Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dinosaur Jr: New Track, Album Release, Spring Tour

It's been a while since Dinosaur Jr.'s much lauded reunion album Beyond, so we were psyched to see a deluge of news from the band surrounding their new release Farm. Notably, the record sees the band moving to Jagjaguar Records after a mere one album stint at Merge. Details are beginning to emerge, and among them are cover art (above), the first single, a bunch of tour dates, and some sessions over at Whew!

The first single, "I Want You To Know" is (to our ears) classic Dinosaur Jr.: fuzzed out guitars, big beats, and super fat riffs shared by bass and guitar. To be frank, we're still reeling from the fact that the band has actually reunited, so hearing more classic-feel material continues to be a solid experience unto itself. That being said, the tune definitely isn't just a place holder, and it's ability to stand on its own is a positive indicator of quality for the forthcoming record.

While the record's release is still about a month and a half out, the band is in the midst of touring it's support. While there's no SF date lined up, the band still has dates on both coasts. If you're really craving a dose of Dinosaur Jr., you can find a way to make it happen. Meanwhile, give a listen to the new single below...

Farm is out on Jagjaguar June 23rd

mp3: Dinosaur Jr. - I Want You To Know

Dinosaur Jr. Spring 2009 Dates
Apr 30 The National - Venue Changed Richmond, Virginia
May 1 Chameleon Club Lancaster, Pennsylvania

May 2 Ottobar - SOLD OUT Baltimore, Maryland

Jun 21 The Casbah San Diego, California

Jun 22 Troubadour West Hollywood, California

Jun 23 Troubadour West Hollywood, California

Jun 25 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York

Spoon Played Jazz Fest 2009 - Pictures, Review, Setlist

If you're even a sometimes-reader here at HAD, you probably still know that we're head over heels for Spoon. As such, we were more than a little psyched that the band was headlining on Saturday during our weekend at Jazz Fest. It was great to see the band outside and enjoying themselves, and they unquestionably delivered. A long set (for a festival), some scorching new material, and a killer cover all came together to make for a killer set.

The set (like many of the band's recent shows) focused prominently on Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. There were only a handful of older tracks, and we have to say that we continually find ourselves wishing the band would pull in a bit more older material. That being said, "Small Stakes" and "Everything Hits At Once" are two of our faves, and it was really nice to hear "Me And The Bean" back in the mix.

As always, the band's current material was delivered in top notch fashion. These guys have become so tight as a touring unit that there performance is all but bulletproof. That being said, this show had a little bit of extra oomph to it's delivery: The band was backed for a good portion of the set by a chunk of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Similar to when they brought along a brass section for The Fillmore shows last year, the brass served to strengthen the arrangements across the board.

In addition to the material from their catalog, the band also broke out three new tunes, and their cover of Paul Simon's "Peace Like A River". We've mentioned it before, but we'll say it again: the new material is tightening up to a point where we couldn't be more excited about the new record. If we have to wait til 2010, so be it: everything points to it being completely unbelieveable.

The band wrapped up with an encore of classics, culminating in "Small Stakes", which is no better than in a live setting. It was an awesome way to wrap up a set from one of our favorite bands, while at the same time living it up in the Big Easy.

More pictures over at the HAD Archive

Writing In Reverse

Don’t You Evah

You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine

The Ghost of You Lingers


The Beast and Dragon, Adored

Me and the Bean
Peace Like a River

Black Like Me

Got ‘Nuffin’

My Mathematical Mind

I Turn my Camera on

Rhythm & Soul
The Underdog
Don’t Make Me a Target

I Summon You
Everything Hits at Once

Small Stakes

Jazz Fest 2009: Musical Moments

Jazz Fest is, after all, about the music. The long and short of it is that there is simply so much music that it's nearly impossible to be without something you want to take in. It's also quite different from other festivals, because it really runs a far wider gamut of genres than anything else we know of. While many festivals will have a loose genre or theme, most still stay reasonably safely planted in the world of pop and rock music. Jazz Fest, by contrast, truly reaches into the city's diversified culture and offers up a selection of tunage to match. Here's a taste of what we saw.

Best way to cool down while you heat up: a beer and a dozen raw oysters at the raw bar on Saturday afternoon while Ingrid Lucia jazzes it up on the Lagniappe stage wearing a leopard print dress and gardenias in her hair

Best Grandstand History Twofer: Friday morning, Upstairs, Leroy Jones on the interview stage remembering Danny Barker and the beginnings of the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, Downstairs, in the Jazz Fest 1970-74 exhibit, 1971 Jim Messina photo of the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band with the then 13 year old Leroy Jones struttin’ his stuff

Best Old School Fashion Moment: Saturday, the Dixie Cups being so very girl group and matching their outfits to the turquoise blue of the Jazz Fest Strutters featured on the backdrop of the Acura Stage

Best Solution to Exhaustion on a Hot Louisiana Afternoon: The wall of human energy in the Gospel Tent generated Saturday by Dwight and Connie Fitch with the St Raymond - St Leo Great Choir fronted by the awesome sound of Sister Stephanie; and Sunday by the Voices of St Peter Claver

Best Crowd Dives, Crowd Surfing: Galactic, Saturday evening at the Gentilly Stage

Best Funky Music Shakedown: Guitar Slim, jr. and his crew, Sunday afternoon at the Blues Tent

Best Bump and Grind: 91 year old Chris Owens doing her burlesque act on the stage at Economy Hall Saturday

Best Breath Control With Attitude: Troy “trombone shorty” Andrews Friday afternoon at the Gentilly Stage

Best Hair: Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire, Sunday evening at Congo Square

HAD Went To Jazz Fest - Pictures, Review

Early arrivals at the Gentilly Stage

Last weekend H.A.D. seized the moment and headed southeast for the 40th anniversary of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. We’ve had friends hassling us to go for years, now seemed like the moment; you have to believe we came for rock and roll, and we found that, but so much more.

Festival founder George Wein

Jazz Fest, as it’s familiarly known, was originally designed and produced by George Wein. Wein is the father of the festival concept, and started it all with Newport Jazz in 1954. We have to admit, when we made our way into the fest before the crowds in the early morning on Friday, we were overwhelmed. Jazz Fest is physically HUGE; it covers 145 acres inside the Fair Grounds Race Track in New Orleans. This is partially because it's not only a music festival: It celebrates Louisiana’s multicultural roots presenting history, crafts, food of startling diversity. Three crafts marketplaces offer contemporary, traditional and African wares, while the Folklife and Native American Villages allow you to see and hear first hand skills passed down for generations in the Louisiana mix of cultures.

Food stalls: not healthy, super tasty!

And then there is the food. We really did come to listen, but we did eat: pecan catfish meuniere for breakfast, alligator pie and fried green tomatoes for lunch and crawfish boiled, stuffed and puffed for dinner. Between times we snacked on beignets and raw oysters by the dozen, and recaffeinated with café au lait and the ubiquitous southern iced tea. After a few pralines we couldn’t even find room for a po-boy or a muffuletta. The wonder about the food booths is that they are all, even the ones selling canned sodas and beer, manned by volunteers and sponsored by community groups, churches and local restaurants and bakeries. Jazz Fest really is about the community. Everything was fresh and too, too tasty and we rediscovered a weakness for all things fried and sauced.

Leroy Jones

When the afternoon got a little too hot we stepped inside the grandstand for a history lesson; we were able to listen to icons of music and culture at the Alison Miner Interview Stage and then wander through this year’s special exhibits on Jazz Fest 1970-75, the King and Queen of Zulu, and Backstreet New Orleans. IT turns out Jazz Fest is actually owned by the nonprofit New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc., and that money spent here goes back to the community. Visiting Jazz Fest is helping to rebuild New Orleans; indeed, this week the foundation has turned nine musicians into new homeowners.

Ready to party?

What's more, We discovered that the spirit of Jazz Fest doesn’t stop when the Fair Grounds closes. New Orleans parties on every night ‘til morning in the streets and in the clubs; transportation is easy, with only a bit of time spent waiting in line you can grab a taxi or a shuttle, hop on the local bus or just walk the mile and a half down Esplanade to the Vieux Carre.

Weekend one winds down...

At the end of our three days we were exhausted but happy, wishing we could stay just a little bit longer. The party at the Fair Grounds is only half done, with a four day weekend from Thursday April 30 to Sunday May 3 still to come. It's definitely a more classic weekend, featuring Emmy Lou Harris, Tony Bennett, Dr John and Neil Young. Headliners include Bon Jovi, the Neville Brothers, the O’Jays and Kings of Leon you’re bound to find something that suits your ears - even if you're into late 80's New Jersey hair-rock. And if you can’t get there, you can still listen at the voice of the Jazz and Heritage Festival WWOZ, or stream video over at the AT&T Webcast.

Keep an eye out: we're going to be running a few stories relating to the music of Jazz Fest in the coming days!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

John Vanderslice: "Too Much Time"

As John Vanderslice continues to ramp up to the release of his new record Romanian Names, we have to say we get more excited by the day. We were already digging "Fetal Horses", and now Vanderslice has released a second track from the record, entitled "Too Much Time". Much like "Fetal Horses", the track is heavy on synths and minimalism. What's more, it also finds Vanderslice continuing to exercise his new vocal style to much success. We really, really, likey.

In support of the record, Vanderslice has also lined up a summer tour that spans the continent, and starts off right here in San Francisco. As we mentioned previously, the CD release for Romanian Names will be at the Rickshaw Stop on May 19th. You can check out the rest of the dates below.

Finally, if you're a bit of a fetishist for ol' JV: the first 100 preorders of Romanian Names come with a tape snippet from the record. Apparently, the owner then has full rights to whatever they find on their tape. Fancy!

Romanian Names is out on Dead Oceans May 19th

mp3: John Vanderslice - Too Much Time

John Vanderslice Summer 2009 Dates
5/17/09 Merced, CA - The Partisan w/ The Morning Benders
5/19/09 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Shop
5/21/09 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios w/ Mimicking Birds
5/22/09 Seattle, WA - Easy Street
5/24/09 Quincy, WAS - Sasquatch Music Festival w/ Animal Collective, Bon Iver
5/27/09 Provo, UT - Velour w/ The Morning Benders
5/28/09 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court w/ The Morning Benders
5/29/09 Denver, CO - Hi Dive w/ The Morning Benders
5/30/09 Omaha, NE - Slowdown Jr.
6/01/09 Minneapolis, MN - Turf Club w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/03/09 Iowa City, IA - The Mill w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/04/09 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/05/09 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/06/09 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/06/09 Chicago, IL - Metronome Celebration (Early Evening) w/ Here We Go Magic
6/08/09 Cincinnati, OH - Southgate House w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/09/09 Pittsburgh, PA - The Warhol Museum w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/11/09 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brendas w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/12/09 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/13/09 New York, NY - The Bowery Ballroom w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/14/09 Boston, MA - Middle East Downstairs w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/16/09 Washington, DC - Black Cat w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/17/09 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/18/09 Atlanta, GA - The Earl w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/19/09 St. Augustine, FL - Cafe 11 w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/20/09 Gainesville, FL - Common Grounds w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/21/09 Orlando, FL - The Social w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/23/09 Nashville, TN - Exit/In w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/25/09 Dallas, TX - Pontiac Garage @ HOB w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/26/09 Austin, TX - The Parish w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/28/09 Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/29/09 Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
6/30/09 San Diego, CA - The Casbah w/ The Tallest Man on Earth
7/10/09 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern w/Cotton Jones
7/11/09 Ottawa, ON - Ottawa Bluesfest - Hard Rock Cafe Stage
7/12/09 Ottawa, ON - Ottawa Bluesfest - Barney Danson Theatre
8/28/09 San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music Festival w/ Akron/Family
8/29/09 San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music Festival w/ Akron/Family
8/30/09 San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music Festival w/ Akron/Family
10/03/09 Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival

Sonic Youth Fox Theater Presale On Friday

On Monday, we mentioned Sonic Youth's forthcoming record the eternal, and subsequent August 2nd show at The Fox Theater in Oakland. Well now word has come over the wire that Another Planet Entertainment will be offering up a presale for the show this Friday. Starting at 10 AM, they're going to release a limited number of tickets to the gig - the password is "eternal". Happy Hunting!

White Rabbits: Album Release, Independent In June

A while back, we mentioned that Britt Daniel had been working with Brooklyn-based band White Rabbits, and produced their forthcoming record It's Frightening. At the same time, we mentioned that the next Spoon album wasn't go to see the light of day until 2010. We have to admit, we were a bit bummed that we wouldn't be getting a taste of Daniel's distinctive sound for so long. Well, let us stand corrected: Daniel's sound will most definitely be seeing the light of day in 2009, it just won't be on his own record.

It's difficult to emphasize just how much It's Frightening employs Daniel's studio techniques. We honestly didn't even realize just how distinctive a studio sound Daniel had constructed, but once you hear this record you see just how many nooks and crannies Daniel has firmly established as his own. The guitar sounds, the syncopated drum machines, the in-between song studio banter, the piano sounds, the double tracked vocals, even the cover art (do a side by side with Gimme Fiction) - they all scream Spoon! Granted, all of these things sound like "typical" studio fare, but when you hear them in this context you realize that Daniel has firmly carved out his own way of doing things, and that it's a huge part of the sound he's established for his own band.

What happens when this sound is applied to another artist? At least in the case of White Rabbits, very good things. It's Frightening manages to employ so many of the aspects that we love about Daniel's other work, while at the same time managing to quite definitely carve out their own niche and deliver a killer record. From the first notes of "Percussion Gun", the band delivers a distinctive performance that heavily relies on the drums to move forward a set of ten instantly accessible tracks. In fact, every one of the tracks relies so heavily on percussion, we'd venture to say that rhythms truly define the record's persona and scope. It's fitting, then, that the cover is a long exposure photo of one of the band's two drummers.

On top of the completely solid percussives, White Rabbits also manage to deliver a compositional style that is unique and abstract, while at the same time remaining completely accessible. Many of the songs are built around instrumental repetition, but between the band's technique and Gregory Roberts' vocals, they manage to create melodies that are completely integral to the record's sound. The melodies serve to unify tunes and give them a surprising level of singability and pop feel despite their unconventional structures.

If that sounds at all familiar, it's probably because it's definitely one way you could define a Spoon record. At the end of the day, it's pretty impossible to dive into It's Frightening without recognizing the massive amount of influence Britt Daniel's production has had. You certainly wouldn't be faulted for hearing it in passing, and thinking you had just heard an excerpt from the new Spoon record. That being said, it's truly not a bad thing: Britt Daniel has long been in the business of making fantastic records, and if he can take that talent and bring it to other bands, we're certainly not going to be the ones to argue. The bottom line is that with It's Frightening, White Rabbits have written an awesome set of songs that completely stand up on their own. Having Britt Daniel fine tune them with solid studio craft is just the icing on the cake.

White Rabbits are also plotting a massive summer tour in support of It's Frightening. Crossing the entire country over the month of June, the band will be most likely somewhere near you during that time. For those of us in San Francisco, that means a stop at The Independent on June 20th. We have to say, we're psyched to get out there and see just how the band holds up live. From some recent accounts on the East Coast, they've been doing extremely well for themselves in a live environment. Like we said, psyched. Tickets are on sale now.

It's Frightening drops May 19th on TBD Records

mp3: White Rabbits - Percussion Gun

White Rabbits Summer 2009 Dates
5/21 - Bowery Ballroom - New York NY
5/30 - Grog Shop - Cleveland OH
5/31 - Do Division Fest - Chicago IL
6/01 - Southgate House, Newport KY
6/02 - Rock N Roll Hotel - Washington DC
6/04 - Middle East - Boston MA
6/05 - Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia PA
6/06 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh PA
6/07 - Summit - Columbus OH
6/09 - Mojos - Columbia MO
6/10 - Firebird - St Louis MO
6/11 - Bonnaroo - Manchester TN
6/14 - Emo’s - Austin TX
6/16 - Club Congress - Tuscon AZ
6/17 - Casbah - San Diego CA
6/18 - Troubadour - Los Angeles CA
6/19 - Cellar Door - Visalia CA
6/20 - Independent - San Francisco CA
6/22 - Crocodile Cafe - Seattle WA
6/23 - Doug Fir - Portland OR
6/24 - Neurolux - Boise ID
6/25 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake UT
6/26 - Bluebird - Denver CO
6/27 - Slowdown JR - Omaha NE
6/29 - 400 Bar - Minneapolis MN
6/30 - High Noon - Madison WI
7/01 - Empty Bottle - Chicago
7/02 - Pike Room - Pontiac MI
8/02 - All Points West - Liberty State Park NJ

EELS Drop "Fresh Blood" Video

What do you do if you're on the verge of releasing a sick rock album, and you live in LA? Well, if you're EELS frontman Mark Oliver Everett, you take your digital camcorder and make a creepy ass video of you stalking a lovely woman and fighting some Mexican wrestlers in the middle of the night. Because that makes sense, right?

We have to say, that after the drudgery and earnestness of Blinking Lights, we're really glad that it appears as though Mr. E's sense of humor has returned. While there's no question that the man can write a solid tear jerker, his more sardonic side has always been our fave. Every hint we get of it gets us more psyched for Hombre Loco by the day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Only Known Plastic Ono Band Film Is Set For June Release

There's so much awesomeness potential floating around this release that we don't know exactly where to start, but we'll do our best. Long story short: The Plastic Ono Band, of John Lennon's eponymous first solo release was not long for this world. The short lived super group brought in Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr (among others) to join Lennon for what is arguably his best solo record. After the record's release, the band quickly dissipated, and Lennon went on to work more independently.

However, before the band's demise, they did manage to deliver a show in Toronto that demonstrated just how solid a combo they were. Specifically, the show roped in Clapton to join Yoko Ono and John Lennon for a set that highlighted blues classics, a couple of Beatles tunes, and a large selection from the forthcoming record. The show was released as a live record, but surprisingly also filmed by the noted rock filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker.

Oddly, the film has long gone in and out of official release (we've never seen a DVD), despite its rarity and historical significance. Come June 23rd, that's all going to change: Shout Factory is releasing the full film as a DVD, and let us just say, it looks tasty.

Little Joy Coming To Independent In June

By all accounts Little Joy's show at Great American last December was an awesome fun filled evening, and ever since we've been bummed that we missed it. Given that, we were psyched to see that the band has lined up a show at The Independent on June 3rd.

Apparently the band's live show is even looser and more mellow than the record's already super-chill sound. From most recollections, they're just a band that very clearly loves playing music, and has a blast the entire time they're on stage. You can't really argue with that, now can you?

While it seems likely that this show would be associated with a summer tour, there's no mention of one on the band's myspace page. Pay no mind - we'll take what we can get.

Tickets are on sale now.

mp3: Little Joy - How To Hang A Warhol

Wilco Adds Mountain Winery Date To Tour

Picture from the HAD Archive

As we've mentioned before, we love the Mountain Winery. Our main obstacle to attendance is that a lot of the bands just aren't always to our taste. There's nothing bad going down, it just isn't our style. That being said, the venue is one of the Bay Area's finest, and if you head down we can guarantee you won't regret it. The view is fantastic, and the south bay location means an outdoor show without all the summer fog. Crazy, right?

All of this leads us to the fact that Wilco have added a date to their already chock-full summer tour schedule. The band will be at the Mountain Winery on June 26th, the night before their show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. No word yet on when tickets will go on sale, but when they do it will be through the Mountain Winery ticket page. As of yet, the show has only been announced via Wilco's web site.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sonic Youth Ramps Up For Album Release And Summer Tour, Fox Theater In August

This summer Sonic Youth is getting ready for a deluge of activity, all surrounding their first studio record in three years, the eternal. The record is the band's first since their signing to Matador Records, and as such has managed to garner the "Buy Early Get Now" treatment that the label has gotten rolling over the past few years. In addition to the usual early access/bonus tracks excitement, this BEGN promotion also includes a live exclusive vinyl release, and the ability to snag presale tickets for the band's summer tour.

The tour itself spans just over a month, and manages to touch down in just about every corner of the US. This includes the final night of the tour, which will be a stop in Oakland at the Fox Theater on August 2nd. The tour will no doubt feature heavily from the new record, and while we haven't heard the whole thing, we like what we've gotten a taste of.

Matador's released "Sacred Trickster" to the internets, and to our ears it's quite at home in Sonic Youth's extensive catalog of hard rocking dischord. That being said, it's also a pretty nicely accessible track - we'd almost say it's reminiscent of Dirty in it's straight ahead rock sensibility. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it's a solid dose of Kim Gordon fronted chunky riffage. Check it out for yourself below.

mp3: Sonic Youth - Sacred Trickster

Sonic Youth Summer 2009 Dates
June 28th – Chicago, IL – Vic Theater
June 29th – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre
July 2nd – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
July 3rd – New York, NY – United Palace Theatre
July 6th – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
July 8th – Richmond, VA – The National
July 10th – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theater
July 11th – Nashville, TN – War Memorial
July 12th – Birmingham, AL – Sloss Furnaces
July 13th – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
July 15th – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
July 16th – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s
July 18th – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
July 20th – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
July 21st – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave
July 23rd – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
July 25th – Seattle, WA – Capitol Hill Block Party
July 28th – Portland, OR – Roseland Ballroom
July 30th – Salt Lake City, UT – Twilight Music Fest
July 31st – Denver, CO – Ogden Theater
August 2nd – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

Clues Mount Summer Tour, Returning To Rickshaw Stop In June

Picture from the HAD Archive
As we've mentioned before, Clues is on tap to release their self titled first record May 19th on Constellation Records. As such, it seems that they've planned an early summer tour, covering both coasts and most of the South. For us San Franciscans, that means a stop at the Rickshaw Stop on June 4th.

Frankly, we couldn't be more psyched. The band's show at Noise Pop was killer, and we're totally pumped that they decided to return to such an an intimate venue. What's more, the band will be supported by local faves Geographer and Birds And Batteries.

As we ramp up to the album release, we're getting more and more amped to hear the new material. This one's definitely not to miss!

mp3: Clues - Remember Severed Head

Clues Summer 2009 Dates
16 May Montreal, QC Ukranian Federation

21 May Toronto, ON Sneaky Dees
22 May Chicago, IL Schubas
23 May Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
25 May Winnipeg, MB Pyramid Cabaret
26 May Saskatoon, SK Amigos
27 May Calgary, AB Marquee
28 May Edmonton, AB Brixx
30 May Vancouver, BC Biltmore Cabaret
31 May Victoria, BC Lucky Bar
1 Jun Seattle, WA Neumos
2 Jun Portland, OR Backspace
4 Jun San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop
5 Jun Los Angeles, CA Echo
6 Jun Costa Mesa, CA Detroit Bar
9 Jun Dallas, TX The Loft
10 Jun Austin, TX Stubb's BBQ
11 Jun New Orleans, LA One-Eyed Jacks
12 Jun Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
15 Jun Washington, DC Rock N Roll Hotel
16 Jun Philadelphia, PA The Barbary
17 Jun New York, NY Santos Partyhouse

"Talking Music" Concludes Tonight With Laurie Anderson

City Arts and Lectures' "Talking Music" series concludes it's 2008-2009 season tonight, with multi-talented artist (and Lou Reed spouse) Laurie Anderson. The event is being billed as "in conversation", so we'd encourage you not to expect any music. That being said, Anderson has participated in such a multitude of projects and endeavors over the years, that we'd be hard pressed to guess that this conversation will be anything short of fascinating. If you have an evening to spare, it'll certainly be worth your while.

Talking Music, In Conversation With Laurie Anderson: 8 PM Tonight, Herbst Theater

Friday, April 24, 2009

Trent Reznor and Peter Murphy Join TV On The Radio For "Dreams"

Granted, the vocals are a little shaky in the beginning (okay, and in any section that features ol' Trent), but we still couldn't resist the star power. Apparently this is from a NIN fanclub performance that roped in Murphy and Reznor for a duet on this classic bit of TVOTR goodness. Is it the best vid ever? Not so much. Still, we delight in seeing Murphy tear into the tune in the second half, and we're always game for a little TVOTR in the morning.

mp3: TV On The Radio - Dreams (Original Version)

Army Navy Release Video For "Saints", Returning To Rickshaw In May

The last time we caught Army Navy was at The Rickshaw Stop was in November, and we definitely enjoyed ourselves. The band managed to break out of the manicured shell of their record, and deliver a live show that went above and beyond. As such, we were glad to hear that the band is back in the swing of things, with a video for their tune "Saints" (above), and a return to the Rickshaw Stop on May 13th. If you can make it out, we definitely recommend giving it a look.

mp3: Army Navy - Saints

The Flaming Lips w/ Stardeath And White Dwarfs - "Borderline"

Apparently this has been floating around on the internets for almost a month, but we just caught wind of it and really couldn't pass up posting about it. There's so much awesomeness going on here it's tough to say where to begin, but we'll give it a go.

For one, this is the best cover version we've heard out of the Lips in a while: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "War Pigs" lacked a little something in the soul department, and this version of Madonna's (already amazing) classic truly delivers. For another, the tune really rocks: it starts out mellow, but it gradually builds, and when it truly kicks in at around the four minute mark, it's pure bliss. Top it all off with an awesome video reminiscent of the Lips surround DVD's, and well, you've got yourself a big barrel of awesomeness.

Okay, we'll let you enjoy now.

mp3: Flaming Lips With Stardeath And White Dwarfs - Borderline

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spoon To Play Three Night Festival At Stubb's - SPOONX3

Picture from the HAD Archive

As Spoon continues to work on their next album, they also continue to schedule a smattering of live dates across the country. The latest entry comes in the form of a three night stand at Stubb's BBQ in Austin, TX. It's something of a "hometown" show for the band (despite Britt Daniel no longer being a resident), and as such is being billed as a festival entitled "SPOONX3".

Each show will be something of a triple bill, and supporting acts will be different each night. The support includes ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead, Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears, Low, Dale Watson, Atlas Sound, and The Strange Boys. What's more, the press release promises a taste of new material from Spoon's new record. Enticing, to say the least.

Suffice it to say, if you can make it to Austin, this is a tasty musical treat that transcends even the goodness that Spoon typically provides. What's more, presale tickets (including a discounted three day pass) are on sale now - get em while they're hot!

BONUS: We just discovered this vid on Spoon's site...tasty!

mp3: Spoon - Written In Reverse (Live At The Fillmore)

Ike And Tina Turner: The Best Of

It's easy to forget that Tina Turner was once a force to be reckoned with in the world of soul music. Between mediocre duets with David Bowie, pantyhose commercials, trips to the thunderdome, nostalgic biopics, and cheesy tours, Turner's image has been warped into something of an adult-contemporary songstress. Granted, she has legions of fans, and her first solo release Private Dancer has its merit. But the fact of the matter is that during the sixties and seventies, Turner (along with much maligned husband Ike) was delivering some of the most sultry soul music in the world. If you find that you've forgotten, may we recommend this collection as the solution to your amnesia?

Best-Of discs can be a real bear: typically featuring only singles and "hit" material, they tend to represent the record company side of the artist, rather than the creative side that made them great. In Ike and Tina Turner's case, a remarkable thing occurs: those two entities are one and the same. Ike Turner (despite whatever else he did) was without a doubt a craftsman of hit records. His vision managed to shape the duo's career in a way that their artistic strengths and hit records combined to yield a string of singles that, on one disc, are a bulletproof testament to their unquestionable legacy.

Compared to this record, Tina Turner's modern "bad girl" image seems like something of a joke. These singles seethe with genuine soul and sexuality that's so palpable you can almost taste it. Turner's vocals manage to encompass a fantastic range of styles, from slow and soulful, to funk, to straight up rock and roll. It doesn't hurt the situation that Ike Turner had managed to gather a backing band that is unbelievably tight. They underpin Tina in a way that she can work her vocals off of them, and through remarkable interplay, bring the songs to the their climax.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about these tracks is just how modern they sound. While many R&B classics from the same era can sound dated or sickly sweet, these tracks have an edge and appeal that manages to feel remarkably current. Perhaps it's the fact that at the time they were considered "edgy", or maybe it's simply the product of some fancy digital remastering. Regardless, the disc sounds fresh and new in a way that only serves to emphasize just how solid it truly is.

It's easy to be skeptical of classic R&B these days. The image has been so cheesed up and corrupted by the media that is can be a bit tiresome. Reunion tours, commercials, poor recording quality: all of these things can serve to dissuade a new listener from some of the best music produced in the modern era. All we can say to that is keep trying. The fact of the matter is that there are countless amazing records out there waiting to be heard, so they can escape the corruption of commercialism and The Big Chill. You may as well start here, no?

mp3: Ike And Tina Turner - Living For The City

The Most Serene Republic Set To Release New Record This Summer

The Most Serene Republic share the distinction of being the first non-Broken Social Scene related band to sign to Arts And Crafts. As such, they always managed to hold our interest as a band that deserved a little special bit of extra recognition. After all, it must take a fair amount of awesomeness to win over the collective approval of the BSS camp, no?

Given that, we were psyched to hear that the band has a new record on the way this summer. Entitled ...And The Ever Expanding Universe, the record actually brings in BSS producer Dave Newfeld. Newfeld has been cited by Kevin Drew as a decided force on BSS' sound, so it'll be interesting to see just how much that affects The Most Serene Republic.

The full album's still hidden away, but the label has released a taste with a single track, "Heavens To Purgatory". After a few listens, we have to say we're digging it quite a bit. Newfeld has clearly managed to exert some influence, but at the same time the band is definitely holding on to their own sound. Check it for yourself below.

...And The Ever Expanding Universe drops on July 14th

mp3: The Most Serene Republic - Heavens To Purgatory

Atlas Sound Drops New Virtual Single, Deerhunter EP Due In May

Despite the fact that we're still digesting the deluge of free Atlas Sound and Deerhunter material from the past few months, it seems that the notoriously prolific Bradford Cox has seen fit to drop even more musical goodness on the interwebs in the coming weeks.

To start, Cox has continued the Atlas Sound "Virtual Single" series, releasing the latest entry, Time Warp, via the band's blog. The single consists of two decidedly acoustic numbers, one with vocals and the other without, that manage to be just finished enough to transcend any sort of "demo" feel. The title track (which is actually the b-side) offers up a slightly erratic percussion line that serves as a nice contrast to the almost-reggae offbeat guitar. The a-side, entitled "Springtime Instrumental", is an upbeat number that won us over with its easy going accessiblity - it has massive repeat listen appeal.

On top of churning out Atlas Sound goodness, Cox has also been hard at work with his other endeavor, Deerhunter. The band is set to release an EP, entitled Rainwater Cassette Exchange, on May 18th. While we don't have the whole record in hand yet, we do have the title track (below), and we can tell you it's right in line with what the band was doing on Microcastle. It's extremely reminiscent of that record's "Little Kids", although clocking in at just two and a half minutes, it never really quite goes as audio-crazy as that track.

We have to admit, with all this material, it can be difficult to keep up with Bradford Cox and his muse. That being said, if you're a fan (which we most certainly are), then it's looking to be a very good spring.

Rainwater Cassette Exchange drops on May 18th

mp3: Deerhunter - Rainwater Cassette Exchange

mp3: Atlas Sound - Time Warp (Media Fire, click through)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coachella Webcast Goes Live In About An Hour

For those of you (us included) who couldn't be coaxed to a weekend of killer music in the desert, there is some alternative available. The Coachella Webcast is sponsored by AT&T, and features an hourly delivery of a concert from one of the festival's many concurrently-performing acts. While we're not enticed by the whole thing, we have to admit that tonight's Franz Ferdinand/Conor Oberst/Morrissey/Paul McCartney lineup looks pretty stellar. Tomorrow we're gonna make sure to catch Liars, and Sunday we certainly won't be missing The Brian Jonestown Massacre or Okervil River. Checkout the lineup below and create your own virtual Coachella love fest.

Coachella Webcast Schedule:
Friday, April 17th:

02:50 p.m. - The Courteeners
03:20 p.m. - The Aggrolites
04:05 p.m. - The Airborne Toxic Event

04:55 p.m. - Albert Cross
05:45 p.m. - White Lies
06:35 p.m. - Franz Ferdinand
07:25 p.m. - The Hold Steady

08:15 p.m. - Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

09:00 p.m. - Morrissey
10:00 p.m. - Paul McCartney

Saturday, April 18th:

02:30 p.m. - Bob Mould Band

03:20 p.m. - Liars
04:05 p.m. - Dr. Dog
05:10 p.m. - Michael Franti & Spearhead
06:05 p.m. - Glasvegas
06:55 p.m. - Drive By Truckers
07:45 p.m. - Calexico

08:35 p.m. - Electric Touch

09:35 p.m. - M.I.A

10:25 p.m. - The Killers

Sunday, April 19th:

03:00 p.m. - The Gaslight Anthem

04:00 p.m. - Brian Jonestown Massacre
05:00 p.m. - Peter Bjorn & John

06:00 p.m. - Okkervil River
07:00 p.m. - Paolo Nutini

08:00 p.m. - Jenny Lewis

09:00 p.m. - Public Enemy
10:00 p.m. - The Cure

John Vanderslice Spinning Records At Amoeba SF For Record Store Day

You have to be something of a die hard fan to want to hear your favorite musician spin records rather than perform. That, or you have to be enough of a vinyl fetishist that hearing new records is almost as good as a liver performance. Believe us, we can empathize. If that sorta thing is your cup of tea, then Amoeba Records may be the spot for you tomorrow.

Along with a few other local luminares, John Vanderslice will be spinning records at Amoeba's SF location in honor of Record Store Day. Vanderslice is a hometown hero, indie rock aficionado, and general all around good guy, so listening to him spin records most likely worth the trip. If you need added incentive, there's a gamut of exclusive record store day releases, and the store will be bustling with festive atmosphere. That, and the fact that you know you love your local indie record shop - there's not really an excuse not to show up, is there?

mp3: John Vanderslice - Fetal Horses (From the forthcoming Romanian Names LP)

Vanderslice will be DJing from 4-5pm at Amoeba SF.

Jarvis Cocker Drops New Single, "Angela"

We couldn't be more psyched for this news: It's been three years since Jarvis Cocker's debut solo record Jarvis made it's way into the world, and two years since he wowed us at The Fillmore. Well now he's back for more. The former Pulp front man has been relatively quiet for a spell, but it now he's on tap to release a new record, entitled Further Complications. The disc is the result of an collaboration with non-producer Steve Albini, and promises to have a raw sound in line with Albini's decidedly hands-off methods.

In anticipation of the new record, the first single "Angela" has just dropped, and in many ways is exactly what you might expect. Raw, retro, and garagey, the track clocks in at just under three minutes. It's loaded with more backup vocals and handclaps than you can shake a stick at, and is based solely around one solid guitar riff. To our ears, this is about as early 60's as you can get without a time machine, and we like it. Well played, Jarv.

mp3: Jarvis Cocker - Angela

Further Complications drops on 5/18.

Thanks to Stereogum for the tip.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Streets Continue New Tunage Onslaught Via Twitter

It appears at The Streets' frontman Mike Skinner has gotten it into his head to release a new track daily via twitter, and thus far he's living up to his promise. Today's track is "David Hassles", a tune based largely around a squonky synth sample, and more than a little reminiscent of Original Pirate Material's "Don't Mug Yourself". We're not quite as as into it as yesterday's entry, "Trust Me", but you also can't really argue with new free music daily, now can you?

mp3: The Streets - David Hassles

Cursive Played Letterman, We Were In Awe

It seems more and more these days, we're seeing really solid bands on late night TV. We have no idea if this is because we're watching more late night TV, or if the situation has improved in some way. In either case, we're not complaining: it's great to be exposed to solid, new, live music in glorious HD. Case in point: Cursive.

The band played David Letterman last month (above) and delivered a totally show stopping performance of "From The Hips", from their new record Mama, I'm Swollen. To be frank, we had enjoyed little-to-no exposure to the band before this performance, and it totally won us over. Put differently, the ol' Tivo is not allowed to delete this clip until we say so, which is probably never.

The band's sound is a refreshing blend of raw rock and roll and finely tuned instrumentation. Their live sound is startlingly tight, and the performance above almost seems like it could be a studio take. Undoubtedly, the band owes more than a little inspiration to Modest Mouse. That being said, they manage a degree of melody and composition that is wholly their own, and awesome to boot. It was certainly enough to get us to go out and grab the record.

Wilco Adds East Coast Dates, Ashes Of American Flags Doc Out This Week

In case you've been out of touch with all things Wilco for the past couple of months, we figured we'd take a minute to bring you up to speed. Last night the band kicked off their summer tour in Milwaukee, in addition to adding a whole bunch of East Coast dates. The end result is that the band has now scheduled some thirty dates, hitting the midwest and both coasts. Without question, you should be able to get your dose of Wilco this summer. You can check out on-sale dates at the band's tour page.

However, if you find yourself completely unable to wait for them to hit your town, you can head to your local indie record store this Saturday. The band will be releasing the DVD of their much-lauded concert flick The Ashes Of American Flags on Record Store Day, the annual indie record store self love fest. If you are so impatient that you find yourself not even able to wait the two days for the DVD, well then you can click below. The band has kindly provided some primo streams of some late 2008 shows via their "Roadcase" feature. Far out.

Stream: Wilco Live At Tanglewood 08-12-08
Stream: Wilco Live In Rochester 12-06-08

Wilco 2009 US Summer Tour Dates




















Phoenix Drops "Lisztomania" Official Video, Announces North American Tour

Okay, we know what you're thinking: these Hippies Are Dead folks are really taking this whole Phoenix obsession too far. Well, tell you what: how about you sit down, watch the new video for "Lisztomania"(above), and then try and tell us you're not psyched for this record.

The vid is visibly shot on film, and it gives it a nice psuedo-retro quality, all grainy and occasionally out of focus. Apparently shot in Bayreuth, Germany, it follows the band prepping for a supposed mini-gig, and wraps up with the "performance". It's pretty cliche, but it works. These guys have charisma to spare.

On top of the new video, the band has also revealed the full gamut of tour dates for North America. This includes a stop at the Regency Grand on June 27th, notable for it's conflict with Wilco's Greek Theater show. Time to pick your poison.

Phoenix North American Tour Dates 2009
June 12 : Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN, USA
June 13 : Park West, Chicago, IL, USA
June 15 : Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, Canada
June 16 : Les Saints, Montreal, Canada
June 17 : Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA, USA
June 19 : Terminal 5, NYC, USA
June 21 : Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington DC, USA
June 23 : Varsity, Minneapolis, MN, USA
June 25 : Bluebird, Denver, CO, USA
June 27 : Regency Center - Grand Ballroom, San Francisco, CA, USA
June 28 : The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Phoenix Primer

As our excitement grows, and grows, and grows for Phoenix's forthcoming album release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, we keep blabbering about the band, basically wherever we are. The thing is, the more people we talk to, the more we realize just how little the band has penetrated the American consciousness, and just how few people are familiar with the band. We first Phoenix them with "Too Young" on the Lost In Translation soundtrack, and have been loving them ever since. But if you just caught wind of this awesome, awesome, French band - or, maybe if you just aren't that familiar with their catalog - well, we thought we'd provide our thoughts on the three records released so far.

United (2000): United, the band's first studio full length, is also unquestionably their most sporadic release. The record's all over the place stylistically, although it does manage to maintain a solid quality bar. From the pop hit "Too Young", to the disco tinged "If I Ever Feel Better", to lo-fi "Party Time", the record manages to touch on almost every genre of popular music, but never really find (ironically) a unified direction. The second half of the record takes a decidedly neu-lounge vibe, and sax solos abound. What's more (particularly on the bizarre epic "Funky Squaredance"), the band's association with Daft Punk is most evident on this record. Choice Cuts: "Too Young", "If I Ever Feel Better", "Party Time"

Alphabetical (2003): If United was all over the map, then Alphabetical is its polar opposite. This record is so fine tuned and manicured, in both sound and direction, that it almost comes across as contrived. This is the record where the band really found their sound - equal parts stacatto guitar riffs, intricate percussion, and multitracked vocals. It's also where the band found their comfortable middle ground between laid back lounge, rock, and pop that makes their sound so unique. Despite fully realizing their sound, there's an element of spontaneity that seems to be lacking on some of these tracks. It's as though you can feel the band-behind-the-band just waiting to bust out and really rock. Bonus: Watch an EPK about the making of the record here. Choice Cuts: "Everything Is Everything", "Run Run Run", "Alphabetical", "I'm An Actor"

It's Never Been Like That (2006): It's Never Been Like That is unquestionably the record where Phoenix hit their stride and became the awesome band that we know and love today. The record combines all the elements they had explored on previous records and combines them into tightly wound pop perfection. Every track on the record is stellar, and listening to it is an exercise in restraint to keep from dancing. That being said, the record is unquestionably front-loaded, and the first four tracks are thirteen minutes of pop-rock bliss. Once you listen to the record a few times through, it becomes something of an inseperable group of tracks. You'll end up listening more times than you care to admit. And yes, we picked six of the record's ten tracks as choice cuts. That's not a mistake. Choice Cuts: "Napoleon Says", "Consolation Prizes", "Rally", "Long Distance Call", "Courtesy Laughs", "Sometimes In The Fall"

Well there you have it - you, dear reader, are now well versed and prepared for the release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. In the meantime, feed your Phoenix addiction (or if you don't have one, make it happen) by going back and listening to these records. We certainly won't hold it against you.

New Streets Track "Trust Me" Surfaces Via Twitter

While we share some of the skepticism that gets voiced about twitter, let it be known that it certainly has its benefits. For one, it's a great means of getting up to date news and passively checking out what others are up to. Moreover, it's increasingly becoming the source of exclusive content and news that then gets rehashed on the interwebs.

Case in point: today The Streets frontman Mike Skinner released a new track entitled "Trust Me" via his twitter alias @SkinnerMike. The track is an awesome dose of hip hop built over a solidly funky beat. To be frank, it's the best thing we've heard from the band in a while, and has some serious groove. Check it out.

mp3: The Streets - Trust Me

Spoon Offers Up Live Version Of "30 Gallon Tank" For Free Download

Picture from the HAD Archive

Free bonus download: welcome back. While the folks at the Spoon camp haven't been quite as thorough at updating their monthly "bonus" as they were last year, we're glad to see that it's still alive and well. This month they're offering up a version of "30 Gallon Tank", live from Sydney, Australia.

As huge fans of A Series Of Sneaks, and of this tune in particular, we couldn't be more psyched to see the band be giving it some love. What's more, after our observation of all the kiddies who weren't familiar with Series' songs up in Portland, perhaps this will give the record a little more exposure to the newer fans.

This live version features modified lyrics, full on guitar freak outs, and a killer groove. In other words, we love it.

mp3: Spoon - 30 Gallon Tank (Live In Sydney)