Wilco @ The Hammerstein Ballroom:

Some thoughts on the Wilco show from this past Monday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York:

1. I’ve always had a difficult time getting excited about shows from bands I’ve seen several times, and can’t think of a single band I have seen more than once where I’ve enjoyed subsequent shows more than the first one. This was the 6th time I’ve seen Wilco.

2. The sound in Hammerstein is first class for a band as intricate and seasoned as Wilco. The ceiling is 4 or 5 stories high - just a huge, expansive open space for the music to float around in.

3. I predicted in my head the set opener - “You Are My Face”. But it and the next song, “Side With The Seeds”, never really took off like I hoped they would. This was pretty much my thought for all of the Sky Blue Sky songs except “Impossible Germany”, whose solos were just ripping.

4. The “A Shot In The Arm”> “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”> “Kamera”> “Handshake Drugs” run that followed was my favorite sequence of the night. “Kamera” especially was a really nice surprise.

5. All the energy they built with those songs was quickly sucked dry when the droning chords to “Shake It Off” limped in. My friend used the opportunity to relieve himself and came back laughing about people in the restroom chanting “turn it off…turn it off” to coincide with the song’s chorus.

6. Throughout the middle section of the set the band was good, but never really recaptured my attention like they had it at the outset. Fan favorite “Hummingbird” was fun and forgettable, “Via Chicago” was bipolar - delicate and beautiful to noisy and abrasive and back again several times, and “Jesus, Etc.” was especially poignant to the New York audience.

7. Again - the new songs didn’t really impress me live. “Hate It Here” and “Walken” were fine, just not that exciting, and compared to the older material, a little too ordinary.

8. Set closers “Poor Places”> “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” were epic and monstrous.

9. When they played “Sky Blue Sky” I initially thought I was hearing “Far Far Away” - which encapsulated what I thought of the whole night: a level of precision by the band that few others can compete with, but other than “Kamera” and “I’m Always In Love” in the encore, I was never surprised.

10. Wilco proved to be, yet again, capable of producing amazing sounds on stage that have the ability to move thousands of people - as proven with the crowd joyfully singing along to “California Stars” and “Heavy Metal Drummer”.

11. Read Ear Farm’s A to Z: live show pet hates. It must have been inspired by this show. For me the most annoying thing was the dude behind me who yelled “Tweedy, Tweedy, TWEEEEEEDY!” several times in between songs like he new him. I mean seriously shut the hell up you stupid asshead.

12. Nels is one thing, but Glen is worth the price of admission alone. He and Pat Sansone’s wind- milling during “I’m A Wheel”.

13. “Handshake Drugs” is my favorite song to hear live. Of any song, by any band.
14. Quote of the evening: "I want to be Nels Cline when I grow up", by Patrick.
MP3 :: I’m The Man Who Loves You
(from Kicking Television)
Order from Amazon

Wilco tour dates HERE

New Music: Adam Chandler

Earlier this year I wrote about an Adam Chandler song called “All I Want Is You”. It’s a brash little folk-pop song that a friend of mine introduced me to after accidentally catching Chandler live in Brooklyn last summer, and it became one of my favorite songs of 2006. It came from his album Vacation, which was released on his own Folding Leg label, and whose songs rarely offered more than just his voice and guitar. This bare-bones approach sometimes hides the fact that Chandler is deceptively skilled at crafting melodies that crawl into your head and breed into lasting snapshots of youth. His best songs possess a brazen, energetic charm that is unmistakable, informed with a lo-fi punk bluster and huge pop hooks. Vacation housed a bunch of other gems just waiting to be picked up by a band and turned into the folk-punk classics they oughtta be.

2007 sees Chandler returning with the semi-new Icon T-Shirt, an album that could very easily get lost among the hundreds of DIY bedroom records that are always circulating, but deserves so much more than that. It’s a collection of 8 homemade acoustic nuggets that are again just brimming with spirit and melody. While the record is by no means a sonic step forward from Vacation (if any singer/songwriter I can think of is in need of a noisy rock band playing behind him, it’s Chandler), the set shows he has refined his songwriting and become even more confidant as a vocalist. On his prior album he too often hid his voice, an impressively raspy rock and roll instrument, behind a layer of distortion. On Icon T-Shirt he sings loud and clear from start to finish. There is also a noticeable improvement in the consistent strength of the songs, as well as an emerging maturity (especially over the record’s latter half) that proves he does reckless and sensitive with equal skill. Remember the name Adam Chandler - he’s got a talent that’s true and it’s just a matter of time…..

MP3 :: Shine To Me
MP3 :: Idol Love
(from Icon T-Shirt)

Bonus MP3 :: All I Want Is You (All these songs are great, but this one is highly recommended - and I don‘t even think he’s playing in tune on it)
Bonus MP3 :: Tawnee
(from Vacation)

New Music: Marmoset

Marmoset will release a new album through Secretly Canadian, their first in 5 years, on July 24. Florist Fired resumes the band’s hazy, narcotic take on folk-rock, and is streaming in its entirety at the SC/Jag website. I’m on my second time through the stream now and I have to say that I’m really liking what I’m hearing - sort of an early Guided By Voices (for the lo-fi sound and sense of melody) meets The Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album.

MP3 :: Missing Man
(from Florist Fired)

And since it has been so long since the last new music from Marmoset, Secretly Canadian is offering a whole bunch of free downloads from the band’s back catalog. They’re calling it a “greatest hits.. from the grossly underappreciated Marmoset albums Hiddenforbidden, Today It's You, Record In Red and Mishawaka”. Click HERE for that.

The Local Correspondents Music Festival

Bar 4, home of Brooklyn’s best open-mic night, has recently undergone a facelift. Coinciding with its grand re-opening (actually it never really closed, but whatever) the folks behind Local Correspondents are teaming up with Bar 4 to bring you the first ever Local Correspondents Music Festival. Four nights, 49 great up-and-coming Brooklyn/New York singer-songwriters, lots of beer and wine, and a friendly environment - what more could you ask for? How about the haunting artwork of Amy Shawley to darken the evenings. Her art will be on display and for sale throughout the festival in the bar.

Here’s the line-up:

Wednesday, June 27, starting at 7:30:

Jamie Rae
Michael Wagner
Mary Ellen Devaux
Tarrah Reynolds
Heidi Sidelinker
Jessi Robertson
Jonah Bleicher
Well Enough Folk Band
Johnny Marnell
The Human Problem
John Simonelli
No Lindsay

Thursday, June 28th, starting at 7:30:

Matthew Peverly
Willie Breeding
Kevin Johnston
Tanya Buziak
Frank Hoier
Paul Basile
David Shane Smith
Ivan Sandomire
Debe Dalton
Arthur Shepard

Friday, June 29th, starting at 7:30:

Peter Inc.
Sami Akbari
Keith Varick
Joe Wilson
Sean Han
Red Orange Morning
Zach Williams
Daniel Wayne
Matt Cranston
The Reverend John Delore
Mark Yodice
Austin Donahue

Saturday, June 30th, staring at 7:30:

Mikey Die
Lara Ewen
Bryan Dunn
Andy Mac
Casey Shea
Jeff Jacobson
The Picture
Matt Singer
Paula Valstein
Tom Hayes
Gene Back

And some assorted MP3’s from some of the artists:

MP3 :: Further North
(from Skeletons by Paul Basile)

MP3 :: Stacy J
(from Cross Pollination: The Mixtape, Vol. 1 - Matt Singer)

MP3 :: You Could Do Better
(by Wakey!Wakey!)

MP3 :: Her Song
(from Love Songs by David Shane Smith)

Jason Isbell - Sirens Of The Ditch

I mentioned this last week, but the long awaited Jason Isbell debut solo record, Sirens of the Ditch, will be released by New West Records on July 10. It will feature a song called “Dress Blues” that has gained a rabid popularity among fans over the past year and a half. If you don’t include yourself in that group check out the video down below. It started getting played during encores of Drive-By Truckers shows while Jason was still a member of that band sometime soon after the release of 2006’s A Blessing And A Curse.

The song continues the stunningly intimate and heartfelt writing that made Isbell’s addition to the Truckers an immediate hit among their core fans, as well as helping open them up to a much wider audience over the past 5 years. This version was recorded at Stubb’s in Austin, Texas in April of 2006. A simple “thanks” after probably making everyone in the room cry.


Pre-order Sirens Of The Ditch here

And here is the first legally released song from the album:

MP3 :: Chicago Promenade
(from Sirens Of The Ditch)

Live Music: The Undisputed Heavyweights

New York’s The Undisputed Heavyweights have announced a summer residency at the esteemed Joe’s Pub. Having already played before a sold out crowd this past Friday, the Heavyweights will be play again Thursday, July 26 and Friday, August 24. All shows will begin promptly at 9:30pm with opening acts featuring the cities most incredibly talented, up-and-coming musicians, including Wakey!Wakey! (July 26) and Seth Kallen (August 24). Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at Joe’s Pub Box Office (212.967.7555) or online at http://www.joespub.com/.

Described by AM New York as "Frank Sinatra meets The Doors in a way only Stevie Wonder could dream of”, the band features acoustic guitars and a horn section. "The Heavyweights deliver an accomplished rock/blues/soul hybrid, and their endearingly uninhibited front man [Casey Shea] puts them right in the tradition of vaudevillian showmanship."(The New Yorker) While each song is uniquely different, together the melodies build a cohesive set. Performing together since 2004, the three founding members (Shea, Wes Verhoeve, and Jeff Jacobson) connected through open mic nights in New York City and decided to create a sound that blended each of their musical influences.

Check out a few mp3s from The Undisputed Heavyweights:

MP3 :: Money
MP3 :: Roll Your Windows Down
MP3 :: Bitches Be Trippin’ (live @ Pianos)


In Rewind: The White Stripes - The Complete Peel Sessions

The following is a re-post, and this week (with the release of the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump) seemed like a good time to share it again. Also, the first time it went up the files were in m4a format and I didn’t even know it. Thank you Hype Machine for helping me figure that stuff out.
A few years back I had a friend named Tim who was a huge fan of The White Stripes. He made me a CD compilation (complete with the really cool artwork) of some live Stripes songs he said were from sessions with the late John Peel, the esteemed English DJ, and champion of The Smiths and Nirvana long before their popularity soared. The CD still remains, even if the friendship, sadly, does not.

The Complete Peel Sessions collects a wide array of Stripes’ tunes, ranging from album cuts from their first 3 records, The White Stripes, De Stijl, and White Blood Cells, to a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, to several takes of traditional folk and blues (“John the Revelator”, “St. James Infirmary”). The performances are evidence that Jack White possessed a strong sense of showmanship before there was much of an audience to show off for. He is consistently engaging while interacting with the crowd and his host.

The music is strong straight through the 22 tracks presented here, with Jack and Meg White (still being introduced as a “brother/sister” combo) rampaging through most songs at a breakneck pace. The riffs come heavy, sweaty, and loud. Jack’s vocals are more frantic than on record, he sings as if he’s being chased by something terrifying. Meg does what she does, keeping steady time at the drums. This is an interesting set, especially for fans of the band who weren’t there yet in 2001/2002 when the band broke. It provides a good snapshot of the early period, pre-Rolling Stone/MTV/corporate rock radio, of one of the decade’s best rock bands.

The show:

The White Stripes: Icky Thump

I’m sure you are well aware that The White Stripes released their 6th studio album earlier this week. Icky Thump has been gathering some pretty strong reviews already, and after listening I would have to agree with them. But I also have to admit to being a fair-weather fan of the band. White Blood Cells is one of my favorite records of the decade, but I always thought both Jack and Meg’s earlier albums (The White Stripes and De Stijl) had their respective “wow” moments but weren’t consistent enough for me to go back to too frequently. Same goes for their 2 post-WBC albums (Elephant and Get Behind Me Satan). Elephant always struck me as wildly overrated, really only having a handful of songs I found interesting. Incidentally, I’ve always enjoyed Get Behind Me Satan quite a bit, maybe more than most people seemed to, but I still found that it was just lacking something to put it over the edge. Maybe White Blood Cells set the bar too high. Maybe I was tiring of the whole red/black/white image thing. Maybe I’m an idiot.

Any way you slice it, after just a few listens Icky Thump seems to be a strong return to form. I’ve been a long time admirer of the no-nonsense way The White Stripes go about recording. In this era of bands using all kinds of studio/computer trickery, the Stripes have held true to the belief that music is better when banged out with more spontaneity than precision, more passion than skill, and more guts than brains. Despite Icky Thump taking the band a (for them) record 3 weeks to record it doesn’t come close to sacrificing this aesthetic. If anything it is among the rawest of their albums. Jack White attacks his guitar mercilessly, making it at times squeak and squall like a hunted animal fighting for its life. His singing and lyricism are as sharp as ever, and the songs possess a continuous sense of melody that has been lacking since White Blood Cells. In short, Icky Thump is just in-your-face raw in a way that few other bands could pull off, but also full of memorable tunes.

My early favorite is “300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues”, and it’s just as wordy as you may think from the title. It’s a long, winding take on folk blues, and rides a deep acoustic groove with punches of ferocious electric guitar. White spits out some of his most playful lyrics (“I’m getting hard on myself sitting in my easy chair”), and Meg keeps easy time behind him. She has the whole start/stop method of playing down pat at this point. The song gradually builds to its dramatically tongue-tied finale, with White shoving about 20 times too many syllables into the penultimate line. Lead single “Icky Thump” continues the Stripes trend over their past 3 albums of kicking them off with a riff heavy rocker designed for radio. “Icky Thump” is downright sinister sounding, and fits this mold perfectly.

MP3 :: 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues
MP3 :: Icky Thump
(from Icky Thump)

Buy Icky Thump from Amazon

Here are what some other reviewers are saying about Icky Thump:

And check back tomorrow for some live White Stripes from their famous Peel Sessions.

Live Music: Here Lies Pa

If you’re interested in catching a great young New York band on their way up then check out Here Lies Pa this Friday night at Arlene’s Grocery. They will be playing their unique brand of fiery, passionate, earnest indie/folk rock along with several other upcoming bands, including The Star Spangles. Having just debuted together (and I was there) back in January the band is still new to the Manhattan music scene. Since that time they have been playing often around Manhattan and Brooklyn, honing their collective chops and thrilling audiences on a regular basis at the Sidewalk Café, Pianos, Bar Matchless, as well as other fine music venues. Comprised of singer-songwriter Paul Basile, guitarist Patrick Hay, bassist Chris Sahl, and drummer Nick Lombardi, the band has been gaining fans with each performance and is looking ahead to recording for the first time this summer.


Here Lies Pa @ Arlene’s Grocery
Friday 6/22/07, 10 P.M.
95 Stanton
$10 (and worth every penny)

And listen to some streaming live music over from their myspace

New Sounds Goin' Round....

I came across a few new songs today that I thought I'd share with y'all. First off is a new song from the forthcoming Kevin Drew album. For those who don't know, Drew is a member of one of those great Canadian bands you always hear about, Broken Social Scene. His debut solo album will be called, get this, Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew: Spirit If. Or something to that effect. We'll just go with Spirit If around here. The first released track is this dirty little ditty called "Tbtf" and shows mucho promise for the full length. The album is the first of a rumored series of Broken Social Scene Presents releases, with the next coming from Brendan Canning. Wonder why Feist's The Reminder wasn't a part of this? Hmm... anyway, all this from Arts & Crafts.

MP3 :: Tbtf
(from Spirit If)
Also on the bill is a new song from Dirty Projectors. Rise Above will come courtesy of the new Dead Oceans label, and was heavily influenced by Black Flag's punk classic Damaged. Dirty Projectors is the brain child of David Longstreth, who writes the songs, plays the guitar, and sings the voices (with some help). The album was produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, giving it the same wide open space of that band's acclaimed Yellow House from last year. Here is first single "No More":

MP3 :: No More
(from Rise Above)

Last week I came across this rocker from Lions In The Street over at Captain's Dead. Read his post here, and check out the song if you dig late 60's/early 70's Stones, Faces, etc. It's from their Cat's Got Your Tongue EP, which can be downloaded for free at their website.

(from Cat's Got Your Tongue)

And finally, here is a piano-rocker from New York based singer-songwriter Danny Ross. I was struck by the guy's bio more than his song - turns out that by day Danny Ross is a staffer for United States Congressman Jerrold Nadler. I don't know the first thing about the man's politics, but the song was catchy enough on first listen to throw into the post. His debut album Introducing Danny Ross! comes out real soon, and Ross will be throwing a record release party on June 30th at 8 P.M. at The Bitter End in NYC.

(from Introducing Danny Ross!)

New Music - Sonya Cotton

I recently received a very pleasant surprise in the mail - the sophomore record from Sonya Cotton called Out Of The Ocean. You may recognize her name if you checked out The National Lights’ fantastic debut record from earlier this year, The Dead Will Walk, Dear (still holding strong among my favorites of the year). Cotton sang harmony on Jacob Berns’ set of murder ballads disguised as lost love songs, and her beautiful voice was a highlight on that album.

On her solo material she rightly avoids the dire subject matter of her friend, instead singing about “birds, light, love, large bodies of water, and other mysterious things”. Her soulful, disarming voice shines throughout the record’s 11 tracks, and sounds at times like a cross between Natalie Merchant and a traditional Irish folk-singer. The tasteful arrangements and production of Chris Kiehne (also of The National Lights) are sparse and understated, leaving her vocals up front in the mix, and provide a lovely accompaniment to her bittersweet confessionals.

MP3 :: Open Owl Face
(from Out Of The Ocean)

Hear more from Sonya @ her Myspace

Something To Look Forward To

Rocky Voltolato - The Brag & Cuss
June 19 - Barsuk
MP3 :: Postcard From Kentucky
Album Stream :: Spinner
Jason Isbell - Sirens Of The Ditch
July 10 - New West
MP3 :: Chicago Promenade


Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
July 10 - Merge
MP3 :: The Underdog


Okkervil River - The Stage Names
August 7 - Jagjaguwar
MP3 :: Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe


Iron & Wine - The Shepherd’s Dog
September 25 - Sub Pop
Stream :: Boy With A Coin


Strange Boat: Kraftwerk/Lucero

I don’t often play my iPod on shuffle, nor have I ever posted any sort of “mix” of random songs like some other music bloggers do. But last week I was on the subway heading to Joe’s Pub to catch Eef Barzalay’s performance (more on that next week) when I was struck by a strange pairing of songs I heard back to back, and thought it would be interesting to share.

First came “Europe Endless”, the lead song from Kraftwerk’s classic 1977 record Trans-Europe Express. I mean, I only own this album because it turned up at #6 on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 70s a few years back, and I tend to get somewhat obsessive/compulsive from such lists. But I certainly can’t write about this song, album, band, or genre with any new or unique insight, maybe other than to say that the idea of longing for the survival of traditional European values that I think the song is suggesting is reminiscent of The Kink’s The Village Green Preservation Society from about a decade earlier. Maybe I’m not the first to say that actually, who knows? Every time I listen to this song I find myself getting lost in its icy, robotic groove, and then surprised by the warmth of the melodic repetition. I guess it was a perfectly fitting subway song - for the seemingly endless mechanical movement, surrounded by people and completely isolated at the same time.
After the long fade out of that Krautrock masterpiece came the opening chords to something more familiar and immediate. Somehow existing in the same universe, if starkly different times and cultures, was Lucero’s “That Much Further West”, the title track to their 2003 album that I feel is their career high point. I was immediately taken aback by the severity in the change from the last song ( I mean seriously, the only stranger pairing my iPod may be capable of is a Ghostface/Nick Drake pairing), and also immediately swept up into Lucero’s gritty, dusty, and decidedly American sound. Soon though I was struck by the image of the West, and how its mention harkens a more authentic past time. And I thought that maybe I’d found a link between 2 bands that no one would ever associate. That whether it’s the Autobahn or some lonesome American interstate heading out west, each song evokes the artist’s strong connection to places that may be losing mystique as the world modernizes. Now, I wonder if Lucero were spinning some Kraftwerk in the studio during their recording? Nah….

MP3 :: Europe Endless
(from Trans-Europe Express)

MP3 :: That Much Further West
(from That Much Further West)

Lucero - website, myspace

Buy Trans-Europe Express from Amazon
Buy That Much Further West from eMusic

Talkin' New York, Vol. 5 - Brook Pridemore

Hyperbolic excess notwithstanding, New York based singer/songwriter Brook Pridemore is, pure and simple, a rock and roll poet. His hard-driving brand of folk-infused punk (or is it punk-infused folk?) is overwhelmingly energetic, right down to the last string-breaking strum. He has one of those smart-ass voices that demands you listen to every last invective syllable, knocking out sharp pop-culture references left and right and calling out the glorified hypocrites driving this misguided bus. Think This Year’s Model meets Richard Hell, Ed Hamell, and Bill Monroe.

I caught his live show at Brooklyn’s Bar 4 back in the fall and since then have been keeping my eye out for something noteworthy to pass on, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s got 2 New York shows coming up in the next few weeks. He’ll be playing the Sidewalk Café on June 17, and then again on July 5. The shows are coming at the end of a long national tour supporting his 2006 album The Reflecting Skin, of which Pridemore proudly boasts, “I'm not fucking kidding when I refer to this disc as my Double Nickels on the Dime”. Prior to that Pridemore had released 2 albums, Metal And Wood and First Name Last Name, both released on Crafty Records. No word yet on whether either is his What Makes A Man Start Fires?

Bio, shall we?:

Brook Pridemore was born on the lowest rung of the middle class in Detroit, MI. Obsessed with melody from the get-go, he banged on pianos, drums and whatever else he could find, until he was got his first guitar at the age of fourteen. Arguments erupted over influences, genres and who would play what, and bands dissolved quicker than you could say "artistic differences." As the Nineties ground to a schreeching halt, Brook found himself clean-scrubbed, wide-eyed and brandishing a shiny new acoustic guitar. Actually, it wasn't very shiny at all, it was black, but it served its purpose. He wrote a whole batch of songs about his favorite bands, girls he wanted to meet, and people who had done him wrong.

On The Reflecting Skin, Brook Pridemore strives to put the PUNK in punk-folk, tries to play his guitar like a drum set, and, hopefully, earns redemption. Eleven danceable folk songs that'll make you dance. Serious metaphor buried in nonsensical jargon and cheeky pop-culture referencing. Brave new world.

Here’s a track from a new compilation being put out by Crafty Records called Three Dollar Gallon, which will also feature songs from Guitar Bomb, The Max Levine Ensemble, Captain Chaos, Ivan Sandomire, Yeterdays Pants, and The Stick Martin Show.

MP3 :: Chocolate Cake City
(from Three Dollar Gallon)

Brook Pridemore’s Myspace for lots of great music. First and foremost, listen to “Absolutely Zero Potential”.

And check out Brook at Crafty Records Punk Rock BBQ:


David Vandervelde - "Nothin' No"

One of my first musical crushes of 2007 was David Vandervelde’s debut record, The Moonstation House Band. This was due in no small part because of the tremendous leadoff track, “Nothin’ No”. A sure-fire year end list maker, the song rides a huge, crunchy guitar riff and glam rock vocal, and acts as a paean to young lust and getting high. Put aside the obvious Marc Bolan influence and this song is every bit the electric warrior it aspires to be.

MP3 :: Nothin’ No
(from The Moonstation House Band)

Word on the streets today was that Secretly Canadian, the label behind Vandervelde, will be issuing the song as a single, to be backed by three exclusive non-album tracks. The release will be followed by a tour of Europe, and then back to the U.S. for a long run of summer dates culminating in a performance at Lollapolooza.

U.S. Tour:
07/05/07 Rock Island, IL - Ribco
07/06/07 Omaha, NE - Slowdown
07/07/07 Springfield, MO - Randy Bacon Gallery
07/08/07 Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
07/11/07 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/13/07 Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/14/07 Tempe, AZ - Stinkweeds w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/16/07 Austin, TX - Emo's w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/17/07 Dallas, TX - The Loft w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/18/07 Houston, TX - Walter's on Washington w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/19/07 Hattiesburg, MS - Thirsty Hippo w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/20/07 Atlanta, GA - tba w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/21/07 Wilmington, NC - Bella Festa w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/22/07 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/23/07 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/24/07 Boston, MA - Great Scott w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/25/07 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge w/ Blitzen Trapper
07/26/07 Cleveland, OH - Beachland w/ Besnard Lakes
07/27/07 Ann Arbor, The Blind Pig - Blitzen Trapper
07/28/07 Milwaukee, WI - Stonefly Brewing Co
08/04/07 Chicago, IL - Schubas w/ Illinois + Black Angels
08/05/07 Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza

Bonus MP3 :: Jacket
(from The Moonstation House Band)

Hear more music at David Vandervelde’s myspace

New Music: Two Gallants, "The Scenery of Farewell" EP

On June 19 Saddle Creek duo Two Gallants will release a new EP entitled The Scenery of Farewell. The 5 song collection is the follow up to 2006’s acclaimed What The Toll Tells. It finds the band, known for their aggressive, electric live shows, in a more reflective mood. The all acoustic set was recorded on tape by Alex Newport at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco. Playing 200 shows in 2006 left the band little time to rehearse these songs properly, as a result they were forced to use sound checks, radio sessions, and free moments on the road to develop them. The result is quite a cohesive set, the songs flowing seamlessly one into the next and maintaining a consistent mood throughout.

Opening track “Seems Like Home To Me” is a grand introduction to the Two Gallant sound. Adam Fontaine leads the song along with a piercing voice that soars high above the delicate acoustic guitar intro. He sounds somewhat out of place at first - like he’s way more excited to be singing than his band is to be playing along with him. The band gradually comes in over the course of the first minute and the levels balance out, turning the song into a mini-epic shout along about feeling more at home while on the road - a common idea that rings true because of the band’s bittersweet and authentic rending of the song.

MP3 :: Seems Like Home To Me
(from The Scenery of Farewell)

MP3 :: Las Cruces Jail
MP3 :: Waves of Grain
(from What The Toll Tells)

You can pre-order The Scenery of Farewell from Saddle Creek here for just $6.

Ryan Adams - Destroyer/Easy Tiger

A few weeks back I posted some live Ryan Adams songs from a 1999 performance at Nashville’s Exit/In. In the post I mentioned how I had never heard the infamous Destroyer album - an unreleased album recorded in the weeks prior to Heartbreaker and featuring many of the same musicians and songs. As I thought all along, the songs on Destroyer are extremely reminiscent of that album. Adams is in prime singer-songwriter mode throughout, singing mostly broken-hearted confessionals and sounding like he could toss off a hundred of these songs in a week if he wanted to. And maybe he did. Thanks SOOO much to the 2 readers who sent along copies - David & Marjorie Eastman, and another kind soul who sent along the mp3s whose name has slipped my memory. Oops. Maybe I have to hire a Pop Headwound secretary? Anyway, here are a few tracks from Destroyer (more info):

MP3 :: Hey There Mrs. Lovely
MP3 :: Nighttime Gals
MP3 :: The Poison & The Pain
MP3 :: Dreaming’s Free

And don’t forget, the next official Ryan Adams release, Easy Tiger, hits the streets via Lost Highway on June 26. After a few years of wild inconsistency (Cold Roses) and painful experimentation (29), the album is rumored to be a return to form (Stephen King says so), but my secret sources are telling me it is more of the over-produced, insignificant pap that Adams has churned out too much of since Heartbreaker. Pre-order it HERE and see for yourself. Or check out these 2 songs and see if you can remember what you listened to after they end. Owww, harsh.

MP3 :: Everybody Knows
MP3 :: Two (featuring Sheryl Crow)
(from Easy Tiger)

New Music: Centro-Matic, Operation Motorcide EP

The new Centro-Matic EP, Operation Motorcide, was very quietly released recently via Houston Party Records. The EP doesn’t collect brand new material, but instead the tracks that were left off their excellent 2006 album Fort Recovery. That album was originally conceived as a double, but the band was talked into abbreviating it down to its final 12 tracks. These 8 tracks find the band once again mixing their fiery brand of feedback-fueled rock with their more acoustic, reflective side, and makes for a worthy addition to the always growing Centro-Matic back catalog. It is available at iTunes, or directly from the band’s online store here.


1. All This Fresh Mutiny
2. Atlanta
3. Operation Motorcide
4. A Celebrated Grime
5. Blood On The Floor
6. Daggers Sharp Enough
7. Circuits To Circuses
8. 74 Cuts, 74 Scars

MP3 :: 74 Cuts, 74 Scars
(from Operation Motorcide)

You can also hear more songs from Operation Motorcide at Centro-Matic’s myspace

Dinosaur Jr. @ Irving Plaza - 6.6.07

This past Wednesday night I caught Dinosaur Jr.’s set at Irving Plaza (or is it The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza?) and, holy crap, my ears are still ringing. The three original band members - J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph playing in front of a wall of stacked Marshall amps, were about as loud as anything I’ve ever heard. The crowd was a strange mix of old fans and new. To my right there was a guy with a straight-brimmed baseball cap turned to the side - I don’t think I’ve ever in my life been to a concert with someone wearing a hat like that, and on my left a girl who looked very much like a recovering goth-chick who stared menacingly at the stage pretty much without blinking all night. Then there was me in between - lanky white boy with a digital camera and a Brooklyn Lager. Diversity is the key. And by the way my pictures came out looking like crap - that one is from here. Where is Stuart Mockba when I need his expertise?

The generation (and social) gaps were quickly erased when the band tore into “Almost Ready” to open the show. It sounded impossibly murky, and was so loud that it got lost behind the inevitable distortion. In fact the sound was so bad that if I had never heard the song before I wouldn’t have known what the hell was going on onstage. Nobody really seemed to mind though, as the energy of the music was more than enough to compensate for the shitty sound.

Like the crowd watching them, they played a strange mix of the very old and the brand new with all songs getting enthusiastic receptions, albeit from different sectors of the audience. The sound smoothed out soon enough, and the band alternated between the classics and tracks from this year’s Beyond. There were only a small handful of songs from the post-Barlow early 90’s played (while not considered their “classic" era, it is arguably their most well known), which must’ve disappointed the poor guy who kept yelling for “Start Choppin’” (from 1993’s Where You Been, my personal fave). Among the new songs, “Been There All The Time” really stood out, with its start-stop rhythms proving that the band were as tight as ever.

J. Mascis, looking like a punk-rock Gandalf, seemed content to hide behind his long gray locks for most of the night. He only uttered a few “thanks for comings” early in the set, interspersed with some falsetto yelps here and there as well. His guitar playing did more than enough talking for him, and was as continually inspired as any I've ever witnessed live. It even prompted one guy near me to declare “Mascis is God!” - maybe not the most original idea, but it does seem as though Mascis was like the Clapton of the underground for a long time. I still consider the guitar solo in “Get Me” to be my favorite of all time. It was a fun night and the crowd loved every minute of it. I just hope my ears stop ringing soon.

MP3 :: Forget the Swan
(from Dinosaur)

MP3 :: Been There All The Time
(from Beyond)

Dinosaur Jr. website myspace

The Black Keys - Free Live EP @ Myspace

Word is The Black Keys are offering an exclusive set of 4 live songs for free on their myspace. The Live E.P. finds Akron, Ohio’s finest purveyors of blistering blues-rock in fine rockin’ form, and touching on songs from each of their last 3 proper releases (there have been a smattering of singles/ep’s in between). The set features “No Trust” from 2003’s Thickfreakness, “Girl Is On My Mind” and an incendiary “10 A.M. Automatic” from 2005’s Rubber Factory, and “Elevator”, the closing track on their 2006 Nonesuch debut Magic Potion. For a band that seems to pride itself on being as in-your-face raw as possible these live songs pack quite the gut punch.

MP3 :: No Trust
MP3 :: Elevator
MP3 :: Girl Is On My Mind
MP3 :: 10 A.M. Automatic

In Rewind: The Replacements, "Tim (Reimagined)"

The American underground music scene was one littered with exciting young bands in the wake of punk rock in the 1980’s. Minneapolis, Athens, New York, and Seattle were just a few of the well known cities bristling with talented upstarts at various points during the decade. Many of these bands took the bait from the major labels and jumped at the opportunity to bring their music to a wider audience. R.E.M. signed to Warner for 1989’s Green after a prolific run on indie label IRS. Sonic Youth jumped to Geffen after releasing 1988’s Daydream Nation. Dinosaur Jr. went for Warner subsidiary Sire in 1991 and released Green Mind. Each of these bands, and many others, achieved varying levels of success after deciding to go to the big time.
In 1985, The Replacements were at their creative peak, and decided to make the switch as well. 1984’s Let it Be was a quantum leap from their previous records. Combining the “power trash” (as opposed to power-pop) they were most known for with a distinct folk influence, as well Paul Westerberg’s deepening sense of angst-ridden lyricism, the album generated a buzz for the band throughout the country. Major labels came looking, and the band signed to Sire.

What came next was Tim, an album filled with what can arguably be said to be the best set of songs Westerberg ever put together. Rockers like “Bastards of Young” and “Left of the Dial” were at once anthemic, heartfelt, and accessible. The band once again displayed a strong folk influence on several songs. “Swingin’ Party”, and especially album closer “Here Comes A Regular”, are heartbreaking looks a loneliness and isolation, and feature mostly acoustic instruments. They even took a stab at pure pop, albeit in quite raw form, with first single “Kiss Me On The Bus”. All this added up to a success for the band that was far beyond what had come before. However, as undeniably great as this album is, it is far from perfect. In fact, with just a few touch-ups I could be writing about one of the best rock albums of the past 25 years.

The following “replacement” songs are of a lesser sound quality than the album songs, only because they weren’t recorded with the intention of being released on an album. So the idea is that if recorded with the same spirit as the others there would be a more seamless flow than what these mp3’s can provide. With a tip of the cap to Stylus Magazine’s “Playing God” column, my re-imagined Tim could look like this:

1. MP3 :: Hold My Life (live version) - The song makes a fine album opener, yet suffers from a production that fails to capture the urgency the lyric deserves. The reckless abandon drummer Chris Mars and guitarist Bob Stinson attacked earlier songs with sounds tame here. There are live versions of the song from this era that drastically improve on this studio version. I wouldn’t replace this song with this particular live version per se, but rather a studio one that adheres to its looser arrangement and rawer performance.

2. MP3 :: Can't Hardly Wait (Tim Version) - the Pleased to Meet Me version is perhaps their most recognizable song, and the best version available. However, in ‘85 the band wasn’t capable of its slick sound and horn accompaniment, and this primitive version is brimming with the drunken spirit that the Replacements were known for. Known as a great album closer on PTMM, this harder rockin’ version helps get “Re-Imagined Tim” off to a tremendous start.

3. “Kiss Me On The Bus” - album version. I’m gonna leave it as is, as it was a minor hit, even getting played on Saturday Night Live. However there are some versions out there that prove this song started out as a real thrasher, a la “Can’t Hardly Wait”.

4. MP3 :: P.O. Box (Empty As Your Heart) - This song may be from after the Tim sessions, but it does capture the sound of earlier Replacement’s albums. A hard hitting power-pop song that certainly improves on the somewhat pointless thrash of “Dose of Thunder”.

5. “Waitress In the Sky” - album version. The fun and, well, downright mean kiss off to poor stewardess service. A nice change of pace after 4 straight amped-up numbers.

6. “Swingin’ Party” - album version.

7. “Bastards of Young” - album version. Again, no need to mess with greatness. Another one played on SNL.

8. MP3 :: Nowhere Is My Home - this song was recorded prior to the band’s departure from Twin Tone, and not only improves on “Lay It Down Clown”, but sandwiched between “Bastards” and “Left of the Dial” makes for one of the great 1-2-3 punches in rock history.

9. “Left of the Dial” - I wouldn’t dare

10. “Little Mascara” - album version. It comes close to having the same problem as “Hold My Life”, but the song is a drop-dead classic, so leave it.

11. “Here Comes A Regular” - album version. One of the great album closers ever.

Buy the original Tim from Amazon.

New Music - T.D. Reisert

A few months back I wrote about an online record label called 80H, home of Tunnel Motor, and the only label I can think of that allows for the free download of all its music. It is well worth your time to explore around their site and discover a hidden (free) gem - such as Number 1, I Love You’s “Kissalil’ Bit” (mp3).

They recently sent along word of a new 2-song single available from T.D. Reisert called “To Sleep the Sleep”. Reisert is clearly indebted to the midnight blues of Jason Molina (circa Songs: Ohia), as the song features only a plaintive electric guitar and Reisert’s shaky warble. Together with the quiet acoustic b-side “For How They Forget” Reisert evokes the sorrow that comes with an ending of something once beautiful. “We’ve had enough, we’ve had enough” he sings as the song limps to its close. Recorded in the fall of 2006, this stands as a farewell of three years spent in the desert, referencing how language and memory stand against time.

MP3 :: To Sleep The Sleep
MP3 :: For How They Forget
(from To Sleep The Sleep)

T.D. Resiert - Website

New Music - Lightning Dust

Jagjaguwar has had a tremendous first half of 2007 so far with the sophomore releases of The Besnard LakesAre The Dark Horse and Parts & Labor’s Mapmaker albums. Well now they’re trying out a debut, and this one will come from Lightning Dust on June 19.

LIGHTNING DUST is Amber Webber and Joshua Wells, who have been playing together for many years as part of BLACK MOUNTAIN. They've toured the world and have played impenetrable space-rock to the unlikeliest of audiences. With an abundance of creative energy to spare, the two decided to start a separate project together.

Committing themselves to a more simplistic approach with Lightning Dust, Webber and Wells also decided to escape the comforts of their familiar instruments and writing styles. On their debut, minimal and spacious arrangements and a moody, theatrical vocal-style aptly expose the demons, creating songs that creep into your bones with a haunting chill.

Check out this track from the forthcoming release:

MP3 :: Listened On
(from Lightning Dust)

06/20/07 Seattle, WA - Neumo's Crystal Ballroom w/ Cave Singers
06/21/07 Bellingham, WA - Chiribins w/ Cave Singers
06/23/07 Portland, OR - Dunes w/ Cave Singers
06/24/07 Eugene, OR - Sam Bond's Garage w/ The Cave Singers
06/26/07 Santa Cruz, CA - The Attic w/ Cave Singers
06/27/07 San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill w/ Cave Singers
06/28/07 Fresno, CA - Tokyo Garden w/ Cave Singers
06/29/07 Los Angeles, CA - El Cid w/ The Cave Singers
06/30/07 Los Angeles, CA - 6th St. Warehouse w/ Cave Singers + Darker My Love
07/01/07 San Diego, CA - Casbah w/ Cave Singers
Lightning Dust - Myspace, Jagjaguwar Page

Live Review - The National @ The Bowery Ballroom, 5/28/07

Matt Berninger and co. have had plenty of reasons to be thankful lately. On Friday night The National completed their amazing 5-night run of sold out shows at New York’s famed Bowery Ballroom. Not bad for a band that traded places from headliner to opener with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 2 years ago when that band’s popularity superseded their own. Well, where are those guys now? Suffering the old sophomore jinx, that’s where - while the National are running with the success of the recent Boxer.

The band opened the 5 night run on Monday with a performance that left the crowd begging for more. They entered to the lovely, delicate chords of “Start A War” and proceeded to play a 90-minute set that drew heavily from the new material. In fact they played all but 2 songs from Boxer, as well as a selection of tunes from 2005’s Alligator, “Murder Me Rachel” from Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, and “About Today” from the Cherry Tree EP. Highlights included “Squalor Victoria”, which featured a new guitar freakout and Berninger repeatedly screaming the title phrase during the extended closing, a haunting “Daughters Of The Soho Riots”, the driving “Apartment Story”, and Alligator fan favorites “Abel” and “Mr. November”.

MP3 :: Fake Empire (from Boxer)

MP3 :: About Today (from Cherry Tree)

MP3 :: All The Wine (from Alligator)

Several of the Boxer cuts, such as “Slow Show” and “Squalor Victoria”, gained momentum from the album to the stage, but the setlist leaned a little too heavily on slower material (for example - they played “Baby We’ll Be Fine” from Alligator, but not “Lit Up”). The back to back pairing of “Racing Like A Pro” and “Ada” works just fine on record, but in a live setting toward the end of the set traded momentum for tediousness. When the band let loose the results were continually inspired - “All the Wine” was all brash, tongue-in-cheek male-posturing, “Daughters of the Soho Riots” rode a trance-like groove from drummer Bryan Devendorf that brought the set its highpoint of sublime beauty, and Berninger acted like an entertaining rock star (read: liability) on stage during the end of the set, engaging in a continuous brawl with his microphone cord, stand, and the stage-front monitors, and leaving a trail of broken equipment in his wake.

Opening act The Broken West played a competent set comprised almost entirely of their January debut I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On. They were good, especially on highlights “On The Bubble”, “So It Goes”, and “Down In The Valley”, and their cheery West Coast sound and attitude provided a nice counter to The National’s more stoic presence.

Thanks to Stuart Mockba for the great pic's!

Wilco & The National featured on AOL's Spinner

AOL's Spinner sent along word of some exciting things to be seen and heard for those of you into Wilco and The National. And really, who's not these days? With Wilco's Sky Blue Sky debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 (and holding strong at #12 in week 2) and The National dropping one of the year's best reviewed records with Boxer, as well as selling out 5 straight nights at NY's Bowery Ballroom, it seems these bands have the world eating out of their hands right now. So to keep the promotional ball rolling, here's some video from the sessions:

Watch Wilco:

What Light

Hate It Here

Side With The Seeds

You Are My Face:

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Watch Wilco behind the scenes HERE

Here are the links to watch The National's Interface Session:

Mistaken For Strangers

Apartment Story

Slow Show

Start A War

See the rest of The National's Interface.