Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Strokes Post #100

how perfect, the epicly round number of 100 deserves an epic post of Strokes greatness.
this one is courtesy of K., who linked me to a video I hadn't seen in ages. it's an ENTIRE SET of pre-Is This It Strokes, complete with four unreleased songs, and a live version of SOMA, which they never play! or barely ever, same difference.

have fun, kids!

Saturday Music Definitions: Heartbreaker

I woke up this morning with an undeniable urge to listen to Ryan Adam's amazing debut record. So I did. And now, I must dedicate this post to that album, and Mr. Adams, in all of his painstaking eccentricities.

Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker [mp3]

Ray Charles - Heartbreaker [mp3]

Ryan Adams - To Be Young [mp3]

first song on Heartbreaker

Ryan Adams - Come Pick Me Up [mp3]
my favourite track on Heartbreaker, and my favourite Ryan Adams song in general

if I ever find an original issue of Heartbreaker on vinyl, I would be happy x 34809345

also, that album art is simply gorgeous.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Strokes Post #99

another unreleased gem for you all:

The Strokes - Sagganuts [mp3]

I think a lot of people thought this was a Velvet Underground cover because someone (I think it's Nick) declares: Run Run Run! a few times, even though the song in no way resembles the VU song of that name.

band of the week + record review: Telekinesis

For fans of: Death Cab for Cutie; Jack’s Mannequin; Voxtrot; The Smiths; The Morning Benders; fantastic chord progressions

I’ve been doing something that I haven’t done since high school, and back then this was done primarily with Jimmy Eat World albums. I’ve been poring over the liner notes for the band’s eponymous debut album. The reasons I haven’t been doing this recently is a.) most bands don’t include their lyrics in their liner notes anymore [mostly because…] b.) the state of lyricism in modern pop music is pretty bad.

The album begins:

“I’ve got a heart but it’s afraid to love,
Sometimes I think the damn thing’s full of rust”

which really, really makes me nostalgic for my high school days when I spent all my time with headphones on, writing in my journal constantly and thinking of ways to better myself and the world. This album makes me miss my old self: slightly more erratic, but more driven and passionate and happily less aware of the dreariness that is the world.

It’s funny, I can always rely on Seattle based bands to come through with great song writing. That being said, two things are absolutely transparent on Telekinesis’ fantastic s/t album: Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie produced it (and this album is a million times better than Walla’s solo album…that effort was actually pretty awful) and the guy manning the drums most certainly writes the songs. The self assured cadence emanating from the drum set flows far too well with the guitars to be coincidental.

Songwriter Michael Benjamin Lerner is a purely and simply an incredibly insightful genius, clearly manifest musically to my ears’ delight. He plays all the instruments on record, but sticks to drums and vocals during live performances.

His singing style closely resembles Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, but much softer, less piercing. I haven’t enjoyed a slew of 11 songs like this in ages. The album actually feels like an album. Something that flows, not just a random assortment of thrashing sonic explosions to blast in clubs as twenty-somethings rub up against strangers. Telekinesis! feels like the perfect Spring album, but I swear I'll feel the same way in the fall, and in the winter, and even when the weather gets really hot soon. An album for all seasons, an album for all listeners. Listening to Telekinesis creates this simultaneous rush of feelings of intimate solitude and a universal connectedness to the whole world. In short, it does everything that an album should. This record sounds great with headphones or without, and it isn’t too far removed from their top notch live set. However, their EP is slightly weaker in comparison, so I wouldn’t recommend that you guys start with it (I actually had purchased the EP at the merch table, and then, dissatisfied, I headed down to Amoeba and picked up the full length, a very wise decision if I do say so myself).

I am thrilled to say that I’ve found my happy-yet-reflective album of the year. The one that combines sunshine-y guitar bits with semi-dreary lyrics, all delivered in a wonderfully melodic manner.

The album ends:

“I want to care for you when you are all alone,
sit inside our house and unplug all our phones
Watching raindrops stream down on the windowsill,
Let’s be in love”

Mr. Lerner, thank you for reminding me that not all modern music is crappy synth driven dance beats devoid of any actual substance.

If you guys will buy one album this year, make it this one. Telekinesis! is definitely my favourite release of the year so far and none of you can afford not to listen to it.


Telekinesis – Coast of Carolina [mp3]

Telekinesis – Calling All Doctors [mp3]=

visit the band on MYSPACE

tour dates:
May 30 Immergut Festival Neustrelitz
May 31 FRITZ Ken FM radio show Berlin
Jun 1 Chelsea w/ Kristoffer Ragnstam Vienna
Jun 2 Orangehouse w/ Kristoffer Ragnstam Munich
Jun 3 Muz w/ Kristoffer Ragnstam Nuremberg
Jun 4 Magnet w/ Kristoffer Ragnstam Berlin
Jun 7 Schubas w/ An Horse Chicago, Illinois
Jun 8 Pike Room at the Crofoot w/ An Horse Pontiac, Michigan
Jun 10 Horseshoe Tavern w/ An Horse Toronto, Ontario
Jun 11 Club Lambi w/ An Horse Montreal, Quebec
Jun 12 Iron Hore Music Hall w/ An Horse Northampton, Massachusetts
Jun 13 Union Hall w/ An Horse Brooklyn, New York
Jun 14 Mercury Lounge w/ An Horse New York, New York
Jun 16 Kungfu Necktie w/ An Horse Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 17 Black Cat Backstage w/ An Horse Washington DC, Washington DC
Jun 18 Local 506 w/ An Horse Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Jun 19 The Earl w/ An Horse Atlanta, Georgia
Jun 20 The End w/ An Horse Nashville, Tennessee
Jun 21 Off Broadway w/ An Horse St. Louis, Missouri
Jun 22 The Slowdown Jr. w/ An Horse Omaha, Nebraska
Jun 23 Hi-Dive w/ An Horse Denver, Colorado

new Sigur Ros album to be released next year

according to NME,

The new album is reportedly near completion, and according to the band, "the recordings have been going very well and that the album is taking form as a slower and more ambient record than með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust and takk."

well that totally came out of nowhere. somehow these Icelandic geniuses slipped off the radar in recent months.

Sigur Ros - Untitled 1 (Vaka) [mp3]

Art Brut to play a free show at Amoeba SF

I have been singing "popular culture no longer applies to me" under my breath all day. coincidence? I think not. I think I have acquired the ability to summon things that I want (as Art Brut were previously only playing a 21+ venue in the city)...or maybe it's just that I'm signed up to a billion email lists...

anyhow, the show will be on JUNE 15TH at 6PM at AMOEBA SAN FRANCISCO

Art Brut - Twist and Shout [mp3]
from Art Brut vs Satan

Delta Spirit's very first music video

[[from their debut LP Ode to Sunshine, as a kind stranger was good enough to remind me of this phenomenal video, derived from their I Think I've Found It EP]]

this was released about a month ago but I just discovered it:

yay Delta Spirit! a new album is on the way!

Delta Spirit - Strange Vine [mp3]

The Strokes Post #98

ah! flooded inbox and the day is nearly out.

I love this video for "Last Nite"
Julian thought it was retarded to lip synch in front of a camera so he gets drunk and tries to kiss Nick at 2:03 instead hahahah
love them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Strokes Post #97

you guys, I listen to a shit ton of music,
somehow, every time I listen to The Strokes, everything pales in comparision, and fades into mediocrity.


get on that new tour already, I am DYING here!

new song: The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother (REPOST)

The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother

concert review: The Walkmen and Kings of Leon @ Bill Graham Civic 21 May 2009

Kings of Leon played a sold out Bill Graham Civic last Thursday night and boy oh boy what an epic night of music it was. Having finished finals and turned in my thesis, I had nothing better to do than plop myself down outside the venue at around 1:30 in the afternoon (after sleeping in, taking a shower, grabbing a bite to eat and picking up something to read at Half Price Books), among 8 or 9 other fans who were as adamant as I was to be at the front of the massive venue.

The night commenced with a NY band that I quite like called The Walkmen, whose live show was nothing less than perfect. They shook up the stage with a powerful set led primarily by drummer Matt Barrick and lead singer Hamilton Leithauser. When I went back to listen to their recorded stuff after the show, it didn’t resonate as much (kind of like Born Ruffians). There is something about The Walkmen’s songs that cannot be captured in studio, and that is half a blessing and half a curse. Regardless, I will definitely be checking them out when they come back to the Bay Area, and I recommend that you all do the same. Seriously, just watch the following video and you’ll understand:



Everyone has gone on and on about how much Kings of Leon have changed; this is something which I couldn’t fully grasp until I saw their much changed live set last week. While anybody could see a vast discrepancy between Youth and Young Manhood and Only By the Night, I had received the change in sound as more gradual, as Because of the Times was slower and more reflective than either their debut or Aha Shake Heartbreak.

While the boys only played ONE song off of my beloved Youth and Young Manhood (“Molly’s Chambers”; the stubborn bastards would not acquiesce to my constant pleas for “Red Morning Light”), they surprised me by including a bunch of songs off of Aha Shake Heartbreak. But the way that they relayed all of the songs, including the ones off of their second album, was much more subdued, and had much less rock n roll swagger as old Kings of Leon.

It seems as though they really have cleaned up their act for good, something which I don't want to admit that I can actually appreciate. The boys are no longer boys: they're men. Most of them are in committed relationships, and they've matured into a sound that is far removed from their wonderfully carefree Youth, yet that isn't a bad thing. Evolution is just that. If they continued making songs with messy guitars and drunken choruses, people would eventually snub them as a one note act.

Kings of Leon are a rare example of a band who knows exactly how to progress as time goes by. But anyhow, back to their live show; I need to state this explicitly: just because their set wasn't what I was expecting, it still was perfect in every way imaginable. My one complaint (other than the inadequate amount of songs from their debut) would be that Matthew's guitar was turned down during most of the set, and you could barely even hear it during the iconic riff in "Sex on Fire". Regardless, all four Followills played their hearts out, and Caleb's voice was as pure and powerful as ever. Chills were abundant, and those of us in the front row were singing along to each and every one of their twenty one songs. Kings of Leon remain humble as ever, recognizing how lucky they are to be where they are. Caleb thanked the crowd for supporting the band and for spending money on a ticket in these tough economic times. That's another incredible thing about Kings of Leon: they have kept level heads throughout all of this fame and glory. They also miraculously managed to keep the massive show sounding intimate, and I will be watching the videos of the show on YOUTUBE indefinitely, reliving the glorious night.

While I still insist that the Kings’ increased “fanbase” doesn’t correlate with selling out, it did bother me that the two different people whom I spoke to on the train back home both had bought scalper tickets for more than a hundred dollars, and they weren’t even fans of the band: they had gone on their friends’ requests. But whatever, douchebags will be douchebags; if it means that one of my favourite bands is finally getting the attention that they deserve, I am not complaining.


set list:


two new songs from The National

the band showcased these two gems a few nights ago in Boston:

The National - The Runaway (live, Boston 23 May 2009) [mp3]

The National - Blood Buzz Ohio (live, Boston 23 May 2009) [mp3]

looks like the follow up to Boxer is going to be excellent. at least these Brooklyn boys won't disappoint me.

The National - So Far Around the Bend [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
this is probably my favourite song from the compilation Dark Was the Night, one of the best releases of the year so far. do buy it if you haven't already, it's an incredible collection featuring some of my favourite artists (Spoon, Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird and Arcade Fire off the top of my head) and it's for charity (AIDS research a la the RED campaign). pick it up on AMAZON

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Strokes Post #96

concert review: The Virgins @ GAMH 20 May 2009

Last Wednesday night, The Virgins played Great American Music Hall. I was surprised to find myself enjoying both of the female-fronted openers, called Anya Marina and Lissy Trullie. Anya was earnest, had a pleasant voice, and her happy-go-lucky attitude was exemplified in her irresistible offer: get a free dream analysis from her father when you purchase a CD at the merch table. She showed off her previous experience as a radio DJ to the audience and kept everyone laughing and smiling throughout the set. Lissy Trullie, quite different in demeanour, was more edgy and reserved, in that oh-so-punk manner that was undoubtedly genuine. She reminded me a bit of a more sober female version of Pete Doherty. Her lead guitarist had some great tricks up his sleeve, and although she did not sing her heart out, their set was thoroughly enjoyable.

Now, I’m going to preface this next bit with something which I’m sure all of my readers know: I love The Virgins. I can still remember the countless runs I had down College Ave, and how their rockin’ debut sustained my high heart rate in more ways than one. However, something (or, if I’m going to be completely honest, many things) about their set last week was off. Before the show even started, I managed to snag a few words with their bass player Nick; I asked him where in the world their drummer Erik was. He sort of shrugged and I understood immediately: this was not information that the band was ever going to disclose. “You know, things just didn’t work out,” he said. He assured me that their new guy was just as good, but I had my doubts. From their flat rendition of the opening song of the set (“Teen Lovers”), I knew the night was doomed.

The band managed to be off stage by 10:30, something which baffled me and pissed me off. The complete antithesis of the last great show I had attended at Great American (Black Lips helloooo, as the M&tNS&S’s show was considerably thwarted by the lead singer’s laryngitis), The Virgins had nothing going for them that night.

Their songs were barely recognizable, so much that I only figured out that they played a new song after I took a gander at their set list. Their lead singer Donald was clearly upset about something, their new drummer was NOT as good as Erik, their guitarist Wade didn’t play the right notes, and when he did, he did this weird thing where he sustained them painstakingly. Nick on bass looked sad and unenthused throughout the show (you couldn’t even hear him during his signature bass line in “Rich Girls”), and I think all of this was a result of the undeniable trouble that the band is experiencing. If they’ve had enough problems this early in their career, when they can’t even sell out a GAMH type show, enough to warrant a band member leaving or being kicked out, something is wrong.

It kills me to say it, but the Brooklyn rockers may be on the decline. It is quite possible that the boys were just having an off night, and I sincerely hope so, but my gut tells me that they will never be as good as they were when I saw them for the first time: with the excited frivolity that you can only truly maintain as an unknown opening band with killer hooks and sexy bass parts. Long live The Virgins of yesteryear, also clearly manifest on their beautifully unrefined EP.


set list:

Anya Marina:

Lissy Trullie:

The Virgins:

Monday, May 25, 2009

must watch video: Arctic Monkeys - Crying Lighting (new song)

the audio is really muffled so you might want to grab a pair of headphones but the quality is ACE:

who else is loving the whole LSP dark brooding sexy thing that the Monkeys are doing? it reminds me a bit of The Doors, too
I am quite excited for their third album to say the least. the first thing I did when I woke up this morning was spun Whatever People Say I am That's What I'm not. Alex Turner, I love thee.

concert review: Winston Audio, Audrye Sessions, Fun, Manchester Orchestra @ BOTH 19 May 2009

Last Tuesday night at Bottom of the Hill was one of the greatest nights of live music I had ever had the opportunity to experience. It’s quite rare that you have a wide array of bands, and a large quantity of them at that (four) who all deliver super solid performances. I was completely deaf the next day, as I was sitting on the speaker throughout Manchester Orchestra’s set, but that only served to remind me of the incredible listening experience that I had the previous night.

I went to the show to see the very first opening band, Winston Audio, whose debut The Red Rhythm I cannot get enough of. The band blew me away on stage, and I could see people in the audience quickly catching on to why I have been gushing about this Georgia based band for months now. They encapsulate everything that is pure and good about rock n roll: they are loud, abrasive and not afraid to express their frustration by yelling and banging things. However, they took a breather with the acoustic “Nothing to Hide”, only to reassume their unabashed swagger midway through the song. My only complaint was that their six song set (which you can watch on my YOUTUBE page) was far too short, but to be expected for the very first opening band of a long night of glorious rock n roll music.


Next on was Audrye Sessions, a local band from Oakland that I quite like. I had seen them before, headlining GAMH, and while I enjoyed their set, something about it was a bit off. Their lead singer Ryan seemed overly aware that they needed to keep things short and sweet, and he seemed to be not quite there for the performance. This, combined with the slightly too loud amps, caused their performance to be my least favourite of the night, but it was still a great set, including a new song called “Bone Dry”. I also posted videos of Audrye Sessions’ entire set on YOUTUBE.


Next on was a band called Fun, fronted by Arizona’s Nate Ruess, previously of The Format. Having heard a bit of this band’s music online, I was expecting to be disappointed, but was happily surprised otherwise. I could not think of a more appropriate band name than the one which they have chosen for themselves; their set was oozing with child-like wonder and melodies galore. The band played both their own new songs as well as a few of The Format’s, which people in the audience happily sang along to. The band’s debut album is set for a release on August 25th, keep your eye out for that and the accompanying tour dates.


Finally, the headlining band, Manchester Orchestra came on stage. Like their label mates Winston Audio, this band also hails from Atlanta. I had listened to both of their albums a few times through and didn’t quite understand what everybody was getting all excited about. I thought they were good but nothing out of the ordinary. Their live set more than converted me. Manchester Orchestra is one of those bands that you truly need to experience live, as their music is quite the religious experience (and no, that wasn’t intended as an allusion to their slightly Christian lyrics). My favourite part of their performance was watching their drummer go wild on his set for the entire night, he left me flabbergasted and super impressed. Actually, I mean one of their drummers, as the band cannot limit their percussion to one guy. This, of course, causes their live shows to be explosive and captivativg. Modern rock music doesn’t have as much soul as it did before, but bands like Manchester Orchestra hold down the fort and keep things worthwhile. Highly recommended.

set list: