Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ryan Adams Returns To The Catalyst

Sporting one more amp, and one less piano, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals rolled into Santa Cruz last night for a return show at The Catalyst. While it had a lot of technical similarities to last summer's show, we'd be inclined to say the feel was entirely different.

While last summer's show was a lengthy, sweaty jam played to a full house with tons of new material, last night's show was a much more controlled and regimented version of the Cardinals, as has been the norm over the past few months. The band played through a very similar setlist to what was seen in Marin and Berkeley, and was promptly on stage at 8, off before 11.

While the show was enjoyable, and the musicianship tight, there was an element of spontaneity that was sadly lacking. We here at H.A.D. were hoping that a return to the Catalyst would provide a similarly crazy setlist to last summer, but apparently that was a one-off inspired by the first time the Cardinals "went electric" on this tour. To Adams' credit, he said during the show that he made sure they returned to the Catalyst because he had so much fun last summer. And, to be honest, the current Cardinals' setlist, even if a bit stale, was much, much, more enjoyable in a stand-up club atmosphere.

The set started off blazing, with a rocked out version of Peaceful Valley followed by the 1-2-3 attack of "Beautiful Sorta", "Shakedown on 9th Street", and the (now standard) reworked version of "Bartering Lines". At that point, the show chilled out for a while and adopted a pretty steady rhythm of "start the song normally, then kick it out into a jam". This continued until the end of the first set, which concluded with a drastically reworked version of "Off Broadway"

The second set was largely a straight forward delivery of songs, with the exception being the closer. A feedback and distortion drenched version of "Easy Plateau" appeared to leave guitarist Neal Casal quite bewildered as what to do when he couldn't find a note as Adams bent, twisted, and detuned the strings of his guitar into a cacophony of noise. This scene probably best illustrated the fact that Casal is the driver behind the Cardinals current "neat and clean" vibe. He clearly has been directing Adams in this direction for a while, so we here at H.A.D. thought it was nice to see a bit of guitaring more reminiscent of "Fuck The Universe" than that of the Grateful Dead. Surprisingly, most of the audience (Is it because of Santa Cruz, or is the tide shifting?) seemed right in line with Casal, and seemed strongly fixated on Adams' more recent work and "jammy" tunes.

Ah, well. We're pretty sure that sort of thing won't hold up forever. Adams is far too multi-faceted to get bogged down in jammyness for the rest of his days. In the meantime, we're certainly psyched to catch the band in a small club and hear some awesome guitary goodness.

Peaceful Valley
Beautiful Sorta
Shakedown On 9th Street
Bartering Lines
A Kiss Before I Go

Cold Roses

Freeway To The Canyon (Neil Casal song)


Off Broadway


Why Do They Leave

Everybody Knows
I See Monsters
The End

Please Do Not Let Me Go

Goodnight Rose

Easy Plateau

Magnolia Mountain->

Blue Hotel

Many, many, more photos at the H.A.D. flickr feed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

EELS To Play POTFA In April

EELS have just announced "An Evening With EELS", their 2008 tour. They'll be stopping by the Palace Of Fine Arts on April 14th, so get your taxes done ahead of time. Despite being a little underwhelmed by the GAMH show last tour, we're always willing to give E a second chance. He's so charming and all.

Ticket on-sale TBA...

Destroyer @ The Independent In May

Sometimes-New Pornographer Dan Bejar will be taking his solo gig, Destroyer on tour this Spring in promotion of his new record Trouble In Dreams. This will include a stop on May 21st at the ever-awesome Independent. We here at H.A.D. dug 2006's Destroyer's Rubies, and have been gradually increasing our familiarity with Your Blues. Given that, we're looking forward to the new record, and the live show.

mp3: Destroyer - Foam Hands (From the forthcoming Trouble In Dreams)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tonight In Santa Cruz: More Ryan Adams

We're off to the Ryan Adams + Cardinals show down at The Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz. If last summer was any indicator, it should be a blazing rock show. See you there, or if not, then we'll see you here tomorrow with some pics....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Great (on hiatus) Band

We here at H.A.D. first heard of The Natural History when their track "Don't You Evah" was covered by Spoon on last year's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Well, today we were purusing our eMusic selections (as we do monthly) and discovered that the band has a few records up on the site. We grabbed Beat Beat Heartbeat, and are glad we did! The disc is an awesome, up-beat, garagey rock fest that grabs you from the first lesson. Now if only we had realized this before the band had split up. Ugh.

mp3: The Natural History - The Right Hand

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Concert In The Rain: Liars and No Age at Slim's

Last night at Slim's, despite torrential rain and Liars' frontman Angus Andrew's obvious back injury, No Age and Liars managed to put on a killer rock show. Both bands benefited from a huge amount of crowd enthusiasm, and delivered in turn.

After waiting in two (!) lines in the rain, we managed to get inside for the second half of No Age's set, which was fantastic. We here at H.A.D. had never listened to the band before, but they delivered a solid set of noise/post punk tunes. Probably the only downside was that the songs were so short: quite a few felt like they ended before they even started! The crowd was really into the band, and there was even a request for them to come back after Liars. In some ways, the show seemed to almost be a double bill. We have no doubt that No Age will be back in their own headliner capacity in short order.

When Liars did make it on stage, it was clear from the outset that Angus Andrew's recent injury news flash is definitely a reality. The usually active singer was slow in walking, and slumped a bit to one side. After standing for the first song, he proceeded to sit down next to the drum kit for the duration of the set.

Even seated, however, Andrew managed to deliver as much as possible on his usual antics. He was thrashing about, moving, waving and twitching through the entire set. The rest of the band was in fine form as well, with the addition of a fourth (Jeremy...?) to fill out the line up. Many of the albums' more complex sonic experiments were reproduced surprisingly successfully on stage. The band delivered killer versions of songs both new and old, including "We Fenced Other Houses With Bones Of Our Own", "Broken Witch", and "Plaster Casts Of Everything".

When Angus got up again for the last song it was clear that he really absolutely had needed to be seated for the show. There was such an obvious level of pain and immobility. Still, when the band closed the set with an amazing version of "The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack", it was quite nice to see the singer standing and making his way to the crowd.

Speaking of Mt. Heart Attack, probably one of the strangest aspects of the show was hearing the Drums Not Dead songs (of which there were many) out of order. We here at H.A.D. have largely consumed that record via the DVD surround mix, and listened to it as a single entity. Hearing the songs out of order gave them new individuality, and perhaps changed our consideration of some completely. We're still digesting.

So, there you have it. The Liars and No Age, in the face of adversity, are out on tour and kicking ass.

Many more photos available on the h.a.d. flickr feed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last Night's Show: Ryan Adams In Marin

Last night at the Marin Civic Center, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals put on a killer show of solid songs and fantastic performances. The downside? It was in Marin.

Now, we here at H.A.D. had never been to the Civic Center before, and we were pretty psyched to be visiting a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. Not only that, but seeing a rock show in such a nice hall is always solid, as it delivers on the acoustics. However, the "niceness" of the venue was also the show's undoing: the crowd was static and seated, the applause was often bated, and even at the most rocking moments, the enthusiasm was half of what it might have been in a rock club. When guitarist Neil Casal asked Adams what was going on with the audience, the reply was telling: "They're giving out qualludes in the lobby..." Moreover, there were a fair number of folks shouting for "Come Pick Me Up". Repeatedly. One fan started complaining about the lighting, and garnered a response from Adams: "You might think that when the Cardinals come out on tour, we've given some consideration to how things sound and look". Come on people, get it together. Or, as Adams said "If you have a problem with the way things are, go listen to Coldplay". Indeed.

But, onto the show: it was a doozy. Adams and the band played a killer set, with a nice mix of old and new tunes. It seems that the "red cave" and "blue cave" shows have somewhat combined: the set included a healthy mix of the rock and the mellow. Surprisingly, a lot of the new (non album) songs from last summer were conspicuously absent. That being said, the delivery and performance was so solid, the absence of new material was hardly missed.

The band delivered a killer version of "I See Monsters" that started out slow and mellow, but ended in the killer rock version that has been familiar as of late. A different arrangement of "Off Broadway" also served to deliver a fair dose of rock to the otherwise mellow selections off of Easy Tiger. Overall, it seemed that the pre-Easy Tiger material went over better with both the audience and the band. The stuff from the new album (with the exception of "Off Broadway") simply seemed a bit too rehearsed or nondescript. It's not that the tunes didn't deliver, they simply paled in comparison to their older brothers.

In terms of performances, everything was spot-on: Adams' voice was in top form, and the guitar interplay between Adams and Casal was fantastic. There were a few jams that seemed to elude the band a bit, but overall it was a technically solid set. As we mentioned previously, we're planning on heading to the Santa Cruz show next week. We're hoping that the musical prowess will stay on track, and that perhaps the audience in the small club atmosphere will lead to a slightly more impassioned performance. If you make it down, we'll see you there!

Mockingbird Song

Beautiful Sorta

Bartering Lines
Rescue Blues
When The Stars Go Blue
Everybody Knows

The Sun Also Sets

Off Broadway

A Kiss Before I Go

Elizabeth You Were Born To Play The Part (Dedicated to Michelle Williams)

Joke Of The Night

Happy Birthday To Spacewolf Song
== Band Break ==
Why Do They Leave


Shakedown On 9th Street

Good Night Rose

Let It Ride

To The Canyon (Neil Casal Song)

I See Monsters
Easy Plateau

More pictures available at the h.a.d. flickr feed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tonight In Marin: Ryan Adams And The Cardinals

Round about 8 PM at the Marin Civic Center Auditorium, RA and the Cardinals will be blasting into what promises to be a solid (presumably "blue cave") set. We'll be there listening and photoing, so check back for the full report tomorrow.

Lots of tickets still floating around on craigslist...

Stereogum Has Free EELS Track

We here at H.A.D. have been fans of the EELS since around the Souljacker days, at which point we went kinda berserk and attempted to buy every and any recording the band had created. We'd kinda lost track of good ol' E since the somewhat underwhelming show at the GAMH last year. The EELS with Strings tour didn't really do it for us, and so the subsequent live release was somewhat of a letdown.

Well, fast forward to January '08, and we see that there's not only a greatest hits package out and about, but also a disc of b-sides and rarities that includes a bunch of unreleased material. Woot! The release contains two massive discs of songs, plus a DVD! Moreover, we got a nice email from the guys over at Stereogum featuring a free (and presumably legal) copy of the track "I Want To Protect You". Enjoy!

mp3 (Stereogum): EELS - I Want To Protect You (click through to download)

Malkmus Goodness Rocks Your World

It's no secret to regular readers that we here at H.A.D. are pretty stoked for the new Stephen Malkmus album dropping on March 4th. In light of that, we were pretty excited to snag a few piece of news.

First, a little bird informed us that SM+Jicks are apparently playing Harlow's in Sacramento come April 28th. We're pretty sure that this will mean a San Francisco date as well, but if not we're willing to make the trek out to the valley.

Second, we got an email from the cool folks over at Insound revealing a pre-order bonus package for Real Emotional Trash. We're not normally the type to go for such things, but this one is a little too good to pass up:

  • A pre-stream of the complete album
  • An unreleased recording of a live show
  • Multiple exclusive B-Sides
  • A free poster
So, yeah, we'll be jumping on that bandwagon. Details are here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Well, it's winter in San Francisco, which pretty much means that the report seen above is the accepted standard. Still, it was pretty minimal last year, and we here at H.A.D. were kinda hoping it'd hold up this year too. Oh well, it's good for the slopes and the water supply, and all that jazz. While you're staying dry, enjoy some rain songs:

mp3: The Beatles - Rain
mp3: Prince - Purple Rain

mp3: REM - So. Central Rain

mp3: Blind Melon - No Rain

mp3: U2 - MLK

Cornelius Videos Up On Youtube

Youtube user myelectricsheep has posted some videos of last Friday's Cornelius Group show at the Fillmore that should give you a better idea of what Sensuous Synchronized Show is all about. Here's the vid for "Gum", with more links below!

video: Cornelius Group @ The Fillmore - Intro
video: Cornelius Group @ The Fillmore - Drop
video: Cornelius Group @ The Fillmore - Another View Point
video: Cornelius Group @ The Fillmore - Tone Twilight Zone

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Postmarks Track For Free @ eMusic

So, we here at H.A.D. were pretty big enthusiasts of last year's self titled debut by The Postmarks. The album managed to toe the line between pop and jazz without devolving into a world of smarmy M.O.R. pap. It's one of those albums that you really have to be in the right mood for, but when you are, it knocks your socks off.

Fast forward to today. We were browsing our handy dandy eMusic membership and noticed that there's a Postmarks track for free. Not only that, but apparently there are 12 more on the way over the coming weeks. Happy times! Now, normally we'd call foul, since you have to sign up for eMusic to get the tracks. But, all things being equal, we <3 emusic to the max: tons of good bands, DRM-free, and high on value.

Go. Now.

Travis Morrison Hellfighters @ Rickshaw Stop 3/20

Well, we named his latest album one of the best of '07, and we've been eagerly awaiting Travis Morrison's arrival here on the West Coast, and now the time has come! While it's not listed as of yet on the band's official site, The Rickshaw Stop has posted the show, and tickets are available now. So, yes: tiny room, awesome band, great album. We'll be there.

mp3: Travis Morrison Hellfighters - As We Proceed
stream: Travis Morrison Hellfighters - All, Y'All

Ryan Adams: More youtube, on his way to the Bay

We mentioned previously that Ryan Adams appears to have taken a liking to self produced youtube content, and seeing as how his arrival in the Bay is imminent, we decided to check back in with his user profile. Turns out that in the interim, Adams has broken up with Jessica Joffe, posted (and then rescinded) a break-up letter, and then subsequently posted 7 new videos. That's one a day, for those of you keeping track at home.

The new content is a complete mix up of content: a new tune called "Blues For Jr.", a new track from Adams' alter-ego DJ Reggie, and a tongue in cheek guitar and piano lesson, among others. We here at H.A.D. aren't completely sure what this means for Adams' upcoming performances, except that it strikes us that he's in an excessively prolific mood, which is always a good thing.

Ryan Adams plays January 23rd at Marin Civic Center, Berkeley on January 28th, and January 29th at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz.

More videos here:

video: Ryan Adams' youtube home page

Sunday, January 20, 2008

First Show of The New Year Is....Cornelius!

On Friday night a the Fillmore, Cornelius (or rather, The Cornelius Group) presented their "Ultimate Sensuous Synchonized Show" - and it was a sight to behold! The show consisted of a long format video presentation that played behind the band and was extremely well synchronized with the music. The vibe was very similar to a Flaming Lips show in that it had the look and feel of a calculated performance, as opposed to a band just being on stage to deliver music.

The video is extremely hard to explain, and hopefully some of our pics will do it justice. It was a highly psychadelic series of images, many of which we were having difficulty figuring out how they were even created. Someone in the Cornelius camp spent just as much time (if not more) getting these videos going as they did on the music.

One of the big surprises for us was the big rock-band feel of the show. We here at H.A.D. had always sort of assumed (obviously incorrectly) that Cornelius was sort of a one man show, and that this would be a DJ-like set. It was really anything but the case: the band was a tight aggressive unit that managed to seamlessly pull of Cornelius' incredibly complex arrangements. The live band format was also welcome in that it gave the songs some new found life: despite adhering to the tracks' intricasies, there was quite a bit of room for experimentation. In particular, Cornelius' guitar playing really showed some shredding instinct that we had no idea was there in the first place!

All in all, this show was solid across the board: the video was spectacular, the band format gave new life to Cornelius' tunes, and the overall performance simply delivered a level of showmanship that's quite unusual in music today. If you have an opportunity to see this show, don't miss it!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cornelius Tonight At The Fillmore

Japanese electronic musician Cornelius will be gracing the stage over at The Fillmore tonight, and by all accounts it should be a great show. One of 5 US dates on the "Ultimate Sensuous Synchronized Show" tour, it promises to be a crazy fusion of synchronized light and sound. We'll see you there!

mp3: Cornelius - Gum

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Justice Pre-Sale Tomorrow Morning

On March 27th, it looks like the folks over at APE will be hosting Frenchies Justice (along with Diplo) at the always-huge, always-crappy-sound, SF Design Center. There's a pre-sale tomorrow morning at 10 AM, with the password being "dance". You can get to it right here. We here at H.A.D. dig Justice's "Cross", but we have to admit we're a tad skeptical of anything that goes down at the SF Design Center. That being said, it is a dance show, so maybe it's time to put on the dancing shoes and ignore all that unwanted reverberation.

In related news, Diplo recently did a remix of Spoon's "Don't You Evah" to benefit the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. There's some kind of "Justice" joke/pun we could work up there, but frankly the payoff wouldn't be worth the effort. Yes, we're sure you can dig it up somewhere on-line, but come on kids - do the right thing! It's 99 cents for charity! Get it here.

mp3: Justice - D.A.N.C.E

Monday, January 14, 2008

Enon At Bottom Of The Hill In April

Although we're a bit shy on details right now, it looks as though Enon may be back at Bottom Of The Hill in April. The band cancelled when we were going to see them open for Of Montreal last year, and then we managed to miss them in November, so we're glad they're back in town. We've really been enjoying High Society for the past year or so, and the new disc Grass Geisers....Carbon Clouds isn't half bad either. Should be a great show, in a nice small venue. We'll let you know as details develop.

mp3: Enon - Sold!

Ryan Adams YouTube Deluge

Well if you, like us, are steadily ramping up to the West Coast arrival of one Mr. Ryan Adams at the end ofJanuary, then you'll be as excited as we are for this little discovery. The consistently reliable Aquarium Drunkard has pointed out four new YouTube videos posted by none other than Mr. Adams himself. We went one step further, and dug up the full 16 video collection of YouTube user "HORION74"....dig that content!

Video: Ryan Adams' YouTube Home Page

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Walkmen Return To Independent For Noise Pop '08, Broken West Support

We already mentioned the Magnetic Fields' pair of Noise Pop shows, and now we have another exciting one coming down the pipeline. The Walkmen will be returning to the Independent on Wednesday February 27th, with Los Angeles band The Broken West supporting. It's no secret that we here at H.A.D. are huge fans of the Walkmen, and that we're eagerly awaiting their next album. This show has us twice as giddy, as we've been enjoying The Broken West's "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On" for quite a few months now. The show should be a one-two punch of some highly enthusiastic rock and roll. Tickets are on-sale this Sunday at 10 AM at ticketweb.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Nada Surf: Fillmore In March

As previously mentioned, Nada Surf is playing an already-sold-out acoustic show at the Swedish American on February 2nd. However, for those of you without tickets, there's still hope! The band will be returning to SF on March 22nd for a full-band show at the Fillmore. With that, and a new album on the way February 5th, we gotta say we're excited!

Video: Britt Daniel In Chicago

So, over New Year's the city of Chicago was treated to our dream lineup for '07: The Sea and Cake opening for Spoon. We missed it, and we're just a tad bitter. Ah, well.

Anyway, while Spoon was in Chi-town Britt Daniel managed to stop in at the show of musician/producer Jon Brion and sit in on a couple of songs: Daniel played the Brion-produced "The Underdog" from Spoon's latest, as well as a group throwdown on The Beatles' "I Feel Fine". Some kind soul managed to tape it, so here you go!

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Vampire Weekend Video + new performance dateS

Vampire Weekend will be in San Francisco for Popscene at the end of the month, but news has just come down the line that they'll also be playing a free show at Amoeba Records the following night, February 1st, at 7 PM. So, basically you have your choice of over-crowded, pain in the ass venues. Still, cheap tickets, so don't complain.

However, if that's not enough for you, check this out: The band will be back in March for a pair of dates at two of our town's finest independent venues: March 22nd at the Independent, and March 23rd at the Rickshaw Stop. So basically, if you're hooked on the Vampire Weekend crack pipe, your dealer's coming to town.

Meanwhile the band has an awesome new video out for "A-Punk". Enjoy: