April 30, 2006

Today's Hotness: Futureheads, Replacements, Sonic Youth

The Futureheads>> StarTime International Friday issued a video for The Futureheads jam "Skip To The End," the first single from the UK act's forthcoming set News And Tributes. You can watch it right here at Yahoo Music, which naively dubs the band "the future of punk-rock." We love The Heads Of The Future as much as the next guy, but until they stop sounding like The Jam and XTC, we don't really think they have too much to do with futurism. Anyway, we'd like to tell you the video is awesome, but we couldn't get it to load in IE or Firefox. Perhaps you will have better luck...

>> Venerable label Matador Records has entered into the world of video podcasting (what will the kids think of next, right?). The first episode examines the creation of Scottish post-rockers Mogwai's recent set Mr. Beast. Click this link, which opens up your ITunes and takes you to a place to download the stuff.

>> You can stream the first two cuts ("Reena," "Incinerate") from the forthcoming Sonic Youth record at this minisite the band has set up to pimpillate Rather Ripped. The set streets June 16 on Geffen.

>> Westerberg/Replacements fan site Paul's Page here points to the YouTube posting of "Color Me Obsessed," a documentary about hardcore Replacements fans. The clip includes the drummer from The Original Sins, which we presume could only be Bethlehem, PA's Original Sins. Anyway, satisfy your Replacements yen for the day and check out the trailer here.

Seventh-Inning YouTube Stretch: Orange 9MM

It's seventh-inning stretch in the Sox game and we've decided to take a break and look for some hardcore on the YouTube. There's no video of Texas Is The Reason there. And there isn't any video of Burn, either. But there is video of Orange 9MM doing "High Speed Changer," arguably the biggest and best tune off the band's first full-length, 1995's *Driver Not Included. The eponymous Orange 9MM EP is the best thing the band ever did, and fans will recognize the main riff from its opening tune, "Driver," being repurposed for part of "High Speed Changer." Take a couple minutes to sit back and watch Chaka go nuts on this one:

April 29, 2006

Review: Neil Young | Living With War

Neil Young -- Living With WarIt took us about 20 minutes yesterday to get his web page to load, but once it did we were glad to have persevered: Neil Young's new anti-war set Living With War, which began streaming for free at NeilYoung.com Friday, is a raw, straightforward electric stomper. Sing-along backing vocals are pervasive, a perceptible nod to protest music's populist and folk roots. The record really gets going with "The Restless Consumer", which along with the ballad "Roger And Out" is among the best jams on the record. The former tune's chant of "Don't need no more lies" is particularly affecting. "Families" and "Flags Of Freedom" -- sure they rock a goodly amount, but they are as transparent and direct as their titles (and all the song titles on the record, as a matter of fact). It get's no more direct than "Let's Impeach The President." The obviousness of the music on Living With War does make us long for the days when, lyrically, Young wielded more artifice and offered more impressionist emotive sentiments. Nothing on the new set is as poetic as Mr. Young's perhaps most widely known protest song, "Ohio."

Clearly Young believes that when writing "message music" the message should be blunt. Still, the songs of Living With War sometimes seem a bit artless. Even so, how much "art" do you need when delivering an earnest and stirring a capella version of "America The Beautiful" to round out your album? Young has long demonstrated a philosophy of heart over art, and Living With War is long on heart. The record's message purposely takes precedent over its medium. There is an enlivening loose and free energy to the set that imbues it the feel of a hoot or jam session and makes it an easy listen. How many times you'll listen to it after we are finally rid of Bush remains to be seen. In a perfect world, there would be no need.

Living With War streets May 8. Pre-order it from Barnes & Noble here.

April 27, 2006

Today's Hotness: Yo La Tengo, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!!

Yo La Tengo>> Indie rock vets Yo La Tengo will issue a new set Sept. 12 and it will be called I Am Not Afraid Of You, And I Will Beat Your Ass, if bassist James McNew can be trusted. The funnyman told Pfork in an exclusive today that the highly regarded indie trio has tracked 15 tunes for the disc, which will be issued by Matador. The record is currently being mastered and artwork is getting arted together by the arty people from artland. The songs,recorded in a Nashville studio, are said to be "short and upbeat." More details here.

>> Billboard reports here that indie poppers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!! are ready to record their sophomore set. Guitarist/keyboardist Lee Sargent leaves the door open to the band signing with a label, although the band would prefer to do things themselves if only to be able to control their own release schedule, Sargent said. The Clap's self-released eponymous debut, which has sold about 91,000 copies, was sold directly by the band through a distro deal with ADA.

>> Buddyhead faves Darker My Love have signed to Dangerbird Records, which will re-issue the band's previously released self-titled set Aug. 22. The couple tunes we've heard by the band bear out the Jesus And Mary Chain comparisons we've read. Good stuff.

April 26, 2006

Free Range Music: Sunset Rubdown MP3

Sunset Rubdown -- Shut Up I Am DreamingWe'll readily admit we've been behind the curve on the whole Sunset Rubdown thing, but we got our first taste this evening listening to the track "Stadiums And Shrines II." The tune is majestic and desperate, with chiming keys and cascading guitar riffs. It's a whole lot like a psych-tinged and more guitar-heavy version of Wolf Parade -- that's no surprise since Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug is the man behind The Rubdown. What may be a surprise to some is that the quartet's forthcoming sophomore release Shut Up I Am Dreaming is apparently a markedly more produced affair, eschewing the lo-fi sound of the band's 2005 debut Snake's Got A Leg. "Stadiums And Shrines II" is the opening track on Shut Up I Am Dreaming, which streets May 2 on Absolutely Kosher. We're looking forward to it.

Sunset Rubdown -- "Stadiums And Shrines II" -- Shut Up I Am Dreaming
-- clicky clicky to download from our pals at Insound

[Pre-order Shut Up I Am Dreaming from Insound]

Today's Hotness: Lemonheads, Rollins Band, Maritime

Evan Dando of The Lemonheads>> After spending much of Sunday night looking around online and pondering whether we need to buy a copy of The Lemonheads' Favorite Spanish Dishes EP -- which includes the awesome song "Paint" -- despite already possessing some very nice-sounding 192 kbps rips of its five tracks, it seems sort of like kismet that news came over the teletype this morning that sole remaining original member Evan Dando has signed his band to Vagrant. With two members of pop-punk legends The Descendents as his rhythm section this go-round, might Dando be making a return to the superlative, more rough-edged pre-1990s Lemonheads sound? That would be awesome. Reports on recent live performances over at the Lemonheads message board indicate Dando has been playing some tunes off the band's 1989 set Lick. More chatter at PunkNews here, and here is the presser Vagrant issued. Vagrant, for those of you keeping score at home, has also recently signed The Futureheads and The Hold Steady, and would seem to be turning into something like a powerhouse. Of awesomeness.

>> Sounds like that Rollins Band tour will be in August, at least according to Henry Garfield's latest blog post here. Not sure if we already reported that.

>> A/V Club gives Maritime's We, The Vehicles an A- here without really saying very much about it. Still, an A- is about right. A nice record it is. Blog like Yoda we do.

April 25, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 4.25.06

REFUSED ARE FUCKING DEADThis week's new releases are sort of like a flashback to the '90s. Just look at the names below: Depeche Mode (well, they're more of an '80s thing, but we're talking about Violator), Eleventh Dream Day, Elf Power, Refused. In a way it warms the heart. But in another perhaps more important way it is probably indicative of the overall weakness of the new release slate this week that the two things we are most excited about are the Violator expanded reissue and the Refused DVD. But that Rakes record is sposed to be pretty hot, and if you are the kind of person who buys singles you obviously gotta rock that Psapp joint. And then there's the two Tom Verlaine solo sets. All our picks for best new releases of the week are below, and hyperlinks go to related commercial opportunities with our former lifting partners over at Insound.

Depeche Mode -- Speak and Spell CD+DVD -- Sire/Rhino
Depeche Mode -- Music for the Masses CD+DVD -- Sire/Rhino
Depeche Mode -- Violator CD+DVD -- Sire/Rhino
Eleventh Dream Day -- Zeroes and Ones -- Thrill Jockey
Elf Power -- Back To The Web -- Rykodisc
Metric -- Grow Up & Blow Away -- Restless
Psapp - Tricycle -- Domino
The Rakes -- Capture/Release -- V2
Refused -- Are Fucking Dead DVD -- Epitaph/Burning Hearts
The Streets -- The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living -- Vice
Tom Verlaine -- Around -- Thrill Jockey
Tom Verlaine -- Songs and Other Things -- Thrill Jockey

Today's Hotness: Asobi Seksu, Spank Rock, Gorilla Biscuits

Asobi Seksu -- Citrus>> Normally the receipt of a promo CD wouldn't really warrant mention here in Today's Hotness, but we are stoked to have in our possession the forthcoming Asobi Seksu record Citrus. We've been playing pretty heavily the two pre-release cuts we got hipped to a couple months back, but the entire record delivers much more: It's a powerful set of bilingual neo-shoegaze gems expertly rendered. But more about that later. What we'd like to mention here ever so briefly is that even the package of the record is gorgeous. While Citrus is probably destined for appearances on year-end lists, its package is easily the most gorgeous we've seen so far this year. And for those of us of a certain age the package still means something, kiddies. Anyway, watch Two And 1/2 Pounds Of Bacon for an Asobi Seksu track this weekend -- probably "Red Sea," the cacaphonous ending of which is the most glorious thing we've heard in a very, very long time. Or "Goodbye," a pop dream that resides somewhere between Head On The Door-era Cure and Belle & Sebastian's "Sleep The Clock Around." And don't even get us started on the blazing last minute of "Exotic Animal Paradise." Citrus is out May 30 on Friendly Fire. Moving on...

>> You can stream the new Spank Rock record Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo via the Philebrity player. And we highly recommend you do so. Particularly check out track 6, "Bump." It has some intense rhyming from notable pottymouth/motormouth Amanda Blank. The track is totally buggin.' We don't really follow the hip-hop at all, but this record has already gotten a lot of attention and is likely going to go big before the summer fully kicks in. Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo hit racks April 7 on Ninja Tune/Big Dada.

>> Second-gen hardcore legends Gorilla Biscuits, which features popular hardcore guy Walter Schriefels, will reunite for shows to support the expanded reissue of the widely acclaimed full-length Start Today. Back when we were in high school, you could find the cool kids by looking for the GB t-shirts. Anyway, full deets on the GB stuff here at PunkNews.

>> Look for the currently allergy-besieged Bob Mould and his acoustic guitar in the UK toward the end of June. Or so says the Bobinator here.

>> Do as we did late this afternoon and pre-order the forthcoming Dinosaur Jr. reissues and the limited edition (we think) acoustic CD on the cheap from Plan9. Word on the FreakScene message boards here is that the price at Plan9 for all three beats Amazon by like $10USD.

April 24, 2006

Free Range Music: The Streets, Secret Machines, Wolf Parade

The Streets -- The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living>> The pickings are pretty slim among AOL Music's pre-release album streams this week. You'll definitely want to listen to Brit wordsmith Mike Skinner ham it up on the third full-length from The Streets, The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living. AOL also has a stream of earnest dream-poppers The Secret Machines' new record. Once the tune "Alone, Jealous And Stoned" hits its stride -- in its fourth minute -- it offers a nice approximation of what Lorelei was doing 10 years ago and "Lightning Blue Eyes" has some punch. But elsewhere Ten Silver Drops is a bit dull, and the New York threesome still hasn't won us over. Perhaps their label needs to do more disingenuous marketing... And you know what? That's really it for AOL Music this week. Stream away, my droogies.

The Streets -- "The Hardest Way To Make an Easy Living" -- Vice

The Secret Machines -- "Ten Silver Drops" -- Reprise

>> Fortunately there is a plethora of good rock music strewn across the Internets. Take for example the .zip file of Wolf Parade's recent Providence show being hosted over here at You Ain't No Picasso. The sound quality is a little boxy, but certainly better than average, and the set includes two new songs whose titles may or may not be "Things I Don't Know" and "Bones Song."

>> And then there's the short but sweet live set New Radiant Storm King played in support of The Silver Jews recently at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. It's posted over here at The 'Nac, ya'll.

April 23, 2006

Review: The Submarines | Declare A New State!

The Submarines -- Declare A New State!The Submarines' vanilla pop plumbs familiar musical depths on the band's forthcoming debut, Declare A New State! You may already be familiar with the girl (Blake Hazard) and guy (John Dragonetti, a/k/a Jack Drag) behind the musical vessel. Yes, Hazard is the great-granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald. But she may be musically better known for her 2002 Kimchee set Little Airplane. Or not. The stronger musical pedigree is Mr. Drag's, whose eponymous debut of four-track deliciousness ignited college radio interest in the mid-'90s and was the first of a handful of well-received releases.

As for Declare A New State!, the music tends toward optimistic, WB-friendly pop -- in fact one track, "Peace And Hate," has already appeared on the teledrama "Everwood." The set is melodic and light, curiously (almost disappointingly) light for what is described as a musical account of The Submarines' principals' romantic dissolution. Our favorite number in the set is "Modern Inventions," which rocks a little harder and enjoys more adventurous production and is streaming at the act's MySpace drive-thru here. "Darkest Intentions" also stands out on the strength of its eplilogue's sonic depth and more forceful percussion. Much of the rest of the material seems a bit toothless by comparison, although the album peaks toward its far end. Declare A New State! streets June 20 on Nettwerk, but is already available via ITunes and EMusic.

April 22, 2006

Review: Languis | Other Desert Cities EP

Languis -- Other Desert Cities EPThe medically smoothed-out vocals of The Stones Roses, layers of guitars and synths and pulsing rhythms of Languis' Other Desert Cities give the EP a subtle allure, like a pleasant but hazy memory spurred by an unnameable scent. The L.A. nu-gaze foursome (whose two core members began collaborating 15 years ago, a time when many of the act's major influences were still going concerns) is as devoted to atmosphere as it is to melody. The group's compositions stretch and expand with a narcotic ease without ever droning on and on like the crazy lady on the subway.

"Falling From So High" is gently ushered in and out of focus with a kick-drum approximating a beating heart. That gentleness persists throughout the set, and a correlative lack of dynamics may make it hard for you to focus on Other Desert Cities without headphones or jacking up your stereo. Still, with songs reminiscent of Slowdive and Spiritualized, the band probably already has your attention anyway. Other Desert Cities, Languis' eighth release, streeted about a month ago on Pehr. You can watch download the album's opening cut "In The Fields (Of Lonely Fences)" here [right click and save as] and watch a video for the track "Times Are Changing" here.

April 21, 2006

Today's Hotness: Okkervil River, Mendoza Line, DefJux

Okkervil River>> Texas concept rockers Okkervil River apparently spent 10 days in February (not Two Days In February, a la the Goo Goo Dolls) recording 22 new tracks that they have no intentions of ever releasing. Double what? Also, the bands twin epics Black Sheep Boy and the even more amazing Black Sheep Boy Appendix are getting the double-disc treatment for release in Europe April 28 by Virgin. Via CBS and Chromewaves.

>> Tim Bracy of indie rock rapscallions The Mendoza Line says on his blog here that the band is recording tracks for a much-delayed EP this weekend. From Mr. Bracy's comments to his post: "As for the songwriting, I basically can't finish anything effectively without deadlines. The songs are WRITTEN, they just need to be massively edited and made into some kind of palatable form. I write songs pretty much every day when I'm not traveling, and they get very long and unwieldy. And unless a studio visit is pending, I just don't finish them. I keep adding and adding."

>> Esteemed hip-hop label DefJux will launch its own digital music storefront called The Pharmacy sometime this summer. It will sell "the label's complete catalog (mp3, CD and vinyl)" and "never before heard exclusive tracks, live performances (audio & video), live radio sessions, freestyles and special mixes, plus artwork, liner notes, lyrics." That's nifty.

>> If it's raining where you live this week, why not devote some time to reading a bunch of music geeks nerd out over discussing Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley's playing style at this ILM thread.

>> The Guardian has a meaty interview here with The Dresden Dolls and a free MP3 to boot.

April 20, 2006

Today's Hotness: The Raconteurs, Jane's Addiction, The Walkmen

The Raconteurs' Jack gets drawnOne whole online music news cycle later and still there's not a lot that is jazzing us. But here is what did catch our attention, however briefly:

>> AOL Music has a podcast with everyone's The Modern Age's favorite new Jack White/Brendan Benson/etc.'s supergroup The Raconteurs. The act plays three songs from their forthcoming set, including "Yellow Sun," "Blue Veins" and "Steady, As She Goes." Check it out here.

>> Billboard reports here that all the guys from Jane's Addiction but the interesting one (i.e. Perry Farrell) have reunited in a new group called The Panic Channel. The quartet, which features some cat named Steve Isaacs on vocals, will release its debut (ONe) (annoying meaningless punctuation and capitalization theirs) Sept. 12 on a major label. Two tracks will see digital release next month, and a third tune is already available at the band's web site here. We're kind of afraid to hear it (okay, we listened, it's not good). Why is it that an act like Jane's Addiction (or "Jane's Ad," as this lass we knew in high school called them -- she also referred to them as "violent") can't make another exceptional album? We heard Strays in a bar when it came out and it wasn't terrible, but we were also probably sorta drunk.

>> Here are those Walkmen dates we promised you the other night. The act's third record A Hundred Miles Off streets May 23.

05/24 -- New York, NY -- Webster Hall
05/25 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club
05/26 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Theatre of Living Arts
05/30 -- Cleveland, OH -- Beachland Ballroom
05/31 -- Detroit, MI -- St. Andrew's Hall
06/01 -- Chicago, IL -- Metro
06/02 -- Milwaukee, WI -- Miramar Theatre
06/03 -- Minneapolis, MN -- 400 Bar
06/05 -- Englewood, CO -- Gothic Theatre
06/06 -- Salt Lake City, UT -- In the Venue
06/08 -- Portland, OR -- Berbati's Pan
06/09 -- Seattle, WA -- Showbox
06/10 -- Vancouver, BC -- Richards on Richards
06/12 -- San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
06/13 -- San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
06/16 -- San Diego, CA -- House of Blues
06/17 -- Tempe, AZ -- Clubhouse
06/19 -- Austin, TX -- La Zona Rosa
06/20 -- Houston, TX -- Numbers
06/21 -- Dallas, TX -- Granada Theater
06/23 -- Nashville, TN -- Exit/In
06/24 -- Louisville, KY -- Headliners Music Hall
06/27 -- Toronto, ON -- Phoenix Concert Theatre
06/28 -- Montreal, PQ -- La Tulipe
06/29 -- Boston, MA -- Avalon
06/30 -- Brooklyn, NY -- Warsaw

April 19, 2006

"Don't Wanna Work, I'm Too Lazy" - The Fall-Outs

Allie W. Behind A Wall Of Yeungling LagersYeah, it's been a long coupla days at the day job and we're feeling pretty slack. And tonight is "LOST" "Alias" night, on top of it all. So instead of busting our hump and doing an honest evening's work, we're going to point you over to Two And 1/2 Pounds of Bacon, the MP3 blog we contribute to on occasion. We've got a couple posts going over there right now for two of our favorite tracks, McLusky's "Light Sabre C*ck Sucking Blues" and Dresden Dolls' live version of "Coin-Operated Boy." Why not float over to The Bacon for today and we promise we'll be back tomorrow night with something new to read.

April 18, 2006

Free Range Music: New Pornographers, Barbara Morgenstern

New Pornographers' Carl Newman>> The esteemed Bradley's Almanac has posted MP3s for the New Pornographers show we took in last Monday night here in Boston. It was a spirited performance. We haven't had a chance to hear the MP3s yet, but you should check them out here. Or try streaming them all via The Hype Machine's Flash player doohickey here.

>> BBC's Collective has a nice little package here about Berlin-based electronic artist Barbara Morgenstern's new record The Grass Is Always Greener featuring streams for the cuts "The Operator" and "Quality Time." Morgenstern's songs get a hearty thumbs up from us. The Grass Is Always Greener streets in the U.K. next week on Monika Enterprise.

>> It's no secret that we rep hard for '90s indie rock, and we don't apologize for it. What we do do (hu hu hu, we just said "do do") is get overly excited and woozy when we hear learn about a great up-and-coming act that sounds like it holds the same sort of reverence for Rocketship and Velocity Girl that we do. So you can imagine how woozy we were feeling this morning when listening to Jon Solomon's Local Support podcast and hearing Surefire Broadcast's poptastic track "Miles Apart." Seriously, stop what you are doing and go stream it at the Jersey trio's MySpace dojo here. "Miles Apart," from the band's Live From The A.M. EP released last year, is a clear standout. But the girl-group strummer "Inner Child" is also particularly strong, and there really isn't a loser in the four songs there. Dig it.

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 4.18.06

The Dresden Dolls -- Yes, VirginiaNot a bad week to do some record shopping. There are notable new releases from up-and-comers including Be Your Own Pet and The Lovely Feathers, veterans AFX and Geoff Farina, and even some mid-careerists like Dresden Dolls. The first discs into your basket this week should be The Lovely Feathers and Dresden Dolls. We're sad to say we listened to the AOL Music stream of the Richard Butler set and it didn't move us. If you are in the mood for a confounding release, Pfork makes the new Fiery Furnaces joint sound particularly frustrating. We felt like we got the straight deal from them on the Fiery Furnaces EP a couple years ago, and we're not sure when we'll be back on their wavelength again. That said, we haven't heard Bitter Tea, nor have we heard the AFX of Geoff Farina releases. All those releases are listed below, with links going to relevant commercial opportunities with our French tutors over at Insound.

AFX -- Chosen Lords -- Rephlex
Be Your Own Pet -- Summer Sensation EP -- Ecstatic Peace/Universal [Listen]
Richard Butler -- Richard Butler -- Koch [Listen]
The Dresden Dolls -- Yes, Virginia -- Roadrunner [Listen]
Geoff Farina -- Already Told You -- Southern
Fiery Furnaces -- Bitter Tea -- Fat Possum
The Lovely Feathers -- Hind Hind Legs -- Equator

April 17, 2006

Stream The New Walkmen Single "Louisiana"

The WalkmenYeah, you know you want to. The Walkmen's next long-player A Hundred Miles Off, its third, streets May 23. Then the following day the quintet embarks on a tour that lasts until the end of June. We'll post the dates tomorrow. Incidentally, we've been listening to The Velvet Underground's Peel Slowly And See box set this weekend and instrumentally this Walkmen track fits right in, although once the drums and horns kick in during "Louisiana" the song shakes off much of that dusty sound. Anyway, here's the tune in two hi-fi streaming flavors for your listening enjoyment:

The Walkmen -- "Louisiana" -- QT | WM

Review: Jesu | Silver EP

Jesu -- Silver EPThe quartet of crumbling doomgazer cuts that comprise Jesu's recently released Silver EP is the most enticing thing we've heard from Hydra Head Records yet this year. The band is the brainchild of absurdly prolific Welshman Justin Broadrick, who plays guitars, programs beats and sings on Silver with augmentation in the traps and bass departments from a pair of conspirators. Many likely know Broadrick best as a founding member of Napalm Death and for his work with industrial progenitor Godflesh, but the fact is, according to a recent interview, the guy has his name on some 100 records that have come out in the last two decades. In "Silver" Broadrick cloaks simple but stirring balladry and melodies among slowly billowing curtains of distorted guitars that are studded with programmed percussion. The relatively uptempo "Star" eventually succumbs to a plodding groove in its midsection before entering its minute-long fadeout. The vocals are mixed low in the haze throughout the set, and closer "Dead Eyes" goes the furthest in rendering the vocals as simply another melody line by completely scrambling them via processing.

You can download samples of all four tracks here. The Silver EP, which streeted April 11, precedes a second Jesu full-length that is currently in the works, according to Mr. Broadrick's blog here. Jesu plans a tour of Europe next month to support Silver's release.

Free Range Music: Be Your Own Pet, Dresden Dolls, Ladytron

LadytronAOL Music's batch of pre-release and recently released album streams is particularly strong this week, so you are going to need to get a jump on your listening. What with the peculiar Massachusetts state holiday, the baseball game on TV and the long ongoing project of moving all our CDs from jewel cases to substantially less space-consuming vinyl sleeves (we're up to Joe Jackson!), we're plowing through many of the streams already. There are must-listens this week from Ladytron, Be Your Own Pet and Dresden Dolls.

Ladytron's Extended Play, which features exclusive remixes and U.K. b-sides and comes with a bonus DVD carrying 35 minutes of video, takes the British electronic act's notable 2005 set Witching Hour and pumps it full of darker, fresher beats. We suspect it will rank highly when we are compiling our Product Placement list for tomorrow. No need to talk about how great the Maritime record is, since we've already gushed at length a couple other times. We think that one's already been out a couple weeks, but if you haven't heard it yet by all means click that thing. And if you've been sleeping on Be Your Own Pet as we have since they started heating up last year, check out the band's rocking Summer Sensation EP. It's American Good Rock. OK, plug in those headphones and get started.

Be Your Own PET -- Summer Sensation EP
Calexico -- Garden Ruin
The Dresden Dolls -- Yes, Virginia
Ladytron -- Extended Play
Maritime -- We, The Vehicles
Richard Butler (of Psychedelic Furs, you know) -- Richard Butler

Today's Hotness: Action Around The Internets

>> DigitalMusicNews reports here that MySpace has launched a live performance site called The List. The site features streaming video of live shows and other unspecified exclusive content from featured bands. Might be something to keep an eye on, although the first featured act is emo guys Thursday, and, well, you probably don't need to keep an eye on them.

>> Online indie music stalwart Brainwashed is celebrating its 10th anniversary with three days of shows in November. Performers confirmed for the dates include Michigan dronemeisters Windy & Carl, neo-goth popsters Dresden Dolls and electronic luminaries Keith Fullerton Whitman and Charles Atlas. Brainwashed is selling only 500 tickets to the event. More details here.

>> AllMusic.com has redesigned again, and is prominently featuring new columns and music videos in the revamped product. The more modular look is a marked improvement over the previous redesign, which we recall sparked a marathon of trashing in a far-too-long ILM thread. Why not check in?

April 15, 2006

Today's Hotness: Xiu Xiu, Domino, Built To Spill

Xiu Xiu>> Creepy pop deconstructionists Xiu Xiu have completed recording a new set titled Air Force, which will be released by Kill Rock Stars Sept. 12. The act is touring Australia, New Zealand and Europe between now and the first week of June. Xiu Xiu was recently interviewed for a podcast at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco during the Noise Pop festival -- check it out here.

>> Venerable indie label Domino is promoting a new compilation of music from its artists by offering free exclusive downloads for five days beginning April 17. The comp is called They'll Have To Catch Us First and there is a very cool Flash minisite for the disc right here. But the free exclusive downloads (from Domino acts Arctic Monkeys, the now defunct Test Icicles, Archie Bronson Outfit, Adem and Psapp) will be offered through UK download storefront TheDownloader.co.uk starting Monday. Don't space this.

>> Billboard here interviews Built To Spill fronter Doug Martsch, who is recuperating from surgery for a detached retina just as the indie rock act's sorta comeback hits stores. Nothing very interesting in the article, except the fact that no one (not just Billboard) seems to want to tell us how Martsch's retina got detached in the first place. C'mon, reporters, do we have to go and use a search engine to figure this out? Fine... Typing... OK, apparently he was injured while playing basketball. Was that so hard, reporters?

April 13, 2006

Today's Hotness: The Mendoza Line, The Beatles, Dinosaur Jr.

The Mendoza Line>> The series of posts under the title "from Under A Threatening Sky" at AmericanBookCongress, which details sundry goings-on during the recent Mendoza Line tour, is often quite funny. Take for example this brief snippet from the band's time spent at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

>> In case you were totally sniffing glue all day, The Beatles catalog is finally heading to download stores. Apparently the sets are being digitally remastered for what surprisingly sounds like the first time, and once that is done the discs will be reissued and put on sale via your usual digital storefront suspects. Here's Reuters' coverage. Coincidentally the WSJ reported in a sorta dense article this AM that creepy, fallen pop star Michael Jackson intends to sell half of stake in music publishing enterprise Sony ATV [no link to this one, we got it in an email]. His total stake in the partnership with Sony includes ownership of the publishing rights to 251 Beatles songs. The Journal offered no information about any sale of Beatles rights, so it's anybody's guess as to whether they are part of the deal. Sony ATV's entire musical assets are said to be worth $1 billion.

>> Man, it's quiet out there on the Internet. How about some Dinosaur Jr. videos? Here are some Google video embeds of "Freak Scene" and "Just Like Heaven" filmed during the original lineup's tour last year. Dig it:

April 12, 2006

From The Admin Cubicle: Taking The Night Off

We'd like to tell you that we are doing something awesome with our night off, but in fact we are embarking on the huge task of transferring our CDs from their original jewel cases into recently purchased vinyl sleeves, which is an effort to get the four piles of CDs on top of our CD rack to actually fit in the CD rack with the other discs.

So far we've gotten from A-Sides to Black Flag. That took about three hours more or less. At this rate we should be done by, oh, 2008. If that goes well we may try to consolidate in the stuff in the satellite CD rack, which is primarily jazz, comps and homemade mixes. Fascinating stuff, we know. But also time-consuming. We'll be back tomorrow night.

April 11, 2006

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 4.11.06

Aloha -- Some EchoesThis release date seems like it has been a particularly long time coming because we've been listening to its arguably strongest release, Aloha's Some Echos, for months already. The post-rock act, which somewhat underwhelmed us with 2002's Sugar [read our embarrasingly over-written Junkmedia review here -- it was our try-out piece, so treat us gently], has really turned in an ace effort this time around. It's smart, it's melodic, it's the whole enchilada. We've also had our dirty, dirty mittens on the Built To Spill record for several weeks: A good thing, too, because it gave us ample time to warm up to the set and decide that it is pretty darn good. Also notable this week are the Mono set and the Ladytron remix record. All that and our other picks (well, pick) for your weekly sojourn to the record shoppe are listed below. As always, links go to relevant commercial opportunities with our former car detailers over at Insound.

Aloha -- Some Echoes -- Polyvinyl [clicky clicky review]
Built To Spill -- You In Reverse -- Warner Bros. [clicky clicky review]
Calexico -- Garden Ruin -- Quarterstick
Ladytron -- Extended Play -- Rykodisc
Mono -- You Are There -- Temporary Residence

Today's Hotness: Windsor For The Derby, Silver Jews, Jeremy Enigk

Windsor For The Derby>> Recent Philadelphia transplants Windsor For The Derby will reissue their first two records Calm Hades Float and Minnie Greutzfeldt August 22 on Secretly Canadian. The label got in touch to say each disc is packaged with bonus tracks including the Metropolitan Then Poland EP and revamped artwork. WFTD is already working on the successor to its roundly excellent 2005 release Giving Up The Ghost [which we reviewed for Junkmedia here]. Working title of the band's forthcoming seventh set: How We Lost. At its web site the band states mixing should begin shortly and be completed later this spring. The band is also slated to appear on the soundtrack of Sofia Coppola's forthcoming flick "Marie Antoinette."

>> Head over to Bradley's Almanac for a nice sounding recording (besides all the crowd chatter -- pipe down, jerks!) of the Silver Jews' recent show at Cambridge, Mass.'s Middle East Rock Club. The act, touring for the first time in its 15-year history, turns in a very solid performance, including a rendition of the act's all time greatest track in our opinion, "Trains Across The Sea." Song files and details here.

>> PunkNews reports that former Sunny Day Real Estate fronter and perhaps emo's most controversial born-again Christian Jeremy Enigk is finishing off his second solo set, which comes slowly... on... the... heels... of 1996's Return Of The Frog Queen. Enigk will issue the set on his own Lewis Hollow Records and it will be distributed via Sony BMG. More details here.

>> Chatter on the FreakScene message board here indicates that the primary obstacle in the way of the ready-to-go DVD release of the Sonic Youth/Dinosaur Jr./Nirvana tour documentary "1991: The Year Punk Broke" is getting the rights cleared by Nirvana/Kurt Cobain's estate. Perhaps Courtney Love's recent partnership and sale of certain Nirvana publishing rights will help pave the way for the DVD's release. More information about the effort to get the DVD in the hands of the people is located here.

>> Indie rock ne'er-do-wells The Mendoza Line will be recording over the next few months, according to a post from singer/guitarist Shannon McArdle on the band's web site here.

>> Got a report this AM that our man KoomDogg got his pack of eight Mission of Burma singles in yesterday's post. Additional messages to the Matador message board confirm that other folks have already received their sets as well; Our has yet to arrive. For those of you unsure of what the intended order of the singles is, check this message board post.

>> You Ain't No Picasso has a short interview here with notable Boston indie pop act Pants Yell!

April 10, 2006

Update: Mission of Burma Subscription Series

Mission of Burma>> As the label is hard at work resolving the minor SNAFU of the Mission of Burma subscription series, Matador has launched another initiative to promote the coming full-length from the legendary band. A new web site, Obliterati.net, is streaming a new song from the forthcoming record every three days for the next 24 days. There's even a clock on the site counting down to the placement of each successive track. Currently the site is offering the pummeling rocker "2wice." Obliterati.net allows registered fans to add their own content to the site, wiki-style. Visitors are also able to view the etchings that are at the core of the problem of why the There Is A Time And Place To Punctuate subscription series has been delayed. According to a bulletin board post Sunday (and a confirming email from Insound this morning), all eight copy-protected CD versions of the singles comprising the series will be shipped out to subscribers in a single batch this week. 12" vinyl versions will also ship in one group and may not ship until April 28, but possibly could come earlier. Mission of Burma's The Obliterati streets May 23.

April 9, 2006

Review: Built To Spill | You In Reverse

Built To Spill -- You In ReverseHas Built To Spill principal Doug Martsch rediscovered the pop song? Did his 2002 solo foray into blues forms invigorate his songwriting? Is You In Reverse awesome? And how does a guitar player detach a retina? These are the big questions this week for Martsch and his current trio of longtime collaborators. Particularly if you aren't one of the bazillion people who have already feasted on a leaked version of Built To Spill's lucky seventh full-length in its 13 year career, its first new set in five uncertain years. You In Reverse relies upon even shares of Martsch's early '90s indie pop focus and his later, more spacious and jammy music to deliver what will inevitably be referred to by many (particularly those unhip knobs in print music journalism) as the cliched "return to form."

Album opener "Goin' Against Your Mind" confidently strides in on a desperate one-two before fracturing into a few minutes of tight soloing. Distorted guitar surfs reverbed crests before the jam rejoins the verse-chorus-verse that made us adherents to Martsch's musical world view many, many years ago. "Liar" recasts the old BTS classic "Joyride" from a celebration of the here and now to a mourning of the there and then. "Wherever You Go" takes a page from Perfect From Now On's atmospheric instrospection, while the uptempo rocker "Conventional Wisdom" approaches the level of energy that Martsch hasn't mustered since the early '90s. Granted, there's no "Liquid Boy" or "Distopian Dream Girl" among the cuts that comprise You In Reverse, but there is ample evidence of a spark that has appeared only rarely in Martsch's music in the last few records. So the answers to our opening questions? Not as straightforward as we'd like them to be, but they are: Not quite; It could be; It's not awesome, but it's really very good; and Yeah, we don't know either.

Stream the entire new record at VH-1.com here.

[Buy You In Reverse at Insound]

Free Range Music: Wolf Parade, Built To Spill, Islands

Wolf Parade live>> If you were to have a look at what our favorite songs have in common, you might recognize a thread of desperation running through many of them. From Joy Division's live rendering of "Disorder" to Kam Fong's "King Of Prussia," songs from men on the edge have always given us a chill. One of the more desperate rockers of 2005 was Wolf Parade's "I'll Believe In Anything," and Sub Pop has some particularly compelling Quicktime video of the band performing the track live right here. [Photo by Hali McGrath, lifted from Haliphoto.com].

>> One of the bigger questions you are going to have to consider this week, presuming you haven't been considering it already, is whether you are going to buy the new Built To Spill record. We've heard it several times and can report that the ratio of late period BTS jammers to early (and in our opinion better) period BTS indie pop has evened out a bit on You In Reverse. We think this is a good thing. We're not going to propose that this record is as good as There's Nothing Wrong With Love or even Perfect From Now On, but it is pretty good. PunkNews here points to an album stream, and we bet that this time tomorrow we'll be posting AOL's album stream as well. Two opportunities to try before you buy.

>> Speaking of forthcoming album streams, if you haven't already taken our advice and procured Islands' Return To The Sea, which came out last week, the MySpace Music page tells us that the Canadian act's record will be streaming in Filter's The Booth here this coming week. Dig it.

Review: Paik | Monster Of The Absolute

Paik -- Monster Of The AbsoluteThe rough-hewn space rock of Paik's Monster Of The Absolute is notably engaging. Even label Strange Attractors Audio House calls the set "the most accessible cinematic pummel of their [now nine year] career." While instrumental or primarily instrumental sets from acts like Bardo Pond or Kinski that work a similar groove can be a bit, well, maybe the word is "long," for us to firmly grasp, we were surprised to find ourselves at the climax of Paik's record over and over, and enjoying the distinctly analog ride each time. The Detroit-based trio's "Snake Face" forcefully marches an otherwise straight rock composition directly up a slow dynamic build into a squalling curtain of harmonic drone, where the whole mixture collapses and decays for its final 30 seconds. The entire album is sequenced in this same inevitable arc.

The more subdued "October" is pleasantly melodic and undulates across the top of a swirling fuzz bass figure. It recalls a couple of the early instrumentals on the Lilys bootleg collection Send In The Subs. Unsurprisingly, Monster Of The Absolute's centerpiece is its nearly-ten minute title track, a sandwich that begins with stacatto bass, stacked layers of guitar drone and orienting drumming. Monster will be in stores May 9. Strange Attractors has posted an MP3 of the track "Phantoms" here. You can see Paik do their thing live at the highly touted Terrastock 6 noise festival in Providence, Rhode Island April 21.

April 8, 2006

Weekend Hotness: Boards of Canada, Sonic Youth, Kill Rock Stars

Boards of Canada -- Trans Canada Highway>> Warpmart is taking pre-orders here for a forthcoming EP from Scottish electronic music behemoth Boards of Canada. The Trans Canada Highway EP includes five new tracks and streets on this year's most popular release date, 6/6/06. Pre-orders will ship with a Region 0-encoded DVD featuring the video for the track "Track Dayvan Cowboy." And a sticker. Oh you devils, you know how we can't resist stickers.

>> OneLouder has posted here an MP3 of Thurston Moore's appearance on Air America's Marc Maron show from earlier this week. We haven't heard it yet (downloading now) but Mr. Louder says clips of tunes from the forthcoming Sonic Youth set Rather Ripped are used as bumper music between interview segments. Thurston also discusses the New York music scene in the late '70s and politics (surprise, surprise). We're looking forward to listening.

>> According to a help-wanted ad in a recent Kill Rock Stars newsletter, label founder Slim Moon hopes to launch a free download label that would release outtakes, live and unreleased tracks from unsigned acts that KRS likes but can't sign. The Slimster is seeking volunteers to provide the labor to launch the effort, you can hit him in the email with Slim @ Kill Rock Stars etc.

>> Wireless phone service provider Cingular announced a deal Friday through which it will sell ringtones from MySpace bands. Cingular subscribers will be able to sample the master tones at participating bands' MySpace wigwams and use the miracle of modern technology to send the tone to their phone right from the page. Unbelievable, right? Each tone will run 30 seconds and cost $2.50; 10% of that goes to the artist. More details here.

April 6, 2006

Coming To Your Local Bandstand: The Concretes

The ConcretesVeteran Swedish pop octet The Concretes hit North America next month to promote its latest release In Colour. The Stockholm-based act, which formed in 1995 but didn't release a full-length until 2003's self-titled set, is more than just a pretty face (plus a bunch of other peeps, too) and the source of a sublime Target jingle. The act's latest set is an arresting assortment of pop confections, not the least of which is the Partridge-tastic lead-off "On The Radio." But we're not going to try to sell the set too hard, because we bet if you scroll down to the most recent Free Range Music we suspect the link to the full-album stream posted there is still live. Dial that stuff up and groove while you peruse the tour dates below.

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

Today's Hotness: Sonic Youth, The Glove

Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon>> Frankly, we can't believe it has come to this. Two consecutive items about "Gilmore Girls." Well, let's have at it: Billboard reported today that Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and daughter Coco will appear in the season finale of the popular WB teen soap, which airs May 9. The Sonic Youth members apparently are big fans of the show, and the episode they will appear in is expected to be taped tomorrow. For their "Gilmore Girls" debut Thurston and Kim will perform an acoustic version of the track "What A Waste," a presumably electric version of which is to appear on the forthcoming SY set Rather Ripped, slated for release in June. Full details on this mind-numbing development here. In other Sonics news, Moore will be on the Marc Maron show on Air America late tonight talking about the new record, according to the band's web site. There's a link to the stream at SonicYouth.com

>> Billboard here has less cosmos-disturbing news regarding the forthcoming re-issue of the Steve Severin/Robert Smith collab The Glove. As part of a larger article regarding reissues of certain Siouxsie and The Banshees records, Severin states that the reissue of The Glove's sole record Blue Sunshine will feature bonus material including Robert Smith singing on rough mixes of some tracks his vocals didn't appear on in the commercial release. Severin said Fiction Records honcho Chris Parry had forbidden Smith from singing on Blue Sunshine, so most of the vocals were delivered by Jeanette Landray. However, Smith did end up appearing on two tracks, "Perfect Murder" and "Mr. Alphabet Says," with the understanding that those tracks wouldn't be used as singles. Additionally, Severin reports that he and Smith are considering recording a new record together. Blue Sunshine is expected to street in July around the time the next set of expanded Cure reissues hit racks.

>> Kudos to Pfork for a really engaging news item (more like article, there was reporting and everything for once) about the fall of indie distributor Studio. It is nice to see Pfork, with its relatively -- relatively -- grand resources do something more than regurgitate press releases (obviously, we're guilty of that ourselves, but Pfork, as we all recall from the Hipinions debacle, grosses tens of thousands of dollars in revenues annually, while we bring in zilch). Anyway, Pfork scribe Matthew Solarski does a good job of plainly explaining the relationships at work in indie music distribution and talks to a lot of artists and labels who got screwed out of months of royalties, sales and hardwork because of Studio's financial ties with larger corporate distribution entities. So a high five to you Solarski. If Pfork starts covering issues such as this on a regular basis, we think the site might really catch on...

April 5, 2006

Today's Hotness: Futureheads, Mission of Burma, Joe Pernice

The Futureheads>> Word just came across the teletype that the forthcoming Futureheads record News And Tributes will be released by Vagrant/StarTime International in the U.S. June 13. Lucky denizens of the U.K. get the album two weeks earlier. The Futureheads' previous eponymous set was issued by Sire/StarTime -- this go 'round StarTime gets the whole enchilada. News And Tributes includes three tracks previously released as the Area EP on its first pressing. You can stream "Area" at the act's MySpace hizzy here.

>> For those of you waiting for your Mission of Burma vinyl singles, there is some speculative talk on the Matador boards tonight that singles will finally ship next week. A post from label helmer Patrick seems to suggest all eight singles may ship at once. Watching the board for confirmation on that. Watch along with us, why don't you? Here's the link.

>> Longstanding indie label Touch And Go Records will celebrate its 25th anniversary September 8-10 with 25 bands performing over the course of two and a half (2.5, get it?) days. The label has been situated for the previous 20 years in Chicago, where it will celebrate its anniversary at The Hideout, which itself is celebrating an anniversary (10 years). Acts slated to appear include Ted Leo +Pharmacists, Pinback, Shellac and Calexico. There's more info on the colossal shindig at the T+G web site here. The label also plans reissues and reduced record pricing on certain catalog titles as part of the celebration.

>> Our old friends at Junkmedia point out here that Chief Pernice Brother Joe Pernice will appear in an upcoming episode of "Gilmore Girls." Crazy. Apparently, Stars Hollow troubador Grant Lee Buffalo gets snatched up to tour with Neil Young and the quant town holds try-outs for a replacement. Anyway, the WB teen soap, known for its quick pop culture-laden banter and ready grasp of fairly decent music, has previously featured Pernice Brothers, Yo La Tengo and Pavement tunes in its soundtrack. Not sure when the Pernice episode runs, but we're sure you'll be watching anyway.

April 4, 2006

Review: Irving | Death In The Garden, Blood On The Flowers

Irving -- Death In The Garden, Blood On The FlowersWe've spent a lot of time in the last week being firmly on the fence with regards to Irving. And that is where we've decided to stay. The Los Angeles-based quintet deals in fully realized indie pop, but projecting originality doesn't seem to be Irving's thing. Referents spring up at every turn, as if the band is carrying around its entire collective record collection. Still, much of the time this isn't a bad thing. Some of Irving's music holds echoes of classic alternative acts like The Church (curiously, Irving's bassist's surname is Church) and, well, Echo and The Bunnymen. Elsewhere there's mod teeth-chatter (check the title track) and catchy '90s FM Radio Modern Rock ("Lovely, Just Like Her). The best material is packed toward the back-end of the record and affects a cool mid-tempo sway. We're particularly fond of the steady strummer "The Longest Day In The Afternoon" and the bleepy hand-clapper "If You Say Jump, I Will Say No." Surprisingly, there is a cohesiveness to Death In The Garden, Blood On The Flowers, which streeted today on Eenie Meenie. As you might expect, the band is out on the road for the next month promoting it, and we've got the dates below. Some of these shows are with current indie wunderkinds Voxtrot -- for details check the dates at the Irving MySpace yert.

[Buy Death In The Garden, Blood On The Flowers at Insound]

04/05 -- Elbo's -- Dayton, OH
04/06 -- The Manhattan Room -- Philadelphia, PA
04/07 -- MACRock Festival -- Harrisonburg, VA
04/08 -- Georgetown University -- Washington, DC
04/09 -- Mercury Lounge -- New York, NY
04/10 -- Mercury Lounge -- New York, NY
04/11 -- LuLu Wang Center -- Wellesley, MA
04/12 -- La Sala Rossa -- Montreal, QC
04/13 -- Sneaky Dee's -- Toronto, ON
04/14 -- Lager House -- Detroit, MI
04/15 -- The Empty Bottle -- Chicago, IL
04/17 -- Triple Rock Social Club -- Minneapolis, MN
04/18 -- Vaudeville Mews -- Des Moines, IA
04/19 -- The Jackpot Saloon -- Lawrence, KS
04/20 -- Opolis Productions -- Norman, OK
04/21 -- Good Records In-Store -- Dallas, TX
04/21 -- Hailey's Club -- Denton, TX
04/22 -- Emo's -- Austin, TX
04/24 -- Burts Tiki Lounge -- Albuquerque, NM
04/25 -- Modified Arts -- Phoenix, AZ
05/02 -- Crocodile -- Seattle, WA
05/03 -- Towne Lounge -- Portland, OR
05/04 -- The Dip -- Redding, CA
05/05 -- The Attic -- Santa Cruz, CA
05/06 -- Rickshaw Stop -- San Francisco, CA
05/07 -- Spaceland -- Los Angeles, CA

Rack And Opinion: Release Date 4.4.06

The Concretes -- In ColourWhile we've already discussed some highlights in yesterday's Free Range Music, it's worth reiterating that this week's new release slate offers ample evidence that the post-SXSW lull is over and that the business of rock is now back in high gear. There are major releases from The Flaming Lips and Morrissey which will likely draw a fair amount of traffic to record shoppes. But our money this week will first be spent on Archie Bronson Outfit's latest and the new Concretes set. We've already been promo'd some of the best records of the week, which include Islands' Return To The Sea and Maritime's We, The Vehicles, which frees our dough up to spend elsewhere. New York represents with the new Rahim record, which we like a fair amount more than we did last year's Jungles EP. In short, there's a lot to choose from this week, whether it's breezy Target-ready girl pop (The Concretes) or the two-inches-deep-in-ale rock of Archie Bronson Outfit. All of our picks for the week are listed below. Links go to relevant commercial opportunities with our former scuba instructors over at Insound.

Archie Bronson Outfit -- Derdang Derdang -- Domino
The Concretes -- In Colour-- Astralwerks
The Flaming Lips -- At War With the Mystics -- Warner
Franz Ferdinand -- The Fallen -- Domino
Islands -- Return To The Sea -- Rough Trade
Maritime -- We, The Vehicles -- Flameshovel
Morrissey -- Ringleader of the Tormentors -- Attack/Sanctuary
Pants Yell! -- Recent Drama -- Asaurus
Rahim -- Ideal Lives -- French Kiss
Various Artists -- Hefty 10 Digest -- Hefty

Incidentally, this is clicky clicky's 300th post (including all iterations of clicky clicky at the blogspot site, not including earlier non-blogspot iterations dating back to the turn of the century or six very productive months at Junkmedia's World of Sound). Hooray for us!

April 3, 2006

Review: Metal Hearts | Socialize

Metal Hearts -- SocializeIt's hard to get around the fact that the principles of Baltimore-based indie duo Metal Hearts are so young, so we'll just address it head on. Many acts comprised of those positioned for their teenage tour de force often uselessly busy themselves with trite love yelping and other over-emotive musical endeavors. For whatever reason, Metal Hearts' indie savants Anar Badalov and Flora Wolpert Checknoff, aged 18 and 19 respectively, for the most part avoid such youthful misteps on their debut full-length Socialize (the track "Midnight Sun" is a little borderline, but the good in the set far outweighs the potentially sappy). Instead, Metal Hearts smartly lace together spare compositions with thoughtful dueling guitars, canned (but certainly not stale) beats and the occasional flourish. This set's title track is a subdued mix of Archer Prewitt-style longing and Evens or For Carnation-level intensity. On a purely emotional level Socialized is music for frigid winter drives, and the fact that we are only hearing it now, some six weeks after its February release, is a bit of a personal let-down. That said, the set is strong enough that we expect we'll still have it on the IPod come next winter. Check out the title track and "Foothills" at the band's page at the Suicide Squeeze web site here. And look for the band to hit your local bandstand shortly, as Metal Hearts will spend much of the next two months traversing North America.

[Buy Socialize from Insound]

04/14 Wilkes-Barre PA, Backstage Enterprises
04/15 New York NY, Pianos
04/16 New Haven CT, BAR
04/17 Boston MA, Afterhours @ Northeastern University
04/18 Brooklyn NY, North Six w/ Jana Hunter
04/20 Pittsburgh, PA -- Brillobox
04/22 London, ON -- Call the Office
04/23 Toronto, ON -- Lee's Palace
04/24 Montreal, QC -- Club Lambi
04/26 Athens, OH -- the Union
04/27 WOXY.COM in-studio @ 1:00PM
04/27 Detroit, MI -- the Belmont
04/28 Beloit, WI -- Beloit College
05/01 Des Moines, IA -- Vaudeville Mews
05/02 Iowa City, IA -- KRUI in-studio @ 3:00PM
05/02 Iowa City, IA -- Gabe's Oasis
05/03 Champaign, IL -- Canopy Club
05/04 St. Louis, MO -- Hi-Pointe
05/05 Lawrence, KS -- Replay Lounge
05/06 Denver, CO -- Hi-Dive
05/07 Salt Lake City, UT -- Captain's Quarters
05/10 Seattle, WA -- Chop Suey
05/12 Vancouver, BC -- Pat's Pub
05/16 Fargo, ND -- the Aquarium
05/22 Boston, MA -- Middle East
05/23 New York, NY -- Knitting Factory Main Space
05/24 Philadelphia, PA -- First Unitarian Church
05/25 Cleveland, OH -- Grog Shop
05/27 Chicago, IL -- the Metro
05/28 Minneapolis, MN -- Triple Rock
05/29 Lawrence, KS -- Granada
05/30 Denver, CO -- Marquis Theater
06/01 Seattle, WA -- Neumos
06/02 Portland, OR -- Hawthorne Theater
06/03 Roseville, CA -- the Underground
06/04 San Francisco, CA -- Cafe du Nord
06/05 Los Angeles, CA -- Troubadour
06/06 San Diego, CA -- the Casbah
06/08 Fresno, CA -- the Belmont
06/09 Anaheim, CA -- Chain Reaction
06/10 Phoenix, AZ -- the Brickhouse
06/11 Tucson, AZ -- Skrappy's
06/13 San Antonio, TX -- the Sanctuary
06/14 Houston, TX -- Walter's on Washington
06/15 Dallas, TX -- Gypsy Tea Room
06/17 Nashville, TN -- Rocketown
06/18 St. Louis, MO -- Creepy Crawl

Free Range Music: Morrissey, The Concretes, Serena Maneesh

Morrissey -- Ringleader Of The TormentorsListening to the good stuff in AOL's weekly batch of pre-release album streams will confirm many of your suspicions about what to expect from the new discs in the racks tomorrow, and could help you make some hard choices before your doubt-ridden walk to the cash register. Here are the bullet points: First, the new Morrissey set is particularly spirited. Not so surprising after You Are The Quarry, but it is a good rock record with some engaging flourishes. Second, The Concretes set is delectable pop and the album opener "On The Radio" is an unbeatable amalgamation of things like the Partridge Family and, according to the missus, the theme song from the Jodie Foster-starrer "Freaky Friday." Serena Maneesh's hotly tipped self-titled joint is also part of AOL's listening party this week, although we don't think its official U.S. release is until May. Even so, the set is filled with alluring and chaotic noise. Remember how you felt the first time you heard Gish? We're feeling that a little bit with Serena Maneesh, although the music isn't analogous -- it's more the raw vibe. Pay particular attention to the strong cuts "Candlelighted" and "Selina's Melodie Fountain" (the name sorta reminds us of the Lilys cut "Elizabeth Colour Wheel, but we digress). There's a lot of gold this week, so try before you buy so you bring home the right indie rock this week.

The Concretes -- In Colour [stream]
The Flaming Lips -- At War With The Mystics [stream]
Morrissey -- Ringleader Of The Tormentors [stream]
Serena Maneesh -- Serena Maneesh [stream]

April 2, 2006

Review: The Five Mod Four | Whiskers

The Five Mod Four -- WhiskersIf anyone is successfully repping a traditional, baseline sound in contemporary indie rock, it's Milwaukee's excellent The Five Mod Four (as you might suspect from so obvious a moniker, there are neither five nor four people in the line-up). The trio's forthcoming full-length Whiskers, which is slated to street April 11 on Contraphonic, touts high-energy guitar jangle, cheerfully jittery vocals and occasional flourishes of roller-rink organ or accordion. The label cites Miracle Legion and The dBs as touchstones for the band; we'd augment that with typical nerd-rock influences Jonathan Richman and The Feelies. The Five Mod Four's is a very pure indie rock sound, as indeterminate as that description may be. What is clear is that there are a whole lot of people who will sleep on this record (the drab album art doesn't help), and we advise thee to get thee to a nunner- err, we mean, you should check out the downloads that Contraphonic has posted here or the streams the act has up at its MySpace hizzouse. The obvious hit is the sub-two minute blast of "Somebody Failed," an unstoppable train of power pop that sounds like an addictive chorus for the whole of its 1:47. A cover of Orange Juice's "Poor Old Soul" with its catchy chant of "no more rock and roll for you" also stands out. The tracks are highlights on a record filled with clever and able songwriting dynamically executed with indie rock's basic building blocks.

April 1, 2006

Today's Hotness: Rollins, Editors, David Byrne, Brian Eno

Rollins>> Love or hate the former Henry Garfield (we personally skew more toward love, despite his faults), but Rollins Band has reformed. PunkNews has the news here. Former Black Flag fronter and current radio and TV presenter Rollins began blogging late last year -- read along here.

>> Rhapsody sponsored an Editors acoustic set at SXSW, and you can watch it at Real.com. The performance includes the cuts "Munich," "Someone Says," "Bullets" and "All Sparks." Not sure if the band's music translates particularly well via acoustic guitars, but you can decide for yourself here. Additionally, Rhapsody recently acquired the out-of-print Joe Strummer title Earthquake Weather. Have a listen here.

>> Two tracks from David Byrne and Brian Eno's recently reissued and groundbreaking 1981 set My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts are available via Creative Commons license for enterprising fans to edit, sample and remix. And if you are wondering where the track "Qu'ran" from the initial release is, there is a whole explanation of that (as well as links to sites posting the track) at this BoingBoing post.