Friday, June 4, 2010

Pixies. Doolittle tour. September. Yes.

7 Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA*
10 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN*
13 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA*
17 Uptown Theatre, Kansas City, MO
18 Brady Theatre, Tulsa, OK**
19 Verizon Theatre, Dallas, TX*
20 Verizon Wireless Theatre, Houston, TX
22 Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX***
24 Mesa Amphitheatre, Mesa, AZ (tix sold through the venue)
25 The Joint, Las Vegas, NV*
26 RIMAC Arena, San Diego, CA*

road trip to San Diego, anyone?

The Strokes Post #460

it's Friday. how about a bootleg? how about a really excellent sounding bootleg from an early UK gig?

ever so slightly slowed down. this is wonderful.
wow. this is why I can't love the UK version more than the US. they are both so wicked in such different ways.

happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

concert review: The Middle East, Mumford & Sons

02 June 2010

Slims is a venue in San Francisco that generally hosts the slightly more hardcore shows that her cleaner cut sister venue, Great American Music Hall, passes on. Punk rock and the like. This was not the case on Wednesday night.

Australian folk collective The Middle East took the stage first (a little belatedly, the crowd was getting fussy) and engaged in some of the most communal, pass the bottle and the guitar around the campfire type music I’d heard in a long time.

It was as though each band member was in the wilderness, boldly baring all, rather than drowning beneath the traditional reservedness that comes with being an opening band. The softness of the band—accentuated by the token beardless girl (keys, flute)—all but disappeared as they exploded into a sea of post-rock noise, joined by two members of Mumford & Sons, in a track that began in spoken word, a la Dylan. The addition of neon green shakers added a rustic, tumbleweed feel to the night. The band has effectively infiltrated the ranks of indie-study music favourites like Sufjan Stevens and Sigur Ros. With seven band members, The Middle East’s slower songs often had one or two of the members adding soft layers by dabbling in household item percussion, but their crowd-pleasing closer, “Blood”, required all four guitars, a banjo, a couple of keyboards and a trumpet on hand.


The Middle East - Blood [mp3]

The Middle East - Lonely [mp3]

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which of the two bands sold out the venue. The string-heavy Mumford & Sons had voraciously loyal fans in the audience spanning all ages, and—based on the accents I heard in my vicinity—a good few seemed to hail from the motherland itself. Having heard their acclaimed debut record a good few times, I never truly grasped the buzz about the London folk musicians. Sigh No More just never struck me in the right place. Upon seeing Mumford & Sons in the flesh, however, I began to understand the band’s appeal—the starkness of four men harmonizing on stage, plucking away at guitars, keyboards and a double bass was indeed a stunning thing to behold.

Most of their songs didn’t bother with proper percussion, just the occasional kick of a bass drum from frontman Marcus Mumford. However, on a newer track—“Lover of the Light”, Marcus sat behind the seldom used drum kit and worked up quite a sweat. The fans could not have been happier. Marcus had the whole floor laughing when he replied to somebody’s mock-apology for the revolutionary war. “It wasn’t one of our more important wars,” he chortled, after musing that this was the second time a fan felt compelled to make amends for America’s secession. Regardless, the night was a bit of a disappointment (just as I had surmised)—the band seemed to fill the indie quota for fans of Snow Patrol rather than contribute innovatively to the world of music. Sure, they had stage presence, and Mumford’s voice was powerful, but the delivery was still monotonous, somehow. Sorry Britain. We'll always have Brit-pop, though.

Mumford & Sons on MYSPACE

more photos

The Middle East:

Mumford & Sons:

set list:

Classic Track Thursday

from Bee Thousand (1994)

I am currently obsessed with GBV's seventh album. my favourite thing about this band is how freaking prolific they are. my least favourite thing about this band is how freaking prolific they are. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CONSUME ALL OF THIS, TELL ME NOW? I AM SICK OF THESE SPLENDID MUSICAL EPIPHANIES.

the album is super lo fi and has an extra DIY kick to it. as per usual, there are 20 snappy songs. now excuse me, I must resume my GBV coma.

The Strokes Post #459

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

interview: International Waters (+ photos from Voxtrot's final SF show)

International Waters opened up for Voxtrot last Saturday night on their Goodbye World Tour. photos from the concert can be found below, but first, some insight into the band

Great American Music Hall
29 May 2010

l-r: Marcus (drums), Ryan (guitars), Mitch (vox, guitars), Johnathon (bass)

How did the band come about? I saw Jason from Voxtrot playing with you guys on stage.
Mitch: he doesn’t fly, so when we drove out here to do our stuff with Voxtrot, he came along. He figured he’d play with us and stuff. He actually played synthesizer on the EP.
Ryan has been Voxtrot’s tour manager since the beginning. He’s known Ramesh way longer than me, since they were 14 or 15. When Voxtrot toured, I got to know him really well. One night, I got really drunk and I had a blanket over my head and said, [in an old man sailor voice] “you know what, one day, I’m gonna start my own band and it’s gonna be called…International Waters!”

Cause you were in a pirate mood?
Mitch: I was in a pirate mood! As Voxtrot did so so or whatever, I told Ryan we’ve gotta start our own band, ‘cause we have such similar taste in music. We met Marcus…

Marcus: A girl I went to school with was roommates with a girl who worked with Ryan, and I mentioned I was a fan of Voxtrot, and then I met Ryan, who said “oh we might be looking for a new drummer” and I was all “oh good, I hate the band I’m in” so yeah.

Mitch: and we met Johnathon because Johnathon asked us to play while we had a different bass player at his DJ night, Sob Scene, we were like, “if we could get a bass player that had this good taste in music, that’d be amazing”

So what kind of music are we talking about that you all love?
Mitch: [Sob Scene] is a Brit Pop night, so we’re digging, like, Orange Juice…ask him!

What do you listen to all the time, Johnathon?
Johnathon: Pulp, Jarvis Cocker, Blur. I saw Blur play at Hyde Park last summer. I think Damon Albarn is a genius, he might be the best genius in the world. Jarvis is close to my heart but Damon Albarn is just a jack of all trades musician.

What did you guys learn from Voxtrot or other previous bands?
Mitch: learning how to tour, and it’s really not as complicated as people want it to be. Also, there’s always more to do and there’s always bigger things to do and more ambition to have

Ryan: There’s a level of tenacity…nobody’s gonna sign your band, no one’s gonna come and do it for you, you have to just got out and do it. Like, from the moment we played our first show, we said ok, we’ll put out our first 7”, we’ll play some shows. We had our first show last year but we’ve already had two records [EPs] out and two tours so far, which is pretty good. With Voxtrot, it went like this [motions upward skyrocketing motion], so we learned that that was possible.

You guys didn’t produce your own stuff, did you?
Mitch: right, so on the tour only cd, I just did in the bedroom, and these guys mixed them too, but the full length we’re gonna produce ourselves, and we’d like it to be more lo-fi. The stuff that’s on this EP that we’re about to release was done by Jason and Matt of Voxtrot, and they did a really good job on it, but it is a little clean.

How far along are you in making the full length record?
Mitch: We’ve got like 20 songs that could be recorded, we’re probably gonna cut some things, but we’ve got a lot of material. We’ll probably do it on a four-track tape recorder, and that will give it a little bit more of an edge than the EP was, and then this 7”, the two songs on that was recorded by this guy Frenchie Smith in Austin, he records, like Jet and stuff, that’s why it sounds big and clean and stuff

Ryan: Which we like, he did a great job.

Do you wish you could be a part of a different musical movement?
Johnathon: Well my [other] band [The Villas]is like a power pop band and power pop is obviously dead…Bowling for Soup killed it. [they all laugh]. I try to bring it back a little bit—early Weezer, that sort of thing. I sing and play guitar. So I kind of wish I was in a different era. I was around in the 90s, but you know, it would have been cool to be a part of it, making music then. At least now, I have less competition.

Marcus: I don't wish I were in any other era than right now

Ryan: if I could speak for Mitch, Mitch would love the 60s. I, being a massive history buff, would probably freak out over anything and really enjoy it. If I really had to, I would say 60s. I’m a nostalgic kind of person. I like old cars, old houses, old clothes, old looking people.

The musty smell.
Ryan: it smells good to me, it smells like my grandma’s house

Marcus: I wish I was in the future.

my grandma used to smoke weed. I have an aunt out here tonight, who caught her smoking weed, in like, 1985. Seriously, though, from 1960 to 1970, what decade has been more diverse, yet more influential in every single part of its design, be it, fashion, the clothing involved, visual design, advertising, music, drugs. Drugs, they never went away. I mean, people have loved being fucked up forever, but they really loved the 60s

Johnathon: We had the space program too.

Ryan: We had the best elements of psychedelia that people loved and still try to emulate now, but you also had these amazing pop songs. Early Beatles, The Zombies and a million other bands.

Any band, past or present, that you could tour with?

Ryan: Mitch would go for something like The Zombies, The Smiths, Aztec Camera, maybe something like Orange Juice, which we covered earlier tonight.

Johnathon: I’ve got mine. Weezer, 1996, on the Pinkerton tour. With Ash—a great Irish powerpop band. If I could tour with them for those first two albums, man. At that point they were the best band in the world. Since then, they’ve slowly been on the decline. I mean, there’s a couple of good pop songs on the new album, but there’s also, like, Lil Wayne. There’s some pretty bad shit. Rivers is having a midlife crisis.

Marcus: I do love Spoon. Spoon would be cool. I’ve never really thought about it before.

Ryan: I’m gonna name the big one. I’m going with The Beatles

I’ve never gotten that answer before.

Ryan: It’s so obvious. Everyone wants to be a little obscure. I mean, seriously, who would fucking hate touring with the Beatles. Look at what they’ve done.

And all of the leftover crazy fan girls, they’d be yours!

Ryan: yes.

Marcus: There are a lot of leftovers. So many leftovers.

Ryan: yeah, The Beatles, The Smiths. I really like pop music. If I could do a tour with Elliott Smith. I love that guy. I never view it as depressed. I see it as joyful. He has songs about, like, coming down, but they sound like cherubs, and you can’t argue with that.

the chorus lyric "heaven's on fire" comes from the Radio Dept song of the same name.

more photos:

Ryan Hall

Mitch Calvert


it would be too painful to attempt to do a write up of this concert. needless to say it was more bittersweet than my favourite bar of Scharffen Berger.

set list:

new song: The Morning Benders - Go Grab a Stranger

The Morning Benders - Go Grab a Stranger [mp3]

kind of spooky, but in a good, crashing cymbals kind of way.

Henry Clay People's record release party is on 8 June in LA

via AD

The Strokes Post #458

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

record review: Sleigh Bells - Treats

Being a fan of (good) music, I am always flabbergasted when there is buzz about unsophisticated albums. Needless to say, Treats by Sleigh Bells pushes all of the wrong buttons, bringing us one step closer to the big red nuclear annihilation one. If I wanted to hear an amateur rendition of what some hipsters think noise rock means, I’d rather listen to an electric drill remix some gun shots. At least then, I’d get some nice visuals while beating my eardrums senseless. Tracks like “Riot Rhythm” and “Infinity Guitars” have horribly misleading titles, because their names are too cool for what they stand for—terrible mashups of overstimulated beats desperately struggling to be crunk. Treats is doused in muddled production and could only be rivaled by an aneurism induced by scratching your fingernails against a chalkboard for 32 minutes. The Brooklyn duo clumsily mixes fuzzy with clean and then cranks up the volume to an unforgivably deafening madness. Guitarist Derek Miller and singer Alexis Krauss have managed to out-shit M.I.A, and that’s saying something. There is no rhyme or reason to listen to this album, except if you’re some sort of crazed musical masochist.