Friday, August 31, 2007

Okkervil River: The Stage Names, Independent Wednesday, Amoeba Thursday

Austin band Okkervil River have been making quite a stir with their latest release, The Stage Names. The album immediately drew me in on first listen: lead singer Will Sheff's voice is at once desperate and powerful, in some ways aping off of a late 70's Bowie(there are also shades of the Killers' Brandon Flowers, and The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, but then aren't they really aping from Bowie as well?). Scheff even lyric-checks Bowie's "TVC-15" in "Plus Ones": "your eyes dilated as light plays upon the sight of TVC16 as it sings you goodnight".

The overall sound is powerful and forthright, mixing solid acoustic-driven songwriting with experimental and dischordant electric guitar and keyboards. One of the most inviting parts of the record is that when you think the band is blindly pushing forward towards a traditional rock climax, everything dissolves into a cacophony. Now, don't get me wrong: these guys aren't pushing crazy, unexplored sonic boundries, but it's nice to see a rock band trascending what has become a sort of defacto-standard for the garage indie rock sound.

Now, you're thinking, "Great, I'll give the record a listen, but what does this all mean for me?". Well, you're in luck! This coming Wednesday Okkervil River are going to be at The Independent. Unfortunately for you, the tickets have already sold out, so you're going to have to do some hunting on craigslist to get into the show. Still, if this album is any indicator, the show promises to be completely killer, and worth the effort. In the meantime, go buy the record. See you there!

UPDATE: Okkervil will also be playing an acoustic set at Amoeba on Thursday @ 6PM!

mp3: Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks

This Month In EMusic

This is the beginning of a monthly feature, wherein I discuss my eMusic downloads for the month, and maybe bring readers' attention to something they haven't heard, or heard of. I can't sing the praises of eMusic highly enough (Full disclosure: I'm not a partner, and I get no benefit from this): reasonable price, no DRM, and vast selection. I joined about 2 years ago, and have consistently found material to download every month. If you're a fan of music on indie labels, and you're looking to stay legal in the face of RIAA prosecution, it's worth checking out. Plus, you can't beat the price. Now, on to the selections for September:

Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House: I had heard about this one for a while, with opinions ranging from brilliant to schlocky cheese, so I had to find out for myself before his show with Jason Collett at The Independent on the 27th of September.

Okkervil River - The Stage Names
: I read the review on Pitchfork, promptly
downloaded from the blogosphere, and subsequently felt guilty that I hadn't paid for such an awesome record. Fantastic stuff. They're at The Independent this Wednesday.

Studio - West Coast: eMusic recommended it to me based on my previous selections, so I decided to give it a whirl. The CD costs $23 at Amoeba. Score one for eMusic.

Miles Davis - Blue Moods, Miles Davis - Quintet/Sextet feat. Milt Jackson: eMusic has a vast jazz catalog, and I always try to dig up something interesting each month. These two caught my eye.

The Pixies - Complete B-Sides
: I have the rest of the back catalog, and had been intending to pick this up for quite a while. Fun to have some Pixies I may not have heard yet - that rumored new record isn't here yet!

Broken Social Scene - Live At Radio Aligre Paris, Live At Lollapalooza 2006
: I love BSS, and the fact that they've all been working on solo projects has meant a dearth of new material. Solution? Live shows!

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River: I was inspired to buy this after I heard M. Ward's recent remake of the title track. Reworked or not, it's a classic.

Tim Reynolds - Common Margins: Any coincidence that any semblance of creative integrity that the Dave Matthews Band had flew out the window after this amazing guitarist stopped helping them out in the studio? Probably not. He's an ultra talented musician.

The Sea and Cake - The Fawn
: I really got into them with this year's release Everybody, so now I've been going back and trolling the archives. Great band.

The Fillmore voted best small venue by h.a.d readers

In what ended up being a tight race between The Fillmore and The Great American, The Fillmore ended up taking the prize for best small venue. I was pleasantly surprised to see the huge (over 70!) number of votes in the first-ever poll. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that The Independent didn't amass more votes, and I would have liked to see newcomer Rickshaw Stop be more of a contender. Nonetheless, it seems somewhat fitting that Bill Graham's original San Francisco venue is still coming out on top, even if it has become a part of the dastardly ClearChannel empire. Be that what it may, there really can't be any argument that the Fillmore's allure and mystique not only gives the audience a real sense of rock history, but that it also continues to bring out some of the best performances of the artists that grace its stage.

New poll now up! Pick your favorite Bay Area music festival!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gamble Of The Week: Brian Jonestown Massacre

Coming up this Monday and Tuesday, notorious local troublemaker Anton Newcombe will be bringing his ever rotating cast of musical characters to the Independent for a two night stand. It seems inevitable that every discussion of BJM these days is accompanied by a mention of the 2005 documentary Dig! The film is a totally fantastic and bizarre look into the musical competition of BJM and the Dandy Warhols over the course of the 90's. Following the film's release, Newcombe insisted that his drug use and many outbursts were taken out of context, and that the film misrepresented him. Now, I don't know him, so in some cases that may be true. However, in the show I saw two summers ago at Old Ironsides in Sacramento, he was firmly "in character" from the film. Songs stopped and started haphazardly, he yelled at other band members, and everyone looked pretty upset in general. Now, that being said, when they hit their groove the tunes were sublime, and the performances awesome. Point being: this isn't a guaranteed smooth and polished rock show that you might expect from your average band. My recommendation for this coming Monday and Tuesday? Go check them out - I think the good firmly outweighs the bad here, and I always see BJM as a worthwhile risk when they come to town.

Dimmer opens, Monday night is already sold out.

mp3: BJM - Vacuum Boots
mp3: BJM - Super-Sonic
Bonus: Most of the BJM back catalog is available for free on their website in the open source ogg format.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

City Arts and Lectures Announces "Talking Music"

City Arts and Lectures, the group responsible for the lecture series of the same name, has just introduced a new lecture series known as "Talking Music". The first three dates are co-sponsored by Noise Pop. The talks will be similar to the standard City Arts and Lectures format, but focused on more music-centric topics. For this season they've reeled in Ben Gibbard, Bob Mould, Linda Rondstadt, Stephen Sondheim, and others. There will also be a night devoted to remembering Nick Drake that will include his sister Gabrielle. The talks will take place at both Herbst Theater and the Palace Of Fine Arts. The action starts off September 11th with the Gibbard talk, and tickets are available now.

!!! (chk chk chk) @ Mezzanine 9/25

Hot Off The Presses: Former local Sacramento-ites (now New York transplants) !!! (Chk Chk Chk) are going to be in town for a show at Mezzanine on Tuesday the 25th of September. These guys put on an awesome live set, and my only disappointment is that they decided to leave California for greener pastures. Nonetheless, their recent disc Myth Takes has some killer tunes, not to mention album art that will blow your mind (check out the vinyl!). Be forewarned: the last time I saw them at Mezzanine they went on LATE (after 1 if I recall correctly), so make sure and be prepared to hang for a bit.

Tickets go on sale this weekend via ticketweb.

Stream: Chk Chk Chk - Multiple Tracks

Wolfgang's Vault: SF Music History

This post is basically a heads up for those of you who have not heard of Wolfgang's Vault. Wolfgang's Vault is a business run by the purchaser of (San Francisco concert impresario) Bill Graham's archives. The owner bought all the archives of Bill Graham Presents in 2003, and the website is essentially a site for selling off large amounts of the retail material (shirts, posters, etc.) from that site. Wolfgang is Bill Graham's given name, and so ostensibly the site is a tribute to him.

Now, here's where it gets interesting: in addition to the above mentioned retail items, the archives also contained numerous concert tapes from the BG archives. The owners of Wolfgang's Vault have digitally transferred these (many of them unheard) tapes, and are streaming them for FREE from the Wolfgang's Vault "Concert Vault" site. They add five new shows a week, and there's so great archival material on there. If you're in to 60's and 70's rock, it's simply unbeatable. The only catch is that you need to register, but that's free. Once you register, here are some links to some shows from classic San Francisco venues:

Fillmore Auditorium
Fillmore West
Cow Palace
Oakland Auditorium
Oakland Coliseum

Additionally, I highly recommend checking out Bill Graham's autobiography Bill Graham Presents it's a fascinating read, and a genuine page turner.

Man Man @ Slim's In October

If you like your genres mixed, your performers painted, and your shows crazy, then this may be the announcement for you. Man Man will be playing Slim's on Thursday October 25th, with the opener yet to be announced. I personally haven't given the band much listen thus far, but with all the hype they've been receiving it seem likely some readers will want to be hitting up this show. Me, I'm still on the fence and trolling hype machine for mp3s. Should be a spectacle.

Tickets go on sale this Sunday, September 2nd, at 10 AM.

mp3: Man Man - Black Mission Goggles

Scissors For Lefty @ The Warfield 9/13

In the past six months, I've become a card-carrying Scissors For Lefty fan. The local band has been getting hyped for the last couple of years since their inaugural release Bruno, and their live show has always been mentioned as part of the appeal. I finally managed to catch them at Slim's via Noise Pop this past March opening for the French Kicks, and I was glad I did. The band has a great up front guitar-rock sound that is immediately familiar, yet also has a unique swagger and danceability. Lead singer Bryan Garza oozes charisma, and did a great job pulling in the crowd to the band's set - at one point even stepping down into the crowd. More to the band's credit was the fact that many of the songs were from an album not yet released in the US at the time, and they still had the crowd loving every minute of it.

Since March, the band has had a lot going on: their second disc Underhanded Romance finally saw its release in the US, the band has been playing shows non-stop, and they were even picked for the main stage at Live 105's BFD. I missed the CD release at the Independent, so lucky for me that they're opening for The Bravery at the Warfield on September 13th. I'm very curious to see what all this success has done for them - I'm hoping only good things.

mp3: Scissors For Lefty - Ghetto Ways
mp3: Scissors For Lefty - Lay Down Your Weapons

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hardly Strictly to feature Jeff Tweedy, Nick Lowe, Bela Fleck, Boz Scaggs, and more

San Francisco's favorite free fall festival (how's that for alliteration!) got its lineup announced today, and it's a doozy! The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival has amassed an amazing group of artists for the weekend of October 5th in Golden Gate Park. Jeff Tweedy plays on Friday afternoon, Saturday seems to be crossover artists day with Boz Scaggs, Nick Lowe, and Bela Fleck all making appearances, and Sunday is going to throw some serious picking your way, with both Dave Grisman and Earl Scruggs appearing. The show is always mobbed, and it's always crazy, but it's also always free! So get out your blankets and sunglasses - we'll see you there!

Full Lineup:

The Abrams Brothers
Alison Brown Quartet with special guest Joe Craven
Allison Moorer
Austin Lounge Lizards
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones featuring Victor Lemonte Wooten, Future Man & Jeff Coffin
Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys
Bill Callahan
Bill Kirchen & the Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods
Boz Scaggs & the Blue Velvet Band
Buddy Miller
Charlie Louvin
Chris Smither
Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek
Dan Reeder
Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men
David Grisman Bluegrass Experience with special guest Curly Seckler
The Del McCoury Band
Doc Watson with David Holt & Richard Watson
Dry Branch Fire Squad
Earl Scruggs
Emmylou Harris
Fionn Regan
The Flatlanders featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock
Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams
Gillian Welch
Guy Clark & Verlon Thompson
The Hacienda Brothers
Hazel Dickens
Heartless Bastards
Hot Buttered Rum
James McMurtry
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
Jeff Tweedy
Jim Lauderdale
Jimmy LaFave
Jody Stecher & Bill Evans / The Secret Life of Banjos
John Prine
Jorma Kaukonen
Julay Brooks & Richard Brandenburg & the Cash Magnets
Keller Williams
Kevin Welch & Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin
The Knitters
Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands
Los Lobos
Marley's Ghost
Michelle Shocked
The Mother Hips
Ned Sublette
New Lost City Ramblers
Nick Lowe
Pete Wernick & Flexigrass
Poor Man's Whiskey
Railroad Earth
Red Wine
Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby with Kentucky Thunder
The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
Robert Earl Keen
The Sadies
Shana Morrison & Caledonia
Songwriter Circle with Chris Smither, David Olney, Ray Wylie Hubbard & Steve Young
Steep Canyon Rangers
Steve Earle
the subdudes
Symphony Bluegrass Ramblers
T Bone Burnett
Teddy Thompson
The Whoreshoes
The Wronglers

Springsteen @ Oracle Arena In October

If you're into this sort of thing (which I'm not), then you'll be pleased to know that a Mr. Bruce Springsteen has both a new album and a tour scheduled for this fall. On said tour, the Boss will be gracing the Bay Area with his presence at the Oracle Arena on the 26th of October. The show is a full live experience, complete with E Street Band in tow. Tickets go on-sale 9/15 via ticketbastard.

mp3: Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere (free iTunes download)

If I were the Polyphonic Spree, I'd Sue.

In what appears to be an indie-rock cool kids extravaganza, Feist sang 1234 last night on Letterman with more than a litte help from here friends. If you're keeping track, the backing choir holds members of Broken Social Scene (well, duh), The National, New Pornographers, and Grizzly Bear. I'm kinda skeptical of the Polyphonic Spree ripoffedness of it all, not to mention the self-referential nature of the indie it-list, but I guess I have to let it slide. It's fun, Feist's on top of her game, and ferreals: do you want to be the hater? Didn't think so.

Grizzly Bear is at Mezzanine 9/15
The National play the Regency Grand 9/29

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Moz does 4 nights @ The Fillmore

From the looks of things, on September 23, 24, 26, 27 Morrissey is doing a 4 night stand at the Fillmore in September. As with last fall, Kristeen Young continues to be the opening act (did the two meet through producer-in-common Tony Visconti?) Should be pretty amazing to see such a legendary figure in such a legendary venue. I imagine it will sell out in no time, so make sure you get there early when tickets go on-sale September 9th @ 10 AM. As always, the Fillmore Box Office has its own stash, if you're inclined to wake up bright and early and go wait in line...

Dolby Digital, DVD-Audio, SACD and the sad decline of 5.1 audio content

I mentioned earlier in the week that I have a pretty strong audio fetish for 5.1 mixes of albums. I think that the technology adds an immense amount to the music by offering a more immersive mix, a new perspective on the tracks, and in some cases even completely different arrangements. The format is not without its champions: Flaming Lips have made it a mainstay of their past 3 releases, David Bowie has released recent albums (Heathen, Reality) as well as some reissues in 5.1, the Talking Heads box-set was remastered in 5.1, and a large portion of back catalogs for the Stones, Elton John, and Bob Dylan have also gotten the treatment. However, the format's popularity has been continually declining since its inception, and I am continually disheartened as I watch the surround format offerings at music retailers dwindle by the week.

The 5.1 (that's 5 "true" channels + subwoofer) audio format realizes itself in a number of ways: There's Dolby Digital, which is playable in any DVD player, and offers 5.1 channels of audio compressed into a single PCM audio stream. Then there's DVD-Audio, which uses the DVD's capacity to offer 6 channels of uncompressed PCM audio, and is playable in DVD-Audio compatible players. Finally, there's SACD,which does the same (uncompressed, 6 channels), but in SACD compatible players. These multiple formats are more telling than anything else about the launch failure of the format: the hardware requirements, complexity, and different offerings made the adoption by consumers extremely low. Then there's the issue of artists not even knowing which format to support: the Flaming Lips releases are consistently on DVD-Audio, while the Stones and Dylan are both SACD. Elton John has released in both the DVD-Audio and SACD format, while Bowie has released his discs in DVD-Audio, SACD, and exclusive Dolby Digital mixes.

As can be seen, the format is in what might be considered a bit of a confused state, and it's hurting because of it. Artists, studios, and most importantly fans, are giving up on surround audio. I guess that's what this post is really about: To implore those readers who haven't explored it to give it a shot. You will be amazed to see the depth and excitement that the new mix brings to the music, and perhaps the added niche support will help to maintain the release of exciting surround content. There is lots of surround audio catalog to explore, not to mention new releases coming out (albeit under the radar) weekly. As recently as last year, Liars released Drums Not Dead with a full surround mix of the album included, and Pet Sounds saw a surround remix for its 40th anniversary. This year's Flaming Lips live album UFO's At The Zoo got the surround treatment, as did their video compilation VOID. Even the Beatles got in on the act with the release of their inter-group mashup Love.

Whenever I see people sit down to listen to surround albums like these, the reaction is often one of excitement, exhilaration, and wide eyed bafflement at the format's dynamic personality. It's an experience all its own, and one I couldn't recommend more highly.

For more information on surround audio releases, check out High Fidelity Review. (I have no affiliation with the site, it just seems to be the best place to track surround stuff down on the web.)

Grizzly Bear At Mezzanine 9/15

Grizzly Bear have received a fair amount of hype in the past few months: they toured with it-girl Feist, they were lauded by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy in the New York Times, and they're all over the blogosphere. In lieu of all this hype, I decided the reasonable thing to do would be to check them out for myself. Last month, I used my handy-dandy emusic subscription to download their 2004 album Horn Of Plenty. On first listen, the album seemed okay to me, but nothing spectacular. I let it settle for a few weeks, and tried again. More of the same. Then this Saturday, I had this urge to hear this disc, and so I threw it on and listened. And listened again. And again. And again. Now I was on a rampage to hear their new release, Yellow House. Unfortunately, it's not available on emusic, so I was gonna have to go retail on this one. Except: the whole album is streaming at their site, and it's fantastic! I usually feel like internet-hype is always a bit of a let-down, but in this case I'm happy to be a convert. The change was slow and steady, but I'm now firmly in the Grizzly Bear camp. This development makes it all the more exciting that they'll be playing at Mezzanine on the 15th of September! Mezzanine shows usually roll pretty late, so it's nice that it's on a Saturday night. It's being billed as a Treasure Island Festival after party, supported by Another Planet. If you're like me, and only going to day 2 of the TI fest, then this'll be a nice way to warm up the night before. As always, if you do like the stream, do these guys a favor for their kindness, and buy the disc. Enjoy!

EDIT: Grizzly played the 826 Bookeaters benefit in NYC, and kicked out an awesomely bizarro version of Paul Simon's Graceland! Check out the mp3 below...

mp3: Grizzly Bear - On A Neck, On A Spit
mp3: Grizzly Bear - Graceland (Live @ Bookeaters)
Stream: Grizzly Bear - Yellow House (Full Album)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Liars: New Album, Bill Graham in October

I have yet to make mention of the new Liars eponymous album that is coming out on Tuesday (It was supposed to be out last Tuesday, got pushed forward). It's exciting to have a new disc from a band that really seems to be at the forefront of breaking new ground with every record they release.

I first heard of Liars in the 2001 days of the "new-garage" onslaught from New York City: lead singer Angus Andrew was dating Yeah Yeah Yeahs front-woman Karen O, and mentions of the two bands usually went hand in hand. I have to admit that they didn't actually catch my interest that much at the time, and I let the second album slide by me upon its release.

That all changed, however, with last year's Drum's Not Dead. The album is a challenging sonic masterpiece, and its appeal was increased by the inclusion of a full-length film to accompany the album, as well as a 5.1 surround mix of the audio (a personal sound-fetish, but that's for another post). The sound is difficult to explain without hearing it, but it's at once dischordant and melodic, experimental and straightforward, aggressive yet subtle. Needless to say, a follow-up from such a dynamic disc is eagerly awaited. A few hype machine assisted listens in, and I'm still absorbing it. However, at first listen it seems to be a tad more straight-ahead rock than the last album. You can find almost all the tracks on the net at this point (it leaked in June), but I encourage you to pick up the disc and support the band.

In the other half of this news-bite, I'm wrestling with disappointment with the band's upcoming San Francisco appearance. The show is at Bill Graham Civic Center on Saturday October 20th, providing support for Interpol. I'm disappointed by this development for so many reasons. For one, the Bill Graham is probably my least favorite venue in the city: It's a vacuous, gigantic space with poor sound, and very little to offer concert goers besides $6 gummy bears. It's sad that this is Bill Graham's legacy.

On top of the venue, there's the tour support for Interpol. Granted, the bands came out of New York at the same time, and maybe it's just buddies doing one another a favor. Unfortunately, I think it reads more like Interpol countering their recent major label release with a dose of "indie cred" in the opener slot. I've seen Interpol a number of times, and while they're a solid live band, I'm disappointed that their icy (and to me, boring) set is going to cut into what could be a Liars headline gig at a smaller venue. Here's hoping that Liars will swing through town to take another shot at a smaller headlining gig. In the meantime, I'll probably try to jump on board at Bill Graham - if I can find a cheap ticket.

mp3: Liars - Plaster Casts Of Everything
Stream: Liars @ Myspace - Entire album

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wilco + Greek = Fun For The Whole Family

At the Greek Theater tonight, Nels Cline was a far cry from the subdued character that played at the same venue two years ago. Pounding through two and a half hours of tunes off of the new Sky Blue Sky, as well as a host of older favorites, Cline demonstrated a combined prowess for subtlety, technical skill, and plain old rock and roll. Bounding around the stage for some tunes, then disappearing behind a table to sit at a pedal steel for others, he seemed to be having more fun than two years ago, and also to truly understand the many faces of Wilco.

At this evening's show, those many faces were plainly evident. The setlist read like a well versed exploration of Jeff Tweedy's compositions of the past 12 years. Not surprisingly, the band tapped nine songs off of the new album, and I was glad they did. While many of these tunes feel sterile or overly simple in their album form, they had a life all their own in the live setting. They gained dynamics, power, and weight that are simply not evident from the studio tracks. The quiet drone of "On and On and On" transcended its desperation, and instead weighed in with a pounding resolution of certainty: "You and I will stay together". Similarly, "Side With The Seeds" escaped the confines of being a relationship discussion, and instead yielded a call for solidarity in the face of bewilderment.

The other pieces of the puzzle were equally rewarding: the band took a diverse selection of tracks ranging over all of their albums, from AM's "Too Far Apart" (sung an octave higher than on the record, and showing off Tweedy's new-found vocal confidence) to A Ghost Is Born's "Hummingbird". The "easy rockers" quota was fulfilled by "Shot In The Arm", "Always In Love", and "Outta Mind Outta Site", while those more fond of Wilco's noise experiments got "A Future Age", "Via Chicago", and a clap-exercise version of "Spiders".

While the whole show was resoundingly solid, it did seem that the band is more confident in their newer noise/prog-rock sound than they are with the older classic rock tunes. While the more experimental pieces sounded fleshed out and exciting, the straight ahead rock read more like a nod to the fans or an effort to go through the motions. This is probably the biggest complaint I can muster, and it's not much of one. Despite Tweedy's potential to shush me, I loves me some Wilco.

Sunken Treasure
You Are My Face
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
Either Way
Hand Shake Drugs
Pot Kettle Black
War On War
Shake It Off
Side With The Seeds
A Shot In The Arm
Impossible Germany
Sky Blue Sky
Too Far Apart
Via Chicago
Jesus, etc.
Hate It Here
I'm The Man Who Loves You
California Stars
On and On and On
Always In Love
Outta Mind Outta Sight
A Future Age

More photos at flickr.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Travis Morrison Gets Kicked In The Nuts Again

In what seems to be turning into some sort of running gag, Pitchfork has once again completely reamed Travis Morrison (formerly of Dismemberment Plan) over a new disc: All Y'All. Their now-famous review of his previous album has been used a number of times as an example of the unreasonable amount of sway that the 'fork has over the indie rock scene these days. I've actually really enjoyed both of these solo releases quite a bit and don't understand the hellbent criticism. Anyway, I was disappointed to see that all of his currently scheduled dates are extremely DC-local: I hope the negative vibe isn't keeping him from getting out and about, particularly to the West Coast. We'll have to see. In the meantime, ignore the negative hype, and decide for yourself. The full album is currently streaming over at Travis' site.

mp3: Travis Morrison - As We Proceed

Animal Collective - Peacebone Video

For those eagerly anticipating the Animal Collective release of Strawberry Jam in a couple of weeks, here (complete with Corvette and random people in masks) is the video for the first single, Peacebone.

Local Music: Vetiver

I guess I'm a bit late to the party on this one, seeing as how Vetiver is now opening for the likes of Bright Eyes and The Shins, but I figured it was worth mention none the less. Back in April or so I was browsing at Green Apple Books and Music and saw To Find Me Gone on the employee recommendations shelf. The recommendation mentioned great songwriting, a comparison to Hunky Dory-era Bowie, and the fact that they were a local band - it seemed like a good bet. Months later I'm not sure if the Bowie comparison was accurate, but the songwriting is kick-ass, and the disc just gets better with each listen. I haven't been able to catch the live show yet, but I hear it's amazing. If you haven't been to the "vetiverse" yet, give it a try.

mp3: Vetiver - Been So Long

Arctic Monkeys to DJ @ Popscene

In the continuing trend of talented musicians proving they know how to play cds, Arctic Monkeys will be DJ'ing Popscene on September 27th. The DJ set is billed as an "afterparty" for their show earlier in the evening at the monolithic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. So, if you like to watch British musicians play CDs in a room full of sweaty 18 year olds, this is your lucky day! I kid, I kid...everyone likes Popscene, right?

mp3: Arctic Monkeys - Flourescent Adolescent

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bright Eyes Skips Out On San Francisco, or do they?

It's no secret that Bright Eyes has paid a number of visits to San Francisco in the past year, notably a two-night stand with local boys Vetiver at the GAMH in March. However, in a recent tour announcement, it looks as though Conor & friends will be jumping from Chico down to L.A. with a 5 day "break" in-between. It seems that the break-time would be ripe for a stopover in our foggy metropolis during that time, but none has been announced as of yet. Developing...

Stream: Bright Eyes - No One Would Riot For Less

Wilco Tomorrow Night

Perennial fan-favorites Wilco are back in town tomorrow night at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. While the new disc, Sky Blue Sky wasn't grabbing me when it came out earlier this year, it's definitely a "grower". More and more I'm finding that the melodies remain stuck in my head, and that the live performances off the bonus DVD are even better than the album tracks. That, combined with the killer Wilco show at the Greek in '05, had me queuing up for tickets as soon as the pre-sale hit my inbox. Unfortunately tickets are sold out on ticketbastard, but one would imagine the usual craigslist and outside-the-venue resources will probably get you hooked up in time for the show. As an added bonus, it looks like the band has been closing with some vintage tracks at recent shows. (Richard Swift opens)

(If Wilco's not your thing, the Beastie Boys are at the Warfield Friday night. You're on your own trying to find tix....)

Stream: Wilco - Sky Blue Sky

Wait-in-line time for Dinosaur Jr....

If you're planning on seeing Dinosaur Jr. and Band Of Horses at Mezzanine in September, you'd better get out your hats and mittens - looks like the pre-sale is completely sold out. Here's hoping for a little Indian Summer...

mp3: Dinosaur Jr. - Almost Ready
mp3: Band Of Horses - Funeral

Animal Collective Tickets Still Available

Animal Collective is going to be playing at the Fillmore in September, and tickets are still available. Definitely a show worth going to, if all reports are accurate. However, beware: same reports say that the band is playing tracks even newer than the yet-to-be-released Strawberry Jam.

mp3: Animal Collective - Peacebone