Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Ryan Adams - "Lucky Now"

It's no secret that we have serious heart swells around these parts for Ryan Adams, so when we discovered that the cover art (above) and the first track ("Lucky Now", below) from his forthcoming Ashes And Fire, had seen the light of day, well, we just had to let you know.

Kanye West and Jay Z - "Otis" Video

We're busy hurricane-preparing and packing up all our belongings for a (small) move. In the meantime, if you haven't yet, it's time to watch the first video from Kanye West and Jay Z's Watch The Throne. Directed by Spike Jonze, the video features the duo thoroughly deconstructing an automobile for their own uses. Once you're done with that, pick up the whole record. We promise: It's worth it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

John Wesley Harding Brings Cabinet Of Wonders To NYC

John Wesley Harding at the Independent in 2009, from the HAD Archive.

You may recall how much we enjoyed John Wesley Harding's "Cabinet Of Wonders" when we caught it in San Francisco a couple of years back. Half concert, half variety show, the event brings together a ramshackle bunch of creative folk and allows them to entertain in a way that is at once touching, delightful, and a complete riot. So, given that, we were pretty damn excited for some very good news that came our way recently: Harding has reassembled his "Cabinet", and they'll be a set of 3 shows this fall at the City Winery in New York.

By its very nature, the Cabinet of Wonders is not a static beast, so it's not at all surprising that these three shows will see different lineups from the past, as well as from each other. What's truly impressive is that Harding has roped in some serious talent from the music side of things, and it's got us seriously excited.

To start with, noted Bowie and T-Rex producer Tony Visconti will appear at the first date. As if that weren't enough, he will be joined by Eleanor Friedberger (fresh on the heels of her solo release) and one half of the MGMT boys. The second date will feature Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen, while the final show will feature alt-country guru Howie Gelb. In short, not too shabby.

On top of all that, the first two shows promise to feature special guests, while the third will see the return of Eugene Mirman to the lineup. If you've seen the Cabinet before, it goes without saying that these are fun, entertaining nights of a truly diverse bent. If it's your first time, take our word for it: these shows will be well worth your time and money. Check the full lineups below!

September 23 at City Winery, New York, NY
- John Wesley Harding & the English U.K.
- Todd Barry
- Eleanor Friedberger
- Andrew VanWyngarden (MGMT)
- Tony Visconti
- Dan Zanes
- Jami Attenberg
- plus a special surprise guest!

October 28 at City Winery, New York, NY
- John Wesley Harding & the English U.K.
- Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen)
- Eugene Mirman
- John Hodgman
- Emma Straub
- Paul Harding
- plus special surprise guests!

November 18 at City Winery, New York, NY
- John Wesley Harding & the King Charles Trio
- Howe Gelb
- Eugene Mirman
- Audrey Niffenegger
- Myla Goldberg

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wilco Is Ready To Rock Your World This Fall

Wilco at the Greek Theater, from the HAD Archive

Hot on the heels of the first seven inch from their very own record label (see video below), Wilco have announced that (surprise of the year) the label was not created solely for that lone vinyl release. No, in fact, the band has been hard at work on a brand new record entitled The Whole Love, and will be using their label dBpm Records to deliver it to the world on September 27th.

We'll get to the record in a minute, but first: "I Might". The track is almost a toned-down take on the rock-out Wilco that created "I Am A Wheel". The lyrics are curt and clipped, and the guitars are largely fuzzed out, delivering a basic incendiary rock riff. The rest of the track is fleshed out by percussion that is unquestionably the work of Glenn Kotche, and a collective motion that we associate almost solely with Wilco. While the chilled-out influence of Sky Blue Sky is certainly present, we have to say that it's the most vigor we've heard from the quintet in quite a while.

The record itself (cover above) is comprised of 12 new tracks, and includes "I Might" in addition to 11 others. The band has previewed very little of the material as of yet, aside from a teaser trailer (below) that features snippets of what we assume to be (given the title) the lead track from the record. One has to assume this isn't for wanting to conserve new material, as the band is also issuing a deluxe edition of the disc that will feature three additional new songs, as well as an alternate version of "Black Alone".

True to form, in addition to releasing a serious amount of music, the band intends to back it up by taking their show on the road. If you're paying attention at all to live music, then you know Wilco one of the best bets going, and we can assure you that we've never walked away from a Wilco show doing anything less than grinning ear to ear. Yes, they're that good. This tour will consist mainly of east coast/midwest dates, and will be followed by a European run. We can only assume that the band has a west coast run planned for their return - time will tell.

The Whole Love drops September 27th.

Wilco Fall 2011 US Dates
13 Sep 2011 / Indianapolis, IN / Murat Theatre
16 Sep 2011 / Toronto, ONT / Massey Hall
17 Sep 2011 / Toronto, ONT / Massey Hall
18 Sep 2011 / Montreal, QUE / Métropolis
20 Sep 2011 / Boston, MA / The Wang Theatre
22 Sep 2011 / New York, NY / Rumsey Playfield in Central Park
23 Sep 2011 / New York, NY / Rumsey Playfield in Central Park
25 Sep 2011 / Columbia, MD / Merriweather Post Pavilion
27 Sep 2011 / Raleigh, NC / Raleigh Amphitheater
28 Sep 2011 / Atlanta, GA / Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
29 Sep 2011 / Atlanta, GA / Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
01 Oct 2011 / Nashville, TN / The Ryman
02 Oct 2011 / Nashville, TN / The Ryman
04 Oct 2011 / St. Louis, MO / Peabody Opera House
05 Oct 2011 / Madison, WI / Overture Hall

The Whole Love Tracklist
Art of Almost
I Might
Dawned On Me
Black Moon
Born Alone
Open Mind
Capitol City
Standing O
Rising Red Lung
Whole Love
One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Music: WATERS

We've long been fans of Port O'Brien, and despite its always fluid lineup, that band was unquestionably always centered around the songwriting of frontman Van Pierszalowski. Given that, when we discovered that Port O'Brien had called it a day, and Pierszalowski was starting fresh, we were more than a little curious what that might entail. The answer has now been revealed, in the form of a band called WATERS.

While WATERS is still rooted firmly in the vocals and songwriting that made Port O'Brien so great, it's also a pretty massive departure. From the two tracks we've heard, it seems that the folkiness has been left behind in favor of a fuzzy, more aggressive rock sound that had been familiar at some of the late Port O'Brien shows. It seems it would be not totally off-base to make a comparison to Neil Young's transition to hard rock in the 70's and 80's.

Given the Pierszalowski's propensity to deliver in a live environment, we feel pretty sure that their live show will be on par with, if not surpass, Port O'Brien's. Combine that with the fact that original Port O'Brien bassist (and Grand Lake frontman) Caleb Nichols is joining WATERS for their fall tour (dates below), and well, count us in.

WATERS is on tour now, Out In The Light drops September 12th September 20th.

WATERS Fall 2011 US Dates

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spoon Dig Up More Demos, Headline Fun Fun Fun Fest

Spoon at Music Hall Of Williamsburg, from the HAD Archive

Apparently Spoon frontman Britt Daniel was recently relocating, and discovered a long ago tucked away tape of home demos. Devotees of the band will know what that means: more awesome, awesome freebies from the band's website. To start things off with a bang, the band has posted the demo for "Utilitarian", the lead-in track from the band's second LP A Series Of Sneaks. Faithful to the final version, the demo is a tad more fuzzy, and features a slightly simpler guitar part. You can check it below, right now!

In other news, the band has been tapped to headline Austin's Fun Fun Fun Festival this November. So if you happen to find yourself in the lone star state, your Spoon consumption for the fall can be considerably greater than those of us on the east coast, subsisting on band-site mp3s. You lucky Texans, you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Smashing Pumpkins: New Music, Fall Tour

Keeping up with Billy Corgan can be a bit of an exercise is patience and tolerance. His work as a solo artist, producer, and front man for multiple bands can get rather perplexing as one tries to figure out where his heart lies. And yet, it seems that Billy always returns to his roots, and that his heart rests, eventually, with his first band, Smashing Pumpkins.

After a few conflated reboots, it's easy to simply dismiss the Pumpkins as simply a relic of the nineties, that never really had a moment in the sun after their classic Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness. To some extent, that's true. Despite Corgan's studio and guitar prowess, the band hasn't realized anything close to it's late 90's success. Moreover, Corgan's attempt to cross genre boundaries has often fallen short, and left even the most devout fans a tad disappointed.

Such was the climate in late 2009 when longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin left the band, and Corgan started new once again. Around HAD, we're something of Corgan devotees, so despite our inclination to roll our eyes, we had to stick around and give the new material a taste. And let it be said: we're damn glad we did.

Corgan's new material began to be released in 2010 under the moniker of Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. The release was intended to be a set of 4 EPs, released digitally via the Pumpkins' online store, and then further down the road as limited edition physical releases. This was all well and good, and seemed like a solid fan-centric strategy for the Pumpkins in the wake of a number of fallen-short efforts. Then something interesting happened: the records turned out to be really, really, good.

It's tough to express how enjoyable the first two Teargarden releases are, except to say this: they're as good some of the Pumpkins' best classic moments. Granted, if you're searching for Billy's early 90's pure-shredding style, this is probably less your style. But if you're into the studio experiments and theatrics of Mellon Collie, then you are in for a treat. Across the 8 tracks thus released from Teargarden, Corgan delves into synths, orchestras, straight-ahead rock, and acoustic pop. It is a record as versatile as Mellon Collie, but with a relaxed perspective only heard previously in Corgan's work with Zwan.

Apparently we weren't alone in our perspective on Teargarden: in April Corgan announced that the future EPs would be postponed, and the band would be releasing a new "record within a record" entitled Oceania, and touring in support. Suffice it to say, we're more than a little excited to see and hear where this goes. For once, it seems that Billy Corgan has truly hit his stride, and found somewhere that he feels comfortable making awesome rock and roll. For Smashing Pumpkins fans, that's a very good thing.

Oceania is tentatively targeted for late 2011 digital release.

Tickets for the band's fall tour go on sale this Friday at noon.

Smashing Pumpkins Fall 2011 Dates
Oct. 05 - Wiltern Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 07 - The Fox Theatre - Oakland, CA
Oct. 08 - Cosmopolitan - Las Vegas, NV
Oct. 10 - Ogdan Theatre - Denver, CO
Oct. 13 - Riverside Theatre - Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 14 – [to be announced] - Chicago, IL
Oct. 15 - The Fillmore - Detroit, MI
Oct. 17 – 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
Oct. 18 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY
Oct. 19 - Lupo's - Providence, RI
Oct. 21 - Orpheum Theatre - Boston, MA
Oct. 22 - Tower Theatre - Philadelphia PA

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vetiver: New Record, Fall Tour

Vetiver at the Great American Music Hall, from the HAD Archive

We've been fans of Vetiver ever since we stumbled upon To Find Me Gone some 5-odd years ago. Lucky for us, the band is stil going full speed ahead, delivering their own unique brand of pop infused folk (or is it folk infused pop?), and creating records that not only appeal on first listen, but also unquestionably stand the test of time.

Given that, we were a tad embarassed to realize that the band had released a fantastic new record, and it had completely slid under our radar. Entitled The Errant Charm (cover above), the record is the band's poppiest work to date. It takes the easy-going accessibility of Tight Knit, and brings it even closer to "everyone you know will love this record" territory. Not to worry: the band's hallmark mellow-ambient vibe is still firmly in tact. It's simply resting on a bed of even more lushly produced tracks that truly maximize its potential.

In addition to the record, the band has also released a fantastic stop-motiony video for "Wonder Why" (above), and is heading out on tour across the US this fall. After the Outside Lands festival last week, the band will hit the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, and then head out through the midwest, down the east coast, and then back home. Given the strength of the new record, we would only stand to double our standing recommendation for Vetiver: get out there. These folks are creating some fantastic tunes, and can represent on a stage. It's well worth your while.

mp3: Vetiver - Wonder Why
mp3: Vetiver - Can't You Tell

Vetiver Fall 2011 Dates

September 3 - Bumbershoot Festival - Seattle
September 6 - First Avenue - Minneapolis, MN
September 7 - The Mill - Iowa City, IA
September 8 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
September 9 - Southgate House - Newport, KY
September 10 - Mr. Smalls Theater - Pittsburg, PA
September 11 - Tiger Mountain & Truck Festival - Big Indian, NY
September 12 - Middle East - Cambridge, MA
September 13 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
September 14 - First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA
September 15 - Black Cat - Washington DC
September 17 - Motorco - Durham, NC
September 19 - Off Broadway - St. Louis, MO
September 20 - Jackpot - Lawrence, KS
September 22 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
September 24 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City, UT
September 26 - Flying M - Nampa, ID
September 27 - The Belltower - Pullman, WA

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stephen Malkmus Streams Mirror Traffic, Schedules Free Shows And Contest

Stephen Malkmus at Great American Music Hall, from the HAD Archive

You may recall that Stephen Malkmus has a new record, Mirror Traffic, on it's way next Tuesday. Well, lucky for you that you don't have to wait that long. NPR has gotten ahold of the record, and is streaming it in full over at their page. But that's not all!

In addition to streaming the brand new LP, Malkmus is also looking to clean up the lyrics from its lead single. Apparently, the FCC wasn't too happy with the words "blow job" being in the tune, and it wasn't going to see radio play. As such, Matador has devised a contest to convince fans to come up with a replacement phrase for the two words. The prize is a limited edition 7" featuring your very own lyrical modification. Head here to enter.

Finally, in support of the record's release, Malkmus will be playing two NYC acoustic shows next week. On August 25th, SM will hit Academy Records at 6 PM, and Other Music at 9 PM. Long lines are not just anticipated, they're guaranteed. See you there!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Talking Heads - "I Feel It In My Heart"

Yesterday afternoon, we stopped in at The Kitchen to check out the retrospective of their SoHo years. Among the many artifacts on display was a 1976 video of the Talking Heads playing a set at the gallery. The ~20 minute video happened to feature "I Feel It In My Heart", a song which we took as an early unreleased gem that was unfamiliar to us.

Upon returning home, we discovered quite the contrary: a studio version of the tune has been recorded and released, as a B-Side on the 2005 reissue of 77. Poppy and light, the tune fits in perfectly with the feel of 77 and is notably tighter than the live version we saw on video. You can see for yourself: check out the vid above, and the mp3 below!

mp3: Talking Heads - I Feel It In My Heart

New Ryan Adams Record On Tap For October

Ryan Adams at the Catalyst, from the HAD Archive

Oh my: this is the news we've been waiting for. Following his solo acoustic tour in Europe, details have emerged regarding Ryan Adams' forthcoming record. Produced by Glyn Johns, and entitled Ashes & Fire, the record is set to drop on October 11th. In addition to releasing the record, Adams will embark on a solo US tour in support, touching down in California and the Pacific Northwest. Aside from that, the only other details we have are the tracklist (below), and the fact that the record will feature guest appearances from Heartbreakers' keyboardist Benmont Tench, and longtime Adams compatriot Norah Jones. Hmm.

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire Tracklist
Dirty Rain
Ashes & Fire
Come Home
Do I Wait
Chains Of Love
Invisible Riverside
Save Me
Lucky Now
I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Music: Appetite

California's Appetite was originally conceived by Teddy Briggs as nothing more than a songwriting project. However, it quickly blossomed and became much, much, more. The band's debut effort Scattered Smothered Covered drops on August 16th, and delivers a consolidated effort of song composition, studio intricasies and delightfully organic feel reminiscent of Feels-era Animal Collective.

The record is being accompanied by a fantastic video for the first single, "Tussy" (above), as well as a quick west coast tour that will see performances in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles (below). While we have yet to see the band live, if the record is any indication, this would be a great time to get out there and indulge in their sound. Between the loopy noise tracks, layered vocals, and insistent rhythms, Appetite is creating some of the most creative jams we've heard in a while.

mp3: Appetite - Tussy

Appetite Summer 2011 Dates

08.10- Seattle- The Sunset Tavern
08.11- Portland- Holocene
08.19- Davis, CA- Sophia’s Thai Kitchen
09.09- Sacramento, CA- Bows and Arrows Collective (RECORD RELEASE PARTY)!!!!
09.14- San Francisco- Bottom of the Hill
09.16- Modesto, CA- Deva Cafe-Off The Air Presents!
09.17- Los Angeles- Origami Vinyl In-Store 7pm

Monday, August 8, 2011

Damon Albarn - Mali Music

Between rock supergroups, operas, and cartoon hitmakers, it can be tough to keep track of all the goings on in Damon Albarn's music career. That being said, almost more than any other, the project that has stuck with us the longest is 2002's Mali Music.

Recorded in Africa, and assembled/produced in the UK, the record is the product of a trip Albarn took to Africa (specifically, Mali) after the completion of the first Gorillaz tour. The recordings consist of an amalgam of field recordings, Albarn's collaborations while abroad, and studio overdubs. The end result is a product that sounds simultaneously traditionally African, highly experimental, and enjoyably poppy, all in one go.

Albarn later enticed his collaborators to join him in the UK, and perform on a number of TV shows in support of the record (videos above). While the live performances don't quite have the polish of the studio record, they do their job to illustrate the manifestation of Albarn's studio crafting in a live environment. They demonstrate his aptitude at managing to experiment with new musical styles with out sinking to Paul Simon-esque crossover theatrics, and illustrate why Mali Music is one of the most underrated musical branchings in recent memory.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson - "Girlfriend"

In the 80's, seeing Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney side by side was standard fare. Until MJ bought out all of Macca's beloved Beatles' rights, the two were fast collaborators, working on a number of hit singles, and also spending time together in their social lives. To many, it seemed that Paul had found an ideal songwriting partner, and that Michael had found a pop balance to the soulful influence of producer Quincy Jones. However, the pairing of this dynamic duo actually started much earlier, with the single "Girlfriend".

McCartney had written the song in the mid-70's, and (apparently) at a Hollywood party, even suggested to Jackson that he record the song. For whatever reason, the recording never happened, and Paul made the decision to include his version on the 1978 Wings record London Town. In that version, it's incredibly evident the degree to which McCartney had intended the song for Jackson: the vocals are an incredibly high falsetto, and the piece has a minimalist bass groove that tips its hat to the disco era. Still, as with most things McCartney, it works on many levels, and is a song well worth its weight.

Fast forward to the late 1978 recording sessions for Jackson's debut record Off The Wall: as Jackson worked with Quincy Jones in the studio, Jones (unaware of original intentions) suggested McCartney's "Girlfriend" as a track for the debut Jackson solo project. Jackson agreed, and the two laid down what is arguably the perfect version of the song. Anchored by a fat bass and drum groove, and synths that undoubtedly inspired the Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)", Jackson's version of "Girlfriend" is a sweet R&B testament to McCartney's original version of the song. Topped off with the singer's bulletproof early-career vocals, the song is all at once fun, danceable, and endearingly poppy.