Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Girls Third Record On The Way

Given that we were in attendance of their first show of all time, we've always had something of a soft spot for San Francisco's Girls. Given that, we were stoked to hear the news that a third record from the band will be dropping on September 13th. Father, Son, Holy Ghost is the third record, if you count last year's Broken Dreams Club. While only six tracks long, the disc contained all new material, and managed to land on Pitchfork's "Best Of" albums list.

Technicalities aside, we're excited to hear what the band will do with the space of another full length to once again stretch their legs musically. The first record, Album, followed two EPs, and expanded on them both stylistically and creatively. Frankly, we're hoping to hear the band make a sonic branch with the record, and delve into some new areas. It was apparently recorded in a San Francisco office building, so clearly they mean business. Ba dum bum. Either way, we can't wait. September here we come!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Noel Gallagher Drops New Video

Hot on the heels of his press conference announcing his new record and band, Noel Gallagher has released the debut single from The High Flying Birds, entitled "The Death Of You And Me". The track will come as little surprise to Oasis fans, as it leans heavily on Gallagher's writing style as of late. With a folky, plodding vibe, and a riotous brass section at the end, the track tips its hat more than a little to "The Importance Of Being Idle". Either way, Gallagher's voice sounds in top form, as always, and we can't wait to hear the rest of the record. Check the vid above.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bob Dylan - Infidels

Given Bob Dylan's 34 studio albums, it can be easy to get lost in the deluge. Obviously his classic work, and more recent resurgence, are obvious candidates for your listening time. But between the two is a glut of records that have a variety of responses and reactions from critics and fans alike, and largely offer a hit or miss perspective on the unquestionable genius that is the legend. Still, amongst the noise there are records that are undeniably rewarding and as good, if not better, than some of the man's classic work. Case in point: 1983's Infidels.

We'll admit, the way we stumbled into Infidels was not typical: when The Walkmen referenced the record in a rehearsal-space seeking Craigslist post a couple of years back, we gave it a spin. Still, it didn't quite take. Then, this spring Elvis Costello dropped a solo cover of the album's "License To Kill" during his incendiary uptown performance, and we decided that we had to give the album a fair chance. For whatever reason, this time around, it took.

Produced by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame, Infidels is definitely a record of its time. The production has a lush, early 80's feel, and the presence of Knopfler on guitar is strongly evident throughout. In fact, to ears familiar with Dire Straits' work at the time, this record could easily be a long lost sibling. Nonetheless, the production doesn't manage to overshadow the fact that this is a strong batch of old-school Dylan songs that unquestionably carry their own weight.

Part of that evidence is manifested in the fact that Dylan managed to keep the record from drifting completely into Knopfler's smooth, jazzy world, by hiring Sly & Robbie as the rhythm section, and sticking firmly to his guns with his own old-school piano and guitar playing. In fact, the combination of these elements is part of what makes the record so solid. The juxtaposition of cleanliness with grit gives the record an easy listenability underpinned by a real-world excitement.

However, more than anything, the record just features some truly solid songwriting from one of history's most noted singer-songwriters. The songs are basic in structure, and harken back to old blues and rock and roll, while the lyrics are poetic and clever in the style of Dylan of old. This solid combo serves to create songs that are not only emotionally resonant, but musically accessible. Those two elements are the fundamental building blocks of Dylan's best work, work that should most certainly count Infidels amongst its many members.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nightmare And The Cat Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Review

Last night we had the pleasure of stopping in at Mercury Lounge, and catching Nightmare and The Cat on the eve of the release of their debut EP. The band, a well oiled 5 piece who put a heavy emphasis on vocal harmonies, were completely on-point, and by the end of their set had converted a nearly-full Mercury Lounge into serious fans for the night.

We have to admit, we were a tad skeptical that the band would be able to pull off their recorded sound in a live environment. The EP is a carefully orchestrated piece of rock and roll theater, and pulling off its twists and turns in a live environ seemed like quite the challenge. Fortunately, it was a challenge that the band was up to, and they delivered their sound in spades last night.

No small part of the delivery rested upon the performance of frontman Django Stewart. Not only are his vocals spot-on, but he manages to parallel their theatrics with real-live theatrics as well. Prancing and jerking on stage, Stewart worked himself into a fervor that was less Bowie than it was Hedwig. Regardless, it was a performance that was well deserving of accolades.

Django was well complimented by his brother Sam, who delivered on lead guitar and backing vocals. The guitar was high in the mix, and with hollowbody twang, it offered up more raucous sounds than on the EP. This was particularly rewarding in a live environment, where drifting too far into rock and roll theater can be a slippery slope.

The brothers were backed by a ridiculously tight band, and the performance was nearly immaculate. Not only was everyone on stage well versed in their instrument, but there was an enthusiasm and drive that couldn't be described as anything but authentic. If you think that bulletproof three part harmonies over a killer rock band would be pretty damn amazing, well, you're right.

At the end of the day, Nightmare and The Cat's sound won't be for everyone. At times it can be eccentrically glamorous, and it's painfully conscious of what they're trying to achieve. That being said, they do manage to achieve it, and extremely well at that. Moreover, the band is pursuing a sound that is unique and exciting, without getting bogged down in trends of this week or next. Which is to say, we're quite pleased with what we got for our trouble, and we're guessing you will be too.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sea and Cake Set To Tour In November

The Sea and Cake at GAMH in 2008, from the HAD Archive

Oh, how we love The Sea and Cake. Their records are endlessly addictive additions to our home catalog, and their latest, The Moonlight Butterfly, is no exception. However, if there's one thing the band does better than making records, it's playing live. Their live sets are immaculate presentations of their distinctive, jazz influenced rock sound. Luckily, the band has decided to tour in support of their latest, with a full US tour in November. If you miss this, you're silly, and we certainly won't be making excuses for your absence.

mp3: The Sea And Cake - Up On The North Shore

The Sea and Cake - 2011 Tour Dates

Fri 11/04/11 Magic Stick Detroit MI
Sat 11/05/11 Lees Palace Toronto ON
Sun 11/06/11 La Sala Rossa Montreal PQ
Mon 11/07/11 Brighton Music Hall Boston MA
Tue 11/08/11 Bowery Ballroom New York NY
Wed 11/09/11 Union Transfer Philadelphia PA
Thu 11/10/11 Black Cat Washington DC
Fri 11/11/11 Local 506 Chapel Hill NC
Sat 11/12/11 Headliners Music Hall Louisville KY
Fri 12/02/11 The Crocodile Seattle WA
Sat 12/03/11 Doug Fir Lounge Portland OR
Sun 12/04/11 Jambalaya Arcata CA
Mon 12/05/11 Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA
Tue 12/06/11 Troubadour Los Angeles CA
Wed 12/07/11 Casbah San Diego CA
Thu 12/08/11 The Mohawk Austin TX
Sat 12/10/11 Voila Acoustique Mexico City Mexico

SUUNS Set To Tour With Handsome Furs, Videos From Both

We were already stoked on the arrival of Handsome Furs' latest, Sound Kapital, so you can imagine how we took it when we discovered that the band will be joined on tour by HAD favorites, SUUNS. The Montreal four-piece have been slated to join their Canadian compatriots for their US tour in the month of September.

Having seen SUUNS in action live twice before, we can assure you that theirs is a set worth arriving early for. Combine that with the fact that Handsome Furs are delivering some of the most aggressive, danceable grooves out there, and, well, this is a tour you're not going to want to miss. Check the dates at the bottom of this post.

In the meantime, you can check two new vids from both bands, Handsome Furs' "What About Us" (above), and SUUNS "Gaze" (below). Happy viewing!

Handsome Furs / SUUNS US Tour Dates
08/30 Santa Fe, NM - Corazon w/ Handsome Furs
08/31 Tucson, AZ- Club Congress w/ Handsome Furs
09/01 San Diego, CA- Casbah w/ Handsome Furs
09/02 Los Angeles, CA- Echoplex w/ Handsome Furs
09/03 San Francisco, CA- Slims w/ Handsome Furs
09/04 Sacramento, CA- Townhouse Lounge w/ Handsome Furs
09/06 Boise, ID- Neurolux Lounge w/ Handsome Furs
09/08 Portland, OR- Music Fest NW
09/09 Victoria, BC- Club 9ONE9 w/ Handsome Furs
09/10 Seattle, WA- Neumos w/ Handsome Furs

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Music: Nightmare And The Cat

Last week the new EP from Nightmare and the Cat landed on our desks, and we gave it a spin. And another, and another. The music is oddly compelling - strangely earnest, yet epic in its rock and roll vibe, with a tinge of folk. In many ways it's theatrical, but it also manages to hold on to a bit of rock and roll grit.

In short, it's fresh and compelling in its sound, and that's enough to get us interested. Luckily, the band has a show at Mercury Lounge tomorrow night, so we'll get to see how the tunes hold up in a live setting. See you there!

Beady Eye Schedule Fall Dates

Hot on the heels of Noel Gallagher's solo project announcement, Beady Eye have returned with some news of their own. The band will be returning to the states for a winter tour in December, and have a new single on the way for next week. You can check the video for "The Beat Goes On" above, and when you're done, the tour dates are below. As we mentioned after seeing the band a few weeks back, the Beady Eye live show is well worth your while.

Beady Eye Fall 2011 US Dates
November 29 Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
November 30 Seattle, WA @ Showbox Market
December 2 San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
December 3 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre
December 5 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
December 6 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave Ballroom
December 8 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
December 9 New York, NY @ Terminal 5

GROOMS Played Death By Audio - Pictures, Review

On Saturday night, Brooklyn natives GROOMS stopped in at Death By Audio to play a release show for their latest record, Prom. The show (as is often the case), started far later than scheduled. That didn't dissuade the fans, however, and when the band came on around midnight, the room was well populated by an excited and enthusiastic crowd.

For the show (we're not sure about the long term), the band had acquired a fourth member to assist with keyboard and guitar parts, but for the most part, the core three-piece contingent reigned supreme, and stayed true to the band's on-record sound. The band were technically on-point, and the drums in particular offered up an even more dynamic element than they do on tape.

Playing only one track from their first record, Rejoicer, the band then delved into an all out exploration of Prom before closing the show with a new track. The new material was solid, and the new track was possibly our favorite of the night. While the band was in top form in terms of technique, the sound system was (sadly) not quite up to the challenge. It's no secret that GROOMS can offer up some challenging levels of discord in their work, and unfortunately, the muddiness of the sound made some of that which is artfully intentional end up sounding off key, or just plain wrong.

Nonetheless, our enthusiasm for GROOMS was not abated. The band is technically adept and instrumentally bulletproof. Moreover, they are creating challenging music that is full of difficult twists and turns that even the most well versed ear needs some time to sort out. Rome wasn't built in a day, and likewise, GROOMS are laying the sonic foundation for what we believe is some of the most exciting musical exploration going on out there today.

More pictures in the HAD Archive

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Strokes Drop New Video, "Taken For A Fool"

The Strokes' lastest, Angles, has been a slow burner for us. Not that we didn't like it at the start, but it's simply gotten better and better. While it's slightly more eclectic and disjointed than their other works, it also has a depth to it that makes even the more straight-ahead songs feel like the work of an obviously matured band.

Case in point: "Taken For A Fool". We loved the track from the get-go, and since then our love of it has only increased. On the surface it's a straight ahead rocker, and classic Strokes material. But under the covers, the melody and guitar layers offer up something that's just a little bit more solid, and demands repeat listens.

Our love of the track was only increased when the band was joined by Elvis Costello for a live version at Madison Square Garden, and now the band has gone and released a video as well. The clip (below), is probably our favorite official video from the band since those of their first record, and adopts a similar retro vibe. Amidst a hastily rendered cube of 3D shapes, multiple projections of the band crowd each other in a room, and seem to be enjoying themselves quite a bit. To be frank, for us, that's more than enough, and very, very good to see.

Update: Check out Some Kind Of Awesome for the single cover, and the stream of the B-Side: a soundboard recording of the live version with EC!!!

Noel Gallagher Hosts Press Conference, Two New Records On The Way

As you may have noticed, we've been enjoying the Oasis offshoot Beady Eye quite a bit. That being said, we have to admit that the absence of Noel Gallagher was a bit bothersome. Not only was Noel responsible for most of Oasis' greatest songwriting, but he's also got a killer set of pipes, and plays some amazing lead guitar. Not to mention that his restrained sense of cool adds a nice counter balance to his brother Liam's frontman showmanship. Given that, we were more than a little stoked when we heard that Gallagher had planned a press conference to reveal the details about a forthcoming project for later in the year.

While you can watch the whole conference stream via youtube (above), we'll give you the basics here. In short, the always-prolific Gallagher has penned two albums for the coming months. The first is entitled Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and features a backing band of the same name. That record drops on November 8th. The second is an untitled collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous, and drops sometime next year. The announcement also confirmed that the band will be touring in support of the new record, and for that, you can count us among the very, very, excited.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Paul McCartney - "Come And Get It"

Badfinger's "Come And Get It" (video below) is one of those songs that is so ubiquitous that even if you don't know it, you can sing along the second you hear the opening notes. It's simple, accessible, melodic, and all around appealing. It is quite simply, very, very, well known. However, what is perhaps less well known is that the song was written and produced by none other than Paul McCartney. Not only that, but before "giving" the song to Badfinger, Macca recorded his own demo, playing all the instruments and performing all vocals himself.

The McCartney version sounds a great deal like the Badfinger version, and apparently not at all by accident. When McCartney offered the song to the band, he insisted that they deliver instrumentals identical to his demo, and that he get to choose which member of the band got to sing. Despite his careful management of the song's sound, we have to say we still prefer his demo. There's really no substitute for the awesomeness of a young Paul's vocal abilities, and his bass lines are simply unparalleled. Check it out for yourself below, and if that's not enough variation for you, give a listen to Elton John's 1970 cover version when you're done.

Paul McCartney plays Yankee Stadium on July 15th and 16th. Yes, you should go.