May 31, 2005

"The sweat pours down and stings my eyes..." - Uniform Choice.

We arrived at the office this morning to find one of our top five hardcore records, Uniform Choice's Screaming For Change, awaiting us. With copies of the new Bob Mould and Sleater-Kinney joints also on hand thanks to The Monkey, we settled in for a long morning of listening. We'll talk about those latter two later this week. For now, just a bit about Uniform Choice.

Uniform Choice's record, despite being digitally mastered for the CD, now sounds thin at times, and singer Pat Dubar even a bit restrained. This is one of those situations where the record only pales by comparison because of all the music that has come since. But if you slap on headphones and crank it up you can start to feel the rock. This record was recorded, amazingly, 20 years ago. When we were listening to it in the late '80s and early '90s at ear-bleeding volumes, we considered it the pinnacle of heavy. The band, which evolved out of an earlier act called Unity, was one of the first to take of the Straight Edge mantle, and certainly deserves more acclaim, despite going kind of alternative on their follow-up. Feast your ears on "Once I Cry," track six from SFC. Interesting trivia: Dubar was a top-notch college baseball player and ended up getting drafted by the Brewers, supposedly.


Chromewaves is the first to point out to us that the next Strokes record streets in August. And, like Mr. Chromewaves, it looks like we'll be missing the Dinosaur Jr. tour as well due to some family vacation. We saw so much of the late model Dinosaur in the '90s that we don't really feel much remorse blowing this off. The only alternatives for getting off an island and back to Boston in time for the show were just too cost prohibitive. Or we imagine they would be, if we had bothered to check.

GetLevitation has purportedly first-person (and we have no reason not to believe otherwise) tales from Bob Stinson's wedding and other marginalia about his life and times during and post-Replacements. By the time we got on board with the Replacements, Stinson was ousted from the band, or was just about to be. But by that time the mythology surrounding him was well developed. And while we can't point to a specific instance of his widely accepted guitar genius, we certainly listened hard and often to his playing as we were learning to play ourselves. Anyhoo, we are big Mats fans, but we don't really know about the insidery stuff like the things discussed in the GL post, so it was interesting.

We promised we wouldn't write about Coldplay again, at least for a while, but it is worth pointing out that the band is driving this dude at Scenestars crazy. We think the pressure is getting to people for some reason lately. Example #2: Stereolab is driving Splendid's George Zahora crazy.

That is all.

May 30, 2005

"You got a fake I.D. and somewhere else to be..." - All.

Some things we learned over the long weekend:

1. The Music.For-Robots comp is finally for sale at the influential blog's web site. No surprise there. However, we didn't know that they only did up 1,000 copies of the comp, so there may in fact be a need for you to go buy a copy sooner rather than later. Our favorite comps to date were all issued pre-Internet or at least pre-Internet commerce, so if those guys did up 1,000 units they probably still have 500 of them in their garages. But the M.F-R joint could move a little more rapidly, given their large readership.

2. If you haven't had a gander at Ryan Adams lately you are in for a surprise. He don't look like this no more. At least not as of his solid performance of "Let It Ride" from his new record Cold Roses last week on Letterman, which we offloaded from the TiVo into our brains late this afternoon. For the Letterman performance, which was pretty rocking and interested us very much in what this guy might be up to nowadays [UPDATE: You can snatch a very big file of hi-def video of the performance here for a likely very limited time], Adams' face was almost completely hidden under a mop of long, dirty hair, which only occasionally swung out of the way to show that Adams currently has a beard and eyeglasses. Guess he is going through a dirty phase or something. Here is some discussion of the appearance. Previously, we were only really interested in his song "Come Pick Me Up," but now we are intrigued.

3. An email from Revelation Records confirms that indeed Sammy from Judge/YOT/Side By Side played on the next two Limp Bizkit records. He is not a band member, so the story goes, but the intersection of these two worlds should give you a confused feeling for 10 minutes or so. At least that is what happened to us.

That is all.

May 26, 2005

"I don't want to complain, but all I got is rain." - Small Factory.

While doing some research for our review of the forthcoming Lali Puna comp I Thought I Was Over That (cool album cover, hopefully there will be t-shirts), we came across a video for their song "Micronomic" at the band's web site. The site is in Flash, and frankly we aren't clever enough to know how to find direct links to any elements of a Flash site. So go there, navigate to the Photos/Downloads page, and click on the video. It's tres cool, and if you haven't heard the number, it is a hot one from their excellent record Faking The Books.

How about a song? It has been raining here in New England for quite a long while. So Small Factory's "Pretending It's Sunny" seems like a very obvious choice. Which it is. But it is also our favorite song off of the band's first full-length, I Do Not Love You. This tune graced many a mix tape in its day. We were equally as big a fan of Alex Kemp and Phoebe Summersqash's post-Small Factory band The Godrays, and often wonder what they've done musically since the release of the admittedly disappointing Godrays swan song, Well Composed Death Notice.

Stereogum points out that Coldplay's Chris Martin just wants Radiohead to love him back. Or something. Anyway, we promise to stop talking about Coldplay. We're really not big enough fans to even call ourselves fans.

Update: We'd like to say we weren't the tipster that inspired this item about Haywood at Philebrity. But that would be a lie. Our quip went something like "like a phoenix neck deep in ash…" but we guess they were feeling more Victorian and less Classical. We're not sure what all those random commas are doing in their blurb -- perhaps they should have just ran our email verbatim.

That is all.

May 25, 2005

"I'll take a shot in the foot that I intended for my arm." - Haywood.

Oh, happy day. Music.For-Robots finally delivers on a long-promised Haywood post, which features one excellent cut, "A Pair of Tragic Paper Kites," from the recent studio sessions the band did. Doooo check it out. We kind of miss the dominance of the falsetto line in the chorus that was in the demo version, and would really love if one of the choruses had a huge, gritty guitar in it like in the chorus of "Crosswords" [links to audio sample at band's web site]. But it is such a pleasure to hear the song fully fleshed out we don't care. Look for the cut "Mermaid" on the M.F-R comp that is available starting later this week.

According to our Haywoodiest Haywood source, the remaining NYC-based members of the band still plan to do some more tweaks on this latest posthumous material in the studio in July, but hopefully after that gets done we'll get our paws on the stuff. Also coming our way at some point will be a few Wendyfix videos. We'll try to post one if we can get a decent-sized and -quality Quicktime file.


There is no news here, but if you can't get enough of Bob Mould being bummed that his record got pirated, Coolfer has a tidy summation. Unrelated but more interesting, the blog recycles a rumour that the Arcade Fire's new music publishing deal with EMI netted them an $850,000 advance. Hopefully that will recoup soon, before everyone goes nuts for Amusement Parks On Fire and forgets about the fire in the arcade altogether. Well, maybe not: Said The Gramophone has a b-side to the "Power Out" single.

Tim Bracy of Mendoza Line and Slow Dazzle wonders why he doesn't want to succeed. Funny.

Pet Peeve: We hate it when reviewers note they've never heard the band whose record they are reviewing before. Hellooooo, do your job and do the research. We usually just read this site for the news, but sometimes we can't help ourselves and click through to a review, and then our inner demonic editor takes over.

Splendid interviews the Hold Steady, too.

That is all.

May 24, 2005

"At least in dying you don't have to deal with new wave for a second time." - The Hold Steady.

We love the Hold Steady's latest record. If anything, it is amazing how they can write so many great songs about being wasted and high and searching for and finding salvation. If we end up with nothing to do on a rainy day soon we will make a list of all the places where people pass out or come to on Separation Sunday. That's rock and roll, we guess.

Beleive it or not this post will bring Clicky Clicky up over 33,000 words. Oh well, anything to not have to watch One Tree Hill, particularly with Jimmy Eat World over-emoting through entire show. Some changes are afoot here, as it seems the Junkmedia blog may get off the ground shortly, even before the site redesign that is also in the pipeline. Once that blog goes live, we guess about 99% of our efforts will be expended there. We'll point everyone over there when it all happens.

Coolfer bemoans how indie rock has become narrow and dull and too predictable. They base their assertion at least in part on recent experiences seeing Built To Spill and Death Cab, observing that the bands no longer move them the way they did some five years ago. While we agree a tiny fraction with Coolfer, we think that much of their problem lies in trying to get the rush of an up-and-coming act from an act that is five years beyond the time when they really had fire in their guts (we'd argue that BTS took a right turn away from indie pop 10 years ago after There's Nothing Wrong With Love that left us feeling a bit sad, and that five years ago BTS wasn't actually doing anything of interest then, and certainly not now, but we digress).

Anyhoo, Coolfer says the next trend over the horizon is Rawk (didn’t "rock" "return" when there was all the hype pushing the White Stripes/The Hives/That Australian Band Where One of Those Doods Went Crazy Or Something Who Supposedly Sounded Like Nirvana?), and names a few likely suspects to lead the music industry's assault.

Follow-up: just to briefly revisit our Coldplay discussion, EMI's quarterly financials were released and sales were down, as expected. We're always interested in digital sales, since we spent a couple years hounding the major labels for info about their online strategies back in the day. According to Marketwatch, "[d]igital sales at EMI Music rose more than 300% to 35.6 million pounds for the financial year, with digital sales now representing 2.2% of total revenues."

Finally, The Monkey digs the new S-K, and has even turned us onto it. Splendid's Jen Kelly thinks it's their worst joint to date. Speaking of reviews, here are two we wrote recently: The Books. Colleen.

That is all.

May 23, 2005

"She's an indie rocker, and nothing's gonna stop her." - Archers of Loaf.

We've greatly enjoyed some time spent recently listening to the unmastered mixes of Shannon Worrell's The Moviegoer, which Mr. Mystical Beast was kind enough to send our way. Hearing different mixes of some of your favorite music is really mind-blowing, we think. We've had the good fortune to have various versions of Haywood and Kam Fong and Lilys material, for example, and often times hearing a different mix is like being able to take both hands and grab the song from between our ears, and then turn it just so and put it back down like a floral arrangement.

Anyway, we are hearing a lot of interesting ambient stuff on the Worrell recordings, as well as string parts that were excised in the final mixes and more prominent acoustic guitar playing and on and on and on. And holy crap, the accordion on "Movie Star Mom," where the hell did that come from? Why didn't it survive the final mixdown? That's just the kind of stuff we love. Moving on...


There may or may not be a shake-up in The Cure's line-up going down, according to chatter at ILM. We don't see how this makes a difference. What would make a difference is if we all hopped in a time machine and went back two decades so we could see the band perform in its prime. When the band was touring in support of Disintegration our Mom put the kibosh on us attending the show, so it wasn't until the Wish tour that we got to see them (in a strange week during which, to the best of our recollection, we also saw the Grateful Dead, the Beastie Boys and Nitzer Ebb).

Bob's pissed. Rightfully so. But we wonder how many people who downloaded some or all of the record actually held on to it. We listened to the track posted at Flizznuxblizznog, which is apparently one of the most guitar-centric cuts, and we weren't feeling it too much. We heart Bob, but we have a hard time suppressing the desire for guitary goodness that his earlier bands offered.

Here's a hot one from the New York Times: there are people out there making music WITH COMPUTERS!!

That is all.

May 22, 2005

"You were talking loud enough so that only you could hear." - The Red and The Black.

TMT thinks outside the box a bit and points out something very interesting: Radiohead are currently without a recording contract, apparently, opening up the prospect that the band could self-release any forthcoming recordings or jump to a different label. Sort of makes that story about how EMI is really sweating the success of the latest Coldplay joint (saying that it will make or break their earnings for the year) seem a little more credible.

Earlier this year EMI's debt rating was cut to junk status, in part because the Coldplay record was delayed. Anyway, we enjoyed Coldplay's impassioned performance on SNL last night. They played their single "Speed of Sound" in the first slot (Stereogum mentions the performance and has a link for the audio -- get it while it lasts), which rocked pretty steadfastly. So it seems EMI may actually have hitched their wagon to the right horse. The band has always been a bit too restrained for our tastes, but we've liked all their singles and enjoyed listening to their first two records via Rhapsody back when we had our free press subscription (good times).

Something else that might boost sales of the new record: there is some buzz online that the new record will feature unspecified anti-ripping technology. Story is that the promo single for "Speed of Sound" didn't feature the tech, which is why the music from that disc can be found. This supposed anti-ripping tech is probably just the same old Suncomm shizzy from a few years ago. But we suspect, if there is truth to any of this, there will be more chatter about it in coming weeks.


This weekend we watched Eddie and the Cruisers. When we were 10 we thought this movie was the tops. Now it seems pretty bad on a lot of levels, particularly structurally. Also, the band in the movie does a pretty bad job of pretending to play and sing. Interestingly, the music really is the strongest thing going for the flick. Not that Michael Pare, Tom Berenger, Ellen Barkin, Joey Pants and David Silver's father from 90210 can't hold it down. But there was only so much they could do with that script. Too bad, 'cause the story is actually pretty good.

Switching gears: a song to kick off the week. This started off being a post about All About Chad and their song "Embarrassing Moments," and how there is more than one version available, and how we prefer the one on Jiffy Boy Records' Ten Cent Fix compilation. But then we went to the CD rack and came up with Chunk Records' Hotel Massachusetts comp, which we referenced in our prior post. Specifically, we reference some crucial cuts. One of these was a tune called "Sunday" by a band called Home. We don't know what else, if anything, that Home has released. Googling "Home" does not yield useful results. Based on the strength of the song we made a point to show up to see the band at the Loud Music Festival in Northampton, MA in 1995, where they were playing on a showcase, if memory serves, that also included Craig Jones' Sydra. Anyhoo, Home's set was very reminiscent of the type of stuff Karl Hendricks Trio was doing at the time: heavy, emotional indie rock. Which contrasted pretty heavily with the breezy but resigned pop of "Sunday." Anyway, it's Sunday night, so that makes this post a bit appropriate. This is the kind of tune you'll be singing to yourself for a couple days.

That is all.

May 19, 2005

"Bye, bye Franklin, it's just me and my black metal friends." - Atom and His Package.

Catbirdseat points out that Darla has some info regarding New Radiant Storm King's catalog, which Darla is reissuing. The band's 1993 record Rival Time, originally released on Homestead Records, is one of those must-have '90s records. The reissue includes the acoustic version of "Phone Call," which we first heard on the Hotel Massachusetts comp (Chunk Records) back when we wuz in skool (this comp, incidentally, has several crucial tunes on it, including Zeke Fiddler's "Half Baked" and Home's "Sunday").

We've been pointed a couple times recently to great stuff on The Pernice Brothers web site. First off, Joe's current (very Good Doctor-ish) diet. Second, Joe's envisoning of indie rock MTV Cribs, featuring his own pizznad. Chromewaves suggests Joe lives in Toronto, but we're pretty sure he lives south of Boston somewhere. Say, near Ashmont. Or Holbrook. Anyway, the video (Quicktime) is really funny, with deadpan narration by Joe as he gives a little tour of his place. You will enjoy watching this.

The M.F-R comp gets some props from Coolfer and Pfork. Oh yeah, according to Coolfer, almost 5% of the first-week sales of the new Dave Mathews Band record were digital. We think that's sort of interesting.

Gawker points to this really funny exchange of emails between the leader of a Norwegian Black Metal label and a freelance writer pretending to be a Black Metal-o-phile who also happens to still live with his mother. Funny stuff.

The buzz this month seems to be The Hold Steady, with some high-profile coverage in Big Ticket (scroll down) and Pfork (and an interview here). So we bought the record with part of our monthly EMusic allotment and gave it a proverbial spin today. It's a very solid rock and roll record, a lot of fun, a lot of hooks. A lot of songs about the drinkin' and the druggin,' some clever lyrics about same. Everyone seems to make a point of saying you have to get used to singer Craig Finn's voice, but we don't think it isn't anything people, or at least people around our age and older haven't heard before. Imagine if you will a cross between Tommy Tutone and Springsteen as he sung "Blinded By The Light," and that's pretty much what you get. Anyhoo, it is too early in our research for us to give specific song recommendations. but we are initiating coverage of The Hold Steady with an "accumulate" rating based on the strong fundamentals we encountered in our cursory review this morning.

That is all.

May 18, 2005

"You're short on long-term goals, there's a party that we oughta go to." - Wilco.

Clicky Clicky readership has more than doubled and almost tripled in the last 6 weeks. So welcome everybody. We'll continue to do what we do. Thanks for coming around. (Some of you work for some pretty interesting companies -- media, publishing -- if anyone ever wants our services in a professional capacity, just whistle).

Music.For-Robots gives some props to the Mobius Band, and offers an MP3 of their song "I Had A Very Good Year." The item does contain what we think is news, which is the title of the band's forthcoming debut full-length. Ghostly will release The Loving Sounds of Static in August. In the meantime, do check out the Mobius Band on a three-week tour they are launching this weekend. We're sure the dates are at their web site, linked supra.

In related news, somewhere along the way a new Soltero record came out. Tim Howard of Soltero and the Mobius chaps attended our alma mater Wesleyan together in the late '90s, and the Mobius guys recorded and played on Soltero's My Heart Will Go Bowling CDR. Anyhoo, Splendid has the dope on this latest record, a self-released effort. We haven't heard any of the Soltero records since My Heart Will Go Bowling, but endorse the act on the strength of that and a very Elvis Costello-ish set we saw them play in a basement club a few years back.

One other M.F-R note: don't forget they are releasing their comp at the end of next week. Which wouldn't necessarily excite us as much as interest if it wasn't for the new Haywood track it will include.

That is all.

May 17, 2005

"Please send me evenings and weekends." - Gang Of Four.

We don't feel we can do justice to how excellent the Gang Of Four show was last night at Avalon. Perhaps some praise randomly culled from the Interweb can impress up readers. From ILM:

"HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jon King beating up a microwave! Jon King doing the Jesus Christ pose! Jon King doing THE CRABWALK! And ANDY GILL! F*cking hell."

Alright, we can't find much more online about last night. But if you search for comments on the other shows from this tour there is a constantly repeated mantra: "I expected them to be good, but I didn't expect them to be *that* good."

Anyway, the band opened with the amazing "Return the Gift" and ploughed through most of Entertainment (which was expanded and re-released today) as well as a bunch of other hot tunes. They did two encores, the first ending with "Damaged Goods" and the second and final consisting solely of a rousing run through "I Found That Essence Rare." They played particularly ripping versions of "At Home He Feels Like A Tourist" and "Anthrax." The whole performance was intense and electric. The band was really amped up and trolled the stage like caged tigers, switching mikes, striking dramatic poses, and acting totally and unironically punk without coming off like arseholes. The performance was very dramatic, and much of the proceedings were lit solely with those naked white spots from the foot of the stage that cast giant shadows of the performers against the back wall of the stage area, making them look like the huge rock Gods that they were last night, and apparently every other night on this tour so far. So that's that. By all means go see this act on this tour if you can.


We had an interesting email from a nice label head for a respectably sized indie who has released records you know and may conceivably own. Not going to name him or the label, since it's not really anybody's business. But said label head just wanted to give us a little more info about working with IODA, a subject we discussed in this previous post.

Some interesting takeaways from the email: 1) IODA gets 15%, presumably of the purchase price of the individual music file. We aren't a real reporter anymore so we didn't get specifics. 2) 85% of the label's digital sales are through ITunes. 3) The label head mused that, coincidentally, his current digital sales breakdown means that conceivably he could have just done a deal with ITunes directly and be making the same amount right now (since the 15% of non-ITunes digital sales he is doing is equivalent to the 15% commission IODA gets) 4) All that said, the label head really likes IODA and says they truly do make things "very easy for a small label who couldn't possibly set up with a dozen or so digital distributors." So there you go.

Go over to The Big Ticket and read all about The Downing Street memo. It's not a band. And we don't have the energy to discuss how maddening it is.

Finally, we got our formal rejection from WMBR this morning. Can't say we are surprised or bummed -- it became very apparent during the interview that the show we were proposing would be duplicative of other programming that they currently devote some 20+ hours of air time to in any given week. So, disappointed, yeah, but we know the politics and difficulties that come into play when programming a radio station from our days at WESU.

We're listening to the Dogs Die In Hot Cars record for the first time right now and we are not feeling it.

That is all.

May 15, 2005

"Roving here and straying there, and good parties everywhere..." - Hip Young Things.

Despite their making at least one very solid record featuring contributions from some of the biggest names in German indie music, few talk about Hip Young Things. For example, AllMusic is mute on the subject of the band and doesn't even have a full discography. TrouserPress? Nada. Online book store Biblio (who?) will at least try to sell the band's very good Shrug (Brake Out Records/Glitterhouse Records/Enemy Productions, 1996) to you, a record for which Amazon doesn't even display cover art. As stated in an earlier post, laptop popper Schneider TM was in Hip Young Things. His notoriety, particularly for an inspired electronic cover of The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out," fortunately makes some information about HYT available. For real pay dirt you might try to get into the native language and check out some German Internet home pages. Here is a Google translation of what might be a pretty informative page. Unfortunately, that results in such informative declarations as "alternative skirt does not interest me any longer."

Here is what we do know: the album Shrug is universally underrated, and doesn't contain a single bad toon. In addition to Schneider, The Notwist's Acher brothers both contributed to Shrug. It contains rough-edged indie rock with marked Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement influences. We've seen Shrug in used bins more often than we've heard it played by anyone besides ourselves. The last time we heard it out and about was at Boston's Paradise Rock Club, where one song was played over the hi-fi in the club prior to the start of a Built To Spill show we saw there. That was almost four years ago.

Given that there is so little out there about the band and the album it is a challenge to pick one song that will sell readers on the band. But we are guessing "Paraque No Quiero Saberlo" (roughly translated: "because I don't want to know it.") makes the best case for the band, and hopefully some of you will turn on to it. Or maybe "Generation Wax" will do it for you. Try 'em both. We're sure the record can be had for a song from all the usual places. Dooooo check it out.


You can now pre-order the forthcoming (6/16) Judge discography What it Meant: The Complete Discography from Revelation records. It includes "both 7"s, the Bringin' It Down LP, the infamous Chung King Can Suck It LP and a demo track." Not bad for $11. We pre-ordered ours.

We were minding our own business at the gym this morning when Stars' "Ageless Beauty" came on the hi-fi. We guess that means the mainstream can't be far behind.

That is all.

May 14, 2005

"The taste just slips away." - Ride

Special weekend update:
F*cking Amazing. Thanks for the tip, Bster.

And, since we're here: Holy crap! A post about The Yachts at SVC. Dig it. And a fair to middling Yachts bio here.

The Pfork tidily rounds up the latest batch of Cure re-issues.

That is all.

May 12, 2005

"You never cooked up your medicine then." - Silkworm.

As a youth just turning on to college radio and local bands, we casted about for recordings from any local act we heard about. This was back when "indie rock" was called "college rock." The terms "alternative" and then "grunge" were probably 18 months away from being coined, an event that we think eventually took a lot of variety out of the independent music scene, at least at the level of commercial radio.

Anyhoo, in late 1990 or early 1991 a cassette was placed in our hands with a song by a local act from a nearby prep school who eventually took the name The Differences. The song was called "Eleventh Grade English," a nice pop song in the vein of Ocean Blue and the Connells (who we saw open for the Replacements on the final Replacements tour) and the like. We pressed our source and eventually got a hold of a couple more numbers from the band, one called "Stay" and another forgotten joint. All fine. In the face of our burgeoning interest in Dinosaur Jr., straightedge hardcore and shoegazer stuff being played on Villanova's WXVU, we gradually lost interest in The Differences. But not before receiving at least one more cassette with later recordings.

Only one of these has survived in our cassette collection this last decade and a half, a song called "Door To Your Heart." Probably the darkest Differences recording we heard, which likely earned it its place on the mix tape we turned it up on earlier this week. The number channels more of a Cure or Chameleons UK sound than the earlier recordings. It is centered on one melodic progression that would get tired toward the end of the song, save for some very solid, textural, even Cure-esque, guitar work throughout.

We are still amazed in this day and age when we can't find a single reference online for a band. We guess not every scene from back then is fortunate enough to have someone like the Zozman keeping it real on the Interhizzy for defunct high school bands. But now that we've ripped "The Door To Your Heart" to our hard drive, perhaps it will remind us to keep up an intermitten search for the Differences recordings we lost or taped over many, many years ago. So that's that.


Pitchfork reviews the Books show we saw late last month. We disagree that the performance was as rocking as Dahlen remembers, not to say that it wasn't amazing. We thought that on the whole the proceedings were very measured. Sure, the rock parts rocked, but the mellow parts were mellow. We also don't recall the electronics, at least electronic percussion, being as prominent as this piece states. That said, we thought the performance was a revelation, as we blogged previously. Dahlen's piece does a very good job of capturing the atmosphere and specifics about the performance, so dooo check it out.

That is all.

May 11, 2005

"Not capable of hate, so it seems, but getting closer..." - BURN.

Briefly then:

Coolfer gets down to the brass tacks on the new Yahoo Music Unlimited service. The blog also takes a hard look at the money Merge has committed to push the new Spoon record with big retail chains. Very interesting.

Speaking of Merge, the Bster points us to a hysterical thread on a Merge discussion board that takes many for a ride with regards to Superchunk using session players to track their excellent On The Mouth. Check it out.

Slow Dazzle is a side project of the Mendoza Line's Shannon McArdle and Tim Bracy. They now have a web site, featuring two fairly intriguing MP3s from their forthcoming debut. We particularly like the Bracy-sung "The Prosecution Rests," and the arpeggiated piano playing off the spacey synth tone in opposite channels. Incidentally, we've just spend the last 48 hours listening to nothing but Mendoza Line's Fortune. We wish it had some rougher edges to it, but pretty much all the positive reviews were on the ball. Good songs are inherently good, no matter the production.

Coming up: The Differences, of all things.

That is all.

May 10, 2005

"There ain't no stupid question that we ain't thought to ask." - The Mendoza Line.

WPRB old-timer and My Pal God Records impresario Jon Solomon spins records tonight in Philly. Yeah, it's way too late for most Clicky Clicky readers to get there. But the picture makes the link worth clicking through anyway. The March update to the MPG web site also answers a question we've had for a while about some indie music available on EMusic and ITunes.

At EMusic in particular, certain labels, MPG for example, have their names listed next to their available releases with "/IODA" appended to them. Turns out IODA is the Independent Online Distribution Alliance, an operation run by former, Wired, 75 Ark, CDuctive and Napster doods. They get in between content companies and digital distribution outfits and handle admin and whatnot. We wonder what kind of revenues they do. Perhaps Cable Elk knows. But here is some chicken scratch to get us in the ball park.

According to IODA's web site
, "IODA receives a portion of the license royalties paid out by the services in exchange for ongoing rate negotiation, catalog encoding and data management services, precise and comprehensive reporting, and the administration and distribution of royalties." An earlier sentence suggests they are talking about the sound recording royalty. So basically they get some pocket change for every sale of a song they distribute. This adds up quickly, we are sure, but the size of the payment per song is likely pretty small. We've lost all the mental faculty to calculate these things as we probably could have back when we represented with the Noize. Plus it sounds like the royalty rates for the various types of rights purveyed by the different digital distro outfits are all over the map. But we know that we pay $10 per month for 40 downloads from EMusic, which means EMusic grosses a quarter per song. Who knows how many different ways that quarter gets split up, but we'll bet anybody who walks away with a whole nickel probably feels pretty lucky.

Related: Coolfer points us to a very interesting and somewhat provocative piece in the Guardian that states only 4% of legally downloaded music is purchased by women. What's it all mean? The article also claims (and we have no reason not to believe them) that the UK has the highest per capita music consumption, as well as the highest rate of ownership of Ipods and MP3 players. Anyway, it doesn't answer any questions, which is frustrating, but there are lots of interesting bits and pieces scattered throughout. Anyway, in related news, Yahoo just announced this evening it is launching its own music subscription service.

Splendid kicks the tires on the new A-Sides record.

That is all.

May 9, 2005

"Snow flakes make your bones ache in winter." - The Jayhawks.

In our opinion, the importance of iconography (or what we suppose would be called "brand building" nowadays") to connecting a band to an audience can't be overstated. For example, our cousin's Dead Kennedys t-shirt, with the welded together D and K logo, provoked instant fascination from us when we were kids. Of course, when Nine Inch Nails dropped the megaton bomb that was Pretty Hate Machine, the NIN (picture the second N reversed, natch) logo prompted much puzzlement and speculation among the mainstream kids and parents and just about everyone. Another similar example is the S superimposed over the inverted T that comprises the Suicidal Tendencies logo. When we attended high school ST's Lights, Camera, Revolution! hit the racks and directly preceding it and for an entire school year thereafter a group of punker kids took the liberty of spray painting ST's name and logo all over school grounds. One thing helped defuse the ominous aura of the ST logo: The overzealous fans who were graffitiing their props for the band weren't the best spellers. Often times the words "Suicidal Tendencies" would end up on a wall as "Suicidal Tendendencies" or "Suicidle Tendencys." Everybody, including the school newspaper, had a good laugh about that. Often when we were kids powerful band iconography, be it the previously mentioned logos or the smacked-out cover art for the Jane's Addiction records, suggested to us that a band's music was going to be too extreme to be palatable. But that has never been the case: ST was just a metal band by the time Revolution!! came out; Jane's first record, the live release on XXX, is probably the straightest rock record they made (save for the spine-tingling closer "Chip Away," of course); Never Mind the Bollocks was tame compared to the filth and fury we had contrived in our head prior to hearing the record; and on and on and on. We don't know if there is a bigger message here. We do know you can download ST's "You Can't Bring Me Down," a hot rocker from Lights, Camera, Revolution!


You can skip Pfork's well-conceived leveling of the new Weezer record and click right to CRM's infographic. Special bonus interesting content from Pfork today: An interview with the last original Ramone.

More info on The Texas Governor. An interesting profile here. And here is the band's MySpace page, which we can't remember if we posted previously. And an old, good piece about the Elevator Drops.

Brighaaaam likes Yello. The Bster likes Yello. We sense a trend.

That is all.

May 8, 2005

"Did you call me up just to see if we're still speaking?" - Joey Sweeney.

We accompanied H-Dawg from Accounts Receivable Friday evening to see The Texas Governor, the newish project from former Elevator Drops chap David Goolkasian. The performance, as well as the performance of the openers, prompted much discussion and analysis. Certainly too much to rehash here. But it was interesting to kind of put two and two and two yet again together and draw some conclusions, as erroneous and misinformed as they might be.

One disappointment with the Texas Governor set was that it seemed Mr. Goolkasian was sort of hiding behind his band a little, allowing a second guitar player to drown out his own playing. The second guitar player rocked steadfastly enough, but in the context of the songs the band was playing he seemed to be overplaying. On a related note, the songs also seemed to give credence to a proposition that Goolkasian was sort of hiding amongst the music. Instead of directly delivering the fractured pop that we had hoped for, the songs, save for the opener and the closer, couched themselves in straight rock, pop and blues forms, following standard chord progressions.

Goolkasian still gave interesting vocal performances, doing that thing posing his arms that we recall from seeing the Elevator Drops at Ye Olde College about 10 years ago. But on the whole it seemed Goolkasian was either taking a new tack musically (obviously fine), or letting his bandmates in on the songwriting process somewhat to the detriment of the music. On the TG page Goolkasian talks about the decision to leave the Elevator Drops, and it makes us wonder whether it had, and if his current band dynamic has, something to do perhaps with no longer being as comfortable as a frontman as he once was.

All that said, we look forward to listening through the Texas Governor catalog, which H-Dawg purchased, and seeing the band again in the future, although their live performances are evidently rare.


Currently watching disc two of the Pavement Slow Century DVD, which is comprised of what we suspect are two of the final performances of the band's final tour. Good stuff.

With regards to our promise of a week or two ago to revisit Small 23's Free T-Shirts for Spain record, we see now that we have already pretty much said all we wanted to say in earlier posts here and here. Really, the Eric Bachmann connection is really what always sticks out in our minds. We can't but wonder whether the EP's opener, "Rhymes With Fame," is a tell-off to Bachmann after he left Small 23 and devoted his full attention to Archers of Loaf. Obviously, Bachmann made the right choice. Small 23 never was able to surpass "Rhymes With Fame" and their best song, "Zoo Girl," which are contained on Free T-Shirts. The latter song is one of our favorites. So there, book closed on Small 23. Moving on...

More Zipperhead nostalgia at Philebrity. We wish women still had such great haircuts. And we used to go to the Revival Teen Night, too, with PFC and KFB and WPRS. Of course, we were too shy to actually meet anyone else, but we got to listen to Nine Inch Nails and Bauhaus on a huge soundsystem and be inside an actual club, and that was pretty much all the excitement we could handle at such a tender age.

That is all.

May 5, 2005

"I followed you home 'cause I liked how you walked," The A-Sides.

We've been neglecting our promised musing on June of 44, particularly the spectacular The Anatomy of Sharks EP, released in early 1997. This is because the song we'd really like to post, "Sharks and Sailors," is some 11 minutes long, much too long to feasibly post for download. The song itself is superlative, opening with deliciously gritty and lacerating guitars and blunt Albini-esque drums. The full package comes off like a close cousin of the type of tunes Kam Fong were churning out around the same time. The extended composition flows into the EP's other two tracks, which are also particularly groove-oriented. You can't buy "Sharks and Sailors" from EMusic or a la carte from ITunes, but you can buy the whole EP (recommended) from ITunes for the very un-ITunes price of $4.50. We insist the music on the EP is easily worth $1.50 per song. If anything, just check out the sample. As an added bonus, here is a link to a June of 44 show review the Monkey penned in 1999.

We've been remiss in noting some recent purchases. To follow up on our search for the Cure reissues, it is worth mentioning that on our second trip to Newbury Comics this past weekend the reissues were sold out yet again. Perhaps we already reported this. But anyway, we have managed to get the expanded reissue of Pornography. The remastered sound is definitely noticable. Pornography, according to the liner notes, was intended by Robert Smith to destroy the band. It was recorded while Smith, et al. were ingesting toxic amounts of drugs. As such there are some elements lost in the murk of the original mix. In addition to bringing out those various ambient elements, the tone was sharpened remarkably, and the songs pop instead of sort of splashing out of the space, if that makes any sense. We've ordered the Faith and Seventeen Seconds reissues from, and after that we need to cool it with the record buying for a while.

We also recently purchased The Books' Lost and Safe, which we are in the process of writing up for Junkmedia, so keep an eye out over there for what we are sure will be a very positive review. We enjoyed last week's Books performance so much we even mail-ordered a t-shirt, which arrived quickly from their HQ in Western MA. The shirt is very soft and very green. Like moss.

Finally, we received the debut from Pennsylvania's The A-Sides, which we purchased off the cuff based on a solid recommendation [scroll down to 4/25/2005 posts] that asserted the band was the second coming of the Lilys, or at least the Lilys as they sounded somewhere around 1996 or so. This record, released on a small indie out of Scranton, PA, is excellent -- we listened to it about six times today. As a result, we are initiating coverage of The A-Sides with a "buy" rating for their record Hello, Hello. This is your soundtrack to spring. Philadelphia Weekly has a story about the band here.

We got a peek at the tracks that will be included on the Music.For-Robots compilation that comes out at the end of the month. People are going to dig it. Something else that is cool is the new Insound Clips email. We usually hate isht that gets sent to us unsolicited-like (unless it is shiny, round, flat and five inches across, dig?), but this email is smart and sassy.

One last taste of Pennsylvania: Our favorite (and Penn-educated) young associate pointed us to a profile in a recent New York Times Magazine about our favorite beer, Yuengling. Many readers have had the privilege of helping us work through the three cases we brought back from PA during our last visit. Now you can educate yourselves on the finer points of that which is brewed in America's oldest brewery. Enjoy.

That is all.

May 4, 2005

"Love will get you down." - Interpol.

According to this post, it appears Music For Robots got Haywood (or what is left of them) to agree to issue one of the songs from its latest recording efforts as part of the forthcoming M.F-R compilation. Something we are proud to say we had a tiny hand in. We don't know which track it will be (Reader #6?), nor have we heard any of the new recordings, but it is something to be excited about, so start being excited... now.

points us to some sad news: When we were a kid, before Repo Records staked its claim behind the train tracks in North Wayne (before eventually moving to a store front in hoity-toity Bryn Mawr, then South Street in Philly), before there were malls (or at least before there was any reason to go to one), there was only one place to go buy punk rock t-shirts, hair dye, Doc Martens and related paraphernalia. It was Zipperhead. Remember the Dead Milkmen's "Punk Rock Girl"? It name-dropped the store. Anyway, apparently the owners of the building are raising the rents and effectively booting the store from where it has stood since 1980. While the folks who run Zipperhead own the name and plan to open a store elsewhere, it seems the original reason most of us suburban kids dared go into the city to South Street in our youths is now going the way of the Middle East, errrr... J.C. Dobbs, errr... the dodo bird.

There is interesting discussion of new MP3 blog MP3 aggregator (that is not a typo) The Hype Machine in the comments at this Stereogum post. We personally like The Hype Machine because it points us to blogs we should be reading based on the music found there. But there are some compelling arguments why the site is a little nefarious. Check it out.

The "Inside Baseball" aspect of the row between emo-metal lamos Linkin Park and Warner Music Group is interesting enough to warrant scrutiny despite the involvement of Linkin Park. Coolfer has a pair of informative posts here and here. Even the fact that the band is responsible for 3% of WMG's revenues, rather than the 10% the band asserts, is sort of remarkable. We guess there are a lot of angsty 13-year-old boys out there who still buy CDs.

Back in the day, we pretty strictly rocked the Memorex and TDK. We can vividly recall how they smell just after pulling the wrapper off. Thanks for the memories, WFMU.

One can stream the new Beck here.

That is all.

May 2, 2005

"Little rock-and-roller, your soul is too old for America." - September 67.

Mystical Beast has a great post up about finding a sorta rare Shannon Worrell record by the side of the road in Park Slope the other day. It was a disc of unmastered stuff from Worrell's The Moviegoer record, which got a lot of spins in our pad about five years ago the year it came out. Worrell's prior project was called September 67 (formerly known as Monsoon, after the name of a bar she played in), basically just another name for her solo work. S67 put out a good record called Lucky Shoe on the short lived "corporate indie" (remember those?) The Enclave (affiliated with Thorn/EMI/Capitol) back in 1996. At that time we worked for Worrell's husband at a small paper in central Virginia. A promo of the record was kicking around the offices and we picked it up one day and gave it a whirl and it was pretty good. Not totally our thing, but the record slowly and surely worked its way into our good graces. The stuff is pretty Lilith-ish, southern gothic indie-country. If that makes any sense. But the S67 record also had an uncharacteristic little number with a drum machine beat called "Little Lantern Face" that is just a joy to listen to, and showcases Worrell's yearning voice in the simplest way. So here is that tune. Make sure to check out the Mystical Beast post.


Flizznuxblog has a post featuring a demo version of one of our favorite Sonic Youth numbers. In what has become a frequent move for the blog, it fails to mention that the cut is from the deluxe version of SY's Dirty, which streeted in 2003. Just thought we'd do our civic duty.

Splendid reviews the Bloc Party record. This was in heavy rotation in the Hondacarmatic over the weekend. We wish we had done more driving.

An interesting stat: According to GetLevitation, Jimmy Page played on 60% of of all music recorded in England between 1963 and 1966. That is crazy, no?

Coolfer takes a look at UMG's digital music sales numbers a little more closely than some other lamo operation.

That is all.

May 1, 2005

"I'll go back, if you ask, I'll go back, if you ask me." - Bloc Party.

We saw The Books Friday night, with Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis opening. It was really quite a show. It should first be said that The Books are amazing, particularly live. We didn’t know what to expect from the performance, as the band’s music is an amalgamation of samples, guitars, strings and murmered vocals. We were surprised and then very impressed that all of the string parts, which are incredibly sophisticated (at least by pop music standards), are performed live, rather than sampled. We hadn’t realized that half the two-man (four-person for the live show) act is a cello virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist. With a longtime sidewoman in tow playing electric piano, violin and koto, and pitching in with some very strong vocal performances, the band was unstoppable, and more than replicated the material on their CDs.

All told, the performance was really quite something, mixing the musical performance with DVD video projected behind the band. The band is just endlessly clever, and the video really underscored the band’s humour and attention to serenity. Even their web site is wacky. The Books received two standing ovations from the audience at the MFA, but describing their sound is difficult – it is, in fact, unique in our estimation. It’s a decidely non-rock kind of thing (despite the occasionally inept AllMusic describing them as such in search results), and they aren’t really that electronic live, either. The best way to describe them may be as a cross between the Dismemberment Plan and Kronos Quartet. Anyway, The Books release records through Germany’s Tomlab. Junkmedia has an interview with the band from before the release of their second album here. Several MP3 blogs have posted tracks from their latest record, Lost and Safe. As a sidenote, Tomlab states on its web site that it will soon have a proprietary MP3 shop. So keep an eye out for that.

Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis’ performance deserves some discussion. But as we stated in our review of their record of live collaborations over at Junkmedia, the act’s live electronic improvisations have no discernible center. In short, the duo performed two pieces, the first was more clicks and dings, the second a long melodic droner. Both had video accompaniment. The video for the second piece was particularly entertaining, featuring strung-together stills of a grey kitty and shots the duo took while doing a world tour. The pictures were edited into a sort of stop-motion animation that was really humorous, with those creepy asymmetrical stuffed-animal monsters you've probably seen around occasionally haranguing the grey kitty. Funny.


We didn't really pay attention to the final 80% of The Get Up Kids' time together. And come to think of it, we didn't really pay attention to the first 10%, either. But that third 5%, when they released Four Minute Mile in 1997, was pretty great. We were pretty blown away when RLM slipped us the goods on cassette back in the day. Anyhoo, the band, based in our work home-away-from-home of KCMO, announced in March they are breaking up after playing their final shows this summer. As stated above, we didn't follow them that closely, so we aren't taking this very hard. But we will say the song "The Last Place You Look" is an indie rock masterpiece that puts a little emo lump in our throats just about every time we hear it. It's that good. It is good enough that we forgive the bad cover of New Order's "Regret." You can buy "The Last Place…" from Emusic. We'd really like to see some live video of the song, but couldn't find any in a cursory spin around Oh well. As Scandal said all those years ago, goodbye to you.

That is all.