’ll just jam some tunes.
Gaston Rubio y Los Cinco Ases – “Conejo Blanco”
I have no idea who this is or where I got it but it rocks – “Cumbias y Gaitas de Colombia”
Jason Lytle – “Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Phillip XIV of Spain” (John Fahey cover)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here are a few to get started. Help me fill up a tracklist in the comments thread and we’ll put something together together. Together.
My old neighbor Wavves? Some MGMT perhaps? What’s new and sunny these days?
Monday, May 25, 2009
Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “James Alley Blues”
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Delta Spirit – “Trashcan”
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Anyway, today is Joey Ramone’s birthday, and tonight the Boss takes over the Igloo. Recent setlists tell us that “Hungry Heart” has not been a staple of recent shows. But, I’ve heard tell that Bruce originally wrote that song for The Ramones at Joey’s request (confirmed by good old Wikipedia), so you can probably hope for that one tonight.
A more exciting number you might also hope for would be “I Wanna Be Sedated,” which Bruce and the band covered in Boston a few weeks ago upon a fan’s request:
If you’re on your way to the show, enjoy. And if you have seats on the floor, try not to do anything that could screw up the ice worse than it is already.
Friday, May 15, 2009
One of the big perks of writing a music blog is that artists and publicists send tons of free music—so much that I can’t keep up with it. But I suppose one of the downsides is that a lot slips through the cracks. Beyond that, I end up perusing so much of what I get for free that I often overlook or forget about the stuff I’ve paid for. So it’s time to clean out the archives a bit.
Piggy & Cups
I recall liking the Alligators as soon as I clicked the link in my inbox, and I downloaded the album right away, and then never listened to it. Which is a shame, because their sound (somewhere between Pomegranates and Fleet Foxes, perhaps?) is perfect for these sunny spring days like today. Fortunately, I imagine it will suit the summer even more.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Still, I bought the next set of records and dug those, too (particularly I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning). And then came Cassadaga and an eponymous solo record, both of which struck me as increasingly (decreasingly?) “just okay.” I haven’t given the new record much of a chance yet, even though a few of the songs I’ve downloaded are pretty decent (which is, I suppose, a step or two above okay). Anyway, the dude writes a good song (though delegated some of the writing duties to bandmates on his latest) and puts on a pretty impassioned performance (or did when I saw him anyhow), so I’ll probably check him out and see how adulthood is treating him. That’ll be on July 12, a Sunday.
Whether it leaked first by the band’s intentions isn’t clear (to me anyway), but either way they’ve made it official now. The sound is sure to draw the same “dad-rock” aspersions that followed Sky Blue Sky, but with a lighter mood and a kickass cover, you have to hope some of those naysayers will cool it this time around. Enjoy.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
“Dustland Fairytale” last night, preceded by some funny business…
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I’d heard a few tracks from the Homsepun Sessions before they opened for Good Night, States back in March. Unfortunately, I was running late that night and only caught the last two songs of their set. Nonetheless, I liked what I heard and bought a copy of the new CD, Here, Anonymous.
For about a month I kept the disc in my car and listened to it mostly on rainy nights, as I’d bought it on one such evening and it seemed to fit that mood nicely. Then one afternoon my girlfriend tossed it in on a sunny day while driving through the hills, and I couldn’t believe how great it sounded with the volume up and the windows down. Eulogies remind me of Sebadoh in that sense–their lo-fi feeling doesn’t lose brightness, and they can weave sounds that seem to mold to a setting. I have to think Lou Barlow would be a fan, too, and maybe he is for all I know.
But all I know is this: they play Diesel this Friday amidst a solid lineup. The problem is, of course, that Diesel holds concerts between about 7 and 10 p.m., before shutting down the music and throwing open the doors to welcome all good ‘bags and ‘baguettes in search of the Goose. That means that the Pens will be facing off against the Caps right about the time the show starts, which does not bode well for attendance. However, put one point in the “pros” column for the fact that Diesel will surely have the game on upstairs, so if you’re in the 21-plus crowd get a seat between the TVs and the stage and multi-task your Friday entertainment.
As for the Dears and Great Northern, I like what I’ve heard and I’m looking forward to both. In particular, Great Northern’s new disc is solid and refreshing. For more on both bands, see what the Music Slut had to say about their performances earlier this week in NYC.
Great Northern – “Houses”
EDIT: As good old Anonymous has pointed out in the comments, this show appears to have been nixed. Per the Joker website:
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The on-air portion of the show featured 4 new tracks off of Stereo Rodeo, which was released today. Fans of the band’s previous work, will like these new ones. They played the title track “Stereo Rodeo” after frontman Michael Glabicki explained that the song was inspired by his recent re-entry into the dating world. The song’s easy pace gives great room for Glabicki’s notoriously heart-felt delivery and for a new track, they’ve got it surprisingly polished live. They also played the lead track off of the album, “Dance in the Middle” with Liz Berlin breaking out a washboard and spoons to make the song jump.
If the four Rodeo tracks they sampled are any indication of the whole album, the band seems to be alternating between both of their sounds; jumping back and forth between “Martyr”ed jamboree and “Virtual Reality”ed electro-rock. I look forward to delving into the album – which they happily signed after the show.
When they went off the air the 40 people in attendance were treated to a rousing rendition of the classic When I Woke track “Ecstasy” (Recorded snippet below).
As they were about to vacate the small stage amidst a hail of applause that belied the smallness of the space, Glabicki paused as if suddenly he remembered that he’d forgotten to do something important. He halted the band’s exit by asking the crowd, “Is it weird if we don’t play ‘Send Me On My Way’? ‘Cause if it is, we’ll play it.” We cheered, they played.
It was a spectacularly up-close encounter one of my favorite all-time live acts. The new stuff sounds great, and the old stuff still hums like it was 1994. After all these years, Rusted Root remains Pittsburgh’s best band.
Be sure to check them out at the “Fallen Not Forgotten” show to benefit the Fallen Officers Fund on May 25 in Station Square.
No idea why/if this is worth mentioning, but I spent a good chunk of the late 90’s listening to little else but Phish, Miles Davis, Sonic Youth, and Pavement. I’d go months on end with only one record at a time, aside from whatever I would overhear by chance. 2000 rolled around, I had tired of Phish, Pavement broke up, and I got a summer job working in a small marketing department where new and yet-unreleased records were being sent to my boss on a near-daily basis, and most of them found their way to my cubicle. My tastes broadened dramatically, but I again found myself hooked on one record in particular: Grandaddy’s The Sophtware Slump (which, incidentally, was mixed by former Pavement drummer Gary Young, though long gone from Pavement by the new millennium).
Fast forward a while. Grandaddy is no more, M. Ward rules if you ask me, and Jason Lytle adds his touch to a few tracks on Hold Time. Announcements are made about a solo record by Lytle, and the hype is high.
So, here it is, just about 9 years after Lytle changed my personal musical landscape, all that rambling for one little heads-up: the album will be out on May 19, but NPR has the early stream right here. On first listen, I am not disappointed.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Here’s the brand new video for the song “Bitter Heart” (which we featured on the Arts Fest preview playlist here).
Friday, May 1, 2009
For at least two weeks now, the Action Painters’ debut album, Chubby Dancer, has been in heavy rotation for me. If I had it on vinyl, it would show serious wear along the grooves of “456” and “Sooner or Later.” So my hopes were high last night when they opened for Triggers in the Southside. Thankfully, they killed.
Despite some terrible preshow decision-making (they actually ate the food at Jack’s), the band brought to Lava Lounge a live energy I haven’t seen anywhere in a long while. Leader Tom Haslow began the set unassumingly with soft vocals and clean Les Paul tones on “How Could It Be So Wrong?” and as the song built up power, voices in the crowd began to hush and people took notice: these guys meant business.
After sitting with their album a few weeks, I expected seasoned art-rock veterans who had learned precision and restraint from long years and past projects, but the band on the whole is relatively young. Haslow’s voice in particular carries more age than his face lets on. Thurston Moore, J. Mascis, and Tom Verlaine all come to mind, but his passion comes through when he sings, making the vocals distinctly his own. His lyrics are genuine and his delivery is heartfelt, even when the songs seem apathetic on the surface.
Early in the set they unleashed “456” and “Sooner or Later” back to back, and a few more heads from the front room began to filter back to the stage area. They hit their stride, and even an overzealous fan who had followed the band down from the prior night’s show in Cleveland (are they all animals up there?) couldn’t break it. While some bands might have been bothered, Allison Zatarain glowed in the face of his uneven 22nd century dance moves that threatened to tip her double-stacked keys, and Haslow actually seemed to feed off the excitement and raise the stakes.
Which is another point worth making: Action Painters’ stage presence also belies their youth. Haslow commands the mic, and between verses turns to Joe Hankin (also on guitar) and Ray Heekin (bass) for short, explosive jams. Through it all, Amit Wehle keeps the beats simple and solid, giving even the Painters’ rawer tunes something the masses can grab onto. Though I didn’t expect their layered songs to lend themselves all that well to live performance, the Painters really do give them life in concert.
After rocking through “Absolutely Clear,” the band closed out with the synth-heavy poppers “Supermarket” and “Money Changes Everything.” It’s on those tunes that you might hear a bit of Talking Heads’ influence on the Painters’ approach. They have the essential ability to take what could be standard powerpop hooks and melodies and twist them into something far more interesting, at once danceable and thoughtful.
This is absolutely a band on its way up. With plans of a full-length release and a second tour later this year, the Action Painters can expect serious success if they continue to build on what they’ve already constructed in a relatively short period of time. After Thursday’s show I would expect that they shine even brighter in a venue with a little more space to spread out, so it would be great to see them book somewhere like Brillobox or Thunderbird next time through town. I’ll be keeping a close eye on their progress, continuing to hope for the best.