Saturday, May 30, 2009

Talking Heads: "Psycho Killer" (Live On The Old Grey Whistle Test)

We don't usually post on the weekends, but saw this, and well, come on. You're not complaining, now are you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jason Collett Prepping New Record, Plotting Summer Tour

Picture from the HAD Archive

While details are still sparse, we were intrigued to hear mention from Arts and Crafts that Jason Collett is working on the followup to 2008's Here's To Being Here. The record's not dropping until later in the year, but Collett has lined up a west coast tour to preview some of the new songs in public.

The tour will be a quick one, supporting The Weakerthans, and will include a San Francisco stop at Great American. It's been a while since we've heard from Collett, and we're definitely fans of his distinctive style of pop - it'll be nice to get out there and see what he's got cooking.

mp3: Jason Collett - Out Of Time

Jason Collett Summer 2009 Dates
June 10th Toronto, ON Massey Hall

June 17th Toronto, ON Courthouse

June 20th Toronto, ON The Horseshoe Tavern

July 18th Seattle, WA Neumo's

July 21st San Luis Obispo, CA Downtown Brew
July 22nd Hollywood, CA The Roxy

July 23rd San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
July 24th Eugene, OR Wow Hall

July 25th Portland, OR Aladdin Theatre

Kings Of Leon and The Walkmen Played Bill Graham - Video

We were incredibly bummed to miss last week's Kings Of Leon/Walkmen double bill at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. We're huge fans of both bands, and we were more than a little frustrated to have a scheduling conflict for the gig. By all accounts the sold out show was a total blast, and delivered on both bands' enormous potential.

Since then, we've been snooping around the internets trying to find bits and pieces that sum it all up, and we've dug up some decent media for you to snack on. First, Music Induced Euphoria has a nice review of the gig, with pictures to go along with it. Second, youtube user "cafarm" apparently filmed just about every song of the night and posted them on their profile page. You can check out the video for "Milk" above, or click through for more vids.

Just goes to show you, even if you miss a show, the internet will be there to show you the love.


Stream The New EELS, Hombre Lobo On MySpace

Well, we've been getting more psyched for this one by the day, and now it's finally here. EELS have decided to stream the entirety of their new record Hombre Lobo over on their MySpace page, and it's tasty, to say the least. We'll be giving our in depth thoughts on the record next week, but for now suffice it to say that Mr. E is back with some attitude, and it's all good. Go check it out now!

Stream: EELS - Hombre Lobo

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jay Reatard Drops First Single From New Album

We mentioned a while back that Jay Reatard had a new record on the way, and would be touring in its support this summer. Well now the record has come to fruition, and the first single delivered to the masses. Watch Me Fall won't hit the racks until August 18th, but "It Ain't Gonna Save Me" is the first taste of what to expect.

The track is pretty classic Jay Reatard, with multitracked vocals, frenetic drums, and lots of layered rhythm guitars. That being said, it manages to offer up a view of his constantly evolving songwriting. While his tunes are managing to maintain a similar veneer to material from earlier in his career, the rhythmic and melodic underpinnings are gradually becoming more complex.

It seems like every release from Jay Reatard builds on those underpinnings, and comes closer and closer to the perfect pop song. We haven't heard the record yet, but if this track is any indication, then we can't wait to get our hands on it!

mp3: Jay Reatard - It Ain't Gonna Save Me

Pavement's Brighten The Corners On Vinyl: Awesome, Expensive

Is this really the way it has to go down? Are the indie record labels really going to start playing us just like the majors do, and keep rereleasing the same material, but tagging on "bonus" tracks to make each new release "essential" to collectors? Argh. It seems that way, doesn't it Matador?

The most frustrating part about this situation, is that this release sounds so awesome. To put it simply: Matador has decided to release Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition as a 4-record vinyl set. The set will encompass the entirety of Nicene Creedence, plus eight new tracks that were not included on that disc, five of which are previously unreleased. From the official press release:

This super deluxe M-Pak accordion style box set comes with a 16-page, 12" x 12" full color booklet, MP3 coupon, and huge essay by New Yorker critic Alex Ross. The vinyl edition of this album also contains eight extra tracks not on the CD, five of which are previously unreleased and including the track "Agony of the Stars." Also includes material from the CD version: the re-mastered original twelve song album, ten non-album B-sides, ten outtakes, and fourteen live radio session tracks. The wealth of extra material testifies to the extraordinary creativity of the band in this period.

Here's where we start to get a little cranky: we love vinyl, we love Pavement bonus material, but this kind of sucks. We dropped twenty-some-odd dollars on the Nicene Creedence preorder, and managed to get all the goodies and vinyl that came along with that. It felt pretty complete, you know: all the tracks, in one place, happily arranged. Enter the new vinyl release, and now our completist copy of Nicene Creedence is decidedly un-completist.

To add insult to injury, the set is definitely on the pricey side: a whopping eighty dollars for the package. Now, we know nice vinyl costs cash, but at $20 a disc, that's definitely on the pricey side. Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that we will probably end up shelling out for it. In our eyes, Brighten The Corners is a high point in the band's career, and having a nice crisp vinyl copy of it is more than tempting. If you're in the same boat, you can preorder at Insound.

Argh, to say the least.

mp3: Pavement - Type Slowly (Live, From The Nicene Creedence Bonus LP)

Grand Lake: Knockout Pics, New Drummer, New Song

There's been a lot going on since we last caught up with Grand Lake, and we figured it made sense to bring you up to speed. But first: while we shot some great video when we last caught the band at The Knockout, we also took some photos. Those photos have never seen the light of day until now - we figured we'd dig them up for your enjoyment. Now, on to the news!

The most significant chunk of news is that the band has decided to change drummers. In a statement on their blog, they had the following to say:

A large factor in the formation of our band was our amazing drummer, Mr. Ryan Christopher Parks, AKA B. Hamiliton. Ryan is an excellent musician, and like many excellent musicians, has a lot of projects going on. Its been decided that for everybody's long-term happiness, Ryan will be leaving Grand Lake this month.

They go on to mention that a new drummer has already been chosen, and will be on the band's lineup almost immediately:

Replacing Mr. Parks on the drums will be difficult, however, our good friend Mr. John William Pomeroy will most certainly be up to the task. John is an amazing musician who also fronts his own band called the Cerfs. John's first show with Grand Lake will be at the Starry Plough in Berkeley on June 5th, with our very good friends Sister Grizzy.

We have to admit, we're curious to see how the change will affect the band's sound: a drummer is a huge part of any band, and Grand Lake certainly had a solid on stage rapport. Developing.

In addition to the lineup change, the band has also announced that they are going to forgo any further entries into their "singles series", and instead embark on recording a second record at the end of the summer. We have to say, we definitely endorse the idea. The band's first record is fantastic, and it seems that singles can have the unfortunate consequence of being overlooked until they make their way to a compilation.

Finally, we've managed to get our hands on a new track from the band, and we have to say we like it very, very much. Entitled "Song For Louise", the track was recorded live in Santa Cruz and digs much more extensively into what we see as the band's strengths. Specifically, it leverages Caleb Nichols' fantastic vocals with a strong melody line, and plays them extremely well off the sonics of Jameson Swagnon's guitar. The result is a sparse but aggressive arrangement that manages to transcend the cleanliness of their first record. We can't wait to hear this one in the studio.

Grand Lake are at the Starry Plough on June 5th

mp3: Grand Lake - Song For Louise (Live In Santa Cruz)

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Contest: Tickets For Little Joy At The Independent

Well, we certainly hope you weren't on board just for some sort of Strokes fetish. Yes, despite the fact that Fab was called back to New York, Little Joy will continue on without him. As mentioned previously, the band will be delivering the awesomeness of their debut record at The Independent on June 3rd. Frankly, while we're sad to see Fab go, we have to admit we're pretty glad it will thin the crowd of all the fankids who weren't in it for the music. This is an awesome band, with some awesome tunes to deliver, celeb status be damned.

If you're of a similar mind, then we have quite a treat for you: in conjunction with The Independent and Another Planet Entertainment, we're giving away two pairs of tickets for the show. All you have to do to get entered in the drawing is answer one question for us, and send the answer to That question is: Rodrigo Amarante is in another band besides Little Joy - what is that band, and where are they from?

The contest will close at midnight on Sunday the 31st, so that we have time to get you all set for the show. Ready, set, go!

Wilco Delivers Free iPhone App

We have to admit that when we heard Wilco was delivering an iPhone app, we kinda wondered what good it would be. But the fact of the matter is, that it's pretty cool. The *free* app for Apple's ubiquitous entry to the phone market is structured much like the band's website, and gives a similar navigational feel.

At the end of the day, that's basically what the app is: it takes the content from the band's website, and makes it easily accessible on the iPhone. While it's not exactly a miracle of modern technology, it is quite neat (and convenient) to have the band's tour dates, discography, and news in the palm of your hand. What's more, we do so much fiddling on our iPhone when we're bored, that it's a nice way to catch up on the band during our downtime.

So, yeah, it's pretty tough to argue with free, and when it's free and cool, well that's a no brainer. We gotta say - other bands should really get on this bandwagon.

Wave of the future. Wave of the future. Wave of the future.

Foreign Born and BLK JKS Played The Independent: Pictures, Review

You may recall that last week we were hyped for the upcoming BLK JKS/Foreign Born show, and what's more had quite a high musical expectations for the event. Suffice it to say, we were not disappointed. Both bands of the co-headlining gig delivered killers sets that served to underscore and expand their sound - exactly the way it should be in a live setting. We walked out of the show feeling that each of these bands, with their diverse and direct sounds, is on the verge of something great.

Foreign Born was up first, and delivered a show that would easily have carried in a venue twice the size of The Independent. The lighting, the band's stage presence, and most of all the music: it was all so tightly knit that you got the distinct impression of a band that is just dying to deliver. There were no compromises, no slip ups: it was an expert rock show.

Front man Matt Popieluch managed to create a stage persona that was difficult to characterize, but completely magnetic to watch. We could attempt to characterize it by saying he was somewhere between Bowie, Dylan, and Beck. Needless to say, we enjoyed his performance and energy more than a little bit.

However, Popieluch was far from the band's only asset in the endeavor. Each member of the six piece unit contributed significantly and meaningfully to the intricately layered sound coming from the stage. The result was a performance that built significantly on their forthcoming record, and took it to the next level. In short, it was a riveting spectacle of polyrhythmic folk-pop-rock that left us wanting more. As in, now.

After Foreign Born delivered such a riveting set, it seemed like BLK JKS might have difficulty measuring up, but such was definitely not the case. The South African quartet delivered a blazing set of their own unique sound, and demonstrated quite clearly why the show was a co-headlining effort.

Perhaps the best way to describe BLK JKS live show is that everything is more present than on the record. While the record is delightfully experimental and filled with waves of sonic experimentation, the live show put much more emphasis on the dynamic of the band. In many ways the live show was a demonstration of the sonic foundation that had yielded the band's sound on tape.

The set also managed to demonstrate just how proficient BLK JKS are as musicians. The four had a clear rapport on stage, and the amount of visual and musical communication created a flow to the set that was intuitive and seamless. In short, it's obvious how the band can come up with such brilliant recordings: They have a musical rapport that transcends any song structure or standard writing guidelines. It's a change of pace that we welcome with open arms.

Like we said, this was a show that left us feeling as though both bands are on the verge of something big. Foreign Born has a full length on tap for release in June, and it's great, we assure you. BLK JKS currently have an EP out and about (yes, we bought the 12"), and are about to announce a forthcoming full length. There's no question that this is an exciting time in music, and these bands are doing some of the most exciting work out there. We can't recommend more strongly that you check them both out.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

mp3: Foreign Born - Vacationing People
mp3: BLK JKS - Lakeside

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New EELS Video: "The Look You Give That Guy"

We have to say, every indication we get for the new EELS record Hombre Lobo just keeps on solidifying our opinion that it's gonna be E's best since Souljacker. The lastest entry? An "at home" film of the track "The Look You Give That Guy". The track is classic EELS, with a sweet melody an almost-drum-machine beat, and humorously self-loathing world view. Lyrically it's in the tradition of the "other guy" genre: "Here Comes The Night", "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", etc. Most importantly: it's straight up awesome. Click above to watch and listen.

Thanks to The OCMD for the tip!

New Twilight Sad Record On The Way

Despite the fact that we still haven't seen them live, and that since 2007 they seem to be avoiding the west coast like the plague, we still love The Twilight Sad. The Scottish band's first full length was one of our picks of 2007, and is still in regular rotation here at the HAD offices. It has a perfect blend of angst, killer vocals, and waves of feedback that make us smile.

Last year's Killed My Parents And Hit The Road was certainly enjoyable, but it offered less than a full record's worth of new material. What's more, with live tracks in the mix, it felt more like a tour EP than it did like a legitimate album. That's why we were so psyched to hear that the band's second full length is on track for release in September of this year.

Forget The Night Ahead drops on September 22nd, and if the first released track is any indication, it's gonna be a doozy. "Reflection Of The Television" opens with some of the band's signature feedback, and an unrelenting drum beat. It then gives way to singer James Graham's vocals, and while his thick Scottish accent is in tact, the mix has definitely been changed. The vocals are far more up front than on any of the band's previous records, and we're definitely not complaining. Graham's vocals do a lot to define The Twilight Sad, and having the effect be a fair bit more pronounced is certainly good thing. What's more, the band definitely manages not to fade away to the background - they come back at Graham with a wave of sound to close the track.

Long story short: we've been waiting for this record for a while, and we couldn't be more excited given this first sampling. The band is clearly stretching their legs a bit, and solidifying their already formidable sound. We can't wait for the record - now we just need to get the band to head west!

mp3: The Twilight Sad - Reflection Of The Television

New Yeah Yeah Yeahs Video: "Heads Will Roll"

If you like your Karen O wrapped in plastic, being upstaged by a Michael Jackson immitating werewolf, then this is just the Yeah Yeah Yeahs video for you. No, we're not kidding.

That being said, we dig the tune enough to make the bizarro video tolerable. Click above to watch.

Live Pavement To The Max

Picture of SM at Noise Pop 2009 from the HAD Archive

You may recall that we mentioned a tasty slab of Pavement vinyl that came with the Brighten The Corners vinyl. Well, we did the preorder, and we have the vinyl. We'll be totally honest with you: we live in a digital world, and we've only listened to the record a handful of times since last fall. It's not that it's lacking, rather, it's just that we don't have as much vinyl sit-down time as we'd like.

Given that, we were psyched to discover that The Bat And The Bird took the time to carefully rip that vinyl release to mp3's and kindly put it on the internets. So choice! Are personal pick is a killer version of "Type Slowly" (below), if you want to check out the whole record head to the original post at The Bat And The Bird now.

mp3: Pavement - Type Slowly (Live)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cut Off Your Hands Coming To Bottom Of The Hill

Picture from the HAD Archive

We're still reeling from their ferocious Noise Pop show, so we were psyched to see that Cut Off Your Hands have yet to return to New Zealand. Apparently they've extended their US tour, and will be stopping by Bottom Of The Hill on June 18th.

Since we last saw them, we've been listening to the band's record You & I quite a bit, and really digging into it. It manages a fantastic blend of Spector sonics, Cure-ish vocals, and unrepentant energy. It really is a record that manages to capture a whole bunch of pop sensibilities into one neat package, and come up with something new in the process. Give a listen below.

Tickets are on sale now.

mp3: Cut Off Your Hands - Oh Girl

Cut Off Your Hands Summer 2009 North American Dates
May 25 Neurolux w/Viva Voce Boise, Idaho
May 26 The Badlander w/Viva Voce Missoula, Montana
May 28 Turf Club w/Viva Voce St Paul, Minnesota
May 29 Empty Bottle w/Viva Voce Chicago, Illinois
May 30 The Burlington - Dr Snikkers + Mr Puppy DJ SET Chicago, Illinois
May 31 The Summit w/Viva Voce Columbus, Ohio
Jun 1 Bug Jar w/Viva Voce Rochester, New York
Jun 2 Great Scott w/Viva Voce Allston, Massachusetts
Jun 3 Johnny Brenda’s w/Viva Voce Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 4 Music Hall of Williamsburg w/Viva Voce Brooklyn, New York
Jun 5 IOTA Club and Cafe w/Viva Voce Arlington, Virginia
Jun 6 Musica w/Viva Voce Akron, Ohio
Jun 7 Southgate House w/Viva Voce Newport, Kentucky
Jun 9 Firebird w/Viva Voce St Louis, Missouri
Jun 10 Record Bar w/Viva Voce Kansas City, Ohio
Jun 11 The Opolis w/Viva Voce Norman, Oklahoma
Jun 12 Haileys w/Viva Voce Denton, Texas
Jun 13 The Mohawk Austin, Texas
Jun 15 Plush w/Viva Voce Tucson, Arizona
Jun 16 Rhythm Room w/Viva Voce Phoenix, Arizona
Jun 17 the Echo w/Viva Voce LA, California
Jun 18 Bottom of the Hill w/Viva Voce San Fran, California
Jun 20 Wonder Ballroom w/Viva Voce Portland, Oregon
Jun 21 The Vera Project Seattle, Washington
Jun 22 Media Club Vancouver, British Columbia
Jun 24 Pawn Shop Edmonton, Alberta
Jun 25 Verns Calgary, Alberta
Jun 26 The Exchange Regina, Saskatchewan
Jun 27 Royal Albert Arms Hotel Winnipeg, Manitoba

Doves Played Portland's Wonder Ballroom - Setlist

Picture of Doves @ The Fillmore from the HAD Archive

While we weren't actually in attendance, a kindly HAD reader in Portland sent along Doves setlist from the Wonder Ballroom, so we thought we'd pass it along. Perhaps not quite as monumental as The Fillmore show, HAD reader Dave had this to say: "Good show by a great band, but not the best mix, perhaps due to the venue." Either way, we'll take some Doves goodness any day. Here's the set list:

Doves @ Wonder Ballroom 2009, Setlist
Winter Hill
The Greatest Denier
Almost Forgot Myself
Kingdom of Rust
The Outsiders
Black and White Town
Caught by the River
Here it Comes
Last Broadcast
There Goes the Fear

RIP Jay Bennett

This is a bummer on so many levels, that it's hard to really quantify in any meaningful way. Jay Bennett, a huge part of Wilco for many years, passed away yesterday at his studio in Chicago. You can read the full obituary here, and read Wilco biographer Greg Kot's take here.

Bennett's contributions to Wilco were immense, and his personal level of musicality is just undeniable. Given that Bennett has become more prolific over the last few years, and seemed to be stabilizing personally, this is especially tragic. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

While you're having a moment of silence, maybe have it a little less silent and give a listen to this tune - we're sure Jay would have approved.

mp3: Jay Bennett - Like A Photograph

Friday, May 22, 2009

Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

If you're a regular reader of HAD, and you thought that this review would be anything less than drooling admiration, well then you haven't really been paying attention. That being said, we've done so much drooling in the past few months, over both Phoenix and their new record, that we figured it would be more than a little bit appropriate to give our opinion some weight, promote ourself beyond the status of addicted fanboys, and hopefully win over some readers in the process.

So what is it that's just so great about Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix? In short, it hits the sweet spot. It manages to take all the strongest components of the band's earlier albums, and combine them into an amalgam of pop perfection that is rock solid from star to finish. The dance vibe from United, the sweet groove of Alphabetical, and the rock solid garage band of It's Never Been Like That: each of the elements is roped in in turn, to make the record a thorough portrait of all the things that make Phoenix great.

The record opens with the one-two punch of the album's first two singles: "1901" and "Lizstomania". The former is a synthed out masterpiece that manages to leverage a driving rock beat and laid back vocals with an undeniable sing along chorus. The latter is a dance-rock masterpiece that even in most curmudgeonly music critic would have difficulty resisting. These two were obvious choices for singles, but thankfully don't even begin to make up the meat of the record. Things continue with the significantly more chilled out "Fences", which builds a laid back dance beat to a fantastic climax. The album then pulls back considerably with "Love Like A Sunset", which goes into a six minute instrumental before falling into a lull of vocals, acoustic guitars, and synths, to close out the record's first side.

The first half of the record doesn't even begin to wear out the band's pop sensibility however, and the second side opens with another one-two punch. The first is "Lasso": a straight ahead rock song with fantastic beats, jangly guitars, and a catchy chorus. Despite its strength, it's almost overshadowed by the second track. "Rome" manages to be as epic as they come, opening with a simple guitar and beat, and slowly building to a massive instrumental bridge at it's core. The bridge blends into another chorus, which closes out the song in a sumptuous wave of analog synth goodness.

The record closes with three tracks that could be considered almost "formulaic" for the band that Phoenix has become. "Countdown", "Girlfriend", and "Armistice" manage to completely envelop the band's dance/rock/pop vibe so thoroughly, that they almost seem effortless. If they weren't such pop perfection, it would be easy to forget how painstaking these arrangements are, and how clear it is that Phoenix is a band that is expert in their craft.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, despite all its accessibility and pop perfection, is also likely to be something of a dividing line for listeners. It so perfectly encompasses the band's sound, that for those who love it, it's like a gift from above. For those who don't however, it's easy to see how this record might come across as a trite pop throwaway. All we can say to those people is listen harder. This is a band that is truly unique, and despite their accessible sound, is managing to realize something close to artistic perfection. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is a testament to their skill, and if you can't at least hear that, you're probably not paying close enough attention.

mp3: Phoenix - Lisztomania

St. Vincent: New Record, On Tour

A weird thing happened to us with St. Vincent's new record, Actor. We threw it on, and were really, really enjoying it. This was a bit of a surprise, because we had found her first release Marry Me to be a bit underwhelming. So then we went back and threw on that record, and were digging it too. Hrm. Clearly something has transformed in our musical mind, and created a new and interesting rift that allows for St. Vincent to occupy.

Mind you, we're not complaining: the record is very enjoyable, and is highly original. Annie Clark's voice does still rub us the wrong way at times, just too sweet and syrupy for our tastes. That being said, the record has so many layers and intricacies, that one's musical brain can't help but be compelled by the conflict that is drawn up between electronic blips, fuzzy guitars, swelling strings, and Clark's own sweet vocals.

What's more, we will say this: Despite a new found appreciation for both, Actor still beats out Marry Me hands down. On the new record Clark manages to be more adventurous, more edgy, and less inclined to get wrapped up in overly intricate arrangements. Instead she takes the opposite approach, and increases the low fi simplicity of her sound. We likey.

Clark will be touring in support of her new record over May and June, and that includes a stop at Bimbo's next Wednesday, May 27th. We'll be curious to see how Clark transitions her new sound to the stage, and if she sticks to her guns with the more lofi/rock vibe that's on the disc. We certainly hope so. Tickets are on sale now.

mp3: St. Vincent - Save Me From What I Want

St. Vincent Summer 2009 Dates

5/22/2009 Washington, DC Black Cat
5/24/2009 George, WA Sasquatch!
5/25/2009 Portland, OR Aladdin Theater
5/27/2009 San Francisco, CA Bimbo's 365 Club
5/28/2009 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
5/30/2009 San Diego, CA Casbah
5/31/2009 Phoenix, AZ Modified
6/2/2009 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
6/3/2009 Omaha, NE Slowdown Jr.
6/4/2009 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
6/5/2009 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theater
6/7/2009 Chicago, IL Epiphany
6/10/2009 Lexington, KY The Dame
6/11/2009 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
6/12/2009 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo
6/16/2009 Birmingham, AL Bottle Tree
6/18/2009 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre
6/19/2009 Austin, TX Mohawk

Tortoise: New Record, Summer Tour

It's been five years since Indie icons Tortoise have dropped an album on the unsuspecting public, but now the hiatus has come to an end. The band will release Beacons Of Ancestorship on June 23rd, and support it with a some-of-the-world tour, at least to start off with. Luckily for San Franciscans, we made the cut and will be seeing the band live and in person on Jul 13th at Great American.

While we'll freely admit not to be connoisseurs of the Tortoise back catalog (our interest arose from the involvement of The Sea and Cake's John McEntire), we can tell you this: we got our hands on a copy of the new record, and it truly rocks. The disc manages to create a sound palate that is simultaneously droney, jammy, jazzy, and fuzzy, while at the same time still managing to rock out like there's no tomorrow. Not only is it getting repeat plays on the ol' iTunes, but it seems ideally suited for the live environ as well. Highly recommended.

Tickets are on sale now

mp3: Tortoise - Northern Something

Tortoise Summer 2009 Dates










Thursday, May 21, 2009

White Rabbits Killed On Letterman

We already told you
how psyched we are for White Rabbits' record It's Frightening that dropped this week, so we were psyched to see them positively nail the opening track "Percussion Gun" on Letterman this past Monday.

We have to admit, we were curious how the band would hold up without Britt Daniel's studio tutelage, and now we know. Which is to say: totally fucking solid. Rock and roll, kids.

White Rabbits are at the Independent June 20th, tickets are on sale now.

mp3: White Rabbits - Percussion Gun

This Friday At The Independent: BLK JKS And Foreign Born

It's tough enough seeing one incredibly solid band in a night, so getting to see two is a real treat. That's why we recommend you get yourself to the Independent on Friday night. Two bands, BLK JKS and Foreign Born, will be playing an evening of music that is certain to deliver. What's more, we're more than a little convinced that both are destined for even bigger things - this could be your best last chance to see them in such a small room.

BLK JKS hail from South Africa, and wear the influence on their sleeve. As such, it'd be easy to pigeonhole them as "world music" and leave it at that. The thing is, there's so much more going on with their music, that to do so would be silly. Their four track EP Mystery is addictive, and draws upon countless musical influences. To name drop a few, we hear everything from Liars, to David Bowie, to Robert Fripp, to Wilco, to TV On The Radio in their sound. It's all underpinned by distinctive African sounds, particularly in the backing vocals and guitar tone, and it is truly unique. We are loving it, to say the least. (Head here for an awesome feature on the band from The Fader)

Foreign Born offer up a sound that is perhaps a little more familiar to western ears, but nonetheless just as compelling. Their most recent LP Person To Person combines percussion driven rock with fantastic guitar hooks and melodies that stick in your head like none other. It's gaining them recognition as press copies get out there, and justifiably so. The record captures a mood and feel that is familiar, but at the same time original and refreshing. Put differently, one listen can quickly turn in to ten or so. The band originally started in San Francisco, but soon moved to LA (We know, we know. Boo. Hiss.). Regardless of your city loyalties, we can assure you that this is a show you'll want to catch.

Tickets are on sale now

mp3: BLK JKS - Lakeside
mp3: Foreign Born - Vacationing People

The Features Mount Tour In Support Of Some Kind Of Salvation

You may recall that we mentioned a new record on the way from The Features a while back. Well apparently in the time since, the band has managed to sell out of the vinyl copies of the record, and put CD's on sale. The catch is that we can't seem to figure out what label the band is on, or how to get digital copies of the record. While we're willing to do the snail mail option, it's a tad frustrating, no?

Retail woes be damned, we were psyched to get the news that the band has decided to tour in support of the record. While they're sadly not making any stops on the west coast, for those of you on the east (or rather, northeast) coast there are a wide array of options. Having seen the band open for Kings Of Leon a few years back, we can heartily endorse their live show. What's more, Those Darlins, who we last saw opening for Dan Auerbach, are definitely an opening act worth catching. Get out there!

mp3: The Features - GMF (From Some Kind Of Salvation)

The Features Spring 2009 Dates

May 11th Charlotte, NC The Milestone

May 12th Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
May 13th Charlottesville, VA iS Venue

May 14th New York, NY Pianos

May 15th Cambridge, MA TT the Bears

May 16th Philadelphia, PA Khyber

May 17th Brooklyn, NY Union Hall

May 19th Cleveland, OH Grog Shop

May 20th Chicago, IL Schuba’s Tavern

May 21st Newport, KY Southgate House

May 22nd Lexington, KY The Dame

May 23rd Knoxville, TN Barley’s

Yoshi's Presenting Local Birth Of The Cool Tribute

Here at HAD, we're more than willing to accept that we aren't exactly jazz aficionados. To be expert in the catalogs of most major jazz artists is a monstrous undertaking. To be frank, part of our fear is getting too immersed in jazz, and summarily bankrupting ourselves with record purchases. The cost of rare vinyl alone is enough to scare small children!

That being said, we certainly do enjoy the art form, and we're more than happy to dip our toe in the lake on a regular basis. When we do, we tend to have "go to" records and artists - one such combo is Miles Davis' Birth Of The Cool. Specifically, the reissue The Complete Birth Of The Cool. Besides being one of our first loved jazz records, the reissue also features a live take on the record that really gets our blood flowing. Moreover, the recordings are considered seminal in the development of "cool", or west coast, jazz. In short, if you harbor even a mild appreciation of jazz and don't own this disc, you should.

So, that being said, this news has us pretty excited: In honor of Miles' birthday on May 25th Yoshi's San Francisco is hosting a Birth Of The Cool tribute featuring nine (same as the original record) local musicians: Marcus Shelby, Mike Olmos, Erik Jekabson, Joe Cohen, Adam Theis, Adam Shulman, Jeff Marrs, Sheldon Brown and Mike Rinta will pay tribute to the original record, and we couldn't be more excited. We have no idea exactly what the tribute will consist of, but if it even somewhat catches the flavor of the original masterpiece, that will be enough for us. Tickets are on-sale now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nick Lowe Interviewed By The Believer

If you don't already subscribe to The Believer, we'd like to encourage you to do so. The McSweeney's published monthly periodical is the source of some of the best interviews and essays out there, and it's unique format and content is second to none.

Case in point: this month the magazine features comedian Todd Barry interviewing music icon Nick Lowe. The interview is clever and insightful, and features Lowe's thoughts on touring, music composition and technology. Notably, the fact that he has neither a cell phone or email! Check out the interview here.

Dandy Warhols To Release New-Old Album

We're huge fans of The Dandy Warhols, but we'd be lying if we didn't admit that 13 Tales Of Urban Bohemia was really a high point for the band. While we dug Welcome To The Monkeyhouse, somehow it didn't seem like a legit follow up to such a masterpiece, and we simply accepted that fact that perhaps the band had hit some magic sweet spot that they haven't been able to reproduce. Turns out, that may have not been the case.

Apparently the original tapes for Monkeyhouse were entitled The Dandy Warhols ARE Sound, and were turned down by Capital Records upon submission. Rather than take the Wilco route, and risk being dropped, the band allowed the label to remix/remaster the album, and the result was released as the band's next album. This revelation is particularly poignant because Monkeyhouse is such a poppy gem, when compared to the relatively experimental and epic scope of Urban Bohemia. Discovering it's the product of a record company's taste, rather than the band's, makes a whole lot more sense.

Fast forward seven years, and the Dandies are now on their own label and free to do as they please. As such, The Dandy Warhols ARE Sound will now see its first official release on July 14th via the band's own label, Beat The World Records. While we have no idea what the record will actually sound like (we've never heard it, even as a bootleg), we have to say that we are very, very curious.

While you're waiting for the record to drop, there's plenty to keep you occupied: the band has released remix ep's from last year's Earth To The Dandy Warhols, and is lining up so Los Angeles area dates, notably at the Playboy Mansion and Pomona's Glass House. Head to the Dandies' web page to check it all out.

Okkervil River To Join Wilco On Tour

Picture from the HAD Archive

As though you needed more incentive to go see Wilco in June at the Greek: Between the band's stellar live show, and the awesomeness of the new record, it's going to be amazing. Well, now it's going to be even more amazing. We've just gotten a heads up that Okkervil River will be joining Wilco for their late June/early July dates, and that includes the Greek. Killer.

We haven't seen Okkervil River live since 2007, but that was certainly enough to win us over to their sound. Not only is the band a rock solid instrumental unit, but lead singer Will Scheff's persona takes heart-on-the-sleeve to a new level. Given their own level of enthusiasm, it'll be interesting to see what the do with the "opener" slot. Frankly, we'd be lying if we said we weren't hoping for a guest appearance on some Wilco's hoping.

Okkervil River Dates Summer 2009
June 14 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo- The Other Tent
June 25 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern Theatre w/ Wilco

June 26 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery w/ Wilco

June 27 Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre w/ Wilco

June 28 Stateline, NV Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena w/Wilco
June 30 Jacksonville, OR Britt Pavilion w/ Wilco

July 03 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre w/ Wilco
July 10 Ottawa, ON Ottawa Bluesfest
July 11 Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg Folk Festival

Dirty Projectors Playing Independent In July, Tickets On Sale Thursday

Picture from the HAD Archive

If you couldn't manage to get yourself a ticket to this weekend's TV On The Radio/Dirty Projectors show at the Fox Theater, or if you just love the Projectors as much as we do, then you'll be psyched to know that the band is planning a headlining tour after they get off the road with TVOTR.

While we haven't been able to discern all of the dates yet, we have gotten word that the San Francisco show will be at The Independent on July 7th. Combine that with the awesomeness of Bitte Orca being released on June 9th, and well, you've got a recipe for a summer of Dirty Projectors goodness.

Tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 AM. Psyched.

mp3: Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move

Ryan Adams: "Magick" Home Demo

Picture from the HAD Archive

We're huge fans of the tune "Magick" off of Cardinology - it's the biggest dose of real ROCK on the whole record. So, we were psyched to see Ryan Adams drop the home demo on his twitter feed this morning. Tasty. Head here to have a listen.

Meanwhile, Mr. Adams second book of poetry, Hello Sunshine, is available for preorder now. We had to look up what a "chap book" was - just sayin'.

Stream: Ryan Adams - Magick (Home Demo)

Doves Played The Fillmore - Pictures, Review, Setlist

On Monday night, Doves dropped in at the Fillmore. San Francisco showed them the love, and they showed it right back. Over the course of an hour and a half, the UK trio (joined by a fourth on keyboards) delivered an energetic set that clearly left both the band and the crowd more than a little enthusiastic. The set drew from all over the band's catalog, from the opener "Jetstream" to the closer "There Goes The Fear". As well as being highly entertaining, it was also a testament to just what a great body of work the band has amassed over the past ten years.

Seeing Doves live is something of an eye opening experience if you're only familiar with the records. The band's studio recordings tend to be highly manicured, layered affairs that seem largely devoid of a "personal" side. Put differently, the band's records can seem a bit icy at times. By stark contrast, the live experience is so full of vitality that you might be shocked if it was your first time seeing the band in person. They so clearly enjoy playing and interacting with the audience, it's a wonder they don't tour more often. On Monday night, it was obvious that the smiles and enthusiasm on both sides of the stage were as genuine as they come.

Obviously, however, enthusiasm can only take you so far, and at some point you need to match it with technical skill. Lucky for them, Doves has it in spades. It's enough of a miracle that the band can reproduce their sound live, but that they can do it so dynamically and accurately, and then add a layer newness on top is simply stunning. The band are all multi-instrumentalists, with everyone singing, adding percussion, and generally working together to create a massive soundscape. To see the trio all singing, while at the same time laying down blistering bass, guitar, and drum parts was a sight (and sound) to behold.

Despite not having a big American chart presence, Doves have manage to carve out a solid American fan base, and it's frankly easy to see why. Their records are carefully crafted and released as they see fit, and then backed by tours that emphasize the strengths of the record so strongly that it's impossible not to find yourself clamoring for more. To be frank, our only complaint is that the band doesn't make their way across the Atlantic more often - we'd love to see them again soon.


Winter Hill


Almost Forgot




Kingdom Of Rust


Black And White World
The Outsiders

Caught By The River


Here It Comes

Last Broadcast

There Goes The Fear

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wooden Birds Release Debut LP, Coming To Rickshaw

While it tends to definitely be on the super-chilled out side of our listening stratosphere, we will readily admit that we've definitely found some pleasure in digging into the records of American Analog Set. That being the case, we were interested to see and hear as blog hype has gradually formed around AAS frontman Andrew Kenny's new project The Wooden Birds.

The last time we saw Kenny, he was keyboarding it up for Broken Social Scene, so it's nice to hear that he's back in the swing of things with his own work as well. We've been listening to The Wooden Birds debut record Magnolia, and digging it quite a bit. That being said, it'd be tough to say it has much distance from the sounds of American Analog Set. Everything down to the percussion and guitar tones pretty much syncs up with AAS's sound - and that's not a bad thing. It's just curious that Kenny has decided to retitle the project given the similarities. Nonetheless, the record is a solid songwriting effort and definitely lives up to the notoriety of Kenny's previous work.

If you give a listen and you find yourself hankering for a live taste, you're in luck. The band has plotted out a tour in support of the record, and will be hitting the US for most of June. In San Francisco, the show will be at the always-intimate Rickshaw Stop, and presented by our buddies over at ipickmynose. Seeing the band in such a small room should definitely be rewarding, and by all accounts their live show is solid as a rock. See you there!

mp3: The Wooden Birds - The Other One

Wooden Birds Spring 2009 Dates
May 27, 2009 : Phoenix, AZ @ Modified
May 28, 2009 : Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland
May 29, 2009 : San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink
May 30, 2009 : Visala, CA @ Cellar Door
May 31, 2009 : San Fransisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
June 2, 2009 : Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
June 3, 2009 : Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
June 4, 2009 : Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
June 6, 2009 : Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
June 7, 2009 : Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
June 18, 2009 : Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Saloon
June 19, 2009 : Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
June 20, 2009 : Chicago, IL @ Schubas
June 21, 2009 : Clevland, OH @ Beachland
June 23, 2009 : Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears
June 24, 2009 : Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House
June 25, 2009 : Philadelphia, PA @ North Star
June 29, 2009 : Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
July 2, 2009 : Houston, TX @ Walters on Washington

Coldplay Releases Free Live Record

Despite not making its way into our top records of the year, we have to admit that Coldplay delivered more than we expected with last year's Viva La Vida. The record was a significant upgrade from X and Y, and more importantly gave us faith that the band still has some creative juice left in the old noggin.

Now the band has gone and released a live record sourced from the Viva La Vida tour, and released it for free over the web. Entitled Left Right Left Right Left, the album is up and ready for download as we speak. Granted, it's only nine tracks, but you can't really argue with a free release that's intended as a thank you to the fans. What's more, it's nice to hear the Eno-clean of the studio jostled a bit by Chris Martin's notorious live performance.

Head here to grab the album, for the price of your email address.

mp3: Coldplay - Viva La Vida (Live)

Some New Phoenix Vids For Your Enjoyment

Well, it's Monday morning, and almost a week has passed sinced Phoenix's latest record Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix hit the digital domain. As such, the already busy band has kicked the PR machine into high gear, with the beginning of touring (after some unfortunate cancellations) and online "appearances".

The first is a studio session with Stereogum where the band delivered acoustic versions of two numbers: "Lisztomania" off the new record, and "Playground Mania", from the Virgin Suicides soundtrack. You can check out the "Lisztomania" video above, and click here to to see "Playground Love".

The second vid is a semi-official video for the first single off of the new record, "1901". The vid was apparently co-commissioned by Dazed Digital and MTV. It's definitely worth checking out, and if we do say so ourselves: the disjointed neon vibe of the vid suits the song perfectly. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to check it out.

Phoenix is on tour now and plays the Regency Grand on June 27th.

Friday, May 15, 2009

David Byrne Releases Live EP For Amnesty International

Picture from the HAD Archive

It's still a little over a month until David Byrne graces the Bay Area with some shows, and we can't wait. Thankfully, Byrne has released a little something to tide us over in the meantime.

In conjunction with Amnesty International, Byrne has put together a 4 track live EP, culled from this tour for Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Entitled Everything That Happens Will Happen On This Tour, the EP consists of live versions of "Strange Overtones", "Help Me Somebody", "One Fine Day", and "I Feel My Stuff".

While it's not exactly the same as catching a live show, we have to say the EP does a pretty damn good job at capturing the fantastic feel of these live tunes. Pile on the fact that it's a benefit for charity, and that you can "try before you buy", and it's pretty much a no brainer. You can stream and order the EP here.

Stream: David Byrne - Everything That Happens Will Happen On This Tour

Iron And Wine Played Aquarius - Pictures, Review

Prior to a more lengthy set at the Swedish American later in the day, Iron and Wine played a set to a full house at Aquarius Records in the Mission. The show was unquestionably solid, and Sam Beam delivered as only he knows how. Obviously, the venue was ridiculously intimate, and it was really nice to see such a grass roots show from a guy as popular as Beam. Head over to ipickmynose for some solid coverage of the Swedish American show.

Cold War Kids Played The Fillmore - Pictures, Review

Last week Cold War Kids stopped in at The Fillmore and managed to completely deliver the goods. We here at HAD hadn't caught the band since last year's show at Outside Lands, and it was good to see them in action again.

While the band dug into a bunch of material from their latest record, the older stuff (including "Hospital Beds" and "Hang Me Out To Dry") was what really won over the crowd. Not exactly surprising, considering the band's California roots (and the lesser critical praise for the second album, to boot) - we're sure there were some long term fans in the audience.

Either way, the band delivered an unquestionably solid live show - they were full of energy, definitely poised to deliver for the audience. Suffice it to say, it was a night of heartily enjoyable rock and roll. Besides enjoying the show, we managed to snag a few shots for your enjoyment (Including the setlist here). After you've checked them out, head to Music Induced Euphoria, who took in the show as well.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wanderlust Brings Spoon and Broken Social Scene To Tahoe

Okay, we admit, this is sorta on the boundry of what we consider to be "in good taste". An indie rock festival at a ski resort that includes a supplementary yoga retreat? Yeah, we know, questionable. But then, you see, here's the rub: some of the bands are really good, and Tahoe's so pretty in the summer, and well, it's just....nice.

The Wanderlust Festival
is taking place July 24th-26th this year at Squaw Valley in Tahoe, and it's featuring some of our most favorite bands. Specifically Spoon, Broken Social Scene, and Rogue Wave will all be on hand for Saturday's lineup. Granted, that means you need to be able to tolerate Michael Franti headlining, yoga sessions between shows, and a general...dare we say...hippieish vibe?

Sunday's lineup is less noteworthy to our tastes, so it kinda leaves the whole thing up in the air. Does the Bay Area really need another music festival? Is it ridiculous to try and mix health and indie rock? We don't know the answer to any of these questions. What we do know is that we'd basically entertain any scenario that involves Spoon and BSS on the same bill, hippies be damned. Catch you in Tahoe.