Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rebuild New Orleans Goddammit

Music follows my rant.
New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Katrina has become nothing more than an afterthought since the fickle attention of the rest of the country has shifted to more pressing matters like celebrity rehab. Public shock and outrage dissipated as soon as the cameras were turned off, packed up and moved away. I am just as guilty, otherwise I would be blogging about this everyday instead of music. Trust me, if you haven't actually been to the area since the disaster, you cannot have any appreciation for the scale and scope of the destruction. I had watched the coverage and specials. I had seen the public photos as well as individual aerial photos taken in the immediate aftermath and I was still shocked as we drove into New Orleans two years ago. The destruction was overwhelming, but even more shocking was the lack of life in the eastern suburbs of the city. There were miles of streets with absolutely no activity what-so-ever. No cars, nobody working, nobody shopping, nobody period. The fact that one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world has essentially a half dead city is unacceptable.
There is a tremendous article by John Barry in the Fall 2007 issue of Garden & Gun titled, "Shifting Tides," that I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone read. It is a comprehensive look at the problems solved and then created as the Mississippi River has been altered throughout the years. Here is an excerpt.

"The river is why New Orleans exists, and why it sits here, vulnerable if not innocent, like a high school girl drinking too much and trying to look older than she is at her first college fraternity party. But because engineers screwed with the river, the city was violated in the most intimate way in 2005, first by a storm, then by a dozen different governmental agencies, and by the Bush administration. As in most acts of violence, recovery is impossible unless we confront that history honestly and deal with it."
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - Oh Didn't He Ramble
Website | Myspace | Blog

Professor Longhair - Tipitina

The video below is for Soulsavers' "Kingdoms of Rain." I have lauded their 2007 album, It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land (It made the Top 5 of my 2007 year-end list). The images in the video are as riveting and spine-tingling as Mark Lanegan's deep rich voice. (Thanks to Atoms 4 Peace for posting the video)


New Orleans Musician's Relief Fund

Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund

Katrina Relief

New Orleans Area Habitat For Humanity

Mirth of Metal

There is one issue that I have found across the blogosphere. Heavy Metal is far too often overlooked. Fear not former metalnecks in need of your classic Sabbath or Megadeth fix, I am here to help. The first installment will feature some of my favorite classic tracks from Anthrax and Megadeth as well as a contemporary track from System of a Down.

Among the Living is the album that thrust Anthrax into the forefront of the Metal scene along side the likes of Metallica and Megadeth. Known for their sense of humor as well as songs inspired by comic books and movies.
Anthrax - Indians (Among the Living)
Website | Myspace

Dave Mustain is almost a forgotten member of Metallica. He and the band split ways prior to their debut album and Mustain went on to form Megadeth, handling guitar and vocals himself. Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? was a landmark album in the sense that it was the first exposure of Metal to a wide range of fans thanks to MTV's Headbanger's Ball and the opening of MTV News.
Megadeth - Good Mourning/Black Friday (Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?)
Website | Myspace

I honestly don't really keep up with the current Metal scene, but SOAD is one of the few contemporary bands that I have come to appreciate, not only for their technical prowess, but also for their varying styles and lyrical content.
System of a Down - Hypnotize (Hypnotize)
Website | Myspace

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Mars Volta - The Bedlam In Goliath

I'll be honest, I've never been a huge fan of Prog-Rock, but I am kinda digging the new Mars Volta disc, "The Bedlam in Goliath."

Even cooler though, is the USB flash drive containing the new album sold on the band's website. Each 1 GB drive contains the album, album art and the video for "Wax Simulacra." Here's the kicker, on the 29th of each month you can plug the drive into your computer and download B-sides, webisodes, limited edition wallpaper, exclusive tracks and more.



Website | Myspace

Picking On Toto's Africa

This guy is freaking amazing!

Website | Myspace

Austin City Limits From The 2007 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Austin City Limits takes a roadtrip this week to San Fransisco's Golden Gate Park to broadcast highlights from the 2007 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. One hour of high-definition bluegrass, country and beyond. Find your local station here.

  • Earl Scruggs: “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”
  • Doc Watson: “Deep River Blues”

  • Medley:
    David Grisman Bluegrass Experience: “Bluegrass Stomp”
    Alison Brown Quartet: ‘Magnificent Seven”
    Bela Fleck And The Flecktones: “Stomping Grounds”

  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Bruce Hornsby: “Dreaded Spoon”

  • Medley:
    Guy Clark: “Texas 1947”
    Chris Smither: “Leave The Light On”
    Teddy Thompson: “I Wish It Was Over”

  • Gillian Welch: "Look At Miss Ohio" (ACL Video)
  • Del McCoury Band: "Bluegrass Breakdown" (ACL Video)
    Charlie Louvin: "Great Atomic Power"
    Jim Lauderdale: "Lost In The Lonesome Pines"

  • Medley:
    Jorma Kaukonen: "San Francisco Bay Blues"
    Subdudes: "Fountain Of Youth"
    Dave Alvin &Amp; The Guilty Men: "Dry River"

  • Robert Earl Keen: "Amarillo Highway" (ACL Video)
  • Steve Earle & Alison Moorer: "Days Aren't Long Enough"
  • Emmylou Harris: "Get Up John"
  • Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    R.E.M. 2008 Roundup

    R.E.M. recently posted the first tour dates (see below) in support of the band's 14th studio album, Accelerate, slated for an April 1 release. Just as exciting, Modest Mouse and The National will tag along.

    The band had previously announced, that they would be playing the Langerado Music Festival March 6-9 in South Florida and then SXSW on March 12 at Stubb's Bar-B-Q.

    You can stream a clip of the first single, "Supernatural Superserious" now at R.E.M. HQ (click listen in the upper right hand corner).

    In case you haven't seen it yet, was launched January 1 to promote the new album.

    Accelerate Track List

    1. Living Well Is The Best Revenge
    2. Man-Sized Wreath
    3. Supernatural Superserious
    4. Hollow Man
    5. Houston
    6. Accelerate
    7. Until The Day is Done
    8. Mr. Richards
    9. Sing For The Submarine
    10. Horse To Water
    11. I'm Gonna DJ (2007 Live)

    North American Tour

    23--Vancouver--Deer Lake Park
    29--Los Angeles--Hollywood Bowl
    31--Berkeley--The Greek Theatre

    03--Denver--Red Rocks Amphitheatre
    06--Chicago--United Center
    08--Toronto--Molson Amphitheatre
    10--Raleigh--Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
    11--Washington, DC--Merriweather Post Pavilion
    13--Boston--Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts
    14--Long Island--Jones Beach Theater
    18--Philadelphia--Mann Center for the Performing Arts
    19--New York City--TBA
    21--Atlanta--Lakewood Amphitheatre

    Until The Day Is Done - CNN/REM

    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    The Gutter Twins

    I am quite ashamed that I am just getting this post up considering my fondness for all things Greg Dulli & Mark Lanegan, but especially for their collaborations. Lanegan has been a recording and touring member of The Twilight Singers and Dulli has contributed to Lanegan's own recordings and touring. I could write forever, but I could never come anywhere near matching the bio posted on The Gutter Twins site (see below). Every generation has their share of end-of-days doomsday prophets, but there are only a handful of artists who could aptly score the soundtrack to the apocalypse . The Gutter Twins will release Saturnalia March 4, marking the return of both to Sub-Pop where they effectively began their careers. Here's a little sampling of Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan alone, together, and collaborating with other artists.

    Mark Lanegan Band - Hit the City (Bubblegum)
    Greg Dulli - Get the Wheel (Amber Headlights)
    Soulsavers - Revival (It's Not How Far You)
    The Twilight Singers - Dead to Rights (Powder Burns)
    The Twilight Singers - Number Nine (Blackberry Belle)
    The Twilight Singers - Live With Me (A Stitch In Time)
    The Gutter Twins - Idle Hands (Saturnalia)

    Head over to The Gutter Twins at MySpace where they are streaming another new song, "The Stations."

    The Gutter Twins
    Website | Myspace

    The Twilight Singers
    Website | Myspace

    Mark Lanegan
    Website | Myspace

    Catch the boys on tour

    2/14/08 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
    2/19/08 Paris, FR Maroquinerie
    2/21/08 London, GB Koko
    2/23/08 Amsterdam, NE Melkweg
    3/1/08 San Francisco, CA Bimbo's
    3/3/08 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
    3/4/08 Seattle, WA Showbox
    3/7/08 Chicago, IL Metro (Late Show)
    3/8/08 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
    3/9/08 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
    3/11/08 Newport, KY Southgate House
    3/12/08 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
    3/14/08 Toronto, ON Mod Club
    3/15/08 Montreal, QC Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire
    3/18/08 Boston, MA The Paradise
    3/19/08 New York, NY Webster Hall
    3/20/08 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
    3/21/08 Atlanta, GA Roxy Theater
    3/22/08 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
    3/26/08 Austin, TX Antone's
    3/27/08 Dallas, TX Cambridge Room @ HOB
    3/29/08 Boulder, CO Fox Theater
    4/2/08 Hollywood, CA Avalon
    4/5/08 Dublin, IE Ambassador Theater
    4/6/08 Belfast, GB Limelight
    4/7/08 Glasgow, GB Oran Mor
    4/8/08 Manchester, GB Academy
    4/9/08 Birmingham, GB Glee
    4/11/08 Brussels, BE Ancienne Belgique
    4/12/08 Rotterdam, NE Motel Mozaique
    4/14/08 Copenhagen, DK Vega
    4/15/08 Stockholm, SE Debaser Medis
    4/16/08 Oslo NO, Rockefeller
    4/18/08 Hamburg, DE Logo
    4/19/08 Berlin, DE Postbahnhof
    4/20/08 Vienna, AU Szene Wien
    4/21/08 Zurich, CH Mascotte
    4/23/08 Rome, IT Alpheus
    4/24/08 Milan, IT Musicdrome
    4/26/08 Barcelona, ES Razzmatazz 1
    4/27/08 Madrid, ES Sala Heineken
    4/28/08 Bilbao, ES Kafe Antzokia

    The Gutter Twins Bio

    "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
    - Oscar Wilde

    "Heaven, it's quite a climb..."
    - The Gutter Twins, "Seven Stories Underground"

    "It started pretty innocently," Mark Lanegan claims of the genesis behind Saturnalia, the much-anticipated first album from The Gutter Twins, the collaboration forged by him and fellow maverick singer-songwriter Greg Dulli. Innocent, however, seems an odd word to lash to anything involving this near-mythic duo, comprised of what proclaims are "two of alt-rock's greatest front-men." And its darkest. Saturnalia, however, finds the axis Dulli nicknamed "the Satanic Everly Brothers" going even deeper into the shadows than ever before. Mystical, unpredictable, ultimately masterful, Saturnalia both embodies and defies any expectations suggested by the principals' individual notoriety. Featuring a caravan of all-star guests giving dimension to its rawly confessional, ambitious themes, The Gutter Twins' debut ascends to a new, surprising place in both artists' canon. "As much as I find it spiritual, it's very much of the flesh," Dulli says of Saturnalia. "The flesh suffers and exults, and it transgresses and transcends."

    Transgression, transcendence, sin (in original form and otherwise): Saturnalia personifies all that, and more. The clue to The Gutter Twins' distinctively ominous, searching mood lies in the band's visceral moniker. "It seemed appropriate, especially considering the shape we were in when we started," Lanegan recalls of the confrontational name. "The early songs reflected the place we were at the beginning, but the vibe ended up at a very different place." The pull towards the darkness isn't surprising considering the duo's individual personas. Lanegan rose to fame as singer for the Screaming Trees, one of the most beloved outfits to come out of the 20th century explosion of loud, strange bands from the Pacific Northwest that begat the likes of Nirvana and Mudhoney, amongst others. Greg Dulli intersected with Lanegan first as the magnetic leader of the Afghan Whigs, another shining (black) light from the '90s rock renaissance. Not only were the Whigs the first non-Northwestern band to sign to Sub Pop Records, they also proved to be one of the most revered bands of the era (SPIN placed the Whigs' breakthrough album Gentlemen at number 99 in its list of the top 100 albums in recent memory). In many ways, the heavy psychedelic roar of the Trees and the messianic, psychosexual soul-rock of the Whigs proved different yet oddly parallel: both groups epitomized the times, yet went beyond them in their idiosyncrasy, as did their distinctive front-men in later efforts.

    Both the Whigs and Screaming Trees had split by the end of the '90s, yet on their own Lanegan and Dulli went on to achieve significant notice. Lanegan continued to put out successful solo albums, as well as create vivid partnerships with the likes of Belle & Sebastian singer Isobel Campbell (on the Mercury Prize-nominated 2005 album Ballad of the Broken Seas) and Queens of the Stone Age (whose leader Josh Homme had been Lanegan's bandmate in the late-period Screaming Trees). Dulli, meanwhile, innovatively fused indie, soul and electronic sounds fronting his first post-Whigs effort, The Twilight Singers, who released their first album, Twilight as Played by The Twilight Singers, in 2000; the most recent Twilight effort, 2006's Powder Burns, proved a crowning achievement, landing on many year-end best lists. Along the way, the pair had become collaborators while gaining infamy as saviors of misbehavior. Both onstage and in song, Dulli and Lanegan's personas began to epitomize a bird's eye view into decadence, excess, betrayal and mortality. In rock's film noir division, Lanegan and Dulli were always the names on the marquee- and the first ones to have the epitaphs prepared. "We had to become The Gutter Twins, because that's how we were perceived," Dulli says with a laugh.

    Saturnalia doesn't revel in Dulli and Lanegan's tendency towards the macabre so much as reflect on it, however. "I hate to say this but, for lack of of a better term, there's a more spiritual nature than usual," Lanegan says. "Then again, Greg was an altar boy." From the hauntingly intense folk-blues of opener "The Stations" to songs like "God's Children" and "Who Will Lead Us?," cosmic concerns of mortality, penance and salvation loom over the proceedings like sacraments. "Whenever one starts writing a record, thematic signposts reveal themselves, pointing you down certain roads," Dulli explains. "There's usually an overarching theme in anything I've done, whether palpable or abstract. I couldn't tell you what Saturnalia's theme is, because it's open to interpretation, but there's a seeking of transcendence that's new. I have never written songs like this before. Lyrically, there's no obvious protagonist or antagonist; spirituality is there, however, both musically and lyrically. It's a foreign land- a different temple I'm visiting." That feeling extends to the album's title, which comes from a week-long ancient Roman festival which climaxes its revelry by having the slaves trade places with their masters. "The conclusion of slaves becoming masters and masters becoming slaves carried a lot of weight to us," Dulli notes. Indeed, The Gutter Twins' debut effort proves that Lanegan and Dulli, in these reunion-obsessed times, aren't slaves to nostalgia. Saturnalia pointedly doesn't rest on the sonic laurels of Lanegan and Dulli's previous successes. Instead, Saturnalia proves rootsy but baroque, handmade yet modernist, teeming with siren melodies that don't resolve.

    Produced by Dulli and Lanegan along with the band's unofficial third member Mathias Schneeberger, Saturnalia's eerie modal swirls trap the listener in each song's atmosphere, never letting go. The circular drones evoke everything from Indian sitars to Appalachian folk and Delta grit, creating inadvertently narcotic hooks in the process. Spartan electronica indelibly collides with spooky space blues on "Who Will Lead Us?"; "Idle Hands" fuses Middle Eastern exoticism with shocking guitar riffs that shoot AC/DC boogie into another fucking galaxy. "I Was in Love with You" evocatively hybrids smoky, old-school soul with shimmering modern soundscapes and Petra Haden's gossamer violin. On "All Misery," meanwhile, Lanegan's relentless vocal pulses with a new tribal syncopation, splitting the difference between Kurt Weill's whiskey bars, Eminem's flow, and associative Dylanesque wordplay. Saturnalia ultimately becomes an unsafe emotional dystopia, a place where "Circle The Fringes"' brutal staccato guitar stabs co-exist paradoxically alongside ruminative psychedelic hymns like "The Body." The cumulative effect ultimately proves internal yet epic: the netherworld symphonics of Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Bohren und der Club of Gore are touchstones, alongside the sprawling emotions of Pink Floyd, the melodically catchy paranoia of the Beach Boys, the primal confessionals of John Lennon. Still, what Dulli and Lanegan achieve here ultimately feels like the determinedly individual product of two auteurs coming together. When Lanegan's ghostly baritone fuses into Dulli's world-weary rasp, the spine-tingling fusion proves unforgettably uncanny. "The album definitely has its own universe," Lanegan says. "I don't know what I would really compare it to- it's totally different musically, but there's always something about it that reminds me of There's a Riot Goin' On." "It's very intuitive and trancelike, changing when it wants to," Dulli adds. "I tried to shake off any kind of Western song structure. We were comfortable riding the groove and letting it take us where it needed to go; sometimes just one single riff will crest and fall, the only change occurring in the vocal melody. More than ever, my impetus to write songs was to satisfy my id's need to hear something we'd never heard before." Largely co-written, from its inception Saturnalia was jointly intended as a leap into the unknown. "When we actually decided to make a record, we agreed that it should be different from anything we've done before," Lanegan explains. "If something sounded like anything we'd ever done, it was rejected," Dulli continues. "Mark was a sentinel for me if I tried to return to my comfort zone- and he was likewise denied by me. That forced us into making a new sound."

    For both Dulli and Lanegan, collaboration remains a crucial aspect of what they do. In addition to Queens and Isobel Campbell, Lanegan's history of alliances defies genre categories- he's worked with everyone from PJ Harvey and Kurt Cobain to electronic producers Soulsavers to Guns 'N Roses' Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin. "Collaborating for me is what keeps me interested in music," says Lanegan. "Left to my own devices I might just do the same thing over and over again." Dulli as well has an large string of collaborations to his credit, from producing and co-writing a smash album for Italian superstar rock group Afterhours to working with the likes of British dance-music producers Lo-Fidelity All-Stars. In 2007 alone, Dulli performed onstage with Lucinda Williams and contributed the title track to Intramural's debut album, This Is a Landslide, the acclaimed indie-electronic project spearheaded by Denver Dalley (Desperacidos/Statistics). Dulli also conceived The Twilight Singers as a shifting collective able to encompass disparate musical souls ranging from U.K. downtempo mavens Fila Brazilia to former Prince prot?g?e Apollonia. As such, Lanegan and Dulli's shared collaborative nature extends to their Gutter Twins partnership, as Saturnalia's guest contributions end up indelibly crucial, from loyal bandmates from their respective bands (Twilight's guitar virtuoso Dave Rosser co-produced "Seven Stories Underground") as well as new friends. Here, The Gutter Twins are supported by longtime associates like Troy Van Leeuwen (QOTSA, A Perfect Circle, Failure), madcap troubadour Joseph Arthur, and "Desert Sessions" regular Dave Catching alongside fresh faces like iconoclastic New Orleans music legend Quintron and Fountains of Wayne drummer Brian Young. As well, master duo Alain Johannes and Natasha Schneider (Eleven, QOTSA) make a memorable appearance on "Each To Each." "Working with Alain and Natasha was especially exciting," Dulli says, as was a session with legendary desert stoner-rock icon Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson/QOTSA). "Having Mario Lalli come in and play was a real thrill for me, as I'm a big fan of his," Lanegan says. "When Mario was playing his part, we were staring through the window jumping up and down like little boys," Dulli adds. Martina Topley-Bird also had a transformative impact with her spectral vocal contribution to "The Body." "If you took Martina's phrasing out, it would be a different song," Dulli says. "She made it three dimensional."

    It was Lanegan's increasing collaborations with The Twilight Singers, in fact, that paved the way for The Gutter Twins' unlikely beginnings. "In 2003, I got a call from an Italian journalist that I knew, asking me about The Gutter Twins," Dulli recalls. "I said, 'What's 'Gutter Twins'? He said 'a group with you and Mark Lanegan.' And I said, 'I did not know that- it sounds interesting!'" In fact, Mark himself had spread this rumor: "I called him and he said, 'Oh yeah, we're gonna make a record, and that's what it's going to be called.'" Lanegan and Dulli had re-connected in Los Angeles at the eve of the millennium, but didn't record together until late 2002, when Lanegan recorded a part for "Number Nine," the intense album closer on The Twilight Singers' 2003 album Blackberry Belle. After that, Dulli returned the favor, hitting the road with Lanegan's band as piano player and performing on two songs off his much-praised 2004 solo album Bubblegum. Lanegan as well became increasingly visible both as a touring and recording member of The Twilight Singers, peaking with his jaw-dropping performance on a cover of Massive Attack's "Live With Me" off the band's A Stitch in Time EP. The Gutter Twins would go on to make their live debut at a Rome concert on September 11, 2005; however, it was in the studio that these two fiercely individual, personal songwriters collaborated like never before. "For most of the record, we wrote the lyrics together, and that was pretty unique," Lanegan says. "I've only done it a few times, like with Josh [Homme]. There's a similarity between working with Greg and Josh: we laugh and fuck around a lot until we come up with something serious." "Half the album was written by him or me, the other half by both of us," Dulli says. "My songwriting changed largely because of Mark's presence. He's more minimalist and I'm more maximalist, and both tendencies are present throughout the record. Where I begin and Mark ends doesn't really matter."

    The Gutter Twins' mutual chemistry was cemented by the evolution of "Front Street," Saturnalia's trenchant closing epic that's one of Dulli's most intimately raw, confessional performances. The pair came together on that song following a Twilight Singers appearance on the legendary radio show "Morning Becomes Eclectic": on L.A. radio station KCRW, repairing afterwards to Dulli's house for an impromptu recording session. "I began to write in front of him almost as an audience member," Dulli recalls. "I'd never written a song that complete, or that personal, in front of someone ever before. In that feral state, we finished it in less than an hour. At the end, he sat there and said, 'The song is great as is, but I've come up with two more verses.' He showed me the words he'd written, and they were phenomenal; then he taught me how to sing it. Mark's a very giving performer: he's there for the song, not for him." Finding such kinship in a collaborator provided the bedrock that made Saturnalia's compelling catharsis possible for both parties. "Everybody has their own demons- their own willful purging," Dulli explains. "But when two people form a common thread, it merges two disparate personalities into one. That we were able to do so collectively made it unique to both of us: as such, this album truthfully captures where we started, and where we've ended up."

    "If you could hear me, love/I'd tell you my story/So that you might save me."
    - The Gutter Twins, "All Misery/Flowers"

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    J. Tillman's "Minor Works"

    Undertow Music has issued J. Tillman's "Minor Works" for the first time in the U.S. "Minor Works" is Tillman's first proper studio record and was released in Europe in October 2006 by the French label Fargo Records. "Minor Works" is at it's essence, 9 beautifully stark soul-baring tracks. With a vocal style reminiscent of Ray LaMontagne, Tillman crafted a "Harvest" era collection of touching ballads. The record maintains its minimalist feel despite a full backing band featuring pedal steel guitars and strings, which is a true testament to the power of Tillman's musical and lyrical depth. The album is available for order now via or Downloads should be available soon through iTunes, eMusic and Rhapsody. Here are two of my favorites from the record for your sampling pleasure. Look for J. Tillman in March at SXSW.

    Jesse's Not a Sleeper


    Website | Myspace

    Who or What is Vampire Weekend?

    If you haven't heard of Vampire Weekend or haven't heard their music, the first thing you need to do is throw out any of your preconceived notions of what the band should sound like. Now, consider that this emerging indie band from New York has gotten love from numerous music blogs as well the New York Times. The band, formed after the members all met while attending Columbia University, describes their sound as "Upper West Side Soweto," which is to say, an odd mix of Manhattan & urban Johannesburg, South Africa, or an indie hipster version of Paul Simon circa "Graceland." That said, you will also hear familiar strains of the Police, Talking Heads and English Beat. What you do need to know is that the band's self titled debut album drops January 29, 2008 and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon. The band will be touring through April, including a performance at this year's Coachella.

    Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

    Mansard Roof

    Oxford Comma

    Website | Myspace

    Kate Nash Covers Black Kids

    Jacksonville, Florida's own Black Kids will be opening for Kate Nash on a handful of European dates in February & March. Here is Ms. Nash showing some love for the Kids with a slower acoustic version of "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You," along with the original for good measure.

    Kate Nash - INGTTYBHTDWY
    Website | Myspace

    Black Kids - INGTTYBHTDWY (Wizard of Ahhhs)
    Website | Myspace

    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Thursday Night is Ladies' Night

    Ladies admitted free until 10 pm, but the music never stops.

    Brooke Waggoner - Hush If You Must
    Website | Myspace

    Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton - Doctor Blind
    Website | Myspace

    Kate Nash - Birds
    Website | Myspace

    Kate Walsh -Don't Break My Heart
    Website | Myspace

    Kimya Dawson - Loose Lips
    Website | Myspace

    Neko Case & Her Boyfriends - Bowling Green
    Website | Myspace

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    New Counting Crows Tracks

    Counting Crows have made two new tracks available from their upcoming,"Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings," the band's fifth studio album. The album, due out March 25 will be split into two distinct sides, not an uncommon practice in the archaic days of vinyl, Saturday Nights will feature the more amped up rock tunes and Sunday Mornings will have a more mellow acoustic feel.

    1492 is speculated to be the 6th and final track on the Saturday Mornings side. It sounds like your typical Crows' rock, with a searing Neil Young & Crazy Horse guitar solo.

    When I Dream of Michelangelo is been rumored to be the second track on the Sunday Mornings side. It sounds like it could be on any of the band's previous records, which is not meant to be a jab. The band really hasn't ever broken new ground, but they continue to write solid songs and to be a great live band.

    In short, if you like Counting Crows, you'll probably like these tracks. If you have always hated them, I don't think that either of these tracks will change your mind.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Songs You Will Never Hear on American Idol

    So American Idol is back, but the song choices are often harder to take than the singers themselves. So here is a list of songs that you will definitely never hear at any point on the show.

    Bastards of Young (The Replacements)
    Gouge Away (Pixies)
    One More Dollar (Gillian Welch)
    Methamphetamine Blues (Mark Lanegan Band)
    Heartland (The The)
    'Cross the Breeze (Sonic Youth)
    Here Comes Sickness (Mudhoney)
    Slack Motherfucker (Superchunk)
    The Devil You Know (Todd Snider)
    As the Worm Turns (Faith No More)
    This Corrosion (Sisters of Mercy)
    O'Malley's Bar (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds)
    Body of an American (The Pogues)
    Rock 'n' Roll Nigger (Patti Smith)
    - If you don't know the song, its probably not what you think
    The Evil Powers of Rock and Roll (Supersuckers)
    Now You Know (The Afghan Whigs)

    New Season of Reno 911 Begins Tonight

    It's not like you've got something better to watch, so tune in tonight and in the meantime enjoy a couple of songs.

    Hate the Police (Mudhoney)
    Police on My Back (The Clash)

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Radiohead's North American Tour Taking Shape

    Details of the first U.S. tour for Radiohead since 2006 are starting to emerge and will take place in two legs separated by the band's European summer tour dates. The band has confirmed the following cities, but no dates or venues yet (via Billboard):

    AtlantaNew York
    CharlotteSan Diego
    ChicagoSan Francisco
    ClevelandSanta Barbara, Calif.
    HoustonSt. Louis
    Los AngelesToronto
    MontrealWashington, D.C.

    All I Need (mp3)
    Videotape (mp3)

    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! Video

    Here it is, the video for the new single from the album of the same name due March 3rd in the UK and April 8th for us Stateside.

    Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    My Belated, But Obligatory, Top 14 Album List For 2007

    Here it is a week into the new year and I'm just getting around to posting my favorites of 2007 (Good thing that procrastination wasn't part of my New Years resolutions). But alas, sometimes, life gets in the way of everything. Anyway, for anyone who cares, here is my Top 25 20 15 14 Albums of 2007!

    José González - In Our Nature

    The latest from the Swedish singer/songwriter was another collection of stark beautiful emotions set to songs.

    How Low (mp3)

    Down the Line (mp3)

    13. Against Me! - New Wave

    A polished, but not glossy, set of songs sure to split long-time fans down the middle. Let them have their tired arguments, and just enjoy one of the best mixes of punk, folk, & pop out there delivered with emotion and conviction.

    Thrash Unreal (mp3)

    Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart (mp3)

    12. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

    Another great post-punk record that will split long-time fans with its polish. The Jawbox & Fugazi are still unmissable at times, but the rawness of past records has given way to more melodies and more diversity in style.

    Pots & Pans (mp3)

    Patty Lee (mp3)

    11. Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade

    Purists shuddered when news leaked that John King, half of The Dust Brothers team, would be producing this record. While the fingerprints are there, the only crime was that some wouldn't give this record it's due. Serenade is much more contemplative, and much less overtly political than the last few records Earle has released. Nashville never quite fit, and so this record finds Earle embarking for New York, but not without the Texas-to-Tennessee baggage he's been lugging around for years.

    Tennessee Blues

    Oxycontin Blues (mp3)

    10. Glossary - The Better Angels of Our Nature
    Weeks before multi-millionaires, Radiohead, kicked the music industry in it's collective ass by allowing fans to name their price to download the band's new album, this relatively unknown Southern rock band put their new album, The Better Angels of Our Nature on their website to download for free. The album is a collection of bluesy rock songs and moving ballads that pushes the band away from the alt-country label and into the realm of simply damn good southern rock. The album also has my nomination for best album cover of the year.

    Only Time Will Tell (mp3)

    Blood on the Knobs (mp3)

    9. Intramural - This is a Landslide

    An album four years in the making, Denver Dalley brought together a different vocalist for each track on his debut under the Intramural flag. Featuring vocals from fellow Nashvillian Matt Friction (Pink Spiders) to the unmistakable and unmatched, Greg Dulli, of former Afghan Whigs and current Twilight Singers fame. Dalley assembles a great pop album that remains seemless and spectacular despite the rotating vocals.

    My, My, Tennessee (mp3)

    This is a Landslide (mp3)

    8. Okkervil River - The Stage Names

    The hype surrounding Okkervil River's latest album had been building since the release and growing popularity of the band's last album, Black Sheep Boy, and was almost tangible. The band, led by singer/songwriter Will Sheff, had begun to make a name for itself outside the lo-fi indie crowd, and a lot was expected from their latest release. And with all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the release, the band delivered it's tightest and most focused record yet. Sheff talents are undeniable from beginning to end. As if, the record itself wasn't enough, an initial limited release included an extra disc featuring the stripped down acoustic demos of each song recorded by Sheff himself. Personally, as much as I love the album, I prefer the songs in the context of the solo acoustic disc even more.

    Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe (mp3)

    John Allyn Smith Sails (mp3)

    7. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

    Modest Mouse broke through the indie ceiling with their last album. For a band that had indie street cred to spare, they had to do something to top their mainstream breakthrough. So they added the legendary Johnny Marr, and proceeded to record another album full of quirky songs delivered with all the intensity and emotion we have come to expect and without compromising the sound that had made them an underground favorite long before "Float On," was heard on the O.C.

    Spitting Venom (mp3)

    Parting of the Sensory (mp3)

    6. Soulsavers - It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land

    The second album from this British electronica duo is an ethereal array of gospel and rock. Another dimension is added by the smooth growl of Mark Lanegan. Combined, they create albums worth of dark and languid songs that any tormented soul can take to heart, and even you regular folk as well.

    Revival (mp3)

    Paper Money (mp3)

    5. Grinderman - Grinderman

    The ever changing Nick Cave returned in 2007 with a new band (name) and a sound that hearkened back to his days fronting the legendary Birthday Party. The album is a raucous piece of gutter rock and a complete blast. Nick Cave is able to shed his dark and foreboding image for a dark but playful one. The album is exactly what it was supposed to be, a garage band effort fronted by Nick Cave, which in this case is a very good thing.

    Get It On (mp3)

    Electric Alice (mp3)

    4. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

    An absolute epic post-rock instrumental album, intense in nature and at the same time, soothing to listen to. The album is a sonic journey through the quiet calm serene to controlled chaos. Really, there is nothing more I can say except, you should take a listen at least once before dismissing the album just because it is an instrumental.

    The Birth and Death of the Day (mp3)

    Catastrophe and the Cure (mp3)

    3. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

    There is a reason why it is on so many year end lists. The sophomore effort the Canadian clan is a more than worthy follow-up to their über-successful debut and one that delighted both critics and fans alike. There really aren't any new praises I can heap on the band or the record.

    Ocean of Noise (mp3)

    My Body is a Cage (mp3)

    2. The National - Boxer

    This album could easily get lost in the shuffle of a bunch of great releases this past year. Beautiful melodies and heart wrenching lyrics make this a riveting album. Rock inspired Joy Division at its best.

    Fake Empire (mp3)

    Start a War (mp3)

    1. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin

    So this band forms in Seattle, signs with Sub-Pop and puts out an outstanding debut, then loses one of its founding members, moves to South Carolina and releases one of the best southern rock albums in ages. Every song on the album feels authentic and emotive. From the sentimental ballads to the searing rock, there was not a better album in my opinion.

    No One's Gonna Love You (mp3)

    Marry Song (mp3)

    Cigarettes, Wedding Bands (mp3)

    And so there it is, my top 14 of 2007. Agree? Disagree? Probably a bit of both so feel free to slander my name or praise my impeccable taste below. But more importantly, if you like any of the above and haven't bought the record, then do so at your local independent music store or from any of the following sites.

    Buy it at Insound! Apple iTunes