Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Horse Tour With Nada Surf, Add Headline Dates

An Horse at Highline Ballroom, from the HAD Archive

Well, count us among the excited:  Australians (and HAD favorites) An Horse have announced that in March and April they will return to the US for a Spring tour, and they're not kidding around.  Starting in March, the band will perform a series of headline dates in the midwest and west coast before meeting up with Nada Surf for a one month national tour as that band's opener.  Never mind the fact that Nada Surf are a great band as well, or that An Horse is touring in support of their killer second record Walls, we're the most excited that the band is back in town from the other side of the globe so soon after their CMJ appearance!  This is a band that's more than worth listening to, but more importantly: absolutely killer in the flesh.  See you there.

An Horse Spring 2012 Tour:
3/9/12 – Pontiac, MI @ The Pike Room
3/10/12 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
3/11/12 – Iowa City, IA @ The Blue Moose Tap House
3/12/12 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
3/14/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Rhythm Room
3/15/12 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
3/16/12 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s
3/20/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Music Box ^
3/21/12 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore ^
3/23/12 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom ^
3/24/12 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theater ^
3/25/12 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre ^
3/27/12 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge ^
3/29/12 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall ^
3/30/12 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room ^
3/31/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue ^
4/2/12 – Chicago, IL @ Metro ^
4/4/12 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House ^
4/5/12 – Montreal, PQ @ Corona Theatre ^
4/6/12 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club ^
4/7/12 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall ^
4/9/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ TLA ^
4/10/12 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^
^ w/ Nada Surf

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jack White To Drop Solo Record In April

Well, it's finally happened: Jack White has given up on the facade of a band, and embraced his inner musical genius to release a solo record.  Titled Blunderbuss, the album will be released on April 24th.  The first single is entitled "Love Interrupted", and if it's any indication, this record is going to be exactly what we've been wanting from White for years.

Tempered with woodwinds, and a Fender Rhodes, the track is a simple ballad  in classic White style, with a gentleness that recalls the best moments of the White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan.  It's been clear that White has had this up his sleeve for years, and we're glad he took the plunge.  Stream the track below.

Stream: Jack White - Love Interruption

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

White Rabbits Drop Video For "Heavy Metal"

Two weeks back we hit you with a mention of White Rabbits' upcoming new record Milk Famous.  Now the band has backed up the first single, "Heavy Metal", with video.  The clip cleverly uses looped video to generate a creepy, static-with-movement feel.  Very cool - check it out above.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Video: Ryan Adams - "Chains Of Love"

On this fine Friday morning, Ryan Adams has brought us a new video for "Chains of Love", and rest assured, this is a video that has it all.  An all-girl backing band, Ryan in a motorcycle jacket looking dreamily into space, pyrotechnics, and even....3D.  Yeah, we broke out our Ashes and Fire deluxe edition 3D glasses, so what?  Stop grumbling, spoilsport, and just watch the damn vid.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

REM - Monster

REM is a strange beast, and in the wake of their breakup, one that deserves some examination. They unquestionably have had a lasting effect on the world of rock and roll, and their disciples are many. They also possess a singular character amongst their peers. Their image is neither rough or fashionable, but more fleetingly nerdy and awkward.  Their hits are often angsty balladry or quirky pop melodies, and they often fill the roll of "cool" band for people who don't like "cool". However, here at HAD, our favorite REM moment has always been one that broke rank with their catalog: the 1994 record Monster.

Often, Monster is cited as REM's response to the grunge movement, and that may have some validity.  The return of the "rock" in rock and roll was unquestionably apparent to the band, and they took a step back from the mellowness that they had spent most of the early 90's fostering. But the fact of the matter is that REM was a rock band long before they were producing pop like "Shiny Happy People" or miserable dreck like "Everybody Hurts". Monster's crunch and vitality was in many ways simply a return to the form that had made REM famous during their tenure at IRS records.

That return to form is one piece of the puzzle that makes Monster so great: the songwriting is exceptional, and the arrangements moreso.  It is garage rock at its best and most crafty, built on a simple foundation of drums, piano, bass, and guitar.  Sure, there's a note more crunch in the guitar, and there are moments where electronica threatens to rear its ugly head, but the dam never breaks, and instead we are left with a selection of songs that are utterly fantastic. But fantastic songs are only one piece of the puzzle.

Let it be noted that we don't particularly love Michael Stipe.  He can be whiny, and thrives on the idea of his own oppression.  He is the ultimate "emotional" rock star, to a fault.  It comes across in his writing, his delivery, and his persona.  And yet, on Monster, he absolutely nails it.  His lyrical content manages to escape literalism for most of the record, and instead return to the poignant abstraction that made "Stand" and "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" such amazing songs. Moreover, his vocals are in bulletproof form, yielding killer falsettos ("I Don't Sleep I Dream", "Tongue"), bizarre monotones ("Crush With Eyeliner", "King Of Comedy"),  straight ahead rock ("Star 69", "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?"), and soulful melancholia ("Strange Currencies").

To try and espouse a band like REM is a fools errand: the band is already installed as one of the seminal foundations of modern rock.  Yet it's worth considering that the things they are appreciated for may not be the band's greatest strengths. Monster is what many would call "out of character" for the REM of today, and a shadow of the greatness of their indie years. The fact of the matter is that it embraces both sides of the band's tumultuous public persona, and the result is the best record they ever recorded.

mp3: REM - Tongue

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spoon - "I Could See The Dude (Demo)"

The cover for the Soft Effects vinyl 10"

We're always stoked when Spoon drops a new track in their "Bonus" section, but this month we were particularly thrilled. Culled from the demo sessions for one of our favorite Spoon records, the Soft Effects EP, the demo for "I Could See The Dude" is a real treat.

Much like the final studio track, the demo is built around a looped guitar riff overlaid on a bass line that manages to craft the song's chord changes all by its lonesome. The vocals are a little more raw, and (like most of Britt Daniel's demos) the beats are clearly canned.  At the end of the day, however, this is the clear foundation of one of our favorite Spoon tracks.

Give a listen to the mp3 below, and try not to get too excited about the fact that the end of the track clearly has the guitar lead in for a demo of "Waiting For The Kid To Come Out". Fingers crossed we'll be hearing it soon!

mp3: Spoon - I Could See The Dude (Demo)

Monday, January 9, 2012

White Rabbits Drop New Record, Milk Famous, In March

It's been a while since White Rabbits dropped their second full length It's Frightening, so when news came over the wire this morning that they had a new one on the way, we were psyched for the news.  The new record, which drops March 6th on TBD Records, is titled Milk Famous.

While it's not produced by Britt Daniel, the band still kept their Spoon association close, and roped in long time band producer Mike McCarthy to produce the record in Austin, Texas. If the lead track ("Heavy Metal", below) is any indication, McCarthy managed to help the band stay true to the sound of It's Frightening, and deliver a record that is a windy maze of synth laden guitar lines and driving, compact beats.

In addition to the new record, the band will be heading out on tour this spring.  This is, as anyone who has seen the band on stage knows, fantastic news.  Their live show surpasses the greatness of the records to be its own beast, and is an absolutely revelatory experience.  The tour includes stops at awesomely intimate venues across the US, including the Independent in San Francisco, The Paradise in Boston, and (alright, not so intimate) Webster Hall in New York. Suffice it to say, White Rabbits deserve a great deal of your attention this spring.

White Rabbits Spring Tour 2012
March 6: Philadelphia, PA / Union Transfer
March 7: Washington D.C. / Black Cat
March 8: Charlottesville, VA / Jefferson Theater
March 9: Raleigh, NC / Lincoln Theatre
March 11: Atlanta, GA / Variety Playhouse
March 12: Birmingham, AL / The Bottletree
March 13: New Orleans, LA / One Eyed Jacks
March 14: Houston, TX / Fitzgeralds
March 19: Denver, CO / Bluebird Theater
March 20: Salt Lake City, UT / Urban Lounge
March 22: Portland, OR / Doug Fir Lounge
March 23: Vancouver, BC / Biltmore Cabaret
March 24: Seattle, WA / Crocodile Cafe
March 26: San Francisco, CA / The Independent
March 28: Los Angeles, CA / El Rey Theatre
March 29: San Diego, CA / The Casbah
March 30: Phoenix, AZ / Crescent Ballroom
March 31: Tucson, AZ / Club Congress
April 3: Lawrence, KS / Jackpot Music Hall
April 4: Columbia, MO / The Blue Note
April 5: St. Louis, MO / Plush
April 6: Madison, WI / High Noon Saloon
April 7: Minneapolis, MN / Triple Rock Social Club
April 8: Chicago, IL / Metro
April 12: New York, NY / Webster Hall
April 13: Northampton, MA / Pearl Street Downtown
April 14: Boston, MA / Paradise Rock Club

mp3: White Rabbits - Heavy Metal

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Damon Albarn Returns To Africa For Mali Music Follow-Up

We've long been seriously in love with Damon Albarn's Mali Music, so when a friend at New Year's asked if we had heard about the Blur and Gorillaz frontman's African project, we knowingly smiled and knowingly informed them that they were about eight year's late to a seriously awesome musical experience. Well, allow us to stand corrected. It turns out, in fact, that we were about two months late. Albarn returned to Africa and released a new record in October, this time from the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital city of Kinshasa.  The result is a record entitled Kinshasa One Two, and it's a doozy.

With a process similar to Mali Music, Albarn headed to the DRC to allow Western producers to collaborate with native DRC musicians.  While we haven't gotten our hands on full record quite yet, but from everything we've heard it appears to be just as, if not more, enticing than it's predecessor. Albarn apparently brought along Dan The Automator for the adventure, along with XL Records head Richard Russell, and the trio recorded the collaborations with locals in a week's time.  Not half bad, if we do say so ourselves.

Just like Mali Music, the record is an Oxfam benefit, and as such, it would behoove you to purchase an actual copy as opposed to bending the internet to your will.  After all, it is the new year, shouldn't you start it off right?

mp3: Kashasa One Two - Lourds