July 31, 2005

"And the life you had, you lose somehow." - The Mobius Band.

Thoughts on Fearless Freaks, the recently released Flaming Lips documentary we watched this evening:

1. Stephen Drozd makes musical manna with amazing ease. His harrowing bout with drug addiction is covered starkly in the film, not belabored but certainly squarely confronted. Said struggle was also frankly discussed in a Junkmedia interview that now we can't track down. Well, we can track down the interview with Drozd, but it isn't the one we thought it was perhaps it was a different pub. Oh well.

2. We got hooked on the Lips about 10 years later than we should have. We can remember Zozman giddily cuing up "Kim's Watermelon Gun" on a tape deck in South Wayne back when Clouds Taste Metallic came out. We guess we just weren't ready then. The song is not featured in the movie.

3. The film focuses more heavily on Wayne Coyne than others. No surprise, but it seems like many of the players who came and went along the way were given short shrift, some only mentioned in the credits at the end.

4. Oklahoma City seems an oddly familiar place. We guess suburbia has a universal sort of culture. We like how Wayne lives within blocks of many members of his nuclear family in what seems like a fairly modest home. The flashiest thing he has is a green truck that is shiny and has an enclosed cab.

5. Coyne seems very handy, building sets for his own movie, carrying around ladders to clean his Mom's gutters. Very down to Earth.

6. We bet all the kids in his neighborhood love that Coyne lives there.

7. The DVD has very few extras. Obligatory commentary, but no videos, no extra live footage at the end. It's sort of disappointing, 'cause the movie will definitely get you psyched to check that sort of thing out, and then doesn't provide any resources.

8. Finally, we didn't realize that one dood Jonathan Donahue left the Lips for Mercury Rev, and ultimately was part of Harmony Rockets, whose Paralyzed Mind of the Archangel Void is enormously under-appreciated. It sort of explains a lot of parallels the bands have, such as the use of Fridmann, etc. Or if not explains them, at least provides meaningful context for them.

Anyway, none of that really does the film justice. But you should make a point to see it. We rented it from Netflix, and there is probably little reason you can't do that yourself.

That is all.

July 28, 2005

"Now you got your face in every magazine..." - The Coctails.

So AllMusic states the first Jane's Addiction record was in fact recorded at the Roxy in L.A., which conflicts with the info that we got from Buddyhead recently. Or does it -- maybe it was recorded there but not with a live audience? Who can you believe? Anyway, we'd prefer to think that the record was in fact live, just because that is what we've believed for the last 15 years.

Incidentally, we completely disagree with the AllMusic reviewer's take on the record, that it will only interest completists. We don't believe the reviewer has a sense of the time period during which the record was recorded, and how startling and exciting songs like "Chip Away" and "1%" were at the time. Oh well. We're old.

For some strange reason, you can pre-order The Get Quick record at Overstock.com already for $9 including a buck for shipping. It just seems odd that the listing shows up in search results. We were looking around for more info to see whether the record streets 8/9 or 8/23 -- Overstock.com claims it streets 8/9, so we guess it isn't weird that they are already taking pre-orders for the record. Although it is hard to believe that there is already "overstock" of the record, since it hasn't been released yet. Anyway, we ordered a copy, just because we thought the whole thing was a little odd. If you are in Philly, it looks like Silk City is hosting a record release party 9/2, which is at least two weeks after the record streets if not more. All very quizzical.

"Guess you can't **** ** in the *** and get on the spaceship." The latest Buddyhead gossip update is as brutal as ever.

chips in its own remembrances of Karate to mark the dissolution of the band.

Here's more on AAIM, the new indie label trade group we mentioned in context of the ITunes issue earlier this week.

That is all.

July 27, 2005

"Now it's touched, it's broken, the taste just slips away." - Ride.

If you don't read Magnet, then you didn't read the little feature [.pdf] they did in the latest issue regarding the A-Sides. Our favorite part is the discussion of the closer of the band's supertastic debut, Hello, Hello, a song called "Here or There" [links to .mp3 at band's site]. Turns out the tune doesn't just sound like Ride by accident -- producer extraordinaire Brian McTear made an effort to bring the vibe to the song. The good news is, according to the interview, this is a direction the band intends to continue pursuing. So awesome.

In related Magnet news, the more-often-than-not worthless comp CD they send along with the glossy came with the Mobius Band cut "Starts Off With A Bang," Say Hi To Your Mom's "The Twenty-Second Century" and a new Brian Eno cut on it. Not bad. All the good cuts are still offset by some pretty lowly material, but not bad.

DigitalMediaWire brought this morning's installment of news related to the ITunes/indie parity thing. Apparently the newly announced indie label group American Association of Independent Music has secured an agreement with Apple that will let indie labels get the same wholesale price, or cut, for its music as the major labels do. Prior to the agreement indie labels only got $.65 of ITunes' $.99 retail price for the song. Now they get the same $.70 that those jokers Sony BMG, Universal, Warner and EMI get. Apparently MSN Music, which we suspect no one uses anyway, still has a similar disparity in rates that A2IM hopes to correct. A2IM claims indie music accounts for 28% of the music market, although it doesn't qualify what market exactly they are talking about.

Our time may be growing shorter. There is more movement afoot over at Junkmedia with regards to its redesign. The redesign, which we discussed earlier this summer, will include a blog called World of Sound that will be written and edited by yours truly. We saw the template for the blog earlier today and it looks sweeeeeeeeeet. Once that blog goes live things will get really slow here. But we hope you'll join us over at World of Sound.

That is all.

July 26, 2005

"I was half-dead, then I was born again..." - The Hold Steady.

So here is something crazy. If you frequent the blogosphere then you are probably somewhat hipped to the existence of an act called Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who have gotten hyped at Coolfer and the Pfork and Big Ticket and countless other places despite not have a proper release or a label deal. Well at the behest of the Ticket we finally got around to checking them out, and we were pleased with what we heard. Then we went to their web site and lo and behold, it appears CYHSY includes the Sargent twins, friends of former Placeholders Scales and Stengel. If memory serves the Sargents once passed through our old kitchen on Magazine Street. And at least one of them was in a Boston act called Clown Down, which cut a very good demo we have a copy of. So perhaps in the future we will post some of the best Clown Down stuff. Only problem is we don't think we ever got the track list for it. Oh well...

MTS has posted the leadoff cut to the new Mazarin record, which is a quiet monster, much in the same way the Lilys' Eccsame The Photon Band is. The record streets today, and is the first in a series of big, big releases out of Philadelphia, three others being forthcoming discs from Windsor For The Derby (now operating out of Illadelph), The Get Quick and, uh, another band we can't think of right now. Anyway, Philebrity also hypes the new Mazarin joint. Seriously people, big record here. Grab three MP3s at the link, particularly "Louise" and the title track.

According to its web site
, the Mendoza Line have completed mixing their next record, Full of Light and Full of Fire, which is slated to drop in November on Misra. Congrats all around. We look forward to seeing the band up here again in MA September 8. The band now has a MySpace page and suggests there may be new tracks previewed there sometime in the future.

OK, so Brainwashed isn't going away, it is just doing away with The Brain brand, which we don't think anybody ever really paid attention to anyway. The stalwart pub is revamping and relaunches 8/1.

The NYT gets at the nuts and bolts of the Sony BMG payola: cash, gift cards, free TVs, laptops, air fare, and sneakers. Quoth Spitzer: ""It is omnipresent. It is driving the industry and it is wrong." Fine. But whatever happened to hookers and blow? We jest...

Wolk says the forthcoming Big Star record is abominable. And that's too bad.

That is all.

July 25, 2005

"Say everything's great, everything is fine." - Rocketship.

Geoff Farina has pulled the plug on Karate, sadly, according to Pfork. Mark For Robots eulogizes the now late-lamented Karate here. We turned onto Karate with their first single, which was released as Chris Newmyer's first record for his label, Self Starter Foundation (later home to Haywood). When the single came into WESU we played it because of Chris, but the music hooked us. We saw the band for the first time at Wes in 1997 before the big trip to Europe. At the time the band was a quartet, and they were just huge, blowing the doors off of WestCo Cafe. We blew the last shot of our roll of film taking a pic of H-Dawg from Accounts Receivable, so unfortunately we have no shots of the show. Mark For Robots encourages you to go out and buy a Karate record -- we'd encourage you to dig up the first two in particular.

Scroll below Pfork's Karate item for the sketchy details of Jandek's first ever tour. Or at least first ever announced series of dates, of which there are three. His recent, first-ever performance in Glasgow was a shocking occurrence. It is sad to think that shock will wear off, but we think it can be sustained through at least three dates. So there.

Coolfer points
to this post at CDBaby from Friday that discusses the breakdown of who gets what for a sale of a digital song through Itunes. Looks like for every $.99 download, Itunes keeps $.29. If CDBaby is inbetween your band and Itunes, they take 9%, or 6.3 cents. CDBaby claims this is the best, which we take to mean lowest fee, in the industry.

We imagine Elliot Spitzer is the kind of guy who is disliked by more people than he is liked. But we think he is the man for taking on the big music conglomerates. Honestly, we don't think we would care that the entire business is run on graft and hookers if it hadn't had such an impact on commercial radio. Anyway, the New York AG was expected to announce a settlement wrested from Sony BMG that imposes fines (reportedly a piddling $10M) and aims to stop the flow of payola from the label group to radio stations. Similar settlements are said to be forthcoming with the other label conglomerates. Way to go, Ell-dog. Here's coverage from this morning, before the settlement was officially disclosed.

Anybody out there have a copy of the Rocketship "Hey, Hey, Girl" single on Bus Stop? Pretty, pretty please?

That is all.

July 24, 2005

"When I close my eyes you know I see sunrise, everyday." - MantaRay.

Here's some hot news.

It looks like the MantaRay banner has been retired (sad, but in our opinion ultimately necessary due to confusion with the popular Spanish act Manta Ray) and that mainman Erik Evol and drummer extraordinaire Mitch Joy have a new combo called The Get Quick. We sort of stumbled over the info on the RedEye site just now while we were poking around. The Get Quick issue their debut on Rainbow Quartz in August (we've found two dates during that month the record supposedly streets, so you'll just have to keep an eye out all month). The record is called How The Story Goes and it is produced by some guy related to the Lilys. Of course we're dying to hear it. We'll have to put in a request to Junkmedia HQ for them to keep an eye out for it for us.

MantaRay (or perhaps the band had already changed its name), as previously reported here, had recently included former Kam Fong drummer Mike Boran on rhythm guitar, according to our sources. No word whether Boran is with The Get Quick, but we are going to put out some feelers. The retail one-sheet at RedEye states the band is a quartet but only names three principals: Evol, Joy and a bass player named Jamie McMahon. No mention of the identity of the fourth member.

The beginnings of a Get Quick web site are here. Rainbow Quartz announced the signing here, but that, of course, wouldn't have meant anything to us if we hadn't seen the picture at the RedEye page. RedEye has a :30 MP3 sample of a song called "Live Without It," a hint of what to expect from The Get Quick. Very interesting, more atmospheric and light than the Cream-influenced power-pop of MantaRay. The one-sheet mentions a summer/fall North American tour, so there's hope that we'll see Evol and Joy, et al., outside their usual 100-mile radius around Philadelphia. More bulletins as events warrant.

For a taste of classic MantaRay, here's "Jugular."


Elsewhere: We took in a set by the rock act The Texas Governor Friday night with H-Dawg from Accounts Receivable. The set was dramatically more together and sounded much better than the show we took in earlier this summer at P.A.'s Lounge. And we're not just saying that because the band sported awesomely weak bunny suits made from white toxic waste suits with red hearts spray painted on around a stencil. We have to admit we weren't sold on the band after the PAL performance, and had to dig through H-Dawg's set of the band's records to really get on board.

But Friday evening the band was really alight, despite house sound that migrated from too weak and muddy at the open of the set to too loud and cacaphonous at the close of the set. There was a period at the midpoint where the sound was crystal, and you could hear more than the drums and lead guitar. Lead Governor Dave Goolkasian's guitar hasn't been loud enough either time we've seen them. But sound issues aside, the performance was really electric. The band had tightened up substantially over the last six weeks or so, perhaps because of some steady live playing. We're still eager to see the bass player and keyboard player do something that inspires, but on the whole we think this is a band worth following closely.

Steve Albini says goodbye
to Silkworm's Michael Dahlquist in the Chicago Reader. Thanks to The 'Nac for the link.

Cooler links to this pretty farcical snafu regarding the use of a bar code as album art that was not the actual bar code for the album, but for a Jack Johnson record. Multiple oopses ensue. Someone at Reuters obviously reads Coolfer, as this story went online several hours after the Coolfer blurb.

That is all.

July 20, 2005

"I can see you running 'round the town so obviously..." - Mazarin.

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday!

Many of you, if you've drank beers with us in the past few years, know of our get-rich-quick scheme of developing some software that would let consumers use a desktop scanner to capture the visual information in the grooves of their records and then convert that visual information to a sound file. Alas, my technically inclined friend JJB has discovered that the idea has been taken by these doods. Oh well, back to the dryer lint idea.

One in three Britons owns Michael Jackson's Thriller
, and other interesting music tidbits, courtesy of Coolfer.

LHB points us to this Broken Social Scene interview over at MTV, in which the band's Drew notes they cut all the catchiest singles from the forthcoming record. Uuuuhhhm, why? Maybe that is why the NYC cops beat the crud out of that one dood.

Here are a couple podcasts we are going to check out, they come pretty highly recommended. Particularly the first one, which got a lot of hype from the 'Nac recently:


Oh yeah, here is a couple links to info about the Sebadoh III reissue that is in the works. The first is ILM's take on it; the second is from the Loobiecore discussion board, which features plenty of cold hard facts from Lou on what to expect. Pretty cool.

That is all.

July 18, 2005

"I've fallen into a state of grace that I can't get out of..." - Silkworm.

...and we're back.

Congratulations to Tina and Nito, who got engaged last week while we were all minding our own business at the beach.

Jeez, you go offline for a week and all sorts of stuff happens…

Holy crap, the drummer from Silkworm died in a car crash. Coverage here. More info here. Sad and pointless. In The West and Libertine are two of our favorite records (the latter has one of the best album covers in indie rock). If you don't have them you are missing parts insi-i-i-i-i-eeed.

And The Brain is going the way of the dodo bird after eight big, big years. What with the explosion of music journalism online, we guess this isn't that much of a surprise. But the site's importance can't be overstated.

Didn't Les Savy Fav break up? We thought we heard that when Inches came out. Well, apparently they were the best act at Pfork's Intonation Festival, at least according to Fluxblog's Matthew Perpetua. And who's gonna argue with that guy?

Speaking of Pfork, this feature gives props to some very deserving and overlooked records, but is ultimately short-sighted in mostly ignoring records released before 1995. We'd argue that the premise of the article could be sharpened up and it would make a more forceful point if it asserted that it was important records released between 1990 and 1994 that actually defined the '90s. We're talking records like the aforementioned Silkworm titles, as well as the first three Lilys CDs, Superchunk's On The Mouth, Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary, and on and on and on

Speaking of the Lilys, Plain Parader Maria T. (who also blogs it out at HerJazz) gives in to an impulse to blog about the Lilys and two bands that are carrying on with the Lilys sound: The A-Sides and Hi-Soft. In bigger and better news, gears seem to be grinding behind the Hi-Soft machine -- they've got a MySpace page and a web site in the works. Definitely check out the tunes at the MySpace page. Hotness.

Splendid's stalwart reviewer Jennifer Kelly gives Mazarin's latest release, which we've already hyped here, the feature review treatment. A copy of the record is on its way to our doorstep for review in Junkmedia. No surprise, the Lilys' Kurt Heasley puts in an appearance on the record, which streets Tuesday.

Bradley's Almanac
has a full run-down of the Boston Dinosaur Jr. show we all missed, with MP3s to boot. His MP3s typically aren't the greatest quality (no fault of his own, natch, such is the nature of audience recordings) but we'll probably check out a few to see if anything sounds worth having. "In A Jar" sounds pretty hollow on first inspection. The posting also notes that a remaster and reissue of Sebadoh III is currently in the works. We've never owned the record, though we've heard it dozens of times, so we'll be pleased to get our hot little hands on it. Anyway, you practically can't surf anywhere without hitting any Dino Jr. coverage, but if you don't know where to start, why not start at Chromewaves? CRM also had some nice things to say about the D.C. show.

That is all.

July 6, 2005

"We go to a restaurant, but you say it's love you want." - Men at Work.

Coolfer sees a parallel in the growth of the CD and the growth of the digital music market, meaning a slowdown in Itunes sales is more than likely, despite Apple's taking aim at the sale of its half-billionth download. Coolfer thinks a billion downloads for Apple is a given, but perhaps not two billion. Elsewhere, Coolfer Glen gives Yahoo Music Unlimited the gasface and observes the MSN Music appears dead in the water, at least for now.

So tonight we re-joined MySpace, certainly not to socially network, which we think is a sort of narcissistic black hole, but because we wanted to email Belaire and find out how to buy a copy of their EP. Go to their MySpace site and check out the song "Back Into The Wall," which was featured in the latest episode of the WhyMe podcast. Great indie rock with the same sort of synth fetish as Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!

Anyway, we had tried to go through life ignoring the MySpace thing after an initial checking out of it last summer, but so many bands are relying on the service that we guess we have to play ball. You can check out our MySpace page here.

Somewhere along the way we had forgotten that Eno was involved with creating that Windows 95 startup sound. EmptyFree reminded us and linked us to this piece about it.

Pitchfork does not like Slow Dazzle.

Tiny Mix Tapes points us to the soundtrack to the Flaming Lips documentary Fearless Freaks, which is available for free download here.

That is all.

July 5, 2005

"And they could see forever... and they could see..." - Helms.

The Buddyhead MP3 blog rightfully pays homage to the first Jane's Addiction record. We never knew it wasn't really live -- that is pretty disappointing in a way.

The Mobius Band are offering a download of the title track [right click and save as] to their forthcoming full length, which streets in early August. The song is a rocker. Melodic, more pointedly forceful in the rhythm section. Is the Mobius Band an updated, tougher Yo La Tengo? It's starting to sound that way. Or at least they're a younger one and are still exciting in the sense that the band has talented players who are still something of an unknown quantity.

That is all.

July 4, 2005

"Misjudged your limit, pushed you too far." - The Cure.

Some quick jots over coffee:

No surprise about this: KoooomDogg hated MTV's coverage of Live 8 as well. For a little comic relief, click over to Philebrity and read their coverage of the action from the press tent side of things. And no real surprise to anybody whose been old enough long enough: sounds like the storied Philly rock club The Khyber Pass Pub has been dealt one its almost annual closures by one of the city's more corrupt agencies, License & Inspections. Guess they forgot to grease the right wheels again.

Enterprising folks can go find audio and video of the various Live 8 performances out on the Interwebs. We just hunted down MP3s of the Cure's Paris performance. The files are high bitrate rips of a low bitrate webcast, so the sound is very dicey. But the set was pretty rockin,' the band had the distortion cranked up, something that gave the 1-2 set-closing punches of "Just Like Heaven" and "Boys Don't Cry" a bit of new energy. For the curious, the remainder of the set went, in order, "Open," "100 Years" and then "End." Big guitars. It would be great to hear a soundboard, pre-webcast recording of this. What we've encountered is really washy, albeit in a shiny high bit rate way.

One last thing on the Philly tip. With the new ITunes upgrade making it so easy to listen to podcasts, there is really no reason why you aren't listening to the WHYME podcast. It's long on Philly indie music, particularly one our obsessions, the Hi-Soft, who have a cut featured prominently in the latest episode. Also a great cut from former Franklinite Ralph Darden's Jai Alai Savant, which now operates out of Chicago we believe. Anyway, WHYME hipped us to the web site for the label apparently releasing the Hi-Soft EP sometime soon. We had been coming up empty Googling "Chocolate Hearts," turns out we needed to be going here. Why not hit up their web site and tell them to release the Hi-Soft EP, already?

[Secret Bonus Non-Music Discussion: Does anybody else watch The Inspector Lynley Mysteries on PBS? Damn, we are addicted to that show. Been watching for a couple seasons, but the latest two were especially good. End of transmission.]

That is all.

July 2, 2005

"Returning like superheroes." - June of 44.

What you didn't see: This AP article exactly communicates the disappointment we had with the absolutely pitiful, almost deplorable, Live 8 coverage as provided by MTV. To whit:

"And part of it was also MTV's failure to really try. There were as many commercial breaks as performances, and MTV's stable of correspondents spent more time talking about what a fantastic event it was instead of showing it."

We watched the entirety of the original Live Aid and recorded it to VHS in 1985, and frankly it was one of the most enjoyable things we've ever seen live or on TV. Today MTV consistently delivered half-performances interrupted incessantly by MTV announcers spewing meaningless banter. It was too much to bear. Finally we found the multiple live feeds at AOL Music (where you can now watch rebroadcasts, albeit in linear fashion by venue) and were able to watch what we wanted unmolested by brainless fools.

The only drawback was the stream wouldn't really support watching at a higher screen res than default, and whenever we attempted to turn the volume up, the screen went white and wouldn't re-load until we clicked over to another city's stream. But no matter, Live 8 if anything was a victory AOL Music, which historically has been a non-entity with few good ideas and little compelling content. Too bad for MTV -- all they needed to do was let the goddamn cameras run, just as they did 20 years ago. But apparently that was too much for them. Anyway, the only way Live 8 as a musical event can be salvaged is if all the performances are made available in some sort of DVD or on-demand fashion.

Pete Townshend is an incredible guitarist. We don't think this is fully apparent on The Who's studio recordings. His live work we've seen in various telecasts over the last five years has been mind-bending. Tinnitus seems worth it, Pete.

Elsewhere: Sleater-Kinney played on Letterman early this week and their performance was electrifying. Really, really powerful.

Finally: Pitchfork reported last week that the recently opened German techno label Kompakt's MP3 shop as already sold 100,000 tracks. That's pretty amazing.

That is all.