Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gorillaz To Offer Up Free Album On Christmas

What's that? You say you want a new Gorillaz album? For free? Preferably recorded on an iPad? Well, guess what Virginia? There is a Santa Claus.

According to Damon Albarn, his band will be doing exactly that, and releasing a free, iPad-recorded Gorillaz record on Christmas day, for free download. Entitled The Fall, it comes on the tail end of the band's year of touring, and is named after (of course) the season in which it was written.

For those of you raising an eyebrow, we'd make a couple of points here: 1) Albarn has a history of releasing and recording material (see Democrazy) on the fly, so this isn't exactly out of line. 2) The iPad is now host to some pretty damn high quality recording software, so this doesn't necessarily mean low quality.

Regardless, it means a brand new Gorillaz record, and we're definitely not arguing with that. In the meantime, occupy yourself with the band's own advent calendar. Win.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Broken Social Scene Drop "Texaco Bitches" Video And Remix, Announce Winter Tour

Broken Social Scene @ Treasure Island Festival 2010, from the HAD Archive

It's been almost two months since we saw Broken Social Scene wrap up their summer tour at the Treasure Island Festival, and in the interim, the band's been busy.

Yesterday they released not only a video for "Texaco Bitches" (above), but also a downtempo remix by Canada's Star Slinger (below). The video is a bizarro jaunt into a "sumo" match between to oil....tribes? Indeed - hard to explain. Nonetheless, worth a gander, if for nothing than bizarreness alone. The remix is an enjoyable twist on the original - the latter's default "Broken Social Scene" feel is replace by a nice plodding, percussive take on things.

Apparently none of this got the band very worn out, as they also managed to throw together a winter tour, that gets under way after the new year. The band will be making their way from their home in Ontario, all the way down to the deep South over the course of about a month and a half. This is will include a New York date at Terminal 5, so we're psyched for a little cure to our wintertime blues. In the meantime, enjoy that remix with some holiday cheer!

Broken Social Scene Winter 2011 Dates
1/16/11 London, ON @ The Music Hall
1/18/11 New York, NY @ Terminal 5
1/29/11 Edmonton, AB @ Freezing Man Festival
2/10/11 Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
2/11/11 Tampa, FL @ Ritz
2/12/11 Ft. Lauderdale @ Revolution Hall
2/13/11 Orlando, FL @ Firestone Live
2/15/11 New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s
2/17/11 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
2/18/11 Austin, TX @ La Zona Rosa
2/19/11 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
2/20/11 Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oasis Reforms Sans-Noel As Beady Eye

So it seems that this time it's for real. Noel Gallagher, one half of Oasis' infamous brothers, left the band a while back, and in response many rolled their eyes. Noel has "left" the band a number of times, but this time it appears it's for real. How do we know? Well, the rest of the band has gone and started a new endeavor, record included, called "Beady Eye".

Featuring the current Oasis lineup, sans Noel, Beady Eye is coming to bear with a full length entitled Different Gear, Still Speeding, which drops on the 28th of February next year. In the meantime, the band have dropped the lead single "Bring The Light", complete with a nice shiny new video (above).

The track is right in line with recent Oasis records, and (as would be expected) in the vein of Liam's recent forays into composition. Unless you're a Noel devotee, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Liam's voice sounds top notch, and the track is a straight-ahead, organ driven rave-up. If every track on the record is this straight ahead, it could get a little tiresome, but as a first single, it's totally solid. For the rest, well, we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elvis Costello - National Ransom

Last year's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane saw Elvis Costello and T Bone Burnett return to their country roots, but in our estimation, they went a little too far. The record lacked EC's customary bite, and came across more like a bluegrass experiment than as a record that could stand on it's own two feet. Nonetheless, Costello took it on tour and won us over. His live band was top notch, and as always his performance was impecable. It seems that the time on the road did him some good, because last month (yes, it slipped under or radar...d'oh!) Costello released something of a "sequel", National Ransom, and it's damn good.

When we originally posted about Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, we had hoped that it might revisit Costello's King Of America days. Unfortunately, it skirted rock and roll almost entirely, and ended up almost out of our taste range. On National Ransom, Costello has taken more of the approach of King Of America, and combined his rock and roll compatriots with his new country friends. The result is an album that has more depth than either of his previous two releases. The diversified instrumentation allows for increasingly complex songwriting, and the band ebbs and flows in a way that makes the record feel like a well assembled stage show.

And in fact, that's exactly what this is: it's the manifestation of the awesome road show that Costello took on tour last year, combined with the awesomeness of the Imposters. And the whole thing's on record. We almost missed this one, and we wanted to make sure you didn't too. Pick up National Ransom, we promise it's worth your while.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Besnard Lakes - Are The Roaring Night

A while back we caught The Besnard Lakes opening for Land of Talk, and we loved the show. So much so, in fact, that we picked up their record Are The Roaring Night, and it's been spinning in our playlist ever since. If you like your tunes epic, your guitars for real, and your songwriting solid, then we think you'd probably enjoy doing the same. The 45+ minute LP is an original blend of psychedelica, classic rock guitars, and haunting melodies that get stuck in your head for days.

The record is the product of husband and wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. If there marriage is anything like this record, then it's going quite well. The album ping pongs between tunes written by the two individually, and the contrast (both in vocals and songwriting) gives the record a dynamic flow akin to Broken Social Scene or Stars. "Flow" is probably about all you could really call derivative, however, as the band is unquestionably adept at defining their own sound. In particular, Lasek's falsetto vocals really set the band apart and add to the distinctive feel.

In short, Are The Roaring Night is simply a fantastic record. It has everything we look for in an amazing rock and roll record, and definitely deserves a spot in your listening queue. If nothing else, we can describe (perhaps the finest) merit of the record as follows: It unquestionably deserves to be played at maximum volume.

Monday, December 6, 2010

David Bowie, "Telling Lies", And The First Digital Single

If you're anything like us, you have a hard drive loaded with thousands upon thousands of mp3s, and the idea of a "digital" single is something you take largely for granted. Well, we here at HAD are hear to tell you that wasn't always the case (okay, you know already, we get it) and a little story about the man who (as always) was the one to break the ice.

In the fall of 1996, the internet was just getting its teeth, most home users were logging in by 28.8 modem, and branded ISPs (AOL, Compuserve, etc.) were the norm. What's more, the mp3 barely existed, and the concept of a digital music player was nil. People were still making mix tapes - real ones.

It was in this environment that David Bowie decided to be the first "major artist" to release a digital single, and it was unquestionably an uphill battle. To start with, no one had decoders for the digital files, so they had to be educated on how to get their hands on one. On top of that, the mp3 had yet to become standard, so formats were a complete tossup. Finally, very few users even truly "got" the internet yet, so education was needed just to explain the concept.

Never one to turn down a challenge, Bowie took things head on. He encoded 3 remixes of the brand new track "Telling Lies" over three weeks, and distributed them on the web site. They were encoded as "mp2" files (mp3's redheaded older sibling), and available (along with a decoder) for free download. Needless to say, as insatiable Bowie fans, we were "surfing the net" the second we got wind of the whole orderal.

Needless to say, issuing 3 obscure drum n' bass remixes of your new single isn't the best strategy. On top of that, the mp2 encoding was mediocre at best, and offered compression artifacts that made you question what was accidental and what was an intended studio effect. In short, the concept was there, but the technology still had a little more distance to cover.

Nonetheless, the track was later released as a physical single (cover above), and then reissued on the two disc version of Bowie's Earthling (mp3 below). None of that, however, changes how we will remember the excruciatingly slow download on the night we got our hands on the first digital single.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Walkmen Played Terminal 5 - Pictures, Review, Setlist

When The Walkmen have an on night they make magic, and last night at Terminal 5 was most certainly an on night. Maybe it was the fact that they were returning home after a month in Europe, maybe it was the strength of their new record Lisbon, or maybe it was the grandiose size of Terminal 5. Regardless, it was one of the best shows we've seen from The Walkmen, and if anything, we wish it could have been longer.

To start with, the band was in top form: Hamilton Leithauser's voice was amazing, and he killed every song that he sang on. The energy and performance were off the charts. Unquestionably, vocals are key to the band's character, and last night was one of the best performances we've ever heard from the band's frontman.

Still, with The Walkmen vocals are just one (albeit strong) part of the puzzle. The rest of the band was just as raring to go, and every tune was overflowing with exuberance and enthusiasm. The amazing thing about this band is that they manage to take that exuberance and wrap it up in a musical subtlety that allows each song to carefully define its character's charms. Without question, they are one of the most instrumentally dynamic units on the road today.

The performance was additionally supported by an incredibly solid light show, and a brass section that had been (apparently) absent while the band was in Europe. Combined with the band's simply classic suits, the result was a stage show that felt dropped in from another era, with the charm of a rat pack era showcase.

At the end of the day, The Walkmen's show last night left nothing to be desired: in top form, the 5-piece deliver one of the best live shows around. Hearing the songs from their latest record in a live environment was an unparalleled treat, cemented by the fact that the band was clearly thrilled to be returning to a hometown crowd. On top of that, they closed the show with two of their most classic "hits", "The Rat", and "We've Been Had". It was a great way to start the the December concert season, and if we could do it again tonight, we would.

While I Shovel The Snow
In The New Year
Angela Surf City
Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone
Blue Is Your Blood
The Stranded
On The Water
Canadian Girl
All Hands And The Cook
Woe Is Me
Thinking Of A Dream I Had
The Rat
We've Been Had

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ryan Adams Drops Free Tracks In Advance Of Record Release

Ryan Adams @ The Catalyst, from the HAD Archive

A few weeks back, we mentioned that Ryan Adams had not one, but two new records on the way in December. True to form, that's not all there is. Adams has released three new tracks for free via the new Pax-Am website, apparently all culled from the sessions for the new records, III and IV.

The three tracks (below) are entitled "Destroyers", "The Blue Canoe", and "Darkness", and they run the gamut from balladry to rock and roll. "Destroyers" is something of a classic RA rock track, laden with post-punk guitars and a soaring vocal. "The Blue Canoe" is straight up garage rock, and probably the rawest thing we've heard from Adams in a while. "Darkness" is probably the most Cardinals-y track of the three, starting off with a quite ballad and kicking into a jam.

While the tracks are sort of all over the map stylistically, we will say this: they've got us stoked for all the new material Adams has coming our way. Moreover, it seems like the new Pax Am setup is allowing Adams to realize his long-pursued goal of getting the breadth of his prolific output to the fans, and that's something we're definitely in favor of.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spoon Drop Bonus Compilation, New Video

When we mentioned in passing a while back that Spoon's free website giveaways might make a nice compilation CD, someone over at band HQ must have been listening. The band has just announced a compilation of all the free tracks from 2008 and 2009, and it's up for sale as we speak. Granted, if you were following closely, you probably already have the tracks. But given the band's generosity, we have to say we'll probably pick up a copy regardless.

On top of the new comp, the band has also finally dropped the video (above) for "Nobody Gets Me But You" that they were filming when we saw them at Cakeshop back in September. It's a killer live version of the track, and the low-fi take on the video definitely captures the vibe of the day. If that's not enough Spoon for your Wednesday, you can also check out this page: We're not sure how we missed it, but apparently the band let fans bring literally any form of recording device into an LA show this fall. Lucky bastards.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lindstrom Played Le Poisson Rouge - Pictures, Review

On November 13th, we stopped in at Le Poisson Rouge to catch a rare live set from Norwegian DJ Lindstrom. Given that it was a dance night, we probably should have known better than to show up right at 11, which left us waiting around until 1:30 for Lindstrom's set to start. Nonetheless, the wait was well worth it, and when Lindstrom finally did take the stage, it was a set to remember.

The set consisted almost entirely of material from Lindstrom's solo records, and (not surprisingly, given her absence), avoided tracks from this year's collaboration with Christabelle. The crowd was clearly populated by fans, as each track was met by cheers and rampant enthusiasm. Lindstrom's material played well to a live room, largely due to his stage presence and performance.

While it's hard to compare the vivacity of a DJ with photos, rest assured: Lindstrom's on stage persona is one that flirts with the audience and the sound board simultaneously, coaxing out beats that are beneficial to both. Each song in the set got more and more of the crowd dancing, and by the time Lindstrom called it a night (after about an hour long set), the crowd was left begging for (but unfortunately not getting), just a little more.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Friday, November 19, 2010

Video: Ok Go - "This Too Shall Pass", Live At T5

We've espoused the awesomeness of Ok Go's live show on many an occasion, but for any of you doubters out there, we think we may have dug up a little video that may edge you closer to the converts. We took the video above at the band's recent Terminal 5 performance, as they closed the show with "This Too Shall Pass". Not only is it a fantastic rock video, period, but we think it captures the awesomeness, humor, and excitement of Ok Go's live show to T. Check it out and see what you think.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ryan Adam Delivers Two New Cardinals Records, New Website

We should have known something was up. Two weeks ago, Ryan Adams decided to appear on stage for the first time in quite a while at an 826 Valencia benefit. Then last week his website for Pax Am Records was completely remodeled, and included 5 free never before heard jams with the Cardinals.

Well on Friday, we finally got wind of what was going on: Apparently Mr. Adams has two awesome new Cardinals records in the can, and he's ready to deliver. Entitled III and IV, (ah, originality), the two pieces of wax are available in a wide variety of formats (picture above) and are available for preorder starting next Tuesday.

While we have no idea what the records are going to sound like, if the free jams are any indicator, it's going to be a guitar powerhouse. We're pretty psyched, because the Cardinals' big guitar live sound hasn't really found its way on record yet, and it's seeming like this might be the time. We've posted one of the jams below, you can snag the other four at the PaxAm website.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spoon Drop More Transference Demos

Spoon at The Fillmore, from the HAD Archive

In a move that is likely to amount to an entire Transference Demos record, Spoon have dropped two more demos from their last record Transference through the "Bonus" section of their website. This time around, the band has delivered early versions of "Out Go The Lights" and "Nobody Gets Me But You", and frankly, they're awesome.

As is often the case with the band, the early versions of the songs are pretty vast departure from the final studio cuts. Largely recorded by Britt Daniel solo, the tracks are raw frameworks of what the songs will eventually become. "Nobody Gets Me But You" loses it's aggressive beat, and instead is driven by a driving acoustic guitar line and "na na" backup vocals. "Out Go The Lights" departs from the final version's gentle touch, and instead is built upon a fuzzy bass guitar line and a straining vocal from Daniel.

At the end of the day, stuff like this is one of the many reasons we love Spoon so much. Not only are they willing to expose their creative process for all the world to see, but they offer it up to their fans for free. If more bands would take a cue from these guys, it definitely wouldn't be a change for the worse. Check out the tracks below.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Land Of Talk and Suuns Played Bowery - Pictures, Review, Video

On Saturday night, we swung into a (justifiably) packed Bowery Ballroom, and caught Suuns and Land Of Talk delivering a completely fantastic night of rock and roll. It's hard to convey the visceral, frenetic nature of the awesomeness the show brought forth, but suffice it to say that both bands are nearing (if not at) the top of their game. Unquestionably, there are a lot of rock shows to see these days, but if you miss this one, you're doing yourself a real disservice.

Suuns (apparently pronounced "soons") opened the show with a set that was unquestionably tighter than when we saw them last in San Francisco. Maybe it's because they've been moved up to the number two spot, or maybe it's just that the road has done good things for their chops. Regardless, the band have really tightened up their live sound, and the crowd responded in kind.

The set was loaded with fantastic noise rock, most notably reminiscent of Sonic Youth at moments. Still, the band has a sound that is certainly their own, and it only solidified when they added some extras to the mix. First a bari sax player joined the band and positively killed it. Shortly thereafter, Lizzie Powell joined the band on bass for their last tune.

Clearly, we enjoyed Suuns set. But even more than that, we'll tell you this: if crowd reaction was any indicator, these guys will be headlining their own tour in the very near future. Their sound is accessible but edgy, and their live show is killer. Definitely a win on all fronts.

When Lizzie Powell took the stage around 11, she had changed from her more casual onstage garb with Suuns into a notably dressier white lace getup. She quickly informed the crowd that she had gotten dressed up "just for New York" because she gets so much damn love in the city. And she was right: the room is one of the biggest the band are playing on the tour, and it was packed with fervent admirers.

The rest of Land Of Talk soon took the stage, and revealed themselves to be half made up of Suuns members, which was definitely not a bad thing. Apparently taking a cue from her Broken Social Scene compadres, Lizzie Powell is rapidly expanding the band's live lineup, and Saturday night saw 6 musicians on stage. The result was a lineup that was tightly knit, but sonically diverse.

What followed was a rock show of epic proportions: The band delivered on every track they played, and more. The setlist was a solid mix of new and old material, ranging across Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, all the way to the band's latest Cloak and Cypher. Despite the fact that the records can at times be divergent from each other, the live context gave them a cohesive underpinning that solidified Powell's talent as a songwriter.

Powell was clearly dumbfounded by the size of the crowd and the unbridled enthusiasm. Every song was met with a wave of cheers, and as a result, the band got more and more into the tunes. It would be hard to call what Land Of Talk does "jamming", because it's far more concise and tightly wound than anything in that category. The band's onstage presence is simply one of musical rapport, where all the players are on the same page, and delivering in turn.

At the heart of this, of course, is Powell. On stage she is an exploding ball of energy, dancing, singing, laughing, and clearly in love with playing her music. More importantly, she is the musical core of the band, and acts as the center upon which all the other musicians build. Once that occurs, all bets are off: the other five are quite simply on top of their game, and allow the band to collectively take a creative leap in the live setting that is unparalleled.

In closing, it's always difficult to take in a rock show and put it into words. But in the case of Land Of Talk, it's particularly tough. So much of their onstage presence and excitement is based around an energy release that can only be characterized as magical. While it doesn't completely prove anything, we did snag a video that we think does a pretty good job. The band closed with "It's Okay", and we caught it in its entirety (below). We'd encourage you to watch the whole thing, full screen. But if you can't put aside 7 minutes for rock and roll, at least skip to 4:30. That's when shit gets real.

Many more photos in the HAD Archive

Pulp To Reunite In Summer 2011

We know, we know, we're just subjecting you to an echo of the internet's collective yammering about the latest hypetastic reunion, but frankly, we couldn't resist. The fact that Pulp is reuniting next summer caused a collective "Fuck yeah!" around these parts, and we couldn't be more excited.

Currently the band is only slated to play two shows, one in Hyde Park, and one in Spain. That being said, we're hoping they'll take the "our reunion is a tour" route, and at least give us a taste of Pulp for the duration of the summer. That would be very nice. Very nice indeed. Check the official announcement below.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

LCD Soundsystem To Release In-Studio Live Band Performance

LCD Soundsystem at the Treasure Island Festival, from the HAD Archive

You may recall that we were drooling over LCD Soundsystem's live show when we caught them at Treasure Island Festival last month. Given that, we were super excited when news came over the wire this morning that the very same live band holed up in a London studio back in June, and recorded a live show in the room. Entitled The London Sessions, the record features tracks across LCD's career. On a more bummer note, it's also "rumored" to be the band's last record. We certainly hope not.

Regardless, we were hugely impressed by the life that the live band brought to the recorded material, and we couldn't be more excited to hear what made it on to the tape (or disc, whatever, calm down). If it's anything close to the show we saw in October, this one's gonna be a doozy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lindstrom Undertakes USA Tour, LPR Next Weekend

If you have yet to hear Lindstrom & Christabelle's Real Life Is No Cool, then you're missing out. The Norwegian DJ paired up with the singer to produce a record that could arguably be the modern era's answer to Getz & Gilberto. It manages to take Lindstrom's killer DJ skills, and infuse them with a pop sensibility that is immediately both accessible and fresh.

The record dropped at the beginning of the year, and we've been digging it ever since, wondering if we'd get to catch it in a live context. Well, now our questions have been answered, as Lindstrom has planned out a brief US tour for next weekend. Touching down on both coasts and the midwest over a three night haul, Lindstrom is clearly in favor of touring efficiency. For right-minded New Yorkers, that means you'll be at Le Poisson Rouge next Saturday night, to catch the man in his element. Tickets are on-sale now.

On top of the tour, the pair have also gotten the remix treatment from Four Tet, on the track "Lovesick". You can stream it below to tide you over until the show next weekend - see you out there!

Lindstrom Fall 2010 US Tour Dates
November 12 - Mezzanine - San Francisco, CA
November 13 - Le Poisson Rouge - New York, NY
November 14 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ryan Adams - "Fix It" Demo (feat. Mandy Moore)

Ryan Adams live at the Catalyst Santa Cruz, from the HAD Archive

Yesterday, as we were enjoying a fantastic new video of Ryan Adams rehearsing "My Sweet Carolina" for an 826 benefit in LA, we also stumbled across the awesome track you'll find embedded below. Labeled as a demo version, this take on "Fix It" not only features some killer drum machines, but backing vocals from Adams' wife, the multi-talented Mandy Moore. We're almost always partial to the more raw takes on Adams' tracks, and this one is no exception. Give a listen and see what you think.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ok Go Played Terminal 5 - Pictures, Review

Ok Go is unquestionably on an upward trajectory. Over the past year, the band released their latest record Of The Blur Colour Of The Sky, and despite the departure from their record label, managed to make a huge success of it. Bolstered by some notoriously fantastic videos, the band has been steadily building a following, and with good reason. The videos are one piece of a band that is a self-proclaimed multimedia experience, and thankfully, their stage show more than lives up to those claims. Saturday night the band played Terminal 5, and more than demonstrated their comfort with the big time.

In a way, playing a big room is a given for Ok Go: Their show has always been bigger than life, and often was a bit shocking when seen seen in a small room. Many of the elements that are epic in small rooms simply became more so in a larger setting. Confetti streams, LED jackets and laser guitars; all of these elements played out well in Terminal 5's vacuous space.

The more showy elements, however, were not the only thing that translated well to the larger room. The quiet moments did better in this large setting as well. When lead singer Damian Kulash dragged his guitar and stool to the center of the room for an acoustic turn, his willingness to be out amidst the fans was even more notable. Put differently: it's a hell of a task to drag a stool and guitar out into the middle of a room of 500 people, but if it's 1800 people, it's even more so.

All the above being true, the bottom line is that Ok Go can simply deliver musically. Small room or big room, this is a band that has an extremely solid hold on their setlist, and isn't resting on the laurels of backing tracks, or some sort of reimagining of their studio material. That, and a set of killer rock and roll jams that are perfect for the big stage.

Interestingly, the material from Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky was just as (if not better) received than the band's older material. Earlier in the year, we'd say that the band's fans still seemed somewhat fixated on the back catalogue, but that's clearly changed. Whether it be from video publicity or just greater traction by the record, tunes like "This Too Shall Pass", "White Knuckles", and "End Love" were met with serious audience enthusiasm.

We left Terminal 5 feeling one way: that Ok Go are exactly where they should be. Terminal 5 often feels to big for a band, or leaves one feeling like it's an oddball space that simply wasn't really designed for rock and roll. Quite to the contrary: apparently you just need to know how to fill it. Ok Go did exactly that on Friday night, and left us with little doubt that the next room they play might be even bigger.

More pictures in the HAD Archive

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chris Bell: I Am The Cosmos

If you like Big Star, and we most certainly do around these parts, then you probably know that Alex Chilton's counterpart in the band was one Chris Bell. The two were co-frontmen in the eventually doomed 1970's quartet, but not before they made some of the most formidable power pop that the world has ever known. After the band's demise, Chilton went on to a long solo career, and eventually reunited Big Star. Bell however, wasn't quite so lucky, and (sadly) died in a car crash at the much-to-young age of 27.

Before the unfortunate event, however, he managed to get one solo record down on tape, and it's a doozy. Hidden in the vaults for years, I Am The Cosmos was eventually released by Ryko in 1992, the record is a piece of pop mastery. It is all the parts of Big Star that Chilton was not, and illustrates perfectly why the two were such a solid songwriting team. Moreover, Chilton makes a guest appearance on the tune "You And Your Sister", and it's Big Star magic all over again.

Perhaps you've already heard the record, in which case you know exactly what we're talking about. But if you haven't heard it, and you heart some Big Star, then today's your lucky day. Chris Bell's I Am The Cosmos is a complete dose of the classic Big Star sound, recorded in the heart of the 70's . Check it out for yourself, and we think you'll agree that it's very, very, good.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pixies Give Away 2004 Coachella Recording

Believe it or not, there was a time when the Pixies had been broken up for years, and talk of a reunion was whispered in hushed tones. All that ended when the band reunited in 2004, and proceeded to take over the world with the "Pixies Sell Out" tour. Since then, the band has been out and about, touring Debaser in full, releasing a new track here and there, and generally keeping themselves well accounted for.

Well, along those lines, the band has decided to rejuvenate their website, and bring their brand new on-line identity to the world. What's more, they're apparently so excited about the appearance that they've decided to give things away for free! What, you ask? Well, specifically, and audio recording of their 2004 show at Coachella in Indio, CA. While the band did indeed play a few warm up gigs, for many this was the first show of the reunion.

The night holds a special place in our hearts here at HAD, since it was our first ever Coachella, and was truly a blast. The band is generously giving it away, but their generosity only lasts a week, and all they want in exchange is your email address. Head over to this promo site to grab the full show now. Win!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chocolate Genius Coming To The Bell House

We first heard Chocolate Genius when we were living in Seattle back in the summer of 1999. He was a guest on David Byrne's program Sessions From West 54th, and he blew us away with his distinctive vocals on the heart wrenching "My Mom"(below). Since then, Marc Anthony Thompson has taken the Chocolate Genius moniker through a number of iterations, landing on the current Chocolate Genius Inc.

That's the name that Thompson has applied to his collective, and their subsequent work over the past few years. Regardless of what he calls it, we can assure you that Thompson is a singular talent, and well worth your time. Lucky you, then, that he'll be playing at The Bell House on November 2nd. Make sure you're there.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Badly Drawn Boy Playing Two Nights At Le Poisson Rouge

We'll grant you, it's been a while since we've been pulled in by Badly Drawn Boy's tunes, but when we caught wind of the man playing two nights at Le Poisson Rouge, we took notice. Turns out there's a new album that dropped two weeks back that's actually quite good. Entitled It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1 - Photographing Snowflakes, the disc is getting some notice for reuniting Damon Gough with longtime collaborator Andy Votel. The lead track, "Too Many Miracles" (below), is a definite return to Gough's early writing, and features a grainy orchestra supplemented by some nice castanets.

New releases aside, there's no denying that Gough is an awesome songwriter, and seeing him the fantastically small room at LPR will definitely be a treat. Granted, if you're planning seeing Tweedy at the Bowery, you'll have to work your schedule: the BDB shows are on 12/3 and 12/4. There's nothing wrong with having a weekend full of awesome songwriting, and it might just be a fantastic way to start off your winter!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jeff Tweedy Plots Mini Solo Tour, Bowery Ballroom 12/4

Jeff Tweedy with Wilco at Lupo's, from the HAD Archive

You know we love us some Wilco, so it makes sense that we were totally stoked to learn that Jeff Tweedy will be hitting the road in December. As has become somewhat customary, Tweedy is taking a little time up from recording with the band and getting in a little alone time on the road.

The tour consists of a mere three dates, and if you're New York City, Tarrytown, NY or Charlottesville, VA, then you're in luck! As you might guess, we'll be hitting up the New York show, which takes place at Bowery Ballroom on December 4th. A presale for the event goes on next Wednesday - check out all the details here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treasure Island Festival Day 2 - Pictures, Review

Day 2 at Treasure Island got off to a tenuous start: the morning was quite rainy, and the festival grounds were unquestionably dampened in the early hours of the day. However, after a few (quite aggressive) downpours, the weather took the rest of the day off, and things cleared up just in time for us to start checking out some killer tunes on the "rock" day of the fest.


We've been really digging on Superchunk's latest disc Majesty Shredding, so we were stoked to make sure we caught their set at the festival. The band definitely did not disappoint, and have clearly been putting in the time to rehearse for this tour. Their set was ridiculously tight, and brought the rock and roll out to play right when the dreary day needed it most.

The set was a nice mix of old and new material, and it seemed like pretty much everyone taking in the show was well satisfied. With less frequent records and touring, Superchunk is somewhat in danger of being relegated to a nostalgia act, so it was nice to see them realize the full potential of their new material, and deliver a killer set that left little doubt as to their solidity as a band.

The Sea And Cake

After Superchunk's set, we headed over to catch The Sea And Cake, a constant favorite around these parts. The band, who haven't had a new record in a while, delivered a set that focused heavily on their last two, Car Alarm and Everybody.

The band was just coming off of a lengthy tour with Broken Social Scene, and did seem a tad road-weary, but nonetheless managed a killer set. They're always on top of making their tunes live up to the album versions, and the intricacy and exacting nature of their playing is always a treat.

At the end of the day, The Sea And Cake are one of our faves both on record and in a live environment. Getting to see them play a set at a show that already had so many awesome bands on the bill was like icing on the cake.

She & Him

She & Him made their way on stage to the shrill screams of a countless number of women, and from there, well...we don't exactly know what to say. Does Zooey Deschanel have a decent voice? Sure. Decent in the sense that if you went to karaoke with her, you'd probably have a good time. Decent in the sense that she should be taking up Matt Ward's time and talent? Not exactly.

Look, we know they probably love each other to death. We know that she's a movie star, and that sells records. We know that they probably both appreciate each other's talents so much. But that's not really the point. The point, is that Matt Ward is a killer musician in his own right, and when we hear She & Him it just seems so middle of the road. At the end of the day, at least for us, that's just not good enough.

Broken Social Scene

Luckily, our skepticism was soon to be overridden by the awesomeness that is Broken Social Scene. As mentioned above, the band was on the final date of a lengthy tour with The Sea And Cake. Frontman Kevin Drew was quick to admit they were dragging a bit, and the crowd was quick to respond with a solid dose of enthusiasm.

Despite being tired, the band certainly didn't let it get the best of their set, and they pulled out all the stops in delivering the rock and roll to the masses. As is custom, the band traded up on vocals and instruments, including a vast array of horns to even out the material. The set started off with a positively epic rendition of "Meet Me In The Basement", and took off from there.

In terms of the "pillars" of BSS, Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, and Andrew Whiteman were all in attendance. The female vocals were filled out by now-regular member Lisa Lobsinger, who did a killer job on "Shoreline" and "Anthems For A 17 Year Old Girl", to name a couple. For a festival show, this one really did the trick, and the band's enthusiasm combined with a killer setlist (below) left us more than satisfied.

Broken Social Scene Treasure Island Setlist
Meet Me In The Basement
Fire-eyed Boy
Texaco Bitches
Forced To Love
World Sick
Anthems For A 17 Year Old Girl
Almost Crimes
All To All
Ibi Dreams Of Pavement

The National

As always, The National delivered an impecable set, both visually and sonically. These guys have simply got their act down, and they deliver every time. The set was timed perfectly as darkness fell on the festival, and the band emerged amidst smokey lights to offer up their own brand of melancholic soul.

That being said, The National are so well put together that it's starting to feel a little contrived. The act is always dead on, and it's always so heavy, that one starts to wonder if it's genuine. Don't get us wrong: these guys make killer records, and have an amazingly well composed live show. We just worry that if they don't switch it up a little, they might be in danger of becoming a one trick pony.

Rogue Wave

SF locals Rogue Wave closed out the night at the second stage with a set of their own unique folky-rock mix. It's a testament to the band that their material is both artistically solid and easily accessible, and the crowd that assembled clearly enjoyed taking it all in.

The set was a truly enjoyable display of the band's musical talents, and they headed right through a set of great songs such that the set passed rapidly. Ted Nesseth of The Heavenly States joined the band on stage, which was a treat as well. The band closed out the set, and the crowd promptly began the migration for the final set of the night.

Belle & Sebastian

When we heard about Belle & Sebastian headlining the festival, we were a little skeptical. Don't get us wrong: we love the band, and they positively kill in a live environment. It's just that we really couldn't figure if Stuart Murdoch and Co. would be able to deliver a set that was engaging and "big" enough to own the main stage.

Well, Murdoch was clearly dead set on proving any misgivings anyone had completely wrong, and took to the stage bursting with energy and enthusiasm. In trippy glasses and a scarf, he and the band proceeded to deliver a set that ran the gamut of their lengthy career, and had something for everyone.

While the quieter songs were a little more difficult to latch onto in the live environment, overall the band's set was well on top of things, and made sure it owned the night. One of the nice things about B&S is that their records are so restrained, and then their live show is so raucous. It reminds you that "twee" or not, these are clearly rock musicians who want to play their hearts out.

They did exactly that, and the set was a great close to a fantastic weekend.