October 29, 2007

Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, Lilys, Dirty On Purpose

>> If you're strolling around Manhattan next month and you think you see Birmingham, UK-based indie rock geniuses Johnny Foreigner mucking about, you're not crazy. The trio plans to record a full-length record with heavy rock producer The Machine there next month. Said producer's credits include work with King Crimson and Clutch. An interesting choice for a producer, to be sure. If given our choice we would have selected J. Robbins, but we are excited to hear what the striking pairing will bring about for the band. Anyway, if you also happen to see us walking around Manhattan in a month, it's because we just bought tickets to see Johnny Foreigner's U.S. debut -- opening for the hotly tipped Cardiff septet Los Campesinos! and the Delaware-spawned Spinto Band at Bowery Ballroom Friday, Nov. 30 -- scheduled for the tail-end of their stint in NYC. We are excited to break our extended drought vis a vis Manhattan, but even more so we are excited to see Johnny Foreigner live. As we have reported several times before, the band will release the EP Arcs Across The City on Best Before Records in the UK Nov. 21. An interesting sidenote: earlier we bemoaned the fact that kids are going to have to pay import prices for the set (although it is worth it). But we've since noticed that EMusic carries one Best Before title, so perhaps Johnny Foreigner will make a sidelong entrance into the U.S. market via the digital music storefront. Time will tell. Here's some of their pre-existing rock music, taken again from the 15-song demo freely available via their MySpazzzzz.

Johnny Foreigner -- "Yes! You Talk Too Fast" -- I Like You Sometimes Mostly Late At Never [Demos]
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>> If you aren't "friends" with the Lilys on MySpace than you probably don't know that the band is weighing tour dates for 2008, as alluded to in this bulletin. Could that mean a new record is in the offing? Will the band finally make it to Boston again? Inquiring minds want to know. Another pressing Lilys-related question is this: it appears Spin-Art Records has quietly gone the way of the Betamax. So who owns the rights to the master recordings? And what's it going to take to get deluxe reissues of Spin-Art's Lilys catalog, comprised of the unparalleled recordings In The Presence Of Nothing, A Brief History Of Amazing Letdowns and Eccsame The Photon Band. Someone make it happen.

>> Word from the Dirty On Purpose camp is the Like Bees EP will now street in January. You can listen to a few of the tracks at the band's MySpace hacienda and on Facebook, if you're into that sort of thing. We reviewed the band's recent show at Cambridge's Middle East Rock Club here.

>> If you don't think this is the top item on our Christmas list, then you are silly.

October 28, 2007

Meet North London's Young Pop Fellows, The Video Nasties

The Video Nasties -- Karl Blau EP
Keep Hope Inside's excellent recent series [1,2,3,4] highlighting UK music blogs and bloggers helped us stuff our RSS reader with new feeds, while at the same time hipping us to many great bands. One such act is The Video Nasties, and by surfing around the various blogs mentioned in the series last month we were able to score almost an album's worth of the London-based quintet's infectious, spiky indie rock. Dare we say The Video Nasties' synthy power pop stylings remind us a tad of our favorite semi-lost, wholly under-rated new wave act The Yachts (one time tour support for Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson which recorded for Stiff and Radar; Wikipedia entry). Anyhoo, the teenaged Video Nasties release Monday in the UK its Karl Blau EP on Way Out West. The band previously released and sold out of a double A-sided single "3 New Ideas" b/w "I Wanna." The four tracks in the new collection were recorded in a shed in July 2007; that's in keeping with some of the tracks we've found out on the Internets tagged "Shed Sessions 07" that pack significant verve, but are not included on the EP. Meaning The Video Nasties are sitting on scads of bona fide hits including "Accessory," "Plus One," "Shower," and "Little Flickers" (we think the band gave most of these away gratis via their MySpace yert earlier this year), so don't come crying to us when they are touring the States and they are huge and no one told you ahead of time and you're not on the list and the publicists won't text you back and et cetera and et cetera. We're telling you now.

Speaking of tours, The Video Nasties are about to embark on a series of dates with Icelandic wunderkinds Jakobinarina, who we hastily referenced here last week and who are also quite young (we think we read they are all 15 or 16?!). The Nasties had to bag out on the first date because they will be recording a session for Steve Lamacq and Radio 1 that day. Here's the track "Accessory," which we believe is one of the aforementioned unreleased demos and which was first made available exclusively in July by online UK 'zine Transparent Magazine here.

The Video Nasties -- "Accessory" -- Demo
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[buy The Video Nasties' Karl Blau EP from Rough Trade Shops here]

The Video Nasties: Internets | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

October 27, 2007

Logorrhea, Pathos and Superman Revenge Squad

In March, when writing about Meneguar, we broke the hard news to you that Meneguar was both better than your band and better than your favorite band. On this rainy Saturday we are going to tell you to just hang it up altogether. Superman Revenge Squad's Ben Parker is a better songwriter than you and just about anyone, so there's little point in soldiering on with dreams of recording for a mid-sized indie. It is with surprising frequency that Mr. Parker lands a lyric that is excoriatingly personal and pointedly universal in its impact. "Gonna ride around this city on the circle line, going round and round and back again until you feel OK," he plots during the resolution of his song "Women Hating Internet Pornography." Mr. Parker, the man behind the defunct bands Tempertwig and Nosferatu D2 (bands we wrote about here and here respectively), writes remarkable, wordy songs so intense and with sentiments rendered so diamond-hard that the songs seem poised to explode under their own volatile pressure.

Wordier than Morrissey, and dedicated more to emotional impact than rhyming convention and meter, Parker's progression over the years is notable for a steady reduction: Tempertwig was a power trio, Nosferatu D2 a duo, and now, with Superman Revenge Squad, it is just Parker and acousic guitar. And while our inner rock fan is thrilled by the power and release of the Tempertwig recordings and the explosive drumming that punctuates Nosferatu D2's tunes, the dramatic intensity of Parker's current stripped-down incarnation is undeniable. None of this would be the case if it weren't for the astonishing songwriting and lyricism. Superman Revenge Squad songs are bitter and confessional-sounding. If not semi-autobiographical, the songs certainly reference continually Parker's surroundings and fixation with pop music. And of course, in Parker's music romance never goes right: "With just three bullets in a gun, I could bring down the houses of Parliament, but I could never bring back your love." Superman Revenge Squad's hometown gig this past Tuesday was recorded and the songs are posted for free download here. The recordings are excellent and we recommend you acquire them all. Here are two to get you started.

Superman Revenge Squad -- "Been A Private Detective For 17 Months" -- Live At The Green Dragon 10/23/07
Superman Revenge Squad -- "Funny Thing You Said" -- Live At The Green Dragon 10/23/07
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Superman Revenge Squad: Interweb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

October 23, 2007

Where You Been: Haywood's Second Posthumous Release In Store

Haywood -- As Long As There Track I will Not Go BackTo hear the band tell it, Haywood has been wasting time just negotiating Times Square crowds. It has been quite some time since we made mention of the late, lamented indie rock dynamos, an act that originally hailed from our hometown -- much like The Fong. The latest word is that Haywood's second posthumous release As Long As There Is Track, I Will Not Go Back is finally for sale here via Insound. Since the band has been selling the record via its MySpace dojo since earlier this year, this is a minor convenience for the already Interweb-savvy. Even so, As Long As There Is Track... was one of our favorite records of 2006 (we had a pre-release copy), so wider distribution is definitely a good thing.

To prime your earbuds for record purchasing, here is an unreleased Haywood track. "Perils Of Fame" was one of several excellent numbers Haywood recorded with a namey indie producer in the summer of 1994. As the band was largely on hiatus from 1994 to 1996 those recordings never saw any sort of release, not even on the full-length debut odds and sods collection Model For A Monument released on Magwheel in 1997. We're also offering "A Pair Of Tragic Paper Kites" from the new record, since the band is already offering it at MySpace. And for good measure we are throwing in "Crosswords," originally from the Great Cats Give Chase cassette and subsequently released on Model. We include this final song because it is awesome and because -- if we recall correctly -- it was recorded on a four track, but still rocks most steadfastly.

Haywood -- "Perils Of Fame" -- Unreleased
Haywood -- "Crosswords" -- Model For A Monument
Haywood -- "A Pair Of Tragic Paper Kites" -- As Long As There Is Track...
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[buy As Long As There Is Track, I Will Not Go Back from Insound here]

Haywood: Interweb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

October 21, 2007

One For Lance: Nostalgic For Nothing

J ChurchThe message board buzz is that the extended illness that has plagued J Church fronter Lance Hahn for years has finally taken his life. J Church's 1995 compilation record Nostalgic For Nothing is our favorite J Church record, filled as it is with pop-punk hit after pop-punk hit after pop-punk hit and a bunch of excellent covers. We played it ad nauseum during our college radio days. Here's the title track. Indie music has lost an amazing songwriter. Lance, you're the pawn and you're the king...

J Church -- "Nostalgic For Nothing" -- Nostalgic For Nothing
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[buy J Church records from Newbury Comics here]

Today's Hotness: Timothy Bracy's Collection Agency, Yah Mos Def

Timothy Bracy's Collection Agency>> News of former Mendoza Line fronter Tim Bracy's new project almost slipped by us earlier this week. Mr. Bracy has re-christened his combo -- which features many of his former Mendoza Line cohorts with one obvious exception -- Timothy Bracy's Collection Agency. You can check in on the Agency's goings-on at this recently commissioned MySpace vessel. Bracy apparently played an acoustic show this weekend as part of the popular College Music Journal music seminar, or whatever they call it now, and we hear talk from informed-sounding talkers that there may be some tour dates to speak of soon. In the meantime, jump back in the wayback machine with us and have a listen to the first Mendoza Line "hit," the original version of "Dollars To Donuts" from the band's debut long-player Poems To A Pawnshop, released on KinderCore 10 years ago. We reviewed a Mendoza Line show in May here; we reviewed the final Mendoza Line release 30 Year Low/Final Reflections Of The Legendary Malcontent here.

The Mendoza Line -- "Dollars To Donuts" -- Poems To A Pawnshop
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[buy Mendoza Line records from Newbury Comics here]

>> Cops shut down their shows. Rupert Murdoch deletes their web pages. Still, it occurred to us after we referenced Yah Mos Def's excellent "The Beat That Make The Natives Nod" last week that it may have moved under the radar for some when it crossed our Internets-enabled transom a couple years ago. We post it for your edification below. My Pal God Records will issue YMD's debut full-length recording Excuse Me, This Is Yah Mos Def sometime before the end of the year, if all goes according to plan. One of the best things about "The Beat That Makes The Natives Nod" is when one of the emcees exhorts you to "Be awesome!" between the rhymes of the chorus. What makes that even bester is that we just learned from the band's bio at My Pal God that Be Awesome is in fact the name of one of the emcees.

Yah Mos Def -- "The Beat That Makes The Natives Nod" -- Demo '05
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October 18, 2007

That Was The Show That Was: Spoon | The Roxy

SpoonIndie fans who have been paying attention know that The Roxy isn't really where Spoon wanted to be Wednesday night in Boston, but the gentrifi-lifestylifi-famili-cation of Lansdowne Street got in the way of the Austin, Texas-based quartet's plans to sell a lot of tickets at Avalon last night, as this Boston Globe article helpfully pointed out a few weeks back. The fact that recent code violations or something at The Roxy had gotten the club's capacity knocked down from 1,300 to 775 meant that Spoon was going to be afforded the... errr... opportunity to sell about 1200 fewer tickets. The upside for the indie rock fan is that is 1,300 fewer tall dudes, or chatty Cathys, or camera clickers, or phone talkers, bar line cloggers, etc. The show was sold out by the time we checked the night before, and we expect it was sold out long, long before that.

A large reason for that is the fact that Spoon has been a band indie rock fans can really set their watches to for more than a decade. With the release of 2002's Kill The Moonlight the band entered the enchanted realm of critical darling-ocity, and the foursome hasn't looked back. This years's awesomely titled and No. 10-charting Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a triumph, a rock record that you can listen to and enjoy a million times over. In this way, Spoon has become dangerously close to becoming, well, beer. When was the last time you had a bad one? You kind of take beer for granted now, don't you? Perhaps what sets Spoon apart from America's favorite beverage is there may be some bad beers out there -- but there's no bad Spoon.

The fact the Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is so good means it should have been little surprise that the band would kill live, but you never know, right? Needless to say the act exceeded our expectations by blasting through about 75 minutes of taut, gritty, cigarette-length tunes. The set began with "Black Like Me" at 9:15PM and the short encore ended with a mind-erasingly good, breakneck-paced "Jonathan Fisk." Along the way the band served up much of the new record (although we don't recall hearing our favorite cut, "Finer Feelings," or "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case") and scads of hits from the back catalog, including "I Turn My Camera On," "The Two Sides Of Monsieur Valentine," "The Delicate Place" and a ludicrously spirited rendition of "My Fitted Shirt" from 2001's Girls Can Tell. Last night's take on the Motown-channelling tune "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" felt particularly Stonesy.

The highlight of the set was an especially ethereal take on "The Ghost Of You Lingers" from the new record, which featured Mr. Daniel pleading into the microphone while flanked by Eric Harvey and Rob Pope pounding out the ascending melody on two keyboards. Dramatic lighting -- which featured heavily throughout the night and was a nice touch of tasteful professionalism -- alternately flashed a thick green hue across Mr. Daniel, who eventually strapped on Mr. Pope's bass guitar to take the song out. It was hair-raising.

One song that felt a little soft was the exceedingly catchy "The Underdog." The band performed the number without the prominent horn section featured in the recording and the result was amusingly thin. It was hard not to notice Daniel turn to drummer Jim Eno and smile as the first horn riff should have been sounding out. Throughout the set at least one soundman was kept very busy manually riding the fader controlling the degree to which Daniel's vocal was drenched in reverb, and between that shifting aural perspective and the really quite good use of lights (complementary colors were often projected against the band and the white glass-paneled background -- when the reds and blues were paired it was like looking through 3-D glasses) the show was all the more dynamic.

And, for the record, Mr. Daniel did make a crack about how "roomy" the venue was because of the limitations that had been imposed on capacity. "It's a fire hazard, right?" he quipped, before tearing into another track. Spoon continues touring through early November (full dates below), and if you are already thinking as far ahead as the band is, perhaps you'd like to ring in 2008 with them in Chicago? NPR will broadcast the band's upcoming show at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 club; the broadcast begins at 10PM and you can find more details here.

Spoon -- "The Underdog" -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon -- "Idiot Driver" -- Telephono
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[stream Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga at the Merge Records web site here]
[buy Spoon recordings from Newbury Comics here]

Spoon: Interweb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

10/19 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Electric Factory
10/20 -- New York, NY -- Roseland Ballroom
10/22 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club
10/24 -- Asheville, NC -- The Orange Peel
10/26 -- Nashville, TN -- Cannery Ballroom
10/27 -- New Orleans, LA -- Voodoo Island/City Park
11/01 -- Houston, TX -- Warehouse Live
11/02 -- Dallas, TX -- House Of Blues
11/08 -- Tallahassee, FL -- The Moon
11/09 -- Orlando, FL -- Firestone
11/10 -- Jacksonville, FL -- Metropolitan Park
12/31 -- Chicago, IL -- Metro

October 15, 2007

Review: The Trolleyvox | Your Secret Safe/Luzerne [MP3s]

The Trolleyvox -- Your Secret Safe and LuzerneIf there is such a thing as a perfect release date, Philadelphia-based duo The Trolleyvox may be hitting it Tuesday (after a bit of jumping around). The power-pop/folk rock concern's forthcoming double record is an ideal soundtrack to cool weather and autumn weekends. The set splits power pop into one disc, Your Secret Safe, and lighter, folker (tip o' the hat to Westerberg) material onto a second disc called Luzerne. The records are as different and the same as Saturdays and Sundays. Perhaps we're running a little far afield here, but our point is that The Trolleyvox's new discs are cut of the same cloth, despite stylistic and tonal differences that make for the aforementioned logical division. What unifies the two records is an infallible patience and pacing that is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of Andrew Chalfen's confidence and competence as a songwriter and guitarist. Singer Beth Filla is no slouch, either.

The division of the more rock and more folk musics into separate discs makes Your Secret Safe even more potent than The Trolleyvox's 2006 set The Trolleyvox Present The Karaoke Meltdowns [review]. And no note, beat or lyric is wasted. If you are going to make a power pop record, you are obviously paying a stylistic debt to The Who in the '60s, and Chalfen gives a nod to Mr. Townshend with an exuberant cover of "Our Love Was" (from The Who Sell Out). Another facet of Chalfen's '60s influence is apparent in the twelve-string led, Eastern-flavored and hypnotic nodder "Jean Jacket." The best lyrical turn may come during "Rabbit In The Sun": "panic on the inbound / see him all around town / wire coming unwound." The tune touts a punchy 6/4 verse that is a real lapel-grabber. Your Secret Safe ends surprisingly and strongly with the glorious extended shoegazer jam "Cricket In Euphoria," a song whose infinitely mellow and slack recession into reverb and nirvana is a joy to hear over and over again. When the guitar washes and panning start swirling in the eighth minute the hair may stand up on the back of your neck. Luzerne, unsurprisingly, is more acoustic and quiet. It's almost 50% instrumentals. The short, melodic rumination "Midvale" blurs the line between folk and Classical guitar solo. "Stomping Grounds" is punctuated by a melancholy violin that is remarkably evocative.

Transit Of Venus releases the double disc set tomorrow. Better still, the label is letting us give away a copy, so the first person to send us an email with the subject line "Wire Coming Unwound" will receive the records for free from :: clicky clicky ::. We'll update this post as soon as we have a winner. [UPDATE: We have a winner -- Congrats Ray.] There are no losers here, however. Everybody can download a few MP3s below, and both records can be streamed at Last.FM.

The Trolleyvox -- "I Call On You" -- Your Secret Safe
The Trolleyvox -- "Jean Jacket" -- Your Secret Safe
The Trolleyvox -- "Stomping Grounds" -- Luzerne
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[buy Your Secret Safe and Luzerne from Newbury Comics here]

The Trolleyvox: Interweb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

10/19 -- The Khyber -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/08 -- World Cafe Live -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/12 -- Knitting Factory Tap Bar -- New York, New York
11/23 -- TBA -- Yakima, Washington
11/24 -- TBA -- Seattle, Washington
11/25 -- TBA -- Portland, Oregon
11/26 -- TBA -- San Francisco, California
11/27 -- TBA -- Los Angeles, California
11/28 -- TBA -- Upland, California
11/29 -- The Wire -- Upland, California
11/30 -- TBA -- Tucson, Arizona
12/01 -- Casa Blanca -- Phoenix, Arizona

October 13, 2007

Today's Hotness: Modest Mouse, Johnny Foreigner, Jakobinarina

>> Little of what Modest Mouse has done in the ensuing 12 years or so has equaled to our ears their amazing first single, "Broke" b/w "Whenever I Breathe Out You Breathe In." We capital L Love the song "Broke," and probably listened to it more than anything else in 1996. Imagine our surprise to see Modest Mouse performing the tune live in a clip over at AOL Music. The original recording is perhaps the bitterest, most heartbroken three minutes Modest Mouse has ever mustered. This AOL version is a little "soft rock," but you should do what you can to acquire the original single and the version of the song from the excellent bootleg Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again. On the upside, this live performance features a lot of very interesting guitar work from Johnny Marr.

>> You didn't think we'd just stop talking about Johnny Foreigner, did you? The Birmingham, UK trio of indie rock heroes has just announced a hard release date for its debut EP Arcs Across The City. Best Before Records will issue the six-, errrr... seven-song set Nov. 26. There's no American release date, we suspect because there is no American label or distro, so you'll need to hoard away excess beer money to pay for the import. Apparently the lucky few in England have already received promos, and the early buzz is all raves, predictably. This is especially predictable because Johnny Foreigner is streaming most of the EP, or at least most of the songs from the EP (but perhaps different versions) at its MySpace wigwam here. We're most excited by talk that the quiet ballad "All Mosely Gardens" is included as a secret track, because this song is stunning, amazing, the bee's knees, et cetera and et cetera. Track listing, you ask? This is what the message board kids are saying:

1. Champagne Girls I Have Known
2. The End And Everything After
3. Suicide Pact, Yeh?
4. Yes! You Talk Too Fast
5. Sofacore
6. This Band Is Killing Us
7. All Mosely Gardens (secret track! shhhhhh!)

The package itself features pop-up art and sounds pretty amazing. Anything else? The band received an advance which it is using to spruce up their gear and to book studio time for rehearsing and writing new songs. The band already has a million songs, so we are not sure what use they have for any more, but more power to 'em. Johnny Foreigner has also apparently been chosen to promote Levis jeans? Well, if you gotta shill for something, we guess that is probably the best possible choice. At least until they can get work promoting Pac Man, which is due for a resurgence in 5, 4, 3... Anyway, here is a version of the single "Sometimes In The Bullring" for your listening pleasure.

Johnny Foreigner -- "Sometimes In The Bullring" -- 3/12/2007 Version
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[stalk the Best Before Records site to wait for pre-orders to begin for Arcs Across The City here]

>> Holy cow. Jakobinarina. So great. Check them out at Another Form Of Relief here.

>> The release date of the forthcoming Bob Mould set has been announced. According to Pun Canoes, District Line will be issued by Anti on Feb. 5. More details and a track list here.

>> We love how Mr. Catbirdseat offers a much-needed piss-take now and again to keep everyone on their toes. Observe.

>> We refuse to believe that the only way to get rid of all the padded mailers in our house is to throw them away. Are you a small indie label or band about to do a big CD mailing? If so, consider reusing our padded mailers. We will send them to you for free, whereever you are, as long as it is in the United States. We will thank your band or label in this blog for taking them and refusing to let them line a landfill.

October 11, 2007

From The Bottom Of The Sea: Kam Fong

Kam Fong -- Save YourselfTen years ago this month, three guys completed an incredible rock record that they recorded themselves in a small suburban living room, a reel-to-reel and Mackie mixing deck crammed on a salvaged school desk in a corner by a closet. The record was never released. We had always wanted them to call it From The Bottom Of The Sea, because if there was ever a rock band-equivalent of Godzilla, this band is it. But the truth is their record was never titled. We've posted a couple songs from the set in the past. On this dark and stormy October night we think it is time to release it into the wilds of the Internet in its entirety. Every song is an anthem, every lyric quotable as a threat or epitaph. Recommended if you like Black Flag, KISS, Don Caballero, June Of 44, et cetera. Recommended if you do NOT like The Man. This is Kam Fong's unreleased 1997 record.

1. King Of Prussia
2. Vulcan Death Grip
3. Strapmatch
4. AFC
5. Smoke N Dust
6. Eleven
7. On Top, Rockin' It
8. Get Behind Me (Satan)
9. Tied To The Mast Or Hung By The Balls
10. Harry Dean Stanton
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Visit Kam Fong on MySpace

October 10, 2007

Review: Bob Mould | Circle Of Friends [DVD]

More so than any other concert film we've watched in recent memory, the new Bob Mould DVD "Circle Of Friends" conveys the feeling that you are actually at the show. We don't mean to say that the experience is flawless; it feels a lot like being close to the stage, but maybe off to one side. This is primarily because, curiously, "Circle Of Friends" doesn't feature a single straight-on shot of Mr. Mould while he is performing. All the tight "one shots" of the storied songwriter are shot up from the floor of the venue. It's an oddity in an otherwise very good film.

Shot at the final gig of a six-week tour in 2005 at the 9:30 Club in Mould's most recent hometown Washington, D.C., "Circle Of Friends" captures Mould reconciling with his guitar-heavy past. The show is surprisingly devoid of the dance-oriented sounds that captivated the former Husker Du and Sugar fronter in recent years, despite the fact that his DJ partner Richard Morel (a/k/a just plain old Morel) plays keys as part of the touring band. Rounding out the combo is ace Fugazi skin pounder Brendan Canty and the very able bassist and backing singer Jason Narducy, whose contributions go a long way to fill out the live sound.

Another thing we didn't expect was the pre-show interviews with each of the players, which combine into a little featurette about how Mould rounded up the members of his backing band. But the real show here is the combo's vibrant, angsty performances. It takes a few songs for Mould and Co. to really nail the groove (which is too bad, as cataclysmic opener "The Act We Act," the lead cut on Sugar's electrifying debut and a :: clicky clicky :: favorite, would have shone more brightly later in the set) but once that happens -- around the solo in "Paralyzed" -- the performance is a series of air-tight, no-nonsense (no stage patter, either), gloriously heavy rock songs.

Bob Mould -- Circle Of Friends DVDHighlights include the surprising guitar work on the fretboard during the solo of "Hoover Dam" and the slowed-down, subdued version of "Hardly Getting Over It." The quiet treatment for that latter tune deftly sets up well-time dynamic explosions in the last verse. And then the song steps directly into a one-two punch of Husker Du classics, "Could You Be The One?" and then a soaring version of "I Apologize."

An insert in the DVD case promotes Mould's forthcoming set District Line, which will be released in January on Anti. According to the ad, the record contains "memorable melodies, heart-heavy lyrics, plenty of guitars." It's little surprise that that's exactly what "Circle Of Friends" delivers as well. Mould began a tour promoting the DVD release in Chicago Tuesday night; there were apparently some problems with "DVD playback," according to one his most recent blog posts, but we're certain any kinks will be worked out by the time Mould hits the Paradise Lounge in Boston Nov. 5. Full promo tour dates are below. Buy "Circle Of Friends" from MVD right here.

Bob Mould: Internets | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

10/10 -- Bryant Lake Bowl -- Minneapolis, Minnesota
10/12 -- Chop Suey -- Seattle, Washington
10/14 -- Doug Fir Lounge -- Portland, Oregon
10/16 -- Herbst Theater -- San Francisco, California
10/17 -- The Roxy Theater -- Hollywood, California
10/20 -- Lincoln Theater -- Washington, Washington DC
10/20 -- 9:30 Club -- Washington, Washington DC
11/02 -- Highline Ballroon -- New York, New York
11/05 -- Paradise Lounge -- Boston, Massachusetts
11/08 -- Gravity Lounge -- Charlottesville, Virginia
11/10 -- John & Peter’s -- New Hope
11/11 -- World Cafe Live -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/17 -- 9:30 Club -- Washington, DC
12/08 -- Highline Ballroom -- New York, New York
12/15 -- 9:30 Club -- Washington, DC

October 8, 2007

Today's Hotness: Comedy Minus One and Karl Hendricks Trio

Karl Hendricks Trio -- Buick ElectraDuring the last six weeks we didn't have the time to impart a number of things. One such thing is the launch of the new indie label Comedy Minus One, which is helmed by WPRB radio personality and My Pal God Records honcho Jon Solomon. The maiden releases of Comedy Minus One are the CD version of Bottomless Pit's solemn debut Hammer Of The Gods [EMusic/ITunes] and digital versions of Karl Hendricks Trio's Buick Electrica [E/I] and Karl Hendricks Rock Band's The World Says [E/I]. You may recall we reviewed the latter record here.

But what brings us together today is our love for the piccolo snare-packed recording Buick Electra, released in 1992 and supported with touring in 1993. One of those tour dates was at Princeton University's Terrace Club, where we first saw Mr. Hendricks and band, and they were awesome. Now that we think about it, this was likely the first real "indie rock show" we ever saw. The savvy Mr. Solomon has since noted that there was no digital version of Buick Electra available in the marketplace, and sensing a not insignificant amount of pent-up KHT demand, he's put his money where his mouth is to make the set available in conveniently ordered and decodable ones and zeroes via the aforementioned digital music storefronts.

Now you might be asking, if you are one of the thousand people or so cool enough to already own Buick Electra: hey, is this the same record that I've had on CD for a decade, or has it been remastered and rendered into quadrophonic sound for enjoyment in boogie vans the world over? We can report that in fact it is the very same record -- or we should say the very same CD, as the CD includes a handful of bonus tracks not included on the original vinyl. There are more than a few highlights to Buick Electra, but one of the highest is album opener "Dead Flowers." This is not a cover of the Rolling Stones number of the same name, although the Stones' underrated '80s rocker "She Was Hot" gets a brisk workout by Hendricks and crew. We highly recommend Buick Electra on the strength of the aforementioned cuts, as well as the tracks "Stupidhead," "F*ck Sh*t Up" and "I Don't Want To Be In Love."

Fans in and around Ohio and Pennsylvania have the opportunity to see the latest iteration of Mr. Hendricks' rock ensemble, The Karl Hendricks Rock Band, perform a couple rare live dates next month supporting the aforementioned Bottomless Pit. Dates are below. In the meantime, Mr. Solomon is permitting us to offer "Dead Flowers" for your downloading pleasure for a limited time. Download and revel at will. As for Comedy Minus One sister label My Pal God, Mr. Solomon intends to release before the year is out via that imprint the debut long-player from the amazing rapping punkers Yah Mos Def, an act which you may recall issued the insanely good West Philly punk-and-Fugazi-referencing, Archie Bunker-sampling demo "The Beat That Makes The Natives Nod" in 2005.

Karl Hendricks Trio -- "Dead Flowers" -- Buick Electra
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[buy Karl Hendricks Trio recordings from EMusic here]

11/02 -- Andyman's Treehouse -- Columbus, OH
11/03 -- Brillobox -- Pittsburgh, PA

Prior Karl Hendricks Coverage:
Review: Karl Hendricks Rock Band | The World Says
Misery, Women And Karl Hendricks Trio In The Early '90s
Review: Karl Hendricks Trio | The Jerks Win Again

October 7, 2007

Today's Hotness: Tempertwig, Naxos, Joy Division

Tempertwig>> Right as we fell down the rabbit hole of work about six weeks ago we got turned on to the excellent but sadly defunct UK duo Nosferatu D2 [item here]. Now that we've had time to do a little more looking into things, we've learned that Nosferatu D2 was the successor to an earlier trio dubbed Tempertwig. The band as far as we can tell is simply Nosferatu D2 with a bass player and guitar pedals. The added elements take the introverted, hard conflagration of Nosferatu D2 and turns its taut, relentlessness outward, releasing in big crescendos the energy that seethes in the music of the latter band. Anyway, there are four Tempertwig tracks available gratis at a Last.FM page for the band here. We recommend them all, but the one that sticks with us most is the track "This Means Everything, This Don't Mean A Thing," which we're posting below.

Tempertwig -- "This Means Everything, This Don't Mean A Thing"
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>> An interesting note at the bottom of Sunday's New York Times profile of the classical label Naxos. "[T]he company is branching out into indie rock because it’s the passion of [the principles'] son, Henryk." Given the label's singular way of doing things -- which has made it perhaps the strongest classical label going -- it will be interesting to see which indie acts it champions and how it markets them. Read more here.

>> Sticking with the New York Times today: author Simon Reynolds' main criticism here of the new Joy Division biopic "Control" is inherently flawed. Mr. Reynolds takes director Anton Corbijn to task for framing the narrative of the film around Ian Curtis' marriage; Reynolds would prefer that Joy Division's story be couched in its "sociopolitical context." That's would be all well and good -- except that the film "Control" is based on the book "Touching From A Distance," a biography written by Deborah Curtis, Mr. Curtis' widow. Certainly "Control" could have included the context Mr. Reynolds yearns for. But it is hard to fault Mr. Corbijn for adhering to the text upon which his movie is based.

>> Two things we love about the new teevee program "Chuck": the use of Spoon's "Don't Make Me A Target" in the second episode, and the fact that the dude from the insanely awesome 1980 movie "My Bodyguard" is in it.

>> A Message For Kevin Drew. You've got J Mascis guesting on the hottest track on your solo record, and then you leave his guitar -- nay, all the guitars -- way down in the mix? Missed opportunity to put some rock on your very nice but occasionally rock-anemic set. Just sayin'.

October 5, 2007

Greys Over America: Frightened Rabbit Prep Next U.S. Onslaught

Was there a calculated series of proddings that resulted in the wave of press leading up to the release of Glaswegian trio Frightened Rabbit's Sing The Greys? If so, it was for good reason, of course: the record -- which previously was most readily attainable by U.S. music fans via the EMusic digital music storefront -- is a ball of fire. And based on the preposterously good reworked version of "The Greys" that is the bed for the amazing video above (that buzzes and throbs and seethes), we expect that this U.S. version of Sing The Greys is a cut above the original release. Which is somewhat amazing, considering. But somehow in the remastering with Douches or the re-recording or whatever it was, the jittering and convulsive Scottish Good Rock that populates the record swells even bigger. If you haven't yet watched the video atop this item you are missing one of the biggest rock moments of the year. We love how certain shots in the clip shudder almost in time with each blast of the kick drum. Anyway, Frightened Rabbit begins a U.S. tour a week from today. We are so amped for their show in Boston we already bought tickets in advance; full tour dates are below. We also got in touch with Scott of Frightened Rabbit to get his thoughts about yet another trip to America. Here they are:

Unless we've lost count we think this is the band's third or fourth trip to the U.S. in the last 9 months. Are you getting the hang of it? We recall there being some trouble with the great volume of water in American toilets mentioned in our last interview.

We do still forget about the high tide in the toilets, but aside from that, each time we return to the US it beats the previous outing to a pulp. Ignoring the shit on our hands, we're always very happy to be in America.

Here's a stupid question we've never asked before. We recall taking special electrical adaptors to the UK and Europe in the past for -- well, we don't know what for. But we had them. Have you ever heard of a band from the UK or elsewhere running into difficulty with their music gear when they come to the U.S. vis a vis the different electrical voltage or wattage or whatever it is? We imagine this being a huge problem for '60s British Invasion bands, maybe not so much anymore.

Never with music gear. My mobile phone didn't like the voltage in the US and staunchly refused to turn on... That was a very weird question and I'm not sure I have any more information on the subject. Did you know that New Zealand is the only country in the world that has no crows?

We still haven't gotten to the store this week to get the U.S. release of the record. But if we are remembering all our facts this was worked on by Peter Katis and then Alan Douches, two big names for fans of indie records. What were some of the good ideas they had for making the already-great U.K. version of Sing The Greys even greater? Anything surprising about the process of having a second effort at making a record?

The 'bettering' process was actually mainly down to myself and Glasgow based producer Marcus Mackay going back into the studio earlier this year and ironing out the creases, filling in some potholes and adding some beef to the trifle. We didn't actually re-take many of the parts at all. We just spent more time shaping the songs. The first version took about 10 days start to finish, which turned out to be less time than it needed. It still surprises me to this day that people can actually enjoy that version, because I rather dislike it. The original was actually never mastered at all, so that was a beautiful thing that Alan Douches did. Peter didn't work on the first record at all, but he and Alan did work on our second album, due out next year.

You'll be doing shows with Pinback and Mum. Which act would you put money on in a brawl between the two?

Hard to say. That depends on whether Pinback would hit the girls. I doubt they would. If its some sort of tag team match then the situation changes, as all kinds of skullduggery can go on outside the ring when the referee's back is turned. Items such as 'the metal chair' come into play and then the match is much more even. A glass to the face here, a kick in the nuts there. I'm actually thinking Mum might have a chance.


Here's the old version of "Go Go Girls" for your listening enjoyment. Grab it down, rock out to it, and then go buy the domestic release of Sings The Greys to compare.

Frightened Rabbit -- "Go Go Girls" -- Sings The Greys [UK Version]
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[buy Sings The Greys from Newbury Comics here]

10/12 -- Death By Audio -- New York, New York
10/15 -- Empty Bottle -- Chicago, Illinois
10/16 -- Pabst Theatre -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
10/17 -- Fineline Music Cafe -- Minneapolis, Minnesota
10/18 -- Slowdown -- Omaha, Nebraska
10/19 -- Gothic Theatre -- Englewood, Colorado
10/20 -- The Depot -- Salt Lake City, Utah
10/22 -- Showbox Showroom -- Seattle, Washington
10/23 -- Viking Union Multipurpose Room -- Bellingham, Washington
10/24 -- Roseland Theatre -- Portland, Oregon
10/25 -- Bimbos 365 Club -- San Fransisco, California
10/26 -- Bimbos 365 Club -- San Fransisco, California
10/28 -- The Wiltern -- Los Angeles, California
10/30 -- Solar Cuture Gallery -- Tucson, Arizona
11/01 -- Emo’s Jr. -- Austin, Texas
11/03 -- Spanish Moon -- Los Angeles, California
11/05 -- Drunken Unicorn -- Atlanta, Georgia
11/06 -- Local 506 -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina
11/08 -- Theatre of Living Arts -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/09 -- Pianos -- New York, New York
11/11 -- Great Scott -- Boston, Massachusetts

October 1, 2007

That Was The Show That Was: Dirty On Purpose | Middle East

Dirty On Purpose, Middle East, September 29, 2007Good music sells itself. This is a position we champion in discussions of the state of the music bidness. But the idea has other applications. Take for example Saturday night's set from dreamy Brooklyn rockers Dirty On Purpose. Not long after we arrived midway through the powerful opener "Mind Blindness" -- from the band's solid 2005 EP Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow [review here] -- guitarist George Wilson bemoaned that his amp had been dropped and was acting up. Not long after guitarist Joe Jurewicz broke a string. Finally, to add insult to injury, a string on DJ Boudreau's bass gave way.

The completely unpretentious quartet self-deprecatingly laughed off the bad luck. And with good reason, as, ultimately, none of it mattered. Good songs sell themselves, and watching Dirty On Purpose overcome the obstacles the evening hurled at them didn't detract from the music in the least. If anything, how the foursome managed the chaos as they unfurled tunes decked out in distortion, reverb and tremolo spoke to its confidence.

Dirty On Purpose has a relatively small catalog considering that the band has been around for several years. But it is a testament to the quartet's solid songsmithery that Saturday's performance flowed like a hits collection. Even the seemingly more popular tracks from last year's full length Hallelujah Sirens, "Car No Driver" and "No Radio" -- which are not among our favorites, although the latter cut pleasantly reminds us of The Flaming Lips gem "Kim's Watermelon Gun" -- were delivered with an intensity that won us over.

Dirty On Purpose set listWe would have liked to hear more of the ballady tunes, such as "Lake Effect" and -- what is arguably their best song -- the old chestnut "Practicing For Having Sex." But it is hard to complain when a band effortlessly brings eight bracing rockers to the plate. A scan of the full set list is at left, and you can view a collection of pictures we shot at the show here. The band will release an EP Like Bees later this fall on North Street Records, which also issued the Dirty On Purpose's prior two platters. According to this video interview with Filter, the new set includes one new song, "The Audience Is Listening," two outtakes from Hallelujah Sirens [review here] and a new recording of one of the band's earlier tracks penned by Mr. Wilson. "The Audience Is Listening" was recently performed for a WOXY.com radio session and you can snatch an MP3 of it here; we recommend you do so, as the song is as strong as anything else in the band's oeuvre.

Dirty On Purpose -- "Light Pollution (Demo Version)"
Dirty On Purpose -- "Mind Blindness" -- Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow
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[buy Dirty On Purpose records from Newbury Comics here]

Dirty On Purpose: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

Previous Dirty On Purpose coverage:
Show Us Yours #2: Dirty On Purpose
Review: Dirty On Purpose | Hallelujah Sirens
Review: Dirty On Purpose | Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow

A Few More Tour Dates:

10/04 -— Pontiac, MI -— Eagle Theatre
10/05 -- Chicago, IL -- Empty Bottle
10/06 -- Minneapolis, MN -- 7th Street Entry
10/11 -- Washingtom, DC -- Rock & Roll Hotel