June 21, 2007

Today's Hotness: Up Up Down Down, Bad Brains, The Monkees

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start>> Aloha readers. Please be advised that we're going to be off-line for the rest of June, as we've got a bit of sun and fun lined up. Don't worry, we won't be totally rock free, as we've got biographies of John Lydon and Frank Zappa already thrown in the suitcase. Expect your :: clicky clicky :: service to resume July 1.

>> We've been spinning Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start's new long player Worst Band Name Ever trying to come up with an angle for a review since it came in the mail. In the meantime, the band has posted two MP3s from the set at its MySpace carport and at the sorta new, sorta not web site for the record here. One of the posted tunes is "I'll Thank You Later," the video of which we already posted here last month. We're more excited that the band has posted "The Red Loop," however, because it is one of our two favorite tracks from the hilariously titled new collection. Murmered, harmonized vocals drift over a bed of pounding toms and hard-panned, dueling acoustic guitars, and as always songwriter Steve Poponi's structurally beautiful simplicity. Two verses, two choruses, two minutes and twenty four seconds. Download both tracks below.

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start -- "I'll Thank You Later" -- Worst Band Name Ever
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start -- "The Red Loop" -- Worst Band Name Ever
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[for a boat-load more free MP3s and to order UUDD records, hit this link]

>> Pun Canoes is streaming the title track to hardcore progenitors Bad Brain's forthcoming reunion album Build A Nation. It's pretty one dimensional, but that one dimension is heavy. Stream "Build A Nation" here. Build A Nation was produced by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and will be released June 26.

>> Things we didn't know or already forgot: Rhino is reissuing double-disc, deluxe editions of The Monkees' Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. If you order them both directly from Rhino you will receive two unreleased tracks from 1967 on a limited edition vinyl single with a picture sleeve. More details here. If you click around you will see that Rhino previously issued similar deluxe editions of The Monkees and More Of The Monkees at some point along the way. Is it true The Monkees outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones between 1966 and 1968? Did we read that right?

>> Since we've opened the door on our musical past by mentioning The Monkees above, we may as well also note something else we found very interesting. Fifteen years after releasing the first two parts of its From The Vault series, the Grateful Dead organization has finally seen fit to release the third volume. Three From The Vault streets June 26, and we are sure all of you will throw it right in your shopping carts next to that Bad Brains joint. More information right here. Mrs. Clicky Clicky actually got us a cool DVD featuring the Grateful Dead performing on Tom Snyder's talk show in 1980. The performances were to promote the release of the excellent Dead set Reckoning. The interview portion, which pairs Jerry Garcia with Ken Kesey, was really, really amusing.

June 20, 2007

Today's Hotness: Meneguar, New London Fire, Morrissey, Maritime

Meneguar -- Live At Tufts>> We don't think we've seen this anywhere except random message board posts: Meneguar's forthcoming set Strangers In Our House will be issued in Europe in August on vinyl via Sweden's Release The Bats label. The Release The Bats issue will be a limited (to what quantity, we don't know) tour pressing with 11 tracks, and it will have different artwork than the U.S. version of the LP. Watch this space for possible samples. The U.S. version will be issued by Troubleman Unlimited. Troubleman doesn't have any details of the record posted at its site yet, but if you poke around you will find that Strangers In Our House is catalog number TMU 193. That's something, right? Anyway, we posted all of Meneguar's European tour dates here, even though we haven't been to Europe in six years.

>> We find Hoboken, NJ-based New London Fire's "Different" exhilarating, the kind of track that would make plain a lot of emotional information all at once if used as part of the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie. "Different" has roots planted firmly in songs such as '80s technopop act Alphaville's overwhelmingly poignant "Forever Young" and Kitchens Of Distinction's chilling downer "What Happens Now?" [Or is New London Fire some sort of misshapen Frankenstein's monster comprised of parts of A Flock Of Seagulls and Squeeze? No matter.] We distinctly remember hearing that Alphaville track at one of our first high school dances and being elated by the over-the-top romanticism and huge melody. "Different" gives us a bit of that feeling, too (we're far too old and jaded now to feel more than just that bit). But when we listen to the "Different," over and over and over because it's great and surprisingly hard to shake, we want so badly to tweak the production, adjusting reverb, changing guitar tone, going for a chunkier keyboard sound. We're definitely showing our bias for indie rock production here, but one nice thing about "Different" is that it reminds us of a lot of songs from a time when we didn't overanalyze every piece of music that has the misfortune of crossing our desk. You can stream the entire record "Different" came from, I Sing The Body Holographic -- released on Eyeball Records last August, at the band's Virb page here. Here's "Different."

New London Fire -- "Different" -- I Sing The Body Holographic

>> We're gradually working through all of the TouchRadio podcasts. We started with the most recent episode, realized we'd been missing out on the sort of thing we used to love about listening to non-commercial radio, and began at the beginning. So far we are up to TouchRadio2, which we are listening to now, and it is awesome. Just slowly phasing 60-cycle hum, sporadic digital chirps, what sounds like surface noise of a needle going across a piece of vinyl, crickets... what at first blush sounds like what noise is both surprisingly textured and rhythmic as well as intensely relaxing. Our friends' new baby loves the ocean noise generating doohickey they play for her when she sleeps. We wonder how she would dig Stockholm-based Carl Michael von Hausswolff's track "As Quiet As Campfire or Analogue Motoric And Electro-Magnetic Silence Disturbed By Intuitive Slumber." Because we are loving it. The cut was originally released on limited edition vinyl on Ash International in February 1997, with "Mingling Or Dodekaphonic Drones Interfered By Known And Unknown Digital Phenomena" (presumably on the flipside, and, incidentally, much too ominous to be played for an infant). You can find a link to TouchRadio2, which contains both tracks, at the bottom of this page.

>> Legendary singer Morrissey is entertaining thoughts of signing a recording contract from Warner Bros. Although, instead of making a new record he might tour New Zealand, South Africa, Scandinavia, Israel and Iran instead. Yeah, Iran. This according to an item at the NME here. Morrissey, you so crazy. The former Smiths fronter's most recent solo set, 2006's Ringleader Of The Tormentors, is among his best solo records to date. Morrissey is in Boston next week, but unfortunately we're going to be out of town. Rats.

>> We were pleased to see Pitchfork report here that Maritime, the indie pop act that includes former members of erstwhile third-wave emo standouts The Promise Ring, will issue a new record in October. The quartet will issue the twelve-song set Heresy And The Hotel Choir on Flameshovel Oct. 16. It's the band's third set, although we're only familiar with the sophomore set We, The Vehicles, which produced the excellent rocker below, among many others. We reviewed the hot track "Tearing Up The Oxygen," from the same record, right here in March 2006.

Maritime -- "Calm" -- We, The Vehicles

>> Art DiFuria's fabulous psych-pop act The Photon Band will finally issue the digital-only EP Get Down Here In The Stratosphere July 3. It contains outtakes from the longtime Philly project's forthcoming set, Back Down To Earth, and will be available via the usual digital storefronts. No hard release date on that full length just yet. For those of you privileged enough to actually live in Philadelphia, you can see The Photon Band at Johnny Brenda's both this Friday and also Aug. 18.

>> Birmingham, UK-based mad scientists of noise pop Johnny Foreigner have a new web site. Remember when web site launches were the stuff of news? Crazy. Anyway, here's the site, which has a bunch of free MP3s of older tracks, and promises more in the future.

June 18, 2007

Today's Hotness: Assembly Now, Maybe It's Reno, Vice Kills Jamaica

Assembly Now>> A friendly chap repping London indie quartet Assembly Now got in touch to say the lads had recently recorded four songs for an XFM radio session. The band is offering two of the tracks for download, including a smoking, goes-to-11 version of the single "It's Magnetic" and a more mid-tempo track "Cool To Be Kind." We were kind of hoping that latter track was mislabeled and was actually a cover of the classic Nick Lowe cut "Cruel To Be Kind" [YouTube; YouTube]. Alas, no, although the rep said he thought that might have been Assembly Now's original title for the track. Anyway, definitely check it out. And make certain to download the XFM version of "It's Magnetic." The breakneck pace of the single is there, but the live production is a bit red-lined, so that the verse practically explodes right out of the gate, driven by bass and kick drum. The lead guitar line threatens to go off the rails at one point, and singer Gavin transposes words in our favorite lyric, but that just makes this live version that much more crucial. Check the MP3s out below. Assembly Now releases its third single, "Graphs Maps & Trees," Aug. 6 on Kids. In March the band participated in our Show Us Yours feature, which you can read right here. Ass Now is gigging all through the summer in the UK; you can peruse all their live dates here.

Assembly Now -- "It's Magnetic (Live)" -- XFM Radio Session
Assembly Now -- "Cool To Be Kind (Live)" -- XFM Radio Session
[right click and save as]

>> Teenbeat Records reports an Unrest reunion of sorts in the form of the forthcoming debut from Maybe It's Reno. The prime mover in the band is former Unrest / Air Miami bassist Bridget Cross, who was also in a very early incarnation of Velocity Girl. Ms. Cross is abetted by her former Unrest bandmates on the recordings, with Phil Krauth contributing drums and Teenbeat honcho and transplanted Cantabrigian Mark Robinson playing guitar and doing other things on most of the tracks. No hard release date yet, but the set is expected to be issued this fall.

>> Those of you who took our advice from over the weekend and checked out VBS.tv's very watchable series on dancehall in Jamaica: we heard from a fellow at Vice who wanted to make sure we knew about a 48-minute megamix of tunes that includes tracks from many of the artists featured in the series. We've listened to about half of it so far, and if you have any interest in dancehall (we love some of the wilder production, but know very little about dancehall in general) you should download this mix and throw it in your IPod or onto a CD-R. All manner of big beats and blunted toasting, dub plate touting and just general party vibes. Some of the stuff is pretty explicit, so it may not be the sort of thing you'll want to rock while driving your kids to gymnastics, or whatever kids do these days. Here's the (gigantic) MP3, with the track list below the link -- we're not sure what the file title is about, but this is what it says when it drops into your ITunes.

Restation Is A Must! -- "Vice Kills Ja!" -- Michael Raphael's Album

Mavado -- "Even If Dem Kill Me"
Einstein -- "Rise Di Machines"
Mavado -- "Amazing Grace"
Asassin and Mr. Easy -- "Big Man Ting"
Timberlee and Ward 21 -- "Bubble Like Soup"
Chico -- "Let's Get It On"
Vybz Kartel -- "Beat'n Beat'n"
Mr. Vegas -- "Nuh Fight Over Man"
Elephant Man -- "Bring It Come"
Leftside and Esco -- "The Tribute"
Sizzla -- "Pum Pum Hard"
Sizzla -- "Nuh Apology"
Sizzla -- "Fix Dem Business"
Sizzla -- "Ain't Gonna See Us Fall"
Pressure -- "Love and Affection"
Spice -- "Tight Pussy Gyal"
Mega Banton -- "Grindin"
Leftside and Esco -- "Tuck In Yuh Belly"
Voicemail -- "Informer"
Mr. Vegas -- "Nuh Frien From Dem"
Mavado -- "Shotta Nuh Miss"
Mavado -- "Dying"
Mavado -- "Me And My Dogs"
Jr. Gong -- "Something For You"
Akon -- "Don't Matter"
Busy Signal -- "Shoot Nuh Miss"
Vybz Kartel -- "Cyan Cook"
Bounty Killer -- "Try Fi Stop Killa"

>> Philly-based indie rock sensations The A-Sides just announced a slate of tour dates leading up to the release of their sophomore record and Vagrant Records debut. We're posting the dates below. Vagrant will release The A-Sides' Silver Storms Aug. 28, which we hope means that promos should be sent out sometime soon. We've been waiting a long time to hear this one. We might have posted some of these dates already, but what are you gonna do? We've never seen these guys live before, so we're obviously pretty excited about that Boston date.

06.20 -- Darkhorse Tavern -- State College, PA
06.21 -- The Nite Owl -- Dayton, OH
06.22 -- Schubas -- Chicago, IL
06.23 -- Continental Switchyard Festival -- Chicago, IL
07.20 -- XPN/YROCK Festival -- Camden, NJ
08.07 -- Black Cat -- Washington, DC
08.08 -- Middle East -- Cambridge, MA
08.30 -- Record Release at Johnny Brenda's -- Philadelphia, PA
09.02 -- Test Pattern -- Scranton, PA

>> We were pleased to learn that one of our favorite up-and-coming acts has a new label deal in place. It is still unannounced and the information was off the record. But we wanted to write this so that when Pitchfork gets the exclusive in a couple months, we can link back to this item and say, "yeah, we knew that." The interesting thing about the deal, and we don't think this is giving anything away, is that the band had initially been scouted by this label five years ago. So there you go, several worthless sentences about how we know stuff.

June 17, 2007

Review: The Jesus Lizard -- Live [DVD]

The Jesus Lizard -- LiveIn July 1993 we traveled north and east from the Philly 'burbs to erstwhile Trenton-based punk club City Gardens, where we saw abrasive, in-your-face and loud sets from The Jesus Lizard and New York quartet Helmet. Chicago-based The Jesus Lizard was supporting the release of the live set Show and the forthcoming Down. At that point our only familiarity with the grindy band was the fact that it had released a split single with Nirvana and had a reputation as being a volatile live act. By the end of the show we and our posse were more familiar with dynamic and almost dangerous fronter David Yow than we could have possibly expected. First, Mr. Yow picked our compatriot Lars' nose on stage when Lars tried to turn a stage dive into an opportunity for a handshake with his idol. Secondly, at one point Yow dropped trou, turned to face the drum kit and exposed... well -- it may be worse than you are thinking, but not much worse. We remember wondering if a law had been broken.

Anyway, when we saw that MVD was releasing a live DVD of The Jesus Lizard largely recorded a year later in October 1994 (some bonus material was recorded two years prior at CBGB's) we jumped at the chance to see it, as it is as close as we can get to reliving the chaotic set we had scene those many years ago in Trenton (motto: "Trenton Makes, The World Takes"). The fact that the set on the DVD was filmed (with different camera angles, to boot) in our adopted home of Boston, Mass. at the now defunct Venus de Milo club (which, incidentally, had hosted Radiohead's first U.S. show ever about 16 months prior) is icing on the cake.

The performances on "The Jesus Lizard -- Live" are easily as compelling as the live spectacle we recall. We found ourselves almost flinching as Yow launched himself into a crowd like so much snotty, sinewy ordnance when watching the video (a reaction typically only elicited by watching collegiate wrestling). The performances of "Bloody Mary" and "Nub" are particularly demented. While the trio playing instruments impressively lays down angular, ball-and-socket tight grooves worthy of much attention, it is hard not to focus on the antics of Yow. He spends the set wrestling the front rows of the audience. He crowd surfs, paces, spits and picks his nose, pausing between tunes to pull off of bottles of Budweiser. He demeans fans wearing earplugs, demands certain audience members are ejected, gets someone else's blood on his pants and holds his vocal mic to the bass cabinet. In short, he acts like the madman everyone told you about. Imagine if you took a speared bull from the bullring and dropped it in the first few rows of a hardcore show -- that's the sort of mayhem Yow creates. It makes for great video -- and you can watch a clip from the DVD right here:

The disc also includes a pretty interesting interview with Yow and Boston radio personality Shred. They discuss how The Jesus Lizard rebuffed advances from Atlantic Records by demanding huge amounts of cash for one record deals (the band ultimately signed to Capitol later in the '90s). Yow also goes off on how MTV sucked in 1994 and how the network demanded The Jesus Lizard edit its videos -- we can only imagine what Yow must think now. Attentive readers will recall that the Lars mentioned supra caught up with Yow's latest efforts as the vocalist for Qui in January; here is Lars' review of the show.

"The Jesus Lizard -- Live" was released June 5. You can buy it from Newbury Comics right here.

The Jesus Lizard: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr | Wiki

June 16, 2007

Today's Hotness: The Answering Machine, Fields, Meneguar

The Answering Machine[PHOTO: Ian F. Simpson] >> Hey, remember that forthcoming single "Silent Hotels" from Mancunian trio The Answering Machine we raved about here? Turns out you can already buy it at the ITunes Music Store, even though it isn't supposed to street until Monday. It's an end-to-end awesome indie pop solution, scritchy like The Strokes, but kinda down in the mouth like Haywood. Revel in it. As we mentioned in our earlier item, the curiously drummerless Answering Machine has UK tour dates booked far into the foreseeable future, so if you live over there make an effort to get out and see them so they can earn enough money to come play in Boston.

>> We have to admit we were more than a bit wary of news from Birmingham alt. pop quintet Fields that the act had recorded some sessions with a string quartet. But you know what? The gentler, stringed-up versions are very listenable. With some of the stormy energy dialed back to make room for the sweet string arrangements, there is even more room for showcasing the classic pop melodies that underpin Fields tunes. Sure, there is a lot of terrible deployment of string quartets out there in record store bins the world over. But what Fields have done is far from shlock. There is a slight hint of camp, but mostly the two tunes we sampled just sounded -- we are reluctant to say it again -- sweet. Anyway, here is a link to the revamped version of "You Brought This On Yourself," and here is the revamped version of "If You Fail We All Fail." We reviewed a recent Fields show at Boston's Paradise Rock Club here.

>> We just watched with much interest VBS.tv's 10-part series on dancehall in Jamaica and it is totally worth it, besides a couple slow spots. There is a lot of footage of raw tracks being laid down by up-and-coming artists, a lot of incisive interviews with street-level people involved with dancehall. There are links to all 10 parts here. At least watch the final episode, which we think is "Portland Pt. II." The last 45 seconds, when the immensely hungover reporter points out his carmate has already been partying despite the fact that it is 8:30AM, is hysterical.

>> Brooklyn's Meneguar is booking a U.S. tour for October, according to this MySpace bulletin. Which means the genius indie rock quartet will be logging a lot of miles this fall, as it already plans to be touring Europe and the UK for most of September. We've been sitting on the European dates for a long time, just because the shows are a long way off. But what the hell, here they are. Attention Europeans: Meneguar is among the best we have to offer, so definitely check them out. We reviewed Meneguar's recent show at Tufts University here. It was awesome.

Meneguar Euro Tour

09/06 -- OCCII -- Amsterdam
09/07 -- Paper and Iron Festival -- Cologne
09/08 -- Trainspotting Festival -- Schweinfurt
09/09 -- Carambolage -- Karlsruhe
09/10 -- Komma -- Esslingen/Stuttgart
09/11 -- Rockhall Cafe -- Luxembourg
09/13 -- Sonic -- Lyon
09/17 -- Arena -- Vienna
09/18 -- Kafe Kult -- Munich
09/19 -- K4 -- Nuernberg
09/21 -- Hafenklang -- Hamburg
09/22 -- Vera -- Groningen
09/23 -- ZXZW Festival -- Tillburg
09/24 -- Old Blue Last -- London
09/25 -- The Social -- Nottingham
09/26 -- Social Club -- Leeds
09/28 -- Boom Boom Room -- Dublin
09/29 -- Club Ping Pong @ Liquid Lounge -- Cork
09/30 -- Roisin Dubh -- Galway
10/01 -- Bar Korova -- Liverpool
10/04 -- The Portland -- Cambridge

>> We just got the forthcoming Mendoza Line record 30 Year Low in today's mail. We far prefer the Tim-and-Shannon version of "Aspect Of An Old Maid" to the Will Sheff-and-Shannon version. It's hard to beat Mr. Bracy's weary, cracked voice for the lyrics to that song.

June 14, 2007

That Was The Show That Was: Dinosaur Jr. | Urban Outfitters

Dinosaur Jr -- Live at Urban Outfitters, Cambridge, Massachusetts[Photo and MP3s used with permission of BradleysAlmanac, with whom we coordinated on covering this show. Read The 'Nac's reportage from his vantage point approximately 18 inches to our right right here -- Ed.]

Longtime :: clicky clicky :: readers will recall that we reported [here] on attending a Dinosaur Jr. show in December 2005, one of several performances filmed for the recently released DVD Dinosaur Jr. "Live In The Middle East." As it turns out, that live date provides good context for the mildly surreal but wholly electrifying Dinosaur Jr. in-store / non-in-store set [check this PDF, page 19] Monday night at retailer Urban Outfitters in Cambridge, Mass. focal point Harvard Square.

The difference between the 2005 show and the performance this week is the difference between celebrating "what was" and exalting in the sweaty, quasi-religious actualization of "what could have been." Monday night we witnessed the transubstantiation of the "what could have been" from a useless pile of barstool wishes about what a band might have accomplished into a heaving, thrashing "what is." Which is a lot of metaphysical bullrorfle we are throwing out as a way of explaining the chills we got seeing Dinosaur Jr.'s J, Lou and Murph move further into a collective future while mining its fractured past.

Dinosaur somewhat sheepishly took the made-for-the-occasion stage a bit past 8PM and rocked 400 lucky attendees, most of whom had waited in a line ringing the city block that houses the faux hipster retailer, for about 65 minutes. Barlow delivered the occasional joke about the oddness of the event ("It's like a real show! Murph's head is sweaty, and he doesn't have any towels... If someone could just hand him a $35 t-shirt for him to dry his head with..."), and owned up to spending a lot of time in the store in the '90s hanging out outside dressing rooms. Barlow and Murph even handed out earplugs (literally in a jar, although pun is somewhat intended) to unprepared show goers, with the friendly bass player joking more than once about heading to the adjacent CVS for more earplugs. Even typically reticent guitar god Mascis cracked a quiet smile when one fan sarcastically yelled "louder!" in between songs (Mascis responding with something like "are you really sure you want that?").

The performance was jarringly good, certainly more lively than we had ball parked while shuffling our feet and waiting for the rock. But the thunderbolt of realization that we were seeing something pretty special came about midway through the set. After opening with a somewhat flat-footed "Almost Ready" (although it doesn't sound that way on the recording) and then hitting their collective stride with a smoking "Budge," Mascis and crew did something we hadn't expected in the least: they played the paralyzingly great and monumentally heavy-hearted "Out There," with bassist Lou Barlow headbanging along and strumming his bass in the space where we had seen his replacement Mike Johnson play so many times in the early- and mid-'90s. The track is the opening cut from Dinosaur Jr.'s second Lou-less and second major label album, the breakthrough set Where You Been. When we saw the band in 2005 we were floored when they played "The Wagon," the opening cut from the first record without Lou (Green Mind). But we really thought that further forays into the Lou-less catalog would be minimal at best.

Dinosaur Jr. -- "Out There" -- Live at Urban Outfitters, 6/11/2007

Happily, we were wrong. And seeing the original lineup intensely rocking the song was uplifting. The trio broke out another post-Lou classic, "Feel The Pain" (from 1994's Without A Sound), and experiencing those old/new, new/old tunes amid a sea of kids many of whom were the age we were when we saw another version of Dinosaur play them gave us an odd feeling that our life had suddenly folded over on itself. Suddenly we were that old guy at the show we used to stand next to -- but at the same time suddenly we were 20 again. The feeling was heightened by the fact that the stage set-up at the Urban Outfitters was reminiscent of that of the Iron Horse in Northampton, Mass., where we saw that band several times between 1993 and 1996.

Anyway, we haven't even gotten to the best part of the show yet, which we'll just go ahead and tell you was back-to-back blinding-hot renditions of "Kracked" and "Sludgefeast." The version of the latter tune was particularly searing, even though on the whole it didn't seem as if the band was performing as loudly as we've experienced them in the past. The two tunes were filled with screaming guitars, Lou's head banging and Murph's ruthless pounding. Then the band left the stage and the gear was getting broken down when the band heeded calls for an encore. J, Lou and Murph returned and played what we were surprised to learn is a crowd favorite, the hot rocker "Pick Me Up." It's the third track from the recently released triumph Beyond [read our review of the record here], and it's a great song. We were just surprised that of all the tunes the youths were hollering out, and of all the great tunes on the new record, that one seems to resonate with the youth of today.

Dinosaur Jr. -- "Kracked" -- Live at Urban Outfitters, 6/11/2007
Dinosaur Jr. -- "Sludgefeast" -- Live at Urban Outfitters, 6/11/2007

Here's 16 seconds of YouTube video from the show -- it's "Freak Scene," and if you look closely you can see the back of Mr. 'Nac's head. The entire set list is posted below. To hear the entire set, hit this link and stream the whole thing via The Hype Machine's flash-based player. If you want MP3s of the whole set, hit this link and fly on over to Bradley's Almanac for the goods. Dinosaur Jr. is on tour in the U.S. for another week and then the band heads off to tour the UK, Europe, Australia, Japan and who knows where else. Full tour dates are at the band's MySpace shack linked below.

1. Almost Ready
2. Budge
3. Back To Your Heart
4. Been There All The Time
5. Out There
6. This Is All I Came To Do
7. Feel The Pain
8. Freak Scene
9. Kracked
10. Sludgefeast
E. Pick Me Up

Buy Dinosaur Jr.'s Beyond from Fat Possum here.
Buy other Dinosaur Jr. recordings from Newbury Comics here.

Dinosaur Jr.: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr | Wiki

June 12, 2007

Today's Hotness: Frightened Rabbit, The Beatings, Assembly Now

Frightened Rabbit, sort of...>> BrooklynVegan isn't saying how it knows (oh wait, here is the confirmation at Fat Cat)... Anyway, BrooklynVegan reports here that roundly excellent Glaswegian indie trio Frightened Rabbit has signed to Fat Cat, which is already home to acts including Mice Parade and The Twilight Sad. Frightened Rabbit's debut Sings The Greys, yet to be released in the U.S., is currently being remastered by indie go-to guy Alan Douches, and Fat Cat plans to issue the remastered version this fall. That release will be preceded by a single, the album track "Be Less Rude." The band is working with producer Peter Katis (Interpol, Mobius Band) on material for a sophomore record. We've already heard some demos of new stuff and can say there are hot songs in the works. You can download Frightened Rabbit's original three-song demo from Fat Cat's demo archive here. The band has one U.S. date slated, June 24 at the Mercury Lounge in New York. Here's an MP3 of "Go Go Girls" from the 2006 issue of Sings The Greys, courtesy of the upstanding citizens over at the Self Starter Foundation.

Frightened Rabbit -- "Go Go Girls" -- Sings The Greys (2006)
[right click and save as]

>> A lot of news out of the Midriff Records camp. About 18 months on the heels of the release of the record that spawned it, Boston noise-rock quartet The Beatings' blistering fist-pumper "Feel Good Ending" has been given a video treatment. The tune was one of several highlights of the 2006 release Holding On To Hand Grenades, and you can watch the video clip here. As we reported previously, The Beatings have begun work on the follow-up to Hand Grenades. You can see forthcoming tour dates at the band's MySpace lean-to here. Beatings side project E.R. will release an digital-only EP entitled ...And The Thunder Chief June 26. The short stack features five new tracks and will only be available via the Midriff Records web site. And finally, The Spanish Armada, the most recent backing band of E.R.'s Eldridge Rodriguez, will release an album on Midriff this fall. Dig the video for "Feel Good Ending"? Here's the MP3:

The Beatings -- "Feel Good Ending" -- Holding On To Hand Grenades
[right click and save as]

>> That forthcoming Assembly Now single we mentioned last week? It's going to be for the track "Graphs Maps & Trees," which has been streaming for some time on the London quartet's MySpace player. The single will be issued in early August on 7-inch vinyl. Once the vinyl run is exhausted, the tune will be available for sale via digital storefronts including ITunes. This all according to a MySpace bulletin from the band a week ago.

>> Pitchfork reports here that Pink Floyd's 1967 debut The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is being expanded and reissued by EMI. The three-disc set will contain stereo and mono mixes of the album, four singles from that period, and other rarities. Full details here. We already bought one reissue of the album, and we don't think we need another one. We'll see.

>> Our new favorite podcast? Glad you asked. Apparently the Touch label has had a podcast going back to 2005. We just got on board with the most recent episode, which is field recordings from the Island of Islay in the Scottish Hebrides. There's a bit too much narration for our tastes, but I guess with field recordings you do need a certain amount of context. But anyway, check out the site for TouchRadio here, and try a few of the podcasts. We're digging episode 25 -- it's like the last minute of "CBS Sunday Morning" where they show wild red foxes just chillin' for sixty seconds, except longer.

June 11, 2007

That Was The Show That Was: Dinosaur Jr. | Urban Outfitters

Really. The clothing store. What's more, it was a sponsorship dealy with a car company. But anyway, the sweaty show was totally awesome. Special co-post with Bradley's Almanac later this week.

June 10, 2007

First Listen: The Get Quick's See You In The Crossfire [MP3]

The Get Quick -- See You In The CrossfireIn its typically understated manner (well, unstated -- the band doesn't mention it on its sole offical web presence, this MySpace dojo), the sophomore set from Philadelphia's power-glammers/paw glimmers The Get Quick was issued May 29. See You In The Crossfire potently showcases the psychotropic rock ("Chemical Reaction"), winking wit ("X-Fire") and disheveled romance ("Angels With Powdered Noses") that characterizes band leader Erik Evol's songwriting. More modest production (or at least less aurally dense versus the more lush material from 2005's solid and more synth-informed How The Story Goes) imbues the set with a palpable energy more representative of the band's live assault. EMusic has the album for sale right here, and the hard-copy is available via all the usual digital storefronts, too.

Opening with a sound collage of cooing women and 'splosions and launching into the scorcher "Renting A Room," from there, our first impression is the set lives up to Evol's promise here of "a no-holds-barred buzzsaw rush of songs designed to melt your face off from the get-go." Face-melting numbers include "Renting A Room," the pounding marcher "My Enemy" and the aforementioned and revamped version of the older Evol composition "Chemical Reaction." The latter song's bridge section and lacerating guitar solo is the closest thing we've heard on a Get Quick recording to the draw-jopping late '90s live performances of the band's pre-cursor, MantaRay (sadly, we haven't seen Evol and his henchmen perform since the night before we moved to Boston in 1999). And yet, See You In The Crossfire has more than one gear. "Fashion Street," which is oddly similar to Love As Laughter's excellent "Canal Street," is an affecting and straightforward pop-rocker, with a wild tremolo/vocoder type effect at the close. And oft-played cover of The Beatles' "She Said, She Said" and album highlight "The Blinds" both plod a step slower than you'd expect, letting Evol land every lyric like a blow and allowing drummer Mitchell Joy to deliberately bring the songs home like one of those guys with flashlights on an airport tarmac. There is but one Get Quick show booked right now; if you are in the band's hometown of Philadelphia July 5, head over to the Khyber. Here's an MP3 of one of the tunes Rainbow Quartz is sort of offering at its page for The Get Quick (the link is there, but it doesn't point to an MP3 file just yet).

The Get Quick -- "Same Mistake" -- See You In The Crossfire
[buy See You In The Crossfire from Rainbow Quartz here]

June 6, 2007

Review: Tied + Tickled Trio | Aelita [Streams]

Tied + Tickled Trio -- AelitaThose not familiar with Weilheim, Germany's Tied + Tickled Trio (a band that enters its 13th year in 2007), and may have just heard that it is a jazz-ish offshoot of German electropop superheroes The Notwist, are in for a surprise when they listen to Aelita. In fact, as we're most familiar with T+TT's superlative release EA1 EA2, a compelling set of tunes driven by reed instruments and dub, we were a bit surprised ourselves (we've only recently scored the rest of the Trio's recordings via our EMusic subscription). That's because Aelita, which was recorded, arranged and mixed in less than a week, leaves the band's jazzist (or anti-jazzist, as the band's bio prefers) in the past.

While Tied + Tickled Trio was developed with the intention of working in a "universe" separate from that of The Notwist (although brothers Micha and Markus Acher are primary members of both acts), it seems easy to identify the crux where the two bands meet: a devotion to minimalist electronics. But that is only part of T+TT's game plan here. Aelita carries not far beneath an outwardly sterile surface twin currents of dusty goth and sweet, smoky dub. Three compositions share the duties of the title track ("Aelita 1," "Aelita 2" and, yes, "Aelita 3"), but the entire set ebbs and flows as a single entity melding gothic and Christmas-y chimes, reedy drones and rhythms that sleepily vacillate between a klezmerized bounce and a dub pulse. And so Tied + Tickled Trio has crafted a completely winning set of tunes that confidently nods into and out of the headspaces frequented by electrodub unit Pole or, at times, Cecille Schott's dreamy Colleen.

Morr Music will release Aelita June 19; the band has a handful of live dates booked in its native Germany throughout the summer and into the fall, which we've listed below. In the meantime, you can stream three tracks from Aelita by entering the Morr Music site, clicking on the album cover for the record and then clicking "listen!" We think our friends at Toolshed will be promoting the record in the future, so we're hoping we'll get an MP3 to offer, particularly if it is the excellent late-night head-nodder "Tamaghis."

Tied + Tickled Trio -- Aelita
[pre-order Aelita from Parasol here]

Tied + Tickled Trio: InterWeb | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

07.20 -- Jena, Germany -- Kassablanca
09.14 -- Leverkusen -- Sensenhammer
09.28 -- Hamburg, Germany -- Fabrik
09.29 -- Berlin, Germany -- Festsaal Kreuzberg

June 5, 2007

Today's Hotness: Shellac, Bedhead, Dinosaur Jr., Assembly Now

Shellac -- Excellent Italian Greyhound>> Venerable label Touch + Go has launched a digital music storefront selling 256Kbps MP3s of albums from its impressive catalog. Fine. But the big news is that Touch + Go is selling the wares of storied grind trio Shellac as well -- we just never thought fronter and renowned recording engineer Steve Albini would ever agree to release the stuff digitally, given his anti-CD stance over the years. Since MP3s are even more of an aural abomination than CDs, who would have thought the Shellac catalog would ever get sold digitally? It turns out Touch + Go is honoring Albini's audiophiliac (even a word?) beliefs, as the new Shellac set (out today) Excellent Italian Greyhound is being sold digitally as CD-quality 16-bit and above-CD quality 24-bit WAV files. Apparently, the 24-bit WAV format available for purchase at touchandgorecords.com does not play and/or burn with certain Mac and PC software. So there you go.

>> Incidentally, we got Excellent Italian Greyhound on vinyl in today's mail (with the label-less CD version of the album inserted in it, natch) and we are about 80% of the way through the opening track "The End Of Radio." We love the tune, in part because we have a soft spot for all songs that talk about radio. As a greyhound owner, we're obviously completely nutty for the gatefold album art and slip cover (pictured) for Excellent Italian Greyhound. If you haven't seen it, it's worth walking into your local indie rock store and checking it out.

>> But wait, there's more: according to the web site for the Touch + Go MP3 shoppe, the label is the first place to present the digital-only reissue of two stunningly good Bedhead EPs first released in the mid-'90s by Trance Syndicate. The slow-core heavyweights' two titles are 4Song19:10CDEP and The Dark Ages. The former includes one of the best covers of Joy Division's "Disorder" ever recorded. The title track to the latter may be the best Bedhead song ever written. In short, these are crucial records. Get them now, or when they arrive at other digital storefronts July 10.

>> Speaking of new things, we watched the just-released Dinosaur Jr. DVD Live From The Middle East Saturday night after a day of painting, and here are our very brief notes from the screening: "Very good. Very trebly. Holy Crap -- "The Wagon." Holy Crap! "Raisins." Soloing is complete mayhem. Murph looks like [old time pro wrestler] George "The Animal" Steel when the shirt comes off and the light is just wrong."

>> Remember a couple of weeks ago when we said here that one of the new Spoon numbers sounded a bit like Thin Lizzy? Well, the veteran quartet's tune "The Underdog" has been made an official promo track and now you can judge for yourselves by downloading the MP3 linked below. This is the sole track on the new record recorded in LA with producer extraordinaire and former Jellyfish / Greys guy Jon Brion (of whom we are a big fan -- have you heard the Jon Brion solo record from 2000? Hot.); the rest was recorded in Austin with a fellow named Mike McCarthy. Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga will be released July 10 on Merge, and you can pre-order the set here and stream it at the Merge site. We've heard the whole leak and can say Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is our favorite Spoon record to date.

Spoon -- "The Underdog" -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
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>> London-based indie rockers Assembly Now, previous featured here in Show Us Yours #6, will release a new single in July. Few details are available currently, but the platter will be issued on Kids Records, which, in addition to releasing (or at least selling) two earlier Ass Now singles, has also issued recordings by The Wombats and Band Of Horses. Assembly Now has a broad slate of dates schedule from June 14 through the end of July in the UK. Check them out at the band's MySpace yert here.

June 3, 2007

That Which Is Good: Stand-Out Stuff Found In Our Inbox

Night Of The Brain>> Super Collider's Cristian Vogel has formed a new band called Night Of The Brain, and the quartet will release its 10-song debut Wear This World Out, written and recorded in Barcelona, Tuesday. The teaser MP3 "The Theme" is very strong, a dreamy tune driven by a thumping bass line and draped with various computer-crafted textures. "The Theme" succeeds by remaining true to a hard-to-name but unsettled mood for four-and-a-half minutes, even as bassist Mike Hermann takes a bit of an odd solo or as drummer Cristobal Massis begins more urgently beating his crash cymbal at the song's close. Check it out.

Night Of The Brain -- "The Theme" -- Wear This World Out
[right click and save as; check out the video here]
[buy Wear This World Out from Kompakt-MP3 here, eventually]

>> We dug very much Foundry Field Recordings 2006 set Prompts/Miscues, particularly the wistful strummer "Buried Beneath The Winter Frames," so we were excited to see news of the band's next record. The Columbia, MO-based quartet's new EP Fallout Stations is termed a "companion piece" to Prompts/Miscues and includes both new tracks and rarities all relative to the concept of the 2006 collection (which we recall as being a Cold War/robots are going to get us kind of thing, although honestly it's been months since we've listened to it). Anyway, "Transistor Kids" is the preview track from Fallout Stations. It commences slowly with a long piano introduction, then snaps to attention with a beat, guitars and vocals that indeed make the track sound part and parcel of the earlier record. Fallout Stations streets Tuesday on Emergency Umbrella and the band plans to tour widely in July and August.

Foundry Field Recordings -- "Transistor Kids" -- Fallout Stations
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[buy Fallout Stations for Newbury Comics here]

>> This album stream of the self-titled debut from Austin-based quintet Peel may be the nicest surprise of our spelunking trip into our virtual mail bin. It's dense and melodic and distorted and loud and has buried vocals and it sounds like 100 different hungry indie bands from 1994, cut with a healthy dose of millennial digital trickery. Wow, glancing at their press, that's pretty much what The Onion said about them, too. Anyway, people seem to want to call these guys post-Pavement, which we suppose is passable, but we'd argue that Peel offers more of a garagey Monkees-ish melodicism and Flaming Lips-esque thrash. And then later in the record they toss in a little AM Gold stuff as well. Peel isn't actually too far removed from excellent Oklahoma-based trio Evangelicals, now that we think about it. You would do well to check out the Peel below. The band goes on tour for a couple weeks beginning June 8, and given how solid their album is we think it's worth heading out to see them, so we're posting the dates, too. Alas, there's no Boston date, but this isn't all about us, is it? Peel's Peel was released on Peek-A-Boo April 2, and shouldn't be confused with the also excellent Coctails record Peel.

Peel -- "Oxford" -- Peel
Peel -- "In The City" -- Peel
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[buy Peel from Newbury Comics here]

06/08 -- Denton, TX -- Hailey’s
06/09 -- Shreveport, LA -- Jackrabbit Lounge
06/10 -- Mobile, AL -- Cell Block
06/11 -- Birmingham, AL -- The Nick
06/12 -- Atlanta, GA -- Smith's Olde Bar
06/13 -- Wilmington, NC -- Bella Festa
06/14 -- Washington, DC -- The Black and the Red
06/15 -- Brooklyn, NY -- The Battering Room
06/16 -- New York, NY -- Piano's
06/17 -- New York, NY -- Piano's
06/20 -- Fort Wayne, IN -- The Firehouse
06/21 -- Chicago, IL -- The Darkroom

>> We liked very much this video preview of the forthcoming Montag set Going Places, which Carpark releases Tuesday. The video was apparently created in conjunction with Secret Mommy mastermind Andrew Dixon; longtime readers may recall we greatly enjoyed sampletronica project Secret Mommy's collection Very Rec and wrote about it here for Junkmedia a couple years ago. Going Places is Montrealer (or Vancouverite, depending on which sentence of his bio you believe) Antoine Bédard's third Montag record, and the collection contains input from notable indie luminaries including M83 and Amy Millan, among others. Bédard's blend of pastich and electropop is very enjoyable. The title track from the his new set is a romantic yearner that reminds us of a contemporary take on Yaz. "Best Boy Electric" is more upbeat, even jubilant, as if the narrator from "Going Places" has finally secured the reassurances he longs for so badly from the object of his affection. Again, the track sounds like Yaz or early, more innocent Depeche Mode.

Montag -- "Going Places" -- Going Places
Montag -- "Best Boy Electric" -- Going Places
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[buy Going Places from Newbury Comics here]