March 30, 2006

Weekend Video Fix: Up Up Down Down, Drop Nineteens, Film School

>> Few things are more inspiring than the video recently posted to wildly under-rated indie rock outfit Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start's MySpace page. The track is called "Please Come To Me" and it is from the band's 2005 effort Perris, CA. Check the video out here [FYI the screen shot above is to the Quicksand video described at the bottom of this item]. The band has three dates lined up in April. We are currently wondering how unrealistic it is to think we'd drive all the way from Boston to Hartford for the show April 6, since we often lack the motivation to walk the 10 blocks to the popular rock clubs here in our town. But that is just how inspiring Up Up Down Down is. The band has a whole mess of music posted online, do yourself a favor and find some of it.

>> This afternoon, while inexplicably binging on Drop Nineteens singles, we stumbled onto the site for Paula Kelley, she formerly of the aforementioned and formerly amazing act. The band, for those not familiar, released a stellar shoegaze record on Caroline in 1992 called Delaware. The record was so good that we and WPRS and KFB drove directly to WXVU and got buzzed into the studio just to ask what the record was. Anyway, Kelley's site here has a couple videos and MP3s from Delaware, including a neat little clip for "Winona." The sound quality is pretty iffy, but it's nice to see a clip for the song all the same. And yes, the '90s really were all day-glo like that. Incidentally, Kelley has had a busy post-Drop Nineteens career, and she releases Some Sucker's Life, a collection of demos and so-called lost recordings, April 4.

>> Here's the video for the latest single from California shoegazers Film School. The track is called "11:11," and here's a link to the video. We're just turning onto this band and we like what we've heard from our first several listens to the band's self-titled set.

>> And finally few more videos culled from YouTube: Here's the dizzying and kinda sophomoric video for The Swirlies' very solid track "Bell," which was released on the classic 1993 record Blonder Tongue Audio Baton. The video looks very "Boston" to us. Archers of Loaf's "Web In Front" may be the best single ever released in the 1990s. The video is almost as inscrutable as that Swirlies joint. Finally, here's a video of New York hardcore dynamo Quicksand performing its signature cover of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now." It takes a while to kick in as Walter fakes the crowd out with the verse of a different track at first, and generally it's not the best performance, but one well worth watching if only to remember what "the scene" was like back in "the day." It actually gives us goose bumps.

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Voxtrot

VoxtrotFor quite some time one hasn't been able to turn on one's computer without reading something about Austin, Texas-based indie pop act Voxtrot. The band has aggressively toured its eponymous EP over the last year and earned blogger-darling status with its Smiths-influenced sound. If you've sensed a recent surge in the indie rock Force of late its because Voxtrot's next EP, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives, is hitting racks next week on the band's own Cult Hero imprint. You can download the title cut here -- right click and save as, por favor. The band has also contributed the track "Warmest Part of the Winter" to the latest installment of Darla Records' long-running compilation series Little Darla Has A Treat For You. Little Darla #24 is slated to be in stores May 15. But we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, because Voxtrot launches still another volley of tour dates in Houston on Saturday. They're all posted below.

04/01 -- Houston, TX -- Walter's On Washington
04/03 -- Atlanta, GA -- Drunken Unicorn
04/04 -- Athens, GA -- Caledonia Lounge
04/05 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506
04/06 -- Norfolk, VA -- Relative Theory
04/07 -- Harrisonburg, VA -- MACRock
04/08 -- Washington, DC -- Georgetown University
04/09 -- New York, NY -- Mercury Lounge [SOLD OUT]
04/10 -- New York, NY -- Mercury Lounge [SOLD OUT]
04/11 -- Wellesley, MA -- Lulu Wang Center
04/12 -- Montreal, QC -- La Sala Rosa
04/13 -- Toronto, ONT -- Sneaky Dees
04/14 -- Detroit, MI -- Lager House
04/15 -- Chicago, IL -- Empty Bottle
04/17 -- Minneapolis, MN -- Triple Rock
04/18 -- Des Moines, IA -- Vaudville Mews
04/19 -- Lawrence, KS -- Jackpot Saloon
04/20 -- Norman, OK -- Opolis
04/21 -- Denton, TX -- Hailey's
04/22 -- Austin, TX -- Emo's

05/25 -- San Diego, CA -- Epicentre
05/26 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Wiltern
05/27 -- San Francisco, CA -- Slim's
05/30 -- Portland, OR -- Berbati's Pan
05/31 -- Seattle, WA -- Neumo's

Today's Hotness: Nirvana, Mission of Burma, Interpol

Nirvana>> Rolling Stone reports here that Courtney Love has indeed finally sold off a share of her rights to the Nirvana catalog. Love, whose stake in the enterprise includes 98% of Nirvana's publishing rights, sold off 25% of (presumably) the total publishing rights to former COO/GM of Virgin Records Larry Mestel, who now operates Primary Wave Music Publishing. The deal was apparently worth in excess of $50 million USD. In more curious news, apparently ex-Vatican Commando Moby is producing Love's next solo outing. Weird.

>> Word on the Matador message board here is the laser engraving on the Mission of Burma singles series vinyl records continues to hamstring their production. The manufacturer's latest estimate is shipment of product to Matador on Friday, and shipment on to subscribers could occur sometime next week. Keep watching your mailboxes, kiddies.

>> Interpol is not signed to Interscope, according to the Pfork. At least not yet. Coolfer sticks to his guns here. We think it's a sucker's bet to bet against Coolfer, dawgs. That guy is six different kinds of on the ball.

>> Johnny Marr says The Smiths have turned down as much as $10 million to reform, according to this NME article. We bet if there wasn't litigation among the members over financial whatnot, one of these offers would have been taken. What incentive would Moz have to reunite the quartet if he has to turn over his paycheck to Rourke or that other guy, which ever one has successfully sued him.

>> More Mats: Paul's Page posts the track list for the new Replacements best-of set and offers details on all the various irons in the fire. Here's the link.

>> MarathonPacks has a first look at the first Schneider TM record in four years here.

March 29, 2006

Built To Spill/Treepeople: Tour News And Gratuitous '90s Flashback

TreepeopleSo the Built To Spill tour, recently delayed because a certain indie rock guitar hero suffered a detached retina in an unspecified incident, is now rescheduled. According to, Doug Martsch and his cohorts in Built To Spill will hit the road to support the forthcoming release You In Reverse for six weeks beginning in the second week of June. A second leg of about equal length kicks off in the second week of September. Sandwiched inbetween is the act's appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago August 5. Click here and check out all the dates at PunkNews, because we're going to move on to having a look at Martsch's past. Incidentally, You In Reverse streets April 11.

We wonder how many people know that Martsch used to play in the excellent indie rock outfit Treepeople (pictured here left). Treepeople recorded for the Seattle indie label C/Z from 1990-1994, around which time Martsch left to form Built To Spill back in his native Boise, Idaho. For our money the best Treepeople cut, and the best Martsch cut ever, is "Liquid Boy," the opening track on 1992's Something Vicious For Tomorrow (we presume since Martsch sings its his jam and not the work of other guitarist and songwriter Scott Schmaljohn). From the same record and perhaps more widely known because of a double split 7" [Sonic Bubblegum 16 from 1994, we found it for $.49 a couple years back] with Archers of Loaf is the track "Funnelhead." Thanks to the good folks at IODA, we're able to offer you that track for download below. As an added bonus we're also offering a cut from another one-time C/Z act Silkworm (again, not our favorite song from the amazing Silkworm record In The West, but it's still a damn good song). Download your little hearts out and relive the '90s glory.

Download Treepeople's "Funnelhead" (MP3, 192kbps)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic

Download Silkworm's "Dust My Broom" (MP3, 192kbps)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic

March 28, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr. Original LineupWe saw Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis outside the club he was playing with his new (not nu, umlaut over the "u") metal act Witch Friday night talking on a cell phone of all things. There's really nothing as un-slack looking as a musician sitting outside a club on a cellie, and the sight caught us off guard. Remember all those articles in the early '90s dubbing Mascis the pontiff of the slack generation? Anyway, more recently we read somewhere (we think it was an interview of Lou Barlow) that Mascis' relatively active last year or so is due to his taking on new, more hands-on management. We don't care what's behind it, we're just glad to have seen the original lineup of Dinosaur rock the Middle East in December. Life affirming, it was. Anyway, Dinosaur has a few weeks' worth of dates slated before heading over to host a segment of the All Tomorrow's Parties thang in the U.K. in May. We've got the U.S. dates listed below in a handy chronological format. Do yourself a favor and show up for one of these.

03/29 -- Dallas, TX -- Gypsy Tea Room
03/30 -- Austin, TX -- Stubb's
03/31 -- Houston, TX -- Warehouse Live
04/01 -- New Orleans, LA -- House Of Blues
04/02 -- Tallahassee, FL -- The Moon
04/03 -- Jacksonville, FL -- Freebird Cafe
04/04 -- Myrtle Beach, NC -- House Of Blues
04/05 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club
04/06 -- Carrboro, NC -- Cat's Cradle
04/07 -- Asheville, NC -- Orange Peel
04/08 -- Atlanta, GA -- Variety Playhouse
04/09 -- Nashville, TN -- City Hall
04/10 -- Memphis, TN -- Young Ave Deli
04/11 -- Indianapolis, IN -- The Vogue
04/12 -- Columbia, MO -- Blue Note
04/13 -- Lawrence, KS -- Liberty Hall
04/14 -- Boulder, CO -- Fox Theatre
04/15 -- Boulder, CO -- Fox Theatre
04/16 -- Salt Lake City, UT -- The Depot
04/18 -- Eugene, OR -- WOW Hall
04/19 -- San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
04/20 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Troubador
04/21 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Troubador

Today's Hotness: Replacements, TV On The Radio, Logh

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer -- Image lifted from Wikipedia>> The extreme rabble-rousers at Buddyhead are finally back with a gossip update, but be careful when you scroll through because those pictures of the guy from My Thursday Charlotte Romance's johnson are in there. Most importantly, the 'Head reports a Replacements lineup that included Josh Freese on drums recorded some new tracks for the forthcoming Mats box set we reported on last week. Check out a picture of the line-up and the rest of the gossip right here. For those of you with ADD, here are the bullet points of the rest of the might-or-might-not-be-true, completely unsourced gum flappin': Weezer fronter Rivers Cuomo is/is getting married; Velvet Revolver has disbanded; a new Primal Scream record is around the corner; and David Bowie sings on a TV On The Radio track on the band's Interscope debut. Make sure to click through and read Aaron's review of the new Troy Van Leeuween-model Yamaha guitar, too. Way funny.

>> Swedish indie rock act Logh is working on its fourth record, according to this month-old post at the band's web site. Watch words for the new set include "Springsteen," "Nino Rota" and "Casio." The first and last of these excites us, "Nino Rota" we're going to have to research. There's also a video for the track "The Smoke Will Lead You Home" here [Real], and a brief trip around the rest of the Bad Taste Records site suggests a couple of the band's earlier titles have been reissued. Logh's A Sunset Panorama was one of our favorite records of 2005.

>> PaidContent points to news that Google is holding a high-level music roundtable soon, and hypothesizes a bit about what might go into a Google music service. Strong money goes to the inclusion of variable pricing. Here's the link.

Free Range Music: Maritime's "Tearing Up The Oxygen"

Maritime -- We, The VehiclesWe've already given Maritime some love elsewhere, but the act's second album is almost nigh and we've gotten our hands on another track from the set that we can share with you (incidentally our promo disc finally arrived at clicky clicky HQ just prior to press time; this track is provided by the fine folks at IODA/PromoNet). "Tearing Up The Oxygen" is track two on the forthcoming set and it introduces some pleasant bleeps and more prominent harmonies into the formula that fueled the excellent lead-off track "Calm." The former song, which we're offering for download below, is a typically mid-tempo yearner that also touts great vocals and gently persistent guitars. Another reason we dig the track is because it employs the band's name in the lyrics, a genius move under-appreciated indie rock act Haywood pulled in the '90s on its track "Take An Inventory." But we digress. Maritime is led by former The Promise Ring fronter Davey Von Bohlen, and until recently included a cat from The Dismemberment Plan, although said cat has left the group. Maritime's sophomore release We, The Vehicles streets April 4 on Flameshovel. You're gonna want this one.

Maritime -- "Tearing Up the Oxygen" (MP3, 192kbps)
[We don't think this is the kind of link you wanna right-click]

Buy the album at iTunes Music Store

March 27, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 3.28.06

The Cure -- FaithPickin's is slim in the new release bin this week, friends. The beancounters at Interscope have to be feeling pretty good about the chances for a big first week from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose sophomore set Show Your Bones faces minimal competition for consumer dollars this week. The Rhino reissues of the first three Cure records also hit racks this week, at least according to a CMJ article from a month ago -- we can't find any additional confirmation that the discs will actually be in the racks tomorrow, and the Rhino site is currently down. We are still hard-pressed to think of reasons why anybody would buy these single-disc Cure reissues unless the expanded versions that streeted last year are already out of print. Those records and the rest of our picks for the best releases of the week are listed below. Links go to relevant commercial opportunities with our former tub grouters over at Insound.

The Cure -- Three Imaginary Boys -- Rhino
The Cure -- Seventeen Seconds -- Rhino
The Cure -- Faith -- Rhino
The Cure -- Pornography -- Rhino
Freeheat -- Back on the Water -- Planting Seeds
Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Show Your Bones -- Interscope

Today's Hotness: Mendoza Line, Morrissey, Refused

The Mendoza Line!Lightning Round!

>> Woman vomits at Mendoza Line show in Indiana Friday night. MarathonPacks is there [scroll down].

>> Morrissey: I'm not coming to Canada until you guys stop killing seals. Via PunkNews.

>> More from PunkNews, crossfiled here in the "Like We're Totally Not Going To Buy It" file: Defunct Swedish hardcore goliath Refused will be memorialized with a DVD release at the end of April. You can watch the all-too-brief trailer for the disc "Refused Are Fucking Dead" here. Refused disbanded in 1998 following the release of the epic The Shape Of Punk To Come, which our man El Stengaltini refers to as the OK Computer of hardcore.

Free Range Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ghostly, The Pretenders

Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Show Your BonesAOL Music keeps the free music gravy train rolling this week with full-album streams of the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record, the Ghostly International comp and selections from The Pretenders box set. A substantial portion of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hotly tipped and typically aggressive Show Your Bones is comprised of three-chord garagery and Chrissie Hynde-apery. But there are several highlights, including the cut "Way Out," which injects some much-needed melody into the set, and "Cheated Heart," our favorite cut from the record which approaches Bettie Serveert-levels of jangly excellence. Why isn't this song the first single? If we had our druthers we'd sequence the YYY's record completely in reverse. AOL will let you play the tracks in any order you want, so why not listen to it our way for kicks?

As for the Pretenders' stuff, you've heard most of it before, but it's worth checking out Hynde and Co.'s take on Morrissey's "Everyday Is Like Sunday," which gets a slick Nashville makeover with loads of extra strings and pedal steel guitar. Certainly not as good as the original, but that's not a surprise, is it? Links to the goodest of the AOL goods for the week below:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Show Your Bones
Various Artists -- Ghostly International: Idol Tryouts II
The Pretenders -- Pirate Radio Box Set Sampler

>> Bonus Round: NME is streaming the new Morrissey record Ringleader Of The Tormentors here. If you believe writer Douglas Coupland it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, although we read over the weekend someone called it "disappointingly familiar" or something to that effect.

March 26, 2006

That Was The Show That Was: Neptune 3.24.06

NeptuneWe've surprised at least one person with the news that we didn't stick around for Friday night's set by J. Mascis' newish Witch project at Cambridge, MA's Abbey Lounge. There's more than one reason for that, but the most important one is that the second set of the night from Boston's Neptune was the most surprising and electrifying performance we've seen since last spring's Gang Of Four show. No one should have had to go on after those dudes, and it isn't a slag on Black Helicopter, owner of the night's third slot (Witch was headlining), when we say that they just couldn't ride the residue of the vibe Neptune was giving off that night. Seriously, as soon as these guys (who have been at it for 12 years and started their act as a sculpture project) hit their first downbeat our jaw simply hung slack.

The lads behind Neptune make their own instruments and their music sounds like (to use the lamest music writing construct there is) a mix of Polvo and Shellac. The trio was totally going for it Friday night, hyperkinetically owning but consistently threatening to careen off the club's small stage. The homemade gear added to the mystique a bit too, as one of the guitarist's axe had a headstock shaped like a scythe that seemed to regularly threaten to impale anybody on or close to the stage. The band is issuing a full length called Patterns in April on Self Release Records and touring throughout that month and into May. There are some cuts posted at the act's MySpace outpost here, although the one we checked out didn't seem to fully translate the band's wicked live mojo. Here are the tour dates:

04/07 -- The Midway -- Jamaica Plain, MA
04/09 -- AS220 -- Providence, RI
04/12 -- Talking Head -- Baltimore, MD
04/13 -- Dust -- Charlottesville, VA
04/14 -- The Werehouse -- Winston-Salem, NC
04/15 -- The Pilot Light -- Knoxville, TN
04/16 -- 310 Chestnut Street -- Nashville, TN
04/17 -- Lemp Arts Center -- St. Louis, MO
04/18 -- TBA -- Madison, WI
04/19 -- Treehouse Records -- Minneapolis, MN
04/19 -- The Turf Club -- St. Paul, MN
04/20 -- TBA -- Milwaukee, WI
04/21 -- Reversible Eye -- Chicago, IL
04/22 -- South Union Arts -- Chicago, IL
04/23 -- The Grog Shop -- Cleveland, OH
04/24 -- Modern Formations -- Pittsburgh, PA
04/25 -- Soundlab -- Buffalo, NY
04/26 -- The Bug Jar -- Rochester, NY
04/27 -- Bard College -- Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
05/05 -- MIT Steer Roast -- Cambridge, MA
05/06 -- Great Scott -- Boston, MA
06/06 -- FANCY FEST 2006 -- Providence, RI
06/16 -- Middle East -- Cambridge, MA

Free Range Music: The Concretes, Psapp, David Bowie (Updated)

The Concretes -- In Colour>> An email from Astralwerks points us to the new Concretes interactive media player here, which streams a bit of each song on the band's new record In Colour. Indie label Hydra Head (not The Concretes' label) has offered full-album streams for many recent releases, and we've been turned onto some great records as a result (Logh's A Sunset Panorama, anyone?). Too bad The Concrete's tunes fade out after a minute or so, but it's still a nice little taste. The interactive player takes a tip from the cover of In Colour and lets kids design what amounts to their own version of the album's cover art: check out our effort posted here at left. But the best thing about the player, of course, is the music. The new set streets April 4 and to support the release the band will play a few weeks' worth of U.S. dates, which we've listed below.

5/04 -- Horseshoe Tavern -- Toronto, ON
5/05 -- Petit Campus -- Montreal, PQ
5/07 -- 9:30 Club -- Washington, DC
5/08 -- The Bowery Ballroom -- New York, NY
5/10 -- Paradise Rock Club -- Boston, MA
5/11 -- Theatre Of Living Arts -- Philadelphia, PA
5/13 -- Martyr's -- Chicago, IL
5/14 -- Fine Line Music Cafe -- Minneapolis, MN
5/17 -- Richard's On Richards -- Vancouver, BC
5/18 -- Crocodile Cafe -- Seattle, WA
5/19 -- Doug Fir Lounge -- Portland, OR
5/20 -- Great American Music Hall -- San Francisco, CA
5/23 -- THE TROUBADOUR -- Los Angeles, CA
5/24 -- THE CASBAH -- San Diego, CA

>> Domino has posted the video for the excellent first single from British electro-twee duo Psapp's forthcoming new set here. The tune is called "Tricycle" and the video is the stop-animation tale of an attic-dwelling mouse who falls for a teddy bear. It's a poignant little number we can see listening to quite a lot when the new record The Only Thing I Ever Wanted streets May 22.

>> Forward-thinking pop music legend David Bowie is packaging up a live concert from his sold-out 1983 tour for DVD release under the title "Serious Moonlight." The show at Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum included performances of big Bowie hits "China Girl," "Heroes" and "Young Americans," and we've got hi-fi videos of each tune in three delicious flavors of streaming media. EMI released the DVD last week. Dig the moving pictures and sounds:

David Bowie -- "China Girl" -- QT | RM | WM
David Bowie -- "Heroes" -- QT | RM | WM
David Bowie -- "Young Americans" -- QT | RM | WM

>> How about some more videos? Here's two classics from Sunny Day Real Estate found over at YouTube: the magnificent track "Seven" and "In Circles" from the band's 1994 Sub Pop debut Diary (best album art ever). Here's a zany animated video from The Heavy Blinkers' pop-tastic "Try Telling That To My Baby." Great song, great video. And finally, Josh Rouse completes his conquest for our hard-won affection with this winner, a video for the opening cut off his latest record Subtitulo. The track is called "Quiet Town," here's the video.

March 23, 2006

From The Admin Cubicle: Powered Down Until Sunday

We're entertaining out-of-towners. Be seen by you late this weekend. -- The Management

March 22, 2006

Review: The Lovely Feathers | Hind Hind Legs

The Lovely Feathers -- Hind Hind LegsYou can already bestow the trophy for 2006's best shout-out to Cracow, Poland to Montreal-based indie pop weirdos The Lovely Feathers. Riding buzz from an acclaimed slate of performances last fall opening for Metric, the two-year-old quintet is set to release a roundly excellent sophomore set Hind Hind Legs next month. It's already a clicky clicky Now Sound Fave -- see righthand column. Casual listeners may have trouble distinguishing the work of The Lovely Feathers and scene contemporaries and labelmates Islands, but since the Lovelies honestly have the goods, this isn't a bad thing. The Lovely Feathers perhaps rock a little harder, heading into hollery Wolf Parade territory now and then. And while the band rivals Islands in terms of quirk, The Lovely Feathers craft more anthemic tunes. The band's music embraces classic elements of New Wave and New Romantic ("In The Valley") while straddling additional unlikely and non-existent genres including power twee ("I Really Like You"). The xylophone and la-la-las of "Frantic" are sweetly irresistable, and make the track one of the best jams on the record. Hind Hind Legs streets April 18 on new label Equator Music, two weeks on the heels of Equator's issuance of Islands joint Return To The Sea. Equator is hosting a .m4a of the track "In The Valley," which we're linking to below along with the tune "Pope John Paul," which we cross-posted over at Two And 1/2 Pounds Of Bacon.

The Lovely Feathers -- "In The Valley"
[right click and save as]
The Lovely Feathers -- "Pope John Paul"
[MP3 -- right click and save as]

Today's Hotness: The Replacements, Gang Of Four, Interpol

The Replacements>> PunkNews points to, uh, news that a Replacements box set and new best-of set is forthcoming. There's currently no release date for the box, but Bastards Of Young: The Best Of The Replacements is slated to drop on May 23 on Rhino. Hopefully the box will be better than All For Nothing, Nothing For All. We've heard literally a whole bookbag full of Mats boots, some good quality, some less than good. There is certainly a lot of extra stuff around, even if Paul and the boys took some of their Twin/Tone master tapes and tossed them in a river one time. Anyway, more details here.

>> LargeHearted Boy points to some scintillating live Gang Of Four video here. The band just stands there amid the feedback and owns it, blowing minds of hipsters at SXSW with a version of their classic cut "Anthrax" and the beginning, we think, of "At Home He's A Tourist." The video is 20MB, but definitely download it. The band couldn't possibly rock much more steadfastly. Egad.

>> While there's still no official comment or confirmation on Interpol's alleged move from Matador to Interpants, err, we mean Interscope, Matador exec Patrick Amory does offer here some numbers in the comments to Coolfer's original post illustrating the sales arc of certain Matador acts' catalogs. Nothing we probably couldn't find out via Google or Soundscan, but you know how numbers attract us like shiny objects dazzle a raccoon.

>> Yes, Radiohead's Thom Yorke yesterday also spouted off about Tony Blair's environmental record, and about jerks reaping huge profits by re-selling tickets to a benefit the band is playing. But more importantly, in a very weird way doesn't Yorke kind of look like Clay Aiken in the picture accompanying this NME item? Perhaps a little more so in the smaller version that was on the NME main page this morning. It's the hair and the cheekbones.

March 21, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 3.21.06

Hello Young LoversThis week is, as we say in the music blog business, a big week for new releases. If you took our advice and hit those AOL preview streams like we told you to yesterday, you should have a pretty good idea of where your money is going to go when you get to ye olde record shoppe this week. And we did a bit of editorializing when we posted those preview streams, so here we'll just highlight some other titles. We've heard two cuts from the Ms. John Soda joint and can safely say that the Morr Music label still connotes solid quality. People are going a little nutty in certain corners about the Sparks record. We'll have to ask our homey The Bster whether or not to believe the hype. We can say that if the electro is your thing, we downloaded some of the tracks from the Ghostly International comp from EMusic and it is pretty enjoyable. Not sure how we feel about the Junior Boys remix of Mobius Band's "The Loving Sounds Of Static," but maybe it will grow on us. Below are our picks for the week's most compelling new releases. Links go to related commercial opportunities with our former interior designers over at Insound.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- Etiquette -- Tomlab
Editors -- The Back Room -- FADER/Kitchenware
Liars -- Drum's Not Dead -- Mute
Loose Fur -- Born Again In The U.S.A. -- Drag City/Caroline
Mates of State -- Bring It Back -- Barsuk
Ms. John Soda -- Notes and the Like -- Morr Music
Quasi -- When the Going Gets Dark -- Touch & Go
Josh Rouse -- Subtítulo -- Nettwerk
Royksopp -- Royksopp's Night Out EP -- Astralwerks
Sparks -- Hello Young Lovers -- In the Red
Various Artists -- Idol Tryouts 2 -- Ghostly International

Today's Hotness: Radiohead, Interpol, Brian Eno

Radiohead>> If you put all the various items posted today about Radiohead together, you start to actually get a bit of interesting news. Jonathan Cohen's Billboard report was the best, as you might expect. Pfork here was particularly jazzed (at least at first, it appears the item has had an update or two since this morning) that Radiohead was going to tour. We were pleased to read that Yorke and the boys would be playing new material on tour. And Cohen's report included the band's statement (as well as some material lifted straight from this DeadAirSpace post) that the band "will also be releasing music to download when we are excited about it, rather than wait 12 months for a full-blown album release." This hints Radiohead might be thinking about foregoing a label deal in the near-term. Mostly, though, it's just pretty darn exciting that the band will finally get something new in listener's ears.

>> Coolfer Glenn here drops knowledge that Interpol has signed to Interscope. And really, with that name, where the hell else were they gonna sign? Except maybe just go straight through the Interweb? They sell too many records to throw away a perfectly good career trying that out. So to Interscope they go. We've said it before and we'll say it again: remember when the only interesting band on Interscope was Helmet? Also, Coolfer redesigned. We dig.

>> So apparently Brian Eno is *not* back in Roxy Music. ILM shines the beacon of truth here.

>> Anybody sign into their Amazon account recently and seen a Digital Locker feature in there? For all we know it's been there for months, nay, years, but it certainly looks new. Ours, which we discovered this morning, is currently empty, even though we purchased a couple records over the weekend (CD versions of New Order's Low Life and Jesus And Mary Chain's Psycho Candy, if you must know). If we were the betting sort we'd say what we discovered this morning was the nuts-and-bolts of the much-talked-about digital music plan. If you've read articles like this one, or maybe this one, you know the vaunted online book e-tailer is supposed to be developing a digital play that will let those who purchase items for Amazon receive digital copies as well. The Digital Locker we're looking at right now is set up with section for "Bookshelf," "Music Collection," and "Video Collection." Have to say, we wish it *had* given us instant access to Low Life, since the whole reason we bought it was because we were too lazy to go to the basement and get the cassette out of an old Yuengling box.

March 20, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Mazarin

MazarinLooking back at our review of Mazarin's We're Already There, we see that we're batting .000 as far as one of our assertions goes. We were kinda wrong that Mazarin would raise the profile of its home city (and our former home city) of Philadelphia via our perhaps too rapidly bestowed title of "next great ambassador." Seems like the music blogging populace just lumped Quentin and the boys in with the rest of the Philly acts that made names for themselves in the last year. Even so, the city's musical profile has indeed been raised, so kudos to us. Or them. Or it. But that isn't why we're writing.

We're writing to say that the band is rounding out a U.S. tour with 11 more dates (not including tonight) before jetting off to the UK and Europe for another month of musical merry-making. If you are in one of the towns listed below we doth suggest thee get thee to the appointed venue to see these guys, who are responsible for one of our favorite records (top five, easy) of last year. The dates are below. For a few MP3s, hit this link. Otherwise, stream that johnson up in their MySpace igloo, where they are currently offering a stream of the all-time-greatest Mazarin jam "Chasing The Girl."

03/21 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Spaceland
03/22 -- Claremont,CA -- Pitzer College
03/23 -- Sand Francisco, CA -- Rickshaw Stop
03/24 -- Portland, OR -- Dante's
03/25 -- Seattle, WA -- Sunset Tavern
03/27 -- Salt Lake City, UT -- Kilby Court
03/28 -- Denver, CO -- Larimer Lounge
03/30 -- Minneapolis, MN -- 400 BAR
03/31 -- Champaign, IL -- Cowboy Monkey
04/01 -- Newport, KY -- Southgate House
04/02 -- Columbus, OH -- Andyman's Treehouse

Today's Hotness: Serena Maneesh, Morrissey, Thom Yorke

Serena Maneesh>> Judging from the SXSW coverage we promised ourselves we wouldn't read but read anyway, Serena Maneesh continued slaying audiences in Austin last week. If you haven't experienced the act live yet, The 'Nac here gets you as close to the action as you can get from your computer by posting a recent show in Boston (which, incidentally, we saw a substantial portion of in person). If only this band had a hot bass player, they could really go places. Oh, wait...

>> "Interviewing Morrissey pinpoints the bankruptcy of interviewing as a form of expression." LargeHearted Boy points to this genius non-interview of Morrissey by author Douglas Coupland. The most entertaining thing we read all day.

>> Apparently, there's a Thom Yorke solo record in the offing, as best as Pfork can figure it. Read the the tea leaves over their shoulder here.

>> CokeMachineGlow interviews two heads of the The Mendoza Line hydra. The first part of a two-parter features songwriter and guitarist Mr. Tim Bracy. Didn't PopMatters also do a two-parter with the band a couple years ago? Is it because it is so easy to get Tim and Shannon on the phone in succession? Anyway, the self-deprecating Bracy is typically humorous. Read along here.

Free Range Music: Liars, Editors, Flaming Lips

Editors -- The Back RoomAfter a dry spell last week, AOL Music is back on the block with your pre-release album stream hook-up, which will help you answer this week's biggest question: Is the new Liars record really as good as the hype? We'll save you a bit of work and tell you that indeed, it is pretty damn good. The band's current singular and minimalist sound, abetted on Drums Not Dead by the spooky-sounding Cold War-era studio in Berlin, Germany that the band used, is particularly tactile and evocative. Also working a particularly moody vibe is Editors. Sure, they're regularly derided for sounding like Interpol, who of course in turn sound like Chameleons UK and to a certain extent Joy Division. But Editors have got some pretty great songs, not the least of which is the lead-off cut to The Back Room, "Lights." Make sure to stream that one, and "Camera," that's a good jam too.

We've already touched on our reservations about Josh Rouse's music here at The Bacon, but that said we have to acknowledge that we've been listening to the record quite a bit. We can't help but feel the music is veering into territory more regularly traveled by soulless acts like John Mayer and Jason Mraz, but there is something undeniably charming and serene about the Rouse's melodic set that keeps us coming back. Finally, Royksopp's friendly dancetronica is at least worth a spin on your computer, if not a run out to the store. Links below go to happy AOL rock streams and related commercial opportunities with our old hall monitors at Insound.

Editors -- The Back Room -- [buy it!]
Liars -- Drum's Not Dead -- [buy it!]
Mates of State -- Bring It Back -- [buy it!]
Josh Rouse -- Subtitulo -- [buy it!]
Royksopp -- Royksopp's Night Out -- [buy it!]

Elsewhere: There's a bit of signing in to do, but, if you can work up the unslackness to do that, NME is streaming the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record Show Your Bones [Link], which streets tomorrow. The British hype sheet has also got the forthcoming Flaming Lips record [Link], which we've listened to several times in the last month. It still ain't grabbin' us.

March 19, 2006

YouTube Sunday: The Annotated Dinosaur Jr./J. Mascis

Ain't no secret that 'round here the holy trinity of indie rock includes Dinosaur Jr. Video aggregator YouTube houses a fine repository of Dinosaur Jr. and J. Mascis + The Fog video clips. We spent a bit of Sunday morning checking them out. We've linked previously to "The Wagon," and many readers have probably already seen clips including the slacktastic classic puppetfest "Just Like Heaven" (watch for the Deep Wound t-shirt), "Thumb" and "Freak Scene." Here we highlight some stuff you may not have checked out yet. Dig:

>> I am guessing this clip is for a song from J + Friends Sing + Chant to Amma, the recent set of devotional songs Mascis released to honor the living "hugging" saint. The acoustic track is titled "Please Remember That I'm Here" and it pairs clips of grazing cattle, a cute dog and Mascis performance. We still haven't picked up the record, hopefully this will remind us to get around to it. [Link]

>> Watch Mascis perform the You're Living All Over Me classic "The Lung" and "Throw Down" [Fossils] with an acoustic guitar from a folding chair. No information on where or when the performance takes place, but it looks fairly recent. [Link]

>> Here's another live solo acoustic (well, with distortion pedal) performance, this one a version of "Little Fury Things" and "Quest". The tiny video with middling sound quality was apparently shot in January of this year at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. [Link]

>> The best cut from the second J. Mascis + The Fog record is "Everybody Let's Me Down." The video is a really amusing send-up of the MTV bands of the day, including Lenny Kravitz, Eminem and Slipknot. Mascis seems to play the role of talent scout in the video and drinks water or naps while the various performers try to show off their stuff, until the end of the clip, where through the magic of editing we get to watch Mascis man the guitar, bass and drums all at once. Great song, great video. [Link]

>> Not my favorite J+Fog jam, but here is the video for "Where'd You Go." The clip superimposes wildlife shots, performance clips and J. hanging around outside during a sunset. [Link]

>> And here's the rest:

"Get Me"
"I Don't Think So"
"Little Fury Things"
"Start Choppin'"

March 18, 2006

Today's Hotness: Franz Ferdinand, New Order, Roxy Music

Franz Ferdinand -- The Fallen>> Domino will issue a double A-side single for Franz Ferdinand's "The Fallen" April 4, and to get you stoked for it there is an e-card and a sort of silly video for the track. The other A-side is the non-album tune "L. Wells," and if you get the CD single you'll also receive another non-album cut "Jeremy Fraser" as well as an alternate version and video for "The Fallen." Check out the video in your favorite format: QT | RM | WM

>> We forgot about this until the missus reminded us Friday afternoon. While at the theater a couple weeks back we saw a trailer for the forthcoming Kirsten Dunst/Jason Schwartzman starrer "Marie Antoinette." It screens in theaters beginning October 13 and is directed by Sofia Coppola. Why do you care? Because the trailer has New Order's awesome "Age Of Consent" as its soundtrack. It sounded amazing on the movie theater's mega sound system. Check out the trailer here.

>> And some more news from Domino. Archie Bronson Outfit's next full length isn't even in stores yet and the band already has plans for a second single. Domino will issue May 22 the pub rocker's tune "Dead Funny." No word yet on a b-side or any other accompanying material. Archie Bronson Outfit's Derdang Derdang hits American racks April 4.

>> Two things from Coolfer in the last 48 hours worth noting: 1) Roxy Music, including Brian Eno, is working on a new record [kaboing!]. 2) CoolDogg also calls out music bloggers for being slack asses with regards to posting from SXSW [blammo!]. Damn, there we go mentioning that frat party again...

>> Pfork notes that a new Boards of Canada EP is forthcoming [kapow!].

March 16, 2006

Today's Hotness: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., The Smiths

1991: The Year That Punk Broke>> Don't think we've seen this reported elsewhere yet: That forthcoming Sonic Youth record? According to a recent post at the band's site it seems the Youths have decided on the title Rather Ripped. We'd read elsewhere the band was also considering the title Rocked Up. The SY site also lists some tracks making the cut and offers details about the recording sessions. Including the interesting note that some of the vocals were cut in J. Mascis' home studio in Amherst.

>> Speaking of the Youths and Mascis, word on the FreakScene message board is that the long-awaited DVD of the concert film "1991: The Year That Punk Broke" has been completed for two years and is stuck in purgatory over at Universal. The film, in case you've never seen it, contains some amazing footage of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and a quaint little act called Nirvana touring and playing live. The message board aims to find contact info for the appropriate person at Uni and then set up a form so that fans can hassle The Man until the company issues the DVD. More info here.

>> Morrissey told an audience during an appearance at SXSW Thursday that The Smiths turned down a $5 million offer to reunite and perform at this year's Coachella festival next month. Billboard has the news here.

>> We were planning on completely ignoring SXSW coverage and simply reserving our discussion of the rock pageant to our earlier commentary about how everyone jocking it so hard really bores us. But then we read some coverage that spoke to us. So here's our endorsement: The only SXSW coverage really worth reading is Joey Sweeney's for Philebrity. Here's today's ration.

March 15, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Meneguar

MeneguarThey're all that's left of this awful mess. Please don't speak to them, they're just the temp. Who we are we talking about? Only the most ass-kickingest rock band going these days. It's Meneguar, the Brooklyn-based quartet that put out last year's basically life-affirming I Was Born At Night, which is getting remastered and reissued on Troubleman in June. The record contained the World of Sound most-played cut of 2005, you may or may not recall, the triumphant rocker "The Temp." For those who don't know, the act sounds like a more mad, more disappointed Archers of Loaf, they used to be called Sheryl's Magnetic Aura, yadda yadda yadda. These guys rock. clicky clicky offers its unreserved recommendation for this band. Chances are if you see them this go around you're going to hear some new tunes, as the band reported at its MySpace carport in October that they were working on the follow-up to I Was Born At Night. Will it be issued on Troubleman as well? Will it kick mucho buttocks? We don't know! Stay tuned!! Here are the dates!!! Four exclamation points!!!!

03/17 -- 1412 Lawson -- Houston, TX
03/19 -- Snake Eyes Vinyl -- Austin, TX
03/19 -- 180 Grams Record Store -- San Antonio, TX
03/20 -- Einstein's Revenge -- Odessa, TX
03/21 -- Exxon Valdez -- Albuquerque, NM
03/22 -- Kendrick House -- Flagstaff, AZ
03/23 -- Trunk Space -- Pheonix, AZ
03/24 -- Che Cafe -- San Diego, CA
03/25 -- Hemlock Tavern -- San Francisco, CA
03/26 -- Gilman Street -- ?, CA
03/27 -- 21 Grand -- Oakland, CA
03/28 -- Cinespace -- Los Angeles, CA
03/31 -- Harold's -- San Pedro, CA
04/01 -- The Smell -- Covina, CA
04/03 -- Kilby Court -- Salt Lake City, UT
04/04 -- Denver Zine Library -- Denver, CO
04/05 -- American Legion Post -- Omaha, NE
04/06 -- The Practice Space -- Ames, IA
04/07 -- Shawn's House -- Iowa City, IA
04/08 -- Slutfest -- Madison, WI
04/08 -- Town Hall -- Chicago, IL
04/09 -- The Hater House -- Kalamazoo, MI
04/10 -- Oberlin College -- Oberlin, OH
04/11 -- Backstage Enterprises -- Kingston, PA
04/13 -- Bacchus Theatre -- Newark, DE
04/14 -- Guilford College -- Greensboro, NC
04/15 -- Nanci Raygun -- Richmond, VA

Review: Rahim | Ideal Lives

Rahim -- Ideal LivesWhile it's definitely a secondary observation, it's worth remarking that angular post-punk purveyors Rahim seem to have a vendetta against the chord. At least that's a theory that can be advanced based on the act's new long-player and a prior EP. Listeners are hard pressed to find many, if any, deployed in the trio's recent catalog. Rahim's latest set, Ideal Lives, is rife with typically sinewy songs that happily jerk and twitch like a dreaming dog. The band has used last year's Jungles EP [which we reviewed for Junkmedia here] as a launching pad from which it broadened its palette to include horns, organ and acoustic guitar in continuing the exploration of its firmly linear sound.

Genius bits of subtle production (the slap-suck reverse cymbal and changing equalization during the resolution of album opener "KlangKlangKlang;" the sonic mayhem at the close of "Desire") and thoughtful augmentation (the sweet trumpet in the aforementioned "Klang...;" the chimes in the bridge of "Something From An Amputee") take what at first blush seems a dry set and imbues it with a little lushness. While the tunes tend to be sparse, the production is pristine and abundant space lets the otherwise jittery instruments and vocals breathe easy. Our favorite cut is the organ-led rocker "Forever Love," which recalls More-era Pink Floyd all hopped up on pep pills, at least until the syncopated bridge. Ideal Lives wanders a little during its closing numbers, but Rahim beckons listeners along with a whistle toward the drum circle that closes the record. The set streets April 4 on French Kiss. You can catch the band on tour over the next couple weeks at the fine American rock and roll clubs listed below. Below that you'll find links to a couple downloads from the record.

03/16 -- Austin, TX -- Soho Lounge
03/16 -- Austin, TX -- Vice SXSW Stage
03/18 -- Baton Rouge, LA -- Spanish Moon
03/19 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Drunken Unicorn
03/20 -- Nashville, TN -- The End
03/21 -- St. Louis, MO -- Creepy Crawl
03/22 -- Dekalb, IL -- Kickstand
03/23 -- Bowling Green, OH -- Howard's
03/24 -- Pittsburgh, PA -- The Brillbox
03/26 -- Buffalo, NY -- Mohawk Place
03/27 -- Jamestown, NY -- Mojo's
04/06 -- New York, NY -- Rothko

[Buy Ideal Lives at Insound]
[Download "10,000 Horses" from Ideal Lives from the band's site -- right click and save as]
[Download "Forever Love" from Ideal Lives from the French Kiss site -- right click and save as]

Today's Hotness: The Hold Steady, Amy Millan, TV On The Radio

The Hold Steady>> Pfork had an exclusive this morning on news (which Vagrant posted around lunchtime) that classic rock revivalists The Hold Steady, creators of one of our favorite discs of 2005, signed to Vagrant. The label, which rose to prominence on the popularity of various Emo acts, is also home to legendary drink-- errr, legendary rocker Paul Westerberg, former fronter of The Replacements. So the signing seems an appropriate match. Vagrant says the Brooklyn-based act will begin recording its third set, the follow up to 2005's veritable rock clinic Separation Sunday, in May.

>> Stars co-fronter and Broken Social Scene cohort Amy Millan will issue a solo set May 30 on Arts & Crafts titled Honey From The Tombs. Or at least that is the Canadian release date, we're not sure if the disc populates American racks that day. Anyway, the 12-tune set arrives three years in the making and was recorded at various studios with assorted members of Stars, Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think and Metric. Ms. Millan plans to support the disc with a tour of Europe and Canada this summer. In the meantime, you can download a track (it's in a .zip file, but that ain't no thang) from the forthcoming record here. The track is called "Skinny Boy" and it’s a very satisfying piece of indie pop.

>> TV On The Radio to tour with new labelmates Nine Inch Nails. Seriously. We think we'd be interested to see that if it likely wasn't going to be in a gigantic arena. Billboard has the nooz.

>> A decidedly more electronic-sounding Uzi And Ari, the musical vehicle of Utah-based Ben Shephard, returns next month with a sophomore record It Is Freezing Out. The indie rock act, which was first brought to our attention about a year ago by the lads over at Music.For-Robots, will be touring much of the west during April and May. More information here.

>> A brief addendum to yesterday's Cure item: Apparently the concert film "Cure In Orange" is also getting issued on DVD later this year. No more details, but here's the link to that Cure reissues thread at ILM anyway.

March 14, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Jana Hunter

Jana HunterTexas-based singer-songwriter Jana Hunter, the first signing to Devendra Banhart's Gnomonsong imprint, is taking her gothic Americana out on tour over the next six weeks or so. Ms. Hunter's Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom, which collected recordings made over the course of a decade, was one of the more captivating releases of last year, curious in its haunting (almost sinister) and stark presentation. Frankly, it's not the kind of stuff we usually go in for, but there is something to Hunter's music that will plant tendrils right into your subconcious... ness... Can she bring it live? We've no idea. But we expect it's worth finding out for yourself. Here are the dates. For a taste of what to expect, check out Hunter's MySpace pueblo.

03/16 -- Austin, TX -- ACD House/Collection Rert
03/17 -- Austin, TX -- Austin Convention Center/Tambaleo
03/19 -- Dallas, TX -- Darkside Lounge
03/21 -- Phoenix, AZ -- Rhythm Room
03/23 -- San Diego, CA -- Voltaire
03/24 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Echo
03/25 -- San Francisco, CA -- Hotel Utah
03/26 -- San Francisco, CA -- Amoeba Records (NC)
03/27 -- Portland, OR -- Holocene
03/28 -- Vancouver, BC -- Pat's Pub
03/29 -- Seattle, WA -- S.S. Marie Antoinette
03/31 -- Boise, ID -- Neurolux
04/01 -- Salt Lake City, UT -- Kilby Court
04/02 -- Denver, CO -- Hi Dive
04/04 -- Lawrence, KS -- Jackpot Saloon
04/05 -- Des Moines, IA -- Vaudeville Mews
04/06 -- Northfield, MN -- The Cave
04/07 -- Chicago, IL -- Open End Gallery
04/08 -- Detroit, MI -- Magic Stick
04/09 -- Grand Rapids, MI -- Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
04/10 -- Lansing, MI -- Mac's
04/11 -- Newport, KY -- Southgate House (NC)
04/12 -- Cleveland, OH -- Grog Shop (NC)
04/13 -- Buffalo, NY -- Soundlab
04/14 -- Toronto, ON -- Sneaky Dee's
04/15 -- Montreal, QC -- Casa Del Popolo
04/16 -- Cambridge, MA -- Great Scott
04/17 -- Hoboken, NJ -- Maxwell's
04/18 -- Brooklyn, NY -- Northsix
04/19 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Khyber
04/21 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506 (NC)
04/22 -- Knoxville, TN -- The Pilot Light (NC)
04/23 -- Nashville, TN -- Exit In (NC)
04/24 -- Memphis, TN -- Hi Tone (NC)
04/26 -- Fort Worth, TX -- Metrognome (NC)
04/27 -- Austin, TX -- Emo's

[NC = Not Confirmed last we checked.]

Today's Hotness: The Cure, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Pixies

The Cure -- The Top>> Rejoice one and all, the next installments of The Cure's deluxe reissues finally have a release date. According to this ILM thread, which offers no source for the info (although we poked around and think the info originated in an email to Cure fan club members), beefed-up versions of The Top, The Head On The Door and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me will hit American racks July 3. Also seeing re-release a month earlier is the spotty but rewarding Robert Smith/Steve Severin project The Glove. We're especially stoked about the trio of Cure reissues because we've never owned The Top and The Head On The Door on CD, and harbor expectations that the bonus material from that period is going to blow our minds, as the rhythm section around the time of the latter record was particularly potent. No mention of the new discs yet at the official Cure site, but whatever. We're very much looking forward to summer now.

>> If you pre-order the forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs joint from ITunes you'll get an exclusive download of a live version of the track "Cheated Hearts." Oh yeah, and a digital booklet. You know how you love to just sit there and read the digital booklet over and over as you listen to a new record. That statement would be true if you add a "d" to "love" and "in 1989" after "there" and "Disintegration" after "record" and substitute "CD Insert" for "digital booklet" and "The Cure's" for "new." Anyway, the forthcoming YYY set is called Show Your Bones and it streets March 28 on Interscope. More info at this link that irritatingly opens in ITunes instead of a web browser.

>> Coolfer points to news the EMusic has struck a deal to offer Morr Music titles as part of its downloadable music offerings. EMusic is pretty much always expanding its offerings, but we're a big fan of that particular label. Drinks all around!

>> MarathonPacks has a January 1987 WERS radio set from a significantly younger iteration of The Pixies than the one we all know and love today. The sound quality is good, and the tracks are well worth downloading. Here's the link.

>> That weird Cars reunion thing with Todd Rundgren sitting in the Ocasek seat is officially going forward under the terrible moniker The New Cars. Here's Reuters' coverage.

March 13, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss Me DeadlyKiss Me Deadly, creators of last year's sexiest indie rock record, Misty Medley [Alien8], are back out on the road. "I want you, Mr. Secretary..." uh, sorry... Anyway, the Montreal quartet, in words lifted from an item we wrote in October, makes "gloriously melodic and sonically dense" music, more often than not powered by some coquettish vocals from Emily Elizabeth. Elizabeth, incidentally, can serve up the same sort of stratospheric screams that made Blonde Redhead's La Mia Vita Violenta a favorite record of many a college boy 11 years ago. Kiss Me Deadly is more dreamy and sometimes shoegazey than Blonde Redhead of that era, so the comparison isn't the most apt. But either way you'll want to see Kiss Me Deadly live. And many of you will get the chance between now and the end of April. Here are the dates.

03/15 -- Austin, TX -- Emo's
03/19 -- Norman, OK -- Opolis
03/20 -- St Louis, MO -- Lemp Arts
03/21 -- Columbus, OH -- High Five
03/22 -- Lansing, MI -- Mac's Bar
03/23 -- Toronto, ONT -- Sneaky Dee's
04/14 -- Cambridge, MA -- Pa's Lounge
04/17 -- Morgantown, WV -- 123 Pleasant St
04/18 -- Baltimore, MD -- Talking Head
04/19 -- Washington, DC -- DC9
04/20 -- Charlotte, NC -- Milestone
04/21 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506
04/22 -- Atlanta, GA -- Drunken Unicorn
04/23 -- Murfreesboro, TN -- Grand Palace
04/25 -- Newport, KY -- Southgate House Parlour
04/28 -- Chicago, IL -- Schuba's
04/29 -- Detroit, MI -- Small's

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 3.14.06

Ambulance Ltd.We're going to be honest: We're a touch crestfallen. The record we were looking forward to most this week, Archie Bronson Outfit's sophomore release on Domino entitled Derdang Derdang, appears to have been pushed back to April 4. This is confirmed by a message at the act's MySpace dojo and a quick doublecheck at Amazon. The delay has reduced this week's scant new release slate to downright paltry. You will want to check out the Ambulance Ltd. EP, particularly if you haven't heard the Pink Floyd cover yet. And the Sonic Youth reissue and Stephin Merritt joint are likely must-hears for fans. But that's about it. It would appear we've all been screwed yet again by the South By Southwest bacchanalia. Thanks, Texas. Our picks for this week's most promising new releases are below. Links go to related commercial opportunities with our old dorm mothers over at Insound.

Ambulance Ltd -- New English EP -- TVT
Archie Bronson Outfit -- Derdang Derdang -- Domino
Devo 2.0 -- Devo 2.0 -- Disney Sound
Sonic Youth -- Sonic Youth (1982) -- Geffen
Stephin Merritt -- Showtunes -- Nonesuch

Free Range Music: clicky clicky 2006 Mix V.1

Swearing At MotoristsWhile this playlist is only as exhaustive as the service allows us to be, here are 10 of our favorite tracks of the year thus far, all mixed together nicey-nice and ready for you to stream gratis thanks to our friends at Rhapsody. Tomorrow's new releases not included. There are a lot of names you'd expect to encounter (Mogwai, Destroyer, Belle & Sebastian), but we hope we're able to introduce you to something you've yet to hear from less-hyped acts including Parks & Recreation, His Name Is Alive and Swearing At Motorists. And the best part is all you gots to do is click a link, provide an email address (please don't use ours), and blammo! the playlist will launch is a new browser window. Pretty rad, right? Here's the playlist, link below.

1. Mogwai -- Travel Is Dangerous -- Mr. Beast
2. Swearing At Motorists -- Northern Line -- Last Night Becomes This Morning
3. New Radiant Storm King -- Quicksand Under Carpet -- The Steady Hand
4. Destroyer -- 3000 Flowers -- Destroyer's Rubies
5. Belle & Sebastian -- Another Sunny Day -- The Life Pursuit
6. Parks & Recreation -- La La La La La -- What Was She Doing Down By The Shoreline
7. His Name Is Alive -- C.A.T.S. -- Detrola
8. Cat Power -- The Greatest -- The Greatest
9. Stereolab -- I Was A Sunny Rainphase -- Fab Four Suture
10. Goldfrapp -- Time Out From The World -- Supernature

[Play me, fool!]

March 12, 2006

Apropos Of Nothing: Radiohead


Today's Hotness: Anything That Has Nothing To Do With SXSW

We don't care.>> You know what, South By Southwest? We don't care. We might care if we lived in Austin. But we live in another major North American city, certainly more major than Austin, and within about a dozen blocks of two of the city's major indie rock venues. And you know what? We still blow off shows at an alarming rate. Call us homebodies. We suspect we'd have an awesome time if we did make the trek to Texas one year, but we also suspect there are far more people NOT going to the festival each year than there are who go. Who's catering to us? What about OUR needs? Where are the anti-SXSW shows and parties? If there are any in Boston, we might show up. Or maybe we'll just blow it off.

>> Domino will issue Tuesday a new record from British blues-rockin' clicky clicky faves Archie Bronson Outfit. There's a fine mini site for the platter that lets you stream clips of all the tracks, as well as a video for the band's recent single "Dart For My Sweetheart." The single's got our favorite "na na na" chorus of the year to date. Check it out here.

>> A bunch of bands got signed in the last couple of weeks. It's sort of like they had the equivalent of a pro sports draft. Oxford Collapse went to Sub Pop in the first round [news]. Atlanta's Snowden went to Jade Tree [news]. Danielle Stech Homsy went to Gnomonsong [well, it's not there yet, but watch this space].

>> This slipped under our radar. Norwegian electro luminaries Royskopp will release a live EP fittingly titled Royskopp's Night Out March 21. The 40-minute set was recorded in Oslo in November and it spans much of the act's career. The performance includes a Queens Of The Stone Age cover, believe it or not.

Review: Islands | Return To The Sea

Islands -- Return To The SeaMontreal's Islands requires minimal introduction, as two of its principals (Nick Diamond and J'aime Tambeur) were members of the late-lamented, lovably scruffy indie rock enterprise The Unicorns. The question the crushing tsunami of musical punditry will advance is this: Is Islands' Return To The Sea as good as The Unicorns' Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? The answer is yes. The Islands effort is equally ambitious but more ornate and perhaps even willfully over-expansive. Hooks are staked here and there among calypso shanties, big prog synths and arena rock guitar solos.

The set's opener clocks in at over nine minutes, although it certainly doesn't feel that long. Return To The Sea is fluid, its track delineations not hard. The big-guitar denouement of "Swans (Life After Death)" inexorably flows into the swelling horns and piano in "Humans." "Rough Gem" is likely the band's strongest calling card (but not its best song title, what with such titular standouts as "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby"), having a bounce like the best Robert Palmer jam and wacky Heartbeat City/Sgt. Pepper's instrumentation. Throughout, the instrumentation can be unexpected. So, too, the lyrics. The whimsical "If" suddenly sprouts alto saxophone in one section, while Diamonds softly threatens "if you don't savor me, I'll salt you and make you savory." Gorgeous album closer "Renaud" proclaims itself by omission via five minutes of the sound of rain. Return To The Sea, in all of its sprawling poptasticness, streets April 4 on Equator. It's a clicky clicky Now Sound Fave (see righthand column).

Scour The Hype Machine for Islands MP3s [Doink!]

March 11, 2006

Weekend Video Fix: Cold Cut, Hot Chip, Feelies

ColdcutSince rain overtakes the northeastern United States Sunday we thought it'd be a good idea to give you all something to watch while your shut in. It's more than just "something," because these are some pretty hot videos. Coldcut comes correct with Roots Manuva in a partially animated clip for the bumping track "True Skool," which comes from the storied electronic duo's recently released Sound Mirrors. Then the chaps from Hot Chip put on their best nerd duds and get stupid all through their extra tasty new cut "Playboy." And then, because we care about your musical education and about giving props to the ground laid in bygone days, we've got a couple of oldies courtesy of that great bastion of stolen intellectual property, YouTube. First up is ultra-jittery nerd rockers The Feelies slashing through a live performance of "Crazy Rhythms" (pay attention in this one for high pants, a possible cat sweater and Ian McCullough hair) Then we close out our video set with Dinosaur Jr.'s claymation-tastic "The Wagon," a live performance of which was probably the highlight of our showgoing year in 2005. Start clicking below to check the beats that make the natives nod.

>> Coldcut w/ Roots Manuva -- "True Skool" QT | RM | WM
>> Hot Chip -- "Playboy" RM | WM
>> The Feelies -- "Crazy Rhythms" [YouTube]
>> Dinosaur Jr. -- "The Wagon" [YouTube]

March 9, 2006

WhoTube Link Dump: The Who In The '60s

We're feeling pretty slack tonight, so we are probably just going to concentrate on listening to promos. In the meantime, and inspired by The Get Quick demos and outtakes we've been rocking all week, we thought we'd acknowledge recent news that The Who is recording its first new record in about a quarter century by nosing around for vintage clips of the band doing their thing during the best stage of their career, the pilled-up mod days. Pretty much any track you'd ever want to see performed is at the YouTube, but we'll list a few that we found particularly entertaining.

>> Here's the band doing "A Quick One While He's Away" from the Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus in 1968. There's tons of windmill guitar in this one.

>> Here's "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" from the 1965 Richmond Jazz Festival. There's a lot of Keith Moon drumming his ass off in this one. Daltry sticks his mic right on a cymbal at one point, Townshend trashes a guitar and picks up another, and all the while the girls are screaming bloody murder.

>> Heres's a great clip for "Can't Explain." There's a lot of great dancing in this one, mostly by young men. Sort of strange how few women you'll see in the clip.

>> Here's a clip of the band pretending to play "Substitute." Great track.

>> And finally here's the band lip-synching through Martha and The Vandellas' "Heatwave" for a German TV performance. Thing is, The Who's version of the track is pretty great.

March 8, 2006

Today's Hotness: Clark, Tom Vek, Dresden Dolls

>> Warp has released a new EP from Clark, f/k/a Chris Clark. The mini set is called Throttle Furniture, and it precedes a full-length expected before the end of the year. Mr. Clark rose to relative prominence in the electronic music community via his 2003 sophomore release Empty The Bones Of You. You can listen to Throttle Furniture here in those frustratingly brief thirty-second snippets that digital storefront doles out. The venerable label also announced it has signed Battles' Tyondai Braxton and plans to release a solo effort from the multi-instrumentalist later this year.

>> Startime International is prepping the masses for a fresh wave of Tom Vek-a-mania by offering a b-side for download ahead of Mr. Vek's appearance Thursday night on the American teen soap "The O.C." The label is also selling an EP at ITunes to capitalize on the hype a bit. Here's a link to the ITunes EP; right click and save as for an MP3 of the bumpin' track "Things Are Here To Stay."

>> Recent posts from Lou Barlow at the Loobiecore forum indicate that some things about the resuscitated Dinosaur Jr. are the same as they ever were. Mr. Barlow notes that the project is "J's deal and he's not exactly inviting me to write (not discouraging me either but..)... I think I may get 1 or 2 in if I really assert myself." More details at the FreakScene message boards here.

>> Cabaret punkers Dresden Dolls get the feature treatment here from Billboard today. Frontwoman Amanda Palmer discusses how being a more experienced songwriter makes her more comfortable with musical simplicity. The duo's next set, Yes, Virginia..., streets April 18 on Roadrunner.

>> Thurston Moore here tells Brit hypesheet NME that the forthcoming Sonic Youth record is influenced by so-called '70s bands like Blue Oyster Cult, the theme song to erstwhile television comedy "Friends," and early, thrashy Go-Gos. While this is likely true, it'd be really funny if Thurston was just telling them made-up crap for fun.