Friday, May 21, 2010

Kurt Vile: "Overnight Religion" - Video, Tour

It's been a while since we gave mention to Kurt Vile, but it isn't for lack of awesomeness. Vile is continuing to ride on the strength of last year's Childish Prodigy, and has lined up a summer tour (dates below) for June and July.

We stumbled across this gem while perusing the youtoobz, and we have to say: brilliant. The take on Vile's "Overnight Religion" is a simple, beautiful, and exemplary of Vile's songwriting skill. Moreover, it illustrates exactly why you should get out there and see him. So. Good.

Kurt Vile Summer 2010 Dates
Jun 5 The High Dive w/ The Sadies Seattle, Washington, US
Jun 6 Wild Buffalo w/ The Sadies Bellingham, Washington, US
Jun 7 Doug Fir w/ The Sadies Portland, Oregon, US
Jun 11 Slims w/ Woods San Francisco, California, US
Jun 12 Henry Miller LIbrary (Woodsist Festival) Big Sur, California, US
Jun 14 Jensen’s w/ Woods Santa Barbara, California, US
Jun 15 Echoplex (Woodsist Fest) Los Angeles, California, US
Jun 18 Union Pool w/ Mad Scene, Meg Baird Brooklyn, New York, US
Jul 9 Le Poisson Rouge w/ Real Estate Brooklyn, New York , US
Jul 10 Maxwell’s w/ Real Estate Hoboken, New Jersey, US
Jul 11 Johnny Brenda’s w/ Real Estate Philadelphia, Pennsylvan, US
Jul 12 Ottobar w/ Real Estate Baltimore, Maryland , US
Jul 13 Garfield Artworks w/ Real Estate Pittsburgh, Pennsylvan, US
Jul 14 Beachland Ballroom w/ Real Estate Cleveland, Ohio , US
Jul 15 The Bishop w/ Real Estate Bloomington, Indiana , US
Jul 17 Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago, Illinois, US
Jul 19 Magic Stick w/ Real Estate Detroit, Michigan , US
Jul 20 tbd w/ Real Estate Toronto, Ontario , CA
Jul 21 Babylon w/ Real Estate Ottawa, Ontario , CA
Jul 22 Il Motore w/ Real Estate Montreal, Quebec , CA
Jul 23 Harpers Ferry w/ Real Estate Boston, Massachusetts, US
Jul 24 Lilly Pad w/ Real Estate New Haven, Connecticu, US

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cha-Cha: We Are...

From the first moment of pressing "Play" on Cha-Cha's We Are... we felt a pang of guilt. Not for any rational reason, but largely because of where the pursuit of musicality has gone in popular music in the past few years. Wait. Let's take a step back.

In the past 5-10 years, "difficult" music has gotten it's due. Bands that challenge the ear have (often rightfully so) been put on a pedestal for their experimentation and pushing of boundaries. The occurence of a song that everyone loves that also has musical worth has been few and far between. However, the times that are most cherished musically in recent history are those that found this middle ground. The space where popular music was good music defined our most fruitful eras. Take the late sixties, or the early eighties. At these times, many of the bands that dominated the airwaves were not only musically adventurous, but also accessible and wildly popular.

From this perspective, the past ten years have been a bit of a dark age. The "important" music has been somewhat relegated from the "hit" music. So much so that those pursuing the "important" artists (even when those artists were on major labels) were wont to classify themselves as "indie". But, as a great man once said, the times they are a changing. In the past year or two, if you hadn't noticed, indie has gone mainstream. What was once a marker of academic musicality and snobbery in the back rooms of tiny bars is now shared by millions of fans around the world. Moreover, the music is evolving so that it's not just experimental, but poppy and fun as well.

The unfortunate downside of this evolution is that those who loved the indie scene oh-so-much are quick to be disgusted by the emergence of popularity of good music. As such, there is now a knee jerk reaction to anything that is easy, fun, or accessible, regardless of its musicality and worth. And such was the reaction as we entered into Cha-Cha's We Are... Ugh! Could it be true? Are we really snobs and elitists, afraid of delight and pop sensibility? No, dear reader, we are not, and that is why we were quickly won over by this delightful pop record that deserves a place in your collection.

We Are... is a pop gem, in that it does everything good pop music should do: it sticks in your head, it makes you want to dance, it unabashedly recalls its forefathers, and it takes simplicity and builds hooks that are like bite size pieces of bliss. It is a record that delights in the synth poppy goodness of the early 80's, when even Bowie couldn't help himself from making a dance record. Moreover, it doesn't use danceability as a crutch. Rather, it takes an resolutely tight pop band, and uses the synths the way they should be used: as accents and building blocks to a bigger picture.

That bigger picture is exactly what makes Cha-Cha's record so enjoyable. Despite bouncing across genres almost relentlessly, the band has a unifying sound that unquestionably defines them as musicians. The tightly knit rhythm section serves as an underpinning for perfectly synchronized guitar lines, while the vocals provide a swagger and earnestness that successfully counterbalances the instrumental intricacies.

Put differently, Cha-Cha has put forth a record that plays many different strengths against each other, and is stronger for it. The result is an album that has a clear reverence for the past 30 years of pop music, and more importantly rock and roll. It's high time popular music and quality music started sharing a bed again. Perhaps the dark age is coming to a close.

New EELS Record, Tomorrow Morning On Tap For August

Wait, what's that? Two new EELS albums in two calendar years wasn't enough for you? Well you're in luck: Mr. E has decided that he will compete with Ryan Adams for most albums in a record release cycle, and he's holding his own. Specifically, he's delivering a third record in the 2009/2010 window, and it drops in August.

We have very little info on the forthcoming release, but we do know this: Tomorrow Morning, the follow up to Hombre Lobo and End Times will drop on August 24th, and will feature a world tour that will include stops at The Fillmore in San Francisco and Terminal 5 in New York.

Given the size of those venues, we're not exactly sure what Mr. E has in store, but suffice it to say that we're guessing it may be something of a departure from the intimacy of his more acoustic moments. Fingers crossed.

EELS Fall 2010 Dates
August 3 Santa Ana, California Galaxy Theater warm-up show
August 7 Tokyo, Japan Marine Stadium, Summersonic Festival
August 8 Osaka, Japan Maishima, Summersonic Festival
August 13 Brisbane, Australia The Tivoli
August 14 Sydney, Australia The Enmore Theater
August 15 Melbourne, Australia The Palace
August 20 Hasselt, Belgium Pukkelpop Festival
August 21 Stafford, UK V Festival
August 22 Chelmsford, UK V Festival
August 24 Glasgow, Scotland Academy
August 26 Birmingham, UK Academy
August 28 Zurich, Switzerland Winterhur Festival
August 29 Paris, France Rock en Seine Festival
August 30 Amsterdam, Holland Paradiso
September 1 London, UK Brixton Academy
September 3 Dublin, Ireland Electric Picnic Festival
September 4 Manchester, UK Academy
September 5 Luxembourg Den Atelier
September 6 Groningen, Holland Oosterpoort
September 7 Hamburg, Germany Grosse Freiheit
September 8 Copenhagen, Denmark Vega
September 10 Berlin, Germany Astra
September 11 Munich, Germany Theaterfabrik
September 12 Vienna, Austria Arena
September 13 Graz, Austria Orpheum
September 14 Hohenems, Austria Eventcenter
September 15 Milan, Italy Alcatraz
September 17 Barcelona, Spain Bikini
September 19 Lisbon, Portugal Coliseum
September 22 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
September 23 Richmond, VA The National Theater
September 24 Boston, MA The Royal
September 25 New York, NY Terminal 5
September 26 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
September 28 Montreal, Canada Le National
September 29 Toronto, Canada The Mod
September 30 Detroit, MI The Crofoot
October 1 Chicago, IL The Metro
October 2 Milwaukee, WI The Pabst Theater
October 3 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
October 5 Denver, CO The Ogden Theater
October 6 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
October 8 Portland, OR Roseland
October 9 Seattle, WA TBA
October 11 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
October 12 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theater

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Frightened Rabbit Is At Rickshaw Stop Tonight

Frightened Rabbit at Bottom Of The Hill in 2008, from the HAD Archive

Yes, we know it's late notice - we're truly sorry. That being said, be glad we got it together to let you know, because this is some fancy-awesome news: Frightened Rabbit will be playing an acoustic show at Rickshaw Stop tonight, and frankly, you should really, really, be there.

Why, you ask? Well, for one, this is about 100 million times more intimate than the show the band will be playing at The Fillmore the next night (which you should also really attend), but more importantly, the energy these guys put out live will just about kill you in a room that small. That, and they totally own the acoustic set.

So, really, what more could you ask for? Be there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Few Words On Karen O

The other day here at HAD headquarters, we were discussing the lovely rock and roll goodness that makes up the loveliness that is Ms. Karen O. Over the course of the discussion, it became known that about half of us had seen the above video, and the other half had not. Suffice it to say we are now all educated, and you should be too. Checkit.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Heartless Bastards Played The Independent - Pictures And Review

Heartless Bastards lead singer Erika Wennerstrom has the kind of voice that would stop a person dead in his tracks - the sheer depth of it belies the tiny frame of it's owner. That whiskey-tinged, sandpaper of a voice did just that, and had the San Francisco crowd wanting for more at the Independent last Tuesday.

Ohio's Heartless Bastards are not so much a typical, young, alt-rock band that usually blows through the Independent; rather, they are four passionate, serious, musicians that know how to rock out. As tiny as Wennerstom is, her voice - comparable to Chrissie Hynde or Kim Gordon - effortlessly maintained control of the band and crowd.

Wennerstrom's vocals were backed by Dave Colvin on drums, Mark Nathan on guitar, and Jesse Ebaugh on bass - all whose collective energy sucked in the entire crowd. Without a doubt, the Heartless Bastards brought a strong, high-energy performance of solid, well-crafted songs - it was a great night at the Indpendent.

Words and Pictures by Ujjwal Sarin

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Drop First Track From Mojo

Tom Petty can be sort of a hit or miss individual: he's produced some of our favorite tracks of all time, and also his own fair share of "eh" moments. He never really creates a bad record, but he's pretty damn good at making so-so records whenever the mood hits him. So when we heard Petty was releasing his first record with The Heartbreakers in 8 years (the last was the underwhelming The Last DJ), we were both excited and cautious.

Well now Mojo (cover above) is starting to get it's footing, and we have to admit: we're intrigued. Not only is the band mounting a full scale tour (starting June 1st) behind the record, but they're also giving away the record when you buy a ticket to their live show, and kicking off with an SNL appearance next weekend. What's more, the first single from the record, "The First Flash Of Freedom", has dropped, and it's dissimilar to anything we've heard from Petty in a long time.

The track starts out with a typical Petty guitar riff, but then rapidly immerses itself in a slow groove. The band is laid back, Petty is restrained, and even Mike Cambell's notorious lead guitar is in full on groove mode. While the track shows the band bringing the vibe of a live rock jam into the studio, the production is classic Petty, with all the sounds clean and up front, and frankly, it really works.

We're not exactly sure why this track (despite it's appeal, it doesn't scream "radio") was picked as the lead single for the record, but it certainly does it's job at getting us stoked to hear Mojo in full. And for Tom Petty and Co, that's a good thing.

Mojo drops June 15th.

mp3: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - First Flash Of Freedom (mp3 removed at label request)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Caribou and Toro Y Moi Played Bowery Ballroom - Pictures and Review

Caribou hasn't truly been on tour in about three years, and this weekend it was clear that New York has been eagerly awaiting their return. Saturday night we caught up with Dan Snaith & Co. at Bowery Ballroom as they played to a (long) sold out crowd. Suffice it to say that those who had been eagerly awaiting the show were not disappointed. The Canadian band delivered a blazing set that called upon both their latest record Swim, as well as their earlier catalog.

The show opened with South Carolina trio Toro Y Moi. A friend had told us to make sure and get there early to catch their set, and we were truly glad we did. They delivered a set that sonically tipped its hat to a wide variety of references, from early 80's hip hop, to Animal Collective, to synth pop, to Caribou themselves. Despite all these references, the band unquestionably managed a sound that was distinctly their own.

The crowd was unquestionably appreciative of the tunage, and Toro Y Moi received not only a vigorous response, but also managed to get a large portion of the crowd jumping and dancing. Moreover, the band delivered an encore - almost unheard of for an opener. The set was dynamic, musically interesting, and yet completely accessible: in other words, exactly what you want out of a band. We dug the set, and picked up the record after the show - we recommend you do the same.

Caribou followed soon thereafter, hitting the stage at eleven o'clock. The stage setup was similar to what we've seen in the past, with Dan Snaith behind a console of drums, keyboards, and guitar, and the other three members providing a solid base of guitar, bass, and drums. The band is back in their original configuration, with drummer Brad Weber apparently all recovered from his broken wrist of a few years back.

The crowd was unquestionably stoked for the show, and in particular demonstrated a real appetite for the band's new record, which featured heavily in the set. Weber's drumming was in top form, as was the band as a whole: It's incredible to us that they somehow manage to deliver the intricacies of Snaith's records in a live set, but the technical aptitude is so high, you simply let it fly right by you.

The material from Swim fared particularly well in the live environment, with it's dancey beats enhanced by the frenetic experience of both the crowd's presence and the band's live dynamics. In particular, a simply massive version of "Sun" was the highlight of the show. The music was complemented (but not overshadowed) by a flurry of psychedelic effects, many of which drew upon Swim's cover art for inspiration.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Caribou is simply a band that you must see live. Without a doubt, they make some fantastic and beautiful records, but in a live environment, those records make a leap that simply must be heard to be believed. Dan Snaith has assembled a team of musicians who flawlessly deliver his sonic vision, and if this weekend's show was any indication, the people are more than ready for it.

Many more pictures in the HAD Archive

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ok Go Played Music Hall Of Williamsburg - Pictures, Review, Setlist

On Friday night we stopped in at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg to check out the second sold out evening from Ok Go. We weren't exactly sure what to expect of the band's live show, as our experience thus far had been exclusively with the band's records and of course, music videos. That being said, we had gotten the impression from friends that we might be walking into a shitstorm of screaming teenage girls. However, keeping in mind that that's happened to some pretty amazing bands in the past, we were willing to take our chances.

Thankfully, there was nothing to worry about: we were treated to an evening of extremely gracious (and certainly rapt) fans enjoying a night of completely killer rock and roll. While the band's set was cleverly augmented by various stage props, including confetti and laser equipped guitars, the thing that really won us over was a set of straight-ahead, no bullshit rock and roll.

The set consisted of a fair dose of material from the band's latest record Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, which was just fine by us. The Dave Fridmann produced record is unquestionably the band's strongest to date, and it was furthered in the live environment by the band's on stage enthusiasm. On top of the new material, the band gave a tip of the hat to the notables of their back catalog, as a well as a bulletproof cover of the Pixies' tune "Debaser".

At the end of the day, we head to live rock shows to see band's at their very best. Delivery of live rock and roll is a highly dynamic, multi-faceted experience, and requires performers that "get it": That they're not just there to deliver a set of songs, but to interact with the audience and provide a spectacle that transcends what is perceivable on the records. On Friday night, Ok Go did exactly that, and we dug every minute of it. We'd recommend you listen when we say that this is a rock show you don't want to miss.

Ok Go return to New York October 29th at Terminal 5.

A Million Ways
All Is Not Lost
I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe
White Knuckles
Oh Lately It's So Quiet
A Good Idea At The Time
Here It Goes Again
What To Do
Last Leaf
Don't Ask Me
Get Over It
Back From Kathmandu
Debaser (Pixies Cover)
This Too Shall Pass
Do What You Want

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive