Saturday, May 29, 2010

song of the day: Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - Take Off Your Sunglasses

early Dylan + California sunshine + uptempo = this song


the band is currently on tour with Delta Spirit.

band of the week + record review: Against Me!

I’ve always had a soft spot for Against Me!-a punk rock outfit from Florida that has the blazing fury of seven bands. While their previous releases have always managed to slip from my attention, their fifth album, White Crosses, has really done me in. Staying true to the we-wanna-move-past-our-past strategy outlined in “I Was a Teenage Anarchist”, Against Me! embrace melodic hooks and finally break free from their earlier, anger-for-anger’s-sake sound. The music is still as powerful as ever; White Crosses’ title track kicks off the album with Dropkick Murphian vigour, and “Spanish Moss” proves that they haven’t lost their incendiary punk roots. But the songs are more purposeful, and Against Me! manage to draw inspiration from Springsteen (“Because of the Shame”) and Dylan (“Ache With Me”) without coming off as insincere. The short (10 song) album stands as the long delayed musical evolution of a band overflowing with creative potential. Thank goodness for small favours, it’d be a damn shame to see them stuck in a rut.

White Crosses drops on 7 June

Against Me! on MYSPACE

Saturday Music Definitions: Monster

Andrew Bird - Spanish for Monsters [mp3]

Villagers to play Rickshaw Stop

the Irish band will bring their vivid, whispery sound to San Francisco on Thursday, July 29.

you can get tickets for 10 bucks a pop HERE

Villagers on MYSPACE

The Strokes Post #454

Friday, May 28, 2010

concert review: Minus the Bear

The Regency Ballroom
26 May 2010

Minus the Bear have such a varied discography, blending genres in their signature progressive form, but their live shows blur all of these distinctions into one retro sound. Wednesday night, the Seattle band delivered an impassioned set like they were straight out of the 60s, and the sheen and polish of their latest sensual record, Omni, all but disappeared, replaced by rawness fitting to be a band opening for Led Zeppelin. Flashy, no. Intense, yes. As per usual, guitarist Dave Knudson was accompanied by his fan, ensuring that his hair was as wild as his chops. Jake Snider’s edgy vocals were supplemented by keyboardist Alex Rose’s echos. The most impressive thing of the night was the fact that none of the band members overshadowed the others; as they shifted on stage, so did the amplified musical spotlight. When compared to their concerts, there is something somewhat lacking in their recorded sound, and if I had to narrow it down to a single element, it has to be the band’s impeccable chemistry with each other and, perhaps more importantly, with the audience. Jake mused that Seattle and San Francisco were sister cities, attributing the hill-filled topography and difficult parking as the unifying elements. Alex hit the target much better: “we like to smoke weed and we’re okay with gays.” Aaaaaaamen.

set list:
Throwin’ Shapes
My Time
Summer Angel
When We Escape [mp3]
Secret Country
Double Vision Quest
Fine + 2 Pts
Hold Me Down
Women We Haven’t Met Yet [mp3] [vid]
Pachuca Sunrise
Dayglow Vista Road [vid]

The Fix [vid]
Into The Mirror [vid, recommended!]
Absinthe Party [vid]

more photos:

I only caught a couple of seconds of Everest’s opening set, but it sounded superb. Very fitting to be an opener to Minus the Bear.

Everest on MYSPACE

The Strokes Post #453

Julian discusses his unparalleled style and fashion sense over at ASOS

Classic Track Thursday

there are a hundred million imitators, but nobody comes anywhere near Daft Punk. they will forever be the OGs of electronic music.

from Homework (1997)

this track always reminds me of driving through tunnels with my older brother as a young sapling of a child. I think, even then, music gave me solace like no other. it's amazing how our true passions lay deep in our subconscious until they are later manifest in adulthood.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

concert review: Grand Lake

The Fillmore
26 May 2010

Slow and steady wins the race. Grand Lake have, against all odds, honed their stage sound nearly to perfection. Despite their noise rock base and their drummer’s Pavement shirt, achieving a clean, structured sound in concert is obviously their objective. Regardless of where you looked on stage, you could see hours of draining rehearsal emanate from the band. And it paid off, monumentally.

Grand Lake have taken their older songs (dispersed through the band’s various lineups) and reinvented them as the newly solidified foursome—guitar, bass, drums, keys. This may be how the band started out, but Grand Lake’s current dynamic with newcomers Danae Swanagon (keys) and John Pomeroy (drums) is much different than it was before. The Oakland outfit, which is fronted by Caleb Nichols (and maintaining its original guitarist, Jameson Swanagon), has evolved, or rather, devolved into a group that has little time or patience for aesthetic. It’s all about the music, and the members of Grand Lake could not be more intently focused if they tried. Nichols may be the forerunner of a revival of 90’s underground in the Bay Area but he retains a lighthearted disposition. “I love you mom,” he said sheepishly before concluding the set with “Louise” as a friend danced with him on stage.

their debut LP, Blood Sea Dream, is now available

Grand Lake on MYSPACE

Beck moves his cover project to INXS


Record Club: INXS "Never Tear Us Apart" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

must watch video: The Black Keys perform "Tighten Up" on Letterman

I love that they rendered a song called "tighten up" so loosely. Dan's guitar playing is slower and more deliberate and it makes for such a trippy experience. love it.

The Strokes Post #452

this is my new desktop background. it has replaced THIS, which is my background 97% of the time.

all of these amazing pictures are coming via The Strokes' Twitter page. bookmark it if you haven't already.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

concert review: Kaki King

The Fillmore
21 May 2010

Australian openers An Horse started off the night with your typical boy-girl duo bullshit. You know: "maybe if we play really loudly, nobody will notice our total lack of creative talent". Regardless, the mostly female crowd ate it up, thriving off the false sense of empowerment bestowed upon them, seeing a girl front a band.

Kaki King redeemed all. Guitar g-d(ess), weaver of tales, spinner of alternate realities. She initiated her set with some newer material, leaning heavily toward the standard indie singer/songwriter style. By "The Betrayer", however, she could not conceal her emotion whilst playing. Her set was absolutely relentless and gripping on so many levels. As the night progressed, her older material surfaced, and climaxed when she ingeniously combined "Doing The Wrong Thing" and "My Nerves That Committed Suicide". What a wonderful way to pay homage to her past whilst looking ever so brightly to the future.

Kaki's captivating shredding was incredibly satisfying and spread throughout various beautiful guitars. As per usual, she played without a pick (she used her fingernails) but the absolute gems of the night lay in her tribal percussion on the guitars themselves. Never mind her bandmates Dan and Jordan, the spotlight lay on King throughout the night, especially when she stared contentedly at the lights glittering on the curtains behind her. Concluding the night with a burst of energy, the petite guitarist jumped into the crowd and was the catalyst for a wave of dancing that truly allowed the crowd to physically express their gratitude and happiness.

Exchanging positive vibes and (often explicit) jokes with her fans all night, Kaki was just as enthralled to be performing as the audience was watching her. The Atlanta native was dumbfounded by the fact that she was playing the Fillmore, a venue well known for hosting some of history's best guitarists. It doesn't make any sense that someone so distinctive and gushing with talent could be as humble as Kaki King. Maybe one day she'll look back and realize that she didn't infiltrate the Fillmore's ranks, but rather added to its glory.

The Strokes Post #451

I always secretly wished that Julian would go back to his raucous ways of drinking and partying and being a rock star but when I saw this photo, it really struck me how much he has changed, and I wouldn't want it any other way. hey, Jeff Tweedy's kid is pretty cool, so we can only expect the best from Cal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Delta Spirit to play Amoeba Hollywood + EPK

catch the band's free in store in sunny Hollywood on June 7th.

here's the electronic press kit about the making of History from Below:

Matt chases some chickens at the end =)

The Strokes Post #450

here come the tears...

Monday, May 24, 2010

concert review: Shout Out Louds, Freelance Whales, The Franks

Great American Music Hall
18 May 2010

The night commenced with a bang from LA’s The Franks, who shook the night up with their unabashed love for good old punk rock fun. A couple of songs in, they had melted even the coldest hipster heart and people all across the dance floor were shaking to the undeniable thrash of their infectious, reckless and wonderfully ADD tunes.

Next up were Freelance Whales, whose off-kilter set delivered like an uninteresting, soporific Explosions in the Sky. The band could not hide their unmistakable desperation to set themselves a notch above the rest by meshing a thousand sounds all at once, and the only time their attempts actually worked were in some of the mandolin solos, which I will admit were kind of cool. Beware of this band, they might just ruin banjos for you forever.

Finally, they arrived: what the crowd was itching for, Shout Out Louds, all the way from Sweden, and as delectable as apple pie a la mode. Even though the band was missing a member—they had a replacement bass player because Ted was at home with his newborn—they absolutely killed it on stage. Atmospheric, layered, lush, loud, alive. Like a bittersweet reunion of lovers that is fated to be cut too short, they embraced the moment without reserve, knowing full well that the night would end and they would have to move on with their tour, their lives, their esoteric European-ness. How intoxicating was the juxtaposition of Eric’s precise beats with Carl’s flailing guitar work; Adam manifesting his exhilaration by diving through the crowd while Bebban supplied essential keys in a cool and collected demeanour on a heightened podium. We are not worthy.

set list:
Throwing Stones
Please Please Please
Play The Game
Tonight I have to Leave It
Paper Moon
Show Me Something New
Too Late Too Slow
The Comeback
Fall Hard
Go Sadness
Very Loud

You Are Dreaming

The Franks - Please Please [mp3]
Shout Out Louds - Very Loud [mp3]