Saturday, December 27, 2008

HAD's Top Eleven Of 2008

Yes, eleven. At the end of the day, we just couldn't bring ourselves to pare it down to ten, and what's the point of normalcy, anyway? Instead we decided to just give you the unfettered list of our favorite records of the year, count be damned.

This list is really our best effort to point out the records that caught our attention, and held on to it for a good long time. There are lots of other great records out there, but these are the discs that stayed with us through the year. On headphones and speakers, at home and on the road, these are albums that not only held our attention, but also changed our perspective on music and opened our eyes to a new perspective.

1. Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight:
To anyone who's a regular reader of HAD, this record's place at number one should come as no surprise. We're simply addicted to it, in every sense of the word. The desperate vocals, the layered guitars, the outstanding songwriting, and the clever lyricism - all of them contribute to make Frightened Rabbit's latest our number one record of the year. Some pigeonhole it as emo or depressing, but we're of the opinion of their missing the humor behind the record. Its songs are a shot at the unbelievable nature of love and life in the modern world, and struggling to find some semblance of reason amongst the chaos.

 2. Plants And Animals - Parc Avenue:
This Canadian trio hit us out of the blue with a record that captures so many elements that it's painfully hard to characterize, aside from the fact that it's very, very, good. The album's tracks contain a vast range of styles, rhythms, and melodies. More than anything, they serve to lay a foundation for a band that is clearly adept at doing whatever they please. From the anthemic opener "Bye Bye", to the record's frenetic closer "Guru", this album simply begs to be listened to on repeat - what's hiding in the nooks and crannies gives more and more with each listen.

 3. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular:
Sure, it's debateable as to when this record came out. If you're a "when did the public get it" purist, then sure, it was released in digital form last year. For us, though, the record hit the streets in January, and a release is a release. But enough about technicality: this record is rock and roll brilliance. An amazingly clever tongue and cheek look at disillusionment in the face of commercialism and social norms. It's a record about finding your own way, discovering yourself, and wondering what on earth people are doing following the crowd. It doesn't hurt that the melodies are ridiculously catchy and memorable, and that Dave Friddman did a fantastic job with the production duties. The whole record comes together to be a pop masterpiece that also manages to take a stab at everything and anything conventional.

4. Evangelicals - The Evening Descends:
It's difficult to pull of experimental psychedelica in a way that's accessible to your average listener. It's even more difficult to dose that experimental psychedelica with just enough pop sensibility that your record transcends genre and defines you completely. On this record, that's exactly what Evangelicals have done: the album is a cacophonic dose of measured chaos that seems almost incomprehensible, but at the same time demands that the listener sing (or at least attempt to sing) along. Every time we pop in this disc, we have to smile at its amazing ability to unite melody with off the wall production - this is the sound of people having fun with music.

5. David Byrne And Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today:
To say that David Byrne and Brian Eno pose each other with inspiration is an understatement: the two have collaborated on some of the most influential and amazing records of the modern era. Given that, it makes sense that the music community at large was more than a little excited to see what this collaboration would yield: the experimentalism of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts? The disjunct art rock of the Talking Heads? In the end, it was something different althogether: Byrne brought the influence of his recent work to the table, and Eno laid down some of his most song based work in years. The result is a record that has all the melodic and lyrical rewards of Byrne's solo career, with an underpinning of Eno's instrumentals that push Byrne ever so slightly back to the world of rock music - and it's a very good thing.

6. The Sea And Cake - Car Alarm:
Given its similarity in production and writing to last year's Everybody (our #1 of the year), it should come as no surprise to find this record in our top 10. Even the press release for Car Alarm name checked it as the clear successor to Everybody. The band was happy with what they were doing, happy to be on the road, and wanted to capture the sound for round two. In the end, they did exactly that: the album presents the same measured, well crafted pop, with some ever-so-slight tweaks that separate it from its sibling. The guitars are tougher, the percussion more varied, and the vocals more pointed. We're glad The Sea And Cake managed to get another disc out the door this quickly, and given the result we hope they don't slow down any time soon.

  7. The Heavenly States - Delayer:
It's a pretty unique experience to see a band three nights in a row, having never heard anything they've done previously.  In the case of The Heavenly States, that's exactly what happened: we caught them opening for Spoon on a killer 3 night run at the Fillmore, and were on board thereafter.  The band manages to take a degree of earnest lyricism and melody that doesn't always suit our fancy  (think Springsteen), and then temper it with just enough balls to the wall musicianship that all of a sudden we're perfectly happy to be earnestly rocking.  This record is loaded with infectious melodies, gorgeous guitar hooks, and most importantly, the soul of rock and roll.  We're waiting on the next one, States.

8. TV On The Radio - Dear Science, :
We've been fans of TVOTR since way back in their pre-album-release days, so this one was on our radar from the get go.  The thing is, while previous releases have always been great, this one takes it to a new level.  The band has managed to unify their sound in a way that perfects it, and the same time minimizes it.  Songs are more artfully layered, and the band seems less intent to be constantly firing on all cylinders.  Rather, this is a record with a solid ebb and flow, that comes together in the way a great record really should: it feels distinctly as though it should be enjoyed in one satisfying listen.  That isn't to say the record is without catchiness: the songs on the album hold their own, and frankly, it gets us thinking that TVOTR's next record could be the one that puts them solidly into the arena as both an artistic stalwart, and a favorite of the mainstream.  Next Radiohead, anyone?

9. Port O'Brien - All We Could Do Is Sing:
Port O'Brien, on their face, is something of a folk band:  many of their lyrics are sentimental, biographical, or downright excerpts from a story telling session.  Yet even in the face of all that folk sensibility, the thing that really wins us over is the fact that the band isn't afraid to rock.  Even this most sensitive moments are laced with something of an iron grip, and the band's live experience takes the album's rock sensibility and takes it to another level.  It's tough to think about them and not mention Neil Young in the same breath, except that Neil's voice (quite frankly) doesn't measure up to what Port O'Brien has to offer.   Judging by the band's live set, the next record will be a step further in the direction of searing rock and roll, but in the meantime, we're content to enjoy this gem any time we're looking for a taste.

10. Stephen Malkmus + Jicks - Real Emotional Trash:
This record's a tad difficult for us to even think of as an '08 release, as most of its songs had been heavily, heavily road tested by the time it came out.  That being said, this is a record that really needs to be recognized:  it's really the first time the Jicks have come together and released a solid record as a band.  2005's Face The Truth was clearly (and admittedly) a Stephen Malkmus basement project, that wore all the hallmarks of the singer and guitarist's idiosyncrasies.  By sharp contrast, Real Emotional Trash unifies the band (including newcomer Janet Weiss) under the guidance of Malkmus, and then allows them to truly shine.  We have to admit, we're a fan of anything Malkmus rolls out the door, so we're curious to see what the next record will bring.  Regardless of what it does bring, this record is a clear testament to the Jicks abilities, and the fact that they have graduated far beyond the simple moniker of "Stephen Malkmus' backing band".

11. The Walkmen - You And Me:
This record is the one that kept us from sticking to a simple "top ten", and with good reason: The Walkmen have released a record that manages to draw from (and learn the lessons of) every record in their catalog.  While many have hailed this release as a "return to form", we here at HAD are inclined to disagree.  While You And Me does contain many of the hallmarks of the band's first two records, it also contains a certain sensibility that is unquestionably reminiscent of the bands oft-criticized (and frankly, well-loved around here) release A Hundred Miles Off.  The band's ethereal, haunting rock has been solidly laced with a newfound pop sensibility, and what's more, many of the songs have managed to chip out a genre that is even more distinctively "Walkmen" than any of their previous releases.  In short, this is a record that realizes the promise of the band's greatness, but also manages to illustrate the journey it took to get there.

So, there you have it folks: Our top records of 2008!  Enjoy your New Year's, and we'll be sure to see you back here next Monday.  In the meantime, stay safe, and if you missed any of these records, get out there and grab them.  You wouldn't want to get behind with 2009 just around the corner!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Coldplay Offers Up Free Christmas Download, Video

Hey there kids! Sorry to have been a bit delinquent in posting, but we've been caught in the holiday rush of blizzards, travel, and shopping. HAD's going to be a bit more sporadic over the next week or two, coming back in full force during the first week of the New Year. In the interim we'll be hitting you with the one-two punch of our top records and gigs of 2008, and the occasional posting (like this one) that we felt just couldn't wait.

That being said, here's the news: Coldplay have continued their mp3 generosity that the started earlier this year, and are offering an mp3 of the Thin White Duke Mix of "Viva La Vida" up for free. Click here, sacrifice your email to the gods, and it's yours. What's more, the band has posted a tasty little jangle from a show at the O2 Arena in London. View it here.

With that, we're off to indulge in holiday gluttony. We hope you celebrate whatever suits your fancy, in whatever way you like.


Wilco: Live Concert Video, Studio In The New Year

A press release from the Wilco camp has just brought us up to date with what the band's been doing as of late (besides posing for photos in their winter wear). The first piece of news is that they've decided to release a concert film entitled The Ashes Of American Flags. After the filming for Kicking Television went South and turned into a concert album, we have to say we're curious to see what the band has found more passable about this newer film. According to the press release the film was created by "Brendan Canty and Christoph Green at Trixie Films (Sunken Treasure, Burn to Shine, etc.) Filming took place on the band's February '08 tour and includes material from Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, The Ryman in Nashville, and more" We have to admit: with no Wilco concert footage officially released since I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, we're psyched to see this thing make it out the door.

In other news, the band has confirmed a relatively low key touring schedule for the winter, with a handful of solo dates for Tweedy and Cline. Additionally, the band will be returning to the studio to record the follow up to 2007's Sky Blue Sky. Given that that record was the first go-round of the latest Wilco lineup, we're more than a little excited to see what the band will come up with after more than a year and a half more of active touring. Apparently, the studio time will get some visibility on the band's site, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reminder: Mercury Rev Is At The Independent Tonight, Tomorrow

In case you find yourself needing to escape your holiday shopping and commitments, may we kindly suggest a trip to the world of the lush, psychedelic pop of Mercury Rev? The band will be at The Independent tonight and tomorrow, in support of their latest record Snowflake Midnight (and, presumably, its online companion Strange Attractor). If you dig on reverbed vocals, solid songwriting, and wave after wave of killer synths, well - it doesn't get much better than this. Not to mention, it's the tail end of their national tour: we're guessing it'll be a pretty damn good pair of gigs.

Ryan Adams Pre-Sales Tomorrow Morning: Montclair, North Charleston, Nashville

Photo from the HAD Archive

If you happen to be one of our non-West coast readers, then you may just be lucky enough to catch Ryan Adams and the Cardinals out and about on tour this spring. That being said, we're happy to pass along the presale information that continues to work its way out of the Cardinals camp, even if the shows are on the flipside of the nation. These all start tomorrow (Thursday) morning - password for all three is "COBWEBS" - happy hunting!

Feb 22nd – Montclair, NJ – Wellmont Theater
Presale starts Thursday, December 18th at 10am

March 11th – No. Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center

Presale starts Thursday, December 18th at 10am

March 14th – Nashville, TN – War Memorial

Presale starts Thursday, December 18th at 10am

Droney Noise Rock Super Bill: Primal Scream and Brian Jonestown Massacre Come To The Fillmore

Photo from the HAD Archive

We don't have enough to put this in the "official news" category yet, but it's looking like Primal Scream and Brian Jonestown Massacre will be playing a bill at The Fillmore on Saint Patrick's Day; March 17th, 2009. Presumably this would be part of Primal Scream's US tour for their most recent record, Beautiful Future, while BJM would be continuing their support of My Bloody Underground's legitimate CD release. No official details of a ticket on-sale as of yet, but we'll keep you in the know. In the mean time, head over here and download a free copy of Primal Scream covering Hawkwind's "Urban Guerilla". Enjoy!

Music Buddy Makes Harvesting Blog MP3's A No Brainer

Much like an RSS feed will allow you to snag all the content and information from your favorite sites, a new product will now allow you to do the same with mp3s. Music Buddy launched today, and is available for free download immediately. The program uses standard RSS feeds to check blogs for new downloadable music. Essentially it's like a Hype Machine or Elbows, but fully automated and customized to your needs. Currently it's only available on Windows, so those of you in Mac and Linux world will have to get a VM going to feel the love. If you're looking for a quick way to get your daily dose of new music, this definitely seems like the ticket.

Peter Gabriel And Hot Chip Cover Vampire Weekend

Given that we've been fostering a rapidly expanding obsession with Peter Gabriel's early solo records, we were pretty interested to see that the man has joined up with Hot Chip to cover Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa". The song features a prominent Gabriel name drop, so it seems that his cover fulfills some sort of self-referencing irony quotient.

Gabriel's take on the tune is a significantly more chill than VW's, with a more loping, Africanized beat. The fact that he can't hit the high notes in the chorus is a bit of a let down, but the rest of the vocals sound spot-on. Gabriel definitely lends his signature feel to the record, and it makes us hunger for a bit more pop music from a man whose output has been more on the experimental side for the past few years.

Thanks to Abeano Music for the tip!

mp3: Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (YouSendIt, click through)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Noise Pop Announces New Headliners: Malkmus, St. Vincent, French Kicks, Ra Ra Riot and More

The folks over at Noise Pop HQ promised more headliners were on the way, and now they've up and delivered. The 2009 lineup has been significantly expanded to include what's being billed as Stephen Malkmus' "San Francisco Bay Area live solo debut", along with shows by St. Vincent, Josh Ritter, French Kicks, Ra Ra Riot, Martha Wainwright, Broken West, The Morning Benders, and The Submarines.

We have to say, we're pretty psyched to catch a Malkmus solo set (especially since they seem much more prone to including a few Pavement classics), and we're definitely devotees of The French Kicks. Given that we missed Ra Ra Riot's fall date (Spoon @ The Fillmore, anyone?), we also wouldn't mind catching a bit of that action as well.

In addition to the new lineup, Noise Pop has also announced that festival badges are now on sale at early-bird prices. If that's you're thing, better pick em up before they're gone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Broken Social Scene: Winter Tour, Potential San Francisco Date?

Photo from the HAD Archive

Broken Social Scene has set up a handfull of winter tour dates for January, as they continue to support their latest record Something For All Of Us. As we perused the dates, we couldn't help but notice that the band is coming to the West Coast without an announced stop in San Francisco.

Given that the band has yet to make a headlining appearance in the city (Outside Lands is their only appearance in San Francisco since the record's release), we have to admit we're kinda surprised. And then we noticed: a conspicuously open date on Tuesday, February 3rd. Granted this is all speculation and wishful thinking on our part, but wouldn't a stop in the city really make for a good time? Come on guys - please?

While you're contemplating the bands possible (or impossible, you decide) arrival in our fair city, you can check out some behind-the-scenes photo goodness over at the band's tour blog and even enter for a tasty holiday gift pack.

Broken Social Scene Winter 2009 Tour Dates
Friday January 30th, 2009 Dallas, TX House of Blues

Saturday January 31st, 2009 Austin, TX Bass Concerts Hall - University of Texas
Monday February 2nd, 2009 Houston, TX Numbers

Wednesday February 4th, 2009 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom

Thursday February 5th, 2009 Seattle, WA Showbox SoDo

Friday February 6th, 2009 Vancouver, BC Orpheum Theatre

Friday March 6th, 2009 Miami, FL Langerado Festival

Rock And Roll Television Is Experiencing A Rejuvination

It's been quite a few years since there's been anything resembling a legitimate, intellectual, artistically sound television program about rock music. In fact, even the less insightful programs featuring chart countdowns are even going the way of the dodo. Probably the best thing in recent memory (and even it was ten years ago) was David Byrne's program Sessions From West 54th on PBS. Sure, there are some concert programs that simply show live music, but they seldom do much to investigate anything beyond the live experience as it stands up on its own. Given that, we've been subsisting on a steady diet of youtube clips and Classic Albums DVD's from Netflix. However, news over the past couple months has given us some hope that maybe the music program is on the rebound, and that there'll be a fair bit to gobble up over the next year.

To start with, you may remember that we mentioned Nigel Godrich's program From The Basement. Well, apparently it was popular enough to sustain a second season, and so it's back with a killer lineup of players, all getting recorded for your listening delight in specialized studio sessions. One of our favorite producers recording some fantastic bands? Not exactly a bad idea.

What's more, you may have heard about Elvis Costello and Elton John collaborating as producers on the Costello-hosted program Spectacle. The show features Costello interviewing, collaborating with, and then listening to, a wide range of celebrities who all have some sort of musical inclinations. (Yes, Bill Clinton is on the list. We're skeptical too.) Given that Costello and John are both admitted fanboys themselves, we're looking forward to checking out what kind of interviews Costello puts out there.

Oddly, the shows broadcast on the same night, so you'll have to negotiate your schedule accordingly. Sure, some of the guests aren't exactly to our taste, but frankly we're glad to see music reestablishing it's proper place as part of an otherwise shallow and dead world of television.

From The Basement Season Two Lineup:
12/3 - Gnarls Barkley, Sparks, The Kills
12/10 - My Morning Jacket, The Fall, White Denim
12/17 - Iggy Pop, CSS, Shortwave Set
12/24 - Radiohead, Andrew Bird, Fleet Foxes
12/31 - The Raconteurs, Seasick Steve, Band of Horses
1/7 - TBC supported by Mercury Rev and Terry Callier

Elvis Costello's Spectacle Lineup:
12/3 Sir Elton John
12/10 Lou Reed + Julian Schnabel
12/17 Bill Clinton
12/24 Elvis Costello with James Taylor
12/31 Tony Bennett
1/7 The Police
1/14 Rufus Wainwright
1/21 Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, Norah Jones, John Mellencamp
1/28 Renée Fleming
2/4 Herbie Hancock
2/11 She & Him, Jenny Lewis, Jakob Dylan
2/18 Diana Krall
2/25 Smokey Robinson

Ryan Adams Cardinology Contest Winner Announced

Well, this was probably was our most popular contest yet, and we can understand why! Getting Cardinology on vinyl and CD in one fell swoop is about as good as it gets. The winner of this fine, fine, prize is one Mr. William Bronston. William, we'll be contacting you about the prize shortly. In the meantime, thanks again to Filter magazine for sponsoring the contest - we're sure William thanks you as well!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reminder: Ryan Adams Cardinology Giveaway Ends Tonight At Midnight

Just a reminder kids: if you're hankering for a free vinyl and CD pairing of the latest from one Mr. David Ryan Adams and his band the Cardinals, then make sure you get in your contest entries by tonight at midnight. If you have no idea what we're talking about, then you may as well go check out the original contest posting. Good luck!

Blur Adds Second Hyde Park Date - Tickets On Sale Now

Blur's first Hyde Park date on July 3rd sold out rapidly, and the band has now added a second date on the 2nd. Wow. That was quick. A second concert date? What's next? A tour perhaps? Or maybe a new record? Please? Come on, guys. All this suspense is killing us. You can buy tickets for the new date here, and in the meantime enjoy Cornelius' killer remix of "Tender" below!

mp3: Blur - Tender (Cornelius Remix) (YouSendIt, click through)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lykke Li Plus Kings Of Leon Makes Us Happy

Last night, in between our enjoyment of sets by Cold War Kids and Vampire Weekend, Live 105 DJ Aaron Axelsen was DJing away on the Mezzanine PA. In that set (in addition to a great MGMT remix), he played a version of Lykke Li covering the Kings Of Leon tune "Knocked Up".

Let us just say flat out how floored we were: the track is amazing. Dare we say as good (or better) than the original? In lieu of some photos of the event (which was fantastic, by the way), we instead give you this awesome, awesome tune. Enjoy.

mp3: Kings Of Leon - Knocked Up (Lykke Li vs. Rodeo Remix) (YouSendIt, click through)

Animal Collective Hosting Release Party With French Miami, Maus Haus

Image from the HAD Archive

Amidst controversial leak enforcement, vinyl being released two weeks ahead of digital formats, and mind bending album art, Animal Collective have now also announced a release party "tour" across the US in early January. The description is rather vague, ("Every party will be a little different, and information on the specifics of each party will be available on the host's website.") but considering that they're going to be giving away "exclusive goodies including giant posters and download cards, ticket giveaways and grand prize giveaways of 'The Domino Years' prize packs.", we'd say it's a safe bet.

The fact that local acts French Miami and Maus Haus will be on the San Francisco bill, and that it's at the ultra-tiny Knockout, isn't exactly hurting things either. We're just hoping that Merriweather Post Pavillion is more Feels than it is Strawberry Jam, but that's just us. (Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the tip)

Animal Collective Release Parties:
Anchorage, AK - KRUA Presents

Atlanta, GA - Criminal Records - Jan. 1st @ 4PM

Austin, TX - End Of And Ear Records & KVRX - Jan. 3 @ 6PM

Boston, MA - WZBC presents

Chicago, IL - WHPK presents*

Dallas, TX - Gorilla Vs. Bear Presents
Eugene, OR - KWVA Presents

Lawrence, KS - Love Garden Sounds & KJHK - Jan. 6th
Los Angeles, CA - Fingerprints Records & KXLU - Jan. 6th
Miami, FL - WRGP Presents
Minneapolis, MN - KUOM Presents
New York, NY - Other Music Presents - Jan. 5th
Philadelphia, PA - WXPN Presents

Portland, OR - Music Millennium - Jan. 3 @ 6PM
Raleigh, NC - WKNC Presents
San Francisco, CA - Terrorbird Presents @ The Knockout - Jan. 6th, 7-10pm (with French Miami and Maus Haus)
Santa Cruz, CA - KZSC Presents

Seattle, WA - KUPS Presents

St. Louis, MO - Vintage Vinyl & KDHX - Jan. 6th

Vancouver, BC - CFUV presents

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Ryan Adams: "Dear Impossible"

A view from an airplane, reverbed vocals to the max, arpeggiated, ethereal guitars: yes, Ryan Adams has posted another track to the web.

Look kids, we'll be honest here: we love seeing and hearing RA work his way through the creative process, so as long as he keeps making it, we'll keep posting it. Not to mention the fact that we're really, really, really hoping that the edgy rawness of these web postings will somehow (God willing) make its way onto an official release.

Studio slickness begone!

UPDATE: Adams is apparently on a video upload rampage.

Reminder: Vampire Weekend Is At Mezzanine Tonight (Plus New Video)

Tonight marks the beginning of Live 105's Not So Silent Night festivities, and the pre-party will be kicking off at Mezzanine. The lineup features Vampire Weekend, along with Cold War Kids, Chairlift, and Audrye Sessions. Should be an awesome (if not a bit late, being at Mezzannine) show.

In the meantime, if you find yourself needing fuel for your late night fire, check out the Vampire Weekend video above from It's a great clip, featuring a solid interview with the band along with three pared down string-trio versions of songs from the record.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reminder: Little Joy Is At Slim's Tonight

If you find yourself looking for a dose of Tuesday evening rock and roll (and you can deal with an all ages, probably crowd), well, look no further! Little Joy will be at Slim's this evening for the super price of $13! The band has been getting a lot of positive hype lately, and we here at HAD have been digging on their debut record quite a bit. Should be a great show, but if you need a taste before you buy, check out their latest video above. "No One's Better Sake" is definitely one of the record's more upbeat tracks, and the video is a dose of 60's throwback music video, complete with low res video and cheesy screen graphics. Remind you of anything? Just sayin'.

Have You Ever Heard Of Dirty Mac?

No? Well, us neither, until today. Let's just start by saying it's a supergroup of sorts, consisting of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Mitch Mitchell. Let's follow that up by saying they did a massive cover of The Beatles' "Yer Blues". Let's conclude by saying: yes, it's just as awesome as you would expect it to be. Happy Tuesday.

(Sidenote: we realize this post completely exposes our ignorance of having never actually watched The Rolling Stones' Rock N Roll Circus. Guilty as charged.)

Jimi Hendrix: Retro Video, Electric Ladyland Reissue

Today marks the 40th anniversary reissue of Jimi Hendrix's classic record Electric Ladyland. As such, the Hendrix family has approved a complete reissue of the record, which includes the ubiquitous "digital remaster" as well as a "Director's Cut" making-of DVD. Frankly, reissues usually don't phase us, but this is our favorite Hendrix disc, and the making-of is supposedly spot-on. That, and it gave us an excuse to put up this sick video of Jimi covering "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Word.

OMG!!! WTF?!?!?! Blur have reunited!!!

Okay, we've been waiting to hear this for a long, long, time (9 years to be exact). Apparently Blur have decided they will officially reunite for a July 3rd show in Hyde Park. This will be the first time since 2000 that the band have played as a full (Graham Coxon included) unit. Words don't really suffice at the moment, so, we'll let you bask and/or read for yourself. Tickets go on sale Friday morning, 9 AM (presumably UK time). London, anyone?

New Oasis EP Drops: Apparently These Days "Unreleased" Means Remixes and Demos

Image from the HAD Archive

It's a sad day kids: apparently long gone are the days of Oasis singles being graced with multiple fantastic B-Sides. We don't know if it's a change in record company policy, or if the band simply isn't feeling as prolific, but it's downright frustrating.

News came over the wire today of a new Oasis EP for the track "Out Of Time", from their latest Dig Out Your Soul. The press release touts four additional "unreleased tracks". Unfortunately, those tracks consist of the demo for "Out Of Time", along with remixes of "Shock The Lighting", "To Be Where There's Life", and the title track.

Now, don't get us wrong: remixes are all well and good, and it is an iTunes only release, so it's "official" status is debateable. Still, we just don't like the bullshit factor being so high, especially for a band whose track record of B-Sides borders on legendary.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Scissors For Lefty: Album On The Way, 111 Minna This Sunday

Photo from the HAD Archive

Last we heard from Scissors From Lefty, they had just released their EP Consumption Junction (which rocks, by the way), and were on the way to a bunch of promotional dates in November. Well, fast forward to early December, and the band is apparently ramping up to a full album release. On the band's myspace blog, they've thrown down a coming-soon gauntlet: "We've got about another 12 songs waiting on the back burner so strap yourselves in and get ready to shake and move!!"

What's more, the band will apparently be at 111 Minna this Sunday for a late (11:45 in the PM) show. Given that we've never seen these guys put out a bad show, and the fact that there'll presumably be a ton of new material to take in, well, it should make for a fun night. Checkit.

New Ryan Adams Video: "Cobwebs" Goes Acoustic-y

Sure, at this point Ryan Adams is putting up a new video almost daily. But when it's a stunning new version of one of our favorite songs off the new record, rendered in dark acoustic goodness, well: Who's complaining? We thought not. Enjoy.

M. Ward: New Album, Palace Of Fine Arts In March, Presale 12/09 At 10 AM

After a year or so of touring almost exclusively in support of She & Him, it looks like M. Ward is back on his own. Ward will be releasing a brand new record on February 17th entitled Hold Time. It's been over two years since Post War dropped, so we couldn't be more excited to see new material from the man. The record (whose covert art you can see above) features guest appearances by Lucinda Williams, Jason Lytle, and Zooey Deschanel.

Ward is also mounting a tour in support of the record, which includes a March 5th date at The Palace Of Fine Arts here in San Francisco. You can snag tickets in the Another Planet presale starting Tuesday (tomorrow) morning at ten. Click here, the password is "holdtime".

We here at HAD have seen Ward live three or four times now, and we're always thoroughly impressed by his shows, both solo and with band. Matt's (that's what the M.'s for, kids!) simply a fantastic musician, and the consistently with which he effortlessly delivers moving versions of his songs is simply remarkable. Highly recommended.

M. Ward Tour Dates, Spring 2009:
Wednesday, February 18 Boston, MA @ Somerville Theater
Thursday, February 19 New York, NY @ The Apollo Theatre
Friday, February 20 Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theatre
Saturday, February 21 Washington, DC @ Sixth and I Synagogue
Wednesday February 25 London, UK @ Borderline
Thursday February 26 Paris, FR @ Café de la Danse
Friday, February 27 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Wednesday March 4 Los Angeles, CA @ Music Box at Fonda
Thursday, March 5 San Francisco, CA @ Palace of Fine Arts
Friday, March 6 Seattle, WA @ Showbox At The Market
Saturday, March 7 Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another Side Of Spoon: Interview With Jim Eno

Jim Eno at The Fillmore from the HAD Archive

About 90% of the Spoon interviews we read out there are given by front man extraordinaire Britt Daniel. It's no secret that Daniel's one half of the band's always-there members, the other being producer and drummer Jim Eno. Britt makes no bones about steadily and reliably crediting Eno with having a huge hand in the band's sound. Still, interviews with Jim are a bit tougher to find, so we were psyched to check out this interview over at Culture Snob. Eno gives some great insights into the band's recording process and production, including the revelation that Britt Daniel plays much of the band's non-drum percussion and is an "amazing tambourine player". What's more, it features audio of the interview! Good stuff, people, good stuff.

Interview: Jim Eno Of Spoon

The New Vetiver Album Will Be On A (Major) Indie Label

Okay, don't get too freaked out - we're just trying to mess you around with that title. The reality is that SF locals Vetiver have signed with Sub Pop, one of the indie record industry's longest running and most successful labels. Having loved the band's last record of originals, To Find Me Gone, we've been looking forward to the delivery of some new original material in the wake of their covers record and EP that came out this year. Apparently the band's latest, Tight Knit, is finished and ready to go, and will see a street date of February 3rd. Keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, Vetiver is wrapping up the tail end of their winter tour, some dates with The Black Crowes. Unfortunately there are no SF dates, but holiday season is all about travel anyway, right?

Vetiver Winter Tour Dates 2008:
12/4 Louisville, KY @ 21C Museum Atrium Gallery
12/5 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater w/ The Black Crowes
12/6 Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore Detroit (State Theater) w/ The Black Crowes
12/7 Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom w/ The Black Crowes
12/8 Grinnell, IA @ Herrick Chapel at Grinnell College
12/9 Fargo, ND @ The Venue w/ The Black Crowes
12/10 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue w/ The Black Crowes
12/11 Des Moines, IA @ Val Air Ballroom w/ The Black Crowes
12/12 Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Jr.
12/13 Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium w/ The Black Crowes
12/14 Lawrence, KS @ Jack Pot Saloon
12/15 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Night Club
12/17 New York City, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge

The Heavenly States Played Bottom Of The Hill: A Foggy Holiday Release Party

On Friday night we had the pleasure of heading over to The Bottom Of The Hill for the release party of A Foggy Holiday 2008, the latest in Talking House Records' series of holiday comps for charity. The joint was packed, and most (or parts) of the bands on the record were in attendance. The night was predominantly shorter sets that included the holiday tracks that the bands had recorded for the benefit, but The Heavenly States were headlining the evening's festivities. We managed to catch the holiday goodness on film (Or, well, microchip. You know how it is).

To be frank, this is probably the most we've heard The States rock out in a live show - maybe it was the packed room, maybe it was the headliner status, or maybe it was just the right kind of night. Regardless, it worked - the whole band was blazing through the set, and despite our better judgement, we kept our earplugs out so we could absorb the full awesomeness of the set.

The band played a ton of the material from their latest, Delayer, and even managed to squeeze in their cover of "Little Drummer Boy" from the album of the evening. To be frank, we here at HAD tend to hate "Little Drummer Boy" (yes, even the Bowie version), and we weren't very optimistic about hearing it yet again. That being said, we were pleasantly surprised. The band managed to take the tune's typically bore-inducing repetition and inject it with a solid dose of droney rock sensibility. Add some percussion provided by members of The May Fire, and hey - we're liking what we heard.

At the end of the day, we here at HAD are suckers for charity and Christmas, and Foggy Holiday manages to have both. Not only that, but they managed to rope in some of the best bands SF has to offer at the moment. The event at Bottom Of The Hill echoed the vibe, with happy people, good music, and holiday cheer. Trust us kids, you don't have an excuse not to check this one out.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nothing To Do Tonight? Watch A Pavement Doc Over At Pitchfork!

As part of their "one week only" series, is hosting the Pavement documentary Slow Century this week. While the documentary isn't exactly the most original thing in the world (more of a summary than new material), it is a great intro to the world of Pavement for the uninformed. It features a ton of good archival footage, and in general is just a good time. Highly recommended.

Video: Pavement - Slow Century

Jay Reatard: See-Saw Video, Coming To The Independent In January

Despite (or maybe due to) reports of an unbearably noisy, spit-laden, aggressive live show, we have to say we're psyched to hear that Jay Reatard will be coming to the Independent on January 25th. We've been digging his Singles 06-07 comp for a while now, and his recently released Matador Singles '08 is another solid dose of Reatard's trademark brand of 60's throwback fuzzed-out garage punk. Don't say we didn't warn you that it might get a bit hectic, but we think you'll go home happy.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 10 AM.

mp3: Jay Reatard - See-Saw

Saturday Morning Ryan Adams Video: "Rosebud"

Fresh off the presses, here's a vid of Mr. Adams playing his tune "Rosebud", presumably at home in his apartment. It's a pretty spare arrangement, with a bit of reverb. Frankly, we like it better than the original. Keep 'em coming RA.

Friday, December 5, 2008

No Age Played The Rickshaw Stop: Pictures, Review, Setlist

Last night at The Rickshaw Stop No Age played an ass kicking show to a group of utterly psyched fans. The fans were psyched, understandably, because one of their favorite bands was playing a free show at a tiny venue, and with the maximum of enthusiasm. No Age delivered a just over one hour set that held one foot firmly in the traditions of the LA hardcore scene, and the other in waves of abstract noise experimentation. The beginning of the night was a bit odd, as the show's sponsors attempted to make a sort of public service slash marketing announcement all about their site and buying merch there. Suffice it to say, neither the band nor the fans took much notice, and the band even started playing while company drone was still talking. Oh well - no big loss there.

From there the band kicked into an unrelenting set ranging over both of their albums, and including a couple of new tracks. The new tracks were solid, but definitely didn't stray from the established No Age sound. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the set was Randy Randall's ability to recreate his guitar sounds from their records. We were skeptical that this would be possible, but through a bunch of pedals, three separate amps, and a good amount of layering, he managed to generate note-for-note the rich textures from the record. It was heartening to watch a musician be so technically adept in a real way, and not fall back heavily on computers and samples.

Throughout the show, Dean Spunt seemed frustrated with the crowds lack of enthusiasm - he asked whether they were tired, or if it was a work or school night. He implored them to "loosen up", and still nothing. Finally in the second half of the set, came from behind the drum kit and instructed the crowd to "all move forward", and they did as they were told. From there, things accelerated into a much more crowded, much more mosh-y show, and the band seemed pleased with the results.

After banging through the recorded setlist, the band broke into two songs for their encore (help, anyone?). For the first, the band invited fans or "anyone who knew it" on stage to sing, and managed to wrangle up a few takers from the crowd. For the second, guitarist Randy Randall jumped from the stage and crowd surfed - continuing to play guitar while he did so for easily 30-60 seconds. Impressive, to say the least.

At the end of the day, No Age deliver live exactly what you'd expect from their records: noisy, brash, experimental, balls-to-the-wall, progressive music. The piece of the pie that doesn't really come across in the records is just how much energy these guys have. Throughout the show, both Randall and Spunta are frenetic balls of energy, traversing the stage and putting their heart and soul into the performance. It would be easy for a band that delivers this well musically to simply rest on their laurels, but No Age does exactly the opposite. It was enough that when Randall told a bouncer who was trying to calm the crowd "Hey, the kids are alright!", that it served as a solid reminder that No Age is helping to preserve the things that make rock music great.



Teen Creeps
Here Should Be My Home

Every Artist Needs A Tragedy

My Life's Alright Without You

New Song

Neck Escape
Dead Plane


New Song

Brain Burner

Boy Void

Ripped Knees

Encore Song 1 (cover)

Encore Song 2

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

Because (Christmas = Awesome), Stupid.

Contest: Ryan Adams Cardinology Vinyl+CD Giveaway

Well kids, this is just cool. We'll be perfectly honest with you: this contest we're about to offer up? We paid our own cold hard cash for the same exact thing just about a month ago. Seriously: it's almost too good to be true. The kind folks at Filter Magazine (ardent Ryan Adams proponents if there ever were some) have offered us a combined vinyl and CD copy of the Cardinals' latest, Cardinology, to give away to one of our ridiculously lucky readers.

So, here's the deal: this is a sicktastic prize, so we're gonna make you work a little to get the goods. By midnight next Friday, send us your name and address and the answer to the following question:

Ryan Adams recorded an unreleased session at Q Division studios in Boston in September of 2000. At that session, another musician sang backup vocals. That musician is now in another band - name the band and the musician.

Replies go to - name, address, and answer. One entry per person, please.

Ready, set, go!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oasis Played Oracle Arena - Setlist, Pics, Review

Following Ryan Adams' solid opening set, Oasis took the stage at Oracle Arena to deliver a set that fulfilled all the hype, pomp, and showmanship that one would expect from one of the world's most mega rock bands. The lights were big, the set was big, the video screens were big - all of it was designed to be larger than life and completely wow the crowd. What's more, the setlist was a fantastic blend of the band's material over the years, and even included a few treats for the diehards.

It was actually quite remarkable how easily the band jumped from old material, to new, and back again. Despite the fact that the band's records have taken on a decidedly darker production aesthetic in the past few years, they've clearly been putting in the time to make sure that they can deliver on all the classics as well - material from Definitely Maybe sounded just as solid as anything off the recent records.

In many ways, Oasis' US gigs are doomed to be greatest-hits affairs: most Americans aren't super familiar with the deep album cuts, and moreover they pay money to see those well known tunes. That being said, given the infrequency of Oasis' touring in the US, that's not necessarily a bad thing: it is really and truly great to see the band rock out to "Morning Glory" under a full bath of lights with 6' guitar cabinets roaring away.

Even in light of delivering the hits, the band did manage to slip something in for the die hard fans (of whom there were many). They performed both "The Masterplan" (best known as the title track of the band's B-Sides collection), and "Slide Away" - a seldom played track from Definitely Maybe. It's nice to see a band that is so thoroughly an "arena act" still have the awareness and promotion of their rarer material. Although with a library of b-sides and rarities as rich as Oasis', it's easy to see why they would do so.

The only disappointing moments in the set for us were a somewhat half-hearted "we have to do this" version of "Wonderwall", and the closing of the night with "I Am The Walrus". In both cases it felt more like a band doing what was expected, as opposed to what came naturally. And still, a slightly weak version of two songs out of the whole night is hardly a damning report. We walked away feeling more than satisfied by the set. Oasis delivers absolutely what you'd expect from them: loud, unadulterated, unabashed rock and roll. And we loved every minute of it.

Fucking In The Bushes (Intro)

Rock N' Roll Star


The Shock Of The Lightning

Cigarettes And Alcohol

The Meaning Of Soul

To Be Where There's Life

Waiting For The Rapture

The Masterplan


Slide Away

What's The Story (Morning Glory)

Ain't Got Nothin'
Importance Of Being Idle
I'm Out Of Time


Don't Look Back In Anger

Fallin' Down
Champagne Supernova

I Am The Walrus

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

Ryan Adams Played Oracle Arena - Pics, Review, Setlist

Last night, bookended by two massive neon Cardinals roses, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals kicked off the first night opening for Oasis on their North American tour. Despite suffering some of the typical "opener" roadblocks (non-full audience, lesser stage setup, quieter mix), the band delivered a solid set, and by the end they had a solidly delivered on their latest material, as well as some Adams classics.

Throughout the show, the band was under a pretty low level of light. We have no idea whose decision it was (or maybe it was a stage fright thing), but it did make it a little harder to engage the band's on stage persona. Still, there's no question that the band delivered on their musical potential. Newer material like "Cobwebs", "Fix It", and "Magick" was thoroughly fleshed out, and made the album versions pale by comparison. Perhaps the only weakness was that "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old" lacked the epic guitar jam that's usually present at Adams' headlining shows.

Even more impressive than delivering on the new material, it seemed that Adams has accepted that he needs to "play the hits" in order to engage a less familiar audience. The band delivered solid versions of "When The Stars Go Blue" and "Two", not to mention and awesome, rocking version of "Come Pick Me Up" that was the highlight of the set.

Playing a large venue, to an unfamiliar audience, as an opener, is always a tough act to pull off. However, it speaks to the continuing growth and maturity of the Cardinals that they jumped into the situation and managed to avoid any pratfalls. If they continue in this direction (and frankly, bring a bit of their live rawness into the studio), we're thinking that 2009 could be a big year for the Cards.

Crossed Out Name
Everybody Knows
When The Stars Go Blue
Fix It
Let It Ride
Go Easy
Sinking Ships
Come Pick Me Up
I Taught Myself How To Grow Old

More photos at the HAD Archive