Monday, January 31, 2011

Spoon Delivers Awesomeness To Blogotheque

It's no secret that we love us some Spoon around these parts, so when we discovered that the band had visited the awesome folks at Blogotheque and delivered takes on three of their awesome tunes, we were more than a little stoked. By more than a little, of course, we mean completely, because these tracks are totally killer.

The set included "The Ghost Of You Lingers", "Black Like Me", and "Got Nuffin", and all three manage to be wonderfully awesome alternate takes that feel like they have just the right mix of live vibe, a ridiculously tight band, and subtly different instrumentation. In short, just what you want to hear from a band who is between records when you're aching for some new tunes.

We've snagged the media for "The Ghost Of You Lingers" (a constant fave) for you right here. As soon as you've given that a listen, head to Blogotheque where they've been kind enough to not only post awesome videos of the performance, but mp3s as well. Killer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Suuns Played Shea Stadium - Pictures, Review

Wednesday night we braved the elements and made our way to Shea Stadium's new location to see Suuns at one of their three New York headline dates. It was snowy, it was hell getting there, and it was nuts getting home, but it was worth it. We had seen Suuns before in an opening slot, but as headliners, it's a whole other ballgame. The band was blistering with energy, and their rapidfire set was everything we could hope for as fans of their record.

Before Suuns hit the stage, Dinowalrus delivered a set that was (at least according to the band) "all new material". Whether it was all new or not, we will say this: the three-piece delivered a fierce set of psychedelic rock that definitely held its own. Not only was the band technically on point, but the tunes were rock solid, and the sheer amount of sound created by the trio was astounding.

Suuns followed soon thereafter with a set that focused heavily on their debut record Zeroes QC. Despite having seen the band before, we have to say that this was by far the best taste of Suuns we've had to date. Maybe it was being in a headlining slot, maybe it was the venue. Whatever the case, we can assure you that Suuns truly deliver live.

Every tune was more amped up than the one prior, and the guitar freakouts seemed to have endless capacity for sonic energy. More than anything, the band's droney, heavy duty beats and synth lines had an added level of dynamics that made the studio versions seem sterile by comparison. In short, the band has been successful in converting their fantastic studio sound in to an even better live experience.

Interestingly, the set was quite short, and featured no encore despite a stoked audience. Apparently Suuns are of the "quality not quantity" school, and we're inclined to agree. Not only did the quick set leave us wanting more, but it also allowed for song delivery that was aggressive and unrelenting, with no lulls or moments of dead air.

Maybe it's cliche to close with a report of "see these guys in a small room while you still can", but it's the truth. Suuns are offering a brand of unique rock and roll, with an amazing energy. It's a telling sign that they managed to get a room full of people out to Brooklyn in the middle of a blizzard, and we're guessing when it's beautiful out, they'll be able to get a whole lot more.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bright Eyes - "Haile Selassie"

Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes @ Bottom Of The Hill, from the HAD Archive

It was news to us to stumble upon this, but it turns out that Bright Eyes' latest The People's Cay drops on February 15th. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that there's a new record of original material from one of a generations's best song writers, and it's liable to be damned good.

In fact, if the lead track "Haile Selassie" is any indicator, then it's certain to be damned good. The track sees Conor Oberst returning to his more flexible sonic inclinations, with less of a leaning towards folk traditionalism, and more of a willingness to embrace some electronica. It definitely works to his advantage, so much so that we can't wait to hear more!

Flaming Lips Bring Zaireeka To Phones

Wayne Coyne Of Flaming Lips at Treasure Island Festival 2009, from the HAD Archive

Sure, for some of you, the exciting news might be that the Flaming Lips have decided to release one single a month over the next year, in an effort to keep things fresh and creative. Don't get us wrong, that's great news. But even more exciting for us is that the band has decided to release their epic 4-CD syncro-play masterpiece Zaireeka for mobile phones!

Why is this exciting, you ask? Well, the original Zaireeka was a 4 disc affair, designed to be played simultaneously and create an on-the-fly mix of the record. The problem is that in the 20-some-odd years since the record has been released, boom boxes (and hence Zaireeka parties) have been conspicuously on the downturn.

That will all change with a fancy little phone implementation, that will let all the Lips nerds within a one mile radius join together in phone-y awesomeness. While we're not sure what stages of development the project is in (it looks like they're still using quicktime in the video, above), the band is promising it'll be around by the end of the month. Very, very, exciting!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wilco Adds December Jeff Tweedy Show To 'Roadcase'

Jeff Tweedy @ Outside Lands 2008, from the HAD Archive

Wilco devotees that we are, we're always keeping an eye on the Wilco "Roadcase". The feature allows fans of the band to stream various live rarities, usually in the form of soundboard feeds from live shows. Awesome, right?

Well, in this case, particularly awesome: If you're one of the many folk who wanted to catch Jeff Tweedy on his December concert tour and weren't able to get tickets, this is your lucky day. The Roadcase is currently streaming Tweedy's show from the Lincoln Theater in DC (including a killer opening with "Spiders"), and it's a doozy. What's more, they have a full band show from Berlin up as well - you really can't lose!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Toro Y Moi Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Video, And Review

Last Wendesday we stopped in at Mercury Lounge and managed to catch Toro Y Moi for an early set at one of the city's most intimate rooms. Given that their April dates will see the band at the considerably larger Music Hall Of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom, it was really a treat to get to see them one last time in a truly clubby spot. Obviously we weren't alone in our opinion, as the room was packed, and the show sold out from the get-go.

To try and characterize Toro Y Moi's live set in a few words is a difficult task, to say the least. The band manages to simultaneously embody a number of genres, while at the same time defying all of them. There's an unquestionable poppy melody element, but it's balanced by rock solid dance beets. Then there's the wide swath of atmospheric synth sounds, overlaying instrumental parts that verge on jazz at it's best. A comparison to Stevie Wonder at the height of his powers would be apt, but still not really embody everything that's going on.

Regardless, the band's live show is unquestionably rock solid, with a technical precision that's almost unparalleled. The band is, quite simply, locked in to a degree that can only be achieved through diligence, and more than a little bit of raw talent. What's more, Chaz Bundick's vocals are unassailable in the live environment, and are as effortless as they are brilliant.

The show also saw an addition to the band, with a new guitarist on full-time electric duties. While many of the effects were so tripped out that the guitar's sound was barely identifiable, it unquestionably did a lot to fill out the band's sound, and add a new layer of dynamism. The studio complexity of Toro Y Moi's music lends itself to layered parts, and this one was a welcome addition.

The set ended up being a quick one at around an hour, as the band was opening in the 3rd slot of the night (!). Nonetheless, it was a set that more than covered its bases, and if anything just left us hungry for more. We got to hear a bunch of new material from the forthcoming record, and it fit in well with the old material, perhaps even being a tad dancier in its vibe. The fact that the band has two shows on tap for later in the spring is a blessing, as we certainly are more than a little ready to enjoy another night of their tunes.

In addition to some sweet photos of the band's set, we also managed to snag a tasty video (above) of the band's latest single "Still Sound". Given that the show was sold out for quite a while, we imagine there are more than a few New Yorker's who might like a taste, and the sound's not half bad! What's more the band delivered a Daytrotter session (one track below, the rest available for download at Daytrotter) that is absolutely killer. If that's not enough to tide you over until the band's spring dates, well, you better get on the road and start following them deadhead-style.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Grand Lake Pre-Tour Videos Surface On The Eve Of SF Gig

We already mentioned Grand Lake's gig tonight with Jake Mann, but just in case you needed a reminder: The combined awesomeness of the two will be descending on San Francisco at the Bottom Of The Hill tonight to celebrate the release of Mann's new CD. Put lightly: you'd be very foolish not to attend, and we don't suffer fools lightly, mmmkay?

But wait: that's not all - not by a long shot. Grand Lake's been hiding out for a couple of months, but that doesn't mean things aren't brewing. Never mind the fact that they've been diligently writing new rock and roll brilliance, or that tonight's show got a nice nod from Bay Area Beats. We'll do you one better: new video.

Taken right before the band headed on tour last fall, these two vids from Echo Locale (along with a nice little write up) capture acoustic versions of "Spark" (click through) and Pavement's "In The Mouth Of A Desert". Taking place in the Berkeley sun, they're not only sounding great, but looking great as well. It's time to whet your appetite for tonight's show and get your day started!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit Plots Return To US

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

Despite claims at their fall show that it would be a while until they returned to the States, it appears that we'll be getting at least some of Frightened Rabbit (who are currently in the studio) back a bit sooner. A stopover at their myspace turned up a list of dates in February for a two week US tour covering most of the country, and it turns out that the dates are solo gigs from lead Singer Scott Hutchison. Hutchison will be opening for Josh Ritter, and although Bowery Presents has yet to mention it, it looks like they'll be gracing Terminal 5 on the 12th of February. While it's a bit of a big room for a solo gig, we have to say that we're pretty interested in hearing some new tunes.

J. Mascis and Kurt Vile Coming To Music Hall Of Williamsburg In March

J. Mascis with Dinosaur Jr. in Central Park, from the HAD Archive

Clearly there is a booking agent somewhere with some damned fine taste with regards to rock and roll: J. Mascis be coming to Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 25th, in support of his new record Several Shades Of Why. The record drops on March 15th from Subpop, and if the first track "Never Enough" (below) is any indication, the record will see Mascis taking a more chill path with his solo tunage this time around.

Kurt Vile at Amnesia, from the HAD Archive

As if that weren't enough, Mascis will be joined by Kurt Vile and The Violators, who will be out in support of their new record as well. Considering Vile's rapidly growing fanbase (and awesomeness), we're not sure he should be put in an "opener" slot. That being said, Mascis is a bit of a legend, so getting twice as much bang for our buck certainly isn't something to complain about.

Update: The dates also include an evening at Mercury Lounge. Details:

J. Mascis And Kurt Vile Spring 2011 Dates
Thursday, March 10 – Ithaca, NY – Castaways
Friday, March 11 – Toronto, ONT – The Great Hall (Canadian Music Fest)
Tuesday, March 22 – Battleboro, VT – Headroom Stages
Wednesday, March 23 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
Thursday, March 24 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
Friday, March 25 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Saturday, March 26 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Wednesday, March 30 – Cleveland Hts, OH – Grog Shop
Thursday, March 31 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
Friday, April 01 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean
Saturday, April 02 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
Thursday, April 07 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
Friday, April 08 – Athens, GA – Melting Point
Saturday, April 09 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
Sunday, April 10 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Broken Social Scene T5 Show Tonight To Be Webcast AT 9 PM EST

For those of you anxiously awaiting the arrival of Canada's favorite indie rock collective, wait no longer: tonight is the night that Broken Social Scene take the stage at Terminal 5. In the meantime, you can check out the band rehearsing for the gig above. For those of you who have yet to get tickets, don't fret too much. For one, tickets are still available. For another, the band will be webcasting the entire gig on YouTube starting at 9 PM EST. Yes, we think you should tune in and check it out. They're amazing. The webcast goes live at this link at 9 PM.

Crooked Fingers Coming To Brooklyn, Archers Of Loaf Reunited (Video)

Crooked Fingers at Great American Music Hall, from the HAD Archive

Eric Bachmann must be looking for a steady fix of NYC these days: after visiting Mercury Lounge in December, Crooked Fingers will be returning in February. This time the band will be playing Brooklyn, at the always-lovely Bell House. The show is on the 19th, and we certainly encourage you to make an appearance - we have yet to see a Crooked Fingers show that we didn't love. What's more, the band's web site has news of them wrapping up recording on a new record, so we're guessing this will be your first chance for a taste of the new material. Tickets are on sale now.

If that's not enough Bachmann-centric news for you, we'll do you one better: last week in North Carolina, Bachmann's old band Archers of Loaf entered into a spontaneous reunion, much to the joy of all present. Some kind soul was kind enough to grab some video from the front row, and so we have for you the fantastic takes on "Wrong" and "Web In Front". For even more video awesomeness, head to mumblepop's YouTube page.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fatboy Slim - "Song For Shelter"

Fatboy Slim's 2000 release Halfway Between The Gutter and The Stars saw the British DJ bring new music to a market that was already amazingly saturated with his work, both on the radio, and in advertising and cinema. The album garnered a positive critical reception, and featured a brilliant video featuring Christopher Walken. Yet for many, it caused them to drift away from the electronic-rock mashup sound that Slim had popularized.

However, the record is loaded with brilliance, and to miss out on it would be a real tragedy. In particular, the final track, "Song For Shelter" features an amazing overlay of vocals from Roland Clark on top of deliciously synthy textures. The song is meditative and danceable all at once, and offers up a depth and dynamism that far surpasses any of Slim's other work. Moreover, the vocal from Clark is an utter delight, and his beat style poetry alone makes the track worthwhile. Think what you will about Fatboy Slim, but make no mistake: this track is a winner.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jake Mann and Grand Lake coming to Bottom Of The Hill Next Week

Crossbill Records has been snagging some serious notoriety with Sea Of Bees, who we managed to catch (and dig) last summer in New York. Given that, when word came up that the label's next release was on tap from Jake Mann And The Upper Hand, we were paying attention.

Digging into Mann's latest, Parallel South, which drops today on Crossbill, we were met with a record that hops genres, locks into good old fashioned rock sensibilities, and adds a touch of sonic exploration for good measure. Mann's forte is clearly straight-ahead rock and roll, and each of the tracks on the new record leverages that talent for all it's worth. The real win, however, comes when Mann's rock and roll chops are interspersed with Spector-ish beats, lilting country strings, or classic rock organs. Combined, these pieces serve to give the record the sonic weight to be set apart from its peers.

Given that take on the new record, we were psyched to hear that HAD Records' own Grand Lake had been asked to join Mann at his show at Bottom Of The Hill this coming Wednesday (the 23rd) in support of the record's release. Mann has been traversing the state since the beginning of the month, and this show is the final delivery on the tour. Combine that with the fact that it's Grand Lake's first SF stop since last fall, and well, you have yourself a pretty damn fine event. Get your ass out there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Toro Y Moi Have New Record On Tap For February

Yesterday, in our utter excitement about Toro Y Moi's upcoming live dates for the spring, we managed to completely overlook that the band has a sicktastic new record, entitled Underneath The Pine, on tap for February. If the first track ("Still Sound", below) is any indication, the record's going to be even dancier than Causers Of This, which we're guessing will leave most fans pretty damned satisfied. Needless to say, those live dates? Yup: now we're even more stoked.

Jason Collett Delivers Daytrotter Sessions

Jason Collett at The Independent, from the HAD Archive

Accompanied by Arts & Crafts compadres Zeus, Jason Collett made some recordings at the Daytrotter studios a while back, and they've finally seen the light of day. True to form, Collett delivers a set that's straight-ahead rock and roll that's both engaging, and artfully subtle in its delivery. All three tracks are fantastic, and we've snagged one for you to taste below. Head to Daytrotter now to grab the rest!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Toro Y Moi Coming To Mercury Lounge Next Week, Bowery In April

Toro Y Moi at Bowery Ballroom, from the HAD Archive

When we caught Toro Y Moi at Bowery Ballroom last May, the band was in top form and opening for Caribou. Since then they've been all over the place, and their record Causers Of This has gotten all sorts of recognition. No surprise, then, that the band will be back in town in April, headlining two nights: one at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg, and one at the Bowery Ballroom. The shows take place on April 10th and 11th, and go on sale this Friday.

What is more surprising in light of the band's success, is that they'll also be in town next Wednesday night to play the Mercury Lounge. Not only that, but they'll be playing in the first opening slot at 8:30pm. We have no idea what the deal is, but the show is already sold out, and it's probably your last chance to catch the band in such a small room for the foreseeable future. If you can find a way, be there.

mp3: Toro Y Moi - Freak Love

Monday, January 10, 2011

Elton John - "Sugar On Floor"

Elton John's 1975 album Rock Of The Westies was, for many, the final glimmer of hope before his career began fading from its early 70's greatness. The album not only featured a completely new band from his earlier efforts, but also a complete change in sound. The thoughtful balladry and on-the-sleeve melodics of the earlier records were replaced by a much harder rocking sound. While John's songwriting is still firmly in tact on the record, there's no question that most of his auditory aesthetic was completely replaced for the new endeavor.

However, at this same time John had signed a new act to his label imprint, Rocket Records: Kiki Dee. Notably, John wrote a duet that spawned a hit and made Dee a household name, with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Apparently enthused to propel Dee to Stardom, Elton produced her record, and continued to write material for the singer. One of those songs was "Sugar On The Floor".

Ostensibly a demo, the recording is pure early-70's Elton John: outstanding piano, minimalist instrumentation, and enough vocal melody to knock you over. What's more, it's loaded with that unique brand of earnestness and angst that John manages to leverage without sounding pitiful. With occasional vocal nods to Ray Charles, a killer slide guitar line, and falsetto that will break your heart, its one of the last recordings to really represent the things that brought Elton John to fame and fortune.

Oh, and Kiki Dee? Yes, she recorded her own version, but in our opinion it's not really worth your time. You're much better checking out the original, below.

mp3: Elton John - Sugar On The Floor

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Spoon Drops Demo For "Is Love Forever?" - mp3

Spoon at the Fillmore, from the HAD Archive

Well, here's a weekend treat for you: soon after we stumbled upon Spoon's demo for "Mystery Zone", the band has already posted another demo from the Transference sessions. "Is Love Forever?" just went up as the January "bonus" song on the band's site, and we grabbed it immediately!

Unlike many of the other Transference demos that have surfaced, "Is Love Forever?" holds pretty true to the final studio version. This isn't exactly a shocker, considering how straight ahead the tune is. That being said, it doesn't leave us any less psyched to belt out the refrain as loud as we possibly can. It fucking rocks, obvs.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kurt Vile Has New Record On Tap For March, Drops Preview Tracks

We love Kurt Vile. Ever since he delivered the fantastically amazing God Is Saying This To You..., we have held him in unassailably high esteem. Which is why, when he was signed to the venerable Matador Records, we were all that much more excited that the world at large would be educated as to his awesomeness.

Well now, a year and a half later, and Vile is delivering his second record for the indie stalwart. Smoke Ring For My Halo (cover above) drops in March, and we're damned excited. Typically, the label is calling it his "most ambitious work to date". We'd probably take a different route, and if the preview tracks are any indication, just call it "stone cold fucking awesome".

Either way, we're pretty sure that it's one you're gonna want to put on your "must hear" list for 2011. For now, enjoy the leaked tracks below, and maybe even pick up the recently-released 7" for "In My Time". Happy Friday!

The Walkmen Played Letterman - Video

Last night The Walkmen stopped in at David Letterman and delivered a killer version of Lisbon's lead track, "Juveniles". Not only did the band nail it, but (much like in December at T5) Hamilton Leithauser's voice was seriously in top notch form. No doubt, Lisbon, is a record that takes a while to own you, but if the band keeps putting it on stage like this, it's got a long way to go before it gets worn out. If you haven't heard it, get on it. Now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Florence And The Machine: "Dog Days Are Over"

There are some blogs that are dead set on bringing you the very latest, for fear that you might be (no! for shame!) caught with an mp3 dating all the way back to 2009. This is not one of those blogs. Rather, we're the sort of folks who clumsily stumble into our musical obsessions, and when we do they run deep. "Run deep" as in to the point of playing the same track over and over, annoying our friends, and generally wearing an artist thin? Yes, that sort of run deep. Never mind when the track came out, or who else likes it. We're obsessed. Case in point: Florence and The Machine.

Sure, by now you've probably heard their stuff, and we certainly would guess that you've enjoyed it. Florence has a killer voice, and the band is (deservedly) blowing up all over the place. So why are we bringing this up now? Well this week we started really listening to the band's debut EP A Lot Of Love. A Lot Of Blood, and "Dog Days Are Over" proceeded to take over our lives.

It's not so much the awesomeness of the beginning of the tune, with it's haphazard starts and stops at the 1:50 and 3:05 marks (although that's certainly a factor). What really got us is the completely fucking killer refrain at the end of the tune where it's chorus kicks our to another dimension and you are left with the absolutely irrepressible urge to immediately play the track again. Seriously. Give it a try.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Suuns Coming To Mercury Lounge And Rock Shop In January

Suuns at Bowery Ballroom, from the HAD Archive

We made no secret of our love for Suuns set when they opened for Land Of Talk at Bowery last fall. So, then, it should come as no surprise that we were stoked to learn that they'll be back in town at the end of January: The band plays The Rock Shop on January 25th and Mercury Lounge on January 27th.

To see the band in these smaller rooms will unquestionably be a treat, and judging by the high crowd enthusiasm at their set at Bowery, we're guessing it may be your last chance to catch them this up close and personal. What's more, the show is part of a set of east coast dates just before Suuns head to Europe for the month of February. We highly recommend you get your dose of their killer live show while they're still stateside.

Suuns East Coast Dates Winter 2010
JAN 20 Quebec, CA Quebec City, Qc, CANADA
JAN 23 Higher Ground South Burlington, Vermont, US
JAN 25 The Rock Shop Brooklyn, NY
JAN 26 Shea Stadium New York, NY 11206
JAN 27 Mercury Lounge New York, NY
JAN 28 Funk N Waffles Syracuse, New York , US
JAN 29 Lee's Palace W/The Besnard Lakes Toronto, ON, CANADA

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spoon Drops Demo For "Mystery Zone"

Spoon @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, from the HAD Archive

Last month, Spoon gave the world a holiday treat with a CD comp of their ever-growing list of free bonus tracks from the band's web site. We snagged the disc (which is fab, btw), and foolishly figured that would be it from the band until the new year. Well, we couldn't have been more wrong!

Only a few days later, the band posted a new bonus: the demo for "Mystery Zone" from the band's Transference. The track is a vastly different take from the final cut, featuring bright, melodic, acoustic guitars, handclaps, and absolutely no ethereal sonic craziness. While we're partial to the album version, we have to say that it's completely boggling to hear how much a tune can change in its transition to the studio.

For those keeping track at home, this puts the count of demos from Transference at four out of twelve. The mp3 is also titled "Mystery Zone - demo1", so maybe there's another in the archives? Either way, we're seriously hoping they keep coming, as this is really starting to get interesting! Check it below...

Monday, January 3, 2011

White Rabbits Plot Winter East Coast Tour

White Rabbits at the Independent, from the HAD Archive

We've long championed the awesomeness of White Rabbits' live show, so it follows that we were completely amped to hear that the band has scheduled a quick east coast tour for February. The tour is currently five dates, including the Bowery Ballroom in New York (tickets are on sale now) on February 26th.

Frankly, we're stoked to see the band still playing some manageable-size venues. As they've gotten bigger, and their live show has gotten hype, we were concerned they might drift to some bigger-draw rooms. Thankfully, things are being kept in check, so that you can enjoy the band's awesomeness in nice, intimate setting. We'll see you there.

White Rabbits: Winter 2011 Tour Dates
02/23/11 Hoboken, NJ -Maxwell’s
02/24/11 Boston, MA - Paradise
02/25/11 Williamstown, MA - Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
02/26/11 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
02/27/11 Washington D.C. - Rock and Roll Hotel