July 31, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 8.01.06

Spinto Band -- Oh MandyTomorrow is the weakest release date of the summer. There, we said it. Our attitude when we read someone trashing a given release date is typically something along the lines of, "well, what the hell do they know? They are all waiting for the new Justin Timberlake to drop" or whatever. But even we will admit a kind of defeat this week. We've got three slim picks below. Still, there is a bit of an interesting angle. Those of you who live and breathe the music blogosphere have no doubt read the hype about Brit pop rapper Lily Allen having the big song of the summer in the tune "Knock 'Em Out." Or was it "LDN"? Anyway, normally we'd be like "good on ye, Lily." But we think that Spinto Band's "Oh Mandy" CD single that allegedly drops Thursday (?) easily trumps Ms. Allen's pop fun. This being because "Oh Mandy" is probably one of the best singles of the decade. Sorry Lily. Anybody who can pull up some SoundScan on Allen vs. Spinto Band with regards to the releases below (recognizing it's Allen's full-length apples vs. the Spinto's single orange), do hit the comments, we'd be psyched to know the Delaware septet has got the moxie to move more units than their pop contemporary across the pond. Those releases and one other are linked below, with links going to relevant commercial opportunities with our former line cook compatriots over at Insound.

The Clash -- Rude Boy DVD -- Epic/Legacy
Lily Allen -- Alright, Still -- Regal/Parlopone
The Spinto Band -- Oh Mandy CD single [UK] -- EMI/Radiate

Today's Hotness: The New Year, Bonnie Prince Billy, Modest Mouse

The New Year>> Brainwashed reported here yesterday that The New Year, the musical heir to the Bedhead legacy, is writing music for a planned third release. Former Bedheaders Matt and Bubba Kadane plan on recording the new material with members of former collaborators Macha. The New Year, whose sophomore release The End Is Near we reviewed here for Junkmedia in May 2004, are playing a pair of live dates this coming weekend. Hit the link to Brainwashed above for details.

>> We've been sent quite a few links to videos recently. Domino is sharing a very engaging video for Bonnie Prince Billy's "Cursed Sleep" single in Quicktime, Real or Windows Media format. Highly recommended, particularly since the song's fleshed-out production is reminiscent of our favorite Palace Music era. Elsewhere, you can preview the video for the Thom Yorke single "Harrowdown Hill" here, although we think this may be one of the clips we found on YouTube several weeks back while we were minding our business. Anyway, the single streets on XL Aug. 21. Finally, AOL Music, whose album stream corral is completely bereft of interesting tunage this week, has updated their Network Live feature with footage of your favorite Sunderlanders The Futureheads rocking the audience at LA's Henry Fonda theater recently. Check it out here.

>> PunkNews reminds everyone that veteran feel-bad indie rock act Modest Mouse is currently recording a planned set in Mississippi. An additional detail or two is here and here. With the state of the world as crappy as it is right now, we think we need Modest Mouse now more than ever. "This plane is totally crashing! This boat is obviously sinking!" and so forth.

>> It's not news, but we thought we'd mention that we're having our first listen to TV On The Radio's Return To Cookie Mountain as we're working on this and it is totally blowing our mind. All that album of the year talk you've heard? Yeah, that's not bullsh*t.

July 30, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Asobi Seksu

Asobi SeksuNew York dream-pop stars Asobi Seksu are mounting their largest tour to date beginning in mid-September to support the recent release of their superlative sophomore long-player Citrus. The band will play a smattering of new songs in addition the tunes from their eponymous debut and Citrus. Asobi Seksu expects to soon make available for viewing a video for Citrus' excellent track "Thursday," so watch their MySpace here. All 23 dates of the tour, which kicks off in Boston (yay), are below. If you haven't already, read our review of Citrus here. Finally, get a sense of the band doing its thing live by downloading a recent live rendition of "Red Sea" recorded live at Seattle's KEXP, linked below. And here are two chunks of YouTube from June 22 that capture the band laying down "Thursday" live.

Asobi Seksu -- "Red Sea (Live On KEXP Seattle)"
[right click and save as]

09/14 -- Boston, MA -- Tufts University
09/15 -- Ithaca, NY -- Cornell University
09/16 -- Buffalo, NY -- Soundlab
09/17 -- Ottawa, ONT -- Babylon
09/19 -- Montreal, QC -- Green Room
09/20 -- Toronto, ONT -- Horseshoe
09/21 -- Detroit, MI -- Lager House
09/22 -- Chicago, IL -- Schubas
09/23 -- Milwaukee, WI -- Cactus Club
09/24 -- Minneapolis, MN -- 400 Bar
09/26 -- Calgary, AB -- HiFi Club
09/27 -- Canmore, AB -- Canmore Hotel
09/28 -- Vancouver, BC -- Media Club
09/29 -- Anacortes, WA -- Department of Safety
09/30 -- Seattle, WA -- Chop Suey
10/01 -- Portland, OR -- Holocene
10/04 -- Santa Cruz, CA -- The Attic
10/05 -- Costa Mesa, CA -- Detroit Bar
10/06 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Echo
10/07 -- San Diego, CA -- Beauty Bar
10/10 -- Tucson, AZ -- Plush
10/12 -- Denver, CO -- Hi Dive
11/11 -- San Francisco, CA -- Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Today's Hotness: Weekend Speed Round

TV On The Radio>> Wowsers -- Interscope labelmates Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV On The Radio are playing a free show at Boston's City Hall Plaza Thursday Aug. 10 at 6PM, according to Music Slut here.

>> Someone's been pretending to be Bob Mould on MySpace. Now Bob mad, Bob smash. Apropos of nothing, former Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers honcho Eric Bachmann is starting to look like Bob Mould -- check the picture at this Billboard item.

>> Carl Wilson here tantalizes fans/readers with the prospect of a new musical project over at Zoilus [Update: Read Frank's comment for evidence of my feeble foible, and for an awesome band name idea -- Too Many Carls].

>> Here are pics of The Cure in the studio earlier this month working on their forthcoming release, expected to street on or around Halloween.

>> The kids on the street here say the new Gorilla Biscuits songs leave a lot to be desired.

>> The New York Times discovers minimal techno here.

July 29, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo -- I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your AssVeteran indie trio Yo La Tengo will hit the road in late September for a few weeks of dates intended to promote the release of its forthcoming set I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass. Incidentally, Matador plans to soon launch a web site here to further push the record; we expect the site will be very similar to the site Obliterati.net that the venerable label deployed to hype this year's stellar Mission Of Burma release. Not content with one new presence on the web, Yo La Tengo has finally gotten hip to the MySpace phenomenon and you can petition to be their newest friend by going here. You can also stream the new cuts "Beanbag Chair" and "Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" at the MySpace page. If you go as batty for the fizzy pop of "Beanbag Chair" and the droning fuzz of "Pass The Hatchet..." as we think you will, you'll probably want to download them. We've posted the links below, and all the currently available tourdates are posted below that. Get out and see the band, we think they're really going places.

Yo La Tengo -- "Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" -- I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Yo La Tengo -- "Beanbag Chair" -- I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
[right click and save as]

09/25 -- Asbury Park, NJ -- Stone Pony
09/26 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30
09/28 -- Boston, MA -- Avalon
09/29 -- Jersey (?) -- Loews Theatre
10/04 -- Ann Arbor, MI -- Michigan Theater
10/05 -- Chicago, IL -- Vic Theater
10/14 -- Vancouver, BC -- Richards on Richards
10/15 -- Seattle, WA -- Showbox
10/16 -- Portland, OR -- Crystal Ballroom
10/19 -- San Francisco, CA -- Fillmore
10/20 -- San Francisco, CA -- Fillmore
10/21 -- San Francisco, CA -- Fillmore
10/23 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Henry Fonda Theater

That Was The Show That Was: Bloc Party, Secret Machines, Mew

Bloc Party -- Live In NJ -- Photo Credit: Nev Brown via FlickrAnd so it came to pass that last night, after an intense storm with crazy sideways rain and/or lightning that blew through the tented venue, we became the last blogger in America to see Bloc Party perform live, thanks to the largesse of the kind folks of Filter. Reports of the British post-punk quartet's electrifying live show have been a regular feature in blogs for a couple years, and we love their debut Silent Alarm and the various singles we've obtained. The remix album, ehh, not so much. But still, we were stoked to see Bloc Party firmly deliver on the hype. The band took the stage at the appointed half-hour and relentlessly rocked for about 70 minutes, including a four-song encore -- two more than the kids in Jersey got the night before, according to Stereogum. Friday night's Boston set wasn't otherwise largely different than the one the previous night -- both kicked off with the new tune "Waiting For The 718" [live MP3 posted at The 'Gum here]. The ecstatic Boston crowd was treated to an additional new song, "Uniform," from Bloc Party's nearly finished sophomore set. The tune is a jarringly good shouter with a distinctly darker vibe that reminded us of the jolt we got listening to earlier Cure records, particularly Pornography.

The audience at Boston's Bank Of America Pavilion, save for the overly-hormoned teens directly in front of us obviously amorously jazzed by BP lovejams including "So Here We Are" and "This Modern Love," compulsively pogoed, fist-banged and sang along. We were a bit disappointed the band didn't play "Little Thoughts," but we suppose if we were Bloc Party we'd be sick of playing some of the same music we'd been playing after two years, too. The rabid crowd response was a testament to the strength of the band's unabashedly upbeat and gracious performance and to their relatively aging material. We weren't in any position to track the setlist and our cohort's photographic efforts were unsuccessful, but we will update this item when we find some online. Bloc Party's North American tour continues through August 10, and the band plans to complete its forthcoming record thereafter.

It isn't overstating things to say Bloc Party exponentionally outshined their supporting acts. That said, the floor in front of the stage filled for New York trio Secret Machines' short set, which markedly crescendoed on the strength of the appropriately smoke-machined blogger favorite "Alone, Jealous And Stoned" and the final song. Frankly, last year's Warner blogger marketing fiasco soured us on Secret Machines before we'd ever heard the band. And while we are lukewarm on the recently released set 10 Silver Drops, the band's bombastic live renditions of the tunes sparked our attention. Danish upstarts Mew played their acclaimed (particularly in Denmark) and densly layered brand of melodic prog-pop with Rush-esque vocals to a small crowd of early arrivers/apocalyptic storm refugees. The quintet's set was almost too-earnestly delivered, but Mew self-deprecatingly deflated a bit of their pomp via curious video accompaniment that included a CGI cat playing a flute. Really.

UPDATE: The Boston Phoenix has posted the Bloc Party set list here, where you can also read some more analysis of Mew's weird video accompaniment.

Here's a video (.M4V) of Bloc Party performing "Banquet" live in Amsterdam.
[just click to initiate download]

[Photo Credit: Nev Brown via Flickr]

July 27, 2006

From The Admin Cubicle: Slacking

SlackingComrades: We've blown most of the night manning the phones, taking care of biz around the :: cc :: HQ and just generally slacking. Also, we spent a few minutes looking at pictures of Laurel and Hardy via Google. Those doods, man. Funny. Anyway, we're taking the night off from writing and instead are listening to the new Supersystem record and some very tasty Drop Nineteens demos somebody hipped us to earlier this week. But fret not, we'll be back over the weekend with a review of tomorrow night's Bloc Party/Secret Machines/Mew show, which we are attending thanks to the kind people over at Filter. Until then, then.

July 26, 2006

Review: The North Atlantic | Wires In The Walls

The North Atlantic -- Wires In The WallsSurprisingly, the most hook-laden aggressive indie record we've heard so far this year was actually recorded in 2003, given limited release and then shelved when its creators, San Diego-based The North Atlantic, went on hiatus. Even more surprising is that the angular post-hardcore act is only a trio (the brothers Hendrix on guitar and drums and bassist Jason Richards), as there are jagged guitars all over the post-hardcore band's fire-breathing set Wires In The Walls. Of course, The North Atlantic's giant chords, lacerating harmonics and caffeinated tempos are a well-worn musical idiom (particularly for those familiar with Pilot To Gunner's Games At High Speeds, for example), and the band owes an audible debt to classic D.C. acts including Jawbox and other '90s outfits like Friction. Even so, The North Atlantic, which originally convened in 1999 and now has its proverbial act back together post-hiatus, distinguishes itself from the myriad D.C.-influenced hangers-on with unbridled energy and the occasional unexpected keys and ambient touches ("Atmosphere vs. The Dogs Of Dawn").

Earlier this month the band issued a video for Wires In The Walls' moody anomaly "Bottom Of This Town" [watch it/download it to your video IPod here]. The song atypically leans on synths in the verse, and almost sounds as if it is performed by a different band than the one that elsewhere smashes out surgically precise cuts such as the Archers Of Loaf-ish album highlight "The Man Who Saved Your Ass" (which opens with the brash proclamation "when I was your age I'd get the f*ck down"). As artful as a lot of the delivery is on Wires In The Walls, lyricist Jason Hendrix isn't above the direct statement; later he candidly sings in "Scientist Girl" the line "I'd rather listen to The Clash all night than be with you." We Put Out Records/East West Records reissued Wires In The Wall July 11, and the band has just completed an all-too-brief east coast tour. Considering the band's non-linear path to date, it's anybody's guess what to expect next. For now, how about some MP3s?

The North Atlantic -- "Scientist Girl" -- Wires In The Walls
The North Atlantic -- "Drunk Under Electrics" -- Wires In The Walls
[Right click and save as]

The North Atlantic -- MySpace

[Buy Wires In The Walls from Insound here]

July 25, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 7.25.06

Say Hi To Your Mom -- Impeccable BlahsToday is a pretty darn respectable new release day. It kind of snuck up on us, since we've had a couple of these records for quite a while. Here's the straight dope: you should get the Long Winters record, which we raved about here yesterday in Free Range Music, and you should get the Archie Bronson Outfit joint, too [review here]. It's a great drinking record. They should sell it with rings on the case from resting beers on it. You should probably also seriously consider the losercore for riot nerrrrrrrds (tm) of Say Hi To Your Mom's new set, Impeccable Blahs.

If you've got some left-over dough after that, that's when you'll need to make some hard decisions. We've heard the White Whale and New York Dolls sets, and we give the former a thumbs up and the latter a qualified thumbs down. And from what we've read the Joan of Arc and Erase Errata sets are sort of known quantities that fans probably already have a good bead on. All our recommendations for the week's best new releases are listed below, with links going to relevant commercial opportunities with our former insurance adjusters over at Insound.

Archie Bronson Outfit -- Derdang Derdang -- Domino
Erase Errata -- Nightlife -- Kill Rock Stars
Joan of Arc -- Eventually, All At Once -- Record Label
Joan of Arc -- The Intelligent Design of Joan of Arc -- Polyvinyl
The Long Winters -- Putting The Days To Bed -- Barsuk
New York Dolls -- One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This -- Roadrunner
Say Hi to Your Mom -- Impeccable Blahs -- Euphobia/The Rebel Group
White Whale -- WWI -- Merge

Today's Hotness: Bruno Pronsato, Metallica, The Lemonheads

Bruno Pronsato, we presume>> According to this piece in The Stranger, under-appreciated minimal tech-house genius Bruno Pronsato (a/k/a Steven Ford) is relocating to Germany from Seattle this fall. Bruno Pronsato's 2004 release Silver Cities is a go-to record for us when we want to groove minimal stizzington. Unfortunately for those of us who aren't vinyl junkies, most if not all of BP's releases since Silver Cities have been vinyl sides. Will some label please collect those all up on a two-CD comp please? For a full run-down of Mr. Ford's many forthcoming releases, check his web site here. Bruno Pronsato is touring North America ever so briefly, and is in Boston this coming weekend. [via 3IG RSS / photo credit: Flickr user Minlove]

>> One of the most interesting things Stereogum has posted in a long time is speculation about how digital music holdouts including The Beatles could boost Microsoft's nascent Zune service and player, if Microsoft can get the Fab Two and posse to just agree. The history of litigation between Apple and Apple Corps would certainly seem to give the appearance of advantage to Microsoft in the case of The Beatles, although there is always a possibility that the settlement of that litigation last fall (if we recall correctly) set the stage for The Beatles to do a deal with Jobs, et al., on particularly favorable terms. Anybody's guess. Stereogum, of course, gets the last word: "It sure would give 'em an edge in acquiring the music fans who didn't download the 28-album Beatles torrent on Pirate Bay."

>> Related item: The 'Gum at first identified waning metal gods Metallica as among the few digital music holdouts, before commenters corrected the venerable blog. Then our man Koomtopolis dropped an email in our hopper a couple minutes ago with some more info. And we quote: "I noticed today that ITunes has added the Metallica catalog, which as far as I know is the first time it has been available as digital downloads. The first four albums (aka the good ones) all include two bonus tracks, which are only available if you buy the whole album. But they're all live tracks of songs from those albums, so it's not like they're B-sides or anything." Thanks for the tip, Koomz. Here's the official word from Hetfield and the boys.

>> The "provisional" album art for the eponymous Lemonheads record can be seen here. Provisional art? Does that mean if the cover doesn't get caught filching smokes or putting the trash out too early for collection that it then gets to be the cover for realsies? Anyway, it's a pretty cool cover. Vagrant, we say go with it.

July 24, 2006

Today's Hotness: Dinosneaker Jr., The Concretes, Erase Errata

Dinosaur Jr. Nikes as pictured at Stereogum.com>> Holy cow! Dinosaur Jr. sneakers! We would totally buy some if they weren't so damn ugly! A friend of ours made a crack about this being a true sign of "selling out," but we can't imagine the venture will yield enough money to raise it to such a level. These guys hate the idea and bust out some sort of business school analysis. If you're into that sort of thing. Truth is, if the shoes cost less then $40, we'll get a pair. [latter link via / image via the 'Gum]

>> PorkFork reports here that Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman has left the Swedish octet, errrr, septet. The band plans to soldier on without her, while Ms. Bergsman, who co-founded The Concretes 11 years ago, is already preparing for a solo release. We can't imagine it will be easy for the remaining Concretes to choose a new lead vocalist with such a fetching voice.

>> According to a helpful email, Arts & Crafts will issue an album of Stars remixes titled Do You Trust Your Friends this fall. The set is a track-by-track re-imagining of Stars 2005 joint Set Yourself On Fire, and remixers include Broken Social Scene, Metric and Junior Boys. So there you go. Frank Chromewaves here points to a new video for the band's tune "Sleep Tonight."

>> The forthcoming Hold Steady set Boys And Girls In America isn't a concept record, it's a theme record, or so Craig Finn tells Billboard here today. Besides some minor illumination of producer John Agnello's contributions to the recording process, there's not much new in Billboard's piece.

>> We're saying "awesome" in regards to the newly released video for Erase Errata's new tune "Tax Dollar," and not just because one of the women went on some dates with a guy we lived with in college. It's a stop-motiontastic video with a lot of green plastic army men -- what's not to like? Kill Rock Stars releases the band's third record Nightlife tomorrow.

Free Range Music: The Long Winters, New York Dolls, Spoon

The Long Winters -- Putting The Days To Bed>> Seattle's The Long Winters can lay claim to having the best record available via AOL Music's new release album stream corral this week. Putting The Days To Bed has big, upbeat melodies and big (but tasteful) dynamics. The record gets a little soft in the middle like Paul Simon, specifically the songs "Honest" and "Clouds," but otherwise it is very solid. Definitely check out the cut "Ultimatum" -- it's a big rocker and the lead track of last October's Ultimatum EP, and it sells the record as well as anything we could type here. Although we've seen only a smattering of positive buzz about One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, and although we have never thought David Johansen was much of a singer (we recall some bright spots on his live 1982 solo set Live It Up, however), the new set from the resuscitated, remaining New York Dolls isn't the disaster we had feared. There is some lively stuff, particularly album highlight "Punishing World." Make sure to at least check out that track, it's the most obvious analog to the band's classic vibe. "Gotta Get Away From Tommy" is another solid tune that sort of combines The Replacements' "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" and Men At Work's "Be Good Johnny."

Also available to stream at AOL this week is Minneapolis outfit Tapes 'N Tapes' largely over-hyped debut The Loon. There's just not a lot of hooks on there, although the track "Insistor" is a spirited shuffler with some nifty cowboy lead guitar and the end of "Manitoba" is surprisingly bracing. "In Houston" has a nice, Modest Mouse-ish verse, so we may download that from EMusic in lieu of getting the whole set. If you've heretofore ignored this so-called "blogger band," hit the stream linked below to gauge whether this is really something you will really dial up on your IPod or, eventually, your Zune. Right. For a more positive take and a download, hit this item at M.F-R. Anyway, links to those streams are below.

The Long Winters -- Putting The Days To Bed -- Barsuk
The New York Dolls -- One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This -- Roadrunner
Tapes 'N Tapes -- The Loon -- XL

>> Elsewhere you can stream Merge's reissues of Spoon's Telephono long player and Soft Effects EP right from the label's home page here, and we suggest you do. Back when these came out we too readily wrote the band off as Grifters wannabes. While we can still hear why we developed that opinion, boy, we ended up regretting keeping our eye on the band.

July 23, 2006

YouTube Rodeo: You Shall Know Our Velocity Girl

It occurred to us over the weekend that we have yet to put YouTube through the paces as far as some of our favorite '90s acts go. And while there is no Small Factory or Versus video there to speak of, there is a surprising amount of vintage Velocity Girl, including a clip from when Unrest's Bridget Cross was in the band. We've been forthright since it happened about how the band broke our heart when they cleaned up their sound and went pop after their first full-length. Fortunately, most of the clips posted at YouTube capture Velocity Girl in its earlier days, although sadly there is no video posted of the band's unequalled single "My Forgotten Favorite." First up, is a live performance of "Why Should I Be Nice To You?" from the band's self-titled EP at D.C.'s Fort Reno music festival Aug. 3, 1992. It is a pretty pro filming job that splices together footage from a few different angles and the sound is pretty pristine. The band really lays down the rock at the end of the tune, and a second number is appended immediately thereafter. Also from Fort Reno 92 is Velocity Girl doing "Creepy" and "57 Waltz."

Here's a postage-stamp sized live video of the band doing "Crazy Town" at an unknown place and time; the song was a highlight from the band's 1993 Sub-Pop debut Copacetic. The sound and video isn't synched up, but each is pretty nice, although even at postage-stamp size the video is pretty pixelated. Here is that early clip with Bridget Cross in the band, shot in the summer of 1990 at the old 9:30 Club. We're not familiar with the tunes, "Always" and "Malibu." It's tastefully shot in black-and-white, although the camera work goes nutty during "Malibu." During the same 1990 gig Bridget takes a turn at the mic and sings lead on the tune "Not At All." Finally, perched atop this item is the Sub-Pop video for "Crazy Town." For those of you not old enough to remember the early '90s, this video pretty much nails it. To our recollection everyone looked like they played in Velocity Girl back then. Good times. And here's the other really hot track from Copacetic, "Audrey's Eyes." Thanks YouTube, that was a nice way to relax after long drives to and from PA this weekend.

July 20, 2006

From The Admin Cubicle: Weekend Getaway

Attention droogies: we'll be offline from Friday afternoon until the end of the weekend, as we set off with dog in car to do some more wedding related this-and-that. Be forewarned: we've got a few more wedding-related work stoppages coming between now and the middle of September. But this one is relatively short, and we aim to be back on the :: clicky clicky :: night desk early next week if not before.

-- The Management.

Today's Hotness: Lemonheads, Keith Fullerton Whitman, JAMC

Evan Dando as shot by Stuart Goodwin July 2006, cropped>> Here's something interesting. During two Lemonheads shows last weekend in the U.K. it appears the band played a grand total of one new song. This could be because the backing band fronter Evan Dando was using weren't the two chaps from the Descendents he recorded his forthcoming record with, and so the sidemen might not have been all that familiar with the new jams. The duo backing Dando included the former drummer for Radish, Ben Kweller's former combo. Anyway, you can check out set lists from last week's shows here and here, and read a contrarian viewpoint to the shows at this EvanDando.Co.UK posting. Vagrant releases the first new Lemonheads album in 10 years, a self-titled set, this fall. [Photo credit: Stuart Goodwin, EvanDando.Co.UK]

>> Recommended reading: PorkFork here interviews electronic music superstar Keith Fullerton Whitman, who discusses why he made a live record, his love affair with musique concrete and electronic music from 1950 to 1970, and his hunt for vintage self-released electronic albums. Elsewhere, RollingStone.com here executes a breezy interview with Ira and James from Yo La Tengo, who supply some quotes to help prop up the aging music mag's preview of the forthcoming set I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, which is obviously the best, or at least toughest, album title since Don Caballero's debut For Respect.

>> We know everybody else has already advised you to do so, but we feel it necessary to emphasize that you should hit this link and check out the new jam from The Pernice Brothers, "Somerville," particularly the metaphoric video. While you're in the video-watching mood, why not check out this new one from I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, "According To Plan."

>> You can preview a meshy, melodic and Manitoba/Caribou-ish track from the forthcoming set from Clark entitled Body Riddle at the Warp Records web site here. The track is called "Ted," and another version of it is on the Renaissance 12" on sale now. Body Riddle streets in the first week of October. If you'd prefer to hear something classic, why not hoof it on over to Rbally.net and/or the Hype Machine and check out the amazing live Jesus And Mary Chain set from 1987 he has posted here? It's from a show in Vienna, Austria and it includes our all-time favorite JAMC jam "Everything Is Alright When You're Down."

July 19, 2006

Review: Envy | Insomniac Doze

Envy -- Insomniac DozeA superficial assessment of Japanese quintet Envy's forthcoming set might conclude that the band is something of a two-trick pony, melding former tourmate Mogwai's elegant and bombastic post-whatever with emo/screamo lyrics rendered in Japanese. And while this assessment is not completely without merit, it comes up short. Envy's marked edge means the band could be just as readily deemed a melodic screamo band that embraces epic, orchestrated compositions. As such, the post-rock tag or the even more simplistic "like Mono if Mono had vocals" tag does the band a bit of a disservice, particularly considering Envy's floor-length discography and 15-year history of making aggressive music.

All that said, the inclination to lump the Japanese act's less nuanced and ornate music with that of relative newcomers Mogwai (the latter group formed several years after the former) is at least understandable, given the bands' paths have crossed on more than one occasion. According to Envy's Wikipedia page, in addition to the two bands having toured together, vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa is featured on Mogwai's "I Chose Horses" (a cut from the Scottish band's most recent set Mr. Beast) and Insomniac Doze will be issued on Mogwai's Rock Action label in the U.K. Even so, the stylistic differences, or at least somewhat different production values, between Envy and its post-rock contemporaries aren't hard to discern.

According to the Temporary Residence Ltd. message boards, Envy's Insomniac Doze streets Sept. 12. Envy embarks on an 11-date American tour next month; full dates are here. Below is an MP3 of the cut "Further Ahead Of The Warp," a tune that illustrates both Envy's gentle reveries and screamy proclamations, often within seconds of eachother. We are particularly fond of the cut "Crystallize," so keep an eye out for that out on the Internets or look forward to its ten minutes of glory until September rolls around.

Envy -- "Further Ahead Of The Warp" -- Insomniac Doze
[right-click and save as]

[Buy Insomniac Doze from Temporary Residence here when it goes on sale]

July 18, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 7.18.06

Sex Pistols -- SpunkThere's no slam-dunk release that is going to drive a lot of indie sneakers through retail doors this week, but there are at least a couple records we think those with a yen for a new release should consider. First up is The French Kicks, whose Two Thousand arrived at our offices only yesterday. As such, we haven't heard the record, but we saw the band perform much of the material a couple weeks back when it opened for The Futureheads here in Boston [review, MP3s]. And what we heard was ace. Another record we have a good feeling about this week is the new Golden Smog set, Another Fine Day. No, we still haven't heard it, but we dig Gary Louris' Jayhawks material and find the prospect of his stewardship of much of this set pretty enticing.

We discussed Feist and Sinking Ships in detail in our Free Range Music piece from the other night, so we'll skip them and move on to our final recommendation for the week. If you are in the U.K. or have a domestic U.S. record shoppe with a good import section then you may be able to get your hands on an official release of the mythical Sex Pistols bootleg Spunk. The recording is notable because it precedes bassist Glen Matlock getting pushed out of the band in favor of the only vaguely competent anti-hero Sid Vicious, and as a result there is plenty of able bass playing to be found therein. Links to that and our other picks of this week's new releases are listed below, with links going to relevant commercial opportunities with our old skating partners over at Insound.

Feist -- Open Season -- Cherrytree/Interscope
The French Kicks -- Two Thousand -- Vagrant/StarTime International
Golden Smog -- Another Fine Day -- Lost Highway
Sex Pistols -- Spunk Bootleg -- Castle [U.K.]
Sinking Ships -- Disconnecting -- Revelation

July 17, 2006

Review: Lisa Papineau | Night Moves

Lisa Papineau -- Night MovesWe're suspicious when an act has its identity perfectly and consistently represented seemingly everywhere on the Internet (apparently so is Wikipedia). There's just something weird about being able to Google an indie act and finding all information nodes completely stocked with deep, helpful information. That unsettling feeling is both caused and ameliorated by New England-native Lisa Papineau, whose soothing new set Night Moves streets this week on LunaticWorks/Sony. If her very thorough Wikipedia entry can be trusted, Papineau is something of a renaissance woman working in theater, film and music, and although her name may not be immediately familiar to you, we are fairly certain you have heard her voice on standout records including AIR's 10,000 HZ Legend and Talkie Walkie and M83's Before The Dawn Heals Us.

Ms. Papineau's pedigree is lengthy: she has some relationship with Sissy Bar, an indie band operating in the '90s that issued an irresistable twee-ish cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin And Juice." Truth be told, the Sissy Bar connection, whatever it may be, is what prompted us to give Papineau's stylistic amalgamation of Tori Amos (who apparently signed Papineau to her own Igloo imprint in the '90s) and Modern Rock radio sounds several chances. Night Moves is comprised of downbeat, emotive pop and there is some memorable electronic production. The set is also presistently slick. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as we can hardly fault Ms. Papineau for making what sounds like a very commercially viable set. For the most part, however, the set's just not our bag. We'd argue its mood is so static that Ms. Papineau's balladry has a hard time distinguishing its various flavors. Even so, there are a couple great hooks in here, and we recommend those interested in hearing what Papineau has to offer seek out the tracks "LP Beat" and "Saxophone Calypso."

Buy Night Moves at B&N here.
Lisa Papineau at MySpace here.
Official web site here.

Free Range Music: Feist, Futureheads, Sinking Ships

Golden Smog -- Another Fine Day>> AOL Music's pre-release album stream corral contains a pleasant morning's worth of listening from Feist, Golden Smog, Sinking Ships and more. There's nothing we can say about Leslie Feist that hasn't already been said, to such an extent that we don't often write about her. But it is worth listening to Open Season, which offers remixes of material from her 2004 debut Let It Die, including a quartet of re-flux-capacitated versions of the minor hit "Mushaboom" (The Mocky remix is superb; The Postal Service remix is a little too predictable, although it has a couple nicely aggressive builds).

Speaking of aggressive, Seattle hardcore quintet Sinking Ships releases its Revelation debut Disconnecting tomorrow. It's everything a hardcore record should be. For starters, it's fewer than 30 minutes in length, and it touts late '80s-style (pre-metal core) hardcore. The band professes sterling influences including Dag Nasty and Turning Point, and it shows in Sinking Ships' tunes. We just got hipped to the band last week via our man on the street in Brooklyn, El Stengelero. If you buy one hardcore record this year recommended by a guy who hasn't known what is really going on in the hardcore scene at the street-level for more than a decade (us, not El Stengelero), this should be the one.

Finally, we suspect the real gold this week is in the new set from Golden Smog, although we couldn't get the stream to load for us, so you'll just have to take our entirely uninformed word for it. But we think we read the set was primarily led by the two dudes from the Jayhawks, so it'd be hard for it to be bad. We're posting a couple more streams you may want to inspect as well.

Feist -- Open Season -- Arts & Crafts

Golden Smog -- Another Fine Day -- Lost Highway

MSTRKRFT -- The Looks -- Last Gang

Sinking Ships -- Disconnecting -- Revelation

>> As promised here earlier this month, Bradley's Almanac here continues a superlative run of live show postings of late, including recent sets from Buffalo Tom and Beirut, by posting The Futureheads' peppy July 1st set at Boston's Paradise Rock Club. Stream the cuts at Hype Machine here, and if you dig (and you will), download the cuts here. Make sure to at least listen to the cracking versions of "Stupid And Shallow," "Decent Days And Nights" and "Man Ray" the band unleashes. Particularly that latter tune -- although the lead guitar gets a little lost in the rush of the delivery, its emotional crescendo is as dazzling as it is thrillingly (is that a word?) claustrophobic.

July 16, 2006

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

The Hold Steady>> According to this ILM thread, the hotly anticipated new Hold Steady record is called Boys And Girls In America and it will be released Oct. 3 on Vagrant. We confirmed the info with our friendly neighborhood Vagrant press guy. In other release news, Billboard reported here last week that TV On The Radio's Return To Cookie Mountain will hit rack Sept. 12 on Interscope. A commenter over at Chromewaves pointed out that you can stream the whole record at this Dutch (we think) site -- just scroll down by hitting "Omlaag" several times until you see the album cover, then click on it. You can stream the new Johnny Cash, Thom Yorke and Peaches records at the same link.

>> MTV Overdrive has a streaming feature on :: clicky clicky :: faves Dirty On Purpose that you can access here. Or at least you can try to. The video wouldn't load for us, but we're looking forward to seeing it when we can get it too work. The Brooklyn band is blogging its summer tour and you can follow along here.

>> Kill Rock Stars reports that Deerhoof is currently recording a new full-length for release in January. The band has tour dates with Marc Ribot and the Flaming Lips coming up.

>> Streaming media fix: In the event no one else has told you about the new Cat Power video for the tune "Lived In Bars," we're telling you that you can watch it here. And you can stream Morgan Geist's remix of the Junior Boys' "The Equalizer" here. And you can watch the video for Franz Ferdinand's revamped single version of "Eleanor Put Your Boots Back On" here. There's an e-card for the single here.

>> Is anybody really interested in a Pixies acoustic DVD?

Farmhands Fungo And Backstop Marry . . .

... or Dig And Wiggle Consecrate Merger. Whichever headline you prefer. Yesterday we witnessed what is likely, in our opinion, the wedding to end all weddings in a suburb north of Boston, beside a pond. You may wonder how, if at all, this post is rock-related. Well, as it happens, the wedding conjoined two members of The Farmhands, baseball's only indie rock band, or is that indie rock's only baseball band? That sounds a bit more right. Farmhands Fungo and Backstop's wedding was frankly both spectactular and astonishing, but it seems odd to go into great length here. Suffice it to say, there was rock. A Fungo-penned non-Farmhands track was incorporated into the ceremony, Fungo and Backstop took the stage for a few songs as their former duo Dig And Wiggle early on in the reception, and even Farmhand Sac Fly, who also occasionally moonlights in the act Girlfriend 2000, also did a few Farmhands numbers acoustic and solo. We'd like to officially proffer yet again our felicitations to the happy couple, and offer up some Farmhands tunes in honor of the occasion.

The Farmhands -- "Red Sox Fever" -- American League
The Farmhands -- "Dodger Blue (L.A.)" -- National League

Farmhands web site
Farmhands at MySpace

That Was The Show That Was: Mission Of Burma

Roger Miller's comets and laserbeam outfitThe inspiration for Roger Miller's uncharacteristically wild outfit, dark pants with lazery stripes angling up and down the leg and a shirt with fiery comets illogically raining upwards from shirttail to yoke, became apparent late in Mission of Burma's second set Thursday night when the guitarist revealed to everyone, including his bandmates, that the song "Fame And Fortune" had been written two decades prior about Pink Floyd founding member Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett. Barrett's death was announced the Monday before the show, and Burma took a few opportunities to pay tribute to him, the most electrifying of which was the encore of "Astronomy Domine," from Floyd's heady 1967 psych-pop debut The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. That Floyd's music influenced Mission Of Burma would seem a laughable proposition, until one considers the prog band's early days as a unit that readily injected improvisation and sections of noise into its music. While the slick productions of '70s Floyd were the type of music punk and post-punk endeavored to tear down and rebuild, a sort of the sonic freedom of Barrett-era Floyd also permeates Burma's music.

Thursday's Burma set, which followed a riveting performance by Boston's Neptune (whose drummer played with a fractured wrist because he didn't want to miss the show, whose drummer screamed in pain inbetween some songs while desperately trying to squeeze the agony out of his broken wrist with his opposite hand), spanned the quartet's career and featured stirring version of hits old ("Peking Spring," "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate," "That's When I Reach For My Revolver") and new ("2wice," "Nancy Reagan's Head," "1,001 Pleasant Dreams," "Let Yourself Go," and a searing "Spider's Web). The band appeared to be having a good time on stage, although bassist Clint Conley seemed a bit tuckered out. Miller kept the energy high alternating Pete Townshend-esque hops with angular posturing. Drummer Peter Prescott wise-cracked about the current state of the music biz, asking if the audience had heard Burma on the teen-soap disaster "The O.C." and claiming that Burma's name was actually The Arctic Fire Clap Your Hands Arcade Monkeys" from his drum riser between tunes. If Burma is coming to your town, you need to see their show.

Buy Mission of Burma's triumphant 2006 long-player The Obliterati from Insound here.
Stream Mission of Burma songs at MySpace here.
Stream Mission of Burma songs at Obliterati.net here.
Steal Mission of Burma's music via The Hype Machine here.

(Photo a detail of a shot used courtesy of Ben Sisto, full Flickr set here, more awesome pics of the band and Miller's outfit from Flickr user Anaphora here)

July 13, 2006

From the Admin Cubicle: Mission Of Burma Tonight

No action here tonight, as we are getting set for the Mission of Burma/Neptune show later this evening, which we will be attending with Sir Koom-A-Lot. We haven't seen Burma since the first or second reunion show at Avalon in... uh, 2003? We think that's right. We saw Clint Conley's Consonant the fall prior at a "secret" show at Lilli's or whatever it was called then. That's probably more than a lot of people under 40 have seen any of the chaps play. But we're still excited for tonight. And we'd venture to say we're equally excited to see Neptune again. They slayed so hard supporting Witch in March that we skipped Witch and went home. For reals. Anyway, we'll be back at the end of the weekend.

July 12, 2006

Review: The Gersch | The Gersch

The Gersch -- The GerschWe were going to put off writing about forgotten Boston juggernauts The Gersch until next month or so because our schedule has gotten pretty hairy and The Gersch's stuff isn't technically new. It's newly released, certainly, but what this self-titled disc (issued June 20 on Tortuga) documents is a largely unheard side-project of Isis and Red Sparowes multi-instrumentalist Clifford Meyer, recorded in the mid- and late '90s. So long ago that some dude at the Boston Phoenix has a copy of the disc in one of those CD cases used to play a disc in an automated radio station rack (someone must have thought they were going to be the future at one point). Read the funny Phoenix write-up for the disc here, and grab the MP3 for "Face" if the link is still live. Anyway, then Syd Barrett's death was announced, and while the actual connection between Barrett and The Gersch is almost beyond tenuous, we couldn't push the record back far enough in our head to focus on the other very good records we've received in recent weeks. So we're writing this one to get it out of our head.

Here's the tenuous Floyd connection. The press materials for The Gersch record compared the act to Black Sabbath and legendary New York hardcore act Burn and loudly talked up the genius of The Gersch's cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Ohio," one of two hidden tracks on the collection. But we were far more psyched to hear the band's rollicking version of the coda of Pink Floyd's "Dogs," from the amazing, guitar-heavy 1977 prog masterpiece Animals (a necessary aside: Animals-era Floyd has little to do with Barrett, admittedly, and in fact the record signals once and for all that bassist Roger Waters has taken control of the songwriting for the combo). Unlike Floyd, The Gersch packed three guitars and clearly was not afraid to use them in proliferating their own brand of sludgy, crushing doom. You'll feel the Sabbath vibe right from the outset, as the high wailing vocals and drone of opener "Listwish" collapses into a pounding chorus that readily (perhaps too readily) recalls Ozzy and crew's "Paranoid." The mayhem continues through the screamy, mid-tempo basher "Magnificent Desolation" and beyond. The set has substantial grit due to some of its lo-fi beginnings (many of the drum tracks sound like they were recorded in practice spaces or something), but the results are just more rough edges that enhance the aggression of the music. If you are a fan of proto-metal or of '90s stoner sludge, this set will loudly speak to you. Links below snatch MP3s from the band's MySpace. The two tracks, incidentally, were on the first single ever released by Tortuga in 1997. More history here.

The Gersch -- "Listwish" -- The Gersch
The Gersch -- "Bloodbottom" -- The Gersch

Got Rhapsody? Of course you do -- it gives you 25 free streams a month. Hit this link and stream the original Floyd version of "Dogs."

[buy The Gersch at Insound here]

July 11, 2006

Today's Hotness: Sean Lennon, Trail Of Dead, Clark

Sean Lennon>> We were suprised to read this afternoon that the other son of John Lennon, Sean Lennon, will release his long-awaited sophomore set Friendly Fire on Sept. 26 on Capitol. Lennon's excellent first solo set Into The Sun was issued eight years ago on the Beastie Boys' label Grand Royal, which was linked with Capitol and folded several years ago. Lennon tells Filter here that he has been writing and recording throughout his long hiatus. Lennon apparently has produced a short film to go with each track from Friendly Fire that "together comprise a conceptual film about betrayal and the failure of love, feature appearances from Lennon and friends including Lindsay Lohan, Bijou Phillips, Asia Argento, Carrie Fisher, Devon Aoki, Jordana Brewster and others." You can watch the trailer for the film here, which will also give you a taste of some of the new tunes. It sounds very promising.

>> ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead has completed a new set that Interscope will issue Oct. 3. The record follows the sort of ignored 2005 set Worlds Apart and is the band's third for Interscope. Collaborators brought on board to add 'zazz to the set include Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer, who sings on one track, and Kim Crimson's Pat Mastelado, who plays percussion on a track. Billboard has more details here.

>> We may have already reported this earlier this year, but Clark, the electronic artist formerly know as Chris "Empty The Bones Of You" Clark, will release a full-length on Warp entitled Body Riddle. The set will include the track "Herr Barr," which was part of the Throttle Furniture EP issued earlier this year. Warp promises more details later this month.

>> We don't often laugh out loud at the verbal shenanigans over at PorkFitch, and we typically don't devote our precious time to discussion of bands we don't dig, but the headline for their Killers item this morning was delish. Observe.

In Memoriam: Syd Barrett (1946-2006)

News here.

July 10, 2006

YouTube Rodeo: Radiohead "Motion Picture Soundtrack"

If Radiohead packs a more powerful emotional punch to the gut, we can't think of what it is right now. The Christopher O'Riley version even more so, surprisingly. Anyway, if you go out tomorrow for the new Thom and it makes you yearn for some old Thom, we've got you covered. Well, YouTube does, anyway.

Review: Darker My Love | Darker My Love

Darker My Love -- Darker My LoveEqual parts Brian Jonestown Massacre and Jesus And Mary Chain, fuzz and reverb, forceful rhythm and dreamy drone, L.A.-based foursome Darker My Love's self-titled set is an unmitigated rock record the aural stripe of which we haven't heard in some time. The band previously released an EP and as soon as Darker My Love was in the can last summer it earned raves here from the lovably acerbic tastemakers over at Buddyhead. The record, which is a recent :: clicky clicky :: Now Sound Fave (see righthand column), found a home with Hollywood-based indie Dangerbird, which will issue it Aug. 22. The set crests high upon an obviously different, more rootsy section of the wave of shoegaze revival that has buoyed recent releases from east coast phenoms including Asobi Seksu and Dirty On Purpose.

Featuring former members of Nerve Agents and The Distillers, Darker My Love distinguishes itself via a reverence to classic rock's blues underpinnings and psychedelic expansiveness. If you are on the west coast you've got 11 chances to see the band perform these 12 solid tracks between now and when the record hits racks. Check out the dates at the band's MySpace casa here. Dangerbird is offering up the narcotic and hip-shaking album closer "Summer Is Here" as a download. Check it out.

Darker My Love -- "Summer Is Here" -- Darker My Love
[right-click and save as]

Free Range Music: JAMC, Sufjan Stevens, Squarepusher

Jesus And Mary Chain -- Psychocandy>> As we said in this week's episode of Rack And Opinion, it's a surprisingly big week for new releases considering it is almost the dead of the summer. So it should be no surprise that this week's batch of AOL Music pre-release album streams is piping hot, poppin' fresh. Or as we said in the '80s, it's "boss." We've already linked to NME's stream of Radiohead fronter Thom Yorke's solo record, but AOL is giving you another shot in case you feel like today's review at PorkFork is harshing your mellow. But after hitting a few streams this afternoon, we've determined that the real deal this week is the second coming of Sufjan Steven's Illinois, otherwise known as The Avalanche: Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album. It's got a few additional versions of "Chicago," and we're giving all of them the thumbs up. While the whole set is aural manna, our favorite jam has to be "No Man's Land." It is perfect AM gold acid paisley baroque layered crazy sugary dreamy pop in Wonka-vision. The song is like a fractal. Of cuteness.

The other stream we really enjoyed was AOL's amalgamation of various cuts from the Rhino DualDisc reissues of Jesus And Mary Chain's catalog. Is there anything more glorious than the notoriously surly Scotsmen's "Happy When It Rains"? How hard does "Blues From A Gun" rock? If you don't remember, or if, Yahweh forbid, you're not familiar with the JAMC catalog, AOL is here for you. Those and other interesting streams are linked below.

Thom Yorke -- The Eraser -- XL

Sufjan Stevens -- The Avalanche: Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album -- Asthmatic Kitty

James Figurine -- Mistake, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake -- Plug Research

Jesus And Mary Chain -- Reissues Sampler -- Rhino

>> Wanna hear a new track from drill 'n' bass luminary Squarepusher? Hit this link to the Warp Records front page -- it's streaming right there, dig?

>> Hey, did you know defunct early '90s D.C. indie rock act Black Tambourine has a MySpace page?

July 9, 2006

Going Places: Guest Posting At Tiny Idols

Whorl -- Maybe It's Better b/w Christmas -- Slumberland DRYL-11We'd like to point out for the record that we've put up a guest post here at Tiny Idols, wherein we pay homage to one of the greatest Slumberland singles, DRYL-11, better known as Whorl's "Maybe It's Better" b/w "Christmas," and where we've posted a poppy and crackly rip of the A-side for download. The song is one of our favorites, to the extent that our college band Torgo covered it some 12 years ago. We are loathe to put on display our own musical abilities, or perhaps more accurately a lack thereof, but since we're already pointing you toward our Tiny Idol guest post, we might as well vainly let you know that you can stream the Torgo version of the Whorl track at the former band's obligatory posthumous MySpace site here. Obviously the real deal from Whorl is superior, but perhaps some will find it interesting to hear another take on the otherwise awesome number.

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 7.11.06

Sufjan Stevens -- The Avalanche: Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois AlbumWelcome back to Rack And Opinion. What with the celebration of the birth of our nation last week, we took that week off. And you didn't miss much. But lo and behold, in the dead of summer we've got a pretty big release date, not just domestically, but also internationally. We'll concentrate solely on the domestic titles this week, the biggest one arguably being Thom Yorke's maiden solo voyage with The Eraser [listen here]. Sufjan Stevens disciples may quibble, asserting that this week's big release is the issuance of The Avalanche: Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album, a companion piece to the wildly successful Illinois concept record. We readily admit we were astonishingly late to the game on Mr. Stevens (we're overly suspicious of blogger fawning, and sometimes we're right and sometimes we're wrong), to the extent that we had to be sat down by The Monkey over pitchers of beer at Christmas time and talked to about what a great thing we were missing. We've since been listening to Illinois quite a bit and are big fans, and we promise here not to sleep on The Avalanche. If you haven't heard "The Henney Buggy Band" yet, right-click, save as and revel.

Stevens, et al.,'s Asthmatic Kitty has another trick up their collective sleeve this week too with Shapes And Sizes, whose record we've reviewed here and which band served as our first Show Us Yours guests here. Our favorite Shapes And Sizes joint is "Boy, You Shouldn't Have," but if you want to check 'em out how about right-clicking and saving as the number "Wilderness"? Those records and the rest of our picks for best best this week are listed below. Links go to relevant commercial opportunities provided by our former backup goalkeepers over at Insound.

James Figurine -- Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake -- Plug Research
The Jesus & Mary Chain -- Automatic -- Rhino
The Jesus & Mary Chain -- Darklands -- Rhino
The Jesus & Mary Chain -- Psychocandy -- Rhino
Plaid -- Greedy Baby -- Warp
Shapes And Sizes -- Shapes And Sizes -- Asthmatic Kitty
Sufjan Stevens -- The Avalanche -- Asthmatic Kitty
Thom Yorke -- The Eraser -- XL

July 6, 2006

YouTube Rodeo: American Hardcore trailers

American HardcoreLast fall we were asked to make a 10-song mix CD that epitomized our conception of "Rock." Later we were asked to select one of those songs as representative of that same conception. We chose Bad Brains' "Pay To Cum." It seems somehow meaningful -- we'll let you draw your own conclusions -- that the same song is used as the soundtrack for one of the two trailers we found for the documentary American Hardcore while scouring the Internets this evening. It's the one with the YouTube link below.

The second trailer is substantially more polished and is posted here at the MySpace page set up to promote the movie, which in case you didn't know is based on the dubiously edited but wholly awesome book of the same name. We consider it a must-read, if only because it burst a lot of myths and misconceptions for us when we read it. Until we read the book, hardcore in our minds was based primarily on ideas we'd formed about second and third-wave straightedge hardcore, despite our knowledge of the SST and DC scenes that preceded it. Anyway, the book gives a much more rounded and critical view of the youth movement. It's a detailed, firsthand, warts-and-all account of what in retrospect sadly seems a pretty narrow and tragically misguided phenomenon. That doesn't make the romanticized recollections much less enticing. We're looking forward to finally seeing the movie. In the meantime dig on these trailers.

Today's Hotness: Lemonheads, Meneguar, Ted Leo

Evan Dando of The Lemonheads>> The big news today was new details about the forthcoming Lemonheads record, which we were alerted to via email blast from EvanDando.Co.UK. The self-titled effort will be released Sept. 25 in the U.K. and the 26th in the US. The Lemonheads is the band's eighth record and its first in 10 years, since the release of Car Button Cloth. Of particular interest to :: clicky clicky :: readers is the fact that Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis provides so-called "foot-on-monitor" guitar work on two of the 11 new tracks, "No Backbone" and "Steve's Boy." In case you've been sleeping under a rock, Dando announced he would be reviving the Lemonheads brand earlier this year or late last year and recruited members of pop-punk legends The Descendents to act as rhythm section. More recently, in April Vagrant announced it had signed The Lemonheads. We're looking forward to the new joint particularly keenly because the band's pre-Ray stuff is our favorite.

>> Holy crap. How can Pfork review the Meneguar record I Was Born At Night [Troubleman] and not mention the anthem of 2005, "The Temp"?! We're willing to accept that they think the record is only a middling effort (Pfork has been wrong before, after all). But we're not willing to accept that the snarling fury of "The Temp," an MP3 of which is even linked off the bottom of the review, made zero impression on the Pfork scribe. Dang. For what it's worth, here is our review of the Meneguar reissue.

>> According to PunkNews here, indie phenom Ted Leo thinks Elton John is a racist jerk. We think Elton John has gone a bit batty, and this just falls under that umbrella.

>> College students to new and free Napster: You suck.

July 5, 2006

Industry Watchdog: Sonic Youth, UMGI, Gawker Media

Industry Watchdog>> Here’s something we didn't know until we read it over here at Zoilus: Rather Ripped was Sonic Youth's final record on its contract with Geffen, and apparently Universal does not plan to re-up with the act. So who's going to snap up the band? Do they even want or need to be snapped up? They could probably release new recordings on Smells Like... or SYR and cut one of those distro deals with ADA or somebody a la The Clap. Anyway, with the Youth and Radiohead potentially in positions to make really interesting choices about homes for their next projects, music just might be getting exciting again. Our guess for Radiohead? The forthcoming record gets released in a one-off with XL, who is releasing fronter Thom Yorke's don't-call-me-a-solo-set solo set next week.

>> What's incredibly unexciting if not downright ludicrous is Universal Music Group International's announcement today it was moving to three tiers of CD releases, as covered here at Billboard. Basically the lowest tier is the bare bones CD, the middle tier is the sort of CD release we've all come to know and disdain and the third tier is some sort of premium version of the disc. The details aren't all that important because the most obvious problem hasn't been addressed: pricing. The basic tier in USD still has a suggested retail of $12.70. The deluxe, "super jewel box" version of an album carries a chortle-inducing suggested price in dollars of $25. We recognize that music has always been substantially more expensive abroad. But we also recognize that we try not to pay more than $10 for a single CD if at all possible, even if it means buying used off the Internets. Our prediction: this initiative will fail, or at least European CD pricing will eventually fall in line with U.S. pricing.

>> Word on the street, errr, well, here at ClipTip, is that Gawker Media is about to roll out a music blog. Guess they didn't learn anything from the music biz -- it's really hard to compete with free, dogs. Although, for the right price we'll be happy to come on board and ride out the storm. But we bet you won't be online as long as, say, Webnoize.com.

July 4, 2006

YouTube Rodeo: Thom Yorke's The Eraser Promo Blitz

On a hunch we checked YouTube to see if the promo blitz for The Eraser was popping up anywhere else. Our hunch, it turned out, was quite correct, as these clips were posted just 12 hours ago. Above is a link to a very informative seven-minute interview with Thom Yorke concerning the record. What will you learn? Here are some bits: In case it wasn't readily apparent to you, there is an environmental theme to the record, and the most explicit tune relating to the theme is track three, "The Clock." "And It Rained All Night" was written during a sleepless, rainy night in New York and continues to explore Yorke's environmental concerns. The earliest song Yorke wrote for the set was the title track that opens the record. Besides the interview, there are four additional animated clips of about 30 seconds each for "Harrowdown Hill," "Black Swan," "The Clock" and "The Eraser." We're thrilled for this record to come out, and it will be the first time in months we've gone to the record shoppe on the release date to pick it up. We can't recall how many times we've surmised that some release will end up being our favorite of 2006 so far this year, but at least for now we feel like Yorke's effort is the one to beat. You can already order it from the XL web site here. And oh yeah, have you seen this man?