Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Music Definitions: Arab

I've been working with classic and medieval erotic Arabic poetry for the last few days, and thought I might as well post some appropriate music.

sadly, my itunes didn't respond all that well to the search of "Arab", it gave me a mere 34 songs: the Belle & Sebastian album (The Boy with the Arab Strap), a song by the band Arab Strap, a handful of actual Arabic songs, and the following,

The Cure - Killing an Arab [mp3]
this song is based on that Camus novel, The Stranger. that book was such a strange and marvelous experience for my then fourteen year old mind.

Bruce Adler - Arabian Nights [mp3]

yes, that's from Aladdin. yes, I have all of the Disney soundtracks.

Tchaikovsky - Arabian Dance [mp3]
from the Nutcracker ballet


Belle & Sebastian - The Boy with the Arab Strap [mp3]

Arab Strap - Blood [mp3]

Friday, January 30, 2009

Band of the Week: Winston Audio (+record review)

I love indie rock as much as the next guy. Come on, we all love to love bands that nobody knows about except for our little elite group of music fanatics, swapping Beirut EPs and exchanging stories about seeing Spoon live. It’s a fun little club, it always has been.

But when did indie music become synonymous with bands-who-put-out-such-strange-music-that-should-come-off-as-artsy-but-just-ends-up-sounding-bland? Fleet Foxes anyone?

What ever happened to good bands that are indie and rock hard?

Or even mainstream bands that rock hard?

Kings of Leon have gone U2 on everyone’s ass. Foo Fighters are rumoured to have called it quits. What about fucking Audioslave? They disbanded back in 2007. But fear not friends. The glorious hard rock that defined these bands has not been in vain.

Enter Winston Audio.

“Don't you know I'm not a martyr but you're making me bleed?
Is this all you ever needed, is this all you'll ever want?”

The Atlanta based band has a lead singer who sounds unmistakably like Chris Cornell, only better.

They’ve been around since 2003, but their current lineup (Daniel Dewitt, Dan Gleason, Zach Brown and Michael Adkins) formed in 2006. They released their first EP (Come on, Hibernate) in July of that year.

The guitar licks will get stuck in your head. I first listened to The Red Rhythm at night (twice through), then I went to bed. The next morning I was REALLY angry that I didn’t put the songs on my mp3 player because I had such an urge to listen to the entire record again and again and again. And that’s precisely what I’ve been doing ever since.

The mark of the majority of my favourite albums is that they get better with each listen. (If I'm going to be completely honest, I'm liking The Time of the Assassins less each time I listen to it.) When I first listened to The Red Rhythm, I thought it was good, but fairly unoriginal. The more I got into it, I couldn’t separate myself from the genius lyrics of “Devil’s Bed”, the soaring (and delightfully unexpected) trumpet in “Hey Ann”, and the speed-of-light cadence in “Smoke Signal” that makes it sound like those rare good bands on Warped Tour, not just the Rise Against clones.

“Keeping It Down” has background vocals that are remarkably similar to Anthony Kiedis (of RHCP duh), which makes me wonder why that guy didn’t do more vocals on the record.

This album might sound familiar, but at this point, musical overlap is bound to occur. Everything has already been done. Well, for the most part. I swear I’ve heard the bridge in “Devil’s Bed” before in a Fall Out Boy song (“Fame < Infamy” I think) but I really doubt these guys listen to Fall out Boy. Boys will be boys, music will be music, you might as well get an ass-kicking experience out of it.

The song “Action/Reaction” sums it up best: “If you push, we'll push back/violence is the only way we react.” The music here is oozing with restlessness about the state of music right now, so Winston Audio have retaliated with a brilliant debut LP featuring 10 proper rock songs and a final slow ballad, “Troubles,” which isn’t quite their forte, but I do respect them for dabbling in a different sound. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful song, but I’d much rather listen to “All This Time.”

In case you're incredibly dense, I'll state it outright: I fucking love this record. I need you to check out the following mp3s and buy the album in two weeks. Let's make Winston Audio the next big thing. Their music is already there, all they need now is a devoted fan base.


Winston Audio - On My Trail [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

start with this one. great opener. you may just have met your new favourite band.

Winston Audio - Smoke Signal [mp3]

this one makes me nostalgic for summer rock festivals and The Whigs. the drums and bass are wicked, and the guitars kick in full blast about a minute in.

Winston Audio - All This Time [mp3]
this one reminds me of Audrye Sessions, another favourite band of mine.

The Red Rhythm drops on February 10th, look for it at your local record shop.

Visit the band on MYSPACE.

And you lucky folks living in the South (Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi) get some live shows!

Feb 7 The Smoking Moose - 21+ w. The Bridges, DOTW, Ponderosa Oxford, Alabama
Feb 9 Caledonia Lounge w/ Death On Two Wheels Athens, Georgia
Feb 13 The Drunken Unicorn - THE RED RHYTHM ALBUM RELEASE SHOW w/ O’Brother & The Weeks Atlanta, Georgia
Feb 15 New Brookland Tavern w/ Marry a Thief & the Devil and the Lion & Kill Anties West Columbia, South Carolina
Feb 16 Tin Roof w/ Marry a Thief Charleston, South Carolina
Feb 17 Hummingbird Macon, Georgia
Feb 18 Alabama Music Box Mobile, Alabama
Feb 19 Sluggo’s Pensacola, Florida
Feb 20 Coasters w/ These Words Are Water Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Feb 21 Swell-O-Venue w/ The Weeks Jackson, Mississippi
Feb 22 Nick Birmingham, Alabama
Mar 4 Bread Coffehouse - FREE SHOW Atlanta, Georgia
Apr 4 K Street Tullahoma, Tennessee

Flight of the Concords on tour!

I missed them last year, but they're having another full on North American tour. brace yourselves!

I HIGHLY recommend that you watch the below video (if you like to laugh, that is).

Bret's face at 1:06 onward. hahahahhahaha <3

Flight of the Concords - Ladies of the World [mp3]

4/6/09 Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center* Tampa, FL
4/7/09 University of Miami BankUnited Center* Coral Gables, FL
4/8/09 UCF Arena* Orlando, FL
4/10/09 Ryman Auditorium* Nashville, TN
4/11/09 Fox Theatre* Atlanta, GA
4/13/09 Constitution Hall* Washington, D.C.
4/14/09 Radio City Music Hall* New York, NY
4/17/09 Agganis Arena* Boston, MA
4/18/09 Tower Theatre (2 shows)* Philadelphia, PA
4/19/09 Kent State University* Kent, OH
4/21/09 Massey Hall** Toronto, ON
4/22/09 Massey Hall** Toronto, ON
4/24/09 Fox Theatre** Detroit, MI
4/25/09 IU Auditorium** Bloomington, IN
4/26/09 Overture Center for the Arts** Madison, WI
4/28/09 Aerie Crown** Chicago, IL
4/30/09 Fox Theatre** St. Louis, MO
5/2/09 Riverside Theatre (2 shows)** Milwaukee, WI
5/3/09 Northrop Auditorium** Minneapolis, MN
5/5/09 Nokia Theatre** Dallas, TX
5/6/09 Jones Hall** Houston, TX
5/7/09 Bass Concert Hall** Austin, TX
5/10/09 Center in Vancouver for the Performing Arts*** Vancouver, BC
5/11/09 Paramount Theatre*** Seattle, WA
5/12/09 Paramount Theatre*** Seattle, WA
5/14/09 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall*** Portland, OR
5/16/09 Red Rocks Amphitheatre**** Denver, CO
5/17/09 Abravanel Hall*** Salt Lake City, UT
5/19/09 Dodge Theatre*** Phoenix, AZ
5/20/09 RIMAC Arena*** San Diego, CA
5/22/09 County Bowl*** Santa Barbara, CA
5/23/09 The Joint*** Las Vegas, NV
5/24/09 Greek Theatre*** Los Angeles, CA
5/25/09 Berkeley Community Theatre (2 shows)*** Berkeley, CA

* = Kristen Schaal
** = Eugene Mirman
*** = Arj Barker
**** = 1st Support: Iron & Wine, 2nd Support: Arj Barker

I can't imagine seeing Iron & Wine open for these guys.

Franz perform "Ulysses" on Leno: video + mp3


Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Killers and Coldplay to play a show together

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

did you catch Andrew Bird on Letterman?

incredible show. well worth watching.

Andrew Bird - Fiery Crash (live at millennium park)[mp3]

Modest Mouse on tour!

They're back! I know, I know, I am light years (a couple of days) late compared to the rest of the blogosphere, but I HAVE A VALID EXCUSE. That text has become an inextricable part of my identity. I should have stuck with something simpler to study, like math. Everyone else has their study time and their leisure time, but mine are interlinked. The result? No free time and a flooded inbox. *SIGH*

Modest Mouse Spring 2009 Tour:
02/22/2009 Oakland CA Fox Theater
02/23/2009 Visalia CA The Fox Theatre
02/24/2009 Hollywood CA HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM
02/25/2009 Tempe AZ The Marquee
02/26/2009 Albuquerque NM Albuquerque Convention Center, Hall
02/28/2009 Boulder CO Balch Fieldhouse/C.U. Boulder
03/02/2009 Kansas City MO
03/03/2009 Oklahoma City OK Diamond Ballroom
03/07/2009 Atlanta GA THE TABERNACLE
03/08/2009 Miami FL Langerado Music Festival

Modest Mouse - Never Ending Math Equation [mp3]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Les Savy Fav to play Noisepop

catch those crazy rockers on Sunday March 1st, @ the Mezzanine (21+ erg), 8:00 PM for $20

buy tix here

for the full current lineup head HERE

Les Savy Fav - The French Kicks (live) [mp3]

record review: Nickel Eye - The Time of the Assassins

The Time of the Assassins was released today.

I actually reviewed this back on December 31st in my notebook, after hearing the album for the first (and third, and seventh) times.

It's hard to ignore The Strokes, even when they are each working on their own projects, not as a united force of awesome. As frustrating as it is that the boys aren't producing new material collectively (they will be in a couple of weeks though!), their individual creativity really shines on these solo projects.

While Little Joy's melodies are irresistible, it doesn't come close to the dynamite combination of Nikolai's voice (which is deep like Julian's, but less scratchy) and the pounding precision of Nick's guitars (Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner, not Valensi)

Each song on this record is a unique gem: Nikolai jumps form the brooding darkness of "Back from Exile" to "Fountain Avenue", a song which combines Euro-folksy harmonicas and a surprisingly upbeat guitar riff. What is it with new music sounding like European folk music?

The rhythm guitars throughout have an unmistakably country feel. Only a Stroke could combine ethnic folk and American Country and pull it off.

"Brandy of the Damned", the debut single which shocked devoted Strokes fans (a lot of whom were convinced that it was Julian singing) combines Spoon-like rhythm and old Franz Ferdinand guitar work. Ironic, of course, seeing as how Franz were influenced by The Strokes.

"Where The Cold Wind Blows" captures that same tragic feel which Led Zeppelin perfected in "Stairway to Heaven", but is followed by "Another Sunny Afternoon", a song which manages to make a harmonica sound cheerful.

I have a feeling that these songs sound better live.


Nickel Eye - Where The Cold Wind Blows [mp3]

Nickel Eye - Brandy of the Damned [mp3]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

record review: Beirut- March of the Zapotec/Holland (double EP)

to be released on February 16, 2009

if you aren't familiar with Beirut, buy Gulag Orkestrar IMMEDIATELY.
it is one of the greatest works of art of our time.

anyhow, unlike Sufjan Stevens, who initiated but later abandoned a themed musical project (he wanted to have an album for each of the 50 states but only succeeded in finishing two in that vein, Michigan and Illinois-both excellent albums, especially the latter), Beirut are actually following through with their musical journey through the globe.

Gulag Orkestar was Balkan.
The Flying Club Cup was French.
March of the Zapotec is very very folksy Mexican.

I think the Dutch might be a little confused (and/or offended) by their album though. Whereas Zach continues to use an accordion in March of the Zapotec (and a bit more conventionally, might I add), Holland is a lot more like a cool techno dance party in Germany than a trip through the Netherlands. Then again, I have no idea what Dutch culture constitutes, other than Van Gogh (who was more French anyways) and flat lands. Oh, and they were religiously tolerant, right? This EP is credited to "Realpeople", which is one of the names which Condon went by before assuimg "Beirut" permanently.I'm interpreting that as a break from "Beirut", as he is exploring new territory in a novel way. And maybe this is really an accurate portrayal of the low countries, and we Americans are just miserably uninformed.

The verdict?
If you're already a Beirut fan, go ahead, buy away. You'll be pleased by the new direction Zach is taking. On Holland he's like a more refined Kevin Barnes, lost in a dream world and not wanting to be found.

If you're unfamiliar with Beirut, try out their first two LPs first, and definitely give March of the Zapotec a listen. It's much more true to what Zach Condon's music really is. Holland is the family's black sheep, but the one who will inevitably get the most attention. I like it, but think that Zach should stick with what he knows. Soaring music which transcends, not just another band making dance music.

Beirut - On a Bayonet [mp3]
(from March of the Zapotec)
this song makes me want to take up smoking cigars, just so I can keep up with how incredibly cultured Condon is. trumpets galore, no vocals. a stunning masterpiece, perhaps the one least in the theme of Mexico, but my favourite of the bunch.

Beirut - The Concubine [mp3]

(from Holland)
if you ever wondered if electronica could be beautiful, look no further.

[[opening track "My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille" remains to be my favourite from Holland, mostly because Zach's vocals are a lot more faithful to old Beirut)
March of the Zapotec: 3.5/5
Holland: 3/5

on repeat: "Susan in a Hundred Words"

this track is breathtaking.

it makes me wonder how pure music would be if no bands ever got signed and musicians remained being what they started out as: artists. not caterers to mainstream bullshit.

The No'S - Susan in a Hundred Words [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]

my first listen, it didn't strike me right away. after the second time through I was hooked. pay attention to the lyrics and the simple piano chord progression. Voxtrot better watch out, this is going to give "The Start of Something" a run for its money as the top played track in my library.

The No'S are Ryan Parks and Erika Pipkin and are currently based in Oakland.

visit them on MYSPACE

interview: Solarcade

this Las Vegas based band is composed of Paul Van (vox) and Tony Pomilla (guitars)

they have 2 full albums and a new EP coming out on Feb 24th.

influences range from Johnny Cash to Muse to U2, their latest single (RISE) would strike any Keane fan's fancy.

they aren't exactly my cup of tea, but Tony assured me they have a rockin' live show.

for fans of U2, Depeche Mode

Solarcade- How Do You Remember [mp3]

visit them on MYSPACE

if you like what you hear, read an exclusive interview with him below.

When did the band form?
I met my singer Paul way back in 2001 and we starting playing and writing and released a demo EP in 2003

We met in Los Angeles. I moved there from Houston and Paul is from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Were you guys friends before?
We had never met before. Paul came down to see me and hear some stuff I was doing with a bassist and drummer and we hit it off from there.

Are you friends now?
It’s kinda like I look up to him like a big brother and the guy that plays drums with us I look at him like a little brother. The drummer Adam Holt and I used to play in our first band and our recent new bassist Adam Chamberlain is a dear friend from England. We just talk about Little Britain all day. It feels pretty brotherly...

I know some bands despise each other. Wasn't it Noel Gallagher who said that his marriage to Liam was a disaster but they stick it out for the "kids" (the band)? I am probably one of the few musicians that loves and respects when Liam talks crap on other bands. Most of the time it needs to be said. I was a bit offended when he didn’t like one of my favorite bands but he is entitled to his opinion.

Do you guys hang out when you're not making music?
Oh Yeah. We get along great. We have been doing this for years so some girlfriends have come and gone, the good ones stayed and we have actually like hanging out and having a good time together. We all love just talking about movies and trying to predict the new Tarantino dialogue of Inglorious Basterds thats coming out

At what moment did music become an all-defining aspect of your life?
Pretty much as a kid watching Mtv when it was ACTUALLY music. As a young kid I got turned on to the whole Seattle scene and I just knew I couldn’t be more interested in anything else.

What inspired you to go from a listener to a creator? I guess just playing guitar until I was satisfied in learning how to play along with albums and that exposed me into creating my own compositions. It is a very fun time when I can show my singer things I have written and he really hears a melody to put to it. That is why we do it. It’s why your favorite band [insert here] was doing it too!

Top lyric of all time?
“I'll swallow poison, until I grow immune/I will scream my lungs out till it fills this room” -Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam's "Indifference"
The guy just writes masterful and illustrative words that seem like a cinematic scene in a Martin Scorsese film.

Your band has a very varied sound, dabbling in many different genres. Is this deliberate? I think our 3 releases each as a full piece have specific sounds. Your sound can drastically change when you work with different producers and we are ok with that. Some bands stick to one genre because they may only know how to write or sing in a particular fashion and some like to forge into new musical territory. Wow, there was this one indie band that did that and it worked for them, I think they were called....The Beatles

If you could describe Solarcade in one word, what would it be?

What was the first rock concert you ever went to? Metallica
The best? Depeche Mode
The worst? Aerosmith

Would you rather make good music and not be heard by many people or make really shitty music and sell millions of records?
Solarcade would rather be an indie band and make music that is deemed great by their fans than sell millions of records because some producer "glossed it over into bubblegum pre-fabricated pop icon" bullshit.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?</span> Recently by force and not choice fans giving me Grey Goose shots but my only ritual is making sure my guitars are in tune...

Do drugs or alcohol help with the song writing? No pretty much we don’t touch the stuff. It may help with some other artist but that rule never applies to all
What about when performing? For me 2 shots can make you a little more loosey goosey but either way it’s a fun time!

What is your stance on groupies? Never had groupies but we have some hardcore Solarcade fans.

What is your favourite song? I run a lot and marathon train so I love heavy stuff but there are some gut wrenching love ballads that can be just as potent. Me personally, songs that make me pick up the pace are "You Can Do Better Than Me"-Death Cab For Cutie, "I Feel You"-Depeche Mode, "Moneymaker"-Rilo Kiley

Which song of Solarcade's do you think is the best. Not necessarily the one that's gotten the best reception, but, from a musician's standpoint, the one truest to the band. My singer and I both really think that our 2nd single follow up "Oceans to Oceans" sums up the band nicely. It as a cool message and interpretation which is to me Eddie Vedder like.

Who writes the songs? Paul and I work out chords and melodies and then work out riffs over those chords and then drop the chords. I rarely strum guitar and I play in 3 different tunings. I hate standard E tuning. So predictable and boring.

Do you guys collaborate or perhaps each write songs separately? Paul lives in Las Vegas and we wrote the whole album thru Mp3s and emails until we would then get together to flesh out the song. Another band I really like called The Kills did the same thing when they were living in New York and London. I can practice and write my parts instead of the pressure of my bandmates waiting....

What has been the best combined effort between you and Paul? Making Solarcade a reality and successful band. When you are standing in a circle of friends Brandon Flowers and Martin Gore and between them 90 million records have been sold and they compliment you on your live show and songwriting you know you are doing something meaningful in your life.

People say the music industry is dying. What are you doing to keep it alive? It is not dying. I know because I’m in it. It is evolving. Darwinism at its best!!! You must learn to adapt to the new technologies and adjust or watch the parade go by. You can be a performer or a spectator. Either way there are people lined up to do both.....

Monday, January 26, 2009

watch Andrew Bird on the Late Show tomorrow night (TUESDAY)

Andrew will be playing the Late Show with David Letterman at 11:30pm ET/PT on CBS.

Andrew Bird - Waiting for Contentment [mp3]
from 1999 album "Oh! the Grandeur". helloooo good 50's music.

new Death Cab for Cutie tour dates

supporting artists include three of my favourites:
Cold War Kids,
Ra Ra Riot,
& Matt Costa

(but it varies from show to show)

4/7 Philadelphia, PA/Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
4/8 Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
4/10 Louisville, KY @ Louisville Place
4/11 Memphis, TN @ Orpheum Theatre
4/12 Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theatre
4/13 Omaha, NE @ Holland Theatre
4/15 St Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium
4/18/09 East Lansing, MI @ Breslin Events Center
4/25 Boise, ID @ Morrison Center
5/4 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
5/5 Birmingham, AL @ BJCC Concert Hall
5/6 Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre

buy your tickets HERE

Death Cab for Cutie - Love Song (Cure cover) [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
don't let my crass exterior fool you, I am a total sucker for this song. The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, gotta love that self indulgent depressing music. not that shit that they call emo/screamo these days. I don't consider that music.

also, watch this performance. it's pretty incredible:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Silver Jews = no more

what a sad day for music. I never even got to see these guys live.

lead singer David Bergman said, "I always said we would stop before we got bad. If I continue to record I might accidentally write the answer song to 'Shiny Happy People'."

read more at NME

here are some mp3s from the good old days, before the band it quits. well, at least we have 6 albums to keep us company. but nothing will ever really replace that wonderfully scratchy voice of yours, David.

Silver Jews - Strange Victory, Strange Defeat [mp3]

Silver Jews - Suffering Jukebox [mp3]

we'll miss you guys!

Sunday Morning Covers

of Montreal - Superman (R.E.M cover) [mp3]

Division Day - Ghosts (Japan cover) [mp3, highly recommended!]


Counting Crows - Friday, I'm In Love (The Cure cover) [mp3]

KT Tunstall - I Want You Back (Jackson 5 cover) [mp3]
I miss what KT Tunstall used to be. her second album was horrid.

Vampire Weekend - Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover) [mp3]

Bon Iver - Your Love (The Outfield cover) [mp3]

David Bowie - White Light White Heat (Velvet Underground Cover) [mp3]


The Strokes - Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed cover) [mp3]