May 25, 2006

Today's Hotness: Mission Of Burma, The Hold Steady

>> We recall a Rolling Stone cover story about Metallica from 1992 or 1993 that noted that, for all its postured rebellion, the heavy metal scene was actually marked by steady conservatism (seems ironic, considering RS's current place in the world of music journalism. Pot meet kettle). This is something that came to mind again because of today's New York Times piece discussing conservative mag National Review's list of the Top 50 conservative rock songs. And surprise, it's all radio-friendly, mainstream classic rock, including The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and the like. Rock critic Dave Marsh parries the author's assertions well, but it is hard not to believe some of the conservative spin, particularly as a listener who gave up on classic rock somewhere around the age of 13, some 20 years ago. That said, there is little surprise to the article, save perhaps for the inclusion of After The Fire's version of Falco's "Der Kommissar." That said, if you haven't thought about conservatism in mainstream rock, here is as good a place to start as any.

>> We just got finished watching the four-song DVD that came with Mission Of Burma's electrifying new set The Obliterati, which is one of about ten discs that arrived in the mail today (none of which were the Dinosaur Jr. discs we preordered from Plan9 that still have yet to arrive. Shame shame shame). Anyway, the Burma videos are taken from a December 2004 show in Lowell, MA. What we don't quite understand is how the audience seems really stiff. How could you not want to jump up and down and hit yourself in the head with your own sneaker the whole time the band is tearing through "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" or "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate"? Man, sometimes we just don't get people.

>> The new Hold Steady web site, made by our old friend Rob, has just gone online. There is a blog of sorts there that makes mention that the band is currently recording its follow-up to the astonishing concept record Separation Sunday, and is plugging away at some 15 tracks. More details on the state of recording here. Check out Rob's design dojo here; if you need a web site he'll make you one real nicey-nice.

>> Just a brief programming note: clicky clicky will be powered down through the long weekend so we can drink beer and play croquet by the ocean, and when we return it will be to a world in which there are no series or season finales on the television. This is good, because it means we will once again be able to focus on album reviews. Just as a little teaser, we'll tell you that you can expect reviews of the forthcoming Shapes And Sizes and new SSM records in early June. We also hope to make a return to Two And A 1/2 Lbs Of Bacon, and perhaps even post an MP3 or two here now and again. See you next week.


Ric said...

Everyone is dead at that Burma show because they are there to see the Pixies. Though you knew that. The lack of response from the crowd either limits the disc to nothing more than the simple bonus it originally aspired to be, or heightens it to a great performance art oddity. I'm not sure which. Either way, it's conspicuous and weird.

jbreitling said...

Your memory is better than mine, Dr. -- I had forgotten that was a Pixies date and not one of the original Burma reunion tour dates.

Kate said...

Mission of Burma has an upcoming show you may want to check out. It’s at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), Saturday July 1 at 8:00 pm. It will be outdoors in Courtyard C if the weather permits, otherwise in the Hunter Center. Tickets are $22 advance, $26 day of show.

If you’re not familiar with MASS MoCA, it’s in North Adams, in northern Berkshire County. Directions are available on our website at

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the box office, (413) 662-2111.

Thanks for letting me post this, and I hope you can come to the show!

-Kate, MASS MoCA intern

jbreitling said...

Thanks Kate! I've got free passes to Futureheads that night in Boston, but that MASS MoCa show sounds awesome -- I have friends in Williamstown and they know about the show. If you want to repost your comment on one of the newest posts on the mainpage so more people see it, I'm totally cool with that. I saw the first or second Burma reunion show at Avalon in Boston several years ago, and am looking forward to seeing them again at some point.