Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jay Reatard Played The Independent: Pics, Review

This past Sunday night, HAD headed over to the Independent and caught an incendiary set by the notorius Jay Reatard. In many ways the show was exactly what one would expect who was familiar with Reatard's music: quick songs, blazing guitars, heavy distortion, and a mosh-y crowd. But at the root of it, the set had the same charm that underlies the man's records, and what makes him far much more than just a punk.

Let us start by saying that rumors of Reatard's "misbehavior", as far as we can tell, have been wildly exaggerated. Sure, he spat on the stage a bit, and sure he tossed a girl into the crowd after she started attempting to mangle his guitar. Still, at the end of the day, the show was all business: rapid delivery of solid rock tunes, without a whole lot of drama or conflict.

The delivery of tunage that took place was, we must say, completely awesome. Granted, Jay's tunes are pretty simple, and probably offer themselves up pretty easily for live consumption. That being said, the performance was streamlined, and a complete validation that the records that Reatard creates at home on his own translate extremely well to a live environment.

The band is a tightly-knit three piece unit, but they definitely had their rock sensibility and chops thoroughly in place. In particular, the bassist (name, anyone?) seemed to have been thoroughly schooled in the practice of rock acrobatics. At the end of the day, this trio delivered on the promise of Jay Reatard's records: fuzzy, blazing hot, and extremely fun rock and roll. We'll be back again, for sure.

Many more pictures @ the HAD Archive

Doves Have New Album On The Way, US Spring Tour In The Works

We here at HAD have been big fans of Doves ever since 2002 when they released The Last Broadcast. Let's just say we already liked the record, then saw them live (with My Morning Jacket opening, no less!) and were completely hooked. Since then, they've released a steady (albeit slow-to-market) stream of fantastic records that artfully bounce between genres, and manage to define a unique sound while at the same time remaining remarkably accessible.

Things on the Doves front have been pretty quiet since the release of 2005's Some Cities (like we said, slow-to-market), but now word has come over the wire that the band has completed recording a new record entitled Kingdom Of Rust, and we couldn't be more pleased. The record is set to drop on April 7th, and is going to be accompanied by a US tour in the late Spring (dates TBD). That's a bit of a long ways off, but have no fear: the band has made the first single, "Jetstream" available for free download at their website. We could give it to you here, but we hate sabotaging bands that are cool enough to give things away for free.

The tune is completely classic Doves, all sneering vocals and layered guitars underpinned by driving percussion. That being said, there's also something of a new element: more synths, more electronic beats, and a bit of a general departure from their more traditional rock sound. In short, we really dig the track, and we're curious to see if its new feel carries over to the entire record.

Check it out and tell us what you think!

mp3: Doves - Jetstream (Click through, band website download)

Bloc Party Coming To Fox Theater, Presale At 10 AM This Morning

Okay, we'll be frank with you: we like a couple Bloc Party tunes, but after seeing them with Broken Social Scene a few years back, we just aren't really feeling their live show. That being said, we're certainly not one to judge, or have people miss out on tickets.

We know some of you reader-types are probably fans, so we thought this info might be useful to you: The band is playing at Fox Theater on April 20th (4/20...WOOHOO!), and there's a ticket presale this morning at 10 AM. Click here to check out the presale - the password is "fox".

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free Noise Pop Deerhunter Show Confirmed, RSVP Now

That Deerhunter show we mentioned last week? It's been confirmed, and tickets are free. Head here to RSVP now!

The New Hot Chip EP Is Very Good

We'll be frank with you: after listening to Made In The Dark a number of times, we never really felt like Hot Chip was "our thing". It's not that they're even remotely bad, or that there's anything wrong with their tunage, it just had a vibe that was a little too synth-cutesy for our tastes. Well, lately, that's starting to change.

First, we heard their Vampire Weekend cover with Peter Gabriel, and now they've released an EP collaborating with Robert Wyatt and Geese. The disc dropped yesterday, and is an "indie record shop exclusive", whatever that means. Regardless, even if it takes a little extra effort, we really recommend that you pick it up.

The untitled EP reworks four of the band's album tracks, and in our opinion does them quite a bit of justice. Gone are the persistent synths and canned beats, replaced by more abstract, atmospheric instrumentation and percussion. Strings, jaw's harp, and Robert Wyatt's deep, resonant vocals all serve to give the tracks a completely new dimension. What's more, Geese's remixing duties turn "One Pure Thought" from a rock song into an exercise in percussive drones.

We'll say it again: we certainly are not in love with Hot Chip's Made In The Dark. But, if this is the direction they're headed, we have to say we're firmly on board. These tracks not only stand up for themselves, but show a band that isn't satisfied to rest on their laurels and milk a single sound. Well played, boys.

mp3: Hot Chip Feat. Robert Wyatt - Made In The Dark

Modest Mouse Spring Tour: Coming To Fox Theater In February, Presale Thursday Morning @ 10

Photo from the HAD Archive

We last heard from the boys of Modest Mouse, they were opening for REM at the Greek Theater last spring. Well, here we are almost a year later and it looks as though the band is reinstating their role as headliner. Modest Mouse will be playing a headlining tour in February and March which will span from California to Florida, and will be making an opening-night Bay Area stop at the newly renovated Fox Theater in Oakland. There's a presale tomorrow morning at 10, for which the password is "fox". Good luck with that!

While you wait around for the presale, why not check out this video of Isaac Brock performing with Broken Social Scene? Yes, indeed.

Modest Mouse Spring 2009 Tour:
02/22/2009 Oakland CA Fox Theater
02/23/2009 Visalia CA The Fox Theatre
02/24/2009 Hollywood CA HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM
02/25/2009 Tempe AZ The Marquee
02/26/2009 Albuquerque NM Albuquerque Convention Center, Hall
02/28/2009 Boulder CO Balch Fieldhouse/C.U. Boulder
03/02/2009 Kansas City MO
03/03/2009 Oklahoma City OK Diamond Ballroom
03/07/2009 Atlanta GA THE TABERNACLE
03/08/2009 Miami FL Langerado Music Festival

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tweedy Adds East Coast Solo Dates, Presale Wednesday Morning

Picture from the HAD Archive

Last week we mentioned that Wilco had lined up some dates in Spain and Portugal, while Jeff Tweedy was doing some solo time in the midwest. Well, Tweedy's commitments appear to have expanded, and he's added three dates on the East Coast to his solo jaunt. March 26th, 27th, and 28th, Tweedy will be in Burlington, VT, Northampton, MA, and Beacon, NY, respectively.

The first two dates have a pre-sale tomorrow morning at 10, while the final date is a charity show which will apparently also have a presale tomorrow morning via Wilco's web site. While that does effectively leave the West coast in a bit of a Wilco-lurch, it does still have the noted value of adding more nights in which to debut material, which is something we always endorse.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tasty Walkmen Video: "On The Water"

Okay, granted, the "let's film a band ad hoc in some sort of moving transportation" thing is kind of getting a little tired. That being said, since The Walkmen's show on Wednesday night, we've been on a bit of an insatiable Walkmen-kick. All things being equal, we were more than happy to eat up this awesome acoustic take ("in a van"?!?!) of "On The Water". Frankly, our favorite bit is the whistling and triangle insanity that kicks in at around 2:25. There's nothing like a good group whistle to get your night going!

Watch the regular version above, or head to Vimeo to watch in HD.

Thanks to p4k for the tip.

Reminder: High Places Contest Ends At One

Looking for something to do tonight? Want to hear some quality tunage? We're giving away two tickets to High Places at the Bottom Of The Hill tonight, so get your entries in by one!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Deerhunter Playing Free Show @ Mezzanine For Noise Pop's Opening Night

We don't have many details for you beyond what's in the headline, but we have it on good authority that Deerhunter will be playing a free show at Mezzanine for Noise Pop's opening night. Details forthcoming...XOXO

New Jay Reatard: "Whisper To Me"

Via the man's blog, here's Jay Reatard with a demo version of a new tune called "Whisper To Me". It's all screechy guitars over a dreamy forward moving chord progression. To say we like it would be an understatement: it's very, very, good.

Jay Reatard is at The Independent on January 25th. Tickets are on-sale now.

mp3: Jay Reatard - Whisper To Me (MediaFire, click through)Link

Beach House And The Walkmen Played The Fillmore: Pics, Review

Riding the success of an awesome new album is never a bad thing. Nor is having a lead singer who is not only charismatic, but whose voice is also in top form. Nor is having a band that is wildly technically proficient, but adept enough to make it look effortless. Suffice it to say: Last night at The Fillmore The Walkmen proved without a doubt that they are very much in the game, and are delivering one of the best live shows you can see today.

The set opened with Beach House, who brought along their own group of devout fans, and delivered a solid set. We at HAD had heard the band described as "mellow", and as such were sort of expecting something relatively soft, which a certain warm vibe to it. Quite to the contrary, the band delivered a set that was "mellow" more in the sense of Mazzy Star or Portishead.

There was a certain sense of melancholy, and many of the melodies were weighty and plodding. Atmospheric guitars abounded, and Victoria Legrand's deep breathy vocals set a somber mood for most of the tunes. That being said, we also got the distinct feel of classic motown in her delivery, and it served to make for a group of songs that had much more depth than was first apparent. After soaking up the set, we have to say the band won us over.

Following Beach House's set, The Walkmen took the stage and launched into a set that traversed all four of their records. Surprisingly (simply because of its newness to the catalogue), some of the biggest crowd reactions were to the band's latest, You & Me. Both "In The New Year" and "Red Moon" both received rapturous applause.

The band has chosen to travel with a horn section (much like the ad hoc one from their 2006 tour), and many of the songs featured new horn arrangements. This served as the gateway for a performance of an HAD favorite "Louisiana". While it didn't win over the crowd as some of the "hits", we have to say we were glad to hear the tune.

On top of a fantastic setlist, we have to say that Hamilton Leithauser's voice was in the best shape we've heard it in years. Throughout the set, he effortlessly hung onto notes, and delivered all of the high notes with pitch-perfect crystal-clear precision. All vocalists have on and off days, and last night was most definitely an "on" one for Leithauser.

For us, however, the highlights of the night were two Walkmen "classics": "Thinking Of A Dream I Had" and "Wake Up". Both were simply smoking hot versions of the songs that had the band firing on all cylinders, and the audience right along with them. The Walkmen have the amazing good fortune of having created a truly unique sound, and having ridden the wave of critical acclaim and skepticism to come out on the other side. Their performance is instilled with a new found confidence that left us feeling, unquestionably, that The Walkmen are here to stay.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

Contest: High Places Are At Bottom Of The Hill Tomorrow Night (Ticket Giveaway)

To be frank, High Places have sort of fallen off our radar since we gave some listening time to their compilation 03/07 - 09/07 last summer. For those not familiar, the band presents an eerie blend of organic beats supported by simple melodic vocals, and minimalist instrumentation. It's something of a genre mashup, but it also reminds us more than a little bit of some of the Mo Tucker Velvet Underground tracks.

So, fast forward six months, and the Brooklyn-based duo is on the road touring in support of their self titled album that dropped last fall. What does this mean for you? Well, the band will be playing an all ages show at Bottom Of The Hill tomorrow night, and we have two tickets to give away! What better way to start a weekend?

As always, winning is easy. Just send the answer to this question to and you could be in possession of two tickets!

Where did High Places play their first show?

Contest closes at 1 PM Friday, one entry per person please. Good luck!

Noise Pop To Feature New Wilco Film

Photo from the HAD Archive

We've already mentioned Noise Pop 2009, and the advent of a new Wilco film entitled Ashes Of American Flags. Well, now those two news tidbits that have us so excited have unified into one glorious event!

Ashes Of American Flags
will be showing as part of the Noise Pop film festival on Sunday March 1st at 2 PM. We have no idea if this a "premier" of some kind, but it's certainly the first showing we've gotten wind of. The event takes place at Artist's Television Access at Valencia and 21st, and tickets are on sale now! See you there!

The Killers San Jose Presale Starts At 10 AM This Morning

Sorry for the late notice kids, we were um...sleeping. Anyhoo. Frankly, we're not loving The Killers all that much these days , and we've been hearing less than favorable things about their live show as of late. That being said, we try not to be haters, and in principle we still love the band's first record. Okay, their pre-label EP. Still.

We figured some of you might want this info: The San Jose Live 105 presale starts at 10 AM, the password is "spaceman". Good luck!

A Word On M.I.A., "Paper Planes", And The Clash

Hey kids - we'd been meaning to post this for a while, but today's news the M.I.A. was nominated for an Oscar for "O Saya" put a bee in our bonnet. To be honest, we really, really, didn't even think we would need to post something like this. We kind of just assumed everyone knew. But after a vague survey amongst (we thought) musically astute friends, we discovered that a surprisingly few people seem to be aware. So, here you go: a public service announcement. Those of you who feel that this is old hat, please bear with us.

It's about Maya's "Paper Planes". We don't know how else to put it, so we'll say it straight: you know that's a Clash sample, right? The little organ riff that drives, oh, you know, the whole song? It's ripped straight from the beginning of "Straight To Hell", a tune off of the band's final album as a unit, Combat Rock.

We're not sure why we feel it's quite so necessary for you all to know this, except maybe that we think The Clash, despite all of the critical recognition, seem to still get lost in the shuffle sometimes. Their legacy is so much more than "Rock The Casbah" and "I Fought The Law", and while those who love them recognize it, a lot of others don't.

"Straight To Hell" is exactly the sort of epic, sprawling political commentary that made the band so popular, yet relevant at the same time. Given her history in art and politics, we're sure M.I.A. realized that when she picked the sample, so now, urm, you can too: have a listen.

mp3: M.I.A. - Paper Planes (YouSendIt, Click Through)
mp3: The Clash - Straight To Hell
(YouSendIt, Click Through)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Animal Collective Fox Theater Presale Is Tomorrow Morning At 10

Photo from the HAD Archive

Remember that Animal Collective show at Fox Theater that we mentioned earlier today, for which tickets were not yet available? Well, scratch that: the presale is tomorrow morning at 10 AM PST. Click here for satisfaction: the password is "fox". Good luck!

Reminder: The Walkmen And Beach House Are At The Fillmore Tonight

Picture from the HAD Archive

Okay, so it's raining for the first time in a while, and despite the positive impact on the environment, you're a little bummed. Well, what better way to alleviate the rainy day blues than to attend a sweet rock and roll show? No better way, we say!

The Walkmen
and Beach House are playing tonight at The Fillmore, and we're more than a little psyched. We haven't seen the Walkmen since their much-loved-around-these-parts-record You & Me dropped, and by all accounts Beach House can really deliver in the live enviro. The combination should be, well...stellar.

Tickets are already sold out, but you can always dig about...

mp3: The Walkmen - There Goes My Baby (YouSendIt, click through)

Animal Collective Tour, Playing Oakland And Big Sur

Picture from the HAD Archive

Okay, we've got this to say: blogosphere, calm down. Yes, the new Animal Collective record is good (more on that in another post), but it's the second week in January. Declaring this the "year of Animal Collective" seems a little, urm, premature, no?

That being said, we love them dudes, and we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that they've decided to tour in support of the widely loved Merriweather Post Pavillion. The tour spans six months, and finds the band in Europe, Canada, and the US.

For their stop in the Bay, they've decided to take on two smaller venues, rather than one giant SF lovefest. Specifically, they'll be playing the newly renovated Fox Theater in Oakland, and the Henry Miller library in Big Sur. We're guessing the Oakland show will be the go-to for most Bay area folk; ticket onsale isn't listed yet on ticketmaster, so keep your eyes open and we'll do the same.

The tour started last night in New York, Brooklyn Vegan has pics.

Animal Collective 2009 Tour Dates:
01/20 - New York, NY @ Grand Ballroom New York
01/21 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom New York
01/22 - Chicago, Illinois @ Metro
01/23 - Los Angeles, California @ Henry Fonda Theatre
01/24 - Los Angeles, California @ Troubadour
03/04 - Oslo, Norway @ Rockerfeller
03/05 - Lund, Sweden @ Mejeriet
03/06 - Copenhagen @ Amager Bio
03/08 - Cologne, Germany @ Gloria
03/09 - Heidelberg, Germany @ Karlstorbahnhof
03/10 - Fribourg, Germany @ Fri-Son
03/11 - Lucerne, Switzerland @ Konzerthaus Schurr
03/12 - Florence, Italy @ Viper Room
03/13 - Rome, Italy @ Teatro Studio
03/14 - Milan, Italy @ Rolling Stone
03/16 - Strasbourg, France @ La Laiterie
03/17 - Amsterdam @ Paradiso
03/18 - Brussels @ Ancienne Belgique
03/19 - Lille, France @ Aeronef
03/20 - Nantes, France @ L'Olympic
03/22 - Bristol, UK @ Trinity Centre
03/23 - Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms
03/24 - London, UK @ The Forum
03/25 - Leeds, UK @ TJ's Woodhouse Club
03/26 - Liverpool, UK @ Static Gallery
03/27 - Dublin @ Tripod
03/28 - Belfast @ Stiff Kitten
05/11 - Washington DC @ 9:30 Club
05/12 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
05/13 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5
05/14 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
05/15 - Montreal, Quebec @ Metropolis
05/16 - Toronto, Ontario @ Sound Academy
05/18 - Royal Oak, Michigan @ Royal Oak Music Hall
05/19 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin @ Turner Hall Ballroom
05/20 - Minneapolis, Minnesota @ First Avenue
05/24 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
05/25 - Portland, Oregon @ Roseland Theatre
05/26 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre
05/27 - Big Sur, CA @ Henry Miller Memorial Library
05/29 - Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern
05/30 - Las Vegas, Nevada @ House of Blues
05/31 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
06/01 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre
06/02 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theatre
06/04 - Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
06/05 - Austin, TX @ Stubbs
06/06 - Oxford, Mississippi @ The Library
06/08 - St. Petersburg, Florida @ State Theatre
06/09 - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida @ Culture Room
06/10 - Orlando, Florida @ Firestone

Wilco Touring Spain And Portugal, Tweedy Solo In The Midwest

Photo from the HAD Archive

In light of the news that Wilco's spending time in the studio this winter, we were psyched to see that the band has started lining up dates for the late spring and summer. No doubt these will be the testing ground for the new material, and hopefully will give us a little insight into where the band's headed musically.

While there's nothing on tap yet for the west coast (or most of the US, for that matter), the band has lined up eight dates in Portugal and Spain. What's more, Jeff Tweedy is headed out for some solo dates at the end of this month. Both of these seem ripe for some new material to surface, but maybe we're just overly hopeful.

In the meantime you can check out this post at The Stranger Dance that has some new material from the Bridge School Benefit for you to ponder.

Wilco Tour Dates Spring 2009 (Portugal and Spain):

Jeff Tweedy Solo Dates:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Day Has Come

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Bloody Valentine: You Made Me Realise, or How On Earth Is This Record Out Of Print?

You Made Me Realise, the name given by fans to an actually untitled EP, is rather universally accepted as the jumping off point for My Bloody Valentine's renaissance in the world of noisy shoegaze pop. The record was released three months prior to Isn't Anything, and to our ears is actually a step ahead of that record. The guitars are noisier, the sounds more abstract, and the overall feel is darker, much more in line with Loveless.

"Slow" is a testament to the bendy guitar riffs that would later rule Loveless. "Thorn" is a poppy accessible track that touches on what would become the band's signature multi-tracked vocal sound. "Cigarette In Your Bed" foreshadows the reverse-recorded guitar feel of "Loomer", and "Drive It All Over Me" shares the steady rock underpinnings of "What You Want". Perhaps most notably, the leadoff track "Do You Realise" is the source of the noise attack that for many would come to define the band's live sound. Simply put, the EP is an overview of what would become My Bloody Valentine.

So, given all this, on might truly wonder: why is this record out of print? It was reissued in 1990, and since then: nowhere. It's not on iTunes, it's not in stores. It's not even in used record shops, and when it is, it's usually overpriced beyond recognition. Given the recent hype of the band's reunification and the live show's emphasis on "You Made Me Realise", you would think even a small print run reissue to sell at the live shows might have surfaced. And yet, to no avail: the record, which was named by both Q and NME on "best of" lists, is nowhere to be found.

It's times like these when we are morally torn: we pay for music, we support artists, we're out of the illegal download thing. Okay, RIAA, you scared us into submission. But here we have a conundrum: here is a record we cannot get - it is simply not available for purchase or consumption. And yet, the internet has it for us, exactly how we want it. What's a fan to do?

mp3: My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise (YouSendIt, click through)

New Music: Grand Lake, Show At The Uptown February 6th

Picture from the HAD Archive

We just got a nudge from a little birdy and discovered that Caleb Nichols (seen above in an HAD Archive photo) left Port O'Brien in June of last year to pursue his own musical endeavor. The product of that pursuit is the band Grand Lake, currently based out of Oakland.

On first listen, we're liking what we're hearing - the band offers up some solid minimalist pop, with catchy melodies and solid hooks. It appears that they've fingered "Nevermint" as the lead track on a forthcoming EP, which is set for release in March on 500 Records.

In the meantime, if you like what you hear (and we're guessing you shall), the band will be playing a free show at the Uptown in Oakland (along with Whispertown, Man/Miracle, and The No's) on February 6th. Four bands for no bucks? Can't argue with value, folks!

Stream: Grand Lake @ Myspace

The Blacks Played Rickshaw Stop: Photos, Review

On Thursday night, we had the privilege to stop in at the Rickshaw Stop and check out the final show of The Blacks' "San Francisco Values Tour". Suffice it to say, we were not disappointed. The San Francisco three piece put on a searing live show that ran the gamut from stone cold noise rock to overjoyed audience participation. All the attitude and spunk that can be heard on their recordings is double in the live environment. It was one of those nights when you realize that there are bands who truly deliver, and bands who don't. The Blacks are soundly in the former category.

The Blacks definitely occupy a very distinct niche of sound. To anyone who has sampled their wares (and we recommend that you do), the sound is already pulsing in your head. It's a somewhat droney, somewhat fuzzed out rock sound that somehow delivers apathy and rock at the same time. It's built around steady, driving, drum beats and jangly, reverbed, fuzzed out guitars. To put them firmly in the same camp with The Jesus And Mary Chain would not be inaccurate.

One surprising thing about the band lineup was the instrumentation: We had assumed, perhaps naively, that Luisa would be taking on vocals, with Justin on guitar and Gavin on drums. Such was not the case, as Luisa took on both vocals and all guitar duties, where Justin fulfilled something of a percussionist/backup singer/crowd rouser role. Gavin was, as expected, solidly on drums. The amazing thing was that even given such a sparse lineup, the band delivered a remarkably full live sound: the guitars were waves of layered noise, the drums complex and intricate, and the vocals spot-on.

The highlight of the show came towards the end (does it always?) when the band distributed a drove of tambourines to the crowd, and the whole room became an interactive, percussive romp. At first it was just crowd percussion, but as the band invited everyone on stage, the gig became an all out party. Pair that with a killer cover of Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" to close the show, and well, let's just say that everyone went home extremely happy.

There are a handful of Bay Area bands that are currently on our "must see" list, and after The Blacks' show at Rickshaw on Thursday, they've certainly joined the ranks. They deliver a live show that is all at once incendiary, musically relevant, visually diverse, and most of all - fun. Granted, they've just wrapped their tour, but when you next get a chance to see them, be there.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive.

The New U2 Album Is Here: Cover Art, Single, And Q Interview

We were planning a post on the new U2 record based purely on our excitement in reading the monster set of interviews in the latest issue of Q Magazine. The article features in depth interviews with each of the band members, and left us more than a little excited for their latest No Line On The Horizon.

For one, the article features photos of Bono having somewhat-abandoned his recent longish hair/leather jacket look in favor of a short hair/eyeliner look. We always enjoy a persona change for the front man, and given that the band is on the "hot" angle of their hot/cold album cycle, it's definitely a good sign!

For another, the band seems to be united in their belief that this is their biggest departure in an album since Achtung Baby, which at the time was drastically different that had preceeded it. Now granted, the album still has to be good for a departure to be relevant, but we here at HAD are of the view that U2 always seems to be a bit better when they're pushing boundries than when they're in their comfort zone.

Finally, the band is taking on technical as well as musical challenges: Apparently they'll be releasing an A/V version of the album that utilizes the ever-ubiquitous flat panel television. What's more, they're planning engineering feats for the tour (yes, there's a tour) that surpass everything the band's done before. Given their touring and stage track record, that's not exactly rhetoric. Frankly, we can't wait.

Well, follow all of this new info with the ever-leaky interwebs, and last week has seen the release of not only the album cover art (above), but also the first single "Get On Your Boots" (below). The single is a little too much in the "Vertigo" category for us, but it's also the lead-off single, so we're willing to keep an open mind. More importantly, the band sounds nice and loose (in a good way), and Bono sounds like he's really having fun.

For those of you who are U2 haters, it might be time to batten the hatches. It's looking like it could be another landmark year for the boys from Ireland.

Stream: U2 - Get On Your Boots

Friday, January 16, 2009 Hosting Joy Division Doc For The Week continues to deliver on their stellar "One Week Only" series: This week they're hosting director Grant Gee's (he of Meeting People Is Easy) 2007 documentary Joy Division. The film contains extensive band interviews and performances, and in general seems to be a solid companion piece to the slightly-more-fantasy driven Control (which we highly recommend). So, you know, if you hate sunshine and beautiful weather, stay inside and check it out!

Stream: - Joy Division

Willie Nelson: New Record, Five Nights At The Fillmore

While we have no idea what sort of show it'll shape up to be, it caught our eye that Willie Nelson will be playing a five night run, starting tonight, at The Fillmore. While we wouldn't call ourselves Nelson connoisseurs, we dig a fair amount of his work, and we were really quite smitten with 2006's Ryan Adams produced, Cardinals backed, Songbird.

Willie is lined up to release a new record, entitled Willie And The Wheel, in February. The record is a collaboration with Asleep At The Wheel, and apparently is "a collection of classic western swing songs handpicked by the late Jerry Wexler". The current tour features Willie with the band, and is in support of the yet-to-be-released disc. Which is to say, we'd guess you can expect to preview more than a couple of tracks from the record.

Put differently: if you like your music country and your cigarettes green, then we've found your choice entertainment!

Tickets are sold out for all shows - craigslist?

John Vanderslice + Spoon = Uber Tasty

Our post about Tiny Telephone's anniversary show got us digging through our John Vanderslice archives, and we stumbled upon this little gem: Way back in 2001 when the indie rock scene was just crawling to it's current mainstream hype levels, and Spoon was still making records at Tiny Telephone, Vanderslice and the boys from Austin did a tour together.

On said tour, the two acts (presumably) forged the bond that continues to exist to this day (Vanderslice guested at Spoon's Fillmore shows last fall). What's more, they went into the studio (at Chris Walla's Hall Of Justice) and took a stab at the title track from Vanderslice's record Time Travel Is Lonely. The results are, well, awesome. We love John's original, but the Spoon versions simply push out it's experimentalism at tad to the point where it's not such a comfortable, well defined arrangement. We likey.

Thankfully, Mr. Vanderslice is hosting all these tasty tracks (From Time Travel Is Lonely, Insound Tour Support 18, and Unreleased, respectively.) on his website for you to enjoy.

mp3: John Vanderslice - Time Travel Is Lonely
mp3: John Vanderslice - Time Travel Is Lonely (feat. Spoon)
mp3: John Vanderslice - Time Travel Is Lonely (fest Spoon, Instrumental Version)

John Vanderslice Celebrating Tiny Telephone's 10 Year Anniversary In Style

John Vanderslice is certainly something of a San Francisco indie rock instituion. Not only does the man have a drove of awesome, intelligent rock records, but he also founded and runs San Francisco's preeminent analog recording studio: Tiny Telephone.

Well, Vanderslice is in the midst of record his next record, but apparently he decided to take a little break. It seems that Tiny Telephone has hit the ten year mark in style, and so Mr. Vanderslice has seen fit to celebrate his baby's anniversary with a show of epic proportions over at the Great American Music Hall.

On January 30th, along with the 30 piece Magik*Magik Orchestra, Vanderslice will be performing a set of old and new tunes. What's more, he's roped in hip-hop maestro (and now local resident) Aesop Rock to DJ the festivities.

Hmm...let's just say this: one part notable recording studio, two parts notable local musicians, one part 30 piece orchestra, and one part ten year anniversary? Recipe for awesome! (Sorry, we are such freaking nerds around here. Deal.)

Tickets are on-sale now.

Plants And Animals Plot Tour, Returning To Bottom Of The Hill

Picture from the HAD Archive

The last we heard from Plants And Animals (aside from our 2008 best-of list) was in an opening slot at Bottom Of The Hill last October. We said it then, and we'll say it now: this is not a band that should be in an opening slot. They simply deliver so solidly, and bring so much to every live show, that putting them anywhere but as headliners is a waste.

Well, clearly others agree with us: after rounding out the winter with a few more opening slots, the band has planned a new headlining tour that crosses the US over the course of March. For San Francisco, that means a headlining slot at Bottom Of The Hill on March 14th. For the rest of you, well, see below.

We're secretly hoping this new tour will be accompanied by some new material, but even if it's more of Parc Avenue, well, we'll still be extremely pleased. So psyched.

mp3: Plants And Animals - Guru (YouSendIt, click through)

Plants and Animals Winter/Spring 2009 Dates:
Jan 21 2009 UPEI - The Wave w/ Wintersleep Charlottetown, Prince Edward
Jan 22 2009 UNB - SUB Cafeteria w/ Wintersleep Fredericton, New Brunswick
Jan 23 2009 University of Moncton - (C.E.P.S.) w/ Wintersleep Moncton, New Brunswick
Jan 24 2009 Club One w/ Wintersleep St. John’s, Newfoundland
Jan 28 2009 Axe Lounge w/ Wintersleep Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Jan 29 2009 The Marquee Club w/ Wintersleep Halifax, Nova Scotia
Jan 30 2009 The Marquee Club w/ Wintersleep Halifax, Nova Scotia
Feb 27 2009 Bowery Ballroom w/ Blitzen Trapper New York, New York
Feb 28 2009 Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Blitzen Trapper Brooklyn, New York
Mar 1 2009 DC9 Washington, Washington DC
Mar 2 2009 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mar 3 2009 Is Venue Charlottesville, Virginia
Mar 4 2009 The Earl Altanta, Georgia
Mar 6 2009 The Mohawk Austin, Texas
Mar 7 2009 Hailey’s Denton, Texas
Mar 9 2009 Modified Phoenix, Arizona
Mar 10 2009 Casbah San Diego, California
Mar 12 2009 The Echo Los Angeles, California
Mar 14 2009 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, California
Mar 16 2009 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, Oregon
Mar 17 2009 Nectar Seattle, Washington
Mar 18 2009 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, British Columbia
Mar 19 2009 Habitat Kelowna, British Columbia
Mar 20 2009 Starlite Room Edmonton, Alberta
Mar 21 2009 Marquee Room Calgary, Alberta
Mar 23 2009 Louis Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Mar 24 2009 Park Theatre Winnipeg, Manitoba
Mar 26 2009 The Frequency Madison, Wisconsin
Mar 27 2009 Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Mar 28 2009 Pike Room at the Crofoot Pontiac, Michigan

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hear M. Ward's Latest, Hold Time

If you're one of the many who's all psyched up for Matt Ward's sold out show at the Palace Of Fine Arts In April, well you've got a while to wait. What's more, the new record isn't even going to hit the shelves until February 7th. So what can you do with your Ward fever in the meantime? Well, we would suggest heading over to NPR: For some unknown reason, the site has been chosen as the exclusive venue to stream Ward's new album in its entirety.

From we're sitting, the record's sounding pretty good. It's a solid dose of Ward's distinctive sound, complete with crunchy guitars, breathy multi tracked vocals, and rolling beats. Fans of Post War (which we most certainly are) will not be disappointed. If you just have to get something on your iPod, well, Stereogum's dug up at least one mp3 (featuring Zooey Deschanel) for you to stuff into the digital repository of your choice.

Stream: M. Ward - Hold Time (entire album)

Elvis Costello Takes On Xtina, Oh How We Love It

We'll be the first to admit that we completely dig on Xtina's 2002 hit "Beautiful", and not without reason: For one, the woman's voice is just killer. For another, it's penned by former 4 Non Blondes leader Linda Perry, so it has a bit of cred. And really, we can't help but chuckle every time we see the melodramatic video that includes droves of stereotypically "ugly" protagonists. Ah, Hollywood.

Yet for all it's famous connections, we also think that "Beautiful" is really just an amazing song, and apparently Elvis Costello agrees with us. Costello covered the tune for the 2007 soundtrack to House MD, and we've had his version on near-constant rotation since. Costello completely abandons the grandiose balladry of the original to deliver a sparse version that depends largely on a lilting drum beat, and borrows more than a little from the arrangement of his own "The Bridge I Burned".

More than anything, we love this version because it shows just how great this tune truly is. Even disected and minimized to near-demo form, it swells with power and relevance. At the same time, Costello's version loses much of Aguilera's vibe of the "encouraging friend", and instead instills it with a triple dose of "get off your ass". Love it, people. Truly.

mp3: Elvis Costello - Beautiful

Some Tasty New Tunes: Eagle And Talon

Eagle And Talon are a duo from Los Angeles who we just got wind of on the internets myspaces technology. Usually we're pretty tough to win over with the "I'll listen for two seconds and see if it sticks" myspace practice, but these two grabbed us immediately. Their sound is an upbeat, somewhat garagey, often dissonant, yet entirely accessible one. At times it's reminiscent of Sleater Kinney, but it throws in just enough dischord and experimentation to boldly maintain its own territory. If you like what you hear (and we do), then might we suggest stopping by the Hemlock Tavern on January 29th? The band will be up from LA to play a gig for your purty little NorCal ears.

mp3: Eagle And Talon - Hot Caught (YouSendIt, click through)

Nickel Eye: Record Drops, Indepdendent In February

If Little Joy's visit back in December wasn't enough of a Strokes gap-filler, then you're in luck: Nikolai Fraiture is taking his band Nickel Eye on the road in support of their new record The Time Of Assassins. The record, which drops on January 27th, is much more genre-sharing with The Strokes than Little Joy's records. Nikolai's vocals even sound a bit Jules-ish, if not with a tad less range.

One truly interesting element of hearing all of the Strokes' side projects is that it really becomes clear how they meld together as a band and use their different tastes to create a cohesive sound. That being said, it's also quite insightful to see just exactly what each Stroke would do, given full creative control.

The tour (which started last night in Montreal), spans most of the continent, and wraps up with its final night here in San Francisco on February 2nd. Judging by the tunes we've heard, this record is a pretty catchy nugget, and only serves to chug along even better in a liven environment. So Nikolai - count us in.

UPDATE: Win a signed Nickel Eye 7" over at the Modern Age!

Tickets are on-sale now.

mp3: Nickel Eye - You And Everyone Else
mp3: Nickel Eye - Dying Star

Nickel Eye Winter 2009 Dates:
Jan 15 2009 Paradise Rock Club w/ The Raveonettes Boston, Massachusetts
Jan 16 2009 Webster Hall w/ The Raveonettes New York, New York
Jan 17 2009 Black Cat w/ The Raveonettes Washington DC, Washington DC
Jan 18 2009 Khyber Pass Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jan 20 2009 El Mocambo Toronto, Ontario
Jan 21 2009 Magic Stick Detroit, Michigan
Jan 22 2009 The Beat Kitchen Chicago, Illinois
Jan 23 2009 Majestic Theater Madison, Wisconsin
Jan 24 2009 Fine Line Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jan 26 2009 Marquis Denver, Colorado
Jan 29 2009 Troubadour Los Angeles, California
Jan 30 2009 The Loft/UCSD San Diego, California
Jan 31 2009 Detroit Bar Costa Mesa, California
Feb 2 2009 Independent San Francisco

Mates Of State And Black Kids To Play Two Night Stand At The Independent

Apparently (hopefully) somewhat chastened by their Fillmore->GAMH downsizing last fall, the Black Kids have this time decided to embark on a co-headlining tour with the always loveable husband-wife team of Mates Of State. The two bands will be playing two nights at the Independent on April 20th and 21st, switching their playing order between the two. The tour goes throughout April, and manages to catch both coasts, and even quite a few spots in between. For two bands that write such catchy tunage, we can't really see how you'd go wrong.

Tickets go on-sale this Sunday at 10 AM.

Mates Of State And Black Kids, Spring 2009 Dates:
Apr 2 2009 Richmond, VA The National
Apr 4 2009 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
Apr 5 2009 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
Apr 6 2009 NY, NY Webster Hall
Apr 7 2009 Boston, MA House of Blues
Apr 9 2009 Montreal, QC Cabaret Musee Juste Pour Rire
Apr 10 2009 Toronto, ON Phoenix Theatre
Apr 11 2009 Chicago, IL Metro
Apr 12 2009 MInneapolis, MN Varsity Theatre
Apr 13 2009 Kansas City, MO Beaumont Club
Apr 15 2009 Denver, CO Oriental Theatre
Apr 17 2009 Seattle, WA Neumos
Apr 18 2009 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom
Apr 19 2009 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
Apr 20 2009 San Francisco, CA The Independent
Apr 21 2009 San Francisco, CA The Independent
Apr 23 2009 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theatre
Apr 24 2009 Pomona, CA The Glass House
Apr 25 2009 Tempe, AZ The Clubhouse
Apr 27 2009 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre
Apr 28 2009 Austin, TX La Zona Rosa
Apr 29 2009 Houston, TX Warehouse Live

Foundry Field Recordings Plot Out Spring Tour

We haven't heard much from Foundry Field Recordings since 2007's Fallout Stations EP, but judging from the band's touring schedule, it looks like things may be ramping up in the FFR camp. The band has scheduled an early Spring tour that includes the midwest, the west coast, and then a number of dates at South By Southwest.

To be honest, in recent months the band has really fallen off of our radar, mainly due to inactivity. That being said, we've supremely enjoyed everything they've put out, and seeing that the band hasn't disappeared into the ether has us really excited. Given that we've never seen the band live, we were psyched to see that there's a (location TBA) San Francisco date lined up for March 10th. Hopefully we'll get to hear some new material in addition to the awesomeness that graced their existing record and two EP's.

In the meantime, click below for some great mp3s from the band's 2007 Daytrotter Session. Our personal fave is Buy/Sell/Trade, but they're all great. If these tracks don't convince you to check out the band's live show, we're not sure what will.

mp3: Foundry Field Recordings - Assembled Hazardly (Daytrotter Session) (YouSendIt, click through)
mp3: Foundry Field Recordings - Battle Brigades Part II (Daytrotter Session) (YouSendIt, click through)

mp3: Foundry Field Recordings - Buy Sell Trade (Daytrotter Session) (YouSendIt, click through)

mp3: Foundry Field Recordings - Circuits On Board (Daytrotter Session) (YouSendIt, click through)

Foundry Field Recordings Spring 2009 Dates:
Feb 26 2009 The Billiken Club St. Louis, Missouri
Feb 27 2009 Schuba’s Chicago, Illinois

Feb 28 2009 Courtyard Cafe Urbana, Illinois
Mar 1 2009 Nomad World Pub Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 2 2009 Replay Lounge Lawrence, KS

Mar 3 2009 Hi-Dive Denver, Colorado

Mar 4 2009 Kilby Court Salt Lake City, Utah

Mar 5 2009 The Palace Missoula, Montana

Mar 6 2009 American Legion Cabin Moscow, Idaho

Mar 7 2009 TBA Seattle, Washington

Mar 8 2009 Rontoms Portland, Oregon

Mar 10 2009 TBA San Francisco

Mar 11 2009 Satellite Reno, Nevada

Mar 12 2009 Silverlake Lounge Los Angeles, California

Mar 13 2009 Luxury Wafer Sessions Los Angeles
Mar 14 2009 Pink Elephant San Diego, California

Mar 18 2009 SXSW - TBA Austin, Texas

Mar 19 2009 SXSW - TBA Austin, Texas

Mar 20 2009 SXSW - TBA Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 Valley of the Vapors Fest Hot Springs, AR

The Bad Plus Add A Vocalist, And We're Not Sure We Like It

We here at HAD have been big fans of The Bad Plus ever since we saw them touring in support of These Are The Vistas way back in 2003. Since then, the band has released a number of truly enjoyable albums, and continued to expand and further their identity as a trio. The band does an amazing job at combining the influences of progressive rock, jazz, and whatever else they feel like mixing in, to yield a unique sound that appeals to just about anyone.

Which brings us to 2009: The Bad Plus have announced that their latest record, entitled For All I Care, will be a collaboration with a vocalist named Wendy Lewis. Apparently, they were inspired by the classic eponymous John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman album, which is all well and good - if Wendy Lewis were anything like Johnny Hartman. Which is to say, she is not.

Frankly, we're pretty happy with the Bad Plus' formula, and it seems to have a lot of room to grow, despite a constant lineup. Not that we're averse to change. Rather, it just seems like the band's distinctive style requires a really specific voice to complement it, and Lewis' just isn't it. The band's sound tends to be rather abstract, and leave a lot of spaces - so that even familiar tunes require that you really pay attention to see where they're going. By contrast, the tracks with Lewis feel stifled and constrained by her vocals. She sticks hard and fast to song structures and melodies, so that the band seems to be just waiting to let loose. It's not that there's anything bad about it per se, it just loses an element of The Bad Plus that we know and love. Then again, given the album's title, maybe that's exactly the idea.

The album has already been released in the rest of the world, so there are a lot of tracks floating around online. Below is the official "promo track" for the US, a cover of The Flaming Lips' "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate". We'll let you judge for yourself, and we'll be picking up the full album when it drops, but at the moment we're more than a little skeptical.

For All I Care drops on February 3rd.

mp3: The Bad Plus feat. Wendy Lewis - Feeling Yourself Disintegrate (YouSendIt, click through)