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.